Totally Enough

Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough? Like, no matter how much you’re, indeed, actually doing…it’s still not enough? I’m wondering, today, what makes us feel that way. Do we impose it on ourselves? Is it our way to push ourselves to actually get stuff done? Is there a guilt complex that comes along with living in the 21st century (and the social media that accompanies it)?

I’m not sure about the “why”, but I’ve got some thoughts on handling it…plus, as usual, an update.

My husband recently wrote a blog post about his affinity for to-do lists. They work for him, for the most part, until he gets down on himself for not getting every little thing accomplished in a day. (I get it. When we first met, he filled his days JAM PACKED with accomplishments. But these days, when the kids hit the hay freshly scrubbed and well-fed, we’re D-O-N-E. Life’s just more tiring the older you get. It’s legit.)

I used to be a list-maker. My mom had a series of lists strewn throughout the house and, man, she kept track of them meticulously. (An ongoing birthday list, ongoing chores, daily chores, shopping list, errands, etc. etc. etc.) But I realized that I was taking up more time making my lists (and ending up doing more priority-driven tasks that popped up rather than the less important to-do list tasks, anyway) than accomplishing anything.

But, something’s gotta give. I totally need to start holding myself a bit more accountable – house work, blog writing, meal planning, the works. I’ve been getting by doing “just enough” lately. While part of it is because I’ve been in my first trimester and dealing with two little ones, I need to up my game a bit.

That said, I don’t toss around the word “grace” much (mostly because it seems to have a religious tone to it and that’s not really “me”), but whether it’s making a simple to-do list or keeping better track of what NEEDS to be done in order to ACCOMPLISH more, I hope to do it while allowing myself a little grace in the process. We are not robots, but we do need to find balance. And don’t we know, truly, when we’re doing enough? I mean, totally enough?

I think we do.

As you can tell, I have SUUUUUCKED at keeping up my posts here. It hasn’t even become an urgent “to do” or a guilt-riddled albatross hanging from my neck.

And I totally miss my space here. I miss writing for you guys. I miss writing for myself. I miss having the time to do it. I miss being totally excited and motivated to hammer out a post here and there.

I’ll admit here and now that it’s really, really hard to write for a myriad of reasons. A new job that takes tons of energy to make sure I start on the right footing (and I’m honestly still behind on projects and book shelving tasks, to be honest). Maintaining a daily routine tends to mean that my writing time goes to one of my multi-tasking duties or simple kid-raising activities. Y’know. Dinner making, bath giving, nursing, and so forth.

And then there’s our recent “big” announcement. It’s SO, SO hard to write when you have a huge secret bouncing around in your heart and mind. SERIOUSLY. I’ve still been writing weekly for the Thirsties blog and between pregnancy brain and a general tiredness (lack of motivation, ahem), THAT’S been a challenge to get out into the world. But on top of it, going through the act of a first trimester with two kids, general life stuff, and a huge secret left me completely tongue-tied.

But now (I hope) I’m back. I still have to put energy into the new house (and updates on the old one!) and hope to share how that’s going. I have plenty of thoughts about the idea of parenting THREE (?!) kiddos. I have some resolutions My voice isn’t gone just because I have a tiny human growing in my belly – I can simply be more honest and actually USE the voice now that it’s all out in the open. It’s pretty invigorating, actually.

Plus, I still have a “side idea” that I’m flushing out and hope to get going when I’m able.

So, since I’m writing this today – on my 35th birthday – and following my so horrifically-skipped-over 7th (and apparently 6th?) blogiversary – AND have this huge news about having a third baby – I’m hitting the reset button. BAM.

Going forward, I’ll do my best. And, as always, that’s totally enough.

The Latest

It’s Sunday afternoon. I sit here having just finished my Thirsties blog post for the week enjoying the glow of the fire in the fireplace and the din of “In the Kitchen with David” on QVC in the background. I sigh.

I’m sighing because the kids are asleep for a few more moments (I hope) and it feels good. Because I have a bit of anxiety over heading back to school after a slightly-wasted week off (aren’t they always), and even more anxiety over, well, the state of affairs in the world overall.

But, mostly, I sigh because I want to write a more cohesive, “let’s help readers” type of post today…but I know I should just give a recap of what’s been going on in case people have been wondering. So, here’s the latest.

We’ve had a bout of stomach flu. So far, it only attacked Hadley and I, but it was rough. Several nights with the two of us in one bed, poor Dave on the couch, and Harper fighting a fever that has had us concerned whether it’s teeth or the bug (or something else). So, I guess the vacation wasn’t wasted; it was sicked.

The houses are slow going. We are so, so, so close to being done at the old house (aside from the garage, which is a whole other thing that’s not concerning us) but it takes so much energy when I head down that I’ve learned NOT to tackle projects at both houses in one weekend. There’s just not enough energy, then, to stretch into the workweek.

So, I hope to have more updates for you and I’m excited to get going on our room and the basement spaces, but it’s just going to have to wait.

