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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Time Has Come...

I had nothing to write this morning. And then I read this and wanted to share it. I know that for me (and many many others) we are our own worst critic.

"My beloved child, break your heart no longer.
Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart.
You stop feeding on the love, which is the wellspring of your vitality.
The time has come. Your time. To live. To celebrate,
and to see the goodness that you are…
Do not fight the dark. Just turn on the light.
Let go, and breathe into the goodness that you are..." Swami Kripalu



If we allow ourselves to we can pick apart everything that we are doing in life...and how we're doing it wrong. But what about the things we're doing right? I'm far from even touching perfect. I feel failure all too often for teeny tiny little things that maybe I'm not doing right. I gave the baby a Poptart for lunch instead of steamed veggies full of nutrients. Many days I feel like I am incapable of keeping my house in order; clean, organized,etc...

I let the big boy watch TV instead of coming up with some nifty Pinterest-worthy Halloween craft or project because I was just mentally wiped out. I dipped my hands into that beloved bag of Halloween candy at 9pm because the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were literally calling my name. My willpower shattered. I waited to order the baby's Halloween costume and now it's out of stock...way to go Me! 

I chose to come home and read instead of taking a hike. I haven't been to yoga in over a week. I blew my budget because I made the mistake of going to Target (and we all know the power that Target can have on you right?) I mean, I could come up with a million little things that make me feel bad about myself.

 Maybe you're reading this and thinking.."Um, no big deal dude...it's a peanut butter cup!" And what's worst is I KNOW. We all have days. The above mentioned things make me so annoyed at myself it's not even funny. That girl is so annoying.  Or maybe you're reading this thinking "Amen. Let's stop this nonsense" because you too judge yourself harshly. We have moments. I can choose to not judge others and yet I still judge myself so hard. I wouldn't treat a friend that way so why do it to myself? If I'm going to judge myself I should make it about big things. 

And so that's where I was this morning....and then I read this and it made me feel better. Made me question my judginess (is that a word?).  I want to turn on the light and not break my own heart, for the love of all the Peanut Butter cups in the world! 
XO



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Going Dark

I have so many things I want to write about on this blog. I really do. Like how excited I am that it's Fall. How I've been reading some amazing books that have been pretty transformative. About how I've been thinking about "home" a lot lately and what and where that is for me. How sentimental I've been about certain friendships and thinking about the past. But oh my gosh, having little kids occasionally can swipe all of the energy out of you. It's like I am an ATM machine and they withdraw all of my energy daily...but no one is there to deposit more when I need it. Well, my good friend coffee helps me out but even that can't compete on some days. By the end of the day I. AM. DONE.
               

So I've been dark. Typing up drafts of thoughts that are incomplete. Logging on and then having to shut down almost right away as the baby wakes up from her nap (of course). The stars haven't aligned the last few weeks. I think I blame some of the behavior over here on the moon, all lunar eclipse and all.


But I am SUPER excited for the next few weeks. We have so many fun events coming up that I can't stand it (and that doesn't even include Halloween which is my fave). This weekend we'll be attending the annual Lebeau Fest over which I've blogged about before....hello adults night only!! WOO WOO! Aiden starts Flag Football (with the hubs stepping up to coach) and there is just nothing cuter.
                   

The following weekend is our annual wine tasting that we attend with some of our great friends which is basically like the ultimate Sunday Funday and then the following weekend we get to go to DC to witness one of my best friends getting married!
             


Time to start looking for outfits that don't involve yoga pants!!!

Happy Fall Ya'll!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Let Her Fly...

My heart is heavy today. I mentioned in an earlier  post that the anniversary of my Mama passing away was near. Today is that day. It has been one year since my Mama (Ma-Maw), Corine, passed away. A year ago I was living in what I can only describe as new Mommy fog. Tired. Blurry. It all seemed to not really be happening. 



