The Extra-Curriculars

The kids and I laid low this summer with our extracurricular activities.  Swimming lessons and that was it!  Gotta say it was nice!  of course, that maybe made our transition back by adding them back in a little crazier!

Not to mention, we seemed to have transitioned preschool tuition directly into funding our new activities!

so yes, we continued swim lessons through the end of October, but also added in Sunday School, gymnastics and piano lessons for both kids.  Plus now Charlie is officially a hockey player (!) and Maria starts basketball next week.  Maria also started chess club… whew.

It’s all good. The hardest part is setting priorities and not going overboard. It’s really important to me to keep this fun for them. So for now, piano – I’m not strict about practicing… I kind of anticipate it will wear off for Charlie. Maria practices on her own for now.  It’s still new. I hated practicing as a kid – my teacher didn’t want to teach me anymore when i didn’t practice.  Essentially, I was fired from piano lessons.  I, of course, regret that now.  I took piano again in college, but it would have been a lot easier to learn when I was younger!

Hockey & Basketball are where their passions lie.  At least for now.  Charlie could not be distracted or deferred from wanting to play hockey. Believe me we tried to distract him with other ideas! Neither Chad or I have had much experience with hockey.  Fortunately his cousin’s have, so we have uncles and aunts that are helpful! Charlie has had 2 practices and loved them both! He’s pretty cute in all his gear.

Maria starts basketball next week.  It was supposed to be tonight, but there was some drama with another parent and the team her daughter ended up on.. So we graciously switched (along with another friend, so they remain teammates).  Still not sure if it was the right decision.  I would never have asked to switch based on not knowing the other girls, but I don’t know the situation.  It might be the girl, it might be the mom – whatever I just didn’t need to match the drama and put the poor volunteer coaches in a even stickier situation.   Still looking forward to the season, because this is Maria’s sport.  She loves it!

For now, here’s a picture of our hockey star… Basketball to follow once we get up and going…

Here’s to New Beginnings

I’ve been away.  For awhile.  So very sorry.  Not meaning to ignore you, but I was stuck… in a rut…

I think I’ve found my way out now.  But for awhile, I thought I would just walk away from this blog.  It just took more energy than I had.  But now I’m working on turning things around.   First, I got a new job.  Yes, there were things I loved out my old job.  The company and many of the people. But it wasn’t giving me energy anymore… or as Charlie would say “It wasn’t a bucket-filler”.  So hey, we’ll try a new job…

And while we’re at it, I started a new practice – yoga!  I LOVE Yoga with Adriene, check her out when you get a chance.  But just a short 20 minutes by myself taking deep breaths has done wonders for me.

So yes… all good.  Plus there are those things that have always been good… like these 2!

My Funny Valentines


I woke up this morning feeling refreshed… and I’m going to give some of that credit to sitting down last night. Downloading pictures (from the same day!) and uploading them. Plus doing a little online scrapbooking.  It’s just the kind of stuff I like to do. 

It was nice being back… Hoping to not stray far from that again. 


Mother’s Day Reminder

I saw this online.. you know on one of those social networking sites, but wanted to post it here for everyone (and for myself to come back to…)  what a good reminder of what being a mom is all about.

Happy Mother’s Day!

For the days we are running on empty. For the days we just don’t think we have it in us to read one more story, play one more game of Uno, wash one more round of sheets. For the days when we think everyone else has it together. For the days… we’re sure anyone else would do this job better.

For those days. You know the ones.

Repeat after me:

1. I shall not judge my house, my kid’s summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest’s standards.

2. I shall not measure what I’ve accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I’ve tickled into my kids.

3. I shall say yes to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we’re building.

4. I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they’re already in their pajamas.

5. I shall not compare myself to other mothers but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.

6. I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.

7. I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.

8. I shall remind myself that perfect is simply a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.

9. I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.

10. I shall promise to love this body that bore this child or children out loud, especially if I have a daughter.

11. I shall give my other mother friends the gift of guilt-free friendship.

12. I shall do my best to admit to my people my unfine moments.

13. I shall say sorry when sorry is necessary.

14. I pray God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children’s forgiveness.

15. I shall make space in my grown-up world for goofball moments with my kids.

16. I shall love or respect their father, step-father or other male role model and make sure they know we are blessed they are in their life.

