Monday, February 5, 2018

Thanks Athleta

Mid-December I banned myself from purchasing any clothing for myself until March 1st.

I had found that I was purchasing something new any time I saw something I liked, when I felt bored, or felt that I "deserved," it.

As it turns out I am VERY good at rewarding myself.  I always believe I am deserving.

No self esteem issues here.

I did realize this was unhealthy for me emotionally and financially though so I instituted the ban.

So far I've only broken the ban to purchase a shirt before my barre class because I had worn long sleeves to class by accident, and I'm not committed to any cause enough to exercise in long sleeves and pass out from heat stroke.

Overall I'm super proud of myself.

Almost so proud that I feel I deserve a new outfit, but I feel that might be wrong.

Stella has been sick since last Wednesday with off and on fever.  It's made for a lot of at home time for me.  I have read a lot, sulked a bit, and finished watching The Mindy Project on Hulu.

If you aren't aware, commercials play during TV shows on Hulu unless you purchase a more pricey plan.  It's strange to be subjected to commercials in 2018 outside of the Super Bowl, but I survived.

As I was watching one of the last episodes in the series, an Athleta commercial aired.  I usually read during the commercials, but I love Athleta so it caught my attention.  They were marketing their new Up For Anything line and the entire idea of the ad is that some every day women show up to try on the tights/shirts/bras and are then surprised by being asked to do all sorts of out-of-their-comfort-zone activities in the new apparel.

These women were given the chance to do trapeze work and other such exciting endeavors that look terrifying to me. I currently still get psyched that I can do the splits, I don't needs to hang from a swinging bar in the sky to feel like my athletic apparel is amazing.

I was mesmerized though.  These women were afraid and hesitant and insecure about the challenges they were given, as they should be in my opinion.  I'm confident I would have been out.

I watched them try though, and then watched them be moved to tears at the realization that they were far more capable than they thought they were. They found success in these crazy stunts that I am confident I would never be interested in attempting.  They were crying with disbelief as they faced their fears and realized that they really could do so much more than they ever had given themselves permission to believe.

I found myself sobbing at the Athleta commercial and cheering for these ladies.

And desperately wanting some new tights.

That is some amazing marketing.

(My Athleta cart currently has $505.00 of merchandise in it just waiting for March 1st.  Well played Athleta.)

Since turning 40 I am trying to find new ways to challenge myself because I think I am capable of more than what I am currently doing.  The every day in and out of mothering four children lacks a certain excitement I always had associated with my abilities.

Surprisingly, none of my kids find me witty or interesting.

I have big dreams and goals, but mostly I find myself trying to figure out what to make for dinner, how to wash 6 people's clothes and have a couch free of clean clothes a few days a week, and plotting new iPad/xbox regulations.

These tasks are not part of my dreams. These tasks are my life though.

There is value here.  There is worth here.

That laundry is important work....though I might be much more empowered by it if I were wearing some of those new tights.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dragon Fruit Dreams

You might see this dragon fruit at your local grocery store for $5.25 EACH. 

You might feel like it'd be a fun, educational family moment to buy that $5 piece of fruit and have a tasting party with all four of your kids. 

You'll leave the grocery store feeling confident.  You are KILLING this Mom gig.

You probably envision all of them gathering around the kitchen island, maybe the toddler sitting on the counter with a giddy smile that mirrors his older siblings' enthusiasm to learn and experience something out of the norm, grateful that once again Mom has come through with a small moment that builds them in to phenomenal people. 

The oldest will grab the computer, search for dragon fruit and read aloud about the dragon fruit's origin, ideal growing location, and share a few fun facts.  Everyone, even the two year old will engage with every word read.  

The 10 year old will find geographic origin and growth locations for it on the globe to show everyone.  You'll see everyone begging to know where it is in relation to Texas, Greece, D.C. and Australia...because they all listen when you talk about your time 20 years ago studying there, they've been intrigued by the country ever since. 

