Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Time Hopping

Are you an app person? I have a small handful that I love but I'm just starting to dabble in some "new to me" apps.

My latest love is Timehop. Do you have that one? I know, I know... you've probably been using it forever at this point but you see, I'm habitually late to the trending apps party. And most all things technology for that matter.

Anyways, I love Timehop because of all the great memories it triggers. Special family moments, funny anecdotes, a flashback to a painful day at work, but mostly a reminder of how my now preschooler and almost two year old were just babies yesterday.

Recently I've received these gems:

Thanksgiving 2013: 11 month old Baby Donut, 2 1/2 year old Little C
Look at that grip!




Zoo Lights December 2013: Watch out Elsa and Anna! Look who's frozen now!
It was frightfully chilly that night. Makes me cold just looking at it. 




I was reminded of a post I had written for Mile High Mamas 
exactly a year ago today about a tender moment with Little C:




And lastly...
December 9, 2011
I give you my 8 month old son



Oh, my heart! Oh, my overies! So maybe I don't love Timehop as much as a thought... 








Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

This post was supposed to be filled with photos of me in my cocktail dress, sexy black high heels, and Holiday red lipstick while on the arm of my man-candy Hubs in downtown Denver. But alas, that did not happen. My dress never made it off the hanger and we never made it to the company Holiday Party.

On Saturday while we were out running errands I started to feel nauseous and at first I chalked it up to being hungry, tired, and run-down (NOT pregnant - for the record). But it never let up and the feeling was only getting worse. I did start on a new medication last week and I don't think it is agreeing with me. Has that ever happened to you? Anyway, the very thought of getting up and getting dressed made me want to puke, so we threw in the towel on the shindig.

I was super bummed! We had arranged for the kids to have a sleep over at the Grands which they still did so at least I could wallow in my nausea without having to run after two "live wires!" It was a pretty peaceful and quiet Saturday night at our house. Although the highlight was watching Guardians of the Galaxy. Have you seen it?!? Seriously a great movie! It's a funny, Sci-fi, action packed, pulls on the heart strings, kind of flick. I highly recommend it!

Sunday was lazy and perfect. The kids came home from the Grands early that morning and it was cold and snowy outside. We played hide-and-seek, baked cookies, and put up the train set. I was still not feeling 100% so once the kids went down for naps I took full advantage of the down time. Hubs even insisted that I go rest on the couch while he did all the dinner prep! ::swoon:: What a guy!


Now it's Monday and I'm still not feeling top-notch and I'm hoping it passes soon. Mondays are rough enough as it is without feeling poorly on top of it!

How was your weekend? I hope you have a great week! 


Friday, December 12, 2014

T.G.I.F.

It's Friday!

(credit)
Today at work there is a Christmas Cookie and Ugly Sweater Holiday Party. I baked zero cookies and am not wearing a sweater of any kind. I just couldn't pull it all together and honestly, didn't have the gumption to pull it all together. I love me some Christmas festivities and upon seeing everyone else's awesomeness, I felt I should at least do a little something. So, with the help of a co-worker's left over sweater decor, we fashioned this gem...


#baller

Tomorrow is the company's Holiday Party and the Hubs and I are going to get all fancied up and have a real grown-up night out. I'll be wearing a cocktail dress AND we'll be downtown! I'm super excited! However, I am having mild anxiety about what to do with my hair. I see some Pintrest surfing in my near future.

Hope everyone has a great day! Do you hear that??? It's the weekend calling. :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hi.


How the heck are you? I miss this space so very much. I just couldn't let one more day go by without at least popping in for a "life update" of sorts.

Things have been busy as ever in Kendraland. The job is going well and keeping me very busy which I'm enjoying. The biggest challenge in our lives right now is a great deal of stress related to our finances. It is something that we are getting through one day at a time but man-oh-man is it a challenge! I never anticipated our first year of home ownership to be like this but then again, I suppose I really didn't know what it would be like. The whole unemployment phase of this year certainly didn't help matters.

Those who I've shared our situation with have all said they've been in our shoes before and their stories of rising out of the hardship is inspiring to hear. It's nice to know we aren't alone and we also know our current state is temporary. If there is anything this blip of time in our lives has taught us it's how thankful we are to both be employed and to have our children go to bed with full bellies, in a warm house every night. On our most challenging days it is important for us to remember that we really are doing okay, we have each other, we have our health, and we have everything we truly need.

Honestly? I didn't know how much of this to really share here. Of course it is very personal but I at least wanted to document a little bit of it so I can look back one day and see how far we've come! People don't often talk about their finances and why should they? I just wanted to touch on it because it really is all consuming and very overwhelming for me at this time. If anyone else has been through something similar or is currently there, then you can relate. There is nothing fun about it but as the saying goes, "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger." Yes?

But enough of that... now for the good stuff! Kids update!

Little C's thoughtful mind continues to amaze and challenge us. The way he mentally works through situations and then is able to verbally express his feelings, is such a gift. Sometimes we can't believe he's only 3.5 years old! He pushes his boundaries constantly and argues and barters over everything. Year three with our boy has by far been the most challenging. He is an old soul with a tender heart, he talks all the damn time, and he loves to snuggle but has very recently started to wipe off my kisses. #sadface

Little Miss Mayhem continues to live up to her name. She loves to jump, climb, slide and swing. She keeps up with her big brother pretty well and loves him intensely. She can be adorable and sweet one minute, then a bossy sassafras the next. Homegirl wants what she wants and if she isn't going to get it, you better watch out! She is quite the little comic and I can not believe we will be celebrating her 2nd birthday next month!



This time of year has been so much fun with the both of them. There is magic around every corner and I'm going to be so sad when all of the Holiday wonder is over.

What have you been up to lately? Are you enjoying the Holiday season with your little one(s)? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

That's My Jam!

I'm always curious what type of music really gets people going when they are working out. Are they listening to hip hop, heavy metal, country, rock? 

