self-care after baby and during the holiday season

Friday, November 15

Tis the season! For droves of family and friends to come together to eat and celebrate and gift-give in the greatest time of the year. (Yes, I know we still have to get to Thanksgiving. This year I'm just SUPER thankful for my Christmas tree.) This unfortunately, can also be a great time of stress as we pack every jolly thing we can possibly think of into approximately one month. Or if you're like me and just had a baby, you're doing that while also changing diapers and nursing 24/7. It's been my goal in this postpartum period to make my mental and physical health a priority - and it's totally paying off. I've never felt better! I've found a way to incorporate 6 intentional rituals into my regular routine and it's made a world of difference in how this postpartum season of life has felt this time around. My intention NOW, is to invite these rituals into this holiday season (which includes hosting MANY many people), hold my breath, and hope for the best. Here's what has worked for me!

1. Create a simple and effective skincare routine


I used to have a very extensive daily skin-care routine that basically felt like 20 minutes of good therapy. With a newborn, those days are now past ... probably at least for the next year. Currently, the name of the game when I'm getting ready is to feel as good as possible, as QUICKLY as possible. This usually means a quick shower, an easy, comfortable outfit, and a 3-step skincare minute. I don't have to tell you twice that Biossance can easily take care of a quick, yet super effective routine. Right now I'm loving on three super moisturizing products in their Clean Favorites Trio (a $97 value for just $58!). All plant-based, the Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream takes care of my sleepless under-eye circles, and the Vitamin C Rose Oil and Squalane + Omega Repair Cream keep my skin looking brighter and more hydrated than it should be at the moment. Each of their holiday gift kits are an amazing gift for yourself OR for literally everyone you know. Their beautifully curated Rose Radiance Trio and the Stay Balanced Duo are also both a great way to simplify your self-care routine while not sacrificing effectiveness.

2. Make time for self-nourishment

Since I'm still 5 weeks postpartum, I haven't pursued any form of exercise just yet. Instead, for the past few weeks my focus has been in self-nourishment. This is easier said than done. Sometimes, on a good day, I'll get around to doing a little meal prep to keep the fridge stocked with leftovers. That way I can still be eating well even when I need to be eating fast. (Which let's be honest, is EVERY time I'm eating.) But other times, the only real intentional food ritual I get to in a day is a cup of hot tea (an herbal brew that assists with milk production) and my small collection of daily vitamins. As most of my time and attention is consumed with the nourishment of others - mainly the three (3!!) hungry humans I've created, taking a micro-moment in the day to care for myself in this way brings me a greater sense of centeredness and helps me tackle whatever's on the to-do list that day with greater patience and grace.

 3. Create an approachable meditation ritual

Not that long ago, I was REAL solid with a daily meditation routine. I had gotten over my slight intimidation of the ritual- (was I doing it right? was it lasting long enough?) and had gotten into a wonderful and relaxing daily rhythm. It comes as a surprise to no one that ANY daily ritual can come to a halt when a newborn arrives on the scene. Newborns, of course, allow for a different kind of meditation as you study their miniature features for hours on end. But an extended meditation around yourself? ... kind of disappears. Instead, I've started to take a different approach: a one-minute meditation. Sometimes I can do it while my arms are empty, but most of the time it's when they're full of baby. But it's a full 60 seconds to breathe, to center, to tune into how I'm doing and what I need, and to reset on any negative emotion that could be bubbling up, probably due to a lack of sleep. Whether you have a baby or not, taking one minute to tune in can be GAME CHANGING for how you're feeling about your day and what's being required of you.

4. Say yes to the things that feel good and no to the things that don't

This is a simple thing to say, harder to actually execute. But it's definitely one of the greatest forms of self-care no matter what season of life you're in. Especially during the holidays. We cannot say yes to it all! As a bonafide people-pleaser, learning how to say "no" to what's not working for me is a skill that I'm still developing. But taking that one minute meditation mentioned above, is super helpful when it comes to tuning in so that it gets easier and easier to stay true to what's feeling good and what isn't. Say yes to lunch with your friends if you need to talk! And say no to a holiday party if you're not up to it! There are no rules for doing what's best for you.

 5. Take time for one simple thing that you enjoy, just because.

This one's easy. Remember what makes you happy, and DO IT. It doesn't always get to happen every day of course - we're all busy. But the more often you take part in the simple pleasures of your own life, the greater sense of centeredness you'll feel while you do everything else. For me right now? In between newborn feedings and changes, I'm re-visiting my piano days and brushing up on a very rusty old skill. They say it's like riding a bike, and I'm completely enjoying any time I can get to prove that true.

