Can People Change?

Childhood friends are some of the best people in the world. You get to share a ton of memories from way back when there were no cell phones or selfies and your main responsibilities were to play outside all day long. You also get to create new memories as you grow up and together you get to celebrate milestones in your lives. But here’s why I think childhood friendships can sometimes need to hit the refresh button…

When you make new friends, they get to know you and like you for who you are at that moment in time. You often have the same interests because chances are, one of those interests is probably how you met in the first place. Maybe it was at the gym, your kid’s school, mutual friends, work, etc. You’ve got material to bond over such as work place gossip, fitness, recipes, you know, all the stuff we care much more about as we get older.  Naturally, old friends often grow apart as they grow up and evolve to have different interests than one another. What you’re left with are a whole bunch of memories from when you were kids. Times were more simple and everything was fun, right? Wrong.

You’re not the same person you were when you were young. Well, at least I know I’m not. I was a bossy kid. I was the hands on my hips, giving out orders, “we’re going to play what I want to play” kind of kid. Was I nice and still a good friend? Sure. But sometimes I feel like people who were close to me when I was that girl, only remember that girl. That the memories they think of are when I was bossing them around, not the ones when I was standing up for them, and the times when I always had to go first and got my way, not the times I did something good or nights when we laughed until we cried. Like their lens is focused on the wrong parts.

With age comes wisdom right? I’ve worked so hard over the last decade to become a person I like and a person I’m proud to be. I’m a good friend. I care about others deeply. I love. I sympathize. I empathize. I serve others. I trust others. I believe in others. I hope. And I never stop working on me. So can people really change? Yes. I know I have. The problem is that no matter how much we change, sometimes others still see us as the person we were before. We’re all probably guilty of not really liking someone because we know how they used to be. Maybe we need to take a look at how they are now.

So live a life that you’re proud of and do it for you. No matter what it is, do it because it makes YOU happy. Be the person that makes you happy and forget the haters! We all know, haters gon’ hate anyway, right? Remember…a flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms. Bloom away my friends!

A Mother’s Worth

Are you enough if you’re JUST a wife and mother?

I ask myself this a lot lately. Along with other questions like, “What else should I do?” and “Shouldn’t I be focusing on something other than JUST my kids?” The JUST in these question is what makes people think that being either of those things isn’t enough.

There are days where I feel like I should have another job to do or have other responsibilities outside of my home, but then I remember the reason I stopped teaching in the first place…to focus on my family! I wanted to JUST have the job of taking care of my boys without feeling like I was sacrificing time with them for all the other things I was responsible for. So much of my time and energy was given to my full time job that I constantly felt like there wasn’t enough left when I got home.

I’ll always remember the moment when I decided I wanted to try to stop working and stay home. My little boy had woken up in the middle of the night. Now, when their baby wakes up in the middle of the night all parents usually go through a few moments of what I like to call “The 5 Stages of Sleep Grief.”

Denial- “What? Is that crying? It can’t be! There is no way he’s awake!”
Anger- “Ugh! He’s awake! WHY!? I just fell asleep!
Bargaining- This one is usually directed at your husband or significant other. “If you go in and get him back to sleep this time then I’ll go the next two times!”
Depression- *Insert tears* “But I’m just so tired. I knew I shouldn’t have stayed up watching Netflix until 1 AM.”
Acceptance- “Alright, fine. I’ll go get him.”

This is normal! But, back to the point…I was in my little boy’s room rocking him back to sleep and I remember being so mad about the sleep I was losing because I knew the next day at work was going to be busy. I was counting down the hours remaining until I had to get up for work and I realized that I was snugging the sweetest little boy in my arms in a quiet room, just the two of us, and I wasn’t focusing on that at all. Even though no one likes to get up in the middle of the night, snuggling a baby is pretty much the best reason around. I felt like I was missing out on really enjoying every moment and adventure with my family because I was preoccupied with work.

Are there tons of moms who work full time? Of course. And I know they are amazing. But for me, I was no longer able to emotionally split my time and energy between my own children and 32 others, every single day. It wasn’t fair to my future students for me to continue teaching if I wasn’t going to give it my all, and right now, my all is right where I want it…at home.

