Seven years ago, if you would have asked me what came to mind when I thought of Louisiana I would have said Bourbon Street, New Orleans, jazz, and swamps. What little I knew! I made a friend from Louisiana just before we moved from Texas. When I texted her that we were moving to Lafayette, she responded with “Tres Bien.” I asked, “Three good?” She said “LOL that means very good. Forget Spanish. You better practice your French!” It is funny to look back now at how far we have come, and the culture shock we first experienced when moving to Louisiana. We had no idea we were moving to a foreign land.
From phrases like “cher, bebe’” to “get down” and “save the dishes” there is a lot to absorb!
When I was a child, we called our bottoms (yes, our backsides) a “Bobo,” so you can imagine my surprise when the Mothers’ Day Out teacher let me know that my little one had a “little bobo” but not to worry, she put a Band-Aid on it. Say what? I had no idea that was a wound, we always called sore spots from accidents “boo boos.”
This spring, my Kindergartener came home from school proudly telling us about what he learned in school. “Did you know that we live in the boot? This is the Pelican State!” I looked at my husband and instantly knew what he was thinking. Everything is indeed bigger in Texas, including a Texan’s pride in their state. He said, “we have so much to teach you, son!” But really, we are proud of all he is learning. We were just shocked to not hear of the lone star state, the bluebonnets, and the armadillos of our school days. However, he can teach us and us him. I really knew we were raising a Cajun when H went to visit my parents to attend a golf camp in North East Texas. He had to get close to the water to hit his next shot and he announced to the kids near him:
“Don’t worry. We are safe. There are no alligators in Texas ponds.”
I write all of this in humility. We truly love where we live, our friends, and the memories we have made. It is fun to swap stories with friends about how we were raised, things we like to eat, traditions celebrated. When my friends are firing up their pots of Gumbo, we are cooking chicken stew. We both know there is plenty to go around. My kids live for Mardi Gras! I did not even know this existed until I was a teenager. I was shocked to find out that schools close to celebrate. It is November now and my kids are saying “it is almost winter and you know what that means: Mardi Gras!” They love to teach us what they are learning and together we are starting new traditions as a young family. This is what life is all about.
Raising tiny humans is tough; we spend a lot of time as moms second guessing everything we do. Could we do it better? Could we do it differently? Will it all make a difference in the end? We know we are preparing these kids for the future, but are we doing it the right way?
The other day at work I ran across something that really stuck out to me as applicable at home; then the light went off … Why can’t I apply some of the same concepts used in corporate America to my household? I, too, am trying to achieve a positive and cohesive environment that is made up of happy people. If this symbiotic relationship can occur at work with a few adjustments from employees, I should be able to instill the same good habits into my family of five.
Acknowledge, Correct, and Thank
Y’all, is it that simple??
We encounter a lot of problems in our house; nothing serious, but trivial things that make me want to pull my hair out on the reg. My oldest are five and seven years old. Old enough to participate in most conversations. Old enough to learn how to problem solve. Do not whine to me about it; come up with a solution. But it is also my job as their mom to provide them with the tools they need to problem solve successfully.
Homework is a struggle for us; actually that is an understatement. Homework is misery. One plays or reads (everyone has 20 minutes of reading/day) while I help the other through their homework and then they switch. The baby walks around the house getting into trouble, then gets hungry and bored, and then he starts screaming/hanging on whatever chair I am sitting in. Last week as my son wiggled and whined his way through homework, I stopped everything and asked him how I could make this daily task better for him.
Acknowledge: Homework is a struggle for everyone involved. So I asked the simple question: what would make this better?
Correct: He stated that a quiet, separate space designated for homework would make things easier.
Thank: Thank you for bringing this to my attention!
For the most part it really is that simple. My kids need a place to do homework where they have a door to close. A place that is quiet, and they are able to focus and hear their own thoughts. I need my kids’ school stuff to not be spread all over my kitchen island and a baby that is not walking around crying and unattended to for an hour each day. All I have to do is stop myself when I realize we have a process that is broken, and ask how I can fix it.
