Three Years . . . .

Why does it seem like yesterday and yet a lifetime ago? Three years. How is this possible? I cling to your memories, what little we were able to have together. Most of it while you were inside me. I used to chuckle and call you my little octopi, you would both wiggle and squirm and wrestle one another. I think about the brief moment that I got to hold you both, amazed at your tiny preciousness. Rosy pink and oh so fragile. Such fleeting time together, but you are both etched into my brain and my heart.

Your little brother grows and grows. He is so full of life, I sometimes wonder if he will burst. A ball of energy and always on the run. Quick to smile and laugh, he brings joy to everyone. I know that you are both looking after him, keeping him safe in this world.

I struggle this year because we have moved away and I’m unable to visit you today. I feel overwhelming guilt that we are not near you. Please know that no matter where you father, brother, and I live on this earth, we all love you and keep you close to us in our hearts. I love you Mary and Christopher, Happy Birthday my loves.

You have to do the hard things.

Blue Sky Days

You have to do the hard things.

  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
  • You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  • You have to try and fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.

Original article from Business Insider.

I read this last week and it really struck a chord. Moving. Living in a state of limbo at my parents house. Solo parenting while Shawn is traveling for work. Snow, snow, frigid cold, more snow. Starting my Stella & Dot business from scratch. Housebound with a toddler. All these things are adding up and making me want to “take to bed” like a Victorian dowager. However, I continue to slog away and do “the hard things” knowing that all this shall pass and Spring -figuratively and literally- will bring sunnier days. Until then, I’ll keep my head down and keep pushing forward.

Sweet Home Chicago

You might have noticed my recent lack of posting around here lately. Well, I’ve had good reasons, to be sure. I’m happy to report that Shawn has accepted a new position and we’re in the process of moving back to Chicago.

As you can imagine, things have been quite the whirlwind. Getting the house on the market, and subsequently sold, packing, getting Joseph and Walter out to my parents, etc. It’s been overwhelmingly insane. Thank goodness for my parents helping us and the aid of some of our good friends. I would probably be moving into the loony bin if it wasn’t for them.

I have to admit that the move is bittersweet. We were so happy to move back here – only three short years ago – to be reunited with our good friends, have our children here, being able to have Jeni’s ice-cream whenever we want. (Just kidding – not really!) But, I am thrilled with being close to my family again. I haven’t lived in the Land of Lincoln since I was 20 years old. I am hoping to rekindle some friendships from school, it will be wonderful to see them outside of the land of Facebook and the Interwebs.

We will be temporarily living at my parents house while we look for a home. They have been so generous and supportive, although I think that my mom is solely focused on the fact that we will have unlimited access to Joe. I hope that we can find a home soon, so we do not wear out our welcome.

I hope to be checking in a bit more regularly to let you know how things are going with transitioning, how Joseph is handling the changes, etc. But for now, I am just going to sit here and listen to this on repeat:

A Few Words of Gratitude

20131127-173727.jpg

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I think it is the kinder, gentler version of Christmas. Celebrating your family, friends, and blessings in life without the hype, stress, and overall chaos that has become a part of the Holiday Season.

Today I intend to hug, kiss, and snuggle these two who I am most thankful for. My husband, my best friend, my partner, my teammate. You are my rock, grounding me when I fly too high (or off the handle), lifting me up and cheering me on when I struggle with being confident in myself. My beautiful, amazing boy. You touch my heart and light up my world. You truly are my sun and stars. I love you both and I am so full of gratitude that I am able to share this life with yours.

The New Normal

Things have been pretty quiet on the old blog lately do to a recent shake up here for Team Colley. Two weeks ago Shawn’s position was eliminated at Tween Brands and he is no longer employed with the company.

They gave him a generous “exit package” so we are currently okay financially and are covered by insurance while he seeks a new position. Which is a major relief. However, our world has otherwise been turned upside down. Joseph and I had a fairly good routine going on for a while and now that Shawn is home with us all day, we are trying to figure out a “new normal” for us. In ways, this has been great; Shawn has been able to have some real quality time with Joe, things are a bit easier in wrangling him with us both around to do it, we’ve been able to get some things done around the house that we never seem to have time for, and I’ve been able to have a bit more time working on launching Stella & Dot.

