Painting Ugly Kitchen Cabinets: By A Not-Very DIY (or even handy) Kind of Couple

I don’t love to DIY, but I will. When I get an idea, I am like a tornado touching down. I want it done yesterday. No, I want it done the day before. The thought consumes me, and I cannot think of anything else. It can be a Tuesday morning at 5 am in the shower when I decide I need to clean out the drawers in my nightstand and organize them so they’re more functional.

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Normal people might put that on their to-do list and get to it in a few days when their already over-scheduled life calms down a bit, but I’m far from normal. I’m in the shower thinking, “I could skip washing my hair and shaving, and start now. Or maybe I can do those things and get my coffee and drink it in the master while I clean. Will Craig mind too much if I interrupt his last 15 minutes of sleep? I don’t care,” and that’s that.

I’m out of the shower organizing my drawers and nothing can stop me. It doesn’t matter what else I have going on, how little time I have, or how aware I am that I’m literally going to have to rush to get everyone out the door an hour later so I can get this done. I’m obsessed, and nothing can stop me.

It’s a good thing, because I get shit things done. It’s a bad thing, because I make myself insane in the process. Please note I’m not an interior designer, nor do I have quite the “eye” for design. I just know what I like and that’s simple, clean lines, and zero clutter. If you’re looking for something super creative, amazingly beautiful, and designed with a serious eye for beauty, you’re going to want to check out my friend Becky’s blog – dalydigs.com – and follow along as she makes beautiful changes to her own home…she’s got the design eye and more talent than you can imagine! All I’ve got for you is a story about how Pinterest told me I could paint my kitchen cabinets…and I did!

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Dream House in the Making

So here’s a fun story for you. I’ll try to make it short, but we all know by now I’m a wordy little thing, so we’ll call a spade a spade and not pretend this’ll be short at all. Rewind to 2004. The honey and I were engaged for about a year. We were full-time students as well as full-time employees age 20 and 21 at the time. We were getting married in May 2005, and we decided what better time to find ourselves a house.

Of course, in our genius minds, we thought we’d buy a piece of property, build a house, and plan a wedding all at the same time. Because, really, what’s wrong with that? Two of the most stressful things in life at the same time? Bring it on.

Thankfully, we were young and ignorant, and we didn’t know we were supposed to be stressed. I mean, we were. Our house took almost 6 months longer than it was originally scheduled because we had three hurricanes/tropical storms come through in a matter of weeks. There was flood damage, homes were destroyed, people were out of power for days, even weeks. People need permits pulled to reconstruct their half-standing homes, and our new-construction permits were shoved waaaaaaaaay down to the bottom of the pile. Our house was scheduled to be completed around Christmas 2004 and it was actually completed in May 2005 while we were enjoying our honeymoon.

We came home from our honeymoon, moved into our home, and all was perfect. We had 1,200-square feet of simple perfection – to a couple of kids only 21 and 22 at the time – and we loved it. Kids weren’t on our radar, so we had all the space. We traveled a lot, so we weren’t even home. Our house was brand-new, so we didn’t do any DIY or remodeling or any of that. No worries, no problems, life was good.

 

In 2008, we welcomed our oldest daughter, Addison. In 2011, we welcomed our second daughter, Ava. We had enough space for a little family of four, though we knew our time in our sweet house was limited and we’d need something larger as the girls got older. Still, we were in no hurry. Our mortgage was super cheap, we traveled, life was good.

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Welcome to 2013. We decided baby number 3 was the best idea ever. Maybe we’d get a little boy. Maybe we’d get another sweet girl. We’d take either. We didn’t want to bother with moving when I become pregnant right away, but we figured we had all the time. The girls could share a room once the baby arrived at the end of April 2014 and we could take our time building a new house after that.

That was the plan. I’m a planner, so that was our excellent plan. When we went to the doctor on November 4, 2013 to find out the gender and health of baby Carter (we didn’t have a girl name because I’d been so sick and my pregnancy was vastly different from either of the girls so we were certain it was a boy), we found out little Carter was Carter AND Charlotte. Yeah, didn’t see that one coming.

Suddenly everything was different. Our house was too small. My brand-new BMW was too small. I was a few weeks away from moderate bedrest per my doctor’s instructions for all his multiple-makers, and we had a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old at home. One thing was for certain, we couldn’t move at this point. I was too far alone and being told to stay in bed, and we didn’t need that kind of stress.

So, we bought the property next door to our house and began working on plans to build a much, much larger home. Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly easy. We didn’t want a two-story home, but fitting what we wanted on a quarter-acre wasn’t happening with easements and property lines. Stress. Stress. Stress.

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Divine Intervention

I’m a big believer in my faith. God has a reason, a plan, and a season for everything. We said baby, He said twins. We said stress, He said relax, “I got this,” and He did. Just when we began to panic because we couldn’t fit what wanted on our property without sacrificing about 75% of what we really wanted and we couldn’t find even one house with five bedrooms and enough space for our newly huge family, God did the impossible.

You see, the twins decided to make their grand debut a month early, two days before our daughter’s 3rd birthday. They were tiny, in the NICU for a week, and we were struggling to build the house we wanted. That was March 2014. By August 2014, we were so stressed unable to find a house big enough with enough bedrooms or to build our dream house. We weren’t about to build a house that wasn’t what we wanted just to fit it. I mean, our list wasn’t that big…

  • 5 bedrooms
  • At least 3 bathrooms
  • A laundry room
  • A big kitchen with an island
  • A play room
  • An enclosed lanai
  • A big back porch or deck for entertaining
  • Country style home with dormers and shutters and a red front door
  • A big wraparound front porch
  • An office since I work from home
  • At least 3,000- square feet
  • An acre or more
  • A fenced in yard

I mean, come on. Does that seem like a lot to ask for? Apparently, yes. We were at that point it was time to settle when we found a house we liked-ish. It was built by this company that’s big in our area that will remain nameless. When we built our first house, we toured their little area of model homes near us because they were big and decidedly inexpensive. Well, you can see why when you tour the homes. They’re big, yes, but they’re made cheap. They’re also closed off, nothing is upgraded. They actually remind us a lot of mobile homes on the inside.

Anyway, we didn’t love them, but this one was on Rum Street…and we like rum. It had all the bedrooms, the space, and a pool, so we figured it was our sign from God (Really? Did we really think God was sending us to Rum Street?) so we called the realtor and she was super confused saying that the house was not on the market. Turns out, it was sold, but no one updated the listing.