17. I shall model kind words to kids and grown-ups alike.

18. I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my vehicle this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.

19. I shall always make time to encourage new moms.

20. I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they’ll all be in college.

Accepting my Balance

I know I’ve mentioned it before in probably half of my posts.  Life is busy… I don’t have a lot of time to be writing on my blog.  That’s not to say I don’t miss writing on my blog.

Just to catch you up on what we’ve been doing – Girl Scouts (Maria & myself – including selling cookies), Gymnastics (Maria is in a class, while Charlie & I go to parent & toddler class), Skating lessons for Maria, new(ish) job for Chad, growing pains (Maria), preparing for milestones (Charlie – big boy bed, potty training, turning 3!), transitions at work, and starting to think about what to do for a job that is scheduled to move an additional 40 minutes away from my home in a year.

It’s frankly a lot.  And even at work we talk a lot about work-life balance. And I’m working on it. I’m working on finding my passion at work and feeling valued.  I think the transitions at work will help with that, but it is going to be up to me with what I put into those transitions.  I also need to make sure I don’t get sucked back into my own role of saying yes whenever someone needs help, just because it would be easier for the people asking if I said yes. It often sets me back from the direction I am going in, and I don’t always easily get back on course.

And at home, accepting the balance. I think I’m a little out of balance right now. I’m over-committed. And I think Maria may be too. I want my kids to have lots of experiences.  But I think right now with our work schedules and the amount of time we are away from home, we don’t need to commit to being gone more than that.  I’m going to fight through the end of February.  Get the kids through this session of gymnastics, and bring back some consistency to our weeknights.

But really, I’m learning at all of this right now. Life keeps changing, so I need to also be ready for adjustments.



Into the New Year

2012 was good.  I don’t know that I can break it down for you.

But my goal/theme for 2013 is “Less Is More”.  I just want to simplify and not over-think.

There you go – Happy New Year!

P.S. When I say “Less is More”, I am referring to Chad’s stuff and my kids toys.  I’m going shopping tomorrow!  (Totally Kidding!)

Girl Scouts

This summer we’ve been talking about Girl Scouts and Chad & I made the joint decision to sign Maria up. So I went to a meeting on Wednesday night to do just that.  Now I don’t know much about the Girl Scouts, except that they sell cookies. (I was a 4-H girl).  So when they said they couldn’t form a troop unless they had at least 1 leader, and would I be willing to co-lead, I said… “maybe” which 30 minutes later had me filling out a form!  Yikes!  I did do that.

But here’s what I’m thinking now… I probably have about 8 years left with Maria until she thinks I’m crazy and annoying and doesn’t want to hang out with me.  This gives me time to hang out with her AND have insight into something she hopefully likes AND have influence on the activities she and her troop do.

So any of you out there that are involved in Girl Scouts or grew up in Girl Scouts, let me know, so I can ask you questions. Help this Troop Leader out!

Another Week

Ugh,  I hate that 5 days just passed without much quality family time.   One of those weeks, I guess.  Chad returned on Monday, very tired.  Tuesday was a long day at work for me, with our semi-annual national meeting. Kind of fun, but it’s kind of like missing a whole day of productive work, which isn’t good when deadlines are looming.

The rest of the week was spent working with some errands.  Today I worked from home and got a tremendous amount of work done! Unfortunately it was not the work I planned to do as my priorities were re-shifted this morning.  Oh well.  Next week, right?

My weekend plans involve getting my fridge and house cleaned up.  Somehow weeks like this set me back and I am not able to get ahead. I went out to lunch every day this week and bought breakfast at work every day as well. Not good for my wallet or waist… Luckily I was able to sneak away this morning to plan my menu for next week and get groceries purchased. So I’m looking forward to some good down time at home with the family this weekend.

