Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A new year

I'm so excited for this year. Jonathan's new job is already giving us more time as a family and giving me time to put more homemade meals on the table! This week we've already had creamy tomato fettuccine, steak Marsala with risotto and roasted parmasean asparagus, and slow cooker chicken tikka masala. I'm hoping that getting more time together will mean more things getting accomplished, like working out, knitting, going through all the stuff in our basement and getting rid of it, and even growing a small veggie garden when spring arrives. Love how the new year holds such promise!

Monday, December 30, 2013

New new new

Jonathan started his job, and the best thing: how much more time (and help) we have together as a family. Vincent now gets to sleep until 7 versus 5:15, I take him to school and log in for work at my usual time of 8:45, he gets picked up at 4 (which might get later should Jonathan decide to start working out after work), and dinner is on the table by 5:30 or 6 (Jonathan wasn't even getting home until 6:30 or later with his old job). The byproduct of all this: I can cook dinners while he plays with Vincent, Vincent is happier with more sleep, and more stuff can get done around the house in the evening. It's a win-win-win. We're still working on getting the routine down since the holdiays throw everything off. But I'll take these couple weeks of chaos for a all around happier family!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Just be

Lately I've been more content to the fact I don't have the perfect career culled out just for me. I have a job I know how to do OK. It pays bills, it let's me work from home, and it affords me a life that isn't so insane I don't get to savor the life I already have. I'm counting it as a blessing that I can quit work everyday not feeling stressed to pick up my son, that I can take a lunch hour to nourish my body and do something for my soul. It's not what I imagined and I do admit to fighting it almost monthly because I love pushing myself to the next level. But then I take a look around and ask myself, "What is missing from my life that I don't already have?"

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Here comes Santa Claus and good fortune

This year, I wanted to do a real tree. Actually, I wanted to add a real tree and put up our two fake trees. Insane, I know, but this girl loves sparkle for Christmas. If it don't glitter, it ain't Christmas in my book.

So Jonathan researched tree farms in the area. This was after I nixed his idea of a $50 Groupon for tree delivery. I wanted the real deal: ride a sleigh, pick it out, hack it down, drink hot chocolate, and tote her home. Not having done the tree farm thing before, I didn't realize that's stuff Christmas movies are made of. (Blame my mother in law. She has me watching the Hallmark channel this season.) We did go to a farm that has sleigh ride, cookies, and hot chocolate, so that does exist. But there was no snow like I fantasized. And Vincent didn't want to ride the tractor pulled sleigh ride. He was having a grumpy day. He did enjoy walking through the trees and helping pick one out. To have him tell it, he picked it out all by himself. 

Ironically we ended up with a Frazier fir that was brought in from Wisconsin. We could have picked one of the two varieties grown in Kansas, but we were pretty smitten with the Frazier. Next year I'm going for the Kansas native for the mere experience of hacking it down. It was a pricey adventure ($80) for a species of tree we could have gotten for $30 at a stand, but it was fun to check it out and they shook and tied up the tree for you. Vincent really enjoyed sorting through our ornaments and playing with them. 
In really good news and fortune: Jonathan got a new job! No more 2 hour commute coming our way this summer, more money, and learning new skills to make him more marketable for future jobs, say, in Colorado some day. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

In sickness and in health: Our November

 First Vincent seemed to have a tummy bug and then later he started coughing, which meanings gagging and puking. Then it got worse. Like, "Point me to the nearest insane asylum because I'm too exhausted to deal with a toddler acting like a newborn" worse. We brought him in. Thank god our pediatrician offers urgent care hours on the weekend. When he was finally seen, it was the prolonged listen to his chest that had me worried. They suspected pneumonia, and it was running around his school. So he got his first stab at a nebulizer and walked away with a prescription for an inhaler and an antibiotic. By Monday he wasn't showing improvement, so we brought him back in. A chest x-Ray was ordered and it turns out, he was having infection induced asthma, whatever that means. The good news, he's acting and feeling like his regular self. Bad news: all his hacking all over us got me a nasty strep-looking throat with Jonathan tagging behind. Being both sick really sucks and we started out being sleep deprived on top of it. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

