Eating Fresh with Freshly

If you’re like me, you’re constantly rushed for time. In between prepping and preparing food for your kids and cleaning up the messes left over; let’s be honest – making yourself a healthy, well balanced meal is just a far fetched fantasy.

That is why I am so glad that I can count on Freshly. Freshly delivers well balanced meals with both healthy and vegetarian options right to your door.

They’re not like most food prep companies who will deliver ingredients to your door. No, they did all the hard work for you! All you have to do is pop it in the microwave, set the directed time and BOOM! Delicious, fresh, healthy meal at your fingertips! So easy right?


Are you a busy mom who can’t find time to make a well balanced meal in between the cleaning and wrestling? Are you a working mom who can’t always find the time to cook after a long days shift? Are you a college student with a tight budget? Honestly, Freshly is for everyone. It’s affordable and delivers great options. And I’m here to help it be just a little more affordable for you. Just use my code DLVR639 and get $20 off your first 6 meals. What do you have to loose? Try it out, let Freshly make your life just a little bit easier!

The Struggles of an Ambitious Stay At Home Mother

I feel like I am at a crossroad in my life where I will soon have to make a decision of whether I want to continue to be a stay at home parent or go back in to the working field.

Because I have worked most of my life, the transition of becoming a stay at home parent was a lot more difficult than I anticipated. I always dreamed of being able to stay home with my children, I fantasized about how wonderful it would be while playing my own version of Mary Poppins in my head. But the reality is, that being a stay at home parent is difficult. Although it is rewarding and beautiful, it is a tough journey – sometimes even thankless with long, never ending hours. To top it off, it can be financially nerve wrecking especially since you are no longer contributing with a paycheck. The months of penny pinching become stressful and as a mother, you naturally put yourself last to make sure everyone else gets what they need first. Momma bear always makes sure her cubs get fed so luxuries such as shopping, salon visits, manicures…well, they are a thing of the past.

It can be incredibly taxing to go day after day of just doing without and putting yourself last. It can definitely take a toll on you emotionally. You look in the mirror to see a stranger with funky looking hair and deep eye circles starring back at you. Someone you just don’t recognize anymore. You start to question where the old “you” went; the go getter, the sharp looker, the woman who was always on top of things. Now you’ve become the lady with “mom brain,” wearing long shirts and leggings, covered in baby spit up.

But it’s all worth it right? I mean, children are everything?

Yes, they are. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than anything in this world. I can’t physically be away from my children for too long without completely freaking out. Watching them grow up to be these amazing tiny humans is a gift that I will forever be grateful for. But, there are times where I feel that my potential as a career driven individual is going to waste. I want to be able to contribute to my family in a way where my children will be able to have more opportunities when they are older, and in order for me to be able to give them that – I would have to go back into the working field. But the longer I stay home, the less work experience I am able to attain.

Sometimes, I see some of my past colleagues and their career accomplishments and I feel like I need to be out there. I mean, there are working moms out there who do it all…why can’t I? As a woman of faith, I am called to manage my home. And can I really do that while working outside the home? I believe that is one of my hardest struggles. I know there are women of faith who do work due to financial circumstances so then why am I struggling with such mom guilt?

I think when it comes down to it, we are called to be selfless, to give ourselves to our families and put their needs first. I know this is how God has designed the home to be. Do I see the blessings that have come forth due to me following this example? Yes, I definitely have. I believe I struggle with the definition of success. Most people feel they need to succeed financially and in career driven environments in order to feel successful in life. But, we forget how important it is to raise happy, healthy humans so we write it off.

The truth is that, one will always suffer. If you go back to work, yes your family will get less of you. You may have to hire a babysitter and a housekeeper. One day, I may have to do that and I am trying my best not to guilt trip myself for it because it’s just a process of life that doesn’t mean I love my family any less. I know I can’t have it all. But I want to be able to provide a bigger space that my children may one day enjoy. So until that day comes, I will try to enjoy every snuggle, every boo boo that needs to be kissed, every bed time swinging where my arms feel like they are going to give out on me. The truth is that I am just another over protective mother who is probably overthinking this whole thing. A mother that is just trying to make the best decisions for her family. I just want to do what is right for them, and make the best decisions in order to provide a better future for them.

 

A Letter to My First Son

My brave little AJ,

Ever since you entered this world, you were a force to be reckoned with. You let yourself be known, told everyone who was boss, with your little Chewbacca rrr’s.

You’ve been strong willed since you were in my belly, never letting me eat anything you didn’t approve of. Heck, I couldn’t eat until around 6 months! You and I have always had a journey – it was just us two for two months or so while your daddy made a way for us in our new home in Washington.

