I have always had a hard time putting me first. Most people I know have the same problem. We are so concerned about taking care of others, we often forget that we can’t help anyone else if we are running on empty.
Yes, it is admirable to always be of service to those in need and especially to those we love. But just like we are told on the plane, “Be sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.”
Saying “No”, “I can not”, or “I will not” always left me with huge amounts of guilt. Sacrificing my own schedule and feelings to appease a loved one was always at the top of the list. What I wanted or needed could be put at the end of the line because putting everyone else first makes me an amazing friend.
No. NO TO ALL OF THAT.
I have finally come to a point in my life where I HAVE to put myself first a lot of the time. There are
some times a lot of the times where I do struggle with this but there are other things that I can make a “non-negotiable” for me to make sure I keep on track.
I have been consistent with making sure my morning routine is on point with every step checked off. I’ve learned to not always be in a rush. I do what I need to do for the kids to get their morning going and I cherish the 10 minutes I set for MYSELF. I throw on some music and do every step of my skin care. I take my time putting on every serum that can keep me looking clean and Cullen and slather every moisturizer that can keep me glowing for the gods. A Gua Sha is a FA SHO. It keeps the blood flowing and it’s such a great little face massage to start off the day!
I limit the amount of times I cancel on myself. There have been times where someone has invited me to a last minute coffee date or a lunch during a scheduled workout or during a time I set aside to read. Those things may seem unimportant to others but it’s not just the act of working out or reading, it’s me intentionally choosing an activity that I know fills my cup. I will be much better company on the next coffee run or lunch date once I bring myself some joy.
I still have a lot of work to do but I am finding opportunities to offer some peace and happiness for my mind and my soul. If I pride myself in being a ride or die for my people, I must remember to offer the same energy to myself. Love me.
*Commission links listed above.
crownandcoffee reads. vol. 1
Since I have been going through so much in the last few years, I have been trying to make a conscious decision to implement activities in my daily routines that bring me joy. I have to do this to keep my spirits up and my mental above water. One of those things are getting back into reading. In 2022, I was able to dive into 7 books. I know that may not seem like a lot to some but it was a whole lot for me compared to the recent years of racking up 0 books.
I love finding articles or following book club posts to find new reads so I thought I’d share some that I got into and especially share the ones that absolutely grabbed me in and got me obsessed with the story and it’s characters. When real life is a struggle, who doesn’t like free falling into a hardcover and doing snow angels in it’s pages?!
People We Meet on Vacation | Emily Henry I loved this book. I enjoyed going on the journey with both characters from when they met to the book’s present day. It was funny. It was romantic. It was spicy. Took me a day to read. I just could not put it down!
Book Lovers | Emily Henry Another book I devoured. It was a bit slow at the very beginning but picked up pretty quickly soon after. If you love Hallmark movies, you will LOVE this book.
It Ends With Us | Colleen Hoover If you know what #booktok is, it made Colleen Hoover books go hella viral and that goes especially for this book in particular. Strong start. Strong middle. Strong end. I absolutely loved this book. It absolutely was not all sunshine and rainbows but the story will suck you in. This is one of my favorite books from Colleen Hoover so far. Fun fact: A movie is in the works!
Reminders of Him | Colleen Hoover This book – couldn’t put it down. This took me a day to read. I felt pins and needles in my heart the whole time reading. It was so good.
Verity | Colleen Hoover Another one day read for me. A. Lot. Of. Gasping. It was just too crazy to put down! I needed to know what happened next. If you like suspense and spice, this one’s for you!
What She Knew | Gilly Macmillan This one is for the crime buffs. I definitely had my detective hat on the whole time reading.
Where The Crawdads Sing | Delia Owens This book had such rave reviews, I thought I would love it. I didn’t hate but I definitely didn’t love it. It was good but I felt it was a bit slow for me.
Now go off and take a little break from real life and get lost in these stories!
*Commission links listed above.
I don’t like celebrating February 14th much because it just isn’t one of my favorite celebrations. But whenever February rolls around, I do have a little tradition I have with the boys.
