Becoming More Interesting

I attended an event the other night called Women with Impact. It focused on women in the community who had made an impact in different areas – business, civic and community service. One woman, currently mayor of Bainbridge Island, spoke about when her children were younger and one asked her not to go out to another meeting. Her daughter piped up and told her brother that by attending these meetings “mommy would be so much more interesting.”

This story rang true to me as earlier that evening as I prepared to head out to the event, Lucy cried “no meeting, Momma. Momma stay.” It’s heartbreaking to hear such things, but I knew I would enjoy the evening out (and I did). Getting out, meeting new people and being inspired by others are just a few of the reasons I choose to participate in community groups, even if it does mean the occasional evening away from my family.

Read more about why I joined some of these groups and why I think it is important for me to do it at Liberating Working Moms

 

Pumpin’ Ain’t Easy

Pumping Through the Baby's First YearOver at Liberating Working Moms we’ve been talking about pumping at work – come check it out as several contributors (including me!) talks about what we did to make pumping work for the first year.

School is Back in Session

School is Back in Session: How Many Extracurriculars are Best?Our kids are too young for real school. Lila is in preschool, but still at the same day care center she’s attended since she was 4 months old. So in theory, “back to school” season isn’t that big a deal for us, it is just business as usual. But fall has brought new classes and schedules for us and for the girls.

We consciously took the summer off from all classes. We wanted to be able to have our weekends free to do whatever we wanted, we traveled and we thought the girls might like the break. Lila would ask every weekend when ballet was beginning again, towards the end of the summer suggesting that we just stop by the ballet studio to see if classes had begun yet.

This fall both girls are in gymnastics, Lila is also in ballet and catechism classes. When we enrolled Lila in ballet, I suggested that we try it instead of gymnastics, but she protested. So we’re trying both. She seems to be doing ok and enjoying the busy Saturday morning that having both classes provides. Lucy is growing less shy in her class and really seems to have fun playing on the equipment. We split up the classes – one parent with Lila and one with Lucy, so the schedule also gives each of us one on one time with the girls.

Because our weekly schedule is pretty go, go, go, I do get concerned that having the girls in class on the weekends is too much for their schedule (not to mention mine and A’s). I worry that we’re scheduling their weekends too much, forcing them to get up and get out on the weekends as they have to do during the week. Many other parents talk about not wanting to over schedule or rush on the weekend, and it makes me question our choices for our daughters’ weekends. But the thing is they like it. Lila missed classes over the summer and it works for us. (And let’s be honest, class or no class, no one sleeps past 7am on Saturdays, so getting out for a 9am class is not that big a rush compared to week days.)

So we keep doing what works for our family. Three classes on Saturday mornings and one on Sundays. We don’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves; if someone is sick or tired, we don’t go to class. If we want to go to the farmers’ market or just lay around in our pjs and watch football, sounds good. I do need to remind myself that while what we are doing now works for us, that doesn’t mean adding more is a good idea. The call of swim lessons or foreign language is out there, but I remind myself that ALL of us need a break, some unscheduled time and a chance to practice doing nothing.

My Favorite Things: Ebates

Like any busy person, I’m always looking for ways to make my life easier. While I can often be overly distracted by the lure of online shopping, it is also the only way I can ensure our house has what we need. From cat food to toddler applesauce to paper towels, I have it all come to me. I can’t recall the last time I went clothes shopping in a real store, for me or the girls. (I probably keep A stocked with hoodies from Target, so his clothes aren’t always bought online).

With all this shopping I do on a weekly basis to keep our house running, being able to make a few extra dollars while doing these things I need isn’t a bad thing.  So when my friend Ronya introduced me to Ebates.com, I was pretty happy.

Ebates.com offers small amounts on cash back on certain online purchases. It’s not going to help you get rich. But when I did the monthly order of cat food and applesauce, I earned $3.03 back. Again, I’m not sending the girls to college on this money, but if these are things I would buy anyways – why not get a enough money for a cupcake out of the deal?

Ebates.com is pretty simple, once you start the habit. You need to start your shopping trip at Ebates. I rarely remember to go there first, but hopefully jump over to the site before I check out. Search to see if the online store is offering cash back and then click through. Once you’ve clicked through, you’ll automatically earn the cash back on any purchases made on the site. (As you can see in this picture, they may also feature coupons or deals currently going on.) How Ebates.com Helps Me Make $$ While Buying Cat Sand

Life is hard enough. Little things like Ebates.com makes me happy and I’m able to reward myself with an extra soy latte after finding new rain boots for the girls. It works for me, hopefully it can be a help for you as well. Try it out and let me know what you spend your extra dollars on!

This post contains affiliate links but I was not compensated for the post and all opinions are my own. 

