How to Survive 10 Years of Marriage – 10 Things I’ve Learned!

Twelve years ago, when this Cancer (water sign) met an Aries (fire sign), this ESTJ (executive – think Judge Judy or Robb Stark) matched with a INFJ (advocate – think Mother Teresa or MLK Jr.) and this politico met an apathetic voter (who has since never missed a vote), there was some serious steam! Let’s also throw in the fact that we are both independent, strong willed, first-borns! While we found our perfect match, I’ll just say that it took us a minute to hit our stride once we moved under the same roof.

We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary which made me want to look through pictures of our wedding but also made me think about how far we’ve come! What?! I didn’t know everything there was to know about marriage at the ripe old age of 25?! HA, no!

Here are 10 of the lessons I’ve learned (yes, just 10 out of the millions of lessons) about making marriage work after you find the love of your life finds you (moves to DC, convinces you that he’s the only one for you and takes you back to your hometown to have two kids):😘

  1. Make smart deals – Before we got married, we made a list of our non-negotiables – a list of our biggest requests from each other. We really got into the weeds and picked our top 3 or 4 things that we thought we’d be able to keep up. For example: After being a bachelor for several years, John really, really, really, really wanted home cooked meals. While I don’t mind cooking, putting together a full dinner every night was definitely not a top priority for me. However, he offered to always do the dishes when I cooked. BINGO! We had a deal. Now, I have a full dinner 4 or 5 nights a week (SAMS is your friend, people!! Flounder + steamed broccoli + rice = dinner) and leave the dishes for John. If either us starts slacking, the other has some leverage. Ha.
  2. Be your spouse’s biggest fan – I guess I’ve always thought John was good at his job, so that part was easy. It was all the other stuff that we learned together about keeping up a house, taking care of our kids, or making big decisions that had us questioning each other’s ability (ok, mostly me questioning…) to do things the right way. Learning that my way isn’t the only way (although usually the best way….he he) was a serious milestone for this independent girl.
  3. Keep letters/gifts/mementos of your favorite memories around – John is really good about keeping notes/cards. I am not so good. I’m more of a picture kind of person. A way around that is a Pinterest board! We have pinned our special vacations, restaurants and gifts. When times are harder, it’s a great reminder of all of the fun things we’ve done, moments we’ve shared and bucket list of adventures that we have to look forward to.
  4. Lay down the sword (or get two tubes of toothpaste) – Seriously, there are just some things that aren’t worth it. I don’t know why I thought we had to share everything and agree on everything. O.M.G. It was so life giving to learn to “agree to disagree” about the things that aren’t pillars of the relationship (e.g. politics).
  5. Do what works for you – Ever heard that you shouldn’t go to bed mad? That’s actually one of the best things John and I can do! I used to be quite the night owl, but these days (ahem…two toddlers) I pretty much shut down around 10:30pm.  Anyone else get irrational and overly emotional when you are tired?! Yeah, me too. If a disagreement crops up when one of us is tired, it goes downhill fast. We do well to hold our tongues and discuss the next day. Many times it wasn’t even a big deal and we forget it and move on.
  6. Spend time together! I never understood the concept of “date night” before we had kids, but now totally get it. Planning one night a week (or month) to just be “us” has been so beneficial for our sanity relationship. Don’t forget to do the things you did together before you got married. After all, these are fun things that got this relationship to the alter. As our relationship grows and morphs, things we do together have changed too. We can’t take two toddlers to the tennis courts and risk them getting pelted with 50 mph balls.  While we still make time for it occasionally (the babysitting money is totally worth it); a lot of times we would rather spend time having an adult conversation over a relaxing meal.😅
  7. Take interest in what your spouse likes (and remember what you like) – I’m still not awesome at this (primarily because I’m worried it entails hours playing Mario Kart…he he, just kidding). John is good at this. He *pretends* to be excited about good deals I’ve found for clothes/groceries/anything at Target, lives at the pool in the summer, indulges my excitement about Disney World, and listens to my rants about the latest issue in the news. It is also good to have separate interests! Putting pressure on our spouse to be our “everything” is a lot for anyone to bear.
  8. Communicate and be flexible – I have to admit, John and I both are the opposite of flexible, so this has taken some work. (*Note: we are still working on this*) No one likes stepping out of their comfort zone and doing things that they don’t want to or don’t think is the best way, but I’ve noticed that when one of us does this, it makes the other want to do the same (occasionally). Communication is hard for anyone. John is crazy tech savvy, so even the thought of adding information to a paper calendar has him cringing. We have set up a family calendar on our phones and are able to add in doctor’s appointments, who is picking up the kids on what day, and any other piece of information that the other should know. This has saved us a TON of irritation about forgetting to tell the other about the-family-trip-we-have-had-planned-for-two-months thing.
  9. Divide and Conquer – This is especially important for parents. John and I have tried to do it all and then tried the divide and conquer technique. I’ll tell ya, DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL! That will just burn you out and make you tired and grumpy (see #5). Team work makes the dream work. 😂
  10. Show Love – This one seems like it should be the easiest right? I think sometimes its the thing that goes by the wayside. For us, it can be as easy as stocking the Coke Zero stash or stalking the ADIDAS website until I can score a pair of the latest NMD shoes (you can probably tell the love language here right?!😄). Speaking of Love Language, check this out to see what yours and your spouses’ are: Love Language Quiz.

