From Surviving to Thriving

2018 was a lot.

I did Real Estate school, passed my exam + became an agent. Spent the majority of the year figuring out what building a personal business meant and was completely grounded when I realized how much work it would take to get “off the ground”. Call me crazy for doing all of this with 3 kids under 5, you’re probably right.

Drew (my husband) has been growing his consulting/coaching business since 2016, but this year has been the most extreme growing pains we have had so far.

I’ve grown my blog little bits here and there all in the small shreds of time I conjured up in between other mom + wife + work responsibilities.

Cambelle started Kindergarten and West turned 1.

We went to Hawaii and spent way too much money, probably should have done Mexico in hindsight and waited until we were millionaires to thrown down on the beaches of Wailea. Live and learn, yall…

I finally got surgery to get out the infamously misplaced IUD. Ended up making an ornament out of it and had all the feels that if it weren’t for the mishap of the century- I wouldn’t have my sweet boy.

Through all of it- I battled depression, some hormonal stuff but mainly just text book clinical depression. I say the word battled, but I feel like it’s won me over a good bit this past year.

I am so sure there are plenty of other “things” that “happened” this year, but those are the highs and lows I could think of off the top of my head… or if I am completely honest, all I could think of in the amount of time I currently have to jot down this post. West will wake from his nap at minute.

I did want to write today though. I started this blog in 2017 with the intention to write. Writing is therapeutic for me and it helps me a lot when I fall into the depression spiral… can we talk about how many actual journal entries I have done this past year? 4. Writing is vulnerable.. takes time and thought… and my depression makes me want to avoid, deflect and distract. That is why writing is so good for me to do, because it forces me to go against those things. So, what I am trying to say is, I haven’t been head on dealing with a lot of my inner life. Another deterrent is reading that “blogs” are going “out.” AKA, nobody reads them anymore. So, why put the work into it when nobody is going to read it? … But is that the goal? I don’t even know what the goal is or was to begin with, all I know is I didn’t do what I originally intended to. It’s ok to adjust, I love love love posting about life and style. LOVE. But I have forsaken my voice a bit, and have chosen to only do what is convenient at the time- which is usually NOT writing.

I don’t even think I am going to proof read this post. One, I don’t have time to, but Two, sometimes word vomiting is better than a well articulated entry with a beautifully formatted beginning middle and end.

To sum it up- 2018 was survival. A lot of “just make it through the day”…A LOT of distraction from my inner world… definitely A LOT of sweet memories with my babies and some super fun travel experiences. It was laced with a lot of good things for sure. But when I think of the overarching feeling when reflecting on the year, I think of the word survival.

My deepest hope is that in 2019, I can get out of that place or at least start digging a path towards whatever it looks like to thrive. Oh shoot, here comes the word play.

It’s hard to thrive when you’re just trying to survive.

Yep. So accurate, and just so happens to rhyme. The most important thing for me in 2019 is going to be Self-care and mental health. Please don’t freak out, a lot of people walk around day to day acting like all is well when they are or should be diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I am a pretty high functioning depressed person. Depression is SO complex and consists of so many factors and so many parts of depression don’t make sense- it’s frustrating. But it’s real. And it has taken a lot from me. It sucks.

I don’t want it anymore. So what would I like to reflect on come Dec. 31, 2019? The story of my overcoming process. I want to have a look back and feel empowered and proud of myself for staying on the journey from surviving to thriving. Does anyone else relate to this? I would love to connect with you if you do. Depression makes you want to sink back and isolate yourself from everyone, but a huge part of healing is knowing others are out there that feel the same and you are not alone.

I am so looking forward to this next year. Lots of feels about it all. The biggest battle of my depression has been the lack of hope I feel in a lot of areas of my life. When hope is deferred it makes the heart grow sick. At least that is what Jesus says in the Psalms. I have, however, noticed tiny glimmers of hope peaking up when I think of the new year. I really want this to be my year. A year that brings back the joy of my beautiful and incredibly blessed life. A year of thriving.

I'm ONE! birthday babbling + confessions

Hello, friends! Thanks for stopping by, after what, 8 months of no official blog post on my thoughts/emotions or feelings about stuff… I definitely have taken a mini-sabbatical from writing. Why? Still figuring out what is keeping me away from my keyboard… but today I did want to write a few thoughts out in reflection and decided to post them up on here- because my keyboard has been dusty and I am hoping this is refreshing for me, and possibly for you too. :)

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Today is my Blog’s 1st birthday. One year ago today is when I “launched”, if you will. It took some good guts and gumption to hit publish, but it’s been a rollercoaster experience ever since. I want to say it’s been ALL THINGS AMAZING and BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE and all of those really, really, positive and over the top things I should say on a blog birthday post… but I have learned some good AND bad things about this world over the past year. I figured I would process it with you all. That cool? If you’re in for it, here goes:

  1. Losing yourself can, and will happen if you’re not AWARE of the triggers and temptations that make you feel “not good enough” on this platform. Blog world is BIG and don’t get me wrong can be a very positive, fun, expressive and connecting place- however it is also a CHAMELEON-izing danger zone. Yep. I just made up a word, but it makes sense, right? If you’re not careful, you will start to look like everyone else. This mainly will happen when you put comparison over your own creativity. When you’re not inspired on your own, you will look at others and decide (sometimes unknowingly) that if what they do is working- maybe I will do that too. Do not get me wrong here, it’s not at all bad to BE INSPIRED by others work, work ethic and fabulous content. It’s not even bad to do similar things as others if something seems like a good idea!- however, it’s a FINE LINE. Like…. really fine line. Like… walking a dental floss tightrope. This tends to get tricky when number two kicks in…

  2. “I just want numbers” is a common side effect of blogger-ism. Followers, Likes and Comments OH MY. When your content is dictated by how many followers you will get or how many comments you will get, you might lose creativity in the process of growing your page and forget who you are in the mix. If you’re doing it for those reasons initially, that is one thing… but if you start a blog for an “outlet” and connection- you need to ask the hard questions when it comes down to this. (internal dialogue). Man, I feel like I am being super negative here and painting a bad picture of the blog world, I just haven’t gotten to the good stuff yet. Hang in there!

