You Become What You Listen To!

You Become What You Listen To!

Read that again…YOU BECOME WHAT YOU LISTEN TO.

That’s a truth bomb. It’s easy to gloss over it and never give it much thought. What you listen to on a daily basis, whether it’s people, music, podcasts, TV shows, movies, the news, YOURSELF…it’s either lifting your mood up or it’s taking you down.

I happen to have a job that I can put headphones in and listen to something all day long. This is not the norm, I realize. But in my little world, it is.

Since the beginning of the year, I have made a conscious effort to read social media differently…less random scrolling and being more intentional with how I consume it. Along with this has come a shift in what I am filling my world with.

For 2020, I have chosen Books and Podcasts.

What am I reading?

  • #IMOMSOHARD by Kristin Hensley
  • Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  • Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

What am I listening to?

  • Start Today Morning Show Podcast
  • Rise Together Podcast
  • Rise Podcast
  • Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist Podcast
  • Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations Podcast
  • Where My Mom’s At Podcast (usually viewed on YouTube)

Honestly, I already feel it working. I feel a shift. A noticeable shift in my mood and how I view the world & life.

One of my biggest revelations of the year is something that deep down I already knew.

Negative self-talk will sabotage you.

All the positive reading and listening in the world isn’t going to make up for being unkind to yourself. Your inner monologue, what you say to yourself on a daily basis…it’s POWERFUL.

What are you listening to these days? Is there something your listening to that I need to? Please share!

But most importantly, how are you talking to yourself?

How Are We Talking To Our Kids?

This morning, as I was having yet another conversation with my daughter about her attitude, a realization smacked me in the face.

Sometimes I talk to strangers (coworkers, friends, clients) nicer than I talk to my kids.

That was really hard to just type, that realization was really really hard to admit. It smacked me really hard. Why on earth do I talk to a stranger nicer than I am talking to my own child?? I adore my children, what the actual f&*k am I doing?

In the heat of the morning routine, my daughter wasn’t listening to me AGAIN. She was going in what felt like slow motion. I got snippy with her, I had things that I needed to finish. In return, she responded to me in the same manner. She mirrored my behavior. I mean after all, that’s all my kids are doing daily. What am I teaching her? Am I teaching her to talk to those she loves like that?

How you say it is just as important as what you are saying.

I am human. I get frustrated, I get frazzled more than I’d like to admit. And most of the time the people that get the brunt of my frazzled, are the ones that I love the most. While this isn’t right, it’s the truth. Guilty as charged.

Point noted, tomorrow I will try harder. Thanks Sweet R.

‘You’re going to miss this.’

It’s advice that I hear often from the varsity moms. Mostly from the Moms of kids who are grown and no longer live in the house. Moms who are 20+ years removed from the ‘you’re going to miss this’ actions of their kids.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying it’s not good advice. It certainly is.

But honestly, when you are in the throws of a hard season with your kids (whatever age that is because there is always a hard season)…it’s the last thing you want to hear.

It’s straight up just not helpful. It comes with guilty feelings or a suggestion that we aren’t enjoying our kids enough. We are all deep in the trenches trying our best, we don’t need any shade thrown. Mom guilt is a real thing and we don’t need more.

Let’s get this out in the open, I’m 100% thankful for my kids. They are definitely one of my life’s greatest blessings.

But, I would say that over half of what I do for them is not something that I will miss. Changing diapers, sleepless nights, washing bottles, throw yourself on the floor tantrums, attitudes, smart mouths, talking back, the word no, cold dinners, dinners that last 5 minutes, fighting, cleaning up messes that aren’t mine, flooding bathrooms with water outside of the tub, not going to the bathroom alone. You get my drift, and I’m positive you can add to my list.

With that said, the things I will miss, I’ll miss hard. The love of a little person is amazing.

Watching a little person learn to walk or read or explore something they love, when their little hand reaches up for yours, introducing them to things you love, hearing the words ‘I love you Mom’ as you walk out of their room at bedtime (especially after a rough day), watching them sleep so innocent and beautiful…this list goes on and on. I’m positive you can add to that list as well.

It’s innocent advice, but the next time you feel the need to say it…I urge you to rethink. Tell us we are doing the best we can and that’s good enough. Tell us that you know what it’s like and reassure us that it will be ok. Tell us to breathe. Ask us if we need help.

