Monday, April 30, 2012

a conflicted heart

My heart is so conflicted.

Sunday morning we started our day with a Skype call to a pair of our fellow Becker siblings and their two gorgeous girls. Seeing them made me miss them- made me miss living near family. It makes my heart ache. When I saw how my nieces were growing up so quickly and I realized that I had never even met the youngest in person I thought to myself, for the 1 billionth time, "This is not how it's supposed to be." Add to that the fact that they had the fireplace going and were drinking Yuengling- a brew that began in Pennsylvania- and my heart hurt by the time we hung up.

And I started chanting my mantra that has been on repeat for the past two weeks "Seven and a half months. Seven and a half months. Seven and a half months. You can do this."

But then I made myself stop for a minute the way I do every time I start up the familiar chant and let my brain follow the reality. Here's what that means: yes, in 7.5 months we will be headed to Virginia and the things that life there has to offer make it hard for me to breathe, I get so giddy. But Hawaii is where Jerr and I really got to be married. During our years in Cali, he was deployed or away for training for over half of our time there. HAWAII is where we got to really be. married. Hawaii is where we became a family- where we met not one but two precious boys who have rocked our world for the better. Hawaii is where I have some of the best, highest quality friends I have ever had- and more of those treasured friends in one spot than ever before! Hawaii is where I've learned some really hard lessons about myself. And I won't be leaving the same person I arrived.

And whether I think I like it or not, I am willing to bet I've become more accustomed to this constant warm weather than I expect. And sometimes... in the quiet corners of my mind... I wonder in whispers if I'll like winter as much as I used to. I recognize that my life will include new challenges- like having to dress kids in layers before taking them outside, buying wardrobes for the changing seasons even if they haven't outgrown them yet...and how DOES one wash a very large bulldog when it's cold outside?? It sure won't be with a hose, towel, and bottle of soap in the front yard like it is every weekend now.

And I thought about the things I love about it.....

The outdoor shopping.
 


The way it holds a special part of our nation's history.

 

 The natural, stop-you-in-your-tracks beauty.

 


The weather that always puts a smile on my face.






And as I realized that both places are special to my heart,  I told myself to       slow        down.

Seven and a half months left to enjoy the place that gave me family, shaped me into who I am, taught me more about God, and gave me so many blessings isn't a place I should wish away. All, of course, with the promise to try to fully appreciate each step of the next chapter as it comes. Because living closer to family and friends, enjoying four seasons, and getting to buy a house as we settle into the first place we've actually chosen to live deserves an excited heart.

One day at a time.

One step at a time.

One husband kiss, one chocolate-smeared toddler grin, and one baby snuggle at a time.

What a precious life I have. xoxo








Saturday, April 28, 2012

still shredding

Yep, I'm still shredding every muscle in my body. Thanks Jillian.

I'm going to be honest, the only reason I'm 10/30 of the way through this (aka 1/3) is because of the accountability you guys are giving me via blog and because of those of you who are doing it with me. Otherwise I'd be a big, fat quitter.

I'm still doing it and am to the point where I no longer find myself sore after workout, the pain is now reserved solely for the workout. So that's good. And I'm able to push through longer than I was at the beginning of last week. No major progress yet but small steps are starting to show and that's encouraging. I'm still on level 1 but I think I'll bump it up to level 2 next week. Though I'm scared to do that! If she's kicking my pants on level 1, I can't imagine the horrors that await me further in.

Let me say this: nothing makes you feel weaker than wanting to die after 30 SECONDS of jumping jacks. Folks, I put on a poor showing in my living room every morning. Good thing Roman and Liam are the only ones who can see me. And yesterday, as I'm cringing and grunting and squeaking out "ithurtsithurtsithurts" during the jump rope segment in the cardio section, my oldest son took pity on his mother. And he started clapping and cheering me on. You better believe I kicked butt and took names after that. There is no greater motivation than a toddler who believes his mommy can do it. Turns out: she can.

Here's my workout buddy in action:
video

Sweet, right?

Friday, April 27, 2012

a new package

So I had an epiphany while in the shower yesterday. After all, isn't that where most great epiphanies take place?

