Being A Yes Mama

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I say no to my kids all.the.time. every single day.

“No, you may not watch more tv. ”

“No, you may not stay up later.”

“No ,you may not have any candy.”

“No, you may not swing from the ceiling fan.”

“No. No. No. No.”

Sometimes I get sick of my own voice. ( Imagine what my kids think! )

I say no so often that it ends up being my default answer. I even say no sometimes without even thinking about why I am actually saying no in the first place! Which can be problematic right?

I realized just how problematic the other day when I told my son,  “No, you can’t have more salad.”

UM WHAT? He looked at me like I had two heads.

Just in case you are wondering, I recanted and gave the boy more vegetables. I seem to eat my words a lot around here.

Which is why I have been trying something new out this week . I am saying, “Yes.” more. Not to everything of course, I have to draw the line somewhere. Playing on the street sounds like a good boundary. But I don’t have to always say no either. It feels good to relax a bit and just say “Yes. Why yes you may.” Then I get to watch my kids astonished reactions. It’s quite amusing. I think they are wondering where their real mother went off to. But I’ll venture to guess they don’t want her back! Their new “Yes!” Mama rocks.

I have already felt a slight shift in our relationship. For one, I am saying yes to things I normally wouldn’t have, like making tents in the playroom, and letting them make their own lunch; things that by nature are messy but oh so much fun. I am also finding that my attitude is becoming more positive, and the kids are noticing. They seem to be less apprehensive about approaching me with requests and it feels good. I love seeing their faces light up when I say yes. It also makes the unavoidable “No’s ” more tolerable.

Things are happier around here. I like it that way.

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Waffle Kisses| Featured Artist and Shop|Giveaway

Truth be told, I am a little envious of anyone who knows how to run a sewing machine. This girl Laura Piggott from Waffle Kisses knows how to run one like a boss! She is also a fabulous artist and uses her talent to create the most beautiful products! I was lucky enough to get to know her in high school as she is a beautiful person through and through. It is so much fun to feature her and her shop Waffle Kisses!

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Photo credit: Sarah Evans at www.shoeboxpics.ca

When did you discover a love for sewing? 

My earliest memories of sewing are with my grandmother.  She was an avid quilter, cross-stitcher and embroiderer and taught me simple patchwork.  In high school I signed up for clothing and fashion classes and started altering vintage dresses I found in thrift stores to make Halloween costumes.  After high school, I didn’t sit in front of a sewing machine again until my son was born in 2009.  I was looking for modern baby blankets and quilts online and was in awe of all of the modern quilts I was seeing in blogland.  I went out and bought my very first machine and made my first quilt using Elizabeth Hartman’s online tutorials.  The rest, as they say, is history.

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When did you open up shop? 

I started my original business, Lil Pig Designs, in 2010.  At the time, I was focused on baby related items, but since then I’ve rebranded myself, changed my business name to Waffle Kisses, and branched into housewares and accessories in addition to bed and stroller quilts for all ages.


What is usually your inspiration for new products? 

I am constantly inspired by modern quilts, patchwork and fabrics.  I like to blend these modern aesthetics and elements with timeless, classic comforts in housewares and home accessories.  It creates such a fun juxtaposition.  When thinking of new products or designing new patterns, I look to items I would enjoy having in my own home.  Whether it be a teapot cozy, a cup sleeve or a table runner, I try to imbue it with the same special qualities and comfort one would find in a quilt.  Not everyone has the space or budget for a custom quilt, but smaller-scale items can be just as cozy and heart-warming.

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How do you balance your business and your beautiful babies? 

I’m not sure that I do.  People often ask how I get so much done with two kids at home, a part-time teaching job and my duties as President of the local modern quilt guild.  The answer is a lot of late nights and copious amounts of caffeine.  It’s always a bit of a juggling act, but my kids are top priority.  I like the freedom of being (mostly) self-employed in that it allows me to work around their schedules and activities.  I’m a night owl by nature, so more often than not, I have to coax myself away from my sewing machine to get some shut eye.  No matter what time I eventually get to bed, I know that my kids will be up bright and early the next morning.

What does a typical project day look like for you? 

Well, because of my two beautiful children, I don’t tend to get a lot of sewing done during the day.  If I am able to sneak in some day-time sewing, it’s usually during a snowy morning while the kids are playing or crafting, or during my daughter’s afternoon nap.  The rest of the day is typical to that of any other stay-at-home or work-from-home mom: meal prep; clean-up; school drop off and pick-up; dishes; laundry; play; errands; appointments; messes; tears and belly laughs.

What is your favorite winter beverage? 

Hmmmmm…that’s a tricky one!  Coffee is a necessity, especially in the mornings after all of those late nights sewing. Tea is a luxury, my drink of choice when I want to sit down and curl up in a quilt with a good book or movie.  I’m a big fan of both Starbucks and David’s Tea.  Either way, if it’s cold out, you won’t find me without a warm drink in hand, especially when sewing!

