Featured on Breadwinning Mama Series

SHP-rylan_oneyear-98-3415235605-O

You guys. Have you ever formed a new blogger crush, only to have that person reach out and offer to feature YOU as part of your favorite series on their blog? Me either…until today!

Kerry at Breadwinning Mama writes a fantastic ‘Her Juggle’ series in which she profiles other working moms in a Q&A format. She reached out to me via Twitter to ask if I’d be interested in sharing my perspective and I jumped at the chance. A few nights later I stayed up way past my self-imposed bedtime to answer the questions. The process felt therapeutic and uplifting.

I hope you’ll take a moment and head over to Breadwinning Mama today to read my ‘Her Juggle’ Q&A. And while you’re there, sign up to receive her latest posts by email. I know I’m way too busy these days for the nightly blogroll reading I used to do, so waking up to her fresh perspective, advice and journey is refreshing and motivating.

Thank you, Kerry, for this honor!

Year One Realities: 20 Personal Learnings

IMG_1666

We have less than a week to go until Rylan’s first birthday. I find myself almost daily looking back on our first photos as a family. The speed at which babies change in year one is nothing short of remarkable. His budding personality and infectious smile, especially his little smirk and what I call “mom eyes,” are what motivate me even on the toughest days.

Year one is messy. Messy in the literal sense (So. Many. Diapers.) and messy emotionally. You go from only taking care of yourself to giving 150 percent of yourself to this little being, wanting to give even more if that is humanly possible. Exhaustion is real. As is questioning–everything. My return to working full time out of the home was tougher than I prepared for mentally. I still struggle, especially on Mondays after a fun weekend, with leaving him five days a week.

Year one is also truly rewarding. Who knew the pride that comes with watching your baby find its hands? Rolling over? Forget about it. My iPhone is full of videos from that day. Below are some more of my personal year one realities. I’d love to hear about yours as well.

  1. Worrying. About everything. All the time.
  2. Cringe-worthy Google searches.
  3. Humorous and tear-stained text message sessions with other moms. At 2 a.m.
  4. Sleep. There is never enough.
  5. Friendships changed in wonderful and difficult ways.
  6. Complete reliance on your partner, falling in love over and over again.
  7. More disagreements with your partner than ever before. See #4 lack of sleep observation.
  8. So much judgement, from yourself and others (other moms being the harshest sometimes).
  9. An Amazon Prime addiction.
  10. A dresser drawer of t-shirts and sweats where dry clean only tops used to live.
  11. A hot shower behind a locked bathroom door = divine escape.
  12. Quiet nights and weekends at home as a family are deeply fulfilling…realizing it is ok to miss out on things.
  13. Cutting a little too loose when you do stay out past 8 p.m. I’m in dry clean only clothes people!
  14. Feeling overwhelmed with pride for the littlest achievements. My baby clapped today!
  15. Running out of space for all of the pictures and videos on your phone.
  16. Wondering what the heck you did with all your free time before baby.
  17. Gaining an entirely new perspective on life’s blessings…and regaining it over and over again when you see a single mom, or a sick child or a family desperately wanting a child.
  18. Patience.
  19. Humility.
  20. Love. Gut wrenching, tear evoking, soul changing love.

Rylan, we’re in utter awe of how fast this year has gone. I want you to reach for every star in the sky and promise to help you in every way we can. But my heart also drops a little that our first year with you is nearly complete. You were and still are the most incredible baby. We love you tremendously and can’t wait to embrace the next year with you.

We Are Enough

The “we” in the title of this post is for my fellow working moms — whether you have been at this for years or are new to the game like me.

Credit: The Unconventional Doctor's Wife

Credit: The Unconventional Doctor’s Wife

Last night I found myself solo with Rylan as Mike is traveling for work. Before Ry I used to look forward to my alone nights because they meant I could get to the gym, have cereal for dinner and watch any trashy reality show my heart desired.

Now I get a little nervous about those nights. I grab Rylan from daycare and arrive home anywhere between 5:30pm and 6pm depending on traffic. I race to do his first of two nighttime cluster feeds on our new schedule (which is working fabulously for him but a little more stressful for me as I continue to breastfeed as much as possible). Then we sit down for some solids, which last night ended up more on the wall, floor and me than in his belly. And then normally we enjoy some snuggle and play time, followed by a bath if needed, then one more nursing session and bed. It is quick but sweet. The best part of my day.

But last night I could not turn off from work and my Type-A self was screaming. There were dishes to be put away, laundry to do and some emails and tasks that didn’t get done before my last meeting that were gnawing at me. So I put Rylan in his swing during those precious few minutes we have together during the week and I worked, picked up the kitchen and conquered the laundry.

