the one about my obligatory introduction to rodan + fields

I am sitting here with a knot in my stomach.

Call it nerves.

Call it excitement.

Call it too much pizza for dinner.

I'm pretty sure, however, the knot has something to do with the fact that I just agreed to be a consultant with Rodan + Fields skincare, and it is now public knowledge.

So what about this is scary?

Ev.er.y.thing.

What if I fail? I don't like loathe failure. Even a rock-paper-scissors dual gone wrong can tick me off for an hour. 

What if I look silly? Who really needs more selfies in their newsfeed?

How could I possibly help anyone with skincare? My husband is the doctor, not me.

But, as Kendra, the friend who inspired me to try the skincare simply by sharing her own personal results, told me -- it is simply sharing what you like with your friends and family. That is all.

And I already do that here on this blog. I've told you how I fill in my nearly invisible eyebrows with this brow set. I've shared with you that the only way to get Noelle's hair detangled is by using this cream. I've shared where we rent our strollers at Disney World, and, hell... I've told you where to pick up your child's birth certificate (when she is already 8 months old).

I am probably a bit of an over-sharer.

Like the time I told you my cervix sucked. Or I'm sure you remember when I drank poop-flavored water.

So, I guess sharing is my thing.

I like to talk. I like to buy things. And when the things I buy do what they are supposed to do, I like to talk about that. I suppose it's a match made in heaven.

You may be wondering why Rodan + Fields? Why now? Why sell it when I can just buy it like a regular customer?

Or you may not be wondering any of that, and that's cool, too. I'm glad you stopped by anyway.

I think I have shared (hehe) with you that the year 2015 was a bit of a cluster for me. I don't look back fondly on it. I don't have many fun memories. All I remember are a series of events that lead to emotional stress in my life, and when I am stressed, my body tells the world, "HEY GUYS! SHE IS A FREAKING MESS! LOOK AT HER FACE! LOOK AT HER HAIR! LOOK AT THE WEIGHT SHE HAS GAINED!"

Yes, it's true. My hair was falling out. My body was not happy living on Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A and Snickers bars. My skin was erupting into a series of grouchy volcanoes. All I could do was stare in horror as my complexion looked as bad as I had ever seen it.

You know what else wrecks your skin? Having babies. Lots of babies. Like 3 babies in 4 1/2 years. Hormones don't help, but lack of sleep, lack of water, and survival eating (you know, like eating that remnant of a chicken nugget from your kid's Happy Meal because WHY WOULD SHE LET THAT GO TO WASTE?). It all adds up to a yucky, dull complexion that started to take a toll on my confidence.

I tried a lot of different things to help my skin. Do you all remember when I put coconut oil and apple cider vinegar on my face? I really liked the way it made my skin feel, and I did notice some improvement in my breakouts, but I got tired of the mess of my homemade skincare. There's just nothing luxurious about scooping some coconut oil out with a spoon and shmearing it on my face, and then removing it with vinegar. I got bored with it and went on to the next thing.

I tried Ava Anderson nontoxic skincare in addition to Beauty Counter, another natural skincare line. While I saw brief success with these brands, I quickly realized that my skincare needs far surpassed what these natural products could do. (I do still really enjoy the Beauty Counter lustro oil from time to time when my face feels especially dry)

I tried face washes from the drug store, and my skin just became extremely dry and sensitive. I was basically all out of ideas when Kendra posted her own personal before and after photos of her skin now that she uses Rodan + Fields. I was extremely surprised and honestly impressed that she posted something that had made her so self-conscious for all the (Facebook) world to see.

This is something I have never been able to do -- go bare-faced in public. I always, always, always have makeup on my face, and I have always, always, always been envious of the women who I perceive to be natural beauties. They don't wear makeup, and if they do, it is very light and minimal. I am sure it doesn't take them as long to get ready in the morning, and I am sure they feel so free knowing that their skin is glowing without the help of a shimmery powder (not that there's anything wrong with shimmery powder. I freaking love shimmery powder).

My girls watch me get ready in the mornings, and they see that it takes a layer of primer, foundation or BB cream, concealer, and powder to make my skin look remotely acceptable (in my eyes) to be seen. This process not only is time consuming, but it also brings about a lot of questions from my girls.

"Mama, what are you putting on your face?"

"Why are you doing that?"

"When can I wear makeup?"

"I want to cover up my freckles."

I always say, "You're beautiful enough without makeup," but this message inherently says, "but Mama can't be seen without it."

