Figuring It All Out

I haven’t had a chance to notice my absence from this blog lately. For starters, my professional life has been feeling in full-ish* bloom since December. I took on some large-scale projects with publishers and haven’t had an empty moment since. I am thankful for a new iMac that has helped me get through this hectic time. There’s nothing like editing thousands of references to appreciate a jet-speed computer.

I have also been working hard on myself. I know this seems like a cliched mom phrase, but I’ve needed to take a step back and commit to taking better care of myself. Some of this process has been as simple as eating more fruits. Other basic things have included hair maintenance, clothes shopping, and discovering new media to enjoy. I’ve been reading for pleasure more, binge watching Parks and Recreation (and just discovered Gilmore Girls–seriously, I am behind the times!), and finding other small things that make me happy. (I am a huge sports fan, so there’s always an exciting sports storyline to follow.)

Another endeavor I am committed to this spring is boosting my fitness level. I’ve been dedicated to a good amount of cardio for many years, but now I am trying to increase my intensity (i.e., running) and strength. So far, I have been able to do to this for a few weeks, but I am really hoping it sticks as a lifestyle change. I set up our attic as a fitness space and realize I need to put together a good music mix for treadmill running. I would love to feel stronger, trimmer, and healthier over the summer. And, heck, maybe I could even run a 5K at some point!

Other areas of my life that I continue to work on involve nurturing my many important friendships, spending quality time with my family, and pursuing projects and tasks that make me happy. As strange as it sounds, editing reference lists keeps me sane. And I am learning to move on from certain volunteer projects to make room for new ones. That is a big step for me!

I hope to check in here more as the school year winds down and a few of my long-running projects come to a close. I miss using this outlet to document my not-so-exciting but perfect-for-me life.

* I say full-ish because I am not sure my work life has been well balanced, and I love opportunities to grow my talents. There hasn’t been a lot of time for me to connect with my local networks, and I am not sure if exceeding my projected income for the year by the end of May represents that I have my ish together.

March Fun

 

March has sure been a crazy month for our family. The kids had two breaks — for conferences and spring break. It’s been nonstop fun for them, but they both seemed pretty happy to get back to the school routine today. I am also relieved to have a few months with no major disruptions. My workload is definitely part- to full-time these days.

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This month included some St. Paddy’s celebrations, a trip to our college town, and around town fun, including crafting, mini golfing, trampolining, and more. Nora is Shopkins-obsessed, so we made these ones out of air-dry clay. A fun project to kick off spring break!

 

We loved visiting Ithaca again. Eating at Moosewood was a highlight for this nearly lifelong vegetarian as was seeing the beautiful gorges. Watching the kids enjoy nature and the little things made my heart so happy too. We love theme parks and museums, of course, but there is something to be said about taking your kids to a simpler place to really get away from it all.

Oh, and did I mention that I coordinated two Easter egg hunts? It was rewarding to be involved with these activities, but I sure am excited to have less on my to-do list now that Easter is over! Both went off pretty seamlessly; the weather cooperated for both, which is the most important part of the whole activity.

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And we’ve been baking, cooking, drinking, and enjoying life. The Pioneer Woman came to the rescue for our last-minute Easter meal. This carrot cake was divine, with or without the pecans.

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I love my kids at this age. Seriously, it’s so much fun.

 

Holy Moly! Spring Break?!

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What has happened to this school year? I know Easter is a little on the early side this year, but how on earth have we already reached spring break?

I’ve been having some “long days, short years” feelings lately. Maybe because we’re just a stone’s throw away from kindergarten and the elementary school years. Maybe it’s because my baby is celebrating his fourth birthday this July. Maybe it’s because my part-time workload resembles a full-time one. Or maybe it’s because I feel like my little people are now bigger people and have become friends who keep me company each day.

Our spring break is bookended with Easter egg hunts, includes a mini vacation, and requires me to log a lot of work hours while Steve is home with the kids. It’s pretty representative of where we are these days: we’re busy in the community, tag-teaming kid activities, and trying to make the most of life.

Enjoy the spring weather . . . or in our case possible spring snow on Sunday! I hate the thought of the early blooming magnolias getting covered in snow.

Spring Cleaning

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With spring-like weather teasing us on the East Coast (except for forecasted snow on Friday, which I am actually praying avoids us for the sake of my school/work schedule), I’ve begun the annual process of sifting through our belongings. Sitting in this house for months on end during dark and cold days makes me a little stir crazy. So any sign of spring gets me organizing and planning for nicer months to come.

