Visiting the Queen

Well, I wish I could say I met a Queen but instead I visited the Queen’s Town, Charlotte North Carolina!

Just about a year ago I posted about my surprise birthday party, and here we are again! This year Hubs and my Mom surprised me again but this time with a girl’s weekend trip down to Charlotte to visit my sister! Hubs’ part of the surprise was keeping the kids solo for the whole weekend so that I could go sans-tiny-hands. I love my kiddos, but I think Mama needed this break. It was a wonderful trip.

Friday: Mom and I begin our trek down south. We discover the glory of soy frappuccinos, my dislike of a certain radio personality and have some uninterrupted time to talk about all the things.Moms, I know you understand this, an uninterrupted conversation with another adult during daylight hours is often impossible.We reach Miss by around 8, ooh and ahh over her amazing new furniture, enough for each of us to claim a spot for the weekend, and head to dinner at the Rusty Bucket. The perfect spot for a meal after an afternoon in the car. Then, the kicker. SHE MADE CHEESECAKE. Homemade, 2 lbs of cream cheese, and a strawberry drizzle on top, cheesecake! My absolute favorite. The best part was…it was delectable. Meaning that we ate it for three days! Yum

Saturday:tried to sleep in, really I did, but apparently I’m programmed to wake early.So up with the sun, I was. Some coffee and showers saw us to our first destination, Polished for pedicures! From pedicures, we went to the mall for some much-needed wardrobe updating. I recently removed about 2/3 of my outdated clothing (oh yeah, I had two kids too) and haven’t replaced any of it. Luckily for me, we found the Crown & Ivy brand, and it was a hit! So much so that we had to stop going to stores as our haul was getting expensive. Then it was time to celebrate; our first beverage stop was Red Clay Ciderworks. We had a tasting, tour and chat while we enjoyed the ambiance of their casual taproom. A+.Then it was off to Olde Mecklenburg Brewery with their Oktoberfest-type-feeling and oddly, a place where I felt at home. Thanks, Dad. From there we hit up good ole Target for snacks and essentials and back for a movie and naps. This was shaping up to be a wonderful day. The evening brought a trip into the city and the piano bar. Great songs with a 5-6 piece band, a visit from my sister-in-law and a bucket-o-drinks! Oh, and cheesecake when we got home. Banner day, ladies, banner day!
I slept great!

 

 

 

Sunday: PJ church on the iPad and bruuuuuunch! We checked out the local French brunch scene complete with beignets. I’m told they’re almost as good as those in NOLA. I’ll take it. Then a quick pack up said our goodbyes and made our way back to my hubs and kiddos. Daddo was hanging out at the house and had brought dinner to make things seamlessly easy.

I could NOT have asked for a better weekend and am so thankful for the relationships I have with both my mom and my sister. These are the relationships and stories I’ll be happy to share with my daughter someday, assuming that she still likes me. Here’s hoping!

 

Be Great,

M

 

He Gets It From His Mama

We know that children take cues from those around them.
That is why we have to be so careful about what we say.
Earlier in Bubba’s little life words like “fork” and “finger” were definitely pronounced with the wrong sounds causing me to shout No No! He said fork- f-o-r-k. I promise!
Now that he’s older we have a whole new set of worries with which to contend.
He’s repeating our (my) frequently used words and phrases.
I’ll tell you what- you never know how often you say something until you hear it from the mouth of your almost three-year-old.

As Bubba is almost three, we’ve reached that stage where he believes he get’s to have an opinion of equal weight to that of his parents. Now- we encourage him to have his opinions and feelings freely but that he needs to respect and follow the directions and decisions of those in charge of his care. To put it lightly- it’s a fun time.

The other night after a particularly difficult day due in part to the cold (can’t go outside), pent up energy (due to the cold) and general naughtiness (because he’s a child) we decided to blow up the bouncy castle that has been relocated to the basement.
Upon waking from his nap, Bubba was pleased to discover the appearance of said bouncy castle.
As were we.

In bed that evening as we were singing our songs and tucking Bubba in he decides to ask some questions about what he will be able to do the next day.
He launches into a story about the bouncy castle- it went a little like this.
Mind you- he talks about a mile a minute, and we can hardly keep up, half the time.