So don’t forget…

If you’re a stay at home mom, you are doing a great job and you are enough!
If you’re a working mom, you are doing a great job and you are enough!
If you’re a single mom, you are doing a great job and you are enough!
If you’re an expecting mom, you are doing a great job and you are enough!
If you’re a mom of grown children, you are doing a great job and you are enough!
If you don’t have any children, but love your cats or dogs or job, you are doing a great job and you are enough.

Really, as long as you’re happy, you are enough!


It’s My Superpower.

I’m a worrier. It’s practically my superpower at this point. I know I’m a worrier and I also know that my worrying only got more intense after having children. It’s just how it is when you’re a mom! Anything can happen in a split second and we need to make sure we’re staying on top of the situations we CAN control. Now hear me out- I’m not over protective. I let my boys take risks, seek adventure, and have rough and tumble fun, but when we’re in a situation where my actions determine their safety, I try my best to be on top of it.

The other day, just as I was pulling into the parking lot of the grocery store, my little guy fell asleep.  I decided to let him take a little snoozer while I just sat in the car and looked over my list.  As I was sitting there, I saw a woman with a few children walking to her car. She had three children trailing behind her and she was on the phone. No hands were being held, no children were in her eye sight, and my “jump to the worst scenario” sensors were going crazy. The youngest was about 3 or 4 years old and he stopped to look at some rocks on the ground. He bent down, took a couple seconds to look, and then continued to trail after his mom. But what if he didn’t? What if he stepped the other way into cars going by, what if he ran behind a car backing out? He’s a very young child who acts on impulse and as parents it’s OUR job to make sure they are safe!  The mother didn’t notice and seemed to be completely focused on her conversation. Yes, nothing bad happened and no one else in the world is probably thinking about that mom walking to her car, but I am.  It’s time we put our greatest distractions, our cell phones, down when we should be focusing on the most precious things in our lives.

Why I Became a Stay At Home Mom

I read this article, where Danielle, of the blog Today’s The Best Day, tells why she decided to stay home. The long version is a great read, and I’ll tell you my long version below, but the short version is simple…I became a stay at home mom because I couldn’t stand being away from my babies.

As Danielle says as well, a lot of women don’t WANT to stay home and that doesn’t mean they don’t love their children or don’t want to spend time with them. It just means that they have other reasons, their own reasons, for working outside the home. Maybe it’s financial, maybe its because they love what they do, it doesn’t matter why, it just matters that they’re doing what’s right for them. I know how hard it is to be a working mom and they are true superheroes.

I NEVER thought I’d stay home. I was the kid who had a life plan and I stuck to it. I had ALWAYS known I wanted to teach. I planned for that all through high school. I started college with a set plan in mind and I stuck to my plan. It looked like this: 4 years of college, no more, no less. Two years of general requirements. Then, being accepted into the College of Education and spending the next two years prepping for the profession I was born to do! Graduating with my degree in Elementary Education, passing the Arizona state teaching exams, getting a job in the SAME elementary school that I attended, teaching for 30 years, and retiring. I also got married, bought a house, and had an hour commute each way during that time. It didn’t matter because I had my plan. I knew where I was going and what I had to do to get there. EASY!

The plan was moving along beautifully! I landed my perfect job and got to work along side some of my best friends for 6 years.  Then, I became a mom.

I will never forget a specific time when M was a couple of months old and we were having dinner at Outback.  He was fussing so I began to nurse him. As he was quiet and soothed at that moment, I looked across the table at Josh and began crying. I knew I was going to have to go back to work in just a week or two and it was all I could think about. I didn’t want to leave my baby and be away from him for hours and hours a day. But I did.

I went back to work. I was excited to see my teammates every day, I was ready to haul my breast pump back and forth each day. Again, I had a plan and I was going to see it through.

I worked for a 7th year and began my 8th. Then we found out I was pregnant again. My thoughts instantly turned to the fact that I was now going to be leaving TWO sweet babies every single day. I knew I would worry about them all day and miss them so much. I knew I would get home too late in the evenings, stressed out, and mostly thinking about what I had to do for work the next day. I knew I couldn’t do it again.

I decided I wanted to stay home and then all sorts of new worries and stresses flooded my mind. Would Josh think it was a good idea? Would we be able to afford it? Will my parents be disappointed in me for quitting teaching? Would I like staying home? Will I still talk to my teaching friends? And so on, and so forth.

Well, as I worried if it would work, many people told me the same thing, “You make it work.”

