Friday, May 11, 2018

Wanderlust

wan·der·lust
ˈwändərˌləst/
noun
  1. a strong desire to travel.

Okay. Okay. So this is who I am, but for now those desires will have to settle for the Black Hills, Hidden Acres, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Maybe they aren't treks across the globe, but for now, they are doing a good job of filling up some memory buckets and creating permanent laugh lines, creating new friendships, and keeping other friendships alive. We are in survival mode folks. T-11.5 days left of the school year, and I am so ready. Ready for ball caps and flip flops, slow mornings, spending June on the diamond, at the swimming pool, on the lake, and on my back porch reading my books. I'm ready for memory making in the Black Hills, Denver, and loving up children at Royal Family Kids Camp for the 5th year in a row. Yes, it's time to relax and give my teacher brain a little rest. Maybe I'll even cross off some of my bucket list items- teach myself photography perhaps? Learn how to play the guitar? Start a garden or blog more?! Stay tuned (probably for disappointment...but the thought makes me happy. hahahaha) I'll catch you up to speed on all of our happenings this past month. It's been busy to say the least, and we are finally happy to be home for awhile despite having such a great time away. Now we dive into birthdays, graduations, and yardwork! Hurray!

Cashing in on some Christmas present fun! We did AR Workshop for both moms for Christmas, and it was such a fun time! A little bit of a splurge, but you walk away with some killer decor and a great time!




Easter



Dan became part of the RFK leadership team this past Fall, and one of the opportunities I got to experience was heading to the Black Hills to spend a weekend with the team. While they planned camp, I took advantage of the alone time to do some soul searching, coffee drinking, and podcast listening. Some of my favorite things. Then off to Deadwood we went to have some fun! A quick 36 hours, and a very white knuckle drive home, but it was worth it!







As a TIC sponsor (JR RCYF) sponsor for church, I got to attend the Middle School retreat this year. This is hands down Jaedyn's favorite place, so it was fun to see it through her eyes and watch her enjoy it. It reminds me of being in middle school when I experienced all this fun stuff in church. Lots of fun times bonding with the girls and getting to know her friends in a different light. Blessed.

Jaedyn's spring dance- Another night of getting ready in every room of the house with 4 of your friends. Lots of bobby pins, curling wands, make up brushes, and perfume. Oh yeah, and all the moms and a very sweet aunt who came to join in the fun! The cherry on top was the sweet car Dan's boss let him borrow to take her to the dance in.....we got a bonus date out of the deal as well! Yay us. :)



Annual shopping weekend in the cities. With growing children and busier schedules, this time with the four of us is spread few and far between. Always cathartic and therapeutic. Minus leaving three pairs of shoes, 4 necklaces, 3 pairs of earrings, and my favorite hat.......Alzheimer's much... :( At least they found the shoes.



Finally, Kansas City! We had a wonderful time with some of very good friends. We stayed in the most perfect little cottage in the most picturesque part of the city. We dreamed about buying our own homes there that had that kind of charm. We enjoyed a little Top Golf, a stroll through the Plaza, an art museum, dining at Coopers Hawk winery, playing cards while laughing until our sides hurt, and a slow morning with my book, a bagel stop, a surprise invasion by what seemed like 47 Star Wars characters in an outside seating area next to a fountain, and all amongst the perfect 90s music playlist. Perfect relaxing weekend for sure. 











Currently I am locked in my room while six twelve year olds run amok in my home shooting each other with nerf guns and swearing up and down there is an intruder on our front lawn. Oh to be a kid again. Here's to conquering another month of shenanigans! Happy weekend friends!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Stay in Your Own Lane

I'm not sure about you, but I can't even believe that it's the second half of March right now! Where did the time go? Sometimes I feel like winter drags on, and believe me, I'm ready for it to be over, but I just feel like I blinked and suddenly it's the first week of spring. I couldn't be more ready for sunshine and 50 degree weather. I'm over this "wintry mix" crap.

