Sunday, May 12, 2013
Here's what I know about mothering:
That some days are bad and some days are good. And just because it's bad today doesn't mean it won't get better. And that really good day you had? Burn that into your memory because soon it'll go downhill again. Sometimes all within a matter of minutes.
Some of the best mothers I've ever met don't have children.
Ice cream for dinner is okay once in a while.
Yelling doesn't make the situation better. But for some reason, I keep doing it.
A supportive husband can make or break you.
For our family, I'm a better mother because I work outside the home. Some days I wish I was a stay-at-home mom, but most days I do not. I know the grass is always greener on the other side so I try to remind myself of that when I'm feeling sorry for myself. And then I remember to water where I'm at and shut up about it.
Naps are important. And if you can get your kids to take them too, that'd be good.
Sometimes my children don't know why they're crying, they just want to cry. Maybe if more adults did this once in a while, we'd all be happier. A good cry is powerful therapy.
Seeing what I put in my children's bodies and how it effects their poop has changed the way I eat. Also, I can now talk about poop with a completely straight face and in all seriousness. Well, most of the time, anyway.
We all mother differently. I'm not right and you're not wrong. We're all just doing the best we can. But telling someone they're wrong because it's not how you would do it destroys us all. So stop it.
Mess is okay sometimes. I'm still working on acceptance of this one.
There's beauty in the unplanned. Loosen up, Mary.
Sing songs even if you can't sing. Your children don't know that yet and they love your voice anyway. You might even start to think you don't sound that bad. But your husband will bring you back down to Earth soon, so don't you worry about that recording contract just yet.
There's power in I'm sorry. Show your kids that grace.
And a good snuggle can cure most bad days.
Happy Mother's day.
Friday, May 10, 2013
(follow along on Instagram @themarygraham)
Slow week on Instagram for me. When I'm stressed, social media use goes way down. Anyone else the same way?
1. Outfit of the day: still loving the striped skirts I picked up from Old Navy a while ago. I wish I would have gotten the smaller size though (tough problem to have, huh?). I was between two sizes and thought it would shrink when I washed it so I went with the bigger one. I was wrong...
2. Harper Kimery has to grow up to work in showbiz. While it's not what I would hope for her, she was born to entertain.
3. Saturday night was Cards Against Humanity and drinks with friends. It was a very good night. And I got to sleep in the next morning UNTIL TEN O'CLOCK. It has been years since that has happened. I forgot how good it felt.
4. A friend's daughter turned one last weekend and we attended a pretty awesome circus-themed outdoor party. The girls were in heaven and it wore them out. Those are marks of a highly successful kids' party.
5. Not to rub it in, but by complete accident, Chris and I had date night Friday night and Saturday night last weekend. Friday night we got to spend the evening wandering around historic Fountain Square with old friends, have dinner, a couple band reunions (long live This Beautiful Day and Same As Sunday!), and then watch a friend's new band perform. Although in all honesty, I crapped out at 10:00 and got a ride home with a friend. Mama can't make it to midnight with all the cool kids. I'm old.
How was your week? I'm ready for a night at home and in my pajamas by 5:30. And I'm not afraid to say it! Have a great weekend!
Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
(skinnies: Target, blouse & sweater: Old Navy, scarf: thrifted, wedges: Target)
I'm not sure if I've been a nose-scruncher my whole life or it has evolved. But taking pictures of yourself so often makes you very aware of how you look when you laugh.
And my nose always seems to be scrunched.
My mother says I used to have the most beautiful nose. This is a weird statement to make, I agree. She often, when in a picture with my brother and sister, will point at my nose and say, your nose used to look like theirs. And I don't see a difference, or any similarities for that matter, but apparently, it's very obvious to everyone else.
So I'm surprised you guys come back day after day since my nose is so obviously messed up.
To say I was a tomboy as a child would be an understatement. And during basketball practice one evening, I took a nice elbow to the nose and pretty much shattered it.
Now my children have my old nose. And I think it's pretty cute on them, so maybe I would have been a supermodel had I not broken my nose all those years ago. I guess we'll never know.