    * Yes. I do want to grow my following, that has been awesome and will continue to be! But i want it to be as organic as it can be and I long for REAL PEOPLE that resonate with my life/content. I can definitely get down with that, that is all I have ever TRULY wanted deep down. That is the whole reason I started “blogging” in the first place! Yes, you get more “opportunities” and “exposure” which actually matters to a degree in creating an instagram community, but if that is your strongest and sole motivation when creating content, you will go dry very quickly and very possibly fall out of love with what you’re doing. Just a hunch.

  3. Comparison is a huge symptom of chameleonizing. I've learned this about 178 times over the past year because that is how many attitude/mind/motive adjustments I have had to make over the 365 days of existing in this world. A few pointers here on how to battle comparison. Try and imagine the heart beat behind the profile. Admiration and jealousy don’t go together although they can be mistaken as the same thing. When you authentically admire someone’s page, you want to support and encourage them in what they’re doing. You see the heartbeat behind the profile and you get value from their content and you are happy for how they are doing their thing and WINNING. Support and encouragement can also lead you OUT of judgement and jealousy if you continue to check your motives as you go.

    I may have gotten a bit carried away here- but I am processing REAL and ALIVE FEELINGS and experiences that I wasn’t aware would be so debilitating over the past year. I have grown SO MUCH over this time and truly feel like no matter how much I have struggled in the comparing and chamelonizing temptations- I do feel that I am, in my own way, getting more footing in my own insta-dentity (made up that word too*). #websterwho?

    I will conclude the “hard lessons” with this: I think every human who has an instagram account and has been intentionally vulnerable to the world through this particular medium has struggled at least 259 times (on a good day) with comparison. Nobody DOESN’T compare themselves. It’s simply going to be how you respond to when you catch yourself doing it. So, what I have learned the MOST regarding all of these realizations is how to re-calibrate myself back to ME. Back to the WHY. Why am I here? Ya know?

    Because the instagram platform tends to be the easiest way to highlight your life in the way you want other to see it… we HAVE to run all of our newsfeed reactions through that filter. As Forrest Gump says, “that’s all I have to say about that.”

Now that I officially “word vommed” all of life lessons junk from the year, it’s time for some mushy stuff.

I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Every single comment or message I have gotten that says anything along the lines of “me too” and “I totally get it” or “thank you” is what makes me feel truly happy about why I put time and energy into this platform. I love sharing my real motherhood journey with you all. I love to share fun style ideas, sales and deals and super girly stuff like make up. All of the things. I love when someone asks me what lipstick I have on... I love connecting with yall in big stuff and small stuff. I realize a lot of you don’t really read blog posts much… someone said recently that BLOGS in general are in a “recession”… it’s fine. I’m fine. Some of you will still hang out over here and that’s cool. Most of this is for me to get things out… I honestly don’t check up on my pageviews a lot… so I do appreciate you coming by to check in, even if I am only talking to my mom.

One thing about me that I do know I should work on… I am rather long winded. I have a way of elaborating something that could easily be said in 4 sentences into 198 sentences strong. It’s a real quirk and I annoy myself on the reg. That said, I will wrap it up. After being in the blog world for ONE solid year, I have seen good, bad, and ugly. I have fallen into some mental traps, been swept away in some jealousy out of comparison, been overjoyed with responses and comments, been disappointed in some as well. I have been overly attentive and not attentive enough, I have lost my footing a bit at times in why I am doing what I am doing on here… BUT I have ALWAYS caught myself. I am thankful. I am learning.

For this upcoming year I want to be MORE ME THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN. I want to grow out of that place. I don’t want to be afraid to put stuff out that has already been said or done based on what others think- I want to do it if it’s TRUE, REAL AND FUN. Gosh, I really want this to stay fun for me. As long as this platform gives me LIFE, I’m here. Ok? I hope yall stick around too. So here is to another fun year at @carolinelately!

If you want, leave a comment either on here or on my instagram post ABOUT YOU. I 100% want to get to know you guys on here! Don’t be afraid to reach out EVER. I am all about connecting. Ok. Back to your regularly scheduled Monday programming!

xo- caro

YOU CAN BE BOTH

I can't for the life of me remember where I heard this quote, but when I did, I immediately wrote it down in the notes section of my phone. I knew I needed to hear it. Come on, you know it's good. Don't we all struggle with the "I'm either THIS or THAT" mentality? Why are we are mostly so black and white about things? Life isn't always black and white, guys. Can we entertain for just a second that potential outlook?

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For the longest time I have had the bend inside of me UNTIL I reached a certain point in progress of my journey in WHATEVER area of my life, I wasn't worthy of positive reinforcing self talk. That the "little things" I did right didn't matter, it was only the BIG victories or outwardly seen accomplishments that deserved internal recognition. What if I started considering myself AWESOME even in the midst of my trying to "get better at" or even "failing at" something. The banner of "I am not good enough" flies high way too often in my internal world. What if I am 100% good enough even on the days that I wasn't my best self. Gosh, that feels so counterintuitive to think that way. I am going to keep this quote in front me for the rest of the week and read it every morning to myself. Out loud.

I want to love myself better, in any state. I want to me more kind to myself when I have a bad day. I want to acknowledge myself more when I have a great day. I want to see what I am doing "RIGHT" more than what I am doing "WRONG". Do you struggle with that? I want to be able to see myself as beautiful in the process... see the gold inside of me even when it's not always presenting itself. I am a MASTERPIECE and A WORK IN PROGRESS. I love it.

 

xo-Caro

UNDERNEATH IT ALL

Impromptu blog post coming at ya with yet another cheesy James Patterson title! Would you have it any other way? Doesn't matter. That is how I am doing things these days. On the fly. Oddly enough, I really hate doing things that way, but it is what it is right now peeps! Eventually I will get my "blogging" act together and start planning posts, growing a following, being more consistent etc-- but I get overwhelmed thinking about that right now so- just FYI it's a desire but not a priority at the moment. Real life example of my life, I am sitting here with a list of 24254 things to do but I decided I wanted to write a blog post instead. So, nobody feel bad for me or anything because I am 100% doing it to myself. Anyways, this is a bit of a segway into what I wanted to share so bare with me as I get to my point.

