Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Buddha

I'm am seeking divine inspiration.  While in India, I purchased this Buddha:

I brought him to work with me yesterday to help remind me that I am in control of my suffering (i.e. stress) and my thoughts and ideas drive how I react to my work and family demands.

Why did I only buy one of these statues?  I need many reminders throughout my day to approach stress and situations in a better way.

This little statue doesn't mean I am deviating from Catholicism.  I'm simply trying to find approaches, thoughts and ideas that build on one another to help me live a happy life.  The first step, I'm delving back into yoga this Sunday.  I'll be the one in the back of the class moaning, falling over, sweating profusely and embarrassing myself!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My New Coffee Cup

I was headed out the door yesterday for work, when Abby asked me to come take a look at something.  She held out her hands and this was in them, a new coffee cup for me to take to work, I love it!!

Inside, as Abby pointed out, is the sugar and coffee (the smaller pieces of play doh are sugar, the larger pieces are coffee).  She told me to be careful though, as it's only pretend sugar and coffee.

I love my new coffee cup! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Michael's Coupon - 25% Off Entire Purchase March 27 - April 2nd


The coupon can be found here

Some restrictions apply, read the coupon fine print for more details.

Monday, March 28, 2011

India Acquisitions

From one of my favorite stores, Anohki...

Patterned Pashminas (blended with silk).  So soft and beautiful and pennies on the dollar vs what you would pay here.

My purchases from an outdoor market where you buy directly from the people who make the items.  These shoes were the best deal ever, only $4.50 a pair

A little two piece dress for Abby:

A very slinky silk scarf and the best Dal in the world (I ate the real deal at the restaurant and it was amazing):

I'm thinking pool/beach cover up for this one:

A little dress for Emily and some sparkly shoes for me:

And no rug this time, which means I'll remain married (more on this in a later post). 


Whew, what a week! 

Here are the highlights:

1.) Our regular nanny was on vacation last week

2.) Our fill in nanny was sick last Wednesday

3.) We needed to quickly find fill in nanny for our fill in nanny on Wednesday

4.) Steve is going through quarter end at work (i.e. extremely busy time for him).  For two weeks he has mtgs from 5pm-7pm every night.  This means regardless of what I have going on, I need to be home by 5:20pm.

5.)  My work has been insane!  A somewhat sticky data issue came up last week and I'm still working to resolve it.  Our first draft of our FY12 budgets are due next week.

6.) Both girls have colds

7.) The dog is in itchy hell.  He's been battling some sort of skin allergy for 4 months now (and $1000 later).  This causes him to itch all night, which means both Steve and I get woken up regularly.  Murphy will be sleeping in the living room tonight. 

8.) Miss Em is going through some sort of developmental milestone and she is Crazy with a capital 'C'.  I love it, but nighttime has been a bit of an issue lately. 

The work and the colds are still here, but my perspective is changing.  Steve and I had 'date night' this past weekend.  The stress and feelings I had been keeping bottled up were finally able to be communicated.  We are both under a lot of pressure these days, but at least I have a plan now and I feel like we are in it together.  This is Progress!!

And, the sun is out today in full force, with 76 degrees expected here on Thursday, whoot, whoot!!

Pictures of my India purchases coming soon!  Most of the stuff is still packed, so this promise to you will at least get me to finally unpack (I got home from over a week ago).

Happy Monday and I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hanging on By a Thread

We interrupt regularly scheduled blogging due to the fact I'm hanging on by a thread.  Jet lag, too many complications at work (too many conflicting and incomplete data sets to enable what I need to do), a nanny on vacation this week and our temp nanny sick today. 

Regularly scheduled programming/blogging will be back next week...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sheep Storm

More from my India trip:

We were sitting peacefully in a car.  Just barely out of the office parking lot, on our way to the hotel and all of a sudden, a sheep storm hit..  Complete with a Shepard.

It took less than 2 minutes for the storm to subside.  These pictures were taken from my vantage point, in the back seat of a car. No way was I going to roll down the window and touch one, but I could have. We were surrounded by sheep on both sides at one time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"The Sick Kid Juggle"

I came across this earlier today.  Since I've been up since 1am, I had a lot of time to be productive.. 

Who of my working mom readers hasn't had to do the sick kid juggle this past cold/flu season?  You are not alone!

