5 on Friday

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1.  Christmas came and went just like that!! I feel like we did a great job of enjoying the season, though we didn’t check all items off our bucket list, I’d say we did pretty well! Christmas Eve these two set out the cookies & milk and Brooke wrote Santa a note. (She was so happy that he wrote her one back the next day!) To be 6 and 4 at Christmas again.

3. I love our tree.  It reminds me of the ones we had growing up.  Mismatched colored lights, homemade and funny little ornaments.  I don’t want to take it down, though it must soon as it’s real.  The magic of Christmas was real this year.  Like my friend said, you don’t get another 4 year old and 6 year old at Christmas again.  We soaked it in and I held onto oh so tight.  The way they said goodbye to buddy and hugged him Christmas eve made me tear right up! It was a beautiful Christmas and just like every year past, the best one yet.

3.  I tried to allow the mess for as long as I could, but we have this dog named Bailey you see…and she likes to eat ALL THE THINGS.  So everything got picked up pretty quickly.  I am letting the toys be strewn all over the higher surfaces like counters, tables etc.  Where normally they’re tucked away…that’s similar right?!

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4.  I saw this and giggled!  How crazy we are about to enter into the 20s?!  I’m really looking forward to next year.  We will be married 10 years come July and have so many big dreams coming into reality.

5.  In other news, my Acid Reflux/Gerd has come back in full force these past few weeks.  I didn’t even recognize it, at first I thought that I had a stomach bug or something, but no it’s definitely that.  I’m working on slowing down, being more mindful while I eat, watching what I eat, really watching what I think about and turning off and tuning out negativity and stress.  My belly just can’t hang with it!! If you’re feeling a bit off too, it’s no surprise with the high demands of the holidays and pressures we put on ourselves, something will usually manifest through our bodies.  Take the time, focus on healing and choose love not fear.

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Have a beautiful weekend friends!

Last Month of 2019

We are in the final few weeks of December, the last few weeks of the year and decade!! What will you be doing for yourself, for others and how will you live into your best self? I am all about self-development and goal setting, goal crushing and making magic happen.  I feel like so many of us are pushing extra hard right now knowing it will soon be time to rest and relax with friends and family.  We will be ringing in the new year and all sorts of exciting plans will unfold into 2020.

I used to get that pit in my stomach feeling on Sunday nights when I taught.  I know, it was a “dream job” of mine, but I dreaded the long commute, the long hours away from Joe and a lot of the stresses that came with my said dream job.  I know not everyone has the ability to stay home and raise their babies, but we all have choices.  We are not trees, deeply rooted and planted in the ground.  We can evolve, change, grow, heck we can even literally move!! Hate where you live?  Pack it on up and try some place new.

So many people are unhappy simply because they don’t even know what it is they want.  We are so bombarded with media that we never allow ourselves time to think, breathe, be.  If you’re feeling super overwhelmed, flustered and like everything is out of your control, the best thing I find myself doing is getting quiet.  Take out that journal (thank you again to my Life Coach Lindsay Preston) and write it out.

You will not live a life you love, if you don’t even know what it is you want from life.

Last week Bradley got sick–out of no where, poor thing was down and out—and then as he got better, I started to crash. My “To-Do List” was super long and I had this extreme urge to get out of the house because I felt trapped, but my body said NOPE.  If we don’t get quiet and allow ourselves time to rest, our bodies will decide for us.

It was not easy to lay back down in my bed.  To not leave the house. To not pop the Advil and just go about the day, but I knew if I just gave myself some time to heal, maybe it wouldn’t get so bad…

But the point is, if we don’t allow ourselves the time, we will never be able to achieve all that we are capable of doing.  So even amongst the chaos, I challenge you to wake up a little early, or sneak away during lunch, or hide in the bathroom for an extra 5 minutes and truly think about what it is you want out of life.

Then make a plan.  Talk it through with your besties, your spouse, your sister, whomever your tribe is, and just go for it.  Feel the fear, feel the nerves and just press start.