I think there's a connection between HOW YOU FEEL on the inside and HOW YOU APPEAR on the outside. The two could look the same or they could look drastically different depending on what you're going through or how you decide to manage it. Stick with me here because that might sound weird or shallow sounding... I will explain.

I don't know about you, but when I feel out of control on the inside or highly anxious, insecure or even sad, I try and clean myself up on the outside as best I can so that it may "offset" whatever I am going through internally. I feel like it will trick my brain into thinking--if I LOOK put together, I will FEEL put together. Here's the kicker though, I also want everyone on the outside to see me as the opposite of what I am feeling. So shallow, I know, I wouldn't write this so honestly if I didn't know beyond a shadow of a double AT LEAST 50% of you (which is a conservative estimate) do this too. It's possible it's done unknowingly, but it truly is a "thing" especially when it comes to social media as it is so stinking easy to control what we portray.

Caroline- stop rambling and talking in circles and get to the point of what you're saying instead of trying to just call everyone out for being shallow fakers at life. 

Ok. 

Today started out bad as I accidentally slept in and Cambelle was almost late getting to school. I was the mom running her pre-k kiddo (who's book bag is half her size slapping against her back) into the school... in pajamas, without shoes on, and with my hair in a messy bun. A messy SCRUNCHIE bun. Oh yea guys. I am the real deal. I won't get into the list of "to do's" that I have, but for some reason today the weight of life has just gotten to me and I have felt super anxious, stressed out, cranky and ill equipped to be what I need to be for everyone in my life. Anyone else in relation say "I". 

So I got myself together on the outside. A little extra effort today because I felt so bad on the inside. I ran by the UPS store to return a package and the lady behind the counter commented on my outfit and how "pretty" I was. That made me feel good. It's always nice to get a sincere compliment from a complete stranger. It affirmed me for the 30 seconds I was in the store, but on the way out I teared up. Truth is, on the inside I didn't feel pretty AT ALL. I feel insecure, anxious and unable to manage an internal world that I "should" have control over by now. Counseling has helped me manage some of the shameful emotions, but it's hard to control every day. Today was just a weak day for me with all of that. 

I AM NOT shaming myself or anyone else for wanting to look "put together" or put effort into the outside appearance. Good Lord, of all people... that would make me the most hypocritical person on the planet. I am just trying to use this as an example of perception. I want to bring it back to the "perspective" thing I was talking about the other day. We literally have NO IDEA what people are going through as we encounter them through out the day or how they are choosing to deal with whatever it is they're going through. When you see a picture perfect photo of someone on instagram or you run into a mom with 5 well-behaved kids and a tight booty to go along with it, assuming they're perfect or put together on the inside is a DECEPTION. As I was thinking on this, I realized that our brains are only able to account for and fully experience what WE ALONE are feeling. Somehow, because of that, we are easily deceived into thinking that WE ARE ALONE and no one else struggles with the things we are struggling with.

*We too easily isolate ourselves in our internal world and don't consider that the vast majority of humanity is in the same boat.*

How to battle this? Well, I am still figuring that out as I go. I just wanted to encourage anyone who is reading this to try and keep it on the forefront of your mind to CONSIDER what's underneath it all. When walking around at the store, or scrolling through your newsfeed. When you feel the sense of jealousy or comparison rise up, remember the truth can almost always not be seen. EVERYONE is going through SOMETHING. I think if we can put this lens on through out our day, it can help us walk in more compassion for others and inevitably improve our instinct to judge. 

That is all for today. I actually feel better after getting some thoughts out. It's crazy how expression from the inside out can make such a difference! Now I must go tackle the bajillion things. Love you guys.

xo- Caro 

 

 

MOVEMENT MATTERS.

Oh, Hi. 8 weeks later. Since starting night classes twice per week and Christmas craziness my blog time has been eaten up by other things, understandably so. Unless you all were wanting to hear about negative amortization and/or contract law, I haven't had much margin in my brain to think about much else. I did get a little bit of time to reflect on this past year over Christmas break and I wanted to outwardly process my thoughts with you. There are a good bit of take-aways from 2017, but I really just want to share ONE thing that I learned, and am still VERY actively learning. 

I believe that INTENTION IS IMPERATIVE if you want to make progress. Period. Things don't "just happen" in your life that contribute to growth and change. The amount of challenge you feel will directly impact the amount of change that takes place. This could potentially not ring true to you, but I guarantee you that anyone that truly cares about growth and realizes their need for it, this one hundred percent applies to. Isn't that just the worst? Oh how I wish life was always convenient, always simple and easily navigated, always effortless. Something like coasting into the shore of "who I am meant to be" island after mindlessly coasting up and down the 6 foot ocean waves. LIFE IS SO HARD and if growth matters to you, you have to come to terms with the work it will take to get where you want to be. It takes re-thinking things, spending extra energy investing in weak places, taking courage laced risks in the areas of your life that are inhabited by paralyzing fear. Sorry for the intensity, it's just really personal right now.

I spent a LOT of 2017 wallowing in depression and throwing pity parties like a cracked out rager. I took on a victimized mentality in a lot of ways which created a strange sense of entitlement to exempt myself of responsibility over my inner world. This not only affected me, it affected my marriage and how I parent my children. To clarify, in no way do I want to come across that I am disregarding the things I have been through and how hard it has been to journey through it all, I have endured a whole lot of crazy, but when do you KNOW you're done grieving it? When does the grace for our sorrows and pain turn into motivation for forward movement? I actually don't have a specific answer for you. I think it becomes clear to each person in different ways, it's kind of a "when you know, you know" sort of thing. My point I am trying to make is, life is not an escalator. Life is not one of those super cool moving walkways at the airport to get you between terminals. You have to take actually steps in the direction you are wanting to go in order to get there. It can feel super overwhelming and impossible sometimes, like you're walking through a waist deep snow storm, but movement is what matters most. We have to remember that when the resistance hits.

