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Friday, November 29, 2013

For them.


We are that family that's crazy loud.

We are that family that enjoys being together. Lazying around after meals, flung over sofas, rough-housing with the kids, and eating too much dessert.

We are that family that loves deeply.

We're that family with that bonding glue of our love for God & our need for Him in our lives.

We are that family with grandparents that love these grandkids like crazy.

Heck, that love their kids like crazy.

We're that family when all the grandkids come together can be absolutely chaotic, obnoxious, totally sweet, super amazingly fun or absolutely annoying.

We're that family that makes freaking delicious food.

We are that family who realizes the importance of a photograph.

That tries to make the most of the time we have together.

That messes up.

That gives it a go another time.

That doesn't give up.

I'm proud of this family of mine. I'm so grateful my kids have these people to live life with.

No, it's not perfect. It's far from it. But if I've learned anything this last year filled with losses...it's to appreciate and love all the time we have together. Whether it's crazy chaotic or peaceful and perfect. Just enjoy it.

***

I'm thankful for them.




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. Yea.

It's finally Thanksgiving week, and according to my TimeHop App, this time last year we were a whole week ahead--having bellies full of turkey and mashed potatoes and being a few pounds heavier by now.

The extra week wait has added extra anticipation around here it seems. I can feel it. From myself. My kid. Is it Thanksgiving yet? Is it time for Christmas yet? Time must feel like an eternity in their little world. We haven't pulled out the Christmas decorations yet (except for her little tree), and somehow I'm already feeling a little bit gypped that it won't be up as long this year. But then again, I remember--the pine needles. Oh the pine needles. And I'll probably be FINE with it later. But right now-give me all the twinkly lights.

We don't have a fireplace in this house. It's pretty pathetic to admit this, but that makes me sad. I grew up with a fireplace. I have this association that a fireplace=cozy, comfy holidays. Warm, special family-time. On a whim I bought a faux fireplace on Target online. Yes, one of those stand-alone fireplaces-because, I NEED ONE. I don't care if it's ugly and fake looking--it will flicker, and provide extra coziness, and I will squint my eyes and pretend if I have to, gosh darn-it. Because, let's be honest, the YuleLog On Demand just WAS NOT cutting it anymore (and yes I use that. The crackle and popping sound of the logs fakes my brain into cozy--sue me).

****I took a good 4 hour break from this post to do preschool drop-off and then Lucy and I did Christmas shopping, and then pick-up.....and THEN, when I got home....IT WAS AT MY DOORSTEP, SQUEEEE!****

But back to Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday, hands down.

I think it reminds me of Christmas, in a way, without all the chaos of Christmas, if that makes sense. It's almost like that sweet little calm before the real holiday storm of buy stuff you don't really need, packed calendars, and gimme gimme gimme. There is food. OHHH the best food ever (and heck no I won't be eating Paleo, for those wondering). There is family. There is togetherness. And there is the sleepy post-turkey-coma. Does this work on kids? Like, is it possible they will sleep in the next morning? If so, I might infuse turkey into everyyyything. Just kidding. (But 6am is rough).

I know I poked fun at the facebook thankfulness posts with that e-card a few weeks ago. I didn't make it or anything (I'm not that mean, sheesh). I honestly just thought it was kind of hilarious. But I do love seeing the thankfulness, and heck, if it takes it being Thanksgiving month for people to feel the gratitude, or slow down enough to write about it, or whatever--then so be it.

I had found myself trying to draw out the thankfulness from Emeline in the last month. Before bedtime on nights I'd put her down, we'd do bible story and prayers, and I'd ask what she was thankful for. Sometimes she'd say something profound. Or sometimes she'd simply say, "umm. For that book. I like that book." But I have to admit that I had this moment where it just didn't feel genuine. It didn't feel genuine for me to prod her, especially during this month, in efforts for her to 'get it'. Because the truer thing is, I don't want her to just feel gratitude in her heart at Thanksgiving. I want her to live a life of gratitude all year long.

And you know what's actually funny? Or not. It's actually amazing. I think she does live a life of gratitude, better than me in fact. So here I am trying to 'teach her something', when really-she doesn't need this lesson just before Thanksgiving. She feels it bubble in her heart all the time and I know she does by her actions, the look in her eyes as they turn to wonder at the world around her, and her words.

I know that's the lesson deep in here, and covered up inside that snarky e-card. Let's show our gratitude all year long, right?

Anyway. 

I'm off to figure out a way to get an 80lb faux fireplace up the steps myself because I'm too impatient to wait for my husband.

I need my cozy fire. I will sure as heck for grateful for it, too.

Hallelujah, amen.

***

Thursday, November 21, 2013

On being a working-stay-at-home-mom.