Everyone will lean closer to see the mysterious fruit as you slice in to it and the 7 year old will squeal with delight at the fun, unique looking center. 

The discussion will lead to how seeds are distributed, the role we all play, and the magic of nature...and a few giggles will erupt when you describe that poop plays a part. 

Those silly kids.

This will remind all your kids of a book about seeds you used to lovingly read to them that you purchased through the Scholastic book fair, because you love to support your kids' school.  Your kids will all beg for you to read it right then and there but you tell them you'll have family story time after the dragon fruit, like usual, and it can be added to the stack they have already selected for that day's reading. 

You'll see yourself cutting the fruit in to small squares for each family member to try at the same time so everyone can marvel at one another's reactions.  You assume some will like it, some won't,  but everyone will laugh a little and linger to help finish it off or clean up any untidy spots created during the fun.  

A few kids will probably ask for a vegetable to get that interesting taste out of their mouth and the others will join in, because nutrition matters to them as much as it does to you.  

You're raising healthy kids.

Everyone will leave the dragon fruit educational tasting party a little more complete, a little more worldly, a little more grateful for such a great Mom. 

You'll go to sleep that night grateful that somehow you just knew that spending an insane amount of money for one piece of fruit would pay off a million times over in joy.

Unfortunately I'm here to tell you, that shit will never, ever happen. 

Half your kids won't even go near it because it looks "weird" and the other half agree to try it if you just don't talk anymore about where a dragon fruit grows (Central America! Southeast Asia!) and the joy of learning. 

The two that do try it will spit it out before you can cut a piece for yourself and you will feel annoyed at their immature and judgmental pallet.

Then you will try it and have to spit it out too because it's seriously gross. It will taste like a moldy basement smells.

Your husband will try it and think it's not bad at all and for some reason this will make you question your entire relationship and the life you have built.  You will have to walk away from the kitchen with easy access to all those knives.  

You'll come home several hours later and still find the dragon fruit as you left it with your husband and once again feel disappointment and general annoyance at your family, and fruit in general.  

You'll be ok.  

You'll be stronger for the experience.  

You will probably make a similar mistake in the future, but moving forward you will never, ever touch another dragon fruit as long as you live. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Habit Made Me Do This

We have a new thing around here. 

We aren't strong with systems and charts around here, but we continue to make attempts, so hopefully that is worth something. 

Last month we listened to TED Radio podcasts in our minivan on our way to our vacation in Missouri because all the things in this sentence sum up our cool factor.

One of the podcasts discussed the topic of becoming a better you.  There were several aspects to this quest which were discussed, most I don't remember most of them because Max was awake, but one which stuck with Alex and me was a man who tried to establish new habits for thirty days.

He would commit to cooking dinner for thirty days or writing for five minutes about his gratitude or exercising for 30 minutes.  Some things stuck, some didn't, but he discovered the power of committing to something consistently, trying new things, and developing a habit.

Alex then decided that the Dadidakis family was going to do this starting August first.

I would like to formally state that I was fully on board. I love this idea.

But...we have now reached the point in the summer where I really just need it to be over and I can lose my shit at the most benign, routine parts of the day because it's just time for everyone to get out of my house for a while.

The idea of introducing a new line item for me to manage with the children on a daily basis gave me pause.

The process of selecting what everyone was going to do almost broke me.

I selected for Max that we were going to count to ten in Spanish every day because that makes me feel like a better parent and momentarily international.

Stella wanted to read for 15 minutes until she realized she would have to do the reading herself and I am the meanest mom in the world. Then she thought she would run outside for 10 minutes, but then she remembered that she hates to be hot and it's 100 degrees outside.  She finally decided on biking for 10 minutes "because the wind she creates keeps her cool enough."  Insert much huffing and exasperation in between each idea.

