Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What The Thread Means to Me.

There is a group of four women. Four uniquely individual women united in friendship and bound by solidarity. They have distinct strengths that make them warriors and admitted flaws that make them beautifully human.

They are for each other what every woman out there needs. A sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, an honest critic, a motivator... among other things. They are a sisterhood fueled by inside jokes and inappropriate humor but more importantly a cohesiveness bore from respect and adoration for one another.

They are, The Thread.

I first became acquainted with this enchanting group of gals back in 2012 when I started blogging. I found Brandy's blog (Mannly Mama) first and from there started to read the other ladies blogs. Initially I enjoyed reading their posts because they are all working moms like myself. But then there was something more about all of them that drew me in. Like the cool kid in class you gravitate toward because they are exciting and all the things you want to be but feel less-than most of the time.

Through eloquence, humor, or just raw real life, The Thread shares the types of things that have you nodding your head as you read because you can relate or even have you literally LOL-ing at their stories. I've learned so much from these women and I hope they know the positive impact they have on the world around them.

That might seem exaggerated but if the four of them found each other across the US and across country boarders through the power of Social Media, then the impact that the four of them have on others is also just as powerful.

From the The Thread I've learned parenting and marriage tips, the importance of being your authentic self, and even that an IUD could go missing... in your body... and have to be surgically removed. I've learned that self-confidence is beautiful and so is wearing your flaws like a badge and not giving two fucks about it.

I've gained style inspiration from Alicia thanks to her daily #officefashionshow. Plus, the way she writes, digesting her thoughts in a manner so impassioned and thought-provoking, I am just in awe of her many talents. To me she comes across as a free spirit and raising three simply delicious little girls she is clearly encouraging their authentic selves to shine as brightly as hers.

I feel I can relate very much to Kat. A "people pleaser" and ray of sunshine with an unexpected dirty sense of humor. She wrote a post called, "I always thought there'd be three" and I literally had tears streaming down my face as I held my newborn daughter in my arms trying to make heads or tails of my own child-rearing future. Then I shrieked with excitement when she announced she was pregnant with her third and quickly empathized when she admitted it was a surprise. ::raises hand:: Been there. Oh and the girl's physique?!?! fuhgettaboutit. Those Barre classes are working, sista!

Brandee is the one out of the four that I've watched from afar. We haven't had too much interaction but I've read her blog for a while. In fact, when my daughter was born I would be nursing her in the wee hours of the night and Brandee would be blowing up the twitter feeds entertaining me with dialogues on her secondary infertility. I read tweets that used humor (they were pretty darn funny) to mask the pain she was feeling. I wanted so badly to reach through the phone and just give her a hug. Not the "it will get better hug" that no one wants when it doesn't feel like things will get better, but more of the "this fucking sucks" hug that you need when something in your life just fucking sucks. When I read her announcement that she was pregnant with the infamous #sciencebaby, I welled up and wanted to then give her a congratulatory hug! It was from her posts that I learned what secondary infertility was and I can only imagine the immense help her information was for other couples struggling the same as her.

Lastly, my girl Brandy. Her humor and go-with-the-flow approach to parenting and life in general was so refreshing. She cusses like a sailor and drinks whiskey like a boss! Clearly a girl after my own heart! I slowly started to engage in some "offline" discussions with her on topics that I hadn't even talked about with my closest friends. She was always open to chat and her advice was always on point. It's hard for me to put into words how Brandy has impacted me. She puts herself out there so unaplogetically, so fearlessly in a way that a modest, insecure gal like myself admires so much. In fact, she doesn't know it (until now) she's inspired me to make some shifts within myself toward a more confident way of being. She is a breathe of fresh air and a rare gem.

The Thread is making their annual pilgrimage of friendship to Denver this week. So I will have the chance to meet them face-to-face for brunch. You guys!!! Did you hear that? I get to crash The Thread's party and do my best not to be a total buffoon around them. I wanted to share all of this here instead of in person because... AWK-ward.

So there you have it. The Thread. If you didn't know about them before, ya welcome. If you knew them already and are totally jealous of the fact that I get to meet them in person on Saturday, you should be. ;) They are four of the most badass women out there and all of us should be so lucky to have a Thread-like crew in our own lives.

Hat's off to you ladies! Here's to friendship!

And whiskey.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July Goals (better late than never)

**The above photo is brought to you by beach withdrawals. The struggle is real. 

I fell off the goal wagon in June. I was still actively working out and taking care of business, I just didn't post anything at the beginning of the month. June was busy at home and at work. Then we were on vacation the first week of July and alas, here it is July 15th and I'm just now posting my goals!

I'll recap where I last left off and report on how May ended up:

1) Schedule my Series 6 class - DONE! It's currently set for 8/10 which I'm starting to feel was a bit ambitious and I'm scared and stressed and wanting to push it back one more month. But then I think I should just soldier on and get this darn thing over with.

2) Lose 5 lbs. - DONE! By the end of May I had hit this goal. But I'm certain after vacation I'm starting back from scratch with that one. :( I haven't weighed myself and I'm too scared to at this point.

3) Do 10 sets on each side of side plank with a leg raise - NOPE. These moves really allude me. I'm not sure why because my strength all around has been improving greatly. I'm not going to give up though!

On to July! Since there are only two weeks left they might be a bit light this month. I'll kick it up a notch in August. So here we go:

1) Post next month's goals on time. ;)

2) Do 10 sets on each side of side plank with a leg raise.