If you’re hating on your Monday, that’s no way to live Sis.  Life isn’t always easy, but you should wake up with a full heart and spend your time doing what mostly makes you happy.  (Like dishes, I’m grateful for clean plates and food to eat, but I don’t love them dishes!!)

Share some of your goals with me!  I write them in my Start Today Journal every stinking day.  I write them as if they’ve already happened.  Some are big and scary and some are just out of my reach, but I still write them down and each morning think about how I can come closer to achieving them.  (I’ve been doing this since October 1st!!)

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These are just a few of mine!

I live in my dream house.

I am an exceptional wife and mama.

I travel & vacation yearly.

By taking 5-60 minutes a day for myself, I have seen such a BIG difference in my ability to be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, investor, whatever! I fill my cup (literally with water and tea/Energize) write in my journal, read a bit from a devotional, journal, sometimes workout, sometimes just stretch.  Sometimes, to be honest, I sit and stare. It’s quiet. It’s just me time. And often, that’s the only time that I get for myself.

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E-mail me or comment below ONE goal for yourself.  Let’s do this together!!  You don’t need Rachel Hollis’ fun journal, you can use a $1 store notebook.  Let’s go!

Happy December!

It’s only December 1st and we put our tree up today!  I saw this adorable graphic showcasing some of the fun activities to do this time of year.  I won’t be checking off every item on this, but I thought it was a great way to slow down and remember some ways to ENJOY and HAVE FUN instead of being all crazy stressed out.

The kids and I have been dancing and singing to Christmas songs for a few days now!  Usually after their cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows! At 4 & 6, they are seriously at the best ages for getting into the spirit and magic of Christmas.  We host a cookie party every year, so that will be coming up soon! Let me know if you’d like some cookie recipes on the blog.

We won’t be seeing the Rockettes this year, but I do want to take the kids some day.  I have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life—how terrible is that?? I’m currently relaxing by the fire while typing this little post.   I just saw that leave cookies for Santa is on there twice—I would probably add/change that we always leave carrots for the reindeer…and they always leave a mess!  The kids still talk about it.

We also love our Elf on the Shelf Buddy, and I enjoy being creative with that.  (Set your alarm on your phone “Move the E” or code words if your kid can read!)  We also love to read holiday books and I make really big efforts to keep the TV off, music on and let the kids just be.  I don’t them to get stressed any more than the daily demands that are already placed on them.

I teared up at dinner last night because it’s all just going by so fast.  It does not seem like 7 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my first born, with a big ole’ pregnant belly and super sore hips.  The babies have turned into toddlers, and preschoolers.  We have an almost second grader and almost Kindergartener.  I still can’t let that sink in…

Life is so beautiful, just be sure to press pause and simmer in the sweet spaces in between ‘being busy.’

These memories will mean so much, to all of us. Enjoy making them!

Wednesday Quote Dump

I figured I would share some of the memes/quotes taking up storage on my phone. Enjoy!

Share yours with me!

“That Mom”

I’m not always ‘that mom.’ The one who brings in treat bags, cookies, cakes, games, or other thoughtful pieces of holiday goodness for little ones.  I’m not always smiling or feeling like I have my act together, because to be honest I don’t.  Most days I’m just doing my best, trying to remember all of the balls that are juggling in the air.

However, there are some days when I find the time, the little extra window in my day where I can appreciate the smallness of my children and drop into a Dollar Tree and put together silly little bags for dance class.

There’s a few reasons I felt called to write this post, and most importantly that it’s OKAY to be that mom who forgets or didn’t have time to do something extra.  It’s also OKAY to be the mom who does.

This morning as I worked out, I figured afterwards I would take Bradley over to the Dollar Tree and pick up some glow sticks for our pumpkins to light up.  I then remembered last year’s dance class “Halloween Party” and how it sent me spiraling into an emotional meltdown.  I feel that it’s important to share these things, because to some people, it may look like I have it all figured out.  I simply stay home, raise kids, cook a lot of food, run a real estate business, take care of two dogs and do most housework because my husband works crazy hours.  But the point is, I do it mostly alone, with little help here and there.  The pressure I put on myself (yup, it’s me and my mind!) can sometimes bring me to a breaking point, thus resulting in last year’s escapade.

