I’m Doing Color Me Rad and There’s Nothing My Kids Can do to Stop Me!

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Disclaimer: Color Me Rad asked me to write about their Denver 5K in exchange for letting me make a fool of myself and my sister while running their 5K this year. They’ve also given me a coupon code so that my lovely readers could join me in this debauchery. Woot!

Confession time (is that all we do around here?!)… It’s really hard to take time for yourself as a mom. Sure, we spend an extra few minutes hiding in the bathroom from time to time and might squeeze in a superquick manicure that is promptly smudged when someone needs a diaper change immediately following… but that doesn’t cut it.

The truth is, we tend to lose ourselves in our kids. We run errands based on their needs, plan outings based on their preferences and live our everyday lives to keep them as calm, happy and fulfilled as possible. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can’t do that all the time. Seriously. Stop it.

Every once in a while, you gotta do something that’s just for you. Tomorrow, I’m getting a tattoo that I’ve been fantasizing about for years and on September 13th, I’m doing the Color Me Rad 5K with my sister. Not for the kids. Not for the husband. Not for anyone but me. And that’s frickin’ awesome.

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Before having children, I ran a lot. I loved few things more than the way I felt after finishing a run but pregnancy and nursing and sleep deprivation and pregnancy while nursing and more sleep deprivation have made it hard for me to run consistently. Color Me Rad contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in running the Denver 5K this year and it only took me a second to say YES PLEASE!!! And then I asked if my sister (who has only recently discovered her own love of running) to be on my team. Because I love my sister and since I’m a mom now, I struggle to find time to hang with her just one on one. And we need to do more of that because sisterhood.

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That said, this is just for me. The Color Me Rad run is about fun with a little fitness thrown in the mix. Mostly, it’s about getting beautifully messy, a bit sweaty and laughing a lot with a team of people you love. Events like this are the perfect way for moms to reclaim a bit of who they once were and what they once loved and I can’t wait for it! Okay, maybe I can, but only because I’m still working on my sleep speed.

Wanna join me? You totally can! If you’re local, feel free to be on our ‘SISTERS’ team and run with us! If you’re not, you can still use my super special promo code RADDEN to get 15% off your registration fee!

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Go play for a while! And make it all about you and not at all about the kids. You deserve it!

An Unapologetic Request

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For those of you who don’t know, my Body Love colleague and fellow self-care warrior, Sonya Renee Taylor is on a mission. Her project, named The Body is Not an Apology after a poem she wrote and performed to critical acclaim years ago, has been running as a free facebook resource for over 34,000 people for three years. The page, called TBINAA for short, fosters global, radical, unapologetic self love which translates to radical human action in service toward a more just and compassionate world. What’s not to love, right? Today, I’m comin’ at you with an unapologetic request on behalf of dear Sonya and TBINAA.

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It’s time. It’s time for The Body is Not an Apology to grow in order to reach more people and make an even bigger difference in the world. The movement is being tagged with #whenwesayYES to show that, when we say yes to loving ourselves regardless of the values and norms being imposed upon us, we find space to both give and receive so much more in life.

I already gave to the campaign so I’m asking you to do the same. If you have nothing monetarily available to give, please pass along the link so that others can know about the incredible work that Sonya is doing. Do it for me, do it for you, do it for your kids. Because no body should be an apology.

 

When the Dog Gets Sick… KIDS ‘N’ PETS review and giveaway

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Disclaimer: KIDS ‘N’ PETS asked me to do a review and giveaway for my awesome readers. I was not compensated and was asked for my honest opinion.

For those who don’t know, our dog gets sick. A lot. We love Harley so very much but, when the dog gets sick… it’s so bad, people! SO BAD!! So, KIDS ‘N’ PETS asked if I’d be interested in doing a review and giveaway and you know I said, ‘heck yea!’ because anything that helps me clean things up better when the dog get sick is something I want. Like, yesterday.

We rescued Harley from a second chance shelter in 2007 when he was just ten weeks old. He came from a pound in Kansas where he was born and then shipped into Colorado when the pound had to put the mother down and get rid of the puppies. Don’t get me started on rescue animals and shelters and such because I can’t even talk about it, it makes me so sad… and mad.

