Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Run... don't walk...

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and be ready to take notes. This blog post is amazing. I rarely read things shared on social media but this is something I clicked on and took the time to read. I'm so glad I did.

Some days, being a mom is more "adulting" than I can handle. Some days I'm high as a kite on this parenting cloud, rocking the shit of it... but most days, there are struggles. It's real life right?

The last weekend was all about family and us... This weekend my kids asked me to get in the balls with them at a play place. The nurse in me grossed out, the mom in me said what the heck. I jumped in. I tossed them in. We buried each other. We jumped up and scared each other. We pushed each other in. There was laughing and giggling. Not a care in the world but my babies.

I'm building relationships with me kids. Relationships that will last a lifetime. I'm not perfect, I'm far far from it. I'm learning as I go, aren't we all? Some days I struggle and some days I don't. Most days I'm working to find the balance in life... between making lunches, dinners, cleaning, working, working out, laundry... there's a balance. This weekend, I found that balance. I got to taste it. I jumped into the balls with my kids, I had fun, I laughed. Find the balance when you can. Take notes from the article I posted, I know I am!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Taking care of ME!

When I throw up the peace sign to the hubs and run like hell out the door... where do I go? What do I?

Target... wondering the aisles of a the good ole Tar-jay is one of the best ways to let my mind wonder.

A craft store.... hobby lobby, Michael's JoAnn's... My mind runs to pinterest and all of the amazing projects I could be making but don't have time for.

Other ways I take care of me:

  1. Regular workouts. Yes, I go to the gym. Of course I want to look like a super model but in the mean time, I'll just be me. I love lifting weights and feeling stronger when I leave. My mind is able to wonder without some one asking for a snack or a drink or to wipe their butt. The child care at our gym is awesome and I never have to worry about the kids when I'm there.
  2. Call a friend. Sometimes it's as simple as touching base with another mama who knows exactly how I feel. Or reconnecting with someone for just a few minutes without the kids interrupting. It's like therapy for my soul and it's free.
  3. Drink water. This seems silly to type but it's true. When I drink enough water, I feel better.
  4. Have a craft date. This is like some serious soul therapy. I love crafting and creating. Having a date with a friend holds me accountable. It allows me to reconnect AND do something I love, so it's a double win.
  5. Have a lunch date. This a rare occurrence so it's always super valued to me. I have so little time to connect that this is a way that I can take a break with someone and catch up.
  6. Schedule a play date. The kids can play and I get some adult interaction! Win win!
  7. Get my hair done. So it's only like twice a year that I get my hair done, but those couple of times, it's worth every single penny. I walk out and feel good, my hair is fresh and my outlook is fresh too!
  8. Weed out the negative. While social media can be a great way of connecting, it can also be a giant mind suck. All of the negative stuff people posts can really upset me. Why read it all? Why allow myself to be upset because someone else is upset? So, I've weeded a bit of that. If someone is constantly posting negative things, I hid them from my timeline. Out of sight, out of mind, less negativity for me.
  9. Read. I love reading, like really love it. However I rarely have time to read something I truly love. When I do, I cherish it. On our recent vacation, I read a 500 page book in just 3-4 days. It was amaze-balls!
  10. Blast some music. I have a commute all to myself. I love to blast some good music, it always makes the day better.

What are some ways that YOU take care of YOU?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Neglecting me

 I remember giving birth to Bella and knowing that my whole world had just changed. I remember a short 12 weeks later, heading to Bikram Yoga for the first time in in 12 weeks (yes I practiced during my pregnancy under the supervision of my OB). I remember racing out the door after nursing her and leaving her in the arms of her dad. I remember on my drive the intense guilt I felt for leaving that sweet little five pound babe. How could I leave her? What if she needed to nurse? What if she wouldn't take a bottle? What if she screamed the whole time? I remember walking into yoga nearly in tears because the guilt was so intense. Why did I feel that way? My husband was a rockstar dad and assured me that he had it all under control. He also assured me that practicing yoga was good for my mind AND my soul. I remember placing my tired body on the yoga mat and recalling that I didn't even brush my teeth before I left! I had neglected me so much that my teeth felt covered in fuzz and I wasn't even sure of the last time I showered. The life of a first time mom.

Fast forward to three and a half years and two more kids. There were now three children in my house. Showers were a thing of yesterday and tooth fuzz was a regular thing. You know the saying "messy hair don't care"... yeah I was on the verge of messy hair and dreadlocks I'm sure of it! My kids were fed and bathed and looked put together, too bad their mom was a complete train wreck.

