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Sunday, June 30, 2013

{Fair Season}

I never really quite realized it, until some people pointed it out on instagram---but we attend a lot of fairs. Carnivals. Festivals. Whatever-you-call-it's. I guess our area has more of these money-sucks than I thought. It's one of the best parts of summer. I mean--helloooooo fair food. Helloooooo fun for the family. Hellooooo ghetto rides that my kid loves. 

I mean, what's more fun than draining your bank account, clogging your arteries, and biting your nails in fear as your kid goes on the ricketiest rides you've ever seen? Nothing. Nothing is more fun, I tell you.

I admit it. I pretty much loathe going on the rides. Ever since having children, I am one of those boring people who feels sick on them, kinda woozy and dizzy and blah. No, I won't actually vomit, but yes, I feel like I will. I know, it officially makes me a lame parent, but whatever. I let my husband win in this department. He takes her on all the cool rides, while I stand with her on the carousel trying to focus on one thing so I'm not the girl who spews her $5 funnel cake everywhere. Wouldn't want to waste it, after all. Just kidding, guys. jk. 


Plus, there's this great excuse--I have to stand with Lucy. You know, the kid who isn't big enough for rides yet. So I'll milk it until next year, when I actually have to get on those god-forsaken things with child #2 as the "responsible adult".

(and hated every second of it. pretended i liked it for my kid--really wanted to die. probably saying, "do you love it, Em? mommy doesn't! but glad you're having fun!" (as my stomach does flip flops)
Anyway. I like fairs and I cannot lie. No other brother can deny.

They're junky and filled with nasty food, but I love the loud music, I like stepping on gross, sticky sno-cones (not), I like seeing people from high school (just kidding. only some of them.), and I mostly just like seeing my kid happy on the tacky old rides.



At one point, a few fairs back (like, last week, hahaha), Declan and I just looked at each other and said, "how is that actually fun?" It was so lame, this one ride. And yet, all the kids had smiles on their faces. Well, sort of.

I guess they're easy to please.
(that's my "trying to maintain composure" face. one wrong move and I'm down for the count, man)

Anyway. I might go up a pant-size because this week we have at least one more fair that I know of. Yes, one more. And yes, we're going. We always do. The funnel cake will wonder where we are, and I refuse to disappoint. And of course we'll wash it down with a fresh squeezed fair lemonade---the size of my head. 


***

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Friday, June 28, 2013

A tiny gesture of kindness goes a long, long way.

Ever have someone do a small, kind gesture for you that really just kinda stuck with you all day...? Do you know what I mean? It happened to me yesterday and albeit small, I couldn't shake it. In a good way. I just kept thinking that because someone took 3 minutes. Just 3. To help a momma out. It made life so much easier. I need to be more like that.

Let me back up.

I had just finished up my favorite toning/sculpting Ballet Burn class. I went into the childcare room to get the girlies, when I heard the ladies say, Oh, mommy's here. She can take you, Em. I happened to line up my entrance with a potty trip. No big deal. So before I picked up Lucy and had all my stuff and then tried to take a potty trip, they said they'd keep Lu while I went with Emeline. They're super helpful like that.

Except that Lucy saw me and lost.her.you.know.what.

She's hilarious, that child. She is happy as a clam the whole time. But the second she sees me enter that room, it's all over. It's like she suddenly realized I was gone for an hour and I want my mother and I want her naaaowwwww.

So we ran to the potty, ran back and got the ticked-off Lucy. I was doing the whole, one huge diaper bag schlepped over my sweaty, slippery shoulder, one happy-now-but-still-tears-on-her-face Lucy on my hip, and then that thing, where you force your toddler to hold your hand so she doesn't get hit by cars on the way out. I used my butt to get open the door to get out of the kid room, and we were so close to the main door--I thought we were going to make it out in one piece.

But, we ran into some friends from Church. So I let Emeline talk with the big boys for a minute. Trying to avoid a meltdown because I could sense it on the horizon if I forced her to come too fast. You toddler parents know what I mean. It's like a looming storm. You can sense something coming? So you don't apply too much pressure. You just. Wait.

So a few minutes later we wished our friends well on their upcoming vacation and started heading for the door for real this time. But, something I did (hand holding, maybe? giving her the hello kitty glasses?) wasn't just perfect in toddler'dom and so I felt it. She started squealing a little and forcing her hand away from me, all while I have the bigger than texas diaper bag and Lucy on my sweaty side.

I know better than to fight the meltdown. Especially when I'm alone. I let her fingers slip through mine and she sort of melted to the ground. I still have no idea what she was whining about. It was really fast. I kneeled down next to her. Silently cursing the million plie's I'd just done because ouch. I always talk quiet during these random events. I never freak out. I just start pulling out the million tricks in my book. I had just quietly said, would you still like to earn your star today? (a little behavior chart we had added after one weird behavior week at the Y) Hoping that would snap her out of it--but no cigar.

When my instructor, who'd been subbing for my class I just took, walked by as she was returning weights and rags to the gym. I sort of gave her the mom-eye-roll. All without words I said, Yeaaaa one of thooooose is happening. I really just expected her to sort of just be like, Been there, girlfriend, no judgement here. She's pretty cool like that and I know she has kids so she gets it.

