Weekend Favorites (v6)

Good news! As of Thursday the girls are back in school! We survived the snow days! Except this upcoming week is mid-winter break, which means they’re back at home. Again. For like, the third week in a row. Womp.

Related – I will not survive summer without putting them in childcare! (Note to self…)

These past few days I have been tired. Like super, super tired. As in, if I get off the couch for a few hours I get so exhausted that I immediately need to lie back down and feel like I could take a nap – and I never nap! Pregnancy is kicking my butt these past few days!

But while I’m sitting on the couch, I can share…

Things I’m Into:

  • My favorite podcast on the enneagram types finally released their episode on type 8s! As a 7w8, I loved learning more about myself, but the main reason I’m listening (I’m only halfway through the podcast as I’m typing this) is because Tim is a type 8 and learning more about his type is always so helpful to me!
  • “The results: “Even when such examples of showing vulnerability might sometimes feel more like weakness from the inside, our findings indicate that, to others, these acts might look more like courage from the outside,” the researchers wrote.” (here)
  • I found this list of values and managed to pick my top 5. My goal is to (eventually) have Tim pick his top values and then for us to sit down together and determine our family’s top values. My hope is that this exercise will help us to prioritize and make better decisions on how we spend our time, energy, and other resources.
  • We also watched “Abducted in Plain Sight” (on Netflix). After we finished the documentary Tim asked why the heck I made him watch it… ha! He’s not as into the true crime doc stuff as much as I am, especially now that we have two daughters. I can watch the stuff that’s more ‘crazy’ than ‘creepy’.
  • “When my own son, then aged 12, started asking on Sunday nights, “Was that a weekend? Are you kidding?” I knew what he meant. In my family of four, weekends had become as gridlocked as weekdays. My husband and I were shuttling the kids to sports and playdates, cleaning and fixing our old, broken house, doing the washing – in short, tackling all the tasks neglected during the time-crunched week of a two-career household. And in between, we were scheduling pockets of work. What my son was mourning wasn’t the end of a great weekend, but the fact that those two days hadn’t seemed like a weekend at all; they were barely distinguishable from the five days before it.” (here)

What are you loving right now?! Share in the comments!

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Seattle Snowmageddon

The snow in Seattle came, and it was fun. For a while. And now it’s finally over. PHEW.

I was going to write a post about how the crazy amount of snow Seattle has suffered through taught me a bunch of things about myself. And how fun it was to have a few days ‘off’ so that my normal schedule was disrupted and I was forced to rest and how that was a good exercise for me.

But then ‘Snowmageddon’ kept going. And going. And going.

And now I have nothing nice to say about the whole fiasco.

Seattle Snowmageddon 2019 - Our experience!

… how it all began.

I was good for the first few days. Snow started falling on Superbowl Sunday and it was fluffy and really pretty. Then the girls’ preschool was (predictably) cancelled on Monday. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday. But on Thursday they were back in class and I was happy to have a morning to myself. We had survived the first week! (The whole experience was extra-nice because I had a bit of a cold and loved not having to shuttle the girls around for a few days, and to have Tim at home to help with them. Win!)

Then all heck broke loose.

With the forecast looking pretty awful for Friday-early the next week, everyone in Seattle and the surrounding areas drove their Subarus to the nearest grocery store and bought every piece of produce and gallon of milk on the shelves. Oh and bread. People bought all of the bread. It was madness. I don’t know this from personal experience, because I am not a planner and did not get to the store on Thursday evening, but friends were sending pictures of the insanely long lines and completely empty shelves. Even the frozen food sections were cleaned out at some stores!

Seattle Snowmageddon 2019 - Our experience!

On Friday, Tim drove to the mountains with Clara for her skiing lesson, and I was more-than-a-bit concerned that he was going to get snowed in at the mountain pass and I would be at home with Isabelle for a few days by myself. With strict instructions to leave as soon as the snow started falling heavily – he left home – and Isabelle and I went about our day! Everything closed early, so we stayed inside to watch the snow fall.

