Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 28: Hectic Life

I am still here, it just got really busy with work, beautiful weekend weather and a sick feeling Little Man. I will be back tomorrow! I have some really great topics coming up and some more clothing posts as soon as I find my camera cord. Yes, it is still missing and now it is making me really annoyed.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 23: What Are You Looking For in a Home, Mama?

We are going to try something a little different tonight (yes, it is night time here). One of my favorite blogs is Apartment Therapy, there are a lot of styles and different pictures and truly great ideas-- though after watching them I feel really overwhelmed, because my house is not a little bungalow or a studio or anything I would peg as very cool. We live in an old, cold farm house that has more quirks than character. Anyway they are doing a style cure this fall, and so I figured I would post my answer to the "interview questions"

These questions all came from Apartment Therapy's style Interview, the responses are all of my own.
Favorite Actor: Ryan Reynolds
favorite actress: Reese Witherspon/ Anne Hathaway
favorite artist: Edgar Degas
Favorite writer: I don't have one, but I do read Nora Roberts sometimes
Favorite Music: Jewel, Pistol Annies, Sunflowers by Everclear
Favorite Restaraunt: (Sawatdees)
Favorite automobile: none
Favorite movie/ tv Show: While You Were Sleeping/ Gilmore Girls
Favorite Clothing Stores: The Limited, Francescas, Banana Republic
Favorite Furniture Store: IKEA

2. Three words to describe your personal style: colorful, comfortable, functional

3.My favorite rooms have been cozy, really comfortable with furniture that meets the needs of the space, and have fun mementos that are visible.

Favorite room from a childhood home: My favorite room ha lots of light and a lot of different pictures of loved ones up.

Favorite room from adulthood home: A room that is comfortable and lived in, but is still pretty and orderly.

4. Whom do you consider a role model: People who are relaxed and fairly casual along with someone who is kind and understanding along with being very smart.

Three characteristics that you admire in that person:
organized, intentional, and welcoming

5. Every home that has spots that are "just right" what three spots in your home do you feel are beautiful and perfect? There are no spots in our house that I am truly in love with 100%. There are different aspects of different places that I like, but nothing feels "just right" a little more tweaking is needed.

6. A month from now, at the end of Style Cure, how would you like friends to describe your home?
cozy, fun, inviting

My take away from this is that I want spaces that are cozy and comfortable, are orderly, and have fun mementos and are orderly. These are completely doable, I will just have to come up with more concrete goals as we go along.  While this is not directly related to being a working mama, it does have a lot to do with where we are in life. When we are not out at things for work, or doing some of our errands we are most likely found at home. Little Man isn't very mobile independently, I am certain that we will be getting to that point very soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 22: One of those days

Today has been one of those days where there seems to be more work than there is time, and there are more road blocks than what is truly possible to overcome. I only accomplished about less than 1/8th of what I wanted to do today because I wasn't focused, I had too many things that I wanted to do and I lost my keys in Target... like everyone working the floor was looking for them. It was terribly embarassing... my dad came to help me look for them we searched through my entire car, that pretty much holds my life.

So now on my to do list is: clean out my car again... I don't have the time to clean it out everyday like everyone is suggesting and have a second spare key made so that one can be left at my parent's house in Willmar. Thankfully, tomorrow is a new day. I teach my Intro to Computers class tomorrow. Which means I will be staying later at school tomorrow. The plus of that is the fact that I will then have a reason to stay at work a little bit later and get some of my tasks accomplished.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 21: Time to Remix it Up! 7x7 challenge

The hardest thing on my closet was my pregnancy. I hadn't been fluctuating sizes a lot up until I had my son. I had clothes that I had been wearing off and on for 10 years. Then I found out I was pregnant with my son and literally had nothing to wear. It was during this time that I started doing research to figure out what clothing I wanted to invest my money into... the clothing out there is really expensive and impractical for a first time mama or someone who isn't working as an executive. I couldn't tell you how many times I told The Doc that I was going to become a maternity fashion designer  because this was absolutely ridiculous.