But good lawd, stop telling us we are gonna miss this. We are well aware of the things we are going to miss. Well aware that time is flying by.

What advice have you heard from fellow parents that just isn’t helpful?

Lessons To My Past Self.

Lessons To My Past Self.

Today is a Tuesday. It’s a typical Tuesday in your current world. You’ve worked from home, in between putting your oldest on the bus and being there for pick up.

Truthfully, my life today is probably no where near what you thought it would be.

Family

To start, I have 2 kids. Yep, you read that right…not just 1, but 2! I know you never really gave much thought to children, you were too into your life and career.

Career

Oh speaking of career…yeah turns out all that never really panned out as you planned either. I mean, yes I am still doing the same thing that you had your heart set on. Honestly, I pushed the limits and expanded my horizons when I started learning to design and code for the web. Bet, you never saw that coming! But the corner office at some fancy design agency…ha, yeah that didn’t happen. Although my career isn’t perfect or maybe not even what you had dreamed of, it certainly has sustained the family that you didn’t plan for.

Time

You waited & waited to be 18, a legal adult. All those years, it felt like your life was going in slow motion. 18 years felt like the longest eternity. Well I’m here to tell you, basically I blinked and somehow 20 years went by. And it’s not stopping, it’s only picking up speed. Most days I just hold on tight for the ride.

You looked at almost 40 as old. I recall you lovingly saying to your parents that you’d be putting them in a home when they were 40. 40 was stable, comfortable…and old. Ha ha. You never ever feel like you’ve arrived. But the truth of the matter is; I’m glad I haven’t arrived. I’m thankful to be on the journey. Once I am not on the journey anymore, I won’t be here to tell you about the destination.

'Best Friends'

All those ‘best friends’ that you couldn’t live without…you actually could because I am. Many friends serve a season in your life. It’s only a precious few who come for a lifetime. Don’t mix seasonal people up with lifetime expectations, I have done it and it doesn’t end well.

Your Gut

Always always always follow your gut. Your gut reaction is strong, and almost always correct. When you went against your gut, I have always ended up regretting it.

And probably the most important lesson that I wish I could go back and tell you is:

You are not what you see in the mirror.

There is so much more to you and so many better things to spend your time on. Stop letting the mirror dictate your self-worth. Truthfully, in life, nobody cares. Be you. Do you. Be happy. Stop stepping on that stupid scale. Feel healthy. And if you don’t feel those things, take action. Change it. Stand up for yourself.

The Year Wrap-up

Today is my birthday. Do you know what that means?

Besides the fact that I’ve taken another trip around the sun, another 365 days of magic, it means I have officially been writing on this blog for a full year now. Every year on my birthday, I look back and reflect on what my year looked like. Usually my year is categorized by a few ‘big’ things, sometimes they are happy and sometimes, as life can do to you, they are not. Mostly though, I have a hard time remembering what happened in the year or what I was thinking. But this year is a little different, as I have a written record in the 7 blogs that I published.

So what did this year look like?

Stress. Pressure. Purge. Transformation. Growth.

I stole this from Kristin. Thanks Kristin!

I have two kids, Sweet R and Beast R. Every day when they wake up, I ask them the same exact question…

“Did you grow last night? You look taller and older than you did when I put you to bed.”

Sweet R always laughs and says “Of course I did, I’m getting so big”. It’s so easy to see the transformation and growth in my kids, they are literally growing and changing before my eyes. The year to year comparisons are just unreal; physically, emotionally & developmentally.

Why is it that we, as grown ups, don’t seem to continue to look for growth within ourselves? Even if only on a yearly basis, we need to dig deep and ‘trust the process’.

This year I purged my life.

I cleaned my entire house out, ROOM BY ROOM. I got rid of so much junk that sometimes my husband thought he was gonna go too. I got a new car, new cell phone, wiped my contacts, gave away the clothes that I was never going to fit into again (because let’s face it, it isn’t happening and it’s just making me feel bad), sold all my baby gear and baby clothes/shoes.

And let me tell you how good it felt. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

My motto this year: You do you.

The older I get: the better I get to know myself, the more confident I feel following my gut and the less I care about what other people think. Asking myself questions like: Why am I putting people in my life as a priority when I am merely an option to them? Realizing who was treating me as an option, now that was not an easy pill to swallow. But I’m trusting the process.

To everyone who followed me along on this blog journey, who read along, encouraged me and commented (either to me in person or on the blog), thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly enjoyed getting back to my writing roots. I love writing and honestly forgot about that part of myself.

