Dear Mike: IOU

My dearest Mike –

I owe you a bunch of back letters don’t I? Things have been BUSY. I feel like I say that in every letter, but this time it’s for real. It’s BUSY. So this letter is going to be just a snapshot of you right now. My achingly sweet, compassionate, stubborn 3 year old.

{Preschool} Man. If you got superlatives in Preschool, you would be most likely to be a Cruise Director. I was able to go with you on your FIRST field trip – Papa John’s Pumpkin Farm. It was such a treat to see you interact with your friends and teachers. You serenaded everyone and basically talked non-stop. You had Miss Amy and Miss Theresa in stitches! Out of everything on that farm – animals, pumpkins, and gourds – you were most taken with the cotton plant. You carried that tuft of cotton around for days. You said it felt like magic! I didn’t have the heart to tell you I have a bag of 100 tufts of cotton in the linen closet.

But in all seriousness Bug, you are thriving in preschool. You really have taken to singing and music and according to your teachers you are sweet and polite.

{Polite} Speaking of manners – good grief. I am not sure we can take credit for it, but someone is raising you up right! You talk to strangers all the time telling them to ‘have a nice day’ and that is ‘nice to see them’. You invite people to sit down, ask how they are doing and are such a little gentleman. I am SO proud of you in public when you say please and thank you without prompting.


{Favorite Things} Right now you are obsessed with:

  • Halloween
  • Skeletons (you are going to be one for Halloween)
  • Cat in the Hat
  • Space
  • Peppa Pig
  • Riding your balance bike
  • Super Heroes (Batman specifically)
  • Watching videos on Momma’s iPad

{Compassion} I can’t think of a better word to describe you – COMPASSIONATE. Daddy had his heart surgery and you have been so gentle with him while his ‘boo boo’ heals. Even when it is covered up you ask if it is still there. If someone indicates they are hurt you are the first one to ask if they are okay and give them a kiss. You accidently poked me in the eye with a toy and I got kisses, face pats, side hugs and numerous apologies. There is no better quality for you to have and I will do what I have to do to make sure you keep your compassion for others.

Well my love, I write for days about how things have been going the past few months, but at the end of the day all you need to know about this time in your life is you are stubborn, independent, sweet and active. On those days when I can’t wait for you to go to bed I still love you so much my heart might burst.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo

Where Are They Now?

Each night I lay in bed and think about what I need to do the next day and blogging is always on the top of the list. Then as the day goes on blogging falls closer to the bottom of the list. Life has gone a little sideways recently, but we are meeting those challenges head on. So where are we now?

{S} I have mentioned a few times recently that S. was recently diagnosed with a genetic heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which impacts 1 to 500 people. Most people don’t even KNOW they have it but there are a handful that have symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath and general exhaustion – S. was one of those people. A few weeks ago S. finally had his open heart surgery at Johns Hopkins and they ‘shaved’ down the extra heart muscle that was blocking his oxygen intake.

The surgery went well, but ultimately a few days later it was determined he needed a pacemaker extending our hospital stay and then a lung infection that followed. At the end of the day we were at the hospital of 8 days. Now he is home and recovering for the next few weeks, but is on major restrictions like lifting, driving and movement. He’s being SUCH a trooper, but understandably getting restless. I am going to have some upcoming posts about this soon!


{Mike} My little preschooler is becoming SUCH a little old man in the cutest way. He is overly polite to everyone we meet by greeting them and being his charming self. He knows Daddy has an owie and he has to be gentle. His favorite thing right now is riding his balance bike and watching Peppa Pig.

He has taken to his new ‘school’ like … Peppa Pig in muddy puddles. He loves his teachers and they seem to be very taken with him as well. His language has EXPLODED. He is asking what things mean, singing nursery rhymes and remember things. It really is like waking up each morning and finding out a new part of his personality has developed overnight.

Speaking of nights – someone is sleeping in a bed now! That transition has been pretty seamless except for naptime. But bed time might take a little longer, but he has stayed in bed all night and actually slept. I see that as a big win.


{Muddling Momma} This Muddling Momma is just trying to keep up these days. A week after S. came home from surgery I was relieved of my duties at work which means spending my days at home job hunting. While I won’t ever lie, it stings and was a surprise, I firmly believe it was probably for the best though the timing could not have been worse. However, the silver lining is I can spend time with S. and help with his recovery (which usually means telling him to go take a nap).

