Gratitude

gratitudeEvery year I pick or word, or rather a word picks me, that I focus on throughout the year.  This year the word that has stood out to me the most that I am going to intentionally focus on is gratitude.  There is always something to be thankful for and I plan to start each day this year stating 3 things I am grateful for.

I genuinely hope I can start blogging more. I’ve missed this little space so much.  There is a ton going on in my life right now and I just haven’t made the time to sit down and write down my thoughts, but I’m hoping 2017 can be a year for more of this!

A Girl Can Dream

A Girl

Andrew was off 4 days this past week, well actually 4.5 days.  His company gave them 1/2 day Friday and then TWO whole days off for the 4th of July and for the first time IN MY MEMORY he was not sick for his time off….but that’s another story for another post.  We had all this time off as a family and we made the most of it.  Boating, bowling, house projects, the town parade, party with friends, dinner with friends, running errands as a family, taking turns spending alone time with each kid and then taking our littles on a chik-fil-a date to end our long weekend.  It was one of our best weekends we’ve had as a family of 4.  It was the right amount of activity balanced with the right amount of down time.  And it had me dreaming hard about what it would look like to have a stay at home family.  Andrew would NEVER go for it, but a girl can dream right?

Some of you already know, but for people who just read my blog and are not on social media with me otherwise I recently became a beachbody coach so I could share the amazing programs and nutrition that helped me transform my body, health and fitness.  I have been doing a lot of professional development and many of the top coaches retired their husbands within the first 3 years of their business.  I would love to say this is going to happen for me, but honestly I would have to change quite a few things I’m doing currently and I’m not sure I’m ready to make those changes, we’ll see.  Do I think it’s possible to be making 6 figures in 3 years as a coach?  Absolutely.  Will I be super bummed if that doesn’t happen for me? No.  I actually started coaching because my goal is helping people transform their lives through health and fitness.  If I made enough money that Andrew COULD quit his job if he wanted to that would just be a big bonus (he would not quit working no matter how much money I make….he was made to work).

But this coaching thing has gotten me to start dreaming.  I have never been a dreamer.  I’ve been a hard core realist and honestly kinda a dream crusher.  I have taken it as my personal job to make sure people are aware of the reality of a situation instead of looking at something with hopeful eyes.  I don’t really know where I got this.  Maybe somewhere in my past something didn’t come to be that I had big hopes for and I just decided it was safer to work towards goals that were really safe and that had a clear marked path.

But then I watched a friend transform her body with beachbody and she looked so healthy and appeared to have freedom from unhealthy choices and I thought to myself, why not me?  Instead of looking at her and thinking, why her, why does SHE get to look like that (which was my former attitude), I instead looked at her, got inspired and adopted this “why NOT me” attitude.  And that has carried over to other areas of my life, especially coaching.  When I see the top coaches doing their thing, helping people transform their lives through health and fitness I have that same attitude, why NOT me?  I can do that too, and I REALLY want to do that, so I’m just going to.  Whether I’m helping ONE person or one THOUSAND people I get to have an impact and I’m going to do that.  And I believe fully that YOU too can make changes in your life to accomplish your goals!

And because my goal is impacting lives and not making tons of money (although obviously I wouldn’t turn that away), I give away a lot of free advice over on my youtube channel.  I also have a FREE 7 day challenge for new customers I’ll be doing monthly (my pilot group launches this week and was invite only, but after that anyone can join, e-mail me at size12to2@gmail.com if you are interested in joining one of those) and I always have 30 day groups running if you are ready to get serious about your health and fitness and need the extra accountability (this was absolutely my secret to success).

I lost 30 pounds this past year, but I’ve gained so much more: confidence, self love, goals, health, a new hobby, an extra income for my family, etc.  I could write a book about my gains, but maybe the biggest gain was the ability to dream.

