Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesdays are Stressful

The weirdest things stress me out sometimes.

  • Four and a half. There are four AND A HALF pairs of shoes in my living room.
  • The price of apples went up so much that I can't buy as many as I usually do since I still need to have enough money left over for all the organic, gluten free crap I insist on eating now.
  • Feelings of guilt that I buy grass-fed butter for my coffee (for the love) but I still buy chicken nuggets for my family because apparently kids expect to eat multiple times every day.
  • The cost of airline flights.
  • Writing. Yeah, writing stresses me out. Because I want it to be good. I am terrified that I will start clicking away at the keys only to push Publish on something mediocre or even downright horrid and suddenly that whole "I'm a writer" line I use will feel like nothing more than a bold-faced lie. 
  • Cupcakes. I had a dream the other night about a chocolate cupcake the size of a four-month old baby. It had pink sprinkles on it and I'm almost certain it was made with gluten. After eating the entire human-sized dream cupcake, I can't stop thinking dirty thoughts about a real one.
  • Coffee shops. Everything with a ton of calories is exactly what I want. When I finally order my stupid dark roast with coconut milk, I'm just pissy about it. Then I sit down and I can never quite pull off being the cool hipster mostly because I don't have a MacBook.
  • Sex. Very stressful.
  • My kid is 100% incapable of remembering to flush the toilet after he uses the bathroom. He also is frequently busted eating his boogers, digging around in his butt crack, and using his pants as a napkin. A couple days ago, I caught him chewing gum. He found out in the yard and God only knows how long it was out there. 
  • Grown women wearing leggings as pants.
  • How much glitter nail polish is too much
  • Sports bras
  • Parking lots
  • People who buy those rotisserie chickens from the deli area at the grocery store. I mean, you do see the fat dripping and coagulating into a glistening puddle while the reflection of the carcass slowly rotates on the surface? 
  • The fat content in almond butter.
  • When my kid's bus arrives home from school, but he doesn't get off. Even though I knew he was probably still sitting there, his face buried in his book and completely oblivious to the world around him, it's still a joy to start making the phone calls to try to track that space cadet down. Stress levels double when you realize that he left a pair of gloves on the bus for the third time this year. He'd better hope spring shows up right quick.
  • The cost of everything. Here are just a few things we have on our list of Things We Would Like to Buy in 2015: office chair, egress window, groceries, thong underwear appropriate for the gym so I won't have to torture people with my VPL on the treadmill, tickets to see Jim Gaffigan, many margaritas, a DVD player to go in the van so we don't have to hear our children talk AT ALL on the 6 hour drive to Michigan, a new pair of SPANX. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
  • Wednesdays. It's the first day of the week that I have to work at both jobs and it's also when we have half price bottles of wine. Wednesdays are stressful.

Happy hump day.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Clinging to Words

I took off my wedding ring to write this one, so you know I mean business.

Can we just all put on our big girl panties and get honest for a second here? I mean, we're all grown-ups and I like to think we are all friends who can be real with one another without fear. We are all cut from the same messed-up cloth and unless I suddenly because popular (ha!) with a whole new set of readers who do things like apply contouring makeup and washing their baseboards (seriously, WHO DOES THIS?), then I think I can say we are in a safe place, among friends who know what it's like to trudge through the  mud in worn out yoga pants only to face plant and pretend to be asleep when the baby cries.

I've met you through Beth at Five Kids is a Lot of Kids.
We've bonded over at The Mom Creative about scrapbooking and then wailed about not having time to scrapbook anymore only to have Jessica remind us that we absolutely CAN find time to do what we love.
Your profile photos have become voices, people I have met in the flesh and become instant BFFs - I'm looking at you, Sara.
We've cried, mourned, and prayed and then tore the gates off Heaven in celebration with Diana at Diana Wrote.
I hit my knees with you when the news broke about Baby Boy Bakery.
In one, big, collective group hug, we cheered on Lisa-Jo, Jessica, Kayla, Diana, and more as they announced their book deals.

Since this is a safe space, can I ask a very bold question?

Why do we even bother to read these mama blogs anymore?

By this point, we've heard it all, haven't we?

  • Quit wallowing in the Mama Guilt. Do what you can, be present, your kids will remember your snuggles more than your craft projects.
  • You are not defined by the number on the scale. Your body housed humans for a very, very long time and then somehow managed to eject them out into this earth and be their primary source of nourishment for the next 400 years, so who give a hoot if you have a little cellulite on your thighs?
  • Somehow we have fallen under the impression that we need to be everything to everyone and it is exhausting. We are tired. So tired.
  • Breastfeeding battles, tantrums, discipline struggles, guilt, shame, unrealistic standards with a side of unmet expectations. 
  • Trying to slow down and do less in a world that wants us to move faster and accomplish more. 
Sound familiar? 

I'm pretty sure I've written multiple posts on these very topics. Some of my favorite pieces from my favorite bloggers have come from places of frustration, honesty, solidarity in our collective brokenness. Hear me now - this is a GOOD THING.

