Multiples Illuminated – A Review

One of my goals in 2016 was to read more books. Not just blogs, not just Facebook updates, not just Instagram quotes, not just tweets…but actual books. I know as a society we are moving towards having the attention spans of gnats as we continue to gather information in such tiny bite sized pieces, but I long for the good old days of a heavy book in my hand while I lounge on the hammock in my backyard with a margarita. Okay, I don’t own a hammock nor have I ever made myself a margarita, but wouldn’t it be nice?

 

And I know who does not have time for all of that relaxation and hammock nonsense – mothers of multiples – that’s who. But they DO need to carve out some time for some good reading and resources. Which is why I’m writing this post.

 

You parents of multiples – lean in here, you are not alone. You have a community of help….

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One of my dearest friends and incredibly gifted writer(and mom of twins!), Alison Lee has co-authored and co-curated an incredible book with Megan Woolsey, that was just released in time for Mother’s Day – Multiples Illuminated A collection of stories and advice from parents of twins, triplets and more.

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Now, I don’t have twins or triples, but I have always been both fascinated and in awe of families who do. We all know how overwhelming just one baby can be – but to have two or three or more? Now that’s a lot of diapers and lack of sleep. So I LOVED the stories that are shared in this new resource for parents about to become parents of multiples.

 

What I loved about Multiples Illuminated was how it took you through the whole process of (perhaps) infertility and becoming pregnant, to finding out you are having more than one baby, pregnancy, (perhaps) a NICU stay, and coming home. And then how to survive those early days and nights(breastfeeding more than one baby as an example), and into the infant and toddler stages. I laughed, I cried, and I felt each story that I read in this incredible resource. The essays and the contributors are pure gold.

 

Multiples Illuminated also provides a place in each section for you to reflect and recall some of your worries and memories as a wonderful keepsake and journal on your own parenting of multiples journey. This will be a book that you keep by your bedside(or your hammock) for years.

 

If you or someone you know is expecting twins(or more), I completely recommend this book full of advice and incredible stories to you.

 

You can find out more at the Multiples Illuminated interactive website, order here, and also follow them on Twitter and Facebook as additional resources for your growing family.

 

***Disclosure: I was not compensated to read nor review this book in anyway. All words are my own. Now go buy the book, get a hammock, and read more. Drinks are optional.

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My Self-Care Grade As A Mom

I texted a friend before heading over to Julie’s book signing last night. I told her that Julie needed to use me as an example on how mothers are NOT focusing enough on our own self-care. I had a crazy day(and week). I was working, the fridge was empty, the house was a mess, the laundry sat in piles, I had not combed my hair or put on make-up and honestly haven’t had a cut or color since September, and I was sitting in the dance studio basement trying to get the bills paid so they were only a few days late.

 

But I told me friend that I was going to Julie’s reading come hell or high water. However the only way for me to attend was to drop some kids at dance, head home with another kid to quickly let the dog out to pee, and then go to the bookstore with my six year old and hope that it ended before I had to get back for dance pickup. And yes, I was the only one at the signing with a child. I laughed at myself and my situation and at how sometimes we just need to make somethings happen for us and our families. And last night – while in full motherhood and working mode – I needed to carve out 90 minutes for me. And I explained to my six year old that we were going to a thing for Mommy and she would need to bring a book and some coloring to keep busy(and not talk) so I could visit with my friend and celebrate Julie and her new book about Self-Care.

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Because kids, sometimes its not about you. I mean 99.9% of the time it’s about you. But I’m taking that .1% and holding onto it tightly as I try to increase my time and focus on my own self-care as a mother, so I can be a better mother. Last night was just what I needed.

 

And I realized that I need to set a better example for my kids on how a mom needs to take time for herself too. It’s always a joke to some that all we want for Mother’s Day is a day off from mothering, but it’s a joke that rings true for many(and many times for me too).

 

But this year I’m not asking for that day off on Sunday, because I just had five days off last month. I did something that I recommended to everyone – I took a long weekend with one of my best friends and spent it celebrating my running the Boston Marathon. I ran a marathon and seriously I had never felt so refreshed and renewed and happy. And I know it was because I got away completely and was able to focus on me(and not feel selfish about it) and enjoy adult company and so much laughter for a few days. It lifted me up and made me ready to come back and know I would be a good mom again.

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My kids were sad that they didn’t get to travel to Boston with me, but I hope they understand why I needed to go with friends, and they will use that as an example on their own motherhood journey someday.

