I'm Back!!!

You may not have noticed that I was even gone all last week because I had some scheduled posts ready before I left. Well, anyway, I'm back and feelin refreshed!!! We went on the Mexican Riviera Cruise Marinar of the Sea's (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Villarta). We had an absolute blast. After the cruise was over we stayed in San Diego for a couple of days to visit friends and family and go to Sea World. It was my first time EVER going to Sea World, so it was pretty exciting for me :)

Lily loved all the cute towel animals, house keeping made for her each night. I LOVED house keeping, and room service. I wish every day I could have someone bring me all my meals, make up the house, and turn it down each night. What a luxury that was.

Going without my phone and Internet was crazy, but quite refreshing. It was nice having NOTHING to do for a week, just eat, nap, see shows, hang on the beach. Wow! Couldn't have been better.
Finished off our amazing trip with the most horrifying flight for the SECOND time now!!!! I've never been afraid of flying until about 18 months ago when I had a VERY bad experience with turbulence. The only thing that comforted me enough to fly again was the fact that those kinds of flights rarely happen. So what are the odds, that I had to endure this dreadful thing again. We were almost there, and I thought, phew.... I made it!, but just then the pilot warned everyone about the bad wind we were about to hit. So as everyone's buckling up, and the flight attendants are rushing to their seats, I stopped one of them, hoping for a little reassurance. I said, "is it going to be REALLY bad"???........sure enough, she replied, "oh yes, it was pretty bad on the earlier flight". I literally broke down in tears, started sweating, hyperventilating, teeth chattering, and hands shaking. Thankfully the kids were both asleep so they didn't have to witness their mom being a spaz. Sean was great, and tried to calm me down by distracting me and assuring me that everything was going to be okay.

Well, I'm glad it was a great vacation, because I'm never flying on an airplane again!!!!!!!. Hopefully it will just be like giving birth. Immediately afterwards you think, I'm NEVER going to do this again, but over time you forget about all the pain, and eventually you're ready to do it all over again :)

Great Jewelry finds

NEW YORK & COMPANY is my new favorite place to find cute, affordable jewelry (prices rang from $15-$25). I'm not a fan of their clothes as much so I don't usually go in there. But, as you all know, I LOVE coupons, so anytime I get a coupon I have this obsession with using it, even if I don't need anything. I know this isn't a healthy way to spend money, but I get great satisfaction from saving money :)
So, anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that they have some very cute jewelry there. These are some earrings I bought a few months ago, and I think you'll realize by looking at all the ones I picked that I LOVE flowers :)

I just bought these the other day

And you can find all the below pics online. I also love BIG rings :)

And I just got the below necklace and bracelet for my birthday from my sweet friend Kris. THANK YOU KRIS!!!!! You're the best!
So, I have this coupon they gave me last time I shopped there, it's valid March 24 through March 28th. I think I have enough jewelry to last me a while, so I wanted to let you guys use it. I think it will only work once, so I guess if you're the first one to use it, you're lucky :)
Here are the coupon codes for online purchases:
Take $10 OFF a purchase of $30 or more: code 1214
Or $25 OFF a purchase of $60 or more: code 4536
Or $40 OFF a purchase of $90 or more: code 4735

Or you can get free shipping with a $65 or more purchase: code 1254
I also purchased the Happenings book and got more coupons. I think these ones can also only be used once also, but I have 3 of them.
$25 off purchase of $75 or more: code

So there ya go! Hope I've saved some of you some money :)

Oh, and if you're really proud of your womenhood then you can go HERE , and you'll find some jewelry that will let everyone know just how PROUD you are to be a women :)
By, the way, I'm totally JOKING about that last website. I think it's DISGUSTING and can't believe people would actually wear something like that. YUCK!

Don't forget to join me this Friday for FAB Friday!!!

Caught Off Balance

Last weekend I went through this moment where I ALMOST wanted to quit my blog all together. Just one of those times where you think, is this really worth my time?
It's funny, because my blog is all about finding balance, but in fact blogging, has put me completely OFF balance. All my thoughts were centered around my blog, and all these idea's I wanted to share, and then of course there are the many other things I want to do like read other blogs, read books, watch the shows I like, study up on my German, learn to play the piano, spend time with my kids, work out, keep my house clean and organized, make healthy dinners, run all my errands, have family night, study the scriptures, develop a new talent, teach my children good values, get my visiting teaching done each month, keep up on all the dishes and laundry, take pictures and video tape special moments in my kids lives, find time for service, and of course finding time to SLEEP. If I didn't need to "sleep" I could probably fit all these things in, but um, I don't think that would go over well if I cut sleep off my list of things to do :)
I guess it's possible to be TOO ambitious.