Yes, much of it has been written before in one way or another. We may even experience a little deja vu as we scroll through our blog roll, wondering if we've already read this one because it sounds so familiar. Does that mean that there's nothing left to write? That we are all just recycling the same content that's been floating around the Internet since the blog was born? Have we reached a point where if you've read one, you've read them all?


No, we have not.


Words have value. Words are magical. Words are what can take a love story everyone has heard before and spin it into a fresh masterpiece that takes your breath away. Words have a power beyond our comprehension and connect with us on a soul level.

How did God create the world? He spoke it into being. 
How did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? He yelled at him to mummy-hop his butt out of that tomb.
How does God call us to interact with him? Through prayer....through words.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. 
(Proverbs 18:21 ESV)

I'm sure it comes as no shock to our Creator that blogging has become the phenomenon that it has. Blogging, especially among women and I would argue even more so among moms, creates a community built upon a collective experience with words as the foundation.

As long as there are mamas awake at 3 am nursing a baby hitting a growth spurt, there will be an audience for that #zombiemoms hashtag. That Twitter feed is where I found a whole new branch of my tribe.

As long as there are babies who are born sleeping into this world, ultrasounds that include words like "incompatible with life," and unfair jerks like cancer and car accidents, there will be a need for a safe place where a mama can go and be bathed in in the healing power of words. She will need the Dianas, the Angies, and the Lexis of this world to sit down in the ashes next to her and say nothing while she weeps and grieves.   

Blogs give us that. 

Know who else we need? We need Annie, who reminds us about how to use our words to bring life. 

As long as there are stretch marks and cellulite being held up against the standards of Kim Kardashian and her attempts to break the Internet, we will need to be reminded for the ten millionth time that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). 

As long there are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches being assembled because that's all my kid will eat even though the other kid at his table comes in every week with kale chips in bento boxes, we will need to remember that God has big plans in store for us, plans to make a difference in this broken world (Jeremiah 29:11). 

As long as there are last-minute DQ ice cream cakes being held up against the fondant covered, multi-tiered Frozen masterpiece complete with blue glitter and organic Olaf noses, there will be a place for us. 

Blogs matter. 

They give us a place to be vulnerable and honest, to rant and rave a swear a little (or a lot), to shake our fist at God and give a name to our anger, to laugh until we can't help but pee a little. 

Oh no, friends. We are not done yet. 

Welcome to our tribe. 

P.S. Can I please get a slow clap for the amount of time it took me to copy and past all those blogger's websites and create ten thousand hyperlinks in this post? Yah, thanks. :) 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Button Battles and Butter in My Coffee

Just when you thought you were rid of me forever, I return triumphantly with a close-up photo of my crazy alien hand trying to look all calm and cool lodged in my pocket. This is the illusion of Instagram, friends. To the untrained eye, this photo says something like

Look how casually hip I am as I show off the subtle tuck of my dolman top paired with a wispy scarf woven from the eyelashes of a unicorn. Oh, and be sure to notice the perfectly painted pale pink manicure and trendy gold necklace. #blessed

Excuse me while I gag.

If you've spent any amount of time here in my neck of the woods, you know that pretentious bovine excrement like that is sooooo not my jam. Let's keep it real, shall we?

Man, I wish it were socially acceptable for me to wear yoga pants to work.. Instead, I had to jam my abundant trunk section into these jeans that just came out of the wash because they are on the only work acceptable jeans I have left that only have a small hole in the knee as opposed to a gaping hole in the knee which I get is considered fashionable for 14 year olds who will happily pay $110 of Mommy and Daddy's dollars to purchase, but I prefer to save them for hanging around the house while I pretend to dust and sip a Malbec. So instead, I get to jump up and down and flail about on the bed while I try to cram a ten pound sausage into a five pound casing, aka my 7 for All Mankind boot cuts. After a little cursing and a whole lot of rearrangements of the souvenirs my three sons left me around my midsection, I got those suckers buttoned. Thank the Maker for whatever genius invented the dolman top. It's just blousy enough to cover the volcanic eruption of fat and skin that had bubbled up over the surface of my waistline without anyone being the wiser. I claim victory over you, jeans. Naturally, it is time for a selfie. Only, I haven't washed my bathroom mirror in 3 years so there are smudges and toothpaste splotches all over it so now the photo looks like I have some sort of ghostly tampon hanging out of my lady-parts. And hey there curling iron that is ever-so-conveniently pointing directly to the area in question. Is there a filter that just cuts to the chase and adds a blinking neon arrow right above my baby-maker that says, "Watch out! One wrong move and that button's gonna blow!" At least my nails look good. 

Welcome to the crazytown that is my head, friends.

But I did practically do an entire Zumba class in my bedroom that morning just in an attempt to get those god-forsaken pants to button. I was ready to either spit nails or go eat a deep-fried Snickers for breakfast. I got pretty down on myself; not gonna lie. Heck, it wasn't that long ago that I was flaunting my skinny-tude all over this here blog, writing about my weight loss journey and my new healthy food choices and my 27-minute 5K and other such vomit-inducing nonsense. Seriously, how did you all put up with me? I'm actually shocked nobody beat me over the head with my own running shoes. My comeuppance has arrived, y'all.

