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Hosting a Baby Shower like a Pro

Hosting a Baby Shower like a Pro

So you've offered to host a shower for your friend and her upcoming bundle of joy! It's exciting but it can also be stressful because you want it to be perfect for her right?  Here's my take on hosting a shower with little stress and enjoying the process along the way.

Step 1.

There are some important decisions you need to get out of the way before you even begin.  I would recommend you leave these decisions to the mom-to-be.  You are there to host and maybe even guide, but not decide.

1)  Will the shower be only women or co-ed?  This definitely changes the direction.  The one I hosted was women only.  Also, often there will be more than one shower, if she is already having a co-ed one or an all women one try to offer the opposite.

2)  Date, Day of the Week and Time.  Personally, I like the shower to be about 6-8 weeks from her due date but sometimes schedules get in the way and you go with what works.  Sunday afternoons tend to work because they are usually free of obligations with kids sports or Friday and Saturday plans.  I chose the Sunday afternoon slot, 2-5pm.  If it's co-ed you may want to go with a Friday or Saturday night and make it more of a party.

3)  Kids or no kids? I put this out there because once you set the rule it's easy to put out there.  We chose no kids because we didn't want to distract from the mom-to-be's day.  Also, this is her first so it wasn't like she had her own to bring.  And let's be honest, give a young Mom an option to have an afternoon kid free (with Champagne) and you'll get the fastest RSVP in history ;)

So now you have your foundation for your shower.  These answers will help give you your direction.

Step 2:

Invitations:

Paper or Evite?  Yes paper is beautiful but man we have gotten lazy and you are much more likely to get a RSVP if you give guests an easy, electronic way to respond.  Plus if you have any changes you need to make it's the easiest way to relay information.  You can also attach a link to any on line gift registries she may have.

I sent the mom-to-be a link of baby girl shower invitations from Paperless Post and asked her to pick her 3 favorites.  Some women like to be surprised but I wanted to give her the option to pick a direction.

Make sure to send your invites out 4 weeks before the shower date.  Follow up with people who are taking their time to respond.

Ask the mom-to-be to give you her list, remember this is for her, not you.  She can also help you collect email addresses for people you don't know.

See the options from my favorite on-line evite site Paperless Post HERE

Step 3:

Colors / Themes

If you know the gender of the baby you're half way there.

Think about the mom and what her style is.  Yes it's your house but it's her shower so try and tailor it to her style.

Start with the invitation and let it be the guide to the rest of the shower decor.

Try and keep a constant color theme throughout, from the flowers to the balloons to the napkins to the icing on the cake.

I found the "Welcome to Sarahs Baby Shower" and "Mom-osa Bar" sign on Etsy and used the colors on the flowers as a guide for the rest.

You can find this etsy shop HERE

Step 4:

Decorations:

Personally, I love balloons and flowers - who doesn't?  It's the quickest way to make your house feel like a party!  

I went to a local party store that I adore, Welcome sign in hand and had them play off those colors for the balloon choices.

Balloon garland has become my newest obsession and it just has a magical feeling about it.

The hand painted balloon with the baby's name was done by the shops owner, Lauren.  I had it placed in my foyer for when guests arrived and then moved it behind my friend while she was opening her gifts.  She took it home with her, hoping it lasts forever!

My front porch with the "Welcome" sign and the balloon wreaths with BABY & SHOWER attached were the perfect way to welcome people.  I gave my friend the wreath that said BABY to take home and they will hang it over their mailbox or on their door once the baby is born to let people know.

I also did bunches of plain latex balloons with weights that I just placed in each of the rooms I knew we'd be in.

If you live anywhere close to Franklin, TN you have to take a trip to Rock Paper Scissors, located on Main Street.  They have the most beautiful invitations, party supplies and of course, balloons.

You can check them out HERE

or on Instagram @therockpaperscissors

Flowers:

You may have seen me on my stories taking my vases straight to the florist.  This is helpful if you don't have a green thumb.  That way you don't leave with too many or too little flowers.  Again, I played off the color theme with the flowers.  

I got my flowers from Garden Delights in Franklin.

You can check them out HERE

Food & Drink

Here's the thing that's pretty much a given with women, at an all female party. They aren't going to be shoving large items of food into their mouths.  They won't want to put large portions on their plate, I didn't make the rule, it's just what it is. 

With that said, go for small, bite size food items.  

Offer a meat and vegetarian option.  Offer a vegetable, a fruit, something crunchy and of course dessert.

