Saturday, April 4, 2020

What does it all mean?

It only took a world-wide pandemic for me to dust off the 'ole blog, but just feels right. We are coming to a close on week 3 of "quarantine life."

Due to COVID-19 people have been urged to stay home and not leave unless you need groceries or medication. Gatherings big and small have been cancelled all across the country. I'm not talking about minor things either, I'm talking about the NBA, March Madness tournament, Presidential race conventions, zoos, schools, concerts, on and on and on.

This all means that our kids have been home with us while we attempt to work full-time and keep them up on some semblance of school work while they're here.

This all means that their school is officially closed for the rest of the school year.

This all means we could be working from home for close to five months by the time this is over.

This all means days of thriving and days of surviving all blend together into a never-ending string of hours.

This all means we're connecting at home and strengthening bonds while simultaneously begging for space we won't be getting any time soon.

This all means heightened anxiety while grappling with the "new normal" and being talked down from "future tripping" through the unknown.

This all means we don't know the next time we can hug our parents, have people over to the house, have play dates, happy yours, conferences in conference rooms, be back on the soccer team, back at gymnastics, back in the yoga studio, back in a restaurant, a library, on and on and on.

This all means we need toilet paper.

This all means people wear masks and gloves and avoid one another, only making eye contact to pass judgement if they hear you sniffle or if their 6 feet of regulatory separation is being encroached upon.

This all means there are people risking their health and their lives to keep communities running while the rest of us seek refuge within our four walls. Local heroes doing their jobs and doing them exceedingly well.

This all means there is a rise in unemployment, homelessness, domestic violence, alcoholism, drug-abuse, on and on and on.

This all means a lot of uncertainty for many.

This all means we're getting a hard knocks lesson in needing less and realizing how much we already have.

This all means pets around the world rejoiced to have their favorite people home with them, all day, every day.

This all means more crafting, board games, walks, bike rides, catch, house projects and spring cleaning.

This all means our kids remember they don't need a play date when they have each other. New games, jokes, laughter, kindness, love, bickering, fighting, rough-housing, tattling, competing and more love.

This all means more times with our spouses and partners. New games, jokes, laughter, kindness, love, bickering, fighting, "rough-housing" ;), competing and more love.

This all means we now connect through a computer screen with loved ones, text more with BFFs, Facetime with friends, and build virtual bonds because we miss people and what being together did for our well-being.

This all means we eat healthy and binge our feelings while exercising hard some days and our Fitbit pinging that we haven't taken any steps in like 6 hours and we should probably get moving, on other days.

This all means so much that can't possibly be summarized here. But one thing is for sure... there will be an end. We will rise up from this and we will have great stories to tell.

These will be mine...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

I cried big, fat tears.

This week Little C started 2nd grade, and Lil Miss Mayhem started Kindergarten! I don't even care how cliche it may sound but... where has the time gone?!?

I'm so happy to report that both kids were more excited than nervous and even little sis walked into her new school with confidence and a huge smile!

The hubs and I are so proud of these two and we are so excited for their school journey this year. We truly are happy and excited so it always catches me off guard when it also feels sad. Nothing about the morning, or school, or 2nd grade or Kindergarten is sad, but the feelings of time moving too fast, and of them getting so big just washed over me and I cried big, fat tears.

Of course, they are both going to do great, my rational mind knows that wholeheartedly. It's just at times like these I either want time to freeze and keep them 7 and 5 forever, or I want to go back in time to rocking them to sleep in their dimly lit room with plump cheeks and leg rolls and just breathe them in.

I'm getting emotional just typing this so I should probably end this post. Today was a happy day after all and while my mama heart strings are being pulled quite hard, I am grateful on so many levels.

Go get 'em, kids!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Rabbit, rabbit

Did you know there is a superstition out there that repeating the word "rabbit" out loud when you wake up on the first day of the month ensures good luck? I'm not a very superstitious person but I thought it was a fun little fact!

I may not be superstitious but I am feeling super inspired this morning. It's a new month and I'm hopeful for a new beginning, new mindset, new focus, new intentions, and new results.

Honestly, I've been struggling a lot lately with a number of things... Motivation, self love, turning to external "things" to "fix" my internal voids. None of it has been healthy. But after feeling like the bottom dropped out, I find myself back on a healthy track both mentally and physically. I have a lovely therapist whom I trust and we do what I call, "soul work" on a weekly basis. I turn to yoga which feeds both my mental and physical wellness and I've been more mindful about the foods I'm eating to keep me feeling nourished and energized. I get outside during the day whenever possible as sunshine and vitamin D are wonderful things!

