Monday, January 20, 2020

chill weekend and daddy daughter story

We didn’t do a ton this weekend and laid low at home for a majority of it. 

Friday night we went to a Japanese steakhouse with our neighbors. Grady’s first time! He mostly didn’t mind it but when the fire or smoke happened he leaned over toward me and kinda yelled a little!   PS - is this Bella Bliss turtleneck not the cutest thing you've ever seen?  I got it from a friend of mine when her son was finished with it!  Grady can pull off a turtleneck if I do say so myself!




We got there first and told the waiter it was Drew’s birthday so they’d make a big racket and mess with him! It was so funny! 







I don't think I've laughed as hard as we did later on Friday night in a long time.  We have too much fun with them!

We played all day on Saturday. Molly Anne and I took Mills to get groomed and we picked up breakfast at the bagel shop on the way back. 


Saturday night Kevin’s parents came by and we were finishing up grilling some sausages. It was fun for them to visit with us and Molly Anne got to show them all of her things, mainly legos ha!

Sunday morning cleaning. I had read somewhere that kids like to clean so I was like duh that’s a great idea. I gave Molly Anne my big duster and she ran around getting Mills’ hair with that and Grady cause a ruckus with this thing. But he was entertained for probably 30 min so WIN!  


Little loves. They’re both soooo sweet and cute. And it’s a good thing!



I hopped on my Peloton for the Sundays with Love ride at 11:45am and did that while the kids finished lunch and Kevin put Grady to put.  I always love doing that ride "live."  It always starts my week right!

Look who else messed with the busy board that my parents made. Monkey see monkey do.



Sunday afternoon we headed to the mall and to dinner at Pacos Tacos. If you follow me on Instagram you saw this series of pictures. 

First it was daddy pleaseeeeeeee...and it twirls so much.....


10 seconds later Kevin was buying it. 


And out they go with the most hilarious expressions that told the story perfectly!  First time this happened and I guarantee it won’t be the last!  (It was this dress that just came out and really is so cute!)



Today their school is closed for MLK day.  Molly Anne's teacher explained to them what the day was about last week and I'm so glad they did.  She has talked a lot about that since and I think it's very important she understands!  On a funny note - from a 4.5 year old - is when she told me that she, Grady, Mills and I had the same skin color but Daddy's was darker!  Gotta love kiddos!

“If you can’t fly, then run,
If you can’t run, then walk,
If you can’t walk, then crawl,
But whatever you do,
You have to keep moving forward.”
MLK, Jr. 

My office is still open today so we are either splitting the day or winging it.  I have a super long day on Tuesday so we gotta figure out gymnastics and some other stuff then.  Gotta love it!  

Chat soon friends.  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Five Things I'm Loving For Kids

Thank you all for your overly kind feedback on my post yesterday!  I had a request to do another post, this time on specific organization and mental load.  So I'll try to get that up in the next week!

1. How cute are these beach balls?  Super fun to stick in an Easter basket and on sale!
Summer Beach Balls


2.  Shopping for a Daddy Daughter Dance dress.  Key requirement - must twirl!  It is the one event that I really don't care what Molly Anne wears as long as it looks nice and she feels really good in it!  This one from Nordstrom is under $40. 
POPATU Metallic Heart Tulle Dress, Main, color, PEACH



3.  Grady has been very into this particular book.  Nannie gave him this book at Halloween and we've probably read it every night since.   I love that he loves books!  
Good Night, Little Blue Truck - by  Alice Schertle (Board_book) - image 1 of 1


4.  I can tell you right now that Molly Anne would want this bath mat if I ever showed it to her!
Rainbow Shaped Bath Mat


5.  If you ever see us out at a restaurant which you probably never will ha, you'll see my kids getting down with some Water Wow!  I'm a strict no electronics at the dinner table, no judgement, do what works for you!  Believe me, I've wanted them to have tablets A LOT.  Other ideas to take with you out to dinner... pipe cleaners (make random things with these), little containers of playdoh (thank you Hilary for this genius one!), Scratch and Sketches (they have lots of different ones) and stickers galore from the dollar store.  Occasionally I'll take markers for Molly Anne but that's only when I'm in a really good mood because I don't like picking up the tops off of the floor!



