These are a few of my “Grateful” things!

Last week, my mom tagged me in one of those Facebook “trends” of providing 3 things I am grateful for over the course of 5 days. Clearly, she thinks that as a SAHM, I have all the time in the world 🙂 (love you Mom!). Since I haven’t even starting my posting of 3 things, let alone keeping it up for 5 days, I decided that I was going to approach this trend my way – through my blog!

There is no doubt that I am forever grateful for things and people like family, a fabulous husband who is my best friend, a roof over my head, friends near and far, etc. I have yet to meet a person who isn’t grateful for those things. As a result, I am going to focus my 15 grateful things on the topic of parenting. Why parenting you ask? Because as I sit here typing “Little Miss” is pounding her feet on the wall instead of napping and I am trying to remind myself that I am grateful she is not screaming and pitching a fit.

In no particular order, the 15 things I am grateful for in relation to parenting:
15. The Internet. With the help of the internet, I have diagnosed (for better or for worse) Little Miss’ mysterious aliments, regularly connected her with her grandparents who live miles away, and made some Mom friends along the way.
14. Libraries. After reading the same 3 or 4 books at least 10 times a day, you will understand why the library is my best friend.
13. My Baby BootCamp class. Without it, I know I would be an out of shape and unhappy, 32 week prego momma. Not only am I forming new friendships in a new city, but watching Little Miss do burpees or bicep curls at home makes me one proud momma.
12. Today’s medicine/doctors. There is so much out there about what is and is not healthy while you are pregnant, especially if you are considered high-risk like me. I am proud to say that I have been able to carry 2 little girls with minimal complications thanks to the great team of doctors on my side.
11. Coffee. Without it, we would all be acting like it’s the 6th month of winter in Chicago.
10. Strollers. They may be big and bulky, but they sure do make carting around Little Miss a lot easier.
9. Disposable Diapers. I am not and never will be the type of momma who wants to wash poop from a cloth diaper over and over again.
8. Wipes. LOVE them! A clean-freaks best friend. Not just great for bottoms, but also on the face, hands, bathroom counter, the art table full of washable marker scribbles, the floor, highchair. I could go on and on….
7. The playdate. Sometimes, all your kiddos need is something or someone different to play with.
6. Nap Time. One word – GLORIOUS!
5. Chick-Filet-A Wednesday. I love living in a city where there is a Chick-Filet-A close-by for a quick and easy lunch.
4. Indoor Playgrounds. Being pregnant in Dallas during the summer – no further explanation needed.
3. PBS kids app on the AppleTV. Giving this momma 30 or so minutes of veg out/free time each day while Little Miss is learning about shapes, numbers, the alphabet, etc.
2. Pinterest. Because, let’s face it, I am not all that creative when it comes to rainy day activities, decorating the girls rooms, birthday party planning, etc.
1. The opportunity to stay at home with Little Miss (and Little Sister in the near future). The SAHM community is not kidding when they say that this is the hardest job they have experienced, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have learned so much from Little Miss in such a short amount of time and know that I will learn even more when Little Sister comes to play. I cannot wait to experience and observe my girls growing up together as sisters.

Momma’s Lesson Learned

I had what I like to call a “Come to Jesus” event on Monday night.  You know, the moment(s) in life where you realize an important life lesson or set yourself on the right track after whatever bender (alcoholic, bad relationship, dead-end job, etc.) you just came off of.  There is no doubt that I was due for one since this entire year has been pretty much fantastic despite an average, daily challenge here and there.  The takeaway from my “Come to Jesus” event – take care of myself.  Pretty basic instruction right?!  WRONG!!  There is nothing basic about taking care of me – never has been.  Sure, I need the basics  just like everyone else – food, water, sleep, shelter.  But those aren’t always enough for me to be at my best since I am a competitive, diabetic, momma who moves at a mile a minute pushing any and all boundaries whenever and wherever possible.  Oh and did I mention that I am also 25 weeks pregnant?!  Not dead mind you, just pregnant.  But all those things together really complicate that simple instruction of “take care of myself”.

I was cuddling with Little Miss on Monday night before her bedtime and took the opportunity to just be in the moment after a crazy, hectic day.  These types of moments are VERY rare for me and as I was lost in my own world, I realized that I hadn’t really felt Little Sister moving around as much as I normally do.  It wasn’t that she wasn’t moving, I just didn’t remember her moving much.  This was a huge issue because Little Sister is ACTIVE at all times of the day and night.  After I finished putting Little Miss to bed, I mentioned my musings to Hubby and he suggested calling the doctors because “thats what they are there for”.  My first initial thought – denial.  I’m totally overreacting and besides, if I call the doctors then it means that I have potentially done something “wrong”.  So what did I do instead?  Finished putting the 20 lbs of meat that I bought earlier that day into the freezer.  After about couple of minutes, I realized that this is not about me or anything I may have done “wrong”, it’s about Little Sister and her well-being, so I made the call.  The doctor called back right away and suggested I go to the ER to get hooked up to a monitor just to ensure all was well with Little Sister and provide me with piece of mind.  After that call, I was an emotional train wreck.  I walked up to Hubby, sobbing, and said that we needed to go to the ER.  We were out the door in 10 minutes thanks to Sister coming over in less than 5.