This is not what you think it is. Well, maybe it is. I just promise not to tell you that moms should stay home. Or that moms should go to work. Or that one thing is better than another, or that anyone else knows what's best for your family. Or that childcare is bad for your kids (it's not). Or whatever. Because it's not my thing, nor will I ever debate that because it's exhausting and I truthfully don't care.

But E over at E, Myself & I is doing a series about working moms. She emailed me asking if I could talk about my experience being a work-from-home mom. Meaning, I have a paying job not just rewarded in cuddles & hugs & disgusting carpets (I have that job, too), but with an actual paycheck and healthcare coverage.

(source)
Let's just first say--it's a blessing. Having the opportunity to work from home is super great and came at just the right time for my little family. I decided to move away from full time teaching to this. There are definitely benefits to it, mainly, not having to shell out half a paycheck for daycare costs. Getting to work from my couch, on my laptop, in my pajamas. Flexibility when it comes to my kids and doing mom-things during the day, being available for field trips, to pick-up from preschool, all of those things, are very, very nice and admittedly, make my gig look like a piece of cake from the outside perspective, I'm sure (I hope to de-bunk this, later).

The basic gist of what I do is this. I write....(read the rest of the post here)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tradesies.

I'm not sure what's gotten into me but I'm finding myself much more drawn to this place this week than I've been in months.

I'm just gonna go with it--no pressure.

**

Last month my sister-in-law, Lyryn and I decided we would do a family photo swap. She'd do my family, and I'd do hers. Look, when you're a photographer, it is HARD to get good shots of your kids (ohhh especially when they're bigger, sheesh), and your whole family together, and setting up self-timers and all that? Forget about it. And paying someone? Yeaaaaa. This is where trading with someone is THE BEST THING EVER. It works out in the favor of BOTH of you. Score.

She did a super job and there are lots of beautiful pictures I will treasure forever, but here are some that make me smile extra big.

(the coloring & quality got a little funky when I put into collages, etc--but just know they are picture perfect)

this is probably my favorite "family" picture--and it's the one I picked for our cards.

Been with this guy since we were babies. Love him more today. *mush*

with this one, it's just....Lucy's smile. sigh.






**

The following week I did theirs--here is just a peek.


See? Trading is fun :)



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Everyone has their family dynamics & stuff.

Lucy is normally the first one up in the house. It can range from anywhere from 5am-7am, you just never know. I groggily get her from her crib and bring her into bed with me. She nurses only in the morning now. As soon as she's done, she springs up,  jumps over me to get to Declan, smacks him in the face or attack-hugs him and yells, "HIII DADDDYYYYY!" That's his cue to get up and in the shower, and he's out the door just before 7am.

Most mornings I reluctantly go downstairs, plop them both on the couch, give them some milk or something breakfast'y (like cheerios or granola bar, etc), I brew my coffee, and then we sit and watch a kid show, in the dark. It helps me pretend that we're still in peaceful-morning-mode, so shhhhhhhhh. We like to go slow.

(Can you tell I'm not a morning person?)

Eventually they go to to table and eat real breakfast. Like, I'll make something legit--eggs & bacon, waffles (for them), fruit, yogurt, etc. I do computer-type-stuff while I'm eating breakfast...check my work email, make sure my posts for work are scheduled, etc.

If it's a Monday morning, I go to work for a meeting. Which means, get the kids to my parents house bright and early. Hopefully early enough that I can ingest a 2nd cup of coffee at their house because God knows I need it.

If it's a Tues/Thurs, then Thank The Good Lord, it's a preschool day (hallelujah emoticon). I am chasing around two kids and begging them to just PUT ON THEIR CLOTHES and where the heck are your shoes???? and SOCKS??? For the love! I throw on the most hodge-podged outfit, trying to come off as pulled together when I'm really a frazzled mess, and we roll out the door by 9:15. It's a miracle.

Emeline always asks me to pray on the way to school. Always at the exact same point. We pray simple things, like for safety, that she'd have a fun day, be a kind friend, etc.

If it's a Wed/Fri we normally go to the gym so the girls can play and I can get my pump on. Typically I am more than ready by that time to say SEE YA to the girls (for just an hour), and it's a great way to get my workout in. If I schedule a play date during the week, it's usually on a Wed or Fri late morning and I'll adjust my gym time.

If we're home, Lucy still loves a good morning nap. Normally it's just a 30 min-hour deal. It's enough time for me to get my hair and makeup done and sorta dressed without the climbing rascal getting into everything (and I mean EVERYTHINGGGG). However, if we're out and about, girlfriend can hang until 1-1:30 for an afternoon nap, although she is tiiiiiiiired.