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So Harley came to us sick but we didn’t know it. For his first year, we spent thousands of dollars on treatment for intestinal parasites to get him healthy. Because of the damage to his digestive system, he gets sick once every couple of months, regardless of what kind of food he’s eating (trust me, we’ve tried everything). We keep him comfy for the 24 hours till it all passes and keep our fingers crossed that we can help him get outside fast enough to not have clean-up issues indoors during the time he’s recovering. Obviously, with two kids and a hectic schedule, I can’t be here all day every day, by his side, to let him out the second he needs it so I clean up the floors and carpets… often.

We have a little shampooer that was a gift from my parents and it’s a Godsend for this issue but I don’t always have the time or energy to haul it out, fill it with soap, shampoo the carpet and then clean the shampooer. On the days when I just can’t go through all the steps but still have a mess to clean up, I’ve been loving this Kids ‘n’ Pets all-purpose stain & odor remover. It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, cruelty free and it works! I use it on our carpets, area rugs and hardwood (*cough* laminate *cough*) floors and it’s great.

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From juice to poop to blood to it smells bad right there and I don’t know (nor do I want to know) why, this stuff is awesome. And… even better… you can win some!!

Because I loved it so much, the awesome people at KIDS ‘N’ PETS are giving away a special package of their products to one of my lucky readers for whom clean up when the dog gets sick (or any other time) will be so much easier! Enter below to win a package of: KIDS ‘N’ PETS Instant All-Purpose Stain & Odor Remover, KIDS ‘N’ PETS Carpet Cleaner Concentrate and KIDS ‘N’ PETS Deep Clean Carpet Cleaning Powder.

Oh, and in case you just want to support an awesome company and like to know about the organization you’re supporting when you buy these products, KIDS ‘N’ PETS has a Pet Partnership through which they support pet adoption organizations across the country to help puppies like our Harley find forever homes.

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I Hear Voices… but it’s not what you’re thinking

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I hear voices. I hear them at night when I’m trying to sleep, when I’m alone in the house after dropping the kids off at daycare, and as I sit here, working on my computer after a long bedtime battle with the toddler. I can’t turn them off. They’re with me pretty much always. Yes, I hear voices… but it’s not what you’re thinking.

I know I’m not the only mother who suffers from this either so don’t start wondering if I need to be admitted somewhere, I’m fine. It’s just… I hear my kids… when they’re not even here.

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In the middle of the night, I’m awakened by a faint ‘maaaaahmeeeeee?’ and I sit up, check the monitors and realize it was all in my head. I’ll have dropped the girls off at daycare and be folding laundry and hear that same ‘maaaaahmeeee?’ coming from Emma’s room and have to remind myself that she’s not even home. I sit here in silence after bedtime, plowing through as much freelance work as I can, and, even though both kids are sound asleep, I hear a ‘maaaaahmeeee?’ every once in a while from the phantom child in my head that haunts me whenever my own children don’t actually need me.

Okay, so that last part isn’t exactly true. The thing is, I spend all day every day (save that one day each week when they really do go to daycare) with these kids and most of the time, they really are saying ‘maaaahmeeee’ or some variation thereof. My brain is used to being beckoned this way and my body is used to responding to these little people’s needs constantly. Neither feels at rest, even when it’s quiet, because I’m so used to going, doing, pouring, cleaning, wiping, rocking, shushing and hit-blocking (we won’t mention yelling, m-kay?) non-stop all day and throughout the night!

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So, my question is, when do the voices go away? Mamas of kids who are older, do you still hear that phantom kid in your head at night when you know your child is sound asleep? Is this something I’ll be plagued with forever? It wouldn’t be so bad except all she says is, ‘maaaaahmeeee?’ and we all know how annoying that can be, amIright?!

Finding #UnexpectedJoy in Motherhood

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by GiveForward. They’re on a mission to bring #unexpectedjoy to people in need. And I love that. So we’re talking about it.

Motherhood is hard. This is nothing new. When I write here, it’s not to tell you brand new discoveries or revolutionary ways of doing things better to make motherhood easy. I write on this little blog and speak around the country on stages big and small, to bring some much needed perspective, balance and sense of community to women who are all struggling with similar issues… the issues we all struggle with as we navigate this life of child rearing and survival.

