Sunday, November 22, 2015

Adventures in snow shoe hiking with a toddler

When a friend asks you if you want to snow shoe hike on your day off you say yes....even if it means bringing your 2.5 year old with you. What else would you do? Stay at home? Run errands? All those things you can do any day of your life that don't matter or won't make memories?

So you suit up and go.

And perhaps you invite your nanny and her friend along with because the more the merrier....or the more to carry her....
You go despite the 30mph winds that are blowing and despite the fact 5 miles round trip in the snow is a lofty goal. Because maybe, just maybe, in the trees the wind will die down...

You remember what it feels like to be in the woods, alone, to play in the snow and to sweat and to work hard and be in pain in your shoulders and back from the weight of that which you carry...

Breaking trail, making new tracks through the snow. You walk with the others but you also walk alone. There's something about fighting and finding your way that not only strengthens but humbles a person. You question why you'd leave the comfort of your warm house for this just as much as you question why you don't do things like this more.

There's frozen lakes and three moose. There's silence and laughter. The snow swirls around and the wind dies and the sun starts to shine just as your daughter starts to get restless and have a meltdown.

And you don't make it to your destination....but you realize the journey was your destination.

Because the people you are with...they are just as content to turn around and head back as you are. And you realize at that moment you've chosen the right type of people to be on this adventure with....people that want to help you and check on you...inspire you and take care of you. You leave with such a feeling of happiness that you can't believe it's over. So what else to do...but plan it all over again...
I cannot promise you it will be easy, but I can promise it will be worth it
Because a child will never remember the best day of her life as watching television...and no one ever frames photos of their kids playing on the Ipad.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Why my husband doesn't support me

My husband said if I wrote a blog about him that he would read it. Well dear I hope you don't regret that statement for what I'm about to write. There are two main rules for writing- write what you know and tell the truth. What I'm about to tell you readers is both....

I have a husband who doesn't support me.

One of my dear friends, who shall remain nameless (but she reads my blog so you know who you are) has a husband who does the same. In fact, it's one of our favorite things to complain about our men when we are alone together. She's just scratching the surface on branding herself and her business. She has a weekly nutrition segment on television and her husband barely even watches them. When she posts articles to her facebook page or instagram her husband won't even "like" or "share" them. In fact, she says, mostly what he does have to offer is criticism based on what she says or does on tv and pictures that she posts.

As an entrepreneur myself I feel her pain. For the past three years I've been running my own business called Yogi Magee Expeditions. I offer adventure yoga retreats within a budget nearly everyone can afford. I started my own facebook page and instagram and that's how I market and sell out all of my retreats and fill my classes. From my business I have had opportunities to teach corporate yoga and bootcamp as well as barre and cycling at various studios all through town. I'm at the point where managers find me and ask me to teach for them rather than me begging to find jobs. I have to turn down offers to teach all the time because my schedule is just too full. I've been with my said friend above on morning news segments showing workout videos, I've had my classes videotaped and been interviewed for fitness websites and I too am just scratching the surface of my abilities. I market and sell my retreats entirely through social media and word of mouth is growing my business each day.

And I've done all of this without the help of my husband.

And I'm grateful.

You see, the strongest women in business....the most profitable CEO's have never had the help of a man. Just look at Martha Stewart, Oprah, and J.K. Rowling who herself had a failed marriage and abusive ex-husband. Not only are these women self-made but none of them even achieved success before 30 and Rowling was even a self-labeled failure. Closer to home, I am surrounded by amazing women who have all made it without the help of a man. My mentor and friend Dawnelle who owns QiFlow continues to redefine movement and run successful retreats, teacher trainings and her classes pack out. My hair dresser Candace is someone I watched go from renting a space in a small salon to opening her own studio called Foundations Hair Salon on Colfax. She now has her own employees and team of stylists and you can barely get an opening in with her these days. I recently met another beautiful soul named Tricia Olsen who founded a company called FitLo Denver which is a database of fitness teachers and studios that anyone living in Denver or visiting can go to and know they are going to get a butt kicking. Tricia left corporate job and struck out on her own to do something no one else is doing. Did I mention all of these women have a small child at home as well? I'm in awe watching these women grow their businesses and the passion and drive that motivates them even through the darkest times.

To say my husband Chad isn't my biggest fan would be a lie. He sacrifices a lot for me so that I can live my dream. After all someone has to take our daughter to school and watch her while I'm teaching whether that's all over town or in Belize. He works overtime so that I can fly part-time and teach more. He is on single dad duty while I travel to Telluride and Nicaragua to run my retreats. He even came to our yoga and yurts retreat this summer and cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for 21 people just because I asked him too. My husband may not read everything I write, brag about me to his friends or market my retreats for me and that's OK. He forces me to work harder and hustle because of it. As he says, "anyone will kiss your ass, you have plenty of people to do that, few will tell you what you actually need to hear."

