Category Archives: Mommas

Mommas Outdoor

The Playhouse Makeover: Before

the-playhouse-makeover-before

This weekend I snagged this amazing kid’s playhouse on Craigslist. I’m beyond excited about how we are going to transform it and our backyard. Hooray, me!

Introducing The Playhouse

Often times I have insomnia and while I’m waiting to fall asleep I scour my favorite Craiglist app, called Daily for Craigslist for deals. It’s how two years ago we snagged our Pottery Barn outdoor sectional for $1,100 originally $5,000 as well as a handful of other awesome household goods. This spring, I broke down and purchased new replacement cushions for our outdoor sectional in navy blue. The cushions were originally in a stone color. Stone is not a good cushion color if you have pets. I tried everything I could to salvage then even going so far as to try and dye them a dark blue uneventfully. Three weeks in and the dark navy sectional cushions are holding up to kids, an Airedale terrier and a couple who wants nothing more than to sip wine on their patio.

pink-playhouse

Earlier this week I stumbled upon this super cute pink kid’s playhouse and after some back and forth we were able to bring it home. Fortunately for us the family who owned the playhouse lived in our neighborhood. We literally had to move and relocate the playhouse just a couple blocks. All told the process took an hour, a truck, trailer and 5 guys to move the playhouse, removing the fence panel and transport to our yard. I can’t wait to start the transformation process both inside and out.

pink-playhouse-inside

The playhouse is in need of a fresh coat of paint inside and out as well as some personal updates. You can see from the picture below that we are extremely light on indoor space. We will be repainting and refreshing the inside of the playhouse while focusing on organization. In addition to doing some serious time garage saling, I am eagerly awaiting an ikea order where we purchased the following:

  • Ribba Picture Ledge. I can’t wait to try this one out. Looking forward to decorating with an assortment of cute plastic plates and pictures. (Click here)
  • Norberg Wall-mounted Drop Leaf Table. The width of the house is 50 inches. The drop leaf table provides Ryleigh a creative art and playspace that also allows for her to camp out in her house for the night. (Click here)
  • Fintorp Rail and Hooks. I first used the hook, rail and pail kitchen organization system from ikea in my art organization station in my formal dining room. The rail, pails and hooks will provide Ryleigh both flexible and fun options to store her crayons, paints and other playhouse necessities along the wall making the most of the small space. (Click here)

The plan is to paint the exterior a nice forest green and deep pink for the trim. I’m painting the indoor a nice fresh coat of white paint and re-using pints of paint of deep blue, purple and bright pink from our frozen bathroom renovation.  We’re adding a deck and small patio. I’m hoping to snag a deal on some kid’s outdoor furniture soon. Additionally, we will be adding a secret shade garden behind the house. Ryleigh and I can’t wait to get started later this week.

Mommas

The Most Amazing Thing Ever Happened Yesterday

pregnant-jessica

Two weeks ago I wrote about my own personal New Year’s resolutions one of which was to become a mommy again in 2014. Well, I didn’t have to wait too long as yesterday which happened to be my birthday I found out that hubby and I are expecting.

I’m horrible at secret keeping and I told Ryleigh as she just seems to have a sick sense of these types of things. Dropping her off at her pre-school while I was on a conference call with a prospective client, I heard her telling everyone who will listen, “My mommy has a baby in her tummy.” Well, I guess the cat is really out of the bag. Not sure how the client felt about my announcement. Not that it matters, but I’m hoping they didn’t realize what Ryleigh was saying.

While this really couldn’t come at a better time for us personally, there are a lot of factors that my family and I will have to work through as we move forward newly relocated, being a business woman who is a second time parent and continuing to juggle being a parent, wife and business woman. It is absolutely crazy, but we are so very happy.

 

 

Home Mommas

Why I Love My Daughter’s Mountain View Preschool

mountain-view-preschool

Having just been in Mountain View, CA for a little more than 4 months, I feel like we are finally settling in. Finding a house to rent for our family in Silicon Valley, moving 2,000 miles and putting our Oklahoma house on the market was only the beginning. Moving pretty much sucks. It’s extremely stressful, aggravating and overwhelming no matter how much help you have or are OCD on planning. Maybe you just like dealing with stress, drama and driving 3 days in 120 degree desert heat. I can tell you’ve I’ve been there. It’s NOT fun.