Cole was going to go fishing every day.  Then he was going to hammer nails in to a board for 10 minutes. Then he was going to lift weights, run a mile, and punch his punching bag.  I suggested he write for 15 minutes every day but that seemed lame so he decided to just punch his punching bag for 3 minutes daily.

Aiden decided he would run a mile, then changed to playing ping pong for 10 minutes. There was very little drama or my involvement in his selection.  God bless Aiden.

Alex chose to mediate.  It takes him three minutes.  He basically chose to sit and do nothing for three minutes every day.  I'm waiting for zen Alex to show up and then I'll buy in to his new habit's worth.

I dutifully printed calendars and hung them on everyone's bedroom door for accountability.

Also, the man on the podcast mentioned that being able to place an "x" on a completed day gave satisfaction which motivated him to continue with his routine.

This is Alex and my door.

It's important that you know that yes, I have a very strange bedroom door.

Each of the kids have enthusiastically accomplished their habits without much, if any encouragement or reminder.  Aiden even chose to do his first thing this morning before he left with a friend on an overnight trip. Cole stopped himself from riding to a friend's house until he had punched his punching bag.

Alex has marked his X before I have even woken up.

I can barely finish mine before midnight.

I chose to write for 30 minutes.

Yesterday I literally wrote a description of my day in my journal at 11:30 pm.  My brain was so void of anything interesting that a full recounting of my errands, Max tantrums, and dinner cooking was the extent of my writing.

Can you guess what I did today?

I'll be on an airplane tomorrow, surely I'll have something more exciting to share.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Nevermind, I'm Going To Take Photos!

Can we collectively agree that May is straight up bananas?

The only time period that rivals the insanity of May is the end of November through Christmas. 

And honestly, during that time we're at least likely to receive a present at the end of it.  It might be a random ring from Walmart selected by your five year old, but it's a gift all the same.

Even with my all new zen attitude about loving my life, I'm getting a wee bit twitchy as I try to cram in birthday/graduation/wedding/moving parties, on top of teacher appreciation-ing/conferencing, layered with the end of spring season recitals/award nights/playoffs.

Is it wrong to pray for your child's team to lose so you don't have to work another game in to the schedule?

If so, shame on those of you who are NOT me because I am definitely praying for all the wins all the time.  

I can't be the only one feeling like this?

I was so grateful for the love on my last post. I never knew people would be so excited to hear that I'm going to just keep being what I am.  

Your enthusiasm for my lack of ambition fuels my peace, and I am super grateful. 

(Yes, I do realize it isn't lack of ambition that is keeping me from actively pursuing a new role or job or life goal to reach for right now.  My sarcasm came back.)

I did want to clarify a few things though.  

My post sparked all sorts of conversations for me with a lot of my friends.  Mostly people were simply grateful I would just stop talking about finding my role, but a lot of people were envious of my peace and wondering how I achieved it. 

The answer is super easy.  

I wrestled with things in my mind for a bit, I read via social media about cool things my friends were doing with envy, I tried to start a few things in secret, and I evaluated my current happiness level with fluctuating joy or dissatisfaction for a few months.  

Basically I used the scientific process.

Or something loosely or nothing like the scientific process.

I have zero answers.  

Deep, I know.

I do know this, most of my friends have pretty kick ass lives like I do.  We all have varying amounts of stress and exhaustion and strife, but overall things are insanely fantastic...we just have to choose to see it that way.  

We also have to be honest.  

Ladies, the honest need is strong. 

I can not tell you how many women in particular I speak to who continually accept tasks they don't want,  join groups they don't want to be a part of, agree to purchase things out of obligation, or fester over what he/she did to her/them/him and it was no good.


My peace about my place is life came mostly from a place of gratitude and honesty.  

It's nice honesty, but I am not doing anything out of obligation these days, other than the obvious of feeding my family/doctors visits/helping when I can/etc, there just isn't enough room for that right now.  

