5 reasons why being in your 30's is AWESOME

5.22.2015





Forever 21 top, old (option); Target sandals and tote, both old (sandal option, tote option); Old Navy jeans; Urban Outfitter's hat, old (option.)

I'm fast approaching my 35th birthday (yikes!), and it has got me thinking about this decade and how wonderful I have found it to be. I think for a lot of people turning 30 can be hard, because it can feel OLD and it is sort of weird to leave your 20's (and maybe even your youth behind?) Ha!) I've found my 30's to be THE BEST though, personally, and would love to share exactly why this time has been awesome for me. Here goes!

1) My 30's for me has brought me a better sense of self love and acceptance. Weirdly enough, I'm not at my thinnest, and I won't ever see that magical college weight again, but I'm okay with that. I've given birth and raised two babies, and with that I've seen how much my body can do. I work out harder than I ever did in my 20's, and eat better, too. I've found that taking care of myself has given me a better acceptance of myself. I love being able to complete a long run, or kick my own butt in a bootcamp style class. I have the power to reach my own fitness goals and to follow through on my plans for health and wellness, and that is really empowering to me.

2) I don't really care about what other people think, outside of my own family. As long as I'm not hurting anyone, I don't really care about what people think. If I want to wear red lipstick at 8am to the playground, or tattoo myself all over, or do anything that expresses my true self, I do it! I've found that as long as I am happy about what I'm wearing/doing/watching/reading/etc, then it really doesn't matter what other people think. I think worrying about others' opinions is something that I used to care WAY to much about in my teens and 20's, and this is no longer true. I'm happier and better from a mental standpoint for not caring. I know what I like and I'm unapologetic about showing it.

3) I'm happier than I ever have been, and content, too. This is partly because my kids are at a great age now, where they are still small, yet able to do a lot of things for themselves (no more diapers, yay!) I love where we are living and have a great group of tried and true friends. I've been married long enough to know that a bad day does not make a bad life (and to not nag at throw pillows that aren't perfectly straight on the couch…oops!) I guess I have found that I am content to be WHERE I am, and with WHO I am, and I don't find myself wanting more, you know? I just plain LIKE my life at this point, and can think of nothing I really need, and that was missing in my younger years for sure. 

4) My marriage is better than ever. I've written before about being married and what I've learned that has made life better. We've been together long enough that I can tell what he needs a lot of the time without him having to say anything, and he can do the same (er, mostly;) In our earlier days we would fight more over stupid things, or I would get aggravated when he couldn't miraculously read my mind. I think we have both mellowed out in our 30's, and learned how to be a couple, AND to be individual people as well. I'm also happier in my own skin, which gives me the confidence to be a better wife.

5) I know what I like, and I won't apologize for it. I've found that I am the way I am, and I don't care what other people think about that. I'm a "home person', happy to be in my sweats in the couch on a Friday night. I love reading over anything else, and find no shame in reading a ton of YA and romance novels. I like fake diamond rings and watching QVC. I like wearing flower crowns to school drop offs, harem pants to the grocery store, and love shopping almost exclusively at Target. I also don't like to judge how other people live their lives, either. I used to judge people a lot in my teens and 20's, and thought life was very black and white. Now I know there is often a backstory that we don't know, and judging folks without this knowledge is ridiculous. Also, the days of wanting to be part of the popular crowd, or liking things purely because other people do is (mostly) behind me, and I'm happier for it. Life is too short to be embarrassed about the things you like, and I think that this decade has brought a better awareness of this fact for me.

Tell me, what do you love most about the age you are RIGHT NOW?

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What is your working definition of success?

5.21.2015


I recently saw this question pop up on Hilary Rushford's Instagram and I was so intrigued! I think success can mean different things to different people, and it doesn't have to look like what the person next to you thinks it is, you know? I can break success down into a couple of categories, one for myself, one for my children, and one for my relationship with my husband. Each of these areas encompasses what I live for, and anything outside of that becomes a bonus. 

Success for me personally includes something to work towards that is just for me. I'm not currently working outside of the home, so blogging has become my outlet to express myself these past couple of years. Having this time to write down my thoughts and share them is really important, as I love the connection I get through sharing, and the process of writing it all down in a way that connects me to others. 

I also need time for myself, as alone time is something that really balances me and keeps me aware of my own thoughts and actions. I am an introspective person, so having the time to hear my own thoughts going through my head is something I need.

Having time to read, daily, is really important to me, too! This is my escape and my way to explore the world around me without ever leaving home. Reading is integral to my mental health and well being, without it (or the time to do it), I would be a mess and my days would feel empty. 

Lastly, taking care of myself physically is really important. I don't feel good about myself when I neglect this area of my life, so putting in the time and effort to eat well and exercise is vital to me. 

