Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Brain-cation Needed

It's funny (in an amazing way) how God uses anything and everything He can to get a message across, isn't it?

Today I am featured on Alice's Blessed Life, sharing a brief post about how my relationship with my husband has overcome the obstacles we've faced.

(You've seen Alice here on Mother Stressor before, and she is absolutely amazing!! Be sure to follow her blog, it is so inspirational. For reals!) 

Although it was published today, I actually wrote the post a month or so ago. As we all know, life is a roller coaster! Today, my husband and I are going through an obstacle that we've never faced together before. The company that he worked for closed operations last month and our next chapter has not started quite like we had expected or planned. Uncertainty of the future and big life changes are tough. While having a partner by your side through them can make them a little more bearable, figuring out how to travel through the valley together can also be tricky.

I am the type of person, as I'm learning more and more, who sees a struggle as a challenge to conquer. I see a problem, and I expect to solve it. Sure, I'll cry if something hurts, but after a couple tears, it's time to get up and do something about it, and then move forward. I'm not exactly the most sensitive person, and I don't have much patience for pity or sulking, because not only is my mind so overloaded, but I also tend to believe whole-heartedly that everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end. Cheesy, right? But that's my outlook. (Thank you, Jesus.)

So, when my husband is feeling down or anxious about something, my first instinct is to start fixing whatever we can. Let's go for a walk and get some sunshine and clear our heads so we can think of a solution. Let's go for a run because exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy, and happy people don't sulk. Let's make a phone call or look up something online that will help get us to a solution. Let's start fixing whatever we can fix, dang it!

But sometimes, I'm learning, I just need to chill. Sometimes I need to stop and be in the moment and give my husband what he needs in THIS moment. No, a back rub might not pay the bills... But it will show him that he is loved, worthy, and not alone. Maybe he doesn't need me to try to be Batman and save the day, maybe he just needs me to be present and loving. Being able to put my feelings aside, see things through his point of view and selflessly give what he needs, is another part of putting my prideful nature aside, as I discussed in my post today. I admit that I haven't been doing such a good job of this recently. 

A year ago, I went to lunch with my high school ROP teacher-turned dear friend and told her about my vision of BookWarm. She loved the idea, but put her fork down and asked, "How many classes are you taking for school right now?" 


"And you're working, right?"

"Yes, but only part time."

"Okay, and how many kids do you have, and how many activities do they have going on? And, this new blog you started?" (I could see where this was going...) 

She looked me right in the eyes and said, "Do you think that maybe you should just enjoy what you have going on right now and not over load yourself?"

My first thought? Well, maybe. But then that thought just made me more determined to push forward.

I'm stubborn like that. 

I'm learning that I don't do well with not doing anything. That's actually not true. I don't do well with not doing everything. I don't let my mind just sit still. If I'm laying on the couch watching TV, I'm also reading or surfing the Internet or folding laundry or studying school work. If I'm cooking dinner, I'm also packing lunches for the next day. If I'm reading a book to my kids, I'm simultaneously thinking about housework that I'll do next, a blog post I'll write, or what I need from the grocery store. Sometimes "mom brain" means fuzzy and forgetful, sometimes it means completely overloaded. Which leads to fuzzy and forgetful, I assume.

Side note: I have recently been researching how to start up an Etsy shop and start selling crafty stuff, because I apparently need something else on my plate. I'm definitely starting to think that my dear friend had a good point on our lunch date. 

My family has a lot going on right now. My life has always had a lot going on, to be honest, and I think that I've constantly wanted to be doing something "more" to just keep up with the chaos. If that even makes sense? 

Reading my post on Alice's Blessed Life today brought me back down to earth. 

It's time for me to slow down and feel life's peaks and valleys. It's time for me to be fully present in everything I do, which ultimately means that I cannot do everything. It's time to be more calculated about what I'm putting my time and effort into, so that the important things in life don't suffer from my lack of time, energy or patience. My husband needs my love, patience and support right now, and that's what I'll focus on giving. 

This blog has been so much fun for me over the last year, and I truly value the friendships I've made, knowledge I've learned, things I've been able to try and experience, and conversations I've been able to have. But to be honest, my heart isn't in it like it was in the beginning. I joined a bunch of blogging groups (full of amazing and supportive people!!) which has been great, but has also caused my "blogger mindset" to start focusing on numbers and stuff, instead of just writing for fun. With all of that being said, I plan on putting my main focus in other places for now. 

BookWarm just received its 501c3 status (YAY!!), school is consuming, and my hubby and I are putting effort into our entrepreneurial dreams. My kids are growing like weeds and I want to cherish it all. I want to be present. This is my prayer. 