The money doesn’t matter, you hang on to the relationships you’re afraid of losing, you make new memories, and you take it a day a time. Adjust as you go.

I am with my boys every single day. I am soaking up the moments because I know it goes by too fast. I can honestly say that I love my job. It has long hours, but pays in hugs, kisses, smiles, giggles, and my heart is fuller than I ever imagined it could be.

Life is too short to NOT do what makes you happy. And BOY, am I happy.


New Years Resolutions!

Happy 2016 from me to you! 

Do you make a New Year’s resolution? Do you actually stick to it? Good job if you do! If you don’t…well, apparently only something crazy like 8% of people do, so you’re alright.

I try not to make a resolution that is definite such as, “I will exercise every day!” or “I will cook dinner at home every night of the work week!” Making a resolution like that only sets you up for failure because there’s no wiggle room at all. The first time you forget or can’t make it happen, you already feel like you lost the battle and then you may give up all together.

I try to make a resolution that allows me to improve who I am and take small steps closer to the being the person I want to be. It’s not that I have no faith in myself or that I will for sure fail at something so black and white. It’s just that I know there are times we can’t make something happen every single day.

With all of that said, my resolution this year is a big one. It encompasses all aspects of my life. It’s completely changing my whole way of living! MY resolution is to BE PRESENT. I’ll be wearing my Keep Collective BE PRESENT bracelet as a reminder of my new lifestyle!
WAMbePresentWhat exactly does my resolution mean to me?
It means putting my phone down more. I can just hear someone telling me through a megaphone, “Put the phone down and back away slowly!”
It means checking social media LESS- it can’t be not at all, do you think I’m crazy!? Plus, I run a business and a blog…I need my social media peeps! -Yes, I said peeps.
It means browsing stupid websites less, getting lost in an endless loop of Buzzfeed articles less, and perusing Pinterest less.
It means focusing on what I’m doing right at that moment in time. If I’m playing with my boys, I shouldn’t be thinking about work, cleaning, what needs to be done tomorrow, etc. I need to be present with them. Right then and there. And on the other side of the spectrum, if I am working, I need to be working. Not checking Instagram or getting sucked into ridiculous articles. (I’m looking at you again, Buzzfeed!)
Most of all, it means that I will {hopefully} go to bed at night feeling like I got the most out of my life that day. That I focused more on what’s important to me.

What’s your resolution? It’s ok if it’s to exercise every day. Let me know how that went 366 (leap year) days from now.

I can’t wait to spend a GREAT 2016 with all of you!

*You can create your own personalized Keep Collective 2016 resolution bracelet with your own word! Visit to order! Feel free to email me or comment with questions!

Human GPS

We’re all friends here…let’s get to know each other a little better! Here are 15 things you may not know about me…

  1. I pierced my own ears when I was 14. Apparently, the first two sets of holes weren’t enough and I just had to have a third set, so I took it upon myself to make that happen.
  2. I don’t know how to whistle or burp.
  3. I am pretty much a human GPS. I can get you pretty much anywhere and tell you all of your restaurant choices along the route. Detour? That’s ok, we’ll reroute and change our meal options accordingly!
  4. I got my belly button pierced…twice.
  5. I have VERY fast labors. Like, almost had H in the car, fast.
  6. I am a worrier. I worry about everything. Of course, that’s only gotten worse with having children.
  7. I’m not too shabby of a photographer.
  8. I cannot stand diet soda. How anyone can enjoy that aftertaste is beyond me.
  9. I have never broken a bone or had any surgeries.
  10. I bite my nails.
  11. I have a strange love for alligators.
  12. I almost went to college in Washington State. I also got accepted into the Honors College at ASU, but would have had to live on campus.
  13. I am a vegetarian. Well, pescetarian if you want to get technical.
  14. I was a complete Coke fan until just a few years ago and now I love Pepsi. Yes, I feel like a traitor. A traitor with a delicious, ice-cold Pepsi in her hand…I can live with that.
  15. I consider myself to be a very good driver. However, when I was 16,for a small ridiculous reason, I failed my drivers test the first time!

There you go! Sometimes it’s fun to stop and think about what makes you, you. Did you learn anything new about me? If any, how many did you already know?

Leave a comment and share something interesting about YOU with ME!



