how to be a better friend, even when you’ve got a lot going on

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Whether they’re the mac to your cheese, the Sookie to your Lorelai or the Anne Perkins to your Leslie Knope, true friends are the ones that stick by you in good times and in bad. They love you for everything you are and can be and despite the crazy person you’ve been sometimes in the past and let’s be real, will probably be again at some point in the future. They’re family and they love you no matter what.

I think we all know friendship is a two-way street but sometimes it’s tough to really invest and nurture friendships because well, life. We’re all busy and as my mother would say, we’re burning the candle at both ends. We’re building families and careers and sometimes taking time to connect with our girlfriends seems selfish or self-indulgent but I am here to announce WE NEED FRIENDS. They are vital to our well-being and overall sanity. So if you’ve been out of the loop with friends recently (work overload, got married, had a baby, THE HOLIDAYS) never fear! It’s completely doable to be get back in the game. Here are ways to be a good friend, even when you’ve got a lot going on.

Make plans
This may seem like a “duh” but for let’s be real, between careers and babies, life happens. None of us are immune to the busy day-to-day but something has to give if we want to find true connection with friends. Whether it’s a standing dinner date once a month or a quick coffee date here and there — create dates in your schedule for get-togethers based on everyone’s schedule and stick to them. When you are together be all there – silence that cell and enjoy face time with your people.

Use your phone
If you see something that reminds you of a friend, let them know. Shoot them a text to share a funny story or ask for prayers for something you’re struggling with. Make it a point to call them every once in a while during your commute from work to hear about what’s going on in their world. Use your phone to keep your friendship alive and thriving until the next time you get to be together.

Say thank you
How often do you take the time to tell your bestie how thankful you are for them? Tell your friend exactly how you feel and how much they mean to you – this will make their day and yours, too. Send them a fun card via snail mail to let them know you think they’re pretty awesome and value their friendship. I don’t know about you but some of my most cherished keepsakes are cards from dear friends.

Listen up
Being a great friend reaches far beyond verbal communication — it’s rooted deep in listening. Sometimes all we really need is to talk something through and get it all out there to a close friend just to do simply that, get it out there. We all love to talk (I’m raising my hand high here!) but sometimes the greatest service we can offer a friend is the gift of silence and quiet understanding.

Encourage
Oh man this is so important and something we all need, especially during all the changes life brings in different seasons. Maybe it’s giving a genuine compliment out of the blue or maybe it’s checking in and offering support when they’re training for a half marathon. Don’t make this hard! Some encouraging things to say: I understand. Me too. I’m so proud of you! How can I help? This too shall pass. Let me know how it goes – I’ll be praying. Well done! I’ll bring the chocolate! 

{ slow cooker } White Chicken Chili

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Friends, this stuff will change your life. Not as much as the crockpot you will cook this likely already has but it will change your life. Yes, it’s that good. There are so many varieties of chili out there, but this creamy white chicken chili will soon be your favorite. Easy prep. No tomatoes so perfect if you have a picky eater in your house or you’re allergic. Easy to make mild or spicy. The best part? You dump everything in your slow cooker and let it do the hard work for you while you live your life. Ideal for a busy weeknight or a lazy Saturday.

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24 oz. chicken broth (low sodium, please)
  • 2 15oz cans great Northern beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 4oz cans diced green chiles (I like one hot, one mild)
  • 1 15oz can whole kernel corn drained
  • a pinch of sea salt 
  • a big pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch of oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup half and half

Super simple instructions:

  1. Add chicken breasts to slow cooker. Top with salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

  2. Throw in diced onion, minced garlic, great Northern beans, green chiles, corn, and chicken broth. Stir.

  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

  4. Remove chicken to shred, then return to slow cooker.

  5. Add cream cheese and half and half. Stir. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes, or until chili is creamy and slightly thickened.

  6. Give it one last stir then dish it out! Go crazy with the toppings and ENJOY.

Toppings:

  • sliced jalapenos
  • sliced avocados
  • Sriracha (Tay’s fave) 
  • dollop of sour cream
  • minced fresh cilantro
  • tortilla strips
  • shredded Monterey jack or Mexican cheese

Monthly Motherhood Update: Annie at 4 months

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Similar to my monthly pregnancy series, I’ve decided to start documenting what’s new with Annie Lou on an every-other-month-or-so basis. She’s changing so rapidly and I want to remember these little details forever.

Motherhood Update: Annie at 4 months

Eating: Milk, milk and more milk. Some days she eats so much I honestly have no idea where she puts it. Luckily she takes a bottle from everyone but me so BONUS I can leave the house without her and we all survive.

Sleeping: She’s always been a good sleeper so we’ve been pretty spoiled. She no longer wakes up for middle-of-the-night feedings/diaper changes – PRAISE – so typically she sleeps from 9pm-5am. She wakes up hangry so I feed her and then she passes back out for another couple hours. #dreambaby

Doing: Rocking tummy time. Rolling over both ways when she wants to but never when I try to take a video of her for the grandparents. Laughing more and more. Smiling and talking non-stop. She gets super excited during bath time and even more excited when music is playing.

Saying: Of course everything is in mumbly-baby talk but she is quite the conversationalist, especially during quiet times at church or while on her playmat at home. She has about mastered saying “goo” thanks to us all telling her she’s a “good girl” from birth and we’ve started hearing “ma” and “da” in the midst of her ramblings. The sweetest is that lately she likes to talk herself to sleep so of course I’m a puddle.

Sweetest thing she does: She likes to put her tiny baby hands on either side of your face when you’re talking to her. She really looks at you and smiles that big toothless smile and you can’t help but melt.

Favorite part of this age: It’s incredible to watch her discover everything for the first time. Like when she noticed her feet for the first time. Or that there’s a cute baby looking at her in the mirror. Or that snow is cold and Buddy is soft. Everything is brand new and there are a million firsts each month.

Annie at 4 months, is, in one word: Happy.

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Hello and Happy New Year! How did you ring it in? We stayed in with our almost four month old and watched one of our favorites, When Harry Met Sally. Annie was asleep by 9 and we were in bed by 11:30 – we whispered about our favorite moments of the past year and all the things we would love to accomplish in the future. We knew it was 2017 from the fireworks heard outside our window. It was a far cry from past NYEs spent out and about in a sparkly dress but it was oh so sweet.

2016 was full. We bought our first house and made it a home. We dug deep into our jobs. We made new friends and held close to our oldest and dearest. We valued time with our families. We, yes we, survived and actually enjoyed a pregnancy. We traveled. We HAD A BABY – by far the most incredible experience to date. We prayed and studied and worked hard on growing closer to God. We worked daily on our marriage. We settled into our new roles as parents.

As incredible as this past year was, I know this year will be our best yet. We have a clean slate. A fresh start. Another opportunity to love and grow and be present for our lives. One of my goals for this year is to make room. To say no to more things I’m not crazy about to make space for more stuff (think people, places, activities) that I AM crazy about. More quiet moments with God. More morning snuggles with my baby girl. More dates and dancing in the kitchen with my husband. More laughter with my family. More risks. More lunches and conversation with my girlfriends. More celebrating big and small occasions. More heart. More dreaming. More joy. More gratitude. More good.

Hello, 2017. I like you already. xo