Friday, December 31, 2010

Bringing in 2011

Let's hope for a less snowy 2011!

(yes, that is really what it looks like)

Monday, December 27, 2010

I start work next week.

So weird to say that! But I am really excited!

A little nervous. My mom is coming to stay for the week so the kids won't be starting daycare until Jan. 11th. Mike has to go to Chicago for work, and we figured with a new job for me, and him traveling, and the kids starting in on a new routine we might be very overwhelmed. No, we would most certainly be overwhelmed!

I am actually not nervous about the job or about the daycare situation. The thing I am most nervous about is the hectic mornings. Early wake ups, fights to get dressed, loading into a cold car (in the dark), driving in traffic, the drop off, driving in more traffic, just to arrive at work. I figure it will take about 45 minutes once we leave the house, for me to get to work. Gross. I hate traffic. At least my car will be warm when I get there!

So, if you have any tips for making the mornings run a little smoother, please let me know!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Miles' Birth Story

I realized last week that I don't have Miles' birth story written down on this blog. Since this blog is for me to remember things by I need to write it down! I am 22 months late!

The Birth Story of Miles Nash

The weeks leading up to his birthday were long and stressful. We were dealing with Mike losing his job, subleasing our apartment, moving in with friends, organizing a move back to Minnesota, Mike trying to get a job back in Minneapolis, and oh yeah, a little girl.

The timing of everything was rough. When Mike lost his job I was only 6 weeks from my due date and too far along to move to Minnesota at that point. However, we wanted to move as quickly as possible after the baby came. Mike had told Jamba Juice, who had an opening in Minneapolis, that we'd be back March 1st. Nothing like telling a baby when to show up!

My official due date was February 20th, but I had been consistently measuring 2 weeks ahead the entire pregnancy. At my 34.5 week appointment (somehow I got off schedule and was going on half weeks), I was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced. They sent me in for an ultrasound that day because "I would probably go into labor very soon." I was so excited! I didn't want to be induced, but knew that we might have to go that route if he didn't come on his own. Our plane tickets had been purchased, and we were flying to Minneapolis on February 24th.

At 37.5 weeks I was 2-3 cm and 80% effaced. She stripped my membranes to try to get something going but nothing resulted from that.

I went back at 38.5 weeks and was 3-4 cm and 90% effaced. She "aggressively" stripped my membranes and I had contractions the rest of the day about 5-7 minutes apart. They were mild though, and stopped when I went to bed. A total bummer. I knew that 39 weeks was looming and that is when they'll induce you. I also knew that we were flying Alaskan Air and they require babies to be 7 days old to fly. I discussed induction for February 16th with my doctor and we decided that we'd go with that date if he didn't come on his own before then.

On the morning of February 13th the hospital called me and asked if I wanted to come in that day. I was 39 weeks exactly. I wasn't tickled by the thought of being induced an entire week early, but I also knew it would be in his best interest to be as old as possible when we got on the plane. Also, the friends that were going to take care of Lacey were going out of town the 14th and the 15th, so if I went into labor one of those days either Lacey would be in the delivery room, or Mike would not be in the delivery room. I called Mike to get his thoughts. He said go for it. That was all the encouragement I needed, so I called the hospital back and said I'd be in as soon as I could.

It took us a while to get Lacey all set up with the sitters. We left for the hospital and parked and walked in right around 12:30 pm. It is the weirdest thing walking into the hospital knowing that in a few short hours you'll have a baby. It's such a strange feeling knowing that you are about to deliver a human life. It's pretty fantastic.

By the time I got to my room and changed it was about 1:00 pm. They broke my water and checked me. I was 5 cm and 100% effaced. I seriously couldn't believe I wasn't in labor at that point! I figured half the work was done and I was so excited about it! They started me on pitocin, and I told my labor nurse that I would want the epidural. Next thing I know, literally, the anesthesiologist is in my room. I haven't even felt a contraction yet! I guess that's what happens when you are 5 cm, they give you the epidural right away! So he placed the epidural while I was just sitting there. It was so strange, because with Lacey I was so focused on not moving through my death contractions that this was just plain odd. I got it placed, it didn't hurt at all, and then I sat up and chatted with the nurses.

Mike was on a phone interview with the District Manager in Minneapolis.

About 45 minutes after the epidural was in the nurse asked if I was feeling any pressure. In fact I was, so she checked me and I was 9 cm. We did some practice pushes off and on over the next 30 minutes. Then I heard her say, "Okay Stop! No more pushing!" She called the doctor because this boy was coming! Right there was the most difficult part of labor, the pressure to push was overwhelming! I just wanted to push that baby OUT! It took her maybe 5 minutes to leave her patient and run across the street. When she got there I was ready to go! When you are pushing, they have you push for 10 seconds 3 times per contraction. So I did my first 2 counts to 10, and he was out on the 3rd round! A beautiful, healthy, perfect, baby boy!

7lbs. 3.5 oz
20 3/4 inches
3:42 pm

I had the world's best epidural and was up, walking around within 30 minutes of his birth. The hospital I delivered at did not have a baby nursery so it was just me and Miles that first night. We slept together in the hospital bed, mostly because that was the only way he would sleep. He was perfect and never cried. The hospital also only kept you for 24 hours, so when I woke up I was already going through discharge procedures and we left at 4:00 the afternoon of the 14th.

Crazy how you can walk in one day, have a baby, and walk out the next. Truly blessed.

(get this, I didn't even have to take Tylenol for the pain after giving birth. I had zero pain. It was all the EPO I took).

We named him Miles mostly because it was a name we both loved. It means soldier. It was our "boy name" if Lacey had been a boy, so we were happy to be able to use it. His middle name is Nash. We chose it because it means "adventurous." We loved that.