6. Let yourself sleep (when possible)

Sleep. HA HA HA. The advice I've most often received is to "sleep when the baby sleeps" ... which is great advice ... when you have one child. I don't know who else gets to participate in that sleep scenario, but for me, it's been challenging. When I DO get a chance though, I try to take it without guilt, without reminding myself of the other things I could/should be doing, and take care of myself and my still-recovering body. I heard that sleep is right up there with water in terms of what keeps our bodies functioning at their peak state. So when we can, let's self-care ourselves to bed on time, and when we can't, let's take a nap - even just 10 minutes.

I don't get to implement all 6 forms of self-care every day. High five if you do! But even just inviting 1 or 2 rituals into my daily routine is how I'm maintaining my mental and physical health during this postpartum/holiday season of life - and feeling really really good while I do. I hope they do the same for you! #Biossance #BiossancePartner

We're moving to Eastern Idaho

Monday, August 26

It's hilarious to me that this particular entry is my first blog post on here after, oh, many many moons. So much has changed. If you've been following along on instagram, then you've heard some of the story, but this will put it all in one place. You know, for posterity's sake. I would've never imagined in one hundred thousand years that I'd be writing the words that are in that title up there: "We're moving to eastern Idaho" and REALLY NEVER imagined that I would be so ready for them. At 34 weeks pregnant no less lol. I also never imagined I'd be thrilled to be the new owner of a very large chicken coop. But we'll get to that in a minute.

Last summer, we sold our home in Idaho and made the cross-country move to Georgia to pursue a business venture/adventure of my own. It was an adventure. I learned a ton. It didn't end up working for me. But I'll always be grateful that we did it. My husband and I have now taken turns following each other all over this country in pursuit of various education, goals and career opportunities, and I'm so grateful we've had each other as Home throughout all of it. This particular experience was foundational for incredible personal clarity, and a secured confidence in myself and my life purpose, and I'm grateful for that every day. 

Fast forward to around the end of January of this year, shortly after deciding to part ways with the business. I found out I was pregnant with our third. It's the only pregnancy I've had so far where I knew it was coming before it happened. This sense of knowing wove itself through me in a way I've never experienced before. I could feel my baby's presence around me before we even started trying. And then the very next month, he was there. This "knowing" carried into how we would approach our next life steps as well.

We decided to return to Boise, Idaho. (Which, by the way, we love dearly, and highly recommend for raising a family.) We knew we wanted to buy a home, but weren't quite ready to do so at a distance, so we secured a rare 6 month lease in one of our favorite neighborhoods, made the cross-country move, settled in and started looking for a permanent home.

To keep a long story short, for personal and family reasons, we began to turn our search to eastern Idaho. Raise your hand if you're at all familiar with eastern Idaho. Oh good. There's 5 of you.

Eastern Idaho. The land of Yellowstone. The land of the Snake River I spent my childhood summers on. The land of the Teton Valley (google that slice of heaven guys). The land of the snowiest, coldest winters and the dreamiest country summers. The land where we met and married. And now, the land where (whodathunk) we'd be returning to 11 years later, right in time to birth our third child. Circle of life and all that.

Approaching real estate options in this particular corner of the world was the next step. We love the good people, we love the area, we love the wide-open-spaces childhood it would give our babes. But I'm going to tell you right now that if you're looking for a beautiful, move-in ready house situation, the pickings are slim my friends. We found it particularly difficult to pull the trigger on any home. Throughout the summer, we took several weekends to look around, tour some homes, visualize what we could do with them in terms of renovation, but none were sitting quite right. After some discouragement we came across a lovely plot of land that we liked, a builder we loved, and decided that we would buy the land and build a home as soon as the builder's schedule opened up around December. We then found a house that we could lease while we waited for the build to be completed. Everything seemed to fall into place in a matter of days and we immediately stopped stalking Zillow. It was a PLAN.

Fast forward to the beginning of this month, August. Two weeks out before our move date. The woman we were acquiring the lease from, called us and apologetically asked if she could continue stay in the home that we were about to move into. I won't share her personal information here, but suffice it to say, it felt wrong to make her vacate. My gut instinct after getting off that phone call wasn't that our plan was being foiled, but that it was a pivot into the exact right situation that was being prepared for us. Like God was saying, "Great job, you've almost got it, but this is not quiiiite it." That day, I got back onto every real estate site and private facebook group I could think of to either find a home we could lease OR a home we could buy and also somehow, miraculously close on in less than 30 days. This feels like a great place in the story to insert a reminder that I'd just hit 8 months pregnant when all this was happening. hahahahahahaha.
I cried. But I trusted.

The next day,
we found it.