Life continues on. Harper gets new teeth and walks on her tippytoes and throws a ball with a “humph!” every darn time and shows her opinion and humor left and right – and I haven’t documented any of it here. Hadley takes Monday night swimming classes (talk about an energy zapper!) and looks like a darned teenager already and shows so much innate kindness all the time – and I haven’t documented it here. We’ve been eating out more than we should and I majorly need to hit the “reset” button on our real food/simple living world (we’re not off the wagon whatsoever, but we should do better) – and I haven’t documented it here. Our weather has been crazy (60 yesterday, major snow today), school’s been nuts, I’ve got projects left and right, and my head is once again planning for summertime (we must look forward to things, right?!) – and I haven’t been documenting it here.

I hope to work on that, of course.

And I still haven’t decided whether or not to document here how utterly overwhelmed I am with things outside my daily sphere. When I decide, that’ll be my prerogative…whatever comes. It’s difficult to write with an anvil hanging over one’s head. I need to find a way to dig out, and it may be less social media, less information, more living…but ignorance is no way out. This is where I (and many friends, I think) live these days.

I have a little idea…that’s become an official…idea. So, why the heck would I start a new blog if I can’t find the time/motivation to work on this one?! Because I need to get some ideas out into the world that don’t really jive with Meg Acts Out, but this is my happy place (and is still very much a reflection of the life we live)…so I shall do both.

I’m hoping to get a few posts written before officially launching the other one for all the world to see. Let’s just say that it involves history. And kids. And life. That’ll do.


What’s new with YOU guys?

I promise a more positive, more “actual” post next time. 😉

Welcome, Harper Quinn!

I haven’t written in over a month, and I’m trying not to feel too guilty about that fact. Between caring for a newborn, parenting a 3-year-old, getting myself moving, writing for my other gigs, and just the general holiday season, there are lots of reasons. Oh, and I don’t need to tell you guys…I’m tired, man.

But, I didn’t want to leave our new little bundle of joy out in the cold as far as a proper introduction to the world. For being bloggers, my husband and I are pretty private (him more than me), so we need to walk a fine line between over-sharing and maintaining some anonymity for our family’s safety.

I reason that we’ve shared a bit about our firstborn, so I’d like to record our secondborn’s arrival (at least to allow me to remember better). So, today, it’s all about our girl.

Yup, girl. In case you’re not in the loop, we were stunned and ecstatic to welcome an 8 lb. 2.5 oz. girl to our family the morning of Friday, November 13th via C-section.

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We agreed that she looked like a “Harper”, but took some time to land on a middle name. “Harper” means more than just “a harpist” (although my family’s musical side spoke to the name a bit); a minstrel actually was the news bringer, record keeper, and even genealogy expert of an area, which are all loosely tied to our interests and even careers.

We ended up choosing “Quinn” (rather than a family name, which I still feel guilty about – though I LOVE what we went with). It means “wisdom” and has a Gaelic/Irish history (as do I ;-)). It’s strong and special and sweet, and we hope she is, too. So far, we hit the nail on the head.

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Considering she’s 3 weeks old, her personality is starting to show itself more everyday. She’s been a sweetie from day one, but her lungs are a lot stronger (the nurses and doctor were actually concerned about her that she couldn’t get her vocals worked up and sounded rather weak). That said, we need to listen for her little chirps, squeaks and mouth noises to make sure she eats regularly.

Not to say she’s an awesome sleeper! She’s a newborn, so naps happen, but pretty sporadically, so I’m beat. She also finds it amusing to cluster feed, which I totally give into. Again, she’s a newborn; it’s what she needs. I’m just grateful that she has taken to nursing as quickly as her brother and, so far, there are no issues. Knock on all the wood, folks!!

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What about Hadley? I’m planning on writing a separate post about this, but as far as Harper’s concerned, he loves “his baby” very much. He gently pets her head, occasionally talks to her with a super sweet voice, and remembers to always include her when he talks about our family (which is often). Otherwise, we’re experiencing lots of 3-year-old, not-getting-attention-so-let’s-get-BAD-attention behavior. I feel his pain…but we’re experiencing our own pain and frustrations in the meantime.

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As with all things, it’s a work in progress and it’s a phase…just like this sleep deprived, mama cries about commercials stage. (With a history of depression, I know it’s not PPD or even baby blues; just exhaustion and hormones.) And the good outweighs the challenges, most days.

Oh, and as far as myself? I still get twinges of pain from overdoing it, but am pretty much back to normal physically. I had totally forgotten what the post-op pain was like and the first week home was rough. I have a high pain threshold, though, and made it through.

Sneezes and coughs be damned, though. Ouch.

