Baby Steps in High Heels

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

She designed a life that she loved

9:11 AM 0
She designed a life that she loved
In my most recent post, I shared that my word for 2018 is PEACE. It is our ultimate goal for this year, not only to make better efforts to calm our frenzied pace, but to feel a bit more inner peace as we navigate the busy world around us.

This is an important goal, but it is also quite lofty. And, even as I published that last post, something didn't quite sit well with me. It took me a few days to determine exactly what felt off about using this word to guide us through the year. It seemed, after all, like a reasonable aspiration, even if it might be difficult to accomplish. 

Then I happened upon one of those inspirational quotes that seem to be a dime a dozen these days. I wish I had taken a screen shot so that I could not only share the exact wording, but credit the author. But it didn't click for me until after the fact, at which time it clicked everything into place. The sentiment was that we need to stop making plans around our end-goal, but rather make goals to create better habits that will help achieve that goal. 

This is what hit me: the word peace is a bit too, well, passive. I couldn't reconcile my end-goal with the effort it would take to achieve it. So, although I am not revising my word of the year {PEACE is still the end-goal}, I am updating to encompass a motto that will help me get there...

It is a much more intentional motto and one that I believe will allow me to begin to create habits for change. It's so easy as a working mother to allow life to drag you from meetings to soccer games, from birthday parties and family get-togethers and PTA meetings back to business trips and presentations and conference calls. We want to feed our kids healthy, organic everything, but end up hoping that a Flintstones vitamin will make up the difference (and then feel guilty about that ... along with a laundry list of other self-proscribed failures). 

I don't know about you, but I constantly fee like I am not doing enough, or I am not spending enough time in the right places. When I am at work, I should be having lunch at the elementary school. When I am running a child to soccer or gymnastics, I should also be answering a few emails from every parking lot or pick-up line. It's a lifestyle that never seems to have a pause button, much less an option to power off. 

I believe the original version of that motto included the words and so: and so she designed a life that she loved. I'm not sure what words preceded this for the initial author, but for me it goes something like this ....

She was tired of the world around her dragging her through life.
She was tired of living each moment from one obligation to the next.
She was tired of never having a moment to rest or relax or breathe.
She was tired of spending days according to everyone else's agenda.
She was tired. She was just plain tired ..... 

And so, she designed a life that she loved. 

This is the plan, the goal, the hope. This is the first {baby} step toward achieving peace in 2018. The first step is to be intentional. She designed a life she loved ...

Friday, January 5, 2018

A year for peace

10:50 AM 0
A year for peace
Happy New Year, friends. I’m kicking off 2018 with a tradition that I love: instead of making a resolution that is sure to be forgotten within the month, I have spent the last several years choosing a word to guide and anchor my goals for the year. Some of the words I’ve chosen include:


Each word has held a significant purpose at the time, and also often held multiple meanings. This year is no different, though my word has proven more difficult to pinpoint. My “short list” of words this time around was actually quite lengthy:

Slow Down

As you can probably see, these words share a central theme in that they all aim to point my life in a more peaceful direction, one that would allow me to feel balanced mentally, physically, and emotionally.

More days than not, I feel like the world is dragging me along through life. The balance of working full-time and attempting to still be a good wife, mother, friend, and family member and contribute to my community is daunting. I could honestly collapse into bed by 7:00 p.m. every single night and still not feel rested.

When our kids were still in their baby years, Husband and I joked that we were not the kind of tired that sleep could fix. It was true. We could have slept for a week straight and woken up tired just thinking about all of the tasks we had allowed to accumulate in our effort to rest.

Our kids are older now, but I am afraid I have yet to outgrow that stage of exhaustion. I spend countless hours going through the motions without ever feeling a sense of accomplishment. There are many days that I find myself saying, “Something has GOT to give!”

But, what? What aspects of our daily grind can we let go, and how can we better enjoy the ones that we truly value? Writing these words feels a bit like déjà vu … I’m almost certain I have written them before. We seem to be trapped in an cycle of busyness.

We enjoyed five different Christmas celebrations this year, four of which were outside of our home. And, of course, we truly did enjoy our time with our family at each of these gatherings.  However, the one celebration that we had in our home, the one I spent weeks planning for and preparing to be magical for our kids … well, it was magical for them; it really was. But it was also over in 2 hours. Then on to the next stop. This is just one example, but it is exactly how every other instance goes for us, as well. 

I recently decided that it would be time to plan a trip to Disney for our family. Unfortunately, there are literally NO dates in the next 12 months that we can plan this trip without disappointing somebody who is dear to us. So who do we disappoint? Do we skip the cousin’s wedding? Great Grandma’s 95th birthday? One of the many Christmases? Do I take time off of work during my busiest season? It is mind-boggling. It is exhausting. 

While I do not wish to disappoint anyone, ever, I also cannot continue this cycle anymore. More importantly, this is not the example I want to set for my children. It would devastate me to think they might grow up with the notion that it is normal to rush through life without ever truly enjoying it or being present in the significant moments - big or small. Thus, this new year begins a new journey for us. And it begins with me.

