Life’s Gripes and Grapes | And a Unique Wooden Watch

IMG_2795Anyone who’s married knows marriage isn’t always a cakewalk. I think that’s good though because if it were, there would be no opportunity for growth. Constant cakewalking=stagnant relationship. My goal in my marriage is to always be evolving and growing with Ryan. I have an expectation that I will gradually know him more and more deeply as the days go by and sometimes the fastest way to do that is to experience adversity together — it’s the silver lining to crappy situations.

Everyone goes through tough times in his or her lives and most people choose not to share it publicly (with the exception of those few who post pity party essays as their Facebook status’ for attention). But the majority of us look like we have the most perfect lives when you scroll our feeds – I’m guilty of it too. But I do it because dwelling on what’s negative in my life doesn’t serve me well – what does serve me well is putting a positive spin on things, then posting about it. I basically trick myself into seeing the bright side of obstacles haha.

However, when I started this blog, I told myself I’d always be honest; I want to share my real life. So I’m going to take a moment and list out on here what’s been putting a strain on me and my marriage lately and how I’m working through it.

For context: One of the PR firms I worked at (arguably my favorite one) used to take a moment at staff meetings and for employees to share their “gripes and grapes.” Gripes were things that were bugging you, Grapes were positive shout outs. So here I go with mine…

Gripes:

  • We live at my parent’s house because our house was gutted for a remodel
  • Our oldest son is struggling emotionally from living in limbo
  • We’ve been feeling unsettled for 9 months and counting; it’s wearing on us
  • We don’t know exactly when our house will be done
  • We are making big decisions when it comes to money and it’s stressful
  • We don’t get very much time alone
  • We have tons of design decisions to make together regarding our house; it can feel overwhelming
  • Ryan spends most of his free time working on the house
  • I have a million goals regarding my blog and some other things but I don’t feel like I have the time I need to spend to accomplish those goals and it makes me feel frustrated

There ya go…my little rant. When I read through it, I feel like I’m being a whiny millennial, which is why I don’t like to share things like this on social media. Was that uplifting to any of you? NO! Lol. Not to mention, I know a million plus people have it worse than I do! I know I could be dealing with REAL issues like cancer, death, divorce, hunger, poverty or any other sort of crisis so I feel silly whining about my life. But at the same time, my issues are impacting my sanity. Here’s how I cope…

Grapes:

  • I drink wine if you haven’t already noticed via my insta stories
  • I go on mommy dates fairly frequently and it fuels my soul
  • I pray and talk with my oldest son about how he’s feeling and try to show him unconditional love – I’m also completely redoing his room so that when we move back into our house, he’ll be blown away
  • I think about how lucky we are that my parent’s have a house big enough to accommodate our family so well
  • I remember how supportive my parent’s have been and how gracious they are to let us live here, rent free
  • I remember back before Ryan got his engineering license and I quit my job in PR and we were BROKE with a newborn baby in our starter house – I’m beyond grateful we have the means to buy a house in our dream neighborhood, then gut it to studs and remodel it
  • I think about how lucky I am to be married to a man who trusts my design decisions and genuinely loves and appreciates how I can transform the look of a room
  • I communicate with Ryan about how our lack of alone time together is making me feel disconnected from him – we remedy this by going out on dates
  • I remember that accomplishing big goals requires small, consistent efforts; although I can’t put the time/energy I want into accomplishing those goals right now, I’m still working towards them in small ways and I’ll eventually be able to ramp up my efforts

In addition to all of these things, I also totally surprised Ryan with a unique men’s wooden watch for Valentine’s Day a little early. I’ve gotten a JORD Wood Watch for him before and he LOVED it, but they’re constantly coming out with new designs, so I wanted to add to his little collection. They are also a great Valentine’s Day gift for him PLUS you can enter to win $100 towards the JORD site (enter here). You may not win the $100, but you automatically win $25 just for entering! Contest closes 02/04/2018

Thanks for listening to my rant. Next time you find yourself going to negative town, try and spin each gripe you have into a grape 🙂

Links below to check out more watches!

Ryan’s watch

Men’s watches

Women’s watches

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Luxury Wooden Watch

 

8 Reasons I Love Being a Boy Mom

JRP_3372copy (1)Let me start this off by saying that this post is not a dig at girl moms or to say being a boy mom is better. Nor is this meant to imply that I wouldn’t love a daughter one day, because of course I would. What I’m sharing today is simply all the things I love about having boys.

I can shape them into gentlemen

This is probably the biggest one in light of all the recent news stories on inappropriate male behavior. I didn’t participate in the social media #metoo frenzy for various reasons, but I’ve experienced my fair share of unwanted comments and even some situations where I had to be physically aggressive to keep myself safe.

