Who Our Children Become

My husband and I are diametrically different. And it’s good that we are because if either of us had married someone more similar to our own personalities, it probably wouldn’t have ended well for many different reasons. But if you name a characteristic of his- I am his opposite. For his loud, I am quiet. For his energy, I am sedentary. For his bravery, I am timid. For his dark, masculine style, I am clean, white, and neutral.

So when it came time for us to have kids, everyone assumed our children would be just like him, especially if we had a boy. For some reason, people tend to assume a little boy is going to be just like his dad, and the same stereotype for girls. And there are certainly aspects of our son’s personality that are so very much his dad- he loves hard. Hard. And that is one of my favorite qualities in my husband- his unending devotion to those he loves. But our son is also very particular about who he loves- he isn’t free with his hugs. He doesn’t let just anyone hold him. He needs the comfort of those in his home. He needs his mom and his dad and his dog and his trains. And that’s about it. And wow, is that me.

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Nikki Santerre Photography

It’s amazing how having children and watching their personalities grow teaches you so much about who you are. When we moved our son to a toddler bed, he instantly climbed in and climbed right back out. When we take him to the park he immediately looks for a way to leave. Not because he doesn’t want to play, but because, like his mom, he is always looking for a way out. He’s always looking for the exit. And it isn’t just a fear of being trapped or contained. I mean, it is, but It’s also a fear of committing- to one slide, to one sandbox. Because what is that slide isn’t right and you have go find another slide after all the work you put in getting up onto this one? What if you fall off because you picked a slide that was too big for you? What is there’s a spider in the sandbox that will bite you and send you to the emergency room?

We wish so much more for our children. We hope they have things we didn’t have and are blessed with rich experiences and memories. And I hope that our kiddo learns to be more optimistic about life and the people in it. I hope he finds a ton of slides and sandboxes and isn’t afraid to explore them all. I hope he understands that there are consequences to your actions and to think before you speak (all me). But I also hope he is passionate and takes chances (all his dad). I hope he is realistic about what it takes to make something happen (me) but that he dreams BIG and has high expectations of life (dad, for sure).

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Nikki Santerre Photography

He has so much to learn and so much growing to do so it’s exciting to see who he is going to become. And I hope he gets the best from both of us. And while it’s clear he is a little mama and a little dada, I hope he is all Wyatt.

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Nikki Santerre Photography

Just Another Post About Millennials

I saw it again. Another video posted about how awful millennials are. This time it was a video showing a millennial interviewing for a job. Of course she was on her phone the whole time while interviewing with an older man. She was not being professional and just talking about social media. And I instantly became enraged. I’m not one to comment on people’s posts on social media. I’m a very non-confrontational person and just don’t want to start a war of words with someone who is probably not going to agree with me in the first place. But this old rhetoric about how awful millennials are just needs to stop.

I am a millennial. I have interviewed a ton of millennials. I have managed a staff of probably 60% millennials. I am parenting as a millennial. I have worked alongside millennials as my superior and as my coworker. And you know what? They really don’t suck. They were mature, organized, wicked smart, technologically savvy, hard working, and creative. Were there some bad apples? OF COURSE. Because no matter what age group we’re talking about, there are just people who can’t get it together. There are people in every age group who are irresponsible (or were at this age). There are people in every age group who didn’t have their ducks in a row or have a direction at 22. This isn’t a millennial problem.

The generation before mine tends to put millennials into this group of immature kids who are obsessed with their phones. They roll their eyes when parents my age introduce a new app that’s helpful with parenting or new laws come out about carseat safety. And they harken back to when they were parents and successfully parented without those things. But what’s wrong with making things better? Or easier? Or safer? Yes, plenty of children were raised without iPads. But I don’t doubt for a second that my mom would have GLADLY put a movie on in the car to keep us from screaming at each other.

Instead of blaming millennials or talking about how much they’re failing, why don’t we change the conversation? Why don’t we ask what we can do to help this generation? Why don’t we have a conversation about the areas in which millennials are struggling? Why don’t we build them up instead of constantly tearing them down? Why don’t we praise them for the passion they have for social justice, the incredible work they’re doing in tech, the push they’re making towards more sustainable, healthier lifestyles?