Thank you for your love and support of Mother Stressor over the last year!! I'll see you again soon :) 

Brain-cation starts NOW. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

At Home Date Ideas Continued: Date Box - Product Review

I am so excited to tell you guys about Date Box!

I've mentioned before about how important I feel that it is to spend quality time together and plan date nights with your significant other, even though getting out of the house to do so is not always easy or possible. I even gave some at home date ideas that my hubby and I have been able to fit in to our busy schedule. While I love these ideas, and we still fit them in whenever possible, I've been wanting to find some new, creative, and budget-friendly ways to "sneak in" some romance with my love.

Like an answer to my wishes, HELLO Date Box*!!

With a monthly subscription to Date Box, you will receive a pretty little package in the mail that contains ingredients for a unique, romantic, and fun date that you can enjoy in your very own home. Feel free to order take-out from your favorite restaurant, or cook your favorite meal, wear fancy clothes or put on your comfiest sweats, and get ready for a great time!

We started our Date Box date night by throwing a couple steaks on the grill (it happened to be the first evening of amazing weather we've had in a while!), making some salad and veggies, and pouring a couple glasses of wine. Once the baby was in bed for the night (the older kids were camping with Auntie and Uncle, but while the Date Box dates are romantic, they aren't rated R or anything like that, so we could've set the kids up with popcorn and movie in their bedroom and enjoyed it just the same!), we opened up the box and started checking things out.

How gorgeous is this?! If it's true what they say about first impressions being everything, then Date Box totally nailed it.

Date Box's main message is "Your relationship matters", and their goal is to provide activities that will encourage conversations that will help you get to know each other better (even if you've known each other for like... 16 years) and learn new/unique ways to show your partner how much you love him/her. Instead of just ordering a movie and mindlessly rubbing each others' feet on the couch, we talked and laughed and discussed things that we hadn't really thought too much about before.

The theme for each Date Box differs each month, and this month's theme was Selfless Service & Love. Spoiler alert: there's a code for a online massage tutorial! How cool is that?!

There's a booklet inside with conversation topics and even a little "quiz" to take together and see how you and your partner rate on the "Selfless Love" scale. Some of the questions were actually a little tough, but it was fun discussing our thoughts and helping each other see things about ourselves that we didn't even realize (good things for the most part, lol).

The box also included a beautiful black notebook that you can write your answers and notes in. But let me tell you what my hubby said when he looked at it:

"We should use this to write little notes to each other everyday. Even if we're having a bad day, we still write something to each other. It can be like a little "love journal"."

I'll tell you two reasons why that made my heart swoon:

1. Because, HELLO, that's super cute and sweet.
2. I had literally written down that same idea in my notes months ago that I wanted to start doing and write about on the blog (if it went well and seemed like a good idea of course) but I never actually did anything with the idea. #SAMEPAGE

So, thank you, Date Box, for providing an empty notebook and inspiring content which helped my husband make me feel like a super lucky and smitten wife. :)

Like I mentioned above, the box also included a code for a massage tutorial that you can take right online. To help you become a master masseuse, it also included some yummy-smelling lotion and a cute little towel as well! Talk about a great evening ahead!

My hubby and I are in a tricky place in our life right now because of his recent job changes. Things are not easy at the moment and we are doing our best to get through without letting stress discourage us or win. With that being said, an evening like the one Date Box was able to provide for us without us even having to leave home (meaning we didn't have to worry about a babysitter, didn't have to worry about spending excessive amounts of money, and didn't have to worry about anything other than who got to get their massage first) was just what we needed.

I would absolutely recommend Date Box to any couple that is looking for a new way to enjoy an awesome night in together. The encouraging messages it provides and quality time it allows you to spend together are both valuable assets to a healthy and strong relationship. Oh, AND... there was tea and Ghirardelli chocolates inside, too. Again, NAILED IT.

Pricing starts at $27.96/month (you receive one Date Box each month) with a monthly subscription, and we all know that it's practically impossible to go out for a date and not spend at least double that (and that's if you're good at couponing or something).

Try it out, and let me know what you think of it!

Never stop dating your partner, it is SO important. And, as Date Box's motto states, never forget that your relationship matters!

You can check out more details and order your very own box here.

You can follow Date Box on Instagram here.

You can find them on Facebook here.

You can find them on Twitter here.

*I received this product in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and I have stated my honest opinion and experience of using this product.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mother Stressor featured on Scary Mommy!

I'm truly grateful and excited to be featured on Scary Mommy, a website community dedicated to sharing pregnancy tips and parenting advice for imperfect parents!


You can check it out here

February is an exciting month for Mother Stressor, and I hope that this is a good indicator of what the rest of 2016 has in store! Check back this month for a Valentine's Day giveaway, a product review that I can't wait to share, and another feature that I am so thankful for and excited about as well! 

Thank you for following along and for your love and support! 

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