The Sunday that wasn't

I threw another fit on Saturday night.  I think the Hubbs has had enough.  No matter.  My fit was about the fact that I feel like I'm giving myself away.  Like all of me.  All my time is accounted for by everyone but me.

Cry me a river, am I right?

Maybe it was because I found out that two of my besties are having dinner next Friday night for one of their birthdays and I have to work.  It's not the first time that this situation is going to happen, but it's the first one that always hurts.  Then I realized that I'd most likely have to request my own birthday dinner off and that depressed me.  

I closed three nights in a row last week.  That had it's pros and cons.  Pros because I got to spend the entire day at home.  I did some writing, some cooking, some lazy leisure time.  I was also able to take Mac to a Saturday morning doctor's appointment because she has croup.  Cons because the Hubbs had to work all weekend too, because I get home well after bedtime, both Friday and Saturday both kids were asleep when I got home.  Cons because I'm so tired when I get home all I want to do is zone out and have some time to myself.  Cons because this is also the time I turn into a horrible bitch.

So Saturday night after wasting some time on the Internets, talking to the Hubbs, I threw a fit before bed because I wanted to go to bed way earlier than I did, and because I realized that the next day, Sunday, was going to be filled with obligations.  Instead of the pajama filled, writing filled, watching horrible TV on the couch all day, Sunday I wanted.

It was going to be the Sunday that wasn't.

Of course he got pissed at my whining.  Then he laughed at me because I'm pretty funny when I get pissed.  I get totally unreasonable and over dramatic, and then I act like I'm going to cry over something stupid like Caitlin needing new underwear and me needing probiotics that can only be bought at Whole Foods which is like a half hour from my house. See, I get a little nutty in my haze of rage.  I went to bed last night listening to a coughing Mac and the idea that my Sunday was going to be filled with obligations and no time for me.  No time to breathe.  No time to relax.

It was going to be the Sunday that wasn't.

I woke up.  Or shall I say I was woken up by my human alarm clocks.  It wasn't early, but it was time.  We got up and did breakfast and baths.  Then we were off to Walmart for some epic grocery shopping.  We fit in some haircuts.  Per the Hubbs request we had a late lunch at The Olive Garden. Then Mac and I went to Costco.  It was packed full of obligation just like I thought it was.  But it was also packed full of life.

We spent the day together as a family.  I've missed these people while I've been at work. Navigating Walmart with the Hubbs who would rather be doing anything else that being in a Walmart, was fun. People watching with him was super fun.  Having a meal I didn't have to cook or clean up after. Watching my kids eat things they don't normally.  Enjoying some time with each other.  

I forget that sometimes happiness and life can seep into the list of obligations.  I forget that they seem less daunting if you do them as a team.  I tend to look at my to-do list and feel so small against something so mighty.  But like all things in life, it's one thing at a time, one step at a time, check off one item at a time.  Today was filled with obligations, but none of the negativity I thought it would have.

Is there still writing to be done and emails to answer?  Yes.

Is there laundry to do?  Yes, and dishes too.

Are my kids getting to be on time?  No, not at all.

Because this is the Sunday that wasn't.  It wasn't the relaxing, stay in our pajamas, forget about all the things on our list kind of Sunday.

This was the Sunday that was.  It was the spend the day together, packed in the car, under the groceries, eating at a restaurant, and driving around town kind of Sunday.  Together as a team, enjoying every single minute together, while we forget that it was the obligations that brought us together.  

Now as I type, my kids are still up watching the Grammy's, cheering for Macklemore and Justin Timberlake.  Of course they are, right?  

Because this is the Sunday that wasn't...

As bad as I expected.  In fact it was one to be remembered.

I was Amy Glass

I'm sure you have read the delightful article written by a woman named Amy Glass.  If you haven't read it, Google her.  Then you can see the myriad of responses to her blog post that she beautifully titled, I look down on young women with husbands and kids and I'm not sorry. I told you, delightful.

I read Amy's post and sat on my opinion for a few days.  Was I angered?  Yes.  Did I think it was absolutely ridiculous and perhaps completely made up as satire?  Yes. Then I realized it was a real blog post and I was struck by something else. Twenty years ago I was Amy Glass.

When I was sixteen and seventeen I got it in my mind that I didn't need a man and was never going to need one.  I was young and naive.  I was still stinging from a broken heart.  I did every thing in my power to distance me from love or the idea of it.  This included Dickies work pants, wife beater tanks, and short cropped hair ala Winonna Ryder in Reality Bites, and the mouth of a truck driver.  Add in the Feminist Ideal and it was a recipe for disaster.

In high school I was convinced that the worst thing that could happen was I would get pregnant and derail my future. In my mind, a baby would crush all my dreams. What a waste to get pregnant and have to spend a lifetime being a mother. I couldn't imagine throwing all my potential down the drain. I saw girls at my school getting knocked up and think, wow her life is over. It was like a death sentence. It's feels really ugly to type that, but I was sixteen and stupid.  Back then I thought I knew all the answers.  I was a lonely girl, and it caused me such bitterness.  You can laugh all you want, but if there was a "Most likely to die alone with her cats", my picture would have accompanied it in my high school year book.

By the time I got to college, there was so much more riding on my shoulders that a baby in my life really would have been a disaster. Then I thought about all of the things I needed to do first, before I settled for a family.  How sad that I thought that a family was settling.  I wanted to go to New York, I wanted to go to Europe, I wanted to design my own line of clothes, maybe get a job in a big city, and live in a loft.  I wanted to work on a magazine or, hell, start my own magazine.  Children, a husband, a family life did not enter into that situation one bit. The idea that I would just resign myself over to domesticity was laughable.  The Hubbs wrote out a five year plan for a class when we were dating and in it he stated that he wanted his future wife to stay home with the kids. I was equally horrified and intrigued.  Did he think it was 1950?  And who the hell did he think he was dating?

