A Birthday Outing

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My birthday was on Saturday.  We had some plans with family later in the day, so I figured we would spend the morning doing mundane house stuff (picking up, doing laundry, etc.), but Jeff had the great idea of just heading out.  So we did.  And it was awesome.  We drove through Trabuco Canyon which is so green and beautiful right now, and into Modjeska Canyon and the bird sanctuary they have there.

It was a little cold and drizzly, which made it quite beautiful.  We hid under a tree for a little bit when it got a heavier, but I’m glad we stuck around and explored a little longer.

Ended the day with a little help blowing out my birthday candles.

The good pictures are thanks to my husband :)

Those first two months…

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Two kids.  Woof.  Am I right?

I’ve been simultaneously wanting to write this blog and also putting it off for quite some time now.  I want to write it because I want other moms to know that it’s ok to feel like shit, or feel like you’re not doing a good job, or feel like you’re gonna lose your shit.  Hormones are a bitch.  Ok, enough foul language. I’ve also been putting it off because I feel like this one’s going to be a long one, and I’m not sure how well I can put into words what that experience was like.  Also, I’m sure about five thousand other moms have written similar blogs.  But I’m too lazy to do a quick Google search to corroborate; and I don’t want to see that my blog post is completely unnecessary, haha.

I noticed from the very beginning of my pregnancy that things weren’t going to be as rose-colored and full of excitement as they were when we were pregnant with Jake.  I was apprehensive during most of my pregnancy: how will this new baby change our wonderful dynamic?  How will this affect Jake and all the love and time I’m able to give him?  I was almost jealous of the baby FOR Jake, which is crazy, right?

Then there were the challenges of being pregnant but not having the down time or comforts I had when I was pregnant with Jake.  Back then, we were living with my in-laws, and at the beginning of my pregnancy I was self employed, so lots of down time, and no need to cook or clean or anything other than keeping myself and this growing baby alive and healthy.  My pregnancy was a piece of cake!  When I did start working, I would come home after work and fall asleep on the couch while my amazing mother-in-law cooked dinner for all of us.  Are you jealous yet?  I don’t blame you….

This time, I had a house to look after, a toddler to run after, and a full time job that required a lot more energy.  I just didn’t have the time or energy to really take it all in and enjoy it.  The things I loved about my pregnancy with Jake were almost a hindrance with my pregnancy with Josh – feeling Josh move around constantly was at times just uncomfortable and got in the way of getting things done at work.  Not to say there weren’t also times when that happened that I also LOVED-usually at the end of the day when I was sitting on the couch next to Jeff and we could both just live in the moment for a sec.

I remember so clearly and vividly the moment when I was saying good bye to Jake right before we went to the hospital to have Josh.  I started crying immediately.  I’m getting teary eyed right now just remembering that moment.  He was so clueless about what was going to happen, but I was so, so, SO aware of how different things would be the next time I saw him.  I knew it wouldn’t be all about him anymore, I knew I would never have that kind of undivided attention for him anymore, and it broke my heart.

And I was right.  When Jeff brought Jake to the hospital to meet Josh, I was a nervous wreck.  Granted, I had just gone through some pretty crazy shit giving birth to Josh (sans epidural, without choice, haha), and I had this tiny little baby in my arms that I was trying to connect with and bond with, while also trying to keep a 2.5 year old from squishing him to death.  I was painfully relieved when Jeff took Jake home.  We had to stay in the hospital under observation for an extra day, and although that felt like eternity, in retrospect it was great because it was the only true quality time I had to spend with Josh, ALONE. I got to stare at his face and hold him and squeeze him and stare at his face some more.

Then we got home.  The hormones.  Geez, the hormones.  So the hormones made me feel like a crazy woman, I thought Josh hated me–I would spend all day feeding him and changing his diaper (and Jake’s, we were in the middle of potty training, which let me tell you…NOT good timing, haha), and get nothing, then dad would get home and get the biggest smiles.  Let’s just say, that didn’t go over very well with me, haha.  I found that with all the distractions of toddler and home, it was really hard for me to connect with Josh those first few months.  It makes you feel like a terrible mother, honestly.

