30 Days | Rebuilding Puerto Rico

For 30 days, my husband has left our home to venture to unknown, treacherous territory in Puerto Rico to help rebuild their lines and bring power back. He's one of so many working together to fix that island. If you sit back and think about how many people are working together to aid these communities, it's incredibly beautiful and reassuring in times where there is so much controversy and hate. 

Ironically, as the New Year was approaching, I was thinking of different ways I can give back in 2018. Puerto Rico crossed my mind; the thought of them still rebuilding all of these months later is devastating. The thought was a little more than fleeting, one I planned to get back to, but before I could, Dustin was called and asked to go. The irony isn't lost on me here. 

We had a month to plan which is unusual in this line of work. We got in extra date nights, took care of some "to do's" and hugged each other extra tight. The anticipation and time leading to the moment of his departure was dreadful. Time has nearly stood still and I can only pray that by the end of 30 days, it has gone 4 times as fast as the waiting has been. 

In preparation of his leaving, I knew that we could face this in one of two ways: either see it as a life adventure in which we can grow as individuals, as a couple and as a family , taking advantage of an opportunity to grow in so many abundant ways, or we could view it as a victims, be sad and dwell in our sorrows. If you know me even a little bit, you know which route we're taking. Despite my strength and excitement with this opportunity, I can't help but feel tremendous grief. Something I didn't quite expect to feel. It's a complex feeling I've never experienced. And in this part of my life, I am learning to embrace it all, lean into it and grow from it. So, in this journey, a way I know how to cope and grow is through my art. 

I will be taking a picture a day while he is gone. I've taken a lot of pictures a day... a ton, but I want this project to really encompass how I'm feeling. I don't know how it will come together, and you'll only be seeing it after the 30 days is up. I need to go through this time alone, on my own terms and without noise, but will share this when I'm done because I know there will be life lessons in all of this. Lessons in which I know others could benefit in some way. 

And so, the journey begins. 

Night 1.

I have been an emotional mess all day. Anticipating his departure at 5:00. I know that I'm a strong woman. Like, fierce. I know there will be hard days with the kids. Days I really need a break and could use a hand, but I know I'll get through this as a mother. The part I'm most concerned about is my role as a wife. I love this man. My soul loves this man. Having him away from our home leaves a pain and emptiness that feels so impossibly heavy and sad. Every time I have a moment of thought of him not being here, I get this physical feeling in my throat I've never felt. Like my heart is trying to scream. Like my soul is crying. It is hitting me to my very core that I will not have a hug from this man for 30 days. I can't rest my face in the nook of his chest for 30 days. I will not feel his hands holding my face and ensuring me that everything will be okay for 30 days. I will not watch him happily playing with the kids for 30 days. I will eat dinner without his conversation for 30 days. 30 days. It's literally sucking the wind out of me. 

I dropped him off at the hotel. We kept it together the best we could being around so many other people getting dropped off. I drove away, nearly needing to pull over I was crying so hard, but made it to the pet store (daddy is leaving but we still need cat litter, ya know? It's life). I sat in this parking lot staring. Sobbing. The grief that came over me was and is so overwhelming. I prayed and prayed, begging God to look over him and keep him safe. As I looked up, there were flurries. I remember saying out loud, "Wait, it's snowing?!" My grandmother. Memom, I know it was you. Thank you for being there with me in that moment. 

And as I feel my sadness, it's awful that we compare our emotions to others. "At least he's not going to war for 6 months or a year." "At least we haven't suffered the devastation and loss PR has." And so on. But you know what? Grief, sadness and pain cannot be measured on a comparative scale. That's just mean. It's minimizing and invalidating so I'm not doing that. I'm SAD and I'm letting myself feel this with no excuses. 

So, tonight, I will cry myself to sleep. I will put my kids to bed as happily as I can. I will have Day 1 of a new nighttime routine. One that will be missing Dustin, but one I know I can do. 

Day 1. 