There are so many wonderful gentlemen out there who are overshadowed by the animalistic predator men who view women as objects for their enjoyment. I have been blessed with the opportunity to shape two young boys to become the former, not only by what I deliberately teach them, but what they observe watching the Ryan’s behavior toward me and other women around him. I feel like God has given me the opportunity to better our society of males by entrusting me with TWO to raise right.

Chivalry won’t be dead and manners will be ingrained

Does your husband know how to properly set a table? Like does he know forks go on the left? Does he pull out your chair? Open your door? As much as I love Ryan, those things aren’t ingrained in him. It’s something you have to be taught and I definitely am already teaching Porter at the age of four about good manners vs. bad manners.

I don’t have to host a wedding

Since we only plan on having one more, at the very most we’ll be responsible for one wedding.

Boys love their moms

Of course they love their Dad’s too, but that mother-son bond is unique and I creepily stare at them with doting eyes on the regular.

I don’t have to clean poop out of a vagina

That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

I don’t have to have a teenage girl

Because I hear teenage girls just love their moms; I know I did.

I save money

Being honest about the fact that I would probably spend way more on clothes if I had two girls vs two boys. And that would likely continue until adulthood.

I’ll have special relationships with my Daughter-in-laws

I’ll have such a pent up need for estrogen in the family that I’ll probably spoil and love my daughter-in-laws like they were my own more than I would if I literally had my own daughter. But only if they’re quality girls. If they aren’t, I’ll just do my MIL duty of intimidation.

So… if whenever we decide to try for a third and I end up with a third boy, don’t give me the “I’m so sorry!” charade. Although I’m sure I’ll 100% get at least a handful of comments like that from random complete strangers.

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Message to the Judgmental Natural Birth Moms

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Note: This is an old blog post I found in my drafts. I edited it a little bit since my writing style has changed, but my feelings on this topic are the same.

Dear random judgmental mom at the grocery store,

On a casual shopping trip to Trader Joes, you successfully ruined my day. I’m sure you didn’t mean to, but you did. My 10-month-old Porter was sitting in the shopping cart eating samples, happy as a clam. Just prior to bumping into you, a kind stranger told me that he looks like Prince George. We’d gotten this before; Porter is fair skinned with chunky cheeks and he’s a big boy, – he’s been in the 90’s on the charts his entire life, with the exception of his 100 percentile head.

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So there I was, drooling over the cheese section as per usual and you pulled up next to me. You had a son in your cart too — the boys began to cutely interact.

Random Mom: “How old is your son?”

Me: “He’s 10 months. How old is yours?” I asked with a smile. (I’m careful not to have my #restingbitchface when talking to strangers)

Random Mom: “He’s 15 months. I know he’s small.” (for reference, he looked substantially smaller than Porter)

Me: “Awww he’s so cute.”

Random Mom: “Your guy is big but I bet you weren’t able to give birth naturally without any drugs like I was!”

Me: “No actually I ended up with an emergency c-section and it was a really horrible experience.”

Random Mom: Shuts up.

I walked away as quickly as possible.

I bet you weren’t able to give birth naturally without any drugs like I was!”

I realize this lady said this because she’s clearly insecure about the size of her child, but this is not an isolated experience. Through social media and even other face-to-face interactions, I’ve encountered numerous mothers who judge c-sections. What’s crazy to me is that if I hadn’t had one, I would have risked Porter’s life. He wouldn’t budge after two hours of pushing (you can read my full birth story here), so when his heart rate dropped and the doctor said they needed to get the baby out, I said OK because obviously I wanted my baby to be born safely and alive and I’m not the one with the MD after my name and neither does your doula.

“I bet you weren’t able to give birth naturally without any drugs like I was!”

Who honestly says that to a complete stranger or any mother for that matter? Do you want to get punched in the face? Or maybe you want me to tell you how amazing you are that you gave birth to your smaller than average baby without any drugs? That’s not how this works. I honor ALL mothers no matter how their babies come out because we all sacrificed ourselves on some level to make a human, and we all have our own stories to tell.

My opinion of anyone who brags about anything, let alone how they had their baby, is that they are immature. A woman of wisdom understands that being humble earns more admiration. If you want me to think you’re awesome, don’t tell me how awesome you are.

“I gave birth naturally” in my head equates to “I made the choice to give birth as though it was the olden days so I could feel like I’m better and judge other mothers who used drugs or had surgery.”

This is less relevant to the point of this rant, but I personally think pretending we live hundreds of years ago is kind of stupid. So although you think it will impress me, I literally think you’re kind of a weirdo. But I would never say that to your face because we are all different, and that’s ok.

