Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Just Live

This post has been a long time coming, and way overdue. 2012 was an absolute doozy for me. I have been stretched and spread so thin that I've rarely had time for myself and even the little time I've had, I've spent reflecting on how I could be better in every aspect of my life.

I was horrible at writing in my journal this year. I have a special "Mom's One Line A Day" Book that I started out writing in daily for about 7 months, and then it was down to once a week. Then once a month. And somehow December 31st came and so many lines were left blank. This pretty much sums up my year. I feel empty. I feel unfulfilled. I tried listing all my blessings and things I am grateful for. After all, that was my biggest goal, being more grateful and gracious. BIGGEST FAIL EVER.

This year was hard. Just plain hard. I had/have so much to be grateful for, it's true. I don't discount my blessings, it's just that this year (and the past one, as well) brought me so many trials that it was extremely difficult to enjoy my blessings.

As I reflect on this past year and think about the new year already upon us, I've decided that this year I will have no goals. My mantra is JUST LIVE. Don't think too much. Don't over analyze. Don't expect too much. Don't expect anything. Just be present, and live.

I have also decided that this post will be my last. Possibly not forever, just for a while. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have got me down! It's my own fault, really. I do it to myself. I can't help but beat myself up over how imperfect I am and how I just don't measure up. I fall short in so many areas and I don't have the self-restraint to control how often I look at Blogs, Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest etc. I have become obsessed with my short-comings. I see how seemingly perfect everyone else's lives are, and I judge myself. Hard. So it's time to say goodbye to the cyber-world I have been sucked into, and focus my energy and time into the real world. Unfortunately this means losing tabs on friends in far away places. (Notice how I say "tabs" and not touch. Because let's face it, how often do I actually have meaningful, relationship-building conversations with all my friends on Facebook? I don't. I mostly spy. Watching from my computer's window into everyone's lives. Not connecting. Just watching. It's wierd, it's been creeping me out, and I can't do it anymore.) I will be deleting this blog, Facebook and my Instagram accounts. I have been contemplating this action for about a year. I tried to demonstrate self-control and limit my Facebook time, etc but I haven't been able to keep any commitments. I am too hard on myself and it's time I stop comparing my life to all ya'lls.

Lately I've been thinking so much about the persona we portray to the internet world, and how often it clashes with real life. I want to sincerely apologize to everyone and anyone who has felt judged by me, and especially if I have ever given the facade that I am perfect. I am not. There's something to be said about people who are just trying to be positive. I applaud that. I commend you. I know how hard it can be to remain positive when life gets hard. No one likes a negative nancy, either. It's a fine line between being positive and admiting that life is tough, and just masking everything with a perfect smile, a perfect life. Happy, smiling children who go to bed on time and don't complain.... husbands who give flowers, massages, love notes on a daily basis, plenty of money to go on vacations and purchase whatever they please.... these images are plastered all over the internet and somehow I am unable to decipher what is real, and what is a glorified snapshot of reality. So I compare. And I fall short.

I need raw. I need genuine. I need real.

My life is raw. It is sometimes ugly. Yes it is sometimes wonderful. But I need to take it all in, the good with the bad. But sometimes real life just isn't noteworthy. No one "likes" a status or comment on Facebook of "I had an okay day." (*Where's the thumbs sideways button?*) Not bad, not good. Just okay? No one cares. People generally want to see "My day was the best!" or "My day sucked." Have you also noticed this trend? I have opened myself up to criticism way too much and it's time I stopped. I've gone back and forth so many times about deleting all these accounts and I think I can finally make this decision with somewhat neutrality and not out of anger. Disappointment, yes. But not anger.

So. Before I say goodbye, I need to come out about a few things, to show you the real me. The raw me. The sometimes ugly me. To let you know that you don't need to put me on a pedestal, be jealous of me, or compare yourself to me. Feel good about yourself.

Here it goes.

Sometimes being a mom is hard. It has small moments of rewards and joy. I have had a very hard time accepting my identity as a mother.

I absolutely hate being a working mom. I don't care that I have an excuse to get dressed up and have some place to go. The most important thing I have to take care of is the person I leave when I go to work; Phineas. And it crushes me.

I don't ever get enough sleep. Phineas goes to bed around 11 or midnight EVERY NIGHT. It's almost like in the evenings he takes a trip down the "colic memory lane" and has a very rough time settling down.

Yes. I've tried everything. (Well, almost. Read below).

