A Little Judgement Chat

Here is something that has been kind of frustrating me lately. This may seem like something coming out of left field with me and maybe it is a little bit, but I’m also starting to get a little tired of holding my tongue. I’m not going to be going all gung-ho into certain topics, but I do want to share a little bit more of the things that weigh on my heart. I want to say a little bit more about things that I see. I want to try and use my voice for a little bit more if I can/when I think it is appropriate. This is one of those times as I have not only experienced this, but have seen it in action firsthand.

Here’s the deal…we all judge. Say whatever you want, we all have judged someone or something at one point in our lives. Whether we pass judgement simply in our mind or to our significant others, or actually speak your commentary out loud it really doesn’t matter. As much as I try not to, I have definitely passed judgement. Look, it’s human nature (similar to comparison, but that’s a whole other conversation).

We talk and judge about looks, actions, relationships, speech, just about anything. Whether it is perceived or real, everything we do/say or don’t is judged.

The problem that comes with passing judgement is that we don’t know what someone else is going through. Even if they give us their life story, if they are a public persona, if they are private, we quite simply don’t know the full story. We may think that someone looks unkempt and make our own remarks on that, but they could be dealing with things that we could never imagine.

Another problem with judgement: it doesn’t give either person a chance to even begin to understand. Look struggling doesn’t discriminate on any level. You could appear to live a lavish, privileged life, and be dealing with an extreme amount of depression. Yes, you are in a privileged position, but you still struggle. Someone can recognize their privilege and yet still have down days. We cannot understand someone and whatever issues they may or may not be experiencing if we judge them before they can even open their mouths.

Judgement isn’t just external either, we are prone to a lot of internal judgement which can sometimes be even more damaging. There are a lot of instances where we feel certain assumed/perceived  judgements or roles that are placed on us. We feel as if we may not be living up to a role, doing things with smiles on our faces. Some of this can come from judgements we have in the past thought or expressed, or heard someone else express.

And this judgement is what prevents a lot of people from talking about problems. It prevents a lot of people from opening up about whatever they are dealing with. And when someone feels like they can’t share what is going on it festers inside them until they can’t handle anymore, and we get an explosion of some sort. Often times we then wonder, “what happened?”. “How did this happen?”. “Why didn’t they say anything?”.

It’s a vicious circle and it’s one that only we, as individuals, can break. If each person opens with a little more kindness, a little more of an open mind, and a little less judgement or unsolicited advice (again, a whole other topic), then maybe others will feel a little bit better to share. It only takes one person to start a change in this cycle. One person. Will you be that person?

I See You

I see you. You, the mom putting out the picture of happiness. Radiating happiness. The mom that everyone thinks has her sh*t together. The mom who seemingly does it all. Mrs. Cleaver, caring for her husband, children, and home.

The mom who is the look of happy perfection and yet is crying out inside.

I see you. You, the mom crying silently in the car on the way home. The mom crying to herself, exhausted from being the one thread that holds everything together. The mom who gives until she has nothing left to give because she has no other choice.

The mom who wants so desperately to be there for everyone else, to be that happy bubbly person that she knows she is, but loses sight of her own needs in the process.

I see you. I see you because I am you.

It’s a hard thing to share. I’m the kind of person who loves to be that “light in the darkness”. I love to live a life full of happiness, who doesn’t? I love to lift others help, help them find those little positive moments, to be that person who is there for them when they need it. I don’t like to focus on the hard times, or talk about how the past month was a tough one, when I am now feeling better and things are looking up. I don’t want to bring those times up (aside from the random in the moment posting about them), because I don’t want to return to them. I don’t want to bring that back into my headspace, but if we don’t then we won’t learn for the next time. If we don’t share, others won’t know. I think it is equally important to share when times are good and when times are…well not so good.

Life is full of ups and downs for everyone and it is important to remember that even the people who look like they have their sh*t together still have their hard days too.

I also feel a lot of guilt when talking about what “hard times” looks like to me. I know that I am incredibly blessed to be able to stay home with my children, to have a roof over my head, to have food on my table, to not have to overly stress about our budget (although we do have one), to not have to worry about every little thing. I recognize that I am incredibly blessed to be able to travel with my family, show our kids the world beyond our town. I’m blessed to have a loving and caring husband (or partner if that’s your case), who will help our whenever and however he can.

