“You, and only you are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are”
— Rachel Hollis
This is the first post on our new blog. I’ll keep it short and sweet. I decided that since I am such a story teller… I needed a place to tell my stories. So here we are.. Hopefully you’ll be entertained, maybe even uplifted. Who knows? Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates and find out for yourself!
Illa’ s fashion sense is fearless. She is bold, loves lipstick and color. I almost heard my mothers voice in her when Illa asked me this week ” Why don’t your wear lipstick? You need some color.” My mother used to always bug me about that.
This week Illa was on a tear with what she wanted to wear. She is such a headstrong little thing. I have to walk a fine line between wanting to not have her look ridiculous and also not squelch her enthusiasm .
This weeks fashion brought to you by Illa :
I tried talking her outta the heeled booties and sweat pants but she refused hahaha . As someone who’s Mom always picked out her clothes and made sure I looked polished before I walked out the door this is hard.
Learning to “Let Go” and celebrate her uniqueness has been interesting but we are learning together. Isn’t that parenthood though? I had it in my mind how I would parent, what we would do as a family, how my children would act. Then they got here. They showed up with their own personalities and their own way of doing things that pushes my limits and boundaries daily.
Being a mom has made me into a stronger version of myself. A more selfless person than I was before. There are days when my heart wants to burst in pride at what Illa and Wes do. Watching them be kind to others (and each other), being polite and helpful. It makes me feel like I just might be getting something right.
Of course there are other days when their behavior is embarrassing and I am reminded why leaving the house is never a good idea. Illa actually commented the other day ” Mom, are we going into a store soon? I want to get more chapstick.. we haven’t been in a store in a LONG time!” To which I replied… ” You’re right , it has been awhile. The last time we went in a store y’all were so awful and rude to each other I vowed to not make that mistake again.” I will say this again online grocery shopping is the only way to go. ONLY WAY. Anyway, I’m getting off topic..
I’ll end with this picture because I love it. I just ordered a “Not Sorry” hat from The Hollis Co. and I love it. Illa loves it too. She asked me what it said and I told her and explained it, ” It says ” Not Sorry” and that means to me, Setting goals for your life, how you want to be and going after it unapologetically. Be willing to reach for big things, to have that confidence in yourself!” She just smiled at me and said, ” Cool, I can do that”
The fact that I survived this week is a miracle. A FREAKING miracle. I did a thing y’all. A big thing! I decided a few weeks ago I wanted to go back to school. Well, that’s not accurate. I’ve toyed with the idea for awhile but I guess the desire to actually make it happen hit me a few months ago.
I was writing in my gratitude journal and I had got to my ” 10 dreams I made happen” Section and it hit me. Getting my degree and becoming a therapist / Forensic Psychologist was a dream that I wanted to make happen. If not now, WHEN? SO.. I started doing my research, seeing what my options were.
I knew strictly online was what would be the best for me, and then I started looking into different schools and what degree programs they had. I ended up at SNHU. I talked to a adviser, sent over my stuff and just like that, my dream was on it’s way.
If y’all know me at all you know that I’m a ” When I want something, I wanted yesterday” kinda person. Patience is something I struggle with hardcore. So I was a little crestfallen when he said my Bachelors would take 4 years. I know it’s worth it and I know it’s gonna be hard, but I know i’m gonna kill it.
Back to this week, School started Monday! I was so excited, I made a promise to myself that I would organize my time even more. That way I could fit in ALL the things. I mean I’m already busy AF but I know I can find the time because this is important.
This week was anomaly. We had three major all day things happen. Wesley’s birthday, going to the arcade, Halloween, Illa’s costume parade, volunteering at her school Halloween party, Wesley had trick or treating at his preschool, we went to lunch with Greg, stopped and showed off the costumes to Grandma, Trick or treated, Wesley’s friend party, renting a bounce house ( shout out to Plan it Rentals!) making a cake for the party, set up and take down of said party.
Trying to fit in school into my already crazy life was so hard, but I did it. I know I can and I can’t wait to keep at it. Even after I get my bachelors I know I have to keep going. I’m just glad I got back in the game and am one step closer to making that dream come true!