-“Okay, Mommy. Tomorrow I get up, and I can go jump in my bouncy castle. My Daddy blowed up my bouncy castle so I can jump in it. It in the basement. It not upstairs anymore. You take it downstairs and then my Daddy have to blow it up again. Now it blowed up, and I can jump in it when I get up tomorrow. Right, Mommy? Right, I can jump in it? But when there’s no more room in the basement then obviously we have to bring it back upstairs.”
-Wait- what? What about bringing it upstairs, buddy?
-“I say, when there’s no more room in the basement than obviously, we have to bring it upstairs.”
-Did you just say ‘obviously?’
-“Yes Mommy, I said obviously.”
Ahh, yes, of course, you did. Well, okay then, I think it’s time for bed… for Mommy.”

Obviously… He’s not even three yet. Hubs just looked at me and said, “Well, we know who he’s listening to.”
Yeesh…

Side note: He knows how to say Au Revoir due to one of Little Bear’s toys.

Maybe I need to start teaching him ASL…

Be Great,
M

Insert Foot Into Mouth

Ever feel like sticking your whole foot right into your mouth?

A few weeks back Little Bear had a doctor appointment which ended up with her being diagnosed with RSV. After the appointment, we, of course, had to pick up medicine. I had two kids in the car, one sick and miserable, headed to the pharmacy drive through. We arrived over 90 minutes after the appointment, and the medicine wasn’t ready. *serious side eye*
So after sitting in the drive through to wait and be told it wasn’t ready, they said “Could you just drive around again? It should be ready when you get back to the window.”
Really? Because driving around the building and pulling back up to the window will make it magically ready? Okay… But instead, I said, “Sure.” with a smile.
Back to the window with a miserable sick baby and now a hangry toddler. 7 more minutes of waiting and off we went to get “nuggets and fwies” as Bubba says. Desperate times, desperate measures, people.
By this time it was noon… the witching hour for all drive-up-establishments. I pulled in behind a pristine white Cadillac-type-suburban with a well dressed and perfectly polished woman driving. *another side eye* Was I crabby and judging? Probably. I assumed that her car’s superbly clean outside only led to a freshly vacuumed inside… As I looked at the crumbs, toys, and papers strewn about my car I started to feel annoyed. Was it her fault she had pulled in before me? Nope. Did she have anything to do with my lack of patience? Nope. Was I projecting my bad mood onto someone else? Yep. That’s three strikes; I should have known I was about to be out.
Finally ordered.
Waited to get to the window.
By this time, Little Bear is crying. Bubba is acting like his stomach is going to eat him alive and I just want to pay and get home.
We finally get to the window, and they ask about my order.
“Kids meal, adult meal, is that everything?”
Yep- that’s it.
“Okay great. Your bill has been paid by the car in front of you. Have a great day.”
What? Wait… What? *Can we talk about feeling like a dunce? Could she hear my thoughts?*
“Yes, Ma’am. Enjoy your day.”
Well, of course, I started to cry.
Overwhelmed with the kind gesture and my shame for having such negative thoughts and judging when I had no right, reason or need to project that way. I gathered our food. Muttered a tearful thank you and drove home.

It definitely gave me pause to think that someone, not knowing anything about what was going on in our lives that day, made the decision to gift us with just a little bit of hope.

Don’t worry; we did pay it forward. At the same place about a week later we bought a gift card and asked the drive-through attendant to give it to someone they thought needed a pick-me-up that day. She looked at me like I had 8 heads and then smiled and promised to do just that.
I can only hope that it went to someone who was in rough seas and needed a bit of a life jacket.

We’re not going to be perfect, or close to it, some days. But grace is all we need to get us through the rough patches.

Whoever you are Cadillac lady.
Thank you. 

Be Great,
M

The Road of Motherhood

There are many types of parenting styles.
I’ve discussed them before and the one that’s best is the one that works for you.

As I’ve walked along in my motherhood journey I’m discovering a few things about myself.
1) I am very much like my mother, and I like it.
2) I can overcome things I’ve struggled with, for my children.
3) I parent for my children, not for what others will think of me.

Often times we hear one of two things about our mothers. One is that people want to be nothing like their mothers. They want to take a completely different direction than the one with which they were raised. The other category, the one I fall into, is that I’ve come around to the notion that my mom tends to know what she’s talking about.
-When I dated that guy in HS and College, and the one after him and she said they were not a good fit and that I needed someone to compliment me. She was right.
-When she told me that I needed to get my rear in gear as I was the one in charge of my future. She was right.
-When she said Mimi-style blue eye shadow was definitely not my color. She was right.
Now, it’s taken me, and probably some of you, longer than it should have to realize the wisdom in our mother’s words. They’ve been there, they’ve lived it and they share it with us. It’s up to us to hear and take the pieces of their knowledge that apply to our lives.
As I grow into my role as a mother I realize that my values and my priorities align much more with those of my mother and those that helped to shape who I am.