I thank God I was born when I was, with modern medicine saving lives on the daily. I plan on embracing modern medicine for the rest of my life.

And to the natural birth moms who judge my c-section: If you ever have to have a limb amputated, I challenge you to do that “naturally” too. Let’s just pretend it’s the olden days for everything. Let them cut off your limb naturally; no anesthetics – maybe just a shot of whiskey and a stick to bite on from a pesticide free tree.

Ok, I’m being snarky now. I know I’m probably pissing a lot of people off and I sound like a hypocrite because this sort of comes across like I’m judging the “natural” moms. I’m really not though; this rant is about all of the judgmental moms out there who try to make other moms feel bad about themselves. I couldn’t care less how everyone’s babies are born because it’s none of my business.

Motherhood is hard enough, so let’s just support each other. You might be thinking something in your head when you see another mom, but don’t say it out loud unless it’s kind/supportive/encouraging.

Rant over.

Xo,

Bethany

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Mitchell Family Holiday Photos 2017

Photo shoots are HARD when you have a four year old and a nineteen month old. With Porter, we were dealing with smile refusals and attitude problems. With Preston, we were dealing with just general crazy behavior that mostly included running away when we put him somewhere to stand or sit or even heaven forbid we hold him and he isn’t diving head first to the ground. I tried bribing with food, but it was ineffective.

Somehow our photographer managed to capture some moments that made it look like we have our *ish* together, so thanks for that Jacki Raney. Hopefully we can fool everyone that’s on our Christmas card list. And thank the Heavens above for Amazon Prime’s free two day shipping for giving me something to wear. My outfit is linked below and I really think every girl should buy these shoes.

Sam Edelman Leopard heels (on sale for $119 from $140 – kind of a splurge for me, but I’ve been obsessed with these forever and plan on wearing the heck out of them)

Plaid Shirt (only $15 with a looser boyfriend-ish fit)

Tulle Skirt (Under $30 and comes in every color you could ever want)

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Hey Diddle Diddle 1st Birthday

First birthdays have always been a big deal, but millennial moms have taken it to a whole new level if you ask our Baby Boomer parents. What can I say? That’s just how we roll…

Preston’s first birthday was definitely not as detail oriented as his big brother’s was because it’s just harder to plan parties with two kids in tow (second child syndrome) and also, Preston had Croup just one week earlier so we were a little distracted.

Still, I wanted Preston to have a special first birthday.

I decided on a Hey Diddle Diddle theme because Preston gets particularly excited whenever he hears that nursery rhyme. It’s pretty adorable :).

I didn’t find a ton of Hey Diddle Diddle party ideas on Pinterest that I liked, so I sort of just threw this together. I picked some colors and ran with it — I threw in some Hey Diddle Diddle references here and there, but it was definitely understated because I just couldn’t spend the kind of time on this that I would have liked. I kept the menu easy by having a sandwich bar. The smash cake and cupcakes were made by my favorite Sacramento bakery, Freeport Bakery. Here are some pics for inspo in case you ever want to use this party theme!

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California Mom’s guide to Gibson Ranch Country Park

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“We passed through Sacramento on the way to Tahoe” was a statement I heard often during the six years I lived in Orange County and later, Los Angeles. It was said innocently, but it always kinda irked me because my hometown has so much more to offer than your average passer through town and I never understood why more people couldn’t make the distinction between Sacramento and say, Modesto (no offense to Modesto). Home to over a million residents, the Sacramento region has an NBA team, a United Soccer League team (there’s talk about them becoming an MLS team) and a minor league baseball team, which is a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. It also has a lengthy history dating back to Sutter’s Fort, The Gold Rush and the Central Pacific Railroad. It’s home to the Crocker Art Museum which houses internationally recognized art pieces, not to mention our rich pool of local artists. We have endless nightlife options and a booming restaurant scene (even according to our Bay Area frienemies). PLUS, we’ve been declared the ‘Farm-to-Fork’ Capital of America, which means you can rest assured that your food is most likely sustainably sourced from a nearby farm. I should probably also mention that Sacramento is the Capital of the sixth largest economy in the world, but I’m assuming you already know that.

californiamomsimage-1Hopefully all of this info has drawn you into visiting if you haven’t already, because I’ve teamed up with a group of California Mom bloggers (check out their links at the end of this post) and we are spilling our local knowledge of places to take your kids throughout our beautiful state. I decided to share about a less obvious spot, Gibson Ranch Country Park, about 20ish minutes outside of Sacramento, because it’s a destination you wouldn’t easily find just by googling.

