Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Home and Home


I've been thinking a lot about home. Maybe it's because I spent a month away from it, or maybe because I was able to visit the home where I grew up, but it's been on my mind a lot the past couple of weeks. One of the most interesting things that came of our East Coast travels last month was a new perspective on where we live. If you've been reading for awhile, you know how much I love Arizona, but throughout my adult life I've always, always had a strong pull back to the East Coast.

Over many years and many family vacations we've visited and revisited the places in New Jersey, Vermont, and the surrounding states I spent my childhood in. And while doing so, I would almost always feel a desire to be there. I would come home from these trips wanting to look at rentals and real estate and talk to Hank about moving cross country. I would research the teaching certification process in New Jersey, or the doctoral programs at The University of Vermont. Dreams. When I take a step back I can see that there has always been a tiny sadness somewhere deep inside of me hinting at something unfinished out there. I moved at a tender, transformative age- right in the beginning of my teen years and about to finish middle school. The in-between years. I was lucky enough to have a great transition and really loved my new home in Arizona, but I can recall looking back to my old life, my old friends, and miss what was.

Perhaps that's why in my adult life I at times have had a hard time just saying goodbye or calling something "the end." I mean, I would do it, but internally it would always bother me. Over the years though I've managed to hone the fine art of letting go, and I'm pretty good at it now. It's easier for me to recognize something and say "okay, this season is done," and move on, although like anyone certain seasons or people or places can be harder to say goodbye to. But goodbyes are of course part of life...

So anyway, during our travels last month I had the opportunity to really immerse myself into the world I came from. We ate at our favorite places, drove down my beloved scenic roads, dipped our toes into the lake that's always made me the happiest. Nostalgia. For a whole month. But now, something was different. Gone was the longing to stay. Instead I felt happy to visit, this time with both of my boys, but I wasn't feeling a pull to pack up everyone and start a life in Shelburne, Jackson, or a million little towns in Maine. Somewhere along the past ten years, Prescott had officially became my home.

And it's weird because it really has felt like home for a lot of those ten years, but it wasn't until I was able to see how much I'd grown out of one thing and into the now that I accepted it. Or something like that. Regardless, it feels good to feel good about this. To feel like the dreams I have for my family are rooted securely somewhere solid, in a place we live in the town we call home. It's a relief to be where I want to be, and to know that I'm at a point in my life where I'm not wishing away my todays or tomorrows- I'm recognizing that some places are beautiful and magical via memory, and will probably always hold a special place for me, but in this season of our life, we're right where we should be. Right here at home.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Currently.


Reading: At this very moment I'm reading two very different books: I JUST picked up The Girl on the Train (finally!) at my sister and Mom's insistence. I am a few pages in and liking it. I refused to have them tell me anything about it so I have no idea where it's going and I enjoy that. The reviews I've heard have been amazing, so I'm curious to see if it lives up to the hype. And then the second book I'm finishing up is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This one has been all over the place for awhile, and for good reason- it's very inspiring! I started it last year but picked it back up this week to finish and I'm glad I did. We've been minimizing in all areas of our life, but this really gave me the extra push to continue to pare down. Two thumbs up!

Thinking about: Before I began this post I started writing something about loving ourselves and especially loving our bodies. It started when I stumbled upon this quote from Ina May Gaskin: “Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” I had a hard time writing the post about it because everything I would get down sounded too rah-rah. It's difficult to say "I love myself!" and "I want everyone to love themselves!" without sounding slightly to incredibly obnoxious, I think (at least for me). And today was not my time to break through that so I shelved it. Maybe for another day. But I will say how much LOVE I have for all of the hiking and climbing I've been doing over the past year or so. It's given me such a different view on a million things in my life, including my body...and for that I'm incredibly grateful.

Listening: I always feel like music for me comes in waves. I have to put effort into finding new music or rediscovering old favorites or I end up listening to the same things all of the time: all of the Gaslight albums, lots of Bon Iver when I'm working, or the same workout songs over and over while I run. But when I take a little bit of time on Spotify and listen to their radio and playlists, I end up getting re-inspired. One of my recent favorites over the past year has been Ben Howard. His voice! I just love him. Some others on current rotation: The Wonder Years, Iron and Wine, and Michael Franti.