So, I've just decided to cut back a bit, perhaps only 2 posts a week will be better for my own sanity. There's just sooo many things I want to do in life, and being a mom doesn't allow you to follow all those ambitions right away. I need to switch my focus and be happy and content with the success of motherhood. I need to stop adding to my list of things I WANT to do, because it only makes my mind go crazy trying to figure out how on earth I'm going to fit it all into one day or week. I mean seriously, these are all important things to me, but I feel like I need to cut some things out.  Should it be my blog?
I was questioning it over the weekend and thought that maybe it was sucking too much of my time.
So I decided to figure out what I can ACTUALLY do, and not expect too much of myself. We "cannot run faster than we have strength". It will all come in time, and I can't DO IT ALL. Patience is not one of my strengths. When I want something, I want it NOW!
We are all on our own paths and searching for answers as to what we are supposed to be doing in order to fulfill our plan. How can we be sure that we're DOING the things God would have us do?
I guess it's all a matter of trial and error. Being open to letting the spirit guide us in the right direction and recognizing those unsettling feelings that are telling us when we are falling off track.
My friend Crystal (yes, we have the same name), and I were talking the other day and she was telling me about the Duggar Family's book called 20 and Counting. I'm sure you're all familiar with them, one of the biggest families ever! So, anyway, I was instantly curious to read this book, went straight home and ordered it on Amazon. I always wondered HOW this mom did it. How can she be pregnant all the time, take care of that many children, homeschooling them all, AND write a book about it??????
So when the book finally arrived I skimmed through and found the chapter I was most
interested in. The one that talks about their daily schedule and organizing tips. Since then have read a lot of the book, and found myself all motivated to be like her. I was like, yah, I'm going to have LOTS of kids, homeschool them all, and have 3 hour scripture study with the family each day. Oh, yes, I was motivated and ready to take on motherhood...............................

Well, that idea lasted about an hour.

Actually my husband helped me see things a little more clearly. We were on our date night and I was talking about the book and how I wanted to be like Michelle Duggar.
He said, "um, I don't want to be rude, but....... you could never be like that".
MEAN, huh!
He's like, this women doesn't get her hair done, she doesn't have a gym membership, she doesn't do girl's night outs, and um, yeah, the list went on and on. I was like, okay, okay, I GET IT! I'm just not capable of that, well, maybe capable, but just not willing :)
So, I've taken some ideas from the book and have formulated my own schedule in hopes to help me manage my time a little better. I've already picked someone for this weeks FAB Friday, and she will also be sharing a little about this topic.

My New Schedule
I found this cute idea from Heather's blog. I have my schedule written down on my notebook, which I have with me at ALL times, can't live without it. And of course the schedule usually changes each day and I'm seriously not THAT obsessed with sticking to it exact :) Anyway, then I have Lily's schedule which she has really enjoyed. This helps her know what our plans our for the day, and our schedules coincide.

Lily's schedule
  • Getting up
  • Eating Breakfast, Vitamins
  • Getting Dressed
  • Break time/Mommy cleans house
  • Play with mommy (choose activity)
  • Lunch time
  • Play date, gym, school, or run errands
  • Snack time
  • Quiet time/Olly's nap
  • Do school work with Lily, and let her help make dinner
  • Eat dinner
  • Family time
  • Bath time, brush teeth
  • Bedtime stories, practice some German words with Lily
  • Movie
  • Bedtime
I have extra cards in the bottom right so that we can swap them out on school days. Then I have a stack of cards with different activities on them. She can pick one each week, and that will be our special activity for the week. This week is swimming, and I usually like to invite a couple friends to go with me, that way it's more enjoyable for us all. Lily has some friends to play with, and I get some adult interaction :)