A home that hadn't hit the market yet when we'd been in the middle of our search. Out in the country, with big old established trees, a circular driveway, enough square footage to grow into and raise our babies for years to come, on 1.25 acres, with a treehouse, a garden, a fire pit, apple trees, raspberry bushes, a chicken coop, and a putting green for some reason. Also, the color turquoise everywhere! FUN.

Our lovely realtor took us on a FaceTime tour, and even without setting foot in it, we felt in our bones that it was the place. We placed an offer. The sellers accepted. And we set a close date for an extremely short amount of time, landing us exactly when our lease was up here in Boise. Funny how that worked.

This morning, in our boxed-up dining room, we signed the closing papers and by the end of the week, we'll be headed east to unpack for the VERY LAST TIME, FOR A VERY LONG TIME (knock on alllllll the wood). The home is a 1990's wonder and we're very much looking forward to Joanna Gaines-ing our hearts out and making it our own. But before we start knocking down any walls, it's gonna feel flipping fantastic to birth a child here sometime in the next month.

You guys won't mind a little reno content will you? ;)

Pics of the home to come as soon as I get my very pregnant body over there. Thank the high heavens for family is all I can say. Under the watchful eye and threats of my husband and in-laws, I haven't lifted much. And we'll spend Labor Day Weekend with all of them in the new place, unpacking and playing and nesting like psychos.

Next up, baby watch.

glow girl glow

Wednesday, November 7

This will not be your typical "welcome to November" post. Not JUST because I'm here being very warm and cozy on a South Carolina beach right now. But because the intention of my morning beauty routine remains unchanged whether it's spring, summer, fall, or the dead of Christmas. I believe in glow. I need my skin to be dewy. I need to reflect the sun off my face and optimally shine the light of it to the world. I feel like I've finally settled into my ideal glow routine, thanks to tips I've picked up from the three beauty guru's that I stalk on instagram. And it's really simple, and easy, and friendly for those "I have 10 minutes to get it together before getting the kids out the door" moments.

FUN FACT: I don't follow a lot of beauty people, but the three I do follow on instagram are ALL named Katie. (Well ... Katie, Kayti and Katey). And when the Katie's tell me to jump, I ask how high. Because they KNOW GLOW.

Step one: This facial in a jar. 

Not kidding, this is a one stop shop for every skin type: it renews like a peel, smoothes like an exfoliator, and hydrates like a mask. This has been my favorite thing since Biossance recently released it. (Those women over there know what they're DOING). It polishes, it plumps, and it makes any other products you put on your face actually sink in and look like skin, rather that just products sitting on TOP of your skin ... if that makes sense. Game changer.

 This is my whole glow MVP line up. Skin-care first, make-up second, always.

Step two: this crazy lightweight, hyper-hydrating gel moisturizer
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

Ever since Biossance came out with the 10 ml version, this guy comes with me every.where. I could be completely makeup-less and as soon as I put it on I swear I feel like a new person. I don't typically use the word supple, but it's probably the most appropriate word to describe what it does to your skin. Reduces redness, makes your skin brighter, and ... keyword: glowy.

Step three: practically a miracle in a bottle

Out of all the products I've heard you guys rave about, this is the number one. This oil changes people's game. It evens your skin tone and texture, mega moisturizes, brightens, and I've had people tell me it's even helped CLEAR their skin. I always put this layered on top of my other gels and serums. I learned from the beauty gurus that you always want to layer your skin care from the highest water content to the lowest water content. So the oil always goes on last. It's the cherry on top if you will. 

Step four: Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops - in sunlight

I discovered this product through Kayti Oldham, queen of most of my favorite beauty discoveries, and it is no. joke. I use the tiniest drop known to man, and suddenly my whole face is lit up like a diamond. It is my favorite make-up discovery to date. Youtube it, and prepare yourself for love. 

Step five: Glossier Haloscope Highlighter in Moonstone

Yes I like to have one more highlighter in my arsenal. I like to use this one on just my cheeks and the tip of my nose. Or on the zero make-up days, I layer this right over the top of Biossance's Rose Oil, and head out. The tube has a core made up of vitamin-rich moisturizers, so the blend-ability is bananas.

Happy, Glow-y, November to you! Let me know if you've tried and love any of these! Or if you have any must-have game-changers for glow. I will be there with my wallet.