 

And they know how important is to take care of ourselves..always. I model this to my tweens through my dedication to running and keeping fit. I never think of my daily run or workout as time away from my family – I see it as time for me to stay healthy and strong(both mentally and physically), and teach my kids that it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle now and throughout their lives. Remember to not just try to say the right things to your kids, but truly act and do how you want them to remember to live their lives. Actions are always louder than words.

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It’s important to me to keep an open dialogue going with my tween and teen about everything. From self-care and motherhood to friendships and making good choices. I love what responsibility.org is leading as part of their Ask Listen Learn project to build a foundation of trust and continual conversation between parents and tweens. By encouraging a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t include underage drinking, Ask, Listen, Learn has the resources for parents to be informed and talk with their kids about why drinking underage can have long-term and short-term consequences on a developing brain and body.

 

Everyone says that parenting a toddler is hard – but these tween and now as we enter the teen years, are getting even tougher as their independence grows. NOW, and today and tomorrow and always is the time to model a healthy lifestyle and continue to talk with your kids about everything. And if you don’t know what to say or do – well you are lucky because there are so many resources like Ask Listen Learn for those of us who need a helping hand. You are not alone.

 

Please visit asklistenlearn.org for more information and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

And remember that it’s okay to take time for yourself too. Happy Mother’s Day.

 

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Responsibility.org for a post, but all words, actions, and love for my tweens are completely my own.

 

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Boston Marathon Recap

It was wicked hot out there.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

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I ran a marathon without much training.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I didn’t train on any hills.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

My legs cramped up like they’ve never done before.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I’m not sure I should be running this far on my injured ankle.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I can’t begin to drink enough water.

 

But I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

I never, not once, not even for a second, once I stepped up to the starting line thought “I can’t do this.”

 

Because I was ready to earn the sentence, “I’m a Boston Marathon Finisher.”

 

No buts anymore. No buts.

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I could leave my recap as just that – I came, I conquered(okay, endured), I finished. But I have so much more to say. So here it is….go get a coffee…

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I ran the race I trained for. I mean, I barely trained as I was in a boot for six weeks and just started running six weeks before Boston. And in my previous post, I said my head was telling me “4:15.” And that’s the race I ran. My plan – as stupid as it may sound to an experienced runner- was to go out and run as well and and as fast and as far I could, and then walk, limp, crawl the rest of the way…but there was no way in hell I was walking off the course. And in my head that meant a 4:15. I thought I could run a 1:50 half and then keep a decent 9 min/mile pace until 20, and then figure out the last 6 miles at a 12 min/mile or so…which puts me at about a 4:10 without water stops…so a 4:15.

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Sure I had an optimistic plan – a 3:51 so I could Boston Qualify again with a few minutes to spare. And maybe,  just maybe, on a cooler day that could’ve happened. Because hell, it was wicked hot. 70+ and sunny is awesome for spectators – but it’s about 20 degrees too hot for runners. I was sweating and my body temp was up just walking the mile to the starting line. They had water stops at every single mile(thank god), and I drank 1-2 cups and poured one over my head at EVERY SINGLE MILE. And I was still thirsty. And hot. And sweaty. And don’t even ask me about the dang headwind. But you know what – I did not care because I was running my first Boston Marathon.

 

Things started off very close to plan – I ran a half marathon in 1:52 and that was great, but I was getting tired. Thank goodness for those Wellesley girls as their kisses pulled me through the next few miles.

 

Miles 14-16 starting slowing down for me and I was walking by mile 16. Not because I was tired(I was), but because of leg cramps. I have NEVER felt cramps like that – they start in your toes, work their way up your foot and to your calf and then FREEZE. Like you are going to fall over if you take another step.

 

So miles 17-21 were brutal. It was still hot and still sunny and I was already walking, and it was time for the Newton Hills. NO ONE CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THESE HILLS. The downs were actually worse than the ups…so I basically would run a quarter mile, walk a quarter mile, and repeat for these four miles. But holy hell – I was running the Boston Marathon – I was NOT giving up. I was honestly happy with 10:30 min/miles with all of the walking I had to do.

 

Thank goodness for the amazing crowds and volunteers along the way. They made a VERY tough day brighter with their huge numbers and encouraging words. I wrote my name on my arm and leg and had hundreds of people shout my name as I ran/walked by. It was also during these miles that I saw the most people getting medical attention. MANY people on stretchers, getting IV fluids and being massaged for cramps.

