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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : January 2015


Motherhood Right Now

Last night as I put Luke down for bed, I watched him drift away into sleep. His eyes were heavy and the dark of night blanketed the room. As he was fiddling with the corners of his mimi, a smile of satisfaction and contentment appeared on his face. I could see him playing the events of the day in his mind, and it made my heart swell seeing his happiness radiate through the shadows.

And I found myself thinking, This is my favorite phase. 

But, honestly, it seems that every phase is my favorite. I love each and every moment with Luke and Wes. From the tiny newborn toes, to the silly conversations with a toddler, it is all a precious gift. And it's funny, because I always seem to get sad and nostalgic thinking about them getting older. That maybe it won't be as sweet or special as right now.

But that is the magic of motherhood. It is made up of thousands of "right nows" to paint the beautiful story of life as a mom. Each stage holds its own breakthroughs, lessons and memories.

I am so excited to hear about their first soccer goal, their first crush, or what major they want to study. I can't wait for the days when they learn to ride a bike or when our fridge will be stocked with enough food to feed a small army because they will be starving teenagers. It's all those little things.

Most importantly, I want to fully enjoy each day in the present with Luke and Wes. Time can get lost dwelling in the past, and worries can take over my mind as I ponder the future. The real treasure is motherhood right now, just as it is in its imperfect and wonderful state.

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What I've Learned From Unhealthy Relationships

Relationships. Tricky little buggers aren't they? They are the one thing we generally obsess, lose sleep, and get sick over, in both good and bad ways.

I think about love and relationships a lot. I am the girl who watches downright pitiful romcoms and reads those awful chick lit books, and I actually like it! I don't know, I suppose it's some sort of mindless entertainment and the endorphin rush of a happy ending. (I believe that's also called an addiction.)

As far as living the moments in those stories, I'd say I've had my fair share of experiences with romance and relationships, but probably more specifically what not to do in a relationship.

You see, once upon I time I was the girl who came with a small serving size of crazy. Sure, I am still absolutely nutty, but in a different way — a better way. The type of crazy solely attributed to mothers. You know what I am talking about, but this story isn't about being a mom. This story begins in the foolish, clueless world of 14-year old Abbey.

Fresh out of braces and newly learning of the powers of a solid pair of tweezers and a tube of mascara, I went from a shy, buck-toothed little girl, to a young woman in her teens coming into her own. (As evidenced in comparing my 8th and 9th grade school pictures, which cannot be shown because my yearbooks are nowhere to be found — probably on the account of wildly inappropriate things scribbled on the pages). With a new surge of confidence in my physical appearance, boys become a hot topic of interest. (You know, puberty and all of that rubbish.) I suffered from mild social anxiety — and still do to some degree, but that's another story for another day — and was used to flying under the radar. But, that was all beginning to change.

I started receiving approaches from boys, and we all know how irrational and dumb teenagers are, specifically teenage boys. Looking back on it, the attention was primal and purely hormonal, but I didn't care. I relished in it after years spent on the sidelines.

With the shiny, new attention came boyfriends, which were terribly embarrassing as many first boyfriends are. But above all that there was that one boy, the one whom I just absolutely, positively loved, because that's what a teenage girl's brain tricks itself into doing; it creates a frenzy and proclamation of undying, true love!

I remember the first time I saw him. He was riding around the school gym parking lot with a mop of messy, bleached hair. All the girls adored him. He was a relentless flirt and had a magnetic sense of charm, which was pretty impressive for a 15-year old boy to possess. You know, the type of guy who knows how to flatter endlessly, and it somehow comes across that you are the only girl in the world, although you are, like, the tenth girl he's said those same things to that day. The writing was blatantly on the walls! But, I didn't know any better. I was so fragile and innocent, drinking up the flattery, and he knew it.

The whole process was exhilarating. Butterflies can hardly describe how I felt. It was more like a thousand fireworks exploded in my head and my chest, setting fire to emotions I didn't even know existed. And let me tell you right now that that type of emotion coupled with an unpredictable teenage girl spells out D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R. And oh, did it ever. It blew up all over the place for the next six years of my young and impressionable life.

I firmly believe learning how to build romantic relationships is largely molded from the framework of the first "real" relationship. For many, this starts in adolescence when impulses and overly-emotional behaviors are at the forefront. I mean, this is an incredibly fragile time when the brain is still working on developing, and the experiences that occur in those years are laying the groundwork for the way the brain wires itself to behave and perceive later in life.

