The Real World: Venus vs Mars

Today you can read my stuff over on The Real World: Venus vs. Mars. This site is about relationships. Topics are given and someone from Team Venus and someone from Team Mars each post their perspective. Check it out to see what the other bloggers are writing about as well.

Today you can read about The Top 5 Ways my Hubby/High School Sweetheart makes my Life Easier. Enjoy!


Mom's Mind Monday

Typically, as a mom, I know that the decisions I make for my kids are the right ones(at least for us). However, I am stumped on this one. I have no way of knowing for sure if I am making the right decision...and everyone has a different answer and opinion.

On my mind today is the H1N1 vaccination that my daughters will be getting tomorrow. I'm not sure if reading all of news about the vaccine has helped me make a more informed decision or freaked me out. Most likely, it's a little of both. In the end, my husband and I decided to have the girls get the vaccine. Crossing our fingers that they don't have to endure any type of flu this season, especially this one.


When Little Girls Grow Up

Over the past month, I have been listing the things I am thankful for on my Facebook page. I am thankful for many things...so today I want to focus on a specific person. On here, I call her Drama. She's 9 and she's amazing!

Fourth grade is a year of many ups and downs and many changes. I hear stories daily about her friends that have boyfriends, friends that are made at other girls for talking to their boyfriends, and friends that just kissed their boyfriends! Yikes! These kids are 9 and 10 years old! And I am thankful every time that my little girl tells me these stories and then follows them with, "Mom, what is wrong with my friends? We are too young for this!" Amen!

Fourth grade has also been a year of amazing growth for Little Miss Drama. Her room is typically very clean and she like her art and crafts items organized as she tends to write and illustrate often and wants to be able to find things. However, today is another great example of the growth that we're seeing. This morning we all get up to clean up the house so that we can pull out the Christmas decorations. Once we had finished the basic cleaning and pick up of the living room and dining room , she decided that she wanted to keep cleaning. She emptied the dishwasher (like she normally does) and the continued to load the dishwasher, wipe down counters, take out garbage and recycling, organized the cupboard that we cannot seem to keep organized and then swept the floor. Then she moved on to the bathroom! The amazing thing to me is that she does such a great job. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

I am really hoping that this cleanliness somehow magically passed to her little sister. The Monkey (aka Tornado) tends to be the complete opposite of her sister at the moment. I'm sure she'll get there as she gets older - and since I'm in no hurry to hear about her Kindergarten friends dating, I guess I'm willing to wait a little longer.

Dear Drama,
I am so proud of the young lady that you are becoming. Every day you amaze me in a new little way. Thank you for the many things that you don't even know you are teaching. I absolutely love having you as a daughter.


Soccer Mom "Me Time"

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a soccer mom in a working mom body. I absolutely love being a mom and I highly admire moms that stay-at-home to raise their kids. It is by far the hardest job in the world. At home, your “team” doesn’t always speak in clear sentences and their desktops are covered in drool and sticky finger prints. However, it is by far the most rewarding work of all. Besides, I’m sure there are some pretty strict rules against all of that hugging and kissing at the office, no?

Working outside the home, for me, is the sort of break that many moms don’t get. However, it’s not the kind of “me time” break that my family sometimes thinks it is. It’s brain work and is not a relaxing break.

All moms, and dads for that matter, need some “me time.” Since I’m not always able to find much of it, I try to adjust little things in my life to trick myself into thinking I’ve gotten a little “me time”.

• Since I have a long commute, I typically keep this as my quiet time. There’s not much quiet when I get home, so this is my chance to think through the million thoughts that are running through my head. Typically, I don’t have time to think about them at work - because I’m working - and I might have actual "think time" at home, but I can’t hear my thoughts over the kids, dogs, tv, phone, sports shuttling and visitors. While I absolutely LOVE music, the only time I turn it on in the car is when I am so tired that I need it to keep me awake. This tends to happen more during the morning commute than the afternoon commute.
• I read. This would be considered “bite size me time”. I can read a little at a time while the kids are running around outside or playing nicely together...What? It happens! I typically read at commercial breaks in the evening when hubby and I watch TV as well. My typical reads – self-help books. I am constantly looking for ways to improve and simplify my life, thoughts and surroundings.
• Friends. Obviously it’s not good to keep your nose in a computer all day, every day, but Facebook has been a life saver in keeping me sane. I’m able to keep in touch with all of my wonderful friends from high school and college that are too far away or that I just haven’t seen in a while. Plus, I adore all the family pictures.
• Meditation. I listen to guided meditations on my iPod while I’m falling asleep. Some are for deep rest, some for stress and some to just relax. There are many on iTunes that are free and have made a world of difference to me.

