Leslyn's Lovely Life: September 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mama Mondays

Update: The linkup is now working! Sorry for the weirdness! ;) 

Leslyn's Lovely Life

I apologize in advance for the brevity (and scatterbrained-ness) of this post... This is the second weekend in a row that I've been sick, so blogging has not been a priority (*cue Usher's Confessions*).

I am so extremely thankful for my little boy. There are a ton of crazy things that have happened over the past few weeks - things in the news, things in our lives - and it makes me want to SQUEEZE that child so tight all the time to protect him from the messed up things that happen (and it stinks that I can't right now because, again, I'm sick. Bleh). I feel like I have already had to fight for him and be a mama bear- something that I hoped I wouldn't have to do so early on. 

I'm realizing that there are few things in this world as fierce as a mother's love for her child. And while it causes me to be more brokenhearted, hurt, and upset by things that used to be so trivial, it's all worth it. 

Link up with us! :) 
Leslyn's Lovely Life
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding the Balance

I know I have written about this before, and that I keep bringing it up. But hey- it's my blog, and I can do what I want. :)

Life has changed. Big time. I can't remember the last time I sat down to enjoy a book, a movie, or anything else. It seems that every waking moment is filled with things that I have to get done. I've gotten to the point where I can't stop and enjoy the simple things. Like watching Netflix for one uninterrupted hour. JK.

In an attempt to change the rut that I've been stuck in, I've been thinking about several things.

1. What things in my life are stressing me out?
2. Can I eliminate those things?
3. If I can't eliminate those things, what can I do to make it better?

Since I have the tendency to overshare, I won't break that trend and just lay it all out there.

1. The things that are stressing me out are my job, trying to drive traffic to my blog, networking, cleaning my house, and the fact that I haven't finished writing thank you notes (and I need to go to the post office. Oh, how I hate going to the post office).
2. I can't eliminate my job or thank you notes (or the post office, unfortunately). I don't want to eliminate the blog, so I'm going to have to figure something out with that. I can do without the additional networking for now.
3. I need to be VERY intentional with every single second that I'm given. That means writing the dang notes and taking them to the blasted post office so I never have to look at my stack of cards again. That means using every spare second that I have at the school to try to work on lesson plans, curriculum maps, emails, grades, and copies (more than likely, all of these things will happen while I pump. Except for the copies. Ew).

As far as the blog goes, I think I've gotten a little too wrapped up in it all. It's exciting when your numbers start to go up- but it takes a ton of work, man. I found myself taking about 3 hours out of my day trying to network to grow in followers/readers. And while it's been fun building those new relationships, it kinda stresses me out. So instead of commenting on literally hundreds of blogs every week in an attempt to get them to read my stuff, I'm taking a different approach. I am going to attempt to produce high-quality posts from here on out that people will want to read (what a novel idea). If I am writing things that people care about, the readers will come.

Here's to simplifying, simplifying, and then simplifying just a little more. And watching Netflix again. I'm just kidding, I promise.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Mama Mondays

The. Sweetest. Picture. Ever.

Leslyn's Lovely Life

Here are just a few lessons that I've learned in the past few weeks (I wrote a similar post a few weeks ago- but I'm learning something new every day).

1. Lights and ceiling fans are the best toys.

2. Babies that blow spit bubbles and coo are the cutest.

See what I mean?!?! 

3. Emmett sleeps through the night when he's sick (little bud got sick last week... He was pitiful, mama was scared... but then mama got sleep and we were fine).

4. Day care might end up being a good thing for us, because a) he's not as high maintenance as he was before (we were about to change his name to "Princess Barbie Emmett"), and b) he will have a better immune system (see #3).

5. Emmett is the absolute sweetest in the morning and it makes me want to cuddle and squeeze him. 

6. It's hard to be as motivated at work, because all you want to do is pick up your baby from day care. Especially when he's across the street. It's way too convenient.

