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still here, still squawking, still ridiculous.

i know that this blog has turned into a baby book substitute for my poor second-born child (i’m sorry william, i promise i will get you a real baby book like your sister has), and for that i…well, i don’t know what. do i apologize? i don’t think anyone was made that i went MIA. do i feel bad? kind of, but only for myself for not making my creative outlet more of a focus during this crazy time. i guess i feel like i miss the people who i interact with on this blog, and so maybe that’s it. maybe i just say that i’ve missed you all, whoever you are that come here to read my ridiculous squawking about the important and unimportant goings-on in my head.

i really like that this is a place that i can let my weird sense of dry humor show, and where i can update my faraway friends and loved ones, and where i can showcase my love of good old-fashioned home cooking and strong cocktails. and maybe write a heartfelt essay or two along the way that resonates with a few of you. this blog is not a blog like blogs have become over the past three years. and it won’t ever be that kind of a blog. even if or when i get my editorial calendar back on track, it will never be belong in the shiny, curated part of the internet with everyone else’s stylized (although maybe a little homogenous) stuff. and i hope that might be a tiny reason why people still read my blog…because it’s just me. and if you like me for me, what more could i ask for?

i have a recipe post lined up for next week, and somewhere, way down deep inside of me, there is some inspiration that’s starting to bubble up through the sleep deprivation that is part and parcel of being a working mom of two little ones. so while the baby book posts will still be a big part of how this blog is happening, you’ll start to see more of me sprinkled throughout this space. and i hope you’ll be here for all of it.

[that got weirdly deep, and i didn’t think it would. that’s what happens when you give me a beer and let me type without thinking for a few minutes….]

well let’s give a quick update into what’s happening in my life besides the whole child-rearing gig, shall we?

  • marriage is a whole different ballgame when there are two kids involved, but even through all the adjustments and general mayhem, i’m delighted to report that Mister Man and i are still very happily married. and what’s more, we will have been very happily married for five years as of june 1. in honor of this momentous occasion, we’ve decided to take a rather large, rather fun trip to the united kingdom in the fall, and it has been so much fun planning it out together! this will be our first trip to europe together, and my first time back since just after college, and i could not be more excited to take a trip, just my love and i, all the way across the pond. more on that as it comes together!
  • speaking of different ballgames…postpartum bodies are crazy. i won’t get into details, so as not to scare anyone off from having kids, but let’s just say that after baby number two, the snap back isn’t as snappy as it was with baby number one. i was in a big rut of eating ice cream every night, and dangerously close to the “eff it all” mentality, when i luckily was given the opportunity to do some nutrition and fitness coaching with katie over at belle fitness and nutrition. holy wow you guys. firstly, she is basically superwoman. she runs her own business, solo parents THREE children a lot of the time, and still has the best attitude around. secondly, she just gets how to help people fit good nutrition and fitness into their lives where they are. i don’t even have a gym membership, so she gave me some at home workouts, and they truly work (and i feel like i can make time for them, which is saying something). between her workouts and the nutrition program she works with, i’ve lost actual inches from my body in two months. i’m visibly slimming down, and it doesn’t feel like i’ve turned my life upside down to do it. because i wouldn’t have done it if it was too complicated. what i’m trying to say is, she’s amazing. if you’re in the market for a simple way to work good nutrition and fitness into your life, PLEASE check her out.
  • i’m drinking so much coffee these days you guys. like, i’m wondering when it qualifies as a problem. i’m walking a fine line between enjoying my daily coffee(s) and being fully dependent on them. i’m starting to justify the lattes at work by saying they are part of my daily protein intake, but we all know that it’s the espresso that i’m jonesing for. does anyone have experience in breaking a caffeine addiction while being sleep deprived that doesn’t involve actually giving up all caffeine? i’m not really going to do anything about it, but just in case i find myself getting worse…
  • i don’t know if any of you noticed that i have a second instagram now…in the absence of having the energy to write actual blog posts, i’ve been really into instagram and posting little micro-blog posts there. i’m also very into instagram stories. i mostly tell ridiculous stories about things my kids do to me, and every so often i can be pretty funny if you’re into that sort of thing. ANYWAY. if you read this blog, you’re cool and you already know that i’m halfway crunchy and into cooking from scratch, and natural cleaning products, and just generally being as much like laura ingalls as i can be. but my instagram is also a place where a lot of my irl contacts follow me, and i just find that the engagement for the crunchy stuff wasn’t there. i want people who like that sort of thing to be able to choose to see it and enjoy it if they want to. plus, i started posting a lot about essential oils, and i know that can trigger a lot of people because it’s gotten a bit crazy these days (and essential oil people can be a bit nutty if we’re being honest). so it all went into a separate account. all that being said, if you like that sort of thing (natural home and essential oil and simplified living), go ahead and follow me @withloveathome. also, a lot of people have asked so i’ll say it here: i’m not a big seller of essential oils, but i am a big fan of them, so if you ever have questions, or want me to order you some with my discount, or want to order them yourself, please don’t hesitate to ask.
  • i am an AUNTIE!!! our gorgeous niece, grace, arrived on april 21, and i am so excited to be an aunt i could just scream. it’s the weirdest feeling but there is something so cool about seeing your siblings have kids! Amelia is already obsessed with “baby grace”, and she and William are only six months apart, so i cannot wait to see how their relationship grows as they get older. i love my cousins so much, they are some of my best friends to this day, and i hope for the same for my kids.