3) Do 20 push ups (not on knees and with good form). I had a goal a couple months back to hit 10 solid push ups, which I accomplished, and now I try to do a set every time I work out. The other day I did 12 so I know I just need a goal like this to push me farther.

So that's all for now. Seems simple but as my arms tremble and the sweat beats down from my face, I'll want to take these "simple" goals and give them the ole heave-ho! Also, on a side note, I plan on doing a post about how my workouts have been going. Since starting these monthly goals back in January I have really come a long way and I'm pretty darn proud of myself! I still have plenty of work to put in before I hit my ultimate goal but I have to say, finally seeing results has been very motivating.

What are your goals for the month? Are you on a fitness mission yourself? How is it going?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Vaction Recap

We made it! Our first family vacation to Jacksonville, FL was a great success and we all had a wonderful time! I'm still having beach withdrawals. ;)

We played in the ocean and on the beach, ate great food, spent time with extended family and enjoyed a lovely wedding for my mother-in-law. Hubs and I were even able to sneak away a couple of times thanks to the help of family members who watched the kids for us. 

I do have this to say about our first trip with small children... it was exhausting. Even though we did get some alone time it was minimal and we were in full-on parent mode the entire time. I wasn't expecting it any differently it was just not the same relaxing vacations of our childless past. Plus the kids were super wired and excited from all the stimulation and different environment. They got away with much more than they would have at home and stayed up much later than they would have at home. But hey, that's what vacations are for! 

As far as highlights go? There are many but the top of my list revolved around the kids. Little C's expression when he saw the ocean for the first time. The way Lil Miss Mayhem would run toward, then quickly away from the movement of the tide. Their laughter as the waves almost knocked them over. It was so much fun to experience everything through the eyes of our little munchkins. 

Another highlight was one afternoon while the kids napped, Hubs and I rode a couple of beach cruisers to the Town Center for lunch and adult beverages. It was a last minute getaway and we had a really nice time. I love riding beach cruisers and just being totally relaxed. The ocean/beach environment has such a calming effect, don't you think? We went to The Flying Iguana Taqueria and Tequila Bar. The bartender gave us the best tequila we've ever tasted! 

The wedding was the whole reason we were on this trip to begin with and being there with family to celebrate the happy couple was so great. I'm very happy for my mother-in-law. She's starting a whole new chapter of her life and I can't wait to see where it takes her. 

I will look forward to going back to Jacksonville and now that we've got our first vacation with kids under our belts, I'm also starting to think of where else we can go! Can't wait to make more memories!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Vacation is Calling

T minus one day. ONE DAY!

We are leaving for our first family vacation tomorrow afternoon. I can't remember the last time Hubs and I went on a trip... Was it to Mexico eight years ago??? To date the only bags the kids have needed packed were for an overnight at the grandparents.

Tomorrow we're off to Jacksonville, FL for fun, sun, beach, and a wedding. My lovely mother-in-law is getting married and we all couldn't be happier for her. There will be a few wedding related events but for the most part we get to do our own thing and truly unplug and relax. Because that's what you can do while traveling with a 4 and 2.5 year old, right? It's super duper relaxing and you get to lay on the beach, uninterrupted and read a good book, party hardy at night and sleep in extra late in the morning, right? Right???

Lie to me. Please.

I kid. I'm really very excited to make memories with my little family. Splashing in the ocean, playing in the sand, and just soaking up all of the smiles and giggles along the way. I'm sure Hubs and I will get some time to ourselves thanks to all the family that will be there with us, but aside from that, experiencing a new place with the kids will be so much fun!

As you know, Little C is quite the ocean animal aficionado and has been asking all kinds of ocean related questions about FL. The poor little guy has no frame of reference of what the ocean/beach experience is like. I have a feeling that he thinks we'll be walking into an animal kingdom where whales, sharks, manta rays, etc. will be up close and personal. He keeps saying, "I don't have to swim in the ocean, do I?" We keep showing him beach photos and doing our best to explain things to him but I know once he see's it for himself he'll be okay. We can sense some minor anxiety which is par for the course with C so I really can't wait to just get there and put him at ease.

As for Lil Miss... she's just going with the flow. I'm most worried about her sitting still on the airplane because she maxes out at about 20 minutes before she must move around. In fact flying with the kids is what I'm experiencing anxiety over because I just don't know what to expect and I keep playing varying scenarios in my head. I wonder where Little C gets it from?

We'll all be just fine and I can't wait to be there as our kids see the ocean for the first time! I get giddy just thinking about it! When you live in a landlocked state like we do, the ocean is a big deal!

So come five o'clock you'll have to excuse me when I leave the office like this...

Florida, here we come!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Are You Sick, Mama?

I'm home sick with a stomach bug that struck me in the middle of the night. It was gut-wrenchingly awful and there was no way I could make it into work this morning. So I did what I could to help get the kids ready for the day and while we were waiting for Hubs to get himself ready for daycare drop off I slumped down on the couch while the kids ate their morning granola bars.

"Are you sick, mama?" My daughter asked with a very concerned look on her face. I told her I had a tummy ache. She picked up her sippy cup and offered me a drink. When I said "no thank you," she then lifted up her granola bar and asked if I wanted a bite to feel better. I once again declined her adorable offer and then she decided to sit down next to me on the couch.

Meanwhile my son already sitting on the couch with me said through bites of his granola bar, "you know, mom... if your tummy hurts you should really be gluten free like me." "You should have a gluten free lunch today, it will make you feel better." I smiled through the stomach cramps and told him what a good idea that was.

And if my heart wasn't swollen enough, my daughter began to rub my back and tell me to feel better. She even started to brush my hair resting on my shoulder gently back behind my ear.

