Hey You…

Hey you. You’ve changed. You used to be cool and calm under pressure. Now what? You liberal. You sheep! You’re too loud. Too outspoken. You ruffle feathers! Do you not realize what you’re doing? You’re just one voice, you can’t possibly think you can make a difference. Sit down. Hey you.

Hey you. Will you just stay in your lane? You’re not Black. You’re not Gay. You’re not Trans. They don’t need you! You’re sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong to try and “fit in”. ALL LIVES MATTER! Especially mine. It’s the most important. You don’t agree? Well then you’re Anti-American. Get out! Hey you.

Hey you. Can you tone it down? Can you just be a lady for once? Can you just follow the social norm and stop trying to “change the world”. Can you just SHUT UP already??? You’re just so young. You’ll change when you get older. You’ll see. Once you have more experience. Once you research. No, not that research. Do you even know what you’re reading??? Hey you.

Hey you. You try too hard. Why are you always trying to reinvent the wheel? Can’t you just leave it be? I hired you to make a difference, but only differences I agree with. Can you stop coming up with so many ideas? I like to put in minimal effort, and you’re making me look bad. You have more passion than me, therefore I’m intimidated and don’t think we should work together. Hey you.

Hey you. Wow. Two college degrees and you stay at home? How does it feel to have your husband pay for everything? You must feel less-than. You can’t call yourself a feminist! You don’t have a job! No, being a mom isn’t a job. Real women work outside of the home, and then take care of everything else on top of that! What even are you? WHO even are you? Hey you.

Hey you. How does it feel? To not have a purpose? To not believe in the great unknown? Man you must be miserable. You must be blind to all of God’s creations. Aren’t you worried about Hell? How are you functioning without the Bible? Where is your community??? You should pray. No wait, I’ll pray for you. Hey you.

Hey you. You must be so lonely. You spend so much time on social media. You put your kid in front of a TV! That’s probably why your kid isn’t “normal”. Are you even a good mom? Do you even LIKE being a mom?! I saw you share a status about mothers needing breaks from their kids. I told all my friends about it. And we sat and felt sorry for you, because kids are a blessing. Get some friends! But not my friends, because we’ve all made up our minds about you already. Hey you.

Hey you. Why are you so boring? You’re telling me your idea of fun is movies or singing along to your favorite playlists? What a loser. That’s why you don’t have friends. No one wants to hang out with you. You’re just a boring mom. You should get a hobby. But not a hobby that I don’t like. And speaking of friends, the few you do have probably don’t really even like you. You are always bad at returning calls. You plan out get togethers way far in advance. Can’t you just come over? Live a little. Hey you.

Hey you. Your kid has Autism? That’s terrible! What are you going to do? Autism is so hard. They’ll never be able to live a normal life! Wait, is this her? She doesn’t LOOK like she has Autism. Are you sure? I think you’re being dramatic. She probably just doesn’t want to talk. You’re just pressuring her. She seems fine. My kids didn’t talk until they were five. I think you need a new doctor. Hey you.

Hey you. Look at you! You’ll never look like her. Stop trying. Your breasts are too big. You can definitely tell you had a kid. Postpartum isn’t a good look on you. And you had a kid two years ago. You can’t use that excuse anymore. You should’ve just bounced back! Why didn’t you? Why don’t you just exercise? Eat better? McDonalds isn’t good for you. You are what you eat! Hey you.

Hey you. I saw you started taking better care of yourself! Good for you! How much have you lost? Oh that’s just water weight, you’ll plateau soon. Gosh you’re only THAT size after HOW LONG? I was that size after I had all my kids… Are you sure that program is working? I tried it, and it didn’t work for me, which means it doesn’t work for anyone. Only 3 days a week for exercising? Well that’s not enough! You’re still eating bread? Well Pinterest says to cut out all carbs, and sugar, and fruit. Hey you.

Hey you. Gosh you’re ugly. Would a little mascara hurt? Just add some blush. But not too much blush. Yikes… You don’t know anything about eyebrows? When was the last time you had filler in your lips? No, no, it doesn’t hurt. It’ll make you feel so much better!!! While you’re there, have the doctor check out your breasts/thighs/stomach. I bet there’s something he can do! We’ll schedule an appointment. Hey you.

Hey you. You’re laughable! You really think you’ve got what it takes? You don’t. Your dreams are just that! You’re indecisive, inconsistent, and irrelevant. You’re uninteresting, and just don’t fit the “mold”. You can’t do what they do! And if you try, I’ll make fun of you. That’s right, every time you feel a fire in your belly, I’ll be there to blow it out. My candle is the only one that is allowed to stay lit! Don’t even try. Hey you.

 

Hey YOU. I like me. You don’t have to.

 

More Questions About Autism

First of all, I wanted to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart for all of the outpouring love and support! I have seen every single text, Instagram message and comment! I knew I would do a part two as this came to light and more of you started asking questions, I just didn’t think I would be lucky enough to do it in the same week! In addition to the HUNDRED of questions, I’ve also had my post read and shared over a THOUSAND times since sharing our story on Friday! I’m going to share and answer some of the more popular questions I received below!

What has the support been like for you? Have you had any negative reactions? I feel like my 4 year old son may be on the spectrum but my family says they think I’m overreacting… The support has been amazing! And so far, I have’t had a single negative reaction or comment. I’m sure that doesn’t mean they won’t happen– but so far it’s been nice to not feel like I have to ward off any keyboard trolls. I’m so sorry that your family seems to be brushing off your concerns for your child. The only thing you can do is remember that YOU’RE his Mama, and he needs you to advocate for him, regardless of who agrees/disagrees with you. Also, playing devils advocate here, be open to this conversation with your family. They may have fears around it just like you do. A lot of the time, people fear Autism to be a “death sentence” or “it means their kid is going to be the weird one forever!”. There’s SUCH a negative connotation associated with spectrum related diagnoses– mostly from people who DON’T understand. You may find that once you open up the dialogue a bit more, that they really do share the same concerns as you, they just let fear get in the way. Keep me updated on your Little Guy! Hugs!

There have been a lot of doctors that suggest dietary changes in children with spectrum diagnoses. Will you be changing Lexi’s diet at all? SUPER interesting that you ask that, because I hadn’t thought about it at all! And of course now I’m going down the rabbit hole and learning about GMO’s, artificial dyes and the effects they can have on children with Autism. I feel like at this time, we probably won’t make any changes to her diet unless her doctors at Mary Bridge think it’s a good idea. My child has always been a super great eater– and I would rather not change too much too fast if that makes sense? She’s going to be the busiest two year old on the planet here in a few weeks! So I’d like to focus strictly on one thing at a time. But if you have any resources for me, please feel free to send them! I feel like continuing to educate myself on the subject wouldn’t hurt!

You mentioned delayed vaccinations with Lexi. Is that something you can talk more about? I’m due in 2 months with my first baby and I feel like there is so much conflicting information out there right now! First of all– congrats on your newest addition! I hope you take this response with the best intentions, because I’m 100% meaning it from the best place in my heart. I, at this time will NOT be going into more detail about our vaccination choices other than what I shared in the original post, and here’s why: 

1. I am not a doctor

2. This is NOT a decision that you should make based off of a blog post a stranger wrote on the internet. We ALL want to do the best thing for our babies. And I strongly believe that medical decisions need to be a family discussion as well as a discussion with your OBGYN and your Childs pediatrician. 

