This time next week I will be giddy and delirious from late night packing and excitement for the Influence Conference put on by The Influence Network in Indy!! I’ll be counting down the hours till I get to be surrounded by my people!! And by my people I mean EVERYONE going to the Influence Conference. Everyone that is there, I consider my people. I went last year and shared my experiences HERE…but there is just something amazing about that environment and community. It’s such an inspiring and encouraging conference. The tone of authenticity and faith filled sisterhood is set by the great team that puts it on. They are fantastic. This conference is the one you go to and leave wishing you could all move into the same neighborhood and have girls’ bible study and dessert nights one night, family movie nights in the backyard with a big sheet the next night, pot luck dinner the next night in the cul-de-sac while the kids play….see what I mean..I have our whole life and friendships laid out ladies. haha. These are my people…they are women wanting to use their influence for good.. wanting to use their platforms and voices to enrich those around them. They are going wanting to learn and grow and connect. Most of us are nervous to put ourselves out there but ready to take that risk of feeling awkward and go for it. They sound like your kind of people too right? Yes. Follow my social media feeds and shares next weekend and then go buy your ticket immediately for next year. We’ll go get coffee in indy!
The Conference ladies are doing a fun Meet + Greet where you link up on their site HERE.. and then can go around to all the blogs and say hi and see who is going! Thought it would be fun to introduce myself here and share some fun random facts about me that my readers might think are fun too!
I’m Natalie. I’m 28 and married to my college sweetheart.
He was a youth minister for the first 7 years of our marriage and is now rocking it in the business world. He still acts like a youth minister though and is goofy and knows all the cool lingo and trendy you tube videos.
We have three kids. Sophia (6) Sienna (4) and Micah (2 in november.)
They are pretty much scrumptious. They have taken over my INSTAGRAM.
I’m homeschooling my sophia this year. My wonderful mom is helping part of the day. She tutors my nephew a year older than sophia and the two have “grandma school” for part of the day. Sienna is in PreK at a local church and loving it. Micah is a little wild man that eats runs arrrgs and sleeps for very short periods of time.
I have been blogging here since wayyy back when I had my first baby and was nursing my sophia and wanted to share my heart and creative ideas!
I blog about how I’m trying to live a family centered, creative, faith filled + JOYFUL life…
even without a lot of time or money to spare.
I try to celebrate motherhood on my blog! I love being
able to document it here..it’s my love letter to my children!
You can read and watch more about my blog HERE.
I started a company called HAPPY MOMMY BOX with my
best friend Mandy of House of Rose.
We are trouble together. Good clean eat all of the ice cream in the house when we are together kind of trouble. We met at a blog conference and have been friends ever since. We both wanted to take our love for motherhood and encouraging other moms to the next level by creating a care package service. It’s been one of the most amazing challenging awesome things things I’ve ever done. To quote my daughter from last month’s boxing.. “there’s gonna be a wat of happy mommiesss!!” o yaaa.
My favorite dessert is apple crisp. You need to make this recipe.
And then tag me on instagram so I can drool over your photo.
I am a complete goof ball.
I like to lipsync and dance and laugh.
My spice cabinet is a danger zone where I seriously think I’m
going to get a black eye every time I reach up and open the door.
I have this desire to be super organized…
but motherhood and netflix keep that from always happening.
I love to be creative and I love to throw parties!
We had a fairy birthday party for the girls this year.
You can check out more of our parties HERE.
I love to do DIY projects and make our house a home.
I recently made a cardboard fairy house for the girls’ party…it was so fun for them!
Most of what we own is from IKEA or Target.
It’s been a while but I love playing with our food.
We started a happy food series.
I had a serious health scare earlier this year that was a big cross for my family but really taught us and especially my children how to suffer and love others. We grew a lot through the whole thing and were able to see right in front of our faces the power of prayer.
I’ve shared my heart over the years, of the loss of my best friend, through an act of Domestic Violence. I haven’t shared a lot lately… The grief and desire to put it all down into words goes in phases. Lately I’ve felt like when I think about it..what happened.. I have anger towards him, and I just don’t want to go there. God gives peace and comfort and I think right now that has been my strategy even though it’s not the best. My girls talk about her every week. Either through their drawings or random questions about heaven. Even though they were barely old enough to remember her, they think she was the most beautiful person ever and they are right.
