Sunday, July 26, 2020

Chapter 36.



This week I turned 36.......I don't know. I still feel 24. I often look at my 3 kids and think, how am I an adult and a parent of 3 kids now?! When did this happen? It happened so quickly. I still feel like that 25 year old girl who didn't know what was coming next. I guess that's how it feels to get older. 
I'm not afraid of birthdays or telling people my age. 36. I don't think I'll ever be that person.

Man.....this year. I wish I could say that I was celebrating my week long celebrations like usual. I wish I could say I was having friends and family here to join in on festivities and pool days like I normally host. That isn't the case this year. I am that Leo who loves to celebrate allllllll week long. The bigger the plans, the better. I did have a nice day despite being low key. Last year, when I was beyond sick and pregnant on my birthday, I remember thinking, 'next year will be better.' I had no clue that it would be a year much harder.

I think we can all agree that this year has been tumultuous. I debated sharing much but I decided I would because I've always shared the real stuff too. Why stop now?

If you were to ask me 6 months ago what life would look like, I would have said, well......I would have said what I said on New Year's like I did HERE. Scroll to the last paragraph.....My feeling was oh so wrong, right? We never really know, do we?

No, I could never have imagined what this year would really look like. I envisioned that baby Vera would be born and my pregnancy sickness would finally be gone. We would have spent time away on a couple of fun vacations that we had planned....ahem...Hawaii. I'll be quietly crying over here....ha. I love to take trips and go on adventures even when my babies are small. I envisioned that we would have opened our gym and be flourishing in the business of fitness. When Ty and I began the gym, we knew we were taking a risk, but we couldn't have dreamed that the thing we needed to worry about most was a pandemic. I envisioned my kids walking to the brand new built school across from our newly built house and Maxwell loving his first year of Kindergarten like a normal 5 year old.

Shortly after Vera was born....Coronavirus hit. We have been pretty isolated for months now. Texas wasn't hit bad during the beginning but we still did our part and stayed home. Then the Governor began to open everything back up very quickly and with little restrictions and it all went to hell. Right now, things are pretty bad here in San Antonio. Hospitals overloaded. Even lots of younger ages like 20-30 in the hospitals. Hence why we had to shut back down the bars and roll back capacities. We have been on lockdown just as long as NY and NE but now the Northeast area is opening back up and we are still here dealing with it all here.

In addition to that, we have had a lot of changes in our lives. Ty is currently working on a job assignment in DC and he isn't expected to return for quite awhile. Ty hasn't been able to come back to visit because of the COVID restrictions to high case states. He had flights to come back for my birthday and they were squashed because TX is a hot spot so flights got cancelled. Restrictions keep getting worse. Until things calm down and Texas cases decline, he most likely won't be able to get back.

So I've been here a few weeks with 3 kids, one being an infant, 2 dogs, a gym to get running all while a pandemic is occuring. No biggie. School here will begin online for at least the first month so I am figuring that out. I'm sad that Maxwell's first year of Kindergarten will not be in person. And HOW on earth will people who need to work outside the home swing it??  It's all so stressful.  The kids took it hard when Ty left. If it wasn't enough that they had to stay inside for months on end and not see friends, stop their normal life, then their dad left.  Especially Scarlett since she is a bit older and understands it more. I haven't had the heart to tell them that they won't get to see him this month either. And it makes us both sad that he won't see much of Vera's first year. He missed her sitting up for the first time.

It's all really heavy.