I decided to add another available Its Becker Style styling package to the menu. If you click on the page labeled "Styling Packages" (or just click here) it will take you to the list, which now includes this newest fellow:

Closet-Styling Package
Includes: a personal visit to your home/existing closet to edit your clothing where we will 1)get rid of pieces that don't flatter you and identify pieces that do, 2)style the remaining pieces into successful outfits, and 3)make a list of helpful pieces that you could buy to round out your wardrobe. **Great for the person who wants to make better use of what they currently own instead of buying new pieces.
$100

I'm pretty excited because this takes advantage of your existing pieces! Perfect for someone who refuses to buy new clothes until they lose the last few pounds but wants to feel put together in the meantime, or for the person who wants to use what they have because it just isn't in the budget to pay a stylist on top of buying a new wardrobe. 

So there that is. Now all that's left to do is to email me ;)     itsbeckerstyle@yahoo.com

lady who lunches



Earlier this week, Alyssa from Alyssa Pix Photography came over for a lunch meeting. I told you here that we are joining forces for the "It Couple" engagement photo package that she offers.  I'll be taking the couples shopping to be styled for their engagement photo pictures, they will have hair and makeup done, and Alyssa will take their pictures...all before they go out on a date to top off their photo experience! Genius idea. I just wish I needed my engagement photos done. ;)

So. The outfit. A crucial element- the shoes- is missing, right? Yeah, because in HI, shoes aren't worn inside the house. And since lunch was AT my home, I didn't even put a pair on. I will tell you that I would have thrown on a pair of black platform pumps and called it a day.

Alyssa, I cannot wait to work with you. Let's get this party started!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

and that's monday

I could call today "Channel Your Inner Art Teacher Day" because that's what my outfit reminds me of. Come on, didn't your art teacher wear her button-up shirts open, too??


But it was a cloudy, rainy morning and this is exactly what I was feeling. So there. :)

And yes, as you can see, I do entertain my child with a cup and a sink of water. It occasionally results in wet clothes or a soaked vanity, but it means I have a way to get dressed without every pair of shoes Jerr and I own decorating the bathroom floor. You notice his hair is wet... I don't really think that needs an explanation.

Oh. Btw- a nice, friendly warning for you. Guard your grocery lists, folks. I left this morning to go get groceries and quickly scanned down my list. I had written the first two items but noticed that the third was scrawled in another person's handwriting:
1- carnation instant breakfast mix
2- latte mix
3- Sir Mix...a Lot.

Thanks, Jerry, I'll work on that. I'm thinking I'll find him among the Pop-Tarts???

so this is what death feels like

Whose idea was it for me to do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred? It was a horrible idea.

The first week was great. Took the weekend off and woke up this morning...and it took Roman handing me the video to get me off the couch. I kept telling him I didn't want to do it but he wouldn't have it. I think his calling is to be a personal trainer. He hands me the DVD and points to my weights about 3 times a day. He's hard core.

Last week was fun. I was on the high of "I'm working out! Go me!" But now it's "I don't want to work out! I don't NEED to be stress-free or patient with my kids or in shape." Working out hurts and I don't like it. I know there are some who thrive on the burn and the opportunity to push themselves to see how far they can go, but I am not one of those people. I'm a musician!!!!! I'm really good at sitting on a piano bench and practicing for a few hours. You know "us"- we were those white pasty kids in college who had extra love handles but we were okay with it because everyone else in class had them too! I wasn't made to work out...my psyche can't handle it. LOL

Day 6 done. 24 more to go.





Someone kill me now.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

miscellaneous

So....about Hunger Games book 2....YOU WEREN'T KIDDING.

Thank you (x1 billion) to those of you who encouraged me to keep going. It is your fault that I have to exercise every ounce of self discipline to do the things I actually have to do. Things like feeding my family and taking care of my boys.

Ooooooh, it's good. :)

It's very good.

This was yesterday:

This was today:




Thank you, Becky, for reminding me that scarves exist. I am having fun with them again!

