Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Best I Can Be

I read a blog post this week that really ruffled my feathers. In it, the author insinuated that working mothers did not love their children as much or invest as much time in their children as stay at home moms. Needless to say, as a working mom I was pretty angry about the whole thing. So I did what any sane person would do and took the matter to Twitter where I found my righteous indignation to be well matched. I felt better knowing that others agreed with my viewpoint but I was still upset about the post and bothered that it had gotten to me so much. That really got me thinking. Did I really want to be a stay at home mom? Was that why this was eating at me? Do I really feel like there was truth to the thought that I wasn't investing in my child or that I was letting someone else raise him or that I didn't love him to my fullest?

The answer is no to all of the above. There is no doubt that I love Jackson with all my heart. Anyone who sees us together knows that. Nor is there any doubt that he loves me and is very much a Momma's boy. Yes, I have thought about trying to stay home several times since I found out I was pregnant but that isn't a possibility for us. Even if it was, I am not sure that is a decision I would make. Jackson enjoys his time at daycare and he learns things there that I am not sure I would be able to teach him. I also do better having some time away from him which allows me to better enjoy the time we spend together. I make it a point to plan family activities whenever possible so we can make memories as a family. Are there days when I wish I could be home? Yes. Are there things I have missed because I work? Yes. It frustrates me to no end to see activities I would love to take Jackson to but can't because they fall during the week.

Being a working mom is hard because I know what I am doing is helping provide a good life for my child but it doesn't take away the guilt I feel on those mornings when I leave him crying in someone else's arms (Chris's, his teachers) because he just wants me to stay. (This doesn't happen often but when it does, I feel terrible.) I also wouldn't question the decision of someone who decides to stay home. I know their job is just as hard because they do spend so much time with their children often with few breaks while trying to maintain a household and keep it functioning.  Neither job is easy which is why I think someone in the opposite situation needs to be careful before making statements that could be deemed as a judgement from someone on the other side.

I learned something out of all of this. I can only be the best mom I can be and it isn't for someone else to determine what that looks like. I can't allow someone else to question my parenting or my decisions because they are not living my life and what works for them may not work for me. I know I will never be the mom that bakes cakes for birthdays or makes homemade valentine's or volunteers weekly at my kid's school. That just isn't who I am. I wouldn't do that if I stayed home. I look at pins on Pinterest of school lunches done up in cutesy ways and fun shapes and all I think is, "I don't have time for that nor would my kids want that." Frequently I think I am screwing everything up because Jackson is a toddler and some days are hard and I feel like I have no control over him. And maybe I am but then he will give me a hug and a kiss and say, "I wuv you, Mommy" and I know that everything is OK. All that really matters is that he is happy and healthy and thriving and if I accomplish those things, then I have been successful in my job.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Remember me?

Hi there! It's your wayward blogger here. You remember how I said I was going to blog everyday for a month and then disappeared? Yeah, that wasn't good. Sorry about that. I have all the good intentions to make that up to you. I can't make any promises because life is still busy. But I do still want to record what's going on if for no other reason than for me to look back and see what happened. I'd still like to talk about some of the topics I set up for November. So I'm back and I have plenty to write. Here's hoping I can actually get it down on paper. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 To Do List

I liked the idea of a to do list last year better than resolutions so I decided to do the same this year.  I have a feeling I might add a few more things to this list as the year progresses but for now this is where I stand.

  1. Take a trip that doesn't include visiting my parents or any other family.
  2. Pay off a couple of credit cards and keep them paid off. 
  3. Go on at least 1 date a month with Chris.
  4. Take the boys to Disney World.
  5. Read 24 books that are being turned into movies.
  6. Spend an entire weekend kid free.
  7. See Alabama play in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  8. Participate in NaBloPoMo.
  9. Complete the 52 Week Money Challenge.
  10. Read the entire Bible
  11. Celebrate Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary in January.
  12. Do at least 1 fun family activity a month.
  13. Keep money in our savings account all year.
  14. See my nephew graduate from high school in May.
  15. Lose the remaining 20 (or 25) pounds I need to get off.
  16. Find a new "For Me Only" activity.
  17. Watch all of Veronica Mars before the movie comes out.
  18. Finish Jackson's Year 2 book.
  19. Make the most of our Thinkery membership.
  20. Find a new activity for Jackson in the fall.
  21. Take some day trips around Texas.
  22. Go to some wineries on the Texas Wine Trail.
  23. Use my camera more which means learn how to use it.
  24. Get Jackson and Sean both into swimming lessons.
  25. Bake now that I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
  26. Actually follow some of the tips and activities I've pinned on Pinterest.
  27. Plan two birthday parties in one month (again).
  28. Revamp my wardrobe.
  29. Make cookies for Chris's shift.
  30. Organize a gathering for the shift wives.

