Thursday, August 31, 2017

I Have a Second Job

Sort of.  I’ve loved makeup for as long as I can remember.  It's become my quiet routine in the morning, my opportunity to be creative, and it makes me feel good.  I started using Lipsense last November and I've LOVED it ever since.  


Lipsense is basically a long wearing lip color.  Apply 3 layers, then gloss, and you're good to go for several (8+ for me) hours.  You can even layer different colors to create new colors... so fun!  



Truth be told, I signed up to be a distributor for the discount (I'm obsessed and keep adding colors to my collection.  I’ve also fallen in love with the skin care products). But it also means I can sell Lipsense along with all of the other awesome Senegence products. I've never sold anything before so that should be an indication of how much I absolutely love this stuff.  Let me know if you want to try it!  I love helping ladies find a color that’s perfect for them!


Left side - applied Lipsense at 7am, Right side - 7pm.  My lips look great after 12!! hours!!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Me. In all of my un-domestic glory.

I was going through old drafts and came across this post that I wrote almost two years ago.  While I no longer have to wash pump parts (yay!), just about everything else is relevant.

I’m not as un-domestic (yes, I made up a word) as they come, but I may be pretty darn close.  I don’t know how to fix things, I’m not a good cook, my house will never be pristine.  I’ve never pretended to be a domestic goddess and poor A knew what he was getting into when he decided to marry me. J  I have no doubt that I would be a terrible housewife.  Thank God we’ve moved on from the 1950’s.

Because my inadequacies have been pointed out recently, I thought I’d put together a list of things I actually do.  Yes, there are many things I totally suck at (meal planning, laundry, scrapbooking, ironing to name a few), but I’m certainly not a lazy slacker.

I try to cook 1 or 2 meals a week.  A is really great at grilling and making roasts.  I, on the other hand, am good at pasta dishes, enchiladas, and soups.  While some weeks are crazier than others, I do try to contribute to homemade dinners at least twice a week.

I take/pick up W from preschool every Tuesday and Thursday.

I select/buy all the shoes and clothes, including coats, pajamas, etc. for the boys.

I research the hell out of baby products/gear, toys, and books.  Nearly every children’s item in our house was carefully selected.  Safety and durability are incredibly important to me (and so is fun).  I hate the thought of wasting money on unsafe/unused/inadequate products.

I plan the activities.  I like to get out of the house on the weekends when possible.  The zoo trips, play dates, gym trips, new park visits are mostly planned and researched by me.

I hand wash the bottles/pump parts.  I’m not the only one washing these, but I do a significant portion of the washing.  The dishwasher just doesn’t do a good enough job.

I take the boys to all doctor’s appointments and haircuts.  I have only missed one doctor’s appointment and that was because I had just taken W in 2 days prior.  He didn’t have an ear infection when I took him, but I was certain he had one 2 days later and he did.

For the past 11 months, I’ve been pumping for S.  He’s been on 100% breast milk since he was born and I’m very proud of that commitment.  It hasn’t been easy and it has been very time consuming.

I do the grocery shopping.  A almost always helps with this, but I go to the store every weekend.

I lay with W until he falls asleep every night.  We’ve always had trouble with W sleeping and I’ve discussed it here (probably too many times).  These days, I lay with him until he falls asleep and then sneak out.  It’s a small price to pay for a full night of sleep.

I make all the photo albums.  Another very time consuming task.

I design/send all the Christmas cards and birthday invites, wrap the majority of the presents, and plan the birthday parties.  I also order/make the dΓ©cor.  I realize these things only happen once a year, but they are very time consuming.

Daily baths, diaper changes, teeth brushing, potty training, and all the other tasks that come along with raising little ones.

I contribute financially.  This is a big one.  As a full time employee, my paycheck is very significant to our lifestyle and well-being.  Without my job, we wouldn't have our house.  The boys wouldn't participate in extra activities and we certainly wouldn't go on vacation ever.  We'd be living paycheck to paycheck and surviving.  Working also means I’m gone and/or busy from 7:30am - 5:30pm every day.

I watch 0-30 minutes of television per day.  It’s most often 0, but every now and then, the stars align and I have a few minutes to myself.  I only mention this to point out that I don’t have much free time.

This is in no way suggesting that A doesn’t pull his weight or contribute.  He most definitely does.  In fact, he does all the laundry, the dishes, and often cooks in addition to a bazillion other helpful things.  I’m also not complaining.  I actually really like doing all of these things.  It’s just that when people question my contributions, I get defensive.  I’m not perfect.  But I’m a damn good mom.  I work full time and when I’m home, my priority is the boys.  Some may not understand our family dynamic and that’s fine.  But it works for us.  And really, that’s all that matters.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekend Recap

I have no idea where the weekend went – it flew by in a blur (I think I say that every Monday).

