Tuesday, May 19

Shoes: Old Navy, Jeans: H&M, Top: Target, Hat: c/o Windsor, Sunglasses: Old and borrowed

Sometimes I'm convinced that an alien space demon has come down and possessed my child's three-year-old body. Although other conversations with moms of three-year-old's have assured me that this is, for the most part, a fairly normal thing to experience, sometimes, after a particularly hearty emotional moment, or after I ask him to turn down the volume on what he's watching and he replies with, "Sorry I can't. I'm working", I'm almost just as assured that the threes were designed as one massive year-long mom test. Just to see if I'm even remotely capable of getting into heaven.

Then other times, the sass fests blur into the background, and this wonderful, shining human, full of awesomeness and potential reminds me that it's totally going to work out, and he's going to grow up to be a really good, really independently-minded kid and a totally respectable adult who will visit his parents frequently and remember to call on Mother's Day, promise.

Like, for example, when he wakes up first thing in the morning, leans over and asks, "Mama? Are you feeling happy?" I don't answer, because I'm sleeping. He then slings his body over mine and whispers fiercely and reassuringly into my neck, "It's OK to have feelings."

Or when he, again, wakes up first thing in the morning, and while still rubbing his eyes, whispers into the dark, "I'm hungry for Buffalo Wild Wings."

When I get food poisoning at some ridiculous morning hour and he follows me into the bathroom to rub my hunched over back, and tell me that it's OK, and he can go get a bucket for me if I want him to.

And when he's playing quietly with his toys and suddenly bursts out with, "I LOVE HUMAN THINGSSSS!" Or on a different occasion, between crashing his cars together, softly mumbles to himself, "We live in the world. This is our sweet home."

When he names the large head in his play-doh kit, Bill Murray.

When he asks me to sing him a Flo Rida song before bed. (Questionable Parenting Moments 101)

When he leaves his group of playmates, to burst into the room of women where I'm talking, smash me with a hug and announce, "I was missing you!"

And when I tuck him under the covers and kiss him with a, "goodnight sweet boy" and he whispers back into the dark, "goodnight sweet mama."

I take it back. I totally love the threes.

Five more minutes: Workout, Workup

Friday, May 15

During the past five months, living the way we've been living, I pretty much have one or both of the kids awake and with me from 6:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night. This is a long time to go without having your own thoughts or body to yourself. (That sentence should be in all caps) Not that those hours aren't filled with the most entertaining moments, and the biggest laughs and delights of my life. But ... you know what I'm saying. The 4:30-6:30 stretch of the day can be, for whatever reason, the most patience testing portion. It's the time when I'm most likely to hear myself saying things like, "you want to watch a show and eat dinner on the couch? SOUNDS GREAT." And, "I don't know honey! I don't know. Let's pick a different word than WHY, for just a minute."
A few months into this, I decided that I HAD to take some time. If for no other reason, than to feel like a nicer person for my children. Do something emotionally and physically healthy, and make myself a priority for just an hour. If not every day, then at least three times a week. That was my goal. At first that turned into workouts that began after 10:30 at night when I had some alone time, but that didn't last long, because who was I trying to kid. Since leaving the bed before Isla wakes up in the morning wasn't an option (sensitive sleeper), it turned into working out with the kids or not doing it at all.
I should preface all this by saying that I am by no means an expert on health and fitness by any stretch of the imagination (that's my Mom's department), but I do follow a lot of different moms on instagram that demo the different workouts they do with their kids jumping and toddling around them, so I figured, why not me. Why not us. Every morning that I can, I write down a set of exercises, how many reps, how many sets, strap my children on, plug in my headphones, and disappear into the quiet and serenity of my hardcore rap music. (Kidding. Sort of.)
So! Today, I thought I'd demo a few of my favorite at-home, with-kids exercises here, just in case any of you are in the same boat as I am, and/or, just the idea of loading the kids up in the car and driving to the gym sounds like more trouble than it's worth, and/or you don't own dumbbells, but you have children.
Russian twists// (suggestion: 4 sets of 15 reps) This one is particularly more challenging with a baby, since you have to maintain control, instead of just tossing your arms or a weight around.
Plank up-downs// (suggestion: 4 sets of 10 reps) Move from your elbows, to a push-up plank, and then back down to your elbows. Bonus if your child wants a ride!
Floor bridges// (suggestion: 4 sets of 15 reps) This one is a favorite of Isla's. P.S. The farther out your feet are, the more it works your hamstrings.
Sit up and kiss// (suggestion: 4 sets of 15 reps) Also a favorite of whoever's turn it is to sit on my lap.
Wall sit// (suggestion: one minute increments, 4 sets) I hate this one. Painful but effective.
Tricep dips// (suggestion: 4 sets of 15 reps)
Reverse lunge// (suggestion: 5 sets of 15 reps) You can combine this exercise with the next exercise, just to switch up your movement if you get bored easily. There are also an infinite number of squat based exercises you can do holding your children like this.
Reverse side lunge// (suggestion: 5 sets of 15 reps)
Chair step-ups// (suggestion: 5 sets of 15 reps) I don't know why I decided to demo on a chair with a cushion? Obviously, don't do this. I'm normally working on a hard, flat surface in the living room.
One thing that I'm always surprised with (because I've never been very consistent with working out) is how happy I feel when I'm done. Alive and sweaty, and filled with what must be, a million friendly endorphins. I feel better about myself, I make better decisions with what I put in my body after I'm done, and I sleep better at night. And you're probably over there like, DUH. But this, sadly, has been a revelation for me. Making yourself a priority! Whoda thunk.

