Growing out a pixie

10.13.2014

Google “how to grow out a pixie” and you’ll come out relatively short handed.  Why? Its a terribly awkward phase that anyone who has once had a pixie cut has had to go through. Is it that we avoid the camera for a year?  I am not sure, but right then and there, I decided that once my hair was at a relatively normal length, I would blog about it, in the hopes that someday, I could help a poor soul such as myself.

I should have been a pro at this by now. This latest go-round was my 4th time growing out some version of a pixie cut. But a pro I was not.  I was young and foolish and went with the theory of, “do not cut! must let groooooowwww.”

But now I was older and wiser. And my hair – I do like to treat it well.

This time around, I stuck with trims every 5 weeks and kept up with my highlighting schedule, as well. I didn’t employ any new fancy tricks like hair masques,  fancy oils, scalp massages, infrequent washings, or prenatal vitamins.  I kept on keeping on with my regular shampoo and conditioner, still continued to use my heat tools (a fine, thin haired gal needs to employ all the tricks she can!), and I ate my normal, healthy protein-rich diet.

Frequent trims while growing out seems counter-intuitive, but if you think about it, it makes all the sense. You need to maintain some sort of style. While growing out the pixie, my stylist initially kept the back super short (no mullets! watch out for the mullet. you can wake up one morning and BAM! Mullet.)  while I grew out my short Mia Farrow layers. Then she had to add longer layers to make it a very short, shaggy bob. Then she started stacking the back so I could grow out some of those layers.  That second stage was the most brutal, yo. I felt kinda frumpy yet boy-ish. I tended to dress up a bit more to make up for it. But now I am at the point where I am trimming it so it doesn’t go all Dilbert on me and get triangular and so it stays healthy while it grows.

For the longest time when I was young(er), I eschewed layers. Afterall, I have fine, thin, straight hair. I pictured my Terrible Horrible Shag From 1983.  Eventually I learned that, especially when you have shorter hair, properly layered hair creates a look of dimension, thus looking longer. Bam!  I also learned to put away the Nice n Easy (hey – college was expensive!) and embrace highlights that were closer to my natural color. My stylist uses several colors to obtain a multi-dimensional look, giving me more volume than I truly have while keeping my hair healthy because we’re only dying the roots of it every couple months.

Anyway, to make a long story short, errr, a short story long…..

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Of course, looking through pictures makes me miss my pixie cut. Grass is always greener, right? I am sure I will grow it out and it will not look like how I imagine it looking (ie: pinterest worth hair) and I will once again, chop it off. But that’s the fun thing about hair. Nothing’s permanent and it always grows back! In the meantime, I vow to keep it looking fun and modern!

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F O U R T E E N

10.06.2014

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Its hard to believe that 14 years have passed since my husband and I stood in front of our family and friends and said our vows.  When we met with the non-denominational minister who would marry us, I recall us being very specific about what we wanted- how we wanted it to be about us, about friendship, about respect, and how we did not want to focus on christ, as that was not what we were or are about.  I remember joking about one of the readings we picked, the popular ‘I Love You’, by poet Ray Croft. We joked that our friend who was reading it would switch the words,

“I love you because you
Are helping me to make of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern but a Temple,”

to

“Not a Temple but a tavern”

I was by no means a bridezilla, but I was quite specific about two things. The first being that I really wanted a smaller, intimate wedding. I did not want people that we did not know at our wedding (the whole parents inviting their coworkers and friends we didn’t know was not cool with us). And because we were younger, I was of the mindset that I did not want children at our wedding. Looking back, I do feel bad that my nephews from California (who were the only kids we knew at that time) were not there, but it did allow their parents to cut loose and not have to run after them all night.

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Fourteen years ago, I had no idea that in 2014, I would be a stay-at-home mom to a 12.5 year old and twins who are on the verge of turning 11 or that we’d be in home #3, much less STILL living in home #3 11 years later. But mostly, I don’t think I realized that 14 years later, marriage would still be so damn hard. Even knowing how hard it is, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I’ve learned a lot. A crapton. But the most important things I’ve learned (and some of them only very recently set in)?

^^ Always have each other’s backs.
You may not agree with your spouse, but don’t throw them under the bus in public. Or don’t disagree on a parenting choice in front of the kids (that’s not to say don’t disagree in front of the kids. just don’t undermine the other’s decision in front of the kids. you gotta show solidarity.). Take it up in private.  It’s taken me a loooooong time to learn this.

^^ Don’t take shit out on each other.
We all have bad days. Hit the gym or the sidewalk. Punch a pillow. Take the dog for a walk or run. Have a glass of wine or take a bath. Grab your yoga mat. Whatever. Find a way to decompress other than taking it out on your spouse.

^^ Communicate
If you’re pissed, tell your spouse. Don’t do the silent treatment thing. We’re not teenagers here. TALK ABOUT IT.  Also? Don’t air your dirty laundry in front of your friends. Its awkward, yo.

^^ You gotta work at it. Don’t put it off.
Sure, kids take a lot of time and energy. And it leaves you dog tired at the end of the day. And there’s always other crap to do. But if you don’t take the time to concentrate on each other now, what will be left when your kids are grown? We were all boyfriend and girlfriend and husband and wife before we became parents.  That relationship needs to be the backbone of the family.