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Isn’t she amazing! I absolutely LOVE everything that she makes! My girl’s and I adore her earrings. So cute and whimsical! Also my Starbucks cup is very happy and trendy sporting it’s pretty little cup sleeve!

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Guess what?! She is giving one lucky reader a cup sleeve, a tea towel, and a tea pot cozy away! ( A $75 value! Wowzers!  ) Enter Below to Win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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She is also generously offering a 10% discount to any purchase. Just use the coupon code dugansincahoots! So shop shop away! Also make sure you follow her on her blog Waffle Kisses ! Thank you Laura!

Washing His Feet

baby-10Michael and I were married when we were young. Very young. Just a few days past my twentieth birthday, young.

I have no regrets. We were crazy about each other. Still are. We were totally blinded to the reality of life. Love will do that to you. We truly believed that life was good as long as we had each other. And it has been.

Our ceremony was simple and sweet. We said our vows at sunset, in candle light. He washed my feet. I washed his. Little did I know then, how that simple act was going to be repeated a million times over in our marriage. Not literally, ( although we have from time to time ) , but in the sense of serving each other, and putting each other’s needs before our own.

Marriage isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is just plain hard. Especially when you do a lot of “growing up ” together. Three kids under five years old, and two international moves are intense. I am sure the walls of our old house can tell you a story or two .  However, our commitment to “washing each other’s feet”  has been the core of our marriage. It is what makes us humble, and keeps our marriage strong. It is what chases away angry words in the middle of the night, and closes any space between us. It is what makes empty bank accounts rich, and failed dreams bearable.

The younger version of me used to think that love was all romance and flowers. Sweet notes left on pillowcases, and passionate kisses.

But all that is just the icing on the cake. I know better now.

Washing His Feet is Love. 

When I said, “I do. ” that night ten years ago, I was so confident that I could never love another human being more.

I was wrong. 

I love him more today that I ever did back then.

Happy Valentines Day Sweetie.

xoxoxo

Clarifying “We Can’t Be Friends”

This week my post “We can’t be friends” spread like wildfire online.

It has raised more than a few critical eyebrows, so for what it is worth, please hear me out.  I want to clarify that my writings had little to do with the state of my home. Or your home for that matter.

It was a simple message, in a time in my life I needed to be heard:

I want to be Real. And I give you permission to be Real too. 

I was so overwhelmed from the comments and emails I received. Many of you could relate to the words written and were encouraged. You also took the time to encourage me back and I am beyond grateful. Truly. Thank you. 

However, I feel a heaviness in my heart that is hard to ignore . Why? Because my comment feed also tells a vicious and repeated tale, of how cruel we can be to each other.

Why ? Why are we so hard on one another ?

We love to dish out criticism and insults. We hide behind our computer screens and slander those whom we don’t even know. We pass judgment against the girl at the gym, the mom at the grocery store, and the woman who received the promotion we wanted. We read too much into each other’s intentions, and rarely into their hearts. We are brutal. It is sad. It makes my stomach turn. But it is true.

And then we wonder why it is hard to be vulnerable.

What would happen if we just took the time to hear each other out? To be less defensive and more encouraging? To trust each other’s intentions and let the little things ( that have no importance ) slide to the wayside. To be each other’s advocates.

Would we develop the kind of friendships we are all longing for? Real, Genuine, Long lasting friendships? Would we hurt less and allow room for healing?

We are capable of loving each other. We are capable of supporting each other.  Let’s stop tearing each other apart. A little empathy and understanding can go a long way. It could even change a person’s life. So if you take anything from “We can’t be friends “, take this:

Just Love

For the record I really don’t want you to fold my laundry. It would be nice, but that wasn’t the point of this post. Real friends love each other on the very best day and on the very worst day. I have my share of both.

True Friends Give Grace Abundantly

I need grace. Don’t you?

Navigating The Heart Of My Daughter

Late Saturday afternoon I walked into the girl’s room to put away some freshly laundered clothes. The sun was shining through the window, drowning the space with beautiful golden light. Bella was up on the top of the bed, she had her head bent over a pad of paper and her eyebrows were furrowed in deep concentration. It isn’t an unusual sight to see her up there. She often seeks alone time away from her siblings and the rest of the world to write, read or draw. If she can’t find refuge in her room, she can be found taking an hour long shower to escape. She is my dreamer so that takes into account for our water bill.

She is also very talented. I am always amazed with the stories and songs she writes, and the art she painstakingly labors over. She is and always has been my joy. I am so proud of her. She is a really good girl with so many amazing qualities. She is kind, helpful, and so loving. She is very responsible and very unorganized. Yep, that wasn’t a typo. The girl is unorganized and that is ok by me.  She is extremely smart, and very beautiful. She loves to be silly and be loud with those she is close to. She is passionate about whatever she is interested in, whether that is dance, music or a new subject at school. I could go on and on, clearly I am crazy about her.

I asked her what she was doing, and as soon as she looked up at me I could see how sad she was.

