Thursday, October 28, 2010

Secrets of Happy Moms?

I have to say that I have learned a lot since I became a mother 5 1/2 years ago. One of the biggest things I have learned is not to sweat the small stuff! Life is way too short. I pick my battles, when something doesn't go as planned, I try not let it ruin my day. If Leila wants to wear her tutu and rain boots to Malakai's soccer game (which she did last weekend) whatever. Who is it hurting? It makes her happy and it isn't going against any moral parenting beliefs I have, so be it. If Josh forgets to tell me he has to work late, when I am expecting him to be somewhere with us that sucks! But, does anyone really benefit from me being so pissed about it I can't even enjoy an evening with my children, who are not stupid and will be totally effected by the fact I am in a bad mood. Am I still guilty of this...yes? However, I am aware of it now and do a much better job of putting myself in check.

I learned throughout the years, and I've said it many times before, that I (the mother) set the mood for the entire house. That's a lot of pressure for one person!! But it is so true...If I am unhappy, grouchy, annoyed, etc. so will the rest of my house. Now this doesn't mean I'm never allowed to feel like this, but I just make a more conscience effort of evaluating the reason that is making me feel this way and asking it really worth it?

I will be the first one to say that I am FAR from perfect....what is perfect when it comes to parenting anyway? I think one of the biggest steps I have taken is I have stopped comparing myself to others. Who cares! My social anxiety still has A LOT of work to be done on!! I have HORRIBLE OCD when it comes to things being done a certain way which constantly interferes with my parenting. What can I say, I'm a constant work in progress...

What sparked this? I came across an article written by about the secrets of happy moms that I would like to share with you below. She makes some great points!! It kind of annoys me how she uses the term "Smart Mom" but oh well :)

I've added a few of my own little comments along the way....

Have you ever noticed how some Moms seem to be very contented and confident in their role as Mothers, and others seem chronically stressed and approaching burnout? Why are some Moms unflappable and able to keep their sense of humor, while others overreact to the slightest stressors in their day?

I’m currently observing and interviewing these happy Moms as I conduct research for an upcoming book. While all Moms are different, these women usually have several of the following traits in common.

1) They keep it simple.

I know one Mom who grocery shops every two weeks and buys the exact same thing every time to prepare the same menu of 14 dinners. Why does she do this? She’s picked the family’s favorite meals for her menu to save herself time and arguments at the dinner table. Anyone with kids knows they like to eat the same things over and over! This Mom has decided not to reinvent the wheel twice a month. This is just one example of keeping it simple.

2) They teach their kids to be independent.

This doesn’t mean they leave them to their own devices all day. But a smart Mom knows that a 2 year old can put a dish in the dishwasher, a 4 year old can prepare his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a 7 year old can sweep a floor (albeit imperfectly!). Call it “outsourcing” for Moms.

Ummm, the thought of Malakai making his own sandwich gives me anxiety...definitely could work on this step...I totally have the thought of it is easier if I just do it....probably why he can't tie his shoes ;)

3) They drop the SuperMom complex.

Not sweating the small stuff seems to be a common trait of happy Moms. They learn to pick their battles. Getting buckled into a car seat? Not negotiable. Pink paisley pants with the orange plaid shirt? Fashion creativity.

Happy Moms also realize that being an awesome Mom doesn’t mean being a perfect Mom. ‘Nuff said.

4) They can often be overheard repeating the phrase “This too shall pass”.

It doesn’t mean that bothersome behavior in kids should be overlooked, for discipline is a huge time saver in the end. It means that Moms realize that children are…well, uncivilized creatures, and that much uncivilized behavior will simply go away on its own as the child matures. Smart Moms are also keenly aware of their child’s development and don’t expect more of them than they are able to give.

Doesn't really make a 2 year old temper tantrum in the middle of Target any more easier to get through...

5) Smart Moms take care of themselves.

They don’t blame the baby for their extra weight when the baby in question is potty trained! They put emphasis on good nutrition, avoiding too much by way of stimulants (caffeine, sugar), they get adequate rest, and daily exercise. They realize that you can’t pour from an empty bucket.

I least the caffeine part...and the adequate rest part...I guess I have the exercise going for me :)

6) They live in the moment.