Even years later, in those first few terrifying months of new motherhood, I'll admit that I looked at my newborn baby, and myself in the mirror and thought "Well this is a fine way to squander a bachelor's degree".  Because in my mind, I was just like Amy Glass, motherhood was common, it was average, it was the easiest and most basic thing a woman could do with her life.  It took months for me to admit to people that I in fact stayed home with my daughter.  I was embarrassed by it.  At the time it held little success for me, and it was also so old fashioned.  June Cleaver was dead, wasn't she?  So why did I work so hard for so long for success, and then settle for common? 

You see, I was Amy Glass.  I had one steady and infallible truth in my life. Until it was a lie.

I don't feel sorry for Amy Glass.  She's a writer, she's a big girl, and according to news sources she is loving the publicity.  In a statement she said that the reason her blog post went viral is that there is a kernel of truth to it.  She is right, you know, maybe not to you, but to me.  Because nothing she wrote in that article isn't anything I haven't said to myself.  I felt many of those things she said in that article at some point in my mothering life.  Laundry and dishes that never end are just as horrible as they sound. Picking up the same toys over and over on a twenty four hour loop is just as meaningless as it feels. 

But I know something that Amy Glass will never know, and that is how it feels to love beyond yourself.

There are zero boundaries in love when you are a mother.  You love the entire being of a person, who without hesitation loves you back with the same intensity.  And then by association you begin to love yourself in a way you never knew you could. There is something quite comfortable about being a mother who can like who she is with and without her children by her side.  Motherhood is living beyond the borders of life, because in motherhood, life is dynamic. Once you are a mother, you are always a mother no matter where your children are.  There is nothing common or average about motherhood when it comes to love.  Being a wife and a mother, doing laundry and dishes, cooking dinner, playing taxi, sewing costumes at the eleventh hour, are not the successes of motherhood.  Love is the success of motherhood. Loving and being loved are the ultimate successes of motherhood.

I may never have the time, energy, or mobility to be exceptional. To do all the things I thought I would. I may never go to Europe and see the Eiffel Tower. I may never go back to school and get my masters.  I may never climb Kilimanjaro. I may never ever finish my book.  But you better damn believe that I have all the time, energy, and mobility to be an exceptional mother and human in my own right.  Because motherhood is my Kilimanjaro. Motherhood is my Eiffel Tower. Motherhood is going to be the great story of my life.

And Amy is right in saying that a stay at home mom will never be on equal footing as a woman who works and takes care of only herself. Because the stay at home mom, the work at home mom, and the working mom, all work and take care of themselves, their household, their children, and a million other people, pets, and every day occurrences. They will forever out work that woman who works and takes care of just themselves.  That's not a jab at the single woman, that is just mathmatically the truth. Because for every blog post that Amy writes, I write two, while watching my kids fight over the iPad, while dinner burns in the oven, while the laundry sits in the dryer another day. For every dinner out that Amy has, I have one of leftovers and dry cereal. For every single moment of solitude Amy has, I have none, because my tribe surrounds me. Amy Glass and I will never be on equal footing, and I'm sure that scares the shit out of her.

I am no longer bitter or cynical about love and motherhood.  I am no longer embarrassed that I have a bachelors and chose to do this.  You could say I'm now working on my masters in motherhood.  Motherhood has given me a better understanding of myself.  Motherhood has given me a better understanding of success. Motherhood has given me an exceptional life, that I have all the time, energy, freedom, and mobility to enjoy.  My freedoms and mobility may not look like Amy's, but they are mine. She can have hers. I'm good with that. Amy will never know the exceptionality that I know, and it sounds like she is pretty secure in that.

Because I used to be Amy Glass.  I held so tightly to one truth. Until it became a lie.


Learning the ropes

It occurred to me last week, as I was talking and apologizing to the Hubbs after our fight, that I am in fact learning how to do two new jobs.  Not just the new part time job, the one I've taken after being six years out of the work force and almost ten years out of retail.  I'm also learning how to do the new job of Part Time Working Mom.  Two new jobs instead of the one.

I was totally prepared to feel behind the curb at my new job.  Having to learn a new system, a new data base, new product, new sales material.  That I expected, that I anticipated.  I knew that I'd have a few days where all I would do was ask question after question.  I knew that I'd have to admit to other associates and customer alike that I didn't know about this or that.  I knew that I'd have to take notes, leave notes, and weather mistakes.  I knew that and accepted it.

I was totally unprepared to feel behind the curb at home.  I've been sitting pretty comfortably for the last three years.  Once Mac turned one, and once we got a foot hold on school and after school activities, I felt like the bumps in the road were minor.  I felt like if I forgot to do something, pay for something, forgot to buy something, I could just do it tomorrow, or the next day.  I could stop by after school drop off or pick up.  I could just let it slide.  Now, that's really not possible.  Now if I forget to pack a snack for recess, someone doesn't get a snack.  If I forget to send money for snack shack, I have to call someone to drop some money at the school.  If I forget to buy toilet paper or paper towels, or turkey for sandwiches, there is no time to stop and buy them before they are needed.  There is no dropping in before work or after work, because I'm usually running behind schedule.  

I feel like I'm leaving note after note, writing to do list after to do list, setting alarm after alarm on my phone.  I feel like one hiccup in our schedule will derail the entire train.  I feel like I'm the only person in this house that actually gives a shit about me getting to work on time.