If you’d like to know what else we’ve been up to, make sure you stop by the Thirsties blog to see how we’re changing our holiday traditions this year, among other things. And, I do hope to be sharing more here to get some normalcy back into our lives. 😉

Summer Transitions – An Update

So, clearly I’ve hit a snag switching over to WordPress. I’m fully ready on the technical end of things but, as always, the indecisiveness regarding my blog name (kind of important) is downright crippling, and I can’t make the move until I’ve settled on one. It’s a highly personal thing that I’m sure I’m over-complicating, but it also seems to be reflecting what I can only call a “blog identity crisis.” My identity in the world. So, my husband and I continue to brainstorm (and suck at it). We greatly enjoy the writing aspect of blogging, but the marketing side? Blah. I think we’ve come up with some pretty rad band names and maybe some solid investment firm branding, but nothing identifiably “me” or bloggy. Hence, you’ll know I’ve moved over…when I move over. 😉 

While I’m agonizing over the small stuff (well, that’s a catchy if not depressing title right there), I can’t just twiddle my fingers and not write. I mean, I’m writing for Thirsties and Green Child Magazine and even an awesome Arts & Analytics group that does analytic work in arts, athletics, and entertainment…but, this is my home. And I’ve got ideas and thoughts that I just can’t wait to get on with. 

So, I thought I’d share a bit of a recap of the end of summer (all things I wanted to write about in separate posts but got inundated with life and the WordPress conundrum). We’ve been back in the swing of things as far as back-to-school goes for a couple of weeks now, so it feels like summer was SO long ago, but *technically* it’s not autumn until tomorrow. See? Maybe I AM on top of things.   



The CSA – As you may have read, we decided to try out a local CSA this summer. CSA stands for “community supported agriculture” and, in our case, was quite easy to take part in. We selected a farm that uses organic practices, paid, Dave picked up at a location relatively close to his work, and had a box of fresh veggies to work with for the week. The verdict? I’m glad that we did it, but learned that the full share was WAY too much food for our little family. Hence, we wasted WAY more food than I was comfortable with.
I just couldn’t keep up. Sure, we tried a few new-to-us recipes, but between a rather picky toddler (at least he’s a fruit eater!), varying energy levels on this pregnant mama’s part, and the sheer amount of food, a half-share would’ve been fine. Definitely a lesson for next time. Oh, and I’m also rather happy that we just did the summer share rather than the whole summer/fall share. ‘Tis the season to enjoy crisp Saturday mornings at the farmers’ market! 

Su
mmer fun (and learning) – While there were days that I felt like the laziest person on Earth (and I felt awful that Hadman wasn’t getting outside nearly as much as he should), we tried to get out a time or two each week. With the sheer heat of the season, there were times that I’d slather us both up with sunblock, grab some toys, head outside…and turn around within 10 minutes because our little guy is just as anti-humidity as his daddy. Blah. Energy depleted.

But, we made the summer count, I think. We went to Kindermusik weekly (which sounds like nothing, but the energy it took to drive the round-trip hour at the end of those hot days…again, apparently I was a tired pregnant woman this summer!) and worked on almost-daily workbooks that the little guy loved. His focus is still hit-or-miss, but by doing a “letter of the day”, a very focused coloring page (like coloring a blank shape in an otherwise colored picture), and a “same/different” book, I saw major progression from the beginning of the summer. Plus, he ALWAYS asked to do it and generally enjoyed himself. Call me a proud mama.

And, of course there was Old Forge, the beach, and Sesame Place. We felt awful that we couldn’t see our friends in Massachusetts as we’d planned, but Hadley and I both got sick, then his turned into pneumonia. By the end of the summer, we were just glad not to have to use a nebulizer and to be generally back to our own selves. I’d still like to call it a productive yet relaxing time…for the most part.

Big changes – Oh, yeah. And talk about transitions!

We struggled, succeeded, and struggled again with potty training. I’m pretty sure that I waited too long to start, so that by the time we made a concerted effort, his heels were dug rather deeply. He’ll still occasionally whine, “But I don’t HAFTA go potty!!!” and has the occasional accident, but he’s finally started feeling a sense of urgency about the thing. About two or three times a week, he’ll have an accident on the way to the potty (which he urgently runs to), but the fact that he’s not just sitting there in his pee with no regard to the wetness is a HUGE deal. So, I’d say we’re *almost* there; I’d call him mostly trained and 100% in his “big boy underwear” (actually those cloth Gerber trainers that give a bit of extra protection that feel totally like underwear). Oh, and #1 is our only problem; we’ve never had issues with him as far as #2 is concerned. I’m sure you can sleep well knowing that tidbit of information.
  
We ALSO threw at the little man a shift in his sleeping situation. Since we’re slowly-but-surely transitioning the office to ALSO house the nursery space, we finally moved my old DIY desk to the basement (it was nothing but a landing pad, I swear; I almost never sat at the thing! Works much better near our laundry area) and, eep, scooched Hadley’s crib into the office. So, I sanded, primed, painted, and reassembled an awesome hand-me-down toddler bed for the little man. Verdict? He’s done pretty damn great with it. Some days he wants two pillows, some days not, and he lets you KNOW about it. Little stuff like that. But, he knows not to leave the bed on his own (we’ve got stairs that, for a few days, we used our baby gate on…not really necessary, though), and we’ve got the added peace of mind that we’re still using the monitor with a motion sensor under his mattress, so we know if he gets up immediately.