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I speak of the pain of postpartum depression, the fear of messing up everything, the anxiety of letting them go, the anger when a child is awful, the sadness of isolation, the loneliness of staying home, the ache of being away… Through shining a big, fat, familiar light on all of the mental health challenges of motherhood, I get to bring a bit of unexpected joy in the form of acceptance, love, support and safety. For mothers who are going through the best of times and the worst of times, we come together here to find solace in knowing we’re normal, we’re supported, we can feel better and we are so not alone.

Life comes at us hard sometimes. From the loss of a child to an unexpected, painful diagnosis in the family to job loss, we all go through hard times that can lead to even deeper emotional anguish. One of the reasons I love GiveForward is their compassion for needs both large and small. Anyone, anywhere, with any need can create a campaign so that, through fundraising efforts, even in the darkest of circumstances, they can experience some of their own #UnexpectedJoy.

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As for me personally, my unexpected joy comes from you. You’re here now, reading this, sending me emails, leaving me comments, and spreading the message that motherhood is hard (worth it, but hard) and that’s it’s okay that it feels impossible some days. That the soul-crushing, heart-wrenching yucky times of being a mom are normal, that they fade over time, making the moments of your own unexpected joy that much more awesome. So, whether it’s by supporting a mom you know who needs help through a GiveForward campaign or donating to an existing campaign for a stranger in need of some joy themselves, spend some time looking around GiveForward to see just how caring, compassionate and awesome people can be.

GiveForward has recently launched an ambassador program as well so if you’re interested in spreading the joy, check it out!

A New Beginning with #TargetWedding (giveaway!!)

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#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Target. This could include Target providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

 

It’s no secret that I’m not a newlywed. The husband and I have been through a couple of moves, a few career changes and, oh yeah, raising two babies who are now pretty much running the show around here in case you hadn’t noticed. What’s that? You heard we made play dough before we made breakfast recently? Yeah, that happened…

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Moving on. 

While we’re no longer in the Honeymoon phase of our marriage, we still have those moments of can’tlivewithoutyou, whydoyouhavetogotoworkallday, thinkwecouldbothplayhookiefortheday, Ijustwannabeonyou that are more typical for newlyweds. Yes, we keep it fresh up in here which is part of why our marriage works. 

Part of what we do to keep things feeling like a new beginning from time to time is spoil ourselves with a gift that’s meant just for us as a couple. A nice bottle of wine or tickets to an event are fun but this year, thanks to #TargetWedding, I’ve got my heart set on a Scrabble game

I know it might sound silly but some of my favorite moments that fill our cup as a married couple are the quiet ones, spent at home, with a game in front of us. Sometimes it’s a deck of cards (strip poker will keep things spicy, I promise!) and sometimes it’s an intense chess match (he always wins…). 

Whatever game we’re playing, it’s fun to add a touch of romance to our evening at home while the kids are sleeping. Something that makes it feel special is a supersoft throw over our laps on the couch or a set of sophisticated glasses to drink from (how cute are these Mr. and Mrs. ones?!?), even if we’re just sharing some sparkling water… or not, ahem. 

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If you’re still planning your wedding, trust me, you’re going to want to include some fun stuff that’s meant to treat you and your future spouse so don’t be afraid to add things to your registry that may seem like luxury items, or even a little silly, if you think you’ll use them as a couple to keep your marriage fun and special for you both. You might even want to try losing every once in a while… something I wish my husband would do from time to time!

If you’re like us and are maybe hoping for a touch of new beginning #sponsored by #TargetWedding, enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $25 Target e-giftcard!

 

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Body Love and a #BootyRevolution

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Recently, my fellow Body Love Warrior and musician extraordinaire, Meghan Tonjes, had a picture of her butt removed from Instagram. In case you haven’t heard yet (the story is viral, where have you been?), Meghan posted an Instagram picture of her underwear-covered bottom, something she does on the regular because she is a model Body Love student and loves the heck out of that tushie of hers and can you blame her? The photo was flagged by an Instagram user as being pornographic/mature content. It was neither, of course, and the double standard in which we all exist was pointed out by Ms. Tonjes herself in her Youtube video below.