It all started in February 2019, Kole was 8 and Monroe was 4. I surprised the boys with a little note each day from February 1st through February 14th.
I would cut pieces of different colored cardstock into hearts and wrote little notes on them. I would write little things that told them what I love about them and every night, for 14 nights, I would tape the heart shaped notes on the wall for them to find and read in the morning. To my surprise, they were just as happy and excited finding the notes as they are about opening up gifts on Christmas Eve night.
That year, we ended up keeping the notes up all year round. As the seasons changed and the next February 1st rolled around, the hearts were taken down only to make room for that year’s set of Love Notes.
The boys have a memory box that they keep each of the notes I wrote for them. It is only in this moment, that I am not going crazy over how much of hoarders they are. They never want to let go of anything! There are times I have to negotiate with them on items they can keep and what they MUST get rid of! Thankfully, these Love Notes are a non negotiable for them.
Alas, February 2023 is here and a whole new set of Love Notes with sweet somethings are ready to be written for them.
To The Boys I Will Love Always. 🤎
Teachers, You Are Top Tier.
What a crazy school year it has been!
It’s been such an emotional rollercoaster this whole year. With all this craziness, I have to give it up to all the teachers who thugged it out and extended their patience peak for not only the students, but for the parents as well.
They kept it calm and cool, as best as they possibly could. They were going through their own life stuff with their own families and dealing with their own anxieties during a pandemic and they still tried to make it as easy and seamless as possible for our children. No doubt they were the real MVPs this year.
As much as I was so hesitant in letting Kole and Monroe go back to in person learning, I’m glad I decided to let them continue the year that way. Monroe was able to get a little experience in class as a kindergartner and Kole was able to spend some time with half the class before bidding farewell to 5th grade. Now that we are ending the year, we still feel like we want more time with their teachers! They really are hella amazing. Hella.
Last year, I couldn’t get Monroe interested in reading or writing at all. His teachers not only got him to read AND read well, but also got him to LOVE school. Big ups to them, for real for real.
With Kole, it’s no surprise that he loves school but his teacher kept him excited to learn each day even if it was from a distance and with half the time.
Now it’s the end of the year and time to say goodbye to zoom classes, asynchronous/ synchronous learning, and our wonderful teachers. So I do as I always do and show our appreciation with end of the year teacher gifts.
I dusted off my cricut and got busy in design space. I used black heavy cardstock to line an 8×10 display case and decided to use school supplies to decorate the inside. I didn’t really feel like taking out my glue gun so I just used a mix of adhesive dots and Crafter’s Tape. Both did the job well! We thought this would be a great piece to put in their office at home or use as part of their decor in their classroom next year!
They deserve way more than these DIYs, but hopefully they felt all our love and appreciation.
Leave Meeting. Have a great summer!
Crayola Crayons | Cat In the Hat Bookmarks | #2 Pencils | Index Cards
Holly Daze. 2018.
This holiday season was sure a busy one for me this year. Since I started my holiday shopping pretty early this year, I had this idea (from Pinterest of course) to decorate my Christmas gifts my own way. I bought Kraft paper rolls and used my paint pens to address and decorate the gifts. Although it took a whole lot of time, it was the most satisfying holiday craft project I’ve done! It was a great way to put my little personal touch to the holidays!
• • •
On to Kole’s class. If you know me or follow this blog, then you know I can’t let a major holiday/event go with making the class goodie bags. Last year, I made the kids little snowflake ornaments and this year I knitted mini stockings and stuffed them up with a couple of holiday candies.
His teacher and his classmates thought it was pretty cool and were all smiles so I’d say we had another class Holiday success!
• • •
Everyday I start the mornings off with the news on tv. That may not always be the best idea because of how absolutely depressing the entire world is right now, but it’s always a good idea to keep updated. While I make breakfast for the boys, Kole is always paying attention to the news as well. Last year he was so concerned and felt such sadness for the victims of the Tubbs Fire that he asked me if there was something we can do. (And yes, that made me cry!) So that was the beginning of a new family holiday tradition. As a family, we decided to make a donation cup, which Kole decorated himself, and leave the cup in the middle of the dining table during Christmas and ask the family if they’d like to donate.
