Friday, August 30, 2013

a day in the life Working Mommy Post - Amber


Welcome back Amber so happy to have you write again for this series.

My name is Amber and I blog over at Life with the Wallace’s when I have a spare moment,  which as a working mom does not happen so often. I did a guest post back in 2011 when Melissa did the Working Mommy post and enjoyed the series then and really have enjoyed it this time as well! 

I am a Digital Media teacher (I get to teach Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Final Cut (video), Graphic Design and whatever other creative things that go with it) to 10th-12th grade students in Mississippi. This is my 7th year teaching, but my first year at the new job. I feel like in some parts I have more flexibility which I really love. I absolutely LOVE my job but it wears me down some days for sure. 9 months out of the year I work and 3 months I get the great benefit of being a SAHM. 

I am married to my wonderful husband Chad. We just celebrated 10 years! We have one little girl, Morgan who turned 3 in May who hates anything in her hair. If its a bow, headband, or anything else she pulls it straight out!

A Day In Our Life
My alarm usually goes off around 6 to 6:10 depending on how many times I hit the snooze button. I usually get up take a shower and then try to get myself dressed before Chad and Morgan get up. 

I usually get Morgan up around 6:45-6:50. We get a few moments of cuddles and watching one of her favorite shows (Jake and the Neverland Pirates or Dora). She finally gets up and then I usually get her ready. 

Some mornings Chad brings her and some mornings I bring her to school. If mommy brings her we try to leave by 7:20-7:25 and when daddy brings her its closer to 7:40ish I think they leave. We both have a 25-30 minute commute to work and her school is right in the middle for both of us. Morgans school is on both of our way to work so its definitely very convenient. We just moved her to a new school this year (love Catholic school education!) and she has been loving it and we love that it is now on our way to work instead of 20 minutes out of the way (10 min there and back). I never was able to bring her before since it was so far out and being a teacher I had to be there so early, but this year I do not have to be at school nearly as early as in the past.

I usually arrive to school around 8 to make sure I have everything in order before school starts at 8:45 (yes its a late start!). I have 4 different classes that last 2.5 hours. My first class starts at 8:45 and ends at 11:20. I have a lunch break and my next class does not start until 12:40. Its nice to have a lunch break being a teacher. The last class of the day ends at 3:15 and we are allowed to leave. Most days I end up staying around till 3:45-4 (just depending on how much is going on). 

I pick up Morgan around 4-4:15 on most days. We head home and are usually home by 4:30. Morgan loves to help cook so we begin fixing dinner on most nights and then spend the rest of the time playing and being silly (color, dress up, throwing the ball, playing in the pool, eating Popsicles, etc.). Chad gets off at 5 and is usually home by 5:30ish. 

We usually eat shortly afterwards and try to make time to sit at the table and just talk about our day together. Some nights its easy to do this but other nights its TOUGH!

After dinner, we play with Morgan and then start bath time around 7:45-8. We usually read a book of Morgan's choice before heading to bed. She is usually in bed by 8:30-8:45. One of us still lays down with her to go to bed and while I know that she is old enough to lay down by herself I love that sweet time with lots of cuddles!

How do household tasks get done (laundry, dishes, bills, errands, etc.)
I know that I am definitely in the minority here but I do not mind doing the laundry on Saturday. It keeps me home on Saturday and I would rather do it then so I can just relax a little during the week. If we are going to be out of town or have something to do on Saturday then I try to get it finished between Thursday and Friday nights.

Dishes are all Chads duty while I give Morgan a bath. He is usually pretty good about doing it and then picking up the little odds and ends. It helps to try to keep the house clean through the week so we do not ever have much to do on the weekend. Morgan has gotten in that Chad can not give her a bath since he is a boy and she is a girl so baths are always a mommy thing. 

Bills are really easy for us because everything is on auto draft and I never have to worry about them. It has taken me a while to get everything on it but I can finally say its done! Before I got them all on auto draft I sat down the first day of the month and paid them all. 

Errands get done in many different areas depending on what it is. I can do errands through the week if its a small one near my school or sometimes after school, Morgan and I will run some. Then if its something else, Chad sometimes run some of them as well. Again it just depends on the area that we need to go.


Spending quality time with Morgan
I feel like even though I do work I still get to spend a lot of time with her. On a daily basis, I get to spend around 4-5 hours with her which I love. I try to soak in every little moment to make sure that my time with her really counts. I try to get things done at school and sometimes even stay a little later just so I don't have to take it home and spend my time with her. It does not always happen, but most days. I love the fact that 3 months out of the year I get the great benefit of spending every day with her.