I did make room for 15 minutes of running free on the playground for Cole and Max yesterday after Cole's teacher conference.  We really should have rushed a little to pick Aiden and Stella from piano, but Max's joy looking at Cole running around that empty field was everything I am trying to embrace lately. 

You can see the amazing photo I took of their time together below.  I think it really captures all the feels.  

From a really, really, far distance. 

They are to the right of that bench.

I do want you to feel comforted by the fact that I took that photo and then laughed out loud at the absurdity of me even attempting to take this picture.  

Maybe I should be a photographer?

Life is bananas in May, but it's crazy good. 

Monday, May 1, 2017


I've written approximately 100 intro paragraphs over the last few months since my last post.

I could not write any more about my struggle to find my new role or purpose.

I was annoying me with those posts, I can only imagine how much fun it was to read.

Zero fun.

My need for something more to say was strong and everything I typed fell short of my expectations for my new badass self.

To be honest, I only made it to page 201 of the 244 pages in the "You Are A Badass" book.

I'm like 3/4 a badass.

To be even more honest, it has taken me so long to read it that I should probably start over because I don't really remember the beginning and that seems important.

I think it was about perceptions?  Or childhood? Or something else?

To be totally honest, starting over is not going to happen.

I'll just call myself 1/4 badass.  That seems like enough right now.

I have been writing about and talking about searching for what I want to do, what I want to be, for months now.

I've been stressed about my destination, my new goal.

I have been beyond restless.

I've bought new domains and talked to friends about new blogs, decorating, websites, vlogs, social media presence, speaking, book writing, baby food delivery, (don't get me started on that one,) and any number of other amazing roles.

All this struggle and somewhere in the last two or three weeks I've made a very big decision.

I'm going to be...a Badass Mom/Wife/Woman.

Somewhere along the way of feeling like what I was doing wasn't enough, my current roles rose up and met my needs.  My strong desire for purpose, for more purpose, has been filled.

For now.

As is often the case, my prayers for direction and wisdom have been met, but not in the way I thought they would be.

I've settled into a very comfortable, very wonderful rhythm with life right now.

I have found so much gratitude for the amazing opportunities that I have.

Let me list some of these opportunities.

I have been to the grocery store four out of the last five days.

This sounds like I am going to be sarcastic, but that's just how life has been rolling.  You could call it poor planning, lack of foresight, or straight up disorganization, but I have had to repeatedly go back to the store.

Guess what, no problem.  This absolutely does not stress me out and that feels great.

I am all caught up on laundry.

Fine, I'm as caught up as is ever going to happen with 6 people's laundry.  The big signal of success is that no one has expressed their concern over the lack of clean underwear while getting dressed recently.


I regularly exercise five times a week.

I took 45 minutes, from 3:30-4:15, to talk to one of my kids last week because they really needed to talk some things through.  I had no where else to be, no urgent to do list that was freaking me out by constantly looming.

I do not want to be frantic anymore.

Well, any more frantic than is normal with four young  kids.

There is much, much joy for me in not having it all right now.

I know. You are waiting for the punchline.

Where is my sarcastic takeaway?

It's not here.

I'm really sorry.

I seriously sat across from my friend Judy a few weeks ago and declared that the biggest desire of my heart right now is to just do the mom thing, the wife thing, the friend thing, the me thing.

It was so liberating to acknowledge that and own it.

I know this will change, but right now I feel good.

Four kids bring a lot of tasks and moments and needs into my life. I've finally figured out how to give to myself, and then in turn give to them, and it feels good.

I'm still dreaming of a new blog or a book or a website with amazing wisdom for women.  I still think that will come when it's time.

My struggle about it all is very much done though...and I just wanted to share the peace.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Morning Genius

This morning I found myself acting like a cat to get my older boys out of bed.

I literally was meowing, batting their heads and arms with my pretend paws, and rubbing my head on their back.

I was trying to mix it up from the songs I had been creating.  I am a pretty awful singer, but I love to belt out random lyrics with drama to wake my kids.

