Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

JennFalik_2014

{A friend of mine posted an amazing stream-of-consciousness recap of her year on Facebook this morning, and it inspired me to look back at my year in much the same way- small soundbites capturing moments and experiences that most certainly impacted the person I am now versus the person I was a year ago.}

I started the year focused very much on the professional…launched a web series…learned the art of Photoshop…explored new ways to express myself on my blog and along the way potentially figure out what I wanted it to “be”…put myself out there in a new way as a partner able to produce branded content for clients as opposed to simply hosting it…spent hours upon hours upon hours learning video editing lingo and the ins and outs of graphics…booked and executed numerous segments in addition to it all…hustled like I was 25 again…so much so that I didn’t write my yearly “letter to Alexa” update before her 3rd birthday…

Threw perhaps the most epic party I have ever thrown for my 35th and loved every debaucherous second of it…had more amazing times with friends that are fast becoming our family than I can remember/count…drank too much, probably didn’t eat enough at times, worked out like a madwoman and became proud of the strong, fit body that I had created…focused on eating cleaner, cooking more frequently, and becoming more adept at the art of entertaining just to be kind of a bit more of a grown up…

Took Alexa to Disney World with my mom and learned so many things about my little girl that I realized I had not noticed before…found out that these little people can be scared, fragile, nervous and not always the mini-warriors that, in our heads, we think we gave birth to…noted to self to be more on top of this whole motherhood thing…back home in time for a fun Cinco de Mayo fiesta with friends where I marveled at Alexa’s free-spirited dance moves and the incredible people we had become lucky enough to surround ourselves with in suburbia…

Then, in a matter of minutes, the entire year got turned on it’s head…

May 19th…went to a new doctor in hopes of finding out why my voice had been hoarse for a month and counting, figured it was laryngitis…May 20th….at Today Show doing a segment on the Cosmetic Executive Women Beauty Award winners and get a voicemail from an Unknown number…”Hey Jenn, it’s Dr. Karol. Just wanted to let you know, um, your pregnant.”…WHAT?!

Unplanned, unexpected…I don’t know many 35 year olds who just “get pregnant” anymore…Worked to wrap our heads around it…Two weeks later, first ultrasound, we were told that there actually wasn’t a baby…Went to Kiawah for my father-in-law’s birthday, then to Miami for a wedding…drank a lot, stayed out too late, readjusted my  view of the future back to what it was prior to May 20th- Lex, Brian and Me…Back to the doctor on June 9th for a check-in…Was told to wait another few days for the pregnancy to “take care of itself”…Led to an unexpected emotional roller coaster where I questioned everything I thought I wanted versus what I may have actually wanted if I took the laser-focus career vision in my head down a notch…Was asked to come in for an ultrasound on Friday June 13th at which point we were told “Congrats, the baby looks healthy, nice heart-beat, you are probably 7 1/2 weeks along…” WHAT?!

Goodbye Titos…goodbye boozy weeknights with the girls at Compo Beach…goodbye body…goodbye family of three…hello new reality. We told Alexa, she said “wow”…my thoughts exactly…

Decided the “false” false alarm was a sign, a wakeup call to make me appreciate the gift that my family had been given…Especially when I found the baby was a GIRL and cheered like a European in the stands at the World Cup…made a conscious effort to be present in life beyond the hustle…not measure my worth in segments booked or clicks on links and instead in time spent with my family…worked on the projects that I WANTED to work on alongside clients and producers and brands that I WANTED to work with…put things in writing on my blog that I never thought I would type with my own two hands…created (sometimes) a calm atmosphere in our house at night complete with- gasp!- a healthy home-cooked meal every now and then…planted a garden twice as big as the one last year…tried to enjoy quieter days with hours to spare if I wanted to binge watch Sons of Anarchy in the middle of the day…joined the Board of Directors at Alexa’s preschool which sort of feels like the most adult thing I have ever done…embraced elastic waists and 9pm bedtimes…became the designated driver (albeit a bitter, agitated one)…learned what it feels like to go to Saturday morning birthday parties at Tumble Jungle and NOT be hungover (quite nice, I must say)…designed a nursery…decided on a baby name…reminded myself every single day about that aforementioned commitment I made in June about how I was gonna measure my worth…screen shot lots of inspirational quotes off Instagram to support my efforts, including one that has stuck with me the most “Let me remind you: Wherever your focus is directed that’s where your energy goes. Whatever you allow in your space, you eventually become.”