The rest of my "me time" will be spent watching my girls play soccer or present songs, dances, and skits that they have created...and really, that is one of the best ways to spend my time.

~ Check out what is going on over at In the Real World: Venus vs. Mars ~


I Am

I am:
• a 31-year-old mom to two girls, ages 9 and 6
• madly in love with my husband
• nowhere near perfect
• a planner and chronic list maker
• a full-time working professional
• an avid reader (especially of self-help books)
• constantly working to learn and grow
• a freelance editor
• trying to be a good role model for my girls
• working toward simplified balance
• PTA and school volunteer
• an Excel nerd
• a quote junkie
• addicted to rearranging the furniture in my house
• learning to meditate
• a horrible singer
• the family photographer
• the family accountant
• not the family cook
• not a beer drinker
• told that I am overly optimistic & perky
• a camper
• too often impatient
• a control freak
• completely OCD about some things and totally laid back about others
• frugal
• addicted to Greys Anatomy and Jen Lancaster books
• accepting that I am no longer 20-10 years old
• unable to completely relax
• still a princess, according to my dad.

~Borrowing format from another blogger on Real World Venus vs. Mars.~


Date Night Dilemma

Currently, date nights don’t happen as often as we’d like. To get some one-on-one children free time together sounds great and we always talk about how much we need some time together, yet we don’t schedule it enough. However, on those rare occasions that we actually trick – I mean “ask” – a family member into keep our children over night, we still have a hard time deciding what to do.

What is it that tends to distract my husband and I from being able to remember what we used to do on date nights B.K. (Before Kids)? I know there are many things we used to do – I mean, we dated for 5 years before getting married and were married for 2 years before daughter #1 arrived – so we must have done SOMETHING on those dates.

As high school sweethearts, our dates consisted of going to the one pool hall that didn’t serve alcohol since we weren’t old enough to drink…or dinner and a movie….sometimes movie marathon days.

As newlyweds, he worked nights and I was in college during the day, so dates consisted of grocery shopping in the middle of the night and 2:00 am “breakfast” at Denny’s…or hubby picking me up after my bartending shift at the local bar. Romantic, I know.

Now, married 11 years, we try to think of something else to do on date nights. We have a pool table that we never get to play because it tends to be the “clean laundry” pile. Going to a movie pretty much defeats the purpose of going out since we can’t really talk and catch-up, which is the point of taking some “us” time. Dinner works, but I have a hard time spending $50 on something that is eaten in 30 minutes and all I have to show for it is a wider waist.

How about some new ideas?:
Me: Pottery painting?
Him: No. Fishing?
Me: No. Walk in the park?
Him: No. Target shooting?
Me: No. Picnic and watch the sunset?
Him: No. Hmmmm….

This leads us to what our last date night ended up consisting of: Drop kids off at Aunt’s house. Shop for soon to be 6-year old daughter’s birthday presents and party d├ęcor. Rent movies so that we can pause them for snack and bathroom breaks.

I know - you are all jealous of our glamorous date night. However, this works well for us. At least, until next time.

Any ideas of inexpensive yet fun date nights?


My Blissfully Sweet Life of Organized Chaos

Hubby: “Has anyone seen my shoes?”
Me: “Under the table!”
Hubby: “Which one?”
Me: “The end table where they were kicked under, like always.”
Hubby: “How about my keys?”
Me: “Downstairs on the arm of the couch.”
Hubby: “My phone?”
Me: “Stuck between couch cushions in the living room.”
Hubby: “Wait, what about my wallet?”
Me: “You left it in the console of your Jeep.”
Hubby: “Oh yeah. Has anyone seen my hat?”

Are you KIDDING me? Thank goodness I adore this man.

This is my life of organized chaos. We’re a fun loving family that stays very busy. A family of 4 with two Chihuahuas and a rotating door that invites houseguests at all times of the year. We are currently opening our home to house guest #3, our 18 year-old niece that is going to beauty school. So, that officially makes us a family of 5 with 2 crazy dogs that think they are Dobermans and bark at every knock or doorbell ring on the TV. My daughters are amazing. At 5 and 9, they could keep me laughing from morning ‘til night, if I wasn’t at work all day. They are creative, inventive and love doing projects with Dad. “Dad, Can I use the nail gun?” is a common question we hear. They and their dad absolutely make the chaos fun and the work day worth working.