Piper was so tiny...a mere 4 weeks old at that time. I know this day is going to be extra hard for Mom and her sisters and of course for my Papa. I'm going to try and stay positive today. I'm going to fire up my computer, do some work, listen to Dolly and make some Mama peas. 

Every time I hear this song I think of her. I love how songs can give you comfort like a big warm hug. We love her. We miss her. But she had a wonderful and long life.

"Let Her Fly"


There's a wreath on the door
She don't live here no more
As of today, she flew home
And we all gathered here
In sorrow and tears
It won't be the same with her gone
There's a place on the hill
That's peaceful and still
Where she'll sleep beside daddy again
The ole' family tree is shedding it's leaves
But we'll all met in heaven again

Chorus:
Oh, she's an angel
Let her fly, let her fly
She's gone home to glory
To her home in the sky
When God sees her comin'
Heaven's choir will smile
And sing, "oh she's an angel, let her fly, let her fly
Ooh, she's an angel, let her fly"
She used to rock me when I was a child
Sing "rock of ages" and "in the sweet bye and bye"
Her life wasn't easy, oh but how hard she tried
You know she's an angel, lord, so let her fly

Let her fly
Ooh she's an angel, let her fly

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Labor Day Recap


Labor Day is officially behind us and I must join the outpouring of people who are just ready for Fall! I love Summer. I do. But Fall is my jam. It's when I just feel so alive and excited for just about everything...

It's not just me..Aiden is absolutely over the moon for Halloween. In fact, he told us this weekend he likes Halloween MORE than Christmas! We'll see if that sticks come November. He was already busy making masks, decorations for the house and even drew a map of the yard with plans for decorations. Things are getting serious.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Puttin' Up; a story of love in a mason jar

                    

                 
For as long as I can remember, we have left Mama and Papa's house (that's Ma-maw and Pa-paw for those who spell it correctly) with mason jars and freezer bags of things they have put up that year; fig preserves, pears,sweet pickles, pink lady peas, black eyed peas, butter beans, pecans and peanuts (oh the peanuts..).

A few weeks ago after a visit, I came home with figs, a bag of pecans that Papa had already shelled, and peas. My freezer and pantry were stocked and everyone is happy when Momma says on a Sunday we'll be having "Mama and Papa" Peas for dinner or Figs wrapped in prosciutto with goat cheese(okay...so the adults are happy about that one but have you tried it? Game changer.)
                       


Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Happiness Crisis

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” ~Brother David Steindl-Rast
Photo courtesy of Tiny Buddah

In the past month I have read at least three books with a similar message...about living abundantly where you are, savoring small moments, finding pockets of time for yourself to enjoy the small things in life. Really great reads. Really uplifting. In that time, I have also had countless conversations with friends about similar topics as well as came across a few blog posts and many podcasts speaking the same message. This conversation is literally everywhere I turn. Coincidence? Uh, I don't think so.

Certainly if I am reading/hearing so much of this need and desire to seek happiness in the tiny moments and to just plain enjoy the life that is happening right in front of us that this is some sort of real problem with folks. A Pain Point. It feels like a Happiness Crisis... a problem that people are struggling with day to day. Why are we seeking these small moments and trying to learn to really appreciate what we have and where we are in life when we should be doing that without even thinking about it? What can I do to make sure this is no longer a struggle for me but just the way I live?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

All good things are wild & free...

As the teacher handed out the tambourines and egg shakers I watched her eyes light up with excitement. We had our first day of music class together and it was everything I hoped it would be. As I sat there shaking the eggs and singing Old MacDonald I flash backed to attending a similar class with Aiden when we lived in Chicago. I loved that time that we had together. I loved watching him play and interact with other little ones, picking up the rhythm of the songs and tapping along. He still loves music and I believe that those classes helped build what will hopefully be a lifetime of appreciation.
             


