Balancing Perfection.

I’ve been dealing with an inner battle for a while.

I always want to be better. I want to improve myself. I want to be more in shape. I want my house to be organized. I want to do meal-planning or at least figure out a way to not have to scramble to figure out dinner while starving children hang on my ankles. I want to do so much.

But I’m limited. I’m a mom to two young children. One of them is hitting the obnoxious stage of childhood and the other is getting exponentially curious and explorative. By the end of the day I’d much rather binge-eat popcorn and watch Netflix than work out or go to bed at a decent hour. It’s exhausting to do this day in, day out. No sick days, no vacation days, just days filled with whining and crying and breaking up fights and yelling at them over and over again after vowing not to yell anymore, concluded with me in this zombie-like state where I literally “just can’t even.”

When I share my experiences, I often hear things like “Give yourself a break,” “Motherhood is chaos, you’re doing great,” “Don’t put too much on your plate, this is all that matters right now,” “Messy house, happy kids,” and other such advice. But internally, I’m not so sure those are the right answers.

There has to be some kind of balance between being realistic and still striving for greatness.

I see “mom boss ladies” and women who seem to have/do it all, and wonder why that isn’t me. Why can’t I handle working AND being a mom? Why can’t I be a saleslady or something from home? Why can’t I make myself get up early? Why can’t I be consistent, like these other moms who get it all done?

But then my head fills up with excuses. I need sleep to handle my life. I don’t want to workout because I’m too exhausted. I can’t do things other people do because of my anxiety/OCD. All my mom friends struggle like me, so this is normal.

But is it? Where do we draw the line between setting our expectations realistically, and justifying our unproductive, inconsistent, sometimes lazy behavior?

I’ve been told I put too much pressure on myself, but maybe I don’t put enough. I don’t think I’ve ever really pushed myself. I never felt any pressure to push myself growing up, and now I feel like I’m stuck in this rut. I want to believe I’m capable of anything like all those inspirational pinterest quotes say, but believing the general idea is possible and really believing in YOU… it’s tricky.

Maybe we shouldn’t give ourselves an easy way out. Give ourselves credit for what we do right, sure. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up because we aren’t perfect. But I don’t think we’re supposed to just throw our hands up and surrender to our faults and failures. The whole point of this life is to improve and progress, isn’t it?

Motherhood is tough. And some days it takes all I have to just make it to bedtime. But I bet I’d enjoy this stage of my life more if I stopped making excuses and filling my own head with negative ” i can’t do this cause blah blah” and rather prayed for strength to improve. Prayed for an attitude change. For some alone time. For some perspective. Prayed for grace to help fill in the gaps where I’m not quite getting it right.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. It’s just been on my mind.

This talk from last October’s LDS General Conference came to mind as I was thinking of all this, so if anyone is struggling with balancing perfection like I have been, take a listen.

 

Consistency.

Did you know it’s hard to do things when you have kids?

I can’t seem to be consistent about anything. The MuTu System, my music, this blog, the laundry, meal planning, anything. My life is a sporadic mess of dirty diapers and coughing kids and laundry that needs put away (or moved from the washer to the dryer… or re-washing said laundry because I forgot to move it and now it smells like stale something or other).

What I have managed to be consistent in is losing my mind lately. Between Amy’s stomach bug triggering my emetophobia (and Jacob’s hacking cough making me think he’s constantly on the verge of puking himself), and Jacob’s new found independence and strong will, and Amy cutting 27 teeth at one time, and the holidays coming up bringing all sorts of stress (and fun, but you know it’s stressful!), it’s been hard to keep up.

I have spent a ton of time on my knees lately, basically begging God to just help me get by. Help me survive the day. Help me stop yelling at Jake; my throat hurts and he just laughs at me. Help him to freaking poop in the potty already.

And you know what? God listens.

He hasn’t magically made Jake poop in the potty, but he does calm my nerves and help me see him for the sweet little boy he is. He inspires friends to bring me food, or take Amy to the zoo, or just check in and talk with me. He reminds me that although there are so many things I wish I could do other than what I’m doing right now, this is what is most important right now.