But instead, without batting an eyelash, she first said--Want me to take the baby??? I guess I must have somehow muttered something (I can't remember) that we'll be okay. When she got right down on her knees in front of Emeline and said, Hey girlie! I'm Miss Karen. What's your name?? You're cute!

She immediately perked up and stood up to be at the instructors eye level. With a smile on her face, and entire demeanor change, answered her--I'm Emeline!

Well hi there, Emeline. Did you know your mom is a good dancer? (she's lying) She was just in my class. You have a nice mommy. 

Em giggles & nods.

Ohhh, those are fun glasses. Can you put them on? Let me see them on you!

Emeline puts her glasses on, showing them off, smiling ear to ear and saying, They make me look like Hello Kitty!

They do! Now you're ready to go outside. Have a good day, girls! So good meeting you, Emeline.

Emeline popped up, held my hand--and as we were walking away I looked back at Karen and said, "THANK YOU. So much. It's obvious you have kids". 

She said, Oh yea, girl--I have 3. And I saw you give that mom-look. We all know the mom-look. A little distraction goes a long way. 

That was it. 

That was the tiny little act of kindness that made my entire day.

When writing it out it sounds SO LONG and drawn out. The entire encounter was maybe, maybe, 3 minutes long.

She didn't have to stop. She didn't have to take 3 minutes to distract my toddler out of meltdown mode. She didn't have to stop and offer to take the baby. She didn't have to tell me she's been there, done that, and totally gets it.

But she did.

We practically skipped out of the Y after that. My toddler acted like an angel. We chatted about the nice day. And I thanked God for nice people who just take a second to stop and help a momma out.

***


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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Photos & Feelings. What do YOU feel?

There are something about photos that just evoke feelings from people, right? We're human. We're visual. We see something and we get a twinge of happy, a prick of sadness, a little green jelly monster jab, or a prod of annoyance. Sometimes it's a feeling of pride for someone else. A you-go-girl. Someone in a situation you've been in and you feel empathetic. You see some delicious food and suddenly you're begging your husband for the same thing. Sometimes you feel nothing.

Photos just have this way--this way of making you feel a certain way inside. And now that we live in a very instant-gratification life of photo-taking. I mean, it's at our fingertips, literally, with our phone and instagram feed. You're probably feeling pricks and prods of emotions about photos all.the.time, maybe without even realizing it. Like the way I squirm a little every time I see another nudey butt on IG. Or that the new video on instagram feature is getting used and abused. (You all know you follow at least one abuser...ie: a billion vids a day of nonsense. To each his own, yea.)

So, I was thinking the other day about certain photos and the feelings they bring out in me. The funny (or not so so funny) thing is, there's normally a deeper reason why I feel the way I do. So I made a list of the photos that I know for a fact evoke feelings (whether good, bad, proud, etc) in me.

....hurrr goes....


>>>Exercise Motivation/ Post-Workout Posts<<<

I actually love seeing these posts. Maybe I'm a nerd, but I especially love seeing screenshots from the app that tracked the persons run, photos of the workout machine, etc. A sweaty after selfie, too? Sure, so be it. It's not that we need proof you're at the gym. I mean, I'm there 5 days a week, but you don't need to know that from 5 YMCA photos a week. But, I just think that if social media is what you need to give you that motivation boost, or what got you through a run, thinking, "I can finally post that picture saying 'I DID IT'", then awesome. Because I have so been there and I know that can be motivating. You may not have many people in your life who motivate you, so if social media helps with that--then that's great and I will like & comment on that everytime I can because I'm proud of you. I know that it takes work to get up and out the door, so I'll virtually boomshakalaka you any day for that ::insert fist bump emoticon::.


>>>The Skinny Mirror Slant Photo<<<
(not my image--hahaha--just found on google)
We all know a mirror tilted against the wall gives the most ego-boosting angle known to man. Long, skinny body and woooofrigginhooooo babyyyy I feel good. The "you've lost weight" or "you're so skinny" comments pour in. It's not that the person isn't thin or in shape in real life, it's just--that is clearly an exaggerated, not true-to-life photo. I completely admit that this gets me a little. I've realized it's because I've had a weight loss story, I've done the hard work to lose weight, and I try to be very honest about the way I look. My mirrors are mounted flat against my wall. If I look a little chubby in my thighs still, that's because I am. No exaggerated angle, there. I try to be really honest about the way I look. So, I fully admit when I see a slanted skinny mirror selfie, I feel like it's a little dishonest.


>>>Blurry/Out of Focus Photos<<<

They make me shiver a little and my eyes get twitchy. Then I think "whyyyyy?"--unless it's of a moving toddler, and then I get it. But, guyssss, it's so easy to get your phone pictures in focus. Tap the screen of your phone. Just, tap. Yep. Then it focuses. Oh, and if you want to focus on that can on dr pepper in your hand, and not the background of toys behind you? Then tap on the screen RIGHT on the dr pepper, and it will focus on that. It's magic (not really). If your photos are blurry and yucky, you're probably in a too dim-light situation...open your blinds, get some light in the house, or take photos outside where the lighting is nice. I also totally get the outlier situation of "but this moment was soooo cute" even if a little blurry (been there). But 9 out of 10 photos being blurry? There's no excuse, peeps. k, love ya, bye. 

