Roy Joy Brunch Book Club

January 8, 2018

READING MORE BOOKS.

Is one of your resolutions to read more books this year? I've seen it on so many Goals lists and Resolution plans for 2018, and I am right there with you.

Since having two kids my line has been oh, I don't have time to read as much as I'd like, because you know, kids...but wow, is that a victim mindset or what? One of my goals for this year is to actually follow through and do the things I keep saying I want to do...like reading more books.

And just like going to the gym, I tend to have more success with these things when I've got a buddy. Can you relate? 

Enter - The Roy Joy Brunch Book Club

Okay, here's how it works:

  For you here in Santa Barbara, you're invited to a monthly gathering at my home where we brunch, connect, and discuss our book of the month. Don't worry, this is nothing fancy or uptight, just an opportunity to be with other women and nourish our bodies (yum brunch) and our minds (yay books).

•  For those of you who are long distance and want to join us, I'll be sending out our monthly brunch recipes and discussion questions so that you can try out the delicious brunch food at home and join the conversation here on Roy Joy! 

To kick off the year we are starting with Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. I read it back in 2012, and it's time to do it again! It's that good, I'm serious. If you haven't heard of Brené Brown, do yourself a favor and look her up. As she says: Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené shares her 10 Guideposts:

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and 
Productivity as Self-Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and "Supposed To"
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and "Always in Control"

Can I get an A M E N. 

The monthly in-person gatherings are limited to 10 women (because my house is cozy) but anyone can join us here on Roy Joy!

To jump on the Roy Joy Brunch Book Club bandwagon (say that five times fast!), head on over to the Contact page and send me a message to let me know if you're interested in joining us in person or online. You'll get an email from me with all the fun things!

Looking forward to connecting, conversing, and brunching with you all soon! xoxo

(This post contains an affiliate link - see full disclosure in the fine print on my about page. Thank you for your support!)

Make (Creative) Space

January 7, 2018

Last summer, I was racing to a meeting downtown when I saw this armoire on the side of the road. A woman had just finished having a garage sale, and this beauty hadn't sold so she dragged it out to the curb. I was probably 6 months pregnant at the time, and I remember quickly pulling over, rolling down my window and asking if I could have it. The woman was relieved to be rid of it, and I was thrilled to take it on. It had some loose planks of wood, was missing a few bottom pieces, and needed a good cleaning, but to me - it was golden. 

(I should pause to say that this is one of my superpowers - finding treasures on the side of the road. And if you're thinking it's because I live in Santa Barbara, that's not it, I promise. I've found great things in multiple cities and states - it's like I'm destined to find these things. Fun story: when we first moved to Santa Barbara I furnished our new place almost exclusively with free furnishings from Craigslist/the side of the road. But that's for another post - just know that if you're looking for something, tell me and I'll probably find it curbside.)

So this armoire, up until a week ago, was filled with my husband's extensive sheet music collection. Being a pianist/organist/musical instrument collector, let's just say he has a lot. 

But after Christmas, Matthew offered to move his sheet music so that I could finally have a space for all of the artistic/creative projects and materials. THIS HAS BEEN A GAME CHANGER. When the things you are passionate about are within reach, you will do them more. I promise!

Doing things you love = a happier life. 

Let's have 2018 be the year of creating time and space to honor our creative callings, whatever they may be!

xoxo


Dear Penny, I See You

January 4, 2018

Hey Pen,

Today I saw that look again. That one that happens when you see me holding Felix, and your face crumples a little, and your eyes look a little bit sad. Today I saw you hold your feelings, as you watched me care for your little brother.  It's okay brother, you cooed during that big diaper change. I saw you give him no less than twenty big sister hugs, and big, wet, sloppy kisses until he told you he needed his space. Remember when you made him laugh all those times today?

You are doing so well, my Pennyboo. This is so hard, all of us learning to share each other. I am impressed by your resiliency and love, especially in those frustrating times when we all wish I could be split in two. I am so proud of you!

I hope you will keep talking to me, because I love hearing what's going on in your head and heart. Oh, I did not know that! I can hear you saying these exact words, I can see your eyebrows rising, your head tilting to the side. Our conversations are truly one of the greatest joys of my life. You are a marvel, Penelope. 

This week as we navigated new potty adventures, you said to me many times mama, I'm scared. And each time, I said I know you are scared...but I also know that you are very brave.

I just want you to know, that in the midst of transition and holidays and welcoming your brother and potty training and all the craziness of life - I see you, Penny.

All my love,
Mama

2018 Mantra

January 1, 2018

....and not just when life is good. 

This is especially true when life does NOT feel good. Three days into the new year and I'm steeped in major creative inspiration, goal setting, and celebrated day 3 of 2018 by falling HARD and busting both of my knees. Right now I'm sitting on the couch, immobilized by huge ice packs and feeling determined to not let my momentary slowdown wreck my plans and diminish my bright ideas.

Channeling Brené Brown this morning and refusing to feel shame in slowing down, not going to the gym, ordering takeout, and leaning hard on my husband.