Give millennials a BREAK. After all, we are the result of the generation who raised us. And our parents and grandparents did a pretty good job. With or without the latest app.

52 Weekly Challenge

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On a normal weekend, you would find me eating at a new restaurant, going grocery shopping, or doing laundry. All of those things will continue but I’m adding something new. I’m getting outside with my hiking boots on.

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The Pacific Northwest has too much to offer to limit myself to only child friendly activities. Last week, I hiked for the very first time. Let me tell you: I. Was. Pathetic. I encouraged my friends to keep going but they supported me the entire way up. Y’all, it was a 3.8 mile round trip hike. The elevation was killer on this newbie, haha! Anyways, after a while, I made it! I was so proud of myself for not giving up. I realized that I would love nothing more than to do it without having to stop 8386373 times. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Hiking is such a great way to free your mind of negative energy while staying in shape. Taking my girls on trails at least once a month would benefit them so much. It would benefit their mind, body, and soul. I’m ready to see all of the green this place has to offer and to test myself physically and mentally.

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I plan on going on a new trail once a week. It doesn’t have to be challenging, I’ll save those for when the girls aren’t with me. Yesterday morning, I went on a different trail that was 3.5 miles round trip and I didn’t even break a sweat. It had everything to do with the fact that there was only 300 feet of elevation but hey, I did it!

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I’m so excited about this journey and I can’t wait to update you guys next month on how it’s going!

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P.S. If anyone lives in the PNW, what are your favorite trails?

 

A New Year, a New Word

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I tend to self-sabotage. I make a resolution and then I instantly look for ways to break it. On the first day I make excuses- I have to eat ALL the cookies so there aren’t any left to tempt me. I can’t journal tonight, I’m just SO TIRED. This year I heard a new idea- instead of choosing a resolution, you choose a word that will guide you throughout the year. This word can be posted around your house or work (or both) to be a reminder as you move through your day of the commitment you’re making to better yourself. My husband and I decided to go this route this year and, listen, it’s only January 3, but I’m loving it so far.

To find my word I made a list of the words that came to mind when I thought about what I wanted out of life. I thought about balance, of course, because that’s always something we strive for as women. I also thought about simplicity, organic (and not necessarily food), and then came back to the first word I wrote down which was “intentional”. As I thought about each area of my life that I wanted to put more effort into- food, health, family, friends, I kept coming back to moving through life with intent. I wanted to push aside this idea that I do the things I do or foster relationships that don’t need my time out of habit or a feeling of obligation. Instead I wanted to focus on why.

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Am I being intentional with my time? Am I being intentional with my words? Am I being intentional with my actions? Or am I making rash decisions in the moment that don’t have any intent behind them? Am I just going through the motions of my life without a purpose. And that’s what it comes down to. The purpose. And that’s where my husband’s word comes in.

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When I told Charlie about this idea to come up with a word we were in the car and he thought for about a minute and said his word would be “permanence”. He explained that the words you say and the actions you take, while fleeting, leave behind a permanent mark. You say something in the moment and you can’t take it back. You make an action now fueled by emotion that you can’t undo. Your words and your actions have a permanence. And this goes hand in hand with this idea of being intentional. If we’re intentional about our words and our actions, we can affect what sticks. We can’t change the fact that permanence is a thing. We can’t make that go away. We can’t say react to a situation in a way that isn’t our first choice and say, “Wait, wait!” while we chase after the person. “I didn’t mean it that way, let me try that again.” It’s gone. That moment is gone. And we can try with all our might to say the right thing next time, but those words are there, permanently. Those actions are there, permanently. We can hope to cover them up with kinder words and more gentle actions, but if we don’t move through life with intent, we won’t take that pause to consider whether or not our actions will have a positive or a negative permanence.