After scouring through Pinterest I found these great ideas to serve fruit and vegetables.  It's a way to have a bit of everything but only requires your guest to add one object to their plate.

These veggie cups are visually pretty, allow you to put multiple vegetables in and most importantly - double dip!

Fruit skewers are another great choice as you can put a cube of different fruits all on one stick.

We offered 2 kinds of sandwiches which we served on small Hawaiin rolls. Chicken Salad and Pimento Cheese.  Both of these were made ahead of time and then we just assembled them onto the rolls before the shower.  

We also did a tray of toasted Phyllo pasty shells that were stuffed with Chicken Salad.

HOW DID I NOT TAKE A PHOTO OF THE SANDWICHES???!!! 

For something crunchy we stuck with tried and true Chips & Salsa.  

The dessert? Well you saw me talk about my favorite Petit Four's from The Brentwood Flour Shop Bakery. You can find their page HERE

I used a 3 tier glass desert stand and filled it and kept the remainder in a box and replenished as needed so it didn't look overcrowded.

 

Again, large cakes get messy when cutting.  I would for sure recommend sticking with bite size dessert.

Because I like to do "stations" I had the dessert on it's own little counter. Complete with plates, forks, napkins and this adorable Floral Letter I found on Etsy.  The flowers looked real but aren't, they are attached to wood and come with a hook on the back.  

Taking the first letter of the baby's name, I used it as a decoration and then gave it to my friend to take home with her.  It would look cute tucked into a bookshelf in a nursery.

You can check out the Etsy shop I purchased the letter from HERE

Let's Talk About Drinks and Dranks! 

Alrightyyyy! You need to cover your bases.  Start with your non-alcoholic drinks.

I chose: Water, Unsweet Tea with Lemon Slices, Soft Drinks and Tea & Coffee when we had dessert.

And just because the mom to be can't have a fun drink doesn't mean the rest of you can't!  

I filled a large bucket with white wine and my new favorite rose to serve at parties, BABE Rose!  The cans are adorable and the saying on the back is hilarious.  I found some cute paper straws at Target to go along with them.

And now to the biggest hit of the Shower!  The Mimosa bar, or in our case, The MOM-Osa bar.  What a fun idea this turned out to be and let's just say there was no champagne left behind ;)

The Mimosa bar consisted of a cute sign I found on Etsy (same as welcome sign site, I just asked her to make me one with the same colors) explaining to people what to do (really more for decoration than actual instructions).

* Important to note you should add the champagne before the juice to prevent overflow!

I ordered great Champagne flutes from World Market that came in a set of 12 for $24.99 in a storage case which makes them easy to store in a closet for when you aren't using them.

The local liquor store recommended this champagne to me when I told her what it was for.  She said it was their best seller for events and Mimosas because it was a great quality at a great price point.  She was right, it was awesome!

I purchase 3 glass carafes from Target to hold 3 different juices.  I did orange, pink grapefruit and cranberry-pineapple.

Then I had 3 small glass bowls for fruit to add to glass.  I chose strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

I found chalkboard stickers at Hobby Lobby and used a Chalkboard marker to label all the jars.

* I would suggest pouring the champagne yourself and keeping the glasses on a tray to limit the amount people are pouring and to prevent a big mess!

Click HERE for the Champagne Flutes

Click HERE for  the Glass Carafes

Click HERE for Chalkboard Stickers

Step 5. To Game or Not to Game?

Ahhhh the dreaded Baby Shower game / activity. They can be cheesy but they're also a good way to fill in time.  I found this cute one and ordered it from Amazon. I had my friend and her husband answer the questions before hand, everyone filled out their card and then I read the questions and then the parents to be's answers.  The funny conversation came from the crowd not agreeing ;)

You can purchase this game HERE 

So all of the above were the "foundation" of the shower we had.  

Invitations, Decorations, Food, Drink and a Game (or not) were the necessities.

Something to remember is that if you are the host than YOU are in charge of keeping things moving along.  You can't expect people to just start eating, or pour themselves a drink, or the mom-to-be to start opening presents.

I knew we had 3 hours.  I gave the first 45 minutes for people to arrive and get drinks.  Then I moved them on to food, literally take people and start pushing them towards the food line.  Once I noticed plates were done I handed out the game sheets for them to fill out.

Give them a couple minutes warning to finish and move them into another room for a change of scenery.  We played our game and then let our friend begin opening her gifts.  It was during this time we served dessert and coffee.