We are a small family but I know our donations helped a little and it surely did teach the kids in our family that the holidays are not only about all the gifts they receive for themselves but also how small gestures and just the act of love and care can be a huge gift to someone else. Last year we donated to SonomaStrong Fire Relief and Recovery by Rotary. 2018 news had a whole lot of coverage on the homeless. It’s sad how many people live on the streets here in the Bay Area, absolutely heartbreaking. So just like last year, Kole chose a cause and he wanted to try to help the homeless somehow. Our donations are going to a great organization started and ran by a family friend of ours called, The City Eats. Ryan has volunteered with this organization and has even brought Kole along to help prep the meals as well.
With the way the world is today, I am doing everything I can to make sure I raise little gentlemen that move through this world with intentions of love and care for others everyday and especially during the holidays.
Hope you all had a magical holiday full of love and lots of Christmas lights!!
At her 37th mark, she is happily blessed with her two little boys. Her first son, 8 and her second, 3. She has found, that she was meant to have these two boys to brighten up this world even just a little and to brighten her world a whole damn lot. She was meant to raise two little gentlemen to hopefully make up for the assholes of today.
She is just as outspoken and hot headed as she has always been. She is little but her heart and her voice are big. She has felt strength, confidence, and extreme happiness. She has felt weakness, deep dark sadness, and worthless.
There are people in her life she trusts with everything in her being and will have a piece of her forever and there are others she knew would never last in her world.
She IS hard to deal with, so those who stay and stick life out with her are the only ones that can lift her up when she wants to stay down.
She struggles mentally and emotionally but strives to fight for the light. She has wanted to give life up but found any strength she had to keep going everyday.
No. Matter. What.
She is a complicated woman but when you have her love, you’ve got it all. She loves big. She loves hard. She will be your ride or die. But if she is hurt, the moment she feels distrust, she can hate you just as big and just as hard. She’d rather love you, try not to hurt her.
Her love of crafts can not be tamed. She will be the first to volunteer as tribute for a craft project and pour her heart and soul into it. To have her sons look at her little works in awe, keeps the love of crafts strong.
She celebrates her 37th birthday today. And although she wants to lay low and not make any kind of deal about her birthday, she is grateful for another year and always prays for many many more.
On September 20th, 2008, a couple of 20 somethings walked down the aisle and vowed promises of forever and always to one another. That was us.
Ryan and I have always been honest about what our marriage is. We are very clear that marriage is difficult. We are no strangers to vocal public fights. Our close friends and families are always pulled in to hear our testimonies but we never asked them to take sides. But we try to always ask, “What could I do to make this better?” Our friends and family know us well individually and as a couple and we have been extremely blessed to have people in our lives that believe in our love and union and support the success of it.
When Ryan and I had the conversation of marriage as an unmarried couple, we both happened to be on the same page. When we spoke of marriage we talked about the hard work we had to put in. Marriage is not always easy like Sunday morning. My main focus was not about my wedding dress. It was not about my guest list. It was about making sure that we can make this work for as long as we vowed to make it work for. Forever. Forever is a long damn time. As the times and seasons change, people change. What we can hope for and what we can fight through is to try to not necessarily change but to grow and hopefully in our journey to grow as individuals we can grow together as husband and wife. Always.
Last anniversary was the first one in a while where we felt good in our marriage. Like I say about our marriage when asked, we have good years and we have our unbearable ones. Years 7 & 8 were rough ones. We went through a lot as a couple and those two rough ass years had divorce on the tongue. Our kind side vs. our stubborn side were at a constant battle. As much as we told ourselves to be kind to our partner the opposite would win and Petty Betty was the name of the game. We just couldn’t find it in ourselves to come up with solutions and for some reason ONLY knew how to point fingers. Then last year, around our 9th anniversary, Ryan was out of town for training. We were getting a little bit better with communicating prior to him leaving and got so much better at it while he was away. Our outlook on situations and on each other somehow became more positive. Our kind side wanted a rematch and was on its way to the top. We wanted this marriage to work, not just for our kids, but for us.