Friday, I got off work a little early.  I had big plans to take the boys to the park and then out for pizza at a place near A’s school.  When I arrived home, S was crying, his face was red, and he felt really warm.  My mom said that he’d been super cranky and clingy all day.  I was certain he was getting sick – returning to school and a trip to the pediatrician in the same week is a sure fire way to acquire a nasty virus.  I picked him up and asked if he wanted a nap.  He told me yes.  Side note: this kiddo knows when he’s tired and often tells me when he wants to nap.  Minutes later, he was sound asleep.  He woke up completely normal, happy, and with no sign of being sick.  Halleluiah!!  W asked to go to Mod Pizza so off we went.  I ended up trying something new – a pizza with pesto, basil, mozzarella, tomatoes, mushrooms, and balsamic dressing.  It was SOOO good!!!  After the boys were in bed, A and I had wine and caught up on one of our shows.  It was the perfect way to end a crappy week.

Saturday was crazy busy.  We went out for lunch and then headed to a park.  This park isn’t your average park – it has two playgrounds, I giant sandbox with dinosaur bones, and a pretend pirate ship with a slide.  The boys loved it, but after two hours, I was spent.  I think the boys would have stayed for the rest of the afternoon if we’d let them.  From there, we had to make a quick stop at Target and then it was off to church.  Such a busy day!


Sunday, I hosted a bridal shower for my future sister-in-law.  My mother-in-law did most of the planning and it turned out beautifully.  I was a little nervous because I don’t know Katie super well and I either didn’t know the guests at all or didn’t know them very well.  But I think the shower was perfect and most importantly, I think Katie enjoyed it.  We had it at a restaurant my mother-in-law chose and the food was delicious.  The decorations were just right for the space (if I do say so).  All in all, I think everything turned out wonderfully and Katie (and Matt) received beautiful gifts for their new house!  Yay!!

I really enjoy creating these chalk boards!!


Love the pink daisies!

Me and the bride


And finally, these boys.  For some reason, they were trying to ride on the same toy car and laughing hysterically.  Last week was a tough one for me for many reasons, but as I was watching the boys play, I was reminded how thankful I am for them.  They are my light and they bring me so much joy.



Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Thoughts

It’s been a tough week in these parts.  A returned to school and it was his first full week.  It seemed to go well for him, but it’s always an adjustment.  The boys also started school.  W did wonderfully.  One of his teachers even approached me to tell me he was so sweet and a great helper.  S had a tougher time because he didn’t understand why he couldn’t be in W’s class.  Once he got into his classroom and settled down, he was completely fine.  I stayed with him this week because classes were shortened and the parents were requested to stay to help the first time pre-schoolers adjust.  I’m really nervous about leaving him next week and he’ll be in a class with 15 other two year olds, which is overwhelming.  He did ask to go to school last night so I’m taking that as a good sign and hoping he’ll settle in quickly.  And if I’m being really honest, I’m struggling with the fact that I have two kids old enough to be in pre-school.  I really wish time would slow down and I’m having trouble letting my babies go. L

With all that going on, there was also a doctor’s appointment for S (he’s healthy… and big!), tons of work meetings, and I had to be at the townhouse while windows were being replaced.  It was hectic.


Hoping for a good weekend with some time to regroup and unwind.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Weekend Recap

We had such a fun weekend.  My only complaint is that fun weekends seem to fly by.  I guess that’s just the way it goes.

Friday included much needed haircuts for the boys.  S started off crying and refusing a haircut, but settled down pretty quickly (it helped that W was also getting a haircut and S wants to do everything W does).  Afterwards, W asked if we could invite Grandma out for pizza.  I was pretty sure she’d decline after being with the boys 3 days last week, but she said she’d join us.  The pizza was delicious and the boys were great.

Saturday was our big date!!  A got us Hamilton tickets for my birthday and I was so excited to see it!  He also got us a baby-sitter… woohoo!!  The fabulous Jane came over to watch the boys while we went out.  I absolutely loved the show and the theater was beautiful.  It was great to have uninterrupted conversations and enjoy some adult time.  After the show, we headed to a steak house recommended by my coworker.  The restaurant was really nice and the food was delicious.  Such a fun day with A!!