The Sick Kid Juggle post over at Working Moms Against Guilt

Cincinnati Enquirer article about the same topic: Parents Struggle to Juggle Sick Kids, Jobs

More India posts coming soon, I still need to take pictures of some of my purchases and upload pictures I took while I was over there...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seat 11A

The next few days of blogs will be from my 10 day trip to India.  I'm back now, it's 3am local time and I'm wide awake.  Ahh, the power of jet lag.  There was a 12.5 hour time difference between where I was and home. 

Seat 11A:

Here I sit in seat 11A on Singapore airlines flight 001.  Seat 11A and I will become good friends as we will spend 18+ hours together.  I plan on sleeping a good chunk of this time as we departed SFO at 12:05 am, the night after a very exhausting weekend at home.

My view from seat 11A (It was actually quite comfortable)

Why is it, the day before this working mom was to leave on a 10 day work trip, my sweet sweet Emily develops a 104 fever and vicious sore throat.  The poor thing was up all night vomiting, shaking, having to take cool baths to get her fever down and very, very unhappy.  My heart broke as I rocked her and  she quietly wept at 3am, tears streamed down my face.  How was I supposed to leave this child in this state in less than 24 hours.  Would a working Dad consider staying home? 

Saturday night was the worst for Emily.  Sunday after she woke up, she was much better.  We took her to the Dr. and he confirmed she had a viral sore throat and fever, it would last 3-4 days and she would get better as each hour passed.  We asked him if I should stay home or go on my trip he said without hesitation, ‘yes, you should go, it is a virus and should pass’.  Steve and I also talked about it and decided I would go. 

During the day on Sunday Emily was tired, but feeling much better.  I was still hesitant to leave but found myself in seat 11A, wondering how, other than sleep, I am going to pass 18 hours of time.  Perhaps I’ll watch many movies (my choices include The Kings Speech, Black Swan, Love and Other Drugs, Tangled, True Grit), read my kindle, get some work done and decompress.  And, worry about my sweet Emily. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself!!!

Over at the Work It Mom blog, I came across a post that could not have been more perfect for today!

The How to Take a Break and Recharge When You Can't Take the Week Off post applies to me in so many ways.  I am getting on a plane in less than 8 hours to return home from a 10 day business trip.

The post talks about recharging without really getting away.  I'm going to have some pretty significant jet lag to deal with, while also catching up on work, spending some much needed time with my kids and allowing my husband to recharge as well.  I'm not sure if it's easier being the one to leave, or the one that stays behind and tends to the kids.

Recommendations made for Taking a Break include sleep, a half day of work, a treat for yourself, etc..

These are great recommendations for working moms and can also be applied to anyone who has been on a trip, has completed a really big project, who is completely strapped with home/child responsibilities, etc..

A post with all my purchases coming soon!  The shopping in India is fabulous with a capital 'F'...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where Am I: Version 2.0?

Here is a couple hints/pictures below.  Some of you may know where I am.  More posts coming in the next week about my adventures and experiences here.  Aren't the animals cute! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Working on a Caffeine Addiction

I've been stretched pretty think lately, so I had to bring in the big guns; caffeine. 

I gave up caffeine about 10 years ago.  It was speeding up my heart and if I had any sort of coffee after 12 noon, I'd be awake for what seemed like days.  I would sweat, I would talk incessantly, I would feel anxious and nervous all the time.  At the encouragement of my doctor, I gave up caffeine. 

I didn't give up coffee back then.  I still enjoyed a decaf coffee or espresso drink on a daily basis.  People wondered why I drank decaf, "what's the point" they would ask.  I really, really enjoy the taste of coffee, good coffee, Peet's coffee to be exact.  

Lately however, with work and sick kids and all the demands that go along with working and kids, I need a little assistance.  The logical choice was caffeine.  It can lead to a caffeine dependency, which I am sure I am headed for, if not already there.  I figure if I'm going to have an addiciton, I'd prefer coffee over a handful of other more severe addictions. 

Thank you caffeine for being there for me lately.  We'll have to break-up one of these days, but until then, I'm happy to have you back in my life.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Since having kids, I am much more aware of product recalls, BPA, lead paint, phthalates, parabens, etc...  I am signed up for the Consumer Product Safety Commission's email alerts for recalled products (previous related post on this topic: "Recall This, Recall That").

As a result of being on the CPSC's email notification, I received an email earlier today that informs me of a new website/database they have created so consumers have the ability "to submit Reports of harm or risks of harm, and to search for safety information on products they own or may be considering buying.".