So 22 months later and I finally got that out. He continues to charm us every day! He is truly a blessing in our lives!

2010 Recap

January- I started another semester of school the beginning of January, and therefore started juggling life again. The weather was cold and was frustrating me because Miles wasn't walking yet, and there are only so many places you can go with an 11 month old that only wants to crawl, plus January is Blah and Cold. I was still working at Caribou and despising juggling yet another thing, not liking the early mornings either!

February- Birthday month! Miles turned 1 on February 13th. He's a sweet little thing. Mike went winter camping, which sounds something like "torture." I got new Nike Shox for Valentine's Day and started running...once a week...but still. We started Financial Peace University, and started a new way of thinking!

March- I kept on running...still just once a week, but hey at least it was something. It's hard to be motivated to get out and run in the cold. I was also absolutely swamped with school this month. This trimester was finishing on March 31, so busy, busy, busy.

April- brought a little more breathing room since I was only taking one class. I started looking for daycare, except not really looking, since I didn't have a job. Lacey started fighting night time and I secretly knew it was because she was sleeping in late and then napping in the afternoon, but I didn't want to wake her (me) up earlier, or cut out her nap time. I started running 2 times a week and was still very out of shape.

May- my mom took the kids for a week!!! Hallelujah. I love having a break. But I love them too and miss them like crazy. I stared running 3 times a week. Weather is warmer in May and that makes me a HAPPY CAMPER!

June- Miles hit the age Lacey was when I had him, which is still completely insane to think about having them that close. I finished up school for the summer and was looking forward to a glorious 2 months off. I found out daycare was more expensive than I thought.

July- I turned 27 on the 4th of July and was happy I am still a few years from 30. I started networking and making connections with accountants all over the city. Mike and I took Lacey camping for the first time and she did great, but there were a lot of mosquitos and we came home all dirty and bitten up. We decided to sell our nice car and try to pay off Mike's student loans.

August- Mike turned 29, Miles was 1.5, and we also celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. I started gearing up for my last, and most difficult semester. Somehow Lacey quit napping and this freaked me out (study time??). It was really hot outside, Mike re-did our sidewalk, and we paid off his student loans!! This made about $18,000 in 6 months.

September-Back and school. Looking for a job. Busy. Happy it is fall.

October- Lacey turned THREE. Big girl! I was so busy with school I thought I was going to lose my mind, maybe I did, I can't remember. Had SIX interviews and am exhausted thinking about preparing for them. Received multiple offers (!!), and accepted an internship with a firm to begin in January.

November- Just said "no," to sweets that is. Began looking for, and found a daycare for the kids. It snowed a lot (cry), and we had a very boring, sad, and uneventful Thanksgiving because Mike had to work all day Black Friday so we had to stay here. I locked my keys in the car at 7:00 a.m. on Black Friday and had to pay $144 to get my doors unlocked. I went to Fargo with the kids for 3 days and had fun. I could see the light at the end of the school tunnel.

December- Finished school on the 6th and graduated on the 16th. Dealt with more snow, and am depressed at the thought of it being here for 4 more months. Looking forward to beginning work, but also scared of the busy changes heading my way. Mike has been asked to be in the photo shoot for the Fargo Marathon ad campaign and I am excited to tag along to watch. Very Excited for Christmas!!! Really looking forward to 2011!! Overall, 2010 has been a great year, but 2011 already looks promising and full of changes!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby Morgan Blanket

Did anyone grow up with a thermal type blanket with satin trim? I know I am not the only one.

When I was pregnant with Lacey my mom picked one up for her to have and it instantly became her favorite blanket. Naturally, when Miles came along, I wanted another one, in blue, for him.

He's in love with it too. I am pretty sure both my kids would marry these blankets.

I have to strategically wash them around nap times and bedtimes.

So a few weeks ago I got to thinking about daycare and bringing our blankets there. They will have to have them to sleep. Suddenly all these terrible thoughts of forgetting our blankets at daycare, or the blankets getting stomped on and dragged around by other kids, was freaking me out. No one in this house would sleep. I needed a back up.

My mom bought our first round of blankets at JCPenny's and Lacey's tag still shows the brand, Bright Future. But after checking 3 different Penny's and having no luck I began to get a little worried. No problem I thought, I'll just find one online. Well, wouldn't you know it. These blankets, originally called a Baby Morgan blanket, are COVETED, rare, and really hard to find.

The company went out of business a few years ago (I think 2007), and they companies carrying these blankets have just been selling off the remainders since then. So Lacey's was purchased in 2007 and Miles' was purchased in the fall of 2008. But now we are in 2011 and eBay is the only place to get them.

For $50-$95 a piece.

I threw up a little when I saw that.

I refuse to believe that I couldn't find something at a better price. A little bit of Internet searching later and I found these for $12.99. I'll let you know if they come close.

At least we now have a back-up.

Friday, December 17, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things--for winter!

Ashley posted about a few of her favorite things, and I thought I'd join in. I'll do a little spin though, and list some of MY (read: not for the kids) favorite things to make it through the cold and the snow.

1) A really good lotion- I reach for Eurcerin Intensive Repair lotion- winter air is dry, dry, dry. Regular 'daily lotions' won't cut it for me. I'll wake up itchy in the middle of the night. Instead, I go all the way to the ultimate lotion. This is fan.tas.tic.

2) A really good coat- I have a black North Face down winter jacket, I believe it is called the "Destiny Down". No matter what, if you live somewhere as cold or as snowy as Minnesota, you need to stay warm. It will run you about $200-$250, but probably one of the best investments ever. I am never cold with this jacket. It was -10 the other morning, and I was a-okay!

