Feb 23, 2018

Five on Friday- Kids' Favorite Things

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you are more cheerful than my crew when I attempted to take a picture at 5 PM yesterday evening during their long requested viewing of the new Pinkalicious show!  You would think I'm above such amateur moves.

 Another day, another attempt to get three kids to look at me.

Scooter rides on the greenway have been our jam all year, but with the nice weather they've been more frequent.  I try to explore a new section to keep things fun.  And there are a couple of cool playgrounds along the way.  We saw 7 turtles and 2 ducks in one section on Tuesday, then played at a new playground.  Then had Chick Fil A for dinner.  Everyone was very happy.  Including me, because I got to sneak in a 2 mile power walk under the guise of kid activity.  And because I like to see turtles too.

We made an executive decision to take the kids to Japanese steakhouse (their favorite) on Saturday evening last weekend. It was a great diversion to the nonstop rain.

 Dell Harper "I think tonight might be the best night ever!"

Tommy was a little scared of the fire, but then got in his baby groove.  Deeds was too busy eating to fool with any photo ops.

3)  Audible Books (for Children)

Our favorite diversion in the car of late?  Audiobooks!  We got several Junie B. Jones books on CD at the local library.  The kids are obsessed!  Deeds says "I'm ready for JUNEYBEEJONE now!", after his initial reluctance due to the fact that he couldn't see anything. Warning- the books do use the s-word (stupid), so we have to talk about how Junie  B. says that but we don't, etc.

I must admit, I am enjoying Miss Junie B. and her kindergarten travails very much.  Far better than Kidz Bop or Kids' Place Live.  That Lorenzo Llama makes me want to tear my ears off.

4)  Little Hoot Designs
I always brag on my friend Colleen's clothing business, but she just really knocks it out of the park!

 Love this model!

Here's some stuff from her latest show, which I shamelessly pulled from their instagram (@little_hoot_designs)

 I ordered this entire outfit for DH.  Y'all- the prices are great, and you can feel good about letting your kids just play.  Or go to school.  Or eat food with impunity.  Or at least without following them with a bottle of oxyclean.
This is Deeds' favorite shirt.  He refused to take it off during this modeling session, then got snot all over from the ensuing temper tantrum.  I bought it, and it's still his top requested shirt.

And their appliqu├ęs are fantastic as well!
Those bloomers are enough to give me baby fever!

I did nab these bloomers for Tommy.  Those fat little legs need to be on display at all times! Here's the website- http://www.littlehootdesigns.com

5)  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

So I've been struggling to try and read DH chapter books, since we read books together with Deeds at night.  I'm trying to squeeze in a chapter of one of my childhood favorites- Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.
There are a few illustrations (by none other than Hilary Knight of Eloise fame), and each chapter stands alone.  We are both enthralled!

So that's it for me- we are headed to a beer and Girl Scout cookie pairing fundraiser for the Girl Scouts tonight, then I get to have a GNO with one of my best friends from Georgia who's coming in town this weekend from Charleston.  I can barely contain myself!!

Finally, again, thank you all so much for the encouragement and kindness.  I was reviewing documents while Tommy took his bath, and the kids got extra screen time last night.  I started to feel bad, but then remembered we're all in this boat in one way or the other!

Linking up with the Five on Friday gals!


Feb 22, 2018

Thoughts on Thursday- Secrets to Doing it All

  • First of all, I want to say thank you for all the comments and encouragement on my last post.  I wish I had some secret to making it all happen, but I'm in the trenches too.

  • Ooooh, I did think of one piece of advice I didn't include.  TAKE HELP WHEN OFFERED!  I really didn't do this until Tommy.  For example when a friends says "Do you want me to take Deeds to the birthday party?"  I no longer say "Oh, I got it!" then arrive at said party with my entire crew in to and miss the baby's nap.  Or whatever.   Instead, I graciously and thankfully accept (and say a little prayer of gratitude for my "village").

  • My other secret is to ask for help.  That's a tough one for me- I don't like asking my parents, or my friends, or getting tons of babysitters.  But sometimes I have to!  And so I do.  And I try not to feel guilty about it.  Try is the operative word!
So that's it!  We all need a little help from our friends. Now, my sad desk salad is complete, and its back to work for an hour before pickup.

Feb 20, 2018

How I Make it Work- Working From Home

Work and life has gotten in the way of posting, which is rather boring, but I'm squeezing this into my day while waiting on return phone-calls and emails.

