Friday Favorites: Work, Play, Blog Love

Related to Work

Working from home: There’s nothing quite like rolling out of bed and logging into your work computer while sipping coffee in your PJ’s.  (I get to do it every Friday!)  No rush hour traffic, no scramble to get yourself, a baby, and 3 dogs ready for the day, and when I’m done for the day, I’m already home!

Standing desk: I don’t know about any other mamas out there, but I definitely jacked something in my tailbone up when I was giving birth.  Since then, sitting for extended periods of time has really bothered my hips and tailbone.  In December, it reached a point that was pretty excruciating, to the point that I couldn’t handle sitting for a full day.  When I heard we had some sit/stand workstation setups floating around the office, I jumped at the chance to get one. I now stand for a couple of hours every day, and being able to switch it up has made all the difference.

 

Related to Play

Having a 16 month old:  She’s pretty awesome. She is curious, bright, social, fun, and loving.  She’ll sit at the table and color, dance to music, and mimic almost anything we do.  She is past the helpless baby stage but pre cranky toddler stage. Yeah, Mom Life is pretty good right now.

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Summer: Even as a working adult who doesn’t get summers off, there’s still something special about it.  Summer seems to bring more time with friends, sunshine, laughter, sand and water, tasty drinks, and so much joy.

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JD on light duty: We leave at the same time every morning.  We arrive home at the same time every night.  He has every weekend off.  There is something almost uncomfortable about the normalcy of it all, but it’s been such a blessing in disguise.  It gives us time to enjoy all those wonderful summer things I just mentioned, as a family, 100% of the time.

 

Favorite Bloggers and Blog Posts

I love, love reading blogs, and I’m always looking for new ones.  For any of you looking for new blogs to follow, here are my favorites.

One thing I will mention is that I follow several police wife blogs, but none of the ones I follow have posted recently.  Maybe someday I can do a post completely dedicated to police wife blogs.  In the meantime, suggestions welcome!  Post your favorite blogs in the comments 🙂

 

Ain’t No Mom Jeans– She is my blog crush. (Is that a thing?  If not, I’m making it a thing.  In a non-creepy way, of course.)  I love her blog so much because she takes such an honest look at motherhood, and a practical approach to being a fashionable mom, whether pregnant, postpartum, nursing, or just chasing young kiddos around. (Also, she recently battled breast cancer and still manages to look fabulous all the time.)

She recently posted about a trip to a conference without her kids, and the comments she made about returning home really resonated with me. I could have written it myself, really.

“Mamas home, where she belongs. And I do belong here, right here, with them. But part of me wants the expansive me, the one with vision, and personal goals that are very different from the goals of a mother. I guess that’s the trick, right? This balance of what you can give vs what you need; I want it all.”

 

Working Mom Magic– I feel like most mom blogs out there are by stay-at-home moms.  I’m not trying to demean what they do in any way, but it is very different than being a working mom.  It’s nice to read a blog from another mama who’s out there, like me, doing the work thing.

I really, really enjoyed this post where she talks about the dangers of the “everybody wins” attitude.

I also really enjoyed her post about following your mom instincts, which sometimes means ignoring what the books and “experts” tell you.  So.  True.

 

Airing My Dirty Laundry– Her husband is in the Air Force, and while I feel a sense of camaraderie towards her for being a military spouse, it also reminds me to be thankful that JD is ONLY a LEO and not a LEO in the military.  Her husband deploys.  A lot.  And she has 2 kids.  Yuck.

She posted recently about people who tell her that the military lifestyle is “easy.”  A big WTF to that.

 

Hands Free Mama– In today’s world, it’s so easy to get caught up in the constant hustle and bustle of work, school, activities, and the distractions of cell phones, iPads, and TVs.  She is an absolutely beautiful writer who reminds us to focus on the things that really matter in life, like our kiddos.

 

A Game of Diapers– Two full-time working parents and 3 kiddos, 2 of which are twins?!  Oh my, I have no idea how she does it, folks.

 

Healthy Slice of Life– A good blog, especially if you like cooking and focusing on feeding your family with nutritious, healthy foods.  I hate cooking, but for some reason still really enjoy this blog.  That must mean something 🙂

 

 

 

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Memorial Day Weekend Recap (Mostly Pictures of L)

This kid is a beach baby for sure.

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Elementary School buddies and our kiddos

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Everyone (I can’t believe we managed to get such a good group shot with all these little ones)

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A nice little collage of what it took to get a pic of all 4 kids on the beach

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Best and Worst

Over the past few weeks, I feel like I’ve seen the some of the best and worst of humanity.

