Showing posts with label Tidbits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tidbits. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Four Ways To Find Balance During Morning Chaos


When you are a mom, every moment is precious. We all beat ourselves up for not fitting all of our plans and desires into the day. Between work, blogging and motherhood, I'm still working on finding a healthy balance between what needs to be done and what I want to do. With Mother's Day on the horizon, I salute all of the moms out there for keeping all the plates spinning.

I'm a very hands-on mom. If my daughter wants to dance with me in the morning while holding a banana and a leaky water bottle, I'm always up for it. If my son says he needs extra cuddles, I drop everything to grab him in my embrace. But my desire to spend quality time with my kids while knowing that I need to get out the door in time for my commute to work is never easy. It requires a lot of preparation and planning.

Here are my tips for balancing work and play in the morning:


1) Be thoughtful about your morning routine, down to the last minute. We have to get the kids fed, dressed and out the door before 7:00 AM. Lunches need to be prepped the night before and we tend to think about breakfast options before going to bed. Since none of this involves my own morning readiness, I try to think about what I'm going to wear before ending my day - that involves which dress, what hosiery, which shoes, etc. Eliminating these tiny decisions adds extra minutes that help you get out the door quickly and smoothly.


2) Put down your phone. Whether it is early morning or late evening, I fall victim to checking my work email. And if that wasn't bad enough, I have my blog email to check, as well as a personal email, and all my social media on Facebook and Twitter, and so on. The few minutes I gain answering an email or commenting on a friend's photo are not worth the many precious moments I lose that could be spent playing pretend cooking with my kids. The work can wait for work and when it can't, it can wait until after bed time.


3) Give yourself a couple minutes for a once-over. Most days, I'm lucky if I can get out of the door smudge-free. Something is always snagged or stained. I find that if I give myself two minutes for a last check, I won't discover a small peanut butter finger print on my behind mid-meeting.


4) At the end of the day, take some time for yourself. Find small ways to pamper yourself, whether it is a quick at-home pedicure or relief for tired eyes. This is one I'm not as great at completing. I'm fortunate that L'eggs, the brand responsible for the hosiery seen in this post and the brand that has been in my life since my mother wore them when I was a child (fresh out of the plastic eggs!), recognized this need and sent me a sweet care package with goodies for my own personal pampering.

The point is this: with a little bit of planning and a lot of relaxed breathing, you can do this, mama.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by L'eggs and the opinions and thoughts expressed here are my own. And if you want my thoughts on L'eggs hosiery, I can tell you that they are the silkiest, smoothest nude sheers  you will find at an excellent price point. Like I said, my mom wore them and now so do I! You can follow L'eggs on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.


Monday, April 27, 2015

When Mommy Is Out Of Town


When I leave town for a day or two, it is always hard to pull myself away from my kids. That is not to say I'm not one of those moms who struggles to leave her children. Trust me, I love my Me-time. But I think about them constantly and I wonder what they are doing at any given moment of the day during my absence.

My husband, Kevin, is great about sending me photos of their various adventures. When Daddy is in charge, sometimes the house rules bend a little bit for his own sanity. For example, I get photos of Sutton, my 18-month old, jumping off the side table onto the sofa.


There are photos of loud shouting contests. This one apparently centered around Daddy teasing Keagan by saying that the roses on the table were poisonous in efforts to keep small hands off of them. "Roses aren't poisonous!!!" says Keagan, at full volume.


There are snapshots of messes. Yogurt is delicious. Manners are optional.


I get glimpses into dance parties in progress and I know that this is likely the 35th time Kevin has endured "Party Rock" by LMFAO in the last 24 hours.

Wherever I may be stationed when I receive these sort of pictures via text, my eyes grow wide. I think about bruised foreheads slamming into various furniture. I think about stained shirts and side-eyes from neighbors as they pass by the cacophony coming from our open windows.

