name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : July 2016


5 Ways to Handle a Threenager

We are just a few weeks away from THREE. I cannot believe this little bit is growing so fast! And if you have met her, you know she's a tornado of energy and curiosity. We test each other daily, but she is my little buddy. I love her feistiness yet want to scream at times, too. Each day is a new adventure, and I am still learning as I go.

She is showing signs of defiance and has quite the personality. Her strong will can be a struggle for both us (though I do love how tough she is) as we go about our days. I feel as though I need to be mentally prepared each morning and teach her the right ways to use this boundless energy. Here's how I plan to handle this threenager - her sass, her toughness, and all that comes with the fun.

{1} Set A Routine

I know you've heard this tidbit before, but for this busy one, we need structure. Though I don't follow a clock, I do complete the same process most days. Get up, watch a show and eat breakfast, dress, and go. Lunch is in the same period of time then praise the Heavens, a nap. By naptime, we both need a break.

Of course, we venture off routines here and there, but there are some non-negotiables when it comes to these needed breaks. Bedtime is a routine too, and she knows how the process goes.

And just like any routine, you have to find one through trial and error. Since she didn't sleep well from 5-7 months old, we've experienced all the things that do/do not work. But, since my little diva is quite the rambunctious one, she needs to know that we have times for certain things. I can't do a free-for-all with her or my house (and sanity) would be a chaotic mess!

{2} Encourage Independent Play

She does go to school two days a week, so on the days we are home together, we play everything from puzzles to coloring to tea parties. However, there are times I want to see her imagination at work! She is different from my son in that she will let go of me at this age and play on her own. But, one thing I've learned from her is that you need to keep one eye on her or this play could include painting her own nails or locking me out of my phone. We are working on what proper play is :)

{3) Prioritize the Temper Tantrum

These are definitely increasing as we approach three. For example, this week, she put on her Elsa dress-up shoes but couldn't get them to fit. Because they were on the wrong feet. During her extreme frustration, she began to throw the shoes. I sat down with her to explain the problem and offer a solution. Imagine how well that went. After once again showing her and still being upset, I walked away and let her figure it out on her own. Staying right there in that time would only frustrate her more. Eventually, she saw the light and skipped on her way in her correctly placed shoes.

I have to prioritize what the tantrum is all about. If it's something like the shoe catastrophe, I will try once then move over to let her find resolution. She is pretty independent and will get more upset if I try to help. Of course, if she's in any danger (which is often with my climber/Evil Knieval), I step right in and correct whether she likes it or not. Stopping a tantrum is hard and tiring, but I know when to step in and when to jump right out.

{4} Monitor the Mom Emotions

Oh, how I need this reminder DAILY. The shoe episode made me loco too - just put the shoes on the right feet, child! But, I have to talk patiently to myself then give that patience to her. No way is this easy, but if I get angry, then the fit lasts longer. My kids are 5 years apart, and I feel as though I blocked my son's tantrums from my mind. Now that I am in this stage all over again, I am relearning new ways to work it - especially since she is so different than he was.

{5} Show the Love

When they get it right or figure out a solution on their own, tell them how proud you are and remind them of what they did. Just as the shoe saga, once she got it, we celebrated just a bit. She knew how to fix the problem, but she just wanted to be mad. Story of a threenager, right??

And even when they don't throw their fits, and you see something worth praise, definitely show the love! We are regressing a bit in potty training, so when it goes well, we talk and I remind her that she is more than capable. Small victories every single day mixed with the crazy. That's parenting.


Each day with my little love brings new adventures and new discoveries about each other. God gave me this one for a reason - she makes  all my gray skies blue. I love learning about her and seeing her grow - even if some days I feel a mess in toddler land.

What are some helpful ways you handle your threenager? Share the love, mamas!


Our Summer Vacation - Arkansas

We are back! Our summer vacay has concluded - back to the real world we go. I mentioned this  unplugged trip on the blog and how much I personally needed a recharge. And if you follow my posts on  Her View From Home, you saw just how I was feeling before we left. I needed to get away.

But, let's be real for a hot minute - traveling with kids is NO JOKE. The first leg of the trip took 6 hours when it should've taken 4. Potty breaks. Snack demands. He's-touching-me fights. Good thing the hubs and I have a sense of humor and that our destination was breathtaking.

Arkansas, thanks for the memories. The laughs. The escape from job stress. And even the craziness that toddler travels brings. We loved our summer vacation!

My husband, being the outdoorsman that he is, wanted to forgo the beach and try being one with nature. I obliged though you may have heard me scream from Texas when the little one handed me a minnow she thought was "sparkly." There were creatures galore, but the faces of my kids (and their no fear attitudes - whose kids are these??) were worth every minute.

Special thanks to my dad and my uncle - their great adventures fly fishing in Arkansas made us chose this place for our summer road trip. So sit back and enjoy some our Arkansas adventure!