I feel really alone in this.

I knew that returning to work, even part time was going to be a struggle.  I've been working a seasonal job that required little commitment, I was able to leave that job at the job.  This job is different.  This job requires more of my brain and more of me.  I knew that too.  I knew that I was making more of a commitment this time.  And I welcomed that, I've embraced it.  When I'm at work, I'm focused, when I walk in the door all the real life mama drama gets checked.  And then as I'm leaving, all the to-do lists and notes and alarms start going off.

I feel like I'm starting over a little.  Like I have to re-learn the ropes of motherhood, this time from a different perspective.  This time I have to relearn how to be a mom that works.  That doesn't have an infinite amount of tomorrows to pick up the forgotten boxes of Capri Sun, crayons, poster board for the school project.  Now every single minute counts.  Less time to wait, less time to squander.  I have to relearn how to prioritize the things that matter, let go of the things that don't.  I can do anything, but I can't do everything.  I read that on Pinterest.  I need it on a shirt, but it will most likely be written on one of my many post it notes reminding me of what I need to do tomorrow, and next week.

It's been six years since I've had to keep a calendar, writing my shifts in blue ink.  It's been six years since I've worn mascara more than two days in a row.  It's been six years since I've had to wear earrings and a watch, pants that button and zip.  It's been six years since I've felt this inept as a mother.  

The good thing about having six years of motherhood under my belt is that I know it gets better.  I know that I can do it.  I know that it's hard right now, it's awkward, and challenging.  I know that there will be hard days, harder days, and then one day it will feel normal.  A new normal.  I know that I can let go of things, walk away from them, and know that I'm not quitting, I'm choosing.  I'm choosing how I want to live and how I want to be.  I'm so lucky that after six years in this mothering life, I know that the next mothering life, as a part time working mom, will yield results just as sweet. 

I just have to learn the ropes of a new normal.  Whatever normal means.

I need to talk {life recap}

If you called me today, I would in fact talk your ear off.  You would not get a word in edgewise and I would be out of breath from talking so much and for so long that I would forget to breathe.  I would totally manipulate the conversation to center around me, and while I did it I wouldn't realize it or consider your feelings.  I'm pretty sure that's why I'm here writing this blog, instead of making phone calls.  No one really likes a conversation hog, they just tolerate them.

I would tell you that work has been the easy part.  Going to work, training, learning the ropes.  That has been the easy part.  The getting to work, the getting the kids to school part, the scheduling and rescheduling of child care parts.  Those parts have been the most challenging these last three weeks. My girls are still having some residual separation anxiety about work.  They are not used to mom leaving the house at five at night to go to work.  That's usually dinner time, or tv time, or fast food time.  They didn't really know what to make of mom leaving the house on Saturday to go to work either, or when I worked last Sunday.  We are still easing into this work/home/school life.

I'd tell you that we met with Caitlin's teacher, the school psychologist, and the Vice Principal this morning.  Because the morning meltdowns are getting worse.  The separation anxiety that she has been suffering with since before Thanksgiving are morphing into something entirely different.  They gave us great ideas about setting up action plans and putting them in place for school drop off and pick up. How to handle the bumps in the road that seem minor to us, but are on a larger scale horrifying for Caitlin.  At seven forty five this morning I was sitting in a chair made for a first grader, tearfully taking notes, and starring items I had written in an attempt to make her life a little easier.  A little less fearful, a little less anxious.  I've been at a loss to help her, and I can't really handle watching her cry into her pancake syrup every morning.

We'd talk about the blog post that was supposed to go live this morning.  The one detailing all my feelings on the issues we have been having with Caitlin.  Again, a post about the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly.  I'd tell you how I put everything I had into it at eleven thirty last night, after working the closing shift.  How I just had to write to get it out, to wrap my head around the fear of having a meeting with the school psychologist.  Then I would tell you that the Hubbs asked me to wait.  Asked me to hold off on publishing.  And how I blew up, and was angry, because writing it out is what I do.  It's how I cope.  I'd tell you that I was angry and felt a little betrayed that he things that I share too much sometimes.  And while I still feel a little sting that I was censored, I feel like I did the right thing to respect his request.  How much is too much for him?  Sometimes I don't even bother to ask.  The post will get published, but by waiting it will take on a new form.  It will grow into something more meaningful, something more put together.  Because last night I just wrote freely.  And sometimes that can be a little more than I bargained for too.

If you were still on the line I'd tell you that I noticed a roll over my leggings this morning. And that the last three months of eating baked Paleo goods and not working out has caught up with me.  I'd tell you that I'm wearing those damn leggings anyway, even if I do look fat, and you'd tell me to shut my skinny ass up because I don't look a pound over 110. And I'd tell you that I'm 115 and to shut your trap and then you'd call me a skinny bitch and tell me to put in the damn Jillian DVD if it makes me feel better.  Or to bake more Paleo cupcakes because that works too.

Then I'd tell you that I have broken not one, but two new year's resolutions.  And you would ask which ones, even though you have already told me resolutions are for overachievers. I'd tell you that I have yet to respond to comments on this blog made on posts last week. Something that I did not want to get behind in the new year.  I'd tell you that I can't ever decide if commenting on the blog is best or via email.  And you'd say that you don't even know that that language is about.  Then I'd tell you that I have old lady zits because I am failing to get my lazy ass to wash my face at night.  And you'd tell me that wearing make up to bed ages me like 20 years a night and scare me into washing my face for about a week consistently until I start sleeping in my make up again.  Because we both know that's exactly what's going to happen.