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Miles 22-25 are kind of a blur. At this point I had to stop and stretch a few times just to even keep walking. My pace slowed to 11 min/mile but I kept on moving forward. At least the course flattened out.

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I saw my friend Kristi, my sister-in-law Amy, and my mother-in-law, at mile 25. It gave me the courage to kind of run that last mile in as I took a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston. I can’t even begin to describe how loud the crowds were down Boylston Street. It was surreal. I cried the whole time as I tried to keep running and thank the crowds for coming out to cheer. High-fives all around, my friends. It was all I could do to lift my arms at the finish and then I just cried as I hugged my “medal-giver” as I finished with a 4:12. It was all in the plan…

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Would I have loved to BQ last Monday? Sure. But I am a Boston Marathon Finisher.

 

It was a tough day out there for many. I was looking at some stats since this is a very fast race with some of the fastest runners in the world – so many earn another BQ each year. In fact in 2014 11,053(36%) qualified to run again the next year..and in 2015 12,767(48%) did. But this year, in 2016, only 4324(16%) runners qualified again. That’s CRAZY low and a testament to the heat this year. So KUDOS to them and to all of us who showed up on Marathon Monday!

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I’ve never enjoyed a donut and a beer more than I did that evening.

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I plan to be back to Boston Marathon again soon. This won’t be my last. But this will always be my first and it was truly a beautiful and perfect day.

 

Nothing(except the time and love of my family and friends), will ever compare to running this special race. You sure know how to throw a party Boston.

 

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Boston Marathon One Week Countdown

I’ll be at the starting line of my first Boston Marathon in exactly one week.

 

One week.

 

26 years of running. And now one week.

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I’ll be there with hope and positive thoughts to get me through. They say the first 20 miles are what you train for, and the last six miles are mental. This time I’m not leaning on my training for any of it really.

 

But I’ll also be there with the love and support of so many of you that have reached out with your encouragement on this crazy journey. Thank you.

 

So I’ll be at the starting line of Boston Marathon in one week without my typical marathon training. There has been no taper as there’s no time. There’s nothing to taper from.

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By now I should’ve been training for 14 weeks, had some 50 miles weeks. at least three 20+ mile runs, speed work, track workouts, tempo runs, hills repeats…

 

Instead I’ve been only back on my feet for seven weeks after four months of rest from a stress fracture and tendonitis…that still bothers me. In those seven weeks I’ve run only 2x week, had one long run of 16 miles and instead focused on strength, core and cross-training.

 

And right now I have no idea what that means over 26 miles. But as with any marathon, I have to trust in my training..and this was all I could do.

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A year ago my goal without an injury was to earn another BQ to bring me back to Boston in 2017, but now I just want to be there to enjoy the party and reach the finish line…somehow.

 

My ankle is telling me that this might be a 5:15 marathon(never had a “5” in front of that before…).

 

My head is telling me that I can pull a 4:15 safely.

 

And my heart is telling that 3:51 is totally possible. My heart is ever the optimist and yet it’s been broken a few times before.

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I’m not sure which will be right next Monday, but what I do know is I’m going to enjoy every single step of those 26 miles as this young girl qualified for THE BOSTON MARATHON and dammit I’m going to own this journey all the way to getting that unicorn medal at the finish. And I’ll be grateful to just see another beautiful Monday and have the ability to take even one step.

 

See you there, Boston.

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Eleven

All she wanted for her birthday was to make homemade sushi and donate $100 to WWF to save the tigers. I bugged her for over a month for more ideas. Two years ago, another 11 that I know well, wanted her own MacBook, an iPhone(with Instagram), the latest American Girl doll, and a party for 20. Now that 11 is honestly pretty dang sweet and outward thinking, but she has always wanted a little bit more and wanted to be a little more grown-up. Always in a hurry.

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This 11 has no problem staying little. She has no need to be one of the cool kids. She probably doesn’t even know who the cool kids are. She doesn’t care if she has the right hair or clothes. She wears her sister’s hand-me-downs without question. She’s in no hurry. Ever. A true stop and smell the roses girl. I have so much still to learn from her.

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She’s true and sweet and silly and kind, and will wait to grow up when it’s time to grow up.

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And her favorite birthday gifts(besides the donation), were the pie in the face game, a puzzle that was too easy, and a Style Me Up coloring book for ages 5-8. Screw that ageism crap.

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Yet while she wants to stay little, she’s the first to offer to help – to cook, clean, unload the dishwasher, feed the cat, clean her room, walk the dog.

