December-ing

Happy December 10th!!

Holy smokes, was last week insane or was it just my crazy calendar??  We literally had something going on every day of the week and my husband worked like a crazy man, which is not that unusual.

I’m happy to report that we are all doing awesome and enjoying this hectic and magical season!

We got our tree (on a 60 degree day no less!) and had so much fun decorating it.

This little ham helped mama make cookies for his preschool class.

Mama is working hard on staying present, taking time each day to breathe, offer love & light and enjoy  all of the Christmas joy.  (Tea with me on instastory lives btw!)

‘Tis better to give than receive day at preschool is always one of my favorites!  It’s hard for little 3 year olds to understand that giving is better than receiving; heck sometimes it’s hard as an adult!! But we had fun decorating our sugar cookies.

We crafted a snowman ornament too!

It’s a full time job keeping the dog fur and real pine needles cleaned up, but when it is spotless, oh it looks so nice!!

Brookie had an adorable Christmas party with her dance class friends.  One of the moms hosted and it was so nice to talk with them while the girls played.

I think she enjoyed herself!

My cookie party was another success!! I didn’t snap a lot of photos, I was too busy being in the moment!  We had 9 adults and about 14 kids I believe?! It was crazy, but so much fun.  I always say I miss the moments when these two were babies, but I adore the memories we are making each year!  I loved our little coordinating outfits, of course.

I did not professionally style the cookies for a good photo op, but there were TONS!

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I helped her craft this headband and she then went up and picked an outfit to match! She cracks me up.  Bailey loves posing for photos…

I’m staying focused on gratitude.  Not sweating the small things: see above photo–pine needles, foot prints, dog hair…

 

I hope if you are reading this, you are enjoying this month of merry as much as we are!! I think this week is a little less crazy, but it is December, so I won’t hold my breath for too much peace and quiet!  I do plan on making it to the gym more this week, because CHRISTMAS COOKIES!  Moderation, balance, whatever.  I know sugar is the devil, but you just can’t say no to Christmas cookies.

Have a fabulous week!

Staycation Re-cap

My favorite part of Joe taking off from his full time job?  Being able to be around for the little things.  I love that he’s able to get outdoors and hunt; it’s truly his only passion/hobby outside of the kids, myself & working hard/making money.

We started out the week with some warmer weather, so it was nice to take a walk with Bradley and Holly.  Brooke had some homework so I had Joe help her.  When we got back from the walk, they had turned it into a game show and she was a spelling machine!

Tuesday Brooke had a half day and we got dressed up to go out to lunch.

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The sun was shining, there were blue skies and the leaves were hitting the last of their peak colors.

After lunch we went to a mall to look for some work pants for Joe, but Banana Republic was just gone!  It’s so sad to see brick and mortar stores closing left and right.  The kids had fun playing in the play area though!

I took a lot of time to self-reflect, hone in on what makes me happy and felt a huge shift in my spirits.

Joe snuck in plenty of hunting time and while Brooke danced, Bradley and I went to the library.  It seems to be our new thing!

I had some early morning wake-ups; Joe likes to be out of the house by 6 am (or so?) and I get up to make him a hearty breakfast.  Bailey enjoys the alone time after he leaves.  It’s just us two until the kiddos wake up.

I saw this and started implementing it.  Being present in every day moments seems to help any feelings of ill ease, overwhelm, stress or anxiety.

I saw Bradley’s turkey at preschool and couldn’t resist snapping a pic.   His neck/head may be a little lower than it should be, but isn’t that what makes it perfect?

Getting to the gym a few times a week has been such a game changer for me.  Releasing toxins, sweating out the day’s stress and focusing on my health is so important.  I can never forget this again!

I feel very open to the universe lately and seem to be receiving all sorts of signs, quotes, affirmations and know that I am in good alignment.

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We finally put in a new rug in our living room again.  It’s been since March (when we got Bailey as a puppy) and she’s pretty much house trained I would say 98%.  It’s nice to have a rug again!

