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Dec 23, 2013

Birthdays and Christmas Fun

I can't believe that another Christmas is nearly here.  Christmas 2012 seems like it was just yesterday with my kids anxiously opening presents and excited for their new toys.  The Holidays go way too damn fast and it's really my favorite time of year, it has always been. 
Even though I spend way too much on presents for my girls and try to have Santa get their entire wishlist, I love seeing the looks on my girls faces when they open their gifts on Christmas morning. I'm more excited about this Christmas because it will be the very first Christmas in our new (beautiful) home. 
As strange as this may sound, I have always wanted a home with a beautiful staircase that I could decorate with lighted garland and the Christmas cards that we receive from family and friends.  While many people have had staircases all their lives, I did not.  I grew up in a "mom and daughter" type house, just like the majority of homes in my city.  My grandparents lived upstairs and my mother and I lived downstairs in the two family house.  The house was rather small, often compared to a "shoebox" by many of my friends, but it was home for 28 years of my life.  Now that we moved into a larger one family house with two floors, I couldn't be happier and feel more accomplished for finding it and fighting for that to be our new home.  I was able to (over) decorate it to how I had always dreamed my home to look for Christmas and can't wait to see our brand new tree sparkling on Christmas morning with all of our presents beneath it.  Just one more day left until I can enjoy that.
Olivia's 6th Birthday was this past weekend and I had the honor of hosting her family party at my home this year.  We invited 13 family members to the party and planned a nice spread of food that we both got catered and cooked ourselves.  I had the best time and was so proud to have such a beautiful and roomy house to have everyone over.  It was really the best feeling in the world for me.  Olivia got some great presents including a Sofia the First Leap Pad, many other Sofia the First toys, some beautiful outfits and a gorgeous easel from her Grandma and Grandpa, which she can't stop playing with.
I can't believe my baby turned 6 on Saturday -- time really does fly when you're having fun raising your children.  I tell this to everyone, including my sister who will soon have her babies, enjoy them while they're little!  It goes way too fast and if you blink you will miss the best and most enjoyable years. 
Happy Belated Birthday to my darling Princess Olivia and enjoy the remainder of the Holiday Season to my readers! 

Dec 18, 2013

A Mommy's Open Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
I know I'm a 28 year old mom and shouldn't be writing you a personal letter, so I decided to be a grown up and write you an open letter instead.  Who said adults can't have fun and write letters to Santa?  There are just a few things that I want this Christmas, that I know I'm not going to get, but hey; I want to get it off my chest anyway.  As much as us moms say that we don't want anything for Christmas, everyone has something that they want but just don't want to say!  So here is my list.
1. I would like a new pair of Uggs.  Yes, I know that I already have a pair but they're three years old, have been repaired twice and are stained from water and snow.  Of course I had them waterproofed when I bought them, but I'm sure that wore off after a year and I was just way too lazy to get them back to the shop to get them waterproofed again.  I know, I know, it's my own fault.  If you're feeling kind, Santa, I would like this pair of Uggs.  They don't go with everything but they're a bright pop of color when the weather is dreary and snowy, why not be daring?  You may be questioning me since I have so many pairs of Fuugs (Fake that look like Uggs but are not!) but they are not the same.  They're cheaply made, rip after one season and aren't as warm; but I do rock my Fuggs everywhere I go. 
2. A blue iPod Touch would be nice too.  I've been wanting to purchase one for myself and have been, on numerous occasions, close to buying one.  I just can't justify purchasing something I am never ever going to use.  I have an iPhone, I have a computer and a laptop and also have an iPad, but I do not have an iPod Touch and that's the only reason why I want one.  The blue is so pretty and really stands out.  I probably would never use it since all my music is streamed through Rdio and I never actually download music, but whatever.  I can ask, you're Santa.
3. What about a nice North Face jacket to keep me warm?  I purchased a pair of waterproof and fleec-y North Face boots about three years ago and absolutely love them.  They're my go-to winter boots when I need to go out in the snow.  You wouldn't think they're waterproof because the outside is fleece, but they really are.  So why not ask for a jacket that is probably warmer and more awesome than the boots?  Eh, I can dream, right?
4. Just a good ole' gift card.  There are a number of things I want to buy at any given time but aren't interesting or significant enough to really write in this open letter.  Santa, you should know what they are, but I will make it easy for you.  Just leave a gift card under the tree.
5. I would love some time to myself.  Just a day where I can relax, clean my house without it being messed up again within minutes, cook an actual dinner and just can relax on the couch watching mindless TV.  That would probably be my main Christmas wish!  I love my kids and my mother, but they always want my attention or need my help with something.  If I just had one day to relax I'm sure I wouldn't freak out and have nervous breakdowns as much as I actually do. If you can't get me some time to myself, maybe you can throw some magic dust down from our roof on Christmas Eve for my kids to be calm and behave.  It would be nice to have my girls actually listen to things I say and obey me.  I'm so tired of saying:
"Clean your room."  Numerous times a day.
"Do your homework." Again numerous times a day.
"Get up or you're going to be late for school."  About 5 times every morning.
"No, you can't pile 15 stuffed animals on your bed at night, you'll suffocate." 
Why can't they just listen to me? 
So Santa, if you're feeling generous and feel like granting some adults Christmas wishes, please do!  They would be incredibly happy!  I definitely have been a good girl this year.  (Sort of...
DISCLAIMER: I know most of you would take this in humor and good spirits but some others may think I'm a little nuts in the head.  I know that Santa is not real, but just felt like writing a letter since my kids get all the fun of doing that! Trust me, I did have fun.  I felt like a child again.

