Weekend Adventures

Weekend Adventures

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 Everyone’s favorite part of the week should be the weekend, right? I had no clue I could love the weekend anymore then I already did until we moved to New York City. Even though we love our house in Alabama, which we still own and rent out, we do not miss the work that was required to keep it up on the weekends. You see we had a large, high maintenance yard and a large house to clean. Since we have been married Saturday mornings for the most part have been work days. So for this season of life it is really nice to be in a low maintenance living situation. We simply wake up on Saturday, drink our coffee and decide where we want to go exploring.

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Right outside our front door.

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As you can see, we spent much of our weekend in Riverside Park.

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Saturday morning we went to the library for toddler story time. Sunday we headed to church with a friend and then spent the afternoon in Greenwich Village.

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One of my biggest worries about moving to New York was that in the hustle and bustle of city life we end up spending less time as a family. What I have found is we get more quality time together in the city. We are having the most amazing experiences and creating memories as a family that will last for a lifetime.

xoxo, Lindsey

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Friday Favorites: What We are Watching on Netflix

Friday Favorites: What We are Watching on Netflix

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For the first four years we were married we did not have cable. Since moving to New York we are back to using the digital antenna for local channels and streaming services like Netflix. After a day of hitting the streets with two small children, one of my favorite things to do is cook dinner, put the boys to bed, and curl up with my man to watch a show. Its relaxing for me and while we are just sitting on the couch, it is time together. I am always looking for a new show. So, I love to hear what people are watching ! Here is what we have been watching recently!

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We just finished the first season of Stranger Things. This is not our typical show but I have to say it was captivating. I believe we watched the whole season in a mater of days…not sure what that says about us, but I believe it tells you how the show held our attention. Stranger Things is about a boy who goes missing and the quest to find him. Winona Ryder is the most famous cast member. Winona plays the mother of the missing boy and gives a wonderful performance. The show is very suspenseful. While sci-fi is not my usual forte I give this show two thumbs up.

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Another Netflix original, Chef’s Table is an interesting documentary following five chefs each season and honoring the creativity and artistry in their cooking. We have watched both first and second seasons, I found both to be very interesting. If you do not watch any other episodes watch Francis Mallmann in season one, Ana Ros in season two and Enrique Olvera from season two. Francis Mallmann is a world renowned chef who  cooks almost exclusively with fire. I personally like Ana Ros for the simple reason that most of the chefs on the show are classically french educated and she is self-taught. Not only is Ana a self-made and self-taught chef, but she works with local ingredients in Slovenia where one has to get very creative with scarce culinary resources.  Enrique Olvera is a chef from Mexico who is taking what is preceived to be a relatively basic Mexican food and celebrating the complexity of the sauces and obundance of ingredients. As he said himself he is taking ingredients and presentation that you would find in the finest resturants and presenting it in ways like the taco that celebrate his culture. Enrique mentioned in his episode that he has a restaurant in New York. Let’s just say after watching his Chef’s Table episode I am dying to try it!

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Crazy Ex Girlfriend has been my “go to” lite show lately. It’s what I watch when my husband is working late, or the boys are down for nap. The plot of the show is about a successful lawyer who completely picks up and changes her life to pursue an ex-boyfriend. When she randomly bumps into an ex-boyfriend who casually suggests they should  get together sometime, she quits her job to move across the country to pursue a relationship with him only to find out he has a girlfriend. The show is full of light-hearted humor and will remind you of when we have all let our crazy get the best of us!

So all of this leads me to ask, what are you watching? What should I watch next?

Xoxo, Lindsey

A Day at the Musuem

A Day at the Musuem

Of course there are many reasons to love New York City, but one that I love as a mother of small children are all the wonderful kid-friendly museums! A friend recommended that we get the NYC ID after moving to the city. It is basically an ID for people living in New York City. This is not just any ID though, because it allows you to get into many museums for free! Since getting our ID, we have been hitting up the Museum of Natural History weekly. All I have to do is show my ID and voila, we have our tickets. I went to this museum on a family vacation and a few times since then when visiting the city. I must say I have come a log way from laughing at the naked Indian statues as a preteen with my sister and have a new appreciation for the history of our world as I watch my almost three year old’s eyes light up at each exhibit. We recently took my in-laws to the museum on their visit to the city. They loved it but had to have the mind-set that they would come back because it is far to big to see in one day!