I’d like to tell you that I have a clear and specific plan to simplify, minimize, restore, connect, slow down … but I do not. I would love to tell you that I know exactly where to begin to bring balance, intention, and a stronger foundation of faith and mindfulness, but I do not. This year will be one of my own baby steps toward a much needed state of PEACE

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

All the ways we recognize fall in the south ....

7:52 AM 0
All the ways we recognize fall in the south ....
Because the weather certainly won’t tell us. 

1.  College Football. Yes, it starts in August. Yes, it’s still Summer. However, for us, even when the quarterback snaps the first ball of the season, we know we will have 6-8 more weeks of flip flop weather. At least he’s more predictable than a groundhog. 

2. Mixed messages when our kids ask what to wear. In our house, I break out the cardigans and ankle boots the moment the temps near the low 80s. Husband will wear shorts in the 50s. Our poor kids never really know if they’ve chosen the right outfit. 

3. All four seasons in one week. It’s true the high temps can stick around through November, but that doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally sprinkle in a snow flurry the day after we’ve floated the river. {Seriously, the weather won't tell us when Fall has arrived, at least not with any certainty.)

4. Pumpkin patches in flip flops and shorts. Family photos in cute fall outfits while sweating up a storm at 8:00 a.m. And, heavy coats layered over tank tops, because sometimes all four seasons also happen in a single day. Our closets are always bursting at the seams, because we can never pack away a season of clothing for months at a time. We usually need swim suits and scarves all in the same week. 

5. We eat and drink pumpkin spice everything in front of our fire places, but we need to crank down the AC first. 

6. We buy out the fall foliage section at craft stores because the leaves on our trees go from green to brown, then straight to the ground without ever a hint of yellow or orange or red. 

7. Halloween costumes are a nightmare to select. Those cute and cuddly animals costumes may cause our toddlers to have a heat stroke. On the other hand, a cold front could roll through and bring temps in the 30s by the time we start ringing doorbells to trick-or-treat. Seriously, how exactly do you prepare for this?!

You may have better luck in you part of the South, but here in South/Central Texas, we mostly fake it till we make it. We love the autumn season, and we are dang lucky that our southern roots and flare for overly dramatic hospitality and decor allow us to compensate for Mother Nature .... now I’m off to order a PSL, just as soon I turn UP the seat warmer in my car and turn DOWN the AC to its lowest setting. 

Happy Fall, y’all. Even if we have to make it happen ourselves. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Relief

4:00 PM 0
Hurricane Harvey Relief
I am a born and raised Texan, and I have seen my fair share of floods. I have never seen devastation to this extent. We all want to help, and, at this time, I am using my local pajama drive - Christmas Pajama Promise-New Braunfels - to collect NEW pajamas for children affected by the storm. We will collect size Newborn - Adult Large over the next 2 weeks. 

If you are local to our area, please consider making a donation at one of the following locations:
Leslie Lybarger - State Farm 
Chick-fil-a Westpointe Village
The Gym

This is a great, but simple, way to involve children in the helping process. 

We do not yet have a specific donation recipient (or recipients). I will travel near Corpus Christi toward the end of September and hope to connect with some of the smaller towns who have received less support. If you have specific suggestions, please reach out to me. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Good morning ...

10:41 AM 0
Good morning ...
Good morning, old friends.

It always amazes me that I find so little time to write in the summer. It's the time when my work is a bit more slowly paced; it supposed to be the time when I have more .... well, time.

The truth is that I have struggled with my writing lately. To share or not to share. How much to share. Does anyone care? I've written a time or two about how much blogging has changed since I began about 8 years ago. For me, it was a means of connection at a time when I felt fairly isolated (remember: sick pregnancy, new town, no friends or energy = new blog).

Not only has my life changed and evolved over the last several years, so has the blogging world. It's no longer just a glorified daily journal, but a place that requires high quality images, social media, and some fairly intense networking if you want your work to go anywhere.

To that end, I have been wondering where exactly I fit in all of this. Write what you know is an often used adage, and I have done a lot of that, focusing on the aspects of working motherhood that are familiar to me. But, truth be told, those topics can grow weary fairly quickly. And .... another truth be told, most of those topics are not specific to mothers who work outside of the home, but to mothers of all walks of life.

Where do I fit? Who is my audience? This morning, friends, I believe I have found my answer ....

I fit here. And, my audience is me. I began writing as an outlet, as a mode of connection, and in a time when blogging was truly a glorified journal. And, at that time, I loved it. Write what you know. Do what you love. Today, I will begin a journey to take this space back to what I know and love.

I don't mean to exclude you by saying that I will by my own audience. Rather, I need to write for myself and not for anyone else. My goal, my hope, is that you will like what I share and that my writing will resonate with you .... and that you will become a part of my audience naturally.

