Wearing my joy

This is me when I was…. 4?

Wearing the heck out of my joy.

I’m 35 now…. and I finally feel like I know myself…my style…. my niche…. my whatever you want to call it.

Like I have been picking up pieces of the puzzle my whole life and I am finally sitting down, looking at them, dusting old ones off, getting to know the new ones, and putting them all together. 

The finished puzzle is shaping up to look a lot like the photo of me when I was 4.

Care free, bright, floral, mis-matched, happy, and dressing myself in things that make me feel like how you feel when you are on a swing…..free.

I am discovering little things about myself every day that may seem silly to others but have been monumental to me.

Things like….

I know that a grey v neck tee shirt has no place in my closet…….despite what every magazine article that I have been reading since the 7th grade tells me.

I know that there are girls out there that get up and curl their hair every day….. and that I will never be one of them.

I know that there is no $80 mascara that looks better on my eyelashes than good old $5 Maybelline from Rite aid.

I know that I am more likely to be envious of what the 8 year old at the park is wearing then what her mom is…. I might linger at the monkey bars….pssst…. where did you get those lavender polka dot tights?

I think I wasted a lot of time in my life trying to figure out what kind of girl I was.

Or maybe I always knew… But for a long time I only let parts of her come out to play.

It probably started right around the age of 11. The year I was starting to become aware of what other girls were wearing…. and that some girls played hop scotch and wore striped leggings. Some girls stood in a circle and giggled in skirts. Some hung from bars on the playground in jeans.

Although I was friends with all of these girls, I have always gotten along with pretty much everyone…. I knew I was a tom boy. I never wore skirts or dresses or tights or anything pretty. Girls that go out and play football with the boys at recess don’t wear any of those sorts of things, even though I wanted to. At least that’s what my 11 year old brain thought.

A couple weeks ago I hiked to the top of a mountain with my 3 little boys in a dress with ruffles and polka dot tights and I have never felt more like my true self. It was exhilarating.

Dear 11 year old self,

You wear whatever the fuck you want to wear to recess.

My mom is going to read this and see that I just wrote the F word and be shocked, so I guess I should also tell you that I also say the F word now and then…. even though I wear a bunch of lace and pin flowers in my hair….

My high school senior pictures were snapped with me posing on a weird ledge with a half smile in navy pants and a plain button down sweater….a half smile because pretty girls in magazines have big eyes, even when they smile. They have pearly white teeth and apparently they wore button down cardigans. At least that is what my 16 year old brain thought.

Dear 16 year old self,

Have that photographer meet you in your back yard…. sit on your horse bare back in your favorite Roxy tee shirt and cut-offs….yes even with your horrid softball tan lines. You should be eating a slice of Central Market pizza and be smiling so big that your eyes disappear inside of your giddy face, because that was what 16 looked like for you….and that’s what your smile actually looks like…. and in 20 years it will be your favorite thing about yourself.

In my 20’s I was still kind of fumbling about…horse girl, coffeehouse girl, bartender girl, dance in the club girl, social butterfly girl, artsy crafty girl, cozy stay inside and read girl, camping/hiking pnw girl. The 20’s are for trying on all the things…. taking a little from here…. a little from there. Yes, I like flowy skirts, Nope, never going to wear slacks…. not ever..

You start getting more comfortable in your skin. You start to understand what works for you. You like picking out what you’re going to wear that night, packing for romantic getaways……. you have your favorite stores, things are feeling pretty joyful….. and then——————

Dear 20 year old self,

You are about to have yourself a litter of children…. enjoy that mini skirt.

Having babies is like the intermission of the wearing your joy movie.

There is no…. loss of joy… its just…. distributed differently .

Take this picture for example…..

I am, in all seriousness, ridiculously happy here, I am not winning any fashion awards…. but… I have everything I ever wanted in this picture.

I got my 2 year old twins. I got my newborn baby. I got my breast pump. I got my laptop set up to watch a horse show. I got my little burp cloth. I got my 3XL Wonder woman tee shirt from Target. Good to go.

