Friday Morning Cups – On the Capital

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I haven’t done a Friday Morning Cups post in a LONG time. They used to be posts I would put up every once in a while about posts that I shared on Social Media, but either want to go into more detail, or really just feel like need to share a space on my blog. Late 2019/early 2020 I started using my voice in a different way both in my own life, on my social media, and on my blog. It’s now come full circle and I’m very proud of that.

I feel like this post needed to a)be shared in it’s entirety, with my full, unfiltered, un whittled down thoughts as they came out of my brain, and b)needed it’s space on my blog. This is not something I prepped or analyzed over for a long time, rather a incredible need to continue to voice my thoughts and opinions (as I did over the summer, as I did about the pandemic, and as I continue to do in the future). I am continuing to learn, to talk, to listen in the hopes to continue to do better and create a better future for our families and our children.

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I have this picture of Colton and I at The Capital ~4 1/2 years ago. We were able to go on a special tour (thanks to my in-laws for arranging it) while we lived in the DC/NoVa area. I remember staring out the balcony thinking…wow. Feeling a certain moment is feeling at standing at this historical place. A place that has withstood so much. Not knowing what the coming years would bring. And yet…that’s not entirely true is it? 

Any one of us that says “I never thought this would happen” (myself included to an extent because I did not see to this extent…to see the capital willfully broached and the security to be so lapsed- especially as someone who went through stringent security checks and barriers for a tour) has spent the last 4 years willfully ignoring or, perhaps even worse, downplaying what parts of our country have been saying. 

We will never be able to change, to move forward, until we can start to ACTIVELY LISTEN. And no, I’m not saying that hate speech should just be allowed to be spewed or given a platform (hell now), but we can’t ignore or downplay what is happening and what people are saying. What happened yesterday (and I’m specifically referencing the violence on the Capital steps, the breach of the Capital building, and the violence that then continued to ensue) is a build up of the last 4 years. 

Any one of us that says “This is not America” (again- myself included as up until late 2019/all of 2020 I had the privilege of not being exposed to this level of anger and hatred) has not been listening, has willfully been ignoring, or downplaying those that have quite clearly voiced their intents/thoughts. While this may not be America as a whole, this is most definitely a PART of America and we need to recognize that. 

And don’t get me started on the hypocrisy, that conversation is happening, it’s loud, and it’s very clear. If you can continue to ignore the very real privilege and double standard, I…don’t have the words right now. BUT, let’s not minimize the very real quote that a SITTING CONGRESSWOMAN, who was ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE, to do the “work” that needs to be done said 

“ Hitler was right on one thing” (the full quote and her “explanation” is on the next slide). 

Let that sink in. Just sit with that for a minute too. 

And then…AND THEN to see someone wearing a sweatshirt that says “Camp Auschwitz”. Let that sink in too. 

And if I may go off on a tangent for a second here…I have heard SO MANY offhand anti-Semitic/Hitler/Holocaust comments lately. And it’s not because I’m paying more attention. It’s because it has shared more and more and more. Note that. Just make a not of that. 

I would like (and wish of how I wish) that this would be a wake up call for our country, but sadly it, like so much of our recent history, will more than likely not serve as that wake up call. 

Friday Morning Cups – Thoughts on History

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“Each of us today is shaping the background history of tomorrow”.

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I don’t really talk politics on here (and I’m not about to start so don’t worry), but I felt that this was too important not to share. I saw this quote at Dachau Concentration Camp and it just really…said something that I’ve wanted to say for a while, in fact tried to say for a while, but much better than I can. 

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This was placed at the start of the exhibit. The exhibit, of course, details the rise of Nazism, Hitler, hysteria, etc, but it also goes a little further back than that. It goes back far enough to give you a much clearer view of what ACTUALLY happened. Not just the xyz gloss over that we all know. This quote was placed at the very beginning. 

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“Each of us today is shaping the background history of tomorrow”. Repeat that. Over and over and over again. 

