For the Mom Who Googled "I Don't Want to Be A Mom Anymore"

This morning I was checking my blog stats, which allows me to see how new readers are finding me, and what Google searches are leading people to my website. Normally it's about the same...

Husband works too much...
Makeup for broken out skin...
How to pray for relationship with daughter...

But today was different. Among the top searches that led people here were heart-wrenching phrases that made me put my coffee down and choke back tears.

I don't want to be a mom anymore...
Overwhelmed mom depressed...
Motherhood is too hard...

I was thinking about those words later as I washed dishes and tried to listen to the acoustic station I had playing as my boys bickered back and forth from their bedroom. My gosh. Can I just get five minutes of peace while I clean up?

I realized the reason those words had hit me so hard wasn't just because they were sad.; it was because I have been the mom that felt like that. 

There have been dark days when depression overthrew me, and maybe I would have reached for my iPhone and typed in desperate words, hoping for a magic answer. I've been the mom in the bathroom with the door locked, tears running down my face because I just didn't know what to do about my strong-willed child. I've been the mom screaming at a defiant toddler instead of reaching for her heart and asking what's wrong. I've been the bitter wife, I've been the ungodly mother, I've been the housewife so overwhelmed that I just do nothing.

Sweet overwhelmed mama, whoever you are, Jesus came so that you would have life, and have it abundantly. Do you really believe that being so overwhelmed and isolated that you reach out to Google is abundant life? It's not. There is so much more than you can even imagine waiting for you in the palm of His hand. And it's all for you. You just have to turn around, look at Him, and take it.

You're right that you can't do this. You're right that this is all too much for you. You're right that some days are depressing. But you can do all things through the One who gives you strength. That is about as cliche as it gets, but when you pause and really think about that beautiful truth and apply it to your motherhood, you can feel the giant weight that's been crushing your shoulders start to lift, it gets lighter and lighter as you say "yes" to His help. He did not create you to be able to do all this on your own. In fact, He knows that you can't and never had any expectation for you to be able to. You did that to yourself. He wants you to let go of that and let Him guide you. Let Him give you peace that diffuses your anger, love that overcomes your frustration with your children, joy that breaks the chains of depression.

Take a deep breath, quiet your spirit even if all around there is noise, feel yourself letting go of all this and reaching to touch the face of your Savior. Get up and walk in the Light now, because a daughter of the King deserves better than to be taken down by the lies of the enemy.

"The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
John 10:10

"When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him."
Isaiah 59:19

#MomLife Beauty Hacks

Motherhood is chaos, to say the least. That's probably why the question I get asked the most is, "how do you look dressed and put together every day with four kids?!"

The short and most honest answer is... I don't.

I don't Instagram a photo of my entire self every single day, so how could you know? Most days (like right now), I'm in my pajamas for longer than any person over age twelve should be, I've got pimple cream on, and my hair is in a bun at the top of my greasy head. Super attractive. 

But I will say that I care a lot about how I look most days. I care because it affects how I feel. When I don't have a decent outfit together and my hair styled, I just don't feel good. That's a part of my personality- how I work- and not everyone is like that. I believe you've got to know yourself and do what works for you. With that said, I work best when I look and feel put together. I am a happier mom, a more content person, and I'm in a better mood when Brian gets home from work. I just feel good when I feel together. 

When I became a mom of more than two kids, I really noticed a change in my days. There was no longer plenty of time to get dressed...heck, there was hardly even any time to take a shower! I spent months unkempt, feeling yucky, struggling with depression, and just not feeling very happy. I wasn't able to function as my best self and motherhood was taking over in a negative way. I started getting creative, looking for little increments of free time to get ready for the day, figuring out "hacks" that would help me do what I needed to feel good about myself in my days spent as a housewife and busy mom.

Today I'm sharing some of my beauty hacks with you all, in the hope of inspiring you to feel good about yourself if you sometimes don't, and to provide a cheat sheet of shortcuts so you don't have to dig as much as I did for them.

Getting clean. Why is showering so difficult?! There are still days during which I can't even find five minutes to bathe myself, and that seems sort of pathetic to me, but it's true. The real problem is the baby. At seven months old, he can't entertain himself much, and he whines when I'm not with him. What I find helpful most days is putting him in his jumper or swing and turning on something entertaining (and probably over-stimulating) like an episode of Baby Einstein, or assigning his happiness to one of the older kids.

