Friday, January 27, 2017

Mom Time

I have about 15 mins to write before my kids are technically allowed to come out of their rooms.

It was one of those nights as a mom. Those nights where your kids just can’t seem to stay out of your room. My oldest came in shortly after bedtime with itchy legs. My middle child who has a cold was coughing really bad, because we forgot to give her some medicine before bed. So I had to get her something to help at 2 am. That’s almost more frustrating because you realize that you might have been able to prevent that from happening if you’d have just remembered to give her some cough medicine! And then that decision snowballs. She then comes in 3 more times because she had nightmares. Once, I’ve got empathy, twice deep breaths, but 3 times I’ve got a clenched jaw and fists and I’m talking with “empathy” through my teeth.

All I wanted to do was sleep in. But, kids. They must have a sixth sense about these things. I wake up again, to my door opening and shutting at 6 am. This, again, is my fault. My girls clock broke in their room months ago so they peek in our room to see the time, and of course kids don’t understand how to shut a door quietly.

I still try to get back to sleep, and again and again, my door opens and closes so by 6:30 I figure, just get up. You’re not getting back to sleep anyways. I figured I will just get some ideas down to write about. I open up my door to go downstairs and find that I’ve got 2 doors open with lights on, one kid in the guest room reading and my sick one just walking around in her room in the dark.

I’m so tired and upset that I actually start to cry. This is MY time. MY TIME. I wake up early to write so that I can do it without distraction. I sit down on the couch just planning to cry until 7 when they are technically allowed to come out of their room. But I think, no you can do some writing. I take out my laptop. Dead. Phone? Almost dead. Forgot to plug it in last night. Typing on my tablet is a pain, so I go plug in my laptop and sit down to do some work. Then, baby starts to scream.

I give up! I walk back up stairs so frustrated. However, I stop right outside my bedroom and think, no. Write it out. Baby stopped screaming so I had 15 mins to write it out. I’ve been interrupted 2 times already, but dangit I’ve gotten some stuff written down!

Pursuing creative passions as a mom can be difficult. Doing anything for yourself is difficult. A lot of days, it down right sucks. This, however, is the season I’m in right now and I’ve just gotta push forward. Things don’t go perfectly like I’d like them to. Somedays I will need to just sit and cry and won’t get anything done. Some days I will just take those few minutes I have to type like a beast without correcting a thing and pray that I will be able to understand what I just wrote when I go back to edit. The important thing is that I do it. Because it makes such a difference in my life. After that 15 minutes of speed writing, my kids came down and I was basically good to go. I did a little something for myself, got my words out and now I could get into mom mode.

I’m not saying that this is the magic tool to becoming a perfect mom. It’s not. (And I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but there is no such thing). However, for me, writing really seems to help me handle the daily stresses that come with parenting. It’s still hard to push through and write when I hear my kids get up early. My oldest is an early bird like me, and everytime I hear movement in that corner to the 2nd floor my stomach churns, my heart sinks and I just want to cry. Mostly because I know that one will wake up the other and then it’s all over. They will start playing, get loud and eventually start fighting and wake up the rest of the house.

There are days when the writing just didn’t go as well as I had hoped and I’m not ready for mom mode, or that flow of ideas just came right before they came out of their rooms and I just want to get it out. Writing around hungry children does not mix!

From 6-7 a.m. I don’t want to be mom. I want to be me, pursuing my creative passion. But the fact is, I am always a mom. I am grateful to be mom and I love the heck out of my kids. So I need to find a way to co-exist between mom and creative. I’m still working on it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be there all the way. It may take me longer to finish posts for this blog than I’d like. There will be good weeks, there will be bad weeks. For now, I’m just gonna breathe through it and try to roll with the punches and try not to verbally punch everyone back. ;)

What do you do for yourself so that you can be present for your children? Do you write, draw, exercise, read, or get out with your girlfriends? All of the above? I encourage you to do it and fight for some time. Figure out if you need it every day or weekly. For me, I need something everyday which I swap between writing and sleeping. If my inner alarm clock doesn’t go off before 7, then I needed the sleep. Maybe you're a working mom and you need to fight more for significant time with your kids. Whatever it is, fight for what will make you a better mom and a better you.

Now excuse me as I go and buy a clock for my daughter’s room and start clearing out the spare room to move my oldest over. That should help a few things...

