100th Post!

 HebrewDawn: 100th Post! I cannot believe that this marks our 100th post here on HebrewDawn! If you have been a reader of the blog from the beginning, thank you! If you’re new to HebrewDawn, welcome, and thank you for being a reader too! It has been a learning process of what to share, we have brought on another writer, and things have continued to grow with bringing on guest writers. The growth of HebrewDawn has been a continual learning process, and thank you for being by our side to our 100th post!

It’s time to share some favorites for this week!
  
Were you a fan of the Babysitter’s Club growing up? I definitely was, and dreamed of the day I could be a successful entrepreneur thanks to them. I’m still working on that last part, but I did make my fair share of babysitting money for YEARS. I love that Siobhan Gallagher has depicted our favorite ladies of childhood as adults. Who’s your favorite?    

I’m so glad I’m not in school anymore! Remember the days of having to memorize the periodic table of elements? Hopefully that question doesn’t cause any flashback trauma! Well, it turns out there’s a new potential element. If approved it will be called Tennessine!                                                                                                                                                                 

I keep hearing about these thinx panties, and I’m so intrigued! Have you tried them? Would you try them?

These engagement photos might be the best I’ve seen yet! Would you be willing to do something like this? They seem a little more environmentally friendly too if you can reuse them.

Have anything fun planned for your day? I’m off to spend a day with my little girl seeing a hot air balloon and some friends for the day. I hope your day is filled with laughter and fun! Go be awesome!

Favorites This Week: May 27th

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Happy Friday! How has your week been going? I’m hoping for lots of fun and relaxation with family, but we’ll see if my two year old is on board with that. Wednesday night was an adventure in our house, so hopefully we won’t have a repeat. Have any tips for potty training at night? Enough about me, let’s get on to some of discoveries that have become favorites this week… 

Enough talking about my week, but on to the regularly scheduled Friday favorites…

 HebrewDawn:  

Do you have those songs that you love, but aren’t completely sure of all the lyrics? Oh, of course you do! We all have that song, or two, or ten that we stumble through parts of the lyrics. Now thanks to James Cordone we now know some of the tough lyrics from Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape!” Thank you so much James Cordone for looking out for us all and getting to the bottom of this lyric question!

I’ve been a longtime Florence + the Machine fan, and would see her in concert almost any chance I could get. Then I learned of a teen girl with a life threatening condition had tickets to see Flo, but couldn’t go see her favorite perform, my heart was broken.  Then the amazing team at Christopher House and Hospice Austin made it possible for Florence Welch and guitarist (Rob Ackroyd) to provide a private concert. Seein Florence on the big stage may have been the dream, but having her sit next to you and sing, is pretty remarkable too. 

Have you heard of Primary yet? I recently stumbled upon their line of children’s clothes, and I’m in love! They’re all so classic and simple! I dare say they’ll be a go to for gifts and future clothing purchases for my little girl. FYI, this share is NOT sponsored, but I’d totally be a brand rep if they’d like to hook a blogger up 😉

I hope you have a beautiful weekend, that you take a moment to remember those that we have lost in the service of our country, and you’re able to make the most of this long weeken!

Going to Work When Your Kids are Sick

HebrewDawn: Going to Work When Your Kids are Sick

As a parent there are many tough moments mixed into all the beautiful ones. Many of us have experience those difficult ones; like the first time they cry from getting shots, the first time they get seriously injured, and the first time they get sick. But I believe what makes that last moment even more challenging is going to work when your kids are sick.
I keep waiting for the moment that it’s easier to walk out the door leaving my daughter in the care of someone else who loves her while I go to work. To date, that moment never gets easier, and I even dread the moment when it comes. When my little girl is feeling ill, there’s nothing more that I want than for her to feel better. If I can’t make her feel better, then I can snuggle with her until she does.

