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The Daily Special

Thankful ThoughtsThis week I am dedicating to myself. It’s all about me, me, me. Sounds a bit selfish I know, right? Wrong! I am a true believer that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others. I dole out this advice quite often, but it’s a lot harder to follow it.

As I was relaxing during my massage today, I was thinking of all the things I have planned and scheduled to do for myself this week. I’m actually quite proud… and pampered. 🙂

Yesterday, in prep for today, I ate a good dinner, passed on the wine, and avoided the remaining scraps of sweets tempting me from the kitchen. This all after a pretty fun day hanging out with Brayden while Zack was back to school.

Today is day 1 of a 3 day juice cleanse. I’ve never done one, but have been wanting to try one for quite some time. I did some research, decided that after the holidays was a good time to start (hey, I wanted to enjoy my Christmas feast and New Years champagne), and found the best option for me. So far, the juices are pretty tasty!

Tomorrow I will continue on my juice cleanse.

Thursday is my final day, and also a day of volunteering in Zack’s classroom. I missed doing that over the past two weeks while he had winter break.

Friday is date night and Will and I are going to see Les Miserables. I can’t wait! It has always been my favorite musical, and I am excited to see it as a movie.

Saturday I have an all-day retreat with my Cranio Sacral Therapist (have I mentioned how much I LOVE going to see her, and how much she is helping me?).

Sunday is family day with no concrete plans – just the way I like it.

I’m feeling pretty good (partially due to the massage, and the facial that followed) that I am doing something good for myself every day this week. A daily special, if you will. It feels nice to put myself first, without feeling selfish.

I challenge you, what will you do today, tomorrow, the next day… to take care of YOU?


Can it Get Any Better?

Wow, what a week, and it’s only half-way through! So far, Zack has had two days of Kindergarten, and he loves it – doing great (thank goodness). But did I really have any doubts? Nope. I just picked him up and dropped him at home with the babysitter (may I remind you of my babysitter extraordinaire – I love her!) and now I’m sitting at the local coffee shop, enjoying an iced soy mocha, with (even more) time to myself for a couple hours. Seriously, could it get any better?

Well, YES! Not only do we have the seriously momentous milestone of Zackery starting Kindergarten this week, but also… wait for it… we have Brayden who accomplished a most impressive task. He (warning: Mommy talk coming) pooped in the potty!!! Yes, my little two-year old went number two like a big boy. We were both so proud (and relieved – him probably more than me – had to squeeze that one in – sorry, I’m just on a roll here – oh my, stop, stop! – oh how I make myself laugh!). So, we have older brother going to Kindergarten and little brother progressing on his potty training (for which I haven’t even really been pushing him to do), and I ask again, could it get any better?

Well, YES! Did you catch that I mentioned I was at a coffee shop? Translated, that means no kids. Solo. How in the world did I manage to go from two crazy (but wonderfully loving) boys all summer long driving me crazy to several hours in a row, two days in a row, of pure uninterrupted Me Time? I must admit yesterday was quite strange for me. Coming home from dropping off Zack to his first day of school, with just Brayden and I in the house all alone, was weird. It was almost too quiet (this coming from someone whose head would almost explode from constant noise all day long). It really was weird. Nice, but weird. So here I sit, by myself, knowing that Brayden is probably just now waking up from his nap and Zackery is probably playing motorcycles, both happily at home with Babysitter Extraordinaire. Could it get any better?

Well, YES! My husband and I finally have a planned night away. Just me and him, husband and wife. I am very much looking forward to it. It’s not for a few weeks, but I’m excited just thinking about going out as a couple and feeling like a woman again, and not so much as Mommy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being Mommy, but sometimes a girl a woman needs to feel like a woman. Okay, so I have to pause here, because I now have two songs stuck in my head: Shania Twain’s ‘I Feel Like A Woman’ and Brad Paisley’s ‘It Did’ – yes, you got me, I’m a country music fan. So yes, in a few weeks I get to go out and drink wine and have adult conversations and enjoy the company of the man I fell in love with. How wonderful! Will it get any better?