What can you expect from Arkansas?


When this is your backyard for a week, you can't help but stare at God's wonder. This spot meant fishing for trout, throwing rocks, and catching those sparkly minnows.

It also meant memories for the kids.

First time fishing, first time tubing, first time on a lake. I conquered some fears and jumped in myself. I like seeing what's around me when I am swimming - unlike the hubs who caught a fish with his hands. HIS BARE HANDS. I'm married to Bear Grylls.

Arkansas also meant tranquility.

Being in a place where my dad, brother, and uncle have been gave me a sense of peace I haven't felt in a while. In fact, we had a friendly butterfly who loved to perch right on our heads, shoulders, and hands. At times, it was a bit pesky and persistent. This new friend reminded us of my brother - in fact, my son kept calling him Doug after my bro.

I liked those moments of peace.

Our little cabin in the woods was ideal. We played, we shared, we relaxed. I even read THREE whole books while I was there. Remember  my summer reading list? I conquered the whole thing (and for the record, I HIGHLY recommend  The Sea Keeper's Daughter).

We also ate at some great places while there -

Pecan Point Brewing Company - Refreshing margaritas after a long drive and exceptional eats.
Back Forty - The fried green beans and hamburgers. Wowzers.
Whispering Woods - OMGosh - the wild mushroom ravioli - I may drive back just for this dish.

Needless to say, clean eating returns this week.

If you are reading and you're from Arkansas, thank you for sharing this beautiful place with four crazy Texans. We enjoyed every second. Even the ten hour car ride home with a threenager and a car sick big brother.

If you are looking for a place to unwind and unplug, check out all the peace and joy Arkansas offers. Now back to reality...

Have a great week, friends! Thanks for joining in our Arkansas fun!


Going Unplugged - Vacation Time

We are inching closer to our family vacay - a week away from work, stress, obligations, and technology. Yep, we are going unplugged. We leave this weekend, and while I wasn't so sure at first about the "limited cell phone service" in our lodging description, I feel more than ready now.

If you've been reading as of late, you know I've had some hard times - not to mention  my anxiety - so I am hoping this week away will remind us (really - me) of all our blessings. I am ready to get out of the city and just be still.

Recently, I wrote a piece for Her View From Home. I love the pieces here - some funny, some so raw and real - and how the writers share from their hearts. The month of June was a hard one for me - just the usual craziness but throw in some firsts, and it was extra rough. My brother's first Heavenly birthday and the first Father's Day without him. I wanted to put all of those feelings into words and release some of them from my shoulders. You can see my post HERE - share, comment, and/or pray if you are inclined.

After writing about my grief, I stumbled upon these words about the kindness of others when you are hurting. When others see/feel/understand your sorrow, it also can lessen the burden grief places on your world. In fact, after reading these words, I met someone who spoke to my heart and offered support after hearing of my brother's death. When others feel our sorrow, we feel lighter.

Image Via Positive Life Tips
I am going into our unplugged week hoping even more will lift as I spend this time with my family. Thank you all so much for reading my little blog and for your support. I can't wait to share a bit of our technology-free week when we return.

And for a fun, upbeat note - you can see more mama talk over at The Mighty Mamas. You may just see me sharing some candid moments from this motherhood fun!

See you soon, friends!


Friday Finds {Vol. 30} - My Summer Reading List

Fun fact - I love a good book. Truth - I am often too tired to finish one. My reading habits include binging book after book for a good month or two, then taking a long sabbatical trying to find the next good one. Luckily, I am a member of two book clubs, so they are motivating me to get back on my reading game.

My latest book suggestions came from one avid reader/friend and Amazon. Want to read along with me? Here is my Summer 2016 Reading List.

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty - I have loved all books by this author. This one is next on my list. What Alice Forgot, The Husband's Secret, and Big, Little Lies are also great too!

The Royal We by Heather Cooks and Jessica Morgan - I just finished this book, and while it took a second to get into, I ended up loving this story (because a good love story never hurt anybody). And, if you are a fan of Kate Middleton, you may see some similarities to her, too!

The Sea Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate - My neighbor let me borrow this one, and I am reading it now. So far, I am really involved in this story of a woman coming back home after many big changes in her life. Dealing with a disgruntled stepfather and a declining business, she discovers a family mystery that may change all she's known.

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner - This author has been a favorite of mine! Little Earthquakes and Good in Bed are such fun reads. This one is on it's way from Amazon, and I plan to read on our vacay in a couple of weeks.

{affiliate links used}

Need more ideas? Be my friend on Goodreads or check out this post about my favorite books from 2015.

Want even more? My sweet friend at Seven Graces has this list to help build yours!

What's on your reading list this summer?