>>>Selfies<<<

This one makes me laugh a little because peeps get crazzzzyyyyy about selfies. I mean, crazy-upset slash enraged when they think people post too may photos of themselves. I do get that TOO many could be annoying? I guess? But I actually like seeing my friends pretty faces. I like seeing them in the picture with their kids. I like seeing their outfit of the day posts and I don't find them vain. Okay, so if you're like, "this is my fancy, uppity, rich brand BLAH BLAH (I can't name anything fancy, therefore you know I'm not fancy, hahaha....loser) watch and bracelet" every single time, I could see how that could be a little vain, maybe. But, really--it doesn't bother me. I post pictures of myself with my kids. I hand my camera over to my husband and make sure he gets shots of me with my girls so that they see me interacting with them one day. So I'm not always absent in photos. And I absolutely will post a photo (usually about once a week) of a weekend outfit (usually church, haha), since it's the one time I've gotten out of my compression capris and workout tanks. If I'm having a good hair day (aka: the one day I showered and actually got it out of my active band and pony tail), then you might see that, too.

Other people's selfies don't really evoke feelings in me other than, wow I have pretty friends. And that's a-ok with me.

>>>Before and Afters<<<
(i'm fully aware I look sad/angry/miserable in the left photo-as it
was pointed out 2930829038 times yesterday on instagram. Um.
I was unhappy. haha. I also wasn't aware you are supposed to
smile in your pre-weight loss pics)

Any and all before and afters rock my face off. But I know other people don't feel the same. I partially wonder why they have such a problem with it? Transformation of any kind is fascinating. I feel like it shows hard work was done. A time lapse, per-se. Whether it be a messy kitchen cabinet going to a clean kitchen cabinet. A picture of an un-makeup'ed face to a makeup'ed face (I think that's fun), or before/after weight loss stuff. I just think hard work should be celebrated. Every few months I like to post a before and after picture. See, when you're in the daily trenches of losing weight, working on toning your body, or whatever your journey is, it can be monotonous. It can be so hard to see the difference. Photos really help you to be like, YES, I finally see a difference. YES, my hard work is actually paying off slightly.

I love seeing them. Love, love. Because I feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment for the person. I know how good they must feel. I love seeing change of any kind.

***

So what photos on social media evoke feelings in you?? Good or bad--happy or sad (do a dance, la-da-da). I'm really serious. I think it's fascinating.

(all opinions in this post are obviously my own. this disclaimer is semi a joke, but I really don't want to offend anyone---and hope I don't :) )

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fresh on my mind today ((thoughts on miscarriage))

Many (or most) of you know that our very first baby, we lost due to miscarriage. It almost feels like a lifetime ago, now that I think about--from the side of having two beautiful girls who occupy my mind and drain all my energy on a daily basis. But the truth remains that this was part of our story. Part of our journey to starting a family. Emotions of fear and anxiety and what's next for us, they were all very much there at the time. For a long time.

You may be like, why are you writing about this again, katie? That's ok.

See, one of the best things that's ever come of me writing about my miscarriage sorrows, the anger and pain I felt, the nervousness, the fear---is that women email me often, telling me they've lost. Sometimes, I'm the only one other than their spouse they tell. I first feel sad, I always feel so very sad for any loss. But then I feel honored that they'd trust me. That they allow me to pray for them. And share with them. And say, I totally understand and your feelings are valid.

They tell me they've searched for every last blog post about it, because they remember that I wrote when I was raw....which means they were painfully honest. It wasn't pretty. It's not meant to be. But I wrote to heal. In that, over the years that have passed--other women have read, nodding their head, feeling reassured of a few things. 1) Maybe I'm not so crazy after all. 2) Or we're all just a little crazy. 3) There can be a happy, full life after a devastation such as losing a baby, no matter how 'small'. 4) Your hopes of a new life, being dashed in an instant is traumatic. It's okay for it to take time.

See, there's this tendency to, when you're in the midst of a painful situation--to measure it against others. Well, I didn't lose my baby as far along as she did. This shouldn't hurt so bad. Why am I still sad about this...it's been a few weeks now? Move on, for the love. But the truth is, you just cannot measure up the type of sadness or grief you feel to others. Your grief is your own. Let it work it's course, because it's okay to be sad.

One of my favorite scripture verses is 'Though the sorrow may last through the night, joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5. And it doesn't mean you're going to wake up okay tomorrow morning. I don't take it literally, by any means. But what I love about it is the hope. The hope that joy will return to you, even when you feel in your deepest pit of your stomach, so very sad, and most often, pretty hopeless.

I hate that miscarriage is something that happens so much, like, 1 in 4 women--and for many, multiple times over. It breaks my heart. But this is a reality of life. What I'm grateful for is the ability to connect with so many women because of it. To understand that, dude, this hurts. That it doesn't matter if you've lost the baby at 5 weeks or 12 weeks, but that it's painful regardless. I'm glad I can feel that pit in my stomach for people. That I can truly empathize. That when I wrote about all the yucky, icky stuff I felt after losing, that it wasn't in vain. And that, while it was pretty vulnerable of me, and I'm honestly not sure if I'd write like that now, again. I'm glad I did then.

