On Yellow Paint

In March 2006, my mom came over and painted an entire little room yellow in preparation for my first baby.

We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl so the room was yellow and I spent many an afternoon wandering through Pottery Barn dreaming up just how I wanted it to look before I settled on gingham and alphabet and my mom wanted to help. So she painted and she painted and she painted, just the perfect shade of yellow, cheery and friendly and light.

For the better part of the last 9 years we’ve rotated the alphabet and gingham decor, adding in little touches here and there {like owls and Dora a few years back for Miss E}.

Miss F is our last baby and we knew when J touched up the paint two years ago that this would likely be the last run for the green gingham bumper and the alphabet crib skirt and valance. We’ve slowly moved through baby item by baby item, donating and tossing and handing down to others and now what used to be our baby room is turning into our little girls’ shared room.

While we are in NO HURRY to get Miss F out of the crib {because been there, done that and we like the confinement and easy bedtime routine the four walls of a crib provide} we’ve slowly been switching the room from baby to little girl.

But.

We can’t paint the walls.

They’ve been touched up in preparation of each new babe since H and once again this past week when I, umm, added some extra holes while trying my hand at hanging some letters. But the walls are my moms. The gift she was able to give each one of my babes even though she didn’t meet them here on earth.

So as we furniture shopped and then bedding shopped and finally decided on wall decor I had one thing in mind- it has to go with the yellow walls.

While this eliminates many, many options, we found new furniture within a weekend’s time and after a few hours deliberating at Pottery Barn Kids, bedding was found too. The hard part was upon us- there’s no room theme, no character to compliment the walls.

And then one night shortly after the end of the season for Parenthood, the lyrics of the theme song struck me and I hired my friend Jenny at Three Letter Birds to put together these beautiful pieces. {And because she is amazing, she not only DID it, she tolerated my texts back in forth questioning colors just a time or three.}

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I couldn’t be happier.

Tonight I hung those beauties on the wall, with the help of Miss M, who recited to me, in the words of Momastery, as I poked hole upon hole “You can do hard things.” {J was at a late meeting and patience is not a gift I have been bestowed…}

The room may not be the baby room it became back 9 years ago now but it will forever breathe the memory of my mom in those yellow walls and now the affirming, beautiful words of Bob Dylan, too.

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On Affirmation

To J. S.

When I was in junior high and high school, at various camps and church events and retreats, we did what was called affirmations.

Most of the time this was written down. Your name on a card passed around the room for everyone to write something positive about you.

Mine always listed things about happiness and joy, a megawatt smile and humor.

I loved these cards. I treasured these cards. As a teenage girl there was something so special about having it in writing these qualities that others admired and affirmed about me. They boosted my confidence and reminded me when I needed that reminder of just who I was.

When was the last time you shared with someone just what it is you love about them? Affirming them and building them up? Or when was the last time someone affirmed you?

This past week I met an old friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen her since H was little enough to be in a carrier so 8, maybe 9 years or so now. We’ve kept in touch on Facebook, she has the gift of encouragement and love. So full of love.

Strangely enough we met at my first post college job downtown. It wasn’t a good fit for me. I’m a creative and a people girl and the ho-hum all business all day life was not for me. And so in June 2005, I turned in my badge, gave up my healthy salary and benefits, the travel, the business cards and the professional life and came home.

“You weren’t made for that world,” she tells me in between bites of lunch and we both know she’s right. Later with tears at the brim of both of our eyelids she tells me face to face how sad she is my mom is gone.

People don’t talk about this. People skip over this. People are afraid to say and ask and do because we’re all afraid of what lies beneath the surface so to me, it is truly a gift to have someone scoop right below the surface and say it. And mean it. With love.

We talked about her job and her grown up daughters and we talked about what I’m doing now, a much better fit, and my littles and my bigs, who were littles when we last got together. And she filled my cup, my soul with affirming words.

Like honey she reminded me that I am a good mom, even on the day I rush out the door downtown and end up late at after school pick up. She reminded me that I listen to my kids about school and sports and let them grow into who they were made to be. She reminded me that I am living the life I imagined and not taking a moment for granted.

She reminded me of the gift I’ve been given. Not once ever in the last 10 years that I’ve been mostly home with my kids has J ever squashed my ideas or my desires. “He let you grow,” she said.

And I pictured myself as this little seed with a sack of education and a whole bunch of what I thought I’d do’s that turned me into who I am today.

I left lunch feeling so satisfied.

