Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Momfessions: May 11 Week

Aka the Mother's Day Edition:

1. Raise your hand if the first thing you did on Mother's Day was change a poopy diaper. Yep, me too.    Insert jazz hands and "Happy Freakin' Mother's Day!" here. A mother's duty? Or is it doody?

2. I think I read somewhere by KS law that at least two mimosas are required by 11 a.m. on Mother's Day. Here's hoping you were as compliant as I was.

3. Related: in both KS and MO, a minimum of two giant cinnamon rolls is required for consumption. Did you meet your lawful obligations?

4. I secretly tried to get my Mother's Day present purchase out of my five year old for over a week. When he wouldn't budge even under conspiracy or bribery, I tried for the two year old. Darn limited vocabulary. 

5. The best part of my day was catching up with the DVR under a fluffy blanket, all alone, while one slept and the rest ran errands. Ok, ok, their warm hugs and kisses and darling cards and gifts were the best. But that DVR...definitely a close second. MCDREAMY?!

6. Speaking of McDreamy, I pretended to sleep in until 7 but really watched a whole second episode in the comfort and quiet of our bed while mass chaos ensured on the decks below. Shhhhh. What?! I thought this was totally allowed on this day! Mom code, right?!

7. There is nothing, nothing better than a little handprint trinket. Ok, maybe, MAYBE diamonds, but seriously. Their stinky pinkies and sausage hands are just so darn cute! Mike: next year - diamonds!

8. At one point this phrase may have been heard around this house: "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME ON MOTHER'S DAY?! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A DAY OF RELAXATION AND APPRECIATION!!!!" Don't ask me who said it (and maybe in a not so relaxed tone) and please don't talk to my parents who may have a very similar story about a certain girl's 13-year old birthday party in which she kicked all of her friends out of the house for not properly playing Barbies...

9. The day before, I straight up did the grocery money trick and got my nails done. In gel and patterns. And didn't even feel guilty about it once. Not until we didn't have bread the next day...

10. In and out I was secretly weepy all day, the intense awesomeness of being a mother filling me with overwhelming gratitude. Luckily there was some sibling rivalry and daredevil toddler shenanigans to break it up a few rounds in between, but overall it was a mushy, squishy day of wonderfulness.

May you have felt cherished and celebrated and that it continues each day forward. Because Momma: you deserve it! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

A New Take on the Table Top

"You can't put that out there-they'll use them as pitching targets!" my husband said, eyeing the new coasters made of ceramic, glass and all things small boys would delight in using as play items. "Let's give it a shot. It's a good lesson in boundaries and Mama wants a little something to prettify this room," I countered.

The obsession to spruce up our coffee table hit hard and fast one rainy day as I sat in my cubicle, the grayness of the afternoon leaving me uninspired to write. So, as any smart gal does, I hit Target to add a little color to life (ok, and pick up Swedish Fish) in the form of affordable house decor.

Needing a bit of direction, I visited one of the design sites that never fails me and found a helpful video by Emily. Her advice was good - fill the table with simple things you love with clean lines - and the plan was easy to execute. For weeks I'd been eyeing a gold tray at Target and contemplating where it could live in our home. Couple that with a small jar of very real looking florals I already had, a decorative candle with a delicious smell and these fun coasters and I was nearly set:


The choice of coffee table books was trickier. I had done the test when hosting a small party several weeks before and plopped out any ol' large literature we had around the house. And lo and behold, guests did spend some time relaxing and taking a gander at their pics. With some surfing online, I got a few ideas in my head, then hit B&N to find covers and words that spoke to my heart or would be interesting to those that visited our home. We ended up with "Humans of New York," a design one for Moms that want to embrace their children, "The Beauty of Different," and an Anthro catalog.

The end product looked like this:
A nice change from it's neutral plainness that had been the center of our family room. And the boys? The temptation hits every once in awhile to run a train through or want to use the coasters as bases, but it's quickly subdued with a distraction, bribe or reminder that these are "Mommy's things."

And Mommy? Likes these small things. Sometimes, they make a big difference.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Appreciating Educators

"Alright parents - it's that time of year - time to show our support of our teachers!" her post read, outlining suggested events and sign ups for the year. This Mom too, deserved a note of thanks as she made organizing an entire school between her three kids and full-time job look easy. Thank gah for Moms like this!

Though there is never quite enough one could do to honor our extraordinary educators for partnering in raising our children, this year for Teacher Appreciation Week a group of parents rallied efforts around:
     Monday: indulge them with tasty breakfast
     Tuesday: send a loving note or picture on why your teacher is appreciated
     Wednesday: send snacks for an afternoon pick-me-up
     Thursday: sweeten their teeth with cookies
On Friday we added some bright blooms for our female teachers and a bar of chocolate that seemed to be appreciated last time for our male one.

