When I was 7 years old, an author visited my elementary school. I can’t remember the author’s name, as I don’t remember a lot of small details about elementary school, but I remember her words. If I close my eyes and think hard enough, I can still hear her.

I remember sitting in our elementary school library, a far cry from what a library looks like today. This one had small shelves, painted fictional characters on the cinderblock walls, and the smell of old, well-loved library books. I remember sitting, criss-cross, on a small round rug with this author propped on a stool in front of our small class of 2nd graders. She read us one of her books and then asked for questions.

As a typical 2nd grade class does, the questions started out with “What’s your favorite color?” “Do you have a pet?” Most questions didn’t have a lot of depth, until our teacher asked a question that garnered an answer I will never forget. “What is your best advice to someone who wants to be an author?” The teacher asked.

I remember thinking to myself, yes! Great question…I would love to be an author one day. The nice lady propped on the stool smiled, exhaled and said very confidently: “Write. Every. Single. Day.” Her words were short and formed their own sentences. She continued, “If you want to be an author, go home, buy a journal or grab a stack of paper and a pencil and just start writing. Write every single day until your words become a book.”

I rushed home that very day and gushed about all of the details of this author’s visit to my mom, and begged for a journal. I received one, a pink ballerina journal for my 8th birthday and my first entry was penned on January 19, 1991.

It was a simple post that read: Today is my birthday. I turned 8 years old. By. 

It was the start to my childhood dream that’s spanned three decades. I took that author’s words to heart and wrote every single day for the next 27 years. There is an old cedar hope chest in my basement full of journals. My dream has never faded. I still hope to one day be a successful published author, one that people (beyond my parents and husband) buy my book and, feel emotional over and genuinely enjoy reading.

So, here I am, tapping away on my laptop instead of a journal on my lap. I’m stringing words, my words, together to form sentences. I write to you every single week about the ups and downs of my life. I spill my guts on this blog, and I rarely leave any room for mystery. I am pretty much an open book, but I have yet to start one of my own.

Let’s eliminate the excuses, shall we? I’m not scared. I know that. If I write something and it takes me a year or more to complete and not one person reads it I will be disappointed but I will not have failed. I’m not too busy. Sure, I am, but you make time. We all make time for the important things. I have my idea. FINALLY. I know what I want to write about.

That leaves me with one option, I just need to S T A R T.

Here’s an acronym I came up with to help me stay focused on my dream. If you find it useful, please feel free to share!

D – Develop A Plan *make a plan of how you will get from point A to B and so forth until your dream is fulfilled. 

R – Risks Are Worth It *if the risks weren’t worth it, the dream wouldn’t be worthy of your time. 

E – Eliminate Fear *you only have one life to live, and it goes by quickly. Do not be afraid of failure, be afraid not to try. 

A – Accountability *speak your goals into existence and ask your family and closest friends to hold you accountable. 

M – Make Goals *set weekly goals. Adjust those goals as necessary, but stay on track. 

S – START TODAY *no more excuses, there is no better time than the present!

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Deep thoughts.

 

 

Luke,

As much as I wanted to address this letter as “Lukey” or “My Dearest Luke”, I chose not to because you are 5-years old now, and are no longer my little tiny baby. Tomorrow you will start a new chapter and embark in one of the most exciting adventures of your life.

School.

Your clothes are laid out, you said your prayers and I soon will tuck you in the night before your first day of kindergarten at the same school your mommy went to when she was 5 years old.

Luke, school is so much fun! You will learn new things. You will experience new adventures. You will see new sights. You will meet new people. You will make friends. Some of the friends you make tomorrow could be the same friends you walk the stage in cap and gown 13 years from now. Some of the children you will meet will be funny. Some of them kind. Some of them unbelievably smart. Some of them shy. Some will look nothing like you. Some may look similar to you. Some of the children could be cold. Some of them could be mean. Luke, it’s important you know not everyone you meet tomorrow will be perfect. But that doesn’t define you.

My hope for you on the night before your first day of school is that you be true to yourself. You are sensitive. You are selfless. You are kind. You are funny. You are witty. You are smart. You are athletic. You have an immense love for your family. I can only hope when I write to you 13 years from today, I can still recite these exact same qualities no matter the storm that awaits you.