(credit)
All I know is a good playlist is essential for motivating me and keeping me going. Music increases my endurance and makes the exercise experience much more positive. When I started out running I'd never make that first mile if I didn't have the right beats carrying me across the pavement. 

I'll even use my music to play mind games with myself, saying things like "just keep going until this song is over!" Or if I'm doing strength training I won't start my reps until it coordinates with the music. But that might just be the dancer/cheerleader in me. Ha!

Anywho, I love seeing other people's playlists because it gives me ideas of songs I may never have considered adding to my repertoire. I thought I'd share some of my workout hits for fun. I typically gravitate to hip hop and pop songs. They get me moving the most!

  1. She Came to Give It to You - Usher featuring Nicki Minaj
  2. Love Runs Out - One Republic
  3. Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
  4. Sing - Ed Sheeran
  5. How You Like Me Now - The Heavy
  6. Come Get It Bae - Pharrell Williams
  7. Work B**ch - Britney Spears (This song always comes on when I need it most!)
  8. E.T. (Noisia Remix) - Katy Perry
  9. Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay Z
  10. Ain't It Fun - Paramore
  11. Good Kisser (Disclosure Remix) - Usher
  12. Talk Dirty (featuring 2 Chains) - Jason DeRulo
  13. Imma Be - The Black Eyed Peas
  14. That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
  15. Up Up & Away - Kid Cudi
What songs make up your workout playlist? Do you play mind games during exercise too? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

We had such a fun weekend! A very dear friend of mine and her family host an annual Pig Roast where you camp out while the pig cooks, then the next day everyone feasts like a king! It is such an awesome event and while the pig should be the star of the show, in my opinion, it's the time spent with really great people where the laughter is thick and you just don't want it to end!

Hubs is such a stud!
This was a "no kids party" for the Hubs and I. We made arrangements for them to go to my parents Friday night while we set out on our annual pilgrimage to the fields of Longmont, CO. We pitched our tent and got right into the good times. Fun fact: The temps Friday night drifted down to freezing! Thank goodness we have the proper gear.

So, Friday night the Patriarch of this lovely family and our host for the weekend, spoiled us with homemade green chili, homemade refried beans and homemade Spanish rice. It was AMAZING! Then we all made our way around the campfire for a fun game called "Psychiatrist." Have you ever played that? It is a hoot!


Dancing Queen!
Of course there was signing along to classic songs (Sweeeet, Car-OH-line. BAH, BAH, BAH) and even a bit of campfire dancing! Seriously a great time. I made my way to bed in the wee hours of the morning and lets just say, I was draggin' my wagon the next day for sure!

Saturday everyone played corn-hole, and another great game called "Beerski." Since we had to leave that afternoon, we didn't partake in any libations on day 2. Being responsible is no fun. But after the game playing it was time to FEAST! The pork was so tender and flavorful and all the fixins to go along with it were perfect.

Goofing off with my man


People can stay another night if they are so inclined but we headed back into town to get our kids. They were exhausted from a super fun time with the grands and we were exhausted from partying like it was 1999 and forgetting how recovery time lasts much longer than when we were younger. Facts are facts.

Sunday the kids slept until about 7:20am. Can I get a hallelujah?!? After breakfast I wanted to get some exercise in and I took the kids out in the double stroller for a 3 mile walk and a pit-stop at the park for some playground action.

While we were playing at the park, one of the tires on the jogging stroller went flat and I had to make the kids walk about a half a mile, up a hill to get ourselves home. I practically had to lift up the back of the stroller to get it to move and by the time I made it home my back was definitely sore.

I took it easy the rest of the day and while the kids napped we took in a great Broncos game... Peyton Mannings 500th touchdown! And then I even whipped up a batch of these bad boys and they turned out great! I highly recommend the recipe.

It truly was a great weekend and I'm still not fully recovered from all of the fun!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything noteworthy? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pain in my arse

Here's the thing... time just needs to slow the heck down! I'm serious. First of all, summer went by way too fast and as much as I love fall, I just wasn't ready to part with it. Secondly, my kids are growing by the millisecond and every day I'm thrown a new reminder of how my babies are now a toddler and a preschooler!


I can't believe it's been so long since I've shared anything in this space. I will say I stop here at least daily, stare at my blank screen then swiftly close out because I feel lost on what to write about. I have so many stories, ideas, tips, challenges, etc. to share but I just can't seem to get the words out. I haven't been able to pinpoint why I'm struggling so I thought the best way to get over it would be to get something out. Rip the band-aid so to speak.

The latest, and not so greatest, news with me is that I'm currently dealing with a back injury from my attempts at getting healthy and losing weight. I started running while I was unemployed and was steadily improving since that time. My workout program consists of alternating days between walking, cardio on the eliptical or stationary bike, strength training and running. I've been feeling good for the most part but I started to experience some lower back and sciatic pain from time to time.

Then one day I really pushed myself because I had been dying to break a 10 minute mile. I finally hit my goal and was beyond proud of myself!

It truly was a sense of accomplishment because running has been hard for me, but I kept at it knowing it would help progress my weight loss goals. The day after I boasted about my achievement on Instagram, I could barely move without serious pain attacking my back and sciatic.

I went slightly over two weeks waiting for the pain to subside with no luck. I threw my arms up and hobbled my way into the doctor's office. The first thing she told me was to stop running. And the second, go see a physical therapist.

This is going to be a very slow recovery process which has me very frustrated. Here I am doing something good for myself, trying really hard to finally be in the shape I want and this is what I get. I can't hold my baby girl for more than a nanosecond, I can't do normal everyday tasks around the house and I definitely can't run.

Oh, and part of my treatment involves trigger point dry needling (TDN). Every heard of that? Basically the physical therapist shoves an acupuncture-type needle deep into the muscle that is troubling you in order to make it contract and then fully release. Since my pain is coming from my backside, on Tuesday I had a needle shoved directly into my buttocks and let me just tell you, it was the oddest sensation I've ever felt!

