Rebranding this Blog

As a Mother’s Day present to myself, I am going to be re-branding this blog. In the past I’ve used it to showcase some of my creative endeavors (most recently, my 21 Days of Creativity). I’ve also occasionally linked to my cooking blog, Butter and Whisky. That stuff will still happen, but in addition, I will be writing more about being a mom.

This is not another SAHM Mom Blog!

I am a career mom. I am a librarian at a university; I am tenure-track faculty. I love my job. For the first year of my daughter’s life, I can honestly, 100% say that I loved my job more than being a mom.

These days, it’s more-or-less even. Some days work sucks (cornered by the chancellor, difficult student questions, unruly employees who love writing on the whiteboard) and some days being a mom sucks (middle of the night wake-ups, super messy/stinky diapers, unexplained tantrums),  but they tend to even out.

But I felt like I did not have a lot of places I could go for advice about being a career mom. I adapted some advice from SAHM blogs, but a lot of it, I went it alone. So I am going to write out my experiences, starting from the pregnancy and going forward. Not all of it will pertain to every one, but I hope it will help someone.

Especially a couple of friends – one of whom has a career and is about to try to have a baby, and the other of whom has kids but is going back to school to pursue a career.

I’ve got a few categories of ideas thought up, but is there anything else you want to see? Let me know in the comments!

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Together Tuesday: Potluck with the Coworkers

Today we had an end of the year potluck at work and I went even though I technically didn’t really have to be at work. My staff was covering the minimal (and frankly unnecessary) hours the library was open.

I made my amazing macaroni and cheese, which was almost completely devoured and cupcakes, which I am sure everyone will eat tomorrow. There are three holiday birthdays (not including my own), so I made this batch to cover them.

Coworker cupcakes will resume in January. The 19th, I think, unless that’s a weekend – I haven’t looked yet.

I also brought my daughter to work with me, which was fun, but then I pulled a muscle which was not fun and led to me crying while trying to get her in the car seat. Fun times.

Now I need to try to do some cleaning and figure out what’s for dinner.

Savings Sunday: Coupon Cabin … Yes or No?

The verdict is in.

A little over a month ago, I signed up for Coupon Cabin in an effort to save a little bit of money.

I have done one of their % cash back coupons – and one of their “members only” deals, which was $40 back on $40+ at Children’s Place.

I am happy to report that on Friday, I received my cash back for the $40, so I essentially only paid tax on the purchase (shipping was free based on a promotion from the store that needed no additional coupon.) In all, I am pleased with the experience, but I can see where others may not be. There are a lot of rules for using the coupons, and I have seen several stores on their list that I just know I would screw up by not thinking and applying coupons that would void the Coupon Cabin deal. But, if you can be careful, you too can get cash back!

I am going to try another one of their member deals in the near future, and will report back when I get that cash back (between 30 and 90 days, depending on store return policy.)

Self-Care Saturday: Keep Your Routine

This is going to have to be short, since I’ve already failed (for today anyway) to keep my own advice. But, my lesson can be your lesson, too.

Humans are creatures of habit. You know that your kids function best in a schedule, right? Well, so do you. Yes, you are an adult and can process changes better than kids, but why waste the brain power? Do yourself a favor this hectic holiday season, and try your best to maintain your normal schedule and normal routines.

This post is brought to you by the fact we have to grocery shop today (instead of our normal Sunday) and my realization that I’m not going to have my normal weekday morning coffee for the next 6 weeks or so, unless I break out my Keurig (I usually don’t drink coffee on the weekends, so this literally just occurred to me…)

Running off to fix that coffee problem now! Ta ta for now!

Flashback Friday: A Holy Terror

Last week, we talked about the adorable newborn (well, less than 3 month old) at Christmas! Today we are going to talk about the Christmas season with a toddler! Yay!

First of all, as I mentioned yesterday, we had our Christmas tree delivered by a company I found online. It was very pricey, but I pretty much had no formal budget and spared no expense last Christmas; we had just paid off the final hospital bills and we were feeling free! (It will not be the same this year – we really need something in between the two extremes of 2015, where I counted every dime, and 2016.)

That in mind, setting up the tree was a breeze; the tree sat on the porch until Baby Girl took a nap, and then her father and I scrambled to put it up before she woke up. If I remember correctly, we even put most of the decorations up during her nap, but we did let her help with her ornaments; she has the one from my mother for her 2015 ornament and a pink, glittery rubber duckie ornament for 2016 – she was obsessed with duckies last year.