This week we went to Sleepy Hollow wagon ride and it was a blast! I posted pictures but what I didn’t post was the video that Greg took. It’s pretty funny, Wesley’s commentary is hilarious, even when Greg didn’t realize he was still filming. Make sure your sound is up!
We had a lot of fun this week! We will totally be doing this again next year!
This week for fall break we took this show on the road. We went to Moab with our awesome family friends. We played hard for 3 days and we are beat. It was a great break though!
Thursday we rolled into town and got set up at an awesome RV park called Portal. I have to say I was pretty impressed! If we ever did decide to take this fam on the road full time places like that would make it easy and nice.
They had a great swimming pool and hot tub, awesome grounds, a cool dog park area and walking trails.
Well I was so proud that we got on the road on time BUT I forgot our dang swimsuits . So the first order of business was to go into town and try to find swimwear. We were lucky and found something even though it’s not summer time anymore *phew*
The next day I was up early and took the dogs for a walk, did some yoga and wrote in my journal. It was such a great way to start the day.
The first day we went on a big trail called Kane Creek. It was really pretty! We went through the creek on and off for most of it and it got us dirty . I didn’t mind but the kids flipped out , it was hilarious. The trail itself wasn’t bad, it did have some tough spots but all in all a great ride.
We stopped for lunch in a pretty spot under some trees next to the river. The kids had fun running around and Greg snapped a pic of me with my jug of water. Still trying to hit my goal even on the trail!
The scenery was so pretty this time of year! I think this is my favorite time to go down there! The weather was perfect and the colors were spot on !
I love catching little moments like this ! Greg is such a great dad and the kids love him like crazy.
We got to a part in the trail that was pretty tough. We stopped to think it through and see if we wanted to keep going or if we wanted to turn back. While we were weighing pros and cons and big group of rzr’s showed up and it was taking forever so we ended up going back the way we came.
Greg was worried about the tough spots and I pointed out that since we’ve already been through them they might not be as bad. Plus it seems like hitting hard obstacles a different way makes all the difference.
Well since I didn’t have my earbuds to listen to a book I was left alone with my thoughts for FAR TOO LONG 😂 . It got me thinking and likening our experience to life in general. Going through trials or tough spots the first time sucks. You are unsure which way to go, not sure if you’ll make it. Then you get through it and you realize, oh hey, I can do that. Then you are better equipped to handle the next tough spot because you can build off of your experience and even help others.
Going back through the second time was so much better. We wrapped up, headed home and hit the pool that night!
The next day we went over to the slick rock area. That’s fun in a whole different way! Steep hills and lots of rock crawling !
This stuff normally sends my anxiety threw the roof, but this time I was so much better. I think the difference was I had my ear bud in one ear listening to a book . I kinda focused on that instead of certain death and it really helped.
We did the Fins N’ Things trail and Hells Revenge. It is a super fun trail! Here are a few videos, they really don’t do it justice. We were literally straight up and down.
This was a much needed break. We all had a great time, we love going with our friends, no stress, our kids get along and it’s just nice and relaxing. Can’t wait to do it again!
When did life get SO DANG BUSY? It’s nutso to me to think of all thing things we get done in a day. And we aren’t even a super crazy multi – sports family. We have riding lessons,church callings and meetings with grocery pick up and chores sprinkled in.
This week has been like many others, running from thing to thing. It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy and to turn around and realize that we haven’t actually spent any quality time together as a couple.
One of my New Years resolutions this year was to have a regular date night. Before this year we RARELY went on a date. Even before we had kids we didn’t do date night very often. After kids? Never. We would go on a trip just the 2 of us once a year and I would spend half the time feeling lost without the kids and wondering what the heck to talk to him about the whole time.
So when this year came around I made it a goal. I’m happy to say that for the most part we have gone on a date night almost every Tuesday this year! It has been great ! Most of the time it’s absolutely lovely to know that at the end of the day, on a crazy Tuesday, that I have a date with my handsome guy. Some Tuesdays we aren’t feeling it but we still go and by the end of the date we are in a better mood.