I took this one to Wegmans for lunch after school and clearly this photo says it all.  Pizza is life.

We even got out on a Friday night date night!!

We checked out a swanky new place, Skybar.  It was pretty cool!  We went super early since Joe wanted to go hunting the next day, so it was not busy at 9pm, obvs.  They had champs so all was well!  We can’t wait to go back and check it out when it’s busier.

This girl decided to hang out with her doll finally!! It was pretty cute.  Santa may have to bring some fun accessories for her!

I started this book! I was lucky enough to score an advanced reader copy and so far so good!! I love me a good thriller and the authors wrote one of my favorites from 2018, The Wife Between Us.

I ended the week with some family time, baking pies with my step-mom and sister.  The apple pie was delish!  Here’s to more family fun coming up for Thanksgiving.

Have you ever “staycationed”?  We do it every year so hubby can hunt. I can’t say that I mind it one bit!!

My Thoughts on Being a Stay at Home Mom

So many thoughts.  Good thoughts. Frustrated thoughts.  Scary thoughts. Silly thoughts. Wonderful thoughts.  FOMO thoughts. Unforgettable thoughts. Questioning thoughts. Breathing thoughts.

It’s funny, if you think too much how crazy you can drive yourself.  Staying home to me has been one of the biggest gifts, blessings, passions, best and most wonderful thing!! At the same time, it can be a tad lonely, scary, worrisome, and if I let it, questioning.   In today’s world, women are told we can be and do anything.  Yay!  No I am not a feminist (far from it) but I love that we have the ability to do whatever we want.  I think the hardest part is that you have to find what you’re happy with.  Throughout the last 5 1/2 years I have had thoughts cross my mind that maybe I should go back to work. I will admit that it’s mostly when things are hard, (duh life is hard!) but also as teacher friends get ready to go back to school in the Fall, I have a twinge of “what if…?”

But as with anything, I allow myself to work through my feelings.  I write, I talk it out, usually with my husband and good friends, or my mom.  I try to figure out why I may feel a certain way and go from there.

I will say that running a business and staying home is not for the faint of heart.  I truly believe there is MORE than enough work to do taking care of a child, or children, cook from scratch, clean the home, care for dogs, and take care of a husband who works crazy intense hours.  It’s hard to find time to do things that need to get done, things you want to get done, plus play with the kids, enjoy the time with them and possibly give yourself some down time too.

I believe it takes a village to raise children, and villages don’t really exist in my world, so other than an awesome sitter who actually just had a baby of her own, it’s hubby and I.  Family lives far away and so a lot falls onto my shoulders.

I had to take a good look at our life and pick and choose what and where I want to spend my time.  For me, there are several non negotiable terms when it comes to our home life.  I find it extremely important for the kids to eat a warm breakfast most days.  Even if it’s a bagel and cream cheese or one little egg.  I think that a hearty meal first thing in the morning sets you up for success.  I also will always be here to greet the kids off the bus.  Until they are in high school, I truly find that after school time to be crucial.  Is this the only way to be a mom?  Absolutely not! But in my heart, it’s the way I want to be.

I’ve recently discovered my true need to break a sweat at a gym.  We had a monthly membership to the Y, but I decided it was a tad expensive and canceled it in August.  Well, September was absolutely nutty trying to get into a groove with one in Kindergarten and one in preschool a few hours each week.  Once we settled into the swing of things, it was all of a sudden Halloween.   I would make lame attempts to do at home workouts, or walk the dogs and play with the kids, but I missed socializing with people! I haven’t even been there a week yet, but I can tell you in the few times I’ve gone, my smile is bigger and my mind is quieter. I’ve also implemented a few more things, but I’ll touch on those later.