3) A really good pair of gloves- This goes right along with a good coat. Those fingers need to stay warm! Bulky gloves are out of the question, since I have to buckle kids in and out of car seats. Those $1 Target gloves will work, but they aren't doing much for keeping your hands warm! (Really, do they do anything)? So my glove of choice are these Smartwool Cozy Gloves. They aren't thick, and you may wonder how on earth they'll keep your hands warm, but it must be something to do with the 100% merino wool. I have bad circulation, and my fingers usually would get tingly and numb with cheap gloves, but these babies keep my fingers nice and toasty. I'll never use anything else again! Again- small investment at $30, but they are sooo good you'll never let them out of your sight!

4) Really good hot beverages- I think it is super important to constantly be drinking something hot during winter. I have a steady stream of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even just hot water, heading down my throat. (Sipping hot water was the one thing that made me less nauseous when I was pregnant, so I have really fond memories of it).

And the daddy of all hot drinks the infamous: White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha- duh. These are the best when going for a walk in the cold. Take a sip, swallow, then breathe in some cold air. The peppermint wakes you up :)

5) Really good reads- what else are you going to do when you are stuck inside? You could watch football, but gross. One of my favorite blogs is Her Bad Mother. I find she has a very interesting writing style and doesn't just write about Mommy Blog type writing (meaning, she is not a mommy blog, although she IS a mom and writes about her kids often). Check out these articles from her: She and The Bad Mother Manifesto. She makes me want to be a better mother, not in a "look at these fantastic and fun adventures I go on with my kids" type of way, but in a "As mothers what we are doing is critically important. It's the most important work we will ever do. Let's invest in our children, let's raise them to be fantastic, let's rejoice that we are all different, all make different decisions, but all love our kids" type of way.

Meeting Newborns

Don't you just LOVE meeting a newborn baby? I do! Meeting someone else's newborn baby isn't as amazing as meeting your own, but it is still fantastic.

We got to meet our friends' 9 day old baby girl last night and she was SOOO PRECIOUS. Almost made me want another one...


When someone has their first baby I love the innocence that surrounds it. Bringing home your first baby for the first time is absolutely magical. Not to say that having other children isn't as wonderful, but there is something absolutely marvelous about that first baby. You can just sit and sit and sit for hours with them, rock them, nap with them, feed them, and just relax.

But here is the thing. As I was holding baby Olive, Lacey and Miles were ALL OVER ME. It was not relaxing at all. AT. ALL. That's why the first baby is so magical, you get them all to yourself. There are no other mouths to feed, bodies to get dressed, hands to wash, projects to be created, etc. It's just you and them. And realizing how much work it would be having 2 small ones and a newborn scares me.


And while some women are Super Mom and can handle all of that and blossom through it. I would not. I told Mike that in 8 years I may want another baby. Maybe just one more to hold and spoil. Maybe. But for now I am 100% content watching new parents love and learn with their newborns, while I can cruise over and hold them, or babysit for a couple of hours so the new parents can get a break.

There is still something addictive about a newborn baby though. I don't think that will ever go away!

Monday, December 13, 2010

a day in December

Oh, December. It is only the 13th and you have totally and completely outdone yourself. The snow in our entire yard is taller than both of my children, which either will be fantastic for fort building, or really annoying for getting stuck.

We'll worry about which, when the temperature reaches some number over ZERO.

Anyway, on this Saturday we woke up happy because there was A LOT of snow on the ground.

This little thing LOVES snow.

We are a bit sick in this house, please note: water, vitamins, a couple varieties of homeopathic cough syrup, motrin, and probably some other junk thrown in there. Rest assured, we are on the mend.


Lacey decided to get bundled up and head outside while Mike was shoveling. Miles had no interest in going outside!

Here the snow is about 8 inches deep. She is standing on the sidewalk which you can't see. We have a lot more snow to fall!


It's really high up on those legs!


Here is our street in front of the house. It's actually quite a busy road. Not Today!!!

This is our car, we are happy we got it out before the plows came and snowed it in further.


Here is the snow looking in the other direction. It looks pretty bad, but this is not store closing weather quite yet. Yes, Mike was going to head into work.


But, before he went into work, he had to shovel himself out. It took quite a while!


Miles watched from his stool, which was really his potty chair with out the insert thing. Doesn't get him up so high when he is still standing on the ground now does it?

Then Miles decided to build a "fort" His fort was sitting in the rocking horse sideways. I didn't get him while he was actually sitting, he was climbing out. Rats!


Proud of himself (for getting out??) I don't know.

Mike is still shoveling, making little headway.


Later on, Mike had left for work, and Miles was down for a nap, Lacey and I colored.

We pretty much color together

Strawberry Shortcake. Her's is on the left and mine is on the right. She is a rockstar and stays in the lines.


Here she is writing some "L's" on her picture so we know it's hers.

Still snowing.


Miles is up. and SURPRISE!!! Mike came home. They closed the malls. They don't close anything for bad weather here, so you know its really bad when they actually do.

Miles has a shoe fetish. We find Mike's shoes all over our darn house. It's quite obnoxious, but I think he is so cute that I let it slide.

So today he found Mike's boots and LOVED THEM. Although he couldn't actually walk when he put them on. They were too heavy.


After a quick dinner we had baths and then I surprised the kids with Toy Story 2. They love the 1st and the 3rd and I bought them the 2nd for Christmas so I unwrapped it and we all watched it and ate popcorn. A perfect ending to a cold, snowy, blizzardy, day.


And now we are supposed to get more snow.

I am so crabby about this.

Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

so excited I could scream

okay I did scream a little.

