Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Seeing what is, instead of what isn't.

Not to sound like a broken record of what the world is already saying--but friendships as adult women can be--difficult. At least that's how I feel. I don't know about you but I have this romanticized idea of it, these people that are your 'home team', and I want every single one of my close relationships to meet all of this high-standard criteria for them to count in some twisted way.

Stay with me here.

Basically in my head the ideal adult friendship goes like this: *note, this goes both ways, not just one sided. :) 

  • Can banter with me/ understands I curse but still love Jesus
  • Can feel completely myself-no judgement if I'm wearing too much makeup or this morning's workout gear. Take me as I am.
  • Loves my kids, as annoying as they can be.
  • On that same note: totally trust them to take my kids/drive them places/can be my 'emergency contact' on school papers (too much?)
  • Looks out for me/has my back + vice versa
  • Conversation is EASY-not forced and like pulling teeth
  • Care about the day to day stuff--live life together, in community together (hence why conversation is easy because duh-we know what's going on in one another's life)
  • Don't feel like I need to apologize-text after hanging out. Sure I probably said the wrong thing, but you likely know that I'm a little much sometimes and eh, we all have our things.
  • Families can all hang out together and it be totally cool/not forced
  • Last minute plans are easy to happen. Quick text to say, "I'm heading to the mall-pick you up in 5?" 
  • Drops coffee off unexpectedly / knows your order
  • Knows you need a break/are stressed--goes out of their way with kind gesture
  • Can question my faith/life's purpose/talk about anxiety and worries, problems etc-and know that I am still loved & supported
  • Texts about the most random things-but like, paint color IS important and yes I care about the rug you choose for your living room

Oof. I could probably go on with the craziness-but you get the idea.

There are times I look at Declan (who is soaring in the friend department right now) and I can get a little jealous--sad, even. I am so happy for him, don't get me wrong. But it makes me step back and take a mental inventory of relationships and closeness-levels and I just think, wow, I'm lacking. AND OF COURSE NO ONE IS MEETING MY CRAZY CLOSE FRIEND IDEALS, I mean, just look at that list

I was talking with someone about this very topic a little while back and she very wisely said--"I've just learned to appreciate the friendships I have for what they are, instead of for what they aren't."

That seems so obvious to many, but a massive lightbulb went off in me. 

Yea, Katie--do that. 

So instead of feeling like I'm in lack and that every relationship is not to the depths of best-friend status I may be wishing for-I'm going to consciously choose to see what I do have.

I do have a group of mama friends who lift one another up in prayer and share burdens via text. I do have a group of family-friends we can text for a park hang-out/or get a last minute bday party together. I do have a sister I can call and bother with nonsense every single day (and I do) and she has to love me. I do have a friend who I trust with my children, text about house-decor, can pickup for last minute "get me out of the house my kids are driving me crazy"-dates. I do have a few friends who are childless--who I extra love because I'm an old mom and they still like me, or pretend to, even if it's just a coffee date every few months. I have the friend who checks in on us at the holidays, to make sure we have some place to go knowing we're so far from family. I have the friend who lives across the country, we send photos back and forth of our growing families and celebrate little victories. I have the friend who will come to my kid's dance performances just because they love them. I have the friend who doesn't mind a mess of kids coming to her house-always welcomes it with open arms. 


I am the friend that will answer your text at 11pm when you're struggling with anxiety. I will venmo you coffee money just to let you know I'm thinking about you. I will pick-up your kids--and you better bet I'll have the right car seats to do it safely. I will hunt down those shoes you've been looking for. I will bring you food to the hospital when your little one is sick. I will drop a meal off at your place when you have a new baby. I will show up when you perform on stage. I will hit up that sale with you-pretty much any time. I will send you a podcast I know you'll love. I will randomly text you timehop pics of our kids together as toddlers and cry about time being a bitch.  I will ask you for help when I really, truly need it. (Asking for help is so.hard. isn't it?) I will bring flowers to your new house just because. 