We are doing it. Every day we are grateful we make it together to the next because not many couples do for one reason or another. Our story is still open for new chapters. We made it to ten! We are still loving and supporting each other and constantly encouraging each other to be and do better. We still can make each other laugh until we are about to pee our pants. But most importantly after 10 years of marriage, he still knows exactly how I like my coffee and that is pure love.
My Favorite Moments – June ’18
My last Favorite Moments post was all the way back in September 2017. The holidays crept up on us, as usual, and I was getting a little more involved in Kole’s school and class that the blogging took a little backseat. It’s now summer time for the kids so I’ll try to take advantage of any free time to get back to typing away.
Kole | Kole finished off second grade this month and I am extremely proud of his school year. His teachers and his classmates had nothing but good things to say about him. He learned so much academically this year. I loved his explanation of common core and friendly tens he learned in math, I loved the little bits of knowledge he’d tell me about ants and spiders (ew!!), and I loved all the little projects he brought home that took planning, testing, and follow through. He’s always been into books and getting lost in the stories he’d read but this year he really fell in love with writing. He took every advantage of the times he had in school to write and illustrate stories/books with his classmates during Writers Workshop and he also took time at home to create little books. His imagination and creativity is boundless.
School was so great for him this year that he has shed some tears because school is over. Not only because he’d miss his friends and recess but also because he genuinely enjoyed every part of the school day as well. He even went as far as to say “Two months of summer is soooo looonnnggg!” What kid says that? LOL. Even though I have never felt that way in my whole life, I am really happy that he feels this way. This feeling may not last forever but I will do my best to keep him just as interested in school as I can. And I also am hella grateful for the educators that keep that school spirit alive!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Monroe | My little baby boy turned three this month!! He. Is. A. Terror. But the most lovable kind. He most definitely is a sour patch kid. Sweet one minute and sour the next. But lately, his sweet has leveled up! He is giving me more hugs and kisses and I get a lot more random “Mimi, I love you”s. And if you know us well, you know his sacrifice of the green M&Ms for me is quite the gesture coming from that little M&M monster. Conversations with him are getting easier and we are understanding each other more. As much as I love all the growing, it is making me a little sad. It’s already hard enough for me to accept that Kole isn’t teeny tiny anymore and now my littlest baby is growing up at the same super speed as his brother. Time goes impossibly fast when you measure it by your growing minis.
Young, Wild, and THREE!
What started off your sweet summertime?
Snoopy Sweater: Uniqlo | 3rd Birthday Shirt: Willow Bee Apparel
Ms. B., You Were A+. Second Grade Was Super.
This school year just flew right on by. When we first met Ms. B. we fell instantly at ease and in love. Having had the same teacher for two years straight, Kole was a bit nervous starting second grade. But since the first day of this school year he had deemed Ms. B. as one of his favorite teachers. I had the pleasure to sit in and volunteer in the class a bit more this year so I got close to her and the students pretty quickly. She is a great teacher with a whole lot of patience and a very kind heart. Kole came out everyday being able to do mental math so quickly. Thank goodness for common core and friendly tens!
Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company…and that means a little “send off to Summer” gift sets. This year I rounded up some sidewalk chalk and bubbles to remind them to put the iPad down and get outside. Also adding washable paint to remind them to stay creative. Keep your body moving, live life, and enjoy your sunny days, kiddos!
“Have a whole lot of summer fun! Love, Kole”
To the person who handled 17 of our precious, energetic, hard to handle at times, minis…thank you for all the new knowledge, skill, and memories you gave our kids. You get the sweetest of send offs.
Kole loved being in her class. We especially appreciate her opening her classroom doors to me and Monroe. We hope she enjoys every single minute of her summer break. She deserves it!
“Thanks for making Kole, one smart cookie!”
Thank you Second Grade. You were super. Off to Third we go!
Happy summer and enjoy every ray of that sunshine! ‘Til next school year.
Sidewalk chalk (Target) | Kids’ Washable Paint | Treat Cups (Michael’s clearance) | Cellophane Bags | Bubbles | Photo Box | “One Smart Cookie” Pot Holder | Cookie Cutter | Candle (Bath & Body Works)