Monday, October 13, 2014

The grass is NOT greener: My trial run as a working mom

The grass is not greener: My trial run as a working mom. #twins #SAHM #workingmoms

Hats off to the working moms! It's a lot harder than I expected. I thought that I wanted to return to my career after a two-year maternity break, but I'm learning more each day that I'm not quite ready.

I am in a unique position. I have been blessed with the choice to either work or stay home with my twins. For the past two years, I have chosen to stay home, but recently I have been feeling a pull toward returning to work. After a few interviews for some great jobs, things just weren't panning out. I wasn't being offered the jobs I applied for, but rather different jobs within those organizations. I guess that's a good thing- they liked me, but felt I didn't have enough experience in some areas, yet still wanted to hire me. But I knew that I wouldn't be happy settling for a job that I didn't 100 percent love, so I chose to pass.

And while I continued to job search for the right fit, I went back to work at my previous office, before taking maternity leave, to help with a special project. It's temporary, and I can work from home when I have the time or I can go into the office. I've done both. And let me tell you, that week that our days were get up, go straight to preschool/work, leave work, go to straight to pick up kids, make dinner, put kids to bed... was the HARDEST week of my life. All of that on top of also continuing my online grad school work at GWU. I have learned real quick that I just am not ready for a full-time job outside of our home.

And I am glad that I learned this now because the perfect job opportunity did come along last week. It took about a month and half to find the right fit, and I was this close to returning to work. However, I had to take a step back and really consider what I wanted. I know my limits, and I feared that I would get a few months into the job and realize that I wanted to be back at home, and then feel trapped. I am lucky that the person who was doing the hiring is someone I have built a rapport with. In fact, in the future there may be room for me on the team. I'm grateful for that.

Surprisingly, I am not upset about my decision to keep my career on hold. I feel relieved. I have constantly wondered if I wanted to go back to work or not, and what it would be like. How would the babies do in child care, would I miss them, would I be able to handle working away from home physically and emotionally, etc. I have all of those answers now. I don't feel comfortable with them in full-time child care. I would feel a bit overwhelmed working full-time and commuting 45 minutes each way, and I would definitely miss our laid back days with friends.

Do I still feel the way I felt a couple of months ago: like I need something for myself? Yes, absolutely. I think this feeling is natural when women become wives, and especially mothers. So little of our time is focused on our own interests. There just aren't enough hours in the day or enough energy left to do any of our own hobbies- except my favorite hobby of napping!! So we often feel drained and our minds wonder if the grass is greener on the other side.

I think for me personally, I am more comfortable at home right now. In a perfect world, I could find a part-time job that I love and still be able to enjoy enough time with the twins and their friends. But, it's not a perfect world! In the meantime, I am signed up for some volunteering opportunities, and I will continue my grad school work. I may pick up some freelance writing that can be done from home, but my career in public relations will have to wait a bit longer.

The grass is not greener: My trial run as a working mom. #twins #SAHM #workingmoms

Have you ever struggled with the decision to go back to work or to stop working at stay at home? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FunBites Giveaway!

So, you're a month into the school routine, and maybe you're starting to feel the excitement wear off and the fatigue set in. You might ask yourself: What could make preparing those lunch box meals easier, and what could make your kids want to eat them?

The answer is FunBites. Seriously! Corbin and Lynley love watching me use our square and triangle sets to cut their PB&J's. (Or maybe they just like laughing at me while I sing the peanut butter jelly song and dance like a crazy person...)

Anyway, FunBites is the first state of the art kitchen tool that instantly cuts kids' food into bite-sized, fun-shaped pieces. This product is made in the USA and is BPA free. They are perfect to get even the pickiest eaters to try something new and eat healthier.

FunBites come in three shapes: square, heart or triangle. We have the square and triangle sets, and I love them. It makes splitting a grilled cheese evenly between the twins much easier and quicker than using a knife and "eye-balling" it. You could also use it to cut cheese, fruits, veggies and anything you can think of into shapes to create cute layouts like the ones pictured below.

You can win a FunBites by entering the giveaway below. 