I went into my Tax final with an 89.5% in the class. No pressure right? The cutoff for an A is a 90% (and no, they do not round up). I LOVE tax. It was by far my favorite accounting class. However, tax is tough because it is soooo rule oriented. There are a million rules and a million exceptions to the rules (I guess that is accounting in general). It's like learning a new language.

My tax final was 18 pages. EIGHTEEN PAGES. It took me 3 hours. I had never seen so many MACRS depreciation problems. Pages and pages. It was rough. I didn't know if I was even capable of driving when I left. The only thought running through my mind was "Death by Tax final."

Well, I got my grade for the final today and I got a 94%!!!! I was so pumped.

The best thing is that is pushed me above that 90% threshold and gave me an A in the class!*

*I did not get an A+ like this picture denotes.

a blizzardy day in December...on it's way!

Stay tuned. We've chornicled our Day in December! I'll be posting soon!*

* I totally get that the house in the back ground looks like it has a fire in the window. I assure you it does not.
** But they do still have a window AC unit in the upper window. Hilarious.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3 years 11 months

to. the. day.

On January 6, 2007 I walked into St. Kate's and began working on my accounting major.

I was newly married, I was not pregnant, I was focused. On me. The goal was graduate in December of 2008 with an accounting degree, and get an accounting job.

Who would have thought that 2 kids, 7 moves, and 2 additional years past the goal it was actually going to happen? Me? Nope.

But last night I walked into my math class and I placed my final on the desk, and I left. I was done. I was free. I had done it.

I am not sure what was more fulfilling. Actually being done, or having finished something I said I was going to do. I will admit that when we moved to Seattle, although I still wanted to be in school, I didn't think it was possible, especially when baby #2 came along. But oh my, I really wanted to finish. I wanted to do it for me. I didn't want it to be 10 years later and I was singing my 'shoulda, coulda, woulda's" I needed to finish it for myself. This is what I wanted to do with my life. This.Was.IT.

So many people are still looking for that "purpose" how could I know what it was and not do it?

So, I dived in.

Easy? No. I must admit these last three months, especially, have been a blur. I nearly lost my mind the entire month of October, but some how kept a small slice of sanity, at least enough to plow through.

And now, I am here. I am done, I have a job, and I really believe that this is a pivotal turning point in our lives. So now we are jumping off and diving into new challenges, and I couldn't be more thrilled, and feel so blessed!

Friday, December 3, 2010

money talks...and talks...and talks.

don't you just LOVE it when someone knows exactly what to say to get under your skin. take yesterday for example:

"Oh my are paying so much in daycare! The amount you pay for 3 weeks of daycare would be how much we spend on a family vacation.

Uh, yeah, with the amount I am making every month you could probably take 4 vacations.

I hate talking about money, and the person I was with yesterday, that is all she wanted to do!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the mistake that cost me $144

Well, it seems as though the cold has arrived, which is fitting seeing as though it is December. Along with the cold is my deep seeded desire to move. It happens every.single.year. Something along the tune of "get me out of this place!!!" However, I can't fathom moving to Arizona (summers are way too hot), or Florida (hello? humid...ick), or even California (too many people).

I need to move to Nashville, or back to Seattle (yes, I really just said that). We had NO complaints about Seattle's weather. But rest assured, we are not going anywhere. Young kids + close(ish) family = essential.

The Frozen Tundra we will stay.

With the cold comes the need to warm up your car. Because if you don't, you may cry from the cold. Actually, I was taking the kids up to my parents after Thanksgiving (Black Friday + weekend = Husband working 549,355 hours). I didn't want to have them in a coat, just to get hot so I warmed up the car.

I woke up early. Loaded up everything into the car, EXCEPT my cell phone, and I started it up. Now, we live in an URBAN neighborhood. Urban = do not leave your car running with the doors unlocked or someone will steal it. Really. We live in, what I consider, a safe neighborhood, but neighbors have had their cars stolen, so that means it could happen.

I took off the key f.o.b., started the car and locked it. Ran inside, did a few things, got the kids out the door. Pushed the "Unlock" button on the key f.o.b. and...


Oh, my word. It is 6:45 a.m. on a Holiday weekend and I locked my keys in the car. Happy is not a word I would use to describe my state.

Thankfully I had my cell phone. I was thisclose, to leaving it in the car so that I wouldn't forget it on the counter. Ha! Well, I had it and was googling 24/7 locksmiths, got someone out to our house by 8:00, and $144 and 30 minutes later we were on the road.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

Every year since we've been married I've decided to do a Christmas card, and now 4 years and 2 kids later I still haven't done one!

I am naming this year "The Year of the Christmas Card." As if I don't have enough on my plate, and now I want to go ahead and put Christmas cards on my to-do list. Oh well, life won't slow down, so I might as well pick up my pace and keep on top of it.

Shutterfly comes highly recommended by almost everyone I have talked to, so I found myself over on their website the other night playing around with some cards. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Red Family Wall- Monogrammed? Love that! Plus I love having the option of many different pictures, because who seriously just has one picture they love! I also like the fact that Mike and I could take our own picture and have it on the card, if it proves to be too difficult with all of us!

2) O Holy Night- I am a fan of black and white so it should be no surprise that I went with this one as one of my choices. No matter how hard I try I can't seem to get past the classic that black and white gives.
3) Color me Merry- I am a big fan of the multi-colored card against the black and white picture. What a great idea! Plus, it's a fun card and not serious at all which I love.
4) Red Revamped Christmas card-- I love this because it looks vintage, it's simple, plus it's not your typical 5x7. It's 5x5 which is unique and I love.
So- Which one will we use. I have no idea! We have to try to take a family picture and that will determine. If we can get a good family picture, then we'll plan on just using the one picture. If we can't get a good picture, then we'll have to use the smaller, multiple picture card!