Here are a few pictures from a recent visit.

What are your favorite museums to visit in the city?

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Loaded up and ready to go. Queue… “you see me rollin”

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He watched the whole movie on coral!

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Little man taking it all in.

What’s better than a trip to the museum? A trip to the musuem followed by hot chocolate at Le Pain Quotidien and walking up Central Park West to the Diana Ross Playground!

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I would say we had a great day! See you next week Museum.

Xoxo, Lindsey

P.s. If you plan to visit the city with kids… scope out where the play grounds are. There are tons of playgrounds in the city. It’s a great way for you to people watch and the kiddos to play out some energy for a good stroller nap!

I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City

I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City
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Outside our living room window.

It’s been a little over seven weeks since we packed up our house in Alabama and I boarded a plane for New York City. After an airport send off with family and tears, I was headed to the Big Apple with two children under the age of two in tow and a heart full of anticipation and excitement. Waiting on the other end of our flight was my husband who had just started his new job (which is what brought us to the city) and began to unpack our new two bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side.

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We arrived at LaGuardia, grabbed our suitcases, hopped in a carseatless taxi (Crazy right? The city of New York is exempt from state child restrain laws), and headed for our apartment.  As we turned onto Central Park West, George opened his eyes from a hard sleep in my lap and said, “that’s Central Park.” That little boy was correct; he had placed his eyes for the first time on glorious Central Park, which would soon become a part of our daily routine. Let’s just call it our backyard, in the middle of the city.

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We have had a busy seven weeks with adjusting to living in a small space, not having a car, using public transportation, meeting new people, exploring, walking thousands of steps a day, eating more pizza then I can count and relearning our day to day functions in our new urban jungle. When my husband was initially offered this opportunity we thought the timing was off. We said things like, “our kids are too young, we will do it when they are older.” On the contrary, if we would have waited till our kids were older to make a big move like this, we would have never done it; and also, what an amazing adventure to take as a family.  Secondly we said, “why would we want to leave our large yard and settled house.” I have to say this was the biggest one for me.  I loved our house in Alabama and the thought of leaving it was tough. My outlook on our housing situation has completely changed. First, we do not spend a ton of time in our apartment. We typically wake up, eat breakfast, watch the Today Show and hit the pavement. We have traded space for experience. In a city with so much to see and do it’s hard to stay inside. Last week we had a day we stayed inside all day and I told Ben I had total FOMO (fear of missing out). I think a retired New York City police officer we met in the park playing with his grandson said it best. As I was telling him all the major adjustments we are experiencing and the major differences between Alabama and living here, he stopped me and said, “young lady do you realize you live in the greatest city in the world.”

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I completely stopped talking, sat back and said to myself, “shut up Lindsey, you are living in the greatest city in the world.” As I have shared before we are movers but we have never embarked on anything as life changing and as self growing as this. I look forward to documenting and sharing our experiences with you.

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So while I am not “Strolling Through the South (bear with us, we know we need a new name),”I am embarking on an adventure with my precious husband and two babies in the city that never sleeps and what some call the greatest city in the world.  We are still sisters divided by distance and sharing our experiences together. So for now I will crank up the You’ve Got Mail soundtrack and plan out what new city adventure we will embark on tomorrow. Take a listen to my new city girl theme song below.

XOXO, Lindsey

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Mini Van Meg

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We are teaming up with Mary over at http://www.minivanmeg.com to give away a fabulous Kylie Jenner lip kit! Check out our Instagram for details! Also, click on over to Mary’s site! I am lucky to call her family! Mary, her husband Sam and their two children live outside of DC. Sadly I have not joined the minivan club like Laura and Mary but when I do I hope I can make it look as cool. Her blog is an encouragement to young mothers like me! She talks about everything from travel to kids crafts. Definitely check her out here!

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Because I have watch this video at least three times…. You are in for some laughs!

“Hey boo boo, what are you thinking club wise?”