5 intentions I have for aging well

Thursday, July 26

I'm turning 30 this year. THREE ZERO. Is it hilarious that I'm writing a post on 'aging well' while still in my 20's? It probably is, but whatever, I can't help it. I have PLANS.
Aging means a lot to me. It's always brought me a great amount of joy. I admire my own children's proclamations that they're going to "stay little forever." They're two people who are living in the moment. Content, enthusiastic, and joyful in their respective stages of childhood. The idea that they would someday live in their own houses, (or sleep in their own beds for that matter lol) or that Isla would marry anyone but her dad, is far from their personal truth right now. I was not this child. I had my entire life planned out. I had a desk that I would become an entire office space in my mind, I would give speeches into fake microphones, and under my bed were hatboxes full of real estate listings of my favorite houses, interior design ideas and pictures of 35 year-old women cut out of my mom's clothing catalogs because I liked their outfits. Really. Sometimes I look back on that kid and wish I could show her what she would do. What her house would look like. What her job would turn into. The car she would drive. Just cut her a break, so she'd be able to feel a little cooler than she did back then. To let her know that it was ok to reach for more age, wisdom, and growth and that it would all turn out better than she hoped. And that getting dressed would be even more fun than whatever was happening in the 1999 Chadwicks catalog.

And now I feel like I don't have to look SO far forward anymore. I know what I want for my life, but I actually feel like I can have it now. Like I DO have it now in a lot of ways. And so it is within this present moment, and in this coming decade of my 30's, that I have some intentions of how I will treat myself and my life so that aging remains just as much fun as it always has been. Which I wrote in collaboration with Biossance, as their company’s clean beauty standards have helped me bring greater intention into my self-care routine for years.

1. Intentionally surround myself with people who are positive, abundant, and life-loving.

This is just one of the infinite reasons that I'm grateful that my children are my children. They were born geniuses. Already knowing that it's all about love. With zero doubts that they are capable, smart and strong. And that running fast is done for no other reason besides having fun and feeling good. They are my teachers, and some of the most life-loving people in my life. Their wonderfulness aside though, the 5 (adult) people we spend the most time with quite literally makes up who we are. And throughout the next decade, and most definitely for the rest of my life, it's my intention to nurture that circle, so that the people I'm spending the most time with are also the ones pushing me, lifting me, inspiring me, and acting as a mirror in which to more clearly see myself.

2. Take time for daily body-centering rituals.

We're not our bodies, but we live here in them. They're how we represent ourselves to the world, how we experience what life has to offer, and part of loving ourselves is loving them. We know all the guidelines. Drink water, exercise, eat a balanced diet, take care of your skin. And it's important to find a way to intuitively make those feel good for you. Maybe you enjoy warm water more than cold, so you get a new thermos that's way cuter than your cold water bottle. Maybe you pick up a book about intuitive eating, and drop all the rules. Maybe you wake up a little earlier so you can listen to music in the shower and take your time soaking in your skin-care products. Whatever feels good. Create rituals. Make as many moments as possible, moments of self care, because of your intention for them to be so.

One of the rituals that brings me a lot of joy is my skincare. This is no secret, as I've run through my nightly routine on my instagram before. I've since had a lot of questions about my morning routine, since it looks a little bit different (definitely lighter and faster.)

Without question, and especially right now since I've spent so much time in the sun this summer, I'm using these two beauties from Biossance (top fave clean beauty brand since forever) every single morning: Squalane + Mineral SPF 45 and Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum.

Did you know they came out with a retinol alternative serum?? I got my first preview of the product straight out of a beaker at Biossance’s HQ last year. When the lovely lady executives told our group they were releasing a clean, plant-based retinol, it was basically just 10 girls screaming. I'm relatively new to the retinol scene (about a year and half-ish) and I LOVE what it does to my skin, but since this serum uses plant-derived Bakuchiol (just knew that off the top of my head) you get the same potency without any of the side-effects of a typical retinol (increased sensitivity, can't combine with Vitamin C, and it's recommended you don't use while pregnant or nursing). So all hail a pregnancy-safe retinol!! Could've used one or five bottles over the years.

Biossance's sunscreen is one of my favorite clean beauty sunscreens I've ever found, not even kidding. Literally from the glow it gives you alone. It goes on white, but warms to transparent, is non-oily, and leaves this glow-y SHEEN you guys. I've never been more motivated to SPF daily. Bonus, it's good for the environment/oceans (no oxybenzone or octinoxate and non-nano minerals).

Taking 10 minutes to cleanse and apply serum and SPF to my face every morning is just one of the few quick body-centered rituals that make my mornings feel good, and subsequently my days feel better. NOT TO MENTION THE ANTI-AGING BENEFITS (both physically and emotionally!)

3. Find more ways to have fun every day.

Play with my children. Watch more funny movies. Find new and creative ways to move, exercise, and push my body. Take more vacations. Read every day. Go to Target. Go to the mountains. Take a work break in the park. It doesn't matter what it is really, but if you're consistently cognitive of what does or doesn't feel good, what is or isn't fun ... you're becoming an outside observer of yourself.  And being aware of yourself and mindful of how you feel, is the first step to knowing yourself, strengthening your intuition, and becoming someone who has the ability to rewire your own patterns of negativity, anxiety, and stress. Becoming cognitive of yourself, even hour-by-hour, makes taking action to follow what you know to be good for you that much easier.
So that's my aging-well plan: follow the good. Follow the fun.

