It’s no secret that I am a busy woman. I work full time, am married, have two great little boys, and like to be involved in the community. So what does one do when one has limited free time? One opens an Etsy shop and sells items that one normally makes just for themselves. Say what?
That’s right. On March 1st, I launched Team Lloyd Creates. What am I creating? Well, if you follow me on social media (and I know that you do), you know that I am in glam planning. What is glam planning? Basically, it’s scrapbooking in your planner. But these aren’t your eighth grader’s planners. Oh no. Some of the big players in the game are Erin Condren Life Planners, Me and My Big Ideas Happy Planners, Passion Planners, Filofax, Kikki K, and those are just a few of what I would call “traditional planners.” Then you have traveler’s notebooks and bullet journals, junk journals and memory keepers, the list goes on and on. If you can write down what you want to remember in it, it can be a planner.
My planner of choice is the Me and My Big Ideas (or MAMBI) Happy Planner. And in true I take things too far fashion, I have two. I have a Classic size and a Mini Size. Why does anyone need two planners? Well mainly because I’m an adult and I pretty much will do whatever I want. *shrugs* Yolo.
Actually, the bigger of the two, the Classic, I use for work and personal planning. Appointments, to do’s, meal planning, the works. My Mini is strictly for my own business; scheduling social media posts, reminders to ship orders, timelines for putting up inventory, etc. Writing blog posts also get written down but we all see how well that is going.
What kinds of things am I selling? Well in the glam planning world, stickers are king, queen, heirs to the throne, knights, and nobility. That is terrifying to me, so while I have started selling them, they are not my main focus. Currently, my primary items are planner clips and planner charms. Things to make your already pretty planner look prettier. So far the stickers I have created are super functional and maybe someday they’ll be as fancy as some of the other shops but it will most definitely take me a while before I get my sticker feet under me.
Today is the last day of my grand opening sale, where you receive 20% of two or more items automatically. However, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (I mean come on, have you seen our logo?), from March 16th through March 18th, use code STPATRICKS17 to receive 17% off your order. No minimums!
I’d love to hear from you what kinds of things you’d like to see. The great thing about these planner accessories is they have a variety of uses outside of the planner world. Planner clips can be used as bookmarks, tabs in notes, or just a way to bright your day. Planner tassels and charms can be attached to key rings to help make it easier to find your keys. Let me know your ideas in the comments!
In my mind, I am a fairly confident person. I feel like I’m pretty self assured and comfortable in who I am. Was this always the case? Teenage me would tell you most certainly not. Thirty something me says, meh does it matter?
While I would love to lose ten pounds (okay twenty…all right, all right fifty and some change), my body carried two healthy babies to term and then delivered them without pain meds. I like to think that makes me a confident badass (actually, anyone who’s been pregnant is a badass to me). Today, my oldest son said something to me that made me pause. It made me start to wonder if I am really as sure of myself as I think.
My husband and I have differing days off. When he is home on Saturdays and Sundays, he has the boys to himself.
Rabbit trail: Scott and Jaxen are identical in personality and thought processing. This leads to a stubborn perfectionist trying to get another stubborn perfectionist to do what he wants. I’ll let you decide which one is which.
This particular Saturday, I arrive home from work to be greeted by a grinning Hunter and a very sad Jaxen. The very sad four year old was in trouble for getting into mommy’s makeup while he watched Sheriff Callie in his parents’ bedroom. According to this particular tiny tyrant, he was applying said makeup to his baby brother. His reasoning for playing in the makeup? Between sobs I learned that he was trying to be beautiful like mommy. He wanted Hunter to be beautiful like mommy too.
One part of me is touched that he thinks that I am beautiful. The other part of me was equally horrified. My darling boy thinks that in order to beautiful like me, he needed to put on makeup. Here I thought having boys saved me from this type of problem. Motherhood proves me wrong again.
I scooped Jaxen into my lap and emphasized that he was beautiful, handsome, gorgeous, you name it just as he is and nothing will ever change that. I held him tightly until he pushed me away and demanded real pizza, which being the excellent mother I am, got on my phone and ordered. Except I couldn’t stop thinking about his statement. Does my son think that my beauty comes from a bottle? Do I think my beauty comes from a bottle? Am I confident in my own skin?