Sunday was our usual.  A and I made lemon chicken and pasta for dinner – one of my favorites!  Sad the weekend is over (as usual).  This week is going to be really hectic – the boys start school, S has a doctor’s appointment (didn’t realize 2.5 year check-ups were a thing… mom fail), windows are getting installed at the townhouse, and I have 8am meetings… already ready for the weekend!


Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Thoughts

I got a pedicure last weekend and W loved my purplish toenail polish.  He asked if I would paint his toes and I said sure.  So we're both rocking purple polish and loving it!!



A got me Hamilton tickets for my birthday and the show is this weekend.  We're also having dinner in Chicago after the show and I am SO excited for a date with A!!

I am NOT excited for the boys to return to school next week... only because I'm nervous about juggling drop offs between work meetings and S crying as I leave.  Praying things go smoothly and despite the stress, I'm so thankful I have the flexibility to drop them off.

I'm sad to report our favorite recycle man has moved on.  Willie was such a delight every Friday and so sweet to the boys.  The boys waited with cookies and pictures today and we were all a little disappointed when it wasn't Willie driving the truck.  We didn't get a chance to say goodbye.  But the good news is our new recycle man, Darren, seems like a friendly guy and promised to get the cookies and pictures to Willie.  We wish you well, Willie!!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Husband is a Blogger... and an Amazing Husband/Dad

In a way, I don’t feel the need to write as many posts because A’s posts are so great and I can just direct you there.  His latest  post had me in tears and laughing at the same time – that’s definitely a rare occurrence.

I do want to say this… If it isn’t already obvious from his posts, A is an incredible dad and husband.  I don’t tell him that enough, but he most definitely is.  A few prime examples: when I’m having a rough day (or week), he goes out of his way to bring me flowers or a special treat and will do just about anything to cheer me up.  He is so SO patient with the boys (and me for that matter).  I don’t always handle tantrums well, but A usually does.  Yesterday was his final day of summer break and A took the boys to a trampoline park, out to lunch, and then bowling.  He’s just very thoughtful and supportive.


And one more thing… our marriage isn’t perfect and I think it’s easy to get the impression that it is.  Only so much is discussed and portrayed on blogs.  We have flaws.  We occasionally disagree.  We had one particular argument (I guess that’s the best term to describe it) over the summer and I remember A saying something along the lines of  “was that our first fight?”.  I think I looked at him like he was crazy.  We’ve surely both been upset with each other before.  But this may have been the first time that we were both really frustrated with each other at the same time and we just weren’t seeing eye to eye on issues (at first).  This felt different.  It was a reminder that things weren’t as perfect as they seemed on the surface.  After a long, emotional, honest, raw conversation, I think we both realized that we had work to do.  After nearly 10 years, our marriage is still a work in progress.  It always will be.  But recognizing that and communicating (something we are both working on) is key.  I think it made us closer.  Something I didn’t realize was possible before the argument – I just assumed we were as close as could be.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What A Won't Miss About Summer Vacation...

Bahahahaha... if you haven't read A's post on what he won't miss about summer vacation, you really need to check it out.  I was both laughing out loud and nodding in agreement as I read.

For the record, our boys are really good most of the time and yes, they do ask TONS of exhausting questions.

And A, you missed the numerous shade breaks during potty walks. ;)

For every tree the boys pass, they need to pause and sit under it for a couple minutes.  It's cute for the first couple trees and not quite as cute once you hit the tenth tree.  It also adds to an already long walk.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekend Recap

We had lots of fun this weekend.  Out weather has been beautiful and we’ve definitely been taking advantage.

Friday, I met the guys for lunch at one of our favorite pizza restaurants.  After that, I took the boys for a long walk so that A could do his vest.  The boys had fun checking out the air conditioners and the garbage cans (What can I say?  That’s what they’re into.) and I enjoyed the fresh air.

Saturday, I treated myself to a pedicure and then it was off to lunch at our favorite charcoal chicken restaurant.  I love their chicken and mashed potatoes – soooo good.  From there, we headed to the amusement park.  BOTH boys went on a roller coaster.  That’s right, in addition to my 4 year old going on a roller coaster, my 2 year old also went.  In fact, he threw a fit because big brother got to go first.  Little dare devil.  They both loved it.  The boys were having so much fun going on multiple rides, we ended up staying 4 hours.  After my exhausted boys were in bed, A ran to Taco Bell and we ate tacos while watching some of our shows on DVR.  Completely unhealthy, but I so enjoyed it!!  It was the perfect ending to a really busy day!