These kids.

These wonderful, darling little human beings. How did we get so lucky to call them ours? Their personalities are so very unique and different, yet they share the same sweetness and thoughtfulness. I don't know if we have any business taking credit as parents for this trait or if this is simply the fiber of their make up. But either way... I am so damn proud of my kids.

At the very young ages of only 4 and 2 they are smart, show signs of coordination and athleticism, they have a sense of humor and if my encounter today was any evidence at all, they are also good people.

I write all of this to not be braggadocious, after all everyone's kids are special and we could all write posts like this every day. I wrote this as a time capsule of sorts to capture a moment that filled my heart with so much happiness. I've been replaying it in my head all day and can't wipe the silly grin from my face. That is, when I'm not feeling like crap... stomach bug you can kindly be done now, thanks.

Oh, Little C and Lil Miss Mayhem, thanks for making your mama feel better!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up: Mother's Day edition

This weekend was a good one! We enjoyed celebrating our wonderful mothers and I was able to have a super relaxing Sunday afternoon/evening.

It all started on Saturday morning. We went out for breakfast with my mother-in-law, Hubs siblings and the kids. The restaurant had a train track mounted near the ceiling and a train circled overhead. The kids got a huge kick out of that! 

At one point Little C asked for more sausage and I knew Little Miss wasn't going to eat all of hers so I snatched a link from her plate and gave it to her brother. Her reaction to this was priceless and luckily I was able to snap a quick pic of her dramatic displeasure. Of course, we all thought it was adorable and couldn't help but laugh. The baby sister struggle is real. ;)

After breakfast we went bowling which was a perfect activity for all ages. I miraculously won the first game between the adults and Hubs won the second game. It was marital domination! ha!

Saturday night we hunkered in for a family movie. We chose Frozen which was very apropos for that night as snow was falling at a fast and furious rate. We even had the fireplace on in MAY! Alright, Colorado. Please stop. Thank you.

On Sunday after sleeping in, I woke up to fresh coffee, cinnamon rolls, homemade omelet a la Hubs and a beautiful bouquet of flowers and cards. I loved every bit of it! Or should I say, every bite of it! ::snort::

After brehkie we met my mom and brother at Tagawa Gardens. It is a giant greenhouse and every year  for Mother's Day they have a huge open house event with live music. The kids loved helping their Mopsi pick out flowers and they even enjoyed listening to the music. It was a really fun calypso-type band and you couldn't help tap your feet to the beat. The only thing missing was my dad who is still recovering from knee replacement surgery. :( But as soon as we finished at the greenhouse, we went back to my parents house for burgers and dessert and to visit with Popsi.

The rest of Sunday was very relaxing thanks to two wiped out kiddos who took long naps, and some catching up with House of Cards on Netflix. Hubs had grand plans of making my requested dinner of choice but after a long day/weekend I requested that we just relax and order pizza instead. It was perfect! 

Finally, after our supper easy dinner we opted for a family movie on Netflix that we knew Little C would love. Hubs and I devoured Planet Earth when it first came out and since C is so into animals we've been waiting for the best opportunity to share it with him. We started with Oceans because our animal lover's current obsession is sea creatures. When the show cut to a dolphin playfully riding a wave then bursting out of the water in delight, C exclaimed, "this is AWESOME!!" It was music to our ears.

The weekend was a blessing for sure! I loved celebrating with the two women that make our world go 'round and above all, I loved celebrating motherhood. It's not always easy but man is it worth it. The love I have for my children could move mountains and I definitely hit the jackpot with these two nuggets! 

I hope all the mamas out there had a great Mother's Day! What did you do to celebrate?

Friday, May 8, 2015

An Essay for Mom

My mom. A true original yet she embodies all of the lovely adjectives commonly used to describe mothers. Beautiful, strong, selfless, kind, funny. She taught countless life lessons and instilled the importance of common sense into my brother and I. She was a working mom doing her best to make ends meet, balancing the checkbook down to a frightful number but still managing to have food in our bellies and allowing us to want for nothing.

She was goofy and silly regardless of exaggerated eye rolls from her too cool for school spawn. She endured many a difficult conversation as we asked all of life's burning questions and she was always up for a chat. She was at every game, recital, concert or competition.

She weathered the storm of a self-involved, know-it-all teenager followed by a distant 20 something coming home from college to see her boyfriend instead of her family. Then she welcomed the aforementioned boyfriend into the family as he asked for her daughter's hand in marriage.

She sat in a waiting room in the middle of the night eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. From that moment on she became a beautiful, strong, selfless, kind and funny grandmother.

Oh, and side note! Speaking of grandmother... The woman hasn't aged a bit! No seriously, I'm not sure she know this, but I look at her and think to myself  "what is her secret?" How does her skin look so great? Where are her wrinkles? Can it be that simply being her daughter will grant me the same fortune??? (then I look in the mirror and answer my own question there... nope). ::le sigh::

My mom is the most generous person I know never asking for anything in return. Her far reaching kindness pours over to not only her family, but everyone who's lucky to know her.

It's amazing how our relationship has changed over the years. As the first-born I've done my best to be independent and do things my own way. I didn't always welcome advise because I took it as criticism even if my mother's heart was in the right place. I've been close with my mom but from a safe distance, still remaining pretty guarded when it comes to the things I share with her.