Follow FunBites on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received products free of charge for review purposes. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are 100 percent my own. I only promote and support products and companies that I believe in.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to School with Nuby (Product Reviews)

Back to school essentials from Nuby! #snacks #school #toddlers #Nuby

With all of the back to school excitement and new routines in full swing, you may be looking for ways to make your life simpler. As a mom of toddler twins, I get that! And that's why I'm such a big fan of Nuby. Here's a quick roundup of some lunch and snacktime essentials that will save a mom's life no matter if your child is in Mother's Day out, preschool or Kindergarten and beyond.

Here are the essentials that we're loving!

Nuby Reusable Snack Packs. I am in love with these snack packs! We have a set that has giraffe characters on them, and the material is super soft and easy to clean. Corbin and Lynley love to reach their hands all the way inside to grab a "cracka." I have packed a snack for myself in them before, and I get the same joy they do! Nûby Reusable Snack Packs add gleeful anticipation to kids' snack times. Fruits and veggies come tumbling out of the roomy packs, unharmed from their travels in backpacks or diaper bags thanks to the snack pack's protective walls. The machine-washable packs include a water-resistant PEVA lining that keeps out water and keeps in spills.
• Food safe, water-resistant lining
• Easily zips closed to control spills
• Free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates
• Machine-washable
Back to school essentials from Nuby! #snacks #school #toddlers #Nuby

iMonster and Flower Child Snack Keepers. "Rawr, rawr," Corbin says every time he sees a monster. He pretty much thinks this is a toy instead of a snack holder, and that's just fine. It gives me a little extra time to put dishes away or fold clothes while he's entertaining himself. I love the way that Lynley says flower. It sounds kind of like "hourrr," but the smile she has when she says it is priceless. This is the cutest, girly snack keeper that I have seen. They both like to eat from both snack keepers. Of course, Corbin would like the pink one! Remember his affinity for all things pink? The Nûby iMonster Snack Keeper cups keep kid-sized snacks inside the container instead of on the floor or car seat. The soft silicone flaps make it easy to grab snacks without spilling. Nûby feeding accessories are made to withstand the challenges of daily use and retain their bright color.

We've been using these around the house and when we go on little adventures to Daddy's office or the jump gym. Corbin and Lynley are starting preschool in a week, but they'll be served lunch and snacks there. I am a little bit bummed that I don't get to send them to school with their lunch kits packed with these awesome containers, but we'll definitely be getting as much use out of them as we can on the weekends.

Back to school essentials from Nuby! #snacks #school #toddlers #Nuby

You can purchase the products at the following stores.

Reusable Snack Packs-

iMonster Snack Keeper-,,,,,,, Burlington Baby Depot, Bealls, TJ Maxx, buybuy Baby.

Flower child Snack Keeper-,,,,,, Burlington Baby Depot, Bealls, TJ Maxx, buybuy Baby.

Connect with Nuby via FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

I received products free of charge for review purposes. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are 100 percent my own. I only promote and support products and companies that I believe in.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Happiness Happens in Ordinary Moments

Happiness happens in everyday moments! #happy #happyfamily

What does happiness mean to you? My husband always says that happiness is a choice- to be satisfied with what you have, to be kind, to love and let others love you. I think in this instance, (which doesn't happen very often!) he is right!

I believe that happiness happens in ordinary, every day moments. Whether it's a quick kiss as you pass by one another, a good morning hug, tickle fight or the pure joy of seeing your child accomplish a milestone, happiness comes in all shapes and sizes.

I've been blessed to stay home with my precious twins, Corbin and Lynley, for almost two years now. They make me smile every day and bring so much joy to our entire families. This video is just a small glimpse into our happiness.

We're participating in the Happy Family Happiness Happens contest. Bloggers have been invited to post their happiness photos and videos to spread cheer and for a chance to win prizes.

What does happiness mean to you? Please share with me in the comments.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summer Bucket List- Check, Check!

Summer bucket list for toddlers by Spit and Sparkles blog. #summer #play #babies #totschool

Wow, I can't believe this summer is almost over. We had a long list of "to-dos," and I am happy to say that we've accomplished a lot of things on our bucket list. Here's a recap of the activities we wanted to do, lessons to learn and skills to master. As you can see, we've focused more on skills than activities, but we still have some time left to accomplish more tasks.