I remember sending some friends a Marco Polo after getting home from dance class.  I just rewatched it, and man I want to hug that girl! My eyes were swollen from hysterically crying and I remember just feeling alone, like a failure and like I should just go on meds because I felt just absolutely crazy.  (Disclaimer, I do believe medicine has a purpose, I just don’t think it’s best for me, at this time.)

Why was I so upset?  Because I knew that Brooke (who was in her 4th year of dance) would be having a little Halloween party.  I knew the other moms/girls would have treats or trinkets for the girls to give out.  I also just didn’t go to the store and get some…

Prior to dance class I had been going around and around with a frustrating tenant who fell behind on the rent, and was arguing with me that he had paid x amount when my records showed differently.  I was extremely frustrated and since this was really the first tenant we had any issues with, it truly caught me off guard.  I let my emotions get in the way, some insecurities and such, and it just threw me.

But when I went to pick up Brooke at dance, I felt like she was the only one who didn’t have something to pass out to her little friends.  It killed me.  Now, I knew even then, that no one really cared about the candy (hello, they’d all be getting SO much more in another day trick-or-treating) but the fact was, that I enjoyed doing the little things for her and her dance friends.  I love holidays, even Halloween, mostly because of the magical element of innocence, simplicity and wonder it brings out in the kids.  I sat there, with tears welling in my eyes as I saw the girls exchange and Brookie looked at me like, where’s my bags to give out?  Of course her 5 year old self didn’t say anything, but it hurt and clearly still haunts me to today.  Why?  Because I was not being my authentic self that day.  It was a number of things that lead to that feeling, but I truly felt like a shell of myself this time last year.

It’s about the effort.  It’s about doing something, even if it’s little, if you can and want to.  It’s about not letting negative people who aren’t paying their rent, bring you down.  It’s about rising up even after you may have failed, and getting a second chance to do something right this time.  It’s about asking for help, whether it means paying a sitter a lot of money to have time away, or hiring a cleaning service to help you get your house back in order.  It’s about being the mom you want to be, not what anyone else may expect or want from you.  It’s about loving yourself in the moment, even if you don’t want to.

That girl a year ago had a lot of growing up to do.  It wasn’t just about not having a silly bag of Dollar Tree goodies (that may or may not end up in a dog’s mouth or the garbage) but it is more about SELF LOVE.  SELF COMPASSION.  SELF WORTH.  SELF IMPROVEMENT.  This past year I have worked on ME so much and it has made me a better, happier, stronger, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, human.  Anyone who tells you differently, makes fun of you for working on YOU, has more work to do on themselves.  Let me say that again, any person who tries to say anything negative about loving herself, has a lot of growing to do and it’s not up to you to fix her.  We can only change ourselves, that is all.  Other can learn by us leading by example.

I had some major changes that had to take place that were not easy. Shortly after this episode, I had to walk away from a friendship that was no longer serving me.  I had to put myself first and join the gym again.  I had to surround myself with loving, encouraging friends that lifted my spirits. . . I needed to find out what made JENN happy. (This blog from last year explains a bit more.)

Life is not always easy, nor do I expect it so.  I think one of the most beautiful aspects of life is that we can look back and truly grow from our experiences.  I write all of these words not to brag about my goodie bag, but to share that you are right where you need to be right now, friend.  Whether you’re a mom or not, whether you are struggling, or feeling high on life, everything is going to be okay.  It’s not all perfect, it’s not all going to fall into place, but each day we have the chance to be a little better than we were yesterday.

So stop beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t get to do, and maybe just go out and do it now.  Make the cookies.  Join the gym.  Read the book.  Cancel the cable.  Take the class.  Join the side hustle.  Whatever is speaking to your soul, listen.  The more wound up I find myself getting, the more I need to simplify and quiet my world around me so that I can hear what I am being called to do.

I hope that you can begin to listen too.