Watching: Okay so I decided to watch this season of The Bachelorette and I'm happy I picked it back up! I LOVE Kaitlyn and actually feel like this season feels pretty real, if that's even possible. Shawn is my favorite contestant maybe ever, and he's the one I'm pulling for. We'll see. Feel free to eye roll me anytime now. Other than that (and the new season of OITNB I'm trying to work my way through slowly), I haven't had time to watch much else, so fill me in if there's a great show I'm missing out on!

Loving: Henry and Charlie and how silly and fun they are together, more yoga, planning trips with Hank, Park City in a couple of weeks, Amber coming home next week, summer fruits and veggies, BBQ-ing every weekend, evening strolls with the family, getting enough sleep (working on this!), and lots of hiking.

So, how about you? What are you up to today? Feel free to do your own "currently" post on your blog and link back in the comments for everyone to check out. See all of my previous Currently posts (since 2011!) here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Olly!


Have you seen the pretty new display of Olly vitamins in Target? When I visited the store a couple months ago I was intrigued by their bright colors and great packaging, so when this partnership came about I was extra excited, because it finally gave me the push to try these fun little vitamins!

I already take a particular daily, so I wanted to try a few different ones for the whole fam. We've been traveling the past month so I thought I would try their Ultimate Immunity to ward off any sickness I might pick up with my sleep and eating being a little out of the norm. Hank and I also thought that their Restful Sleep looked interesting, so we got that, and then the Kids' Multi + Probiotic for Henry as well.

Honestly, I REALLY like these happy little gummies. I used the Ultimate Immunity gummies throughout the trip and I felt like the extra boost of Zinc did me well. Henry LOVED the Multi too, and each day when he woke up he said "Is it vitamin time yet?!" My favorite though, would have to the Restful Sleep. I took these a few times and was really impressed by the relaxation they brought to me, especially after being on my computer leading up to bedtime. I'd definitely recommend them and I feel good that they're all natural and free of dyes and chemicals, too.

As an added bonus, when I read about the company I realized that it was co-founded by one of the founders of Method, a company I spent a year partnered with here on this blog. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Eric Ryan at a dinner a few years ago and he was a wonderful person who was a pleasure to chat with. I thought it was so neat to learn this was his brain child too- the man sure has some good ideas!

And one last bit of goodness: Olly is hosting a sweepstakes right now, with the grand prize being a Day Spa package for a lucky winner & a friend, a 6 months supply of Olly Vitamins, and a personal wellness consultation with Olly's resident nutritionist! 100 runner ups will receive an Olly product of their choosing. Very awesome. Enter here and get 20% off your order too.

Let me know if you've tried Olly, or if you plan too! Here's to good health and taking care of ourselves. xoxo


This post was sponsored by Olly. Thanks for reading! xo

Monday, June 15, 2015

Expecting.


Hello! It's been awhile, right? I decided not to worry about posting here so I could just try to soak up as much non-computer time outside of my regular work duties, which take up a lot of time on their own. It was a nice break! But here I am, here we are. We're currently on the Jersey Shore, staying right next to Island Beach State Park, and I can't even tell you how inspired I feel right now. I have so many things to share here but I thought I would just pop in and say hello while Charlie is napping, and share something on my mind- something that began on a piece of paper last night before I fell asleep-

It's been an interesting ride the past month as I have basically been "on" for a month straight. Not to say that I'm not always on, but the ease and benefit of sharing parenting with Hank has become so much more clear to me over the past few weeks. I've also noticed now, towards the end of the trip (four days to go!), how much Henry craves schedule and structure. And as much as I've noticed how much better he does with a day-to-day normalcy, especially after a month of not having it, I've realized a big thing about myself: I need to loosen up.

I lay in bed last night thinking so much about the expectations I put on him as an older brother- about what I expect from him as the "big cousin." He's expected to be a good example to the little ones, but just this morning at breakfast I caught myself nitpicking every little thing he was doing. "Henry, put your feet down. Don't kick Charlie's chair. Why aren't you sitting up straight? Henry, why aren't you listening?" He could do nothing right. It was part him truly not listening, but also part me being at the end of my patience and not parenting the best way I know how.

We've been back and forth for a few days- great behavior followed by meltdowns and terrible behavior. I know it's a mix of a lot of things: being away from home for such a long time, missing his Dad, not eating how we usually do...but I think I'm mostly to blame, which is hard to say out loud, you know?

