The kids and I escaped from the house this weekend and headed a few miles North West to Tempe…all thanks to Tempe Tourism!! Tempe just happens to be home to Arizona State University, amazing hotels and resorts (summer time fun for us!) restaurants, great shopping, and really awesome activities for kids of all ages, like the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Sea Life Aquarium, and the IMAX Theatre...just to name a few!
So I guess I will start from the beginning. It started one night last February about 7:00, during the usual ritual of after-dinner-but-before-bedtime boredom. Well, Mila was telling Kaitlin one of her stories–they had been coming straight out of her imagination for a few months by then–when Kaitlin picked up her iphone and just started filming. Moments later, after a little work on iMovie she then showed it to Charley and me. Our first reaction was…laughing. laughing out loud and hard. Then, it was, really? This is our kid, out two year old. Then I thought to myself…I need to put this on Instagram. I had actually wanted to start filming more movies anyway because I love them and I had gotten some really good advice from a friend (story for another time). I was kind of nervous to put it on my Instagram, not because of the reaction I thought it would get (hadn’t even thought about that yet..LOL) but because I thought it would make my feed ugly…bahahaha, I know some of you feel me!! But I did it anyway. And well it was a hit and people seemed to like it. I shared it to my Facebook page as well…and that is where it all went sort of crazy.
Within minutes of posting the first video–OK, it was actually a few weeks–but it felt like minutes because it all happened so fast, I was approached by these viral video marketing companies asking if they could share them. Without thinking much about it, I said sure!!! Apparently, it wasn’t just Charley and I who liked them, because my Facebook all of a sudden EXPLODED. I went from having 900 followers to 24k in one night. And well, so did my Instagram. This is really the 30 second version of how it all started, but, in what seems to me in the blink of an eye, Mila’s videos are now a hit and we continue to do them and it continues to be an absolute blast! I’ll admit, readily, that my family does love the recognition and the…”viralness” of the whole thing, but there’s something else. There’s another reason we continue to do them. And it’s a reason we could not have imagined in the beginning; it’s the biggest reason why: for our family, it has literally….brought us closer together. Instagram use to be just my thing, that partly annoyed everyone in the family because I was begging them to be my subjects, but now its our thing we do as a family.
So yeah we do the videos as a family. We still ask Mila to tell us stories and we film them; either that or we ask her questions to form a story. But yes in every movie we tell her to say certain things to make it all make sense or a tad more funny. And we only do it for about 15-20 minutes a week…and ONLY if Mila wants to. This is just suppose to be funny. It’s funny that a two year old scripted or not can act with so much emotion…we all continue to marvel at how appropriate her reactions are (can she really understand this concept well enough to have THOSE reactions? I think you know the answer). Its funny just hearing certain words come out of her mouth. These video have always been about making people happy–and that includes Mila, who is such a ham and honestly loves doing them (and hopefully soon, Emma). And helping viewers forget about something crappy happening in their life. Really they are just like a television program you might watch. I know sometimes I just need to turn on the TV and watch something senseless to forget about stressful things going on in my own life. And guess what…99% of tv shows are scripted. Characters being told what to say in order to make people laugh, cry, scream, or whatever.
I do get a lot of hateful messages on Facebook. Not to many on Instagram. But, yep Facebook viewers really give it to me. I don’t read any of the comments on Facebook at all ( I leave that to my friends and family, watch out for Mary my mom…she loves to give the haters a piece of her mind.) I don’t read the comments not only because they are so bad and hurtful but because I know that if I did, I would simply stop the movies. It would be a lot easier to stop than to defend myself and my family against each hateful comment. But one of the main reasons I don’t stop is because there are way more amazingly sweet comments and messages that I get that make it all worth it. I have received message from people going through a divorce or a breakup that said Mila’s little video made them laugh and feel happy that day! I have received messages from people who miss their grandkids and watching Mila’s videos help fill that void. And I have received messages from people who said that because of Mila’s video, they decided not to take their life that night. So, No. I do not have a need to read or even worry about the mean spirited comments. I’m too busy with work and family, with IG and FB and this blog…and with the videos! And besides, the sweet and meaningful…comments by far out weight the mean ones.
So this is just a brief summary about how it all happens, how we do them, why we do them, and what I hope is a clear statement that they aren’t going away anytime soon. Feel free to email me if you have questions. I’m happy to answer any that you have.