Spending quality time with Chad
This is definitely an area that we have tried to work on but is so very tough! My parents live about 10 minutes away from us and usually every 1-2 months she will spend the night on Friday. We try to talk about our days on a daily basis though. I have the option to have lunch out and usually once a month we are going to try to take advantage of this and have lunch without Morgan.

Spending time with friends
Most of our friends are from church. We have Wednesday nights which I love because it gives me a night off from cooking and always gets to enjoy good friend company before the service, every other Sunday night we have community group, and I am also in a small women's bible study group that I cherish the time to just go somewhere and talk to these lovely ladies. One of our best friends (who do not go to our church), we try to meet up with them twice a month for either dinner at one of our houses or dinner out. Its hard to find time to do much I must admit though without Morgan. Our time is precious!

Finding balance with life
I am still trying to re-figure out the balance in life right now since school just started back and I have gotten to do things on whatever time frame I wanted. I think the key to success for us is preparing the night before (lunch, outfits, etc). If I try to do it all the morning of, its a complete disaster usually and we would always be late. I also have to remember that I can not do everything and sometimes things just do not get done and its quite ok! My time with my family is much more important.

Follow Along
If you want to read more of the craziness, when I do find the time that happens in our house, you can keep up with us, at  http://wallacefamilyblog.wordpress.com/, find me on instagram @amberwallace03, twitter@amberwallace03, pinterest@amw211.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Working FROM HOME (working mama post) - Nicole

Happy Thursday EVERYONE! 
One day closer to the weekend...yeah!

I am excited to share this working mama post with all of you! 
Meet Nicole she is a working mama that works at HOME!
Maybe you working mama's out there that work from home can get some tips...


Hello Everyone! 
I am thrilled that I can be part of  this series. I  have enjoyed reading everybody's so far.
 I am Nicole from the Da' Clarks. I am passionate about my faith and my family and living each day to its fullest.
 I am married to a wonderful,hardworking man and we have 3 children. Kendric{8}, Cadence{6} going on 16 and Kaelis who is a few weeks shy of {3}.
                                                                                  

   I work fulltime at home.  I know alot of people think working at home has perks, and it does, but it can also be very challenging and draining as well.  I have a preschool/daycare in the basement of my home and am down their usually from 8-4 with an hour of naptime and I usually go upstairs to get a few things done if I can.
I love working from home and I am blessed that I can. It allows me to stay home with my kiddos,but still bring in that income we need. I only watch teacher kids, so I have my summer off and all the school holidays,but I never stop working being a mom!
My day is chaotic and noisy,but very busy.

Here is a glimpse of our morning:
I wake up at 5 and get ready for my run. My husband goes first and runs so while he is running I will get my weights lifted and do some ab work.
 I will leave the house around 550 and get back around 630. I quickly jump in the shower and get ready. I am usually downstairs(living area) by 645 to prepare for the day. My kids are up by  7 and I have kids arriving around that time as well. I get the kids breakfast and I usually eat in between doing everything else. That is just the way it goes! My kids are old enough that depending on what breakfast they want, they usually get it themselves, This helps a lot and I can focus on the daycare kids.
 My kids have a late school start so they do not have to leave until 8:45 or so I do not feel as rushed to get them out the door. I normally will take the kids downstairs to get their day started. I have a timer that goes off when it is time for my kids to leave for school and that way that is one less thing I have to worry about. They have everything ready to go and shoes on when I head downstairs.
                                                                             
How we make it flow:
The only way mornings will run smooth(believe me there are days it just fails) is by getting everything prepared the night before.
My kids get home from school around 430PM. We have snack and chat about our day and then they watch a show or play on ipad for some downtime. This is usually when I start dinner and get a few things done.  We usually eat around 6PM or 615PM(Ryan gets home about 530PM or 6PM)and then the kids do some school work or reading before they can have some fun time.
They usually play outside until 730PM and then come in to take showers/baths, brush teeth. Since my kids are older, they usually can shower themselves and then I will give Kaelis a bath. While the other 2 shower I pick out their clothes for the next morning and my clothes. This has saved so much time. I take forever picking out outfits and knowing this is already done is such a time saver. We also pack our lunches between after school and dinner time. That way is out of the way.
After showers we do a family activity which could be watch a movie or play a game. No matter what it is we make sure we do it together. By this time it is about 830 and we prepare for bed. Our laundry room is on the 2nd level so before I go downstairs I throw a load of  laundry in and put in on the delay cycle for midnight and then the load is ready  to go in the dryer when I get up in the morning. I fold the load at naptime.
 Our routine can change a little from time to time because of school events or the kids sports events,but we always try to keep it as close as possible. Life is not perfect and neither are we and things will not get done the way I like it or a load of laundry  might not be put in at night,but sometimes I just have to take a deep breath and know that it will get done at some point. I just move on and know the tomorrow is always a new day.