How to Balance Working from Home  & Being a Mom While Moving

Me, I’m the laid back type but I do like my organization and structure. I really just like knowing where things are in my home. While still in mid unpacking, I broke down crying after spending 30 minutes searching for my favorite black blazer and black heels to attend a client meeting in the city. However, there is one thing I wished we would have spent more time planning and researching for prior to our arrival, which was my daughter’s new preschool. Since I work from home and hubby was doing a great of traveling, I rely on my daughter’s school to provide her with learning, development and interaction with other children since she’s an only child. Also extremely important is that school is essential to provide me a few hours of quiet and uninterrupted time to get work done especially conference calls, webinars and a lot of writing.

I pretty much went out of my mind the first two weeks after moving here. I was balancing work, unpacking and taking care of Ryleigh full time. I forgot how much I relied on her school time to give us both a break and much needed sanity. I have, however, mastered the fine art of juggling a 900+ registration webinar on hiring for happiness while getting ready my daughter for school. Essentially, I hosted, spoken and managed the entire webinar while Ryleigh was in the next room where I could hear here playing and bathing. Don’t worry I checked on her every few minutes when the other presenter was talking.

Why I Love Little Acorn Preschool

I want to introduce you to a great preschool in our neighborhood of Mountain View, CA called Little Acorn Preschool. This school has been essential to maintaining my  own, my daughters and my husband’s sanity. Click here to read the Yelp review or see my review below.

 

Having just moved to Mountain View from Oklahoma, Little Acorn in September 2013, the school has been great at helping my 4 year old in transitioning. The school is a great community and the teachers provided love and support as well as the new administration.

The school administration allowed us to visit the school on numerous occasions and meet with teachers while we researched and learned about other pre-schools in the area before deciding to enroll our daughter there. I’m glad we did.

Their curriculum is play based and they have provided much needed structure for my daughter. She loves all the teachers and comes home singing a new song every single day. One of the things I enjoy are the extra activities you can select including dance, Spanish and gymnastics. We walk to school or ride our bikes. Because they are a Christian school that is attached to a church they also offer a number of different community and family events. My favorites are the fall magic show, Christmas program and the trunk or treating event held in the parking lot.

 

We spent two weeks looking at schools. Ryleigh and I scheduled visits to 8 different schools, revisted 3 and made the decision to go with Little Acorn Preschool for a number of reasons including location, their flexibility and the sense of community. I wasn’t disappointed. They have welcomed our crazy family and my crazy work form home wardrobe of sweat shirts, yoga pants, hats and all. They have been extremely flexible with us. I highly recommend them as an option for new families relocating to the area and established families.

For the record people who think that moving is easy haven’t ever done it or they have selective short term memory. This is a personal reminder for myself when I get a wild hair to pick up and move my family across the country. Hire a full service moving company…

Photo Credit

Mommas

Washed Up Mom Over 30 in San Francisco Working Hard to Be a Somebody

perfection-san-fancisco

I love to blog. Writing is really what I do. I’m a great writer when it comes to stuff that has something to do with business and not so great at writing at personal things like how I made my daughter’s Wonder Woman Halloween costume or my homemade cinnamon roll recipe. People who only know me through my work blog and various activities don’t always see that side of me. I share a lot about who I am via Twitter and Facebook as it relates to my personal life side but I’m not very good life and mom blogs.

And I feel bad about it because I’m not doing a good job at recording our family events, activities and adventures for my little girl who turned five just a couple short weeks ago. I get envious of people like my friend, Breanne who has done a wonderful job of blogging about her daughter and all the fun changes and things that being a first time mom brings.

