currently: may.

reagan topeka ks family photographer week 15

Reading The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Writing poems every day for my 100 Day Project.

Dreaming of summertime fun. I am ready for swimming & tanning & the smell of sunscreen.

Listening to audiobooks. I thought I was addicted before, but I am up to 6 books so far this month.

Drinking lots of water with watermelon Jolly Rancher flavoring. I am trying to cut out Dr Pepper completely. *gasp*

Worrying about how our schedules will change in August. With Reagan going to kindergarten, it will be a new learning experience for all of us.

Excited about Reagan’s 5th birthday next month. I used to think I would be one of those Pinterest moms who goes over the top. Well, I am not.

Dreaming of a day off by myself.

Working on booking out my sessions to fall.

Constantly wearing my AirPods. One of the best gifts ever.

Eating onion bagels & wheat thins with garden vegetable cream cheese. So good.

out of my comfort zone.

I am one of those people who gets talked into doing things that I really don’t want to because I am not good at saying no.

Well, want to know something I am even worse at? Softball. I let my brother (a manager at the plant) talk me into signing up for the Red Dragons, and there’s no backing out now.

We had practice last night, and even though I know I am not particularly good, I did better. I actually hit the ball (multiple times!) and can catch. Throwing is hard because my hand strength is pretty much non-existent when I need it. Either way, it has been fun. Pretty sure this rain is going to cancel our game for tomorrow, but that’s not surprising in May in Kansas.

My co-workers have been awesome. This league is non-competitive, and even though I know a few of the guys WANT to win (who doesn’t!?) they don’t let that make them push us (the girls) any harder to be better. It’s definitely a “team building” experience so far!

softball

currently: march

planners

Reading: Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. Just got it yesterday and am feeling good about it already.

Writing: Blogs and blogs and blogs. I want to get caught up and maybe ahead.

Dreaming Of: Summer heat. Sunshine. Slushies. Reading on the front porch.

Listening to: A random playlist. right now, it’s an Imagine Dragons song.

Drinking: Water. All about the hydration.

Worrying About: just about everything. Anxiety is getting me good today.

Excited About: ordering new Young Living essential oils tonight. I would say I’m a fan.  (If you are interested in trying, please let me know! You can use my code!)

Working on: finishing up race permit applications. They’ll be done tonight.

Constantly wearing: My Happy oil blend. Love it.

Eating: Rice Krispies treats. So good.

Feeling: Overwhelmed. So many errands and things going on. I need to do a big brain purge and get it all down on paper later.

Meal Planning for Working Mommas

photoI’m busy, you guys. I hate that word, but I am. From the time I get out of bed in the morning to the time I climb back in 16 hours later, I am on the go. Driving to work, working, emailing, driving home from work, taking care of Reagan, trying to keep my photography business going, all the things. Throw in cleaning up the house and trying to make sure everyone is fed & it’s a full day! I always attempt to make things as easy on myself by planning as many things as possible, and the biggest must-plan thing in our life is our meals. Mostly dinner.

Here are a few tips to help mommas (and daddies) who work make good choices and good meals without too much hassle and spent energy.

1. Have a list of your family’s favorite meals. I keep my list on my phone in the Reminders app. It’s easily accessible, and I can add to it whenever something new comes to me. It’s good to have a place to just pick and choose without too much thought.

2. Grocery lists. Use them. Love them. After you plan what meals you want to have each night, write the ingredients you’ll need to make them. Some things you may already have on hand so you don’t have to buy every single thing. This will help you stay on a budget and focus on what you really need, instead of letting you d etour down the candy aisle for that bag of mini Snicker.

3. Buy commonly used items in bulk. Simple. If you use an ingredient or grocery item a LOT, buy it in bulk! It is one less thing you have to worry about picking up & it’ll save you money. We buy large container of taco seasoning, for instance. We like tacos around here. Like, a lot.

4. Check the weather. Ever want chili when it’s cold? Me too. Sometimes planning meals that work well with the weather will keep things from getting boring or bland. I know I sometimes catch myself making the same things every week, then I have to snap out of it and try something different. Salads or BLTs are great for hot summer nights. Chili or homemade chicken noodle soup are great cold-weather meals.

5. Assign a “night” to specific days. Taco Tuesday.

6. Eat your leftovers. I have a problem with making too much food. It works out because sometimes we just have leftovers for dinner again. Or I’ll at least have lunch for the next day. Money saver and energy saver too.

