What It Means To Be 40. Going Grey.

Is it Gray or Grey?!  Whichever It Is - Owning It.

On most days I can do 50 legit pushups.
I'm proud to say I can still hold my own in adventuring with my children.
I finally caved and had to change my font size, but just one level, on my phone.  it really should be two.
My right knee clicks when I walk up the stairs, I have 3 sets of stairs in my house.
I can jump on the trampoline, sometimes for 30 seconds, sometimes 5 minutes, before my bladder neeeeeds to be relieved.
OH that bladder.
I contemplate botox, just for my scowl line - oh that one has been perfected for years.  But I haven't done it YET.
I add collagen to my coffee every morning.  btw this is the one I like best, dissolves easily and has no taste.  I've tried a lot.

I'm alive.  What a freakin privilege to be alive.  

I slipped into this decade of 40.  No big party or hoopla.  We bought a really great mattress and Nick gave me matching PJs.  It was as good as it could be.  My mom passed away suddenly on my 22 birthday, so as you can imagine it's been a long road to being able to even acknowledge this day as a good one.  Or perhaps you can't imagine, and I hope you never truly can.  But in practicing empathy it's worth trying.

And some how this idea of growing out my gray hair has snuck in.  It's been 5 months without even realizing.  Like many things in my life, this one happened sneakily mostly due to lack of attention.  Case In Point...Ran out of diapers - time to attempt potty training.  Eating a brownie sundae every night before bed, oven breaks and I'm too irritated to fix it (SERIOUSLY my Viking has been a lemon!) so I stop baking for a few months, brownie problem fixes itself, guys I had no idea you aren't supposed to do that, oh the bliss of youth.  A summer full of camping adventures and a stylist that is just so good she's super booked, I'm going gray.  Grey.  Grombre. 

What I hadn't anticipated was the emotions that would bubble up as the gray roots emerged.  It's still shocking sometimes to look in the mirror, but I'm getting more used to it.  I actually love the gray that is showing,  I love seeing ME unfold, OH HELLO there, didn't even know THAT was under all that.  A wise friend put it best - it's reframing how I have seen myself almost always.  It's letting go, not to be confused with letting myself go.  See the difference.  Over the past month, as I've gone from too lazy so there's roots showing to yeah - I'm actually doing this, I've begun to think of aging as a chance to reveal more of who I truly am.  And a chance to grow closer to my mom.  What I HATE is that she isn't here to talk through these life changes over coffee.  Fuck I hate that so much.  But if I pay attention, gifts like these gently float into my grief journey, and I feel more of her in me.  40 for me really means settling into my own skin, and obviously not settling like throwing in the towel but in becoming comfortable with myself, obviously.  

This transition period, however, I do not like, and perhaps I will figure out how to deal with the mixes of me, the gray and the blonde.  Perhaps I won't.  I refuse to let what I an Iphone photo portrays of me decide how I feel about myself.  I refuse to let society dictate that I am old and incapable.  When my boys state "Mom you look like a grandma."  I remind them that society tells them they look like girls.  Perhaps we shall walk this journey of changing peoples minds together.  They agree.  I love that.  and my fire is fueled to keep going.  Somedays I'm less affected than others.  I imagine this battle will ebb and flow.  And I can't wrap my brain around how long this process will take.  But I do imagine there is gonna be more treasure found in this journey of aging.  UGH.  and so good.  It's both.  

And lots of hats.  and statement headbands.  and lipstick.  and collagen.

And I am alive.

These photos were taken after a few days of feeling blah.  I needed to brush it out and celebrate.  Own it, rather than letting it own me.  And wearing a few of my favorite things always helps.

kimono - Sway & Cakegifted
tank - Everlane.
jeans - vintage Levi's.

There isn't a real point to this blog post, it's more just a stream of thoughts I have been having over the last month.  I had hoped to gather them more succinctly (how I've always wanted to use that word properly, don't tell me if I'm wrong.) but in actuality that post may never happen and it's time to just push publish.

Except one more point, at the end of the day, it's just hair.

thank you for reading and sharing in this journey.  I've love to hear your thoughts.



Family Photos, Do them.

Family photos can be overwhelming, so let me tell you what I think...

Ok first, unless you are related, I am guessing that very few of you will make it through all these photos.  I tried to pick my very favorite first so you can get the idea.  It's ok, I won't judge - I would totally skip them instead of going through them 100s of times smiling to myself if they weren't my own. But you guys, this was the best I could edit it down to because there was just too many great ones.  These were our family photos from a year ago!  man time flies.

And what to say about family photos?  this can be quite a polarizing topic, and one that creates angst and stress and pressure.  Darnit.  Totally get it, right there with you.

Here's my thoughts...

We are our worst critics, so for a moment just stop and let someone else find your best side.  And even if you are never satisfied with the photos, you will have them, and cherish them later.  And those who love you will cherish them.  I frickin promise this one.  My mom hated having her photo taken and so I have so very few of her and it breaks my heart.  

Make it fun.  Find a place that kids can be kids.  and embrace the outtakes.  This round Peyton fell immediately as he sprinted across the grass when we arrived.  This is not the first time, when we took photos when he was 1 his head immediately found the brick patio - major goose egg for those, so I say we are at least improving with our falling skills.  I kind of love the grass stains on his pants in all these photos.  It adds some reality spice and takes the pressure off of needing to be so curated.   

What to wear?  Well this one I go back on forth on.  I dream of all of us looking coordinatedly uncoordinated in our best.  But I also know my kids will be so very bratty if they are uncomfortable.  And those clothes will be worn once, and that's money I don't want to waste.  Plus I want there to be some reality to our photos.  So I try to get creative with what they've got and would normally wear.  There is usually something worth a photo in their closet and we go from there.  I like the idea of contrasting colors, but honestly prints or no prints, color vs nuetrals...no rules with what to wear, as long as you are comfortable.  This will definitely shine through into the camera.  Sorry not much help otherwise. 

The Photographer.  Honestly if you can't afford a professional, then get your friend, neighbor, mom out there and use an Iphone and spend 30 mins shooting.  But if you can afford a professional find one who's style is simpatico with what you want - this includes the way they shoot candids, the shots they capture and the editing style they choose.  Most of the time you can research their instagram or website gallery.  It's not out of line to ask them to send you an example of a gallery.  In Seattle - I highly recommend Annie.  Obviously all these parts jive with me but I also love her patiences and the tricks she uses to get the shots.  You guys - it's so hard to capture my oldest sons true smile.  She nailed it.  Annie happens to have 3 elementary age children of her own so she gets kids pretty well.  She is easy to work with and can find that patch of grass on a city sidewalk that will look magical.  





If this all feels like too much, consider getting family photos outside of right now - the mad rush for holiday cards, if it feels like too much.  Summer is great or when you go on a trip and are living your best life.  Or maybe for an upcoming party - invite a photographer to document.  

Totally worth the investment in my opinion.

Happy Fall Y'all.

photos by Annie.

PS - If you didn't get a christmas card and you usually do, it's probably because I lost my address book and just had to let that expectation go for a bit.  Don't you worry - I may just send two years in one this year...bonus bonus.