But, but

One thing I've always known about myself: I'm not a leader. I'm the best damn second in command you'll ever have though, but when you work in journalism (and I'm sure this is true for many professions), you have to be your own leader, and it's a constant struggle for me. I like collaborating. I love taking ideas and perfecting them. But to lead, brew ideas and serve them up, not my cup of tea. 
In my professional career lately I haven't been giving it my all. Contributors to this: a weak boss (who isn't a leader and more often than not expects me to lead), poor pay, and a disconnected company. I hope in the next few years I can move on to something else, something hopefully out of publishing and much more gratifying. Yes, yes, magazines are wonderful, when you're not reading them for errors and content; oh, and when the subject isn't about cable connectors and PAs. I'm sure that a different subject matter might be more exciting, but the production would still be the same. So for now, I'm thinking I better dig my heels in, refresh what I did learn once upon a time in a leadership class, and put on the conductors hat. Toot toot!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shut the front door

One of my sister's had sent me a picture of a wreath a friend of hers made. Oh? I love a well-crafted wreath, but usually they're $50+ and I don't pretend to be gifted in the art of wreath-making. I'll try just about any other craft, but somehow I don't see wreaths and I getting along. Usually they're more than I'm willing to spend on something I'll only hang a few weeks out of the year, but when my sister said she makes them for $40, I was all, "Shut the front door." I can manage $40. The image she had sent was a burlap and hydrangea wreath. Perfect for a spring or summer, but I wanted a fall wreath. My wish was delivered. Now I want a wreath for every season. Adds a little bit of happiness to our entry, even if the only people who can appreciate it are the occasional visitor and myself when I go to check the mail. Love the "G" nestled in there. Initials make my heart pitter patter.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A forgotten post: This is what my mother looks like

This last weekend I had the honor of attending my neighbor's baby shower. I say honor because I'm lucky to have such great neighbors. Even though we have both lived here for three years, we've just recently decided we should do more together. {Maybe it's having kids that finally make you neighborly and part of the elite league?}
During this shower, the host decided to forego games and keep it simple. Instead we went around the rooms telling the mom-to-be what we learned from our own mothers. Expecting a daughter, we were supposed to offer the mom an anecdote of something she might teach her own daughter. I thought it was a lovely and more spiritual way to honor this woman as she approaches motherhood. As all the mostly late 20s women went around the room, I was definitely overcome by their words. They listed strength, courage, creativity, religion in their stories. It was touching and beautiful.
I was never more thankful to be last. 
What do I say about my mother? What did she teach me? My mother wasn't what these women painted of their own mothers. Mine was a struggling single mother of six mostly grown children and two young children {my sister and I}. She was a "recovering" alcoholic that would see herself go back to school and get her degree. A worthy goal by any means, much less a single mother. But she wouldn't stay recovered and the cigarettes she smoked to ease her stress and worry would be the demise of her health later. 
Although she was strong enough to go back to school, she battled depression and anxiety, and they kept her close to the bottle most of her short life. These things kept her away from really truly being the mother these women described and I'm sure the mother my mom envisioned.
But she didn't leave me without anything. For certain I persevered. I weathered the drunken bouts, the poverty, her middle life crises as she lost both parents, and then eventually, her illness and death. But while these women listed attributes of their mother, I listed the one thing she gave the world: 8 children. I talked about how my mother gave me family that would always be my safe haven. Ready-made friends and sometimes mothers {and father}. The best thing you can give your child is family, a strong family with an unbreakable bond. 
I don't have all the fond memories like these other women have of their mothers, but maybe I have something better. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bonfire, pumpkins, and hayrides