Rodan and Fields

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My friend Lillie gave me a sample of this micro-dermabrasion paste a few months ago. I am usually pretty hesitant to switch up my skin care routine! Well let me say, I love this product. It leaves your face with an almost silky feeling! You are only supposed to use it once or twice a week. With that said, it will take me some time to go through this bottle. Initially I thought it would be too pricey for me to justify buying. This product is becoming my favorite splurge! Contact my friend Lillie about your skin care needs! She is a great girl and also has fabulous skin as a testimony to these products!  Check her out: Here

Corkcicle Bottle

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Ever since I had kidney stones I have been trying to drink more water! I found this bottle at a local boutique. It is similar to a Yeti but it comes in the fabulous pink color and is much more affordable! I put ice in it yesterday at 4:00pm. When I opened it this morning at 5:30am to take a sip it was still cold! I gave my mother-in-law one for her birthday and she uses it to take a cup of afternoon coffee to work!

Walmart Grocery Pickup

After seeing several friends post about the convenience of grocery pick up from Walmart, I decided to check it out for myself.  I just googled Walmart grocery pick up and it took me to their website.  I was able to look up by my zip code whether the service was available for my area.  To my delight, it was available and so easy!  You just pick out your groceries online, check out and pick your pickup time at your closest Walmart.  I will point out that you need to order them a day in advance.  I usually spend the night before my grocery shopping making a list anyways.  This is like making an online list and cutting out the shopping part.  I have only done it for two weeks, but it has made my life so much easier.  Also, you just call when you drive up for your pick up time, and they actually come out and load the groceries for you! It doesn’t get much better than that.  Just make sure to check your area.  They don’t have it everywhere yet, but I bet it will keep growing!

 xoxo~ Lindsey and Laura

Easter

Easter

Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods and there is nothing like flowers budding and birds chirping to remind you of the beauty of life. As Laura said last week, life has been busy. With things slowing down this week I am committing to take in each moment and enjoy the longer days with my boys!

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A week ago I had the honor of hosting some of my family for Easter. With the passing of our grandmother two weeks ago, this year was a little different. After weeks of company and family around my mom said I could host to switch things up with this year being different. Hosting seemed a little daunting considering I come from a family of wonderful hostesses! But nevertheless I pulled out my China, set the table, and began to plan my menu. In our family, the staples are ham, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, and strawberry cake. All of that mixed with an assortment of casseroles and desserts makes for full bellies and good naps.

Here are a few pictures taken the night before.

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This Easter was different but no less meaningful! It may have been a smaller gathering in a different place but the joy we have in the resurrection was more prevalent then ever. Though it was another day where we were reminded of the sadness on being separated with our love one in death, it also reminded me that because of the resurrection we have the hope of being together again one day!

xoxo, Lindsey

Lessons Learned From My Grandmother

Lessons Learned From My Grandmother

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Lindsey and I have been out of the blogging world the last few weeks.  Some of this was due to sickness.  A lot of it is due to the failing health and loss of our grandmother last week.  I, Laura, was traveling back and forth to Montgomery over the last couple of weeks to spend some time with my grandmother and be there when she passed.  Lindsey has been tirelessly serving her and family.

Everyone thinks their grandmother is the best.  I could spend a whole blog post telling you about ours.  As I laid awake thinking about her the other night, I started to think more of the lessons I learned from her.  There are so many, but I boiled it down to three.  Although this isn’t your grandmother, I hope you can learn a little bit more about mine and what is important to take from her life.

1. It’s Ok To Be A Lady and Be Smart

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My grandmother eloped at 16 and never really worked much of a job the rest of her life.  She did finish high school, but never got to go to college like her parents wanted her to because she started having babies young.  She was a housewife her whole life to five boys.  So many people last weekend described her as the ultimate housewife, Southern lady, hostess, etc.  I will get to that in number two, but there was one aspect about her that I kept thinking about.

Although she was this proper Southern lady, my grandmother was an avid reader about everything.  She was analytical and always sharing with me something about a recent book she read.  Although she spent hours perusing magazines looking at house decorations, she also read biographies, fiction, nonfiction and Christian books.  When I was at her house last month, although her health was horrible, she still had a book out about habits that she was about to start reading.  I thought “How many people are still worried about changing their habits when they are facing the end of their lives?”

