I love when I get the chance to share a great business with my friends! (Yep, that's you!) I was very excited when the company approached me about trying their clothes for an honest review. I'm not going to lie. Clothes online make me nervous. We've all shopped and then gotten that outfit we thought looked so amazing online, and it wasn't even close. This was not the case!
The blouse I picked from 4 Little Piggies was just as pictured and described. It's shown below on the model and on me in the car. (I'm no model.) The colors are beautiful. The fabric was soft, wore well, and washed well. (Seriously, that's super important.) Quality items that are well chosen by the owners. Sizes range from SM-3XL.
Here's what I love about this company. It's run by 4 friends who post pictures of the clothes on themselves and describe the fit. How awesome is that? Average women (we're talking non-Victoria-Secret, though I think average woman is an even better model if I do say so myself), mom's, business women, the girl next-door - showing you what's in the inventory. Because the women check each item for quality and fit, they are able to tell you if there are certain considerations for a certain piece and size.
If you join their Facebook group, you get to see what's coming before they even put it on the website. This is where they see what people would like for them to bring in, and you can order it before it goes on sale. The one on one interaction is fantastic with lots of discussion going on about the items themselves. Being in the group is like being in a behind the scenes club.
Let's talk price! Each item is fantastically priced. Most items are between $15-$35 and shipping is always free.
Check out 4 Little Piggies Boutique online and let them know Bernadette sent you! I love this company and will certainly give them my business!
This photo should have been all I needed to realize that my kids could do their own laundry. I'll admit, my quitting was brought on because I'd had one too many kids, who can do everything they put their mind to, ask me where their laundry was. What a disservice I had done for them when, in fact, I thought I'd been helping them, especially during the school year. Truth is, I only made myself crazy.
In a movement where I stopped calling it "My Kitchen," and "My House," it was time to stop saying, "My Responsibility."
I think I had it in my head that if it didn't get done, I needed to step in. But really, they needed to do it and make it their routine, and mom needed to stop stepping on their growth.
There is a meme going around that says if a kid can run an iPad, iPhone, and an X-box (which let's admit it, we ask our kids to teach us these things) then they can work a wash machine.
Thus it began. I made sure the laundry facilities were stocked and available. My eldest, with reminding, go his done. Kiddo number 2, the same. The three little guys needed about 4 more days of coaxing. (It's 100 degrees in Colorado right now and I had kids wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants...it was time.)
I have faith that this won't take long to embed. I, as a mother, am learning some limits on holding back my kids (and then getting mad about it.) I'll stand strong and keep doing my laundry. Perhaps in time, their wives and kids will reap the rewards of a man who knows how to do laundry and knows that its part of being a productive, shared household.
<3 Bernadette Marie <3
It's been awhile since I blogged. Life gets in the way whether you have one or five kids, that's for sure. In the missing months, since I last wrote, we wrapped up hockey seasons, played a little more hockey, performed in musicals, and I had my first of five graduate from high school.
The minute you took them to kindergarten, you knew the day would come when they would walk the stage in some school color themed robe and they'd get a plaque that said, "I'm all grown up now." But through all the spelling tests, math quizzes, choir concerts, squeaky cello practices, it actually comes and so much goes through your head.
Did I give him the tools to do this adult thing? Did I help him enough with his homework? Were his friends good enough friends? Were his teachers at least a little sorry to see him go?
I still don't know all the answers for him. The only thing I know is that he's at that magical age of 18 and for the next year he kind of has a free pass. Society looks at you at 18 and 19 and says, "Oh, you're still trying to figure it out." You might go to college or learn a technical skill. Gap years are big now. Work is an option and so it starting your own business. And for this year and a half ahead of you, you get that slack in the rope. You can change your mind a million times and everyone nods and says, "Good for you."
As a parent, however, you stand back and look at this man who took the place of your little boy and you just want to pull in him close and hold on. But another part of you wants to push him out of the tree and watch him fly. (Oh, God! I have to do this four more times and I can't keep my emotions in tact to even write this blog post.)