I literally jump in the shower, get wet, squirt soap on my loofa, give myself a good all-over scrubbing, rinse off and jump out. I only shampoo my hair once a week, which may sound gross but is actually very healthy for your hair, and this saves me a load of time! Dry shampoo is how I go seven days between washes. I use it on days three, five, and sometimes the morning of day seven (I wash at night before bed). Not only does it remove the oil from my hair and clean it without me having to wet it, but it gives me great volume and texture. My hair looks its best on dry shampoo days.

Awhile ago on my Facebook page, you guys asked for a tutorial on exactly how I apply dry shampoo. Here ya go!

Personal maintenance. Being a woman involves so. much. maintenance. It's overwhelming in itself, really. Throw in being a mother and you may feel like jumping in front of a bus. I've had to accept that I just don't have time to do it all perfectly all the time. Enter beauty hacks.

I pretty much always have my finger and toe nails painted. The cheat for this is that I give myself a good pedicure about once a month, then touch up the polish just by filling in the grown-out parts as needed, which is about every other week. Easy. The same goes for my fingernails. I push back my cuticles every once in awhile while Brian and I watch TV, and the rest of the time I'm just throwing on a quick coat of Essie nail polish (goes on the easiest, stays on the longest) and just fill it in once or twice until I want to change the color. The time I spend on my nails is about an hour, collectively each month, and just a few minutes each week. Nailed it. (see what I did there...)

Shaving adds time to my showers, which I really can't spare most days. A couple of times a week, when I'm bathing the kids, I sit on the side of the tub in my pajama shorts and shave my legs. I wait till they're about to get out or are already out and drying off next to me and just quickly clean myself up. I do my underarms quickly in the shower every couple days.

Make up. As someone with acne-scarred skin, my makeup should take me quite a bit of time in the morning, but it really doesn't. I'd say it takes about five minutes. I think the products I use work really well, so I don't have to spend a bunch of time layering for coverage.

One important hack that saves mostly money, not time, has to do with my eyelashes. I noticed some thinning after I had Emmett, so sometimes (not usually just on a normal day in the life) I want some thickness. I can't afford, nor do I want to spend money on eyelash thickening products. I found that applying some baby powder to a Q-tip, then putting it on my lashes in between mascara coats gives me some pretty intense volume and thickness. Here's how I do it:

1. Curl lashes
2. Apply one coat of mascara
3. Apply baby powder while mascara is still wet
4. Apply second coat of mascara
5. Wipe away powder from under-eye area

I pair this trick with smoky eyes for date night or weddings.

Hair styling. Like I said above, dry shampoo is my best friend. Another perk that comes with using it is that I really only need to style my hair in full (which takes me about twenty minutes, and I have pretty thick hair) once a week. On the day after I freshly wash it, I spend time curling my hair and spraying it with some good holding spray. The next day I really just have to touch up the front curls. Using dry shampoo the rest of the week helps hold my curls somewhat in place, so that all I need to do is throw in a few fresh ones each morning, which takes less than five minutes. Personally, I like my hair a little messy, not perfect curls, so this works for me. I get a just-out-of-bed, messy waves look every day without more than five or ten minutes of my time sacrificed.

Exercise. This is another thing I get asked a lot about. Before I got pregnant with Emmett, I really fell in love with running. I used the Couch-to-5K app (for iPhone, for Android) to lose some weight and get acclimated to running. I recently re-downloaded the app and started working through it again. I went from hating exercise, especially running, to training for a 5K with four kids. Crazy! I had to make the decision to care about my health, to want to be fit and my best beautiful self for myself and for my husband and choose to dedicate time to this area of my life.

I would say making time for exercise is the hardest part of all this. But without exercise, no amount of cute clothing, makeup, or dry shampoo is going to make me feel good about myself, so I have to make it happen.

I aim to run three days a week, with a day or two of exercise DVD's or strength training exercises in between. I need to keep it simple and just focus on getting healthier and losing this baby weight. I love kickboxing and Tae Bo type of workouts, so I normally do a DVD like that. I read that doing strength training on the days you're not running is very good for you and beneficial to you as a runner as well. I have a list of simple exercises that build strength, and I normally choose three or four to do real quick while I hold the baby or while breakfast is cooking.

