The Gift Of Sight

Thanks to Visionworks for sponsoring this post and giving me the gift of sight.

Back in August I worked with Visionworks to promote back to school eye exams and took Lucas for an annual eye exam there. He didn’t need any glasses but I confirmed my suspicions about my own vision problems when I couldn’t read the letters that he was being asked to read aloud during the vision test. Not only did I have difficulty seeing things far away but I had started to get headaches while working on my computer or reading. I knew it was time that I did something about my sight so, as I left, I promised them that I would “see them soon”.

But I didn’t “see them soon”.

Though I’d had plans to call that following week to set an appointment up for myself I didn’t because I’d gotten busy. I was busy with back-to-school prep and then busy with the chaos that those first few weeks of school brought. Then I was busy juggling fall sports practices and games and before I knew it, it was Halloween time, and there were school activities and community activities and I was too busy. I’m sure you can guess what happened next as November came….the holiday prep was starting and I surely didn’t have time over the holidays to go! I had gifts to buy and menus to plan and holiday events to prepare for. I was TOO BUSY. Too busy to find the time to get an eye exam so I could see properly. Can you all believe that?

This is the problem for many of us moms, I think. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time when it comes to our needs and wants. Had it been my child who was saying he couldn’t see you all know that kid would have had an appointment that very next day because being able to see is important! Why was I putting off this important task just because it was for myself? Moms, we have to stop doing this. We need to prioritize ourselves, especially when it comes to our health and well-being!

I am so embarrased to say that I probably would have waited until the new year to make an appointment had I not received a note from the Visionworks folks wishing me a happy holidays. That was the reminder I needed to make myself an appointment. Yes, it is the busy holiday season but I was tired of the headaches and tired of not being able to see very well. I was going to do something for myself. (And another reason to schedule that appointment asap? You want to use those vision benefits before the end of the year! Visit your local Visionworks for an annual eye exam and pair of glasses before your FSA dollars or vision benefits go to waste.)

So I made myself an appointment for later that week and headed in. I told the eye doctor that driving at night was difficult because the headlights of the uncoming traffic bothered me and I told her that I had difficulty seeing things far away. She did all her testing and, sure enough, I neeeded glasses. Though my left eye had pretty perfect vision, my right eye did not and she found that I had Astigmatism. She said this was probably the cause of why night driving was hard for me and said that basically the astigmatism made light “burst”.

After the eye doctor figured out what prescription lenses I need it was time for me to pick out the frames. There was such a great selection at Visionworks but I chose a large pair of blueish-purple colored frames that were the complete opposite of something my typical plain, neutral colored loving self would choose. A few days later my glasses were ready and I headed back in to pick them up. When I put them on my face it was amazing the difference I saw. Everything went from blurry to clear. I knew I had difficulty seeing far away but I had no idea that I’d been walking around with a view of the world like this. How had I not realized that I wasn’t seeing clearly? All of a sudden my headaches made sense. I was trying to read slightly blurry text for hours a day and, while I was able to read it all, it must have been putting a lot of stress on my eyes without me realizing it.

If you haven’t had an eye exam in a while I encourage you to make an appointment right now. Yes, I know it’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and you are busy with all the holiday preparation, but make an appointment to go to your local Visionworks next week when things have calmed down and you need to get out of the house to escape the winter break craziness (trust me…you’ll thank me later….) Plus, remember that most vision plan and HSA benefits will expire December 31st so you want to use the benefits before you lose them.

The gift of sight is such a blessing and I really hope that you’ll give that gift to yourself this holiday season!

50 Ways Moms Can Enjoy “Me” Time

With Mother’s Day coming up I hope many of you will have a day of rest and relaxation. One day is not enough time to have to yourself so I wanted to encourage all of you to make time for yourself daily and encourage your friends to do the same. Whether it’s something small you do for yourself at home or you go out, it’s so important to focus on yourself for a bit of time each day. Since my mind tends to go blank and I always end up just watching television during my “me” time, I wanted to share 50 ways you can make time for yourself and do something just for you!

1) Write

2) Paint a picture

3) Go shopping

4) Take a bubble bath

5) Learn a new language

6) Take a nap

7) Get a pedicure

8) Read a book

9) Craft something

10) Have a spa day at home

11) Flip through a magazine

12) Bake something

13) Give yourself a manicure

14) Go out for dinner with a friend

15) Journal

16) Take an art class

17) Get a massage

18) Volunteer

19) Relax outside

20) Pet an animal at a pet store or animal shelter

21) Enjoy your coffee or tea while it’s still hot

22) Go to bed early

23) Wake up early and enjoy quiet time

24) Go for a walk

25) Talk with a friend on the phone

26) Watch a movie

27) Go out for a drink with girlfriends

28) Workout

29) Sit at a coffee shop and people watch

30) Daydream

31) Make a fancy lunch for yourself

32) Watch an old favorite television show

33) Relax in front of the fireplace

34) Explore the internet- whether it’s Pinterest or blogs

35) Cheer on your favorite sports team

36) Do yoga

37) Dance

38) Start a hobby

39) Listen to music and sing along

40) Enjoy a special dinner you’ve been craving

41) Go on a roadtrip

42) Eat a chocolate bar without sharing

43) Color

44) Complete a puzzle

45) Get a facial

46) Go out for brunch

47) Grow something

48) Go out for drinks with friends

49) Plan a vacation

50) Pick flowers and make a bouquet

Motherhood: The Toughest (But Most Rewarding) Job

Thanks to Teleflora for sponsoring this post.

