Thursday, February 15, 2018

You are enough. No, correction. I am enough.

I recently started making exercise a priority. I realize that may sound like a convoluted way to say, "I started working out again," but it's true, I've made it a priority. When I was breastfeeding and getting no sleep, I decided something had to give. I could get even less sleep (if mathematically possible) and workout, or spend less time with my kids and workout, or not workout. I chose the latter for awhile, but now I'm back at it.

I've been taking different classes that interest me. I am, by no means, an experienced yogi, but I really enjoy some yoga classes. Recently during our practice (it's fun to pretend like I know what I'm talking about) we were asked to come up with a phrase, a mantra (it probably has a different word I don't know) to focus on at the beginning. My brain said, "you are enough."

I guess I've been doubting that a little.

You see, sometimes I feel like I'm not enough of a mom. Sometimes I feel like I give too much to work. And then sometimes I feel the very opposite. And then I feel like I'm slacking as a wife, a friend, a daughter, an aunt and fifty other roles I play in this production called My Life. But as much as I sound like I'm drowning, I actually have felt much more grounded lately. I'm starting to take ownership of what I do and don't want. I'm beginning to realize it's okay to sometimes place more attention in one area instead of another. And that's why one thing really struck me about my statement. "You." Why did I think "you are enough" instead of "I am enough." I know some of you may think I'm over-analyzing my word choice, but I find it telling.

As much as I am starting to come to grips with how I'm handling my life, I still worry that I'm doing it wrong in the eyes of others. Not consciously but deep down. I need to hear "you are enough." Screw that. Just like it was my choice to make exercise a priority, it is my choice to listen to myself and believe myself.

Breathe in. *I* am enough. Breathe out. I am enough. Namaste.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What will they see when they close their eyes tonight...

An image has been seared in my mind for 19 years. Many images. I was a senior in high school watching students my age, hands raised over their heads. Some walked. Many ran. One dove out a window. I watched the coverage on my television about a thousand miles away. I remember my mom coming into the room as I was using AOL instant messenger to talk to my college boyfriend about the crazy day in Littleton, Colorado. My mom looked sad. That's not the right word. She looked pained. She hugged me a little tighter than normal.

Today, I watched those images once again. I've seen them since, but today they seemed nearly identical. My point of view, though, had changed. They were no longer students my age but students who I imagined could be my children. We are in the next generation and this one doesn't have fewer school shootings. It has more. 

One student gave an interview in which she said she had to step over bodies. I cannot imagine what she will see when she closes her eyes to go to sleep tonight. Some students will likely see their best friend, their classmate, perhaps even their crush on this Valentine's Day who will not be back at school when classes resume or any day thereafter. 

The first responders who went into a school and instead of hearing laughter and learning likely heard screams and sobs and that doesn't even begin to describe what they saw and what they selflessly did for others. What images are forever in their memories? 

Tonight, parents will try to close their eyes. Some will not be able to because their beloved was ripped from their future reality. Other parents will say a prayer on this Ash Wednesday because their child survived and then remember others did not. 

Tonight, so many of us will close our eyes and see images of children running from hallways of horror. These visions are not time-stamped with a date of 4/20/99 or 2/14/18 but with the frightening knowledge that they could be any day. 

Embed from Getty Images

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A mom's review of Star Wars: Last Jedi (Spoiler: I haven't seen the movie)

My older brother was born in 1976. He is a Star Wars fan through and through. He had all the toys. (We actually now have all the toys because my mother was convinced they'd be worth something. Of course, they have decades of dust on top of years of yuck from my brother and his friends playing with them. But there is a sweet Millennium Falcon in our garage. Please don't break in, it's worth nothing.) I digress.

As the younger sister of a 70s-born American boy, I became a Star Wars fan at birth.

I love the movies. They are exciting, they are emotional, they are funny, they are incredibly creative and there's a great story line.

But forgive me fans, for I have sinned. It's been 352 days since my offense.

It's the night after Christmas 2016. We're sitting around at my brother's home and decide we should go see Rogue One. My mom agrees to watch the babies and says,"yes, go, have fun." I was really excited too because my two oldest nieces were going. I thought it would be wonderful for all of us to create this memory.

The movie was loud. Booming. I just re-read some reviews which include words like "action-packed."