I continue to practice gratitude journaling, free journaling, and I'm even doing a bit of meditation right now. I bring all of this up because I know first hand how it feels to be overwhelmed, lost, even depressed and these are the tools that have helped me tremendously.

In addition to these tools, there's also my rock... my husband. His unconditional love and support as I navigate this season of my life (and prior seasons as well) has meant more to me than he could possibly know. When I'm not at my healthiest mentally, it is not pretty and I get equal parts tenderness and tough love from my man when I need it most.

So, if you are reading this and not feeling like yourself in any capacity, I encourage you to start looking inward and doing the soul work. What do you need? Who can you ask for help? Go for a walk, read a book, write down your thoughts, get outside, call a friend or family member. Just start somewhere and stop simply getting through each day. Doesn't living each day to it's fullest sound better to you?

I have a long way to go myself, but I'm progressing and that's all that matters. Are all bad days and turbulence behind me? Probably not, but all I know is that I woke up this morning more motivated and inspired than I have felt in a long time, and I'm going with it. My goals won't achieve themselves and I'm tired of wishing for change instead of just doing the damn thing!

August 1st felt like the perfect "day one" of something new. Heck, I even started a photo challenge on Instagram and posted a selfie, which I haven't done in a while. Mostly because I haven't been feeling like my-selfie. Ha!! See what I did there. ::winky face::

Rabbit, rabbit, friends. Onward!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hello? Anybody out there?

No joke. I come to this space daily. I feel like I have so much to share and nothing to share all at once. I started this blog as a working mom manifesto and to pass along recipes that I loved. Then it morphed into less about being a working mom and more just about motherhood in general. THEN, it morphed into a chronicle, or diary of sorts, documenting my kids goings on and where we were in life at that moment.

While I've been away from writing on the blog I've done a great deal of "self work." We're talking therapy, consulting with doctors to get my health in check, meditation, LOTS of journaling, and my triumphant return to yoga. Huzzah!!!

I refer to 2017 as the year of creating space for myself. I put myself on my list of priorities for the first time and while it felt foreign and forced in the beginning, it quickly became the norm.

2018? Well, this is the year I do something with the space I created. Last year I experienced the power of manifesting my goals and being open to abundance, which I'll explain in a separate post. That is what I'm focused on right now—making my goals and dreams reality and to live the life I was meant to. I know it may sound "woo-woo," but it's where I find myself in this season of my life.

Lastly, I have found a new love for journaling. Writing out my thoughts, feelings, fears, challenges, triumphs, and whatever else is percolating in my mind that day, is so very cathartic and beneficial. I intend to share with you how I started and how it has evolved over the past year into a daily ritual.

As far as our munchkins go, they are doing great! I can't believe they are seven and five!!! They continue to amaze us, teach us, and challenge us with their unique characters and budding personalities. More posts to follow on them, I'm sure.

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So basically, what I'm saying is... I intend to start back up AND keep up with the writing. But don't call it a comeback...


While my intentions are in the right place, we all know how reality sometimes has a different plan for us. I do miss this here blog 'o mine and I am starting to feel like I have things to share that may resonate with some and prove helpful.

Who knows, this space could even spark some inspiration of your own. Let's see where this latest journey takes us.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Meal Prep - Breakfast Edition

For the longest time I have been big on meal prep when it comes to breakfast. We typically have our meals planned out for the week but they are all very quick (30 minutes max) and fairly simple to make so I don't have to do a lot of prep dinner-wise. 

But with breakfast, I like to have healthy, filling options on hand for the whole family. I will often make pancakes on the weekend and make more than what the four of us will eat. Then I freeze the leftovers and heat them up for the kids before school. The pancakes are gluten free and I typically try to squeeze in fruit (blueberries, pumpkin, bananas) and sometimes oats or flaxseed as an extra health boost. 

I also make scrambled egg sandwiches or burritos for the kids on Sunday and freeze them. I'll pull them out and place in the refrigerator the night before I'll need them and in the morning I just pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. They have a filling, protein-packed breakfast ready to go!

Frittatas are what I usually make for the hubs and I. They are super simple and very easy to make. I'll cut them into wedges and, you guessed it, freeze them so they're on hand throughout the week. I load them up with veggies and will often use canadian bacon as the protein, in addition to the eggs. I've shared one of my favorites here so you can check it out!

And finally, thanks to the wonderful world of Instagram, I stumbled upon a new go-to breakfast recipe that I am in LOVE with! I'm a sucker for a good quiche but they aren't always the healthiest option. They are typically made with a pie crust and heavy cream. So when I saw a lightened up version using potatoes for the crust, I was very excited to try it! You can find the full recipe on the Ambitious Kitchen website. Like the frittata, this is one of those recipes you really just need to get the method down and then you can make it any way you'd like! The possibilities are endless!

