JUP-SpaWomanAAs my last post vaguely mentioned, I decided that there was no better time to quit my job. I wasn’t in love with the role and life is too short to spend every day doing something you’re not happy with. That means I have been enjoying some funemployment for the last two weeks. Going in I envisioned my time off looking something like this ——->

I have a hard time doing nothing, so of course I have been keeping a journal of the things I’m accomplishing each day. On Day #1, I allowed myself to just sit on the couch, to drink my coffee and fill my brain with a ton of things I wanted to do with my time.  I made a list (duh) and felt energized to get things done!

Day #2 Will was running a fever so we stayed home together. While we were playing in the office (read, Toy Room) I decided I could no longer take the chaos and decided to purge and reorganize. Man did that feel good after it was done. Day #3 I was lucky enough to grab lunch with a dear friend at my favorite pizza joint, Porta Alba. This is no joke – if you live in, around or near Madison, you MUST go there. (Side note: I always order the Vegitariana pizza and it’s to die for!) This sounds so cheesy, but it was nice to spend time as just the two of us. Normally we have our kiddo’s & husbands in tow, making conversation more challenging.

Day #4 started with a visit to my hair stylist, who is one of the most talented & caring people I know. I love visiting her and this time was extra special because I learned she is expecting her first baby! I was then off to another great lunch date with three very close friends. I’ve decided that I’m never finding a job and will become a lady who lunches.  I haven’t figured out how to pay for those lunches but that’s not of importance! I spent the rest of the afternoon evaluating insurance plans (yuck)! Since that was no fun (understatement of the century) I decided to pick Ella up from school early and finally make our closed terrariums. Let’s hope they are as low-maintenance as they say!

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Day #5 I decided it was time to get down to business. Yes, I still had a lunch date with an old coworker, but I also cleaned and purged more of the house. Day #6 we had no school or daycare so it was me & the kiddo’s again. Ella was invited to a friends house for a playdate and had a blast. Will and I decided we would go for donuts, visit the pet store and grab lunch with dad. Day # 7 started out with some pampering, as I decided to give myself a manicure I saw on Pinterest. I then spent the rest of the day doing some real “work” for Kella Design.

Day #8 yet again included a lunch date with a great new friend. It was so much fun to chat with her and it turns out we both have something in common, we’re raising an extremely challenging and spirited 6 year old little lady! I can’t tell you how nice it is to find someone who can totally relate to what it’s like to parent someone like Ella. The constant struggle to “get her under control” all while trying to not squash her “spirit.” Day #9 was originally jam packed with meetings, but of course my OCD-self was starting to feel stressed that I hadn’t accomplished enough of the projects from my list, so I cleared my schedule. The morning started with some baby shower planning (my brother & SIL are expecting twins!!) and then quickly moved to house projects. We have been in a process of painting ALL of the trim in our house and had yet to tackle the trim in Ella’s room. This is when I was quickly reminded why I don’t normally paint my nails. So much for the manicure! I then did laundry, cleaned and purged the kids bedrooms and made an amazing dinner (again).

That brings me to Day #10, today! Ella has early release and she’s decided that she wants to spend it with mom. Turns out that no matter how much fun she had at her playdate, she’s extremely jealous of Will’s one-on-one time with mom. So we’re repeating the same day that Will & I had.

The days haven’t gone exactly as I planned and they definitely do not look like the peaceful spa image, but I have enjoyed them nonetheless. After looking at the journal, I feel like I have done a good job at balancing my time with a little pampering, a lot of productivity, projects crossed off the list, some great homemade meals and quality time spent with family & friends. I’m not entirely sure how much funemployment time I have left, but yesterday we got a healthcare bill in the mail and as Ella opened it she said, “wow, that’s a lot – mom, you better get back to work and make some money!” So I plan to continue to fill the days with as much as I possibly can because I’ll likely not get a chance like this again.


Let It Go

No. Even though you’ll often hear this tune playing in our house, car, sleep (I swear) – I am not referring to the insanely popular song sung by Elsa from Frozen. I am however talking about the only resolution I’m making in 2015.

Let it go. Everything! My job, my house, my kids & my marriage. Don’t start to panic, I haven’t lost my mind. I don’t mean that I’m literally letting go of those things (with the exception of my job), but I am working to let go of the small things tied to those important parts of my life.

I’m focusing on being grateful for the things our home already provides instead of seeing the “flaws” I want to fix. It doesn’t always have to look immaculate and magazine-worthy. Toys can be seen laying around and there might be some dirty dishes left on the counter. It doesn’t matter, let it go!