I’m so glad that we made having a date night a important part of our week. It has been nice to reconnect even in the midst of the craziness, the kids, job stuff, my schedule. One of the hurdles that we had to work on it once we were on a date night, we would only talk business. ALL the things that we try to talk about but get interrupted by the kids. Which needs to happen but not on date night.
On a date night we try to talk about funny things that made us laugh, or things that we can’t believe happened, generally all things light and fluffy. We do talk about the kids of course, but we try to keep it more about how WE as husband and wife are doing.
We have moved Shop Talk, as I call it, to Sunday night. We go over what’s happening during the week and try to divide up responsibilities. It works pretty good and it’s nice for both of us to have a clear idea of what’s coming up.
Most of the time we just do dinner, but sometimes we have time to squeeze in something fun too. We went axe throwing once, had a couples massage and last Tuesday I almost burnt down the trailer cooking our chicken pot pies while we worked together on winterizing stuff. ( not the hottest date night, but it had to get done and it was fun doing it by ourselves)
I have some other fun date night ideas planned and can’t wait to have fun with Greg. This has been one of the best ideas I’ve ever had for a new years resolution. I love looking forward to date night every week and Greg has said that he looks forward to it too.
Spending time working on your relationship is one of the best things you can do. Remembering why you married each other in the first place is ALWAYS a good thing. It’s so easy to get busy and to turn around and realize you haven’t spoken to your other half in WEEKS about anything other than the basics. So if you are a really busy couple , find the time, make yourselves a priority. You’ll be happy you did!
That title seems a little ” in yo’ face” But seriously, what are YOU doing to end this year on a high note? Why may you ask is it important to end the year on a high note? Well because, that puts you in a better position to start off next year! How many times have you crashed and burned from now until Jan 1st. and you just tell yourself, it’s ok I’ll start over and be better in January. I, myself have done that one too many times!
Last year at the tail end of the year I started reading Girl, wash your face by Rachel Hollis. I loved it for many reasons but one of the things I loved about the book was it gave gentle advice on how to start living a better life that you not only deserve but should be pushing yourself for.
One of the things she mentioned was drinking half your body weight in OZ. of water but instead of saying “I’m only drinking water” and “NO MORE SODA” instead just ADD this one habit in to your daily routine. As I was reading that I thought to myself ” When was the last time I drank water?” ( I was a diet dr. pepper and diet coke addict) When I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d had water I knew things had to change. I decided Jan 1st I would start. (What IS IT with that day?!)
So I did. And every day I hit my goal. Sometimes it took me all day other days I got done a little quicker and went over my goal. I never consciously said ” I am quitting soda” but I turned around 3 months later and realized I’d been so busy hitting my goal that I hadn’t had time for soda, and more importantly, I didn’t even miss it. Every once in awhile I’ll have a diet coke but honestly it doesn’t even taste the same anymore.
When I started that challenge I asked myself ” What if you just didn’t break this ONE promise to yourself? ” And I’m happy to say it’s like second nature now. Jumping forward to a few weeks ago I decided I wanted to implement a better morning routine. Most days the kids were up before me , which I didn’t like because they were raiding the pantry like infantry men on foreign soil EVERY MORNING.
I decided when school started that I wanted that to be different. The Start Today Morning show was going to be starting the same day and that started at 7am. So I started getting up at 6:45 just to sit and watch it, wake up slow and get breakfast on. Then I decided to do one better and get up at 5 and do my Gratitude Journal, meditate and get my workout in by 7 so I started the day off right.
Getting up at 5 meant a big change for me. I was a night owl. Staying up till midnight or later was the norm for me. I’ve always been pretty strict about bedtime for the kids but not for me. I started going to bed by 10 or 10:30 and that made it possible to get up at the crack of dawn.
So when the Last 90 days Challenge officially started all I really needed to implement was giving up one food thing that wasn’t good for me. I chose fast food. As someone who goes to Chick fil a or McDonald’s more times than not I figured my waistline and bank account could use the break. I am ALWAYS so busy that it is the easier option to just swing and grab lunch for all of us . Or have Greg grab food on his way home when I’m busy making cake.