It could have been by my design that we've kept our distance or perhaps she has kept it that way herself, but whatever we constructed in our past, I feel strongly that we're changing and molding a different relationship today. In a weird way I feel like I'm starting to really get to know my mom. Of course, I've always known she's all of the things I've mentioned here and recently we're talking and sharing more than we ever have. I'm seeing not only the lovable and stoic sides of her but the fragile and vulnerable ones as well.

A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves in her kitchen on a solemn, rainy day, opening up to one another. I not only grew a deeper appreciation for the woman standing in front of me, but I also grew a deeper understanding of her. It's an absolute fact that the two of us have had some epic mother/daughter battles but regardless of how angry or mad we'd leave there was no doubt that the love we had for one another was there.

As I think back on my childhood all the way through to today, the one thing that has been consistent and unwavering is my mother's love. There is truly nothing better in this world than to feel loved. Amiright?!?

I'm grateful for my mother and the relationship we're forming. We're oil and water yet two peas in a pod all at the same time. But that's our mother/daughter story and I look forward to seeing where it takes us next.

This Mother's Day I want nothing more than for her to know she's appreciated, celebrated and above all... loved.

Mom (Mopsi Rosie),

Simply saying thank you is never enough but it is what I offer here. You are an amazing mother and grandmother and the nucleus our family needs. Enjoy this day set aside for mothers and know that you're doing a great job. 

I love you. Always have, always will.

Your girl,

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May Goals

I can't believe it's May already! It is probably my favorite month of all. The fact that it's my birthday month miiiiiight have something to do with it. ;)

May is also the busiest month it seems. Mother's Day, graduations, Little C friend birthday parties, my birthday, my mom's birthday, Memorial Day and our wedding anniversary! So much to celebrate!

I did pretty darn good with last month's goals. I still have not had a month where I've hit everything I set out to do but I'm still enjoying this monthly exercise. Here's the recap:

1) Win the Step Up Challenge:
I had mentioned that a group of us at work created a stair challenge for the month of April. It was a point system and whoever had the most points by the end of the month won. I wanted to win so very badly and I really tried hard, but there was one guy that just made it impossible. So alas, I came in second place. I'm still pretty darn proud because I had to work very hard to stay in the lead. Turns out we are a very competitive bunch and the challenge took on a whole new, and in my opinion, ridiculous level. We were doing so many stairs in a day that we'd be sitting at our desks sweating which is really not pleasant in work clothes! Not to mention we'd be doing all these stairs in between getting work done. It honestly was exhausting and we were all glad to see the month end. There's already talk of starting up another challenge but we will definitely have to amend the rules and point structure.

2) Schedule my Series 6 class: This did not happen but not because of my efforts. I had to wait for my boss to confirm with his boss on how I'm supposed to get this class paid for. I was just told yesterday how to go about it and I had asked at the beginning of April. Oh well, on to May's goals with this one!

3) Do 10 real push ups: Not on my kneesno stopping and with good form. DONE!!! You are going to have to take my word on this one but I promise I can now do 10 "real" push ups. At the beginning of April I would have to stop at 4. FOUR! But I stayed diligent and by the third week I was up to 8 and it wasn't until the last week that I hit 10! My strength is really improving thanks to my workouts and I loved having a goal like this to measure progress.

4) Spring clean the back yard: The goal here was to remove all the dead "stuff" and clean up our space. DONE! However, I have to give 90% of the credit to Hubs on this one. He did almost all of the heavy lifting but I did help out some. Regardless it is done and now I'm looking forward planting!

Now on to May!

1) Schedule my Series 6 class: If this is not done by the end of this month, I am the world's biggest failure. 

2) Lose 5 lbs. - It's crunch time, people. Our trip to the beach is only two months away and while I'm making steady progress I still feel far from where I want to be. At this point I feel it's all diet related so I'm really going to focus on healthier eating habits.

3) Do ten sets on each side of these moves:


I'm not sure if I'm lacking the arm strength or the core strength for these side planks, but they are very difficult for me. They look so simple but I really do struggle with getting through them in my routines. I haven't hit 10 on each side, I'm probably at 3-4. Plus all the other planking I'm doing leaves my wrists pretty shot. Anyone know a way to strengthen wrists? 

What are your goals for the month? Is May a busy month for you as well?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Parenthood Rite of Passage

Last night as I was reading Little C his beloved Creature Report, he asked me a question about whale babies. He wanted to know if the mommy whale lays eggs or not. We went through the whole "whales are mammals" thing and naturally this evoked even more questions...

His curious mind led him to think of his own birth and the following dialogue took place:

C: When I was in your tummy did I come out of your mouth?

Me: Ummm, no.

C: Oh, so did the doctor use special tools to cut open your tummy and that's how I came out? (He brought up the cutting open and special tools part because he just learned about his Grandpa's knee replacement surgery and it was all fresh in his mind)

Me: No. You weren't cut out of my tummy.

C: So then where did I come out of?

I became hot and uncomfortable and I paused and had an entire conversation with myself in my head on how to handle this situation before it happened... I told him. I simply just told him the part of human anatomy that he was born from.

He repeated it back to me in the form of a question just to make sure he heard right and when I confirmed it I was certain there'd be more questioning. Instead he promptly turned his attention back to his favorite read and started sharing with me all the facts about leatherback sea turtles. The whole thing was over just as fast as it started.

I share this story because in a way I'm very glad it happened. I wasn't at all prepared for it but it was a parenthood rite of passage that I think I handled to the best of my ability. It wasn't a big deal and it was the truth. And if he takes nothing else away from our conversation I hope it resonated with him that he can ask me anything and trust he'll get a straight answer.

But more than anything... I hope he doesn't have a new topic of discussion at preschool today! Ha!

