LOST: Gratitude

I’m cranky.

That was more a warning than a statement, but I’m hoping we can still be friends. (You DO look lovely today.) I’m nervous to write anything because I’m worried about how cranky this is going to sound!

I mean, I was doing so well before this week! When I got discouraged, I found my gratitude. When I got mad, I found my gratitude. When I thought I couldn’t do ONE MORE THING, I still found my gratitude.

But today? Today I have lost my gratitude and I’m really hoping that someone has found it. And by “someone” I mean one of you. I figure that if one of you has it, you won’t hold it for ransom and ask for a millions dollars. Maybe. I should probably rethink my plan.

I think being bogged down with projects at work and moving and unpacking…MONTHS OF STRESS…I think it’s finally taken its toll on me. I think I’m just done. And I need a little pick-me-up. I need some pampering…maybe 17 or so naps…some me time…something to recharge the batteries, if you’ll allow me to use that tired (and probably cheesy) expression. I need some pretty things. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, maybe.

Or maybe a conference. Maybe.

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I honestly didn’t start out writing about Alt Summit San Francisco. Honest to blog, I totally didn’t. I really just wanted to sit here and complain. But right when the complaining was starting to get good, and talking about pretty things, I remembered where I’ll be for about 36 hours this week. Surrounded by pretty things and ideas and more creativity than I’ll know what to do with while being in one of my favorite cities.

So maybe it’s NOT the best time for me to be picking up and heading to the city. And yes, MAYBE that’s stressing me out. And sure, there are outfits and dressing up to worry about and I’m not even packed yet, OMG. Nevermind the open apology I need to write to all other attendees because I didn’t have time to color my hair OR get a pedicure. (Sorry, friends.) But maybe it not being the perfect timing is…well, kinda perfect.

Maybe I need a break. Perhaps the timing couldn’t be better. I mean…I get to hang out with some of my favorite ladies. I get to learn and stare at pretty things and ideas. Sure, there’s the fact that I am TOTALLY out of my league! There are some fancy people headed to Alt! But I’m going to have a blast. Because I’m not going to waste this day off. I need it too much.

My gratitude isn’t back yet, but my goodness, I see hope popping up over there. And sometimes a little hope and believing there are good things up ahead is what makes all the gratitude find its way home. At least, I think it does. I’m no expert, but damn…my heart sure does feel slightly lighter.

Which is probably a good thing…I gotta fit into that cocktail dress tomorrow. (Sorry, I HAD to. You can punch me later.)

Mostly I’m Just Happy to Have Working Internet Again

I promise that I’m not going to write a post about how I now have internet hooked up at the new house and how happy that makes me. (Although, for the record? I am SUPREMELY happy about having internet, my friends. IT HAS BEEN WEEKS WITHOUT REAL INTERNET. I’m excited.) The installer may or may not have laughed at me when I said “Hell, I don’t even CARE about the TV…I’m just happy for internet.”

(He also may have said that he’s never actually heard someone say that before. And, well, I’m kinda surprised by that and also his other clients must not love Facebook and Twitter like I do.)

(Did I just admit all that on the internet?)

Now that I’ve taken up so much of your time telling you about how happy I am to have internet, what I really came over here to say is that my first post is up over at HelloXOXO. Remember that awesome website I was telling you about? Well, there I am…talking about Campfire Wednesdays and summer memories and what not. But mostly? I’m just wanting to have a really great summer before my kids get too old to enjoy these summers like we can now.

I also wanted to tell you about the Listen to Your Mother videos being up. And, well…there are bunches of feelings surrounding that. I was kinda surprised by it actually, but I loved watching the video. And I think this weekend I’ll be able to tackle watching the others. But just in case you missed it, there I am. (I will embed that later when this works a bit better.)

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Also, I never told you about my logo. And how amazing Sarah is. But I will tell you more about that when I’m not so excited about having internet, and LTYM videos and HelloXOXO blog posts.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a softball game to get to and tons (TONS) of internet to use. Because I can now.

Have a great weekend!

 

I’m Probably Sleep-Typing…So There’s THAT.

Here’s the thing: I’m having trouble writing. I wonder how many posts I will start before I actually finish one. Moving is a tricky time, of course. There is so much packing and cleaning and organizing. And then a move day that turns out to be one of the hottest days of all the years. And then there’s the unpacking and the cleaning and the organizing. And then…well, not having internet, etc is hard. (YES I JUST SAID THAT DON’T JUDGE ME.)