I’ve briefly mentioned that I struggle with new things. When I say I struggle, I mean more specifically that I completely avoid them for fear of being unable to cope. I believe they call this a form of anxiety. I won’t take the Metro. I have a hard time in unknown places with loads of strangers. I also get nervous in the days prior to an event if I don’t know what to expect. I have control issues. I like to know what’s going to happen so I can plan for it and be prepared. Bye Bye spontaneity.
After having children I’ve been able to experience situations that are completely out of my control. For instance, both of their births. The true times I’ve been able to release all control of a situation and allow someone else to take the reigns.
I also have been able to participate in certain aspects that would have previously caused me stress or worry. Pumpkinville, Mommy-Blogger Conference-solo, Christmas Light Display, all of these events would have previously caused me to consider canceling them for the anxiety they brought. But, if I decided not to go, my children would miss out of exciting adventures, experiences and learning endeavors. Am I selfish enough to allow my feelings of unrest to detract from the full lives they could experience? No. I’m not. I’m bigger and stronger than my fear and I’m super excited each time I successfully participate in a new experience without issue. Someday I will ride the metro again… just maybe not today. Baby steps.

Parenting isn’t always popular. As in, the choices we make as parents are not always popular choices with our kids, our families or our peers. The decisions Hubs and I make as parents are in direct relation to the outcome we wish for our children. We do not parent in a way that will bring the notoriety or prestige of being known as good parents (I’m lucky if their clothes match and their food is definitely not presented in the shape of Big Ben or something. Go away Pinterest). We parent in a way that is specific to the needs of our growing and changing children. It may mean that we make unpopular choices due to schedules or their needs but in the end, we make these choices for the health, safety, happiness and development of the two most important people in our lives. We happen to be very lucky that though our decisions are not always in line with the plans of our families, they are very open and receptive to the needs of our little ones. I understand the guilt that comes from parenting between me and hubs. Imagine how much worse if someone else were to make you feel guilty. Yikes. Everyone does things differently and I believe the key to successful parenting is to surround yourself with positive peers.

My journey is just beginning and I’m sure I’ll continue to discover things about my style and values of parenting but in the meantime, I’m happy with where I’m headed.

Be Great,
M

Mama’s Getting Fit

Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary for testing purposes. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.

The title is a bit, misleading. Mama’s going to get fit. Hubs has a new career that has him doing much more movement than a regular desk job would allow. I’m talking a minimum of 14K+ steps before he gets home. This tells me two things:
1) I need to up my game.
2) I’m afraid to count my steps. I don’t think the house is big enough for 14,000 steps!

I had the opportunity to experience an Udemy course for the purpose of testing. There were a plethora of choices and I thought that if I’m going to experience a course I might as well do something active. I’ve done yoga before. I’ve done Piyo before. I absolutely stink at both of them. I have the balance threshold of a weeble-wobble. Never-the-less, yoga it was. The course was called The Yoga of Awakening by Seane Corn (you can check the course out here for an awesome discount: http://bit.ly/2cF7eDQ) The instructor was very calm and reminded me of a woodland fairy, you know, exactly how a yoga instructor would be expected to be presented. I’d totally take her hair and flexibility any day.
Let me walk you through my experience.

I decided to begin this course at 10:15 on a Friday night. We already know I’m a WAHM with two littles. Can you imagine trying to do an hour of yoga surrounded by blocks, trucks, a toddler, and a rolly polly baby? Yeah, me neither. So 10:15 it was. Probably not a good idea.
I began making my way through the discussion part of the course that explained the main parts of what I was about to partake in. Then, on to the movement piece.
Step 1: Get off the couch.
Step 2: Put down the wine.
Step 3: Just push play (Aerosmith, anyone?)
The beginning portion was easy peasy, I’ve got this. Then, as yoga does, and as it should, it got quicker and more difficult. I’m not talking jump around quicker, I mean Salutations-up-down-stretch and goodness don’t forget to breathe. Thank goodness Hubs wasn’t watching this endeavor. The first movement exercise experience was a bit over an hour long.
Here’s what I learned, personally, during this time.
-I’m awesome at all of the sitting parts.
-I’m a complete dunce when it comes to balancing, (I truly hope to improve that piece.)
-I need to vacuum.
-I am not flexible.
-I need to do more yoga.
-I can touch and reach past my toes.
-The parts of my body that are great for their specific purposes as a new mom are definitely not conducive to laying flat on the ground in a superman type pose.
-My favorite part of yoga is the last portion when we work on relaxation, breathing, and centering. If I could get a little of that every day, maybe I’d find some more patience.
-I like this course.

