Thursday, May 31, 2012

just call me adele

....because that seems as good a hippie name as any. 



I have decided ignorance is bliss.

Why, you ask? Because when you know something, you become obligated to do something about that knowledge. For example, most cereals contain carcinogens and genetically modified corn, which contains pesticides and is horrible for you. I used to think cereal was a great snack to give Roman but now I feel like I might as well hand him poison. To make matters worse, the more I investigate and talk to girlfriends who are getting into this too, the more I learn that most corn is genetically modified- unless it's organic. And that's not a big deal until you realize even the canola oil for cooking is made with genetically modified corn. Yes, I can drive to Whole Foods and get organic cereal, corn, etc., but we don't have the budget for that to be a regular occurrence.UGH. Guys, this is rocking my world.

Then I discover that flour/rice/beans should be soaked overnight for the starches to break down so your body can better digest them. 

I've periodically been considering making all of my own cleaners around here so I know they're safe for tiny people and mammals.

Heck, I've already replaced all my face cleansers/lotions/toners with all-natural, Lemongrass Spa products, because I discovered the stuff I was using before was the cause for rashes on my face. Now I want to go crazy and replace the boys' bath soap and lotion. But if I do that, why stop there? Shouldn't I be buying the chemical-free/paraben-free make-up too!? WHERE DOES IT STOP!?!?

I feel like I'm about to lose my grip on reality and become the toe-shoe-wearing, gray haired, makeup-free, garden-growing, goat-milking, certified hippie where I will buy a few acres and settle down in Colorado. I mean, really...I already have the flowy skirt. I believe you remember Maxine? Actually, if I added a big floppy hat with a brim, a fitted tank, and a large necklace made from reclaimed somethings it could get reeeeal glamorous up in here.

You need more proof, check out the picture below (which, I might add, was never supposed to be seen by anyone aside from a close friend who wouldn't judge me). Whatever. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and points need to be proven. This was me two weeks ago. See, bandana even!!! If we're going to put all joking aside, we can admit that Adele (the name I gave that sexy hippie- oxymoron?- at the top of the page) and I are practically twins. I know, our sultry look is identical. I really try to lesson the sexual attraction that others have to battle when they look at me with these smackers, but its impossible. You are what you are.




Intervention needed..... it's serious, folks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

30 day wrap-up

So. I completed my 30 days of shredding every muscle in my body- thank you, Jillian Michaels. As I reflect on my 30 days, I realize I learned some things about myself in the process. For example, it turns out that I DESPISE working out. It is not fun. And I deeeefinitely don't understand the "pain feels good" mentality. But whoa, mama, does it feel good once it's over. Good enough to cause me to do it the next day. But I so dislike working out that I have to do it first thing in the morning because, if I wait to do it during naps, I dread it all morning. And then I develop a negative view of doing it and I find it much more difficult to do it the next day, since it created so many negative feelings the day before. Morning workouts, they must be.

I'd also say accountability helped big time. It made a huge difference knowing that I publicly committed to 30 days of exercise because after the first five days it lost it's fun newness and I didn't want to start on day 6. But on we went and 6 weeks later, I checked off day 30. Because I couldn't be known as a quitter! Thank YOU, blog world, for having my back. Plus, there were 12-15 of you who joined me in the "Jillian challenge" - that was stinking cool! Camaraderie makes everything more enjoyable. And on top of that, many of you shot me messages of encouragement or asked about it when you saw me, and I thought that was just swell of you.

And yep, I definitely saw results. I have muscles along my sides, I can stare at my bulging biceps as they flex when I brush my teeth, I am starting to see definition in my top abdominal muscles, and my stomach is tighter than it has been since having kids- maybe than it's ever been. But that's not saying much! Ha! I think the sweetest part of it all is the toning in my arms and shoulders, and the pair of jeans I can now wear from the back of my closet.I have been able to fit into every pair of pre-pregnancy jeans I had except one pair. I could close them but the muffin-top they created would make bakers jealous. My friends, that's not a good thing. LOL

This is me doing my victory celebration while wearing said "skinny day jeans" in the parking lot at the grocery store. No one in the audience parking lot thought it was strange at all. Now, it's a two-step dance so just imagine a lower "ooh" followed by a higher "ooh" and you're right there with me.

