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.

Stop.

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

Peace

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.

#winning

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.

Unstoppable.








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.

(No photo because I left my phone in my purse.  THE ENTIRE TIME BECAUSE I AM AN AMAZING PERSON WHO CAN DETACH FROM TECHNOLOGY.  NBD!)

(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.

BRONZE!

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!