Friday, May 31, 2013

A month has gone by

Wow, I'm not sure where the month of May went. I swear it was just here but in a few short hours it'll be June 1st.

School is out and we're home from our mini family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge. I'll be posting a full review with all of my budget tips soon. I want to put all the things I wanted to know on my blog for others to find, Pinterest is great, but even it couldn't answer some of my questions. Shocking, I know.

In other news...well, there's just not much. Maybe that's how I missed the month of May. We were busy going through the motions of day to day life and that's not exactly exciting blog material.

I have a little man that's turning 5 and I have one week to get his birthday party put together. It's going to be crazy and I hope I'll blog about it...but you know, I don't think I've blogged about the Nerf party for the 10 year old that happened in January. Hmmm.

A friend of mine, over at Chatter From a Single Mom, is doing 30 Thing My Kid Should Know About Me. I think it's a pretty cool idea for when I have nothing else to write about and might start it. Maybe. But you know, I'm the master of starting things I don't finish.

Hmmm, this was a terribly boring post but I'm going to publish it anyway so that it can't be added to the list of things I don't finish. :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Be the mom you want to be

There has been a lot of talk lately about how out of control the holidays are "these days" (gah, I feel so old saying that!) While part of me agrees, part of me feels like people claim that they think it's over the top and ridiculous to make themselves feel better for being lazy.

There needs to be a happy medium and I think we've done a pretty decent job with our kids at finding it. I dye food to match the holiday, pink milk for Valentines Day, green eggs for St Patty's day etc. It's fun, the kids get a kick out of it and really? It takes me 30 seconds to do it. It's really not that hard and it's not over the top. We bake cookies at Christmas and I make a big deal out of decorating them, I love Christmas and having tons of gifts under the tree. Do I think I need to have a leprechaun that shows up and hides gold or some weird elf that I need to move every night for a month? Um, no. I will embrace my absentmindness  and tell you that I'd never remember to move that damn elf the way I'm supposed to.

If you're lazy and you don't want to celebrate the little holidays (or even the big ones), or even if you're not lazy but you simply don't care and don't want to do it and it's not your thing...then embrace it. Admit it. Say "you know what, I don't care. My kids aren't going to end up in therapy because I didn't put dye in their milk or because I think they should only have 3 gifts on Christmas" I'm fine with that.

What I'm not fine with is making us that want to do those goofy little things or make a big deal out of the bigs things out to be the bad guys. Don't blame us for the holiday being commercialized to make yourself feel better because you've decided your kids are too old for the Easter bunny and Santa Claus.  If you think your kids are too old, fine, they're your kids...but you know what? My kids will be in college and I'll still be hiding Easter baskets for them and signing gifts from Santa...and I'm okay with that because that's the mom I want to be.

There are some aspects that I get annoyed with along with everyone else. I hate that Christmas shows up before Halloween, it drives me batty when holidays turn in to a game of one upping each other and bratty kids are the worst. Easter is not Christmas and I don't treat it as such. My kids get a reasonable basket with candy and some toys, usually things they're going to need for summer anyway but they love it! I hope I'm the mom that can still do all the fun things I want to do and yet teach my kids to be thankful for what they have, to realize that they have more then some and less then others and to be okay with that.

Just as we're raising kids that we hope we can be proud of, I hope we're also being the parents we (and our kids!) can be proud of. When my boys are off with families of their own I want them to say things like "every year my mom used to make the coolest food on Halloween" or "oh yea, I have the best memories from the birthday parties I had growing up". And it's not just about the holidays/special occasions, it's about making the memories year round. I've been told by friends that it always looks like I'm doing something fun with my kids. Guess what? I'm not. There are plenty of days that we're lazy or that we spend the day doing one boring chore after another...but those other times? The trips to the zoo, the painting, the road trips, the swimming or picnics in the park...those are the things that will stick out when they're grown with their own kids. What do you remember about your childhood? What do you hope your kids will remember? For me, I remember the walks to the park, the walks around the neighborhood ( when your mom doesn't drive you do a lot of walking), the sleepovers with friends, the parties during the summer, family dinners during the holidays and camping! I hope my kids look back and remember having FUN, remember family traditions and smile a little when something like the smell of a campfire triggers a memory.