It was so much fun to look for an excuse to bake mid-week and practice the art of gratitude with our children.

And although there could never be enough thankfulness for our teachers' tireless efforts day in and day out, may they know how much they are loved, appreciated and cherished in each moment. Their compassion and care are shaping our children to be just the kind of little souls we hoped they would, all while nourishing their own spirits that belong to just them.

This is a big, big job. And not one that goes unnoticed.

So thank you teachers - ours and all of you around the world, for doing the work you do each day and likely each morning and night when you're in your own home. May the celebration of this week be felt all year round, for it's truly deserved.


   

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Missed Stitch

"Oh yeah - I had to move to once a month on the down low because I'm so bananas about it all." I said to my colleague as we discussed our weekly dose of fashion. "How I'm getting away with it? The  ol' grocery store extra cash grab," I admitted, thankful that she too was familiar with the strategy.

This month the anticipation of the Stitch Fix was no different, the fastest sprint you'd see me run being from my car to the front door on the day it arrived. Here's what the well-marketed box contained for April:

Brixon Ivy Diaz Embrodiered& Crochet Detail Cotton Top in White:
sent back b/c although a great cut, didn't have quite the pizazz or color I normally seek

Brixon Ivy Crochet Skirt: darling in theory, but too tight across
the hips, causing the underlay to pull from the cute pattern

Kut From the Kloth Siena Capri Pant in coral: I had already fallen in love with
Macy's new colored denim and LOFT's new cut, so no need. Plus the color
didn't have enough punch and they were a bit snug in the calves

Gili Alina MIxed Geo Print Maxi Skirt: darling! The pattern was so much
fun, but I never quite got comfortable with the clinginess across the tush
and hips to justify the price. The black top featured was included as well,
but I've learned never to keep a top that's sheer on top because
I just won't wear it to work due to the brazier reveal.
Although this month was a missed stitch of sorts, it was still a delight to check out the items, consider them all and feel like Tish's best friend from her custom, friendly note.

Here's counting down to mid-May already! T has the duty to start preparing me for the islands!

PS: the post office box was full of SF returns for two days straight! Ladies are catching on to this awesomeness for sure!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Oh Geez, I Miss My Zzzzs

"My name is Megan and it's been more than four months since I've slept more than 35 minutes consecutively."

I probably really should join a support group, but we'd probably spend all night texting and chatting with one another, further reminding ourselves we are incapable of sleep...

For me, sleep has always been a bit optional, surviving pretty easily on four to six hours and getting through the days with a smile. Then I turned 30. Had children. Made life and career changes. All those sorts of things. Catching zzzzzs suddenly became a bit less optional and more of a requirement if that grin was going to happen and I was going to be the kind of woman, mom, wife, friend and daughter I desired to be.

Gal pals remind me that sleep has always been an issue in life (I'm probably forgetting due to lack of REM cycles), but this, my friends has entered a whole new level of wakedom. Each night consists of relying on a little pink pill, taken at an exact hour or deal with wakefulness so bold it dares to consume nearly my entire life. It invites me to obsess about it. Flirt with it. Fight with it. Embrace it. Loathe it. And many other emotions in between. It's meant physical pain, forgetfulness and at times, even danger. It's not cool.

I mean, it's just insomnia, but geez louis, I miss my zzzzzs. It's toll has changed our family dynamics, causing new schedules, concerns and fears. All from a lack of sleep. It's a bit, insane.

Seasons of insomnia made sense before: college exams, relationship stress with that first love, anxiety over family situations, etc. But this?

Worthless.

From what I can tell, life is pretty damn good. I've not a thing to complain about or really even fret about besides those everyday things any mildly health person is going through. Heck, most days I even question how I got this lucky in life, grateful for each moment the hours held.

Ambien has been the only answer and even that guy takes a while to kick in. And he has so many rules. Puh-leeze. Who has time for that?

Taking care of my emotional wellness and essential oils are next on my list. The attempt to kick up the exercise and avoid sugar are meh and likely need a ramp up. Losing screen time hours before bed should go on the list as well. And maybe a dab of meditation.

All in all, I desire to do none of these things. I desire sleep. And that, apparently is unattainable. Brain or hormones: you must be winning.

That means I'm losing. Hours of sleep. Hours of sanity. And years off of my life. All from this little thing that makes no sense with healthy blood work, etc.