“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.” 
― Shauna Niequist

Ok, so maybe I don't have the biggest home-team of all time--but I still don't want to miss what I've got by being too consumed with what isn't

Keeping my eyes and heart open--trying to, anyway. xo, xo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

These are the crazy days

Years ago when I was 8 months pregnant with my first, teaching, and tired--I wrote a facebook post stating so. It was true. I was exhausted! Immediately someone replied that I didn't know true exhaustion--just wait. Just wait until you have three kids. I was so offended at the time. Of course I couldn't know what life was like with three kids. Everyone's exhaustion and life stresses look different at different times, you know? And it's all very relative.

Fast forward 9 years and here I am. Three kids. Three (bigg'ish) kids. And I am pretty sure I'm in the same phase as when that person wrote me that response all those years ago. And yea, I totally get where she's coming from (now), and could find myself being the person who snaps back at a tired college student like, honey you wait. But I don't-I try and bite my tongue and remember how it feels.

Anyway-I do get it now because it is absolutely no joke raising humans these ages, with all the emotions, all the dance practices, all the gymnastics, all the homework, all the commitments, all the dinner making, and why god do they keep needing me to sign another school form?!

I expect that things will look different as the girls age even more, different challenges, perhaps a mama way ahead of me is snickering and thinking just you wait-but right this moment? It's by far the hardest, most-stretched we've been as parents. The juggle back and forth with duties between Declan and I can absolutely start to feel like a system that is great, but mundane-and will this always be life? I know though that it won't be. But in the day to day moments? Dear God, can we just make it to bedtime when I can actually put my feet up? That'd be great.

No matter how crazy the days of living in my car running kids back and forth to appointments, practices, taking my laptop to work on-the-go, living at the dance studio (or so it feels some weeks) ---I know these days are so sweet. They are beyond sweet.

Because we still have nights with soft music in the kitchen, cooking dinner amongst all the crazy of homework-doing. We slow dance as a family and squish everyone with kisses. The girls run off and play in their bedrooms together, making grandiose performances for us. They cuddle in our bed together and watch movies. They hold hands unprompted. They want to play games with us. They sneak us little notes constantly. They sleep under our roof every night. We don't worry when they'll get home. We tuck them in and kiss them and know they're as safe and sound as we can control in our own little world. These days are so good. 

It is always easier for me to err on the side of negativity and focus on the hard days. So I plastered a sign right in the middle of my living room, "These are the Days" because I need the reminder every time I walk past it. Yes, getting out the door this morning was awful. Yes, this afternoon they may have struck on every last nerve. And yes, it is still a privilege to raise and love them. Yes.

The days I'll look back on with longing? These ones right here---I'm certain they'll be it.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The easy ins + outs of making a Holiday video--I got you.

This weekend we began decorating for Christmas (don't even @ me- guys, I know-I know...) and right before Declan picked Lucy up to put the star on the tree I yelled, "WAIT!!!!! I NEED TO GET MY CAMERA!!!!!" It was time to start the holiday footage.

See, for years I've captured little snippets of video during the holiday season and then mashed them up into a little montage to a sweet song. They hold some of our sweetest memories and honestly? It takes very little effort to do. Every year when I post it to instagram or facebook I feel like I get a sea of "I wish I did this!" and so I am here to remind you, NOW IS THE TIME TO START.

Honestly-it's easy to remember these things in hindsight, and then feel regret. Gah! All the memories are just in my brain but video? Reliving each holiday with our little 3 minute video makes it feel more than just a tiny blip on the radar. It reminds us that we lived it. It reminds us of the retirement home we sung carols at, the gift exchange with cousins, the tree we decorated, the dresses the girls wore to the Christmas Eve service, and uhh---just how tiny and cute and squishy they were. It reminds us of each home we celebrated Christmas in (since we tend to move so often, it seems), and it gives us all a warm, fuzzy feeling.

I want you to know--IT IS EASY and IF you want to do this, YOU CAN. I'm basically writing this to remind you to start capturing the footage now. Because decorating the tree, visiting the Holiday Zoo, school concerts, trips to the nutcracker, etc, all video worthy.

Here are my tips.