What things have you learned in your years of marriage? Tips? Secrets? New Ideas? We’d LOVE to hear from you.

✌❤💑,

Lauren

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We Love Our Teachers and Here’s How To Show it!

I know you all have seen the teachers strikes in the national news. No matter where you fall on the teacher’s salary issue, I think we can all agree that there are some teachers we want to go above and beyond for! We want to show them our love, support and gratitude for taking care of/teaching/nurturing/mentoring/coaching our kids! If you are anything like me, every April I have the same conversation with my mom friends about…you guessed it, what are we going to get our kids’ teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day! Sure, there are the old stand-bys of flowers and  candy, and those moms that have it pulled together enough to present a gorgeous pinterest creation, but I wanted some new ideas.

Enter my first college roommate, Deborah Penwell:

She is an elementary school teacher and mom, so she has tons of experience on both the giving and receiving ends of Teacher Appreciation Day.  Here is her take on gift ideas:

As I was thinking about how to best write this, I didn’t want it to come across as “Go buy something for your kids teacher!” but as a way to look at really appreciating the people who spend SO much time with your children for 180ish days.

I love the teachers that my son has had since he started Kindergarten. He’s now in 2nd Grade and has had some really wonderful teachers work with him. They nurture him, teach him compassion & kindness, give him band aids when he’s hurt, rub his back when he’s having a rough day, smile and laugh at his stories when they could be working on other things, make a huge deal when he does well on his work, and the biggest…have patience with him when he may be getting on their last nerves! For these reasons along with MANY others, I want them to truly know how special they are to me! I totally understand that we aren’t going to love every teacher that our children have. I mean, really…who likes everyone person that they’ve ever met??? Keep in mind though that these are the women and men who are with our children all day. Are there a few bad apples? Sure. For the most part though, the teachers I know are AMAZING. They are at school hours more a week than the 7:30-3:15 day. They take work home so that the needs of their students can be met. They would literally sacrifice their lives for their students as we’ve seen far too many times in the past few years. So for one week…or throughout the year if you want, why not show them a little love for all of the things they do for our babies!

On to the goodies! Okay, I know not everyone has the same budget. Some of us aren’t even in the same ball park so I’m going to give several different ideas. I want to preface these ideas by saying that most teachers don’t expect anything. I can honestly say that a heartfelt note of thanks or encouragement is a HUGE deal for us. Some of my most cherished gifts are notes from parents where they shared how much they thought of me. One of the quickest ways to make a teacher cry!

A great way to find out what your child’s teacher likes is a quick questionnaire. It can be as short or thorough as you want it to be. Some good questions to start with are: What is your favorite snack? What is your favorite restaurant? What are your monogram initials? What size shirt do you wear? What are your favorite colors? Are there any foods that you are allergic to or try to stay away from? With just a few questions, you have all the information you need for some pretty awesome gifts. Your child will probably be able to give you some good ideas too. For instance, my students know that I love coffee. They comment on it pretty frequently.