I want to make sure that everyone knows just how much joy that horribly large but undeniably comfortable shirt brought me through those months… You seriously don’t give a shiznit at that point. You just want to be comfortable.

You are feeding a baby from your body. You are staring at their eyelashes and little fingernails. You are wondering how you made such a perfect little…and oh…yikes….there’s the Fed Ex man at the door…. welp, guess he saw my boob out again… oh well.

It’s a level of not giving a shiznit that is off the charts.

And let’s not forget about the joy Dan was feeling…….

Now here’s a guy who is jam packed full of potty training, newborn night feeds, hormonal wife joy…….

Here’s the deal, folks. These years are weird. They just are.

You’re so tired and busy and happy and confused and amazed and overwhelmed and grateful and hormonal and weird.

I don’t think that I ever really forgot myself…. she was always there….I was just so freaking busy that I had to have a quick a conversation with her that went a little something like this….

“Hey girl. I’m not putting anything cute on you right now or washing you enough or really hanging out with you a lot these days…. I know… I miss it too… But I haven’t forgotten about you…… and as soon as I can… I’ll be back for you. I promise.”

So yeh, not a bunch of joy wearing….

But still joy.

So much joy.

Fast forward a year or so……

…..and here comes 2018…. looking all new and shiny and potty trained and I was ready.

Maybe it’s coming out of that season of having toddlers (let us just overlook the fact that I still have one) or getting older… or the just the simple fact that you are guaranteed not to be spit up on…….

But I have felt this shift in me that is like…. I just want to be a baller.

I want to wake up, wear beautiful clothes, twirl around in them….and just…. DO THINGS.

Who even knows what, but I just want to do them.

So right around this time I start feeling the good vibes, I stumble on Kelly Roberts.

She is a true inspirational soul, an artist, and no, of course I don’t actually know her, but I am sure she is a real peach….AND she was offering an e-course called… ‘Wear your joy’.

A 30 day prompted course to inspire and guide you through rediscovering the FUN of getting yourself dressed every day.

You look at your closet .

You rid yourself of every piece that you don’t absolutely adore.

You try on clothes you already have in different ways, make a little joy altar, gain inspiration from others, I FREAKING loved it.

I started looking at getting myself dressed not as a hurried task, but as a way to set the tone for the day.

And none of this saving special clothes for special occasions…..

I now give myself permission to treat every day like it was and is the most special day of the year.

Nothing is off limits.

I wear my best dress for a walk to visit the sheep.

My favorite sweater to drop my kids off at school.

A spritz of fancy perfume to check the mail.

It feels GOOD.

I went into a vintage shop with my friend Nicole and after taking a tequila shot with the chatting up the owner she went to the back and brought out a stack of 1950’s handmade ‘feed sack’ dresses. “These will be perfect for you.”

I bought 6.

She sent me the last 3 in the mail a month later with a note that said ‘I know you will give them a good home and they will bring you joy.’ (Thank you Gretchen🙂

.

I wore them nearly every day this summer.

I gather eggs in the pockets, dig in the garden… I took them to the fair, on hikes, to the beach…. I sit in them and wonder about the woman who sewed them…. what kind of life did she lead, where have they been?

These are the things that bring me joy.

At 35 that is all I am really interested in anymore.

The things that give me that squishy, disappearing eye smile I was talking about before. The one I get when I am completly in the moment happy… when I am laughing with my friends, dancing with my husband, looking down at my newborn sons.

It’s the worst kind of smile you can have according to Dermatologists everywhere.

“Oh my, you do smile with your whole face don’t you?” one told me a couple years ago. ” Well stay out of the sun, use this cream and in a few years we will fix you right up with some injectables and you will be happy as a clam….”

As I am writing this I am running my fingers over the small lines that are starting to form. The years of happiness are catching up to me, as if that is a bad thing.