I know that I am incredibly blessed in this life (although that doesn’t negate the hard work that I put in and have put in), but that doesn’t mean that I do not have hard times. Hard times look different to everyone, just like anything else in life. It is important not to downplay or minimize someone else’s hart times just because they look different than ours.

In August, my hard times specifically related to being mentally over exhausted. Our July and August have been non stop on the “doing things”, “people” and “noise” fronts and I just couldn’t catch a break to have an hour or two to myself. We talk about self-care (something I will be talking about this month) and how important it is, but sometimes we forget. I preach it, but wasn’t getting a chance to take my own advice. It’s a season of life and this past month has taught me a couple of things.

Also, in this time period, my husband’s work picked up quite a bit, he was in and out a little bit more (and had a long trip at the start of the month) and our boys reacted to that. Andrew became extremely clingy (to be expected), freaking out if I disappeared from his site for more than a minute. Again, a season of life and something that we are working on with him.

I say all this now, share all this now, because I’ve been really bad at sharing it in the moment. I hit a patch of about a week when I just retreated. Outwardly I was still that same person, but when we weren’t around others I hid inside. I carried on as best I could, but often times would end up crying at night, from being so tired, so worn thin. Feeling like the worn thread holding a piece of rope together.

I didn’t share in the moment for two reasons, both of which have been stated here. I don’t like feeling like this- no one does. I don’t want to bring myself down even more and bring others down. I also felt that guild and shame. I didn’t want to put my “not so important” problems above others who have what I would consider “real problems” (which, as I’ve stated above is utterly ridiculous). I retreated so far that I really just didn’t want to talk at all.

I don’t know what actually pulled me out to be honest. I cried. A lot. I wrote in my journal. A lot. I tried to “unpack” the things that were really bothering me. What was really getting me into this low spot. And, if I really think about it, it was probably a combination of things that just happened at the same time and reminded me of the good things. Then, I focused on those good things and over the process of a couple days started to feel better.

So, what’s the point of this whole post? It’s basically just me saying I see you. I see you, in the happy times, in the hard times and all the times in between. I see you and I want to help you. Tell me, talk to me; talk it out, write it out, cry it out, whatever you need to do.

January Feelings – How Are You Doing?

Well January 2019 is rapidly coming to an end…let’s have a little check in shall we? How are those New Years Resolutions going for you? Have you kept them all? Broken any? Changed them completely?

January is a hard month (although some could argue that February/March can be harder). You are on a “high” of sorts for the first week or two. New Years has just happened we are full of “fresh start” this and “new beginnings” that, but then about halfway through Week 2 of January real life starts to hit. We start to struggle with the resolutions we have set, we struggle with the concept that while this is seems to be a New Year, not everything is miraculously perfect, we struggle with the bitter cold and gray that is the harsh months of winter.

Then about 3 weeks in is Blue Monday, one of the most depressing days of the year.

It’s tough, but it is something that we can work through. We can hold on to those good things, hold on to our dreams, passions, and somehow pull the strength to pull through. We can get back on track with our resolutions (if you’ve fallen off, which lets be honest, we’ve all fallen off a time or two). We can make it through.

It may seem silly, but January can be hard.

For me, this January has been an interesting one. I’ve definitely struggled a little bit, which was not something I was entirely expecting. We’ve spent the bulk of January on vacation visiting family. We dealt with a heartbreaking loss followed by two weeks of very little sunshine and now bitterly cold temperatures (as well as dealing with a vicious cold virus running around everyone in the house-including all the kids). We’ve been pretty much housebound for most of the time we’ve been here between the weather, temps, and sickness.

It’s been a unique kind of tough.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining about all of this. We are very blessed to be able to have this time to relax, be with family, and have a bit of a break. I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of time that I’ve gotten to see extended family (even with the extenuating circumstances), and enjoyed watching our boys play with all of their cousins. It’s been a fun time, but I’ve also missed the chances to get outside, feel the sun beat through the windows all day long (even though it would get really hot), and be able to run outside whenever we wanted to.