Sunday was the usual.  We did lots of cleaning around the house.  A and I have discovered that we really enjoy making dinner together.  The kiddos were being a little crazy during this time, but we still had fun cooking together.  We tried a new recipe – chicken in a garlic mushroom cream sauce over fettucine (it was pretty similar to fettucine alfredo) and it was delicious!!


This was A’s last weekend before heading back to school and I’m glad we squeezed in lots of fun activities.  A fun ending to summer vacation!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Thoughts

Did you see that A started a blog?!?!  I’m still shocked!!  Of course, as soon as I read the post he wrote for me, I had to click on over to his blog and read all of his posts.  He’s a great writer and I love reading things from his perspective.  I hope he keeps up with the blog and I’m eagerly awaiting more posts!!  (The Other) Westy Side Story

Speaking of A, he had CF clinic on Tuesday.  I had to work and was disappointed I was unable to make it.  I’m still not sure what to make of his results.  The doctor he met with seems clueless to me.  I’m not a fan and keep hoping she’ll leave for a different position.  A’s lung function was slightly down, but he wasn’t told any real numbers.  One of the nurses gave him a percentage, but it seemed way low for him and I don’t think it was an actual number – more like an estimate she calculated in her head.  He usually gets a print out of his spirometry results, but they never report percentage, just the FEV1 and FVC results (I then convert those numbers to percentages and plot his lung function over time – I might be a nerd).  A feels good and his weight is the HIGHEST!! it’s ever been.  Remember when it was way down last appointment (we still think the scale was off)?  How he’s feeling seems to be the best indicator of his health, but still a little nervous about his actual results.

I dressed for fall today complete with a chartreuse cardigan and booties.  I then looked in the mirror and thought, “Nope.  Too soon.”  BUT I can’t wait for fall!!  And for future reference, when is it socially acceptable to dress for fall?  September?  Whenever the temperature is in the 50’s?

A returns to school next week.  I’m going to go ahead and declare that this was the best summer EVER!!  I keep reminiscing about our trips to Europe and to Maryland/Bethany Beach.  Park trips, lunch dates, long walks…  The boys are so much fun at this age (most of the time – when they aren’t tired or hungry).  I love hearing W speak like a little grown up (“that’s just how life is, mom”) and S doing his best to speak like a grown up, but sometimes mixing up words.  I’m so sad it’s all coming to an end and can’t believe BOTH boys will be in preschool this year.  Where does the time go??


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Post From A!

A here.

So I last contributed to C’s blog one year ago.  I can’t say this year was as good or bad as prior years, but it did have its good and bad moments.  Here’s a quick look back (C, feel free to add anything to this list that I might have forgotten or overlooked).

Good- C’s birthday!!!! W and I made her a cake.

Good- The Olympics.  I’m glad it didn’t come to Chicago, but I do enjoy watching most of the events.

Good- W and S visiting “Grandpa’s Tree” for the first time πŸ’—

Good- Back to work.  Oh, the excitement of a new school year!

Bad- Back to work.  No more hanging out with the boys.  No much lunch dates with C.  Back to lesson planning and dealing with early adolescents.

Good- C and I take an archery class.  Watch out Katniss… C’s got some mad archery skills!

Bad- Tantrums and meltdowns (W and S’s… not C or me)

Good- S at Cubs games.  He seems to enjoy them!

Bad- W at Cubs games.  He says they’re too loud and crowded.  I say I can’t blame him…

Good- W and S taking preschool classes.  They’re growing so quickly!

Bad- W and S taking preschool classes.  THEY’RE GROWING SO QUICKLY!!!!!!!!

Good- Corn Maze, Apple Orchard and Halloween.  Always enjoy being outside during autumn.  Plus, we toured the neighborhood for candy with a little owl and skunk!

Good- The Cubs win the World Series!!!  The Cubs are the champions of the world!!!

Bad- The Presidential Election.  Did America really just elect this dick!!??!!

Good- W’s 4th birthday!!!  He’s the smartest, most inquisitive 4-year-old I’ve ever seen :)

Good- Merry Christmas!!!  Christmas is just better when you celebrate it with your children :)

Good- In bed before 10:00 on New Year’s Eve.  Hey, it’s exhausting raising two toddlers.

Good- Seeing the World Series trophy.  Standing in line for 3 hours in the cold just to stand next to the trophy for 15 seconds???  Yeah, I’m looking forward to doing it again this year!

Bad- New battery, new brakes and new tires on my car.  Gotta have them, I guess.

