I was driving around town this weekend just running errands with my crew and we drove by a place of business that's sort of known around Big Rapids to post wise words or short inspirational quotes on their message board. This weekend's words of the wise were "choose love over fear". Honestly, the words struck me like a bolt of lightning. Fear, it's amazing what fear makes us miss out on, or allows for us to make excuses not to do or try. Fear is ultimately what holds us back.
The ironic part for me is that I preach this, literally preach this to my kids so often. My kids are very cautious, play it safe kinda boys, which I do appreciate, because I am not sure that I would be able to handle little dare devils. They don't love to try anything new though and if it looks different, sounds different or is just different than anything else that they are familiar with, they won't do it. We've had to be the parents that push them beyond their limits in order for them to discover the things that they love. Rowan, for example HATED skating. He screamed and cried and fought us every single time we took him to the rink. We kept pushing him though, full of guilt, because we knew him and we knew that once he got comfortable with it, he would be OK. Well now he lives and breathes hockey. He thinks of plays in his sleep and makes the plans with his teammates at school. He knows the scores from every NHL game played each night and loves more than anything to score goals, he'll do what it takes to make it happen too.
We still have to remind both of them probably daily, to not choose fear. Anything as simple as trying a new food or joining a camp or club without any of their friends. I can imagine as five and seven year old boys, how difficult saying "no" to fear is. I have to convince myself daily to not choose fear and in fact is something that I have been combating a lot with lately.
Those of you who know me, know that this blog is my baby, but along with this blog comes an Instagram account that is full of pride swallowing outfit of the day pics and stories centered on my life (and JB's). This is so far beyond my comfort zone and is something I have to convince myself to participate in daily. I keep telling myself to just push through, much like we did with Rowan and hockey. Just continue the mission, learn to have fun with it and swallow your dang pride.
I faced my greatest challenge on "the gram" this weekend, my first "try on" session in my stories. For those of you who aren't familiar with Instagram fashion bloggers, this is what matters, this is what people are most interested in as far as clothes and advice on where and how to shop. I made some purchases recently for my Spring and Summer wardrobe so I was obligated to share my finds with the people who have chosen to join us on this journey. I definitely put it off all weekend, kind of dreaded it and made excuses. Then I drove by that message board and read those words "choose love over fear" and I realized that dang it, I was being a total hypocrite with my kiddos and I was letting fear hold me back. So I did it, I tried on all the clothes, tried to pair them with what looked good, make a lot of mistakes, but got so much positive feedback and thank yous from my girls who were ready to shop for the season.
I ended the weekend, after having conquered that fear feeling the love and all sorts of validation and unfortunately for Nick, ready to shop some more just so I can try it all on! :)
When you really stop and think about the times in your life when you changed or grew, it's more often than not, that those times were when you were pushed beyond your limits. I really feel that in order to change and grow we have to make ourselves uncomfortable and feeling hesitant. We have to push through those fear driven feelings and see what this life and this world have to offer for us. MOST of the times when we push past the fear we find something on the other side that we fall in love with and hopefully we fall in love with ourselves a little more having won the battle.
So here I am combating that fear one imperfect selfie at a time.
I love my husband and I love my kids, beyond words or measurement. However, there is just something about my girls, they are my people. What is it about girl time that seems to leave you feeling fulfilled with a cup overflowing?
Girls just get girls, we get each other. We bring each other strength when we are feeling weak, we are there to pick each other up when we think we have fallen. We are there to hold each other's hands during life's most difficult ventures and we are the greatest cheerleaders when any of us have something to celebrate. We are there to laugh until our cheeks hurt and we pee our pants (and totally understand why). No one gets us like us! We understand the uphill battle that life feels like when you're a woman. We relate 1000% to the guilt we feel about not being able to conquer all that is expected of us. We are the keeper of each other's secrets and the ears for all of the must needed venting that comes free of judgement. We make each other feel beautiful and smart and capable. We feel relaxed and free and liberated when we are together. We cry for each other and understand that that's just what we do and that it doesn't necessarily need to be fixed. We give each other permission to do things we'd otherwise feel guilty or insecure about. We know how to have fun! We dance together like no one is watching and sing together like no one is listening. We talk about things we would never talk about with our husbands and not because we couldn't, just because it's not the same.
I was lucky enough to get to spend a four day weekend with a few of my favorite girls over Mother's Day weekend AND we completely justified to each other that it was OK to be away from our kids on Mother's Day. We gave each other the permission to do that and not feel guilty about taking time away to just take care of ourselves.