And you know what? Life is pretty darn great. We are relatively healthy. We have been safe and protected despite hurricanes from hell. We have the gospel in our lives. And I’m officially down 70 lbs since I had Amy a little over a year ago. So that’s positive. Now if I could just be consistent with the MuTu System so I wouldn’t look pregnant despite my weight loss. Ha.

Now imma get these kids to bed and take the heck out of a bubble bath.

My life revolves around yellow.

So, if you know me, you know I love yellow. I think it started with my obsession with rubber ducks, but now its evolved into a general love for the color and all its happy, positive vibes. And I’m picky about my yellow. I don’t do mustard or citron. It has to be creamy, dreamy yellow.

My son has picked this up. I didn’t brain-wash him into the obsession, but he just loves all things yellow.

Between that and his obsession with cars, we have a yellow car issue we’re dealing with.

We own every yellow hot wheel car ever made, I think. We also own just about every hot wheel car that has traces of yellow on it (for when we can’t locate a pure yellow one on the rack). My son can spot a yellow car ANYWHERE. I’ve been coerced into taking many a detour just so we can drive past the yellow cars in our neighborhood.

IMG_4240

Heaven help any kid who tries to “share” his yellow cars. Heaven help any kid who wants to use the yellow car at the San Antonio Do-Seum. This kid has a problem.

I kind of hope he never grows out of it. Though I’m definitely not buying him a yellow car when he’s 16.

….Who am I kidding. I’d totally be down with that. I’d probably trade my mini-van for his sweet yellow ride.

Mutu System, in case you were wondering…

I recently started a new program called The Mutu System. “MuTu” is short for “Mummy Tummy.” They say “mummy” cause the founder is from the UK. It also means that in all the videos you get to listen to that awesome British accent.

“Mummy Tummy” is referring to a problem a lot of moms have– that pooch that doesn’t go away after you have the baby. Sometimes it’s extreme, called diastasis recti, when the ab muscles separate and can’t hold in your core. I’m somewhere in the middle– I don’t have a bad ab separation, but I have a small hernia above my belly button, have zero core strength, and my belly juts out because of it, making me look like I’m still pregnant. So when I found this program, I knew it was heaven-sent.

I have not been perfect. In fact, I plan on re-starting tomorrow. Between going on a road trip (and then recovering from said road trip) it just hasn’t happened. But from what I’ve done so far, I can already tell it’s going to help me so much.

It’s not so much a work-out program as it is a life-style change. It teaches you about eating clean, giving your body fuel it needs to heal from having babies, and teaches the science behind why our bodies don’t just whip back into shape after babies. It’s all about going back to basics– walking and standing correctly so your core doesn’t have excess pressure, hip and back pain, etc. We are supposed to “ditch the heels” and wear minimalist footwear so our feet can move freely like they’re supposed to (did you know athletic shoes have heels?! I never thought about it before!). And the exercises (which I haven’t even gotten to yet, cause life got crazy) are low impact, high intensity exercises that make “every work-out a core work-out” without hurting your recovering body.

I love that it’s a program specifically designed for post-partum mamas. I love that it isn’t just about sweaty, want-to-die exercise. I love that it isn’t a diet, but rather guidelines to help you eat cleaner. And I LOVE that it isn’t a sales-pitch thing. It’s not a pyramid scheme or level-marketing whatever. No one is pressuring you to buy any special magical protein shakes or anything. It’s just a product that works, that is for sale, straight up. And to me, it was worth the investment (even though I may have cheated and found it on Ebay for cheaper).

I just wanted to share what it is I’m doing for anyone interested. I am not getting paid to write this, I’m not trying to sell anything, I just want to share it cause so far, I’m loving it.

https://mutusystem.com/

Socially Acceptable Triple-Chin?

So, my sister and I have this game we play. Every time we FaceTime each other, we have a contest of who has the most chins or ugliest face when the other answers. I usually win, lets be honest.

And as I was playing with my son tonight, I found myself making “silly faces” at him, resulting in him cracking up.

But as I was contorting my face into all kinds of horrific, it occurred to me that maybe that is not something to be super proud of….