Another hit to my closet was my postpartum self. Things just don't fit like they use to. It was truly emotional having to say good-bye to so many of my favorite pieces from my closet. This might be sound silly to some, but I spent a lot of time cultivating my wardrobe. I had a very clear idea about who I was in terms of my clothing then. At this exact moment in time, I do not feel quite so confident about that, though I do feel extremely optimistic about my current wardrobe. While I am still doing some cultivating I am loving how it is turning out. Let me caution you though, building a wardrobe after giving birth is not a sprint. It is a marathon and all of the research and personal reflection I did helped me build a wardrobe that I am really starting to love!

It has taken me eight months to get to this point, and there are still items that I would love to have back in my closet, but they can wait. I will wait until I find the right piece that I absolutely can love! While I am still exploring this mommy-wardrobe, I would love to be able to share part of my journey with you.

One way that we are going to do this is through my own little 7x7 challenge. I am going to pick seven items of clothing that can be worn on the weekend and during my work week. Shoes and accessories are not part of this 7x7. I am also not counting camisoles/ tanks that go under things, but are not visible-- I do have dress code rules that I need to follow. I will be hopefully posting pictures (10/27- 10/28), I have not been successful in finding my camera cord.

My articles of clothing are: black maxi skirt, jeans, black pants, teal cardigan, chambray shirt, black t-shirt, emerald green long sleeve top.

Do you want to remix it up with me?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 20: Working From Home

I truly do enjoy my job, I feel that it is beneficial to others and that it is time well spent. Even with all of those things in the positive. I feel like I am losing things at Little Man is growing and changing everyday. He is always happy to show us his new tricks, so sometimes we just pretend that he is doing it for the first time. Sometimes I think that it would be nice to work from home in a job that had more flexible hours so that I could be home with him during the day. I haven't found a good idea or a good way of doing it, but I am sure that if it suppose to be, I will come up with an idea eventually. 

That is why I find these news stories, Hobby Becomes a Thriving Business, so fascinating. It is from our local CBS station. While I don't knit I do find these types of stories encouraging because it can happen.Many people do it everyday, and so it is just a matter of finding something that you love doing and having the patience and perseverance to turn it into a business.

How do you find balance between work and family?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day 18: Life Lessons

As a parent I want what is best for Little Man, but with that comes a lot of doubt. I find myself to be second guessing a lot of what I do, when that has never been the case before. Parenting is hard and sometimes being a working mama makes that especially hard. This is because I want to make sure that the time we do have together is special. It doesn't always seem special but even when we are up in the middle of the night with him.  Somedays we accomplish many things like laundry and dishes and so much more and other days we accomplish snuggles and nobody needing extra clothes. Every moment we have together is special and we are learning, growing and exploring together.So, we will keep doing our thing because teaching him that life isn't always exciting and it is not the world's job to entertain us are also good lessons.

Here is a message from LIttle Man (he LOVES to "type": jjhgynxh crrr hooo bygerrc  dd yerxdhhhggggggggfv

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 16: The Good Little Shopper

Today (Thursday) we took little man to the Mall of America. This is the second time he has been here in his short little life and overall he is a great little shopper. I don't know of many babies who will survive an 8-9 hour shopping day without any melt downs. Part of it is the fact that he has a very chill littler personality and the other part of it was that we were prepared. My mom came with us on this grand adventure! We had a plan and we kept moving. We stopped and looked when we wanted to, but we didn't dilly dally. We also took breaks so that he could stand up and bounce. Even though he still fits in his baby bucket (infant carseat) I don't put him in it in the stroller for long car trips. He prefers to sit up and look around. He is one of those kids who LOVES to observe everything! When you are at the Mall of America there are a lot of people to observe and languages to hear... and it as fun, because people would stop and talk to him not only in English, but in other languages as well. It made this linguist mama's heart very full. We had a great trip, and he did like IKEA... it is mostly the bright colors, not necessarily a blossoming love of Swedish furniture.

Day 14: The Circus Comes to Town!

