July 23, 2014

The BEST Job of All

There used to be a time not terribly long ago when I worried long and hard about this stay at home position of mine. What was I giving up? Who was I really giving it up for? Myself, the hubs, the kids? What were the sacrifices going to be in the short-term? Long-term? And also, HOW THE HELL WERE WE GOING TO AFFORD IT?! I've worked *on official tax records* since I was 16. Prior to that, I was working for my parents. They had a produce stand and an auction hunting-stuff moving-yard selling biz. Have you ever watched Storage Wars? That show's got nothing on my parents. 

So taking a risk, I sort of closed my eyes and free fell into it all. The long days, the longer nights. The occasional boredom when it was just Landon and I and he was still pretty much immobile. It was definitely surreal and kind of an awkward adjustment. And anytime I did anything just for me, I felt really awful because, did I really deserve it since I was no longer officially working in an office? Contributing to society in this monetary way? 

Enter from stage left, Ryland. Now there were two kids and endless worrying and HOW THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO AFFORD THIS?! But you know, we did and it was fine. Life got wayyyyyy more interesting! The question came up: Should I maybe think about possibly going back to work sort of? And the resounding answer was always: No. No you shouldn't. So life went on, as it does.

Then a few months ago, the weather was just starting to get warmer and the sun was shining and clouds for days, people! I just hummed with positivity. The kids were in a good mood. Filled to the brim with goodness, is how I felt. And I realized that this is it. This is the best job in the whole world. Not the cleanest. Or the most fun all the time. Certainly doesn't come with decent pay and health benefits. But it is the best. 

We have adventures like you wouldn't believe. Dance parties that would make Beyonce stop in her tracks and bow down. There's a lot of singing and running and fort building. 

There are some days when there's more whining, more yelling than I would like. Those days are rough. But those days are also few and far between. 

I decided to give up worrying. It was mostly bad for me anyway. I decided to stop thinking about things too much, because there will always be someone else's opinion or a stupid article that filters its way in and makes me doubtful of my decision. There will always be that urge to do more and to be more and to dust off that degree and get to it already. But there are also plenty of years to still make all of that happen. Why not just be satisfied in the now? It is enough. Truly. 

Mostly, it's magic and I wouldn't trade it for all the doll hairs in the universe. ;)

July 21, 2014

On The Fun of Wiping Out- a.k.a. My First 5K

Over the weekend, I participated in my first 5K. I've always wanted to be the type of person who boasts about running in these types of races; unfortunately I have a love/hate relationship with running and so races don't seem very beneficial to a person like me. Though I wish they did! I actually signed up for a run a few months ago and it was cancelled last minute, but I'm honestly glad that the Hit and Run 5K was my first experience and I'll tell you why.

First off, pre-race endorphins must have been put into the air somehow because the people surrounding me were utterly ecstatic to be there! They were totally pumped and in turn, it got me pumped up. 

Second, I got to practice being alone, but only for a little while. I had a friend cancel at the last minute, which made me want to back out of the race. I didn't want to do it alone. There's such a stigma around doing things alone and I didn't want to be that person, swimming in a sea of aloneness. But I remembered this video I watched a few weeks ago about being brave and being okay in the aloneness and so I stood there watching groups of friends and family talk and laugh, and I practiced being okay with the fact that I didn't have friends or family to talk and laugh with. I stood up straight and confident, I smiled and stretched. I told myself not to feel stupid just because I was standing in a crowd alone. And somehow, it really helped. 

The race started and I took off. I met some very friendly people. A few even asked me to join their group for the remainder of the run. It was okay to be alone, but it was definitely nice to be included too. 

Third, the obstacles were really fun! I totally wiped out on the first one. It was a slippery balance beam and there were hanging tubes that looked like punching bags and you had to navigate around them while balancing. I did okay on the first one, but I held onto the second for too long and ended up losing my balance and slipping off into the street on my butt. I just laughed, stood back up and started running to the next obstacle. 

There were 4 total. I really liked the ball obstacle where you had to jump from one bouncy ball to another. I didn't do well at it but I liked it anyway. ;) 

All in all, it was really a great experience. I especially enjoyed having my little guys meet me at the finish line with big smiles. I had to carry Ry to the official finish line, because he didn't want to be left behind.

I had a good time and I would definitely do it again! I think this was a good ice-breaker race. It gave me a chance to check out the atmosphere and still have some fun.

July 14, 2014

Kansas City Hit & Run 5K

Have you ever watched the show, "Wipeout?" If you haven't, you really need to look it up, because it's ridiculously hilarious. Chris and I used to love to tune in every week to watch new contestants try to take on the obstacle courses, and of course, get knocked around a bit in the process. I always wondered how I would fare in a race on an obstacle course like that. Could I make the timer?

This weekend (the 19th to be specific), I won't have to wonder anymore. The Hit and Run 5k is coming to Kansas City and I'm stoked! It is an obstacle course filled with mechanical obstacles, giant inflatables, dodge balls, foam, water and a few other surprises along the way. 

The neat part is that you can basically make it a family affair. The age limit is 10-70 years old and you can choose to run, jog or walk your way through depending on your own abilities. If a particular obstacle looks too rough, go around it and move on to the next one. (Though I doubt any of my readers will have to "go around." Plus, with your family and friends cheering you on in the sidelines, you'll get that extra pep in your step)

Check out all the foam!

I'm a little worried that I might actually believe I'm on the game show and start knocking people over to "win." ;)

And on that note, who wants to join me?! Courtesy of Hit and Run, all Defining My Happy readers get 20% off of their tickets by using code: definingmyhappy14  PLUS- if during your registration process, you click share to Facebook, you get an extra $5 off! These tickets are already super cheap, so it's like you're getting them for next to nothing now. No excuses not to show up!