Friday, January 20, 2017

My Perfect White Chicken Chili

I love a good white chicken chili. Unfortunately, It has been hit and miss with the recipes I have used. Last week after looking at several recipes, I blended a bunch of my favorite aspects of them and created and bombshell recipe of my own!

Throwing stuff together doesn’t always go well for me, so I was thrilled when my whole family ate it! I immediately wrote down the recipe and wanted to share it here with you all!

This is a flavorful and filling soup. I’m a lover of toppings so I put a little of all on top, but feel free to leave out any that you don’t care for.

This would be great to serve for Super Bowl Sunday...even though my Seahawks are out. 😭😭😭

My Perfect White Chicken Chili

2 tbsp butter
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 cans white chili beans, UNdrained
1 can chopped green chilies
1 quart of chicken stock
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 small chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups frozen corn

Monterey Jack cheese
Green onions
Lime wedges
Sour cream/plain greek yogurt

Melt butter in a large pot. Saute onion until soft, then add garlic for another minute. Add beans, chilies, chicken stock, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Once you have a boil, add raw chicken. Boil for 15 mins, then take out and shred. Add it back to the pot along with frozen corn and simmer for another 15 mins or until ready to eat. Serve with toppings and a side of cornbread or tortilla chips.

I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you try it in the comments or over on Instagram!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Back in December I got an inkling to listen to the Jack & White album, Lost. The group consists of Brooke White (from American Idol) and her co write Jack Matranga. I follow Brooke on instagram and last year she was promoting the album with audio clips in her feed, which is what drew me to listen. I listened to it on repeat when it first came out. So, I decided I needed a little break from Christmas music and pulled it up on Google play. As I was getting ready one morning the words to the song Surrender were so clear to me. All of the sudden I was tuned right in and immediately I knew that this song was exactly what I wanted for 2017.  

I wanted to highlight my favorite parts of the song, but it’s all so great that I decided to share the whole thing with the audio. I couldn’t find the lyrics online so I had to write it as I heard it. The last line, is likely not right, but I got the important stuff.

by Jack & White

1st verse
Another season
Another reason to try
To start all over
Weight off my shoulders

The leaves are changing
Cause rearranging the sky
Can’t help but wonder
What’s waiting on the other side

Leaves are black and white this life
But it’s alright with me
I like the colors in between

Nothing stays the same
we changin’ everyday
wouldn’t have it any other way
So I’ll just surrender

2nd verse
Pass in the rearview
Turn my head and wave goodbye
A canvas brand new
A brush to paint a blue sky

I can’t wait
to see the sun or horizon one more day
Looking for progress
No other flawless and it's ok


I love how the lyrics express such peace with where life is and has been and a sense of wonder looking to the future. Contentment with the changes that will always come with the seasons of life. And the word surrender itself is so liberating. It's a word that can be taken in many different ways, but I see it in life as letting go of your pride. That need to be right. Releasing the grasp you have on any baggage that might be keeping you from moving forward.

The word surrender gives me a balance of peace and power, which is kind of perfect because power was my word last year. It gives permission not to dwell on the frustrations that come in life which can often eat you up inside. I’d really like to remember to surrender those things this year. I really do believe that we each have the power to bring peace into our own lives. Nobody else can do it for us. They can help, but ultimately it is up to us surrender.

Here is my hope for 2017. I’m looking forward to what God has waiting for me. I hope to handle those experiences with grace and seek his guidance through all of it. I want to look back at 2016 with wise eyes, taking what helped me grow and saying goodbye to the experiences that hurt my heart. I hope to embrace change, but I also want to do the same when it's not quite time for those changes I want in my life. Look for the colors in between the chaos that is life.

With a wave and a kiss, I say goodbye to 2016 and hello to the brand new canvas of 2017.

Do you give yourself words or mantras each year? If so, please share below or over on Instagram!

Monday, January 16, 2017

2016 in Review

2016 was a different year for me in regards to making resolutions. I decided to set goals that would improve my life and make me happy. I used to set goals that were unattainable, that had to do with my appearance, because I wasn’t happy with my body or my eating habits. For me those goals would never stick yet I continued to make them year after year. 2016 started off much differently than most years though. I had been feeling the deep weight of postpartum depression, which I wrote about here. I was battling anxiety and depression everyday and the pressures that come with new years resolutions was not something that I wanted anything to do with. I was deeply struggling with my worth as a wife and mother already. I didn’t need another reason to criticize myself when I couldn’t keep up with unrealistic and unattainable resolutions.