Little Man's first birthday is coming in a couple of months (March 3rd) to more exact, and we are going to have a birthday party for him. It is undecided as to when exactly, but that is okay. We have a few months to decide that, but I am a planner and I love to have some idea of what we are going to be doing... and so I have been looking for ideas as to what we are going to do for his birthday. We are going to have a circus themed birthday party. When he is bigger maybe we will be able to go skiing  or sledding or something like that for his birthday, but he is little and not highly mobile, so we will do it inside. I found some great inspiration from HelloLucky on Spaceships and Laser Beams, Here is another ADORABLE Circus Party and ANOTHER PARTY. Here are some other inspiring pins: Pom Pom Animals and
Food Table Decorations.

My plan is to keep it simple in both decor and food, because I want to be able to enjoy celebrating my son's birthday and I don't want to be making food up until the last minute. There a lot of mom's out there who are super talented and make everything, but that is not really my thing. I am going to try making some pom pom animals for the party, and maybe try making some homemade pretzels, but the rest of it is going to be bought from the store... and it will be great. 

I think party planning is fun, but the goal is too keep it simple so that we can enjoy our time with family and friends, celebrating everyone's survival of the first year. Especially Little Man who has two parents that don't really know what they are doing. 

Day 17: Somedays Mamas Don't Sleep

For the most part Little Man sleeps through the night, and it is glorious! Though, every once in awhile he doesn't and it seems to be harder the next day because I am use to more consistent sleep. For whatever reason he woke up mad at 3 in the morning, and then at 4 this morning he wanted a little snack. He must have been growing a lot last night and was feeling a little peckish. After he had a little bottle (about four ounces) he went back to sleep until 10 to eight. It was nice to sleep in a little bit , since I ended up being unable to go back to sleep.

These days also happen when I have to go to work, and believe me those days are work are rough. I have to be conscientious about being kind and not being crabby with my colleagues or my students, because it was not by their design that baby boy decided to get up in the middle of the night and not sleep.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day 13: What's a Mama to Wear?

My clothes have to do triple duty. They have be to be tough enough to handle baby puke, boogers, smashed peas and crackers and everything else that goes along with a mama's day. Here is the deal though, my clothes need to be able to be worn to work, church, home and every where in between. I didn't rush out and buy tons of clothes right away because I didn't know what size I was going to be and I wasn't really sure what style I wanted to wear. I have waited seven and a half months (approximately) and I think I have it figured out as to what I am looking for:

I have spent a lot of time looking at blogs that talk about building a remixable wardrobe and the one thing that they all have in common is having a color palette in mind so that everything works together. My neutrals are black and camel (tan). I love the look of white, but I have a seven and a half month old. That would not stay white very long. The colors that I really and truly love are coral, fuchsia, cobalt, and emerald green. I love the jewel tones, because they always look so happy and full of color... also because they feel appropriate for a variety of settings. Weddings, work, church, grocery shopping (believe me, that place needs more happy!)

So through all of my very thorough research (i.e. reading blogs and looking at my Fashion Pinterest board) I noticed a trend, Jewel tones, leopard print and very preppy/ classic styles are what I am looking for and are what I should be translating into my wardrobe. Cardigans, stripes, polka dots, crew neck sweaters, button up blouses, graphic tees, pencil skirts, straight leg/ boyfriend jeans,  and blazers are what catch my eye. Sparkle also catches my eye, it can be really classy as long as it isn't like full on body glitter. A shimmery top or a shimmery skirts with basics oh so pretty!

Here is a great work look from 26 & Counting! It has a blazer, crew neck sweater, button up, and slim/ straight pants!

Here is a great weekend look/ casual Friday look from Refined Style.

This is also a great look from Polyvore

Here is Kate Hudson's adorable pencil skirt and graphic tee look. 

Blake Lively looks adorable in pretty much anything she chooses, but I am particularly liking the look of her comfy cardigan and slim pants. 

When I feel put together things tend to go so much better, than if I just put something on and head out the door. It helps to keep a positive attitude. I am going shopping with my mama and Little Man on Thursday, I am ready to rock this. Tomorrow night I will be putting the finishing touches on my list.

Day 12: Ode to the High Chair

Finally, we are feeling well in our house. Little Man is napping right  now, because he only napped 40 minutes at daycare today. I will probably regret letting him rest later, but I personally am a big believer in sleeping when your body is signaling for you to do so. He is still getting better.