Workout update: I'm still sore but it's getting much, much better and I am loving it. My children thank me for the extra patience working off stress has given me. In the words of my friend, Daniella, "Hallelujer." Or something like that.

I'll leave you with the words of the cork on my just-opened bottle of wine: "Old wine and an old friend are good provisions." -George Herbert

And because you know that I just opened a bottle of wine, I do not need to explain why this blog entry ends here. ;)

xoxo

enough.

Am I pretty enough? Am I strong enough? Did I spend enough time with my kids today? Is my house clean enough? Did I love on my husband enough this week? Do I cook well enough? Do I eat well enough? Do I have enough money? Am I generous enough? Do I work hard enough? Is my car nice enough? Are my kids smart enough? Do people think I'm capable enough? Am I smart enough? Are my kids dressed well enough? Do I make enough money? Enough....Enough.....ENOUGH.
(side note: if you say that word enough, it starts sounding/looking reeeeeeally strange.)


e·nough/iˈnəf/

Adjective:
As much or as many as required.

Adverb:
To the required degree or extent (used after an adjective, adverb, or verb); adequately: "old enough to shave".

Exclamation:
Used to express impatient desire for an end to undesirable behavior or speech: "Enough! No more arguing!".

Synonyms:
adjective.  sufficient - adequate - ample - satisfactory
adverb.  sufficiently - pretty - satis - quite - fairly - rather


That depends. What defines your enough?

I was talking to a girlfriend tonight who is adjusting to life with another baby and she asked if I ever feel like a failure at the end of the day. "YES" was my response. (And you know when it's in capital letters it's serious.) And as I was typing my reply message, filled with encouragement and cheers that she could do this, I said that I just had to remind myself at the end of the day that "I was enough." And then I started thinking about what that meant.

For me, it's easy to feel like a failure if I let others define my "enough." And while it's good to keep your feelers out to know whether you are spending enough time with your kids, they don't define whether you're enough. It's good to ask yourself whether you're being a good wife and making your husband feel loved but he doesn't define whether you're enough. It's good to ask mothers/friends/sisters/teachers/books/etc what they do or how they do it or how you can do things better, but they don't define whether you're enough. Because if that's where you're finding your answers, enough is something you'll never be.

Today, actually, I thought about posting a question on my facebook status to ask moms to private-message me about how much time they spend (on average) per day with each child they have...because I want to make sure my kids are getting enough one-on-one time with me. And enough play time, and enough learning time, and ENOUGH from me. But I didn't ask. Because I realized that it was just a way for me to decide if I was being enough. And among the answers I would find, there would be some moms who spend less time with their kids and I'd feel good, while other moms would say they spent more time and I would feel like a failure who wasn't giving her kids what they needed.

That's when I asked the question Vertically. And God said that I was enough. And I knew I was.

Whether I spent enough time with the boys today or not, whether I had cooked a good dinner or not, whether I got to serve Jerry or work out or clean or do laundry or put makeup on or get dressed...I could have done all of that perfectly or none of that perfectly and still- I was enough. Because He made me exactly as I am, with the personality I have. I am a warrior/control freak/singer/joker/organizer/sympathizer/crier/defender because that's exactly what He intended for me to be and that's exactly what He needs to use me for the purpose He has placed on my life.

A small example of what I mean: I believe God gave me a heart for organization and cleanliness and home decor, combined with my love of people and knowing their heart, because He is going to call people to my home for me to love on. And they are going to feel a peace in my home because God is here, and when they leave their heart will be lighter.

I believe that God made me sensitive because, even though it can cause me to be overly-sensitive and take offense at stupid things, He made my heart to understand people's hearts/hurts/joys. And that matters.

My reason for this particular blog entry is this: I feel like God put it on my heart because someone is trying to find their worth. Trying to figure out what makes them enough. Trying to find the ruler against which to measure up.... and God made you perfectly. You measure up. And the irony is that if you try to measure up, you'll only fail because you'll never BE enough, you simply ARE enough.

Because He loves you enough to take interest in you, to count the number of hairs on your head, to form you in your mother's womb before one of your days came to be, and because He was willing to die for your unflattering moments/selfishness/anger/pride before you had a chance to have a bad day. He made you to be enough. 