You see, you have always been in my heart and on my mind. It was you I held on to when I was lonely, and I still do. I rely on your gentle hugs and kisses, you seem to understand me in a way I can’t describe.

You were the one I was hoping for, the one who healed my broken heart when I lost your first sibling…who now rests in heaven with Jesus. The hope of you got me through it all, and when you came into this world – you changed me more than I would ever know.

I held on to you, every step of the way. Impatiently waiting for your arrival. The bond that we share is beyond my simple understanding as I would shield you with my body, with my very own life I would anything to protect you little man. I love you with all my heart, soul, and very existence.

And now here we are, mommy expecting another little and you are soon to be a big brother! Mommy never expected in her wildest dreams that she could have another and although I am beyond excited for this wonderful addition, my heart breaks for the days that you will miss just having all of me – because now you will have to share me.

Although I know you are going to make an amazing older brother, I know some days will be hard for you. It breaks my heart that you will have days where you might feel alone, or left to the side. But know that you are irreplaceable to me. Having another baby will never change the love that I have for you. While watching you be a loving brother, I know my love for you will only grow.

So please remember, on the days where you feel sad because mommy couldn’t get to you as soon as you needed, know that it’s not because I love you less. Don’t believe that, find comfort in the fact that mommy knows you are an independent little guy and mommy relies on you now through this journey. You are becoming a big boy now, and as hard as that is for mommy to accept – I know you are only going to excel and do great things.

You will always be my baby, my first baby, the one I prayed for the most. The one that I shed countless tears for, the one that I was the most cautious with. God blessed me with you and I know He knew what He was doing when he brought you into my life.

Thank you for helping me realize who I truly am during all these trying times, thank you for bringing so much love and joy in to my life. Thank you for forgiving me when I loose my patience with you, you are so forgiving and loving with mommy – I honestly don’t deserve you.

I love you more than words could ever describe.

Love,

Mommy

 

Printed and Proper

I always try to stay true to myself and my personal style. I love rocking graphic tee’s that express more than just a trend, but that just personally get me and exude my personality. Now to find both of those things in a brand and on top of it, add faith to its purpose – I’m sold!

Printed and Proper not only offers pieces with a purpose but some of the shirts have some of the most funny slogans for us foodies who just love to laugh and a good eat. When scrolling through the brand’s site, it was really hard to just narrow it down to just two pieces to pick out because her line is so adorable and has a broad range of cute tees to fit any personality. Whether you are strong in your faith, need a rocking mom power tee, or are just looking for a shirt to express how much tacos mean to you – this is the shop to buy from!

One of the first pieces that stood out to me was the “Be You Bravely” tee. One of the reasons this piece resonated with me was the Bible verse that it represented – which is:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

This is one of my favorite Bible verses, mostly because as a young girl and throughout me growing as a Christian – I felt the tug and pull of being a Christian in this modern world. Being of the flesh but trying to live in Christ is a huge challenge, especially for young girls. It is important to “not conform” to what this world expects of young women, many things that are not godly – such as premarital sex, promiscuity, vanity, etc. I have always struggled to be myself, sometimes not so bravely – so I feel this shirt is an awesome message for not only young women, but all women. Because even when you grow up and become mothers and wives, we still have to hold true to the will of God and the examples we have to uphold in Christ.

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I also fell in love with the t-shirt “Taco’s Are My Love Language” because, well who doesn’t love tacos? I know I do, I especially gravitated towards this graphic tee because tacos has been my number one craving this pregnancy. So, it was only natural to pick this baby up!

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Audrey Deprenbok is the shop owner, and she is seriously the sweetest person you will ever meet! Her packaging is adorable, well thought out and personalized to make you feel extra special. Great customer service always has me wanting to come back for more – which I definitely will be back for more! Not to mention, the fabric of both the shirts I received were so soft and the cuts are very trendy! So I encourage every one of you to check out her shop, here – and she is also on Etsy. Make sure to use coupon code “GKNOWSBEST” to get a special discount! Make sure to shop small business ya’ll!

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Until next time!

~G

Staged By Social Media

It has taken a few weeks for me to finish this post, mostly because I really wanted to make sure it didn’t come across too negatively to my readers. After coming back from my trip to California to visit family, and then during the 4th of July holiday, I really took some time to be present in my family and reevaluate a few things.

I have mentioned before that I really struggle to be present and focused sometimes, over indulging in my technology due to social media, emails, blogging, etc. It get’s very challenging sometimes, trying to keep up with this social media game where you’re constantly chasing after more followers or likes in order to maintain some sort of relevancy on social media. It’s just the nature of the game- blogging is a competitive thing where there are so many talented bloggers out there that you have to make sure you are always creating great content. It gets challenging for me because I have to constantly remind myself why I’m doing it all the while trying to stay true to myself.

