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Full Circle

2nd February 2016

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Back in 2005, I had this little idea for a night out for moms to benefit Jacob’s Heart, a local organization that helps families who have a child with cancer. I would not say that they event was a huge success, but it definitely planted some seeds of things that would continue to be important to me; raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer and supporting mom owned businesses.

This event took place before we were all on Facebook, and now I can’t image how I even told people about it. There were various direct sales vendors at the event, and the only one I really remember is a company called Luxe Jewels. I thought the concept of home parties where you made your own jewelry wan an interesting one, and followed this company to see where it would go. A few short years later Luxe Jewels became Stella & Dot, and unless you have living under a rock these past few years, you probably have heard of it. Over the years, I followed what Stella & Dot was doing, but never really thought the opportunity was for me.

In 2011, I went back to that little idea I had in 2005 for a mom event to benefit charity, the first vendor that I thought about having was a Stella & Dot stylist. While I was starting to see stylists everywhere, there was not one to be found in Santa Cruz county who was interested in doing the event. I thought about signing up to be a stylist then, but knew there was no way I could run the event and a table, so found a lovely woman from San Jose to come do it. As the years went on, I bought some S&D jewelry and watched many friends become stylists, but still did not think the opportunity was for me. As I watched women succeed, I also became a huge fan of the founder Jessica Herrin, and what she created to give women flexibility, opportunity, friendship & fun. But, that little voice in my head told me a few things that kept me from trying it. This voices told me these 3 things:

1. I do not wear a ton of jewelry.
2. What would people think of me doing this.
3. It is “those” type of women who succeed at this, I will never be successful.

When I saw that Stella & Dot was launching a skin care line last year, and I could quiet 1 out of the 3 voices telling me why I should not do it, I jumped in and signed up as a Specialist with Ever Skincare. And while maybe I have not yet had the huge success that I was hoping for, I do now have a much better understanding of what these businesses are really about and what leads to success. And as a huge bonus, my skin looks better than it has in years. I was lucky enough to qualify for an intimate training at the home of Jessica Herrin last year, and just last month attended another training led by her in the home office of S&D. It is one thing to read articles about a successful business woman you admire, but to hear straight from her about her passion to create flexible opportunities for woman..I got it now. I understood now why women love being Stella & Dot stylists and that you can be successful if you really do believe in something and can share that in an authentic way.

So that is what I am going to try to do. I’ll keep you updated on my success. If you want to see what Stella & Dot is all about, check it out here.

And back to those three things that kept me from saying yes over the years.

1. I actually realized that I actually do love to wear jewelry, because it is the easiest way to feel put together and cute.
2. I stopped caring what people think. (OK, that is not entirely true, this one will probably still haunt me. But..I am going to work on overcoming that as I go.)
3. The only difference between those “type’ of women and me is that they did not let fear get in the way of their dreams.

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zoey (6 of 6)

My muse..

13th October 2015

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong

zoey (6 of 6)

My little muse. I NEEDED to take these photos, I NEEDED to remember the joy I once had when aiming my camera at my children, and I NEEDED to capture her just like this because she seems to be changing right before my very eyes.

Sure, it took a bribe of $20 for her to put on lip gloss and give me 5 cooperative minutes, but quite honestly, I can’t put a price tag on these images.

There are moments with her lately…

It is different than the almost teenage boy in the house who I have not a clue about and don’t know what to do right or wrong.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I wanted a girl, that was what I knew and I was sure it would be easier. And, I thought I was having one, which turned out to be Eli, but that’s another story. I imagined a Zoey as a little girl who wore tights, and had braids in her hair and danced and was in recitals with costumes and twirled around the house..that is not what I got. I got Zoey, a girl with scraped knees and no rhythm and beauty that sometimes takes my breath away.

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But I can do it, I was a teenager once not too long ago, I mean how hard could parenting a tween girl be?!  I know these things to be true, that is for sure..