And because of that, you are.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

day 3 and book 2

Okay, I did it- per your advice! I have purchased the second and third book of the Hunger Games trilogy and they're sitting on my Kobo waiting for naptime. (best thing ever, btw. i would chose a real book over an ebook any day, but seeing as how I just paid $7/book, I'm not going to object!)

So thanks for the encouragement. I'm excited to see how the story continues! It was fun for me to receive so many comments via facebook and in the comments section of my blog. I'm glad you weighed in- you guys are why I bought them. All I have to say is this: If Katniss doesn't end up with Peeta, I'm going to be mad!! ;)

And how is Day 3 of merciless torture working out? Well, I had to skip the leg portion of the workout because my quads are so sore I literally cannot stand up and I smell like an old woman with the IcyHot smeared all over! But I did the rest and even increased my arm weights. Going strong...for a whopping 72 hours! Impressive, no? lol

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

its been nice knowing you


 I feel like a Malibu Barbie doll. Not so much the golden, wavy hair or the perfectly-formed calves but in the legs that have no joints where you have to hold her legs apart and stagger her steps right leg-left leg-right leg-left leg-right leg-left leg. Only, I'm about ten times less graceful than she at the moment. It's that awesome.

I'm pretty sure my legs hate me.

And they are getting me back for every workout move I have made them do the past two days. In fact, I wouldn't call my acrobatic move from standing to resting on furniture "sitting" but more "collapsing." I don't stand up anymore, I groan and cry and laugh out of pity and pull myself up by the arms. Once I sat down in the middle of the living room today....I think I'm still sitting there, wondering who will come save me.

I'm pretty sure day three of my workout will look like a kid trying to bite their ear with their teeth. Nom nom.

_________________



In other news, I finished Hunger Games today. I started last night while Jerry did homework for a few hours and during nap time today I finished it. I can't say I liked it because I found the story to be dark and to weigh heavily on my heart...it's teenagers pitted against each other, forced to kill others to survive. Absolutely NO part of that is good! It is, however, entertaining in the same tragic way Saving Private Ryan or 300 is...only without the good guy/bad guy dynamic. I felt like, in the story, everyone was the good guy and I wanted a safe way out for them. Yeah, some of them were less likeable but I don't think I'd be Miss Congeniality if I were forced to fight for my life, either. The jury is still out as to whether I'm going to read the second book...I think I'll read the synopsis and if it's not too depressing I'll venture in. It did have some pretty sweet action sections, I found the strategy interesting, and of course- a decent love story. Buuuuuut it's definitely no Twilight in the "impossible to put down- don't talk to me right now-eating and breathing are optional until I know whether Edward comes back" category. Don't look at me like that. You know exactly what I mean.

Monday, April 16, 2012

aka "day of death"


 Day 1 of my 30 Day Shred....a day I like to call "the day of death."

Holy moley.

Jillian isn't messing around.

How did it go? Well, Roman was mad that he didn't get his normal cuddle time when he first woke up, so to make up for it he threw a fit. For the entire 20 minutes of the video. Did I mention that his finest moment was when he dumped his juice cup upside down and started shaking it onto my carpet? Fun, right? Yeah... BUT. I'm thinking that 1)he'll get used to it as it becomes our new routine 2)While I really do think he'd get over it in a few days, I like that he cuddles for a few minutes first thing. He's only little so long. So I am going to try waiting 15 minutes after waking up so that we can cuddle. Then I'm hoping that he'll want to join me in my workout (let's be honest, he'll probably be able to do the moves better than I did today!) and it can be something that Liam watches with amusement and Roman enjoys with me.