I have a lot more things on my mind, so I’m hoping to be able to increase the number of posts this next year and maybe even spiff up the site. But for now…

Here’s to the next 365 days…wherever that takes me, it’s gonna be something I tell ya.


What Is Your Time Worth?

About 2 months ago, I was sitting at my kitchen island on a Tuesday morning drinking my coffee and feeding my little guy breakfast before I started work for the day.

I had already gotten my daughter and husband out the door and off to their Tuesday morning coffee date before he drops her off at school for the day. The sun was shining in the front windows and it felt amazing. All I needed was some good ole Tuesday morning inspiration.

Awesome sunrise!

Quickly I decided to find a Rachel Hollis podcast to get me going for the day.

If you don’t know who Rachel Hollis is, please take a moment to google her sometime. She’s the author of “Girl, Wash Your Face” and her latest book “Girl, Stop Apologizing”. She does many other things; like run companies, be a mom and inspire many people.

She touched on one thing that I have had burned in my brain for 2 months now. You see, she was talking about time & life circumstances. How there are so many differences that can give people a leg up in life, such as amount of money you have, or your network of connections, or your job. Everyone is always asking her how she seems to fit everything that she does into one day, and how people always say that’s unrealistic to their life circumstances.

However, she so nicely points out that we all have one thing in common…

“We all have the same 24 hours. And only you can decide how to use them.”

Let that sink in for a minute, read that again…

“We all have the same 24 hours. And only you can decide how to use them.”

Sorta crazy to think about right? Every person on Earth has the same amount of time in a day.

So what is your time worth to you?

This question that has been on the top of my mind for awhile, far before hearing this podcast. It’s actually the subject of many many conversations that my husband and I have had this year.

Obviously we can quantify our time within our careers, it would be how much we make. Our salary or hourly wage has to equal more than our bills, or at least that’s the goal.

But what about your ‘free time’? The time you spend outside of your normal 9-5 (or whatever it is you do in life). What is your time worth?

Would you rather go grocery shopping, or take your kid to the park while someone runs through a grocery store & stands in line for you?

Would you rather cut your grass, or have someone do that for you during the workday?

Would you rather spend your life doing laundry, or would you like to have someone pick it up, do it and drop it off folded?

That project you’d love to get done in the house…yes, you or your husband could do it, but will it get done? And how long will it take?

Grocery delivery. Lawn maintenance. Laundry service. Contractors. Yes, they all cost money, but time is money after all…right?

What if I said this thought can be applied to who you spend your ‘free time’ with?

Think about it. We all know those people, the ones who are complete energy drains on your system. You know, Suzy, who complains nonstop about everything. You end up feeling tired, drained and out of energy after your interaction with them. You could of gotten so much done that day, but she took your energy.

So the question of how much your time is worth, goes straight down to who you are spending it with. Are you spending time with people who are good for your soul? People who rejuvenate your soul? And as bad as it sounds, people who are worthy of your time?

Nobody can tell you what your ‘free time’ is worth. This is a completely personal question that you’d have to take time to think about. Time is very valuable, we all never seem to have enough of it. And yes, we all have the same amount.

I challenge you to think about it. What is your time worth? How are you spending it? Can you make changes that will give you more time?

Lessons From My Marriage.

Today, April 3, 2019, is my 15th Wedding Anniversary. 15th!!

Am I even old enough to be married for 15 years? Most days I’d tell you that there is no way that I’m old enough to be married for that long. Except those days when my kids run me ragged or have decided not to sleep. Most days I’d tell you that I feel about 17 years old.

How did we get here? The answer in my head is ‘I have absolutely no idea’. But the truth is that we worked hard to get here. A lot of people seem to think that marriage should be easy, that it shouldn’t feel like work. Certainly, I am not a lot of people.

My husband and I have a great story. We met at the ripe age of 12, in the 7th grade of St. Ann’s School. It wasn’t love at first sight, we definitely didn’t even want to be friends. But slowly over the years, we wore each other down and became the best of friends. We dated off and on (mostly just on) through high school and college.

Prom 1999
Prom 1999
(
Don’t mind the horrible quality photo, it’s a photo of a photo back in actual camera and film days.)

In 2004, after graduating from college and spending 4 years across the country from each other, we got married.