So, L’s teething necklace got left behind when JD took L to Michigan. His mom mailed the necklace back to us, and as L’s teething symptoms worsened, I anxiously awaited its arrival, but after 5 days of finding nothing but junk and bills in our mailbox, I started to get a feeling that we might not see the necklace again. Sure enough, the envelope arrived on a Monday, a full week after it had been mailed. As I grabbed the envelope out of the mailbox, I noticed it felt… thinner than it should have. I wasn’t too surprised to see there was a hole in the corner of the envelope and the necklace was gone.

I wanted to believe that it was an accident, that maybe the envelope had been ripped inadvertently and the necklace fell out, but my gut feeling is that it was stolen. My guess is that someone who works for USPS felt that there was some kind of jewelry in the envelope and wanted to see if it was something valuable (for the record, I paid $20 for it, but the return on that investment was a happy child and precious, uninterrupted sleep, and you can’t put a price on that).

Part of the reason I’m assuming it was stolen is that this actually happened to me before. A friend’s daughter made me a bracelet one time (again, nothing expensive, just plastic beads), and when the envelope arrived, there was a small hole in the corner and the bracelet was gone (suspiciously familiar to the teething necklace incident). Not surprisingly, the drawing and other things she sent were still in the envelope.

I wanted to be the “bigger person” and send positive vibes to whoever took it- so that they may find themselves in a circumstance where they don’t feel the need to rummage through other people’s mail, but for most of the evening, I couldn’t get past how angry I was. Who did this person think they were? That they could take something that belonged to me? Something that helped ease my daughter’s discomfort? Something that had little monetary value but was important to our family?

This person is no better than the person who broke into my car to steal my friend’s wrapped wedding present (I’m sure those wine glasses have a TON of street value), or the person who broke into my parents’ house and stole my mom’s favorite turquoise ring (among other things, but I mention the ring because the ring didn’t have much value, my mom just really liked it and it’s pretty much irreplaceable). Here’s the part where I wish those people find themselves in a better circumstance someday, so that they don’t feel the need to violate people’s personal space and property.

I ordered another necklace, but of course it was going to take time to ship, so after a few more nights of a miserable, inconsolable child, I decided that I needed to get a necklace for her ASAP.

It was a long shot, but I reached out to mamas in a local Facebook group asking if anyone had an amber bead necklace they weren’t currently using and were willing to let me (a stranger) borrow. I quickly got several responses, 3 of which were offers to let me borrow a necklace.

This kind of brings me back to my Pay It Forward post, because the gesture was so small, but it was so nice to know that there were people out there willing to help someone they don’t know, who are willing to trust a stranger with their belonging, and who would take time out of their day to arrange drop off/pickup.

I’m so, so grateful because the necklace really did make a difference (refer back to my Teething Remedies post for other ideas, but this further demonstrates how great the amber necklaces are). Without the necklace, L was waking up several times at night in misery. The night before I borrowed the necklace, JD sat on the couch with her till 3am before she fell asleep, because it was the absolute only thing that would calm her down. The night we got the necklace, she woke up briefly at 12, then slept through the night. The night after that?  12 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Ladies and gentlemen, that was a HUGE victory. I felt like I won the teething lottery.

I guess the lesson here is that there’s always going to be bad in the world.  Fortunately, there is good to counteract that.  Accept the bad, but focus on the good.

Also, magic hippie beads work miracles.

Random Thoughts By Jenny

Aren’t you all just dying to know the random things that swirl through my mind?

Good, I’ll share.

1.  There is nothing- nothing– that beats L’s smile when she sees me after a week away, or just a day at work.

2.  Sometimes my entire purpose for eating a meal is to have an excuse to eat dessert afterwards.

3.  I always feel bad for JD when he’s switching between day and night shift.  I can’t imagine doing a complete 180 with your sleep schedule like that, especially when you only have a few days to do it in (the 3 hour time difference in LA was bad enough).

4.  There’s something about the spring warm-up that makes me want to quit my job and lay outside in the sun all day.  Oh, and shop.  Being inside is okay too, as long as I’m shopping.

5.  L is getting to a stage where she gets a little upset when I drop her off at the babysitter’s and she sees me leaving.  It’s hard to leave her like that, but also reassuring to know that I’m #1, and that I’m missed (I always had a secret fear she liked the babysitter more than me).

6.  Not really sure how it happens, but the dogs manage to take over the bed, so even when JD is working, I spend most of the night dangerously close to falling off the edge.

7.  Thanks to the generosity of friends and family (and her birthday at the beginning of the month), L now has more clothes than I think I’ve ever owned in my life.  I can barely open and close her dresser.  She’s one stylin’ kid.  Seriously, how cute are these shoes?

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8.  We also already have an attic full of toys and clothes she’s outgrown.  I honestly don’t know where we’re going to keep storing all her stuff.  We may have to give her the master bedroom and move into the nursery instead.  If I’m being honest, I find this view quite soothing anyway.