  • Squats- 3 sets of 15 (nice, slow, full squats each time)
  • Lunges- 10 to 20, then rest or switch exercises & repeat
  • Calf raises- 20 or more
  • Pushups- 10 to 20, rest and repeat 2-3 times
  • Bridge- 20 repeats, or hold as long as you can
  • Plank- 30-60 seconds, keeping body perpendicular to ground

This is a summary of how I take care of myself in the midst of raising four kids, feeding a hard-working husband, making time for my marriage, the never-ending list of household chores, and everything else that comes with my life. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment! Hope this helps!

Peaks of the Week

I've never been a big fan of when bloggers say things like "I'm sure you've noticed it's been quiet around here lately". I read it as "I'm sure that I am so important to everyone that when I skip a week of blogging your world stops turning..." I won't do that to ya.

But I did miss a couple weeks of Peaks, whether or not you noticed ;)

This week I will not suck as much, and I will grace your eager presence with one heck of an awesome Peaks post, right now.

1) We joined my family on a little trip to the LA area, where we met up with my grandparents at the Early Bird Cafe, which I have to say, was amazing. The best breakfast I have ever had. They didn't have any typical plates. It was all really unique, eccentric dishes that may have changed my life forever. Deeeeeelish.

My siblings are all pretty young. I do have a brother who is twenty-four, but my sister and youngest brother are still in high school. I always love our time together, and feel like it's really special they want my advice and love talking to me. Our morning at the Early Bird Cafe was a pretty great one for sure.

After breakfast we all drove to a beautiful old park that was built in the 70's, tossed a football around, played tag, and watched the kids play on the swingset. Perfection. 

2) You probably already know from my Facebook page that Brian and I did a giant IKEA trip last week! Woohoo! We don't do credit cards, so we worked extra hard and saved for this trip, which was the start of our redecorating project, so I was more than ecstatic that it was finally time to go!

We got lots of good stuff, which I will share in a post later this week ;)

3) I finished a little DIY project, which came out very imperfect, which is why I love it so much. I put it above our bed, which seemed perfect since it's a tiny piece of one of our favorite songs. Love!

[hey look! a little peek at our ikea trip! #newbed]

4) The kids and I needed a beach day. I've never taken all of them to the beach by myself, not even when there were only three of them. Going it alone with three + a seven month old seemed insane. Which is why I had to try it. I nailed it, except for when the oldest two took off in a race and......never stopped, scaring me half to death

Here's to a great weekend and a productive, fun-filled week next week! For all of us :)

For Brian, On Father's Day

I really wanted to give Brian something sentimental this Father's Day. My best friend, Jules had the idea of making him a video where the kids each say something sweet about their Daddy, and since I recently learned how to use a new video editing program, I decided it was the perfect thing.

So this is for my sweetest friend and the father of our four babies. You are so appreciated, and so very adored. Happy Father's Day!

Note: the song playing in this video is the song that was playing while I took a pregnancy test, waited for the results, and found out I was pregnant with Leland. This song has a very special place in our hearts, which is why I decided it needed a part in this video :)

How I Cover Scars & Blemishes with Drugstore Makeup

I have battled acne since eighth grade. I have tried all the expensive products, I have gone on medication, I have tried all the natural remedies, I have balanced my hormones, I have changed my diet a hundred times, and my skin just breaks out bad once every month. I also scar very easily, which has left me with permanent marks on my face from my teen years when my breakouts were far worse than they are now. I used to go to expensive makeup stores and get top quality products to give me the appearance of smooth skin.

I spent a lot of money. It came to a point where I realized the hundreds of dollars that were going into covering my scars and blemishes and I just wasn't okay with it anymore. I decided to go on a hunt for drugstore products that would provide great coverage, natural shades that matched my skin tone, and didn't give my husband a heart attack every time he checked the balance of our bank account.

