September 2, 2014

Motherhood Filter

It was a typical day, we had spent time playing at home, running errands, folding laundry (do those piles ever get smaller?), and fantasizing about a cleaner and more organized home. I don't recall anything too frustrating about the day. Of course I had dealt with the daily meltdown of my almost 4 year old, slammed doors, time outs, and pleading with my oldest to eat more than 3 bites of food at breakfast and lunch.
My daughter had played with a friend while my 15 month old napped, then we had to run to the grocery store to pick up a few items. We weren't in a rush and I remembered that I had promised my 3 year old we could get the cool car grocery cart next time we went shopping. We can never use those carts if we have to be anywhere within the next 2 hours simply because it takes 1 hour and 58 minutes to maneuver those things through the isles. Ever try turning around mid-isle with one of those things? It's like a 13 point turn. And at least 2 of the 4 wheels turn in different directions making it almost impossible to steer in a straight line.
Anyways, we got one of the carts and I secured my oldest child in it (silly since she would undo her restraint in the next 43 seconds). I went to put my 15 month old in the front of the cart by me but then decided to let her try sitting down on the seat by her big sister.
I backed up to make sure they were snug and secure before heading into the grocery store and then it happened....... my filter turned on.
Yes, I have a very special filter. God may not have blessed me with the ability to get pregnant on my own, but He did bless me with a specialized "motherhood" filter. I surmise that some, if not most, mothers also have a similar filter, but I notice that mine comes on in the most needed moments.

My motherhood filter stops me in my tracks and makes me aware of the moment I am in. In this particular moment, I had stepped away for a split second before entering the store to make sure my girls were okay in the grocery car cart. I noticed their sweet faces, my 15 month old inquisitively pushing the fake horn that makes an annoying squeaking sound, my 3 year old checking her little sister's seat belt making sure it was hooked. Right then my filter came on. I snapped a picture (I try to capture these filtered moments so I can remember them later not only mentally but visually as well), then took a breath, and went on with my grocery shopping.
Other mothers will resonate with the thoughts and feelings that swarmed through my head in those precious few seconds. My filter was once again reminding me how truly precious these two children are. My filter reminded me once again that I AM A MOTHER! I am that mom that I envisioned years and years ago pushing her children around a grocery store in a ridiculously oversized contraption called a cart that barely has room for actual food.
No matter what frustrations I had that day, or that week, or the stresses that awaited me tomorrow or the next, I was reminded how TRULY BLESSED I am to be a mother and to have these two wonderful girls of mine. They are the most important thing in my life. My heart bursts just thinking of them. When years pass by and you wonder if you will ever get to experience these small and almost insignificant moments, it makes them all the more significant once you do. Little things like pushing my kids in a cart through the grocery store, changing a blowout diaper, building a tall tower of blocks then watching with excitement as it gets knocked down, cutting up a hot dog into tiny slices, finding a trail of ripped up toilet paper throughout the house.........these are the moments that my motherhood filter captures.
I am so grateful to be able to recognize these precious moments in our seemingly mundane, repetitive days of folding laundry and asking for the umpteenth time for a certain someone to please put her toys away.
What moment has your motherhood filter captured?

August 25, 2014

Why I Care About Fashion & Self-Worth

I’ve thought about what I would say in a post like this for (literally) years. These thoughts weigh heavily in my mind and I am finally putting words to paper.

Over the years, my fashion-sense and style has been sorely lacking. Until my mid-20’s I was wearing clothes I wore in middle-school. The style in middle school in the mid 90’s was baggy, boxy, and over sized. Did I mention polo shirts, overalls, sweater vests, and turtlenecks? Yep, all staples in my closet back then. I think I had a polo shirt in every color. I am relatively short (5’4’’) and didn’t reach 5 feet until 8th grade. I have always been petite but I frequently wore clothing much too big for me. I thought it was normal to wear a belt cinched so tight it puckered in order to hold up my pants. I often wore size large in shirts where a small or medium would have been more appropriate. I didn't wear makeup until after I graduated high school, and even then I thought wearing makeup meant putting lip gloss on. Seriously, I think I grew up under a rock. I didn't know (and still don't know very much) about makeup.