I woke up with the most contradicting feeling I've ever felt. I felt determined, strong, happy and terribly sad. The kids woke up happy, the dogs were happy, and we've had a smooth day so far. I'm vowing to stay present, to not think about how many days are left or how much I'm missing him but to be here. And you know what? It's really freaking hard. That feeling in my throat keeps coming back. And it follows with big, ugly crying. I've been trying to hold back my tears. I can't cry all day, can I?

In this moment, he was getting on his plane. Being mindful and present was the hardest thing on the planet in this moment. So I turned to my boy. Swimming is our happy place, but clearly he can feel it, too. We are moving through our day just fine, but like me, we are randomly saying, "I miss dad." It's hitting us hard.

I'm writing this in the 2:00pm hour. I'm simply dreading 4pm when he usually comes home from work. And then dinner time. And then bedtime. These hours in the day will, without a doubt, be the hardest for me. Not necessarily the act of parenting, but emotionally getting through. 

Day 2.

At the end of each week, it's my hope to do a movie night with the kids. To snuggle up in bed and rent a movie. They were so incredibly excited for this night. The little kid excitement that we lose as adults. While they so happily watched their movie, I felt distracted. Worrying about Dustin and how he was feeling. Getting settled in and waiting to hear from him after a tough, stressful day. This, though, being snuggled in bed with the peace that these children carried, was everything I needed. I felt calm and settled and excited to have a slow weekend to follow. These kids are my heart and my strength. 

Day 3.

Saturday morning with no scheduled sessions. It's a rare occurrence. I get stuck between feeling the need to do too much and knowing that we need to just be still. Hannah woke and asked, "Mom? If I don't have school today, can we just lay in your bed for a little bit and snuggle?" Yes, yes we can, my love. They teach me to slow down in the world. I knew we had laundry to do and floors to mop, but I also knew that she'd remember this moment far more than a clean kitchen floor. It was good. Being still was so good. 

Day 4.

This dog. He's been sad and on high alert. Of course it's appreciated and I feel safe, but it's been a tough transition for us. He is constantly on guard, barking at any noise or person that may come by. I wish I knew what was going through his head. Does he know Dustin's gone and he's keeping us safe? Is he looking for him? I hope the next 25 days go better for him.... and me, too. We need better sleep!

Day 5.

Monday. Depending on what I have scheduled for that day, sometimes JP and I will go right to his school after dropping off H, but then we have about 25 minutes to kill between. His favorite thing to do in this time is "drive pretend." He knows what every button does and presses them all. The windshield wipers go, the music is loud and every window is open. His favorite thing to do is stand up and hang his head out of the sun roof. His face beams with excitement as he feels on top of the world. And while I have a twinge of "who's going to judge my parenting" I quickly don't give a shit because this is my boy and I know he'll remember this forever. It's the little things. 

Day 6.

Today is heavy for me. The weight of how many days we have left is hard. I have been hustling a little bit in this past week. Working out a ton, editing a ton, taking on new business ventures and making big plans. Doing house work and cooking and meal planning and doing house projects. I have felt so strong and accomplished but also so tired. How can I go this speed for another 3 weeks? I can't. That's the answer. Today, I am leaning into my sadness. I am feeling the pain and shedding my tears. Because this is strength. Feeling and listening to this knowing is strength. I am a fighter, I am a surviver and I am strong. It's not in my tears that you will find weakness but in my lack of tears. Today, I changed my plans. I am processing through my art and my photography. I am sitting in silence. I am journaling. I am meditating and I am leaning into my children. In this pain is where growth is happening. The end of these 30 days are going to result in two people who have grown and changed. We are going to come back together and move mountains in our sweet little life and make big dreams happen. But for today? Today I will be still and I will cry. Because this is how I will grow. 

Day 7.