Now, Meghan’s complaint wasn’t that someone had flagged her photo (I mean, that sucked, of course, but that wasn’t the big deal here…). The real issue was that, since the photo was flagged, it was immediately taken down with no Instagram powers that be ensuring that it was actually a fair flagging. Meghan wanted to contact someone at Instagram to discuss this unfair removal of her photo (since there are lots of other asses all over the social media app) but found no way to reach them. So… let us fully understand what has transpired here. Someone didn’t like Meghan’s luscious booty so they reported the image causing it to be immediately removed with no oversight from the Instagram Gods at all.

Cue the sad song for the big girls, am I right?

Like, women who are larger than a size 6 should not be seen without their clothing? Like, women who don’t have the time, energy or desire to commit to a 6 day per week workout regimen to get what society calls an ‘ideal body’ don’t have a right to love (and sometimes flaunt) their assets? Like, a picture of an ass is pornographic or mature content when it’s attached to a larger woman’s body but it’s acceptable if the woman is smaller?

Seriously?

Instagram has since restored the photo but Meghan’s story continues to circulate around the web. The good news here (aside from the fact that we have all now seen her glorious butt) is that this helps to facilitate a continued conversation on the subject. On fat shaming. On discrimination. On society expected self-loathing and body hatred. On the assholes that like to troll photo streams and Facebook groups only to flag content that is entirely appropriate as something that shouldn’t be seen.

Let’s talk about this then, right? Let’s get mad for Meghan and for fat asses everywhere because we all have a right to bare our bottoms on the internet if we so choose! We’re calling it a #bootyrevolution and it is going to be fucking fabulous.

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Find my friends with fabulous asses here:

 

Falling in Love with Blogging Again with BlogHer

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BH_10year_logoYou may or may not know this if you’re not a blogger, but doing what we do is hard work! Especially for mothers who are balancing kids, home maintenance (which reminds me I still need to call an electrician), and other work obligations, blogging has a tendency to ebb and flow in sort of a love-hate relationship. For me, blogging is actually a pretty small piece of what I do professionally. I love to blog but, as with many bloggers, there’s a lot more work on my plate. Working on all the behind the scenes, pay the bills stuff can take away some of the joy of blogging, so in honor of BlogHer 2014, I’m working on falling in love with blogging again.

 

I spend some of my time speaking at conferences like BlogHer and this is an aspect of my job that I absolutely love. Most often, conference organizers like that I bring a specific expertise about mental health and balance for bloggers and women alike, but not every conference is ready to talk about those issues. BlogHer has always been at the forefront of blogging conferences and are celebrating a 10 year anniversary this year! Such a huge accomplishment for them! This year, they’re featuring some amazing speakers, everyone from The Bloggess to Kerry Washington will be there, even Arianna Huffington (who we could all learn a thing or two from, I’m sure!). 

 

For me, a conference like BlogHer rekindles a love for what I do and what my mission is. I write here in my little internet space to reach an audience of women who, like me, are challenged sometimes each and every day to find balance, peace and joy in life. I specialize in giving a voice to the women who feel they can’t admit that things are hard and sometimes suck and that they might need some help. This is why I love blogging and BlogHer has always supported me, even when I’ve used foul language and spoken some awful truths about motherhood that no one wanted to read but everyone needed to hear.

 

I’m so excited to share that if you follow my link, you’ll find a limited time 25% discount on the conference. I hear that the hotel block is filling fast and tickets may sell out soon so check out the details and, if you’re looking to fall in love with blogging again, consider attending this year! 

Postpartum Anxiety and a Baby Bunny

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The afternoon I returned from speaking at the Mom 2.0 Summit, I was exhausted from the trip, the networking and all the brain stretching but feeling refreshed thanks to the much needed break from the kids. We were feeling ambitious and craving sushi (because who isn’t craving sushi, amIright?) so the husband and I got brave and decided to hop our tired asses into the car with the girls and head to our little outdoor mall area complete with a bookstore, water fountain, play area and, duh, sushi.