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This should not just be applied on a global scale, but on a community one, a familial one, an individual one. Take this- recognize these words, understand the meaning and connotation that they carry. ▫️

We can ALL do better. What background history are you shaping?

Friday Morning Cups – A Two for One

IMG_9865.jpgI’ve been talking and listening to a lot of people lately (both in person and online) and I’ve been hearing two different things: 1) Complaints about location, living in a hotel, how small the area is, how spread apart everything is, etc. and 2) How positive I am about the whole situation, that they don’t see that a lot and how great that is. 

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Here’s the deal. Life in general is what you make of it. Situations arise, things happen, life doesn’t go according to all of your dreams, there will always be something. It happens to all of us. The difference from one person to another is what you make of it. How you handle the highs and lows. What outlook you choose to adopt. 

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Does living in a hotel apartment suck at times? Sure! Of course it does. Does it suck for my kids to be confined to one room at times? Yes. (We also have a pretty good set up, I’ve seen a couple of the other apartments in our building- doesn’t change the overall sentiment). 

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I could name all the things, but honestly it doesn’t matter. What matters is how I CHOOSE to handle this new situation. I am CHOOSING to look at the bright side. I am CHOOSING to look at the wealth of options and good things that we do have. There is SO MUCH good right now, that while the bad can be bad at times it doesn’t affect our overall positive outlook. ▫️

I fully believe that THIS, this seemingly mundane thing, has made all the difference in our whole move and transition. 

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What is your outlook? I challenge you to find the good. Focus on the good. Smile. 

We’ve all got one of those pictures. The one that just “didn’t work out”. The first picture is one of those pictures. I had Andrew who just wanted to be held, Colton who wanted to run wild and free, and me who just wanted one picture with both boys. The funny thing is I almost prefer this picture to our “perfect” picture (swipe to see the perfect one). This first picture shows the particular moment in time. The imperfections that makes our family perfect. Life is not perfect, our family is not perfect, but we are us and both of these pictures represent us. I look at this picture and I laugh. I see my children loved and happy just having a fun time. I laugh at my own “over it” look (and I do very much remember that feeling). Those memories are more important than having that perfect picture. Reality is always better than perfection. 

Friday Morning Cups

This picture may seem simple. May seem harmless. Just a book and a cup of tea. Nothing more to see, right? Wrong. Now I don’t expect you to infer what I am about to say, nobody could just from this picture. But that is why I’m saying it. That is why it’s just a simple picture, with a much more powerful caption. Often times this isn’t something that is spoken about beyond the “shtick” that many moms have started to claim. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can be a dangerous line between what is normal and a funny “just a mom thing” and what is needing a little more attention

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Here sits my now cold cup of tea untouched along with my unopened book (that I started a night or two ago and haven’t touched since). If you know me, you know that either of these things being untouched is unheard of. Instead, I have been sitting here in my chair, staring out the window, utterly spent. Trying to recoup what little I have left.

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Motherhood is the most incredible gift that I have ever experienced but it is also a uniquely exhausting and trying time. It is a constant, overwhelming, role and there comes a time (for all of us), when we are just spent. When we have nothing left. When the simplest of things (like drinking a cup of tea or reading) can just sit for hours without being touched. We are not good at asking for help, we are not good at saying that we are overwhelmed, we just keep trying to hold everything together, while seemingly pulling our own selves apart. There is a level of exhaustion that is normal and then there is a level where you may need to talk to someone or need to ask for help.

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Don’t do what I did for a long time. Don’t try and hide how you’re feeling, or pretend like you’ve got it all together. Don’t always put yourself last. Every once in a while (preferably before you feel that last fraying string snap), tell someone. Reach out. Say I need a minute, 5 minutes, an hour (he’ll be ambitious and go for a couple hours if you can). You’ll be better for it. Your spouse will be better for it. Your children will be better for it.