Affirming words mean something, friends. Whatever you do, do not use them sparingly. Affirm someone today. Tell them they are a good mom or that they are really great at their job or that they do such a nice job with running this or that or the other thing. Use your words for good.

You have no idea the impact your words may have.

On Quiet.

Hello?

Is this thing on?

The blog’s been rather quiet these last few weeks. It’s crossed my mind a few times and I’ve dreamt of words I’d like to throw into this space but the clock ticks on and I climb into bed only to awake hours later already reeling.

It’s the middle of January end of February already and I’m still not used to writing 2015 and the days are going by too quickly. Talking about resolutions and words seems so two weeks ago.

Yet.

I can’t ignore it.

It’s common round the internet world to choose a word to focus on for the year and I’ve done well with this and poorly with this in the past. My word is not flashy or trendy or hip. It will likely not inspire others or create some internet movement.

But that’s quite alright with me because my word for 2015 is Quiet.

Quiet.

As in the sound of my house on nights like tonight when the littles are asleep and J and I tap on the keys of our laptops for a bit. Finishing up emails and lists and trying to coordinate our schedules.

Quiet.

As in the sound when I sit and rock Miss F. Her head on my chest, blanket wrapped tight and her hand reaching for mine and placing it on her sweet, soft face.

Quiet.

As in those moments when the world is loud about terror and race and politics and religion and there are so many swirling opinions and ideas and we all just want to be heard but we stop. It’s ok to be passionate but sometimes it’s also ok to be quiet. I need work on this, friends.

I’m not naturally quiet, I’m naturally loud and obnoxious and opinionated and did I say loud? Quiet is hard for me but quiet is important because it is in the quiet I realize and remember what matters most.

In the quiet of the evening, I am filled with gratitude for my family, my home, my life. When it is loud and bustling and my kids are moving in every, which direction and I can’t even hear myself think, gratitude isn’t quite the first word that comes to mind.

In the quiet of the bedroom when I am rocking Miss F, my heart bursts with love. I am astonished at her growing body, her voice as she sings a song or makes simple demands of me. In the quiet of the car ride to school, I can hear Miss E’s stories and see her, truly see her. And just tonight with the winds outside howling, I could sit smooshed with my 8 year old sports lover just listening to the cracks and the howls and the wind.

When I am quiet, I have time to decide what I want to say yes to and what I want to say no to because I’m learning that when I say yes to something in my life, I’m saying no to something else. Every yes equals a no somewhere else.

And perhaps that’s why the word quiet has stuck out to me the most as we transition into a new year. I need quiet as I sort it all out.

For ten years I have spent many an evening sitting pouring words into this blog. Writing sponsored posts and sharing recipes, uploading photos and sharing adventures. I’ve often wondered will there be a day when I awake and say, “the jig is up” and move along or will it be a gradual slide?

I’m still not sure.

So this is what I’m sure of. I don’t want to write in this space out of obligation so I’m being choosy with requests for time and space right here. I don’t want to write just to write because it’s been three days or three weeks because the world is noisy enough without another voice just chattering to chatter.

I’m practicing quiet because quiet helps me decide what matters most.

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Vaccinations and MSNBC.

Last week I wrote a little bit about how I feel about vaccinations especially in light of the fact that there is now a confirmed case of Measles in Minnesota. The post over on Star Tribune took off, the comments ON BOTH SIDES, went a little crazy and then MSNBC called me.

So Wednesday morning, I’m headed downtown to do an interview via satellite with Tamron Hall on News Nation. The interview will be filmed LIVE. EEK! I’ll be talking as a mom about why I vaccinate my kids and why I think it’s important.

I’m excited and nervous and excited and nervous.

I made a last minute hair appointment tonight and spent the last hour or so figuring out what I’m going to wear because priorities. {Though I still don’t really know.} I guess we’ll see what the morning has in store.

You can check out my interview at 10 a.m. CST on MSNBC and once it’s online I’ll share the link too! In the meantime, you can follow my morning along on Twitter and Instagram. I’m @samarapostuma both places.

We made the decision to vaccinate and this was not a decision taken lightly yet, it was the best decision for us.

And while that gives me some peace of mind, knowing my kids have been protected against this disease, I also can’t help but wonder how this epidemic will continue to spread.

I respect other parenting decisons and values, I try to be open minded in my opinions but this is one that I just struggle to understand. In the year 2015 when we have so many medical resources and so much knowledge and have rid our society of so many terrible diseases, why would one choose NOT to do it?

