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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We'll Just Call Her Sugar.


I snapped this picture of Miss E tonight while J and I were making dinner. It's National Pancake Day, you know? So I was flipping pancakes and J was making hashbrowns and eggs. Trying to be bland as possible around here as the stomach flu is taking us down one at a time. {T's the only one left at this point and he's fading fast.}

Somehow, someway she got the sprinkles out Monday morning and she's had trouble letting them go since. {Both literally and figuratively.}

She's a sugar-lover. Like in the way you'd think we didn't allow it. She's the one who empties a candy dish, polishes off the Valentine's candy and sneaks into the sweat treat cupboard every chance she gets.

Her teacher told me that they had chocolate chip cookies for snack at school today and E squealed in delight as though she'd never had the deliciosness that is chocolate. According to her teacher, she even licked her fingers clean.

Pancakes for dinner

I just love her, sugar-addiction and all.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Early. 30.

I have 29 days left of being 29 today.

My husband and friends surprised me last weekend. Like really surprised me.

I was suspicious. {I am always suspicious.} I was doing some feeling out. There were some clues. But when it came down to it I was really, genuinely, 100% surprised.

They did good.

I felt loved.

And grateful.

Friends put together a book that guests signed with what they were doing in "1982" {I am the young friend with the old soul} and favorite memories and all of that. And I loved it but I really loved on the instructions where it was written that while I've accomplished a lot of things, none are as important as the relationships I have.


So even though my 30th's been celebrated and my kids think we're just celebrating for 6 weeks straight, tell me what are some must-do's in the next 29 days? I'd like to do something every day counting down. Maybe it's some kind gestures, maybe it's some random laughs. Just tell me how I can make the most of the simple little things before I turn 30.


Happy weekend, friends.

Other places I've been writing this week:

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I took H on a date today to the Children's Theatre. He even got to miss school.


I think there's so much more to learning when you're 5 years old than sitting in a classroom. In kindergarten they seem to hit it hard these days. Reading and math are very important, I agree, but so is the world around us. Don't you think?


We saw Harold & The Purple Crayon and I'm pretty sure he liked it.

The deal is that E gets to go to the next one, Pippi Longstocking. But he told me this afternoon that he kind of wants to go too.

{Trying out a new-to-me app on my phone with the above photos, Lightbox.}

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Procter & Gamble Trip.

It's taken me close to a week to unwind and unreel from my whirlwind trip last week. Are you wondering what the heck I was doing in Cincinnati?

Procter and Gamble invited a select group of media to come to their Innovation Live! event at their Beckett Ridge Innovation Center {BRIC} in West Chester, OH. BRIC is one of 52 innovation centers around the world that P&G uses to develop, innovate and research products.

After a media breakfast with CEO Bob McDonald {in which he shared about the sale of Pringles to Kelloggs and I felt like a real-imposter in a room full of real business news journalists} the first group to go see the BRIC was the small group of traditional media invitees from the breakfast. In the afternoon, a group of eight "internet" media invitees visited. This was the first time P&G has allowed media into one of their innovation centers and they allowed less than 20 of us.

The innovation center is like nothing I'd ever seen, a complete 137,000 square foot building with two real, working houses inside, a mock grocery store, a baby center and even a virtual reality center. P&G uses the building to talk with consumers, see how they actually use products, how products are purchased and also showing retailers their innovations and technical aspects of products and additionally what works in stores and what doesn't. Over 20,000 consumers come to that specific facility for different consumer testing events.

The BRIC did not disappoint. If anything, it made me so much more aware of all that goes into the research before a P&G product hits the shelves. Not just the scientific process which obviously is a big part of product research and development but also the process in which they see what it is consumers and retailers want.

Several faces from P&G were on site including Vice President of Fabric Care, Alex Keith who unveiled the newest product, eight years and 6000 consumers in the making and finally launching at the end of the month, Tide PODS.
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Tide PODS have plans of revolutionizing the way we do laundry. The product is a three chamber liquid capsule in a polyvinyl package that completely dissolves with no residue. Another innovation is that the product has 90% active ingredients in it. The POD is to be thrown into the laundry drum (top or front) at the same time as the water (cold or hot!) followed by the clothes. The product completely eliminates the need for heavy jugs of laundry soap and any measuring. In the end, use of the POD will both make laundry soap use more effective (no over and under use) and also save time (P&G expects up to an hour a year of lost time).

