Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I like memories in motion.

Photos are amazing. You know I looooove me some pretty photographs. But I also have a deep love for video too. Nothing dramatic, just little clips that help give an overall feel of a day/event/moment, whatever.

There's something about video that feels like less pressure for me versus getting the perfect photograph (which rarely happens). I really enjoy flipping in and out of video mode on my camera for the month of December, then compiling some of those little blips into a bigger story.

I hope I always can hold onto these happy memories with my family.

So I promise this is the only Christmas Recap you'll get from me. I mean, nothing else is needed. :)

And? It's sweet. I think you'll like it, too. 

I may or may not have watched it 5x myself already.

Make that 6.


Happy New Year, peeps.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Reflecting on New Years Resolutions, weight loss stuff, and the "It's a journey" talk.

I am going to be that person today. That rah-rah, you-can-do-it person. So if you just cannot handle that, now's your cue.

So, if you're someone who needs a little boost, likes a real weight loss story, wants the encouragement that THIS TAKES TIME and it's a process (hello-mine is at least 3 parts, as you'll see), then read on. Because you won't find any miracle pill here, no special shakes or cleanses (nothing wrong with that), just a long, drawn-out journey of someone who felt blah and unhappy and wanted to change it.


Most of you know that a few years ago I was a 'resolution story'. Meaning, I started something the 1st of the year when I signed up for a program that I was, frankly, at the time, embarrassed about joining: Weight Watchers online. I thought it was an old lady thing. I just knew I needed something and so something was better than nothing, and something helped kick my butt in gear. I started small. I tracked my eating. I still lived a rather sedentary lifestyle. I did one thing at a time, and at the time, getting control of my eating with tracking, etc, really put me in a place that helped me to be more self aware--which in turn, led to healthy weight loss.

Frankly. It helped take an unhappy momma to a 7 month old (at the time I begun), into a person who was confident in my skin, excited to take a vacation to someplace warm and who felt mostly confident in a two-piece, and had a toddler to lug around all day.
I am so sorry about obnoxious watermarks. I am so sick of hearing about weight loss companies stealing photos and claiming them as their own, so I just want to avoid it if possible.

I considered that a huge win, and I was darn proud of myself. I even started to like running a little bit and ran a few 5K's.

This was part one of my journey, and from what started as a small step, turned into a large leap. A huge, huge step forward in the healthy lifestyle I chose to take on and fight for everyday.

I am about 5'7, and I went from 207+ pounds down to 157 lbs.


Then this happened. Very much planned. But also very hard on my mental state after losing weight.

And it turns out, that after I had my sweet Lucy girl, and a relatively healthy pregnancy, gaining 31 pounds--I was 100x more motivated to lose that baby weight and reclaim that bod of mine again.

I was the girl running on the treadmill at 4 weeks postpartum (I felt great), with a newborn sleeping in a bouncer next to me. I committed and I ran a few 5K's before my baby was even 5 months old.

By 6 months postpartum I had hit that original goal weight of mine (the pre-Lucy weight of 157), and again, felt pretty good. I just had this feeling that it wasn't "it" for me.

But I consider this Part Two. Getting back to that illusive goal weight.

The day I gave birth to Lucy I was 188 lbs (as opposed to the 226 lbs I was the day Eme was born-talk about a big difference!), and the goal weight in Part 2 was 157. I think I hit about 154/155.


I really don't tend to talk about this Part 3 phase as much. There are a few reasons for that. It's not as much of a battle for me anymore, so it's not something I feel like I need to write about to hold myself accountable, if that makes sense.

Part 3 is the part that involves me upping my fitness, really being serious about healthy eating, the part that actually became kinda fun for me, because, I was finally doing things I'd never done before. It's where I joined the gym, started to enjoy classes, and challenged my body and mind in ways I didn't really even think about prior. Focusing on being strong and not skinny, and honestly, not caring about the number on the scale as much because, I could feel my body getting stronger, and in a way, I was free from that feeling of weight mattering as much.

I actually stopped running as often and started focusing more on classes that I actually liked taking. I wanted to do workouts I enjoyed, versus feeling frustrated when I was running and not loving it, or experiencing some 'high' that I never really felt. In the months from July/August of this year on I learned to love weight lifting, and classes like body pump and bootcamp (which is a workout of the day type of class, sometimes involving HIIT/Tabata/Crossfit-kinda stuff).

