Mom confessions.

I can almost hear you thinking to yourself “gee, it’s Wednesday and my brain is barely functioning so I hope Lisa writes another bullet-pointed list instead of a full blog post!”

In which case, you’re in luck! My brain is also barely functioning today (but thank you for your assistance vanilla sweet crème cold brew from Starbucks) so a bullet-pointed blog post it shall be.

Mom Confessions

+ I make Tim come with me to every single doctor appointment (for the girls) because I just can’t do the shot thing by myself.  Although, yesterday Clara got one shot and Isabelle got three and it went surprisingly well! However, Isabelle is still feeling quite a bit sore today, poor baby.

+ I have no idea when Isabelle was last bathed. Last week? The week before? No clue.

+ I am the opposite of a germ-aphobe and Clara has had less than five colds in her entire life. Coincidence? I think not! (Well, at least this is what I tell myself when I see her licking park equipment and I have no energy to even try to stop her.)

+ I truly find joy in being a stay-at-home mom. It’s so hard, but I know that no other job would be as rewarding to me (at this point in the girls’ lives). If I was sitting in a boring meeting in corporate America, I just know that I would be wishing that I was spending time with my little ladies instead. However, I do hope to get back to work one day when the girls are in school. Actually, if I’m being totally honest, the thought of sitting in a room with AC and no children sounds pretty glorious some most days.

+ I just signed Clara up for swim lessons and paid a lot of money for them. A LOT. I’ve never felt like more of a mom.

+ People told me that it would get easier to have two kids 21 months apart after three months or so. Those people were lying to me. It has not gotten easier! I’ll let you know if next month is any better… stay tuned.

+ Clara spoiled us rotten when she was a baby. Everyone commented about how easy she was and we had no clue if it was true or not because we had no one to compare her to. WELL Isabelle is NOT an easy baby so now I appreciate how easy Clara really was. Being the mom to a fussy baby is hard! Thankfully, Isabelle recently found her thumb and learned to roll over so she’s much more content as of the last month or so. Once babies are able to self-soothe life is so much happier for everyone involved. Meaning for me and Tim. And probably Isabelle, too.

+ Two years (plus a month or so) into this motherhood thing, I still don’t know how to do Clara’s hair in a way that makes her look even remotely put together. Her hair continues to be wild (just like her personality).

+ Some days I count down the minutes until Tim gets home… starting at 8:30am.

+ I still struggle to feel like myself most days. I barely remember who the pre-kids Lisa is. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get her back… I remember she was less tired!

And with that I’m going to spend the rest of Clara’s naptime writing a to-do list of all of the things that need to get done in the next two weeks. Yikes. Wish me luck.

We’re halfway through the week! We can do this!

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All outside. All of the time.

This weekend was filled with all sorts of fun things.

Mainly, we’ve been spending as much time outdoors as possible. I am determined to squeeze every last drop of summer out of this season, gosh darn it!

lake_sammamish

One of our latest discoveries is that Clara loves to swim (in lakes). Well, good thing we have those around here! We also have plenty of other water activities to keep her occupied.

+ On Thursday we went to Lake Sammamish.

+ On Friday we went to Northacres splash pad / playground.

+ On Saturday morning we went to Green Lake to swim in the lake and to some friends’ house to eat salmon patties while the kids splashed around in their kiddie pool.

+ On Sunday it got 15 degrees cooler, so we stayed dry but went to a park with some other families for a picnic.

summers_with_isabelle

There is something really special about spending a summer with a toddler. If I didn’t have kids, I would be spending every wonderful (weather) day indoors at a cubicle. But, since I have an active toddler (and have decided to be a SAHM) I spend my days at playgrounds and in lakes and at the outdoor tables at coffee shops and in friends’ backyards.

Sure, I sacrifice my sanity (every single second) for this lifestyle, and some most days I would gladly sit in a cubicle for a few minutes rather than spend one more minute cleaning up yogurt off the walls of my house. But overall, I realize what a blessing this life is right now and I am so thankful for these months spent with outdoor play, hikes, swims, leisurely strolls, and playground visits.

This has been a good summer, and if what people say is correct, we have another full month of it left here in the PNW!

I hope your week(end) was wonderful, as well!

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90 degrees and no AC, but it’s FRIDAY!

Ohhhh this week. It’s been a doozy. If you follow me on Snapchat (lisabenroeck) you know that my life basically consists of wrangling two girls at all times and making sure Clara doesn’t over-love her sister to death.

It’s a full-time job. (Well, actually it is my full-time job. One that I don’t get paid for. But that’s a different post for a different time.)

This was one of those weeks when playdates and social plans fell through, the weather was hot, the next-door construction was loud, Clara had extra energy, Isabelle had two teeth pop in, Tim worked a ton, I (on the other hand) have low energy and am possibly very hormonal, and my life generally seems out-of-whack and chaotic. Nothing tragic happened, but if something could go just a bit wrong, it did.

