Thursday, September 12, 2019

Letter from 90 Year Old Me to Current Me

Dear Stacy,

We’ve had a great life. Along life. A life filled with joys and trials. As the old you I have a bit more wisdom and a few more winkles. I want to share just a few thoughts, hoping they will bring you to this beautiful old age with more amazing life experiences.
Always find the love.

Dream. Imagine. Grow. Believe in yourself.
Breath. Be patient. Count to 3.
Keep practicing kindness and reinforcing that value with Chase and Abby.
Find more time to date Ted. Your “us” is worth it.
Keep exercising. It’s what gets you here.
Slow down when you eat. Enjoy your food.
Follow your passions. They help you to be the best you there can be.
Create. It makes you happier.
Celebrate your friendships.
Hug your people whenever possible.
Watch your words. They can’t be taken back.
Love with fierceness and great loyalty.
Stretch. Both body and mind.
Speak up for others. Use your privilege.
Trust your instinct.
Reframing things can be beneficial.
Love. Always love.

You will do amazing things. Do them fully, with kindness, and with belief in yourself. We are so blessed.

Love, Stacy

Monday, September 9, 2019

Pattern of the Month!

I've been sewing more and more lately. It's been awesome to get in to my sewing space, play with fabric, and make little tweaks to patterns here and there. In an effort to keep up the creativity, I'm going to do a monthly feature here called Pattern of the Month.This month's pattern is decidedly the Lucerne Blouse from Hey June Handmade. I've made this blouse four times in the last month and a half. The first time I found the sleeves confusing and it took a while. And then, the blouse was a bit too big.

Once I figured out the sleeve instructions and went down a size (!!) I made this pink and turquoise version. It fits great and is soft, comfy fabric. Success!!
Fabric: From JoAnn's line
I loved how it came out and was such a simple way of dressing up my wardrobe, I decided I needed to make another one. However, this one was going to have plain sleeves so it could transition into fall more easily. Simple pattern tweak - lengthen the sleeves, don't cut the notch or the ties.I hit up the JoAnn's sales and found a darker fabric that doesn't need to be pressed and has constellations. Win! Seriously a fast sew. The only flaw on this was a bit of rippling at the bottom hem. No one bet a fellow sewist would notice I'm guessing.
Fabric from JoAnn's in house line
 And then I had a yard of this poppy fabric from Mily Mae Fabrics. Honestly, I should have bought two yards because it was on sale. But I had one. Another Lucerne with contrasting sleeves!! This is my football-is-back-on shirt as I sewed it during the Eagles game yesterday.
Fabric from Mily Mae Fabrics, sleeve fabric from JoAnn's
I have a bunch of other fabric in my sewing space to make some pants, sweaters, and other cozt fall items. I can't wait to share them with you in this new monthly feature. Happy sewing friends!!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Bead Bowl

 It's been so hot lately so I've been trying to find ways to keep the small people entertained in the house during part of the day. The other day I stumbled upon this tutorial for creating a bowl from those little plastic beads. You know those beads I'm talking about? Those little plastic ones that you put on pegs and then iron to melt? The ones that your kids spill on the floor and you spend an hour picking up? Well, we had all the supplies already on hand and I wanted to engage my son in something other than legos and Paw Patrol while his sister was napping.

 We coated an oven safe bowl with some Pam cooking spray and went to town at putting beads in, trying to ensure they went up the sides a bit in the process. Make sure you thoroughly coat the sides with the cooking spray so they stick nicely. My daughter woke before we were done so she was able to help by putting more beads in the bowl.
Once done, we put the bowl in the oven, preheated to 400 degrees, and baked it for 15 minutes. When I checked on our bowl we needed more beads and more time. I dumped a bunch more in and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Once it was pretty melty (yes, I'm inventing words) I took it out and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then I placed the bowl in the sink and filled it was water. A while later I noted that our bowl was floating... but more importantly cool enough for little hands.

The kids were pretty pleased with their final product. My son put it at his place at the table so he could show Daddy. And today he insisted on playing with it!! A definitely sign of a winning craft in my world. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Traveling with Kids: Airplane Edition

I've been busy preparing for our upcoming vacation and my kids first flight that they will remember. My son flew right after his first birthday but with only one and with him being so little, it barely seems to count.

So I've been searching Pinterest for ideas, hitting up the dollar store, and raiding my stockpile of activities in the closet. Here's a little of what we're doing to keep them busy and happy during our flight!
My son's backpack
I saved a new book from our last Scholastic order at school to put in each backpack. They both also have some dollar store plastic figures, a sticker book, food (including lollipops for take off and landing), pipe cleaners, and a surprise goody bag from Walmart (75 cents!).