For the last few months I've been attending a women's bible study on Thursday mornings. It has babysitting (for Lucy, since Em is in school), and it's one of my highlights of the week. We're taking a break for the holidays. I cannot waittttt to start back up again in Februrary. Now that I type that, that feels like a really long time away. wahhhh.

No matter what is going on in the mornings, our sacred "HOME TIME" is 1pm-4pm. Nothing, I repeat, nothing gets in the way of naptime in this house. We eat lunch, go upstairs, potty, sometimes insistent on wearing pj's, sing a song, and to bed. Both of them. Very, very rarely do I get a naptime fight from Em. She really likes sleep still. I REALLY LOVE it when she naps. All is good. It is Mom-Work-Hour. I brew coffee, sit on the couch, login to work stuff, and do my writing. Some days I have to shower or whatever, too--but I try to fit it all in.

Declan and I's communication during the day is via Skype. Is that weird?  His work uses skype as a way of all staying connected--I have it on my phone and my laptop, so if he needs me that's normally how we chat. Emeline often asks to "STIPE WITH DADDY", meaning, she wants to video chat. Maybe once a week we do that. Back in the day we used to use AIM to chat (ha-throwback!), so this sorta taps in on that same feeling. I like it :)

We eat dinner on granny-time. I think it's because my husband goes to work early, and gets home early--so we very rarely eat after 5:30pm and honestly? It's more like 4:45-5. I realize that this is weird-but I kind of like it this way. If we go to the gym at night, then we're all digested and yet have energy to workout. Win.

I used to only workout in the morning. I've changed my routine a lot the last few months and now there are 3 nights a week we go. Well, I go 3x and Declan goes 2x. On that off night he is facilitating a small group for Church, where he often can take Em with him.

We try and visit Declan's work a few times a month. Normally we meet for Chick-fil-a or before it was cold, we'd meet and eat at our fun, secret park right near his office. It helps break up a long day and the girls (and Declan) love it.

Declan does all the laundry in our house...always has, willingly, too. Usually on Saturdays or Sundays. I, however, am the putter-away'er. Which means it could take weeks, as I'm perfectly fine with living out of baskets. It's bad.

I'm the one who cooks, although Declan is capable. It's just easier since I do the planning, and I'm home. Although there are some nights I boycott.

We usually have a fun weekend cheat for something like greasy pizza and fries, or Chili's, or something. I look forward to this day all week. I like crappy food even though I tell myself I don't.

If Emeline takes a nap, she knows that she gets what we call "Big Girl Time" that night. So, extra sleep (nap)=extra awake time. It works out for us great most of the time. We do bathtime at 7:15-7:30. Then Lucy goes straight to bed. Em gets to come downstairs and can either play some more, or watch a show if she'd like (usually Sprout night-night show), and have a snack (only if she finished her dinner). She goes up by 8:15-8:30.

We DVR all our shows and never (rarely) watch them anywhere near the time they air. Except for The Voice, since we have to get our votes in for Matthew Schuler by 11am the next day (hehe). The shows we watch together are: Revolution, Parks & Rec, New Girl, Parenthood, Shark Tank, MasterChef (or Junior, whichever is on at the time), The Voice, and sometimes we'll fast forward through X-Factor only because we like the singing couple on there. It's actually not many shows at all.

However, I watch a few on my own through the week. I usually try to catch Biggest Loser, random shows like The Little Couple or SisterWives (if it's on), Kardashians, and sometimes a Real Housewives (only OC and NY I watch, which right now it isn't on). I know, it's complete trash. It's my naptime background TV while I work.

A few nights a week we will cuddle on the couch after the girls are in bed and watch a show. There are nights he'll go to the basement and watch sports or play a video game, and I'll watch some garbage TV or blog/read blogs/work. On weekends we try to watch a movie, or do something that feels more special and at-home-date'ish after the girls are asleep.

Some nights we will even brew a cup of coffee and watch TV like old people together. It's love.

When you come into our house in the winter, you will find coats strewn about everywhere. Feet from the coat closet. All over the banisters, on the bench, etc. Never hung in the closet, ever. It frustrates me to no end, but yet I do it. Coat closets are not practical to me.

Wednesday nights we have ballet. I usually go alone because it's a chance to talk to my friend (whose daughter is in dance) without my rascal, Lucy around. Two Wednesdays a month we also meet with Declan's whole side of the family for dinner afterwards, to be together.

Usually about one weeknight a week (or sometimes a weekend) I proclaim that I AM GOING OUT. My husband doesn't care, at all. He's more than capable to bathe and put both girls to bed alone, and he's all for me getting some me-time. Sometimes I go to Target alone, sometimes I have a party or gathering scheduled (like this past weekend), or sometimes I meet someone for dinner or drinks. But I just need that time.

More often than not I leave the house a MESS before we go out. It sucks to come home to. So I am trying to be better. But living with tiny tornadoes makes it difficult.