Seattle Fall: Dressing the Part

As I write this, the weather for today is predicted to be about 90 degrees, so fall fashion is not really called for yet out here. But let’s assume that one day, this glorious summer weather will disappear and we’ll have to dress for Seattle fall. Before I start talking about my “style,” let’s get a few things out of the way:

1. I’m not a fashion blogger. I won’t be posting selfies of me with a fashion hip pop. This post is just about what works for me.

2. Seattle fall is different from fall in other places. Not nearly as wet as some may think, but probably not like other places. Seattle is also more casual than say, the east coast. No suits here. But not just hoodies either.

All that said, let’s talk clothes. I work in an office job and I like to dress professionally. While I could probably get away with wearing jeans more often, I try to limit myself to no more than once a week. I’m an almost 35 year old attorney, I should try to look like it every once in a while. I love my Loft pants, often paired with some of my favorite Stitch Fix tops. It’s easy, professional, good for chilly weather and I can mix and match. The biggest issue is that my Loft pants claim to be dry clean only. Ain’t no one got time for that. Even without dry cleaning though, I put them aside to go through the delicate wash. Which means they sit there for about three weeks until I realize it has been weeks since I wore pants and I really need to wash them. Then I wear them all in one week and have the same issue. Clearly I either need to pace myself on pants wearing or figure out how to clean them more often. (You know, like by doing laundry.)

Dresses can be the easiest thing to through on in the morning. My favorites (because of my above mentioned dry cleaning/delicate wash issues) are easy wash and go styles from Old Navy. Most, if not all, of the dresses still allow me to nurse Lucy. In the fall I’ll throw a cardigan on over my dress and pair it with my tall boots. Throw on a scarf or statement necklace to change the look a bit. I like Old Navy not just because they are wash and wear, but because the dresses aren’t that pricey. While I get a ton of wear out of these dresses, if I grow bored of them after a season, I can pass them along without feeling guilty.

Ok, the jeans. I do wear them. Mostly on Fridays when I have no meetings outside of my office. In the fall, I like to pair it with a stylish Patriots sweatshirt or Redskins jersey. Maybe a Cal tee shirt with a long sleeve tee underneath. When you live in enemy territory, you have to represent.

I’m far from fashionable, but I think I manage to look put together most days (with the occasional toddler snot smear on me). Over three years into this working mom thing and I’ve learned that I need to find an easy way to look put together and that I probably need to do laundry more often. What are your “fashion” tips for the busy, modern working woman?

 

The Dreaded Phone Call: Dealing with Sick Days

Dealing with Sick Days

Sad sick Lucy Goose

I keep my cell phone on my desk at work. Its ring interrupts my thoughts and with the exception of my husband’s personal ringtone, I often find the ringing jolting. Glancing at the phone, recognizing the number as one from my daycare center is always concerning. The calls usually go like this:

“Hi Lauren, this is Miss So and So from your daughter’s day care. Your daughter is fine, but she has a high temperature and needs to be picked up.”

While I’m thankful that it is not a true emergency, the call still causes me to jump into action.

 

Read more about how we handle sick days over at Liberating Working Moms today!

Trying to Find More Hours in the Day

On Facebook last week, a fellow working mom posted the Business Week article Work-Life Balance: Late Nights at Home Now Common. I almost laughed out loud as I read the first paragraph because it fit me (and my husband) to a tee:

This productivity is great! But I feel so, so tired. Like I should be under the covers instead of checking off my endless to-do list. That’s because it’s bedtime, 11 p.m., and I’m home in my striped pajamas.

Flexible work schedules are great and with the continued technological advances, easier to come by. Just in the past week, a flexible work schedule and modern technology allowed me to respond to an urgent email while at the doctor’s office with my daughter, work from home on the virtual portal while waiting on a repairman, and dictate emails through my phone while sitting in traffic on the way to daycare. But with the ability to have this kind of flexibility, should it be expected that employees are constantly online?

Read More on Liberating Working Moms 

Breastfeeding a Toddler (Yes, we still do that)

Contributor BadgeLucy toddles over to me on her chubby 19 month old legs and plops herself into my lap. She immediately rotates her body, props her feet up on my leg and reclines to look at me. “Milk?” she asks as she makes the sign. This is breastfeeding with a toddler – the ability to ask when she wants and clearly express her request. It also means she is not shy about it either. No cover-ups here and she is not afraid to stick her hand down my shirt if I don’t react quickly enough.

Read the rest of the post over at Liberating Working Moms, where I am now a contributing writer! Catch up on some of the amazing posts on the site and explore the redesign that just launched yesterday! 

Enter the Plague

Our house has been a house of plague this past week. It’s had an odd run, managing to slow roll through the whole house and stretch out for more than a week.