Friday Morning Cups – 3 Things I Want You To Know About Me

IMG_7908We get asked at the start of a conversation with someone new about what we do. Who we are. I find myself answering with just the standard of, “I’m a wife and a mom.” and this seems to suffice, but I got to thinking that while those are my two most important roles, they do not describe all of me. They represent a part of me, a very big and important part of me, but that is not all I am. I am more than those two labels. So, I want to share three things that don’t fall under those labels. In turn, I’d like you to share something that doesn’t fall under a typical description of you. So…

  1. I love writing. I hesitate to say I am a writer or anything like that and I don’t particularly find that I am great at it (although I am improving), but there is something special to me about sitting down with a pen and paper and just…”word vomiting”. Spilling out everything that is jumbled in my head onto paper. Then sorting through that to come up with blog posts, stories, bits for my book, etc. in the same realm, I am an avid reader. 
  2. I’m actually a fairly private, fly under the radar type of person. Funny, huh? If you follow along you’ll notice that there are certain things I keep very close to my heart and there are several reasons for that. I am open and honest about 80% of my life and the other 20% just stays private. I also don’t really like being the center of attention, I’ll shy away from that as much as possible. 
  3. I love to be in the kitchen. This is one of those funny ones as I am not a chef, or even really a cook, I just really enjoy preparing meals, baking various items, and then cleaning up afterwards. If I’m having a rough day, I’ll step into a kitchen and cook dinner or bake some sort of treat and instantly just feel better. 

So, those are my three! What about you?

Friday Morning Cups – A Super Important Motherhood One

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“Toddlers are not giving us a hard time, they are having a hard time”. Saw this quote a little while ago and it really just put me back in the right mindset. Figured I would share it as well as it may remind someone else of what toddlers go through. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it ISN’T hard to be a parent (it is at times and I will be the FIRST PERSON to acknowledge that, I actually just recently did), but I am going to try and say that sometimes we need to rethink our thought process when it comes to “terrible two’s”, “threenagers”, etc (which I totally do say those things, so I’m not perfect with this by any means.

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It’s hard for us to truly understand (as we as adults now possess the abilities our youngsters are learning), but imagine having all the feelings, feelings which you’ve never experienced before, learning all of these new things you’ve never known before, trying to understand the vastness and complexity of the world you live in, without having the words to express yourself. Without having the ability to truly make sense of what is going on around you. Sounds frustrating, right?

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So, when you are dealing with the 5th temper tantrum over your first morning cup, try to remember, they don’t understand. They are trying to learn about their world. Their rules. Their role. And it is up to us, as their parents to calmly riddle it out for them. To show them the way. To speak to them and help them understand. It is hard for them, just as it  can be draining for you. AND if you are feeling drained, say something. Take a little breather and do some self care. 

Friday Morning Cups : A 2 for 1 on Motherhood

IMG_6071Before I was a mom I never thought I would be the mom who said: “Send (insert:caffeine,wine,junk food, etc) it helps” (In my case it’s tea and It totally does help).

▫️Before I was a mom, I never thought I would be annoyed at my messy house (I mean the kids are living, making memories, etc). 

▫️Before I was a mom I never thought I would celebrate the idea of using the bathroom in peace (I totally knew this whole everyone in the bathroom would be a thing, but that solo celebration is also a thing).

▫️Before I was a mom I scoffed at the idea of making separate sides for children (I don’t make a full separate meal, but I do occasionally make two different sides, while offering all options, just to ensure my picky toddler eats something at dinner).

▫️Before I was a mom, I thought that after becoming a mom it wouldn’t be hard to get back to husband and wife (don’t let this scare you, it’s not HARD per se, you just have to make it a priority because it is so so important. 

▫️Before I was a mom I had all sorts of ideas about TV time, technology, etc (which I actually still maintain most of those same ideas ☺️)

▫️Before I was a mom…The list could go on and on of things I thought, ideas on how I would parent, how I thought life as a mother would be. Then I became a mom. 

▫️That’s the thing about motherhood, you have all these ideas and principles in your head…and then it happens. You are handed your child and it gets real. While your overall principles stay the same, your approach, the way you talk, the little things you do everyday. New things annoy you, old things fade away. And if you decide to have multiple children? Your parenting approach and style change to meet the individual needs of each child. 