A reader asked for a run-down of how I handle working from home with little ones.  I don't know if I do the best job, but it's always interesting to read how we all manage things.  I'm interspersing some cute pictures of my children in case you don't care about working from home.

So quick background-  I'm an attorney for my family's business.  I work from home as I am needed.  This is great because I'm not twiddling my thumbs from 9-6 when I'm not busy.  Of course, it also means that sometimes I juggling a sixty hour work week with part time childcare.  It's a tradeoff that works well for me and my personality though.

The boys are in school four days a week from 9-2:30 (this fluctuates some, as Deeds goes to 2 schools- more on that later).  Dell Harper is in kindergarten, so she goes from 7:45-2:35 each day.  While they are at school, I work, prep dinner, switch out laundry, and (if I'm slow) exercise.  Having a limited window forces me to really focus and buckle down.  Also, I know if I don't get my stuff done, I will be working from 7-11 PM that night.

Sometimes that switch is worth it to me.  For example, today I wanted to do my group training class at 10, so I headed to my office at 6 AM and worked for an hour to get a head start.  Other times, when I'm super slammed, I know that it will be 9-2:30, plus nights, plus early mornings.  And I'm down with that!  I value the flexibility of my job so much- it makes it easy to sit in my office revising documents until late at night, knowing I can take my kids to the playground after school the next day.

Also, I love not having to put on work clothes and do my hair everyday.  After seven years of suits and panty hose, it is glorious! Wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt knowing I'm going to get kid gunk on me is great.

So that's the good things about straddling both working mom and stay at home mom worlds.  The bad is that I straddle both worlds.  I feel the childcare, housekeeping and volunteer expectations of a stay at home parent, as well as the work demands of a working mom.

What ends up suffering is self-care and time with Morgan.  I very rarely sit on the couch and watch tv with Morgan after the kids are down.  It's either housework, prepping dinner and lunches for the next day, or work.  My house gets messy because the kids are in it all afternoon, but I don't have time while they are in school to clean, because that's work time.

Also, I feel guilty if I use that kid-free time for myself- I don't mind sneaking off for an hour to exercise, but haircuts or eyebrows, or nails, etc.?  I just can't justify it.  That's why my hair is so ratty!  I make it for a haircut about 2x a year.  I also quit coloring my hair when I quit working full time.  It was just too much time and money to spend on myself.

The last tricky thing is childcare.  It doesn't make sense financially or otherwise to send the kids to daycare full-time.  Instead they go to preschool (except DH now that she's in kindergarten).  Last year the preschool at our church (where we have been since DH was 18 months old), cut Deeds' days from 4 to 3.  This was huge for me, because (as mentioned above), although some weeks I could get by with 2 days a week, other weeks I need full time.  So 4 days a week is the baseline for my sanity.  I can make it all work with that amount of time.  So, luckily I got Deeds into Tommy's school as a sibling.  Tommy attends a different program (that Deeds used to attend) that allows babies.  Next year, we are quitting my church's preschool and both boys will go to the same place.  It's bittersweet, as I loved my church's program.  However, as flexible as my job is, I can't take a chance on not having consistent days.  The other issue is snow days, illness days off or sick kids.  I'm in the same boat with working parents all over.  When school is out, I am scrambling.

Ahh, no botox, no makeup, dirty hair in ponytail selfie.  HAAWWWWTTT.

Here's the thing, though.  I would much rather have non-highlighted hair, big pores, and bushy eyebrows, and get to spend more time with my kiddos, yet work too.  If I was fully stay-at-home, I might go absolutely insane.  I need breaks from my wild and crazy crew.  It makes me (just me, personally) a better parent to have away time.  I love working for my family.  I love using the analytical part of my brain, as well as this degree I worked so hard to obtain.

I feel like I should end this with some grand inspirational quote.  I got nada.  Instead, I will tell you the truth.  I always feel like I have a window open.  For example- I'm taking work calls in the middle of making cookies with my kids, or answering emails on my phone on the playground or when snuggling. At work, sometimes I'm on a call frantically motioning to my kids to be quiet in the car.

I read all this stuff about being intentional and present.  And I think, "shit."  Because I'm not doing that.  and I wish I was.

Instead, I'm doing the best I can.  Like we all should.  So I'm going to try and continue that- intentionally doing my best.  And that's okay.

Oprah time is done.  Just call me if you need an inspirational speaker.  I'm the one in the ratty Old Navy running tights and no shower for a few days.
This picture is old.  Tommy doesn't have bottles anymore.  I look tired.  Because I am.  But I also look content.  Because I am.