These are just a tiny few of all the really great options on Shutterfly. Seriously get over there and get some Christmas cards ordered!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An uphill battle

Do you ever feel like you can work, and work, and then work some more and still, with all that work, you are barely getting ahead?

I had this slap in the face last week one night. I was in bed, trying to fall asleep, when I started adding up all of the expenses coming up in the next 12 months. Don't ever do this, it is not a good idea!

Needless to say I got up and out of bed because knowing me I would be dreaming about this all night, so I needed a calculator and some paper. Here was my breakdown...

Daycare: $1200 a month x 10 months = $12000
CPA Exam Registration and Fees= $1,000
CPA Exam Review Course $1500-$4000) $2200
Tuition @ School (job will be for credit) $2000

This doesn't include our daycare deposit, the purchase of 2 new carseats, and Christmas shopping.

Here's the deal with the huge daycare bill....I'll be working from January until April 15th, and then studying FULL TIME (yes, 40-50 hours per week) for the CPA exams. I'll start back at the office in October. I have to study this way, I don't have a choice. Each exam suggests you put in 100-120 hours of study time. There are 4 exams, so this will take me all summer. I lie, I do have a choice, I could lose my daycare spot, and stay home with the kids, and then try to study for the exams when I start work back up in October-- after work, all weekend, etc. And people do this, but given the luxury of not having to do this is equivalent of someone asking you if you want a new car...for free...and they'd pay the taxes.

Not joking.

We'll need $17,000, I am sure we will get it, we just won't have much fun with our 2 incomes until I start back up in October. Because we'll be saving every freaking penny!!

I guess we won't be paying off much debt this year and that just sucks. (But I will look on the bright side, we won't have to go into debt for all of this either, so that is great). We'll get those loans down someday, somehow....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frivilous kitchen gadget I want!!

The Breville electric milk frother- $129.95

"Employing innovative induction heating technology, this frother quickly and precisely heats up to 25 oz of milk to your ideal temperature and froths it into perfect micro-bubbles with a uniformly silken texture. If you like it extra hot or on the cooler side, dial up your preference using the temperature control. Put it to work making rich, creamy hot chocolate, creating airy foam for cappuccinos and steaming milk for lattes. Two removable frothing discs, one for lattes, the other for cappuccinos, allow you to create anything from silky steamed milk to light bubbly foam."*

*Williams & Sonoma catalog

Monday, November 15, 2010

How I'll be spending my summer vacation

The CPA exam has a 75% failure rate for 1st time test takers.

Now, that we have that *encouraging* statistic out of the way, I'll let you know that I'll be taking the exam this summer.

But if I manage to fall in the 25% pass rate, I get a $4000 bonus and a pay hike.

AND that means I won't be putting in 8-10 hour work days, followed by 4 hours of studying. Which really is IMPOSSIBLE when you have a family.

So, we'll be sending the kids to daycare, and I'll be studying the days away.

Trust me, you'll hear more details.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

daycare visit recap.

Oh the things you'll find while visiting daycares. Yep, you'll have to turn your eyes away from somethings because I am finding out quickly that there is a huge difference between "I feel confident this person will do a fine job of caring for my child" and "this person does things exactly like I do" The latter doesn't exist.

Yep, that's what I've found out so far. You will not find someone who does things the exact way you do, and I need to just be okay with that. Which coming from a scheduling control freak such as myself. That is hard.

The first daycare we went to was kind of messy. Lots of crumbs on the floor and counters that needed to be wiped down. Not a life or death thing, but still irritating. I mean this is your job, so sweep the floor after breakfast. The kicker with that first visit was the fact that her husband had 2 kegs on the kitchen counter where he was brewing his own beer. Yeah, I think we'll pass. I mean, use your basement or something. Actually I want them in a place where they don't even keep alcohol in the house because seriously if 8 toddlers/preschoolers won't drive you to drink, I don't know what will.

The second place was so much different. She was on 2 acres, about a mile from Mikes work, and had a big play set outside. The kids LOVED her, you could tell. And one of the mothers came by to drop off some toys and she was super cool, and had been with the gal for 4 years and 2 kids. At this place the kids played outside a ton (which I loved) but I didn't see a bunch of toys inside, which I didn't love. Not that rooms full of toys are necessary, but I was just curious as to what they do when it is really too cold to be outside (or rainy etc.). She however did seem like she genuinely loved what she did, and she had a masters degree in elementary education. And she NEVER has openings, but she has a family who is moving in January, so she could take ours. We set up a second visit for this Tuesday so we can see the house more and talk without kids there.

The third place was also fine. But she still had 3 kids living at home and 'sometimes leaves the kids with the college aged daughter when she has to go to appointments' Not a fan of that. Also she was super structured and very serious. Nice though. Her thing was that she was only open Monday-Thursday, and while we only need 4 days a week, we need Tuesday - Friday.

So, as long as #2 still feels right on Tuesday, we'll probably go with her. She's expensive at $220 per child per week, but also said that since we'll have 2 in daycare, there is no way she'll charge us that much. I am curious to see what she comes back with . We'd really like to stay around or under $1200 a month (which is proving to be nearly impossible....seeing as though location #1 was right around that)!

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The beauy of change.

My mantra is "the best thing about life, is that we have the ability to change it." If we are ever unhappy with where we are in our story, we have the opportunity to change our situation, or at the very least, change our attitude about the situation.

We are "touring" 4 home daycares this week. The reality of it all is sitting right on my doorstep and I am trying to avoid thinking about it.

I know that I have said it before, but I'll say it again. I never planned on being a stay at home mom. I've always pictured myself working...but then you have a baby, and my oh my, many things change.