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She’s a good kid with a beautiful and generous soul, and I’ll keep her close and little and sweet for as long as she lets me. The time to be little and innocent is short. She has so many years coming to be all grown-up.

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So for now – Happy 11 sweet Esther. We love you.

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Boston Marathon Training

I ran twice this week. I ran a full mile on Tuesday, and then a whole mile and a half on Thursday. Tomorrow, Saturday, I plan to run another mile or so.

 

These are my first miles since December. But it’s been since mid-September and my injury since I’ve done big miles. And big miles to me these days mean anything over five. Whereas a year ago I was doing 20 on any given Saturday without a thought of it being a big deal.

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Now this mile hurts. Later in the afternoon on Tuesday I felt aches in my shins and the back of my thighs. My ankles felt weak. And it’s not like I’ve been sitting around binge watching Netflix and getting out of shape. (Okay, I have binge watched Netflix – OMG Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul and Friday Night Lights...). But I’ve been doing most of my binge watching while riding the bike and putting in about 150 miles a week to keep my cardio up. I also spend a good 30 minutes each day on core and strength to be ready to increase my running mileage. But running is different. And these short miles don’t feel natural.

 

After 24 years of running, I’m a beginner again.

 

And Boston Marathon is 8.5 weeks away. After returning to marathon training two years ago, I qualified for Boston….and now…I ran a mile on Tuesday.

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I know I can run that first mile of the race. And damn that last .2 is MINE…but the 25 in between. I’m not feeling sure.

 

And I go through my options..

  1. Skip it. Cry a lot about skipping Boston Marathon. How does one skip BOSTON??? But take another year or so to really get better. I mean I had a torn tendon and stress fracture…do I really need to do this. And then maybe I’ll qualify again in two years and THAT will be my chance to do Boston. But what if I’m never in Marathon shape again. What if my ankle and foot are done. If that’s the case…
  2. ..then I’m going to Boston this year. It might just be my slowest marathon ever. But even finishing in five and a half hours gives me a Boston finish and a medal. Screw it all. I’m going – come what may. Even if it means walking half of it.

I’m scared. No matter how determined I am and ready to embrace the suck I am…I still am scared to mess with an injury.

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So how’s that Boston Marathon Training going? Well I will run three miles this week. And maybe five next week..and seven the week after..and we will just see how things go. That’s where I am right now….scared, confused, mad, frustrated, hopeful, hungry, ready, yet no matter…

….I’m still a runner.

 

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High Five Friday

Five Things To Read This Week.

I’ve been writing. I swear to you I’ve been writing like I promised to last month. But I’ve been writing with a pen and paper just like Julie asked me to do. So maybe those words will end up on here. Or maybe not. Maybe they will show up somewhere else, or maybe they will stay in the notebook for my kids to find 60 years from now when they are cleaning up my cat lady house after I die.

 

Speaking of Julie…her novel Letters For Scarlet launches in April and I just finished my preview copy. You MUST buy and read her book. A full review is coming soon…..

 

My friend Christine always inspires me. Like I wake up most mornings thinking about her and seeking out her writing and photographs because she is pure joy, inspiration, talent, and beauty. She had a few articles go crazy viral over the past week, but I love her article on The Washington Post.

 

I adore Jennie – her faith, family and her writing. I needed to read and nodded through this post about Forgiveness. I think you will see your human self in it too.

 

Love, Surfing, and Marriage – yes yes and yes..all of it from my dear friend Michelle.

 

Five Instagram Photos This Week

 

I do most of my writing these days on Instagram. So if you are looking for me – find and follow me over there..

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  1. New neighbors moved in over the weekend so we made and delivered cookies! Hopefully they will be some new “clients” for Eloise’s babysitting business.
  2. Fernie the Bernie…(WE GOT A DOG…more later)…with her sweet sister in the van.
  3. Yoga #poseoftheday – I’ve been doing core work and daily stretches and yoga as I continue to get stronger as I recover from my running injury.
  4. Snow Day! We had 12″ of snow this week and had a blast in the snow.
  5. Matilda Jane launch week! Our new Spring line is available so I spent the week working my tail off. I’ve been a Trunk Keeper for almost nine years and love my job still every single day.

Linking up with Angela at Happy Fit Mama!