Oh, and getting screened-in porch ready for warm weather!  It’s ready to go as we had the house exterior painted and deck stained earlier this week! Yay, warm weather!

Any big weekend plans? Or are your plans to mellow like me?

Decision 2012 to 2014

I have to say, I’ve got a LOT going on right now. I mean it’s the typical 2 small kids and a 40 hour/week job… but then throw in a big life-impacting decision and I’m a bit overwhelmed. NO, the decision is not about Kid #3. That decision has been made. And I have a no-return policy on the stuff I’ve craigslisted… 🙂 The decision is whether or not to move in the next 2 years (or I need to find a new job), and I start to feel like I can’t keep up.

I think it would be one thing if we felt assured that we had enough equity in this house. But buying a house in July of 2005, was a really good deal for the people who sold us this house! Although at the time, we thought we’d stay. We didn’t know a lot about the community. In our excitement, neither of us realized we bought probably the nicest house in the neighborhood. We expected the neighborhood to turn over some more to a younger demographic. But the housing market changed and people weren’t able to move out.

And now that we’ve been in this house for 5 years, I have to admit that I’m kind of attached. We have some really great friends in the area and we’ve found a church we like. Our kids have good daycare and preschool experiences. So far we have been impressed with the school Maria will be attending next year. (zoinks! Kindergarten!)

BUT there are good reasons to move too. Like the fact that my job will be moving in 2014. My commute will change from a 25 minute busride to a 45+ minute CAR ride. That’s a lot! Especially since we have worked hard to keep the kids’ days around 9 hours in daycare for the last 5 years. And I actually like this job and company I work for. We could potentially get the kids in a better school district. One that has been near the top in the state since Chad was in high school. It would get us closer to many other friends and Chad’s parents (although further from mine)

It’s a lot to think about. I’m kind of a planner. I like to know what is going to happen. You can imagine the stress of that first week for me. It felt personal to me. But it isn’t. My initial reaction was “We have to move” But slowly it sunk in. I am not married to this company. It would be crazy to move for a job when I have never had a single job for more than 3.5 years! So then I started thinking about jobs what companies do I want to work for, what do I want to do, would I compromise on company or even responsibilities if I could work from home (!)… could I be an independent consultant (?)… But then last week our financial advisor told us, that really right now is not a bad time to move, and to consider that we could buy a home with a lower value and low interest rates right now, that we would make up some (if not all) of the loss we take on this house over the course of a mortgage on a house, so then … swing.. went right back to thinking about moving.

So now we meet with a realtor. We tighten up the purse-strings. And we start seriously evaluating our options. It’ll be interesting. We have to consider timing (don’t want to move mid-school year) and there is still wallpaper to be removed, a brick wall to be re-built, a house to be painted (exterior) and a lawn to get in shape. Plus potentially living in a “staged” home with 2 kids in a slow market. Evaluating our jobs, and where we want to be in our careers in 2 years (even if I do stay with the company). Lots of pros vs. cons…

No matter what we decide the next couple years we know we have decisions to make and changes to be made. I think either way, we will be OK, but this is one where you just wish you had some sort of guarantee…

Why I Blog…

So I started blogging quite a while before I had kids. It was when I had time to read blogs and it was the newest thing to do online.

I started off sharing the things I love to do in my spare time… Cooking, crafty stuff, opinions on TV shows… All good stuff in my pre-mom world.

Now that stuff is not my priority.. I love being a mom and I still love all the other stuff too. So now my blog promotes some balance in me. It gives me an opportunity to share about my kids because they do provide me with some good writing material. But my blog also reminds me of the stuff I started writing about. That “stuff” helps me keep my head from turning to over-worked Mommy mush.

A new recipe or scrapbook pages require my creative energies. And my blog provides me accountability to that stuff. I may take a break when all that stuff is too much to blog about, but I always remember my ignored blog and come back to it and my non-mommy stuff too.