I'd also admit that I miss this space terribly.  I miss writing as a whole.  I've been having a hard time fitting it all in.  I'd tell you that I have about three projects going at once, not a single one fully researched or well thought out.  I'd tell you that I have started reading four books since January first and have yet to finish a single one.  Which makes me sad, and says a little about my reading choices.  I'd tell you that my mind is constantly writing things, but when I finally get to the screen, it's all gone.  Poof.  And then I pretty much give up paralyzed by my own self inflicted writers block.  

And if you were still there, with your mouth agape I'm sure, I'd apologize for unloading all this life on you and thank you for loving me anyway.  Thank you for always picking up my call, always saying the right thing.  Then I'd finally ask you how your day was, and as you told me, I'd finally be able to relax knowing I'm not the only one with a life as full as this.

Yelling at my Hubbs (on his birthday)

Last Thursday was hard.  I realize that I'm only three weeks into a new job, and that last Thursday I was only two, but it was hard none the less.  It started out as normal as mornings around here go.  I woke up exhausted and spent a half hour on my phone, promoting things, checking in with Instagram and making sure my email wasn't going to hit two hundred messages before noon.  I get that a half hour is a lot of time to waste, but lately this is the only time I can check in until it's time for bed. That's a huge change for me and my blog life.  

As usual the kids didn't want to get up.  I woke them up repeatedly as I put on my face. Then got dressed and then made lunches.  Finally Caitlin got up about 35 minutes before we had to leave the house.  Tears flowed all through getting dressed, combing hair, and eating breakfast.  Tears because it was "music class day", tears because Mommy had to work, tears because she doesn't want to go to school.  Finally as I was putting on Mackenzie's shoes, watching Caitlin eat a pancake (minus syrup) as she cried and choked on crumbs, I crumbled a little myself.  I looked at her and knew with all my mothering heart that there wasn't a damn thing I can do to quell the tears at that point.  And on this morning I couldn't give her any extra time to cuddle or coddle because we had to go.  We had to get to school, I had to come home and get Mac ready for dance, and I had to high tail it to work all before nine am.  It was a fine time to crumble a little, let me tell you.

We got to school at the warning bell, which has also become our usual.  I'm trying to let go of the always early rule I set for myself when I was about her age.  If I couldn't get somewhere five minutes early, well then I was late.  I still feel that way, even after kids, even after being tardy for so many things since.  But on mornings where the tears flow, and the fears are visible, I take extra time to relax and breath, extra time to count to ten instead of yell, extra time to tell her that we can do it, that we can get to school, have fun at school.  So the warning bell is our new early.

After dropping off Caitlin, who is again crying, harder this time as I walk away with her little sister, I realize that I'm tearing up again.  Because on this day, there is not a minute of extra time.  Not a moment to spare.  I get home, and meet my mom at the door, who can tell I'm a little more amped than usual.  I begin to tell her about the morning, about how she will have to get Mac to dance, how I still have to buy the stuff for the Hubbs' birthday dinner and dessert, and oh yeah we need to go to Costco because we are out of everything, chicken, eggs, avocados, apples, toilet paper.  And since I close for the rest of the week, today is the day.  Also I'm still on the learning curve and I'm pretty sure I messed up every single closing procedure asked of me last night.  And oh yeah, I haven't even bought a card for the Hubbs, add that to the list.  My mom just looks at me, mouth agape.  She knows I'm very close to the edge.  White knuckled even.

And just as I'm collecting the leotard and tights and ballet shoes, I hear my mom on the phone... My Grandpa needs to go to the hospital again.  And my Mom has been commissioned to take him.

Panic.  Actual panic and gut wrenching terror sets in.  Because I'm two weeks into a job and child care is already an issue.  Can I take Mac to work until someone else can pick her up?  Is that even legal?  So I do the only thing I can think of...

I call the Hubbs.  I say, you need to come home now and get Mac because we are out of child care options, and he says I can't.  And I unload.  All my fears.  All the things running through my mind. Because this was the exact scenario I was afraid of.  This is why I haven't worked for six years.  My husband has a very demanding, very inflexible job.  So for the last six years, I've been the one, readily available for anything that goes wrong, any mishaps that may occur.  We yell, we scream, we say horrible shit.  We hang up on each other.  He calls his mom, she can come, all while my mom calls my uncle who can take grandpa.  All the while I'm trying not to let the tears fall because for fucks sake I'm wearing mascara and not only does that shit burn, but it's not going to be possible for me to fix my make up before I have to leave for work.  And I completely fall apart, and in doing so I yell at the Hubbs on his birthday.

I got to work on time in case you were wondering.   I worked as if the entire hour between eight and nine am never happened.  I took a breath and realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it now.  When my shift was over, I got in the car, and went to get Mac.  Grandpa was home from the ER, his chest pains were just chest pains and nothing more. My mom made me sit down for at least 10 minutes and relax, since I was still going full speed ahead.  I got Caitlin, went to the grocery store, then Costco, both kids in tow, then got home just in time to throw dinner and dessert together, neither came out very well (I've promised to redo both at a later time).  I apologized.  I apologized.  I apologized.  We talked.  We talked and talked again.  But I'm still not sure he has forgiven me for yelling at him on his birthday.  I'm not so sure I'd forgive him if the roles were reversed.  Not sure that I'm completely justified in yelling at him.  Not sure if we have completely resolved this issue, or calmed my fears, both rational and irrational.  