 

Have a great weekend

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Where I Give 15 Fs About 2016

This morning I woke up the same way that I wake up every morning. The cat is licking my face as my alarm goes off. I wonder if she really thinks I’ll forget to Feed her. Have I ever Forgotten to Feed her? I Feed her and I make sure the coffee is ready and then I work-out. After my work-out I drink copious amounts of coffee as I watch the morning news. I catch up on Facebook and Instagram and email, and then I wait for the Family to wake.

Just hours into the New Year, 2016 Feels the same. The cat, the coffee, the news, the work-out and the being First up for like always a million mornings later. I like the comfort in the routine and Familiar. I am not beyond Feeling like a toddler in my need for the predictable. Yet I don’t want to get comfortable in other ways. I want to step out of my comfort(and honestly, control) zone to be better and experience new. Just don’t mess with the First hours of my morning.

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2015 brought some big changes in many areas – Friends, Family, Fitness, Finances…and honestly had me using the big F word more than usual. And if you know me and my love for the big F word – well, wow that’s kind of a big deal to use it even more.

 

I’m not making resolutions here, because eFF that – so instead I’m using 15 F words that will define my life living Forward in 2016.

 

Focus – Like how I started writing this blog post on New Year’s Day..and here it is Five days later and I’m Finally Finishing it. Yeah, I need to work on this one. This Focus of putting First things First and prioritizing and letting go of the crap that’s not important. But I won’t be able to really Focus until I Finish Breaking Bad. Check back with me in a Few days after I binge watch the Final two seasons. Just tell me that cute Jesse is okay.

Family – Numero uno. But I can’t do this until I get clear Focus, right. That’s why I have it listed as number two. Family First and always. I love my people and they need to know it more. I mean sure I clean the house and cook their meals and make sure they have Folders and clean clothes. And I give hugs and kisses and encouragement and love. But I need to be more present for them when we are together. Whether it’s the now old cliche of putting my phone down, or maybe even watching the Minions for the 153rd time.

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Fun – Which brings me to Fun. I’m the heavy in our Family. The enforcer of the chores and the discipline. I run a tight ship and have high expectations of everyone. This will not change. But I do promise to have more Fun this year and always. We can all wear dirty clothing for a day if it means a few hours of sledding. More yes and less no.

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Fitness – I qualified for the Boston Marathon and am running it in April. I’m currently in a boot – so no running which totally sucks, but I’m coming back even stronger than before…trust me. My Fitness goals in 2016 are to get back into running shape with overall health and Future in mind…strong core, strong body, good choices. And by the end of 2016 I want to be in even better overall health and in stronger shape than I am in now. My goal is to write more about my Fitness journey in 2016 too. Hold me to that one, okay?

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F(ph)otography – My camera has taken a bit of a hiatus in recent years. I’m giving myself the time to explore and get to know my Friend Canon again in 2016. I need to stop worrying about perfect and just shoot.

Food – I have always watched what I eat, but I’m bringing my Family more into this in 2016. In 2015 I started “new recipe” Wednesday with the family – I cooked something completely new each Wednesday, and it was a huge success(maybe I should’ve blogged about it), so 2016 is continuing that as well as Focusing on cutting out more sugar and meat and processed items from everything we eat.

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Future – No looking back this year. The best is yet to come. Let’s celebrate and make an impact where we can – in tomorrow…not yesterday.

Friends – This is a BIG one For me in 2016. The older I get the more I know how important true Friends are. Yet how difficult it is to Find Friends at this age. We aren’t having babies anymore, we aren’t in college anymore, and I don’t have a workplace that I go to where I’m heading out to lunches with adults. But it’s Finding those true and easy Friends – through school or activities or book clubs or Facebook…AND making the time to have coffee or wine or even a phone conversation. Let’s all make the time For Friends this year. Friends Feed our soul differently than work or Family. Let’s celebrate and make time for that.

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Finances – Our BIG commitment for 2016. We made some huge Financial decisions in 2014 and 2015 – and now it’s time to continue moving Forward to ensure our Future retirement(EEK) as well as the kids’ Future is Funded. We will hold monthly Family Finance meetings and Focus on what’s important with our Finances. Full transparency as we move Forward is key.

(non)Fiction – I WILL write in 2016. It might not be here always, but I will write. I want to write a children’s book that I’ve had in draft for almost three years, and I will pitch some articles this year. I have Found that the less I write, the more scattered and unhappy my brain gets…so I need to do this. And I will.

Facebook – And all social media. I Find it can be such a time suck because I love to see you all – your Families, your pictures, your lives..and I love to support you all…but I need more balance here. I have already stepped away quite a bit and will continue to Focus my social media time better in 2016.