▫️So have your ideas and overall principles about how you want to parent, try to stick with them as you parent, but know that the minor details may change here and there. That every child is different and will have different needs. That it’s ok to say, how I had planned to parent isn’t what is working. It is ok to shift styles as you figure out what your child needs. Once you find what works for you and for your child, it’s magic…or at least magic with a side of what gets you through the day. 

IMG_2124.JPGI’ve said it before- I like a clean house. I strive for a clean house 97% of the time (the 3% being the time that my kids are awake and trashing everything 😅). A clean home makes me calm (no joke). What I really pride myself on though is my kitchen. I strive for clean counters, floor, dishes in either the washer, drying wrack or put away. Perfection in my kitchen is heaven/less stress to me. BUT (and this is THE BUT of life really), there is a time and place for that. 

☕️Yes, there are dishes on my counter. Yes, I was in the process of clearing breakfast and handling my kitchen after a meal. But if I hadn’t turned around. If I hadn’t bent down. If I hadn’t taken the chance to just be with these two and have a mini pile up/dance party. Then I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have this picture. I wouldn’t have these smiles. It may sound dramatic and over the top, but it’s true. 

☕️Our children want us. They want us to watch, to play, to talk, to be with them. While we see all the mess around us, see everything that needs to be done, see the work that needs to be done, they just see Mommy and Daddy. So turn around for a minute. Have the dance party. They may not remember every little thing, but they will remember the overall feelings/picture they had. And you will remember. And there will be smiles. Giggles. Happiness. 

Restoring Order: A Lighthearted Short Story About One Tired Mom

The alarm clock chimed 6:00AM, as it did every morning. Playing a classical medley of strings and piano to gently nudge the sleeping mom awake. Morning had come too quick once again. After a late night, a non sleeping baby, and an early alarm she was tired before the day even began.

She did her morning yoga flow and was starting to feel better. More “with it”. Trying to save a little time (as she could hear the soft murmurings of her older son waking up), she stopped into the kitchen to put the kettle to boil.

Tea was her savior in the morning. The workout or yoga session started her off in the right direction, and the tea just put everything over the top. To hear the whistle of the kettle, the splash of the water being poured into her teapot, steam rising up, and then a few short minutes later that beautiful rich colored tea being poured into her cup—this was the way to start her morning. Not to mention the caffeine that would curse through her veins, and, as she sipped her tea, she would slowly emerge from the sleepy fog of her brain.

After setting the kettle to boil, she headed back to her bedroom to get ready for the day. Makeup done, tended to her-now full awake- two year old and then quickly did her hair. All this time (about 30 minutes or so) she didn’t hear the whistle of the kettle. After getting her one year old ready, it occurred to her that she still hadn’t heard that whistle. Thinking maybe someone had pulled it off (as family was in town) she quickly finished up and hurried back to the kitchen.

Stepping into the kitchen- it hit her. The smell of something burning, the no steam, and no whistle from the kettle that was sitting on the still hot burner. The kettle had been placed on the burner empty and the interior (and exterior) had simply been overheating for nothing.

Devastated, she pulled the kettle off, turned the burner off and wondered if it was ok to use or not. The outside had gone quite dark and rusted burned in some spots, the interior a questionable shade of burned brown. It smelled cooked. Damaged was the final determination of her beloved kettle. A new one would need to be purchased. In the meantime, she would have to figure out some other way to heat her water.

In her search for a new tea kettle, she came across a sure beautyf of a kettle, but due to the specifics that she wanted she would have to order it online. This meant a couple days without a kettle! The kettle was ordered and all she could do was wait.

She used the old Keurig that they had saved for family visits, and things were ok. A kettle isn’t the only way to heat water and it wasn’t the end of the world, but she missed that whistle. She enjoyed making tea with the kettle and her teapot. In some ways it was a little ritual she had set up for every morning and the Keurig water just didn’t do the same justice to her tea.

But, oh! The kettle came faster than expected and in just two short days, order was restored to their house. That first whistle from the new kettle instantly made her day better. All was well.