So here I am a week later and it still hurts, my mascara still burns.  I'm still thinking about the added stress of working and wondering how all you working outside of the home mothers don't have Olympic medals.  I understand the plight of the Stay at Home Mom, but the stress and the role of the working mom (even as I'm part time) is an entirely different life.  It's still early, we are still settling in, I'm still learning.   I'm sure I will yell at the Hubbs again, and probably soon, thankfully it won't be on his birthday.  I have a year before that can happen again. 

What I Eat Wednesday {Introducing 3 Phase Paleo}

**This post is sponsored by Paleo Parents, however the thoughts and opinions are all mine.  Paleo Parents are not medical professionals, and neither am I.  This is a post about a lifestyle that I follow, and a book written about that lifestyle.  Before starting any new health regimen, please consult your regular care physician.  Thanks.

I know this isn't your typical Wednesday post, but I get a lot of questions about what I eat.  For three years I have been eating food that is free of grains, sugar, dairy, and caffeine.  Crazy right?  So the question that pops up the most is, "what on earth do you eat?", and my simple answer is chicken and avocados.  But there is a lot more to my diet than that.  Today I'm going to share with you the Paleo Lifestyle.  I say life style because it's so much more than a diet, and with the help of a new ebook, 3 Phase Paleo, understanding and committing to the Paleo Lifestyle has never been easier.

Last fall I discovered Paleo Parents on Instagram, after following Danielle Walker.  The Paleo Parents are amazing and have written two cookbooks, Eat Like a Dinosaur for your celiac/paleo kid, and Beyond Bacon, which is literally filled with Bacon/Pork madness.  I bought it for my mom for Christmas and there is something in there called "Bacon Jam" that you can dip apples in... Hello!  Following them on Instagram is a lot of fun and very informational because their entire family eats paleo, even their young boys!  What started out as a mission for better health for Stacy, has turned into a lifestyle for the entire family. 

3 Phase Paleo

3 Phase Paleo is completely different from any other Paleo book I have purchased.  This book introduces you to the Paleo Lifestyle in a way that looks at whole health.  Do you or someone you know suffer from an autoimmune illness?  Do you suffer from seasonal allergies or food allergies?  Are you looking for a way to cut out unwanted chemicals and preservatives out of your family's life?  This book will give you information that can answer any and all of those questions.

3 Phase Paleo

But in addition to answering questions on the whys of the Paleo Lifestyle, 3 Phase Paleo takes it a step further by helping you transition into Paleo in three phases.  In Phase One you start by cutting out all gluten, refined sugars, and chemical laden and processed foods.  The book includes (printable) shopping lists, and a chart to show you just how to move from over processed foods to "paleo" foods.  For example you go from pancake syrup, to pure maple syrup, to grade B maple syrup.  You can move from regular cold cuts, to organic cold cuts, then finally to proteins made at home, cutting cold cuts out completely.  This information in Phase One is extremely valuable, especially if you'd like to move your entire family, kids included, over to a Paleo Lifestyle.

Phase Two includes cutting out grains all together, dairy, processed oils (corn, vegetable, soy, canola), and legumes.  They give you substitutions for each, and let you know where to find the recipes later in the book.  Cutting out all grains and processed oils is difficult, I know that for sure, but what this book does is give you clear guidelines, products they favor (and not because of endorsements), and ideas on how to eat a Paleo Lifestyle at home and on the go.  This includes a list and photo on how to stock a Paleo Pantry, and a guide on how to eat at some choice restaurants on the go.

Finally in Phase Three, you will get an introduction to healing foods, bone broth and fermented foods included.  As someone who suffers with a few autoimmune illnesses, this information is informative and invaluable.  I'm a firm believer that food can heal you from the inside out.  In Phase Three you will find out how to use healing foods to do just that and more.  This is a major part of the Paleo Lifestyle because many of us who follow it, rely on it to keep us healthy.

Now for my favorite part... The Recipes!
3 Phase Paleo

I'll be honest with you, going from a Gluten Free diet to a Grain Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free diet was scary.  Three years ago I cried that I had to give up rice and my Starbucks Ventis.  Today, I grateful for the discovery that the majority of foods I was eating, while they were gluten free, were causing me major health problems.  In discovering that I was allergic to most grains, whether they were gluten free or not, I felt like I would never eat anything but chicken and avocados.  I couldn't have been more wrong, but it has take me three years to feel like I'm eating good food again, and not just rabbit food.  Recipes like these in 3 Phase Paleo make it easy and delicious to maintain my Paleo Lifestyle.  From the very basic, but delicious, Easy Peasy Pancakes, to the amazing Spaghetti Squash Alla Carbonara, you will not go hungry without free reign on fast food.  I promise.

What I liked about the recipe section were the easy to follow directions (since I'm not the best in the kitchen) and the beautiful pictures of food that made my mouth water.  Most of the recipes require ingredients that are easy to obtain, nothing crazy that you may or may not have to order on Amazon.  And many of them are kid friendly, or can be made that way, since this is a book for the entire family.

This book grabbed my attention immediately because it is a fool proof way to make a major lifestyle change.  Eating this way is not easy, it takes prep, it takes commitment, but with this book, you could be on your way to a chemical free, preservative free lifestyle in just three easy phases.  If you have been thinking of eating the Paleo way, or if you suffer from an autoimmune illness, take a moment and check out 3 Phase Paleo.  It's a great way to start out the year, to jump start your health, or make that change that you have been thinking about.