2013 Goals Year End Review

2. Take Jackson to his first football game. Done - One of the local colleges started a football team for the first time in 68 years.  We decided to go support the Southwestern Pirates and, in turn, took Jackson to his first game.  He wasn't ready for it and we left at halftime but I'm glad we can say we did it.
4. Read The Great Gatsby before seeing the movie. Nope - I tried, I really did.  I got several chapters in but the language and the writing is strange to me and I can't follow it.  I still haven't seen the movie though so I added it back to my list and I am going to try again this year.
5. Get another tattoo as a tribute to Jackson. Nope - I can't figure out what I want or where I want it. Nor can I decide if I want to go through the pain again.
6. Take a trip that doesn't include visiting my parents. Done - Although this wasn't the way I expected to accomplish this.  I went to a training course in DC with my boss for a week in June.  I hadn't been to DC to really see the sights since middle school so it was a lot of fun.
7. Pay off another credit card. (Maybe even two!) Sort of - We did but then charged them back up. My goal for this year is to pay them off and keep them that way.
8. Go on at least 1 date a month with Chris. Close - We did really good until we moved in May then we hit a lag through the summer and didn't get a night out for several months but closed out the year with two weekends in a row having a night out including our first overnight together with no kids since Jackson was born.
9. Spend more time outdoors with the boys. Sort of - the boys got more time outside thanks to the playground near our new house. I, however, did not join them. I'm not outdoorsy.
10. Make more time for myself. Yes - I joined YPC this year and volunteered for a cause that means a lot to me. However, I just found out YPC will be no more after the end of our year so I need to find something else for me.
14. Increase our charitable giving.Yes and No - We gave more to the church and more consistently but we did not give to as many places as I wanted to.  We did, however, donate a lot of stuff when we moved.
15. Read 23 books. Not Quite - I read 14 and only because of the Great Flu epidemic of Christmas 2013 where I was able to read 2 books in about week.
16. Blog at least once a week. HAHA - Yeah, not even close.  Life just got in the way too many times and I couldn't find time to write.
17. Spend an entire weekend kid free. Done - I traveled home in October for my Judson board meeting.  Once again this isn't what I had in mind but it did check the box.
18. See Alabama play in Bryant-Denny Stadium. A girl can dream - One day...one day we will have the time and money to make this happen.
19. Run a 5k. Well...I didn't run one but I did walk one with my entire family.  It took over an hour but we weren't hurrying and we enjoyed the stroll.
21Visit my brother's family in Houston. Done - We stopped at Clay's on our way back from Alabama this summer and got to visit the aquarium while we were there.  I plan to make a trip just to Houston some time this year.
22. Setup Savings Accounts for the boys.  Done - This one was easy.  It was just a matter of making it to the bank.
23. Keep money in our savings account all year. Yes - It wasn't a lot but there was still money in the account at the end of the year.
24. Go to the gun range with Chris. Done - I shot once and told Chris I was done.  Guns just aren't my thing.
25. Clear out the excess stuff in our storage unit.  Not really - We gave some furniture away when we moved which did give us some more space but my goal is to permanently get rid of stuff (donate, garage sale, something).
26. Update mortgage, house, and bills to married name. Yeah, I forgot. Maybe one day I will get everything updated or else close the accounts so it doesn't matter anymore.
27. Participate in NaBloPoMo. We saw how that turned out. One day of no internet at home followed by a day of gone for over 12 hours and NaBloPoMo failed to happen. Oh well!
28. Complete the 52 Week Money Challenge. Close - I did this all the way up to December which was nice because it gave me a little nest egg for Christmas.  I am debating trying a modified version of this for this year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's In My Bag Wednesday - Week 1

For this week's installment of what's in my bag, I thought I would talk about what is literally in my bag. These are two things I pretty much never leave home with out. The one on the right is my trusty datebook. I love this datebook because it is just the right size to toss in my purse so I can keep track of what is going on in my world. This is actually my second time purchasing this particular datebook (I picked the first one up at a car wash on a whim because I liked the Austin theme to the book) and I'm getting ready to order my 2014 book for myself and two of my coworkers. The other massively huge item is my wallet.  Yes, I said wallet. I know it is big but that is why I like it. It holds everything. All my cards, including all those ridiculous loyalty cards that are hard to keep up with, and my checkbooks (we have 2 accounts) for those random times I need to write a check. Plus it is easy to grab and go if I don't want to take my full purse along with me. It has been nice to toss in the diaper bag and not worry about needing anything else or it getting lost in the bag.  Needless to say, I carry a rather big purse for this reason.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Take Me Out Tuesday - Week 1

Texas is known for two types of food: Barbecue and Tex-Mex. While I have to be in the mood for barbecue, I can eat Tex-Mex 7 days a week. The better question is where do I want to get the Tex-Mex. There are so many good places to chose from here in Austin but I have a few favorites that tend to be my go-to places when I am in the mood for good Tex-Mex.

