Thursday, November 27, 2014

a lesson in gratitude

Yesterday, my friend Leah, talented photographer and beautiful momma to four posted a link on facebook to this blog post by Wildflowers Photography. I don't click on everything on facebook---let's be honest, there's just not time, but if I get that little inkling that it may speak to you, katie, I click.

I clicked on that link and I read. I read, and I read and I felt convicted in that gentle, loving way that I am letting time pass me by.

This clincher statement:
"So, with that, friends, I urge you to take notice. Notice when life is passing you by and fight to stay present. Fight against fear when it tells you that there isn’t anything worth remembering. Because those days become years; and, before you know it, you’ve missed it. Don’t miss it. Start documenting life in your own home. Don’t worry if there is still laundry on the floor from last week. Soon your babies will outgrow those clothes, and your hands won’t be as full, and when you look back at that photograph you took so many years ago, with little muddy shirts and pants on the floor, you will feel a longing just at the sight of it."

Fight to stay present. How guilty am I of this? 

I stopped documenting little moments because they didn't seem photography-worthy. The house is dark because of the cloudy day and the snow was falling outside. It's certainly not an ideal environment to drag out my camera. Besides, the house is a wreck, the kids have been into everything, I was in the middle of cooking dinner, in fact. They'd crafted beaded necklaces half the day, drawn on the table with sharpie (cough, Lu), whined about who hit who so many times I lost count. 

It doesn't matter though. It doesn't matter that I had to hike my ISO up so high that the images are grainy. It doesn't matter because I have them now.  
















I couldn't care less that this is blurry--because look at lucy's little face.







In those few moments of taking photos I started to feel the gratitude pour over my mind and heart. It doesn't matter why I can't figure out for the life of me why Lucy never wants pants on. It doesn't matter that there are crafts strewn my floor on a daily basis, and that tiny fingerprints litter my refrigerator. It doesn't matter that Mac creases the back of my couch cushions because it just so happens to be his favorite place to rest. 

Better yet--it does matter. Because these moments are worth remembering.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. May gratitude pour over your heart today and every day.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some catching up + Fall Pics + Lucy-girl likes to paint

I feel weird coming back from a silent month with a review like I did yesterday. That's not really my normal style, but I'll be honest-I've sat and written a few times earlier only for it to end up sound like womp, womp. It was awful, so I deleted and closed it down, because it was dumb.

But I really don't care to sound like some all star writer that I'm not, so I'm just gonna start writing and updating and not really bother with anything sounding pretty. So let's do it.

The last month or so I've been dealing with some knee issues that have really held me back from my normal workouts. It's not a huge deal, so I'm not going to make it seem like one. But the ortho suggested I go to PT and I wanted to laugh--because, PT? Come onnnn. But yesterday I went and as it turns out my knee issue is really a hip issue, so we'll be focusing on getting my hips stronger. After one session my hips are feeling it. We did some really great exercises to help me work on balance and stability so I stop putting undo pressure and wobbling around on my knees like a fool. Let's hope it works.

While I'm on a month break from my fun, hardcore stuff (like bootcamp, tabata workouts, HIIT cycling, body pump, etc)--I'm now all into yoga (like body flow) and pilates, because I have no choice basically. The funny thing is, I am actually starting to enjoy it, when I truly thought that was not possible. Who knew.

+  +  +

In case you haven't noticed, it's Fall. Fall means family pictures....or something like that. I happen to have a talented photographer in my family. My sister-in-law Lyryn does my family and I do hers. It's a swap deal and it works out. This year I did her birth pics and video since she just had that sweet baby boy. Just 3 weeks after having a baby she insisted to take our family pictures and I'm so happy with what she got.






I was going to make some excuse as to why I had no desire to send Christmas cards this year---but after seeing these pictures how can I not? It would be a sin.

+  +  +

Both my girls are just flourishing this year. I know that's kind of a stupid, fancy word to use--but they really are. Lucy is doing the 2's preschool program so she goes for 2 days a week (only 2 hours) and she loves it. She's coming home and singing songs that I remember Em singing at her age. 

During their free time the kids can paint at the easel and Lucy is OBSESSED with painting. I have about 400 paintings of nothing that I have no clue what to do with. They also are so overly painted that they take a week to dry. You know what I mean

The following conversation happened before preschool:

Lucy: I go'ning to paint today!

Me: Ohhh, fun. But how about you play play doh instead? (just a little, ahem, encouragement)

Lucy: (in her mad voice) NO MOM. I GO'NING TO PAINT TODAY.

Fast forward a few hours to preschool pickup.

SHE WAS NOT JOKING. Normally I arrive to one, maybe two sloppy-wet-drippy paintings to take home.

THERE WERE FIVE.  F I V E.

The teachers were like, "Lucy was painting at a furious pace today"--and I'm like, uh huh. She was just proving a point to me. 

Honestly, this kid is a trip--and I will never gently direct her away from painting ever, ever again. Lesson learned.

