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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

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

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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.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Sibling Bond

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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.

Observe:



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

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...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.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Clear Mind, Happy Heart

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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.

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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.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Reflection of Wonderment

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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.

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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.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Exhaustion Is Not Productive

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Here is what I've learned about having two kids under 3 year old. It is exhausting.

Now that I've returned to work, I have been putting a lot of effort into getting dressed in the morning. I've been cultivating a work chic look that I'm feeling good about. I dyed my hair a few shades darker just to mix it up in the winter months. I'm currently scouting new glasses. And I would love to share all of this with you but I simply cannot get it together to take a picture. Why?

Because I feel just like Turbo looks. I'm wiped out to the point where I want to lay on my paws and snore all day.

But I'm working on it. I'm going to snap some photos this weekend of my new favorite Gap khakis and I'm going to write a couple things on the transition from maternity leave to hiring a nanny. Life has been a sleepless blur; bear with me.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

'Tis the Season

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This is the first holiday season in which my son is old enough to truly enjoy the festivities. He is finally getting caught up in the magic of the month. This was evident on our trip to pick out our tree. He darted through the lot with vigorous energy and giant smiles. We followed dutifully behind, laughing as he shouted, "C'mon, guys! C'mon!"

Santa is discussed with great interest but not yet fully realized in his mind. Our house elf, which Keagan named Joe, darts about the room each night (when I remember to move him) and Joe is greeted every morning with wide-eyed, jaw-dropped surprise and wonder. The lights have gone up and my online shopping is complete. 'Tis the season to really enjoy Christmas anew through the eyes of my son.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Carmel Delight

Where have you been the past week? Oh, just living the life by the sea, that's all. A little mini-vacation with one of my best girlfriends from college was overdue. Here is a little peek at the getaway I'm still daydreaming about today.

At Dennis the Menace Park, Monterey:

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Carmel-by-the-sea:

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Suburban Dream

Last weekend, we moved to the suburbs of San Francisco - Marin County. Moving wrecks me down to my core. I hate living in chaos. My inability to find a certain pair of shoes when I need them in the morning sends me into a rage, so imagine misplacing all of your shoes. I've had a hard time adapting.

Additionally, it has been a bit bittersweet to leave San Francisco. My favorite city in the world holds so much that I hold near and dear to my heart. Diversity. Friends. Constant activity. A gorgeous landscape. Memories of my youth. A move into the suburbs signifies a step away from my past and the next progression into my future.

After a few nights in our new place, I have found little things I love - small bits I didn't even know I was missing. We now have a small backyard, which is considered a luxury in San Francisco. My son constantly wants to run outside and play. He invents little games and leaps around with unabashed joy in the warm sunshine (also a luxury in SF).

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Watching him fly with Daddy sent my heart into the air as well.

And speaking of those who love the backyard...

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My little sun worshiper has discovered the warmth of the patio and its benefit to his arthritic joints. I'm pretty sure I've seen him smiling more than once. When my husband sent me this photo, my pregnancy hormones kicked into overdrive and I started crying tears of joy. I'm out of control.

In other words, for all the things I miss in San Francisco, I'm discovering a new thing in our little Pleasantville neighborhood that are making me grin wider and wider each day.

PS...now that I'm feeling better and unpacking my clothes, it is back to outfit posts next week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On Insomnia

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Insomnia. You are no friend of mine. It seems to hit our household like a tsunami, coming in waves and overtaking either my husband or me. I will hear Kevin sighing heavily as he tries to force his head deeper into what he claims are terribly uncomfortable pillows. He spins and churns under the covers until he gives up and retreats to the living room for some TV time and a new angle. I feel terrible that he is so miserable and do my best to get back to sleep so I can take charge the next day.

That next day comes and goes and the next night, it is my turn to pop wide awake at 3:45 AM. Immediately, my head begins to spin over bills, projects unfinished at work and stuff that happened to me in 8th grade, like the time I got into an argument with a teacher over the capital of Texas (he tried to convince me it was Houston and told me I might get a detention when I reputed him). Why this memory? I have no clue. The mind goes to ridiculous places when left to its own devices.

I grab my pillow and head to the living room to see what on the DVR might lull me back to sleep.  It is there I'm greeted by the face above. Turbo stares at me in disbelief, half-pleased that I'm joining him on the couch and half-irritated that I've disturbed his restful slumber. He sits and stares at me with eyes half-closed while I stroke his ears, then proceeds to snuggle into my stomach while I sift through my DVR playlist. And I sit. I stare into nothing while Turbo snores and I wonder just where my ability to sleep through a tsunami went.

Anyone have foolproof cures for insomnia?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shoo, Flu

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It seems like everywhere I turn, I hear stories of households hit with the flu. The minute I saw coworkers walking through the office with Kleenex at their noses, I knew I was done for. When coworkers come to work sick, I get so angry. I want to shout, "You are nobody's hero! Stay home!" But then I get sick and I have so many meetings that I can't miss, I end up doing exactly what I rage about - trudging into the office with a fever, a cough drop and a mission to just get through it. Between office germs and daycare cooties, a working mom doesn't stand a chance.

It's not that I mind cuddling on the couch with my son while we recover. It's that I hate feeling how hot his little body gets when ravished with fever. There is little I can do to comfort the pain he feels due to his ear infection. There aren't enough kisses to give to assure him that it will be OK in a few days. And since I'm feeling pretty terrible myself, I hate that my energy level is at the bare minimum to take care of him, let alone myself.

As Keagan shows signs of feeling better, I'm still trying to catch up. When people ask how I'm feeling, I say, "Fine! Much better!" when truly, I wish I could have one full day to lay in bed, watch HGTV and eat chicken soup. Instead, I'm rolling up my sleeves and plastering on a smile in between sniffles.

Go away, flu!