A Date to Stay Up Late

IMG_4787Tonight my 5 year old asked if we could make a date for him to stay up late…

Truth be told, I love a scheduled routine. I’m the kind of gal who keeps a detailed calendar, gets anxious if running late, and loves a plan. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and it seems my kid seems to thrive on a routine as well. It works for us. However, I guess there are times I could Continue reading

Book Character Day: Elephant And Piggie

This has been a big year in our home when it comes to reading. Just after our son turned five, he started to read. What a thrill! Now, we’re just talking about small sight words in those simple I Like To Read books, but to see it all clicking in that busy little brain of his is amazing. As an avid reader myself, this was one of those super cool Mom moments that I didn’t quite anticipate.

The kid loves books. To see him get as excited about a new library book as he does a new toy makes my heart swell. So when the question came up as to which book to choose to dress up as for Book Character Day at school, we had to do some thinking. We have so many favorites!

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Last year, Tedd Arnold’s Fly Guy Series was #LittleMan’s top pick . I mean what little guy doesn’t enjoy the often gross adventures of a boy and his pet fly? LOL. We currently love the Flat Stanley series by Lori Haskins Houran. It’s the story of a boy who is different than everyone else, but uses that difference as an advantage, and often saves the day. Flat Stanley was a major contender this year.

In the end though, it boiled down to two unlikely friends who play hard, disagree hard, and love hard -which also happen to be three distinct characteristics of my son. We picked the Elephant and Piggie series. But which of these many Mo Willems books would we choose? Well OBVIOUSLY, it had to be the one that included silly, messy, yucky SLOP. (Words that end in “-op” seem to be a favorite with many of the little boys I know.  Am I right, Mamas?)

 

So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Elephant & Piggie. A simple, but fun costume to put together with just a glue gun, some thread and a few things around the house. (EXCEPT the hat. I thought about making that, but I found this one on Amazon, which was pretty inexpensive, and it would keep the elephant’s trunk out of my kid’s face. My big mistake with the Fly Guy costume was that it was cumbersome for a little kid to wear all day.) In hindsight, this year I wish I would have added a secret pigeon on the costume too. (If you’re familiar with the series, you know Mr. Willems always hides his famous Pigeon somewhere in the book. How cute would that have been?!?)

My little elephant was so proud as he stomped into class. Oh to be the Fly Guy on the wall at school today.

What are your favorite children’s books? I’d love your recommendations in the comments below!

Shine On!

Pregnant Pause…

photo 3Sorry about my lack of posts for the past couple of years. Let’s just call it.. a ‘Pregnant Pause’ shall we? A very extended pregnant pause…

You see, I took a break  from blogging to focus on my company, my family, and my health when we got pregnant with our son, and I’ve just been swamped since my #LittleMan was born. I’ve been busy juggling my business, sleepless nights, and learning the ropes of being a new mom. My ‘Type A’ personality wants to know the textbook solution to every situation- what a joke. There’s nothing like motherhood to slap you in the face with the reality that parenting, at times, is as clear as mud. Needless to say, when my domain mapping renewal reminder popped up tonight,  I realized its been a VERY LONG time since I updated the good old sunshine stand. Sorry about that. I’ve been distracted singing to ‘my only sunshine.’

To catch you up, life has never been sweeter– and that’s because life is no longer about me. These days it’s all about my #LittleMan. He’s just about 1 and a half now, and he is a walking, talking toddler tornado– a energetic spinning ball of joy, snuggles and mischief. He is the answer to my many, many, many prayers, and makes my heart so full it feels like it is going to explode. There is no place I would rather be these days than with him and my husband at home. Indeed, home IS where my heart is.

Getting to this point has been a several year journey down a long rocky road. You see, I always dreamed I’d be a mother, but I never imagined it would take me as long as it did to become one. Pregnancy just didn’t happen as easily for me as it does for some women, and there were times I would wonder if it would ever happen at all. Thanks to some wonderful doctors and the grace of God, our prayers were finally answered and our beautiful son was born in 2014.

If I’ve learned anything during this ‘pregnant pause’ the past few years it is this– trust in God’s timing. HIS is always the best timing. We often have our own timeline, our own idea of how things ‘should be’. Try to let go of those ideologies, and trust that God has a much better plan. It might take a LOT longer than your plan, and might take you through several unexpected twists and turns, but trust that it will lead you exactly where you are supposed to be.

For me, motherhood exceeds my wildest dreams. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but by far the most important and joyful thing I will ever do. Good things come to those who wait, and I’m grateful now God made me wait was long as He did for our #LittleMan. Because of that, I’m in a place, and at a point in my life where I can savor every moment soaking up my ‘little sunshine.’

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Patience is a virtue friends… thank you for being so patient with me. It’s good to be back.

Shine on!