And unfortunately for many young girls these days, there is a distorted image of how a female should look and act based on this very principle. There is an intense pressure to utilize misrepresented sexuality as a main component of relationships. I've talked about body image a bit, and it sickens me how the media exploits women and attempts to condition us to accept unrealistic physical appearances and sexual behaviors as the norm.

The kid I was enamored with had a a lax upbringing, a stark opposite to my strict, Mormon household, and his parents didn't really bat an eye at scantily clad pinup girls on the walls and other media. A lot of his friends seemed to have the same types of things in their possession, too. Over time as I entered into my later years in high school and furthered my physical transition into womanhood (which, in retrospect I was still a young girl, but thought and felt like I was 25), I found myself mentally obsessing over how to look like them.

My breasts were far too small. My thighs touched when I stood with my legs together! Gasp! I didn't have a perfectly tanned and flat stomach with hip bones jutting out. And how was I to achieve that voluminous, blonde hair and dramatic, smoky eye makeup?

I thought that if I could look like these digitally edited, unrealistic, adult women, my boyfriend would love me more and have a reason to be proud that I was his girlfriend. Yes, I was convincing myself that I needed to be a trophy in order to be of any value and worth. After all, that's what I thought his idea of a "sexy" female looked like.

You can imagine all of the mental and emotional issues this type of relationship would wreak of; mainly physical, with an unattainable expectation. I made myself into an object.

I had no self-respect and subsequently, no self-esteem. I learned the hard way that people will treat you the way you let them treat you. Which was terrible. I wanted so badly to simply be adored that I practically did anything to keep my boyfriend happy. I would flake out on my friends and family routinely. I dressed, looked and acted the way I thought he liked. I even made up excuses for the couple of times he became physically aggressive with me. Obviously it takes two to tango, and I contributed my fair share of insulting behavior to the relationship, but I basically became his puppet, his play thing. There was no love — only lust, manipulation and distrust on both ends. And honestly, looking at it in retrospect, we were both extremely immature and ignorant to what any of these toxic behaviors were.

But, one day after six years of dealing with this oppressive relationship, I had a life-changing wakeup call. Perhaps it was a small miracle that it happened, but it felt like someone literally slapped me in the face and said, "Stop being so stupid, Abbey! Live your life for you, and above all else, love yourself!" I like to think Iris Simpkins had something to do with it. I found myself some gumption! Nancy Meyers was my unofficial hero, I suppose, now looking back. So, thank you, Nancy! You helped to guide my path to a better life!

Now, we had 20-year-old Abbey, living in the heart of Provo, Utah. A complete one-eighty in every aspect of life. I was learning to do my own thing and live without the approval of what my male counterparts thought of me. This world was a clean canvas and I could reinvent myself into the woman I desperately wanted to be.

A few weeks later, a goofy Mexican kid walked into a game night at which I was hanging out. Apparently he liked what he saw, because he immediately started pursuing me. But, I wasn't interested. Perhaps it was because subconsciously I thought he only liked me for my looks, which is what I was trying to get away from? (I'm getting all armchair psychoanalytic here, bear with me.)

Eventually he stopped acting like a stalker and started acting like a normal human being—ha! Which is when I finally agreed to go on a date.

First of all, I didn't really know what normal date etiquette was. When he went to open my car door for me, I got nervous and didn't really know how to handle it. Guys actually still did that? Then when he took me to a putt-putt course and played silly arcade games with me, I could not believe how happy it made him to see me being goofy and weird. We talked about ideas and family and aspirations. It was incredibly refreshing to be comfortable in my own skin with a guy who actually seemed to like me for my soul and intellect. But then I started to question.

Is he only treating me like this because he expects something in return? Guys are never this nice unless they are trying to get some action.

My perspective on relationships was terribly warped. I knew only about the anatomy and structure of an unhealthy relationship. I mean, how pathetic is it that I couldn't let a guy treat me with respect and show me a harmless night of fun without thinking he had ulterior motives? It makes me tear up looking back on how vulnerable and damaged I was.

We continued to date, and I turned myself inside out resolving my issues. We almost didn't make it, but I learned to love and respect myself, and discovered what trust and true love is.