I think the number one question I get asked is, How do you do it, how do you have five kids and work a full-time job? I usually joke and say well I work and they go to daycare, so it’s pretty easy. But that is just to make people laugh. Most of the time I don’t really know how I do it. A lot of stuff slides I’m sure; but, there’s only one of ME, after all! And, I’ve just learned to live with the realization that, yes, the kids are going to miss out on a few things–more interaction with their mother (while they’re still young enough to enjoy my company, anyway) because I’m not home, but I’m OK with it because, as the cliche goes, “you gotta do what you gotta do.” And they are all alive and pretty happy so I would say we are doing okay.
But really, we must find ways to maintain our sanity while still leading these ADD-like lives. As we hear sooo many times from our concerned friends and family, “you need to take care of yourself before anyone else.” Right? I have found hiding in my closet–with my cell phone, of course–works quite well…I am not kidding. But really what are some good ways you can take care of yourself and make it part of your daily routine? They call it self-care and I am learning it is just as important as diet and exercise!!! Last week I met up with the amazing team at Massage Envy and they taught me all about self-care and how they are trying to help people de-stress and more importantly what we can do to ultimately keep those stresses at bay.
You’re probably thinking…doesn’t Massage Envy just provide massages…well that is what I thought until now. ME also provides Total Body Stretch (best thing ever. This will be launching mid-May across the country!!! Seriously, I literally felt the stress leaving my body) skin care services, skin care products, and carries an entire line of essential oils. So basically if you take this concept of “self-care” and really think about what it is….taking care of you, taking care of the part of you that matters and makes you feel good about yourself and your life, ME will provide…all the tools (you’ll need) to help make your life more calm, more focused and less stressful and in the end be able to do more in your life!!
The cool thing is that it’s membership-based. So you pay a monthly fee and with that fee you get one service of your choice per month. I mean, just think about it. Taking one day out of the month to get a message or a facial, or just have someone stretch all the area of your body that you could never ever do yourself would be pretty amazing. Plus going once a month makes you consciously aware that all of these areas are important towards your “self-care” goal. I have always wanted to take better care of my skin. I try and stick with it for a while but something is always missing…it’s almost like I am lacking accountability. ME provides the tools for me to show up, get a facial, get advice, get encouragement, see results, love the results, and continue on this path of better self-care.
My favorite part of the whole summit however was the assisted stretching. I actually didn’t even know this existed and to be honest, I thought they were going to teach us how to stretch before a workout. I was kind of like okay…this is going to be boring!! But then they laid me on a table and what I got for me was a massage on steroids, well not really but to me it was almost better. They stretch all–and I mean ALL–the areas I could never do myself…literally it was like I could see the stress lifting from my body as hovering over me…and then it was gone…sounds pretty amazing right?? I truly thing if I could do this one a continual bases, that combined with a massage, a facial every once in a while, I would feel sooo much better about myself and that much closer to the goal of total “self-care”
I sort of think of this in terms of what I need to do to really take care of myself, I need to eat right and excerise (which I do) I need to work and make money (which I do) I need to take care of my family…exeperice life with them (which I do) and I need to also take care of the stresses in between…which ME helps me do. I am so excited to incorporate ME into my everyday life. I am so excited to start caring about this part of my life and seeing the amazing ways it will make my life better for my kids and my family.
Head over to the ME website to find a location near and find out more!!!
ns-serif;”>A few photos posted to Instagram doesn’t cut it for the Easter weekend we spent at The JW Marriott Desert Ridge…the fun was literally nonstop…especially for the big kids.
Of course there are the pools…where I happen to spend most of my time with the twins. They pretty much hang out on the first two steps of the shallow pool but really that fine by me. I mean I’m not exactly bikini ready!!!! When they weren’t swimming they were begging to go in the hot tub (I know I know…toddlers shouldn’t be in hot tubs…but don’t worry, I have Kaitlin to remind me of all things I should know as a parent) However I was able to make nap time stilll happen everyday all by myself. (It took lies but it happened). This was the first year we allowed the big kids to stay at the pool while I took the girls up to nap. I asked for a pool view and was able to see them the whole time so that was awesome. Side note…they are all excellent swimmers.
erif;”>I often get asked why the big kids aren’t in very many photos. The simple answer is…when the twins came they said they were done. So for the past two years I have let them be. For most of it they were so happy, but recently they came to their senses and said they miss all the photo opps. I laughed so hard, I cried and I was also filled with excitement. There is nothing cooler to me than a photo with all five of my kids, or a photo of just the boys, or a photo of just the big kids, or a photo of all three girls, or a photo of Finn with the twins…okay I’ll stop. I like them all.