Letting them be Little

Ages three and five are so special!  On one hand, they’re not little itty bitty babies, but on the other there is so much they can’t yet do! If there is one thing I constantly focus on, it’s letting them use their imagination.

In world of On Demand TV, iPads, phones, Kindles, etc…it’s so easy to let the hours pass by and let the littles indulge.  I’m not saying we never use technology, we do!  The kids love Angry Birds and have a ton of fun little learning games.  We just try to limit the time they’re on it, like maybe a little in the morning while some family members still sleep…or if we are stuck inside on a rainy day, or even if we’re just feeling low key.

BUT, as the weather has gotten nicer, we are teaching them that using your imagination is much more fun!  It’s amazing what they come up with on their own. The latest favorite was “pretending to fly a drone like Daddy.”

They were using this toy and running room to room, window to window looking for their pretend drone.

Time is fleeting; I remember being excited when our store got these new green carts and they could both sit & drive together…someone is getting too long and not quite fitting any more though.

Changing of seasons meant new clothes!  This boy outgrew all of his clothes from last year and we headed right to Wal-Mart to grab some cute and inexpensive shorts.

This one goes through phases; will I be a kitty? A puppy? A human? She’s also obsessed with the movie, Matilda.  Her personality is something else for sure!

We took them for the first official ice cream of the year.  Someone was not happy he had to wait for mama to snap a photo.

We signed them up for Spring Soccer.  They do pretty well! This dude hasn’t done any classes of any sort quite yet, other than mini camps at the Y in the Summer.  He loves dribbling the ball and scoring goals!

Her class gets a little more into game playing etc, and she’s pretty good too! Daddy has fun ‘coaching’ her from the sidelines already.

If it’s one thing that is super tough for me, it’s finding the time to cook healthy meals while working the real estate, keeping the house, the puppy, pre-k, dance class…it’s as if I world went from 0 to 100 real quick.  I found myself getting into the chicken nuggets and whatever zone. FAIL.

It may not be the BEST option, but since dance classes are the hardest nights, I try to keep it easy.  This night it was a run to Wegmans for a rotisserie chicken, carrots and Brooke loves shrimp.

We all know how important lean protein and veggies are, so we are working on that.  I also made yummy blueberry flax muffins the kids were obsessed with. I’ll share that recipe as I need to make more!

We helped organize flowers for the pre-k fundraiser, so Bradley got to sit in on snack time.  He fits right in!! I know he’ll be more than fine next year. I can’t wait to see him grow leaps and bounds.

Brooke loves shoes and we recently added some jelly shoes to our collection. Who remembers these!?

Batman helped me make dinner.  He loves stirring and dumping the ingredients in.  Actual forming the meatballs? Not so much.

In this crazy season of life, there’s not much I can control.  I can’t even keep my floors cleaned for too long with a puppy, but I’m trying to just keep up as best as I can, ignore the mess and focus on at least one clean spot.

Buying flowers/candles helps too.

I thought about getting rid of the stroller, but it seems we are just not quite ready.  I’ve been pushing this thing around for 5 years and it’s still going strong. They are a load to push but they still love it and man it’s a good workout!

They use my old phone to take photos/videos and there’s always a surprise or two when I check.  Selfies of her feet in her water table. I about died.

We had our last “helper day” at Pre-K and it was Teddy Bear day!

Her and her bestie at school.

The last time she’ll hug these puppets…

The last time she’ll ring the bell…

To have been able to step in and be there for these helper days is not something I will take for granted.  I sometimes get caught up in the whole, “I should be doing more” (thank you Pinterest) but I have to turn that thought around and focus on all of the good and positive things I have been able to do.

I think back to the little 3 year old girl we sent off to preschool two years ago, and I stare in awe at the beautiful and silly 5 year old that will be walking out.  She said she was scared of Kindergarten, and I understand that a new big building will be a little scary, but she will thrive and flourish.  I can’t wait for all of the new things she’ll learn and do in school.

We never know if he’s going to be Batman, Spiderman or Black Panther.  He even ran around the house as Captain America the other day.  He insisted that he had to sleep with this mask on…so I let him.  I then crept in and removed the mask for the night after he was sound asleep.

Being a momma is …

exciting.

scary.

exhausting.

magical.

worrisome.

awesome.

I could go on and on about what I thought motherhood would look like, but really you just have to welcome the season you’re in and just be. 

The more I try to primp, prod, fix, set up, worry and try to control, the worse off we all are.  If I can just get up each day with a happy mindset and just do my best, we all have a better day.  Sure there are times when I’m ready to pull my hair out (enter a 3 year old who is so tired he didn’t want to nap…and then he falls asleep in the middle of the hallway as opposed to his bed.)

