Embracing Everything Emma

Enjoying Life One Baby Step at a Time…

Kid Fashion- Fashion Friday Series May 31, 2013

friday

It’s Fashion Friday! For this week, I want to talk about something that we will all deal with at some point or another. Something that is inevitable for all parents. That moment when your child develops their own fashion. It seems like it happens in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, your child doesn’t want to wear what mommy picked out. They want to put on everything BUT what planned. In these moments, I want to share with you my advice on what to do when you encounter kid fashion for the first time and beyond, too.

My dad and me

My dad and me

I think there is a lot to say for a child who is ready to dress themselves. A child has reached the point that they can start making decisions for themselves. They also start sharing their own personalities and opinions and it shows in everything- including what they choose to wear. My advice to you, and the best advice that I can give myself, is to allow your child to embrace who they are. At this moment in their life, it’s the last time to tell them no. The last time to make them dress how you expect at all times. Granted, there will be times when there are exceptions and times they need to wear a certain outfit you’ve picked out for them, however, most times you can bend. Most times you can allow them a choice in the matter. I encourage you to allow your kids to learn to be themselves. If they can’t learn to be themselves with you at an early age, who will they learn to be themselves with later?

Emma being Emma

Emma being Emma

Here are the only exceptions I think apply to this rule:

  • When your child tries to dress themselves in a way that doesn’t honor themselves and/or God. This works as a perfect teaching opportunity for you and your child.
  • When you have something specific planned. For example, if you have family pictures and everyone has coordinating outfits. I would encourage you to allow your child the opportunity to work with you in deciding their outfit if they are old enough.
  • When your child is being defiant. If you’ve clearly told them to wear something and they say no or wear something else. There is a fine line between allowing them to be themselves and them being disobedient.

Today marks one year with Embracing Everything! I want to thank each of you for your support throughout this year- whether you’re new or you’ve been here the whole year. I’m grateful for you and look forward to being here for another year! Be sure to join me on Monday as I share our very first review and giveaway. See you there!

 

 

Embracing Everything at (Almost) a Year! May 23, 2013

Emma at 9 Months, May 2012 Photo By Kelly Harris Photography

Emma at 9 Months, May 2012
Photo By Kelly Harris Photography

Emma at 21 Months, May 2013 Photo by Daddy :-)

Emma at 21 Months, May 2013
Photo by Daddy 🙂

I don’t know about you all, but I am super excited about our upcoming one year anniversary for Embracing Everything Emma. Who would have thought a year ago today that we’d still be going and how much we’ve changed in a year? Not me, not me at all. I guess I HOPED I would, I just wasn’t certain I would. And almost a year later, here we are!

As my faithful readers, whether you’ve been here a day or the full year, I am so thankful to have you and wanted to share with you a little bit about what will be happening in the upcoming future at Embracing Everything Emma!

  • We’re changing our name. Well, not a drastic change. We have decided that in order to continue our blog and have more children in the future, we are shortening the name to Embracing Everything. The blog will still have just as much to do with Emma, if not more, but will allow us to focus on more children when that time arrives. And please note here that I AM NOT PREGNANT. Furthermore, I am not lying about being pregnant to trick you. I repeat, I AM NOT PREGNANT. It will take time, but eventually the blog, facebook, twitter and pinterest will all match it name.
  • We’re trying our hand at giveaways! I’m planning to have a giveaways on a weekly basis, if possible. A lot of this will have to come from you as the readers! I have a few lined up so far but the rest of them are completely by faith. The product will be announced and reviewed every Tuesday with a giveaway winner that Friday. The first one will start during the first week of June. If you are interested in donating items to be reviewed and put in a giveaway or know someone who might be, please email me at embracingeverything AT gmail DOT com.
  • We want continued advice from you! To continue growing our blog and reaching out to the reader (YOU), we need to know what you like and what you don’t like. Feel free to comment below or email me at embracingeverything AT gmail DOT com. I want to hear from you- the good, bad, and the ugly. The only way to grow is if I hear from YOU from YOU want.
  • We’re not stopping! Some days I don’t have ideas and other days I’m running behind. Part of that is the life of a full-time working mom and wife. I want to thank you for your willingness to stand beside me, even when things aren’t always organized right or follow the same schedule. I plan on working harder this year to stay on task as best I can.

So thank you for joining us on this crazy ride and I look forward to sharing this next year along side you!

 

Giving Gifts May 9, 2013

Emma's Kitchen- Almost everything bought to make this...in advance!

Emma’s Kitchen- Almost everything bought to make this…      in advance!