HebrewDawn: Going to Work When Your Kids are Sick
VHP sleeping off her fever

 

Unfortunately for me, today is another one of those days that I have to go to work while my little girl is sick. Fortunately my husband has sick AND vacation time through his employer, whereas I only have PTO (paid time off) to be used for both sick and vacation time. Since my husband has more time off, this means he usually stay home with a sick kiddo, and for that I am thankful.

On a day like today, I am most thankful that my daughter is left in the care of her daddy who loves her enormously, is chef extraordinaire, and is one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. I know that without a doubt that my little girl will get nursed back to health with all the cuddles and care she requires.

I know that on a day like today, that not everyone is so fortunate to leave their child in the hands of their spouse, significant other, or another trusted family member. And for this my heart breaks. I can remember the days of my own mother being a single mom, and our neighbors who were single parents as well. They were were stuck with the choice of between going to work to be able to put food on the table and being there with their sick child.

Leaving your child in the care of someone other than yourself and balancing out the responsibilities of work and parenting is never easy. I’m certain leaving for work when your child is sick is not the hardest thing in parenting, but it most certainly can feel like it in the moment. For each person the struggle is different in varying degrees, but it’s a struggle none the less.

I hope the next time we have to wrestle with this situation, we will remember that we are not alone in the guilt and worry. I encourage you to let those that care about you know that you’re having a tough day being apart from your sick child. Most of all, I hope for a day when we don’t have to be stuck choosing between being with our sick child and going to work.

 

 

Favorites This Week: May 20th

HebrewDawn: Friday Favorites - May 20, 2016
Happy Friday! How has your week been going?

This week has been a full but good one for me.

Tuesday we volunteered at our church’s food pantry, and it was neat to watch my daughter volunteering as well. She has tagged along with her dad and I since she was itsy bitsy and bein worn in the ergo for the duration of our time there. Her role seems to be that of welcomer of other children. This week she noticed a child waiting with their dad, and she HAD to go say hi and give them a high five. It warm’s my heart to know she has this heart to welcome other kids during our time to serve others.

Wednesday kept the week rocking and rolling as I went bridesmaid dress shopping. I’m so blessed to have a friend that has a beautiful wedding color and good taste in bridesmaid fashion. Unlike some bridesmaid dress shopping trips that can be a shot to the ego less than flattering dress, this experience was filled with many cute dresses. Now begins the process of choosing.

Thursday was the end of this season of Grey’s Anatomy, but it ended better than I could have hoped. For the record, I have no plans of spoiling the episode or giving anything away if you haven’t watched it. So if you’ve watched Grey’s for multiple seasons you know how it ends with taking a hit to your heart and mind. This might be the first finale where I don’t feel like I’ve been hit by the emotions truck when it was over.HebrewDawn: Meredith Grey quote

Enough talking about my week, but on to the regularly scheduled Friday favorites…

I loved Emily Henderson’s tips on how to style a bed like a pro. Do you have a strong eye for design or do you need help from a professional? I’m definitely the later, and thankful for girlfriends who have the eye.

Have you been sucked into the LulaRoe craze? I had fought it for so long, but resistance was futile. I had a co-worker had these amazing pineapple pants for sale, and I’m sucker for pineapples and black. Once I tried them on, there was no taking them off, well except for the fact I was in the work bathroom. Also, it turns out that my work wouldn’t find pineapple leggings as acceptable in our workplace (I’m thinking I need to convince them otherwise 😉 ). So off came the most leggings for the remainder of the work day, but right back on when I got home. So my advice on LuLaRoe is just give in and try it on, and start looking for your unicorn. You won’t regret it!

 

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Have a beautiful weekend and make the most of your day!

more LOVE

HebrewDawn: more LOVE
There have been a lot  of things posted on social media on a variety of topics that are really causing my heart to break. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also seen many things shared that warm my heart as well. But what am I gathering from this range of posts is that we need… more love.