My daughter's backpack
I also checked out these playaways out from our library for my son. He's a big fan of listening to The Magic Treehouse in the car and also loves The Boxcar Children. I got him the headphones on Amazon. I ended up checking out three additional books for my husband and me too so if we're stuck in the room at bedtime we can listen to something fun!
Lastly, I saw these referenced on Pinterest and of course can't find the pin now. But I put together these Fruit Loop necklaces to entertain them in the terminal as we wait for our flight. They can string their necklace and wear it on the plane.... and munch away whenever they want.
I do think I'll need to control it because I don't want them doing it on the plane and sending Fruit Loops everywhere (as a friend worried!!). But hopefully stringing them while waiting will keep them happy if we're delayed.

What are your favorite activities for keeping the little ones entertained and happy at the airport or on a flight?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Potty Training

I’m in the midst of potty training my daughter. My strong willed, funny, I-can-sit-all-day-singing daughter. She knows what to do but isn’t about to do it yet. On some level I get it. It’s control. But I also am so challenged.


Here’s part of the equation. We’re going on a Disney cruise in June. If she’s fully potty trained she can spend time in the big kid room. It’s the room her big brother will be in. And I know she’ll be more comfortable if she’s with him.

She’s resistant for some reason. I want to back off, knowing she’ll get there. Yet I also feel this time crunch. Right now I’m just trying to keep my patience and keep moving forward.

Here are a few of the suggestions I’m going to try to keep in the front of my mind as we move forward with potty training over the next few weeks or months.

1. Every child gets there differently. My son responded to different rewards than my daughter does. I need to tweak my style to fit her.
2. Breathe. Being calm will help her gain confidence.
3. Buy more vinegar. I need to put her in undies more for success and that means I’ll be cleaning the carpets.
4. Celebrate the wins. All. The. Wins.
5. If the poop is bad enough, some underwear should just be thrown out.
6. Training undies for school are a good idea.
7. It’ll click. And she’ll be so darn proud. 



Sunday, April 28, 2019

Preschool Learning

In September, my son enters kindergarten. I'm still not sure how that's possible but we're excited for this new experience. And, I truly am. I haven't been weepy yet. I believe he's ready to learn, explore, and meet new friends. I hope I never get weepy. Wistful maybe but not weepy.

That said, I also want to ensure he goes in fully prepared. I know he'll learn a lot there but I want to do what I can to make the transition as seamless as possible (knowing it won't be at all seamless!! Hello full day or activities! Hello exhaustion!).
The other day I made this number sort on our kitchen floor. Now, my son knows his numbers fairly well. Sometimes he gets a little tripped up and forgets 13. But generally he's good. Basic counting is one thing, but this is both sensory and a bit of math. I like that we can learn and move at the same time! And, his sister likes it too. And, so far I haven't stepped on a small figure while cooking dinner!! That's also a win I think.

We're also working on fine motor skills. He writes his name each time I drop him off at preschool. However, he's challenged by the process; it's something we definitely need to keep practicing at home. Luckily, a friend had extras of these dry erase pouches. One one side we have his name to trace. And on the other, I have these great sheets from education.com. We have beach words right now because I'm prepping the kids for our cruise this summer and time on the beach. I gave Chase the "answer key" so he can write the words next to the full word. My daughter has the ones you can trace because although she's got fairly good fine motor skills, writing is still very new to her.
Make a splash as your child builds early writing skills in this snorkeling themed word tracer! Visit Education.com to check out our full collection of reading and writing resources.
I was poking around the education.com website and I love that they have so many resources I can download to use with my kids. I can see us using some of the dot to dot sheets to continue our counting. And as we continue doing sight words (they are all over the house already!), I will definitely be downloading this worksheet and others like it.

Education.com also has social emotional resources. The toddler/preschooler mom AND the higher education professional in me loves that. We're always working to manage emotions (hello calm jar! hello Chickering!) and I'll take any way I can continue to dialogue on that. Note, I probably wouldn't use the preschool sheets with college students..... although who knows because why not?

I have also been working on recognizing and spelling her name with my daughter. We got this activity from Busy Toddler on Instagram. She loves putting her name together. Currently, I'm leading the activity, helping her to identify the right letter and processing what belongs where. However, I can see a day where she can do this on her own. And it's exciting to think she'll be good at recognizing her letters and name!!
Any other preschool learning activities you are a big fan of? We're always developing new ideas over here and welcome things from everywhere!!


This post was written in collaboration with education.com. All opinions are my own.


Friday, April 26, 2019

30 Acts for 30 Days

My dad died 30 years ago this June. He was 44. He died from a heart attack. There were no smaller heart warnings (none he heeded at least). In 10 days I turn 44. I've been thinking a lot about if my life were over this year and all that I'd leave behind. My kids are so young. I was young at 14 but at least I have lots of memories. Who knows if Abby would truly have any of me.

All of this is why I workout almost daily. I know heart disease is an issue in my family. My grandfather died at 42. My dad died at 44. I'd like to see far beyond 44 or even the (imaginary) add-two-years-with-each-generation 46.

