Lucy in the Snow 2017

Snow Days and Chasing Slow

Lucy in the Snow 2017

The last few weeks have been short ones around here. We got back to a somewhat normal schedule after the holidays, just to be slammed with more days off of school for the kids than I can count.

Just kidding, I’ve counted. Twice.

Basically with the combination of national holidays and inservice/teacher learning days, we have four-day school weeks from now until mid-February. Which, let’s face it, isn’t ideal. Not only does this make my work schedule difficult, it is hard on the kids as well! It’s almost impossible for any of us to get into a groove when our schedule is all over the place.

When I’m faced with these types of working mom problems, I tend to get extremely over-stressed and anxious. I find myself making lists in my head of everything I won’t be able to do because I won’t have the time. I torture myself by looking at the social media feeds of my competitors and colleagues, seeing all their perfectly lit images and the work they have been doing, and instead of cheering them on, I feel resentful. I worry that I’m falling behind, yet again, and that I’ll never get ahead of the game. I decide that I’m destined to fail, resign myself to my bed with some fuzzy socks, ratty PJs and Netflix. Why bother even trying, right?

WRONG. Because I don’t have to live fast in order to find success, and the whole idea of hustle equating happiness just doesn’t resonate for me anymore. When my kids have a day off school, I enjoy being with them. I like stepping away from the computer and being present as we throw snowballs at each others heads or read books. I don’t feel lazy when I’m in my PJs with them until 11 a.m. I feel happy. Joyful, even!

Tate in the Snow 2017

So why I am I torturing myself? When they were babies and I worked out of the home full time, I felt guilty for missing all these moments. When I started my own business and they were in preschool, I felt guilty because I couldn’t work as much as I wanted to. Now I’m feeling guilty when they have days off elementary school. I keep waiting for the next phase of life, when things slow down, but I’m starting to think that’s NEVER gonna happen. There will always be something pulling me in one direction while another is pushing me the opposite way.

This year I am planning to focus more on being present, but also on listening to my inner self when it comes to my schedule and work. I am finding doubling down on hustle when it comes to work isn’t always resulting in success. Instead, when I focus on doing what feels right in all facets of my life (working, creating, mothering, reading, meditating, eating chocolate, whatever) the success seems to follow. Recently I was fortunate enough to be asked to read the new, beautiful book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner, which really speaks to this topic. Erin chronicles her journey from a fast life, to a slow life and back again…and her conclusions aren’t what I expected. Instead of being a book about slowing down your life, this book was more about the question of why do we believe we have to have any particular sort of life for it to be a happy one? I related so much to her journey, and it made me think twice about my goals. Do I want a fast life? Do I want to be a minimalist? Do I want to disconnect from the internet and live in a yurt? Do I want to move to New York City and take my kids to school on the subway? Do I want neither? Both?

Chasing Slow

Do I have to decide?

Maybe we can just be balancing along the middle…sometimes wanting to throw out everything we own because the clutter is strangling us and other times buying a shirt on sale just because it looked cute online. Who knows? But for now, I can only be where I am. And I am a mom of two kids who are growing into grown-ups faster than I can fathom, so if they have a day off school, I’m probably needed on the front lines of the snowball fight. Afterward, when they are sipping on hot cocoa and fighting over marshmallows, I’ll likely sneak away for a little editing session or to answer a few emails. I’m not perfect, but luckily, no one is.

Lucy in the Snow 2017

If you’re looking for more info on this topic, the podcast “The Lively Show” is an amazing listen. I recommend starting with this episode!

What You Can Do – Week 1

So…that election happened. For the first few days after the results were announced, I think I went through all the stages of grief about 10 separate times. And honestly, everyone handles these things differently, so I think whatever you need to do to deal is just fine. However, after spending the last three and a half years of my life learning how NOT to wallow in anger, fear and resentment (which for me, leads to really bad and unhealthy choices) I knew that wasn’t an option. I can be angry, but I can’t sit in that anger, or it will eat me alive.