The PROBLEM however, with making sure a workout happens in the morning, is that after I'm done, and breakfast has been made and babies have been properly napped, the next item of business on the day's agenda is quickly approaching. Most of the time I pretty much have less than 5 minutes to throw myself together.
And don't judge me OK, but I love taking my showers late at night after the kids go to bed, when the house is dark and quiet and I don't have to worry about blow drying my hair after I get out. So that's my thing. After a workout? I just need to spruce up a little. Wipe down, and go. For my regular, day to day look, especially after a workout, I don't even like to put on mascara. Just get that dewy, fresh looking skin, and call it a day. After stalking the beauty section at Target, (where else do I ever go?) I found a dream trio of products that will give me exactly that, in less than five minutes. Probably less than three if we actually timed it. Less than three, in your car, applied in the rear-view mirror even.
First up, THESE. Yes to Cucumbers soothing facial towelettes. Because sweat. And also they've been a go-to for years, and I'll probably never use anything else. IMG_1707
(You guys, never take pictures of yourself wiping your face off.) 
Next up! Pixi H20 skintint. This stuff is dreammmmmy. It's a tinted gel, so it goes on super light and dewy, but settles into your skin and evens everything out without making you look shiny. IMG_1712IMG_1734
And finally, this baby. NYX wonder stick. (I use the universal shade) This is your new best friend, and as much of a wonder stick as it claims to be. It will make you GLOW. I apply the highlighter end above my cheekbones, down the center of my nose, a little above my brow bone and in the center of my forehead.IMG_1744IMG_1751IMG_1752
After that, I take the bronzer end and apply one line down each cheek hollow, and one across the top of my forehead. Then just blend the crap out of it.
And done! My favorite no make-up, make-up look. We'll just pretend I have the ability to look this fresh after working out. Totally.

This post is brought to you by Target Style. Shop the new Beauty collection in stores and online.

the day I met the person who gave me my blue eyes

Thursday, May 14

"We should go meet him. We should just show up! Just go knock on his door!" This is what my sister said to me as we were driving home one night, a few days after Christmas. I laughed. We'd talked about it jokingly before, in a "how crazy would it be if ..." sort of way. She was serious this time though. She wanted to meet our Dad's birth father, and our biological grandfather. Just show up at his door! Unannounced! My first instinct was to shrivel away from the idea. I am an introvert unless I am called upon to be otherwise, and avoid confrontation whenever possible, so to me, this was stepping into uncomfortable territory. Still, the idea was intriguing. Get to see who my dad came from? Just observe his face, even if for a few minutes. His name had lived in our house for so many years, but my dad had only just gotten to meet him a few years ago. His home, ironically, was only a few minutes away.

We called our dad and asked if it was alright. His response was essentially, whatever you need to do. For my sister, meeting him was particularly important. It was something she'd always wanted to do, but never had the chance because we'd never lived so close. Yet here we were, in the same town after all this time, and suddenly it seemed stupid NOT to. I was excited but nervous as I jumped on board to accompany her. We navigated to the house, and left our husbands in the car while we walked across the street, nervously asking ourselves, "Is this the house? Are we sure? It's not that one over there? No, no I think this is it."

We rang the doorbell and expelled our breath. We hoped his family wasn't there. In the past, we had gotten the sense that the knowledge of my dad's existence had been disruptive to them, and our objective was not to add to that. We saw a figure get up from the living room and walk to the door. Just one person. "I think that's him", my sister whispered right before the door swung open.

Blue eyes. My dad's nose. My eyes, and my nose.

"Hi." We greeted him by asking if we had his name right. "Are you...?" He said yes and we introduced ourselves. Our conversation was brief. My sister did most of the talking, and I observed him quickly. He, this person who looked like our Dad, was just a normal guy. His eyes were kind. He was extremely young looking for his age - another trait he passed on. His handshake was firm and warm, and he didn't say much besides, "OK". Talking with him, it was obvious that he didn't think of us. That we were not a part of his story, like he was part of ours. It is strange to meet someone for the first time, when you know deeply personal things about their past, and what they've run from. In a strange way, it feels like a moment of connection. I know you on some level. I know you because of my Grandma, and I know you because of my Dad. I know what makes you human and I know, in some part, what you are afraid of.

