Nature Explorers

IMG_9486.JPG

We love our time at home. Just the 4 of us, day to day, enjoying our rhythm. But it's incredibly important to me to be able to connect with other mamas, spend time with other children, experience all the things that go with that. We're homebodies, this little family of mine, but sharing an afternoon with new personalities is something that can't be left out.

With that, I'm gathering families of little ones, big, ones, every one in between to spend an afternoon watching our children explore in the wild, making new connections, and learning from each other. I would love the opportunity to meet some readers in person! If you're interested, take a look and RSVP on Facebook HERE. I hope to be able to make this gathering a regular thing, in addition to gathering mamas to meet in spaces without children. 

There's only us, there's only this

IMG_9930.JPG
IMG_9934.JPG

It's nearly Fall. And while the thermostat has barely budged from Summer and the thought of pumpkin flavored anything makes me want to roll my eyes, there's something to be said for the changing of the seasons. 

The crispness isn't there but I can feel something in the air. Some winds of change, of rebirth, of beginning. A feeling of hopefulness and lightness and freedom. Fall has always been my favorite. Growing up in Ohio I had the pleasure of experiencing every season at it's fullest. While that meant suffering through the bitter cold of winter and the hot muggy and buggy summers, it also meant sauntering through Autumn. Walking down the street with the crunch crunch crunch of freshly fallen leaves under my feet. Jumping in leaf piles every other day, apple picking and apple-anything baking with my favorite people, hayrides, haunted houses, the never-ending search for the perfect Halloween costume. Driving through the neighborhood at night with my face pressed up against the window, my breath condensing on the glass, admiring the creative and not-so-creative jack-o-lantern designs. Watching my mom pick out the perfect combination of mums for the front steps.

The other seasons may come with their own special anticipation, nothing for me rivals that of welcoming fall. Being in Southern California means I may miss out on most of my favorite parts of this season, but it still comes with a feeling of change. Since becoming a mother, I let myself believe that I'd been robbed of something. My youth, my 20s, an identity without the word 'mom' in it. I've been on a journey of self-discovery trying to find that person I thought I had lost. Figure out who I am and what I want and where I go from here. But I am here. I am a mother. I am a wife. And none of that makes me any less of 'Brianna'. My identity is forever tied to the three little people I share a home with and to try and separate myself from them would be lunacy. There is no me without them - not anymore. There was, at one point. And while that period of my life was short-lived, there's no going back, no changing it, no re-dos. There's just this. There's life. To quote the soundtrack that I had blasting in my bedroom in high school, belting at the top of my lungs (although, in retrospect, probably not completely appropriate for a young girl at that age)

There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss

No other road
No other way
No day but today

IMG_9902.JPG
IMG_9905.JPG

So while it's nice to reminisce and sometimes think what would have or could have been, this is it. This is what I have to work with. This is life. There's only this. So work with it, accept it, love it, and live it. Things change, we evolve, but being a mother isn't something that will be deleted from my resume. The change comes from embracing it. Embracing my age, my place in life, without apologies or explanations, and honoring the role of motherhood.

The White Tee

IMG_9965.jpg

A while ago I spilled coffee on my one white t-shirt. It was about 5 years old from the GAP and honestly I think it was a friend's that either got left at my place or I borrowed and never returned or something. Either way, I've never purchased a plain white tee. So when I spilled coffee on it and couldn't get out the stain, I had no idea where to look for a replacement. 

The white tee is like the backbone of my wardrobe. White tee, jeans, sandals, hat. It's the quintessential 'Bri' outfit. But in recent years I've been increasingly conscious about where I spent my money and energy and what companies I support. I knew that I wasn't about to head back to the GAP to get a replacement so I spent a few days researching, asking around, and checking out some new sites for the perfect white t-shirt. 

IMG_0033.jpg
IMG_0021.jpg

Before I spill the beans on where I ended up getting mine from, here are the guidelines I was working with:

1. The perfect length. Not too long, not too short. It has to look good both tucked and untucked with a little bit of breathing room but not like I'm wearing a tunic.

2. Heft. I don't like super heavy tees but it also can't be so thin that it shows my bra. I'm still working with mostly maternity/nursing bras these days just because I haven't gotten around to updating my underthings, and those are pretty hefty so the tee has to cover up the unmentionables. 

3. Neckline. I love a good v-neck and that was what my previous white tee was. I could have gone with something a little different but too high on the neck really bothers me and too low doesn't do the job of covering those really cute nursing bras I mentioned earlier.

4. Fit. I like a little bit of wiggle room but not so much that I'm swimming in it. I'm a slender person, incredibly flat-chested, so the whole baggy trend doesn't really jive with my body type. I can pull it off on some days when I'm feelin' it, but for a basic white t-shirt, it needs to be, well, basic.

IMG_9972.JPG
IMG_0024.jpg

And the winner is ...

EVERLANE

I actually have a couple tops from Everlane but never went in on the basic v-neck. It's hard to buy basics, ya know? They're - basic. So spending money on them as opposed to something a little more exciting for some reason is difficult for me. But with Everlane's $15 price point and transparent pricing I was sold. I actually bought 2.


Your Symphony

IMG_9945.JPG

I'm craving quiet, calm, peace. A season where my days aren't filled with lists, checkmarks and errands. I find myself in-between two spaces often: the go go go mama and entrepreneur. Working every extra minute, rushing off to events and meetings. And then the quiet at home mama and wife easily entertained by a good book, a relaxing afternoon at the beach. This summer has been the former. I've been rushed, I've been stretched and I've grown a lot. But right now I'm craving the latter. I want to slowly watch my days unfold and let the wind take us where it wishes. I want to sit with William for 20 minutes looking for dolphins in the ocean and never feel a minute of anxiousness about an errand we have scheduled or work I need to do.