Eating mostly Paleo (let's not talk about Christmas, woo buddy, it's been fun but I'm ready to be back) has helped lean me out, and I've even begun to see ab muscles and, um, hello-who doesn't want to see your hard work paying off? It is seriously motivating.

During Part 3 I got strong enough to get up on my toes and bang out some real pushups for the first time in my life and now they ain't no thang. During Part 3 I started to see bicep muscles! This former skinny-flab armed gal now has a little strength in those guns. During part 3 I felt more confident than ever, finally conquered a lot of my former gym-class fears, and started to not give a crap about what other people thought of me. During Part 3 I lost an unexpected 15-18 pounds (I fluctuate a little) just by pairing healthy eating with my workouts. Hello side bonus.

Now, I weigh about 139 lbs (give or take), and am well within my healthy weight range for my height. I'm leaner (although my thighs may always be my 'issue'), stronger, feel better than ever, and actually enjoy and want to workout. It's not only good for me physically but mentally it really helps me, too.


This entire process from beginning to now has been 3 years in the making. I'm only saying this to encourage those of you who feel like it's going slow to know that it can be kind of a slow thing. Granted, I had a baby in those 3 years--but, still. My journey has been exactly that, a journey.

From overweight and unhappy, to losing 50lbs, to getting pregnant again, to losing that weight again, then to kicking it up a notch with my fitness, getting stronger--to where I am now. Three. Years.

It's a progress, I can keep working--and I plan to.


If it's something---something small even, think about making a health-related goal for yourself this year? Even if it's just to kick the soda habit, to workout X amount of times a week, go from couch potato to 5K'er (and beyond). Do something.

If I've learned anything over these last 3 years it's that each small step turns into a bigger one, and so they're all important. You'll never regret making healthy lifestyle changes, ever. For yourself, your family, your kids.

What's 2014 going to hold for you? What will my Part 4 look like? Not fully sure, but I'm excited to find out! 


Things to note:

This is the first time I've ever shared my weight publicly, out loud, besides with my husband and close friends. This is huge for me, and also scary, because I know that everyone wears weight differently and have perceptions based on "the number". But I don't care anymore--I'm breathing in and out.

I don't believe everyone needs to look a certain way to be 'fit'. I believe everyone wears that differently, so this is not about an end weight goal, at all--but more so how you feel, are you keeping your body active, etc.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Stop everything you are doing. This is worth it.

Okay, so I really did think my post yesterday was going to be it before Christmas. That is my true heart this year, so if you haven't read that-do. But, I'm sorrynotactuallysorry I have to share something else with you. And you should feel bad for me after getting 1 hour sleep last night (surprise! Lucy has ear infections! and yes someone is always sick around important things/holidays/vacations around here, k, thanks).

So, since you feel bad for me- you will watch this video and you will laugh. Yes, you will giggle. Because it's impossible not to.

But first you will look at this darling photo of my girls.

and now I get to say all these things:

How are they so huge??

Why didn't I pick matching outfits?? (oh yea, because I'm cheap and sister wore hand-me-downs)



WAHHH, time flies!!


I am done now.

But, no-no I'm not (remember, I am delusional from no sleep). 

Last night the kids performed a song at Church, and omg. Emeline had us rolling. About 50 seconds in it gets good. Check her out, front and center. Oh, and then check out her little (boy)friend to the left of her doing some Michael Jackson moves about halfway through. You will pee your pants.

You're welcome.

and since someone will ask--


So don't even imply they come from me.

I mean. ahem.


Merry Christmas for the last time, swear.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

This Christmas

This Christmas I hope that you find yourself able to stop & just be. To give yourself space to look around, relax a tiny bit, breathe in the moments of family, be fully present enough to enjoy that look in your kid's eyes.

I pray that even though you're missing someone, even though it hurts and this might be your first Christmas without them, that you'd still be able to find peace and comfort in your heart in the memories. That even though it feels sad, and it is, that somehow your (our) hearts would be overcome with gratitude and love anyway, and that joy would seep in all the cracks.