After trying a bunch of different products, I was astounded to find that the drugstore makeup I settled on was actually, in my opinion, better than the high-priced makeup I had been using before. Today I'm getting into a really vulnerable place with you all for the sake of maybe helping someone else with skin problems. I'm not looking to get emails about products that I should try or things that worked for someone else who needed to clear up their skin, I'm not looking for rude comments about what my face looks like naked, I'm not even looking for compliments. I simply want to inform and help others who might feel like I do about their skin, and just want to cover flaws (and be able to afford it) so they can leave the house with confidence.

Here is my skin without any makeup, freshly washed, on a pretty bad breakout day, without any filters or editing.

As you can see, there is a ton of scarring on my temple, where I once had extremely bad cystic acne in high school. Yesterday there was more redness, things are dying down today as I treated my breakouts last night. But this is a pretty typical day during my "breakout week", as I call it.

Here is what my skin looked like the day before yesterday, on my worst breakout day, with makeup on, in natural light, no filter or editing of any kind.

Sure, you can look closely and see a couple breakouts, but there is a world of difference here, and you'd never guess that I have two blemishes that are completely inflamed and painful. You'd also never guess that every single product I use on my face is from the drugstore, the most expensive one ringing up at $12.99. 

Here's what I use...

Primer: Rimmel London Stay Matte

I learned through experience that primer is a must-have. I use to skip it, but once I found a good one at a high-end makeup counter and saw how it filled in indented scars and smoothed out my skin, I never went back. Finding a good primer at the drugstore was a challenge since most of them are total crap. Rimmel London's did not disappoint. In fact, I liked it just as much as the expensive one I was using before than cost me $30. This one rings up at around $5. 

Concealer: Hard Candy Glam Heavy Duty Concealer & pencil

This. Stuff. Is. Amaaaaaaaaazing. I cannot boast about this concealer enough. It changed my life, really. Use the little pencil to draw a circle around a blemish, then put a tiny dot of concealer over it, and it will be minimized almost completely. Some makeup artists say to use concealer under your foundation and some say over. I have found that using it both times is very effective for how marked up my skin is. I apply a dot of concealer to each blemish or heavily-scarred area of my face immediately after applying primer, then I use my foundation, then I do the pencil-concealer technique. I use a shade lighter than my foundation. I have only been able to find Hard Candy's products at Walmart, which I hate, but it's worth a quick stop for this magic. You can also buy it online once you know which shade looks best on you. My previous concealer was about $25. This one works 100% better and is only $6. 

Foundation: Revlon Colorstay Whipped

I'd say finding a foundation was the most difficult part of this process for me. I am very picky about my foundation matching my skin color exactly, and I need a lot of coverage, but don't like to look like I've got pounds of makeup caked on. Revlon Colorstay delivers. It gives me a smooth, flawless finish, and BONUS: it stays on all day! I very rarely need to reapply to go somewhere at the end of the day. I have seen this foundation at Target for $10.99 and I've seen it for $12.99. Either way it's a heck of a lot better than my old total, which was anywhere from $30 to $79. Ouch. 

Powder: Rimmel London Stay Matte Long-Lasting Pressed Powder

I had been using a translucent loose powder by NYC when a friend of mine mentioned how much she loves Rimmel London's powder for the extra coverage it gave her. I tried it out and have been using it for over a year now. I once used a powder that cost $65 at Sephora, and in total honesty, I feel like this powder comes very close to the coverage and finished look that powder gave me. This rings up at around $4.

Note: In my experience, what you use to apply your foundation makes a huge difference. After speaking with a makeup professional and trying different options, I have found that using a natural hair foundation brush gives the best and most flawless finish. I have used several different brands ranging from high to low prices, and I didn't really notice a huge difference. The one I have now is one I grabbed at Walmart the last time I picked up concealer, and I love it as much as the expensive one I bought at Sephora last year. 

Those are the products I use as a base to cover blemishes and give me more of a flawless canvas to work with before I move on to the rest of my makeup. I hope this helps! If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask in the comments. I'll always get back to you.

Note: Since these products contain ingredients that can agitate skin prone to breakouts, it's important to wash it off every night and give your skin plenty of makeup-free days to breathe!

Minimalism + Motherhood: Purging the Kids' Rooms

Having kids means messes, and lots of them. But wouldn't it be freeing if it was fun messes instead of the same old crap strewn everywhere day in and day out? What if the only toys in the kids' room were ones that encourage their imaginations and bring about constructive play? What if their rooms were clean and clutter-free so they could actually play in there? What if all the junk was cleared away and you actually had time to do arts and crafts with your littles? Those are the kinds of messes I don't mind cleaning up.

