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. 


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!)

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…

Quieting the Noise

So not a resolution, but my intention for 2012 is to quiet some of the noise in my life.  My head is always going… always.  unless I’m sleeping then I’m out – I don’t dream (or remember my dreams) at all.   I’m a tired mom!

So to obtain the goal of a quieter mind and life:

  • plugging my iPhone in for a recharge earlier in the evening between 7-8 pm – this should help me avoid “1 more play in Words with Friends” or checking to see if anyone updated facebook, when I should be sleeping or getting ready for the next day.
  • unsubscribing to emails.   Way less mails popping up on my phone or computer each day is a time-saver and it actually keeps me from visiting websites because there is a sale. Sales often don’t save me money, they just invite me to spend more.
  • daily devotions.  I downloaded a devotional book to my Nook, that I can read on my Nook or phone… so either when I first wake up or on the bus on the way to work.  It’s a great way to gain some perspective as I start each day.
  • watching TV in the kitchen.  If I have a show that I really want to watch, then I have started doing that in the kitchen instead of the recliner downstairs.  First, I can’t stand my dirty kitchen, so I tend to clean while I’m watching TV. and 2nd, if I do sit down, it’s not comfortable, so I am more likely to get up and go to bed when I’m tired (vs. checking facebook one more time in the recliner.)

So it is January 18th, we’re currently just over halfway through the month, and how am I doing?

The first week was really good. The second week, work got busy, life got busy.  And that Friday was the 13th.  And it was NOT. A. GOOD. DAY!

I got to sleep in a little, because the kids were going to the back-up daycare center, so I was planning on driving in to work with them in the morning.  So I had just bought my daily devotion the day before, so I read it before I got out of bed.   It was about letting God guide us through our days. So after I read, I prayed that God would help me to listen to him. So I got up, got ready, got both kids fed, dressed and loaded in our Traverse (because it had snowed a little and I just feel safer in the bigger vehicle with both kids in bad weather).

Soooo…. I back out of the garage and Maria asked me a question about music.  I said no, we were listening to my radio station and then … crunch.  I backed into a our brick privacy fence (that is attached to our house).  crap.  The whole wall fell over and the truck now has a nice big scratched up dent (2 separate panels).   argh!  that is 2 separate insurance claim (homeowners and vehicle!)

Go back inside, tell Chad (he’s mad!), find the insurance papers, put the kids in my car, because I still have to go to work, because my daycare is downtown today and I’m missing work the next week.

So driving to work, carpool lane, because I have both kids with me.  Probably about 3 times, I checked my speed.  I don’t normally have to do this, because my Corolla does not go that fast without being kind of loud.    But I did, and decide that I’m OK, a little over the limit, but that’s pretty normal for the carpool lane (and me).

Driving into downtown (Charlie is shouting and pointing at the skyline – “dow-tow” where did he get this??!)  And I leave the interstate to a different highway which takes me into downtown.  Go to change lanes, as there is an intersection right ahead and I don’t need to be in the left lane. Realize I can’t change lanes, and BAM – rear-end another car.  The kids are OK.  I’m able to follow the driver to get off the road and onto the median.  We exchange information, the state patrol and tow truck drivers come. We hang out in the cold backseat of the state patrol until Chad (who was now even more frustrated) gets there to take us home.

Anyway, I didn’t total the car (came close though. it’s already fixed.).  Paid the deductible. The Traverse and wall, we’re planning to fix out of pocket, because it’s not much more than the deductible.  It was a bad day!  Really, it was a bad hour!

It was a long day, just thinking about what happened.   Plus I took myself and the kids to Urgent Care after Maria started complaining of a sore back. (We all checked out fine, except for her pink ear, which they treated with antibiotics. not related to the accident)

But the more I thought about it, my prayers were answered. Again, not in the way I’d expect… but I’m pretty sure God was telling me to slow down.  And that He was the voice in my head telling me to check my speed.

This is a long post, I realize.  And in the end, the accidents boil down to money we don’t want to spend, but no one was hurt.  And it gave me another reason to be more conscientious and deliberate about quieting my life.

ready or not here it comes…

Just a few more things to do, but I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done already for Christmas:

    • Kids saw Santa – Maria sat on his lap. Charlie did too, but screamed!

Maria & Santa

    • Completed my gift shopping.
    • Completed my grocery shopping(!)
    • Addressed, stamped and sent out Christmas Cards/Letters
    • Attended a Christmas Party
    • Made Cranberry Cheesecake Bars for a holiday treat sharing day at work.
    • Managed our Elf on the Shelf all of December (minus one night he forgot to move)
    • Made and ate Christmas cookies with Maria and Charlie (we just scooped sugar cookie dough into balls and rolled in the various sprinkles and baked… none of that fancy rolling or cookie cutter stuff for us!)

Baking Cookies

    • Helped Maria decorate her gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House

    • Attended Maria’s Sunday School Christmas program/service.

Maria & Mykaela - Church Christmas Program 2011

  • Taken Maria to the doctor & pharmacy various times. And scheduled a tonsilectomy for January. (OK, not Christmas related, but still stressful and time consuming, so I’m counting it!)
  • Called a roofer to come fix our leaky skylight (again, stressful)
  • Cleaned the lint trap in my washer (I had no idea it had one, so after 6 years, you can imagine we figured out fast where the musty smell was coming from! duh!)
  • Got all the presents sorted and in boxes ready to be wrapped
  • Got the house picked up and ready for my house-cleaner tomorrow.

My TO-DOs:

  • One more day of work (but from home)
  • Make Caramel corn
  • Wrap presents
  • Make more cookies
  • Make those pretzel & Hershey hugs things
  • Make meatballs for Christmas Eve
  • Watch Elf and/or Christmas Vacation
  • Take a shower.

Then I’ll be ready!

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.

Working it Out

Finding time these days is tough.  Especially time, I can commit to a regular workout schedule.  We have belonged to the YMCA since Charlie was a baby, but I’ve really only used it for Maria’s swimming lessons and the occasional workout.

Weeknights are hard, because either the kids spend the time they should be with us in the childcare.  Or I’m working out late at night when I should be getting ready for bed. And I also have the guilt of having Chad be responsible for both kids bedtimes.  But now I figured out a way to give him some time he wanted and get the time I wanted.  Saturday mornings at Kids Stuff!

So I go twice a week. One evening and then Saturday mornings.  Saturday mornings, I take the kids to Kids Stuff and he gets to sleep in… aka “Daddy Time”.   I am not doing any extensive cardio, but instead doing some brain-settling yoga type stuff.  Yoga Fitness & BodyFlow.  I love love love BodyFlow!  I think if I can get these incorporated regularly  in my routine too, I may cut out visits to my chiropractor!