I will forever be grateful for the painters that made ugly walls go far, far away.
I will forever be grateful for the painters that made ugly walls go far, far away.

But I have to tell you…I couldn’t have done this move without my amazing friends/family, I would be locked in the crazy bin. (I can’t even begin to tell you how rad they are.) My husband was out of town the two weeks leading up to the move. There was the close of escrow to handle…the painters, the carpet guys…the finishing of the packing. The organizing…OH! And also, the two busy children that still have all their activities. I didn’t love having my husband thousands of miles away. He hated not being there to help me with everything. Luckily, before he left, we got MUCH packed and organized. THAT saved my sanity. That and those amazing friends/family I was telling you about. Seriously with all the amazing.

I have so much to say about how much I love our new house and how much I enjoy having a place for my cute little family PLUS all of our special peoples and loved ones. I could probably write an entire post about how much I love the paint color we picked out. (And by “we” I mean “me and Sarah.”) I’ve fallen in love with all the natural light that shows up at magical times. I have stories about an overgrown backyard that needs quite a bit of work, but how there’s also a pool that everyone can enjoy.

That's Ramona...hiding from the camera...per usual.
That’s Ramona…hiding from the camera…per usual.

There is so much to talk about! But I can’t seem to write an interesting sentence to save my life. I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m wishing I was still hanging out with my family. (I miss them.) I have so much on my mind; I’m not even sure where to start!

happy little flowers just so I can show you how much I love the light in the new house.
happy little flowers just so I can show you how much I love the light in the new house.

And so I’m grateful. I’m honestly and truly grateful for all that I have. For every friend and every family member. I’m grateful for my husband who handles so much. I’m grateful for my cute kids, even when they’re being turds. I’m grateful for this beautiful new home where all my peoples are welcomed and loved. I’m grateful for an awesome job that allows me to pay for these things, even when my heart hurts that I’m not at home with my kids. I may have moments of doubt or exhaustion or frustration, but I am truly grateful.

Grateful…and also very glad that we are pretty much done with moving for a very long time. 🙂

HelloXOXO

Well…right this very second, we are in the midst of all things moving. It’s insane and ridiculously HOT (107+ weather anyone?) but we’ll be done today at some point, so there’s that. Obviously, I have negative zero seconds to do this, but I couldn’t let today pass without telling you Hello XOXO which is bringing about some awesome things here on the internets and in the community. (And really, you don’t have to live in this area to appreciate what HelloXOXO is all about!)

But because I’m in the middle of moving, I’m gonna let the brains behind this operation explain HelloXOXO for me:

HelloXOXO is an all-inclusive nest where ladies of all ages come together to enrich themselves and their community through philanthropy, mentoring, book and supper clubs, deep conversations, all while exploring their inner artisan.

In the hip part of the Sacramento midtown experience is nestled a chic little studio. While it looks rather cute and unassuming from the sidewalk, it has a mission: to fill its corners with smiles, girlfriends, supper clubs, crafting sessions, merry making, youth empowerment, happy vibes, heartfelt discussions, and doing good in the community–and all through superior girl power, no matter your age.

Come visit our new nonprofit and see. We’d tell you to bring your girlfriends, but we’re all already here.

 

Pretty rad, right? Well, today is the big day of their blog launch and I just had to tell you. You may or may not recognize a few of the contributors over there. We’re all pretty gosh-darn excited about it and hope that you might be too.

 

 

Have a great week everyone!!

 

photo credit: HelloXOXO

Telling the Stories

I started my first blog in 2004. Sarah thought it would be good for me. Maybe she recognized that I had a lot to say but never the guts to actually say it. I think she also knew that I needed a space of my own where my words could be all mine. I needed a space where I could speak my mind and purge all the thoughts that were stuck in my head and stuck in my heart.

For the first time in my life, I realized that I enjoyed telling my story. And, more importantly, that I needed to tell my story. But to be honest, telling my story back then involved A LOT of sarcasm and I lot of sour grapes. It was my story, but it was a very unkind version of my story. I blogged anonymously, so I let loose. I tried to find the humor in most of the hard times I was going through, but it was done with so much snark, I’m really glad that I have since taken those blogs down. They were, at times, the very worst of the person I am. It was irresponsible and often mean, but it was the only way I survived some really difficult parts of my life.