7. I'm coming to terms with the fact that IT'S OKAY to have dirty dishes in the sink and junk all over the place when you have a newborn. I seriously need to give myself more grace, and focus on what truly matters... my husband and the baby. Duh. 

8. Once you get the hang of it, using cloth diapers isn't THAT bad. We still use disposable diapers at night time, when we're out and about for a long time, or at church. 

9. There is no worse feeling than being sick (like, contagious fever sick) and not being able to hold your baby unless you're feeding him. It's. Terrible.

10. I will never stop taking cute pictures of the baby. 

Please grab our button and link up with us! :) 

Leslyn's Lovely Life

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Emily Ley Planner Review

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Being a new mom is overwhelming. I went from being the most organized, "together" person to being completely scatterbrained. It frustrated me that I couldn't keep "it" together. After I had little E, I wanted more than anything to simplify my life by scaling back and getting rid of all of the clutter- whether it was in my house, in my life, or in my schedule.

Enter the Simplified Planner.

I never thought I would say this about a planner, but this thing is a Godsend. But before I really explain why, let's talk about a couple of fun things. First of all, I am in love with the cheerful, happy cover design. I never thought I would want a bright pink planner, but I guess I need some girly things in my life, now that I'm outnumbered. ;)

I love that there's a pocket in the front of the planner where I can easily store receipts, documents, or cards that I need to send out (because let's keep it real- I still have plenty of thank you notes to write).

I love that there is an inspirational quote at the top of every page- it motivates me to keep going and stay positive. Of course, I decided to show you this quote because I'm a music teacher.

Something that I've missed with my planner from this year is a monthly tab. I've been using a paper clip to access the week that I'm on, and while it's efficient, it's not cute. I like that the tabs are durable, and that they're in happy colors. 

But my absolute favorite thing about the Simplified Planner is the page layout. Here are a few reasons why:

1. One day gets an entire page. This is exactly what I've needed all along, and I especially need it now that I have to manage another person's schedule, too.
2. The day is broken down into hours, so you can keep everything in a neat, organized list
3. There's a spot for a checklist. You know that I'm like Monica Geller when it comes to checking things off of my list.
4. There's a spot to write about dinner plans. I just love this.

While the planner is heavier, thicker, and more expensive than others, it's exactly what I need to stay organized, focused, and feel like there's some kind of structure in my life. I know that I will get much more than my money's worth out of the Simplified Planner. It's pretty, practical, and perfect for this new mama.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

30 before 30

No, this isn't a recent picture. I'm just missing my skinny, long-haired self. 

So I've seen these 30 before 30 posts for many years. I've never been interested in writing one of these posts, because it was always going to be a loooooong time before I turned 30.

A few weeks ago, it hit me... I'll be 30 in only 3 years.


So I finally decided to do this and make a 30 before 30 list. Here we go!

1. Begin doctoral work (I can't decide if I want to get a D.M.A. in Conducting or a Ph. D. in Music Education)
2. Learn to play a new instrument
3. Take a trip at least once a year
4. Learn how to make fried rice (like the good, Japanese steakhouse kind of fried rice)
5. Sew a minimum of 3 articles of clothing for myself (and actually wear them)
6. Learn how to paint with oils
7. Grow a garden (flowers or food... doesn't matter)
8. Create a successful blog brand (this blog has come a long way, but I think it could grow a lot more)
9. Become more proficient in photography
10. Open an Etsy store
11. Go to New York
12. Watch a movie at a drive in theater
13. Host a dinner party
14. Run a half marathon
15. Go to a vineyard
16. Disconnect from the world for a weekend (no phone, email, social media, etc.)
17. Visit an orchard or a pumpkin patch
18. Master the eight-angle yoga pose
19. Have a spa day
20. Be a published or paid writer (or maybe both??)
21. Start (and stick with) a skin care regimen
22. Improve my posture
23. Learn how to bake a delicious (and pretty) dessert
24. Have a post go viral on social media
25. Go to a high-end restaurant and eat a dinner that I cannot afford
26. Learn how to do pretty coffee art with lattes
27. Learn how to play a piano piece more challenging than any other piece I've learned.
28. Participate in a 30 day challenge (photography, whole 30, etc.)
29. Find the perfect LBD
30. Upgrade my camera