And man, the guilt.  THE GUILT.  It’s awful.  I felt just awful that Jake had to wait, and hold on, and I have to do this first, and Josh needs, and I have to change Josh’s diaper, and “Jake, why are you so whiny?!” (in retrospect, it was pretty obvious why he was so whiny).

I remember having to go on nap drives for Jake–he wouldn’t fall asleep for his nap any other way.  So I would have to drive around and around, which, you know, was inconvenient and a waste of gas, but doable.  But with a newborn, it was madness.  Josh wasn’t quite used to the car seat, and wasn’t as fond of it as Jake was when Jake was a baby.  So from the moment I got them in the car to the moment I got them out, my back was so tense from stressing out and trying to keep Josh calm long enough for Jake to fall asleep.  Once Jake was asleep, then I had to get them both out of the car.  I would unload Josh first and leave him in the living room while I got Jake out and put him in his bed, at which point Josh would already be screaming for me to get him out of his car seat, and how, oh how could I leave him there for two minutes?!  Oh man.  Come to find out after I went back to work, that all I had to do was ask Jake to take his nap in his bed, and apparently that would have resolved that issue, ha!

Bed time was tricky and extremely difficult for me for the first two weeks, at least.  I used to put Jake to sleep, but it was so hard to do when it was also the winding down time of the witching hour and Josh was super needy for me.  I remember laying in bed with one baby crying and the other clinging to me and trying to get on me, and looking at Jeff who just didn’t know how to help (there was really nothing he could do), and I remember looking at him and silently crying and saying “I can’t do this.”  God bless that man for keeping me sane.

Bed time was also the culmination of a long day of being sleep deprived, and looking forward to another night of waking up every two hours (that part hasn’t changed much, nine months later).  I had never experienced that kind of sleep deprivation before, and how it just messes with your mind, not to mention erodes your patience.  With the first kid, you can usually sneak in some naps with him or at least take it easy during the day.  But when there’s a toddler running around, that’s not quite an option anymore.  So you just keep going and going and not sleeping and not sleeping.  It’s no fun for your body!

In October we went camping around Lake Arrowhead for a night, and I don’t know if it was just being away from the house and chores and not having so many distractions, but I remember coming home and realizing that I finally felt a good connection with Josh.  I had spent a lot of time with him in a ring sling or the carrier, so maybe we just had some good bonding time, but I definitely see that as the turning point of things.  We definitely have a routine now that helps keep us all sane, although it’s also a little INsane to do the same routine day in and day out, but I can honestly say that I can’t imagine my life without both of these boys.  Josh is full of smiles and giggles and rolls, and Jake is the sweetest and kindest big brother, even if he’s not fond of sharing his toys.

It still breaks my heart a little bit when Jake goes to Jeff for something that he normally would have asked me for, but I can’t blame him for it-I’ve had to turn him away so many times because there are still things that I have to do for and with Josh, that just don’t allow me the time with Jake.  I do miss Jake terribly at times, and although I’m in love with Josh and love my moments with him, I’m looking forward to the day when Josh is old enough that I can split my time with them a little more evenly.

So this was the bad and the ugly, just so everyone doesn’t think it’s all roses and butterflies, BUT, the bad and the ugly don’t last forever.  One great thing about this being our second child was that we KNEW, with absolute certainty, that that stage wouldn’t last forever.  The witching hour evenings wouldn’t last forever.  The up all night feedings won’t last forever (although that’s gone on way longer that it should have).  The hormones won’t make you feel crazy forever.  And as long as you can keep your eye on that faint light at the end of the tunnel….you’ll be rewarded with sunshines and butterflies for days on end.

Organizational Tools

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I love lists.  I love planning things.  I love organizing things, putting them into corresponding groups.  To that effect, I’ve created a couple templates that I can use for these purposes, rather than constantly starting from scratch or just using a notepad.

HUGE DISCLAIMER: I made these myself.  I’m not a perfectionist.  If you’re a perfectionist or OCD about line spacing or things being centered…DON’T USE THESE-they will drive you crazy.