But in the end, I felt awful. By the time I put Ry down for the night I wanted those 30 minutes back. The emails could have waited and the dishes weren’t hurting anyone. I missed it.

However, that’s the tightrope we walk every single day as working moms. Please know that I am NOT saying we work any harder than stay at home moms. I commend my friends who do that and I am in awe of all they juggle. We’re all equal, I am just writing about the tightrope I know and walk every day.

So when the alarm went off this morning and the guilt was still there I sat up and out loud told myself, “you are enough.” I am enough at work because I give it 150% every day. I am enough at home because my heart and soul is in everything I do for my boys. Yet, sometimes, “enough” is spread over a few days — or even weeks and months. Yesterday I was more “enough” for my job and a little less for Ry. Today I am going to strive to be all there for Ry when we get home and work will have to wait until he is down and I have found time to eat dinner sitting down in a chair.

We are enough. It may not be all the time to everyone, but we are enough.

Rylan’s Baptism Celebration

We baptized Rylan on Sunday and celebrated the day with family and close friends. He looked dapper in a sweet red bow tie and was extremely mellow through the entire process. Not a single tear as water was dribbled onto his head or when the oil was put on his forehead. He was also a total sport as the pastor walked him around the congregation to “meet” everyone in the church. Adorable is an understatement. It was extra special to be joined by my brother, Rylan’s godfather, from California and Rylan’s great grandparents from Minnesota.

Getting to Rylan’s baptism day was an interesting journey, as both Mike and I were raised going to church but have not been personally active in many years. It was very important to me that we find a local congregation and baptize Rylan but Mike wasn’t on board right away. After a lot of discussion, driven by me, we found a Methodist church close to our house that embodies the values we plan to instill in Rylan. The church’s mission is to be respectful of all people no matter their color or lifestyle and give back to the community in every way possible, be it time or money. The programs by which the church gives back are fantastic. I am particularly excited to attend a PB&J ministry morning when they make sack lunches and pass them out to people in need at a park in downtown Denver. I hope Rylan will enjoy doing these sorts of things with us as he gets older. It builds character and in my opinion, will help him learn how lucky he is to have everything he needs.

I mean, just check out this Welcome Statement! Highlands United Methodist Church embraces Jesus’ message that God loves and accepts every person, and so our welcome knows no boundaries. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we welcome people of every age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental ability, and economic condition into full participation in the life and leadership of our congregation.

I feel so blessed that Rylan enjoyed so much love and attention from his extended family all weekend long. It makes us even more excited for the holiday season ahead…he’ll meet more great grandparents, dozens of cousins, aunts, uncles and more! There is truly  nothing better in this world than family.

Happy Anniversary Hubby!

Credit: Zorn Photography

Happy 2+8 anniversary to my handsome and incredibly supportive husband Mike. The 2+8 reference is that we’ve been married for two years today, but together for 10 years total! Meeting, falling for and giving my heart to Mike has made the last 10 years unforgettable. He is my rock, my patience, my best friend, my biggest fan…and soon-to-be the most wonderful and supportive father.

Credit: Zorn Photography

Our wedding was a celebration for the record books and I know the years ahead, even with highs and lows, will continue to be filled with many more celebrations. How do I know that? Because we do not take anything for granted. We know that relationships, at all stages, take work. And we’re more committed to that work – the fun and the challenging – than ever before.

Credit: Zorn Photography

Mike, you know that I love you to the moon and back. And in case I don’t say it enough, I appreciate you every single day. Thank you for making me the luckiest wife around. Happy 2+8 to us.

Overwhelmed and Blessed

Credit: Imgur.com

I’m sitting at the airport in Burbank, Calif., on my way home to Denver after a weekend in LA for my baby shower that was way too short. Pictures to come but I had to write about how overwhelmed I feel with all the blessings and love we’ve been shown over the past few days in anticipation of little sprout.

On Thursday my office threw a three-way baby shower for myself and two other colleagues who are expecting in May and July respectively. I received so many thoughtful gifts and warm wishes. My heart was filled to the brim.

Then yesterday, Saturday, my mom threw me a gorgeous baby shower attended by family, family friends and my dearest girlfriends. I was astonished by all the generosity, appreciative of the advice and grateful for the chance to connect with the women who have helped shape the person I am today, and I mom I hope to be.

I am not ready to go home to Denver and I wish I could ditch my flight and stay just a few more days. The life change ahead is becoming more real each day and the next time I come back to LA I won’t just be me. I’ll be a mom with little sprout in tow, introducing him or her to the entire family. It seems impossible to fathom. But I am bursting from excitement and anticipation.