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Fly – We WILL take a Family vacation in 2016. We WILL continue to show our kids the world in 2016. We WILL Focus on our Finances better so this is our yearly goal as a Family – to invest in our Fun, our Future, and our global views moving Forward.

(give)Forward – I have applied for a local volunteer position and intend to dedicate more of my time in 2016 to giving Forward to others(more locally) in 2016. “No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank.

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(my aging)Face – Hey, guess what? I’m 47..and will be 48 in 2016. This happens. Yet, I like my Face in the here and now. I do. I like the lines that have come with time and experience. Even the lines on my arms and tummy – YES that happens too dear young people. But I love it. My Face scared me when I was 41-43 because I saw the changes from 37-39..but now, I think it’s kind of awesome. I don’t need to get carded. I can be somebody’s mom, and I can be old enough to be somebody’s mom in college, and I can be old enough to be your mom, or your grandma…and I’m totally zen with all of that. I take care of my body – good Food and Fitness..and well For my Face…not all the thousand dollar lotions in the world can stop time nor do I want to pay for treatments or surgeries or any of that Fake stuff. I own this Face and I love it – wrinkles, age spots, and randoms hairs and all. Also, wearing reading glasses on a date is incredibly sexy.

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F*ucks – And as with my Face..I just can’t give any F*ucks anymore with any bullshit. “I want real. I want true. If you don’t like me that’s on you.” – Tracy Morrison, 2016.

 

Happy 2016, my Friends. The best is yet to come.

“There is no passion to be Found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” – Nelson Mandela

 

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47

My super power is being a conversation killer. I used to get offended when it would happen, but now I kind of laugh it off as their loss. Typically it’s nice to have nice chats with people. but sometimes people want to be a conversation killer when they’re talking to someone who is going on and on about Trump or something. So here’s my tip on ending a conversation dead it its tracks – when they ask what you do for a living, tell them that you stay at home with your kids. They will have nothing else to say to you. Ever. Every single time. It’s become almost a social experiment for me at parties. I love telling people that what I “do” is stay home with my kids. I mean because if I stay at home with my kids I must have nothing else to talk about.

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I could answer this question differently. I could say that truthfully I am a writer. That I am a blogger. That I run marathons. That I’m in sales. I’ve been in sales for nearly eight years – building a team and a business. But I do all of this from home…because my number one priority is still..and as it was when I quit my corporate job 10 years ago..to stay home to take care of my kids. This is my choice and I’m honored to have the option to choose this. I don’t miss corporate America. I don’t miss meetings. I don’t miss many many things. And even though I have a job and do other things that produce not only quality brain stuff – but also money, I will always tell you that I stay at home with my kids. And not just to have you walk away from me. Although sometimes…yay!

 

So this year I’ve been blogging less. I’ve been walking away from the parts of blogging that were not happy things for my brain anymore. And I’ve walked away from one of my bigger yearly projects because I feel like there is something else for me. During a very brief conversation with a friend Sunday night, we both asked each other what was next with our lives. I am 47 today..and she is about 10 years old than I am..and I LOVE that we are still asking that question. We are not washed up just because we are not in our 20s. We are not done just because we are middle aged. We are not disposable and not interesting because we’ve stayed at home with our kids for a time. We are not done reinventing ourselves. We are still defining our lives. Our long lives. Our meaningful lives. And we can still dream and become what we want to be when we grow up. And we both feel that in 2016 there will be some new definitions and clarity to what that is.

 

That is what being 47 is for me. It’s being open to new possibilities, to still defining what my now and future is, and to be okay if my chosen profession today is a conversation killer for you.

 

This quick conversation with this brilliant friend is exactly what I needed when I needed it. I believe it was not just fate that put us together in my dining room on Sunday night.

 

And as I was going back over our chat in my head, I jumped on Facebook. Within minutes, two of my dear friends posted similar sentiments that released me completely of something that has been weighing hard on me this year.

 

One posted “…I don’t care if people like me or not. If they don’t, that’s their problem, not mine.”

 

And the other “…I want to FOCUS on only the people who love me and seek out my company and stop chasing the ones who don’t care.

 

You can’t make people like you. And spending time on that is worthless. Focus your love and energy where it belongs. I’ve reconnected with a true old friend this year, and THAT is important and fills a heart.

 

This post is horribly written, and at 47 I just don’t have anymore fucks to give about it.