Monday, April 13, 2015

April Goals

Who's ready to crush their April goals? I'm feeling super pumped and motivated!

Let's recap March, shall we?
  1. Lose 5 lbs. - Nope. Didn't do it. Maintained my current state like a boss and I know my body is changing because my clothes feel looser. In fact, I put on a pair of pants a size smaller than I usually wear and they fit perfectly! But alas, no significant weight loss. :(
  2. Exercise at least 3 times per week - DONE!
  3. Develop a study calendar for Series 6 materials by 3/9 - I abandoned this plan and decided to schedule my class and use that as a deadline for getting through the studying. I've made contact with the right people to get me set up and I'll adjust this goal when I know more. 
  4. Take the stairs at work every day - DONE! For the entire month of March I took the stairs instead of the elevator. I did not skip a day!
Now on to April!
  1. Win the Step Up Challenge: So a group of us at work created a stair challenge for the month of April. Basically it's a point system where going up two flights = 1 pt, from the basement to fourth floor = 2pts, etc. Whoever has the most points by the end of the month wins. So far I'm ahead by one point and really, really want to win. It has been a great addition to my workouts so at the very least I'm moving all throughout the day.
  2. Schedule my Series 6 class: Seriously. Just do it, Kendra.
  3. Do 10 real push ups: Not on my knees, no stopping and with good form. I will have Hubs record me for proof!
  4. Spring clean the back yard: There is so much to do but honestly, this is kind of exciting for us! As first time homeowners we get to call the shots and we've been enjoying discussions on how we want the yard to look. But first things first... remove all the dead "stuff" and clean up our space!
What are your goals for the month?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The big FOUR!

Little C,

Happy Birthday to my best boy! I can't believe you are four now. Actually, that's not true... the other day your Dad and I were chatting about you and we both agreed how much you have changed in the past few months. Not only do we notice how much taller and bigger you are getting, but your conversations and your behavior seem very "four-like." I hope that makes sense. ;)

Anyway, your Dad and I are so stinking proud of you! You have so many noble qualities which we truly admire. You are very empathetic and considerate of others feelings. You are generous and kind. You are also extremely good at expressing how you feel verbally. I believe this to be an impressive trait which you developed at a very young age. Some may call it sensitive and as the outside world begins to impress upon you their own ideas of how little boys are "supposed" to act and feel, I hope you don't lose sight of all the characteristics I just mentioned. Your empathy and kindness are not boy or girl qualities, they are human qualities that most people lose sight of as they get older and suppress who they really are for the sake of fitting in. My hope for you is that you remain your authentic self as you continue to grow and don't lose sight of the sweet little boy that you have always been.

But aside from all of that (I think by now we know where you get your talkative nature from), you are also one tough cookie! Still a calculated risk taker but every time you get nervous or don't think you can do something, you always go through with it anyway and learn that you could do it all along! You love sports and currently soccer is what you enjoy playing the most. Your skills have come a long way since you started at 2 1/2.

You thirst for knowledge and have really taken to reading books filled with facts and tidbits about animals. All animals. All the time. You want to know everything about them and I'm always impressed by how much you retain what you learn.

Your favorite food is pizza. Favorite snacks are grapes. Favorite shows are currently Octonauts (mostly because you are on an ocean animal kick) as well as The Croods. You still are very attached to your white blanket and your monkey lovie, both of which you've had since your newborn days.

You love your little sister so much and always come up with fun new games for the both of you to play. Of course, you do get weary of her typical little sis antics but as I mentioned before, you are great at letting us know when you need a break and some alone time. You retreat to your room to play, read or watch a show on the portable DVD. My point of sharing this is that I appreciate your ability to know when you just need to be by yourself for a bit. I admire that and I love how before long, you're right back down with the family ready for action.

You are super friendly and every day at school people, young and old, are eager to say hello to you. Your Dad said it best that walking through the halls of school with you is like walking next to a little Politician! People gravitate to your charisma and personality like a whale gravitates toward krill! ;)

Bottom line, I could go on and on with more reasons why I love you. Every so often you look up at me with your giant chestnut brown eyes, your contagious happy smile, while you're having a conversation with me and I feel something inside that I just can't describe. The best way I can try to explain it is a sense of disbelief that I am your mother. Your father and I are simply blessed to even know you, let alone call you ours.

Happy 4th Birthday, my son!
We love you to pieces.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I told Little C he wasn't a rock star...

Last night at dinner our two year old did exceptionally well at eating everything on her plate. She willingly tried a new type of chicken, that I don't think the kids had before, and asked for seconds. She ate almost all of her broccoli, devoured her rice and polished off her applesauce. She had good manners and great behavior, earning her dessert.

Little C struggled. He didn't care for the chicken, but tried it any way. He ate some applesauce and licked a broccoli floret claiming that was his way of trying it. We had to urge him to eat the whole time and remind him of good table manners. He actually ended up pulling through and eating most of his plate earning him dessert as well.

I gave the kids their cookie and proclaimed to Little Miss that she was a rock star! I praised her good behavior and the fact that she ate her dinner so well and even tried new things. That's when a very disappointed Little C asked in a tiny voice, "what about me? Am I a rock star too?"

I told him "no." I explained why Sis was a rock star and that it didn't mean he wasn't awesome himself, it just meant he needs to have better behavior to get the "rock star status" next time. I let him know what we expect and that his sister just happened to knock it out of the park on this particular day.