Wedding 2004
(Again don’t mind the horrible quality photo, it’s a photo of a photo.)

5 moves, 2 houses, 2 kids, 2 dogs, a miscarriage, 6 grandparents lost, 5 jobs, 1 career change, 3 college graduations, 8 cars, 4 car accidents, bills, friendships gained, 1 rental property, bills, 15+ vacations, 2 trips (lol), bills, friendships lost, bills, countless dreams shared…the list could go on.

Personally, I think we’ve made it look easy for everyone on the outside. From the outside, our story looks like a real life fairy tale. And trust me when I say, I feel lucky. Lucky to have met my person and been able to share my entire life with him. There is truly no other person who I would want to do life with, no better person to be the father of my children.

But people, the truth is I AM NO CINDERELLA.

Some days it feels like we’ve been married for a hot minute, and some days it feels like 115 years have went by. Marriage is work, relationships are work.

I asked my husband what he learned over the 15 years we’ve been married. What was one lesson he would share with people? His reply was: “Just enjoy the journey.” I needed an explanation, I wasn’t really sure where he was going with this one. He went on to explain that no marriage is perfect, but that you have to embrace the good with the bad and just hang on to each other through it all. I liked it, it’s similar to what I’d say to people.

4 lessons I have learned from marriage:

  1. Show up. Showing up is half the battle. Be present, take the time to hear them. You don’t always have to talk, a simple hug goes a long way. Just be there, have their back. Loyalty, show them how important they are to you.
  2. Team work & communicate. Work together, instead of against each other. Believe it or not, you are both working towards the same goal…being happy in whatever life you’ve built or are building for yourself. Tackle life together. Actually talk to each other. Don’t confuse this with always agreeing, just because you are married does not mean you share a brain.
  3. Take time to yourself. Give your partner time to be themselves, time to do their thing. And in turn, give you time to be yourself, time to do your thing. This one might sound the opposite of what I have been saying in 1. and 2. above, but hear me out. Speaking for myself, I am a better person when I have time to breathe and be myself. This used to mean a vacation alone, now it means time in the bathroom alone. Like I said before, you’re married, you don’t share a brain. You don’t have to be together 24/7 just because you got married, guaranteed doing something for yourself will make you a better partner, probably a better parent too.
  4. Laugh. This needs 0 explanation, laughter makes everything easier. If you can find laughter in life, it makes it easier to live…so keep laughing.
Us – 2017

This is Us. We aren’t perfect, but we show up day after day for each other. Fails, successes…we just keep laughing. Sometimes it’s teary-eyed crying laughter, and sometimes we laugh until we cry.

Love you Nick, always have and always will. Thanks for always showing up. Cheers to the rest of our story.

This is Us.

Today I failed.

Today was not my finest day. Today I was not my best self, I was not the best mom/wife. Today I had a ‘poor me party’, where I was the only one who showed up. Today I wouldn’t of won ‘Mom Of The Year’. Today I was mentally checked out, unavailable…just going through the motions. Today I failed.

You see I’ve been up since 2:15am, when my son started restlessly coughing. By 3:45am, I was laying on the couch willing him to close his eyes (more like screaming in my mind to go the f&$k to sleep, which I might of said out loud at one point). I dosed off between 4am and 7am, but any parent who has slept with a kid on the couch knows…it ain’t sleeping.

My hat goes off to all the Stay At Home parents out there. I will never pretend to be one or want to be one. I am not cut out to stay home, it’s not in my DNA and I’m ok with that.

I’m lucky that I am able to be off on Mondays to spend time with my kids (it came with a price of 1/5 of my salary, but the memories I’ve made with my daughter have no price tag). My job allows me to work from home on Tuesdays, I’m lucky and thankful to have that flexibility. Don’t confuse that flexibility with ease. Working from home with kids is a challenging struggle, to put it mildly.

Without that flexibility, I would of easily lost my job by now. Since the middle of January, I’d be lucky if I have made it to work 3 full weeks (which is only 3 days per week).

Of all the things we’ve caught this year, not a one of them has been a break.

If you read my last blog, you’ll remember that our Disney trip was one big fail which ended in non-stop sickness throughout February. Sadly, March has been no different. We’ve had cluster headaches, the stomach flu, pink eye, an ear infection/earache and a thrown out back (don’t even ask).