At the Linkous house, we believe in gift giving. We’ve never been or felt convicted not to give, so we do. We don’t have a set limit of gifts (although we wouldn’t do 2,000 or something crazy) because we just haven’t found something that works for us. However, we set a budget for each holiday and how we’re going to spend it. I hope today helps you as you plan for buying for your kids.

*We buy 99% of Emma’s gifts in advance. We’re not on time people by nature but we are on time gift givers. For that matter, we shop way early. I bought part of Emma’s birthday gift for this year at a garage sale. Last September. We saw things at yard sales and Wee Cycle It that we knew we wanted so it didn’t make sense NOT to get it since we had the budget and it was super cheap. Also, when we have Wee Cycle It and don’t find what we’re looking for, we don’t have to rush out and buy it. We have time to shop yard sales and wait until the next sale because we are shopping that far in advance. It’s a total win.

*We buy the other 1% on sale. We don’t get everything in advance because sometimes we forget stuff and sometimes we can’t find it. It’s rare. So rare that I really think it’s only about 1%. There was one year that we bought one of those FisherPrice talking puppies that are normally over $20 for $3. Did we love it? No. I was not a big fan of that thing. We have it in the Wee Cycle plan and will probably make more than we even spent on it. Another win!

*We commit to the budget. We don’t go over what we’ve budgeted and we’re pretty strict on that one. It’s the only way to keep things set and make sure we don’t go too far overboard. If we have extra, we usually put it towards the gift budget for the next holiday, that way we’re closer there and don’t have to budget it for then. We’re been able to get some amazing deals by sticking to the budget and not just buying something for any price we find.

So, what are some of our favorite gifts and the deals we’ve found? Well, let me tell you!

*Dirt devil vacuum cleaner. Emma fell in love with Annie’s vacuum when she went over to play and sure enough, it was the exact same one we got it! We got this steal for only $3 at a local yard sale!

Whiteboard Side

Whiteboard Side

Chalkboard Side

Chalkboard Side

 

*Crayola chalkboard/dry erase board. We found several of these back at the day after Thanksgiving sales and were so glad we got ours at a yard sale instead. This will be part of Emma’s birthday gift this year (yes, we got it last summer). They normally run for $50 or more and we got ours for…drum roll…$5!

*Melissa & Doug puzzles & abacus. We were really excited about finding these deals at Wee Cycle It this year. We are big wooden toy fans and especially the Melissa and Doug brand. Several of Emma’s wooden toys are this brand (maybe 99% again). Anyways, we were able to get 2 puzzles and an abacus for right at $5. Normally, those would have been over $20 or $30. Not bad at all!

What are some of your favorite gifts you’ve got for your kids?

 

Life a a Blogger April 24, 2013

Photo by Bella Donkey

Photo by Bella Donkey

I’ve thought about this and maybe this post should be called confessions of a blogger? Either way, it’s just the brutal, honest truth that life as a blogger isn’t always pretty and beautiful. The sun doesn’t always shine and bird aren’t always singing. Sometimes life is stinky.

I follow the Humbled Homemaker and read her post on being honest with her blog followers and felt the same conviction for me. I’ve had several followers comment or say to me in person that it seems that my life has no problems, is great, etc, and let me be honest- that’s not the case at all! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life. I have a great daughter, an amazing husband, and am blessed beyond words, however, there are some days that really just aren’t that great and I don’t have it all together. Will you join me? Let’s take a look at my life…

Let me start by saying that my husband and I cleaned our house from top to bottom about two weeks ago. It was wonderful. I finished and felt like our house was worth a million bucks. About two days after it, it didn’t look quite like that. At all. Toys everywhere, clothes to be washed, smooshed yogurt and crackers on the floor, and more. Let me add here that we hadn’t cleaned our downstairs in MONTHS. Maybe a year? It was that bad. And we’re still not done. At my craft table sits craft ideas from Emma’s birth and a scrapbook that ended at our honeymoon. And the icing on the non-cleaning cake? A broken toilet seat downstairs. Yes people, do not plan to come over to our house and plan to use our downstairs bathroom for anything other than washing your hands or checking your hair. When will it be ready? I don’t know. I haven’t wanting to spend the money on a new seat since we aren’t using it now. How sad it that?

Emma and I ended up with the stomach bug this weekend. I did absolutely nothing. Not one stinking thing. I think the other move I made was changing an awful diaper that Emma had and placing it in the toilet to soak. It was that bad. Do you know what happened next? That diaper sat in our toilet for all of 18 hours while I slept. I eventually got to it after we were smart and switched to disposable while Emma finished up her illness. There were toys everywhere, clothes in all different parts of the house, and who knows what else. In fact, I’m still working on cleaning it up. I’m hoping to get to it one of these days.

