Vows

Last night I was able to attend a wedding in the most gorgeous venue I have ever seen.

The mountains. The water. The sky. The atmosphere. Just all of it. Beautiful.

The ceremony was untraditional and amazing. The couple chose to write their own wedding vows, which I always think takes some bravery.

Both of their vows made me a little teary-eyed, but something the bride said has really stuck in my mind…

“…I promise to love myself and to love you…”

Every time I think about those words I am shocked and humbled. What an amazing woman. What a great foundation for this marriage.

I could not help but put myself in her shoes. My husband and I were married eight years ago and maybe, maybe I could have said those words… but likely not if I was being honest.

Confidence still does not always come easy for me. Anxiety leads to self doubt and shame. I’m working on this and will continue to, because we need more people like this bride.

Maybe the reason this has been so prominent for me is because I was doing a really, really good job at beating myself up yesterday. #momguilt Then a sweet friend reminded me that I needed to give myself some grace.

So this is my little reminder that we all need to give ourselves some grace. Be kind to others, certainly, but also be kind to yourself. Love yourself. I bet everyone would be a whole lot nicer if we did.*

With love,

Brandi

*Narcissists may not fit under this umbrella. 😉

Weight

I wrote this months ago… but it’s still pertinent. I did update it slightly. Hope you enjoy 🙂

I’ve got another confession…

I get somewhat obsessed with my weight.

I’ve always been pretty thin, but it’s also always been something that I’ve been very aware of. Low-carb diets before prom. Sneaking some weight loss pills in high school. Yep. Been there. (Also, that is not recommended. Sometimes kids do unwise things. Sorry mom & dad.)

After my first child was born, I was back to my pre-baby weight in 6 weeks. The bounce back from baby #2 took a little longer… and the tonsil removal when he was around 1 y.o. left me lighter than I had been since junior high.

My 3rd baby just turned 2… and I am still struggling with this weight. I have weighed the same since she was probably 10 weeks old. Sure the composition has changed (i.e. I feel less like a marshmallow now than I did shortly after her birth) and there has been some fluctuation, but that damn scale remains higher than I’d like.

Sticking to a diet has been more difficult this time. Working out stalled after some knee issues. And I am one who ties waaaay too much of my self worth to my weight.

The point? I’m not entirely sure. I am sure that people with more weight to lose than I do may be annoyed with this post.

But I guess this is a reminder that I’d say most of us struggle with weight, regardless of your pant size at this moment. Certainly someone else’s health may be more at risk than mine is. But. I still hate it.

Anyway. I had to quit weighing myself. I re-read the book Fit From Within. I went back to eating mostly plants and things I know are good for me. Less things that come in boxes.

And I feel better. My stomach feels tighter and less bloated. And my weight? I’m kind of dying to know… but what if I’ve lost nothing? Then I’ll wonder what this effort has been for and may want to go back to eating unhealthy. Or what if I’ve lost alot in a short time? Then I may get over confident and start over eating again.

So instead, I’m going to listen to my body. When I’m full, I will quit eating. When I’m hungry, I’ll think about when I last ate and if I could be thirsty. I mean, drinking a little water probably won’t hurt me.

I’m also going to feed my body as many fruits and vegetables as I can. An occasional protein in for good measure. When I eat healthy, I feel good. Then I want to exercise.

And that book… I think it’s pretty amazing. You should get it.

Thanks for reading,

Brandi

P.S. I’ve learned that alcohol significantly impacts my ability to decide if I’m really hungry or not… that freshman 15 makes a lot of sense….

 

–Two months later, I am back to weighing myself and beating myself up about it. I’ll be pulling the aforementioned book back out and actually finishing it this time.

Confession

As the title suggests, I have a confession to make.

It is embarrassing how messy my home is most of the time.

It completely stresses me out alot of the time.

I hate looking around at the piles of paper and the gift bags from a birthday party 2 weeks prior. Dirty dishes on the counter drive me insane.

The logical response to this would be, “well then clean your house, Brandi.”

I agree. 100%. And I try. But sometimes I don’t know where those items should go. And sometimes the sheer magnitude of the number of possessions surrounding me is overwhelming.

And when I do clean it to my liking, it always seems to end up back in its original messy state. I know my young kids play apart in this, but I assure you that my apartment was not spotless prior to children. My childhood bedroom was a wreck, despite my tidy mother’s attempts to teach me her ways.

I feel like I’m rambling, so let me be blunt. I’m not good at being a housewife most days. My house gets messy. We lose things. It’s pretty stressful.

But just recently, I found a decluttering podcast that has been quite helpful. It’s called “A Slob Comes Clean.” The name kinda hurts my heart, but I identify with her in some ways.

Feeling like a failure for not having that tidy home you dream of? Yep. 🙋🏼‍♀️

Thinking that at some point it would just click and I’d figure this out? 🙋🏼‍♀️🙈

Yesterday she said something that really helped me while trying to clean/declutter.