More often than not we feel this deep need to be right and make our point known to all. Whether we are pro-life, for gun control, planning to vote for Trum, pro-choice, hoping Bernie Sanders makes it on the ballot for November, against gun control, our hope that Hillary Clinton is our first female president, we all have a common need. We all need to know and be loved. It doesn’t matter how right or wrong we may be on a given topic, but it does matter how much love and kindness we show to the people we encounter.

When I think about all of this, I keep hearing the words “love one another as I have loved you.” It’s so simple, yet so necessary. Far too many people are going through challenges unknown to those around them, and the last thing they need in their darkest moments are words of hate, judgement or condemnation. Whether or not you are a Christian, I think we can get behind Jesus’ call to love one another. Deep within my bones, I believe it’s far better to step away from the keyboard, phone, and off our soapbox than to continue proving someone else wrong.

Would you rather be remembered for being right or for being filled with love?

HebrewDawn: This is my commandment that you love one another. John 15:12

“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” – John 15:11-17 (NRSV)

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I’ve Been So Busy: Stopping the Glorification of Busy

How are you?

I’m great! How are you?

I’ve been so busy…

HebrewDawn: I've Been So Busy - Stopping the Glorification of Busy

Sound familiar to any interactions you have had with anyone lately? I know it’s a conversation I’ve had quite frequently with co-workers and friends in recent weeks. At times I’m not so sure they’ve really been that busy, but feel like it’s what they believe they’re supposed to say. More often than not it seems like we’re competing to see who has been the busiest.  This competition of busy is really just a glorification of busy. And it HAS TO STOP.

Rather than focus on being busy, let’s focus on a life that’s well lived. We only get one shot at this thing called life, so let’s not waste it on being busier than the person next to us. This past weekend I’d say that my weekend was incredibly full. Some may say that we were busy because we did something Friday night, most of the day Saturday and Sunday, but I dare say we were not busy.

HebrewDawn: Stopping the Glorification of Busy

My family and I spent Friday evening with my best friend sister from another mother, her husband, daughter, and fresh (1 week old) baby boy.  As good friends and family should, we brought dinner over to them and hopefully good company too. We spent the evening talking, laughing (though not too much for the new mama…hello, stitches!), and snuggled with all the kiddos. My husband and I both commented on the drive home how full our hearts were after an evening spent with people I love so much.

HebrewDawn: Stopping the Glorification of Busy

Saturday was spent mostly outside with my daughter and we enjoyed our monthly small group/play date with friends from church. Next we were on our way for Safety Day, where my daughter’s eyes were wide with awe and excitement. She had the opportunity to see, touch, and sit in an ambulance, fire truck, state police helicopter, and more. Once we got home from our morning of fun and woke up from a well deserved nap, we were able to see the my husband’s finished handiwork. A frame for our raised garden bed, and a truck full of mulch. As a family we spent the late afternoon and evening spreading the mulch so we could finish all the yard work on Sunday.


Sunday began with worship at church and followed by our usual playtime with VHP’s church BFF before heading out to enjoy the rest of our day. We were then off to my in-laws to help them with some yard work. After working all over their yard, we enjoyed some yummy Chinese food, before all of us headed back to our house. There we wrapped up the day installing our raised garden bed, transplanting some irises and nandina, and spending lots of family time.

HebrewDawn: Stopping the Glorification of Busy

We may have done many things this weekend, but none of it would I regret or change. I truly believe that a busy life is full of of things we do and do nott want to do. More than anything, a busy life, is filled with things needing to be checked off our proverbial lists or calendars. All that we did this weekend were things I would want to pass up doing, because it was done with the people I love.

Are you ready to to stop the glorification of busy and focus on a life well lived with the people you love?

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You are Beautiful

 

HebrewDawn: How do you eat an elephant? Bite, by bite.
Bite, by bite.

 

How has your week been? I’m grateful that today is Friday, and to be back blogging with you. I’m sorry that we’ve been MIA this week, but we’ve both had some things going on personally that got in the way. We didn’t want to write a post for post sake, so we neglected you. I hope you can forgive us…

Every now then I find some things on the Internet, that I can’t help but share. Ready for a giggle to end your week? Check out the weird things women do with their girls. I can honestly say I haven’t intentially ate off of my mine, but I’m grateful for the food they’ve saved from hitting the floor.