One year later, I married that goofball by the name of Matt, formerly known as Rod in our dating days.

We definitely stumble over rough patches, but he is my other half. I am happy to say he treats me the way I let him treat me — with the utmost respect. He treats me like a queen, even when I am acting like a witch. He makes me feel like I can conquer the world and elevates my goals and dreams. I trust him and have never once felt any pang of jealousy or inadequacy. We connect on an emotional and intellectual level I never knew possible. I am completely myself with him and I don't ever feel stupid, degraded, or judged for doing so. He would never harm me—there isn't a cruel bone in his body. He tells me daily how lucky he is to have me as his wife. And he thinks I am the most beautiful woman—curves, dimples, blemishes and non-thigh gap aside.

That is what a healthy relationship looks like. I am immeasurably grateful I found someone who was able see my broken, cracked pieces and helped to put them back together, piece by piece, through pure love.

Photos by Jamie Johnston Photography

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5 Shows To Watch On Netflix This Weekend

Picking a TV show to watch on Netflix is like committing to a short-lived, yet wildly exhilarating romance. You have to put in a significant amount of time to make it happen, and at the beginning you find yourself staying up till the wee hours of the morning, utterly and hopelessly infatuated. Your stomach is full of butterflies and you can't wait until you get to see the next episode. Sometimes the romance naturally fades away because it gets boring, but then there are those shows which leave you heartbroken and you cannot fathom why it ever ended. 

1. Gossip Girl. The end of this show was the day a part of my heart stopped beating, and there will forever be a small hole where the memory of Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf reside. It's not too far out to say that I lived for this show at one point in my life. The drama! The clothes! The sleeping with your boyfriend/step-brother's best friend's cousin! (I'm looking at you, Nate and Serena.)

2. Friends. When I saw that Friends finally made its way into the grand halls of Netflix a few weeks ago, I literally shrieked out loud. No lie. It scanned across the top of my suggestions and I said something like, "Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!! My life has been maaaaade!" It's just like one of those true bosom buddies whom you haven't seen for years but pick right back up where you left off like it was yesterday.

3. New Girl. This show is just freaking hilarious. And I find Jess's weird quirks adorable. (Probably because I am just as weird and awkward as she is and like to make up dumb songs and bizarre sounds.) Also, I have the fattest crush on Schmidt. That Schmidt is so hot right now! ;)

4. Freaks and Geeks. Remember this show? Even though it only had one season, it was a glorious season at that. Seth Rogen and James Franco were practically babies (as was I)! On an entirely unrelated note, big Franco or little Franco

5. Portlandia. Easily the funniest show I have ever watched in my entire life. And that is not mere hyperbole. I mean it with my entire soul. I grew up in the PNW so all of the situations and scenes at which they poke fun totally strike a chord with me since I spent the majority of my years watching it happen in real life. Also, I am pretty sure I will be Candace in 25 years from now. Have you started watching Season 5? It just premiered at the beginning of this month. (And you can watch it here for freeeee!)

Image sources 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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A Random Thing Or Two-sday

Vegan Leather Jacket (similar)
LOFT White Cotton Tee
LOFT Modern Skinny Jeans in Black
Vans 'Classic' Slip-On Sneaker
Target Knit Beanie

1. These photos are probably some of my favorite "style" photos I have taken. It is an honest portrayal of motherhood and what it looks like behind the scenes. Kids with no pants on crawling up your legs and a lot of goofiness. I like it. In other news, these slip ons have been in my closet since I was 16. Another way of putting that is they have been in my closet for over a decade. When did I get so OLD?! Either way, I am glad I held onto them, but still slightly weirded out that I officially have items in my closet which are old enough to have gone through the cycle of going out of fashion and then back in again.

2. Fact: A baby is born in the world every three seconds (source).

3. I know I mostly talk about The Bachelor on my Facebook and Twitter, but I just have to spill it on here, too. This season is driving me bonkers. I had high hopes for Prince Farming, but the cheese factor on this season is through the roof. Like, someone set a rocket into space through the roof. Again, this can probably be attributed to the fact that I am getting older and am now older than half of the girls. But, still. It seems so staged! And I haven't watched last night's episode, so no spoilers!