Located in Elverta, CA, this 30 plus acres park is still within Sacramento County lines, but you’ll feel like you’re out in the country. When you enter the property, you’ll almost immediately see horses peacefully grazing, as well as endless natural fields, heritage oak trees and a pond filled with fish, ducks and geese. I immediately feel a sense of tranquility when I enter; I roll down the windows and let that clean country air blow through the car.

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Here are a few activities you can do while you’re there:

Feed the Ducks

I’ve been reading more and more about how feeding bread to ducks is bad for them, so here are some alternative options, or pick-up some duck feed

Have a Picnic

There are shaded picnic tables all around the pond, near the playground

Let the Kids Play

There’s a large playground close to the pond

Go Fishing

The pond is stocked with catfish and trout

Fly a Kite

The park’s wide-open fields are the perfect spot

Run Around

Just set the kids loose! There are acres of fields for them to run around and wear themselves out

Visit the Stables

You can see the horses close-up, or you can call ahead and see if there are any horses available to rent for a little ride around the property

Hike

There are five-ish miles of trail

Host an Event

Gibson Ranch accommodates parties as large as weddings and as small as family BBQs – I’m thinking this could be a good spot for my son’s 4th birthday in September 🙂

Go Camping

You can reserve a campsite or even a rustic cabin

 

This park is seriously cool – it’s a must see if you’re ever out this way, even if you are just passing through on your way to Tahoe 🙂

Be sure to head over to these other California moms and check out some of their favorite spots:

8 Relationship Tactics that Keep us Strong

photogfavs065.jpgAfter being married for 5 ½ years (together for 8 ½) I wanted to offer up a few tips for keeping the relationship strong. We’re no experts in the world of marriage and by no means are we perfect, but I feel like we’ve found a groove to where I can honestly say we are happily married and I could actually give some marriage advice. Relationships aren’t a one size fits all thing; we are all unique, but I still think some of these could be transferred into any relationship.

WE ARE KIND; WHEN WE’RE NOT, WE SAY SORRY

So this one is really tested when you become a parent. Sleep deprivation combined with the frustration of toddler meltdowns, crying babies and constant messes will turn kindness flat on its face. But what saves us is that we recognize when we snap at one another and apologize almost immediately. The second a bratty remark leaves my lips, I do my best to always apologize and admit that I’m just frustrated with the situation, not him. He does the same. It’s so very important not to be stubborn – be quick to offer up an apology when you’re being an a-hole.

WE OVER COMMUNICATE

When we had pre-marital meetings with our Pastor before we got married, he talked to us about the number one cause of divorce according to his many years of marriage counseling, which is poor communication. Whether it’s poor communication about money, the kids, needs, whatever. To combat this, the most impactful thing we’ve done is had little relationship check-ins. We try to do them every week (that often doesn’t happen) but we do them often enough and just sort of ask each other how we’re doing: “Is there anything that’s been bugging you? Is there anything you’ve been meaning to discuss with me but haven’t had the chance?” This is when you MUST be honest because bottling up stuff is damaging in the long run.

WE PRAY TOGETHER

Obviously this doesn’t apply to all relationships, but for us this is a big thing. Going to church and worshiping together, praying together and for each other brings a level of intimacy that nothing else can. It deepens the level of trust and love that we already have.

WE GO ON DATES

This is the no brainer one that everyone knows, but it can be super challenging after you have kids. It is so very important to take time alone together.

WE LAUGH AT OUR KIDS

Kids can be super annoying and sometimes all we can do is laugh at how insane our baby is acting, or how silly our toddler’s tantrum is. Making fun of our kids brings us closer together and pulls our heads out of the frustration of parenthood. To be clear, we don’t do it in front of them; trying not to damage their self esteem haha.

WE TAKE TIME APART

Scheduling time with friends is super important in keeping our relationship strong. Time away with just the girls can be so rejuvenating and I’m sure guys feel the same way.

WE TELL EACH OTHER OUR NEEDS

Your needs can be absolutely anything; whether you or your partner need more physical intimacy, more verbal intimacy or something simple like needing occasional flowers, a chore done, help with the kids, encouraging words, more hugs, time away from the kids – whatever it is. In my less mature years, I used to think “he should know I need this” or “I wish I didn’t have to tell him to do xyz.” Through experience, I’ve learned that is a stupid way to think, so now I just tell Ryan when I feel like I have a need that isn’t being met. Your needs matter and it’s your spouse’s job to meet them as much as possible; but it’s your job to meet his/hers to the best of your ability also.

WE ARE AWARE OF EACH OTHER’S LOVE LANGUAGE

Take this quiz and find out, share the results with your spouse, show your love accordingly.