While I do enjoy makeup (hello Ipsy subscription) and love all things girly, I’ve always thought I was doing a good job of not letting those things define me. It’s true that when I do put on a full face of makeup, I look differently, no matter how natural I keep it. I think that’s ok, though. To me, it’s like when I was a little girl and I’d play make believe in dress up clothes. There were some amazing roles that I would play. The dress up clothes would come off and I was still me. Incredible, awesome me.
In my position as a girl boss, I have a certain image I maintain. At minimum, I try not to leave the house without lipstick, either on or at least in my purse to apply after I drop the boys off at daycare. Most days it’s mascara, blush, and some bold shade of lipstick. There’s something about that combination that makes people take me more seriously (and why that is makes up an entirely different post). To my family, though, I live in ugly leggings and barely remember to wash my face. Which is the real me? Honestly, both of them are me. They are the ways I express myself in my different roles.
I know that Jaxen didn’t mean that I could only be beautiful while wearing makeup, but it does mean that he’s caught on, at a young tender age, that makeup makes mommy feel good. I try so hard to be conscience of the things that I say about myself, that I never stopped to think about the way my son perceives me. This interaction with him has probably me more aware of myself than anything else. Of course this is one of the nasty side effects of having children (and of course no one tells you this, like no one tells you that poop can be classified as a biological weapon). If I didn’t pause to think about how I’m portraying myself before, I will certainly be scrutinizing myself now.
What makes you feel the most confident?
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Done. Totally over it. That’s all I could think about as my four year old decided to make his three trillionth bad decision since we’d entered the Dollar Tree. The Christmas holiday had completely thrown off his routine, so between that and the genius idea I had to give him gummy candy before we went into the store, things were not going well.
As I stood in line with my baby between his brother, who was trying to exit the cart and stand on top of the conveyor belt, and me, I began to seriously question why I bothered taking my son in public. Why I didn’t just leave the cart full of dollar wonders and haul his little butt out to the car. Why I allowed him to periodically screech at the top of his teeny tiny lungs like a stepped on cat.
In that moment, I was done. I was done with his behavior, no matter how normal it was (four year old boys are not known far and wide for being the best behaved creatures). I was done wondering if he was grabbing himself because he had to pee (boys are so fascinated by their member it’s so hard to tell). The constant demands for toys that were thought up by someone who hated mothers, the laying down in the middle of aisles and laughing maniacally, the refusal to answer whether he wanted Avengers or Paw Patrol Valentine’s Day cards for his classmates (for the love, just pick ONE!).
I stood there, in my $3.98 ugly Wal-Mart leggings, oversized sweatshirt, and no bra, and thought to myself, how the ever loving f-bomb did I get here. Isn’t he too old for this? Aren’t I? I could feel the migraine begin to pound behind my right eye.
Then, my eight month old reached out and grabbed me. He wanted out of the cart, so that he too could partake in his brother’s shenanigans. He made his happy noise and buried his face into my chest (he’s a boob man). All of a sudden, I looked at both my sons and thought, someday this will all be done.
Years from now, my boys won’t need to go to the store with me. They probably won’t want me to. They will go to the bathroom when their body tells them. They won’t act without inhibition, walking up to other children and starting conversations. Jaxen will stop asking me to Hulk Smash and Hunter won’t think everything I say is awesome. I won’t have them vying for a spot on my lap and I’ll probably have to sit on them to get any physical affection.
Am I ready to be done with certain aspects of this stage in life? Absolutely. I could do without the poopy underwear and sleepless nights. I am not ready to be done with sloppy kisses and blanket caves.
Part of Jaxen’s bedtime routine is me laying down with him. Most of the time I sing him two songs and then we lay there until I fall asleep. Tonight, I watched his eyelids get heavier as I sang and he pulled my hand in close to his chin. His little face looked exactly as it did when he was about a year old, relaxed and smooth. I kissed his little fingers and whispered ‘I love you’ before I finagled my way out of the bed. This ritual will be done someday but it will always live in my heart.