I know, I know, easier said than done. When our son was standing IN the dog food bowl for the 10000000th time it was hard to take that second to think about my intent and the permanence of my choices. But the point of the word is that it guides you- it doesn’t consume you. It is a reminder- not a hard and fast rule. It’s a guidepost as you go through your normal life. And hopefully it allows you to see some areas of change in your life. Hopefully, it lets you think about where you can step back and make different choices.

So what would your word be? When you examine your life, what word comes to mind that you want more of in your life? Share it with us and then post it all around your house so you’re reminded of it as you go through the motions.

I Stalk These Instagram Feeds

Instagram has taken off, tremendously. It seems like just yesterday when all of us would use the “Nashville” filter on the food we were eating at the time. It has evolved. Businesses thrive from it, celebrities communicate to their fans from it, and some people just use it instead of seeing the drama of the day on Facebook. I spend too much time on Instagram daily and I’m here to share my favorite accounts! I look at these accounts every single day to either keep me inspired or keep me in the know.

  1. FREE STUFF FINDER. If you aren’t following this, you aren’t living. This wonderful lady dedicates her time to share daily deals. Whether it be online or in store, the deals are always amazing. She shares food, clothing stores, makeup stores, home stores, etc.. If there are even amazing flight deals, she shares it! Seriously, GO FOLLOW ASAP.
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  2. The Samantha Show. I remember when Samantha was stationed at Fort Drum with her husband and she was just starting out blogging. I’ve watched her blog rise to the top over the years and it’s so impressive. She is a lifestyle/mom blogger who always tells it like it is. She is also very candid about suffering from anxiety, which I have, so it’s humbling to listen to her talk about it on her instastories. Whether it be great mom hacks, military shenanigans, or fashion, she has you covered.
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  3. Katelyn James Photography. Her Instagram immediately makes me smile. She is the one that influences me the most as a photographer and she has no idea who I am, haha! Her photography is so beautiful and she is always sharing tips via instastories or email. She makes motherhood work while also running a very successful business. #goals
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  4. Hazel and Olive. You guys have heard me talk about them often, but I swear they are my favorite clothing boutique in all of the land. I follow them mainly because they share new arrivals through their instastory, so it saves me time having to go through their website. I also follow them because I love a great fashion based feed. Tip: They share coupon codes in their instastories!
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  5. Casey Holmes. To be honest, I had no idea who she was until the makeup group at Fort Drum made a big deal about her moving there to be with her husband. But LET ME TELL YOU, she is makeup goals. She always shares her looks on her feed and you can find her tutorials on her Youtube channel for the look she shares. It’s amazing! She tells you what products she is wearing, as well. She shares what products work well and what products suck. She keeps it real!Sidenote: She also just started a fashion boutique soooooooo, there goes all of my money.
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What are your favorite instagram accounts to follow? Is there a celeb whose feed you can’t get enough of? Share with us!

When Did Just Being a Mom Stop Being Enough?

I went through all of the dream jobs when I was little- ballerina, pediatrician, journalist, ambassador in a foreign country (what, not all 10 year olds dream of that?!). But the older I got the more those dreams started to feel less like dreams and more like jobs- something I needed to do in order to make money. And when pressed I answered “teacher” on the outside and on the inside I was thinking “mom”. I never said that out loud because I wasn’t supposed to, right? I was supposed to have this magnificent career where I was changing the world. I was supposed to rise above the lot I had been given, get a college education, make everyone proud by having a fancy business card. But when I really thought about it, those prospects drained me. They left me feeling empty. Internally I knew, though it felt taboo to say, that I just wanted to be a mom.

I want my children to know that women can do or be anything. I want them to champion for women and equal pay. I want them to believe that their mom is strong and smart and capable. I want them to fight for legislation so that women have control of their own bodies. I want my son to be an example of how women should be respected and appreciated.

But I also want them to know that being a mom- JUST being a mom- is enough. If the fire inside a woman is fulfilled by raising tiny humans and maybe writing a blog every so often, than that’s ok. She’s still doing her part. She’s doing enough.