This is gluten free, and very tasty! You can make it vegetarian or dairy-free as well. Enjoy!! 

Visit Ambitious Kitchen for the recipe. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A New Season

"All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried." - Donald Miller

Here I am again. Didn't think it would be so soon but I suppose three-and-a-half years was a good run? I find myself in a time of transition, but it is very different from the last time.

This wasn't traumatic and the logistics behind it are simple. Our company was purchased and therefore, we were given our exit dates. Next week I will no longer be at a company, in a role, and with a team that I grew to respect, admire and hold in very high regard.

I am looking at this twist of events as bad news disguised as an opportunity. Yes, I am stressed and anxious about what the future holds and all my job search attempts are moving very slow. But I'm grateful to have irons in the fire and am optimistic and excited to see where my career will take me next.

Grateful. That is the overarching feeling I have as I reflect back on the last three years. This job came to me when I was in a state of desperation. Unemployed and in a very dark time of our lives. To be honest, I only recently "healed" from the whole experience.

As traumatic as it was, I am very grateful that unfortunate event led me here. I grew so much on a professional and personal level in my current role. This was the first job of my career in a large corporate environment so I had to get used to the challenges that came along with it, but there were also many perks.

As a marketer I learned so much about the creative process and loved brainstorming, problem solving, and collaborating with the most talented people I've ever met. I also confirmed more than ever that marketing and the work I was doing is something I love. LOVE! It is where I belong and that is a great feeling and so different from treading water in my twenties trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. I'm still trying to figure it out but I know marketing is the path I'll continue down and I'm grateful for this revelation.

My gratitude journey is capped off with the people. The amazing, interesting, and (at times) challenging, individuals that pushed me, taught me, and inspired great work. The company I was a part of lived within the walls of an even larger corporation so the amount of people whose paths I crossed was vast. For example, I formed a friendship with a person in another state solely over the phone. I've only been face-to-face with her three times in three years but consider her a dear friend.

I also found my way into a lovely group of women fearlessly leading the helm of change for women in business. Their efforts and passion for what they do is contagious and their important work is making a difference. I had an idea to put pumping supplies for nursing mamas in each of our wellness rooms. This group of woman loved the idea and made it a reality. There are now baskets in every room stocked with magazines, nursing pads, hand sanitizer, milk bags, and many other supplies in case a mom forgot an item of her own. They also asked if I'd be interested in leading the Denver Parents Network and I was thrilled to get this program off the ground! To have been a part of it for a small time was something I'll never forget. I can't wait to see what else these intelligent, superhero women have up their sleeves. Better maternity leave, continuing to empower women in business and just overall bad-assery that I know they are more than capable of.

Then there's our team. When I started there was only six of us and toward the end there was a whopping nine. We were a small, close-knit group of misfits that worked so effortlessly together. If the rare conflict came about, it was practically over before it started. We worked fast and furiously against unrealistic expectations and always delivered. We shared similar interests but were also so different from one another. We created competitions to keep things interesting. A stair challenge which got out of hand fast and uncovered who the most competitive people on our team were. A peanut butter and jelly taste test because, as it turns out, we each have a very different and unique way of making the "just right" classic sammie. We'd play Catchphrase as a team every Friday afternoon if work wasn't piled up. Games often included laughing til we cried and have had lasting anecdotes we reminisce on often.

Of course I'm concerned and sad that I'm losing my job, but it is the dismantling of our team and people I enjoyed working with and seeing every single day that I'm going to miss the most. I am so grateful that the universe brought us all together and that we had this time together. There's a text thread of messages on our phones filled with pictures of our babies, jabs at one another, random gifs, and a plethora of emojis. We are more than your average colleagues, I truly consider them my work family.

And last, but certainly not least, is a special friendship that came into my life when I needed her most. It became a friendship that has filled my soul so much! Taylor is a shining light and her mindful approach to life has taught me invaluable lessons. Her focus on mind/body balance and her health has been very inspiring to me. She introduced me to meditation, provided book recommendations that I have absolutely loved, and has been a great sounding board and advice-giver. Taylor's friendship got me through many difficult times and I don't know what I would do without her. I know next week will not be goodbye with this one!

