Where’s Your Stoke?

This photo: #momlife at 11,000 feet.

Ana was so excited to ski with mom and dad this morning. Big stoke. But then getting dressed and the boots and the walk with the gear and the chill got the best of her. Her excitement waned. ”Where’d your stoke go?” I asked her.

Do you ever talk to your kids and feel like you are speaking directly to yourself? This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. when I am disciplining my Ana. She may not be my flesh and blood, but she is my heart and soul, and good Lord all of the things I need to talk to her about I am usually giving myself a good talking to as well. I get about halfway through my lecture (have a long way to go on being a perfect parent) and am like, “oh goodness, I do that too.”

Anyway, back to the stoke. Hers went on vacation for a hot minute. It was nothing a little music from the frozen soundtrack and a couple of gummy bears couldn’t conjure back up. We went out and had a great morning. But it led me to think about my stoke. It’s been ebbing and flowing this past year. It’s like my stoke has been playing hide and seek with me. At least it’s still fun and games, but I hate when I can’t find it! Like I said in my last post, I want 2020 to be “extra.” Which means extra stoke. When mine goes on vacation, I usually need a nap, or an outdoor adventure, or a daydream, or the time of the month to shift. Hot showers and country music help too.

How’s your stoke right now? Does it ebb and flow? When it’s hiding, what things help you find it again?

Living “Extra”

Having so much fun with the cousins in Arizona!!

I had the kids all tucked into their little closet floor bed tonight at my sisters house… and then a joke was told about butts (big mistake) and one thing led to another and sleep was postponed an hour and we laughed and giggled in a circle by flashlight and a night that should have been ordinary became a little extra and the bedtime that should have ended at “lights out,” became, like this sentence, a complete run on. “Tell the story about the cactus!!” “Tell the story about the eggs!!” “Tell the story about the slide!” And on it went.

When I turned 13 years old I got to bring a bunch of friends to a hotel for a sleepover. We went for a night swim and climbed / snuck up the closed / dry water slide. When we got to the top we really wanted to slide down, but a water slide needs water to be fun. Or, it needs at least some sort of liquid. ”Teamwork makes the dream work,” they say, and there was a decent sized group of us so… urine luck? 😬 Together we managed to “pool our resources” and found ourselves slipping and sliding in no time. (I know, 13 year old me was vile and disgusting and I should be ashamed of myself… but also,a little proud?) My kids love that story, about the ordinary birthday party that turned into something… extra.

On the topic of pools, last month we were visiting Adams parents in Florida and my 4 year old was standing at the side of the pool getting ready to cannonball. “Mom, jump with me?!?” I totally hesitated. My in-laws were watching and I’m wayyy not stoked on my body in a bathing suit right now. Also, I was wearing a lot of not waterproof mascara and didn’t particularly want to get my face wet. Also, enter any number of excuses here as to why, at that moment, I was going to choose to say no to doing something that, as an adult, was just a fraction more than ordinary. That day I chose extra. Bombs away!

I have been thinking seriously about 2020 and have come to the conclusion that I want this year to be a series of small extras, within our family, that lead to a big impact. A broken bedtime and a chubby cannonball draw me further out of my comfort zone and closer to the hearts of my kids. It’s growth all around.

Memories are not made, stories are not collected, in a space that is routine, comfortable, normal or ordinary.

Ordinary + Ordinary does not equal Extraordinary.

Hoping that I can remember to make 2020 a year of small extras. What do you think? What are your resolutions? And, for a super important question, who wants to go swimming with me??

Room at the Inn

Thoughtful versus thoughts full… It’s the time of year where the pressure to be the former, makes me mostly just the latter. Which is the opposite of the intent of the season and I hate it. Gift-giving has never been my strength, or my love language, or my preference. It stresses me out. I give so much thought to TRYING to be thoughtful, and then end up with silly or crappy presents (or no presents at all) because I can’t find the right thing. Rather than coming across as thoughtful, I’m just a brain of thoughts full. It’s depressing.

This weekend, I had an epiphany. At the children’s Christmas Pageant dress rehearsal last week the adorable Inn Keeper made a mistake. She checked the townspeople into their rooms, and then when Joseph and Mary came for a room she accidentally said, “right this way.”
LOL. If the story went like that, what in the world would we dress all the cute little babies in so that they could be part of the play?

As most of us know, the Christmas story doesn’t go like that… in fact there was NO ROOM at the Inn, which is why Mary had her baby in a barn.

This ‘mistake’ at the rehearsal, that there was room, got me questioning whether I leave room for the right stuff this time of year (and every time of year, actually). Do I leave room for the good stuff? For the stuff that matters? Stuff like loving God and loving people in languages I know and not the ones (gift-giving, ahhh!) that are forced upon me at Christmastime.

“No Room at the Inn.”

I’m pretty sure that just because that’s how the story went on the first Christmas, it’s not how the story has to go from there on out. This next week I’m going to try to be less thoughts FULL, and more thoughtful, in ways that are authentic to me. Because I think our pageant Inn Keeper was onto something. I’d like to rewrite my story so that the line is, “Right this way, Jesus. You can rest here, Love. The Inn might be full, but there’s room in my heart.”