So, yep. Just a few thoughts on what I am working through mentally in expectation of this new year. I am in the thick of this life lesson, making daily choices that will either move me forward or keep me stationary. What are your daily choices looking like these days? Any goals in place for 2018? I'd love to share in this journey! Having a blog is a wonderful outlet for me, but I also desire to connect with people through it as well. Doing this life stuff alone is so boring and 98.3% impossible. I made up that statistic -but just roll with my point. Open up. Be vulnerable. Journey together. Share hopes, dreams and goals! Be intentional with your life and your choices because your movement, big or small, matters.

 

xo- Caro

 

CHEERS TO IMPULSE

Happy Thanksgiving week! This is the start of either the most exciting time of year for you or the most dreaded/obligatory time of year- depends on your relationship with extended family, but none the less, we are excited over here in the McClure house! I wanted to hop on here and update you all a bit on what's on the docket for me coming up, like really soon.

CONTEXT: Since having West, I have been on lock down mode. What's that, you ask? It's not really dreaming much of the life ahead and just trying to make it through from about 7am-7pm. We have officially hit the 6 month mark (well, as of Dec. 1) but who's counting? West is doing so great, he has ended up being super chill and easy going which has changed my life a bajillion times over especially now that Sutton is 2, (and definitely acting like it). Anyways, counseling has been great, I am really getting my feet back on the ground. Our routine is pretty established and I am starting to feel healthier in general. All good things over here!

So, now I am beginning to wipe the dust off of the thoughts of possibilities/ potential dreams that have been stored away in the *do not engage* department of my brain due to... well, the over stimulation of motherhood. I feel ready to consider what may be next for me. Which leads me into my impulsive nature. I can make a decision pretty easily most of the time. It's a blessing and a curse. This decision was a hybrid of both, if that even makes sense at all. I have had this in the back of my mind for a while but haven't been able to even grasp taking any action since having a third child. But, I am feeling more and more ready now. *DRUM ROLL* 

I am getting my Real Estate license.

I start Monday.

Night school.

Two days a week.

For 8 weeks.

Why do this during the holidays, you ask? I DON'T KNOW. That is where the impulse comes in. When I made the official decision to go for it, I said to myself- what better time then the now? (Ummm.. probably ANYTIME besides the holidays...*thought everyone reading this post*) but NOPE. When I make a decision I guess I fear the temptation of going back on it, so I just do what I gotta do to make it happen.

That said, I start Monday and am donezo by Jan. 17. I don't even know what life will look like after I take all of the exams (if I can even pass *cue test taking anxiety*), I have a ton of research to do... but I feel pretty empowered to put my mind to work, start getting out there, and even bring some income to the table. Even if I don't hit the gas pedal full throttle when I get out, I have the classes under my belt and am ready to rock when I can figure out a game plan. I feel really excited. Definitely to learn, of course, but I can't deny the thrill of buying a three ring binder and loose leaf paper. Random fact, I'm obsessed with school supplies. Sadly, I haven't needed to buy any in about 10 years so the obsession has laid dormant for quite some time. She's waking up now though and ready to hit up Staples for some smooth writing pens and of course a beautiful pack of neon highlighters. ANOTHER thing about me, I am an A student with the occassional B+, but I have to work REALLY hard for it. To fully absorb information, I have to write, read aloud and talk scenarios. (Poor Drew). I'll be busting out the flash cards (multi-colored of course) and he will be just as much licensed as I will by the end of it.

Speaking of Drew, talk about supportive. That man is so pumped for me but also beyond willing to take on dinner/bedtime routines on the nights I have class. He's not typically impulsive, so when he said go for it, it fueled my desire to do it even more. Ladies, find a man who supports your dreams and desires... I am so thankful for him. 

I will be entering student mode in a few short days. Ill let you know if I HATE myself for the decision, or if it is as invigorating as I am hoping it will be. Of course I have a realistic understanding of the challenges involved juggling mom life and student life, but I have a feeling it will be worth the juggling act.

So, cheers to going for it. (Cheers to possibly being out of my mind but doing it anyways). Cheers to impulse.

 

xo- Caro

A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF

I am about to turn 32 in 3 weeks. I am now going through some things that are forcing me to look back into my twenties and it's hard. It's hard because I WISH I was better prepped for it all. Do you ever wonder what you’d say if you could sit your 20 year old self down and have a forecasting conversation? Man, that would take some thinking through. Isn’t it funny that everyone in human existence would have some type of “better” advice to give their former self.  There is always some type of warning, regret, informative counsel that you would have loved to tell YOU 10 years ago. That isn’t bad! I just think it’s funny that I am yet to meet anyone who would say: “You’re going to do everything right and perfect, I have no advice for you as you walk through your twenties, you will have no mistakes to learn from either! Have fun!” I get it, we wouldn't be who we are today if we hadn’t made those mistakes… blah, blah, blah. I do understand that and I don’t at all disagree, BUT that is not the point of this post. You can’t tell me that if you had a chance you wouldn’t try your best to steer yourself another direction in certain situations/circumstances. I think it would be interesting/helpful/therapeutic to write out a “letter to my former self” and see just what I would say at this point to Caroline Miller, an uncertain yet hopeful 20 year old college student trying to figure out who she is one frat party at a time. 

Dear Caroline,

First of all, if you get nothing else out of this letter, remember this: You are SO MUCH more than you think you are. You have more to offer than you are even capable of knowing yet. If you can remember one thing in the next few years- when you put yourself in a box by limiting yourself to what you’re comfortable doing, you’re selling yourself short of growth. I know you have been deeply hurt and even more deeply disappointed. Hurt by people, disappointed by circumstances. You have been let down and in result you have lost confidence in certain areas of your life. Dealing with pain is going to be a big struggle through the next ten years, so I want to tell you a bit about it ...from experience. 

You will have to journey through what it looks like to process pain, and it's going to be a bumpy road. It's SO MUCH easier to distract yourself from the things that hurt, specifically the things that cause you so much grief that you feel like it will never get dealt with for the rest of your life. In that mindset, you get really good at ignoring your true condition. You may or may not start to lean on things that are only helpful in the short term for fulfillment or momentary highs. This is also a part of your learning and growth, but if I can help you to shorten those "in the mean time" coping and survival mechanisms, I will.

Good news: Pain CAN go away and it does NOT have to dictate your actions and decisions. You have loads more control of your choices and decisions than you think you do. Be open to that when you feel powerless.