Instead of putting unrealistic goals into place, I thought of things that would bring me joy and help me be more mindful. Reading more sounded great. Meditation was already helping, so I wanted to keep exploring that. I also wanted to be more loving and accepting of where my body was and to treat it with respect. And finally, I wanted to cook more with my kids.

All of these goals felt good and were within my reach. I may not have reached the full potential of these goals, but I am really happy with the growth that I achieved.

I wanted to read, however in the past I’ve set goals of 25-50 books like some of the avid readers I follow. I’ve come to realize that I’m not that person so I thought 12 books was within my reach. I didn’t quite make it, but I did read 10! I’m currently reading/listening to 4 that I was really hoping to finish in december, but haha. Nope. Because...well, december is as it always is and there was just no time (or energy). I’m not sure I’ve read more than 4 books in a year since I was in high school so I’ll take 10 as a win. I had an original list, but I only read 3 from it. I just read what sounded good and I found some really good ones!

Here’s what I completed in 2016:

I’ve written reviews on these in my goodreads profile. I really enjoyed all of these, but I did have a couple favorites. The Gifts of Imperfection was amazing. It was a quick read and extremely useful. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a more wholehearted life. A new earth was really great too, but a little over my head. I’m really looking forward to reading Eckhart’s The Power of Now this year. I plan to read A New Earth again in the future. I’ve never had a favorite author before. 2016 changed that and I can’t wait to read more of Rainbow Rowell in 2017! I loved Eleanor & Park and if you like cute romantic stories, I think you will too.

At the end of 2015, meditation was helping me find some calm and peace in the midst of PPD. I really wanted to continue with the daily meditation I had been doing. I allowed the word daily to be very flexible. As my needs fluctuated this resolution evolved. At first, it was me getting up early and either sitting quietly with a candle or doing yoga. I became very fond of following Yoga with Adriene, which gave me a lot of confidence to do more self guided yoga when I needed it. I also used some great guided meditations when I needed a little more from my practice. Sometimes I just needed to write. Other times I prayed. And sometimes I would just cry. As the year continued, reading became a form of meditation and calm for me. During the summer I started bike riding with my friend after my husband got home. I also started to pray more throughout the day. I tend to get busy with the tasks of the day and forget to pray in the morning and am often too tired to remember at night. I let go of the idea that I could only pray when I was kneeling by my bed. I started praying when I’d remember which was sometimes while I was making breakfast or in the car driving (eyes open of course ;)). It occurred to me that it doesn’t really matter when and how we pray, Heavenly Father just wants to hear from us. That realization for me was huge. At the end of the year, I wasn’t meditating like I was at the beginning. However, I was reading and taking more time to do yoga which was what I was needing more.

Loving and accepting my body as it is. As a teenager and young adult, I would obsess about my imperfections. However, since having 3 girls, I really let go of that obsession. I still had many moments of disatisfaction when looking in the mirror, but I wasn’t letting it control my life as it had been. That was a great improvement, but I really wanted to stop looking foward to when my body might be smaller again. I was ready to accept where I am in this season of life. I embraced the size 14 (did I just say that outloud??) and started looking for clothes that complimented the curves that I’m rocking these days. I got rid of a ton of clothes that don’t fit anymore because, what does that help? In the process, I got new clothes and cleared up some space! I also did exercise that really felt good to me. Yoga, biking and walking were all bringing me happiness and peace.

And finally cooking with my kids. I did better than the year before, but I realized that cooking with my well meaning very eager children was not helping my anxiety. So, I tried to find ways to do it with them where there wasn’t a deadline. We made lot’s of muffins, energy bites and cookies. I picked low stress recipes and an added bonus that baked goods are always exciting to eat. Dinnertime help will hopefully be in our future. Maybe when I actually start preparing earlier? ;)

I would say that resolution wise, 2016 was a win for me. How did your 2016 go? I’m always curious to see how those resolutions, mantras or words turned out by the end of the year. Let me know in the comments or over on instagram!