It all started last Saturday when we went to the Seattle Children’s Museum for a birthday party. We’d never been and the girls were having a fantastic time exploring, pretending to shop, climbing stairs, being firemen. Lucy started to get a little fussy and wanted to be held. I tried to get her interested again, but it was clear she wasn’t feel well. Soon she felt feverish. We decided to go say happy birthday in the party room, try to get some food in Lucy and then head out a bit early. Lucy was uninterested in food. As the cake was bring brought to the birthday girl, Lucy began to cry for me, so I picked her up onto my lap. As the candle was placed in front of Josie to make a wish, Lucy vomited all over me. So happy birthday from us, Josie.

Lucy and I hung out the next day while A and Lila hit the beach with friends, ensuring her fever (that rose really high over night) came down. She seemed to feel better so we went to a splash park in the afternoon. All was well.

Enter Monday. Lila heads to school super happy that it is water day at school. The kids played in the sprinklers outside and had a blast. I stayed late at work that night, having a meeting after work. A was going to pick up the girls. So of course, at 5:15 when I am still at work and without a car, I get a call from day care that Lila has vomited everywhere. An impatient ride in an Uber and I met A at day care where a sad, very feverish little girl was. She woke up with a 104 fever in the middle of the night, and spent the rest of the night in our bed. I worked from home the next day, hoping Angelina Ballerina had healing powers. It seemed to, Lila returned to day care on Wednesday.

But then Thursday, A texted me from work at 2pm to let me know he had the chills and was lightheaded. High fever for him and a long night of discomfort. He worked from home Friday, waiting for his fever to go down. By Friday around 1pm, I was miserable. My body hurt, my throat hurt and I wanted to sleep. Home to bed I went.

Sadly, the version of the plague that A and I have contracted seems to be sticking around a little longer. No more fever, but we don’t feel great. Neither is sleeping well and my throat and ears are super painful. Even my sure-fire illness cure of egg drop soup and chicken and broccoli did not heal me last night. I’m drinking hot throat coat tea, despite the 90 degree temps outside.

Its been over a week and I really hope this icky summer illness clears out soon. It is never fun to be sick, but missing anytime in this amazing Seattle summer is really unfair. We missed a picnic yesterday and Lucy and I missed a beach day. Here’s hoping some sun and rest this weekend will rid of us of all these germs.

Bucket List

As I mention in the last post, when we returned from vacation two weeks ago, A and I felt a little down with nothing to really look forward to. We had front loaded all of our vacations for the summer and now, just work and the day to day of life. We decided to come up with a summer bucket list, with the dual purpose of giving us something to look forward to and to ensure that we didn’t get so caught up in the day to day of regular life that we would forget to enjoy the Seattle summer.

– Get to the beach. We’d been to two different beaches this summer but still had not made it to the Seattle beaches (ever! in our 5 summers in Seattle). Add to that the fact that Lila has become quite the beach babe this summer. We’ve made good work of this one. Golden Gardens and Carkeek so far. We’re hoping to hit up Alki before the summer ends.

Splash Park– Splash park. The girls are a little young to swim (or swim on their own, without us supporting them) so splash parks are a great way to stay cool and have fun. There is one close to their daycare that is super fun. We’ve been once after work (squeezing in summer fun where we can) and once over the weekend. Lila now asks if we can go everyday.

 

 

– Hike. In the PNW, everyone hikes. We’ve lived here for a few years and have not done any hiking. We hope to change this soon and even make Cal come along as well.

 

– Baseball game. Sure, we’ve been to a Mariners’ game before, but it’s not summer if you don’t make it to a baseball game, right? We’re super excited this year as we’ll be making it to the Nationals/Mariners series. We’re big Nats’ fans, so it will be super exciting to see our Other Washington baseball team in this Washington. We hope to make it to at least two of the three games of the series.

go nats

– International Fountain. This is another spray park, but a really big, fun one. In the center of Seattle Center, there is music, water cannons and an only slightly dangerous decline to the water. The girls have starred longing at the fountain the last few times we were at Seattle Center, so we’re hoping to give them a chance to play in the fountain soon.

– Alki. Sure, I already mentioned this in the beach item, but it is not just Alki beach I want to visit. I want to go to Alki, enjoy the beach, then dinner at Marination Ma Kai and dessert at Husky Deli. No substitutions accepted.

–  Phinney Farmer’s Market. I love to take the girls to the U-District farmer’s market on Saturdays, but once our CSA starts we usually don’t make the trip as often. Phinney’s market is on Fridays, has ready made food you can buy for dinner, music, activities. We’ve never been but it have had it recommended to us several times. I’m hoping we can stop by after work one evening.

– Beer Fest. Yes, this is one that only A and I will go to (and with Cal) but it is a Seattle tradition. We didn’t make it last year (they had changed the timing) and the year before we went but I was pregnant so it didn’t count. I’m looking forward to really enjoying our date afternoon at the festival.

What’s on your must do list this summer?