Do you have any tips for me? Anything that really works for you for meal planning? I am always open to new ideas!

can’t hold me back.

decorating_cookies_3decorating_cookies_1decorating_cookies_2decorating_cookiesThis past weekend, the weather was typical of a winter day in Kansas.  Rainy and cloudy and just really boring. We decorated Valentine’s cookies with my nieces, and in that short time, sitting at the kitchen table with cookies and frosting and 6 different types of red and pink sprinkles passing around, I felt really whole in my role as a mom. It really takes very simple things to make a kid happy and make them understand that you care about them.

There are a lot of things I can’t do as a mom with a physical disability. I can’t run or jump or show her how to swing with my own legs, but there are a lot of things I can do. Like make her laugh and make her smile and make her feel loved and comforted and heard. So many times I feel like people (who obviously don’t know me) question my ability to mother her by what I am not able to do, and that’s not fair. Being a mom is making sure you raise someone who is going to be a productive and loving part of society. How you get from birth to that point can look so different for different families. My disability is just one small part of our path there.

And you know what, I don’t have to prove to anyone that my kid is happy and well taken care of. She will do that all on her own. She is upbeat and giggley and smart. Love exudes from her tiny body because that’s what we teach her.

The next time that someone judges someone else’s mothering, just shut it down. If their babies are happy and healthy, let them do things how they know how to do it. Everyone’s family doesn’t have to look like yours to be happy.

on balance.

IMG_9477aI used to think that there was such a thing as work life balance, but as Reagan gets older & my photography business grows and my day job is a little less demanding (yay for fewer complaints), I feel like there is always one part of my life that pulls harder than the others.
One area is always heavier.
For me, right now at this moment, it is family.  The beginning of the year seems to be the most time spent with my family because the audit at work is over, Greg is home for the winter, and it’s too cold to shoot any sessions. There are very few obligations that I have right now.
Greg, Reagan and I just took our first family week-long vacation last week to Florida, and I cannot even tell you how good it was for my heart. The sleeping in, the loosely scheduled days, the time spent laughing and goofing off and watching Reagan be enthralled with everything.  It was just what I needed in a time that I was feeling unsure and a lot of anxiety about nothing.  That anxiety tends to hit me every once in a while, and this vacation really did make it disappear.  Maybe I figured out that little piece of self care that I need when things seem big and overwhelming. Maybe taking the advice of so many people to just s l o w d o w n and do nothing is paying off.
I am not good at it, but maybe it will be like a muscle. The more I flex my self care muscle, the stronger it will become. So here’s to more sleeping in, baking cookies, reading books, and relaxing outside with a schedule to dictate my every move of the day.

Low carb works.

I try to eat healthy, but  if you sit a basket of fried pickles or butter brickle ice cream in front of me, you can bet I am going to eat it. I could eat every fried food in sight, drink gallons of whole milk and have candy bars for dinner every night and still not gain the weight I should. I don’t really know if my metabolism just hasn’t slowed down enough to make a difference in my body yet, but I just don’t absorb it. I cannot afford to lose weight honestly. I’m technically considered underweight by every doctor who has ever seen me so I was a little nervous about cooking without a lot of pasta (I love pasta), rice, and bread. I mean, they were 3 of our normal staples every night. Easy, quick, and yummy.

My husband, Greg, wanted to try Keto after our brother-in-law, a very healthy man on the eyes, had to have emergency open heart surgery after what everyone thought would be a simple routine stint procedure. It was scary.

So I had to Google keto/low carb, and he started in the middle of October. Surprisingly, there are a lot of really good recipes out there that make it easy for Greg to eat low carb (he’s been very disciplined about it too–no cheating) and Reagan and I to eat good food too. My favorite is sausage and veggies (recipe below). I am slightly obsessed with it and would eat it every night if I wouldn’t get sick of it. It’s that good.

And also, in the meantime, I’m over here stuffing my face full of mini Snickers and blueberry Poptarts trying to reach 2,800 calories a day–to gain 1 to 2 lbs per week.

Sausage and Veggies

2 Polish sausages, cut into one inch sections

1 yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 head of broccoli, cut into small sections

1 zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch discs

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp Seasonings of your choice (We use garlic salt, lemon, and pepper)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut all the vegetables and sausage links and place in a big bowl. Mix the oil and seasonings and drizzle over the vegetables and sausage. Stir to coat as much as you can. Spread everything onto a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. I usually let ours cook until some of the juices from the veggies soak the bottom, and the broccoli starts to look roasted.

What I love most about this is that you can add your favorite vegetables and take ones out that you don’t like. My sister uses shrimp instead of sausage. It’s so versatile, and it is so filling.