I hope this has given you a little help with planning a shower in case you needed it.

Honestly, at the end of the day, making the mom-to-be feel special and "showered" with attention and love is what is most important.

Good food and drinks and some pretties are all you need to make it even better.

All this baby talk is making me feel a little nostalgic, and envious of all that she has to look forward to and it almost makes me want another.... almost.

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Dear Younger self: you've got it all wrong

Dear Younger self: you've got it all wrong

"Are you going to do it Mom?"

"I think so."

"Are you nervous?"

"Yes, terrifed actually"

"Then why are you going to do it?"

"Because as nervous as I am, I know that if I don't do it I will look back one day in the not too far away future and wish that I did.  I will wonder what I had been thinking when I had said no."

"That's a good reason Mom."

Good enough for me.  Good enough because 13 years ago my husband asked me to be in one of his music videos and I said no, I let another woman take the part.  

I said no because I had just had two babies in a row. I said no because I wasn't back in my pre-baby shape.  I said no because I thought I looked tired.  I said no because I thought someone else would do it better than me.  I said no because I didn't understand that real, unshakeable confidence doesn't come from a number on a scale, a reflection in a mirror, a false approval from strangers.

How many times has someone wanted to take a photo of you and your kids or you and your husband or (gasp!) you alone and you have expertly averted the situation and got yourself out of that photo op? We become pros, us women, at taking the spotlight off ourselves when we don't feel how we think we should look.  

I will be the first one to advocate taking care of your health and you in general - you look good you feel good right? Absolutely!  But the confidence that comes with looking good on the outside when the inside is a complete contradiction is short lived, it's surface level, it's easily shook and it's always fleeting.

As much as we begrudge the aging process because of the physical challenges it presents to us, it brings something we don't have in our 20's, for some of us even our 30's.  

It brings us the gift of experience.  Experience brings knowledge.  Knowledge brings power.  And power is what brings unshakeable confidence.  

The power to internally feel like you can walk into any situation with a "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" attitude.  It's not abrasive, it's not boastful. It's quiet, it's humble, it's an internal peace I spent years looking for.

 

 

At 43, I may have moments when I wish my skin looked younger and my body kept weight off with one trip to the gym like it did when I was 30, like it did the first time I said no to being in a video.  Like it did the time I let someone else take "my" place. 

At 43, I have found an inner confidence that I wish I could go back and shower my younger self with - from the inside out, not the outside in.  

I wish I could tell her not to put so much value in what others say.  Others will talk about you, others will come and go in your life, let them go - the ones worthy of you will stay.

I would tell her that no one is as hard on her as she is on her self.  I would tell her that no one sees the flaws that she does.  I would tell her that her husband doesn't focus on the fact that she hasn't lost all the baby weight, he is too focused on how well she is doing being a new Mother to their children.

Have you ever looked back on a photo and thought, "wow,  I looked good back then?"  Did you really feel that way about yourself at the time though?  Or were you too busy picking apart your appearance?

How about if you looked at that same photo and thought, "wow, look what a great Mom/Wife/Daughter/Friend I was being in this photo"??? 

Do you remember when I posted over Fall break saying I had gone in the ocean with my kids more than I probably ever had?  I had my photo taken with them IN MY SWIMSUIT!  Because at 43, I realize that when they look back on these photos one day, it won't be their Moms body they will picking apart, it will be the memory they will be reminded of.

When we let our insecurities run our lives we miss out on experiences we don't get back.  We miss out on making memories, we miss out on documenting those memories to have to look back on one day. We watch our lives from the sidelines.

When we lead with confidence as Mothers, Wives and Friends we give the people around us security too.  How can we tell our children to reach for the stars when we aren't sure we deserve them ourselves?  

At one point during the video shoot, a guy on the crew (who was from Argentina) gave someone in our group a compliment that she didn't accept (in his opinion ;)  and he said,

"in Argentina, if we ever hear a woman put herself down we immediately have to tell her she is wrong, it's our job to build them up." he followed with,

"it can make it hard to find a woman who thinks you are good enough because they are all so confident" haha.... he wasn't kidding.

His statement reminded me of something I have watched since our daughter was born 8 years ago.

I've always said to my husband, "her expectation for a future man in her life is going to be completely unrealistic, she will never find anyone that treats her as well as you do."

Although I'm pretty sure that may be part of his plan to keep her at home forever,  I think he may be on to something.  At 8 years old she has a confidence that I am often in awe of.  There is nothing she thinks she cannot achieve, no obstacles she cannot overcome and Lord help anyone who tries to bring her down.