If you don't have a camera with a video setting--then a good phone should work just fine! TAKE YOUR VIDEO WITH YOUR PHONE SIDEWAYS. Horizontal video looks way cuter edited together than vertical footage-- trust me! THIS IS KEY. I take a mix of both. I use my Canon7D on video setting when we're home, and when we're out it's pretty much all iPhone because the truth is I don't lug my camera around anywhere anymore. Note: it may be helpful to make an album of your videos on your phone you can send them to, to keep them separate. OR if you are running out of storage, email them to yourself and delete them. Just make sure when it comes time to find the videos, you know where to get them! Make it easy on yourself :)

Take short clips. First of all, to do this-you do not have to commit to being behind a camera all holiday season, it's MINIMAL EFFORT, promise. Plus it's cute to edit small snippets together versus spend 45 solid seconds on, say, a holiday concert clip. Besides, we all know how painful(ly cute) holiday concerts are. 5-10 seconds, max. Promise. 

Vary your footage. Baking holiday cookies? Perfect! Zoom in on their little hands putting sprinkles on the cookies, or licking their fingers. Everyone ice skating? Awesome--get low to the ground and take a little clip of the fam skating by. Opening presents? Perfect-set up a timelapse--that way you can be phone-free and add a little variation to your video. 

Get the reactions. One good video clip of the kids reacting to Santa bringing the guitar they asked for? GOLD.  Set your kids up to take a "picture" by the tree when they're all dressed up--but ask them to hug it out instead. Get this on video--they'll never know anddd it will likely end in giggles or someone falling to the floor. :)

Insert an interview or two. This isn't totally necessary, but I usually ask the kids each year what they want for Christmas. You could also ask them what they're most excited about...what the season is about...etc--get creative. The answers will usually be really cute. 

Nothing is too Mundane. Going to walk around the block and look at christmas lights? That's a moment. Starbucks date for hot chocolate? Grab a 3 second clip of them licking the whipped cream or holding that cute holiday cup. Christmas parade? Get their reaction to their favorite firetruck. Stringing the lights on the tree? Perfect. 

You'll need less than you think. When it comes down to it, you actually won't need THAT much. I try to get the most variety, and smaller clips. I feel it makes the videos all a bit more interesting to be bopping around versus spending too long on present-opening, for example. There's more that goes into Christmas morning than just opening gifts, right? What about the cinnamon rolls you eat? Or the Christmas story you read? All of those are sweet moments. What about the hug they run and give daddy after he gives them that special gift? Find those moments

Grab some B-Roll. Videos are a little bit more interesting with some extra video thrown in there that all lend to the holiday feel. Don't go crazy on this-but, grab some video clips of the tree with gifts the night before--maybe of the cookies they left for Santa, a candle flickering, the lights on the christmas tree or a zoom in/out of your favorite ornaments--or maybe some video of your house all lit up. It doesn't have to be ALL THE KIDS, every second. Make sense?

Get in the video. You. Yes you. Figure out how to get yourself in the video at least once. At least. Sure the holidays feel a whole lot about your kiddos, but they LOVE to see their parents in there too. So set the camera up, or hand it to a big kid--you need to be in the video--you're part of the family after all. The kids will watch these for years to come (mine totally do) and it's just as special for them to see you in the memories, too.


Ok, you've got the footage--now it's time to put it together. 

I work on a Mac and I use iMovie which is a program installed on all Macs. I believe for Windows, there's a program called Windows Movie Maker that's free. There are also lots of apps for your phone if you have ALL phone footage. I am a self-taught, non-professional, trial-by-error kinda video editor. The thing is, this video is FOR YOU--so do not get hung up on this step or making it perfect. 

You can find a TON of tutorials and videos on how to edit. 

But here is my VERY FIRST TIP:

I always pick my song first. (I usually purchase one off iTunes that has been on an album this season I've been loving-always changes!)

And no matter how much good video I have, I limit my recap to the length of that song. 

This is SUPER important to me. You have to be selective with the clips you end up choosing and how much of those you include.  I find that if you do want to share it on social media, no one is really all that interested in your kids/family as much as you are, so 8 minutes of recap is--well, a lot. But anyone can last for a 3 minute song filled with cute faces and precious moments that seems curated well. You get me?