By Saturday, everything was covered in snow and it was still falling heavily. We went outside and said ‘hello’ to neighbors we don’t normally see walking around in the winter, went sledding, drank hot chocolate, played fetch with Oz (who loves catching snowballs in his mouth)… we did all of the things.

And then did more of all the things on Sunday. (But for less hours). Church was cancelled, so we had a ton of time to just be with each other. We enjoyed a slow morning and spent the afternoon outside.

By Monday, we were ready for the girls to go back to school, but the roads were a mess so we knew it would be cancelled again – of course it was.

By Tuesday, I was really annoyed that we had to cancel our local MOPS group meeting (again!) because that meant more time at home, without friends and without a hot breakfast. Thankfully, swim lessons were still happening, so we had an excuse to leave the house. On Tuesday afternoon it started raining, so the heaviness of the wet snow/slush started causing trees to fall down. We lost power on Tuesday night, but some people lost their power for far longer.

On Wednesday I was about to completely lose my mind, but a friend came over to do some DIY projects around the house, and she brought her kids to entertain mine. Hallelujah. Just when it looked like preschool would be cancelled again the next day…

We received an email saying that even though Seattle Public Schools are on a delayed start on Thursday (which usually means an automatic cancellation for the girls’ preschool) we have school!

Oh happy freakin’ day.

Sidenote… The girls (and all other kids in the Seattle area) are off school all of next week for mid-winter break. Worst. Timing. Ever. Parents are hilariously over this sh*t and are taking to social media to vent, which makes my own experience these past few weeks feel a little better.

So, we’ve survived. There is no more snow in the forecast, and we are back to our regularly scheduled program for about two days until next week arrives and we’re on a midwinter break schedule. Sigh.

Seattle Snowmageddon 2019 - Our experience!

Now, just to be clear, there are reasons Seattle cannot handle snow. It’s because we generally have mild (albeit wet) winters and normally don’t get snow. Like, we have flakes fall from the sky sometimes, but it rarely sticks. We  A single snow day is pretty rare. Multiple snow days is kind of unheard of. People say this happens every 10 years or so, and are comparing this storm to one in the 1950s or maybe even 1900s. Seattle doesn’t salt their roads and they barely have any plows and with all of the hills in the area, it’s just a mess to try to get around. So even though the 20 inches or so I think they’re reporting from this storm doesn’t sound that crazy to people in the Midwest or East coast, it is panic-inducing here. There really are people who haven’t been able to leave their houses in almost a week!

Seattle Snowmageddon 2019 - Our experience!

Basically, February has been chaos for us. If I said January felt like the longest month ever, it’s only because I didn’t know what February would have in store! On one hand it seems like it’s been going quickly, because we’re already halfway through – on the other hand I feel like nothing at all has happened this month!

Maybe that’s a good thing, though? I guess it’s yet to be determined.

I should sign off by saying Happy Valentine’s Day! Yet another thing that has been completely off my radar… whoops!

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Weekend Favorites (v5)

Well it may as well be that ‘lost’ week between Christmas and New Years, because I have no idea what day it is and everything is a blur. We’re just at home… existing. Except the crazy thing is that there’s snow on the ground here so we are playing outside like we would be if we were still in the Midwest! School was cancelled three days last week, and is already cancelled tomorrow, and likely for a majority of this week, too. Sooooo it’s been interesting. More on that in a different blog post.

In the meantime…

Things I’m Into:

  • “Rather than asking ‘What’s the most important thing I can do today?’, time multipliers ask ‘What’s the most important thing I can do today that would make tomorrow better?’… Vaden shares the 4 questions that time multipliers ask of the items on their to-do lists in order to free up their hours in the future.” (here)
  • I’ve been listening to this playlist on repeat. It’s such nice background music for my day.
  • Have you watched The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon? Tim and I are making our way through the second season and are really enjoying it!
  • “After 30 days of email abstinence, I realized that email isn’t good or bad. It’s merely a tool. By stepping away from it, I’ve learned how to use it in a way that is productive, rather than letting it push me around me like a helpless captive. Most importantly, I learned how to take more control of my day-to-day life, and developed a greater perspective on what truly matters.” (here)
  • I read this book last week and it was such a quick, easy read. I highly recommend it if you’re into a light (not-too-trashy) romance novel.