This past weekend my side of the family got together, more on account of my dad buying a lake house and spending the weekend there (which sadly, I hardly took any pictures of...bummer), but before we did that my sister Rebecca put together a sweet large bonfire. It was out in the middle of her new husband's (congrats!) pasture. They put out hay bales (so fitting, right) and pumpkins. We gathered around the fire, the kids took Gator and mini back hoe rides (when in rome), we ate turkey chili and grilled hotdogs over the open fire and so many other good foods that made me have to pop my button (you know you do it too). There was even apple bobbing that was more splash party for some (I'm looking at you Brody Bear!) And when the sun went down, we had a hayride through the pasture. If it sounds like something out of Martha Stewart Living, it could have been. It was so fun and really made me think how special family is, and how I'm glad that my family loves to get together and enjoy each other company. There isn't any drama. Just enjoying all the kids, laughing, and occasionally picking the hay out of your butt—I'm not kidding, we were all picking. I even got a few pictures, but I won't share here. I fear retaliation.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A little of this and that

Oh, hello there. I'm climbing out from my writing/editing/reading rock. For the past several weeks I have had endless freelance {thank you freelance god!}, which consumed my evenings after I had picked up Vincent, made dinner, eaten dinner, and then did the bedtime routine with him. No complaints here because I'm loving me the money {and even the work when I'm not exhausted from working all day, then working some more}.

We have managed to get a couple exciting things done around the house: install a new kitchen faucet {in love, can't stop staring} and put hardware on our kitchen cabinets. We still need to buy drawer pulls; we only need four, but I think I've finally narrowed it down to a Martha Stewart one {of course}. I really wanted to do the cup handle, but Jonathan had to have an opinion. He wants a handle that doesn't require you to grasp it one particular way to open it. He rarely has an opinion {except to say I'm right}, so I'm relenting on this one. 

He was so happy I made him finally install hardware on the cabinets, asking why we didn't do it three years ago. Doesn't it look like the hardware has always been there? My next goal for the house is pricing some light fixtures to replace some cheap, peeling boob lights. 

Excuse the messes in these pictures {just keeping it real} and the unfinished faucet install pic, was so excited I forgot to get another one. 
And just because {and the new faucet in the background when you can tear your eyes away from that adorable kid}:

Friday, August 30, 2013

To the zoo

My company gave us the last two Fridays off {for good behavior}, and because Jonathan already has Fridays off working four 10-hour workdays {yeah, it sucks}, we decided we should spend one solely on Vincent. Usually the weekends are so packed, we don't just get to stop and enjoy Vincent. What's more, we don't often get a chance to take him away for the day. 

So on Thursday evening we told him that we'd be headed to the zoo tomorrow {after he wake up, Vincent speak}. I'm not sure who was more excited, Vincent or me! I knew he'd enjoy every moment of it. He loves getting out and about with us when we go places and he's so easy. In fact, sometimes I think it's easier just to go somewhere and not have to endure playing with him {which currently consists of him bossing us to no end}.

On Friday morning we headed out. We opted not to go to the big city zoo and instead headed to Topeka, which has a zoo probably a fourth of the size. I'm sort of a seen one zoo you've seen them all kind of girl, so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed and I knew Vincent wouldn't know the difference.

We brought the stroller just in case, but that boy, the one who will have only been walking a year come October, walked the entire thing, maybe even ran half of it {so proud of him that I glow and wipe away happy relief tears}. None of the animals really held his interest long. He kept saying "I want to see something else," .2 seconds after stepping up to the cage. Not one to dawdle at a zoo, I was fine if we didn't take our time. 

There were lots of inquisitive questions: there's the daddy elephant, and the mommy elephant, but where's the Vincent elephant? I had no answer. Where was the Vincent elephant?

The other perk going on a Friday morning: no crowds. I think I counted 20 cars in the parking lot. I'm sure most of them were probably SAHM looking for an escape. 

And yes, he's the proud owner of light-up Spider-man shoes. He has no idea who that is, but we couldn't resist getting him light-up shoes at Stride Rite. He was pretty proud to show them off later that day at Daddy's work.