Happy Moms realize that the days are long but the years short. It’s not that they are impervious to stress, it’s that they have learned to lower their expectations and be in the moment when things get difficult. When your toddler is puking all over the house, this is not the time to reorganize the hall closet. A sick day then turns into a time to create sweet memories of hours spent reading and cuddling on the couch.

Work in progress...

7) They don’t worry about what others think.

Whether it’s the disapproving glare from the old lady in the checkout line, the Mother in law who is convinced you’re starving the baby by breastfeeding, or the Pediatrician whose medical advice strays into parenting advice, happy Moms learn not to give too much weight to the opinions of those who don’t live in their home.

In other words, they trust their instincts.

Whether it’s taking the baby to bed with them so they can get more sleep or taking a bullied child out of public school, smart Moms know that they are the expert of their own babies.

9) Happy Moms have “something else”

It may be a part time home based business or a hobby like belly dancing. These Moms know that some day their babies will fly the coop, and they make sure they have a passion that will give them purpose when that happens.

I'm pretty good at this one...

So, I would LOVE to hear your opinions :)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Wonderful Weekend + Small Confession

What a fabulous 36hrs I had at home this past weekend! I didn't turn my cell-phone on and I just soaked up the time with Josh and my babies. My mom is also in town, so I even got to squeeze in some quality time with her.

Unfortunately, Josh had to work ALL day on Saturday, but the rest of us had a perfect day filled with soccer, gorgeous weather, eating dinner on the deck, and playing outside. When Josh got off, we all spent the evening with my fabulous friend Charlene and her beautiful daughter Anna (who for a 2nd grader had amazing patience with Leila) at the St. Paul Trunk or Treat. We all had such a great time! I promise there will be pictures to add once I get back in town.

Now for my confession....

I love business travel. Now, I’m lucky that my need to travel for business is very rare. In fact, once or twice a year is about all it calls for. Which is why I don't feel AS guilty for the need to confess.

When I am traveling on company business, I’m not a mommy. I am Karissa. I am a highly-respected colleague. I am a contributor to a team. I am a problem-solver, a solution provider, and a subject matter expert. I feel like I’m Super-Woman instead of Super-Mom.

The “Mom” in me is put on the shelf for a few days. I don’t have to juggle. I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner. I don’t have to wipe any butts. Business travel is a luxurious break from my day-to-day reality.

I can have room service every night. I can eat cheesecake for dinner and drink a little more than I should — and not have to worry that a crazy 2 and 5 year old will be waking me before the sun rises.

I can sleep for only 5 hours each night but feel more rested than when I sleep for 7.5 at home.

The airport doesn't stress me out and my anxiety levels while traveling are at an all-time low. I don't have to worry about anyone but myself, I am on no ones schedule but my own. It’s so nice to only be worried about leaving enough time to drop off the rental car.

When I flew in on Friday night, I was greeted by HUGE smiles and two children sprinting towards me for a big bear-hug. For a split-second, I think that maybe I should travel more so that I get a greeting that like more often.

As much as I love being away on business travel, nothing beats the feeling of coming home.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

10 things I did in Boston....

1. Rode the Subway for the first time EVER!!

2. Toured Harvard! This wasn't really on the top the list of things to do, but everyone insisted that we needed to do it. I am SO glad we did! There were so many interesting facts regarding the campus and the buildings. SUPER COOL!

3. Visited and ate at Cheers! There are two locations in Boston. We ate at one and drank a beer at the other.

4. Partially walked the Freedom Trail. Melissa did the entire Freedom Trail on Friday while I was in class. However, I did see it and walked along it for a little bit while headed to other places. I think that counts :)

5. Sat at the bar and ate oysters at The Union Oyster House. This restaurant is known as the OLDEST restaurant in continuous service in the US! We became friends with the workers at the Raw Bar who were very entertaining! Jimmy is the one shown below. Melissa got a good picture of them together, but I didn't so I pulled this one off the web :)

6. Walked into The Bell in Hand Tavern. We didn't stay here long because it was CRAZY busy and filled with 21 year olds. We wanted to see it though. The Bell in Hand is the oldest, continuously, operating Tavern! Daniel Webster, Paul Revere, and William McKinley were known to frequently visit the tavern and the only time it ever closed was during Prohibition!!

7. Next stop...The Green Dragon. Established in 1654 The Green Dragon was a favorite haunt of Paul Revere and John Hancock (who’s brother lived next door!).