When it comes to my children, success for me is that they are happy and thriving. I need them to feel good about themselves, and to feel loved and safe. Being home with them and having the ability to always be there is my main version of success right now. I love that I can volunteer in their classrooms, bring them to all their sports practices and appointments, and always be able to be there if they are sick or hurt. I knew when I was pregnant that I would stay at home until they went to school, and that I wanted to be the one that was always there for them. I love being there for them in all ways, and having the time to devote to them fully. Success for me and my children means that mama is always available for them, and I love that.

As for my marriage, success means being content in our life together. It means not sweating the small things, working daily to make his life a little bit easier, and raising our children together. I love that we have history that goes back nearly 15 years, and that in those years we have gone through a lot, both good and bad. I enjoy growing together and laughing over the funny things our kids do. He makes me laugh, daily, and it is one of my favorite things about him! Success in marriage means being happy with the choice I made all those years ago when we said our vows, and not letting a bad day (or weeks, ha!) turn into something bigger. 

Tell me, what is your definition of success?

The type of mom I never wanted to be

5.18.2015



Free People top via Zappos (option, option); Nordstrom tote; Target hat and boots; Old Navy jeans.

Laying in bed this past Friday night I found myself tossing and turning, and mentally debating the amount of therapy my children may need someday. I couldn't stop worrying about how I had acted that evening, and I began judging myself (...something I do more than I would like. Ugh, parenthood!) You see, earlier that night I had been sitting on the bleachers at my daughter's baseball practice shouting out advice. It sounds a lot like this:

"Elbow up!"

"Eyes on the ball!"

"Throw it, don't run!"

"Pay attention!"

I do this often, and find myself being one of the only parents that shouts from the bleachers. I've always felt like these reminders are needed, a parenting habit that I'm assuming never dies? It's pure habit to always give advice, reminders, criticism, and encouragement. Except sometimes it seems like there is a lot more criticism and reminders coming out of my mouth. I forget that there are coaches on the field, and I should probably keep my mouth shut. I've even heard the comment, "Wow, you're harder on her than I am," from her Coach. Which should have been a  red flag, but I ignored it. Stupidly.

To be fair, I am also always cheering, for my child and other children, because I know kids need that. Yet I'm also the mom I have silently judged before. The mom that yells from the stands and won't be quiet. The mom that gets a little TOO into how the game is played, and how my kids are doing. I'm not obnoxious (I hope), I'm not mean or violent, but I watch it all like a hawk, and I'm not shy about mothering my child from the bleachers. I'm the helicopter mom of the baseball stands, if you will. Which I don't want to be! I'm not like that anywhere else, besides at home just being a mom, but somehow I find that when I step on a sports field I become someone else.

Someone I don't want to be.

I want to be the mom that my kids enjoy having in the stands. Always watching, always encouraging. I want to let the Coaches do their job and be a little more quiet. I want to criticize less and let them learn the  game on their own, instead of always shouting out corrections and advice. I want my kids to light up when they see me in the stands, and be happy to see me there. They don't need me for sports advice (because let's be honest, I'm no sports expert), they need be to just be there. To be present and happy not critical.

I'm always surprised by motherhood, by the things I end up doing that I thought I NEVER would. I never thought I would be a helicopter sports mom, and I am.

 I'm hoping to change that. Because we have a game tonight, and this mama needs some help;)


5 blog posts that have resonated with me lately

5.15.2015


Something I love the most about blogging (besides the relationships I make and the people I meet), is being able to read what my fellow bloggers are writing. I am amazed almost everyday by the beautiful photos they take, the outfits they put together, and most often, how they have opened up their lives to us. I like reading the good and pretty and fun parts, but a truthful and raw post that shows REAL life is what tends to stick with me the most. Here are the five posts that have really resonated with my lately:

1) The Freckled Fox/ Cancer

This post has broken my heart, because it reminds you that life can throw anything at you and circumstances can change in an instant. To say I was devastated to read this post is an understatement. I still am. To see young family with so much ahead of them have to deal with cancer and all its repercussions is mind boggling to me, and I would do anything to make this family feel better and not to have to go though this ordeal. All I know is this, go home and hug your husband, or children, or mom, or friend. Life is short and full of the worst surprises sometimes, and I am constantly thinking of Emily and her husband, and hoping against all odds that this whole nightmare ends up being a small speed bump in a long life. To help Emily and her husband, you can read this post and donate to help with medical costs. 

2) Hello Mess/ An Apology to Mothers

I loved this post because of it's pure honesty. It talk about making a mistake in judgements and deals with choices being taken away from you as a mother, and how others judge us for it. It was raw and honest, and the best kind of mothering post, in my opinion. 


What I liked about this post was that I have asked this of people before, innocently of course, and it opened my eyes. I think when you see someone with two or more of the same gender children you automatically think, "Hmm, I wonder if they will have one more and try for the boy/girl?" I think it can be an insulting way of saying, "You must not be happy with all boys, or all girls." I know some people are open about trying for a certain gender, but others are just as happy having all of the same kind, and I'll think twice about innocently asking this again. 