  

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Working Mama Balance

Honestly, I'm not a pro on this subject (nor any!), but I think talking to other working mom friends always helps so let's pretend that's what we are doing!

Here's the deal with my work and then I'll tell you my biggest day to day "working mom" struggles and how I try to make them better.  Then I'll tell you some things that I do that make my life easier.  Sound good?

WORK STRUGGLE:
Okay...right now I'm going through a little struggle at work and I'm not telling you all anything that the guys I work for don't know.  Talking to them about it is NOT EASY for me.  I literally can prepare and prepare (Kevin always helps me so much with this!) and I still always end up crying!  It's ridiculous but I'm being honest.  That tells you how passionate I am about what I do and where I work!  I take it all to heart what I do day in and day out.  

I've been out of school for almost 15 years.  I worked for one other company for a little over a year and the rest of the time, I've been at my same company.  So almost 13 years with them.  That's a long time for someone my age, I think!  I was 24 when I started working there!  I didn't even know Kevin although I did meet him later that year.  Anyway....it's not like I'm starting out in my career anymore.  I'm pretty well established, and loyal.  I traveled for them for 12 years almost every week.  Since I've had Grady, it's gone way down in how often (thank goodness!).  They're truly amazing about my flexibility.  Like AMAZING.  No bones about it!

So, yes, we are paying double day care for two years (this ends in August!) so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We knew it wasn't going to be fun for these two years but that it would still be worth it.  I LIKE working...most of the time.  Especially when I feel appreciated there.  But I'm going to be really honest - I think having a second child really affected my career.  No one at my company that does what I do has had a child in like 18 years and clearly things in the working world have changed since then!  

I don't want to go into much more detail because this is a public blog but does anyone else feel the same way?  I know it'll get better.  I've talked to others in my same field and they say that after their youngest child is in Kindergarten, you kind of ramp back up at work.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still doing all of the things now and working full time, it's just a little not so fun every day right now.  And I hope it gets better.  I love the people I work for and with!


DAY TO DAY STRUGGLES:
1.  Getting out of the door.  It's hard.  And Kevin helps me a lot around the house etc but not really in the morning.  I just don't think guys are programmed for a 'program' in the morning because I know I'm not the only one with full morning duties...keeping it real!  I get both kids dressed, ready, fed and out the door every day.  And I do Mills and myself of course.  Shoot, Molly Anne is easier than Mills right now.  That's another story for another day!  I'm usually hot when I leave haha!  

To make it better.  I do a lot the night before - pack Grady's bag, unload the dishwasher if I can, lay out their outfits, take my own shower and do my hair, have it in my mind what they're having for breakfast, know what I'm wearing and figure out what time I need to leave that day.  In the morning, I get up before everyone and do my hair (usually only brushing it), makeup and brush my teeth.  Then I take care of Mills.  If I have him done before the kids get up, I'm in business!  While he is eating, I get their milks poured and breakfast out and ready.  I also pack the car.  Then I'm ready to get the kids up.  Usually Molly Anne first because she will get herself ready while I get Grady ready.  Then I take him in my closet with me so I can get dressed then the three of us go downstairs so they can eat.  I fix my breakfast to eat in my lap on the way to their school, put their shoes on and do their hair while they're eating.  And out the door we all go.  

It's working right now so I am just going with it.  

2.  Getting dinner on the table.  Kevin really wants to help me with this one so we may have to come to some sort of happy middle ground on this.  I could use the help for sure.  He will pick up dinner for us a time or two a week if it's one of those weeks I don't have anything planned.  

To make it better - meal plan.  Order groceries and drive through to pick them up.  Meal prep on Sundays.  I know all of the things to do but I don't make it happen every single week.  