Oh My Stars Designs https://www.facebook.com/ohmystarsdesign/ has some great teacher gifts! She can put just about any design on a shirt or tumbler. And ALL.THE.GLITTER!!! I love my pen holder that I got from her shop. It’s perfect for Flair pens or Sharpies! Flair pens are a new favorite desk item of mine this year. https://www.amazon.com/Paper-Mate-Medium-Limited-1982970/dp/B01M306M92/ref=sr_1_10?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1523494242&sr=1-10&keywords=flair+pens Since her items are custom made, make sure you check on her time line before ordering!

A pretty easy to pick up gift is blank notecards and pens. It may sound silly, but teachers go through a lot each year. I know that I try to write thank you notes for my students when they give me something. TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, and Amazon all have some great ones. I’ve also ordered these before and they were super cute! https://www.peartree.com/teacher-stationery/aligned-apple-mini-note-cards-teacher-stationery/p/PTG5979NTFC2-KT/ Look for promo codes first and it’s even more affordable.

Bluestone Sign Co. https://www.facebook.com/bluestonesignco/ has adorable signs. She has some premade signs available and also takes custom orders. Again, make sure to check the time lines before ordering so you know if it will be finished on time.

Gift cards to local restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries are also a big winner. You could also go in with a couple of other parents for a gift certificate to a nicer restaurant as well.

Another option to really spoil a teacher is to go in with several other parents and get a gift certificate for a massage or mani/pedi!

I hope this has helped you all think of some ways to show you appreciate everything that a teacher does for your child each day.

Thanks Debbie! These are awesome ideas, in plenty of time to make those teachers feel special and appreciated.

Guest contributor Deborah Penwell lives in North Carolina, but is originally from wild, wonderful, West Virginia. She taught 4th grade for one year and 3rd grade for the past 12 years.  She enjoys her family, coffee, the beach and traveling.

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My Bucket List for the Year

It’s a new year – a total clean slate. It’s a time for new beginnings, goals, resolutions, and bucket list items. I am, for sure, an optimist, and I totally get into thinking about things I’d like to change in my life, how I I want to grow, what I want to do and accomplish and how it’s going to happen. *Let me just stop right here* and acknowledge that all of us with young children are totally in survival mode and just getting ourselves and families fed, dressed and out the door in the morning is an accomplishment. But, as I come through the fog of having an infant (2 toddlers now!?!), I have a newfound burst of energy to tackle some of the things that were on hold for the last year or so.

So, to be completely honest, I have found some of my inspiration for my New Year’s resolutions from The Bucket List Family.  If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a family who sold everything to travel around the world, learn about different cultures and give back.  I first learned about them as they partnered with Disney and reviewed resorts in their 30 Stays in 30 Days videos. I really appreciate their goals for the family: Adventure, Service and Culture (and health). (I also absolutely love the idea of living with less “stuff”, but that’s another post for another time. 😁) This was completely inspiring to me, so this year, my big goals for myself and family are Adventure, Service and Healthy Living.

Adventure

The wanderlust is real, you guys. Traveling is my happy place! While John and I aren’t going to sell everything and travel the world with our kids, this year my goal is to experience something new each month. While some of our adventures may be big, like a trip to New Zealand, some will be as simple as a visit to a new museum or new art class.

The last few years have flown by! If you are like me, you would love to slow things down (especially those sweet moments with your babies). You know how everyone says, if you want to slow the years down, take some time to learn something new? Here’s my attempt to make the most of the time with my family and have a really fun time doing it!

Service

Some of us are better at giving back than others. I love giving to charities and good causes, but getting down to the nitty gritty and rolling up my sleeves? Not as good. This year, I’d love to show my kids the value of getting involved in hands-on church and community projects to make our town a great place to live.