Easier option yes, but healthier? No. not really. I probably should have let the people at Chick fil a know what was up.. They probably think we moved or something bad happened. haha
What exactly is the Last 90 day Challenge you say? I’ll break it down..
1. Wake Up an hour earlier ( or find ONE hour in the day for YOU)
2. Drink half your body weight in OZ. of water
3. Write down 5 to 10 things you are grateful for everyday.
4. Move your body at least 30 min. everyday.
5. Give up one food group that is not blessing your body.
Mainly she suggests number 5 for 30 days and it’s to show yourself that you CAN keep a promise to yourself!
I have to say I was really proud of Illa this week. We went to see the Big Boy train right after school on Thursday and it was really cool. We walked all over and Wesley was really interested in all the moving parts and the other trains in the yard that were moving around. About halfway through Illa ( who LIVES for eating out) asked when we were leaving because she was hungry and wanted to go grab food. My first instinct was to say yes, we will when we leave and just eat when I got home. BUT , I decided to be honest with her and see what she had to say. I sat her down and said ” Mommy is doing a challenge , and my challenge is that I’m not gonna eat fast food for 30 days. Would you like to help me with that? If we ALL do the challenge think how much better we will feel !” She thought about it for a second and then said “Ok Mommy, I will help you! Let’s just eat when we get home!”
I think it has helped putting all of these things in place gradually, but I love it. I love the time to myself in the morning, I love focusing on gratitude, I love moving my body and getting my water in. Working on me is a little bit of a foreign concept but I have been working on that this year too.
What would happen if you tried to end the year with good habits? How would you feel ? What would that look like? What would happen if you didn’t break just one promise to yourself? ALL THE GOOD THINGS would happen that’s what. YOU can do it. You really can. If I can do it anyone can. My inner voice tries to talk me out of getting up early EVERYDAY. I’ve thought of at least 17 reasons why before I can turn my alarm off. Your “WHY” Has to be stronger than your excuses. Simple as that. Love yourself and get that booty moving!
We have been dealing with something over here that hasn’t been easy. It’s not something that I talk about often and I don’t like to bring up. But in the interest of being transparent I will divulge.
Wes and Illa have very strong personalities. ( No clue where they get those from..) They get a long and play well with each other , till they don’t. It all goes up in flames SO fast. Illa does struggle with age appropriate body awareness which makes her prone to emotional outbursts like a 4 yr old. When one thing doesn’t go in her favor she is screaming, yelling, and throwing things. At least at home.
Wes is about the same. He is a great kid until one thing doesn’t go his way. Then the screaming, yelling, name calling and outbursts happen. And unlike Illa , he doesn’t care if we are in public or not. Honestly I dread going to the store with him most of the time. I use Walmarts online ordering like the life line that it is, if y’all aren’t doing that yet GET ON BOARD.
By the end of the day I am emotionally and mentally drained. If I can keep them busy that seems to help a little bit , but I don’t have the time to keep them occupied ALL the time. Chores have to get done at some point around here.
I have of course looked into this. Gone down many a rabbit hole.. It isn’t supposed to be this hard, right?! Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. My biggest issue is that I don’t like them feeling this way. I’ve dealt with anger issues my whole life, I KNOW how it feels to be so consumed with rage all you want to do is throw something and watch it shatter. I don’t want that for my children.
I’ll admit, I feel very helpless somedays, like I’m just going around putting fires out. Moving from one crazy situation to the next. I do my absolute best to fight my rage-y tendencies and meet them in their moments of anger with compassion and calm and help them dial it back down. Some days are better than others. Some days I do great although, it doesn’t seem to help most of the time, but I’m trying. Other days I snap right back at them. I hate when that happens but I have to remind myself that I am only human and that tomorrow is another day to try again.
One thing that I have struggled with is, we worked so hard to start our family and to get them here that I didn’t really focus on what the heck I was supposed to do when it came time to actually raise them. I thought that came naturally. WELL… it doesn’t . Maybe for some but not for me. I’ve read a ton of articles and books trying to pick out the tidbits from all of those that sounded right to me. I want to be fair, and consistent and kind.