This week's copycat style is a color-inspiration more than an exact replica. I loved the bright blue and emerald so I took it down a notch and made it more casual.
What did you do this week?
-Follow Texas Lovebirds and Trusty Chucks.
-Everyone likes comments! Please visit at least one other blog and leave a comment. Find new blogs! Make new friends!
Friday, April 19, 2013
(follow along on Instagram @themarygraham)
1. Chris was gone most of the week on a guys' trip so I was in charge of bath time--something I'm not normally a part of--and those little girls are something else. Also, they are very messy. Does anyone actually survive bathtime without getting completely soaked? Is that possible?
2. Lots of rain this week. But it's making stuff green and making our grass grow, so I'm trying to be patient and stay positive. But, dang, rain, take a break!
3. New map for the kitchen! I might have convinced a social studies teacher to give me one of his maps. It's my favorite part of the kitchen right now and Elliott loves asking where places are.
4. New clothes from...Wal-Mart! Seriously, from the Wal-mart. And there were more pieces I would have picked up if I wasn't supposed to be on a mission to get trash bags. Next time you're there, spend a second looking at their clothes. You might be surprised what you find.
5. FIVE AND A HALF WEEKS LEFT OF SCHOOL. No more copies, no more book, no more teacher's dirty looks. Or something like that.
How was your week? I know some people got snow again so I shouldn't really be complaining about the rain right now. Sorry if that was you...
Linking up with High Five for Friday with Lauren from From My Grey Desk blog.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
In fifth grade, my all-white school put on an Earth Day program. The highlight was us rapping about ways to save the environment. It was the early 90's, there was puffy paint involved, and I might have worn an item of clothing backward.
I'd say every day since then has been a disappointment.
But with Earth Day just around the corner (or Monday, specifically), I'm trying to recreate that magical feeling of saving the Earth while bustin' some tight rhymes. And, folks, it's harder than it sounds.
Here are some ideas I've been inspired by recently:
Cheerio bird feeder // magazine bowls // buggy bird feeders // orange rind bird feeders // story stones // repurposed window // succulent terrariums // spool heart decoration // license plate picture // toy wreath // globe rice crispie treats // soup can drums // dirty cups // bookmarks // hanging globes // vase
Crafting with my kids is hit or miss. I tried the easiest craft of all time on Sunday (see: Cheerio bird feeders) and it was not happening. For the full story, check out my Instagram (@themarygraham), but this project turned into an eating contest to see who could shove the most cereal in her mouth at one. Winner: Harper Kimery.
Other kid-friendly options: soup can or orange bird feeders, rice crispie globes, DIY drums, and dirt pudding! Okay, those food options aren't really Earth-friendly, but gummy worms and crushed up Oreos?! What's more amazing than that? Happy Earth Day! Let's eat some pretend dirt!
I've been obsessed with the story rocks that are all over Pinterest---we've started collecting rocks already. I'm thinking a mix of letters, numbers, and pictures for ours. Although, I have no artist ability whatsoever so I can see this failing miserably.
Repurposing is big on my list right now. I've got some old windows around the house already, but one is hiding in the basement with some broken glass. A little fabric could turn that baby around in no time. Or maybe old license plates into wall decor or old maps (probably books, in my case) into some pretty globes. I love the idea of old spools into a heart (or maybe a G?). My walls would look so pretty with a few of these projects on them.
Adding some greenery is my favorite way to make a house more eco-friendly and putting together a few terrariums or adding some fresh flowers to an old can makes me happy. The terrariums link is with kids so if your kids are a little older than mine, this would be a great project to do with them. I'm sure mine would just eat the dirt.
What about you, have you done any repurposing, recycling, or Earth-friendly DIY lately? Or perhaps some Earth rapping? There's no shame in it, really.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
(pants & blouse: Kohls, flats: Target)
Please stop letting us know you pooped by scooping it out of your diaper and bringing your stinky hand full of crap to us. There are better ways.
Dear Chris Graham,
One day, when we're old and I snap and kill you, it will because you never learned to shut a closet door or cabinet. It will be the death of me. And of you, too.
No, I didn't miss you over spring break. Stop asking me.
