Monday’s Mama is Fit AF.

Are you looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Look no further.

This Monday I want to introduce Emily from The Mom Grind. I have been following Emily on Instagram for almost a year now. This woman is awesome. She somehow manages to work out all the time with a toddler (and now another baby on the way!!) and be a total badass and STILL not make me feel bad about watching her exercise on Instastories while eating ice cream.

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She’s very ‘you do you, but this is what I’m doing’. I love her. You might also love her. You should follow her if you need inspiration to work out with and around and sometimes literally underneath your small children this New Year. Or even if you just like nice people.

Oh. She’s super nice. I wonder if it’s all that adrenaline from being healthy and stuff. Is that how adrenaline works? I wouldn’t know.

In fact, she is SO NICE, that she answered a few of my questions. Thank you, Emily!

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1. Your Instagram is completely inspirational. I love that you work out with your toddler. And I guess you will be working out with a new baby soon!? Please share your secrets. Time management? Wizardry?
Thank you! It started off by me being inspired by other Moms to be honest. I realized there wasn’t any real secret to it — anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy. Now I love to workout because it has become time where I can be selfish and only think about me — think about the things bugging me, how strong I feel, goals I need to reach, how my workouts going to go, or how proud of myself I am for just getting to the gym that day. Whatever it is, that hour is mine. I carve it out of my day, and I’m a better wife, Mom, and friend for it.
It’s finding YOUR reason — make it deep so it takes root in your life. Also make it work for you. It’s only a couple small hours in your week — so be selfish about it! 
2. How long have you been such a badass? Was this a natural continuation of your pre-kid life? Or did you just decide to Awesome It Up after becoming a mom?
Haha- badass! Thanks! 😂
I think it happened because I was carrying so many burdens (that I was putting on myself).
I felt like a failure as a woman because I had a horrible labour that ended up in emergency cesarean section. It took months of recovery and I lost my identity in that time. I decided to stop making excuses for myself, and with the help of an amazing trainer who made me realize my potential, I just kept moving forward and getting stronger. Now I just want to keep moving that way. It might look different, but always forward, always stronger. 
3. What is the last movie you saw in the theater?
I saw Justice League in the theater! It was awesome, and all those badass women in the movie fired me up for a wicked workout the next day!
4. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?
I’m definitely not above store bought- but if I have the time I’ll make a simple cookie or Rice Krispie square.😉
Ok, I’m not gonna lie. Emily may have sold me on this whole work-out thing with that whole ‘time to be selfish’ thing.
Hey Emily, does hanging out in the sauna at the gym count as a workout? JUST KIDDING MAYBE.

Monday’s Mama is a Virgin Who Can’t Drive.

(RIP Brittany Murphy.)

Our December 25th Monday’s Mama is perhaps the most famous mama of all. She is SO famous, that when people say “Mother and Child”, they usually mean this chick.

Happy Labor Day, Mary of Nazareth.

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Merry Christmas, to those of you that celebrate.

Merry Monday, to those of you that recognize the Roman calendar.

Babystar is growing up in a blended household. My husband is a practicing Christian. He even served a few years as a deacon in his church. A DEACON, Y’ALL. I was a Deacon’s Wife. I love his awesome multi-denominational Mennonite church. Everyone there is a hippie liberal social justice warrior. They all try to be like the chill Jesus dude. The Jesus that fed the hungry and welcomed immigrants and sheltered the homeless and advocated for the marginalized. On (most) Sunday mornings, Babystar goes to church with my husband and plays in the nursery with her friends. She sings songs and does crafts and has a snack and sits with the (three year old) big girls and she freaking loves it.

I love it too. I drink coffee in bed and enjoy the time to myself. I get a little upset when they don’t go to church. I’m not gonna lie. I may have insinuated insisted more than once that Jesus is probably crying because he misses them so much. (To my husband, not to Babystar. I’m not a monster.)