NO. I do not intend to, nor will I ever let him cry it out. I am not a martyr. I just simply can't do it. Does that mean I don't have the right to complain about sleep deprivation? I hope not. Because I am still tired. I accept the consequences of every choice I make. I understand that not allowing Phineas to cry it out means sleepless nights for me. I accept it. But it doesn't make it any easier. And sometimes, I just want to vent.

I am a crunchy, granola freak. (Yeah, I do eat granola) but what I'm talking about is the natural tree-hugger stuff. I eat herbs and use oils. Those are my first go-to's before I take Phin or myself to the doctor. Also, I had my baby at home. (EWWWWW.... but not really). God willing, I plan to have all my babies at home.

We bedshare with Phineas. I don't care if he sleeps in my bed until he is 5. He is welcome. We love it. He has a place there, and it works for us. All our future babies (if we have more) are welcome to sleep in our bed if they want to.

I use cloth diapers. And it is sometimes really gross. Like swishing poop in toilet, scrape off with a plastic knife, spray with a mini toilet-sprayer, bad ammonia smelling diapers gross. But it saves us money and I'm not contributing to mountains of diapers that take around 20 years to decompose in a landfill. (Yep. Look it up), and it saves us money. Phineas also doesn't get diaper rash. His little bum loves the soft cloth.

I am still breastfeeding. *GASP!!* My baby is 14 months! I plan on continuing for as long as it works for us. Who knows when that will be. I know it really sickens people and makes them uncomfortable when a woman breastfeeds a toddler who can "ask for it." I won't apologize for making people feel uncomfortable. I can try my best to be discreet but when it comes right down to it, if my baby needs to be comforted and nursed, then his needs will always come first. Always.

Phineas has had only two or three sweet treats. This includes a few tastes of ice cream, a cupcake on his birthday (SMALL, and with no frosting) and an accidental taste of his Great-Great Uncle's milkshake (he didn't know we don't give Phineas sugary treats.) Phineas has never had juice, and he even thinks water is a treat! I know I can't keep this up forever, but I can prolong his desire for treats. The longer I keep him from sweets, the better chance he will have at developing a good pallete for healthy foods and not a sweet tooth (like Travis and me.) We have the WORST sweet tooths in the world, and I don't want Phineas to end up like that!

Sometimes I go about 4 days without showering. Then I blame Phineas for smelling disgusting when I realize that it's actually me. I have put others' before myself for so long that I actually forget to take care of myself. And this ISN'T a good thing! I need balance. I am horrible at saying what I need, and when I do... it's long overdue and I have a breakdown. I CRAVE stability, balance and consistency. Yet I am the most chaotic, unreliable, flaky and lazy person in the world! Balance. I'm trying.

So there you have it. My life isn't exactly a bed of roses, is it? Well it isn't a bed of nails, either.

I am so blessed to have a husband and little boy that I absolutely adore. And Phineas is addicted to me. It is very hard but I love that he loves me so much. As long as I continue to meet his needs in his little developing mind and body then those needs will be met and go away. But a need that is ignored might go away for a short time and resurface later.

I am so very grateful for my home. A home where I feel safe, secure and comfortable. As hard as it is to be a working mom, I AM grateful for my job, and my skill-set. I am grateful for my husband's job, and his dedication to providing for our family. I am so lucky to have my mom across the street and to have her help me out as much as she does. Sometimes I feel like she raises Phin just as much as I do. But I have to do the hard stuff like discipline and nighttime parenting. She gets all the fun! :)

I am grateful to be alive. To breathe, to walk, move around and have a body that can endure hardships and can run on such little sleep. Even though I still feel unfilled and empty at times, Heavenly Father always provides respite when I absolutely cannot go on anymore. I am grateful to Him for that.

So as I close this blog and chapter of my life, I look forward with no expectations to fall short of. No goals to not complete. No crazy aspirations that I will inevitably fail. Just live. Just be me and focus on what's most important: disconnecting with the cyber world and reconnecting with the real world. I unplug and tune-in to real life. 

Wishing you an "okay" 2013 filled with normal days, and un-noteworthy events. :)

Signing off and bidding you all a dear farewell.

Love, Kat

Friday, September 14, 2012

What I've been up to lately

It has been a very busy summer for us. Here's a little preview of what we were up to.
A little bit of this:
and this.
LOTS of these:

and a little of this.

A LOT of this:

and a little of this:

which led to this:
Trying to get back in shape, which meant lots of hiking:

We played hard and crashed hard. Which looked a little like this:

 and this.

We had a wonderful time.