Yet there I was, less than two months after giving birth, no child of mine in sight, in a dark room. I did what any sane mom would do. I took a nap. Let's be real, I didn't say, I'm going to take a nap now, no, instead my body and mind read the room and said, oh yeah, this is happening.

My head bobbing at times, trying to grasp for popcorn or soda to stay awake, I remember looking at my niece to try to interact with her. It wasn't happening. The need for sleep too raw.

I looked at my husband as the lights came on and said, "yeah, I only caught about 1/3 of that. I did, however, have fantastically trippy dreams."

I have not seen Star Wars: Last Jedi, but I did just read the run time is the longest in Star Wars history: 2 hours 32 minutes. Now that my child is out of the newborn stage, I'm excited to see the film. But for many of you out there, as long as there isn't a baby crying in it, this mom gives the movie two eyelids down, two thumbs up.

I know what you're thinking...$13ish is a really expensive nap! To which I respond, is it?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What my breast pump says to me

"Too tired" "So much" "Red chair" "Win more" "Go to sleep" "Eat peas"

For three years - off and on - I have listened to the hum of my breast pump. I swear it speaks. When I first started using it with baby number one, my husband and I looked at each other and almost simultaneously noted how the jolting hum of the machine seemed to be talking to us. Each one us was certain the other person was hearing the same phrase, so we both called out. Me: "it's so cold." Him: "you are green." Okay...maybe we weren't hearing the same thing, but still, this thing talks.

For the next three years - I would allow myself to hear phrases from that trusty mechanical partner of mine. They were sometimes nonsensical. However, I also saw them as a sort of Rorschach inkblot test. My inner thoughts and/or personality coming through what I heard. Phrases like: "too tired" "so much" were recurring.

So much. It's how I often felt when pumping. As I've blogged about several times in the past, I had loads of breastfeeding problems. I sought lots of help and found varying degrees of solutions for each child. But for both of my children, I relied heavily on my breast pump. Emme has only taken it straight from the tap probably a handful of times in her life. Besides a couple times using donor milk and formula in her first month, we were able to get to about 10 months before I needed to supplement.

It was a stressful process, but something I felt passionately about. This isn't a "you should breastfeed" blog. I believe you have to do what's right for you and your child.

And here we are. Emme just turned a year. We've hit our goal (by the way, more power to you if your goal is longer!!)

I'm so ready to be done for so many reasons. Such as:

I'm sick of feeling like I'm physically going to burst.

I'm sick of having to lug so much stuff to work.

I'm sick of having to figure out the logistics of things. Like, how do you breast pump while covering the total solar eclipse in rural Nebraska? (Find a news van, bring a sheet, voila. See pic. Not pictured: thousands of people within feet of this news van.)

I'm sick of getting so thirsty (that's a weird one I realize but while writing this I'm parched in a way only a breastfeeding mother understands. Perhaps marathon runners understand it too, but I have no knowledge of that).

But as I prepare to say good bye to those small headaches, I find myself thinking this:

I will miss knowing my baby eats because of me - and eats really good-for-her stuff.

I will miss feeling a connection that has helped me overcome my working mom guilt.

I will miss my quiet moments to myself when I can hear the funny phrases conjured by my brain and spouted by a pump.

I will miss what this symbolizes - the baby phase.

I often get annoyed with the blogs that remind us how short this season of life is (I mean, I know it is, but I'm still tired!), yet here I am thinking and feeling just that. We expect Emme to be our last baby. So with every first we watch her do, in some ways we witness a last.

My last day using my pump. I never thought that would be emotional.

Who knows what it'll say. "Worth it." "Next phase." "Growing up." "Good job."

Good job.

Yep. I deserve to let myself hear those words. I'm guessing there is a reason today that you do too.

Monday, October 23, 2017

I started my day wearing purple and a smile...

Sometimes...okay...most times...I dread getting ready for work. I wish I could wear sweatpants and a hat. Thursday, I remembered most of my guesswork would be gone. I would wear purple.

I received an email last week asking that I wear purple to show support for Domestic Assault Awareness. Sure thing! I'll wear purple. 

I put it on. I put on a smile. I went to work.

Then I rewatched a story I did that week about a woman who says she was assaulted by her husband. A local doctor is organizing a bra drive to support women like her who have sought refuge at an area shelter. 

My smile faded a bit thinking about that woman's story, but yet it remained. After all, people are trying to make a difference. 