Healthy Living

Every year I make the resolution to lose weight, but this year, I am committing to a healthier lifestyle. Without health, we are really super limited to what we can do. Whether I like to admit it or not, I feel better when I exercise – I have more energy for my kids and am generally in a better mood (“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. -Elle Woods). I am working on incorporating both strength training and HIIT training into my workout plan. Not only will that help keep me feeling good but I will be able to keep up with my kids!

Throughout this year, Jill and I will take you on our personal journeys and show you our fun (and hilarious) fitness adventures, life hacks, beauty tips/tricks, healthy living ideas and a lot more! Coming up is a series on fitness. Check back for our post on AcroYoga!!

Thank you all for taking the time to keep up with us and we look forward to hearing your resolutions, goals, and great tips for making 2018 a great year! Don’t forget to subscribe (below if you are on your mobile device and to the right if you are on your PC) and get the latest updates!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Said No One Ever

Remember back to middle school? We had those scrunchies, wore braces and raisin-colored lipstick, listened to our music with walkmans, watched Clueless, and let’s not forget our Backstreet Boys posters. To get a look into how things are in the 2017’s, I’m deferring to one of my besties, May. She is a middle school counselor (bless her) in Maryland and always provides me with good insight. Here are some of her thoughts (with some of my commentary) that will be useful for not only middle school parents but all of us!

 

 

There’s something deeply powerful about backwards mapping—the concept of beginning with the end in mind, of connecting outcomes to the decisions we’re about to make. The process is widely used in educational settings as well as in day-to-day decision making. It can be as simple as, “I don’t want my tongue to be blue, so I won’t eat that blue jolly rancher,” or “I want to fit in my pants, so I’ll lower my calorie intake this week.” (Been there!)

As a middle school counselor, I’m always looking for ways to get kids to consider the consequences of the present decisions they are making. This is a difficult task – certainly not for the faint of heart. Developmentally, adolescents are generally impulsive and present-focused, giving little thought to what will come tomorrow. They are naturally impatient, much like toddlers. (Wow, so this doesn’t end?!) But while they embody many raw and intense qualities, I have found that they are painfully accurate reflections of the state of our self-focused culture.

While most of us are well past our middle school years, we often find ourselves facing similar issues (we just don’t have the same excuse that they do!).  So when I impart words of wisdom to them, I’m really talking to myself as well. When you’re trying to get through to middle schoolers, I have discovered that it takes a healthy combination of pithy + snarky + humorous. So, in my quest to communicate how particular actions or inactions produce wanted or unwanted consequences, I have begun using a phrase which really puts things into perspective in a powerful, soundbite that is palatable to the middle school brain (and to my old middle school brain).  Said no one ever. For example, “I’m glad I ate that entire box of Swiss Rolls…said no one ever” (sounds delicious…) or, “I’m glad I didn’t put sunscreen on…said no one ever.”

Here are some that I’ve shared with my middle schoolers to get them to think:


“I wish I had posted that inappropriate picture of myself…said no one ever”
“I wish I had thought more about myself than others…said no one ever”
“I wish I had tried to impress people more…said no one ever”
“I wish I had taken more selfies…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I cheated on that test…said no one ever”
“I wish I had made more lame excuses about why I didn’t do my work…said no one ever”

Most of us have lived long enough to partake of the regret that comes from careless living. So, here is my meager offering as a challenge to the rest of us “old middle schoolers”:

When it comes to life choices:
“I’m glad I spent 2 hours Facebook more…said no one ever”
“I sure wish I had racked up more debt…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I procrastinated taking care of my health… said no one ever” (Eeeek!)
“I’m glad I keep staying awake at night on my phone…said no one ever”
“I should scrutinize myself more in the mirror…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I gossiped today…said no one ever”
“I should really binge-watch more Netflix… said no one ever” (Ouch!!)
“I’m glad I refused to donate that dollar to St. Jude’s at the cash register…said no one ever”
“I really glad I worried today…said no one ever”
“I wish I had smiled less…said no one ever”
“I wish I had put off pursuing my dreams…said no one ever” (Boom.)
“I’m glad I keep comparing myself to people I think are more successful than me…said no ever”
“Boy, I’m glad I planned every square inch of my day without time to relax today…said no one ever”
“I sure am glad we postponed our trip to Europe again…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I was so controlling today…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I didn’t let that car into my lane of traffic so he had to wait…said no one ever (Except when you’ve been waiting over two hours to get over the Canadian border, am I right May?!)
“I’m glad I did a mediocre job” – said no one ever

