I’m 1 Year Old! Happy Birthday Go Mama O!

Cheers! My Blog is officially 1 year old today! AND it’s my 100th post! I celebrated last night on a date night with Daddy O.  Here I am toasting myself with a cucumber, cilantro vodka concoction.

blog bday

We had the most amazing tapas! It was the perfect meal for an end of summer evening to dine al fresco and sample bits of this & that (without committing to one HUGE entree). This savory waffle with smoked gouda and chives topped with chicken asparagus and mushrooms was so pretty I HAD to take a picture before devouring it. Tell me I’m not the only one who takes pictures of my food…c’mon! delicious tapas

Looking Back

Reflecting on Go Mama O’s first year, I would say that I have learned a lot this past year.  One of my earliest posts, Top 5 Things I Learned from my Kids, still holds true even one year later, and I’m STILL learning to be a more patient parent.

In this past year, I met some helpful fellow moms along the way – including a sweet elderly woman at a grocery store. Gained a contract job that I did while my son napped and my daughter watched all episodes of  Wonder Pets on Netflix. I job hunted & got rejected several times before finding the right fit.  In the meantime, I learned to slow down more and enjoy many million dollar moments of parenting.

I am most proud of times when I gave up control a bit and empowered others to make a “good choice.” When potty training my daughter, I ultimately told her that SHE WAS IN CHARGE of her pee-s and poops.  I mistakenly gave her too much free reign on one toilet session, and paid for it dearly, so much so that I had to call in for back-up.

This aforementioned incident aside, I started to realize that this parenting thing DOES get easier as your kids grow older and slowly more independent.

Come April, I had landed a part-time marketing job that continues to be a good balance of work & parenting.  A few job related posts:

We have mostly overcome issues with growling, survived a cross-country road-trip, and I’m adjusting to the dinnertime rush on my workdays. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come (and my family too) in this past year.  For all the stress and worry that I felt one year ago, I wish I would have just RELAXED more because everything did work out for the best.

Thank you so much to the many fellow blog-friends, and my readers, who may relate to or simply enjoy my mom / work / cheese obsession / travel posts.  I look forward to celebrating more Blog Birthdays with you in the future!

Any feedback, suggestions, or thoughts on topics that I write about?  I’d love to hear from you!  Do you frequently look back at old posts and think about how life has changed since then?

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Some Rules for a Parent’s Night Out

I recently had some evenings away from my two dear children thanks to Daddy O.  We typically take turns to make sure we each have an opportunity to get out of the house to have some time to ourselves.  This could mean working out, playing in a sports league, or meeting up with friends….all good things!

After recently ruining the relaxation and peacefulness of my “away time” upon my return home, I feel compelled to record some rules for a parent’s night out, so I hopefully will NOT break them again.

1. Be sure to leave and don’t return until AFTER bedtime.  As I mentioned above, I returned from a massage appointment (awesome Mother’s Day gift certificate) about 15 minutes too early.  BIG mistake!  Instead of staying in my relaxed bliss, I was jolted into “mom mode” helping with  dictating the cleaning-up process and getting annoyed by over-tired bedtime antics of my nearly 2 and 3.75 year old. I inserted myself when I didn’t need to.

2. You can’t treat your spouse like a babysitter. This is FREE labor – and it should be one of love (well, most of the time anyway).  Daddy O. may have his own ways of doing things, and that’s okay as long as the end result is the same: sleeping kids when I return home.

3. Don’t ask too many questions.  Again, if the house is quiet, and the kids are asleep, just go with it and ENJOY!  I think a more open ended question – “how was your night?” may be better received.

4. Lower expectations on the “honey-do-list.”  Based on how post-dinner / bedtime go, additional items on the honey-do-list may not get done.  I’ve learned to lower my expectations, and be pleasantly surprised when something IS done.

5. Just breathe.  If it appears the night at home didn’t go as you would have hoped, just pause and take a breath.  This is kind of hard when I am sort of a control-freak, or think MY WAYS are simply better.  I’m working on this, trying to learn to just let some things go.

What are your “rules” for your night’s off from parenting?  How do you carve out time for yourself to recharge?

Musings on Summer

As summer comes to a close, and the last few weeks are filled with several “last hurrah” outings and road-trips, I’ve been reflecting on summer, and wanted to share a quick list:

1. How do mosquitos automatically know exactly where to sting you, so it is terribly annoying?  For me, it’s my ankles. GRR!

2. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat ice cream every day.

3. Sunscreen can be a kind of perfume, right?!  It also doubles as a heavy duty moisturizer.

4. You can find tasty treats – anything deep fried, with bacon, or chocolate dipped at local fairs.  Today I had a bite-sized bacon wrapped brownie!  It was delish!

