Romanticizing the Past Does Nothing for the Future

It’s really easy to get nostalgic about the past, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I grew up in the 80s – in a time where “electronic device” meant my Speak-and-Spell, and summertime meant I ran around my neighborhood beating on front doors until all my friends came outside to start a new game of Red Rover. We jammed to Paula Abdul, and Tiffany – and the monthly Skate Night fundraiser at our local roller rink was the social event to be at.

It seems like it was an easier time for kids, right? Things were safer. Things were simpler. Things were better.

But what about for parents? Oh, to be a parent in a time without neighborhood Facebook groups. In a time without the fear of being arrested for letting our nine-year-old walk to the local park. In a time without the constant guilt weighing on our shoulders when our kid spent a little too much time of his Saturday afternoon navigating Minecraft. Parents back then didn’t obsess about making sure their kids had lunches cut and shaped like their favorite Disney character. They didn’t worry about themed birthday parties with fondant cakes and party bags that rivaled those for celebrities attending the Oscars. Things were laid back. Times were better. Parenting was easier.

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Everything I just wrote above? That’s crap. It’s simply not true. Okay, sure the lack of technology back then might have been “easier”, but the underlying problems were still there – just in different forms. Parents still wondered if their kids were watching too much TV. They still obsessed about their education. They still worried about healthy food. They still obsessed over whether their kid was committed to too many activities. It’s not that things were easier; it’s just that the problems were different.

A couple of weeks ago I was on the phone with my mom – complaining to her about all the stress in my life. I worried about my youngest and his progress in pre-school. I whined about never having time to get things done at home. I vented about being a “working mom” and all of the guilt that goes along with it. Basically, I had a giant pity party on my cell phone and unloaded everything into my mom’s ear.

She said, “you know, when you and your sister were young, I worried about all of these things too. I felt guilty about not being there to greet you from the school bus. I wanted to be there like the other moms with a plate of warm, home-baked cookies and cold milk – and I was constantly afraid you girls would resent me for that not happening”.

Wait, what? Did my mother really just say that? My mother (who in my eyes was the BEST mother a kid could have asked for) just admitted to me that as a working mom in the 80s (that time in American history where an entire generation of women were going back into the workforce), she was afraid we would hate her for not having warm cookies ready for us? I laughed so, so hard. “That’s ridiculous,” I said, “you were a great mom. You made every day count. You went above and beyond all. the. time. I can not believe that you thought we would resent you over warm cookies?!”

I then mentioned to her that warm cookies after school weren’t even acceptable anymore. If I told friends I made my kids homemade cookies as an after school snack they would probably side-eye me for not providing them something that was actually healthy, and then ask whether or not they were organic or gluten free. Because that’s what we do, right? We feel the need to one-up previous generations and their issues – why?!

My mother had reservations about her parenting and her kids in the 80s. Her mother had reservations about parenting and her kids in the 60s. And while I never got to speak to her about it, I’m sure my great-grandmother had her share of issues with parenting and her kids in the 40s. These were not “better times” for parenting and raising kids – they were just different times. They had their own set of problems, and came with their own types of guilt. Instead of romanticizing those times of yore, maybe we should all focus on enjoying the next generation as they grow up. These years are fleeting – lets stop wasting time looking backwards and start looking forwards again.





Healthy Choices Suck

This past Christmas the Husband bought me some new dress pants as a gift. I can picture it now – he went out to the mall by himself, in mid-December, and walked into a well-known clothing store. As he stood in front of a clothing display table he wondered, “Oh HELL what size do I buy her? Do I buy her what I think she wears now, or what she should be wearing now?”

Poor guy.

For the record, the pants were lovely, but way too small. So in January, I took them back to the store and bought a size 10. And then I bought another pair in a different style/cut in a 12. When I got home I immediately took the tags off, buried them at the bottom of the trash can, and pretended like the numbers on them never, ever happened. The Husband, bless his heart, had better sense than to ask me what I decided on getting when I took his too-small pants back.

It took me another two months to decide that enough was enough, and that I needed to start making some lifestyle changes. And to be clear, this is not a “numbers” thing. It’s not that I was a size 4 when I met the Husband and now I’m a 10/12 (okay, maybe it is a little), but it’s more that I don’t recognize myself anymore. I look in the mirror and see this body and I’m not happy with it. It makes me angry. It makes me confused – when did this happen? HOW did this happen?