4. Do things that scare me.

This includes setting goals that may otherwise be deemed 'unrealistic',  even by myself. I want to age in experience, in bravery, in wisdom gleaned from taking risks, in showing up before I was ready, in being the person who's a little less limited by her human doubts than she was the day before, in aligning with my truth and living it with the integrity, even if it looks differently than you thought it would. I know I keep talking about feeling good. And you would think these two things ('feeling good' & 'doing things that are scary') are counter-balancing, but I've learned that feeling good does not mean living easily, lazily, or indulgently even. Instead they both come down to living intuitively. And dang, if that intuition doesn't make you SHOW UP.

5. Actively give myself grace every day.

This is a lot. Aging into who you're supposed to be is a lot. Chasing your dreams is a lot. I mean jeeze, even having dreams is a lot. A lot of learning, a lot of patience, a lot of trying and trying again, a lot of question asking and answer seeking, and it's SO EASY to see something like your fear or reoccurring bouts of anxiety as a failure. But I will not be the girl who cannot see the good. Who cannot see her successes before she sees her failures. I will seek to see myself more clearly. See the whole, forgive the broken, try everyday and give grace everyday.

And with THAT, and in those ways, it is my intention to age well, age gracefully, age abundantly, age positively, and age youthfully. Fingers crossed.


Thank you to Biossance for partnering on this post, and for encouraging more conscious self-care. 

We're taking our family to London! ... with just 2 carry-ons

Thursday, May 17

So this coming week we’re taking our first big family trip together. I can’t believe that sentence is actually true since it seems like between Tyson and I, we’re always on a plane, or at least traveling with one of the kids separately. We’ve taken road trips together of course, but I’m just now realizing we haven’t actually been on a plane ... all together ... ever. I find it fascinating that we have no experience with this, and yet have chosen to make that inaugural flight with them 10 hours long haha. Is it obvious that we bought the tickets at 1AM?

ANYWAY. Our overall excitement for the trip is through the roof. We’re going to London and taking the kids to Peppa Pig World (yes, that’s a thing) and Legoland. They don’t entirely know that we’re going yet, so we’ll surprise them the morning of, but I’m pretty sure they manifested this trip with their belief in it alone because they haven’t stopped talking about how they’re definitely, one-hundred percent, absolutely, for sure going to Peppa Pig World and Legoland ... for at least a year now.

And to make things even more interesting … we’re only bringing 2 carry-ons. Oh yes.

The plan is to take one pair of shoes each, to be worn on the plane, as well as whatever jackets/layers also be worn on the plane. And then we’ll bring a select few versatile outfits, toiletries, a little detergent, and praise everything (!) zero diapers. And then the kids will each have their own little backpacks for plane activities and snacks … is it crazy to say that I feel like this is going to be pretty easy to pull off? I can be a minimalist when I want to be.

Typically what takes up the most space in my luggage is my toiletries. Between my hair and my skin care routine - BOY HONEY. If you guys saw my skincare routine on my instastories (now saved to my profile), then you already know I’m going to have to get real selective. It’s no secret how big of a fan I am of Biossance products, I’ve used them for years, and love that they’re a clean beauty brand that actually produces real results. So. LUCKY FOR ME, I just found out that some of my favorites now come in the best little travel sizes (will be packing some free samples too!) so I don’t actually have to give up that much while trying to keep the packing to a minimum.

Because everything we want to do is pretty spread out across the UK, we wanted to make the day-to-day train travel as light and easy as possible so that we have our hands free. I was totally inspired by several posts I read on the ability to travel minimally as a family, and because we’ll already be bringing two strollers, a camera bag, and then all the snacks/entertainment for our long travel days, I thought the convenience of very little luggage sounded like a complete dream. My husband LIVES for efficient/ compact packing and so as soon as I told him that I, for the first time in my over-packing life, wanted to give it a try, he immediately dropped to his knee and proposed again. And then spent the next 98 hours watching carry-on bag reviews on YouTube.

So here we are, a few days out, taking our extremely-reviewed bags for a test run, and trying to get as minimalist as possible. At this point I think the term “highly curated” should probably be banned from the internet, but I have no choice but to use it right now. Because these bags are about to be highly curated AF. Best of the best only. I'm sure you'll see in the future photos from our trip if my strategic outfit planning will win or fail (going for WIN), but my biggest hurdle ... the carry-on friendly skincare routine ... will be as follows:

Last year, I got a preview of their new Squalane + Micronutrient Fine Mist at Biossance HQ and totally fell in love. And now here it is in TRAVEL SIZE and I’m totally geeking out. I always, always spritz this on right after doing my makeup or if I need to freshen up after a flight.