While I have lightly dabbled in the blogging world for a little over a decade, I never hreally made much of it. Blogging was my Free Therapy (I once had a blog with that name) and the place that was only mine. And, as a few more people started reading it and commenting, it was also a form of validation for what I was feeling. Maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t as crazy as these people were making me out to be! (Or, I’m just as crazy, whatever.) I enjoyed the writing process, telling my story and the people I met along the way. But I never really took responsibility for my words. In fact, when it became apparent that too many “real life” people were reading my blog, I took it down. More than once. It was a bit too honest, and I wasn’t careful when writing about real people. And even if their actions had earned those words, they (maybe) deserved the respect of not being blasted on the internet. I also knew that if I was confronted about saying those things, I would probably die of shame right on the spot. As much as setting those words free probably saved me, I wasn’t proud of that person. It wasn’t the person I believed myself to be.

Having said that, I learned more about myself through blogging (and running, really) than I ever thought possible. It gave a voice to feelings I didn’t know that I had. It also gave me the confidence to stand up for and take care of myself. In fact, I no longer needed those mean words that I had written before because I had stopped letting those people walk all over me. And when you find the self-respect that you had been lacking, you will also find that you have a lot more respect for the words that you use to write.

You also have a lot more respect for the story you need to tell.

At the beginning of this year, and with the encouragement from a dear friend, I began taking steps to tell my story and owning my words. I’ve created something here that I’m proud of. This is still my very own space of internet real estate, but I have taken ownership and responsibility for the words that I put here. I can be authentic without being mean. I can tell my version of MY story, not someone else’s. I can be honest without affecting my integrity and the integrity of the story. Not that I will always write the sunshine and rainbows version of my life, I’m just more aware of my words and how I use them.

Sometimes writing takes a person down a road or an idea that wasn’t planned. I absolutely did not set out to write about my blogging history lesson. I wanted to talk about a conference I attended earlier this week and I wanted to share some of that and some of the things I learned. But since I somehow landed here instead, I hope that you might take a look at what Cam wrote. There were some great speakers that morning, but for some reason, I keep coming back to the stories that we all have to tell.

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Let’s be honest, Disney is amazing at telling stories. It’s what they do best and it is what started it all. And, I believe, is what keeps so many of us coming back for more. At the Disney Social Media Moms “On the Road” event, Michele Himmelberg brought up the importance of these stories and related it to the bloggers (mostly the mom-kind) that connect so well to the storytelling world because that is a big part of who they/we are.

I found myself being fascinated by the stories that we all have to tell. Disney obviously tells their stories on a MUCH grander scale, but there is still a relatable and real idea behind even the most spectacular of all the stories. But more important than that, I find that this space I have here is allowing me an opportunity to not only share my story and own my words, but also connect with the stories of others. It feels weird to try and relate this blogging journey of mine to Disney and the conference, but it is the reason I even thought about it at all. It made me think about how I tell my stories and how it shapes who I am.

I have no idea why I am compelled to share my words on a blog, but I can’t seem to make myself stop. There is a pull to tell my story. And maybe, at the end of the day, that’s the point.

We Bought a House

I hate when my brain gets so stuck that I feel like I can’t do anything else until I spill my guts. Or word vomit all over the computer screen. I have stared at this task or this problem or this other thing I need to take care of and can’t seem to make my brain work it out or get it done. I’m stuck. So here I am…hoping that if I write it all out, I can get the rest of this crap done.

We bought a zoo house.

It’s officially ours. I have the keys and everything. And when I got the phone call letting me know all was completed and done and over with, I didn’t feel excited. I just felt…tired. Really, really tired. Like, the only thing I wanted to do to celebrate was take a really long nap. (There’s no time for napping, btw.)

I know that I’ve put my mind and my body through a lot lately. I feel like I have been in a constant state of stress for a few months now. And, honestly? I have felt that an elephant has been sitting on my chest for the past several weeks. And so when a huge (and long-awaited) stress is lifted, I guess I just realized how tired I was from carrying it around. Elephants are heavy, yo.

I know I will be excited once this is all over. But there is still so much to do before we move in. This house needs a bit of TLC. And just the thought of everything that needs to be done makes me tired all over again.

When we first started looking at houses (in February) we weren’t in any hurry, and we knew we could be patient…and picky. We wanted a very specific area (school district) and we knew that it might take some time to find the house that would be ours. And it did. Four months and four offers later, we finally have OUR house. And it is NOTHING like we set out to buy. It’s better. Yes, every wall needs to be painted and some of the flooring/carpet need to be finished or replaced, but this house is going to be more than we ever thought we could have.