We are so ridiculously loved, lucky and blessed. Family and friends are truly what make life so sweet.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Credit: Dove.us

I have a major crush on Dove. Not just their products (in my bathroom right now: Dove Cool Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, Dove goFresh body wash and Dove Clinical Protection deodorant), but the brand itself. How can you not as a woman and in my case, a marketer?

Dove’s latest video inspired me and brought my already watery eyes (damn cold) to full tear-brimming capacity. Have you watched this yet?

Why are we (women) so incredibly hard on ourselves? Oh yes, that’s right. Magazine covers of airbrushed celebrities, Pinterest boards dedicated to washboard abs and “she lost 50 pounds six weeks after having a baby” headlines don’t help.

When I look in the mirror I see “flaws” that others may never notice, or gasp, could actually think are beautiful. I see years of battling acne and the dark marks lost fights have left behind. I see a chin that a doctor once wrote down could benefit from a “chin augmentation.” I see a nose that’s hard to ignore and a smile that despite full mouth braces as an adult with rubber bands, is still and will forever be crooked. Today I may embrace the growing belly that is home to our first child until July, but will I hug what is left behind weeks after delivery? How will I come to grips with the new place my hips and thighs end up? Time will tell I guess.

Please don’t mistake this as a post seeking comments about all of those flaws being in my head. I am not fishing for compliments of any kind. I merely want to start a dialogue about how hard it can be to celebrate your natural beauty, and to recognize that we are all gorgeous in our own way…inside and out. Be kind to yourself. If not everyday, at least start with once a week. That seems more than fair right?

P.S. This post is not sponsored. I pay full retail price for all of my Dove products and have never received samples. I was just inspired. 

We’re 20 (Weeks)

Surprise! The Anderson clan is expanding by one – due July 31, 2013!  I am 20 weeks pregnant (halfway!) and thrilled to finally share the big news here on my blog.

Girl or boy? What a great question…that we do not know the answer to. Mike and I have decided to wait until we meet our little sprout on delivery day. For those of you who know me personally this decision probably comes as a shock given my type-a planning tendencies. But this is such a special surprise and I am completely at peace with it being unknown.

We’ve waited 20 weeks to share the news for a few reasons. First the obligatory 12 weeks came and went, luckily without incident. Then I needed to share the happy news with my colleagues and all of my clients. That process naturally took a bit of time. When we could finally shout it from the rooftops, I decided that I wanted to get a perfect bill of health update at the 20-week ultrasound before saying anything. Thankfully, that appointment was Tuesday and all looks fantastic.

Starting tomorrow I am going to post some blogs I wrote earlier in the pregnancy, before I could share my experiences and thoughts publicly. I hope you enjoy a few days of looking back on it all.

What a journey it has been thus far. My heart swells and my eyes fill with tears when I think about meeting our little one. I cannot believe how much we already love our tiny sprout and how much I think about the mother I want to be. I am extremely grateful to be surrounded by incredible role models. I hope they don’t mind LOTS of calls and texts with new mom questions.

Welcome to a brand new and very exciting Lex & Learn chapter.

 

Happy 3rd Birthday Kona!

Kona, you are our sweet, loud, mischievous and manipulating fur child. This morning while I was in the shower you apparently gave Mike your “lover boy” face as he calls it, and he granted your wish to be “tucked into bed” for some more rest time. Instead of kicking you out when I found you like this, I let you sleep for another 30 or 40 minutes while I got ready. Pathetic.

I am utterly amazed what we do for our dogs.

Kona, you give us grief but we couldn’t imagine our home without you. Happy 3rd birthday buddy!

Pin of the Week: Truth

Source: etsy.com via Alexis on Pinterest

 

This picture says it all. Mike and I are both super busy at work and I have little motivation to clean past the bathroom. I cannot stand a dirty bathroom of any kind.

The basement facelift is moving forward but at a slow pace since Mike is tackling it solo at night and on weekends. I admire his after-hours DIY work ethic but wish some extra cash would magically appear in our saving account so we could just hire it all out. All of our furniture has been moved out of the TV room so the rest of the basement is a disaster. Our gigantic TV is now temporarily in our room and I swear I might have a seizure from how big/close the screen is to our bed.

I am keeping a smile on my face and not inviting anyone over to our house until this is done.

Please pardon our mess, my continued lack of blogging and a general absence from social media. For the first time in years, chronicling every moment on Facebook, the blog and Twitter is not top-of-mind.

Design by Designer Blogs