On the positive side, I was FINALLY approved to be on the Chick Fil A Mom Panel this year so that was a bit of good news! I am still learning about my ‘duties’, but I am excited to eat some chicken and share some feedback.

There you have it! Like I said, life is a little sideways but I think we are going to come out on the other side and wonder how we survived. But we did and that’s the important part.


Six Years

It’s wedding season! I am seeing so many couples getting married on my Facebook feed the past few weekends and it’s making my heart happy. Being married is so much fun – well, most the time if you did it right. It is hard to believe that tomorrow S. and I are celebrating SIX years of marriage!

This past year has been, by far, the hardest on us. It was about this time last year that S. starting having dizzy spells and chest pains leading us on this journey to a diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and ultimately open heart surgery two weeks ago. If you had told us, standing in front of our family and friends, six years ago we would have been sitting in a hospital for a week scheduling pain medication, looking for a cardiac rehab and figuring out follow up appointments – we both would have laughed. No one plans for these huddles in a marriage, but this hurdle has changed us as a couple. We both have learned our true strength individually and together which I find so empowering. Our hardest year has been my favorite so far. But if we could keep our seventh year less … busy … I would be okay with that.

So as we celebrate six years of marriage, I leave you with this reading from our wedding:

“But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.” ― Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season


Off to School!

Well friends, I am officially the proud parent of a preschooler. Remember how I didn’t realize he actually needed to go to preschool? And how we missed the mad registration rush? Well, we locked that sh*t down and it was no fuss, no muss. But then it came time to actually GO to preschool.

Mikey picked out a Batman lunchbox with a cape, but as much as we were talking up ‘going to school’ – I am not sure he got that he was going to preschool. My biggest fear was he would be standing in the corner with his backpack and lunchbox crying while all the other kids threw rocks and teased him. And of course, the teacher would be egging them on while making him feel bad for not being 100% potty trained. Totally realistic, right? Obviously that wasn’t the case. His teacher was exactly what you picture a preschool teacher to be … but even MORE friendly. 

We just started our second week and our first week was ROUGH. It was really hard to remember he was in a new environment with a new schedule and new people and new rules. He was coming home bouncing off the walls, being not nice and not listening. At all. I was exhausted and stressed out. AND second guessing if he was ready for preschool. But we decided to give it a few months knowing good and well that he would adjust quickly. And we were right!

As the week went on he was having less accidents, eating more of his lunch and not crying at drop off. Or picking fights at home. We are slowly discovering a new routine that works for everyone and figuring out what life with a preschooler looks like. 


What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Or rather, What Mikey Did on his Summer Vacation.

We lucked out big time with the timing of our current daycare going on 2 week break and when preschool starts. It gave Mike a great little break to (hopefully) ease the transition. It was a little less of a ‘break’ for Momma and Daddy, but we made it work. And on Monday Mikey starts preschool! That is another post for another time when I work out my weird feelings about the whole thing (and I can get the picture of him standing in the corner crying while the other kids point and laugh at him and the teacher stands by doing nothing).

Mikey had a lot of adventures while on break. Including spending a few nights with Geema and Geepa – which was a win-win for all involved. How excited we were to hear he slept on the futon by himself AND swam unassisted in the pool! Of course a visit to Geepa at work, time with Mollie and plenty of movies were included. For the first time three years, we slept with the baby monitor off. It was glorious.

After an eventful few days in Denton, we picked Mike up for the ‘official’ family trip to Rehoboth Beach where we stay with my in-laws. Last year was fun, but this year was even more fun because Mike was old enough to actually spend time in the waves and ride the rides.


I was a little hesitant with the rides because we all rode the carousel and he refused to sit on the horse. I mean, I am scared of horses, so I get it, but I didn’t think it bode well for the $15 we spent on ride tickets. But as usual – I was surprised. I kept trying to steer him to the low pressure rides, but he was literally BEGGING to ride the helicopters. So Dad took him on the helicopters and he was hooked. We went to the fire trucks next and he decided he wanted to watch before getting on, but once he realized he could ring the bell he was all in. It was a lot of fun!


The next day we ventured out to the actual beach. We’ve been to Sandy Point numerous times, but this was a ‘real’ beach and it was hotter than hell. I didn’t expect to be out wake boarding, but he LOVED sitting in the surf and being splashed with the waves. After about 15 minutes he loosened his death grip and we even got pushed over a few times. It was so so so cool to see him experience something like that for the first time. Especially since S. spent many summers at the beach growing up and has great memories. This is the start of our summer memories!