1). Work to-do list.  I love this one because it helps me prioritize things: there’s a “Top 3” section with the things I HAVE to get done, no matter how much I don’t want to do them.  Then there are the other must do items, which maybe I just should have named “to-do,” and them my “long term” column.  Here I put all the projects that I would LIKE to do, but I know they’re not a priority so they don’t have to overwhelm me by being in my general to-do list. Click here to download.

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2). Event planning list.  This should absolutely NOT be used for wedding planning.  I have a five page excel document for that.  This is for..your kids birthday party, or Friendsgiving, or the staff ice cream social.  I haven’t had a chance to actually USE this one yet, so I’m not sure there is enough room for everything, but I’ll adjust if I realize it’s impractical.  I have used this layout to help me plan several events, just not this document per se, and I love it.  I usually use an 8.5×14 sheet for this, but it seemed more practical to format to 8.5×11 for easy printing.  Feedback is welcome :) Click here to download.

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Happy planning.  Happy organizing.

Literate Lushes: June 2015-January 2017

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Wow, I have over a year and a half to update, so I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum and just catch everyone up on our reading list…

June: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

July: A Wild Ride Through the Night, by Walter Moers

September: A Good and Happy Child, by Justin Evans

November: Broken Monstersby Lauren Beukes

December: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

January: Far From the Tree, by Andrew Solomon

February: Me Talk Pretty One Day, by Dave Sedaris

April: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers

This one generated a lot of discussion…

May: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

June: The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith

I really liked this book and I hope I get around to reading the sequels someday.

July: Many Lives Many Masters, by Brian L. Weiss

August: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

I absolutely LOVED this book.

October: Mothers Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of a Tragedy, by Sue Klebold 

November: Voices in the Night, by Steven Millhauser

I wasn’t a huge fan. But I did discover the use of audio books with this book, and it’s been a game changer.

January: A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

Loved, loved, loved.

Bonus: because thanks to audio books, I listen to them while I pump at work and on my way to work and home.  It’s not quite the same as reading them myself, but it’s better than not reading at all.  I do think this is pretty life changing for me…so, I finished our January book with time to spare and decided to start reading Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.  An enjoyable “read” so far!

I also missed reading quite a few of these books…with having a toddler, then being pregnant, then adjusting to life with two kids…time was harder to find and I was much pickier about what books I chose to read.  I’ll usually give anything a try, and I’m really looking forward to Literate Lushes in 2017 and hopefully reading all the books that we pick, and MORE!  I have so many books written down in the Notes section of my phone and it would be nice to scratch some off instead of just continuously adding more books I want to read.

New Year Goals

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I’m not calling them resolutions, I feel like that’s setting myself up for failure.  I just want to incorporate a few changes to help me not stress or worry so much about the little things.  I’m a list maker…but sometimes thinking of those lists is stressful when I’m constantly trying to check things off.  So, I’m trying to be more aware of the things that are good around me, that I don’t need to stress about, and learn how to plan my lists a little better so they’re more manageable.

I’ve changed my morning routine this past week, and I’m liking it.  I don’t have any projects or work to do before work right now (crafting for a birthday or babyshower, or working on a wedding timeline), so instead I’m waking up and doing 5 minutes of yoga or other exercise, and then a 5 minute written reflection.  My reflection is taken from Slow Family Living by Bernadette Noll, and a series of questions suggested in there, although I think I might change the questions in time.  Right now they consist of:

  • Seven things you are thankful for (seven seems excessive, but maybe that’s the point…there are a lot of things in our daily life to be thankful for that maybe we don’t realize on a daily basis)
  • How are you feeling (everyday seems to start with fine or tired, so I’m not sure this question will make it through the year)
  • What are your intentions for the day (I do like this one, it makes me refocus and try to stay positive through the day)
  • What did you learn yesterday
  • What are your goals/desires/wishes for immediate or distant future
  • To-do’s (these almost replicate my other to-do lists, but sometimes it helps me bring to mind the immediate to-do’s)

Another great tip that I’ve picked up from this book is to have a “buffer time” in between things, and to not try to squeeze in one more thing before rushing off to the next.  The author mentioned trying to send “one more email,” and how that then makes her rush to accomplish the next thing.  This is something I do every morning…I push my getting ready for work time until the very last minute, trying to squeeze in one more task to mark off my list.  I’m trying not to do that so much, and to leave more time to get ready and head out the door.  And to put on mascara.  THAT is a New Year’s Resolution: try to at least wear mascara a few days a week.  At a minimum (I mean, I’m almost 34…I have to start caring at some point..right?).