” I am trying to write a list of things about me so my friends at school don’t think I am lame.”  was her quiet response.

I sat there with her, my heart breaking, and just listened.

She explained how she didn’t think people thought she was smart enough. Talented enough. Pretty enough. Interesting enough.

After some coaxing, I eventually narrowed it down to three girls in her class that she was desperate to be friends with. She believed that if she showed them her list they would change their minds about her. My determined little girl.

I tried to encourage her that she was smart. She was talented and pretty and interesting.

But that wasn’t the issue she said.  She knew all of these things to be true.

The problem was THEY didn’t believe that.

Oh how my thirty year old self resonated deeply with her nine year old self. I ached with her and for her in a way I have never before.

I asked her why it mattered that these three girls didn’t like her, especially when so many other people do.

“It just does Mom. I don’t know why. It just does.”

It just does. It just does. It just does.

How can I explain to her that her value isn’t dependent on what other people think? That she can do everything in her power to convince these girls otherwise and she still may face rejection? That not everyone in the world is going to like her, and that it is ok?

Oh my.

Honestly,  I stumbled over all these words desperate for her to really hear me, and I’m not sure she did.

Navigating her heart, is a lot like navigating mine. It isn’t always easy.

I would love your insight and suggestions on how to encourage my little girl. Perhaps you have a daughter a lot like mine? How did you walk her through this? Or is this just a life lesson she will eventually learn on her own?

Stealing From The Grocery Budget

It’s that time again to count our pennies for our Honeymoon Jar.  It is so fun to see the little jar grow each week! Perhaps soon we will have to switch our humble jar out for a bigger one soon?

This month was a little harder to steal from the grocery budget than last. The kids were home from school a lot which means they ate more. I guess winter and pure boredom will do that to you! I also needed to replace cleaning supplies ( whomp whomp ) and do our bi -monthly Costco run- which is known to do some serious damage initially and then the payoff comes later.

Oh if only we didn’t need to clean or eat! I would be a very rich woman.

Being strict with the menu that I make every month, and limiting our trips to Chipotle and Starbucks have helped tremendously. Those are my weaknesses, but it’s getting easier. I was dying to have Chick-Fil-A so that was our big splurge a couple of weeks ago. It was well worth the expense, just ask Lili! She got to experience it twice!

Apart from our honeymoon jar , we have some big financial goals this year, and I know that the only way we are going to achieve them is by sometimes saying no to the extras.  I will say though, that I am looking forward to 2015. Every dollar counts, and I know that we will be thankful next year that we were careful with our spending now. It is so exciting to have a plan for our finances, even if it’s not always very fun in the moment. Who am I kidding? It’s never fun in the moment!

Bella and I counted up the honeymoon jar together. It wasn’t my intention to teach the kids how to save through this rather lofty goal, however that is exactly what is happening. They are learning that it takes sacrifices to reach bigger goals, and sometimes we have to wait a long time to get what we want. In this case it may take an exceptionally long time!

On that note, how much do you think I managed to save this month? Last month our total was $63!

Drumroll Please…..

 

Our Grand Total so far is $97.16!

I am that much closer to sipping Pina Coladas poolside! I want to know. How do you save some extra cash? Do you have some financial goals for 2014? How do you plan on reaching them? Comment and share!

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We can’t be friends.

Moms,

See that picture above?

Thats my life. 90% of the time- that beautiful mess is my life. Despite my best efforts, it is crazy, chaotic and absolutely unorganized.

I like you. I think you are sweet, and fun to hang out with. But let me give it to you straight. If I have to clean for three hours before you come over…

We can’t be friends. We just can’t.

It’s just way too stressful, and trying to keep my home perfectly neat in this stage in life is impossible and overwhelming. I used to be more put together, believe it or not, I am naturally organized ( and a little OCD) . But then my kids became mobile, they ganged up on me, and my life and time were no longer my own.

If you do come over, and I really want you to, I won’t pretend that I have it all together. Simply because I don’t. I believe real, authentic relationships are more important than an organized linen closet. One day those closets will be organized again, but today a four year old wants to play candy land, a seven year old wants to show me his latest paper plane, and my nine year old needs to go to dance.

So, if you can push aside the piles of clothes that need to be folded, sit down with me among my chaos, with a hot cup of coffee, I know we can be good friends. Even better, FOLD those clothes as you share your heart with me, and we will be the best of friends. I promise.

On the flip side, if you are cleaning your house like a mad woman before I come over… for the love, stop doing that! Just stop it! You really don’t have too. I love you, just for you. And I want to get to know you. The real you. I have a feeling that underneath all  those facades us women are SO good at creating- you are such a beautiful person.  You don’t have to try to impress me,  I know you are a good wife, a great mom, and an amazing housekeeper. Besides those crumbs on your counter make me feel at home.

xoxox

 

Update: After a lot of thought ( and courage ) I wanted to try to clarify a few things . Please hear my heart.