One thing I have heard over and over since Election Day is, “What can I do now?” I was asking myself the same question, so I decided to sit down and make a list of all the things I could do that could affect change in the world. Some of the items were big actions, while some were simple and small. But if there is anything I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that I can’t control anyone else, only myself, and when I choose to take positive action toward others, it causes a ripple effect in everyone around me.

When I was in my first days of recovery, I remember feeling completely alone. I didn’t know how I could do anything, let alone change anything about my life. But a wise person told me to get up, get out of bed and do something…it didn’t matter what it was. Make the bed. Put on clean clothes. Go outside. And little by little, those small actions got me moving. Before I knew it, my entire life had turned around, and it all started with those tiny acts.

So I’ve decided to apply the same logic to the new world around me. Every day I plan to do something positive…and hopefully those little things will add up to make this world a little bit better. I am sharing them daily on my social media because there are so many people who seem to want to do something, but don’t know where to start. My hope is that by sharing, we will all be inspired to do something, big or small. I’ll gather the week’s actions in a short list here every Friday, so it’s easier to find them and get ideas moving forward. I’m also tagging on social media under the hashtag #smallthingsforbiglove. Just remember, I’m not giving up, and neither should you.

Here’s this week’s list!

1. Go to a public meeting or rally! Reach out to others and ask if they have any info on events going on in your community. I went to a HUGE private gathering of women and men of action to plan for what we do next, and how we can support causes near and dear to us that are in peril of being defunded in the future.

2. Do something spiritual. For me this week, that meant going to church. This was the sermon. I was in tears. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

3. Donate blood! When you donate blood, you save three lives. It’s easy and it only takes about 30 minutes. Click here for more info.

4. Continue working for causes you care about. I met with my friends on the KS-03 ONE Congressional District Team about advocating and talking with our representatives in congress about the Education for All Act! Want to help? Send me a note at Read more about ONE here.

5. I called my two senators and two representatives to ask them to come out against the appointment of Steve Bannon to the White House Staff. It was incredibly empowering to make my voice heard! If you want to call, click here for more info!

6. I listened to the This American Life podcast, which did in-depth storytelling during and following the election. The most recent show is an absolute must if you’re wanting to really listen and learn.

7. I called a charity I’m interested in, but haven’t ever worked with, to learn how to get involved!

Sober Friday Night

Friday Night Recovery Toolbox

(If you’ve been reading for a while, you probably know that I am person in long term recovery, which for me means I no longer consume alcohol. While I’ve often been a writer and contributor to recovery-based websites, in the past few months I decided to share a bit more about my recovery journey here on my own blog! If you’re looking for more information about how I got into recovery, what my path has looked like so far and more, check out the Recovery section of this site!)

Friday night…those two words strike terror in the heart of those in early recovery! If you’re in your first days, weeks or even months of your journey, Friday nights can be some of the most difficult times. For me, Friday nights were always my “free nights.” During the week, I often felt extreme guilt and shame about drinking. What kind of a mother is up late drinking on a Wednesday? A horrible one, I would think to myself. But Fridays….well, all you have to do is look at your Facebook feed and you’ll find endless justification to drink on a Friday. It’s the end of the work and school week, the big weekend is looming ahead of us, and social events are usually on the calendar. So when you decide to take alcohol out of the equation, Fridays can become extremely triggering. There were so many times where I would make it a couple days or weeks alcohol free and feeling amazing, only to be foiled by my own lizard brain on a Friday night.

Sober Friday Night

When I decided I really wanted recovery to happen for me (for REAL!) I knew I had to take on Fridays. This meant having a plan. Now, having a plan won’t guarantee you won’t drink, but it will make it a heck of a lot easier to say no! That said, here is a list of 29 things you can do on a Friday night that don’t involve drinking. Pick one (or more than one!), make a plan, and hold on, my friend!

