You Fit Here

You Fit Here

Four years ago, when we started this wild adventure, we had absolutely no idea where we would go (or quite frankly what we were doing! At all). We were just 2 moms who loved Starbucks (CB) and Diet Coke (CS) with big dreams for ourselves and high hopes for our kids. So we started a business. I mean why not?! We were buying shirts for our kids with funny/sassy messages on them, and we decided maybe it was time to create ones with inspiring, kind messages instead. Something we would be proud to put them in, and words that might help us reach our best parental potential. We created Mama Said Tees with the intent of spreading kindness across the hearts of our children, and hopefully others! The immediate response to our little company that could was overwhelming (in the BEST way), and we knew we were headed in the right direction.

Over the past four years, we have succeeded, we have failed, we have had some not so great ideas and we’ve had some ideas SO outstanding they were copied in BIG BOX retail stores! We have learned so much about ourselves and have taught each other along the way how to be business owners literally from the ground up. There have been times that we have been so frustrated we have wanted to stop pressing forward, but something has always kept us going…and that is you, and the difference we know we are making in this world with your help. So many things can happen in four years. We have met the most amazing people which have turned into forever friendships. We have gained the most unbelievably loyal customers who we are forever indebted to. And we have read/heard heartfelt stories that have stopped us in our tracks. It’s these shared stories that have helped us realize the true impact that we can have on the world. We cannot thank every one of you enough for helping us get to where we are today.

So here we are four years later. CB still LOOOOVES her Starbucks, but CS ditched Diet Coke. A lot has changed (we started with a total of THREE kids and 1 furry baby and now we have SEVEN kids and the same furry baby!) What started as a small t-shirt company has been built into a brand we are proud to call ours, and we know it’s time that our name reflects who we have become. Mama Said Tees is still a part of us; it will always be the foundation for what we build. We are not saying goodbye to Mama Said Tees, because we are still US…but it’s time to say hello to EVERYKIND: a space where every single person fits and feels welcome.

We want the world to be a better place, we want our messages to reach far and wide, and we want to help all of those around us. We see the good in the world, but we also know there is some bad…so why not change that with a little bit of kindness? We’re ready to write the next chapter and to see where the next forty years take us! We have BIG plans for EVERYKIND. The sky is the limit and we are so excited for all of you to join us for the ride!

xo, C&C

Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 4.21.36 PM.png

Everybody is Different (Different is Normal)

Everybody is Different (Different is Normal)

We are so honored to share this blog, written by the fabulous Katie Crenshaw. We have “known” Katie for about 2 years, and are so proud to work alongside her to celebrate our differences and give back to an amazing foundation. Enjoy and… be kind!

April 30, 2018

As Charlie nears her third birthday, I can’t help but think about the journey we’ve been on with her hemangioma. Not the hemangioma itself, but the emotional journey we have taken as her parents and advocates. While she is still too little to notice much of anything about her outward appearance, we have never hesitated to instill wisdom in her and the people around her. I’ve written open letters to the public, imploring society to shift their ideas of beauty and normalcy.

I never miss an opportunity to tell Charlie she’s smart. I tell her she’s funny. I tell her she’s kind and special and valuable. I tell her she’s beautiful. The handful times she has mentioned her “pink cheek” I tell her it’s super pretty and cool. Then, I might tell her in that same conversation that Lincoln’s brown eyes are cool, too. Or maybe, “Look! My huge pink stretch marks from having three babies are cool.” Or “Guess what else? every single person in our house and in the world has something unique about them that is beautiful and important”

Differences aren’t sad. Differences aren’t negative. The only thing that perpetuates negativity, is the idea in some parts of our culture that “differences” are something to feel sorry about. If the conversation changed, maybe, eventually, kids wouldn’t even pick on other kids for their “differences”. Imagine a world where it wouldn’t be anything other than celebrated.

I get asked a lot, “What’s the best way to respond if my child is curious about Charlie’s face?”

I always say the same thing. It’s beautiful to be curious. Don’t be sad for her. Don’t be scared of her. Keep the conversation going that everyone is different and different is normal. There’s not a prototype. We are all exactly who we are meant to be and we ALL have things, inside and out that make us special- and that IS normal.


Tomorrow is the first day of May, which kicks off Hemangioma Awareness Month. I’m thrilled to announce a project in collaboration with Mama Said Tees. In honor of their 2-Year Anniversary of their #LetsRedefineNormal campaign, they are releasing a brand new tee shirt design, shown on Charlie.