(Perceived) Bad news: You may not believe that for a while and eventually will have to work really hard to get rid of it... and it won't be immediate. Which is always a bummer, sorry kid. Anything worth attaining will definitely take some straining. You will have three children and this will ring more true to you after that. There are soooo many life analogies that fit into the process of childbirth... but that's another chat for later.

Pain deserves to be faced, embraced, dissected and respected. Look at it, dwell in it, study yourself inside of it and adjust your perception of it. Feeling deeply is a gift and can go both ways in heights of joy but always depths of hurt. I believe that feeling pain is what keeps you pliable to change. HOWEVER, if you choose to stay in it too long... things get sticky. You will turn into a pity partier, a bit self obsessed, very needy and probably pretty bitter. I beg you to not forget the other side of pain. It's a much more pleasant and all over better dwelling place and it is TOTALLY waiting for you to inhabit. Just food for thought.

Now, you're capable of getting through some REALLY REALLY hard things, you dont know that now, but 10 years later you will. Somewhere deep inside yourself, you are convinced you are weak and easily defeated. There is nothing more valuable in this process than the commitment to forward motion. You will also HAVE to, no exceptions, let others in on this journey with you. Whenever you feel like isolating yourself, that means you have chosen shaming yourself over sharing yourself. Sharing yourself means to be honest and open with someone about what you're dealing with. You will be FLABBERGASTED by how quickly shame can dissipate once you release it outloud and hear certain words from another person's mouth. Words of acceptance and the outward perspective of how strong you truly are and how deeply important your true self is to this world.

Lastly, come to terms with your journey not ALWAYS being the straight and narrow. You're going to take some detours, you are going to mess shit up, you're going to make crappy choices and even reap the consequences of them...BUT you're STILL VALUABLE inside of it all and you're still on your journey even if you feel like you've abandoned forward motion. Think of it as a decorative journey. You're "keeping it interesting with a dash of drama and mild destruction. "What's going to happen to her?" She asks from the the outside looking in. Well, what do you want to happen?? What are you projecting vs. what are you desiring? What kind of ending do you have in mind? IT'S YOUR JOURNEY. Decorate it girl. Just remember a few of these things along the way. It'll help you get through.  Also, your life over here is effing awesome and I'm VERY proud of you. 

 

xo-Caro 

 

LOOKING FOR A LIGHTHOUSE

Hi. This is such a knock off James Patterson book title. Just go with it. As I was thinking of my Postpartum depression experience, I saw it as a "scenario" that has been playing out for a few years. I was thinking, "how can I articulate how I am feeling to people?" Well, I think I got it. 

Me- lost at sea- looking desperately for a light that proves there is land a head. I AM in a boat, so I am surviving, but the trick is that I have zero assurance how long I will make it on this said boat in these conditions. Alone. Unfamiliar. Ill equipped. There are nights that are pitch black and silent, some stormy days, and actually some not so bad sunny days too, but all in all, it's secluded and straight up survival mode. At this point, I have learned how to function on this boat in a way that it has become a new normal lifestyle and over time, it becomes a this is "just how it is" situation. I have gotten very good at survival life and settled into this mode of acceptance of my circumstances. I have ended up making a suitable home in my little Postpartum canoe. As this happens, I stop LOOKING in the distance for a lighthouse and start LIVING in the belief that there just isn't one at all. Land is never coming, and I am stuck in this situation. Forever. How depressing, right? I know. It's very sad.. sorry to be a downer! But it's real stuff, and a lot of women go through this without ever having an outlet to express how they're really feeling. I really do feel like this analogy may ring true to for a lot of other moms out there. 

The GOOD NEWS IS... I am starting to see the glimmer, y'all. A small flickering glimmer of light. Usually when my youngest child hits 6 months old, I start to recover a bit and turn a corner in my mindset and the glimmer appears. I see that there is DEFINITELY land ahead, and it's exciting... but, wait for it... its also a bit terrifying. What? What do you mean terrifying? Oh, well, since you asked, in my opinion, I think it's very possible for us to get too comfortable in our depravity to take the plunge to seek change... I think it's super easy to use our depression as a crutch. It becomes an excuse for a lot of things along the way and when you're offered an "out", it brings to light the scariness of not being able to justify certain excuses, habits, or ways of being that you have developed along your oceanic voyage. Now I wouldn't bring this up if I didn't find myself guilty of doing this... I am 100% calling myself out that I have observed this in my own journey.  I realize that my Postpartum is very real and it EXPLAINS why I feel the way I feel and sometimes do the things I do.. etc, but it can't continue being an EXCUSE, especially now that I see the evidence of land ahead.

So what is the point of all of my metaphorical banter? I am just processing my next steps with you guys. As I see the lighthouse, I am waking up to life again. The overwhelming possibilities and potentials of what life looks like for me as a healthy person. A healthy person, a strong and empowered woman, wife and mom to the ones that need me to be healthy, growing and rowing my butt off to reach this so called land. Does anyone relate to this at all? Whoever is reading this, I am not sure what you're "lost at sea" scenario might be, but it's super translatable to all kinds of situations. Where are you in your voyage at sea? If you see a light, are you avoiding moving towards it due to fear? I will say, I am mostly excited about my new life wherever this boat drops me off. Not sure what kind of land I am looking at. It will most definitely be different terrain than where I came from. Kids change everything. But as I am nearing the 6 month mark of my last baby, the glimmer is there and so now I can start to navigate again. I have a direction to head, and it's towards land. 

xo-Caro

 

 

