Holiday Fun

I have to admit that it absolutely has not registered with me that Christmas is one week away. The lack of snow and cold weather here in Texas is still throwing me and I'm so far behind on my shopping it's pathetic. But I've made some strides this week in terms of getting in the spirit and I'm excited to have some festive things to share with you today!

I have a few decorations up in the house and we participated in a super fun blogger gift exchange with some other fun ladies this week, so let's get into that!

 I don't usually put too many things up for Christmas since we're not actually here for Christmas Day, but a few simple decorations go a long way around here and it's been fun to turn on our Christmas Pandora and show off our horrible dance moves.

I moved our stockings from the mantel to the bookshelves with a little toddler noggin in mind and made the pom garlands with some hobby lobby poms, a needle, and white thread - so easy!

I snagged this IKEA wall hanging last year and it's the only tree we've got this year - it's perfect for the playroom and we don't have to water it.

I know this may not count as decor, but I love a flannel sheet set in the winter and these snowflake ones are just really tickling my fancy.

I left up some of Olivia's birthday party decorations since they were red and therefore Christmassy, and also because I've been too lazy to take them down.

For the gift exchange Olivia received a Doc McStuffins doctor set from Meghan and Noah which she immediately cracked open and has been rocking ever since. The doctor bag came to lunch with us yesterday, because accessories are important dontcha know.

Thanks, Meghan and Noah!

I hope you're all loving the season as much as we are and have lots of fun things planned for the next week!


Mean Mommy

I normally do a weekend recap on Mondays (and honestly it's the only blogging I've been doing lately), but our weekend was so uneventful I couldn't bring myself to write about it, and you know my standards aren't high. Ryan was out of town until last night so we just did errands, ate our weight in pickles from Ruggles, and folded laundry. 

Instead, I'll try to write about a post that's been brewing in my little noggin' for a while; being a mean mommy.

If you've read some of my parenting posts the past six months, you've probably figured out that it's been a tough six months for me. No, I'm not trying to martyr myself, life is good, but it's been a challenging six months for me in terms of parenting. I felt like we breezed through the newborn stage, the first year was so fun and felt easy with the occasional sleep regression thrown in, and then around 18 months, I felt like I lost my groove. 

Every single minute of every day was a struggle, contained a tantrum (or so it seemed) and I felt like I was starting to hate being a stay at home mom. Ryan's travel picked up around this time, so maybe that had something to do with it, or maybe it's that Olivia's already strong personality set in even more, maybe it's just that age, or maybe it's a combination of all the things, I'll never know.

Nonetheless, I felt like I was in parenting survival mode. All the things I said I'd never do as a parent, I did. I felt like just standing in the grocery store and surviving an epic meltdown was all I could manage, let alone parent through it. I didn't even know what I was supposed to do at that age, and I was steadily losing ground to a tyrannical toddler. I bargained, bribed, and begged. I felt like crying almost every day and my resolve to hold off on more kids strengthened with every week. Cheery, right?

Then something awesome happened. Steph came to town for 9 days. I can't tell you what a difference it made to have someone around to tell you "it's ok to do that", "that's not too mean", "that's not ok for her to do that". I spend 90% of my parenting time solo, and I lose perspective and honestly felt so defeated, I felt like giving up. She never overstepped her bounds,  she just gave me the confidence and reinforcement to do what I knew I needed to. I needed to be a mean mommy.

I don't really mean "mean". You know that we can't have a blog post around here without some dramatic flair, so don't worry that I've lost it.

Here's what I realized:

1. If she can understand "go throw this in the trash and then go wash your hands" and follow through, she can understand "sit in the cart and don't get out". Duh.

I had to start holding her to a higher standard, knowing that she understands exactly what I'm saying.

2. If I'm not consistent, it's all a waste. This means pulling the car over no matter where I am to tell her that it's not ok to try to squirm out of her carseat (anyone else have a toddler who can undo the buckles? It's terrifying). Every time. It means time outs for throwing things because she's angry, even in the grocery store. It means a lot of work up front.

3. I have to catch her doing things right.

I felt like I definitely praised her before, but when I stepped it up and really laid it on thick during the times she was following instructions, she grinned a little grin and complied even more.

4. She won't hate me because I'm strict. 

I was afraid to be stern, even angry when she did things that were wrong or maybe even dangerous, that she'd reject me and be even more resistant to following instructions. I was so, so, so wrong about this.

The firmer, stricter, and sterner I am (in the appropriate situations) when coupled with relentless consistency, the more she obeys. I feel like a have a brand new kid lately. She's more affectionate, giving more hugs and kisses than ever. Listens to me when I tell her to stop, or come back, or to sit in the cart. She's eating more at meals, sitting at the table until we're all finished, going to bed with no fuss, and even initiating new habits we've started, like holding my hand when we go from the house to the car. 

And guess what? I'm nicer now. She knows I mean business when I tell her no, or how to do something, so I actually spend less time telling her no. I spend more time praising her because she's doing so much right, and it's working

Does this mean it's perfect? Oh hell no.

She's 2 for crying out loud, it's going to be a mess sometimes, but I love being home with her again. I don't feel like I'm drowning in my own incompetency anymore, and that's a relief.  

So, I apologize for the ramble, and I realize that this parenting style doesn't work for every parent or every child, but it's saved my mama mind. For the first time in a long time, when Ryan came through the door tonight after being gone since Monday, I didn't feel like I needed to toss her at him and go drive in the car for 20 minutes just to be alone, drink a Diet Dr. Pepper and blast my Britney Spears Pandora Christmas music.