3. I do NOT want the focus of Lexi’s diagnosis and story to be turned into a pro-vaxx or anti-vaxx debate. There are literally 15 pages on Google dedicated to angry granola moms who feel like the government ruined their children’s lives or some whacky crap like that. I, as a mother who is confident that vaccines played no part in her diagnoses (because, hi, SCIENCE), became extremely frustrated that I couldn’t find ONE article, Pinterest page, or Facebook Group about Autism that DIDN’T make it about vaccines. And I know that if I’m feeling that way– there are more mothers out there who are also looking for answers, without losing focus on the task at hand: HELPING OUR CHILDREN. Period.

My child is almost 3 and barely speaks, does that mean he/she has Autism? Again, as I stated above, I am not a doctor. But one thing I can say is that we were specifically told by our doctor that delays and Autism don’t ALWAYS go hand in hand. Regression is what a lot of doctors look for, especially in younger children to help them make a diagnosis. If you are having even an inkling of a doubt– I would contact your child’s pediatrician and express your concerns! Lexi’s delays have been mostly physical. For instance, not sitting up unassisted until 9/10 months old, not eating with utensils or off of a plate, just now learned how to clap her hands and bang objects together, doesn’t understand the concept of “peek-a-boo”, etc. Where as her regressions are STRICTLY speech. She was saying about 6 words before her first birthday in October, then went to just copying sounds (like HI, DADA, UHH OHH) without actually understanding the meaning, then completely regressed with words and sounds all together. Now she just makes really cool Tamagotchi type noises, and is really good at repeating the same ones that mean she’s tired, hungry, bored, etc!

I know there are so many speech apps now, and toys that are really good with early childhood development! Did you try any of those before consulting your doctor? No, we did not, for a few reasons. I would much rather have my child learn from a professional, and not rely on an iPad to get her up to speed, and the thing that you have to remember, developmentally she’s only about 9/10 months old. Would your 9 month old understand how to play a word game on an iPad?

You are SO BRAVE for sharing your story! I can’t imagine how HARD this must be! Can I pray for you/keep you in my thoughts? You’re so kind to say those things, however, I’m not brave. Neither is Lexi. Neither is my family. And, I’m not one who believes in prayer, but if that’s something that would help you feel more involved, than go for it. Here’s why I say those things:

Are you listening?

AUTISM IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.

It’s not something that needs to be prayed over, or healed, or tiptoed around. My child just learns differently than most. That’s it. She’s not broken, or less than. She doesn’t need to be coddled, or watched over extra careful.

She just needs and wants to be herself. Autism is not bad. We need to stop saying “our hearts hurt” or “we’ll be praying over you”. You hearts hurt for people who have Cancer. You should pray over the homeless. Spectrum diagnoses are apples and oranges when you’re looking at the BIG picture. We will continue living our lives the same way we always have! Just now we have a super cool teacher who hangs out with us three times a week! 🙂 

 

I hope these were helpful, as these were the main types of questions I have received over the last few days! I’m sure there will be more, and like I’ve stated before, I am so excited to continue to talk about and share our experiences as we dive a little deeper into this super cool new chapter!

Hugs & Kisses,

Lexi & Lauren

Our Journey with Autism

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Hi! My name is Lexi! I’m almost two years old, and this week after 7 months of evaluations, and 4 doctors later, my Mommy and Daddy were told this week that I have a condition called Regressive Autism Syndrome or AAS (Acquired Autistic Syndrome). My Mom asked if I would write about it on her blog, because she knew there would be so many questions, and she figured it would be easier if they were all answered in one place! I’ll do my best to share what I know so far, and my Mom said that she will continue to keep this journey public, because she said that sometimes people feel less alone in scary situations if they are able to read about someone else’s experience!

Did you know that 1* in every 68* kids in the US has some form of Autism??? Out of those kids, 77%* have AAS. What makes AAS different from other forms of Autism is the fact that it’s mostly our speech that’s affected! Some children with AAS also show social and/developmental delays, but loss of speech is usually the first and most prominent sign. Speech delays usually start around 15 months, where as developmental and social delays can start as early as 10 months! In fact, did you know that I still have never learned to shake my head, point at or grab things??? I also still wave backwards, and just learned how to clap two weeks ago!

The delays usually start slower, and then will speed up around the age of 2. 30%* of kids with AAS completely stop speaking by the age of two. Did you know that I haven’t said any real words since March??? I speak in this cool little language of my own. My parents have even adapted to the certain sounds I make when I want different things!

Some other cool facts about me that pertain to AAS:

  • I don’t respond when my name is called! Not because I can’t hear you, or can’t understand you, but because my brain likes to focus on one thing at a time. So if I’m playing with a toy, and you call my name for snack time, chances are I won’t acknowledge you until you come kneel beside me and gently say my name! Then I’ll be so happy to see you and will have no problem following you over to my highchair!
  • I LOVE my alone time! So much so, that sometimes even if someone gets down on the floor with me to play, I hand over what I have and find something else on the opposite side of the room. If you try to follow me, I will stomp my foot. This is my way of asking you to please respect my space!
  • I have a harder time processing my emotions! Because I’m non-verbal, I can’t talk or make normal gestures like other kids my age! So if Mommy or Daddy is having a harder time understanding me, it’ll send my little brain on over drive. Usually, I will go find a wall or a flat service I can sit against and sway back and forth against it to calm down. If I’m REALLY frustrated though, I will start to flail my arms around and make a really funny “hissing” sound with my tongue over and over. This also happens when I get really excited! When I am excited, I like to go find a corner or something to duck around, and I half smile, half cry, because that’s just my brains way of processing what’s happening around me!
  • Even though I can’t talk, I am still very repetitive in the noises I make.
  • I have quite a few obsessive interests, which my parents think are really funny! Anything I can hang from my fingers and spin around, I do! My Daddy will even tie things like string or zip-ties around my favorite toys so I can have the most fun ever!
  • Spinning in circles is something I do when I’m really happy! I get really dizzy sometimes, too! Spinning, rocking back and forth, and arm flapping are known traits of children with forms of Autism!
  • ROUTINE! My routine is EVERYTHING to me! I get very upset and effected by minor changes in my day to day life. Sometimes if the change is big enough, it will take me a few days to recover, and until then I will usually have a few of my famous tantrums where I flap my hands all over like a bird!
  • My baby dolls are my favorite toys to play with, and I play with them the same way each time! First, I empty them all out of my toy bins one by one, and then I see how many I can carry at once over to the couch! Once they are all there, I line them up on the cushions, and play with each one individually until it’s time to put them back!
  • I also really love toys with lights or wheels. I love to get my eyes as close to the lights as possible when they flash, and sitting and spinning the wheels on my toy train is the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning!

As of right now, socially I have not been impacted by AAS. Social skills, if they are going to be affected, tend to start regressing around 19 months. I actually have another evaluation at the end of the month to check on me and assess my social skills! Starting in August, I get to do speech therapy with a teacher over the computer THREE times a week! Isn’t that so cool??? A whole FaceTime JUST for me! My Mommy is really happy that she works at home so she can focus on getting me talking!

My Mom told me there would be some questions on when my delays started, the goal of therapy, vaccines and more, so she’s going to take over from here and try and get ahead of any questions that some of you might have!

Why did you intervene so early? Aren’t most kids on the spectrum not diagnosed until the age of 3? That actually is a super common misconception! While a lot of cases are not diagnosed until 3, it’s actually very common to start screening for developmental delays around 18 months! For instance, we noticed Lexi’s delays starting around 11 months, and when her pediatrician started noticing a constant decrease in her well-child evaluation forms, we decided that at 13 months we would begin the process of early intervention. Clinical studies done by the CDC have actually shown that children with AAS who are actively involved with early intervention have a 70+% chance of fully recovering by early adolescence!