The only way I fit showering into my life is right after I put Lucy down for bed, while Declan is downstairs with Em for her big girl time. It works. Maybe twice a week I'll use half of naptime to shower but I hate it. Feels like a total waste to me. ha.

I do not like to talk on the phone during the day, like, at all. I will, if it's certain people, or family, etc. But I do not pick up the phone for just anyone, especially during naptime. What if I got caught on the phone for way.too.long and my alone time is gone? Yes, I'm dramatic. Also. Text me.

Both my girls like to dance and sing. Like, all the time. Amazing Grace somehow become our song. It's what they want before bed and nap, and I know that's not exactly a kid song. But whatever. They also can be found singing Macklemore from time to time. We are very musically diverse.

They like the music loud in the car. We have had to set a magic # that the volume cannot go past or else Em would want it cranked up to the moon and back. If we turn it down to talk (or answer HER question), she will immediately tell us to "TURN THE MUSIC LOUDER PLEASE!"

When we drive as a family, Declan always prefers to drive. He isn't a fan of my driving, and tells me that often, haha. I'm just a tad more aggressive than he is. That equally bugs me about him. I want him to be a tad more aggressive on the road. Isn't that funny? Driving must go hand in hand with parts of your personality, eh?

I'm always tired before Declan at night. Always. I'm just gonna go ahead and say that being with the kids is more physically tiring than working at a desk.

We try to do something fun each weekend and be intentional about family activities/outings. It can be simple. Going to the farm, the park, the mall, even. But being together, doing something all together. I really like that time and feel like I cling to it with a death grip sometimes. I don't like our family time being compromised.

Declan and I get a date night at least once a month. We aim for 2x, though. One time is through the Y's Parents Night Out. The other time is either his mom or my parents. We always, always go to dinner someplace nice'ish that isn't ideal with kids. We always somehow end up at Marshall's or Target.

We grocery shop 1x a week. Usually a weekend day and one of us goes alone. On rare occasion we will do a Target shopping trip all together, get the big cart, bribe the girls with popcorn, and get 'er done. I find grocery shopping to be the worst task of the week. It bugs me. I need a grocery delivery service.

*************



Monday, November 18, 2013

Ups and downs.

Monday mornings are just that for us. Typical Mondays. But since Lucy decided to wake up an hour early, I feel like, somehow--my day started out a little, slower? Yes. Less rushed. Maybe I can thank her for that. But I'll take extra sleep any day. It gave me some time to think about the last few days of this whirlwind.

Sometimes I'll scroll through my instagram if I need a weekend recap. Honestly, I forget stuff. This is one of my favorite reasons for IG. This weekend, at a glance, I could just see. Sheesh. This weekend was a rollercoaster.

You see, our weekend started off with awful news for our whole family. Friday morning we got a call that Gram's (Declan's Grandmother, his mom's mom) surgery recovery had taken a turn for the worst overnight. It was surprising to say the least. We all knew about her surgery, but the risk of complications was so low, because if you know his Gram, she's a fiery little pistol that had a whole lot of life left in her.

After hearing the news that things weren't looking too good, Declan and I just knew we needed to go see her and say our goodbye's just in case. We spent the morning at the hospital with everyone, getting tiny little glimmers of hope about her status. Watching the numbers tick upward. Praying. Please God, we can't take another loss so close to his dad passing away. This is too much to handle.

Family trickled in and out all day. See, that's the awesome thing about this family. There's lots of us. Lots of grandkids. Gram thought she had the best grandkids around. While I'm not technically a grandchild, she always treated me like one from day one. I felt just as close to her as my own Grandmother in lots of ways.

We decided to get the girls home for naps and since things seemed relatively stable, we proceeded with our Friday night as normal'ish as we could be. Still pleading for Gram's life. We went out to dinner, and Emeline begged to see Santa for the first time in her little life. It's not even Thanksgiving, I thought. I think sitting on Santa's lap is creepy, I thought (never was big into that). But then, we just didn't care. Fine, if that's what she wants? To see Santa? Fine.

The good news about seeing Santa before Thanksgiving is that the lines are short. The bad news is, you feel sort of like an idiot. We stood in line with all the little girls in their best santa-dresses (sorry, but they are hideous), boys in christmas ties, and moms and dads in matching ugly-sweaters (I'm not joking). Meanwhile, my kid was in regular 'ole clothes and I looked like the parent who didn't plan to do this, at all. Cuz that was exactly the case, but oh well.