I usually have a mountain of clean laundry on my bed that turns into a castle for my girls who are hiding from the monster micah. I tell them every day he can’t always be the monster when they play..but he roars and gets into character and I can’t stop it.
I take photos. A lot. My husband jokes if he doesn’t remember what
we ate the other day he can just look at my instagram feed.
Here’s a video tutorial on how I edit my phone photos!
I’m SO excited to meet you guys at Influence this year.
I’ve been praying for those organizing it and attending… see you soon!
We are a busy family, on the go a lot, but I still try to give my kids healthy options! We use juice drinks for snacks at the park/backyard or when we are on the go! My kids’ favorite on the go drink is Capri Sun
! We’ve tried other juice drinks and my kids never end up drinking them! Great for road trips… these babies are soft so I can softly pass them back to the kids. They are super handy when the kids get thirsty! I love how the pouches are easily portable and convenient for the kids.There are days we have a full morning of errands and end at the park or splash pad. Having drinks on the go is important… toddler meltdowns from being hot and thirsty are not fun to experience. haha.
They love the taste of Capri Sun… and I love how the Juice drinks are made with no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. The pouches are convenient for the kids and the straws actually work! You know you’ve gotten those other juice boxes and couldn’t get the dang straw to work… no good.
I recently came home from the store with the normal flavor they love, the Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters Flavored Water Beverage… but with their new CLEAR BOTTOMS! (and all the kids say: “coooooolllll”) I also saw a new kind I wanted to try, Super V Fruit and Vegetable Juice drink. It was a hit!
There were two other varieties that I saw are available – Capri Sun 100% Juice Capri Sun Juice Drink
Micah was loving being a big boy and drinking a juice drink pouch with his sisters!Of course the girls break into twirling… a good juice box deserves a dance party. You can check out Capri Sun on Facebook!
Do you use Capri Sun? Have you tried the new flavors? Our new favorite is their Super V Fruit and Vegetable Juice drink! Thanks Capri Sun
for sponsoring today’s post!
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This is not a post I planned on writing! I was homeschooled from 2nd grade through high school— loved it — minus the first two years of high school where my private school friends would give me the school promo packets and I would leave them all around the house for my parents to see— but I never planned on homeschooling my own kids one day. Ben and I always knew that we wanted to try out the education programs available in our area and had home schooling as a back up plan If we didn’t like what was offered in our area.
Last year, when we lived in pittsburgh, both Sophia and Sienna went to a private school. And we liked it! This year, we moved down to charlotte mid school year and instead of putting her into school with a couple months left, my mom offered to homeschool sophia. She was already teaching my nephew who is a year older than sophia. It was so fun for them!
We signed up Sophia to go to the local public school. It was so close and we really wanted to try it out. We also signed up Sienna for a 5 days a week preschool program at a local church. Deep down I was lovingggg the idea of having two of the three kiddos off at school during the day so I could get some stuff done while micah napped! It sounded amazing and I was excited for their connections with the teacher and their classmates.
We are a couple weeks into the school year. And since day one I had a knot in my stomach. Just praying that we would be making the right decision for our kids. I absolutely adore Sienna’s preschool. It’s AMAZING. She loves it… still has some days she gets nervous and says she doesn’t want to go.. but when I pick her up she is skipping and singing I wuv my teacher I wuv my schooooool. Love that place so far and their education program.
Sophia is a little more of a gentle soul. She was shy at her old school but loved it still. First grade is a whole new ball game though. A lot more work and less play. From the second day it was clear she was not loving it. But that didn’t make me think twice about not sending her. I know it takes time for relationships to form and for adjustment to the routine. I get that.
I went to the back to school night and just wasn’t impressed. I didn’t see a place where I was like yessss this is where she is supposed to be! And that knot in my stomach kept on bugging me.