I just keep telling myself, this is 3  or she’s 5.  It’s just a season.  You’re going to miss this. Life won’t be crazy all of the time .  I even go as far as to picture myself lonely and alone with nothing to do but read a book…and that usually makes me teary eyed, so I will give into one more bedtime song, cuddle or kiss.

I’ll embrace the mess that is.

This is what life and motherhood is about…the little and mundane moments that together create our very existence of memories.

Mother’s Day 2018

I still can’t believe that I’ve been a mom for 5 years.  It seems like yesterday I was just meeting Joe, but really that was ten years ago.

Crazy.

Sunday morning Joe got up with the dogs (after miss Bailey woke me up at 4:30!) around 7 and shortly thereafter Bradley woke up and then Brooke.  Joe wanted to go grab some breakfast for us and took Bradley.  It was nice to just lounge in bed with my girl!  Soon the boys were back with breakfast bagel sandwiches and my beloved Green Tea Latte from Starbucks.  It’s one of our favorite little traditions in the Summer–he pops out for a bit and brings back treats.

He knew I was out of my water bottles; I either lose them or I wear them out!! I’m loving the ones that keep your water cold all day.  Thanks babe!

Brooke gave me two cards and a potted plant she made in pre-k. So sweet!

We just had a nice quiet morning; Joe went and visited his grams with Bradley, and I did some dishes and got ready for our outing!

This year I wanted to go out for brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, The Revelry.  My dad, step-mom & sister joined us and it was perfect!  We enjoyed lots of oysters, cornbread, and I ordered mimosas & shrimp and grits.  OMG so GOOD!! Anyone have a good shrimp & grits recipe?? I need to try to make that at home…

The kids were excellent and loving their special tiki drinks, aka pineapple juice.  We went for a little drive afterwards and then home.  Joe took Brooke to grab some dinner items, while I cuddled with Bradley.  Heavenly!  Once he got home, Bradley ran downstairs and I was alone watching Fixer Upper for about an hour.  I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself!  It was weird, but enjoyable.

I came downstairs to quite a spread! My husband had his new smoker going, the grill, stove and sous vide.  Not to mention the chaos that is our children/dogs all together around dinner time.  I definitely giggled as I heard from above the noise.

 

Caprese salad, green beans, sautéd mushrooms, bone marrow with garlic crostini and a dry aged steak we picked up at the meat market down town.  Holy. Cow. It was so amazing! I couldn’t believe how delicious it turned out to be…even down to dessert which was a mini key lime pie he grabbed at Wegmans.

It was a beautiful day; no stress and full of love and relaxation…and full bellies!

The boys.

I am for sure one blessed momma.

Thank you Brooke and Bradley, for making me a better person.  I didn’t know the depths of love and selfless giving until I had you.  You two make our world a much better place by being in it.  Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy.

Meeting The Real Housewives

Saturday night my friend got us tickets to go see some of the Real Housewives at a nearby casino.  We were going to make it a real “Girls Night” and stay in the hotel, have a nice dinner, enjoy the show and SLEEP IN the following morning.  However, #momlife called and Brooke had dance pictures scheduled for 8:30 the next morning. #Awesome.  It’s all good though we made it work!  My amazing husband arranged to get out of work early so that he could drive me (it’s a bit of a drive and I didn’t want to drive home late alone). We had a couples dinner and he played some Blackjack, (and won!) while Ann and I were watching the show. In all honesty, the TV series itself doesn’t do much for me any more…and I can only tolerate it in small amounts, BUT I have always loved me some Teresa Guidice and I may or may not have read/own most of her books!

I decided to bust out the Loubs for this special occasion!

This girl and I have been friends since Freshmen year of college–straight up first day of school we met!  1999…we majored in the same field, Secondary Education English.  She may have taught me how to party and to rock confidence like no other.  I was her maid of honor 13 years ago, and she was mine 8 years this July. We live 2.5 hours apart and between jobs, kids, and life, we rarely get to see each other!! But when we catch up, watch out world!

Ann and her husband Brennan

My sweet hubby!!

Aside from the delicious bottle of Rosé bubbly we shared, and oysters, this dish was outstanding! Lobster, shrimp & scallops in a scampi sauce over asparagus.  I died! I will be recreating this dish in the future!

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We sat 2nd row, yes SECOND row!! She hooked us up with these seats!  The stage was set up much like Live with Andy Cohen and the whole bit was a Q&A sesh with our questions! One of Ann’s questions was picked!