Authors note:

So first, this is a completely true story EXCEPT for the “soft murmurings” of my two year old. When he wakes up, he takes maybe a minute or two to stretch in bed and then he is out that door and off to the races. Very rarely does he have a “slow” start to the morning.

Second, I totally know that this wasn’t an end of the world problem. It’s definitely not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things and I totally survived (and realistically could survive) without a kettle for a couple days. We have an old Keurig that is used by family when they come to visit, or I can simply heat water in a sauce pot on the cooktop. It just is different (if you own a kettle and use one regularly, you know what I mean). I was totally fine and I recognize that this was the definition of “first world problem”

Third and final note, this was meant to be taken lightly and humorously. I thought it was quite funny that a simply tea kettle caused an “uproar” of humor for me and figured I would share in a funny manner. I hope you enjoyed!

Sunday Evening Chat (aka supposed to be Friday Morning, but I missed it)

As moms (and parents in general), we’ve got some pressure.

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The pressure of raising a being who is entirely reliant on you. The first few years are like nothing else. A baby needing you 24/7, then a toddler demanding your sole attention at all waking hours. It seems like the days are never ending (even though they say the years are short-which they are).

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The pressure of putting on the “facade” of a “happy, beautiful mom with her happy beautiful children”. The pressure of constantly feeling “on” all the time.

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The pressure of a clean home, ready to greet visitors, friends and family alike, and then the pressure of feeding and hosting those visitors.

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The pressure of needing to do all the things for all the people all the time. Of constantly needing to feel like you are handling everything, taking care of everything and everyone. Making sure everyone is happy, healthy, and fed.

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Finally, the pressure not to complain. Not to talk about how hard it can be. To only share the good, the positive. To put a smile on and brush any problems or struggles under the rug. To talk about the problems is to be ungrateful, to be airing stuff that just shouldn’t be talked about. This is just what t is to have children and deal with it.

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Some of this pressure is just being a mom (the children are reliant on you after all and there are things that we have to do as mothers), some of this pressure just comes from who we are as a person. Some of this pressure comes from outside voices. Voices who judge us for who we are, what we do, how we handle ourselves and our family.

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All this pressure is bullshit and insane. But it’s there.

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How do we handle this pressure? How do we make sure we don’t bottle it up and let it take over bit by bit? How do we manage? How do we make sure that with all the pressure we don’t break?

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Sometimes it feels like we are balancing on a tightrope with plates and cups stacked up high on our head. One wrong step and everything comes tumbling, no crashing, down. How do you do it? How do I do it? How do any of us do it? I wonder because we all do it.

Friday Morning Cups

5198051616_IMG_3835.JPGSo, I’ve never posted a picture like this. It’s not in my comfort range of things to share. My body isn’t perfect (hello DR stomach that will never be normal again), but I’m OK with it. I’ve had two sweet babies and my body has proved itself again and again.

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I’m constantly told that I’m so lucky to be the size that I am. That folks would love to be my size. If I could profit off of everybody that told me how lucky I am, how they wished for my size, what am I doing, how do I eat, and the worst- I must not eat anything at all (which as a recovering anorexic is just lovely to hear 🙄), I would be a rich person. I hear constantly that I shouldn’t complain about this or that because overall I’m petite.

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Let me tell you something- just because I’m a smaller size doesn’t mean anything. I’m a fairly confident person and don’t often have moments of insecurity, but there are times that I feel iffy about my body. I work out regularly, I make sure that I fuel my body appropriately (and that doesn’t mean I don’t eat popcorn or candy every once in a while), and I have been blessed with some good genes. I am well aware of my size and how that is viewed, but newsflash, I still have my moments.

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Body confidence, body positivity, body issues are across the board. It doesn’t matter what your size or shape is, everyone is entitled to (and will probably at some point) feel insecure. And when someone is feeling insecure, we shouldn’t invalidate their feelings by telling them they shouldn’t feel that way because guess what…insecurity hits everyone. We are all beautiful, but we all have our moments. Let’s recognize that, cut the crap comments, and be supportive.