Friday, April 28, 2017

Love my Baby

Is there anything more innocent or angelic than a sleeping baby? 
I was scrolling through Facebook the other night and came upon an article headline that immediately made me burst into tears. I sat there, sobbing, wondering why such terrible things happen in the world - especially to innocent babies.

I always wish I could take every baby in the world into my arms and just give them the biggest hug, just to let them know they are loved and safe, and it seriously kills me that it's impossible for me to do that.

I have prayed and prayed to know why things like this happen, why some babies are sent to horrible conditions, and some parents who desperately want babies don't get them. I don't know why. I don't know how to fix it, or how to make any of it better. It's honestly something I struggle with - just not understanding why.

One time, when I was praying about it, I was asking what I could do to help. How can I help these babies? How can I fix it? And the answer I got at that time was, "love your own baby."

I can do that. I can make sure that my baby never goes a day without feeling hungry or scared. Never feels loneliness or pain inflicted because of me. I can make sure he is incredibly spoiled with hugs and kisses and all the strawberries his little heart desires. It won't fix all the wrong in the world, but it will make sure that at least one baby has the best life possible.

Maybe someday I'll figure out how to make a difference on a larger scale - if you have any ideas, let me know - but for now, I can love my baby.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Our Easter Weekend Part 2

The rest of our Easter Weekend needs to be blogged! And blogged it will be!

It's pretty fun having a kid for holidays. I wasn't sure how much I wanted to put in to Easter, seeing as the Easter Bunny is not the true reason for the season and all that. When I was growing up, we got Easter baskets! They were always hidden, and they always included a new Easter outfit and yummy treats. I enjoyed that tradition very much, so I figured I didn't want Nathan to miss out!

I didn't get him many treats, because he really doesn't need them, and he doesn't like them that much anyway. I got three cute soccer ball "eggs" and put a few jelly beans in each. I also got a big bubble wand, as well as a Thomas the Train ballon. Nathan calls balloons "pop!" because naturally, they are like bubbles and should be popped. Then I got this awesome car carrier truck from TJ Maxx (a great place to get nice kids toys for a good price!!), and a couple new hot wheels. Nathan is VERY into cars right now. Trucks are called "chrucks!" and cars are called "vroom vroom!" and everything makes "a beep!" It's all very exciting. I also included a new Easter outfit (courtesy of my mom), and you can enjoy his reaction to that down in the pictures. So, without further ado - Easter Morning.

 ^^Just woke up. Unsure of what's happening.^^
 ^^Ah! He realized this is exciting.^^
 ^^Must run!!^^

 ^^Eating some jelly beans before breakfast!!^^

 ^^He brought his outfit to me so fast, with this serious face like, "what was that doing in there? You made a mistake, Mom."^^


After checking out the basket, Alex made us a delicious Easter brunch, and Nathan and I watched all of the Prince of Peace videos on

And there you have it, folks. Easter weekend in CaseyLand.

*I am not in any of these pictures because I was still in my robe at the time. Maybe next Easter. Also we were going to take a family picture on Easter like everyone else, but we changed out of our Easter clothes so fast after church, it was just not going to happen! 
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Mommy Style Monday: Me Time

Happy Monday everyone! Today's Mommy Style Monday is all about how we make time for ourselves. As a mom it's really difficult sometimes to fit yourself in to your own schedule. I think it's also true if you aren't a mom too! Life gets crazy, and we forget about taking care of ourselves sometimes. It's always so important to make yourself a priority.

I've been studying the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People lately, and Stephen Covey uses the example of "The Goose and the Golden Egg". Basically he says that if we want to produce "golden eggs" we need to take care of the "goose" (ourselves). If we kill or neglect the goose, no golden eggs will be produced! This is true about geese, but the metaphor is resoundingly true for us. We have so much potential, and so much to give to the people around us, but it won't be possible to give it all if we aren't nurturing ourselves!

As I was studying the 7 Habits, I found myself becoming discouraged and feeling like it was a lot of work. When I got to #7, I realized the reason I felt that way was because I hadn't been taking good enough care of myself. I wasn't "sharpening the saw".

So, without further ado - this is how I get in some "me time" and sharpen my saw:

First, I signed up for The Alison Show's newsletter. She's got this awesome newsletter she sends out and at the beginning of the month it includes a calendar. She's doing a calendar each month this year and it's called her "Year of Awesome". Each month is focused on a different attribute, April is Resilience. I printed off the calendar and on each day I wrote down what I would do for myself that day in the categories: Physical, Spiritual, Social/Emotional, and Mental.

Each day I wrote "be active" for Physical. This may sound really vague, and it is. Haha! I just realized that lately I'm terrible at sitting down and doing a workout, and because of that I get down on myself and just don't do anything at all! So I'm using my FitBit each day and just making sure I'm active enough to get in all my steps. This has actually worked out great for me! I've met my goal almost every day.