I'm not the mom everyone wants to be, I'm probably the complete opposite of some but I'm the mom *I* want to be...or at least I'm trying to be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stop fighting who you are

In this land of pinterest and facebook I feel like everyone is driven to be "that" mom or wife or daughter. The one that remembers every holiday or special event and has a card ready to go, the one that has adorable little treats all made up for every kid in the class, the one that has a perfectly organized home office, regular office, kitchen and playroom.

I'm so NOT that girl.

I'm the one that didn't even get Christmas cards in the mail this year, still has gifts for friends that aren't.even.wrapped! I have cards that rarely make it in to the mail. My desk has shit all over it, all.the.time. It just does. Papers, pictures, toys, the kids school stuff, coupons. It's all here. It's chaos.

It's MY chaos.

Here's where I stop trying to fight who I am. Stop trying to fit in to some little box that Pinterest and Facebook say I should fit in to. First of all, I'd like to see you try to find a box for my ass, it's not happening. Second and more importantly, why should I beat myself up over the fact that my desk is a mess, my playroom looks *gasp* like it's been played in or that the boys bathroom always *ALWAYS* has toys in the bathtub. Here's the thing about me, I'm very VERY much out of sight, out of mind. If I neatly file a bill away in my "to pay later" file, I don't get it out until it's way past due. (are you shaking your head yes yet? I'll bet you are!) If my kids bring home a paper that needs signed I must sign it right then and there or else I will totally forget. As soon as I clean off my desk and make it all organized and pretty and "presentable" I can't find something I need and I have to dig through all that organized nonsense to find it.
I recently cleaned out my disaster area of a pantry, when we first moved in I had it all organized and everything had a home. It was fabulous. Until it wasn't.
So I emptied it out and started over. I found all kinds of random crap I bought for recipes and then promptly forgot all about. The key? I must be able to see everything, at all times. So while there appears to be a lot of wasted space, it works b/c it's organized AND I can see where everything is. I kind of love it. Probably more then I should.

It's organized chaos which is exactly what I need to function on a day to day basis. Cute little storage boxes and places to hide things away b/c ohmahgawd people might SEE, it doesn't work for me. I will forget what is in those cute little boxes and then really? What's the point.

And for the record, I have nothing against those that are supremely organized and everything has it's place tucked away inside some perfectly matched little storage cube. I'm just not going to fight myself to be that person.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Get Dressed!

As most of you know I'm a WAHM...which really, is such a stupid term. All moms work at home even if it's not where they collect their paycheck. Anyway, point being is that I run two businesses. I'm a Premier Designs jewelry lady and part owner of the amazing and fabulous Love Knots Photography.

Now before you get all ohhh ahhh over the fact that I can set my hours, work when I want to and when I don't want to, sleep until 12pm and work until 3am...let's be realistic. I have 2 kids, 2 cats and a husband. I fit work in between laundry, dishes, carting kids from one friends house or activity to another and playing peace keeper. Is this still a pretty sweet deal? Of course it is but it's HARD. It's hard to keep the distractions to a minimum when I have things to do. It's hard to force myself to work on marketing research, catalog labels and customer calls rather then sitting around with a cup of coffee and chatting with my friends abut couponing (which is pretty awesome, btw) and Game of Thrones (also awesome).

So for those of you that might read this and are thinking I'm crazy and I should just shut my fat face for complaining about the fact that I don't have to report to a shitty office 8 hours a day. I get it, I do. I'm super lucky in that I have the opportunities I do and that my husband 100% supports me even though it's putting a serious crimp in his beer brewing hobby (hello budget 2013!). HOWEVER, there are plenty of times that I wish I had the structure of working hours.