This is a very common theme throughout this month and from what I am seeing, with the winter kicking it into high gear across the globe, seems to be harder than previous winters.

So what can we do to combat these feelings?

I always start with some sort of physical movement. There are plenty of indoor physical activities that you can do, whether it be yoga, a quick light cardio, weights, or just getting up and walking around the house. Some sort of physical activity will do a wonder of good for your body and your mind.

The next thing that I like to focus on even more intently is what we are putting into our bodies. It is so easy to feed your emotions, to grab the quick snack, the unhealthy option, but so often that will make the problems worse. I always find my mind clearer and my mood brighter when I reach for some fruit instead of a candy bar. Hell, even choosing popcorn over chips might make a difference.

And finally, make sure that you are taking time to do one thing you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be long, doesn’t have to be something productive, but just one thing that you enjoy. Take 15 minutes everyday just for whatever that is. For me, it is writing. I find myself feeling better if I just take a chance to sit down and write everything out. I also really enjoy reading (although this is a given) and I make sure that I spend a decent amount of time every evening getting some reading done.

Do you have any tips for dealing with these feelings? Leave them below!

The Joy of Being In The Kitchen

IMG_8867.jpgOne of the things that I do everyday that brings me such a large amount of joy is working in our kitchen. There is something to be said for doing a light bit of work, with my hands and food, and turn it into a wonderful meal for my family. To create something tangible and provide it for my family (whether the kids actually eat it is another story…)

I’ve always loved to bake and our kitchen and pantry has reflected that over the years, but in the past couple years I have really developed a deep love for cooking full meals. When we started cutting out all the processed junk, the boxed meals, and went for healthier options that may have required more work I really truly fell in love with cooking and being in the kitchen.

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I love when I have a little helper on hand too!

I find cooking to be such a comforting activity. If I am having a rough day or feeling particularly stressed, I can step into the kitchen set to work on our dinner and feel my world shift right back up. I’m not sure if it’s the process of creating the meal, or working with my hands, or the fact that part of my brain can shut off while I am cooking. No matter what it is, there is nothing better for me to do than make a full meal. I also just really love being IN a kitchen. The hub bub of activity, the warmth of the oven and cooktop going, the warmth of the people cooking around you, the love that you feel when someone is taking the time to prepare something for you, it’s just wonderful. There is a reason why a lot of people think the kitchen is the heart of the home (although honestly my heart also lies in a library, let’s be honest).

I’m not going to stand here and say that I am even remotely good at cooking or that I always make the healthiest meals, nothing could be farther from the truth. And I think that that is part of the beauty of cooking. The willingness to step into a room with an open mind and come out with a new (potentially bad) dish to try or even just a spin on an old classic.

IMG_8883.jpgI try to cook as much as I can from scratch either following a recipe that I’ve found online or that I’ve learned from parents/friends. I prefer to create a meal from the “ground up” and build upon elements in each dish. I will try and offer a main protein dish, a veggie, and some sort of carb with each dinner that I provide. I will try to switch up what meats we use throughout the week as well just to add some variety. Often times I go for Italian dishes as we love those dishes as a family and they are easy to “whip up”.

Whenever I feel like we are in a “rut” I’ll grab my phone (for Pinterest of MyRecipe) or my cookbook. I got this great 1950’s era cookbook that covers anything you’d ever dream of cooking from baking a loaf of bread to burgers to appetizers. It’s one of the favorite things I’ve ever been gifted and something I reach for quite frequently. I also enjoy a couple other cookbooks that we have and look forward to continuing to collect more as the years go on.

Honestly, I encourage everyone to at least spend a little time in the kitchen. I don’t know if I really was able to capture in words the way I feel in a kitchen, preparing our meals, but it is not only a good feeling, but a sense of accomplishment at the end.

Are you a kitchen/food preparer/cook/baker person? Do you understand that feeling?

Looking Forward Into 2019

2019 is going to be a BIG year for us. We are moving out of the country, into a new environment, new culture, new job, new schedule to work with. As exciting as this time is ( I am seriously bubbling over with excitement if that makes sense), I also know that we will have quite the adjustment to make with all of the changes.