5. Kids find sand & dirt to dig and play in wherever we go.  Even if it’s not bath night, I just let them go.

6. Fireworks are loud & scary to young kids.  We watched some from inside our house, (shot off from a nearby park) and my daughter said she wants to watch fireworks from inside all the time.

7. A picnic doesn’t have to be a big ordeal.  We have just grabbed a blanket, throw some food together, and enjoyed eating al fresco in our own yard.  For winter time, we do this in our living room!

8. Bedtimes tend to get later as we enjoy every last minute of sunshine and beautiful weather.  Plus, kids don’t like to sleep when the sun is still out.

9. Kids will get bored, while us parents scratch our heads amazed at how quickly summer flies by.

10. Housework and yard work can wait because, it’s summer, and it only lasts so long.

Happy summer!  What things are quintessential summer to you?

Talking with a Toddler and a Pre-schooler

Over the weekend I read The Sadder But Wiser Girl’s Weekly Wrap Up, and the Fly on the Wall post reminded me that I should share some of the random things that I hear around my own house. If you haven’t checked out Sarah’s blog, you should! She will make you laugh, sing, dance, and nod your head in agreement!

Okay – onto talking with a toddler and a pre-schooler.  Big sister is just past 3.5 and little brother is quickly approaching age 2. They are talkative and funny, surprising me almost daily in their sweet little voices:

Big sister says

  • “Big sisters don’t like to be copied.”  As a younger sister, I’m SURE my big sister said this to me numerous times.  No truer words have been spoken my dear.  I told her that her brother only copies her because he loves her, but she was not buying that.
  • “I am old enough for school now.”  She said this when I went back to work at 3.5, so the transition went well!  YES!
  • Daddy O – “Kids stop harassing your mother.”Big sister – “But we harass Mom because we love her.” Awh, thanks?!

Little Brother says

  • At 20 months, “Wear the orange one.” when helping me pick out his clothes.
  • “Mama come here.”  Sometimes he screams this!
  • “Be right back. Just a second.”
  • He took my book (at the time it was “Mad Women: The other side of life on Madison Avenue in the ’60’s and beyond” by Jane Maas), turning the pages, told me, “It says no wrestling.”  Given how much I say that, I can understand why he thinks my book would say that!
  • “Sumo (our cat) puked.”  This is a common occurrence in our house, but he really had me convinced that she HAD puked again…somewhere. Fortunately, he was wrong!

Now picture these cuties below saying these phrases.  No wonder why they crack me up!

Big sister, Mama O, Daddy O, and Little Brother

The best family picture we’ve had in a LONG time!

Thank you, dear children, for blessing our house with a lot of laughter and love!  I am sure you will continue to surprise us with the creative statements and questions that will pass your lips.

For more words from Big Sister, read Choose Your Words Carefully.

I’ve been keeping track of the crazy things my kids say by using notes on my tablet (and reviewing some Facebook status updates).  How do you record and remember what your kids say?

Related posts

I really enjoyed these memorable posts from some of my favorite bloggers.  Check ’em out!

Home Improvement Blog – Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

In light of some recent home improvement work we had done at our home, I searched for blogs on that topic, since it is so near and dear to our hearts right now.  It seems that EVERYTHING we do or have quoted on our home is $300 minimum.  New glass block windows in the basement = $600, stone block railing = $500, ant control program = $155 + the bargain price of $31 per month, equaling $310 for the rest of the year!  Wow – where do I sign?!  Guess who was hiding some child-resistant ant traps and spraying eco-friendly ant spray before sitting down to blog tonight?  You got it – this lucky Mama O.

With a home that would definitely receive the senior citizen discount, we are doomed blessed to have home improvement projects that keep us – or expensive contractors busy!

In honor of this reality that is our life, I bring you some blogs on home improvement as part of the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.

Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge

One of the first blogs that caught my eye was Dogs, Dishes and DecorIn This House Needs a Hug (Or I Want to Fix Everything), – what a fantastic title right – she grabs me with a line from one of my favorite films Dirty Dancing.  It’s a quote from steamy dance instructor Johnny to Baby.

“I’ve never known anyone like you before. You think you can make the world better. Somebody’s lost, you find them. Somebody’s bleeding…”

“And I go get my daddy.”

Anika feels this way about beautiful architecture.  Check out her blog for the adorable home that needs a hug – STAT!

I can also relate to things of mine being covered in pet hair, though I have the feline variety in my home and usually clinging to my clothes.

When perusing her blog a bit more, I came across This One’s For You, Justin (Or How to Make a Kale, Banana, and Nut Smoothie). It’s a post about family, loss, and finding ways to honor a loved one.  This truly struck a chord with me as I remembered my Grandpa on July 3rd.  Anika’s statement about food being so much more than just food is spot-on.  Read her full post and have a tissue ready.

Happy Reading, and feel free to join the challenge!

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