Think inspirational show tunes that involve metaphors for life with sailboats and wind.

(Yes, these are ORIGINAL songs.  I realize I might be sitting on a multi-million dollar wake-up-your- kids music market here.)

Aiden hates them, Cole loves them.

If my children mostly remember me freaking out with a wooden spoon and yelling about towels on the floor, I hope my show tunes and the morning I acted like a cat to get them out of bed somehow stick too.

I really feel these random moments are my strength as a mother.

I'm desperately searching for ways to use my other strengths.

Or discover my other strengths.

I'm not sure if you are living under a rock or not, but if you are I am going to let you in on something.

Things out in the real world are tense and stressful right now.

The sense of the sky falling, real or not, is a lot of pressure for those of us that worry and fret and feel we will never do or be enough to help so we freeze in fear.

The information sorting and fact checking and dealing with everyone's emotions has been too much lately for me.  I'm not good at it.  Mostly I have been forced to retreat and read a lot less of the Facebook articles posted and say a lot of prayers.

It's admittedly not the best strategy for world changing, but is excellent for my sense of pretend sanity.

Since the beginning of the year (and possibly beginning of my adulthood,) I have been sorting through what I really want to do with myself and my time.

I have found I am really doing a great job attending those barre classes I love.  My commitment to 5 times a week to work toward a new, fit Leslie is strong and progressing.

(Down one pants size....clean eating plus barre will be BIG changes for you folks if you want it.)

Unfortunately, Alex doesn't view my desire to attend barre classes as an appropriate reason to have regular childcare for Max, which may put a kink in my frequency of class attendance.

I carefully described that there is a ballet bar around the room which makes me believe I am a ballet dancer, and that I have new workout clothes.

He was unmoved.

He may have a point.

I need to figure something out.

During the month of December I took a contract project for my favorite fair trade, socially conscious jewelry and accessories company, Noonday Collection.  It involved me writing some training for their upcoming sales conference.

It was a bit chaotic for me with the holiday happenings, but I LOVED having a project to work on like that. I love the company, I love the idea of talking to women about how to improve their businesses and working on personal growth, and I really loved having consistent childcare for Max so that I could work in exercise and some adult tasks.

I just finished that project last Saturday by speaking in front of 300 plus people for an hour.  I never knew if I could do that and it scared me, but I loved it.  I loved what I was talking about, I loved the chance to teach and entertain people, and I loved buying new Anthropologie to wear for the day.

An all around win.

How do I do that more?

I could do without the speaking on stage part constantly, but the rest filled such a hole I have had.

Who would like to hire me to talk to you?  To inspire you?

Is this a job?

Do you think I could wear Anthropologie or my fun workout apparel?

Obviously there are some holes here for me.

In the meantime I am reading.  I am pretending I have to do it for my "job."

Alex likes it when I pretend to work, but don't actually earn income.

He especially likes it when I buy things for my pretend job, like books or a pretty new bag that could hold my laptop for when I go to meetings or Starbucks to get some pretend work done.  It's important to have the right tools.

My current book is titled, "You Are A Badass..." by Jen Sincere.

I'm only 54 pages in to my journey to "badass" but I just know I'm going to be amazing by the end of this book.

I bet I'll be able to act like a cat every morning to wake my kids.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Recap and The Restart

How fitting that my last post was titled, "We Have Now Entered The Crazy Time."

Here we are almost two months later and I am finally starting to write again.

Crazy indeed.

We had a great holiday season.

All is well.

All was well.

All's well that ends well.

You get it.

It was good. It's done.  I'm really happy to be done.

We did and went so much that my head nearly exploded.

True story.

Not really, but my head felt like it was going to metaphorically explode many times in the last two months.

We had a great Thanksgiving.


(In case the all caps lettering was not direct enough, I would appreciate any accolades you can muster for me for this level of detaching and being "in the moment" like all those Facebook articles tell me I need to be.  They never mention the downside of having no proof that you were "in the moment" because there was no way to capture it and post it so everyone on social media knows about my "in the moment" moment, therefore making it true.  Technology IS tough.)

