Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Spring wasn't always my favorite. I was always more of a fall girl, enamored with the yellow-orange-red leaves that crunched under my feet, the layers, the chill in the air. I still love it, but since becoming a Mom I gravitate towards spring so much more. Nothing's better than having the windows open everyday and being able to spend our time outside, not stuck in the house thanks to 20 degree weather.

To me spring means renewal, even more than a New Year. It's the rebirth of everything, and as the years have gone by I've found myself looking forward to that first feeling of spring in the air, and smile to myself, excited about the sunshine and outdoor adventures to come.

So when Zappos wanted to partner on a post about spring cleaning our closets, it was an easy yes for me. I've used Zappos before to order shoes and was always impressed with their customer service and quick shipping. But this time around I was truly blown away by all of the different brands they carry! It was very hard to just pick a few items- I wanted it all- but I tried to stick to "needs" and what my spring self could use most of all.

I went with three staples to refresh my closet- first was a new pair of Birkenstocks, but this time in a light taupe, perfect for spring. If you're on the fence, just GET THESE, people- they're my favorite shoe and an everyday slip on and go sandal for me- you'll love them! I also picked up a hat for running and hiking- I needed one with a little more sun coverage and the "trucker hat" style is perfect, and then I also chose a new pair of running shoes in a fun, bright color.

I ordered and the items were at our doorstep two days later. Yay, Zappos. Great experience all around, and my closet thanks you. Are you spring cleaning your wardrobe at all? Do you have any must-have pieces you'll be going for this season?

 This post is in partnership with Zappos. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Like the Trees On the Canyon

There must have been something in the sunshine this morning, because I swear, when I saw him playing in that creek, he looked closer to ten than he does to five. In the blink of an eye I saw our little boy as a bigger boy, in the glint of the sun there, reflected in the water. I squinted for a second and even nudged Hank- look at him right there. Doesn't he look extra old today? His blue hat, long legs, shoes that would soon make a squishing sound when he climbed out of the water. The red canyon walls towered high up over our heads, the green trees at the very top reaching, stretching to grow and grow, and I thought of our child, and our other child, and how amazing it is to watch these little people become big.

From the moment Henry could talk it's been "I can do it," "I got this, Mommy," and "I don't need ANY help." And really, even before. He's always been a child who knew what he wanted and that HE wanted to be the one to do it. Our fiercely independent boy, our sweet, eager learner, a child who has always desired to be on his own.

I can remember the first day of preschool, I stood there with tears in my eyes, holding it together, trying not to cry. These types of milestones always make me extra weepy, and as I tried to keep a brave smile on my face I realized that Henry had already run off to join his new friends on the playground. He turned around once, flashed me that smile, and was gone in a blur, yelling "see you later, Mommy!"

And these little glimpses of Henry looking older have been happening more and more, until today down at the creek I realized that the glimpses weren't really glimpses anymore. This was our boy. Tall and grown and growing. Five in the fall, more than half my size. Baby no more.

So this morning my big-little boy and I sat on a rock and watched the creek rush by. He told me that when he grew up, he wanted to have 100 children of his own and live on a big farm with cows and chickens and goats, and be an astronaut whenever he could find the time. I asked if I could come help take care of all of his kids- I asked him if he would need anything at all. I expected him to say that he was good, that he could do it all on his own, but instead he leaned into me, grabbed my bigger hand in his little one, and said "oh yes, Mommy. I will always need you."

Like the trees on the canyon the boys will grow bigger and taller. The sun will shine and days will be good. The wind will blow and times will be hard. They will change and evolve into the boys, then the men, they are meant to be. But my hope is that they always remember that like that canyon below the roots of the tree, I am there for them- their base, their foundation, and no matter what, I am always, always there if they need me.

