Archive for the ‘family’ Category

To Shining Sea- July 4, 2014

Friday, July 4th, 2014

h 4th 2014

c 4th 2014

I’m listening to the far-off sound of fireworks from our community fireworks show, praying they don’t wake my babies. Like many other parents of little ones, we celebrated America’s birthday this morning with a kiddie parade, hot dogs and ice cream. My 3-year-old helped me decorate her tricycle before peddling her way adorably down the main street of a nearby town.

It wasn’t today, but yesterday that I felt more patriotic than I ever had in my life and I’ve seen that one Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl after 9/11 and watched fireworks over the Potomac while hearing John Philip Sousa Marches.  Charlotte got a new children’s book that had the lyrics of “America The Beautiful” on each page with impressive illustrations. We explained to her that the book was a song. Admit it, that song gives you goose bumps way more often than the “Star Spangled Banner.” When we were finished reading it she asked us to sing it to her. We are not singers in any way, but Greyson and I smiled at each other and began our rendition with “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies…”

Somewhere around “…God shed his grace on thee…” she grabbed both our hands and smiled up at us. In that small moment, during our off-key serenade, I had never been more grateful to have the freedom to be raising little Americans. Happy Independence Day.

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Sacrifice- June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

I’m feeling foolish as I write this. Foolish because my last post was begging for your advice about strollers as my brain was consumed with our upcoming travels. We had grandiose plans to take our family of four to a family reunion in Nebraska this weekend. Now that it’s almost here I’m a little embarrassed to say we had to cancel at the last minute. Why, you ask? The short answer, money.

money pic

So often money is a taboo thing to discuss. I figure I talk about my leaking boobs and stitched up lady-parts on my mommy blog, so why should I be ashamed of discussing finances? I don’t know, but money is a touchy subject for most people. It’s private. It shows how vulnerable we are. That’s funny for a generation of people who are putting every mundane personal detail of their lives on the Internet to say that money is the thing that most shows our vulnerability, but it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong. Technically our family could afford to go on this trip, but at the price of some real financial strain later this year. It was going to cost an absurd amount to fly, rent a car and get a hotel room. We didn’t want to put a ton on credit cards. You know, credit cards. The cards people our age got when they walked on campus freshman year with their school logo on it.

Here’s the thing, we REALLY wanted to go on this trip. Bad. We had talked it up to our 3-year-old. We told her how great the zoo was going to be and how she was going to get to play with 50 million cousins she’d never met. We promised aunts they would get snuggle time with our squishy 7-month-old. I planned outfits and did laundry. I made arrangements for friends to dog sit. We bought plane tickets. We were going. We had our hearts set on it.

That’s the problem. We had our hearts set on going and wanted to go. I’ve found that Gen X/Millennials like us typically get what we want. Think about it. We came of age in the 1980′s and 1990′s. People my age knew nothing but mostly peace and prosperity until the economic collapse five years ago. Growing up, I figured things would always keep getting better and better. No, seriously. I just assumed my parents would always make more money than they did the year before, ensuring great family vacations and my college tuition taken care of.

This is not to say our generation is not innovative and hardworking. We are. I’m proud of how hard my husband and I have worked for many years to provide a great life for our children. We have a nice home near a good school, two cars and enough for preschool and dance classes.

Now that we are a single income household, we have had to make some adjustments. Sadly, we didn’t adjust enough. We didn’t plan. If we wanted to go on this trip so badly, we should have planned for it better than we did. Yeah, we did have some unexpected expenses pop up, but if we had planned better, it wouldn’t have been a problem. We made the choice for our family to have me stay home with our children. We don’t regret that decision, but we’ve still been living life as we were a double income household. We didn’t sacrifice.

Staying home from this trip is our sacrifice. We are learning the lesson of our generation. We can’t have everything we want all the time. Now, we have to raise the next generation to understand the same thing.