My child didn’t start talking until they were almost 5! Didn’t you just consider that every kid is different and she will talk when she’s ready? Such a great question! Actually, no, that was never a consideration of ours and here’s why: there were many other physical signs on top of the speech delay that lead us to further pursue early intervention. Speech is just the main focus right now. In about 6 months or so, the doctors at Children’s could want to include a more extensive neurological exam if she hasn’t caught up developmentally yet.

Do you think this could have been avoided if you breastfed? No. As of right now, according to our pediatrician and our ABA therapist, there are no studies that directly correlate not breastfeeding and Autism.

Did you vaccinate? Absolutely we did, and will continue too!

But there’s so many people out there that say vaccines cause Autism, especially the MMR vaccine which is given at 12 months old, and isn’t that normally when regressions start happening? Obviously, I’m not a doctor. I can only share our experience. A little backstory… Lexi had a growth condition while I was pregnant called Velamentous Cord Insertion with Vasa Previa (look it up, it’s wild, and only effects 1% of pregnancies!). She was born full-term, 40 weeks and was only 5 pounds. Because of her size, for the first year of her life we actually got to go to the doctors once a month for a height, weight and blood sugar analysis (since sometimes smaller babies have trouble regulating theirs!). Also, because of her size, we opted to do delayed vaccinations. This was something our pediatrician had suggested, and once we researched it, we felt like it was the best decision for our family. So some vaccines were delayed, and some were split up. Around 11 months old, Lexi got the flu really bad. I mean, this kid was sick for about 2 weeks and nothing that we could do was making her feel better other than time. Her doctor, knowing she had been sick right before her 12 month appointment, opted to push her MMR vaccine to closer to 14 months, to make sure her immune system was fully functioning, and since she was already being watched for growth, it would give her some time to plump back up and catch up on the weight she lost from being ill. Lexi began regressing right before her first birthday in October, and didn’t get her MMR until the end of December. So in our case, no, I do not believe vaccines had a play in any of this. And if they did, Autism is not going to kill her, however the measles just might.

I have not heard you speak about any of this until now! Are you sure she really has Autism? I have been quiet about it, only because there was (and still is!) so much we DON’T know. Autism isn’t a “one size fits all” diagnosis. There is new information being discovered every minute! To be honest, I also was so tired of casually mentioning my concerns to friends and hear “I was over reacting” or “she’ll do it when she’s ready Mama!”. And while I know all of that was coming from the absolute BEST place, when it’s your child, sometimes you don’t want to hear about your “friends, cousins, sisters, nephew who also had speech delay but turned out fine and he didn’t need therapy” (insert MEGA eyeroll here!)

How is your husband/family adapting? Really well, actually! Kyle and I have tried not to get too overly emotional about this. When you have a touch and go pregnancy, something like Autism really puts things in perspective. We have SUCH a great kid! Anyone who meets her falls in love with her! And my family has been so supportive and on board. My mom has been in childhood education for 20 years– so she has been a really great person to help with research, and she will be very involved in Lexi’s speech and occupational therapies when Kyle can’t be!

Will you keep us updated on Lexi’s journey? Now that all of this is out in the open, absolutely! It will be nice to have a place where I can share concerns, updates and I’m sure a little frustration along the way!

 

Squishy

The first time I was ever referred to as “squishy” was when I was about 19 years old. My husband (then fiance) and I were at a grocery store in Arizona doing some shopping when a little girl ran up and hugged me from behind. I turned around and she quickly loosened her grip around me and looked around in panic for her dad, who was not far behind her.

“Sorry”, he said out of breath, “she thought you were my wife, she has the same color hair as you”. I laughed, and knelt down to introduce myself. She caught site of my engagement ring and asked me if she could borrow it for her Halloween costume… She was Tinkerbell. I told her that I bet she could find a ring better than mine at the store, and mid sentence she locked her arms around my neck again!

“Sweetie, you can’t just hug strangers! Not everyone likes hugs!” her dad said. “But dad! I HAD to hug her! She’s so nice and squishy!” Clearly embarrassed, her dad grabbed her hand and they scurried away. In all honesty, that is probably one of my favorite interactions to date. Kids are the best in so many ways. I sincerely cannot WAIT for Lexi to be old enough to repeat stuff she shouldn’t or make situations that were once comfortable, uncomfortable. Kids just say things with the purest of intentions, and I feel like we could all learn something from them.

Now, being only 19, I definitely didn’t think of myself as squishy, at least, I didn’t think I did. I remember fighting demons in my head HARD while we lived in Arizona. It was isolating, we were tired, we were making just enough to pay our bills and we were both working multiple jobs, at all hours of the day, just trying to make the best life for ourselves that we could. Which, of course now that I look back at it, I live a very cushy life now, thanks to the sacrifices that we made when we were younger and it was definitely worth it.

I think back to my 19 year old self often. Such a weird age. Literally NO ONE at the age of 19 is doing the same thing. Some have children, some are married, some are in school, some are working two jobs and most “take a year off” to sit on their parents couch and get stoned.

One thing I had never second guessed until I was 19 was my body image. I was always taught about self love and healthy habits and learned at a very young age that we are all beautiful in our own ways. Until, that is, I was working at a salon in Arizona. You guys, this day still rattles me to my core. I think about it and eyes well up with tears (in fact, I’m getting quite misty writing this) I was in the break room, clocking out for lunch. Our lunch was in split shifts there so half the staff went at one time and the other half went after us. I was in a room full of probably 13 or 14 other people. My boss came up to me, and in front of everyone, said “she wasn’t a fan of my outfit”. Confused, because I was not only following dress code, but wearing the EXACT same shorts as the other front desk girl (who, was a size 2 might I add, and I only knew we were wearing the same shorts because we bonded over the fact that we got them on sale at Walmart). I politely questioned her, and asked if shorts were against the dress code, because so-and-so was wearing them. She scoffed and said “well when you look like so-and-so, then we can talk about you wearing shorts”. I was sent home to change into “something that covered my lower half appropriately” and haven’t stopped thinking about it sense. You know what the worst part about that story is? I can almost guarantee you that this women, who was WELL into her thirties at the time, never, ever thinks about the fact that she told a 19 year old girl that she could gladly wear shorts when she lost some weight. This horrific memory is in my head every. day. Especially now in a world of Instagram Models and VSCO and presets galore.

This was something I worried about a lot when I was pregnant. You see moms who have completely let themselves go after childbirth because they feel totally uncomfortable in their new skin. Whether they bounce back or not. I lost 37 pounds when I was pregnant. Didn’t gain a SINGLE stretch mark. Yet, since having my baby a year ago I have gained 64 pounds. SIXTY-FOUR. And what’s so weird is I never noticed it until a few months ago.

Back in February, I went HARD in my business. I double promoted and that was so huge for me. I started getting recognized on social media and had boutiques reaching out to me to partner with. It was probably one of the greatest “highs” I’ve ever had. It was great until I received all my new clothes, tried them on, and looked in the mirror. How on earth was I supposed to get people to buy these clothes when anything I put on made me look like a puffy baked potato with legs?  Also not to mention that any time I would do a try on haul, or post a story on Instagram of me going to the gym, I had every BeachBody coach IN THE WORLD (not literally of course) message me “asking” to try their program. “Asking” why I was going to a gym and not “working out in the comfort of my own home because gyms can be intimidating when you’re out of shape”. “Asking” what nutrition plan I was on and that the reason for my weight gain was a mindset thing. Nothing makes you feel more insecure then when a group of people attack you for looking the way you do. Attacking might be a strong word, but let’s look at it this way: let’s say you post pictures makeup free. Maybe you don’t wear a lot of makeup or you work a job that doesn’t require much– whatever. Let’s say that you shared a makeup free photo of yourself during your time of the month (um, can we all say, “hi chin breakouts!”). Then, after you shared that picture, BOOM! There I am in your inbox saying how I noticed your breakout and that I had some great skincare and makeup you could use. Rude, right? It’s LITERALLY the same with any direct sales company. There is 100% such a thing as a right place and a right time. Now if you had shared that exact picture with a caption saying something like, “HELP! Looking for new skincare/makeup to tackle my crazy hormonal acne!” thennnn that’s a totally different story.