I hope this Christmas you can forget about the stupid 'obligations' that overwhelm us and look at them as opportunities. Chances to be with people we love, who might be so different from us. That'd we'd remember we can still love and adore and find depth in relationships where we believe something different from them. I pray that we'd forget about the garbage that's been flooding our social media feeds this past week and focus on the fun, the beauty, the magic, and the hope that comes with this time of year. Not what divides us. What brings us together.

That even when things don't go our way, or the way we'd planned it or imagined it in our head--that we'd still be able to laugh at the different outcome. Smile and realize that this is so real life, and real life can still be beautiful.

  1. 1.
    cheerful and lively.

Cheerful and Lively? I'll take some of that. :)

Be Merry, friends, and if you can't, just be you.

Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

be free.

I never pretend I can do it all, be it all, when it comes to motherhood, etc. In fact, I almost admit too often, to strangers, even, that I do not have my ish together, and look! I'm a trainwreck! It's something I should probably be more embarrassed about, but then again, whatever.

Oh, look who forgot diapers, again. Guess who has to vacuum for the 29382098th time, today--guess who doesn't want to. Guess whose guest is crunching on cheerios as they sit on the couch? Guess whose kid's toys are strewn about in every basket in the house, nothing matching or pairing together anymore? And who's closet literally looks like an explosive blew up in it? Guess who's been stepping over clean laundry for weeks on end, and staring at the same lint balls in the corner of the kitchen and not doing a darn thing about it? 

And these are just the easy ones.

I have no trouble telling on myself. On being all, I REALLY AM A WRECK A LOT OF THE TIME and being OK with it. 

Every once in a blue moon (I'm really not that hard on myself) I'll have these moments where I check myself. Like, maybe this is actually not okay

Last night I was in the bathroom, getting the girl's teeth brushed before bed when I noticed the same crumpled up bandaid trash on the counter, broken hair rubberbands that have laid there for days, and I was about to leave them there, AGAIN, rather than just cleaning it up so I could breathe. (Believe it or not, I actually like order and keeping things neat--it's just, I have trouble staying on top of everything.) 

And I literally heard in my head, "I bet _____ doesn't leave her counters like this. I bet her bathroom is clean. She works a job, has two kids like you. You should probably clean this up, what's your excuse?"

And so I scrambled to clean up the counters, because, you know, so and so would never dare leave hers this way. 

But, as soon as I gave myself a hard time about it, my brain quickly took over. How do I know she keeps her bathrooms clean at all times? What if she actually is more like me, feeling like she's grasping at straws by bedtime, and the stupid counters really are the last of your priority, and is what really matters because, hello alone time, and, peace and quiet. And-the counters can wait. 

I'm not silly enough to think that everyone is like me in my sometimes messy ways. But what I do get is that while I may succeed in one area, you may struggle in it. Or you may be a rockstar when it comes to having a beautiful home-cooked, well balanced meal every day, while I may be crossing my fingers it's time for another chick-fil-a trip. While my house can be an utter disaster most the time, the clean laundry never gets put away, and the sheets on the bed don't get washed as often as they should, you may be killin' it in that department--on schedule with All The House Chores and never missing a check-mark. Meanwhile, I'm over here crunching in cheerios all day long

How can one possibly have it ALL together, all the time? I don't think they do. So the myth of a supermom is just that. A myth.

I really do not think that any one mom is ever a rockstar in all the ways. I think there is no physical way a person could possibly hold it together all the dang time, and do all the things, and still maintain her sanity, hold the love and affection of her family, and have a sparkly, clean home, all the laundry put away, perfect meals on the table, perfectly curled hair, children who wouldn't dare ever misbehave in public, yougetthepoint.

Maybe she lives out there somewhere. The mom who can really do it all. But I haven't met her. Have you? 

If so, she's hiding something. She has to be.

So I'm gonna go ahead in live freely in the fact that I CANNOT DO IT ALL. I am okay with that. My family is happy. I am happy. That is freeing. And gosh darn it, I'm still calling rockstar status.

as you should, too.


(this post randomly fueled after reading this article, which I loved.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The things you do At Christmas.