                                                                                    
                                                                       




                                                                          


Qualitity time with my husband:
This has been an issue that has had to be ironed out. We have struggled with this issue because we are tired or I do not like what he is watching and we go to different rooms. We knew that had to change so after some deep discussions we decided that after the kids go to sleep it is our time. We usually watch a show or sometimes just talk without cell phones or any distractions. This has helped our relationship tremendously   We get so focused on our children and spending time with them,that we forget about each other. We still have things to work on,but it gets better each day. 
 We also try to go on date at least once a month if not more. Those dates are a MUST!
                                                                        

How I keep the house clean:
I like a tidy house,but it may not always work out that I have one!  This is where I get the family involved. My kids have know that the playroom is their room and they need to be in charge of the cleaning. i have taught them that as soon as they are finished with something,they always put it away. That way they have less to clean up at once. I try to have a home for everything and this helps with clutter. I will go in and tidy up after them if I need too,
When I cook dinner, I clean as I go. I will rinse the dish or pan I am using and put it in the dishwasher or drying rack, I will put all the ingredients away when i am finished using them. This works for me because then after dinner I am not left with a huge dinner mess to clean up. The kids will take their dishes to the sink after dinner and then I just put them in the dishwasher.  I do not like going to bed knowing I have dishes in the sink or a messy kitchen to wake up to. I make sure the kitchen is clean before going to bed.
As far as the rest of the house, I take one task at a time. I had to make a plan on paper for myself and it has worked great. Mondays I dust and clean the baseboards..., Tuesdays, I clean the bathrooms... etc..  Since I am able to get a few things done during that window of nap time, this is when I do these things. That way my weekends and my evenings are not spent cleaning. This way it is not so over whelming and I feel like I have accomplished more that way. My house seems to stay cleaner this way. We just pick up as we go.
All the beds are made in the morning. I feel like I cannot continue until the beds are made. I have always been like that.
My husband is type A so everything of his is clean and picked up so he helps out in that department.


 Spending time with friends:
This is something that needs to get better,but even though we may not get together as often as we like, I always make sure to send a hello text or a note on facebook to let them know I am thinking about them. I will ask them how their week is going or just hello.
 Ryan and try to do something with our friends separately when we can. I usually will have bunco once a month with the girls on a Sat night and he will go see a movie or whatever once a month. This is just enough to be with our friends have fun. On occasion we will get a group together,but finding a sitter is tough work!

                                                                                






There you have a glimpse inside our crazy busy day!
you can keep up with me by following my blog or
at instagram @coleyclark30
or bloglovin or like me on facebook.
Please feel free to contact me with anything.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

a day in the life Working Mommy Post - Julie

Hello all!!  My name is Julie…and I don’t blog (insert gasps here!  haha!).  I used to blog (many years ago), but just have never found the motivation to keep up with it.  However, I read many blogs and get lots of good advice and ideas from them, so I was excited when Melissa did this series again!
We live in Kansas and I am a full-time working mom.

I am married to my amazing husband, Grant.

And mommy to our sweet, smart, spunky, and hilarious “little girl (always) with a big bow”, Elliott – she just turned 2 in July.

A Day In Our Life
My alarm clock goes off at 5:30 am, I started getting up this early a few months ago in an attempt to get some things done in the morning while the house is quiet and I don’t have a 2-year-old constantly needing me!  (now there are still mornings that I hit snooze and stay in bed till 6:00, but it’s a work in progress!).  Some mornings I go hop on the treadmill and catch up on the morning news/social media while I walk, or I throw dinner in a crock pot, pack my lunch or change out the laundry or just sit and read in quiet!
I jump in the shower and start getting ready for work.  I usually can get showered, makeup on and at least my hair dried at this point.
At about 6:30 am, the other 2 are waking up.  Grant and I take turns being responsible for getting E up and dressed each day.  We have done this since I went back to work after maternity leave (when she was an infant and got up way earlier to take a bottle) but still do it because it gives us each a few days a week to have extra minutes to get ourselves together in the morning or sleep in a bit.  We love interacting with her in the morning because she is so awake and energetic!  We stop to help her with the puzzles, blocks or other toys that she plays with between her room and ours every morning.
Grant grabs breakfast (and coffee!) and is out the door with E by 7:15 am…This is when I finish getting ready.  We are lucky in that both of our families live in the same town as us, so E goes to one of her grandma’s houses everyday while we work.  Grant’s mom also does in-home daycare so she does still get interaction with other kids, but definitely gets spoiled by them both!!  I get out the door by 7:40 am and usually eat my breakfast on my way or at my desk when I arrive.
[insert long workday here!]
I leave work around 5:00 pm and go pick-up E since Grant usually is off work later than I am.  I get home and changed into comfy clothes, and we decide what to do for dinner.  I won’t lie, I don’t cook that much (I am trying to get better and have actually planned 4 new recipes for this week!) so we eat something that is quick to make.  We do sit down as a family and eat EVERY night no matter what we are eating.  I think this time is really important and E is our built in dinner entertainment!
The rest of the evening, well it depends on the night…one night a week we take her to gymnastics, sometimes we go for a walk, play around the house or outside, get chores done with her “help”, etc.  By 7:30 pm, we start winding her down for the night…bath, pj’s, prayers, books, night night by 8:00 pm!  We again take turns with who is responsible for all that, but the other one is usually close by helping or just entertaining her J
After she is down for the night, that’s when we get time to relax together or do things around the house.
We are both usually in bed by 9:30 or 10:00 (I know, exciting night life we live!!  Haha).
And are up the next morning to do it all again!


