Monthly Archives: January 2018

Name of the Day: Coretta

About this time last year I started a game with my husband I called “Name of the Day”. Each day I pitched him a new name, with details about why it’s worthy of consideration for our future child. The first name I did was Coretta. He agreed it was a worthy name. And I decided that going forward I should put my name notes in sentence form and make them into blog posts. But poor Coretta never got her post. Which is funny because had #3 been a girl, she was most likely going to be Coretta!

Coretta is an elaboration of the name Cora and therefore means little maiden. Cora could be a sweet nickname as could Cory, Etta, Retta, Coco, Cetta or even Coy.

Cora is Peter’s grandmother, so we liked that connection. But the strongest force pulling us towards the name is obviously Coretta Scott King. The wife of Martin Luther King Jr., I find her to have been even more influential than her husband. This is not a criticism of Mr. King at all, but Coretta had many more years in which to make a difference.

What Martin did in his lifetime was obviously ground breaking, and she helped him accomplish all he did. But I believe much of what he worked towards would be forgotten if after his death Coretta hadn’t spent years working to make “Martin Luther King Jr. Day” a national holiday. Now that it’s a holiday Martin’s beliefs, speeches, protests, etc are taught in school. Would he be mentioned in a chapter of a history book if it weren’t for his holiday? Of course. But I don’t believe it would be focused on nearly to the same extent. By giving him a national holiday, our country has to acknowledge all that he did, and what our society was like before him.

Besides being Martin’s backbone during his lifetime and continuing to work towards racial equality after his death, Coretta was also very influential in terms of women’s rights and LBGTQ rights. And she raised 4 kids by herself. And started the Martin Luther King Jr. center for nonviolent social change.

Honestly, I can’t think of a more inspiring namesake than Coretta Scott King. If you want to know more about her I highly recommend My Life, My Love My Legacy, written by her and Barbara Reynolds.




Name of the Day: Anina

A German diminutive of Anna, which itself comes from the name Hannah, this name means “grace”. It is also an Aramaic name meaning “let my prayer be answered”.

I can’t find any historical namesakes with this name. Real or fictional. Which kind of blows my mind. It’s so beautiful but simple. It’d be a perfect way to honor someone named Ann or Anna or Nina while still giving them their own name.

Annie, Anna, Annie, Nina are also all great nicknames.

Come on people, why is nobody using this name??




 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

1st of all I am well aware that today is January 26th. The kids and I were sick when the rest of the world rung in the New Year. The kids remained sick for over a week and I remained sick for almost 3. So, after hibernating for a LONG time and not only continuing bad habits but strengthening them as we felt like death…. I thought a we needed a fresh start. So, we had a belated New Year’s Eve celebration!!

January 24th we had a special dinner complete with sparkling grape juice and french fries! We talked about how in the new year people try to do things differently to make themselves happier and healthier. The kids decided on their resolutions (with only a LOT of guidance): to eat healthier and to go to sleep better. We watched the Beat Bugs countdown on Netflix and we gave them each a small present (mostly because they were things we wanted them to have before the next gift giving occasion anyway!)

Putting Lennon to bed that night I said “Good night bud, Happy New Year!” And he told me he loves New Year and he liked when I helped him drink sparkling grape juice from a big boy cup. I was so happy that a simple thing like grape juice in a non-sippy cup could be such a good memory for him.

So far we’re off to a good start on our resolutions. On the food front Lucille and Lennon have committed to eating dinner every night when Mommy and Daddy eat dinner. They don’t have to eat everything, but they at least have to try dinner. If they don’t like it I told them I’d give them fruit and veggie options they can eat instead, a bowl of blueberries, a banana, whatever it is we have…

Also January 25th (our New Year’s Day) we took the kids grocery shopping with us to pick out fruits and veggies themselves. They picked…. pretty much the same stuff we always get. Plus watermelon… which I don’t normally get in January, but is part of our summer menu often. The fact that they picked out themselves I hoped was going to make them want to eat it more. I’d say it was somewhat successful.