If you’re looking to do something from the comfort of your home that has great quality and information, check out Udemy. Bonus: I got an awesome night’s sleep after the relaxation and release of tension. Oh, and I think I’m taller.

Be Great,
M

The Best Advice

As a new…anything. You will get an insane amount of advice.
New Graduate: Don’t shy away from adventures and opportunities.
Newlywed: Don’t go to bed angry.
And so on…

I would hedge a bet that there is no other time in a person’s life that they receive more advice than when they are about to become new parents. There are countless books on the topic. Trust me, before Bubba, I read way too many of them and used none.

I am going to throw my hat into the ring and offer my advice.
Are you ready? Here is is.

Don’t take anyone’s advice.

Now I don’t mean ignore your doctors, I mean stay the heck away from Google.
I love me some Google but I will tell you, it is the bane of your existence when you’re trying to start a family, are pregnant or a new parent. Everything is either you’re fine or Go To The Hospital Yesterday, touted from the keyboards of computer-credentialed-doctors from all over the world. If you’re looking for a specific answer, you’ll find it. It just may not be right, or wise.
So, my absolute best parenting advice is, in essence, don’t take anyone’s advice. You will know what is best for your child and your family. If you’re unsure, pick a pediatrician you feel comfortable with and ask them. Your doctor has had, in theory, years upon years of training and practice in helping parents to raise healthy children. I’d like to think they know what they are doing, and if not, they can always ask the AAP.

I’d love to hear your favorite advice or non-advice. What is the craziest thing anyone has told you?

Be Great,
M

Apology Rejected

I needed coffee and therefore I stopped by Starbucks with Little Bear in tow.
Read: Mommy is carrying Little Bear in the baby carrier.
Of course, it’s Saturday around 12:20 so it’s packed. Apparently, everyone needed coffee. Ahh, but I was smart. I used my App to order and purchase the coffee to 1) reduce wait time 2)hopefully keep Little Bear from losing her cool… the stars did not align this day.
Apparently, the online ordering system had run out of paper and was refusing to spit out orders (which I found out later). After waiting for 20 minutes, benefit of the doubt, I made my way to the counter to inquire about my missing macchiato. This meant I needed to finagle my way through the crowd of people with the baby seat that is no wider than I am yet quite cumbersome to move easily. I made it without incident and only saying “excuse me” a few times. No biggie. I asked about my order, was given the reason for the prolonged wait time and reordered. Then, it was back to the ‘pick up’ area to wait for the caramel goodness that was to be mine. Now, we’re all waiting. It’s a small space. If they moved those blasted shelves from the middle of the store, there would be ample space for movement, but that was not the case. I saw an open spot in the corner of the store that was unoccupied and shielded from the mass of people so Little Bear and I could wait out of the way. I was following a younger woman down the mini-aisle when she abruptly stopped in the middle, stranding me holding Little Bear’s carrier like a snowplow smack-dab in the center of the store. Everyone stopped. No one was bumped, touched or otherwise bothered, yet I still said.
Excuse me. I’m just going to scoot behind you. I’m sorry.
There it was. The apology. I’m quite sure I muttered that apology 4-6 times minimum during the 30 minutes we were in Starbucks. It was expected that I apologize for moving around people I suppose but was it necessary? Wouldn’t an excuse me have sufficed?
I am convinced that Mothers apologize more often than any other demographic of people. Some apologies are worthy: they apologize for being late or forgetting something. Other apologies are simply habit: they apologize for their 2-year-old making noise, or their 3-year-old not wanting to share or for their kids making a mess of the toys. Do these last few things really need an apology? Small children are exploring their surroundings and therefore do not need to remain quiet all of the time. Try keeping an infant quiet, let me know how that goes. Kids like their toys and have a sense of ownership over them, they don’t always want to share. I would hedge a bet that there are times you don’t feel like sharing but you don’t apologize, you simply don’t share whatever it is, and no one questions you. I’m getting to the point that I’d like to see Bubba work it out with other children if he has something they want or the other way around. He’s got to learn at some point.  Children enjoy playing and imagining and therefore, they make messes. I’d much rather have my child happy and engaged with imaginative play with all of the blocks and cars strewn about the family room than have him sitting quietly staring at me, or the TV. I also find myself apologizing for the state of my house. Yes. I’m sure it’s a mess, especially if you come over unannounced. I have to say that when you’re constantly on the clock with two kiddos, writing a blog and building an empire, the house is going to get a little messy. I’m working on the balance, but sometimes you can’t do it all and for once, I’m not sorry. It actually feels good to let that go a little. Doesn’t mean I will stop caring, but I will stop carrying the weight of guilt about it.
Today, I give you permission, not that you need it, to go about your day as you deem fit without the need to explain or apologize to anyone. Unless you’re going to rob a bank or something illegal. Don’t do that.
Otherwise,