But I think we did okay. He's changed his mind a million times in one year as to what he wants to do when he grows up. So far, he's come back to a passion that has always had his heart and we will see where that leads him. He also started his own company, two years earlier than I started my first. Maybe I did show him something along the way.
I think he just might make it in this adult life. We did all we could do and now it's his turn to shine. And I turn to see the other four watching and learning from not only us, but from him too. I'm pretty proud to say, they have a great role model in their oldest brother.
Fly, kiddo! The world is yours!
I'll admit, I started to cry just looking at the picture of my son signing I Love You through the glass at the hockey rink. Our friend made the graphic. The day was a big day and this was just the first part of it.
Jack was on the first place team going into the playoffs. They were going to have to fight to win and these boys knew it. Game one goes into overtime! And we win! The Championship goes into overtime and then a shootout! Jack takes the first shot and misses, but in the end we win the championship.
You'll note that he is the captain by the C on his jersey. That alone makes me one proud mama. Someone, other than me and his father, saw his leadership potential. Going into that final game, I don't think there was one parent there that didn't tell me how they'd picked the right leader when it came to picking Jack. He was motivating for his players and kind with his leadership. So, I was already bursting with pride.
After the game, the teams line up. The runner up team is handed their banner. The champions are handed theirs and the Captain and one of his Assistant Captains skate out to receive it. They skate it back to their team and they are suddenly lost in the sea of players wanting to touch their prize. What should happen next? Emerging from that pile is my little Captain! He skates to the other team and begins to shake the hands of the players. The coach moves in and shakes his hand as well. Could I have been any more proud? "Win with humility and lose with dignity," we'd told him. And look at that! He did.
They get it. When you give them the tools to be amazing they step it up a notch. If only one player from the other team walked away feeling appreciated because that Captain took a moment to shake their hand, then we did our job.
If you go to any park or preschool, one of the first things you will hear an adult say is, "Say nice things." We're taught that from the time we can spit out or very first word. Parents forever threaten punishment for the child, regardless of the age, who speaks mean to another person. It's just something we've been taught not to do. So when you sit down with your child, and it doesn't matter what channel you are watching, and an election ad comes on where the candidate bashes the other, how do you justify to them that this is how we pick our leader?
It's a very frustrating time for me--election time. I get sick listening to grown men and women call each other names and spend their campaign money telling us why the other guy is bad. What ever happened to telling people why you're right for the job and not why your opponent is bad because they are a (insert derogatory slam here.)
Children pick their own leaders. They learn by example. They spend their time with the people that make them feel good about themselves. Having our leaders give them permission to tear someone down is just negating what we as parents try to instill. It gives them the wrong message. It tells them that if someone doesn't like your ideas, it's okay to be mean to them instead of negotiating a solution.
My children are older, and they understand the process of an election. We can have discussions about what a candidate brings to the table. And isn't it funny, they don't care for the criticizing either? They are equally as disgusted with the candidates (regardless of what election it is.) I guess maybe I got my point across to them early enough, that no matter who you are, it's still not okay. But, then again, I would guess that the parents of the candidates probably told them that too. So at what age do we give up on our children and let them tear someone down to build themselves up? The answer is clearly never. They will always be my children and I their parent. They won't hear me do it, so I will forever hold them to that standard, even if they run for President of the United States or even PTA President.
I've learned to find immense joy in the mini-vacation. I classify these as a few days in a hotel and still near home. Many of our mini-vacations situate around sporting events, such as hockey, or in the past, karate.
This past weekend, my three youngest sons and I stayed in a hotel only 25 miles from home while they participated in a hockey tournament. It's amazing how only 25 miles can seem like an entirely different place all together. You feel as though you're as far away from home as you could get.
They have busier roads. Lots of restaurants. And even though many of the stores are the same, it's kind of fun to shop at a Target you've never been to.
We loaded up on snacks for our hotel room, a case of water, and off we went to sleep in beds that weren't ours.
I have to admit, some of the charm in hotel rooms is the exploration. Where is the room? Does the key work on the first time? What do they sell in the lobby? Where else can you go into a strange room and open every single drawer and check it out? Oh, and you get your own little bottles of shampoo--Bonus!