At the same time, I'm feeling like the "busy" of my life never really stops. It ebbs and flows a bit, but I don't think there is ever a moment where I actually feel chill. Right now, I'm feeling the pull at work with the end of the quarter finishing and report cards being due, trying to get kids reassessed and finish standards that need to be taught. Having Friday off last week was a well needed breath of fresh air. With Easter coming early, I have a feeling that April on will be a killer!

If you know me, I tend to be a procrastinator. I don't know if it can really be helped a whole lot. Looking ahead doesn't do much other than remind me of all the things on my to do list, so sometimes, I just have to look at my week and say, "what needs to be done today?" However, when I looked at the calendar this week, I got this all to familiar pang of dread that sweeps in ever so slightly around this time of year. The one that reminds me that I (again) didn't "find my beach body" or at least take care of it like I should. It reminds me that another summer is coming- one where I probably won't shop for a pair of shorts for the 4th year in a row. One where shopping for swimming suits literally makes me sick to my stomach. One where I will forget that this body made three beautiful children when I look in the mirror and instead will add another mark of failure on her imaginary check list for not taking care of it like I should.

I hate that I feel this way. I hate that I feel guilty for the body I've been given. I hate that I can't see past the stretch marks to the children that God has blessed us with. I hate that I constantly critique my double chin and love handles when choosing an outfit to wear. I hate that I forget to be grateful for a body that is capable  to do whatever I ask of it. Some people would only be so lucky. I hate that I let comparison of my friends, family, and strangers rob me of my joy when I feel like I've failed myself for the millionth time. I hate that I don't have the self control or where-with-all to meal prep and stick to a plan.

Friends, I've come along ways on my journey with depression and anxiety. I'm learning to take better care of myself all the time, but this is an area I really struggle with. Those thoughts^^^^^ are all too familiar in my head. They wreak havoc in my brain on the daily. One of the gals I've followed on Instagram for quite some time says this a lot. "Stay in your own lane". It's not my job to compare my part of this journey to anyone else's. Everyone has different starting points, and most definitely they ALL come with their own struggles and ugly self talk at some point. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm making progress in small baby steps.

 I'm trying to remember that I have a daughter who is watching me. A daughter who is starting to feel the societal pressures of looking a certain way. It's terrifying because I know too many people who let that voice that told them they weren't good enough, skinny enough, or pretty enough rob them of their joy as well. In some of them, it manifested in the form of eating disorders, or like me, depression and/or anxiety. So I'm hoping to let those fears propel me forward. Jae and I are talking about staying fit together- trying out new recipes, working out together. I don't want this to be a taboo subject. I want her to be able to share her feelings and feel validated when she does. I want to be able to tell her that I too feel that way sometimes. I hear a lot of moms sharing about how they watch how they talk about their bodies when they are around their girls/kids. That's a great start, but I want to make sure I'm not ignoring the subject altogether. Instead of having her hear me say "I'm fat" or "I need to lose weight" or "I hate the way I look", I want her to hear me say "I want to feel strong", "I like how my body feels when I eat good foods", "I like this outfit because it makes me feel confident". Reframing how we talk about ourselves will hopefully do more than be a good example for our kids. I hope that it also helps us see our own bodies in a different light as well.

We are all made differently. Nobody's body reacts the same way to food and exercise. It's not fair for me to compare myself to anyone else even if our workouts and meal plans are similar. Staying in my own lane is definitely a challenge yet a goal for me all at the same time. On most days, I feel like not only am I not making progress, but I feel like I've gone so far backwards that it's hard to gain the momentum to move forward.

