Monday, November 24, 2014

New Work Arrangements: Making Adjustments

As some as you know, I left public accounting in May of this year to take a step into the private accounting world. My goal was to allow myself more time with my kids, and to get home at a reasonable time. The company I decided to work for is a large public company headquartered in my area, and I was excited for the opportunity to be a part of their team.

After much discussion I had a separate meeting to discuss my desired hours and the need to be present at home with my children. I even went into detail on my sons medical condition and his recent hospitalization, weekly therapy appointments, monthly doctor visits, and quarterly cardiology appointments. When everyone agreed it would be a great fit, I was thrilled.

The next 3 months were very difficult for me. Not only was I a new employee trying to learn the systems and gain efficiencies, I realized the work environment was very different than the 37.5 hour work weeks I was communicated about in my offer package. My group worked through lunch arrived well before me, and still were in the office at 8:30pm after I left. They worked hard, and they were great at what they did, but this environment left me more stressed than I was in public accounting, and I became very depressed about my working situation.

I'm very glad that I took the step and confronted my management on the reality of the role versus what was initially communicated to me during my hiring process. I think this is the step a lot of working mothers are afraid to do. I wanted to do it all, I wanted to be successful at work and at home, and I didn't want to confront management to let them know I couldn't do it. But I just kept seeing my children's faces, asleep tucked into bed, fed, showered and sleeping peacefully by the time I got home (thanks to my super supporting husband), and I knew this wasn't what I wanted out of my life. I needed more balance.

Now, the confrontation did not go as planned, and I was told things that were hurtful and disrespectful not just as a female in the workplace, but as a mother as well. But that's okay... I'm a mom first, and no matter what was said to me, it just solidified the decision to move on with my life.

Thankfully after conversations with my old Firm, I was hired back into an extremely flexible position. And it works! I feel horrible for abandoning my department and then silly for making a switch back so quickly but I'm so glad I was able to find something that works for me and my family. My schedule fluctuates during the year, but outside of peak season (peak season being January through April) I work 3 days a week, with goals set for me each month. Goals that are attainable and manageable, and it feels great!

Things I learned from this experience...
It's okay to not be able to handle it all. Just because someone chooses to work out of the home, doesn't mean they have to keep up with the persona that they can multitask, take care of sick children, be on 5 conference calls, and prepare 5 reports, all while saving the world. It's OK to not give up, but move on. Finding balance is not something that can be done in every situation that is given to you. It takes adjustments, every day.

Are there times that I still feel like I couldn't do "it"...that I couldn't be a full time "working mother" and do it all? Yes, but then I remind myself I AM doing it all....just in my own way, and that's good enough for me. The thing is we ALL do it all, every day. We manage, whether we stay at home with our children, or work the 80+ hour work weeks, we still love our children with all of our hearts, and that's what my goal will always be.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Crazy Hair Day

It was crazy hair day at school today.......and I forgot. 
I dropped the kids off at school, and once I got to work, my outlook reminder popped up "crazy hair day, 30 minutes overdue!" Son of a....
You might not know the severity of the issue here, but I forgot it was crazy hair day! I had all these grand plans. It was supposed to be a morning that I could spend 20 extra minutes with my daughter, instead of rushing through the house like a crazy person making sure everyone has socks and shoes on. I visioned Sophia and I making crazy faces at each other in the mirror, while singing Disney tunes...It was supposed to be a day where I could do something extra for my child, where Sophia's friends would say "oh man, your hair is awesome! Who did that?" MOM DID Sophia would scream with excitement, and then right there I would get bonus mommy points... Points I've felt quite often I haven't been earning through the craziness of work, and the sheer exhaustion of having a toddler and infant.
I forgot crazy hair I a bad mom?

The pipe cleaners I bought, would not be used, and Sophia's dark curls would not be braided into the craziness that I had planned. I failed.....

After I got home from school I was afraid to open the door, but I did, and there she was. Instead of a disappointed child, I saw a little girl who screamed "mommy I missed you!" And then she gave me the biggest hug ever. In that moment I realized, I may forget crazy hair day, I may not be skilled enough to make sandwiches into faces (I'm learning though), I may not have gotten the month by month picture in the same outfit (6 months out of the first year isn't too shabby), my daughters pig tails might not be even and her pony tail quite often has a few bumps (more than I can count).....but I'm the best mommy she's ever known, and I get points for trying, right?