So now what? Well, as per a great idea from a friend, I think I will continue with the exercise but I'm going to mix it up. From my understanding, it's better for your muscles not to know what comes next and get in a rut. So I'm making another 30 day commitment. Get ready.

Day 1: level one, 30 Day Shred
Day 2: yoga
Day 3: level two, 30 Day Shred
Day 4: yoga
Day 5: level three, 30 Day Shred

If anyone wants to join me for a second term but doesn't enjoy yoga, you could switch it out for Pilates or any other workout. It's just meant to mix it up. I chose yoga because it's the only enjoyable form of exercise that I have found I genuinely enjoy, and I have many dvds in my collection already. So I don't have to go buy anything to do it. I'm starting the count on Monday but plan on working out this week as well. Or what's left of her.

Monday through Friday mornings. 30 more days. Let's do this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

when to zip it

This is me, pondering the topic of this post. Scholarly, right? The glasses in the mouth mean that everything I'm about to say is not only correct, it's brilliant. 

Remember that.


Jerry laughed at me tonight when I said, "You know, I really had to fight not to blog about _____ today." "You always seem to say that every couple of days!" he said. Why yes. Yes I do. Because my name is Lauren Becker and I am in a constant battle with myself to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Words aren't hard for me to loose to the world. It's effortless for me to set them free, sometimes as daggers, sometimes in humor, and other times in deep sympathy. And that has caused so much regret when I think about my childhood. I can still hear my young voice, destroying my sister and spewing teenage angst at my parents. Man. I pray that it hasn't stuck with each of them as I know it has stuck with me.

And even now, as an adult, I find myself ready to wield my "sword." Sometimes it serves me well- as a teacher, there were times when quick wit or a firm comeback could end a student's challenge. It has also helped when I had to stand up for myself or when coming to the defense of someone else. But in a world where facebook is popular, I have a blog at my disposal, and my opinions a'plenty, it sure is hard to exercise restraint.

So many times I want to speak about a political or religious topic that finds me with strong opinions. And I always tell myself, "But if you don't speak another opinion than that which is already being voiced, how can you make a difference?" And that's true. I think sometimes it's important for people to speak up about issues instead of just letting it go. I think this is especially true when God's character is being poorly misrepresented- those who are well-acquainted with His heart need to speak up with what they know to be true.

But often when I find myself wanting to speak about something, it's because I'm angry and want to use words to put a "wrongdoer in their place." Ah, pride. And even yesterday I prayed about an issue, begging God to give me the freedom to speak firmly about something. And as I prayed I heard the anger in my heart. And God {figuratively} shook His head at me and said, "Nope, Lauren. Righteous anger is okay, but it's mine to have in this case. The only time you can speak correction about something is when you can love that person or group of people so much that it hurts to confront them about it, but you feel convicted by Me to speak in regards to that thing. When you wish you could avoid the conversation in order to spare them the hurt/embarrassment it could cause, only THEN you are in the right place to speak correction. "

And there was deep silence in my heart as that soaked in.

As I ponder it... when it feels good to teach/correct/rebuke, you are often in no position to speak to them at all. Pride isn't flattering, nor does it often illicit a positive response. But when we are able to come alongside them, loving them and hurting for the correction that will hopefully come- THAT'S a heart which can speak truth gently. And in love. As truth is meant to be spoken. In the words of the American Idol judges this season, you could say God "took me to church" yesterday.  

And as Jerr and I were washing dishes together after dinner tonight, we were talking about what I had wanted to say- and I was expressing everything I wished I was free to express- I learned another thing. As I often do because I'm a talk-to-think kind of gal who learns while she is in the act of speaking....which can bite one in ones backside when one is in the wrong for thinking something in the first place! 1) That a husband who listens and lets you get that out is a treasure and should be held on to and 2) That this is why pastors are listed in the "spiritual gifts" category from Romans. I think it takes a special person with a special heart to love on people who are getting stuff wrong and speak to them about it. I would make a horrible pastor, I think! I'd be all, "Yeah, so put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!!!!" And they'd be like, "What?? I'm not smoking in church!!!" To which I'd respond, "Well then that's one less problem to deal with...."      