When my husband and I first stumbled upon minimalism, it was because of toys and kid clutter that we were intrigued by the idea. With loving grandparents constantly "blessing" our kids with presents, birthdays and Christmas always meaning new additions to the toy bin, our house and our kids were overwhelmed. In no time at all the toys were far too many for one room [which is ridiculous], and we noticed the kids really only played with a few favorite toys consistently, although they pulled out everything on a daily basis. One day I had had enough, and I got rid of nearly all the toys. I can't tell you how much freedom that decision brought into our home. 

My kids didn't even care. Hundreds of dollars worth of toys were being donated or thrown away and all they cared about was that their few favorites were kept safe. That spoke volumes to me and reaffirmed our decision to purge. Since my first post about minimalism, I've received some great questions about purging the toys and kids' stuff, so today we're talking about how I brought minimalism into my kids' rooms!

1) Purging the toys. Let's deal with the biggest problem first. The thing about purging the toys is, you have to know why you're doing it, and keep that reason at the front of your mind as you're going through everything. Otherwise, you'll come across a toy that you know wasn't cheap or has some significant meaning and you'll talk yourself into keeping it, even though you know it doesn't get played with.

My why is the fact that I deeply desire to instill gratefulness in my children, and I want to give them the gift of less. When there are less toys, less clutter, they play more together and their imaginations can really be put to work; they grow, and that's very important to me. I want them to only have toys that encouraged constructive or creative play, and that I wanted them to spend most of their day playing outside.

This led us to only keeping wooden trains and tracks, wooden building blocks, Legos, and cars [these are also toys that I won't mind adding more of and make great gifts from grandparents]. We kept all our books, although I did purge the ones that were very damaged. Bella was allowed to keep whatever toys fit in the one plastic bin I gave her. She chose several unicorns and got rid of everything else. She had plenty of leftover space in her bin and had no problem getting rid of stuff, saying "I really never play with any of this other stuff." I was very surprised.

2) Deal with the incoming flow of toys and tackle the awkward Grandparent issue. Brian and I don't really buy our kids any toys, like ever. I don't know if that's unusual or if that's how most parents roll, but we've just never done it unless it's Christmas. I know some parents have to tell their kids things like, "No toys this Target trip...I'm only getting a few quick things." My kids would never even think about that, simply because we've never shown them that a trip to the store means getting anything for them. It makes an already stressful errand with four children a lot simpler, plus our kids get enough toys from grandparents and aunts and uncles throughout the year. Which leads me to my main point...

To deal with the constant flow of toys from loving relatives, you're going to have to assess your relationship with them and choose how to deal with it from there. With my parents, I just talked to my mom about how much freedom minimalism has brought us and how much crap we got rid of and she immediately caught on, was supportive, and started asking what we want/need for birthdays. She regularly tells me that she thought twice before purchasing a small gift for one of my kids, and opted for art supplies over random toys, which I greatly appreciate!

We have some relatives who just speak the love language of gift-giving and are bringing small toys and things over every single time they see our kids, and the relationship isn't one where I feel like I can just say "yeah... no thanks." With this situation, I usually let the kids freak out and happily enjoy the new toys [usually just small things from Dollar Tree] for the day, then during our nightly pick up the new toys are either already broken, or they've been tossed aside and forgotten about, and I simply get rid of them. One time Hudson got a small thing from a grandparent that was from the Dollar store and he just obsessed over it. I obviously let him keep it because this isn't about being a neat freak and not allowing my kids to have anything I didn't plan on them having. It's about simplifying and living life without clutter, and one small toy that has become special to your child won't cause clutter.

If your kids get clingy with every thing they're given, implement a "one in, one out" rule. When they're given something new and want to keep it, tell them they need to choose one toy from their bin that they want to get rid of in order to keep the new one.

When asked what my kids want or need, I always say books, more wooden trains/tracks, building blocks, puzzles, or arts and craft supplies. Giving grandparents a no-fail gift idea list helps them feel like they can still dote on their grandbabies, their gifts won't end up at Goodwill, and it helps you rest in the fact that birthdays and holidays don't have to mean more useless junk cluttering your newly clean space.

