Friday, November 20, 2009

Enjoyable Family Photos

I doubt I’m alone in this one but family pictures are something I really don’t enjoy. I always want to have them but I hate the stress that leads up to them and then a lot of time the disappointment that follows. Well about a week ago we had our family pictures taken and it was actually a great experience!

I really wanted this year to be more enjoyable for all but then again I’m 6 months pregnant and expecting baby #2 in February so there was definitely some apprehension going into it!! But as I went through the process this year of getting ready for the big day, I tried to remind myself about what was really important. I tried to remember that the day was about capturing some fun shots of my son who just turned 4, and if we got a good family one, great – even better! I really tried to take the stress/pressure off this year but always in the back of my mind was hoping we’d get a good one or two – what mother doesn’t want that, right!

So while I did do a few things as I’ve done in the past, I really tried to stay focused on Cole. I checked the weather a few times but didn’t stress out too much when it said rain and the biggest and best thing I did was to continually remind myself that the day wasn’t about being perfect, looking perfect or any of the above, it was about capturing my son, my family and my precious baby growing inside me so that one day, we could all look back and remember how much fun we had!

And wouldn’t you know, the rain held off and the pictures turned out great thanks to our wonderful and amazing photographer Cheryl McDonald! She not only captured Cole, the entire family – even baby sister on the way, she captured us having fun which is what I wanted most – thanks Cheryl! Anyone who lives in the St. Louis area, I HIGHLY recommend Cheryl and you can check out her work at

Monday, November 16, 2009

You Never Know if You Don’t Ask!

So this morning as I dropped off our dry cleaning I “casually” mentioned that my husband thinks he’s missing some pants – in a kind of lets test the waters sorta way and see what they say because I didn’t have a ticket for them and couldn’t even remember when he mentioned it. So as I politely asked if they had some sort of lost and found system, her first question was “when do you think they went missing?” I told her I wasn't sure but maybe a month or so ago. She quickly checked her system and said do you think it could have been back in June? I was dumb founded and said, I don’t think so as that seems like a long time ago. Although I was unsure, she was happy to help and said, let me check in the back and sure enough she came back with not one but 4 pair of pants (one was even mine) and a ticket with our name on it. I couldn’t believe it and I think she was just as happy as I was to have helped me find our missing clothes!

So as I drove away, smiling from ear to ear and excited to call my hubby and tell him the great news, I thought to myself “how would I have ever known they had them if I didn’t stop to ask?” And why was I so hesitant to ask in the first place? Have I been burned too many times in the past by negative reactions for not having all the right receipts or information? Or is it sometimes just easier to go through life and not ask for help even in the simplest of forms?

Asking for help has never come easily for me as I used to be the one who had to prove my independence and had the “I can do it all attitude”, but I really thought I was working on it. I no longer turn down an offer from someone to bring me or family dinner when I’m sick or a friend who offers to watch my son while I get some work or errands done. But, what happened today reminded me that I’m okay with people offering to help me, but asking for it is a whole different situation.

To admit you might even need help or to ask when you are unsure is not always easy. However, is being willing to sacrifice your own self and stretching yourself thin (or $ when you think of me replacing 4 pairs of pants) in order to keep the peace really worth it? I think I’m more important than that and I’m going to continue on this journey of speaking up and asking for help more often than not – even when it feels uncomfortable. How about you, want to join me in asking for more help?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Outside fun in November!

The weather here in St. Louis could not have been any nicer this past weekend (75-77 both days w/ full sunshine) and boy did we take advantage of it! We spent Friday night w/ friends and letting the kids play at our monthly pizza and play - a monthly get together where one family hosts pizza and drinks and gives the rest of us a nice break. Then we were off to Cole’s last soccer game on Saturday (warmest game we had) and then had some friends over for a simple dinner of grilling on the patio which was laid back and fabulous none the less.

Then Sunday morning as we ate breakfast and looked at how beautiful it was and Jason asked, "what's the plan for the day?" Cole quickly spoke up and said "We should go to the Zoo" and both Jason and I knew we wouldn't get many (if any) days like this until Spring so off we went to hurry and get ready and out the door by 8:30 am. We knew we had to get there early to beat some of the crowds and if you haven't even been to the St. Louis Zoo, I highly recommend it, it's an amazing zoo and more importantly it's free! We always have a wonderful time at the zoo but this was absolutely amazing with the greatest opportunities of being up close with many of the animals (we got some great video of the hippos swimming, one elephant looked like he was posing in our picture and the giraffe almost ate a leaf right out of Cole's hand)!