I'm so grateful to so many of you have trusted me with your stories of loss.

I pray that you can find someone to connect to, an outlet to share, to heal, to move on (eventually) like I was able to.

Though the pain isn't still there anymore, I will never forget it. Thanks for letting me connect with you. Thank you.

***



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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A letter to my first-time-momma-to-be friend.

A very dear friend of mine is going to me a mommy for the first time come the end of summer. Because of distance I'm missing her shower this weekend, so I mailed her gift instead. I included a letter for her, and I decided since it arrived and she read it, it was okay to share here.

****


My sweetest friend,

Just writing a little cliché note in this card didn’t feel right. So I apologize if this gets long winded. I just have so much I want to say to you my momma-to-be, friend. You mean so much to me, despite the distance, despite how much we get to “talk”. I love you, dearly and I hope you always know that.

You are so close to the end, girlfriend. But really, the end is such a silly thing to say—because truly it’s just the beginning of a crazy (and I mean crazy), exhausting, rewarding, special, unglamorous, and awesome life. I almost said “phase of life” but I caught myself. I hear that once you become a mom, that title never, ever goes away. So I guess it’s more just like LIFE. Hello. This is your new life. Forever. 

I don’t mean forever in a DUN, DUN, DUNNNN (scary movie) way, of course. Because, while mothering can be scary, it’s more so filled with good things, especially in the beginning—like endless newborn kisses, nurturing your child on your boobs alone, and talks with your husband that go like this: We really made this beautiful child? Good God, we are AWESOME.  It’s okay to be a little prideful of her cute looks. I believe it brings couples together.

But, of course it can be filled with questions and concerns and a lot of am I doing this right? But let me tell you, friend. You are doing it right. Please. Always trust your mom instinct. It is a God-given gift. It’s truly amazing. Like a superpower. For moms. Trust it, sweet girl—trust it.

Sometimes your days will feel incredibly long. Scratch that, you might not even know the difference between days and nights since your life may be lived in 2 hour increments for a while. Know that it’s okay. We’ve all been there. And when you’re awake for the 3948th night in a row at 2am, there are many other sleepy-eyed-zombie-mom’s out there doing the same thing. We unite at this hour. Somehow. I believe it.

It’s okay to ask for advice. You’ll also get a lot of it without even asking—trust me. It’s okay to not take any of it. You can smile and nod and pretend you’re going to take it, or—you feel free to tell people to just shove it up their pie-hole and move on. No one has time to listen to all that. Unless, of course, you want it. In which case, I am always here. Not that I’m any good at this—it’s just, I’m always good for a, You got this Momma, or Trust your gut, and I make a really great booby cheerleader when your nips are so sore you’re curling your toes and squealing. And if you need any of that? I am so your girl. A text. A phone call away.

This little girl doesn’t know what she has coming. In you, she has the most amazing, devoted, loving mother already. She’s pretty freaking lucky. You love so, so well. You are kind, nurturing, calm and assuring. I know this, because you are all these things as a friend—and I know it will transfer to your entire journey through mom-hood.

I love you, sweet lady—and I am so, so, so stinkin’ excited for you to be in it soon. Knee deep. Life changing. Good stuff.

You’re gonna rock it. 

***

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Things I learned at the Gym

I was thinking about how in the last few months I've come a long way since joining (and actually going) to the gym. Not just physically, but mentally. The gym can be scary. If you're a current gym-goer, you may think that's totally lame to say. But I know I've talked to many, many people who are very intimidated by it at first. I know there was a part of me that was.

In the end, though, I'm glad I got over myself and just did it. It wasn't until I talked to a friend who's been a member for years and years, with kids ranging from age 4-middle school, who told me it was the best thing she ever did through the young days of having babies, toddlers, and even now as they get older. It was a place she could have a little me-time, she trusted the childcare workers and loved them, her kids got some socialization (when not in school, obviously), and she could exercise and increase personal health. Hearing all that is when it clicked for me that I needed a place like that. Hearing her shining reference obviously helped, too.

So here are a few things I've learned since I took the gym membership plunge.

Look around, you're all there for the same purpose (generally speaking).

There's something about knowing you're not doing this alone that is really, really motivating. I know one day, I was on the stairmaster, which gives you a huge birds-eye gym view. I couldn't help but think about how everyone in there--every one....is on their own journey. That body-builder in the corner with the tattoo that says, "I will not fail" on his bulging arm---he's on a journey. That mom who just dropped off her new baby in childcare, she's on her own journey. That elderly man on the bike, reading a magazine leisurely while in khaki's--his own journey. The line of women on the elliptical? It's all their own. But---everyone is there, generally, for the same purpose. For health and wellness and to feel good, and to care for the one body they were given. And THAT is really, really cool.

Classes can be intimidating at first, but it's mostly in your head.

