Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we not only celebrate Thanksgiving in my family, but it's also Miss Mighty's 5th Birthday. I've been living in a bit of denial for the last few weeks, so she sweetly tells me that I can still rock her like a baby any time I want.

"Shhhh, Mommy. I won't tell!"

We started off our day with pumpkin pancakes and birthday cupcakes, so you can imagine the sugar high that followed. We visited Husband's family today, and they basically have all of the food covered. And then some.

So we all we had to do was show up with our meager offering of Rice Krispie treats, which we appropriately decorated with Princess Elsa colored sprinkles in honor of the birthday girl.

It was a great day filled with family, good friends, beautiful weather, and lots of fun.

Although I did post the following on Facebook early on ... "When the only thing that calms your screaming one-year-old is your five-year-old screaming Twinkle Twinkle Little Star ... fun times."

Fortunately, things turned around once we arrived and the kids were able to run and play.

I love spending Thanksgiving with Husband's side of the family, and I love how easy it is to just show up without any stress. However, I also love to cook, so I'm excited that we will celebrate a second Thanksgiving this weekend.

Tomorrow, as I watch the parade (which we recorded today), I'll be making ...

-Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
-Sweet Potato/Apple soup, which we garnish with a chive sour cream and bacon (yum!)
-And, of course, more Rice Krispie treats. Perhaps with Thanksgiving-colored sprinkles this time

Hope you're all having a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

(And I hope you like the new bog layout!)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Work at home mom ...

My sales season is winding down, so I'm entering into the time where I work from home and won't travel at all for a couple of months. It's nice to finally slow down, and I always get the same question ...

"Will you keep your kids at home with you now that you're not traveling?"

Nope!

As much as I'd love to be able to keep them home AND be productive at my job, this just doesn't seem to be possible.

I was reminded of this last week when my little guy was home sick one day, which also happened to be the day before I had promised Miss Mighty she could stay home with me. What was I thinking?

Honestly, I was thinking that I had missed my kiddos while traveling so much these last few months, and I just wanted some extra time with them. However ... as much as I'd hoped it would work, and as much as I really wanted it to, it just didn't.

These kids are used to a schedule where they get close to 100% of my undivided attention on the weekends, and it just didn't translate well that this couldn't happen on a 'work' day.

I had one conference call in particular that turned into a pretty big disaster. Between potty checks, snack requests, and a snafu with a Barbie Mermaid movie, I'm pretty sure I missed out on some important details during that call.

So, lesson learned. I won't keep the kids at home while I'm trying to work. I will, however, be scheduling in a few extra vacation days to spend some much needed quality time with them. We have a couple of dates already on the calendar for next month, and I'm really looking forward to building these in while I'm not traveling.

How do you balance work and kids? Any special tips or tricks to make it work?

Linking up with Monday Mom Confessions at Family. Work. Life.

Monday Mom Confession

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Practical Christmas Presents

My friend Jolie over at The Gray Matters recently posted a list of Perfect Preschool Presents that I really love. If you know me personally or followed any of my posts in the past, you know that Husband falls a tad into the ‘neat freak’ camp. He likes clean lines, organized everything, and absolutely no excess of stuff. 

This can be a struggle to balance with the love my kids have gift-receiving along with the love their grandparents have for gift-giving

Add to that the fact that we have a birthday in November followed by Christmas in December, and I can almost see Husband’s anxiety building right in front of my eyes as he envisions all of the new things he will have to find room for in our home.

On occasion, we have tried to save extra gifts to donate, but Miss Mighty tearfully pointed out earlier this year, “But that was MY present, Mommy. They gave it to ME.”

While I think she is old enough to understand the concept of giving to others, I’m not sure she’s quite ready to give from her own wealth. That’s one we’re working on.

In the meantime, I love rethinking the types of gifts we give, both to her and to our son.

Based on the list from The Gray Matters, I’m making a list of Practical Christmas Presents from my own perspective.



  1. Clothes. This one may not work for everyone, but Miss Mighty is a girly girl right down to her core. She would be as thrilled to receive a dress as a toy, and I bet there are a lot of kids out there with their own clothing quirks. Hone in on what that is, and indulge them!
  2. Stuff to do. We live in a great little town right between two cities, and we love getting out of the house. Memberships or season passes to the water park, zoo, or museum would be great. Tickets to plays, which my little drama queen loves to attend, are also a big hit. Even just a spa day for her to have her fingers and toes painted is always so special. In fact, my mom does this every year for my daughter before her birthday. It’s becoming a little tradition, which is even more special.  
  3. Art Supplies. Some to share and some that each kid can call their own. As The Boy gets older, he wants more and more to play right along with his sister. I think it’s a great opportunity for them to do something together, but it can also be difficult to both color in the same book. Stickers and crayons are great for sharing and learning to take turns. A box for each kid to keep their own special note pads and/or a portfolio to house completed projects would be great individual gifts.
  4. Jewelry. This is another one for my girly girl, but I love the idea. A friend told me that her grandparents got her jewelry every year from an early age, so she had a nice collection by the time she was an adult. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. We’ve started this a bit with some James Avery charms, and I also think it is also easy to do with birthstone items.
  5. Stuff for summer. Bathing suits, beach towels, sand/pool toys. How much fun would it be to get a little basket of sunshine in the middle of the cold weather? This gives kids something fun to look forward to, and it's a great way to give the child with a winter birthday a gift to go back to in the middle of the year. 
  6. Movies, books, and games. These blend practical with fun. New movies always seem to be released around the holidays; and, can anyone really ever have enough books?! Games – board games, games for the leap pad, or even outside games are all great ideas,      too.
Of course, I still have an Amazon Wish List for both kids, and the lists are full of …. stuff. I make these lists to give ideas of what my kids are into at the moment, and it’s a great way to keep an organized eye on prices and when things go on sale.  


