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“My Best”

Being a parent is tough business. Duh.

I don’t feel like I’m half the parent mine were. Somehow I feel like I get more easily frustrated. Like I grow weary more easily. Like it’s harder.  Somehow they made it look easier.

As a parent (or maybe me) it’s something I work hard to fight constantly.  Hard to balance not letting things slide but letting the right things slide.  Not letting buttons get pressed and letting things roll off your back no matter how annoying because they’re just being kids.

Sometimes the day is beating you down and you feel like you’re just not doing it right.

And then at the end of the day you’re bathing the little one when she turns to you out of the blue and says, “You’re the best mom. You make me happy. I love you.”

And you melt because she’s never said anything like that. No matter what happened that evening or that day or yesterday or ever mattered because she still loves you.

Mornings are hectic and days are fraught with guilt for rushing them out the door and sad faces from stressing everyone out.  But pick ups are always filled with happy faces and love.  And knowing I’m still they’re best.

That’s some serious love. Must be doing something right.

Thank God.

In summmmmmerr

One of my most favorite things going up was going on vacation with my parents. No matter what, we always went somewhere.  Looking back, as a parent myself, I realize now what a sacrifice that must have been for them.  The money, the time, the crazy kids.  THANKS DAD.

Growing up my parents always took us to places where we went exploring and seeing new things.  We went to museums.  We explored caverns. WE WENT TO DISNEY WORLD AND DISNEYLAND OMG I blame them for my obsession.

Ava’s been asking to go on vacation.  She’s at a summer school camp and slowly all of her friends have been coming and going. Slowly but surely one by one they’ve been sneaking off to vacation. All but her.  #firstworldproblems

We’re working on a plan, but living in a state the size of Texas (it would probably take as much time to get from El Paso to California as it does to get from El Paso to the tip eastern tip of Texas) it takes forever to get places. This is not so conducive to road trips less than 5 hours.

There are quite a few options, but narrowing them down is hard.  

We’re not really sit at the pool and sip drinks kind of folks. I never have been.  Maybe for quick weekends, but we’d like to get away for a few days. Hopefully. Plans and actualities are always two different things.

Plus, taking Allie out can be a wee bit… like wrangling a cat… she’s got “spunk” that one.  She just doesn’t like staying in one place. Like mom.

Back to vacay, I did learn that I love the beach. I swore I wasn’t a beach person. The idea of sitting and watching water sounded like such a waste of time. (yes, I never slow down. Ever.)  Until we went. The waves.  The smells.  Awesome. (Texas beaches –without seaweed– don’t stink).  Running on the beach. Picking up shells. Playing  in the sand.  Love it.

Unfortunately, the beaches around here are kinda yuck right now. Did you know there’s a massive seaweed infestation attacking the local beaches? Gross. You can even see it from space.  Boo.

Anyway, it’s not about the specific place for her.  Or for us. It’s about the memories of being together and going out and doing things. It may be a day trip excursion or a weekend getaway that’s a 3 hour drive from home, but I know it’ll be fun because we’ll be together. It’ll be a new adventure.

I want Ava (and Allie even though she’s 3 because I KNOW she remembers her first trip to Disney) to look back and remember the trips taken with mom and dad.  I want them to get older and smile when they think about their trip to [fill in the blank] in the summer of 2014.

So yeah. That’s what I’m working on.

Happy summer.

My Favorite Summer Things

Hi friends. Here I am!  It’s almost July. Crazy huh? Just another week and a half. Three day weekend!!! Anyway here are some of my favorite summer things that I’m loving right now.

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To check out Addye’s work in her Etsy shop, click the pic.

1) A BEAUTIFUL print that I got from my beautifully talented friend A’Driane.  She creates the amazing paintings and has turned them into prints.  I got this beauty for $20. Best part?  Her proceeds were going to benefit Postpartum Progress (a life saving resource-really- for women with postpartum mental health issues). I told you about them, remember?  PS It’s still not too late to donate.  Just click here.

Postpartum Progress was aiming to raise $100,000 by June 21.  It’s June 23 and they’ve raised over $150,000!!! And they’re not stopping there. You can still donate through June 30 to their campaign to help raise awareness for women’s mental health issues.

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2) I am loving my new iPhone wallpaper. I like to be colorful because it makes me smile so I’m going patriotic for the Fourth.  I get mine off of Pinterest (that’s the link to my iPhone wallpaper board).