I'm encouraged to continue my workouts limited only to walking, eliptical, stationary bike and mild strength training. I'm also stretching like crazy and not pushing myself too hard when I do exercise. It is going to take me some time to heal the aggravated muscles and then to strengthen them back up to provide me the support I need to be active. I've had back issues since I was a cheerleader in high school with symptoms flaring up at random times over the years. Throw in a painful second pregnancy as well as this most recent flare-up and I am so done dealing with it and ready to move on. I just wish I had addressed the issue before it got to this point. Oh, well! Live and learn.

I look forward to feeling better soon and in the mean time I'm trying hard to stay active at a level I can tolerate and still determined to hit my goals. It just may take me longer than I had originally thought. No big deal, right?

Have you had to overcome an injury in order to stay on track with your health goals? Have you ever done dry needling?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Job Update

I've been at my new job now for two months and really liking it! I think what I'm enjoying the most is being in a big office with so many great people. At my last job I was one of 4 in the same office, day in and day out, for seven years. Some co-workers came and went but the small office environment was constant. The new gig however, is bustling with energy and opportunity which is exactly what I was hungry for.

Oh, and the perks! There is a cafeteria onsite which serves really delicious and reasonably priced food. There's a gym which I've been using regularly since my second week here. I no longer have to dress in a suit and we get to wear jeans every other Friday. The workday is from 8:30am - 5pm. I can't tell you what a difference it makes not having to be at work by 8am!! And the biggest perk of all? You are treated like a professional adult. Yeah! That's a thing. Without getting into too many details, I will say that this is one of the biggest changes from where I was before. It is night and day!

Most of the perks I listed are probably pretty common but I'm telling you... if you weren't used to that sort of environment in the past, it is a game changer for sure!

The role that I've landed in is also a good fit and everyday I'm learning not only my specific job duties but also so much of what goes into a collaborative marketing department. While I mostly focus my efforts on managing a "process," I'm also called on for creative input as well as input I bring to the table from my previous work history.

Everything I've mentioned so far is wonderful and I'm beyond grateful for where I am. But it hit me the other day why I really love this new opportunity. It's beyond any perk or job description. It's about me! I am at this new job. Not a "version" of me or the me that I think I need to be to fit into someone else's interpretation. I am authentic and that is above all what I've been in need of the most.

This work environment encourages you to have a voice and it fosters unique personalities to shine. No one is like the other and that is so refreshing!

I know I'm still in the "honeymoon phase" of being at a new job but I'm feeling really optimistic that this is going to be my place of biz-nass for a long time. Career development and progression are still at the top of my mind as I embark on this journey within a large company. How to navigate my way through it and how to stand out among so many talented people is going to be my biggest challenge. But if I'm able to enjoy where I work and what I do on a day-to-day basis, then I think I'm most definitely up for that challenge!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Daycare Switcharoo... Again!

Today our kids started going to a new daycare. Due to our recent move we had to switch centers to one closer to the new house. This makes me super sad because we absolutely LOVE where the kids went before. It was privately owned and a nice small size which made for a real family-friendly vibe.

We tried very hard to figure out a way to keep them there but the commute was just too much for us to handle. Especially in the peak of rush hour! No thank you! 

If you are a working parent then you know how hard it is to find child care that you are truly happy with. Leaving your whole world in someone else's care for 8 hours a day is only possible if you have confidence and trust in where you are leaving them. I have to say that where they've been going did just that for us. 

A bit of back story: The very first daycare center we took Little C to was fine. We liked it and his needs were being met. But now when I think back on it, there was a lot of turn-over in the infant room and that was hard for us to feel comfortable leaving him especially after we'd just gotten used to the teacher before. I did LOVE the director of this particular center, she was on top of it and always addressed any concerns or questions we had.

When I was 9 months pregnant and told they were closing their doors, we were forced to find a new center stat! Luckily we came across the perfect place literally within walking distance from our home. I've mentioned before that it took Little C quite some time to adjust but once he did we all were loving the new center! For me the shining star was the infant room. The teachers had been there forever and had such a gift when it came to caring for babies. There was never any turn-over in that room and leaving 4 month old Baby D-Nut wasn't an issue at all.

Then there were the parents. We met some wonderful people and a couple of them I now consider friends. Both kids made good friends and we've had a blast attending birthday parties and play dates. It really was a special place and making the decision to leave was hard for Hubs and I but it simply had to be done.

This morning they were off to their new schools respectively. For the time being Lil Miss Mayhem has to go to a different location until there is room in the toddler class at C's school. I'm so bummed they can't be together at first, not only because of convenience, but because I know it helped them knowing their brother/sister was right near by.

The way this center is organized they put Little C into a preschool program which is totally different from where they went before. He was so proud with his new "big boy" backpack this morning and was chattering away in the car ride to school about how excited he was. Unfortunately, as we entered the school and eventually his classroom, he had clammed up and wasn't saying a word. Which is VERY unlike him! He clung to my leg and it took some distracting to get him off. He never cried and as I peeked into the window as I was leaving I could see he was sitting down to breakfast with his new friends.

I was so proud of him! This new center is much larger than where he was before and today it seemed bustling with energy. It was kind of noisy and the hallway to get to his classroom must have felt like a mile long to a little 3 year old boy!

Lil Miss had a much harder time from what Hubs told me. She was screaming at the top of her lungs when he tried to hand her over to the teachers. He said it was so hard leaving her but he knew he just had to go in order for her to calm down. Now matter how many times you go through it, it never gets easier to leave your child when they are so upset. I know if I had been dropping her off I probably would have needed a tissue in the car on my way to work!