I was melancholy, but I think Dave took it even harder. Here’s his two cents on the whole “big boy bed” change. I can’t blame him. I just wanted to try to keep the shift as positive and Hadley-centric (rather than baby-centric) as possible, regardless of my “he’s not our baby anymore!” emotions. And, as it was, the little man seemed to fully understand that he’d need to share it whenever the baby comes along, anyway. (And, as it is, we’ll probably use a cradle in our room for the first couple of months, just like we did with Hadman, so things won’t shift so dramatically, anyway.)    

Home searching 
– And, then, there was another shift. We checked out numerous (the word “crapload” comes to mind) houses throughout the summer and all were either a) too small, b) out of our price range (particularly with work that needed to be done on some), or c) just…no. I like to think that we’re not picky, but maybe it’s simply not true. Given the fact that we’re busy with a 3-year-old (and an infant shortly!), jobs and side gigs, we’re trying to be realistic about the sheer amount of energy, time, and effort we can put into a house. We’re simply not as young as we used to be, either. *hips creak*
But, seriously, we’re not one of those HGTV couples who poo-poo wallpaper or completely outdated furnishings. I even completely planned on refinishing any wood floors before moving in, should they need it, as well as painting plenty of walls and doing general updating over time. It’s expected. But, a full bathroom or kitchen gut might be difficult, even down the road, and would often put it as a price point that we simply couldn’t reach. And, we also wanted to make sure that we didn’t get a house that would juuuuuust squeeze our 3+ people and 3 cats in; we’d like to be able to spread out and grow a bit (without having too much space to take care of). Okay, maybe we are picky. 

We finally reached a point where, sure, I get daily Zillow updates and check out some new listings once in awhile, but our active search has gone dormant. No more “let’s just see what it’s like on the inside” if we’re not positive it’s for us. We’re trying to slow down a lot of our activities in preparation for the new baby (and in hopes of getting some fun time in with our “only child” while the title still fits), so the overwhelming rollercoaster emotions of “is this THE house???” have been put to rest. Yes, we’ll continue the search at some point, but for now? We’re hibernating.

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So, those are my updates, for now! I’ve also been hitting up the semi-occasional Periscope here and there (username is still “megactsout”, if anyone wants to follow along), but it definitely has me feeling the “wow, when did my childhood lisp come back?” self-consciousness. If I have something to share, though, I just go for it. *shrugs* What’s the harm? While I’m at it, I’m doing a bit of nursery hunting for some of the stuff I mentioned in 
my inspiration post — of which I’m officially leaning towards mint and coral accents. See? I still find ways to relax. 😉

How are you guys doing with your own transition from summer to fall? We’re LOVING the slightly cooler temperatures (still not “fall” enough for us, but it’s a start!) and sleeping with our windows open. Anyone else looking forward to apple picking and super comfy sweater season? (Or, in my case, over-sized maternity sweatpants.) I’m pretty excited to do some baking, personally. What about you guys?

Moving…Virtually

Nope, not moving to a new house. (We wish…although, stability is a good thing. ;-))

MegActsOut is packing its bags to make a move from Blogger to WordPress.

I’ve used WordPress on and off for other projects and while I find the dashboard (or whatever the heck they call it) to be more…juvenile-looking, I guess…it should make blog maintenance and growth easier than it has been. Plus, there are a lot of built-in features that I’m itching to play with.

So, I’m hoping to make the migration this weekend sometime. If you follow me, be sure to check back here for an updated link to the new page. Heck, I may have even finalized a brand new blog name by then and everythin’. 😉

As always, thanks SO much for reading. Hopefully, this is only the start of bigger and better things.

Nursery Inspiration

We live in this tiny little sphere of the universe called Limbo. It’s a slightly unsettled, anxious place where the daily norm is that of the unknown. After you live there awhile, you find yourself adjusting to the feelings, and actually find calm in preparing for all the various “what if” scenarios that might unfold.

In other words, still no news on the house hunting front. There are other balls being juggled, too, that we’re figuring out, but that’s one of the biggest. So, with each week blowing by, closer and closer to the baby’s arrival in November, we’re pushing forward with any and all possibilities: in this case, turning our office into an office-slash-nursery (I kid not).

I’m hoping that whatever general scheme we go with for the space will fit swimmingly into a new place, should one pop up, as well.

See? Prepare for the future, in whatever possible incarnation it may be. 😉

That said, these are the two different mood boards I whipped up to decide between. We’re fighting a losing battle with an outdated, cheap diamond-patterned brown and tan carpet (which simply isn’t worth replacing with the crappy paint splatters someone left underneath) and, well, the fact that the place is also A (not large) OFFICE. Dave may or may not allow me to replace his fur-covered black office chair. (Beardslee sleeps on it during the day…and night…and forces Dave to abandon desk when he so pleases to use the damn thing. It’s hilariously sad to view.) But, dude, Mama needs a nursing spot, so we’ll see who wins this one. Admittedly, I used our bed the first time around which wasn’t always comfortable.