Why do I mention all this? Because I have not always (until quite recently) cared one iota (or had a clue) about fashion, style, and clothing.  (See evidence below)

Every human being has had or currently has insecurities about their body. I have my own insecurities and issues that I think about and deal with often. Experiencing infertility the past 8 years has also taken its toll on how I view my body, but that's a whole other story.

BUT, despite these insecurities, I KNOW that I am of worth.
If there is ONE thing you get from this, I want it to be that all human beings have worth. We have potential, promise, and beauty. I draw great strength from people who have been through horrible tragic events that have altered their image, yet they still recognize their self-worth. A well-known scripture in our church states, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” 
I decided a few years ago to start updating my wardrobe and getting rid of all those middle school and high school clothes I had been hanging on to. Boy, was purging my closet a good decision! I slowly started buying pieces to update my wardrobe. I started looking into fashion a little bit, following modest fashion blogs that gave me inspiration. It was hard to pin-point (and still is) my complete fashion-sense, but I have always been very black and white when it comes to fashion. I either love it or hate it. I tend to gravitate towards more vintage and classic pieces. My very favorite? Polka dots! For some reason, polka dot patterns have always jumped out at me. For years, many of the things my mom would buy me or that I would purchase had polka dots on them. I’ve always been drawn to polka dots, and so naturally, much of my closet and my kids’ closets involve some sort of polka dot attire. It’s even more convenient now that the polka dot is having “its moment” in the fashion world. Polka dots are everywhere, and very trendy right now. I’m just glad that I didn’t jump on the bandwagon with everyone else, because I’ve sported polka dots for years!
Once I started replacing my wardrobe with updated pieces and trying different looks, I started getting comments on how cute my outfits were. In the past couple of years, those comments have increased and I am asked weekly where I get certain articles of clothing, or hear comments about how “cute” or “classy” my outfits look. But I am far from the fashion models and fashion bloggers out there who have thousands upon thousands of followers. I would never ever in a million years consider myself a fashion blogger. I certainly don’t look the part. (See below, ha!)
Rainbow striped polo, top button buttoned, high-waisted sweatpants, boy sneakers, could there be anything more WRONG with this picture? Seriously though, it makes me smile how goofy I looked.