I just didn’t factor into this that THEY as tiny humans would have a say in all this as well. . We are constantly trying to find a balance, a way to work with each other that will at the end of the day make them into wonderful adults that aren’t assholes and that are compassionate and kind. That are respectful and hard working. That is my wish. If we have some rough patches getting to that point, well so be it .
We will make it I’m sure, just getting there may kill me.. some days I end the day feeling like I have it all figured out , they go to bed on time, have eaten a good dinner, got their homework done without much complaint and have not tried to kill each other multiple times that day. Other days, lets just say it doesn’t go near as well and I am left feeling defeated and like I am the worst mom in the world at the end of the night. Mommin’ ain’t easy, not by a long shot. But I keep showing up and I love them fiercely because these strong little souls deserve that .
This world is only getting crazier and it is going to need someone with Illa’s strong will and Wesley’s kind heart.
To the mommas out there who are struggling, I got you. Everyday is a challenge, but also a chance to be better and to raise these tiny humans the best way we can. To help them become their best selves. It’s tough, but momma SO ARE YOU!
Greg went hunting for the last week and it was INTERESTING. I was happy that Greg got a break and was able to get out into the mountains and recharge. I know it was good for him, he totally needed it.
Meanwhile at home…. things were getting crazy. I mean I run a fairly tight ship in the sense of schedule. The kids get up and go to bed at the same time and the days are pretty predictable with snack, lunch time, homework and free time sprinkled in. So it’s not too much of a disruption when Greg jets outta town but you can tell the kids really missed him.
Towards the end of the week the kids were really getting snappy and beasty with each other and I think it was that they missed their dad , even though they couldn’t put it together. To be honest I enjoyed getting the kids to bed and then being able to watch my true crime shows without judgement but 6 days in I was missing Greg too.
This separation made me really ponder how much time Greg spends with the kids and in our daily routine. It really kinda shocked me. 2 hours. 2 hours is what Greg gets with his kids everyday of the week ( more on weekends) but he gets home between 5 and 6 and the kids go to bed at 8. Compared to the 27 billion hours I spend with them during the day it’s a BIG difference. Don’t worry, that math is accurate, I checked lol
I feel like we have to make the most of the time we have, we are so busy doing all the things that we HAVE to make making memories just as important. I’m not saying every week needs to be a trip to Disneyland, more that being intentional with the time we do have. Yes , Illa still talks about Disneyland BUT she also talks about movie nights and how she loves them and the special caramel popcorn I make for all of us. Or spending time on the river trail, riding the rzr, camping, staying in a hotel, going swimming.. these little things all add up.
Earlier this week it was a little crazy we had a windshield getting replaced one day and the carpets getting cleaned another, throw in homework and reading time and normal errands and it was a busy time. I made a point to carve out some fun time this week and we went to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point for an afternoon of fun.
We have a pass and so I try to go there often. Farm country it is an actual working farm but everything is on display for the kids to see. Illa loves the pony rides obviously and petting all the animals. I freaking love the goats and would love to smuggle one in my bag and take it home. Wes loves the tractors and is getting braver about petting all of the animals.
One of the best memories and I didn’t even snap a dang pic was when they brought a cow into a chute for you to trying milking! Wes was a no go, he was busy looking at the toy tractors but Illa was curious. So she went over and gave it a shot. She got a little to come out and then asked for my help. I’ll admit I was a little nervous that Peggy ( yes that was her name) was gonna kick me , but she was happy to eat her supper and leave me be.
I reached up and went to “milk” this cows udder and oh my stars it felt soft and spongey LOL I looked at Illa who had a funny look on her face and we both just started laughing so hard. Later that night I was putting her to bed and she brought it up and said ” You know mom, that was a lot of fun! I enjoyed doing weird stuff with you today!” It made my heart happy .
I guess the point of this post is we have no clue how much time we are gonna have on this earth with our loved ones, Yes we have important things that need to be done everyday to keep us going BUT don’t forget to make the most of the time you have. Make fun memories and Love your people like there is no tomorrow .