To say it's been a rough month is an understatement. You would never know by my poker face, but my emotions have been at every level possible. Since Ty has been gone I have been running on empty quite often.
Vera has been going through some sort of growth spurt or sleep regression or teething no sleep strike. She wouldn't sleep more than an hour at a time. For nights, I woke every hour. About 2-4 hours of sleep is all I would get. I stayed up late each night working on gym details, trying to get everything prepared because I had to. Which by the way, the gym is going well despite the pandemic and crazy TX cases of COVID. Between hiring and training, business networking, meeting for inspections and other details, it's been a lot of work. On top of that I have to prepare to go back to work with my real estate team and of course do all of the things that used to be so easy.
Like showering.
Or groceries.
Making dinner is a struggle when your 5 month old won't let you put her down, your 5 year old is asking for help with 10 things and you are running on zero sleep. My eating has been not good in the fact that I haven't even been remembering to eat. I have tried my best to squeeze in workouts. I'm the last to make excuses of why I can't work out, but this has been a whole new level of crazy! Even time blocking doesn't seem to help these days. There's only so many blocks.  Also, It's also been in the triple digits so the kids aren't outside much. It's hard to even take walks when it's 99 degrees at 9am, 105 during the day and still 98 degrees at 9pm still! It feels like walls everywhere.  I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate through this new chapter. How to get it all done by myself. How to stop feeling guilty for the stuff I just can't get done. How to keep looking at the positive when I keep getting pushed down with every turn. Looking for that rainbow after the rain.
I feel like I am failing a lot. How I can feel like I'm making headway and failing at the same time.... I don't know.
I feel like if I get ahead with gym stuff then I'm falling behind on time with the kids and if I take the time to sleep, then I miss out on crucial work things. The balancing act is a struggle right now. The house is messy a lot. I guess I need to get my house cleaners back in here.

I won't pretend I know the answers. I thought my pregnancy was hard....let me tell you I had no idea that it was gonna get worse. It's funny how we have to experience a lower rock bottom to realize that what we had before wasn't so bad after all. So now, in this phase, I acknowledge that it could be so much worse still. And I'm thankful for all of the blessings in my life despite the heaviness. Despite the empty nights alone. Despite missing my husband. Despite needing another pair of arms always! Despite some days feeling numb....Despite the resentment that creeps in. Despite feeling like I lose my mind now and again.  lol. Despite not knowing when any kind of normal will return. I am thankful. Oh so thankful. It takes practice to be thankful when things seem to be falling apart. I've gotten good at it. 

I'm thankful for health and healthy kids. I'm thankful for a Nanny who treats my kids so well and helps me more than she knows. If you saw the cutest video and surprise she and the kids made for me on my birthday, (I posted on Insta) then you know how sweet she is! I'm thankful for the gym still moving along in a time when lots of businesses are going out of business. I'm thankful for a house and the fact that we are financially well. I'm thankful for seeing Vera's smiling face each morning that I wake up. And Maxwell's evening "Cereal Parties" that, unbeknownst to him, give me a sense of comfort. I'm thankful for a mothering Scarlett who helps me with Vera when I ask. I could go on with all of the blessings I have.

Still, sometimes when I'm running on 3 hours of sleep and the dog accidently pees all over the floor, the baby pukes down my shirt, Maxwell is asking for 100 snacks, Scarlett has been on her iphone for way too long, I haven't eaten in 5 hours or showered in 3 days, we need groceries, I've been out straight all day running from gym to interview and the house is a mess all in the same day.....(true events) it can be hard to be grateful.
But I am. Humbled and grateful. 

I don't know what chapter 36 will bring. I don't anticipate anything. I won't hope for what I want things to look like. I'm just taking it one step at a time and trying to look at all the blessings.
I admit, I am not as optimistic as I was back in January. in fact, if I'm being honest, I would tell you that this year has made me a bit cold, a little resentful and looking for more. But feeling that way won't make things better. So I do what I do best, keep my eye on the things I want. I keep my chin up and work hard. Do the best I can. The kids and I saw a rainbow today and it was the perfect little picture of hope dancing in the sky. Scarlett took a picture of it and asked, will it stay? I replied, "Nope. Nothing lasts forever." And this is true for our struggles too.