I’ve spoken before about I don’t really make true resolutions. I feel like resolutions are just made to be broken and that rather than approaching a new year with a list of resolutions that will probably not be kept (no matter how hard we try), I would rather set what is commonly called intentions. For me, these are things that I would like to make sure I am either doing or open to doing in the New Year.

Let’s be honest for a minute and realize that who we are, what we think, what we want to do, isn’t going to magically change just because it is 2019. Rather we have to make distinctive goals and efforts to make changes that we want to see. If you want to lose weight in 2019, rather than setting a resolution, set yourself up with a couple of reasonable goals for throughout the year.

I usually set one big “phrase” of the year. Something that I hope to keep strong throughout the year and how I would like to approach the New Year. Then I’ll set a couple other little intentions for how I want my mindset to be, or if there is something I specifically would like to address in the new year.

This year my big phrase is: “Be Open”.

It may sound a little strange when it is just one incomplete sentence, but I just want to be open to whatever this year is going to bring us. I’ve mentioned (maybe a time or two before…or too many times before haha) what a big change this year is going to be. I just want to keep an open mind to everything and kind of just run with it. To just set out without anything really in mind and let the cookies fall where they fall.

This seeps into all of my other smaller intentions which honestly can be summed up into this: “You can’t plan everything”. I am an over planner, over thinker, and while I can “go with the flow” it is not my strong suit. This year I want to get better at just letting go of some of the planning that I do. I think that our move is the perfect chance for me to experience some of that letting go. I’ve also cut out some of the things that required such planning and routines, so that will also make it easier to make this change for the year.

Beyond just setting intentions, I also like to do the whole one word year. I like to pick one word at the start of a year for the year. What I want my focus to center on and what I would like to bring more into our lives. It doesn’t “govern” anything, but rather is a guide for what I want to focus on.

This year my word is: “Explore”.

I really just want to get better at getting out and exploring our area. The cultures, the experiences, the nature of where we are going to be. I feel like sometimes when we go to a new place we can fall into a trap of still sticking to what we know, where we are comfortable at. This year I really want to make sure that I am pushing all of us out to truly explore. To reach out of our comfort zones and experience new things.

I do have a couple of “smaller” goals that I want to accomplish throughout the year, and while I am not going to share them right here, if all goes the way I foresee I’ll be sharing all the details very soon!

Tell me, do you do resolutions, intentions, one word, something different, nothing at all? What do you do to prepare for the New Year?

I can feel it in my bones- this year is going to be incredible!!

2018 Wrap Up

I cannot believe that another year has passed! 2018 was a year of growth for me. Growing in myself, in my roles, watching my children grow, watching my marriage grow. I do the whole one word year concept and looking back as much as I didn’t choose the word “Grow” for my word in 2018, I really should have. I’m in a bit of a reflective mood as this year comes to a close (pretty normal).

We went through highs and lows and really learned a lot.

We celebrated: birthdays (Colton turned 2, Andrew turned the big 1, I turned 27, the Mr turned 32), a wedding anniversary (4 years!), a dating anniversary (does anyone actually do those? We hit 7 years together), and just the little every day moments that have started to become more and more important as life flies by.

We loved: I fell deeper and deeper in love with my husband, our children have shown us a love like no other, and I also fell in love with new experiences, new books, new teas, a couple (ok more than a couple) new mugs.

We learned: better communication skills (more so me getting better and asking for help when it is needed), how to balance life (we both took on a lot over the past year and had to work through how to balance everything), more about who we are as people and who we are as a family, how to adapt to an ever changing hard to plan everything life change (our big move!). Both kids have taken huge leaps with learning, constantly learning new skills and keeping us on our toes at every turn over the past year.

We traveled: Colonial Williamsburg, Kentucky, Canada, the zoo (multiple times), and all around DC. Our trips this year have been some of the best memories that we’ve ever made. Seeing family, new places, and crossing places off of different bucket lists has been a dream come true for us. Getting away and being together (whether it is just to visit family or go somewhere completely new) has always been a big part of our years and is a big part of our future plans.