We will experience challenges, hardships, adversity, and crappy days. We will fail, fall hard (literally and figuratively), and get off track. For me, this happened on day 3 of my fantastic, magical new year. But now it's about how I will choose to feel (no shame, no panic, but gratitude and focus) and icing my busted knees. (Hobbling) Onward!
Do you select a word or quote to guide you each new year? Please share! Let's get this inspiration train going. xoxo

Losing Your Cool

December 6, 2017

"Don't ever let me go to another mom's night! It's like a prisoner being set free for one day, then being sent back to prison for the next 20 years! I don't need to see how bright the colors are! I don't need to see how great the food tastes! It just makes it worse!"

Okay, friends, here's a truly embarrassing confession: I actually said those words. In the kitchen, to my bewildered husband, while holding a cup of cold coffee. I had gone out a couple nights before with the moms from Penelope's preschool, and enjoyed an evening of eating and drinking at my own pace, enjoying conversation, and laughing a lot. I felt more alive, free, and myself than I had in weeks. It was glorious. The following two days had proven to be the exact opposite - two sick kids, major behavioral issues, no sleep, extra stress - and too many cups of cold coffee.

These embarrassingly melodramatic words spilled out of me, and I just lost my cool.

. . . . .

"But how am I supposed to put him down when you are screaming? I cannot do both! I cannot be everything for both of you at once!"

I stomped down the hall and yelled these words towards my daughter's open bedroom door. It was my first night handling bedtime alone with an infant and toddler, and both kids were melting down. Penelope was screaming for me to lie down with her, Felix was screaming to be fed and put in bed, and I just lost it. My voice quavered and I felt the hysterical tears rising in my throat. Why can't I make them understand?! Why do I have to do this alone?! There are few things worse than looking down at your daughter, who's face is filled with anguish and exhaustion, and seeing how your freakout has shaken her. I hated myself in that moment. When Felix was finally settled, I went back in to Penelope's room to find that she had fallen asleep on her own. I laid down and spooned her for awhile, whispering my too-late apologies for how the evening had gone.

. . . . .

"There is no relief. There is no rest. I thought it couldn't get worse. And it did."

Standing at the butcher block table in the middle of our kitchen, my voice shook with a desperate, exhausted energy. My top knot had half fallen out and I felt like I had reached a new low. Was it really all supposed to be this hard? Was I really supposed to feel this alone? Would my husband ever understand this feeling? An hour before, I had finally left the house on my own, to salvage my sanity and exist exclusively as a single, adult female - only to have an unpleasant and stressful encounter at the grocery store, which left me feeling even more emotionally bankrupt than before.

Again, I heard myself make these melodramatic proclamations and wondered if this was going to become routine. Would I ever feel better?

. . . . . 

"I will not let you hit me. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY." 

It was preschool pickup, and Penelope had just slapped me in the face for the first time ever. As we were leaving, she kept asking to play with one of the toy cars before we left - something I knew would be extremely difficult to pull her away from, especially with me holding Felix in the carseat. I used my usual tactics - I would love to see her playing with the car, and we will make special time for it next school day - scooped her up, and headed towards the car. The ensuing meltdown was the worst on record. She looked me in the eyes and screamed the loudest screams I have ever heard. They were so intense, the noise of her fury brought tears to my eyes. I took a deep breath and calmly repeated what we were doing. And then she slapped me in the face. I set her down in the car, closed the door, and let her scream until she was done. I stood outside, leaning on the car and trying not to cry.

"Mama, I'm ready to talk about it, I'm ready for huggies..." On the way home, we did talk about it - even as a deliriously rage-filled toddler, her communication afterwards was stellar - but I couldn't shake my dislike for my child for the rest of the day. I felt stupid for how hurt I was that she had treated me that way. I know toddlers are meant to test limits, and I know Penelope's behavior is not unheard of, but I found myself coming to terms with the reality that I had been carrying around (somewhere in my head) the belief that my daughter would not do that. I felt heartbroken.

. . . . .

Over the course of the past week or so, I've lost my cool approximately a thousand times.

I have felt like a bad mom, a lot. I have felt like a bad wife, a lot. I have not done the requisite ab exercises to heal my diastasis recti, nor have I done the adequate number of high intensity workouts to get rid of my excess baby weight. I tried eating Paleo for two days and then promptly quit because drinking coffee without half & half just won't work for me in these trying times.

I've lost my cool a lot.

I think even in the best of times being a parent can be challenging. And call me overly sensitive, but damn, if the state of the world doesn't make it that much harder to stay positive and hopeful and have the energy to stay calm while your toddler is behaving like a monster or your baby is howling like a rabid gibbon - it just adds to the weight of it all.

This is not a story about a thirty two year old woman who had a bad week but she perseveres, thus learning the secret to keeping her cool and finding her bliss and losing the baby weight. No, this is the story of a woman who survived her hellish week and doesn't really know how the next one is going to go so maybe we should just make some cookies?

. . . . . 

Dear reader: if you are losing your cool, or are feeling like a bad _______, or are generally feeling at the end of your rope - you are not alone. (Insert emoji of me waving.)

I see you, exhausted and unshowered;
I hear your frantic, freaked-out bargaining with God;
I stand with you in your Paleo-desertion and your lack of cardio;
I send you calm and strength in the midst of your emotional tornado;
and I want you to know: you will be okay.

xoxo