So stick to one song--for real. 

Then once I know how long that song is, I start editing my clips together. I mute the sound out of MOST videos (which you can figure out how to do, pretty easy!), so don't worry about a super sweet clip but a baby wailing in the background. Just mute it and let the music override it. I also try to mostly put my clips in the order they're taken because it gives a little timeline-glimpse of the season.

When you have interviews or some sweet parts you want to actually hear, you can lower the music volume so that the clip can be heard. You'll see I did this a lot in my video from 2017. 


A few recaps from the past:

(this one has a lot more voice in it than usual-but there were things I really wanted to remember, like the girls Spanish reading, or the sweetness of the things they said about certain gifts, etc)
(In this one I started the music later, after the voice part-and pretty much muted most other tracks after that except the part where the kids found out we were taking them to Disney Land)
(This one is one of my very favorites because we did an early xmas in San Diego and then traveled to PA. My sister also told us she was having a GIRL and you can hear my completely unregulated happy scream--so, volume was necessary for some clips :) 

***Can we just appreciate for a moment that NONE of this is even semi-professional and that doesn't matter--at ALL. You still completely get the feel of each holiday and the special things we've done. So don't let any of that hold you back from doing this if it's something you've wanted to do. 

Also, one last thing to note. By consciously doing video each year I do focus LESS on photos. I actually find for us that the value in a video montage is much higher than a whole album of photos opening presents on Christmas morning. I'm just much more about seeing reactions, or how their little eyes light up at each age, versus a frozen image, especially around this season. Don't get me wrong, I love me some beautiful photography, but a video is just different. It evokes a feel that I don't think all images can. But I make sure each year I get my few favorites in a still image, like everyone dressed up before Christmas Eve Service, or messy-bed heads holding their stockings, etc. Other than those few? Pressure off in the photo-taking department. 

Alright, I think that's it.

So who's in for this year? Can't wait to see how they turn out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

First steps to building the bridge

Anyone else ever taken a ridiculously long time away from something--and then the struggle to get back to it just gets increasingly harder? That's me with writing. Every day, week, month, year(s) that I didn't write anymore made the gaping crack bigger and bigger, feeling impossible to just jump to the other side and go for it again. It's kind of like when you take a week off of working out and then it turns into two...and...and--then going back suddenly feels like the most massive hurdle to overcome. Or old friendships. Time and distance gets bigger...and then sending that "hey-been thinking of you" text just feels meaningless and like, 'why bother'?

Anyway-you get it. This is me and writing.

I've never ever felt that my writing would take me anywhere. In fact, that feels kind of embarrassing to even talk about. What I mean is- I was never one of those bloggers expecting to get a book deal out of the gig. I felt writing connected me to the thoughts I struggled to often pinpoint in my brain, and it connected me to my vulnerability.

Speaking of--I have learned that being vulnerable is very hard for me. I'm not shocked to learn this--I have a hard shell, no doubt. But being vulnerable actually makes me feel like I'm losing some control. When I used to write all the time, I actually let people in. And by letting people in, I actually had to get very freaking vulnerable. And that meant sometimes being attacked (verbally). Or sometimes getting weird shit sent to my house (yes this really happened, multiple times. Hi to the insane-weirdo who has time for that.) I panicked, put my guard right back up--built a wall around my little life, and decided that subjecting myself or my family to any scrutiny was downright silly of me. Why would I ever do such a thing?

But the thing is-yes, as my children get older I will talk less about them--that just comes with giving them space and allowing them to flourish without being blasted on the internet as some tale-to-tell. But opening myself back up to letting words flow in and out of my head, giving myself a space to process, hopefully relate with others? Well that's just part of self-care for me that I've been majorly stifling. For the last few years I haven't given space for it in my life--and I have felt the void down to my core. I have missed it, but I've brushed it off as 'there was a time and place for that--and that's over now'.  But I feel the longing. I wrote it as a goal in January to bring myself back to this space. I have about 10 half-written drafts in here, and could never hit publish. And now it's freaking November--awesome goal setting.