I get that a vaccine isn’t a guarantee of health. I get that there are some risks associated with vaccines.

But.

The benefits of being vaccinated way outweigh any second guesses I could have. Knowing my child can travel without fear of contracting a once deadly disease, knowing that they are not only keeping themselves healthy but those kids who CAN’T be vaccinated. Because there are families who wish and pray and hope their child can be vaccinated but due to health reasons, CAN’T. Knowing that my child will likely not have measles or mumps or rubella.  - excerpt from Star Tribune

Mommy, I Need You.

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In the after dinner bustle of cleaning up the kitchen and getting homework done and backpacks checked and baths and lunches and just all that school night chaos, Miss F grabbed my legs and said, “Mommy, I need you!” 

Clear as a bell.

“Mommy, I need you.”

“You need me?” I asked surprised. My only little to call me Mommy, H and E always said Mama and her request was so direct. She didn’t just want me, she needed me.

“Yeah!” she said so I scooped her up, blankets and all and sat content for awhile.

It struck me in the days that followed how we somehow, someway grow out of this stage.

We start our life demanding what we need, asking for what we want and as we grow we sometimes let what we need and want die down inside.

Some of us use passive aggressiveness to get what we need, others anger and manipulation. Still others expect mind reading.

You should know what I need. You should know what I want.

Still others of us don’t speak up for fear of disproval or shame. I don’t want to be needy, I don’t want to be annoying. I don’t want to appear as though I can’t do it all. Yet inside the resentment is growing so fast it almost overwhelms us.

How much easier would life be if when we talked with our spouse we said, I really need you to drop the kids off at school or I need you to make the grocery list or simply I need help.

Would it help at your job if you asked for what you needed?

What a difference it would make it we used this with our kids. “I need you to be ready for school every day when the clock says 6:55,” I said to H earlier tonight.

“But the bus doesn’t come until 7:02,” he said {clearly him and his timeliness take after his mother.}

“I know but I think that both you AND I will feel better about the day if you are totally ready a few minutes before you have to run outside so I NEED you to be ready by 6:55.”

It feels good to be needed, it feels good to be wanted but it also feels good to say what we need. Even as adults.

What do you need today that you haven’t asked for yet?

 

Ice Castles in Eden Prairie {Giveaway!!}

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I was kind of skeptical of the whole ice castle thing having never gone before but with weather in the 30′s this past weekend I thought it’d be such a simple, fun thing to do. Plus I had heard rumors there might be some Frozen infused fun happening.
We made the jaunt to the Eden Prairie Ice Castles on Sunday night. There was a huge line of cars to get into Miller Park and I admit, I was a little leery of what we might be walking into.
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We were walking into a beautiful, winter wonderland. It was gorgeous, truly.
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The warm winter night coupled with the lights and the sculptures made it the perfect winter activity.
We brought all of the kids {minus T who was doing his very last behind the wheel! EEK!} and they all loved it.
Miss F LOVED that Olaf was there and hated that we carried her. She totally wanted to walk but with the combination of so many people and the ice/slush/snow it was way too hard for her to walk.
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M and H and E loved the tunnels and the water fountain and all of the intricate details.
There was even a slide.
The Ice Castles in Eden Prairie are open through the end of February. {Maybe longer if weather permits but let’s hope not!}
I’ve got FOUR passes to give away. You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway RIGHT here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored giveaway. Ice Castles invited my family to visit and is giving the tickets away.

My Fourth Stitch Fix.

My 4th Stitch Fix arrived over the weekend and I couldn’t wait to rip open the box. As you know I really enjoyed my first and second boxes but my third one majorly missed the mark. I had high hopes that with some more notes and direction in my profile this one would be a winner.

It was!

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Here’s what I got:

41 Hawthorn Maxx Sleeveless Illusion Sheath Dress. $78

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I almost didn’t try this on because I HATE the green color. I did and I LOVED it. Except I can’t get past the ugly green color. If this were black or navy or anything aside from this ugly green I think I’d love it and keep it but because I don’t foresee myself getting over the green, I’m not.

RETURN

41 Hawthorn Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse $58

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I own two other shirts by this brand that I’ve bought through Stitch Fix so this was right on. I knew before I even slipped it on that I’d love it. I do. Perfect shirt for date night or a day at the office, easy to transition to fall/winter with a cardigan and then summer without.

KEEP

Daniel Rainn Rob Henley Blouse $68

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I do like this one, a lot but I felt like for a black dress top I couldn’t really justify the nearly $70 price tag.