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Mama Mondays

Leslyn's Lovely Life
Well, this mama survived her first week back at work. PRAISES. I didn't cry, but I think it had a lot to do with the fact that my mom was here to keep our little E. Today, he starts at his day care. I'm super nervous about it, even though I've heard great things about the room he'll be in. So if you could say a little prayer for me today (and this week) as I hand him over to complete strangers, I'd appreciate it.

If I could sum up my life in one word at this moment, it would be OVERWHELMED. So I need to get a few things off of my chest. Hopefully some of you can relate. 

1. I really need to clean the house, but I don't get to love on Emmett while I'm at work, so I end up choosing to spend time with him. While I don't regret my decision to love on him, I don't like sitting in a house that I clean. And yes, my husband is super helpful around the house, but I want to do it because it's kind of therapeutic for me. 
2. Pumping at work is SO STINKING HARD. WOW.
3. I want to throw out about half of my stuff in my house so everything is much more simplified. All of the "noise" and clutter is bothering me and stressing me out. 
4. I miss my kiddo all the time. Even when he's in the other room. Good grief. 
5. I missed 3 weeks of school, and I have SO much to do to get caught up. Last week, I never stopped to take a break. Like, I ate while I was doing something else. 
6. I haven't gone grocery shopping in nearly 2 weeks.
7. There's a secret project I'm about to start working on, but I'm so scared that I will fail.
8. Medical bills are super dumb. Insurance is even worse. 
9. Sometimes, the blog stresses me out... But then I start writing about everything, and I feel so much better. So I'm not quitting the blog.
10. I feel like I've been irritable over the past few weeks... I suppose it's sleep deprivation? Regardless, I feel terrible for the catty things that go on in my brain (I try to filter them and not say things out loud). 

So there's a fraction of what's going on in my brain. I promise that next week will be more fun and happy and light. 

Leslyn's Lovely Life
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Emmett: 2 Months

Another month has flown by. Emmett has changed a lot... And it makes this mama a little sad. Here's what's going on in our little buddy's world these days.

Weight: 10 lbs. 8 oz. (32nd percentile)
Height: 22.5 in. (47th percentile)
Head: 16 in. (79th percentile)

Milestones: Emmett is continuing to hold his head up longer and longer. He smiles a whole lot, which warms this Mama's heart. He coos, and will respond to us when we talk to him. Whenever he gets really excited, he inhales really loudly and it's the sweetest thing I've ever heard. His hair on his head is growing back, and he still has very hairy ears and a hairy back. 

Sleep: We still wake up twice a night to feed him. He's slept through the night (7 hours straight) 3 times this month. We're hoping that he will start doing this more often (he hasn't done this in a few weeks).

Favorite Things: Playing with Mama and Daddy, looking at our curtains in the living room (and anything else that's high contrast), looking at the gallery wall in our dining room, blowing spit bubbles, listening to classical piano music, reading books, sucking on his fist (and paci), and bath time. Bath time is probably his favorite thing of all. He's also a morning person like his Mama. We also love going on walks and looking at the big trees in our neighborhood.

Health: Our little buddy is growing at a steady pace. There are days where we have to give him gas drops like it's candy, but overall, he's doing great! He got his first set of shots last week, and he was sleepy for about 2 days. Then he was back to his old self. 

Feeding: He eats every 2-3 hours. I have to pump at work, which is frustrating and time consuming (there are some days where I don't get a break at all, which means that I'm pumping while I type emails. So fun). But hey, it's way cheaper than formula. So I'm sticking with it.

And here's the obligatory "I-hate-getting-my-picture-taken" photo...