Here’s a fact friends, when you’re approaching somebody about something that you sell and they DIDN’T ask for it– 9 times out of 10 it’s insulting. 

And no, I understand not everyone who sells supplements or workout plans is like this. But still to this day, I get at least one random message a week “offering to help me get to my fitness goal”.

Truth is, I don’t have a “fitness goal”. I just want/wanted to feel in love with myself again after the weirdest year of my life. Did you know the “postpartum” feeling can last up to 24 months?! Yep! Insane, right? I feel like it’s been months of being stuck in this body, this head space, this overall attitude that I wasn’t used to. And I felt nothing but hopeless. I’ve been to six different doctors now who have all told me a million different things. It’s my thyroid, no it’s not, you have anemia, you have anxiety, you’re still just adjusting to postpartum etc. Which makes it even MORE frustrating when there is no “answer”. Then, you’re forced to just cope with the fact that it IS you. Your “bounce back” game was over before it started. Slowly but surely you keep buying clothes that are too small, and wearing baggy tops to hide your squishy belly… Because friends, after child birth, your stomach will ALWAYS resemble a marshmallow in some way, shape or form. I wasn’t wanting to go Live anymore, something I’ve always loved doing, because all I could see was my double chin and size ZZZ boobs.

I was laying in bed one morning and I was scrolling Instagram and saw Trisha Hyde’s post. Trisha isn’t far from me, postpartum wise, I think her youngest is 6 or 7 months old. She’s a mother of 3, and she seriously is amazing in every aspect of life! This was what she chose to share with her followers:

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Here it was. FINALLY someone with a social media presence that was honest, raw and told us it was OK to feel beautiful in whatever season of our body we were currently living in. She then went on to say in her story that at first, as soon as she was cleared to workout, she was determined to get back to her post baby body. But after doing it for a few weeks, she admitted that she felt like it was causing more pressure than it was worth. She was focused so much on being who she thought everyone else wanted to see, instead of who SHE was happy seeing. She talks about not being afraid to size up your clothing, and that you should eat the damn doughnut! I always feel silly saying I have a role model, but this girl, LEGIT is mine!

Being a platform to spread self love and body positivity when everyone’s talking about how Jessica Simpson lost 100 pounds 6 months after having her third child is refreshing. So Trisha, if you ever read this, I just wanted to say “thank you”. Thank you for helping me and other women like me learn to love themselves again no matter what season they are in. Whether fitness is your number one goal, or that McDonalds Big Mac is all you can think about. Whether you’re 3 months into it, or had your last kid 10 years ago. Just remember, you should be your own idea of perfect, not someone elses.

Until next time, Divas

LQ

 

My First Year In The Hood

I still cannot believe that 376 days ago, I became a mom! There are so many things I have learned in the last year– most of which were all the debunked inaccuracies that other mothers had bestowed upon me. Now, I say that with a super light heart. I know that 99% of the time, whenever a mother is sharing her experience with you, it’s because she wants to connect and help in anyway she can. Motherhood is definitely a “Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants” thing, except we all have stretch marks, bags under our eyes and coffee running through our veins. It’s this weird, unspoken bond that is just something you’ll never understand unless you’re a parent. Now, I feel like I must reiterate that these motherhood myths I’m about to debunk are based off of my personal experiences. I am in no way, shape or form trying to invalidate your journey. I’m just simply here to make you laugh and remind you that there is no manual. We all just get up every day, try to survive, and then give ourselves a silent high-five once the sun goes down to celebrate another days work.

Myth number one: “Your life will change forever!”

Ok. First things first, and maybe it’s just me by WHY is this always said by other moms with a negative connotation in their voice? Like, yeah Linda I can’t just bop in the car and head out to the bar but I sure as hell can go sit in the restaurant section and still sip on my cocktail! I don’t get it. It’s like, it’s their nice little way of trying to do what… Spook us? For me, I would say literally other than the fact that I have a permanent side kick with me 24/7, my life really hasn’t changed. I do every single thing I used to before I had her. EVERYTHING. Except maybe go to the bathroom by myself now. But I’ve always had dogs so I’m still in the process of tallying how many times I’ve been interrupted by my child without a tail, and my three children with tails. Some of the best advice I was ever given while I was pregnant was, “your child should blend in with your life” and I am a firm believer to this day that my family unit is better because the only thing we changed after having a baby was the fact that our outlets now have plastic covers on them.

Myth number two: “You’ll never have a sex life again!”

I’ll admit this one actually terrified me. You see super unhappy couples with kids and think, “damn, someone hasn’t gotten laid in a while!”. Well, for us, I feel like our sex life actually is better in the last year! Seriously, once your husband sees a baby shoot out of your vagina, realistically this leaves NOTHING off the table. Nothing. NOT A THING. And I’m not saying you get like, extra freaky or anything. You might. But for us it just became so much more intimate and fun! We laugh more, aren’t afraid to express our needs and DEFINITELY look forward to bath nights.  And I know you’re wondering how that “first time” after kids was. I’ll just say that the turd I passed 3 days after giving birth hurt way worse than sex after 6 weeks.

Myth number three: “You’ll never sleep again!”

This one makes me laugh because my kid has been a good sleeper since day one. Her first night in the hospital she slept 6 1/2 hours and a nurse came in and tried to wake her up and I kindly said that if she came any closer I will grab the nearest scalpel and stab her with it. And I wasn’t joking. I think the only times she really doesn’t sleep well are when she’s going through a regression or she isn’t feeling well from teething. But I would say 9.9 times out of 10 she goes to bed on time, sleeps a solid 9-12 hours and has done that since the day she was born. Even in her early squished meatball days, I can’t really remember any “rough” nights. However that first week of life, almost all babies have their days and nights confused. So we definitely didn’t go to “bed” until like 3 in the morning but we definitely would sleep in until about 9 or 10!

Myth number four: “You’re going to regret not breastfeeding/You won’t have a strong bond with your child”

I don’t regret it, and if we end up having another child I will do things 100% the same way. I do have a bond with my child. Trust me, she’s only one but I SWEAR this kid could pick me out of a lineup. Next.

Myth number five: “Your circle of friends will get smaller”

I’m extremely fortunate to say that I have not had this issue. Every single person that was around for my pregnancy, is still around till this day. Remember that special bond I mentioned earlier? I actually feel like thanks to motherhood, my circle has gotten BIGGER! I’ve reconnected with so many people from high school, beauty school, old jobs… It’s so refreshing to have a group that I can vent to, laugh with, cry with and know that no matter what happens, I have people going through it with me. And somehow that’s just really damn comforting.

