Saturday, February 13, 2016

Why I'm Ready to Say Goodbye to my Twenties

Well, well, well...

My 30th birthday is on Monday and I have to say, I can't wait to officially say goodbye to my twenties. If you sit down and really think about it, it's actually pretty nuts how much life change happens within a short, 10 year span.

If you choose to go to college as I did, you drink like a total lush at the age of 20, you know, just preparing your liver for turning 21.  And partly due to the rush of using a fake ID. My false identity was a girl named Misty. She looked like a crack hoe and I was actually offended everytime my fake ID worked.

By the time you turn 21, you deem yourself a drinking expert. You drink shit that's on fire, you throw back shots that literally put hair on your back, wondering why you end up vomiting in the dirty bar bathroom by the end of the night. I mean, you're 21 after all. You should be able to handle this. 

Meanwhile, you're supposed to study harder than you ever have in your life.  On limited brain cells, mind you.  You're expected to get up at the crack of dawn, and by crack of dawn, I mean 10:00 am college time.  You attend class reeking of beer, lucky if you remembered to put a bra on under your oversized Delta Delta Delta hoodie.

You decide what you want to do with your entire life in your early twenties over a $5 pitcher of beer. Then you pay tens of thousands of dollars working toward a degree in a field you've never worked a day in.

At 22, you graduate.That's if you don't end up on the 6 year plan.  Me, I somehow by the grace of God got out in 4 years.  To demonstrate how immature someone can be at 22, I'll use myself as an example. I pulled several fire alarms my senior year of college and almost got kicked out of school 6 weeks before graduation.  At the age of 22.

6 short years later, I'd go on to have my own child.  Bless her heart. 

At 23, you attempt to move out of your totally free parents house to live this pretend adult life that you know absolutely nothing about.  You learn how expensive groceries are.  I mean, $2 for a head of lettuce?!?! (As you have a $12 case of Natty Light in your cart. A 30 pack, mind you).  Priorities people.

You take the first job you can get just to pay your water bill. Just like that, you take off into the great big world of adulthood.

You try to maintain your tolerance for liquor and quickly realize that careers and hangovers do not mesh. But you do it anyway. You frequently battle those challenging questions....whiskey, or electricity?

Eh, whiskey.

A few years later you decide It's time to marry your college sweetheart.  I mean, he's hung around thru your drunk shenanigans for like, 4 years now.  He must be the one, right?

You make the biggest decision of your life, at the age of 25.  25, people!  Let that sit for a minute.

You begin to plan your wedding, mostly broke, just beginning to feel the pang of student loan debt.  Now, why did I go to college? 

If you're a sinner like me, you went ahead and moved in with your future husband.  While researching wedding venues, you start to see what this soulmate is really like 24 hours a day.  You quickly realize he doesn't appear to know how to do dishes or wipe off his beard trimmings from your bathroom counter.  You decide to marry him anyway.

As you lay out the budget for your twenty something wedding, you prioritize the open bar. Screw the flowers, we need more wine.

Oh, and you've moved onto wine now.  That makes you feel more like an adult.  You begin to carry around your wine glass at events, pretending you're so much more mature than those younger girls. Meanwhile, you're drinking your cheap wine out of a plastic Harpo's cup at home, in your tiny Westport apartment. 

You quickly learn what a wine hangover feels like and think about turning back.

But you persevere, and by your late twenties, you're a total wino. You realize people don't judge you for drinking an entire bottle of wine the same way they did when you took one too many shots.  No one takes shots of vodka at play dates, but wine.  Oh yes.  

By 28, your body changes.  Those bottles of wine you polish off on a Friday night still linger with you come Sunday afternoon.  You and your non dish cleaning husband decide it's time to take 9 months off and you get pregnant.

You realize how incredible it is to not be hungover every weekend. You're body begins to do things it's never done before.  It later hangs in places it never hung before.  But more importantly, your heart grows in a way it's never grown before.

In your late twenties, you become a mom.  Yet another life changing experience.  This one though, is the best one yet.

Then just like that, your chasing around your beautiful little toddler at the age of 29.  That little toddler reminds you of yourself.  Fiercely independent, dimples for days and one hot temper.

You find yourself hoping she experiences all that your twenties held for you.  You hope she goes go to college and makes it out in 4 years.  You hope she forms the bonds you did over $5 pitchers of beer, those friendships that last a lifetime.  You secretly hope she pulls a few fire alarms.  Hey, you can learn a lot by a night spent in jail. The girls that  bail you out will be your bridesmaids a few short years later.