For Spiritual, I simply wrote "S/P/P", which to me means, search, ponder and pray. I've committed to myself to read a chapter of scripture or listen to a conference talk or both each day, and then I'm trying to be much more intentional about actually pondering on what I read or listened to. I usually read/listen to scripture while I get ready for the day and listen to a talk during breakfast or nap time. I have noticed I'm very uplifted by this!

Social/Emotional can get a little vague too. I wrote something different down for each day, but if I spend time with actual humans that day, I might skip what I wrote down. If I find myself on my own a lot that day but still needing a social connection, I will do one of the following: write a handwritten card, send a thoughtful text, deliberately compliment someone, thank someone for something, invite someone to do something with me, or find a way to serve someone else. I have been so fulfilled by going out of my way to get more involved socially!

And finally, my mental goals. I realized that each night after Nathan goes to bed I had a lot of time to myself/with Alex, but both of us were just sitting on our phones or watching a show. Neither of these things is terrible, but I have so many other goals I want to work on, I decided to be more attentive to those and put the technology down. Twice a week I'm making time for reading a book - fiction/non-fiction, doesn't matter. On Tuesday's I get on a Google Hangout session with friends and talk about goals with blogging. I take one day a week to make sure I work on my online Photography class. One day a week is dedicated solely to Alex (date night, cuddling, watch a movie, play a game, etc). I think this counts as "me time" because it's always rejuvenating to reconnect with him! On Saturdays I "pamper" myself. Take as long as I want in the shower, shave, do a face mask, paint my nails, etc. And finally on Sunday I am journalling. I've been working on my Promptly Journal I got for Nathan, and it's been really fun to look back on my pregnancy with him/his birth/and how much he's grown.

So there you have it! I'm sorry that was so long, but that's how I've been fitting in "me time" lately, and it has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I feel so much more in control of my own life, and like I am capable of producing more than ever! My creative juices are flowing, and I find myself less overwhelmed with life.

I can't wait to read what the other ladies do to fit in "me time"!:
Kiana at Glitter&Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand
Rachel at Tutus and Heels
Monica at It's All About

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Best At Home Teeth Whitening System!

One unique thing about me that I always use in the game "Never Have I Ever" in order to win is this: I have never had a cavity. It's true! These teeth of mine have stayed strong. The longer I go without a cavity, the more stressed I feel at the dentist, because I just don't want my streak to end! But the good news is, my dad has never had a cavity either, and supposedly it's all down to genetics.

Anyway, last year I went to the dentist and while I didn't have any cavities, it was the usual disappointed reaction when I let the dental hygienist know that I really wasn't the best at flossing. When I was walking out of the dentist's office I thought, "I have never had a cavity. My teeth are perfect. Why wouldn't I want perfect gums as well??" And you guys! I have flossed every day since!!
I just went to the dentist a few weeks ago, and they were thrilled! My gums looked great! I had no cavities! I was a model patient.

The only thing I would change about my teeth is that I would like to have whiter teeth. I have tried using white strips before, but they seemed expensive, and I felt like they made my teeth so so sensitive! So let's talk about Smile Brilliant.

Smile Brilliant is an at home teeth whitening system that really works! First they send you these little trays with this putty kind of stuff that you use to make a mold of your teeth. It reminded me of getting fit for a retainer. They give you an envelope with the shipping already paid so you can send the molds back, and within a week or so they send you the custom fitted whitening trays for your teeth! Once you have those you can get to work. I put the whitening gel on for about 45 minutes, and then afterward I put on a desensitizing gel for 20! I love it so much because I don't have sensitive teeth at all after using it. It really truly works! I have noticed my teeth getting gradually whiter every time I use it.

I love this system because it works, and it's totally affordable at home teeth whitening. Once you have the trays, you never have to get them done again! You only have to get more gel, and it's very inexpensive. They also use totally vegan and cruelty free ingredients, which makes me respect the company even more.

Maybe next year the dentist will also comment on how white my teeth are? We can only hope.

Since we all want white teeth, this next part should thrill you! I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY!!! Woohoo!!! If you would like to be entered in a giveaway to earn $139 store credit to click this link for whiter teeth

The giveaway will end two weeks from today. You can also enter on my instagram @madelinecasey_ Good luck! 