3) Minimalism and the holidays. Christmastime has sadly gone from the celebration of the birth of our Savior to a gimme gimme holiday marketed by greedy toy companies. Personally, I've never understood why some parents will go broke buying their kids presents during that time of year. Two years ago, we took on the idea the wise men had, and chose to give only three gifts to each of our kids. It was wonderful! We've kept the tradition ever since and it's here to stay.

Here's how it works...

Each child still makes a list of their wants, and we pick three things to get each of them [this doesn't count stocking stuffers]. The kids understand the reason behind the three gifts as a symbol of the gifts brought to baby Jesus, which makes it more special and significant. It is really hard to choose only three things to get each of our kids, but it makes each purchase special, thought-out, and worth every penny we spend on it. Plus, we are able to give better gifts since we aren't trying to fill the whole space under the tree. Quality over quantity.

4) Clothing. This is another big issue when it comes to the kids. Clothes are so expensive, so it's hard to get rid of something, even if you know it's not really useful. We are a larger family and we live on a tight budget, so I had to come up with a way to stop keeping every article of clothing with hopes of using it eventually, because the dresser drawers were overflowing and the laundry was never-ending.

First, I faced the hard fact that if I keep an piece of clothing and it just isn't getting worn, I am going to have to buy something new to replace that piece of clothing anyway, so I may as well just get rid of it. Why keep a tee shirt with a stain on the front that I can't get out "just in case"? It's just taking up space. Let it go. I got rid of everything that didn't currently fit, wasn't currently in style, or had just been worn out. You know what was left? Only the clothes my kids wear. Every single thing in the trash or giveaway pile was something I never dress them in, so....why was I even keeping it in the first place?

I now spend a little more money on the clothes my kids do need, no more thrifting (I was really just getting junk). I love H&M for kids clothes. Their prices are better than Target and even more fashionable, which I do care about. Their quality is good and I have no problem getting stains out when the kids get messy. I love their colored denim for my boys!

Here's a list of the amount of clothes my kids currently have, and it's plenty!

About 10 every day outfits
3-4 dressy outfits
3-5 pairs of pajamas
1-2 jackets/sweatshirts (we live in Southern California)
3-5 pairs of shoes (mix of play, every day, and dressy)

I mix and match and I keep it simple. I keep the laundry going throughout the week and never have the problem of "not enough clothes".

I hope this helps and your questions have been answered! Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have any more :)

Peaks of the Week

Oh hey! It's been a couple weeks since I sat down to write an actual blog post. I've been busy with life, and only finding tiny spaces in my day to use my Instagram like a mini-blog. I even missed doing my Peaks post last week! I am sure your world was shattered, so for that, I offer you my apologies ;)

Let's just get right to it and see the peaks of this week so you can live a happy life again.

1] Hudson is nearly potty trained!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you know anything about how difficult it's been for me to get this potty party started with him, you'll understand why so many exclamation points. Bella and Leland each turned three and just did it. Pee, poop, overnight... all at once without hardly a hiccup. While I know that's a little rare, it spoiled me, and having Hudson put up such a fight and be afraid to go potty, it's been really frustrating. But after taking a break, bringing in bribery and letting him watch cat videos whenever he sits on the toilet, we are finally getting somewhere.

[he gets a hot wheels car every time he does #2, and a piece of candy for every pee]

2] My mom recently took up sewing, and she made Bella the sweetest little skirt ever. Bella has loved horses since she was a year old [and unicorns have since been added into the love mix], so this fabric with running horses and a tiny rider with hair flowing in the wind...well it basically made me swoon when I saw it. 

3] The baby kitties are about six weeks old now, and will only be with us another couple of weeks, but we did decide to keep one, our very favorite one of course! Meet Willoughby. I really can't even handle his cuteness.

His namesake ain't hard to look at either. 

4] It doesn't matter how many kids you have, when you get time with one or two less, you feel like a free bird soaring through Montana skies. That's how Brian and I felt on Friday anyway. My parents took Bella and Leland for the night since they'd been begging for a slumber party, which meant we took just the baby boys to the mall so mama could get new jeans (a size smaller! yeeeeeeeeyay!). Hudson thrives with one-on-one time, so it was a pretty special night. 

