Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Love and I'm Better Off Without Lists...

Hello Tuesday.

I'm feeling a bit grumpy this evening and actually didn't really feel like writing this post.

And then...I thought...the whole point of this post each week is to remind myself of all of the little things that I love in my life and what makes my life my own.  So...I decided to write it...despite my grumpiness.  Here goes nothing...

Love List...

  • Ben laughing with (at) me for being grumpy in the first place.
  • Jillian and her love for school that has been gaining steam the last few weeks.  Today she went to school with a secret letter sealed with stickers for one of her friends.  I snuck a peek at the pictures she drew with her name printed in large capital letters (taking up 1/4 of the page).  Adorable.
  • I asked Myles tonight if his teacher will tell me (at his conferences) that he has been good.  He said, "Depending on the day, Mom, she might even say that I am outstanding."
  • I had a manicure (from someone other than myself) during a lunch hour last week.  My second ever.  The first?  My wedding.
  • I received a compliment on my hair today...and it looked bad.  I put it in a high sock bun wet and just dried my bangs.  The ultimate in laziness.
  • Lysol.
  • When I was a kid and we were grumpy, my mom would tease us that she was going to, "Get the grumpies out."  She would chase us with a rolling pin and would roll it on our little tummies until we were laughing so hard we couldn't remember what we were grumpy about.  Worked every time.
  • My bowl of ice cream, peanuts, and chocolate syrup that I am eating right now.  It's not even sugar free.  It worked.  All better.

I'm Better Off Without Lists...

  • Movie 43.  We don't really pay much attention to movie previews anymore...but from now on...we will do our "research" before picking a movie for date night. (Yes!  We actually went out on Saturday night.)  It was honestly the dumbest movie I have ever seen.  Ben was laughing...but not at the my reaction to it.
  • Internet obsessing.  Whatever the topic...I should just close. the. laptop.  You know you have done it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Down the Snowy Hills.

Today was a perfect day to sled.  Absolutely perfect.  So, we put on a dozen or so articles of clothing and headed out to the hills (or mountains - depending on your vantage point).  We had a blast.  Here are a few pictures of the fun.

Myles posing with "Speedy, Speed Racer" his sled.
Jillian decided not to use this baby sled much.
She preferred this ride, which she named "Dusty".
 Myles, always wanting an extra push.

 Jillian wanted to pull Dusty back up the hill each time she went down.  She can do it herself, you know.
 I don't think Ben was real thrilled about the idea to go sledding today, but he clearly had a blast once we were there.
 Heading up the hill for another turn down.
 Jillian was squealing the whole way down.  She preferred the bunny hill that she was brave enough to ride down on her own.
A terrible up-the-nose self-taken photo...but it proves that I was there.

Then, it was back home for warm cocoa.

Love family times.  

Hope your weekend was amazing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday's Love and I'm Better Off Without Lists...

Love List...
  • The perfectly white blanket covering my entire yard and every tree and branch in sight.  On such a beautiful and sunny day, the snow sparkles like glitter!
  • The Wigi dance.  (As in, wedgie, made special and unique by my very own Jillian Kate.)  Only a video can explain this dancing phenomena.  (Click on the video play button below to watch.  Camera credit to my Mom.  Wedgie credit to my Dad.)  Nobody taught her this.  Actually, who would?!?
  • Snowy roads and an early morning tomorrow is going to turn into a slumber party with my sister tonight. Bonus!
  • Wonderful friends and readers and their encouraging words.
  • Myles is hoping for a snow day tomorrow...  He loves school so much, but the novelty of the snow day today has not worn off.  I'm assuming it never will.  :)
  • Tonight at bedtime, Jillian posed my hug to her (similar to a formal ballroom dancing pose).  She informed me this is how people get married.

I'm Better Off Without List...
  • I would like to vasect (urban dictionary definition: create an abrupt stop to the fun) the discussions about surgeries concerning a similar word in the office.  Uhhhh...awkward.  I'm not sure how the conversation can turn back to that six times in eighteen minutes.  I was close to starting a tally sheet.
  • Infomercials.  I swear, they target kids.  My mother-in-law (with such a sweet heart) fell for the whole Stuffies craze during the holidays.  She couldn't hold strong against the cheers during an overnight at her house while we were at a wedding.  Really, what Nana could?  I call them the stuffed animal for children with early hoarding tendencies.  My kids have even gone so far as to informed me that this particular contraption will help us out a lot. Seriously?  Targeting kids, I tell you.
  • Paging through Facebook, mistakenly touching "Like" on a status you would never have "Liked" intentionally.  Oh unlike or leave it alone....