She also was passionate about college football and politics.  No, she didn’t just watch Alabama football games and pretend to know what was going on.  She had the depth chart out and tended to know more then the men in the room.  She also knew a lot about politics and current events.  She knew everything about candidates and what was going on in government.  Although we didn’t always agree on everything, Ganma loved politics.  I think that is why her sons and grandkids are all knowledgable about current events/politics.  We just grew up talking about it like it was normal.

My grandmother taught me that you could be a proper lady and still be passionate and smart.  You can be all things feminine and also care about analyzing things and reading.  This may sound simple, but for someone like me that was wired a lot like my grandmother,  seeing her was a real example for me.

2. The Gift of Hospitality and Caring About The Details

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Her hospitality was probably the thing talked about the most over the last week at her visitation and funeral.  My grandmother loved hosting her big family, as well as friends and parties.  I looked to her growing up as the perfect hostess.  She knew exactly how to arrange fresh flowers, always had some new treat on hand to try when you came to her house, and she always had a pot of coffee on.  I remember sitting around the table with her and her best friends as a child while they drank coffee and I got to have my “coffee milk” (1/4 coffee, 3/4 milk).  Her house was beautiful and inviting, yet she hosted people from all walks of life and made them feel comfortable.  She was a cook like no other.  Until she recently couldn’t walk, she was still always trying a new recipe and telling me about it.  When you came over, she always had fresh sweet tea and lemonade in beautiful pitchers out on the counter.  Somehow, even her lemonade just tasted better than the average lemonade.  My brother put it this way: “She was Martha Stewart on steroids.”  My husband said staying at her house was like staying at a  bed and breakfast.

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About a year ago, Lindsey and I went out to the house with George and Tays.  She had made us some amazing strawberry pie.  She had saved some of the pie pastry and topped it with butter, cinnamon and sugar for George and Tays.  As they ate it and loved it, her face lit up.  I remember sitting there thinking that it was little things like special treats that made my childhood at her house so special.  They were small and subtle, but she put time and thought into everything she made or did.  She made Lindsey and I numerous dresses, Christmas stockings for our whole family, and special gowns for the boys to come home from the hospital in.  She wasn’t an over the top grandmother with gifts, but what she gave you was special with thought and time put into it.  If you stayed at her home, you woke up to homemade pancakes or some kind of treat.

So much of my love for hosting or the need to want to make my family feel special at my house comes from her, as well as my mom and other grandmother.  She might be gone, but I will think about her every time I put on a pot of coffee on for guests, cook one of her many recipes I have, use her China she gave me, arrange fresh flowers or throw a shower.  These might seem like subtle things, but they made a long term impact on everyone around her.  The little things and details do matter.  I will never forget this.  My dad said at her funeral the famous quote, “People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”  When you were at Ganma’s house your felt loved and special.

3. The Gift of Time Spent

Although so many talked about my grandmother’s gift of hospitality and cooking, I think her biggest gift was time spent.  One of her friends said that she was never too busy to listen.  When you were at her house, everything stopped and she expected to sit with you and have a real conversation.  She was warm and a great conversationalist.  She still continued to be a great phone conversationalist up until the end of her life.  If she met you once, she would remember you and ask about you.  I could honestly tell everyone I knew at her visitation, “She always asked about you.”  Although she could subtly tell you how she felt about someone (a Southern lady would never come right out with it), most of her conversations did not revolve around talking bad about people.  She just showed genuine interest in people.

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When I was in college at The University of Alabama, her and Papa had season tickets and took their motor home up for home games.  I was in college but still valued going over to their motor home on a Friday afternoon and just talking.  Of course, she always brought me cookies or homemade bread.  She was still hosting even in their motor home.  If I called her, she was never too busy to have a long conversation.  She was so happy just to talk.  There didn’t have to be an agenda.  She just really enjoyed being with people and conversing with them.  My dad said dish duty with her was even special as a teenager because he got to have great conversations with his mom.  I think that is what I will miss the most – just picking up the phone and calling Ganma.

Instead of just tearing up (which I am currently doing), I hope I learn this lesson with my own children and friends.  I hope I am never too busy to listen, have someone in my home and enter into a great conversation.  Speaking of conversations, we had an analytical conversation a couple of years ago about the book “Heaven Is For Real.”  I know she is now experiencing the ultimate form of hospitality.  I am glad she is out of pain and seeing things I cannot imagine.  Thank you for reading about my grandmother and the lessons I learned from her.