  • Order pizza and get the special cheese-stuffed crust.
  • Put on a mindless TV show for the kids and start a warm bath for yourself. Lock the door. Put a funny show or podcast on your phone.
  • Have a friend night! Go for coffee or just for a walk.
  • When the kids start whining for dinner, get out cereal, milk, bowls and spoons and tell them to have at it!
  • Make a giant bag of popcorn and snuggle underneath warm covers with Netflix.
  • Spend $5 on some Epsom salts and put them in a hot bath. Breathe. You’ll sleep like a baby (well, a baby who sleeps…I mean, I never understood that saying…babies are the worst sleepers!).
  • Fill your freezer with the fancy ice cream that comes in those little pints. Refuse to share.
  • Order take out from your favorite sushi place. Refuse to share.
  • Go to a movie, but not one of those theaters where they serve wine! Instead get a soda, popcorn and candy and pretend you are 13 years old again. Bonus if you can get a good girlfriend to go with you!
  • Wander the aisles of Target with a Starbucks coffee and silence.
  • Go for a run.
  • Binge watch Stranger Things. Then decide you’re totally gonna dress up as Eleven for Halloween.
  • Call a friend or someone you know in recovery. Tell them how much this sucks. They will get it.
  • Sign up for a Friday night yoga class. Or download Yoga Glo and do your own practice at home.
  • Send the kids out with friends or your co-parent and go to bed early.
  • Plan out your Saturday morning…think of everything you get to do because you won’t be hungover! You won’t miss out on half of your weekend!
  • Journal. Write how you are feeling. Let it out.
  • Get a couple of those fun face masks from Sephora and some trashy, celebrity magazines.
  • Watch reality TV. Zone out.
  • Get a massage.
  • Buy some incense or a smelly candle. Get a book from the library. Read in a comfy chair with good smells all around you.
  • Buy some new nail polish and give yourself an at-home pedicure.
  • Go out and get a real deal pedicure.
  • Rewatch (or watch for the first time!) all the old Gilmore Girls episodes in preparation for the new ones coming out the day after Thanksgiving.
  • Download the Headspace app and meditate.
  • Go to a recovery meeting.
  • Schedule a Skype call with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
  • Buy a bunch of ingredients and create your own signature mocktail.
  • Have an at-home dance party with the Fitness Marshall videos on You Tube. Try not to smile. I dare you.

This list could go on forever…but hopefully this gives you a few ideas to get you started! And don’t worry, one day Friday won’t seem like such an huge mountain to climb. Instead, it will be just another day in your life. You real life. The one you got to be a part of when you put down the bottle.

Love Warrior

CB Reads : Love Warrior

A few weeks ago I posted about some things in my life that were making me happy, and included in the list was the incredible new book by Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior. I finished the book a few days ago, and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts.

Now, first of all, yes, this is a book about marriage. Except it’s SO MUCH MORE than just that. I think this book applies to anyone, anywhere who has ever loved or been loved. And in turn, anyone who has ever been hurt. Which, let’s get real, is everyone, everywhere! One of the biggest takeaways of this book for me was the idea that a love lost is not wasted. Grief is not just a sadness…instead, Glennon shares her idea that grief itself is PROOF that we have loved, and loved well.

Love Warrior

For those of you who are fans of Glennon’s website Momastery and her first book, Carry On, Warrior, this book might be a bit more intense than what you’ve seen before from Glennon. Which is saying something, because she’s usually very open! But this book goes even deeper, and really explores the anger that we experience as women when our trust is broken. It also investigates and puts a spotlight how the world receives a woman’s anger. In the end, it’s the anger that really forces Glennon to look further into herself than ever before, and helps her not only heal her newer wounds, but years of trauma, which started when she was a little girl.

But here’s the thing…Love Warrior is FUNNY! Like, I was laughing out loud reading certain passages. How can a book about infidelity, faith, love, anger and healing be funny? Well, that’s the gift you guys. Because if this book was too heavy, I don’t know if I could have made it through. Humor is how I work through the really difficult questions in my own life, and I’m so grateful that Glennon did the same, because it made her story even more familiar to me.

After reading Love Warrior, I feel more empowered to continue to heal myself and work toward closer relationships with all of my life’s loves…my husband, my children, my family and my friends. This book is truly a gift.

