Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

August 28, 2015

End of Summer and a Mini Home Tour

How is it almost September?!

School begins next week, and it feels that we were only just ending the school year. While we didn't do any big vacations this year, we had a lot of time making memories as a family. We hit up the pool, visited family, welcomed new babies (NOT MINE), tended our surprise garden, and ate a lot of popsicles and ice cream. 

Part of the reason for the at-home summer is the fact that we bought a house in May. Something that, not surprisingly, is not so kind on your bank accounts. So we've taken it easy, but it's been so, so good. There is something amazing about letting your kids out the front door and telling them to go play in the yard. Our yard. They have space to run around, ride bikes, dig in the dirt and get into plenty of sisterly squabbles. Sometimes I just sit in a lawn chair at the top of the driveway, sip on coffee, relax and watch. 

I've told you all about buying my childhood home, but I thought maybe I'd give it some context and show you a small peek into our world. It's simultaneously familiar and new, strange and wonderful. It's weird to look at every part of this house and have memories dating back for as long as I can remember.  There are moments when I sit on the couch and look out on a room, unable to decide if the snapshot of my view is new or old. Is this present or a memory? 

Yet, there is a strangeness with my mom not living in this house. Her her stuff no longer lines the walls. At times that still weighs on me. My mom isn't a big "processor," and I worry that she misses living here, that I'm impeding on the place she made memories for 35 years. In a role reversal, I constantly wonder if she's okay in her new place, if she feels like she's made it "home."

In the meantime, I'm learning what it means to make this place our home. I have enjoyed putting our touches in rooms, adding our own style. Interior design is not my forte - so I'm relying heavily on Pinterest for ideas. But I'm liking some of the things we've done so far. We have a long way to go, and I have a few spaces I may ask for your ideas and recommendations on in the near future!

Here are a few things I love about our new/old place:

I love how the light shines into the dining room each morning.

This is the living room which you walk into upon entering in the front door. I'm not a big fan of "formal living rooms," although when this house was built in the 1950's, it was a popular thing. So I had this idea that this would be a casual gathering area - not really a family room, per se, although we do hang out in there. Rather, more a space to come sit and read a book or stand and chat during parties.  Part of this vision was to have some shelving to make one wall a mini-library. In early July, Hubby created this wall of built-ins. AND I AM IN LOVE WITH IT. We have an old couch my mom left (not pictured) and a few informal sitting options (we'll work on better ones in the future). We also recently added a piano!

This. This haven is the Master Bedroom. And while I still have a lot I want (er, NEED) to do to get this room in to shape, it's really come a long way. This room had gone unused the last few years my mom lived here. It was a housing area for stuff, like a big closet. The paint was in bad shape and the floors were hurting. We decided to hold off any revisions to the floor (which we covered with a VERY comfy and large carpet remnant), and paint the off-white walls gray with accents of yellow around the room. Gray is my new obsession right now. I have no idea why. If I'm not careful, I'll paint every room in the house gray. Which could be awesome. Or very Eeyore. 

I digress. Anyway, I changed the arrangement of the furniture, choosing to put the bed in a different area of the room than where my mom had hers. Our new spin on an old thing. 

Being a split-level house from the '50's, some of the rooms have interesting angles and shapes. Our bedroom is long, with sloping ceilings. Since we put the bed on the far side of the room, we have all this open space on the other. We fixed that by putting our old Ikea futon under the windows and creating an impromptu sitting area.  (Or, on most days, laundry staging area.) When it's free of clothes, this is one of my favorite spaces in the house. There is a great view and, as you can see, copious amounts of sunlight. I'd like to finish this space off with an oversized yellow-patterned ottoman. 

So if you see one, help a sister out and let me know.

The last space I'll share with you today is our enclosed porch. It's not insulated or climate-controlled (i.e.: no heat or air-conditioning), but it's absolutely lovely 3 seasons of the year. It had become another staging area for stuff the past few years, and somewhat unusable. I'm glad to be able to sit in here again! We got a cheap table from Ikea and enjoy the 180 view of the yard many evenings (behind me in this picture is another wall of windows). It's definitely older, and we may work to make it more insulated and modernized in the coming years. But for now, it's a nice place to enjoy the great outdoors while being indoors. If that makes sense.

The thing that has struck me most about living here so far: it's amazing how quickly a familiar place, even when it's new to you, can feel like home.

I'll keep you updated on renovations and hopefully give you more sneak peeks into other rooms of the house. 

When I clean them to state that is presentable to the public eye, of course.

Have a great weekend!