How do household tasks get done (laundry, dishes, bills, errands, etc.)
Well, what started as a joke a few months ago has stuck AND worked!  One night Grant was proclaiming his hate for doing laundry and I jokingly said that I will forever wash, fold and put away the laundry if he forever washed and put away the dishes…and he agreed!  Now I know it won’t last FOREVER, but for now it’s working for us!  I keep up with the laundry by doing several loads a week instead of all at one time and love that I don’t have to do anything with the dishes J  As for everything else around the house…I am blessed with a wonderful husband that is very helpful and we basically both are responsible for cleaning, trash, etc.  We are both totally OCD and crazy neat freaks so the house never appears to be messy (even if we haven’t dusted in a few weeks!).  Elliott has taken on those traits and is really good about cleaning up her toys and putting them away. 
Spending quality time with E

You won’t find us doing much in the evenings/weekends that doesn’t involve her, we take her everywhere with us!  We figure that we are away from her all day Mon-Fri, so we squeeze in as much time as possible with her.  Our quality time with her on the weekends is just playing around the house or taking her out to eat or running errands or going grocery shopping… we rarely go anywhere on weeknights unless we have to.  It’s hard to only have 5:00-8:00 to have her awake during the week, so we make the most of it!
Spending quality time with Grant

We are really bad about making this a priority. Grant and I are both natural homebodies, so when we spend time together, it is usually at home!  After she goes to bed, we take that time to catch up on the DVR or work on a home improvement project together (we are currently painting 5 pieces of furniture for a certain little girls “big girl room”).  Some nights we just sit in the living room and chat about our days and other happenings or do our own thing.  We try to go on a date night once a month, and usually just go to dinner or shopping!  We are again lucky to have both our moms and my teenage niece in town that can watch her for us.
Spending time with friends
This one is hard!!  I keep in touch with many of my girl friends through text or phone calls throughout the week.  But, we rarely find time to actually do stuff with our friends (I know that sounds horrible!), but we both have large, close families with 10 nieces/nephews so we spend a lot of our free time with them and attending their activities.  I have started a mom’s group/playgroup with 5 other working moms that I know from different parts of my life (some from Junior League, some from school, etc.) and we are going to be meeting one evening a month.  I really think that it will be nice to have a group of ladies to surround myself with that have the same life happenings and for E to interact with all their children.
Finding balance with life
It took me a long time to adjust to life after I had Elliott.  But now it’s just our normal! 
I try to run as many errands as I can during my lunch hour so that I don’t have to worry about them in the evenings and get lots of little tasks taken care of throughout the day at my desk.
  We remind ourselves many times a week that everything is just a phase and it will pass (just as another challenge comes along!).   We are in a season of our lives that doesn’t give us much time for anything outside of Elliott, but I know that it won’t always be that way, so I make the best of it and treasure it with her while I can.  All the laundry, dishes, housecleaning, girls nights, date nights,etc. will happen eventually…just not at this moment! 
Thanks for reading my ramblings and taking a peek into my working mom life!!

