Tuesday, February 28, 2012

7 read-a-long




I'm currently reading the book "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess", by Jen Hatmaker and I've joined this blog read-a-long by Marla Taviano to discuss each chapter on Tuesday's. First a bit of background on the book (from Amazon):
"7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence."

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.”

This week's prompt is:
Tell us a little bit of your from-the-gut right-now story

The first chapter is Food and prior to reading the book, my initial thought was that I'm pregnant so I don't see how this can be applied to my life at this time. I cannot suddenly start eating only 7 foods at 33 weeks! However, I'm really glad I read the chapter because Jen talks about many different factors of food such as health, where our food comes from and how many food options we have in our pantry and kitchen verses the rest of the world. Jen counted 240 food items in her house, I have no idea how many we have but it's plenty!

I have had this casual goal to eat through our freezer and pantry food for several months now but every week I justify buying new food options because it fits into my $400 monthly food budget. If it fits into my budget, why not buy more food options? Well I'm also reading
"The Money Saving Mom's Budget" by Crystal Paine and she pointed out that even a $25.oo savings per month could lead to some pretty significant savings over 5 years, make a great donation to a worthy charity or at minimum pay for both Jen and Crystal's books if I apply this rule in March!

So in March, I plan to cut my food budget by $25.00 and use up all the food in our freezer and pantry! That includes you FAD diet Agave Syrup that makes my baked goods taste really dry!!! And capers - why on earth do I have an unopened jar of capers? Any ideas for using these up???

Random Tuesday



Stacy


Today I checked out my Stats page and found people have discovered my blog by searching the following "dropped a baby on the head". I can't recall ever dropping a baby on it's head or writing about this! I find it a little odd that someone may have dropped their baby on it's head and then searched the internet for advise.

Last week my favorite post got no comments! Normally I wouldn't care but this is full of stories of things we do that are WAY overboard for our kids. Check it out

here!

I'm finally back on moderate bed rest, any long time readers may remember I had Charlotte at 35 weeks and Sam full term at 38 weeks. With Sam I went on bed rest at 33 weeks (my current status) and we think it helped to carry him full term. This means I can now work from home in clothing I wouldn't normally dare be seen out of the house in and I don't wear make up. Save money on gas driving to work and use that money to run the AC at 72 all day (considerably colder than work office)! It will be fun and comfortable!!

Have a random Tuesday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I hate kids bicycles and Sam desperately needed new shoes

4pm - MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to go OUTSIDE!

Well it is a lovely 84 degrees, why not?

As soon as we go outside I get a work call and try to discuss serious issues while extracting Charlotte's bicycle from the corner and removing a spiderweb at the same time.

Then Sam cries because he wants something with wheels. Phone call ends and we attempt to take a walk, with the dog and Charlotte on her tricycle riding precariously close to the edge of the sidewalk and ignoring me as I instruct her to ride in the center of the walk. She falls off the bike and into the grass - twice - and declares she is done riding the bike. I really thought once she learned to petal the bike we'd be past the stage of me dragging the bike home! Honestly! What cruel person invented bikes for 3 year olds to discard on a whim thus forcing a 33 week pregnant women to drag bike, dog and 1 year old by the hand (who's still crying because he wants wheels)???

We finally get home, bike is dragged to the porch before my arm falls off - these little bikes are made of steel! Sam continues to cry for wheels so I frantically go out to the garage to find one, didn't realize he was "ready" at 18mo. Find one of Charlotte's previous styles but he just wants to walk with it. Puzzling, this is not going to work. While I take Sam back inside for another option, Charlotte takes off on 2nd option bike.

Go back to garage for smaller scoot bike. He's happy to sit on it and then pick it up and drag it while big sister has abandoned 2nd option bike on the sidewalk in front of someones home and come to hover over Sam's prize. She refuses to ride it home. I drag 2nd option bike back to our porch. Meanwhile Sam, chasing after me falls flat on his face because his shoe has come off. The velcro is not working any more. I put it back on and he falls again two seconds later.

Frustration does not adequately describe this afternoon.