3.  Being a good wife, employee, mom, friend, daughter, sister, Aunt etc. HA!  Impossible to be perfect in every area right?!

To make it better - I don't know how to be everything to everyone.  Something always has to give.  I guess it's up to us to prioritize these things!  Here are some ways I do these:
Wife - we hang on the weekends and try to always do a date night even if we are hanging on the back porch at home.  I could do better at "serving" him as my Bible study says!  Trying to do little things like filling up his water bottle, taking the trash to the road and goofy tasks like that.  
Employee - sometimes it's hard for me to focus when I care way more about my kids than if a building gets built.  But when I'm working, I'm working.  I will say that!
Mom - I think being involved with your kids activities at school is HIGHLY important.  I've seen it loud and proud and I'm thankful I can be as involved as I am.  

Friend - girlfriend time whether it's at Foxcroft with a different set of friends every week or prioritizing a phone call with a special friend. 
Daughter/Sister/Aunt - family is family, thankfully!  They always understand!  Always thankful for my parent's support and literally have no clue where I'd be without them. 


HOW I MAKE MY LIFE EASIER:
1.  Exercise - it makes my world go round.  It makes me a much nicer person.  It keeps me focused.  It gives me energy.  It makes me sleep well.  

2.  Working from home - I'm not working from home nearly like I used to but I do enjoy the hours I get to work from home.  I can swap a load of laundry or jump on my peloton during lunch.  Productive.

3.  Stay organized - I do things in advance.  I really try not to ever wait until the last minute for anything.  I'm talking gifts for people, things for the children's classrooms, staying on top of laundry, stuff like that.  I have lists for everything. 

4.  Push the easy button - dry cleaners, order pickup at our grocery store, cleaning ladies once a month (I LOVE ROSA'S LADIES with all of my heart!!), yard guys, property management company for one of our more difficult properties, ordering online instead of going to a store at the mall and hello Amazon for all of life's important items.

5.  Letting stuff go - when I had Grady, my Mom told me I was going to have to let some things go and she couldn't have been more right.  Because I'll tell you, I want things done a certain way.  You all probably can tell I'm an OCD engineer ha!  But all of the sudden I literally had to rely on help and things not always being done how I would do them.  And miraculously, we're all still alive, well clothed and taken care of!  Ain't no shame in my mac n cheese and microwave chicken nugget game!

6.   Lunch break productiveness - I rarely go to lunch with co-workers or friends.  I sometimes do but I really like to use that time wisely.  I make personal phone calls while I roam the streets of Charlotte doing errands.  It's when I get things done and done.  

7.  Keep a good calendar - a paper calendar does not work for me.  I only use my Outlook one that's my work and personal combined.  I can't look at two different calendars in a day.  I need easy because I live and breathe by my calendar.  If it isn't on there, I'm not doing it.  I do a lot of reoccurring items to stay overly organized year to year.   


That's all I have for now.  Maybe this will get our friendly chat going!  I know, this isn't for everyone so feel free to skip over.  I'm on the struggle bus every day working and trying to be all I can to everyone.  I think it's a natural thing that us Moms feel!  At the end of the day, we are all doing the best we can do so good job Mama!!

If there's anything else I didn't address, let me know!  I like chatting about these things!  My email address is anniesadventures16 at gmail dot com. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Girl Talk

Let's see...here's a random post for ya.  

1.  I still want to write about having a career 15 years after you graduate college and when you have small children.  I think it'll be a delicate post to write but I think it'll be beneficial for more than one person.  I hope to work on this post this week!

2.  I told a few friends last week that I heard about the Billie razor on a Bachelor podcast (more to come about podcasts below) so I swiped up!!  Haha!  I honestly hate shaving my legs.  I equally hate spending a million dollars on new cartridges (is that what they're called?!).  So I randomly got this Billie razor for my stocking at Christmas and I must say, it's legit!  $9, free shipping and comes with a refill.  It's WAY better than the Gillette Venus one I had.  They also auto ship you new cartridges so you don't even have to think about it.  No cuts on your first time using one and I swear my legs were smooth for days afterwards!  Give it a try.  Here's my little referral code if you want to use it!  