We've been remodeling you since 2008. We've been so slow at it that I get new, better ideas (thanks to Pinterest) every six months and I really don't think we'll ever be done with you. Just giving you a heads up so you can get over being a work-in-progress. That is ALL you will ever be.
Please stay. And then turn in to summer. Please.
If you don't stop digging up my backyard looking for buried treasure, I will force you to wear a doggy diaper like all those little weirdos at doggy daycare and never let you go outside. So get your act together or I will humilate you. I am your mother and it is my job.
Dear Elliott Quinn,
There can only be one boss in this family and you're not it.
Dear seventeen year old self,
That tramp stamp is going to be trashy one day. Hold off on it for a couple years and see if it's still cool. It probably won't be. Also, that belly button ring--that shit is going to be weird after a couple babies and some weight loss. Just stop it.
Dear Facebook friends,
You're really killin' it with all the "activism" lately. Profile pictures, scripture quotin', and arguments...you're really changing the world from the comfort of your office or couch. Idea though: if you really feel strongly about something, put your money where your mouth is. Invest time and money and resources for causes you feel strongly about--whatever they may be. Because no one has ever changed a mind, or a world for that matter, by a status update. Word.
I hate you, but love what you're doing to my body. Keep up the great work.
Stop bringing out more and more cute clothes. My bank account can't handle it. And neither can my husband and I need him around to kill him later.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
(girls' dresses: Old Navy, my dress: Kohls, and belt: Old Navy)
I'm not really sure two weeks off can be bad, really.
We painted, home improved, road tripped, shopped, celebrated Easter and a cute two year old, played outside, worked on our fitness, took naps, shopped some more, and made some pretty big, life-changing decisions.
I've got lots to share in the coming weeks: room redos, fun projects, new clothes, and maybe a move. Who knows. A lot happened in two weeks.
I'm back in school today, glad for a routine, and less chances to spend money. Vacation is expensive.
Hope you had a great weekend. We're finally experiencing some warmer weather and my pale legs are so happy to be out and about.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
(dress & tights: Kohls, boots: Target, sweater: Old Navy, necklace: Lisa Leonard Designs)
In my early twenties, a girl I grew up with died in a car crash. And as with anyone who dies too soon, it was hard to understand and hard to forget. By this time in my life, I wasn't really friends with her, but I had some close friends who were. So it felt too real and too close to home.
In sixth grade, her birthday party was the first boy/girl party I went to. It was monumentus at the time, but looking back, it was probably just a big let down. Boys stood on one end of the garage and ate all the snacks while girls stood on the other end of the garage pretending we wanted to dance while no one actually danced.
Sixth grade, what a crazy time.
And now years later, Facebook keeps suggesting I be friends with her. Now, after all these years of her being gone, Facebook thinks we should be connected.
Every time I see that suggestion, it makes me sad all over again.
She's gone! I want to yell at the screen---stop suggesting her!
And then I worry about all the other people that are being reminded of her absence every day by a social media website. And I wish someone could just log in and cancel her account. Selfishly, because it would make me feel better. Not her parents who have to struggle daily without their daughter or her close friends who feel a tangible void in their lives. I want someone to deactivate her account so someone who knew her 15 years ago can be less uncomfortable.
I wonder how often these great and wonderful things that we love to incorporate into our lives are actually backfiring. How many automatic responses, birthday reminders, and friend connections we have that aren't real anymore, that bring about pain when they--through a little computer magic--come back into our lives.
When we found out we were pregnant in December, I downloaded a baby countdown app on my phone. And then in January, when I had a miscarriage, I deleted the app. But somehow I must have inadvertently signed up for approximately one hundred different email reminders about this baby that no longer exists. Because at least once a week, I get an email about prenatal advice, how many weeks along I am, or what I should be buying for the baby growing in my belly.
Except there is no baby.
And no matter how many times I unsubscribe to an email, another one comes the next week in its place. When I'm least expecting it and, sometimes, not equipped to deal with it.
For the most part, the whole accidental pregnancy/miscarriage time feels like a foggy dream: not real, hard to remember, and some uncertainty about me being involved in it. I'm detached in a weird way.