The problem came with trying to keep the curious toddler away from the tree after it was up. She was really curious about this new thing in her living room! I couldn’t really blame her for that, but it sure was frustrating. After some scolding, I went online and found a bright idea: wrap some empty boxes and put them around the tree to keep the child away!

I even weighed down the boxes with decorations from my mantle and bookcases, which gave me room to put up more decorations away from her reach!

I do not know how she is going to react to the tree this year, but I am probably going to do the same thing again. I’ve already saved a few boxes of different sizes, and I’ll be using rolls of cheap paper I picked up last year after Christmas.

Time To … Thursday: Time to Get a Christmas Tree

I know, I know, most of you probably got a Christmas tree a week ago. Maybe even the day after Thanksgiving. Or put up a fake tree on November 1. I know.

I feel like I have been running behind since school came back in session in August. I don’t know what it is about this semester, but I have been playing catch up.

Tomorrow, though, is my last day of work until January! So I can finally, maybe, breathe a little bit.

Last year, we had a tree delivered by a company I found on Groupon (more on that tomorrow!) In years past, we borrowed a truck from friends to get a tree at one of the many many home improvement stores. This year… I am hoping to pick out a  tree at one of the two places nearby that deliver trees. If we can’t get one from either of them, I’ll be screwed.

But, I think the joy of this will outpace the concern and hassle; Baby Girl is old enough to help us pick out the tree (though she certainly doesn’t understand the holiday yet.)

With any luck, I’ll be writing for Together Tuesday about how the Christmas tree shopping goes – the snow in the forecast for Saturday seems to have disappeared, so we should be able to do it then.

Working Wednesday: Communication & Mistakes

I have spent a great deal of time on this page talking about communication, mainly within the family or relationship unit. However, on today’s Working Wednesday, I want to talk a little bit about communicating with your coworkers and dealing with mistakes.

How good are you at communicating with your coworkers?

I am sure every single one of us is able to be civil and polite with our coworkers, which is, of course, an important step toward good communication. That being said, I am sure we all also get busy, forgetful, or just plain overwhelmed at times and things fall through the cracks. When this happens, we need to take a step back, remind ourselves that we are all just humans and thus fallible creatures (no matter how well-organized we may be, or how supported by technology we may be.) We will make mistakes, and it is important to help each other through these mistakes, rather than throw blame.

That being said, it is also important to review what you have done and make sure you are catching your own mistakes whenever possible.

I had an example of both of these in one project this week. Neither was a huge deal, because I had specifically requested extra review before the finished project (a newsletter) was released, but it is what inspired me to make this post. You see, the newsletter is the first of its kind to be produced by my committee, and for some reason I thought it would be fun to be the “production editor,” instead of writing for it.

Honestly, it was kind of fun, don’t let me lie to you. I’d like to even make one for my other committee, someday (maybe). But I digress – back to the two mistakes in this newsletter. The first, was that the newsletter had the wrong title. To which, you may ask, “How the %$&&$ did you do that?” The answer is miscommunication. The editor of the newsletter referred to it by the wrong name, and I thought that meant he had changed it. But, the review process caught it, and we were able to fix it before it was disseminated.

The second mistake was totally my faul; I was playing with the layout and overlaid a text box on top of some important information, which was then hidden. I had stared at the thing so long (and the line was so short) that I completely glossed over it. But, the review process also caught that one!

Rather than get mad at me for the mistakes, the reviewer just pointed them out, and I fixed them (though I did clarify the title one more time just to cover my own butt). And now there is a bright and shiny newsletter to send to everyone!

Together Tuesday: Doing it All and Then Some

Hi everyone.

I owe you all an apology.

I’m sorry, I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I should – or the way I should. Projects in November ate my face all the way into the month of December, and I ran out of my pre-loaded posts.

And then work ate my face some more. (More on that tomorrow, I promise!)

Today, though, I am here to talk to you about doing it all and having some together time with you family, to boot. The answer (at least to me) is pretty simple: get them involved.

My daughter is only two, so there isn’t much she can do, but so far I have: taken her Christmas shopping with me (just not for her gifts, obviously), had her in the kitchen while I baked, and started new traditions that I hope she will cherish.

My husband is a bit of a Grinch. Well, he isn’t mean about it; he just isn’t into Christmas. But I’ve even got him involved, by letting him participate in the things he likes (eating the food and decorating the tree, mainly) and taking care of the rest. (Yes, that even means buying gifts for his family…)

I have found so far that if I just ask for company while I’m doing something, he’s often willing to oblige – which is how I get through more tedious tasks, like present-wrapping.

Use your families strengths, and their preferences, to your advantage – it’ll help you get through the holiday season, and get some bonding time, to boot!