I'm still figuring out exactly what this space will be--but mostly, it's for me. This blog is older than my marriage. It holds the most juvenile pieces I've ever written, mundane day-to-day stuff, an entire detailed baby-book of Emeline's life, insane over-sharing, stuff I should probably be mortified about. But yet-it's mine.

The last year(s) I have given my all to my family, my job, my health--all of which are good things, no doubt. But at the same time, I completely turned off a part of me that I need and crave-that connects me to my beliefs, my thoughts, my vulnerability. The divide between me and poring over words on a screen has become so large--but I'm gonna start building a bridge to get back there. I have to.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The 6 Week Bootcamp you always hear me blab about...// Tips, Tricks, Info and Help!

This post is long, long overdue. Last June (2017) I was sitting on my couch in the wee hours of the morning with the early riser of the house (ahem, HATTIE) scrolling my instagram feed. I have no idea how or why but somehow I stumbled upon someone's transformation on Amanda Tress' program, FASTer Way to Fat Loss.

I was at a place where I was so bored with a certain way of eating and my workouts that I had become a little lazy--we also had a trip in August for our 10 year to HAWAII. On a whim, without overthinking it a million times I registered for that program and the rest is history.

In 7 weeks (1 week prep, plus 6 weeks of the program) I was able to lose 11 lbs and 11+ inches. I have friends and family who had even better results than that. I have continued to re-join the bootcamps because frankly, I love the motivation, the workouts, the food cycle, and the way I feel when I do it. My second time around, I lost about 4-5 lbs and ANOTHER 7.5" inches. Here are those photos:
(top: pre-first round, bottom: post second round)

I get questions non-stop about this program and I love it, but I decided to create this post as a catch-all to house all the info that may answer some of your questions, so here's the scoop:

What IS the FASTer Way to Fat Loss in a nutshell?

It's a program that implements intermittent fasting, carb cycling, macro counting and innovative and effective workouts (for beginners, gym-goers or those at-home workout people).

Wow, that sounds intense. Is it?

I admit that upon starting the program, the first thing I do tell people is DO NOT let the information overwhelm you. Once you get going, and truly take it a day at a time, it is SO simple and easy to follow. But at first, it can freak you out. Also, I had never counted a macro nutrient a day in my life and was absolutely sure I couldn't handle it. ---Fun fact: Turned out it's freaking easy and MyFitnessPal basically does it all for you. WHO KNEW! haha.

What's the fasting entail?

A huge part of the program is our lifestyle of Intermittent Fasting. This means that we eat everyday on a 16/8 schedule. So 16 hours a day our body is in a fasted state (from 8pm at night until 12 noon the next you're sleeping a good chunk of it!), while eating only during your 8 hour FEED window. Most ladies break their fast 12 noon and eat until 8pm. Others have different schedules and do 11am-7pm, etc. 

Fasting?!? I will surely die not eating breakfast. 

Actually, you won't :) After your body adjusts to the fasting schedule you will be so used to it, it truly becomes THE EASIEST part of the entire program. You'll gain your mornings back (no need to worry about making yourself breakfast anymore), and you can even still have YOUR COFFEE. So relax. 

Things acceptable to have during fasting hours: water, seltzer/la croix, herbal teas (with no sugar), coffee, coffee creamer up to 50 calories only, kombucha (also keep the 50 total cals thing in mind if you drink while fasting!).

Why the heck do you FAST? 

Amanda's website answers this SO clearly so I'm going direct you RIGHT HERE. But the basic gist is, keeping your food to a certain time frame allows you to become an optimal FAT burner. It allows you to maintain muscle mass which speeds up your metabolic rate, while helping you shed fat. 

Other benefits include: better sleep, more energy, greater mental clarity and the development of more neurons in the brain, along with better digestions and less inflammation.

Carb Cycling--whhhhat??

This is basically a fancy term to say that two days a week on the program (Mondays & Tuesdays) we engage in a a LOW CARB day where we eat high protein and high fat, while limiting our carbs to 50 Net for the day. Then, we combine with a Cardio-style workout (HIIT, sprinting, or Tabata...will be provided for you :) ) to deplete our glycogen stores and effectively burn fat. 