Looking at how I've been handling situations recently, I see that I need to do better. Sure, children should be respectful and listen to their parents, but kids are certainly not perfect. And I think somewhere along the way I started to expect too much. Like us, little ones have bad moments, weird moods, off days. They're children. And this morning at breakfast when he said "Mommy, I feel upset when you get sad with me for just doing what I do," my heart broke.

There's a line. He shouldn't kick his brother's chair, but I also can't expect that he won't be moving around like the little boy he is. Henry and I need to meet somewhere in the middle, at a place where I feel like he is listening but also he feels free to be who he is without the person who loves him the most constantly saying "Don't do this. Or that. No, no, no." That's not any way to live or to grow.

So moving forward, my focus is to keep all of this in mind and do better. I will probably never feel like I am doing it 100% right, but I need to remember that Henry and I are on this journey together, and we'll be just fine if we keep trying our best. This parenting stuff is no joke, right?

I feel grateful to have a place to a share a bit of it here, with you. As always, thank you, thank you for reading. :)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

"This is Marriage."


Once upon a time I had an idea of what marriage was. I had the idea forming for as long as I can remember, but it was probably when I was 22 and had been dating Hank for a year that I really started to think about it. And back then I knew exactly what it would be like. Of course, right? I felt well-aware of how it would and should go thanks to a made-up definition I'd built from other peoples’ relationships that influenced me in some way- my parents, friends who had married before me, friends who had divorced or separated, television and movies, little things from various parts of my world that kind of floated into my subconscious and made a home right there- “This is marriage.” 

And so seven years ago today we tied the knot ourselves. Life goes by so quickly, and by the time we got married we’d already been together for four years. Because we were coupled from such a young age, we really learned everything together- all the small and large, easy and hard parts of becoming adults right alongside one another. It’s odd really, to look back at us. It’s like we were operating with blinders on- we were in this bubble of our own, evolving and changing through our twenties, but somehow we managed to only grow closer together through that decade, coming out on the other side very different people, but somehow still intertwined. 

And although marriage is nothing like I pictured, it's even better. In a world that's spinning, spinning, spinning, this is my safe place. A slow little calm in the midst of everything, a deep breath that grounds me. It took a long time to really lean into this, to be 100% vulnerable and give every bit of myself, and this has happened only recently. That might sound odd because we’ve been together for over a decade, but there were always very small parts that I held back- tiny little walls that were erected one by one when I felt scared or lost or defeated that took hold in the back corners of my heart that Hank probably didn’t even see. What it really comes down to is that it takes bravery to allow yourself to be loved. It’s hard to peel back every single layer, even those last bits that you don’t let anyone through- and allow someone to peer in and see what’s there.

Our marriage is made up of two very separate, different people. Sure, we’re alike in many ways, but we’re two human beings who have decided to spend a lifetime together. We make this work by existing in our own wonderful, beautiful orbits, then meeting in the middle to create our own little universe right there. We are still who we are and we still do what we love to do- we don’t need each other to exist or to feel whole. But we choose to be together and create this life together because we want to. And we keep on choosing that, every single day. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Here's What I've Learned, at 32.


I don't turn 33 until tomorrow, but I wanted to share this today. Really, this was maybe my most favorite year yet (which I'm aware I say every year). I feel like 32 has been full of so much personal growth and change that I get a little emotional just thinking about it. And okay yes, I know I say that every year too. But I think that's actually a really great thing, right? How does that saying go? If you're not moving forward, you're going backward? Or something.

So here's what I've learned, at 32:

In order to succeed, you need your team. It takes a long time to build one, believe me. In the past couple of years I had to move on from some people that didn't add love and light to my life, and if you find yourself in the same boat, that's okay- it's all part of the process. Wish them well, and move on. You want people who are going to cheer so loudly when you succeed- and also be there when you don't. These people should be past the Instagram highlight reel. These are the friends who know the deep, dark depths of you, the ones you never have to second guess yourself around, the people who know all the shitty parts of your weird self and love you all the same. Find these people. Or that person. Keep them close. Cultivate those relationships. And it's okay to have all the other types of friends too- internet friends, party friends, weekend friends, workout buddies. But one of the biggest things I've learned is that not everyone will be on your team, and trying to fit every person in your life into such a special, sacred place does not work. Stop doing it. Save your best energy for the people closest to you.