I also purchased a planner again this year.  I’ve been using Google Calendar for the last few years, and I can’t remember the last time I had an actual, physical planner, but I think it’s time to go back.  It means duplicating some calendaring (to keep both my google calendar and my physical planner up to date), but I like the ability to see things on the planner, plus it allows me to break down daily and monthly goals, which I’m really liking.  I don’t have to have one long list that I’m constantly trying to tackle, instead I can break it down by week or month.  It also has places to write down monthly goals, which I’m loving: I can focus on something to work on each month and have it written down to keep me accountable.

Yesterday (Sunday), I implemented several of these goals and the results were pretty awesome.  I got up early (Josh wakes up to nurse around 530/6 and then it’s hard for me to get back to sleep anyway, even on weekends), did my 5 minute “workout,” did my reflections, and then went to the grocery store to buy groceries for the week.  I had time to meal plan on Friday, which was GREAT…usually I put off buying groceries until Sunday evening and we try to meal plan at some point over the weekend, but it’s so hard to squeeze in those five minutes with two kids and a house of things to do.  Let me tell you, shopping at 7am solo vs. 5pm with kids is a GAME CHANGER.  I put on my headphones and listened to an audio book for the Literate Lushes book of the month, and checked everything off my list.  I was back home, with groceries unloaded and put away, before anyone even woke up!  And then….I didn’t have it in the back of my mind all day…I could just smile knowing that it was done and all our groceries were already in our fridge just waiting to be made, haha.  I was so much happier once everyone woke up, knowing that I had already been productive and had some “me” time.  Will definitely try to keep that going through the year.

What are your plans/resolutions for 2017?

 

Us.

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I remember the exact moment when we first “formally” met (we had crossed paths once before…and I’ll admit, I wasn’t very nice).  I was in the parking lot of Starbucks, getting something out of the trunk of my car with Brooke, when he came over and Brooke introduced him as a new hire.  Brooke and I were heading to South America for two weeks within a day or so.

After I got back, I was pulling my evening shift at Starbucks after working my 8 hour shift at a law firm (ahh, to be young).  I was scooping ice into a venti cup when he came around the corner onto the bar floor, and we were re-introduced.  Little did either of us know that that moment was the beginning of something truly amazing.

We had exactly two shifts together.  The Starbucks life wasn’t for him, so after two weeks (the two weeks I was out of town), he had already put in a two week notice.  Thankfully two work shifts and one night out with coworkers was all we needed.  And massive, massive, misinterpretation on both ends.  Jeff had mentioned to Abby that he thought it was cool that I spoke Spanish, it was conveyed to me that Jeff “liked” me.  I got the butterflies.  The jokes were on for the next and last shift (“should I thank you now or later?”), phone numbers were exchanged (he put my name in his phone as “Beautiful,” it was quite the power move, it worked), and that was that.

Since then, we’ve had sleep overs at homes and my Redhill apartment, we’ve had two apartments together, lived with his parents for an extended period of time (thank you Linda and Shelly!), we’ve travelled to Washington DC, GERMANY, Salt Lake City, Arizona (does that count? I’m counting it), Guatemala.  We’ve spent weekends in Big Bear, Solvang, and Santa Barbara (aaaaaages ago).  We bought and sold a business.  We’ve jumped into various creative endeavors to varying degrees of success.  We’ve supported each other in all of them.  We’ve both lost jobs and found others.  We’ve supported each other through all the emotional ups and downs of that as well.

We’ve watched fireworks erupt all over the city from my grandma’s rooftop.  We’ve watched the rain from a quant little German balcony.  We’ve tried to party with my cousins in Antigua.  We’ve painfully explored Neuschwanstein Castle and in bewilderment paddled through a mountain lake with swans.  We’ve camped, we’ve driven, we’ve walked. We used to bike.  A little. Maybe twice.  Oh there was that bike ride through Germany with Mike and Henry, with rain and music.  That was pretty epic.