The situation was over as fast as it started and we all went about our business. But then my mama guilt set in and I started to think about the concept of giving praise to one sibling when the other is right there and won't be receiving the same props. Is it acceptable? Is it confusing for the kids? Does it foster sibling rivalry in a good or bad way? Did I handle the situation appropriately or is there a more constructive way to let one kid know they nailed it and the other has some work to do?

Of course both of my kids are rock stars but it's just the reality that at times one demonstrates better behavior than the other. Sometimes they're both on point and other times they are trouble as a team. It's hit or miss and you never know what you're going to get. Regardless, I'm eager to know what the best course of communication is in this case.

I plan on doing some reading on the topic and will report back what I find. But I thought I'd also throw it out to you. Have you been faced with this same issue? Are there any good resources I should reference to help shed light on this topic? I'd love your feedback!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky day

My morning started off pretty rocky but it all turned around while I was working out over my lunch break. I had my playlist on shuffle and it put together the perfect mix for me! I love it when that happens. I had a great workout and felt really accomplished and strong. My mood did a complete 180 and I was feeling great!

I'm not sure where it came from but I thought to myself while sweating it out on the elliptical, that it would be a true sign of a happy-go-lucky day, and a bit ironic on St. Pat's, if I were to find a penny on the floor somewhere. And wouldn't you know...

I kid you not! I couldn't believe my eyes when I stumbled upon this copper beauty. It was a tiny little symbol from the universe that I need to cheer up and be happy. My rough morning felt like a distant memory and I'm now feeling festive and fun. I can't wait to go home to my little family had have a (hopefully) peaceful and enjoyable evening. You can never be too sure what you're in for with a four and two year old. Ha!

Anyway, I hope you all have a fun and festive St. Patrick's Day and maybe there's some luck from the universe headed your way as well.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Full circle

A year ago today, I wrote this post. I cannot believe that it has been a full year since I lost my last job.

I have this to say about the whole ordeal... it changed me. Plain and simple. I'm a completely different person today than I was a year ago. The whole experience taught me how naive and clueless I was about life outside of my tiny "work bubble" that I had become so comfortable in for seven long years.

The way it went down does haunt me from time-to-time. I have dreams about the past... the position, the people. It definitely still fills some negative space in my head and I'm hopeful that the farther down my new path I go, the more and more the hurtful parts will fade.

I have grown more confident coming out of this experience. More confident in my own skin and more willing to be my authentic self in the workplace. I'm also loving being a little sponge soaking up as much knowledge as I can. My current role is exciting and challenging and I'm having to overcome hurdles in creative and collaborative ways. I have a new mentor who I absolutely love and cherish, I get to workout on my lunch breaks, I get to attend Women in Business lunches and the networking potential here is huge!

I've been able to put my name on some really great projects and I can clearly see opportunities for growth and advancement where I am today. I'm thriving. I said goodbye to a place that was suffocating and negative and I now find myself with a renewed energy and love of what I do.

Being unemployed was the most humbling experience of my life. Even a year later I'm reminded of it constantly as we financially get back on our feet from it all. But we're close. Man, are we close.

The future is looking good and I can't wait to see where my journey will take me next!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Anecdotal Little C

Last night as I read a bedtime story to Little C, I read a line that referred to "litter bugs." Naturally his almost-four-year-old little brain started thinking about what a litter bug was.

C: I don't like litter bugs! They are really, really mean. If I see one I'm going to squash it or run away...

::pause for reflection::

C: Mom, what does a litter bug even look like?

Me: Actually, a litter bug isn't a bug at all. It is what you call someone when they drop their trash on the floor instead of putting it in the trash can.

C: Oh. But when I drop my snacks on the floor, I just pick them up and put them back in my bowl.

That Little C! He cracks me up! I love how literal young minds are. It makes for some cute conversations.

What funny thing has your little one said recently? 

Monday, March 2, 2015

March Goals

What's that quote? "March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb." I'm really hoping that rings true this month. I'm over the snow and the cold! Spring fever for sure.

I did embarrassingly horrible with last month's goals.
  1. Get an accurate scale. Just didn't do it.
  2. Lose 5 lbs. Only down 3ish.
  3. Exercise at least 3 times a week. Two out of the the four weeks were a home run, the other two? Not even close. In fact this past week I didn't workout once! I was slammed at work so no lunch break workouts and could not bring myself to get up at 5:30am because I was so exhausted!
  4. Get through my Series 6 study guide. I was definitely overzealous with this goal. I need to come up with a new game plan on how I get through these materials. (le sigh)
Basically I am not feeling too hot about February. I also noticed that the weeks I didn't hit my exercise goals were particularly stressful weeks. One was hard outside of work and the other was stressful at work. I am not good with handling my stress and need to get a grip of this ASAP! If I'm going to hit my weight/fitness goals I won't be able to do that by shutting down when times get tough.

So, onward and upward!

March Goals:
  1. Lose 5 lbs. - For real this time!
  2. Exercise at least 3 times per week - I will continue to have this goal in writing until it becomes second nature.
  3. Develop a study calendar for Series 6 materials by 3/9 - My goal last month was too vague. This month mapping my time out will help me tackle this goal.
  4. Take the stairs at work every day - We're on the 4th floor but I enter from the basement so it's a pretty decent climb. I used to do it every day but started to get lazy. There's no time like the present to get back at it!
My goals feel pretty boring but they are very important to me at the present time. I'm hoping to start shifting my focus to goals that feel more productive or fun. But for now, this is it. Wish me luck!