I fully anticipated that we'd have highs and lows throughout these 30 days. It's the normal ebb and flow of life and how it needs to be. I think the hard part is not having control of knowing when the low points will hit, how it will feel and how long it will take to get out. You see, the part we do have control over is how we respond to what life throws at us. Will you put forth the strength to work through the trenches, or just sit there, dwell and think "why does this happen to me?". Me? I fight. I have control. Nothing happens to me, I create my space and my energy. With that being said, you need strength to create that space and energy and on day 7, I'm lacking. My patience is thin, my kids energy is outrageous (oh yea, maybe it's that crazy full moon happening) and, quite frankly, I'm not getting any mom awards today. I knew I hit a bottom when I yelled at my daughter for singing "Skimminery Rinky Dinky Dink." You know the song. She had the cute hand motions and all and I yelled at her. Yelled! And then continued to be angry until they were fast asleep. And you know what, people? It's okay cause we're not perfect. 

No matter what my love is unconditional. When I have these days, cause I do... a lot, I make time before bed to move away from the distractions, unplug, reflect on the day and set intentions for the new day. I invite the good energy in and push the unnerving, negative energy out. And I also talk to my kids about being human. And I apologize. And they still love me. I never, ever dwell on a bad day. 

Where your mind goes, your energy flows. 

And look at these two? Quietly holding hands while we drive home from school. I must be doing something right. 

Day 8.

He is one of my biggest teachers right now. Especially while Daddy is away. A quality I love about him is that throughout the day, truly, he asks multiple times, "Can I be __________ when I grow up?" His imagination is so, so big and his dreams are bigger. Today, he wants to be a UPS driver when he grows up. And he'd be a darn good one. 

Day 9.

The emotions have have been coming out of this sweet little boy are of an intensity and frequency that I actually don't know what to do. Me. The one with a master's degree in school counseling who has written behavior plans and trained staff on how to implement treatment plans. No clue. 

I remember when my H was maybe 7 weeks old, I was having a hard moment. I don't remember the exact problem, but it was something with her nursing schedule. I was so stressed about was she getting enough, not enough, should I wake her more during the day. I called my mom, naturally, to ask what I was supposed to do. She stops me and says, "Erin, all you have to do is love her. The rest will just happen." It's one of the most influential and pivotal moments in my parenting and what I always come back to because it is the truest thing. We will never have all of the answers. We will make mistakes and feel helpless, but if we come back to what we know, which is love, they will be just fine and so will you. 

So, in these hard moments with my boy.... my boy who is so desperately missing his daddy and unable to understand that these are the emotions coming up and having no tools to fully process and cope... I hold him. I talk to him about what he's feeling. I set an example of how to be. I recognize that what makes me most uncomfortable in him is what I am most uncomfortable about myself. And I work on that. And I just love him. I hug him and tell him I love him and that I'll always be there for him. 

Day 10.

When I was 8 years old, a few months after my mom and step-dad got married, we moved into this new home. It's where the 6 of us grew as a family. It's where 4 of us left the empty next and after 26 years, my parents have decided that it was time to move onto a new chapter and let another family grow here. 

The house itself has changed since I was a child. Big renovations happened after I left for college. And while I have important and foundational memories since this change, my little 8 year old memories aren't feeling as sad and lost in the house being sold since I don't visually see that same house. It's almost making it easier to say goodbye. 

But then there's this tree. I don't know if I realized how important this tree was to me. You see, we moved in on New Year's Day 1992. because we were moving during the holidays, we couldn't have a big Christmas that year. So we got a tiny little Charlie Brown Tree. I think I remember it sitting in a bucket in our old house as we each opened a single present (or was it? I don't actually remember) on Christmas morning, knowing that a new big home was our biggest gift. When we moved into our new house, the little Charlie Brown tree was planted in our backyard. Guys, I'm telling you, it was teeny, teeny tiny. 

And here is it, 26 years later. Towering over my sweet little babies. It's amazing how everything comes full circles. The memories I made playing in this backyard, around this tree, are endless. Playing ball, tag, gymnastics, climbing dirt piles, skating on the pond... it was a good childhood. 