I think it's unrealistic to think that at some point in her life her confidence won't take a hit, I can only hope that it will be momentary.

When the day finally came to shoot the video of course I was nervous.  For real though, it lasted about an hour, it lasted until my husband showed up.  And it wasn't just because he told me I looked good (although that was an added bonus).  

The nervousness was extinguished by the confidence, internal confidence I had within me that no one else could take my place, no one else belonged there more than I did.  I knew there was no one else he would rather have there so why not act like it?

The things that give me confidence may not be the same things that do for you.  I may hold value in things that you may not and vice versa.  

What I know today though is that I only listen to the opinions of people I care about - and I mean REALLY care about.  

I do the best I can to take care of myself and exercise so I can be healthy and strong.  For ME, exercise gives me a mental & physical confidence that's hard to explain.  It keeps me feeling in control, stable, powerful.

I try to be the same (no wait...better) woman that my husband married 17 years ago.  Being confident isn't always about doing things for yourself, sometimes it's in knowing what you can do for someone else.

When your husband gives you a compliment, say thank you.  

When your kids have a momentous experience, get in the photo with them.  

When your kids ask you to get in the water, swim.  

And when their Dad asks you to be in his music video, say yes.  

 

 

 

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Raising My Boys

Raising My Boys

"Mom, when you get married do you have to love your wife more than you love your Mom?"

"No, you love them the same,  just differently"

"I'm probably not going to get married then"

And just like that I was done.  For life.  Heart on fire.

My 3rd boy - he was 5 years old when he asked me this - the boy that when I was pregnant everyone would say, "awe, were you hoping for a girl?"

Side Note: Please don't say this to a woman who is having another baby of the same gender.  First, it's rude and second, it's insulting to the child she is carrying inside of her.  I remember feeling so defensive of my little man by the time I had him, constantly having to assure people that I was OKAY he was not a girl.

When my third son was about one I remember feeling totally outnumbered by these boys in my house. Outnumbered and overwhelmed not just from having ALL boys but also by the love that can only come from a boy when he looks at his Mom - I had this times 3.

I was also overwhelmed more often than not by the craziness, the wildness, the testosterone that accompanied all these boys literally from birth!

Why did they seem to grunt before using actual words?

How could every single object they picked up somehow be turned into a weapon?

Why did every great story they told end with someone dying?

Was it just MY boys or was it the case for most other Moms out there raising boys too?

How were my husband and I going to raise these boys to be well mannered and all around awesome humans without losing OUR minds in the process?

Because in the big picture, that's what we ARE doing.  We aren't just taking care of our boys - we're raising boys who will turn into young men who will turn into grown men.  Boys who will likely one day become Fathers and Husbands.

So not to put TOO much pressure on ourselves, but if we look at it that way than MAYBE we will look at how we are raising our boys differently.

Maybe if we look at it as raising future husbands, fathers and all around good people we would change our game plan.

My husband and I raise our boys in what some might call a more traditional way.  Boys and Girls are different for a reason. Equal? Yes.  The same? No.

Chivalry is alive and well in our home and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If I ever saw my son walk through a door without holding it open for a girl I may literally faint of despair.

If I ever saw my son watch an elderly person struggling to do something and they didn't offer a hand, I'm pretty sure they may LOSE THAT HAND at the hands of their loving Mom.

Do I expect my daughter to have similar behavior? Absolutely.  But if she ever goes on a date with a boy who doesn't hold the door open for her I hope that she turns and runs. 

I remember when I was growing up and my brother or I would complain to my Dad about a rule or punishment we thought was unfair we would say, "it's only because he's a boy" or "it's only because she's a girl."  He would say, "you're right,  it is, what's your point?"

Boys and Girls are inherently different - their genes say so from the beginning.

If you have a boy than you know that they can go from a ferocious super hero that wants zero help or affection from you one minute to a cuddly mamas boy laying in your lap the next.

It's confusing I think, being a boy I'm sure.  We raise them to be strong and tough, we put a football or hockey stick in their hand from the time they can walk.  Before they are even talking we are teaching them "how to be a man."

When they fall down and scrape their knee we tell them to toughen up and keep going.  When our girls fall down we scoop them up and tenderly hush them back to feeling better.

Whether we try or not, we DO treat them different from the beginning.  Maybe you are someone who prides yourself on NOT treating them any different than you would a girl.  Well that's great for you - for real.  But society is treating them different, guaranteed. 

