Monthly Archives: July 2013

Things That Make My Heart Swell

Like I said in my last “Things That Make My Heart Swell” post in July, I think we will re-visit this subject monthly, since it’s so easy to find the things that make me (us) happy, and photographic evidence is fun…and appealing to viewers, right?  Right.  Thankfully I’ve figured out how to edit my pictures better and in a much easier fashion, as well as ENLARGE them since then!

So….here are my current swelling moments (in no particular order):

1.  Roo showing me where his eyes are by quickly blinking them over and over again. (This one should really be a video.  Maybe soon on Instagram – which by the way is @flowingwiththego – obviously…)

2.  BBQ’s with good old friends and lots of kids…and a rousing game of Mother (or Father) May I…?

Mother May I?Who Will Win? 3. Speaking of old friends…(she is getting ready for her comeback!)

Guitar

4.  Smissy being back in town!!! (that would be slang for my super-hot-awesome-moving-home-until-she-moves-to-Colorado sister)…Pictures coming SOON!!!!

5.  Living room camping (sort of)

Living Room Camping

(The REAL camping – in a friends backyard, that is – will take place THIS weekend! 

6.  This.Silly.Goofball:

Red Collage

(Please ignore the vaccum cleaner in the top two pictures.  It’s out so much, I don’t even notice it.  Until of course I do.)                                     

7.  This.Little.Buddy:

Little Buddy

8.  Whole Foods treats.

Whole Foods Treats

9.  Early Saturday morning reading.

On Saturday He Ate...

10.  BFF and her beautiful babe:

BFF and Babe

11.  Roo’s belly laughs.Belly Laughs

(He was scrubbing all of the sandbox trucks with that brush…)

12.  These sleepy feet:

Feet
Goodnight July 31st, 2013

Hello August 1st! 

Be Well & Make Your Heart Swell.

xo

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Confessions of My Dirty Secrets

Over the weekend I cleaned and organized our bedroom.

Big deal you say?

Well, for me, it was a chore that needed to be done, not only to clear the dust from under my bed, but also the dust from my mind. I am so guilty of stacking, piling, saving, filing and flinging stuff into the mess that had begun to take over my corner of the room, as well as the top of my half of the dresser. I am especially bad with papers. Things that come in the mail have a tendency to accumulate. And then there is the stuff that I have and forget about, like the Eric Carle crayons, plate and sippy cup that I bought for Roo that I had tucked away in the corner and found in an old work bag full of, again, papers. I counted five frames that I have purchased on clearance from Target. Let me re-phrase that – five EMPTY frames. We have a lot of bare wall space, and plenty of great photos that I can put in these frames; it’s just getting around to actually doing it has not happened yet. I had a ton of magazines on my nightstand that I had every intention to read, but I always end up on Pinterest or Bloglovin’ at night instead. (Can you blame me???)

I am so immersed in other things and end up ignoring the stacks that are staring at me from across the room.
I unearthed all of the gift cards that we have yet to use. Not that I had forgotten, but when I actually put them all together in one big envelope, I got pretty excited. We have movie passes, swanky restaurant cards, Pottery Barn cards, a Giggle store card…it’s enough for a couple of date nights followed by some home decorating, and a kids shopping spree.

That’s like a jackpot of fun stuff!  I need to get on that!

gift cards

I was so in the zone. Once our room was clean and dusted and nightstands cleared, and papers thrown out, and junk drawers purged, and new storage solutions implemented (thank goodness for the functionality and visual aesthetics that baskets provide!), I tackled the rest of the house too.

Dresser

We’ll talk about my Hello Kitty love later.

nightstand

Roo actually has some decorations hanging on a wall in his room – triumph!

Roo's Room

I also removed toys from the living room (aka, the playroom) and put them in his room so he has more of a reason to be in there other than sleeping. Red’s room, which was another disaster area that resembled the after-effects of a giant toy explosion, was cleaned and tidied, though there will be a major re-organization project coming up before kindergarten starts.  I’ll try to post a before and after of that!!

I am on a roll. I’m trying to be better. Organization does not come naturally to me. Well, it sort of does, like when we moved into our house just three short years ago. We went from our tiny two bedroom rental cottage, to our current, small-ish, three bedroom ranch, and we threw away SO.MUCH.STUFF! Moving is so full of leaf-turning, and good intentions, and making a space a reflection of the people in it, and I had it all covered for a time. But we are all guilty of dropping, and piling and working around the small stuff that eventually becomes something that cannot be ignored anymore.