Then a handy email reminder comes along and I'm smacked in the face with it again. Sometimes the memory just stays for a moment and other times the memory sticks all day. Sometimes it comes with joy and sometimes it comes with sadness.
But thanks to automatic emails, the memory always comes.
And it just makes me wonder how much of this life of being connected with technology, is actually beneficial. Because sometimes it just hurts.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Now that we have small children, it's becoming way too easy to focus on the worldly parts of holidays and lose the real reason we celebrate things like Easter and Christmas. One way we're keeping our kids focused on Easter this year is with two fun books that help keep our eyes on Jesus and what He did for us.
Our current favorite book is The Story of Easter. This sturdy board book was a hit with both girls from its colorful, fun artwork to the lyrical rhymes that helped tell the story of Jesus' last days as well as His burial and resurrection. I've struggled with how much you tell a four year old about the Easter story and this book does a good job of explaining it without being too much for a child. Because truly, it's a pretty graphic story.
The second book we've been reading a lot recently is An Easter Prayer by Amy Parker. This book walks the kids through being thankful to God for all that spring brings: new life, warmer weather, and Easter eggs, but the best thing is Jesus. It helps kids know that all the Easter festivities are good and fun, but to remember the true focus of the season.
Both books would make great additions to Easter baskets this Sunday!
Speaking of great additions to Easter baskets, how about throwing in a little something for Mama too? This giveaway includes The Story of Easter and an Easter coloring book for your little one while Mommy can enjoy a little downtime with some chocolate, nail polish (Sinful Colors in Easy Going), and a cute CGI Daughters clutch.
A runner-up winner will receive a copy of An Easter Prayer by Amy Parker. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, March 22, 2013
follow along with me on Instagram: @themarygraham
Friday, welcome back, friend. I've missed you desperately.
1. Lots of selfies in the gym locker room this week. My teacher-friend that takes pictures for me is off with knee surgery so it's been a lonely week for my outfits.
2. The second full week of no basketball after school and I'm loving it more than I could have ever imagined. Getting to the gym after school and still getting home before 5:00? I say this all the time, but, dang, what was I thinking with that coaching thing??
3. Chris was gone one night this week and so we had popcorn and movie night. Brave is on constant rotation at our house right now.
4. Has everyone picked up this striped skirt from Old Navy by now? I can't tell you how amazing it is and they come in all different colors. I picked up two and plan on wearing them constantly as it (hopefully) starts acting like spring soon.
5. The girls and I attended an afternoon showing of "Pinkalicious" on Saturday. This was their first experience with live theater and Elliott LOVED it. She wants to buy the movie now and we're having the hardest time explaining that there isn't a movie to buy. Harper was less impressed, she spent the majority of the 45-minute play crawling on the table and taking her shoes off. Oh well.
Any fun plans for the weekend? I'm heading out tonight for a little girls' night with a group of girls I graduated high school with. I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone, it's going to be quite an evening, I'm sure.
Be back later with a book review---this one is a little different than my normal genre!
Linking up with High Five for Friday with From My Grey Desk blog.
Monday, March 18, 2013
You will be the Graham family. You might have new last names, but you will always and forever be Grahams.
And you will always and forever be sisters. Best friends. Confidantes.
It will be you two that remember the embarrassing stories, the family vacations, the secrets, your weird daddy and your silly mommy.
Please be kind to each other even when you don't want to.
Take care of each other, not because it's your job, but because it is your joy.
I sometimes worry that two isn't enough, that you need more siblings to help you, for later.
And there was a moment where that was to be true.
But I believe that for us, for you both, two is good. You can handle the sole responsibility to love and care for each other, to be a family when we are no longer here telling you how to be, what to do, how to love.
Hopefully you'll have learned a few things from us and learned more things for yourselves.
And I trust that two will be enough, that with a God bigger than I could even imagine, you two, my precious babies, will be enough for the world.
I guess the bigger question is is the world ready for you two?
(I've had some requests for pin-able images so hopefully these will help!)