 

In the Land of Louis and Lulu

Lulubum

I live in Hoity Toity Ville USA.  You could call it the land of Louis and Lulu too.  I would venture to say almost half of the women carry a Louis Vuitton hand bag and at any given time at least 50% of the moms at the park are sporting their Lululemon gear with their perky bums on display.  I am part of a Facebook group that basically the whole town is part of and the things that people are looking to hire for I didn’t even know people did.  I can’t tell you the amount of people who hired a COMPANY to come do their Christmas lights.  There is literally a Christmas light company, no clue what they do for the other 11 months of the year, but perhaps they make enough money during that one month that they can take the rest of the year off.  Almost every single day someone is asking for a cleaning person referral.  Where I come from I maybe know 2 people who hire someone to clean their house.  This is not to say that someday I don’t hope to be one of these people who has their home cleaned by a professional, it’s just strange to now live somewhere that it’s the norm to have this service done.  There is a whole lotta money in this town and it’s evident everywhere you look.

But you know where else I live?  I live in a place where a brand new local business owner posted that they were really struggling and you know what happened?  My town rallied together and literally bought all the food they had in their restaurant.  I also live in an area where a group of moms get together every week and let their kids run free in the park, be kids, get dirty, play pretend, cover the picnic table in snacks for grazing and these ladies genuinely ask how you are doing and encourage you when they are a bit beyond you in this parenting thing.  There is also a weekly moms night out meet up with seriously genuine women, who come and share their imperfections and struggles and it’s maybe the most real group I’ve ever been a part of.  I also live next door to a couple who would drop everything for us if we needed something.  I called in a panic a couple weeks ago because we had a travel emergency and it was a without question “my husband will leave work and help you” response.  I love them and we are lucky to have them next to us.

I may not carry a Louis Vuitton bag (nor do I ever plan on it), and I haven’t yet purchased my first pair of bum raising Lulu pants (it’s on my list), but I have found my people and for that I’m really grateful.  I want to encourage each and every person out there to find their people wherever you live.  I feel like the women I have met and clicked with over the past 5 months are pretty counter culture to the town, but they exist in little pockets here and there and if you talk to enough people at the park and step out of your comfort zone and go to enough meetups and just put yourself out there you will start to get your group.

And now I leave you to enjoy another play date with another mama at the park on this gorgeous 72 degree Austin day.  Enjoy your weekend!

STAY

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It’s become kind of a “thing” at least in my friend group and facebook feed to have a word for your year as your “New Years Resolution.”  It’s usually something you pray about and then see if you feel like God is summing up your coming year into a word to focus on.  In years past I had LESS and MORE, but this year I feel like my word is STAY.

This isn’t like a super spiritual thing.  I didn’t mediate on this for days or pray over and over to receive a word.  I was actually just washing dishes one day and said, “God, do you have a word for my coming year?”  The first word that popped in my head was stay and then the word has come up over and over again this whole week so I am assuming that is the word for me.

I’ve been trying to discern why this word is mine this year and I am finding that it’s just what I need.  2015 was a year of major change.  We moved across the country, I accepted a new role at church (yeah I am the kid’s director now on top of my other jobs- surprise), I changed my lifestyle to be more healthy (working out 6-7 days a week, eating healthy and losing 25 pounds), and we are working to make new friendships, meet our neighbors, etc, etc, etc.  So when God just simply said STAY I can cling to that.  Ok, I’m going to stay the course this year.  I’m going to continue getting up every morning to work out even though I’m not sleeping much, I’m going to continue to give kids ministry my all (my time, energy and attention), I’m going to continue to dig my roots deep into Austin (forging friendships and making our house into our home).  I’m simply going to stay.

I will admit at first this word was a little disappointing.  I love new years resolutions, I really like making new goals and I like to prove to myself that I can stick to something if I decide I’m going to.  Then I thought about how much life changed in 2015 and I was relieved that my goal for this year is to just do what I’m doing and keep moving forward enjoying the ride.  I’m proud of who I became this past year (on many different levels) and I’m excited to live my life as this person who I now am.  Bring it 2016!!!

Because I’m a Little Bit Crazy

So as our friends and family know we’ve been slammed with some large expenses lately.  Our car crapped out, which totally stunk, but we are enjoying our swagger wagon, so that’s a positive.  The next week our water heater quit working, which was WAY more expensive than you would ever think to put a new one in.  24 hours later our sump pump went on the fritz….luckily that one was a free fix, and that’s when this pregnant woman SNAPPED.  Like, told my husband we were selling the house and moving into a tiny rental property.  My husband humored me while I went on rant after rant about how we need to move and sell half of our possessions and downsize and yada yada yada.  Then I came to my senses, kind of.  We prayed about it, asked God to provide opportunities to make a bit more money to cover some of these unexpected expenses and within 24 hours we had a few answers.