First, there is my favorite taco joint: Torchy's. Two weeks after we moved into our new house, a Torchy's opened across the street from our neighborhood. There is also one near my office. So I end up hitting there close to once a week. Their queso is to die for with the diablo sauce and guacamole mixed in and my all time favorite, Fried Avocado Taco, is always on the menu.  Plus, I usually like to try the taco of the month just to mix things up a bit.

For quick bite close to work, I like to hit Cabo Bob's Burritos. Cabo Bob's is basically a locally Chipotle where you can select your tortilla, meat and fillings.  I love this place and so does everyone else who works near me because this place is always packed at lunch. Plus they carry the pure cane sodas from Dublin Bottle Works. (Oh how I miss Dublin Dr. Pepper!)

When we want to have a sit down meal, Chris and I always have the debate of Chuy's or La Margarita. Personally, I would always choose Chuy's if for no other reason than to eat a little creamy jalapeno and to sip a Mexican Martini. I love the food. I love the atmosphere. This is always the first place I want to go when I've been away from Austin. La Margarita is Chris's personal pick. He took me there on our first date and we do go there just about as much as Chuy's, many times because the wait is shorter. The food is good, probably more authentic then Chuy's but I still don't think it holds a candle to my favorite place.

My most recent Tex-Mex discovery is Lupe Tortilla. The restaurant has been in Austin about a year and we made our first visit there on Easter. They are known for their beef fajitas and I can understand why. One taste and you will never try anything else there.  I am typically not a fan of beef fajitas but these I crave.  If it is your first visit there, let your waiter know and they will bring you a sample.

So now my mouth is watering and I am ready for some fajitas. Want to join me?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Makeup Monday - Week 1

Somewhere along the way, I became one of the makeup people.  I have always had a love for makeup even though I don't wear a lot on a regular basis. I'm always quick to try new products once they get on the market, which is funny since I still tend to go back to my tried and true long time love products. I think I have tried just about every foundation on the market. The problem I run into is not know if something will work out with my oily skin.  I can't always follow the recommendations of many of my fellow makeup loving friends because they have drier skin than I do which means products that work well for them most likely won't work for me. So I have to try things out for myself and often end up being on a different side when it comes to favorite products.  So here are some of my go-to face products:

Foundation:
For everyday wear, I prefer the CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation. This provides decent coverage although it isn't as long wear as I would like.  My go-to foundation for many years has been Estee Lauder Double Wear. This one does provide the coverage and last through the day despite my oiliness. This is my special occasion makeup and it has yet to fail me. Every time I stray away and try something new, I always end up going back to my Double Wear.  I did find a blog once that stated the Double Wear was the best foundation for oily skin.  I believe it.  I also have a bottle of MAC Pro Longwear that I have been using off and on. It does provide the coverage and staying power that I like but I just don't love the formula.  It feels sticky and thick to me so I don't think this will be a repeat purchase. (Once again, I don't know why I stray away from my Double Wear.)

Powder:
For pressed powder, I always go with CoverGirl Fresh Complexion Powder Foundation. I love the extra coverage this adds to my foundation. Occasionally, I will even use this by itself and it is enough to even out my skin.  For loose powder, I recently stumbled upon a blast from the past that brought me back to my grandmother's bathroom: Coty AirSpun Loose Powder. The smell, the texture, everything about it was like being a kid again. And, you know what, this stuff works which is why it has been on the market forever! Seriously, go get some. You won't regret it.

Concealer:
I've been using Benefit Erase Paste for a while now and I like it alright. It isn't the best concealer I've ever used but it works for now until I use up my current jar. I think I might try Boi-ing next. I had debated Fake Up but was told to steer clear of it since I have oily skin and it is formulated for this with dry skin (good to know, thanks Benefit Brow Bar lady!). I used Prescriptives Camoflage Cream  for a while and it was really good, probably the best since the old school Mary Kay concealers that had the yellow or green tints to them to cover certain things. I was happy to find out that you can still buy Prescriptives online. I just haven't bitten the bullet yet to make my purchases from them.