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's Not a Sprint...It's a Marathon.

Jillian at Myles's basketball game.
So, over the last two weeks, I have come to the realization that working full time while being a mother and wife is not a is a marathon.  I very well may have taken the first few miles out a little too fast...but I'm hoping to settle into a good pace this week.  (I won't mention that I have trained for two marathons and always have gotten hurt during the late weeks of training...  I now know that a half-marathon is my distance.  I'm just not cut out for the full.  This is where the analogy differs.  I can handle this.  I can handle this.  I can handle this.)

This morning, Jillian was weepy when I left for the day.  It is just so hard to leave.  That doesn't even mention the 6 a.m. wake up she had yelling, "Nooo!"  I ran in to check on her and see what was wrong.  She told me that she didn't want me to go to work today.  Thank goodness it was Sunday and I could promise her that I wasn't going.  The most interesting thing of all?  She has been doing better at school, breezing through her day with confidence, ever since I went back to work.  Mixed messages this girl is sending me, I tell you.

Myles asked me this weekend why I won't drop him off at school myself anymore.  So...let me get this straight...he goes to school all day, but is still upset...simply because of drop-off duty?!?

I've been trying to process through all of this over the last couple of weeks.  We are having growing pains over here.  I think we are going to make it through just fine, though.  I'm going to take a confident stand (because I need to for my own sanity) that their desire to have me home (even when they are not) comes from loving their mom and feeling safe to share their apprehensions about our changing daily schedule.  They both know that when push comes to shove, I'm there.  So, Jillian may be playing me a bit...but I'm going to humor her.  We are adjusting and finding our pace over here.

Despite changes in our days, everything was Zen this evening during game night (despite the girls losing).  The Battleship game came down to the smallest boat in the water.  Jillian and I lost.  Boo.  My favorite part...both kids going to the bathroom during the game and as Jillian walked out of the room she looked back and said, "Oh how funny!!  The parents are playing alone because the kids are both going potty!!!"

Love my family.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hello, Friday!

I have found new appreciation for the weekend since I am back to work full time.  Makes sense…I had gotten really used to my double weekend life.  Really, we all should consider a Monday, Tuesday, Friday workweek.  Maybe the whole world should get on this plan.  Productivity?  Eh, it may be over-rated.  I digress, as usual.  I am thrilled that Friday has arrived.  I am flying over some mountainous range (I truly suck at geography – always have and always will) in route to my family.  My countdown that began at 4:35am on Monday morning is fast approaching it’s ending!  My week has been super-productive, but I am more that ready for dinner with my family, bedtime stories, and waking up to happy and smiling little faces.  Kudos to my husband, who seemed (at least from afar) to keep everything and everyone under control in my absence.  If you (for whatever reason) know otherwise, please don’t tell me.  I prefer ignorance over intelligence in this area.

Around our house, we try and make it a mission to find fun things to do as a family each weekend.  This weekend will definitely be no different!!  I am in the early navigational phases of balancing working five days a week and prioritizing the fun stuff to the top of the list each Saturday and Sunday.  This weekend should be no problem.  Despite my Type-A pull towards getting things done that may have piled up while I was gone (like laundry) there is nothing that I want more than to spend time with my family.  Laundry can wait!

So, I’ll finish this flight, hop on to another, and be home in time for Jillian to wake from her nap and Myles to get off the bus…and start this weekend.  Perfection.  In the meantime, I am working through making it the rest of this four-hour flight without being “that woman that went to the bathroom from the window seat twice.”  Figures, on the way here I was in Economy Plus on an aisle with no one in front of me…and I never had to go once.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Travel for Work

In Chicago…O’Hare.  Not exactly my favorite place in the world.  Unless…I was on my way to an exotic vacation with my family.  But…I’m not.  Instead, I am people watching and writing to you to avoid thinking about being away from my special people until Friday.  Why is it that I never get used to packing up and leaving my home? (Home is the reference to the important people that live there, rather than an affinity for the actual place).  It’s not that I don’t like to travel, it’s that I don’t like to leave the people that I love.  Of course, I’m always fine on my own…it’s just not the way I would prefer to spend my time.

I don’t travel all that much for work anymore.  An occasional one or two nights away to Cleveland and I am usually home the next night tucking my kiddies into bed…just where I want to be.  This week is a little different.  I’ll be in Phoenix until Friday afternoon.

