Being Too Hard on Myself

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lately I've been extremely hard on myself. I've always been my own worst critic. I feel like I've lived a super happy, drama-free summer and therefore have eaten all of the eats and drank of the dranks and now am out of shape and chubby. And it makes me sad. I've been trying really hard to be body positive, give myself a break (like - girl, you'll get there, chill!) but it isn't working and then I eat all the chips and all the salsa and I don't deal. I'm a non-dealer. When things bug me or hurt me, I run to aversion tendencies and shove the bad feeling deep down and do something else to distract myself.

And it's really only when I'm alone or snag a glimpse of my body before I get into the shower, or try to pull on any "real" clothes (ie. non-athletic or sleeping clothes).  I've had a GREAT summer and I've been trying so hard to not let my fear of my body prevent me from enjoying life and taking pictures and just celebrating goodness with my friends and girls all summer.

I know I've come a long way since my divorce. I've pushed through, focused on work and my girls. I've reinvested in previous lost or dwindled friendships. I've maintained life goals and paid off debt and am in the process of buying a home for me and the girls - I've been successful! I've been good! But then I stress myself out and get down on myself for still being single and that no one will love me at my current size, especially if I can't love myself and I'll just be chubby and single forever. And then I get sad.

I know I'm being too hard on myself, but just wanted to share. You ever have those days, weeks, months? You know things are good, are ok ... but you're still expecting so much more from yourself?

Keeping Portland Weird

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sometimes you have to do stuff for you, mom. Recently I traveled to Portland on a pre-planned trip with a good friend. We wanted to go somewhere we both had neither been before and since I had a friend in the Portland area - we picked there! And wouldn't you know it - the area had 99% totality for the eclipse that hit the United States and although the entire Oregon area was packed and crazy busy - since we booked way in advance we were able to snag a deal on a car and an Airbnb rental without getting into the crazy rate skyrocketing!

Eclipsing with 99% totality
We flew into Portland on a Saturday and went straight to the little "downtown" area and met up with my travel partner's local friends for a drink and dinner. We settled at North 45 and ate outdoors in their patio area, enjoying some happy hour drinks and yummy burgers and IPA beer! It was fun meeting some locals and learning about their favorite parts of Portland and what they did for fun during the week!

Yummy burger, rosemary garlic fries and local organic ketchup from North 45
After dinner we made our way to some local thrift stores to peruse (because I thrift everywhere!) and then headed to the suburbs where we were staying with my friend and her family for the weekend.

While in the burbs, we did so much! Brunched at Pine State Biscuits - holy hannah it was amazing and well worth the wait!! Then we headed to Council Crest Park for some mountain viewing. It's an amazing little area where you can view all of the big mountains that surround the Portland area including Mount St. Helens, Mt Hood, Mt Rainier, Mt Jefferson and Mt Adams. It's pretty breathtaking - even on a slightly foggy day that we had.

Amazing biscuits and gravy at Pine State Biscuits
Views at Council Crest Park
Then we headed to the Nike employee store. Nike is based in Beaverton, OR and my friend works for their corporate office. We were able to get passes into the store and get some great deals on some Nike swag! Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a wine flight at a local winery, Rex Hill. Nestled on a hill, it had amazing views of the vineyard, and surrounding area. We were blessed with warm sunshine and enjoyed their rose and select pinot noirs. Then grabbed some food and were totally cashed for the night.

Enjoying some rose all day!
Monday was the big eclipse day! People were asked not to drive and so we stuck around my friend's house and shared their glasses to snag some glimpses of the sun - it was surreal moreso to see how eery the atmosphere was (dark, animals quiet, etc.) and watch everyone in her complex sitting outside in their glasses looking up. Was kinda like a sci-fi movie! But such a unique experience and once the eclipse was over my buddy and I headed into the city of Portland for our touristy stuff.

We snagged some donuts at Voodoo Donuts - what a unique place (that had a line at 11 am on a Tuesday!) with some yummy treats! Then enjoyed lunch and a drink at Pints brewery where I had a salad, free fries and an IPA! Clearly I like IPAs :) I had the Awesome Sauce New England Style IPA and it was delicious! Then we got to walking and made our way to the famous Powell's Book store and it did not disappoint! It's the world's largest independent book store and sells new and used books. To say it's massive is an understatement. It's gigantic with colored neighborhoods featuring every single genre of book you could imagine. I snagged the twins two books - a Curious George selection and Sisters ( a cute book about two sister who love each other but are different!). I also picked up an Oregon sticker for my macbook and a used fiction novel for myself! We finished out the day by checking into our Airbnb a few miles from the downtown area, relaxed for a bit and the ventured out for dinner at Kelly's Olympian which is a garage style themed bar/restaurant with motorcycles dangling from the ceiling and local brews on tap.
Standing in line at Voodoo!