As Hubby and I were driving, my thoughts and emotions continued to get the better of me.  All I kept thinking about were the “what if’s” – what if she has the cord wrapped around her neck, what if  jogging in my morning workout class was just too much for her that day, what if she is just sleeping, what if she is playing a horrible joke on me and the joke will last for the next 5 years….?  When we got to the ER, they were expecting us, so within 15 minutes I could hear Little Sisters STRONG heartbeat and she was trying to kick off the monitor as soon as it was strapped onto my belly.  I felt incredibly relieved, elated, proud (thats my girl!) and foolish all at the same time.  So naturally, what did any emotional, 25 week pregnant, active person would do – I sobbed!  When I could actually talk with the nurses, I realized that I was not hydrating enough throughout the day and it was especially HOT out that day for a newbie in Dallas.  Pretty sure I spent the entire day sweating indoors!  I learned that if I don’t hydrate enough throughout the day my body takes the water stock-piled in my uterus and uses it for itself.  Its no wonder I couldn’t feel Little Sister throughout the day – the poor girl was probably so tired and thirsty from trying to conserve what little water my body let her have.  Being pregnant and diabetic is a challenge in of itself, I certainly don’t need to add to the incredibly wonderful chaos that is my pregnant body by waging a war against Little Sister.  Besides, I DEFINITELY don’t need to provide Little Sister with a reason to be in her terrible two’s for her first 5 years!

Over the last few days, I am pretty sure I have drank enough water to fill my swimming pool, but it’s all worth feeling Little Sister moving around.  Even if she does wake me up at 1:00 am, 3:00 am, 4:00 am….

I Choose Technology!

Whew! What a hectic and exciting couple of weeks we have had here in the McCarthy household. Here’s a quick run down of all the recent happenings to bring you up to speed! I took on another hobby. That’s right, I am the ever joiner and now am attending Baby BootCamp (a workout class) weekday mornings. I generally can’t walk during or after class, but LOVE that I am finally working out again and Little Miss sees me working out (three cheers for being a good role model!). As an added bonus, the other moms there are super nice and we get together play dates after class. Yay for new friends! We also had a big 4th of July weekend with my family visiting – so much fun between projects (check out my new DIY postings due up in the next week), swimming, general hanging out, and going to the aquarium. Finally, we announced Little Sister’s expected arrival in November and as such I have been planning non-stop to get everything organized.

Last week, when I had a few minutes between my to do lists, errands, entertaining Little Miss, and ensuring my house was in reasonable order, I briefly jumped on my phone to check my email, FB account, etc. After I was done, I started thinking about how technology has changed the way we parent – for better or for worse. I then thought “What a GREAT blog post topic!” As I started writing it, I was bored so I knew y’all would be – so Hubby suggested changing my point of view. So here we go, in true Kirsten fashion (a.k.a. a list), the Top Ten Reasons Why Little Miss and Little Sister will Benefit from Technology:

10. They will NEVER receive a paper cut because they had to read and/or review 12
different books to complete their research paper.
9. They will have learned the basics of typing before they go to Elementary school (but sadly they will miss out on playing Oregon Trail during Computer Class).
8. Their friends will not just be from their school, neighborhood, and/or after-school activities, but also from different towns, states, and/or countries.
7. They will be EXCITED to learn because technology will allow them to learn in a way that ensures their overall success.
6. Four words – Successful Family Road Trips.
5. More opportunities for them to figure out and learn about their passions.
4. They will need to learn, constantly adapt, and apply their social skills to ensure that the art of conversation is not lost.
3. They will have access to multiple points of view on any topic/issue and thus be forced to think through and decide on their own point of view.
2. They will always be just a Skype or Face Time call away from their grandparents, daddy (when he travels), or any other family member.
1. They will have career, community, societal, and family opportunities that their momma and daddy never had.

Now of course, the above list provides Hubby and I with exciting parenting challenges, but isn’t that what parenting is all about – overcoming challenges no matter their origin in order to provide your children with the best possible foundation to be successful in life.

Life’s Best Balance

I am not the type of person to just sit around and do nothing. Case in point – I was elected Vice President of my Neighborhood Association within 3 weeks of living in Dallas.  Pause for effect… That’s right, Vice President, 3 weeks.