You hope she feels the independence of paying her own way, even if it means she has to ask you for money a few times.  You hope she finds a career that ignites her.  That challenges her.  A career she's proud of.

You hope she finds a man that's just like her daddy.  Strong, handsome and humble.  A man that will wait patiently while she finds herself.  A man that will bail her out of jail.  A man that will tame her in the best way possible.

And most of all, you hope she experiences the selfless, life changing love of becoming a mother.

Sayonara, twenties.

You did me good.  

Real good.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Proud to be #thatmom

What the hell does that even mean?? Well, apparently it's a thing.

I ran into an old friend the other day who recently became a mommy. I told her how much I LOVE all the baby spam of her sweet newborn. I encouraged her to post more (because who doesn't love a squishy baby spam filled IG feed?).  She told me she was trying not to overdue it because she didn't want to be that mom

I'm sorry, what? 

That mom.

Like it's disgusting to be crazy madly in love with your new baby and spam all your social media accounts with photos of the child you grew inside your womb.

You know what's disgusting?

Honey Boo Boo.

A morbidly obese family running around with their fupa's hanging out and having affairs with their kids.

Society loves that family and they sure as hell aren't embarrassed to share their trashiness all over national television. 

But some new momma's are afraid to share too many pictures on social media of their precious new baby?? All out of fear of being labeled that mom. What the hell is wrong with this picture??

If people would rather see the latest photos of Honey Boo Boo chowing down on a cheeseburger rather than see your adorable baby photos than that's on them. 

Not you, new mommy.

You continue to take hundreds of pictures a day of your sweet little baby; sleeping, eating, smiling, drooling and sleeping some more. And while your at it, throw in some videos too, as many as you damn well please. 

And you post these pictures. You post them all damn day long if you want. Wear the title "that mom," loud and proud. 

Because listen, I'd much rather see photos of your precious angel than read about the Duggar brother molesting  his little sister. 

And quite frankly, society should too. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Favorite 15 of '15

There's just something I totally dig about the beginning of January.  

It feels....fresh.  

A time to reflect.

2015 was a year I'm ok with saying goodbye to.
If I had to choose one word to describe 2015, it'd be challenging.

In January we made the excruciating decision to sell our little lake home. 
We listed in March.
Sold in April.
Moved in with my parents in May.
Moved into our new home mid renovation, in June.
I started a new job (same company) in June.
The latter part of 2015 was spent learning how to parent a very feisty, very active toddler.

The same things that made 2015 challenging are the same reasons I loved 2015.

While it hasn't been easy, I know without a shadow of a doubt that we found the right home for us. It's dusty, definitely dated and a little rough around the edges but it's ours. 
It will be the home we'll raise our family in. 
We know we're exactly where we're supposed to be and that's a pretty amazing feeling, half painted walls and all. We're less than 15 minutes from family, over 3 acres of land and most importantly, lots of extra bedrooms to grow into. 

My new job.
It's been one of the hardest things I've taken on professionally throughout my entire career, by a landslide. However, I get goosebumps at the ground we are making as a team, every single week.  
I am proud of what we're building.
I am proud of the team I've put together.
Tears and all, I'd make this leap of faith all over again given the chance.
I can't wait to see what we accomplish in 2016!

2015.  I'll always remember this as the year Lara grew into a very independent, albeit absolutely adorable little girl.  
A little girl who can talk scream, eat her own food throw her own food and tell Mommy bye bye when she leaves for school.  It's absolutely amazing to watch your baby turn into a toddler however I was not prepared for how fast that would happen!  If I could, I'd turn back time and cherish the baby snuggles for a few more months. Jon and I continue to be blown away at her beauty, at her level of understanding and of course, her fiercely independent personality.  She won't even let me rock her to sleep these days!!  Last week I dropped her off at school and instead of hysterics, she literally blew me a kiss, waved bye bye and turned around and walked off.  I'll admit.  I cried as I walked out to my car.  It's such a bittersweet feeling watching your baby grow up....and the minute I think i'm good with it, my heart aches at how quickly she's changing.  

Now, without further are my favorite 15 actually 18 because I couldn't narrow it down any further photos of 2015!