We got married (still the best dance party I’ve EVER been to).  We’ve had kids.  We bought a home.  We’re raising a beautiful family.  We appreciate each other, we love each other, we respect each other.

10 years of birthdays.  Nosebleed Lakers tickets.  Coheed and Cambria tickets.  Weekend get away in Big Bear with friends.  Family dinners.  Beer.  Lots of beer.  And chocolate cake.  Always chocolate cake.

Jeff, you’re an amazing man, an awesome husband, and an admirable father.  I just can’t get enough of you.  Thank you for sharing your life with me and always putting in 110% when it comes to our family.  Or anything you do, for that matter.  Thank you for being my Vanilla Sky.

 

Take a seat, this one’s a doozy (like, long)…

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Well, it’s been a while again, hasn’t it?  I was reading someone else’s family blog and realized I miss writing about my own little family and all the stuff I/we’ve been up to.  So, in the free minutes I have, here’s what’s been going on:

Meeting my dad.  The biggie is that I met my dad and his family for the first time last month.  I found him last year around October or so.  It was weird: I came in to work and searched an Obama speech that I wanted to listen to, saw an ad at the bottom about finding people, entered my dad’s name as I occasionally do on generic web searches, one thing led to another, and boom, all the dots were connecting.  It felt a little like this, to be honest…

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Which reminded me of this..

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Anyhow…it was a bit of a bombshell for my three sisters, and things have taken time to develop, but the boys and I headed to Arizona last month to visit some of Jeff’s family so I decided to take the leap and see if they were ready to meet.  I’m so glad they were.  Jeff, the boys, and I went over to their house for lunch and it was really nice to get to meet them each in person and get to know them a little better.  Unlike my expectation, it wasn’t awkward, but I do think it was a little emotionally tense: trying to figure out our comfort levels and boundaries (too soon to hug? do I call him dad? what do we tell Jake?), and I think most of us were a little nervous about how it would go.  Thankfully it went well enough that we all want to see each other again and get to know each other, although the distance does make that a little challenging.

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One thing I didn’t think about when I reached out to them last year were the ripples.  I’ll admit I was selfish and just thought of myself and that I had a “right” to reach out to my dad.  I didn’t think about the girls and what that would put them through.  Or my mom and how she would feel (although I did give her a heads up that I had found them and again when I decided to meet them).  Or my aunts and cousins.  I really hadn’t considered how this would affect so many people, and in every sense that has been the most challenging aspect of this journey.

When I found him and when I met him, people kept asking how I was doing and how I was feeling…I think expecting a hot emotional mess.  I think we’re all dealing a little with the “what if’s” that I was starting to come to terms with a few years ago, but over all it’s been very non-dramatic.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t been holding on to any resentment or bitterness for the last 33 years, but I’ve been fine.  I’m honestly just excited to meet my dad and his family and get to know them.  I have an amazing family as is, so if meeting them hadn’t worked out, it would have been a bummer but thankfully I have a wonderful and supportive family already, so my risk was non-existent.  Finding my dad and his family is icing on the cake.  And I mean, who doesn’t love icing, right?  But this cake is pretty delicious by itself also :)  But I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about getting to know each of them.

Phew, maybe that should have been a separate blog post, haha, but let’s move on to some less intense updates.

Cooking. I’ve never been a huge fan of cooking.  My grandma cooked for us every day and did it solo (I just snuck in to steal tomatoes), and my mom was a lone wolf in the kitchen as well.  It was something that needed to get done, food had to be put on the table, and that was that.  Except for annual tamale making around Christmas, cooking isn’t really family tradition for me, or something that I’ve grown up learning.  So it’s a chore.  And one that became even more daunting when Jake starting eating adult food (man, I really wish he would eat-he’s a terrible eater), and cooking “healthy” food became even more important.  Throughout our entire relationship (ten years now!), Jeff and I have talked about eating better and exercising regularly.  The exercising hasn’t stuck, but there’s something about someone’s life depending on you that makes you want to only do the best by him.  I’m not saying we shop at Whole Foods and are vegan, but we try to cook at home  more which I count as a success.