We are switching out the kids’ bedrooms. The nursery/guest room will become the big kids’ room with space for their own desks and work space. The big kids’ room will become a nursery. What do we lose? A queen size bed that my parents sleep in eight times a year when they come to visit. But we are doing homework 144 days out of the year. So it is clearly a no brainer.
This simple concept can be applied to so many things at home. If I just stop and take the time to ask a few simple questions, my family is instantly problem solving together. It makes me stop and think about what else I am missing from work that I can apply at home.
This simple concept applied in the corporate and domestic environment lets you (and your family) problem solve like a boss.
“Be nice! Go hug your uncle!” (Soooo don’t feel like hugging him; he smells like cheap liquor and Altoids.)
“Give your grandmother a kiss.” (It always ends in suffocating hugs and squeezes despite squirms and protests.)
“What, you don’t want to hug me? I’m gonna take it from you!” (Then proceed to grab and tickle even as I pull away and yell, “Leave me alone!”)
A day in the life of a child.
How many of us can raise our hand and say, “Yep, that sounds like my childhood!”? Most of us were raised by well-meaning parents enforcing the “if you love them, let them love on you” perspective because, well, that was how they were raised. Also, it has always been a part of South Louisiana culture; children are meant to be hugged, squeezed and loved on, whether they wanted it or not. Consider this: How did the experiences of intrusive affection in childhood affect us? Just as important, how would continuing this cycle impact our children? Lastly, how can we teach them the merit of self-control when they experience the loss of autonomy in the name of familial affection?
It’s MY Body…
When I became pregnant for our first child, my husband and I extensively explored ways to best support and protect our little boy. We determined that we wanted him to learn the importance of physical autonomy and healthy affection from the earliest age possible. So we decided, well before delivery, that he would not be forced to give hugs and kisses to anyone for any reason. I know, I know, it is a BOLD statement! We knew that introducing this to friends and family would be…well, interesting. The only way we could ensure a positive response was to approach it as a team; if one of us flaked on this, our sons would be left without the support they needed. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?
Now, to tell friends and family…
When the conversations began about my swiftly arriving due date, we would gently drop it into the dialogue. “We want him to feel loved and cherished in the healthiest of ways.” Or, “As he grows, we want him to have good self-control so we want to respect whatever level of affection he gives.” And for the hardheaded members, “We aren’t going to force our kids to hug and kiss anyone. PERIOD!” (Sometimes, you just have to go there!)
Now, this might feel foreign to read much less to express to those you love. We knew that we had to give our family and friends time to digest our parental expectations. Although our statements were met with a litany of positive responses, the social worker in me expected that it would be easier said than done. But, as parents, we felt it must be done.
Hugs or High Fives: Fostering Healthy Autonomy in Kids
Our children’s physical and emotional safety is our primary focus, particularly regarding giving and receiving affection. To foster healthy autonomy, here are a few things that worked for us:
1. Model Healthy Touch/Appropriate Affection with our kids: We ask our kids for hugs and kisses instead of just taking them. We show them what the response SHOULD be when they don’t feel comfortable giving physical affection at the moment. We teach them, through action, that no means no. It has helped them learn how to give affection organically and with authenticity.
2. Support their autonomy choices with friends and family: Whether our kids want to express their love with affection or not, we are there to ensure that their decision is respected. I have no problem reminding our people that we all will respect their choice to physically express affection or not.
3. Offer options: Our go-to line to keep family and friends mindful about respecting their autonomy is, “Guys, give hugs or high fives and say hi to [insert family/friend here].” It reminds the kids that they have a choice in how they want to express their connection to others. It also reminds loved ones to respect the decision. My people know that they better ’cause Momma Bear don’t play behind her children!
I know that everyone is not comfortable with placing these boundaries in place because of the reaction they may experience with family and friends. I am also aware that not every parent agrees that this level of autonomy is necessary or right. However, the positive impact on my kids is that they can express healthy affection with others while maintaining their autonomy. With the holidays around the corner, supporting physical autonomy in your kids can help them navigate their environment.