thanks for being here and for giving me grace and for loving my silliness through it all. i love you all right back.

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what’s a part-time sahm to do?

oh, you guys, where is the year going? i feel like with the way my schedule is (home on mondays/thursdays, working on tuesdays/wednesdays/fridays), the weeks go by and all of a sudden i’m like, “it’s monday again?? wasn’t yesterday tuesday??” lord help me.

i have a very unique situation with my work and home balance, and it can make for some unique challenges. i’m not saying that it’s not amazing, because IT IS. i am beyond lucky to have the situation that i do: i get to be home with my daughter, i work and get to contribute to my family’s well-being, and amelia gets to be taken care of by wonderful people (like her grandma!) in her own house. it’s the best ever. but it’s still allowed to be challenging, in its own special way.

because i’m only home two days a week, i have a hard time making a schedule and sticking to it. every week i have every intention of having a cleaning schedule, of getting a set list of things accomplished in the home. but then something gets messed up in the schedule on monday – a late nap/no nap/a doctor appointment/too much fun at the park/etc. – and then i have to go to work the next day. and then by the time i’m home again on thursday, we’ve lost all illusion of accomplishing a list. and if Mister Man is out of town? forget about it. if i was home every day, i would be able to treat it more like a full-time job, and incorporate some structure to our days. but there’s no time for structure in two days!

cleaning

we recently started a music class on monday mornings, which has been awesome for both of us. it’s given the little bit of structure to our week that we’ve needed to jumpstart everything. first and most importantly, amelia loves it. she is the hit of the class, dancing around and clapping her hands to every song. melts my heart. it makes for better naps on mondays, which means that mom has time to do chores around the house (and maybe even cook dinner??). it has also motivated me to be more planful about our thursdays.

even with that newfound structure, i’m still struggling a bit with getting things done at home during the week. i decided that it might be nice to have assigned tasks for the days of the week. my goal is to not have so many chores to do on the weekends, because right now that’s what has been happening, and i’d like to alleviate some of that pressure for both Mister Man and myself, especially if he continues to travel so much. i’m going to experiment with this for a while to see if it works, but i’m just not sure what’s going to come of it. here’s my idea:

  • monday: music class + laundry (doesn’t have to be done in one sitting, leaves me flexible for our day together)
  • tuesday: work +  full wipedown of kitchen/fridge cleanout (so we start the week knowing what we have to work with)
  • wednesday: work + cooking or baking session/miscellaneous work
  • thursday: home + dusting/vacuuming (as needed, vacuuming needs to happen way more often than it used to with the little one)
  • friday: work + RELAX!

on the days that i work, any other work would be done after amelia goes to bed, so nothing would take more than an hour or be too strenuous. the housework on the days i’m home would be flexible to get done as the day goes on, while still giving us the opportunity to play outside and for amelia to help me with the chores (she LOVES dusting and vacuuming with us, it’s a guaranteed hit!).

cleaning2

so. people of internet land, i need your help. is this schedule doable? is this insane? how do you all manage to structure your weeks? stay at home moms, do you have a particular schedule for your week or do you fly by the seat of your pants like i’ve been doing? any and all suggestions are welcomed with open arms and ears.

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a little bit of this and that.

i don’t know about you, but this week was like whoa in terms of length and dragging on and just being generally difficult, as weeks sometimes tend to be. and i am 37 weeks pregnant, and don’t have anything interesting or useful to say about that. i’m guessing lots some of you are getting sick of the baby stuff too.

all that to say that today, we’re going to have a braindump. a little bit of this and a little bit of that. i never know what’s going to appear out of my brain on days like today, so get ready for a lot of lovely random thoughts. nothing better on a friday, right?

***

1. i received this email from my husband the other day and i don’t think you understand how hard i laughed/gagged at my desk at work. we used to write each other letters when he lived in iowa at the beginning of our relationship, and emails like this bring me back to that time, complete with the butterflies of a new relationship. weird, huh? it’s especially weird when you consider the content of this email.