Thanks to the wonderful world of instagram, blogs, facebook--you know, we get to be all up in each others business all the time. We get a tiny glimpse (remember, people-a glimpse!!!!!!! If I could use more exclamations to drive this point home, I would) into other peoples lives and stuff. Heck, I know it gives people a peek into mine.

Around this time of year, though--I can definitely pick up bits and pieces about the way people celebrate the holidays. The special things they do with their families, the normal or strange traditions. The moms who are obsessed with matching christmas jams (tiny bit guilty), the crazy (just kidding. i love you.) elf on a shelf people. The ones who detest santa. The ones who love him. The ones who focus on Jesus. The ones who celebrate advent. The ones who love to bake. The ones who'd rather buy a batch of pillsbury christmas tree sugar cookies (guilty) from the store.

It's actually kind of interesting. And special. I love that everyone, each family, has their thing and way they celebrate. I don't judge the elf on a shelf people (hiiii! there are a lot of you), just because I find him a tad bit creepy and it's something we don't do. I just don't tend to be about the whole, someone is watching you, so be on best behavior -thing. In fact, the other day (getting ready to tell on myself)- for the first time ever, I said something about telling Santa that she hadn't been listening. IMMEDIATELY I FELT GROSS. That is not my style, and yet, in a moment of, OhmygoshIneedHELP I pulled the Santa card? No. I won't be doing that again. That's not my preferred way to parent.

Speaking of Santa--here's how we choose to handle that as a family.

We are very Santa-light. He's not our focus, not at all, but we do a little Santa on the side and I think our balance so far is ok. It's very important to us that we focus on Jesus' birth and I'm really grateful that she gets that. If we ask her why we celebrate Christmas, she will always mention something about Jesus, his birthday, we celebrate when he was born, etc. For years, we didn't have to 'do' anything Santa, because, um, she was a baby. Or a small toddler who didn't care. I never put her on Santa's lap for the sake of a picture--why? Because it wasn't a preference of mine. I just didn't care. (I do love to laugh at all your screaming-with-terror pics with Santa, though--just saying.)

But this year, for the first time--she asked.

So, we let her.

It was fine, and she enjoyed it. Santa was pleasant--asked her what she wanted for Christmas. She told him, then he said, "anything else little girl?" 

This is when she adamantly told him, "No, Santa. My mom and dad told me to ask for JUST ONE PRESENT." 

Which leads me to this:

Santa brings just one gift in our little family. Declan and I decided this was a compromise. There's a part of me that could just not do Santa at all and be fine with it. But I do think there's a part of it's that fun and imaginative, and, how is it different than the friggin' tooth fairy, I mean-really. It's not.

Santa is a cool guy and all-but, he just gets the credit for one gift (the one she reeeeeally wants, which, I think is nice of me....ok?), and then mom and dad get the credit for the rest and, maybe I'm selfish, but whatever.

I think it's possible to Do Santa and Celebrate Jesus, too. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. I also think every family has to choose what balance works for them, and that's cool, too.

Let's talk stockings.

My husband brought the tradition of EVERY TINY LITTLE GIFT IS WRAPPED in the stocking to this family. It is one he will not compromise on. (Thank you to my mother-in-law for this, ha. Hiiii! She reads.) When I am up wrapping every tiny little gosh darn thing, feeling rage in my bones, crumpling up more tape, and getting sick of cutting tiny little bits of wrapping paper, I hate this tradition with a passion.

Katie-throwback. Christmas morning.
Obviously my mom didn't like Christmas pjs.
THAT or by the 3rd kid you just don't care. 

When it's my turn to open my stocking? I LOVE IT.

Because it IS fun to unwrap every little thing. Even if it is just a chapstick.

Also. Stockings come from one another, not Santa (does Santa ever do stockings? I'm not really up on my Santa FAQ) Declan and I do each others, and then together we do the kids. It's kinda fun.

Christmas Eve is reserved for Declan's family. It's always been our special time to celebrate, eat dinner together, sing carols, read the Christmas story, and then open gifts by the light of the tree. I love having a Christmas Eve tradition and think it's really special that my kids get to experience this.

The first few hours of Christmas morning is just us. Here, at home. Making our own little memories and experiencing the joy with just the four of us. We make cinnamon rolls and coffee, and open gifts and play. Then we head over to my parents late morning and do the same thing there, all together, with all my siblings and the kids. It's a chaotic, fun, crazy blast.