Things were going so well, really, as we walked around and watched the girls play. They did their own rendition of The Little Mermaid whilst standing upon some rocks and then they pretended to sleep on said rocks which comes from I don’t know what movie but they do it every time so it has to be from something, no? No? My kids are nuts? Yeah, okay…

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So we get to the little play area and Emma makes a friend. She looks to be about 4 or 5 years old and her parents speak broken English but seem very sweet, hands partially full with an 11-ish month old boy. Our girls play and play and play until I spot a baby bunny eating what was going to be this year’s tulips next to the plastic lions.IMG_1101

Seriously, I could not have been more proud of Belle as I prompted her to be really quiet and move slowly to see the bunny closer. The girl cannot follow directions to save her life when we’re in the middle of a parking lot or she’s attempting to drink hand sanitizer but put a baby bunny in front of her and she’s a star pupil… future veterinarian anyone?

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Then, I made the mistake of whispering for Emma to come see the baby bunny too. And her friend followed. And proceeded to get thiiiiiiisclose to the bunny, stomping on what was left of the tulips and scaring the poor thing away.

This little witch then ran to her parents to get THEIR CELL PHONE to get EVEN CLOSER to the bunny to take SEVENTEEN MILLION PICTURES of it from any and all angles as she scared it from one end of the flower bed to the other ALL WHILE THE PARENTS SAT ON A BENCH COOING AT THEIR INFANT…. TOGETHER… leaving their probably almost 5 year old daughter with her new friend’s parents, sister and the baby bunny she was trying to kill via heart attack.

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And you guys? I was having serious anger at these parents. And anxiety about this bunny. And it just kept happening! And it didn’t matter how many times I said, “move slowly girls! please stop scaring the bunny away girls! no more stepping in the dirt and stomping on the leaves girls! let’s stop shoving things in the bunny’s face so he or she can calmly eat the leaves please girls!!!!!!!” This kid would not stop. To the point that the bunny made a break for it. And the girl chased after it as they both ran towards the street!

My anxiety was high and my heart was beating in my throat as I yelled to Emma who was starting to follow her friend to stop. I hoped that my yelling at my own kid would prompt these parents to stop their daughter from forcing a baby bunny into traffic and, thank goodness, it did. The bunny scampered into a bush and the little girl brought her parents’ cell phone back to the bench where the parents WERE STILL SITTING!

In earshot, I gave Emma and Belle a lesson on scaring animals and how this was the bunny’s home and we needed to be respectful which means leaving it alone and just watching it do its thing. I felt like a really awesome mom by the time it was all over but wtf, right? The rules have to say something about parents watching their kids… no? Girls?

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I know I’m not the only parent who experiences an occasional bout of postpartum anxiety, brought on by a stressful or traumatic event, but who would have thought a baby bunny (and a bitchy 5 year old who isn’t even mine) could do all that?

Target Pharmacy Kicks Some Booty #TargetSponsored with #giveaway

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Target. Thanks to their generosity, it is my pleasure to not only share some kickass info with about Target Pharmacy, I also get to give away some $ so read on and be sure to say ‘thank you’ to the peeps at Target!

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.

Target has been working hard to create a “better pharmacy experience” and they asked me to tell you mamas all about it. First of all, you should know that I’m a crazy coupon lady and, for this reason, I love Target so hard. I use Target mobile coupons in addition to the Cartwheel app and manufacturer coupons to get awesome deals at Target all the time. This pharmacy business takes it to a whole new level of awesome. Here are the details:

Flip the Script: Transfer your prescription from somewhere else and then start using Target’s Pharmacy right away to get rewards!! What are rewards? Read on…

Pharmacy Rewards: April is the perfect time to fill your scripts at your favorite store because it’s Double Credit Days! During Double Credit Days, getting even more rewards on stuff you love is quick and easy. Here’s how: Fill once. Earn twice. During Double Credit Days (entire month of April), you can earn rewards twice as fast and get 5% off the entire store—for a whole day! After you’ve filled five prescriptions, vaccinations included, you get a 5% full-store discount.

Ladies, I’m already at Target (and I’m sure you are too), so getting a prescription filled there just makes sense, especially when it means I can save even more money than I already do at the big red bullseye!
Care to share? To win a $50 electronic gift card from Target (contest ends May 7th), tell me you’re very best Target deal in the comments (mine was my winter coat for over 60% off!) and follow the Rafflecopter instructions for entries!

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