And as they get older they learn that they will have to pay for what their predecessors did.  These men before them that decided women couldn't vote, or work, or have equal pay.  

These boys we are raising today are not the men who put these rules into place, we need to stop treating them as if they were. 

Girl Power.

Girl Boss.

Feminist.

Who Runs the World? Girls.

Where do the boys fit into all of this?  It shouldn't make them less important should it?

How do we raise our boys and help them navigate their way though childhood into adulthood without feeling like lifting women up means letting themselves be put down?

Of course it's possible to do both.  How?

We set an example.  There is no better way to teach behavior than to exhibit it yourself.  

"Ladies first", "No hitting girls", "Respect your Mother" - all rules in our house and all exhibited by their Father every day.

We have always had very clear lines with them (all of our kids really but the boys always tend to push on those lines a little bit more) about what is acceptable behavior and what is not.  

If they smell fear, they rebel, and quickly so always be steadfast in your decisions.

We teach them how to be grown men who can go to dinner with manners by not letting them run wild in a restaurant.
We teach them how to always offer someone a helping hand by doing it ourselves.
So often I will watch one of them do something amazing (even the smallest gesture) and think, "he got that from watching his Dad"
"Don't hit your sister" - like ever. No, not even if she hit you first. 
"Why do we let girls go first"? Because it's polite.  It shows her that you are thinking of her before yourself.  I'm sure you WERE thinking of your sister first, you just didn't realize it ;)
Boys are physical beings.  Probably a lot comes from how we treat them when they are little but probably a lot is just their genetic make up.  When they are angry or sad they need to be able to express it. Do you know what we found to be the best remedy?
Enter: the Boxing Bag
If they are angry or frusterated and talking it out just isn't cutting it, if they want to yell and hit something than let them.... "go hit the bag" send them that way a few times and soon enough they just start doing it on their own.
They learn to manage and release their feelings in a way that only involves themselves.  
I have watched them all go through the toddler years and I now have one in the elementary school years, one in the middle school years and one in the high school years.
As they get older they try to be tougher, they keep more to themselves.  Say nothing is bothering them when I know that there is.  Boys don't share with their group of friends the way girls do - they don't have that emotional support system.
That's why they need it from you - the support to share whatever they want and express every emotion under the rainbow at home.  They need to feel that home is a safe haven to do this because I'm pretty sure it's not what they're discussing in the locker room or while hanging out with their friends.
I know our boys don't tell us everything but I know that they sure tell me a lot more than I told my parents when I was their age.  
Like any of you Moms out there, I only want the best for them.  I realize that I have a limited amount of time with them in the realm of their life to achieve a very big goal.
Not all boys are the same, all of mine are different from one another.  And yet they are all the same in the "Boy" type of way.  They all react to rules and boundaries different from one another - you always have to adjust as you go, always keep re-assessing what you are doing and whether it's working.
For their future wives and future children, I hope I am raising them right for you.  
For any girl who thinks about treating them badly, I apologize in advance for the wrath you will feel from me.
For my not one, not two but three miracles that could only be heaven sent - being entrusted with the job of raising you into a fine young man is a task I don't take for granted.  I just need to look at you to know that so far, so good.
Hang in there Boy Moms - we can do it!!!!
Side Note: wine helps - a lot.
Xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FINDING, KEEPING & GETTING BACK THE SPARK IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

FINDING, KEEPING & GETTING BACK THE SPARK IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

AHHHHHH...... remember the newness of your relationship?  Everything was so exciting, everything he said was so interesting, everything he said was sooo funny and when he took your hand for the first time you thought this may literally be what it feels like to touch a live wire? 

Or not. Wait what?  What if it's not always like the movies?  What if your love story was meant to happen differently?  What if your story was meant to happen at a slower, steadier pace, when you least expected it and certainly weren't expecting it? What if it began as friendship and it started out as a like instead of a love?  What if you met on-line?  Is it really possible to fall in love with someone you've never actually seen in person? Touched? Looked into their eyes?

What if you met that person in high school?  Can you really be sure he is the one if you never dated anyone else?  What if it doesn't happen until later in life?  Can you really have that amazing connection to someone if they were absent for the first half of your life?

Which of these relationship beginnings is the right way?  Which one will endure the test of time?  The test of real life interference?  Is there a perfect way to start a relationship?  Of course there isn't - but we sure spend a lot of time analyzing, researching and stressing over HOW  we will find love!  Why is that do you think?  