All that said, I do think sometimes kids need to receive a just-for-fun toy, and sometimes gift givers want to give exactly that – something that will put an instant smile on a child’s face. After all, the spirit of Christmas is in the joy of giving, and I firmly believe that the basis for that later in life is to experience the joy of receiving in the early years. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Back to my roots ...

I spent a lot of time in my young adult days running as quickly as possible in the opposite direction of my small town roots. Big school, city living, sales job that allowed me to travel the world.

As I've gotten older, though, I've started to realize that those country roots are actually closer to where I want to settle. We still want the amenities offered in a bigger town, especially the educational resources for our kids.

But nothing feels more like home than a quiet weekend at the ranch.

I told Husband last week that I would much rather our kids grow up 'country' than 'city' because I think it's easier to layer in city later than vice versa.

It's interesting coming to this realization, though. Especially when things happen that make you truly unable to deny the shift in dynamic. Like finding the PERFECT Christmas Stockings, the exact ones I've been searching for for years ... At Cabela's.

Really? Yes, really.

I've had a picture in my head for the last few years and have not been able to find anything that came close to what I was looking for ... at least not at a price I'm willing to pay. And then, there they were. Right in the middle of the deer season display and camo-laden everything.

I haven't brought myself to actually buy them yet, but it's probably going to happen. Soon.

The only one I'll have to modify is for Miss Mighty. It will obviously need to be glammed up a little. Sparkles or pink or something shiny, of course.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The mom life ...

Last night I spent 45 minutes brushing a doll's hair. I actually spent more time untangling and uncrunching. Never mind that that's not a word ... just focus on why/how it got crunchy in the first place. I have no clue.

This was not just any doll, mind you. It was a Rapunzel doll. And, not one of those Barbie-type dolls, but one with hair that might literally be longer than my own.

Then I french braided her hair, because 'only one braid, Mommy, not two' was the request.

I did at least half of this in near dark because we were playing slumber party, of course.

The other half I finished after Miss Mighty was tucked in bed, because, "She's my favorite girl, Mommy! I neeeed her."

That's the mom life.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Time Change

Based on my social media feeds, I may be the ONLY person who actually likes the time change, but I do! I love it!

I love how much cozier the evenings feel. In some ways, everything seems to slow down. We don't feel as rushed, trying to beat the sun clock. We change into pajamas earlier. We snuggle more. We cook more comfort foods like lasagna and chili. We're in total homebody mode.

Maybe the dark tucks us in earlier so that we don't feel the need to be out and about, running errands or staying busy. It feels so natural to be home and without any other agenda.

The consensus in this family is that we love the time change. What about you? What's your preference?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

VOTE

I voted! Did you? 

I actually voted early, so no standing in lines for me today.

This election has been especially frustrating for me. I don't know if it's a sign of getting older or becoming more aware, but I'm starting to fall precariously close to the ledge of the conspiracy-theory camp.

Politics used to be exciting for me. I used to be really passionate about certain issues.

Now, I really see ‘politics’ as a way that our very broken system pits us against each other so that we’re too distracted to hold them accountable. Something along the lines of, “Here! Argue about these sure-fire-hot-button issues instead of the fact that I haven’t done my job in a decade.”

I voted, somewhat begrudgingly, but I voted ... because I firmly believe that you should not get to complain if you don’t cast your ballot. Even if you’re unsatisfied with your own choices.


So, if you haven’t already, go vote! There’s still time for your voice to be heard.

(And, sorry, this post doesn't exactly ease me back into blogging. More on the adventures of being a working-traveling-mom in the weeks to come!)

Monday, November 3, 2014

I'm back .... maybe.

It's hard to believe I haven't posted here in almost 3 years. I used to post daily! I've tried to write other blogs in other formats, but nothing has quite caught on. It could be because we've added another baby to our always-working, always on-the-go family. We're definitely busy. However, I think it has more to do with the fact that THIS page is probably just the right fit for me and my writing. So, I'm back! At least, I'm back as long as I can keep up with it. It will be less organized than a few years ago, but I'm going to give it a go. I will be looking for somebody to update the layout (suggestions welcome!) in the next few weeks, so look for some changes to the look, and probably to the content/topics as we get up to date. I'm still taking what feels like 'baby steps' in this whole journey of finding balance in our busy life, but I'm looking forward to taking those baby steps with you! I hope you'll join me.