There is a part of my brain that won’t let me get all the way excited about this house. And is probably why I wouldn’t tell anyone for quite some time. Like maybe like it’s too good to be true. But every so often, I let myself think about how this house will fit all of my family. In those rare moments, I also think about how much love this house can hold and share. I think about my kids and their friends and cousins…my family and our friends, who are part of our family. I think about all of them in this home that will BE that place that I’ve always wanted. A place where everyone is welcome. Where everybody knows your name! (I will be your Sam Malone.) (I don’t *have* to be Diane, do I?) (Maybe I’m Coach.)

I’m not quite ready to dive into why it’s so hard to believe this is mine. I guess the easiest way to say it for now is spending a lot of my life not believing I “deserve” it. Or going without and sacrificing for so many years and just believing that we always would…because we had “messed up” and this is how it would be.

That’s a bunch of hogwash and malarkey, but it’s hard to change a mind after it’s been stuck that way for so long.

So I think the proper thing to do is to pick up some cupcakes, go over to the new house, and celebrate something I never thought I would have. With (some of) the people I love the most. Because maybe for a minute, I’ll actually let myself be excited and proud and believe that it’s actually mine.

new house

 

A Letter to 19 Year Old Me

Several months ago, I started to write about letting go as your kids grow up. (Something I’m so very good at, obviously. Since I can’t even talk about sending my kids to college without crying. But whatever.) I started writing this story because I felt compelled to submit a piece for the Listen to Your Mother Show. For many reasons. But at the end of the day, I felt I had a story to tell about motherhood. As I’ve mentioned before, I started to write the piece I thought I was supposed to write about five or six different times. I couldn’t finish it. Because it wasn’t the story that needed to be told yet.

Thankfully, and because of wonderful friends, I realized that I was trying to tell the wrong story. And through some pretty deep soul searching, and some pretty hidden and tucked away memories, I found my words. I feel like I can’t keep telling my stories here without posting this. I’m the mom and the person that I am because of my story. And I think it’s time I told it here.

I wrote a letter to my 19 year old self. Because that’s when I became a mom. And there were things surrounding that time that needed to be written-needed to be told so that I could let it go. And, in a way, I have let go. Writing that letter healed a piece of my heart that I didn’t know was still broken.

 

Dear 19 year old me,

I know you’re scared. I know you think you’ve ruined everyone’s life. But you haven’t. You’ve made a very brave choice. I know it doesn’t feel brave right now. You feel like a failure. You can see the look in everyone’s eyes.

I wish I could find a way to go back in time. I would hold your face in my hands and tell you that it is all going to be ok. I wish I could hold you in my arms to tell you that your story turns out pretty great.

I want to tell you about it. I know I can’t and I know you have to go through so much sacrifice and hard times to get to this point. But if I could, I would tell you a little bit about our story.

You know the beginning. The timing sucks. And the not being married and not being ready sucks. And the college drop-out, teenage pregnancy label sucks. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong.

But you both come from good families. They’re doing the best that they can to deal with their own sadness and disappointment. It will take a couple of years, but everyone comes around. And you’d be amazed how everyone is rooting for you.

I know it sounds weird, but you’ll be out of town when that sweet baby is born. She’s born a month early, but she’s absolutely perfect and wonderful. Being away from it all is actually a good thing. You guys have a chance at being a little family before introducing her to the world.

The two of you get married a few months later. You wear your sister’s wedding dress.  The one with all the buttons. You’re more nervous about being a breastfeeding mom with all those buttons than walking down that aisle. There is so much stress and anxiety – it really IS hard to remember anything else about that day. You’ll pretend everyone is happy for you both even though you’re pretty sure that not one person in the room expects you to stay married.

I have to tell you…there are some really hard times ahead. Marriage is hard. Being a parent is hard. You both get good jobs and you, thankfully, have benefits. But making ends meet is difficult. There are a lot of sacrifices and humbling moments over the years. But you do make it through. I promise.

You both work hard and don’t give up. Your stubbornness is a blessing. Stubbornness and faith push you through so much of those hard times. And then all of a sudden, you’ll realize that you’ve been married for 15 years and that your family is pretty damn great.

I wish you could know what great parents you turn out to be. You always knew you wanted to be a mom. Life’s events aren’t what you planned, but being a mom is as amazing as you thought it would be. And, oh my goodness, your kids are so fantastic. As it turns out, you get the privilege of being the mom to two beautiful girls. They are so great, you will wonder daily how you got so lucky.

Believe all the clichés. Time flies faster than you can even imagine and that sweet baby from the beginning of our story turns 16 this year. Sure there’s the excitement of driving and fun, but she’s so responsible and sweet and wonderful. She’s so…good. And she still wants us around. But I’m not going to lie to you, knowing that you have to send her off to college in two years is harder than you could imagine. You’ve already arranged support groups with all your friends because you know that you’ll need it after you move her into that dorm.