I rush both kids into the house, gather purse/diaper bag and rush them both to the van for impromptu Target run for new shoes. I guess I should mention his second pair are also problematic in that he seems to frequently fall in them. He just got both 2 months ago and seems to have just grown out of both of them. Anyway! We get settled into a van that is 110 degrees, thank you South Florida, you are a dream to live in, and we take off for a very long ride to Target. It's only 10 minutes away but I drive 30 minutes just to cool down the van to 80 degrees and settle my fried nerves. Worth it.

Target - I love you. I can get milk, frozen pizza's, Chobani Greek Yogurt and kids shoes!

The kids behave beautifully but I'm required to get Charlotte a new pair of shoes as well because well she's 3, demanding and only had one pair she'd previously wear.

We arrive to the only check out counter that's visibly open and after standing for 10 minutes are told we are in the 10 item check out line, I have 11 items. Okay, I'll just pick up all my stuff and go find another counter. Honestly I'm beyond caring at this point but the lady behind me is so mad! We trail the opposite side of Target, for some reason they don't have any more registers open and get back in line. Mad lady asks if she can give Charlotte a juice box, which is so sweet and we finally check out.

Pack everything into the van, including Charlotte and she suddenly needs to use the bathroom. Of course you do. Back out and into Target. Finish at restrooms, back to van, change Sam's diaper just for good measure and hit the road.

Charlotte wants to wear her new shoes home but she won't let me cut the tag off, you know, the elastic cord that connects both shoes together. Cue bewilderment from mom. She actually walks from the van to the house, a 5-10 minute walk depending on how many things we stop to examine along the way (you know hydrants, little lights with caps that are so interesting, light poles). Anyway, she literally walks the entire way with her shoes connected, while holding Sam's hand and kinda running!

Now I'm home, frozen pizza's are baking in the oven and the house is filled with smoke because of a failed experiment from husband burning wax off of wooden candle sticks 3 days prior that has not burned out of the oven yet.

I'm done now. Yeah it's time for the kids to eat, go to bed and and and, well honestly I don't even care anymore! Maybe I'll just stare off into space for awhile, in silence. Yes, silence!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

They change us, transform our personal style and fill our world with color

Does everyone remember the Hannah Montana phenomena that rocked the nation 3+ years back? It all happened right before I had kids and I looked in utter amazement as parents went to INSANE lengths to get tickets for their daughters. Honestly I didn't understand it and thought these parents must have been completely out of their minds, the prices for tickets ran into the thousands of dollars and the venue's sold out!

Here's a few stories of my friends who have done crazy and life transformation things for their kids:

- Recently I watched a pastor's wife drive all night from Louisiana to Orlando just to surprise her 6 or 7 year old daughter at Disney World the next day. She told her they were going to see the grandparents so the girl would be completely and totally surprised. She drove ALL night AND then walked the park all day. Insanity? Yeah I think so!!! Love her dearly but wow, that's a level of dedication that's seriously pushing some levels.

- A mom of 4 girls sends this story.
"Bought a teenage mutant ninja turtle at a garage sale for my 4 year old one morning. Went to the beach and on the ride home she asked for the other turtle that we did not buy. Tired and sandy, we drove 30 min out of the way, knocked on their door, and asked if we could dig through their things to find the other turtle! Even though it was 5:00pm, and a super strange request, they did not charge us for the toy! Love having kids!"
- My 1st employee, of 10+ years ago was hired right out of college and she wore all black, every day. Black nail polish, black hair, Hot Topic kind of girl. Here is her story after having 2 girls, 3rd on the way!
"One thing i used to scoff at and vowed i would NEVER do if i had girls was the whole disney princess thing. yea, was i wrong. we have princesses everywhere. also, you know how i felt about pink and froo-froo, well my husband just painted the girls bedroom a shade of pink called "princess pink." i never thought i would be one of those moms, but i caved after number three and just surrendered to the pink and ruffles. i think you understand how dramatic that is knowing how i was just a few years ago"
And now my story -
We spent 2 days in Orlando this week, day 1 at Sea World and day 2 we promised to see Mickey and Stitch. The only problem, I'm 32 weeks pregnant and was too exhausted from the first park day to do a 2nd day at Disney. Even Charlotte was complaining of her knees hurting. I knew we would be miserable to do a 2nd park day. So I found a park resort that hosted "Character Breakfasts" with Lilo & Stitch! Packed the family up 2nd morning, had an extremely stressful ride trying to find the place - is it just me or does Disney need more signage - only to arrive and find they were fully booked for breakfast!