4) Oh So Amelia/ Life Lately, Separation

I'm not a super regular reader of this blog, but a lot of her writing catches my eyes and I know she is always really honest and open with her readers about her life. This post in particular caught my eye, because she opened up about splitting with her husband and detailed how it came about and why. I love getting an inside look into people's lives. I mean, that is what blogging is, right? This post was real, and talked about things most of us would try to hide. I applaud her for her honesty.

5) Chasing Davies/ Graphic Print

Finally, I just really liked the options Megan gave us to wear this (Amazing, I need it NOW), two piece look. The graphic print of the skirt and top is exactly what I love, and Megan always has the best way of putting looks together in a new and fresh way. 

Tell me, what have you read lately that has really struck a chord with you? 


It gets better

5.14.2015



H&M kimono (similar); Old Navy jeans (similar); Target sandals (option) and bag (option); Forever 21 sunglasses (splurge, steal.)


This post was first published on Because of Jackie in October, it has been updated and revised.

I was thinking this week, about having a five and a seven year old and how much easier this age seems to be than earlier ones. I look back and wonder how I survived when they were both under two, or when my husband was away for long stretches of time, or when they were at home full time with no school for sanity breaks. Can we mention how integral sanity breaks are for me now? It is the ONLY reason I stay sane. (That and wine, but that's another post.)

It seemed, for a long time, that life was continuously really hard. Yet normal? You learn to live on little sleep, little time to yourself, and at least one child either crying at your feet or in your arms.  You push through and trudge along and keep you head down, under one day you look up, and it's better. 

But first...

You bring your children to the park and never sit, because they are climbing on play structures that somehow have six foot drop offs at different intervals that almost guarantee a hospital visit.

You grocery shop with one in a bjorn and one in the cart, piling groceries on top of them as they get older, and always, always, dreading having to go back a week later. 

You go to the doctor with two children, whether it be the OBGYN, the dentist, the orthodontist, or the physical therapist, because childcare isn't an option and WHAT ELSE are you supposed to do?

You sleep train two kids, praying for minutes to pass by fast while they cry it out in intervals, or pat their backs and shush continuously, like "The Baby Whisperer" taught you, wondering if it will work and will your child ever sleep continuously? (It does, and they will.)

You learn the pain of weaning from almost everything. Breast, bottle, pacifiers, lovies…everything. Just don't ask about sound machines, that thing cannot be broken. 

You potty train, spending endless hours sitting on the edge of your tub, with a six month old at your feet and a little girl who reads books and fights using the bathroom every step of the way. You also throw out panties that have been...destroyed, because you WILL NOT rinse those out and use them again for potty training. 

You clean up accidents on the floor of Walmart with wipes you have to buy, because you stupidly forgot yours, and you learn the valuable lesson of knowing where every bathroom is in every store within a 100 mile radius.

You clean red gatorade from a carpet, crayon from the walls, vomit from the couch, baby powder that has been exploded in glee, diaper cream smeared over very surface, and a dirty diaper that has been spread all over a white, spindle crib. (Don't ask.)

You learn the valuable lesson of not leaving a nine month old baby on a changing table for even one second, because they will fall off and break their arm. You will also bear watching them sick and suffering, having blood drawn with an I.V., X-rays for pneumonia and nursemaid's elbow, and every other sickness under the sun. The emergency room will be your best friend. 

You will cry the first time they give your two month old baby a shot. And hold down a five year old with all your strength when they get one, hiding your tears so they won't know how much it hurts you to see them in pain. 

You will learn it is never a good idea to go to Disney World either seven months pregnant in the Spring, or with two kids under two. 

You will discover a little girl of two will dress herself and look homeless 90% of the time, but it's more important to get out of the house on time than to fight this battle. Every. Single. Day.

And then one day, you'll look up, and notice that it is better. 

They sleep for twelve hour stretches at a time, and nap on cue each day. 

They play outside for an hour while you sit inside and read a book. 

They can be brought to a restaurant, where they can be trusted to sit and eat quietly, and behave with little prompting. Eating out as a family will become enjoyable! (Mostly.)

They can be reasoned with, and talked to, because all of a sudden they are real people who are capable of reasonable thought.

They will get up on a Saturday morning and watch cartoons while you sleep in till whenever you feel like it. (Cue the angels singing.)

They can tell you that they feel sick, and what hurts, and you can make it better.

They play at the park, they swing themselves, and can run unassisted and rarely need your help.

They turn into the type of people that you truly enjoy, with manners and opinions and thoughts that challenge you and make you a better person for knowing them.

They become kids, and not babies, who go to school and learn things not taught by you, and come home brimming with all they learned and saw since seeing you last.

You'll learn they remember almost nothing before the age of four, making you exempt from every mistake you made until then. They will also then remember everything after that, and bring it up. Often. 

And then you'll look back, and wish for one more hour with that feisty toddler, or  squishy nine month old. Because you know that IT GETS BETTER, and time passes quickly. 

I promise. 

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