Take Your Kids To Work Day: 2015

takeyourkidstoworkday

Last week was Take Your Kids To Work Day – a holiday that my husband’s place of employment tends to go all out for. We showed up with bells on and did copious amounts of arts and crafts and snacks and photo ops. When we left, I asked my daughter, “What do you think daddy does for work?”

“I have literally no idea,” she told me. I asked her to just guess based off the stuff we’d just done and she finally guessed, “Maybe they serve food?”

Here are pictures from Take Your Kids To Work Day 2014. Just to further confuse.

Top 10 Songs: A Peek at My Playlist

dancing1

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop again this week. I chose the prompt:

6. List your top 10 most listened to songs currently.

So I’m still basically twelve years old and devouring the Top 40 Chart these days. I listen to that pop station that plays those songs your daughter listens to (unless I’m actually old and kids these days don’t do that anymore). So most of the music I listen to is probably what’s on the radio right now. This list is a mix of those songs with some of the songs I play most often on my phone’s music player when the radio is being boring.

  1. Fancy by Iggy Azalea because it’s ridiculously catchy and I love singing along but probably don’t really know all the words. I think the whole world begrudgingly loves this song.
  2. Ain’t it Fun by Paramour because when Jena Irene sang this on Idol I was like “holy crap this song is amazing and I’ve been jamming to it ever since.
  3. Shake it Off by Taylor Swift (and a half dozen other Taylor Songs) because Taylor is ‘my girl’ – it seems like everyone is suddenly obsessed with Taylor but I’ve been a Swiftie for years. I’m really digging all the upbeat positive kinda girl power without being completely bubble gum music.
  4. Back 2 Good by Matchbox 20 (because I’m old) – any other 80’s kids still kind of obsessed with Matchbox 20? This came up on my playlist all the time while we were on our big road trip last summer and I was shocked to realize I still know all the words to all the songs. Love.
  5. Neon by John Mayer (and several dozen other John Songs) because anyone who knows me knows that 75% of the music I listen to is probably John Mayer. Just ask my husband what the soundtrack to all of our road trips is. Also if you aren’t already aware – John’s live music is so completely a level above the recorded stuff. If you haven’t heard him live, you basically haven’t heard him before.
  6. Sugar by Maroon 5 (even though I kind of hate him) I actually used to be a huge Maroon 5 fan back in the day but a lot of their stuff these days just seems drenched in Ego and it’s less enjoyable now. I kinda like this one though – reminds me of the old days. His sunglasses are ridiculous though.
  7. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars because anything Bruno Mars does is magic basically. It’s kind of amazing to see how quickly he has become basically legendary.
  8. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran because his music gives me all the feels and he’s amazing and I kind of wish he and Taylor Swift would get married and make sweet emotional babies together.
  9. Lips are Moving by Meghan Trainor (or All About That Bass) because I think she’s basically the best and hilarious and inspiring and All The Things.
  10. Habits by Tove Lo which my husband  thinks is bizarre and weird and doesn’t understand why I like it but the thing is this song is masterful at conveying the emotion of the lyrics. It’s like an experience listening to it and I really dig that as a writer. I’d never seen the music video before writing this but it’s pretty much exactly what I would have expected.

Worth Every Penny: Seven Things

splurge

I loved this recent post at Modern Mrs. Darcy about the things she chooses to splurge on. I think we all have our lists of things that are worth the extra money and things that aren’t. As much as we strive to be frugal when we can, part of the reason is so that we can splurge in the other areas and create lives that are fulfilling in all the right ways. And that looks different for everyone. Here are 7 things we splurge on – or have splurged on recently.

20140701_1600291. Travel: I grew up moving every few years like clock work and I think that one side effect is that I’m riddled with wander lust. Since I can’t just pack up and move whenever I feel antsy, traveling is important to me. I’m a curious soul and I want to see everything and I love being a tourist and seeing new places and sharing those memories with my family. We have been lucky enough to take a couple of big vacations but I mostly get my travel fix via small day trips or weekend getaways in our general area. Vacations also really help me to recharge and unwind and come back to the usual day to day stuff with fresh energy.

2. Books: Guys, I know my book addiction is border line ridiculous but I mostly knowingly choose to splurge on books because they are my favorite form of entertainment. Reading a book is like going on a vacation that you don’t have to pack for or make reservations. And when you get back from your trip, you can send your spouse or kid or best friend on the same trip and then be like “I know, right? Wasn’t it amazing?” So yeah Amazon.com kind of owns me but I’m at peace with that. Mostly.

this is me staring at my shoes so I won't see you judging me.3. Good Shoes: Because my back insists that I can’t not invest in a good pair. It took several years of searching but I’ve been wearing these Naots for about a year now and I’ve been pretty darn happy with them. I’m thinking about getting a pair of their sandals so I can be walking in comfort 24/7/365 – maybe these?

4. Netflix AND Amazon Prime AND video store rentals: One of these days I’m going to find a regular baby sitter and start calling regular date nights a necessary splurge but we mostly get by on renting movies and enjoying each other’s company at home after the kids go to bed. We DO go on dates a few times a year but to keep our sanity in check the rest of the time? We like to have lots of places to find something good to watch. Bonus points if we can binge watch a favorite tv show there.