**When you see an item ask yourself this question: If I were looking for this, where would I look? The follow-up: go put it there. Now.**

Sounds simple. And obvious. But I kind of love it. And there is currently not a thing on my island and it makes me want to do a happy dance.*💃💃💃

If you’re messy by nature and need some comradery, I’m here for you. If you’re neat by nature, I’m jealous. Teach us your ways!

Hopefully this little tidbit can help when you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

What are your favorite tidying/decluttering tidbits? I’m trying to get better and need all the help I can get. 🤓

Thanks for reading,

Brandi

*if you drop by, don’t look at my kitchen table. It is not picture worthy. 🙈🤷🏼‍♀️ #workinprogress #tryingtoimprove

Mirror mirror

Earlier this week my husband and I went out on a date. Half-priced margaritas at Chevys and then walking around World Market. Minimal cell phone time and lots of time just talking. It was overdue and just what I needed.

At one point, we began talking about how we see each other and how we see ourselves.

My view of my husband is this: funny, a little nerdy, and someone who loves rap music. Handsome and kind. #hesthebest

My view of myself was this: fragile, yet strong. I surprised myself with that ironic combination, but I also feel at peace with it. I have even found myself coming back to this thought in moments I feel weak (read: anxious).

Why this combination? I am usually an open book. I open myself up to people pretty quickly. And I feel deeply. These characteristics have inevitably led to some pain. But in that moment, I realized that I will always put those broken pieces of myself back together.*

Part of me wishes I could be more emotionally resilient. Stronger. Less apt to be so impacted by others. I’m actually in the process of learning how to set up some boundaries to do a better job of taking care of myself…

But I also think vulnerability can be a strength. Opening yourself up to others allows them to feel more comfortable in sharing their own struggles. It could help us look past color and gender and preconceived ideas about a person we truly know nothing about.

Where am I going with this?

I’m hoping that you can learn to open yourself up more. It can start with just being honest with yourself. Honest, but kind. Because as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, most of us are far from kind to ourselves.

Eventually, I hope you can be vulnerable with your family. If you’re hurt, say you’re hurt and explain why. It’s incredibly easy to be passive aggressive. It’s much more difficult to speak your truth and risk being ignored or hurt. But I truly believe that honest, vulnerable communication allows relationships to grow.

Vulnerability is scary. But you can do it. You are strong. I believe in you. And never forget: you are a child of a King. Lean on him, but keep yourself open.

Thanks for reading,

Brandi

Failure

My family and I witnessed the coolest thing a few nights ago. Our youngest, Rory, was climbing up the small slide in our basement and about to slide down joyously. Unfortunately, her foot got caught and she fell backwards off the slide. She landed on her back on the ground… with a toy in the middle of her back for a little extra fun. We all held our breath as her cousins ran to check on her. She cried and ran to me for a hug.

I consoled her for maybe 20 seconds, then she got back up and tried it again. Just like that. That quickly. We all cheered. She smiled. It was awesome. And I thought, wow. She is a rockstar! I wish I was like that. That fall and injury were quickly forgotten after a hug. And then She Got. Right. Back. Up. There.

When did I become so afraid of failure? And why? I cannot even tell you how many times I have refused to try things because I was afraid of failure. Or embarrassment. And that is DUMB. I have missed out on adventures and opportunities due to this self-consciousness.

But… I grabbed some chalkpaint and painted my door last week. Then put a coat of wax on it. All by myself. And I love it. The bed frame could have been a little better, but I tried. #lawofbalances

And it was fun! I turned on some Casting Crowns and just tried something. I worshipped while I worked and was joyful. It was a great day. I should probably mention that my husband said he would not get mad if it was a flop, so there’s that. Less pressure was a good thing. 😉

Today, I challenge you to try something that scares you. Something that maybe you’ve failed at previously, or have just been too fearful to even attempt.* View that failure or misstep as a lesson and try, try again. Don’t be afraid of failure just because you’re a grown-up.

You can do it! And if not, you can always try again tomorrow.

I believe in you, and so does He.

Thanks for reading,

Brandi

*If that thing you’re trying has some risks, take the necessary precautions (i.e. if its swimming, have someone who can swim nearby). 😉

Here goes nothing…

Can I be completely honest?

I had a really hard few days recently. I tried to hold myself together and failed. Sometimes we just cannot be who others want us to be. Even when we try.

I’ve always been really social, but I’ve learned that I also need some alone time to recharge. I need some quiet. I need to be able to put on some music and light a candle or pop in a new scentsy bar (#huginamug is perfection). Sometimes I like to clean up (I cannot believe I just said that). Other times I just sit on the floor and snuggle my dogs or my family. My kids know when I need this time and they can be pretty great.

When I can’t recharge, I struggle. A few weeks ago, I ignored that and ended up in tears about something trivial. This is all fairly new to me. My previous low level of anxiety really skyrocketed after the birth of my daughter.

Just recently, my anxiety has been roaring. It’s been pulling me down and it has taken so much strength to hold on. And then finally pull myself out.