We put together the high chair last night, and lets just say that I LOVE IT! He can be where all the action is (primarily in my kitchen) but easily be moved out of the way. I didn't really have a good place for him to sit before. He seems to like it. He currently has a toy while sitting in his chair to distract him from thinking it is time to eat. Last night I made potatoes and today I made an apple spice cake for a meeting that we will have in a little bit.

I can tell how awesome this is going to be. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 11: Sick Baby

Some days as a parent are just hard... Little Man has been sick. That means this mama isn't getting any sleep. I  am really crabby, and I am behind at everything. Especially, at work now. I have a lot of translating work to get done next week and we have a shortened work week.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Day 10: Some slow cooker lovin'

I grew up calling a slow cooker a Crockpot, it is the same thing with all facial tissues being Kleenex. 

There was a week after Little Man was first born in which we ate frozen pizzas for a solid week! Sometimes with plates, sometimes with paper towels. That period of time is still fuzzy, and we are super classy.It was during this dark dark time of frozen pizza and meals from a box that we discovered a glorious tool. This tool has become my bff while exploring the road to domestic goddess status. I am not holding my breath that I will ever reach that level of domesticity. I am pretty sure that after my Crockpot wears a cape, because it is constantly saving dinner here! It is so nice to know that I have dinner/ supper already prepared and by the time that we get home from work it will be ready to be eaten. It allows me to focus on my work while I am there and on my family when we are home.

Today's specialty is Zesty BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. I had all of the ingredients on hand and buns that we need to eat. It really was the perfect mix. It smells super delicious! I am going to try pairing it with Honey Cinnamon roasted Sweet potato bites. (both recipes are below). I am all about trying new recipes, but I am a little gun-shy about making anything way out of my league. So I have created a system that seems to work for me. I go to my favorite recipe website(s), type in a few key words and start looking at the recipes. The first step is do they look/ sound good. Second step is making sure I have the ingredients... and Finally, I read the reviews. I don't read all of them unless they are 10 or less, but I will pick reviews at random. I also read reviews, because there are a lot of commentators that great advice about how to prepare it or how to improve it!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 9: Unrealistic Expectations

There are a lot of unrealistic expectations placed on mothers by our society. These expectations include everything from a mama's appearance to how they spend there time. Let's be real I don't have time for anyone else's expectations. It is my opinion that if a mama is healthy and her kiddo(s) are healthy than give that mama some space and encouragement. I personally find these kind of articles refreshing:What Jennifer Garner's Everlasting Baby Bump Means for Mothers. You've got this mama! I hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 8: It takes a village

Many cultures around the world have something similar to the adage "It takes a village to raise a child" and while this is true for any parent, I have found this to be especially true for working mamas. What is tricky though is being able to ask for help. For whatever reason there seems to be a hang up about that. Maybe the unrealistic ideal that we mamas are suppose to be able to do it all-- work, care for our child/ren, keep our homes and every other responsibility that we have. It just isn't possible. I have learned a lot about prioritizing these last seven months because I don't just switch between being a mama and being a teacher. These two aspects of my life need to co-exist peacefully and sometimes they don't. That is when I need to be brave enough to ask for help and it is critical to have clear expectations and priorities of myself. Honestly, the last thing I have time for is feeling guilty.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 7: Is It Enough?

Some days there just aren't enough hours in a day, but then again would we spend them wisely if there were more hours? One of the things that I sometimes struggle with the most is: "Am I doing enough for my son?" Sure he has plenty to eat, clean diapers, warm clothes and lots of snuggles from us. But are we doing enough? I think that this is a common question in our society because we have been weaned off our contentment. It is very easy to feel like what you have or what you give isn't enough, but truly it is. Providing a safe and loving space is more than enough. I know that while I am working he is well cared for, and while sometimes I do miss some  his firsts-- Little Man is more than thrilled to share his new skills and tricks with us later. Every family  needs to decide what is best for them, and there is no shame in that. There are many benefits having stay at home parents, and there are benefits to having working parents... maybe we will cover that at a later date... but what you do for your kids is enough, and they are soaking up your love. You aren't just a parent you are a superhero.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 6: Why Sleep?