2014 taught me that you really never do know where a year can take you…and it is possible to shift your personal paradigm of what is the most important thing…it isn’t easy, and I am still working on it every single day, but I know it can be done…you can have a career without putting so much pressure on said career to define who you are in every aspect of your existence…you can be a mom and go on playdates and create Pinterest boards about crafts to do with toddlers without driving a minivan littered with Goldfish crumbs and soccer balls…WHAT?!

There may in fact be a happy space that exists between the laser-focused competitive career woman watching out for her bottom line and the calm and capable den mother watching out for her family… and hey, if you want to hang out in that space for a bit and figure out your footing, pull up a chair…let’s do this. (But give me a few minutes, I have to go get started on my yearly letter in honor of Alexa’s 4th birthday that is fast approaching- I owe her an extra good one this time around…)

All the best for 2015, everyone!

JennFalikandAlexa

My body threw me a bone this pregnancy. It made the experience of getting HUGE so insanely unpleasant that I am actually excited to give birth. Which says a lot, since the mere thought of having two kids is enough to send me into a tailspin.

Here are three thoughts occupying my hormonally hopped-up brain at the moment:

1- Instagram has made being pregnant in 2014 vastly different from being pregnant in 2010. I wish I could say the the photos of other girls on similar pre-natal timelines  as myself posting photos of their skinny arms and barely-there bumps doesn’t affect me, but it does. In real life, I am quite proud of my self-confidence- it took me many years to get to this place, and I relish in how petty, silly things truly do not get me riled up anymore. In pregnant life, I am bitter. Bitter that I can’t drink, bitter that I can’t fit into my clothes, bitter that by 6pm every night I am physically incapacitated and reduced to a series of grunts and moans that lasts up until bedtime. And just when the bitterness is starting to subside, I check Instagram and within seconds, my totally pissed off at the world tank is full again :)

2- It is really weird to say “the girls’ rooms.” We are working on the nursery right now, and making some changes to Alexa’s room as well- and when I say things like “today is the carpet install in the girls’ rooms” I feel like a total imposter.  Who am I to have TWO kids?? I can barely make it through the morning routine with one. This is sheer craziness, people.

 3- I love Hayden Panettiere. I never really cared about her either way to be honest. But thanks to this, she can count on me as a forever fan. Finally, someone is keeping it REAL. 

 

AlexaandMommyWkndAlone

My flexible (errr, unpredictable) work schedule affords me the privilege of spending lots of time with Alexa.  That same schedule (and the career it has built)  affords me the luxury (and necessity, as finding babysitters on short notice for 4am arrivals is none too easy) of  full-time, live-in help. So this means that while I often get to do drop offs and pick ups and school, enjoy afternoon play dates and sit on the sidelines at soccer, I don’t often do straight 24 hour “mom” shifts without a little (or a lot) of help from our nanny and/or husband. 

Until last weekend.  

As a result of this experience, I identified “The 5 Stages of A Weekend Alone With a 3.5 Year Old”:

1: PANIC.
Upon figuring out that my husband would be out of town, and our nanny needed the weekend off, my (very large at this moment) stomach dropped. Holy sh*t. I was going to be ALONE, with Alexa, for 2 bedtimes, 2 bath times, 8 meals, 36 hours, on a weekend where we didn’t have any birthday parties, any out-of-town visitors, any major plans, and a mediocre weather forecast?! For many, I imagine this would not bring on hives. But for me, I sweat through 2 white t-shirts just thinking about it (a big inconvenience, mind you, since I only have 2 white t-shirts that fit me at the moment.) Especially in light of a very trying week where I became convinced Alexa was put on the earth to put me in my place, test my patience, and age me by at least 15 years with every tantrum and attempted time-out that followed…

2: OPTIMISTIC EXCITEMENT.
I scoured local websites for fun activities to keep us busy. Festivals, parades, apple picking on a farm 2 hours north of us, a back-to-school shopping trip to the mall, a stack of craft how-to printouts from Pinterest (and the accompanying outing to Micheal’s for supplies)- for about 3 hours, I fancied myself as Mary Poppins or something, envisioning Lex and I, skipping about town, hand in hand, smiling ear to ear, not a care (or meltdown) in the world.

