currently: quarantine edition

Reagan52Weeks_week13Anyone else sick of being at home? Anyone else’s pets sick of having you at home? I know our dog and cat are.

Reading not much as of today. I don’t have the capacity or patience for it.

Eating anything that comes within five feet from me. I am working hard on the weight gain, fo sho!

Wishing it was four months from now, and things were back to normal.

Buying nothing exciting. Nothing is open so…..

Listening to audiobooks.

Feeling anxious. I need out of this house.

Dreaming of normal.

Drinking Gatorade.

Working on training documents for work.

Writing goals, dreams, etc.

currently: february

pexels-photo-373076.jpegReading The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks.

Eating peanut butter bar candy. I’m not even a huge fan of pb, but these things are addictive.

Wishing it was four months from now, and things were back to normal.

Buying Rae Dunn. I am almost done with all of my “wish list” items/mugs for the kitchen.

Listening To podcasts. Of course.

Feeling worn out. Stressed. Irritable.

Dreaming of sunshine and warmth and summer.

Drinking water and pink lemonade.

Working on #projectlife. I am enjoying it as a distraction.

Writing a lot of poetry lately. It’s all the emotion.

A different kind of adventure.

bwIf you have been around Greg in the last 6 months or so, you’ll know that he hasn’t felt good at all. He was having stomach pain that wouldn’t go away. Sometimes it would be okay, but it got progressively worse until he couldn’t even leave the house because the pain was so bad. Test after test never showed any particular thing that could be causing it. We’ve been to his primary doctor, a gastro doctor a few times, one ER trip in Topeka. His blood work never showed anything alarming. Finally, January 17, we ended up in the ER in Lawrence because he could barely walk from the pain. They found a mass in his small intestine the size of a cutie orange. He had it removed 5 days later, and after testing came back, it was diffuse large b-cell lymphoma. Cancer. That is the scariest word. Further tests showed that it has not spread (Thank God!), but today we start the first of his chemo treatments to make sure every cell of it is dead and gone.

While chemo is scary, and we have no idea how it will affect him, I feel like we are actually on the uphill part of this journey. We know what the pain was caused from. We know it was cancer. We know it didn’t spread. And in a few short months, we will know that it is gone.

It’s going to be hard, but we’ll do it anyway. We have such confidence in both our surgeon and our oncologist, and we are ready to get this over with and keep going on with our lives. We have a body shop to get off the ground. We have a Disney trip to make next year. We have a little girl to teach to race. We have a 6th birthday party to plan. We have plans and opportunities and a future to look forward to. We have so many things to do, friends to make, people to love, and this is just a hiccup.

If anything, this has taught us that you need to slow down. Do things that make you happy. Stop living according to everyone else’s values and expectations. Do what is best for you. All those quotes that you read online are true when you’re looking down a road that feels full of uncertainty and thick with fear. So read them and take them to heart.

currently: september

reaganfallReading nothing at the moment!

Feeling tired. And unmotivated about almost everything.

Dreaming of changing leave and apple cider.

Writing all the feelings about Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. April and September are my most vulnerable months,

Listening to Taylor Swift’s new album. Every song is good.

Drinking lots of water. And Pepsi rather than Dr Pepper. IDK what is wrong with me.

Worrying about everything. It is all stressing me out at the moment. It would take 2 seconds to look at how my face is broken out to tell.

Happy about my hair loving the Curly Girl Method. Happy healthy hair.

Excited about mini sessions happening this month and next.

Dreaming of a day off by myself. Again.

Working on blogs.

Constantly wearing hoodies. Always. Forever. My favorite clothing item.

Eating chips and queso. A good way to put on weight!

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.