Myth number six: “You’ll be sad when the baby stage is over”

I’m literally convinced that everyone who says this must’ve done some magic hippie drug during the first 3 months because you honestly couldn’t pay me enough to go back to that! No kidding. If there was some type of option during delivery that made it so you could choose the age your child was when they were born, sing me up! Same thing when moms are “sad and crying” because “their baby is growing up”. Um. Hi. It’s not a freaking sea monkey, what did you think was supposed to happen? Having your kid grow up and move on to the next milestone should EXCITE you! Do you know how many people wish they had gotten to see their child grow up? Stop saying that. Instead, celebrate it! Say something like, “gosh, I can’t believe I have a one year old! I will for sure miss those snuggles and helping you learn to wave but I seriously cannot wait to be a part of all the cool, new things you’re going to learn!” Growth isn’t something to dwell on.

There is easily a million more that I could tear apart but I feel like these six are some of the ones that MOST new moms hear during pregnancy and every single one of us experiences them so differently. No matter how your first, second, or tenth year of motherhood has gone, please remember that you are doing an amazing job. Please remember to laugh, and live in the moment and take so many pictures that you can’t fit anything else on your phone. Hold your baby, let them eat chocolate and do not forget about yourself! Remember to love this new season you’re in, whether it be your body, your marriage, your mental health. Oh, and also, don’t forget to deep condition your hair.

 

 

If you’ve got some debunked motherhood myths that you’d like to share, please write them in the comments section! I’d love to hear them!

 

Until next time, Divas!

LQ

Falling with Style

I love when an idea jumps out at me. I’ve been saying FOR MONTHS to Kyle that I wanted to get back into writing. I love writing. If you were to look at my desktop, I have about 5 unfinished “novels” that I swear up and down I’ll finish one day, and use my own money to publish. It’s just another thing that gets tacked up on my Dream Board.

“Well, why haven’t you been writing?”, he asked. He reads all my blog posts, whether he likes it or not. Mainly because I usually send him a rough draft before I publish it so he can tell me whether or not I need to add more curse words or take some out. He never suggests taking any out. That’s how I know we’re soulmates.

“I just don’t have any ideas!” I tell him, “I’ve put up polls, asked my previous readers, asked my viewers… Nothing “edgy” enough gets suggested. And I just don’t personally feel the need to jump into writing about female masturbation or the different ways to cook with Kale.” Although, I thought to myself, probably when I make it big, the masturbation topic will HAVE to come up because look at how fucking rich E. L. James is! Shes a normal looking women, not homely, but not beautiful. Shes slightly overweight, DEFINITELY box colors her hair, and has bangs that are not flattering for her face shape. Either she has an AMAZING sex life or has an imagination that doesn’t quit! Whoever said “sex sells” was clearly onto something. And considering I have ZERO shame in just about anything I do, masturbation (also, do you know how many times I’ve tried to spell that with an “E” instead of a “U”?) seems like a topic I’ll most definitely tackle later on in my writing  “career”– the one I don’t have yet but keep telling myself I will.

“Why does it have to be edgy? What are some of the suggestions people make?” he asked, as he ate his Top Ramen straight from the pot he cooked it in.

(Yeah, now that I think about it, I could NEVER write about cooking with Kale. Everyone would catch on to the fact that I was just copy and pasting Pinterest recipes that I’ve never even tried, just so I could potentially be the next Gwyneth Paltrow.)

“They all want to know about confidence! How to find it, how to keep it, and how to feel like they are worthy of it! That’s just not something I feel “powerful” enough to write about. I mean, you can’t teach that stuff right? I’m also not the person to write about it! I lack empathy for others, I don’t believe in pity or prayer, I’m always the first one to say “no” yet I always feel like I have to provide a reason for my answer, I’m loud, I have trouble with authority, I like being the boss and if I’m not the boss I don’t want any part of it! I’m basically a 4 year old who won’t share her toys on the playground.” I exclaimed, as I elbow slammed my new box of wine trying to get it open, something I had learned from my mother years ago.

He shrugged, went back to eating, and we started talking about when on earth he was going to find time to hang the kitchen cabinets that have been down since the week before Lexi was born.

The next night, I was snuggling with Lexi watching Toy Story, because we are trying so hard to get her to like a movie other than Lilo & Stitch. It’s overstayed it’s welcome and I need her to find something else to keep her attention, before mommy starts self medicating. I’ve always loved Toy Story. It was the first movie I can actually remember understanding as a child. I always identified with Woody. Natural leader, know it all, doesn’t like change, and hates anyone who disagrees with him. Buzz always drove me nuts. He was aloof, materialistic and just couldn’t keep out of shit that didn’t involve him. Lexi fell asleep early on in the movie which either meant that it was good enough to put her to sleep, or bad enough to put her to sleep. Either way I considered it a win because I knew I didn’t have to hear “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” over the baby monitor that night.

Naturally, I laid in bed letting the rest of the movie play while I scrolled through my phone. Let me just say, working in Direct Sales makes you DESPISE scrolling. Every single time you open ANY app, your mindset changes from “let’s see what memes so-and-so is sharing” to “let’s post for this party, or answer back this message or get my comments in for the day so my algorithm stays up and oh, I didn’t go live yesterday so let me share a video from a week ago”.  When you make money from your couch, (I also feel the need to add that I proof read this TWICE before I caught the fact that I initially wrote “crotch” instead of “couch”, that would’ve been awkward but I guess it just justifies my original thought that sex = money), Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest… They all become business tools. There’s no such thing as enjoyably scrolling. My mind constantly moves a mile a minute, especially during an end of the month push. Not that I’m complaining, it’s paying our bills every month, but, a normal person looks at scrolling through Facebook as a way to decompress or waste some time while people in Direct Sales look at leaving your phone upstairs as a way to unwind.

One thing I continuously noticed that night as I was working, was the amount of times I saw statuses like “I just can’t do this anymore” or “I hate XYZ about myself” or “no wonder why people don’t like me”. And I literally couldn’t believe what I was reading. Guys. I saw probably 15 statuses all posted at different times of the day, some from the same few people. All filled with self hate. Part of me wanted to comment so badly on those and say “girlfriend, if you came here for people to feel sorry for you, you’ve jumped on the wrong train because self loathing and I DON’T agree!” or to tell them “to get over themselves and MOVE ON!” Like, no shit nobody likes you! Look at the type of self hate you’re promoting?

That was when  I knew exactly what I would write about. With my husband working late, I sat downstairs by candle light and started writing on my notepad. I was trying to channel my inner Hemingway, but instead of whiskey and a cigarette, I had ice water and a baby monitor. I prefer not to drink when I write. Mostly because I will try and make sense of the jumbled up chicken scratch I had jotted down the night before, and usually get nowhere. My handwriting isn’t good to begin with. Adding alcohol makes it worse.

One thing that makes me physically ill is self pity. Maybe it’s because I believe that there are other ways to go about expressing your issues other than feeling sorry for yourself. But also maybe it’s because I never let myself get there in the first place. Trust me. There are things right now that I could DEFINITELY put as VIP guests to my pity party. I could waste an entire day, or weeks, or months feeling sorry over the fact that my husbands job title might change, and they might cut his pay in half, which would be devastating for our family. I could cry day and night over the fact that FOUR doctors later and I’m still dealing with constant joint pain, and extreme fatigue which is keeping me from working which if my husband loses his job, that means I will be the sole provider for my family. But I can’t do that if I’m not healthy enough to work! I could lose sleep knowing that no matter what I do, this weight is not leaving my body as fast as I want it to and I am 194.6 pounds. I have never been that heavy in my life. I might as well consider myself to be the size of a small apartment building. I could just go into hiding over the fact that my goal this month was to stay consistent with my business every single day, and I feel like even though it’s only the first week in June, I’ve let myself down tremendously.

But I don’t. I don’t cry. I don’t hide. I don’t wallow in self pity. It’s just a season I’m in. I like to think of all the different seasons in your life as different teams. You have your mom days, where you need your momma tribe. You have your business days, where you need your bossbabes. You have your marriage days, where you need your spouse. But what’s the one person in common on every single one of these teams?