It wasn’t the peaceful, romantic experience I thought it would be, but it’s our story. Pulling up at the hospital on Christmas Day, admiring the giant Santa and reindeer light display above the hospital, I was ready to experience a kind of Christmas magic I hadn’t experienced yet. And was that Christmas magical? Oh yes, it was.
We faced many challenges during labor and delivery, but 24 hours later, you arrived. I was 5 years younger than I am now. Looking back at that young mother meeting her daughter for the first time, I see a clueless young girl who became a woman. In you, I see a newborn thrown into a world she didn’t yet understand. Both of us were born that day.
The next 5 years with you were nothing short of moments of beauty, miracles and dreams come true. Your smell, your gaze, our instant connection … I realized everyone was right. Having a child would change me forever. Watching you grow and experience the world is my greatest blessing. Sometimes I still feel clueless, but you have a way of reminding me that it’s ok to be clueless. Just like I’m learning how to be a mother, you’re learning how to be a little girl.
We’re learning together.
When I learned I was pregnant with your baby sibling, I was excited, but it was a different kind of excitement than when I’d learned I was pregnant with you. There was a touch of fear this time. Not the normal “I hope everything works out” kind of fear. It was the “How can my heart possibly love another?” kind of fear. You see, just as you count on me to provide for you, I count on you more than you realize. I depend on your love and your smile every single day to lift me up. When life is hard (And it gets really hard), I need to touch your face to remind myself why I push through and strive to be better. You don’t know about the daily struggles I face, and that’s not for you to know. But I do want you to know that those struggles are made easy knowing that my day starts and ends with you.
So, the question remains: My love for you is practically supernatural.
So, how am I supposed to love another?
Now that I’m a mother of two, I can confidently say, that there is a way. When I met your baby sister, I instantly learned that the heart expands. When I met your baby sister, I felt similar feelings to when I met you, and my purpose multiplied. Now, not only do I have you, but I have another miracle baby who needs me. Can I be enough for you both? I can try.
You’ve been the leader in this house since you were born, and that hasn’t changed since your baby sister arrived on the scene. Amid my insecurity, you’ve managed yet again to give me the confidence to be the mother God created me to be. Just when I was afraid I wasn’t enough for you two, you held your baby sister and told her “We’re going to take good care of you”. You’re only 4 years old, yet you’ve managed yet again to remind me that I’m not doing this alone. We’re a team. Not only does your baby sister have me, but she has an even greater gift. She has you. In all my worry, you continuously remind me there’s plenty of love to go around.
Even while I stay home with your baby sister, and as I recover from her birth, and as she completely depends on me, I want you to know that you’ll always be my baby. As I work to stretch my love, extend myself further than I ever have, you were always first. You and I had 5 years together, just us, and while you have to share me now, I’ll never love another the way I love you. Our bond is special. Our love is one-of-a-kind. You taught me how to love, and that is a gift I’m now able to pass down to your baby sister. As life goes on, and the happy times and struggles continue, I will continue looking to you for guidance and inspiration.
Last year, my preschooler was constantly asking for a hamster. It was non stop. His class had a hamster named Felix and there is nothing more intense than 4-year-old love of a tiny furry rodent (insert obvious Mickey Mouse references here).
After much discussion, my husband and I decided to go with the hamster’s sturdier cousin, the Guinea Pig.
As a child, I wanted one of every animal as well, but my mother has a strict no rodent and reptile rule. Alas, my animal love had to be relegated to the wonderful arenas of dog and fish.
As a consequence, I was just as excited about getting a guinea pig as I knew that my son would be. But, little did I know, there is a lot to learn about the squeaky balls of fur that we now affectionately refer to as George and Spiderman. (George on the left, and sleek Spiderman in the hands of the enthralled 4-year-old) So, if you are thinking about strolling down Guinea Pig road, let my experience guide you for max piggie pleasure!
Adopt, Don’t Shop
We, luckily, have a friend whose guinea pigs had babies. So, we were able to adopt our new family members that way. However, I did find that animal rescue organizations often have hamsters and guinea pigs up for adoption. Not only is the price right, but sometimes, they come with all of their accouterments! Check out petfinder.com under small and furry for guinea pigs up for adoption in your area.