3: MOMENT OF REALIZATION.
By 7am on Saturday morning, we were awake. And dressed. And had eaten breakfast. The weather outside was nothing short of abonimable, and the fact that at any moment we could (and did) lose power and access to Netflix was quite Now what? 

4: RAGE.
Why does my daughter insist on defying even the smallest request I make of her? Why is “Sofia the First” only 22 minutes long? Why did I think it was a good idea to run around in the muddy backyard so that even though I am exhausted beyond the point of function I still need to give said defiant daughter a bath?Why can’t a pregnant woman to safely enjoy a few glasses of wine without the ensuing guilt that she did something horrible when women in Europe (and my own mother in the ’70s) imbibe at their leisure?  Why did I agree to let my husband go on a guy’s weekend? Why did my husband think it was okay to go on a guy’s weekend, even though I told him it was totally fine, doesn’t he know to read between the lines? And on, and on, and on…

5: MARTYRDOM. 
It is 5pm on Sunday. Alexa and I are both alive, and actually kind of happy. We had a great weekend (due in no small part to some very amazing friends who made the extra effort to include us in their family activities, because I have learned, it really does take a village), lots of laughs, a few adventures, and some quality down time cozied up on the couch watching our mutual favorite movie, “Annie”. But there was NO way I was letting Brian know any of that when he walked in the door, lest I lose the opportunity to guilt him into doing the entire bath and bedtime routine. Not a chance. But truth be told, I felt blissfully proud of myself for not only making it through the weekend, but actually enjoying the weekend. That isn’t to say I am not grateful for the skills I learned at drama camp- channeling my inner Mommy Martyr afforded me the luxury of watching not one, but THREE episodes of “Sons of Anarchy” before passing out sometime around 9pm. A whole other kind of bliss, let me tell ya. 

 

First Day of School photo

This week Alexa started the 3′s program at preschool. And of course, in this new age of social media snapshots fueled by Pinterest creativity, I had to take the requisite first day of school photo. And truth be told, the photo actually says more about me than it does about her (and I am not just saying that because I am an egomaniacal only child who has to make everything about her…) Let me explain…

I don’t think Alexa really grasps the momentous occasion of starting a new school year and all the changes that it will bring (new friends, new experiences, etc.). She definitely sensed that today marked something new- but the more of a big deal I made about it, the more anxious she seemed to become. So, being the perceptive cause-and-effect parent I guess I am (haha) I began downplaying it a bit as the clock inched closer to 8:45am (inching is the best way to describe that sometimes 2 hour before-school stretch of time, right?) But, there was no way I was letting her go to school without taking this photo. You wanna know why?

Because I made the sign. All by myself. On Photoshop. (Refer to this blog post about teaching myself to do things this year to understand why this is such a personal point of pride.) Last year, at this exact same time, I vividly remember trying desperately to fashion a cute sign out of my Sharpie collection with no success- and then turning to Etsy around 1am in a fervent attempt to find an instant download that referenced the first day of the 2′s but had to settle for a more generic “preschool” sign.

Fast forward 365 days.

I found a little tutorial in chalkboard sign making here. Then I used a special font I had chosen (and figured out how to download into my Photoshop program, none the less!) for Alexa’s school logo wear which I am in charge of this year (another reason today was big for me too- for the first time I wasn’t this shy awkward mom tip-toeing into school, but rather I strode in with the confidence that, for me, only comes with having an official purpose).  In an effort to further personalize my little work of art, I altered the color from white to a bright pink. Then I figured out how to resize the image so it could be printed out and placed in the vintage frame I picked up on a recent Goodwill trip for a perfect fit. 

So many things about the paragraph above make me feel majorly grown up, you have no idea…

Oh- and in case you are wondering, after all of Lex’s anxious pleas to stay home with me for the morning, minutes after walking into her class she was happy as can be and waved me out of the room in favor of playing pretend store with her friends. Go figure- the girl tugs at my heart strings for two hours and then, with the wave of a hand, dismisses me completely. And so is motherhood…

Note: I feel like there should be an apostrophe between the “3″ and the “s” however, in the font I used, it wasn’t an option so I improvised. Also, the smudgy part of the sign is actually where I printed the name of Alexa’s school, but thought it smart to delete that from my public blog post. Honestly, for a few minutes I was torn on whether or not to do the whole smudging thing at the detriment of showing off off my  design prowess.  But clearly safety comes first (see how mature I am becoming?!) hence you will have to use your imagination as to the true extent of my Photoshop expertise. 

 

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