It only took me these two weeks to realize that our family life was a lot different than I grew up with. I had something to compare it too since my childhood was so different. This was a lot different than I imagined for my family..even though I didn’t imagine home schooling either. I dropped off Sophia in the am.. and picked her up late afternoon with an hour before dinner.. bath bed. Most of her days this year are going to be spent at school. I traded those hours with her for what? To not worry about her education? To be able to work at home without the crazy kids?
I was out with some girlfriends the other night and we were talking about the whole back to school schedule. Some were rejoicing in the alone time.. and I wanted to jump on that.. a part of me was loving it.. but I just said.. It feels weird. That was the first time I
said anything out loud semi negative towards our new routine. “It feels.. weird.”
And another mom looked at my and said yes natalie. it’s weird.
It’s what some families have to do.. and want to do.. but for me…
I just didn’t know if this was what was right for this year and for our family.
I believe homeschooling is kid by kid. It’s not for everyone but it is more approachable than you think. I can say that because I grew up with it.
I started praying that God would give me peace about what His path was for us.
If we were supposed to do this daily school grind then please give me that grace to push on and peace to know this was the right choice for my kids.
I was driving home from dropping off Sienna (who I drop off after sophia) and I started thinking….. this isn’t the lifestyle I imagined for my family.
This isn’t the way I want our day and interactions with each other to be.
I didn’t need to test out another 2 weeks to know that this wasn’t what I wanted.
But I did need that experience for myself before I would
be willing to say to myself..and out loud…. I want to Homeschool.
boom. peace. knot in my stomach completely gone.
Still a little anxious about whether or not I could do it, but regardless of what you fill your day up with…the days are full. for everyone. I don’t know many people that say oh there is just too much time in the day! Everyone, regular school moms + homeschooling moms, run out of time in the day. It’s how we schedule our days and strategize them, no matter what the tasks, that will help make us be able to succeed!
I think it’s important to challenge your kids and let them know you shouldn’t give up when it’s hard. I see that Sophia finds her new class routine hard. But I think this is too big of a life choice to chalk it up to “we can’t let her give up!”… I can teach her that same life lesson in other ways. I can help challenge her and put her in experiences and activities that take her a little out of her comfort zone. So that wasn’t a burden on my heart.
We love sienna’s preschool program and think she is thriving there. So we are going to keep her there for those 4 hours a day. I think that Sophia would thrive if I tutored her along with the help of my mom, who still tutors my nephew every morning. I probably wouldn’t feel as confident if it wasn’t for my mom being so close and having all of the lesson plans done and ready from doing first grade with my nephew last year. We have a schedule. I seriously have every minute of the day scheduled. Because I know that if this is going to work… I need a plan. I have her lessons planned out for every day for the full year so we can know what she has to learn and how many days we have to do it! The books my mom uses are amazing.. she brought them over and I love them. She even brought over her lesson schedule paper she prints out for each week (SAME ONE I used growing up homeschooling. haha. tried and true method.) She gave me that boost of confidence to feel like I could do this. And I’m excited for that daily time she is going to have with her granddaughter as well. My mom is so patient and kind and loves to see the kids learn…. it’s going to be a special year for sophia and my mom. which makes my heart happy.
I’m going to have set times and lessons I do with Sophia each day, and then an afternoon lesson with both Sophia and Sienna(after pre-k.) I’m excited! Being a work at home mom it’s important to have set times to work and set times to NOT WORK. haha. And even though when you own your own blog and company you are “always on.”…. Having those set times help you to get more done when it’s go time.
I’ll have 3 hours a day where I’ll just have micah. That’s right during his nap time… so that will be my go to work time. Running a business from home and parenting is hard. Even without school decisions in the mix. But it is possible. and it’s even more doable when you have a plan. My life is on paper right now… and this new schedule isn’t going to be easy.. but it is going to be right. It’s going to be the most thriving environment for my kids and our family life.
One of the main words I grew up hearing when it came to home schooling was SOCIAL.
Are they going to know how to be social?… What does that mean exactly?