My ultimate goal is to have everything organized and to simplify our lives. This would mean that everything has a place, closest are perfectly organized and labeled, my books and files are where I left them in my office, and shoes can find their own way to the closets. ~ I’ve since come to my senses and I’m settling for being able to see the kitchen counters and not get anything stuck to my feet when I walk on the wood floors in the living and dining rooms. Yes, it’s not my idea of “clean and organized,” but as long as others are helping out, I’ve decided to not be such a perfectionist.

While things are certainly crazy all year round, I feel that summer is the craziest. With the entire family home, other than me, throughout the day, the house has no chance to sit and enjoy being clean. That is, three people here to dirty the house all day and the one that cleans is at work and does NOT want to spend her entire evening cleaning.

Enter here…the chore list. Sometimes they get done, sometimes they don’t, but mom’s rule is that if it’s not done before I get home from work, you don’t get allowance for that day. It tends to work with my 9 year-old and I’m hoping that rubs off on the 5 year-old soon. However, she tends to be a walking tornado…things literally fall on the floor as she walks by. I’m thinking about having her tested for a sixth sense…what do they call it when you can make things move without touching them?

At least with a system of chores...(written down and posted on the fridge counts as a system, right?)...and some family members that help…(Kudos to my amazing 9 year-old!)...we can typically find the things we need to make our family function without too much freaking out…on good days. This is what I call Organized Chaos. Now, who has my pedometer and why is the dog in the baby doll stroller?


My Amazing Hubby

Just wanted to share my husband's amazing idea to encourage our children to help out more around the house. Since our 9 year-old has been doing just that for the last week, he made her a "Get Out of Trouble FREE" card (that can also be redeemed for staying up an extra 30 minutes at night). This just might be the best new invention in our family. Yay for the man that helps me stay sane! You rock, hubby!


Life is a Poker Game: Why I Always Pay to see the Flop

You can’t change the cards you’re dealt, but you can change the way you play the game.

I have no poker face. All of my emotions show on my face and I cannot hide them. A career in acting was NEVER on my list of things to do. I simply can’t lie. I can’t even pull practical jokes on people because I can’t keep a straight face. Because of this, I have to learn to play my game. My other weakness is that I tend to always trust people and feel that most people are basically good. While I feel that is a worthy way to think, I have learned that many people do have a good poker face and will always play the game while bluffing. Some can, and do, lie very well. This continues to be a hard lesson for me. Now my game strategy has to change, but I know that whether you win or lose is determined by your decisions, not the decisions of the other players.

I have also realized that you won’t win every hand or every job or opportunity, but if you don’t play, you’ll never win at all. If you fold every hand before you see the flop you’ll never know how good your hand really was. You’ll never know if that opportunity would have been the one that wins you the millions.

Some are in it to be 1st or nothing. I’m perfectly happy with winning just a few hands here and there – as long as I know I tried.

I look at every opportunity or major conversation as a new hand. Typically, I will pay to see the flop – I want to see how the opportunity plays out. Yes, in life this tends to involve risking something, either money or my time, but if I never paid to see the flop, I definitely wouldn’t win…or learn, or grow. However, I am ok with folding after the flop if it doesn’t end up the way I want. I am ok moving on to the next hand or next opportunity. I know that I don’t have to win every time.

Some feel that if you have to pay, then the opportunity is only worth pursuing if there is a guaranteed payout. If that were the case for me, I wouldn’t have gone to the game in the first place. But I came to play. Let the opportunities abound. Deal me my cards and I’ll see what I can do with them.

Some people can take horrible cards (or horrible circumstances) and turn them into a winning hand. Others can be dealt the bests cards possible (or have everything given to them), and still manage to lose. It’s all about how they play the game. It’s how you read and interact with the other players that determines how far you go and how many friends you have left when you get there.

How do you play your cards?


Today and Tomorrow

~ Written when my 9-year-old was only 3. ~

What can I say? My 3-year-old is smart, quick and can stump me any day with her questions. How did she get this way at such a young age? I’d like to take all of the credit for her personality, but I know there are many factors other than my genes that influence her to be a strong, confident toddler.

While my talkative girl seems to know her mind and is ready to speak it in a moment’s notice, I can’t help but see what her toddler traits my one day bring her.