And then I start laughing. I laugh because in every photo, my kids are laughing, beaming, smiling and letting their giant personalities and wild imaginations shine through. I laugh because I can envision Kevin's bemused grin as the one taking it all in and more importantly, as the one taking excellent care of them. He bears the heavy load of managing two high energy kids and if leaping across furniture is what actually keeps them in check, then so be it.

Best of all, these little glimpses into their day keep me just as excited to see them as they always are to see me when I walk through our front door. However, they were not thrilled when Mommy got home and put a shut down on their new couch-jumping game. Mommies can be a real buzz kill.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Stepping Out From Behind The Camera: A Mother's Challenge


This photo pretty much sums me up - iPhone camera pointed towards my kids, silly expression on my face, all for the sake of capturing some memories.

I love taking photos. Some of my family members have joked that my kids aren't going to recognize me without a camera blocking my face. Others have marveled that we live in a generation where every moment needs to be digitally captured. I've read articles that declare we are raising a new breed of selfie-inflicted narcissists who think that everything that they do is special. Well, I'll run that risk if it means that decades from now I will have a lifetime of photos to look back upon with love, joy and happiness. Shoot, I look at photos I took less than a year ago and I know that if I hadn't taken the time to whip out my phone, the memory would have been fleeting and gone. Time rolls by too quickly.

I was fortunate this past weekend when my husband took control of the camera when I wasn't looking. He snapped some photos of me and my kids, just sitting in the sun and enjoying a children's singer at a birthday party. I'm usually the one running after the action with my phone pointed in all directions. On most occasions, I'm non-existent in family photos. This time, I got to see some of what I perhaps miss when I'm busy capturing the moment - I got to see myself actually capturing the moment with the loves of my life.

While you won't see me putting down the camera any time soon, these photos have shown me that sitting back, sipping a beer and watching my kids bounce to "5 Little Monkeys" is a pretty sweet angle to capture.





Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Sibling Bond


I'm an only child, so I know absolutely nothing about being a sibling. I simply can't wrap my head around what it means to have a sibling bond or a sibling rivalry. My husband tells me tales of him and his sister in knockdown, drag out battles through their youth and he is convinced that is what is headed our way as the kids grow. Me, I'm not so sure.

My kids are way into each other and I'm absorbing every sweet second of it. I give the majority of the credit to Keagan, who is so kind-natured that he constantly seeks hugs and affection from his little sister. "Sutton, do you want a hug? Sutton, do you want to sit on my lap?" And now that she is walking and talking, she responds with an enthusiastic "Yah!" and crawls into whatever space he is inhabiting. 

I've managed to catch all kinds of cute, snuggly photos of the two of them together. So many, in fact, that I'm hoping to have a full album of just them, buddied up together, through the course of the year.




But then little moments like this happen, followed by shouts of "Stop it!"...


...and I can see that the balance between good and evil is restored.

But I will revel in this for as long as I can.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sixteen Month Old Memories

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This little troublemaker turned sixteen months old today.

I've always been terrible at keeping baby books. It's hard for me to even imagine what my son was doing at sixteen months old. I've had to look back at photos of him to ring a bell. When it comes to comparing milestones, I draw a blank. For posterity and because Sutton is largely on my mind today, I thought I might chronicle some of her little achievements:

-  She thinks the word "no" is merely a suggestion. See exhibit A, above, when I told her to get off the coffee table.

-  She says hello and waves to her food when she is really hungry. "Hi, waffle! Hi!"

-  She gets very excited about new shoes. She is mommy's girl.

-  Just kidding. She is daddy's girl. At school, when a man enters the room, she happily exclaims, "Daddy!" and is crushed when it is not him.

-  When Keagan wakes up in the morning, she shouts, "Hi, buddy!" and won't stop until he comes downstairs to greet her.

-  She will do it herself. How dare you try to do it for her because she doesn't need you to do it, so back off.

-  If she had her way, she would dance and sing to Frozen or Sesame Street songs all day, every day.

-  As I shut her door last night, I heard three clear little words emerge from her crib: "I love oooooo." My heart exploded shortly after.