And it is brutal.

So the button incident woke me up and got my head back in the game. I figured it was high time I quit eating pork chops with sweet potato risotto cooked in butter and white wine drenched in cheese and butter and served with a side of butter and garnished with a flourish of cranberry gastrique and love. A couple days before I decided to dial my head in to my new approach to food, I went out on a date with my husband and we shared a filet and an order of lobster gnocchi that was so good I actually made noises while I chewed. You know.....noises. 

It was a gluten, butter, cheese and fat induced euphoria, friends. The Malbec was just the icing on the cake. Oh yeah, and we totally had cake later too.

Now I spend my Sunday afternoons meal prepping. Sometimes Evan helps me because it I had to do it all the time I would lose my ever-loving mind.

Those larger containers of food near the bottom of the photo were originally packaged for Evan to take to work, but he left them behind so I totally sharked them and they became mine too. I'm sure I broke them up into several meals though because I have an iron fisted grip on my portion sizes, don't you worry. *cough cough*

Chicken, fish, veggies, healthy carb. REPEAT.

Welcome to my new life.

No gluten, no fried ANYTHING, dairy in very VERY small amounts. Less chemically modified junk (bye-bye to all that chemically altered fat free, reduced fat, processed junk).  I've been referring to it as Paleo-ish because I still allow a small amount of rice, beans, and other healthy grains like quinoa into my diet.

Grass-fed beef is super expensive and it makes me want to punch someone in the throat but I buy it anyway because the Internet told me to.
Almond butter does not quite do it for me like peanut butter can.

Also, I'm pretty sure my sweat now smells like coconut.

Coconut milk coffee creamer.
Coconut oil.
Coconut milk whipped cream.
Coconut flour.
Coconut milk in my Starbucks chai.

It's safe to say that I've officially crossed over the threshold and joined the ranks of the many I have mocked as I relied on them for their gratuity. Now I'm the one trying to not be a pain in the rear as I request the gluten free menu and place my order with a super-obnoxious list of omissions and substitutions.

I haven't been to Culver's in two months.
I switched gyms and I'm back to working out at least 3, sometimes 4 or 5 times each week.
My kids usually still order chicken nuggets and french fries and quite frankly I'm usually too tired to argue with them because I spent all my energy on kettlebell swings and weighted lunges.

The number on the scale hasn't moved as I would have liked. In fact, it's actually gone in the wrong direction. But after only a couple of weeks, I am finding that I actually feel better and my body is responding well to being fed better fuel and getting forced up off the couch from time to time.

It's meant more time at the gym and in the kitchen, less time on the computer. But it's been a good thing. A really good thing. I'm feeling more confident in my own skin again. Slowly, I am remembering what it is like to have control over my body and the food that I fuel it with, rather than letting it control me.

Then again, I did drink coffee the other day with coconut oil and grass fed butter in it.

Because the Internet told me to.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Preggo? Let Stitch Fix Style that Bump!

Ladies, I will be back in action quickly with some regular blog posts about how much of a hot mess I am, but I just had to pop in super-fast to tell you about an amazing new development with Stitch Fix, my absolutely FAVORITE way to not shop for clothes.

STITCH FIX is now offering maternity styling for its preggo clients!

No, I am not pregnant.
Totally done with babies, baby.
Quickly saying a prayer that God doesn't get an ironic sense of humor all of a sudden.

Now, you know how much I love Stitch Fix. I've gotten more than 20 boxes over the last couple years of hand-picked clothes from my personal stylist that has made my life way easier and waaaayyyyy more fashionable. It's been a while since I've written a post about some of the fun things I've found in my Stitch Fix boxes recently, but here's a little sneak peek.

A lace sleeve top, black blazer, and tote bag. I was a happy, happy girl.

Now when I was pregnant, I was approximately the size of a baby hippopotamus, so looking cute was never really much of a concern. This was before the days of Instagram when supermodels could post photos of their 8 month pregnant belly that actually still resembled a washboard.

How is that even possible?

But I digress.

Shopping when you are pregnant is HARD. With Stitch Fix, someone who actually knows what they are doing studies your style, your preferences, even listens to your feedback about what you loved and hated about previous clothes and then sends you things you will LOVE and that make you look cute while pregnant.

When my friend Marnia unexpectedly gets pregnant again, I'm totally giving her a Stitch Fix gift card.

Ready to style that bump?

When you sign up, make sure your due date is correct in your profile and trust me when I say that you need to be as absolutely positively HONEST and DETAILED as possible in your descriptions and feedback. The more specific you are, the better your fixes will be and your stylist will love you for it.

That sweater up there is so cute it almost makes me want to be pregnant again.

Almost. :)

I am a Stitch Fix Affiliate, which means if you purchase anything through Stitch Fix, I do receive a teeny little commission. But I love me some Stitch Fix and have long before I knew what the word "affiliate" meant so I wouldn't be sharing it with you if I didn't love it. 

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