Our darling Emmett, we can't get enough of you, sweet boy. It blows our minds that we were hoping, wishing, and praying for you a little one just a year ago. You're our sweetest gift. 
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1. I completed my first week back at work. It was an exhausting and interesting week, but I'm glad that I got this first part over with. E starts day care on Monday... We'll see how that goes.

2. Because of the work week, I've had to look/dress like a professional, which is really hard when none of your clothes fit you. I've worn half-zipped pants to work, and covered the evidence with a long tunic. There's my confession of the week.

3. There's a cold front coming through as I type this, and it's GLORIOUS. Fall is hands-down my favorite season, so this girl is excited about some serious layering, boots, and scarves. Yay! Here's my favorite outfit that I've ever posted, and even though it's snowy and wintry in the picture, this outfit is appropriate for fall, too!

4. Our Mama Mondays link up DOUBLED in size last week! Join us on Monday so we can do this again! If you haven't linked up yet- you need to! It's a great opportunity to connect with other Mamas! Here's the button so you can add it to your post!

5. Here are some sweet pics of the babe. It's his 2 month birthday today, and I had to write a separate about the sweetest little boy.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Mama Mondays

Leslyn's Lovely Life
You guys.

Today is my first day back at work. I'm so excited to get back into a routine, and I'm thrilled to have a good excuse to put makeup on and get dressed up every day. But oh how my heart hurts leaving my little boy. My mom is up here this week to help me get used to the idea of not having him around (bless her). That means that E won't be in day care until next week (I might be even more of a mess next week than I am today). I know that it will get easier as we settle into his routine and I get to know (and trust) his teachers. But dang. My heart is breaking right now. So if you're reading this, say a little prayer for this sad mama. It's hard to transition from having your little one with you at all times to not seeing him for 7-ish hours.

A few weeks ago, I broke down and cried because I have no idea how I'm going to balance work and home life. It's so hard to accomplish anything on my to-do list now that I have a sweet little boy (because I would rather love on him than do anything else... And of course there are the days where he is crying so much that I can't get anything done). I have no clue how I'm going to get anything done now that I'm working. I guess I'm going to have to give myself a lot of grace (which is hard for me to do anyways).

So again: Prayers, please. :)

If this is your first time to link up with us, welcome!! We're so excited you're here! If you could please grab our button and put it in your post, that would be awesome! Logan and I really think that this link up is special, and we want a bunch of people to get involved, and YOU can help us by adding the button to your post. We appreciate it!

Leslyn's Lovely Life
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Friday, September 5, 2014

The Song

This post is a part of The Song blog tour. To learn more about the movie, click here

Faith-based films have a certain stigma attached to them. I remember watching Left Behind with Kirk Cameron. I was only 13 years old, but I was savvy enough to know that the quality of the acting, script, and production was not very high (sorry, Kirk).

Since then, I've watched more movies in this genre, and they've gotten better without compromising biblical beliefs. So when I received an invitation to screen The Song before its release, I had to see what it was about. 

As I was watching the movie, it kind of reminded me of Nashville (y'all know I love that show). I don't want to give the whole story away, but the gist of it is this: Musician meets girl. They get married. He writes a song for her that propels him to stardom. He has to tour, while girl stays at home with their son. They drift apart. That's all I'm going to say, because I'm not going to ruin the whole movie for you (now that would be silly, right?). 

After watching the film, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. The soundtrack was great, the acting was MUCH better than I've ever seen in a faith-based film. The writing was superior to any other films in this genre. 

But here's something that I really liked about it: The film brought up topics that are usually taboo in this genre. I love that they decided to add those things in this movie, because they are things that are most certainly issues in the church today, but people tend to sweep those issues under the rug and not mention them. The thing is: life is hard. Marriage is hard. It takes a lot of work. And this film encourages the message that if you don't put the effort in to those important relationships, things can go downhill. Quickly. 

I highly recommend The Song. It will be released in theaters on September 26th. Check out the preview below! 

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I'm just dying over this.

 I took more cute pictures of the kiddo. We're all surprised, aren't we? JK.

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