Guinea Pigs are Social Animals
It is best to get two, if possible. They enjoy the socialization with each other!
A few things to watch for:
1. This should be obvious, but unless you plan on becoming the guinea pig version of a crazy cat lady, make sure that you have two piggies of the same sex. Otherwise, get ready to be a guinea pig grandma.
2. When getting two of the same sex, it is helpful if the two are babies when put together or have grown up together. Sometimes, when put together later in life, they can get territorial. No one needs a daily guinea pig smackdown.
3. Try to place their cage in a place where there is a lot of coming and going. They want to be a part of your family! They will be less skittish if you do this right from the beginning.
4. Get a guinea pig pouch! My mother in law made one for my son to wear around his neck. The guinea pig can snuggle and burrow and they get used to the sights and sounds of the outside world. Check out The Activity Mom for directions on how to make your own!
They like to eat. Like a lot.
I’m not judging. I’m approximately 9,000 months pregnant at this point, so I can appreciate someone who likes to grub. But, our plump piggies are hungrier than I ever imagined! Every morning, they get pellets, timothy hay, and an array of fresh fruits or veggies (their favorite are leafy greens). They get reeeeeaaaallllly excited when they hear us open the fridge or when they see my husband (they clearly associate him with snack time). Make sure that whatever bowls are placed in the cage are made of very hard plastic or glass. They will gnaw on anything in their vicinity!
Just as they like to eat a lot, they poop a lot. Like a lot a lot.
For whatever reason, I didn’t realize this. We are cleaning their cage pretty often. I have chosen to use fleece blankets, the crunchy mom that I try to be. They also have a litter box that they use when they feel like it. You can also use paper bedding, but that won’t negate the fact that they poop more than any other animal or human I’ve ever met. Their poop is typically very pellet-ish, and so easily picked up. But, if that grosses you out, I suggest going with an animal that doesn’t poop quite so much…..like a fish…..or a pet rock.
Guinea Pigs are nervous little animals and like places to hide. So, when looking for accents for their cages, look for things that resemble tunnels or covers. Some great little hangouts are also edible! These guys love to chew, so a hangout that you can chew is their utopia! Their favorite treats also doubled as a decoration-little sticks made of seeds and such that hung from the side of the cage that they have to work at getting down. Also, we put the timothy hay in a wheel that George and Spiderman have to work to get the goods – a workout for the mind and body, so to speak.
Watch their interactions with other animals.
Our cat couldn’t care less about the piggies. He hasn’t even given them a second look. Our dog however…….let’s just say that she is Guinea Pig Fan #1. Have you ever seen the movie Swimfan? It’s a relationship like that….not a healthy obsession. For about 4 months, we always had to have a top on the cage. We were not able to leave the dog and the guinea pigs alone together. Luna, that’s my furry terrier soulmate, would attempt to get in the cage with the pigs. She would then lick and sniff them so much that they would be soaking wet. I was nearly positive that she was considering their snack potential. But, eventually her obsession has died down and now they can coexist without the threat of doggie dinner time.
They are noisy!
If you are looking for a quiet pet, this ain’t it! These little fluff-monsters are very vocal. Their sounds all mean different things. We are a year in and I’m still trying to figure it out. Check out the video below for some examples!
As with any pet, preparation is key to longevity. We consider every member of the animal kingdom that lives in our house to be a member of the family. Be sure to do your research and have frank discussions about proper pet care before adding any animal member to your family. With the right preparation, a guinea pig (or 2) could be an awesome addition to any growing menagerie! And let’s be honest Momma, you need to be on board because you’re the one that’s going to end up hanging out with the piggies the most!
The Benefits of Less Homework – And What We’re Asking Parents to Do Instead
Today’s parents are bombarded with studies on the significance of play, the importance of family dinner, and the need for students to have time to just relax. Yet our days feel shorter and shorter. Finding the time for all of these important things and completing piles of assigned homework each night seems nearly impossible.
Over the past year, ESA Lower School teachers and administrators examined the research on homework, play and family time, and decided to cut back on the assigned work for our elementary students.