Fully Booked???

I can honestly say I've never felt more shocked in my life! I wanted to beg the guy to just let us squeeze in somewhere! Anything, just let us meet the characters so I don't disappoint my little girl!

We waited a half hour for the 2nd breakfast cafe (without characters) to open a space for us and I spent the entire time plotting our next trip to Orlando where we would have everything planned meticulously WITH reservations. During this time Charlotte cheerfully played in the lobby and layered four Hawaiian flower lei's around my neck.

In hindsight, it's somewhat amusing to see how little it takes to entertain a 3 year old, she really was quite happy just playing in the lobby and I was miserable. I can't explain this maddening desire to make things fantastic for my children but I certainly can no longer judge the lengths a parent will go to for tickets to a special show or completely transform ones style.

I also had a proclivity towards black and look at my little darling now! She's dressed herself and perched on the couch with a pony.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - kids on vacation at Sea World

Working Mommy Wednesday



Hi Ladies, welcome to a new week of Working Mommy Wednesday. I'm opening this up for you to link whatever you want to write about.
See this as an opportunity to SHARE whatever is on your mind about work or anything.
---------------

I'd like to share some helpful links that I find very inspiring

4 Word Women
- a website for professional Christian women 20's - 40's who are looking for mentor ship from a group of executives who have some really impressive backgrounds. Not sure where they are going with this site, but they keep adding professional women to the board who are sure to have incredible insights into finding balance as a Christian women in today's professional work world.

Be Positive Mom
- did you know our very own WMW contributor has many awesome tips on how to take the very best care of oneself? If you haven't been there I highly recommend a visit. It's right there in the name - be positive! You simply cannot visit without feeling better about oneself.

Susan DiMickele
- did you know another WMW contributor leads a working mom's devotional every Friday?

MomWOD
- our very own creator of WMW is still posting inspiring workouts! I can't wait to be done with pregnancy and join her on this journey. If you need a little push in the work out area, go check her out!

Still the Sea
- Ginny Reddick is the nutrition coordinator of the Chick-fil-A Wellness Program and now writes for Still the Sea. Check out her weekly advice every Thursday. Last week was the 3 day challenge to eat a more balanced diet for energy!

Pinterest
I'm loving this site, if you are pinning then link up with me here!

This is where I spend my time! I'm looking forward to your stories today!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Random Tuesday


Stacy

Joining Stacy for another week of Random Tuesday Thoughts

Starting with some random links:
Awesome Marriage Links
Lately I've run across a stream of great marriage posts (must be due to Valentine's Day) and thought them well worth your time, should you be looking for encouragement and advise in this area:

- Still the Sea posted a two part series last week, starting with the mention of Heidi Klum's divorce, if she can't make it who can? Part two is a long list of advise from a 15 year veteran of marriage. Good stuff:
Part 1
Part 2

- Ann Voscamp has written about a time when she asked her husband how she could be a better wife.
Click here.

- Over at (in)Courage, Ann Voscamp also writes this piece "What you're trying to tell him when you're angry".
Click here.

Better Blogger Link:
- 10 social media tips for bloggers (who are really hyper serious about promoting their blog/brand).

Random photo:
In recent Orlando trip, Sam selected a football as his toy of choice. Now he goes to bed with it. But don't let that cute photo fool you into thinking he's the perfect guy! He's responsible for having a complete meltdown at Kilwin's Chocolate thus ensuring I didn't get any chocolate peanut butter cups last week! Hope they make it up to me in the near future - hint hint!!!

Random News Story
Hong Kong McDonald’s Is Now Offering Wedding Packages!

Have a great random Tuesday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Family Time

I bet you want to spend Sunday with us! We have so much fun playing outside while dad cleans out the fish tank.

Mama my hands are wet from touching the nasty fish tank sand, can I wipe them on your dress?

But MOM! I think dad really needs help with the nasty fish tank sand!!! Maybe I can help with this orange shovel.