I have been sooo blessed to be able to stay home with my kids for the past 2.5 years (has it really been that long?), and although we muddle through some days, and some days I am ripping my hair out, or raising my voice one too many times, it has really been great. I am so happy that I have been able to provide a solid, consistent, structure to their lives, and that every morning after they've woken up, I've been there to wake up with them and take our time to start the day. We relax and laugh at breakfast, and take baths at 10 in the morning, we can have a movie date in the middle of the afternoon if we want.

And now all of that consistency, all of that familiarity, is about to change. Dramatic? Well, probably not to anyone else, but it will be to me. Our lives are going to be somewhat turned upside down, and it will take a while to get used to a new normal. To be perfectly honest I am scared out of my mind.

I'm scared of a million things. Scared I'll hate going to work (something I've worked so hard for), scared the kids will get sick all the time, scared I'll have no balance, scared other kids at daycare will be mean to mine, scared we'll constantly have scheduling issues, scared they won't get the attention they need.

And while I know that all of these things are very valid concerns, I also know that they'll be fine. They'll be (hopefully) excited about going, they'll adjust quickly, and they'll make friends. I know this, but I just have to experience it first hand before I can relax.

Life is about to change. Change is hard, change is scary, but I truly believe that change keeps us moving forward, and keeps us reaching for the next level. Change keeps us from becoming stagnant, and that my friends, is a beautiful thing.

So I am hoping that in a few months I can look back on this post and smile. I can take a deep breath and know that everything is working out just as it should. I can look at all the things I was worried about and I can give myself a little laugh and say it wasn't all that bad!

Just remember that the most wonderful thing about life is our ability to change it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

day 3- no sugar

Yes!!! I notice a difference. I think...

Today was one of those looooonnnnggg days when my husband went to work at 6:00 a.m. and didn't get home until 9:00 p.m. To top it off, my morning play date fell through. Boo.

But we rallied.

We went to Mike's work this morning in lieu of our pla ydate. He works at a mall and they have an indoor play area that is always bustling with kids (and germs) but my kids like it. Well today, they had REALLY bad attitudes and were really crabby with each other, and Mike was too busy to talk to us, so that was a bust and we left.

We rallied again.

This time I noticed that when we got home, and I looked at my mess of a house I felt some energy to work at it. Then I made lunch and put Miles down for a nap. Then Lacey and I worked at drawing letters (She has the "L" down pat!), and we did an art project.

Do you see where this is heading? Probably not. You see I am doing all of these things with the kids... taking them out, working on projects, cleaning the house, and I am doing it all without even thinking about it. I haven't even turned on the TV! It's like I have some sort of magical energy (and I know for a fact it is not from coffee because I had less than normal this morning).

I kept on rallying.

Then I took the kids to the Woodlake Nature Center where we "hiked" saw turtles and snakes and all sorts of "wildlife."

We came home and they ate salad.

We watched Toy Story 3 and cuddled on the couch.

They had baths.

I had energy, I never have energy at 7:30 pm after being with the kids

I kind of think it's because I haven't had sugar in 3 days (which I get isn't long, but it has felt like an eternity and it isn't any fun at all).

To be honest, I am hating not eating sugar, but the fact that I could quit anytime is what is making me not quit. Plus, if I start feeling like this we'll see where it goes...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Sweets November

I eat a lot of crap.

It's not uncommon for me to have a cookie and coffee for breakfast, or some candy or ice cream for lunch. It was really starting to bother me because 1) I know its bad; 2) It was sucking my energy dry; and 3) It was setting a terrible example for my kids.

We decided that we had become to lackadaisical is this department and needed to cut it off cold turkey. So we decided to cut sweets in November (except for Thanksgiving Day), to try to break the habit.

I should point out, that it's not a No-Sugar deal. That's not the goal. The goal is also not to be on any sort of diet. The goal is to make healthier, more well balanced food choices, especially around the holidays when it's very easy to eat a ton of junk.

So what is a sweet? We decided that candy, soda, cake, cookies, and ice cream are out. Those that are not out include muffins, scones, or quick breads (all in moderation), Jamba Juice, and Lattes (not sure where I stand regarding mocha's, but we never get them so it doesn't really apply). Basically we just need to make healthier choices and I can already see it working. We are all snacking on hummus, pita, apples, cheese, peanut butter, and crackers.

It does suck though. All I want to do is inhale SUGAR.

And I have a pounding headache today. I think it's from sugar withdrawal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

the Cold.

It was 29 degrees when I woke up today.


In the beginning stages of winter, 29 is really cold. Come January, we'd consider it a heat-wave, and come March, I'd be thinking "the snow is almost melting!!" But it's October, so 29 leaves me frigid.

I start to wonder 1) how am I going to make it through winter, if I can't stay warm now, and 2) if 29 makes me this cold, what will -29 do to me. Let's not think about that okay?

So, this winter I am going to try to combat the cold by staying warm. Sounds simple right? But let me tell you that it is oh, so, easy to hop out to the car with a flimsy little jacket on, and they curse the cold, and shake uncontrollably. So I decided that regardless of how "over-bundled" I look I am wearing gloves, hats, boots*, and my fantastic North Face coat all.the.time. I will be wearing leggings under my jeans, layers of long sleeve shirts, slippers or socks always, and drinking a continual flow of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Because I am pretty sure the only way I can make it through winter is by STAYING WARM!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daycare Options: Pros and Cons.

Disclaimer: This may turn into a daycare blog until I find someone. My apologies.


1) I wouldn't have to get my kids up, fed, dressed, and out the door at an obscene time in the morning.
2) In the winter months, this also means I wouldn't have to deal with bulky winter clothes, heating up the car for extremely long times.
3) I wouldn't have to drive in the pitch black with 2 sleepy kids and drop them off somewhere, which just sort of seems mean.
4) If my kids are slightly sick, I could still go to work. Important.