4. As I was driving home today, I pulled up next to a guy at a red light. At first it looked like he was head banging and jamming out to some funky music all by his lonesome. I was thinking, Whoa this guy likes to party! It brought a huge smile to my face. But then I saw some tiny hands flailing in the back seat and rolled my car forward a couple inches to see the cutest little boy intently copying his dad's dance moves. Even though there were lots of people who could see them, it was just the two of them in their own father-son world, and it reminded how precious that bond with a dad is. I love witnessing small, yet powerful, human connections like that.

5. Would you rather age only from the neck up or age only from the neck down?

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You Are Enough

I am a fan of the real life movement in social media and blogging. It allows us to remind one another that we are in fact merely humans, and not domestic goddesses or our own making. I also think it makes people more relatable and love each other more.

Last week I received an unexpected email in my inbox from my friend, Lauren. It came out of the blue, but could not have been timed more perfectly. I asked her to guest post a little while back, and I am so happy about what she had to say. It's a real post about the dark side of social media and getting sucked into its black hole. You see, sometimes I really loathe social media and "bloggers." Most of the time people are friendly and wonderful, but if I am being honest, there are also some people out there who come across as smug jerks with a serious sense of self-aggrandizement. I've never understood public figures who don't take time to interact with their fans, or in the case of bloggers, their readers and followers. The only reason people receive internet fame or celebrity status is because of the people. Right? Wait a second ... isn't there a movie about this? Cue this GIF and this GIF. (I am obviously the latter, ha.)

Anyway, it has come to my attention that I am not the only one who just has a lot of feelings about all of this, and Lauren spoke to my soul when I read her words about this very subject, and I absolutely had to share them with you. (Feel free to nod your head and shout, "Amen!" from the rooftops like I did. Oh, and make sure you check out her blog here—it's a good one!)

"My relationship with social media is similar to my relationship with my long time high school boyfriend. We were on, we were off, I was "in love", I never wanted to look at him again. Sometimes things were great and I thought we could really be a great team, and other times he would put everything I had ever given him in a box, bring it to my house and run over it with his car while I watched. (That's where it ended. Very symbolic and artsy, really... Oh! The drama.)

My Facebook days have long since passed. We broke up years ago for reasons I don't need to discuss here. But Instagram is my love and my nemesis, my friend and my foe. I can say this knowing I am not the only one. Studies show that when we receive a "like" or "comment" on one of our Instagram posts, there is a small tinge of endorphins that run through our body. "Ooo! Someone likes me! ... Someone whom I have never met thinks I am pretty! ... Someone approves of my breakfast!" It's a fact, people. A sad fact. When we post something and nobody likes it, we fall into a deep, deep dark hole that only a quart of ice cream can bring us out. (That last part isn't verified by scientists, but it happens.)

So here is the bone I'm pickin' with Instagram (and any other form of social media for that matter, Instagram just happens to be my drug of choice); it will kill you. You will die a slow and sad death if not managed correctly. And managing with complete and utter indifference is a very hard thing to do. There will always be someone who outdoes your posts. Someone whose life looks MUCH more put together than yours. They are up at 7 a.m. making lemon ricotta pancakes (#organic), in silk pajamas for their 4 children (#blessed), while each one of them is dressed in designer clothing and playing together by the open fire. Oh, and their new puppy is curled up on the sheepskin rug while records are playing on the vintage record player (#isntlifeperfect). Well, that's the thing. It's not perfect, and that's not real. I have found myself obsessing and comparing myself and my life to THIS! Thinking I need this, I don't do that, last but not least, why don't as many people like ME?!

It's sad, you guys. Really sad. But I want to be real with you. I have been that person sulking in the corner thinking my life doesn't compare. But guess what? My life is my life and it's perfect and fine just the way it is. I have laundry up to my eyeballs because our laundry machine has been broken for a month! I can't even remember the last time I made a home-cooked meal and I RARELY do my hair. I brush it like three times per week. And that's fine. Because that's me, that's us. And when I'm not busy comparing what we have to what I THINK other people have, we're pretty happy. I wouldn't mind a new washing machine though. #openfordonations

I read somewhere a short essay by author Judd Apatow ... And by "somewhere" I mean a Chipotle paper to-go bag. "When I was in high school there were 500 people in my graduating class. Out of those 500 people I had two best friends and five other real friends. So I had a true connection with seven people and did not have a true connection with 493 people. Now I create stories and hope that 500 out of 500 people will appreciate the work. That is impossible. I don’t love most things I see or listen to, why should they? The truth is I should be happy with seven people being touched or amused by my work. I think it is okay to accept the fact that most people won’t get you. We don’t need to like each other so much. We need to be kind and respect each other."