Luke, there will be other children who you instantly connect with. They will be your closest friends. There will also be children who may be standoffish, shy, or say cruel things. Luke, please love them. Treat them the same way you treat your new friends. Treat them how you treat your sister and brother. Treat them how you want to be treated. You don’t know what kind of home they live in. You don’t know what kind of things they’ve seen or experienced in their young lives. Be nice to them. Smile. Lend a helping hand. If they do not accept you as you are, give them space…but always be there for them when they are ready for your friendship.

Luke, there will be challenges you can’t even comprehend. I know these things are hard to explain to a 5-year old, but you will hear conversations and you will see things that are brand new to you. Some things will be wonderful, some things will not. Always trust your mommy and daddy. Always tell the truth. Always be unafraid to tell us the good, the bad and the confusing. We love you, no matter what.

We are so proud of you. I promise, I will not cry (too much) on your first day of school. I am way too excited for real tears! Only tears of joy for you.

Luke, I loved school so much. I experienced many wonderful things in school. I also experienced many hardships in school. I never let the hardships define me. I always reminded myself what didn’t kill me, makes me stronger. I used the bad to my advantage. When times got tough, I told myself tomorrow is another day. I hope you will do the same.

We love you so much. I can’t even begin to type the words to fully encompass our love for you. You will do great. You will excel. You will move mountains. You will go places you never dreamed of. You will be true to yourself. You will always be our son.

We love you!

Class of 2031 xx

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Kindergarten here we come!

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Class of 2031!

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Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TrustinGentle #ChooseGentle #CollectiveBias

When you enter motherhood for the very first time, you are whisked away into unfamiliar territory. I faced fears that I didn’t even know were possible. I doubted my ability to be a mom…what if I’m incapable of keeping a small human alive?! Something I stressed about with the arrival of my first child was being properly armed with all of the necessary items for our survival.

A very wise nurse at L&D told me the only things my baby needed were food, a safe place to sleep, and a clean environment. SO. TRUE. I’ve actually used that bit of advice as more children entered our lives and expanded the limbs of our family tree.

One brand I have loved and trusted since I started my motherhood journey is JOHNSON’S®. I remember my mother using the distinctive sweet-smelling JOHNSON’S® head-to-toe baby wash and shampoo with me, the aroma still takes me back to safe place in my childhood. JOHNSON’S® was a brand I grew up loving and trusting, so it was only natural I embarked in a similar relationship when our first came home from the hospital.

For 5 years now, JOHNSON’S® has been a staple product in our home. The soft yellow bottle of JOHNSON’S® head-to-toe wash and shampoo has a permanent place on the side of our family’s bath tubs. I am a firm believer in the 3-step night-time routine using JOHNSON’S® bedtime lotion. It’s the only routine proven to help improve baby’s sleep!

  1. Warm Bath
  2. Gentle Massage
  3. Quiet Time

The awesome thing about JOHNSON’S® products, my older children know exactly where to find the line when we walk into our local Walgreens.

I admit, there are times I have forgotten to pick up baby lotion or shampoo until the final hour. Ugh, mom brain. We are so lucky to have a 24-hour Walgreens so close to our home. It’s a store we frequent, because of convenience but even more so, because of the customer care.

I can’t even tell you how many times I have visited our Walgreens pharmacy and asked (what I consider) silly questions. The customer service from the patient cashiers to the knowledgable pharmacists is unlike any other retailer. It’s no wonder why Walgreens and JOHNSON’S® are both brands we love and trust, especially for this busy mom of three who is always forgetting something and rushing to the store for help.

A recent stroll down the baby care aisle at Walgreens revealed something that really caught my eye! JOHNSON’S® has launched a *NEW and improved* baby product line. I couldn’t help myself, and snatched up almost every item on the shelf, including the reformulated JOHNSON’S® soothing vapor bath, JOHNSON’S® bedtime lotion, JOHNSON’S®head-to-toe wash & shampoo, and JOHNSON’S® no more tangles spray.

The new & improved product line has so many positives…way too many to mention them all, but here are some ones that really hit home for me. Did you know baby’s skin is 30% thinner than an adults? So it needs the best gentle care possible.