+  +  +

How are you beautiful people? Is anyone still out there? ......does blogging still exist? ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I live in workout clothes--it's true: An honest Boden Activewear Review.

The wonderful people at Boden have reached out to me and ladies of all different activity levels to try their new activewear line that was just recently launched. Since I fit in the category of 'gym rat' (okay-there needs to be a nicer term for this), or, very physically active, enjoys her exercise--let's say, I will never, ever turn down the chance to try activewear. I just won't. I live in it, really, so that would be dumb.

Besides, the patterns were fun and I can always use a new pair of workout capris.

Since I'm really sweating in these, seriously putting them to the test as far as activewear goes, I am sure my review of these will be different than say, a mom wearing them to preschool pickup & a leisurely walk around the block. So I'm going to be honest in my review--because they told me to be.

So here's what they sent me.
-Run Faster Cropped Leggings (Navy)
-Run Faster Sports Top (Red)
-Run Faster Sweatshirt (Red)


Ok. So I wore the pants during an hour of hardcore, intense bootcamp. They are soft--and they  have the perfect high, thick waistband that I like and need for control. I have to admit, I don't love a design on the biggest part of my body (hello thighs!)--and my husband definitely side-eyed me and was shocked I wore them in public. The material was soft, but maybe too soft. They were stretchy and comfortable, but maybe even a little too stretchy--if that makes sense. I like to be held in/feeling firm'ish when I'm doing my burpees and jumping jacks. I have no idea if that makes sense-but other intense HIIT workout people will probably get it.




THAT BEING SAID----I was sweating like crazy in my bootcamp class and there was ZERO butt sweat stains or crotch sweat, or anything of the sort. They didn't fall down or feel annoying during my workout and that's a plus. They also have an amazing backside pocket that could fit your iPhone. While other pairs of my workout pants have a hidden pocket, NONE of them have one big enough for that and I think that's a massive perk.


I obviously picked the red tops to wear separate/at a different time than the navy capris. Again, the material is great--soft and comfortable. The inside bra is legit enough to hold in my (non-existent) lady parts during a slower paced class, like yoga. The top, however, could stand to be longer. I have a length that feels comfortable when it comes to workout tanks and this one definitely sits up above that. I did wear it to yoga paired with cotton yoga pants and during all those downward dogs it stayed in place. Pairing the super soft top with the super soft pants just poses the "shirt riding up/always tugging down on it" problem. And really-who wants that? Overall, I'd get the top again but I would size up a little bit.


The sweatshirt (which is really more like a track jacket) is fun! I love the detailing on the side and I love thumb-holes. Pretty sure this gets a thumbs up from me. My only suggestion is to size up one or two sizes. I'm not sure if it runs a bit small--but mine could stand to be bigger. It's cozy and the sleeves are long enough (which often can be a problem for me), so it's a win in my book.

***

If you want to try out some of the new Boden Activewear for yourself you can get 15% off by using code YOGA.

Also-I'm really excited that in addition to the red/navy activewear line, they will be adding solid black. I admit it--I'm a solid black pant girl and I'm ok with that.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why Hellllooooo there Mr. Wyatt

The first moments with your new baby---well, they're incredible. No matter how you labor, no matter how you birth, each one is just so special. Each time a new baby comes into the world it's pure magic and I don't know how else to say it without sounding like a complete loon. But it's magic.

My sister-in-law Lyryn really wanted a birth-day video when her 3rd little guy was born after seeing me do one for my sister when Deacon arrived. Thanks to a scheduled c-section and a little schedule-adjusting with my husband, I was able to make it work for me to attend.

We had no idea if they'd let me into the operating room until that morning, when the anesthesiologist on-duty had to make that call. But thanks to a little favor from God (I'm certain...Lyryn had been praying lots after all...), she was totally cool with allowing me in to capture some of those usually-unseen moments.

I got to suit up like a marshmallow man. It was amazing. Also, those suits are not breathable, and I may or may not have had pit-stains on my shirt. But it was well worth it.

While my main goal was to get video clips to mash-up into a little video keepsake for them, I managed to sneak in a few photos here and there. Not much, but some. And Wyatt James at 7lbs 10oz is one hunk of a little baby man, with a pouty lip that will certainly get him anything he wants for the rest of his life. He shares a birthday with his Api, Declan & Lyryn's dad (who passed away last year), who would have been 70 yesterday.

Basically, we're all in love.




And if you managed to not see this yet, between facebook and instagram, here's the video. My goal with this was to tell a little story of that morning Wyatt was born. To give you the feel of the day, the excitement, the nerves, and to really just remind us all that every birth is perfect and beautiful in it's own way.

Because, squishy, beautiful baby at the end. The ultimate prize, am I right?

Wyatt James from MeMo Lifestyle Videography on Vimeo.

Hope you have a happy weekend, my friends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Two pictures in sunny San Diego

This past weekend I got the chance to visit my little brother in San Diego allllll byyyyy myselfffffff. Yes, that must be exaggerated. Because, a trip alone to the grocery store is a treat when you're a mom--so four days in Southern California?