I'll admit that there are some days that I really wish I could just drive thru and order my dinner.  There are days when I wish I could just grab a bagel and a coffee and go.  But I can't, not without seriously getting sick.  I get that choosing a Paleo Lifestyle seems like a simple choice for me, and on most days it is.  But I'm grateful for finding a way to stay healthy, not just for me, but for my family.  I can't be mom if I'm sick and in pain, so I've committed myself to this lifestyle.  After reading this book, I'm even thinking about phasing my family into a more Paleo way of life.  If you have ever wondered what I eat, or why everyone is gaga for Paleo, this book will give you all the details.  Recipes included.


To purchase your copy of 3 PHASE PALEO click here.

**This post was sponsored by Paleo Parents
***Absolute Mommy is now a proud affiliate of Paleo Parents

Life Lately {Settling In}

Tuesday will mark two full weeks of being back in the workforce.  What do I have to say about it?  About a million things.  But first I will say this.  The transition has been rough on all of us.  The Hubbs included.  The kids have had all sorts of emotions.  I will admit that I have cried.  But it's also been fun and liberating.  You can teach this old dog to do new tricks.  Like work new fangled touch screen registers, or understand a new data base.  I feel like in a month, none of the hard stuff will matter.  Do I have a few posts about our transition in greater detail?  Yes.  Do I have time to write them now?  No, because I have to get ready for work.  It's a fine balance, but for now, here is a quick recap of how we are settling in.

If you didn't read last weeks post, I've found a new mantra.

Last Tuesday I spend the entire day drowning in girl scout obligations.
It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't run out of printer ink.
Or if I would have gotten then chance to shower.
Pony tail and extra deodorant for the win.
Oh, and don't forget the dry shampoo.

You can laugh all you want, but this was set as an event and an alarm in my phone.
I bought my ticket so fast that my confirmation was sent at 9:02.
Tickets went on sale at 9:00.
Now, I've requested the days, so lets all pray it goes according to plan.

 I put my heart out there again, and you all were so kind and generous in your comments.
I'm sure not everyone would agree with my post, but having the support of such 
a rich blogging community means so much to me.
Thank you a million times over.

The same day I posted my scary post, my oldest gal made me a loom bracelet.
Our neighbor and friend gave Caitlin a loom and now we are in the thick of it.
If I could just figure out how to finish the bracelet without it falling apart!
Google and YouTube here I come!

It's cookie time for us Girl Scouts in Fresno.
And all I can think about is Troop Beverly Hills.
Where on earth is my shopping patch???

Wore my Lisa Leonard necklace and then proceeded to snap a photo of my ugly bedroom.
I swear it looks like me and the Hubbs live in a Fraternity house!
The rest of the house is good.
Our bedroom is bits and pieces of whatever people were getting rid of.
Except for the bed.
We got a Cal King a few years back!

I'm a little sad this project has taken a back seat.
I'm trying to really make it a priority and hammer out some writing time.
It's hard to post original content here, and then more original content somewhere else.
But I'm working on it.

 The other night when I got home from work, this little miss was still up.
I went and got in bed with her and she asked if we could 
take some pictures with my phone.
We took about eight, but I like this one best.
Sometimes you just have to surrender to the selfies.

 Saturday night I had every intention of writing and blogging.
Really pumping out some posts, getting set up for the week.
I had an entire evening to do it too, but I had zero motivation.
Then I sat down and watched an episode of Girls.
What is it about  Girls that motivates the writer in me?
This quote was one of the best of the half hour.
After she yells that at Adam her boyfriend, she says something like,
I'll be here living my truth, you go on and live yours.
Amen sister.

So here is a little bit about our life lately.  It's been busy and full and messy.  So not much has changed except Mommy wears more make up, she can't always be home for dinner, and she's going to need a little more time to settle in.

Happy, happy birthday, Bloggy {three years and counting}

Today my little bloggy that could will be three.  THREE.  When I started this adventure in Internet land, I never once imagined that I would still be pounding the keys three years later. This has been a labor of love.  This blog has taught me things about myself.  Things I would have never discovered if I hadn't taken a chance that day.  There is a lot of talk these days about screen time.  Spending too much time in front of a screen and away from my family.  But in my defense, this blog has made me a better mother, a better wife, and a better person.  I can find lessons in the mistakes I made.  I can take to my laptop and type away a confession, an admission, an apology.  This blog has turned into my therapy, my drug, my happy place, my calm.  I'm so thankful for it every day.

Over the last few months I've been going back over the blog posts from my first and second years.  I cringe at some of my posts from the first year.  I can see the novice, the voice that wasn't quite as steady as it is today.  My second year posts had a stronger voice, a little more sure of itself.  And last year, with a voice strong and loud, I took chances on my writing.  I still wrote with force, I still wrote with honesty, but I let a little bit of my fearfulness go.  I said things that I may have been afraid to say in the past.  I cussed more.  Dropped a few more eff bombs.  I talked about delicate situations, and sometimes I gave away too much information.  I went out on a few limbs, sometimes on tiptoe.

And I survived.  

This blog has survived too.  Survived my thirst for followers and not readers.  Survived my focus on ads and self promotion instead of writing.  Survived trying to present content I thought was wanted in the blogging world.  This blog has survived those three years of finding my place on the Internet.  And trust me it's a small little place I carved out with the help of some really great friends.  But we all know this space has never gone viral, and to be honest it may never.

But this is my place and I'm so happy to be here.  I'm so happy that you are here.  This year is going to be quite different.  I'm working now.  The blog is taking a backseat to other things in life.  Like life itself.  I'm working on other projects.  Projects that I've been thinking about launching for the life of this blog.  Thanks to this blog, I have the confidence to do that now.  I'm a little nervous about the year to come, but I can't stop writing.  I can't stop coming back and letting my heart bleed a little at this keyboard.  Words are my oxygen.  I need them.