I tackled our book collection last week, which was an interesting process. Now many, many years removed from college, I am finally able to detach myself from most of my favorite English lit books, reminding myself there is always the library. During this session, I also tossed many baby planning and baby rearing books that were so near and dear to me just a handful of years ago. While there were moments when I wondered about this purging bender, using the “KonMari” approach really helped me let go. I “thanked” and appreciated what the books brought me and then put them in the laundry basket of no return — feeling immense gratitude for various times in my life. I cherish many phases of my three-decade-long journey, but the material objects I possess from favorite periods don’t need to hang around forever.

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The exciting takeaway is that I am left with clean, alphabetized, and manageable bookcases after this activity, which gives me so much joy. I am also delighted to have gathered our vinyl collection in one place, and we’ve decided to move our CDs to the basement once and for all, accepting that having all of them in our iTunes library is sufficient for regular use. Some day I should list the titles of our ’90s alternative/indie rock collection. You’d be impressed.

moody-blue

 

In related house project news, we finished our bedroom painting project, and the results are stunning! I love the Sherwin Williams Moody Blue and feel like it’s made our adult space so relaxing. I really wanted a retreat and this color delivered!

 

Between Idea Land and Execution

Home projects top the list for us in the next few weeks, likely because the football season is over and we filled our taxes and didn’t owe a million dollars as I feared (I believe this must be an emotion many small business owners share). Now that we have time and a clearer picture of our financial situation for the year, we’ve been able to pick financially appropriate projects to polish our home.

It’s been nearly two years since we moved into our house. I remember feeling frustrated when we began life in the new house because there was SO much decorating to do. I couldn’t wait to get to the redecorating stage where I could refine my ideas. I think we’re finally there!

Our first order of business is painting our bedroom. This has been on the wish list since we settled, but we’re finally getting to it and I am glad we waited so we could take our time and anticipate it fully. (Plus we’re actually getting full nights of sleep these days, so it’s a good way to celebrate that milestone!) I’ve struggled with the paint color choice, but I think I’ve settled on letting West Elm do the picking for us. We seem to adore blue in the house, so we’re going to try Moody Blue.

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We’ll pair it with white, gray, and yellow accents. downloadThe bedroom refresh also includes finally addressing our aging blinds and the sheers that remain on the room’s small windows, a carry-over from the previous owner. I am ready to freshen up this space and feel at peace in there at last.

We don’t have many more fun aesthetic projects going on, though I did snag some nice new fabric to recover our dining room chairs today. I’ll post pics of the finished product soon!

Other updates:

  • This weekend has brought nicer, milder weather, and I am starting to believe spring is on its way. A friend and I have taken on the planning for the Easter egg hunt, which will be rather early this year, so let’s hope Mother Nature continues her gentle ways.
  • I nerded out this month and watched The Roosevelts, the Ken Burns documentary. I finished the final episode last week and felt a sense of amazement at what that American political family accomplished. It really puts our political cycles in perspective as well as the amazing leadership abilities of some. If you have fourteen hours to spare, watch it.
  • We also watched the original Star Wars trilogy with the kids last week. It’s been fun to revisit the movies again, and my son has taken to reliving each light saber scene. I have no idea how he has absorbed all of the characters’ moves after one watching, but it’s pretty amazing that he’s so captivated.

 

2016 Blizzard

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I am moments away from tackling the snow piled up in front of my house. The kids are begging to go play outside again, but I need just a few more sips of coffee before I get going.

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As most of you know, the East Coast got walloped by a big snowstorm yesterday. True to form, Steve had to get out and drive in the ridiculous weather to put TV shows into your homes. With the football championship games on today, I would like to think more people than usual are tuned in for his live show this morning. A TV spouse can hope, right?!

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The kids and I got to enjoy being snowed in though, and we walked through the neighborhood last night after a friend invited us over for dinner (such a kind offer!). It was so peaceful to walk through the winter wonderland, even if it means we have to deal with the blizzard’s messy aftermath in the days to come.

Okay, time to dig out!

A Fresh Start in 2016

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Happy New Year, all!

We rung in 2016 in a low-key style, which was just perfect. Our last week of holiday break included Star Wars, Legos, playdates, and more. I loved leisurely mornings and some late(ish) nights. It felt so good to be relaxed and unaware of the days of the week. Holiday break was just right.

But now it’s January.

We’re finally experiencing some cold weather on the East Coast, and Steve’s and my work calendars are a little on the insane side. It could be trouble for my outlook, but I am instead choosing to view this month with a positive perspective.

