Werk, Werk, Werk, Werk, Werk…

I am at the end of this maternity leave. I feel so fortunate that I have had the opportunity of having the last 11 weeks off work, and even more so to have the next two weeks part time to ease myself back into the swing of things.

While it is hard to transition away from my time with Daphne and my family, I do want to look at the positives of returning back work.

  1. I am ready to be back in the real world. I have been living in this perfect bubble of baby cheeks and boxes of raisins. I have no idea what is really happening outside of my house, so that will be nice to engage in reality again.
  2. I can eat lunch at a normal time instead of between cries and feeding other people. I can eat something that is hot and without having to hold a baby and worry about spilling on her. That one meal a day is going to be like a vacation.
  3. Routine. We have no routine right now. On one hand it is nice, and I have enjoyed the flexibility. But having no routine means that I have to have a billion alarms on my phone to remember things like paying the bills and taking my vitamins every day. Having a routine is good.
  4. I can wear my hair down for more than one day a week and dress like a real human being. I like my wardrobe, and I want to use it. I love Daphne but she likes to pull my hair and barf on me, so I have been living in grungy gym clothes all summer.
  5. I don’t have to worry about other people’s bodily functions or help them doing them for at least 8 hours a day. Bless them.
  6. On that note, I can go to the bathroom by myself.

Lastly, I really enjoy my job and August is such a fun time in Higher Ed. There is excitement to a new academic year, and all the hoopla that happens in the fall is just wonderful. I can’t wait to meet my class for my freshmen seminar and also the individual students that I will be coaching this fall. I know I am going to miss my babies, but coming back to this high energy time is going to be perfect to help me to get back into my professional mojo. It is the perfect time to be rejuvenated back to working mom life.

Tomorrow feels like the first day of school. I have all the bags packed and our clothes picked out. (I have tried on a million outfits like I am presenting myself to the world again.) I am excited to see all my friends and colleagues again. I have the jitters about leaving my family, and I’m slightly nervous that I have forgotten everything over the last few months.

I feel like I should be arming myself with a Lisa Frank Trapper keeper.

It’s going to be great…

I will get up in time…

Both kids will get to the sitter fed and clothed…

Pray for us.

A Beautiful Summer

Having a May baby was just the best.

It gave us the opportunity to have a great summer with our family complete.

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Having maternity leave these last few months was wonderful. It was really the best time for me to heal and bond with our family.

Working in higher education means that I do not get the summers off from my job, even though most of my students believe that I do. This was a once in a lifetime gift that I was able to be home during these summer months.

Obviously, this was time meant to figure out Daphne and how she fit into our family unit and bond now as a family of four, But, my goal was to also use this time with my family to do things we don’t normally get to do due to my work schedule.

We were able to enjoy the weather more fully because there was flexibility. By getting out of the house and enjoying nature every day, I really felt more like myself much faster than I did with George. I didn’t feel confined to the house, which I think made everyone happier. I also realized that taking a newborn out is so much easier than when they get older, so I was getting her out as much as I could. Daphne and I explored almost every trail in the Columbia area. This was such a beautiful thing for my healing process as well. It gave me an outlet to just be and take my time enjoying the outdoors with my little girl. It’s not very often that we get to slow down and just take things in. It was my goal to go for a walk every day that the weather was nice. This time was so special for me. The exercise was an added bonus. We have played outside almost every day after dinner which is something we don’t always do because I am trying to keep up on the schedule of lights out by 8. Like I said, everyone was a little happier with all the outside time.

We were able to go to events in town that I would otherwise say no to because I cherish our down time at home or I didn’t want to rush from work to get some place. I also didn’t feel guilty going to things on Saturdays because we had other days in the week to relax and get house stuff done.

We did little things like going to a magic show at the library down the road from our house. We also went to a butterfly exhibit at the nature center. These are often during work hours, so I have never been able to go to programming like this with the kids.

Tom and I had day dates and spent more time together and with family than we have in years. It was great for us to connect this way so we can continue to try to be the best team for these kids and each other.

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We took George to see his first movie (Cars 3 obviously) in the middle of a weekday afternoon.

I didn’t feel so harried about a trip to the St. Louis Zoo or Sea Life Kansas City because I knew I had time to recoup from these day trips.

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I was able to read a lot of books. I got out my big camera more. I slept in until 8 some days.

I was able to get in a lot of doctor’s appointments in without worrying about juggling other meetings or trying to figure out the commute. I could schedule it at whatever time without any guilt. You may not understand how freeing this is, but this is one of my favorite parts of this summer.