What are you loving right now?! Share in the comments!

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Why I’m A SAHM

I received a reader comment on here the other day, and it asked such a good, thought-provoking question. The reader asked, “Over the years you’ve mentioned numerous times how you don’t really enjoy being a SAHM. Can I ask why you left your job to stay home?”

What a good (and big!) question! Five years ago I wrote a post about my initial decision to be a SAHM, so that explains how it all started. (*Spoiler: I did not leave my job to stay at home. My job left me and I didn’t find a new one!*) But let me catch you up a little bit on why I’m still a SAHM, 5 years later, in case any of you are wondering the same thing, or find yourself in a similar situation with your own family.

why-i'm-a-sahm v1

The number one reason I stay at home with my girls (full-time) is simply because Tim and I think it’s important. We both feel strongly about having our kids home with one of us, most of the time, at this baby/toddler stage. Since I made less money than him when I was pregnant with Clara, we decided that he would work and I would manage the household and watch the girls. (*Sidenote: when I say ‘manage the household’ I mean keep track of what is going on. I do not mean I do all of the housework – Tim and I attempt to split that as best we can.) He, of course, would have also been supportive of me going back to work if that’s what I wanted to do, but we value the flexibility of me staying at home with the girls.

I do not love every hour of every day of being a SAHM (obviously), but I do find it to be one of my most important callings in this season of my life. I have always felt that God has called me to spend these years at home to focus on family… so that is what I’ve been doing! Do I think it’s the most fun job? Heck no! Is it always fulfilling or mentally stimulating? No. Heck no! But without a doubt, I know that I’m going to look back on these years as being a gift. Some days are still all about survival, though, and I do send Tim resignation letters every few weeks. Which he ignores. Always. 😉

[I should also mention that in twenties (before kids) I worked as a software consultant, project manager, business analyst… and I also have my CPA. Some parts of these jobs I loved, some parts I thought were so boring. Did they fulfill me? Not every day! All that to say that while being a SAHM is way harder (for me) than being in the corporate world, I also find it to be a more noble and fulfilling way to spend my time.]

Honestly, I never thought I’d be a SAHM for this long, but… life has just happened! I always wanted to go back to work when Clara was about 2 years old, but at that time I had another newborn… Isabelle! So then I wanted to give her a full 2 years with me. And then shortly after those two years passed, I found out I was pregnant again with Baby #3! It is the plan, however, for me to go back to work this fall, when Baby #3 is about 6 months old. Ideally I want to find a part-time, work from home role… which I think may be like trying to find a unicorn. We’ll see if it happens. The thing is, once Isabelle turned 2, I started to feel like my value at home has been diminishing, and now I’m certain that both girls would actually do even better under someone else’s care for at least some days per week. And I know that I would appreciate the mental and physical break of being away from my kids.

Over the years, I have attempted to find part-time work, and there are quite a few barriers that have kept me from getting a job. I think these are worth mentioning, because there are definitely ways we (as a society) could improve to ensure moms could easily get back to work if they have that desire:

+ The job search. I have tried to find part-time jobs quite a few times over the years, and it’s been difficult (impossible) to find the time to update my resume, fill out online applications, and interview with all of my other ‘mom’ responsibilities. I would really need to hire part-time, consistent help just to be able to find a job. Would it be worth it to hire someone while I job search? Possibly… but it’s also a huge, and expensive, hassle, that could go on forever! If a job had just fallen into my lap, I would have taken it!

+Money. I would not go back to work full-time, so I’m only looking for a flexible, part time position… which is hard to find! It’s especially hard to find when I need to make enough money to cover childcare (super expensive in Seattle, especially with two kids!), taxes, and commuting costs. It’s not worth it to me to go back to work to make essentially $0 (or less!) per year, so my options are pretty limited. Childcare is just too darn expensive, especially for three kids, two of whom are also in preschool (which is also very expensive)!