After the second kiddo was born, I spent about four months working my ass off to lose his baby weight – and I did it. I lost almost 15lbs and it felt AMAZING. I went down dress/pant sizes, I felt better in my body, I felt healthier.

And then I spent the next three years putting it all (and then some) back on.

Two weeks ago I walked into the living room and announced to the Husband that I wanted him to sign me up at the gym he goes to. He gave me that, “I’m optimistically excited but don’t want you to think I think you need to get up off your butt and work out” look. “Okay” he says, “what brought this decision on all of the sudden?” “I just can’t do this anymore. I just can’t be complacent in gaining weight and feeling like a slug anymore. I want to look better. I want to do better. And I don’t want to buy any more new clothes.”

That Saturday we started at the gym as a family. When I did this before we were a family of four, but we also had a much easier work-week schedule and I had about 1/4 of the commute that I currently have – so things are a bit tougher. This time around I have committed to three trips to the gym a week – two during the work week, once on the weekends. I have to make these trips work around the Husband’s crazy retail schedule, the kids’ school/activity schedule, and my insane commute … but it’s working. I’ve settled into a routine of two “on my own” workouts a week and one gym class a week as well.

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But it’s hard. I still feel so self conscious – like I don’t belong next to these people who obviously know what the heck they’re doing on all these weird machines. I had about five different gym apps on my phone and then eventually deleted them all because I was so confused. I mostly stick to the things that I know and that make sense to me: 20 minutes of elliptical, 10 minutes of bike, and then downstairs for 30 more minutes rotating either abs/legs or abs/arms. I try not to look at the legit body builders because I feel even more fluffy … and weak.

People keep asking me “what diet are you following?” I’m not. I don’t believe in diets – at least not for me. I will never, EVER be able to do something like the Whole30 because quite simply, I don’t have that kind of willpower. What I am doing is watching what, and how much I eat. I’ve cut out 95% of carbs and sugar. I’m eating so many veggies I feel like I might turn into a baby carrot at any minute. I’m making sure I eat breakfast – in fact, I’m making sure I eat a ton of little meals throughout the day. I’m packing my lunch, stocking my little fridge at work, and embracing the fact that it might be a little while before I get another taco.

I’m two weeks in now and almost 3 whole pounds down. It’s not huge, but it’s a hell of an accomplishment for me. I have good days, and I have bad days (today is a bad day, omg I want to eat ALL the things) – but the important thing is that even though healthy choices suck, I’m working on them. I’m working on me.

In Defense of the Selfie – From a Mom

I have spent most of my life loving photography in one form or another. My very first camera was given to me in 1987, one of those Fisher Price kids cameras, with the external bulb flashes – man, I loved that thing. I took a photography class in high school, and several more in college where I learned how to develop my own film and expose my own prints. Finally, in 2007 (the year before my first child was born), I got my own DSLR. Then came smart phones with cameras – and the selfie was born.

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A lot of people knock selfies. Sure, they’re vain. Sure, there are a million 17-year-olds out there making duck lips and batting eyelashes. Sure, they’re overdone and overshared. I’m guilty of the selfie and all of the faults that go with them, but in thinking about my photos, and even my selfies in general, lately I’ve begun to give them (and myself) a break.

When our first son was born the Husband made fun of me all the time over the amount of photos I took, and even printed of our new baby. Every evening, I would come home from work, and start snapping photos – photos of him rolling on the floor, photos of him eating, photos of him sleeping. It was like I came home every day and wanted to capture all the changes that had happened since yesterday – it felt to me that these moments were the important ones. The first moments of what would be a long life, and I wanted to remember them all.

As our children have gotten older, the Husband no longer makes fun of me for whipping out my camera to document the mundane. Now that our first kiddo is almost seven, he sees the importance of all those photos from when he was 3 months, 9 months, 2 years, 5 years old. The Husband doesn’t take photos – images of our life and family has always been my job. I’ve always held the camera – whether it was my DSLR or my iPhone, our memories have been seen through my eyes. Because of that, very rarely am I actually in the photo. Everything I was capturing was seen through my eyes, but it was like I wasn’t a part of the story.

Until the selfie was born, and with it, the ability for me to easily take my own photo. And what’s more, the ability to take my own photo WITH my kids. Now, I can document our lives together – both me, and my kids, and even my husband together as a family.