Our room was situated right next to the indoor pool. There were hours of fun to be had among brothers, hockey brothers, and new friends that were made just by wanting to swim at that same time.
We had hockey games as late as 9:45PM and had to be to the rink as early at 5:30AM on other mornings. So it was also a practical vacation.
Even when you're running amuck to hockey functions, the vacation still exists. There was giggling when brothers shared beds, down time we usually wouldn't take if we were home, and above all else a closeness you don't get in a big house.
Sure, small hotel rooms are nothing like home. But sometimes they force you to be together when the world tries to pull you all in different directions. Though, when it's over, you might have a ton of laundry and a dirty car, you have a memory that is all yours and you share it with your kids. Seriously, it's worth every dime. I think I'll be making plans for more of these kinds of vacations.
Today is the Valentine's Day party for my 5th grader. I nearly forgot he'd need Valentine's to pass out, even though the grocery store has been reminding me since New Year's Day.
We have one more party to go in our family. 6th grade will seal the Valentine's Day party going, and I have to say, it's one of those traditions I'm okay to do without.
Having boys has changed that very special feeling of decorating boxes and wondering who was going to give you the very best Valentine. Boys (my boys) just didn't care that much.
Somewhere in the past 30 years, we've gone from cut out hearts, to store bought boxes of Valentine's, to BUY BIG BAGS OF CANDY. This is Halloween all over again!
Then there is the box situation. Now, I'll admit I'm very creative with words, but not with paper and glue sticks. I envied every kid who brought in one of those cool boxes. My very best Valentine's box was made by my mother in the 5th grade. She wrapped a shoe box in wrapping paper and put some paper doily hearts on it. Yep, I even won a prize. (Okay, she should have won it.) I kept that box until I moved into my home I'm in now. (I moved it when I was 30! YIKES, I really liked that box.) Perhaps I was supposed to have these boys. They would be just fine (and have done it) to have a big paper bag with their name scrawled over it.
Perhaps it all goes back to acceptance. That was what I craved from every person I'd ever met. (Yes, girl drama.) I had to have that perfect box. I had to write out my Valentine's in that perfect handwriting. I inspected every Valentine I received to evaluate the person's real feelings. (That hurts to write.)
Perhaps it's better that the boys only care about the candy. (Girls might be this way too, I don' know that side.) One thing I have learned from my boys is self-acceptance. You don't need fancy Valentine's or the best box. Being you is good enough.
I suppose Valentine's Day in whole is just another greeting card holiday. Maybe my kids have already figured out. It's not really important. My husband and I don't celebrate it. Every day is a celebration of love at our house. Not only do we say I love you to each other, but we also say it to each of our kids (multiple times a day), and they in return say it back. It's not just once a year they remember to give me a gift, they give me things all the time, and I'm not talking a physical gift.
So, looking forward, I'll be okay to say goodbye to this one tradition in elementary school. But every day of my life I will remember to tell the people who mean the world to me that I love them. That's all that really matters, right?
Dynamic is a force that stimulates change. If you live the same life every single day, then everything stays the same.
Being dynamic, means you change over time. If you happened to have set goals or listed your resolutions for Living Positive in 2016, then know that it isn't going to happen overnight. Being dynamic means you keep focused on your goal and change over time.
Clear. The word seems simple, but it isn't. Many times we have a hard time being clear with others, or ourselves. Have you ever tried to clear your mind? Difficult. However, taking a moment for yourself, you can work on this.
Take a few moments every day to work on clearing your mind. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. If a thought comes into your mind, acknowledge it, and send it on its way. It might help to repeat the word, or any comforting word, with each breath.
Learning to clear your mind takes time, but once you learn, you will be set free (okay, for a few moments.) Sometimes a few moments of clear thought and breath is enough to steer our mood into the right direction and have us Living Positive.
Bernadette Marie is the mother of 5 sons (11,12,12,16,17), a bestselling author, publisher, speaker, event planner, blogger, CEO of 2 companies, and a 2nd degree blackbelt. Often asked how she manages a family of seven, she offers up her advice on home, school, travel, and so much more. Her philosophy is that parenthood is never perfect, but the bumps along the way are what make the best memories.