~ Laura

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

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Man, what a crazy week!  I think Jen Hatmaker’s status said it best: Taking Care of Ourselves.  We have also had a lot going on with the health of our grandmother this week.  Even though our Friday Favorites can seem trivial right now, it is important to remember the fun, small things that bring a smile to our face this week.

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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I decided to make a cake last month for the Super Bowl.  I searched the internet for the best chocolate icing to put with the yellow cake my husband requested.  I found this recipe, and it is to die for.  I also love that it makes more than enough icing for a cake.  I hate when I make icing and it is not quite enough to cover the mistakes I inevitably make while icing the cake.  This recipe makes plenty, and you will be glad to have that much to eat!  Here is the link: Buttercream Chocolate Frosting.

Chatbooks

Chatbooks is an app that makes pictures books.  They are only $8 and you get 30 pages (one picture per page).  The great thing is that you can use pictures from social media.  I started out by doing some pictures of my son’s first year of life. It turned out so cute!  This is a great way to document when I don’t have a lot of time.

Metal Letters

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We are redoing our den to get our house ready to sell.  I needed something to go on a wall where I got rid of a dark, heavy picture.  I found big metal letters at Hobby Lobby last week half off (you can pretty much find anything there half off if your timing is right).  I got enough letters to spell out HOME.  I really love them and plan on taking them to our next house too.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation

Well, my husband and I have been into this show for a while now.  This is not a new discovery.  However, we quickly watched the first six seasons on Netflix last year.  We just started watching the seventh season this week, because they released it later.  With all the political and social turmoil going on right now, this show has been a little sunshine this week.  We haven’t watched a good comedy in a while, and I forgot how good it can be for the soul.  Side note:  Don’t judge the whole series on the short first season.  It gets so much better from the second season on.  If you don’t know who Little Sebastian is, you are missing out!

Favorite Things Party

I went to a party this week at a friend’s house, and I thought it was the cutest idea.  You had to bring something that was a favorite for you.  I just had to share.  Below are the rules:

Per Katy…This is how the fave things swap goes:

1. We each bring three of the same item ($5-10).
2. Keep the items unwrapped.
3. Everyone is assigned a number. You’ll put the same number on each of your items. I’ll bring stickers to number the items.
4. One at a time, draw a number and whatever item is assigned to that number is the item you get!
5. Repeat step 4, two more times until everyone has three different items!

During the first round, as your item gets picked, you’ll explain what you brought and why it’s your favorite.

It was so much fun! I came home with a bottle of street relieving lotion, a ring and nail polish.

Have a happy Friday!

~ Laura and Lindsey

My Friend Maribeth And Why You Need to Read Her Story

My Friend Maribeth And Why You Need to Read Her Story

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Today’s post is not really meant to highlight my writing, but it is more to direct you to my friend’s blog so you can hear her story for yourself.  My friend Maribeth (a special friend since high school) has the strongest faith of anyone I know.  A couple of year ago I got to be apart of her wedding weekend, and my husband and I both left saying that it was the most uplifting wedding we had ever been part of.  You cannot be around her or her husband Kyle without having a sense that you just encountered someone who really got what faith is all about.  Maribeth has been a missionary, spent her Friday nights praying with strippers and prostitutes in Atlanta, and has a huge heart for underprivileged children.

This past November she had something happen that shouldn’t happen to any mother.  She lost her baby girl at full term.  I could spend my blog going through the story, but it is better coming from her own words.  I am leaving a link to her blog.  Please read the first post “Opal’s Birth Story”  and the second post about what caused this.  I think it is important to read both because 1. Maribeth and Kyle are inspirations to me and a testament of real faith.  Also, Opal’s story deserves to be heard.  2. It is important to bring awareness to what caused this, and Maribeth so eloquently explains everything.  Here is a link to her blog: My Mamas Heart.

I cried through her post, but I learned so much about what faith looks like in the face of adversity.  I hope you can read and learn about her heart.  Every word I have heard from Maribeth since going through this has blown me away.  From her texts about gratitude for this experience to her beautiful words about grief, she has set an amazing example.  This is really a beautiful story that I am sharing from my heart today.