Have you seen the previews for bad mom yet? I seriously hope it’s as funny as it looks. I hope this will be a funny way to remind us to have a little more fun on the journey of motherhood, and to stop stressing about “what we’re supposed to do” so much.

HebrewDawn: You are Beautiful!If you follow on Instagram, the above picture may be familiar to you. If not, I want to share with you what I shared yesterday. I have been hearing from too many ladies around me that they aren’t that pretty or that they’re not good enough. Each and everytime I hear this it breaking my heart. Why? Because each woman saying this is absolutely beautiful on the INSIDE and OUTSIDE. Do you ever find yourself saying this? If yes, stop it and begin something new. Each day look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that YOU are BEAUTIFUL. Continue doing this until you believe it deep in your bones. Do you have a woman in your life needing this reminder? Please remind them of that they are beautiful too.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Favorites This Week: May 6th

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How has your week been? It’s been a very full week for me, and I cannot wait for this Mother’s Day weekend. I know that this weekend is not always an easy one for everyone, but I hope that we can shower the women in our lives with love. Shout out that you love the women who love and support you each and every day of the year. These women may be the one who gave birth to you, who chose to love, who raised you, or came into your life at the needed moment. These women may not have children of their own, and may be they do. May be you are the closest thing they will have to their own children. Whoever the women are in your life, I hope you’ll let them know you love them. I’m ever so grateful for all the women in my life that love me, and whom I have the privilege to love.

Speaking of love, it may have taken me until college to fully appreciate and LOVE living and growing up in Richmond, Virginia, but I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I was giddy to see, and also made hungry, leaving that one of my absolute favorite Richmond restaurants was included on the list of best “hole in the walls” to try in Virgina. If you’re ever looking for a great Italian meal in Richmond, hurry your way to Mama Zu’s (just make sure to bring cash or American Express)!

Are you a Mo Willems fan? I’ve been a longtime fan since he released Knuffle Bunny, and I’ve only grown to love his writing more through his Elephant and Piggie Series. Sadly his last book in the series is coming out, but I can only imagine it will be just as great as all the others.

 HebrewDawn: Soda Water's Not Bad for You
Do you like drinking sparkling water, seltzer, or mineral water? I do, and so does my family! BUT there’s been terrible press about it lately, specifically how it’s bad for your teeth. Thankfully, reports are coming out to debunk that lie and I’m so thankful! This article had some interesting information, and I love that when it was first invented by chemist Joseph Priestley, he titled his paper “Directions for Impregnating Water with Fixed Air.” I guess I’m a fan of drinking air impregnanted water

Have anything fun planned for the weekend? I’m looking forward to a picnic with my family, and some ladies that I’m lucky to love and have in my life.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Real Moms: Linda Gardner

HebrewDawn: Real Moms Series - Linda Gardner
from left to right: Mary Jean, Linda, Tess, and Ava

Today I have the great privilege of introducing you to the next mom in our Real Moms Series. She is the mother to THREE beautiful girls, and is truly a beautiful person on the inside and out. I do not have want to take up much of your time with an introduction, so that you can savor all that she has to share. Please meet Linda Gardner, and I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I’m honored to know her.

How many children do you have and how old are they? Tess – my beautiful, kind, already married, 25 year old … and did I say kind? Mary Jean – my beautiful, goofy, not happy about being the middle child, 20 year old … and did I say goofy? And Ava – my beautiful, blonde, last chance for a boy, 19 year old … and did I say blonde?