81yvgylbotL._SL1500_5. Technology that doesn’t drive us crazy: We’re gadget peeps. We upgrade our smartphones when awesome smartphones come out – probably not as often as other people do but often enough that we know it’s a splurge when it happens. And when I hit the absolute end of my rope with my inkjet, I made a passionate case for a color laser printer and kept making said case until that beauty was mine. It might not seem significant but not having to argue with my printer every damned time I use it is a huge quality of life savor that was worth every penny.

6. Private School: Education is a majorly important thing for us and unfortunately our public schools were not meeting our needs. I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to justify paying for private school but we are grateful to be able to do so right now (and even more grateful to have found a great private school that the kids and Dan and I are really happy with – worth every penny we pinch to make it happen).

20150318_1659577. Going Out to Eat: We have busy lives – lots to do and less time to do it in. And although we strive to eat at home as often as possible, we also cut ourselves some slack when we need it. This is one of those splurges that we have to work hard to keep in check because it can add up quickly but it’s always worth it if it means feeding the family without going insane.

What things do you splurge on?

Embracing Simple: A laid back BBQ birthday bash

20150411_192336

This weekend we celebrated MM’s 9th birthday with some of his friends from school – we decided to invite said friends along with their siblings and parents and throw a laid back BBQ birthday bash in our backyard. Lots of alliteration this year. Clearly.

Luckily we also had lots of good weather – MM didn’t want a “theme” this year and I embraced that request and really didn’t plan anything aside from what food to feed people. I threw some frisbees, balls and backyard toys outside and the kids being kids knew what to do. They kept themselves busy until Dan was done cooking up some hot dogs and they wandered over for dinner – then back to playing until I brought out presents to open and shortly after that an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

In between chatting with the other parents, I played a little bit of defense when there was a difference of opinion or a child wandering too close to fire, etc. but for the most part I was just able to enjoy myself and pat myself on the back for throwing such a laid back, retro birthday party like the kind I had growing up.

I’ll admit – part of me missed the “themey” fun – I’m already pinning some ideas for a butterfly tea party for Little Miss but I think this year’s party served as a reminder that we need to cut ourselves some slack and embrace simplicity: Birthdays don’t need to be Pinterest Perfect – they just need good friends to celebrate with and that’s it! Really.

DSC_6816

Nine.

DSC_6804

Today my baby is nine. He’s so far removed from the “baby” stage that it feels surreal to think that not that long ago he looked like this:

MM, 1 week old

MM, 1 week old

It goes by so fast, they tell you when you are covered in spit up and spilt milk. Savor these moments they insist when you haven’t slept in months (years?) and they are teething and pooping and screaming and whining and drawing on the walls and resisting potty training and insisting on being carried at all times and…

DSC_6805

Then you wake up one day and they are nine. Sweet, clever, independent, massively intelligent little people with their own lives that don’t revolve around you.

DSC_6806

They get themselves dressed and even do their laundry (if you ignore the details of “did those clothes ever get folded and put away?”). They help you carry in the groceries and feed the dog. They walk to their best friend’s house around the corner by themselves and know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with minimum involvement on your part. When did this happen?

DSC_6807

MM is at this delicate moment between child and not quite child. He still loves to play make believe and run around in super hero costumes and build huge towers with legos and play video games with dad and secretly watches Disney Junior shows with his sister and probably even enjoys them.

DSC_6808

But he is also learning things like division and fractions and writing in cursive and how to take Cornell notes and science experiments and history lessons. He’s interested in rockets  and really wants a flight simulator and is fascinated by how things work. He gets embarrassed when I get too “mommy” on him at school and sometimes runs downstairs to class before I can get in an “I love you” (other times he openly says it back and gives me a big hug, but still…) The other day he asked when he could get a smart phone (keep dreaming buddy) and before you know it, it’ll be a car.

DSC_6809

Technically he won’t be nine until 11:50 p.m. tonight. He kind of wants us to wake him up then and wish him an official happy birthday but we’re old now and I’m not sure I can stay up that late. And it’s a SCHOOL night. So he might just have to settle for an early celebration when I’m awake enough to be friendly.

DSC_6814

When planning his birthday party this year he told me plainly that he doesn’t want a “theme” – just some cake and some friends to play with. He wants to build with legos and play video games and that’s it. I’m torn between grateful for an easy party to plan and misty eyed that it’s the end of an era.

DSC_6816

Do you guys remember his Micky Mouse Party when he turned four? Or his dinosaur race car party when he turned five? Or his Little Big Planet Party when he turned seven? Or the Doctor Who Party last year? Thank god I still have BB to request elaborate Sophia the First Butterfly Tea Parties or all my birthday blog posts would get terribly boring.

Oh who am I kidding? It’s never boring here.

DSC_6822

Happy 9th Birthday MM! You might be getting older but you will always be my silly, sweet, smart, sarcastic, suit wearing little guy!