Cleaning is so good for the soul.

In the basement, out of necessity, Mike had to clear out a closet due to some condensation on the floor from the heat wave we had. In that closet are boxes of things that we hadn’t unpacked since we moved, and we said whatever we don’t need is getting thrown out. Fine with me, but in the midst of going through stuff, I recovered things I had thought were lost forever. I found high school relics such as my yearbooks and my field hockey stick. And crazy but fun things, like a Hello Kitty air-pop popcorn machine. (Don’t judge – I had, and still have a kitschy love for that sweet, little bow-eared kitten…) In other words, I uncovered some old pieces of me that were in storage for a while…literally and figuratively.

And now that I have recovered lost treasures, and cleared the disorder from the nooks and cranny’s of the walls that we live in, I am free to move on to other things. I’m not so distracted by the hodgepodge of miscellany that began to creep back into our physical and mental spaces. Without all the clutter, I can create places to do enjoyable things, like practicing my sewing skills on the sewing machine that was buried in the basement closet or concentrate on drawing, and crafts now that I know what supplies I have and what I need. You know – actually implement some of my Pinterest inspirations, so my boards aren’t all for naught.

And maybe, hopefully, I can finally get going on ordering prints of the zillion photographs we take everyday, to fill the assortment of lonely frames that are awaiting a space on my ample, empty walls.

I am re-focusing and will continue to torpedo myself throughout the house and rearrange whatever I can to make it cozy and homey and functional, and clutter-free so that we can all enjoy it the way we should.  But hey, if you happen to stop by on a random weeknight, I’m not promising that a trail of toys won’t greet you at the door,

Getting Red to clean up after himself more consistently…is still a work in progress…but really, aren’t we all?

http://www.lovethispic.com/image/20738/decorating-your-home-quote

My sentiments EXACTLY.

Everybody’s Zooing It!

Wander

We had a lazy weekend. The heatwave finally broke, we had lots of rain and it made things actually feel chilly!  It was such a welcome change. But dampness didn’t damper spirits. Red’s pre-school class went on a field trip to the zoo on Friday. It was a much anticipated outing, especially since Mike went and was the appointed photographer and one of the parent chaperone’s. Red has been a big-time Daddy’s boy lately (which is great for Mike, but I can’t help feeling a twinge of jealousy…I’ll get over it since I’ve been smothering him with hugs and kisses and snuggles that never end). They left the house extra early (no issues getting dressed, or wanting to watch more TV, or taking forever to get shoes on…)

Just to break routine was exciting for Red. No work for Daddy, a bus ride, exploration of wildlife and the anticipation of not knowing what to expect! Their class has been focusing on wild animals a lot lately, and even made a zoo cage for the classroom out of a big cardboard box.

And Red made this mask a few weeks back:

RoarSo this post is just a photographic summary of the day they went to the zoo.

Each group was given a different animal hat. Red was in the Lion group. Roar!!

Waiting

Here is the class anxiously waiting to leave school and get on with the ADVENTURE already!!

Spread Your Wings

Upon arrival, they were ready to begin exploring – and got ready to “spread their wings!”

Here are some of the animals they saw:

Wolves

CROC

WOWZA!!! Look at that THROAT!

Peacock

Too bad this guy didn’t “spread his wings,” er, feathers….he looks annoyed, doesn’t he???

Watch the Croc

Tunnel

Turtle

World

It was a day filled with exotic creatures, reptiles and birds (there were many more than what Mike captured!), and great fun with friends. As Mike said as they were leaving…”The zoo is leaving the zoo.” He had a great time supervising a bunch of four and five year old kiddos, but was exhausted at the end of the day. He was a great chaperone, and is a great photographer. Thanks babe for the pictures…and for being such an amazing dad. xo

Working-Mom Guilt…Be Damned.

I had knots in my stomach all day.

I wanted to post something earlier – like yesterday – but life sort of got in the way of my creative juices.  And by life, I mean work, sucking it straight out of me. 