We did take the kids to their new school the week prior to starting so they could have a "discovery day" and see what it was all about. They spent time in their respective classrooms, met their teachers, and the kids in their class. It went so well and we were crossing our fingers that it would help the transition. I do think it helped Little C tremendously, plus we had been talking it up with him leading up to the big switch. But Lil Miss Mayhem is at an age where no matter how much we explained things she just can't fully grasp the concept of what we're trying to convey.

I did call in a couple hours after drop-off just to see how they were doing. Both had acclimated at that point and were doing great! It was so nice to hear.

I hope the rest of the week gets easier for them and I hope we are all going to like this new center. We've had so much change lately that I'm really looking forward to falling into a groove and officially settling in. I really have been impressed with how well the kids have been adjusting to everything and I think the fact that we moved houses first and waited about a month before switching schools was definitely a good idea.

I can't wait to see where our journey leads next!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

18 Months: A Baby Donut Update

People always warned me how time would go faster with my second child. Boy were they right! It is insane to me that this is Baby D-Nut's 18 month update. Last night I peeked into her crib before heading to bed and I couldn't believe how big she is!

"Baby Donut" is not an appropriate nickname anymore because our sweet girl is hardly a baby. This girl is full-on toddler! Plus, her brother has stopped calling her Baby Donut, as if it really was her name, and has now started calling her Little Bagel. I have no idea where he gets this stuff!

We lovingly refer to her as "Lil Miss Mayhem" because she is constantly up to something. She is always on the move and will NOT sit still to save her life. Half of the time she's simply playing and having fun but the other half... she's usually causing trouble! Whether its climbing on something she's not supposed to, touching or eating something she's not supposed to, knocking over her brother's towers, taking toys from him, running behind the cats while pulling on their tails, etc. You seriously cannot take your eyes off of her for a second.

Having said that, she is also the sweetest little love bug ever! She loves to snuggle and she will give you a random giant hug around your neck which pulls at the heart strings like crazy. I love this about her because even though she's all toddler, her cuddling keeps just the right amount of baby for us to enjoy.

She loves: stuffed animals, blankies, park slides, dancing, singing, "helping" mom and dad cook, dogs (aka - pup pups), juice, all carbs, all fruit, making her big brother laugh, and playing "this little piggy goes to market..."  

She dislikes: vegetables, most meat, when the dog eats her snacks, and mornings. Lil Miss is NOT a morning person. 

She is starting to talk more each day, although a translator is usually needed if you aren't used to how she says things. Her hair is growing and it appears to have curly ends. It will be interesting to see if they stick around as her blonde locks continue to get longer.

Where her older brother is a calculated risk taker, our little girl is fearless! She also has tremendous tenacity which I sincerely admire. For example, I've been close behind her as she attempted to climb onto a bench (or something similar) and she wouldn't make it on the first attempt... or the second.... or even the third. But she was insistent upon getting where she wanted to be. Instead of helping her up I could see the determination in her eyes so I usually let her work it out. It finally clicks with her on what needs to be done to get her up and before you know it, she's perched on top of that bench with a look of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Her facial expressions have us in stitches and I'm just going on record to say Miss Mayhem is the cutest 18 month old on the planet!! But I'm not biased or anything. ;)


Happy 18 months, sweet girl! Keep right on being fierce, funny, and lovable. And please, keep right on melting our hearts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mental Digest: Our Impending Move

By this time next week we will have vacated our current house and will begin the settling process into our new domain. We will be living among boxes as we slowly, but surely, unpack our entire domestic lives. We will join the ranks of many homeowners before us and begin turning the new house into our home sweet home.

The excitement surrounding this change is palpable yet surreal. Hubs and I have rented together for years carving out cozy abodes that we loved but this time it’s truly ours. The weight of this responsibility does have me nervous only because it’s unknown territory, but overall I am welcoming this change and ready to take it head-on.

Then there’s the location. As we drove to dinner on Saturday night after an exhausting day of packing, we took in the surroundings of our familiar neighborhood and we couldn't help but feel sad to be leaving. The physical neighborhood our current house is in isn't so much what we’ll miss. You see, we've actually had no business living in such a wonderful place as it is the type of neighborhood we will aspire to settle in one of these days, many years down the road. What we will miss is the surrounding area that we've grown to love.


We've lived in our current house for 5 years and we lived in a house close to this area for 4 years before that! Now we are moving to what feels like the boonies and neither of us are too familiar with the new area. It’s in… 

The suburbs! 

(credit)
We know it will be great for the kids but it will be a major culture shock for us at first. There are pros and cons, as it is with any place, and exploring the area while soon finding our bearings will be part of the fun! We are on the end of a cul-de-sac which I’m really happy about for the kids and we even spotted some indicators of similar aged children in surrounding houses.

“It is going to be great!”

That is what I keep telling myself through the anxiousness and nerves that surround our “relocation.” I honestly know that it will be great but all this build up for the move, the logistics and then the literal closing of one door and opening of another, just needs to get over and done with so I can start coming to terms with everything.

And speaking of coming to terms with everything… the kids! Baby D-Nut (who is hardly a baby any longer which is an entirely new post on its own) is going to be just fine. As long as she has us by her side and her favorite/familiar things, I think being in a new home will not faze her at all.

But Little C? Whole different ball game. Our poor, sensitive, change adverse, Little C. He is already showing signs of distress over the move and we are making every effort to ease his trouble-filled little mind.

Side note: I don’t know where he could possibly get this from??? Ha! Read: Every post I’ve ever written about any life change big or small. Poor kid. ::shakes fist in the face of genetics::

Anyway, we are fielding questions like, “is my bed going to be at the new house?” “Will Baby Sis be moving with us?” “Mom, will you still rub my back before bed at the new house?” “You won’t leave me behind, right guys?”

My heart breaks for him because I think he is worried instead of excited. It is understandable considering his age and I’ve looked up numerous tips and tricks for easing a toddler/preschooler into a move so I hope some of it is working. He is having a very hard time going to sleep lately and he’s started having numerous potty accidents which is very unlike him.