Starting this Friday I’m going to be watching a child from the neighborhood, only on Fridays and for now just through September until I get settled with having two and then I’ll take him back.  I thought about the money side of it for days and today when we met we both had the same number in mind and it just feels really right.  I’m excited to start doing some preschool type stuff with the kids on Friday mornings in January, and I think Ellery will love having a playmate that is not too much younger than her.

The same week I was presented with this opportunity I also was contacted about contracting for Andrew’s company doing projects like data mining.  I started today and thoroughly enjoyed the mindless work.  While I can work as many hours as I would like at my permanent job, I sometimes can’t handle more than a couple hours a day mentally since I’m also a full time stay at home mom, so I’m looking forward to having a mindless job to make some extra money in the evenings.

Sometimes I really want an easy fix, like unexpected checks in the mail, but this time I am super thankful for opportunities to help us save some reserve money before I’m off for a little while snuggling this new baby and sleeping as much as humanly possible with two kids.  When I tell people about what I’ve taken on for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy I can tell they think I’m totally crazy, but I think that perhaps it will be a fantastic opportunity to keep busy and pass the time while we wait!

Sometimes You Need a Reset

Yesterday we had a hard day.  Not the worst day ever, but it was one of those, holy moly my mom job is hard kind of days.  Ellery was out of sorts.  We spent a few days at my parent’s house, I worked, Andrew was out of town, and Elle got less sleep than normal.  It was the perfect recipe for tantrums, melt downs, and button pushing.  My oh my did she do a lot of button pushing!  I’ll spare you all the details, but let’s just say my child shattered a picture frame at one point and I did the walk of shame to the counter holding all the pieces while my child screamed her brains out.  If I had counted the number of times she told me no yesterday I would have been in the hundreds.  I texted Andrew yesterday and told him I needed a vacation.  Turns out all I really needed was a reset.

Today I got just that.  I got up and took a nice long shower without a little girl peeking in the curtain every few minutes.  I got dressed in real clothes, put on makeup, dried my hair and even ran a straightener through it.  Packed up a bunch of toys, dressed Elle in an adorable dress, got her in the car and actually arrived to a friend brunch this morning ON TIME.  She was in a good mood the whole time we were there, I got to eat and chat with friends while Ellery played with toys in the room next to us.  We came home and she played in her crib for an hour while I worked and then after she talked for a full hour she fell asleep which gave me the opportunity to go to Target ALONE while Andrew worked and she slept.  Came home, scooped out a bowl of mint chip ice cream and am now watching Bones while I type this.  She is still snoozing.  The master plan for this weekend was potty training, but at this point I’m telling myself, “why ruin a good thing.”  It’s either this week or August and the more I think about it, I think we’ll just wait until August.  I know that seems extreme, but if you saw our schedule for the next few months I think you would understand why it’s now or then.  I hope this weekend is beautiful where you are and if you need a reset, I truly hope you get one.

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Juice Obsessed

I drink a lot of water.  Definitely more than the average person.  When I was pregnant with Ellery and swelled to the size of the Michelin Man I asked my doctor if I should be drinking more water.  She asked how many ounces I drank a day and I told her around 100, she had a shocked look on her face and said,”um no that should be plenty.”  I don’t drink coffee, tea, soda (ok I drink soda occasionally), really anything except water….until Tuesday.  Tuesday I flew home from Austin and while I usually drink a ginger ale when I fly it was a morning flight and I wasn’t feeling it.  On a whim I decided to order an apple juice and now I’m addicted.  I gave Ellery a sip (her first sip of juice, besides green juice) and she went bonkers.  Like cried every time I took the cup away.  It was 100% juice, no sugar added, and my kid still went totally nuts.  So now I drink juice and I pretty much can’t get enough of it, and I don’t want my kid to drink juice so I have been sneaking it like a freaking drug addict for the last few days.  I know deep down I really shouldn’t be drinking my calories, but right now I don’t really care a whole lot.  The other day I had a stomach ache by dinner and when I thought back on my diet for the day it mainly consisted of juice, I totally wish I was kidding about that, I’m not.  I will eventually cut myself off.  Maybe once the jugs in my fridge are gone, maybe not.