Knowing how wonderful life is, I wish I could go back and mend your broken heart. You worried so much about everyone else that you never made sure your heart was okay. There has been so much forgiveness and yet you haven’t ever forgiven yourself. And you won’t be able to explain how you could be so proud of every member of your family and still not be proud of yourself. Maybe this is what helped push you to be strong and accomplish so much. To prove anyone who doubted you wrong. But somehow, even after sixteen years, you’re going to feel like you don’t deserve all these amazing people and experiences in your life.

I hope writing this letter helps you begin to heal. I know I can’t go back and change anything. And I wouldn’t. Even if I could. My only wish is that we both can see how just because life doesn’t go as you planned, the choices that you’ve made will lead us to the most amazing and hard and worthwhile life we could ever imagine.

Be proud.

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Somewhat Wordless Wednesday

 I need this shirt:

 

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I think my dog hates everything about us right now:

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Sometimes looking for funny pictures on your phone will remind you about the time your friend Erin posted this on Instagram and it makes you giggle. Also? PERSPECTIVE.

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Edited to add: Ginessa won the Raging Waters passes! (And Ramona totally picked your name out of a bowl because that’s how we roll.)

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Life Can Be a Little Heavy

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I have written and unwritten about seven different posts. None of my words seems to work. It’s weird to have your heart filled to the brim and completely shattered and broken all at the same time. Being completely excited about a new adventure and then equally sad for the things that you already miss from the old adventure. Trying to be there for those in need while recognizing that I need to get better about asking for help with what I need. One, big life event is enough to drive anyone crazy…but having so many things all at once is incredibly overwhelming. And that is the understatement of the year.

It’s just…a lot.

It usually helps to write it out. And I feel like if I could just write my way out of feeling like this, I could just focus on the (4,574,178,286) tasks at hand.

Now, if this was an after-school special, this would be the part where I’d have a spectacular meltdown and shave my head, or something. (Don’t worry, I’m too vain for that.)

I think my mini-meltdown occurred yesterday when Nora just asked me how I was doing and I couldn’t even really respond with anything that made sense. And for the first time in a really long time, I just let my eyes leak and cry for my friends who are hurting. And I cried for my own heart that is broken. And for the stress and anxiety and stress and anxiety that comes from so much to do, so many deadlines, and so much change.

It really is a lot.

I’m terrible at asking for help. But luckily I have the best of friends and family that call me out on my shit and tell me that they’re on their way to help. Or put time on their calendars to help. Even if it’s completely last minute and I just remembered I need someone to watch my dog when we’ll be out of town for 24 hours. They’re there. They’re all there.

At the end of the day, I know that I can do hard things. And that everything will be ok even if things aren’t ok right now. I know I am blessed beyond reason. I have the greatest family and friends on the planet.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I just wrote myself out of a personal crisis, but getting it off my chest helped. Admitting that sometimes life is just a lot to take helped. But most of all, reminding myself that I have the greatest people around me and who are there for me helped the most. I’m still living in a constant state of stress, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I have the coolest people ever walking that tunnel with me. I got this.

This is me trying to give you things

Ok, so listen. You know I love ya more than my luggage. You also know that it’s going to be wicked hot this weekend and I want to give you some hope of something cooler. So because I love you more than my luggage and to give you hopes of cool, I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and do a giveaway right here. (I’ve never done any sort of giveaway. Ever. This proves how much I love you.)

SO!

I have two tickets to Raging Waters Sacramento up for grabs. (Tickets are good for the month of June and July, except for July 12-28.) All you have to do to win these tickets:

a)      Leave a comment on this post. I wouldn’t be mad if you told me how cool I am.

b)      Tell me how cool I am.

c)      Head over to the Raging Waters Sacramento Facebook page and LIKE THEM.

d)      Tell me how cool I am.

Don’t forget to leave your email when registering your comment so that I know that you are actually serious. Or, you know, to make it easier for me to get ahold of you and GIVE YOU TICKETS.

I will be picking a winner on Tuesday. At 8:30 pm. I have no idea why I picked that time of day, but it’s the 2nd time that popped into my head. (I didn’t use the first time I thought of because I will likely be driving a kid to practice at that time. And I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t do all this while driving.)

Anyway, follow the rules. Enter to win. I’ll give you two tickets. I love you. The End.

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photo credit: Raging Waters Sacramento