Keeping our boy at ease has been our biggest worry so far. All of the other stuff we will work out and is minuscule compared to making sure C transitions smoothly. I think back to when he had so switch daycares or even had to switch rooms in the daycare he was already familiar with! Those were both rough patches and I just wish we had a secret weapon to unleash that could help him instantly.

I know we’ll all get through this big life change and I can’t wait for the dust to settle. It really is a beautiful home and I can’t believe it will be ours by the end of this week!!! 

Have you ever moved from a place you loved to uncharted territory? Do you have any tips for easing your kids into a move?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the amazing men out there!

As for the men in my life... I've had the privilege of knowing one of my great-grandfathers, I have amazing grandfathers, uncles before they became fathers themselves, and a father-in-law that has welcomed me and been so kind to me from day one.

But the two that bring the most gravity for me on this great day for all things dad, are my father and my husband. My dad, the first man I ever loved. And my husband, the love of my life and my favorite person in the whole world.

 
To my Dad, for loving me unconditionally, for welcoming the man I fell in love with into our family, and for being the best Grandpa my kids could ask for.

To my husband who I love so much and who I thank my lucky stars that I get to share this journey of parenthood with you.

Happy Father's Day!

...and to anyone this day may be painful for, my thoughts are with you.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Currently...



Hi! Remember me?

::crickets::

Well for those of you still there (Hi Mom and Dad!), I wanted to stop in to say things at the new job are going great! Life is pretty crazy right now with said new job and being on the brink of first-time home ownership, but overall we are doing really good.

The kids are great, growing like weeds and I have so much to catch you all up on once I am able to resume a regular blogging routine again. Things like the joys of having two toddlers in the middle of two simultaneous tantrums chalk full of unbridled screaming and dramatics fit for a Telemundo soap opera!

I kid, I kid.

(not really)

But seriously, all is well in our world and although things are stressful and chaotic right now it is all thanks to really positive things.

As I mentioned before, I hope to resume a regular routine here very soon. You can't get rid of me that easy!

(credit)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Change

Last week was one for the record books! It was chalk full of first-time events, celebrations, etc. To sum it up for you it went a little something like this:


  • Little C stuck a rock in his nose and shoved that stony pebble to the point of being legitimately stuck. It happened at daycare and the director and teachers were able to use the methods they had on hand to get it out. We just shook our heads and were thankful it wasn't a more serious issue.
  • It was my birthday last Thursday so I am now 33. It is an obscure age to be but I suppose once you hit your thirties every age is obscure with the exception of milestones. I had a great day and I'm looking forward to an exciting year!
  • We put an offer on a house!!!!! With our current living situation we have to be out of our rental by the end of June. We had started looking at houses with a Realtor back in Feb. But then I lost my job in March and we thought our days of buying a home were done (at least for the foreseeable future). We were wrong! It took some getting creative but once our ducks were in a row we set out to look for a house last week knowing we had to find "the one" in order to close by our end of June deadline. We were skeptical and as we were driving to our last house of the day we were feeling discouraged until... We walked in the front door of the place we hope to make our own! It felt right and we could picture ourselves living there. It was too much to be true! We placed our offer later that night.
  • Our offer was accepted and we are officially under contract!!
  • I got a "new to me" car because the cherry on top of my pitiful unemployment cake was my car breaking down to the point of no return. Since I have a new job we can no longer function as a one car family which we had been doing for about a month. 
So did you catch all of that?!?! A parenthood right of passage with a nose/object incident, a birthday, a new house (assuming nothing goes wrong from here on out), a new car, and if that wasn't enough, I start my new job tomorrow. It's all so incredibly exciting and as you can imagine intensely overwhelming.

On paper it appears like things are finally going our way and looking up. But the live and in-color truth is that it has been a lot of hard work to get us to this point. We have saved and planned for being home owners for so long and to have it finally coming to fruition is really wonderful. I had my last job for seven years and worked hard to find myself now embarking on a new job focusing 100% on something I'm passionate about and I'm so eager to learn and soak it all up.

Currently I'm overwhelmed and anxious to the hilt and I want to hyperventilate or vomit at any given moment but I am also so incredibly thrilled for these major life changes. The next month is going to be crazy, no doubt. I need to take plenty of deep breaths and stay positive because seriously...


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Next Chapter Begins Here

It's been a really hard two months. Like, can't sleep, knots in my stomach, stress eating, crying, fuming, worrying, and digging so very deep to try and find something to smile or laugh about. It has been two months of putting on a tough front when I'm asked all the questions about my situation and straight up acting like I'm fine when, honestly? I'm so very not.

Or at least I wasn't. Things have changed and I have been offered a position at the company I was pursuing even before I lost my job. I am beyond excited and optimistic for the future. But before I jump up in the air and click my heels I wanted to finish this post that I started writing last week.

I've been coming to this space pretty consistently for the past two months and not able to write. I wanted to share all the details of my son's "How to Train Your Dragon" themed birthday party, I wanted to post a 15 month update for Baby Donut, I wanted to share pictures and thoughts of all the fun we've been having. But the truth is, it didn't feel fun. I have been very depressed and struggling with the day to day.

Being unemployed truly shook my ego and made me feel incredibly fragile. On top of that there was the way life as we knew it was altered by this new status. So many days and nights struggling to make difficult life decisions, balancing every penny, and asking the question "what are we going to do," and not having an answer to support it.

Every single thing was dependent upon when I got a job and not having any control over when it would happen was less than desirable. I would suit up and march out to every interview confident that I was the right candidate and desperate not to come off as, well... desperate.