I often get asked in social situations “Do you do anything else?” when they find out that I am a stay-at-home mom. And I really don’t think there is any offense in that question- they’re being polite and making small talk. But each time I feel a twinge of self-doubt. Do I do anything else? I work part time from home to contribute to our pile of student loans. But SHOULD I be doing something else? Am I doing this wrong?

We have this idea in our heads that being a stay-at-home mom- JUST a stay-at-home mom, is archaic. That we as women have come too far to be homemakers who have dinner ready for their spouse at the end of the day. For some women, the thought of being a stay-at-home mom is unfulfilling. Working outside the home brings them joy and that is amazing! For some awesome women I know, running a business that they are passionate about fills their souls in a way that being a parent can’t. And again, THAT is amazing. But I don’t have that. I don’t have dreams of an empire. I don’t have a passion for photography or an incredible skill at event planning. Instead, being a stay-at-home mom- JUST a stay-at-home mom is enough for me. I think the fact that we have the choice- career or no career- THAT’s what feminism is.

 

Fall Essentials

So if anyone knows me, they understand that shopping for clothes is one of my absolute favorite things to do. It’s the 100% basic in me. What can ya do? I’ve been scouting for the perfect pieces for my fall wardrobe here lately, and I’ve found so much!

  1. The PERFECT riding boots and booties. I get my riding boots from Payless because I personally think they hold out the longest. I don’t normally shop at Payless, but their riding boots last me at least two fall seasons! I found these online that are similar to the ones that I wear and I totally swear by them. They can go with so much! Pair them with leggings and an oversized sweater, skinny jeans and a flannel, or even a sweater dress! You can’t go wrong!
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    picture from Payless website

    I also LOVE a good pair of booties,! And the good thing about booties, is that you can wear them year round. They can go with a cute pair of shorts and a cute top, or any of the clothing combinations above! I have a pair in camel and tan! Here is a pair that I love and are similar to the ones I own, that are from Hazel and Olive Boutique.
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  2. Jeans! You HAVE to have like a million pairs of good jeans, always. Just me? Maybe. I am really digging the ripped jeans style right now because they add so much more detail into any outfit. And can anyone else tell me why ripped jeans cost more, but use less fabric? So silly. Express makes such great jeans and so the first picture shows jeans from there and the second picture shows jeans from Shop Impressions Boutique. They have so many styles to choose from!0091_07197083_0019_f30
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  3. A good flannel! American Eagle never lets me down when it comes time to a good flannel, and lets face it, neither does Old Navy. However, I found some cute ones on Vici Dolls’ website! Flannels can go with so many things! Leggings, skinny jeans, wrapped around your waist with a tank top, or even over a good tank dress. The possibilities are endless. This is one that I love from Vici:Taryn8.14.17-93_grande
  4. A go-to Floral dress! Florals stay trendy, hands down. Hazel and Olive, Shop Impressions, and even Saved by the Dress have some BEAUTIFUL floral dresses/tops. This dress happens to be from Hazel and Olive and I have it in blue, but I’m kind of digging this color, too!IMG_0709_779e00d7-0a8d-49b3-b1a4-fbe237b99f24
  5. All the sweaters/sweater dresses. ALL OF THEM. DON’T ASK QUESTIONS. DON’T HESITATE. JUST BUY ALL THE SWEATERS. They are the most fashionable and comfortable items in my closet. Most of them are oversized for comfort purposes but I love them either way. Here are some of my favorites!
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    Vici Dolls

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    Charlotte Russe

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    Vici Dolls

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    Vici Dolls

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    Vici Dolls

  6. Lastly, utility jackets! I’m pretty sure everyone needs an army green utility coat. I have ones from Old Navy and Charlotte Russe that I love, but when I came across this one on Vici, I about died:
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    AND THIS ONE MAKES MY HEART HAPPY:

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    Shop Impressions

    What are your go-to staples for fall? I love finding versatile pieces that I can wear in many different ways so I’m not stuck with a wardrobe full of clothes I can only wear occasionally. And as a busy mom, clothes get bonus points when they are comfortable and easy.