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. 

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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.

FUNLAND

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!

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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.

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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’.

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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?

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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.

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Smooches!

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.

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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.

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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.

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{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).

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{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.

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{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.

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{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

Pre-2013:

“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!”

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Hey Pre-2013 Jackie? Shut up.

A Boy and His Bubba

For as long as I could remember I’ve heard my mom talk about my addiction to pacifiers. I believe she compared me to a drug addict and from her account it sounds pretty accurate. I also remember her telling the story about how my brother gave up his ‘ba-bas’ – by handing them to her randomly and never looking back. It makes sense seeing our personalities now.

A boy

When Mike was born I was pro-pacifier, but his addiction didn’t really take hold until his 1st birthday – long after I thought we had dodged the bullet. Then it was his ‘bubba’ all the time. Like a good little addict he had his favorite – the expensive (and very worth it) Wubba Nubba brand pacifier with the stuffed animal hanging off it.  Of course the doctor said to CONSIDER weaning him off it, but we were getting ready to move and thought he needed something to comfort him. So after we got settled we opted for Bubba in the crib only. Which eventually morphed into Bubba in ANY bed any time of the day. So if we were watching a movie in Mommy and Daddy’s bed – the Bubba joined us.

We would go through waves of him happily throwing his Bubbas back to bed in the morning when he got up to having a full blown meltdown when told to put Bubba night-night. In fact, we started hiding them during the day. And yes, I said BubbaS. He had one the suck and one to hold.  I know. We are such enablers. Mike caught on quick (like a seasoned addict) and would run into his room after bath time and basically toss his room like a jail cell looking for Bubbas.  I don’t know what was stopping S. and me from just calling it quits to the Bubba. I know from my perspective things are a little nuts in our home and he could use the comfort of his Bubba. And it helps him so why rush it? Also, we were probably a little hesitant knowing how hard it would be for him to cut the cord.

But at Mike’s 3 year old appointment it was obvious his teeth were being pushed out and even though the doctor didn’t make us feel awful about it – I felt awful about it. After consulting my ‘tribe’ of mom friends, S. and I decided it was time to bite the bullet. And because I’m me, the planning and overthinking began.

I hit Amazon first and found a book called ‘Bea Gives Up Her Pacifier‘. According to the reviews it is a book full of voodoo that lulls children into willingly giving up their bubbas without nary a question or tear.  I had my doubts, but still clicked purchase.  My next stop was the blogsphere.  Lots of fun stuff about the Bubba (pacifier) Fairy so after we got the book S. and I went to work following what the book said was going to happen and buying insane gifts.

Bye Bye

 

When the book came, Mike and I read it while Dad made dinner. Mike liked it, but I could see the wheels moving in his head and he didn’t like where this was going. Over the next few days we read the book and talked up these Bubba Fairies A LOT. Mike always sat through the book riveted, but was always sure to point out the fact that Bea missed her Bubba (we might have changed the wording a bit). It also helped that presents are a big deal in our house right now. So there was that draw to keep him upbeat.

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Then came the dreaded night. Mike came home to a gift and a note from the Bubba Fairy.  He was pretty okay withthings until it came time to actually GO into the crib. He had about an hour and a half of hysteria. I am not going to lie – listening to him beg and plead for his Bubbas was hard to hear. I think because it was something we had control over. We could very easily give them back to him and I am sure we both let that thought cross our mind. I did go in a rock with him and we talked about the Bubba Fairies again and they already came and took the Bubbas and left a gift for him in the morning.

I woke up to Mike crying on the monitor for his Bubbas at his usual wake up time and thankfully I rushed in and told him about his gift and he was excited to open it. He spent the rest of the morning playing with his Play Doh.  Even nap time (which has morphed into rest time) brought on a few whimpers, but nothing longer than 10 minutes. The rest of the weekend he would randomly ask for Bubba and we would remind him the Fairies are using them for whatever. To be honest, the book laid out some stupid things like an umbrella and merry-go-round.

We are officially 4 nights in a he is doing AMAZING. I thought by this point we would be holding an intervention and sending him to the ‘rehab’ Britney Spears went to. I guess the moral of the story is not to project your own worries on your kid.

 

A Birthday for a Super Hero!

We are still scratching our head about how Mike got into super heroes. Neither myself or S. have every had much interest in comics, the movies or know the difference between Marvel and … the other brand. Yet here we were, planning a super hero birthday. And Mikey had a birthday fit for a super hero thanks to Pinterest and our tribe.

We have always enjoyed Mikey having an early June birthday because the weather tends to be cool enough to be outside and warm enough to venture into my parent’s backyard pool. S. also had the amazingly practical idea to have the party from 11a-1p. Give them lunch and get them a nap – the parents were THRILLED to have some fun, wear out the kids and get home for the afternoon. Parents take note!

S. and I had the best time planning the menu – how many food items can we include that have a ‘hero’ theme? Apparently quite a few! We had DIY HERO sandwiches, power fruit and the very popular POPcorn!  My mother-in-law made veggies in dip with cute cups the kids could take home. I found the idea for the comic cones on Pinterest, but didn’t have any comic books. Remember Matt from the podcast I was on? Well he LOVES Wonder Woman and was more than happy to scan some pages in for me and S. perfected the rolling technique. Oh and that awesome cake? Done by my friend Steve who was on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Challenge. He just happens to own the local B&B with his husband. #famousfriends

PicMonkey Collage

As for decorations, I have discovered the concept of buying digital downloads from Etsy. For just a few bucks (or less) I can download ‘paper’ or graphics which I used for the invite. Hell, I can even download prints or banners! It gave me a sense of being a creative DIYer without being an obsessive perfectionist. I also had my Dad and brother make a phone booth out of a fridge box. It turned out so cute and the kids had a fun time running in and out.

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I had planned on having the kids make super hero masks, but ultimately everyone had so much fun running around and swimming we forgot all about the activity! I think that is a sign of a great party.

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And because this is my blog and I do what I want, here are some of my favorite pictures from the party. I think my super power involves surrounding myself with awesome people who like to help make my vision happen AND have fun in the process.

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