I will try to yell less. I know this is going to be a challenge, but I really want to find a way to make this happen because it’s not healthy for any of us and frankly – our kids deserve it. There is no way they are going to stop running, fighting, yelling and I don’t expect them to miraculously listen – but that’s what we signed on for and again, as long as they are not hurt – it doesn’t matter, let it go!

keep-calm-seriously-in-this-house-17I think if I can follow through on my first two goals, my marriage will improve as well. We are always so stressed because we are doing too many things at one time. Less home improvement projects will allow for more focused time to spend with the kids. Hopefully that added attention will eliminate some of the battles we’re constantly fighting on a daily basis. Lower standards for my children will provide less stress and hopefully less yelling and you know what they say, happy wife = happy life, right?

The year of 2014 was good to us, but I’m confident that 2015 will be even better. I will do my best to keep calm, even while living in this house amongst the inevitable chaos.


My Second Family

Today is my first day of unemployment, but don’t worry it won’t last long as I start my new gig on Monday as the Corporate Director of Marketing & Sales at First Supply!

Almost 7 years ago, Joe & I were still living in Eau Claire when he randomly said he wanted to move to a bigger market. Obviously we weren’t going to choose Minneapolis – we’re Badger/Brewer/Packer fans and there was no way we could live amongst the Gopher/Twins/Vikings. So we set our sights on Madison and started searching for jobs. Luckily I came across a random Craigslist posting for an entry-level Project Coordinator role at a little place called Kennedy Communication’s.

I got a call for an interview, but  since it was a Craigslist ad I wasn’t quite sure if the agency was legitimate or not.  At that time there was no website to learn more, but I figured – why not? I had a great interview where we talked a lot about my prior experience at a web firm and I got a call the very next day. The offer was surprising though – they wanted me to help build a web department to service their current clients. I asked what the role entailed and the response was, “we have no idea – but if you can let us know your decision this week, I’ll throw in free Badger tickets.”  Obviously, the choice was clear (see: Badger fan comment above). I packed up my stuff and moved to the big city. Unfortunately Joe hadn’t lined something up yet so I went alone!

It was a risk but it was the best one I have ever taken and I can’t believe how lucky I am for finding that role! We did build a department, in fact we were so successful that we formed our own company – Kennedy Convergence, solely dedicated to the web initiatives for our clients. It started as a team of 2 and grew to almost 10!

The entire agency has grown. I was the 12th employee hired and today there are 25 awesome people… I can’t say enough about great things about the people. When we moved here, we knew very few people and had our family several hours away. We’ve made so many very close friends because of Kennedy. Some have come and gone but I will have a special place in my heart for Yesterday I left behind my second family, but only on Mondays-Fridays from 8 to 5!

This hasn’t been just a job for me – we really are a family. That means so many things including respect, loyalty, laughter, FUN and being extremely honest with each other. I experienced all of those things while at Kennedy. Those people truly know who I am. They’ve stood by and supported me through so many major life events (“she had a baby, got married and had ANOTHER baby!”) They’re always welcome in my home and I would do anything for them – I owe them!

Photo (8)Last week they threw me a going away party and kindly brought a cake that included a sentiment only they could come up with, “If you’re going to reach for the stars, reach for the lowest one!” They also left me with the absolute best parting gift a girl could ask for – a photo album full of memories that we’ve all made together. Happy hours, Badger bashes, weddings, Brewer outings, travel trips, charity events, work celebrations, Halloween costumes, volleyball nights and “normal” days in the office. It might be the best, most thoughtful gift I have ever been given.

They also gave me a card that read, “Work Hard. Be Honest. Have Fun. Dream Big. Laugh Often. Be True to Yourself.” I  promise to always do those things and hope the same for everyone at Kennedy!


Oh Hey, 2014!

I have no idea how it happened, but a new year is upon us. That’s right, goodbye 2013 and hello 2014. Not only is it a new year, but we’re already more than halfway through January!

I haven’t wrote in a while, for a lot of reasons really. A lot of it has been due to writer’s block, some of it has been a lack of time, but it’s definitely not because I have nothing to say (cue the sarcastic comments). I could write a 2013 review or a positive, goal-filled outlook for 2014. I could share the story of Ella opening her Christmas gifts early or her amazing opportunity to be on television for Cleft Awareness. I could write about the fact that Will is no longer a baby and has an insane ability to repeat everything we say – I’m telling you, the kid’s a parrot! Let’s not forget our annual Packer outing, New Years Eve festivities and of course there are always a lot of home improvement projects happening.

For the sake of keeping it interesting, I’m going to talk about the most important things – our kids. We’ll start with Will first. For some reason from the time he was born, Will was nicknamed by everyone as “Baby Will.” Although the nickname has held, sadly he is no longer a baby. Almost 18 months already, he is doing new things daily. As I mentioned above, he talks all the time – it’s crazy. His vocabulary probably consists of 40 words and while it’s not always clear, he really has no limits. He says the usual things like, momma, dadda, ball, puppy, no-no, etc. He also says things less typical like, football, touchdown, cheese, adios, etc. The more impressive thing is that he says things in context – “thank you” when he’s given something he’s asked for, or “get down” as he’s climbing on all the furniture in the house.