I remember back in the days of being newly married I would travel for work a lot.  It didn’t matter how many times I would go, when it came time to leave (which I would always wait until the last possible minute, even if it meant driving late into the night), I would cry.  It was a silly routine I suppose, but like clockwork, I would get teary and run through my head a list of fake excuses that I could come up with to keep me home (never once did I actually ever use one).   Ben would hug me, console me, and promise me a “surprise” when I got home.  Just like a kid, I would wipe my tears, load my car, and leave…beginning the internal timing, ticking away the minutes until I would be home.  I would return after the trip and find a slumber party in the living room with a box of Spree and Sour Patch Kids with a pizza and taped episode of Friends to watch together and all would be good in the world.

Fast-forward ten years and you come to last night and this morning, and my goodbyes…times three.  Last night as I read books, sang, and tucked each child in bed (with enough kisses to cover me for a few days), we ran through the week’s events.  At their ages, understanding the week’s schedule seems to help them adjust to change.  They each had their own questions and tearful moments.  They both made me promise to wake them up this morning when I left to give them a kiss and say goodbye.  (Don’t worry – things haven’t changed too much – I still ran through a list of excuses to Ben last night. J)  This morning, I climbed up into Myles’s loft and kissed his cheek.  He groggily rolled over and whispered to me, “I love you, Mom.  I hope you have a good week.  I’ll miss you.”  Jillian was not so easy, immediately fighting back tears and eventually giving in to her emotions and sobbing.  I carried her into my bed and tried to console her.  It just breaks my heart.  Now, there is no room for me to cry.  I have to show them that everything will be fine and we will be together again very soon.

It is so hard to walk away and leave their little faces for a few days.  I may sound like a total crazy person, but I don’t feel like “a break” from my kids.  I don’t need “time for myself”.  I enjoy being home.  I love doing everyday things.  Juggling the everyday demands of two children and a job is plenty exciting for me.  No need for jet set adventures.  Yet, I recognize the need for these trips for my job.  Sometimes the phone and video conferencing can only get you so far and it is time to board a plane and get some work done.  That is my plan for the week.  Oh – and to find something fun that my kids would enjoy.  The countdown to Friday began at 4:35am when I pulled out of the driveway.  The reunion will be awesome.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday Night Princess

Last night we took a princess out to Five Guys for dinner.  The purple shirt, dance tights, and the black fur coat for outside were a bit of a negotiation, but she looked fab-u-lous.    

How would you find such a perfect princess dress that is just the right shade of purple to resemble Sofia the First, you ask?  Well, a mid-day hunt through three stores with her Nana proved to find that perfect dress that brought forth a gasp that only the perfect dress would bring.  It was a size 10-12 (She wears a 4T).  Really, princess dresses have to be to the floor you know.  (She actually picked out a 14-16 for the length, but her Nana in her all-knowing wisdom swapped it secretly when she wasn't looking.)  If you ask Jillian why she has every princess doll except Jasmine, she will tell you.  "Because I only like princesses that wear real princess dresses.  Ones that go to the floor."

Here are some pictures of my very own Sofia last night...

 Princesses shoot their straw wrappers at their brothers.

She wasn't too keen on me taking her picture at Five Guys.  She "didn't want people to laugh at her."  No one was laughing, though she did get quite a few comments...and she was quite proud.

Hope your Friday night was filled with smiles!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This Week.

This week I...

Cuddled kids.
Hugged kids.
Read to kids.
Made dinner.
Packed backpacks.
Kissed kids.
Bathed kids.
Played with kids.
Woke up Jillian (Myles is always up early) to talk and have special time while I got ready.
Worked on handwriting (Myles's, not mine).
Fixed snacks.
Raved over artwork.
Ate dinner as a family (every night).
Watched TV with Ben.
Was told, "You look really tired."  (I've always said that is a nice way to say you look like crap.)
Ran on the treadmill.
Presented to corporate management.
Dropped off. 
Picked up.
Zoned out on the couch.
Accepted help from my husband.
Admired his mind-reading capabilities to help in the right ways.
Worked full time.

And...maximized every spare minute I had.  My first attempt to have it all...double time.  I never cried.

I made it to Friday.  Well, almost. did you.  Your list may be different.  But you, Momma, tried your best just like I did, to do the best you could do...for yourself.  
For your family.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday's Love and I'm Better Off Without Lists...