We also painted the walls when we first moved in and the color is neutral enough to help sell the house…even if it is a tad pink-ish for my taste. (It’s tan…but with a fleshy undertone, if that makes sense.) The background on these boards indicates a facsimile of the color. So, nope, we’re not painting!

So, check these out and weigh in down below (comments, please)! I’m not saying which has been floating in my head far more…so your results may have me in tears. Or not. I’m not THAT hormonal. Oh, and the inspiration colors will be accent colors that will work their way in as bedding, art, and possibly a painted furniture piece or something.

I don’t want to give either a “theme” because, well, then it turns into a whole thing. Like collecting. If you say you like one thing, the flood of “I know you like owls!” gifts begin…and continue 10 years past when you gave up on the things. So, no. But you can still guess the vibe I’m going for, right?

I’m loving the golden brass lately. If you told me I’d be into it 5 years ago, I’d have smacked you…or at least raised a cynical eyebrow. But, anyhoo, mixing it with the walnut tones we already have going on (with the crib, desk, and one bookcase…we have three, sigh) and neutrals gives some glam and texture to the space. Toss that with a deep green and fuhgetaboutit.

And, speaking of texture: can you say “DIY pouf”? Because that’s all my itchy Pinterest finger can peruse. Can’t wait to hit up Goodwill to see what sweaters they have in store. Mwahaha.

As far as art, we don’t have a TON of space, and I’d like the whole room to just accept its bipolarity and enjoy the ride – so, if there’s an inspirational wall hanging, it must inspire child and office-user alike. Throw in a vintage map and it screams “Oh, the places you’ll go!” as much as it does “this is a rad office, where’s the scotch?”

Mmm. Booze. I miss booze.

Can you tell I kinda want that Target chair? I’m still searching for something with a small footprint that’s upholstered on wheels that can be used as an office chair OR a spot to comfortably nurse, so this is just a thought for now. Hoooooly crap, am I picky? But, clearly arrows are non-negotiable. And tassel garland. Which I fully plan to make. I guess I have a thing about DIY art in a kid’s room. Maybe I need some in our room while we’re at it.

Notice the fluffy white rug, too? It’d be nice to have a landing pad on the floor and soften up the place. Plus, major points for detracting from the diamond monstrosity currently enveloping the space. I truly think that a well-placed layer like this will make the carpet read more like a neutral. #fingerscrossed

In this board, I clearly am all about the mint accents. Sure, a bit of peachy coral helps, but there’s just something about mint + brass in a neutral room lately. Yum.


So, here’s what it’s your turn! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments (and maybe even a vote or two for which is your fave). As usual, all the stuff shown depends on availability and whether I find (or make) something a million times cooler, but they give you the general vibe I’m going for.

Please and thanks for any thoughts!

Oh, and nope. We’re not finding out the baby’s gender in advance. Happy picking! 😉

Sesame Place Trip

We had a lot of fun this summer. Some relaxation with picnics and a local beach visit, plenty of work around the house (with still more to do, of course), and lots of learning with some simple workbooks and Kindermusik. Throw in trial-and-error attempts at potty-training, a few bouts of illness, simply being pregnant, and it’s been a pretty full summer!

In our pre-summer planning, we had wanted to take plenty of trips. While we took some local trips, one of our most-anticipated trips to visit friends in Massachusetts fell through, with Hadman coming down with a cough and fever. It ended up lasting quite awhile and turning into pneumonia, so we’re glad that the week prior we were able to take at least one kid-centric trip.

(And we fully plan on attempting a quick day trip back to Mass this fall…SOMETIME! Pre-baby, is my guess. *wink*)

Planned well in advance, we had decided on taking the little guy to Sesame Place. We had plenty of reasons for heading here, but the most important was to do something that we could all enjoy together before becoming a family of 4 (7, including cats…which we do). Goodness knows if/what we’ll be doing next year!

Dave took a 3-day weekend and we left for Pennsylvania. I’ll admit, the driving took longer than expected and both adults were rather beat by all the driving of the weekend. But, along our way, we saw what, to my guys, can only be described as a mirage on the road…


Wait, what?! Yup. The 1960s Batmobile. (Not THE original, but still…a perfect replica. Not kidding.) Sitting in front of a bar, in a field. Like, seriously.


Can you feel the excitement? I know I can. We already knew it would be a memorable weekend.

So, after numerous hours of driving, a Thomas DVD on a borrowed portable player (we’ve become those parents, apparently), and zero naps, we reached our hotel. This part of the trip worked perfectly: the hotel had a shuttle service that ran quite frequently to bring us back and forth to the park. So, since we had tickets for two days (BOGO, for the win!), we got ready for the dry rides and headed over.

Let’s just say that Dave wins the award for the fact that I couldn’t go on a vast majority of the rides with a baby bump. So, he had to ride with the little guy. Did I mention that he has issues with certain rides? Like, with the height and spinning and…stuff. So, clearly he gets the “Best Dad” badge for not only hitting up numerous rides but for keeping his cool and smiling while doing it. *starts a slow clap*

 


Anyhoo, we stayed for a few hours and enjoyed the Sesame-ness of the place (it really is awesome), then headed back to the hotel. We used the hotel pool, which was a hit for a non-swimming kiddo like ours, then hit the hay.