Some of my favorite moments in the past year have been the one’s where we just were. No plans, no fancy home cooked meal, just us with some takeout in our sweats on the couch watching a movie. Watching my boys grow and learn and build their own little relationship with each other. I could go on and on about my favorite moments, my favorite things, my favorite books, etc, but there was A LOT! I have a hard time narrowing down my favorites to just a few things- I’ll spare us all that agony haha.

This past year has tested us, adjusting to two very active children in the second half of the year, trying to balance being a parent, with working and following my passions was a tricky path to navigate. Constantly feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, or getting enough done, and trying to figure out how to focus on everything at once was one of the biggest hurdles I faced this year.

I also want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to all of you. To reading all of my posts, to joining in on my journey. I can’t tell you how much it means to me when you read, comment, and follow along. I never dreamed that even one person (outside my mom, dad, and nearest and dearest) would read what I have to say and now there are quite a few of you! I really appreciate all of you. If I could I would send hugs out to everyone.

We have a lot of changes coming as we look forward to 2019. It is going to be a big year for myself and my family and I can’t wait to continue sharing with you.

Tell me, how was your 2018? Any highs? Lows?

What I Eat In A Day – October 2018

Good morning! In September I talked about how I was going to do Sugar Free September (you can find that whole series HERE, HERE, and HERE). I’ve also talked about my struggle and recovery from an Eating Disorder (you can read that HERE). Quite a few people found that interesting and I’ve been thinking about incorporating some more “foodie” bits on my blog. I thought this would be as good a starting place as any. Today I am going to show you all of the food I ate in a day. I’ve seen this done before and I’ve oddly found it interesting and as a good way to get new food inspiration!

So, I recorded and took pictures of all of the food I ate in a day this past Thursday and am sharing it with you today (because why not?!). I’ve included drinks in this as well, although those aren’t too terribly interesting, mostly just tea and water.

Without further rambling introductory words, here we go…

Every morning I start off with water. I go between a Swell Type Bottle and a cup, but I usually try to start with at least 10-15 oz of water before I even sit down for breakfast.

IMG_7277Breakfast: Nothing too terribly exciting, I tend to stick with the standard of eggs for breakfast. This particular morning I decided to go for Scrambled Eggs with ground black pepper on buttered toast. I normally like to have some berries or melon with it, but we didn’t actually have any in the house on this morning. I drank a breakfast tea blend (a personal signature raspberry blend with some Scottish Breakfast mixed in) as well as some more water.
Mid Morning I have a second cup of tea, another personal loose leaf blend. It’s another berry based one.

IMG_7288Lunch: My favorite thing to eat for lunch is salads. I’m a big salad fan and find it a perfect halfway through the day meal. It’s filling enough, and a healthy go to. This is just a standard, almost garden salad. It’s got lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, croutons, parmesan cheese, and a yogurt (or dairy free) based dressing. Again, to drink I have some water.

IMG_7298Mid Afternoon: I tend to have a little bit of a snack in the mid afternoon. I am not necesarily very hungry, but it is a good pick me up when I am hungry. I try to keep any snacks I have light and healthy (although I have been known to have a cookie every now and then instead of fruit) and stick to fruit. I am a big pear fan and will normally chop one up to snack on as I work. I also typically have an earl or lady gray cup of tea.

IMG_7307Dinner: Ah, dinner. This is the time that I “shine”. I love to cook and love to make homemade meals for my family 6 out of the 7 nights a week. I try to vary it as much as I can, although we are all big Italian food fans. This particular evening was our Anniversary so I made a family favorite, Lasagna Stuffed Shells. These are super easy to do, relatively quick (minus the oven part), and like a said, always a big hit.

Dessert: I don’t always have dessert, in fact most nights I don’t, but we had picked out something special for our special day. We had a cheesecake factory Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake with a glass of Prosecco. It was a nice touch at the end of the day. Some nights I’ll have an evening cup of decaf or herbal tea.

There you have it! Not very thrilling I’ll admit, but I hope that with doing this a little more, you can get an insight and maybe some ideas for your own meals!

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