Sound awesome? It is. 

What about the other days?

The other days you get to LIFT WEIGHTS! Or do super awesome leg, back, biceps, shoulders, and ab workouts that will totally change your body. You also get to eat at your regular Macro split which means YOU GET TO EAT CARBS! In fact, you'll get to eat a decent amount of them and you're gonna love it. 

Will I ever get a break?

Yes! I love that this program incorporates two rest days (or active recovery...go for a walk, hike-or don't--up to you!)  On those days, we just simply watch our calories a bit closer and since we aren't doing a hard workout or burning too many extra calories we keep it a bit lower. Nothing crazy, and not hard at all. 

Will I be starving?

Absolutely not. In fact, I think you'll be the opposite. The only time I ever get hungry on this program is just before I'm ready to break my fast, which makes sense. However, during the 8 hour eating window I am NEVER hungry. It's not a lot of time to fit in your daily calories/macros, therefore you're kind of eating a lot (of the right things)(at the right time), therefore--you should NOT be hungry. 

If I do get hungry or just want to munch on something after 8pm, I try to curb that by making some nighttime herbal sleepy tea or something and sipping it while we watch a show. 

The price seems higher than I'm used to spending, what do I get for my money? 

I've heard this a lot of times--and to be honest, I had the same hurdle at first. I used money I had stashed away from Christmas the previous year to pay for my first round. Once my world was opened up to this wealth of knowledge from this program and lifestyle, I can tell you that this program is WORTH EVERY PENNY. 

But you must put the work in. 

I know people who have paid for the program and didn't do a ton beyond that--and well, they didn't really get results. Of course you've gotta do the work, learn the program, and then try and kick ass at it every day. I promise you if you do that it will be beyond worth it and easily become a lifestyle you can maintain on your own. (You may just become like me and get slightly addicted, haha!)

Paying for a bootcamp round gets you access to certified FWTFL Coaches, a Facebook group with daily accountability posts where you report your macros, ask questions, hear from Amanda, etc. It also gets you access to the Portal which is the place that holds all of the daily workouts for each day, the comprehensive nutrition plan, our food cycle chart, and a load of videos and resources. You'll also have a bunch of live calls with the founder and trainer with all her tips, how to set up your MyFitnessPal, how to plan for Low Carb days, etc. 


Some things worth noting:

-We are encouraged to be as gluten and dairy free as possible. However, I will tell you that I am not sensitive to either of these things and have incorporated (some) gluten and some cheese into my diet in an IIFYM (if it fits your macros) approach since June and have still seen results. You'll see some of these foods in my photos below.

-Always try and choose whole foods over processed things. But life happens--so be flexible.

-Typically you are encouraged to workout while in a Fasted state (so that would mean MORNING). If this doesn't fit your schedule, that is FINE and the program will still work. I promise you, you will have energy to workout, even in the hardest workouts once your body adjusts to this schedule. I now perform better and stronger while fasted, versus having food in my stomach.

-There will never be a "perfect" time to do this. If you're feeling the nudge, just go for it. There will always be a girls weekend or wine tasting or something else---adjust, tweak, make it work. It's not a huge deal!

-This program encourages TREATS. In fact, you'll see that the trainer Amanda often posts about donuts :) After our Saturday leg day we pretty much always go and get donuts, too! hah! Listen, depriving yourself never leads to a balanced, happy life. So relax. 

You can eat all the foods you love on this program, just in moderation--if it fits your macros, and it is MAINTAINABLE. 


Some of my Food: 

(Some of the things you see: Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausages, Aidell's Meatballs, Turkey Burgers, Tuna, Eggs, Salmon, Brussels with Bacon, Feta cheese on salads, Good Foods Feta Cucumber Dip, rotisserie chicken, cooked veggies, rotisserie chicken, taco "bowl", riced broccoli, guacamole....) 

Low Carb Day Tips: On low carb day you get to eat high fat and high protein, so these are the days I tend to eat avocado, sausage, ground beef (also higher in fat then say, ground turkey), add bacon to my salads/vegetables, maybe add peanut butter to my snacks, possibly eat nuts/almonds, etc, add some cheese to my salads or food. Make sense? 