YOU.

YOU have to be on your own team! You’re the freaking team captain of your life! SHOW UP FOR YOURSELF! Let every victory, no matter how big or small be celebrated! Those other teams wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for you. So why should you rely SOLELY on them to pick you up when you’re feeling down? If you wait for other people to save you, you’re going to drown and more than likely, take a few others with you. You need to save yourself. My husband might lose his job? Ok, no problem, there is another job that’s been begging him to come work for them anyways. Cool, my body hates me? Use my rest time to rest, and when I get a burst of feel-good energy, use every ounce of it and make it work for me! Feelin’ a little chubby? So what? There are people out there that would hear that I weigh 194.6 pounds and WISH they could be that small. Stuck in a rut with your business? You think that didn’t happen to J.K Rowling, or Steve Jobs? If you believe it didn’t, than you’re a lunatic. We need to stop planning to fail. Plan B’s are a joke. They are the participation trophies of life. We think that if we have a Plan B, we can take as long as we want to wallow in our own turmoil because somewhere, somehow this magical, theoretical blueprint will fall out of the sky and all will be saved.

Take Buzz Lightyear for example. As much as that guy drove me nuts, he TRULY believed he could fly. He didn’t start the movie going “Ok I’m like 99% sure I can fly, but just in case I can’t, here’s what I’m going to do!”. If he would’ve done that, there wouldn’t have been a movie. BUZZ DIDN’T HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. And even when he found out that he COULDN’T fly, he had to snap himself out of desperation (with the help of Woody, duh!), AND ADJUST TO THE OBSTACLES THAT WERE THROWN AT HIM!

Guys. HE FUCKING ENDED UP FLYING.

So stop crying over spilled milk. Don’t like your living situation? Move. Fat? Try and get healthy. Depressed? Go to therapy and take your medication and have ZERO shame in doing so. Angry? Learn to laugh. Boyfriend won’t marry you? Leave. There is an answer for everything in life, and it results in falling with style.

 

Until next time, Divas.

LQ

 

 

F•R•I•E•N•D•S

Everyone’s seen the show. And if you haven’t seen it, you know of it. You know it’s a show about six late twenty-something year olds’ that have an unbreakable friendship, and go through all the trials and tribulations that those of us in our late twenties tend to come across. Some of them have known each other since they were kids, some met in college, and some met as adults, yet they just meshed so well.

Friendship is one of those words that has many categories. You have the following:

1. Social friends. We met at my cousins summer bbq and became Facebook friends, but haven’t talked or seen each other since.

2. Acquaintances. We went to school together and maybe had a few classes/sat at lunch/hung out in the same group together, but they have never been to my house.

3. Friends out of convenience. These friends you have so much fun with! Maybe they are people you work with, or your sisters friends that you’ve hung out with on occasion, but other than being in THAT specific setting, you wouldn’t necessarily pick up the phone and invite them over for dinner just the two of you.

4. Best friends. You may talk 24/7. You share every secret. You go out and spend time together as much as you can. You are inseparable.

5. Friends who are family. This person either has or will be in my life forever. We share this incredible closeness for whatever reason, and we can’t imagine our lives without each other.

I think this season of my life, being 25, is probably my favorite for many reasons. A main one being that most people at this point in their lives have found their tribe.

Tribes usually consist of a mixture of friend types 3-5. You often have the most of 3, and the fewest in 5.

One of my favorite quotes about friendship comes from one of my favorite books by Chelsea Handler:

“It’s been my experience that people who make proclamations about themselves are usually the opposite of what they claim to be. If someone truly is a loyal friend, then they wouldn’t need to broadcast it; eventually, people will figure it out. Who talks about themselves like that? I have a lot of good friends and not one of them ever introduced themselves by saying, “I’m a very good friend.”

— Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

This probably has been the most true at this point of my life. Friendships as you get older can be complicated. Some of you have families, some don’t. Some are married and have spouses while some appreciate the freedom of being solo and travel extensively or continue to work up the corporate ladder. Sometimes you feel like you will have all the time in the world for that person, other times you may not communicate for weeks.

Let’s get one thing clear– can we all stop saying “you’re never ‘too busy’, you just don’t want to make it a priority”? I hate that. I see that stupid picture floating around Facebook WAY too often. Truth is, sometimes we ALL just run out of time. Here’s my schedule for instance:

9am-12pm: wake up, feed the baby, bath time for her, while Kyle gets ready for the day. I go downstairs, unload and reload the dishwasher, switch out the laundry, pack lunches, make breakfast, drink a cup of coffee.

12pm-3pm: baby takes a nap, eats a few more times, I do whatever housework needs to be done, I usually shower at this point.

3pm-6pm: groceries usually get picked up, I stop at Starbucks for a midday pick me up, spray tan or maybe get my nails done (if my kid behaves!), come home, unload whatever shopping I’ve done, switch out the laundry again, and start dinner.

6pm-9pm: Kyle comes home, we eat dinner, put the baby to bed, have 2-3 hours together before bedtime and then we go to sleep.

Now, please, to all my friends and distant family who constantly say “well you never make time for us” or “if it were important to you, you’d make it a priority”, please tell me WHERE in that schedule do you see any time for me to carve out solely for you? I’d LOVE to see what you see, because something tells me your schedule looks somewhat similar to this every day.

The types of friendships I’m looking for at this season of my life are simple: we check in on each other to make sure we aren’t dead, we tag each other in dumb stuff on the internet, and we SCHEDULE time to hang out!

Another one of my favorite quotes is by C.S Lewis. It reads:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

I remember my first experience with friendship. It was about two weeks before I started kindergarten. My mom was a stay at home mom but ran a childcare center in our house Monday through Friday, but luckily my bus stop was right around the corner from my home. My parents bought a set of walkie talkies, so I could communicate to and from the bus stop. Coincidentally, a girl who lived on the other side of the road (whom I didn’t know yet), had ALSO received a set of two-way radios. One night my neighbor and I were using the radios to pretend we were secret agents. All of the sudden I heard another voice on the other side of the radio that definitely wasn’t mine or my neighbors! That girl and I talked almost everyday, and one thing I remembered that she had mentioned was she LOVED Scooby Doo.

A few weeks later, there I was in my kindergarten classroom, sitting under a table during free time pretending I was a cat (yes really, I believe my parents saved the report card from that year that said “I had a vivid imagination”. I now know that “vivid” is code word for total, fucking, weirdo. I remember a girl, came over one day and sat down under the table with me. She said she didn’t want to be a cat, because she liked dogs, and pulled out her Scooby Doo lunchbox to show me.

I don’t exactly remember how we eventually found out that we were the voices on the radio, but we were inseparable throughout the rest of elementary school.

Fun fact: I still do her hair and see her on occasion 🙂

Obviously now, friendships aren’t just as easy as sitting under the table and pretending to be an animal. But in some ways, they kinda are.

I’d say that I have two best friends at the moment. Both came into my life at super weird times when I didn’t even know that I needed them. One of them connected with me because we both hated this super psycho girl that we worked with, and we would spend hours on our off time sending Snapchats back and forth reliving that days drama. My other best friend got me high (edible in the form of a peanut butter cookie. I had never been high before!) without my consent while we were on a work trip together because she said “I needed to loosen up a little”. Both of these women are extremely opposite from me. Actually, come to think of it, they probably would like each other better than they like me! I’m not sure why we get along so well. It could be that they share the same super twisted sense of humor that I do, or because we all say the word “FUCK” like its going out of style.