What are your goals for the month?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up

A better title for this post would be, "the many ways to keep your kids entertained during a snow storm." I use the term "snow storm" loosely here because it really didn't get as bad as the meteorologists said it was going to. The snow did stack up but nothing as crazy as they predicted, at least not in our neck of the woods. ;)

The weekend started off right with a date night sans kids. My parents took them for an overnight visit so we were able to go to happy hour and sleep in the next day! Score! 

We tackled all of our errands Saturday morning before the kids arrived back home and before the snow really started to fall. The kids were a bit out of sorts from their fun night with the grands and getting them down for naps was a legit struggle. Little Miss cried and cried for like and hour straight before finally falling asleep and Little C ended up not napping at all. 

So this was about the time that we initiated Activity #1 for our home-bound weekend. Then after each activity wore out we'd have the next one lined up. Here's how it roughly played out from Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening...

Library books

Painting... on paper.

Painting on little toes!

Movie night snuggles

Tent and tunnel fun

"Camping" - because roughing it usually contains chicken nuggets 
and a portable DVD player so you can watch Team UmiZoomi. ;)

Baking cookies. 

We had a great time and there are even plenty of activities that I didn't get pics of. What you also don't see here are the many instances where bro and sis would get lost in a game of there own. For the better part of Sunday they had to entertain themselves while Hubs and I did chores around the house. I am so thankful that the two of them enjoy each other so much! Their laughter fills the house and my mama heart. :)

The only thing we didn't do was playing out in the snow. Reason numero uno, it was not even 20 degrees outside and I wasn't thrilled about having them out when it was that cold. And secondly, as sweet and lovely as my kids are most of the time, they have their moments and Little C caused enough trouble to lose the privilege of going outside. I hate taking things or privileges away from him but I think it would be worse if all I had were empty threats. Yes?

Overall, it was a lovely weekend. Even though we stayed indoors, we still had a great time!

What did you do over the weekend? How was the weather in your area?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day Recap

Did you have a good weekend? I know it's Tuesday but since I had President's day off, today is my Monday. But it's better than a Monday because it's really Tuesday! #captainobvious

Anywho, I had a really great three-day weekend. I think it helped that Valentine's Day was on Saturday and we were able to do some fun things with the kids. We weren't able to secure a sitter for an adult night out, apparently all the grandparents have lives of their own with adult plans of there own. Can you believe it?!?! Of course it was not a big deal at all and we spent the national day of love at home with our sweeties. 

I purchased the kids some simple little gifts which they loved. I hit up Target and was able to get everything for about $20 total! The red fox and cute little hedgehog were the big winners. I love how my kids are still at the age where a simple stuffed animal makes them smile! Plus, Little Miss keeps referring to her hedgehog as a "porcupine" which is all kinds of adorable. 

I made heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast then we headed off to the park to meet up with some friends. We spent a solid three hours playing outside which made for two worn out kids ready for solid naps. Hubs and I watched House of Cards (we're almost done with season 2) and were able to rest ourselves. 

Then we capped things off with heart-shaped pizzas to keep up with our food theme of the day.

Dinner was followed by a family movie (The Croods) and strawberry milkshakes! It truly was an awesome little day. I genuinely love getting the kids little surprises as well as taking the time to make the heart-shaped food. It wasn't necessary in the slightest but it is something as a Mommy that makes me incredibly happy to do. 

Did you have a good Valentine's Day? A good weekend? Do you enjoy the fun little details for holidays with your kids? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Goals

Did January fly by for you as well? It seriously was a blink of an eye! 

I have to give myself some major pats on the back for my first round of monthly goals. I am loving this concept because it motivated me to stick with my plan and tackle everything on the list. Here's a recap:
  1. Finish reading Gone Girl - Done. I finished reading this on Friday (I was cutting it close) AND watched the movie that night. I was so very disappointed! In my humble opinion, worst ending to a book ever! Plus, since it took me for-ev-er to actually read the dang thing, imagine my displeasure when the ending didn't feel at all worth it. Oh, well. I thought the movie was done well but knowing how it was going to end was hard. I made Hubs watch it with me and let's just say he was also not impressed. 
  2. Lose 5 lbs - Done. This was a challenge. My weight would fluctuate day-to-day and we don't have the most accurate scale at home. In fact I tried to go a bit past the 5 lb mark just to make absolute sure I got there. But nonetheless, I did it!
  3. Exercise at least 3 times a week - So close. The first week was only twice. Crazy work schedule and crazy life schedule got in the way. But the rest of the weeks I killed it! I even woke up super early one day knowing I wouldn't get to workout at work and squeezed in a Jillian Michaels DVD. There is nothing harder than a 5:30am Jillian Michaels workout. She is good!
So for February here's what I'm after:
  1. Get an accurate scale. Self explanatory. 
  2. Lose 5 lbs. Also, self explanatory. Although to keep the initial 5 off then lose another, is making me a bit nervous. But the beach wedding in July is motivating me to keep at it!
  3. Exercise at least 3 times a week. Can't stop, won't stop.
  4. Get through my Series 6 study guide. I have to take (and pass) this test for my role at the new job. If you're in the Financial Services industry then you know what this is. I'm going to shoot for taking the test at the end of March. If you're not in the Financial Services industry then you're lucky that you don't have to take this test! This one isn't the hardest out there but it is a bear, and while retaining the information is something I'm not worried about, it's the exam itself I'm dreading. Test anxiety like whoa. But I now officially have ten years of industry experience so I'm hoping this won't be too huge of a deal. 
Wish me luck! What are your goals for the month? 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January Goals

One of my very fav bloggers, and a friend from high school, does a post at the start of every month where she lists out her goals. I've always enjoyed reading them so I have decided to shamelessly steal this concept and do it myself.