Crushed.

It was impossible. We were going to have to settle. Then the very next day, God said, “Here, faithful servants. I gave you two more babies because I have a plan, and that plan involves making your dreams come true,” and he tossed a brand-new listing into our price-point just when we thought we knew every single house in our price point and size range in the entire county.

Would you believe me if I told you it had Every. Single. Thing. on our list of wants and needs, and it was in our dream neighborhood? You know, the kind of amazing neighborhood you only dream of living in most of your life? Would you believe me if I told you that we’d never seen the house on our search because the price dropped $70,000 into our budget that day? Would you believe it if I told you it was listed for about half of what it was worth?

Divine intervention.

Dreams and DIY

We made our offer that day, we moved in six weeks later, and we’ve been here happily ever after for the past 2.5 years. It’s everything.

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And by everything, I mean it was a damn mess. We have a 1.16 acre corner lot – fenced in – but the previous owners didn’t clear the lot when they had the home built, so you couldn’t see the house from either street. I mean, at all. It was a jungle. Banana spiders. Snakes. Wolf Spiders. Scorpions. You name it. It was a mess. The first thing we did was get a company out here to clear the trees. We kept what we wanted (a beautiful magnolia and a citrus tree were pleasant surprises!) and we gave our kids an amazing yard.

The other unfortunate aspects of this house was that it sat vacant for five years during the foreclosure process. The previous owners – according to the neighbors – took everything from the toilets to the countertops. The bank replaced it all, but they replaced it by taking a trip back to 1975 and picking up the newest, hottest countertops from that year. They put brand-new cabinets in, but then they choose the darkest orangey stain they could find and stained some of the kitchen cabinets once, some twice, and some half once and half twice.

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Nice.

They put brand-new cream carpet in, and they painted the entire house tan – flat tan. That was the next to go. We can’t have flat paint with kids. Or any humans. Or air. I mean, what a mess.

Anyway, do you see how I’ve kept this so short? *wink and laugh*

We had a lot of work to do. We had the brown formica countertops replaced with Grade C Alaskan White Granite (which has received more compliments than anything I’ve ever encountered) and then we had to paint. Lots and lots and lots of brown in this house. Loooooots of brown. I hate brown.

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So that brings me to where I wanted to be about 2,000 words ago. We decided it was time to do some DIY, and the desire hit me last summer like a ton of bricks. We had a free weekend – which NEVER happens – and I woke up one morning like “Let’s paint our kitchen cabinets white. Pinterest told me we can do it,” and that was that.

We painted our cabinets. Pinterest told me it would take a week. It took me one day. I’m telling y’all. When I want something done, it gets done immediately. Immediately. Listen, we moved into this house on a Saturday after closing Friday and we woke up Sunday morning to every single box unpacked, every single picture and piece of artwork hung up, every piece of furniture arranged, and every piece of clothing hung up. We woke up to a house completely done, nothing left to do, and we cooked breakfast. That’s how I roll. I don’t like things undone. I don’t have time for that.

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Anyway, back to the cabinets. Don’t let the many tutorials freak you out. We have more than 40 cabinets and drawers in our kitchen, and it took us Friday night and Saturday, and we went to bed Saturday night with our entire kitchen put back together and all white.

The Process

2 gallons of Sherwin Williams Primer

2 gallons of Sherwin Williams Self-Leveling Paint (we had a color created. The antique white was too yellow-ish for us but white was too white. We had them do a mixture of several colors to turn extra white into a slightly antiqued color based on a photo we showed them. Be sure to ask for paint specifically for cabinets, too)

2 foam rollers

2 synthetic brushes

Towels, tables, and empty boxes

I should also mention we did not sand our cabinets, because they’d been sanded by the bank and never finished so they were already rough. Also, we were kind of lazy. #notevenalittleashamed

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My husband took off all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. We put a piece of tape with a number on each one, and created a corresponding Ziploc bag with a number for the hardware for that door/drawer so things weren’t confused or lost. He put the doors on boxes, towels, whatever in the garage and primed the back. By the time he was one with all of them, he primed the same side with a second coat. I was in the kitchen priming the actual cabinets.

Two coats of primer took us around 3 hours from start to finish. By the time we finished one coat, the first area we primed was dry and ready for a second coat. Then we flipped everything over and did the same to the other side.

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Now it’s time to paint. We also did two coats. The paint dried SO fast, and we were able to finish it in half the time. The self-leveling paint is amazing, and it is so smooth, perfectly finished, and amazing. We didn’t seal it yet – but we need to. We can’t agree on a sealant, because we’ve read horrible reviews about so many of them changing the color of the paint on the cabinets. It’s been almost a year, though, and so far, so good.

The paint wipes clean, it doesn’t seem to chip or stain. It’s smooth, and it looks flawless. We added new pulls, and we tossed on a backsplash – but we don’t love it, so we’re in the process of looking for a lighter backsplash with which to replace it.

We’ve since done the bathroom cabinets in both downstairs bathrooms, and we’re going to tackle the upstairs bathroom next. It seems like such an overwhelming job, but it’s not. It’s so simple, so easy, and it really just takes guts to get started. Once you do, you won’t be able to stop until it’s done!

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The Finished Product

I’ll admit I am quite bad about taking photos of before items. And by bad, I mean I didn’t. I dug through my phone and found a few old photos from when we first bought our house and moved in of all the dark brown ugliness we had to handle. You’ll see we had some ugly brown bead board surrounding our bar, the shelves around our breakfast nook where just awful, the bathroom cabinets were builder-grade yellow oak, and the kitchen was brown on brown on brown.

Once we were done with our kitchen, we painted every single thing. even the fireplace in one of the living rooms was a yellow-ish oak color. We aren’t keeping it, because we are thinking about having the wall covered in stone, the TV mounted into the stone and a very modern wall-mounted fireplace installed beneath the television with a gorgeous custom mantel installed above. Anyway, I’ve added the before photos I could find to some of the after photos so you can get a glimpse of what we did, how we did it, and just how easy it really was.

I want to hear your DIY stories, so let me know what you’ve done, what you recommend, and whether things were easier or more difficult than you thought they’d be.

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Healthy Lifestyle Changes: Replacing Bad Habits with Good Habits

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“You’re so tiny you can eat all the Girl Scout Cookies you want!” says the mother of a very used car salesman-like aggressive Girl Scout when I turned down a box of thin mints (against every ounce of my being) leaving Publix today.