That’s where I’m at today. Just trying to get to the weekend and not melt on the way. (It’s going to be a scorching 90 degrees here and we don’t have AC and this in itself makes me moody.)

Thankfully, I think this weekend will redeem this week. We have social plans, we have church, and we have a BBQ with some new friends. We can do this thing.

weekend 2016-08-19

I’ll leave you with some links:

// 5 Shared Traits Among Elite Performers: “In addition to breaking world records, elite performers can and do find ways to contribute as assets in any field. They produce results. After all, that’s how we recognize elite performance in the first place. The following qualities of elite performers deal more with how they do what they do. From what I’ve been reading recently, they are relatively universal in nature. I’ll list those books at the end of each trait – just in case you don’t believe me.” (here)

// What I Learned From My Mother: (here) – This is a long-ish video and it’s worth every second.

// The 90 Second Rule: “I’ve heard people sing praises of “breathing through it.” Of breathing through the pain, the chaos, those crazed moment where toddlers wail and dogs bark and toes and hearts break and sanity alarms bellow and good gracious, I am losing my miiiiiiiiind.

And I always thought “breathing through it” was dumb advice, as if life was just one big Lamaze class, and sure, it’s great in theory but when that baby is crowning, you’re probably gonna scream either way.

But.

I can breathe for 90 seconds.
I can do anything for 90 seconds.” (here)

// Simplicity Leads To Happiness In Children (And Here’s How to Do It): “Slowing down feeds our souls and nurtures our families. No matter what parenting style we practice, this topic unites us.” (here)

Did anyone else have a rough week?! (I hope not, but it’d  be nice to know I’m not the only one!)

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So much snot (I need to work on my empathy).

Husbands should not be allowed to get sick on the weekends.

There, I said it.

I believe this with all of my heart and soul. If my husband wants to get sick on a Monday, fine. Tuesday, fine. Wednesday, fine. etc. But on a Saturday or Sunday? HECK NO, because this SAHM certainly doesn’t have time for that.

I need a weekend break for my very sanity. My mental well-being depends on having a fully functioning, present partner on the weekends.

Not that I’m bitter or anything, but can you tell that Tim was sick over the weekend?

The common cold + a migraine put him out of commission and I was not quite as sympathetic as I should have been. Mainly I was mourning the loss of my quality time with my husband and family and any free time I may have had to myself. Plus, I also had a cold. And the kids had tiny colds.

I can’t decide if it’s worse to be sick myself or to have the kids sick, but I do know that when ALL OF US are sick, it’s definitely the worst case scenario. (Thank goodness it was just the cold and not a stomach virus.)

sick_days

You know those wives and moms that run around trying to take care of all of the sick members of their family singlehandedly while never complaining and somehow managing to do it all and feeling appropriately empathetic for everyone else’s pain?

This was not me. This was the opposite of me.

I considered trying to be a supermom/wife, but then I got hangry and all dreams of that ended.

I still made sure the kids were fed and put in bed at appropriate times, but I was not happy doing it.

It didn’t help that Clara decided she only wanted Tim and spent the entire day/evening running up the stairs into our room and crying because he couldn’t play with her. So if he hadn’t already had the migraine, that certainly helped it along.

Let’s just say that we’ve all seen better days, especially as a family.

But how is it that kids seem to get a cold and it lasts for about 5 minutes and they barely notice and I get a cold and I feel like I may die at any moment and Tim got a cold and had to be in bed for an entire day? Is this because we’re over 30 years old and are immune systems have decided to suddenly fail us?

Don’t worry, we’re on the mend now and I’m almost ready to join the land of fully functioning individuals. As soon as we have less snot in our systems I’ll feel safe making playdates again without worrying that other parents will think I’m attempting to contaminate their children.

As a sidenote, though, I truly think that getting a little bit of a cold can be a blessing. For instance, the last few days I’ve been eating better, sleeping more, and resting. In short, I’ve been intentionally treating myself well instead of allowing myself to run on caffeinated fumes. It’s been quite nice. Plus, I finished this book, which is a sequel to ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and I loved it. Both of them, actually.

All of this to say: I’m a work in progress and maybe eventually I will learn to be appropriately empathetic to my sick husband. But probably only if he gets sick on a Tuesday next time.

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Finding My Personal Style (was way more difficult than it should have been!)

I’m embarrassed to say that I’m 30 years old and am just now figuring out my personal style.

Crazy, right?!

I don’t blame myself completely, though. In my defense, my 20s were a little bit crazy and filled with career switches that necessitated a lot of different types of clothes, so I went through quite a few style identity crises.