Love List...
  • My mother-in-law.  She is an amazing mother, friend, and all around wonderful person.  She is a gift to so many people.  Today, we celebrate her...uhhh...39th birthday.  :)  
  • I was nominated for the Parents Magazine 2013 Parents Blog Awards!  It wasn't even my husband that nominated me! was my college roommate...practically sister...but hey, a nomination is a nomination!!
  • The Bachelor and Cocoa Puffs.  It has been over a year since I have had a bowl of cereal (because of the sugar).  It was totally worth it...I had a second bowl.  Combine that with Bachelor drama and you have an awesome night.  What National Championship?  (It was playing in the other room.)
  • Jillian and I had special cuddle time while Ben and Myles went to the grocery store tonight.  So great.  I won't mention that she kept farting (or butt burping if you ask her) on me.
  • Myles informed Ben of his dream Sunday night at breakfast on Monday.  It was his self proclaimed "best dream ever".  He went on a date with the Yellow Power Ranger.  They went out to dinner.  Oh my...on so many levels.
  • A freshly cleaned house after the Christmas craziness.  Even better?  My carpets were cleaned while we were all gone today.  Bye bye red nail polish stain in my living room (that was spilled by me - not Jillian).  It's been real.
  • My sweet boy was so excited to go back to school this week.  He missed his teacher, his friends, and just getting to go to school.
  • During dinner tonight, Jillian informed us that she wants to be a doctor.  Myles, on the other hand, is still undecided about which Power Ranger he wants to be.
  • Two days in to full time.  My husband has been more than helpful.  So thankful.
I'm Better Off Without List...
  • You know those clean carpets?  Well, Wilson was in our bedroom working on that carpet with four puke and two poo stains.  Awesome.
  • I was informed, while wearing a new dress, that the print was snake skin.  Seriously, how did I not know that I was wearing snake skin?  I knew it was an animal print, but I didn't really think through what type of animal.  I hate snakes.  Hate them.  Can't decide if that means I can't wear the dress for the creep factor, or if I should continue to wear it as proof of domination of the slithery creepy creatures.  I'll probably opt for the is a cute dress.
  • Is it only Tuesday?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Full Time....Double Time.

I have always said that working part-time was like working time and a half.  As a mom, you are always working, even if you are not with your kids.  You never stop thinking, worrying, and caring about them.  Add in working outside of the home part-time and that is how I arrive at my time and a half calculation.  Well, with this logic in mind...I'm about to embark on double time.  Full time mommy and full time outside of the home.

Fun in the snow.
Today, as the new year of 2013 started to set in, so did the commitment for full-time that I made before Christmas break.  I made the decision with confidence.  I negotiated the terms of my return to full time and I am confident (hopeful) that the decision is the best for our family.  Myles will not see any difference, since I will arrive home about the same time that he does from school each day.  My sweet Jillian is the one to get "pinched" with this decision and that is what has me teary today.  I've been home since December 21st for Christmas and frankly, I am getting used to it.  I feel like a college kid with the end of the summer looming.  It also feels reminiscent to this fall as we prepared for Myles to start kindergarten.  You know that in a few days, reality is about to change things.

I have not worked full time since before Myles was born.  Yet, my part time hours have been creeping up and up for months.  It becomes harder and harder each week to manage teleconferences and meeting schedules from home two days a week.  Many times, it isn't really a day off with my little girl.  It turns into a teleconference mega fest with laundry, projects, school pickups, and stressed momma face crammed into too few hours.

I'll be honest with you, I'm scared.  I don't know how this is going to turn out.  As with anything else, I'm going to give it my best effort and hope for success.  I pray that Jillian will adjust to an extra half day at school.  I'm so lucky that that is the only care that will be out of the ordinary for her, since I have such an amazing family.  My mom, Ben's mom, and my sister each take a day of the week to hang with my little Jilly-Boo.  Awesome.  I love knowing that she is having fun and is well cared for.

Jillian and Myles trying Kinect for the first time at Nana's for
New Years!  Notice the confetti?  Awesome.
I live my life with quite a bit of openness.  If you know me, you know about me.  Yet, for whatever reason, this decision that I have made has not been a topic of conversation beyond my immediate family.  Any time it comes up in conversation with them, I look for disapproving eyes.  Whether they are there or not, some sort of internal judgement is creating the need to explain and over-explain myself and my reasons why I made the decision.  Tonight I think I have figured out, I am over-explaining because I need to hear myself list the reasons each time I list them.  I need to remind myself of everything that went into my decision.  I'm not talking about it to my friends and family (outside of immediate family) because I don't need others weighing in on the decision.  Hearing the obvious questions about why I would give up the perfect situation of part time could send me into a spiral.  So, I'll just enjoy these last few days at home with extra hugs, kisses, and crafts (like our tie-dyeing adventure today) and walk into work on Monday with confidence (or I'll at least fake it).  We'll go from there.