According to my husband, I am basically a hippie witch. I believe that everyone is right when it comes to religion. And everyone is wrong. I dig the ancient remedies, and I’m all about some candle magic and essential oils and herbal potions and putting spells into the Universe. Love and light, my friends.

We respect each other’s faith and spirituality. It works for us. We discussed this AT LENGTH before conceiving a child. We decided to expose her to both of our views, and other views, as they come up in life naturally. Babystar will someday choose for herself. And she will likely change her mind again and again. That’s ok.

Back to Monday’s Mama, who throughout history is the most famous Madonna of the two  Major Madonnas. Wikipedia says there have been between three and six billion bibles sold and only 300 million Madonna albums sold worldwide. (To be fair, the OG Madonna had a huge head start.)

Mary deserves better. If the hype is legit, Mary had a freaking BABY in a freaking BARN with no epidural, no drugs of any kind, no midwife or doctor or shaman. And the woman was surrounded by literal animals. Have you ever seen a Nativity Scene without at least a sheep and usually a camel? No.

Put the camel outside, people.

After all this, she gives birth to a god and THEN WHAT? How is she not a Goddess?!? At least the Catholics know she is Divine and made her a Saint.

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Jews for Jesus is a thing. A strange thing, but a thing nonetheless. Imma tell my husband to start Mennonites for Mary. I’m sure he’s going to get right on that.

 

Monday’s Mama is Queen Bee.

And she’s a BUSY Bee, too.

Bee’s blog is called I Just Wanna Finish My… (Um, that’s the end of my sentence but how do you add a period after ellipses points?)

Bee wants to finish her coffee, her meal, her sentence, her thought. Her anything. Momlife is hard, y’all. However, she does finish her blog posts. I Just Wanna Finish My… is one of my favorite new blogs. Bee has only been blogging for about six months and I Just Wanna Finish My…  is FULL of awesome crafts and parenting hacks and activity ideas and yummy recipes and hilarious stories.

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Bee is a pediatric occupational therapist turned stay at home mom. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two adorable, wonderful, hilarious kids. These two children stole her brain, though. She realized she couldn’t complete a sentence or even a thought. Bee started blogging to reclaim her own brain and to think about more than just which store has the cheapest diapers or when was the last time her toddler went potty.

Bee is awesome and hilarious and extremely HELPFUL. Her pediatric occupational therapy background completely shows in her writing. You should totally read her blog and follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Who among us can’t use a little help?

Her majesty answered a few questions for me. My hypothesis is confirmed. Bee is freaking awesome.

1. I ADORE your blog and I feel like I know you and your kids. Yet you never post pictures of your kids faces. I kind of love that, though I basically do the opposite. How/why/when did you come to that decision?

Ah, so you noticed that! I’m glad it looks intentional and not just like I am that bad at cropping photos, haha. It was definitely a very conscious decision that I thought a lot about before moving forward on the blog. I actually LOVE seeing other people’s kids on their blogs and Instagram, and I know that I couldn’t tell my stories without at least partial pictures of them, but I have a couple reasons for keeping their names and faces off of my blog accounts. First, I think it gives me a challenge to write content that isn’t just about the kids. You (Darlene) have seen my personal IG and Facebook, and it is baby spam, all day, every day. My kids are SO CUTE (totally unbiased…) that I think placing this restriction keeps me from just writing a post each day about how funny the toddler is and how adorable the baby is with a picture to match. The posts that feature the kids become more about the activity we’re doing and less about how adorable they look doing it, if that makes sense. I have to get creative in staging pictures so that I can show, yes, they do exist, but no, you won’t recognize them in public. 
My other (more serious) reason is for their privacy and safety. I share pictures of them constantly on my personal accounts so that relatives and friends can see them grow up, but my husband and I decided that we just weren’t comfortable with putting their pictures out for just anyone to see on my public profiles. Our faces are fair game, though. 
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2. Your blog covers a lot of topics, and they are all so well done. What is your favorite thing to write about?