1) EXPENSIVE. Going rate for 2 is $15 an hour. Which is a lot. (I know someone out there charges less, and I need to find them).
2) No preschool program- unless the nanny does it on her own, or I pay extra to send them to school.
3) Risk the nanny being sick, and not being able to show up = bad.
4) No one around to hold nanny accountable for their actions....invest in nanny-cams?

1) Cheap(er)! We could actually afford this.
2) Around other kids.
3) Most have preschool programs

1) Hard to get into--Few openings.
2) I find that the provider is generally good with the kids, but I have no control who else may come into contact with the kids (i.e. brother in law visiting from out of town--does this happen?)
3) Age range. Some in home daycares focus on smaller children, but some are birth to 12. I am not totally keen on having my little kids around much older kids (although to be fair, that would mostly be in the summer months).

1) Structured.
2) Music classes, outside activities, arts and crafts etc.
3) Reliable- always will be open. Which is key when you are working as a tax accountant during tax season.

1) Cost! $200-$250 per week per child (here in MN)
2) I have heard that they often skirt under the rules (ratios, lesson plans etc.)
3) Less individualized attention, more sterile.
4) High turnover rate.

(although I have a friend from college who worked at this daycare inside a nursing home and they interact with the older people living there, which I think is a cool concept. We are looking into that).

Are there more pros and cons? Yes! and if you think of them let me know. Chances are we are going to go with a home daycare, unless I can somehow find a SAHM who wants to come over, or a Nanny willing to work for less than $15 an hour (because that is $600 a week).

We'll keep you posted! Tonight we are driving around to addresses of in-home providers to see if they are a place I'd like to send my kids. We'll be making phone calls next week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A day in OCTOBER

October. I love October. It is for sure one of my favorite months and I am not quite sure why. I'm thinking it has to do with the changing of the seasons. It's not frigid and blah outside, rather we have a lot of bright, crisp, sunny days. That is love.

I decided to document my day in October last Thursday the 21st. My friend had borrowed me her SLR camera (something I am drooling over), and I wanted to take as many "necessary" pictures as I could.

So, without further adieu...A Day In October.

There has been a lag since I took these pictures and documented them out. I'm pretty sure I was up studying and drinking coffee because that is what I do every day. Who wants to see that though? No one I hope!
Lacey was up early on this particular day. We hung out and ate scones.

and I took a lot of pictures of her.

Then her brother was up, happy as a clam and holding the trusty Thomas the Train.
I don't know if he let go of that toy on this day...

I guess he decided to feed the horse some train for breakfast.

We ate breakfast and got dressed. I put on Super Why, while I got dressed.
Here is Miles doing the actions that they are asking him to do!

Lacey is doing them too.

We made a quick trip to Target. I had an interview on this afternoon, so I was looking for a new shirt to wear under my blazer.

I hate suits.

Anyway, we came home and ate lunch.

And then played for a bit after lunch.
I am not sure what was going through Lacey's mind in this picture, but I thought it was funny.

Cute boy. Heading for a nap.

More Thomas the Train.

While Miles napped, Lacey watched some Dora, while I got ready for the interview.
I was about to go on my 5th interview in a couple of weeks, and while I was happy to HAVE the interviews, getting ready for them, rushing the kids out to Mike's work, and then actually doing the interview, was getting pretty old.

Lacey's hair is finally long enough to do something with!

Watching Dora.

Lacey is a rockstar color-er.
She loves it and she actually does a pretty good job of staying in the lines.


From here I rushed the kids out to Mike's work, so he could watch them while I was at my interview. Then I rushed off to the interview. I left instructions for Mike to take some pictures of the kids, which he did not do.

The interview lasted 2 hours and they gave me an offer on the spot.

I was pumped. It seems like a great firm and pays really well (always a bonus).

The job is actually an internship, which is what I wanted. Accounting internships typically end up in full time offers (unless you are terrible), and you work until April 15th and then get the summer off and come back to work full time in October.

Sounds like a great plan to me.

We can try out the whole work full-time thing and then if we hate it, we can figure out something else. But I don't think I'll hate it.

I will hate finding daycare though.

Friday, October 15, 2010

one of those days

do you ever just have one of those days?

When you wake up late and just cannot get moving.

When your kids are fussy and you aren't really sure why.

When you go to the store, get all the way to the cash register, and realize you forgot your wallet?

When you get home, already frustrated, and realize that the power is out in the whole house, and you can't make the macaroni and cheese you've promised?

When the peanut butter and jelly you've made instead is met with screams of un-delight?

When you finally get them to eat their "alternative" lunch, the power comes back on?

When you realize the fridge isn't working, and hasn't been for a while judging by the temperature of the Milk?

When you realize that you will be literally be pouring groceries down the drain?

When you realize that today you just need to get your rally on because that's all you've got left?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

20 months

Miles was 20 months yesterday. I didn't realize it until today when someone asked how old he was.

"He's, 19...WAIT he's 20 months."

Not that 20 months old deserves a big celebration or anything, but come on, I generally give a little cheer on his (or her) month birthday. At least until they are 2.

Sorry bud! Here's to 20 months. You're ringing it in, by reminding me the terrible two's are just around the corner.

A two year old and a three year old. Oh Lordy, let's hope we make it this next year!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm still here!

wow, it's been a while huh? I guess between class, class, and yes, more class, a little girl turning 3, a week long visit to grandma's house, and three, going on four, maybe five interviews, it's been a busy month.