It felt good to shake his hand.

As we were wrapping up the conversation, there was a silent pause. I couldn't handle it. I DO NOT HANDLE PAUSES WELL WHEN I AM NERVOUS. And, because I am a loser, I quickly blurted out, "Did you have a good Christmas?!"

*face palm*

He did have a good Christmas by the way.


Tuesday, May 12

Shoes: F21, Skirt: Urban Outfitters, Tee: F21, Necklace: Samantha Wills,Sunglasses: Target

I was just thinking today, about how nice hindsight is. How nice it is to get to look back on something, and tell the story of it. Hindsight has a beginning and a middle and an end. And in my experience, most of the time, the ending sounds something like, "it worked out." Or at the very least, "it didn't kill us." The summer after we were married, for example, was a complete crap shoot. Tyson had accepted a job down in Phoenix that had a start date set for three days after our wedding. We loaded our things (what things) into the back of our small silver car and drove straight to Vegas and then on to Phoenix. We were there for exactly two weeks. I remember receiving a package in our brand new, yet very empty apartment, and having to pause when I was writing out my signature, slowly and deliberately feeling out the cursive of my new last name. A girl who was observing me, though I can't remember why she was there, asked me how long I'd been married. "Just 4 days.", I replied. She looked at me incredulously and asked, "What are you DOING here???" Nothing felt right about those weeks. Tyson would head to work for a long, hot day in the sun and I would hang out with this strange new club I was suddenly a part of. Just one of the wives. We would go to the pool, or a large nearby mall, where we'd walk by Victoria's Secret and they'd tell me things like, "Lingerie is overrated, don't even bother."

We decided after those two weeks, that the whole thing wasn't really our jam, and decided instead (after a very generous and kind invite), to drive to Seattle, move in with Tyson's sister and her husband, and just find jobs when we got there. The drive up the pacific coast highway was our sort of honeymoon. On one night, we stopped at a hotel that had a pink tub in the middle of the room (awesome), and I remember it feeling like a splurge to stay there, but it had a great view of the ocean and we loved it.

That summer, we both worked two jobs. Tyson's first job started at 4 in the morning. Mine started at 7 or 8. We'd finish those up and then meet back together in the late afternoon for our second job, which was knocking doors, taking political surveys. Most of the time we were pretty diligent about getting our neighborhoods completed, but sometimes, after a particularly long week, we'd spend the last 10 minutes of our shift back in our car, talking about what movie we wanted to see, and playing solitaire on our palm pilots (that's right I said palm pilots).

That summer was a rough and shaky go at starting our life together. Though we were incredibly grateful to his sister for saving our butts, sharing a two bedroom apartment with another couple three weeks after you're married was ... I don't want to say stupid ... but maybe stupid.

We made it though. Every summer after that was a total dream comparatively. And the hindsight that kicked in eventually, wrapped that summer up into a nice neat little story, with a beginning, a middle and an end that sounded something like, "it worked out." And, "it didn't kill us."

Now, seven years later, as Tyson finishes up his last few weeks of school, we're at the part where I'm jealous of my future self and the hindsight she'll someday have about this very moment in our lives. I'm jealous of her nonchalant and almost flippant, "hey, it worked out" that she'll throw around a few years from now. I wish I could time travel for real. But I've always done this to myself. I have always and forever lived for the future. Lived for the plan. "The plan." And so has Tyson. Until he, in a moment when everything inside of him yelled, DO IT, THIS IS RIGHT, dropped what he was doing and enrolled in the program that he's now about to graduate from. And remarkably (or I guess not so remarkably), everything still feels just as right as the day he did that.

It's hard to write about something when you're right in the middle of it. It's not a story yet, and you have no idea what the ending is going to look like. But so far, the beginning feels promising and exciting. And also, this particular beginning includes us living together as a family again. So. The hindsight potential on this story so far, is looking pretty good.

mother's day, according to my children

Monday, May 11

photos by Jessica Magalei after a fun make-up shoot with Cara Brook

My mother’s day began squished between my children. As usual, Everett woke up first, laying quietly next to me until the first signs that Isla was beginning to stir, and then he popped his head over the top of my body, burying his chin in my chest to get a better look at his sister. “Hi Isla! Did you wake up?!” he exclaimed. Then looked over to me to announce that, “We can be loud now.”

The wrestling match begins. Everett wants to tickle, and pat, and touch and bury his face in her belly to make her laugh. And I am the referee when it becomes a little too much for someone who just woke up.