Like I've said again and again, I'm so thankful for you.  You, reading this right now.  When this blog was born it had five readers.  One of them was my mother, the other my best friend, and a few others along the way.  That's a big change from what this blog sees these days.  I've made some lasting friendships via this blog.  Friends that I have never met, never hugged, but I know the days that their sons and daughters were born.  I know that their son lost a tooth, and their daughter likes purple glitter polish.  I know how sad they were when their grandpa died.  I've prayed for them, cried for them, laughed with them.  They are real friends, in real time, because despite the absence of a hug, they have touched my heart.

This year I have so much to celebrate.  Three years filled with words and stories and love. Three years of connections and friendships and a shared community.  Three years of finding my voice, finding my way, discovering me.  Three years that confirm this is exactly what I should have been doing all along.  Writing.  Living.  Loving.  Laughing.  Three years, and counting.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Here are a list of my favorite blog posts from last year.
Keep in mind I wrote 234 in all.
To remember, to regret, to renew
The Mother/Father Double Standard
Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting
When motherhood gives you the middle finger
Twitter will not destroy my marriage
I before we, except after kids
We have to save each other
WTF is happy hour?
The Raw Chicken in the Room
Cactus Panties
Spilled Milk
A Hundred Years War
No Air
No F**ks to give
The Dinner Party (a short story)

Great Expectations {my daughter and me}

In early December I wrote my heart out about a fight I had with my daughter.  I'm not proud that I let an argument with my six year old get the best of me.  I'm not proud of how I acted, or the fact that I lost my voice, but writing it here, putting it all out there, it opened me up to acceptance.  It allowed me to accept advice from readers, who I'm sure were a little shy to bring up behavioral issues that make parents recoil.  It allowed me to accept constructive criticism from other people in my life on how I handled things.  It also allowed me to open myself up and accept the fact that she and I both may need help, like the professional kind. And I was totally fine with all of that.  I can accept those things.  Then I was on Facebook a few nights later, and found a post by Hands Free Mama, the title: The Bully too Close to Home.  And I just knew.  I just had this feeling, that I would connect with this post, that I would see myself in this post.  I just didn't realize how close to home it would hit.

The Bully too Close to Home is about Rachel and her first born daughter.  It's about a mother and daughter where the mother is a drill Sargent like antagonizer and the daughter is just a daughter, a child, a human.  I read so many things that resonated with me, I had to put my phone down twice.  Then I had to re read it twice.  Because I am the Bully in this house.  I am the Bully in my daughters life.  And that was something so ugly and hard to admit to myself that it made me sick to my stomach.

After reading Rachel's post, I thought about all of the ways I had been bullying my daughter. I thought about the standard of behavior I expected out of her.  I thought about all of the ways that I would and could correct her in a day.  Her socks didn't match, her hair was in her eyes, she was picking her nose (again!), her pants were sagging, she was biting her nails, I could go on, but you get the picture.  I thought about all of the times she bore the brunt of my frustrations.  How I was quickest to yell at her before everyone else.  How I would point out situations in which I had asked her to do "A", she chose to do "B" and now we had to do "C", and that was all her fault.  It isn't pretty my friends, but it is honest to God real life.  I was doing this.  I had been doing this for awhile, and now I was at a point where I wanted to stop, but was afraid that even if I did stop, too much time had passed.  That I would forever be her biggest bully.

A few nights after reading Rachel's post and about a week after our big fight, I was out with two of my dearest friends for one of their birthday's.  It was a great night spent talking about all things life, marriage, and family.  Then we started talking about writing, since two of us write, and I brought up Hands Free Mama. We talked about that post, and I confessed that I was the Bully in my home.  And that I was so embarrassed and devastated that I couldn't see that in myself until I read that post.  Then without even thinking about it I said,

"I have no idea why I expect her to be perfect when I'm not"

And that my friends was the break through.  The ahh-ha moment.

From the moment she was born, I expected perfection.  From her, from me.  I was under the impression that motherhood was going to be like any other job I ever had.  I was going to go through a training period, and then soon I was going to be a productive employee just as I had been in every job since college.  In case you are wondering, I'm still in training, I'm always learning.  But from the get go I have expected perfection out of that child.  I wanted her to be the perfect eater, the perfect sleeper, the perfect crawler, the perfect walker, and as she got older the perfect reader and the perfect speller. I wanted her to be quiet and play nicely with the other kids.  I wanted her to be the perfect child, with a clean room, clean teeth, and no arguments about bedtime.

Can you say Great Expectations?

As time went on, and as life didn't go according to plan, I allowed myself to lessen the expectation on myself, but never lessening the expectation of my daughter.  Why did I allow myself such grace and not do the same for her?  I have no idea.  I can't even begin to answer that question.  Maybe I thought that with enough "direction" (read bullying) I could direct her into the person I wanted her to be. Maybe I thought that her missteps were directly related to my mothering and that if I could see it, others could too.  Then they would know, that she's not perfect and that is my fault alone.  Maybe because I knew it was too late for me to be perfect, I could still strive for that for her.

Whatever the case may have been, it was so ugly and twisted that I just prayed and prayed that it wasn't too late.  That I wasn't too late to mend and repair my relationship with her. That I could finally let go of that perfect child I was expecting, and embrace the beautifully wild and chaotic spirit of a child that I got.  Because it's not for lack of love.  I love her, with my whole heart and whole self.  I've loved her every minute of her life, from the moment she took her first breath, from the moment she made me so sick with pregnancy.  From the moment those two pink lines appeared, I have loved her with such force.  So why on earth am I bullying her and her spirit?  And why does it seem that I can't love her without bullying her?