I've now tried out a good handful of classes at my gym, and I have to say---the first one is always a little scary. It's more of a 'what to expect' and 'will I look like an idiot to the frequent-flyers?' The thing is, you just have to get over that. The instructors will help you. Just ask if something isn't clear. Stay towards the back if you're worried and don't want eyes on you.

That being said, I still have a few classes I want to try, but am intimidated by. Baby steps. When you find a class you love, it's okay to stick with it. Right now, my favorite is Ballet Burn. It's a toning and sculpting hour-long class, and I'm sure you're thinking Ohhhh how cuuuute, ballet! But, hold the phone, girl. It's like ballet moves on steroids. And it HURTS SO GOOD the next day. Anyone I bring to that class always says This is No Joke, dude during it and feeling it for days after. It's hard. But so good.

A few cute workout tanks go a long way (in the motivation department).

joke. obvs.
I still don't have a huge collection of workout clothes--but it is growing. The thing is, I realized that if I'm going 4-5 days a week to the gym and let's be honest, end up staying in my gym clothes most days until bedtime......it's okay to invest in some good pieces. Or cute pieces. Tanks and compression capris, or shorts you like, and a few good bras.

I hate spending money on this stuff, but the truth is, I wear them non-stop, so it's actually more valuable than a pretty shirt I wear on a date night once every 3 months, see what I'm sayin'?

And also. When I have something new and fun to wear, sometimes, as pathetic as it may be--it motivates me.

Time flies in classes, and ticks by at a snails pace when you workout alone.

It's true. If I need to get some cardio in I rarely, very rarely will run on the treadmill at the gym anymore. It's mind-numbing and boring, I feel dizzy and irritated and ohmygosh, it's only been 10 minutes?

Doing an hour Zumba* class goes by so.much.faster---is way more fun, and makes me sweat harder than running on the treadmill does anyway.

(*sub for other cardio classes, spin, for example)

Don't be scared of the big guys, just get in there, they'll move over.

I started lifting weights about a month into my membership and I've really come to love it. But, the truth was, it was totally intimidating at first to stand there in the large mirror, lined up with a bunch of humungous dudes, lifting my 10 or 12 pound free weights as they're benching the weight of me. I felt tiny in comparison, and I don't mean my muscles, although those were tiny, too.

I just felt, dumb, really. It took me a few days to just not care anymore. I realized none of them cared, so why should I? In fact, most of them were kind and courteous and moved over when they were taking up double the space they needed. Also, if you hang around long enough, it's not just big body builders lifting weights. Every jo schmo in the gym ends up over there by some point, and so you really don't stand out like a sore thumb as much as you may originally think. It's my journey, no one else's.

Source: facebook.com via Kiana on Pinterest


Consistency makes it all better.

There is something to be said about being consistent. As soon as I was consistent--for example, attending the same Zumba classes weekly, the same sculpting class, etc, I realized, people started getting to know me. The childcare workers know my kids' names and ages by heart within just a few consistent weeks of us going. The instructors take notice to you in the gym and joke that they better see you in class in 5 minutes. The people at the front desk have the same joke with your children and enjoy seeing them throughout the week.

That really does make it a friendly, welcoming atmosphere--that honestly, comes mostly with being consistent. They see you often, they remember you. It's that simple.

You will be sore, you can still workout.

I am sore after every single class or workout that I do. I don't mean, limping-sore. Or hurt-sore. But like, I got a good workout -sore. I can feel new muscles-sore. It hurts so good-sore. I'm getting stronger-sore. You get me?

I think the temptation is, I'm sore, therefore, I should not workout again until I'm not sore. I just don't think it really works that way. Once your muscles in your body get moving again, you forget about the sore and just enjoy (as much as you can) another workout. Don't let sore muscles keep you from going back. I'm not talking about injury, here. Just to be clear :)



Go with your friends when you can. 

This one is simple. Of course it's more motivating to Zumba (or run, or elliptical) side by side with friends. In the beginning, it helped me so much to know my sister would be there, for example. But now? I don't really care if anyone will be there or not. I just go. Of course, I always have a little more fun when there's a bunch of us there--but honestly, it doesn't change when or if I workout.

***

Do you agree with any of these? Anyone have the original intimidation factor at the gym like I did? Any classes you want to try but haven't worked up the courage? (Spin is one for me. I'm skurrrred.) Anyone else feel silly lifting weights next to the body builders...? :)

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

We like you, Dad. A lot.

Today we'll be celebrating the best freakin' dad ever.  

He truly is that daddy I wrote about the other day. Thanks for being there for your family, babes. Nothing else I can say but that. 

Okay, and she's right. You make a really nice spiderman. (watch the video)




Love love. Have fun celebrating the daddies today. I'm celebrating a few good men.

xo


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Friday, June 14, 2013

This one's for the Dads.



Dear Dad's of the world,

You. Yea, you. I'm talking to you. I know--it's a little weird. You aren't the typical blog reading type. That's okay. Even if you never end up seeing this, it's all good. 

Do you know how important you are? I think you mostly do realize the importance of your presence in your children's lives. But I just want to reinforce this for a second----

Momma is super important. Yes, it's true. BUT SO ARE YOU. 