  • She is going to like a boy someday that may not like her.
    • Luckily with a teen boy in the house, I can now see the other side.. that most likely he does not know that girls even exist, so it is not her, it is the entire opposite sex.
  • She is going to have friends that decide one day that they don’t want to be friends anymore.

What sucks, is that even though I know these things,  I can’t protect her, and even if I did have the magic words to protect her from the teenage years, she would’t listen anyways.

But let’s be honest, she is NOTHING like I was..she is confident and secure and does not care what other think? How do I work with that?

zoey (4 of 6)

She thinks she can take over the world and do ANYTHING she wants. There is no such thing as No. I mean..whay can’t she end up playing Soccer at Stanford while traveling around in an RV full of dogs photographing animals who need homes, all while studying to be a vet.

Being a parent, It is a struggle to not want to overcompensate for the things that I felt I did wrong or mistakes I make. That is not to say that I am not exactly where I am supposed to be, but looking back, there are things I would have done differently had I known then what I know now.

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Just a few of the thoughts the keep me up at night..

  • How do I push her to work really hard in school to do everything she can to get into a 4 year school and move away from home to have the freshman experience I never had?
  • What will I do when after only 4 years in the workforce, she falls in love, gets married, has kids and stops working. Can I tell her that is a good choice, when I look at how much angst it is left me with over the years?
  • How do I convince her to keep running now because there is no way she will be able to pick it up when she is 40?
  • Would she even believe me that the boy she had a crush on in high school will show up at her 40th birthday and someday she will laugh about that crush?!

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

zoey (1 of 6)

amomslife

Why is “ish” not enough?

7th April 2015

If I made a list of everything I thought about doing or even started since becoming a mom 12 years ago, it would be a very long and unfinished list. I have had way too many moments lately where I think, if only I had stuck with this, or gone to school for that, or listened to the little voice saying try something I would not still feel like I am searching for that happily ever after.

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I started a mom blog back in May of 2006 and wrote sporadically about kids, parenting and the elusive search for happiness and balance until July of 2009. The blog was called “a moms life”  and a few years ago I had it printed out and made into a book. I was flipping through it recently, happy to have the random memories, but disappointed to see that I still have many of the same unresolved struggles. After that blog, I had a photography one from my few years of doing photography as a business. Something else I should have stuck with, but for some reason moved away from. The old personal blog posts from that blog are now on here. And then there were a few random jobs here and there and Mamas Night Out. Through is all though, I was always trying to find that “thing” that is going to make me feel like I have succeeded, that I had finally found my happily ever after in all areas of my life.

When I turned 40 last year, I was sure that it would be the year that I finally figured it all out. I learned ALOT in the past year, and now as I approach 41, I feel that just maybe I am closer to figuring things out and my happily ever after.

But then I think, maybe “happily every after” does not exist and constantly searching for it is not the best way not to find it. Maybe happyish is just fine.

Ish – “The suffix -ish comes from Old English -isc and is a diminutive. So it means the word is lessened in intensity. Normalish (while not a proper word) means a bit normal. Yellowish means the thing is a bit yellow. Smallish means something is small, but not overly so.”

So here I am..another mom starting another blog hoping to find that “happyish ever after”.

I am a great parent…

20th May 2014

from about 9pm (if I am lucky) until 7am.

After a LONG day with 3 kids bickering, whining, asking to be fed over and over again, they finally go to bed. After I have asked them to quiet down at least 30 times and they are finally asleep, I go down to check on them and can’t believe how sweet they look. Those can’t possible be the same children I was dealing with just hours before. I open my ipad, and if I am not currently reading a good book, I start reading some of my favorite blogs and then I feel like a total ass. How is it that I can not be more appreciative of the fact that I have 3 healthy kids as I read about child after child who has died. Why do I let so many “little” things bother me day after day when I am so aware how lucky I am to be blessed with this life?