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9.  I bought protein powder recently thinking I could trick myself into thinking I was drinking a milkshake.  Turns out, you actually need the ice cream for it to taste like a milkshake.

10.  It really annoys me when people cut you off in traffic, then proceed to wave a thank you, as if you let them in.  No, douche, I will not accept your wave.

FYI, the blog is currently under construction.  Expect a new look in the coming weeks!

Random Thoughts

This week has been all over the place. So this post is all over the place. Random thoughts by Jenny…

 

JD needs to learn that just because the baby’s outfit is all the same color doesn’t mean it matches.

 

A follow up with the orthopedist this morning means NO MORE SLING. Still need a lot or resting, icing, and stretching, but ditching the sling is a huge victory.

 

The nice thing about having dogs is that I never worry about L being messy at dinner. There’s always a cleanup crew nearby.

 

You know that feeling when you’re eating cookie dough and it’s making your stomach hurt but it’s so delicious you can’t stop? Um… I mean… No?  Oh… me neither.

 

I wish the people of North Carolina would understand that black ice isn’t a threat when the roads are dry.

 

T-minus 2 weeks till JD’s big debut fight. T-minus 13 days and 23 hours till I have a major anxiety attack.

 

Am I the only mom who questions my parenting skills pretty much daily?

 

L’s babysitter and her friend both have Etsy shops and they used L for some modeling. I don’t mean to brag, but she’s pretty much a natural.  I mean, look at her in that 2nd one.  Staring into the distance- what a pose!

 

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I hope you all have a wonderfully random weekend.

Reflections on 2013

New Year’s Eve + 11 Month Old + Hubby At Work = Double Stuff Oreos

Don’t be jealous.

As I sit here enjoying my Oreos and reflecting on our year, JD is out dealing with the crazies.

Yep, Oreos win.

Here are my thoughts on what 2013 meant to our family….

2013 was a year of new beginnings

IMG_0655 The beginning of the year also marked the final countdown to Loralai’s due date.  JD and I spent the month soaking up our final days of just the two of us, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little one.  We were blessed with nice weather and we went on several walks to keep me moving and help ensure she made a timely debut.  She obliged, arriving the night of my due date, our little ray of sunshine.

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2013 was the year I discovered my own strength

Having never been physically tested like that, I wasn’t sure how I would handle labor.  It was so fast that I had no time for drugs, so I did it without pain meds.  But I also did it without screaming or crying.  If I’m being honest, I was kind of in awe of myself.

526533_10151329126286630_623289554_n New mama, looking like I only slept 1.5 hours, then labored so quickly I didn’t have time to brush my hair.

2013 was a year of accomplishments

JD won a couple of Chief’s Citations as well as a Distinguished Service Medal, one of the police department’s highest awards.  Later in the year, I got a promotion, proving that mom and dad still got it going on in the workplace.

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2013 was a year of firsts

From first smiles and giggles to first holidays and first vacations, everything this year was new and exciting simply because we had someone along who was experiencing it all for the first time.

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2013 was a year of happy chaos

This year, our house was buzzing with continuous friends and family ready to meet our little one, the coos of a happy baby, and three curious (but always rambunctious) pups, who just had their world turned upside down.

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2013 was the year I learned about unconditional love

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Which makes it the best year ever.

Compulsive Over-Packer

Well, the day of the Denver trip has arrived.  Today, I leave on a jet plane, and as I prepared for my departure over the weekend, I realized that there’s one unavoidable truth about myself.

Hi, I’m Jenny and I’m a compulsive over-packer.

For as long as I can remember, I have been this way.  I remember one vacation when I was a teenager where I had an entire duffle bag devoted to shoes (I’m thinking my dad didn’t realize what was actually in the bag, otherwise he probably would have left it behind).  What can I say?  I’m a woman; I like to have options.  In fact, on the few occasions that I’ve truly limited what I packed (like a short weekend trip where I was determined to only take one bag), I inevitably end up wishing I had something that I didn’t bring. My motto is- better to have too  much than not enough (the true American way).

I also have a fear of being unprepared.  My inner-monologue while packing for this trip went something like this:

Well, it’s not supposed to snow, so at least I don’t need to pack my snow boots.

But what if it snows anyway?

I better pack my snow boots.

The hotel has a fitness center, but I doubt I’ll work out every day I’m there.

Let’s be honest, I’ll probably just want to take advantage of the opportunity for uninterrupted sleep; I probably won’t work out at all.

But what if I want to work out every day?

I better pack 4 workout outfits, just in case.

So, I’m over-packed, yet again.  The good news is I limited myself to one regular suitcase and one carry-on, so I won’t look totally ridiculous when I land in Denver and meet up with the two people I’m sharing a rental car with.

Can’t go giving away all my secrets right away…