Regular Macro Day means you GET TO EAT SOME CARBS! Always choose healthy carbs first and foremost like fruit (yes, fruit has CARBS!), sweet potatoes, maybe even some rice with your dinner. However, you'll see I use the Low Carb Tortillas to change up my meals sometimes. I also eat oatmeal, sometimes protein pancakes, and on Saturdays YES we eat donuts! :) 

Regular Macro Day Tips: You will still be eating healthy. But you will have room for carbs in your day! So you will get to fill those carbs with things like fruit, oatmeal, rice, beans, corn, etc. :) 


Look, when I signed up to do this program I wasn't expecting a lot. But I did get a lot. I gained confidence in the gym because the workouts are killer and made me get comfortable on machines. I got stronger. Leaner. More excited about my health. BUT I ALSO HAD PIZZA AND BEER AND DONUTS SOMETIMES.

After my round I decided I loved it enough to share it with you and became an affiliate partner. I've since seen so many women take back their health and just feel so balanced and good about themselves by making SIMPLE TWEAKS. I continue to join the bootcamps every 2 months because I really like the accountability and I love getting the new workouts, having someone to check in on my macros to, and just the community in general. 

Check out these little testimonials from my IG stories this week:

I just love that these ladies are still living LIFE, without being restrictive, and having results. yess.


Busy moms are making this work. What the heck are you waiting for? :) 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seasons & Shame

You hear this seasons term all the time, I'm sure. I hear it--and something inside me pushes it away as if it's some jargon to use to get away with quitting easily, or moving on with no regret or shame. No doubt I struggle to accept the reality that there are indeed seasons of life- changes that come, that need to come, that are inevitable or best for you, or me, or heck, everyone involved...the greater cause perhaps.

The last nine months I have pretty much dedicated every spare second to working for my church as the Children's Ministry Director. It was one of the scariest, exciting and challenging seasons (there I go with that word) of my life thus far. It was there that I discovered I'm actually more capable than I gave myself credit for. It was there that I discovered leading people was both humbling and so beautiful. It was there that I discovered how deeply I need people, relationships, one-on-one interactions with sweet souls more often than I'd ever made time for in my life prior.  It was there that I let so many new people in-- sharing my life with them--in turn watching my little girls fully embraced and loved by people who have now become like family.

That season has been so rich, and so full, and yes, so very busy if I'm being honest with myself--but also so life giving. It changed me.

I have always been one of those people very obsessed with flowers and plants, taking out my iPhone embarrassingly on walks to capture yet another gorgeous California bloom. Yet I'm not one to actually have a beautiful flower garden in my own yard. I don't take the time to dig the dirt, find the right soil, get my hands dirty and do the work to have lovely flowers that return year after year.

Pretty interesting that it kind of correlates to my life, huh? I'm actually having a little bit of an ah-ha moment as I type. Somehow, I've always admired the rich friendships and bonds and beautiful blossoming relationships others had...but I've never been really willing to dig deep and do the work in my own life to get there, too. Until this past year.

I recently decided it was time for me to step down from leading this ministry for a variety of reasons, but mainly, I really knew that personally my focus and balance was off. My kids are so little, and gosh, their lives are flying by. I just really want to be a good mama to them and for the sake of sticking with a theme, I want to stop-enjoy their beautiful flowery goodness, take too many photos, be able to be present in mind and not feel stretched beyond my capacity.

As much as I know it's the right decision, this is where that ugly shame word can creep in. You could only handle it for 9 months. What kind of person stops a job after that short amount of time? What did you even do? You clearly weren't meant for this role at all. 

It's pretty dang timely that I'm reading The Gifts of Imperfection, and sweet 'ole sucker-punch-you author Brene Brown just happens to be the master researcher in Shame. She says that "Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable --it's the total opposite of owning our own story and feeling worthy. Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging."

..."Shame keeps worthiness away by convincing us that owning our stories will lead to people thinking less of us."

So true, right? The human struggle. We want love and belonging and we don't want people to think less of us, because, gasp--the horror.