The way you love your kids? It's different than us moms do. It's special, it's so beautiful, it's fun and adventurous, and there's just something about daddy play time that is...dare I say, a little more fun than with mom. There's a spark in their little eyes when you get home. They crave the weekend when your presence is more often. Do you know what that means? That you're doing a darn good job, Dad. Keep it up.

Did you know that you being hands on, from the earliest of stages helps your baby establish basic trust and better social connections? It's true. That is a pretty freaking huge deal. There's nothing I love more than seeing a hands-on Daddy from the get-go. Get in there, dad. Do the diapers. Burp the baby. Cuddle and love and snuggle when they're crying. I know you don't have a boob to instantly pacify--but, Dad, rock that baby. Pat, pat, pat. Pat while you're watching the game. Sing your favorite songs. Do the silly dances. Get in there and rock the shizz out of being a dad. Your calm presence from the earliest stages will be felt. It will be needed. Trust me. And if you're doing all this? Or have done all this? You're a good one. Such a good one, dad. Know this. 

Dads--it seems easy in this culture of work-work-work to get caught up in that and spend less and less time at home with your family. Rearrange a little--sometimes, when you can. Make the games. Make the performances. And don't just make it, but be present there, dad. 

Enjoy the silly moments, who cares if anyone is looking.

Be proud of your family.

Laugh a lot.

Blow bubbles.

Give a whole lot of piggy back & shoulder rides.

Play sports with them.

Love their momma well.

Support them--always support them.

Hug, a lot. Lots of wet kisses, too.

Dad, your presence? It's one of the best gifts you can give your family. Showing your kids a model of what a good, hands-on, loving, silly and amazing Dad is something that will just continually benefit the future. It will show our little boys how to act when they're older. They'll know no other way. It will help our little girls learn to not settle for some jerk, but to search for a man that reminds her of her sweet and precious Daddy.

Being a Father is easy. But being a freaking awesome Daddy is to be commended. My girls are so blessed to have a daddy

Happy Daddy's day to you. Keep on keepin' on. 







Tuesday, June 11, 2013

another confess-fest. yep, I did.

Sometimes I just make bacon for breakfast. I eat bacon and drink coffee and that's it. Somehow I think this is okay. I'm kind of obsessed with bacon. And no-I don't buy the kind that's healthy. Turkey bacon? Pshhh. Go big or go home. Oh--and I microwave it. Shock. Horror. I don't have time for sizzling bacon on weekdays, people.

I am not a grammar snob, at all--and I make mistakes here constantly and I'm okay with that. But there are a few big ones that absolutely kill me on the inside. I have no idea why--but the Your/You're one and Their/There, especially make me cringe.  Oh, and definitely/defiantly. Two very different words and meanings. I also don't understand why adults text like this: U R gunna be at da show? L8r, gr8! C U soon. To each his own?

I have never once gotten everything on my grocery list. Without fail I forget something (or lots of things) every time. It takes us about 3 grocery trips throughout the week to get it right. The reason I never get everything on my list? Oh, it's simple. I come with a list, yes. But then I get there and don't look at it once. I'm pretty much just focused on getting in and out of there without a meltdown (by my kids. not me--but I do hate grocery shopping).

I use terms like "disobeying" with my dog on occasion. For example--he was just growling incessantly in the kitchen. I snapped my fingers, pointed at the couch, told him to go lay down, because "you can't be in here if you're disobeying". To say I get things confused from time to time would be an understatement. To also think my dog has any clue what I'm saying is absurd.

I struggle when I see too much potty talk on social media. I literally mean potty talk.  I get that being a parent really changes a person---but incessant talk about body waste? meh. It's why I could barely even talk about the ins and outs of potty training ever here, despite being a "mom blog" (ugh. struggle with that, too. But a mom who blogs=mom blogger I guess). I'm not saying anyone has to change their ways for me. I just--don't prefer seeing the words poopy & pee pee, you know, since I hear them all day long as it is. (and sorry for saying those words. I cringed. but. you know. all for the sake of confessions.)

I get majorly confused on Thursdays on instagram. Everyone posts #tbt (throwback thursday) posts and it's either one of three things. A picture of someone in a past life, at their skinniest, in a hot bikini drinking a beer on the beach, OR, a photo of someone with their fresh squishy baby, or a pregnant belly. I get confused EVERY TIME that I missed some huge ginormous news, or that someone had a weight loss transformation that somehow I missed along the way. I know I'm not the only one.

I'm bothered by people who go out of their way to say how much others LOATHE when someone talks about exercise or running or getting fit on facebook. The other day a past co-worker did this. Status on FB went something like, "News Flash. No one cares about your run."  Well, the funny thing is---I do care about peoples run. If I see one of those pop up, I click like or I comment, every time. So, he's speaking for himself. He should probably say, News Flash. I don't care about your run. And that would be ok, right? But don't speak on behalf of everyone. Because I actually do care and love following along when people choose a healthy and active lifestyle, so there.

As nap times are starting to dwindle down these days, I admittedly use every trick in the book to try and get one from her, anyway. I bribe sleep for popsicles and stars on her behavior chart. It failed miserably yesterday. I might start bribing her with money. (kidding) (mostly) Nap time is sanity.