Over the past year I should have learned that there are more important things to be worried about and that I should be counting how blessed I am. I'm going to try and be better at that. And, if I should remember a crazy hair day or two, that will just be that much sweeter....

Tomorrow is wear your favorite color to school day.....I've got this!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

We all are working mothers

You've heard the term used over and over.. "Working mom" there is even a magazine devoted to it (great magazine by the way) and by definition we assume it is a female who is a mom, who has a job or a career. People call me that all the time, but recently when I talk about my experiences with my job, I do NOT refer to myself as a working mom, I tend to use the phrase "as a mom who works out of the home."

Yes, it's a mouthful, but look, I do not consider a mom who chooses to stay home with her child as someone who doesn't work. Heck that mom probably has many days where she works so hard you don't see a difference between the work of career and of keeping things together at home.

Here's to all the moms! We are ALL working mothers, and whether we work outside our home, or work alongside our little ones, we all deserve a bonus, a pat on the back, or just a sweet hug from our precious little ones. Yes, I'll take that hug over a pat on the back any day!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grooving with Groovebook

I love Groove book. No, I haven't been contacted by the company to do a post, but I thought I'd share the love.
I heard about Groovebook through Shark Tank (I'm obsessed with the show its like the Home Shopping Network for me, I buy anything I'm impressed with). Then, I saw some Facebook ads, a post over at You are the Roots (love your blog Lindsay!). if anyone is interested is checking her out, such a beautiful mommy blogger.

Back to Groovebook. So it's a subscription based app for your phone. I know it works for the iPhone, not sure about Android devices. The cost is $2.99 a month and you get a book of 100 photos each month delivery included. I take a ton of pictures which gets sucked into the "cloud"/space/vortex, wherever it goes, and on my computer. I never have time to get them printed. I needed something I could have as a coffee table book, to take with me when meeting friends for lunch, and my biggest success...the grandparents!

With Groovebook you can send a copy of the book for another $2.99. My parents beg me to send more pictures, and if they received a Groovebook, they would be overjoyed. Words of advice: Appeasing the grandparents is key. Especially when you can send them some love when they live Afar with the click of a well with my busy schedule. Trust me the will reward you wil babysitting, trips to Costco and a candy filled child....okay scratch the last one...I'm not condoning that behavior!

So how does it work? It's an app on your phone, and depending on when you sign up you have until that day each month to upload photos to the app before it closes and your book gets made. I can upload 100 photos at once or throughout the month. I choose throughout the month, because uploading 100 takes time, but uploading 10-15 while I catch up on some emails, takes about a minute. It will even tell me which photos I've already uploaded, or if I've already used that photo in a previous book. They can't make it any easier. 

The book makes what looks like 4x6 photos binded but perforated so you can easily tear them out and stick them on the fridge or give them to a friend. It also marks the page (not on the photo but the perforation tab) with the date and time. That's pretty cool. From what I recall Groovebook gets its name from the little groove they had to put in the binding so it was flexible enough to qualify for media postage. (Dont quote me on that) Smart people!

I was weary about the quality.. I mean 2.9 cents a photo and I don't have to get off my lazy butt and drive to the store, it gets delivered to my mailbox, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised! The paper was thinner than photo center photos, think photo printer paper, glossy, and a little thinner like the thickness of a magazine cover, like a good magazine like Star weekly (don't judge me!) I say this as I'm feeling up all the magazines in my house to get a good comparison. My daughter is staring at me funny. "Mommy's just researching honey" she's off, she says she's going to go research in her playroom.. Why does that sound creepy....

Okay I'm off topic again. Bottom line is I love this book, it's a cheap way for me to share with family. When I ordered they sent me a code: MILLIKAN3 
If you use it, you get your first month free. But keep in mind it IS a subscription, so you need to cancel or you will be charged $2.99 a month, even if you don't upload those 100 photos a month.

Less then the price of a Starbucks frappacino, totally worth it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Call....