Tell me about your Christmas do's and don'ts. Are you stocking stuffer wrappers, too? Elf-on-a-shelf'ers? Santa-believers? You know the drill.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Memory keeper pressure. Help.

I don't give myself a hard time about much. I'm a right brained thinker, so--if you know anything about that, or, well, you're right brained--you know that life is more about the artistic process, that your brain is always churning the next thing, you're dying to write/create often--and you could care less about forming a proper sentence. Ahem. That last sentence was a great example :)

I don't tend to focus on organization or to-do lists. Ok, I don't at all. I don't beat myself up when I don't finish stuff. I plan ahead sometimes, but I procrastinate often. If you dropped by my house would probably be a semi-wreck, and while I might feel a little bad about it, I get over it quick. If I mess up with my kids, have a bad mom-day, I think, meh--tomorrow will be better. I don't toss and turn and keep myself up about failures and ways I can improve.

That being said. The one thing I constantly beat myself up about is pictures. Photo-taking. Being the memory keeper.

It literally weighs on me like a brick on my chest. My kids don't have albums. They literally just have one book, of their "birth-day" and few days following. I feel guilty about this all the time and know I don't have the time or organization of my past photos to even properly put them into books now without spending days upon days of which I don't really have. I can't even tell you how many times I've started said books. Gotten a few pages in. Threw in the towel and decided it wasn't worth it. They can go back and read my blog. My photos are on facebook. Hopefully they won't hate me for not keeping their pics better organized.

Sometimes I miss the day of film. Where you get every single roll developed, and put them directly into an album. Not a fancy, printed book. An album. But at least they're guaranteed to be somewhere physical, versus off in space, on some external hard drive, or backed up to joe schmo's company, in which we hope will still one day be there when we need them. It's kind of exhausting to think about.

Oh, and then there's the whole, will their life just be documented in little 2x2 instagram photos-thing? And I beat myself up over not taking out my real camera for them more often. I was so good with Emeline. So good. Everyone told me it would get harder as you had more children. I scoffed. But it turned out to be true for me. Poor Lucy. I mean, there's no shortage of instagram photos.

Anyway. Even as I'm writing this my stomach is in a big knot because I know I need to Do Something about this. To have more physical proof, somehow, in an album, of my photos. Of their little lives. Somewhere, someplace, other than the big ole internetz. But, sheesh. It feels so overwhelming now.

Enough of the sob fest over Not Real Issues. Here are a few of our favorite moments from the weekend. Not on instagram.

(all of these pics got blurry and disgusting once put in collage format. Gross. So now my kids will only have blurry, gross photos to look back on--awesome :) )


I normally wouldn't do this, because the advice would overwhelm me---but I'm gonna ask anyway. What's your way of staying on top of your kid's photos? Do you print books? Do instagram books? What is your favorite company to use (please don't say shutterfly...their book format overwhelms me, unless I'm an idiot)?

I need to take baby steps to get better. I guess I'm just more worried about starting over from the past, versus just working with the present and on. Does that make sense?

Anyone else feel this Memory-Keeper pressure, too?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

All better! & Blog talk

Four days. We were in four days of sick-cabin-fever, Momma's-back's-been-out, haven't-worked-out, missed-ballet, missed-preschool, Momma's-gonna-lose-her-mind hay-ull. And I will be the first to tell you that it's pathetic that this makes me sad and blah because it's REALLY NOT THAT LONG at all and people have it so much worse. It was just such a screeching halt to our normal life that it was so....exhausting. In a lazy'ing around on the couch way.

ANYWAY. We were 24 hours fever-free, had our first night where Em slept straight through and felt awesome this morning--so I dropped her off at school today (girl was begging to go) with a hop in my step. Because. Well, duh.

I came home and made myself a big breakfast (after putting Lucy down for a nap), and brewed another cup of coffee--and breathed. Alone at last.


I have always been the type to entertain a sponsored post here and there. As in, once every few months. I truly think that in balance, it's ok. And if not in balance, then that's your choice and if I don't like it, I don't have to read. But lately--it just doesn't feel right anymore. I think, it's just--I have finally decided that I don't really have the desire to do it at all.