She was timid, but happy to see Santa and tell him all about the Hello Kitty she wanted. I was praying she'd just ask for a stuffie or a dream lite, but no. Then Santa asked her "anything else little girl?" and she said, "no, my mommy and daddy said just one thing". HA. Sorry fat guy in a red suit. Mom and Dad want some of the credit, too.

iphone pic. crap.
I felt guilty and bought the smallest package with two 4x6's that I will never do anything with. No, I'm serious. They're currently scrunched in the bottom of my stroller, packed in the back of my car. I'll probably find them next Christmas, if I'm being honest.

But she was happy.

The second we left Santa, I walked out to see Declan's face had turned sad. I glanced at my phone. I saw the texts come in from family and my heart sank.

I knew it. Gram wasn't going to make it much longer. It would be within the hour.

We scrambled back to the car, got the kids to my parents house, and got back to the hospital in time to sing around her bedside, give her a kiss, tell her how much we loved her, and hug family. It was gut wrenching watching Granddad say goodbye to his love. My heart couldn't take it.

The next day we spent time with family all together. The compounded grief everyone could feel, especially Declan's mom. Almost 4 months to the day. Losing your husband, and then losing your mom (whom she was very close to). Two of the people that knew her best in this world. It's devastating.

Life is so frail and we are not promised time, that's for sure. It sobering to me, every time.

***

The next night I had planned to attend my friend Lauren's Little Black Dress party. It felt weird to just go from something so sad, to something fun. But I knew I needed it, I needed the time out, I needed to go. I am so glad I did--it was a blast.


An excuse to dress up and feel all pretty. I didn't even have a little black dress in my closet, people. I thought that was like, Girl-Code to own one? I suck, apparently. Thankfully I had got one a week ago.

We laughed a lot (thanks to the entertainment and no not strippers, sheesh), and it was just plain fun.


***

Last night I let Emeline set up her mini-Christmas tree in her bedroom. I was reluctant, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. I love Thanksgivinggggg. But it made her heart happy to fall asleep by the twinkly lights. And then this morning I decided to finally let myself click play on the Christmas music.

I think my heart needs it. I also just keep thinking, why the heck not. Nothing is promised to us. Enjoy what makes you happy. This morning, that's Christmas music.

***

Pray for our family this week. This Saturday we'll be honoring our Gram's life.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Consider it made.

If anything solidifies being a parent--it's attending a parent/teacher conference. Cuz, holy whoa.

Let me tell you, today, I had a moment. A moment, guys. Right there, in front of the teacher.

There's just something so--surreal, maybe--about someone who spends time with your kid, observes them, sees them in the trenches of school stuff. Working on their letters. Circle time. Playing with friends on the playground. Communicating needs & working on manners. And to hear that person talk genuinely about adoring your little person, too? Well, wow. That's so nice.

As I'm sitting directly across from her teacher--gosh, a mere 3 feet away, I'm leaning in, listening intently to all the areas, how she's doing...and she gets to the wrap-up. And she just tells me that she is an absolute joy to have around. That she genuinely looks forward to seeing her. That she lights up the room. Is kind to her peers. Good at resolving conflict. Stands up for wrong. And that she's a super sweet little girl, with great manners, and she couldn't be happier to have her in her class.

AND MY EYES WERE WELLING UP WITH TEARS.

I kept telling myself, SELF--stop that right now. STOP getting emotional. This is dumb, and oh my gosh, she can see you getting emotional. You are not hiding anything.

And then I realized, she's a mom, too. She knows that feeling, how it does a mom heart so good to hear these things from another person.

And I stopped caring. I smiled, and thanked her. Told her how nice it was to hear those things and I'm glad she's doing so well.

But my insides were literally beaming. Bursting? I don't know. It was just this feeling, that I really suck at explaining--but, it just helps to know that we're doing something right.

The reason I'm saying that is because, MAN. We have hard days. Em is not The Perfect Angel Kid or anything. And oh no, that's so far from why I'm writing this.

It's more so--I am hard on myself a lot about her. When certain things happen, when she acts a certain way, I think--wow, that's because of me. Because sometimes, I don't have my emotions or attitude in check. Or I'm not being a good example to her. Or I've said and demonstrated the wrong way of handling a situation. There are so many times I feel at my wit's end in a day, and I think, oh God, please don't let me mess up my child.

Look, I'm not writing this be all woe-is-me. I don't feel woe-is-me most the time. It's just--it is serious business raising children, who become people--like real people. And I so much want to raise my girls to be loving, yet strong, confident yet humble, with the gift to truly empathize with others. I want them to love well, and the problem is, her mom, who is that close example in her life-DOESN'T ALWAYS LOVE WELL. So I'm always faced with this thing: I want my children to be better people than me. I do.

Hearing a teacher beaming about my kid did good for my mom heart today. What it did was just show me that this business is HARD sometimes (and I know the hard stuff is even yet to come). But, slow down Mom, you've got a good kid, here. Someone else sees it. Things she learns at home she is taking into real life. All those times we talk about manners and cleaning up, and standing up for what is wrong, and telling the truth? Something is sticking.