When it comes to relationships:
“I’m glad I hung onto that grudge for 20 years…said no one ever” (oooh…)
“I wish I had kept the truth from people I love…said no one ever”
“I wish I had spoken without a filter…said no one ever”
“I’m wish I had taken my mom and dad for granted…said no one ever”
“I wish I had dismissed other’s perspectives more…said no one ever”
“I wish I had spent less time with my family…said no one ever”
“I wish I had been less patient… said no one ever” (I hear that collective groan, parents!)
“I wish I hadn’t been so forgiving…said no one ever”
“I wish I had insisted I was right more…said no one ever”
“I wish I had assumed the worst about people more…said no one ever”

When it comes to spirituality:
“I wish I hadn’t read the Bible so much…said no one ever”
“I wish I hadn’t prayed more…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I didn’t stand up for what I believe…said no one ever” (whew, May!)

Reading this list leaves me stinging with regret. I think I hear a resounding OUCH coming from all of us. But the sting is good, because we still have time. Time to start living in the light of who we want to be. And time to minimize future regrets. We need to think past this moment. What will “future you” wish you had or hadn’t done? Socrates famously claimed “the unexamined life is not worth living.” If he was right (and most of the time, he was), then I don’t think any of us will ever be wishing we were less intentional with our time—or less focused on the person we want to become.

In other words, as say to my middle schoolers, “I’m glad I don’t think about the consequences of my decisions…said no one, ever.”

 

I mean, mic drop, May – thanks for the words of wisdom! I hope this helps you all, as much as it did me, to take a minute, step back and get some perspective.

 

Guest contributor May Novalis hails from Maryland, where she’s worked with middle schoolers for the last 10 years.  She loves puns, Nutella, Masterpiece theater, morning coffee and connecting with people. You can find May here on SoundCloud!

 

XOXO,

Lauren

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The Weekly Downward Spiral – Mom Edition

Whether you are a working mom, stay-at-home mom, or somewhere in-between, you are probably like us, and feel like your ability to get everyone out the door, fed, dressed, and happy, becomes a slow downward spiral throughout the week!

With the help of my artistic hubs, here is a look how every mom has felt throughout the week, at one time or another:

 

MONDAY

We’re feeling pretty good! We packed snacks and lunch for the kids the night before and the backpacks are laid out, with all of the necessities. All outfits are ironed and hair is fixed. We’re on time and everyone is happy. Our outfit is on point, we have our coffee in hand and we’re ready to take on the week!

 

TUESDAY

Welp, we hit that snooze button an extra time which has left us scrambling to find one of the kid’s science homework, soccer gear for practice after school and matching outfits. It was a little hairy there for a minute, but we got it together. We know that Dad is picking up/making dinner tonight, so we can breathe a sigh of relief.

 

WEDNESDAY

So, catching up on Game of Thrones or Fixer Upper last night wasn’t the best idea. We are rushing around to feed and clothe the small humans in our homes; while trying to make sure we look presentable for that client meeting/PTA/play date. Of course, on top of everything else, there are several spilled cereal, leaky bottle and knotted hair incidents. Everyone seems grouchy but after a rousing car-karoke rendition of “Let It Go”, everyone is back on track. Thank goodness for that frozen Rocco’s lasagna in the freezer (a bag of salad makes that a well-balanced meal right?)!

 

THURSDAY

O.M.G. is it only Thursday?! This is a ponytail/bun hair day FOR SURE. Between the kids eating breakfast in the car and putting makeup on in the rear view, this day is off with a bang. The screaming and crying in the backseat is just about enough to make you “pull over”, but you keep it together and profusely apologize to the teachers for the the tardies. By the end of the day, you are pretty well spent. This calls for take-out, baths, and then we’re ready to fall out.