It wasn't at all an adventurous weekend, unless you consider eating a loaded baked potato from the back of a golf cart without utensils adventurous. It was a weekend spent chatting for hours in our pajamas over coffee, sipping mimosas all afternoon by the pool and #justwearingthesuit.
The highlight of my extended girls weekend was a trip we made via golf cart to Target. I don't care if you have to go all the way to Florida to spend time at Target without kids, that'd be the highlight of any girls weekend for any girl, let's be honest. We had so much fun in the dressing rooms giving each other honest opinions and reassuring each other that whatever it was we HAD to have it because it looked damn fine on us. We filled our shopping carts both in store and online that day with stuff with otherwise likely wouldn't have had the courage to buy. It was my most favorite Target trip of all time.
I missed those girls this week as the normal routine set in. I sure missed my family while I was gone too but man that time spent just focused on me was so needed. Maybe that's what it is with girl time, it's lighter, less stressful, less busy, lacks all the pressures, and is more just about me when I am with MY girls. Girl time is essential and we are all better wives, mothers and people for it.
I am fortunate to have several tribes from different walks of life and they all hold a special, very large place in my heart (they know who they are). I am grateful that they are always there to encourage me, empower me, support me, laugh (and cry) with me, that they tell me when I am wrong and that they are always on my side when I am right.
Thank you tribe for making my life so much better every time we're together. I love you!
For Christmas my MIL always gets us girls, my sister in law and two nieces, a gift certificate to get pedis and have a lunch date. We've been doing this for a few years now and it really is a day we all look forward to. We always have great conversation, catch up and reconnect. We got together just recently to cash in our certificates and spend our time together. What's great (or challenging) is that my mother in law has a way of getting us to talk and think about things that we don't normally stop and take the time to do. In fact, the last couple of years on this trip for pedis she brought along her "angel cards". Not gonna lie, I literally sweat even just thinking about these cards. However, I always seem to feel revived and refreshed after these prompted discussions, even if they are awkward and uncomfortable to think about out loud.
Anyway, this time around she got the cards out and we each had to pick a card without looking (ya gotta leave it up to fate to decide which card you need). What's great though, is that every card picked, even if it's not picked by you, seems in some way applicable to everyone. My card was "SHINE" and the words to spark the discussion were "Step into the light. You are a gift to the world". So the pressure was on to divulge on why fate chose that word for me that day. Honestly, I felt that it truly was fate taking over and telling me that this whole leap of blogging faith and acting on what brings me joy is what I am supposed to be doing to "shine" right now. It gave me sort of a permission to keep on typing. That maybe my "shining" goes beyond the classroom and I could even have more than one passion to share with the world.
I was also impacted by the card my mother in law picked which was "WATCH" and although I can't remember what the exact prompting words were, what I took from the card was to watch for those miracles, the miracles that happen in the littlest ways and the greatest. As we got to talking about these miracles we began to merge this "WATCH" card along with my "SHINE" card and the discussion got deep.
You know how when babies are born you just look at them like they are the most miraculous being and that they were just born to sparkle and do something great? Well we were all once that beautiful miraculous baby. We were this perfect, precious being who was going to do amazing things. Somewhere along the way that image of perfection began to crumble away and not by anyone else but by ourselves. We don't ever look at ourselves in the same way that we are looked at when we are fresh and new. We never give ourselves the credit of being capable or worthy. We spend our time focused on what's not perfect and what needs to be better.
I always go back to the time when Nick and I first started dating and I was spending the day out on the boat with his family. His mom (now my beautiful mother in law) took a picture of us, and I was in a two-piece. I remember in that moment feeling so insecure. A few years later that picture was printed and hung on a board at the cottage and I remember looking at that picture thinking "DANG! I LOOKED GOOD!". Looking back I so wish that I would have loved my body then, that I wouldn't have felt insecure in my skin and that I would've just rocked it like I should've.
It's definitely not that things matter less to me now, I mean I am still super insecure and judgmental with myself on the daily, but when I read things like "life is too short to spend it at war with yourself" it really does make me stop and think about it more than I would've twenty years ago. Even now, I spend my time judging myself in a picture or in the mirror but I know that in another twenty years I am going to have those same wishful feelings, that I would've just loved myself more.
We are still that miracle baby, capable of doing wonderful and amazing things. We are still that package full of potential and awesomeness that the world is waiting to see. We are still that miracle who has done miraculous things in our short lived lives. We need to start looking at ourselves with love and acceptance and appreciation and I believe if we do that, girl, we'll shine, because we are a gift to the world!