 

So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not dead yet. And at 47 it’s okay to keep reinventing myself professionally. And personally, I will surround myself with the people who are good people and give some fucks about me in return and make relationships easy like they should be.

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It makes me laugh to think about how we always ask 17 year olds what they want to be when they grow up. What they want to study in college. Where they want to live. As 30 years later I’m still here deciding those things because why not. It’s a long and beautiful life with so much new and beautiful to experience. I will not settle. I will never stop exploring what’s next. And I will not focus on who I cannot change and who doesn’t want to be with me. I will focus more on who does. Those people right in front of me. I will never look past them.

 

47 is going to be a very good year.

 

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How To Get Your Kids Into The Holiday Spirit!

I’ve been doing this parenting thing for 13 year now, which makes me quite the expert. I laugh as I type this because we all know that parenting is basically making things up as we go along while we hope the kids don’t catch on to our big charade. Or maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing. Please don’t tell my kids.

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The holidays always highlight the biggest flaws in my parenting, when this should be the time for me to really shine. I mean how can decking the halls, cookie decorating, shopping, listening to holiday music, and visiting Santa become bad parenting moments.

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It’s because they are never perfect. And nothing shines a spotlight on parenting imperfection like the holidays. The stress, the pressure, the events, the busyness, the food, the lack of time – many parents reach their breaking points. My breaking point comes in small doses that I put into the loving way I talk to my kids.

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Here are 10 things to say to kids this month to really get them into the Holiday Spirit! It’s worked for us! No stress here at all…nope, no stress…

  1. Get out of bed NOW! We have to be first in line to see Santa or we are not going at ALL! You will never see Santa again. It’s either first or NOTHING!
  2. Stop touching your sister or Santa will leave nothing for you! COAL! COAL! Do you like coal???
  3. Oh great, the frosting is now brown, it’s like you HATE CHRISTMAS.
  4. NO COOKIES FOR YOU!
  5. The heavy ornaments go on the top of the tree, the light ornaments on the bottom. How many times do I have to say this? You don’t deserve to decorate the tree EVER!
  6. Just pretend to hang the ornaments on the tree so I can get the picture. You’re standing in the wrong place. THIS IS STAGED DAMMIT! DON’T MOVE!
  7. THE ELF WILL DIE IF YOU TOUCH HIM! DID YOU TOUCH THE ELF???
  8. No presents for you!
  9. Oh sure, eat all the chocolate while kids everywhere are starving. It’s like we are made of chocolate now.
  10. This is not suppose to be fun – it’s just a picture for Instagram! You’re a child – do you not understand a game of pretend?

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Okay, I need some stress relief. Let’s just look at cat and Christmas tree pictures…

 

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13

Hardly seems possible.

 

Hello, our teenager. Stay silly.

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Cat Pictures

I’m closing out this November with a picture of our cats. They won’t pose. They have no interest to be models.

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But I love them anyway.

 

Over and out, November. I have mixed feelings.

 

 

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November 29th

The fingerprints on my laptop are disgusting. It has layers of dust from the unexpected kitchen construction this week. And when do I have time to open this laptop? Again, tonight at 11pm when all I really want to do is head to bed. Pretty sure I won’t have time this week to dust off my laptop…so the fingerprints will remain.

 

I woke early to run and head to Target before 8am to get there when they opened. We were out of toilet paper, paper towels, toilet cleaner, and cat food. All critical items. I got there and got in and got out and got back before anyone else was up. That was my plan. The rest of the morning was spent doing a homework project with Astrid, finding and constructing a costume for Esther’s play this week, putting together proper funeral outfits for all of us, and working with Eloise on some pretty tough sudukos. This was followed by piano and a few loads of laundry.

 

Then I took seven kids to see Mockingjay Part 2. Astrid came with us too as Jed was working. Never thought I’d take a six year old to see Mockingjay…but since she has seen the other movies already…well, why the hell not. Parent of the year. I watched my group of 11/12/13 year olds from across the theater. Of course they would rather not sit by me. I don’t blame them.

 

After we met Jed for dinner, we got home and finished some homework, and now here I am with nothing to write about. It’s going to be a busy week. I have my last Matilda Jane launch of the season. Eloise turns 13. My grandma’s funeral in Duluth. My brother is flying in. Esther’s play. A Haiti reunion party. The kitchen project continues. Decorating for Christmas. Good thing this writing every day thing is ending soon.

 

Things sound busy and crazy. But things are good. And happy. I’m happy.