WE ARE DOING GOOD.

I am writing this for myself. But I know it can apply to lots of us.

It's just really nice to see it from the other side.


Yep, a preschool conference made my day.

***


Friday, November 8, 2013

The $50 secret is baaaackkkkk. Prettiest Cards you ever did see, guys.

I already got my Christmas cards for this year. I KNOW. Don't ask me how because I'm behind on every other area of life and on Halloween morning my cards arrived at my door. Trust me, I know this makes me look like I really have my act together. I don't.

The truth is I wish I waited. Because every year Minted.com does a bigger discount and it's going on right now. 

$25 off holiday cards + free shipping with code JOY25FS.

BUT.

If you sign up through a referral code, you get another $25 off an order of $100 or more. (If you've ordered with them before, maybe use a new email address?) Basically, you can get Minted's rad quality for half off. $100 worth of photo cards for $50 AND free shipping. You get it.****

My absolute FAVORITE feature is the "Find it Fast" mode, which allows you to upload the photo you want right away, and then it will fill it in all the little previews so you don't have to upload it each time just to get an idea if you like how it fits, etc. You know what I mean. It saved me SO MUCH TIME.

I've never, ever loved a quality more than Minted. I have used them for party decor, christmas cards, bridal shower invites, my sister used them for her wedding invitations, thank you's, etc. I own cake plates from them-and they rock.




So go hook yourself up with $50 free bucks towards your Holiday cards.

PS: If you don't have your family pics done yet, they have this "buy now, upload later" feature which is super cool. So you don't have to miss the discount which is pretty great!

PPS: I think this is worthy of sharing because it's an AWESOME deal, but I'm not making it any secret that by signing up using a referral code (which you need to get the $25 off) it helps me out if you end up ordering. The truth is, I just plan on using any credits I get on beautiful baby shower invites for my sister this winter :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

motivating turn of events (and oh look, I found words)

Yesterday started out as a tough day right from the start. If this seems to be the trend lately, I apologize, but not really, because it's just truth and real life right now. And that's a whole 'nother subject for another post. (also: I'm fine, we're all fine.)

But the day just didn't start pretty, if I'm being honest. 

Moodiness was a flyin'. The girls. Oh my word. They've hit this epic level of annoyance with one another. One has something, the other needs to steal it away. When Lucy can't figure out how to get up on the couch herself, she screeches at the top of her lungs. They steal each other's sippy cups. They're just constantly annoying one another. And frankly, it's kind of getting old. They make it reeeeal simple in deciding that two kids is perfectly fine with me (just don't tell my husband, just kidding-he knows and plans to change my mind. not happening for a loooong time, if ever)

ANYWAY. 

It was 8am and I was exhausted already, and totally upset with myself for getting so upset with the girls. I could only imagine if I felt like this so early on how the rest of my day would go. I took a break, sat down, breathed, and called Em to come sit on my lap and talk. We talked about how the day kind of started off shaky, and that I was sorry for yelling. We talked about the few incidences of (blatant) disobedience, or not treating her sister kind, and I said--"can we start our day over??"

She looked at me, kinda puzzled, then smile-laughed--"haha no mommy! we can't!" (come on, this would be too perfect if she said yes, right? 3 year olds are too practical.)

Then I explained that we wouldn't REALLY start over, but that we'd try to have a good day despite it being sucky at first. She was down for that. We prayed that God would help us with our attitudes, because they sure weren't pretty. Things started to look up. 

I was craving something. Human connection actually. Sometimes I just know myself, and know I am needing something more. To meet with friends, or someone to workout with, or sometimes I just need a walk outdoors--something. My soul is actually neeeeeding something. 

So I decided to head to, where else--the Y. I figured, at the very least, my kids would get a break from the house, from me, and I could walk on the outside track (and give my body a little break). I could breathe in the outdoors. It would feel good, especially since it was such a nice day. Then I could pick them up, being all renewed and refreshed and all that happy garbage, right? I'd certainly be the perfect mom after some alone time.

I walked one time around the track. Just under half a mile. Nice and slow and relaxxxxed, and all alone. Then I looked up to see my favorite bootcamp instructor walking right towards me, and I suddenly realized, oh crap--there goes my leisurely walk. She's training for a full marathon, I knew for sure she was out there to run.

The funny thing is, I think God knew I needed that. Because, even though she motivated me to run a few miles (4!), when I had ZERO plans to do so--we got to talk the entire time. I learned more about her, her life, her family. She did the same for me, learned about my story, my family. It was really, very---uplifting, actually. She commented about how it was the perfect timing because she really needed motivation today, and I thought, you don't even know how much I needed this, too. 