I think this is fabulous and I wanted to share it with everyone.  Bookmark it, before making big purchases, check it out.  If you have any harmful or potentially harmful experiences with products, report it here...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Additional Ways I Make it Easy on My Kids When I Travel

In addition to the things I normally do that to make it easier on my kids when I travel (see previous post here), I added a few to my repertoire that had a positive impact on my girls.

  1.  I let Abby help me pack my carry on for my flight.  She was very excited about being able to ‘help mommy’ and put my power cords in one bag and my makeup in another.  I even have a couple pieces or her artwork that she insisted I bring with me. 

  2. I purchased a recordable book from the local Hallmark store where I recorded my voice reading a story.  When they woke up the next morning and I was gone, Steve gave it to them and they loved it, and I mean loved it!!

  3. I purchased a web cam.  We used Skype with the girls so we can see each other.

  4. I took extra time to play the day the day before I left.  Abby and I danced (which really meant swinging her around while holding on to her hands).  Emily and I sang many renditions of Rock-a-bye baby, complete with exaggerated movements to mimic the words of the song (blowing on her for the ‘wind’, pretending to drop her when the ‘cradle does fall’).  She was laughing and asking for more in her own way.  There really is nothing better than the sound of my children laughing!  Other than walking in the door and seeing their smiling faces again, of course....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where Am I?

I'm still trying to figure that out as we speak.  Where am I?  I am embedded in my kids lives.  I am worried first and foremost about making sure their needs are met, both emotionally and physically.  Going to grocery stores, making sure they have clothes in the correct size to wear for the correct season, making sure all Dr's appointments are made and attended (easier said than done), making sure they get the social exposure they need while also gauging when they need a little down time.  This is where am I today. 

I came across a blog post about a woman whose kids are getting old enough to allow her to get reacquainted with herself, to think about what she personally wants to accomplish. 

Hello, Me, Long Time No See

This is to be a novel concept for myself and a handful of my friends who are in the thick of it with young children.  Are there enough hours in the day to accomplish the things that fulfill us personally, that is not related to diapers and errands, and keeping fast moving and mischievous toddlers safe.  Based on the blog post "Hello, Me, Long Time No See", I have a few more months to go, when my youngest will reach the 19 month mark.  I'm getting excited about the possibility of regaining some of my time back to focus on me.  The ideas are swirling in my head, I can't wait!  I am not going to feel guilty about being excited about this either, at least I'm going to try.. 

A much more literal 'Where Am I?' post coming soon....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pretzel Croissants??

I've been thinking about these since one of my facebook friends posted a picture of it recently.  I have to try one of these and STAT!  I love the real deal butter croissant.  But a croissant and pretzel in one, oh my!

Do you eat it plain, with mustard, as bread for a sandwich?  Too many possibilities...

picture courtesy of 'foodie hunter' on yelp.  For a more detailed post, check out Foodie Hunters blog post about the Pretzel Croissant.

Is it worth a trip across the bay to try it?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Mommy, Are Those...."?"

Every night that I am able, I lay next to Abby for a few minutes before she drifts off to sleep.  The other night, she still had her flashlight on as we were looking at a book together.  She looked at me, raised her finger, very gently touched the area under my eyes and asked "Mommy, are those bags under your eyes?".  Why yes Abby, they are.

The next day, in addition to a double layer of foundation applied to the under eye area, I also broke out the concealer.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Best Cupcakes Ever!

There's no disputing the fact that I've been working a lot lately.  Abby knows something is different, she knows that I'm not around as much (wiping tear from my eye).

As I've mentioned, Abby is a sweet, caring and compassionate child.  She picks up in the fact I am tired and juggling a lot.  Over the course of the day on Thursday, Abby and her nanny decided to make me cupcakes to put a smile on my face.  Well, I have to say it worked.

I was informed in the afternoon that Abby was working on a surprise for me.  Thursday is my typical late(r) night at work.  I have two big deadlines every Friday morning.  I decided to plow through as much work as I could to make it home in time to enjoy the surprise and visit with my girls.

When I walked in the door, Abby jumped up into my arms, covered my eyes and asked me to walk into the kitchen (still with laptop backpack on, keys in hand, etc)..  When I was informed that it was okay to open my eyes, these were waiting for me:

Abby decorated them herself and picked out a very special cupcake for me.

I don't care if these were made from scratch or from a box mix, these were the Best Cupcakes Ever!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

They Grow Up Fast - They Really Do!!!

It's cliche, it's over used, it's heard a lot when you have kids, but it's true.  They grow up fast!!