It's easy for my friend and I to think our husbands are assholes because they aren't kissing our asses on the daily. We think they should be flattered to call themselves our husbands and the truth is.....they won't outwardly. Yet that doesn't make us any less successful. We shine because of our own hard work and dedication not because of the amount of "likes" our photos get on facebook or instagram. The strongest women, the ones I admire, have many people to thank for their achievements and many who have helped them along the way.....but their self worth isn't tied to what any man (or woman for that matter) thinks for them or does for them.

I'm thankful for all my husband does so that I can shine. Someone once asked me what it was that I thought was the secret to my marriage. After thinking a hot minute I replied simply,

"He lets me be the star and never asks for anything in return."

That, my friends, is why I love my husband so much. Why I have him to thank and not thank for any bit of magic that has happened in my life these past 10 years. He doesn't stand by my side....

He lets me stand on his shoulders.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How I learned to love my demon baby

Over the past weekend I went to visit my sister in her new home in Alexandria, Virginia. I decided to take my 2.5 year old Charlotte because my husband couldn’t come on the trip and it would be easier to have her travel with me. While we do a lot of traveling as a family this was only my second time to fly solo with her and the first was when she was under a year old. Flying with a toddler has its own set of challenges but then add in flying stand-by, bringing a car seat and having to carry on all your bags because of said stand-by travel status…well you get the idea. Did I mention my child is also fondly referred to in my household as the exorcist baby?

Scared for me now?

You see, I don’t have an angel baby. My friends have angel babies. My friends have angel children who like to sit still and play nice and never cry. Me, I have a child who gets frustrated easily. One who screams bloody murder if she doesn’t want to do what I ask her to do and also…did I mention….gets herself so upset she throws up. Hence the exorcist part. Ever since she was a newborn she was a challenge. She liked to be held all the time, she liked to be held by ME all the time I should say, OH and she threw up. Constantly. When I traveled with her solo the first time luckily she was nursing and I could nurse her to sleep. She rode in a car seat and stroller that I could easily manipulate and gate check. She didn’t need to be constantly entertained and didn’t have a meltdown if the Ipad wouldn’t work. She could nap most anywhere making an all-day outing accessible and she could sleep in a pack n’play. Friends, if you are going to travel then do it while they are little and on your lap and still free….trust me.

Taking a child anywhere can be difficult. Taking a child to DC to stay at your sister’s house that isn’t exactly kid proof is a little trickier. My sister bought her a stroller for the trip when I arrived yet Charlotte had to be bribed to sit in it for longer stretches. Otherwise she wanted to walk…and not hold my hand of course through downtown traffic. Bribes had to be given in the form of dum dums and Masha and the Bear videos. I love whoever created Dum dum lollipops. Thank you for your service to me and my sanity. For how many restaurants she sat in and happy hours she sat through I must say Charlotte did amazing. Yet, being around my friend Lisa’s daughter just solidified that I did indeed have a difficult child. While her daughter was a year younger, she was far more content and less whiney than Charlotte although they were just as on the move as one another.

Which is all to say this is the trip that showed me how much I love my exorcist baby. I really do. I know it’s me judging from the outside, and I’m sure no one’s children are perfect always but I realized a few things. I will probably never have the child who will sit quietly while I drink coffee. I won’t have the daughter who wants to sit in a chair and color while I eat dinner. I will probably never know what it’s like to not have her freak out on an airplane or have her climb all over me at the worst times. Charlotte, I realized is a strong, independent little girl with a fierce love of me that extends to hand holding while we nap together and grabbing my face to kiss me repeatedly. Her actions over the trip taught me enormous patience. Her wanting to run through crowds and restaurants gave me an excuse to run and skip and kick through leaves as well. I realized the world is not about sitting still and being quiet always…it’s about wearing your feelings on the outside and sometimes letting them come out your eyeballs.
I loved watching Charlotte play with everyone from her aunt and uncle to their friends and my friends. I loved seeing her eat ice cream until she was covered in it and wearing the same skirt over and over because she liked the “stars.” I enjoyed walking past food trucks and buying her treats just because they delighted her eyes and changing her diaper at the Lincoln monument just because she wouldn’t walk a step further until I did. I once thought my parents embarrassed me when I was younger. Now I just see it’s karma for all the times we embarrassed them. Kids are loud, wild, carefree and hopelessly in search of fun and imagination and that’s the way we were meant to be.
So yes, I have a demon baby. Chad and I often joke about it, but friends its true. She’s not the perfect angel baby that sits and never acts up and it has nothing to do with my parenting and everything to do her being exactly as she is. Yes, there are time outs and structure but ultimately I let her be free to play and enjoy. Whenever I try to get her to conform to what I think is socially acceptable (i.e. adult behavior) it ends badly so I’m constantly trying to go with the flow.

And ultimately friends…you’ll never see these people who stare at you the wrong way again. So fuck them.

At the end of the trip as the bus driver in Denver was helping me get a sleeping charlotte off the bus the kissed her hand and patted me with it and told me, “I’m so proud of you.” There was this distinct look in her eye of a woman who had traveled alone with children before. It almost made me cry.

“I did an awesome thing for my daughter,” I thought. Taking her on a trip with just me like that.

It was worth every (sometimes painful) minute.