The next day, we had our complimentary breakfast and struck out for the far longer lines of a Saturday. I highly suggest renting a locker in advance; it worked out great for our changes and general ease of movement.

Okay, this is totally my favorite picture ever. My beach bums (who both HATE the heat). I’m the embarrassing spouse/mom, clearly. 


So, we spent a long, very hot morning there doing water stuff, getting splashed, and generally enjoying the place. But, with how long the lunch lines were, we quickly decided to buy any souvenirs we wanted, then head back to the hotel. We actually ended up ordering a quick lunch and eating at the hotel, then ALL took naps (my first clue that our systems weren’t adjusting well to travel). When we finally came to, we got ready and went to Hadley’s favorite place – Barnes and Noble – to play with the Thomas train and look at books before going out to a crappy dinner then back to try the pool again.

Between the food that our systems weren’t used to, being rundown from the trip itself, and any kid germs we came in touch with, we were all feeling pretty blah and ready to come home Sunday. On our way, we happened upon a “Taste of New York” boutique at a rest stop and, I’ve gotta say, it was the best meal we had the whole weekend. Some of the fruit I brought along mixed with a bunch of local, fresh snacks from around the state (and super local grassfed Greek yogurt and cheese curds), and we were able to make it home feeling a little more like ourselves.

But, by the end of the week, 2/3 of us were sick. I’ve definitely learned that I need to try to up our immune system protection before we take trips. Big-time.

All in all, though, the trip was SO worth it. Hadman is way more into Sesame Street lately, so he LOVED “meeting” several of the characters (namely, Count, even if the Count’s splash area upset him, hee hee). It was fun to see the diversity of people visiting and thinking, “Wow, this is what Sesame Street has promoted from the beginning!” It was also interesting to hear people in one of our shuttle vans say that their daughter isn’t really a fan of Sesame and wondering, “Wait, why are you spending all this money to…nevermind.” 😉 Eh, no judging. Anyone could have a blast there.



Gotta say, we all had a great time. And Mama got a new “cookie mug” for my milk and organic cookies…win-win! Three guesses which character mug the Dorky Daddy got.

The Organizational Snowball

Sometimes the most empowering achievements in life are the simplest, aren’t they?

As you guys know, we’ve been doing plenty of organizing, purging and simplification around our humble abode lately. Some are big (why hello, there, basement), others are what I call “steps” (I’m attacking my side of the office a little at a time), and still others are a quick one-and-done attack.

Today, I’m sharing one that’s made a big impact, although you wouldn’t know it by walking around my house. I feel like playing the “colder, hotter” game with you all. No, seriously, keep looking. Not in the living room. Nope, cold, stay out of the kitchen. Dining room? Warmer. Getting warmer.


HOT! Bingo. That’s our dining room sideboard. Or server. Or console. (Not really, too big for that.) Thingamajigger that holds china and other random sundries.

We fell in love with its ’20s/’30s vibe when we were in Vermont on our honeymoon. We filled it with gorgeous china (the stuff we use once a year…maybe), decor stuff, and…crap. Crap, crap and, just for fun, a touch more crap.

It had reached the point where the top two drawers were so full that I’d pull them open a couple of inches, toss an item back in, then close it as quickly as possible (pushing pretty hard to jam it shut). Just. So. Cluttered. But, those were the only drawers that I used with any regularity. (Remember: extemporaneous china in the bottom drawers/cabinets.)

We’ll just put you through one of the drawers’ craziness.

I had a dream of purging and making one side into decor-type stuff and the other one into a kidcentric spot. Turns out, it wasn’t too hard. And I need bigger dreams.

Just had to recycle a couple dozen super old magazines. That seems to be the theme with my house purging; magazines multiply.


I mean, really. Just check out that kid side. It has made our summertime projects and “lessons” (a couple of workbooks) so pleasant. Well, the workbooks are pretty fun, anyway, but being organized has made it such a simple, more enjoyable thing.

Aaaaand the other side. My grandmother’s dictionary, some thank you notes, random decor stuff…and a cat toy that we’ve gotta keep in hiding. Ultra special, that dangly toy.


Aside from stuff that got tossed, here are things that either a) went in the basement (rafia, red and white ball garland that I LOVE using at Christmastime, homemade pennant garland, some random hardware, hardly-used trays) or b) off to Goodwill (frames!).

I utilized my good ol’ tips of 1) usage: figuring out what still has a purpose (sorry, old magazines), 2) placement: what actually needs to be there, in the dining room area and 3) getting creative: using organizational tools in different ways (a silverware organizer turned into our art supply caddy). Super helpful, super simple.

Somehow, heading to the basement after seeing such an organized little space was the kickstart I needed to dig in down there. And, the rest is history. Er. Mostly done. (We’re having the walls painted this weekend, then can move the stuff back to have an ultimately super organized space after that. Squeal!)