If you are a mom who uses a daycare or child care service of some sort, you know what I'm talking about. The's usually right when you are in the middle of an important project or have a hard deadline, your phone rings, and your child care providers name pops up on your caller ID. Chances are they aren't calling you to tell you your child recited his ABCs perfectly while using the potty and wiping his own bottom.....
You wait for it to ring a couple times while you assess your work status... Okay it's still ringing..this is not a pick up the phone
"Hi....ummmm...yeah....Junior just barfed all over his friends, you'll have to pick him up..."
Face palm to the head. It's only 9am and you need to figure out the escape plan, a back up plan, and a back up back up plan because you know when things start to go downhill, it's hard to really plan anything.

The project can wait, you pack your hand sanitizer and you are on your way to pick up your tiny bundle of germs, whom you love dearly, but would rather have healthy instead of sick any day (even though you love the extra cuddle time).

You're on the phone with your pediatrician while in the car because you know you need a doctors note to get your precious wee one back to day care anytime soon. 

Then there's the usual 24 hour after a fever rule before you can bring your child back to day care, which means you and your laptop and baby are best friends for the next 24-48 hours, welcome to mommy hood! 

Once the craziness dies down, and you are cuddling your sweet angel to sleep and sweating because the Tylenol hasn't kicked in for him yet, you stop and remember this moment. Because sometimes you need this extra time. There never is enough time, but right now in This moment your baby needs their momma, and you would go to the ends of the earth for them......Even if it means the report you were supposed to get to your boss by 3pm is not happening.....the world can wait.....someone more important needs you.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Usborne Books and More: becoming an educational consultant

Reading this, your like direct sales, that's so not me! Or, why be a consultant if you have a job? All great questions, and here's why.
I was introduced to Usborne books at a large Christmas craft show. The quality of the books are amazing, the books themselves are enticing, and draws children to them with their excellent illustrations, and amazing writing. Once I bought my first 2 books I was hooked. Do you remember the feeling you got when you were in elementary school and the teacher handed out the book order forms? The excitement of getting a new book, or possibly getting a new book. If I could just bottle up that emotion, and use it on days where I'm stressed or overwhelmed that would be the cure all! Where are those books I ordered? Probably ripped, broken, donated, trashed. The quality just wasn't there...
What if you can give that excitement to your child, and have books that will last....

Quality and Company
Usborne books is different, the quality is outstanding and these books will be passed down for sure. I've never once seen an Usborne book at a thrift store, or a consignment sale, and these aren't (for long while) offered on amazon. You have to go through a consultant to place an order. This shows the commitment the company has to their consultants. They offer a lot of tools for a consultant to be as successful as he or she wants to be.

There is no commitment by a consultant to sell. I can host shows weekly, or decide I want to take time off, there aren't minimum requirements for sales. This is so important to me, because I don't always have time to breathe let alone promote my business.

I can host a party live, a Facebook party from the comfort of my home in my pjs, go to libraries and complete orders, or get into book fairs, preschool and reading drives. The ability to take this where you want is huge. If I'm holding a party, it's usually appropriate to bring my child. I don't have to be afraid I'm not spending enough time with my children, I can include them, and so can party attendees.

The sport system is huge. My consultant team is like a family. They offer resources, tools, advice, and will even help me at party by skyping in and hosting the party with me. Any question about a book or recommendations are answered usually within the hour, and I never feel like my questions are dumb. Someone always wants to help me.

I told my husband I needed something fun to add to my work life. Something that I can try and succeed at, but can fail and it be okay. I want something I can make a little extra side money with, and pay for my daughters dance lessons, or my sons rehab sessions. It makes me feel good that I can do that!

Not interested in becoming a consultant? Host a party on Facebook, and get double free books until the end of September if you host with me. For example, a party with $350 in sales and a booking, you've earned $120 in free books, plus more at half price. Fun, easy, and all you need to do Is invite your friends and promote the books, which really sell themselves!