Anyhow, I don't tell you all of this as a sob story. I assure you I will be ok. I tell you all this because we all have hard times. You generally don't see any of the hard stuff on social media or online. You just see the 'fairy tale' highlight reel. Or the fake "life is always amazing" BS. Whether people choose to share it or not, there is no right or wrong. But we ALL have our struggles. ALL of us. You are not alone. We all wake up and put one foot in front of the other, to live our best lives with one mutual thing in common. We all just want to be happy. So as I head into chapter 36, I wish you all the strength to get you through whatever struggle it is that you are going through this year. There's good things waiting for you and me on the other side of that mountain. Not every chapter of our lives will be carefree and easy. So I'm taking heart that this is a chapter. A plot twist. A moment in time. Maybe it's defining us? Maybe it's showing us a strength we didn't know we had. Just maybe it's the chaos before the good things. If you are feeling heavy or hopeless tonight.....I'm sending some love your way.


Love,
Lauren







Sunday, July 5, 2020

Take 8: Scarlett & Maxwell




Sunday, June 28, 2020

Scarlett Turns 9 & Maxwell Turns 5

Birthdays this year were different. As was everything. Scarlett turned 9 in May and Maxwell turned 5 in June. Every year we rotate between having parties and doing experiences. This year was supposed to be an experience or travel for them, however....you know. Corona. So we just had special small parties at home with a few things that they each asked for. Scarlett wanted stuffed animals and lasagna. Maxwell wanted Dino cupcakes and presents. We made their days special by doing whatever they wanted throughout the whole day. For Scarlett, she woke up to the back porch decorated for her. Maxwell got up early to help me. He was so proud to tell her that he helped wrap her presents. She was so excited over just simple decorations and a few small gifts. I made her lasagna for lunch and sang to her over ice cream cake. I have thrown Scarlett many elaborate parties. But it was this year that she exclaimed, "This was the best birthday ever!" Which just goes to show that the little things really are the best. I love how appreciative my kids are. Of course Maxwell can be a tad greedy when it comes to gifts lol. But for the most part, they are really both so appreciative and love everything that we do for them. 

Maxwell woke up to the kitchen decorated in dinosaurs. He ate about 3/4 of the cupcakes in one day lol. But I didn't mind as much since I made them from scratch and they were organic. We went out for pancakes that morning. It seems to be a ritual for Maxwell each morning on his birthday. Then we came home and let him open some presents. Maxwell is all about the presents. So he got a new Spiderman bike and helmet! His knees were hitting the handlebars on his old one. He also got a remote control monster truck and a couple small things.
They really were so pleased with the small little events that we had for them. My kids are getting so big. I secretly cry sometimes thinking about how quickly the time has gone by. I cherish these wonderful childhood moments. It does get chaotic at times. But having them little is such a fun time in my life. We made the best of our social distanced birthdays this year. Hopefully next year we will be able to travel a bit more. But for now, the smiles on my kid's faces was proof that we were able to give them a special birthday just the same. 




Friday, June 19, 2020

Pieces of April. 2020



It was a low key April. We did a lot of gym prep and hikes/nature walks. The kids were in their glory staying home with us. It had it's challenges but for the most part, it was a nice slow down. A time that we will probably never get again for quite some time. It took some getting used to. It was strange to have us all in the house at one time, with no rushing to leave or driving kids anywhere. But once we got over the shock of change, I realized that this was a pause in time that we will never get to experience again and we should take advantage of it. Suddenly we had more time. Suddenly it was a 7 day weekend. All the things that we wished for, right?? Sure online learning wasn't our favorite or trying to get work done with kids home 24/7, but it still had it's wonderful moments. Hikes and lots of time in nature. Connecting. Games and playful time with the kids. And of course, lots of time to soak up this new baby of mine. Can't say I minded a glass of wine at 4pm now and then. Ha. And I certainly enjoyed time. Time to watch my kids grow. We hardly ever get that. I learned that we as people are rarely happy with what we got. We yearned for 7 day weekends and then when we got it, we groaned and moaned that we had to stay home with our kids. Life is about enjoying what we have here in front of us, RIGHT THIS MOMENT. We can always wait for things to be better or more this or that. It won't matter. It will never be enough unless we can learn to appreciate the now. The moment that we are in no matter what stage. This is the lesson I learned here in April. Indeed this pandemic has taught me lots. Patience. How to slow down. Conquering my fear of missing out (FOMO). Change and how to adapt quickly. I'm not saying every moment was bliss. I had moments of boredom being the extrovert I am. But we all adapt and learn when we have to, don't we? 