Last week, Hubby took the day off from work and I was thrilled – he hasn’t taken a day off since the holiday season (not even during our cross-country move). Little Miss was going to daycare that day so it meant we had an entire “Parents Day” – what to do, what to do?! In true form, I started to make a mental list of all the great projects we could accomplish and check off the ever-growing home ownership list. We will get so much done – woohoo!!

After dropping Little Miss off at daycare, I spent the morning prepping my side table for painting (first on my mental list) and observing Hubby playing around on his Ipad, while watching the World Cup (not at all on my mental list). Around 12:30, I asked him if he wanted to join me on a quick errand (also on the list!) and then maybe Home Depot. My goal – get him off the couch so that he can accomplish a tangible task from the mental list (which, oh by the way, I failed to share with Hubby) before the end of the day. His response “I think I am just going to stay here, do some more research (research, what research was he doing?!) and watch soccer.” My Type A, doer response to that was “Are you going to actually accomplish anything this afternoon?” I added a quick grin with the hopes that my blunt, and in hindsight harsh, statement would come across more as a joke than an accusation…didn’t work so well. He saw right through my sorry attempt and gave me the look – you know the one that says, “back off women, it’s my day off and I am going to do what I want”. I love Hubby to the moon and back for giving me that look when warranted – he keeps my Type A personality in balance.

We live in a world where we are constantly seeking out the ever-elusive “sense of balance” – work/life balance, financial balance, scheduling balance, etc. Not a day goes by where someone, somewhere isn’t trying to achieve his or her respective balance. I know I struggle with my new balance of being a SAHM (do I read to Little Miss enough, do I have too many DIY projects going on, am I keeping the house too clean?!) and a mom for that matter. Once I feel like I actually do achieve some sense of balance, it’s totally shot to hell either the next day or in many cases the next minute or hour.

For me, there is only one person in this world that has achieved any sense of “the best balance” and that is Little Miss. Each day, I am awestruck by something that she does or some look she gives me because it reminds me what is important in achieving life’s balance. It’s not crossing things off your mental list (although that helps!), its not living life by a rigid schedule (reading to her no less than an hour a day), or chasing the unattainable insert noun here. I have learned that balance is all about what you need on any given day in order to thrive.  Get this – what is needed to achieve balance changes EACH DAY and sometimes even EACH HOUR within a day (my mind was blown…).  Some days, it’s sending your toddler to daycare (and not feeling guilty about it!) so you can tackle that mile long list. Other days, its saying no to the play date and staying home to read and play with her all day.

Little Miss has taught me a lot about balance in the last 20 months and I cannot wait to continue learning about life from her over the next 20+ years!

Baby-Proofing – HA! Try Adult-Proofing….

I wrote this post back in July of 2013 to “test out” the idea of blogging without any pressure.  Still one of my fav’s – hope you enjoy it!

Baby-proofing – unless your baby is the Bubble Boy, there is no such thing! I thought I did a pretty good job baby-proofing the house soon after Little Miss arrived. I put those obnoxious plug covers on and now need a crowbar to pry them off when I need to use any plug in my house. I also bought those drawer stopper things. We (ahem…Hubby) hasn’t put them on the drawers yet, but I am pretty sure I will never again be able to open a drawer in my home once they are installed. I also know that I am taking a calculated risk (or headache depending on your half-empty or half-full point of view) with not baby-proofing some things – enter the entertainment center. There is no way I am putting up one of those massive gate things around my entertainment center. First – it’s ugly and takes up space that I do not have. Second – Little Miss is an Indiana Jones – she’ll figure out how to get through it faster than I can set the thing up.

Today, Little Miss was feeling extra Indiana Jones-ey and discovered the half bathroom.  How am I supposed to baby-proof the toilet paper?! I have decided that baby-proofing should be an abolished concept. If parents were to truly baby-proof proof their homes they would not be able to live as human beings in the 21st century.

I love my little Indiana Jones and will happily “rough it” on the baby-proofing front just to witness (and catch on camera) moments like these 😀

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Wanted: Person with STRONG professional skills

I always knew that being a parent would be a wonderful compliment to my professional career, no matter what my career was at the given time. What I didn’t realize, but now fully understand, is that being a parent actually develops key professional skills! I spent the last 8 years working in a small education company heavily focused on identifying and attracting top talent for all types of positions. In my role, much of my day to day was focused on reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, as well as selling top candidates on the opportunities available. As a result of these countless numbers of hours, I consider myself an expert on the topic of what is a professional skill and whether or not it is as strong as you say it is in your resume or interview.

 

Today, as I reflect back on some of my most memorable experiences interviewing candidates and being a parent, I came to the realization that I can effortlessly translate my parenting experiences (ahem, failures) into what corporate companies seek out as necessary professional skills. Here are some of those failures…I mean experiences…from “parenting” Little Miss and my “professional skill” translation:

  • Keeping your cool when your toddler is screaming at the top of her lungs because she is tired and hungry and dinner is not ready at that VERY SECOND translates to “Works well under tight deadlines and/or high-pressure situations”.