The routine of work, home, dinner, clean up, bath time, bedtime, is exhausting, repetitive, and…less than thrilling.  Up until recently I really dreaded cooking.  I felt like it took me away from hanging out with the boys or doing something more productive or exciting around the house.  Thankfully Jeff has always liked my cooking, and recently he’s loved it.  And I think that’s made a huge difference in how I approach cooking.  I love making food that my family loves (Jake loves my cornbread…that’s about it, but I’ll take it for now).  I love the praise I get from Jeff when I cook, and I love knowing that my family is eating something healthier than eating out constantly.  Maybe not in the sense of healthy food (we eat more than our fair share of southern, fried stuff…), but at least I know there aren’t a ton of preservatives in it!

So as of last week, I’m enjoying cooking!  Buying groceries every week though….ew.

Gilmore Girls. I just finished watching the new episodes of Gilmore Girls.  My mom came over after Thanksgiving so we could watch it together since it was our thing when the show was on, but man, throw a toddler and a baby into the mix and we paused the episode so many times and I yelled at Jake so many other times, that I was exhausted and thankful when the first credits rolled up.  I’ve managed to watch the rest after I put Josh to sleep and during my pumping sessions at work, and finished up last night.  It wasn’t all perfect, but I have to say, I loved the imperfection of Rory’s life.  Not all of us land that dream job, even if we were smart and ambitious at one point.  I found it refreshing, maybe because it reflects my life a little: sometimes you don’t get exactly what you thought you wanted, but you get so much more!

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The moment you’ve all been waiting for: The boys. The boys are doing great :)  The first two-three months of Josh’s life were hard.  HARD.  This blog is getting pretty lengthy so I’ll save my pearls of wisdom of those first three months for a separate blog post, but thankfully now we’ve all gotten into our new regular of being a family of four.  Josh is still keeping me up at night a lot (nursing every 2-3 hours, not awake and screaming, thankfully), but I’m also a sissy about sleep training, so I guess it’s my own fault.  Other than that, he’s great.  He’s pulling himself up everywhere, he’s mastered the army crawl, and really likes to be walked around everywhere now.  I’m sure he’ll be walking in no time!  He loves to give me open mouth, wet, kisses, and he is so so happy when I get home, it truly makes my heart happy.  He’s constantly smiling, and has the most amazing crinkle nose smile!

And Jake.  What can I say without sounding like “that” mother?  He’s truly an amazing child.  I mean it.  He uses words like “frustrated,” “comfortable,” “area,” and “vehicle” to name a few.  And he uses them all correctly!  He knows plurals, and when to use us/them/their/me.  He can have a lengthy discussion with you about his toys and the latest Tayo episode.  And those are my favorite moments.  When he is so excited about something that he just goes on and on and on.  And he’s so sweet and kind, and always willing to lend a hand (and…and…and…).  I love the relationships he has with his grandparents, and he loves them each so dearly.  Things I don’t love: how hard it is to get him to eat, his dry skin/allergies, his quickness to get angry/frustrated with toys, how often he says “I’m mad” or asks “are you happy?”  He’s always concerned about our happiness and making sure we’re not upset, haha.

Jeff.  I know this blog is way too long already, but I can’t leave Jeff out.  I truly, honestly, can’t imagine my life without him.  Believe it or not, I get moody.  A lot.  My mom knows.  And Jeff knows.  And they both still love me the same and are amazing support people for me.

This parenting thing is no joke, but I am so blessed to be able to do it with a man that is patient, understanding, considerate, loving, etc., etc., etc.  For example, last night at the dinner table he noticed that I forgot to get a glass of water, so he got one for me.  I mean, he was already sitting down eating his food, trying to get Jake to eat, and NOTICED that. Insert heart googly eyes here.

I also love our parenting system: I love that it’s not a 50-50 in the sense that we have to split everything down the middle, we just work within our strengths and weaknesses.  And it works for us.

Ok, I’ll let you all resume your normal daily activities.  I really am going to try to blog more frequently so each blog doesn’t become a mini-novela.