Little Man is a great sleeper as a general rule of thumb.Though, there are these nights like last night where he just isn't interested in sleep. He went to bed somewhere around 8:30 last night. We don't keep a clock in his room. And then he was up at a quarter to one, quarter after four and he was up for the day at six this morning. I am of course the one that gets up with him in the middle of the night. Fot whatever reason when he was scooting himself in his crib he kept hitting his head. I have no idea what he was doing in there.

I just saw him yawn. It's okay. This mama is tired too. So, today (usually my day off) will hopefully be a day of rest, but most likely it will not. We are trying to get everybody's laundry done for the week, because this week is really really busy. Also, harvest is actually starting here, we have had almost a week and half of rain. We usually are very thankful for the rain, but we have also had snow flurries. Nobody is ready for winter yet, especially not the farmers.

So far we are hanging out in our jammies doing some laundry. We might get more exciting as our day continues on.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 5: It's Okay If You Are Tired and It Looks Like your House Imploded.

As I type this Little man is laying on my chest, on his tummy. Every once in awhile he acts as if he is going to kick something. His nuk landed on the floor next to the chair, thankfully it was in my reach. Yesterday I was hoping to get all of these home chores done, but it didn't happen. I was unmotivated and when Owen was   awake he was unhappy if he couldn't see me. So, between my lack of motivation and him we didn't get anything accomplished in terms of chores. We did however play, jump in the jumperoo, chill to baby music while playing with toys, work on a gift for friends, and eat, and rock-a-bye in his room. He took three hour long naps and while he was sleeping I worked on a friends baby book.

And you know what? Everything is all right, it was more important for us to just be together yesterday playing, learning and growing than it was for us to be working on our house.. The mess is still here, and the laundry is now sorted but still in the baskets, but my son will never be seven months and two days ever again! I know that there is some guilt felt by moms who are working, but it seems like the house is always a disaster... because honestly my house is that way too. But, our children are growing and learning and always changing it and I would rather spend time to my son opposed to having a perfectly clean and organized house.

Housework can always be done at another time, like nap time. If you are still in the stage of your child's life where you need to nap during nap time, don't feel guilty about it. This stage will pass quickly and you will get more sleep. So, I am going to wash, rinse, and dry some dishes while I listen to Little Man self soothe himself on his monitor. He is ready for a nap now, because our morning has already been filled with learning experiences.

It's okay mama, everything will get done eventually. Enjoy your little one, for soon they will be too big.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Day 4: A Gray Saturday

Sometimes we get up early, and sometimes we sleep in. Today was an early day, Little Man woke  up and at 6:15 he wanted OUT of his crib. He snuggled with mama and he played and talked to his daddy, he has had his breakfast and he has played with one of his toys. Currently he is just chilling in his bouncy seat.

It is not really a weekend of being outside it is cloudy, windy, and only suppose to reach highs of 50 degrees (F). It did try to spit snow flurries out yesterday as I was leaving school. My goal is to get apples picked during nap time, but we will see how this goes! We also need to do laundry and wash dishes (we don't have a dishwasher). We aren't always exciting here, but that is okay. A gray Saturday is meant for jammies at least part of the day.

What are you up to today?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 3: Breaking up with my Closet

I have been cleaning out my closet, which really translates to a huge pile of clothes by my dresser in my room. The reason why I am getting rid of them? They either don't fit me or my post-baby lifestyle. Mostly they don't fit me...
If you are new hear I will give you a quick snapshot of who I am. I am a late twenty-something who lives in the midwest (winter will soon be upon us), wife, and  mama. My son is known as Little Man and he is seven months old. I am a teacher and Migrant Family Advocate. We also have an approximately three year old rescue, Annie, who seems to get a little more rambunctious everyday. I thought they were suppose to mellow as they got older. 

As you can tell from my little snapshot we are busy. We seem to always be on the move. When little man becomes more mobile I will be even more on the move.