What will I write about? Good question! What do I know and love? I love my family, our life together and this fabulous "new" idea to scale back, become less busy, and be mindful of the slower times and quieter moments. I'm not good at those latter things, so I'll write about my exploration and attempts at being less busy. I will still share my experiences in motherhood, working outside of the home.

I am also going to attempt a year-long project to post weekly about my kids, based on a picture from my phone. I'm hoping NOT to try to take pictures intentionally with a writing goal in mind. Rather, I'd like to look back on my week of photos (because I am that mom with 100 pictures/week on her phone), and write about our time.

Finally, I want to share some of my favorite things with y'all! I'm wholly reliant on Amazon Prime to function in any capacity (food, clothing, home furnishings, you name it!). I love supporting my friends side-hustle businesses. I love my friend Jolie's Purpose Box mission to shop with purpose and support those in need.

We will see how this goes, y'all! But before I can begin unpacking these writing goals of mine, I really need to finish unpacking our new house!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

School's Out .... for the Summer

12:00 PM 0
School's Out .... for the Summer
It's true. Here in the South, we are officially on Summer Break.

To kick off our hot and humid vacation (well, my kids' vacation, not mine because, you know, working mom here), I decided it would be a great time to mitigate some of my working mom {who travels ALL the time} guilt by only sending my oldest to child care part-time this summer.

That's right, friends, she will go to 'school' Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and I am trying to figure out a fun little Mommy-has-to-work-all-day-but-NO-you-can't-just-watch-Netflix-for-8-hours-straight daily schedule. Suggestions? I'm all ears!

In fact, I did draft a schedule, which my very head-strong child revised 3 times.

We also made a Bucket List over lunch (at 10:58 a.m.).

She added things like Spa Days and Shopping Trips (yes, she's 7). I added things like Learn to Whistle. She wants to go to Costco to track down some delicious Belgian Waffles I bought 2 summers ago. I didn't fight her on this one though, because ... you know, the wine section at Costco is, well, Costco-sized.

It's an interesting Bucket List, to say the least. I'll share it once we have realistically revised it. Until then, I did take a peak at our list from last year .... it was a solid list, and I think we did a pretty good job working our way through it.

I also stumbled on my Mom Guilt Vacation post from a couple of years ago. At the time, I penned this plan for just a couple of weeks late in the summer. Last year, I decided it was worthy of laying the groundwork for the entirety of the summer season. And, I have to say, that I still agree. No, I will not fight with my kids over broccoli or rigid routines or bedtimes before dark. And, I will not feel guilty about it one bit.

Happy Summer, y'all. We make just be taking a few baby steps forward, but at least we're moving in the right direction.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Baby Steps: Catch up

2:17 PM 0
Baby Steps: Catch up
Hi, friends. It's been a while ....

The last few months brought quite a few ups and downs for us ... and writing, once again, took a back seat to real life. We were moving along at a fast and furious pace with work, building our new house, and trying to balance it all when life threw a major curve ball our way. We lost my stepfather in March, very unexpectedly. To be honest, I still do not have the right words. I'm not sure if I ever will. It's all still very surreal and much too painful.

But life can be funny, too (in an ironic sense, that is) ... I've been thinking a lot lately about giving up this blog. What is a writer to do if there is no time or will to actually write? And, blogging these days seems to be so much more about social media and affiliate links and promos ... and that's not really why I'm here. At least, it's not why I started this page way back when. But, as I said, life can be funny sometimes. Just this morning, as I was about to delete my 'friendly reminder' from Amazon Associates about how long it's been since I've had any clicks or purchases or whatnot, I looked up to see this little guy on my porch.

Displaying IMG_1307.JPG

He startled when I noticed him and flew up to the closest tree branch. He sat, and sang, and we watched each other for a while. They say a visit from a cardinal bird is a visit from your loved ones who have passed on, and that little bird reminded me today that I can't let the the outside world be the reason I stop doing this. I'm not sure how or if or when I will find the time to write on a regular basis. Hopefully the summer months will bring a bit of rest, a time for more writing, and reading, and self care -- we are all in need of a little more quiet time.

I hope to see you all around in the coming weeks. If I can find just the right balance, I hope to share with y'all some of the updates about building our house, as well as the stack of books I plan to dive into this summer, and maybe even a little bit about what I'm learning about Mindfulness.

Until then, here are a few fun items I have found for the Baby Steps House ...

These haven't arrived yet, but I'm hoping they do soon!

It took 2 weeks to get a kitchen table, but we finally found one at the West Elm Outlet. For now, we're using these fun chairs, but I can't decide if they should stay inside or go out to the patio ...

The one and only place in the house I didn't consult Husband's opinion was the guest room. I thought it would be okay to splurge away from his modern taste just a bit in there ...

Oh, and we're on a septic system now. I had no idea these things were so complicated, but this was my first 'septic-safe purchase...

If you have suggestions for dish soap, laundry detergent, etc., bring 'em on!

These are almost literally the only things we have in the house so far. Lots of work yet to do!

Thanks for catching up with me today. Keep moving forward, even if it feels like you're moving forward just one baby step at a time.