Bottom line, being a momma is hard.  We worry even if we don’t want to and I always want to do the right thing.   I will tell you it’s difficult to not give into the tantrums, the junk food, the instant gratifications.  But it’s so worth it.  Stay at home or work at home, moms are amazing.  (Dads are too, but this post isn’t about them!)

Like I’ve stated before, there is not “right way” when it comes to staying home or working as a mom.  There is only what’s best for you.  For me it’s a crazy combination of staying home, and also working.   I believe that once the kids are both in school full time I will be open to even more opportunities.  I have quite the ‘bucket list’ of dreams I’d like to accomplish and the ultimate dream being to work with my husband every day.

Regardless of what your “job title” may be, the best advice I can offer is to stay focused.  Don’t get caught up with what other people are doing.  This I am learning, is very tricky with social media in my hands.  I can very quickly get down on myself for not being where I would like to be.  It’s good to push ourselves, but it’s a whole different ball game to compare and lose sight of what is right in front of us.

Would I stay home or go back to work if I had to do it all again?  

I’d stay home 100%.  Even on the hardest of days where I feel like I accomplished nothing, I know that I am making the right choice for my family.  If you stay home and feel like you’re in a rut, then I highly suggest shaking up your routine.  Get out more; have more fun; meetup with some other mommas or do a baby or toddler class.  Leave the dishes be and get on the floor with the kiddos.  Snuggle them on the couch and ignore the laundry.  It’s all gonna be there anyway.

Also, mamas, ladies, women friends, do not ever feel guilty for filling your cup!!  Take the bubble bath and lock the door.  Pour a glass of wine and play the jazz music.  Sneak off to the coffee shop and bring your laptop.  Join that gym and go do your favorite class.  Read that book or follow that dream inside of you.  You are worth it!!  If you’re so caught up in your crazy busy life and don’t even know where to start, then you definitely need to stop and take a pause…

I’ll be sharing more on my pause in an upcoming post.  Until then, feel free to comment or reach out to me. You are not alone!! Motherhood aint easy, and there are way too many mean girls out there competing.  Life is not a competition; it’s your journey and yours alone.  Tune out the negativity and quiet your mind…I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Make today beautiful friends.

 

Hello November!

Well, October came and went….pretty damn fast!!

I could say, “sorry I didn’t blog every day in October,” but you know what? I’m not sorry.  I did what I could; I had a few rough moments, days where life turned into a blur and things just didn’t turn out.  So ya know what? You get yourself up, brush yourself off and start again.  Don’t quit.  You can rest, just don’t quit.

I feel like I needed to take a few steps back, re-evaluate where my heart and mind were at and just be.

I really had such a great time trick-or-treating with my gang last night!!  We went to our friends’ house and we basically just started an awesome new tradition.   Their little ones are 2 1/2 and 6 months, so it gave me all sort of feels and flashbacks to when our life was like that!! It was so cool to see our two, who are 3 & 5 run to each house and really get excited over their costumes, candy and all things Halloween.

I will remember this Halloween as, “Black Panther & Mavis.”

We enjoyed pizza, cider & donuts as well as some much needed hanging out time.  All work no play is never good for anyone and I am realizing that this mama NEEDS MORE TIME WITH OTHERS!

How cute is this little dalmatian!?

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The trees are really changing and it’s quite lovely!

This has got to be one of my favorites.

Baby’s first Halloween!

It’s crazy when you can step back for a bit and reflect, you can come to some amazing conclusions.

I enjoyed a much needed pedicure, latté and even read a bit of a book earlier today.

Tomorrow Brooke has off from school and hubby’s staycation begins.  *Let’s pray he gets a big buck sooner than later!!

Here is to the last 60 days, the final months of the year.  We have so much to be grateful for this year and in this season, I hope to find the magic all around.  I look forward to an amazing Thanksgiving with family and a joyous Christmas spirit.

May your days for the next two months be Merry & Bright!