Like. When most people are told to make a silly face for the camera, they do this:

32132151-Blonde-girl-doing-crazy-and-silly-faces-Stock-Photo-tongue-woman-crazy

And then there’s me…

IMG_7676

And lets not forget this gem from my college years.. my infamous rendition of “Chet,” a simple lumberjack who is just really excited about the all-you-can-eat buffet.

1915344_195062926868_3638760_n

 

I think I’m basically Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls in that scene where she actually dresses up as a terrifying zombie ex-wife, missing the memo that Halloween was an excuse to dress skanky. I definitely missed a memo somewhere.

Why am I sharing this information? Why am I admitting to the fact that I can contort my face into such hideousness I could make children cry if I wanted to?

Mostly cause it’s late. And I should be sleeping.

 

Being Happy…. When you’re not.

I’m a big believer in happiness. I’m all about it. I love being happy, making others happy, and finding ways to be happy.

I read a book a while back that basically changed my life. I think it was called “You Can Choose to be Happy.” I think I lent it to someone else cause I can’t find it anywhere, but it’s okay because the principles it taught me are basically ingrained in me now.

I don’t think I had understood that concept before… that we can literally DECIDE to be happy. It was a game changer! I remember being offended by someone at a store or in a parking lot or something, and letting it bother me for a while, and then all of the sudden realizing, Hey! That person doesn’t give a crap about this! They probably aren’t giving it a second thought! So why the heck am I wasting time being irritated or angry or insecure when I don’t have to?! 

Thinking that way gave me freedom like I’d never known. I was no longer hostage to my feelings, no longer so reactive. I started letting things go! It was amazing.

I remember reading in The Book of Mormon about Nephi and his brothers Laman and Lemuel and noticing how they went through a LOT of the same trials–having to leave their home, going back and forth across the wilderness, facing hunger, sickness, etc… and yet those brothers all reacted SO differently. Nephi kept positive and happy and overcame his trials, while Laman and Lemuel threw fits and were depressed and angry and basically stupid about the whole situation. And it hit me– we CAN be happy even through trials! We can CHOOSE to lift our heads up, have faith that we will pull through, and make the most of it. We can also choose to hate our lives, but we will go through trials either way, so why not make it a little easier on ourselves?

HOWEVER, I realized something recently.

It’s a lot easier to be happy…. when life is awesome. Duh?

The past few weeks I have been a bit of a monster. I’ve been grumpy, mildly resentful, and have just had a poor attitude. Why, you ask?

Because SOMEONE, who shall remain nameless, likes to keep me up in the wee hours of the night.

And I do not do well on little sleep. I’m basically a big baby about it.

But last night I slept GLORIOUSLY. Like, I have been in such a good mood all day. That kind of sleep. The kind where you just float on clouds as you gently wake to sunlight and just… it’s just so good.

And now that I’m human again, it occurred to me how hypocritical I’ve been. I’m all about preaching CHOOSING TO BE HAPPY, but when my circumstances were less than ideal recently, I was not happy. I didn’t want to be. I almost couldn’t be. My nerves were shot, my patience was gone, and it was just hard.

So, I’m re-committing to happiness. Cause looking back, I could have been happier. I would have still been tired, gotten mastitis, had a messy house, but I could have been happy and kinder to my family.

I wrote a song about this topic called “Yellow” like, forever ago. I plan on recording it very soon and sharing it. But SOMEONE, who shall remain nameless, wants me to hold her all the time, so that will happen when it happens.

Until then, here’s to being happy, and lets all try to be our best, happiest selves, even on no sleep! 😉

Remember when I had time to eat?

I basically need seven arms. Between lugging around a monster baby of 20 lbs (and she’s not even 5 months old yet) and trying to keep up on the house and chasing a toddler and trying to remember to pee, it can be hard to eat healthy. Or at all.

But I have issues when I don’t eat. And even worse issues when I eat stuff that isn’t good for me. I turn into a moody, unpredictable, irritable monster.

Add to that my recent realization that white flour/sugar makes all those symptoms worse for me, it was starting to feel impossible to eat. Cause I need food quick, easy, and healthy. And quick. And preferably one-hand-able (did I mention my monster baby who is teething and always wants to be held?)