The highlight for us was leaving our expensive stroller on a sidewalk at the beach. It was SO hot we packed everything in the car and drove off … only to discover the next day that we left the stroller. A few calls and social media postings didn’t result in it being ‘found’, so we are chalking it up to heat and toddler exhaustion.


I am thankful for my work that is a family friendly. I was able to bring Mike, my intern, a few mornings, then come home to work some more while he had rest time. While I worked Mike basically sat under my desk and watched Peppa Pig. Oh, and since we are pushing forward with the potty training – taking him the bathroom every 15 minutes. He charmed my coworkers – all parents of adult children (and some grandparents) by coloring pictures and asking about 2000 questions. He loved going to ‘mommy’s office’.

Vacation 2016

He also spent a random day with Great Aunt Phyllis who he loves and she got him to nap. I don’t know how – I didn’t ask questions. I don’t really care. He napped. I like him so much more when he is well rested. I hope preschool will encourage him to nap again.

So all in all Mikey had a great summer vacation! Now we are looking forward to Summerfest, the Baysox game, cooler weather and S.’s surgery on September 12th. I’ll probably be a little quiet between now and then. Of course I say that and who knows, I might end up being a daily poster as we go through all these changes.

How did you spend YOUR summer vacation?

The Art of Self Care

It’s been a hectic few months around the W household. If you don’t follow me on Facebook, the latest hurdle is that S. was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, or in layman’s terms – an enlarged heart. I won’t bore you with details, but it looks like he is going in for open heart surgery in a few months. It’s been a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, medication changes and muddling through scary, annoying symptoms.

When I shared the news on Facebook I had a lot of supportive comments about my own ‘self-care’. Then a few weeks later the term came up again on an Facebook group for women I am active with (I do leave the house, I promise). One person said, as a mom of multiples, as part of her ‘self-care’ she goes on a solo vacation for a week. A WEEK! At that point I had to figure out what ‘self-care’ is all about, because apparently I am doing it wrong. And for the record, going away for a week wouldn’t make me feel good – I would miss my family! And where is the line between self-care and selfishness?


I asked some friends what ‘self-care’ meant to them and found some helpful sites online (this is my favorite, it makes self-care seem realistic). My favorite ‘definition’ is this from a fellow Mom: “Being able to take time to still be me, without husband, cats, or child. To not be defined by others but be challenged to define myself. To have time to better myself, and therefore have more to give to the beings that depend on me.” Here’s what some others said:

“Letting the my kids watch TV while I have my first cup of coffee

“Basically it just means putting my mental well being first when I need it. I hope this will make me a more refreshed, happy, mommy and will also teach my kids the importance of self care in their own lives. My hubby’s self-care involves playing baseball with his buddies two nights a week. It’s a huge release for him and he’s a much happier person when he gets that time.”

“For me, that means eating when I’m hungry, so I can make food for the kids too. Taking a nap at rest time, so I can play later. Chatting with mommy friends during play dates and ignoring the kids for a while, so I can interact with them again.”

Yoga gives me peace of mind to tackle whatever the week can bring. And wine…wine helps.”

“I make it a point to workout at least 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Often times, Matt and I will be in our home “gym” after B goes to bed.”

Monthly massages! I also started doing some simple pen and ink watercolors to help relax and de-stress. I’m also planning to take a day off work to be at home by myself.”


I loved all these ideas.I like the idea of having things that keep me Jackie and rejuvenate me to be a better wife, mom, employee and person.  It made me think about what my own self-care routines are currently and what they could be.

{Daily stretching routine} A yoga mat at work and an office with a door helps.

{An uninterrupted nightly bath with a book} Just remember, just because you start it doesn’t mean you have to finish it. Life is too short for crappy books.

{Color} Lately it’s been coloring as a time to quiet my mind and be creative. I’ve been using Colourifique Gel Pens and working my way through an Inspirational Coloring Book. I love the practice of picking a color scheme and the repetition of coloring.

{Magazine Subscriptions} I love celebrity gossip and getting my Us Weekly each week is a treat. Sometimes it’s hard to justify the expensive subscription, but Zulily and Groupon usually have a good deal a few times a year.