I’m not quite sure why they chose me. But I’m oh so glad they did. Them, I’d “prioritize” the shit outta my day for. My one bestie that lives here just comes over whenever she wants, sometimes unannounced, while my other bestie who lives out of state calls/texts/Facetimes every single day, sometimes multiple times a day.

They both love me. The love my husband. They love my daughter. ❤

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” — William Shakespeare

 

How my relationship changed after my open letter to my Husband…

Considering I’ve had like 20 people ask me if Kyle read my last blog post, the answer is YES! He reads all my posts and loves them. One of his favorite things about me is my ability to “metaphorically insert my middle finger anywhere” LOL.

After he read my open letter to him, he came home, and we sat on the couch and had a very long talk. It was mostly him. I think he told me about a thousand times how much staying home to raise our daughter means to him and that I make a world of difference being in his life everyday. And that he loves me more than he could ever explain.

As nice as that was to hear, I had to let him know that that wasn’t the point of my letter. He paused. And sat back.

I said, “the point of my letter was to let you know that I KNOW you’re proud of me. I KNOW what I do for you means everything. I wouldn’t have written something so public if none of that were true.” The point of my letter was to let him know that as much as he still sees me, and I mean TRULY SEES me, I also see him.

Often, when a family of two becomes three, the husbands are often forgotten. By everyone. Even their wives. The point of my letter was to let him know that I see where I need to work on myself. I see how I need to learn how to separate myself from “mom mode” sometimes. And I see all of that because I have an amazing partner who keeps me in check.

I always swore once I became a mother that two things would never change:

1. My husband would ALWAYS come first. Always.

2. I would never lose sight of myself.

When you have a partner who idolizes the ground you walk on, it’s easy for them to see things that you don’t. Because they have studied and memorized everything about you. If you have a good partner, they aren’t afraid to tell you things that you might have a hard time hearing, because they know that it means they are going to be right along side you 100% of the way. Your problems are their problems and visa versa.

After I explained that HE was the point of the letter, he just hugged me. He cried. Then WE came up with a plan to help US continue to have a happy, healthy, marriage and journey through parenthood.

We’ve decided that twice a month, our daughter will go with my parents, and we will have date nights. One at home, one out on the town.

We decided we want to try one new thing together every month. This month is a Sip N Paint that I found on Groupon and we are really excited!

We decided that twice a week, we will put Lexi to bed an hour earlier, upstairs in front of a movie, and we will share a bottle of wine and sit in the bath.

We decided one night a week we won’t watch TV, we will cook dinner together and talk about our day.

And let me tell you, last night as we were sitting in the bath and our kid was in the next room watching Mulan, Kyle and Lauren got to have an hour and a half of alone time. We’ve been doing this ever since my letter was posted. Our marriage has never felt stronger. And that’s saying a lot because anyone that knows us, knows we have ALWAYS had a god damn solid foundation. But it was so nice to just, BE. And even though our baby was right in the next room, for a whole hour and a half I was able to relax and shut my mommy brain off. (Actually, it stayed off the rest of the night because my kid fell asleep and stayed asleep until 6am!)

Marriage is SO MUCH WORK you guys. We’ve often been told that we are “couple goals” or that we are “perfect”. We might be. But there is so much that goes into it. It is constantly evolving with one another, being disappointed and learning how to talk it out, sometimes making the same mistake twice (like I bought nothing on the grocery list you gave me but I got everything we DON’T need!) and admitting “I fucked up again”.

When you have so much love for a person, and you’re in a happy, healthy marriage, even the “hardest of jobs” seem so effortless– and are definitely, without a doubt, worth it.

Until next time Divas,

LQ

Dear Husband…

Hi there. Gosh it feels weird saying that. But, hi.

Remember me? I remember you. I remember seeing you for the first time when I was just a spunky, naive, 14 year old girl. Your smile was the first thing that caught my eye. I at that point, completely understood what the phrase “heart melting” meant. Because baby, your smile melted mine.

You were so carefree, and don’t take this the wrong way, but really, really stupid. And not to mention impressionable! A stranger could triple dog dare you to do ANYTHING, and my love, you would do it.

I was really uptight, just naturally. I didn’t really have a lot of friends, like you did. I wasn’t super into my looks, and I did OK academically. I didn’t know what Facebook was, I didn’t understand why the cheerleaders at our school were so popular, and I definitely didn’t (and still don’t!) know how to find the circumference of a circle. I didn’t know much at 14. But I knew I loved you.

I’m not sure why. Looking at your life compared to mine, well my love, yours was a complete mess. You were, for lack of a better word, a freaking weirdo! You skateboarded, smoked cigarettes and walked around the hallways with your phone blasting music and annoying everyone around you.

But my God. No one made being goofy look quite as good as you did.

On paper, we really shouldn’t work. I’m convinced Corinthians 13:4 was written entirely with you in mind. You are the most gentle soul I have ever encountered. You love anyone and everyone. Especially me.

I know I’m not easy to love. Especially since we’ve entered this new chapter in our lives. You work, I stay home. Some days I clean, but most days I don’t. I have super big dreams, but am having a hard time prioritizing them right now, but you always lead me with such grace and encouragement that I always feel like I could conquer the world. I am sarcastic, loud, and bratty. My ego is the size of Japan. I know it. I’m moody, even more so now that I’m home with a baby all day. So I apologize for any and every unintentional outburst that might happen.

I know I need to work on a lot. I will never be the perfect housewife. I don’t want to be. But I know I need to work on kissing you as soon as you come home from work. I know I need to work on being intimate more (my GOD I definitely need to work on that!). I need to start sharing blankets with you at night so we can snuggle, because I know that’s your favorite. I need to let you choose the movie every once in a while, because I think if you watch Elizabethtown one more time you might blow your brains out.

I feel like the one thing no one prepared us for was exactly how much a marriage changes once you have children. I never heard anyone talk about it. It changes in the best and worst possible ways. No books, or articles we read while I was pregnant ever mentioned anything. It was never mentioned how hard it is to compartmentalize being a parent, being a spouse, being a friend… There are days when you come home and I just don’t feel like being touched by anyone– because I’ve been holding a baby all day. I can’t imagine how hard that is for you. Just like there are days where you come home and have been thinking about having “alone time” with me, only to be turned down or have me fall asleep while rocking the baby, and then me waking up in the middle of the night feeling absolutely rotten. Like I had just failed as a wife once again, because I know when you wake up you’re going to try everything in your power to make sure I don’t see how disappointed you are. I’m sure you don’t know how hard that is for me.

I miss you. Even though I go to bed with you every night, and drink a cup of coffee with you every morning. I’m not sure what I miss. Probably a lot. I miss the simplicity of it being “just us”. Not that being a mommy isn’t rad. But I will ALWAYS be your wife first.

One thing that’s always been easy for us is communication. I think we’ve only ever had 4 fights because we never, ever hide how we feel. We always talk, and sometimes over share. Sometimes it keeps things fresh, sometimes it makes things uncomfortable. But I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in this world.

One thing I did read over and over again in those parenting books was that being a parent always comes naturally to one more than the other. Now, you may argue, but being a daddy is 110% your thing. I had super high expectations, because I was pretty sure I was raised by one of the best fathers out there. And I know you felt the pressure because you wanted to be nothing like your own father. I know it’s only been 3 months– but as far as dads go, you’re about as bad ass as they come.

And as far as HUSBANDS go– you put all the others to shame. You’re so perfect, you often make it hard for me to relate to other people and their relationship issues. I never have to ask you for anything. You never expect praise. You go above and beyond for me. You make me laugh harder and harder each day. I think one of my favorite things about you is how you sometimes just say outrageous nonsense to get my attention and make me scrunchy face snort laugh! You never pass on a moment to smack my ass, or kiss my forehead, or hug me so tight I can’t breathe.