I have also typed up a lot of simple kid friendly recipe ideas for lunch. Nothing crazy, but things to add to our normal rotation of peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets. The “recipes” are as simple as making a peanut and jelly sandwich but using apple slices instead of bread or making a grilled cheese but sneaking in a broccoli floret. On top of each page of recipes I put a favorite character of theirs. This way they can pick their own lunch and there are cute little characters guiding them to healthy choices. (Strawberry shortcake has recipes with strawberries, Curious George has recipes with bananas, etc.)

On the bedtime front, Lennon recently switched from his toddler bed to a “big boy bed” aka a twin. He is so much comfier and now almost always sleep through the night! So, that’s half the battle already. But we need to work on them cooperating for their bedtime routine. So, just like our lunches above, I’m using their favorite characters to help guide them.

I made a checklist of all the things we do before we go to sleep: Eat a healthy snack, put on our bedtime lotion and pajamas, brush our teeth, go potty, read a book and finally: go to sleep! Next to each item is one of their favorite characters doing the activity. Together we will be going through the list every night. The kids were really excited about this list and even thanked me for making it!

As for me, I’m trying to get into a better routine of meal preparation and blogging. The meal prep for the sake of my family, so I have less to try to accomplish each day and can focus more on fun… or cleaning! The blogging for myself. Because it’s something I enjoy doing and I hate that it’s the first thing I give up when things get busy. I want to do at least 2 posts every week.

Here’s my meal plan plan: Every Wednesday night I will go shopping. I will have every meal for the entire week planned out. I will buy all ingredients I need for the week’s meals, which will include a 5 pound package of either beef or chicken. Thursday and Friday I will cook up meals using up 2 of the 5 pound package of meat I bought. Saturday morning I will turn the remaining 3 pound of meat into 3 freezer bag meals. Each week the plan will be to use 2 previously stocked freezer meals. This way I’m storing one extra so that if once every month or two we have a crazy busy week where I need to rely heavily (or solely) on freezer meals, I have them!

I have found 10 beef recipes and 20 chicken recipes that I want to try and assuming they’re good, I will use this rotation of 30 recipes repeatedly. So far I’ve only tried 1 of the freezer meals, but made about 10. The first one was GREAT! Once I try more I will definitely be sharing them!!




 

Name of the Day: Ernest

Meaning “serious”, this name is probably considered terribly out of fashion to many. Most. But I find it nerdy enough to be cool! I would swoon if I met a little boy named Ernest, it’s just so sweet and unexpected. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the nickname Ernie, which I feel is inevitable. But the nickname could grow on me. (I didn’t like the nickname Lulu either and now it’s my daughter’s primary nickname!) I also like Ernesto, and think Nesto would be a sweet nickname.

My primary association with the name is the Oscar Wilde play, The Importance of Being Earnest.  A comical play that pokes fun of social obligations, and life’s general priorities, especially regarding love and marriage.  I love that this play is purely satire, just lighthearted and fun!

Another strong association is Ernest Hemingway. A Nobel prize and Pulitzer prize winner, Hemingway is one of the 20th century’s most notable writers. Another Pulitzer prize winner is Ernest Poole.

Ernest carries a lot of literary cred, but it’s also a popular name amongst athletes. A basketball hall of famer and several Olympic medalists answer to Ernest. A saint, a few actors, politicians, and a notable explorer as well as physician.




New Chapter: Stay at Home Mom

After about 2.5 years of working from home, this September I decided my family deserved to have my full attention. My last day working for the radio station was October 31. I was  a bit nervous about our family losing my income, but overall felt pretty confident in my decision. Our loans will now be getting paid back slower and we won’t be doing any renovations on our house for several years. But I thought that seemed like a fair trade so that my kids didn’t have to share their mom with about 30 clients.

Now that my work days are two and a half months in the past, I look at the decision as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And I wanted to share some of the misconceptions people have regarding working from home.

When people heard I worked from home the immediate response was always “you’re so lucky!” People mean well when they say this, I know they do. But by the end, the phrase made me cringe. And I don’t want to sound ungrateful when I say it wasn’t luck that allowed me to work from home, but here’s why it wasn’t.