Goodbye sweet summer. Looking forward to an awesome fall, when this little guy will be a year old!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

I don't wear lipstick anymore

Childbirth and Motherhood has really changed me.
I have grown increasingly more patient and impatient at the same time. My patience has grown in ways I never could have imagined. I like that feeling. Yet I still snap at the most silly things. How is it that I can be growing in the opposite direction on both ends of the spectrum?

My body has changed in ways that I imagined, yet hoped would not happen. The worst part is, I compare myself to everyone and anyone who has had children. It's easy to dismiss young girl hottie-bodies that haven't had children because I, too had a body like that. Having a baby changed my body and I have had to accept that I won't ever get it back. I came across some pictures of my honeymoon the other week. I may have stared at one picture in particular (of me in a bikini) and cried for a bit. Just had to mourn for a bit over the body I won't ever get back. It's actually quite comical, if you think of it! I have several pairs of jeans that will never fit me again because I have hips. And my hips don't lie.

I've got a serious muffin-top and pooch to match. I'm still breastfeeding on cue like crazy but not losing any fat. I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but nowhere near my pre-pregnancy size. It's hard looking at all my clothes in the closet, wishing I could fit into them again. I really should just get rid of them. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Oh and while I'm at it, I should just cover up all the mirrors! ;)  Yet when I see my adorable, healthy, strong, HEAVY little boy I am amazed that my body contributed to all that growth, with little effort from me! Even though I am at odds with my body right now, I am amazed that my body grew and is growing a small human! I feel like I have super powers. Every little milestone he meets just astounds me and sometimes I give myself a pat on the back. My friend called me the "Dairy Queen" once. It was a great compliment! My milk is growing this sweet little boy. And I love it. So it's a trade off! I don't have a smokin hot bod anymore, but I have a cute SOLID baby boy. I'll take the latter, if given the choice.

Next: sleep. Oh, what is sleep? No, my baby is not sleeping through the night. But before you bombard me with all your tips and tricks on how to get Phineas to sleep through the night, I must let you know that I am not interested. I am the expert on Phineas and we get by just fine, thank you. I read somewhere that sleep has become a barometer of good parenting. This is false! Whether my baby sleeps through the night is not a reflection of how I am at motherhood. I am still a good mom regardless. I've learned that babies really aren't supposed to be sleeping through the night, and placing an unrealistic expectation on my son will only frustrate me and set him up for failure. He wakes a few times a night, but we make do. Before I had Phin I was worried about sleep. I didn't sleep well when I was pregnant but new-mom sleep is way worse. I need more sleep than most people. Like 3 hours more than most people. Yet somehow I find the strength to keep going everyday, functioning with much less sleep than I am used to. Heavenly Father always gives me the strength to keep going and add fuel when I'm running on fumes.

My relationship with Heavenly Father has improved as well. I've never prayed so much in my life! It has been a wonderful lesson for me to realize that I am not in control. There have been times I wish I was, but to relinquish that need for control has been liberating. I'm still working on it.

The best thing I have done so far is to just follow Phineas' lead and parent using the Spirit as my guide. I have read a few books and mostly I take what I like and leave the rest. I don't religiously follow any specific parenting techniques because no one that has written those books, websites or articles has met my Phineas! I am learning more and more about him everyday and just when one thing works, he moves out of that phase and into a new one!

Now to the title of this post. Before I had Phineas, I used to take my sweet time getting ready. I would take long, relaxing showers. I would blow dry and style my hair. I did my make up. At night, I had a bedtime routine: remove make up. Wash face. Brush teeth. Lay in bed and read. Fall asleep when I was ready and tired. I used to wear lipstick. Red, pink or purple-ish. Now that my priorities have changed, so have all my routines and things I used to do.

I don't wear lipstick anymore because I am constantly kissing a little forehead, belly and toes. I have teeny little fingers constantly poking my face. The same hands that gravitate towards my mouth when I am talking. I usually eat my food really fast and I am constantly spilling, and I'm sure my lipstick wouldn't last an hour without getting smudged. So the lipstick stays in the drawer, and I stay in my pajamas for a good portion of the day.

Now before you start to think I'm being a negative nancy, I have to tell you that I LOVE these new changes! It has been totally hard to adjust but it is so worth it. I love the relationship that Phineas and I have. I am just as attached to him as he is to me, which makes being a working mom very difficult! I do take time to take care of myself. I still get my hair cut and dyed. On occasion I will wear make up and even put on some lipstick. But don't be surprised if you catch me at the grocery store in sweats and a t-shirt. I am embracing a new me. I learn things about myself and Phineas every single day. I love it. Not to say that motherhood doesn't have challenges... because it does. But the rewards are so sweet.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

goals revisited

I'm having a super hard time with the specific-ness of my goals for this year. So. I delete the numbers and move on. I can blog at least once a month. I figure if I include everything in one post, I'm good. Can't beat myself up, right? That is most definitely not the purpose of having goals. Alright, onward and upward!