Lately it had been feeling very forced for me, always chasing after that perfectly staged picture that just never feels natural. Getting overwhelmed by trying to finish writing a post, product review, all while making sure my toddler gets fed, bathed, watched, etc. I’m in my third trimester so running after him and making sure all his needs get met is physically exhausting because I’m caring another little in my belly. He is a handful and he needs my patience more than anything, but there are times where he really pushes me and I feel badly for having my attention elsewhere all because I’m doing the “blogging” thing.

So why did I start this blogging adventure?

I did it because I wanted to share my experience. I know I’m not the only hot mess mom out there, still trying to hold on to the little bit of identity left within her. You know, everything you loose in the process of motherhood because you are no longer just for yourself – but you belong to your children. You start to dedicate your life more to shaping and creating the lives and atmosphere of your tiny humans. Whatever time left you may have for yourself, you will probably find it schlumped over the couch trying to catch up on sleep.

I did it because there are stories to tell, that could help others like myself. Especially when it comes to my faith. I try to stay true, I try to provide a hope and an outlet for others that may be struggling with the same experiences. I want to give others hope through my failures – maybe provide for a reason to laugh. I am not perfect, and thankfully God does not require you to be, but it’s my way to reach out there to people I may not have ever gotten a chance to meet personally – and maybe form a connection. Through that connection, maybe I could offer support or healing.

I did it because, I enjoy to write. Not everyone is going to like what I write, but its always been an outlet for me to let it out and keep my sanity. Ever since I could remember, I’ve had a notebook full of thoughts, poems, stories and songs.

So then, why have I become so obsessed with the number of followers and likes on my pictures? Why have I become so focused on the number of comments on my pictures? Am I getting away from why I started this in the first place?

I took a few weeks off just so that I could ground myself and realize that although I may not have all the followers or picture likes in the world – that is not why I started all of this. I do not want to force real connections or real engagement. If that means it may take me more time to build those relationships, then so be it. I want to be able to present during life and not miss out on every milestone that my kiddo goes through. I don’t want to force him to take that “perfect” picture only for him to hate being in front of the camera because mommy is making him take another picture. I want to laugh, I want to live, I want to be present and just be in the moment.

So I encourage you to let life happen and just be apart of the ride. Take that picture, post it, and who cares if it isn’t in the perfect lighting. Be blind fully present, take in the moments because one day, they will just be pictures and memories. Enjoy your lives, don’t live it for others or for that perfect moment of product placement. Be authentically you, even if the picture doesn’t agree, or the hashtag doesn’t fit. Be true to yourself.

The Untold Story of Being a Stay At Home Parent

Before having children, I only dreamt of being able to stay home with my kiddos, being able to be apart of their growing development. I honestly never dreamed I’d ever have the opportunity to do so. Then, God blessed our family and as of now I am able to watch after my son while expecting another one on the way. Although there are so many wonderful things that you get to experience while staying at home with your child, there are so many challenges that come with being a stay at home parent. I am not here to complain, I know I am very lucky to be able to take care of my child but there is so much that people just don’t understand about how much it takes out of a person.

I used to work a full time, career path job. I was a project coordinator for a promotional products company in the San Fernando Valley located in California. I have always held a steady, full time job since I was 18. Being able to fully depend on myself financially is something very empowering and gave me a sense of security. The challenge from this transition is the guilt I feel when I’m not able to help out my family financially. On the months that we have struggled financially, I have really felt the blow of being a burden and just have had the feeling of being a useless asset to our family. Yes, I know I am at home – cleaning, feeding the baby, cooking dinner, washing and folding the laundry, constantly going. But for some reason, it just never feels like its enough.

When my son was old enough, I started my own Etsy shop. Thankfully, it was quite a success but then I struggled with time management and I was often left with not enough hours in the day to get everything finished. I would work until 2 in the morning to finish up orders only to come in to the next room and see it in shambles. The dishes needed washing, the trash needed to be taken out, my son would wake up every hour if I wasn’t sleeping or cuddling next to him and my husband would come home to no meal cooked. I felt like a failure.

Although I was able to make a decent profit and help pay for some bills, something was always suffering. I felt I was neglecting my son’s needs and often just left him to cry so I could finish what I needed to do. This left me feeling so guilty, because he still needed me. I often snapped at him because I was exhausted trying to keep up with so many things – I had to finally close my shop because I realized that I was a wife and mother first.