And the day would have been perfect if it wasn't for that little bee that had to sting Cole on the hand while we ate lunch. Of course he screamed and cried and my heart broke for him as I know how bad a bee sting can hurt. And all the same time while I tried to comfort my son I was panicking thinking please God, don't let this get any worse - please don't let this turn into a major allergic reaction as he's never been stung by a bee before. Luckily nothing more than some minor swelling occurred and he is totally fine but it was during those few minutes of unknown that were really scary. And best of all if you ask him if he had fun at the zoo he'll say yes, riding the train and seeing all the animals was awesome! :)

Not all weekends are this busy or fun to say the least but I guess the nice weather brought on some spontaneous play for us!! How about you – did you enjoy your weekend or do anything spontaneous?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shifting w/ Choice

So what happens when you have a bad day? Maybe the day before you handled the kids meltdowns with grace and ease or just felt on top of the world and BAM, the next day you are having just as many melt downs as they are and no one is happy. Does this happen to you? I know this definitely happens to me and sometimes I find myself spiraling right there with it and other days I catch myself and remember that I have a choice in the matter. One choice is of course to stay there and be with my bad mood or state of mind all day or another option is to choose to be someplace different, some place happier, more in control – anything better than what I’m experiencing in the spiral.

So how do you actually shift? The first step I know to be is always awareness, recognizing you are even in that place and what you are feeling in the moment. Some people say this is the hardest part, catching yourself in the moment but if and when you do, there are several things you can do to shift or change your perspective. Some people take a time out w/ deep breaths, maybe they dance to music or try laughing out loud or getting some fresh air for a change of scenery.

For me personally, a quick walk around my block can do wonders for me or even some fun music or smiling more tends to lift or change my mood. But lately knowing I can’t always walk due to weather or maybe music isn’t readily available, I’ve been trying another way where I take a deep breath (or two or three or four depending on the day), I close my eyes and then try to picture myself on the most beautiful sunny breeze filled beach type island I can imagine because for me the beach, the breeze, the sand in your toes is where I’m always the happiest and most at peace in my life. So I try to remember how I feel when I’m at the beach and then tell myself, that is how I want to be today. I want to relaxed, energetic, peaceful or maybe playful but not this grumpy, screaming at the kids person I’ve been all morning!!

Now I won’t lie to you, it’s not been super easy and is definitely taking practice but its something I want to practice and learn if it'll help me have more ease and happiness in my life. I remind myself I’m having to learn to build a muscle around this process and at the same time I find it so empowering to remember I’m in control, I have the power to change old habits, old ways of thinking and become the person I really want to be!!

So what about you – are you being the person you want to be? If not, what’s your way of shifting and what can you do to stand in your power of choice?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baby Steps!

So I’ve been saying for months that I wanted to start my blog for The Mom Exchange and for whatever reason: fear, insecurities, pc crashes, procrastination, the work with clients or on my website, I just kept putting it off. I kept telling myself I’ll work on it this week or tomorrow but nothing! And now as the end of the year quickly approaches (8 wks to go), I started to realize that I won’t even reach my goal of creating a blog in 2009 if I don’t start NOW!!! So here I am writing my first blog entry and to be honest, I’m very excited to finally be posting something. I have a tendency to sometimes make a mountain out of a mole-hill and let the smallest of things seem like some daunting task. I’ve always been somewhat of a procrastinator and remember my apt in college was never as clean as it was right before an exam or some big project that was due!

Does this ever happen to you? Are you one to put things off or wait until the last minute on a project for work or even something you know needs to be done around the house? Sometimes I need a little push or some encouragement to finally get started and sometimes I need to let something go depending on what it is and how important it is to my goals and my life priorities. As for my blog, it was something I really wanted and wasn’t going to let it go, I just needed to take that first baby step and get started! And I guess that goes for all of us, if we don’t ever take even the smallest of steps towards our goals then we surely can never accomplish them! So what is that you most need as the year ends to accomplish a goal that is still looming…..some encouragement, a gentle push of accountability or a reminder that we can always take baby steps because even the smallest of steps gets us one step closer to success!

And in case you were wondering, my hope with this blog is that it becomes a place to share insights, struggles and funnies in my journey as a mom, spouse, life coach, friend, daughter, sister granddaughter and more! My dream is that it creates a venue where I connect with other moms, share our stories, and support each other while having some fun along the way! I’m not sure yet the frequency of when or how often I’ll make postings but hopefully more often than not!

So here’s to my taking my first baby step and starting my blog…..WHO,HOO… feels good! :)