I’m so, so obsessively grateful for you. The life you give us. How hard you work to be the perfect husband, perfect daddy. I know sometimes it’s only going to get harder. And sometimes it’s going to be easier. As long as I have you, I know it’s all going to be worth it.

I love you.

Your Wife.

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I can say, with the upmost certainty, that this year coming to an end is extremely bittersweet. There are a lot of chapters being closed, some extremely sentimental. As most of you know, last December I had a neurosurgery on my spine, which literally gave me my life back. In fact, I was told that there was some permanent nerve damage that directly effected my left side– and that I would probably never be able to feel my left calf, and never be able to move my last two toes on my left foot. It was a pretty rad day when I woke up this summer (August 21st to be exact) and my little pinkie toe decided to wiggle. You never forget something like that.

You also never forget the look on your husbands, parents and best friends faces when you tell them that you’re FINALLY pregnant after three long years of wanting a family so badly and being told that it was literally like rolling a dice for you. Being pregnant is probably the most bittersweet chapter that’s closing this year. As much as I LOATHED actually being pregnant, the fact that we made our family of two into a sweet family of three is something I would never ever change. Finding out we were having a girl was extremely monumental for us. I always knew my husband was meant to raise girls. Now, this might sound dumb, but when you can say that you have been together since you were 14 years old, you have gone through some pretty extreme milestones together. I have seen him grow from a rowdy, yet gentle boy into a selfless and nurturing man. We helped raise each other, in a way. Seeing how he loves me, and acts like the ground I walk on is made from cotton candy and sprinkles, just made me 100% sure he was meant to be a girl daddy. I’m obsessively grateful for him, and everything he gives us.

In April, after almost 6 years of working a night shift job, my husband was FINALLY given the opportunity to become a mobile technician. Basically, he works on commission (making a shit ton more than he was before!), and creates his own schedule. Which means there are days where I can wake up and say “stay home and snuggle” or “I need help with the baby today, can you go in this afternoon so I can have the morning to myself?” and he gets to do just that. We are so incredibly blessed to have this. Because let me tell ya– nothing tests your marriage like opposite schedules. I worked mostly days, and he was always  nights. So being able to spend the last 8 months together, is everything I’d ever hoped for. This year has also been an interesting year for our marriage. Not hard. Not bad. Just interesting. I think when you’re so used to it just being the two of you never seen each other, to the two of you seeing each other, to the two of you going through a pregnancy (and an extremely high risk one at that!), to now it’s the THREE of you. And “my God why won’t this little pink thing stop crying? But oh God, look at her… She looks just like you when she yawns.”, And then, you go through that weird adjustment period of only one income. And not financially per say. But, he’s making sure that he’s billing enough, and also making sure I’m not losing my independence. Meanwhile most days I’m just proud of myself if I remember to eat.

Not working, is hard work. There are parts of me that feel like I’ve given up on my dreams. But then there are parts of me that think, “no, new dreams are coming!”. Ever since I was about 17, I new I was destined to be someone huge, helpful and important. I wanted a group of individuals to love me, and to love back. I wanted to come up with monumental ideas that changed outcomes, businesses, and eventually– lives. I wanted to be that girl with 2 cell phones and a bad ass resume. And being able to combine that with my love of the beauty industry was just the icing on the cake. Being given my first management opportunity when I was only 20 and having ZERO experience was exactly what I needed. I will never, ever forget the woman that took that chance on me. I am FOREVER grateful for her. I left the interview 100% sure that I was not going to get a call back. Well good thing that location was an hour and a half drive home, because I was about half way when I got it.

“I think you’re right for the job” she said, “but wear a longer skirt to your training. I’ll see you next week”.

I learned so much from that woman. I learned what sympathy and empathy were. I learned that it’s OK for everyone NOT to like you. Or even love you. I learned that I often overshare WAY TOO MUCH. I learned that it’s OK to say the word FUCK as much as you want. I’m getting teary eye writing this. She is/was my “Mr. Feeney”. I never thought I was worthy enough of being taught how to be a leader before her.

Now I’m probably making it sound like she died! She definitely didn’t! We still text every once in a while, and when we talk on the phone it’s like no time has passed. She has been there through every management trial and tribulation that I have gone through to date. Did I mention she doesn’t even live here, or work with me anymore? That’s how you know you’ve found YOUR leader. She leads me now and I’m sure isn’t even aware of it.

Fast forward a few jobs, and in November of 2016 I found myself at a little small business salon, interviewing for their management opening, just trying to make a difference. Juries still out on whether or not I did. I had grand ideas. I still do. Do I think I lived up to my full potential while I was there? No. Why? Because I was brunt out. I just wanted something more. I knew I needed something more. Right before I found out I was pregnant, I applied and interviewed for a Salon Development Partner position with Aveda. Basically, I would be living my dream. I would have hundreds of people to love on, assist and inspire. I would be busy. But most importantly I wouldn’t technically have to leave my current salon.  I interviewed for the position, and because it was a huge corporate position, your “pass or fail” was posted online. Mine was a fail. In the notes, it said “under-educated”. FORGET having a license. FORGET having actually WORKED in one of the accounts I would be taking over. FORGET the business plan I had worked on for a month. Forget the passion I had for the job… All because I didn’t have a bachelors degree meant I wasn’t even given an opportunity to shine.

After that, to say I was discouraged was an understatement. I was completely heart broken. All I wanted was to matter to a business. I wanted to help! I wanted to be inspirational and appear to be a genius. I wanted my name on a God damn website! Once my husband got promoted in April, we started toying with the idea of me staying home with our daughter. I hadn’t agreed yet, because I so DESPERATELY felt like I was on the verge of a breakthrough where I was at. Until August. In August, I was able to live stream Youniques annual convention. Let me tell you. I have NEVER been more inspired. My husband and I watched in amazement as thousands and thousands of presenters were recognized no matter what status they were. Lives were changed. People were loved. My husband looked at me and said, “This, you should do THIS.” Seeing those Elite leaders walk across the stage to a song of their choice, made me ugly cry. That’ll be me. And I already have my song picked out. (Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers)

The next day, I gave my notice. Never have I ever felt more liberated. I got to leave a job that changed me. It showed me what I DIDN’T want. It showed me that right now, at this time in my life, I’m meant to achieve SUPERSTAR status. I’m so grateful for that place. My best friends, and second Mama’s,  and customers that I will always keep a relationship with came out of there.

It’s taken me a little bit to get started. Multiple transitions all at once can get a little overwhelming. I started by making a list of things I WILL accomplish in the New Year:

  1. Read one new book a month
  2. Achieve Elite Status (green or higher) by convention in August
  3. Become debt free
  4. Have a successful blog
  5. Start the process of a podcast for 2020

 

It’s going to happen for me. I know it will. It’ll happen for you too. MY best advice for you in 2019 is to find your SUPERSTAR. Whatever it is. If you want to sell mascara on the internet, do it. If you want to quit your corporate job and go sling coffee 5 days a week, do it. If you want to break up with your boyfriend or lose weight, DO IT. Speak it into existence.  Some of the best advice I was ever given was to “do it, and do it scared”.

So yes, while some sentimental chapters are closing this year, and I’m learning how to navigate my new “job”, keep a healthy marriage, stay HOT AF (sorry not sorry!), and keep my child alive, I cannot wait to see what the New Year brings for me and my friends.

Until next time divas,

LQ