3) I got free coffee from my favorite people at Seattle’s Best!  They’re promoting their new Seattle’s Best Frozen Coffee Blends, which is awesome for a girl who lives in a Seattle’s Coffee deprived city. Seriously, when are we getting one?  Anyway, you can try it too with their $1 off#FREEZETHEDAY coupon from Facebook.  How cute are those straws? I love cool straws and insulated cups.

Oh, and this is how you do a Texas wedding:

1) Lots of color.  Teal and orange were the colors du jour.  This pic is of me and my twinsie Shelby. We were both wearing it.  She’s a teenager and I’m not. Is that a bad thing?  Oh well, this is still my signature nail color and I pretty much wear it all the time. It’s Flower brand and you can buy it at Walmart. For cheap.
2) Beautiful tasteful flowers in mason jars to really showcase an amazing event at a rustic venue.
3) BARBECUE brisket and sausage with lots of delicious sides. CORN CASSSSSSSSSEROLE (that’s the big yellow lump. Can you tell that’s my favorite?). Don’t forget the mini-margaraita (in a mason jar). Nom.

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What are you loving? 

BTW, No one paid me to talk about any of this stuff. I just like stuff. And I like to talk.  And I have opinions. So there you go, meant to be.

What I’m Reading

I’m a horrible reader. Not that I can’t read, duh, but I make no time to read.

I put reading on our bucket list because I just want to get moving.  On my list was reading about a place (I’m intrigued by Japan, China and India–thanks, Naomi!), and a biography.

photo (6)Biography:  Cue the biography of Steve Jobs. I’ve been meaning to read this book so I hit up the library and found it.  In good old paper book where you actually get to flip pages! It’s huge, 600+ pages so not actually conducive to throwing it in my purse and going (like an iPad) but I love it.  So far really interesting–especially for an Apple addict like me.  iPhone 6 is coming out in August!!! YAY!

The biography is a very in depth look at his life and how Apple came to life.  Steve Jobs actually reached out to Walter Isaacson several times to get him to write the biography, but he never agreed. After the author found out that Steve Jobs had cancer, he jumped on it.

Interestingly enough, Steve Jobs had no input in the book whatsoever and chose not to read it prior to publication. TONS of people were interviewed and it’s a very real life look at where he was. I’m only 1/6 of the way done (huge book) but so far I’m very intrigued.

 

So far my favorite quote has been related to his long journey in India on a quest for mediation and peace (something he was very into):

If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.  It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.

Indeed, Steve. Indeed.  Duly noted.

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Country books: I’m not necessarily interested in reading a book about visiting, but thanks to my Third World Politics class in college (I really did enjoy that class and actually read the books), I’m interested in history and culture.

Right now this is on my hold list at the library:  Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China. Sounds interesting. It’s by Evan Osnos and just came out. It’s about the rise of the Communist party and its attempt to take control and the future of the country.

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Not sure what I’m reading next. I started reading Insurgent and got really bored and distracted so I couldn’t finish it. It’s on the iPad so I can read it eventually when I’m reading.

I do know what I won’t be reading: Fault in Our Stars.  Heck no.  A book about a girl dying of cancer? Why would I even try to do that? PASS.

I always love chick lit and need to catch up on the “Shopaholic series.”  I devoured that and love everything England. I swear I wanted to move to England after reading Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes. The latest books don’t have the greatest reviews, so I’m not sure what I’ll read next.

What are you reading?

To the dads

It never really quite hits that you’re the mom and dad like when a massive storm hits. Instead of running to your parents’ room, you’re the one running upstairs to make sure the kids aren’t too close to the window. You’re the one bringing them down for good measure.

In the wake of it all, you can’t help but think of the countless nights spent on the floor in mom & dad’s room because the desert thunderstorms, yikes. At least for a scaredy cat like me, anyway.

I did it. Often. I was terrified of storms and yet somehow, here I am, the grown up responsible for the babies. Despite being nearly asleep even through a great playoff basketball game, the parent adrenaline kicks in and you’re awake because the little darlings need you.

Funny the way things go full circle.

Thanks for letting me bunk in your room, dad.

Happy Father’s Day to my favorite dads. To my husband, dad and brother, you rock. Love you guys.

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Have you Seen My Running Mojo?

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I went running today at lunch. I’ve actually gone running 6 times since last Thursday.  Sounds like a lot but really it’s not. Why not? Because they are all itty bitty baby runs which don’t feel like much.  Yeah, I know, 1 mile is better than 0.

Old Jess wouldn’t have even ventured out for anything less than 3 miles.  Now, I just go to go so I can say I did it.