I have always been a working mom.  It’s necessary in our household, and I like having a job that allows me flexibility, good benefits, and the luxury of going to work, doing what I have to do, and leaving it behind at the end of the day so I can come home and play.

postman

play

play 2

Lately however, as work stuff becomes more complicated and less enthusiastic, the nagging feeling that things are going to change (maybe for the better?) has been weighing heavily on my spirit.  To make matters worse, I have recently been experiencing a severely nasty case of working mom guilt that has me thinking hard and trying harder to figure things out. 

It is time for me to stop underestimating and over compensating.  I’ve decided that I have to just start standing up for myself and what I believe to be right and true – and saying it out loud.  But it’s not easy.

I’m sure every mom feels it at one point – the tired, stressed, lumpy throated remorse that comes with the thought that there isn’t enough time in the day and we aren’t doing enough for our kids.  It’s all I can do to get through the nightly routine before I crash in the rocking chair with the baby in my lap.  And I have Mike to help – I have no idea how single moms do it.  But we do it – we all somehow conjure up some kind of super human strength that allows us to run, run, run, from early morning until late at night.  And when the house is finally quiet, and I have the time reflect on everything that’s been accomplished, and the lists have been checked off, I look at those sleeping faces and sometimes all I want to do is cry.  I’m not normally an overly emotional person, but my gosh, I have been so sensitive these days.

sleepy love

Coming into work on a Monday morning to an email stating that I would have to travel for two weeks did not help my mood either.  In fact, it sent me into a tail spun panic.  I am not in a position where travel is the norm, or necessary, or expected.  But with the current state of affairs happening in my department, I knew I would be contributing some knowledge to the cause…It’s nice to be needed.  But need me from my office.  I am in no position to travel and leave Mike with two energetic boys, one of whom is still nursing.  Not that he couldn’t handle it (love you babe!) but it would be a struggle.  Did I mention it was Two.Weeks!?  And maybe it’s just me – because I have friends who travel – and I know dads who stay home, and they do it just fine.  And if it was the opposite situation, and it was Mike who had to go away – would I feel the same?  I don’t know…I think I’d be ok.  Is that contradictory?  (yes.)

The reality is – working moms can’t please everyone.  Either work or family is going to be let down at some point.  And choosing which to invest most heavily in is a no-brainer.  But sometimes it feels like a risk – which is just so unfortunate.

cars

I have great work ethic.  I am passionate when I have challenges that are motivating.  I am incredibly positive and thoughtful and use “collaboration, influence, teamwork, and agility” (all that lovely corporate lingo/jargon) when needed. 

So after two days of anxiety – I scheduled a meeting with my boss.  It took coaching from my best friend, and talking with Mike, and texting another friend, and running the scenario over and over in my head before I could even hit send on the email.  I had myself so worked up about making the statement that I cannot travel, and Google of course gave me all of the worst case scenarios (including this scary article about what your HR reps won’t tell you!  Thank GOD I don’t work in HR).  Yes, I thought I could be fired.

And after a short and reassuring meeting, it all turned out fine.  I am staying put.  No plane ticket needed.  No lonely hotel room.  I will be working remotely, still adding my valuable (my word-ha!) insights to the team, but coming home to my much-loved, much needed family every night – just like I always do.  Despite my fears, and apprehension, I did what I needed to do – what I knew was right for me, and I asked for it.  And it turned out to work in my favor.  Lesson learned.  Use your voice.  Mom voice, work voice, whatever voice it takes – and make things happen for yourself, because no one else will.

So working mom-guilt be damned.  There aren’t enough hugs and kisses in the world to give my kids before and after a long workday, but despite that fact, they know they are loved.  And I know I am needed…and while I have to, I’ll give as much as I can to the 40 hour grind.  But when that whistle blows (for some reason when I wrote that I imagined Fred Flintstone riding down a dinosaur’s tail to his car…) – I am out of the reach of emails and at home reading stories, and tucking in, and savoring every second of the short amount of time the weekdays allow us to have together.

The Inside Noise.

Recently, a mom of one of Red’s preschool friends was hit by a car while walking in a store parking lot. Yes – walking. In a parking lot. Simply doing her day to day which was completely turned upside-down in a flash. The day it happened, when I picked Red up, the Director at his school shared the information with me because it was going to be on the news. The mom was in critical condition.