So, there you have it. The snowball that started the avalanche of purging. Here’s what’s up for the next few weeks:

– Finishing the basement stuff
– Office stuff (and possibly even moving ALL my stuff outta there…we’ll see)
– Hadman’s closet
– My clothes 

Anyone else using summer as an excuse to organize crap? Or are you just, y’know, having fun like most people? 😉 Do tell!  

Christmas in July

My mother had a tendency to be early…for everything. I kind of agree, and get anxious when we don’t leave early (or, God forbid, when we leave late!). But, one thing I remember her saying a lot over the years is that when we were kids she liked to get her Christmas shopping done by sometime in September. If she could do it before school started, all the better.


The poor woman can’t do that anymore since it’s like pulling teeth to get lists out of all four kids, spouses and grand kids. I get it. We’re annoying. 😉

But, this year, I’m hopping on the “the earlier, the better” bandwagon. With a second little one coming mid-November, my usual Black Friday fun with my sister will have to be skipped. Heck, a lot will probably get skipped. But, Chrismas fun? NEVAAAAHHHH!!

We actually have a stash that we add to throughout the year for monkey, anyway, so we’ll be inspecting that to see what, if anything, we need to round it out. (Figuring out his size will be a challenge for clothes.) Dave and I have a tradition of taking a Saturday to shop together for a couple of special little guy gifts from Santa and getting coffee or lunch together, so we’ll most likely drop him off to the grandparents and take the little one with us to do that again.

Otherwise, I’m already searching the interwebs for deals. There are a handful of things we need to buy for the baby, so my eyes keep wandering, but my focus is CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. Lots of online sources are touting Black Friday deals in July, so I’m hoping to stock up and get some stuff off my list sooner rather than later.

So, here’s my strategy:

Paring down. Since my side of the family is doing the “only buy stuff for the kiddos”, that cuts back on the number of people we need to buy for. We will still always get something for all of our parents since they do SO much for us. I’m also hoping for “quality over quantity” for Dave and I, too, and will be setting a smaller limit than usual for ourselves and the kiddos. They’ll still get stuff, but a reasonable amount, especially considering that our extended family will be getting them stuff, too.

Infant gear. We’re not buying a ton of stuff because, well, we have a lot. However, because Hadley was a summer newborn (and some of the stuff has worn out), we’ll be in need of some new clothes. In advance, we’ll be getting some new cloth dipes, a new carseat, and some cold weather essentials. However, we won’t need a million outfits because that’s what we’ll get (and ask for) for Christmas, along with a couple of other baby items.

Keep things flexible and open. It seems the closer to “Santa time” you get, the more the list grows, doesn’t it? The week of Christmas, it’s common for a kiddo to add one thing they RRREEEEEEAAAALLY want. Hadman was so all-over-the-place in the past that it didn’t matter if Santa missed something here or there. This year, I’m asking early, working on the list *together*, and getting stuff early. However, this is why Dave and I have a shopping date closer to December — just in case there’s an item that we’d really like him to have or that he adds.

Organization! Lists are the only way I sleep at night, I swear. So, I’ve got a Google Doc of my list and everyone who needs to be gifted. (I’m also going to have a list of the to-do’s as far as pre-baby planning and when we get closer to the holiday, too.) Seriously, savior.  

Do as much online as possible. Sure, I could schlep out with the 3-year-old to try to buy full-priced stuff in the stores…but isn’t there a better way? Yep. Shopping during naptime in your sweat shorts with free shipping and pretty decent deals? I’d call that better!

Am I the only one who is planning for (and starting in on) Christmas now? Can you blame me, though, really? 😉 Honestly, if I don’t start planning now, I’m going to put off any thoughts of what’s to come (and, honestly, it makes the baby feel more “real” when planning for after he/she comes) and find myself completely unprepared.

And you know that I’m starting to browse Pinterest for simple ways to celebrate Christmas (along with space saving nursery ideas).

Hadley’s Third Birthday – Best Laid Plans

So, I was hoping to have a rundown of the decorative plans I had in mind for the little guy’s birthday, along with some pictures of the whole thing for you today. Well, I have some pictures, but they don’t show much of anything.

With all three of us under the weather and unsure of whether or not we’d be super contagious, we had originally decided to cancel the whole thing. Then, after talking with my mother a bit, we decided just to have the grandparents over. There are a couple of newborns in the family that we wouldn’t want to get what we’ve got, so we cut it back. Besides, I had already bought tons of food (which there was no way we could save another week or two for a party that we weren’t even sure others could attend), so it would be great to celebrate the day in a low-key way.

That said, I still worked hard (which, as a pregnant lady means that I worked until my belly ached — the belly knows when it’s time to slow down, y’know) to bake and chop and grate and assemble. As the time drew nearer and nearer, I realized I wouldn’t have the time I’d hoped to do the decorating I had planned on.

No baby blue streamers. No Peter Rabbit cake topper and wall hanging. No poufs. No Pinterestworthiness.

That’s not a word, but it’s definitely a thing.