Well, I sure hope so. I’ve had a challenging summer, but I made it through. The boys and I are both stronger for it, we’ve all grown and we’ve all learned. I can only imagine things getting better. I’ve been at the bottom, and I’ve climbed back up, but there’s still a lot more upward climbing to do in my life. So yes, it can get better, and it will. I can’t wait!


*Sidenote: I feel I need to note that the images in this post are not my own. Thanks internet.*

Guilty Until Proven

The saying is “innocent until proven guilty.” Well, I know I’m innocent, but I also know I’m guilty. Huh, you ask? How can I be both? Well let me tell you, I am.

I’m innocent because I have not committed any crimes (nor do I plan to!), and I honestly think I’m feeling “normal” Mommy feelings. I’m guilty because I’m finding myself falling back into the remnants of Mommy Guilt. I know, I know – it’s silly, right? So why am I having these thoughts? I don’t know for sure, but here’s my best guess:

Zackery is going to start Kindergarten in the Fall. From what I hear (and I really have to get off my butt – which I really am not on that often as every time I sit down I am immediately rousted up to get something, but – ha! – that’s another story), half-day Kindergarten in the public school is free (as I would expect public school to be). But (sorry, I can’t help it), for full-day it costs money. Personally, I have never heard of paying for full-day Kindergarten. Then again, I have never been responsible for signing someone up for Kindergarten. So, perhaps it’s not odd, but for me, it’s causing some instances of guilt.

We are in a tight financial position right now. I was hoping to save the entire cost of preschool once Zack transitions to Elementary School (OMG that sounds so big and scary! Is he really getting that big?!). I could in fact do this if I opted to only have him go half-day. BUT (underlying theme of this post – again sooo sorry for my inappropriate humor today), I really want him to go full-day. He is used to being in school from 9-3ish, and even if right now it’s only 3 days a week, I think it’s good for him. I realize that Kindergarten will be a full 5 days a week, so even with half-days I will get a little (yes, I mean little) break every day. However, if I have to drop him off at 9 and then pick him up at 11:45, that doesn’t give me much time to get anything done except possibly a quick run to the grocery store, unload at home, give Brayden a snack and then turn right around to go pick up Zack.

Guilty? Yes. I really want more time.

So, what’s a Mommy to do? I guess only time will tell (and the waiting list for full-day Kindergarten). My husband knows my dilemma. I know our financial situation. My friends know what I’m feeling. I know my mental capacity. Bottom line, I guess I shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting more time for myself (which in turn would make me happier: a happier woman, a happier wife, a happier mother – you get the picture). A little extra time of structured activity for Zack and free (half-free, I still would have Brayden) time for me, with minimal cost is definitely cheaper than therapy!

I Am Not My Circumstances

Kimber LimThis post is dedicated to Kimber Kabell Lim, a wonderful coach, mentor and friend who always reminds me that “I am not my circumstances,” and inspired by Marylin Warner, a woman I have recently befriended in the blogging world (check out her blog, Things I Want To Tell My Mother) whose recent comment to me about “numerous irritants” instantly made me smile!

First, let me start off by saying this post really does end on a positive note. I’m not one to often complain, and I’m not one to share my complaints publicly. I try to write about things that people might actually want to read; things that could inspire, help, encourage people, or things that are so stinkin’ cute I just have to share. Hey, I am after all the Mother of the two cutest little boys in the whole entire world (not biased here or anything…).

So, speaking of circumstances… I’m going to back-track a little bit. May 24, 2010. Approximately 3:30pm. I remember the time within a few minutes (if you recall I have super Mommy powers that allow me to know what time it is at all times – tick, tock) because I had just spent the last hour getting Brayden down for a nap, and had just plopped my exhausted derriere on the couch to watch a recorded Oprah during the last week of her show. Not more than five minutes later, what sounded and felt like a herd of semi-trucks crashing through our house, was actually a tree falling on the roof, right over top of our master bedroom, where Brayden was now sitting straight up in his crib wondering what had just woke him up from his all-too-short blissful dreamland. Details aside, everyone was okay (a little shaken, but okay), the house got fixed (new roof and all), and life was “back to normal.”