I have been thinking so much lately about how quickly time goes by – life in general actually, and how in an instant things can change. This morning when I asked the preschool teacher how the mom was doing, she said she was in pain, but is home and doing much better. Thank God. She then shared with me the story of how on the day of the accident was a day she had off, and she had seen the mom in the parking lot, probably moments before and greeted her with a cheery hello and they talked for a few minutes and were on their way. When she heard about the accident she was shocked.  It gave me goosebumps hearing how her encounter had happened just before such a tremendous turn of events.   

These kinds of experiences are so powerful. To me, they are reminders that time is fleeting. Relationships with our most loved are important and worth heavy investment. Kindness and generosity go a long way. My priorities in life are these few things.

Aside from this accident that hit too close to home, I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately, which is probably why so many of my posts have been about family time, memories, thoughtfulness and good intentions. I strive to be a better person for myself and my babes. Mike and I are the examples that they will follow, and just as I am always reminding Red to make good choices, be a good listener, and be a leader, I have to bear this in mind for myself as well.  I know I am probably coming across all sugary and sound like some unrealistic, sentimental, cliché-loving, self-righteous sap. I don’t care. Sometimes (and maybe more often than not) it is necessary to simply let the stuff that we define as “big” take a back seat to the little moments, which are far more  life-giving than money, material desires and work. 

crazylove

(This would be proof that we don’t take ourselves too seriosuly…)

It’s terrible that it takes a tragic event to catapult us back to the basics. When did life become so cluttered with outside noise anyway? Obviously my house will never be quiet with two crazy boys running around. Of course chaos comes with the territory when you have kids, but I can’t even remember what life was like before they came along.  They create the inside noise I want to focus more intently on.  I think recently my goal has been to redefine and rearrange all of the “importants.”  My family has always been at the top of the list, but I am now starting to freshen my outlook in other areas as well because if you believe it, and begin to live it – it will be.    (I made that up, but gosh it sounds impressively deep.)

mask 2

I love the colorful, creative, drawn outside the lines, inquisitive, think outside the box mishmash of lovely, if crazy, household ours has become, but it is not always picture perfect.  The boys are not always on their best behavior, toys are scattered everywhere (EVERYWHERE), food is stuck to the kitchen floor, laundry remains in baskets, and the “big” stuff (like money and bills) creeps its way back into my little euphoric mindset…and we get swallowed up again.  It’s not always as easy as I like to daydream it is. 

toy box play

But at the end of the day – at the end of our days – I want to look back on life and think that we made a concious efforts to hold the small stuff closest.  The chaos and clutter and noises from the “inside” will become my “happy place,” just like how when sit at my desk and my eyes glaze over as I think about my sweet babies faces and the love I’ll get when I walk through the door….ahhhh.  And how I look back at how much Red has grown up in the past five years and even Roo in only 15 months.  TIme.Goes.By!!!

crib

So while I know that we can’t ignore reality, or control every aspect of danger, or live every day like it’s our last, I want to be able to live in the moments of the small stuff now, and someday recall how the rambunctious, loud, sweet, laughing, charming moments that we shared as a family were the best of times, and the most important events, and the ones I remember most clearly – even if they were lived on a most monotonous day. 

stuffies

Sand.

It’s in every crevice, stuck to skin, underfoot, in our sheets, in the shower, in the car, in our shoes, in my pocketbook, in the corners of my phone case. Under nails, in hair, in diapers (and baby bums…)
But when an the idea arose to go on an out of the ordinary adventure to the beach on a steamy weeknight instead of following our humdrum dinner/bath/bed routine, we jumped, feet first, into the sand.
It was 7 pm and still incredibly hot.  Quick dinner, forgo the dishes, grab the towels as we poured our sticky, sweaty bods into swim suits. sand toys
Red barely had his life jacket zipped before he hit the water. Roo, a little more cautious, waded to his ankles, paused then smiled, squat down and started furiously digging with the blue shovel that he had been gripping since we arrived. The beach was just the right amount of crowded. We had no problem finding our own space without being on top of others. Red befriended a surfer chick, and his fearless outgoing self, invited his way onto her board to try his hand at paddling. I love his confident ability to befriend and charm just about anyone.
Roo was happy to walk, walk, walk, the beach. Little toes gripped the sand, still having some trouble balancing in the uneven mini-dunes that bigger feet created.

seagull

Chasing seagulls, throwing rocks into the water, finding seashells, and mysterious beach treasure.

beach treasure

What is that?