Feb 12, 2018

Dancing the Night Away

We had an exciting weekend full of sunshine (and rain), dressing up and dancing!  Morgan and I attended an annual black tie event that I always enjoy (although not so much the next morning).

 A quick pick before dinner in the parking lot! Ha, I have to force Morgan to take pictures when I can!

And my brother and I managed to snag an adult sibling pic.

Saturday it just poured all day.  We didn't get home until the way wrong side of midnight, and my kiddos woke me up at 6:11 in the morning.  It was brutal.  I was so thankful that I took advantage of school being out for the flu and a sunny warm day on Friday by taking my crew to the zoo.

Kiddos climbed and explored to their hearts' content.  It was great!

Finally Sunday afternoon I threw in the towel and let everyone go play in the mud.
 See the folding chair in the garage?  I settled in with my magazine and stayed relatively clean and dry, while admonishing Dell Harper to please try and stay clean because she had plans!

Everyone had a bath, then I got Dell Harper all dolled up because that evening was Dell Harper's turn for a dance!  She had a blast eating filet and drinking Shirley Temples, and dancing the night away.
 Love that we both wore florals with red shoes.
She got in some cousin time, too!
Her corsage did not make it through all her dancing- by the time she arrived home a single flower remained.  I understand she did a lot of jumping off the stage.

While they were all fancy, Deeds requested the mall for his special time.  Pretzels, coin operated rides, and just walking around. . .they were two happy boys.  It was still pouring, so I was fine with getting out of the house.

Now I'm going to hit publish and post this without proofreading.  My kids are back in school after a week of school closures for flu.  Dell Harper has attended kindergarten for about 6 days since school resumed the first week of January.  It's been awful between holidays, snow, and sickness.  Hopefully this week I will be able to catch up on work and life!

Feb 6, 2018

A Magical Weekend at the Greenbrier

We went last year with Morgan's family to The Greenbrier, and fell in love with the place.  After making it through a weekend with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 3 month old, I was thrilled to back with no one under the age of 25.  Or, ahem, 35 if I'm being accurate here..

A perfect weekend of utter relaxation and laughter.   It felt so nice to be properly attired like an adult instead of in worn Old Navy running tights and a frayed top.  Hair down and makeup on, wearing dry clean only without fear of snotty noses, or peanut butter hands?  Just blissful!

The most taxing thing I did was swan about the pool and swim a few slow laps.

But mainly I lounged, read magazines and books, and admired the fabulous Dorothy Draper decor.

My favorite parts included the breakfast buffet.  Now, I am a buffet snob (as in, I don't like them).  The Greenbrier's?  There is nothing to be snobbish about- it's fantastic!  I spent an hour at breakfast each morning, leisurely reading the paper, drinking coffee, and staring into space unimpeded by small, demanding voices.  It was AMAZING!!!
We did the "escape room" one afternoon, which was surprisingly really fun.  None of us had done one before, and we all went in doubtful of how enjoyable it would be. It was great!  I might become an escape room junkie.
In other surprising news, I had a great time at the casino.  I normally see casinos as a bit too fanny pack, not enough James Bond for my taste.  I'll take this casino any day.  And I LOVE playing cards- so blackjack was a very nice change of pace from our normal Saturday night.

My only quibble with the experience was the food other than breakfast. Y'all know I love to eat, and, although Morgan says otherwise, I'm not a food snob!  I just expect at a certain price point my food to be prepared correctly.  We all got the giggles when eating at the Italian restaurant when my Veal Marsala came out.  I think it might have been the West Virginia version, because it looked and tasted just like country fried steak.  At a gas station, prepared last week.

At least it saved me from overeating!

  We woke up Sunday morning to quite a bit of snow.
 It was just magical, and made leaving that much more difficult. Also, it was literally difficult to leave as the interstate had about 4 inches of accumulation that hadn't been treated or cleared.

 We finally made it home, and I was thrilled to see those babies!  Tommy apparently now prefers my mama, as he bawled when she left, and kept squirming out of my arms to go to her.  I apparently did the same thing to my mom when I was about his age.  Although she has been gone for 10 days not 2, but bygones. . .

I don't leave my kids to go out of town very much, and I think I need to remedy that (watch out, Mama/Gigi! More babysitting ahead!).  I cam back so renewed, relaxed, patient and above all, appreciative of my children.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder indeed!