So, I’ve discovered “breakfast cookies.” Basically, they are “cookies” that are full of good-for-you energy-sustaining goodness. And you can modify them to your tastes and needs and they are these quick, one-handed miracles that I can eat right out of the freezer. It’s AWESOME.

So I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes. Just in case anyone reading this struggles like I do.

First, Healthy No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars. Recipe here.

ChocPBOatBars32

These are AMAZING! I just recently made a double batch after the first ones went so well. I grab one when I have a sweet tooth craving or when I just need a boost of energy between meals. And I just recently got a couple bags of Lily’s Stevia dark chocolate chips, so they’re gonna be even healthier next time I make them ;D And they honestly don’t taste “healthy.” They’re divine. 

Second, Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies. Recipe here.

IMG_2016_02_21_07242-cropped2

These sounds scary. And they kinda are. Cause you have to grate carrots. But holy crap, these are delicious. And SO FREAKING GOOD FOR YOU! If you can get over the lengthy ingredient list and prep work (they call for cooked quinoa, and like I said, grating carrots) they are so worth it. I was honestly surprised and how yummy they were right out of the oven, and right out of the freezer when I needed a snack later. Try these!!

And last but not least, Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies. Recipe here.

Pumpkin-Breakfast-Cookies2

I made these when I found out I was going to be induced into labor in three days, so I would have something healthy and easy to grab when I was home recovering. And these things saved me! They are full of fall-pumpkin spice-holiday flavor, and kept me going when I was too exhausted to cook.

All of these yummy “cookies” are great right out of the freezer, which I love. I tried making a million muffins to keep in the freezer for quick, healthy snacks, but you have to thaw them or microwave them and aint nobody got time for that.

Hope you enjoy these like I do! Happy one-handed eating!

 

Obnoxious Amounts of Vitamins.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled with having energy. Especially now that I’m a mom.

A year or so ago I started relying somewhat on massive Diet Dr. Peppers from sonic to give myself a productive boost. But I started noticing I needed more and more of it to just function at a normal level. And it occurred to me that we shouldn’t HAVE to have something like that just to feel happy and awake and normal. I hated depending on a chemical concoction I knew wasn’t good for me (even if it was supposedly diet). So I quit. Cut out ALL caffeine.

And it SUCKED.

My adrenals were all screwed up, I was grumpy, and I just felt awful.

Then I started taking vitamins.

You guys. These have changed my life. I take an obnoxious handful of supplements and vitamins and minerals every morning and they help me SO much!

IMG_7842

IMG_7843

I want to recommend a few key vitamins I take that have helped me see a BIG difference in my energy levels.

First, get a good B-Complex. We take Mega Foods brand which is AMAZING. They’re pricey. But I’m starting to see the value in investing a little more in quality health products. And really, if you aren’t taking any B-Complex, try a kind you can afford, and you WILL see a difference in your energy levels and overall well-being.

Second, if you’re adrenals are thrashed from years of drinking caffeine (hey, I wasn’t even drinking coffee or energy drinks and I was still so messed up), get an adrenal support supplement. I take the Vitacost brand of “Adrenal Complex” and I noticed a big difference within a few days. It helps heal the damage caused to your adrenal glands, and helps support normal, natural energy.

Third, minerals. I had never even thought about taking minerals before. I take ConcenTrace brand “Trace Mineral Tablets” and love them. They help balance me out and help me feel better overall.

Also, if you struggle with stress and anxiety, try out Ashwagandha. I started taking it when my doctor recommended I try it to help with my anxiety as I was weaning off of Zoloft and trying to be a normal person. Ha! That didn’t work out so well. Zoloft is still my saving grace. BUT adding Ashwagandha to my supplements helps me relax at night and helps me deal with stress during the day and I really have noticed a difference in my ability to handle stressful situations. It’s worth a try!

Anyway, I’m no doctor or health expert or anything, just want to pass along what has helped me! I haven’t had caffeine since January 2016 and it’s amazing what our bodies are capable of without that stuff!

Also, here’s a few links if you’re interested in any of the vitamins I mentioned. These aren’t those links where I get paid when you click or whatever, I don’t even know how people do that. Ha. But in case you want to check them out!