For my moisturizing step, I pretty much always use the Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer and the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil in combination with each other. They are my FAVORITES. And I use the free sample sizes as travel sizes, so if you wanna do the same or just try these two together for only $5 shipping, you totally can! Highly recommend! You can also try their Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel in the same free sampling program. I’ve tried several different eye gels, and they’ve historically been pretty harsh on my skin, but I have LOVED this stuff. Because it’s somehow powerful, yet still perfect for sensitive under-eyes.

I was also so stoked when they started offering their signature 100% Squalane Oil in travel size because I mainly use this on my hair to tame its naturally frizzy tendencies. Which is key when you’re in the middle of an internal debate about bringing your curling iron.

I’m actually excited to travel like this! Despite my BFF Taylor being completely beside herself that I would deliberately choose to not bring more fashion options for London, because hello, it’s London. But LIKE I SAID … we’re going with highly curated haha. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Teaching sense of self to your kids and 5 ways you can lead by example

Tuesday, February 13

Tonight I was laying in bed with Isla, winding down before putting her to sleep, and I asked her what her favorite part of herself was. She was quiet while she thought about it for a minute, and then she said, "I love my mama." At first I thought maybe she didn't understand the question, but then I suddenly remembered one of the most crucial things I've ever learned about child development, and how before the age of 6, kids don't cognitively differentiate having separate identities from their parents. It's wild, but that's how their brains are wired. They are mirrors. My happiness is her happiness. My sadness is her sadness. And to her, her love for herself IS her love for me.

It was the smallest, most profound reminder of exactly how important this time of my children's lives are. Not only for them, but for me ... BECAUSE of them. The foundation on which they will build the remainder of their adolescence and subsequently, their entire adulthood, is being created right now, in these six years. And we, their parents, are the people they are basing that sense of self and personal identity on. 

So that's fine.

When you think about it like THAT, it feels like an impossibly high-pressure situation. But ultimately the key to raising these babies into healthy, happy, emotionally-confident adults is simple. If you give yourself permission to be you and love you and take the time to know you, it gives your children permission to be themselves, and love themselves, and take the time to know themselves. 
Which is of course, what we all want for them. So we have to want it for us too.

The execution of that, can feel a little less simple.
But as you may have noticed throughout this last year, I've made my own self development a higher priority than I ever have in my life, and it's changing. everything.

So here are 5 ways that I'm making sense-of-self a priority in my life and by default, showing my children how to do the same.

01. Read, write, pray, and meditate

 The entire point of making daily, dedicated time for doing each of these things every day is to honor the part of you that needs to express and the part of you that needs to listen. It's the clearing and refreshing of your mind that is just as vital as taking a shower, but is typically given significantly lower priority. I had a girlfriend text me the other day about doing these things, and she basically said, "OK. So the routine that you're doing is great, but literally WHEN. And like, HOW." And I feel that. Because truly it feels like I'm burning the candle at both ends most of the time, and there's never enough of me to go around. But generally, my approach to making this time for myself is simple: my routine is also a part of my children't routine. Meaning, it's set up as an expectation in their daily lives, and so are the rules around it (which is essentially just one rule: Mom gets some quiet time too. And that's why I birthed two of you and also bought 1 million toys for you to play with). I know everybody's household and the needs of that household are set up so differently. And I know I'm in an age-phase right now that I can have this luxury, cause this probably wouldn't have totally worked even a year ago. And it may phase out for a while if we have another baby. But times and seasons, you know. And right now I'm taking full advantage. 

02. Exercise

Here's the thing about exercise. There's nothing I could tell you here that you don't already know. We all know. We all know all the things. And we know that exercise is one of the biggest parts of getting to know yourself and loving yourself. But the profound thing I've noticed about the difference between when I've worked out alone and when I've worked out with my children around me (which is usually the only way I can get it in), is how they intrinsically know the real reason behind why I'm doing what I'm doing. Because when they mimic me, the focus for them is never on transformation. It's not on before and after. It's not on what they are not. It's about what they are. It's about what they CAN do, and being super pumped about that, and actually quite impressed with themselves. It's about joy. It's about finding ability in your own body. It's about showing yourself your own strength. And knowing that trying, and not QUITE making it, is not disappointing or discouraging, it's literally whatever. Who cares. Try again. Look, I've almost got it.
And that, in and of itself, is enough reason for me to make the time for it. So that the REAL reason, is always fresh in the forefront of my mind and especially theirs.