 

FRIDAY

Am I sleep-walking?! Are these screaming banshees my kids? Did I wear this outfit this week? Does my hair look THAT bad? As we are dragging our kids to the car, we are on auto-pilot. We hope the kids got to the right classrooms, with the right backpacks/lunch boxes. We remember, at the last minute, to turn in the after-care forms and then race to work. At some point throughout the day, we start to perk up – IT’S FRIDAY!!! Excitement turns into adrenaline, as we decide where we are going to eat tonight, who is coming to the tailgate tomorrow, what family fun can we get into.

 

Life is coming at us fast and furious, and mommas we feel you! We’ve all been there and will be there again. We hope you had a great long-weekend!!

 

Tell us your funniest or most memorable “downward spiral” moments! We love hearing from you. Also, be sure to subscribe, to get the latest from Glitter Jungle.

 

XOXO,

Lauren

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What I Wish Everyone Knew About Motherhood

“You are the trip I did not take;

You are the pearls I could not buy;
You are my blue Italian lake;
You are my piece of foreign sky. //

You are my Honolulu moon;
You are the book I did not write;
You are my heart’s unuttered tune:
You are a candle in my night. //

You are the flower beneath the snow;
In my dark sky a bit of blue;
Answering Disappointment’s blow
With ‘I am happy! I have you!'” -Anne Campbell //

 

 

For me, this sums up #motherhood and parenthood in a nutshell. The sacrifices we make as mothers are real. The sacrifices are costly. Perhaps you’ve had to put certain hopes and dreams on hold to prioritize current family needs. Perhaps life didn’t turn out quite as rosy as you once upon a time imagined it would be. I can sometimes be hard on myself about where I think I should be during this stage of my life. Being self-motivated certainly has its pros and cons! It’s tempting to entertain these futile “coulda, woulda, shoulda” thoughts. But I take one look at my kids, I see what amazing miracles both of them are, and all those fears and regrets fly right out the window. My kids have a way of keeping me centered. Their love and trust in me as their mama humbles me. They help me to remember what is most important in this world and that life, as hard and messy as it can be sometimes, is beautiful.

 

Guest Contributor Sarah Brown is a happy wife, proud mama, and relentless real estate agent living la vida loca in Washington, DC. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, pretending like she knows what she’s doing in her garden, spending time with family and friends, and perfecting her sea salt caramel chocolate chip cookie recipe. You can find Sarah on Instagram @sarahbrowndc!

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10 Types of Moms – Which one are you?

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, here are 10 types of moms I’ve become intimately acquainted with in my three short years as a mother:

1. The Pinterest Mom – I’m not talking about the mom that looks at Pinterest and pins interesting crafts/recipes/outfits. I’m talking about that mom that is so creative she comes up with original ideas or improves upon the original pin.

 

 

2. The Sports/Dance/Cheer Mom – This mom’s casual wardrobe consists of sports t-shirts from the kids’ soccer/little league/football teams or cheer/dance competitions. You will find extra sets of socks, jerseys, athletic shoes, hair ties, and towels in her car. She can also rattle off the most healthy choices at each fast food restaurant in a 10 mile radius.

 

 

3. The Mom of Multiples – She is laid back, doesn’t give a $%!& about all the things first-time moms stress about. She laughs and talks with other moms while her kids are climbing the walls; only stopping the conversation when experience tells her they are going to inflict bodily harm on themselves or others.

 

 

4. The Germaphobe Mom – You know her because she has a mini bottle of hand sanitizer hanging from her bag. In case of a spill, you want her around with her endless supply of Clorox wipes, pacifier wipes, and tissues.

 

 

5. The Efficient Mom – She figures out anything that will make things easier/cheaper/faster. She wants to rock her job and spend time loving her kids; while keeping a smile on her face. You want to know one of these moms! She will make your life so much easier.

 

 

6. The PTA Mom – This mom is a teacher’s dream. She is everywhere and does everything for her kid’s school. Need someone to bring snacks? Need another costume for the end-of-year program? Need someone to coordinate a class gift for the teacher? She’s your girl. Volunteering should be on her resume.