Does it really matter? Are we on a mission to prove that our marriage is somehow stronger than others because of how it started?  How long it's been? Don't get me wrong, a marriage that has lasted for years is amazing, it can (and should) be a testament to the power of that relationship.  

But there are also marriages that have gone on way too long, hung on for years for the sake of convenience, kids, money, hope?  Marriages that should have been set free a long time ago and weren't, aren't.  They parade themselves around with a "We've been married for 25 years" banner flying above while the truth is, the people holding that banner are falling apart at the seams, miserable with themselves and each other.

Oh wait, this is a Valentine's Day post - let's keep it about hearts and roses right?  Well maybe we should keep it real instead.  Maybe if we were a bit more real with our expectations than we wouldn't always feel like we're failing?  

FINDING THE SPARK

This could honestly be the shortest thing I've ever written.  Why?  Because you will just know. THIS is not something that should require work.  If you have to actively try to ignite the spark with someone you have JUST began dating than please send this relationship out to pasture... to die.  

Your heart will skip a beat when you hear their name, you will get butterflies in your stomach when you know you are about to see them.  You will find yourself checking your phone to make sure you didn't miss a call or text from them.  They will have the ability to change your entire mood just by something they do (or don't).

When I first met my husband I would literally feel like I was either going to faint or throw up if I knew we were going to be in the same place.  When I would see him walking towards me I would get weak in the knees.  When he talked to me I don't know that what he said even mattered, I laughed at every word and had zero desire to have my eyes focused on anyone else.

Even if you start out as friends, when the above type of things start to occur is when you know that maybe this is turning into something more.  But you will know, you can't force it, you will just feel it - Cupids arrow when you least expect it.

(SIDE NOTE)

For all you single ladies out there, younger or older or somewhere in between... One thing I have learned and seen again and again over the years is this - if a man wants you to be in his life, if he wants a relationship with you, he will literally move mountains to make it happen.  

Remember that movie, "He's just Not That Into You"?  every single scenario in that movie is true.  Stop making excuses for someone who doesn't call or text you back, who cancels plans at the last minute, who waits to see if there's something better going on before making plans with you.  

Men like a challenge, they like to feel like they have something that was unattainable to someone else. If the guy you are interested in is being wishy washy with you and you are unsure of his feelings than put him to the test.

So many times we are scared to call someones bluff, scared to walk away.  If you aren't getting what you really want than what is the point in staying anyways?  You teach people how to treat you. Teach your possible future husband that you are worthy of being sought after.

Be a challenge, make him work for you because YOU ARE WORTH IT!  

Okay, where were we????  

KEEPING THE SPARK

The million dollar question right?  I have been married for 16 years, we dated for 5 years before that.  As of last year we have been together for half of my life.  Pretty good right?  I think so.  Does it make me an expert on relationships?  No.  Because my husband is not like yours and I am not like you and the chemistry him and I have with each other will not be the same as you have with your husband, we are all so different - even just from a biological standpoint! 

Then you throw in all the external factors!  Life, careers, kids, money, health and how are your husbands coping skills anyhow?  How are yours?  Did you discuss this before you were married?  Would you have even been able to answer?  

Marriage is often a learn as you go commitment - I am committed to learning how to deal with and handle lifes ups and downs - with you.  

You and your husband have to find your own formula for success, for YOUR marriage.  It may not be the same as your parents, your sisters, your friends.  

Never underestimate the power of making each other laugh, laughter can get you through almost anything.  Not because it will make everything better but because in the present moment it's light will outshine the dark and it will refuel your soul like nothing else.  

Always make an effort to be the person you were that your husband fell in love with.  Yes we change as we get older, hopefully you both change, at the same pace, for the better.  Be an example, he will follow suit.

My parents have been married for 45 years.  Growing up my Dad would come home from work at the same time every day.  He would walk up the stairs, into the kitchen and the first thing he would do was walk over to my Mother and kiss her hello. Then he would say hi to everyone else.

It was the smallest of gestures that meant so much.  It was letting us all know that she was his priority, they were a team, they were parents but they were ALSO a couple.

Remember those things that ignited the spark? Make a conscious effort to still do the things that first took his breath away.  Compliment him, ask him about his  day, what's happening at work (and be engaged when he answers), ask him how he's feeling?  Make him dinner, bring him coffee, touch up your makeup, don't go to bed looking homeless (must work on this myself).