1512597_10100634258613046_1604147836_nHis actions are no longer by chance, but definitely intentional. He’s a lot like Ella, but even more devious. He knows the difference from right and wrong, but that doesn’t mean he makes the right choice. I might be biased, but he’s extremely talented. It’s made me think a lot about gender differences, but he somehow has this natural ability to pick up a ball and accurately whip it at your head. He is still a picky little eater and definitely needs to work on his short temper!

Now onto Ella. I already spoiled the end of the story, but it’s still a worthy of documenting (to share with her when she has kids of her own someday)! We always set up our tree in early December and place the wrapped presents underneath as they are purchased. We’ve never had a problem in the past and it shouldn’t be all that tempting since we don’t even wait until Christmas to open (due to traveling to our families). This year should have been even easier since I didn’t wrap and place the presents until later than normal. Almost everyday after daycare she would ask to open, “just one” gift from the under the tree. Each time she got the same answer, “absolutely not” or “don’t even think about it!”

Regardless of all of those things, the temptation was far too much for her and she caved. On December 14th, we woke to find that not only had she had opened EVERY.SINGLE.GIFT from under the tree, she also found the stocking stuffers I had hidden in our spare bedroom. The scene was shocking and surreal! I was honestly surprised because behavior-wise, she was on a good run, she had been a really good girl. Just a few days prior during our bedtime conversations she said, “it’s ok if Santa can’t bring me what I asked for, maybe he’ll just bring me something small. I just cannot believe I’m on the nice list!”

Thank goodness she can read, that at least prevented her from unwrapping all of Will’s gift too. Her actions required a punishment that would hopefully set the tone for years to come. I thought about re-wrapping the gifts, but she was excited to help with that task and I didn’t want to do it again. We ended up settling on her gifts sitting under the tree, unwrapped to see everyday, but she wasn’t allowed to play with them. I also took her to Build-a-Bear to make an animal that we then donated to Toys for Tots. She did a pretty good job with both of those punishments, but the hardest part was when Will opened his gifts. She had to sit patiently and not help or touch a thing the entire time he opened. It took him about 30 minutes and drove her (and us) a little insane! The final punishment was in her stocking, which we opened after we returned home from the holiday travel. Will’s was full of gifts from Santa, he even had a gift under the tree. Ella’s stocking was empty – except for a note in the shape of a heart. It read, “Dear Ella, try harder next year and remember, don’t open your gifts until Christmas! Love, Santa.” She was sad, but I think the point was made. If she opens her gifts ahead of time again, she’s moving in with grandma & grandpa.

Now onto better things from Ella. Our friend Emmy Fink presented us with an amazing opportunity to share Ella’s story of Cleft Awareness on the CW Network here in Madison. When I first asked Ella if she was interested she was a bit hesitant, but then quickly turned into a diva – “I don’t want you to go on t.v. with me, I want to go myself – just like my last surgery!” I had to explain that it was important for a parent to tell their story too, so she said, “okay mom, just the girls will go this time. The next time I’m on t.v. I’ll pick dad!” That kid.

When people started to hear about it, I think they expected her performance to be loud and full of personality, just like her. In reality she was a little nervous and pretty reserved, but I couldn’t be prouder of her and the outcome! Hopefully as she gets older she realize what an opportunity it was.



Those pesky little things that nag you when not reached. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so goal oriented, but as a friend told me recently, “that’s just who you are!” One of my goals for 2012 was to blog more. I didn’t set specific criteria, i.e. once a day, week, month, etc. I just wanted to do better each month compared to 2011.

I started off a little slow by only blogging once in January & February, which was the same as the year before. When March & April rolled around though, I was off to the races. I blogged 4 times in March and 5 times in April, compared to once in each month of 2011. I should have felt happy, right?

Nope. Just as I am goal oriented I’m also always pushing to improve and am never satisfied. So I looked back to 2010. I was so surprised! I blogged all the time when I started this journey, a total of 31 times for the year and I started in April.

Thus, my goals changed. I now compare to 2010. What is wrong with me? This blog is supposed to be enjoyable. It’s not competitive, yet somehow I’m competing with myself! How is that even possible? This takes my competitive nature to a whole new level.

Being goal oriented isn’t all bad I suppose. It’s allowed me to build a pretty successful career, while also raising two beautiful kids & maintaining a happy relationship with my hubby (blah blah blah blah). I know I should blog when, “it feels right,” but I do want to continue to push myself to write. Regardless of how chaotic things get this is an outlet that allows me to get some thoughts out of my brain & hopefully as I look back, remember this time in our lives.

Nonetheless, November 2012 is looking pretty good because this is my second entry for the month – which is better than 2011 & 2010!