Change can happen over time without even realizing it’s happening. It’s like when your hair and nails grow. All of a sudden you just notice them and can’t believe how long they’ve gotten.

When I stop and think about how I’ve changed in the last ten years, I feel like I’m a completely different person. I think it’s exciting to be a different person. What I feel is a better person. Still the same Lauren, just a new version. Over the last ten years or so, it’s as if I had a slow software update and some of the bugs got fixed.

I used to talk a lot and listen a little. Now I am often one of the quiet people in the group. I prefer to just hang back and listen to what others say.

I used to be a taker. A “what’s in it for me?” and “who’s going to buy it for me?” kind of a thing. Now, I try to be a giver. What can I do for you? What will brighten your day?

I used to avoid wearing shorts. I know it sounds silly, but for years I felt like they just wouldn’t look good on me. One day I tried them on and couldn’t believe how great they were. Seriously, anyone who doesn’t wear shorts in Arizona should have an intervention.  Now, the thought of having to wear pants makes me cringe.

I used to be a night owl who absolutely loved to drive around when the moon was out and everyone else was in bed. The thought of an open road late at night was a beautiful thing. Now, I’m too tired and honestly, my eyes just don’t see as well when I drive at night. Yes, I’m only thirty, even though this sentence make me sound like I’m eligible for the senior discount.

I never thought I would ever want to be a stay at home mom. Teaching was my profession, my calling,  and the only thing I had ever wanted to do since before I could remember. If I had babies, I would return to work. That’s just how I always assumed it would go. Until I held my first little boy in my arms and I suddenly knew there was no where I wanted to be but with him. Then, double that feeling when little mister number two came along.

One of the most important ways that I’ve changed is that I realized I needed to change. I realized that I could be a better person. I realized that when I made changes to the person I was, it made me a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend.

Turning thirty is hard for some people. For me, it was as if the lens on my life clicked into focus. I feel more confident, more free, and simply more ME.

Embrace every day. Try to make the changes you want to see in yourself. Remember that it’s OK to cry for both the happy times and the sad ones, in front of people and alone. Life can be so short, let’s hug more and criticize less. Be proud of yourself and happy for others. Everyone makes mistakes. Never sell yourself short. And in the words of Nike…just do it.

“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”      -Unknown


Time Machine

If you could go back in time and do anything differently, would you?  Everyone always says, “I wouldn’t change a thing! Everything that happened in my past has made me who I am today!” I get that, but let’s just pretend for a second that nothing would ultimately be changed in the outcome of your life (unless you want it to change) and you can just go back in time and do or not do certain things.  What would you change?

I would change a few things…

First of all, I would definitely not date the same guy for three years in high school.  It wasn’t a good relationship and I know I missed out on fun social things in high school because of it. Did it allow me to have my eyes wide open and to know true love when I met Josh? Sure, but the three years up to then could have been way more fun!

Also, I probably would have learned to play the piano. I’ve always wanted to have that talent, but sadly, I am 100% musically challenged. It’s like when Joey tries to speak French on Friends…except with piano playing.

Now, if we’re getting totally crazy, and could really go back and change things, I would probably stand up for myself all the times I should have, and maybe I would have eaten a little healthier. Meh, there’s still time (as I’m seriously eating a piece of cake while typing, I’m not kidding you!).

People say turning thirty is awesome because by that time you know who you are. I get it. It’s like you instantly receive membership to the “I’m awesome and don’t care what others think!” club. If you’re not there yet, you’ve got a lot to look forward to. If you’re there already and you don’t agree, then it’s time to love yourself and know that you are awesome and it really doesn’t matter what others think.

With life changing every day, you’ve got to make sure you are making the most of it! Grab life by the horns, and all that. Honestly, while I was an elementary school teacher I always felt like I had to fit a mold. I felt like I could never put a purple streak in my hair, or have really visible tattoos. I felt like it wouldn’t be the best example for young children. Maybe that’s silly, but it’s how I felt. I’ve secretly always wanted to have lots of tattoos. Like all over my arms. Will it ever happen? Who knows. Probably not, but it gives me something to think about! And now, if I ever do, you’ll be able to say, “Wow, she finally did it!”

Leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe now’s the time!

Who knows, maybe five years from now I won’t only be a stay at home mom, I’ll be a crazy tattooed, piano playing stay at home mom!