RETURN

Fun2Fun Ramsey Horse Print Blouse $44

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Super fun, super easy dress up or dress down top. My only thing is I felt like it’s too similar to the houndstooth shirt I purchased via Stitch Fix awhile ago with the black and white. I like it but not enough to keep.

RETURN

Renee C Malcolm Dolman Sleeve Slub Knit Shirt $48

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I’m on the fence on this one {so help me decide!} I like that it’s casual, I don’t have anything with Dolman sleeves in my wardrobe and the color is right one for me.

UNDECIDED

All in all, this fix was a good one. The clothes were more me than the last one and I definitely have options.
My First Stitch Fix
My Second Stitch Fix
My Third Stitch Fix

Have you tried Stitch Fix out yet? What have you liked or not liked? If you haven’t signed up yet what are you waiting for?

For a $20 styling fee, you fill out a questionnaire and all of your likes/dislikes when it comes to clothing, style, price points etc and a stylist puts together five pieces they think you might like. Hate it all? The only cost is the style fee. Love it?  Your $20 style fee goes towards your purchase and if you buy all five items you receive a 25% discount.

If you sign up and use my link I receive referral credit {it costs you nothing more or less by using my link, I’m just disclosing that I will receive credit}.

Paddington

From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

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Paddington comes out on January 16 and I was excited to learn that it’s actually a faith based movie with lots of messages on the importance of serving and loving others.

Miss E and I are super excited to go see this on Saturday morning! Have you seen the trailer?

 

Four Reasons to Go See The New Annie Movie!

Miss E and I went to see the prescreening of the new Annie Movie last weekend and here’s four reasons we think you should go see it now that’s it open in theaters too:Annie

1. You’ll get those Frozen songs OUT OF YOUR HEAD and replace them with a new-old soundtrack. We weren’t out of the theater before I was downloading the new soundtrack and it’s been on repeat since. It includes all your old favorites- Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow, Maybe. Doesn’t it just make you want to sing?

2. Good, clean fun for families with kids ages 5 and up.

Everyone knows the story of Annie and while this one is a modern day spin on the classic movie, it’s still relatively good, clean fun. That said, they do allude to some addiction issues with Miss Hannigan. Most of that will go over kids’ heads. There’s no swearing, no violence and no sex. Just a kiss is exchanged at the end of the movie.

Of course, there’s some peril and some scary moments for Annie when she almost gets hit by a car at one point and when she is taken by her parents. This might be a little scary for littler ones.

3. You’ll be able to introduce your kids to an old favorite movie. What fun to be able to show them the original Annie and then take them to the new one. What do they love about the old one? What do they love about the new one? There is lots to discuss even if you only take your kids to the new one thanks to this discussion guide from Sony:

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4. Great, great cast. Quevenzhane Wallis as Annie, Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks. I fell in love with all three characters and always love seeing actors singing.

Miss E and I LOVED it and might go again with the rest of the family over break. We think you’ll like it too! Go see it and tell us what you think! Opens nationwide TODAY!

Citrus Lane #2 {Great Last Minute/Long Lasting Gift Idea!}

So you probably remember back in October when I tried out Citrus Lane . I wasn’t super impressed but promised I would try it once more and just “see” if it got better.

I actually totally forgot about it until I got an email that my checking account was charged the subscription fee and a box was on it’s way. I’ll admit I groaned at the idea that I just spent money on something I wasn’t sure I needed/wanted/liked.

But.

This month’s box was awesome {and actually we’ll be wrapping most of it up for Miss F for Christmas.}
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So without further ado, here’s Citrus Lane #2:

Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal {She’s one of my favorite children’s book authors and did I ever tell you that I used to babysit her kids in Chicago?}
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Hape Stacking Toy {Not sure if you’re familiar with Hape brand toys but they are from Europe and super high quality, we don’t really have anything like this right now so it’s perfect.}
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Green Toys Stock Pot and Ladel
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Love Child Organic Pouches
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Overall I was really pleased with this month’s box. It was all things that I felt were worthwhile and like I said, I’m saving a few of the items to wrap up for Christmas. So I guess they won me over.

While I still don’t foresee subscribing each month I think it’s a great gift idea or even an occasional fun surprise.

Do you have a niece, nephew, Godchild or even a friend that you need a gift for? I’m thinking a Citrus Lane subscription, even if it’s just one time or three times or bi monthly or whatever works best for your budget would be a great gift.

Right now you can sign up with my link and get 50% off your first box.