PLEASE can I go touch the neighbors windows and steal Sam's orange shovel and shake the neighbors tree really really hard???

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday ~ time to get stuff done!

Okay enough with saying NO, I have some serious stuff to get done today.

Dog - rabies shot, dog must get shots today so we can leave him at kennel while we go on VACATION next week! So excited.

Old Navy - return Sam's shirts and pick up correct size, my 18mo is in 3T's!

Michael's - want to throw Charlotte a "Welcome Home Party" so getting mini cup cake pan and wrappers.

Publix (local grocery store) - for food and balloons

Home - cleaning, making cupcakes, homemade pizza and keeping up with 18mo demands.

Not as fun as Deerfield Island or Canoeing but productive!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Learning to say NO, to myself

I am a relentless taskmaster and aggressive when it comes to deadlines with all involved. If I say it has to be done by a certain date there is simply no alternative and everyone who gets in my way suffers.

Sounds fun, right? Maybe for my employers because I meet impossible deadlines but for my poor family I can be a nightmare.

As I count down the days until baby #3 arrives I've had to sloooooow down because my body is slowing down and I'm too tired to do all the things I think I should be capable of.

For example:
* I planned for husband to take 3 cats to the pet clinic set up on Wednesday from 5:30 - 7:30 for Rabies shots. I planned on getting off work at 5:30 to come home and help him but left at 6:30. Normally I'd still expect to go but in driving home I thought, I'll get home by 6:45, if husband has not started loading pets into crates he will have to find all the crates, probably rebuild them if they are flattened, wrestle 3 angry cats into cages and put all in the van while I distract Sam. Even if we somehow managed to do that in 15 minutes, there would be mass stress to get to the clinic on time and we'd be hungry. So we canceled and had a lovely evening at home.

* Today I planned to stop by Costco for tax software but ended up leaving work right before lunch because I felt too tired to get through the rest of the day without a nap. If I can't manage to sit at work all day then I certainly shouldn't be waltzing into a warehouse for tax software on an empty stomach! Besides, isn't the tax deadline mid-April Miss Overachiever???

* I haven't finished my meal plan for the week, um, it's Thursday. How did that happen? Spent too many evenings watching TV with husband instead of sitting at the computer. We are flying by the seat of our pants this week, and surviving!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Working Mommy Wednesday

Welcome to a new week of Working Mommy Wednesday. I've been reading Diane Paddison's book "Work, Love, Pray" and these prompts were inspired by Chapter 2.
1. Name the people who influenced you into becoming the professional you are today.
2. Does your job take advantage of your natural talents and abilities?
--------------
I'll take prompt #2
Yes, my job does take advantage of my ability to manage a very wide, diverse workload that goes beyond my title and position. My job as Director of Product Development is to manage the creative process of currently 425 projects. I handle all costing details of each product developed, negotiations with clients/Asia factories and manage the costing questions and issues that come up internally. I also support the packaging and some production details of each even though there is a totally separate department for production.
I have always relished in the ability to do more than is expected of me but lately I've had to push back. My top girl left in December so the creative department is short staffed, I've had to reorganize internally, press more responsibilities to our capable Hong Kong office staff and accept the fact that I can't do every task that is asked of me.
I am also preparing for maternity leave and trying to get an entire office un-dependent of me! This has required a new level of management I haven't previously experienced. In the past 2 pregnancies, I'd train the girl directly under me to handle my work load while I was out for 5-6 weeks (yes I take short leaves). I'm down to 10 weeks before babies due date - potentially 5 weeks considering my first daughter came early so I don't have the luxury of relying on one person to step into my role for the interim.
I have had to push back on many issues, every single day. It's actually becoming fun to make others more independent. Hopefully I can come back to a more supervisory role. Hopefully I've made enough strides they will not flounder without me. I hope!!
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I am looking forward to your stories! Link up below and I'll stop by your blog later this week.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Random Tuesday


Stacy


Welcome to another week of Random Tuesday!

Random Links:
  • "The most inspirational people keep to their principles whether or not anybody is watching them." My favorite line from this post.
  • Only about a Third of Tweets are worth reading, according to this study. Read more to learn how to improve your tweets!
  • Are you looking for a good coupon blog? Around Christmas I started following 5+ blogs but I've slowly whittled them down to one blog, because the host is just so awesome and consistent at finding the best deals. Check out Mommy Saving Mom for great savings!!