5] Bella's last day of kindergarten! I cannot even express what a good day this was for me. Actually I can, and I did, on my Instagram. We gave her sweet teacher a little succulent in the cutest little pot from Target to say thank you for how wonderful she was during the time Bella spent in her class. I am so thankful for her. She was a real Godsend in a tough season. 

6] I think it's safe to say that Emmett is sleeping through the night. He has taken the longest of all our babies by far (he's seven months), but I have had some very sweet moments with him in the middle of the night, or nursing him all bundled up watching the sunrise, so I wouldn't change a thing. But it is nice to be getting more sleep, and apparently it leads to awkward celebratory selfies like this one. 

7] SEVEN peaks this week?! Oh my this was a good one I guess! The final peak of my week came yesterday. I just love Sundays so much. We went to church, then picked up some fresh peonies (my favorite flower as evident my my half-sleeve). I also sported my new shorts from Old Navy, which are super cool for summer and flattering for curvy mamas like me! Go getchoself some!

What were the peaks of your week??

Peaks of the Week

I'm posting my Peaks post a little later than I wanted this week, but only because I have been so much busier than normal! This week was one of errands, laundry catch up, cooking, and birthday fun. Hudson turns three years old today, and when I asked him a month ago if he would like me to throw him a big party or if he'd rather go do something, he responded very surely, "I wanna go on the train to the cupcake store." Translation: he wants to take the train to Seaport Village in San Diego where we walked the beach and went to a famous cupcake shop and rode a carousel (best day ever). I was thrilled with his choice, since I'm not really in a party-throwing phase of life with the baby and everything. So tomorrow we will be enjoying a train ride and cupcakes and carousel rides.

But for now let's get to the peaks of this week.

1. This week was my second week of hardcore clean, paleo eating. I got the low-carb flu, which was awful, but I got over it in a couple days by upping my healthy fat intake, and now that I'm over that initial hump, I've been feeling amazing. On Saturday, Brian and I disagreed on something and made a bet about who was right, and whoever won could get a small non-paleo treat. I won (always) and chose to enjoy a crisp Coke from McDonald's. I got my hands on that Coke and took a big gulp didn't even taste good to me! It was surreal. I ended up letting the kids have some then throwing it away. I guess my taste is changing from the clean eating, which is a really big deal for me, considering how I used to eat!

2. Hudson's hair is now long enough for a mun (man bun). I can't even handle it!

3. Our cat, Pepper had kittens a few weeks ago, and they're starting to get playful and bigger and more adorable! It's such a sweet little treat to have them in the house all the time, watch them play, and see the kids enjoying their cuteness so much.

Pepper is enjoying motherhood, but she has her moments...

[excuse my sister's screeching laugh]

4. I have really committed to running, and I've been reading tons of information about how to do it right, how to avoid injury (I got shin splints a couple weeks ago and it sucked), and how important a good shoe is. Brian took me to The Running Center this week, where they analyzed my gait via slow-mo video recording, and I got the perfect shoe for the way my feet land when I run. It's like landing on air when I run, I love them! I also went for my first run at dusk instead of early morning, and it was a totally different experience. I loved ending the day like that.

5. We had a small birthday dinner for family at our house on Saturday night to celebrate our little Buggy. Brian is a grill master, so we did burgers (wrapped in butter lettuce for me and Brian), sweet potato fries, and watermelon salad. I decided I was due for a sweet treat, so instead of baking a normal cake and passing on having a slice, I tried making a chocolate paleo cake. I was pretty sure it wasn't going to turn out very good because of how clean paleo ingredients are, but this cake was moist, sweet, covered in chocolate ganache, and delicious! You can find the recipe here.

This week was a good, busy one for me! What were the peaks of your week??

Stylish Jeans for Your Mom Body + How to Wear Mid-Rise Jeans

As you may already know, Emmett is six months old, so my body is still in that weird post-partum stage where my old clothes don't fit. Plus, the fact that he was my fourth child means the saggy belly and love handles are more of a problem than they have been after past pregnancies. If you're one of those moms who goes back to her newlywed weight right after having a baby or is in a size smaller than 6 right now, walk away...

