Friday, September 27, 2013

Getting Hit With The Happy Stick

Do you ever have moments, weeks, months where you feel like everything is going your way?  I woke up with that feeling this morning and I'm kind of cracked out on happiness right now.  Oddly enough, I worked 12 hours yesterday and 18 the day before and face-planted into my pillow last night the second I got home.  What gives?    

First, I'm still on a high from my weekend in Charlotte.  It was just such a phenomenal three days, filled with love and family, and deep, really deep conversations.  Oh, and booze.  Dylan's first birthday party was on Saturday and I spent the rest of the weekend hanging with the ones I love.  Lauren and I got all dolled up and hit the town for a little Sunday Funday, and despite our many crazy nights in the past, this one was just...different.  The bars were empty and the food was so-so and it was still one of the best times I've had in a long time.  There is something special about the relationship between siblings, and it has been years in the making for Lauren and I.  We have developed a deep friendship filled with crazy times, tears, respect, and brutal honestly, and I am grateful.  I boarded the plane with a heavy heart, wishing I could stay just a day or so longer.

You two look alike...are you sisters?
Truthfully though, I was hit with the happy stick about a year ago, and I remember the exact moment.  I was driving to work in the early morning.  Do you ever have those mornings where you just need silence, where even the radio is too abrasive for your ears?  So, I drove alongside the river in silence and my mind started wondering.  I had just booked three trips (Charlotte, NYC, and Texas), Lauren just had a baby, and I had gotten a second job and now had some extra pocket change.  I'd also reconnected with a few old friends.  Life was really effing good at that moment.  More and more things kept entering my mind.  I'd recently lost a little weight, work was going good, and I'd moved into a sweet new apartment.  The happy stick whacked me upside the head and I literally started crying.  Is that creepy?  I started crying because I was SO happy.  Shit got real after that day, and I've experienced some amazing things in the last year.  So today, I'm going to give you a little insight on what got me here, and how you too can drink the happy juice.

  1. Stop thinking so much - I come from a family of strong, independent, type-A women.  This has been a blessing and a curse.  I have tendencies to worry, over analyze and second-guess myself.  Let me tell you right now, ain't nobody got time for that!  I cannot think of a time where this has gotten me anywhere.  So red light that shit right now!  I am not saying to not think before you speak, or not think about making the best decision possible, just simply to stop worrying about what you can't change.  "Worrying is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do but it won't get you anywhere".
  2. Give - This is by far the easiest thing to do, and there are so many ways to do it.  Pay someone a compliment.  Front the $2 toll fee for the person behind you.  Donate to a charity.  Volunteer.  Commit a random act of kindness.  Do not say to your neighbor, "come back tomorrow and I'll give it to you" when you have it with you now. - proverb.
  3. Do what you love - Sounds simple, right?  But in the chaos of our daily lives, we forget to take those moments and enjoy what makes our hearts full.  I LOVE to travel, so I got a second job to pay for my habit.  I'm obsessed with the country, so I take long drives on the weekends.  I enjoy a good steak, a glass of wine, meaty bacon, cowboy boots, a good country song, and a strong cup of coffee.  So, I indulge in those things as often as possible.  What makes you tick?  "Do what you love, and don't look at the clock".
  4. Put energy into the friendships that matter - I am lucky to have really, really great friends.  Most of my friends have spread to the four winds, but we stay close regardless.  Call your friends just to talk, not solely when you need advice.  Listen more than you speak.  Be the friend that you would want to have.  Have you ever met someone who is just ridiculously awesome at being a friend?  Although I have a few, my friend Lisa comes to mind, because we have recently reconnected.  She texts me to tell me to have a great weekend when I go out of town, she is ALWAYS available when I need to vent, and she absolutely always puts others first.  I am in awe of her good heart and caring spirit and am really grateful I get to spent my time with a person like her.  "As we grow up, we realize that it is less important to have lots of friends, and more important to have real ones".
  5. Learn from your mistakes - Oh, so much easier said than done.  This has been a work in progress for me.  It was not until I applied this that things changed for me.  Doing the same thing over and over again will not result in a different outcome, it just makes you crazy.  Mistakes are great.  I eff up all the time!  Just allow the experience to help you grow and move forward.  "Only a fool trips over things that are behind him".      
  6. Drop the baggage - Get out of a relationship that is not working for you, quit the dead end job.  Stop hanging out with that friend who brings you down.  "Don't bring the baggage of an ex-relationship into your next relationship unless you want it to be a short trip".
  7. Stop taking things so seriously - You got a flat tire and were late to work.  You didn't get the job you interviewed for.  That guy never called you back after your first date.  If these are the worst things to happen to you, you've got it made.  The less you focus on these things the less of a nuisance they become in your life.  "Don't take life too seriously.  No one gets out alive anyway".  
  8. Understand that people will hurt you - In your life you may be lied to, cheated on, talked down to, and let down by someone you trust or love.  You cannot control the actions of others, just how you react to them.  Do not allow yourself to think the actions of others is a reflection of your self worth.  "He who angers you, enslaves you".    
  9. Quit judging others - This is actually really hard.  Humans tend to be opinionated and self-centered, thinking it's their way or the highway.  How you live is not how everyone needs to live.  What works for you doesn't work for everyone else.  Stop the negative, judgy talk.  It's useless.  "Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are".   And a second one for kicks..."Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".
  10. Love without ego - I saved the best for last.  Give love, do favors, pay compliments, and put others first without expectation of repayment.  Love because it feels good.  Do not try to manipulate, gain control, or play games.  This will not make you feel good.  And who has time not to feel good?  "You never lose by loving.  You always lose by holding back".   

That's it for today my friends.  Have a wonderful weekend.  And as always...


Monday, September 16, 2013

Should You Drink Milk?

After a bit of a hiatus from the blog (during which Leigh heroically carried the team with her awesome posts), I decided to make my comeback with a topic that's uber-relevant to me right now: Milk. Specifically if we should be feeding it to our bebes.

Dylan is just days away from turning one, and conventional wisdom tells me I should start giving her sippy cups with cow's milk...but I'm not convinced I can go there. I've learned things about milk and the dairy industry that I just can't unlearn, and I'm astounded by it all.

Oh hey Mom. I'm ready for my sippy cup.

This is a brief overview of the myriad issues with milk. Each of these topics could be a full article in itself (and certainly is out on the interwebs), but I'm attempting to show you the high points. Or low points, as it seems.

Growth Hormones
You may or may not have heard that dairy cows are treated with hormones that help them produce more milk. You may have even seen it labeled on milk cartons: rBGH or rBST. Have you stopped to wonder what these are? I figured they were whack and totally avoided them, but once I took the time to research I realized it was even worse than I thought. These hormones cause cows to produce 10-15% more milk, but also causes horrifying health problems like cystic ovaries, uterus disorders, and mastitis (a painful udder infection). This last one is particularly disgusting because infected cows secrete pus and blood into the milk, a certain amount of which is allowed to be sold by FDA standards. Yum!!