Fast forward now to three years after that, so we're at 7 1/2 years since that little five pound string bean came into this world five weeks early freaking out her parents and the doctors. The kids snack on organic dog food (I'm only half kidding) and I get a shower on a regular basis, the tooth fuzz is officially gone. My how times have changed. I've remembered that to keep myself sane, I need to take some  ME time. I still feel slightly guilty about it at times but I'm not on the verge of a mental breakdown each time I walk out the door on my own. Shit, sometimes I even do backflips out the door (or slip on a lego as I'm going out, but it's all the same right?). Sometimes when MY kids (as Ryan calls them when they act up) are being extra crazy, I leave and throw up a peace sign to him as I go.

"Deuces buddy, good luck!"

Somehow, he holds down the chaos in the midst of me escaping. It's a balance... a balance of partnership, love and knowing when to let the other take a break. So what do I do during that break? Stay tuned to find out!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Blog changes

As things change in our family, so does this blog. I've been watching Facebook and social media and found that there are some things that we as parents struggle with. Yes, we have a variety of different struggles related to Bella's limb difference but not everything is related to that. I'm hoping you'll stay tuned and see where this blog grows.

I'm hoping to add a variety of topics to the blog. Limb differences and Bella will always be a top on the list. Raising funds for us to attend Camp No Limits will always be a top as well. I'm hoping to add self care. As parents, we often forget about caring for us and focus so much on our family, our children, our jobs.

With that, we also neglect our relationships. It's 2017 people, divorce rates are shocking... at least to me. I'm hoping to add some topics on relationships and relationship building.
I'm sad to see the US has the second highest divorce rates. I'm glad I don't live in Sweden! I'm hoping you'll embrace these changes and find them helpful. If there's a topic that you are hoping I'll add, send me a message or an email or a facebook message. I'm open! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Don't stare and whisper

I took all three kids swimming yesterday, alone. It's no easy task that's for sure. No one drowned, or choked so we'll call it a success. They actually all had a really good time. There was splashing and laughing and giggling. We stayed in the pool for an hour, which is a record! Usually after about 20 minutes people are ready to go.

As we were leaving, there was a couple in the pool. They appeared to be a little longer than me. They kept looking at me and whispering. I'm good at paying attention and figuring things out. I was able to figure out that they were talking about the dark circles under my eyes. I tried not to let it bother me but it did. For some reason I couldn't shake it. I wanted to say something but didn't. They were talking loud enough that I could hear every word they were saying.

We left and I thought about it for our short drive home. Why did it bother me so much? Why couldn't I shake it? Was it really that big of a deal? It's not like it's something I could control. But it did, it did bother me.

Should I have said something? Probably... why didn't I? Because what would saying something have done. What would I have said? Would it have made me feel better... or worse?

Let's be real. Staring and whispering (or thinking you are whispering) doesn't make people feel good. It doesn't make you look good and it achieves nothing. Be mindful of your interactions with those that are close to you. Be mindful about how they might make others feel.

Today, my dark circles are me. My dad had them too. They are a part of him that's passed on to me (thanks so much for that!). He happens to have passed away five years ago. Each time I look into the mirror and curse those dark circles... I'm also reminded of him. Don't get me wrong, I still curse those circles but for me, it's also a visual reminder of some other things in my life. It's a reminder of my allergies that he also shared. It's a reminder that I'm a mom and an employee and missing sleep does not make them better. It's a reminder of the times I shared with him and the sweet memory of his never ending love. Even still to this day, I know exactly how much he loved me. Today, I'll embrace those dark circles (though covered with a bunch of concealer) and remember though they may stand out in a negative way to others, they are a part of me. They are a part of the generation before me. They are a part of my life and my story.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gloves, the struggle is real

Every year for winter, Bella struggles with gloves. I usually flip the glove inside out, sew the fingers closed, then cut the fingers off and she wears the glove as best she can... in years past, it consistently falls off. We put it back on, it falls off, we put it back on... and so it goes. It's a constant struggle but something she's never truly complained about until this year.

This year has been a bit different. It's bitter cold here this week. Like, my car said 1 degree but with the wind chill its -26, yes NEGATIVE 26. I mean that's cold! You need gloves, no question about it. With or without a hand, you need both limbs covered. Heck, you need your whole body covered and properly geared. Grayson's poor nose and cheeks, the only thing that's been exposed, has wind burn from the cold.

Us two handed folks take for granted that our wrist actually holds our glove in place. While Bella has movement in her left wrist, there's no real definition between the end of her arm and her wrist. That makes gloves a struggle. In the past, we've used a sock for her left hand. And yes, I always refer to her left hand has such even though she has no fingers. In the past, the sock is longer so it stays in place better and works as a knit "glove" on her left hand. This year, she doesn't want that. She wants to be like everyone else and wear two gloves. I can't blame her.

This year, we've had tears over gloves. Let's be real, we've had tears from all three kids over gloves. Bella because nothing works right. Grayson because it "feels funny". Luca because he can't get his stubby little fingers into the whole quick enough for his liking. Everyone has their "thing".

