Friday, February 17, 2017

Aiden Paul is 4!

Oh how is our baby boy going to be FOUR already?!  I remember thinking a year ago that turning three wasn't a big deal, he's still a toddler, which is still close to being a baby.  But here we are at 4 and he is officially a little kid.  Of course I'm overjoyed to watch him grow into a healthy, happy boy, but that doesn't mean I don't long for one day of newborn Aiden snuggles.  

Aiden turns four on Sunday and we are celebrating at one of his favorite places!  It's going to be a busy few days before then because next week we are heading to the happiest place on I wanted to share about our soon-to-be 4-year-old today.  

Aiden is so many things, it's hard to know where to begin.  He is still the best cuddler (he's on my lap as I type this) and thrives on one-on-one attention.  I think that comes from having a baby sister so close in age.  He is happiest in the dirt with trucks, putting together train tracks or drawing.  He LOVES school this year (thank goodness) and is learning so much.  He has one more year of preschool before Kindergarten.

Aiden is goofy, imaginative and active.  I swear he could run a marathon on those little legs and he's starting to be interested in sports.  He can really swing a bat!  He carries his pony Cassidy with him quite a bit and also talks about a few other imaginative animals and places.  He's not the best listener (which we work on A LOT), but he's really trying to be good.  He likes to model good behavior for Audrey and make sure she's being a good listener and he now instinctively says please, thank you and I'm sorry...and typically means it :).

His relationship with Audrey warms my heart (most of the time).  They are becoming quite the pair; they play pretty well together and Aiden is learning she won't always do what he wants, haha.  He calls her "baby girl" like I do and it's adorable.  He looks up to his Daddy and is in awe of everything he does.  He is like him in so many ways and they love spending time - just the boys.  He is a mama's boy as well.  It's hard for me to not give him everything he wants because he just has a strong grip on my heart.  He made me a mommy, challenges me, and has taught me more than I thought possible.

Aiden Favorites: Trains, Trucks, All Other Vehicles, Mickey, PJ Masks, Blippi, Riding his Bike, Digging Outside, School, Drawing and Writing his Name, Being Bossy, Holidays (especially Halloween), Goetta, "Old McDonald's as he calls it, and the Pancake Place (aka Bob Evans). 

Aiden Dislikes: Following Directions, The Potty, Vegetables and Most Fruit (sigh), and other random things he decides to dislike at the moment.

Aiden Paul....We LOVE you!! We hope you have the most wonderful birthday and we can't wait to spend the week as a family.  

Some favorite pictures from the past year...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Picky Princess Who Loves Freshly Picked!

Either I've blocked it out of my memory or Aiden wasn't as "terrible" at age 2 as our sweet girl can sometimes be.  She has two moods - sweet and loving or wild and opinionated.  Kind of sounds like most women ;).  But one thing she has been VERY opinionated about recently is her clothing.  She is pretty much in either a diaper or her Santa PJs 90% of the time...much to my dismay, given the adorable-ness of her wardrobe.  

Now that spring is approaching, I knew she would need some new shoes and I wanted to choose wisely.  Luckily, I was able to partner up with Freshly Picked to get her a new pair of their famous moccasins!  She lived in her last pair and I've been anxious to get her a replacement.  When I saw the new "Sweetheart" style, my heart was sold.

Audrey remembered her last pair and eagerly pulled these out of the packaging.  We slipped them on (they are SO easy to put on...she can even do it herself!) and she was OFF.  As I mentioned...she has a wild streak.  

Her feet are fairly wide and thick, so I love that these shoes actually fit her and mold to her foot.  Since it was chilly today, I had her wear socks with them, but as it warms up, you can definitely skip them!  The quality is amazing, they really do last a long time ( I get them a little big because of this fact) and they are easier to clean than you'd think.  Truly worth the investment.  Plus, they're adorable.

It's appropriate that my "picky" little girl loves her Freshly Picked moccasins.  These shoes have the same amount of attitude as she does...which may be why she struts her stuff when she wears them ;).  Freshly Picked provides a wide variety of styles to choose from...the "Dalmation" and "Leopard" were hard to pass up!

Check out all Freshly Picked has to offer here.  And be on the look out on my Instagram page - @anlimke - for a giveaway soon! 