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Let’s face it: this time of year is not easy for a lot of people. There’s not a lot of joy and whether that’s because of past memories or current hurts, it doesn’t matter. It’s just not easy. I could sit here and write about how Jesus is the reason for the season and how we should make Christmas spirit last all year and all of that would be true. It wouldn’t have a lot of feeling behind it, though, because even though I do believe those things, I don’t like Christmas.
Feel free to take that in. I, who now own three pairs of the ugliest Christmas leggings you’ve ever laid eyes on, do not like Christmas. I, who delighted in watching her boys open their presents, do not like Christmas. I, who insisted on matching Christmas pajamas for said boys, do not like Christmas.
More specifically, I don’t like what Christmas does to some people. There’s a lot of hurtful situations that happen because of whatever twisted entitlement we seem to get at this time of year. Like it’s our own little gift to ourselves to revel in the knocking someone else down a peg or two. How does causing someone else pain translate to Christmas spirit?
We all know someone who dreads this time because of their relationship with their in-laws, or better yet, their own family. And whether the fear they’ve built up in their minds is real or imagined, it’s still there. On top of that, it would probably cease to exist if the words, “I’m so sorry” were ever uttered. Even though I tell Jaxen that I’m sorry doesn’t always cut it, I forget to mention that sometimes it does. Sometimes an admission of guilt and an acknowledgment of wrongdoing is all that is needed to feel cared for.
I was thinking today about those hurt by situations such as a loss. Since I’ve become a mommy, I’ve added a large number of other mommies to my innermost circle and in that circle, there has been loss. Loss of life that just flickered, loss of life that just began, loss of life that had run its course. I’d be ignorant to think that a simple “I’m sorry” would make up for the pain of the loss of time and love. Honestly, there probably isn’t a solution, let alone a good solution, to making this hurt stop. Maybe lessen, but I think the heart remembers for a reason. Perhaps it’s to help us develop empathy. Sometimes I think it’s just to humble us, to remind us we are only human.
I know that out in the world, there’s a huge debate on the correct verbiage at this time of year. I’ve heard arguments for just about every holiday greeting. I myself like “Merry Chrismakahkwanzaday” but I usually go with “Have a wonderful day.” To me, that’s how you create the Spirit of this time of year all year.
I am sitting on my bed writing this while Hunter sleeps next to me. He just sucked down almost three and a half ounces from his bottle and promptly let one rip when I laid him down on the bed. He gets it from his father and his brother. No one light a match; there is natural gas everywhere.
The past week has been kind of difficult, watching my babies grow up. Hunter is now five months old and Jaxen is three going on thirty. Jaxen comes up with the most grown up conversations and wants to talk to everyone. Hunter has discovered our food doesn’t come from a bottle and wants to desperately start solid food.
Hunter has been ahead of his brother on just about all of his milestones. He smiled and babbled extremely early on, started rolling at three months, and now at five months, has figured out scooting. For all the trouble I endured during my pregnancy with him, Hunter is such an amazing little boy. No one can make him belly laugh like his daddy or inspire movement like his brother. He cannot wait to be able to catch his puppies when they walk by, although if he stayed awake he would learn that Mandie is usually within centimeters of him, also sleeping.
Jaxen is an old soul. A very old soul. He gets people in a very scary way that no three year old really should. He is discovering the joys of physicality. I take part in many bouts of “gorilla fight” and “Hulk smash” (in his defense, I thought up hulk smash). You would think after living life with two older brothers, I would’ve been prepared for this. I am soooooooooooooo not. Even in his infancy, Hunter seems to enjoy the rough stuff. His dad will watch as both boys “wrestle” or dad chases Jaxen through the house while holding Hunter out in front of him. I am extremely grateful that dad participates in these things. Most of the time I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the boys find this fun. Again, in their defense, this may in part due to one of my brother’s breaking my leg during a WWE style wrestling match when I was five.
Honestly, there really isn’t anything I love more than watching my boys start to interact with each other. Without being told, Jaxen will take a book or his tablet and sit next to his brother, explaining everything that is going on in between dropping kisses on Hunter’s head. Hunter already has the look of adoration when he sees his brother down pat. They look for each other and make every attempt to be close to one another. In a few more months when Hunter is walking, I will practically be a zombie, too tired from chasing the Lloyd boys who never seem to walk.