I really hate over-spiritualizing things. That's just not my tune. But it was hard for me to deny yesterday that I absolutely, one thousand percent feel that it was a God-thing, placing her in my path. It was a day that I could have easily felt isolated and lonely, and woe-is-me about how our morning started, especially had I been alone to just dwell on that. But instead it turned into something really great, encouraging, motivating. And I'm really grateful for that. 

It was actually exactly what I needed--exactly, at that moment. And the day just went up from there.

I think sometimes it can be really easy in this techie age to feel like you're connected all the time to other people. You might be connecting with people, I know that sometimes I am and I'm not disregarding that. But nothing--nothing beats the human to human connection.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Apparently I can only write random-style. So be it.

Wow. I officially cannot pour my thoughts into one full-blown, cohesive blog post and instead it's random things, all the time. Mannnnnnnn. I have got to get my act together, but my brain has to follow along and that's just not working right now.

Whatever. We'll go with it. Some writing (for me) is better than none, I guess.

So. Did you watch Matthew Schuler on The Voice last night? If you are a fan of the show, then you KNOW this dude, because he is AWESOME. The cool part is my sister & her husband, Jeff are really good friends of his--and I met him at their wedding. Such a sweet heart he has, and my gosh, that VOICE. Fasted 4-chair turn in The Voice history. So. Now that you know by association someone on the show, will you vote for him weekly? :) There are so many ways to vote (and you have until 11AM EST today!). You can call in to 1-877-553-3709 up to 10x. You can vote on their site here. You can buy his Wrecking Ball cover from last night on iTunes (and that's worth 5 votes). Basically, one person can vote like 50x for someone. Awesome. So do it.


Funny and random Matthew story. At my sister's wedding, he was a crazzzzzyyyyy fun dancer (shocker, right?). Doing the worm, and break-dancing and what not. In fact, he for sure made some air time on my sister's Four Weddings episode. Emeline was so little and on the dance floor barefoot, and he accidentally stepped on her foot/ankle while dancing. HE FELT SOOOO BAD, poor guy. Like, was the sweetest thing ever to her. She was acting traumatized, and had a black and blue ankle for a while, and referred to him as "da boy who stepped on my leg at aunt susie's weddin'" FOREVER. haha. They're all good now, swear. And Emeline says to give him your vote, she's over it now. ;)

***

This morning my dog was laying on the couch right by my head. Something spooked him and he barked, that high-pitched, ermahgaaaah bark. DIRECTLY, I mean, directly in my ear. My eardrum is still ringing. It immediately made me see red. There is nothing quite like that. I immediately thought, OH THIS is how Wednesday is gonna be, huh? My dog can be such a jerk.


***

My body HATES me today. I don't tend to workout 2x in a day. Everrrrry once in a while when I'm feeling like I can, I will, or if I have the time. Yesterday morning I did a Sh'Bam class (it's a les-mills dance type cardio, which I don't really do anymore), and then Declan and I always go back for evening Bootcamp. Last night's class was Tabata.

Oh.my.bones. and muscles. you guys.

We did this. Each exercise 8x, for 20 intense seconds, with 10 seconds in between. Holy freak. I think my hips are out of socket today.


I'm trying to decide if I should be kind to my body today and rest a little, go walking with the girls, or something, not so, grueling. Or if I should just suck it up buttercup and go do body pump and kill my legs and bum even more. Sigh. Hard decisions.

***

Suddenly the weather is getting really cold, like, the kind of cold where you feel trapped and Oh my Gosh What I am Going to Do with Kids all Winter Long? 'Tis the worst season of the year for moms not to go insane. We miss the outdoors something fierce when it's too cold to be out a lot. It's the time of the year where I curse not having a real playroom, my house forever looks like an endless pit of toys, and I'm extra-thankful for Preschool days.

***

Speaking of Thanksgiving.

yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

Favorite holiday, hands down.

Bring it on, Turkey. Bring it. I am thankful for you.

Also, this made me laugh. Like, a lot.



***

This. This morning.

"You have ballet tonight"
...."today??"
"Yes, tonight."
...."but, today?"
"Yes, today tonight."
......"YAY! I HAVE BALLET!"

Three year olds, man. Today & tonight. Same day, and yet--so confusing, right? :)

On that note. Go vote for Matthew Schuler. While I hobble around and try to get my sore butt dressed for the day.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday blips on the radar.

Yet another weekend, having gone by in a flash. What is with that, anyway? I have a few minutes. I'm just gonna spew, watch out.

Our church recently switched to an evening service while we're in a bit of a transitional time. I have to say, I definitely, definitely like the change so far. It's...different. It feels really nice having our service be the end cap to our weekend, and also gives you time to still do things Sunday mornings as a family, have a lazy breakfast, go hiking, shop (while stores are still open), or catch some classes at the gym.