Today she is : Tomorrow she will be…
An instigator : A leader
Stubborn : Determined
Strong willed : Confident
Opinionated : Charismatic
Messy : Creative
Loud : Vocal
Energetic : Outgoing
Self-reliant : Independent

So, while at times I tend to stress the little points, I know that these toddler traits will lead her in the right direction to adulthood with complete confidence in who she is and what she stands for. Does her ability to fight to make her point and get her way lead to law school? Does her sensitive, caring side that worries when anyone gets hurt lead her to medical school? Or does her incredible ability to copy me with her baby sister and take care of her dolls when they are “crying” lead her to be a multi-tasking mom who can handle anything (well, almost anything)? While any of these or any other direction is fine with me, I hope she doesn’t take the easy road and instead will challenge her own mind, follow her heart and find her dreams. She, her sister and their dad have definitely helped me find mine.


Soccer Fall

Crisp air and blue sky always remind me that Fall and soccer season are in full swing. Screaming fans and the directions from the coach push them on to victory. The team cheers in triumph, congratulates their rival team, and asks the coach, “Where’s my snack?”

Youth soccer is one of my favorite things to watch. I may be a little partial since both of my daughters have played since they were 4 and I have since been forced – loving, of course – into the world of shin-guarded snack-mongers. Moms want their kids to play to have fun. Dads want their kids to play to be the best. Kids want to play to get snacks after the game. Ok, so mine do LOVE playing and never want to be taken out of the game, but the more snacks you bribe them with, the harder they’ll play.

The excited squeals of little girls running around the wide open field chasing each other – for reasons so innocent that they don’t even know what the next few years of hormones will throw at them – are by far some of the best sounds I’ve heard.

Knowing what is ahead for my little girls (coming very quickly for my 9 year-old it seems), I tend to appreciate that they can solely concentrate on one thing and do that one thing with all their passion and no worries of being judged on what they look like or what boys think.

So for the time-being, here are the beautiful thoughts of my little soccer players while they are on the field playing their heart out…
~ Where is the ball?
~ I want the ball. Don’t care that my teammate has the ball, I want it.
~ Get the ball, keep the ball, lose the ball, take the ball back and RUN.
~ Get the ball into the goal. SCORE! I rock!
~ Is the game over already?
~ Where’s my snack?

Innocence – An amazing way to spend a crisp Fall evening.


Go Figure

As a first time mom, I had all the same worries that any other first time mom has. Will I be able to tell what my child needs and when? Will my child be healthy? Will I be comfortable nursing in public? Will I ever be able to get back to that pre-mom shape??? My head flooded with questions that multiplied by the hour. After two and a half years, I feel confident in my ability to know what my child needs and when she needs it. We survived nursing and it was almost a breeze. No, my child is not completely healthy with the multiple bouts of ear infections she has had to deal with. But, as these issues arise, my husband and I are able to conquer each task and are proudly raising a very happy, outgoing and smart little girl. It is the last question of getting back my figure that seems to have gone unanswered.

As I think back to what my figure was in high school, when my (high-school sweetheart) now husband and I first met, I wonder why I hadn’t relished in the days of jumping, flexibility and eating anything without gaining an ounce. With the new metabolism that graciously protrudes itself around my mid-section; I can’t help but feel that those skinny days were just a dream. Of course, I have the pictures on my fridge and my husbands’ memory of cheerleader skirts and skinny legs to remind me that, no, in fact, I have gained quite a bit of weight. And while I have tried many diets, I quit drinking soda pop, and I exercise during my only hour to myself most days, the weight seems to cling to me as much as my daughter does when she has a high fever and an ear infection.

Why can’t I lose this? I have no idea. So, this is what I propose…A new way of looking at what I have “gained”.

~ I have gained a wonderful daughter who looks more and more like me everyday and who, for the moment, loves her mom terribly and wants to do everything she does. I know I’ll miss these days when they go.
~ I have gained the admiration of my husband who does remember to tell me what a great mom I am when I tuck in our little girl in the middle of the night and read “Good Night Moon” for about the millionth time.
~ I have also gained admiration for my husband who, before our daughter was born, would not dance in front of anyone without a nice amount of alcohol in his system. Now they constantly entertain me with their many new dance styles. Let’s hope these days last as long as possible.
~ I have gained a sense of pride at how happy out little family is and I wonder in amazement what Samantha will say and do next.
~ I have gained patience that I never knew was possible. Food dumped on the carpet…no problem…just get the vacuum. Crayon pictures on the wall…well, I guess we did need a little redecorating.
~ I have gained a new kind of love that every new mother gains. It’s not the kind of love you have for your husband, your parents or your siblings. It’s a protective kind of love where you would do anything to keep this little person happy, safe and healthy. This came only with a new addition to our family.