The past three years I was surrounded by a unique culture, creativity, inspiring leaders and mentors, and I can't believe it's coming to an end. I'm still operating in "surreal mode" and the gravity of this will sting something awful, I'm sure. But as the quote I opened with suggests, similar to the fall leaves, I will blossom again. A new season of my life is just beginning and I hope it's as sweet as this last one was.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sugar Cleanse Results

I've been blabbing all over Facebook lately that "this is my year!" The year I've made it my personal mission to be the healthiest version of myself. I will tell you that at first I made this declaration with a goal weight in mind. A number on a scale that would magically mean I'm healthy and happy... But would it?

Let me tell you, the amount of reflection I've done on this topic is mighty. You see, I no longer want to focus on the scale. Instead I want to focus on my lifestyle and how I can make better choices to feel better in my own skin. I firmly believe that when we feel good, we do good. When I'm working out and eating right it's usually a product of being in a positive state of mind. I'm feeling good, I'm motivated, and I'm moving! When I have a slump and I'm feeling down, I may take a break from working out, I may pile more portions on my plate to feed my feelings and that's when it takes a lot more to get me back to where I started and in the zone again. 

I want to feel good and I'm taking a number of steps to do this. First and foremost is my health. I am embarrassed to say that I forgot the last time I made an appointment with my doctor for a wellness visit. So when I sat down to make new year's goals that was the first item on my list. I had been feeling kind of "yucky" on the the inside and I wanted to get medical advice for my symptoms. 

Last year I felt like I was on an emotional roller-coaster. Ladies, please tell me I'm not alone here!! ;) I would have these bouts of time where I didn't recognize who I was. Feeling lethargic, irrational, even ragey at times. It wasn't pretty and I finally got to a place where I threw up my arms and said ENOUGH!!! I need to be in control here and I want feel like myself again! 

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I explained in detail these things with my doctor and was relieved to hear there are a number of recommendations to help with what I was dealing with. One that felt doable right away was giving up sugar two weeks before my period. After my doctor said that, I got to thinking why not take it a step further and see if I could go sugar-free for a whole month. It's no secret that sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies and there are plenty of studies and research to back up why going sugar-free is extremely beneficial. But, something new I learned is how much sugar affects PMS. I always knew PMS was a "thing" but up until last year I never really felt symptoms like this. Oh, the joys of getting older. Amiright?!?

So that was it! I would go sugar-free for a whole month and see if I felt any different. On February 1st I gave up all refined sugars and foods with added sugar. I became very label conscious and was surprised when I started to see how many things I typically ate contained added sugar. I said "no thanks" to cake at birthday parties, donuts at work and candy from the community bowl. I said goodbye to bottled salad dressings, peanut butter (that one was hard), almost all bread and flavored yogurt, among other things. 

I upped my fruit intake and would grab a cutie or apple when I had an afternoon sugar craving. I have to admit that I was never a big dessert person to begin with, so after dinner and in the evenings seemed to not be as hard for me. But at the office where I would mindlessly pass by the candy bowl and grab a mini snickers multiple times a day, that was where the challenge was. The other challenge I had was the mood connection I apparently have with sugar. There were a couple of days I wasn't feeling particularly chipper and my stress levels were high. These were the moments that I felt a need to have a peanut butter cup for no other reason than to shove it in my face parts to make myself "feel" better. I had to kind of settle in with my feelings and figure out where they were coming from and how I could find a healthy way to address them. Not. Easy. But I did it! I made it through the whole month SUGAR FREE!

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I'm so glad I challenged myself to do this! Because I was more label conscious I found myself eating better in general. I did not shed a bunch of weight but started to notice I didn't feel bloated very often and my pants were fitting a bit looser. I also noticed I had a more mild temperament during the challenge. Of course life stress would still get the better of me at times, but overall, day-to-day I was feeling really good!

The most surprising thing about this challenge... the support I received from others! I can't tell you how much it has meant to me that people were in my corner, cheering me on while I did this. People would write thoughtful comments on my FB posts and I even had someone send me a link to the Dr. Oz show where they shared the benefits of kicking sugar. My co-workers have been awesome and I've even inspired them to make changes of their own to better their health.

This sugar cleanse was the first step to making positive changes. I'm going to remain sugar free to the best of my abilities. I will bring back peanut butter (hallelujah) and may let myself have a treat every once in a while but honestly, I'm nervous to "feed the beast." I've done so well I wonder if once I have  even a little I'll be inviting the flood gates to reopen. We'll see!

I'm doing this, guys! I'm capable of doing hard things and I will make it to the finish line. I'm so excited to have this be the year I actually achieve my goals and not just hope and wish for them. I know this is an investment in time as much as effort. I need to be patient and kind to myself along the way but push harder than I ever have and never give up! The journey has begun! #commitdontquit