I can't have super high maintenance clothing because realistically they just lay on the floor in my laundry room forever! I hate laundry! I don't want to spend all of my time doing laundry, especially since my time with my little family is restricted to evenings and weekends. My new clothes need to be machine washable and be able to be put in the dryer! I do hang dry my pants now, because I have shrunk some beyond what would be considered appropriate for anything. The other reason as to why it needs to be machine washable is the fact that Little Man is starting solid foods... and I have already  had green beans and sweet potatoes rubbed onto my clothes. I imagine the things that get wiped on my clothes will only continue to get worse. Right now I am trying to keep it a little bit more neutral and adding color through pieces that I already own and am able to keep wearing. Eventually color will be back in full force. My wardrobe is still in this awkward transition.

It is important to know what works for your body... I like long and lean jeans from GAP-- they are super comfy, long enough, and have a little bit of a  higher waist. I do like sleeveless items, because I tend to get warm, so I can layer appropriately and still look classy, I love the structure of blazers. The flowyness of tie blouses, and I don't like anything with a super close fit. This is an interesting development because 90% of my closet was fitted. After having my son, I am just not interested in that style anymore. It is an adjustment and I need to have things in my closet that work for being a mama and that work for my job.Our dress code is business casual.

I don't have all of the answers, but I do know that this mama needs to wear something! So, I am breaking up with my closet, which has been difficult, after many years of having pieces that I truly love and wore all the time.  REMIXABILITY is the name of my wardrobe game... because when everyone woke up late and I have to get myself and LM ready to head out the door in a total of under 15 minutes EVERYTHING has to MATCH! Sometimes LM doesn't match, but he is in daycare and the kiddos don't know their colors yet. Not that I am speaking from personal experience or anything.

One aspect of my real life is that I wear like the same 6 outfits on repeat, because sometimes the wardrobes are working against me. I don't always see things that I love, nor do I see things that will necessarily be easy to care for. Eventually I will love my closet once again, but until we get to the place I will just be patient. This time is a time of self discovery and growth. Even though I feel like "I have nothing to wear" right now, things will continue to get better!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 2.5: Confession from a working mama

As soon as  little man was put to bed I through on sweatpants. I am rocking the ever classy look of dressed down casual. I have on my blouse and cardigan with college sweatpants. As soon as I know that he is asleep for sure I will most likely go to bed after feeding the dog. It is a quarter to 8 pm here!
Man am I looking forward to the weekend when we can just relax, and hopefully have a playdate with friends.

Day 2: Are you an English Muffin?

What are you even talking about lady? NO! I am not an English Muffin, I am a person.

I was doing my morning routine of getting Little Man up and changed (not dressed, we have jammy days on the weekend). He was in a good mood and so I popped an English muffin in the toaster. I like them lightly toasted two times with butter and peanut butter-- all melty and delicious... well, that didn't happen. LM was in a state and I needed to tend to him and I forgot all about my English Muffin for two days in the toaster. When I finally remembered that I had once had an English Muffin it was all dried out and gross. This sadly is not the first time that I have done this.I have no explaination of how this happened other than the fact that at that exact moment in time there was something more important than having breakfast. As moms we are hardwired to care for our children, but sometimes we do that at the expense of our health and well-being. I have done it too, skipping a meal because my son needed me or because I wanted to take advantage of a peaceful moment.

I encourage you to stop and just breathe in the life happening around you, these moments go really fast. Besides you don't want to be told that you are an old English Muffin. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The First of October

The first of each month is a time of newness and excitement. There are many questions still unanswered, and one of those questions is "What will unfold this month?" Today is October 1st, and while the first official day of Autumn/ Fall is September 1st here in the midwest. The first of October is much more fall like. September has unpredictable weather here, certainly but it has more tinges of summer than October. Who knows what this month will bring, but for us it is a time of excitement. It is Owen's first fall. There will be leaves, tractor rides, and pumpkins for sure. Though, there will be other firsts as we work our way through the fruits and vegetables, Little Man will become more independent and more mobile.

So, while we wait for new experiences to come about tonight we are enjoying the familiar. Soup on a chilly day, playing with toys, LM's sweet potatoes, and of course snuggles. While new things are exciting these are the things that are a part of our journey. I hope you grab a warm drink and join me as I reflect, try new things and enjoy my son's first ever October!