Off topic, Lauren. Too far.

Oh geez, what was I even saying.....?

Moral of the story: I'm sticking to speaking about clothes, kids, marriage, and food for now because politics and religion are topics that can get me in a heap of trouble. Please, Lord, continue working in me to make my warrior spirit refined.

Some day, I'd love to have the wisdom to know when to speak and when to remain silent. But something tells me I'll still feel like a work in progress even when I'm 80. Maybe the 90's can grant me my dreams.... wisdom. And roller-blades.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a proposition for you

Sandals if you're being generic. Flip flops if your name is Lauren Becker. Slippers if you live in Hawaii. Havaianas if you're in Brazil. Thongs if you are a 70-year old man in a Speedo.  They're all names for this fabulous little gal who adorns the feet of millions each day:


Now, I'm not saying these aren't grand. They certainly have their place amongst the college dorm showers, beaches, and taking the dog out for their nightly constitutional. And I definitely wouldn't give mine up when I need to make a quick run to the trash bin. But what if, when we went out- and I'm just throwing this out there- we wore real sandals?

And no, the rubber flip flop with a platform-wedge-heel thing doesn't count, either.


Nothing kills me more than a girl wearing a really nice outfit to church or out on the town with $2.50 Old Navy flip flops on her manicured toes. Confession: I am absolutely positive my dislike for flip flops worn with clothing comes from flipping through pictures of MYSELF in days past. So many pictures show me in jeans, a cute shirt, and FLIP FLOPS. Or for my sister's high school graduation: hair looked great, beautiful skirt, nice shirt, cute scarf.....FLIP FLOPS. It's like wearing a prom dress with barn boots on your feet, Lauren. They are just two different levels of dressed-up-edness that don't go.  And I just want to ask my past self why I bothered to get dressed above the knee and then gave up for the lower half. Never again.

Yes, cute metallic sandals are going to run you, typically, at least $20 a pair. I have a few that were $40 each. And as with anything, you can certainly go much, much higher. But here's the thing- those sandals have already lasted me 4 years Not summers. YEARS. I live in the land of the eternal summer, which means I wear sandals every. single. day. In fact, I think I am making myself honorary professor in summer foot apparel for these next four minutes. ;) Next up: giving myself an honorary doctorate from a prestigious institution. Maybe Yale? Followed by Knighting. Move over, Eton John....

Anyway. My sandals have lasted me through four YEARS of constant wearing, still look great, and show no signs of giving up on me any time soon. How is $40 a bad price for that? Yet when I get dressed, I am dressed HEAD TO TOE. And remember, there is no reason you can't do it for $16.

So if you are planning to add some new sandals to your wardrobe this summer, consider starting with metallic- silver, gold, or bronze. I have a pair of silver strappy sandals and gold strappy sandals, and also a pair of black gladiator sandals. In those three pairs of shoes, I feel like I have something appropriate for every outfit I put on. If you like playing with colors, though, go for a bold color on the foot. It doesn't even have to match!

It just looks so much nicer when you get dressed. I mean really dressed. Even if that's just to get groceries. You look more put together. Rubber slippers have their place, certainly. I own them in both black and brown. I just want to encourage you to step outside your "usual" if your usual isn't letting you look as good as you could.

Here are some sandals that I currently love, in case you're inspired and need some recommendations: (And click on the links listed below them to purchase!)
 



Happy Shopping!!! Let me know what you decide! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

ode to roman

I thought I'd share some of my favorite Roman stories from the past few weeks. They aren't earth shattering or world rocking but they sure make me glad he's mine.


1) I spilled lemon juice on the floor the other night and he immediately went and grabbed the dishtowel and cleaned it up for me. He has done this for a few other things but at the risk of becoming redundant I'll let them go. (Redundant. That's right, Ms. Upper-Level Vocab. You know what, don't worry about going to English class. Just have students read the ole blog. That will be a vocab lesson right there. Want another one? Modicum. There. I said it. You're welcome.)