Also, I changed the name of the blog for the babe: "Adventures in Phinland." Awesome, right?! (As per my mom's suggestion.) If you haven't already, add it to your blog roll or follow it for pics of the lovely Phineas.

P.S. Feelin pretty dang good about certain aspects of my life right now. LOVE it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

the girl next door: Emily

My neighbor. Emily is awesome. She is such a great friend to me, and I honestly don't know what she gets out of our friendship because I definitely get more out of it than she does! I'm so grateful that she doesn't judge me or criticize me, even though I'm sure she thinks I am crazy sometimes!

Emily is talented. She is creative. She is nice! Emily is the one who helped me with Phineas' room and all the fun colored dots. She also took maternity pictures for me and spent hours and hours editing them to make me look pretty. She always offers to bring me food and sometimes she just shows up bringing me lunch, always at the right time. Emily is service-oriented and not selfish at all. She is constantly thinking of others (me) and how to help. When she says she is willing to help, she really means it and always follows through.

I really enjoy her company. When she comes over we talk for hours and it feels like minutes. Our husbands don't love it, but we don't care! Once she brought over her ukelele and taught me a few chords and a song. She was so patient with me while I tried to get the hang of it. She had to show me over and over and over, yet she never gave up.

Emily is fit. She has a rockin bod, and she works to maintain it. She's done triathalons and is always looking forward to the next race. I love/hate it when she comes over to show me the dresses she has bought to ask my opinion on which ones she should keep and return. I can't handle how awesome she looks! Makes me feel like a huge fat lard. And having kids isn't an excuse; she's had two and still looks amazing. So, I always tell her to keep all the dresses, since she can pull it off.

I love how Emily loves to educate herself. She is constantly reading and researching, and it shows. She knows so much about everything! Photography, photoshop, business, finances, fashion, crafts, etc! I love learning from her.

I'm so glad Emily and I are friends, AND that we live next door! It makes it easier to see each other and hang out. It's not as often as I would like because we are busy or sick, or I'm just being lazy with Phineas. But I love Emily just the same! She is a wonderful friend and a great person. I wish I was better at words to express how grateful I am that she is my friend. I appreciate how she has reached out to me and befriended me. She's definitely the cooler one in our relationship, and I look up to her so much!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

mama and papa cook

My father and mother-in-law.

They are awesome. I am so lucky to have such good in-laws! Did you know that my parents and Trav's parents were good friends throughout highschool and college? Well, they were! My dad and Paul were best buds growing up. My dad told me that they would talk about being friends forever and sharing grandkids someday. Now it has come true!

Paul and Carolene are so wonderful. They are great listeners and give good advice. I know that when I share my feelings with them I won't be judged or criticized.

They have raised 7 amazing children, Travis being the best, of course. :) They are such good examples to me of parenting. Carolene is so gracious and classy and so very generous. When Travis and I were engaged, we would often hang out at their house (since Trav still lived at home). Friends of the cook children would come over and always raid their fridge and eat leftovers or whatever they could find. I always felt uncomfortable doing this because it wasn't my home so it's not like I would just open the cupboards and see what I could make! But at Carolene's house, she really means it when she says, "make yourself at home." I think it took me a good 3 years before I finally felt comfortable opening the fridge and eating leftovers. And I love it.

I love how their home is a gospel centered home. They always reel me back in when I've gone off the deep end and encourage me to be more positive - a trait they definitely passed on to Travis!

Paul and Carolene are supportive and respectful. I'm so grateful to them for raising such wonderful children and an awesome son. Paul adores Carolene and treats her with respect. He was a great role model for how his sons should treat women.

Sunday dinners are awesome at their house. There are SO many people and lots of crying babies. Somehow Carolene always ends up with a baby in her lap at dinnertime and allows us parents to eat first. It's so sweet of her, especially considering that she makes the dinner and she eats it last! Paul and Carolene are awesome grandparents. They loooove the kiddos and it's sweet how they play together.

I'm lucky to have such great in-laws. I'm happy I don't have any problems with them or that "in-law" drama everyone talks about. They are amazing people and I love being a part of their family!