Family Vacation: Charleston, South Carolina

Back in August, we headed South for my mom’s wedding.  Her and Mark got married on Folly Beach, which is about 20 minutes or so from Charleston.   It’s a super cute little beach town with fun little shops, restaurants and of course an amazing ocean view.

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We stayed at the Tides Hotel, which is one of the only hotels on this beach.  We enjoyed our stay and the wedding was held here too!

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We grabbed a quick dinner since the 4 of us were starving from traveling all day.  This was our first “officially on vacation” photo.

The kids enjoyed their kid friendly strawberry daqs.

Brooke was LOVING all of the seafood!

That night we checked out the beach and the kids of course loved swimming in the pool.

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The next morning we headed out for some girl time!! Pedicures and a tea room lunch with the bride to be…my mama!

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Brooke loved it.

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My sis and I snuck out to grab a quick “Folly Vice” at the beach bar.  Gosh it was tasty!

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Later that night was the rehearsal dinner.  We all had dinner & drinks at the Pier which was next door to our hotel…I never did get to walk that damn pier! haha

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After that we played in the ocean…I mean, figured out who went where for the next day!

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The wedding was beautiful! If you missed that post, you can catch up on that here.

We had a semi-early morning the following day as well, as we had a carriage ride/tour to catch.

The kids loved their new hats.

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They did pretty well on the carriage tour, but it was hot (obvi) and history isn’t exciting to them yet.  They did pretty well though!

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We had so much fun and were very grateful that my mom and Mark put together this activity for us to enjoy.  We only wish we had more time to go back and explore the old streets and sights!

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They loved getting to pet the horse.

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After that, we walked the market, hit up the Charleston tea & spice shop –yum!! We also enjoyed a nice lunch together on a rooftop–which I am totally blanking on. Mom?

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That was our final night in Charleston.  I believe I ordered this AMAZING Low Country dinner that night, which happened to be at our hotel restaurant.

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When we got up the next morning, Joe & I went off to Savannah, which I posted about here.

When we returned, we picked up the kiddos and checked into a Marriott in historic Charleston.  It ended up being a good place to walk to a lot of places!  We walked over to this BBQ joint which was quite delish!

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We made sure to make plenty of pit stops for ice cream, because, vacation.

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The next morning Joe found this amazing little French breakfast place, it was SO good!

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Brooke & Daddy basically had dessert for breakfast.

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I was pumped to have some Orangina!  It has been YEARS since I had this.  I’m thinking the last time was when we were in Paris on our honeymoon, 2010!

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We walked up to the market, hit up a Starbucks and let the kids rest here and there.  We stopped at this old water fountain and of course read the history all about it.

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We found some little Raw bar and the kids sort of ate whatever it was we ordered them.  Joe really enjoyed his lobster roll & I had a divine glass of rosé and some ceviché.

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That night we had a fancy dinner at the Charleston Hotel.  We all got dressed up and walked there.  On the way, Bradley kept seeing these bicycle guys and was throwing a FIT because he wanted to drive one!  We promised him on the way back to the hotel, we’d get one.

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The kids were PUMPED for their big bowls of popcorn!

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Mark, mom & us

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Our fun little ride back to the hotel.

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Overall Charleston is not extremely kid friendly, as it’s just a lot of walking, eating, history, and repeat.  I thought our 3 & 5 year olds did amazing!! They dined out at fancy restaurants and kept up with most activities.  My mom and Mark took them to the Aquarium the day Joe and I went to Boone Hall Plantation.

Joe and I had a drink at the Market Pavillion Rooftop bar that night and Saturday morning we went back home.

It really proved to us that we need to travel more.  Joe and I always went away a few times a year before kids and well, the idea of flying with babies terrified us.  We SO needed to get out and explore.  The kids are ready and it was so good for all of us to be in new places, get out of our routines and shake it up a little.

Not to mention, I really loved spending time with my mom.  We can’t wait to come back, or heck, just drop the kids off and keep heading South haha!!

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