Dear 35 year old self,

Don’t ever listen to someone else’s version of your joy. Surround yourself with things that make you smile with your whole face, play in the sun with your kids all day, every day…. wear rainbow hats and flower sweaters and ridiculous socks…….. and those wrinkles…. that proof on your face that you live a wonderful and fulfilling life? Well that is your best accessory.


Find out what brings YOU joy….

Find out what YOU want more of….

Find out what makes YOU feel good….

And then for goodness sake ADORN yourself with it…..

COVER your entire body with things that make you giddy.

Throw out the rules and enJOY every minute of it…

I sure have!

So… what did we do?

This isn’t going to be beautifully written.

There is writing to be done, deep, personal writing, but I wanted to start out by just giving you a somewhat gritty, no-nonsense look at the actual changes we made in our life and schedules that we followed this year.

If you have not yet read the first post…. do so here…

Ok. Here we go.

First thing we did was pin point areas in our life that we wanted to attack.

I am going to go through my personal process, some of which overlaps with Dan’s…. but he was very much on his own journey , so we will talk to him about that in a later post.

I made an actual list.

Things that caused me daily annoyance.

Example:

  • Morning routine (waking up already feeling behind, cooking breakfast for the kids while Dan was trying to get out the door to work, me getting myself ready while the boys were running rampant, getting THEM dressed… you get it….)
  • My energy (I wanted to get us off this roller coaster of either being squeaky clean of our health….. to being totally reckless and eating pasta right out of the pot while texting Dan pictures of melted cheese as if I was sending him nudes… like…. oooh baby…look at what naughty things I am up to… you know you want in on this cheese…. )
  • My closet (this goes hand in hand with the frustration with getting myself ready in the morning, feeling rushed and almost always just grabbing a sweatshirt and some comfy pants paired with a bumpy messy bun and a side of yesterday’s eyeliner to run out the door)
  • Too much random stuff. (I’m talking tinker toy sticks everywhere, little random blobs of plastic that you cant even remember where it came from and yet you just keep ‘organizing’ it in another random bin. Did I use the word ‘random’ enough in that paragraph? ok good.

It was long…. but golly it felt good to write it all out.

And then I just started going through the list one by one and found solutions.

I wasn’t kidding when I said one of the most liberating moments of my life was when I threw away ALL of the sippy cup tops and bottoms that had been shoved in our cupboard and bought each kid one stainless steel water bottle.

Ohhhh…. and the joy of dumping all of those lone socks that had been floating around their closet…. for years…. and getting them new socks of one color so you never have to pair another sock again in your life…. I mean…. its the little things, man….

But let’s dive into some of the big things.

And trust me when I say, it took many nights of Dan and I sitting down, and talking about how to tackle the big things.

We have always put our kids to bed early. Since those twins were three months old their bedtime has been 6:30.

Now that they are a bit older and there is a third kid in the mix it is 7:00, 7:15 ish… but that has always been a non-negotiable. Dan and I have our evenings to ourselves. We cook our dinner, pour our wine, talk about our days, listen to music, throw in the occasional hip hop dance off, and just…. be together. It is the best.

But to carve out some alone time we had to switch it up a bit.

Weeknights NOW look like this:

Dan comes home from work around 5, I usually have the kids sitting down eating their dinner. We sit together, the kids spew everything we did that day to their Dad, maybe Dan plays some guitar, maybe Finn throws some squash, during December we lit candles and sang songs as a part of our advent, but this is our version of a ‘family dinner’….

….at 5:30 one of us takes the keys to the car….. and peaces out.

Dan takes a Monday/Wednesday, I take a Tuesday/Thursday… some weeks we switch…. the general idea is we give each other a smooch and say “see ya later alligator, enjoy your time.”

The one at home finishes up with the kiddos dinner, gets them in a bath, pj time and stories…. and night night kids!

The one with the keys gets to go…..wherever…. and alone. GLORY!

Dan goes to the gym. Every time. He lifts. He sits in the steam room. He has made friends with every employee. That is his happy place.