Thank you! I do cover a lot, which is probably bad for finding a niche, but it’s good for me because I just want to write about what I find interesting! I love to share activities for families. I had a whole series of “pumpkin projects” in the fall and I would highlight which skills that particular project could address, as well as ways to make it work for different skill levels. Right now, it’s easiest for me to write about activities for the toddler age, but that works out, because that was my favorite age to work with as a pediatric therapist. Posts of that nature are one way I can still feel like I’m contributing to my field, even if I’m not actively working. I also try to present projects that are cheap and realistic. I can’t stand when craft projects are tagged as toddler age, but there is no way a toddler could do even 50% of it on their own. Or, when you need approximately $40 in supplies for 5 minutes of entertainment. No thanks, give me a bunch of construction paper and some scissors and we’re good to go.

3. Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?

I normally don’t because I know that I will only last a week of eating only salads and exercising before I give up on it. I think people put too many expectations on themselves to make major lifestyle changes and it’s just intimidating. 
That being said, I did make one last year that has kind of worked out. I decided I was going to me more intentional this year. I think it sounds kind of millenial, so you can laugh at it with me if you want, but a vague resolution like that actually worked! I started meal planning (some), making smarter grocery lists (most of the time), and being more mindful with budgeting instead of just winging it all the time (except this month). It wasn’t a measurable resolution, just like a “hey, be a better adult” resolution.

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?

Homemade, all the way!! I might stay up until 2am doing it, but those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are gonna be DELICIOUS and full of real butter and sugar. Treat yo’ self!
Bee is so right. YASSS QUEEN.
Treat yo’ self AND be a better adult. Can you imagine if we ALL decided to be better adults in 2018!? Let’s do it. Who’s in?

Monday’s Mama is a Hustler, Baby.

This Monday I would like to introduce the other half of The Salty Mamas. Jaymi has one husband, two children, and approximately seventy-nine side hustles.

Y’all. This woman is RIDIC. In the best possible way.

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Have you ever had a Chick-fil-A open near you? If so, you know that there are usually some people who have clearly lost their minds that sleep outside the night before the Grand Opening in order to win free Chick-fil-A for a year. Yep. Jaymi did that. (So did Christine but shhh we are talking about Jaymi today.) This is just ONE of her many many micro-hustles.

Jaymi blogs and tweets and shares her life on Instagram and Facebook. She can tell you a minimum of ten ways to make money on the side before she’s even had her coffee. After her coffee, that number jumps to infinity.

Jaymi answered a few of my questions, but she didn’t answer the one I forgot to ask. WHY is her four-year-old’s name on that Starbucks cup (which is of course a SALTED caramel something)?? Jaymi, does Lila just like hearing her name? Or is that actually HER coffee? Is Lila the saltiest of them all? Lmk, k?

jaymi with lila

Below are a few questions that I remembered to ask.

1. Jaymi, you ladies are SLAYING the micro-hustle game like I’ve never seen before. What is your favorite side hustle? Why?
This is kind of braggy maybe, but my favorite was having my son as model.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear “hey, your kid is super cute, like a few thousand dollars worth?” And I get to see things like this in the store, which legit cracks me up.
Abe as a Model
2. I cannot even believe that you camped outside for free Chick-fil-A for a year but I’m seriously so excited that you did. Is that the wildest stunt you have done for free stuff? What would you do for like, a free car?
Oh, that was small potatoes compared to what I would do. I mean, people will camp out for an iPhone and then GIVE SOMEONE ELSE a thousand dollars. This is way smarter 😉 And yes, this is probably the wildest stunt I’ve done yet for free stuff.  I’m not sure what I would do for a car, but it would probably be ridiculous. (Also, heyyyyyy there car companies! Pitch me a crazy idea. I bet I’d do it.)