Random Kid Update:

  • Charlotte appears to be having a blast in Texas, she got her nails down at the salon with grandma! Sounds like a Princess day to me!!
  • Sam is having fun playing with all of Charlotte's toys and having no one take them away but he's starting to miss her. He's clinging to us and wanting more attention lately.

Random Pregnancy Update:

  • I had to take the 3 hour glucose test last week and I passed! No more tests, no gestational diabetes!
  • Yesterday was the first day I walked out on a doctor's appt. I had been there for 1.5 hours and they still did not seem anywhere close to seeing me and I had the all important Monday morning work debrief with the entire team at 10:30, so I rescheduled for Thursday at 7:45am! Sometimes you just have to walk away.

Hope y'all have a wonderful Tuesday! I'll stop by Stacy's blog later today to check out other Random followers.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Canoe Ride

Our last family canoe ride was a disaster, it was too hot, our daughter was miserable, Sam was really young and I couldn't keep him happy in life jacket so I had to hang onto him for dear life and the fiber glass canoe had lost it's finish so we all got really itchy.

With Charlotte gone for the interim, we decided to try the canoe ride again; the weather is also much better.

But first - Sweet Potato Pancakes with Brown Sugar Butter (if you want the recipe I'd be happy to share), awesome start to the day!


Moving onto the canoe ride:


Things were going well, I hovered behind Sam for awhile to catch him if he happened to lean to far. Finally stopped to take a drink of water after he proved himself stable. Just as both hands were occupied he tipped head first into the water! It happened so fast! Fortunately he had this awesome life jacket with a big handle on the top that makes it easy to pluck a child out of the water and back into the boat. He cried for less then a minute and was right back at it but with feet farther back and exercising more caution!


Cute nature photos:




Fun day!

PS. Here's that recipe:
First, go visit "Take Back Your Table", she's brilliant and creates wonderful healthy recipes (used to work for Rachel Ray). Here's her original recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes, I substituted sweet potato puree for the pumpkin. I used about 1/2lb of sweet potato, cut up and put into a steamer bin for 20 minutes until soft, puree in my handy dandy food processor.

The Brown Sugar butter is really simple, just leave out one stick of butter until it's room temperature, then add a few spoonfuls of brown sugar, mix with mixer, put into butter container and after it's re hardened, use cookie scoop to make neat little ball of butter on top of pancakes. Make night before you plan to make pancakes.

Pure bliss! I promise!!!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Saturday's are for Exploration

I used to go to Deerfield Beach Island with Charlotte, until I had two going in opposite directions and it was driving me insane to keep up with them. Now I'm down to one small explorer (while his sister visits grandparents in Texas) so went back to seek adventure.




Time to explore nature!









Really fun day with little guy!!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Missing my girl

I got the idea to send her homemade cards every day, she got her 1st yesterday. Made me so happy to get this photo from her grandma.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Working Mommy Wednesday

Welcome to a new week of Working Mommy Wednesday, and the 1st day of February! Today's prompts are:
1. Identify a problem that you had in the past and to write a post that solved that problem.
2. What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your work.
Stress at work can be taxing on a person's entire well being. I find that my instinct is to stay at my desk until I've resolved as many issues as possible that are causing the stress but research shows this is the wrong thing to do. Therefore I've resolved to make the following changes:
Upon feeling stressed I will:
* Stop working for 5 minutes to write a letter, I have a pile of stamps that somehow stockpiled over Christmas, I write to any random family or friend I can think of, just a simple note of encouragement and walk to the mailbox. This might take a total of 15 minutes but it reframes my thought process.
* Breathing exercises - if the above doesn't work, I've learned a number of different deep breathing techniques that clear the mind. I'll take time to work through 5 minutes of breathing.
* If the above doesn't work then it might be time for a serious change of environment. I'll ask to work from home for a day.
Being 29 weeks pregnant, I really can't afford to get stressed, at all. So I have to monitor this very carefully and be strategic about my day.
What about you? What methods do you have for combating stress in the work day? Link up below and I'll stop by your blog this week!