So, while I may have gained a little around the middle, I have also gained many wonderful emotions and memories that take my mind away from the fact that my stomach is now and forever lined with shiny stretch marks. To that, I say…”Go Figure?!”


Ericka Corban - an amazing woman following her heart

I just wanted to take a moment to introduce everyone to my friend, Ericka Corban. She is an amazing singer, songwriter, and musician. I am constantly amazed by her upbeat personality and her ability to pursue her singing career while becoming a first time mom last year. She just finished recording her first album and I can't wait to hear it.

I met her a few years ago and we became instant friends. If you'd like to hear some great music by an absolutely amazing person, please check her out on MySpace...



Random Information

Here are 25 Random Things about Me:

1. I’ve learned more having kids than I did in all those years of schooling.
2. My energy typically comes in a can in the form of sugar free energy drinks.
3. My optimism does not come from a can, but if I could bottle it and sell it, I’m confident I would make a good profit.
4. Have a guitar that I have no idea how to play and would love for someone to just teach me “Smelly Cat” so that I could play something. (Update: I am taking guitar lessons! Finally!)
5. My body does not know how to relax. It’s so bad that I’ve passed out WHILE getting a pedicure at the spa.
6. I absolutely love being a mom and cannot believe how fast my girls are growing up!
7. My stress level is directly related to how messy my house is. I would love to have a completely organized house…that stays that way. (Maybe when the kids are older.)
8. I refuse to buy clothes that are not on sale.
9. I love my husband’s tattoos. They look really good on him.
10. I have to do at least 2 things at once. For example, I cannot simply sit and watch TV or a movie. I have to read a book, magazine or do something productive while sitting on the couch.
11. My girls are absolutely amazing! They each have a wonderful sense of humor and, luckily, are athletic like their dad. They are both my little soccer stars.
12. I have been married for 10 years and still adore my husband. He is a wonderful stay-at-home dad, even though he has chronic back pain. I don’t know how he does it! He’s amazing!
13. I hate exercise and have to trick myself into doing things that don’t seem like exercise…dancing, playing with the kids, cleaning, etc. It's pretty bad when I enjoy cleaning over exercising.
14. My husband and I completely gutted our first house and remodeled it together so that we could flip it and he could stay home with the kids.
15. Since the remodeling, I can now frame a wall, lay flooring, and do tile and grout work.
16. I am completely domestically disabled (hence, the title of my blog). Thankfully my husband ROCKS and is an amazing chef.
17. Jen Lancaster is one of my new favorite authors and I’ve read all of her books: Bitter is the new Black; Such a Pretty Fat; Bright Lights, Big Ass; and I just finished the newly released Pretty in Plaid. My husband gives me funny looks when I laugh out loud while reading them.
18. Eventually I will write my own book, but I can’t seem to find the time/courage right now. Blogging is my way of baby-stepping toward larger projects.
19. I am attuned for Reiki level I and hope to get my level II attunement by the end of the year.
20. I rearrange the furniture in the house at least every other month…some rooms more…just for a change. Too bad I hurt my back last weekend doing just that
21. After my second daughter was born, the first full night of sleep I got was when I was on a business trip when she was 2. I had 4 nights of uninterrupted sleep. It was definitely needed.
22. I started taking lessons to fly a Cessna (which is amazingly amazing, by the way), but have realized that with my history of migraines and anxiety attacks, I would never pass the medical portion to get my private pilot license.
23. I’ve had two kids without epidurals yet I’m scared to get the small tattoo that I want.
24. I have a hard time fighting the extra weight from having kids and I still blame it on “baby weight” even though my “baby” is almost 6.
25. I love to shop and have passed this on to both of my daughters.

Why Me, Why Now?

There are many reasons to start this blog. They seem endless to me, but below are the top three:

1) I really want to be a writer/editor on a freelance basis and have done a little of each. My husband is an amazing support system for me and keeps telling me to just get going with it already. Sounds like he's tired of hearing me talk about it all the time. Oh, and there is that BA degree in English that I'd like to put to use.

2) I've read every book by my new favorite author, Jen Lancaster, and she gives me hope and a drive to get back to my writing. So sad that I missed her book signing the other day.

3) After reading a blog I recently ran across, it gave me inspiration that maybe if I have someone or something to be accountable to, I might do better on my quest to lose weight permanently - you know, kill two birds with one stone kind of thing. (More, much more, to come on this topic.)

So, here we go. Wish me luck.