Um…no.

At the risk of stating the obvious, eating all the Girl Scout Cookies I want is not something I can do if I’d like to stay thin. I love Girl Scout Cookies. And I totally would have left with four boxes of thin mints (and a box of Samoas for my husband) if the girl selling them hadn’t been screaming things like “What kind of person doesn’t support little girls!? It’s not even right to just ignore us! What? You can’t spare four bucks for a cookie but you’re driving away in your Mercedes?!”

Seriously. I was so appalled by her antics I never would have purchased cookies from her. And I got cash back so I could buy cookies, too. Also, her parents should probably stop conversing in front of her, because kids repeat what they hear…trust me on this one. Hashtag firsthand experience.

Back to my original point, I can’t eat whatever I want if I want to stay thin. Y’all, 34 is fast approaching and I can feel my metabolism slowing down at a rapid rate. And to be fair, while I do love some good old-fashioned junk food, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth most days. I did in the past, and it got me into a lot of trouble when I graduated high school and no longer had sports. I ate what I wanted, and I gained a lot of weight.

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I didn’t see it, of course. It took coming home from my honeymoon when I was 21 and seeing my wedding photos for the first time to finally realize I had to change my habits. I was still young and my metabolism was still on fire, but I wasn’t cheering and I didn’t have softball anymore. I was sedentary, and it showed. I was mortified.

To this day, you will not find one wedding photo displayed in our home. We will renew our vows eventually, and those will be the wedding photos I display. I was 21-years-old, I weighed 20 lbs. more than I should, and I was embarrassed and mortified, and I hated looking at myself in the mirror after I saw our wedding photos. It was time to change.

My Motivation

I won’t lie; I was highly motivated when the professional wedding photos arrived. I didn’t need another push. I threw out all the crap in our house – I had a huge sweet tooth back then – and I stopped eating fast food. I made the decision on a Friday. I’ll never forget, because our photos were ready that day. I made the decision to lose weight and get healthy again, and I never looked back.

Lifestyle Changes

I don’t diet; never have, never will. I don’t believe diets are the answer whether they’re the kind that have been around a million years or they’re the hottest and most amazing thing on the planet at the moment. I believe in eating well, working out, and living a healthy life.

The first thing I did was change our menu. We began cooking a lot of chicken and salmon, and we got rid of the starchy sides. I grew up eating a potato and bread side every night with dinner, and I was simply unaware we didn’t have to do that every night. I gave it up and we had two vegetables. Usually a salad and some steamed green beans or broccoli or something.

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I’ll tell you this – the first week eating like this was a struggle. I craved McDonald’s fries or the amazing donuts from this little family-owned donut shop near us. I wanted them every day, but I forced myself not to get them by leaving my debit card and cash at home every morning when I left for work. I had to eat what I had with me, or I couldn’t eat at all without any cards or cash on me.

Week two was a different story. I finally stopped craving those things. It seemed to happen all of a sudden, like I went to bed wanting ice cream and cookies to not wanting them anymore. My body was done with all the sugar, and it really began to enjoy what we were eating.

Indulgence

Let’s get something clear; I do not deprive myself. At all. I no longer crave sweets 99% of the time, but I’m not about to turn down some Mickey ears at Disney or anyone who offers me crème brulee after dinner. I also love a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles when I take my kids to the donut shop for a little treat. I also love Girl Scout cookies (when they’re not being sold by a 12-year-old used car salesman).

I eat these things, but it’s in moderation. I don’t eat them every day. I don’t even eat them every week. I eat them when I feel the need to eat them, and I usually can’t finish all of what I’m given. The key for me is to enjoy treats, but only on occasion.

New Cravings

What’s amazing in the past 12 years of my life is how I’ve learned to listen to my body. I once had a sweet tooth like you wouldn’t believe, but now I’m forced to pop four ibuprofen and down all the water if I indulge – and pray. Sugar gives me a terrible headache. My body now craves things that aren’t so bad for me. If I want something sweet, my body starts dying for some Greek Yogurt with blueberries on top. If I want something savory, I find myself gravitating toward this amazing broccoli I make (I’ll share the recipe with you eventually). I want good for me things.

I can tell when I haven’t been eating well, especially when we travel. I can feel it. I’m tired, sluggish, and I don’t sleep well. Those things make me want to eat well, because I like how I feel. I like my new cravings, and I like that they fuel my body rather than take my energy and my motivation.

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Exercise

All right…I love to work out. I’m not looking to become a body-builder or gain crazy muscle or anything like that, but I love to work out. I do it every day, whether it’s a long walk, yoga, or playing sports with the kids. For the past year, it’s been 5-6 days a week at the brand-new YMCA by my house.

Okay, okay. So I like working out because they have free childcare and I need a break from my four little darlings.

In all honesty, I really do enjoy working out. I like the way I feel. I like the energy I have. I like how I feel the rest of the day after a workout. I’m calmer, much more relaxed, less stressed, more focused, and I have so much energy. I also sleep well, and I’m in a much better mood when I work out.

I don’t do anything special at the gym. I do some arm machines, I do the elliptical, the tread mill, some of the weight machines, and sometimes I mix it up with a Body Pump or Jazzercise class. I don’t like to do the same thing day in and day out, and I don’t always like to work out with other people. It all depends on my mood, but I enjoy a good mixture of different machines, company, and working out alone.

 

All in all, seeing my wedding photos was a huge shock to me. I wasn’t happy with them, and I don’t love seeing them. I love seeing me now. I’ve had four kids, I look great in a bikini, and I’m comfortable in my body. I’m strong, I’m imperfect, and I’m happy when I see myself in the mirror. I don’t diet, I don’t deprive myself, and I live an active lifestyle. I want to live long, healthy, and strong. I want to enjoy my life, and I don’t want to be like so many people who believe that having kids ruins your body and that’s just what happens when you become a parent. I want to be strong and healthy, because I have four kids. That means I’m going to have a lot of grandkids one day, and I’m going to need some serious energy to keep up with them.

At the end of the day, it’s eating well, living an active lifestyle, and really taking an interest in how you feel that makes the difference. It’s not easy to get rid of bad habits overnight, but it’s entirely possible to create healthier habits that stick after a few weeks. Try it now, and remember that you’ll feel so much better about yourself and your health after a week or two. That feeling is so much nicer than the taste of a cookie or ice cream. More energy, more patience, a better mood, and enjoying the reflection in the mirror is a feeling you cannot replicate.