First of all I chose a job in a field (radio sales) which allows most employees schedule flexibility, with my eventual goal of raising a family in mind. Radio sales was only part of my job when I was full time at the station, but a part that I held onto because I knew it could be done remotely and that some day I may need to take advantage of that.

In my time as a full time employee at the station I worked hard to make myself invaluable to my boss. When I told him I was pregnant with Lennon and could no longer afford to work full time I felt certain he would ask me to keep my sales responsibilities and work from home on a commission basis. (But I wanted him to be the one to suggest it so it didn’t seem like allowing me to do so would be him doing me any sort of favor.)

So that covers why it wasn’t a lucky situation that I just happened to fall into but something that took forethought and work. Of course, my boss didn’t have to offer me the option to work from home, despite my labors. I admit luck played a role. But luck should not be getting all the credit here!

Then comes actually working from home…. “that’s so nice to work from the comfort of your home”, “how convenient to be able to set your own schedule”, “that’s great to be able to take care of your kids while doing your work.” Yeah… sort of.

When you think of working from home you think you’ll have a lot of say over what hours you’ll be working. And I’m sure for some people that’s true. But that was not the case for my job. It was more like being on call throughout the entire work day for 1/3 of the pay and then frantically trying to get to as much as possible once my husband was home for the evening. With 30 clients able to call at any minute and often needing something immediately, I tried several times to have certain hours that I focused on work, so that my kids could have my attention during the other times…. but it never happened. Because I couldn’t ignore anyone who called me during the “other times”.

Working from the comfort of your home is a phrase that just did not apply to me… I felt more like I lived in my office because of the above scheduling dilemmas. And yes, it sounds great to work in your PJs. But when you’ve been wearing the same pajamas for 3 days and you’re covered in spit up… I bet you’d rather have a daycare to drop the kids off at when a client decides they want to meet that afternoon… which brings me to another point. People would say well why don’t you bring the kids to daycare when you get backed up? Or when something comes up last minute? Because no daycare will keep 2 slots open for kids I might drop off twice a week and I might drop off once a month… Daycares can’t be profitable or operational by letting Moms like me drop their kids off whenever “work from home” gets to be too much.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side. I’m not writing this to make myself out to be a victim of an impossible situation. Working away from your kids sucks, you miss them. Not working sucks, you need more money. For this reason I think a lot of people think working from home is the best of both worlds. And they’re right. But it’s also the worst of both worlds. You have all the stress of work and of kids at the same time. And the guilt of not getting to work quick enough. And worse, the guilt of not giving your kids the attention they are seeking.

I’m writing this as food for thought for those considering working from home. I knew working from home with my 2 little ones would be challenging. But I don’t think I realized the extent of it. And I’m writing this to remind myself of the challenges. 1. Because I’m proud of myself for juggling my priorities as long as I did. And 2. Because in a year when I can’t afford a fancy vacation I may be wishing I didn’t give up the income I had… and this might remind me how much more valuable the day to day interactions I can now have with my kids are.

Rushing my kids home from the playground because a client called me at 1:00 and now I need to get an order placed by 2:00 is no longer something I have to worry about. When we have play dates with our friends I won’t have to feel guilty every time a client calls and I have to tell them “No I can’t get that started by tomorrow.” Or worse, spend the whole play date writing scripts from my kindle and calling the office to try to get the order placed without the accurate forms because it NEEDS to be on by tomorrow. I won’t have to close myself in another room to call a client back while my kid screams on the other side of the door. I will not miss any of this!

I’m so grateful to close this chapter of my life and move onto the next one.

Working from home was a very significant part of who I was and has helped shaped me into who I now am. The Mom I am. It was not lucky. It was hard work. So that I don’t seem completely ungrateful though by saying it wasn’t lucky, here are some things I do consider lucky in my life:

  1. I am lucky for my health and the health of my family
  2. I am lucky to have been born to a loving family and one that could afford to take care of me
  3. I’m lucky to be born in a country where I am free
  4. I am lucky to be born in an age with so many medical advancements (otherwise I’m positive I would have literally died in childbirth, if something like the plague didn’t get me before then.)
  5. I am lucky to have met Peter at the time in my life that I was ready to meet my soul mate.

And so much more! And now I’m off to enjoy time with my kiddoes!!