From full timer in the fun amusement park industry to full time mama of 2, Holly spreads her creative ideas and tales of mama-hood through Sunshine and Holly, her website. I LOVED reading her funny story of her children and understanding why the quote that she lives by means so much to her.
Thank you so much, Holly, for sharing your story!! Thank you for letting us see a glimpse into your daily life filled with funny moments, real experiences and salad spinners.
Tell us about you and what you do!
Hi fellow mamas! My name is Holly and I’m a full-time mom living in Atlanta, Georgia, with my husband and two young kiddos. I spend my days wiping butts, dolling out goldfish, and doing mountains of laundry. Ha! Recently, I started a blog, sunshineandholly.com, to fulfill a need for a creative outlet in my life when I was feeling lost, bored, and brain dead from spending all my time with two toddlers. I’m a reflective, outgoing person, and I hoped a blog would be a great way to connect with other moms out there who might be feeling the same way as I do about motherhood – that it’s hard!
Do you have a full/ part time job? Do you have a side hustle? What are they?
Before having children, I spent 15 years working for a company that owns and operates theme parks all over the county. It was such a fun industry to work in and I do miss it, especially on days when my kids are driving me nuts and making me want to pull all my hair out! These days, I’m just taking care of the kiddos and blogging over at Sunshine and Holly. My goal isn’t to make blogging a full-time career, I’m just looking to connect with other moms and maybe impart some knowledge that I’ve gain over these past 4.5 years of motherhood. Although honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing most days!
Walk us through a normal day of yours. Soccer games, daycare, work, dinner, ballet practices, what’s involved?
Both of my kids attend a “mother’s morning out” preschool program during the school year a few days a week from 9am to 1pm. The preschool has been my saving grace over the years – I’m not sure I would have made it this far without it. (I love my children, but having a small break from them a couple of times a week makes me love them more. And keeps me sane!) After school, my youngest naps and I try to get some blogging done while my oldest plays with toys or has some iPad time. Once naptime is over, we either head to a park or hang out at home and play. I LOVE to cook, so 5pm is TV time for the kids and I head into the kitchen to spend some time to myself chopping, dicing, and sautéing. Cooking is another creative outlet for me, and I really enjoy that hour or so in the kitchen where I can focus on the food and can actually see the end results of my hard work. (Because as a stay-at-home-mom, I can work my butt off all day and have nothing to show for it.) After dinner is bath time, bed time, and more blogging time for me. Some evenings I’ll go for a walk or go lift weights with some friends. Then I’ll relax and watch some TV with my husband before bed.
During the summer and on the days the kids don’t have school, I always try to get them out of the house at least once a day. We visit parks, museums, kid’s bounce house places, basically anywhere that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and where the kids can run off some energy. I also belong to an amazing moms group, and we meet up a couple of times a week. I’m a total extrovert and I need some adult conversation a few times a week.
How do you prioritize your to do list?
Usually whoever’s crying the loudest or bleeding is at the top of the list. LOL! Seriously though, my kids and husband always come first. After that, it’s basically whatever I can fit into the day. I always prioritize getting together with other mom friends – they keep me sane. I also like to make sure I have time to cook a healthy meal for dinner and, of course, try to save time for blogging and all the social media marketing that comes with promoting a blog. At the bottom of my list is housework, laundry, and home maintenance stuff. Yuck!
Do you get down time in your day? If so, what’s one thing you do for yourself daily?
I do have down time – at least until school is out for the summer. Right now, I have 3 free mornings a week while the kids are at school. I try to be productive during most of that time with housework and blogging, but every now and then I love to swing by Chipotle (I have an addiction to their barbacoa beef), bring my lunch home, sit on the couch, eat, and watch bad TV. I hate eating with my kids – it’s never relaxing. I love eating a meal without jumping up a million times to get stuff, or telling someone to sit down before they fall, or asking someone not to spit on their brother, or telling someone not to put yogurt on their feet…
How many hours of sleep do you get on a regular basis?
Sleep is important to me. I’ve suffered with depression in the past, and it’s intensified by lack of sleep. So I really try to make sure I get enough Z’s. I try to go to bed around 11 and am usually up around 7:30.
You mention you have a masters degree from University of Georgia, what made you want to stay at home with the little ones full-time?
I loved the job I held right before I had my son. I had moved up through the ranks of the company and had finally found my niche where I really enjoyed the work I was doing and got along great with everyone in my department. Then Graham was born a month early, and was in the NICU for the first week of his life. We had a hard time with breastfeeding and I ended up with Postpartum Depression. So when it came time to return to work, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to handle it. I had hoped to stay on part-time, and even submitted a proposal that I worked on for weeks, but it didn’t work out. I don’t regret my decision, but I do miss working in the theme park industry and with the great people in my office.
You write about your life experiences, what is your favorite subject to write about?