Jump forward to Christmas Day, 2011. Approximately 1:30pm (tick, tock…). My husband opens the front door and splat! – a puddle of water falls on his head. It wasn’t snowing, it wasn’t even raining; in fact it was actually quite nice outside. Puzzled, the friends we had staying with us for the holiday, and I, went over and looked to see what was going on. Seconds later, water was dripping more visibly from the ceiling light right inside the entry way, and within an hour and a half, I had every spare towel out soaking up the water that was “raining” inside our house. My immediate thought (after I fixed myself another hot buttered rum – hey, I wasn’t driving anywhere, and it was Christmas), was that our “fixed” roof was leaking. Two weeks and countless contractors, engineers and insurance-sent company representatives tromping through my house later, we still have not determined the actual cause of the water, but at least it has temporarily (permanently?) stopped “raining.”

Again, details aside, all the above accompanied with multiple visits to the doctor, pharmacy and health food store for a 10 day hacking cough that Zack had; an inhaler and antibiotics for Brayden’s bronchitis and sinus infection (thank goodness he is a trooper and takes his medication like a champ); a sinus/cold/headache “thing” that refuses to leave me alone since before Thanksgiving; and other “numerous irritants” that I get too flustered to even mention, has nearly driven me crazy. I don’t know if I’m just delirious, or in complete denial, but I remain happy. Truly happy. My life is spinning like crazy around me, my circumstances are not what I would have chosen them to be, but I can honestly say that I am happy.

My husband works hard and loves me. My boys are (um, yes, again) the cutest little beings in the whole entire universe and I know they love me like crazy. For the meantime, I have a roof over my head (even if it is in need of attention), food in my belly, clothes on my back and a warm, comfy bed to sleep in every night. Circumstances aside, my life is great and I have no reason not to be happy. I’m doing what I love – being home with my boys, writing, practicing authenticity and being present, and dreaming…

I know things will work themselves out. Our house will get fixed and whatever the cause will be rightfully determined. We will all be back to perfect health and my husband’s job will continue to provide for our family.

Life is sometimes hard, and sometimes a billion things come rumbling down the road at us all at the same time. Sometimes, all we can do is put on our armor, hunker down and fight back, knowing it won’t last forever.  Whatever your circumstances, keep in mind you are NOT them – they do not define you. Try to smile and laugh about it (easier said than done, I know). Take this pledge with me, and I will continue to remind myself, I am not my circumstances – I AM happy!

Something For Me

I feel blessed that I am able to stay home with my two boys, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still have the drive to be successful. I don’t ever see myself going back to the corporate world and those 40-50 hrs/week. What I do see is working from home, doing something that supports my passion for my family; doing something that ultimately supports me.

I can’t explain where my drive comes from, but I know it is strong, and it is always present – even if just a tingling in the back of my head every so often. I am truly in love with being home, don’t get me wrong, but I am also truly in love with the idea that I can share my experiences and help others.

I just returned from a fantastic trip to Dallas where I got to attend the eWomen Network Conference (WOW!) and finally meet face-to-face all my wonderful co-authors in the new #1 best-selling book  ‘Get Your Woman On! – Embracing Beauty, Grace, and The Power of Women.’ Can I say, double WOW WOW!! These women are amazing (check us out! – GYWO).

These women (along with my incredibly supportive husband and my wonderful friend Kathy – who stayed with my boys so I could be fully present in Dallas) held a sacred, safe place for me to be while I was away from my family. It was the first time I had been apart from Brayden, and the longest I had been away from Zackery. These women became my family, and gave me the love I needed to stay strong and be okay with putting myself first. I cannot thank them enough, and I am so proud to be a part of this extraordinarily inspiring community. xoxo

Now that I am back home, I feel renewed and refreshed (although still completely sleep deprived – that’s for another conversation…). I am ready to start taking action on something for ME. I will always consider my family my priority, but now it’s time to take my own advice and do something to take care of me. I know that if I’m not at my best, I can’t possibly help my family (or anyone else, for that matter) become their best. I know I am a great Mother. I know I am a great Wife. I know I am a great Friend, Sister, Daughter. And I KNOW, I am a great ME.