Be Great,

M

Blink

5mo5mo-2I feel like I just wrote a post like this, yesterday.
In reality, it was a month ago.
That’s right, friends! Little Bear is FIVE.Months.Old!

Can you believe it? I looked back at her ‘one-month’ photos and it is amazing to see how much one little person has changed in such a short time.

 

Here’s an update:
Likes
*Big brother
*Daddy
*Nursery rhymes/Songs
*Her toes
*Laughing
*Middle-of-the-night-parties

5mo-1Skills5mo-3
*Rolling
*Reaching
*Grabbing (hair, shirts, toys)
*Waking up with a smile!
*Being expressive
*Recognizing Faces

Those blasted “Your 5-month-old can now…” emails keep appearing in my inbox. I can definitely see how a mother who is worried about her child’s development would go off the deep end after getting an email stating all the things her child should be doing. Yeesh! All kids are different. I’ve got to unsubscribe… pronto. Luckily, I’m much less worried about Little Bear’s development as her checkups have all been stellar. Instead, I worry about her big brother crushing her with his hugs and kisses. Seriously, the boy would lay on her to get close enough if we let him. Don’t worry… we don’t.

5mo-45mo-5So, on this 5-month-anniversary of Little Bear’s arrival, I say to all Mommies:
You’re doing great. Your kid is wonderful. The gold standard for child development is smiles.
If you smile because of them, and they smile back…
High-five.
You’re doing great!

Be Great,
M
*Note on the photos- of course it was a rainy day so the color is… odd. Lo Siento!

It’s Midweek, Mommy.

Dear Midweek Mommy,

I can say I’m happy and sorry to see you.
Happy, because thank the stars, it’s midweek!
Sorry, because goodness… it’s only midweek.
You look good for midweek. I can see you’ve showered most days and even managed to get the kids dressed before noon. A+ for you!
You can do it- only a couple of days more before the weekend arrives.
Hold on.

Love,
Another Midweek Mommy

For the WAHM (Work-At-Home-Mom for those who are new) all of my days tend to run together. If you’re like me, you focus more on schedules and small chunks of time instead of these things called days. Personally, my days are broken into the time between Little Bear’s snacking schedules and the small promise of naptime. Three hours, here. Four hours, there. You get the picture. (No, there are no large chunks of naptimes for three or four hours, though that would be lovely.)

It is amazing both how much and how little I am able to squeeze into those 3 hours on average. Sometimes, I’m able to work, eat, straighten and vacuum. Other times I’m struggling to find and consume my cold cup of coffee. Just yesterday I warmed up the same cup of coffee three times. Three. Times. My studies show, it doesn’t change the taste. Small miracles. If you have any real suggestions, I’m happy to hear them. None of this Sleep when the baby sleeps nonsense. I have an infant, a 2 1/2-year-old and I work from home. Off with your head!

Working from home, with and without distractions and changes in routine, is difficult. On the smoothest of days, you still go to bed way too late and overly exhausted. But you get up early the next day to do it all over again. You do it because you’re strong, because your babies need you and because you really love your job. Or at least I do.

So, Midweek Mommy. You’ve got this. You’re doing well, even if you’re holding your eyes open with Duplo blocks or falling asleep as you nurse the baby. Grab yourself another cup of coffee or tea and we’ll see you bright and early again tomorrow.

Be Great,
M