I'm thankful that my own babes have memories in this house, too. Ones they'll remember because of my camera. And I look forward to the memories we'll make in the "new old house." 

Day 11. 

Being both parents is really. effing. hard. I've played both before, but never for such a long period of time. Having to be both the good guy and the bad guy in sometimes the same moment is literally impossible. I can't have the kids having a grumpy mom disciplining them for 30 days straight and I also can't let them get away with murder. With that said, having no parenting relief in 24 hours, my patience runs thin quickly and they sadly are getting grumpy mom more than happy mom. But it's not for a lack of trying. 

My biggest intention every night and every day is to find strength to set boundaries and the light heartedness to have fun and embrace the small moments. To go a little easier on them because it's just as hard for them, too. You know one of the best ways to do this? Ask them if they want to jump on your bed. (and then have movie night). Best night ever. I'm so intensely grateful to share this life with these two little people and to be the one who gets to love them as their mom. 

Day 12.

Another snow delay for the kids means another snow day since they only go to school for the mornings. While a lot of parents complain about snow days, I'm welcoming them. I feel like they are forcing me to stop, be still and slow down for a minutes. A little bit of a blessing because it feels impossible to do this most days. 

Dustin and I talked last night and we had a detailed conversation about the Puerto Rican culture in comparison to American. He said how gracious the people are. Honking, waving, feeding them... when we are out of power here for even more than 24 hours, people come out and yell at them, demanding power, cursing at them. He continued to explain how they live a slow paced life. How they siesta all day on Sundays. 12am to 12am there's music, food and togetherness. There isn't a hustle and bustle constantly, they're just living. 

It's something I've been really thinking about. Knowing that this is something I'm so deeply craving, but feels nearly impossible to achieve in this society, this culture, this area? It's something to take in and I hope that he and I can take a piece of that PR culture into our lives after these 30 days. To live life a little more in our day to day. 

Day 13. 

Almost every morning, I've been making a strong point to wake up before the kids, quietly drink my coffee, take in the noises of the morning, journal and meditate. It makes a world of difference in how I approach my day. Though, I sit there and feel him missing. He's never apart of our morning routine leaving so early for his work day, so he's not necessarily missing from this part of the day, but the space he takes up in our home is empty. I can feel it. While I'm taking this time to center, work on myself, focus on my family and grow, it's hard to shake the sadness of him not being here. I'm truly not 100% myself with him gone. And I'm okay to be in a relationship like that. We are so much more together than we are apart. Our souls feed on another and we are a team. From here, I will harvest his energy from so many miles away to help keep me going. And in turn, I will be sure to keep my energy one that will also help nourish him. We will get through this together. 

Day 14.

Another snow day. I watch as big heavy flakes fell from the sky and quickly grabbed my camera to photograph one. As I got closer to the flakes, I realized that they weren't one big piece, but a bunch of pieces stuck together. Light, misinformed snowflakes. My excitement for a pretty, perfect snowflake shot quickly deflated. 

In this process and in my mediations, I have been setting the intention to handle change with ease and grace; to be able to find flexibility in the wind. Perhaps this was a metaphor for what I've been asking for, so I rolled with it. 

It's abstract and complex in it's form, a little like me. And though it's not perfect, it fell from the sky like any other snowflake. It's capable of doing the same thing and holds a more intricate, intriguing beauty in its confidence. 

Day 15. 

Bath time. Honestly? It's one of my least favorite things to do besides emptying the dishwasher. And then, I did a "7 days of gratitude" meditation series it really helped change my perspective on these tasks that feel cumbersome, physically difficult and ones you put off. 

Bath time is so hard because it usually delays bed time. The kids can get wound up, splashing, fighting, there's usually a tantrum or two over who gets washed first or washing hair too hard or whatever it is. And then they roll around like worms on fire when you're trying to get them dressed into their pjs. It's nearly infuriating. 