Interested in Usborne books, check out my company website at

Email with questions

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reflection time

I tend to do my best reflecting In the 5minutes I have after dropping my children off at daycare, and before I pull out of the parking lot. Yes, I sometimes sit in my car by myself and drink my Luke warm coffee, and think about what I'm about to do during the day. Do I have everything, did I remember to bring my daughters favorite book to school because its book day. Yes, ok good. Do I have my computer? okay great. Did I pay the kids tuition today? Did I end up switching the laundry to the dryer....darn it i didn't....ill have to redo that load later. 

I watch all the other parents drop off their kids. It's very therapeutic because I often feel sad I don't get to spend my whole day with my children, but I see other parents like myself dropping off their kids, and I feel like I'm not alone. There's the mom in the suit probably running late to a meeting, yes, those were breakfast crumbs she was wiping off her dress. There's the dad in the workout pants, and t-shirt, I wonder if he works from home, or maybe he gets in a run before he heads into the office. There's the parent with 3 young kids getting them out of the car one little one at a time. (I'd hate to see their tuition bill!) The mom who lugs a car carrier with her baby and a toddler Into the building by herself. There's someone with a car messier than mine (I told my husband that was possible). I saw those pieces of goldfish fall from the car and land in a little pile in the parking lot. I can spot goldfish a mile a way. I see the kids  run inside with huge smiles on their faces, greeting the teachers, backpacks on, ready for their field trip to the zoo.  

No matter if I work outside the home, work in the home, or stay at home, as long as my child is safe, healthy and happy, I'm doing a good job!

Then I snap out of it, put my car in reverse, and head to work. 

I may not have remembered to put the creamer back in the fridge before I left the house, and I'm wearing one black shoe and one blue shoe, but my child has her favorite book for book day...that is good enough for me!

Friday, July 4, 2014

A lesson from The Sandlot

Happy 4th of July! The family and I kicked it off with one of our favorite summer movies of all time...The Sandlot.
We seem to find ourselves quoting the movie from time to time...I don't know when the movie came out, but I've feel like I've been watching it FOREVERRRR FOREVERRRR (see how I snuck that in there)....

I really focused on one scene today, it's where the mom encourages her son to ask her step father to teach him the play fetch. She was like "well go in there and ask him" que awkward scene where boy stutters, and shyly asks. Every time I watch this scene I think to myself "why doesn't the mom just tell the dad to do it...why doesn't she pull him to the side and say 'hey, in a few minutes go ask your stepson to play catch, make him feel special like you WANT to do it" then I realized....that's the problem....what I'm thinking should happen is the problem...

I feel as a parent I am guilty of wanting things done for my daughter. Buying things for her because I know she'd like it, not because she's asked me for it. I find myself asking my husband to sign her up for things like dance because she likes dancing, but have I ever asked her if she wanted to have or do these things? Letting family know what to get her for her birthday when they ask me, instead of telling them to talk to her and figure out her likes and dislikes. Now that she's a big talker, I want her to use her verbal skills to communicate with others, in a polite and respectful way.

Is that an issue these days, where we provide things for our children without them asking or letting us know why they want or need something? Do I see the correlation around me, where people are afraid to ask for things, like a raise, and just wait until someone tells you you did a good job, and when that doesn't happen, you get angry and quit. Wanting something from someone should be a two way street. What do you want? Why do you want it? What does it mean to you? Is it an appropriate time for you to have what you want?

Im going to do better with how I treat My daughter, and ask her what she wants. Instead of providing her things and her just expecting good things to happen. Will she always hear yes? Heck no! She SHOULD hear no, and be okay with that. It should be an open conversation, she explains why she needs something, I explain why she can't have it right now, and if its something she can work towards, explain to her how she can achieve it.

This parenting thing is exhausting, and I know I'll never get it right, but ill try my hardest to do it in a way that works best for my family, and gives my children the opportunity to grow up to be respectful to others and themselves, that's my #1 goal.

Thanks Sandlot!

(Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I gave my child A Kid Cuisine meal.....and it's OK

Walking down the frozen section on my local Kroger the other day, I stopped in front of the frozen dinner section. There....I saw it! That blue box that took me back to my childhood. A Kid Cuisine frozen meal. This brought back memories of summer at my grandmothers when we were all too tired from a crazy filled day, and dinner had to be quick. It still however was rare. Once in a blue moon my mother would let me pick a Kids Cuisine meal from the freezer. "It's not healthy" she would say. She also said that about my cookie crisp cereal I always begged for but never got.