So, behold. My first installment!

Since I'm just kick-starting this whole "monthly goals thing" I wanted to keep it simple and attainable. My January goals are as follows:

  1. Finish reading Gone Girl. You guys, I seriously have been reading this for an embarrassingly long amount of time. I am thoroughly enjoying it but can never seem to carve out time to make serious headway. If I have down time I'd much rather relax on the couch under a cozy blanket and watch TV. So this goal is kind of twofold... finish the book and by proxy, read more.  
  2. Lose 5 lbs. Yes, I know it is totally cliche this time of year but I really need to do it this time. We have a family vacation planned in July to the beach and I really want to be in a good place by then. I'm starting with a lose 5 lbs a month goal and I'll probably tailor this a bit as I go. Eating healthier and regular exercise is how I intend to make this happen. Which brings me to goal #3...
  3. Exercise at least three times a week. We have a gym at work so I intend to do most of my workouts over my lunch breaks and already have one under my belt so far this week. I would have more but meetings popped up yesterday and again today so I'm going to have to get creative outside of the work hours to make sure I stay active and hit this goal.
What are your goals for the month?  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Sweet Girl,
Today is your 2nd birthday! I'm so excited to celebrate with you and I wanted to drop a line to share some of my thoughts on your past year.

Let me just start by saying I love you more than I could ever express. Your past year as a one year old was such a fun one! You hit the ground running (figuratively and literally). You are constantly on the move and your favorite mode is either running or jumping. Probably because it's how you keep up with your big brother!

Speaking of your big brother... This past year the two of you started to play together in a very engaging way. You really are each other's best friends and you get lost in your made up games and giggles. Your brother adores you and wants to comfort you when you are crying, help you down the stairs if you are struggling, and share with you when you have none. Even this morning he burst into his classroom at drop-off and announced proudly, "Today is my sister's birthday!" The teacher chuckled and replied back with a smile, "I know, that's all you could talk about yesterday." He cares for you so very much and we all know the feeling is mutual.

See for yourself...

You look up to him! Once again, figuratively and (as you can see by the pics) literally!

But I think what your Father and I have enjoyed the most about one-year-old-you, is to behold the truly amazing little being you've blossomed into. As a baby you were a silent observer barely making a peep. But now? Holy guacamole!!!! I've mentioned it here before, you are a true force. Fearless, eager, lovable, hilarious, head-strong, and quite the intellect. We only have to show something or explain something to you once and you've got the hang of it. You figure things out on your own in a very methodical and pragmatic way. We are constantly in awe of you and occasionally shaking our heads to your wild antics. We don't stifle said antics we just know it is who you are and you need to figure things out your own way. And in case you were wondering... "your own way" is usually the rough and tumble way!

You are tough as nails but girly and sweet at the same time. You've had a strong love of stuffed animals since you were a tiny baby and you turn to lamby and pink blankie for soothing. You could live off of yogurt and macaroni and cheese if we'd let you. And you are the most expressive little girl I know!

Oh, Marlow. ::happy sigh::

I'm beyond excited to see what's in store for you. If these past two years have taught me anything, it's that YOU will carve your own path, at your own pace, on your own terms. And my sweet girl, we'd have it no other way...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Merry, Merry. Happy, Happy.

Merry Christmas!

I'm super late posting our Christmas recap. We've just been having so much fun! For the first time EVER in my working history, I took off from Christmas Eve to Jan 5th. It was such a treat to spend quality time with family and not feel rushed or run-down. I may have to make a habit of this!

Hubs and I have seriously relished the time spent with our kids. The magic of Christmas, quiet snow days at home, their first time sledding and a trip to the museum. It has been pure joy! Laughter and smiles were constant not only for them, but for the two of us as well. I am seriously going to miss those two come Monday morning when I'm back to reality. It's going to be rough!

I'm also going to miss Hubs. Last week the kids did go to school Mon-Wed and we were able to take care of some house stuff and relax like champs! We binge watched House of Cards and ate ice cream sundaes at 2pm. Sometimes being an adult has it's perks. ;)

I had a very ambitious list of things to accomplish on my time off and honestly only checked two things off that list. I am also not proud of the fact that I didn't workout once... but I'm also not ashamed. I needed this time to slow down and rejuvenate. But most importantly to focus on what really matters. My family is what I'm most proud of in my life and everything else is secondary. I soaked it all up this Holiday Season and now I'm ready to face 2015 head-on!

So, Happy New Year!

I saw a quote recently:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for.

This is going to be my motto for 2015. The past year was a doozy for us and not in a good way. We have been humbled greatly from the financial struggles we've faced. It hasn't been pretty and we can't wait to come out the other side of this. Each day is getting better but we still have a ways to go and we'll hopefully reach our goals by the first half of the year. Wish us luck!

But the message in that quote is an important one. Because while I've hated being where we are financially, I need to remember that what I have now... a beautiful family of my own, our health, and our very first house, are "things" I've always hoped for. I have everything I want and need and the rest will fall into place with planning and discipline. 

As far as resolutions go? I resolve to make none. I just want to work hard in 2015 personally and professionally. I want to be a better wife and mother and I know for me what that will entail. I want to enjoy the "now" more because it is fleeting. I also want to really work on losing weight but that seems far too cliche to even mention at the start of the year. Oh, well. Now that I think about it... didn't I just list resolutions after pretending I wasn't going to have any? Hey, it's my blog. I'll do what I want!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2015! Let's do this!