03. Redefine your emotions

I know that's a little ambiguous, but here's what I mean. Basically our society is set up with this emotional culture (based, by default, on parenting culture) that praises and rewards some emotions and shames and punishes other emotions. This entire concept was brought (devastatingly) to my attention one day when Isla was in the middle of a full-blown melt down. She was overly-tired and I had poured her milk in the wrong cup. This escalated into this moment in which, through her sobs, she started saying, "but I'm bad! I'm bad!" I rushed to question her on why she would say such a thing and reassure her that she was absolutely never, ever bad. She argued back with me, by saying that she was bad because she was crying and she was angry at me. 

I swear it was like getting punched in the stomach. 

Suddenly all these memories rushed into my brain. All the times that I had told her what a good girl she was for doing something that was scary and being so brave for not crying. All the times that I told her what a good girl she was for being so happy and sweet and kind. All the times I told her about her goodness and based that goodness on a very small range of emotions. I continuously complimented her on her pleasantness. And the thing is, I'd thought I was actually doing a decent job with this stuff. I've always made a point to listen to her anger and help her work through it. I've always mirrored and empathized with whatever sadness or frustration she felt. But up until that point, I'd also never associated "good" with those things either. I'd never emphasized how awesome it is to have a good cry. I'd never applauded her well-expressed anger. And so subconsciously, she had associated them as "not good."

How I looked at everything changed in that instant. And I realized it had to start with me. The perspective that I had unintentionally passed onto Isla, had been the exact perspective I'd had on myself. I was struck with the memory of feeling so guilty about the sadness I'd experienced in my motherhood for the entirety of a year. I felt guilty because I viewed that sadness as a representation of my personal worth and worthiness. Not being wholly and totally fulfilled in your motherhood especially was not ok and allowed. And therefore I was not ok and not allowed. 

I imagined the generosity of feeling that I wanted to bestow on my babies. Each emotion that I wanted them to know was good and allowed and a necessary part of being human. And the grace that I wanted to give them so they could give it to themselves. I started by attempting to honor myself in the same way. Because unfortunately or fortunately that's how it works. We cannot give others what we don't have ourselves.

We have to begin to understand on a conscious and subconscious level that no emotions are bad or good. They are just emotions. Some feel better than others. But there is no level of worth associated with any of them. We are not defined or measured by them. And if we aren't, our children won't be either. 

04. Give yourself permission to explore and experiment and refuse the mom-guilt

This one is simple. When you look at your child, you can easily see the multi-dimensional, dynamic, talented, wondrous human that they are. You can see how many different directions their life could go. You can see them light up with their various passions and opinions and interests. Observing those things gives you LIFE. And that's because it IS life. And it is crucial for them to witness it in you, because you are the foundation that they are building their sense of self on. Teach your child to honor their multi-faceted nature, by exploring yours. Teach your child to respect their individuality by respecting your own. Teach them that they are important by showing them that you are important. Teach them to create big things for themselves by creating big things for yourself. This is the most life-sustaining, life-perpetuating work you can do. And guilt does not and cannot live in that place. 

05. Listen to yourself

Rest when you need to rest. Eat when you need to eat. Pee when you need to pee haha. This one may seem glaringly obvious, but the more observant and conscious I've been of my daily patterns, the more I've realized how many terrible habits I've developed that have prevented me from honoring myself and receiving the things my body told me I need in that moment. And if we can't listen to the powerful, basic instincts of our human bodies, how in the world are we going to be able to listen to the still, inner whisperings of our intuition. Stop pushing. Start listening. Start becoming the bestower and receiver of care and love from yourself and for yourself and then watch your intuition and sense of self blossom.

All clothing worn in the post are from Old Navy in collaboration with their #HiFive initiative.


Monday, January 15

The other day I was doing a mental exercise that entailed trying to keep a visualization in my mind for one pure minute. Pure, meaning that during that minute, I would be so focused and so immersed in that good thing, that I would only feel the light of it, with no doubts bubbling up, no inner voices contributing opposition, no feelings of undeserving, just pure, focused, visualization. 
I couldn't do it.
I tried doing it in 17 second increments and had a hard time with that too.
In fact, I could only make it to about 10 before the limiting thoughts would sneak in without invitation. 

"Yeah right, that's not going to happen. Not to you."

As I practiced, it continually felt like I was ramming up against walls of subconscious unbelief in myself. I tried to give myself grace. My brain was not used to exercising this part of itself, after all. I was flexing a new muscle; reversing years of thought patterns. But I couldn't help but feel frustrated about continually feeling unworthy of the thing I was trying to visualize. We see our adult selves and interpret our adult reality through the set of lenses we were given as children. And those lenses presented themselves as STOP signs in my mind, popping up, and halting this new belief in its tracks.