Everybody is Different | Different is Normal T-Shirt

For the entire month of May, 20% of ALL sales will go toward the Vascular Birthmark Foundation. I adore this mama-owned small shop and have been working with them for two years. I strongly believe in their mission of changing the world through adorable tees with a clever design and a powerful message. Take a look at their shop and support a cause close to our hearts.

Remember, “different” isn’t the exception to the rule; “different” IS the rule.

I am totally normal

I am totally normal

I often find myself wondering how I got to where I am. Sometimes all I have to do is close my eyes, and I can vividly remember a specific moment when I was with my sister. She is playing with her eyebrows, or doing her lipstick in her little pink mirror with a frog prince on it (that I got her), and we are crying from laughing so hard. We are torturing my mom with one of our perfectly executed accents. We are sitting out at my parents’ pool watching our kids swim, and she is bragging to me about how savage her tan is compared to mine; trying to buy rights to being the funnier of the two of us.  We are at the movies, eating popcorn and drinking fat diet cokes, and when we walk out we rant about how we TOTALLY should have gone to Hollywood when we had the chance. We would be discovered at a diner and that would be it.  We are with our sister and my mom in NYC, eating pasta in Little Italy and smiling so much it hurts. It isn’t until I open my eyes that I realize she isn’t there. She isn’t even a text message away. All I have left of her is some of my favorite memories. And her two most prized possessions: her boys.

 

I’ve spent my whole life hearing stories about people, and personally knowing people who have been through the gutter. Once or twice tragic things struck close to home, and I felt pain for people’s hardships or losses, and I grieved for them. But you never think that anything like what happened to my family will happen to you. I know I didn’t. But it did.  My sister was murdered in cold blood by her ex-husband who then took his own life in my parents’ home, in FRONT of my parents. And as if it could get any worse… in front of their sons.  You might have seen a story on the news like this, lost your breath and thought, “bless that family. I cannot imagine.” I know I would have. But often times what I think about is that it COULD have been worse. My brother in law was a gentle kind soul at one time. He grew ill. He suffered with mental illness and depression, and I will never take those diseases lightly. What he did was NOT what I would call “normal”, but what he was going through, sadly, was (and is for SO many others.)

 

IMG_6953

This campaign is more than an important thing to me. It is everything I believe in. My family is not like any other family that we know, but we know we are not alone. It is so important to me that everyone is made to feel like they are normal, no matter where they come from what they look like what they believe in or what they don’t. Love and compassion and acceptance can soften the hardest hearts, and the harder we try to spread it, the more likely we are to make the world a better place. It literally hurts my being to think that any person is made to feel picked on or lost or lonely. It is NEVER ok to mistreat someone. It is NEVER ok to exclude anybody. It is ok to not agree with someone, but we have to learn to accept that we are all entitled to our own opinions. We must learn to listen to understand, and not just react/reply/defend ourselves.  When we released “Kind is the New Cool” as our first shirt, it was with a lot of heart and a firm belief that if we can convey this message as the truth, then kindness would find its way into many hearts. Kind is actually the only cool. If you saw me on the street or out to dinner, I might look like I have it all together. I am a happy person with a kind spirit. No one would guess that my heart is broken, held together by threads of love and hope and faith.  But knowing that about myself helps me to have compassion for everyone else I come into contact with. I want to make the world better by simply acting in a way that reflects my passion for fairness and restoring hope for people of every kind.

 

I have come a long way in the 3.5 years since Shannon died. In the beginning I worried way too much about things like what the boys liked on their sandwiches. Would they be cool that we are a JIF family? That sometimes we eat cereal for dinner? Did they need me to tuck them in? Man that seems like a long time ago. We have come so far. Just last week for my 34th birthday Connor (who is 13) gave me a card that said “Mom”. It was the first time he has ever identified me as his “parent”. On the inside he addressed me as “Aunt CoCo”, and that was just fine. It was perfect actually.  I will never take their moms place, and I don’t want to.  But I am raising them and love them as if they were my own, and that gesture meant more to me than if he called me “mom” from day 1. My sister was THE BEST mom to my boys, and I just pray that they never forget how much she loved them. Their dad, too. They were so loved, and always will be. All of my children will. And to me there is nothing more important. Between loving them and spreading love to the world, I think I’m doing alright. I was called to be kind.

img_4335-1.jpg

My name is Colleen. I married an angel. I have watched “The Office” at least 12 times. I like baked lays and cold, cold grapes. I love good books and fab tv and My Favorite Murder (it’s a Podcast). I wear a sleep mask and drink a LOT of water. I need my mom more than ever. I say “bless your heart” a lot and I mean it every time. I am totally normal.