Here's the thing though. You have to give bath. You have to empty the dishwasher. It's apart of your day. It's the stuff that makes up life, ya know? Without these things to do, what would we be doing? There is no end. There is no catch up. There is no end to the to do list because this is life. Isn't that amazing? That I have these two beautiful kids who love bath time and each other. Who need baths because we can afford to put them in swim lessons year round. Who need baths because they played so hard at school. And I can wash them with expensive natural shampoo. It's noisy and messy and takes a lot of energy, but this is what life is about. Sure, I look forward to when they can do all of this themselves, but boy do I know that I'll miss these little moments. 

Just in the past couple weeks, I've noticed that they're almost getting too big to bath together. Their long lean bodies fill up the entire basin of the tub. It's incredible. Which means, probably this year, we will have to get rid of doing baths together. This little time will be over so soon. 

So, in all of this, what I've learned is to truly be present in the moment. Be grateful for the moment. Don't wish the task away or rush through it to get closer to the bottom of a to do list because you're chasing nothing. THIS is what makes up life. Don't wish life away. Just be. 

Day 16.

Okay guys, this image is like the ultimate creeper double exposure from Sears in 1981, but it seriously completely encompasses what I've been feeling like. We're officially over the half way mark, and part of what I completely didn't expect in all of this was how difficult it would be to play both roles of mom and dad (kudos to all of you single parents out there! This gig is HARD). When Dustin is home, I know that if either of us around about to lose our shit... if we're tired, irritable, exhausted from a long day, experiencing less patience, or whatever it is, we know that the other one will have our back. If I need a hot second to recompose myself, Dustin will take the kids. If Dustin is feeling it, I'll take the kids. If one parent is reprimanding, the other supports, but is quiet on the sidelines and is kind of the balancing calm in the discipline that's happening. Without having my team mate, I need to play both and I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I am disciplining and losing it one second and the next I'm trying to redeem myself by playing good cop, too. I fee like I'm losing my mind. It's a balance I know I'll figure out by day 29, naturally. 

Day 17. 

As the kids get older, they are beginning to really understand what I do for a living. I remember when I left my counseling job and took on photography as a business, I would be really taken aback when people referred to me as a photographer. Or even worse, a "professional" photographer. I worked so many years for a Master's degree in counseling, that I had a very difficult time being okay with this title as my new profession. And what made it harder is that it's my passion and what I love to do... how can something you love to do be a "job."

Now that the kids are moving away from being babies, they are developing bigger understandings of the world around them and taking more in. Through this, it's been amazing watching the kids play the different life roles and see them add "photographer" to the list. I'm proud that I've worked so hard in what I do, and treat it as a job. A place I go to work and a place I leave to be present with them. Watching them answer e-mails and edit weddings is a big pride moment for me. I know I'm making an impression on them. Hopefully a good one. 

Day 18. 

The next struggle is taking care of myself. And here's the dilemma. I feel a cold hitting. Nothing big, nothing scary, just a nuisance cold. We are out of food, yet it's incredibly important for me to have decent food in house so I can nourish myself. My body is not one that fares well on processed foods or lack of food. It was pouring rain, all day. The kind that just sucks and you want to curl up in your pjs all day. So, do I stay home and rest my body or venture out to Costco with two kids in the rain to get food to nourish myself? I chose the latter. No fever, energy, and just some sniffles, I knew I needed to get food. And the rest of the day was spent resting. 

Taking one moment at a time, letting things go, choosing battles and being sure to enjoy the little things is what makes these kinds of trips feasible. Typically I start the trip with feeling overwhelmed with how hard it will be to do it all. To push the cart, to fill the trunk, get the kids back in, to unload, to put things away, etc. But you know what I did? Thought about nothing. Just did what was in front of me. And you know what happened? It was really easy. I felt no stress. I didn't feel overwhelmed. And we kinda had fun. And yes. 