Kelly's Olympian bar
We were pretty wiped after dinner and had an early night in (plus we were living 2 hours ahead of the time we normally live sooooo we were pooped!). On our final full day we planned to get up early and get naturistic. We drove to Multnomah Falls, a beautiful waterfall snuggled into the ultra high cliffs right off the interstate. You can walk up the the falls, over a bridge and then up to the very very top of the falls. It's great for a hike, people watching, and just enjoying some peaceful parts of nature. After the falls we headed back into Portland for lunch where we walked up and down the Nob Hill area checking out the shops and finally settling for lunch at the Fireside. And because I HAD to - I snagged a cone from Salt & Straw on our way out of the neighbor hood. I indulged on honey lavender ice cream with a second scoop of strawberry balsamic and black pepper. It was heavenly.

Enjoying the Multnomah Falls

Brunch at Fireside restaurant
Since we were up early that morning adventuring, we decided to go back to the Airbnb and do our own thing for the early afternoon. I went thrifting :) And then when I got back we had our last Portland meal at Bamboo sushi which was less than a mile from our stay. It was delicious but spicy! I had some tempura avocado which was an interesting taste and gosh their rolls were nommmmms. Then back to the Airbnb to pack and relax - and dread our super early morning wake up to catch our 8 am flight back to reality.

Overall it was a terrific trip - I would recommend Portland to ANYONE! The weather was great in the summer - warm but not humid. There's so much to do and it's such a free , unique place to adventure all of the areas the city has to offer. There's enough to do for 48 hours in PDX or up to a week in the area. PLUS the food and the beer is to die for!! Fantastic!

Single Mom Adventures: Road Trip Tips with Toddlers

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Since the girls and I went on our 7+ hour road trip last month, I thought I’d share some of my tips to keep your parental sanity in tact, the kiddos happy and family adventures continuing. Road tripping with little people, especially when driving solo (like no other adult) can be stressful! You’re trying to pay attention to the traffic, the directions, have people demanding things from you (juice! Movie! Snacks!) … plus it’s just a super long drive.

First things first - know where you’re going. I used to map out my drive and take a look at about how long it would take to get there, which areas we’d drive through, and get a general idea of things that we’d find along our drive. The site is neat because you can see restaurants, points of interest, gas stations, places to stay, etc. all along your preferred route. I was able to find a route that didn’t tack on too much time to our trip, and allowed us to pit stop in a fun place with lots of stuff to do - even if it was a short stop mid-trip!

Another big thing is to just know your kids. You know what they can tolerate and what they can’t. What snacks they like, movies, etc. I packed some snack favorites, made sure my potty-training daughters were wearing a pull up on the long drive, had their favorite movies and some new toys for them to fiddle around with. It wasn’t perfect, I won’t lie. The last 1.5 hour of the trip was trying. They were over it, I was over and we just wanted to all get out and stretch our legs. I did have to resort to my final-final bribe and that’s handing a cell phone over to them to watch Netflix. But that’s my last resort and I only had to use it once for about 30 minutes.

Pack a go-to back. I used a Thirty One brand organizing tote and made sure to have wipes, extra clothes for the girls, my wallet, snacks, etc. in the front seat with me. It was nice having everything at arms reach and when we did make a pit stop I just slung the bag over my shoulder for whatever adventure we went on.

Plan a stop … or several. Using, I did plan a “bigger” stop mid-way through our drive which from Chicago to northern MN put us in Wisconsin Dells. The Dells is a mega-resort area with TONS of family stuff to do. It was a perfect place for us to find some entertainment, stretch our legs and grab some food and then get back on the road. In the Dells we visited the Wisconsin Deer Park. It’s a park that has “tame” deer that roam around the property which you can feed from your hand! There are also goats, chickens, elk and tons of other animals too. It was the perfect toddler activity because they could interact with the animals, walk around, have lots to see.

Getting our wiggles out on our stop at the Dells!
And that put me at my final tip - plan nap time. Toddlers still need lots of sleep. And I knew that my kiddos could stay up and entertained for the first leg of the trip. So if we could make it to the Dells, do our activity and grab lunch, then by the time we hit our road again they’d be primed up for a snooze fest. And I was right! They zonked out for about an hour which was peace and quiet time for mom and much needed rest for the kiddos.

What are your favorite road trip tips with kids? I’d love to hear them!