 

How throwing out a little love changed my marriage

How throwing out a little love changed my marriage

I am going to get a little bit personal for today’s blog post, but I think that this topic lends itself so beautifully to showing love. In September of 2015, we were still adjusting to our new life: moving from St. Louis to Indy and going from two to four kids and then, just for the fun of it, adding one more to the mix. If you don’t know our backstory, you can learn a little more here.

Our lives changed so quickly, and many of you know what that feels like. I was becoming a version of myself I didn’t recognize (or like), and if I learned anything from losing my sister I knew that life was too short to not be the BEST version of me. I have always been a loving, compassionate, thoughtful person and wife, and I started finding myself nagging, bickering and trying to prove a point constantly. Though I knew it was likely due to lack of sleep and the hustle and bustle of having 5 kids and working from home, I knew that something needed to change or that I needed to change SOMETHING. I was praying a lot and looking for answers and low and behold I spoke to my aunt one morning and she told me that she was doing something called “the love dare.” She told me enough about it to intrigue me, and so I did some research. I learned that “the love dare” is more or less a 40 day dedication to strengthening your relationship by simply practicing unconditional love. Accepting the dare meant no negativity toward my husband, period. I decided that I loved him, myself and my family too much not to give it a go, and so I committed myself to it.

The first day was the hardest. I remember it so clearly. I woke up knowing that I was going to dedicate myself to being loving, patient, understanding and kind: no negativity toward my husband whatsoever. The PDF guide instructed me to do the following: The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.

Easier said than done my friends! The day didn’t start out great. We were in a downward spiral of pointing out each other’s flaws, but since I couldn’t be defensive, his condescending tone hurt me so much worse than before. It was a Tuesday. He came down to the kitchen and I was frustrated having been up several times nursing and then up before him to feed the rest of my kids breakfast before school. But I knew that I had to push those feelings and my pride aside for the sake of our happiness. Instead of our usual “good morning sunshine routine” we were accustomed to back in the good old days, he immediately commented on my poor choices of lunch contents for our oldest. What I WANTED TO SAY was…  well, I can’t put that in this blog. But you know it was something like… “Well then. Why don’t YOU wake up 20 minutes earlier so you can get down here and help me with 5 kids OR pack his lunch your stupid SELF you mean monster!” 🙂 Instead, I bit my tongue. I fought the urge to lash out, looked down at Connor’s lunch and very kindly said, “You know what. You’re right. But we don’t have any bananas and that’s the only fruit he likes. I will be sure to pick some up today.” He looked at me suspcisiouly, wondering what my motive was. But all I could do was smile even though I felt like buckling to the floor and sobbing.

This went on all week. He started softening a little bit, but those first few days made it even more clear to me just how mean we had decided to be to one another. You have to bare in mind that I am married to a truly WONDERFUL man. Part of why I fell in love with him was because he is simply a nice person. I felt like grief and change had temporarily stripped us of our best qualities, so I remained strong and each day I went above and beyond the “dare” for the day and tried the practices on my kids as well.

That Saturday evening my mom took me to see a play, and it was my first night “out” since our baby was born in August. That day’s dare was as follows: Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking him or her or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only. When I got home that evening he was already in bed, so I changed into my comfies and went to give him a giant hug and kiss. I eased into a conversation and asked him to tell me three things that caused him to be uncomfortable and irritated with me. I told him I PROMISED to simply listen, because I just wanted to be the woman he married and more. He looked at me, confused, and thought a minute. I could tell he was hesitant, and the way we had been treating each other as of late, I didn’t blame him. But I asked again and he told me 3 things. I thanked him, and told him I would work really hard to work on those things, my heart aching. All 3 of the things he expressed were things I NEVER wanted to be or do. I knew in my heart that he wasn’t the only one who was irritated with those behaviors.  I will never forget what he said next. Out of nowhere he asked me… “Colleen. Are you like, having an affair or something?” I jolted up, stunned. “What?! No. Of course not. Never. I would never do that to you. I love you.” And he very cautiously said something like “it’s just that this last week…. you have been so… nice to me.”