No, these aren't milestones like first steps, first words or first bike ride. But this is the stuff that I truly want to remember.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas and the New Year

Life skates by pretty quickly. The holidays took over, but I'm back to rapidly walk you through the madness. Shall we?


Well, this happened. I'm guaranteed a spot on Santa's naughty list for leaving my screaming child in his lap while I snapped this photo. Worth it. Posterity is everything.


On Santa attempt number two, we got this. Santa fail all around this year. And to prove my children exited their Santa run-ins unscathed, here is some tree time happiness.



The holidays were chock full of sweet reminders of our beloved Turbo.



For New Year's Eve, we decided to scratch the Eve and make it a day before the eve in St. Helena by celebrating the opening of Cook Tavern and stopping off for grenache at Elizabeth Spencer...



...which was perfect for our 6:30 p.m. celebration of the new year. Kevin and I didn't even make it to the New York ball drop. I was fast asleep by 8:30 p.m. Wouldn't have wanted it any other way!

Happy 2015, everyone!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Clear Mind, Happy Heart


Breathing deep and letting go feels a bit more soothing when you are in front of lapping waves and giggling children. After a hard couple of weeks mourning the passing of our sweet Turbo, a change of scenery was welcome. Everything in the house, despite my vacuuming, Febreezing, and tidying, seemed to remind me of our loss. I needed some respite from the norm.

We headed to Aptos, CA, to stay for a night with my in-laws, who were renting a house just steps from the beach. The ocean has such a calming effect on me - even my daughter's white noise machine is tuned to "ocean." Keagan galloped along the shore where the waves sloshed at his ankles, squealing in delight. Sutton tasted at least three handfuls of sand before figuring out that there was no meal to be had here. Kevin stood on guard as Keagan tested his bravery against the waves and the undertow of low tide. I breathed in the salty air, marveling at the pelicans fishing with huge, swooping dives in the break past the waves, and pointing out the occasional sea lion body surfing just yards before me.




On day two, we took lots of long walks down the beach. Sutton is testing out her newly discovered language - some of which is comprised of real words, such as "baby", "wa-wa" and "uh-oh" and some of which simply sounds like what she is trying to imply through tone and inflection - by pointing at things and going, "Es saaa?" (meaning, what's that?) Birds, houses, trees and cars were all points of curiosity and excitement.

But it was my excitement that was peaked when from the window of our place, we saw a pod of dolphins surfacing just past the break in the waves. I took off at light speed to the beach. With my feet in the wet sand and the waves hitting my toes, I watched their fins curve up and down as they streaked along the coast line. It may sound corny, but seeing them made me have this feeling of relief, as though they represented that there are still good, pure things in the world. I could have watched them all day and took great pleasure in pointing out their presence to my son.

When we left, I felt relaxed and peaceful. Kevin made the offhand comment, "Turbo would have loved this place." I nodded and smiled. This was the first time that I didn't well up at the mention of his name and instead, made jokes about how we would have gotten soaked when we would inevitably have had to fish him out of the water.

Nothing like the beach to give you a clear head and a happy heart.




Monday, September 15, 2014

The Reflection of Wonderment


This is quite possibly my favorite photo that I've ever taken of my son (and trust me, I've taken thousands of photos in the last 3 years). His reflection demonstrates all that I love so much about him - his sweet fascination with animals, the way he absorbs knowledge through his beautiful blue eyes, and his vigorous enthusiasm for life. I always say that it is such a joy to be able to see things in a whole new perspective through his eyes. This photo serves as the literal reflection of all that I am privileged to witness every day.

Our trip to the California Academy of Science was plagued with a bit of strife to begin. The line for Free Admission day was a city-block long and I wasn't about to brave the wait, even for a terrific deal. His eyes watered as I began to waffle on whether or not we should go in, which prompted me to suck it up and by a membership so we could enjoy our day. I'm now thrilled that I made that choice because we will be back very soon. He ran from sight to sight, exclaiming "Look at this! Look at that!" and he repeated all the names of the creatures "An-a-con-da!" He even corrected a woman later by saying, "That's not a bird, that's a macaw." I gave the woman a sheepish grin and steered my little tour guide on his way.