 

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Writing This Month

Only three more posts to go before November is over and I can stop this crazy blogging every day thing.

 

I’m barely making it in under the wire again tonight. I’m not sure where my days go, but they are busy. Now I know why I don’t write much anymore.

 

Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned so far this month:

  1. I am no longer a very good nighttime writer. I used to stay up late writing and doing research and reading other blogs. Also, my kids used to go to bed earlier so I had more time at night. Now my kids barely go to bed before I do – or even after I do. Writing at night no longer works.
  2. I no longer have time to write in the morning. I still get up by 5am each day – but after running and working out, then it’s on to breakfast making and lunch making and kids waking and seriously, there’s just no time to write unless I want to wake at 3:30am.
  3. I need to find a time during the day that I can shut out the noise of life and just write. If I still want to write.
  4. Writing IS harder if you don’t do it regularly. My sentences are ugly and choppy. Yuck. I hate reading my stuff right now.
  5. I don’t enjoy writing about my kids anymore. I now have a teenager, a tween, and a six year old – they can write about themselves if they want to share a story. I don’t feel like it’s my place to share here like I used to.
  6. I’m not sure if writing about fitness, fashion, and travel is that interesting? That’s kind of what I have left after kids and cats…so yeah.
  7. I wish I could write about home decor, but I’m so bad at it. Also, it’s expensive.
  8. Should I only blog about cats?
  9. Instagram is more fun than blogging.
  10. But I have missed my blog. I doubt I’ll continue to write each day, but I will make a better effort to write more than I have this year.

I do appreciate those of you who continue to stop by and believe in me. Okay, hitting publish….two more days to go!!!

 

xo

 

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Five For Friday

I’m just sharing five Instagrams for this Friday. I thought I would have more time to write today, but instead we were crazy busy and this is the first time I’ve even opened my laptop.

 

I hope you all enjoyed time with family and friends yesterday and today.

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  1. We celebrated the last day of school before break with a big coffee! She likes coffee. I like that she likes coffee. Maybe she will never grow because of the coffee. Maybe she’ll be my baby forever.
  2. A little yoga after my run on Wednesday morning. Seriously perfect sunrise. I was nice to run when it wasn’t pitch black.
  3. Thanksgiving family selfie. Beautiful snowy day!
  4. My first run this year with icy roads. I love and hate the snow and ice. It’s beautiful but makes for a difficult run.
  5. We went to the MOA for Black Friday. Eloise turns 13 in 5 days so she got to pick out a few things for her birthday. We had such a blast. I am NEVER a Black Friday shopper – but this was worth it. Just me and Eloise and her friend. We laughed for hours.

Happy Friday Friends. xoxoxo

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

What Astrid is thankful for today and always…..

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I’m thankful for family and friends and health, and for the belief that there is more good in the world than bad. Always.

 

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and sending much love to my friends abroad. xoxoxo

 

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Lazy Day

I spent most the day cooking. We are heading to a friend’s house tomorrow as we are still without water in our kitchen. So I cooked and hauled dishes back and forth to the bathroom most of the day.

 

We had other plans today, but the girls asked if we could just stay home and have a lazy day. It’s such a treat to do almost nothing all day and not leave the house. I did finally make them get dressed by 1pm. I’m not sure why I made them get dressed, but their jammie bodies and messed up hair started driving me insane by then.

 

So they dressed but we still didn’t leave the house. We cooked and cleaned a bit and watched Lean On Me OnDemand, but most of the day they spent in their rooms playing. Eloise and Astrid made a movie that they won’t let me see yet. I hope to share it with you all soon.

 

Astrid also drew several pictures for me. She drew a koala for me(named Astrid), and this koala has a bicycle for transportation. Miss Astrid Koala gets on her bicycle and travels to her cabin in the woods, and then to the White House, and then she rides her bicycle onto a boat to go to Paris and the Eiffel Tower. These are the places that Miss Astrid Koala wants to see this year. I think it’s a good plan. Also, Miss Astrid Koala has some pretty amazing handwriting.

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I don’t save much from the kids…but these I will stash away carefully in her memory box. I wonder if she’ll remember these drawings when she opens the box someday. I wonder if she’ll remember the story that goes along with the drawings. I wonder if she’ll remember the first time she sees the Eiffel Tower.

 

So now the kids are in bed and I’m eating almost all of the Party Mix that I made before I go to bed too.

 

I hope all of your Thanksgiving preparations went well today.

 

I hope you got to be a bit lazy.

 

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