1. Class

If I have one piece of advice for anyone on the planet it is this: Do NOT (repeat 1,000 times), try to do school while you have kids. Initially it wasn't all that bad, I was taking lower level classes, they weren't too demanding, and I had kids that napped on a regular basis. However. OH MY GOODNESS. School is kicking me in the rear end this semester.

I am forever trying to find the perfect balance of being constantly preoccupied and having 1,000 things to do, and knowing when urgent, isn't really that urgent, and to just stop and breath, and take in the moment. For what it is, in all it's glory.

Less than 2 months to go.

2. Birthday Girl

October 8th is one of my favorite days of the year. I think its the perfect day for a birthday, and my little girl is lucky enough to have this be HER day. Granted, on this particular birthday, she was with Grandma and Grandpa, not us, she still had a pretty special day and was spoiled rotten. And then got to have a second birthday party yesterday after we picked her up.

Her favorite present this year? New snow boots. Weird huh? Gosh, she was so excited, and 1) she had seen them before and 2) she has hardly ever played in the snow. But she did get an entire winter ensemble so hopefully we can get her out and building a snowman this year.

3. A week with Grandma

My parents rock. They seriously do. Two or three times a year they take our kids off our hands for a good seven or so days. It is amazing and much needed. Granted, this particular week fell over Lacey's 3rd birthday, it was still very needed, and much appreciated.

4. Interviewing until my heart's content.

Job hunting and interviewing blow. Especially when you are already crazy busy with school Trying to job hunt on top of it borders on insanity. I didn't get the first position I interviewed for, but I wasn't all that surprised, I had projects, papers, and 2 exams that week and to be honest prepping for an interview wasn't my biggest priority. I am still waiting to hear back from interviews 2 and 3, and was contacted by another firm yesterday to interview. I'd just love to get a call extending an offer and I can move onto more important things, like finding daycare...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The state of my cupboards.

Andrea was nice enough to ask me what I'd be eating tonight.

My date with the couch.


Here is the current state of my pantry.

Top Shelf: Steel Cut Oats and Cream of Wheat
Bottom Shelf: Some vitamins, random can's of beans that we don't know what to do with, tuna (but we have no cheese for melts), graham crackers, and a can of tomato soup that I bought for some recipe and never used.

We are also out of bread, cheese, yogurt, juice, eggs, and cereal. Boo.

No, this isn't a joke. It's actually pretty typical. Mike and I are probably the only people I know who use up every.darn.thing. in our cupboards before we head to the store.

Not necessarily proud of it. I want some back up food!

At this current moment I am starving and trying to get a hold of Mike to see if he can bring me either Chipotle or Pizza Hut breadsticks on his way home.

So...hopefully that is what I am going to eat!

Friday, October 1, 2010

School Mom

A lot of times I'll get comments relating to my full-time student status and full-time mom status. Something along the lines of "I don't know how you manage."

I am here to tell you that juggling, or finding the time for everything isn't really the issue. That part is quite easy.

You know what the real issue is? The real issue is that after being with the kids the second they go to bed is my chance to study. But, do you think I want to pull out my books and study? NO!!!

I want to sit on the couch, and watch TV, and think about nothing, and eat.

That is by far the hardest part. There are a lot of hours in the day, but feeling like you are required to utilize each and every one of them pretty much sucks.

And with that I end by telling you I've had a busy week, and tomorrow when I pick up the kids from the sitters, bring them home, and put them to bed, I am going to sit on the couch, and watch TV, and think about nothing, and eat.

At least that's my goal.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Welcome to September. Here is our day. On this particular day I decided to document, we had a BAD day. One of those days you just want to run away, with your hands over your ears, and sit in silence.

It all started at 6:52 am...which I totally get is NOT that early.

And this is what I woke up to! 2011 Individual Income Tax.
It's super exciting. It really is.

When the kids woke up, I wouldn't describe them as happy.

Unhappy was a little more their style on this particular day.

I was stressed, and they were crabby. Miles was teething, and in the mood for NOTHING. Plus I woke up to messes galore, which is probably one of the worst feelings imaginable.

Mike calls this bench, my bench. It is not necessarily my stuff, but rather it is stuff he doesn't know what to do with, or doesn't want to deal with, so he leaves it for me. (I kid you not, this is what he told me).

Oh, I had a bunch of clean laundry to fold too.

And no kids' dishes.

They were all here. Dirty. This IS a good day!

Can you tell he's feeling it? I seriously don't know if he could be any more grouchy.

On this day in September, Miles threw THREE tantrums in the first 30 minutes he was awake. Below, is number three.

Somehow (by the grace of God), we made through the morning. we got dressed, found something to eat, washed dishes, cleaned up the bench and folded laundry.

We also watched TV which is quite evident below.

On this day in September, we also ate homemade macaroni and cheese for lunch, with grapes on the side. We found it quite fun to put our cup in our bowl and drink that way.

Really. It was fun.

On this day in September, it was pouring rain all day, so we made a fort.

Then we put Miles down for his nap, and Lacey and I did 30 day shred. Level 3. It was hard.

Then we colored. Because that is what this little girl LOVES to do!

She's pretty good at staying in the lines.

After Miles woke up from his nap, it was her turn to be crabby. She was in and out of her room for the next 45 minutes or so. It was rough.

I heard a lot of screaming on this September day.

I made corn chowder for dinner, which was a medium hit. Next Daddy came home and ate. Finally the rain eased up so we pulled on our rain boots and went to find some splashing puddles!

Starting with small ones, but we found some bigger ones too!

Swinging with Dad, always a hit!

We came inside because Miles kept sitting in the puddles. He was soaked, but it wasn't warm enough out to be walking around soaking wet. They were in bed by 7:55, which means Mike and I were able to watch some season premieres in peace. It was rather amazing.

So this was our day in September. It was a tough day. At least the first half!