If you are looking for more Glennon in your life, I love this podcast interview with her…and also this one (although there is definitely some saucy language here, so make sure you’ve got your headphones plugged in at work before you hit play!).

Recovery Month Bed

Finding My Glasses

Yesterday I woke up to rain pouring outside. It was darker than it should have been. Usually when my alarm starts chirping, the sunlight is streaming through the window on my face. But yesterday I found myself confused and groggy. Was my alarm wrong? Did I set it to a random time on accident? Is it the middle of the night? Where am I? Is my husband here?

Recovery Month Bed

I rolled over and saw my husband snoozing beside me. I started gathering my bearings as I scanned the room. Everything was blurry. It was dark. It felt wrong.

I reached over to my bedside table, knocking over my glass of water and slapping the snooze button to quell the chirping. I fumbled around until I found my glasses and shoved them onto my face.

Then. The world cleared.

With my glasses on and my vision restored, I saw the reality of this particular morning. It wasn’t dark, it was just cloudy. Rain was pelting the window, creating a soothing rhythm. I rolled out of bed and padded around my room, stepping over the dog, attempting not to smash the kitten who was jumping around at my feet. As I walked down the hallway and into the kitchen, I felt my body start to wake up. Synapses were firing…slowly at first, but still, it was better than nothing. I ground the coffee beans in our insanely loud coffee grinder, the noise and the smell perking up my brain. I turn on NPR to hear the daily headlines while I sip my coffee in the dark. I feed the dog. I feed the cat. I start to put together lunch boxes for the day and check backpacks to make sure I’ve signed every permission slip or homework assignment.

Recovery Month Photos

And then I sit down and write. This is new again, the writing. I used to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard daily, but then things changed. Life was harder and faster and more frantic. I couldn’t just write “nothing.” Everything had to be something. It had to be perfectly curated with photos and white space and design. It had to be sponsored or be a list or be happy. It had to be funny. It had to be “real.” Eventually it all became too much, and I stopped writing for myself. I wrote for others. I shared my story, but rarely on my own terms.

Until today.

Recovery is a journey, and while the beginning was the stuff of novels and memoirs (the salacious and scandalous and obviously difficult brings in the readers), the in-between is what makes the story. The idea that one day you can wake up in your bed, three and a half years after your last drink, and the simple fact that it’s cloudy can transport you back to your misery. Those scary days when you woke up afraid and confused and unsure where you were or how you got there…but then the world clears and you realize that isn’t real anymore. Your life is now. Your life is a clear head and quiet coffee, not throbbing in your cerebral cortex and chugging glasses of water at 3 a.m. to battle dry mouth. Your life is packing lunches and writing, not crawling on your knees to the bathroom so you can lay your face on the cool tile. Your life is waking up to the mess your dog left in the kitchen when he got into the trash, not waking up on your couch with your wine glass in hand and red spilled all over your chest. Your life is now. You are different.

You are wearing your glasses now. You can see everything clearly.

September is National Recovery Month, but for me, every, single day is a celebration of my recovery. Every small act, each minuscule idea that pops into my brain, is a part of my recovery. When you’ve lived through the darkness, the light, no matter how dim, can be blinding. When you have been your very worst self, each tiny accomplishment is worthy of a parade.

Today my recovery is different than it was a few years ago. It’s a process, and it’s constantly changing. There are so many ways to get better, and my needs change as my life changes. I am okay with that. I am not perfect, but I am getting better. Progress is my goal, not perfection.

Recovery Month Photos

In honor of National Recovery Month and because I am ready, today I’m launching a new section of Crazy Bananas. The “Recovery” section will house the story of my sobriety and will hopefully help others who are struggling. While I’ve written about my recovery intermittently through the years, I want to create a safe space where I can write about it more regularly on my own time and using my own rules, and a place where I can direct people who contact me looking for answers or advice. I want to be a part of a community of helpers. I want to use my own pain and struggle to assist others in the darkness. Because today I’m fortunate enough to be in the light, even if sometimes it’s raining when I wake up.

Today, my vision is clear. I am so, so lucky.

Click over to the “Recovery” section to read more about my journey through recovery.

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