 

 

7. The Rainbow Baby Mom – She is infinitely grateful for her kid(s) and reminds you, in the best of ways, to really appreciate motherhood. Find one of these people! She will be the sun to your clouds.

 

 

8. The Granola Mom – Natural, Organic, Free Range, Fair Trade, Non-GMO, Cage Free, and Grass Fed are part of her vocab. She makes her own baby food and only gives her fam the best in nutrition.

 

 

9. The Celebration Mom – She throws the most elaborate gender reveals, first birthday and every milestone. She makes everything special and loves making memories. Her child is the center of her universe.

 

 

11. The Fit Mom – We all hate her (unless you are her). She looks fabulous two months after giving birth. She is so disciplined that she gets her 3-10 miles in every day. The jogging stroller and then the double jogging stroller are necessities. Her workout clothes and running shoes are some of the most expensive things in her wardrobe. She motivates you to get off the couch and take a walk around the block.

 

 

While some of these mommas may not represent the “type” they are listed under, they are all MY.PEOPLE. They have helped keep me sane and provided SO many hours of laughter. Thank you mom friends!

Let me know which type of mom you and your friends are!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Find Your Tribe, Love Them Fiercely

 

Welcome to the Jungle! We hope that this blog provides you with a place to escape reality. A place to laugh and cry. And, most importantly, a place to relate. A place where you can say, “these are my people.”

Several friends have asked me why I’m doing this. Why put yourself out there? Aren’t you nervous? Well, the answer is, I’m doing this because I want to be your safe haven. I want to be a beacon of love, laughter and positive energy. My sole purpose is to be an encourager and a validator. I want to be the person that says “Good Job, Momma! You’re doing awesome. That’s, right. YOU!”

Every day we face new obstacles. Some days are easier than others. Some days I feel like I’ve got all my ducks in a row and some days I feel like I have squirrels at a rave. There are times that I’m crazy enough to think *this is easy.* Then life slaps me right in the face and I realize that nothing about being a 30-something wife and mother is easy. Every day presents new challenges. But I’m here to remind you that you’re doing awesome. It’s ok if your kids ate cereal for dinner three days in a row. It’s ok that you grabbed that shirt out of the dirty laundry and febreezed it. It’s ok if you only half-listened to the ramblings of your delirious toddler at bedtime. And it’s ok if you selfishly chose a little gym time over family time today. No matter what, you’re doing ok.

Over the years, more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself looking at other women and constantly measuring myself up to them. The desire to do this becomes even stronger when you become a wife and mother. Constantly wondering how ‘she’ does it all, yet you’re so tired by 8 p.m. that you literally collapse in the bed, once again, and decide that the pile of laundry can wait just one.more.day.

How does ‘she’ find time to work a full time job, exercise daily, be the PTO President, volunteer for non-profits, and be an adorable trophy wife all at the same time? In your mind, it just doesn’t seem fair. The grass always seems greener. Then you beat yourself up, repeatedly. But I’m here to share a little secret with you. ‘She’ looks at you with the same admiration. ‘She’ sees your strengths and focuses on her own weaknesses. ‘She’ isn’t perfect and neither are you. And that’s OK! Perfection is only in magazines and movies. Be real. Just keep doing you. Because that’s exactly what this world needs.

My biggest piece of advice for you (not that you ASKED for it) is to surround yourself with women who build you up and never tear you down. Real queens fix each other’s crowns. Be the energy that you want to attract. Your vibe attracts your tribe. And I have to tell you, I have the best ‘tribe’ this side of the Mississippi. I don’t know how I would survive without my girlfriends and our constant rant sessions. Every day I’m thankful for them and the role they play in my life. Find your tribe and support them fiercely. If you don’t have a tribe, we hope you will join ours here at Glitter Jungle. We hope that you hang around and enjoy this ride with us. Because, trust me, it’s a Glitter Jungle ‘round here, y’all.

XOXO
Jill

P.S. – For all of our male followers, I realize this post was literally dripping with estrogen but, stay tuned. We promise to keep you entertained, too! And, who knows, we might just teach you a thing or two about the ladies in your life.

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