It was pretty entertaining and the crowd was fun.  Teresa, Ashley & Brandi were really down to earth! Ashely is hysterical and Brandi is a bit of a #hotmess but hey, aren’t we all? She is definitely more on the raw/raunchy side.  Teresa was really quite calm and really cool.  She did mention “camp” which I giggled at because, girl, I love ya but jail is jail.  She did say however, she often wonders if she should have done the show or not.  I can’t imagine putting my life on display like that for all to see…it takes guts I tell ya!

We decided right before we went in to do the “meet and greet” which just meant getting a few hugs and photos.  The cost supposedly went to a charity, but when do we ever do stuff like this? Never.  I am not mad about paying a little extra for this experience!

Ann was the first in line to get her photo op!

I can’t remember exactly what we were all laughing at but I could have stood up there and talked to them for awhile!

I really wanted to hug T and I totally #fangirled and told her how I have all her cookbooks and that she’s totally my favorite. As I went to walk away after photos, I did tell her good luck and that she’s a great mom.  Lord knows us mommas always need extra support. With her husband in jail, and just losing her mom, I can’t imagine how hard it must be raising 4 girls on her own.

They were all so nice!  The only bad part was how quick it went! I could have curled up with another glass of bubbly or two…

I think it was Brandi who said something first, but the next thing I knew, they were all complimenting me on my hair! LOL

The all wanted to know who does it and how does it look so healthy! I about died.  I get my hair inspiration FROM The Real Housewives so it made my night.

As I turned to leave Teresa asked, ‘hey what’s your name?!’ I replied, “Jenn!” And they all said, “Bye Jenn!! Thanks for coming!” It was totally cool, I can’t lie!

Thanks again B for an unbelievable night!! I don’t know if we could top this one…but I’m willing to try!

PS we totally went back and forth months on what to wear!! Ann went with a hot little Express lace jumpsuit & red moto jacket & and did my black moto jacket & leggings from Express and Banana Republic top.

Accessories: Stella & Dot baby!

Curling wands = big hair!

Sunny Weekend

For the first time in what feels like forever, (cue the Frozen song) the sun was shining!! I swear it gave everyone an extra pep in their step and the extra smiles on everyone’s faces.  It wasn’t hot by any means or really truly that warm, but man we could escape outside for some fresh air and vitamin D without freezing our tails off!

Friday was Brooke’s ‘Helper Day’ and Joe wanted to go in to spend it with her.  Our Pre-K is parent run, so every day there is a parent in helping and one of the student’s has a special turn at being the class helper. They had tons of fun!

I made it to the gym 2 days in a row and was trying to snap a sweaty selfie, even though I wasn’t sweaty any more.  Brooke insisted she be in the photo with me!

Friday night we had our fist Book Club meetup.  We were hoping to gather around the corner at the cute wine bar, but it was super packed and there was no room….so we moved to Bar Louie which was also really busy, but fun nonetheless!

It was hard to talk about books in a loud place so we made the most of it but decided next time we will gather at someone’s home.

It did prompt me to start making more time for books again.  I have been listening to my audiobooks but I have not been making the time to pick up actual books.  I am almost done with this and am SO anxious to see where it is headed! Saturday was the perfect combination of cuddling the kids, getting to the park for a little fresh air and resting. My body needed it.

And in puppy news, she’s doing so great!! I’m not gonna lie…it’s been a challenging few weeks of adjusting at times.  Bailey and Holly love to play but they do get a little aggressive so we have to make sure they can’t fight over certain toys or get too rough with each other.  She’s just 12 weeks old and we have had her for one month.  Puppies are a lot of work but as we continue to work with her and train her, she’s really fitting in well.

I wonder how long she will fit on this bottom step for…

Sunday was kind of a laid back day.  Joe got up early to run some errands for the houses and the kids and I resumed positions reading/playing with ipads/kindle.  I made a big breakfast and we did a little Target run, had sushi and visited our friends’ baby Aiden.  The kiddos got to play outside and it was so nice to feel that sun!

We wrapped up the weekend with grilling chicken for the week, I worked on the Pre-K Newsletter and walked the dogs one more time.  It was refreshing and just what my soul needed; we need more weekends like this.  Summer, please hurry!

After such a long stint of cold crappy weather, I am so grateful for the sun.  I think this may be the 4th day in a row of sunshine and we are not taking it for granted!

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Happy Monday Friends!

Girl Code {Book Review}

TGIF lovies!!