But toddler attention-wanting tantrums aside, the workout killed. Throughout the exercise I wondered how I was ever able to do jumping jacks or jump rope when I was a kid. Those things just about did me in. I will be increasing the arm weights tomorrow (I used two 2.5lb weights today) because it didn't really seem like I was maxing out and my abs were surprisingly stronger than I thought they were going to be. They're still not completely connected again from stretching apart to allow for a babe in utero. And my legs hate me. They are a weak, weak foundation upon which my body is built and it was a pathetic showing. We will be fixing this. Seriously, two minutes into the video my legs were screaming and we still had 18 minutes to go. Fortunately it's broken down into short sections:
2 minute warm up
6 minute cycle [3 min cardio, 2 min strength, and 1 min abs]
-do 6 minute cycle three times-
2 minute cool down
In other words my pain, though intense, only lasted for minutes at a time before switching to crucify another muscle group.



Jerry consoled my "I'm ready for a nap- I thought exercise was supposed to GIVE you energy" cry by promising that the extra juice would kick in around week 3 or 4. My body *cough* LEGS *cough* may collapse at any moment and for the first half hour immediately following the workout I was afraid to pick up a boy, lest they fall to the ground in an unsuspecting heap as my muscles refused to work. Best reward for my effort: the endorphins. I may be tired, my muscles are definitely hurting, but I am happy and had more patience today. That alone is worth it's weight in gold.

I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow morning. Day 2, bring it on...legs, don't fail me now!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

30 days, baby


So. Moment to brag: my biceps are smokin! They're toned and strong, baby. (Regularly carrying around a 20-something pound toddler and a 14lb baby in a carrier will do that.) Confession: my abs and legs are NOT.

I have been excited to work out again after having Liam but I have kids during the day and don't have the energy in the evenings after they have gone to bed. Excuses, excuses, blah, blah, blah. But here ye, here ye: I have summoned my self-discipline and silenced all excuses after talking to my girlfriend, Daniella, over coffee on Friday. If my girlfriend, a mother of 3 (ages 4?, 2, and 3 months) can make time, so can I.

I am going to commit to do Jillian Michaels' "30 Day Shred" Monday through Friday for 20 minutes first thing in the morning. To make sure this happens...I am vowing to abstain from coffee until the workout is finished. Second part of the vow- that I must drink my morning cup of survival juice while doing my devos. I want to work muscles, both spiritual and physical. And while Jerr and I do devotions and pray together every night before bed, I want to spend some alone time with just God and I. It's going to hurt....I am not expecting this to be an easy feat. But I need the extra peace, energy, and release of stress that BOTH of those workouts will provide. And I can sacrifice the first 30 minutes of my day to do it because it's not like I was relaxing anyway- Roman wakes up ready to run. So he can just do the workouts with me. I actually think he would love it and IN THEORY it will be a way for me to have my space in the morning to wake up without talking because he'll be having fun, too. And this is going to work out perfectly, as planned, because my days never, ever blow up in my face. HA!

I really want to live a healthy lifestyle so that my kids think it's normal to eat healthy food and take care of their physical bodies. They will live better, longer lives because of it, and it's all part of taking care of their temple that God has entrusted to them. We already eat healthy meals but it's time Mama does more than take the babes and canine on a several-mile walk a few times a week.

But a healthy body isn't enough- I also want to live out a relationship with God in front of them. I don't think it's enough to pray with them at bedtime and think that they will automatically understand what a relationship with God looks like. I want to live it out. To show them and not just tell them.

So...I'll let you know how it goes. I can commit to it for 30 days. Beyond that, we'll have to evaluate and see how it's fitting in life and how I'm feeling. I would looooooove for it to continue.

Side note: I totally completed my February goal of loving on Jerr in an extra way every. single. day of the month instead of just on Valentine's Day. And I started by blogging about each day and how I did it. But then I realized that there were ...things... I did to love on my man that I was NOT going to post for the world to see. And if I posted everything I did that was okay for public knowledge, it would be obvious when I did things that weren't. LOL So I just stopped posting about it because some things are between a man and a woman!

Now that we're all blushing, we'll move on and agree never to speak of such things again.

To summarize: the video is $10 or less, I already have a yoga matt, weights, and a Bible...so let the workout begin. Bright and *cringe* early tomorrow morning.

Gulp.

Friday, April 13, 2012

oh, to be a kid!

Happy Friday!!!