Good- S’s 2nd birthday!!!  Love sharing a birthday month with this guy :)

Bad- My birthday.  Getting closer and closer to 40…

Bad- W and S’s colds, ear infections, vomiting, hand-foot-mouth disease.  I wouldn’t say the boys get sick all of the time, but when they do it sure isn’t fun…

Good- C and I playing hooky and going on a doughnut date and doing some Easter shopping.

Bad- Me waking up with something in my throat and coughing on the day we played hooky.  Cold would last for months.

Bad- Being nervous at my Spring clinic because I was certain that I would have to be admitted into the hospital.

Good- Not having to be admitted into the hospital!!!

Bad- Losing 9 pounds since last clinic appointment.

Good- Gaining almost all of the weight back in a matter of a week or two.  Clinic’s scale must’ve been defective because I never gain weight that fast!

Good.  In fact, better than Good- 8th grade graduation!!!  By far, the most challenging year of my teaching career comes to an end.  So glad I’m done with them!

Good- Europe.  I fell in love with C all over again πŸ’•

Good- The boys’ preschool 4th of July parade.  Might I actually enjoy parades now???  Probably not, but I did have fun!

Good- Vacation to Maryland.  Always great to get away, even if it’s a long drive.

Good- Vacation to Bethany Beach.  Great hotel.  Great view.  Great time.

Bad- W’s hour and a half meltdown the first morning at Bethany Beach.  And it was all about not having Starbucks for breakfast!!!

Good- “Extra hot sauce!!!” C and I don’t know where the boys came up with this one, but it’s hilarious and adorable.

Good- DVR/On Demand and Chill.  This is Us, Love Connection, Hollywood Game Night,  Rattled.  I’m forgetting some I’m sure.  Oh, and by chill, I do mean chill.  Relaxing.  Vegging.  Whatever you want to call it.  Kids are in bed.  Mom and Dad get their much needed, albeit short, brain and body break.

Well, looking over the list, there are 24 “Goods” and 11 “Bads.”  Maybe the past year wasn’t too bad after all.   

Regardless if the year was good or bad, it sure did go by quickly.  They tend to as you get older.  And have children.  Days, weeks, months and years seem to go by so much faster than they did when I was a kid.  Not quite sure if that’s good or bad.  But one thing’s for sure, the time is never dull.  

I’m not quite sure when I’ll contribute to C’s blog again.  Honestly, I thought I would have written a post for her at least once before this birthday, but that didn’t happen.  I suppose if you would like to get insight into our lives, but from the husband/father perspective, you could always read my blog… It’s at https://theotherwestysidestory.blogspot.com/.  

Happy Birthday, C!  I love you 😘


A

Monday, August 7, 2017

Weekend Recap

I actually had a post written for Friday and forgot to publish it.  Oops. I wanted to mention that A and I spent much of Thursday painting at a low income school in Chicago.  My company partnered with the school some time ago and we’ve completed several projects since.  This particular project saved $30,000+ for the school.  A and I really enjoyed spending the day together and ended up covered in black paint.  It makes me want to find more volunteer activities to complete with A.

Friday morning, we got a taste of fall.  The weather was in the 50's - unheard of for August.  I loved it!!  As such, I had to dress the boys as if it were fall... ha!  They obliged...





We all went out to lunch with Nani.  The food was so yummy and the boys were great.  I’m hosting a bridal shower for my future sister-in-law at the restaurant towards the end of the month and I think it will be the perfect place.  My mom came over Friday evening for pizza and to do some research on Ancestry.com.  She’s fascinated by tracing our family tree and I’m getting into it too so that was fun.  So far, we’ve traced ancestors back to Poland, Ireland, and England, and found documents showing my ancestors owned slaves!  It was definitely challenging with the boys around – they wanted to play with Grandma so we’re planning on another ancestry get together soon.

Saturday was my birthday.  Some years, I look forward to birthdays and don’t really mind getting older and other years, birthdays get me down.  Unfortunately, this year, I was feeling pretty down.  We’ve had an incredible summer and I’m so thankful for opportunities, but since our failed FET and IVF consult, I’m just feeling really old (I know 36 isn’t old, but in terms of fertility, it’s practically ancient… at least for me).  Despite all that, the boys spoiled me with a birthday lunch, wonderful gifts, and not one, but two cakes.  And A got us tickets to see Hamilton!!  Not sure if I’m more excited for Hamilton or a date with A.  Either way, I can’t wait!!  I love my guys more than words can say.  Here’s hoping 36 is a great year for me…






Sunday was our usual.  Both boys helped me make my famous mac and cheese and we spent time playing outside and cleaning up around the house.  It was a relatively low key weekend, which was just perfect.

And stay tuned for a VERY special guest post tomorrow!! :)