2) A few weeks ago we were playing at the playground with Ro's friend, and she got hurt. He went running over and pointed to his head where she was hurt. Then, when we explained what happened, he ran to get her thermos, opened it, and handed it to her. *Moment for mommy pride*

3) You know the scene in Toy Story 1 where Buzz is trying to prove to himself that he's a real guy and not a toy, so he jumps off the 2nd floor rail at the scary kid's house to fly out the open window...but he he doesn't make it and falls to the ground and his arm breaks off? Roman will say "no, no, no" before it happens. The kicker: when Buzz falls and his arm breaks Roman cries and climbs into my lap. He cries. Real crocodile tears. Oh, the mommy snuggles that follow- they are a'grand.

4) When Liam starts fussing, Roman is the first one to go to him. And he will snuggle right in beside him, making funny noises and talking to Liam while he shows him whatever Roman can find within reach to play with. And the kicker? Liam stops! Ah, brotherly love. There's nothing like it.

I could go on and on, but I'll leave you with those. There's a heart of gold behind those big brown eyes, and he's all mine. xoxo


Allow me to clarify: This post about Roman does NOT mean I love Liam less than his big brother, it just means he's a little less mobile and not as talkative yet. He's still a beloved member around these parts.  ;)


21 and 4

I thought I'd do a quick "Mommy catch up" for the friends and family who want to know the skinny on the boys these days. There is a 21-month toddler and a 4-month old baby under my roof at present, and they are pretty stinking fun.

Roman:
So I think we've gotten past the worst of the picky eating. He has some pretty strange taste buds for a little tyke, but since they match Becker cuisine you won't hear me complain.

 We are fully potty trained. That's right- 21 months old and no diapers. No Pull-Ups, even! And that includes naps/nighttime. Woot, woot! We go places with a potty seat and m&ms in a bag but we're doing it. :) I'm proud of him.

Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 are the bees-neez around here. I much prefer them to Elmo and I'm grateful for the break away from Baby Signing Time, so carry on, Ro!

Talking. He talks constantly and every day it seems that there is a new word that makes an appearance. He's great company and I genuinely enjoy doing things with him, whether that's playing in his room, putting together puzzles, or grocery shopping and putting away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. Man, I love that kid.

Liam:
I cannot get enough of this guy. I have decided that this age is my favorite out of all the ages I have experienced thus far, 0-21 months. I love it when babies can smile and giggle and "talk" to their mobile friends but can't go anywhere and still have to accept all the snuggles I want to smother them with. *insert sinister laugh here*

We're experiencing baby rice and sweet potatoes these days, and he's not wild about rice but boy, sweet potatoes sure do make for good eats. And when you mix the two? Oh, why that's just heaven.

So far he has rolled over, found his thumb, discovered that he has feet and they they are, in fact, the coolest toy a brotha can find. Especially when covered with socks.

You know, I didn't used to be a baby person. Truly- they never held that magnetic attraction to my heart strings. But these two boys have changed me, and I'm pretty sure that after my baby-having days are over, I will be running after stranger in the grocery store shouting, "I swear, lady, you don't know me but I'm not a psychopath- I just reeeeally need to hold your baby. Please?? Wait, no! Come back!!!!"





Poor broad never saw it coming.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

spring/summer top 5

I was asked a question yesterday that made the booming blog voice inside my head shout an echoe-y "THIS IS A BLOG TOPIC, LAUREN!" And so, with her permission, I will share our conversation:

QUESTION:  
Let's say a mother of three active girls wants to go shopping and update her summer wardrobe because she hasn't been shopping for new clothes since before her 2 nd was born ( and now she is 5 1/2) so.... What would you consider the 5 must haves in any wardrobe? You thoughts are appreciated oh wise fashion diva... Lol but seriously ... I walked into the store the other day feeling completely overwhelm... And old because I didn't know what to pick out :( lol Help!!! 