Why? Well, there are a variety of reasons. One is hormones. Why do women have they to deal with all this crap?! We have to carry the babies and have crazy hormones. #notcool

Second, I was in a situation that I struggle with. I was stressed. And I couldn’t recharge in my typical way. Because of this and other unknown reasons, my anxiety was nearly over-powering. I didn’t have a panic attack, but it was close. My heart was racing. My chest was tightening. Fight or flight was in effect while I laid in bed and tried to meditate (there was too much noise to concentrate). I tried praying. It was terrible. I felt drained for >24 hours afterwards.

Why am I sharing this? I wonder this as well. I am scared of your judgement. I am scared that you’ll see me differently. But I want to let other people know that you’re not alone. It’ll get better. Use what you know helps you. Curl up in a ball and watch Pride and Prejudice. Read Jen Hatmaker. Watch a comedy. Recharge. Reach out if you can. Talk to your doctor, your loved ones, and maybe your dog. Counselors are cool, too. Why do people in the Midwest hate counselors so much? I’ve gone a few times and was amazed by the insight and coping skills they provided. There’s no shame in taking care of yourself or improving yourself.

When I’m still recovering, walks outside can help. Being in nature and getting some exercise help bring me back to normal. I still feel extra vulnerable, but a little stronger.

If you love someone who’s struggling, listen to them. Be there. They may or may not want to talk. They may or may not want to cuddle. Try not to expose them to triggers. Develop a plan on how you can be most helpful (before the anxiety strikes).

I feel like I’ve laid my heart out here and I am terrified, but this is what writing is to me. And I’m sick of the rainbows and cupcakes everywhere on social media. Life is hard sometimes. For all of us. It’s good to focus on the positive, but don’t let that fool you into thinking someone else’s life is perfect.

With love,

Brandi

P.S. I had a pretty great day today! #poolday

Check in on those around you to make sure they’re doing well, too.

Dear New Mamas

Recently, I reached out to check in on a new mom. A few months ago, she had her first baby. She is in the thick of nighttime feedings and so. many. diaper. changes. Do you remember the rough first year after that first baby? Do you remember how hard of an adjustment that was? I do. Quite clearly. And I am someone who always wanted to be a mother.

I was the little girl who LOVED babies. I was blessed with a big extended family (my dad is the oldest of 11), so there were always babies for me to snuggle. I loved it. I could not wait to be a mom.

And yet, being a mother to a newborn was pretty shocking. It was beautiful and amazing, but incredibly hard.

Let’s focus on the good stuff first.

I remember the excitement of that first pregnancy and the joy on my husbands face when he saw the gender (he would have been happy with either, but a boy?!). I remember prepping the nursery in our 2 bedroom apartment, hours away from our families. Excited and overly-confident in our abilities to parent this little peanut. I mean, how hard could it be?! #ignoranceisbliss

He finally decided to arrive 2 days after his due date. Labor seemed to take forever. And then he was here. And the world stopped. A piece of my heart was sitting in the bassinet beside me. This was my only experience with tears of joy. So heartwarming and amazing and… I don’t know. There’s just no way to describe it.

The night we went home Roman did not sleep at all. I was terrified of co-sleeping so I was rocking him while sitting on the ground. I remember telling Brandon to go to bed at around 445am so we could switch shifts after a while.

Then there were the issues with latching. Breastfeeding is biological, but it’s far from easy. I was sooo close to quitting before my mom came to visit. So much pain. I get goosebumps thinking about it. Thank God for nippleshields and breastfeeding support groups.

I’m proud to say I nursed each of our babies for over a year, but I can understand why some cannot or will not (for a multitude of reasons). As with everything, I think we need to be quicker to ask for help. People want to help. Let them.

The biggest, most surprising part of new parenthood for me was my loss of self. And the confusion that came with it. This didn’t happen right away, it was probably around the 3 month mark.

The little girl whom had wanted a baby forever now had one, but what did that mean for her pharmacy career? What did that mean for her previous identity? How could I be the crazy girl my college friends knew and a mother to this little boy?

Was it okay that I still wanted to rock at everything I tried? I ended up feeling like I was failing at motherhood and work. I missed when he started crawling and I messed up on a residency project. My husband and I were stressed with work and a baby that would not stop crying.

So, you new mamas, know that you’re not alone. That it is both AMAZING and incredibly DIFFICULT. That it’s going to take a while to feel back to yourself. Because your life just changed, your body is now foreign to you, your hormones are going crazy, you are sleep deprived, and then your hair starts falling out. Seriously. That last part is completely unnecessary.

Give yourself some grace. Give your significant other some grace. Get someone to watch the baby so you can take a DAMN nap. I know you need one.

It’ll get better. You’ll figure it out. If you can’t find an answer, call someone with a kid or two under their belt. You learn some tricks.

If all else fails, set that crying baby in the crib for a couple minutes and walk away. New parents are not immune to exhaustion and frustration. It does not make you a bad parent to step away. It makes you a human who knows your limits. Take care of yourself and then you can take care of your baby.

And about your new body, it’s a fricking superhero. You just grew and birthed a flippin human being. That’s a miracle.

You’re doing great mama. Remember that.

With love and light,

Brandi

P.S. I think dads rock, too.