But, we did have time to do a thorough cleaning job, and last night at 11pm I found myself sketching chalkboard drawings to bring a little festivity. Oh, in complete honesty, this stuff finally took the place of my spring chalkboard and *ahem* Easter baskets. Seriously. I’ve been slacking. 😉

So, from the things I grabbed at the local “dollar store”, I used some faux greenery on vines to give a little garden feeling. And, seriously, don’t fresh fruit and veggies do a great job at hitting both a) feeding partygoers and b) adding to the ‘garden’ theme?


 Sorry, beverages. Party was underway and, as usual, Dave took the pics while I did last-minute stuff.


So, we served a pared-down version of the original menu: loads of fruit, veggies and homemade herb dip (Ina Garten), cold cuts with fresh rolls, chips/cheese/crackers, “munchies” (Annie’s chocolate bunnies and bunny snack mix…get it? Peter Rabbit??), and our family’s favorite pasta salad (Mom brought). Water, lemonade and iced tea for the hot day’s beverages. Oh, and chocolate-covered strawberries (Ina, again), homemade carrot cake (good ol’ Good Housekeeping – very moist, but took FOREVER to grate the carrots) with cream cheese icing, and an untouched strawberry rhubarb crisp. Admittedly, everyone was stuffed, so that’ll be breakfast this week. 😉

I know it still sounds like a lot, but considering I cut the decorating down to next to nothing and we didn’t have tomato pie and sausage bread and stuff…it was far less crazy and more chill than it would’ve been. Oh, and for the record, it’s the only cold cuts I’ve had (I believe?!) the entire pregnancy. I cheated, but at least I didn’t have a beer…right??

Considering we only had three guests (my stepdad wasn’t feeling well) plus the three of us, this kid got GIFTS. Thomas stuff, clothes galore, books, a fishing game he’s loved at his cousin’s, some superhero stuff, a bubble mower and A SHAAAAARK! (We also saved some stuff for tomorrow since that’s his actual day, but MAN I’m thinking we should save some of it for Christmas!)


When it was time to nap and he melted down, you could hear how sick he still is. Super runny nose, incredibly raspy…not as croupy as when he sleeps, but not good, poor thing. I’m just glad that his daddy and I have gotten past that “I don’t feel goooooood” whiny crappy feeling so that we could focus on how awesome our special guy is.

We felt awful that we couldn’t party it up with the whole family (namely, his super fun cousins, and I always love seeing my siblings), but I know we’ll see everyone throughout the summer, so we’re trying not to focus on it too much. Considering he’s only turning 3 and he doesn’t have a huge circle of friends yet, it was still a memorable, fun day meant to make him feel remembered. I’d say, snotty noses aside, it was a success!

Now, if he could just feel better. 🙁

On a positive ending, we didn’t realize how much Hadley has changed in the past year until Dave started putting together his annual video. Wow. A year ago, his words existed but were guttural and communication was highly emotionally-charged. A recent BabyCenter email updated me that he’s probably saying 3-word sentences now, but it’s sooo far from the truth. Aside from run-ons, he’s incredibly verbal, and his vocabulary surprises us with its complexity. We still have our toddler meltdowns, but he’s much better able to communicate his feelings.

He helps when we give him a task. He’s open and welcoming to the idea of a little sibling (he insists it’s a girl and today said her name is “Flamingo”). He’s sweet with a tiny mischievous side, prefers running to sitting still, and is dying for us to find him more friends. Somewhere along the way, he’s started coming to us with spontaneous moments of love and brief cuddles, which he was never a fan of before. Overall…the kid rocks.

Here are some of the answers to some questions I asked him:

Favorite Things – Age 3

Color – “Blue.” (funny, it’s usually orange)
Toy – “My firetruck.” (really?!)
Stuffed animal – “My lamby.”
Thing to take to bed – “My shark.”
Fruit – “I like all of them.”
Cereal – “Gorilla Munch.”
Breakfast – “Gorilla Munch.” (I blame the order of the questions on that answer)
Lunch – “Peanut butter and jelly.” (had to answer for him; this is his fave)
Dessert – “Ice cream.” (not really, he doesn’t eat the stuff)
Beverage – “Grape juice!”
Dinner – “Nothing, nothing, nothing.” (I think lunch and breakfast are his big meals; he’d prefer not eat dinner.)
Animal – “Uuummm…a lizard!”
Book – “Pajama Time.”
Song – “1-2-3 sing with me…(continues singing own lyrics)”
Game – “Matthew and me used to play golf. And Aunt Mary and Lizzie and Uncle John were there….”
TV Show – “Cartoon Batman” (the 1970s cartoon version, although we know he loves “60s Batman”, too.)
Movie – “The Muppets”
Thing to do outside – “Run around.”
Best friend – “Cooper.” (Actually, equal parts Cooper and Lizzie, so the answer varies.)
Job when he grows up – “Do Daddy’s job…Lego Batman exercise!” (He wants to use Dave’s old Lego Batman Wii game but knows he can’t until he’s big.)