I have 2,850 followers on Instagram, and guess how many people called me on my birthday? Three. Guess how many people I meet for lunch on a regular basis? Um ... probably two. And the number of people I keep in touch with via text or phone call is around 12. I don't think anyone on the face of this planet has more than 30 "real life, I see your face all the time" friends. I mean, that would just be exhausting. Unless you're Taylor Swift, then maybe you have more.

So here's the bottom line. I just want to let you know that you're enough. You are beautiful, important, special and worthwhile. Even if you can't take a decent photo if your life depended on it, maybe you aren't a photographer by trade! Who cares! You are fabulous and wonderful.

Am I going to be quitting social media anytime soon? I don't think so. Here's the problem. I am a sucker for that silly little app. I love taking photos of my little one, I love seeing what people had for breakfast ... I truly do, it's a funny thing ... and those FILTERS! I can't stop editing photos, it's an unruly obsession. But the comparison needs to stop. Like yesterday. I need to be greater and better than what the numbers on Instagram tell me. I need to stop beating myself up. I am me, and I am enough."

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Cara Hansen Dress Giveaway

Cara Hansen Royal Blue Bateau Dress c/o
Perry Street Abby Necklace in Blue via Rocksbox c/o
Gorjana Twist Cuff via Rocksbox c/o
Women's Mossimo Gail Ankle Strap Open Pump

I have been waiting weeks to launch this giveaway, and the day is finally here! Wahoo! Allow me to introduce you to a new line of amazing dresses from Cara Hansen. (FYI, the full site can currently only be viewed from a desktop or laptop, but it is in the works of becoming mobile-friendly!) They started in 2012 with the goal to provide women classic and tailored dresses that are modest AND well-made—all at an affordable price point.

Now, I have received my fair share of dresses from all different clothing lines, boutiques and shops and when I opened my dress in the mail I was incredibly impressed. The fabric is thick, but not bulky, and is durable. None of that junky, flimsy polyester or knit that will peel. It is honest to goodness high quality. And the structure and make of the dress is flawless. I can see all of the love and detail put into this dress, and to top it off, all of the dresses are made in the USA.

Each dress is mindfully designed to be modest, yet flattering to the feminine figure, so they are great for church, an event, or to wear to work. This is a go-to church look for me personally, but Matt said I would make an excellent politician's wife in this outfit as well. I take that as a compliment. (Hashtag classy.)

K, so now here is the fun part! One of you lucky gals will win a Cara Hansen dress of your choice! Simply enter in the Rafflecopter widget below. Also, be sure to head over to the shop and snag yourself a dress for Valentine's Day if you can't wait! It's absolutely worth it and they are listed at an amazing price based on the quality. It will be one of those staple dresses hanging in your closet for the next decade. Cross my heart. Good luck!

(P.S. You can sign up to receive a free month of Rocksbox jewelry using code 'abbeyxoxo1'. There were some glitches for a few of you who initially signed up, but everything is fixed and that code is good to go! Just make sure you add in your billing info when you set up your profile. And no, don't worry, you won't get charged— it's just a part of the sign-up process.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Luke's 3rd Birthday!

Today was good. In all the possible forms of good imaginable. And when I mean good, I actually mean fantastic. Luke turned three, and I have to say, I think three is going to be a really wonderful year for him. For us. He just gets better and better each and every day. From the eager, "Mommy I help you!" to the, "I so sorry, Mommy" whenever he thinks he has done something terrible (and he really hasn't), I just love who he is as a person.

I had his birthday table all set up this morning so it was the first thing he saw when he came downstairs for breakfast. We had his hand-picked Trix, his balloon, party hats and a few of his presents waiting for him. And let me tell you firsthand that his smile was beaming from cheek to cheek. He obviously tore into his presents to find that his birthday wish for a "Mack truck" came true. I am SO happy I was able to catch that pure delight on camera.