**I dedicate this post to my gorgeous nieces Brynn and Brett who are twenty something bomb shells and I hope that when they look in a mirror or see themselves in a picture now and forever, they realize that they are worthy and beautiful and truly miraculous human beings.**
My little miracles, Rowan, now 7 & Grady, now 5.
I came to a quick and abrupt realization this week that everything that goes wrong in our household is my fault, well in the eyes of my children; Rowan, 7 and Grady, 5. Rowan comes with me to school every day, his classroom is on the other side of the building but he is with me until the bell rings at the beginning of the day and then from the time it rings at the end of the day. I pack his lunch every single day, and I might be a little bitter that he doesn't like any of the hot lunch choices ever on the lunch menu, but that's besides the point. Anyway, on Friday I got a call down to the staff room asking for me at the front desk. Our wonderful secretary greeted me when I got down there with a big old grin and asked "so what did you pack Rowan for lunch today?". Obviously there was a purpose to her question and so it dawned on me as my heart sank that I clearly messed up somehow. My child popped out from behind a wall holding his lunch bag full of empty containers. My response was "oh my gosh total mom fail!". In my defense I was taking care of my husband the night before after his knee surgery and our after school routine was totally different. I, in fact, didn't unpack his lunch or pack it for the day before. Somehow it went from his backpack and into the fridge...empty. We managed to feed my child and solve the problem, no biggy, chuckle chuckle.
On Monday, after a big mid-April snowstorm, Rowan and I dropped Grady off at daycare only to be greeted with all of the children frolicking in the snow. Grady of course, unbeknownst to me, did not have any snow pants because someone (a.ka. my husband) brought them home, being it was April. So Grady had to deal with it, play by his teacher and not in the snow with his friends but he got over it. Well we got back into the car, Rowan and I, and Rowan says from the back seat "well another mom fail." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
That was the moment, the moment when I actually realized that yes I totally did have a mom fail but not for forgetting snow pants and to pack a lunch. My mom fail was failing to teach my children to be helpful, independent, compassionate, team players. Now, I realize that I in fact, am the one who actually taught Rowan the term "mom fail" and he learned from hearing me say it, that it is OK to blame me, that it all must really be my fault. Who else's fault could it be?
Rowan learned that day what it means to have a Rowan fail. He learned that really the empty containers left in his lunch were his fault and that he failed to check his lunch when he tossed it in his backpack that morning. He also learned that the missing snow pants were actually a Grady, mom and dad fail. That we need to work together as a team to make the dream work in our house, in order to fully be prepared for our days and to make our lives run smoothly and that our mistakes are #teamfails, not mom fails. Don't put that on me, don't put that on yourselves. When a mistake is made in your house, within your family, turn to each other to fix it, don't take that blame. I know in my house and in my life I have a million things to remember every minute and it is time to turn that accountability and share some of that responsibility, even if my kids are just young boys. Someday those young boys will be husbands and dads and they'll continue to share in the #teamfails.
Oh and guess who has emptied his lunch and repacked it for the next day every day this week? #momwin!
A couple of weeks ago we embarked on a 16 hour road trip adventure to take on family vaca/spring break 2019! We did things a little differently this year, stuck with just the four of us, drove, and went to a place we said we'd never go back to...Destin, FL, well actually Okaloosa Island if you want to get technical. We did this same vacation five years ago and although fun, the temperature didn't exceed 72 degrees and the wind was not pleasant to say the least. I am not sure what made us decide to try it again this year but we did. The temperature was consistent with our last experience, however the sun was abundant to say the least. We spent most days on the beach soaking it all in and man it felt good. We stayed at a condo resort called Waterscape and chose this place because of the many pool options for the boys. Funny out of all of the pools, only one was heated and tolerable. Good thing my kiddos like the beach! It honestly was a great time, we did the Gulfarium, ate tons of fresh fish, enjoyed the beach (did I mention that?) and just spent a ton of quality time together. With that being said, I do believe that was likely our last spring break trip to the panhandle. This family needs the ocean but warmer temps in March.
Information on accommodation as well as our favorite spots below.
My absolute favorite go-to one piece suit - Cupshe, which I might need to do a blog on one day, I have a love hate.
Melissa here! While I'm all about sharing trends, deals, and outfit ideas with you, I have a true passion for writing. I love sharing thoughts on life the most and am excited to share those thoughts with all of you right here!
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