Then there is the waiting. Oh, the waiting is brutal! If you've been in these shoes then you know. Each day that passes is torture as all your thoughts travel through the entire spectrum of emotion. First there's the "I got this" phase where you come out of the interview confident and patting yourself on the back. Then a couple days pass with no word on next steps and you enter the "oh, man... maybe I shouldn't have said that" phase. You start replaying every detail of the interview and wondering if you answered a question wrong or made a misstep at any point. Finally a full week since you met with anyone passes and now you are in the "well, I'll just kiss this opportunity goodbye" phase and you're sure you didn't get the job. And sometimes you don't, and that's that. But sometimes you get that lovely little email or phone call with your next steps which usually involves another interview with another extended period of time after which you don't hear from anyone and the cycle repeats.

And can we talk about the online application process?!?! It's a joke as you find a job description you know was created just for you, you apply, and within 24 hours you are told you are not a prime candidate and it is so clear you have just been lost in the abyss of other resumes not taken seriously. I'm telling you people... It's not what you know, it's who you know. Network, network, network.

Anyways, overall in the grand scheme of life everything that has transpired in the last two months isn't too catastrophic or tragic in the least bit. I know I need to keep everything in perspective and I even know I need to "suck it up" and deal better when life throws me a curve ball. 

Slowly but surely things are starting to look up. There is very much still in flux and still a great deal of stress swirling around us but the pieces to our chaotic puzzle are taking form and poised to come together. That is all I could ask for at this point. 

And just so you know... When asked the question "aren't you enjoying your time off?" I am done with the facades. No. I am not enjoying my time off. This "time off" couldn't have happened at a worse time. I have been a wreck and even though I've had some wonderful time with my children and my husband since being out of work it has been hard to be in the moment and truly appreciate it when every part of our future was in limbo and me getting a job was the number one solution to "fixing" it.

Now that the job piece has fallen into place I can finally use my remaining "time off" to enjoy the day to day more. We still have a lot to get figured out and I know we can do it. If these past two months have affirmed anything it is how strong my partnership with my husband is. We have really weathered this storm very well... together. We will weather many more I am sure of it, but let's hope not too soon.

Then there's our family, without them we could also not have made it through this time. Their support has been overwhelming and saying "thank you" will never be enough. My friends have reached out and been there for me and even the friends that live in my phone and computer whom I've never met were a huge support. I can't tell you how much everything has meant to me and to us.

Last, but never, ever, least... my therapist. There came a moment when I was so low and felt like every effort I was making to deal with all of this gracefully and not fall apart was in earnest, and I wasn't going to hold up well any longer. So I waved my white flag and I dialed up my life jacket. I was drowning no more and purged some much needed emotional baggage.

I'm so ready to be done with the lows and I'm eager and willing to live the highs! People kept telling me I was holding up well and doing a great job at getting through all of this. I'm not sure if that's true but I did get through it and I know that only being unemployed for two months is pretty good considering. I know there may be some of you out there who have gone longer or are dealing with more. But this has been my experience, my reality. I can only say "hang in there, it will get better" because I've been through it. But trust me, when you're in the middle of shit storm it is hard to feel optimistic.

Nevertheless, I made it. We made it. I'm starting a new job at a company I am super excited to be a part of and I'm progressing my career which I have worked very hard at.

The next chapter begins here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Whoa, Blackberry! (bam-ba-lam)

Okay, okay. I know those aren't the correct lyrics but it's just fun to sing regardless and it makes me smile. These days I'm trying to focus on anything and everything that makes me smile and keeps me feeling positive and upbeat. This recipe for Blackberry Pie Bars do just that!

They are the right balance of sweetness, tartness, and crunch from the crust. They are really easy to make, which they'd have to be for me to be able to successfully make them as we all know I'm not the best at baking. But I have to say the more I keep trying, the better my results have been! I actually made these for the first time last spring and summer and knew they would be a perfect addition to this year's Easter feast. Seriously, you will not be disappointed! 


Blackberry Pie Bars
Makes about 16-20 bars

Ingredients
For the crust and topping:
½ cups all-purpose flour¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of half a lemon
¾ cup (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold
For the filling: 
2 large eggs
1 cups sugar
½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt
6 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
15-16 oz. blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained of excess juices)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with foil and grease lightly.  In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Cut the butter into small cubes, then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Process in short pulses to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until only small pieces of butter remain and the mixture is crumbly.



Reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture for topping of the bars. Add the rest of the mixture to the prepared pan and press to form an even layer of crust on the bottom of the pan. Bake 12-15 minutes, until  light and press to form an even layer of crust on the bottom of the pan. Bake 12-15 minutes, until light golden. Let cool 10-15 minutes before proceeding.

In a medium bowl, make the filling mixture. Combine the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Gently stir in the blackberries with a spatula. Spread the filling mixture over the pre-baked crust in the baking pan. Crumble the reserved topping mixture, over the filling evenly.



Bake until the top is beginning to brown and the bars are just set, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Chill to firm up before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!




Sunday, April 20, 2014

Little C Turns Three!

At the end of March our Little C had his big 3rd birthday!

We had all the grandparents pitch in and help us put together his "big boy" room. He was very surprised and excited! Somehow we managed to keep him in his crib up until this point. He was very capable of climbing out, and had proved it a few times, but he was just so good about staying in there when he was supposed to. We really had a nice thing going but it was clear to us that he was ready for the big boy bed and we started to promise him one when he turned three.

Thanks to a number of Instagram photos from the beloved Mannly Mama, as well as a full post about "the bed," we went with the IKEA KURA reversible bed. It is perfect! And to go with the bed the grands also pitched in with the decor to go from his jungle themed nursery to a construction site big boy room.

Hubs and I got him a new bike and he is still trying to get the hang of it. I think the idea that he has to push the pedals and make it go instead of being pushed by us took a bit of getting used to.


The shin guards were also a gift from us because C started soccer last week and needed some gear. In case you were wondering... Soccer for 3 year olds IS as adorable as it sounds. And for his ill-fitted helmet, we have since replaced it with one that fits. Raise your hand if your 3 year old has to wear a helmet for 5+!!! Little C, big head.