I thought I'd show you a little bit of a certain little someone's irresistible pout. I cannot keep from staring at him. And cuddling with him. And cooing at him. And he cannot stop rewarding me with cheesy grins and "surprise eyes." Ah, to be 3 months old.

Oh another note, remember when you were little and bath time was the best part of the day? I remember playing with colored foam and bath crayons. Well, turns out they are just as fun to play with when big! Jerr and I put bath crayons in Roman's Easter basket, and my parents included some bath finger paint soap in the basket they sent to him. Add to that some colored fizzing tablets that change the water different colors and this kid is never coming out. At least not as the Caucasian version of himself that he was when he went in!




**if you have ever wondered why the bath crayon package said ages 3+ and you thought to yourself, "That's dumb. My toddler loves to color. This is a great gift!" you should know that there is a reason for suggesting that humans should be around 72 months of age when using these colored soap sticks of happiness. A 20-month old can't be expected to realize that crayons on the tub= perfectly acceptable, whereas crayons on the glass patio door= not as perfectly acceptable.

Score.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

finding inspiration everywhere

There are things all around that inspire me and the things I choose to wear. One of the greatest sources lately has been the J. Crew catalog. Soooooooooo goooooooooooood. Here is the photo that I loved:


The first thing to do is figure out exactly what I love about it. Easy- the colors. They play so beautifully together but I would never have put them together when left to my own devices. Also, I think it's interesting that they buttoned the red shirt all the way up. (And when I tried out my own interpretation of this look I discovered that it actually makes a HUGE difference in the success of the bottom shirt.) Then I just need to find out what I had in my closet that could give me a similar look.

If you judge my pale legs (remind me to thank you later, light peach shorts, for exaggerating this)  I will never show you another picture as long as we both shall live, so help me God. Kapeesh?


Glad we had this little talk.












 "Hey babe, would you take pictures of my outfit really quick? What's that?"






Oh brother.




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter. Becker Style.

These are the studs that I get to spend my days with. Aren't I a lucky gal? I know, Liam isn't very dressed up. It's because I didn't take pictures until after church and outfits don't last very long on babies who make full diapers. He was dapper, though. As dapper as a teen in a newsie cap during the 1920's. And you know that's no joke... on the dapper- measuring scale.











Our Easter involved much laughter as we watched Roman hunt for his first Easter Eggs (holidays really are more fun as parents!), and celebrating Jesus' resurrection with the rest of our church family, followed by an afternoon/evening of friends and food. One thing I've learned from the traveling military life is this: family is only as far away as your closest friend. In a life so well-acquainted with being absent from family for the holidays, I have learned that friends make a pretty darn good family, too. <3


 

 dress: vintage, wedges: Bakers, ring: H&M, watch: Wal-Mart, bracelet: H&M, cuff: ancient, necklace: airport shop somewhere in the USA.




Maxine, Maxine, Maxine

Saturday Jerry and Roman had "man day" while Liam and I headed to the mall to help my girlfriend get an outfit for her husband's promotion ceremony. I brought Maxine along- she works hard for the money, baby!





Outfit composition: maxi skirt, Express; green tank, forever21; yellow tank, forever21; necklace, vintage (gift!); gold bracelet, Banana Republic.


And

Because he's the best.

Monday, April 9, 2012

the night i could have lost my eye

Wednesday nights are my favorite night of the week. It's a simple formula, really:
3 men (Jerr, Roman, and Liam) + 2 friends (and sometimes their husbands!) + dinner + Modern Family = one awesome evening. Repeat weekly.

This past week our menu was simple: breaded chicken breasts, a pea and artichoke grain, and peach Bellinis It made these here taste buds dance, people. We're talking a good, sexy rumba. The kind that you're willing to wear a really ridiculous dance costume for.





Mmm. :) Seconds? I think yes.


I know, you want to know where the pictures of me are? And where are the pictures of those lovely peach Bellinis? Well....they include champagne. I was given the task of opening said bottle of champagne. Disclaimer: I have NEVER opened a bubbly bottle of goodness but I have seen many movies where the cork flies out and breaks windows or removes eyeballs. Just keep that in mind, ok? Here's the story....





But boy, were they good. ;)