Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What The Thread Means to Me.

There is a group of four women. Four uniquely individual women united in friendship and bound by solidarity. They have distinct strengths that make them warriors and admitted flaws that make them beautifully human.

They are for each other what every woman out there needs. A sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, an honest critic, a motivator... among other things. They are a sisterhood fueled by inside jokes and inappropriate humor but more importantly a cohesiveness bore from respect and adoration for one another.

They are, The Thread.

I first became acquainted with this enchanting group of gals back in 2012 when I started blogging. I found Brandy's blog (Mannly Mama) first and from there started to read the other ladies blogs. Initially I enjoyed reading their posts because they are all working moms like myself. But then there was something more about all of them that drew me in. Like the cool kid in class you gravitate toward because they are exciting and all the things you want to be but feel less-than most of the time.

Through eloquence, humor, or just raw real life, The Thread shares the types of things that have you nodding your head as you read because you can relate or even have you literally LOL-ing at their stories. I've learned so much from these women and I hope they know the positive impact they have on the world around them.

That might seem exaggerated but if the four of them found each other across the US and across country boarders through the power of Social Media, then the impact that the four of them have on others is also just as powerful.

From the The Thread I've learned parenting and marriage tips, the importance of being your authentic self, and even that an IUD could go missing... in your body... and have to be surgically removed. I've learned that self-confidence is beautiful and so is wearing your flaws like a badge and not giving two fucks about it.

I've gained style inspiration from Alicia thanks to her daily #officefashionshow. Plus, the way she writes, digesting her thoughts in a manner so impassioned and thought-provoking, I am just in awe of her many talents. To me she comes across as a free spirit and raising three simply delicious little girls she is clearly encouraging their authentic selves to shine as brightly as hers.

I feel I can relate very much to Kat. A "people pleaser" and ray of sunshine with an unexpected dirty sense of humor. She wrote a post called, "I always thought there'd be three" and I literally had tears streaming down my face as I held my newborn daughter in my arms trying to make heads or tails of my own child-rearing future. Then I shrieked with excitement when she announced she was pregnant with her third and quickly empathized when she admitted it was a surprise. ::raises hand:: Been there. Oh and the girl's physique?!?! fuhgettaboutit. Those Barre classes are working, sista!

Brandee is the one out of the four that I've watched from afar. We haven't had too much interaction but I've read her blog for a while. In fact, when my daughter was born I would be nursing her in the wee hours of the night and Brandee would be blowing up the twitter feeds entertaining me with dialogues on her secondary infertility. I read tweets that used humor (they were pretty darn funny) to mask the pain she was feeling. I wanted so badly to reach through the phone and just give her a hug. Not the "it will get better hug" that no one wants when it doesn't feel like things will get better, but more of the "this fucking sucks" hug that you need when something in your life just fucking sucks. When I read her announcement that she was pregnant with the infamous #sciencebaby, I welled up and wanted to then give her a congratulatory hug! It was from her posts that I learned what secondary infertility was and I can only imagine the immense help her information was for other couples struggling the same as her.

Lastly, my girl Brandy. Her humor and go-with-the-flow approach to parenting and life in general was so refreshing. She cusses like a sailor and drinks whiskey like a boss! Clearly a girl after my own heart! I slowly started to engage in some "offline" discussions with her on topics that I hadn't even talked about with my closest friends. She was always open to chat and her advice was always on point. It's hard for me to put into words how Brandy has impacted me. She puts herself out there so unaplogetically, so fearlessly in a way that a modest, insecure gal like myself admires so much. In fact, she doesn't know it (until now) she's inspired me to make some shifts within myself toward a more confident way of being. She is a breathe of fresh air and a rare gem.

The Thread is making their annual pilgrimage of friendship to Denver this week. So I will have the chance to meet them face-to-face for brunch. You guys!!! Did you hear that? I get to crash The Thread's party and do my best not to be a total buffoon around them. I wanted to share all of this here instead of in person because... AWK-ward.

So there you have it. The Thread. If you didn't know about them before, ya welcome. If you knew them already and are totally jealous of the fact that I get to meet them in person on Saturday, you should be. ;) They are four of the most badass women out there and all of us should be so lucky to have a Thread-like crew in our own lives.

Hat's off to you ladies! Here's to friendship!

And whiskey.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July Goals (better late than never)

**The above photo is brought to you by beach withdrawals. The struggle is real. 

I fell off the goal wagon in June. I was still actively working out and taking care of business, I just didn't post anything at the beginning of the month. June was busy at home and at work. Then we were on vacation the first week of July and alas, here it is July 15th and I'm just now posting my goals!