On the flip side, I feel like I'm learning to be more aware- aware of when I eat poorly (for the record, it's when I'm feeling overloaded, so pretty much almost always), aware of how sleep patterns and exhaustion affect my hunger levels and my ability to work out effectively, aware of how stress dictates the course of my day. What I'm finding is not new news. I do poorly when I don't plan because my life is a giant ball of chaos and disorder. I tend to hole up and ignore any responsibilities when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and those responsibilities include taking care of myself. It's easier to make myself a bowl of mac and cheese or ramen noodles because they are easy and I love them then it is for me to make something more nutritionally sound. It's easier for me to say no to my morning walk when I haven't gotten enough sleep, and I'm exhausted. It's easier for me to have a glass of wine when I'm stressed then to do something more productive. So while the physical evidence doesn't quite show that I'm making progress, being aware is a very small step in the right direction. Remembering that I can't change it all in a week is the next bridge I have to cross. Taking every decision as it comes and trying not to allow myself to live in judgement or guilt will really be a giant step in the right direction into helping me make better daily life choices. I have a lot of trouble with the "all or nothing" concept. I want whatever I do to be healthy to be sustainable and maintainable, and because of that, I know this will be a longer journey than it is for some. I'm learning to be okay with that. The final piece of this puzzle that is mandatory in my opinion, is that I need to learn to love myself as is. I need to be okay with the journey even if I don't "see" progress. I'm committed to staying in my own lane, and while I know I'll need reminders, it already feels like a load is off my shoulders.

Those are my epiphanies for the day. I hope that if you find yourself in the same position I am in, that you will remember you aren't alone, and that your journey is far from over. There is no "too late" for anyone until we're dead, so keep putting one foot in front of the other, and don't be afraid to share your story with others as well. When we are able to see others be vulnerable and authentic, it creates space for the rest of the world to do the same. That's really what this world needs more of #amiright?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Just Another Day in Paradise

I've been back in the frozen tundra for a few weeks. My fingers are frozen, and I'm counting down the days until spring is here for good. But for five seemingly short days, I was able to escape this place for a small sliver of paradise with one of my favorite people.

Shelley and I have been friends since high school. She's been around since Jae was tiny. She's seen me through some pretty happy times but also some very dark ones. She holds a very special place in my heart. And even though adulting gets in the way a lot in the stage of life I'm in, the moments we do get to spend together are never dull. So when she asked me to tag along on the trip she worked very hard to earn in her company, I couldn't say no for many reasons. I mean, c'mon. It was -11 degrees here. There's not much that you would need to do to convince me to go to a tropical locale for 78 degrees and sunshine. ;) But more than that, I was excited for some uninterrupted time to focus on a very important friendship that often gets pushed to the side while I try to be a mom and a wife and a teacher.

Our trip started off with a very snowy drive to Sioux Falls to spend the night in a hotel so we could be up at 2:30 in the morning to get ready to head to the airport. We stopped to grab supper at Applebee's and then a plethora of snacks at Hy-vee before we turned in for the night, crossing our fingers that our flight would not be delayed the next morning due to weather. Thankfully it was not, and we were off for a few days of sunshine, laughter, and relaxation.

We stayed at the Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. It was a great resort with lots of entertainment to keep us busy for our stay. We spent lots of time in the sunshine by the ocean and the pool playing volleyball, engaging in activities put on by the resort staff, trying different restaurants, and just enjoying each other's company.One of the best parts was getting to know all of Shelley's people. I love meeting new people. I loved learning a little bit about their stories. They were all truly great people, and I wish I had more time to get to know them more.

I'll let the pictures do the talking, though, as they are typically better story tellers than myself.






I've never won anything in my life. 50 bucks richer after this night. :)



Japanese steak house on one of the last nights!











The drink of choice in the Dominican. For the record. Ew.











One of my favorite past times of the weekend.




They may have to rebrand with the new spelling. :)

Thanks Shelley for letting me be your plus one. My absolute favorite part of this entire trip was getting to see you through the eyes of others. I always knew that you put everyone else above yourself, but to see that the people in this company truly love and respect you and talk so highly of you was such an awesome experience. One that I'm honored to have witnessed. You are one of a kind. You have a heart of gold, and I'm truly blessed to be your friend. Thanks Rifly!