Getting sandy.
Soooooooo sandy.

But regardless of the vacuuming my house now so desperately needs, I would do it again. Every night. Without hesitation.
Even though Red gave a bit of a fight when it was time to go (i.e. not listening At.All.), can I really blame him? I was a little fish too when I was young, and probably pulled the same bold, swim-in-the-other-direction behavior that he exhibited last night.
Even with the extra work of late bath times, and late bed times, and dishes still in the sink this morning, what we now have in our summer memory bank is the adventure from the night we abandoned our normal agenda in exchange for a priceless evening of fun. And the opportunity to take some good pictures didn’t hurt either.

toy

summer love

sand castles 2

sunset

surfing

As for the grit and dirt spread all over the hardwood, and in the car seats, in the laundry and on the changing table…I am considering every speck a little reminder of the beautiful sunlit night we spent as a family in the surf, salt and wonderfully messy sand.

dunes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Life Hand’s You a Monday…

I dragged myself to work today. The weekends go by so fast, and before I know it, Monday morning is back with the rush of getting ready and go, go, go…
It doesn’t help that it was already about 85 degrees at seven o’clock this morning, and I was trying to make myself presentable for the office as I sweat, wishing I was one of those girls who could simply pile her hair up into a cute top knot, slap on a little mascara and gloss and be on my way, feeling pulled together and fancy-free – but alas, I was not blessed with that brand of genes.

No, this morning was one of those days where, as I was blow drying my hair, I could feel the humidity wrestling with the brush in a tug of war in which unruliness won.
Roo was getting cranky as I was getting lunches together, I lost my temper with Red after he wouldn’t stand still for me to put sunscreen on and proceeded to wipe his greasy face on the sofa after I applied it (really, what in the world would make him think that’s a good idea?), and I felt terrible (TERRIBLE – sad, cranky, guilty…) as I reflected on the morning during my drive in.
Thankfully I work with my BFF, whose door is always open so I can visit, and we often laugh, and joke, or vent about whatever is going on in our lives. Today, on my way out to lunch, I stopped by and told her I was going out to play the lottery. She looked at me, eyes wide open and said, “Can I come with you?” Turns out we were both in desperate need of an hour outside the office walls. Who cares if it was 95 degrees out – it was sunny and we had each other!  And, when life hands you a particularly rough Monday….do something spontaneous and giddy!
I had three dollars burning a hole in my wallet since last week.  These particular dollars were set aside specifically to buy lotto tickets (which I NEVER do…but have been  recently feeling the desire to take a chance).  Mike had given me one of  the dollars which was old and crinkly, and he told me to buy a ticket because he thought it might be lucky. So I did. And whether or not I win isn’t the point. Sometimes just the fantasy of what could be is worth three dollars. Getting out of the office is worth the three dollars. Really, it’s only three dollars. My morning Starbuck’s cost me more than that and even it couldn’t lift my spirits the way this afternoon’s jaunt to the gas station convenience store did.  And then, BFF treated me to fro-yo – and all was right with the world…
So if tomorrow I am still not $2.5 million richer, it’ll be ok. I’ll survive…and by that time, this week’s Monday will be over and I’ll have another chance to say – “you can’t win if you don’t play.” And I mean literally.
And on that note, play we did this weekend.  The proof is in the pudding popscicle!

popscicle

 Obviously delish – Wish I had a picture of the “after” when his whole face was covered in orange mango stickiness!  Ahhh – the joys of summer.  No biggie – we washed off in the pool!

   

Berries

Basil

What’s better than fresh berries & fresh basil you ask?  NOTHING!

Reading

Reading on a rainy Saturday morning.  It was very early for a weekend, but I didn’t even care.

Game Face

This is what we call “game face.”

 Climb

Oh, and we’re climbing now….Watch out!

Dare Devil

And yes, that is what my living room looks like on most weekdays….dont judge.  🙂

sunday dinner

Sunday night dinner…

(complete with a Sesame Street “iPhone.”  Apparently Roo is a very busy baby.) 

lotto

A girl can dream, can’t she?!?

And now we are one day closer to  the weekend…

Happy Monday!  xo.