I'm so grateful to have the chance to do this with Piper as well. She will be one tomorrow. One year since she came into our lives and changed it forever. One year of adjusting to life with two children and navigating the ways to make sure they both feel attended to and loved no matter what. One year of many sleepless and disrupted nights as we realized she wasn't going to be quite the sleeper that her brother was at this stage. One year of recognizing the differences between the two of them but loving all of those little differences. One year of watching her interact and adore her big brother and feeling proud that he has such a loving heart of gold.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Forever Young Part 2

A few months ago, I wrote a post about how the song "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan is sort of my love letter to my children. The words perfectly sum up how I want them to live. I am drawn back to that song today. Today is my oldest son's first day of Kindergarten. Big kid school.



As we walked home from dropping him off on his first day that song popped into my head. The words filling my soul as they do each time. "May God bless you and keep you always...may your wishes all come true..." I know so many Mom's who will shed a tear or two today as they make that same walk home. For me, this day marks him becoming a big kid. That baby'ish ness is soon to fade and I know that. It hurts my heart. This day is hard for me because I know that some of his innocence will soon be lost. Soon he'll have to learn that not everyone is a 'friend'. He'll see a kid being cruel to another kid (hopefully not to him). He'll have to REALLY follow some rules. Have expectations placed upon him. Report cards. Eventually he may get his feelings hurt. His heart broken. Up until this point we have been able to protect him from these things. Give him a hug. Comfort him always.

This day also is exciting. I know the fun that awaits. The life long friendships to be made. The silly games. The happiness of playing at recess. His school career will be long and I look forward to seeing what he does with it.


I do hope he stays forever young. Keeps his spunk and spirit and individuality no matter what. "May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung.." We'll be waiting at that bus stop at 2:20 every day still ready to give hugs, give comfort and hi-five!

XO

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Through the Woods We Ran.....

I know it's almost time. The sitter arrives. I know  I have a list a mile long to accomplish for work in a short time, but the days have felt long. I have felt needed every moment of every day. It's okay. This season of Motherhood is temporary. I know that. Filled with magical little moments but also tiring to those in charge of small mouths. Seeking peace only for a few moments I know will fill me up. The coffee shop and my computer can wait...even 30 minutes. I run to you. Entering your cavernous shelter of greenery I almost immediately relax. You provide a slight relief from this sweltering Southern heat.

I've never been able to run in my life. Not 'really' run. I don't do 5k's. I don't buy special shoes or clothes for running. I have no desire to have those marathon stickers on my car. I could rarely run a mile without numerous stops. Not around tracks. Not on pavement. I hate running on pavement. Yet when I enter your magical forest my legs move swiftly. As if they want to run. They need to.  My mind clears. I'm present. I run. I breathe in the pine and exhale all of that tension I was feeling just moments ago. Do your lush tree tops just fill my lungs with the extra oxygen I have needed? Is that how and why I do it?

Am I running from something? Towards something? Simply clearing the noise and mess in my head? It doesn't even matter. It's a brief but magical escape from the duties of the day. It's not about the running. Yes. The sweat feels good. I love feeling like I've accomplished something and am doing something good for my body. Knocking out a mile, two miles in a brief time feels like I'm making the best use of my day.

If I were told I had to move away from here tomorrow I'd mourn you like losing a childhood best friend. I'd be looking back at you out the car window with longing. Your many winding trails. The easy ones I walk along with my family. The challenging ones I find on my own. The really challenging one I did with my husband one Saturday morning on a 'date'.  You have shown me so much.  You have shown me peace, grace, beauty, and that I am but a small piece of a greater puzzle. You have given me new dreams and goals. Shifted my priorities. Given me a chance to think. Taught me what things are important to me.  When you cool in the Fall we see each other more often. That is the real season of our time together. That and the Spring. The humidity dissipates and I can run even further....taking on greater challenges.

Thank for your today. For allowing me to breathe in and breathe out and reset my soul.