When I asked him what he wanted his birthday theme to be this year it was Cars. Hands down. I asked him a solid four times, just to be sure, and it was always the same answer: "Lighning McKeen." So, we took the idea and ran with it. I slaved away in the kitchen making him a custom cake with marshmallow fondant. Literally though. I was sweating, smelly and covered in sugar, marshmallow goo and dye by the end of the SIX hour ordeal. Matt came in and said at one point, "What is the matter with your hands? It looks like you got into a fight with someone." Yes, that fight was the three hours I spent kneading and molding the stupid fondant, thank you. None of this angst and plight mattered though because, again, his face when he saw the silly blob of cake made it all worth it.

After days and hours of waiting to eat the beloved cake, the cousins came over in the evening and celebrated with us. And then I said, "Let them eat cake!" ;)

I've been thinking a lot today about what I want to write about Luke. What is it that I want to always remember? I think it's all of the little things that I won't be able recall about this stage of his life, even six months from now. You know, all of his funny phrases and idiosyncracies, what he looks like, and what his favorites are. (Even though I always tell myself I will absolutely not forget these details and always do.) So, I made a list.

  • Height: 38 inches
  • Hair: Short and blond
  • Teeth: 20
  • Favorite toys: Trains, trucks and cars, and anything to do with farms or Disney
  • Favorite food: Cereal, fruit, and corn dogs
  • Favorite drink: Chocolate milk
  • Favorite movies: Toy Story, Cars, Land Before Time, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rio
  • What he likes to do for fun: Going to the park with "the big red slide," riding his scooter or skateboard, playing with aforementioned toys
  • Funny things he says: 
    • "Dark Gator" (Darth Vader); 
    • "Happle" (Apple). 
    • "What's that those?" (What is that of yours? I think, ha). 
    • "I don't have no gas poops."
    • "_____ scccaaawwyyy" (Everything is scary and he says it in this low, solemn tone.)
  • Sweet things he does that I want to remember forever:
    • Every morning, without fail, I wake up to him standing by my bed saying, "Good morning, Mommy!" with the hugest smile on his face. It's THE BEST.
    • He always alerts me whenever Wes wakes up in the morning or from a nap so we can "go get him." He cares so much about his little brother, even if he bonks him over the head five hundred times a day. 
    • Whenever Wes cries, Luke always informs me that "Wes needs milk."
    • Luke pretends he is "working" on a regular basis. I most recently found him sitting on top of his potty in the corner of the bathroom on his "compooter." The answer is always, "I'm working like Daddy!" I love how enthralled he is with Matt. Their relationship is golden.
    • When he is tired he sucks on his tongue in place of his pacifier and plays with the threads on the corners of his mimis. And yes, he has two mimis. A yellow one with stars and a blue one.
    • He prays when he is pretend playing. It's one my most favorite things to walk up on. His voice gets very quiet and hushed and he "prays" for all of his toys. But his prayers always sounds like this, "Cars prayers... trains prayers... Daddy prayers..." I. LOVE. IT.
    • Luke is like a mother hen when it comes to Wes. Being bossy is obviously part of the big brother territory, but he is extremely vigilant about Wes playing with certain things and saying, "He too YITTLE! He get hurt!" (Luke also makes a great parrot.)
    • When he pedals on his scooter he lifts up his back leg like a classically trained figure skater once he starts gliding. (Toes pointed and all.) It's both hilarious and impressive.
    • Luke is a most excellent cuddler. He just hangs out and is incredibly laid back. Best movie-watching companion, for sure.
    • I once read toddlers laugh something like 1,342 times a day, and Luke has convinced me that statistic is absolutely true. Nothing beats his cheeks chubbing up, his eyes going squinty and his high-pitched giggle with its roots in his belly. His laugh is truly infectious.

I know there are so many more things which happen in fleeting moments, but these are some of my most-loved thoughts when I think of my little Lukey. He is SUCH an immense joy in our lives and I look forward to every day where I wake up to see that bright face smiling. 

Happy 3rd Birthday, Luke! This year is going to be a sensational one with you in one hand and Wes in the other. Thanks for making me a mama. I love you, Nugget.