I’ll leave you guys with a couple music videos.

Small Business Saturday

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Did you know that this coming Saturday is “Small Business Saturday”? I didn’t know this was a thing until we had our own little shop in 2012.  That experience made me realize how important it really is to support our local, small businesses.  So, I thought I would share some of my favorite local small businesses with you (in no particular order).

  1. ORGANIC DESIGNS BY AGGELIGE (located in Costa Mesa): Some of the cutest succulent arrangements you’ll ever see, all hand made by our good freed Agg. aggelige
  2. UNURTH BY JENN LAMB (located in Los Angeles, webstore): we met Jenn when our shop was placed next to hers during a Patchwork Festival in what feels like ages ago.  She makes some beautiful ceramic pieces and it’s my dream to own a hanging planter for a plant in my kitchen someday:unurth
  3. SCOUT FOLKS BY ALLY SCOUT (located in Costa Mesa, website): I’ve known Ally for years, and I’m constantly blown away by her creativity and artistic talent, not to mention how much she can accomplish while having a full time job and two kiddos at home.  Although I want all the things she sells, I’m currently itching to get these adorable kitchen towels. scout-cactisout-bee
  4. MAX & MITCH BY HAYLEE (located in Los Angeles, Etsy store): I met Haylee through my wedding planning jobs with Events by Katherine.  Not only is Haylee great at event coordinating, she can make [tons of] very cool coffee mugs! I bought these for my cousin and her husband when they bought their home, and I’m sure it won’t be my last purchase from her shop. I mean…who wouldn’t want these…max andmitch.jpg

And don’t forget, there’s also:

  • Cyber Monday: shop via smile.amazon.com and select Haiti Scholarships as your organization, and Amazon will donate a portion of what you spend.

 

  • Giving Tuesday: donate directly to Haiti Scholarships and help us reach our Giving Tuesday goal of raising enough to renew two scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year.  Maybe even become a monthly donor!

 

Oh and a shameless plug for my ornament and bracelet fundraiser.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

 Hi ho, hi ho

Last week was my first week back at work after almost four months off to take care of our newest bundle of joy: 


I’ll be honest, being home that long with two kiddos was challenging for me. We were also potty training Jake and transitioning him to his own room, so there were lots of changes and challenges for all of us. As hard as it was at times, I’m thankful I had this time at home to spend with them. I’m gonna miss all of Jake’s daily antics and words of wisdom-he’s growing up so fast and it was nice to have long days to talk to him, show him how things work, and teach him new stuff. He turned three today and I just feel so privileged that I get to be his mom. 


Contrary to popular belief, I was pretty excited to go back to work. Mainly because I was starting to go stir crazy, but also because I know my kids are in the best care possible (grandparents and a very close friend) and because I love my job. Coworkers are excited that I’m back and that’s a pretty great feeling. I also get to work along an awesome supervisor this year without any limitations (I’m not hindered by my pregnancy and he has a better idea of what’s going on now that he’s got his first year down). I think it’s going to be a great year! 

One week in and I still find myself driving to or from work and wanting to point out when I see a dump truck or trash truck or a cement mixer. We also have some major construction projects going on at our work so it’s been fun to send Jake pictures and videos of what’s happening (even if the driver of the forklift freaked out when I was taking a video of him).

It’s also still strange to leave the house without any babies attached to me-you mean I can just get in and out of the car THAT quick?! It’s strange and awesome and magical. 

I’m hopeful that my blog content will increase now that there’s more of a personal balance, but I won’t make any promises (we all know better).  

My eyelids are getting heavier by the second so we’ll leave the catching up to that :)

Repurposing Old Furniture

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My amazing mother-in-law recently upgraded some of her furniture and was getting rid of her china cabinet.  Have I mentioned that I’ve always wanted my very own china cabinet?  It took some convincing with Jeff, but after planning a little facelift for it, we decided to give it a new home.  We’re VERY happy with the outcome :)

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I didn’t get a good before image, but the top of the china cabinet had doors and a glass shelf. We took off the doors and replaced the glass shelf with a wooden shelf.

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This is what happens when you turn your back on a toddler and a can of paint…

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TA-DA!