We celebrated 14 this weekend in Milwaukee, which was unusual for us. I think this is the first time we’ve stayed in the city – we’ve always at least gone to Madison or Chicago, if not hopped a plane to go somewhere.  We were fortunate to be able to have the kids stay at friends for the night, so we were free to stay out as long as we wanted.

Cheers to 14 years!

wolf peach mke

 

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perserverance

10.03.2014

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I’ve never been one of those terribly competitive parents, nor have I been one of those parents to push my children into competitive sports early on in their lives. I’ve kind of always allowed them to take the lead and I’ve been behind them to give them a gentle nudge, if necessary. Of course, that means that some of them have had a tendency to jump around from sport to sport. But honestly, if they can’t do it when they are younger, then when will they have the chance?

However, as they’ve grown older, they’ve started to find their niche. Except for our eldest, who has declared himself, “not the sporty type.”  After trying, and quitting, taekwondo, tennis, soccer, and cross country, he has decided that really, music is simply his thing.

However, I think that some form of forced physical activity is good for us. Especially given that we live in a state that isn’t conducive to going outside and tossing a ball or jumping on a trampoline or shooting hoops or whatnot several months out of the year.  So I asked him to choose another sport, and he chose swim. So in spring, he joined a rec swim team.

Fall rolled around and he sat his father and I down and said that he no longer wanted to swim.
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And that’s when I lost it.

I explained that the season just started and that I already paid for it and that more importantly, he’s got to give this activity a chance. He said, ” But I am not an athlete!” I explained that sure, some of us aren’t naturally athletic (me! me!), so it takes some time (and maybe more than a gentle nudge) to get good at something. I also let him know that some sort of physical activity was a must. So unless he has a suitable replacement, then he was going to continue with swim.

And low and behold…..
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look what happened.

1st place, 50 m breaststroke. 11-12 year olds.

Suddenly, he loves swim. Watching him at practice last night, he exuded a confidence I’ve not seen before.

Mama knows best.

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Protein Packed Power Balls

10.02.2014

With my kids on the go, in activities from 4:00pm – 8:30pm most evenings, I am always looking for homemade snacks to feed them. Snacks that pack a punch of power.
A friend brought these, made with peanut butter, to our elementary school’s fun run, so I immediately had to ask for the recipe (and then tweaked it a little). They’re easy and quick to make and I had all the ingredients on hand. The nice thing is that you can switch things up and make different versions of this, as I did.

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Since I have a daughter who doesn’t care for peanut butter (unless its with an apple), I made a version with homemade nutella for her.

1 c. oats
1/2 c. nut butter or seed butter
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 c. ground flax seed
1 TB chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. chocolate chips, optional

Pulse oats for a second or two in a food processor. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Chill for 15-20 minutes. Roll into 1.5″ size balls and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate.

The first batch I made (pictured here), I did not pulse my oats and I thought the balls were not ery pretty. So I decided to give them a quick whirl through the food processor and it made them much easier to roll, resulting in a prettier ball.

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My health journey

9.23.2014

At the start of the year, I set my one word as restore, with health and strength being two of the things I needed to restore to my life.  I’ve never been one to seriously stick to resolutions. But this time was different. I needed to make a change.  I wanted to be stronger.  I was sick of hurting my back, sick of feeling drained.

And here I am. Almost 10 months later and I’ve stuck to my goal.  And while I started out slim, I was not muscular by any means.  I took a gamble and stepped outside of my comfort zone and low and behold, I began to see some amazing results.  Seeing your body change and take on a whole new shape, a whole new physique you never thought possible is completely amazing and addicting.

 

I’ve gone from 20% to 18.3% body fat and 32.1% to 33.1% muscle and I’ve gained 2.8lbs. I never did measurements or anything else, because frankly, I am not trying to lose inches or pounds. My goal has always been to be a healthier, stronger me.

 

Throughout all of this, I’ve discovered that I like bike riding! That is not hard anymore. And now that I have muscles and a strong core to carry me, running is actually easy (though I still don’t enojoy it, so its not something I do by itself). I’ve learned that I love to try new things like aerial yoga or do challenges like obstacle courses.

Two weeks ago, I went to see my doctor to discuss my plan for making it through this winter. When he walked in, he immediately commented that in the 13 years he’s known me, this is the best I’ve ever looked. And that was saying a LOT, given that it was likely the busiest 2 weeks of the year and I was sorely lacking in sleep at that point and feeling like crap!

These past 3 weeks, I’ve been part of a nurtition challenge at my gym. While I’ve mostly always eaten healthy, this has given me the final nudge to feel my best by making sure not only that I get in my fruits, veggies, protein, carbs, probiotics, and water each day, but that I get enough and that I am fueling my body post-workout, as well. During all of this, I’ve given up my daily cup of coffee. I miss it (just haven’t gotten around to buying decaf yet), but you know what? Gone is my afternoon slump. So its worth its weight in gold.

All that said, I guess what I am getting at is that there are no short cuts. The dedication of hard work and healthy eating (and no, I do not believe in “cheating”…I believe in everything in moderation, because life’s too short not to enjoy the fun things, too) are what got me here. And I am damn proud of myself for sticking with this one. Especially because I want to set a good example for my children.

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