The guilt never really seems to go away because the grass always seems greener on whichever side you’re not currently on. Women who work bring home money but don’t get to see their children grow up. And stay at home mothers get to watch their children grown up but then are left with years of non work experience and are deemed unemployable because of their lack of “in field” experience. There’s the misconception that we just stay at home and do “nothing” all day – but let me tell you, some days I feel like I haven’t stopped. Being a stay at home parent can be very lonely, especially because you don’t get any interaction with other adults unless its John from Citi Bank trying to collect on your bill. The feeling of neglect is overwhelming sometimes but I often don’t say anything about it to anyone because I truly appreciate my husband for what he does for us and I love my son. I know that its neither of their intentions to have me feel unappreciated.

There is usually no one else to talk to about our struggles so there is no venting allowed. If you do open your mouth, you are often faced with the judgements and criticisms of others telling you “well, you’re lucky that you can even stay home,” or “they will only be young and rebellious for so long until they want to leave with their friends (regarding your kids),” or “girl, you’re so lucky – you don’t have to go to work,” etc. I often just keep my mouth shut because no one will truly understand unless they are in a similar situation.

At the end of the day, yes I do feel so very blessed that I get to be watching over my son and taking care of our home. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to watch him grow and learn and just to continue to grow that bond with him. Although it is very challenging, I would not change it for the world. But it will be a constant struggle and adjustment because there are some days when you need time to yourself. To recharge your batteries, to go out and actually be able to indulge in the soup and salad combo at Panera Bread without feeling guilty for it because the amount you spent there could have been split for a meal for you and your kiddo.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, the guilt might not ever truly fade. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you are an irreplaceable part of your family dynamic. Your family depends on you to take care of the things that they don’t see and take for granted because someone else (you) is getting them done. You are feeding, nurturing, comforting, and loving your family and that itself does not have a price tag my dear. Your “office” will always be dirty, filled with soiled diapers and sippy cups that need to be cleaned but your heart will always be full. One day, all the chaos will settle and you will miss the pile of dirty laundry on the floor with a side of Tonka trucks by the side of the kitchen. Give yourself the time that you need, make your husband stay at home while you take a long drive to 7-ll and get yourself that slurpee. Blast the radio and let your hair dance in the air in its full mom bun glory. And if you see a fellow stay at home mother, salute her, encourage her. Let her know that she is appreciated.

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

1 Timothy 5:14

Summer Styles with Pink Blush Maternity: Maternity Style and Giveaway

I have really never been one to wear or purchase maternity clothes, mostly because there weren’t any stores that I could really find with cute, fashionable, and comfortable clothes. Most maternity clothes fit too big, giving me that frumpy look which left me feeling down about how I looked.

So, my only options up until now were to purchase dresses and shirts that were a size or two bigger than my original size so that it would fit my growing bump. The problem with this is that, you can’t use these pieces after baby is born – thus leaving me with a bunch of clothes that won’t fit me afterwards.

Then I found Pink Blush Maternity! They offer an adorable maternity line that is not only fashionable, but reasonably priced – which is a big plus for me. Looking through their site, it was really tough to just pick out one item that I liked because they have such a beautiful selection of trendy clothes. I finally narrowed it down to the Ivory Lace Belted Maternity Dress, which I love! I really like the belted dress look, which gives you so many options to pair with different shoe styles and accessories! This dress comes in a variety of colors and sizes, which I love!

My first impressions on the dress:

-The fabric is breathable, which is really important for that growing and uncomfortable belly.

-The dress is form fitting, but not tight and grows with your expanding bump.

– Material is soft but sturdy, you can tell the fabric is of good quality and will hold up.

-Fashionable, which is so important because most maternity clothing lines offer some hideous styles

– Not only makes for an adorable maternity dress, but you can wear after pregnancy which makes it multifunctional

Another big plus for me was that Pink Blush Maternity is a small family run and operated company. This allowed me to contribute to a small and local shop, instead of bigger corporate companies who aren’t as mindful of their customer platform.

In addition to selling maternity clothes, they also provide a great selection of clothes for women who aren’t expecting, as well as plus size options. They even offer baby and nursing accessories – which I’m keeping an eye out for when baby #2 arrives.

Overall, a great company to purchase from! Great customer service and product packaging! I really recommend their products and will not only be a returning customer but I will be sporting this dress often and proudly! Thank you Pink Blush Maternity for helping me create my mom style and maternity experience! 

I will be running a special giveaway for your chance to win a $75 gift card to Pink Blush Maternity. Add some beautiful summertime pieces to your wardrobe and make sure to enter (instructions on my Instagram account here)! Giveaway will run until Friday, June 10, 2016 at 9AM PST and will be  Be sure to check out their site here to pick up some amazing maternity pieces for this summer!