Dec 17, 2013

My Favorite Present of All Time

Looking back at previous Christmases as a child, I realize now that I took my family's generosity greatly for granted.  I had a great childhood filled with everything I could ever want for Christmas presents.   I used to get American Girl Dolls, My Size Barbies, whatever the hot new toy was that year that I wanted and just about everything else that a kid in the 90's could want.  However, one present really stands out in my mind and that was a present not given to me by my mother or grandmother. 
It was Christmas Eve 1995 and we had already had our traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner and went to church.  We were upstairs in my grandmother's living room and I was anxiously anticipating receiving my one Christmas Eve present.  Usually, it is a present that I have wanted all year and worked hard (homework, grades, behavior) to achieve.  My mother comes over to me with an envelope.  I was a little perplexed since my mother usually gave me an actual gift that I wanted, but I went with it.  (After all, I was 9.  I really didn't have a choice.) 
Inside that envelope was a card and a letter from my aunt and behind that was a photo of a kitten.  Of course, I looked at the photo before I read the card, doesn't every kid try to avoid reading cards?  The card told me that the kitten in the photo was mine and my aunt would be dropping it off the day after Christmas.  I freaked out, I had always wanted a kitten but my requests were always met with a, "No" from my mom.  I immediately called my aunt and told her that she had given me the best gift ever.  Which turned out to be true.
Years later, looking back, that was the best gift that I had ever received.  My cat, Buttons, was the love of my life and one of my best friends.  My mom, who was never a cat lover, even warmed up to my cat and loved her to death.  Buttons gave me years of happiness that I would never trade for any toy in the world.
One day I would love to get another cat just like her, although no one could replace her warmness and loving nature.  She is one pet that I will never forget and the best Christmas present that I had ever received.

Dec 5, 2013

Why I Loved Being a Work at Home Mom

Image borrowed from It's a WAHM Thing

While browsing through my e-mail one day I saw this post and it really made me miss being a work at home mom.  In the post the blogger states the frustrations but also the many (more) advantages of being a work at home mom and I completely agree with both sides.

I was a work at home mom from the moment my daughter was a year old until two years ago and I used to absolutely love to be home with my little girl.  Before choosing to work from home I was hesitant to make that huge change.  The change from going to work every day and being social with my fellow employees to working from home and having no interaction with anyone else I work with or the outside world. (not to be dramatic!)  Though, the more I thought about being able to be home with my daughter and being able to watch her grow up, the more I wanted to make the switch.  I was glad I did.

The main advantages, for me, were as follows:

#1.  Being able to see her grow up.  That was a huge thing for me.  As a first time mom, at that point, I did not want to miss a second of her being a baby.  I had already regretted that I went back to work (outside the home) right after my 6 weeks was up until the time she was a year old.  I know, I was a single mom and that's all I could do at that point, but I feel like I missed a lot of her actual infancy.  I didn't want to miss another minute of any firsts for her.  I'm big on milestones and recorded absolutely everything that she did, so I was very happy that I would get to continue that.  

#2.  Being able to make my own hours was also a huge advantage for me.  For the first few years I worked with two companies that contracted at home workers, but I was still able to choose my own schedule.  I was able to work around my daughter's schedule, take breaks when she needed something and was still able to take care of the house while I had some downtime.  I loved being able to work when I was able to.  

#3.  The challenge to stay motivated was also a huge deal for me.  I love to challenge myself and this was a big one.  The transition from working outside of the home to working at home was definitely more difficult in that aspect.  Why?  When you work outside of the home you have a boss breathing down your neck every minute of the day.  You have a boss to tell you what to do and when to do it...when you work at home it's just you, in your home, with PLENTY of distractions.  So challenging myself not to turn on the TV, pick up a book, chat on my phone or letting the dishes in the sink nag me!  It was hard to stay motivated in the beginning, but once I got a momentum going it was much easier.  I loved it.

Those are the top three reasons I absolutely loved being a work at home mom.  Why did I feel I had to write this post?  Well, today I was offered a promotion at my seasonal job to become Office Manager and I accepted the job.  I'm not feeling sad about it at all, in fact I'm extremely excited to have gotten this promotion.  It's a huge honor and one that I will take on head first and combat my way to success.  However, I wanted to look back and let others know that working from home is completely do-able and a great opportunity if you have young children or are a single mother.  I may be working outside of the home now, but I wouldn't trade my work at home days for anything in the world.

Dec 4, 2013

Two simple words to your younger self.

I read this prompt on a website at one point in time and I wrote it down in my blog binder to eventually write about.  I definitely think that now I know exactly what to write.  The prompt was to basically write two words to your younger self that really said a lot and that would be...

Be Yourself.

As a teenager I wanted to be popular and cool so badly that I made myself into what I thought other people wanted to be.  I tried to do absolutely everything that would make me cool or popular, but it never did.  I don't know why I even continued to try, but I did.  

Having children and getting older really made me realize that I needed to grow up. I had the unconditional love of my children and my family and my extremely close friends, I don't need to be anything else other than what I am.  I also tell my children the same thing, to just be yourself no matter what anyone else wants you to be.  All that matters is you. :)