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Coming in hot, right out of the gate, I suck at BE-ing. It's practically IMPOSSIBLE for me to simply exist. I am most ALWAYS cleaning something, tidying something, folding something, scrubbing something, crossing off a to do list, making a list about what I need to be doing next, going somewhere to do something and all in between times there is a good chance I am scrolling through social media. I feel like it's actually a rarity these days to find people who are "good" at simply existing and being present. Those that are gifted in their chillaxin' demeanor, are somewhere on a scale of mildly-extremely annoying to us DO-ers.  And vis-versa. A DO-ing person may consider you Be-ing people irresponsible or lazy while the BE crowd sits back and are thinking that we are hyperactive, control freak spazzes that can't catch a breath. My husband is a bit of a hybrid, but he is MUCH MORE of a BE-bopper than I am. This has been a decent point of contention in our marriage as I judge the mess out of him when he takes the opportunity to relax on the couch and "leaves me" to take care of "everything that has to get done right this second or I am going to die".  We have talked about it exhaustively and he feels the same amount of frustration sometimes about my INABILITY to sit. I can ALWAYS find something that needs to get done, planned, cleaned, even something that needs talked about RIGHT THIS SECOND. I am addicted to stimulus and productivity and I think it has something to do with the fact that it's comforting and safe when I can control my outer life by accomplishing STUFF. Isn't that so much easier than realizing I only have so much control over the little lives that I am responsible for stewarding 24/7. I notice that when I can't "control" my kids- I get VERY flustered. Sometimes, the reaction doesn't fit the situation. This is where the rubber meets the road in my parenting because it's my breaking point in conflict. 

Now that I am sitting and typing about all of this, Isn't it funny that this obsession with control is actually all fake security? And if I feel that something is "out of my control" the red sirens go off in my mind and my response takes me to an alternate world where everything is going to fall apart and we are all going to die a terrifying death with all kinds of tragic scenarios to get us there. (Don't worry guys, I am on meds...) That last part was super dramatic, but I was just trying to articulate how much I over-react and respond when the kitchen isn't tidy enough or the laundry is overflowing, I still haven't emailed so and so back or what in the heck are we having for dinner?  

I talk about this today because I almost cried this morning thinking about the fact that I can't remember the last time I sat down with Sutton and simply played with her for more than 5 minutes. Can I be honest? My barbie/baby doll playing timer goes off at 3 minutes. My idea of playing barbies/anything make believe is putting them all down for naps so I don't have to pretend dialogue with plastic humans. My kids are at the age where their "make believe playing" scenarios make zero sense and I am left with... well... "aww cool, ok, looks like Barbie needs a nap...". I need tips all you momma playwrights out there, it's hard! Anyways, I did put myself on productivity pause today and sat in the play room with Sutton for a VERY long 15 minutes intentionally, and it was so sweet and felt so needed. I started feeling fulfillment and joy, but also some guilt for missing/not taking these opportunities more frequently. Currently trying to manage that tension.

Ya know, what does productivity buy us anyways? Besides the feeling of control of course. Sure, I will have a clean(er) kitchen, a load of laundry done, a vacuumed living space, maybe even a fridge without 2 year expired pickles. Mostly all good outward life living practical things that make me feel like I have my shit together. But, what is the trade off? I feel like I am choosing chores and day to day tasks ALL THE TIME over consistent and undivided connection with the three tiny lives that need me to just be present with them. My sweet moldable and teachable babies that need to be shown by example what it looks like to rest, enjoy and connect in a healthy way with their mom. All of the parents I have ever felt the need to ask ---how do your kids actually like you this much? ALL have the common thread of quality time and presence. 

My kids have to see that I choose them over other STUFF, Why am I so addicted to doing the STUFF? Obviously things do need to get done, but from the moment I wake up I act like it's a ticking time bomb and if I don't do as much as humanly possible in one day... bam... apocalypse. Ugh I am coming around full circle. Sorry- this is a legitimate journal entry with very little editing. I am just word vomiting all over this page my true inner dialogue with myself processing the emotions I was feeling today when this hit me like a ton of bricks. Can anyone relate? Just say yes. Great! Ok. I need to go to bed now, if you made it this far- congratulations. Not sure how to wrap this up but I do know that tomorrow I am going to play Barbies like a boss and intentionally practice nailing down those connection points throughout our day, and if laundry gets done too, that's a double win.

 

xo- Caro

 

THE POWER OF PERCEPTION

"She seems so perfect. How in the heck does she have 4 kids and still look like that? She has to have other problems than physical appearance... I wonder if she's just bad at budgeting or maybe she has psoriasis or something unfortunate like that. I have eczema and I am pretty good at covering that up... hmmm... I wonder how her marriage is? They seem so freaking happy all the time... I bet they have sex all the time. Dang, we should have sex soon. Her top is so cute. I could definitely not pull that look off... mainly because it's from Anthropology where I have to keep contained to the items on clearance in the sale section. I wonder if she has ever lost her temper at her kids? Probably not. They seem so well behaved and she seems really organized and consistent with their discipline plan. The one I read about her on her blog. Gosh her blog is so well done and she has a bajillion followers. Of course she does..."

You're 100% lying if you haven't had this dialogue with yourself in your head on some level similar to this one. No? Ok. All you liars can just go hang out with all the other "I don't compare myself to anyone" people and pray for us to get our shit figured out. K bye!

I will start with this. I am a lover of social media. Obvs. I truly enjoy connecting with people and sharing my personal life on the daily in a creative way. It can be used in such positive ways. BUT it has officially become a strong and dangerous weapon of deception. If we aren't careful, we can manipulate our lives to be what we want them to be by choosing what we want others to see. Dare I even go as far as- we choose for people to see our lives the way we WISH we could see/live our lives? 

I've been sitting on the word perception this week. It's so powerful. Some people, myself included, have become masterminds in how to create this alternate reality to invite you into... a way to view me the way I would want to be viewed. When I know that I can make you think I've got it together, it gives me power over you and makes me feel really good about myself because as people that care deeply what others think of us, the ability to control your thoughts about us is VERY attractive and addictive. The freaky part is, so many of us do this without even know we are doing it! We are so protective of our image/what we are putting off to the world, that we lose who we TRULY are as individuals and actually start to become what others would approve of or what others would think is awesome/cool/funny/appropriate/beautiful.... even envied. 

Can I go as far as saying that somewhere deep in us, it is satisfying to be envied? It gives us a bit of a high to know that someone out there wants to "be like me" or "wants what I have." Why else would we work so hard at controlling perception? We like having that power. Because power equals control. If I can control what you think of me, it can somewhat distract me from the LACK of control I have over my own mind/self to believe that I am worthy and valued beyond your judgements. I told yall I would be honest up in here, sorry. That last bit was kind of a lot. Sorry for throwing you into the deep end of my rabbit trail. I tend to want to know the root of things. The "why" behind thoughts and actions. It's so interesting how our brains work and I am absolutely fascinated with how an insatiable desire to be loved can result in such destructive behavior just to pacify our day to day need to feel accepted and of purpose.