TALK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE!!!  Do you do this? and I don't just mean your retirement fund.  Make plans for when the kids go to college, what will you do with yourselves? Have inside jokes with each other,  sit on the couch with each other, next to each other with your legs tangled. Go to bed at the same time and FOR THE LOVE can we please put our phones away at the same time?  

Marriage is not a given.  It doesn't build itself and it certainly doesn't fix itself.  It requires you to show up every day and be present, be mindful and engaged.  Don't compare yourself to others, focus on your own marriage - not someone else's.

GETTING BACK THE SPARK

Can you get it back once it's gone?  And did it really go out or did it just dim a little? A lot?  Do you even want it back?  Are you just going through the motions?  

Sometimes s*** happens.  It can't be 24/7 rainbows and unicorns - if you say it can well then it's unlikely you're in my circle of friends.  

Did you wake up one day and realize that you somehow let the kids, work, bills, friends jump to the front of the line in front of your husband - your line.  Who controls the order of this line?  YOU.  

When did the spark go out?  After kids?  When you were so physically tired that the last thing you wanted to do was "get busy" with your husband?  When you started that new job?  The one that took everything out of you mentally that the last thing you felt like doing was coming home and conversing with your husband?  

When you got older or had kids and your body changed? Did you stop feeling attractive?  Did you worry that he would no longer be happy with you?  I would imagine that if you asked him he would say that the time you look most beautiful is when you're being a Mother.

I would imagine that yes, what initially attracted him to you was physical, but now, after all these years it is about so much more.  I would imagine that you are way harder on yourself than he is.

Your marriage is the foundation for your family, if it isn't nurtured the concrete will start to crack and eventually crumble, taking prisoners with it.  

You always have two options - fix it or let it go.  

Fixing it will require work, on both sides but of course you can do it!  It's often the little things I mentioned above that will slowly get it back on track, day by day it will start to rejuvenate itself.

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

To all my single ladies out there - there is hope!  I promise you your time is coming, be patient, don't rush it and please don't settle!  Be open to the possibility, be aware of who you're surrounding yourself with and be open to feeling that spark!

To the ladies who are trying to juggle it all, including a great marriage...

I don't take my marriage for granted, ever.  I know how lucky I am to have the husband that I do.  And although it can feel like it, it's not magic, it's not without fault and bumps in the road and it certainly didn't get to where it is without effort.  

If there was one word to describe what both men AND women want to feel in a relationship it would be APPRECIATED.  It validates us as people and as partners.  

You appreciated him when you met him right?  You probably appreciated every single thing about him? You appreciate him every time he does something to keep the spark alive right?  And you better be appreciating him if he's trying to do things to get the spark back!  Then TELL HIM - men want to feel appreciated, valued and needed.  It gives them a feeling like nothing money could ever buy.

So with all your choices for Valentine's Day Cards, maybe try writing your own this year?  From the heart, make it personal, make it cheesy, make him feel amazing.  

Lose the old t-shirt and track pants you've been wearing to bed and go get yourself some fancy pajamas - that would be enough of a Valentine's gift for most men, seeing that YOU put in the effort for them.  

I would write more but I need to take my own advice and get myself to the mall for some "fancy" pajamas - now I just need to figure out a way not to fall asleep before 10pm.

Happy Love Day everyone!

XoXo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Ok ladies, you've officially got 2 weeks to find the "perfect" gift for the love of your life!  

The one who makes your heart go pitter patter!  The one who puts up with your emotionally craziness (oh wait maybe that's just me), the one that you know for certain you could not live without.

Here are my top picks that I think most men would love to receive.  They range in price from a little to a lot - there is something for every man and every budget!

In our house, Valentine's Day has never been about extravagant gifts (and remarkably I've been ok with that, I kid).  

Because back in the day when we didn't have enough money to spend on such gifts my husband and I would always give each other chocolate and a card and it was always enough.  

It was enough because we would BOTH always take the time to write in our card something personal, we would take the time to choose the perfect card for one another.  

I still have those cards and I wouldn't trade them for any diamond in the world!

1. BOOK BOOK FOR IPHONE

My husband can seriously not live without this!  He used to get so frustrated carrying a wallet and his phone around and then one day his amazing wife produced this gift of all gifts and his life was simplified!  It holds any size iPhone (the site will ask you to choose which size phone you have) and then holds all his cards usually kept in his wallet!  Available in both brown and black leather.  