The flip side is that we’re tripping over each other in doing things around the house, arguing over the “right” way to do things, and are still getting comfortable being around each other in this new way. Of course you add in the anxiety and stress of not knowing what the future holds and it can lead to some hairy moments.

All in all though, I think that we’re starting to find our new groove with things and are looking forward to what the future may hold. We know that as long as Team Colley stays together, we can get through anything.

 

 

Something to call my own (pt. 2)

Okay, so what is up with this Stella & Dot thing and exactly what did I decide to do?
Well, first, here’s a little back story:

Stella and Dot, an Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Company, is a San Francisco based social selling company that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women. Our boutique-style jewelry and accessories line is available exclusively through in-home Trunk Shows by Independent Stylists and online. Our one of a kind collections are designed by celebrated New York designers and featured in Gossip Girl, In Style and Lucky Magazine as well as on the wrists and necklines of today’s hottest celebrities. The Today Show, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have praised Stella & Dot for our innovative social shopping concept which brings together the best of ecommerce, social media, personal service and passionate earning to create the ultimate home based business for today’s modern woman.

I’ve decided to join the ranks and become and independent stylist for Stella & Dot. This means that I will be selling their gorgeous jewelry and accessories lines via personal trunk shows and my own online boutique. I am going to spare you the sales pitch here, but I will say that I wouldn’t even consider this if I didn’t LOVE the product and think that it is amazing. Anyone that wants to hear more or is interested in hosting a trunk show (-FREE JEWELRY, PEOPLE! -) let me know and I’ll be happy to give you all the details! (Check out my my e-boutique here.)

I decided to do this because I feel it is something that has the flexibility I need to still be at home with Joseph and care for my family, while allowing me to have that something to challenge and motivate me, have fun and meet people, and have something to be passionate about. Not to mention to once again contribute financially to our family.

I am really scared and nervous about starting this journey and I am hoping and praying that I don’t fall on my face. But no matter what, I am going to be proud of myself that I am taking a chance and seeing what I am capable of.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Something to call my own (pt. 1)

I’ve been really yearning for a change for a while now. At first, I really didn’t know what type of change I wanted. I just felt like I needed “something” in my life. Hard to explain. I slowly came to realize that what I was missing was something to call my own. My own in a way that was separate from Joseph and Shawn and being a stay at home mom and caring for our home and family. Something challenging and exciting and all for me. I had this before when I was running my Etsy shop, selling my hand-knitted items. I ended up shutting it down shortly after Joseph was born because I just couldn’t keep up with production, taking photos, shipping orders, etc. while caring for a newborn. Something I would love to get back to someday. . . maybe when he goes off to college. Ha!

Anyways, I thought long and hard about it and decided that I wanted to look into getting some sort of job. But, then I decided not to get one. Why? Because I LOVE staying home with Joseph and I wanted to continue that. Not to mention it wouldn’t be worth it financially to have him go to a sitter or in daycare. I also didn’t want to have to compromise time I spent with my family, meaning giving up evenings and weekends so I could work when Shawn was home. Plus, I’m spoiled. I don’t want to have to work around someone else’s schedule and give up our ability to go on vacations and visit friends and family because I have to work. So I gave up and decided to look for other ways to have something for just me.

I tried diving into my studio. Sewing, knitting, painting, and other crafts. All of them were, and are, important to me and give me the ability to express myself and find joy in creating, but it wasn’t quite what I needed. This is a solitary pursuit. I found myself craving more interaction and getting OUT OF THE HOUSE. For those of you who aren’t stay at home moms, I’m not sure I can fully explain this to you. I craved adult interaction. Someone to talk to that can speak complete sentences and doesn’t rely on you for their every basic need. I found myself making unneeded trips to Target just so I could walk around and see other adults. I’d strike up conversation with complete strangers, just to hear someone’s voice other than my own. All the cashiers know Joe by name!

So I thought some more about finding something of my own. Something that would get me out of the house. Something that would challenge me and would be fun and would motivate me.