Follow me on Instagram – mrsgould36 or e-mail me at – julieann327@hotmail.com

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

night terrors

our little guy Grayson is having night terrors this is night three of it taking place for hours.  It usually is just the first few hours that he is asleep, but last night it was ALL night long. 
I feel so sad for him.  He wakes up and cries, screams, runs around the house like he doesn't know where he is or who we are, and he is shaking all over.  
He never wants to go back to his room he always wants in our room... I don't want to make it a habit that every time this happens he gets to sleep with us.  But I don't want him to be scared of his room.  Last night I laid with him and held his hand until he fell back to sleep, but not even an hour later he was up again with night terrors.  So at this point it was midnight and I needed sleep so I just let him sleep in our bed.  
Any tips?  Will he out grow this?  What is the best method when he wakes up with these terrors?  Should I just hold him and let him do what he wants to do?  Do you think he is getting enough rest at night when this occurs?  Do you think he remembers in the morning? 
I asked the question on instagram last night after the second time of him waking up, but I thought I would share what is happening in our house and see if anyone has had similar stories or situation that they can offer advice to this tired mama.  
Thanks in advance...

Sweet boy holding his mama's hand

Friday, August 23, 2013

day in the Life Working Mommy Post - Boni

I was excited when Boni emailed me to do a working mommy post... 
she is a local girl and extremely busy with her girls and hubby.  That I was very interested to read her post...
Her girls are adorable and I love keeping up with Boni on Instagram

Thanks Boni for sharing a day in the life 

Hi, ya'll! I am Boni and I blog over at "The Williamson's World". I am a southern girl who loves to laugh, Mexican food, shopping, Jesus, petit fores, shoes, matching outfits, sweet tea, big bows, margaritas, the beach and my family. I am married to my super handsome, laid-back, go-with-the-flow husband, Travis. We have three daughters (I KNOW...THREE GIRLS!). Emma is, our 9 year-old,  is in the 4th grade. Hannah is 6 and in 1st grade. Catherine just turned 4 and is in Pre-K. Our house is what I, lovingly, refer to as "organized chaos". It's a different kind of chaos from when the girls were very young, but each new season in life brings new challenges, (and usually shows up just as I get the current one figured out). I work in the Walmart/Sam's supplier world in NWA. My husband owns his own flooring business. As you can imagine, the dirty laundry and drama are not in short supply around our house!
  

Getting Household Things Done
When you walk into my house on a Friday night, you will immediately be able to tell if we have had an abnormally busy week. If we have, there is sure to be a load (or three) of laundry in the oversized chair begging to be folded, a sink of dishes pleading for a ride through the dishwasher and backpacks/dance bags/softball bags strewn by the back door. Usually though, I do chores every morning/night to stay on top of things. In the mornings, I unload the dishwasher from the night before and the girls put their breakfast dishes in when they are done eating. I also rotate the laundry any chance I get (morning or night) because I can NEVER seem to keep up. My girls are also old enough to pick up after themselves, (we started chore charts a while back...you can read about that here)
 
I (try to) cook dinner 6 nights a week. At lunch on Sunday, I sit down with my Erin Condren planner and, with everyone's help, plan our meals for the week. I've tried several different methods for meal planning and this one works best for us. By putting it in my planner, I can organize our dinners based on the week's activities, i.e. school performance = crock pot meal, mommy traveling = frozen pizza, etc. Sunday night, after the kids go to bed (around 8:30), I head to the grocery store. I love going then for two reasons; 1) no one is ever there! It's so nice to not have to fight the crowd and 2) it's a little extra "Boni time", even if it is browsing the canned goods at the grocery store.
 
Since I cook dinner (the older two work on homework while I cook), Travis loads the dishwasher every night while I give Catherine a bath. Once the girls are in bed for the night, I do more laundry and sweep the kitchen floor.
 
I have someone that comes every other week to deep clean the house. I do my vacuuming and dusting between those times on the weekends.
 

Spending Quality Time with the Girls
During the summer, the girls have no extra activities. Plus, even though we work, the bathtime/bedtime schedule gets much more relaxed in the summer. So, we spend lots of time outside. We will eat on the patio and play until the mosquito's almost carry us all away. We go on a walk every night around the neighborhood. We play in the yard with Gus (our super crazy Australian Shepard)
 
During the school year, it's a little more challenging. The older two have homework almost every night, plus all three girls take dance. But, we manage to fit in some good QT with them by making the most of the time we do have. After I pick the girls up, while we are driving home, we go around the car and tell one funny thing, one exciting thing and one "bummer" thing that happened during each of our days. I cannot tell you how many days we have laughed ourselves to tears during this. It also keeps the girls talking about their day other than answering "It was fine." (Catherine almost always tells on herself during the "bummer" question. It makes me giggle a little when she says "It was a bummer I was in time out for not sharing today...but I was a good girl! Don't worry, Mommy".)
 
We always try to sit down to dinner with no phones, no TV and no distractions together as a family. Whether I cook or we eat out, family dinners are so important. Travis says the blessing and we all talk about our days. Lots of issues have been sorted out over a good southern cooked family dinner in the Williamson household!
 