At one point I needed a lot of business casual & formal. At another point I needed a lot of casual. And socially I had a lot of different outfit needs, too. There were some summers a few years ago in which we were going to a lot of weddings so I had plenty of more formal dresses. I had my bar outfits for my early/mid-twenties. I bought way too many high heels to go with skinny jeans during my dating days.

More recently I had kids and of course bought some maternity clothes and other clothes that could accommodate the bump. As my body changed post kid #1 I ditched most things form fitting and bought more comfortable items that were more mom-friendly, and I got rid of almost all of my business casual things, but I still kept a lot of clothes ‘just in case’.

Finding My Personal Style with Greater Than Rubies

Even when I was super pregnant I attempted to add layers and statement jewelry to look more ‘put together’ than my normal look of leggings and a t-shirt.

Now I’m at a place in my life, post kid #2, when I can look at my closet and honestly ask myself “Does this work with the stage of life I’m in right now? Is this my style? Does this flatter my body type?”

It turns out, I was no good at doing this thing alone, so I got some help from my friend Caitlin at ‘Greater Than Rubies’.

Before I go into what she does, I need to just say who she is. Caitlin is one of the sweetest, kindest, most genuine people out there. I am so glad I consider her a friend! She is also great at knowing her own style and sharing tips with others.

I signed up for ‘Well Worn’ which sent me some tips every single day (for 30 days) about how to style myself, how to find outfits in my closet I hadn’t considered, how to feel and look more polished, etc! And it totally helped me. I also had a few conversations with Caitlin and this helped me even more. (I highly, highly recommend you sign up for a few coaching sessions with her.)

Some takeaways from Caitlin…

  • I shouldn’t be wearing things that don’t fit my life right now.
  • I shouldn’t be wearing things that don’t fit my body.
  • I should be paying attention to what makes me feel great and what flatters me and I should buy more of those things.
  • I should focus on the brand and stores that make me feel great, and even if I own similar pieces, if I know I’ll wear an article of clothing all of the time, I should buy it.
  • Accessories and layering pieces make all of the difference.
  • Plus, I learned how to make an outfit seem more pulled-together (it’s not as hard as I thought!) and how to add some personality into a ‘boring’ outfit.
  • Although sometimes I consider my casual, preppy look a bit boring, I learned that this is honestly my style and I can make it more exciting with just a bit of effort.

Guys. This was actually life changing stuff for me. While I’m sure some women are really great at just knowing their style, I am clearly not one of those people.

I want to be the type of person who can wear bold and different and stylish clothes, so sometimes I buy things that I wouldn’t normally wear, thinking that I want to be the type of person who can pull the outfit off. But then do you know what happens? I don’t wear it!

So now I’ve identified this ‘problem’ and I buy clothes in cuts and colors that I know I feel great in and that I know I will wear often. I realized that I love clothes that are a slimmer fit but not too tight, a v-neck or boatneck neckline, horizontal stripes, anything blue or in that color family, shirts that don’t go past my hips, and things that layer under cardigans or light jackets. I would say my look is pretty mom-boring, but I know how to make some outfits more fun so I’m now working on building pieces to layer or accessorize with. For instance, right now I’m looking for a great pair of leopard print flats! I also bought some statement necklaces which I’ve loved incorporating into my outfits.

But instead of needing to buy a lot of extra things to complete my wardrobe, I actually got rid of a ton of stuff and only added very few things! This makes my wannabe-minimalist self so happy!

I truly believe that talking to Caitlin and taking her course has saved me a lot of money because I’m buying much less, and I’m focusing on things that I know I’ll wear instead of things I think I might like.

I think everyone needs their own style consultant and I wish I could talk to one every single day. Or at least before shopping. I mean, Pinterest is helpful and all, but I prefer talking to someone who knows me and my needs and my style and doesn’t make me feel like I need more. Every time I find an outfit on Pinterest I’m tempted to recreate that exact outfit by buying all of the things instead of searching my closet for something that already works similarly. Or even asking myself whether that outfit is actually right for me. Does anyone else fall into that trap?

Caitlin of Greater Than Rubies - StylistCaitlin is my style mentor FOR SURE. Isn’t she lovely?!

Anyway. My advice is to spend less time searching on your own for your personal style and more time (and a little money) with someone who can make it much easier for you. I 100% believe that every woman needs to know their own style and have a closet that is filled with pieces that they love, and I can’t believe I didn’t do this earlier! After talking to Caitlin I got rid of all of the clothes that I don’t love or that don’t accentuate my body in the right ways, and I bought just a few things that really fit my style and my life. I also have a much easier time shopping because I know exactly what to look for.

Thanks for all of your help, Caitlin!

* This is definitely not a sponsored post, but Caitlin is a friend of mine and I’m only too happy to share her awesomeness with all of you! I really, really found what she had to say to be valuable.

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