I'll recap where I last left off and report on how May ended up:

1) Schedule my Series 6 class - DONE! It's currently set for 8/10 which I'm starting to feel was a bit ambitious and I'm scared and stressed and wanting to push it back one more month. But then I think I should just soldier on and get this darn thing over with.

2) Lose 5 lbs. - DONE! By the end of May I had hit this goal. But I'm certain after vacation I'm starting back from scratch with that one. :( I haven't weighed myself and I'm too scared to at this point.

3) Do 10 sets on each side of side plank with a leg raise - NOPE. These moves really allude me. I'm not sure why because my strength all around has been improving greatly. I'm not going to give up though!

On to July! Since there are only two weeks left they might be a bit light this month. I'll kick it up a notch in August. So here we go:

1) Post next month's goals on time. ;)

2) Do 10 sets on each side of side plank with a leg raise.

3) Do 20 push ups (not on knees and with good form). I had a goal a couple months back to hit 10 solid push ups, which I accomplished, and now I try to do a set every time I work out. The other day I did 12 so I know I just need a goal like this to push me farther.

So that's all for now. Seems simple but as my arms tremble and the sweat beats down from my face, I'll want to take these "simple" goals and give them the ole heave-ho! Also, on a side note, I plan on doing a post about how my workouts have been going. Since starting these monthly goals back in January I have really come a long way and I'm pretty darn proud of myself! I still have plenty of work to put in before I hit my ultimate goal but I have to say, finally seeing results has been very motivating.

What are your goals for the month? Are you on a fitness mission yourself? How is it going?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Vaction Recap

We made it! Our first family vacation to Jacksonville, FL was a great success and we all had a wonderful time! I'm still having beach withdrawals. ;)

We played in the ocean and on the beach, ate great food, spent time with extended family and enjoyed a lovely wedding for my mother-in-law. Hubs and I were even able to sneak away a couple of times thanks to the help of family members who watched the kids for us. 

I do have this to say about our first trip with small children... it was exhausting. Even though we did get some alone time it was minimal and we were in full-on parent mode the entire time. I wasn't expecting it any differently it was just not the same relaxing vacations of our childless past. Plus the kids were super wired and excited from all the stimulation and different environment. They got away with much more than they would have at home and stayed up much later than they would have at home. But hey, that's what vacations are for! 

As far as highlights go? There are many but the top of my list revolved around the kids. Little C's expression when he saw the ocean for the first time. The way Lil Miss Mayhem would run toward, then quickly away from the movement of the tide. Their laughter as the waves almost knocked them over. It was so much fun to experience everything through the eyes of our little munchkins. 

Another highlight was one afternoon while the kids napped, Hubs and I rode a couple of beach cruisers to the Town Center for lunch and adult beverages. It was a last minute getaway and we had a really nice time. I love riding beach cruisers and just being totally relaxed. The ocean/beach environment has such a calming effect, don't you think? We went to The Flying Iguana Taqueria and Tequila Bar. The bartender gave us the best tequila we've ever tasted! 

The wedding was the whole reason we were on this trip to begin with and being there with family to celebrate the happy couple was so great. I'm very happy for my mother-in-law. She's starting a whole new chapter of her life and I can't wait to see where it takes her. 

I will look forward to going back to Jacksonville and now that we've got our first vacation with kids under our belts, I'm also starting to think of where else we can go! Can't wait to make more memories!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Vacation is Calling

T minus one day. ONE DAY!

We are leaving for our first family vacation tomorrow afternoon. I can't remember the last time Hubs and I went on a trip... Was it to Mexico eight years ago??? To date the only bags the kids have needed packed were for an overnight at the grandparents.

Tomorrow we're off to Jacksonville, FL for fun, sun, beach, and a wedding. My lovely mother-in-law is getting married and we all couldn't be happier for her. There will be a few wedding related events but for the most part we get to do our own thing and truly unplug and relax. Because that's what you can do while traveling with a 4 and 2.5 year old, right? It's super duper relaxing and you get to lay on the beach, uninterrupted and read a good book, party hardy at night and sleep in extra late in the morning, right? Right???

Lie to me. Please.

I kid. I'm really very excited to make memories with my little family. Splashing in the ocean, playing in the sand, and just soaking up all of the smiles and giggles along the way. I'm sure Hubs and I will get some time to ourselves thanks to all the family that will be there with us, but aside from that, experiencing a new place with the kids will be so much fun!