I don’t know about you, but this week tried to kick my butt.  Seriously.  I am super glad Friday is here so that we can get to the weekend! It continued to snow all week, nothing stuck but my booty is frozen from trying to get the puppy to go outside and I’m so over it!

I am extra excited that our first book club meet up is tonight.  We are hitting up the wine bar around the corner from my house and I’m sure that it will be awesome to get out for awhile, chat bout #momlife, girl talk and I’m pretty dorky so I’m sure that we will talk about books too!

I have my list of books I’ve read so far in 2018.  This book, Girl Code was book 11 of 52!

I have the hard copy that my girl Lindsay gifted me, but I just never made an effort to pick it up, so I decided to try it on audible and I LOVED it!! I am so glad that I have the hard copy honestly, so that I can go back through from time to time.

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Clearly the author had me at her blog/brand, “The Champagne Diet.”  You know I love me some celebratory bubbly and if you’re a girly girl like me, her verbiage will speak to you too.  She is witty and cleverbut it’s not all glitter and champs.  She really is a fantastic business woman; there is something powerful about a female entrepreneur. She is also a Master Life Coach and just has so much valuable information to share.

 

What I loved most about this book were the interviews with other leading ladies.  Each gal had her own little story to tell and it’s nice to know we girls are never alone.

As per usual, the English teacher in my comes through and I had several quotes speak to me.

The first quote was, “Her success is not your failure.”

Whoa.

She was referring to those moments where we scroll through social media and find ourselves getting mad or jealous when we see other girls living their best lives. You know, that girl who promotes to the highest level in her company.  The bombshell who is flaunting her perfect body on a beach in the Caribbean. Whatever your trigger is, realize that just because she succeeded at something, doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

I guess I had not thought it through like that, but yes!  Sometimes I do find myself feeling awful, simply because she’s making a dream come true and I’m probably in day old sweats, 4 day hair and cleaning up poo.   Maybe I’m not exactly where I want to be (literally or figuratively!) but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure!

Each of our journeys is so unique and it’s super hard and tempting to compare ourselves to others on social media.  The highlight reel is great, but it took a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication for these people to get to show off their rewards.

“Why be envious when you can have the same, or not more?”

I feel like that kind of piggybacks off of the first quote.  Jealousy comes in all shapes and sizes, but instead of sitting there hating on someone, turn it around and really think about it.  What’s stopping you from having what she has?  Couldn’t you even have more? There is no limit in life.  We can make as much money as we want, there’s certainly enough to go around.  Most of these #bossbabes are most likely not choosing #netfilxandchill, so if that’s what you find yourself doing on a weekly basis, maybe it’s time to switch out some habits.  That’s what I tell myself when I start seeing posts and feeling less than.

“They don’t serve champagne at pity parties.”

Which leads me to my next favorite quote from this book.  Sure, you have a moment where you’re down and not feeling super fabulous.  I try to tell myself, it’s ok! Feel what you are feeling, but then get over it.  Sitting around moping and crying and doing the whole, “whoa is me” thing doesn’t get us anywhere.  Misery loves company, so you’ll attract that low vibe energy and miss out on some amazing opportunities.  I love me some champagne, so if I wanna be poppin bottles, I can’t cry too big of a river.

The last thing I took from this book was really what Oprah would call an “Aha moment.” The concept of a “Seasonal purpose vs a life purpose” really resonated with me.  Sometimes I get all caught up in “my purpose” and start a freak out session.  I dwell on the fact that thousands of dollars were spent on an Undergraduate and Masters Degree to teach here in NY.  I taught English for 8 years, but don’t really any desire to go back into that teaching world now.  I know that raising our babies and staying home was/is my purpose.  As we are nearing the end of that ‘stay at home’ period, I’m starting to really develop a new vision of where I want my life to go and what I’d like to spend my time doing.

This idea of a seasonal purpose just makes so much sense to me.  We are evolving creatures and the more we learn, the more we grow.  Our minds can take us anywhere and if we place all this pressure on ourselves to only have one purpose, it just sucks the fun out of life.  This is my opinion at least; I love knowing that I can keep developing into better versions of me and that as I grow older, my life’s purposes will too.

I haven’t read her other books yet, but I am definitely keeping them in mind! I love a quick listen, and this was a great one to hear.  If you’re in direct sales or in business for yourself in any fashion, I highly recommend this book.  If you’re not into champagne and some of the couture glitz and glam, I think you could still get something out of this book, if you have an open mind. It clearly spoke to me and I will be flipping through these pages again and again!

 

Happy reading my friends!