Most of the time I go to the gym too. I swim and enjoy the silence of being under water…. I don’t swim in a lane. I swim in the ‘free swim area’ like a little kid and just kind of swirl around and smile. I go on the stairmaster, The goal being to get stronger for hikes, here I listen to my favorite podcasts or books on tape. I run on the treadmill, slowly and more of a wog…(half walk half jog), I watch Survivor on my phone and plot my future victory. I sit in the sauna, the steam room, the hot tub…..sometimes the hot tub is ALL I do…. There are times I am completely alone, other times I find myself immersed in a conversation with Don, the 90 year old grandpa who still swims laps every day. I shower…. For as long as I want…. I use yummy smelling soaps and shampoos I bought just for my gym bag, I dry off in a fluffy towel. I put on my pajamas and drive the 10 mins home feeling like a new woman.

In the summer sometimes I drive straight to the beach. I walk slowly and think, or run fast and pretend I’m one of those girls that do that sort of thing. Or I lay on my belly and read a book and let the low sunlight warm my thighs, maybe take a dip…. that is always a good idea.

By the time we come back from our lone adventure, the person who put the kids down has started dinner. We sit together and chat, and on these days, we don’t turn on the TV. We eat together, albeit late, but what do we care? I’ll take a 9:00 steak dinner made by a man I’m in love with after a dip in the ocean any day…..

The other thing we added to the routine is after dinner, we snuggle up in bed… and read. Books have always been my thing, but this is something that is new to Dan, to sit and enjoy reading, so that has been nice to see him find a new way to relax.

Ok, you still with me? I’m about to drop another big thing on ya….

Food…. and everything we put into our body…

This was huge. Since having the twins we have done a dozen or more Whole 30’s… Don’t know what a Whole 30 is? There is a mountain of information that you can find out on the good ole google search bar. But you can also read the book, ‘It starts with food’.

…but the gist is… no sugar, no dairy, no bread/pasta/good stuff for 30 days. Reset your body. And then after those 30 days you slowly reintegrate things back into your diet and identify what triggers you or just doesn’t make you feel good. And we have always felt incredible while doing them. But if we weren’t doing one…. we slowly let old habits creep in.

Let me be real. Dan and I are secretly fat kids inside.

Like, we don’t like to tell people about it…. but we can seriously get dirty with food.

And we love to drink. period. I’m just being honest.

We have spent 11 years having a rockin’ good time…

But in your 30’s what comes with the ‘good times’ is the next 10 days feeling lousy…. tired… bloated…. slow.

So how to still have a rockin’ good time, but cut out all the crud that is making us feel not so great? That was the question…

And I think it is mandatory to do this part together.

Because to replace old habits with new ones is tough! You have to have one strong person when the other feels weak, you need to link arms and pour that La Croix that rhymes with enjoy and forge ahead together on this new path.

We changed our mindset from a 30 day cleanse that has ‘results’ or an ‘after’ to ‘We are changing the way we treat our bodies… indefinitely. We owe it to ourselves, to our children, to put in the time, to do the research, and to make health a priority.’ I mean, it sounds so cliche…. like I’m about to sell you something (don’t worry, I’m not) but that is pretty much exactly what we said.

I read or heard somewhere that Americans will do endless research when it comes to buying something like a car…. but when they walk into a grocery store to buy ground beef, they will pick the cheapest, bulk price lump of meat and call it good.

We didn’t follow a diet. We just did endless research, shared with each other what we were learning, replaced all of the old habits with things we were genuinely excited about, and now a year later, can confidently say we have completely changed the way our family looks and enjoys food.

(Ok but what did you do?)

We start each morning out with a green smoothie.

  • collagen powder
  • one date
  • almond milk
  • kale
  • spinach
  • almond butter
  • frozen bluberries
  • chia seeds

This is just what we have landed on that makes us feel the best throughout the day.

We don’t keep ANYTHING in the house that we doesn’t make us feel good.

For lunch is like whatever makes you feel good, in the summer it could be a salad from the garden, right now I am on a ‘snack platter’ kick…. (nuts, uncured salami, dried peaches, broccoli, leftovers….whatever floats your health boat).