Research shows that for students in elementary school, little to no correlation exists between homework and academic progress, except for nightly reading. As we reduce the amount of time we ask students to spend on homework, we recommend that our families:
Studies indicate clear benefits from children reading or being read to for twenty minutes or more every evening. Helping children become proficient readers when they are young builds the foundation for success in high school, college, and beyond.
Focus on social and emotional growth.
Let children play. At the elementary age, so much can be learned through the act of play, and true play can only be accomplished during unstructured time. Allow children to become bored, and give them plenty of low-tech supplies for creating. Give children time to follow their interests and to explore the outdoors.
Make the most of family time and involve children in family responsibilities.
Along with family dinner and game nights, encourage children to complete developmentally-appropriate independent activities. The Let Grow website suggests allowing children “to do one thing they feel ready to do that they haven’t done yet: walk the dog, make dinner…” When students can safely negotiate small risks, they build problem-solving skills that lead to maturity and confidence, and they have less anxiety and depression.
Teach children to manage their time.
Establish routines that help students learn to make the most of their time and energy. In our Executive Function classes, elementary students talk about what their afternoons are like, packing their backpacks, and keeping their planners up to date. Parents can help students structure their time, and give them more independence in managing it as they grow.
Let them make mistakes.
When assignments or projects do go home, allow your children to complete them to the best of their ability. Resist the urge to help or teach. Learning different methods from parents and teachers can confuse children, and help from parents can mask a student’s misunderstanding of the concept or skill. Plus, children show more motivation and interest when they have freedom in managing their homework and grades.
Today’s parents are terrific advocates for their students.
They see the benefits of fostering social and emotional skills and developing a passion for reading. We love partnering with them as they seek learning opportunities for their children. Cutting back on homework so they have more time for meaningful activities benefits us all.
“You knew what you were getting into when you married a guy with kids.” Maybe you’ve unknowingly said this to someone, or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end. Either way, that phrase should be kicked to the curb and fast.
When you start dating a single dad, it is just not possible to know fully what you’re getting into beforehand.
I’m a stepmom
Over time, I’ve claimed my space within our family, but it hasn’t always been easy. Our first date was at McDonald’s with two precious, blonde pixies in tow; because it was his week with his girls and he preferred to keep them by his side as much as possible. They were 3 & 5 years old and had no idea who the stranger that Daddy kept sneakily kissing was. I was 19 years old and terrified of them. Those tiny, blue-eyed girls watched me with curious, untrusting eyes, and I buckled under the pressure. That would be the first day in a long line of difficult days, as we navigated blending our new family.
When I moved into the home that my boyfriend previously shared with his ex-wife, my life changed. I went from being Cinderella dancing the night away at the ball (or, if we’re being honest, the frat house) to the Wicked Stepmother wondering if she rushed into a situation that would inevitably lead to a “crappily” ever after. It felt impossible like there was no way for me to win. My inner dialogue was as loud as it was unconstructive:
“If I start redecorating the house, I’m not being sensitive to his children’s comfort in the home their parents created for them.But does that mean that I am doomed to wander the house staring at the curtains that she picked out?”
And when you get down to the nitty-gritty, that’s precisely what being a stepmom is. You’re stepping into a life that your significant other has already built with his kids. As a second wife, you may feel like you are his second life. Being constantly reminded that your life partner has already experienced most things that life and marriage have to offer with someone else may be one of the hardest pills you will ever have to swallow. It’s been one of the most emotionally challenging things that I have ever experienced.
You are signing up for a life of, not just knowing that your husband had a past, but being confronted with that past every day.
So, was Cinderella’s Stepmother justified in treating Cinderella like a second-class citizen?
Absolutely not. But, y’all, maybe she just felt like she couldn’t win. Perhaps she was tired of being constantly reminded that she was second. Maybe, if there were more understanding and support for how difficult it can be to navigate these changes, if she had felt a bit more grace, she would have risen to the challenge and attempted to blend her family a bit more successfully. Perhaps if she felt validated in tossing out those curtains that Cinderella’s mama picked out at Ikea, she would have wiped that frown off her face and enjoyed settling into her own brand of (step)motherhood. I imagine maybe she could have shed the heavy armor that the cold moniker “Stepmother” weighed down on her and become “Mama.”