Happy Being Me

The other day I found a chance to relax (I know, right?) and watch one of my Tivo-ed episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her guest was Bob Greene, talking about his new book and lifestyle program 20 Years Younger. Bob says his program is “a practical, science-based plan for looking and feeling your best as you age. The cutting-edge program details easy and effective steps we can all take to rebuild the foundation of youth and enjoy better health, improved energy, and a positive outlook on life.” He continues by saying “you can look and feel younger by revamping four areas of your life: exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.”

It was interesting (and inspiring) to see 20 of Oprah’s Ultimate Viewer’s take on the 2 month challenge. Armed with Bob Greene himself, and a team of experts to help educate, guide and support them, these 20 women learned about the 4 pillars mentioned above: exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.

Watching with an open mind from the comfort of my own home, I too learned the basics of a healthy lifestyle based on those 4 areas. Now I mean no disrespect at all, and I applaud anyone and everyone who has followed or even tried the 20 Years Younger program. I remember Bob Greene saying that if you aren’t at a place in your life where you can fully commit to all 4 areas, then you should wait to start the program, which is exactly where I’m at right now! I can’t compare myself to someone who’s ready to take it on.

Acknowledging myself for being aware of my circumstances, and tapping into my sense of humor, I decided to take a closer look at my life in the areas of exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.

Yes, I exercise, if you consider chasing around a pre-schooler while carrying a 25 lb baby. And let’s not forget the constant up, down, up, down…

Yes, I eat, in between fixing a plate of broccoli, dinosaur chicken bites and pasta wheels (Zack eats pretty well – and probably healthier than me!) and feeding Brayden a gourmet selection of whatever I have pureed in the freezer. Who knew that a grown woman would need her food cut up into bite sized pieces? I must say I’m getting pretty good at feeding myself with my left hand while I’m feeding Brayden with my right.

Yes, I do use soap when I get to take a shower every now and then.

Yes, I know what sleep is, but I think it’s been about 4 years since I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep without interruption. WOW!

All in all, I can’t complain. So I don’t run 5 miles and lift weights for 30 min every day. So I eat a little feverishly and don’t always make the best food choices. So I don’t exfoliate and apply a nightly rejuvenation mask every evening. So I still get up several times a night to take care of my boys. I am the luckiest woman in the world to be the Mother of Zackery and Brayden and the wife of Will Zimmer.

Someday, I will be ready to take on the Bob Greene ’20 Years Younger’ challenge with full gusto. But for now, I’m “just” Mom and I’m happy being me.

Taking Time For Me

Donner LakeSitting at Donner Lake with my cup of coffee from Wild Cherries Coffee House. I did the same thing last Wednesday morning, except didn’t bring anything else with me. Last week was purely a “clear my head” morning. With everything going on in my life, I chose to give myself a break and not “work.” Something I don’t nearly do often enough.

Despite having tons to do and a billion things I could write about, I got my cup of coffee to go and found a nice, quiet pier to sit on. With the brisk, chilly morning air breezing across my flip-flop adorned toes, I basked in the mountain sun reflecting off the bright blue lake. I wasn’t there long – just long enough to enjoy the warmth of my coffee, but it was just as long as I needed.

Today, I sit here, at the same public pier #37, once again enjoying my Wild Cherries coffee, this time with pen and paper in hand. Yes, I have my laptop with me, but it is a bit difficult to plug it in (as a revolt to my dying battery). So, I am being “old-fashioned” today – writing as the thoughts flow from my head, down through my heart, transforming into words as my fingers grasp my pen and the ink appears on my paper. (Okay, yes, I know that as you’re reading this I have actually gone back to the future and am typing this up… but hey, I had a nostalgic moment there).

I happen to glance up at the mountain side, and I see a train chugging along through the tunnels above the lake. I block out the sounds of the cars driving by along Donner Pass Road, and I inhale a deep breath of fresh mountain air. A fishing boat moves slowly across the rippling water in front of me. The leaves are dancing gently and the sun warms my face and my soul. What a perfect morning that I am gifting myself!

I know it’s important to take care of myself, but it is not often that I actually get to follow my own advice. I know that if I don’t take time for me, how can I possibly take care of anyone else? Not to sound selfish, but everyone needs a little self honoring every now and then, especially mothers. I hope that today YOU get to treat yourself to a moment of refreshment and peace.

And now, back to reality….

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