Our dishwasher is still broken and I guess I'm spoiled because life without a dishwasher sucks. Maybe it'd be easier without kids? But, goodness. All I do is wash dishes. If you're calculating (you're not. you don't care.) that's been over a month and a half of broken dishwasher and I'm over it. We've been working with a few companies, we're within warranty so it's their issue. The tech came Friday AND Monday and still couldn't fix it. Now we're supposed to be getting a replacement. That'll probably happen, in, oh, another month.

I think of confessions all the time. I go to write them. They're gone from my brain. The second I hit publish, I'll think of a million more. That's the name of the game, folks. Write stuff down.

**

What are you confessing to??


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Monday, June 10, 2013

life lessons from pops.

I had this entire post written for today---I wrote it last week when we were in the heat of Oh My Gosh, this is my life with a 3 year old now? hold meeee. But then we had an amazing weekend, and I was alone for most of it, too, while my husband was away, even. Emeline was sweet and loving and kind, and I didn't find myself feeling like I wanted to run away or cry in a corner.

So it feels weird talking about that now, you know. Now that we had an awesome weekend and her behavior was really, overall, pretty great and all those devilish things she did and the way she acted last week seem like a distant memory (not really).

I'll just save that post in my drafts for a day I'm pulling my hair out, mmk? probably tomorrow

For now, this.

Friday and Saturday I spent a lot of time with my dad. My mom was out of town and so it's just kind of natural to check in more with him, make sure he's doing alright, have him over for dinner, etc. On Friday night he came over for a "pizza paw-ty", I'm not sure what qualifies it as a party, but-look, pizza=momma didn't have to cook. So, yea-party alright.

Emeline is c-c-crazy about her Pop Pop. I mean, completely and ridiculously in love with him. She talks about him non-stop, has so much fun playing with him--he gives her undivided attention, teaches her new things, explores with her, and talks with her about everything and anything.  If you know Em, she can talk. and talk. and talk. She wants everyone to be talking to her at all times.

So, at dinner--she completely monopolized the conversation. My dad would go back and forth with chatting about her day, about the details of Lucy's doctor appointment earlier, about blowing bubbles on the deck. Then, my dad would try to talk to me about the newest product at work he was excited about, for example, and before I could get a word in edge-wise, Emeline would say, "Excuse me Pop Pop--talk to meeeeee!" 

It sounds really, really cute. And she's mostly polite about it. But I assure you, after the 3983948th time you've tried to have the same conversation, never getting to complete it without being interrupted by that familiar sing-songy voice and "talk to meeeeee, please"--it's not really that cute anymore. Except it never seems to bother my dad.

He'll flow in and out of deep conversation with my 3 year old. Squeak in a little bit with me. Back to more conversing with his granddaughter. Over and over again, like a pro.

When dinner was done and cleaned up--I decided to put my brave face on and be The Fun Mom when I proclaimed, Let's go get ice cream! It was raining. And I mean, pouring down buckets of heavy rain. Lucy had just been put on antibiotics for an ear infection. We don't even own raincoats (let alone coats that fit anyone right now). Lucy had a pizza-stained onesie. I was in sweatpants. Emeline's hair looked like she'd been through the spin cycle of the dryer. It was much too close to bedtime for my liking. But we threw our hoodies on and headed up to Dairy Queen, anyway.

On the short drive there, my dad and I began talking about this or that. But, not a few seconds into our conversation a little voice pipes up from the back again---Excuse me, guys--but can you talk to ME? 

My frustration grew even more. Can't I have a conversation with my dad, for the love, child? I talk to you all.day.long. But, I gently explained to her that sometimes adults have conversations, and we will be happy to talk to her, too. But right now we're talking about _____ (I can't even remember anymore, mom brain is real, folks.)

She didn't really like that answer. And again, after a few minutes, she said--But excuse me, Pop Pop, can you talk to me now?

Before my blood could even boil over, my dad kind of giggled--and smirked at me in that way that he does....and he said, It's really okay, Kate. I mean, one day she might not want to talk to you, right? Enjoy it.

I sort of breathed deeply and muttered a you're right. I let it sink in a little more.

Then I listened as they began talking about the details of the rain, what kind of dessert they'd get when we got there, why her Hello Kitty boots are her favorite to wear in the rain, and what color sprinkles would be on her ice cream cone.

He wasn't trying to be profound or anything. He was just being honest. Despite his illness, despite his own obstacles, he teaches me how to love better.

and that's just one of the reasons I adore him so much.


***

Thursday, June 6, 2013

even if it's a trip to the bank.

I used to love a good morning home. I used to crave a rainy day when Emeline was little and easily entertained. An excuse to stay home and not have to run errands, or drag a child out in the rain, or get out of pajamas if I'm being honest. I mean, what's better than that?

I remember when I was a teacher, and seeing or hearing about someone staying home in the morning with their babies and it looked.so.good. It was so appealing and I prayed that someday that would be me. That I'd be able to have slow, peaceful mornings with my little family. I did, and was able to, and honestly? I loved that. Especially when Emeline was the only one.