Then along came my amazing friend Dawn. Dawn is a dynamo. She is a stay at home mom with two wonderful kids that she takes everywhere, does everything for and makes me exhausted just thinking about what she does in a day. She has been my friend since our early days at Ohio State and have been through more together than I care to relate. I love her like a sister. She attempted to force me suggested that I join her in becoming a Stylist forStella & Dot. (I’ll explain more about this and the company shortly.) I had a jewelry party with her back in May and absolutely fell in love with the product, but I was rather skeptical. However, I kept coming back to the idea whenever I talked to her and thoughts like “well, maybe I could do that” or “that might be fun” or “could this be the something I’m looking for?” kept popping into my head.

I thought about it more. Being me, I made lists, I researched, I reached out to people like Shawn’s former boss who is also a Stylist to get there opinion. I talked with Shawn about it. I talked to myself about it. I basically obsessed over the decision. Can I do this? What am I thinking? I’m scared, nervous, afraid, excited, motivated. . . .

I’ve decided to go for it.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Two years . . .

I can’t believe it’s been this long . . . it still stills my heart every day. It’s both easier and harder now with Joseph here. It keeps me busy and present and also helps me to cherish this sweet little boy all the more. But, it is also a constant reminder. Would Christopher be the same rough and tumble little boy, would Mary have the same blue eyes? Questions that bring a smile and tears at the same time.

I still struggle with the seemingly ever-present question “is he your first?” Such a simple question but so hard to answer. Most often, I simply say yes. It’s too difficult to explain and it’s most often people that want a simple answer. Little do they know of the tiny daggers that sting when I deny them. Please, my sweet angels, know that I will always think of you as my first (and second) born. I love you Mary and Christopher, Happy Birthday my loves.

The Year Ahead

Well, the Team Colley Holiday Tour has reached its completion and we are back home and settling into the new year. 2013!

I love the start of a new year. New beginnings, clean slates, a brand new calendar. . . and of course lists! Lists of things I want to do, see, make, cook.

I decided that this year I really need to bring balance into my -and by extension my family’s-life. That means focusing on our family as a whole as well as myself. I found that last year I made several fits and starts at doing this, but I always pushed myself aside to focus on others. This hurt me, both mentally and physically. I need to do better. Here are a few ways to start:

  • Shawn and I have talked about this and we are going to make sure to make time for us – date night at least twice a month – so we don’t become “mommy & daddy” and forget ourselves.
  • We will also be working harder to work as a team parenting. Before this meant that we often “tagged out” with Joseph. Leading to a lot of frustration on my part. I was not able to “tag out” as much with being home all day while Shawn was working and when he was home, I was often “supervising” his turns. I also felt a lot of guilt when I did step away to take time for myself. I always rushed and didn’t fully enjoy that time because I was fretting about getting back and “relieving” Shawn. Shawn is a capable adult and a wonderful father. I need to let him lead at times.
  • I have to make sure Shawn has time for himself outside of work, he needs his down time as well to relax and rejuvenate just as much as I do.
  • I need to allow myself to take time for me. This can mean going to get a pedicure, reading or crafting while Joseph naps instead of doing laundry, making it to the gym, or actually taking a nap. These things will all help me in realizing my goals.
  • Stop doubting and mentally beating myself up over my mothering skills, or lack there of. I put myself through a TON of mental anguish regarding whether or not I am doing the right thing for my son. I also get really down on myself whenever I get frustrated with him. I am human. I am doing the best I can. I will pay for his therapy. I have to remember this and focus on how wonderful this tiny wonderful human is and how he has helped me grow.

So those are a few ways I’ll be working on making this year all about Team Colley. I’m sure I’ll have my successes and failures, but I have a beautifully empty calendar in which to log my progress. I’ll be posting about my trials and tribulations under the category Dream Year 2013. Hope you’ll follow along with me.

Just not feeling it.

Grinch

I’m having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year. I’m not quite sure what it is, maybe because things are so hectic with holiday parties, shopping, cooking, etc. on top of my already frazzled daily life I just can’t relax enough to get in the mood.

I am feeling pretty bad about this because its Joseph’s first Christmas. Shouldn’t I be giddy with excitement over starting new family traditions and sharing the holiday with him for the very first time? . . .(Sigh) Maybe if I had more energy – or time – I’d be able to have sugar plums dancing in my head. Right now it is visions of a to-do list as long as my arm.

This weekend, we’ll be taking Joe to see Santa. Hopefully, this will un-Grinchify my heart. Am I the only one who feels this way? What do you do to help you get into the Christmas spirit?