The following day was his actual birthday and Hubs and I had a "Big City Adventure" planned for him. We took Baby D-Nut to daycare and had special one-on-one time with the birthday boy. It was a blast! Here are some highlights:

1 - The Denver Convention Center's 40ft "Big Blue Bear"




2 - City street exploring: It's a jungle out there, people!


3 - Cement climbing with Dad


4 - Hot Chocolate at the Brown Palace Hotel 



5 - Lunch at the historic Denver Diner and Milkshake for dessert!


We seriously had the best time and it is a memory my husband and I will cherish forever.  

You guys, I'm am LOVING 3! It is like over night he became such a big boy and any shred of "babyness" is very hard to find. If I accidentally refer to him as my baby boy he swiftly reminds me of his big boy status and insists he is no longer a baby. 

At least we still have Baby Donut to get our fix. Although, she's 15 months going on 3 years... which is a post in and of itself! 

Little C, keep living loudly, keep laughing genuinely and just keep being the tenacious, precarious little boy that you are. Your larger than life spirit and your tender heart are a force to behold. I love you, son. Here's to a great year three!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Current State of Umeployment

Here's the thing... I know it will all work out. I know when I look back on all of this it will have been worth it. I know there is a silver lining. I also know how fortunate I am to have such strong job prospects only a month into unemployment. I am grateful for the time I've had with my kids. I'm blessed to have the support and love from my husband and my family. I know all of this. 

But it's okay for me to say despite it all... this fucking sucks. It just does. I have good days and then I have very bad days where I feel aimless and like I don't "belong." I feel like a fraud at daycare drop off and pickup and I feel like a fraud at the park among the gaggles of SAHM's and their organized play groups. 

I still don't sleep very well because the weight of all my thoughts pushes down on me the most at night. Thoughts of how surreal it still is and thoughts of how it all went down. Thoughts of the future. You see, the bills don't stop their usual rotation for the unemployed. Crazy, right? Oh, and remember once upon a time when I mentioned we were looking to buy a new house? Well the funny thing about home lenders is that they frown upon giving loans out to the unemployed as well. 

On good days I'm happy and at peace with everything. After all, I wanted to leave where I was and already had the ball in motion. I also feel rejuvenated and ready to welcome the unknown. I work out as much as I can and I haven't been this sore in forever!

On bad days saying goodbye to seven years of my professional life can be really tough. On these days I'm kind of a mess not able to think clearly and emotional. Then, since I'm home I get bored and I want to eat all. the. things. Hence, the constant working out. ::shrugs shoulders:: On these days I'm getting by. 

It's not pretty but it's my truth and it's okay. I saw a quote recently:

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.  --Steve Furtick

I couldn't be more "behind-the-scenes" with my life right now if I tried. You know, the hardest part is that this isn't me. I work and I always have. I never took time off for spring breaks or summer breaks when I was younger. Whenever I'd get a new job I'd never have time in between to take a breather. I'd always end one on Friday and begin the other on Monday. I don't know what it is like to NOT be working.

I'm not really able to enjoy this time and I honestly don't think I can let myself enjoy it. Even though I worked really hard for the last seven years and learned how to juggle the demands as a key employee and a new mom, I still haven't given myself permission to enjoy having some down time to clear my head... perhaps I should try. 

There is a lot of gray in my unemployment story. But at least I am motivated and determined to come out of this situation better than when I entered it. It's this motivation that has me excited and eager to head into each interview instead of nervous and afraid. The determination I'm feeling fuels my intent of progressing my career and proving myself an asset to any future employer.

I may be in day-to-day mode as far as the "how are you holding up" question is concerned. But at least I'm holding up. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Everyday Inspiration

Last week was a much more positive week for me. I took the pep talk my husband gave me to heart, I started to shift my thought process and I made the decision to stop feeling sad.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

In fact, after I hugged the crap out of him I laced up my sneakers, cranked up my tunes and I walked my little heart out all over the neighborhood to clear my head and to shake off the stress, anger, sadness, fear of the unknown. I don't have it in me to be consumed by this any longer. There may be blips here and there because I'm human and because unemployment is a journey that I can't predict. So I will go with the flow while making every effort to stay positive and  motivated. 

Last week I searched for inspiration to keep me going. To keep my thoughts positive and to empower me. I read quotes, I read stories, blogs, and listen to a boat load of music that typically keeps me upbeat (and that allows me to get out all the anger - read: Rage Against the Machine). But to be honest it was the little things in my everyday life that really kept my spirits up!

My favorite coffee mug: On one side, "Life is Good" and on the other, "Do what you like. Like what you do." So I'm unemployed, it isn't going to be forever. I have worked really, really hard all these years and I am confident that I will find my career progressing and in a new position in no time. I have my family and my health so yeah... life is good. As for doing what I like and liking what I do, that is my mission with a new opportunity. I'm keeping this in mind with everything I consider applying for.


My practice: I had to wait for the right time for this one. Being alone with my thoughts has been hard up until last week. I dreaded bedtime because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep and shut my brain off. Same went for yoga. I've always enjoyed practicing yoga because of the mental clarity I get from it in addition to the physical benefits. But to be honest I was feeling too fragile to tap into that clarity because I was sick of crying and feeling down and I was sure that was the only thing I would do while meditating. I was wrong. It was just what I needed to drown out my negative thoughts and to just be.



My family: It is amazing how much support I have had from family and friends. Talk about motivation to stay positive and keep moving forward! Everyone from my parents, in-laws, BFF's and even my internet friends I've never met! It has been overwhelming and I can't thank everyone enough. Then there is my love. My husband. That man has been the most inspirational to me throughout this whole process. He let me be a puddle of goo to get it out of my system and then he knew just when to swoop in and lift my spirits while gently telling to snap out of it! 

