Funemployment

JUP-SpaWomanAAs my last post vaguely mentioned, I decided that there was no better time to quit my job. I wasn’t in love with the role and life is too short to spend every day doing something you’re not happy with. That means I have been enjoying some funemployment for the last two weeks. Going in I envisioned my time off looking something like this ——->

I have a hard time doing nothing, so of course I have been keeping a journal of the things I’m accomplishing each day. On Day #1, I allowed myself to just sit on the couch, to drink my coffee and fill my brain with a ton of things I wanted to do with my time.  I made a list (duh) and felt energized to get things done!

Day #2 Will was running a fever so we stayed home together. While we were playing in the office (read, Toy Room) I decided I could no longer take the chaos and decided to purge and reorganize. Man did that feel good after it was done. Day #3 I was lucky enough to grab lunch with a dear friend at my favorite pizza joint, Porta Alba. This is no joke – if you live in, around or near Madison, you MUST go there. (Side note: I always order the Vegitariana pizza and it’s to die for!) This sounds so cheesy, but it was nice to spend time as just the two of us. Normally we have our kiddo’s & husbands in tow, making conversation more challenging.

Day #4 started with a visit to my hair stylist, who is one of the most talented & caring people I know. I love visiting her and this time was extra special because I learned she is expecting her first baby! I was then off to another great lunch date with three very close friends. I’ve decided that I’m never finding a job and will become a lady who lunches.  I haven’t figured out how to pay for those lunches but that’s not of importance! I spent the rest of the afternoon evaluating insurance plans (yuck)! Since that was no fun (understatement of the century) I decided to pick Ella up from school early and finally make our closed terrariums. Let’s hope they are as low-maintenance as they say!

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Day #5 I decided it was time to get down to business. Yes, I still had a lunch date with an old coworker, but I also cleaned and purged more of the house. Day #6 we had no school or daycare so it was me & the kiddo’s again. Ella was invited to a friends house for a playdate and had a blast. Will and I decided we would go for donuts, visit the pet store and grab lunch with dad. Day # 7 started out with some pampering, as I decided to give myself a manicure I saw on Pinterest. I then spent the rest of the day doing some real “work” for Kella Design.

Day #8 yet again included a lunch date with a great new friend. It was so much fun to chat with her and it turns out we both have something in common, we’re raising an extremely challenging and spirited 6 year old little lady! I can’t tell you how nice it is to find someone who can totally relate to what it’s like to parent someone like Ella. The constant struggle to “get her under control” all while trying to not squash her “spirit.” Day #9 was originally jam packed with meetings, but of course my OCD-self was starting to feel stressed that I hadn’t accomplished enough of the projects from my list, so I cleared my schedule. The morning started with some baby shower planning (my brother & SIL are expecting twins!!) and then quickly moved to house projects. We have been in a process of painting ALL of the trim in our house and had yet to tackle the trim in Ella’s room. This is when I was quickly reminded why I don’t normally paint my nails. So much for the manicure! I then did laundry, cleaned and purged the kids bedrooms and made an amazing dinner (again).

That brings me to Day #10, today! Ella has early release and she’s decided that she wants to spend it with mom. Turns out that no matter how much fun she had at her playdate, she’s extremely jealous of Will’s one-on-one time with mom. So we’re repeating the same day that Will & I had.

The days haven’t gone exactly as I planned and they definitely do not look like the peaceful spa image, but I have enjoyed them nonetheless. After looking at the journal, I feel like I have done a good job at balancing my time with a little pampering, a lot of productivity, projects crossed off the list, some great homemade meals and quality time spent with family & friends. I’m not entirely sure how much funemployment time I have left, but yesterday we got a healthcare bill in the mail and as Ella opened it she said, “wow, that’s a lot – mom, you better get back to work and make some money!” So I plan to continue to fill the days with as much as I possibly can because I’ll likely not get a chance like this again.

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Let It Go

No. Even though you’ll often hear this tune playing in our house, car, sleep (I swear) – I am not referring to the insanely popular song sung by Elsa from Frozen. I am however talking about the only resolution I’m making in 2015.

Let it go. Everything! My job, my house, my kids & my marriage. Don’t start to panic, I haven’t lost my mind. I don’t mean that I’m literally letting go of those things (with the exception of my job), but I am working to let go of the small things tied to those important parts of my life.

I’m focusing on being grateful for the things our home already provides instead of seeing the “flaws” I want to fix. It doesn’t always have to look immaculate and magazine-worthy. Toys can be seen laying around and there might be some dirty dishes left on the counter. It doesn’t matter, let it go!

I will try to yell less. I know this is going to be a challenge, but I really want to find a way to make this happen because it’s not healthy for any of us and frankly – our kids deserve it. There is no way they are going to stop running, fighting, yelling and I don’t expect them to miraculously listen – but that’s what we signed on for and again, as long as they are not hurt – it doesn’t matter, let it go!

keep-calm-seriously-in-this-house-17I think if I can follow through on my first two goals, my marriage will improve as well. We are always so stressed because we are doing too many things at one time. Less home improvement projects will allow for more focused time to spend with the kids. Hopefully that added attention will eliminate some of the battles we’re constantly fighting on a daily basis. Lower standards for my children will provide less stress and hopefully less yelling and you know what they say, happy wife = happy life, right?

The year of 2014 was good to us, but I’m confident that 2015 will be even better. I will do my best to keep calm, even while living in this house amongst the inevitable chaos.