As a child I grew up thinking that blue box was bad for me, yet I still craved it.

Once I had kids I saw it, the health food craze. I made my daughter baby food from scratch, I choose organic when I could. I bought the fancy baby food cook books, with the ingredients I couldn't pronounce, because if given the option we always want what's best for our children. I felt like I'd set myself up to fail. I didn't always have time to roast the butternut squash or find the organic quinoa. My daughter didn't always like the fancy meals I spent hours pre making at the beginning of the week. It was hard. Why was I doing this? And why do I feel like a horrible mom for not wanting to sometimes. I had to let it go, and not put too much pressure on making everything perfect. I had to tell myself it was OK to buy the pre made baby food once in a while. Yes 2 ply toilet paper was okay, and store brand baby wipes got the job done.

Now don't get me wrong, I have many friends that just prepare organic, and that's great. I come from the thought that we do what works for our families. Moms need to do more supporting of one another instead of pushing what we feel works best for us. I think then, we will all know we are doing the best we can, and mommy guilt may be a thing of the past....maybe....

It came as a shock to me, that the other day, I stopped and actually reached in to grab one of those blue boxes for my daughter. "Penguin food mommy!" It put a smile on my face to think back to those random memories, but I thought what the heck, one meal won't be bad.

2 weeks later I was stretched thin for time. As a mom who works outside the house, dinner time fits in the sliver of time between sitting through rush hour to get home, bath time, and bed. I try my hardest to cook a wholesome meal each night, but this night it wasn't working out. So I broke out the penguin meal. Her eyes lit up, and she cried at the fact that she had to wait for it to cool down before eating up.

While she was inhaling her food (which never picky eater usually sticks her nose up at dinner time), I read the back of the box. Cooked spaghetti, whole grain pasta, tomato sauce with tomato, onion, and garlic, spices, soybean oil, Romano cheese from milk, meatballs with pork and beef, corn (with sugar....that was a little odd), applesauce, 280 calories, 9% of daily intake of fats, 15% for sodium (lower than I thought), it seemed to me that this meal seemed pretty well rounded for a frozen dinner. Now, I'm not a health expert, I don't claim to know anything really about nutrition, so I could have this completely wrong, but it seemed "healthier" than those lean cuisines I spent my 20's devouring for lunch.

Now, my goal is still try to cook a nice meal for my family each night, and enjoy it.... but if I have to break out the blue box once in a while......I won't feel like a horrible mom. My daughter CAN have a meal from a box and its OK. 

Sometimes I need to take a step back and look at the big picture....and tonight that picture is of a penguin, and he's snowboarding next to a pile of meatballs.....thanks Kid Cuisine!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

An update...finally

So it has been over 6 months since my last post, for good reason, I promise!
I last posted the end of September. I had all these grand plans before baby came...I was going to do a what's in my hospital bag post (because I thought I had gotten it right this 2nd time around). I was going to do a my favorite things post for fall...but, as children are, baby Braden was VERY unpredictable.

Braden was born October 3rd, three weeks early, which wasnt too surprising since Sophia was born 4 weeks early in 2011. I thought I would have the perfect bonding experience with little man, at home, but shortly after arriving home, things were not what they should have been. See, Braden was VERY lethargic at home, barely opening his eyes, and only crying ONE time after we got home the first week of his life (during bath time...but I'd cry too!) He felt cold, I couldn't wake him, he wouldn't nurse. I took him to the pediatrician 3 times that first week home. The first check up was a normal first baby visit, I explained my concern that he wasnt eating enough (this wasnt my first rodeo) but he had gained weight, so it did not indicate a problem. Babies are sleepy, I was told, which is true and normal 99.9% of the time. I asked to come back in 2 days, and I did. By 7 days old He was sleeping 23.5 hours a day, and only drinking about 2 ounces a day. Still making wet diapers (I don't know how) and ge had gained an ounce. (How, i don't know!) But I still felt something was off. I was sent home. That Friday I called and made a sick visit because things were bad. He was still sleeping almost 24 hours a day, he only drank 1.5 ounces a day. I saw a different pediatrician, since my normal one was not available. They took him temperature.. 92.2 (something like that) I panicked, but the nurse went and got another thermometer, get his time it was somewhere between 92.2 and 93... I can't remember I just remember freaking out.
The doctor came in, and said he had gained an ounce, and that she didn't think their thermometers were very accurate, and he "felt" fine, so they sent me home.

