the "florkens"

January 11, 2017

2017: A Year of Effort

We are now elbow deep into the New Year and I have mixed emotions. On one hand, 2017 will (hopefully) be a year of progress for my family. We are planning to pay off more debt, get some projects done around the house, and of course, continue watching our #LittleLadyHolland grow up while making us simultaneously laugh and pull our hair out.

But I feel like 2017 will also be a year of anti-progress. After all, we only have less than two weeks left under the Obama Administration and President-Elect Trump will be sworn in soon. Day to day, life might not change much for me because I am a married, heterosexual female firmly rooted in the middle class. But that's a privilege that doesn't apply to everyone and I fear for what 2017 has in store for millions of American families and frankly, families all around the globe. I could go on forever and write dozens of blog posts explaining exactly what terrifies me about the incoming administration and the items on Congress' purported agenda, but I'll spare you for now. Suffice it to say that I'm not looking forward to much of it.

Right before the New Year -- with both my family and the overall country in mind -- I sat down to consider what I wanted to focus on in the coming year. Of course the usual things like "workout more" and "eat better" were on the list but I also noticed "intentional date nights" and "frequent calls to Senator and Representatives" along with "focus at work" and "make time for friends." I stared at this list for hours and wondered how I could possibly do them all in the New Year. Suddenly, it hit me --- Effort.
I needed more Effort in my life.

Don't get me wrong. I work hard. I wake up and get a kiddo ready for dayschool before going into the office around 7:45 am. I typically work through my lunch break and get home anywhere between 5:00 and 5:30 pm. Then, I help Adam feed Hols and we both spend time with her, and get her tucked into bed before either one of us can finally take a breath around 7:30 pm. That kind of a day isn't exactly ripe with free time.

That said, when I step back and am honest with myself -- I know I can do more. If I made a bit more of an effort, I know I could find time to:
  • Call my Senator/Representatives;
  • Attend local/community activities supporting causes that are important to my family; 
  • Enjoy monthly date nights with Adam;
  • Laugh through play dates with fellow local moms and friends; 
  • Practice yoga; 
  • Eat more intentionally by preparing meals ahead of time for lunch;
  • Workout more frequently;
  • Work on my planned novel;
  • Read books again;
  • Start (re)learning conversational Spanish;
  • Stay on top of my family budget so we can pay off debt;
  • And more...
So with all of that in mind, 2017 is going to be a year of Effort for me.
I plan to put a little more Effort forth each and every day towards a goal of mine.
I do not expect to live a storybook life. I don't think I'll be speaking Spanish by year end or that I will have time to do everything all at once.
I know that change does not happen overnight but my Effort will build upon itself and I know that with time, I will look back on 2017 and be proud of the fact that I really put in the Effort.

December 14, 2016

Finding an Online Tribe & Loving Them Hard

I have been an adult for quite some time. I have two degrees (blah... student debt), a husband, a kid, a mortgage, a car note, and a full time job. My days mostly consist of rushing to get to work, working, and then enjoying my daughter for a few hours before she goes to bed. Then of course, there is always laundry to do, Netflix shows to be binged, and let's face it --- that wine doesn't drink itself. Oh, and occasionally I have to shower. 

I'll be honest -- "friendships" in the adult world are hard AF.

In high school, I could ride around town after school with friends, blast Eminem, and dream about life in another town. In college, I could get dolled up and party until the wee hours of the morning with my girls and relish in the fact that I was young and unbreakable. In law school, I could skip a class and enjoy margaritas on a patio with my friends while chatting about crazy professors. 

Now? In the real world, friendships are much more difficult. Occasionally I can grab lunch with someone when they aren't in court and I'm not on a teleconference. On rare occasions, I might leave the mounds of dirty laundry and undone household projects behind and actually meet up with a friend on the weekend to chat about what a shitshow adulthood really is and lament the fact that no one warned us. These moments are freeing and grand, but they are rare. Very rare.
I recently got to meet up with a fellow tribe mom, Stacy, for shopping and margaritas!
So what is a woman to do when she needs a full-time but low maintenance tribe?
She seeks one out.

I'm here to confess that my tribe is a group of women -- fellow mothers -- that I met online

I really shouldn't be surprised that I met my friends this way. After all, Adam and I met online. But meeting someone online initially is quite different than only interacting with someone virtually. A few years ago, a more cynical Kate would have told you that you cannot be true friends with someone you have never met. That Kate was wrong. Blogging itself initially opened me up to the idea of online friends. I met wonderful women, like Amber Thomas, who I came to admire and adore despite never once "meeting."

Prior to becoming a mother, motherhood scared me. I was never one to seek out babies and the look on my face when someone asked if I wanted to babysit their small child probably gave away my abject terror. So when I was pregnant, I knew that I needed to find like minded women to help assure me that I would somehow survive and that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't screw it all up completely. I went in search of these women and much to my surprise, I met them online.

Let me just say this -- an online tribe is a godsend for adult friendships!

My tribe is always at my fingertips. We chat on Facebook and through an app called GroupMe. Our children are all roughly the same age so we share stories and trade mothering secrets and techniques. We often complain about long work days or jokingly plot about places to bury the bodies of annoying spouses. We ask for advice and we give reassurance on everything from teething to fashion to politics. We come from all different walks of life and live in all different corners of the US and Canada. Some of us have more than one kid. Some of us are divorced. Some of us work full-time. Some of us are stay at home moms. Our uniting thread is the fact that we all sought out our tribe and that we all continue to come back to care and support one another regardless of our differences.

As the holiday approach, we are exchanging Christmas cards and gifts and planning future meetups. Some of us have already gotten together in real life and all of those have been fun. But when you have an online tribe -- meetups are only a small part of the overall picture. You see, our friendships were formed and built online. So, while never meeting face to face isn't ideal, it also doesn't kill the friendships. The friendships thrive on so little effort and as a busy adult, that is so freeing.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't have "real life" friends or that they shouldn't try to make an "effort" in their friendships. They should. I do. But with my "real life" friends, going long periods of time without seeing each other face to face often feels like defeat. It is disheartening and when we do ultimately get together, we end up putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it again.. and SOONER this time.

With my online tribe that kind of pressure just doesn't exist. They are always there for me without any guilt-ridden aftertaste. I can turn to them when my day is slow and share baby pictures or I chat with them for hours about the West World season finale. Really, the only downside of having an online tribe is having to admit to "real life" people that some of your best friends "live in" your phone or computer. But that is a fact for me now -- 26 of my best friends are badass moms who I have never met in person. They are funny. They are sarcastic. They are passionate. They are kind. They are supportive. They are all different. And most importantly, they are all my Tribe.

So when being an adult and having adult friendships becomes hard, I would always recommend finding an online tribe and loving them hard.

10/10... would online Tribe again! (<--- A little Tribe humor)

November 14, 2016

Our Little Wild "ONE"

It's been a tough week. So, what better way to unwind than to revisit some birthday party fun? 
A month ago today, #LittleLadyHolland turned one. To celebrate her big day, we threw a "WILD ONE" themed affair with our family. It came complete with cake, balloons, a new red wagon, and lots of baby cuddles. Our little girl took a nap right in the middle of her party and when she woke up, she wasn't quite sure about all the present opening and the cake. But, this was a good practice run and we are all certain that she will dive into both at her next birthday party.
A BIG thank you to Niki Zimmerman for the photos and  That Darling Boutique for the highchair banner.