  • JOHNSON’S® is 100% gentle (great for our youngest baby’s sensitive skin), it’s free of parabens and phthalates.
  • There are 50% fewer ingredients in the new and improved line of skin care. Johnson’s uses only purposeful ingredients. The products are dye free, and sulfate free. YAY!
  • Enhanced functionality of adding the pump top to the bottles to make it easier for mom to utilize when she has her hands full. *this is a BIG one for me, oftentimes I have my 5 or 4-year-old help out with the baby when my hands are full!

I’ve been a mom now for 5, going on 6 years, and while I may not be an expert in all things parenting I do know the brands that I love and trust. JOHNSON’S® and Walgreens top the list for me!

Have you tried the NEW & improved line of JOHNSON’S® baby products? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

BONUS! From 7/29- 8/25 JOHNSON’S® Baby products are buy 1 get 1 50% off with your Walgreens balance rewards card! Here is the link to this incredible offer: http://cbi.as/a27dm

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Bath time is our youngest baby’s favorite time.

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JOHNSON’S® products are 100% gentle.

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“The Brand You Trust, Now More Gentle Than Ever”

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New & improved JOHNSON’S® Baby line at our local 24-hour Walgreens.

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I couldn’t stop with one!

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Super happy when his sister joins him in the tub.

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JOHNSON’S® and Walgreens are brands we love and trust.

I always loved Back to School shopping as a child. I remember getting my school supply list in the mail. You know, pre-Internet days?! I would rush inside and ask my mom when we could go shopping. There was just always something so fresh about a new box of number 2 pencils and a brand new Trapper Keeper. Yes, I’m a child of the 80s.

My oldest son goes to Kindergarten this year! WOW. Time does fly. Sure, I have mixed emotions about all of it…. but that’s another blog for another day.

Today, we are focusing on school shopping. For clothes this year, we did the majority of our shopping at H&M and Zara. Y’all… they have some ADORABLE ITEMS! I’m always a sucker for clothing stores that offer the same clothes for Adam and Luke. Matching them has been something I never thought I’d love as much as I do. ha.

I’m linking some of my favorites here.

For Luke.  (also, on sale now!)

For Eden.

For Adam. (kidding).

We then moved on to Nordstrom, where I tend to purchase a lot of their shoes. I’m just in love with their selection and variety of choices for all three of my kids. We purchased Puma’s for Eden. Linking them here. We also picked up some gorgeous Freshly Picked sandals for Eden & Adam, here!

Lastly, we hopped over to Target to fill Luke’s new school bag. He’s opting to use his Junior Rattlers Golf League bag for the school year. What can I say? The kid loves golf!

Most of the items on his back to school list were pretty straight forward, like markers and colored pencils. I’m linking some of the other items on his list here:

Index Tabs

Erasers

Crayons

The selection at the two different Target stores we went to was pretty picked over, as the majority of the children in our area have already started school…but I am a loyal Target shopper and was easily able to cross every item off his list.

Next week, Luke will embark on a new adventure and thanks to some of our most favorite brands… he is armed with the necessary tools to make his first year of school a great success!

*This post does contain some affiliate links. All opinions are my own.*

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Super proud to do his back to school shopping.

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Contemplating colors.

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Pic is a little blurry, but sis with the eye roll.

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Gotta get that glue.

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Back to school outfits from H&M.

We have been soaking up every ounce of summer this season. Our afternoons have been spent at the swimming pool, and watching the kids gain more and more confidence in the water with each passing week has been exciting and entertaining all at the same time.

All the credit goes back to Goldfish Swim School. You all, I can’t rave enough about the swim instructors there. On any given afternoon, the pool is littered with orange shirted swim instructors. There are always several life guard swim instructors walking around the pool monitoring the lanes, as well. Many times, if Luke or Eden has a large class — they will move to another lane and have a private lesson, which is AWESOME! We recently rain into one of Eden’s instructors at Target and she was so excited to see her! Eden isn’t the type to run up and hug someone, but she ran to her swim instructor with open arms…which is just a testament to the kind of people they employ.

Goldfish Swim School is opening a new Lewis Center location this fall. We will probably still go to Westerville, due to proximity…but I am super excited to see the newest facility. They are now enrolling students and now hiring.

For more information, check out the link here!

https://www.goldfishswimschool.com/lewis-center/

*This post is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School, all opinions are my own.*

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