 I sat behind some teenagers at dinner tonight who were talking about how they're going to parent and how they won't be like their parents and I was flat out cackling to myself. Sure, you'll be cool parents with kids who want to share everything with you, yet never get in trouble, and you won't get stretch marks or hemorrhoids, or spend a whole day with a velcro cookie attached to your bum. 


Lately and Birthday Recap

Yes, I'm still blogging. Womp. Womp. I've just been a total slacker. 

I think I'll just recap what's been going on (the coffee runs, the grocery shopping, I know you're just dying to know) and then share a few snaps of some details from Liv's very low key second birthday party.

To start, maybe some of you saw on Instagram (@willowcrowns) that Steph, the babies, and I were in a car accident on Thursday.

We were stopped on an off ramp when a car hit us from behind, pushed us into the car in front of us and then hit us from behind again. We were car #2 in a 5 car pile up and it was terrifying to say the least. Thankfully the babies' car seats did exactly what they were supposed to do and the kids didn't have a scratch on them. As a precaution, we brought them to the hospital to be checked out and then took ourselves to urgent care. Thankfully my nose wasn't broken (I don't need it to be any less delicate, ya know) and Steph's aches and pains are getting better. We got so many calls, emails, and messages on Instagram and we couldn't appreciate them more. We're so grateful for all the amazing people we've been able to connect with through blogs, insta, and the business, so thank you so so much!

On a lighter note, we've been having a blast together, getting caught up on Willow Crowns orders, and celebrating a very special second birthday. Here are just a few pics:

Liv's new favorite boots ( a gift from Gigi ) | Tulle skirt (satin lined and perfect for special occasions!)

vest (amazing gift from Steph)

Opening birthday gifts on birthday morning, in boots she slept in.

Her party was loosely Minnie Mouse themed since her love affair with Minnie Mouse is still going strong. The best cookies ever are from Purple Umbrella Cookie Company (my friend Jenny is so so darn talented), the perfectly darling garland and cupcake toppers are from Sweet Cuts Shoppe (the cutest garlands around and Alli customizes just about anything!), and the party hat is from Pretty Posh Shoppe. Danielle let me customize this as well (it's lace, I could die) and the quality is fantastic.

We filled little gift boxes with cotton candy for guests to take home, ordered a nugget tray, and called it good! It was fun, casual, and Liv had so much fun seeing all her little friends at once!

Hoping you all had a great weekend!



I didn't bat an eye when she turned one, so I'm not sure why, but turning two has me all turned upside down. I'll be over here weeping today if you need me. Happy Birthday to my sweet, feisty, funny girl.


Disney Recap

Hi There!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week and are easing back into the swing of things with some Cyber Monday shopping!

We got back from our Disney vacation last night and I'm just jotting a quick recap before I sit down to a fresh stack of invoices and start getting Black Friday orders out! Thanks so much for supporting my little business this past week. It was a record setting day for us and I absolutely can not wait to see you and your babes in their Willow Crowns!

As far as our vacation goes, I really didn't take many photos! We were busy all day long, and Disney with kids is exhausting! We had a total blast and crossed just a couple of things off our list of things we'd like to do, like meeting Mickey and Minnie, and taking Olivia to see the Little Mermaid and riding a couple of kid rides.

We stayed at the Grand Floridian, which is gorgeous every single year, and had the best time catching up with our family. Here's a few snaps from our trip!

Now we're totally in Christmas mode. Our Elf on the Shelf, Violet, showed up this morning, and we've got plans to go visit some reindeer this week. Hope you all have a great one!

Etsy Love Part 1 and a Giveaway

I know you're all more than familiar with the wonder that is Etsy, so I thought it would be fun to share a couple of shops that are new to me lately! I obviously love Etsy since it's where WC got its start and I love that I'm able to find some one of a kind pieces, whether it's for myself, Olivia, or as a gift. I've got several shops to talk about and I've got two for today!

First up is Project Paper.

Christina got in touch with me regarding a tassel garland and the timing was perfect. We've taken the glider out of Olivia's room and I was trying to fill an awkward empty corner. I told her that Liv's colors for her room were navy, gold, and raspberry and she sent me the most gorgeous, high quality tissue garland ever.

I put it with her little table and chairs (recently spray painted gold) and her little tea set, and it just finishes the space perfectly. I love garlands as a way to jazz up a space without making permanent changes and they're so fun! Check out her shop for sure, I think a festive garland would be just perfect for this time of year!

Nikki's shop is all about decor, everything from the holidays, to weddings, to everyday home. She and I had talked about what would work for our space, and I told her I was really having a hard time storing bow clips in my studio. I wanted something to display/hold bows I was working on, or ideas I was playing around with and she had the perfect solution.

She sent over this gorgeous distressed white frame to help me clean up some of the accessory clutter here and I absolutely love it. 

I've had lots of people ask how I store Olivia's headbands, hair clips, etc. and I think this would be the perfect way. I keep some little gold clothespins on there to clip headbands and the bow clips just snap right on. 

Nikki also has pallet signs you'll die for so check them out!

Aaaaand....Nikki's offering a giveaway and a coupon code. Yay!

You can win a $30 shop credit (giveaway ends next Wednesday) and you can take 20% off anything in her shop with the coupon code WILLOW.

I've got some more Etsy fun for you tomorrow, but I need you guys to send more Etsy shops my way - I'm addicted!

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