When the girls are doing homework, Travis spends some 1-on-1 time with Catherine, (she almost always makes him play princess...HILARIOUS!). I cook while they do homework and always end up helping one or the other with something. Since they are at the kitchen table working, when they are done, the three of us usually just sit and talk about their days. It's really nice to have company while I cook too! They take turns taking a shower and while the other is in the shower, I always get the daily secrets from the one still in the kitchen with me. :)
 
Catherine and I spend our play time together when I give her a bath. I sit on the floor by the tub and we play with her bath toys. Sometimes, we hurry and bathe so she can get out and we can go play with "the sisters" (that's what Catherine calls Emma & Hannah!). After her bath, that's when we get the best time together as a family. We color, play, dance, sing, watch "Duck Dynasty" and just spend whatever time we have together, before their bedtimes, purposefully.
 
Spending Time with Travis
It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of being a working Mommy and completely forget about that hottie of a husband, who needs your attention too. Since the day we had Emma, I was scared to death of becoming one of those marriages that ends up divorced when their kids are grown ups because they pour so much time into their kids and no time into each other.
 
So, Travis and I make time for each other. Lots of days, we will go on lunch dates. I love our lunch dates! We also make a point at night to spend time together before bed. Sometimes that means watching TV together. Sometimes, we sit and talk about our day. Sometimes, we play 7 Little Words on the iPad together. And my personal favorite, we sit on the patio with a glass of wine/beer and talk. But, basically, we just spend a little time unwinding TOGETHER.
 
We try very hard to do a date night once every month or so. Sometimes that's just dinner or maybe a movie too. Sometimes it's a night out with friends. We love to go to concerts together. No matter what it is, we do something to keep "us" alive. Travis and I also text a lot during the day. He is my best friend and I am his. We cherish our marriage so much. It took a lot of growing for us to realize that it doesn't make us bad parents to steal away a little time for just the two of us. It's so important to us to show our kids what a strong, healthy marriage looks like because we know they are going to model their marriage after what they see.

 
Spending Time with Friends
Between the kids and Travis it is VERY hard to spend time with friends. But, I can tell you that nothing refuels my tank like spending time with my friends. It's so nice to talk with a friend about the nasty email the PTA sent you because you missed the last meeting or celebrate the fact that you arrived at the office before your boss three days in a row. Whatever it is about girls' nights, I love them! It's hard to make them happen, but Travis is always willing to help.If we don't get a dinner together, there is always a lunch date or meeting to shop a little at lunch. Also, our husbands like each other too, so we often double date with our friends, killing two birds with one stone. Whatever it is, make time for your friends. I have never laughed so hard in my life as when we have a group text going during the day about something that happened to one of us!

 
Working out/Taking Care of Yourself
This is such a struggle for me. I feel like there is just not enough time in the day for me to take care of myself. While I love my lunches with Travis or my friends, I started working out at lunch 3 days a week, MWF. I joined a class and it's the best thing I've done. I blocked off that time on my calendar, so I don't have any meetings during that time. Don't get me wrong, there are days I have to force myself to go. I have dried my sweaty hair in the air vents of my car on the way to a meeting. But, it's worth it and by 1pm those days, I am done with my exercising for the day...so I don't have to hurry to fit it in at night. I still have weight to lose, but it has already made me feel better about myself. Travis tells me all the time that when I feel better about myself and my appearance, I am happier. And, when I am happier, he is happier. So, think about it as the gift of happiness to your family while your trying to do that 10th push-up in a row! ha!

 
Balancing Life
I am sure you are reading the above and thinking "Gag...she's got it all figured out and makes it sound easy." Trust me when I say that couldn't be further from the truth. I struggle balancing everything daily. Some days, I feel like there is no way I will be able to get it all done. Some days, I think "I've got this!". Then, I will realize I've been walking around all day with two different earrings in, (I am not making this up...I've done it...multiple times)
 
I put undue pressure on myself to do it all! But, at the end of the day, my kids are happy and healthy, my husband loves me and can't imagine life without me and I am just so blessed. So, I will keep trying to balance life, praying that I learn to give myself grace as a mother and laugh at my shortcomings.
 
If you've read my blog before, you know that I had a very major accident on Mother's Day 2012, (post here). I have ALWAYS loved life and lived it to the fullest, but that put things in a whole new perspective to me and my family. As I put less pressure on myself, I find that I am a better mother, wife, employee, friend and daughter. My favorite quote is "She loved life and it loved her right back!"
 