It was easy to enjoy those mornings with one baby. I could still watch my own tv shows, since she had no opinion (to at least verbalize, haha), my schedule revolved around hers, I could sip my coffee in much more peace than I can now, she was still easily occupied by her sweet, little baby toys. I'd just rotate a few things, hop from the jumperoo to the walker to the pile o'toys on the floor, and she was happy as a clam.

My tune to the Stay At Home Mornings changed drastically when Emeline got older. She began getting bored with things here. She got into less trouble if we were out and about, running errands, or on a nice day spending it at a park or on a date with friends. She'd nap better, too. Obviously. I began needing those mornings out, too. I got exhausted answering the "may I have a snack?" question for the 290382908th time when we were home. It seemed like all she wanted was a dang snack and no matter how many fun activities I tried to come up with, nothing really seemed to excite her for too long. I'd feel guilty if I let her watch TV, and yet I had the whole work-from-home-still-parent balance to maintain and real legit work stuff to do. It was hard.

I began to dread a rainy day. I began to dread snow days. I just needed to get out, every day, and the ebb and flow of things was smooth.

Now? Now I have two kids, I have issues like whoa staying home any morning of the week. I get an overwhelming cabin-fever feel (isn't that silly?? it's ONE DAY), and I feel antsy and fidgety. I have issues. Actually, the only morning I really, really enjoy staying home is Saturday. When Daddy is home. We make a big breakfast. We explode the living room with toys. We take a long time cleaning up the kitchen. We discover toys that have been lost in the depths of the toy box for far too long. It's actually a really nice morning.

Now that preschool has been over and the structure of a few mornings a week that were determined are, well, less structured now, I'm especially grateful for my Y membership. I can workout. They can play. It provides a little break in the morning. Getting some energy out. Playing with friends. Usually I run into one or six people I know and we socialize, can workout together, or whatever. It makes the entire morning and afternoon go smoother if we can just get out of the house.

I've learned to maneuver my schedule and use my time differently. I take advantage of different hours of the day to work (that's a whole 'nother post). I really don't like at-home mornings anymore because they put me in a funk. And I mean, full at home mornings, because we're up pretty early and always home for a good, long time before we head out. But, we need to get out at some point in the mornings.

Are you the same? Or do you love being home with the kids? I find this goes in phases for me.

Whether you're home, reading this from the gym (hehe), or at work---enjoy your day. It's almost Friday.

xo


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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

thoughts about instagram & blog writing.

The weirdest thing is going on right now. My baby is sleeping in (yes 8am is sleeping in), and my toddler has been driving me crazy since 5:45am. She's currently eating her breakfast on the couch, while I shove crispy bacon down my pie-hole, chug my coffee and write this instead of the other 3 posts I started this week which are of much more substance, but still not flowing the way I want. Why does that always happen to me?

I swear the summer must just suck my brain away. No, no--I blame my kids. I'm pretty sure they're to blame.

Also, never write about your kid sleeping unless you want them to wake up. That's always a rule. Always.

Anyway. I was thinking about how people who blog, in general, seem to be posting less. I feel like this has been going on for a while. Less posting of quality, thoughtful posts (me included). More people phasing out of it a little bit. I am starting to think Instagram is to blame. Not fully, obviously, as I know there may actually be a laundry list of reasons, even for me--but hear me out. 


Instagram can almost be like a mini-blog. I never, ever would have said that before, but I'm starting to think it's kinda true. Something that you may have been able to make into a long, detailed story before on your blog--you can share in that instant, via a picture and a short caption. There's no remembering it for later. If someone wants details? They ask. You respond. It's simple, it's fast. I feel like our world is going to the simple and fast for everything these days---hello, it's like the fast food mentality

I have to admit that sometimes when I see a photo post to instagram, and then I see it on facebook (for those who syndicate there), I'm like, didn't I just see this? And I wonder, if that's sort of the same thing when it comes to writing about something you've already posted to IG. Obviously it's more in depth, as you can put more words to a blog post. But it feels kind of like groundhogs day. Am I really writing about this again? (for me) Am I really reading about this again? (for others)

Obviously this doesn't apply to everything you would write about. Or everything you would post photos about it. But, in a way, I can see how instagram has taken away the appeal of a shiny unread post from a favorite writer. That is, if it's a rinse & repeat of something you feel like you've seen or heard about already. 

I guess, what I'm asking is---do you feel this way? Has instagram taken away from blogging at all for you? Has it taken away from reading blogs you like if you also follow them on IG? Is it stupid that I'm even thinking about this at all? Probably. 

I promise to talk about something of more substance one day.

(disclaimer: I love instagram. If you follow me, you know this. Nothing but love for those tiny little square pics that capture moments in between dragging out my big camera. I have a private account there, my username is (shocker) LovesofLife and if you don't follow me, you can request me. I will say this, though. I am weird about accepting followers who have no profile picture (seriously, I don't like it), those that have no photos of their own, and those that are following no one/have no one following them. That just reads as creepy to me and I don't want just my kids' faces showing up in your feed. I realize it could just be a brand new account--but go ahead and get some more friends, take some photos of your own, and come back to me. Then I will find it less creepy. Hopefully. ;) )

happy hump day.