It feels inauthentic to me. It feels like work (and I guess it is). And I really don't like it. I got picked to do something that involved free diapers. FREE DIAPERS. And not only free diapers, but a hundred bucks on the side. And I wrote them back and just said I'm sorry, but I couldn't do it anymore. If it gave me a weird feeling in my gut to fake that I like a certain brand of diapers when I really don't? Then I'm not ok with that.

It's really important to me to stay true to myself. I'm just too dang honest to lie for a buck.

So just know that if--whenever I do a sponsored ANYTHING (which is super duper rarely--I'd rather just not, and ramble about nothing all the time), it is with great thought and Do I Actually Like This, and serious contemplation. Because if not it feels yucky inside and I just don't do that. K?

Personally, I don't care to make a dime from writing here and thankfully anything extra from this blog was always just that, extra. My head and heart has changed so much in that area over the last year, and for me (not judging anyone else), it's for the better.

No pressure is good for me. Being honest and true to myself, well, that's a no brainer.


I know this is an area people could talk about all day. I'm curious to know your thoughts about it, though. Do you appreciate when a blog you love to read stays away from sponsored-typed-freebie-giveaway type posts? Or do you like it in balance?

Be honest. I like honest. I don't like mean, however.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Twinkly things & such.

Advent started yesterday and I'm a huge Do Advent It's Important person, and yet-I didn't start. To my defense, I was knee-deep in A Bad Day and holy cow, both my girls were just not happy with life and I don't just say this lightly. I mean, it wasn't pretty. That rough day turned into a rough night, and one of my kids is currently snoozing past 9am (which never, EVER happens). I am so happy that they get to make up lost sleep, I guess that would explain why I'm on my 2nd cup of coffee already, since that's not a luxury I have, ahem.


I guess we'll just jump into Advent on day 2 and well, she won't know any different.

I try to be a Team Thanksgiving person and give that precious holiday a space of it's own and not shroud with Christmas. I caved when it came to Emeline's mini tree in her room, but, just because I'm Team Turkey doesn't mean she has to be. You better believe the day after The Best Holiday Ever is when we bust out all the twinkly lights. I may soak in Thanksgiving, but the minute my eyes pop open on Black Friday I'm all GIMME CHRISTMAS and it's on, man.

My house is sparkly. I love it right now. By December 26th I will want to poke my eyeballs out if I'm being honest. We will appreciate this feeling while it lasts, mmmk.


While I've been cheating my face off the last week, I still made sure to get my exercise on (hey I gotta balance it out) (and up my cardio a little), and I realized how much I hate it. Hate eating whatever I 'want' (my brain wants it, oh trust me, but my body doesn't) because I feel like garbage. And I hate doing cardio like that. I did Body Combat on Thanksgiving morning along with everyone else at my gym (seriously! so packed, so shocked, but then again--not really), and then again yesterday. That ish is just too jumpy for my granny back. I'd rather do 10 WOD's and get my butt kicked in bootcamp over and over again than do that class for another hour straight.

Just when I thought I was so strong and body reminds me that no. Just no. I can't do the jumpy thing that much.

Also I've learned not to weigh myself for a few days after a holiday. It's torture.  I just give myself a few days to get back on track and thennnnn go for it. Also, I'm supposed to tell you that the scale is stupid all together and to go with how you feel.


Apparently 8 cars in my neighborhood got broken into this weekend. This kind of thing just makes me sad. And also, if you want a bunch of half chewed goldfish crackers, random mis-matched gloves, or a bunch of crumpled up receipts probably filled with chewed gum, then go for it. You won't find anything fun in there. Also: I am sad for you if you feel the need to break into cars this holiday. No, it actually really bums me out.


I am so overwhelmed with Cyber Monday deals that while I want to finish up my shopping online and get 'er done, I would almost rather shut my computer and not look at it for the rest of the day.

IS THIS THE BEST PRICE? Wait, IS THAT THE BEST PRICE? aw, the heck with it, I'll just shop when everything's back to full price tomorrow.

'cuz that's smart logic. and yet that's how I feel.

So what's a good one I shouldn't miss? Helppppppp.