The Ultimate Reflection of Me

I love my work and business as a writer and technologist in the human resources space. However, I love being a mom more. I never thought I would choose between the two. Thankfully, I don’t have to but as Ryleigh grows older and does more things, I’m making decisions to be a part of her life. She is my number 1 priority.  That’s more important to me than being an influencer or someone that people look to as an expert in my field. While I might worry about missing out if I don’t attend an industry event or share my voice, I’m more concerned about helping raise a well-rounded young woman that’s the ultimate reflection of me.

I love being a mom so much. I want to do it again. Crazy, I know. I want to endure 10 months of pregnancy and thousands of potential sleepless nights and bring another tiny human into being. I told this to a dear friend of mine recently. She’s someone who I admire, and she was visibly shocked when I said I wanted to have a second baby. As the oldest of three children in my family, I have so many great memories and life experiences that being a sibling has afforded me, and I want to give Ryleigh that same opportunity. That’s worth more to me than any amount of money, influence or just stuff related to my career that might happen to me. I choose being a mommy and yet I’m here just recently relocated to Silicon Valley.

One profound article in the last year or so that had me really thinking was published in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”  by Anne-Marie Slaiughter. When I first read the article, I was upset and angry that the female author who was successful, educated and a parent would ever say such a thing. I was fascinated with her perspective but felt at first pass she was anti-feminist and anti empowerment. Women can do everything and anything. Having gone through some personal and professional upheaval of my own making in the last few months, I keep thinking about that article even if it was published a year and a half ago. Given my new found perspective I believe she was absolutely wholeheartedly right. You can’t do and be everything. And that’s okay. More importantly, you and your support team have to be okay with the choices and decision you make.

That was none the more apparent that I can’t do everything just a few months ago. In fact, I’m only now just starting to feel a sense of routine. I uprooted our family. Moved to a new town. Heck, I moved to a completely new state nearly in a new country in California which is a world apart from Moore, Oklahoma, where I spent my last seven years of my life. Working and living in a completely new place. I tried to control my new California life, but structure and order was scattered among the many boxes, closets and floors as we unpacked and rebuilt something old and familiar but completely new. While our family together made the decision to move, I couldn’t control the chaos once it was unraveling. I couldn’t be everything. I couldn’t do everything. I cried a lot. I got lost driving on the way to the post office. I fretted over our new dishwasher at the new place not working up to snuff and completely lost it when I couldn’t find my best heels and suit jacket. I was completely and utterly knocked off kilter and it was all because of me.  We moved for me and because of me. I fought selfishness and blamed me for all this crazy. How selfish was I do treat my family this way?

Men are From Mars and Woman are From Silicon Valley

I don’t know what it is but men are just hardwired differently. We have millions of years of evolution and the way things have always been working against us as women which on one hand sucks. I hate the fact that I worry about unloading the dishwasher or the fact that I have my Christmas tree half taken down in my living room. Ornaments currently lay on my coffee table waiting for me to put them up while my husband works from that same living room completely oblivious to the chaos that’s squarely in front of him. Me, I choose to work from my home office today to avoid the holiday pile that serves as a gentle reminder I didn’t even get my Christmas cards out yet. Mind you it’s January 2nd of 2014.

Having just moved to Silicon Valley I see a different point of view when it comes to innovation, success, career and creativity. One of my friends recently told me that in San Francisco, if you are over 30, you are a nobody. Personally, I think that now at 35 years old, I’m just finding my stride. I can’t imagine thinking that I’d be washed up by 30, but I guess it makes sense. When you’re under 3o you can work crazy hours, be unattached, without children and follow your dreams selfishly. You have little to loose. Risks are easy and everything to gain. Now, as a mom, I have other people’s dreams, desires and interests to consider and I sacrifice hers before mine. It’s called responsibility. So I guess I’m a washed up nobody in San Francisco but I’m working damn hard to be a somebody to my daughter, Ryleigh. Also, I don’t live in San Francisco so I wonder if this technically applies to someone who doesn’t live but sometimes works there technically.