(And for anyone who would like to point out that my 8 month old goes to daycare…you are correct. My 8 month old does go to daycare 2 days a week. And in the past 2 months I think he’s made it to daycare 4 or 5 times (2 weeks). So keep your daycare judgements to yourself. I don’t judge you for your nanny or your in-home care or your family member or for being a stay at home.)

It’s March 25th and I’m just done…fed up, tired and frustrated. Everyday I look in the mirror and I see more grays, more wrinkles, more bags. My body feels so beat up and I’m exhausted.

You know the last time I did anything leisurely? The last time my husband and I had dinner together that didn’t consist of keeping other humans occupied? The last time I went to the gym? Watched TV? Slept without interruption?

This is real life. This isn’t some fake Facebook best life post. This $hit is hard.

So to all you parents out there that are struggling, feel like you can’t catch a break, are rundown, feel like you are sinking…

Today I failed…but I’m gonna wake up tomorrow (maybe at 2:15am again, who knows) and I’m gonna try all over again.

Because I’m a Mom and that is what we do.

A Vacation Is Just a Trip When You Bring Your Kids.

One month ago, we left on our first real family vacation. Let me rephrase that…One month ago, we left on our first real family trip.

Yep, that’s better. Trip is way more fitting, because damn this was no vacation. This trip was more work than the hustle of an ordinary day at home.

This was no ordinary trip tho. This was THE TRIP. The one my husband has talked about since the dawn of time…the one that I had to hear about for the past year (which really felt like the past 10 years) as he planned our every move on this week long trip. THE TRIP…

The Trip of a Lifetime

Anyone who knows us, knows that we don’t share the same appreciation of Disney at all. In fact, we have the opposite ideas of the place.

:: MY HUSBAND ::

Complete Disney Freak.

It’s slightly disturbing to me that a grown man likes Disney as much as he does, but alas…he does. Honestly, it’s become just slightly less disturbing as my daughter now shares his love of all things Disney & Princess (two of my all-time favorite things…complete sarcasm).

:: ME ::

Not a fan of crowds or standing in long lines, especially crowds or long lines with whiny children surrounding me.

At 7 years old, I wasn’t impressed with the place…turns out not much has changed in 30 years.

We flew down the 3rd week of January with my parents, our 5 year old, 6 month old and what felt like our entire house packed in 5 suitcases. We didn’t stay on Disney property. My parents were kind enough to reserve their timeshare for all of us, so we all stayed in a 3 bedroom condo together. Everyone was excited to make awesome memories and share laughs. We had no idea that it’d turn into the never-ending vacation with fail, after fail, after fail.

Disney didn’t disappoint, it was exactly what I thought…

Afternoon show of characters at Cinderella’s Castle

The “Happiest Place On Earth” where kids turn into assholes & parents look permanently pissed off because they dropped a ton of money for their kids to act like little turds.

No doubt, my daughter turned into a turd and I was a parent with the pissed off look.

There were glimpses of greatness & fun, generally followed by “what am I doing” moments. It was comforting to look around and know that you were not alone. Numerous times, I found myself chuckling listening to other parents having the same talk with their kid that I just had.

To get the full effect of what happened in the next week (and honestly the following week), I’ll give you the play by play.

Sunday
January 27, 2019

Epcot was a complete disaster, which included being drenched in rain that never-ended and my 6 month old going for a ride in the stroller when it fell backwards and hit the pavement. He wasn’t buckled into the stroller for the first time ever. Can you say Parents of the Year here? I turned into Momma Bear / Hulk in the middle of “The Happiest Place on Earth”. This would mark the start of the longest weeks I’ve had in a long time.

Monday
January 28, 2019

After being at the parks all day, we put the kids to bed and I hear my husband yelling for me. It’s 11pm and he starts frantically telling me that our flight home on Wednesday has already been cancelled. Cancelled? OMG, I can’t be stuck in Disney World. Truly that could be my version of hell.

The Polar Vortex was hitting Chicago. It was going to be -53 (yes that says NEGATIVE 53) and they were rescheduling all flights. He had turned his email notifications off and we were 5 hours late to the party to get a new flight home.

A quick call to Southwest with a hold time of 2 hours told us that everyone was also grappling with the same problem we had. We searched for any available non-stop flights (no way was I going to be taking a layover and risk getting stuck in an airport for days with 2 kids) and the best we could do was a Saturday flight at 6:30pm, so we took it. Of course, my mom and I click the change reservation button at the exact same time on the Southwest app and they didn’t get on our flight. Now we are on 2 separate return flights. Fantastic, since we took transportation to the airport together.