The runs I got in three days in a row last weekend were awesome.  But still, I feel like I’ve lost my running mojo. Bad.

I used to crave running, of course it’s when I couldn’t run.  Before the marathon I loved getting out there and just going.  If I had the chance, I’d use up the majority of my lunch break to knock out a 4-5 mile run. Just because.

Today I went 2. TWO miles.  I walked probably 1/2 of that.  I got out there but it was so disappointing.

Running is a battle against your will to keep going and not quit.  I lost that battle today because the internal struggle of trying harder to get back to “normal,” or where I was, is taking over the joy of running. I try to enjoy it. I do. I don’t mind sweating my face off in 75% humidity in Texas summer. That’s fine.  I can do it.

I just. Don’t. Care to.

So I don’t have to be marathoning or long running everyday, I get that.

I came back and told my friend Naomi about my “sucktastic” run (she’s also the one who pushed me out the door to go for lunch).

Jess, why do you run?  Is it training for a race? Something else?

I wasn’t sure how to answer her.

Yup, I’ve got a half marathon (13.1 miles) scheduled for August 9.  But if I don’t do it, no big. It was $13.  (Yes my exact words)  Odd that I’m throwing a race away so easily.  The way things are going I can’t hit 3 miles so the likelihood of hitting 13 miles in just under a month and a half seems crazy. But I am crazy, so who knows.

Also, I run because I like to eat. Yup, forgot about that one.

Why do I run?

  • to be healthy
  • because I like food (mostly carbs and cheese)
  • to set an example for my girls
  • I like it to chill out

Putting it on paper is all good and great. Doing something about it is something else. I can do it because I have to, or because I can.  The hard part that I struggle with, as a runner (and yes I wondered if I’m even a runner anymore), is whether I LIKE IT.

Do I still like running? I think so.

It’s who I am.  It was me.  But…now what?

Friday Health Update

Hello! I haven’t done an update in a while. So here goes my weekly health update!  Gonna try and do these every Friday for a bit of accountability.

First Summer Lunch Run

  • I fell off the My Fitness Pal wagon.  It got tedious and I started eating like crap so I just stopped. I know, not really helping but still.
  • I have stopped snacking so much. I’ve also stopped so much with the veggies.  I know, I know. But at least I’m not snacking 24/7.
  • I’m still eating oatmeal for breakfast, although studies are saying eating breakfast doesn’t matter for adults trying to lose weight. Interesting and contrary to everything I’ve always heard.
  • I started running! I’ve run 3 times this week. I swear I can feel the kick start all ready.  The humidity is something else around here so to say I’m sweaty is an understatement.  I swear I feel better already. I’m still super slow but I’ll get there.
  • I had my first lunch run of the summer. It was incredibly humid but it was great.  It’s a lot easier to run when you’re not pushing a smallish child in a large stroller up and down hills.  ^^^ yes, that’s one of the songs I listened to on my run.  I love running during lunch because it guarantees I get a run in and I don’t have to worry about going after work.

I want to start the Plank Challenge again. Core strength is vital for running.  Then there’s the challenge you’ve probably seen all over Facebook:  30 Day Buns, Guns, & Abs Challenge. K (love her blog) posted it and I decided to get in on the action.  I hate squats but I guess I can try it. So technically I haven’t done the first 4 days…but I guess I can start today.

30 day buns, guns & abs challenge click to pin on pinterest

What are you up to? Wanna get in on the challenge?

What I’m Listening To – New Music

If you know me, you know music is one of my favorite releases, especially when running.  I like all types of music but here’s a few of what I’m listening to now.

Platinum — Miranda Lambert.  You know I love Miranda. I wish I could see her again in concert. She’s awesome. One of my favorites is “Smokin and Drinkin,” awesome song.  ”Automatic” is on this album, but if you listen to country at all, you’ve probably heard it 45 billion times.

download (1)The Outsiders — Eric Church.  Gotta admit, I didn’t use to love Eric Church. He was a bit nasally and well, maybe redneck sounding?  I don’t know. Either way, his new song “Give Me Back My Hometown” is super catchy and awesome.  And of course there’s “Outsiders” which is one of my favorite running songs. I haven’t bought the whole album, but I’m sure a couple more singles will come out of it.

Mutineers — David Gray**.  I really dig “Back in the World”. It’s super mellow and very slow and very singer/songwriter-ish. I like that, but it wasn’t my favorite. Right now I’m into more upbeat since I’m gearing up for running season and it helps at work.  Some of it wasn’t really my style, but it was nice to preview new music. FYI you can preorder from iTunes or Amazon.