Which brings me to the point of this (so far) pointless post! Yep, I do have a point, I swear. Here are a few things that work for me but I've been seriously slacking on in the working at home arena:

1. Set work hours. Don't make them ridiculous, be realistic. On Tuesday and Thursdays I have no kids from 9am-3pm (so really 9:30-2:30 with drop off/pick up). Am I going to sit down and work for those 6 hours? Um, probably not. I'm realistic and I know I'm going to catch up with friends, have coffee, play on Facebook and maybe throw a load of laundry in. Instead my goal is to make a list of what needs accomplished in those hours and DO IT (no, blogging was not on the list for today, but whatever)

2. Get dressed. It's hard to feel like a professional while sitting at your desk or on your couch in PJ's. Don't do that. In my case I need to shower, get dressed, put some make up on and put my jewelry on. How we feel about ourselves reflects in how we talk to people. I hate the phone, I hate calling people more then anything else and it's 100x worse if I'm in lazy mode. This also means I appreciate those lazy days when I don't have to be dressed even more.

3. Put the phone away. If you are constantly attached to your phone (GUILTY!!!) I've found that you're more likely to put things off. How many times have you read an email when you're in the middle of something else and then you forget to reply? Come on, you know you have. I do it all.the.time. It's not at all intentional, I'm better off if I wait for my work hours to sit down and read my work emails and then reply to them all at once.

4. We're not that busy. Everyone has their own definition of "busy" and we all get so caught up in what we have going on but the fact is...we're not that busy. Stop playing the busy card, stop acting like nobody else can possibly understand what is going on with your life b/c it's SOOOO busy. It's life. Make the time for work, make the time for FUN, make the time to visit with friends, sip a cup of coffee or set up that playdate your kid has been begging for.

Like I said, these are ALL things I need to work on but I figure if I need to work on them someone else out there may need to as well.

Now I shall return to my regularly scheduled work hours!

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's not about a number

It's a new year which means RESOLUTIONS!

No, not really. Not for this girl.

That being said the husband and I are trying to curb our weight gain. It's getting out of control and the fact is we are the only ones that have control over it. I like food so I'm not dieting, I'm not giving up my coffee or my chocolate. I'm not going to start some kind of crazy diet like I thought I was going to. I'm just going to try to get my shit together, stop shoving my face with crap whenever it's near me and get active.

I spent this morning writing goals on post it notes and putting them around my monitor to remind myself why I need to work hard and to not let the little things get me down. If I eat chocolate that doesn't mean I should follow it up with ice cream for dinner and a cheeseburger for dessert. It means I ate chocolate and damn was it good. If I mess up a customer order it doesn't mean I suck as a jewelry lady and should throw in the towel. It means I apologize and I work harder next time to make things right. I am my own worst enemy and it needs to stop at some point.

I was going through old pictures, trying to find one that would be a good goal. One where I remember feeling awesome about myself. One where I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I looked hot. One where I wasn't scrutinizing the picture for every out of place roll.

I couldn't find one. Not ONE!

I went back to before Ian was born, I didn't gain a ton with Aiden and I was back in my size 6-8 dress pants by the time I went back to work 6 weeks after he was born. I was the girl everyone hates. I was also 22. I'm not 22 now, I'm 32 and I'm pushing a size 16. I'm heavier then I have ever been in my entire life INCLUDING pregnancy. That's a scary and sobering thought for me....BUT I'm realizing that it's not about what size pants I fit in to. Even looking back at those pictures when I was rolling around on a beach and drinking margaritas on a girls trip...I still distinctly remember hating how I looked in a swim suit, hating that my clothes felt just a little too tight. Today? Today I would LOVE to fit in to that same swim suit. It's not about what size is on the back of my pants, it's about my mental state of mind. It's about how I FEEL when I look in the mirror. At some point I have to start loving the woman I've become, embracing the rolls my children (and my addiction to chocolate and peanut butter anything...and wine...and margaritas) have given me and do my best to just be healthy, be happy and rock my curves.