 

HebrewDawn: Real Moms Series - Linda Gardner
clockwise from the top: Linda, Ava, Mary Jean, and Tess


What’s something you wish you knew before you became a mom that would’ve made your motherhood easier or better? How important it is to form relationships with other moms so that you have a support system of girlfriends. Join a play group of moms of similar aged children. If there isn’t one in your neighborhood – start one! It’s one of the best things that I ended up doing as it provided support for me and playmates for my girls. Girlfriends made me a better mother. Playmates made them better friends.

What is your greatest joy in being a mom? Beyond a doubt … Watching my children develop into the people that they aspire to be.

What has been your greatest struggle as a mom? If they hurt … knowing when to step in so that they know that I have their back and knowing when to step away so that they develop skills on how to fix things for themselves. Learning how to be their biggest advocate while not trying to fix everything for them. You can’t. It’s hard. I want to chew out every friend that has said an unkind word to them and every organization that didn’t accept them, but all of that just makes them stronger people and prepares them for what life brings. Still hard though.

 

HebrewDawn: Real Moms Series - Linda Gardner
from left to right: Mary Jean, Ava, and Tess

How has your relationship with your significant other changed since having kids? Better, better and better. Obviously working as a team strengthens any relationship. Making the decision before having kids as to parenting style is huge. So basically agreeing to be the same type of parent before you are thrown into the situation. It’s not something you can “wing” because there are 2 of you involved. For us this came natural. We discussed how we would handle things and as it turned out – we were on the same page for most things already. So we were ahead of the game. But if there are things you disagree on then you have to decide ahead which way you are going to parent together.

Having a child changes you. What do you hold onto and let go of as mother? Hold on to who you are on the inside … your heart, your soul, your spirit and let go of the fact that it’s about you. It’s always about someone else now – in the best of ways.

How do you make time for date night? Or how do you keep it saucy when life gets messy? I love date night so it’s easy. You just do it! I have never felt “torn” between wanting to spend time with my husband and wanting to spend time with my children. I have always craved both and done both. And felt good about it. Children have to experience you leaving and coming back. Even if a date means a weekend away. I was always fine with sending my kids away for weekends with the grandparents. It’s a win win for everyone and now they have those wonderful memories. Believe me – they will be fine without you. And if someone else doesn’t do things the exact way that you do … it’s OK.

What’s the one thing you would tell yourself looking back on your journey thus far? Just when you think you’ve been through the best part … lookout … the best is yet to come. The infant stage, the toddler stage, the teenage years, and now young adult. So many laughs, so many tears, so much of everything and yet so much to look forward to!

Anything else you’d like to share? One of my main goals as a parent was always to have my children and family unit be able to exist without me. Obviously I cannot control when I leave this earth, and if it ended up happening earlier rather than later, then I wanted my girls to be well adjusted and confident enough (even as children or teenagers) so that after the initial grieving, they would be able to think of me and enjoy the time we had together and not feel bitter and that they had somehow been cheated. So as important as I am in their life – I always want them to know and remember that their relationship with God is the single most important relationship in their life. That is everlasting.
Respect your children and in return you have every right to demand respect from them. If you are upset with your children – feel free to tell them and explain why. But be open to hearing the same from them. If they are upset with you and decisions that you’ve made – be accepting of their thoughts. It’s a 2 way street. And if they respect you and your rules, then disciplining is so much easier. Feeling guilty over breaking the rules is a much more effective form a discipline than being sent to their room.

Make sure your children are raised to be well rounded. Miss a rehearsal or even school to go on a vacation. Miss a game or a tournament to attend church. Make sure they are exposed to a variety of activities … sports, music, community service, church … it’s all important so they can develop into healthy well rounded people. And remember – our children are not put on this earth to fill the areas that we failed in – they need to find their own thing.

Don’t expect your children to do anything you won’t do also. They learn by example not by preaching. Don’t expect them to do community service if you aren’t willing to do it also. If they want to be a girl scout – you should be willing to be a leader (if they want you to). Don’t expect them to be involved in church if you aren’t also. And as far as being involved … be a room parent. Not every year, but at least one year in elementary school for each child. If you absolutely can’t work it out, then at least volunteer in the lunch room occasionally or to read to their class. You will never regret it!