Since the discovery of my great expectations, I've tried to be more relaxed.  I've tried to be more positive.  I've tried to put myself in the shoes of a six year old.  I've even reminded myself that she is, in fact, SIX YEARS OLD.  I've switched my focus to showing love, instead of just talking about love.  I can tell her I love her a thousand times a day, but to show her, to do so without bullying her, that is what matters.  I'm on a mission to be less critical when she decides to wear leopard print leggings with a striped neon tank, and ugg boots for a trip to Target.  To not point out when she has a kool-aid mustache, or chocolate on her cheeks after a cupcake.  

These days, I try to ask her not to bite her fingernails down to the quick, and I try to remind her to wash her hands before dinner, instead of yelling and demeaning she do them.  Now I'm on a mission to ask, instead of pointing out what I don't like about a situation.  To stop myself from yelling before I even know what she is doing or not doing.  To take a breath, and remind myself, she is six, she is beautifully and wonderfully made, she is a gift, and she is no more perfect than I.  I cannot expect perfection from her when she expects not a single ounce of perfection from me.

Because if I'm being tearfully and brutally honest with you, she loves me anyway.  She loves me regardless of all the times I've yelled until I lost my voice.  All the times I pointed out that she put another hole in the knee of brand new pants, and for the love of all things cheetah print why are you getting holes in brand new pants.  She loved me when I was sad and depressed, and anxious and even when I didn't produce enough damn breast milk to feed her.  That kid, that child, that beautiful, stubborn, hard headed, creative, artistic, funny, sarcastic human loved me anyway.

And it's about time I showed her that I do love her the same.

Working Girl {week one 2014}

It's safe to say that if you follow me on Instagram then you know I returned to the work force last week.  It's been six years since I've had a steady job that requires me to wear make up and pants that don't have an elastic waist.  In addition I can't wear jeans or Toms.  What's a girl to do?  Buy a few pieces here and there, then shop the hell out of her closet that she has been ignoring for the better part of the last six years.  Thanks to all my Instapals for your kind comments on my pictures.  You all make me feel better about some of my work clothing choices.  I feel like I'm a little rusty.  But I'm working my way back into the game.  Here is what I wore on week one.  

For the record I didn't wear the jacket or scarf at work.
But I kind of like the way this all goes together.
I look like one of those people on Pinterest who are walking carefree in the park,
holding a coffee, and an awesome tote bag.  But I'm not because,
I don't have anyone to take my pictures.
Also I'm wearing my wedding ring again, because now I have somewhere to wear it.
Scarf: Eddie Bauer Outlet (this year)
Denim Jacket:  The Gap (circa 2001)

Actual outfit worn for my return into the wonderful world of retail.
Lace shirt: Kohl's, Lauren Conrad (fall 2013)
New Black Skinnies: Ann Taylor Loft (after Christmas sale 50%off)
Layering tank: Target
Brown Boots (my old stand bys): Kohl's (2012)

I had this mapped out in my mind for a few days, but with a denim shirt.
The denim shirt wasn't dressy enough for my taste so I added a mustard cardi.
Same boots as Monday, and a layering tank to make sure my boobs didn't fall out.
I mean no one wants to see those, I promise.
New gray trouser skinnies: Anne Taylor Loft (this year, 50% off at their clearance sale)
Lace tank: Target (summer)
Layering tank: Old Navy
Boyfriend Cardi: Target (last year)

Lets have an honest talk here.  The pants I'm wearing, I found them in a bag
marked garage sale, no joke.  The Hubbs brought in the bag from the last garage sale, I went through it again and found these brown pants from, wait for it, 2001.  They were bought the same day as the denim jacket in picture one.  Cardi, blouse, and nude flats are new purchases.  I liked this outfit because it was comfortable, but looked put together.
Cream cardi: Target
Polka Dot Shirt: NY and CO
Brown trousers: Gap (2001)
Nude flats: Payless

Let's talk dirty mirrors for a moment.  Didn't notice it until I was ready to post this picture.  Shameful.
Skinny trousers again, but only because my other pants are getting alterations.
Wine and leopard is a combo that I just love.  Brown boots again, but they are hard to see.
Those babies are from Kohl's.  Also the leopard sweater is from Mervyn's (moment of silence for dead retailers), and its from the girls department because I'm kinda short.

So remember that giveaway from Kiki La Rue I won?  Well I indulged in this gold and black cardi called the Gatsby.  The gold is fantastic and has some shine to it.  I'm not usually a fan of gold and shiny, but it's super glamorous.  I paired it with a different lace shirt that has sleeves (that you can't see), and black trousers I found hiding in my closet from my former life as an escrow assistant.  New black flats that aren't as comfortable as my nude ones, which sucks because these were twice as much!
Gatsby Cardi: Kiki La Rue
Lace Shirt: American Eagle (2012)
Black Trousers: Ann Taylor Loft (circa 2006)
Black Flats: Aldo

All in all a great first week at work.  Did my feet hurt?  Yes.  Was I exhausted?  Absolutely.  Did I have fun?  Yeah, I really did.  Being out in the world is kind of fun.  Did I miss my bloggy world and Instagram friends?  So much.  But by posting my outfits everyday, I felt like I wasn't totally in the dark.  And look at this selfie, I even wore earrings.  It says a lot about a person's new adventure in life, when it requires her to do her eyebrows and wear earrings on the same day.  Snort.

PS: if you want to follow my inspiration for all my work outfits,
follow my Working Girl board on Pinterest.