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All right, all right…I like to drink my calories, so I have to eat well and workout.

There.

Picture-Perfect Product: 3 Flawless Face Must-Haves

I go to the gym (our brand-new YMCA) every week day. I go after I drop my kids off at school and run errands in the morning some days, and in the evenings when my oldest daughter is at cheerleading practice. When I work out alone, I always listen to my favorite morning show from Orlando in iHeart Radio (XL 106.7’s Johnny’s House if you want to check that out…and you should). I always laugh, and I always mentally respond to the topics they bring up.

The other day I was just going to town on the elliptical – trying to outpace the woman beside me who was completely unaware she was working out next to the most competitive person ever – and they were discussing the questions they’re asked more than any other. I knew immediately what I’d say, because I hear the questions so much I have the answers memorized.

Yes.

No.

Yes, I’m sure.

No.

Yes.

They do now.

(I would put money on the fact that there is a group of men and women out there who know what questions I’m being asked long before I even tell you what they are!)

Are they twins? Are they identical? Are you sure? Did you plan on having twins? Are they natural? Do twins run in your family?

I get the curiosity when you see someone with two babies at the same time, but can we talk about question number four, please?

Did I plan on having twins?

Can you plan on having twins? I mean, really? You can’t even plan on having a boy or a girl, so how exactly do you plan on having two at once? Is there some type of pep talk you have beforehand? Do you ask the magic 8 ball? What’s that about? I know many people go through IVF and they choose to go with twins or higher order multiples, but at that point most people are just hoping, praying, and praying some more for any healthy baby. Boy, girl, black, white, blue, green, one, two, more. If you’re at that point, you probably don’t care what you get as long as you get to become a parent.

Anyway, that’s what I’m asked the most; and no, it has nothing to do with what this post is about. I’m actually going back to the part about the gym. Following the onslaught of entirely too personal questions about my lady parts, the next most-asked question I get is “Why do you always look so good after working out?”

My girlfriends tease me that I don’t even look like I break a sweat and my makeup is still perfect when we are done with an hour-long (killer, painful, amazingly awful yet soooooo good) Body Pump class.

And yes; I know I shouldn’t wear makeup to the gym, but I’m not comfortable with a naked face in public – ever. Bad Tiffany. Shame on me. I know; I’m a terrible person. Does it count that I go home and immediately take a shower and wash my face? You know what, I don’t care if it counts or not. I have great skin, and my workouts haven’t had an effect on that in 33 years, so I’m feeling good.

I never know how to answer people when they ask me how I always look so good following a killer workout, because I’m pretty sure it’s just good genes. The ladies in my family have some seriously gorgeous skin, and thankfully they’ve all passed that down to me. No complaints here. The only other thing I can think of is my makeup. I don’t think it’s me they’re complimenting so much as it is my flawless makeup, which is just the makeup.

It’s taken me a long time to perfect my makeup routine – and I say that seriously. I was once so bad at makeup it was embarrassing. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older. I recognize that quality over quantity is good, and that sometimes the best or hottest new makeup brands or trends don’t work with my skin tone or type. I think, however, I’ve finally perfected the makeup – and it’s three products I credit for always having such flawless, smooth skin. The rest of my makeup is just a bonus. If you want to know what makes my skin look so good even when I’m sweaty and disgusting, it’s these products.

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Moisturizer: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+I have such dry skin it looks flaky if I forget to moisturize. The second I get out of the shower every morning, I slather this amazingly light and lovely lotion on my face. It keeps the flakes and dry skin at bay. I’ve used dozens of moisturizers over the course of my adult life, and this is the best for my skin type. If it’s ever discontinued, I’ll cry.

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Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (regular and Color Correcting Adjust) – I love both. It’s so smooth, goes on like silk, and it irons out my seriously disgustingly awfully large in-your-face pores. It helps my makeup sit on top of my pores and fine lines rather than inside them (thank you makeup Gods). I love the color correcting adjuster during the day when I tend to find myself a little more flushed than usual because of the hot Florida sun, running after four kids, and working out. I love the regular primer for evening because it’s so flawless – but I’ll wear either any time.

If you don’t include primer in your daily makeup routine, start.

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Setting Spray:  Boscia White Charcoal Mattifying MakeUp Setting SprayThe last thing I do is set my makeup with this amazing spray. It helps me stay matte and smooth, perfect, and I never look shiny or sweaty because of it. I actually tried this by accident once when a girlfriend had it and swore by it, sprayed me against my will, and I fell in love. A little goes a long way with this spray, so be gentle.

So there you have it; my not-so-complicated secret for always working out (or just living my life) with what everyone else believes is flawless and perfect skin. My makeup is great, too, but I really credit these base items for how good my makeup looks on my skin. They’re a must.

Ladies – take off your makeup when you work out. Or don’t. Do whatever you want. It’s your life and your face. But it isn’t great.

What product do you swear by when it comes to your face? Do you have one, or are you just on the lookout for that one thing that’ll change your life – and face – completely?

Married With (4!) Kids: Teamwork and Date Nights

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It’s not easy keeping the romance alive with four kids; it’s work. Like, actual work.

But it’s totally worth it.

In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought I’d share something romantic and swoon-worthy. But, I have four kids so I’m going to share something practical and definitely relatable. I’ll start with the math, because nothing says romance like arithmetic.

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15 years together

12 years married (well, in May)

4 kids (8, 5, 2 and 2)

If you add all that up, you get zero free time, a hectic schedule, and exhaustion. It’s an easy recipe for marital failure, but we decided a long time ago that wasn’t in the cards for us. I married my husband because he said to me while we were in the first few months of dating, “I will never be the kind of husband who sits on opposite sides of the room from my wife or has an entire life outside of her she’s not involved in,” and I fell in love. I love the idea of being a team, and I love the idea of doing life together. It’s what works.

We were married years before we had kids, and we did a lot of traveling. Almost every weekend was a new hotel in a new city. I remember distinctly one year we were in New York on weekend, California the next, Miami the following weekend, Hawaii three weeks later, and Cleveland two weeks after that. We had serious fun. Then we had kids.

The fun didn’t end, but it did change. Date night meant a babysitter. Trips mean coordinating babysitters or taking 800 million pieces of luggage into the airport, and it’s a lot of work. With four kids, it’s a recipe for straight crazy. A lot changed when we welcomed kids into our life, but our commitment to our marriage did not. If anything, our marriage became stronger. We have kids we want to model a healthy, happy marriage for; and we want them to see healthy, happy, respectful, fun, loving, generous, kind, and hilarious in our marriage.