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How Should We Stroll? June 23, 2014

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

This week marks a big first for our family. We’ll be cleaning and packing all week because for the first time ever we’ll be getting on an airplane and taking a trip as a family of four. A 7 month-old and a 3 1/2 year -old on a plane. It should be interesting. Part of me wants to ask you to have mercy on our souls and another part of me is so excited I could burst.

The first time we took Charlotte on an airplane she was 10 months-old and we were going to a wedding in Quebec. We had to get her a passport, the works. It was a nightmare to get where we were going, but the trip was amazing. Henry’s first trip will be to Nebraska, so nothing international. We are going to Greyson’s family reunion. His family members are not the Southern Baptist teetotalers that mine are, so it should be fun. (Not that you aren’t fun, extended family! You know I love you and our games of Outburst while drinking sweet tea.)

After our trip to Quebec without our stroller we will NEVER travel like that again. I have an issue that I need advice on, however. Here’s where I need your help. If you were me, which stroller would you take? Please see the photos and read on.

stroller pic

Stroller #1

  • Pros: Fantastic, beautifully made and durable. I have the accessory parts and tire pump in a little pouch. It folds up well. It’s easy to maneuver. 
  • Cons: It’s a single stroller. Only one kid in it at a time. 

Please note: We will have the Ergo carrier for Henry. He loves it. Charlotte has not sat in that stroller in a long time. I don’t know how she would feel about it. She is good at staying with us and holding our hands in crowds. She likes to ride on Greyson’s shoulders.

Stroller #2

  • Pros: It’s a double stroller. Both could stroll if they needed to. It has a huge storage compartment underneath. Henry is often soothed by his sister next to him in the stroller. 
  • Cons: It’s cheap and cheaply made. It doesn’t fold quite as well. The tires are flimsy. It’s not as easy to maneuver. Charlotte will sit in it for a little while, but demands iPhone or iPad play while riding in it. (Actually, I’m fine with that. Whatever. Judge me.)

Another note: We’re going to the zoo one day of our trip. We’ll have to wheel it around the zoo.

Okay! Help me out. What have your experiences been? What do you think I should do? Which stroller should we go with?

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Easter Digression- April 21, 2014

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Happy week after Easter! Or as I affectionately call it, “Ham Sandwich and Egg Salad Week.” I love Easter. I always have. I should say I love it because it’s the holiest day in the Christian calendar. It’s the day we commemorate Christ rising from the dead on the third day…blah, blah, blah. Our salvation…yadda, yadda.

I really love it for the clothes and the food. Sorry, it’s true. Ya’ll be sure to say an extra prayer for my heathen soul. Oh yeah, we also got engaged on Easter Sunday. That’s another reason I love it. My parents got engaged on Easter Sunday too, which was way more adorable before their contentious divorce. I digress.

You get to eat chocolate in the morning before church. There are dresses with sashes and seersucker bow ties. The family smiles in front of the azalea bushes for pictures. The ham is salty and sweet. Put it between a biscuit? Only if it’s hot and buttered, baby! Then there’s the chocolate eggs. Oh, sweet Cadbury, those are some scrumptious eggs!

One day I want my kids on the lawn of the White House for the egg roll. Can’t you picture Michelle Obama and I chatting about J Crew dresses and exercise for chubby kids while Malia and Sasha help Charlotte and Henry with their eggs? I can. The White House egg roll is kind of a bucket list thing for me. That, and eating a meal prepared by Chef Gordon Ramsay. Don’t judge! It’s my bucket list. I digress.

Easter this year was so wonderful! My sister and brother-in-law brought my nephew to spend three days with us. We may or may not have taken pictures of the baby boys in matching bunny ears. Remind me to bust those pictures out for their prom dates. That emasculation may delay their attempts at a prom night sexual conquest. There I go, digressing from Easter again. Sorry, Jesus!

Something that made this year extra special was Charlotte and Henry’s Easter clothes. My mom saved a dress that my Grandma hand smocked for me and I wore Easter 1985. My sister and cousins had matching outfits. We couldn’t find the bonnet, because I would have made Charlotte wear it. Not for long, though. No one likes stuff tied under their chin. I’m the tallest kid in the green.