ConcenTrace Minerals

MegaFoods B-Complex

Adrenal Complex

Ashwagandha

Go forth and have energy or whatevs!

Happiness.

So, I don’t think enough people actually read my blog for this to be necessary, but just in case I have millions of secret followers who are just obsessed with the sporadic ramblings of my life, I wanted to let ya’ll know I’m changing things up a bit!

I started this website with the intention of it being all about my music. I had all these ideas for adding a downloads page, links to my YouTube, a calendar for upcoming gigs, that kind of thing. But my music is still a work in progress. RIght now, my LIFE is what is happening. Motherhood, wife-hood, and music is there, too. But what I’m more passionate about right now, even more than my music, is HAPPINESS.

I am a happy person. It hasn’t always been that way. I have worked SO hard to get to where I am now, and I know I have a long way to go. But I have spent the last few years making changes to all aspects of my life, and it has helped me live a much happier, more fulfilling life. So I want to share my “happiness secrets” with you.

I’ll still be sharing songs I’ve written and all that, but most of my music is about trying to be happy anyway!

I truly believe that God wants us to THRIVE, not just exist. We should treat our bodies like they are the only ones we get. We should feed our spirits with positive, uplifting messages and knowledge. We should always try to be better than we are. We should overcome fear and let faith take it’s place.

I wrote this song a while ago, while I was pregnant with Amy. I was having a hard time handling my morning sickness in combination with my severe phobia of throwing up (emetophobia, it’s a thing). Listening to the song now, it seems kind of mellow dramatic. But this song turned into being about so much more than that one challenge for me. Writing the words to this song was so therapeutic and helped me see how much God loves me and wants me to trust in Him, even when I hate waiting around in the dark. It’s uncomfortable and scary to not know how long trials will last, or when they will come, but I know that whatever we face, it’s for our good. Every hardship we face is BECAUSE HE LOVES US! Isn’t that crazy? If we could just remember that when things get hard, so much fear could be replaced by faith and reassurance, knowing that it will ALWAYS be ok in the end.

So here’s “It’s Worth it.” And I hope you continue to follow along for help in becoming a happier, healthier person.

 

 

Ramblings.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, so excuse me while I just unload the contents of my frazzled mom brain.

I love being a mom. It’s amazing. It is so hard, but at the end of the day, I feel so fulfilled.

But being a mom is not exactly “glamorous” per se.

There are days when I feel like a super lame mom. Days when Jake watches two (or more) whole Pixar movies. Days when I don’t get to shower. Or remember to shower. Or remember to pee. Like, I literally have to remind myself to pee. And eat. And feed the cats. Cause mothering is a NON-STOP job. If one kid doesn’t need me, the other does. And then on those glorious moments when both kids are sleeping at the same time, it’s like a race to see how much I can accomplish, or I just collapse and waste that precious time taking a shower or sitting down to eat. It’s so crazy and SUCH a busy life.

I fantasize about having a perfectly run household. Having an exercise routine. Having meals planned out. Eating only whole foods and actually having the time to prepare them. I’ve recently discovered that white sugar/flour is a no-go for me (it’s probably a no-go for everyone, really) because it makes my anxiety/irritability way worse, so it’s just not worth the temporary satisfaction that is sugar.

I have all these things I tell myself I have to do, and when the day is done and I barely managed to keep my kids fed and happy, sometimes I feel like I’m failing.

But I know that’s a lie. Nobody cares if my house is Pinterest-perfect or if we eat organic or if we sat down and bonded over home-made crafts. We just do the best we can.

And for goodness sakes, I just had a baby four months ago.

On another awesome note, I FINALLY figured out a way to make time for my music. I now switch off babysitting with a friend so we each have a three hour block each week to work on our creative outlets KID FREE. It’s amazing. Thanks to this new arrangement, I may just have a new song to put up on YouTube for the first time in a year or so. So yay!

Also, we’re in the process of buying a house! WHAT?!

It’s the house we’ve been renting for three years. So it’s not exactly as exciting as like, buying a house normally is. But it’s about to be ours! Which means I can paint the kitchen cabinets! 😀

Life is good. Busy and crazy and messy, but wonderful.

Now it’s time to get Jake down for a nap, she says with peaceful solidarity.