"Yeah right, that's not going to happen. Not to you."

Then a few days later, quite synchronistically, I was pointed in the direction of what pretty much felt like a conduit of light straight from the heavens above. Through a beautiful, and thoughtfully written instagram post about embracing our ability to receive, I was given my answer. The one word that would be my guide in breaking down those childhood beliefs. In clearing and strengthening my mind. In writing a new rulebook.

Receive, receive, receive.

It sounded so easy and so so hard.

That afternoon I left my house for a massage appointment. This massage had been given to me as a birthday gift over a year ago, and I had waited for the impending expiration date to force my hand into booking it. And then I went ahead and rescheduled it once more just for good measure. Pushing it off, pushing it away, not creating an opening for its goodness. The metaphor was not lost on me.

When I got there, I comfortably situated myself on the massage table, closed my eyes and promised myself that I would stay present. And I did. Until I didn't. I thought about the errands I needed to run afterwards. I thought about my job. I analyzed things that I had said. I remembered a birthday party that was the next day. And then out of nowhere it struck me again.


Receive, receive, receive. 

And I was brought back to my body. I attempted to open. I allowed my calf muscles to receive. The arch of my foot to receive. The knots in my shoulders to receive. My palms to receive. The base of my spine to receive. I was THERE for it. And my gratitude for that moment quadrupled instantaneously. 

I went home and wrote this down:


I am receiving. I am opening my mind and my heart to receiving inspiration, love and personal power.
I am receiving the abundance that I am already surrounded with.
I am receiving the assistance and care that is sent to me through outside sources. 
I am receiving care and love from myself and for myself.
I am receiving inspiration from my personal connection with God.
I am receiving pleasure and power in my body.
I am receiving all the love and adoration from my husband.
I am receiving wealth and prosperity and freedom.
I am receiving the abundance that is meant for me with ease and effortlessness, happiness and gratitude.

That night I came across a teaser preview for this new movie that's coming out. This preview shows imagery of a modern-day, overworked, sleep-deprived mother who has two kids and a newborn, and knows that sometimes you need to serve frozen pizza for dinner. But this is not the point. At the end of the preview, her doorbell rings, and with circles under her eyes, she is met by a kind and warm woman who says this: "Hi. I'm Tully. I'm here to take care of you."

And this may sound strange that I'm bringing this up, but it struck me so forcefully. And in a way that has nothing to do with the actual movie. 

I thought, wouldn't it be the nicest thing in the entire world to hear those words?? 
Not, "What do you need help with?" 
Not, "I'm here to help." 
But, "Hi. I'm here to take care of you."

I decided right then that I was going to hear that phrase in my life, and I was going to hear it every single day. I decided that I was going to experience love and gratitude and friendship in this way. And that I would start by receiving it from myself, for myself. 

I practiced with my body first. That night, before getting in the shower, I mentally created this intention: "I am here to take care of you, and I am here to receive."

I washed my arms and hands with gratitude for lifting and writing and touching and being my connection to the world. I washed my abdomen with gratitude for expanding and retracting twice over while carrying my children. I washed my legs and feet with gratitude for carrying me and grounding me and allowing me to walk and run and play. I washed my hair with gratitude for being a growing, living, means of expression. 

The next morning I woke up early. Too early. Isla was coughing and needed some medicine. As I laid back down and tried to sleep, a flood of thoughts came to my brain. I tried to shove them away, but they kept pouring in, waking me up even further. Then I stopped myself. I stopped trying to shove away what I didn't want, and began to receive what I did want. Receive sleep, receive rest, receive my ability to renew. I fell back asleep with little resistance.

Several hours later, I practiced with my workout. "I am here to take care of you, and I am here to receive." The intention flowed through every lift, every pull, every last set and rep. I felt strong and grateful. Then I went into the kitchen. "I am here to take care of you, and I am here to receive." I cut the vegetables without feeling like it was inconvenient or a waste of my limited morning time. I made the tea. I cracked the eggs. And then sat at my plate, and received. 

As I continued with the rest of my routine, and began to prepare for my morning visualization practice, I suddenly realized that I had, in one night and one morning, set in motion a new reality and state of being, an extremely high-frequency of gratitude, and created for myself a seat at the table of abundance, where I do, despite what I have believed about myself previously, belong. In that seat, I can and I am. 

I began to practice the visualization again, but this time with RECEIVE as an ever-present intention. Seventeen seconds passed. Thirty-four. Fifty-one. Sixty-eight. And I opened my eyes with shock. I had been strong enough. My mind had not wavered. And I had believed, for one pure minute, that I am worthy of receiving. 

It's a good start. 
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