And finally... my children. I've been able to spend more time with them since this all went down and it has been good for me. They are beyond all reason who I live and breathe for and they are inspirational to me like nothing else in my life. Their raw innocence and unconditional love keeps me moving forward and reminds me that I'm no good to them if i'm consuming my mind with negativity. 



In many ways my story is just getting started. Instead of filling my mind with worry and doubt I have shifted to embracing the unknown. Being unemployed is certainly not ideal but I need to look at this time as a gift. I am able to focus 100% on my next career move which I was not able to do before. This isn't how I pictured things playing out but that's life isn't it? I was going to make a change this year any way and now it's just happening in a differently than I thought. Guess what? I can't control everything. Same with you? Funny how we have to be reminded of that from time-to-time. Amiright???

I thought of another Great Grandma Pearl gem, "is that bump in the road a stumbling block or a stepping stone?" The choice is up to you. After all, life is a series of choices and you may not always be able to control the outcome but the ability to choose your outlook and direction is a powerful thing.

Onward...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Opportunity, are you there? It's me... Kendra.

It's been a week.

I have been on an emotional roller coaster having moments of clarity and purpose followed by doubt and sadness. Trouble with the latter is that I am a very emotional and sensitive person and at times I tend to fall too deeply into the sadness part.

Thankfully I have learned over the years how to take a mental inventory when this starts to happen and take some time to "snap out of it," so to speak. It isn't easy, in fact pulling myself up from the darkness has always been hard for me.

Yesterday I had a moment of weakness. I arrived as guest of honor to my pity party for one and I did it right. I got out some serious emotion and I cried to the point of those gaspy sobs that shorten your breath. It wasn't pretty people.

After the dramatics subsided Hubs came to talk with me. He calmed me down by walking me through the reality of why I'm here. He validated my right to feel sad but he reminded me of all the reasons I have to feel positive about where I am. For me, and I'm sure countless others who have been in this position before, it is hard to not have a choice about something and have someone else dictate a life change to you instead of it being on your own terms.

I made no bones about wanting to progress my career this year, so making a change at some point with inevitable. I just never anticipated it to happen this way. ::sigh::

Such is life.

Then Hubs gave me the pep talk to end all pep talks. He told me it's time to draw a line in the sand and make the pivotal choice to let the emotion consume me or to admit it sucks something awful but rise above and make these crummy circumstances into opportunity. He truly said it way better than this but I've given you the gist here.

Basically, as he was talking my tears dried up, I started rise up from my wallowing spot, and I felt 50 shades of inspired. I wanted to suit up in my best gray sweats while my husbands speech played in the background along with the Rocky theme song (of course) as I mounted a flight of stairs all the way to the top of our capital building, bobbing and weaving and punching the crap out of the air.


I choose to put the past behind me and focus on my future. Admittedly it may not always be easy. Seven years of my life is not just a small span of time. But my future awaits and even though I'm on a journey of unknowns and hurdles, it doesn't matter. It will work out, this will pass and I'm going to be so much better for it!

Opportunity, are you there? It's me... Kendra. I'm coming to gettcha!

But before that, BRB

 ::laces up black chucks then starts in with the air punches::



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thoughts

I jolted awake at a ridiculous hour this morning after a restless night complete with tossing and turning. My thoughts dialed up demanding space in my weary head. One thought right after another preventing me from dosing back to sleep in my warm, oh-so-lovely bed.

The house was completely dark, Hubs breathing heavily next to me, and my cats adhered to various spots along my body like velcro. Baby Donut is under the weather and her sweet little sick girl moans sporadically lit up the baby monitor for a few blips then she was back to sleep.

I just laid on my back with eyes wide open staring at a pitch black ceiling I could barely see thanks to the green glow of my digital alarm clock. I laid there and I thought all the thoughts. The worries, the what ifs, the how did I get here, the fear of the unknown. A few positive thoughts poked their way through the stress and, to be quite honest, the sadness.

After numerous failed attempts and shutting my brain off and getting back to sleep I sighed deeply and made my way downstairs. Now what?

Now, I dive into this computer, I network, I call, I write. All in an effort to find my new beginning. I want to find it quickly in order to silence the worries and what ifs. I want to stay diligent and focused to turn the unknown into what it was meant to be all along. I know there is a reason I've found myself here and I can't wait for the ah-ha moment that it becomes clear.

Until then my thoughts will continue to grab hold of my conscience whenever they see fit. They might bring me down here and there but I will fight to keep them positive and motivated. I won't be in this gray area for long.

So this is unemployment.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm here...

I'm currently in the middle of life. Life that is exciting, unexpected, and scary all at the same time. I'm in the middle of a beautiful life with two fun and adorable children that I love so much it hurts. Life with my supportive partner and the man I love desperately.

I'm here. I've been quiet on the blog for many reasons and I just wanted to pop in and let the tens of you that read this space in my life know that I'm not going to stop, I just needed some silence. 

Life has us continually looking to buy our first home. We are busy as can be hunting for "the one" and purging and cleaning our current house in preparation. Exciting for sure!

Life has sent a new job my husbands way and I couldn't be prouder of him. He works so hard and this opportunity is really going to allow his talents to shine! 

Life has us weeks away from my son's 3rd birthday. Can you believe it? I sure can't! We have a fun dragon party in the works for him. Dragons are currently his whole world. It's pretty darn cute.

Life is a baby girl who is a full-on toddler now! She blossoms with each new day and it is so amazing to witness. 

And then life sent me a box. A box waiting for me on my desk when I got to work this morning. A box that forced me to pack up my work life within it's cardboard frame and symbolized I'd be on my way out.

Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls when you least expect them.

With the box in my arms as I left the office this morning, a building acquaintance noticed I was walking out and said "Kendra, you're going the wrong way."

I looked up at the sun-filled sky and positively replied back "No. I'm going the right way."

I sincerely believe that.