Day 19.

Today my head is foggy. My chest is tight and I have no smell or taste. I'm okay, and know that I'm okay, but truly, it isn't labeled a nuisance cold for no reason. I sit here and struggle because I have work tasks to do and the kids have really made the house a mess (their toys get so much smaller and disorganized as they get older. It kills any part of OCD left in me). Yet, I know deep down that work and house chores should not take priority over my health. I know that I need to sit down, and not sit down with my lap top, but just sit down. I cancelled Barre3 (boo-hoo), got the kids to school, came home and I meditated, read and journaled. Then all of a sudden it was time to pick them up. While this is unfamiliar to me and feels really uncomfortable (my ego keeps saying, "But you have to get work done! It won't be done fast enough! The house is messy!"), I'm learning that the sooner I get myself 100%, I can be 100% to everyone else. There should be no guilt in resting my body, stopping to eat and going to bed early in order to get healthy. Work will get done, and the house will get clean. 

Day 20.

They seem to becoming closer, looking forward to when the other wakes up, playing together, making games in their wild make believe. And in this crazy winter, we've also be stir crazy. Fighting colds, avoiding a wet yard... it fuels a lot of tantrums and fights. Most days I'm feeling completely exhausted after trying to intervene and implement the "right" parenting, whatever that is. When I catch these moments, I know I'm doing something right. I love how much they love being together; constantly sharing hugs and kisses. 

Day 21. 

Research shows that drinking different teas can reduce symptoms of anxiety. I'm in! I look forward to my tea every day. Sometimes it's one cup before bed, sometimes it's different teas throughout the day. Whenever it's time, it's truly like taking in a little bit of peace and light. God bless some good tea. 

Day 22. 

I'm overwhelmed. I'm so overwhelmed. I've been fighting a cold all week and the kids have come down with it, too. They're tired and punchy and I'm grouchy. My only haven is getting to the barre3 studio and I haven't been able to get there because of not feeling well. And now I have these two not feeling well so I can't unleash them on other people and share the germs. I can't let the dogs out because our yard is a mud pit. They're hyper and stir crazy. I can't get time to journal and meditate because my body is so exhausted, its sleeping through the alarm (I try and wake up early to have this time to myself before the kids wake. It's my only time). Needless to say, I'm at the end of my rope. How can I continue to give if I can't give to myself? HOW can I give to myself when I don't have any resources? These are two little people who rely on my completely. For all of their needs, down to filling their waters. They can't do anything for themselves. There has been whining, complaining, fighting, crying, yelling. It is the all encompassing feeling of being completely stuck. I feel like I can't see a way out. How can anyone expect a mother to be smiling, complacent and grateful after being locked in a house for days with seemingly no way out? This has taken a tremendous amount of physical, emotional and spiritual strength. It's a challenge I'm accepting but not without showing an ugly side of myself. 

Day 23.

My little guy's cough has gotten worse and he's literally not slept a WINK last night. Not a wink. And not from coughing, he just responds to illness with extra energy for some God forsaken reason. He needed to pee, then pee again, then needed his covers adjusted, then readjusted and then wanted to know if it was time to get up. Not a wink of sleep guys. Not a wink. And now, he's sprung a fever and I continue to not have this cold out of my head yet. I'm lost, overwhelmed and dead tired. So, we went to urgent care, only to find that we're all fine. It's just a cold. Awesome. Glad we exposed ourselves to all that other crud. My attitude is crummy AF right now and I can't seem to pull out of it no matter what I'm trying. I'm starting to numb out. I'm feeling nothing and that's not good. I know that's not good, but I don't know what else to do at this point. 

Day 24.