Click Here to SHOP

2. BEATS WIRELESS HEADPHONES

If you're feeling a little more generous and your budget allows.... any man would love a pair of these Beats by Dre Wireless headphones!  I have a pair and I promise you the sound quality is beyond amazing!  Plus the convenience of not having to work around a cord is awesome!  You will win some major wife points with this gift!

Click Here to SHOP

3. COPPER MUGS

These beauties were on my Christmas Gift Guide and they are making another appearance on this one!  They are my husbands favorite glass to drink out of it, they truly do keep your drink ice cold!  The Moscow Mule is the typical cocktail served in these cups but he could really use them for any drink his heart desires!

Click Here to SHOP

4. IF YOU CAN READ THIS... BRING ME A BEER  - SOCKS

These socks started popping up around Christmas and made me chuckle.  If you can envision your husband sitting on the couch with his feet up on the coffee table than he NEEDS these socks!

Click Here to SHOP

5. FIREPIT

One of the most used gifts I ever gave my husband!  Before we built a outdoor fireplace this was our go to!  I love it because you can move it around, depending on where you are sitting.  It's an amazing price point and ours lasted forever!

Click Here to SHOP

6. BEATS PILL WIRELESS SPEAKER

How did my husband and I live without this product for so long???  This bluetooth wireless speaker gives off a sound like no other!  We pack it in our suitcases for any vacation we go on!  We take it to the beach, to the pool and even to our hotel room (to help us sleep of course, geesh).  The sound you get out of this little device is amazing and I promise your husband will love it!

Click Here to SHOP

7. BABY DADDY MUG

I mean.... do I really need to sell this to you?  I saw it and knew my hubby was getting one for Valentines Day!

Click Here to SHOP

8. YETI RAMBLER, YETI COOLER, YETI BEER HOLDER

I cannot say enough great things about this line.  It truly is like magic!  Whether it's the rambler, the beer holder or the cooler... you have NEVER seen anything keep something cold for so long!  You can put ice in the cup or cooler in the morning and it's still there in the afternoon!  They aren't cheap but they last forever and are worth every penny!

RAMBLER - Hold any beverage - hot or cold!

Click Here to SHOP

COOLER - Fill it with Ice, fill with his favorite beverages and he is good for the ENTIRE day!!!  Available in different sizes.

Click Here to SHOP

BEER HOLDER - Holds any canned beverage and keeps it cold all day!  Beer, soda, sparkling water, anything that comes in a can will fit in this container!  Perfect for days at the lake or beach!

Click Here to SHOP

9. PERSONALIZED GRILLING TRAY - OUR FAMILY IS FLIPPING AWESOME

Love this so much!  You can add all your family members name to this tray, a perfect keepsake to use summer after summer!

Click Here to SHOP

10. MAN GRATE

The perfect gift for the man who loves to grill!  A cast iron grate that sits on top of you grill - he will get the same steak house quality found at a restaurant, with perfect sear marks and even cooking.  Virtually non-stick, just oil before use.  Available in different sizes to fit your current BBQ.

Click Here to SHOP

11. PERSONALIZED PHOTO MUG & BOOK

My hubby is a big fan (although he may not admit it) of anything with a personal touch.  Shutterfly has an amazing Valentines selection at a great price point.  You can choose a coffee mug or make him a photo book - all personalized and super easy!  You just drag and drop your photos onto their pre-existing templates.  The mugs they have this year are amazing.  I love giving gifts like this because it's a reminder year after year of the year it was given!

Click Here to SHOP

12. WHAT HAPPENS IN ---- GARAGE, STAYS IN THE GARAGE SIGN

This is a fun and inexpensive way to personalize something for the man who loves to spend time in his garage!  Let him know that you think his garage is as important and sacred as he does (we all know you don't but it's the thought that counts!)

Click Here to SHOP

13. PERSONALIZED WALL MOUNTED BOTTLE OPENER

Another cute and inexpensive gift but with a personal touch.  This would be perfect to hang on a back deck, near a BBQ, a dock on the lake, a garage, anywhere your man and his friends would be cracking open a beer!

Click Here to SHOP

14. NFL DRINKWARE

For the Sports Fan!  Get an array of drinkware with his favorite team logo on it.  The reason I like this brand is that they aren't cheesy and the product quality will be great!  If you're buying glasses ALWAYS buy 2!  1 is too lonely!

Click Here to SHOP

I hope you have found this helpful and it's given you an idea or two for the perfect gift.  Valentine's Day is truly a time when "it's the thought that counts" should hold true.  Use your words, be specific, men want to feel appreciated and needed above anything else!

Happy Shopping! xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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