You can also use the code caseylandblog5 for 5% off your purchase on the website. :)

Giveaway open to UK, Australia, Canada, and USA residents.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Our Easter Weekend part 1

Happy Monday everyone! This past weekend was so much fun, I'm sad it's over. But luckily the weather is still nice, and so far I have stuck to my to-do list, so things are looking good! Here's what we were up to this weekend:

On Saturday morning our church had an Easter brunch, so I cut up a watermelon (using this watermelon slicer which is seriously a game changer) and sliced up some strawberries, and we drove on over to the park! The weather was seriously idyllic. With spring weather in the 70s, I would spend all day outside if I could. They had a little Easter Egg Hunt after the brunch, and I wasn't sure how Nathan would respond to it, but once he got the idea he was pretty excited about it! After the egg hunt we took a short walk. Then when it was clear Nathan was really ready for a nap, we went home and put him down. After which, I got to spend the afternoon shopping with my cute friend Whitney for a belated birthday celebration! It has been SO LONG since I've been shopping with a friend, it was really nice. That evening we decided to have a picnic for dinner and it was really super windy, so it wasn't extremely fun, just semi-fun. All in all, a very productive yet relaxing Saturday.

^^ This is Nathan's face when he doesn't understand why we are standing in a large field instead of playing at the park.^^

^^ This is his look of acceptance. He has a hard life.^^

^^ Really getting the hang of things.^^

Nathan's new favorite words to say to me are, "Mom! Go! Walk!" He always wants to be walking. But sometimes his little legs get tired and he wants me to carry him. He's getting really heavy.

Also he started saying small sentences this past weekend as well! I was talking to a neighbor I hadn't met before and Nathan was highly suspicious of her (she was SO NICE), so he was clinging to my legs and he said, "Mom. I wanna go back." Clear as day. It was a little unnerving to be honest.

And then yesterday I said, "Do you want a drink?" And he said, "No. I want Dada." And he ran over to Alex and cuddled in his lap.

If that's not a heart melter, I don't know what is!

And now I've realized that this post is long, so we'll do an Easter part two sometime later this week.

How was your weekend?

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Mommy Style Monday: Time Management

Mommy Style Monday is a blog series my friend Kiana and I created, so that we could share our style with each other and moms like us! Style is an all encompassing word. It can mean a lot more than just what you're wearing, and everyone has their own unique style in every aspect of their lives.  Our hope is to share our "mommy style" with others, to inspire and have fun! I feel like as a mom (especially a stay at home mom like myself) it's really easy to get in a rut. I love seeing other people's take on motherhood, and I love it even more when I know it's something I can easily implement into my routine. It's totally possible to feel like a million bucks without spending a million bucks. Being a mom isn't always glamorous, but we can help each other out by sharing what we do to make it beautiful, with as little effort as possible ;). Every first and third Monday of the month we will have a Mommy Style Monday post sharing different inspiration for fashion, makeup routines, diaper bag organization, nursery decor, favorite baby books and toys, date night ideas, etc. We are all here to help each other out!

If you would like to be a part of the next Mommy Style Monday, fill out the form here. We would be thrilled to have you! If you know of a cute mama who has style to share, let her know about this link up!

To be honest, I haven't been very excited about this week's topic ha ha.... Time Management has been something I have really struggled with since having Nathan! Becoming a stay at home mom means you are your own boss, and without a fixed schedule, I often find myself wasting time more than I would like. 

However! I have been working on it! I showed you my cleaning schedule a few Mondays back, and that has really helped on the housekeeping front. So each day, I try to follow a similar pattern, and for the most part it helps me at least get the minimum done ha ha. Don't judge, just know this is all a work in progress! If you are a highly motivated individual who gets it all done, please let me know how!!!

A typical Monday in the life of Madeline:

8:00 a.m. - Nathan wakes up, so I wake up. (Some days he sleeps in so I sleep in too, but on Mondays we have a morning obligation, so we get up on time!)
8:15-8:45 a.m. - We eat breakfast together. Usually I make him some scrambled eggs and some sort of fruit. Sometimes there are pancakes or waffles.
8:45-9:15 a.m. - We get ready to go! 
9:15 a.m. - We get in the car and drive across town to Nathan's gym class.
9:30-10:30 a.m. - Nathan gets his wiggles out and learns cool new tricks at his My Gym class. (I seriously recommend this place! My Gym is in every state and it's the coolest.)
10:45 - 11:30 a.m. - We decompress, eat a snack or an early lunch, and get ready for nap time.
12:00 - 1:30/2/2:30 p.m. - Nathan Naps. During Nathan's nap I will clean the bathroom, get the morning dishes done, blog/read blogs or check emails, get work done for my job, etc. I try to just fit in as much as I can. Some days I'm tired or lazy or whatever and I just do the bathroom and then watch a show and relax haha. 
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. - This is a pretty flexible time. We may go to the grocery store or Target or something. If the weather is nice we might go for a walk or to the park with friends. Sometimes we just hang out at home and read books, play with cars, kick his soccer ball around, those kinds of things. 
5:00 p.m. - I start prepping anything I need to for dinner. Nathan is usually getting antsy around this time so I might set him down with a little cutie orange or applesauce pouch and let him watch Baby Einstein or Winnie the Pooh haha.
6:00-7:00 p.m. - I finish up dinner and get the table set. Alex comes home from work and we eat together and talk about our day. 
7:00-8:00 p.m. - We get Nathan in the bath or one of us plays with him while the other clears the dishes and wipes up the table. I will usually practice Spanish on DuoLingo while Alex bathes Nathan. Then we play in Nathan's room for a little bit - He likes to read books, play hide and seek in his closet, and kick his ball around. We let him pick our his pajamas, then he says goodnight to Alex and I rock him before he goes down in his crib.
8:30-10:30 p.m. - I finish cleaning up the living room, Alex finishes the dishes. When that's done it's usually shower/get ready for bed time. We might watch a show or just relax for a little while before going to bed.