You could guess that this triggered some seriously pitiful and remorseful emotions. My husband was alarmed because I was being NICE. This made it that much more important for me to continue the dare, without him knowing, and I did. By the end of the 40 days, it was like he was doing the dare too, even though he knew NOTHING about it. My positive way of handling things and my unconditional love was more contagious. Our marriage grew stronger. I thanked God (and my aunt!) for giving me the strength to take this dare. And from time to time, when life gets hectic, I look at the PDF and do it for a few days, to get myself and our love back on track.

I know that “the love dare” is intended for relationships, but I can’t help but think about a version that applies to every day life. “People make bad choices when they’re mad or scared or stressed. Throw a little love their way and you’ll bring out their best.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. (THANKS, Frozen!). Every day we have a chance to make or break someone’s day or their spirits. In a world where we get to make our own choices about who we are and the mark we will leave behind, it is a puzzle to me why we would want to be anything but kind. THROW A LITTLE LOVE!

xoxo CS

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 11.09.19 AM

“Throw a little love” Adult tee – Mama Said Tees

IMG_3048

This man deserves the best of me. We all owe it to ourselves to love and be loved!

The World Is Changed By Your Example, Not By Your Opinion – Paulo Coello

The World Is Changed By Your Example, Not By Your Opinion – Paulo Coello

Do you remember the old saying, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”? Well, it couldn’t be more true, still today! We live in this wonderful world where we can speak, learn & grow without limitations. We have the power to make a difference & change things for the better. However, one thing we have learned is that our opinions don’t change anything, actions do. Our actions are what create and set an example for others.

There are so many platforms from which we can voice our opinions today that it makes it hard to utilize them for fun. Social media, what was thought to be a fun place for photos, stories & socialization has turned into a space filled with opinions & arguments. Opinions on politics, parenting, and whether the dress is blue or white. We definitely like to use our first amendment rights! But voicing our opinions is not going to make the world a better place. Going out & making a difference will. Our actions of spreading kindness, donating our time, helping others, etc…will truly change the world!

We can set an example for so many others by practicing what we preach. We have little (and big) eyes constantly watching what we do. Telling them that we believe in being kind to others may go in one ear and out the other. But if we show them our kindness towards others they will watch and they will follow our example. We should give them something to believe in and strive towards. Our example paves the way for so many others just as our role models did for us. What did your favorite role models do to inspire you?

We have such precious time in life to be happy, make a difference & enjoy ourselves so we suggest we don’t waste it trying to be “right” with our opinions, but rather by setting an example and by being the best versions of ourselves we possibly can! Thank you Paulo Coello for this beautiful quote! We couldn’t imagine not spreading it everywhere for the world to see!

Now let’s get out there & show the world what we’re made of!

the-world-is-changed-by-your-example-not-by-your-opinion-mama-said-tees-e1522867211546.jpg
Photo by Ryan Dempsey Photo
The World Is Changed By Your Example, Not By Your Opinion _ Mama Said Tees.jpg
The World is Change by your Example, Not By Your Opinion Tee – Mama Said Tees

Throw A Little Love

Throw A Little Love

Much of our happiness is dependent upon how others treat us; how they make us feel. In most cases, people treat us the way we treat others. We learned about the golden rule when we were tiny children, yet it seems as though the older we get the more we need to remind ourselves that such a rule exists; that treating others with love and compassion and respect is an option we get to CHOOSE! And how cool is that? Other’s feelings and consequently our OWN feelings are literally at our fingertips (and in our hearts).

Another thing that seems to happen the older we get is the more meaning we find in simple things, such as movies we have seen a dozen times. There is a line in a song from Frozen that has really made us stop and sing (because we love to sing) and think: “People Make Bad Choices If They’re Mad or Scared or Stressed. Throw a Little Love Their Way and You’ll Bring Out Their Best!” The whole song is just SO. GOOD. But that line. Just those 23 little words make so much sense to the mind of someone who wants to be happy and make others happy as well.

We have been talking about doing some version of a rainbow tee for a really really really long time. We keep thinking of awesome ways to incorporate one, but have not been sold until we decided that we wanted to design a shirt with that line from that song from Frozen. And thus, our THROW A LITTLE LOVE tee was born. And if we do say so ourselves, it is pretty special. We believe that rainbows represent so many things, and our hope is that on top of the message being a really good one, the design will mean something different to everyone. Everyone is different, after all. Different is normal. Let’s continue to redefine what “normal” means by respecting that every color of the rainbow lends to its overall beauty. 🌈❤️✌🏼

Throw A Little Love Their Way Children's Tee _ Mama Said Tees
Throw A Little Love Children’s Tee – Mama Said Tees