Lastly, here are a few tips that I have learned to use that keep my Type-A personality from flipping out:
1) Keep a planner. I started keeping one two years ago and it is my lifeline. I cannot keep up with who needs to be where and when without it. Also, it was the only thing that helped Travis & my mom keep their sanity when I was in the hospital and they were trying to keep the girls in their routines.
2) Just say no. I am the former queen of over-committing my family and myself. It stressed me out. It stressed them out. Plus all the things I committed us to were less fun because we were all worried about the next thing in the schedule. I learned that little word and it's been a freeing thing for us!
3) Kick Mom Guilt to the curb. We all have it. Whether you miss that field trip with the school and all other moms went or you're traveling two weeks in a row. Every mom is just doing the best she can for her kids with the hand she has been dealt. Would you think ill of your friend if she didn't send homemade valentines to school for her child's class? (I've been that mom. Read here) I didn't think so. Then why not extend that same grace to yourself. (easier said that done, I know!)
4) Make memories. Don't get so caught up in the chores and schedules that you don't have time to laugh and snuggle with your kids. They don't remember if the floors were mopped. But, I promise that they will laugh for months about the time you had a pillow fight and daddy accidentally ripped mommy's pillow case. (true story)


 
I hope ya'll enjoyed reading about my take on balancing everything. I am so grateful to Melissa for doing this series. I love reading about each one of ya'll and can't wait to put some of these tips and tricks I've learned so far into action!
 
If you want to read more of the chaos that happens in our house, you can keep up with us, at http://www.btwilli.blogspot.com/ or find me on instagram @bwilli5.
 
HAPPY FRIDAY!
 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

day in the Life Working Mommy Post - Mandy

Happy Wednesday!

Meet Mandy from A Peek at the Pierces
love her blog name it is adorable! 

Sorry for the late post...
Working Meeting this morning and a short work day because now I am at home with a sick baby Crew... 

Thanks Mandy for sharing your day with us... 



Hey girls!  My name is Mandy, I am mom to Reese, who is ONE and to McKenna, my stepson....he's about to turn 17!   My husband is Clint, we live on a farm in Oklahoma.  My blog is A Peek at the Pierces....I blog to keep friends and family up to date on the happenings in our home.  We are a super busy group, so there's lots to keep up with!!!

Come on in for a look into our day!

Our day starts early!  Clint is a project manager for the construction department with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, he is up and gone by 6:00 a.m. every morning.  That's his "day job."  After he gets off he heads out to where ever he is baling hay, on top of cutting and baling our own hay, he does custom baling for others in the area.  We live in a rural area, most people have cattle and horses.  
I get up around 5:45-6:00 a.m. and grab a shower before he leaves.  I get dressed and ready..pack my lunch and get Reese's bag packed for the day.  My Dad shows up at 6:45 a.m. to pick her up.  We live about 15 minutes from my parents ranch, my Dad comes by most days and picks Reese up to save me the 30 minute commute to take her over and drop her off.  I have a one hour drive as it is.  It is such a blessing that he does that PLUS the fact, that Reese is able to stay with them.  She enjoys getting to soak up Granni and Pepaws love every day! 

McKenna gets up and around to head to school about 6:30 a.m.  He is a licensed driver now, and it helps so much!  He is so busy with sports and school, not having to shuttle him around is super!  He leaves for school at 7:00 a.m.

After he leaves, I grab my lunch and head out to work.  Like I said, I drive 55 miles to Paris, Texas where I work as a Radiation Therapist with Texas Oncology.  I love, love, love my job!  I have been there 12 years.  I work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  I have Thursday off,  its nice to spend that day catching up, doing errands, and playing with my sweet princess!  I work until 5:00 p.m. then head home to get Reese.  This is when our day gets crazy!  

Clint and I share the duties of going to pick up Reese and getting her home.  I try to start dinner and have it on the table by 6:30 or 7.  During the week, I utilize my crock pot or freezer meals.  Throw steamed veggies or a salad with it and we are set.  We all try to set down together most nights and eat.  During hay season, its hard because Clint is usually working until dark.  On game nights, our schedule goes out the window and we usually grab a sandwich or something on the fly.   

I get Reese winding down by 8:00.  I bathe her and get her jammies on and hopefully by 8:15-8:30 she is ready for her warm milk bottle and getting sleepy! Clint is really good about taking over these duties if I have something going on or am behind on my housework.   I rock her until she falls asleep and then I lay her down in her bed.  Most nights, she wakes up around midnight and I bring her to bed with us...I know, I know...I don't need to hear it!  

After she goes down, I whirl around cleaning up the kitchen, do a load of laundry or two, and get things picked.  I like to keep some order of clean going all week, Thursday is my real cleaning day.  I also have a little side business of hair bows  embroidery and baby gifts.  If I have any orders needing attention, I will work in my craft room a little while before I go to bed.  I try to be in bed by 10:30 or 11:00.  