 

 

 

 

 

A Lesson in Self Affirmation: The Perfect Way to Start Each and Every Day…

I’ve always been a morning person. There’s nothing like watching the sunrise and the start of a new day. Each morning brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start, and it’s up to us whether we take advantage of that chance.

I came across this video on YouTube the other day, and just found it too precious not to share. What if instead of grumbling about the morning and the day of the week, we recited the lines that this little girl does in the mirror to ourselves? There’s no better look than self-affirmation and confidence. Wear it with pride and believe in yourself… for that’s the best way to get others to believe in you.

Enjoy the following :49 second video… and Shine on!

Celebrating Thanksgiving by Thanks-living

As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near, perhaps like me, you’ve been digging around your kitchen searching for your special stash of recipes passed down through the generations. After all, no one makes the (fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-Thanksgiving-Food) like Mom & Grandma & Great-Grandma did. I’m guessing (and hoping a little) that like me, you also have one of those messy kitchen drawers that features all sorts of odds and ends in it. Just like the fridge, the coffee maker and microwave oven, to me a home would not be a home, without a mixed up messy kitchen drawer. 

Much to my husband’s chagrin, (he’s neat–I’m messy!) mine has a multicolored mishmash of coupons, crayons, and birthday candles. It is also a landing spot for special things that come my way throughout the year. It’s kind of a confused filing cabinet brimming with stuff that I need and want to hang on to, but can’t think of anywhere else to put. Despite the clutter, I know I will always find whatever I’m looking for in that magically mixed-up drawer.

I mention (and confess to) my messy drawer today because in it, I came upon two surprises that came to me earlier this year: unexpected mail. They were both the loveliest, handwritten notes. After reading them, I saved them, and I spotted them neatly stacked in the kitchen chaos this morning like diamonds nestled among my rumpled rough.

These are not the kind of ‘thanks for a present’ notes (although I am a big fan of writing those myself) rather, these were simply written— just because… The two random notes were from family members who sat down to connect. There was nothing major happening at the time, no illnesses or life changing event. They just wrote to reach out. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a lot of these kinds of notes these days.

The first came from one of my husband’s second cousins, Amy, who I really don’t know that well, but look forward to getting to know better. She sent me the most beautiful card, and inside wrote the kindest, most heartfelt things after observing me with my nieces and nephews at a big family get-together. She brought tears to my eyes. It’s funny how people can spot what’s in your heart even across a crowded room. 

It would just so happen, that a few weeks later, I received another letter in the mail. This one, from my college aged niece, Makenzi. Her beautiful note exuded gratitude. While I won’t share the entire note with you, she did say, “You pick out the good from the bad, and I’ve heard the art of Thanksgiving from your lips.” Yes! She mentioned Thanksgiving, and I received this note back in July. She’s quite the young lady and she makes us all so proud.

I don’t mention these notes to sing my own praises. Rather it’s the opposite. I mention them because the authors touched me to the core. It’s not just what these special ladies wrote, but that they cared enough to write in the first place. They found time in between classes and children and their packed schedules to sit down and take a few minutes to do something special and unexpected for me. Sending a text message or an e-mail would have been easier, faster and cheaper. Instead they chose the old fashion way, the mail. I’m sure too neither of these women probably realized what an impact these simple notes would have on me. That’s the beauty of living a life of gratitude in action— it’s when you give of yourself, that you truly give.

In between basting the turkey, our second helping of stuffing and cat naps in front of the football game this coming Thursday, we will give thanks for our family, our friends, our freedom, our food, our faith.

Undisputedly, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reach out and let others know how much they mean to you. However, while the Thanksgiving holiday is one day a year, what if we worked to express the sentiment of Thanksgiving all year-long?

As I return my sweet letters for safe keeping to my messy kitchen drawer, I pull out my pen and paper and start to write. After all, the art of Thanksgiving is really about Thanks-living.

Shine on!

Whether Shivering or Sweating… Learn to Savor Every Moment

Ask my mother and she’ll tell you I only wore dresses, until I reached the 5th grade.

What can I say? I’m a dress girl. I still am… and I especially love sundresses. If I could find a way to wear one all year-long, I would, but alas, I’ve found it’s tough to make one work in a snow storm.

Julie Chin San FranciscoMy love of sundresses compelled me to pack many (despite knowing better) on our recent trip to San Francisco. My plan: to layer the sundresses with tights, sweaters, coats, etc. If you’ve ever been to the “city by the bay,” then you probably know that despite the fact that it is in “sunny California,” San Francisco tends to be foggy and cool. The science behind it is amazing. During our recent mid-June visit the surrounding cities were all in the 90s and 100s, and we were in the 50s and 60s. I admit, (even as a Meteorologist), that 50s and 60s isn’t  sundress weather.

So, as you’d expect, I found myself underdressed Continue reading