{If you are thinking to yourself, wow Laura blogged two days in a row, it’s because we finally for the first time in a couple years have a personal computer, thank you tax refund.}

28

This was the year. This was the number that freaked me out. Why 28 you ask? Well because 28 was the last number that I had a goal for. Yes, I make yearly goals, but 28 was my last long term goal. You know 16 liscense, 18 adult, 21 have my first drink, 25 seemed like a big deal and then 28. 28 was the year that I planned to have our first kid, and since that happened 14 months ago I guess you can say I met my very last goal. I guess it’s time to make new ones. I had thought about thin by thirty, but honestly we could still be in the baby phase so I’m not holding my breath on that. The only real goals I have I am not sharing at this time, which is kind of strange because I am typically an open book, but “they” say the commitments you make secretly are more likely to happen so for now it’s between me and the mister.

This birthday was interesting. I was up until 1:00 with a screaming little girl and Andrew’s alarm went off at 6:15. I woke up to my least favorite thing (a thunderstorm) and couldn’t go back to sleep. A few years ago this would have absolutely derailed my day, but not today. I’m 28 and it is my time to be a mature adult, so I decided to make the best of it. I got up, sewed a little while, then took a shower in the quiet of my house. Got dressed, watched a show on Netflix and ate a giant cookie for breakfast. I refused to let the poor weather and lack of sleep ruin my day. Went to coffee with a friend, trip to the fabric store, worked a couple hours, sewed a little more, then Andrew got off work and we went shopping and to dinner. I took most of the day off too, no dishes, no cooking, and no bathing Ellery. Which actually turned out to be hilarious because she pooped in the tub and I did not have to deal with it.

But even the rainy day has it’s perks. The temps cooled off and when we pulled up to our house after dinner the full rainbow was over our house. To top it all off it’s our t.v. night so I’m kicking up my feet and enjoying the first day of a fantastic year. 28 is going to be a great.

I Am an Extrovert

For those of you who know me well I’m sure you are silently saying, “um duh.” After I had a kid though I seriously started to question whether or not I was an extrovert. Correction, after we lived in Austin for awhile I started to question it. Relationships became a chore. It was very stressful trying to make new friends and I always felt like I had to put my best foot forward in every interaction. I found that most of the time it was easier to just stay in our house and watch television or hang out with my family. I was extremely intimidated by the size of the city so I rarely ventured out beyond our corner of town and besides our small group at church I met almost no one else in the two plus years we lived there. Then when Ellery was born I went almost no where, I kind of just enjoyed being in the house a lone, and I started to question whether or not I was actually an introvert who was always told she was an extrovert. I read THIS about introverts the other day and I can identify with almost none of them. Andrew could probably identify with most of them. And moving back to the Midwest has made this blatantly clear. Right after we moved our neighborhood had their annual garage sale. I went to each house introduced myself and made small talk with almost every person. Andrew wanted to hide under Ellery’s stroller. I came home energized. A new couple moved in across the street last weekend. I made cookies and took them over, Andrew finds this a little odd, I came home energized. We have had people over a lot lately and each night no matter what time they leave I feel energized from hanging out with them. I also have found that “downtime” feels completely unproductive and I don’t do it well and I’m doing my absolute best to appreciate that Andrew views downtime as productive. The ONLY downtime I find productive is taking a nap. The other night Andrew and I went outside to “sit” and 10 minutes into “sitting” I started weeding the entire back yard while Andrew sat and sipped his wine and it felt so nice to be productive in our own ways together. So today I can say with absolute certainty that I am most definitely an extrovert.

I felt hip until

Today I had the privilege of hanging out with a sweet high school girl from church. We worked on worship music and she even shared some stuff she was working on which was super cool. I so enjoyed spending time with a young talent and can’t wait to see how she grows in the coming years with her music. I was sharing with her that I don’t do anything too fancy when I play and I’ve been playing for almost 24 years, and then it hit me that I have been playing piano much longer than her life and I felt very un hip. And then I started writing this post and half way through realized I used the word hip and realized that word is probably only used by people who aren’t…