Not only is the product expected to help laundry usage in our homes but also brings hope for sustainability. Currently 45% of consumers do their laundry in cold water. The POD is good in both cold or hot, so the hope is that more consumers decide to use cold water. And due to smaller, light packaging, transportation costs and usage decrease, leaving a better environmental footprint for P&G.

I, for one, am excited about the new product and was given a sample. I like the idea of throwing one in and throwing the laundry in. I get excited about the possibility of T & M also being able to do laundry and not having to worry about measuring and messes in the laundry room from the soap.

It was a really neat experience to see the underworkings and meet some core P&G people. I enjoyed hearing Bob McDonald speak and was especially interested in their Olympic sponsorship next summer in London. He shared with us some of the ads that will be airing and of course, I'm excited about his belief and support of moms.

My favorite line he shared, "Don't forget your mom who got you where you are today." Well said.

My write up on the trip posted this morning as well and you can see that here.

Thanks to P&G and DeVries PR for the opportunity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just Write: Missing It.

As I swing through the revolving door of the hotel and step foot outside, I can feel it. The air is different, everything is moving faster and faster. Cars honk and a taxi roars past. The people on the street are walking past me in a flurry to get here or there or wherever it is they need to be.

I walk, leisurely at first, until I realize, this is the city life I thought I'd have and be so many years ago.

When I was in college, I had big city plans. I wasn't going to have a car, I'd take the train where I needed to go. I'd dress up for work and I would be important.

I walk into Starbucks where the baristas are starting all the regular's drinks and greeting them by name. I am lost in a dream when I realize the guy behind the counter has asked for my order three times over. I'm already  not keeping up with the pace.

I feel both like an imposter and also like I've missed this.

There was a time I lived in the city and walked fast and moved fast and felt oh so important.

And there was a time I travelled for work and flew here and there and had meetings in a fast paced world.

Then one day, I changed my story. I decided I didn't want that or need that and that I wanted something more and something different and it all changed.

And most days I'm good with it. I'm happy with the choices we've made and where I sit today and that I am able to pursue the things I really want to do. But I do have a city heart and sometimes something hits just enough to make me miss it.

Linking up to Just Write.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


A girl could get used to this, I said Tuesday night.
{Tuesday night. Westin Cincinnati. Alone.}

But there's no place like home and them. And I mean it.
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{Thursday night. Noodles & Company. With my littles.} 

Full update on the trip and what Procter & Gamble shared with me this week to come.  It was a great experience, a lot of learning and a neat opportunity for which I am grateful, always grateful.

I got home late Wednesday night and fell into bed. Today was full of making up for lost time with my littles but also the reality of life, a funeral and H's 100th day of school party.  To say I'm exhausted after the trip and after today is an understatement. It's been a whirl. Thankful for a blank calendar page tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart Day Photo Dump.

My mind has been bustling with lots this week but time hasn't been on my side. It's Tuesday and yet I can't stop thinking it's still Monday morning. This week is exciting and also daunting.

I've been reminded once again of lifes fragility and whenever that happens it seems my mind and heart are overcome with thoughts and words and gratitude.

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Yesterday my father-in-law turned 81. We celebrated Sunday afternoon.
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Today is full of Valentine's celebrating. A holiday that snuck up on me even though it seemed we were handwriting names on cards for weeks. As I walked through the grocery store yesterday it dawned on me we had nothing for the kids for Valentine's Day and I bought donuts for breakfast. That's it. And they were happy.

I haven't even yet written in J's card, though he already gave me a gift {!} on Saturday and also left a card for me on the counter this morning.

I'm putting the last few things in my suitcase, heading to H's Valentine's party and then I'll be picked up to go to the airport on my adventure so thought today was a good day to dump some of my favorite pictures I've taken recently. {Most are from my phone.}

{She sleeps during the after school shuffle of picking up here and dropping off there but she reminds me of that quote; "Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains." Oh, she will.}

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{The 100th day of kindergarten is coming....and these two counted out 100 marshmallows for the celebration.}

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{Valentine package opening and eating and celebrating. Thanks to my grandma and aunt Laurie.}
{I have never, and I mean never, seen someone look so good in a swimsuit. She is a doll.}

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{Have I mentioned that H likes legos yet? He learned about a contest that one could win a $100 Lego gift card and has been creating and creating and creating lately.}


{Star of the week. Related: He's also a star in my heart.}

Happy Heart Day, friends. I'll check in next from Cincinnati!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

At Night and Full Life.