I am so grateful that I'm part of a community that both recognizes seasons of life as a real thing, and also quickly lays fears of shame to rest.

I now have my own flower bed of relationships that will not just go away-- but grow deeper and fuller the more I care and invest into them, especially as I have more capacity to do so. I grew, I changed. God knew exactly what he was doing and wove me right into all of it.

I am worthy, I am loved, I still belong. I'm owning my story.

print by Jackie (one of the beautiful souls I met along the way)

Monday, October 17, 2016

What's bothering you?

I was just about to write a massively long Facebook status about something and thought, "This is the exact reason I used to blog".

So I guess, whatever, I'm here...and likely to go on a tangent.

The girls are now 6, 4 and 8 months old and as ridiculous and cliche as it sounds, the days and the weeks fly by so fast now it terrifies me sometimes to think about. Life can just get so busy (like real-busy, not just saying-it kind-of busy).

It's wild to think about, but when we first moved to San Diego, while that in and of itself was a whirlwind and adventure, we were in the quietest 'down' season of our life thus far. It was actually a beautiful thing. We had no other commitments, we hadn't made many friends, and we had an abundance of time because our kids weren't yet in real school. We traveled, we saw, we spent so much time together because we only had each other.  I will forever be grateful for that time we had to just connect as a family.

Now, things are different--but it's equally beautiful, albeit crazier. The girls are both in full time school, Hattie is the most mobile 8 month old ever, Declan is thriving and moving up in his job, and I took on a position at our church. We (thankfully) now have some amazing friendships with people, our kids have a huge social life outside our little family nucleus--and while all that is fun and amazing and exciting to be stretched and used by God, and pushed to do more and bigger and better...........I'm tired. Declan and I juggle around duties and to-do's and who-takes-what-kid-where, and our iPhone calendars are always notifying us of the next thing, pinging and ponging all the time. I know people say they couldn't do life-stuff without their spouse. But, uh--I reeeeally mean it. There's actually no possible way I could.

This was definitely not the point in me taking to my blog today for the first time in months. But I guess it kind of leads in to the fact that sometimes I'm a teeny-bit tapped out when dealing with those crazy moments of motherhood and this morning was a fine example of that.

I picked out Lucy's clothes ahead of time, like I always do to avoid epic meltdowns of very opinionated little people. The only problem was that I didn't get to check with her last night that it was indeed a suitable choice. So this morning? Yea--she was freaking out. Tears. Screams. Like I had poked her with a million needles or something. But no, heaven forbid I chose purple leggings that "don't go down far enough" (she likes her pants reallyyyy long), and "are itchy a little on the inside" (they aren't), and "but I wanted a DOWN dress like a down-down dress with a SWEATER!" (down=long)

I was totally calm about it, but just told her that she couldn't come have breakfast until she was dressed, and she needed to wear what I put out. After a while too long went by, I think I let out an exasperated sigh, and made eye contact with Emeline, who was cheerfully eating her bagel and entertaining her baby sis. I think she read my mind which went something like this, "I give up. I give up. I give up." (regarding Lucy)

Without saying a word, she put her food down and calmly walked to their bedroom. She got down low, eye-to-eye with her sister, and said, "What's bothering you?" Through tears Lucy muttered something about her pants, something about the color, something about how her dress isn't princess-enough.

Then Emeline said in the lowest, calmest, most evenly-keeled voice ever- "If you do me a favor and get dressed in what Mom put out for you, I'll put one of my candies into your bag, and you can have it."

Within 2 minutes the tears had stopped and Lucy came out of her room as if the entire meltdown of epic proportions did not just happen. She bopped around, popped into her chair and asked for breakfast, in the clothes I had set out for her.

Emeline and I exchanged a secret high-five and I thought two things in that moment: a) I'm so glad I have an Emeline, dude, that kid is amazing, and b) Crap, I hope she doesn't end up in therapy for this.

As our family is growing and aging and life is actually really full, it takes a team--and even our kids know that. But I'm thankful for that teeny reminder today to take a second, look someone right in the eye, and ask them what's bothering them. If that doesn't get to the heart of the issue, heck, there's always candy.