3.  I'm not a huge podcast person because usually my kids and I listen to music and talk talk talk when I have them in the car.  But on my trips to the airport for a project I have going on out there and when I don't have them, I've been listening to some podcasts.  Most of you all know I love The Bachelor and Country Music so these are my favs in that category - Bobbycast (Bobby Bones), Whine Down (Jana Kramer), Off the Vine (Kaitlyn Bristowe), Bachelor Happy Hour, Get Real (Caroline Hobby - she has a lot of Nashville folks on) and sometimes Reality Steve although I can't deal with all of that drama sometimes.  Others that I listen to - It Sounded Like A Good Idea At The Time and But Not All At Once.  

4.  Who is watching The Bachelor this season?  I really would love Hannah and Peter to get back together but I know that's not happening, as of yet.  I wonder why Reality Steve can't spoil the ending this season?  Anyone have any insight?!

5.  Grocery store - it cracks me up how guys have zero clue how much groceries are.  Some of my friends talk about how their husbands think they should be $100/week for a family of 4.  There's no way!  I try to stay under $150 but sometimes it's closer to $200.  And Target is not included...those are not groceries.  Those are essentials...most of the time.  I'm talking - dawn, cascade, cleaning stuff that I don't get on Amazon, baby soap, things like that!  Who hears me on this?!  Talk to me!  It's still cheaper than eating out!!!  

6.  Planning both of the Valentine's parties at school now and assembling their Valentines that I wrote about last week.  I sent out the email to both classes yesterday.  We are just doing a sugar cookie (those decorated ones that grocery stores always have) and pretzels because those are heart shaped!  Big sourdough one for MA's class and the small ones for Grady's.  One parent will sign up to bring each.  I already got tablecloths, plates, napkins and party favors.  Done and done.  

7.  It was pouring down rain yesterday morning and getting both kids into school with their sheets etc for the week is always a good time... while dressed up in my work clothes and trying to look presentable for a day at the office.  Gotta love it.  Of course, Grady doesn't have a raincoat and Molly Anne's boots are way too small for her.  Ordered this raincoat for Grady off Amazon and these boots for Molly Anne.  Finally veering away from Hunters for something different for her.  She said she wanted rainbow boots so she's getting them..kinda haha.  Not sure if we have the same idea of rainbow!  ;)  When writing this, I see that I got Hatley in both, that was a coincidence but it's a nice brand so sounds great!

Hatley Blue Farm Tractors Colour Changing RaincoatPAIR

Monday, January 13, 2020

Kelly and Out

A visit from your bestie and MOH is always needed!!  Mom and I were talking on my way home from the airport on Friday afternoon about how good of a friend Kelly is. She’s as solid as they come. We’ve known each other for a longggg time and lived together for years.  We were maid of honors in each others weddings. We can go weeks without talking which we rarely do (but sometimes #life) and we always catch up where we left off with never any hurt feelings about the time passed.  Anyway, she was in Charlotte for work and stayed an extra night to hang out with us.  Such a treat! 



We got to scoot out after bedtimes and went to Waverly - Porters House, CO and Foxcroft Wine.  We talked and talked and talked.  And then talked more ha!  It had been years since she and I went out like this without husbands or kids!



She was the Grady whisperer and helped me so much with him!!  Unfortunately she had to head back to Raleigh early Saturday morning to her own family but we loved the time with her so much! 



I took the kids to Hobby Lobby while Kevin worked.  Molly Anne loves going there. Grady loves to be in the stroller so it works out well.  You know those days where you must leave the house even when it’s raining? Yep that was Saturday morning.  She picked out a craft for herself and one for Grady. These are those old school beads that you iron to melt them together!  Honestly she didn’t have the attention span to spend an hour on these (it’s funny because she will do legos for hours on end with no break).  But she will pick this back up whenever.  