Something I've learned about myself is that when the going gets tough, I stop eating. Not intentionally and I honestly do a great job at convincing myself that it's not actually happening until my hormones and sugars start to go out of whack. I tell myself that I'm too tired and it's okay to just eat a small snack for dinner, or I'll somehow convince myself that an apple with some peanut butter is plenty for lunch, or that I don't have a great appetite because of my cold and that's okay. I started noticing this pattern this week and while it doesn't make my appetite return and it doesn't make me excited to eat, I know that I have to. So I stand at the stove in my lonely kitchen and do my best because all I can do in a day is my best. (What I really need is some sleep! JP was up the entire night. Again.)

Day 25. 

I have been feeling a lack of inspiration in all accounts right now. I'm feeling so stuck and trapped. I don't even know how I'm supposed to document this in photography at this point. Nor do I feel inspired to do so. I then pulled out a pear from the fridge and it hit me. Get back to the fruit. 

When I teach photography, I have my students photograph fruit. It sounds silly, but 1) they're really well behaved subjects, and 2) they reflect light really well. I teach them to use the fruit to learn and study light and composition. Shoot above, below, to the side and play with every composition you can think of. And when photographers get stuck, I tell them to go back to the fruit. Fruit doesn't judge you and it's interestingly a bit challenging of an exercise to break out of a rut of any sort. And it just brings you back to the basics. When things feel overwhelming and complicated, when there's too much going on around you and you don't know where to focus, the fruit can really bring you back to the ground. 

So, I got back to the fruit. And I'm choosing to take this metaphor into our last week together. I will bring it back to the basics. Keep it simple, stay grounded and focus "on the fruit". 

Day 26.

In this 30 day adventure, I have been so incredibly overwhelmed with support from family and friends. Many that I simply didn't expect, some I did. It has really opened my eyes to how abundantly blessed I am to have so many people who were thinking of me, reaching out to me, bringing us food, offering and scheduling playdates, checking in some more and simply being there. My eyes have truly been opened to those I can count on, those with whom I can be vulnerable, be me and those I know will be there when I fall. Thank you. 

Day 27.

A day that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're approaching the end. Loved stepping out of a Barre3 class to this sunset, ending the day with warmer temps and sunshine. It's been a rarity this February! 

Day 28. 

Near 80 degrees. Today was so needed. I felt warm, I felt happy. I felt giddy and excited. I adored watching the kids play outside, and they did, too. It was a good, good day. 3 more days until Dad is home!! 

Day 29.

The rain has come in and will be here until Sunday. While we are 2 days away from Dustin coming home, I feel so incredibly overwhelmed and exhausted. Like my body is shutting down. Being so close to the finish line, I actually feel like I might not make it. It's the most depleting feeling I've felt in my life. My cup is completely empty. While grateful and proud, I am absolutely exhausted. Praying to the higher powers to fill me with enough strength to make it to the end. 

Day 30. 

This is it. I made it. I made it to the end of 30 days. This has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life on all levels: emotionally, spiritually and physically. With it though, I have learned so much about myself and how I want to move forward in life. I have had so much struggle, like every working mom, in how to balance it all. How do I take care of my family, my business and myself in a full 24 hours? I know that so many people could benefit from what I learned, so head on over to my post here. In a nutshell, so much came from this Barre3 studio. When Dustin was called to go to PR, I made the decision that I was going to get into this studio as much as I possibly could in that 30 days. What I got from this studio was not just a physical workout. Each instructor brought something new everyday that I could carry into the rest of my days. Whether it was a new mindset, peace, grounding, knowing that today's best doesn't need to look like yesterdays, to be present, and so much more. It was truly a gift. Thirty days later, I am stronger; emotionally, spiritually and physically. Thank you, Barre3, for giving me the space to feel welcome and to find myself again and find the balance I've been needing for a long time. 

Day 31.

"Mommy? Are you crying because you're happy?" 

"Yes, sweetheart, yes I am."

I love this man and I love these kids. He is my soulmate, without question. I am walking away from this experience with so much gratitude for how abundantly blessed I am in this life. Thank you, Universe, for giving us the gift of this challenge and these lessons to help make us stronger and individuals and as a team. 

Erin