Don’t even get me started on the food. The food is out of control! This morning, I found molded bread on my microwave (ew!) and yesterday I cleaned out TONS of old food in the fridge. How is managed to stay that long, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I’ve been on repeat mode with everything I’ve fed my daughter the past few days and I’ve been too busy to think twice about it. No new foods for us, just the same ole thing. Before being sick, I finally found time to clean out my fridge and freezer (possibly the first deep clean since we moved in 5 years ago?) and couldn’t believe the mess that was there. That’s just gross. But it’s the truth.

So welcome to my life. My busy, messy life. I love every bit of it, but please believe me when I say it’s far from perfect! I’m just another person, like you, who is doing life one baby step at a time.

 

What Do YOU Want to Hear? April 3, 2013

Photo by Freakify

Photo by Freakify

Today I want to give you, my readers, an opportunity to decide what we’re going to talk about in a few weeks. I have several different topics to choose from and am wanting to know what you enjoy me talking about with you the most!

How does it work?

The poll below will be open through this Friday, April 5th. You will select the (1) series you want me to do. If you would like to add an option, feel free! I’m going to also make this poll available on Facebook starting at 7am (EST) today.

When will it be posted?

Since I will be working on a week long series, please note that it will take over my typical series (ie: Manic Monday, Fashion Friday). It will also take me a little time to put everything together. For this reason, the series will be during the week of April 15th-19th.

What are the options?

Here are the details of the series you will be voting on, including the overall theme & potential topics (all subject to change):

Diapering Series/Potential Topics: why cloth diapers are best, how cloth diapers work, cloth diaper accessories, how to dress your baby with cloth diapers, resources for cloth diapering, troubleshooting with cloth diapers

Review Series/Potential Topics: review of “Debtor to Better” by Barry Myers; review of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil; review of Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by Erin Odum (aka: The Humbled Homemaker); review of other items to do with natural parenting-homemaking-etc/potential “contests” to win something I review EACH DAY!

Food Series/Potential Topics: I will do a week long series of meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts. One for each day!

Fashion Series/Potential Topics: cloth diaper dressing; play clothes for kids; Over the Rainbowtique summer bow reviews; etc

Photo by Under Scoop Fire

Photo by Under Scoop Fire

So what are you waiting for? Get voting!

 

Teaching Emma to be a Woman April 2, 2013

photo-86

Today’s post comes in part due to several things I’ve read lately. There have been a lot of posts about how to raise our boys to be men. A lot. On the other hand, I have seen very little about how to teach our girls to be women. I think part of this is due to all the recent news about the Steubenville rape trial and the other part because sometimes as women, I think we’re not sure how. There are so many things conflicting with what we want our precious girls to know. Despite what society tells me, though, these are the things I want Emma to learn and that we plan on teaching her in hopes that she will carry it with her.

Photo by Laila's Healthy Living

Photo by Laila’s Healthy Living

Be nice to others. I think so often times, we give boys slack for being “mean” when I think girls are the real meanies. Why? Well, let’s look at this situation. Chris and Joe get in an argument, throw some punches, and call it even. Tomorrow they can be best friends again. Shew, 5 minutes later they’re best friends again. Now, take girls. Jane and Susie get in an argument and Jane pretends to “forgive” Susie and then bad mouths her to the whole school. Does Susie address it? Nope. She just does the same thing to Jane and all the while, they’re still “best friends”. Girls are down right evil sometimes. I have a friend whose sweet daughter was in girl scouts with girls in a grade above her. They told her they were having a dress up sleepover and she was so excited to go since she was usually the odd one out. Imagine her horror when she arrived to the party and not one girl was dressed up. No, they all stood on the front porch pointing and laughing at her. When the mom drove home and gave herself time to calm down, she called the other mom to explain why her daughter wasn’t attending. Her response? “Kids will be kids.” Seriously? Kids will be flippin’ kids? Since when did bullying become a part of being a kid? That’s just nasty and mean and will NOT be tolerated in the Linkous house. There will punishment for our actions and we will fight to never use the fact that Emma is a “kid” or “teenager” to excuse the way she treats others. We truly do need to follow the golden rule and treat others how we wish to be treated- no matter how we’re being treated.

Don’t let others make your decisions. I want to teach Emma to make decisions for herself. I know that each person is created to be their own person and some people are leaders while others are followers. I know Emma may grow up with a tendency to follow others. I can understand that but I don’t her to allow others to decide what she does and who she is. I want Emma to understand that at the end of the day, she is responsible for her decisions. No one else can be blamed when it comes to choices she made. No one. I want her to understand this right off the bat because I think when you understand the cards you have in the game, you’re more likely to consider your decisions more carefully. Does it mean she’ll always make the right decision? Probably not but this is a start.