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It may sound silly, but recouping from this pregnancy has been the most relaxing thing I have done in a long time. And I attribute a lot of it to being summer. I love this time of year, so it was great to be at home for it to focus on family memories.

I didn’t feel rushed or felt myself counting down minutes. Being on maternity leave during the summer let me just live in the moment and enjoy it so much more.

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George is at such a fun age, so being able to see more of his world was so wonderful. And having this intentional time to focus on my kids and their development was what made this summer a dream. Watching them grow is magical.

While we didn’t plan this pregnancy timing, having Daphne in the early summer was spot on what I needed. It’s a more calm time of the year for my job responsibilities, so I didn’t feel worried about work at all. And here I am going back 3 weeks before classes begin, which is just perfect. If Daphne would have come on her due date, I would have started back at work the first day of classes. Yikes.

It is going to be hard to say goodbye to this summer and my time home with my family. (While I have been really relaxed for the most part, I did have an anxiety attack yesterday wondering how I am going to manage going back to work and keeping up with stuff at home.)

I am going to cherish these moments we had. What a beautiful summer.

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PS. My sink was still always full of dirty dishes so it wasn’t completely perfect. But I will take the outings and mostly relaxed afternoons over a clean sink any day.

Just a Day in July

Every once in a while I like to do a post of what a day looks like for us. Since my maternity leave is coming to a close, I figured documenting what this time has looked for us was a must.

Here is a day from this past month.

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Daphne is sleeping through the night, so I have been waking up when the kids get up around 6am. (The past two weeks I have been getting up to pump at 5am.)

Generally, George is up before Daphne. He often is awake for awhile before I actually hear him. I don’t know what it is, but he will not leave his room before we come and get him. Sometimes I find him just playing or reading in his bed; other days he is just playing quietly on the floor. Then there are some days he is still sleeping at 7am. This is a big reason why we moved to pull-ups because he won’t come and get us and would pee in his room.

We watch some cartoons before heading out for the day.

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Tom has been on midnights, so he gets home before I take George to the sitter. I love watching these moments between these two.

I then wake Daphne up and feed her while Tom and George watch some Paw Patrol.

George likes to eat his breakfast bar in the car, and we always say a prayer before we head out. We are working on George contributing to prayers so we always asking him what he is thankful for. Sometimes we have some interesting conversations with Jesus.

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After I drop George off at the sitter, Daphne and I have been going for walks. I will have to say that continuing to take George to the sitter was one of the best decisions of this maternity leave. It has allowed us time to really bond with Daphne, but also a little more freedom to do errands and get stuff done around the house. Doing stuff with a newborn is so much easier than doing the same stuff with a toddler.

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I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a to-do list every day. I haven’t been trying to exert myself, but I usually have one big thing I want to get done that day. This can be anything from washing dishes to organizing our storage. I also try to plan all my errands for the week to get done in one day.

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Otherwise, we have spent a lot of time catching up on shows. I have been really into Criminal Minds lately. I can only watch it during the daylight, and I can’t watch more than two episodes at any given time. It starts messing with my head.

Daphne supervised me doing laundry this day.

Then we pick up George and play a little before dinner.

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We have been doing pretty good about making a real dinner every night, and we have been trying new recipes in hopes to find easy stuff for once I go back to work. Also roasted veggies are the best!

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After dinner, Tom gives George a bath and I walk with Daphne. George loves getting clean in our bathroom. He loves our tub for the bubbles, and he is obsessed with our big shower.

Tom gets some bedtime snuggles with George before he starts to get ready for work.

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After feeding her for the last time of the day, I read a story to Daphne before putting her to bed a little before 8.

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Once Daphne is down, I start getting George ready for bed. All the while, Tom is getting his uniform on. Some days George does well with brushing his teeth, other days I have to physically hold him down to get the job done. We have to switch tactics every few weeks to make sure those teeth get clean. This was a good day.

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Lately, we have started to do puzzles before bed in addition to reading books. It’s a good time to work on his vocabulary and how to match. He is obsessed with puzzles and is really good at them!

And of course we go to the bathroom one more time before bed.

Usually Tom leaves the house amidst the bed time chaos, so we have to stop for our goodbye ritual. George LOVES to wave in the windows and sprints from window to window to catch as much Daddy time as he can. This night he wanted to assess his driving more than actually waving…I think he forgets that Tom cannot hear him.

Then we go back to reading our stories. He has his favorites like this one where there are train figurines that go along with each page.

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I loved that I happened to be recording this particular day because this prayer was everything. Normally, George is thankful for his sitter (Brenda) and the boys there, but rarely do Tom and I get mentioned. So it was extra sweet to catch this moment.