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Sensational Six

In 6 short days our little lady will turn 6. How is that even possible? It seems like just yesterday we were spending our Thanksgiving in the hospital, holding the thing that had made us more thankful than we ever knew possible.

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And at the same time, we’ve accomplished so much. For starters, she’s still alive and let’s be serious – that’s all that matters. But really, in a limited amount of time she’s learned to:

I know I’m biased but she is truly an amazing little human. Since she was born I’ve worried about what type of person she might become and whether or not we could instill the right values & morals to be proud of. I’ve joked that we’re prepared to struggle until she turns 26, but after that she would make an amazing adult. While there are definitely days that we struggle – it’s not necessary to wait until 26 because she’s already a pretty sensational 6 year-old.

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J.O.B.

When I was growing up I wanted to be a rollerskating waitress or to play for the Green Bay Packers…yes I said play. Later in college I broke my wrist and elbow rollerskating and my stature didn’t warrant any draft picks, so both of those options were ruled out. I settled on getting a degree in business and hoped for the best.

Marketing is alright, but after being in the workforce for almost a decade I’m still searching for a career that I can be deeply passionate about. Maybe I’ll play guitar and sing at Potbellys? Or I could become the spokesperson for Cleft Awareness and share our message? Both of those options seem to be far off so maybe I should focus on something we’re already doing? It’s no secret that we love projects and the DIY craze is booming. How can I become Nicole Curtis and have my own show on HGTV?

Not only do we have the handy skills to pull it off, but we also have the marketing skills to build it up. Thinking I could take some steps toward my pipe dream I had planned to post an update on all of the projects we’ve done – complete with checklists and budget numbers. I could utilize my best SEO tactics, create a Pinterest board and push as much traffic to this site as possible. We’d make millions of dollars, quit our day jobs and spend the rest of our days making things beautiful.

I know it sounds crazy, but there are lots of people who have done just that. One of my favorite success stories is that of Young House Love. Looking for inspiration I went to visit their blog and the timing was ironic to say the least. I have always been a realist and while I appreciate the motivation of a dream I also believe that no matter what you’re doing, even if it starts as your passion…..it always turns into a J.O.B. Things start out with the best intentions, but as soon as we get a taste of success – we always want more. We push & push and get greedy to a point that our one-time passion turns into something weighed with a heavy responsibility.

In the last two posts on Young House Love, John & Sherry informed their thousands of fans that they have decided to move on. They are burnt out. In just 7 short years, their passion turned into something that was so overwhelming that it caused many aspects of their lives to be out of balance. Needless to say, I didn’t post an update on all of the things we’ve done to our house, I didn’t look to Pinterest and I won’t be optimizing this post for increased web traffic. None of that really matters!

I want to be happy in my job, but I also need to remind myself that I have many other more important outlets for fulfillment outside of my career. Life is too short to continuously search for something more. I am going to slow down and appreciate all of the things right here & now! And..if you’d like to see my house – then please come visit and we’ll sit in our newly renovated kitchen, drink a cup of coffee and talk about all the funny & amazing things our kids are doing.

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Embarrassment

Embarrassment is an interesting and uncomfortable thing. The bad news is that I endured enough of it as a kid, but the good news is that it was so long ago that I can only remember it from photos. It also strengthened me to a point that I rarely let those types of things bother me. While I’m grateful that it now takes a lot to turn my cheeks pink, I still don’t want my kids to have to feel embarrassed by anything – especially things that are out of their control.

I worried about Ella starting school. It’s been a month now & when I ask how things are going, she barely says a thing. One night she mentioned that some kids were mean to her & my heart sunk. After some conversation I learned that some of the older kids were picking on her after school. I try not to jump to the worst-case scenario & instead ask open-ended questions. As I prodded for more information I realized that they were just taunting her for being the “little kid.” Whew – we dodged a bullet! While I was relieved, I also knew it would only be a matter of time.

That time came last week. Just like usual at bedtime I asked if things were going okay, but instead of the normal silence she said, “mom can I tell you something?” Again my heart sunk. I think I stopped breathing. She went on, “some of the kids ask me what happened to my lip.” I replied, “well, what do you tell them?” She went on, “I told one girl that I was born with a cleft lip & palate and my lip used to be open (as she tugs her lip up) and this mark is from my surgery.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 9.45.36 PMMy heart swelled with pride and then it just as quickly filled with sadness. She then said, “but i just tell the other kids that I don’t want to talk about it.” I asked her why not and she said the words that crushed me. “Because it’s embarrassing!”

Embarrassed. My little spitfire child! With a larger than life personality and more spunk than I even thought humanly possible. All this time I had hoped that all those characteristics that sometime drive me mad, would also be her life vest and keep her afloat during a time that is critical in shaping who she becomes. And yet here we are, only one month into starting school and she has already withered and caved.

I tried to explain that she has nothing to be embarrassed about and that when asked, she could use the same response she shared with her friend – but she said she’d rather just ignore it. I’m okay with that approach, but only if she’s truly able to block it out with impact, which is definitely not the case. I offered to come and talk to the school but I think the thought of that embarrasses her even more.

At this point, I don’t know how to help her and that damn near kills me. I hope that if we keep instilling confidence and reassure her that she is perfect in every way (we’re not talking about behavior) that she will be able to work her way through this and come out stronger – making these moments a distant memory. If not, I’ll have to go to school and kick some ass!

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