+ Logistics. I know working moms do this all of the time, but if I were to find a job, it seems incredibly daunting to arrange childcare, get out of the house in the morning, figure out sick days and appointments and activities and all of the things. Not to mention, who is going to manage most of the house stuff if I’m working?! Although, this last point has become a bit moot over time, because I have zero time to get anything done at home with two non-nappers. I think I’d actually be able to accomplish more house-managing at work!

+ Maternity leave. I thought about trying to find a job early in this pregnancy, and then I thought about maternity leave and realized there is absolutely no way I’d want to go back to work a few short weeks after having a baby. I was a mess for YEARS after Isabelle was born, and I just don’t have enough energy to do it all in such a short amount of time after having a baby. Plus, pumping at work? Nope. That sounds awful (and I applaud you moms who do it!), especially in the first few months.

I’m at the point now where I know it’s time for me to transition into a working mom, but I am still waiting to have this baby and then to spend some time at home with him/her! Ideally, in the fall I will find a part-time, work from home role that allows me to be a present mom, pay for childcare, and use my brain in some different ways. Now what this role will be… I have no idea! Will I use my CPA (for once)? Will I go back into being a project manager or business analyst? Will I do more low-key accounting – like bookkeeping? Or will I do something completely different?! Time will tell. I’ll be praying about it and I just know God will guide me to the perfect role.

Deciding to be a SAHM has felt like a deeply personal and complicated decision, while also seeming like it really wasn’t a decision at all so much as a state of being that I haven’t had the energy / resources to change. The past five years have just flown by.

Whenever I wonder if this is the best choice for me and my family, I conclude that it has been. This is a season. It feels long (and thankless, to be honest!) right now, but I know I will look back on it as a gift. I wish that I absolutely loved all aspects of being a SAHM and that I found it ‘easy’ and that it would fulfill me in every way and that I saw it as my ‘dream job’, but it just doesn’t feel that way. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate being able to do it, though.

Now I just have to remember that this is a gift as I welcome our third baby to the family and adjust to being a SAHM for three kids under five years old!

Wish me luck.

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Weekend Favorites (v4)

This week had a lot of good – as the girls stayed busy with playdates, preschool, ice skating, swimming, and even a family trip to the mountains to play in the snow (with Isabelle) while Clara participated in ski lessons. Tim and I had a date night, which included seeing Daniel Hill speak at our church. His book and his talk (on race & reconciliation) are fantastic. Tim also had had some ‘guy nights’ and I had time to relax a bit. I had Thursday morning to myself and enjoyed some coffee + blogging at a coffee shop.

But this week was also very hard – as our community grieved together. It’s hard to balance overwhelming sadness with ‘normal’ life, and self-care – but it’s necessary, especially as a parent.

I am going into this next week feeling drained yet hopeful. Now I just need to find the energy to tackle some items on my to-do list. But first…

Things I’m Into:

  • I bought this dress (from Nordstrom) and am very pleased with how it looks! It’s not a maternity dress, but it is stretchy enough for me to wear at 31 weeks pregnant. I sized up, so it’s TBD how it will fit post-baby. It might be a bit long, but I still think I’ll wear it often because it’s flattering and it’s comfy!
  • “I’ve never been anything but fat. Is there something in the fat version of me that also makes me likable and creative and a decent human being? Are the best parts of me all knotted up with the worst? Is there some way to untangle it and keep just the good stuff? Most of the time I think of my fat as a husk—something I have to shed so the best part of me can come out. But sometimes I wonder if I’m more like the shells you find on the beach, where the outer part is the attraction, and the animal inside is dull and shapeless.” (here)
  • Have you seen the films about the Frye festival fiasco? I watched the Netflix documentary and it just blew my mind. My favorite podcast is covering the Hulu documentary next week.
  • “Practically speaking, to be a minimalist smartphone user means that you deploy this device for a small number of features that do things you value (and that the phone does particularly well), and then outside of these activities, put it away. This approach dethrones this gadget from a position of constant companion down to a luxury object, like a fancy bike or a high-end blender, that gives you great pleasure when you use it but doesn’t dominate your entire day.” (here)

What are you loving right now?! Share in the comments!

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