Last night, I laid in bed with each kid like I always do. I read them a book and snuggled. Last night, Bella asked if she could close her eyes because she was so tired. She closed her eyes and fell asleep in my arms. I laid next to her and watched her sweet face. Her little button nose, her super long eye lashes, the sweet movement of her breathe next to me, her long little fingers on her right hand, her bunny curled under her right arm. I remembered her as a tiny little five pound string bean and the nights of her curled under my arm nursing in the night. I remembered her as a toddler, so full of energy and excitement. I remembered her learning to read and figuring out the sounds the letters make. Tonight, I cried. Tears rolled gently down my cheeks as she lie there asleep in arms. My first born baby was now seven. She was reading chapter books and asking about makeup just hours earlier. I missed that tiny little babe that used to co-sleep in my bed at all hours of the day and night. My girl is growing.

As a parent, there's nothing more than you want for your kids to be happy AND healthy. I want them to work hard and play harder. I want them to work through their struggles. Gloves are our current struggle. Do you have a suggestion? Has something worked for your child? I'm open to trying anything to resolve this little blip in her road of life. Can you help?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

First there was us...

Before there was Bella.... or Grayson.... or Luca. There was us... just us. It's easy as parents to get into the swing of things and completely side track your love or even like for one another. You get caught up in dirty floors, dirty faces, laundry, dishes, meals, Girl Scouts, guitar lessons, homework and well... life. You forget about blogs, about writing thank you notes, about handwritten cards, your passions... you also forget to really take the time to nurture your relationship. It ebs and flows.

Sometimes we go through life not taking the time to really embrace the one that started it all with us. Sometimes we reconnect on a date night or on the dance floor. Most times, you arms are filled with your children and not your spouse. It's easy to kind of just let life take over. Date nights become less of a priority and surviving is your only priority at times, especially with three young kids and a dog.

This past week, we reconnected... in a big way and NO we didn't make a baby (Dear Lord thank GOD we did not make a baby!). We went on a fantastic week long vacation to the Dominican Republic without kids! All alone, yes you read that right. We put each of the kids in a dog kennel and out we went to the tropics... well not really... we flew my Mom and stepdad up to keep them alive. It's a few steps up from a dog kennel! :)
Just a week, just the two of us. It was beyond amazing, it was beyond fabulous. We slept (well when Ryan didn't wake me up!) and sat on the beach under a cabana. We talked, we both read (I finished an ENTIRE 400+ page book), we laughed, we danced, we ate, we drank, we danced some more, we played in the ocean, and the sand, we went for walks on the beach, during the day and at night, we walked around the resort, we explored. It was just what we needed.

It's not like I've forgotten how much I love this man... in fact it's quite the opposite. Each day, I'm reminded how incredibly lucky I am. I have a husband that is truly a team player. We work together towards our goals, we support each other's passions and careers. He cooks most our meals, I do most of our laundry. He shovels and takes the trash out. He loves our children to the ends of the earth and he loves their mama. Each day, I watch him work hard for our family.

This vacation though, it was just what I needed to remind myself once again how much fun I have with this handsome burly bearded dude. We dressed up and went to dinner. We talked about our life and our goals. We talked about where it all started 11 1/2 years ago. So many things have changed... we've lived in California, Seattle, Hawaii and now Wisconsin. We've been pregnant four times and have three beautiful babies. My dad died and he held me high and encouraged me. I started and finished a graduate program. He opened, maintained, then closed his business. We've bought a condo, a house, sold cars, bought cars, bought an RV. We've been through my mom having cancer and he encouraged me to be by her side.

One thing, above all else remains the same. I fell in love with that man so many years ago and I've fallen in love with him again many times over. Above all, I hold strong and true to my love of him and the life we've created. It may be crazy at times but it's our life and there's nothing more in life I could want. I know without a shadow of a doubt that he'll be my partner in life and love for the rest of my life. I know that I will fall in love with him many more times. I know that my love for him will continue to grow.

Did I feel bad about going away for a week without my kids to show them that my marriage was important? No. I knew they were well taken care of and more than anything that they were loved while we were gone. I also knew that it was important for them to see that having time alone makes us better partners in life and better parents to them. I think it's important for them to realize the love we share for one another. So don't wait... take that trip! You won't regret it!

Thanks Mom and Mark for making this whole thing possible. I think my kids had just as much fun with them as we had being away. They were too busy to talk long to us while we were gone because they were enjoying having their Tutu and Papa all to themselves! It's safe to say they've asked when they'll be moving to Wisconsin and when they'll be back. :) Thanks to the people here in Wisconsin that shoveled our driveway, checked on my mom and Mark to be sure they were still alive. Thanks to my sister in law and brother in law for keeping our bunch on the last night, again they were FAR too busy to talk to us! Your kids will survive if you leave, trust me. There was NO lack of fun, that's for sure. Do it... take that trip... because first, it was just you two :)