I logged into Facebook and saw a new "me too" post. A former coworker described her early days working in TV and how an executive tried to kiss her. I thought about how I was fortunate, I've worked with some great guys. Then I thought about posting something on social media and wondered how many inappropriate comments strangers would make. It's part of my job to connect with our audience, and I love doing that. I do not love that a small number of men I've never met find it acceptable and appropriate to publicly step over a line. There are compliments and then there are comments about body parts that really should not be made. Never. Ever. There are compliments and then there are comments about how happy someone would make me and how he wishes he were my husband. Not okay. I'm losing my smile.  

Then I heard the name Weinstein blaring from a TV in the newsroom. I'm not even sure what's new today, but the allegations just. keep. coming. (Bravo, ladies, for coming forward). I think I actually "grrrr-ed" at my desk. Smile rapidly fading. 

We then carried a live news conference about a reported rape in town. A woman was sleeping when she says a man came into her home and sexually assaulted her. The sheriff said he was in her home for more than an hour and was armed with a gun. 

I'm pissed. 

I realize some of these are domestic violence and some are sexual assault. There are differences. All need to stop. 


I will wear purple. I will like your "me too" post, and I will work to cover stories that raise awareness because it's important that this conversation doesn't become silenced like victims often are. 

But what else? 

I will compliment the men I know who cannot imagine treating a woman in any of these ways. 

I will teach my children that some "jokes" are not okay and truthfully, they just aren't funny. They are not appropriate. Ever. If you're in that locker room, change the conversation. 

I will teach my children that no one is allowed to quiet them when it comes to respect and safety. Never lose your voice. Don't let anyone take it. 

What else? 

I don't know. But I'll keep thinking, and I welcome your thoughts. 

Friday, September 15, 2017


What a fun way to start our marriage. An unknown place. An adventure. I mean, we can always move in a few years, what's a few years?

As I recently celebrated five years living in Omaha and working at KMTV, these conversations from years ago flooded back into my head. My husband and I got married, went on a two-week, kick-booty honeymoon, worked a week in Minnesota, then spent a week or so moving and getting settled in Omaha. It was a whirlwind. I can't believe that was five years ago.

A lot has happened. There were tough times. But there have been way more wonderful moments. In this city we did not know, we have found a home. And our little family blossomed as we added a dog and two children.

Thank you!

To everyone who has been kind to my family, to everyone who has watched the news, to everyone who has dropped me a line on social media, to everyone who has said hi when we're out and about, to everyone who wished me well when I had my babies. Thank you.

There has been so much kindness.

I sometimes hear people talk about anchors and reporters and say, "oh, they're not from here." As if to say, they don't get it. It's true I'm not from here. I wasn't born and raised here. I even - gasp - went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But, my children were both born here. They know no other home. That makes me incredibly interested in everything going on in this wonderful community. And there are a lot of wonderful things going on here.

I am amazed by the generosity of this city. My job allows me the unique opportunity to be involved with many charitable organizations, and I am always wowed by how giving people are. It's incredible and uniquely Omaha.

We may have come to this unknown place with the caveat in our heads, "we can always move in a few years," but a few years have come and gone, and after recently buying a home that we love, we're here. I wasn't born here. I wasn't raised here. I choose to make this my home because of so many of you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.

Yes, I know the title of this blog is incorrectly plagiarizing a very well known phrase. I promise, it's intentional.

"How do you deal with the bad news?" It's one of those questions, we TV folks get asked often. And it's a really valid question. Thankfully, I work at a place that understands viewers want to watch more than the bad news, but still, we do cover tragic things that happen. 

But the story, hopefully, does not stop there.

I'm reminded by a phrase that often pops up in social media feeds after terrible tragedies. It's attributed to a man who could bring peace to children with the calm of his voice and the flip of his shoe. Mr. Rogers. "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

Tonight as I sit and prepare for the 10 p.m. newscast, I'm reading a report filed by reporter Maya Saenz and photojournalist Kevin Rempe. They went to a home in Farragut, Iowa that is considered unlivable because of a tornado that tore through this afternoon.

The family is okay. It's been just hours since this happened, and yet the report says, "after the storm, came the help..from neighbors, friends, relatives." People heard a family was in need and they came calling.

Look for the helpers.

Sometimes we cover news about the worst of times, but even then, there are glimpses of the best of human nature.

(photos and video courtesy Maya Saenz)