I turned FORTY!

Alex and I went to NYC for my fortieth and were super hip and cool.

(Hip and cool not captured in above photo.)

It was so great to get away and live a totally different life for a few days.  We rented a small studio apartment with the subway running right under us and enjoyed an alley cat's meows all night long.  We were super urban, though not well rested.

Our favorite place we visited was the NYC Public Library so perhaps our hip and cool vibe were weaker than I like to think?

My big takeaways from the trip were:

1. 40 is going to awesome!
2. What the hell am I really doing with my life?  I should hurry before I die.
3. I am so glad I don't have little kids in the city.  It looked like a total pain.
4. I don't like constant crowds and sound.  Personal space is AMAZING.
5.  I really, really love Alex.  He's still my favorite person and he's pretty to look at.

Christmas break was actually pretty enjoyable.  Long breaks from school and routine are not my jam, but this one went well!

I started a severe addiction to barre classes and am going at least 5 times a week.

If you aren't familiar with barre, it's sort of like pilates, but you pretend to be a ballet dancer in your head and tuck your hips and butt a lot.  My description may not be used in any marketing materials soon, but I stand by it.

I'm not that great at it, but I love going and I just know that my ass is going to be phenomenal as soon as I can stop rewarding myself with Starbucks chai tea lattes post workout.

And maybe I should skip the morning buns too.  Maybe.

In my new found fitness strength I participated in the "over 16" rollerskating race at the roller rink when I took my kids before Christmas...and WON...

third place!

I don't want to brag or anything, but that's a medal in the Olympics.

The above photo is me trash talking the lady next to me before the race.

Or I was telling her to promise not to laugh at me.

I can't remember.

I beat her though and that is the important thing.


Christmas break meant there was a decent amount of errand running with my kids. The last few years have been really miserable with all four out in public while trying to complete a task, but this break was OK.

We are at the point where Max can be entertained destroying stuff under the supervision of his siblings and I can race around the store buying things before anything is so messed up that we would owe damages.

This is the cute scene I came back to after 15 minutes spent talking to the super enthusiastic REI employee about bikes.  He really, really knew a lot about bikes.

I just wanted a $100 gift card.

Christmas itself was delightful and relaxing.

Unfortunately, Alex and I suffered some sort of seizure and bought Cole two mice, but otherwise it was a successful year of gift giving and togetherness.

The Christmas pajamas never disappoint.

I'm not sure what is going on with the vein in my neck in this photo, but it probably is a factor in my ability to make a decision to bring rodents in to our home as pets.

Is anyone reading a doctor and concerned about this?

This was the first year that any of our children stayed up past midnight for New Years Eve.  I barely can handle staying up past midnight myself so it was not my favorite part of the break, but overall I can't really complain...I did get to watch that Mariah Carey train wreck performance and I like to think that was worth some sleep deprivation.

Now we are back to school and I am feeling wonderful!  There is nothing better than the return to the routine after a long break.  It thrills me.

Remember my New Year's resolutions from last year?

You can read my post from last year here.

If you are too lazy to click on that link, the list was:

1. Organize House
2. Go on Walks
3. Write

I felt so buried in Max that these were as ambitious as I could get.  I truly felt I was stretching myself to write at all, to organize my house at all, and for the love of bacon I dreamed of taking a walk. A walk!

It's just where I was.

I'm not there anymore.

I love moving forward!

I haven't written my 2017 resolutions or goals yet, but I added on and organized the hell out of my house in 2016.  I walked (sporadically) and then by the end of 2016 I started a 5 time a week exercise program.

Writing.  It's always what I want to do more of, but I did some writing in 2016.  I didn't do my big goal with it, but perhaps that's where I will start this year?  I feel I did what I could with my writing last year and this year I can do more.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Thanks for reading!