Are they going to know how to interact with others? Are they going to be shy, unconfident, hide in the corner, weirdly dressed kids who don’t take the initiative or lead? As a homeschooler I would like to say that I’m proof that isn’t the case. Most of my friends growing up were a group of completely normal homeschooled kids and non homeschooled kids. There are plenty of kids socially awkward that aren’t homeschooled. I know there are strange homeschoolers..I get that. But I think that is more on their family lifestyle and choices. I grew up in a family that encouraged us to be vocal and interact with people. We traveled the world and met new and interesting people all the time. We experienced things that other kids that were in a classroom couldn’t. Two of my siblings went to regular high school after homeschooling. I went to college and did fine. If anything I think homeschooling helped me to learn how to interact with people that weren’t in my age group. I wasn’t with the same age group and people every day. I played sports for local school teams. I did church programs that led me to be an international speaker….traveling around the states and even flying me to Ireland to speak at a youth conference. Homeschooling didn’t keep me reserved and unsocial. I think how I was homeschooled pushed me to dream big and be vocal.
Being social doesn’t happen by just being in a classroom with kids every day.
You are able to be social by how and who and where you interact with people! It’s the experiences you collect on the day to day in many different types of situations that help you know how to interact with people and how to act as a person! A lot is on the parents. Especially when your kids are little. You are the one that helps your kids foster relationships with people.. taking them places..inviting people over… signing them up for new and challenging experiences!
I never thought I would be doing this.
And It’s not going to be easy.
But I’m so excited about being more involved in my children growing into the people
they are supposed to be. It’ll come with good days and bad days with them…
But I’m excited to HAVE those days with them.
Just like my childhood of homeschooling, we are taking it one year at a time.
If, in the future, we find a school that fits with the lifestyle we want for our family
and our needs, then we would consider it. But for now, this is the path we are
being led to take. Going into it with peace and trust.
Excited to share this decision with all of you!
Expect some homeschool themed posts and heart sharing!
I’m really thankful that I’ve found some great friends here in charlotte that I’m
able to do motherhood with. They lift me up and when you are in the daily grind of motherhood it’s so important to have that community!
Life has been extra busy now with back to school and growing HAPPY MOMMY BOX.
I can’t believe we are coming up on our one year of starting it in november!! Crazy!
So excited and exhausted at the same time! We’ve been working our bums off for it and can’t wait to share more of what’s to come for HAPPY MOMMY BOX!
With all the stress of life lately, some adult conversations and
super mature behavior was very much needed. haha.
I’m so thankful for a hubby who said GO and took over bath and bed time so I could have some good conversation and silly times at Target with some of my friends.
I pretty much live at target. When I tell the kids we gotta run an errand they ask to go there.
It’s their happy place too. It’s fun going kidless though…
We first went to panera for dinner then walked over to Target.
We closed down the store. haha.
Hope our video makes you smile! #goofballs #meg_almostpeedlaughing
Going out with mom friends can give you that boost and refresh that you need!
Next time you’re in target with your girlfriends you better INSTAGRAM me a dance! ;)
ps. those tanks behind us in the above photos.. go get one! I have 4. And It’s probably one of the most mentioned product shares in my inbox right now! Since I shared it on IG, everyone who snags one loves them! #justatip
My little ones have seriously grown up this summer. Micah is a little man and chatting up a storm with me. “I wanna go” “yes” and “I want dis” are his favorite things to say. My girls feel like little ladies lately. They love art projects and coloring. We do makeup a lot too and they look FAB mamas… fierce eyeshadow going on. I can have the funniest and sweetest conversations with my girls now. And I’ve been loving hearing how they talk to each other. Sophia learned at school a couple days ago about feelings and being kind and having good behavior. I heard her telling Sienna all about it and how “we need to be responsible” haha.
They were chatting and being so serious like yes. we have to be wesponsible.
I still need to share their first day of school photos. Cuteness overload. Makes me want to cry! They seriously are just such sweethearts. They drive me bonkers plenty but I love them so much. Seeing how much they’ve grown and how much they are learning just makes me so thankful that I have gotten to be their mommy all these years.
I’m excited for the years to come and seeing them grow even more.