Pages

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:

2017
(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)
2016
(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)
2015
(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 day....so 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.





Monday, June 27, 2016

Already enough


I was sitting in a Strengths Leadership-kinda talk/training thing last week when the speaker asked us to turn to our neighbor and tell them the one thing you are better at than anyone else.

Instantly I shriveled up and died a little inside. Are you kidding me? No chance could I think of something I'm better at than anyone else (I mean let's be real here, there are 7 billion'ish people in the world after all), and I didn't even want to try to come up with something. I couldn't! It felt so...wrong. Maybe even a little vain? I don't know. My partner and I both mustered up something sort of safe-and followed it up with, "but I'm not necessarily better than others..."

When the speaker got back up he talked about how yes, it's a little bit awkward to talk about what you're best at, because it feels weird to talk about yourself like that. But that we need to know our strengths, those things we are really great at, because if we don't know, how will anyone else? If we don't use our strengths, they're useless.

My brain has been reeling on these thoughts for days now.

I have always thought of myself as a confident person, in fact, I used to rock my old ways of teaching interviews. I believed I was the best person for the position. I knew I had it all, and if I didn't know everything, I would figure it out. I always landed the job.

Fast forward eight+ years and I'm not sure what's happened to me but my confidence in myself has dwindled. I've been told I can be self-deprecating and even though I do find myself using it for humor at times, I think there are aspects of it that I do mean--and gross, that's no way to live. I don't fully believe that I'm all those things I used to be back when I was that super confident career-driven girl. Even though motherhood has gained me a ton of experience and wisdom in so many ways, there are aspects of me that still feel so small and inadequate.

Why?

I'm trying to figure that out.

What I do know is that I'm learning through this process of pin-pointing who I am, the gifts that live inside me, my talents, etc--that relationships are critical. Having people who know you, who love you, who absolutely do not BS you when it comes to who you are, and the things they see and know in you that you can't always recognize, -well, it's absolutely important.

That night the speaker also said something along the lines of "We need people in our lives who give us permission to be extraordinary."  -whoa.

I need people in my life to call out my gifts, the ones I forget about or haven't seen in a while, and tell me to act on them and not be stagnant.

I want to be that for other people. To give them permission to be fully as they are when they're not completely confident in themselves, to live wild & free, extraordinary lives.

---

It has been a long, long time since a book has gripped me up and really tapped on so many of my feelings. Dissecting Wild and Free, by Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan with a group of women each week has definitely made it more relevant, more tangible for me. If you get the chance, read it- slowly. Underline those truths in the books that you need to read and re-read over yourself again and again.

Just let this soak into your heart and mind.


@wildandfreebook instagram

--

Time to do mighty things.






Monday, March 14, 2016

Three.

We're just over five weeks in to being officially outnumbered by children, and I'm just feeling some urge to talk about it a bit. So let's just roll with it and see where this lands us.

I have to admit that besides being nauseous, feeling gross, and eating panera's baguettes, I spent a majority of my pregnancy also having thoughts like, "oh crap-what did we do?" I promise I don't mean that to sound like having a third was any type of accident, it was not. It was thought out, we tried for her, we felt incredibly grateful to get pregnant a third time. But I can't lie and act like I wasn't nervous.                   I was.

What if we really weren't cut out to do this? 

What if 3 kids truly sends me over the edge of insanity?

The truth is, you will be FINE. We all will be fine. And each day that things feel fine and somewhat easy'ish, you will celebrate. Because once you've had multiple children you know that the inevitable of really freaking hard days will come. The days that sometimes last into years (hello--the entire age of 3, can I get an amen?). You will count very little, very average-to-normal-people-things as victories. 

You made dinner? You have makeup on? The kid's hair is done? Their outfits somewhat match? You got a shower?  Girl, let me get you a big 'ole trophy.


All that to say, we are doing good-really good, actually. But, I am not naive and I do realize we are in the easy-phase-of-baby. Hattie is a piece of cake compared to my big kids. She doesn't move, or destroy the playroom, or pee herself while standing in the yard in front of all her friends. (I'll get back to that.) She sleeps often still. She goes with the flow of our busy life. There's not much a boob or sound machine can't solve these days. 

Don't get me wrong, though. Oh, there are moments of chaos. The ones where I swear there are hidden cameras somewhere because this simply cannot be real. 

Take last Thursday for example. I was being Super Woman again, and cooking a nice meal for the family so it would be ready when Declan got home from work and we could get out the door to our community group. The big girls were outside on the playset playing with their neighbor friends. Hattie was in her rock-n-play in the kitchen right near me, sleeping away. 

It all was going so smoothly. And then suddenly it wasn't.

One kid of mine came to the back door screaming hysterically, I was certain she had broken a bone or something. Nope. She stepped on a snail shell, in her bare feet. She wasn't hurt, oh no--not at all, she was just absolutely appalled and disgusted, and hopping around on one foot gasping for breath between cries for me to GET IT OFF, ALREADY. 

I run to her, leaving 3 burners going on the hot stove (giving myself about 45 seconds to handle snail situation), and noticing that Hattie is now awake and suddenly equally as pissed off. Hattie must wait.

I pick up the limping-one-footed monster and run her down the hallway to the bathroom to rinse her foot off from snail shell disaster. Her face is almost purple from crying so hard. I pat her tush and tell her to run along and play, she will survive this, I believe in her. (fist bump)

Hattie is still freaking out. Burners still going. I flip some food around so it doesn't burn, while rocking the rock-n-play with my foot, and trying to get the pacifier back in her mouth. She isn't having any of it. She is ticked.

Just as I go to pick her up, Emeline runs to the door and yells, LUCY IS PEEING LIKE A DOG. 

A series of expletives go off in my head. Fabulous.

Again, I'm so sorry Hattie! You must wait! I eye-up all my food on the stove, turning the burners down quick, and run out to the backyard to see my 3 year old standing there, fully clothed, legs spread apart, with pee dripping from her.

I see them laughing (Lucy included), as if it was some sort of show. Am I living in the twilight zone? What is even happening here? I yelled some sort of way that must have scared the crap out of the neighbor kids because I saw them slowly shrink away out of my eyesight as I grabbed Lucy and darted her into the house. I hear the baby still crying. "Sorry, Hattie". I yelled. 

I'm doing some sort of acrobatic pull-all-her-clothes off, put-her-on-the-potty, while also asking her 349038409 questions like, WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING? and YOU NEVER PEE YOUR PANTS--THIS IS NOT FUNNY, WHY DID YOU DO THIS? OMG IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING AND IS THIS MY LIFE? I wipe her up with baby wipes (another bonus of having a baby back in the house!), get her dressed in 10 seconds flat, and manage to get back to the stove without having ruined dinner, and pick up the crying, neglected infant.  I probably sent Declan a text somewhere in there to tell him how crazy his children are. 

Breathe. Everyone is somewhat taken care of now. 

That entire snail/pee/changing debacle happened in a span of 4 minutes. But in those moments it felt like an e t e r n i t y.

Heavens.

Life is not perfect with 3. But it's definitely not boring. 

We take the easy days peppered with random bouts of crazy (evidence above), and we roll with it. I savor the seconds the big kids are in school and I get to cuddle a little baby in peace because I know in a half a second she'll be a toddler and I'll be whining about how fast she grew. We are ooh'ing and ahh'ing over every little smile she gives us, and taking a tally of who's winning in getting the most. Emeline claims she's at 116. I'm calling her bluff on that


It's crazy, but a good kind of crazy. We're happy. It's working...and we'll be just fine.