How to Maintain Valuable Friendships in a Busy World

Life is so crazy when you have little ones. Life is really just crazy when you're trying to adult. If I have learned anything in the last 6 months, it's that I desperately need my friends. I need their prayers, their understanding, their hugs, their laughs...and their time. That last one is SO hard when you are a mom whose first priority is family. But, when life gets tough - sick kids, loss, job change, or just plain ol' stress, it's my friends who give me strength.

So, how do we maintain any friendship - new or old - when we are busy, tired moms? I am NO expert because I have failed in some areas myself, but in our adult life, maintaining these relationships are dire to our well being. We cannot do life alone - it helps when valuable friendships cover us like a blanket. To comfort, protect, and love.


If you are like me, talking on the phone can be a chore when you have little ones at your feet. You know those calls - you want to catch up with a friend, but you have to stop mid-sentence to correct or shush. And sure, we can interact on social media, but a good phone call may amp up your soul. I have to admit - I am terrible at this part.  During any alone time I have, I find myself collapsing in exhaustion, and a phone call is the last thing I can do - nothing valuable will come from that. Maybe make time to call and/or talk - yes, set an appointment for that communication. We schedule kid's activities and such so why not a good chat?

Do Not Compare

I'm sharing this one because I have found myself here lately. In the midst of hard times, it can be hard to see friends sharing fun and happiness on Facebook. I want to be jovial and carefree (right there with them), but grief and/or anxiety sneak in too much. But, just like with ANY life event, we are all in different seasons of life. Your hard may be different than a friend's hard. And more importantly, when it IS hard, never compare. Meet them wherever they are in their journey. Be present. Be patient.

Keep Plans

When I make plans with someone, I try so hard to keep them - mainly because I desperately need other human contact. A dinner out with a dear friend or even a weekend away can restore your soul. Sure, kids take precedence, but carefully select when you can meet and keep the date. These friends may need this time with you so badly. And if you can't make it because you JUST can't - darn the overwhelming life we lead - be honest. A good friend will understand.

Laugh. Laugh A lot.

This past weekend, my college roomie came in town. She had some time off from work and chose to spend it with me (insert joy emoji). We can laugh like crazy fools when we are together - we reminisce; we dissect motherhood. I loved this time with her - our goofy fun came at the perfect time.

I have to also mention my sweet friend, Amanda, who is also on a grief journey. We share texts on our rough days that would probably weird out some folks, but to REALLY share what I feel with someone who "gets" it then end up laughing? My favorite. Just keep laughing - no better person to laugh with than a friend.

What are some ways you maintain friendships in this busy life? My friends are my world, and I know I am not the perfect one, so I am all ears on how keep my sweet friends close!


Friday Finds {Vol. 29} - Mini Ninja Class

Hip, hip hooray for Friday! And extra cheers for a long weekend - I hope you all have a fun and festive 4th of July. We are planning a neighborhood block party AND my college bestie is coming in town. She's coming just at the right time since the funk took over this week - I am ready for laughs, barbecue, and fireworks!

Meanwhile, our summer bucket list is being tackled head-on, and I wanted to give you an update. We are LOVING American Ninja Warrior. My son is OBSESSED with this show - we watch and DVR every single episode so he can watch and watch again. I have to admit - I get his fascination. These athletes are amazing, and their stories even more inspiring. This mom applauds this show for teaching my little one about overcoming obstacles and the importance of physical fitness.

This summer, we have participated in the Mini Ninja class at Iron Sports - the training center of MANY ninjas including my son's two favorites, Sam Sann and Daniel Gil.

If you are in the Houston area and are looking for something awesome for your kiddos, look no further than this class. If you are not in the area, I guarantee you there's a gym nearby since this show has become the phenomenon it is. We even had my son's last birthday party here, and this mommy ninja tried the Jumping Spider. Despite the hair chaos, I LOVED IT (and landed it #thankyouverymuch). They even have boot camp classes too - I just may need to overcome some fears and give it a go.

For the Mini Ninja Class, there are options for you to attend. You can stay and watch (which I HIGHLY recommend) or drop them off and get some errands done while they ninja their way around the gym.

Pricing is as follows:

1 Class a week $50
2 Classes a week $90
3 Classes a week $132
4 Classes a week $172
($10 off 2nd child, $15 off 3rd)

First Time Trial: $12
Drop In: $18
$158 for 10 Punch Card
Check HERE for dates/times

 My son and his favorite ninja, Daniel Gil. He's doing well again this season,
and we are rooting for him to go all the way.

We still have so many things left on the bucket list, but we have plenty of time for more ninja-ing and more fun. Check out Iron Sports, Houston friends. And watch the show with your kids - these participants are some great models.

NOTE: my mini-mini ninja toddler wishes there was a class for her, but she does try her hardest to participate too. One day, little sister.

What have you checked off your summer bucket list?

Houston friends, do you want more ideas on what to do in our area this summer?
Check out Big Kid Small City  for resources, calendars, and events.
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