No means no. I want her to understand beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s ok to say no. To be honest, JR and I will be teaching her to say no until her wedding night. If she enters a situation where she starts to cross that line and then says no, guess what? It still means no. So often times girls are convinced that they are somewhat to blame. They dressed a certain way. The acted like they “wanted it”. Well, I say and we will teach that no means no, no matter what she did or how she dressed. I don’t want her to ever hold back from standing her ground and speaking up. I pray this situation never happens but if so, I want to teach Emma how to handle the worst of situations in hopes that she’ll never be there.

Be the best person you can be. The absolute best. At the end of the day, you will be held accountable for how you’ve lived and I don’t want her looking back and wishing she had done differently. I want her to live a life with as few regrets as possible. She will have regrets as we all do, but when you focus on living this life it makes you consider your choices much closer. You’re more likely to make wise decisions when you can picture the grand scheme of things.

Photo By Sharing God's Grace

Photo By Sharing God’s Grace

Forgive. This is not the tendency for most females. In fact we’re told to pay back. To do all things but what we’re suppose to do. When you don’t forgive, the only person who remains punished is you. You become the victim to your own self and held captive there. The reality is that you cannot hold onto what someone else has done. The most freeing thing you can do is forgive, even if the person hasn’t asked your forgiveness. Forgiveness, at the end of the day, is more about your healing than someone else’s healing. We will challenge Emma to always forgive. It doesn’t mean that you won’t remember but it means that you can find place in your heart to forgive because there is nothing we’ve done or will do that God hasn’t already forgiven. He sets the model.

What are you teaching your daughters? What things are the most important things for you?

 

Celebrations at the Linkous House March 21, 2013

Photo by FanPop

Photo by FanPop

Let me start this post by saying this post is not to debate what holidays should be celebrated and which shouldn’t. It’s not to debate what fictional characters should or shouldn’t be allowed for a child. I believe each decision is up to the parent(s) of a child and those parents alone. Today, I just want to share with you how we do our holidays here at the Linkous house.

When it comes to holidays that involve traditional, fictional characters, like Easter, we do it. We went back and forth for awhile before Emma’s birth, but ultimately decided this is what we wanted to do. It’s how we were raised and it was how we wanted our children raised. End of story. For us, we celebrate with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. They bring gifts for Emma and we brings gifts for Emma. The wrapped gifts are from mom and dad, the unwrapped ones are from Santa and the Bunny. We started this early on so she would be able to differentiate the two. For the Easter Bunny, we always include some plastic eggs and I’m going to be honest here. We use the same eggs. Every year. And we will continue to do so. For Santa, we always lay out milk and cookies for him and carrots for his reindeer. Always. There will never be a Christmas picture where we didn’t do this. It’s important to us to not only practice the visit of Santa or the Easter Bunny but to also embrace the other traditions that come with it. We love the preparation and as Emma gets older, I’m certain we’ll love it more. The excitement and joy we see in her is and will be priceless. It will be something that she will only experience for a short while and I want to soak up every moment of it. These are some of the moments we live for and what we love seeing with our precious daughter. She is embracing every moment of her life. Here are some special ways we celebrate the holidays if you’re looking for ideas. Today, I am going to focus on Easter since it’s the one closest to us:

Photo by FanPop

Photo by FanPop

  • We hunt plastic Easter eggs with Emma (will do outside if warm enough)
  • We decorate REAL eggs with Emma
  • We bake Easter treats (different ones each year)
  • We visit the Easter Bunny IF available (not a necessity)
  • We have an Easter basket
  • We have Emma’s Easter basket ready with gifts on Sunday morning prior to church
  • We read the story of Jesus’ resurrection from her children’s Bible
  • We have Easter lunch with family
  • We attend multiple church services where Emma attends a service directed towards her age group. If there is music or a performance we think she’ll enjoy (like “The Grinch” we did at Christmas), we will bring her in the adult service for that part.

Before you thing we’re hooligans and only share this with her, hold up. We make it a tradition to tell Emma the story of Jesus’ birth and his resurrection. We do this the night before the holiday and the day of. We bring her to church for every service we have and she learns it there, too. And we don’t stop there. We teach Emma about Jesus EVERY DAY. I just want to make that clear before any questions are asked.

Here is how we celebrate. We hope you enjoy your upcoming holidays, however you celebrate them, and pray you have a very Happy Easter!