Or maybe we just became stronger because now it’s us against them. And they outnumber us.

Every single person in the world fortunate enough to know my husband will tell you he is all the good things in life. In fact, they’ll tell you he’s pretty perfect, and it’s hard to find things not to love about him (apparently his hanging my clothes in the incorrect sections of my closet when he does laundry only bothers me and not the entire world…weird, right?). While my husband has his fair share of flaws, he’s someone I could talk about all day long because he’s just a good person. Kind, loving, generous, sweet, patient, ambitious, dedicated, loyal, a hard worker, an amazing daddy…I could go on all day long.

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I recognize all the good in my husband, and that’s what I focus on. I love to build him up, compliment him, do sweet things for him, and try to make him feel even a fraction of how good he makes me feel. I think that’s part of the reason our marriage does work so well (that, and we surround ourselves with a group of amazing friends with the same values, long-term marriages, and happiness we feel). It’s what makes me feel even crazier about him today than I did 15 years ago when we first began dating.

Making Marriage Work

Listen, we have our fair share of arguments. For more than 8 years I’ve worked from home, and I had days I’d lose every ounce of patience with the kids and totally take it out on my husband. Now he works from home, too, and he is so focused on his work it’s like I’m not even here sometimes. I don’t mind, per say, since I’m just as much of a workaholic who loves my concentration. But, when I want his attention, I want it now. I can stress him out, he can stress me out, and we can both become stressed when our schedules get too crazy, which happens often. We argue, and we don’t always like one another – but we always love one another.

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Making our marriage work takes work with all the tiny humans vying for our affection up in here, but we do it.

 

  1. Frequent Date Nights: We are all about date night, and we never go more than two weeks without one. We try to schedule one every week, but sometimes that doesn’t work with the kids’ schedules. We never, ever, ever let more than 2 weeks go by without a date. It’s good for our souls.
  2. At Least Two Trips Per Year Sans Kiddos: We love the kids, and we love to travel with them, so don’t feel bad for them. They’ve racked up plenty of their own frequent flier miles, after all. Twice a year we make a point to take a weekend or longer away and spend it without them. We love that time, and it’s so good for us.
  3. Nightly At Home Date Nights: We do this every single night. Twins in bed by 6:30, girls by 7:30 (8:30 on practice nights) and date night for us. It’s a glass of wine, a conversation on the deck, catching up on our favorite shows, or just hanging out together. It really doesn’t matter, because it’s two uninterrupted hours of time together every single night. We shower together, go to bed together, and spend serious time together. I love having that to look forward to each night.
  4. Morning Wake Up: We always wake up together and drink our coffee together before the kids wake up. It’s a nice way to start the day, even if we don’t speak to one another while we sip. I mean, I don’t really have conversational skills until I’ve had two cups, and he’s not a fan of dragon lady-Tiffany (she sucks).
  5. We Laugh: A lot. I mean, a lot. Our kids crack us up. They’re funny as hell, and we love that. And when they’re insane and we’re overwhelmed, we laugh. Because, really, it’s better than crying.
  6. It’s the Little Things: The one thing I credit for keeping us so close after so long – and a million kids – is all the little stuff. My husband is a master of the little stuff. He brings me flowers all the time because he knows I love them. He orders me awesome coffee mugs from Etsy when I mention seeing one I like. If he hears me mention I’ve missed the kids on particularly busy weeks, he books a weekend away for us so we can spend some quality time with them. If I’m overwhelmed, he makes an appointment for a massage for me or books a babysitter and plans an impromptu date night. He brings me chocolate. He makes my coffee in the morning. He’s good to me. I try to do the same for him, though I’m not sure I could ever do more than he does.

Never underestimate the little things. They are the biggest things. Marriage is not an easy deal, but it’s pretty easy when you enjoy it. It takes work, but it’s not bad work. It’s the kind of work that makes life fun. I’ll take the difficult task of scheduling babysitters around busy schedules for a weekend away or a date night over an unhappy household any day.

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Today is the universal day of love, but we don’t really celebrate in the traditional manner. We make it a big deal for our kids, because it’s fun for them. Chocolate, cute shirts to wear today for their class parties, and a few little toys make it all worth their while when they get out of bed. My honey and I exchange cards, little gifts, and he always sends me red roses to commemorate the day, which I love and appreciate.

Otherwise, our day is pretty tame. It’s all kids and school and cheer practice and stuff. We did stop working long enough to have lunch together, but I was back at my desk before he was done with his lunch. Does that count? Our oldest has cheer tonight, but we did grab some filets and fresh loaf of French bread that my husband will cook after everyone goes to bed. We’ll drink a glass bottle of wine and enjoy the quiet. And I’m pretty positive I wouldn’t have it any other way. Um, except for the fact that I ate about 200 pieces of chocolate from the kids’ stash already today. I am appropriately ashamed!

What are your favorite Valentine’s traditions?

Friday Favorites: 5 Things I Cannot Live Without

 

It’s Friday!

Can I get an amen for the best day of the week? I know other people prefer Saturday to Friday because it’s a full day of relaxation and fun, but there’s something I love a lot about Fridays. Perhaps it’s my lazy Friday afternoons. I work to meet all my deadlines and submit all work and invoices to my clients by Thursday so I can take a half day Friday to shop, relax, spend time with a good book and the gorgeous Florida sunshine, or even take lunch to my girls at school to enjoy a little midday break with them. I love Fridays.

The knowledge that I get to pick the kids up from school and come home to absolutely no plans – or a date night if that’s the plan – is my favorite. We aren’t huge on booking things on Fridays because we’re tired and want a chance to unwind. We typically end up ordering something in for dinner and taking the kids outside to ride their toys and play in the yard. Naturally, we pour ourselves a glass of white and head outside to enjoy their enjoyment. It’s one of my favorite things about Friday evenings.

Speaking of favorites and Fridays, there are so many things about Friday I love more than anything I thought I might share with you guys some of my favorite things. Once or twice a month on Fridays, I’m going to bring you a “Friday Favorites” to share with you some of the things that make my life easier, that I can’t live without, or that I have fallen in love with. Perhaps it’ll inspire you in some way, or at least make you smile. Since Fridays are happy days, smiling is mandatory.