Good Morning Madam,

You know have I never have stories, well I have one now! It took me a while to figure out the best way to tell you this story, because first I was going to call you, and then I thought that would be a bad idea. Then I was going to wait until you got home, but I also thought probably not the best, so I ended up on email sent to you at work.

So, on with the tale. You know how we haven’t seen the smaller bunnies around lately. Well, I found out why. How does one write this in a sophisticated manner? They gone!! And, by gone, I mean they died, dead, worm food..etc.! I can confirm this for two of the former little fuzz balls at least. How you may be asking yourself does my husband know that two of our little backyard companions have deceased? Well I will tell you how and I will spare you some of the details that aren’t so pleasant. [editor’s note: he did not spare me that many unpleasant details.]

Like any typical day at home I started off by kissing my lovely wife good bye and telling little Baby Z in her belly to behave today [editor’s note: awwwww, he loves us!], and then headed down to the office in the basement to work. It was a nice day outside, not to[o] warm, low humidity, so I decided to open the window in the basement office and let some fresh air in. The air that entered was anything but fresh, and stank of rancid decay. I knew immediately that something had entered our back window well, which is at least 3.5 feet deep, and was unable to get out. Damn I said to myself, and immediately closed the window, while trying to hold in the vomit that was trying to escape my stomach. Next step was to light a candle and turn a fan on the basement to get rid of the lingering odor. After I got the candle going I went outside to inspect what type of victim the window well had claimed. What I saw next was not the prettiest thing I had ever seen, but I will spare you the details. In the window well of death , that’s what I am calling it now, were two dead bunnies. One that had probably been there for at least two weeks and one that was probably in there for around 3 days. I am not a forensic expert, but one body was just bones with a little fur and the other was still mostly there. Not pretty, or a good way to start your morning. So, I got some garbage bags and picked up the remains that I could gather, while trying not to spew chunks from the smell all over the place. I proceed then to bleach down the area to somewhat sanitize it and then rinse it with hose for the final cleaning. It seems to have ridden the window well of death from the stench of bunny death for now, but I have a feeling those will not be the last victims it claims. I have unfortunately solved the case of the missing bunnies, but let that be a lesson to us to check the window well every day or two to make sure that no more victims are claimed. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership.

I hope you have enjoyed this story, and I hope you have a wonderful day at work.

Love you very much.

i told him that he can now never leave me (among other reasons), because i could never have handled that on my own. also, our yard is apparently a death trap? also, also, i feel like Mister Man would be really good at guest blogging here every now and again?

2. i’ve got a wonderful cause that i am going to be talking about here in the next couple of weeks that is especially dear to my heart at this point in my life. for now, make sure to pay attention to instagram over the next few days for the introduction to that cause.

3. one of my dear college friends is getting married to one of the most wonderful ladies tomorrow, and i cannot wait to celebrate them as much as my big belly will allow. it’s the first time most of my best guy friends from college will see me pregnant, and can i just say that seeing young men’s reactions to the belly is one of my favorite things about pregnancy? the bugged out eyes, the not-very-well-disguised grossed out faces, the tentative questions…it’s all awesome and hilarious.

4. how do i put this without sounding like i’m complaining? i’ve been having a hard time walking the past couple of weeks due to my darling baby growing like a weed and putting all the new weight at the front of my body. yes, there is a downside to having a pregnant belly that looks like you stuffed a beach ball in your shirt. sure it’s adorable at first, then your body betrays you because that beach ball weighs 26 pounds. but the bright side of being laid up on the couch most evenings is that you get a lot of time to think thoughts. and one of the thoughts i’ve been thinking the most is this: can i get away with wearing these fake glasses in public?

fake glasses

5. let’s talk about freeze pops for a moment. my favorite flavor is pink. my least favorite flavor is orange (unless the yellow tastes like banana). i will eat any flavor if it’s in my freezer. anyone have weird preferences like that? if you ever want to feel like you’re back in your childhood, buy a pack, you will not regret it.

***

i hope that everyone’s weekend is just amazing. my little brother is home for almost three weeks, and i cannot wait for him to see my belly and get to feel the baby kick! he’s been living in maui since march (yea, for real), so he hasn’t really seen me PREGNANT yet, and i am so excited that he’s here. i may or may not be whispering to the baby that if it comes out on august 10, it will get to meet uncle patrick…incentives, right?