Sometimes the selfies are silly.

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Sometimes the selfies are sweet.

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Sometimes the selfies are vain.

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But regardless of what the selfies are, they are always me. They are small reminders for me 20 years from now that: Yes, you were there too. And look at you – you loved your life. You loved your kids. You loved your family. You loved your career. You didn’t take any of this for granted. You were present. You tried to make it all count.

So, in defense of my selfies – well, no. I don’t feel the need to defend my selfies. My selfies are a constant reminder to me (and to my loved ones) that I’m not just seeing our life together, that I’m part of it too.

Follow along with me on Instagram for more selfie love.

Being a Working Mom & Winning the “Boss Lottery”

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I read this amazing article over on Working Moms Against Guilt this weekend, and it really resonated with me. It was one of those posts that you read, and the whole time you’re nodding your head in both enthusiasm and anger – “YES. WHY?! YES. RIGHT ON. THIS SUCKS.” I’d like to share my thoughts […]

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Spring 2015 – Children’s Consignment Sale Haul

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One of the most common questions I get about shopping a children’s consignment sale is: what types of things do you usually buy? The answer I always give is, “pretty much everything”. Over the past six years I’ve scored great deals on clothing shoes, baby gear, toys, diaper bags, carriers, shoes … the whole nine […]

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Roasted Sausage and Veggie Balsamic Vinegar Casserole

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The Dallas/Ft. Worth area has seen some pretty crazy weather this past week – sleet, ice, snow … it’s been ridiculous. Especially since this metroplex isn’t equipped (at all) to deal with winter shenanigans and so winter has pretty much sent everyone here into an uproar. School has been cancelled more than it’s been in […]

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Making a Retail Schedule Work to Our Advantage

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Every family has its obstacles. Finances, health concerns, and crazy jobs – and our family fits within that last category. I’ve written before about the Husband working retail and how that has effected our holiday schedule, and since I get questions every once in a while about how we make a retail schedule work, I […]

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What to Pack for a Crazy-Long International Flight

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Maybe you’re a completely normal person who doesn’t sign up for a crazy long flight to Asia and then immediately start obsessing over how to survive it — I am not one of those people. Upon booking my flight from DFW to Singapore, I immediately started wondering, “oh holy hell, this is a 16.5 hour […]

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Singapore Skyline

When I think back to where I was in my life three years ago, I really feel the need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. And while it’s really easy to look at photos like these and think, ‘well, of course she loves her job – look at the traveling she does!’ […]

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Things Learned in 2014

Some people are starting the #Whole30. Some people are purging to create capsule wardrobes. Me? I’m sitting in bed in three layers of clothing while snarfing popcorn. (You’re welcome for that mental image). To celebrate my inability to commit to popular resolutions, I’ve decided to kick off my 2015 posts with a look back at […]

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How to Make an Infinity Scarf

Just so we’re all clear – this whole “how-to make an infinity scarf” post is all because I am probably the biggest nerd in the whole world. Several weeks ago I went looking for a Deathly Hallows infinity scarf on Etsy, and I just couldn’t really find one I liked. But then I found this […]

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Thoughts that old people have

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Some people don’t like birthday, but I was really excited to turn 30 years old. I felt like “30″ finally made me an adult – no matter that I already had a college degree, a husband, a mortgage, a job, and a kid BEFORE 30 – in my mind 30 was the real deal. I […]

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Things I Learned From Traveling with My Six Year Old

Last Month I traveled alone with my six-year-old son, the Mouse, to Washington DC. The trip was a success for a number of reasons, and we had a fantastic time, but there were definitely a few things I learned about what to, and what not to do while traveling with an elementary-aged kiddo. 1. Explain […]

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The Yin to my Yang & Supplies for the Zombie Apocalypse

When I was in college and dating, I thought that one of the most important things in the world was to not be a “girly girl”. I wanted to be the “cool girl” – the girl who watched Tarantino flicks, the girl who ate nachos, the girl who played video games. I remember once, the […]

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Mini Pumpkin Spiders!

I know this is last minute, but I couldn’t help sharing this SUPER cute Halloween decorating idea – mini pumpkin spiders! I pinned a version of this a few weeks ago, and promised myself I would get my act together and make these guys happen. And lookie there, I actually followed through on something! I […]

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