~ Laura

P.S. I went pretty old school with this picture…

Can moms dream too?

Can moms dream too?

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Last Friday and Saturday, my husband and I attended a marriage conference through our church.  The guest speakers were Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. To be completely honest, we were excited about the conference but we were more excited because my parents got us a babysitter to make sure we could attend. When leading up to the weekend, I kept thinking about all the things we needed to do around our house or all of the things we could be doing as a family as opposed to being at the marriage conference. Knowing my parents had already booked the babysitter, I reluctantly showed up Friday night and I am so glad I did.

We were sitting in the audience Friday night listening to the Smalley’s when they started to talk about dreaming together. They asked us to pause and turn to our partner and tell them what was on our bucket list. As I turned to Ben, my mind went blank.  I told Ben to go first to give me a second to think. He told me his bucket list and then asked me mine. I sat there drawing a blank. Had my mind turned to mush from having two small children, or had I truly forgotten the dreams I once had for myself?  I could sit and name “administrative dreams” such as save for our children to go to college or pay off our house early, but I legitimately could not think of dreams I had for myself. Not my dreams for my family or my children, but for me. After staring at Ben and drawing a blank, I could begin to see the disappointment in his eyes. Usually “dreaming together” has been one of my favorite parts about marriage. Dreaming for myself had also always been a huge part of who I am. Somehow in the hustle and bustle of life and giving my all to my famil,y I realized I had lost a part of me and I wondered, “can I still have dreams for me?”

We got in the car and began to make our way to my parents to pick up my son. As soon as we got in the car, my husband turned to me and asked if I could really not think of things I wanted for myself. I could tell he was really sad for me. He had told me wonderful things on his bucket list such as write a book and learn another language. How has he maintained his dreams and somehow I had become a shell of my old self? There was a part of me that felt like in I was so overwhelmed dreaming of what I wanted for my children and my husband that I did not have the right to dream for myself.

We went on with the conference and learned some wonderfully practical things for our marriage. The only thing that was still lurking in my mind was, “what are my dreams for ME?” After going through stupid questions like, “can I still have aspirations for myself outside of being a good mom?” Or even “what am I even good at anymore?” I sadly know they are the insecurities I have grown to feel as I have devoted myself to being a stay at home mom. When I worked I had something that was mine, something that I was good at.

Before becoming a mom I worked at a University in Nashville. In both of my positions there my main job was to work with people – whether that was helping them figure out their financial aid or working in the President’s Office. I love to communicate, solve problems and help people and I knew I was good at it. I recognize that raising my children is the hardest work I will ever do and let me say I love my job, but somewhere in the day to day I have let my own self doubt creep in and it has left me forgetting my passions.

Over the past few days since returning to “mom life,” I have tried to carve out time each day to remember who I am and what I am passionate about. I am trying to make time to stay sharpe and stay passionate about things I like. While rocking a baby, I downloaded the book Former People by Douglas Smith.  Former People is a book about the fall of the Russian aristocracy durning the Bolshevik Revolution. In my former life I liked history (lol). While I should be finishing my latest parenting book, something about reading something that truly interest me made me feel sharp. I have also began praying that God would help me to become more confident in him. He is revealing in various ways that becoming more confident in Him will allow be to be a better parent and wife.

In a effort to be transparent and to do my own “homework,” I decided to come up with a list of 5 things to start my bucket list! So here they are…

1. Learn French
2. Take a trip to the Holy land.
3. Learn to successfully ballroom dance.
4. Run a race. (I am not a runner, but always wished I was. Surely I could do a half marathon or at least a 5k one day!)
5. Live in a foreign country. (I have always thought it would be cool to live abroad for a large or small amount of time. If not in our “young life,” maybe in retirement.)

Well there you have it! A start to my bucket list. So the answer to my opening question, “can moms have dreams too?” I am learning we absolutely can. I know raising my children and being a good wife is the best thing I can do in this life, but I can never be successful at those if I do not tend to myself first.

So, I raise my half drank coffee cup to remembering who I am and the ways He has gifted me and the ways he has gifted you!

~xoxo, Lindsey

Do my homework with me and list 5 things on your bucket list with the hashtag #momscandreamtoo