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Expectation VS Reality

As a mother, you deal with your fair amount of disappointments and failures. You battle with who you used to be before you had children, and who you are now. I like to be somewhere in between the person who I used to be and who I am now. Although I truly admire who I have become, sometimes I miss who I used to be. A go getter, an entrepreneur, a singer, a project coordinator, etc.

Some days I feel like a failure. I’m not as energetic as some of these mom’s out there, I’m not always as friendly – sometimes hiding behind my sunglasses shielding my bare face that has no touch of make up. I’m not the yoga and Pilates preggo mother that I thought I would be. I don’t have a lot of mom friends in my area so as far as setting up play dates for my son, I definitely feel like a failure.

I think, I can at least rule at managing my home because that is my “office.” But reality sinks in, that no matter how many schedules I make, how many planners I own – life will happen. I can schedule laundry day, or grocery day or this is when I sit down and finally write my blog post day but life will happen and then I’m left with what I feel is nothing to show for.

In between trying to get the dishes done, chasing my toddler from playing with the electric chords, making breakfast, wrestling my son from swinging the dog from her tail, prepping for lunch, putting my pots back in the drawer from when my kid pulls them out to play, etc. Nothing ever seems to get done. I can schedule in between his nap times, IF he decides to nap today – life is as unpredictable as wintertime in southern California, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.

An unpredictable schedule can be so disappointing when you have a desire to meet expectations. I am the type of person who, as soon as I get an idea – I like to test it out right away.

Expectation: I want to open an Etsy shop!

Reality: It actually took me about 6-9 months to finally put my idea into reality. My son was a newborn when I WANTED to start but I had to wait MONTHS before I got the ball rolling because I had no one to help me with him and it was really difficult working one hour at a time, in between his naps. Especially because he refused to sleep on his own until he was about 9 months.

Expectation: I want to start blogging!

Reality: I didn’t get to fully dive in to blogging until about a year after wanting to do it. I started with a journal, story telling about experiences in my life as a way to maintain my sanity. I have to say, I just re-started this venture maybe 3-4 months ago when my son was finally able to play independently. I still have to chase him around, mid paragraph to make sure he didn’t jam a toy in the DVD player. And on most days when I get on my laptop to write a post, he likes to psych me out and play with the power chord, occasionally pulling it out of its outlet and then laughing. -_-

In the end, as long as it gets done – you’ve still reached your achievement. I think its natural to try and put a time frame and deadlines to certain personal goals that we have in life, but its important not to live by them.  I think most successful people have experienced a fair amount of failures and met their own expectations in later times than expected – but they at least got there. You will get there, I will get there. It might not be at the time that I expected, but God always pulls through. He gets me there when it’s time for me to get there. You have to take the positives in life or else, you’ll constantly feel like a failure. You have to remember that YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! You are just going through another hurdle, so keep on persevering and finish climbing that mountain!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12

 

Mom of Boys!

So on Friday we confirmed that baby# 2 is a boy! We are ecstatic! I never imagined that I would be a mom of boys but I am so excited for this adventure! My mind wanders and I can imagine myself being that sporty mom that takes her boys to their athletic sport team events. Going on family sporting events and signing up for those mud runs. Now that I think about it, I feel like I would be the perfect mom for boys, being that I am quite sporty and tom boyish since childhood. I was the girl that would play sports with all the boys in the block and even played co-ed football in high school.

I feel that God chose this for me because He knew how I would thrive guiding my boys. Sure, there will be moments where I fail because I am not perfect. Sometimes, it scares me to think that I am going to have two rambunctious little boys tearing up my living room, but I am so excited for the love that we will share, and the future memories.

Being a mother, for me has brought out so many different emotions. It has been a time where I have doubted myself the most; my actions, my feelings, my existence. I second guess the decisions I make because I want to make sure I am making the best decisions for me and my family. Always thinking back to myself, “Was that the best decision for my boys?” And I’m sure all mothers feel this way sometimes.

To think, only a few years ago – I was so hopeful to be a mother. I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to be. Then I was pregnant with my first son, and when he was born I felt myself so blessed. I never thought I would ever receive another gift so amazing. Then little Jackson surprised us and emerged in a very stressful time. But I believe he was gifted to me to bring me not only extra joy – but I feel it was a way for God to reassure me that I was right on track. He was reassuring me that I was doing a good job, even though I had been feeling like I was failing at life- He was reassuring me that I was doing just what I was supposed to be doing.

 

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

-Psalm 127:3

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