Saturday, June 13, 2020

Mother's Day: Camping South Padre Island







We surprised the kids with a little adventure for Mother's Day week. We told Scarlett it was an extra surprise for her birthday...and it was a little bit of my Mother's Day gift as well. We pulled up a 34' Class A RV to the front of the house and loaded it up for the week. Food, games, bedding and cookware. We rented it from a place called American Dream Vacations.

Ty and I owned our own camper back before we got pregnant with Scarlett. It was a smaller Fifth Wheel but it was perfect for just us. Then Scarlett came along and as newbie parents, we didn't use it as much. We ended up selling it a couple years later. We talk about buying another one. We love the adventure of traveling and now that we are in Texas, we are pretty central to go anywhere. With the gym opening soon, and Vera still a baby, we figure right now we have enough on our plates. So we keep this in our back pockets for when the time is right. But this trip was such a fun week away. Especially since the last vacation that we really took was before I got pregnant with Vera. I was feeling super sick and had no interest in going anywhere.  Then after she was born, Coronavirus hit so we have been in this house here for months and months and months. Texas opened back up it's state parks and beaches the week before we went. We decided we wanted to visit South Padre Island. We stayed at a KOA since we have stayed in an RV at another KOA in Cape Cod before and it was nice.

The 5 hour drive there was comical. The rain started in and the wiper broke. We had to stop numerous times during Flash Flood Warnings to try and fix it. We had planned to get there at around 7pm but didn't end up getting there until 10pm. So we set up in the dark with the kids all asleep. But we woke up the next morning to the best ocean air hitting our faces and the sound of birds chirping. We ate breakfast outside and enjoyed the sunshine. We still had work to do so we kept the weekdays focused on that while the kids played in the sand and playground right in front of our site.
We are a family that loves adventure. We aren't the type to stay home because we have young kids. When Coronavirus hit, we had to change our entire lives. I can't say it was easy. But we managed to get creative in ways that we could stay away from people and still go on an adventure. We had a fun time camping on the ocean, watching movies from the outside of the RV and cooking camp style. Another great Mother's Day weekend!!!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pandemic Picnics.


We needed to get out of the house. We needed some new scenery. And not easy to do during a pandemic. When we are feeling a bit cooped up, we always turn to nature. We love hiking and nature walks. You can't go wrong out in Mother Nature. So here are some fun photos from a picnic at Castroville State park here in Texas. Fresh air and a place to run around. 




Post Pregnancy Journey: Sample Week: FriYAY!




Friday:

Early Morning Workout: 2 mile walk & Tone It Up App Core Restore & 1 yoga or stretching session. 
Drink Lemon Water & take Vitamins

Meal 1: Oatmeal with papaya, blueberries, bananas and a scoop of greek yogurt and fill water bottle 32 oz.

Snack 2: bowl of cherries & dried apricots

Meal 3: Avocado Toast: Toast Ezekiel bread and then add a layer of cream cheese. slice up avocado and then sprinkle with Everything Bagel seasoning.

Snack 4: Stuffed Dates & Refill water 32 oz.

Meal 5: Healthy Orange Chicken with Broccoli

Snack 6: Mango Avocado lime salsa and tortilla chips (This was leftover from Tuesday's salmon recipe) and a Waterloo.

Total Water Intake: 64 oz.

Selfcare: My walk in am and some wine while binge watching some shows with Ty after the kids go to bed.

Time With Kids: Family walk/bike ride with the kids.