Being a mama, man. Emotional, beautiful stuff.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rainy Day Fun

Monsoon season will be here before we know it, and with it comes (hopefully) quite a few rainy days! I have a pretty big arsenal of "stuck inside activities" thanks to cold Prescott winters and the occasional snow day, but surprisingly, we'd never made a good, old-fashioned boxcar! I wish I could have found this old photo of my sister and me as kids- it's almost identical to the last picture in this post and would have been so fun to share. My Mom was always doing really fun project with us, and I know I say it often, but one of the coolest things about being a parent myself is being able to do many of the same things with my own children. I love those full circle moments.

This is the last post in my partnership with Fisher-Price, and I think it actually might be my favorite thanks to one part nostalgia and two parts how much the boys loved doing this project. We wanted to share a "rainy day activity" with all of you, so I took a look at all of the options FP has on their website. Their activities are organized by age, and when I saw this one I knew it would be perfect. Best of all, even though it's designed for age 4 and up, Charlie was able to participate in decorating...and the "driving" of course too.

I definitely recommend this project, and I think it also sparked some fun ideas in Henry's brain, and all night he's been talking about what he wants to make next. See the extremely simple directions over on Fisher-Price's page, and let me know if you have any favorite rainy day activities too! And while you're there, be sure to take a peek at their HUGE library of projects- there's something for every age. Happy creating! xoxo

This post is in partnership with Fisher-Price. Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Falling (Back) In Love With Blogging

For so long I used to think I had to blog Monday through Friday and have a blog post scheduled weeks ahead of time for each of these days. I had features and special things I shared regularly, everything from Tattoo Tuesday to Literate and Stylish to features on women and their careers. My blog was filled to the brim with content, and as much as I loved it there were so many times I wondered why I was doing all of these things when they actually weren't making me feel satisfied at the end of the day. I knew what kinds of posts made me feel good- the ones where I would just write, creating little essays and snapshots of the pieces of my life. I love those. And even more so, the main thing I loved about my blog was documenting my life...but none of these things were doing that.

So one day I decided to stop doing or committing to anything that I didn't enjoy. No rules except asking myself "Does it feel good to share this?" "Does this contribute to the overall happy feeling I have about Sometimes Sweet?" If it wasn't something that made me happy, I stopped. If I started something and didn't enjoy it, I stopped, without making myself feel bad about it.

Once you've been blogging for awhile, you get into a groove. You write about the same things pretty often, because your interests, hobbies, and talents are what they are. But as time goes on, you grow. We gravitate towards different things and our interests shift. I've been blogging here for almost eight years so of course I've changed- it would be strange if I didn't. You can read back and see my evolution not just as writer but as a human being. I valued different things, was interested in different things, even handled situations differently. And now as a mother of two and it's a whole new world from the newlywed I was so long ago. 8 years of change that I welcome with a smile.

It's funny- whenever I stumble upon a "In a rut? Get inspired!" post, so often the author will write something like "read your favorite blogs and pull inspiration from them!" Maybe I'm the odd one out, but one of the biggest things that helps me is turning off everything else; just focusing on my little bubble and the real-life beauty around me. There's a time and place to read a ton of blogs and pin a ton of pins, but that stuff doesn't really inspire me. What inspires me is unplugging and looking for the story I'm already living, then taking some quiet time to reflect on what and how I'd like to share.

For a long time I think I put a lot of importance on my online life. I felt like it was important to grow a readership and gain followers and be present. Then I had children and would feel stressed at times, that I wasn't giving this world the attention it needed. I would sometimes have moments of slight panic, feeling like I was "falling behind" because I wasn't producing the same amount of content. It feels so silly to type out, and I'm sure feels even sillier to read, I know- but this is really how I felt. But then a few years ago a little idea starting blooming in my mind that would whisper to me, "who cares, anyway?" It became louder and soon I started to listen. Really, who cared? All of this- the blog, the Instagram, the Twitter- these were all things that should be secondary to my real life. They shouldn't add anything negative- they exist only because I want them to; they are here to enhance my life, not take up so much space in my world that they somehow become larger than life.