Embracing the Minimalist Life

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“The things you own end up owning you.” – Name that movie!?

In 2010, pre-kids, Big Beard and I (just two of us!) lived in a five bedroom house in Portland. At the time, it actually felt kinda small! Now we’ve flip flopped. There are five of us in a two bedroom condo, and I seriously think we could downsize! I’m just loving the simplicity, organization, and freedom that owning less crap has brought.

Last week when we were out of town we were stoked to host our first Airbnb guests in our home. A friend asked, “when you have renters, what are you going to do with all your stuff?”

Ummm, what stuff? If it’s not something you need in the home for a renter, and if it’s not something you’d bring with you when you travel, do you really even need it?

We have a new motto in our house… “When in doubt, toss it out!” So far, we have not regretted one single thing we’ve gotten rid of!!

I’d love to hear from you. Are you sentimental about things? What are some things you store away that are super important (what am I going to regret not keeping down the road?!!)? Are there things you are storing away that should probably be recycled?

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We All Belong

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My husband told me that when he was younger, growing up in Florida, he kinda always felt like he didn’t belong. I guess I felt the same way in Arizona, but I had never named it. Then @bigbeardcreative came out west in his early twenties and realized he had a place in the world.

Have you ever collected beautiful seashells when visiting the ocean, and then brought them home with you only to find that once away from the water they completely lose their luster?

I think people are kinda like that. Once we find where we belong, we shine. Take us out of that setting, and we can sit dull and smelling like stinky ocean on the shelf.

Our family has been working hard to collect seashells these last few days while we visit the coast. Instead of taking them home we’re gonna put them right back in the sea where they sparkle. Friends out there, I hope you’re living into lives and in places that allow you to sparkle too. We all belong. Part of life’s journey is figuring out where. ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨

Climb On

“Stop there little buddy, that’s high enough.”

“Any farther isn’t safe.”

“You could fall.”

“If you go too high, I won’t be able to reach you if you lose your balance.”

Oh man. Sometimes I’m sooooo not okay with how I parent. I mean, is this the kind of adult I want to raise??? Too scared to test the branches? So reliant on other people’s perspective of what’s safe? Over-parented to the point he can’t trust his own instincts? Too cautious to CHANGE THE WORLD? *

“The words you speak become the house you live in.”
I have no idea who said that, but I saw it on a vintage poster as I was scrolling Insta last night. So much wisdom in those sponsored shopping ads, ya know?

Instead of squashing out all that inner, awesome, childish drive, how ’bout using words that are more like…

“How high do you want to climb today?”
“How will you decide when you’ve gone high enough?”
“How will you determine if a branch is strong enough to hold you, before you risk putting all your weight on it?”
“What’s your plan if you go beyond my reach, and then need help getting down?”
“Do you feel balanced?”

Please understand I’m not just talking about climbing trees here.

The ability to make thoughtful decisions might be one of the most important skills we can teach out kids (helllooooo teenage pressures). It’s a skill that doesn’t have to be learned in the classroom, and perhaps cannot be learned in the classroom? It’s a skill that sure can’t be learned on many of today’s school playgrounds, since trees are often eliminated due to their unpredictability. True story. How sad is that?

Dude, life is unpredictable.

In twenty years, when my kid is about to make an important *risky* decision, that will impact that greater good of all the universe forevermore until the end of time (a mom can dream, right?), do I really want my mom voice in the back of his or her (totally adorable and brilliant) head saying, “better stop there kiddo, any further isn’t safe.”

Heeeeccckkk no. Climb on little buddies. Test the branches, trust your instincts, have a plan, and climb. the frick. on.

The end.

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Wild Magic

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Wild Magic ✨

Do your kids like to hike? Ours don’t. But our family does go on a ton of really fun hikes! (Shhhh, don’t tell our kids.) These are known to our children as adventures, grasshopper catching expeditions, treasure hunts, animal track-finding excursions, dinosaur explorations, and troll and fairy quests.

Sometimes our hikes involve stories to up the level of engagement. On our hike last weekend, “Kids, last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and something caught my eye out the window… (pause dramatically). There were sparkles, cascading down, and glowing fairies dancing about…” The story went on and on, and ended with… Ana (7 years old): “Mom. Wait. Seriously. Is this real?” 🧚🏾‍♀️

“Hmmm,” I pondered, “do you have magic in your heart?”

Our hikes with our kids are 97% about the journey, not the destination. The kids are too little to make it about the destination.

But duuuuude, what if we lived life like that, everyday, no matter our age? I’m not saying don’t have goals and dreams to aspire to… I’m just saying, what if we enjoyed the ride a little more?

A few weeks ago we headed out for a family “adventure.” Ana’s hiking attire that day pushed even me out of my comfort zone. (Because, blisters and dirt and burrs and you know, all the things.) She was in the house wearing an Elsa dress. (Ironic?) We were trying to get out the door, so we just went with it.

Let me tell ya, something as simple as adding a costume made for one dreamy, imaginative, whimsical experience in the woods together. It was an awesome reminder to let go of rules and shoulds and have-tos and “the normal way” more often and just go with the flow. It was 100% about the journey that day.

✨ Wild Magic. ✨

“Is it real?”

I don’t know. But it sure seems worth believing in. ✨

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