Tuesday
January 29, 2019

While at the park, we get a call from the vet that our dog is staying at. Parker has completely licked his back raw. They had to put him in a cone, treat him with antibiotics and they mentioned how depressed he is.

Of course, he’s depressed. This is the first time we left him since Cliff passed, and now he’s stuck until Monday…4 days longer than planned. He isn’t the most easy-going dog. We rescued him from a vet where his last family left him in the waiting room. He basically trusts no one.

We call my sister. Parker likes her. She agrees to go pick him up on Friday or Saturday. However, she has to take him back to our house because he trusts no one and she has a puppy at home. The second problem, she only has keys to our front door, but not the storm door. The storm door that is locked. In order for this plan to work, we’d have to get her keys somehow. She agrees to try to break into our house on Wednesday.

Wednesday
January 30, 2019

Luckily, I have family that lives in Tampa who graciously offered to open their home to us. Not only did it save us money, but it was nice to be in a house with the kids.

Since we have no where to be, at no particular time, we ask the timeshare we were staying in, Bluegreen Vacations, for a late check out. The answer was NO. My parents are owners of a timeshare, you’d think they’d be more understanding of our current situation. It’s not like we are simply hotel guests here. But they said NO, so we pack up the circus and head to Tampa by 10am.

The Polar Vortex hits Chicago with unbelievable temps. I am checking our Honeywell WiFi thermostat repeatedly to check the temperature in our house. (Did I mention that 3 weeks before we left for Disney, our furnace went out? Yes, that was how the fun of 2019 started!) That’s the perk of a WiFi thermostat, you can view it from anywhere. Except that I had received an email from Honeywell the day before we left for vacation, that they’d be doing server maintenance and we’d be losing connection to our thermostat intermittently.

Our services will undergo planned maintenance over the next few weeks. Start Date: January 22, 2019
THANKS FOR NOTHING HONEYWELL

Just perfect timing right? Record low temps and a new furnace. Every time I can see our thermostat, which is like every 12 hours or so when it reconnects, it is 55 degrees in my house. 55 DEGREES IN MY HOUSE, what in the actual F*&k.

Meanwhile, my sister and brother-in-law try to break into our storm door. A car keeps circling the block and watching them. It’s so cold out…the car freaked them out…they can’t get it. We find the nearest UPS Store to send our keys out. We OVERNIGHT the keys to my sisters house. OVERNIGHT, as in get there Thursday. This will mark the last time I use UPS.

Thursday
January 31, 2019

All day I keep an eye on the UPS tracking, the package is out for delivery all day long. It is suppose to be delivered by 5:30pm. At 4:30pm, the package is all of a sudden ‘still in transit’. My husband calls UPS. Nobody knows anything about anything at this point, it’s still on a truck. Our package doesn’t make it overnight.

It is still 55 degrees in my house.

Friday
February 1, 2019

Keeping an eye on the UPS tracking, the package is out for delivery all day long. By 5pm, I start to lose hope that this package is going to be delivered today.

I hear my husband outside on the phone at 5:30pm. I walk outside and he’s on the phone with my sister. The package was delivered at 5:28pm to my sisters front porch with a huge slit in the bottom of the envelope and MY KEYS ARE GONE. GONE. No damage to the envelope, just a slit at the bottom.

UPS SUCKS - Photo of package completely slit open at the bottom and ripped open

The UPS driver left the broken open package on my sisters front porch tucked under her welcome mat, like nothing was wrong. Luckily, my sister noticed the UPS truck in the driveway and stopped him. God bless her, she proceeded to cry scream at the driver and demanded to search the UPS truck for the keys. My brother-in-law and sister get on the UPS truck with flashlights. The keys are no where to be found. The UPS driver claims that he has to take the package back to mark it damaged, so he gets back on his truck with the damaged envelope. It’s 6pm on Friday now and nobody will help us.

It has now hit 62 degrees in my house.

February 2, 2019

At 11:30am, we pack the van back up and head back to Orlando to catch our 6:30pm flight. We are all so ready to be back home.

We stop in Disney again and find a playground for my 5 year old to run around for a little while before we have to sit in an airport for the rest of the day. While at the playground, I decide to check our flight. DELAYED 2 HOURS. I feel like crying at this point.