As you know, Little C is quite the ocean animal aficionado and has been asking all kinds of ocean related questions about FL. The poor little guy has no frame of reference of what the ocean/beach experience is like. I have a feeling that he thinks we'll be walking into an animal kingdom where whales, sharks, manta rays, etc. will be up close and personal. He keeps saying, "I don't have to swim in the ocean, do I?" We keep showing him beach photos and doing our best to explain things to him but I know once he see's it for himself he'll be okay. We can sense some minor anxiety which is par for the course with C so I really can't wait to just get there and put him at ease.

As for Lil Miss... she's just going with the flow. I'm most worried about her sitting still on the airplane because she maxes out at about 20 minutes before she must move around. In fact flying with the kids is what I'm experiencing anxiety over because I just don't know what to expect and I keep playing varying scenarios in my head. I wonder where Little C gets it from?

We'll all be just fine and I can't wait to be there as our kids see the ocean for the first time! I get giddy just thinking about it! When you live in a landlocked state like we do, the ocean is a big deal!

So come five o'clock you'll have to excuse me when I leave the office like this...

Florida, here we come!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Are You Sick, Mama?

I'm home sick with a stomach bug that struck me in the middle of the night. It was gut-wrenchingly awful and there was no way I could make it into work this morning. So I did what I could to help get the kids ready for the day and while we were waiting for Hubs to get himself ready for daycare drop off I slumped down on the couch while the kids ate their morning granola bars.

"Are you sick, mama?" My daughter asked with a very concerned look on her face. I told her I had a tummy ache. She picked up her sippy cup and offered me a drink. When I said "no thank you," she then lifted up her granola bar and asked if I wanted a bite to feel better. I once again declined her adorable offer and then she decided to sit down next to me on the couch.

Meanwhile my son already sitting on the couch with me said through bites of his granola bar, "you know, mom... if your tummy hurts you should really be gluten free like me." "You should have a gluten free lunch today, it will make you feel better." I smiled through the stomach cramps and told him what a good idea that was.

And if my heart wasn't swollen enough, my daughter began to rub my back and tell me to feel better. She even started to brush my hair resting on my shoulder gently back behind my ear.

These kids.

These wonderful, darling little human beings. How did we get so lucky to call them ours? Their personalities are so very unique and different, yet they share the same sweetness and thoughtfulness. I don't know if we have any business taking credit as parents for this trait or if this is simply the fiber of their make up. But either way... I am so damn proud of my kids.

At the very young ages of only 4 and 2 they are smart, show signs of coordination and athleticism, they have a sense of humor and if my encounter today was any evidence at all, they are also good people.

I write all of this to not be braggadocious, after all everyone's kids are special and we could all write posts like this every day. I wrote this as a time capsule of sorts to capture a moment that filled my heart with so much happiness. I've been replaying it in my head all day and can't wipe the silly grin from my face. That is, when I'm not feeling like crap... stomach bug you can kindly be done now, thanks.

Oh, Little C and Lil Miss Mayhem, thanks for making your mama feel better!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up: Mother's Day edition

This weekend was a good one! We enjoyed celebrating our wonderful mothers and I was able to have a super relaxing Sunday afternoon/evening.

It all started on Saturday morning. We went out for breakfast with my mother-in-law, Hubs siblings and the kids. The restaurant had a train track mounted near the ceiling and a train circled overhead. The kids got a huge kick out of that! 

At one point Little C asked for more sausage and I knew Little Miss wasn't going to eat all of hers so I snatched a link from her plate and gave it to her brother. Her reaction to this was priceless and luckily I was able to snap a quick pic of her dramatic displeasure. Of course, we all thought it was adorable and couldn't help but laugh. The baby sister struggle is real. ;)

After breakfast we went bowling which was a perfect activity for all ages. I miraculously won the first game between the adults and Hubs won the second game. It was marital domination! ha!

Saturday night we hunkered in for a family movie. We chose Frozen which was very apropos for that night as snow was falling at a fast and furious rate. We even had the fireplace on in MAY! Alright, Colorado. Please stop. Thank you.