Also, none of this shit matters. Seriously, it doesn't. The only thing that matters is that you wake up in the morning and you feel like you're doing a good job at being a good human being. That you're being the best wife you can be, the best Mom, the best sister, daughter, friend, whatever, and doing every single thing in your life with kindness and love. That's it. Anything else- what someone thinks about you, all of the little things you worry about, random stuff that pops into your mind and doesn't go away- it doesn't matter. You want love? Be love. You want light? Be light. Be what you want to see, and you will see more of exactly that.

And it's okay to change. It's been a theme here over the past year, and for good reason. I went from a stay-at-home Mom who only wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom, to a work-from-home Mom who now can't imagine anything different. My interests shifted as I found myself developing a deep passion for the outdoors. I learned so many new things about myself- and I think that was my most favorite part of the entire past year and the adventures I went on- finding new, exciting parts of me I never knew were there. That is the most amazing thing about being human and experiencing new things- it's like we turn this corner inside ourselves and walk into this brand new place in a very old house- it's scary and awesome and reminds us that we are alive, and that there is a possibility of so much more.

The biggest thing that I gained during my 32nd year though, was a much deeper self-acceptance. It feels good to be ME, in all of my silly, nerdy, happy, too-sappy, sometimes flippant, adventurous, emotional, mercurial glory. And to feel so excited about other people being THEM. All the yous being yous and the mes being mes. It feels so goddamn good to look around and see the world in this way, you guys. I have to really dial it back sometimes because I could write pages about it- about knowing that I am enough. This has seeped into every part of my life as a great joy- I. Am. Enough.

And so 32, you were fantastic. I look back with my rose-colored glasses and even though I see the bad, hard, sometimes frustrating stuff, I am fully aware its all part of it. Throw it all in a bottle and shake, shake, shake, and the goodness will rise to the top. And that's what I'm focusing on. I don't mind getting older. I love birthdays. Looking around the table as I blow out my candles- Hank, Henry, Charlie- they are what matter, and I am forever grateful that they are mine. The possibilities of the future are endless, and it's really exciting to think about what's on the horizon. So thank you sweet readers, for being on this ride with me- I truly, truly appreciate you. Here's to 33!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cooking at Home with Blue Apron (Again!)



This month we had a chance to try out Blue Apron again, and I'm so glad- we had a wonderful first experience and I was curious to see if it would be as great the second time around too. And good news...it was even better! One of the things I like most about using Blue Apron is that it shakes things up a bit. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut of the same dishes over and over...but with Blue Apron you're guaranteed something different all the time!

This go-round we received two very different meals in that convenient refrigerated box sent straight to our doorstep. The first were Turkey Meatball Sliders with a Red-Leaf Cucumber Salad. It was really good and a LOT of food. It fed all four of us easily with a some left over too. The second meal, the one pictured here, is a Hoisin and Ponzu-Glazed Steak with Roasted Carrots and Garlic-Ginger Rice. Friends, I kid you not when I say that it was one of the very BEST things I've ever cooked. All four of us enjoyed every bit of this meal, and because Henry and Charlie shared one of the steaks there was one left for Hank to take to work, along with some rice.

One of the things I like best about Blue Apron is that you won't have leftover waste. So often I'll want to cook a big meal for the family, but end up having a ton of extra ingredients that I might not use up on their own before they go bad. I appreciate that with this service, you get what exactly what you'll need. And another thing I love? How easy the recipes are. Granted, I do love to cook but with two little ones it can be a little harder. Blue Apron sends everything, ready to go, and all of their recipes take 40 minutes or under to prepare. And with Hank and I both cooking together, it goes even faster (and it's so much fun, too!).

If you've seen Blue Apron on blogs and wondering if you should finally try it...YES, you definitely should. I can't recommend the service enough, and now they're delivering to almost all of the country, with Texas being their next addition.

And great news, if you'd like to sign up here (click the "redeem offer" button at the top), the first 50 readers who do so will get two free meals on their order. This is a great deal- and also be sure to check out the different pricing options while you're at it. They have a great Family plan that can feed larger groups, and when you check out their huge database of recipes I bet you'll be sold. I can't wait to try their Shrimp and Pineapple soft tacos and the Asparagus and Leek Quiche next.

Please let me know if you decide to sign up, I'm really excited about it I sincerely hope you do try it for yourself! Keep me posted, and enjoy.

xoxo



*this post is in partnership with Blue Apron. Thanks for reading!
 
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