The highlights for him were the aquarium and the rain forest exhibit. The highlights for me were watching my children shine like the sun in the midst of their discoveries.



Monday, August 25, 2014

The Perfect First Day of School Pictures

You know how everyone stages those first day of school photo shoots at their front door? The child is proudly standing next to or holding a sign announcing the big day. Well, I gave it my best shot, but it is hard to keep a 3-year-old with a balloon in one place for long.

I forgot to finish a sign until ten minutes before photo time, so I slapped some tape on the door and threw up what I had. He chose this hilarious shirt for his first day of school because "the hamburger has muscles". He dropped his back pack and took off running down the sidewalk with glee as I shouted his name to get him to turn around. He smacked his balloon like a punching bag when I asked him to smile. It was joyful chaos.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.






Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Migraines: How to Avoid the Gateway to Hell

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Migraines are a special kind of misery. As Forrest Gump once said, "Migraines are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get and they are probably a trigger, so don't eat them."

Though I'm one of the lucky ones who only gets a migraine every few months, they still shut me down to a standstill. Last week, I was slammed in the skull with a migraine of the worst severity I have ever had. I left work wondering if I was going to be able to see the road through the aura that was streaking across my vision from the right side of my face. A fever of 101 kicked in as I forced my shivering body into bed, too hot to put my standard pillow across my eyes, too sensitive to handle the light without it. Eyes shut tight, I waited it out in agony.

Having a migraine is like being trapped inside of your own head. With eyes closed, I'm still awake due to pain and the caffeine in Excedrin Migraine, leaving me with nothing but my own thoughts. For some reason, all of the worst, most terrible thoughts I could possibly have seem to come rushing through some flood gate in the back of my brain that the migraine has swiftly opened. I imagine far-fetched scenarios, like my kids running into traffic and I can't get there quick enough, or what will I do when Turbo passes away? I ask myself why I'm thinking about these things and open my eyes to remove the images, only to hiss at the light like a vampire climbing out of a coffin before dusk.

My arms feel heavy. My right eye feels droopy. My speech feels disconnected. Am I having a stroke? (Again with the dark, ridiculous thoughts.) And then comes the Mommy guilt. My husband is now left to fend for himself with a toddler and a baby while I lay dormant in bed, wishing I could help and wishing I could fall into a deep, dark cave, simultaneously. I want to be with them, but the idea of sitting up is excruciating.

Everyone has their best advice on how to deal with a migraine. These days, I hear people share that Botox in the head and neck is the answer, but I don't think I can go that route just yet (however, talk to me again when I'm in pain and I'll probably offer to inject it myself). There are all kinds of drugs to take - consult your doctor, not your local blogger on that one. Today, I'll lay out advice on how to recover because it is advice I also need to adhere to in the future to reduce down time:
  1. Take meds early. The minute you feel that migraine feeling coming on - dull ache, slight nausea, light and sound sensitivity - even to the most minor degree, pop an Excedrin Migraine. I've fought off a few by simply being timely with the meds.

  2. Lie down. Stop worrying about the stuff you need to do. Don't feel guilty about bailing on friends or family. Work will wait. Lie down, shut up and try to sleep.

  3. Darkness is your friend. Bathe in it. Pretend you are a bat in a cave and revel in the dark. Bundle yourself into a blanket and a sleep mask and keep things light tight.

  4. Hydrate. Drink water like you are taking a journey through the Sahara. Once you think you have drank enough water, drink some more. 

  5. Pay attention to your triggers and write them down. Seriously, don't just log it to memory. Put any factors from the few days before into a journal. That time of the month? Too much red wine? Were you stressed out? Are you dehydrated? Writing it down each time allows you to establish a pattern that you can take to the doctor for some better examination. 
To all my fellow migraine sufferers out there, I salute you and I wish for you to have quick recoveries.