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I was supposed to start writing this post an hour ago. At nine, I was supposed to put down my phone and turn on my computer. Instead, I sat in my rocking chair, eating sunflower seeds, and scrolling through Facebook. And I don’t even really feel guilty about it.
Today was one of those days where I did a lot and feel like I got nothing accomplished. I picked the boys up from daycare, brought them home, fed them dinner, bathed Hunter, and laid down with Jax. I had every intention of placing my phone on the charger and getting to work doing some writing. The second I made the decision to sit down with my sunflower seeds, I lost almost all of my motivation.
Sunflower seeds are my food addiction. I have been known to polish off a couple pounds of them while reading. In fact, I can’t effectively read unless I’m eating sunflower seeds. I won’t remember a darn thing without them.
I’ve been eating them since I was a little girl. One of my aunt’s used to send or bring us Dakota Kid sunflower seeds every summer. To this day, they are my favorite brand. Big, thick seeds, toasted just right with very few bad, wormy seeds. Those are the worst. When you bite into one, I imagine it’s the flavor of charcoal.
In college, I would go to Winco and bulk them in bulk, three or four pounds at a time. Then I would sit on my bed and read until one of my roommates would come in and make a comment on the mess I was making. Salt and shell dust covered me and jagged pieces of shells caught in my bra, stabbing me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to lay down and had shells fall out of my shirt.
Now when I eat them, I bend over and shake out the top of my shirt while my husband rolls his eyes at me. During my pregnancy with Hunter, I sent him to the store on more than one occasion to pick up sunflower seeds for me. Between that and Dr. Pepper, I live a very balanced life.
I knew I shouldn’t have sat down with the sunflower seeds. The second I did, I knew that I was not getting up at nine to put my phone on the charger. I also knew that I obviously needed to decompress. Which is exactly what I did and I will probably do the same thing tomorrow. But not on Thursday. I will most likely be out of sunflower seeds on Thursday.
The time has come for another week has come to an end. Tomorrow, the boys and I will accompany my parents to church, Jaxen will probably go home with them afterward, and I will attempt to take a nap. I will also attempt to finish laundry, sweep and mop my floors, pack the boys school bags, make dinner, and give Hunter a bath. I need at least four more hours in the day.
Scott reminds me often that there are only so many hours in the day to work. He then receives a punch to the throat for mansplaining. I’m not stupid. I know that I can only do my best. What isn’t accomplished will have to wait until tomorrow. I totally get that. However, when your career requires you work seven days a week, you have two little boys that need to be touching you at all times, a husband who has been forbidden to ask what’s for dinner ever again, and the desire to maintain your own interests, time becomes a juggling act while riding a unicycle on a high wire.
And heaven forbid any of those balls fall. It’s actually more dangerous for those around me when I find that one of those suckers has dropped and rolled under the couch. Doesn’t it know I’m trying to have a career? Doesn’t it get that I love my family? Does it even care? Do I even realize I’m talking about inanimate objects?
Clearly the answer is no. They are just brief situations in the grand scheme of things. In an attempt to put them back into the air, though, I’ve taken a few steps to get my shiz together:
- No electronics (other than my laptop for writing) after 9PM. At nine, I plug my phone in and leave it to charge in the living room. This has helped me a lot be able to fall asleep after I wake up with Hunter.
- The other day I was carrying three phones and one of them rang. I’m pretty sure when I answered, I did not use the correct greeting for that instance. In order to eliminate the need to carry as many phones as possible, I’ve given up my personal phone. If anyone still needs my new number, hit me up and I will determine your worthiness.
- Having babies is pretty much as creative as I can be. There really isn’t a creative bone in my body but I do like pretty things. I also love organization. Enter glam planning (yes I’m one of THOSE who puts the word glam in front of boring words). Check out my Instagram if you are in interested.
I don’t claim to have this whole working mom thing worked out. I’ve only been doing it for three and a half years. Maybe by the time my boys graduate, I will have it down.