Huge thanks to Freshly Picked for sponsoring this post! 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

An Attitude of Gratitude

Surely you've heard this phrase before.  If not, I'm glad to be the one to introduce it to you.  "An Attitude of Gratitude" has been a difficult concept for me lately.  Of course I am extremely grateful for this life, but I've been forgetting to live as if I am.  I've found myself crying and frowning more than laughing and smiling.  I'm more negative than positive and I worry much more than I enjoy.  This is not who I am and it's definitely not who I want to be.  Without getting too personal, let's just say I know this is a hard cycle to break...but I am taking active steps to break it. 

Why share this?  As I've talked to others about these feelings, I've discovered that I am not so special.  Many people (especially other moms) are going through something similar and it's been comforting to me to know that we share this struggle.  Perhaps by sharing these words, I'll comfort someone else.

One of the ways I am trying to tackle this negativity is to include sayings or phrases in some self-talk each day. Do you talk to yourself?  75% of my day is spent with toddlers, so I do happen to have a lot of "talk" going on in my head.  I'm starting with typing these ideas here, with the hope that I will come back to this post when I feel these emotions taking over.  

Here we go.  These ideas came from a variety of sources, but the words are all my own.  I will plug a specific book I am reading right now, You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado.  It's pretty much life-changing.  I hope this list helps you to gain new perspective, and also develop an "Attitude of Gratitude."

  • Whenever you have the opportunity to make someone's day... Do it.
  • Make your kids laugh whenever possible.
  • Instead of saying "I have to," say "I GET to."
  • Take a deep breath before disciplining your kids.
  • When talking with someone, look him in the eyes.
  • Tell a different person each day why you are grateful for him/her.
  • Apologize when you've done something that warrants it.  
  • Listen - to your spouse, your kids, your friends.  
  • When you start to feel jealous of someone, feel happy for them instead.
  • When in the middle of heartache, chaos or both...remember there was a way in, so there is also a way out. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Struggle is Very Real

Happy February!  This has always been such a blah month, especially weather wise, but this year we have so many fun things planned!  Aiden turns 4 and we have a BIG surprise for both him and Audrey (hint: our Magic Bands arrived this week!!!) and it's also American Heart Month.  I recently became involved with the Cincinnati chapter of the American Heart Association and look forward to bringing awareness to everyone in the next few weeks.

But back to the topic for today...I share a lot about my success and motivation when it comes to health and weight loss.  Of course that's much more fun to talk about than the struggles, but I also want to be honest.  It's easy to read someone else's story and only see the highlights...and get discouraged.  The age old question does she make it look so easy?'s not.  Not at all. 

I am an emotional eater.  Food is a major comfort for me, and I'm not talking about fruit and veggies. When I'm sad, anxious or bored, I crave comfort food.  Fast food, sweets...all the stuff I try to limit.  The past few months have been a true test to not "fall off the wagon."  My mom's health has been a major struggle, we've moved, had lots of food-centered holidays and cold weather.  All things that make me want to lie down on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream.  Old habits die hard.

I have to remind myself on a daily basis why I chose to change my lifestyle.  When I plan our dinners, drive past a McDonald's or see a recipe on Pinterest...I literally have to talk through why those aren't good choices.  It doesn't always work.  I eat carbs at dinner, order chicken nuggets with my kids and make delicious desserts from Pinterest.  The secret...I've made this the exception, not the rule.

When I think back to when I first started adjusting my diet and putting fitness near the top of my priorities, I remember feeling excited and motivated.  The fitness part of it has always been MUCH easier than the eating.  I love working out and I love the way it makes me feel.  But I also love the way a cheeseburger tastes.  What it's taken me two years to realize's okay that a cheeseburger tastes good.  Eat it.  And yes, every once in awhile, eat it with the bun.  And then get right back to the healthy choices.

I've seen so many people try - and fail - at fad diets where you have to completely eliminate things.  I used to do it, too.  I've gone through phases of no carbs, no pop (the only one I still stick to), no fast food, no sugar, etc.  Some people plan this for a short period of time and then go right back to the way they were eating...well, that doesn't work.  And you know what?  It's not good for your body.  Now, I have also seen people do this (like a Whole 30 diet) and then continue with a healthy, balanced that does work.  The key is to find what works for you - forever.  Find a path that you can take for the rest of your life.  

The point of all of this babbling?  Losing weight is HARD.  Keeping it off is even harder.  I do not have all of the answers, but I've found what works for me and my body.  I know that it will always be a bit of a struggle to make good choices when it comes to food, and I also know to allow myself to have what I crave.  If you're trying to adopt a new, healthier lifestyle...stick with it.  Hang in there.  Give yourself some credit.  You can do it - you WILL do it.  I believe in you.

And Happy Heart Month!  Please wear RED on Friday to support this wonderful movement :).