They could have all lived happily ever after.
Sometimes a rock-solid support system that is ready to lend an understanding ear is what makes all the difference. Perhaps validating step-moms by saying, “You know what? This situation is hard right now, and that’s ok,” would be the difference between The Stepmother ultimately going off the deep end or inviting her precious stepdaughter out for a girls’ night out to the event of the year. We’re working towards discarding the outdated notion that there is any single way to be a “good mom.” It’s time that we toss the idea that there is a particular way to be a “good step-mom” in the same trash can.
Have you been able to overcome the “Wicked Stepmother Stigma” to find your place within your blended family?
Are you ready for the flurry of the holidays to come racing in? The Hallmark channel has already been on a roll with the best holiday movies and Christmas commercials and displays in stores abound. While the hustle and bustle and holiday cheer can be overwhelming, make it easy to find the family fun and holiday events that are right for you with this guide to Lafayette’s best holiday events.
The Shadows-on-the-Teche is hosting a Christmas Craft Market just in time to for you to finish your holiday shopping! The Shadows Christmas Craft Market is Saturday, December 7th, 2019 from 9am to 3pm...
Are you ready for Christmas?!! New DayCommunity Outreach is hosting a Community Christmas Party at the Northgate Mall. There will be Live Music, Free pictures with Santa, Treats, Community Vendors, an...
PARTICIPATE IN THE TREE DECORATING COMPETITION! The Christmas Tree Extravaganza is open to anyone who wants to decorate a tree and compete in the competition. There is a $100 fee to participate which ...
Bouncing Buddies is proud to be a sponsor for this years Sonic Christmas Parade, that rolls through Downtown on Sunday, December 8th. The annual parade marks the official arrival of Santa in Lafayette...
Please join Asbury UMC Lafayette for this fun and festive celebration of the beginning of the Christmas season. The evening’s activities begin at 4:30pm in Spiritwind Worship Center and includes chi...
On Saturday, December 14th, the annual Old Time Winter Family Day Celebration will begin at 10:00 a.m. and last until 4:00 p.m. with lots more to offer. The village will be filled with great learning ...
Every second Saturday is ArtWalk in Downtown Lafayette. There are so many great exhibitions and events for each month of ArtWalk that it can be hard to keep track of it all! We invite you to use this ...
Rip Van Winkle Gardens along with The Frosted Apron are very excited to announce the 2nd Annual Frosted Christmas at the Gardens! The event will take place on Sunday, December 15, 2019 inside the newl...
On Tuesday, December 17, we will be welcoming a very special guest! Santa will join us for dinner from 6:00-8:00pm. Make your reservations today. We will have a photographer taking pictures, but pleas...
Come hear the narrated story of a Savior born to a virgin in Bethlehem, interspersed with the singing of traditional Christmas carols, as led by local musicians. Presented by First United Methodist Ch...
Join us on the Last Night of 2019 as we celebrate new beginnings with an all-inclusive gala in an exclusive location in the heart of downtown Lafayette; The historic Lafayette Science Museum. By stepp...
“Advent is a time to wait. Not quite time to celebrate. Light the candles one by one, ’till this Advent time is done. Christmas Day will soon be here, time for joy and time for cheer.”
All four of my children have come home from preschool singing this song during the days before Christmas. It’s a precious reminder of the season of Advent, which is a season of waiting.
And it made me think about all the people I love who are in a season of Advent, and waiting for their Christmas.
The woman expectantly awaiting the birth of a child in her womb.
The couple waiting for that little pink line, or a special phone call saying a child is ready for a home.
The unemployed who are waiting for the perfect job offer… or any job offer.
The ever-expanding family waiting for their too-small home to sell.
The family waiting to be reunited with their deployed love one.
Those waiting for good news from their doctors.
There are so many people in their Advent. It’s such a challenging time. We like instant answers and so being told we need to wait for the right buyer, for a job opening, for test results is exhausting and frustrating.