XO



Monday, May 11, 2015

Motherhood '15

                         
I didn't expect to love you guys so much. Honest. I knew I'd love you...of course I knew that. Mothers love their children. It's a given. Forever. No matter what. However, the love I feel as a Mom some days takes even me by surprise at times. The depth. The level of love that wants to explode from my chest just by looking at you in certain moments. You do or say something so cute or intelligent. You simply smile. The way you chat with us. It blows my mind. Yesterday was Mother's Day. Aiden is 5. Piper is 8 months old. I've been a Mom for almost 6 years!!! SIX YEARS!!!  (child's play for those with older children). However, if I just sit and think about it..it is still hard to comprehend. That I'm a Mother. That time is flying by so quickly. I've said it before, but being a Mom wasn't something that I necessarily daydreamed about when I was young (if you read back to the start of this blog you'll see what I was daydreaming about) like many young girls do. Dreaming of names, nurseries and so on. I wish I would have in many ways because what delicious day dreams they'd be. If I knew then what I knew now right? If I knew how incredible you'd be or how much fun we have as a family together. I would have sat around with a giddy smiling daydreaming about you both.
                 

              
                   
             

Some days it's hard. I can't lie. My patience gets tested. I'm tired. I'm dealing with my own "stuff" and so it's hard to just focus on you guys solely.We're all human and have daily things we deal with or struggle to get done.  And I kind of hate myself a little for writing this but motherhood does indeed change you. I can say that it has changed me in ways I never knew possible. Ways that are hard to write or describe in this moment. I detest the endless blog posts or articles telling women (those who aren't mothers yet or maybe don't want to be frankly) that they haven't lived until they have children. It's not fair. It's not for everyone. Like coffee or seared tuna. Sometimes you get what you didn't know you wanted and POOF...it's awesome. That's me. I didn't know I wanted it but am oh so glad that it happened. I'm a proud member of the Mom's Club. Now I get to indulge in those daydreams but I picture you older (20's) and us sitting around laughing with a bottle of wine. I see you both with 'someone' and us loving that person like family (like our in-laws love us). I cant wait. I don't want to rush either though. I've learned to savor those sweet moments. When you call me "Mommy" and hug me for no reason I realize that may not last forever. When I walk in and see that little baby face looking up at me with a smile. Always happy to see me.  I hope we do a good job. I hope you learn what it means to be authentic and yourself. That you are reading this and are happy and doing your thing. If you're not. If you don't know what your 'thing' is yet..then just know it's NEVER too late to find what it is that makes you soar. No matter what though...thank you. Thank you for making me a Mom.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Pictures


Let's all give a hand for that wonderous season called Spring!  We were up in Illinois last week for Easter and I forgot how glorious those first signs of spring are up in the Midwest. The grass is a bright and fresh shade of green, everything smells new and is coming to life again. It was so great to spend some real time back home with family and friends.

I feel like I didn't get told about a special secret. The Mini Session! Whoever came up with that concept is a genius.  Holy Heck. I wish I had known about them when Aiden was little because he'd have many more portraits from his baby days.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Forever Young


There are songs that you've heard a million times. You always turn the music up when you hear it, give it a thumbs up on Pandora, buy it on Itunes right away. But despite hearing the song hundreds of times you never really took pause to the lyrics. I miss buying cassette tapes and being able to memorize the words to each song. That was my favorite part. Such is "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan. I've been listening to his music a lot lately while I'm working or as background noise when I read at night. His voice is so calming. The music is soothing. I think back to his 'day' and understand what the fuss was about you know? 


These lyrics are everything I want for my children. For myself. My partner. Simple and honest. I heard a cover of it by Joan Baez earlier and was just wowed by the melody. Truth be told my favorite tunes are typically those that were written many moons ago. Bob Marley (obsessed is not going to cover that one. I got the Vinyl of his greatest hits and listen to it daily..many times). Dolly Parton (that woman and her writing will always enrapture me. the "Trio" album will always be one of my absolute favorites). The Beach Boys (a childhood favorite that always puts me in a great mood and makes me long for Manhattan Beach again). The Mama's & The Papa's (Monday, Monday, California Dreamin, and Dream a Little Dream are everything). My parents listened to this music when I was growing up which I'm sure has everything to do with why I love it so much. Will Aiden and Piper love it one day? Aiden jams with me to Bob Marley so I have high hopes. 