{Getting it Out} – When I need a creative outlet, or feel strongly about something, my blog is the first place I turn. It lets me focus on me and perhaps inspire someone in the process.

What does self-care mean to you?


Oh, if you didn’t notice, this is a review of some products. Don’t worry – it’s my honest opinion and I wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t believe in. And no one can afford to buy my positive review. 

Stay Silly

One day you will stop asking me to lay down with you for no reason but to talk about Batman and make silly faces.

I am thankful that wasn’t today.

stay silly


I noticed on Facebook Victoria Beckham was trending because of a kiss. I was hoping she was caught kissing another man and David would finally be available …

Alas, no. Victoria is trending because of this picture on Instagram.


9.674 comments and quite a few were along the lines of  “Eww sorry I’m old fashioned it looks like they making out,” and “It’s nice but you’re not supposed to kiss you’re children on the lips. I’m not trying to be rude but it’s true.”  

Do what now? After reading a few articles about this, I had two thoughts:

1. What the heck, are you on crack? Should she wish her daughter a happy birthday with a firm handshake?

2. Stop sexualizing motherhood. Really. Stop it. It’s weird and gross.

If kissing your kid on the lips is wrong, I am very, very, very wrong and not sorry. Lips are for kissing and one day he won’t want me to kiss him anymore. I am stocking up now. It’s how we show love and I love my kid.

With that said, I am off to kiss my kid.


Daily Movement, Minimal Sweating

This might come as a surprise to you, but I am super busy these days. Working full time, chasing a three year old, keeping the house in order and making time for self care even WITH a supportive, helpful husband is exhausting. And when my life gets crazy (so 90% of the time) exercise takes a backseat.

Also? I hate to sweat. So there’s that too.

But guess what! I figured out how to take time out of my work day to just move. Nothing too crazy like PX90 or Crossfit, but something to get me off my swivel chair and get the blood flowing without the sweat flowing. If you can relate, here are some ideas that have worked for me.


{Walk it out} Taking a walk during your lunch break is probably the easiest and most common option to get moving during the day. Thankfully I work in a nice, safe office park where a lot of people are walking around the parking lots at lunch time. A quick 20 minute walk with a podcast not only gets the endorphins pumping but the fresh air and sunlight helps me come back to my desk focused. On hot days I break it up by walking around the perimeter of our building every time I go to the bathroom (which is often).

walk it out

{Online Gym 4 Me} I am a card carrying donor to a popular gym in my area. I went every so often, but I just can’t get comfortable there. I prefer to sweat in private. Which is why Online Gym 4 Me is PERFECT! It is both on demand classes and live classes. Since it is a London based company so the live class times aren’t always conducive to my schedule, I love the on demand options. At work I like the easier, shorter classes like Gentle Flow Yoga and Morning Salutations (the shorter classes are 15 minutes – perfect!). I just keep a yoga mat under my desk, shut the door, take off my shoes and let the instructor tell me what to do.

online gym 4 me

{Booty Loops} A common tip I hear is to stand up and move while you are on the phone. WELL – I will do you one better. Booty Loops. I laughed out loud when the company sent me these simple fitness straps to try, but they are no joke. On conference calls, webinars and virtual training I just slide on a Booty Loop and do a few strengthening exercises.

booty loop

{Stretching} I mentioned how I keep a yoga mat under my desk, but I also keep a tennis ball in my drawer. Sometimes, when I feel my shoulders touching my ear lobes or my nose touch the desk because I am so hunched over – I stretch it out. I google some sort of variation of ‘office yoga’ and take a few minutes to relax. I use the tennis ball for trigger point massage and it is usually just the pick me up I need.

Stretch it out

There you have it! I am not going to drop dresses sizes in a few months by doing just this, but it makes a world of difference in my mood and productivity.

You guessed it, parts of this post are sponsored. But my use and review are real. Trust me, they can’t afford to buy a positive review from me. 

Never Will I Ever


“Never will I ever have a kid who doesn’t wear matching clothes. When I have a kid I am going to make sure he is at least dressed appropriately for the weather. And I don’t understand why parents can’t at least brush their kid’s hair before going out in public. There is no excuse for kids to go out looking like a hobo.”

June 29, 2016:

“For the love of all things holy Mike just put on a pair of shoes so we can go!”

never have i ever

Hey Pre-2013 Jackie? Shut up.