In Advent, the waiting for Christmas is “so hard” that we turn to Advent calendars with their daily little treats and trinkets to help soothe the strain of anticipation. But for those in these real-life waiting situations, a little chocolate doesn’t help.
So, this Advent, I challenge each of you to think of someone in their season of waiting, and carry them in your hearts in the hope that their Advent turns into Christmas joy very soon.
Without a doubt, the best part of this series has been discovering so many new, wonderful places. With one more stop on our virtual tour, I hope you’ll join me on a quick trip to Breaux Bridge, a town that we all know is overflowing with charm, creativity and character. I was tipped off to this gem of a store by a dear friend (& super mom) who lives nearby. It took me all of 45 seconds, once I was inside, to become completely enamored with the merchandise but also the (wo)man power behind it all. Ladies & gentlemen… The Rustic Relic.
Nicole Savoie, the ‘creative entrepreneur’ and owner, who shares 5 kids with her husband, ranging in age from 20-34. The store is a beautiful ‘dream-realized’ for Nicole, who graciously shares the space with her own mom and sister, promoting their own works of art and routinely celebrates the work of other local artists.
The Rustic Relic. It’s hard to summarize all that the walls of this shop hold, but the two generations of makers who fill the space do so beautifully. There’s luxurious, hand crochet blankets, home goods, local art and their specialty… jewelry. Oh, the jewelry. Everything from boho, leather cuffs to recycled Victorian brooches, religious pieces, and so much more.
The dream of owning a studio has lived in Nicole since her ‘early twenties.’ But, a curveball disguised as a health scare helped her to find the motivation and determination to make it happen. The current location is a new development, and one we all hope has staying power.
For all the reasons I’ve already said, and countless more. The Rustic Relic’s mission is “to share the gifts that God has blessed us with and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with the RR.” This permeates every handcrafted piece making every piece of jewelry sold in this shop, truly a ‘statement’ in its own right.
In Nicole’s Own Words
“The most fun I have in our shoppe is when the young girls realize that I can make them a ‘special’ ring. They get a pearl of their choosing or a bead of their favorite color. I let them help me make it while they wear a blinged out tiara!”
“I find it important to maintain a mindset that supports the entire community, including my surrounding small business neighbors.”
“The most important lesson I have learned as a small-town business owner is how important it is to stay true to your mission statement… When I get off track, I just have to regroup and make sure that what I am working on reflects this mission.”
A little lagniappe
It’s no secret that Breaux Bridge is overflowing with shops worth stopping at. Here are a few of Rustic Relic’s neighbors that you should make time for as well!
Artique prides itself on being a shop that supports all Louisiana local artisans. Their vendors range in age from 11-93 and every nook and cranny is filled with handmade art. Store owner, Brandy invites you to “come and get lost for a bit in all the creativity inside.” You won’t have a problem finding the store either, there’s always music playing on the front porch!
Cochon Cannery claims to be ‘just a husband and wife making jam’, but the storefront offers so much more! You’ll find things like Apple Bacon Butter, seasonal fruit jams with bacon, Pork Skins and their signature Bacon Jam (and even a spicy version!). You can also find them at the Lafayette Farmers & Arisians Market on some Saturdays along with Food Popups.
The Hive & The Homestead is run by husband and wife team Jessie & Joey Babineaux. The couple are beekeepers, soap makers, modern homesteaders and owners of this brand new storefront. Their store allows them the space to showcase their passion to the greater community and lets us all get involved! They offer beekeeping equipment, handcrafted soaps using their own local honey and essential oils, heirloom seeds for the urban gardener and so much more!
Pink Alligator Gallery, boasts ‘more ‘funkiness that other galleries’. Artsy and inspiring, they feature art from emerging to established artists like Kelly Guidry, Dutch Kepler and Jerome Weber. A destination for unique, handmade jewelry, outsider folk art, sculpture, vintage décor and of course, alligator accessories including clutches and cuffs by Cocodri and much more!
Thank you for joining us and celebrating some of Acadiana’s mom-run, stand-out small-businesses.
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