My Schedule
9:00 Breakfast, vitamins, get dressed, brush teeth
10:00 Clean house, catch up on Laundry, dishes, make beds, and pick up a little.
11:00 Play with kids, or do a little craft or activity with Lily.
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Play date/ run errands/ or Go to the gym (I bring my lap top to the gym and spend a little time catching up on emails , and blog reading while the kids or in the kids center before I go work out).
4:00 Lily has quiet time and Olly naps while I work on my list of things I need to do, things around the house, responding to emails, or blog.
5:00 Start dinner and do some school workbooks with Lily
6:00 Dinner and clean up
7:00 Family time
8:00 Baths, Books, German (I'm trying to make use of the language I learned on my mission. By practicing a little with Lily, it also helps me freshen up on it)
9:00 This is my time to work on my blog, read other blogs, and reply to emails, while Lily watches a movie
10:00 Get Kids in Bed, and read my book or watch some of my favorite shows with my hubby.
11:00 Lights out

I've been experimenting with this over the past week, and it seems to be working out much better for me. I've never been a big fan of sticking to a TIME schedule, I usually just make a list, and go from there. I've found that I become obsessed with FINISHING something so I can check it off my list, sometimes ONE thing on my list can take half the day. I've been spending WAY to much time online, finishing a blog post, reading emails, responding, and also reading other blogs and leaving comments.
So, now I have time limits.

I'm reading this new book called Magnificent Mind At Any Age. I am seriously LOVING it! I'm learning so much about the brain and how amazing it really is. I plan to share lots more on this book because I have SO many thoughts I'd like to add.
As I was reading last night, this paragraph really stood out to me, and it TOTALLY applies.

"Drowsiness, tiredness, and an increasing inability to focus reached startling levels in the trials of eleven hundred people, who also demonstrated that e-mail in particular have an addictive, drug like quality.
The most damage (to IQ) is done, according to the survey, by almost complete lack of discipline in handling e-mails. Dr. Wilson and his colleagues found a compulsion to reply to each new message, leading to constant changes of direction, which inevitably tired and slowed down the brain.
Constantly checking e-mails, IMs, voice mails, and the Internet is stressful, but it is also addictive as one is always waiting for the next good e-mail, IM, or voice message to hit, like waiting for the next blackjack in the card game 21. The anticipation of something good keeps us checking something routinely. It also distracts us from staying focused on the person or task at hand. Checking these messaging systems is an important way to communicate, but it is better to set aside specific times each day to work on them and leave them alone the rest of the time."

This book was SO written just for me, haha. Lily is always saying, mom, stop playing on your phone, and grabs it out of my hands. That's some good feedback right there. My goal is to stick to time limits, and to stop constantly checking my email throughout the day.

I ran into an old friend the other day, and we got to talking. I was wondering why she wasn't on facebook, twitter, blogger, ect. She was like, I don't even have Internet at my house.
WHAT?????? That's absurd!!!!!! Who doesn't have internet in their home!!!!

Later I was thinking about this, and was almost a little jealous... I said ALMOST.
I was like, WOW, think of all the extra time I would have if I wasn't spending so much of it online.

Well, I'm not sure that canceling my internet service is the answer for me.
I think this plan will offer the best of both worlds. I still get that fix of connecting with all my online friends, while still enjoying normal REAL life experiences.

My Favorite Swimwear

Please take a moment and vote for me here, just click on the top mommy blogs icon and the click is a vote :) Thank you so much everyone!!!!!!!!!!!

Now for some swimwear talk. I'm itchin for some good weather, and getting a little too anxious for summer. It's not even spring yet, and all I can think about is our cruise!!!!! Can't wait!
I've been searching the internet for cute swimwear that not only is flattering, but also, will hide all the imperfections that comes with child bearing. I absolutely LOVE the Hapari Tankini's. I bought this one last fall, love it!

And just purchased this one using a 10% off coupon code (jen2010) or you can get free shipping using the coupon code (freeship24).

I love the little skirt that you can buy to go with it. So, cute and flattering. They also have the bottoms you can purchase separately, they call them the tummy tuck bottoms, which I LOVE! Don't we all want swimwear that will help hold in that yucky extra skin!!!! So, seriously, these are the best for us moms :)
And this one is next on my list!

They also come in plus sizes.

Tomorrow is our second FAB Friday! Get ready to join me by featuring someone who has inspired you in some way. I have a button you can grab to add to your post.
I'm very excited!!!!

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