Then I get in the shower. During my shower, I retrieve the fallen toys that Isla has dropped from her bathroom perch, hand her a few snacks, help Everett take his pajamas off, and find the rube goldberg video he was looking for on the ipad. I towel off, and then dump the potty chair. I wrestle Everett into his clothes, explaining that sometimes we have to do things that we don’t want to do. He cries in his room because I won’t let him wear his soccer jersey to church. I blow my hair dry, feed and dress Isla, and make breakfast. Everett emerges. He wants a popsicle.

In the afternoon, we fill up buckets of water and take them out to the driveway. We mix green, pink and purple food coloring into the water. I close my eyes while a pants-less Everett tells me that he’s making me a surprise. I open them again to discover a big bowl of spaghetti soup just for me. The spaghetti soup spills and our clothes are wet.

 By 8:00 in the evening, we find ourselves in the car. Isla is crying, and Everett is telling me that I’m “killing him” and “you’ve gotta be kidding me” because I won’t drive him out to Grammy’s house. I turn the music louder and cram chocolate into my mouth.

Now, at 11:30, Isla is sleepily nursing in the sling, and Everett is playing with legos at my feet, still awake due to a cozy and extended afternoon nap. He guards Isla’s sleep with his deliberate whispers. Even after stubbing his toe, he muffles his cries with his hands so he doesn’t wake her. He wants me to read a book to him about how a baby grows inside of a mama’s belly. I just want to go to sleep.

Now that I have both a toddler and a baby, people tell me that I am in the trenches. This is it. This is the part to get through. This is the patience testing, sleep depriving, body sharing, ball juggling trenches. And I believe them. I think I’ll still believe them even after I get my husband back. This shiz is hard. It gives me stress headaches and makes my hair fall out, and also cry a little because so help me, just share with your sister, dammit! And don’t put your crackers down your underwear! And DON’T TOUCH THE POOP!

BUT. It is perfect in it’s design, this thing. This motherhood. Within the hours of my early mornings and late nights, I can feel myself being squeezed, and stretched, molded and grown, and expanded in my capacity to love loudly and profoundly. Motherhood is also the realization that my body is not my own right now. It is a place, beloved of my children. There was always a slight fear in the back of my mind that I would lose myself in that. That somehow my identity would be swallowed up in the surviving and the sharing and the giving up of my body and my time to them. But somehow it hasn't. I’ve only come to more intimately realize that I am a mother, but also more than a mother. That I am not my body, but can appreciate it as an incredibly designed, and connective instrument to be temporarily climbed on by small humans. Sharing is caring, and all that.

This mother’s day was pretty much just another day. But when my son fell down, he cried for his mama and found comfort in my arms. And when he thought I was going somewhere, he asked me not to leave him. (If you didn’t know, the words, “don’t leave me” from a three-year-old will break your heart in two.) And when my daughter laid on my chest in sleep, I could feel her calm breath and knew she felt safe and fed and warm because I was there. And when she woke, she tipped her head back, and I kissed her soft wrinkly neck, while her bubbly laugh tumbled out of her. Someday I hope they know what they are to me, truly. My hardest job and my proudest accomplishments. My loves, my lights and my whole life, right there, contained in those two little souls. Lucky, lucky me.

a full on denim dress guys. this is actually happening.

Thursday, March 12

Shoes: F21 (old), Dress: c/o MiH Jeans, Sunglasses: Target 

I don't know what it is about denim dresses, but they've always seemed relatively taboo and untouchable in my mind. Like more than overalls, more than harem pants, more than how I once felt about our beloved birkenstocks, may they trend forever. All I can picture is like, a swarm of denim jumper donned elementary school teachers in the 90's, herding us children into the school gym for a class assembly. And my mom. I think my mom had one at one point. And my 4th grade best friend's mom. I mean now that I think about it, denim jumpers were an essssssential backdrop of my childhood. SO SHOULD THEY BE EVEN REMOTELY INVOLVED IN MY TWENTIES? You know?

I guess we're gonna go with yes, why not.

This isn't exactly a denim jumper, anyway. And this is not the 90's. This is straight up what the 70's did best. With a belt! And pockets! And so much stain resistance it's insane.

I'm talking myself into it.


Oh and while we're here, talking about clothes and what not for a change, I should mention that I just started using the WEAR app, as another form of stalking other people's outfits when I'm feeling stuck in a rut. You can see where to buy the items right in the app, so it makes tracking a favorite item a lot easier. You can also search for the ways others are styling the same item of clothing you're wearing, by using the Closet tab on your profile. If you'd like, you can check out my profile page and follow me HERE, and be sure to download the app to see my most recent outfit posts and start uploading your own!
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