Pick fresh strawberries from a local patch. By the time we got ready to pick strawberries, they were out of season! I thought we might go pick peaches, but they're almost gone now too. Maybe we'll make it back to the pumpkin patch in the fall....
Visit the local Farmer's Market. This one has just been difficult to make because of the hours it is open, which is right int he middle of nap time/lunch. Eventually....
Take swimming lessons. Check! We took three lessons with a wonderful instructor, and the babies are naturals. Lynley is already starting to actually propel in the water, and Corbin is learning how to kick both feet instead of just one. Ha! He has always just moved one foot, especially when he dances. It looks like a dog's nervous tick. So cute!

Summer bucket list for toddlers by Spit and Sparkles blog. #summer #play #babies #totschool

Go to the splash pad at the park. Check! Okay, so it wasn't the splash park that I intended to go to when I wrote this list, but we did go to our neighborhood pool a few times and play in the splash area. Lynley loves, Corbin hates. He's a prima donna about getting water in his face.
Play in the rain. (if it's not thundering!)
Play in our water table.
Fly a kite.
Go to the aquarium. We really want to do this one soon with friends that we miss dearly!
Go to the zoo and ride the zoo train. Check! We have been to the zoo a couple of times, but unfortunately we haven't been able to ride the train. We've not timed our visits appropriately to be able to ride the train before mealtime or nap time, and it only runs once an hour. We will keep trying though because they absolutely love the zoo. We should probably purchase a membership.
Create a play garden in the back yard.
Bake cookies together as a family. Check! This one was super fun. I baked the cookies, but we all decorated them together. We did this for an adorable Tot School activity on If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

Summer bucket list for toddlers by Spit and Sparkles blog. #summer #play #babies #totschool

Make an outdoor tee-pee and read books inside. We'll be marking this one off in the coming week.
Have a picnic with friends. Check! This one happened back in June for the end of school bash at church.
Go to the library for story hour.
Have a puppet show.
Create finger paint artwork for our family members. Check! Sort of... our wonderful nanny has been working on arts and crafts when she visits, and Corbin and Lynley have made many beautiful finger paint pieces. In fact, I have so many that I don't know what to do with them. I'm going to pick my favorites to display, and we'll be sending some along to family.

Learn how to blow bubbles. This might be the only goal that we haven't reached or gotten close to reaching. I forgot about it actually. But, they do know how to blow on their food to cool it off if it's hot. That kinda counts! I just need to try the bubbles, and I bet they'd have it.
Learn to use the potty. Check! Two months in to teaching, and we are at about 50/50 potty/diaper. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to really crack down on this. My approach has been very laid back, but I can see that Lynley is ready to be pushed a bit more. And Corbin has really come a long way. He pretty much does #2 on the potty all the time now unless he happens to go after a nap when I haven't gotten them up in time. Read our early potty approach here and here. I'll be posting another update soon.
Learn to eat better with utensils and dinnerware. Check! Lynley loves to be independent with everything, so it's no surprise that she won't let me help feed her anymore. She's gotten pretty good at stabbing raviolis or mac & cheese with a fork and bringing the fork to her mouth without spilling. Corbin still needs a little help with guiding, and they both need help scooping with a spoon. They tend to fling peas, carrots, corn or small veggies behind them when they scoop.

Summer bucket list for toddlers by Spit and Sparkles blog. #summer #play #babies #totschool

Learn how to get dressed. In progress. Lynley can put her pants and shoes on by herself, and she likes to play dress up. Corbin can take off his pants and diaper, but need help pulling his pants all the up. He likes to play pretend in mine and Derrick's shoes, but hasn't mastered putting on his own. He can put on hats and sunglasses!
Learn to count to at least three. In progress. Lynley says, "two, two, two." Corbin says,
"one, two." 

Learn to identify a few colors and shapes. Check! Lynley can point out stars and hearts and the colors blue and yellow. She is working on learning pink. Corbin can point out stars, hearts and circles and the color red. He is working on learning green and blue.
Start napping later in the afternoon instead of the late morning. Check! Proud to report that they are now napping right around noon. We started the summer with them napping at 10:45 to 11:00  for about 1.5 to 2 hours and having an hour quiet time in the afternoon. Now, we're down to one long nap of 2.5 to 3 hours and no more quiet time.

How's your bucket list coming? Have you decided to wait on some of "to-dos" until Fall? Please share in the comments.

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