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Fresh Flowers

Anyone who already follows me on Instagram (@tiffanyraiford15) already know I’m obsessed with fresh flowers (I also mentioned it here in another blog post). My husband sends me flowers occasionally, but he’s a master of bringing them home when he runs errands for me. He will grab my favorites when he sees them out picking up lunch, or he will pick up a bouquet for our sweet only little boy to bring me when they have a daddy/son trip to the store together, or he’ll let the girls pick some out when they go shopping if they see something they think I’ll enjoy.

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A bouquet here and there has turned into fresh flowers in almost every room. Right now, today, I have a dozen Gerber daises in a vase on the foyer entry table, two vases of Gerber daisies on the dining room table, pink roses in our home office, lilac roses on my bedside table, pink tulips on the fireplace, and a dozen white roses on the kitchen island. Like I said, I’m obsessed. But when you can pick up tulips for like $7 at Publix and a dozen roses for $15, it’s impossible not to have them all over the house! It’s so inexpensive, and I always smile when I see them.

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Pink Lipstick

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and so long all things not spring-related. The day after Christmas is the removal of all signs Christmas ever existed in our home. New Year’s Day is the day spring arrives back in our house.

Wait. Does it count if spring has been here since summer ended in November? Well, whatever.

My favorite thing in the entire world is bright pink lipstick. It doesn’t matter how I feel about anything else in life when I put on my favorite Bobbi Brown Neon Pink lipstick. It’s long-lasting, it doesn’t smudge or smear or end up all over my teeth, and it’s the one thing I get the most compliments on. In fact, I had one woman in line at the sub shop at Publix ask me to write it down for her last week, and two more ask the same day in other stores. So. Many. Compliments. And it’s gorgeous with any skin tone).

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Lilly Pulitzer Agenda

Guys, I’m seriously obsessed with planners and agendas. Obsessed. No one gets it. I have a calendar and a million apps on both my iPhone and my iPad, but I feel so good about pen and paper. I’m a list-maker, crosser-offer, and a serial note taker when it comes to my planner. As a career writer, I need to put pen to paper sometimes.

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And…I actually get a little bit high when I check something off the to-do list on a piece of paper using my favorite pen. I mean, I assume that’s what a high feels like (The only time I’ve ever been high was when we were in Jamaica four years ago and I was in the lobby of our gorgeous resort searching desperately for Wi-Fi signal so I could send some emails when I kept inhaling this strange air from the guy sitting behind me…I didn’t even know what it was until my group came to find me and told me what it was. I was definitely secondhand-high. They laugh, but I’m sure it’s the truth).

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I digress. This agenda is everything. I keep my travel notes. My editorial calendar, my daily to-dos, my addresses and important information, and everything that’s important to me is in here. I take it everywhere with me (hence why it’s so beat-up) and use it like a crutch in my everyday life. If this agenda was a real person, it would have already filed a restraining order.

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Tiffany & Co. Coffee Mugs

Okay, so realistically…they’re not that useful. They’re very small, very dainty, and they require I program an 8 oz. pour from the Keurig instead of my standard 10 oz. pour. That alone is enough to make for a tragic story-ending. BUT…they’re so pretty, they’re my name, they’re my favorite color, they’re from my favorite place to shop, and my husband picked them up for me a few NYC trips ago while I was up on the customer service floor at T&Co having a new charm affixed to my charm bracelet. He was wandering the store, saw this darling little set, and picked it up for me because he knew I’d love it.

These mugs are the inspiration for our entire kitchen. All white and creamy and neutral, we decided to add pops of Tiffany Blue all over because of these mugs. A Tiffany Blue Keurig. Tiffany blue pots and pans. Tiffany vases. My kitchen makes me happy. These mugs make me happy. Everyone buy them and be happy. Seriously.

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Yetis

I’ve saved the best for last. In all honesty, if you never buy anything again for the rest of your life, be sure to get these before you make that decision. In our household, we have a slight Yeti obsession. A cooler, the Hopper cooler bag (BTW, this is the best thing ever if you have small kids and want to go anywhere in the car and need things kept cold!) and six Yeti cups. We each have a big cup, a colster, and a tumbler.

  • Water
  • Beer
  • Coffee

Boom. All of life’s problems answered. Additionally, the tumbler also holds a lovely glass of white wine when you’re at the hair salon and want it nice and cold but don’t want to point out to all the people you’re cocktailing.

People complain about the price, but I use mine every day. I put fresh ice and water in it every day, and I can leave my cup in my car as long as I want and my water is still cold. Honestly, we flew from Tampa to Texas to visit my grandmother. October is a hot month in Florida, and my car was in the parking garage at the airport from Thursday evening around 5 pm until we landed Sunday night at 10 pm. My ice was long-since melted, but my water was still ice cold after four days in the hot car. Can you beat that? No. you cannot.

When I decided I wanted to share some of my favorites with you this Friday, these were the obvious choices. I didn’t even have to think about the material items I love most. I use/love/enjoy every one of these things every single day of my life, no exceptions. Some are useful, some are not – but they all make me happy.

What are some of your favorite things?

Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in NYC

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Who doesn’t love a good weekend? Cheers to fun Friday nights, amazing Saturdays, and Sunday Funday. I sat down here to tell you what my ideal weekend looks like, and I find myself unable to do it. There are too many things I love most about weekends to break it all down into one perfect weekend. Whether we’re traveling with or without the kids, hanging out at Disney for the day, spending time with the people we love most, or just relaxing, there is nothing about weekends I don’t love. There should be more of them.

Everyone loves weekend. Since we all love this time of the week more than any, I thought it would be fun to do a weekend recap with you on a Wednesday. It’s halfway since the weekend and halfway until the weekend, so it seems like the perfect time to relive a few amazing memories while making plans for a few new ones in the coming days.

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New York City

That’s how this Florida girl spent her weekend. In the city with my handsome husband for 24 hours of fun and enjoyment, no kids allowed. We do it a few times a year. It’s a quick flight, it’s our favorite city, and we have fallen in love with a handful of places we love to visit each time we’re in the city. I also have several events in the city during Fashion Week twice a year, so we get to enjoy the city during February and September each year a little longer than just a whirlwind weekend.

Would you believe I hated the city the first time we visited? It was 2007, our second wedding anniversary, and we did it all wrong. We did it the way tourists do it, and it was so crowded, congested, and not my style. It took three years for me to desire a trip back, and that’s when we learned how to do the city our way.