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A Random Thing Or Two-sday

Cream Fringe Cardigan (similar)
Embroidered Top (similar)
LOFT Skinny Ankle Zip Jeans
Gorjana Twist Cuff via Rocksbox c/o
Sam Edelman 'Petty' Booties (similar)

1. I've been really into delicate jewelry lately. I think that's the buzzword going around for simple accessories, right? It is just practical as a mom to throw on an easy cuff or small necklace. This twisted cuff I am wearing is a Gorjana piece. I've always wanted Gorjana stuff, but felt like it was little pricey to invest in without knowing how I would like it. Then Rocksbox contacted me and my dreams came true! They are a monthly jewelry box subscription where they send you three pieces based on what you like. And they are high-quality brands. You keep the jewelry as long as you want, and then when you are ready for something new you send it back and wait for your next package! I like getting packages in the mail. Snail mail is fun, and right now they are offering a free first month for all of you awesome people if you would like to try it out! Free jewelry? Heck yeah! Just use code "abbeyxoxo1" at checkout. (*Update: that code isn't working properly right now, and I am working on having them send me the correct one ASAP! Sorry for the issue! Hang tight and I will update it once it is fixed!)

2. Fact: The butterflies you feel in your stomach when you see someone you love or lust after is caused by the release of adrenaline, which is a stress response (source). I live for those butterflies. Wait a minute—does this mean I could potentially be an adrenaline junky? Looks like I need to go skydiving.

3. You guuuuyyys, I STILL haven't finished the season premiere of The Bachelor yet! What is wrong with me?! I blame it on the new year making me all productive and using my time to sleep and read books instead of watching television. I really do miss my TV time. That's it, I'm going to watch it, RIGHT NOW. And then I will probably tweet all of my feelings about it.

4. Wes has had a small cold for the past few days, and I seem to obsessively check his temperature whenever he is sick. I know this because I wasn't feeling well after a visit from Aunt Flo and was lying in bed. Luke walked into the room and said, "Mommy, you sick? I check yo tempatcher. Open yo mouf!" It was so sweet to see him check and make sure I was okay, even if he was checking my throat for a temperature. Turns out I was okay because he said, "Nope! No feva!" And then I told him that if I did end up with one, that the only prescription is more cowbell.

5. Would you rather be able to go forward in time on three different occasions in your life, or go back in time once?

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"Be Patient, Mom"

Luke quickly ran from one tree to another, soaking up the salty air and sunshine as we waited for Matt to bring our slices of pizza to the picnic table. I prepped everything for lunch and called to Luke to come sit down. He didn't acknowledge me.

"Luke. It's time for lunch. I need you to come sit down, please."

This time he looked up at me, gave me a playful grin, and kept running from tree to tree. And now the aggravation began to set in on my end.

"Lucas Rodriguez! I mean it. Get over here and sit down," I sternly said to him. I walked toward him, preparing to wrangle his body in my arms, when he stiffly held up his little palm to me and calmly replied, "Be patient, Mom."

It felt as if the wisdom and zen powers of a thousand gurus had whacked me straight in between the eyes. Wasn't he the one who should be screaming and reacting irrationally? I mean, that is the M.O. of toddlers, if I am not mistaken. I can tell you I was definitely not expecting such a self-aware and profound response to be uttered from the lips of my not even three-year-old. Like, AT ALL. But his simple command worked. My frustration diffused and I responded with a tranquil, "Okay, Luke. I am being patient. I would really like for you to come sit down by Wesley and me and get ready for lunch."

And so he did. And that was that.

Obviously I had to tell Matt what happened once he walked back with our lunch. We chuckled about yet another hilarious and humbling experience our children put us through. I wondered to myself, Where did Luke pick up that saying? And then it occurred to me that I regularly tell him to "be patient." Whether he is aggravated by Wes pulling apart his train tracks or he can't quite get a puzzle piece to fit, the saying is always "be patient."

Huh, I thought. He's actually learning from me. A parental success in the books!

Truly, though. This was a huge win and boost for me as a mother. Most days I wonder if Luke and Wes are gleaning any of the information Matt and I are attempting to relay to them. Like, are we actually impacting them and teaching them how to be decent human beings, or is it all rolling through their heads like balls of fluff? I know they are still so little, but I think everything counts from day one.

It just goes to show that leading by example is the best way we can parent. I can stand on my soapbox and give long-winded soliloquies about how to behave and treat others. But that ain't going to do jack crap if I act like a self-important, bossy jerk. Plain and simple.

Luke taught me a valuable lesson that day as we walked around downtown San Clemente. Now I am more consciously focusing on choosing my words wisely and keeping a positive attitude around my boys. It's not always easy, and I have plenty of days where I fail miserably, but the point is that I am trying, and that my boys genuinely make me a better person.

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