Friday, March 15, 2013
follow along on Instagram @themarygraham
1. Storytime with Mama: my love of old and vintage books makes for some fun nights of reading. Counting with vintage Mickey? Why not!
2. My new favorite shirt and all the ways you can wear it.
3. Got a new-to-me stack of books from a friend this week and started The Professor and the Madman---so far, it's really good. Book review on it next Friday.
4. Toddler toes--I could stare at those all day.
5. A gift from a co-worker which makes me giggle.
Happy Friday, friends!
(book review coming in a little bit.)
Linking up with High Five for Friday with From My Grey Desk blog.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
My children hate to have their nails trimmed.
It's traumatic and chaotic and any other adjective that ends in -tic that means not going well.
Ellie cries the whole time. Harper has to be physically restrained by Chris while I do the dirty work. Most of the time it's funny and entertaining how hard those two fight against a nail trim. Occasionally it's annoying and frustrating.
But what I love is their fight.
My children are fighters.
And not in the physical sense where they want to be violent (although they do like to hit each other when they think we are not watching), but in a way that makes them never give up. They are persistent and focused and driven.
When Elliott was about six months old and her personality was just beginning to really show itself, I mentioned to a group of my colleagues about her stubborness and it being a battle. One of our seasoned counselors who is just the wisest of wise said that trait could be a blessing or a curse depending on how I looked at it.
That conversation has stuck with me.
I want to look at my children--all parts of them--as blessings as opposed to something I have to live through. Their strong will is from me and while I'm sure we will have battles (hello, teenage years), I want to never forget that who they are and what they are becoming is a good thing.
The traits that they have are from God--and I can help nuture them and make them great and benefit His kingdom or I can try to squash and control them, try to "fix them" in my eyes.
I really don't want to feel like I have to fix them.
Margaret Thatcher once said "Power is like being a lady...if you have to tell people you are, you aren't." I want my daughters to know they hold such power, determination, resolve and focus, but that picking your battles is part of that power.
I'm learning a lot about power right now. What it means and what it doesn't. What it can control and what it can't. And how power can hurt or help.
My prayer right now is that my husband and I can mold and encourage our children in all their strong willed spunkiness. That we can help them use their powers for good instead of evil. That they will be world changers and know the power they hold---and use it wisely.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
(pants: Old Navy, shirt: Living with Less, sweater & flats: Target, scarf: gift)
My daughter has started to call me "Big Mama."
Chris thinks this is hilarious, I do not.
One night toward bedtime, Ellie sat down to watch a cartoon.
Me: "Ellie, I'm going to get in the shower real quick since I'm still sweaty from the gym and starting to get itchy."
Ellie: "Can you just sit next to me and I'll itch you?"
Elliott attends preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. At dinner those nights, I ask her how school was and then she asks me how my school was. I think she believes we do the same things all day--coloring, puzzles, singing, and painting. It's going to be terribly disappointing when she learns what middle school is really like.
While driving in the car one day, Ellie asked how to spell "no babies allowed." She was three at the time but knew all her letters and understood enough about word spacing that you'd just have to tell her the letters and she could write it correctly. She got done writing the phrase on her Etch-A-Sketch and then handed it to her baby sister and said, "Here Harper, get out."
If Elliott Quinn makes it to five, it will be a miracle.
Monday, March 11, 2013
(blouse: thrifted, skinnies: Kohls, boots: Target)
The problem is, I'm not very lady-like.
I think burping is acceptable most of the time and farts still make me laugh.
I think it's one of the many ridiculous reasons I'm a successful middle school teacher. Basically, I've got the same maturity level as my students.
But as my daughters get older, I'm trying to teach them what is acceptable and what is not. And since teaching by example is most effective, I'm trying to change my ways.
It's not going well.
Now Elliott reminds everyone in the house the minute they fart that they must say excuse me. Like before you're even done farting.
It's super annoying.
One time someone farted and forgot to say excuse me. Elliott was greatly offended and so this person apologized for forgetting and said it. Then Elliott said, "Don't apologize to me, apologize to God. You hurt his heart."
Except I don't think God is offended by a fart. Actually, I hope he laughs at a good one every now and then also.
I told you it's not going well.