This morning, I decided that I needed to get out, so I headed to Body Pump. I'm punishing myself for going off the deep end in candy consumption since halloween. Yes, you heard me right. I'm a big, fat cheater and ate random pieces of candy over the last 3 days. Halloween is a nightmare. It does NOT help that my kid completely and totally forgot about her candy after the first day, so, it's not like she's taking inventory. Since I've basically picked through all the good chocolate, I think it's time to dump in the trash--because, my thighs.

ANYWAY. (I know, I'm trying to brush all my candy cheating under the rug) (But come on. I'm human. Tomorrow is Monday. A new week. I promise I'm done.) So while I'm in class today I realize that I'm a total instructor-snob. I have my preferences for who I prefer teaching the classes I take. I get really used to their style of teaching. And when it's someone else I feel a little...annoyed? perhaps? Do I still get a good workout in the end? Of course. It's about how hard I push myself anyway. But, for the love--the commentary, the music choices, sometimes I'm all HUHHHHH? And have to keep my eye-rolling to a minimum.

In other news. I probably burned off at least 1 candy bar in pump, and maybe a starburst or two if eye-rolling counts for any calorie burn.

***

Last night we had puke-a-palooza with Em. I think puke is every parents worst nightmare. It's just...so...awful. And gross. And really freaking sad seeing your kid so helpless and weak. There were multiple episodes, and so she ended up in a make-shift 'floor bed' next to us in our room with a bowl by her head. When did I get to the point where I have a kid old enough to make a FLOOR BED in my room? I remember doing that with my parents all the time. Life comes full circle, and now I just feel old.

I am happy to report, whatever the heck it was that plagued her was gone this morning and she's back to the same happy, bouncy girl again.


You know what's weird (not weird at all)? I should feel more guilt over the fact that Lucy's life is documented less than her sister's. But I don't. I let myself free of that, and well, that feels good. I just doubt that one day she's gonna be like, "MOMMMMM I can't believe you didn't write a 15 month update on my LIFE! how could YOU?!"(more like, I didn't write any, after age 3 months. whoops.) But maybe I'm wrong.

So. I will say this. Lucy--at 15 months you are a hilarious wreck. Yes, you are a wrecking ball. That Miley Cyrus song was written for you and I sometimes sing it to you. "YOU CAME IN LIKE A WRECCCKKKINNGGGG BALLLLLLLLLLLL". You are into everything, you are a climber--and even the lady at the Y confirmed this. She is pulling you off of tables non-stop. Your personality is so funny. But whoaaaa baby, you are starting to show that you have a little will inside you. You adamantly shake your head NO or YES and you say no already. SIIIIGHHHH. You are cute, though. And you shout Hiiiiii and HEYYYY HEYYYY to everyone. So friendly and cheery. But such a little firecracker, you are. Running up to big sis, grabbing fistfuls of hair from her head. You.are.a.wreck. A lovely, amazing, hilarious kid and we adore you x a billion.


There. Happy 15 months, kiddo. (on the 29th)

***

I have become a happy-coffee-drinker. I drink it way too often and associate it's warm goodness with peace, and me-time, and ahhhh. The problem is, I need to drink more water. Coffee doesn't replace water. I wish it could. I mean, there is a lot of water IN coffee. So---that's gotta count for something?

Wow. I should be a nutritionalist.

Speaking of nutrition--I feel like I should just mini-update to say, we are still very much eating well. Despite my stupid candy intake the last few days, it's been going same old, same old. We have a nice cheat on a weekend meal (lately it's been pizza), and every once in a while if I'm feeling like I'll die without chick-fil-a nuggets, I'll have them, too. But mostly, things are going great. Both Declan and I (as expected) have maintained the weight loss and hope to stay about where we're at now (although I'd never argue 5 more pounds ;) ).

I use the TimeHop app on my phone, and sometimes I find it crazy when a selfie from last year will come up, and whoa. Then I can really see the fruits of my labor in the food/workout department. Obviously, I was only a few months postpartum last year, but it goes to show that hard work will pay off, and it keeps me motivated.

And lastly.

We were so that family that dressed up on Halloween. Yes. Yes we did. Our friends are big dresser-upper's and basically said we weren't allowed over if we didn't channel our inner kid and wear a dang costume. I'm kidding, I mean, but still. It was kinda fun, I guess.


Emeline wears those glasses like a champ. Literally, didn't remove them from her face for 3.5 hours. And Lucy? Well, she looked like a drunk poodle walking the neighborhood with a lolli hanging from her mouth (pretty sure it's still stuck to her fur someplace). But overall? Good times.

***

How about THAT for the most random post ever...on a Sunday, no less.

have a great rest of the weekend. xo.