This isn't the message I wanted to send to my children, so I decided to get over myself and my general disapproval of things people sell on Facebook and just try the skincare that gave Kendra her impressive results.

And the rest is history.

I would have 60 days to try the skincare line, and if I didn't see the results I wanted, I could send it back and get a refund.

By the time my 60 days were up, I was hooked. 

Can you tell why?

Picture on left - Feb 2016; Picture on right - April 2016
No makeup on my skin in 2nd photo except for eye makeup (and my brows, duh.)

I didn't want to send my products back for a refund. I wanted to try more! I wanted to see what the other products could do for me. 

So how do I know this time, it's different. That this time, I won't just jump ship to the next skincare fad that I am into? 

Well, to put it simply, this stuff works. There's no need for me to switch to the next big thing. I am seeing results, and I am finally feeling more confident in the skin I was born with. With Summer right around the corner, I don't want to be a slave to my makeup routine. I want to be able to throw on some sunscreen and enjoy my day with my girls. I don't want to "put my face on" to head to the pool. 

And, for the big question. 

Why sell it?

Well...why not? I love it. I buy it. If nothing else, I can get a little discount on my own products, and if I am feeling ambitious, maybe I will meet a few new friends along the way. I am at a time in my life when I feel like a 'tween again. I'm going to be 32 years old in July. My younger, irresponsible years are over, but my older, slow-pace years are far away (I hope). I feel a little too young to be old and too old to be young right now, and this feeling leaves me a bit itchy. Itchy for some new experiences. Itchy for some new people. Itchy for some new challenges.

What might you expect from me from here on out? Really, nothing different than what you're used to. I will share with you how I feel about these products, and I will share with you how I feel about french fries. 

It's called balance.

And if I can help another person feel better in his or her skin, I suppose that's all I can hope for.

the one about how I don't need more children

No. More. Kids.

This is the message I received loud and clear this morning.

Done.

Stop.

Enough.

Who told me to stop having kids?

Well, my own self-doubt. My own self-pity. And probably my own children, under their breaths.

It was just another epic morning at our house. My husband had to leave early for work, so I was responsible for dropping my Kindergartner off at school and then taking my younger two to preschool with me. Typically, Luke takes my daughter to school, so this was an added responsibility this morning.

Our dining room was a sea of Cheerios on the floor, a gathering of ants around a piece of dinner from last night, random winter gear that had been dragged out from its drawer in the coat closet, and a stack of school papers that still needed to be sorted, signed, or tossed.

My oldest needed her hair braided.

My youngest needed more breakfast.

My middle needed pants.

I was barely dressed, teeth narrowly brushed, and, although I desperately needed it, I didn't have time for concealer under my eyes.

I could have used a shower, but that whole process would eat up an hour of time we didn't have, so the trusty ponytail would have to do. Again.

After a parade of constant mess, constant noise, and constant questions as I was trying to put the finishing touches on the gourmet lunches I was preparing (HA), I lost my cool. Like I do.

Where is your sight word book? Do you have your lunch box? Help your sister get her shoes on! Please, please, please... go get in the car!

It hit me in that moment that this family needs no more children.

You can barely care for the ones you have.

Only patient, calm mothers deserve lots of children.

You should get a dog instead. 

I shook these thoughts just long enough to pull it together and get everyone to school. I have a strict, "No one goes to school angry" policy, because after events like Sandy Hook and other true horror stories, I refuse to let my children leave me for the day with "Hurry up! We're late!" playing through their minds.

So, as I opened the van door to let Noelle out, I held her face in my hand, slightly squeezed her freckly cheeks, and kissed over and over again, right in front of the man who helps escort the kids to the door each day. I told her I loved her. And to have a great day. And that I loved her.

As I pulled around to exit the parking lot and enter the Starbucks line 22 seconds later, I told myself again that I did not need any additional children.

Does coffee make things better?

Are you actually going to try harder to have patience?

Say you're sorry all you want, but you can't un-ring the bell.

That nagging voice of negatives tore away at me for a few more minutes while I listened to the news on the radio.

Another murder.

Another kidnapping.

Another burglary.

Another presidential candidate threatening this and promising that.

And then it came to me.

I may think I don't need more children, but this world needs more children.

There are bad guys (and girls) out there. We are inundated with news of the horrible happenings in cities across the globe. We feel fear. We feel anger. We feel sadness.