The house is finally quiet, minus my fingers hitting the keys of the computer and J going thru his mail. This is our time and I long for it all each and every night. To just be.

The afternoons from 2:30 pm to bedtime can be crazy and busy and oh, sometimes too full. Pick ups and drop offs and homework and dinner prep and tears. By the time we've finished dinner and I've rinsed the last dish I am ready.

"Choose your books," I tell my littles and they argue they're not tired. They claim to never be tired but I know better. Tonight after a read through Dora and another through Batman their eyes were closed, their minds in dream land before I even say, Amen.

E, reminds me of being little. I had all these animals in my bed when we lived on Huron Street. I wanted my mom and dad to tuck in all my animals and me. And I'm sure it drove them a little crazy because they probably wanted their own time too. I get it now. But I look at her asleep with each of her random animals all tucked in asleep and I remember.

The bigs came home today and H & E were excited. We waited at the bus stop for M this afternoon.

"You're home, you're home," E shouted and jumped about when M climbed in the van.

The reunion between our bigs and our littles is always something to be seen. They all adapt so well, moving from one house to the other, the littles accepting, here this week, gone next. Sometimes I think maybe it's a harder transition on me than them.

Life is full right now. In good ways, yes. But full nonetheless.

I reported at my very first caucus last night and was very intrigued by the process. I was tweeting {and later found out the tweets were aggregated to Cover It Live nationwide for Patch} and trying to keep up with it all but really enjoyed the experience.

I also wrote about Kids and Chiropractic care this week and you can read that one here. {I found this topic and issue super interesting.}

I've said before that when it rains, it pours in opportunity and right now is just one of those seasons. I'm excited to be working with some folks with Disney and we'll be taking our kids to see a prescreening of the newest Disney movie The Secret World of Arrietty that opens everywhere February 17. {Think: The Borrowers}

And next week, oh next week, I'm flying to Cincinnatti on Tuesday night and spending Wednesday with Proctor & Gamble.  Wednesday morning, myself and some other media/blogger folks will be having breakfast with Robert McDonald, the P&G CEO and then spending the afternoon at a first-time ever look at their Innovations Center. Will surely be an interesting event and whirlwind trip full of information.

Of course, sandwiching the trip will be H's Valentine Party on Tuesday and his 100 Day of Kindergarten Party on Thursday. Those are the real opportunities right there.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Highlight Reel.

Another weekend bites the dust and just like every Sunday night we try to prolong it by staying up much too late and then we kick ourselves all week long.

I read something somewhere recently about not comparing life to everyone else's highlight reel. It can be so easy to do. J had to work a few hours on Saturday and then due to an emergency with one of his contractors today had to head to work again for a few hours. It'd be easy to get upset about the lost weekend time that I so crave, it'd be easy to compare to other professions where these things don't come up or happen. I honestly was a {tad bit} annoyed hearing his voice on the phone this afternoon knowing that it meant he had to cover, he had to leave his family to help another family.

Like always, it all worked out. We had an impromptu afternoon playdate with a friend, finished our Valentine's and even worked on H's Star of the Week poster. {He wants to be a policeman!}

I'm a glass half full, life is good, these are the highlights sort of girl but the point I'm trying to make is that everybody has stuff. Everybody has days and things that drive them mad. And just cause you don't see it in their highlight reel doesn't mean it's not there. Nobody's exempt from the ups and downs that go along with life. Nobody!
Highlights of the weekend included:

Taking a visit to J's new office. His signage is up now and it's great. So proud of him and excited for him as he continues on this path of independent business.

Sleeping in until 9:30am Saturday morning. We usually switch off getting up with the littles and rarely ever does one of us actually sleep past 8 so this was quite a shock. I felt like a new person.

Lego-ing with my littles at a Toys R Us event.

Lunching and laughing with Boppa.

Meeting new people at a new small group from church.

Having friends join us for church and donuts this morning.

An impromptu McD's playdate this afternoon that wore my littles right out.