Once I move on from blogs, I head on over to Pinterest and look at things that are sure to make me healthier, prettier, better dressed, more crafty, more organized, and a better cook among many other things. By 11pm I am a new person and come morning, everyone will see the new me and all I can do. At 7am, I wake my wonderful perfect kids and get ready to start a perfect new day. By 7:10, I am counting to 10 and trying not to yell, and by 7:20, I am that mother who is lecturing my “starving” kids that they should be happy with the 3 cereal choices and 2 bread choices that we have and that kids in Africa would be thrilled with their choices. By 7:25, I have moved on to telling them about girls in other countries who would do anything to be able to go to school and they need to appreciate what they have. Come 7:35, I am yelling as we look for socks, backpacks, homework and lunches. Some where between 7:50-8:07, I am rushing them out of the car and am finally breathing a sign of relief. It is pretty amazing how just one hour in the morning can bring my parenting from a 10 to a 1.

Parenting is hard and it looks nothing like I thought it would. Added to all the “fun” we have, is the guilt that I do not appreciate my kids enough. While I read story after story about children with pediatric cancer, shouldn’t I care less and less about brushed hair, messy rooms and constant bickering?! Unfortunately, as we all know, it does not work that way.

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Well..because number 4 from above.

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e&z (2 of 5)

the shape of my head

19th May 2014

I was having a bad hair day today and for a minute, thought abut shaving my head. I quickly banished the thought knowing that if I was ever going to do that, I would do it to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer. I then started to think about how it would probably be much easier to raise money by shaving my head, rather than just promising myself I will be a “better” mama like what I am trying to do with my Mamathon. Mamathon, another one of my silly little ideas that I am convinced is the perfect easy and fun way to get people to take that next step after being inspired at Mamas Night Out.

I have pretty clear goals for Mamas Night Out. The first two are the “easy” ones, to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.  The other goal is the one that continues to make me question if what I am really doing is making a difference. The third goal I have set, is to hope that the 900+ women who have come to the event since 2011 have been inspired to go out and do something to make a difference. It does not have to be for pediatric cancer, I just hope that the event helps the women look beyond the things that affect their life and find a cause that speaks to them and makes them want to do something.

I know I should be happy that so many women have attended the event over the past 3 years and that thanks to the event, we have been able to donate $150,000 to pediatric cancer charities, but if I am being totally honest with myself, it is not enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, I know that the money donated is helping to make a big difference, but if the evening does not at least inspire 10% of the people to take the next step, then I feel like I have failed in my goals. That is the reason I created the Mamathon this year. I thought it would be the perfect way to help the women in attendance take the next step just by committing to make some changes in their daily life and sending an email to family and friends to try and get pledges.

Rather than asking women to shave their head, run a marathon or walk a 5k to get pledges, the idea for the Mamathon is that you can commit to being a “better” mama, wife, daughter or friend in exchange for a donation to various pediatric cancer organizations. While I have lots of ideas about ways I can be a better person, I am going to take a cue from Libby and just try every day to do better. When something the kids are doing is making me angry or upset, I am going to stop and think “Will it matter in a month“.

In addition to trying to be “better”, I am also going to blog everyday until June 1st when the Mamathon ends. I will blog in hopes that my words lead just a few more people to take the challenge. I will blog even though I am not a writer and hitting publish makes me feel a little sick.

I’ll end with this, because posts are always better with photos. While I LOVE social media and do believe that it brings so much to my life, there is also the other side of it, the reality that people are posting their highlight reels on Facebook and Instagram. Let’s be honest, the majority of our days do not look anything like what we see our friends post, and because of that we can spend way to much time questioning if we are feeding our kids healthy enough, doing enough fun activities, exercising enough, etc, etc,.

If I was to see these photos posted by a friend, I would be insanely jealous of this “perfect” family and the fact that the brother and sister seem to like each other. I would start to feel crappy about my parenting and wonder if there is any possibility that I can still do something so that my kids may actually like each other. Then, I look at these photos and remember the begging and pleading just to get them to hug and not pinch each other and I am reminded that it is all about perspective.

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