Have you noticed that we judge others the hardest in the places that we judge ourselves? So crazy. In my opinion, humanity is salivating for authenticity. I am on a journey to see what that really looks like for me personally. That is another long and vulnerable blog post for another time, but just know that I am stepping out of being a professional chameleon into well, Caroline. I am the real slim shady, and I am standing up. (If you don't know eminem lyrics, you're lost. Apologies.) Anyways, when people say "be yourself", there was a time I didn't even know how to do that due to all of the identities and masks I wore to present myself with as little risk and the most familiarity as possible. My journey into authenticity took a complete control + alt + delete function. I've had to stop wanting so hard to be like everyone else and start mining out what it looks like to actually want to be me. Self-love y'all. Something that is so misunderstood these days. Another post for another time. Anyways, I am still in quite the re-booting phase of the "who is Caroline" saga, but at least I am moving in the right direction and am starting to breathe a little deeper and find a little more contentment in my skin. 

So, can you relate to this at all? It would be so hard to believe if you didn't. There is an epidemic of self-hatred due to comparison in our world. Specifically and predominantly in women. What do we do? I feel like when we release our stories and share our stuff, our lives and our truths with others, something lifts and connection is made. Relatability breeds the freedom in others to accept themselves and receive the acceptance of others in a healthy way. Relatable real-ness is the TRUE craving of our culture, no matter what is trending on our newsfeeds. What does being YOU mean? It's completely and utterly different for every single human being and that is OKAY! That is beautiful. That is what was intended from the beginning. 

xo-Caro

A FEW FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hey peeps. Can I set the scene for you real quick? I am sitting on my bedroom floor typing this after emotionally eating 3 chocolate chip cookies. West is a mess tonight. He is super fussy and won’t go to sleep for some reason, so I am letting him cry it out. My bedroom is the furthest from his room, so I will be camping out in here with the monitor on silent for the time being. Hashtag mom life. So, Hi. 

I’m going straight forward today and giving you a peak into a few of my favorite things as of late. I know I have kept a lot of you in the know about my lipgloss obsessions, but I am branching out today to share a few items/products that I’m loving right now. I am going to steer clear from make up products because I am working on that post separately. That is a list I will have to widdle down for you later. So, without further ado, here are a few of my can't live withouts as of right now:

 

SPRAY ON AQUAPHOR - Sutton has eczema and I am constantly lathering her down in aquaphor/cerave/coconut oil, you name it. I am always trying new things for her skin to keep her hydrated. I recently found this spray bottle of aquaphor and it's SO EASY to apply and she also thinks its super cool when I put it on because it tickles, so it makes lotion application fun. I am not sure about yall, but the post-bath/pre-bed routine is a sh*t show most of the time around our house so I am all about easy, fast and fun. The quicker we can get on and off the changing table, the better. Love this product. Check it out.

POPSOCKET - Ok so I found out about these from my niece. I had to know about this new found middle school obsession, so I bought one out of curiosity. I was a hater at first because I didn't want something sticking out of my phone- it looked like it would get in the way. NOPE. I can't live without it on my phone now. It really does help you hold your phone. If it's not on my phone now I feel like I am going to drop it. They come in any color/design imaginable and you may even be able to find one you like better on amazon for a little cheaper. You're welcome in advance for this one.

COCONUT OIL - I realize I may be a little late in the game for this one. Everyone loves coconut oil. But I must say I really like this brand and I use it ALL THE TIME on my face. I have started smothering my face in coconut oil at night before going to bed and within three days I noticed improvement in hydration. I also use it a little bit mixed into my primer before I apply make up. Game changer. 

TARGET SLEEP DRESS - I am obsessed with sleep dresses lately and this one is so soft, comfy and affordable. Do you love how it's wrinkled in this picture? Well, I wore it last night and I'm not trying to iron my clothes for a flat lay pic that I did while West was losing his mind in his bouncer waiting to be fed. So, sorry! I didn't have time, and frankly didn't care. High five! Moving on, this sleep dress comes in a few different colors and I have the pink one and teal one. I typically really like all of the Gilligan and O'Malley line at Target so I am always on the prowl to find comfy bras, underwear and now I am into their sleep wear. You won't regret this purchase. 

QUAY AUSTRALIA SUNNIES - ok guys, this brand is all the new craze and there's a reason. THE CUTEST sunnies, trendy ones, classic styles and good quality, and affordable! I found mine on amazon for ya because they're sold out on their own website and multiple others with these specific frames. If you follow my instagram I may or may not be wearing a different pair of sunnies in every story I post because mama's got issues there... BUT if I had to throw out all my sunglasses minus one pair, these would be my keepers. 

 

There you are! I would love to hear from y'all, any products/clothing/accessories you're loving right now?

xo-Caro 

IF I'M HONEST.

IF I'M HONEST. One of the most used phrases. It's usually used prior to saying a very strongly opinionated comment or it's used as somewhat of a warning phrase to set up your next sentence as important to hear. Sometimes it's something funny, sometimes it's controversial, sometimes it's even a bit offensive depending on who is on the other side of the conversation. All this to say, I chose this phrase as a title to my first blog post for a reason. I am definitely striving to be nothing but honest in everything written here.  I promised myself that this blog would be a true expression of my real self. Well, the realest self I know as of now. I am continuing to get to know "me" as I continue the climb out of the rubble that's progressively buried me over a lifetime of identity confusion. That's another story for another time.  I am a wife to an amazing man, Drew. A mommy to three healthy and beautiful babies, and a wanna-be tv show host, pop star, and professional latin dancer. I missed out on a few of those callings, so I guess where I am at now will have to do.