What's on your highlight reel from this weekend?

*Winners of the Appleberry's Attic giveaway: #11 {alicia's design} and #16 {kelly}. Contact me with your info and I'll have your signs on their way to you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

What LESS Isn't.

So it's been close to a month since I was feeling inspired to make some changes with our lifestyle. Feeling like we just have too much stuff, too many choices, too much waste, too much distraction. Too much.

So, how's it going?

This is what is working and where I feel like we're really doing something:

-We've donated a TON of stuff. J & I literally did one of those "if we haven't worn it or used it since we've been married, why are we keeping it" sort of clean outs which resulted in bags and bags and bags of clothes. Would you believe he had even more clothes in his closet to donate than me?

-J & T pulled every single item out of T's bedroom last weekend and went through everything. First of all, T's room has never looked cleaner. Second of all, there was so much stuff that he didn't need, use or want that all can be used by others. {Though I am seriously questioning why he donated his alarm clock? Not a wise move, dear thirteen year old.}

Next up will be M's room, then H's, E's, the playroom, baby stuff we're keeping. There's still much that needs to go.

-Shopping with a list. I think one of my biggest issues in the past has been showing up at the store and randomly shopping for whatever strikes my mind in the hour I'm there. This doesn't work because many times I then forget what I actually did need prompting a second, third, sometimes fourth trip, each of which results in additional purchases that aren't necessary. It also causes me to do the "oh I'll just see what's on sale" walk through the store. I've been a lot better at making a list before we leave the house {not in the car in the parking lot and not in the Target Starbucks} and actually sticking to it and not grabbing a random 3T shirt for E since it's only $2.80.

-Speaking of shopping, literally a week after the initial LESS post I started feeling this overwhelming urge to SHOP. FOR MYSELF. Like I have no clothes, I need to get a whole new wardrobe sort of thing. I resisted thus far.

-Unplugging and Using Less Technology. I thought this would be a lot harder than it has been so far. But I am making choices each day to really "unplug". Monday, after having been unplugged all weekend at camp with M, I literally turned the ringer on my cell phone off for several hours to just get caught up on life without the distraction of a text or an email or even phone calls. Obviously for several reasons that doesn't work every day but making choices like do I need to answer the phone right now or do I need to finish helping H with his homework. At Hearts at Home this past November, one suggestion was to decide what's urgent and what's important. The important stuff should win. Working on this and trying to remember the balance component. Balance is still needed because on one hand technology is wonderful at keeping up with far away friends/family but it can also be a very large distraction.

Things that haven't worked:

-Completing cutting myself off from the option to get a coffee or grab the kids lunch if I needed to. I spent a week NOT getting coffee and not doing any fast food and that was good except I was obsessing about not getting a coffee or fast food. And then I hit my breaking point, furnace issues, sick kid, having to wait on an antibiotic at Target and I just threw in the towel bought a coffee and fed my kids lunch.

And that's when I decided that depriving myself of things I enjoy is not the way to do LESS.

My friend, Melissa, who's much more eloquent than me reminded me that I must couple LESS with grace. LESS isn't a laundry list of self inflicted rules everyone needs to follow, it's more about living intentionally with what we need, with awareness to what others need and realizing how much less that is.

So that's where I'm at with things, where are you at? What's working or not working? What are you doing or not doing to live a life towards LESS? Please share.


Thursday, February 2, 2012


I seem to have misplaced my blogging mojo this week and I'm trying to get it back.

Some weeks are just a flurry and after spending all of last weekend out of town and unplugged this week seemed harder to get back connected.

Tonight I wanted to surprise my littles and take them to get ice cream because the Dairy Queen in town had everything 50% off. Unfortunately hen we got there the drive thru was a block long and the line inside was even longer so we pulled across the street to Mickey D's and they had sundaes.

I don't think E has ever had a sundae before as she didn't even know how to eat it, she tried picking it up and eating it like an ice cream cone. She's hilarious. And also a handful these days.

Good thing H broke me in. I love watching my littles do simple things like eat ice cream in their pajamas. I love that E talks to every other customer in the place. And I love that H talks with me, like really talks with me now, about everything and nothing. Serious things like what makes a river different than a lake and things like how to battle Ninjago spinners.

{New LESS post to come tomorrow. Get ready.}