Point being, the biggest thing for me has been just doing what I want, when I want. I found enjoyment in this space again, and it comes from peeling back all of the layers and getting back to the basics. Posts I feel proud of, only sharing things like "Weekend Links" when I feel it, only taking on sponsored content I feel super excited about (this was never a huge problem for me, but looking back I can see some poor choices). It sounds over-simplified yes, but you need to remember that your space is your space. Change, disappear, come back, but never apologize, because it's all part of your story. Do whatever it is you need to do to enjoy sharing whatever it is you want to share. It's letting go of a need to post and operating on a want basis, and eradicating any sort of blog guilt. It's quality over quantity, it's taking the time to wait on a post until it's perfect, instead of trying to get something out NOW because I have a day to fill.

Anything we do can be done better, and my hope is that as I use this space to continue to explore the person I'm becoming and documenting the life we're living, this blog not only improves, but allows me to improve too.

Anyway, welcome to inside of my brain. I hope you enjoyed your brief stay! ;) Have a wonderful weekend. xoxo

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Becoming


I had a laugh with a girlfriend the other day because we both feel like we're going through some interesting shifts in our lives. For me, I've been enjoying the outdoors more and more. If you take me out of the equation and substitute in a middle-aged man, it would absolutely appear to be a mid-life crisis. Patagonia hat, adventure photos...who is this person?! We laughed at ourselves over a glass (or two) of wine and talked a lot about how we change as we age. Best case, you get better. In the worst case, you don't. Simple, right? But really, I am grateful to have so many years of self-reflection under my belt (thank you, blog), because it has allowed me to really see myself. And it's funny, when I thought I saw myself before I really didn't; I kind of just saw what I wanted people to see, as if that was who I was, or who I wanted to be at least. Then I started to believe that that person was me. Does that make sense? But as I get older I just want to be who I am. The bare bones, the real stuff. I want to put that out there, instead of what I think people will like, in every sense of that statement.

I think one of the most interesting things about getting older is becoming who you will be as the world spins on and you change and things change and every little thing changes. I thought I knew exactly who I was, but I still don't really know, at all. Getting closer, sure, but find me again when I'm 40 and I will probably poke fun at this naive 32-year old who thinks she's even scratched the surface. Then find me again at 65 and I'm sure I'll laugh at everyone I've been since then.

So who am I? Who are you?

I think about when I am the happiest and it's when I'm surrounded by those who really see me, and who allow me to see them. I want authentic relationships. I want to be able have real, true, deep conversations with the people I love, and see them, really see them- and allow them to see me too. I don't want surface. I want depth and emotion and to share beautiful experiences. This past year I took a look around and saw that I was holding onto people that didn't add to my life. They didn't make me feel good. So I let go.

I want to spend my time outside, exploring the world as much as possible with my family. Hank and I started hiking at least once a week a little over a year ago and as time has progressed we spend most of our days outside in some way. I can't get enough and as the year has gone on we've become so interested in the outdoors that we plan our weekends around hikes and adventures- this is how we want to live our life and raise our children.

Work is important to me. After having Henry I said (to anyone who would listen, really) that I never wanted to work again, if that was possible. Many months went by, a year, then two, we had another baby...and I realized that as satisfied as I am with being a mother and staying home with my babies, I also have another side to me that fills up with happiness when I am working. So I explored that. I love teaching but I didn't want to be away from the boys, so I was lucky enough to find a job that allows me to do both- to stay home with my children but also be a working mama with occasional travel. This has been the magic combination for me. I've never been busier, but I've also never felt more fulfilled. There's still tweaking to be done as I continue to figure out the work-from-home and life balance- but I'm getting there. It's interesting to be in Mommy mode all week than suddenly be in a meeting in the office in work mode. I know many mothers do this everyday, but after not being a part of the working world for a chunk of time, it's been a shift. A fun shift, but a huge change nonetheless.