Grady had fun painting for umm maybe 5 minutes but it was something different!  They had lunch, he and I took naps and then we played after that for a little while. 



Kevin and I went out to meet up with some friends from where we used to live uptown!  We love David and Jenn and go way back with them!  12+ years now! We met for drinks at Zeppelin and those are always absolutely amazing. Works of art for sure. 



We had 7:30 reservations at Beef and Bottle and it was outstanding. We started with a round of miller lites for old times sake!  Great call on that David!  We love hanging out with them.  Next time, we won’t let so much time pass!  



Sunday morning we chilled. Isn’t this the life?!  She needs this downtime on the weekends and I love how she gets her loveys and brings them down to get comfy!



About 10:30 the kids and I set out on a walk across the hood to our friend’s house!  We didn’t go in or anything, it was just our destination to walk that far!  Molly Anne said she could make it all of the way to Ms. Margot’s house ha!  She certainly did!  Walked and ran. It was about 2.25 miles round trip!  Grady always likes being outside and it was so warm we had to be out there!



We played a lot with these that my friend Rachel recommended!  They’re so fun! Had to be careful with Grady trying to put the little pieces in his mouth but he was mostly pretty good with them! 



We ended up getting sushi take out for dinner and called it a day.  Happy Monday!!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Five on Friday - New Recipes

ONE:
I needed some new recipes to try to reboot our meal planning so I went straight to Pinterest and searched low carb.  I told you all about the pizza casserole on Monday.  Here are some others that we have done or are making this week, all low carb -
Sunday - Creamy Garlic Shrimp
Monday - Big Mac Salad
Tuesday - Cava take out
Wednesday - Cheeseburger Casserole
Thursday - Cheesesteak Bowl
Friday - Italian Salads




TWO:
Little Mills all curled up!



THREE:
I've had to take them to school super early three days this week and I hate having to do that!  Picking them up a little early makes it seem a little easier to this working mama?!



FOUR:
We had time to play outside after school on Wednesday with our neighbors and it's always a breath of fresh air for more reasons than one!  Grady LOVES this stomp rocket and it's wonderful hand eye coordination for him getting the rockets back on!



FIVE:
He loves some fudge!  I need to throw the fudge away!!!  He's been trying to use the drawer handles to stand on to get up to it!



We always call him Duck Duck Grady when he wears this shirt.  It has two ducks on either side of his name and it reminds me of Duck Duck Goose!



SIX:
Time with dear friends.  Good for the soul.  



SEVEN:
She always loves a little braid or something that takes me less than 2 minutes in the morning but means a lot to her!



Hope everyone has a nice weekend!  

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Meal Planning

I had a reader ask how I meal plan and I loved the blog post suggestion!  Honestly I try to have my act together every week but it probably only happens a few weeks a month!  And during the holidays, forget about it! 





First, I keep everything in my phone...because I always have my phone. I don’t always have a piece of paper.  If I think of a meal at a stoplight, I’ll stick it in my “Meal Plan” note then revisit when I go to meal plan for the week.  





Ideally I like to meal plan on Friday or Saturday and order groceries for Saturday or Sunday pick up depending on what we have going on.  

Because I do order pick up and don’t actually go into the grocery store, as I think of other ingredients or staples that I need, I add them on the app right then!  I don’t keep a separate grocery list. 

When I sit down to meal plan (literally I usually figure it out when I’m driving or doing another mindless activity), I put the meal in my Note and then add the groceries for that meal into the grocery store app to order. I usually plan for three nights during the week and one day we have leftovers and another night we go out. I rarely cook on Friday and Saturday nights.  

I never delete the meals out of the Note.  So I have a long list of meals I’ve made over the years. If I can’t think of anything for that week, I’ll go back through my list to spark ideas.  And if I’m really bored of our meals, I’ll hop on Pinterest and make a new board and add some fresh recipes to try. 

That’s it!  How do you do all meal plan?  Mine isn’t rocket science but it works for me!