Clint and I spend a lot of time together in the evenings, whether its at a game, or after he gets home, we tag team Reese's bath time.  We always try to sit down and eat together when we are at home.  On the weekends, Reese and I will go visit them in the hayfield or whatever they are doing!

That basically wraps up most of our days, sometime it seems I'm winging it, other days I feel like I really have it together!  I try to make it a fun life for our kids meanwhile showing them working hard and loving Jesus are important!  It's definitely a crazy life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Monday, August 19, 2013

monday notes

for many families out there it is back to school... 
I love seeing all of the pictures on Facebook and Instagram...
my boys start a new school on September 9th, we are switching daycare's, so I will be capturing their first day soon.
I hope they love their new school, I am extremely nervous that Grayson is going to have a hard time.  We keep talking about the new school and that he gets to bring a backpack to school.  I am hoping the excitement of getting to take a backpack to school will make everything okay.  I hope he doesn't miss his friends at his old school too much and he makes new friends quickly.  I hope I made the right decision... 
parenting is hard some days...

my boys walking into school today

 Crew is driving Grayson to school...ha!

crew was up at 5AM today so by 8AM Crew and I were ready for the day just waiting for Grayson to wake up and join the party.
I was not a fan of Crew waking up at 5 AM, but I tried to rock him back to sleep...he was more interested in playing so after trying for about 30 minutes we went downstairs and started our day of getting ready.  While I was rocking Crew I was thinking to myself enjoy this moment before it is gone.  Crew soon won't want me to rock him... sad face!  I don't want my baby to grow up I want to freeze time.  I think that is why I haven't taken Crew's bottle away...it is the last baby thing about Crew. 
{unless I can talk my hubby into another baby...}
Some day Crew will sleep in, but for today I enjoyed those three hours in the morning with just Crew.

In this season of life with two boys I have learned a lot about myself as a parent and what works and doesn't work for my boys.  I have learned to pick my battles with both boys.  
Example one:
If he wants to where footed PJ's in the afternoon on a HOT August Day I let him...

I have learned to relax and live in the moment with the boys.  It may sound weird, but I feel like I am a better parent when I have this attitude.
I have learned that playing with two boys is tough and rough... they are all boys! 
Sometimes I am a horsey that they climb on and ride... I walk around the playroom on my hands and knees and they take me to get pretend water and food.  I just love Grayson's imagination at three years old. 
Most of the time I am the referee making sure there is NO fighting or taking toys from one another 
OR
they are pushing to both sit on my lap   
I have learned if I keep the boys busy by the end of the day bed time is easy...especially when I am a single parent doing it all on my own.  BTW kudos to all those single parents out there... I don't know how you do it day in and day out! 
Yesterday we stayed busy from the moment we got up until bed time 
we played at home
went to the park
had lunch at home 
short naps, which called for a trip to the splash park
I needed to make sure that they were tired by the end of the day!
Plus it was a PERFECT day for the splash park...





and snow cones our first trip EVER to frozen tung 


 two is better than one 

after all that sugar we came home and played outside before dinner time



when I don't get a moment to myself, but a quick shower at 2PM my hair ends up like this...

my boys are a blessing and I am VERY thankful for weekends with them... 
we have fun and it is nice to not spend ONE moment looking at a computer!

a bunch of random points for this Monday that is the reason for the post title today monday notes {so fitting}, but all and all it was a great weekend... I hope you all had a great weekend too!

Sidenote:

From my working mama post several people ask me the following question via a comment or email:
When do you have time to exercise?
You always look great... 
I realize now that I didn't touch on this subject at all! 
I do exercise each day I would like to do more, but life with the boys and work is busy.  I am trying to make it more a priority, but it means that I either have to get up early or stay up late to work out.  This is what I do when I can't get to the gym during the day...
Which has become difficult...
{I am a pilates reformer lover... I need to sign up for a class at our fitness center for this session, hopefully it happens}
I do the following routine 
50 jumping jacks
20 lunges
10 push ups
20 squats 
20-30 sit ups 
1 minute plank hold, I have had to work up to a minute but I can do it now!
I usually do the above work out when the boys are playing upstairs in the playroom... they think it is fun to watch mommy and they like to help me out too...
plus running around with those boys is a workout too! 

If I don't do the above I usually do the Shred Work Out after the boys go to bed, which means I work out around 9:30 or 10PM at night.  I just started doing the Shred again over the past two weeks and I will tell you I feel much better doing this workout than my short version workout above. 
I think anything is better than nothing... 

I hope this answers all questions in regards to this topic... I am open for suggestions... 

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