Well flash forward 2 days later, Sunday night about 11:30pm, Braden was having trouble breathing, and breathing fast so we took him into the ER after calling our pediatrician our pediatrician a office, and that is where our nightmare started.

I won't go into ALL of the details of our 42 day stay in the hospital, but it included being told my son was in heart failure, being told he might not make it through the night, an emergency transfer to UVA hospital, my son being placed on a bypass machine to pump his heart because he was unable to do so, and being wait listed on the heart transplant list at status 1A.. The highest need. My life was in shambles, and I still see pieces of it, the worst days, like snapshots on a camera...but the feeling of being told your son may die, and his medical issue was unknown, stays with you forever....

I slept all 42 nights on a bench right beside my sons hospital bed. My husband and I were blessed with friends, family, and prayers all over the world and our prayers were answered. On the 42nd day, the week of thanksgiving, he came home with us.

Without writing a novel, the diagnosis was Myocarditis...a virus that attacked his heart muscle. This is very serious in newborns as there are not many known cases. We were told that most infants pass away in their sleep or it goes undiagnosed, or labeled SIDS. The rate of survival for a newborn was very, very small.

Although Braden has a long way to go, I am so blessed I have these days with him. Although his heart is not normal, and he may one day need a transplant if it gets weaker, I am so honored to be his mommy, and so blessed to have him in my life.

So there you have it. Occasionally I will make updates on the blog about Braden, but I don't want to dwell on the fact that he is not well, I want to rejoice in the fact that I have my family, and we can experience and enjoy every moment we are blessed with!
I hope to start blogging again soon, in between messy diapers, getting thrown up on, and a house full of crying babies, but you know what?....I love every moment......even the smelly ones......

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Linen closet organization

I'm back at it, trying to organize my house and my life one room...or closet at a time. For MONTHS I've been wanting to clean up my child's/guest bathroom linen closet. Everytime I'd walk in and shove towels away I'd shudder at how disorganized it was. Then I'd shut the door and run away. "If I don't look at it long, it doesn't exist"....

I'd find myself using the same 2 towels, washing them and using them again because the closet was so disorganized I could not even see the other 5 kids towels I had in there. Subconsciously I kept telling myself "must buy more towels" because I didn't know what I had. A thing I learned about organizing my possessions is I actually spend less because i know what I have, and I use what I have.

 I went to my favorite store ever...the dollar tree. I actually laughed out loud because a sweet little old lady at the register next to me stated "dollar tree is my favorite store ever!" I picked up 9 baskets/buckets for a whopping total of $9.48 and was on my way.

I whipped out my trusty old Cricket and started labeling away. I wanted to differentiate my daughters sheets, from my sons, from the guest room sheets. I guess it's odd I labeled one teeth care instead of oral care, but my daughter knows the word teeth/tooth and I wanted to be able to show her how things are organized in the closet.

I think it turned out pretty good. It was a nap time project, which is the only hour and a half I get to do anything uninterrupted sometimes. Here's to getting things crossed off my to do list!



Sunday, June 15, 2014

A new job, a fresh start

So I left public accounting....I actually left. It was a bitter sweet moment for me, as i had been with the same Firm for 8 years. But I needed to move on and find something that worked a little better with my new life.
I started my new job 3 weeks ago, and its pretty awesome. I'm in private industry now.  I'm still working full time, but having a more regular schedule allows me to be present at home a little more, both physically and mentally.

I'm so excited for what the future holds in my career, but always remind myself of the most important job I have, mommy to 2 pretty amazing little kiddos.

(I'll keep telling myself that as I listen to my 2 year old have tantrum number 3 for the day... And it's only 8am! )
Love her always!
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