This responsibility, passion and just life I speak of ebbs and flows. And while I’m currently contemplating wondering what we’re having for dinner, my husband and I work together sharing the limelight and responsibility of being a parent and partner bring. While he might not loosing any sleep about the laundry left unfolded, I know he’s wondering and worrying and thinking about male evolution type things. Currently, it’s the Oklahoma vs. Alabama bowl game. Pretty heavy stuff, and that’s okay with me especially if we win this bowl game. (Boomer Sooner!)

Not many people get to follow their dreams and yet my husband, my partner let me follow mine which led me to picking up and moving our family 2,000+ miles from Oklahoma to Northern California to a new city where we are family-less and unfamiliar to grow my business and work more closely with HR technology companies.

Slaughter’s article really was about being content yet realistic with choices we as woman and men make in our own lives. So for now I choose to be mom to a beautiful 5 year old girl who sees the world without restriction and pure joy. Personally, I take that point of view in how I live my life – woman or man. What’s important is being comfortable with those choices we make along the way. Currently, I’m settling into my new home in the Bay. While I’m washed up according to my friend for San Francisco as I’m just a few weeks away from my 36th birthday, I’m happy being me and working hard to be a somebody for my daughter, my husband and my family.

Photo Credit

 

 

 

Mommas

Roundup of My Favorite iPad Apps for Pre-K

mckenna-girls-ipad-app

From the moment Ryleigh was born, she was predisposed to be a techie. In 2008, I tweeted letting my followers know my water had broke and was on my way to the hospital. Those days were pre-iPhone days for me. It was before apps and I toggled the internet from my old school Blackberry.As soon as we knew we were pregnant and had picked a name, I immediately set up a Twitter account and bought a domain so she could take control of her online identity.

Hubby and I caved last year just before Ryleigh turned 4 buying her an iPad mini. Since Greg and I are both business owners, we take business calls and live and die by our phones. That’s hard to accomplish when your iPhone serves as the primary movie watching and child entertainment device. Now, I’ve reviewed iPad apps before, but unfortunately, they only hold the attention for a short period of time.

One of my biggest complaints of iPad apps as a mom is those apps that appear free only for your child to be bombarded by ads and other other ad ons. There’s nothing more annoying as a parent than downloading a new app only to have your daughter ask you to purchase some new feature for $5.99. We’re working on it but at age 5, you really don’t yet grasp the idea of money.

Buyer Beware

We downloaded a gymnastics app for Ryleigh called A Gymnastic Girl Fun Game, and it was ad ridden, spammy but was advertised as free. You could remove the ads for $4.99 but had to purchase additional gymnasts at $9.99 each. Like most things, we downloaded this at a critical time where I needed peace and quiet. Even paying $9.99 to keep from having a tantrum filled 4 year old still created problems because the ads direct you all over the place interrupting my little girl’s game.

Apps That Keep Your Attention

While I try to avoid paying for apps as much as possible, there are great educational paid apps for kids that my daughter really enjoys. They keep her engaged, learning and are even fun for parents to play. Bubble Puppy is one of our favorites that has lasted through the action packed holiday. At $6.99, it’s generally more than I spend. It is, however, fun for the whole family. Kids complete games and earn bones to buy toys for the Bubble Puppy where they can then play with their toys in the doghouse. It’s great learning for counting, letters and hand eye coordination.

Free Apps We Love

Having been extremely disappointed in our earlier gymnastics app purchase, we finally found a free and fun app that is spam free. American Girl offers an assortment of simple and high quality app games that are at no cost to you. McKenna Girl of the Year 2012 is by far our favorite app right now. The game isn’t complex but is very similar another one of our favorites, Robot Unicorn 2 except it’s far more girly adding in the gymnastics, tumbling and a parallel bars twirling for good measure. McKenna also has a web page with additional games making me love American Girl more than ever.

Another great app I love is from Disney Jr.. Their app lets you watch disney shows. Ry is currently entranced by Doc McStuffins and prefers to watch the show from her iPad instead of the tv. I love this app. It has current shows and unlike Netflix is absolutely and completely free.

What’s your favorite Pre-K and children’s apps for the iPad? I’d love to get your recommendations in the comments section below. 

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