8. Last but not least, Durty Nelly's. This place wasn't even on our list, but our friends at the Oyster House recommended we stop by there. So glad we did! It was filled with locals and was such a quaint little bar. On the website is says "Overflowing with Irish charm and hospitality, this is just the place to take a break from a hectic day or spend the night with good friends passing away the hours in great conversation." This describes it PERFECTLY!

9. SALEM!!!!!! So cool!! Obviously we couldn't have asked for a better time of year to be there. The place was just jumping! We walked the cute cobblestone streets and went in all the witch-craft shops. The street performers were super-cool as well. Again, no pics since I can't get them off my camera :(

10. The Salem Witch Museum. This gave us a lot of history on the witch trials. Pretty cool!

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend!!! Thanks Melissa!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm not even sure what the date is...

I am SOOOOOO tired!! Which means, this blog is probably going to lack a lot of creative writing. I hope to replace it with pictures :)

I had a GREAT weekend discovering Boston this past weekend with my girlfriend Melissa. I will update you on those events with my Ten on Tuesday tomorrow....ooohhh, the anticipation. Ha Ha...not really, most of you saw a lot of the pics on facebook.

Here are some pics of the kiddos and their adventures throughout the week :)

May the force be with you....

Aunt/Grandma Suzy with all the kids while the mom's drink Margaritas...thank goodness for DS!

Lego Dragon...


Malakai and Poppy

Stunt Car Show...

Notice the earplugs...good thinking Tutu

Leila at the Zoo..

They built a Halloween Candy House...


Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 5...a little late

My days are filled with classes! When I'm not at class, I am still working! It's been crazy, but I am SO looking forward to the weekend!

My girlfriend Melissa flew in today, and we are SO ready to explore Boston! Tonight was pretty quiet since she had quite the adventure. Her flight left STL at 6:15am, she got to Boston and the luggage was backed up so she missed her reserved ride to the hotel!!! So, what does she do? Hops on the Silver Bus, takes it to the Commuter Rail, and many hours later she ended up at the correct station in Westborough. I picked her up when I got out of class and there she was...sitting outside the station with her luggage, reading Harry Potter :) Totally chill!!! We both agree that when you have kids, traveling without them is a BREEZE!!! When your on no one elses schedule but your own, your golden.

Since she had a long day of traveling, we went to dinner and headed back to the hotel for some wine and Greys Anatomy.

Malakai's flight to Orlando was this morning and he made it safe and sound. My mother-in-law also made it to St. Louis and Leila is having a GRAND time with her.

Here are some pics I have received on my phone today :)

Orlando or Bust!

Amazed by the Clouds :)

Lego Land!

She is Crazy!

Till next time!



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Boston, Day 4

Why does it seem like I am just as tired in the mornings here as I am at home? I swear. I seriously thought I would come here and it would be so easy to get up in the mornings because I wouldn't be as exhausted as I am at home. NOT TRUE! Regardless, getting up in the morning is not easy! Not to mention, there is nothing like your own bed. That's for sure!

I ventured out tonight with a couple of the girls in class and went to dinner at Tavolino. It was fabulous!! I had the Salmon which was to die for and a spectacular Chocolate Rasberry Martini. The conversation was nice and it felt good to get away from the hotel for an evening. We are all in the same situation which makes it really easy to relate to.

Malakai made it to Kansas City this evening. They are leaving for Orlando in the morning and he is beyond excited!! He can not wait to see Mickey and everything else. He has strict instructions from Leila to by her a Belle doll, it should be interesting what he comes home with. He is also going on a fishing excursion with my dad and the other "men" on the trip which he is very excited about as well. I can't wait to hear about all his adventures. One of the things I love about the private school he goes to is the close-knit community. People seem to truly care about everyone and it is such a nice feeling. Well today, his class did a blessing for him to have safe travels while he is gone. When I asked him what the blessing entailed, he said everyone in the class put their hand on him and Mrs. Morrow "talked." SO CUTE!!!

No Skype call tonight, J is still driving back from dropping off Malakai. He has his mom with him now, so he should have a pretty smooth week with all of her help. Leila truly adores her Ma Ma so I am sure they will have an amazing time.

Till tomorrow friends!