Sorry. Back to "Forever Young". If you watched "Parenthood" then you heard a snippet at the start of every show (By the way I am so sad that show is gone...I loved it) but I urge you to download this song, dust off that CD you have somewhere and take a listen. If someone asked me to say all the things I want for my littles in life...here it is...

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

Monday, March 30, 2015

Daydreamer'

The daydream is the same one lately. I'm standing in my Grandmother's kitchen washing dishes. I'm using the same thin dishcloths  that she has had for years. They smell of Dawn and fresh air. Only it isn't my Grandmother's house..not really. I'm living there. The window looking out into the front yard is much larger. I can see far to the left and right...all the way down to where my Granny's house used to sit. The d├ęcor is my style. I have a large farmhouse sink. The once wooden walls are now white washed.  I have open shelves where cabinets used to dawn the walls. They are perfectly curated with white dishes and a few aqua ones for pops of color. It's all different and yet it smells the same as it had for years. The scent of Alabama, peas and dumplings cooking.

There is no background noise other than my Crosley playing my Etta James record. The laughter of the children from the front yard echos. They are running around the large pecan tree near the driveway, the same spot I used to dig. Making mud pies. The same place that once a large snake fell and my father killed it with a hoe. It's peaceful. There is no traffic. No sirens. Just peaceful. Chad is out back tending to the cattle and checking on our flourishing garden that will produce tons of delicious tomatoes and watermelon in the summer (clearly a daydream as we have yet to grow a fruitful garden...always hope though).

This daydream comes to me more and more as we live in such a busy world. Have a busy life. Self inflicted often yes...but busy. There is always some place to be, and to get there we must battle through traffic. Not city traffic, because we don't technically live in the city. That is even worst. I'd rather be in the thick of Chicago traffic than this suburban hellish traffic. In my daydream I don't have to worry about my kids playing outside and getting hit by cars, or approached by strangers. In this dream I have no worries. I guess part of me is longing for this simplistic scenario. Growing up I remember spending hours outside riding bikes and digging in dirt and yet these days I rarely see this sight. It makes me sad. Makes me wonder if my kids are going to have those delicious childhood memories like I do of just using my imagination.  I fear that they'll get caught up in the technology/game playing world. I know it's my job to not let that happen of course. I wish for them a life of contenement, of not 'wanting', of being happy with what they have and yet this world we live in now it doesn't seem likely. I hope they don't get caught up in the "keeping up with the Jones" mentality like I have so many times. Precious time has been wasted wishing I had more than I have now or something that someone else has. I realize now that what I have is magnificent. That you take with you your relationships, your love for those around you. If all of that were to disappear (the things); the legos, the fancy bar carts, the clothes, I'd be left with insurmountable love and that would be enough. Simply enough.

I want enough to be what we seek. My daydream teaches me what I long for in my life and the life of my family.  I hope they read this one day. Maybe come back and read this when they find themselves getting caught up in the "want" game. It's a struggle for me still. I want life to revolve around us spending time together. To not give a second thought to what someone else has I wish my house looked like that. I need that, etc..)To instead go outside and just enjoy the beauty around us. The smell of spring. The trees in the Fall. The majestic snow. I do want. I crave something that is out there. Space. Fields of green grass. Mountain tops. Beaches. Nature. And my family. Everything else that seemed so important will just wash away.....

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Growth



I must have written three versions of my "New Years Post" before settling on this one. Short. Sweet. Simple. I was getting too in depth. Too complicated.

Because sometimes it's not all that complicated. Sometimes you resolve to keep doing what you're doing. Naturally, I have a small post-baby bucket list of things to accomplish such as shed the baby weight, get in shape, yada yada...but for 2015 I want to focus on "Growth".