And for dinner we cook a healthy FEAST. This I think was/is important for us.

To cook a delicious meal together and sit down to eat it has always been our thing. I am talking full on rib eye steaks with roasted potatoes, home made aioli, and caramelized onions and mushrooms. All local ingredients, no added bullshit, just delicious and made us feel good and strong. None of this handful of carrots and a side of broiled chicken. But we did have to say goodbye to pasta dinners, enchiladas, pizza, things that we loved, but made us feel like yuck.

If I had to connect our eating style to something mainstream, I would say it’s closest relative is Paleo.

We grew a garden full of our own vegetables. I could write a whole post just on the joys of this….. oh wait, maybe I already did 🙂

We got bad ass Yeti water bottles in fun colors and drink A TON OF IT.

We researched vitamins and supplements and how they work in your body, which ones actually make it into your bloodstream and which ones are a waste of money…. and now we take them. (read ‘Naked Calories’ and don’t be scared away by the cover photo 😉

But of course we also do this….

If we are at Prima Bistro, and it is a special date night, we share a bottle of wine and each get our own creme brulee (you don’t share a Prima dessert… you just don’t) after the pork belly and duck fat potatoes….. (you should really go to Prima…..)

If I am driving the kids home from a hike from Deception Pass and we want some drive thru fries… we get them once in a while.

We haven’t gone completely insane…

But to change the food in our HOUSE. What we eat daily and habitually. To not be on or off a wagon. To just be enjoying what we eat and knowing it comes from…. to not be having a drink or two every night, but only on occasion or when we want to….those are big steps with monumental changes in our bodies.

OK. Morning Routine. Last one for today…

Morning routine really just came down to Dan and I communicating what we wanted/needed in the morning.

Dan needed to get ready for work, shower, make his smoothie, pack his lunch, get right for the day…. but he wanted to see the kids before he went.

I needed….. not to be feeling like a crazy person.

Those were the basic goals.

But once we talked through it, it all became pretty simple.

Because we put our kids down to bed early, they get up early.

So at 6:30 in the morning we have little guys trickling down the stairs wanting to build legos and start their days.

We used to fight this.

Please just sleep a little longer… ok fine…. you play…. but mommy and daddy are going to lay here in bed.

But what did that actually accomplish?

Morning routines NOW look like this:

First kid wakes up and comes down the stairs….

We get up too, we don’t fight for that 10 extra minutes of what isn’t even sleep. We are rested, there isn’t any need for it. We just get up and make ourselves a cup of coffee.

We sit on the couch.

We drink our coffee and watch our kids kind of groggily start playing. Usually cars and legos. We spend this 10 mins all together before the hustle and bustle start. And its wonderful.

Then Dan goes off to shower, I start breakfast…

The boys have eggs and bacon or sausage with toast and fruit every morning. They are beasts.

By the time breakfast is done, we say goodbye to Daddio for the day and so begins our day……….

I feel so silly writing this all out. But I know I am always fascinated by other families routines and what works for them, so I am just assuming if you have made it this far, you are like me…. you just want to know… what do other people do?

This is just a part of what we did. But here ya go…..

I am going to dive into how I changed up the kids routine, my closet and style and some more personal thoughts in the coming weeks…. reflecting feels so good doesn’t it?

I am sure my close friends are sick to death on hearing about this… it’s no real discovery by any means…. it’s just that it feels so gosh darn good to feel good.

until next post… cheers!

next up…. wearing my joy






The year we took our lives back

One year ago…

We sat across from each other with our  bottle of champagne, the last of it’s contents being poured into two glasses that sat next to a demolished cheese board..
After 4 years of being governed by a toddler dictatorship that revolved around nap schedules, feedings, white noise and monitors…
We had decided that it was time for a new chapter….

* glasses raised*

It was time to take our lives back.

*clink*

So… that’s how it started.
2018.
Our year.

It was just an idea.

An idea of doing something for ourselves.

Not to be a better Mom or Dad.