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are." - Bernice Johnson Reagon


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Not a lot to update everyone on today. I am enjoying a nice evening in with a bottle of wine, work, and Glee. Not necessarily in that order :)

One of my biggest challenges while being here is TV issues. NO TIVO!! I can't remember the last time I had to be worried about being on a specific channel at a specific time so I don't miss an episode. And watching commercials...OMG!!! They are torture!!! Josh and I worked out a plan that I was going to try and watch what I could and he would save the rest for me on Tivo. Seems to be working out pretty well :)

I find it really amusing that Josh picked Malakai up from Kids Club (After school program) today and they had to ask for his ID. I am the one that ALWAYS picks him up...the only reason he is there 3 days a week is because J works late, therefore I pick him up at 5. Every other day, J picks him up at 3:00 from school, so the Kids Club teachers don't see his charming face that often.

Malakai got in trouble at school today. Apparently him and a good friend got into an argument because they never play with each other at recess. Said friend plays soccer and Malakai plays Mario and Luigi. Well I guess it turned into a pretty heated 5 year old argument and a note got passed around saying "Who do you like more? Malakai or said friend?" Seriously!!! In Kindergarten? Not to mention....BOYS!

Other than that, not a whole lot going on. J sounded a little worn out when I talked to him tonight. He had a full day of work, dance, and the task of packing Malakai for a week in Florida. He is a champ though :)

That's all for tonight friends. Hope everyone is having a blessed week! I leave you with our nightly skype picture and a pic of Leila before dance :)


Monday, October 11, 2010

Boston...Day 2

Oh, let the training begin! Today was my first day of training (the actual reason I am here). We are talking 9-5, Monday thru Friday. After talking with people who have been through this process before, your experience comes down to two things, 1) your instructor and 2) your class. On a good note, my instructor seems really cool! The class...not so bad. You know how you always have those one or two people that talk and you constantly ask yourself how they EVER made it in the world? COME ON!!!! Let the poor instructor talk for two minutes before you rudely interrupt him with some stupid question! I realize there are supposed to be NO stupid questions, but in the healthcare field, "What is an ICD?" is a STUPID question!!!

On a positive note...they have MONSTER energy drinks in the vending machine for $1.25!!! It's the little things in life people.

I ended up calling my IT guy on lunch today because I couldn't get Skype to work on my laptop and I was freaking out! Thank goodness he got things figured out for me and I was able to get everything working. The thought of not being able to video chat was freaking me out!

I did't sleep very well last night. Not sure if it was the bed or lack of Josh in it, but either way, I hope it gets better. I ventured to the gym in the hotel this evening. Such an exciting day!!! Ha ha!

I leave you with a snapshot of the fam I took while we were skyping tonight :)



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Boston...Day 1

Well, I made it! For those of you that don't know, I am spending some time in Boston for work. And by "some time" I mean like....3 weeks! I do get to come home for a weekend though, so that will be nice. It was a difficult choice for me on whether or not to go through with it, and a much easier choice for Josh. He never hesitated, told me to go for it. That in the huge picture of life, three weeks is nothing and is a great move for my career. I love the fact that I am married to someone so supportive of me being a working mom. Obviously the guilt is still there, but when I am surrounded by such amazing people, it definitely helps.

I think he might actually have it easier while I am gone than when I am there! My fabulous mother-in-law is coming for a week and then my fabulous mom is coming for a week. The kids absolutely ADORE them so I am hoping they will be side-tracked from the fact that mommy isn't home...hoping :) Then, my fabulous dad and step-mom will be taking Malakai to Disney World for a week during this time as well. Friends have even offered to bring them dinner on some nights...Seriously?! We truly have amazing friends! Everyone is going to be super busy, especially Josh, working and running kids to soccer, dance, etc. the time will hopefully fly by!

So, the plan is to blog every day regarding this adventure. Josh and I haven't spent a significant time apart since I was in college. I am even hoping I can get him to log on here and update my blog with the kids' adventures on that particular day. Technology is so amazing these days! Can't wait to skype and talk to my babies every night before they go to bed...

I just flew in this afternoon and so far smooth sailing. My anxiety only hit the roof once and that was driving from the airport to the hotel. Thank goodness for GPS!!!! I am settled into the hotel, made a Walmart run to stack up on some groceries, and now I am getting ready to get lost in a book. It sounds great....for a few days! Not sure how nice it's gonna be in the long run.

Till tomorrow faithful readers....we will see what adventures are to come!