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John Mayer XO

Corazon — Santana. I’m also digging this.  I haven’t downloaded yet, but it’s super upbeat and awesome. Classic Santana but lots of great artists featured.  One of my favorites is Juanes, who I love anyway and saw in concert.  Great concert, by the way. Santana is an amazing guitar player (duh) and that’s one of my favorite things about music. He’s got a couple chill songs on there too.  Awesome. Try it.

XO (Single)  – John Mayer. NEW MUSIC FROM JOHN MAYER!! Yes, I’m screaming because you know me and John Mayer. Love. It’s a cover of Beyonce’s song, which I have yet to hear because, well, I don’t love Beyonce (sorry friends).

** I was given a free preview of this album from the One2One network. I didn’t get anything in return and I don’t even have to write this review. All thoughts are my own and that’s how I really felt about the album. Obviously.

For your listening and viewing pleasure, here’s John Mayer’s performance of XO.

 

The Summer Bucket List – Austin, TX

summer bucket list ideas

 

Summer’s coming fast and in Texas, that means it’s hot. And also that the big girl is out of school and will need stuff to do because “oh my gosh I’m so borrrrrrrrreed.”  Yeah right.

I recently read a blog where Jess posted a great bucket list of ideas.

So in anticipation of the next nearly 3 months, I figured I’d come up with a summer bucket list of stuff to do here in Austin.  Here’s hoping we can actually get some done!

Don’t worry, there are lots of no cost options on there. Creativity is the limit!

 

 

  1. Go to the pool, even on a random Tuesday after work
  2. Go to the movies as a family
  3. Go to the zoo
  4. Go bowling
  5. Go on a picnic
  6. Go to the Inner Space Caverns
  7. Go to the farmers’ market
  8. Go on a weekend trip
  9. See a live concert with the kids (hello Live Music Capital!)
  10. Go to Chuck E Cheese
  11. Visit the Thinkery (new children’s museum)
  12. Enjoy snow cones from the local food trailer
  13. Visit the library regularly
  14. Read a biography
  15. Read a nonfiction book
  16. Read a book about a place to visit
  17. Enjoy time outside reading in the shade
  18. See the bats fly downtown Austin
  19. Camp in the backyard
  20. Go hiking at a state park
  21. Go to a Round Rock Express baseball game
  22. Have a late night popsicle party outside
  23. Day trip to College Station (explore Texas A&M, visit George H.W. Bush Library)
  24. Day trip to San Antonio (explore Riverwalk, missions)
  25. SEA WORLD San Antonio
  26. Have movie night at home with the kids
  27. Bake cookies
  28. Watch fireworks on 4th of July
  29. Have a water balloon fight
  30. Host a sleepover with a friend
  31. Date with dad
  32. Date with mom
  33. Play in the rain
  34. Learn to rainbow loom
  35. Ice cream sundae party
  36. Visit Ladybird Wildflower Center
  37. Stargaze
  38. Paint a canvas
  39. Play mini golf
  40. Explore nature with a camera and a notebook

What’s on your bucket list? Gimme some ideas! If you have one, share your post in the comments!

Laugh Hard

photoThis weekend was Ava and Allie’s dance recitals.  After a year of back and forth to dance class, the girls rocked their dances and looked amazingly cute to boot.

After, we were lucky enough to have a great friend join us for Ava’s celebratory dinner.  We started talking about our crazy Allie.

Because she likes to bite her nails.

So one day I was about to get after her for biting her TOEnails, only to realize she actually wasn’t biting her nails.

She was eating a cookie.

With her toes.

Clearly, my child is a monkey.

As he’s telling the story, I’m laughing.  True, deep down laughing because hearing it out loud made it even more funny than when it was happening.

The awesome thing? Being called out on it by a friend who hadn’t seen me in a while.  She was happy to see me truly laughing deep down in me.  It was great seeing her do the same. We both knew what it meant for the other.

The thing about depression is you live life, but when it’s bad sometimes you go through the motions while you’re doing it.  You love the people and the things that are around you, but you sometimes it’s easy to feel like a spectator.

It feels really good being in the moment.

Laugh hard.

 

Don’t forget that May is Maternal Mental Health month.  I had PPD. I fought PPD.  And I’m a mom who still fights on. Reach out to those mamas around you that you know who might need an extra hand. There’s no shame in it.