It feels so nice to be done with the holidays, to have the calendar free and full of possibility. We are already planning a West Coast vacation, a pool membership, and house projects for this spring and summer. Steve and I are binge watching Parks and Recreation. My friends and I are plotting some craft projects for the year. And the kids and I have plenty of new toys and gadgets to paw through in the next few months.

Here’s to large cups of hot tea, adult coloring books, and sweatpants for the remainder of the month!

 

Holiday Highlights

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. I feel like the last few weeks have been nonstop, with visits to and from family, activities to keep multiple generations happy, and constant meal preparation. The remainder of our week will be a little more normal (my parents just left today [sniff, sniff]), but I am not sure I am ready to clear out the Christmas decorations or stop eating holiday treats quite yet.

I’ve had a great stretch of being unplugged, which coincided with my parents’ visit. I continue to be flush with freelance work (yay!), but I was able to step away from the screen for a few days to refresh. How nice it was! I am slowly getting back into work mode as the week progresses and deadlines loom.

Our holiday was full of excitement. The freakishly warm weather took away a little of my spirit at Christmas, but it was fun nonetheless. We actually grilled our Christmas dinner to avoid having the oven on for hours! I didn’t think we’d ever get a 70-degree-plus day on Christmas in Philly. However, the kids’ excitement did not wane, and they adored their many gifts and all of our family gatherings.

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I am thrilled with how much we’ve been able to do in 2015, and the holiday season has been no different. With each year, the kids get more excited to travel and embark on adventures. Our trip to New York City included an elevator ride to the top of the Empire State Building. Another outing took us to Longwood Gardens, and we enjoyed the holiday happenings with Nora walking most of the way.IMG_8222

We’re beginning to plan travel and hatch other ideas for 2016. I am excited to have a clean calendar in January and  hope to hunker down with some cold weather in the coming weeks to recharge for exciting months ahead. Before we get to 2016 though, my hubby and I are marking our TEN year anniversary. How time goes by …

 

 

Holiday Break

 

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Well, it’s here people! Our holiday break!

So far in December, we’ve been operating at breakneck speed to fit in all of our holiday festivity and usual productivity. There have been local festivals, a symphony, a Nutcracker performance, and more. I’ve been cramming in work projects in the evenings and on rare weekend openings to meet deadlines. But now, we’re looking at two and a half weeks of routine busting, so anything goes. Bedtimes are already later after just two nights of break!

My kids sang their hearts out at Wednesday’s preschool holiday performance, which signaled the end of the first half of the school year. They serenaded the crowd with holiday favorites, such as “Dreidel, Dreidel,” “Rudolph,” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Nora’s class (the upperclass!) sang “Keep Christmas with You,” even incorporating sign language. Melt. My. Heart. Nora braved a seat on Santa’s lap, though Carson was still too nervous to talk to the big man.

Our break will be anything but peaceful in the coming days, but it sure will be a lot of fun. We’re headed north to New York City for a quick and full 36-hour getaway. Then we host family for Christmas week. The days to come involve lots of magic, including multiple gift openings, yummy food, a trip to a local favorite — Longwood Gardens — and more. Of course I’ve had my stressed-out mom moments while planning for all of this, but I am beginning to relax and want to enjoy what’s to come.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season! I hope it fills your heart with joy and love.

 

 

 

Expanding Their World

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I admit, recent news — both international and national — has rocked me to my core. As a person of this world, I am processing all that’s happened in the way of violence and ignorance. As a parent in this world, I have tried to figure out the best way to prepare my kids for life and hoped to find a way to tap into the holiday spirit that currently envelops them.

This weekend proved to be a remedy to the uncertainty the world has presented lately. Here’s what we did:

  • We got out of the house.
  • We attended different holiday and cultural events, including a symphony, a local holiday festival, and Center City holiday shows.
  • We connected with friends, neighbors, and others in our circle.
  • We celebrated Hanukkah to recognize some of our family’s roots.
  • We showed the kids what the world has to offer.

At this time in my life, I am focusing on love, peace, happiness, joy, potential, and awe rather than the alternatives. I am giving my kids a childhood full of magic and adventure, in hopes that they will become compassionate and understanding people as they grow. There are many years ahead where I can engage in all of the wrongs of the world, but right now I am choosing the path of optimism.

I am thankful for my life, for our country, for our world. It’s a pleasure day in and day out to reveal the small and big things life has to offer to my curious children. I hope every parent can give their kids the gift of exploration, exposure, and excitement so we can continue to live in a simply awe-inspiring world, despite the challenges we face.