It's a beautiful thing to be able to change. It's an even more beautiful thing to allow that change to happen, and to allow others to change. Hank and I often have conversations about how crazy it is to be with the same person for over a decade- we're so different than the people we were when we met, but at the same time we're still those same kids, young and in love. Life is wild- we're all becoming who we will be, and one of the coolest things about being a human being is that we can choose who and what we surround ourselves with, as we hopefully shift into a higher consciousness year after year.

I tell Henry everyday- "do all things with kindness," and I tell myself the same. Be kind to others, be kind to myself, be kind to this process. We're all becoming who we will be, we're all on this path that hopefully leads up, up, up and gets better and better and better the older we get. I turn 33 in two months and I am looking forward to another year on this path. I look forward to turning around and seeing where I've come from and looking ahead at where I'll be.

There's no way to say this without soundly incredibly cheesy, but I say this wholeheartedly- here's to our best selves. I love you!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Crafting Community 2015: Come hang out with us in Palm Springs!

Hey guys! So I wanted to extend an invitation to all of you, to come spend the weekend with Hank, the boys and I in Palm Springs in a couple of months at Crafting Community's next event. We attended Crafting Community's Handmade Holiday this past December and fell in love with the entire concept and what they stand for. Crafting Community was created by two very liked minded mothers and entrepreneurs, (artist Karen Kimmel and Stacy Bernstein) and I love their mission and belief that creativity is an essential tool for life! Yes, yes, yes, right?! They encourage, inspire and cultivate the creative spirit through art, curated design, fitness and plain old fun....all of which will of course be huge parts of this next event.

May 1-3, the Sixth Annual Crafting Community will return to the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs and the boys and I will be there with bells on! It's going to be amazing with tons of surprises and fun activities for the whole family all weekend long. Chronicle Books, SoulCycle, Whole Foods, Linus and Ergo/Orbit Baby will also be on hand bringing their amazing stories, products and brands to life.

This is going to be such an insanely fun and special event, and I would love to meet some of you (all of you!) as we play and stay at the Ace for a couple of glorious days in the sun.

And be sure to watch this video to get inspired to make it out to Palm Springs this May. We hope to see you there!

this post is in partnership with Crafting Community.
all photos courtesy of Crafting Community.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Read it: Scary Close

So funny story about this book. You know how you've never heard of something, but then you do, then suddenly see it everywhere? That's what happened with Scary Close. I saw it on a friend's Instagram account, then suddenly it was all over my Amazon recommendations and in conversations with friends. I took it as a sign I should read it, so I downloaded a preview of it to my Kindle right away.

The sample had me hooked within pages and as soon as I got to the end of that first chapter and had the option to head over to Amazon to buy it, I did. But then I saw that it was listed as a religious book in the Christian Living category. Now, of course I don't have anything against reading books about religion- I actually enjoy doing so- but as a non-religious person the one kind of book I probably wouldn't be into is a book considered a Christian "self-help" book with mentions of god and the Bible every other page. However, I liked the sample so much I decided to just go for it...and I'm glad I did.

Scary Close is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in awhile. I wouldn't consider it a "self-help" book at all actually- although it totally helped me in so many ways I feel like that category doesn't even begin to encompass everything this book is! It's a look at the author's life and his journey to find true intimacy while also being a guide to finding the meaning and true depth of connection in the relationships in our own lives, both romantic and platonic. And it's really a book full of encouragement to look at yourself in an authentic way- to remove all the b.s. and see yourself for who you are, and love others for who they are too.

This book really made me think, and also made me take a long, hard look at myself. It inspired me to do the work I need to do to continue on this path of self-betterment, and it also got me excited about LIFE in general. It was a quick, easy read and the conversational tone Donald Miller uses makes the pages fly on by. I've already recommended it to a few friends who all "binge-read" it like me, and loved it. And by the way, for you other non-religious folks, this book definitely isn't preachy or pushy by any means, and really just encompasses what I hope to be the best parts of any religion- love and acceptance of yourself and others.

Enjoy, and let me know if you pick it up!

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