I'm bombarded daily with the concept of balance. How to juggle work & life, how to balance motherhood and being an entrepreneur, how to keep your cool when your days are full but you're an introvert. I was recently asked to write a piece about balancing and I nearly snorted into my second cup of coffee.

There is no balance between work and life. They're one in the same. To separate them would be impossible. Work is work, family is family, leisure is leisure. Seems pretty cut and dry. But all of these things are not mutually exclusive. Even if you leave the house to work from 9-5 every weekday you cannot possibly completely separate what you do at work from what you do while you're at home. 

I like to think of it as more of a beautiful song. Full of melody and harmonies - a full orchestra playing each and every part. The instruments are the pieces of your life that you weave together: your work, your family, your hopes, dreams, planting a garden, playing softball, dinners with friends, daily runs. Sometimes the music of life sounds like a high school orchestra. Thin, full of mistakes, but generally in the right place. Other times a few of the instruments forget to show up and it ends up being a duet. And a few glorious moments where everything is perfectly in sync your life is the most professional symphony; intricate phrases coming together seamlessly, crescendos, movements all vibrating to their highest frequency to create something so beautiful it makes you stop and think and you're filled with the most intense feeling of gratitude for how thankful you are to be living this one life.

IMG_9928.JPG

That's what balance is. Right now, I'm giving a few players the night off. Today's schedule calls for a simple duet or maybe quartet. Nothing fancy, an easy to follow piece of music, simple enough for a child to understand but beautiful enough for even the most learned musician to appreciate. In time, the music of my life will change. More instruments will again fill the concert hall, some still needing some practice, some out of tune, others pure perfection and the tune will sound quite different. 

The trick is to be OK with whatever your music sounds like in this moment of time. And to know, always know, that there will be a shift. It may be a longer movement at the elementary level, but at some point, your players will become more professional-sounding, your music will change, adjust, and you'll find yourself in a beautiful concerto and, once again, a few players will call in sick or quit or be late to the concert and you'll feel like you're flat or sharp or just not in sync. But knowing there's something else right around the corner; another season, another phrase, is the secret to loving every note of your song.

 

*did i get a little heavy with the metaphor there? clearly i'm craving some music right now!*

Unforgettable

WHDenver67.jpg

One of my biggest fears is being forgotten. Being so un-memorable that I couldn't be recognized in a crowd or even a small group. 

In high school, I had friends. I considered the people I spent my time with my friends. But once we all graduated and headed off to college it seemed that our views on friendships were skewed. I considered them my friends, but the feelings weren't reciprocated. To this day I can't tell you the reason. I've come up with countless ideas for why my only friends suddenly abandoned me, forgot about me, ignored me. It wasn't just growing apart with age and experience. I tried. I would call, text, email, no response. After a few years of trying to keep in touch and being met with crickets I stopped.

I stopped with them but I also stopped with making new friends, meeting new people. I got so good at not making friends that I became my worst fear. I became forgettable. Just by being afraid of rejection again, I created a persona for myself, a routine for myself, that allowed me to be so forgettable that I couldn't be rejected; because I never let anyone get that close.

It helped having young children and moving around the country so much. It was easy to chalk it up to that. But it wasn't that. It was my fear of rejection, my fear of getting hurt, lost, forgotten. 

About a year ago I hopped on a plane with no idea what I was walking in to. I honestly to this day can't understand what made me get on that plane for a weekend-long retreat called Wild Hearts Weekend in Denver. I decided for that weekend, for those few days in a strange city with a bunch of strangers, I would let them see me. I would open myself up just a little bit for connection that I had previously cut myself off from. Just a little bit. 

After day 2 these strangers in Denver cracked me wide open and I let them all in. All the way in. I let them see me in a way I hadn't let anyone see me since I met my husband. I let them remember me, I kept in touch, and they reciprocated. It was like a whole new world. Even though these women flew off to different parts of the country after knocking off my hard exterior, they didn't forget me, because I had allowed myself to be unforgettable. 

Over the course of the past year I've been slowly letting more people in. Letting more people see me, not hiding at events, the park, while waiting in line. I've made it a fun new game to meet as many new people as I can. Not for the sake of making tons of friends but for the sake of practice. The more times I let someone see me, the better I'd be at opening up when I met someone I truly wanted to develop a friendship with. And it's worked. I spent the last few days at Yellow Conference meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends (some of the ones I made in Denver!), but what was most surprising was the number of people who walked up to me already knowing who I was. Not because we had already made a connection, because we were already friends, but because they had seen me before at some event or another or even in an online space, and I had allowed myself to be seen, and they remembered. At least 15 people over the last few days remembered me. Made me feel seen and loved and worthy of their time and energy and space. 

I will always be an introvert. I'll always need to recharge alone, in my home, away from people. I'll always need space to regroup and gather my thoughts and emotions. But I also now know that I need friendships. For the first time in nearly a decade, I have friends. True friends that know me and love me and for once it's not a one-sided thing. And what's more: I'm not done. I've learned how to create and cultivate friendships and meaningful relationships with people. I've learned how to let someone in, let myself be seen, and remembered. And I've learned how to mindfully keep in touch with someone I want to be better friends with. Making friends as an adult is already hard, but once I had turned off that switch for fear of being rejected and forgotten, it was impossible. But all because one night in a hot hotel room in Denver, Colorado where I let myself be seen *just a little bit*, I can say I truly have friendships that will last.