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Want to see the Statue of Liberty? Go to the bar at the Ritz-Carlton and check it out from a quaint table with a bottle of champagne. Want to see Central Park? Head down to 72nd and 5th and take a five-minute walk into the park to have brunch at the Boathouse. Mimosas, the most amazing view, and the best service. If you want to see Rockefeller Center, do it from the window seat at Morrell’s Wine Bar. The best glass of wine – and coffee – in the city comes from the Champagne Bar in the Plaza Hotel.

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I love New York City now that I know how to see the city the way that works for me. I hated it the first time I visited, and I just arrived home from my 16th trip to the city. My husband and I always go together (except once when I went for the day to attend meetings at the NFL offices and NYFW Spring/Summer ’17 when I took my bestie and my MIL), and this weekend was no exception. We decided on a quick trip. We flew in Saturday morning and left Sunday afternoon.

As always, we checked into our favorite hotel. The Omni Berkshire is located on 52nd between Fifth and Madison Avenues. We’ve stayed at the Waldorf Astoria on Park a few times, just a few seconds from the Omni. It’s gorgeous, but we love the Omni because it’s such a little gem. It’s hidden just off Fifth, and it’s never crowded. The rooms are large and lovely, the staff always so welcoming and amazing, and because we are Omni Select Guests, we always get a sweet little surprise in our room as well as coffee delivered to our room each morning. We love it. There’s just something about being in a city bustling with people and feeling as if we’re the only people there.

Following check-in, we don our winter clothes (because it’s 70 when we depart Florida and 20 when we land in NYC), and we head the 20 blocks to the Boathouse. This time we Uber’d (ubered? Took an Uber?). We love Uber in NYC, because we are obsessed with Uber Black. We usually walk, but it was cold and windy and we were famished. As ever, the Boathouse was immediately accommodating, we took our seat overlooking the lovely little lake and the outline of the city in the distance, and we enjoyed mimosas and our favorite brunch items…eggs Benedict for me.

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We enjoyed a lot of shopping along Fifth Avenue, a glass of wine at our favorite little wine bar just off Rockefeller, Morrell’s, a much-needed cup of coffee to warm up at the Plaza Hotel, and then we capped off our evening with a stop at the Peninsula Hotel. If you make time to do anything in the city, make it sunset at Salon de Ning. You’ll go all the way up to the rooftop and catch the sun setting down Fifth Avenue from the rooftop bar with a glass of malbec. There are amazing heaters everywhere, so it’s bearable to be outside. It’s just the most breathtaking view. It’s gorgeous at night, too, when the city is lit up…but nothing beats sunset. It opens at 5, and you need to be there.

We have two favorite restaurants perfect for dinner. We love to dress up, order a great bottle of wine, and linger over dinner. The Four Seasons was our long-time favorite, but with the end of their lease, they recently moved and we just miss the Pool Room and the gorgeous location so much we haven’t gone to the new location just yet. The other is Il Tinello. Fun fact; I heard about it from Regis Philbin on his morning show with Kelly Ripa many years ago. He talked about it all the time, so in September 2015 when we were in the city for some Fashion Week events, we decided to go.

Lo and behold, during the most amazing dinner (I mean, the service is stellar) in walks Regis and his wife, Joy. They are seated right next to us, and I could have died. I held it together, said nothing, and finished the most amazing meal of my entire life. It was everything. Anyway, it’s still one of our favorites. It’s seriously amazing, and you will not find more beautiful service anywhere.

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This weekend, however, we decided to try something different. We’ve heard so many amazing things about Valbella on 53rd, so we gave it a try. It was everything promised to us. Hidden just off the street between Madison and Fifth, it’s all white, floor-to-ceiling wine bottles along the wall, and our food was decadent. If you order the flourless chocolate cake for dessert, you will actually bite into a piece of Heaven. And the bottle of wine we ordered was top notch.

We went back to our room far later than we anticipated after enjoying a gorgeous bottle of wine, and we slept in Sunday morning. Room service delivered our coffee, and we laid in bed and did all the lazy stuff grown-ups do when their kids aren’t around. We sipped coffee on white sheets without spilling, watched the news, no one begged for cartoons, and we didn’t move for an hour.

It was glorious.

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After that, it was an Uber to the airport, more coffee and breakfast, a toddler-size tantrum from a woman who was well into 60s because a man accidentally hit her with his bag walking down the aisle of the plane (she actually cried to the flight attendant that he hit her and didn’t apologize). He didn’t even know his bag hit her. It was the most entertaining, sad, kind of pathetic scene I’ve ever witnessed – and it made me feel so mature just not being that woman.

Honestly, who books a flight to Orlando and doesn’t expect to have a plane filled with families with multiple kids and bags that might accidentally hit you walking down the aisle? Let’s be real here, people.

It was a short weekend filled with fun, and always one of our favorites. We needed that time away just the two of us, and we appreciated every second of it. It’s always nice to be reminded dinner can be eaten warm once in a while; we don’t take that for granted. And we’ve learned to appreciate doing NYC our way in the many times we’ve visited the city whether it’s for work or pleasure. It’s so much more enjoyable, and I’m always happy to recommend our favorite locations to anyone who is going to the city for the first time or the 50th time.

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Nothing beats getting home Sunday evening to kiss our babies, though. We left them after they went to bed Friday night to spend a night in Orlando so we didn’t have to wake up so early Saturday morning, and we missed them desperately. Their little faces make coming home so much fun, even when they’re mad we didn’t bring them anything, In our defense, we forgot about picking something up and it was a coffee mug or a shot glass from the airport. So, we bought them chocolate to make up for it. Then we ate it.

Oops.

What did you do this weekend?

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…between the numerous social media outlets where we can post photos, quick snippets, and thought-provoking content, what’s left about me you don’t already know? You know I have kids. You know I am enamored by my husband even after 15 years. You know everything…but not really. If you’re ready to get to know me a bit more, here’s your chance. I’ve come up with 25 very random things about me that surprised even me when I was coming up with them.

  • I won a writing contest in kindergarten by writing my very own book about a pretty mermaid. My mom still has it, and it kills me to this day that at 6 I thought pretty was spelled “Prite” and no one corrected me.