When I look at the seriousness and strength required of others and the things they are going through, I feel ashamed that insomnia is eating me alive. In the grand scheme of things this likely counts for nothing and I have no business running my mouth on its vicious spell it has over me. But hey - I had the time, my family fast asleep in their rooms while I tend a hobby. At least there's that...

May your Zzzzzs be deep, bold and beloved. You and your loved ones deserve it!And if you've found something that works that doesn't require a script, please pass your secrets along. Any hour...I'll be awake.




Mealtime Made Easier

I know, I know - if you're one of my good pals you're laughing right now. Because seriously how much easier can dinner get when your husband has it practically prepared for you each night when you walk in the door?

Enter: Wildtree.


It all started with an excuse to drink wine with my girlfriends, as many great ideas do. With almost zero cooking experience under my belt, I nervously accepted her invite to attend a Wildtree Party at her home, and mostly looked for a reason to catch a little gossip and girl time. And when the list arrived of meat we had to purchase in advance? I nearly panicked. There may have been approximately 14 texts exchanged with my husband that day about what exactly does a beef tenderloin look like and a moment of near-tears when I was requested to find garlic. I mean, what does that even look like unless it comes in a labeled plastic spice jar?!

The end result: 10 meals that cost about $4-$6 each for a family of four spread over nearly three days, each claiming to be healthy and natural. Better yet, they tasted amazing, all parties approved and they could be prepared in 10-30 minutes after a long day on the job.

Cha-ching.

I fell so deeply in love with the concept that I plan to host a party in May, which is generally outside of my social scope (hosting business house parties). That and I was at a complete loss of what to actually feed my family after the freezer meals disappeared. By the way - let me know if you want to come!

Here's the gist of it all if you get invited to one of these events:

1. You get invited to your friend's home: a not-too-pushy rep invites you (you likely already heard about it from your girlfriend) and provides the date, time and shopping list.
2. You do the pre-shopping: you take the shopping list which is easy to follow and is organized by the "bundle" the hostess chose. Mostly you purchase meats and spend around $70-$150. You throw it all in a cooler and haul it to to your girlfriend's house.
3. You drink bevs and prepare the meals: you arrive at your friend's house and the rep has a station for you. You have your own full-size set of rubs and spices that go home with you that are all organic and can be used with many other recipes. A laminated sheet is available that you follow step by step. For the domestically challenge (ahem), the rep works with you to ensure you're on track and feeling good about it all. Did I mention there are snacks there? Samples! Yum...
4. You go home with 10 meals: for us, each meal easily fed our family of four, lunch for me and the mister the next day and sometimes even leftovers for at least two the next night. Cooking instructions, recipes and suggestions for sides are also sent home with you, making it as prescriptive and easy as one can imagine.

And wa-la...dinner is ready. For at least 10 days!

Everything can be modified, simplified, etc. to meet your family's needs. This month we reduced our restaurant budget by nearly $300 and I think a few pounds even fell off despite my lack of willpower when it came to those damn Birthday Oreos. For me, it also gave me the confidence to try something outside of boiling water and throwing Kraft noodles in. Or placing chicken nuggets in the microwave per the instructions. After all, I did stick my hand in the back of a raw chicken (the rep literally held my hand). It felt like I was actually contributing to our family's eating activities and being money conscious at the same time.

In other words, it was a gold stars moment that still including adult bevs with the girls. Anytime you can accomplish that, why not?

I've gone wild over Wildtree. Or maybe it's the concept of actual meal planning itself, but either way it's worth a look if money, time (and ok health) are helpful to you and yours.

Bon app├ętit!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hair - Did.

"Nah - he doesn't need one. That totally does not qualify as a rat tail or whatever the kids are calling them these days," my husband said, a rake full of dead leaves signaling the start of spring yard work.

As with many things after nearly nine years of marriage, I disagreed. And promptly scheduled a same-day snip for the little guy. His first. Without Daddy knowing.

I'm a terrible wife.

On the drive there we relished in the 70-something degree air, chanting cheers of encouragement and excitement over THE FIRST HAIRCUT. Brother may have gotten a few digs in there about how he'd punk out, but the promise of dum sums, Dora and a motorcycle quickly won over the two-year old psyche.

Arriving 15 minutes early they were prepared: all chairs open, camera in hand and the most experienced stylist in the place. Anticipating the worst as many Moms of spirited toddlers do (shameful), I had provided backup (Nana), bribes and threats. Instead, I found myself delighted as he picked the purple motorcycle, shouted words of "WHOA" at the movie "Cars," and every once in awhile mustered an death glare and palm brush of the kind gal working diligently at the crown of this head.

And just like that, he was done.

Rat tail, released.

Happy first haircut little buddy. Looks good on ya.