On Sunday after sleeping in, I woke up to fresh coffee, cinnamon rolls, homemade omelet a la Hubs and a beautiful bouquet of flowers and cards. I loved every bit of it! Or should I say, every bite of it! ::snort::

After brehkie we met my mom and brother at Tagawa Gardens. It is a giant greenhouse and every year  for Mother's Day they have a huge open house event with live music. The kids loved helping their Mopsi pick out flowers and they even enjoyed listening to the music. It was a really fun calypso-type band and you couldn't help tap your feet to the beat. The only thing missing was my dad who is still recovering from knee replacement surgery. :( But as soon as we finished at the greenhouse, we went back to my parents house for burgers and dessert and to visit with Popsi.

The rest of Sunday was very relaxing thanks to two wiped out kiddos who took long naps, and some catching up with House of Cards on Netflix. Hubs had grand plans of making my requested dinner of choice but after a long day/weekend I requested that we just relax and order pizza instead. It was perfect! 

Finally, after our supper easy dinner we opted for a family movie on Netflix that we knew Little C would love. Hubs and I devoured Planet Earth when it first came out and since C is so into animals we've been waiting for the best opportunity to share it with him. We started with Oceans because our animal lover's current obsession is sea creatures. When the show cut to a dolphin playfully riding a wave then bursting out of the water in delight, C exclaimed, "this is AWESOME!!" It was music to our ears.

The weekend was a blessing for sure! I loved celebrating with the two women that make our world go 'round and above all, I loved celebrating motherhood. It's not always easy but man is it worth it. The love I have for my children could move mountains and I definitely hit the jackpot with these two nuggets! 

I hope all the mamas out there had a great Mother's Day! What did you do to celebrate?

Friday, May 8, 2015

An Essay for Mom

My mom. A true original yet she embodies all of the lovely adjectives commonly used to describe mothers. Beautiful, strong, selfless, kind, funny. She taught countless life lessons and instilled the importance of common sense into my brother and I. She was a working mom doing her best to make ends meet, balancing the checkbook down to a frightful number but still managing to have food in our bellies and allowing us to want for nothing.

She was goofy and silly regardless of exaggerated eye rolls from her too cool for school spawn. She endured many a difficult conversation as we asked all of life's burning questions and she was always up for a chat. She was at every game, recital, concert or competition.

She weathered the storm of a self-involved, know-it-all teenager followed by a distant 20 something coming home from college to see her boyfriend instead of her family. Then she welcomed the aforementioned boyfriend into the family as he asked for her daughter's hand in marriage.

She sat in a waiting room in the middle of the night eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. From that moment on she became a beautiful, strong, selfless, kind and funny grandmother.

Oh, and side note! Speaking of grandmother... The woman hasn't aged a bit! No seriously, I'm not sure she know this, but I look at her and think to myself  "what is her secret?" How does her skin look so great? Where are her wrinkles? Can it be that simply being her daughter will grant me the same fortune??? (then I look in the mirror and answer my own question there... nope). ::le sigh::

My mom is the most generous person I know never asking for anything in return. Her far reaching kindness pours over to not only her family, but everyone who's lucky to know her.

It's amazing how our relationship has changed over the years. As the first-born I've done my best to be independent and do things my own way. I didn't always welcome advise because I took it as criticism even if my mother's heart was in the right place. I've been close with my mom but from a safe distance, still remaining pretty guarded when it comes to the things I share with her.

It could have been by my design that we've kept our distance or perhaps she has kept it that way herself, but whatever we constructed in our past, I feel strongly that we're changing and molding a different relationship today. In a weird way I feel like I'm starting to really get to know my mom. Of course, I've always known she's all of the things I've mentioned here and recently we're talking and sharing more than we ever have. I'm seeing not only the lovable and stoic sides of her but the fragile and vulnerable ones as well.

A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves in her kitchen on a solemn, rainy day, opening up to one another. I not only grew a deeper appreciation for the woman standing in front of me, but I also grew a deeper understanding of her. It's an absolute fact that the two of us have had some epic mother/daughter battles but regardless of how angry or mad we'd leave there was no doubt that the love we had for one another was there.

As I think back on my childhood all the way through to today, the one thing that has been consistent and unwavering is my mother's love. There is truly nothing better in this world than to feel loved. Amiright?!?

I'm grateful for my mother and the relationship we're forming. We're oil and water yet two peas in a pod all at the same time. But that's our mother/daughter story and I look forward to seeing where it takes us next.

This Mother's Day I want nothing more than for her to know she's appreciated, celebrated and above all... loved.

Mom (Mopsi Rosie),

Simply saying thank you is never enough but it is what I offer here. You are an amazing mother and grandmother and the nucleus our family needs. Enjoy this day set aside for mothers and know that you're doing a great job. 

I love you. Always have, always will.

Your girl,