ANSWER:  
1)colored chinos (GAP, Old Navy, J. Crew)
2)maxi skirt (black OR color)
3)a LARGE, statement necklace in a bold color
4) for you, skinny jeans in a dark blue (if you want several pairs, they can be colored. If only one, dark blue is a work horse.)
5) loose deep-v-neck tees in bright colors (j.crew, forever21, GAP, old navy, ANYWHERE)


And for extra credit because I've become an over-achiever in my old age:
6)sandals in a metallic color. NOT FLIP FLOPS. Sandals. Wear everywhere with everything.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

i married a man who- may2012 edition



I married a man who....

-came home for his daily lunch break and, seeing that the boys and I had left this morning in a hurry which left a whirlwind of misplaced items behind us, picked them all up. He even made the bed. Oh, and left a note that said he missed me on the television so I would see it during nap time.

-if I haven't gotten to the week's laundry yet and he needs more work shirts, will sort the laundry and start a load instead of just asking me to do it for him.

-leaves a heart-shaped collage of sticky notes (also in the shape of hearts!) that have the words "I love you more and more each day."- one word per heart- on the bathroom mirror for me to wake up to.

-never complains about his job, long work days, pulling a full load of classes, or any other thing! He just does them because he wants to honor God with his attitude.

-takes the boys on a Saturday morning so that I can go style photo shoots. Instead of saying, "It's one of my few days off," he says "Go do what you love- I'll take care of things around here."

-spends his whole monthly spending money to take us on an non-budgeted third monthly date, paying for a babysitter and two movie tickets- even though I spent mine on cool necklaces and tees.

-shares my love of clothes and thinks an evening walking around the mall is relaxing and a fun time to connect.

-cheers me on as I work out, always making sure I know he loves me as I am but will always support me wanting to better myself.

-tells me repeatedly that he doesn't care if the house doesn't get clean or laundry doesn't get done because he says taking care of two boys is hard- harder, he insists, than the hardest work day at the office- and I will always be a super hero in his eyes. Coming from a man who I know to work hard, this always touches my heart and encourages me.

I don't know how I got him, but I know I'm never letting him go.
xoxo

rethink neutral

I am currently talking on a thread via facebook with some friends who share my affinity with the color teal. Actually, I should say I'M sharing with THEM since I believe they discovered the color's magic long before I did since I swore off any shade of blue from ages 4-28. I'm a convert, though. And blue is my new favorite thing.

Side note: Does that happen to you? You hate a color so much that you refuse to have anything to do with any shade of it? That's what happened to me with blue and purple. I think they were so popular that I went the opposite way. And I refused to do what everyone else was doing. Story of my life! Ha! So I am just now learning to love blue and I can't get enough. Still,in spite of those gigantic steps forward,  lavender is the only shade of purple I can do. I'm learning- it's a process, you know.

But our  current conversation got me thinking because I made a comment about teal really being a neutral- and I smiled when one of the girls agreed with me because that statement is usually met with raised eyebrows. If you find yourself also raising your brows, this next statement is going to blow your mind. Are you ready?

I truly believe color makes a better companion to color  than "neutrals."

Black, white, gray, brown, and khaki are the colors I have thought of as neutrals (the term "neutral" referring to a color that matches most other colors) since I was a child. Those were the colors that I chose for my  pants and then I picked one other color for the shirt and you're done. And you wore either silver or gold jewelry to match. For me, it was always silver. I have only loved gold a short time but it is a STRONG, loyal, eternal kind of love now. And that's how I dressed for basically my entire life.

But recently- as in the last 2 to 3 years or so- I've started realizing that isn't the case. Those five aren't the only colors that play well with friends. And often they aren't the BEST colors that pair well with others. I just googled "define neutral colors" and I smiled when I read the definition: having a color that does not attract attention. That's perfect. That's exactly what happens when you wear one of those three colors with another. It causes no attention. Sure, sometimes getting attention is a bad thing but sometimes it's a really good thing. Because that attention can make you feel really confident and successful when it's positive.