Things I want to improve on!:

I need to fit in exercise. I was trying to do exercise videos with Nathan in the morning, but he would get pretty upset with me about 10 minutes in, and that was stressful. Especially when I was doing yoga and supposed to be relaxed ha ha. I have a million other things to do during nap time, so it's not super conducive during that time either. I could potentially wake up EARLIER than Nathan. In fact, I think that's probably the best solution. That requires quite a bit of self-discipline, and I'm always worried he'll hear me and wake up too early ha ha, but I should try it.

My evening time needs to be more productive. I would like to spend more time reading and doing my photography class in the evenings. I'm going to print off a calendar and hang it by my bed. On each day I'm going to write what personal goals I would like to have accomplished that day as far as reading, journaling, blogging, and photography class are going, and then hopefully that will help keep me on track! 

Basically I need to be better at getting off my phone at night especially, because that time is precious!

Ok, this was long. Anyway, I'm really excited to see how the other ladies manage their days, and I'm hoping to get some good ideas for myself!! Let's check them out!

Kiana at Glitter&Donuts
Erica at Good Job Momma

Cayli at Nightchayde
Rachel at Tutus and Heels
Monica at It's All About

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I'm the Mom!

It's been 18 months of motherhood so far, and there have been no shortages of ups and downs on this rollercoaster! The only constant it how much I love my kid, and the fact that I wouldn't ever want to go back to life without him.

I have been stretched and pushed further than I thought possible, and possibly further than I was originally willing to go. Painful, at times. Always worth it. Like most things in life, if it's hard, it's usually good and right and totally worth struggling through.

There's one thing I feel I struggle with quite frequently, and that's the idea that I'M THE MOM.

Oh boy.

My little man is quite opinionated. He knows where he wants to be, what he wants to be doing, what music he wants to be listening to while he's doing it, where he wants me to be in relation to him at all times, what toys I get to hold and what toys he gets to hold, what food he will eat, etc. He's opinionated, yet also easygoing? It's hard to explain. Basically, if it's just us at home, he thinks he's the boss. Anywhere else, he's more willing to trust me to take the reins.

My thing is, I should be holding the reins the whole time, right? I get confused on this. I want him to feel his freedom to choose most things, but I don't want to be a pushover. I want him to be able to do the things that make him happy, but I don't want to let him be in a dangerous/incredibly messy/inconvenient situation. I want to get him to stop crying, but I don't want to just hand over whatever he wants whenever he wants it.

Do you get what I'm saying??

Basically, I don't want to be selfish. But I also don't want to be so selfless that my child is running the household, and sometimes I'm not sure if I'm drawing that line correctly.

For instance, if a situation arises and Nathan is upset with me because it isn't going the way he wanted it to go, I usually stop and think:
"Is it not going the way he wants it to go because I just don't feel like it?" or "Is it not going the way he wants it to go because it's actually unsafe/super messy/inconvenient?"

If it's the former, I usually try to adjust to fit his wants. To me, if there isn't an iron clad reason I shouldn't be playing with what he wants me to play with, or taking him outside when he wants to go outside, or getting him a snack when he wants a snack, I feel like I should just do it. Even if I really don't feel like it, or if I have other things on my to-do list

. If it's the latter, I will always say no. But I have this weird GUILT that just gets me because he's sitting there crying and I start to think, "Well, maybe there IS a ways I can let him touch the hot oven!!!" Even though that's ridiculous, and that's when I repeat to myself - I AM THE MOM.

I'm the mom.

That means it's ok to say no, right? That means it's my DUTY to say no. I have to protect him! I have to teach him.

I guess my real question here is, if you're a mom, where do you draw the line? When do you decide to say no, and how do you decide to say yes? Do you always put your wants aside to satisfy your child's? Or do you feel just fine saying no when you don't feel like it? And if you're not a mom, what do you think your philosophy is?

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