But when I look into the eyes of my girls, I feel hopeful.

Sure, sometimes I say, with a tone of dread in my voice, "I wonder what the world will be like when our kids are grown up." But there's something about the way they smile, or laugh, or get excited over the littlest things, or passionately sing a song they love, or pray about what is worrying them, and I realize that these girls have an amazing future ahead of them, and I can't wait to see who they become.

I see a cardboard box, and they see an airplane.


I see a blizzard, and they see Elsa.


I see a "no way," and they see an "I'm gonna."


They see the good in everyone and everything.

And coming from teaching children of all ages for nearly 10 years now, I can tell you that most kids are like this.

When does it change? When do sweet, innocent children turn into murderers or burglars or kidnappers or abusers or users?

I don't know exactly, but I think it starts when they lose hope. When they lose their smile. When they lose excitement. When they lose passion. When they lose faith.

And while I can't guarantee the type of adults my children will become, I can promise that I will not go one day of my life without helping my children deepen their hope...share their smiles...spread their excitement...fuel their passion...keep the faith.



That, I guess, is all any of us can do for the children we have...the children we hope to have...the children we teach...the children we care for...the children we see playing down the street.

Deepen their hope.
Share their smiles.
Spread their excitement.
Fuel their passion.
Keep the faith.

(and freak out less in the mornings)



the one about life right now

I was at a store recently, and I saw a beautiful sight.

It was another mother, completely losing her shit, because Child A wanted yet another toy, Child B was demanding chicken nuggets, and Child C had pooped his pants. 

Mom was frazzled. Worn. Her eyes were tired. Her voice was annoyed. She might have been choking back tears.

This (familiar) scenario brought me such comfort, because I have totally been in her shoes too many times to count. In fact, I was just in her shoes 17 minutes prior to witnessing her train run completely off the rails. 

There are times (a seldom few) when I think I am really cruising through motherhood. We have a routine that works. We have meals planned and shopped for. We have our schedule for the week. Our children are happy and well-adjusted. 

Then, there are the times (like, most of the time here lately), that things couldn't be more out of control. 

Bedtimes are thrown completely out of whack thanks to Daylight Savings Time. My kids love going to bed in broad daylight...said no mom ever.

Thanks to a "quick and easy" DIY kitchen floor tiling project, we have not had an oven, stove, or dishwasher for weeks...which equates to countless (and expensive) fast-food and take-out meals, hand washing dishes or simply buying stock in paper plates, a kitchen floor that can barely be walked on, and my refrigerator just chillin' in my eat-in nook, where the table should be. Construction dust lines every surface, and we are one trip to Lowe's away from just throwing in the towel. 

End of school year apathy has set in. Reading the little 10 page sight word practice book at night makes me want to poke my eyes out. Signing the newsletter envelope (ugh! every Tuesday!) feels heavy and daunting. 

I have lost my patience too many times to count since Spring Break. That last cup of milk before bed. That plea for the $9.99 piece of plastic junk that my child must have or surely she won't survive. That pile (mountain?) of laundry that doesn't seem to bother anyone else in the house but me. 

That time my husband inadvertently unplugged our deep freezer in our garage, allowing some pretty nice steaks to thaw and reek of rotting carcass. 

And to top it off, we don't have a free weekend until late June.

Do you feel sorry for me yet?

You shouldn't.

We are blessed, and don't I know it.

We didn't have to put new tile in our kitchen, and we don't have to say "yes" to plans every weekend and most weeknights. Our girls are healthy, and we are inching closer to Summer freedom each each day. 

We are the ones who busy ourselves to death. In fact, I hate that word -- "busy." It's not a good thing, in my opinion, to be busy.

To me, it refers to poor time management. Poor self-discipline. Poor communication. Poor planning. 

When it gets to the point when your friends, family, and potential customers or clients start their texts, emails, or messages to you with, "I know you're super busy right now, but...", you know have a problem.

It's a fine balance between appearing like you actually have plans and shtuff to do and giving the impression you're about to pull a 2007 Britney. 


So, if I am come across a bit like the gal above, I do apologize. I have been around enough to know that this is, indeed, a season, and we will find our groove again. 

And at about that time, I will be ready for another baby, and we will hop back on the hamster wheel and pick up where we left off.

I write this post for no other reason but to give you a glimpse of my reality and help you feel a little better about your own,  the way that lady at the store did for me. 

And to leave you with this romantic text exchange with my husband.