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  • I don’t drink soda.
  •  My kids only drink water have never had anything stronger than a Gatorade to drink.
  • The only time I ever had brussels sprouts was as a child, and they smelled so bad I vomited them up on my dinner plate. That led to my brother following suit, and my mom never cooked them again when we were home.
  • My husband and I don’t do nights apart. We never have a good time when we do a night away from one another, so we just don’t do them. In fact, if I have an event to attend in NYC or anywhere else, he’ll either go with or I’ll fly in super early and fly home late on the same day.
  • I cared entirely too much about what people thought of me until I was 22 or 23. That’s when I finally realized it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me as long as I’m happy with my life.
  • Hawaii is my favorite vacation spot to date!
  • If I don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, I’m a miserable, horrible, terrible person.
  • I’m a morning person.
  • I have a favorite child. It’s whichever one is best behaved at the moment.

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  • I did not want four kids, but God had a much bigger plan for us when he decided my third and final baby would make a great set of twins. So far, He’s right.
  • The first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night is pray. The power of prayer is real, y’all.
  • I’m obsessed with paying for other people’s meals in restaurants or stores or in line at a drive-thru. I do it all the time.
  • I wear heels every single day of my life, and I’m super uncomfortable in flats and tennis shoes.

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  • I actually make really cool cakes. I don’t love doing it for anyone but my kids for their birthdays – and I don’t say I’m amazing or an expert or anything. But, I do think I’m pretty talented for someone who has never taken a cake decorating or baking course.
  • I hate small talk. I’m no good at it!
  • I make a terrible first impression. Every. Single. Time.
  • I use the “F” word regularly. It makes me feel like a badass rebel. I’ve always been a goody-goody, so it’s how I make myself feel more daring.
  • My grandmother, Katherine, is my favorite person in the world.
  • I shower three to four times a day. If I feel at all sweaty, I’ll take a shower.
  • My husband and I go to bed together every night no matter what.
  • We are fun parents, but we don’t deviate bedtime very often. 6:30 for the twins and 7:30 for the big girls. We like our quiet evenings and the chance to relax a bit. And…we like to be in bed by 9ish. We are tired!

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  • I love fresh flowers…to the point it’s actually embarrassing how many bouquets of flowers I buy every week.
  • I bit my nails my entire life, and I stopped in September 2015 cold turkey and haven’t turned back since. I was in New York City with my husband attending Fashion Week events and one of the events I went to required I get my hair, nails, and makeup done by the brand hosting the event. When the nail tech did my nails, she lectured me on how ugly my hands looked with my nails bitten off. I was so embarrassed I never bit them again.
  • I love to dress up, and I do it almost every day.

What is it about you that people don’t already know thanks to the transparency of social media? Comment below!

Coffee is Better Before Kids

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I’m a morning person. I haven’t always been; but now that I have kids, I’m a morning person. It didn’t take me long after our oldest daughter was born to realize waking up early meant all the good things for me. I love my kids, but my day is always ugly if I wake up because they come into the master and wake me. Always. I just don’t like seeing their smiling faces in the morning until I’m at least two cups of coffee and a shower into real life. If they wake me up, you can guarantee I’m…unpleasant.

It has everything to do with the fact my kids are starving the second they get out of bed. They are dying to eat. Dying of starvation. So hungry. So starving. Their bellies are growling so loud they can’t believe we can’t hear them. It’s almost like they didn’t have a snack every 2.3 seconds the day before. Almost.

They wake up, they want to eat. There’s no wait period. My kids to do list looks like this:

  • Rise like the sunshine but louder and with far more destruction
  • Demand food within 3 seconds of rising

They all want a cup of something. They all want a plate of something. And they all want to be the first to give mommy and daddy a hug and a kiss (I will never complain about hugs, kisses, and sweet baby snuggles). The fact that I, too, want a cup of something when I roll out of bed before I have to start being a grown-up with kids and a house and stuff doesn’t phase them in the least. My inner two-year-old wants to scream as loudly as my outer two-year-old twins that I want my cup, too (But guys, most days I only scream that in my head and I’m perfectly nice to everyone around me. Parenting win.).

This is why I wake up early every morning. For coffee. For Peace. For Quiet. And to do my hair and makeup without an audience of touchy-feely little hands who are just dying to see if I’m telling the truth about my flat iron being hot.

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I enjoy my day much more when it begins on the right foot. I need a shower. I need coffee. I need to do my hair and makeup. I need to sit down in my office and get some work done, check my emails, check my to-do list, organize my schedule for the day, and bang out a few deadlines before anyone wakes up and demands frozen pancakes (not the Disney movie Frozen pancakes. Mini Eggo pancakes straight from the freezer to a bowl, no heat, no toppings but with a side of salad and some edamame. Seriously).

We’re working on teaching our two older girls to feed themselves in the morning. Maybe laundry next? But I digress. I’ve learned waking early is imperative to the well-being of my entire household as I’ve gotten older, and I’ve also learned is beneficial in other ways as well.

Time To Myself

With four kids, a demanding business to run, a husband, a house, a social life, and all the other little extras, it’s not easy to find time to myself. It’s impossible, really, in a family of six. An hour in the morning to sit on the couch by myself with my coffee and my husband and no responsibilities is the best way to start the day.

Time For Reflection

Whether you’re spiritual or religious or not, reflection is always beneficial. I say a quick prayer for the day ahead when the alarm goes off before I bounce (read: roll lazily and with sorrow) out of bed and into the shower. When I sit down with my first cup of coffee, I read my First 5 App. If you don’t already have this app, please download it. What a spectacular way to start each morning, spending a little time in prayer and reflection learning a valuable lesson in five minutes or less. It’s such a great way to get my mind going.

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Time

Need I say more? How many times have you sipped a cold cup of coffee in the morning because the kids need every single thing? I love iced coffee, but only on purpose. The time to sit and enjoy my coffee in the morning is priceless. I am so much nicer when I get to do this. It’s like my brain has a moment to wake up and process things before anyone needs anything. I get to do the things that all for me, and I get to do them without interruption. I get to sit down at my desk and work for a few hours before they all wake up. It makes their wake-up more enjoyable for me. I’m ready to see them, snuggle with them, and take a break from all the me to focus on all of them.

 

Quality Time

My husband joins me about halfway through my first cup of coffee, and we get to spend that quality time together in the morning. We don’t always converse, but we always sit together. I’m usually jotting down notes in my phone of amazing ideas I have, things to do, things to remember, and things to add to the schedule when I get into my office with my second cup while he reads the news. But we always do it together, and that’s my favorite.

There’s something so sweet about starting each day on a good note with peace and quiet and time to myself. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Are you a morning person? Do you prefer night? I’d love to hear what you do when it’s time to wake up in the morning!