Not to be a better Wife or Husband.

Just for us.

Remember us?

Remember who we were before the blur of wants and needs and responsibilities started being catapulted at our head?

We talked about them as if they were people we once knew.

But they weren’t gone…. they just….

Had kids now.

And damn it, we love those kids.

Have you seen them? They are so flippin’ cute.

We love our life we have created.

We are just about as happy as 2 people that went and had 3 babies in 2 years could possibly be… even after those babies became mobile  and hungry and  insane  independent…..

And even more impressive…. we still love each other….

We are one of the eye roll inducing, never fight, happy camper couples that people tell you don’t exist….

But you know what?

Intertwined in all of that happiness and squished in family selfies and island life magic were still two separate people who felt like something was missing in their own personal lives….

We didn’t know what, we just knew we both really wanted to take the year to really focus on ourselves…and frankly… just go Beastmode on life.

And let me tell you, when you are on this journey….

and you start taking the steps and picking up the pieces and start putting them all together…..

People want to know what the heck you are doing.

They ask you quietly at a coffee shop, “You are glowing, what have you been doing?”

“I saw Dan today, he looks incredible, has he been working out?”

“You guys seem so happy, what’s the secret?”

And in the same vein,  YOU want to shout it from the roof tops.

You want to tell everyone.

Listen up everyone, I found it!

I found…..

The secret to living your best life.

I know you’ve heard it a hundred times over…

At least I have.

Everyone has a version of what this looks like.

I have an inbox full of people inviting me to join their program, buy their shake, wrap myself in their cloths, Use their brand of lotion, paint my lips with their stain that won’t rub off,  press on their nails that last the longest…

Because for them…. these were their missing pieces… these are things that have brought joy and goodness into their lives…. These are the things that help them walk a little taller and smile a little bigger.

I can scroll though a hundred peach colored Instagram moms that are holding rolls of stomach skin, smiling with their eyelash extensions and wrinkle free foreheads…. announcing that they finally can say they love their bodies…

…And just as many pictures of cauliflower ‘tortillas’ made by glowing 20 somethings with six packs that start their mornings with yoga in a field and juice from a celery plant…

If you are looking for missing pieces in your life….. once you start looking, you will find they are everywhere… they are dropped by people who have already found their answer like bread crumbs.

The only problem with following those bread crumbs is that they often lead to someone else’s version of THEIR best life.

The secret is there is NO secret….

There are no missing pieces.

There are just pieces that belong.

And pieces that don’t.

You just have to look at YOUR life to find out which ones are which.

And what does that mean?

It means you dissect every nook and cranny of your life. You eliminate every time suck, every daily annoyance, every thing that doesn’t bring you happiness or make you better.

Throw them away.

Donate them.

Cancel them.

Stop doing them.

It means you replace those things with things that do.

Things that do bring you happiness, that do make you better.

And by the way most of those things, aren’t even really things….

They are 30 minutes in a steam room.

Sitting on the beach in the sun with a book.

It was just an idea.

But we took it and ran with it.

What started out with some small changes soon trickled down into every corner of our world.

We have spent this entire year reconstructing EVERYTHING in our lives.

I mean everything.

Everything from rescheduling our days to give each other alone time, to throwing away all the random sippy cup tops in our cupboards, to changing the way we eat, the way we drink, to donating nearly all of our kids toys, to getting physical therapy, to having our blood drawn, to taking vacations, to not watching TV, to joining a gym, to reading books, to listening to podcasts, to researching vitamins, all the way down to buying nice smelling, homemade soap…. and new socks.

Everything.

I have been itching to share all of the goodness for so long….

Over the next few weeks I will dabble and reflect on all this year has taught us….

The habits we have mastered and the intentions we are still fumbling with…

But for now I leave you with what I know for sure.

You don’t need a goal weight to start being healthy.

You don’t need the perfect property to plant a magic garden.

You don’t need a reason or even a why.

You don’t need a countdown to midnight to start living life to the fullest.

You just have to start.

next up…. so, what did we do?