Can you ever really forget where you were when something has horrific as 9/11 happened? Your entire world is changed, you see things both bad and good that stay in your mind forever.
I was in 10th grade, I had just walked into my orchestra class and the TV was on. I thought it was just the morning announcements but soon realized it was something so much worse. My orchestra teacher was watching the screen with wide eyes and I don’t even know if he was aware but his head was shaking back and forth like he was subconsciously telling himself “no”. While my 14 year old self was unsure of what had happened I knew it was truly awful.
When I got home that afternoon my Mom was sitting on the couch watching the news crying. She wanted a hug and I walked over and gave her one and sat down to watch what was happening unfold so very far from my home. Over the next few days I don’t think my mom turned the TV off. We were all mainly just shook and horrified . It really was the first time I felt numb with shock.
Fast forward 2 years and we were able to go to New York with an Orchestra Group I was part of. We were invited to play at Carnegie Hall. It was really an amazing trip. I got to go with my mom and we got to kinda do whatever we wanted, it was great! I fell in love with the city and a small part of my heart really wouldn’t mind living there. While we were there we had the opportunity to see a play ( Phantom of the Opera was AMAZING), eat at amazing restaurants and tour the city.
Mom and I both wanted to go to Ground Zero. So we made sure to make it a priority and we spent over half a day there. To say it was surreal is an understatement. Surreal, humbling, sobering, quiet ( which was strange because there was SO much going on) and massive.
The site was so large , it was crazy to think that these two buildings were gone. A lot of the surrounding buildings had marks and gouges on there exteriors from the building debris as they collapsed.
We walked around the area and saw many things that stuck with me to this day. The board of missing people was still up. That hurt my heart; posters of people that would never come home. There was a man there that was handing out maps and talking to people, he had been there that day and was telling us first hand how he had felt and things he saw.
The only good thing, if it can be called that is that it brought us together. Tales of heroism and the human spirit that came from all of this is still so touching and amazing that is brings tears to my eyes. STILL. TO THIS DAY. Things happened that day that I only used to be able to imagine, things I never in my 14 year old mind thought were possible. I grew up that day in a lot of ways.
Moving forward, I will do my absolute best to instill great values in my kids, to teach them right from wrong and to give them the tools they will need to face this crazy world. 9/11 is special to me, it always will be. One day when the kids a little bit older a trip will be planned and we will go and see the memorial that is there now.
As for now, hug your loved ones, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and LIVE your damn life to the fullest!
(I totally wrote that to the tune of I’m a little bit country, I’m a little bit Rock and Roll )
So sickness has hit our house , I expected as much the first few weeks back to school. Greg has also been struck down, thankfully not with sickness **knocks on wood** but with the onset of arthritis in his ankle.
When illness hits I admit I turn into a bit of a hippy. Someone has a cold? I have an oil for that.. someone has the start of arthritis? I have turmeric powder and more oils up my sleeves.. I mean I’m all for modern medicine, I don’t believe oils fix everything but I do think they can definitely help in certain places.
So Greg currently smells like a doterra convention and Wesley is passed out. I love Wesley with all my heart but he definitely embodies the phrase ” MAN COLD”
Greg puts up with me but I don’t think he’s on board 100% but as long as I see a little bit of improvement, I’m gonna roll with it .
My main driving force is honestly I hate seeing my kiddos sick. Wes is so pitiful, he moans all day and is really just not prepared for how crappy he feels so he is ridiculously cranky and not easily reasoned with .. being sick is hard when you’re 3!
My favorite thing I like to do is have something on hand we call the “Tickle Roller “. It’s a roller bottle filled with a a blend of oils and of course a carrier oil. I was behind the ball this year , normally I roll it on the kids feet every night before bed. It helps boost their immune system and shorten the length of a cold.
I’m kicking myself for not being proactive but you can bet the brew is made and going on their feet tonight!
Tickle Roller Blend
10 drops OnGuard
10 drops Breathe
7 drops Oregano
7 drops Lemon
Fill the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil and your good to go.
Also make sure to use a glass bottle, the lemon oil will eat the plastic ones. This is was a great buy, roller bottles and oil all together!