These are my new neutral colors:

teal





bright royal blue

 



chartreuse

 



 bright red

 



peach

 

And in general right now, I think ANY pastel with ANY bright color are genius. That is, in my opinion, the best way to embrace the current color blocking trend. And if you're going to do true color blocking, they do not need to be related at all. :)

So if you want to start playing with colors, try my new fab 5! And if you need a safety net because you're unsure of how to mix color successfully, stick them with a neutral pant and use jewelry to bring in the second color. For example a pair of black dress pants, a colored shirt (let's say yellow in honor of spring time) and a necklace in any of these colors! The shade of yellow will help you determine which color you pick. If it's a canary yellow the royal blue would be sharp but if it's a buttercup yellow why not go bright red? See what I mean? And if you're ready for the big leagues, replace the "neutral" pant with a color- red pants, pale yellow top, chartreuse scarf.

Done and done.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

determination

Sometimes days don't go the way you plan them.

Sometimes the cable guy comes a day later than he was supposed to and stays for your entire morning workout block. Sometimes babies wake up early from their nap, thus prohibiting you from working out during nap time. Sometimes the cable guy has to come back to do what you asked him to do the first time and you have to pause your workout three minutes in, nullifying the cardio you just got into. Sometimes your toddler wakes up literally the moment you pushed "play" again on your workout. Sometimes you give him a snack and lull the babe to sleep in his swing in the living room to finally do the workout. And sometimes the workout that you usually have done by 9am is done when the clock reads 2:40pm.


But the moral of the story is that you did it. 

And I haven't missed a day of my 30 day Shred workout with Jillian. I'm stronger and more in shape and my clothes fit me differently. I haven't lost weight (but I didn't want to) but I haven't gained it, which means my muscle is replacing the fat it's burning; hence the changing fit of my clothes. Especially in the waist. My flabby skin from carrying a baby around only 4 months ago is tightening and my stomach muscles are no longer separated. Beyond that- even BETTER than that- I am happier, less stressed, and more patient. It's day 17/30 and baby, I'm feeling gooooooood.  ;)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

for groceries we shall go

I told Roman on Monday morning that we were going to get groceries and he replies "tie?" I said, "You want to wear your tie??" "Yes." he replied. And so I said okay! What else are you going to do? Crush a kid's hopes and dreams? Nope. Not me. I'm a mother who embraces life goals. You want to wear a tie? Go for it. You want to help sweep the floor, you got it. You want to drive? We'll talk...give it a year. A snake. HECK no! You've really got to put your foot down somewhere.




Apparently getting dressed to go grocery shopping is serious business. How about a smile, toots?

 




 You just read "toots" like tooooooots, didn't you? As in, the thing engines do. Try it again, but this time think of tootsie pops. Yep. There ya go. Moving on.












You better believe Roman garnered copious amounts of attention from every mom and grandmother that we passed. (ps- garnered?? copious?? Dang. Alright, vocabulary prodigy. I think I just got five points for those words. Dear English teachers, think I can add that to my past report cards? And yes, yes I can use the word prodigy to describe myself at age almost-29. Because I am youthful and bouncy and fabulously age defying. What now.) In fact, I even caught a blonde haired, blue eyed toddler starring back at him. "Hands off, lady." I shrieked. "He's still MY man for at least another fifteen years!"....give or take eighty.







THIS is how one grocery shops in style.





























And because NOTHING is cuter than a baby in tiny baby shoes......

statement necklaces

Statement necklaces are one of my greatest loves. Truly.

And often, when I'm styling people or making style boards for them, I include several statement necklaces. To those who tell me they're too expensive or they wouldn't know which ones to buy or how to make them work, I will say this:

1) go to www.ebay.com
2) enter the words "jcrew necklace"
3) enjoy the many colors that the Bubble Bib Statement Necklace comes in
4) select your favorite and buy it
5) wear with literally everything. Seriously- tees, tanks, with cardigans and blazers, ANYTHING. Except yoga pants. So let me change that: wear with literally not everything. But most things. ;)

This is how large we're talking-
It will live up to its name and make a statement. I bought two: the red and dark blue.


Stay tuned...fabulous outfits to come!