Worship together as a family. It’s an hour a week and it’s the one time of the week that everyone puts everything else aside and makes God, family, and a sense of community and purpose a priority.

 

HebrewDawn: Real Moms - Linda Gardner
from left to right: Linda, Tess, Mary Jean, and Ava

Did you enjoy getting know Linda? I hope you’ve been inspired by Linda and her journey through motherhood. She has shared so much wisdom and guidance for us as mothers and mothers-to-be. There are days that I’m terrified at my daughter becoming a teenager and growing up, but hearing from Linda, I feel like it’s nothing to fear.

If you’d like to read about some other moms in our series, go read about Loren and Heather, here and here.

Do you know a great mom that should be featured in our series? If so, please send me a message.

When and Where to Draw the Line

Boundaries are something we wrestle with from a young age, though we may not appreciate the limits they seemingly put on our lives. From a young age we fight to push these very limits, even though they exist to keep us safe, out of trouble, and on the right path. In time we come to learn to set our own boundaries so that we can make room for what’s important in our life. As adults, the boundaries we establish are for the many facet of for our life, and we must decide when and where to draw the line.

HebrewDawn: Boundary Setting 101 - When & Where to Draw the Line

It’s taken me many years and LOTS of practice, but I am much better at setting boundaries than I once did. There was a time when I worked 40+ hours a week, went to school full-time, volunteered, and somehow made time for friends and family. But all of that came at a cost. One such expense was sleep, because who has time for 7 to 8 hours of sleep when you have that much to do? There was also the cost my sanity, as I tried to keep straight where and when I had somewhere to be or something to do. But this was all a small price to pay for being able to do all the things right? Wrong!

Trying to do everything only led to being..

burnt out

frustrated

overworked

tired

and the list goes on.
Been there too? Want to break free from this cycle of trying to do it all, and then heading on a downward spiral of burnout and frustration?  HebrewDawn: Boundary Setting 101 - When & Where to Draw the Line


1. Decide what is most important to you. 

Making time for family or friends? Growing in your career? Volunteering and giving back to your community? Faith?

This may be different for each of us, AND it can vary over time. It’s critical that we pay attention to how our priorities ebb and flow. Before I had my daughter, I preferred starting my work day a little later and would work later into the evening. Now that I have my little girl, I’d much rather start my day earlier and get home to her sooner than later.

2. Decide what your limits are going to be. 

Limiting yourself to work 40-45 hours per week? Taking vacation time regularly? Seeing your family a certain number of times per month? Having dinner with friends once a week?

Just like our priorities and what’s most important, this can be differently for you and me. I’ve learned that working 50-60 hours a week doesn’t make me any more productive, and I’m better off keeping it closer to 40 hours per week. Thankfully I’m not alone in this, and more and more studies are coming out to show this. Even coming to show that you can be at an increased risk of stroke from working more than 55 hours a week. YIKES!

3. Decide when and where you need to draw the line. 

Establishing your boundaries from the start is critical part of being able to maintain them. I have friends who are pastors, and have to choose what their day off is going to be since they work on Sunday. Many choose Monday or Friday in addition to Saturday like many of us. BUT, it’s hard for them to protect their day off, because people want to meet with them on their chosen day off. Like any of us when someone is pushing the limits of our boundaries, they have to decide whether or not to say yes or no. If they say yes, they’re setting the precedent that their boundaries don’t matter. If they say no, people know to respect their boundaries and meet during their work week.


Learning to say no and sticking to it usually doesn’t have it’s negative effects. Instead you protect yourself, and show that you a person of your word. You won’t do that which violates your limits, but you’re all in when the time is appropriate. Once you have established what your boundaries will be, work on knowing your clues for when you’re getting overwhelmed. Being able to recognize this before you’re burnt out helps you recalibrate your boundaries as needed, so that you can make room  for what’s most important to you.