Easter '85 collage

Charlotte wore the dress on Sunday.

Edited Easter '14 8

Greyson’s mom saved an outfit he wore as a baby, likely in 1975.

Edited Easter '14 10

I was overwhelmed with happy, warm love this weekend. Seeing my babies in these outfits was so special. I joke around, but I really love Easter because of family, tradition, faith and renewal. I hope your Easter was happy. Let me know if you know how to get on the White House invite list.

Edited Easter '14 6

 

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Career Move- January 29, 2014

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

photo

When I went back to work after Charlotte was born it was at 2:00am. I dragged myself out of bed and away from my baby to report the news. That was January, 2011. For another year I left my infant each day to go to work. It was hard, but she had great care at a great school. I changed careers a year later in February, 2012 and started at a PR agency. It was a good move for me. I love my coworkers. I love working with clients. I like having my weekends off and not being a slave to the news cycle. Life at a PR agency can be hectic, but rewarding.

For three years I prided myself on being a do-it-all working mother. I was proud of how much my daughter was learning at her school. That made the steep monthly payments more justifiable. I went to all the class events I could. My house was often messy. We could only have playdates on the weekends. I used the hashtag #workingmother. Most of all, we were an insanely busy family, but life was good.

This month I went back to work when Henry was 9 weeks old. We found a great sitter for him with a better price than Charlotte’s daycare. She is a wonderful teacher and caretaker for my baby. She helped soothe the harsh wound of leaving him.

But, this time going back to work was different. Yes, I felt the same stress of having two working parents trying to get a baby out the door and I longed for my children, but it was worse. I was missing it. Missing everything. The first time I went back it was always with the thought in the back of my mind, “Well, I could always stay at home with the next one.” Plus, most of my salary goes to childcare.

I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong, they are fascinating! I would be in my suit on my lunch break and see them in line at Panera or Chipotle. They would be in yoga pants and have their tots in jogging strollers. I would push aside the pacifiers in my purse to get to my wallet. I would see them with their babies and my heart ached for my own. That’s when I would do a quick countdown to the number of hours left in my work day. Except, I knew that likely wouldn’t be the end as I would surely be on the laptop answering emails after bedtime. I would look at these women and wonder, “What do they DO all day?” as my phone buzzed in my pocket with backed up emails.

Well, I’m about to find out what they do all day.

After coming back it hit me like a ton of bricks. I stared at the computer in my office and I knew it wasn’t right. My shoulders were tense and there was a weight on my chest. It was just all wrong. I think I had to go back to work after maternity leave to know that my heart was calling me home.

But, what about my resume? What about the 8 years of my life I poured into a career in TV news, dragging myself into work at all hours of the night and day to keep pushing to be promoted?  What about my 2 years at a PR agency, learning so much about the different industries of our clients and offering my news expertise? Would it all be for nothing? I worked hard and I’m proud of what I accomplished.

A fellow working mom said it best, “What’s a year gap in your resume? You wouldn’t be the first mother to do that.” True. I told Greyson, “If I don’t do it now, when would I? When they’re older and don’t want to hang out with their mom?” No, it’s now or never.

So, a week-and-a-half after maternity leave I told them I was leaving. Get this. I swear it’s a freakin’ dream come true, ya’ll. They want me to still work in a freelance/consultant capacity. I’m still an employee. My first gig is in March. Seriously? Is this real life? How awesome is that?! I’m feeling so, so blessed.

We are sad we’ll have to take Charlotte out of her daycare. She has been with those kids since she was 3 months old. Her teachers are wonderful. But, blessings continue as I found a part-time preschool that can take her in March after she finishes her last month at her current daycare in February.

Sometimes everything comes together and all things point to a certain decision. Yeah, it’s still a risk. What if it’s not what I think it will be? How long will I do this? Do I have to use the hashtag #SAHM?

Friday is my last day. Here goes nothing…or something.

 

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