Want more info? Check out this video:

Click on over to the Hit and Run site to learn more and register.

*Thanks Hit and Run for sponsoring this post! Can't wait to run this weekend.

July 11, 2014

The Thing About Button Down Shirts

I love fashion. I love styling pieces together. If I won the lottery, a decent chunk of it would go to a new wardrobe and a bigger closet. But as it is, budgeting is the name of the game these days and so I have to tread carefully and find pieces I'm going to hang onto for awhile. 

I really love American Eagle shorts. They're not paying me to say that either. They fit well, are affordable and they're not super short AND I haven't had problems with them riding up when I walk. There's nothing quite as nice as not having to worry about pulling down your shorts after every few steps or worrying that someone is getting more cheek than they bargained for, am I right? (Okay, no cheek at all is fine by me, let's be honest)

I also love button down shirts, but unfortunately, that's more of a love/hate relationship. Meaning, I love them, but they hate me. You see, while I'm petite in almost every way, my chest is...not so petite. Any larger chested gal can tell you- One of two things that happen in a button down shirt are- 

a.) You go a size up so you can fit the chest area, but it bags out everywhere else making you feel fat.
b.) You try to stay within your size range, hold your breath while it barely buttons over the ladies and then have to walk around all day adjusting the gaps between the buttons, so your fellow humans don't get a peep show. 

I usually end up with B. I really hate the idea of a baggy shirt.

Last summer, I bought a few button downs from The Gap and this style that I'm wearing is the boyfriend fit. It's better than any of the other brands of button downs I've tried. And they pair nicely with my American Eagle shorts.

Here's one way I wear them:

As you can see, there's still a tiny bit of poppage at the top and it does bag out a smidge when I bend, especially like above. (hubs told me to pose like this-ha!) But overall, it's an outfit that can keep rotation in my closet.

How about you? Do you battle with certain areas on your body that fit weird in certain clothes? 

*Also, any larger chested gals have suggestions on good button downs? I'm all ears! :)

July 10, 2014

The Golden Age in Parenting

Dear Mom of Littles,

If I told you it would get easier, would you believe me? It will get easier.

There was a time not that long ago when I didn't really believe it myself. I have two small boys, only 19 months apart. I couldn't imagine my life without them, but it was hard.

It was hard with a newborn and a new toddler. One wanted to nurse constantly while the other begged me to play cars on the floor.

It was harder with two toddlers. One was finally mobile and taking advantage of that while the other was going through an art with poop phase. The messes last summer were at times, crippling. My patience was tested too often. Everywhere, things were being royally screwed up. And I felt like the biggest screw up of all.

It was hardest with a seasoned toddler and a fresh preschooler. Oh my god, was that hard. One was copycatting big brother and the other was storming around like a hormonally imbalanced midget. FYI: The twos have NOTHING on the threes. My oldest was the epitome of a threenager. One minute he was fine, the next he was on the warpath. Lots of yelling, lots of slammed doors. Not from me, for the most part. Every day, from February until about the middle of May, I wanted to strangle him. He was so bossy and could be so mean. It was the first time I heard, "I hate you." It didn't help that he had a sidekick parrot (aka little brother) to stomp around with him. On the rare times they were teammates, that is. They fought a lot during that period. If Landon wasn't yelling at me, he was yelling at his brother. The worst part is, most things made him mad for no apparent reason. He didn't like the picture he drew, so he'd flip. There was too much cereal in his bowl, so he'd push it away angrily, while it sloshed everywhere. And I would think to myself, kill me now. Seriously, I can't take another day of these randomly angry outbursts.

It got easier though. One day out of the blue in the middle of May, he woke up and didn't lose his temper at all. The next day, he invited his brother to play with him and shared without being asked. The next day, he ate and did and wore whatever I asked him to, without putting up a fight. I asked Chris, "who is this kid?" That was about two months ago. Now, I still have a seasoned toddler and a fresh preschooler. One's personality is shining through more and more each day. He loves to laugh and dance and give kisses to his mama. He only copies his brother sometimes and it's usually something funny. The other one has become very responsible, picking up after himself, getting dressed without incident, loving on and playing with his little brother regularly and not yelling at his parents. He still has his moments every now and then and he's still a picky eater, but I no longer want to strangle him. Can I just add, he is an excellent swimmer.

In fact, most things are much easier these days. We can have fun at the pool. I no longer have to carry a boy on each hip while we wade through the shallow section. They jump in with excitement rather than fear and then they watch me backflip in and applaud my tricks. We can go to the park and I do more watching than helping now. I still stand next to the play area-haven't gotten to the point where I can sit on a bench and read a book-but I'm closer than I was a few months ago to that possibility. Mealtime isn't as hard, because everyone can generally feed themselves now. Bedtime isn't as hard, because the littlest generally sleeps in his own bed now without a fuss. Cleaning isn't as hard. Showering for more than 5 minutes is no longer a scary thought. There's a hell of a lot less diaper changing going on. Landon's been potty trained since last winter and Ry is getting there. Grocery shopping...well, that's still a tough one. They're really good at grabbing 10 bottles of ranch before I notice, but we're working on it.
I imagine parenting is like ocean water meeting sand, ebbing and flowing. Some phases harder than others. More tears one day than the next. As with the rest of the life cycle, we slough through the challenging parts and are rewarded with the triumphant ones, no matter how tiny. I've loved my boys through each change and I'll continue to do so even if they eventually grow into cranky teenagers or know-it-alls.

Months ago, if you had asked me if there was a golden stage in parenting, I would've laughed. Possibly thrown something at you. But now? Yes, I'd say there definitely is and we're in it.

You'll get there too.



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