Bliss!

I've visited there before with my whole crew (and mom and dad) in tow. We did more the touristy thing that time. This time, I wanted to just do what my brother does. I wanted to eat at some of the yummiest places, I wanted to hike, I wanted to go dunk myself in the ocean because it's both scary and exhilarating all at once. I wanted to just spend time with Wit and enjoy being brother/sister and not me being mom-distracted-by-two-kids and him being uncle-getting-climbed-on. 

Life has changed so much for us both over the last half a decade (and more), and honestly? I'll kinda treasure the time spent with him. Bunking with him and his 2 other roommates for a few days, staying up wayyyy past my bedtime, meeting more people than I'd imagined, attending parties, going to his church with him, and really getting a feel for his life there. It was really good.

Can you believe that I had no little rascals tugging at my leg the entire time, and I lugged my big camera across the country, to one of the most beautiful areas of the country nonetheless, and I only took two pictures

I have no excuse. None at all, really.




But thanks, iPhone:


You wanna know the best part? Knowing that I didn't have to worry about the homefront. That my super capable husband was home, holding down the fort. He not only managed to work from home some days, but he did some boss pony-tails on our girls (come on...learning how to do hair is hard!), dressed them pretty darn cute and took them on more outings than I even do alone.

They didn't really miss me a bit. And thanks to facetime I didn't really have a chance to miss them much either. I was greeted at the airport with some beautiful flowers, my crazy-cute family, and I came home to a super clean house. 

I mean, what more could a girl ask?

You'll see me back again, San Diego.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

To marry him.

It was dinner prepping time and not long before Declan would be home. All the toys that exploded from the living room that day started migrating to the kitchen. The girls had gotten play-doh out, 10 million little lalaloopsy toys, and Emeline was whizzing by me every 10 seconds on the razor scooter. Yes, in the kitchen. I'm a real stiff on my rules around here. Shake it Off by T-Swift was playing on repeat on Spotify from my laptop. Spontaneous dance parties were breaking out, as the girls were taking turns "being on stage" (cough, standing on a rubbermaid) and showing off their dance moves.

This time of day can be a little stressful for me, admittedly. I really don't prefer to trip on toys in the kitchen while I'm making dinner.  It's the one place I feel like, keep your toys awayyyyy, and yet, it never, ever happens. The house is a mess, a complete mess, and everyone is getting hungry. My hands are always covered in raw chicken or something disgusting the exact moment someone always needs you this instant

But for some reason, this day, albeit chaotic and messy and loud--felt different. Lucy and Emeline were both playing independently for the most part. They were getting along, and in between dance sessions, there wasn't fighting. There was playing, a little giggling here and there, some sweet sister chatter, sometimes explosive laughter. I remember having a little moment, the kind where you 'check-in' and feel fully present, the kind where I thought, Ok, here it is. This messy, hard but good, not-perfect life, we're living it. I felt gratitude wash over me in a way that felt like slipping into a warm, cozy bed. 

A few minutes later, out of nowhere and in between dance-breaks--Emeline says, "Mommy--I want to marry my Daddy...'cuz he's the BEST".

I looked at her, in all her 4-year-old beautiful innocence and I didn't have the heart to tell her anything except that marrying him is a great choice, because, you're right--he is the best.

I was unloading the dishwasher at this point, putting sippy cups together, something that could drive you to insanity--and I got a huge, massive lump in my throat replaying that over in my head. I want to marry my daddy. And I felt tears building up in my eyes. And you guys, I am not a crier. I'm really not. It takes a lot to break down this stoney heart. But that got me so hard, right there in my now-swelling-heart. 

I thought, Wow. Isn't that the ultimate compliment? She wants to marry her daddy.  

Because to her, in her 4 year old mind, he is the picture of perfect love to her. He is the picture of protection and endless hugs and exactly what it means to be accepted fully as you are. That concept wrecked me. It absolutely wrecked me because it holds so much meaning.  Since we often project our views of our earthly father onto our heavenly Father God. I thought, wow

I want her to always want to marry her 'daddy'. Someone just like him, that values and loves her all the time. That lifts her up and encourages her. That tells her she is strong and can do anything she wants. 

It is the ultimate compliment. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Accepting Fall.

You won't hear me shouting from the rooftops about my love for pumpkin spice lattes (I don't actually like them), wearing jeans (my legs would rather breathe, or, be wearing spandex), or the changing leaves (that means they're about to fall off and die, people)--but it's the day. The first day of Fall. 

If we differ in this area, we can still be friends--I promise. I still pretend to like all the changes for my kids, after all. I try to be a good mom, anyway.

So we do the whole shebang. Visit the orchards, do the hayrides, pet all the stinky animals, and of course, pick pumpkins and stuff.








apple cider donuts, silly-gourd-smiles, and boots, oh my.

I guess it's Fall after all. :)
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