I blinked and Abby was no longer a baby.  I blinked and she was no longer a toddler.  I blinked and now she's potty trained and tracing the letters of her name at preschool.  How does this happen so fast?  Why can't parents have the ability to freeze time and enjoy a stage for an extended period of time?  On the flip side, it is amazing to see them learn from day to day.  To build new skills, to watch their personalities develop, to make friends and memories that I hope will last her a life time.

Then there is Miss Em.  How is she 14 months old already?  When did she go from barely walking to running through the house?  One thing I'm not sad about, she is now consistently sleeping through the night, ahhhhh!!  Miss Em quickly went from getting most of her calories from formula/milk, to wanting nothing but real food.  She is starting to communicate by pointing, shaking her head (mostly 'no'), using a little sign language and saying a few words.

I need to find more balance with my job and family.  I want my girls to know I am there for them.  Yesterday, I only saw them for about 30 minutes.  This makes me sad and I have to be sure it does not become the norm. 

I need to break the camera out more often so I can capture my girls as they grow up and look back on the pictures and the memories.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past couple months.  They already look more grown up than these pictures.  

Abby with her Daddy

Emily testing out a headband

  Abby dressing up like Fancy Nancy, complete with Coach sunglasses case

Emily potty training (not really, she's just copying Abby, but she's very pleased with herself)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Easy Weeknight Dinners - Super Tasty Too!

It's always a struggle getting Steve and I fed as night.  We typically don't eat until the girls go to sleep so if we are going to cook, we need something quick.  In addition to it being a quick meal, I am also a fan of using fresh and wholesome ingredients while minimizing condensed soup type casseroles.

Here are some of my favorites:

Scallops Provencal (Ina Garten)

I serve this with precooked frozen/organic rice from Whole Foods from the freezer section - to save time.

Beef and Bean Burritos (Pioneer Woman - Ree Drummond)

Super easy, I add tomatoes, lettuce and avocado inside to add a 'vegetable' factor, then top with green onions..  I also use low-carb, high fiber tortillas to make it even healthier. 

Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta (Giada DeLaurentis)

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella and Prosciutto (Giada DeLaurentis)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Love Story - I Was Done Dating!!

Steve and I met on July 11th 2001.  The story is somewhat expected and cliche until the very end, there is a little bit of a twist.. 

Three weeks prior to meeting my now husband, I had sworn off dating.  It sounds cliche, but it's true.  I had been set up on blind dates, I had done the thing I had met people through friends and I was done.  I was going to throw myself into my work and do more volunteer work.  I was going to add more variety in my workouts, focus on strength training and possibly run a half marathon.  I was perfectly okay being single. 

A good friend of mine (Alex) planned a dinner for 4 (Alex, his girlfriend, Steve and I).  Alex thought we would get along, that we had similar senses of humor and that this guy named 'Steve' was a really good guy.  I went along with it, no butterflies ahead of time, no anticipation, I was done dating.  There was nothing to gain and nothing to lose. 

Dinner was fun.  The four of us laughed a lot and drank more than our share of wine that evening.  My guard was still up and I walked away from that evening not thinking too much of it.  I was done dating.  .

Within the next couple of days, Steve sent me an email, asking if I wanted to go out with him.  I was booked solid for the next 10 days (volunteer commitments, heavy workload and time planned with friends and family). I explained that I was busy, included my list of commitments in my reply and left it at that. 

A couple weeks later, Alex organized another dinner, this time with about 10 people, most of whom I knew.  I had committed to going, but work got busy.  At 7:30 pm, I was leaving work and called Alex to tell him I wasn't going to make it.  He said I had to come because his girlfriend had made a birthday cake for Steve and I (our birthday's were both that week).  I went, thinking I'd be on my way home by 9:00 pm. 

During dinner, I sat next to Steve.  My guard was down, it had been a long grueling day at work and I didn't have the energy to keep the 'I'm done dating' persona up.  Something happened that night and I became cautiously interested in finding out more about this guy.  He was funny, he was sarcastic, he was kind, family was important to him and he could drink.  I left for home at 11:30 pm.  Steve and I went out a couple times that following week and the rest is history. 

The Twist:
When we started putting the pieces together over those first few dinners, we realized we lived next door to each other during our senior year of college.  We both lived in single family homes with about 10 other people, not apartment complexes and not with a vast expanse of land between the houses.  The houses were 20 feet from each other.  I recalled his friends, he recalled mine, but we have ZERO recollection of each other.  The friend Steve and I met through had nothing to do with the college we both attended.  Serendipity perhaps?