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just some squawking from me to you.

hi. can we talk? great, thanks, i need to squawk about some stuff for a bit. buckle up, this is going to be one detached ride. but sometimes you just need to empty your brain of all the random, you feel me?

one || i am back on the coffee train. in a big big way. in fact, i don’t know why i ever stopped. was i on some sort of self-hating binge? i think that was it. because me and coffee, we’re tight. especially since i found this coffee creamer. it’s so good!

so-delicious-coconut-milk-creamer

two || Mister Man and i both have this thing where we really like talking to strangers. not sure why, probably has something deeply psychological to do with our birth order or something, but we do. we talk to waitresses, grocery store clerks, old men on buses, whoever looks nice or like they could use a good chat. talking to (kind) strangers is probably one of my greatest skills, and i learned this art from my parents when i was young. now, i don’t have kids yet, and many of you probably don’t either, but i don’t care, you need to read this essay on why “always listen to yourself” needs to be the new “stranger danger”. rebecca says it so.so.well. (a couple strong words for the gentler souls to know about, but they are oh so powerfully used)

three || i’ve almost reached the point in the year where the long underwear gets put on. oh, do some of you not know the joys of long underwear? some of you live in climates that are too warm for snow and below zero temperatures? then let me educate you. long underwear is like thin leggings you wear under your pants when it’s colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra. i used to think that long underwear was for old men on hunting trips, but then i put it on and my brain exploded because i was so comfortably warm. protip: wear it to work for the most comfy work day ever.

long underwear

four || i finally bought a bar cart. FINALLY. sweet baby jesus i am excited about it! it’s a work in progress, for sure, but i’m making it my mission to make it the cutest focal piece in our living room. i’m not promising the most posh liquor choices or the cutest bar accessories, but there will be adorable straws! stay tuned…

so that’s what’s on my mind lately. what a way to jump back on the wagon after a somewhat lengthy absence from posting. i gotta get my groove back. that whole slump thing put me down for the count and i am just now sticking my head back above ground to see if everything is safe. i think it is. thanks for sticking with me during the quiet times, it means more to me than you know.

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these days.

hmmm, maybe these are just going to start being a saturday thing. i kind of love a saturday morning spent sitting with a candle lit, and a blanket on my lap, blogging while the husband putzes around the house. it’s my happy place.

there is a lot going on around here, in life that is, so writing has taken a bit of a backseat. and that’s okay. life is meant to be lived, and the more i live it, the more inspiration i have to write down the line.

i hope that your weekends are wonderful. love on your family and friends, and have a cocktail for me. hugs and kisses to all of you reading this.

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these days i’m…

eating lots and lots of popcorn. Mister Man has a pretty terrible travel schedule this month, so there have been a lot of single lady dinners to be had around these parts. the silver lining is that i’m all caught up on my tv shows since there is no one to snuggle with in the evenings….

trying to wash my hair less. so far i’ve been going at least 2-3 days without shampooing, andmy hair is so healthy right now! normally on day three i just throw it up into the ol’ blogger topknot (does anyone want a tutorial on that one?) but i wore it down in tribute to amber’s lion hair habit. big hair is happy hair!

third day lion hair

watching the harry potter movies. or rather, re-watching them. because obviously i’ve seen them before, who do you think i am? i don’t think ashten and i could be friends if i didn’t like hp. MM and i are starting from the beginning, because this weather means mandatory viewings of those wonderful movies.   

wearing my winter coat. while crying tears of sadness for the cold being here so dang early.

praying for family that recently went through a terrible loss, the kind that no one should ever have to endure. praying for their healing, for peace in their hearts, and strength.

drinking coffee again. don’t judge me, i know i said i was off it, and i’m still off it most days, but let’s be honest, a girl needs her latte on a friday afternoon from time to time!

loving that i get to see my sister and her new apartment tonight! she’s a teacher in a town about an hour and a half northwest of us, so i don’t get to see her very often, and it’s going to be an epic girls night with dinner, cocktails, and hocus pocus. whoop!

also loving this special mail delivery from my girl alicia (or etley, as she’s also called). seriously, this girl is so wonderful, and has been an amazing far away friend to me since we found each other in the blogosphere. she is funny, gorgeous, and the sweetest person. love you lady!

mail

working on getting our gosh darn lawn ready for winter. i have been cutting back plants, raking and pulling weeds for what seems like the last three weeks straight. i thought living in the city with a tiny yard meant i’d have LESS yardwork, not the crap-ton i’ve been doing.

leaves

(p.s. in honor of the cold weather arriving, for the rest of october i’m offering my monster squawker ad spots for 50% off with the code “sweaterweather”. with this spot you get social media love, an intro in one of my daily posts, and even a guest post opportunity if you’d like! go here to get your spot, they fill up fast! doesn’t nikki from rural rookie look so good over there on my sidebar?)

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MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND HERE THESE DAYS.