 

  • Identifying the source of your toddlers temper tantrum and then repeating/modifying that identification process a minimum of 10 times a day translates to “Excellent problem solving skills and capability to think on one’s feet”.

 

  • Putting together a toy that has 50+ components and have it actually work as described on the box translates to “Highly skilled in executing directives to achieve a desired goal”.

 

  • Improvising how to put together said 50+ component toy (AND have it still work as described!) because your toddler was trying to “help” and ended up losing some key components translates to “Expertise in thinking outside the box to achieve a desired goal”.

 

  • Redirecting your toddler back to the activity or task at hand such as actually finishing the story you have read through page 10 at least 20 times within the last 2 hours or putting the 100 Legos back in the basket so no one goes through the excruciating experience of stepping on them translates to “Proven track record of motivating and leading team members through challenging projects while ensuring the projects success within the timeline assigned”.

 

  • Using any and all tactics to keep your exhausted toddler awake on the 15 minute ride home from wherever because you know if she falls asleep in the car now, she will not take her afternoon nap when she gets home (and will be cranky as all hell) translates to “Ability to influence employees across the organization”.

 

Of course, these are just snippets of my experiences. I do miss the working world and interacting with adults on a regular, daily basis (actually, let me be real, I just miss wearing the cute work clothes and shoes), but I wouldn’t trade my opportunity to stay home with Little Miss for the world. Instead of my days being filled with meetings, reviews, interviews, and visa paperwork, they are now filled with Dr. Seuss, diapers, tears (mostly Little Miss’), and the joy of watching my daughter grow into the person I can only wish to be.

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to share some of your parenting “experiences”, I’d love to help you translate them into professional skills you can actually use in your resume or interviews.   🙂

Numero Uno!

Welcome to my first ever blog post. I made the decision to start a blog earlier in 2014 as part of my “Year of Change” and just now embarking on the writing process. I don’t like to think that I procrastinated with this process (which I did just a teeny bit), but rather managed through other changes that have happened over the last 3 to 4 months. For example, moving from Chicago, IL where I have lived my entire life, to Dallas, TX. Yep, you read it correctly, Dallas, TX. I am now a proud Texan (FINALLY got the drivers license to prove it!), although Chicago will always be my first home.

So the background on the move is that Hubby and I decided in late 2013 we were moving from Chicago, IL to Dallas, TX. There were a lot of reasons surrounding our decision with the main driver being overall quality of life. Having lived in a gorgeous, penthouse condo a block away from Lake Michigan for over 7 years, we were eager for more space to call our own, a better education system for our 18 month old daughter (Little Miss) and no stairs to have to schlep our stuff up. Plus, I was becoming an angry person and not just sometimes, but all the time. It gets real old, real fast, when you have to bundle up yourself and your 18 month old, carry her, her stuff, and anything you actually need down four flights of stairs, walk to the car that is parked outside, and brush the 10 inches of snow off it. If I had to be somewhere at a certain time, I had to work in an extra 25 minutes just for getting out the door! So during January of Chicago’s 3rd worst winter on record, Hubby and I stumbled upon a beautiful house on Trulia. It looked perfect and was in the neighborhood we wanted! 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, large yard, a pool and holy cats – it was on budget. So what do you do in a very high demand real estate market when you can’t visit the house that day – you send your family to see the house of course! Hubby’s dad (Green Thumb) brother (Architect) and wife (Sister) took their daughter (Sweet Girl) to see the house and gave us their thumbs up.   Next logical step – put an offer in. That’s right folks, we did not see the house in-person before we put the offer in – we REALLY trust Green Thumb’s, Architect’s and Sister’s judgment! After the typical, nail biting and nerve-wracking back and forth, we closed on the house in mid-March and moved cross-country in early April.  By the way, never moving again…just saying.

So I left everything I know: my HR Director job of 8 years, my family and friends, and my beloved city of Chicago. I miss everything and everyone tremendously, but I am happy to report that things are going VERY well in Dallas and Hubby is thrilled that I’m no longer angry!

As part of my year of change, I also became a Stay at Home Mom. Yes, I did capitalize that title as while it is the best job I have ever had, it is also the hardest, and we only have Little Miss!  More on those adventures later.  I am also picking up new hobbies – currently relearning Spanish and embarking on a hobby having to do with turning flea market/garage sale finds into works of art (also more on that later) Come on – I have to ensure you come back to read more!!

Needless to say, I will be having LOTS of adventures during my “Year of Change” and beyond and I hope that you find them to be as exciting, funny, horrific (in the best possible way of course!), and heart-warming as I know I will. Thanks for stopping by!