We catch wind of the news. The Orlando Airport (MCO) has been shut down and all flights have been grounded. A TSA agent has jumped and committed suicide in the security lobby of the Southwest gates. I can’t even form words at this point, so many thoughts are flooding my mind. One of which is: Are we ever going to make it home?

My sister decides to pick up Parker at 11am, even without a way to take him back home. He cries hysterically after seeing her, and jumps at every car in the parking lot, like “Lady, I don’t what you drive, but get me in that car and let’s get the hell out of this place.”

He broke out of jail and can finally relax.

It has now hit 66 degrees in my house.

We have been in touch with UPS who has told us that the UPS Store has to make it right. Apparently UPS and the UPS Store aren’t one entity. It’s like nobody wants to own what has happened. Of course, the UPS Store owner doesn’t work until Monday.

At 1:50pm, they reopen the airport and flights are starting to take off and land again. We start making our way to the airport, having no idea what we are going to encounter. We check our bags, which includes my daughter’s car seat and a large tub of formula that we now have to carry home because we ran out while on this never-ending vacation (We use Costco brand formula, they only sell it in Costco size tubs. We brought 1 with thinking it’d be gone for the trip home).

To our surprise, the security lines are short and we get through without much trouble. As we walk down the terminal, it seems that a majority of flights have been cancelled for the day. There are lines everywhere…long lines. Our flight is still good and is now only a 45 minute delay, we get in line for Family boarding at 7pm. It’s 7:10pm, our plane has arrived, but we still aren’t boarding. My phone buzzes, a text message from Southwest…

YOUR FLIGHT HAS BEEN CANCELLED due to weather. Our flight and my boarding pass has completely disappeared from the Southwest app.

I look up and see my husband’s face, who has just received the same text message..a look of panic. One by one, I can look around and see others on the same flight getting the same text message from Southwest. The terminal seems to be going up for grabs, it’s getting louder and people are running to get in line. My husband books it down to farthest gate to try to be first in line. We speak to a gate agent, soonest flight they can offer us is a 7:50pm FLIGHT ON MONDAY. You have got to be kidding me? We ask the gate agent if we can retrieve our bags. I mean my 6 month olds formula is in one of the bags and I don’t have enough formula in the diaper bag to get us to Monday. She can’t help us, we need to go to baggage claim to see if our bags are still in Orlando. Meanwhile, my husbands books a rental car. Driving home is sounding more appealing by the minute.

We get to baggage claim, just a complete cluster.

Mass chaos at MCO
Mass chaos at MCO. We have to try to get our bags with all of these stranded passengers.

I am by no means a seasoned traveler, but I travel more than the average person. I’ve been to my fair share of airports across the country. Never in my life have I ever been part of such a cluster f*&k like this. We waited 3 hours for our bags to come out.

Waiting for 3 hours for our bags at MCO

It is now 10:15pm, we pile all of our worldly belongings in this van…8 suitcases, a stroller, 2 car seats, 2 kids, and 4 grown adults. At 10:30pm, we point the van north and start driving. This is NOT how I thought this day would end.

February 3, 2019

We drove all night and finally arrive home at 2:30pm. I swear the van and all of us smell like the worst funk I’ve ever smelled. But it has never ever felt so good to be home. It was finally 68 degrees in my house.

My sister brought Parker home around 3pm. He is 5 pounds thinner and bald on his lower back. When he saw us, he cried like he never thought he’d see us again.

February 4, 2019

My husband is on the phone with the UPS Store first thing in the morning. The owner, Mark, tells him that the package is actually marked ‘Out for Delivery’ today and he can’t do anything until that package has been delivered. **Eye roll** An empty package is ‘Out for Delivery’…

5:08pm: I get a call from my sister.

Me: “Hey.”
My sister: “You aren’t going to believe this.”
Me: “What?”
My sister: “Your keys were delivered to my house today.”
Me: “What?”
My sister: “Your keys were placed back in your slit and ripped open envelope and taped back together. The envelope was placed in a plastic bag and hung on the door handle of my front door.”
Me: ** No words are coming out of my mouth.**

So my keys magically showed up at my sisters house.