I have held numerous jobs in my thirty two years of life but none of them has been as rewarding, or as difficult, as this one called motherhood. This job, where my bosses pay in hugs and kisses and my job description consists of chauffeur and bedtime story reader, is not as easy as I thought it was going to be when I dreamed about it growing up.

I underestimated the number of times I’d be woken up in the middle of the night, the frustrating meetings I’d have to sit in to advocate for my children’s educational special needs to be met, the amount of dirty diapers I’d change, and the number of sports games I’d sit through where a blanket and winter jacket couldn’t help protect me from the chilling cold. All that aside though, it’s my favorite job I’ve ever been privileged to have.

Teleflora recently came out with a new video that I love called “One Tough Mother”. They realize that motherhood isn’t always hearts and roses but believe that Mother’s Day can be with a bouquet from Teleflora.

Gifting a beautiful flower bouquet is the perfect way to say thank you to moms near and far for all the love, hard work, sacrifice, patience, fun, intelligence, and compassion they bring to their children’s live each and every day. I agree because fresh flowers are one of my favorite gifts to receive for any occasion!

I was sent a Luxurious Lavender Bouquet (available on Teleflora.com for $109.95). Arriving in a sculpted lavender glass vase from a local florist, it was full of dark pink roses, purple carnations and fragrant lilies. It made my home smell amazing and brought a pop of color to the room.

Teleflora has a number of other bouquets you can send the special mom in your life. You can see them all here. Which one is your favorite?

Free To Play Without Worries

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #allfreeclear #CollectiveBias

With two boys I always have tons of laundry but during Spring and Summer they seem to make double or even triple the normal amount of dirty clothes. Last week started baseball and soccer season which means we are outdoors almost every day of the week now and I’m noticing the pile start to grow already. Between sweaty clothes and sports uniforms they go through multiple outfits a day. On days they have swim lessons add some wet clothes, bathing suits and more towels. Muddy practice fields? More dirty clothes. I already feel behind on laundry constantly (that’s motherhood right?) so if this pile gets much larger I may not be able to find my kids anymore lol.

With lots of laundry I’m sure you all can imagine that the last thing I want is to have to wash the laundry a few times just to get the mud and grass stains out. Honestly, I used to stress out every time it was muddy because I didn’t want to worry about having to get tough stains out of their pants. As much as I wanted to be the carefree mom encouraging the boys to slide to home base, go after the soccer ball with all their might, or make that tackle in football, I couldn’t stop thinking about how dirty they would be after practice or a game. Their baseball pant stains are the worst because they are light gray and hard to keep clean. (Obviously a mom did not make that selection!)

Not only did I worry about their clothes on the field but I learned I needed to relax a bit when they were crawling around in the grass, too. There is not a day Lucas comes home from school with clean jeans. His pants always have dirt or grass stains on the knees.

It’s okay though because I discovered a secret product that fights tough stains for me- all® free clear detergent! I know that my laundry detergent delivers a powerful clean and will make their clothes look as good as new once washed. So I let my boys wrestle in the grass and play in the muddy fields because they are only young once. These times of mom letting them enjoy messy play will be special memories they will carry with them to adulthood and hopefully a tradition they will carry on with their own kids.

Is it time for you to let your kids be kids? If you still have reservations I understand but let me help ease your worries…. First, head to the store and stock up on some good detergent. I like all® free clear detergent because it is the #1 recommended brand by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic and clinically proven to be gentle on skin which is important to me because Lucas especially develops skin rashes really easily. I’d suggest going to Sam’s Club and getting the bulk container of all® free clear Mighty Pacs® because you are going to want enough to last all season long! I follow the directions on the label and use one pack for normal washes and two packs for heavily soiled washes (you’ll want to make sure you don’t use too much in a load).

Once you have your detergent give it a try and take your kids outside for an afternoon. Every time you want to yell “watch that puddle!” or “stay out of the mud!” just take a deep breathe and take a photo of the fun your kids are having. Better yet? Join them! You’ll be so busy having fun that the laundry will be the last thing on your mind!

So will you join me in letting go of the stress and embracing the freedom to be the mother you always dreamed of becoming? The one that lets kids get messy and have fun without worrying about the dirty clothes pile? I hope so! To further inspire you I encourage you to read stories from other parents here.

Motherhood {Saturday Stumbles}

*I love this prayer calendar from Kat at Inspired to Action that gives us 30 topics we can pray for our children.

*Great post entitled: Motherhood is Application (here’s an exerpt:  “This isn’t a time for a gospel presentation because it is a time for gospel application. This is a time to take the grace that God has extended to you, and feed your children with it. Apply what you believe about God’s mercy and kindness and long suffering towards us, and pour it out to them — in a form they can believe in.”

*One mom shares how she enjoys motherhood here.

*Post about Balancing Motherhood With Career (Or NOT)

*A Motherhood Manifesto (Printable)

So true...

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend! If you have any Motherhood posts you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below :)