If you're curvy, flabby, freshly post-partum, or look like you're smuggling throw pillows in your current jeans, stick around. This post is for you.

First of all, I'm not afraid to say my size. I'm not short (5' 7") and I'm super curvy (baby got back over here). I wear a size 12 jean right now, and just went down from a 14, thanks to this girl. I've got post-baby belly goin' on and am slowly getting healthier, but it's a long process after housing four tiny humans.

Normally, I hate being dressed, jeans are uncomfortable, and I really only put on an outfit when I have to, then get into my sweats as soon as I get home.

That being said, I went to Old Navy to look for jeans, even though I had recently tried out all their styles and none of them worked for me. I had gotten an email about their new "boyfriend" line, and I have had great luck with boyfriend jeans from Gap in the past.

I love these jeans. Seriously, I live in them now.

They are the only pair of jeans that I stay in all day. I don't feel like I need to get into my sweats when I get home or when I need to clean or do my usual housework thing. I even kept them on as I snuggled in for a nap with the baby yesterday! (that's when I realized these jeans deserve a blog post)

These jeans are stretchy but not skinny and clingy, they are super flattering, come in a variety of washes, are medium-rise to hide belly squish, but not too tight that they squeeze the crap out of you when you sit. A major mommy bingo- that's all I can say. I have tried on a lot of jeans since Emmett was born, including boyfriend jeans from Target (which I settled for and bought, but now never wear), and Old Navy just takes the cake with these ones.

If you've been looking for the perfect pair of jeans and you've got curves, get yourself to the dressing room, my friend! I think you'll love these.

They come in straight leg (these are the ones I bought), skinny, distressed, and even maternity.

I used to shy away from mid-rise pants because they make your butt look longer than it is, and let's face it... that's what mom jeans do.

But! There is a way to wear jeans that are made to flatter your mom body without looking like you're rockin' mom jeans. Follow these rules and you're good.

If you want to play it safe, choose a dark wash. When most people think of "mom jeans" they're thinking light wash and butt-widening. A dark wash is flattering and safe for most booties. When I'm shopping for jeans, the thing I ask myself is "Do these jeans take off a good ten pounds?" The answer should always be yes for you to spend money on jeans.

If you do choose a light wash, choose carefully. Light wash jeans are back in style in a big way. I myself have a pair of light wash boyfriend jeans. You can pull it off if you love the look of them, you just have to be careful. Go with a distressed look. Nobody's thinking "mom" when there are strategically-placed rips in your jeans.

Style them well. The key to steering clear of mom jean territory lies in how you style them. My favorite thing for my body type, is to pair my jeans with a loose, flowy top that hits at my hip in the front, and is longer in the back. Doing this distracts from the hips and butt, flatters me, and evens out my silhouette.

Dress them up. Since I'm breastfeeding, dresses haven't been a practical option for awhile. If where I'm going calls for a little dressing up (church, date night, a baby shower) I pair my jeans with a simple pump, and a button-up cuff-sleeve top. Sometimes I'll even just wear one of my boyfriend tees and a statement necklace to dress it up. You don't have to be a fashion icon or have loads of money to have options in your closet and look great!

Or dress them down. For normal days spent running errands or meeting friends at the park, I put on a boyfriend tee with my jeans and some cute tennies. Target has loads of cute and cheap tennis shoes in different colors and prints that you can add to your basics. They're comfy too! Right now, since I spent my budget for post-partum clothes and I don't want to get anything else until I lose weight, you can find me in my jeans, a boyfriend tee, and cute tennies pretty much on the daily. Gotta keep it simple when life is this crazy!

Old Navy has an entire "boyfriend" line now that includes shirts, sandals, and tank tops. The tank tops were a no-go for me, but I loved the tees so much I bought one in every color to get me through this post-baby stage! Choose your budget, know your body type, and get a few staple pieces. You'll get through this awkward phase of getting dressed soon, and there's no reason you can't still feel great in the meantime!

This is not a sponsored post for Old Navy. This is just a PSA for my fellow mamas, a passing along of helpful information from me to you. If you have any mom-style or beauty questions, or something that's always been hard for you to find, try, or figure out, shoot me a comment or an email!

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