Her first time riding like a big girl in the cart, January 2015

6 month checkup, Feb 2015

Her first time in her big girl stroller without her carseat!  March 2015

Saint Patrick's Day, 2015.  She had to wear pink because she crapped all over her green!

8 months old, April 2015

Our Monkeys First Swim Class, Spring 2015

Duck Hunting, Spring 2015

Easter 2015

This photo will always be sentimental to me as it was one of MANY photos Lara's daycare teachers sent me after I returned to work after maternity leave.  These photos will ALWAYS be SO DEAR to me as they kept me going everyday while at work.

Our last photo in our Home Sweet Lake Home. May 2015

Renovating with a toddler, not an easy feat!  Summer 2015

Her very first BIG GIRL ponytail!

Lara's 1st day in the toddler room!  I remember her looking SO GROWN UP to me that morning!!

August 15th, Lara's 1st birthday!!

Her 1st Birthday Party Dress--My wedding dress belt was attached. 

Halloween 2015--The Smore Family!

Her first big girl picture day at school!!

Our little beauty!  Christmas 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Xenos Holiday Card!

Well well well, my favorite part of Christmas.  HOLIDAY CARDS!!  Every year I try to come up with a shot that will hopefully bring a smile to everyone's face when they open it.  While I love me a beautiful, professional shot gallivanting over the hillside, caressing my husband's cheek...there's just something about a true, candid shot taken right there in your own living room that just get me everytime.

#RealLife at it's finest.  

And I have to say, our 2015 cards may be my favorite yet!

Is my husband a champ or WHAT?!?!  
I'm still laughing over this one and I hope you all are as well. ;)

Now, onto the professional shots.  My brother was in town from North Carolina for the Thanksgiving holiday so we decided to get some family photos taken.  I have to say, I am in LOVE with the photos from this session!  We booked the oh so fabulous Kelsey Kimberlin, who has taken our family photos since Lara was born.  She did NOT disappoint!  


These photos I'll cherish forever.

Merry Christmas Eve!!
Don't let yourself get so busy you forget what this wonderful holiday is all about.
Unplug & take time to cherish every moment with those you love!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Full Belly, Full Heart

I don't know about y'all, but I am BEAT.  It's been a WHIRLWIND of a week.  I took the entire week off and enjoyed every single second of it!  It was such an amazing feeling to wake up every morning, knowing I'd get to hang with my daughter all. day. long.

My older brother, his wife & their two young boys flew into Kansas City early Sunday morning.  I haven't seen them in almost two years, so the week was spent catching up and best of all, watching our kiddos interact with each other for the first time.  

I am the youngest of three, and I was cursed blessed with having two OLDER brothers.  Just when I finally think we've gotten over the hump of being the teased little sister, they prove me wrong.  In their eyes, I'm still an 8 year old running around with my dolly. We still fight like we're teenagers, but hey, they're family.  And I kinda love 'em. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family on Thursday and spent the weekend celebrating with Jon's side.  My mother in law is a caterer, total SCORE.  We always like to mix it up with Jon's side of the family with regard to the menu, and this Thanksgiving was FULL of meat.  We had deer.  We had two different flavors of ribs.  We had lamb. We had pork tenderloin.  

After we recovered from our meat coma, we ran out for a quick trip to the Christmas tree farm and got our tree up and decorated later that day.  It was a WET weekend here in Kansas City so we didn't get out much and while I tend to go stir crazy, I actually loved being rained in with the family.  After the bustle of the week, it was nice to wind down in our home.  

I just put away the 500 5 boxes of Christmas Tupperware after I hung the final light on the 5th Christmas tree, don't judge me.  Jon ran out to pick up some take out, so I have a few minutes of quiet to just reflect on being THANKFUL.  I love this time of year as it's  gentle reminder to STOP, even when you feel like you are go-go-go, and remember what this season is all about....

It's a chance to take some extra time off work and just BE.  Be with those you love, making MEMORIES that will last a lifetime.

This afternoon, after everyone had left our home, my little family sat on our kitchen floor devouring sugar cookies.  Cookies were everywhere, but so was LOVE.  It was a moment that I'll remember forever....

Those moments, THOSE are what I'm thankful for.  

Thanks for allowing me to share some of these moments with YOU.  I am so thankful for the friendships I've made with so many of you ladies all across the United States.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend surrounded by those you love most, making memories that you'll treasure forever.