But with all of this on my mind, I decided I wanted to do something to commemorate the age my dad didn't get past. I wanted to do something positive that embraced life. I wanted to complete an act that was future thinking. Because my life is just at the mid-point and I have a lot of living to keep doing. 
Thus #30Actsfor30Days was born. For thirty days - one for each year my dad has been gone - I'll be doing a random act of kindness or an act of self-care. I'll be promoting kindness. I'll be sharing love. And I'll be finding ways to enrich my health and well-being. I'd love for you to join me!! The calendar is in this post and can be accessed here. If you participate, even just for a day, please share your experience on social media with #30Actsfor30Days. Help me to spread kindness, embrace life, and remember the legacy my father left to me. I would be so honored.

XO



Friday, March 8, 2019

Happy International Womens Day


You see that girl? She is vivacious, funny, kind, enthusiastic, challenging, smart, and beautiful. I want the world for her. I want her to know her power and her strength. I want her to make her mark on the world, however that is defined.

Too often women and girls are limited. Limited by what people think they can accomplish. Limited by education. Limited by controlling their wealth. Limited by their menstrual cycle. Limited by reproduction. Limited by the perceptions of their gender, by those that call them "princess" and "honey".

Yet women are strong. They sacrifice daily for their children. They find ways to create, to buildSh some financial security for their families. They go without - clothes, vacations, books, and sometimes even food - so that others can prosper. They give birth. They become caretakers - for kids, partners, and parents. They lift up girlfriends in times of trial. 

I want that girl above to have it better. I want her peers to recognize her as an equal always. I want her to always be able to explore her passions without question or limitations. I want her to harness her power to move mountains. Always. She is worthy of so much. I hope the world remembers that.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Country


The United States. My country. My heartbreak.

It’s been a difficult week for a lot of people. We continue to see the divide in our country grow. We’re not talking; we’re posting on social media. It’s snippets and soundbites, not dialogue and compassion. We’re being “led” by those who don’t seek to unite but rather do all they can to divide us further. Trump, the GOP, and the Democrats will be the unraveling of this country. But average Americans won’t be. We’ll fight, like we always have since the beginning of the republic, to uphold our freedoms and make this country united.

We are deeply flawed. We judge people based on race. We turn away those who are desperate to escape a hell we certainly helped to create. We have stripped children away from their parents at one of their most vulnerable times. We are unkind and unloving to our LGBTQIA sisters and brothers. We mistreat women, the creators of us all. We don’t listen to the stories of these people.

Yet I cling to hope. I cling to the belief that we do bend “towards justice” (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). I try every day to lead a life that I believe exemplifies Christianity. I try to love my neighbor. I seek to understand others. I’m far from perfect. I call myself out regularly. Others have called me out.

I firmly believe that we must seek to embrace and help “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (Emma Lazarus). I firmly believe Black Lives Matter. I firmly believe women deserve autonomy over their bodies and livelihood. I firmly believe families belong together. I firmly believe we must believe survivors. I firmly believe in equal rights for LGBTQIA friends. Do I understand how people can vote (what feels like) against those things? No. Am I willing to listen? I'll always try.

It’s been a difficult week for a lot of people. Many people in this country are feeling marginalized, frustrated, or saddened. But we must rise up. We must listen to our neighbors. We must love our neighbors whether they wear a red hat or are rooting for a blue wave. We must overcome: overcome our leadership that continually fails to unite us, the leadership that thrives on our divide. We need to take the threats to our unity seriously. We need to strive for equality. We need to ensure our black and brown brothers and sisters live in a country that does not prioritize the comfort of white privilege over their very safety. We need to remember that for thousands of years, women have struggled to feel safe. Don’t “protect” me. Rather, call out misogyny. We need to remember it’s not a choice to be gay. It’s how someone was created. And we must remember we have created tragedy and heartache is many places of the world and we have a role in fixing that. We need to listen. Embrace. Live with compassion.

The United States. My country. My hope.  

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sharing My Scoliosis Story

What people don’t realize about scoliosis is that it’s a lot more than just a crooked spine. Yes my back hurts. But when my alignment is off - which happens easily with a crooked spine - it manifests sometimes as a headache. A good crack of my neck can make me feel better. But that’s not always easily attainable.

I also can’t stand or walk for a long time because I will have significant back pain. Carrying a heavy pack can cause a muscle spasm.

Jumping and running aren’t really feasible. According to the doctor, my spine gets twice the pressure on it than someone with a straight spine experiences.
When I was pregnant I had near constant back pain, only relieved by heat and a steady diet of Tylenol. Inserting the epidural was very complicated. With my second baby, it took close to an hour and two different doctors trying.

Lastly, the hit to my body image is something that I’m just now starting to combat. My left ribs stick out. My hips are at different levels. They have different curves to them. When I bend over one side of my back sticks up higher than the other. I am very asymmetrical in a symmetrically focused world.

I share all this because I’m guessing most people don’t realize any of this. I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m sharing because we all have limitations or obstacles. We all have challenges, physically or mentally. It’s valuable to be vulnerable and share what makes you different. It’s good for people to know the challenges you face. Different isn’t the curse we thought it was in 7th grade. It’s part of your strength. Challenges are part of your story. Seeing someone else’s resiliency can help us all become more resilient.