Around 8:30/8:45 both kids are finally in bed. The nice thing about midnight schedule, is that I get some much needed introvert time. Typically, I watch an hour or two of TV and play around on the computer. This day I happened to be working on the blog.

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George is scared of the dark so we leave his bedside table lamp on so he can fall asleep in the light. Oddly enough he does fall asleep pretty quickly. He may get up to get toys to sleep with, but I always find him asleep before I go to bed.

Usually I find him in a precarious position laying on toys. So I move him around and put the toys on the table before turning of his light.

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Typically, I am in bed and asleep before 11.

And that is how my summer has gone. Just a perfect summer.

‘My Daughter’s Legacy’ Book Review and Giveaway

Meet two women in different eras but both with unfailing conviction in Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould’s new book, My Daughter’s Legacy. Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained-her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man-to unlock the secrets of the past.

Y’all this book was awesome. I am giving it a 4.5/5. You know how I love a good historical fiction, and this one is set in one of my favorite eras.

What I enjoyed about this book was the mystery that connected these two relatives from different times. It was fun to pick out pieces of the story as the author went back and forth between the two women. She did a great job giving you just enough to want to keep reading, but not too much that it was completely predictable.

I also liked that it was about women and the inner struggles we face to prove ourselves and let go of inner demons. I am all for stories about strong women.

The only pitfalls to me where that I felt that there was one of the women’s story that was stronger than the other. I wanted to read more about her life and found myself upset when the other woman took up too many pages. But I guess that is a sign that I really resonated with that character or enjoyed her story more.

The other minor thing was that I felt that the ending was flat. It was such a page turner for me, that the ending didn’t really fit for me.

But other than those two things, I really loved it. This is also a book in a series, but it can definitely stand alone. The other books just follow other women in the same family so you get different perspectives. I have added them to my reading list because I loved this one so much!

Celebrate the release of this book by entering to win the $75 Visa Cash Card Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party on August 1!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • One copy of My Daughter’s Legacy
  • One $75 Visa Cash Card

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 1. The winner will be announced at the My Daughter’s Legacy Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Mindy, Leslie, and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!

Bachelorette Rachel Week 9

 

Flush the format. She is changing things up and having the men meet the family earlier than normal.

  • Peter is up first.
  • I think he is the most realistic about a real relationship.
  • I love how he is getting into picking out these baby gifts.
  • So Peter got serious about his feelings now. Whew glad he got that out. And she is not shy about saying she is falling in love back.
  • Huh, Peter’s parents got married after a short time. I wonder why he is so reserved about this process.
  • Peter is just so chill about how he is explaining his feelings to her family.
  • I heard on the radio that her dad was actually there in the wings the whole time. Apparently there is something about him being a federal judge that he did not feel comfortable being on TV. So he did meet all the guys.
  • Rachel’s nephew is ADORBALE!
  • Ok so Eric and Bryan are talking about how Peter isn’t sure he would propose just yet. Why is Eric getting all up in arms about it when he doesn’t even know what love feels like. You are telling me that he is sure he is going to propose to her when he doesn’t know what love is? Huh.
  • Eric seems to be just spitting out buzzwords to her family. I don’t really feel like he knows what he wants.
  • Rachel’s mom is such a strong woman.
  • These guys are trash talking each other.
  • I think it says a lot that she is having Bryan meet her friends in addition to her friends. I think it means that she wants them to grill him.
  • I think that Rachel’s initial radar was correct with Bryan. I think he is a douchebag.
  • Rachel’s family is putting on the heat for Bryan.
  • Get it Mrs. Lindsay.
  • I do think they may have produced this and made some edit with how they are filming it to make it more uncomfortable to watch.
  • I am right there with Constance to be hesitant to trust Bryan.
  • I think Rachel’s mom appreciated that Peter wanted to slow it down.
  • Ugh yes! The fact that Bryan is trying to be so perfect with all the right answers…it raises red flags.
  • And now we are in Spain.
  • Eric keeps saying “You embody everything I would want.” The would part bothers me.
  • She doesn’t seem to react to Eric saying I love you. There was no glimmer in her eye. I know when Tom said I love you, I could hardly contain my excitement.
  • Oh this is fantasy date week!
  • The date with Eric was anti-climatic.
  • That little girl walking up to Rachel was a little awkward right?
  • Ugh gross. Grape stomping is disgusting guys.
  • I don’t understand why Rachel is so upset with what Peter is saying.
  • Y’all want the same thing, you are just saying it differently.