I’ve struggled with the decision of sharing my fashion style with others, because of the attention it draws. I fear that others will see me as overconfident, haughty, arrogant, self-absorbed, boastful, or prideful. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I was very shy as a child and even into my young adulthood, going to great lengths to avoid socializing with others. I’ve become much better over the years, especially since my profession in nursing requires I communicate with patients and their families, literal strangers, every day. On the outside, I seem like a pretty outgoing person, but on the inside, I am in introvert through and through.
Being open and sharing my thoughts and style also opens me up to criticism, negativity, and mean comments from those who wish to belittle and degrade me. This is something that scares me.
Why share my background with you? Because my intentions aren't to gain fame or be liked for my clothes or for the way I look. I want to be known for who I am on the inside. I want people to KNOW me, to know what I stand for, to know how dearly I love being a mother. I don't want to be known for the clothes I wear or the way I look. I don't. That's why I hesitate to share some of my outfits on the great blogosphere.  
My intentions are to help others out there who feel just like me. I struggle to find modest clothing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I can't afford to shop J.Crew, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Zarra, and the like. I couldn't find inspiration online that showed how to shop frugally and yet find classic pieces that will last for years. I don't have a walk-in closet. My closet space is half of a closet that I share with my husband (okay, maybe three-quarters).
My philosophy is this- find modest classic pieces of clothing that will last for years, and are priced so that most every-day women can afford them.
Moving on. I have decided to start sharing some of my fashion advice and style with others who have inquired about it. My thoughts are these:
You don’t need to "dress up" every day. The only day of the week I consistently “dress up” is on Sundays, the day we go to church. I look forward to this day for many reasons, but one (slightly selfish) reason is that I get to wear a dress/skirt, or something a little more fancy than what I wear on a daily basis. I get to (sometimes) actually do my hair and put on some make up. I get to wear heels!
Most days (okay, Monday through Saturday), I wear comfy “mom” clothing. This usually involves stretchy yoga pants or shorts, a loose t-shirt, or sometimes something I like to call “lounge” clothing but is really pajamas. My daily “routine” of getting ready usually isn't completed until mid-day since I get ready in 30 second increments because my kids are screaming or yelling, or "needing" me every time I step into the bathroom to continue my “routine”. I brush my hair, and put on a minimal amount of makeup (usually concealer, mascara, and a touch of blush) in order to look somewhat presentable to the human race. The way I look on some most mornings is enough to scare a ravenous grizzly bear away.
But I will say this; the MOST beautiful I have EVER felt in my life was a moment when I looked my worse. I was sleep-deprived from a newborn baby, had horrible skin with multiple break outs, greasy 3rd day hair, and I could literally smell myself from lack of showering. I was wearing a white fluffy bathroom robe, one I’ve owned for 9 years. I felt sub-human in that moment. All I wanted to do was hide from society (I had plans to barricade myself in my home until I could pull my act together). No one could see me like this! In that moment, I will never forget my little 2 ½ year old daughter. She came up to me, wrapped her little arms around my neck, squeezed tightly, and said, “I love you Mommy.” She had said those words before, but for some reason in that moment, I had an epiphany. My daughter LOVED me. She loved ME! She didn’t just love me when I was dressed up, hair and makeup done, skinny jeans on. I realized right then and there, that my children could care less what I LOOKED like. They had seen me looking my best, but they had also repeatedly (and on a much more regular basis) seen me at my worst. They didn’t notice a difference, not one bit. The way I looked to my girls wasn't categorized in their minds as my "best" or "worst" or "Mom only had 5 minutes to ready today" look, it was simply me. Just me, their mom. I was and always will be “Mom.”
The epiphany I had that day still doesn't deter me from ever showering or getting ready for the day, but it’s a daily reminder when I look in the mirror, that even though I may see or feel flaws in my image, I have people in my life that unconditionally love me, no matter what I look like. And really, I know that I love myself and have self-worth. Yes, I don’t have the perfect body, or the most voluminous hair, or the finest chiseled jaw line, but to me, my body is perfect. I don’t need anyone’s approval (other than my own) to love myself.
I want others to see me as a regular person. A run-of-the-mill woman who is a (mostly) stay-at-home mother with two small children. I don’t live in a mansion, I don’t earn massive amounts of money, my home is not spotless. I have rooms in my home that used to come close to making it on a Hoarders episode. My clothes frequently get piled up at the bottom of my bed. My clothes have spit-up stains, poop stains, and throw-up stains on them. I spend the majority of my day cleaning up messes, folding laundry, reading books, letting my kids watch TV, or laying on the floor from pure exhaustion as my little ones climb over and bounce on me. I do find joy and satisfaction in wearing clothes that improve my self-esteem. I want to make this very clear, I do NOT base my self-worth on clothes, make up, hair products, or anything that would outwardly improve my appearance. I don’t base my self-worth or self-esteem on the number of ‘likes’ or comments I get on what I’m wearing or how I look.
The part about fashion that I do like, is the ability that fashion has to make you feel good. Not the kind of “I only feel good when I wear $1000 shoes and tote Versace handbags,” but the kind of “I have more confidence today” feel-good. The kind of good feeling that makes you believe you can get through another day. The kind of “good” that makes you hold your head up and look people in the eye rather than looking down at the ground trying to avoid interaction with anyone.
When I “dress up” or wear an outfit that makes me feel more confident, I find that my attitude improves, my temperament is more gentle, I don’t get as frustrated with my kids as much, I smile more, I FEEL better. All those things combined has shown me that fashion CAN be a good thing. I always disliked the fashion world. The models, the false sense of worth, the feeling of exclusion if you didn’t wear what was in all the magazines, the reliance on temporal and materialistic “stuff” to make you feel "beautiful." I never bought into that. So I removed myself further from it. I went the opposite direction, trying NOT to be fashionable almost. But that was a mistake. We can be fashionable. We can try new trends for the fun of it. You don't have to like whatever is currently "in style." There have been plenty of trends that I will never understand, yet most people spend absurd amounts of money on them just to feel better about themselves and look like everybody else.
I'll end my thoughts (for now) with this quote that I love:

"I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]” And in the kingdom of God, the real you is “more precious than rubies.” Every young woman is a child of destiny and every adult woman a powerful force for good."
– Jeffrey R. Holland

Here are some highly recommended video clips that help me remember WHO I AM:


Rosy Polka Dots

It's no secret that I love pretty much anything polka dot. And I'm in love with the color rosy pink. Pair those two together and I think you've got a winner!

Top: Sweet Salt | Skirt: Mikarose {similar/similar| Shoes: Chelsea Crew | Bracelet: J.Crew Factory


August 24, 2014

Snowbird Tram & Hike

Where: Snowbird Resort up Little Cottonwood Canyon
Elevation change: all downhill! Nothing too steep, hiking down switchbacks.
Hiking time: 30-45 minutes
Distance: 0.5 miles
*Cost involved to ride tram- see below

More info: Aerial Tram Rides

If you've never been on the Snowbird tram, you need to go! It's pretty amazing. I had only been on it once in elementary school about 20 years ago and thought it might be fun to do it again, this time with my kids.
The tram isn't exactly cheap. It's $17 for an adult. But luckily, kids 6 and under are free. Coupons are available sometimes if you Google "Snowbird tram coupon" but the ones I found were for an all-day activities pass which I wasn't interested in. However, if you are going as a family, they have a pretty good deal ($66) for 2 adults and 4 kids that saves you some money.

Riding the tram was so fun. The views are just incredible. It's very large so unless it's crowded, there is plenty of space to walk around. The tram ride takes about 10 minutes to get to the top.
Grandpa came with us this time, it was so fun having him!

Even babies like the view.

Once at the top, the temperature is considerably cooler so make sure you bring jackets! My breath was literally taken away by the views from the top. It was astonishing to see how high we were! The top of the tram is 11,000 feet in elevation.

I truly felt like I was on top of the world! It was so neat to see all the surrounding mountain peaks. 

We went right during Abby's nap time so predictably she fell asleep as soon as I put her in the pack. Her poor head just bobbed as we walked.

Our plan was to ride the tram up to the top, then hike down a short trail to the Peruvian chair lifts and take the chair lifts back down. This was the only "hike" suitable for Eliza so it was perfect.

Grandpa brought his GoPro so we put it on Eliza and let her walk around for a minute so we could see the hike from her point of view.

The wildflowers were amazing. They were in full bloom with tons of vibrant colors. These pictures don't do them justice.


The peak in the left center of the picture above is called Pfeifferhorn ("Little Matterhorn".) I did that hike several years ago. It's the fifth highest peak in the Wasatch range.

There's a close up of Pfeifferhorn peak.

After walking down a trail of switchbacks for about 30 minutes we made it to the Peruvian chair lifts. It was really cool because you enter a tunnel and walk through a long tunnel to get to the chair lift. 

The tunnel was lit and had lots of memorabilia about Snowbird Resort. The picture below shows troops in 1943 practicing skiing in preparation of being deployed to Germany. 

We made it through the tunnel!
My almost 4-year-old loved riding the chair lift down the mountain. Just make sure you hold onto your kids tightly. My baby was squirming and I had to hold her in a death-grip the whole way down which she wasn't too fond of.
The chair lift ride down took about 10 minutes.

This one fell asleep on the way home. I think that's a pretty good sign that she had a fun time and exhausted herself!
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