My favorite thing to write about are the trips we take and the fun activities we do as a family. I love traveling, and now that the kids are getting older, it’s getting easier to take quick weekend trips. We just got back from Tybee Island for a long-weekend getaway and we had a blast! My husband and I are also HUGE Disney World fans. We actually went to Disney for our honeymoon and have been about 4 times since then. It’s so much fun, and you really feel the “Disney magic” while you’re there. We also love Dollywood – it’s a theme park in Tennessee that’s won multiple awards in the theme park industry. If you’ve never been, it’s worth the trip!
Name one funny thing or moment your kids did that literally made you bust out laughing? (Did they say something, ask a question that took you off guard?)
My kids are crazy and always doing funny things. Once, when Graham was 3 and Maddie was about 15 months, I was trying to get us all out the door in time to make it for carpool at preschool. Maddie STILL wasn’t sleeping through the night at this point (she didn’t sleep through the night until she was 17 months old), so I was going on 15 months of broken sleep. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Graham had pulled out the salad spinner to play with and Maddie had found a pair of my dirty underwear in the laundry basket and was wearing it like a necklace. I was running around, packing lunches, finding shoes, etc, and when it was finally time to leave, I tried to take away the underwear and the salad spinner. They both started pitching HUGE tantrums about losing their “prized possessions.” I stood there for a moment, in my dirty yoga pants with my un-brushed hair and teeth, listing to my stomach growl because I hadn’t had time to eat anything. I knew I only had enough energy to fight one fight that morning. So the dirty underwear went back into the laundry basket and the salad spinner went to school with Graham that morning. We missed carpool, so I had to walk him in the building past tons of teachers and moms, all giving me strange looks and wondering why my 3-year-old was bringing a salad spinner to preschool. His teacher at the time was amazing and didn’t bat an eyelash. She knew my kids well enough to know that letting him bring the salad spinner to school wasn’t a battle I was willing to fight.
They say 2 kids, even though related, are never the same? What’s the one difference from your son to your daughter?
Oh man – my kids are so, so different. Graham isn’t affectionate at all – I have to sneak hugs and kisses when I can. Maddie is the opposite. She loves sitting in my lap, giving hugs and kisses, holding hands, having her back rubbed. Graham is great at independent play, Maddie likes to be entertained all the time. Graham is cautious and wants help with everything, Maddie is brave and daring, and wants to do everything by herself. And as far as discipline goes, Graham tests boundaries and constantly challenges me and Maddie is so much easier to manage.
What’s your favorite activity to do with the family?
I love being outside with my family – walking at a park, playing on the beach, sitting in our backyard, traveling and exploring new places. I have a hard time just sitting at home – I always want to be entertained.
What’s one quote you stand by?
“I’m learning to trust the Holy Spirit to do in my kids’ hearts what my best parenting effort could never accomplish.” Jeannie Cunnion
I was at a church mom’s event and at each seat, the organizer had placed a clipboard with a quote. This was the quote at my seat and I know God really put it there for me. Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. For so long, it felt like I was failing. My son was a very difficult two-year-old – none of the traditional discipline techniques worked for him. He also exhibited a lot of aggression towards his sister, which really disturbed me, but is pretty typical for kids that age. But because of all of this and the depression I struggled with, my brain started to really twist my thoughts. I felt like I was a terrible mom. I was doing everything wrong. I sucked at motherhood. I wasn’t meant to be a mom. I couldn’t control my son. Every time I lost my temper, I felt so much guilt.
But this quote reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect. All I need to do is love my children and trust in God. It’s so freeing, to know that I don’t have to make the perfect decision every time, say the perfect thing each time, act the perfect way each time. I can lose my temper, I can struggle, my kids can see that I’m flawed. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. And everything will still be ok. My kids will be ok!
What fuels your inspiration to write on your blog?
My crazy kids and the fun things we do as a family! We love having Family PJ Movie Nights, and I usually do a themed snack or activity to go with the movie. I also love cooking and eating, so food is a big inspiration for me as well.
Rapid Fire Answer questions with one word or a short phrase ! GO!
List- maker? Phone or Paper?
Yes! Usually my phone these days because I always have it with me.
What’s on the night stand? Book? Magazine? Wine?
My phone, 3 unfinished books, and some hand cream.
If you had an afternoon to yourself, what would you do?
Grab some Chipotle, hit up the farmer’s market, and take a walk outside to soak up some sun.
Your go-to meal when in time crunch – for the family.
Pasta – always pasta. My whole family loves pasta.
Your go-to activity for the kids if you need 15 minutes to get something done.
The TV! #lazymom
Do you have a favorite app that you can’t live without?
I’m pretty addicted to Facebook and Instagram.
Favorite social media platform.
Can’t choose between Facebook and Instagram. I love them both!
Favorite meal to cook when you have time. (Mine includes wine)
Mine includes wine too! I love a whole baked chicken with lemon, garlic, and white wine. We also love to make fresh pasta with the pasta attachment on my kitchen aid mixer.
Words by Holly.
Check out Holly and her work at the links below:
Website: Sunshine and Holly
Instagram: Sunshine and Holly
Facebook: Sunshine and Holly
Pinterest: Sunshine and Holly
Twitter: Sunshine and Holly
Thank you for reading!!