Since I am claiming that this blog will be nothing but honest and authentic, I must be real about what is currently happening in this moment. I am sitting at a coffee shop two miles from my house typing my first blog post with one hand. My other hand is covering my face in disbelief that I am actually doing this. To continue on the truth train, I have judged mom bloggers in the past. As I sit here and admit to that, I realize that sometimes the root of judgement is jealousy. IF I'M HONEST, it's simply an "I want what you have/to do what you're doing but I don't have enough guts and too much self doubt and fear so I will just pretend like it's dumb" mentality. Well, I am so overwhelmed with all of the details I could fill you in on about how I got OVER being a judger and decided to get ON WITH being a blogger. I can just start with today's date. I waited until this date to launch my blog with great intention. October 1. I will ALWAYS REMEMBER this day for as long as I live. It's the day I found out I was pregnant with West. My third baby. My boy! This day was one of disbelief, fear, anger, and adrenaline all laced with mild excitement. Imagine all of these emotions as ingredients. One cup of disbelief, 1/3 cup of fear, 1/2 cup of anger, 2 tbsp of adrenaline, and 1/2 of 1/4 of excitement. I was 98.9% sure I was done having kids because I truly believed that I "couldn't handle" any more of them. I had postpartum depression with both of my girls and it was scary, sad and REALLY REALLY HARD to get through. Motherhood was not something I eased into from the beginning, it has taken blood, sweat and tears for me to fight myself back into being a "normal" [feeling] person. So, as I am sitting in my bathroom looking at a positive pregnancy test, My 11 month old daughter is just waking up from her afternoon nap. I had just weaned myself off of my anti-anxiety medication and was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I was finally able to say "I have two toddlers." I was finally able to throw away the bottles and sell off my infant car seat. I just had that "goal" set that I would be able to handle life with two kids better once Sutton reached one.

BAM.

I suddenly felt like someone kicked me off the side of the mountain that I just spent years climbing and told me to start over with even MORE luggage on my back. This strong feeling took me on a downward spiral into a pretty deep depression where it was really difficult to be positive, hopeful or excited about this little seed growing inside of my uterus. Speaking of uterus, I had an IUD that was supposed to be residing there to keep all of this from happening in the first place. Well, it left. The only explanation of it being on the outside of my uterine wall was that it poked a hole upon insertion and wiggled its way out over the course of six months. Can I be honest? Don't mind if I do, that shit doesn't happen to many people. This brings us to the GOD factor. Why would he do this to me? Now, before I get too into this, I want to be sensitive to you. If you are someone who struggled getting pregnant or is currently struggling getting pregnant, please hear me. I told you I was going to be honest and this is simply MY reality. Everyone's reality has it's own challenges and tragedies. A challenge for me may not be one for you, and vis versa. Everyone's response to circumstances depends on their specific experiences of life. So please continue reading with that in mind, if you choose to continue reading at all.

Here's some insight into the dialogue that went on in my head as the reality of a third child settled in: I don't want to be pregnant again. I didn't choose this. Maybe I will miscarry, then I can get back to life as usual. I feel like a victim. Is this a sick joke? God? You know having babies has been the hardest and most painful experience for me and you're making me do it all over again. Wow. Some "good good father" you are. Now this is where A LOT of confusion sets in. Principles I have been taught about God for years are quickly being called into question, and certain "qualities" about him and "truths" I have heard aren't ringing true in my current circumstance. Que internal chaos and spiritual cardiac arrest. So maybe God isn't DOING this to me, but maybe he is, depends what theological stance one chooses to take. Theology aside, it's all happening no matter if God's hand is in it or not. I started blaming God for the hurt I was experiencing. The strongest overarching feeling was one of disregard. It was causing me so much inner turmoil and pain that I began to wither away spiritually. The confusion about God and his intention got unbearable, so I put our relationship on the shelf. It was too hard to see God in my pain. IF I'M HONEST, I am still figuring out what our relationship looks like one year later. Another post for another time.

To wrap this up in a big fat blue bow, West Crawford McClure was born June 1, 2017 and of course I fell deep in love yet again with another tiny half Drew/half me human. He is the sweetest and most precious little seventeen pound four month old I have ever met. I can't wait for him to go pro and buy me a house... because he is massive for his age in height and weight. Almost off the charts. I love everything about my sweet boy. But I digress.

IF I'M HONEST, I had really high hopes that he would be my redemption baby in terms of the newborn phase. I have had terrible newborn seasons. Cambelle was colic and Sutton had reflux. So, I felt that God owed me a sweet and easy newborn baby at this point, don't you think? Given my situation. It's only fair. Right? One that barely cried, nursed like a pro, and slept through the night at 6 weeks. mmmk. WRONG. West had silent reflux possibly even worse than Sutton. I about fell off the rails this summer in my postpartum depression along with physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. I turned on my survival instincts, numbed up my heart towards God and muscled through the 100 degree days with no school, no swimming pool and 3 kids under 4. I'm a summer of 2017 survivor now. I deserve a medal... and a margarita. School finally started back for my girls and we finally found a medication that was able to regulate West's reflux. During this crazy time, I felt like if I didn't get an outlet, well, I would die. Call me dramatic, seriously. You can because I was. I wanted so badly to have a connection with the outside world. I started following mom and beauty bloggers to feel a sense of camaraderie. I found myself relating SO MUCH to a lot of these women whether it be a bad day with the kids or sharing the same love for the newest Tarte cosmetics concealer. I also found myself wanting to share snippets of my day to day life as my outlet. I started utilizing instagram as a place for output and with that came a weird amount of response. I have had a good bit of people follow my stories and made a point to tell me how much they enjoy following me. So I took that into consideration. I thought about what to do with that feedback and randomly decided to buy a domain name just incase I could get over the embarrassment of possibly jumping on the blog bandwagon. I want to write more about my life. I have always liked writing. I want to share more about myself and also bring you with me on my journey of discovery. I want to tell you about my favorite things, what I love and what I don't love. I want to be funny and light hearted but also serious and heart-felt when the mood hits. IF I'M HONEST, this is basically an online diary without the cute heart locket on the outside.  

So, that's all I have to say about that. If one person reads my blog and can relate to my real life stories and struggles, that is a win. If one person visits this website just to see the lipgloss that I use on a daily basis, that is also a win. If you've made it this far, thanks for hanging in there. This post was a long one. Can we cheers?

RAISE YOUR COFFEE:

*To new adventures and taking risks along the way. It's about damn time. 

xo-Caro