3. What is your favorite family holiday tradition? What is something that you skip?

My favorite tradition is baking cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. We have a little personalized plate with the kids’ names on it that we put the cookies on. It’s a whole thing, and there are lots of sprinkles involved. (So. Many. Sprinkles.)  I have historically skipped Elf on the Shelf because DON’T WANNA, but I think with my daughter in school the jig is gonna be up and I’ll be hearing “Why doesn’t Santa send ME an Elf?!?” in a hot minute. So I may have to reevaluate this one. 

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?

I sign up to bake four hundred cookies, but my Passion Planner fails me and I don’t remember I signed up until the night before. I remember at 11pm in a cold sweat, set an alarm for 3am, and bake cookies until the sun rises. And then probably drop three dozen of them on the ground on the way in to school. But the ones that actually make it to the bake sale? Deeeeelicious.
Go follow her blog and all of her everything to read about all her Hustling Ways. Now. Go do it now. You can’t afford NOT to follow her.

Monday’s Mama is Salty AF.

Today I would like to introduce one half of The Salty Mamas. Christine has three kids and   one husband and yet she still helps run one of the funniest new(ish) mommy blogs on the internet.

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Side note: my computer kept autocorrecting that to new(fish) and I really want to know WHY. Is new(fish) a thing?

Christine (and Jaymi but shh we are talking about Christine today) blogs and tweets and shares her life on Instagram and Facebook. She is also a bujo queen. I learned that word from this salty lady. Bujo means bullet journaling and I have no idea how she finds time to do anything. I am fairly certain that this woman doesn’t sleep. Though she does bujo her kid’s sleep. She’s maybe nutso.

That’s probably why I like her so much. Plus she was nice enough to answer some of my questions.

1. Black Friday: An opportunity for serious deals, a travesty of capitalism, or something in between? You two are the HUSTLING-EST mamas I know. Did you score any Black Friday door busters?

HELLS YES to Black Friday. But really, my specialty is the Micro Hustle, so you won’t find me hunkered outside a Best Buy as soon as I’ve eaten my pie. Our tradition is that we go when the kids wake up , which means we’re at Target at 5 am. There are still some AMAZING deals, and the place is empty because the diehards finished up at midnight and a casual Black Friday Shoppers won’t get there until about 8. Then we hit the mall, do some more shopping before it gets nuts and take her pictures with Santa. And then get breakfast. And then spend the rest of the weekend on Amazon to finish up. 

2. You used to plan events in your past life. Did this trickle over to SAHM life? Are you the Playdate Planner of your mama crew?
No. Not even a little. The Mommy Brain has killed my planning skills and now planning a birthday party is like organizing an International Peace Summit. I’m much more likely to forget to show up to your playdate. BUT, when I do get my act together the three times a year I do plan something? It’s pretty bomb. Which reminds me, I should really start working on Evie’s birthday party…
3. What is your favorite family holiday tradition? What is something that you skip?
We do lots of traditional things like pajamas on Christmas Eve, and some with a twist, like the carrots for the reindeer have to have the long green leaves still on. But we also have some wacky traditions and I love them all because they’re very us. One of my favorites is the Chad and I go to Target together to buy each other stocking gifts each year. We split apart and run through the store like Supermarket Sweep trying to hide from each other and get the best stocking stuff. We almost always end up getting a couple of the same things for each other. 
My skip is the same as my partner in crime Jaymi’s (coming soon to a Blog near you, so: TEASER!) and I don’t want to steal her thunder. Oh, but I’m never adding it as a tradition. (And now you have suspense and mystery!)
4. It’s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?
Gut reaction: NOPE.
I’m a BIG fan of throwing money at the problem when possible. Because I have zero desire to juggle dough, dirty kitchen and three Gremlins unless a fair amount of the baked goods are going directly into MY pudgy belly. Having said that, the good people the bake sale don’t want to buy Oreos through the middle man, so probably offer Jaymi / my Mom/ my sister one thousand dollars to bake for me. They love me, so they protest the cash money and I pay them in Diet Cokes forever.
If you are not following the Salty Mamas, you’re doing it wrong. But don’t worry. There’s always room to add a dash of salt to your life.
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