We demanded an explanation from UPS on what happened because, of course, there was no note with this magical package. The manager of the local UPS hub that delivers to my sisters house called my husband as directed by Corporate UPS. The manager knew absolutely nothing about my keys or any lost keys at the UPS hub, which gives me a warm and tingly feeling. The manager ‘looked into the matter’ and called my husband back to tell him that my keys were found on the truck. The same truck my sister and brother-in-law searched with flashlights. If the manager didn’t even know my keys were missing or they were suppose to be looking for them, how on earth would anyone know that those keys belonged to us or that package?

The only way my keys were on that truck is if they were in the drivers pocket. I’m sorry, but my keys were stolen. I have felt that way from the beginning.

6:20pm: My 6 month old starts throwing up while we are all eating dinner.

For the entire rest of the month of February, I spend my time cleaning up vomit, diarrhea, administering medicine for a double ear infection, nebulizing a viral lung infection away, wiping & plunging massive boogers, and disinfecting my entire life, all while NOT SLEEPING, figuring out why my piece of $hit Honeywell thermostat still doesn’t work, fighting with UPS and getting my house rekeyed.

We wont be doing business with Honeywell or UPS anymore. UPS is the worst company to try to deal with. Neither the UPS Store or Corporate UPS will even so much as give us our money back for the overnight shipping cost that obviously didn’t get provided.

It was the vacation that just kept giving. Numerous times I thought we were on candid camera or the ‘Griswold Family Vacation’. Needless to say, we wont be taking a family trip for a long long time. Because remember ‘vacations’ are only ‘trips’ when you bring your kids along.


The Evolution of Santa Claus :: According To My Daughter

Christmas is such a magical time to me.

As a child, I have great memories of the entire holiday season. As an adult, the holiday season seemed to take on a different meaning. Some years I have been very into the season, and other years…well I could take or leave it honestly. As a parent of a Santa believer tho, it’s the best! Absolutely pure magic, more magical than being a child.

We believe in Santa in our house..hell I still believe in Santa today. When I was young and getting toward the age when I began having my doubts about the guy, I can remember questioning my Gram about whether she believed in Santa. Her response was so golden that it has stuck with me to this day. It’s a response I plan on telling my kids in years to come when they start questioning their beliefs.

Yes, honey…absolutely 100 % I still believe in Santa. What’s not to believe? As long as you have the magic of Santa in your heart, you’ll always be a believer.

My daughter has never ever been a big fan of the guy. When she was 3 years old, we started a yearly tradition of going to see Santa at the ‘North Pole’ (otherwise known as the Hesston Steam Museum in LaPorte, Indiana) and taking a ride on the Candy Cane Express. Our family gets about 5-8 minutes alone with Santa. It’s really a cool experience, an experience that I would of simply loved as a child. My daughter likes the tradition, but she’s still is not a big fan of the guy.

The Yearly Evolution of Santa

2015 :: 2 YEARS OLD

“Tell Santa to leave my presents at Kylee’s house (our neighbor at the time), I don’t want him to come to my house.”

We have no pictures with Santa from this year. She didn't even want to be in the same room as he was, and certainly under no circumstances was he to come to her house.

 

2016 :: 3 YEARS OLD

“It’s okay if Santa leaves my presents on the front porch, but he can’t come in the house.”

As you can see, she wouldn't even take her death stare, also known as her RBF, off of him long enough to take a picture. She had to make sure he wasn't coming any closer and he COULD NOT touch her. Although she did accept a candy cane from him, that was huge!

 

2017 :: 4 YEARS OLD

“Santa can come into the house, but he has to stay on the 1st floor. He isn’t allowed to come upstairs and go in my bedroom. He sees you when you are sleeping and he’s not going to see me.”

She is sitting across from him...willing to take the sticker that he offered to her. She told Santa about a couple toys she had been wanting 'really bad'. All of these toys were news to our ears, super enlightening for two apparently clueless parents. I guess I shouldn't be surprised tho. She acts an awful lot like my Mom, who doesn't tell anyone her $hit.

It’s a new year and a new age. I don’t know what age 5 will bring us. It’s always interesting with this little mind, she’s a thinker. I will never push her to sit on his lap. After all, the premise of Santa is quite creepy. An old overweight man, who you barely know (except for the 5 minutes you visit with him once a year), who knows an awful lot about you, who sees you when you are sleeping and knows when you are awake…comes IN YOUR house one night. Honestly, that could be an adult nightmare.

So I’m ok with my kid being slightly skeptical of the whole thing, but I still see the magic in her eyes and hear it in her voice when she talks. And I just love this time of the year, and I will always believe in my heart.