August 23, 2015

The Sunday Choice

Work. Grocery shopping. School supplies. Giving the girls a few more opportunities to make summer memories. Conference call. Edits on content. Get to the gym. Transfer money to the bank. 

I lay in bed and the thoughts overwhelm me. One after another pops into my head, creating layer upon layer of to-do action items. Layers of anxiety. Layers of things I have to do. 

It's Sunday night, and tomorrow is the first day back to school for Hubby. Chica has one more week before she has to board the bus for her First Day of School, but since Hubby is a teacher, he has a week of inservice. And despite having one more week with the girls, it feels like the unofficial end of summer the day he goes back. It's when everything changes and we begin to settle into our School Year Routine.  And right on cue, The Sunday Night Thoughts come raging back.

Sunday evenings are spent in anticipation of the week to come. It's like being at a race and suddenly your prepping on the starting line, heart racing for the starting gun to go off. Some weeks, I'm set well and start strong. Other weeks I fumble over my shoelace and face plant the moment I'm told to "go."

So, as much as I try to prep and fight it, I spend many Sunday nights laying in bed inundated with various work projects on tap for the week, the errands I have to run, the meals I need to cook. But minds are funny things. And inevitably my rushing thoughts become more deeper, more provoking. Thoughts about heading to the store for school supplies sparks a wondering if my girls had a good summer. Did we do enough? Did we eat enough popsicles? Did we make enough memories? I make a mental note to consider hitting the beach one more time, if our schedule allows.

I start going through my grocery list, making sure not to forget that we need hand soap. And I find myself feeling bored with the current rotation of recipes. Are my meals interesting enough? Healthy enough? Is it bad that Chica eats waffles for breakfast every morning? Am I eating healthy enough? I promise myself not to buy junk food this week and make a commitments snack less after the girls go to bed (a struggle I've been having). 

The word struggle reminds me of the frustration faced earlier in the evening at bed time. My patience has been thin with night time requests. Just go to bed! is so often my refrain. I'm reminded of how often I'm short with the girls, how often I raise my voice. I watched that damn Quaker Oats video a few minutes ago and was bawling. The days are long, the years are short, I chide myself. My kids just want time with me. And I have a haunting fear I don't give them enough of myself.

Suddenly, my mental to-do list becomes a progressively weightier guilt pressing on my shoulders: Am I efficient enough? Am I healthy enough? Am I connecting with my friends enough? Am I keeping up with work enough? Am I parenting well enough? 

Am I enough enough?

No wonder we dread Mondays.  

I go to sleep defeated before I even start my week. As I lay there allowing my seeming inefficiencies to take over, a small, confident voice clearly rings:

Tomorrow is a new day.

It's my own voice, a stronger part of myself declaring reason amidst the muck. Tomorrow is a new day. It's a fresh start. No matter how full my to-do list is, I have a new week to accomplish it all. Despite how defeated I'm feeling on so many fronts, I have a blank slate on which to try again. I will wake up tomorrow with a new opportunity to parent differently, to be a better friend And yes, even to get to the gym (oy!). 

For the first time, I decided that instead of looking toward the new week with dread, I could embrace the opportunity for new beginnings and fresh starts.

We have a choice, friends. Every week. Really, every day: to dread or embrace. To be overcome or to OVERCOME. 

I choose to conquer this week. 

And if I fail?

Tomorrow is a new day.

Choose to OVERCOME this week.

August 18, 2015

What's New In #HersheyPA

SO while we are still a few months away from my FAVORITE season in Hershey (i.e.: Christmas), there are tons of fun things happening in the Sweetest Place On Earth. I've got the newest scoops on Hershey Happenings. Check out what's going on:

Laff Trakk

Confession: Roller Coasters absolutely terrify me. But I can't help but be a little excited about the newest addition to Hersheypark. Laff Trakk is Hershey's 13th (!!!!!) roller coaster, and it opened this summer. This adventure is actually the first indoor, spinning glow-coaster in the United States. (Note: just writing that sentence made my stomach flip.) 

Moe's Southwest Grill

Hersheypark just got tastier! The park just added Moe's Southwest Grill to their culinary repertoire. I love Moe's because the menu is totally customizable, and super food-allergy friendly. The Outpost is another new restaurant, and it's allergen-friendly. It will offer gluten, nut and dairy-free items as well as vegetarian options. And if you're looking for expanded dessert choices (because, HELLO, it's Hershey), Makin’ Whoopie Pies has a vast array of cake and filling options

Awesome Shows

Entertain us, Hershey! The Giant Center has an AWESOME music lineup, including Florida Georgia Line, Fall Out Boy with Wiz Khalifa, Lady Antebellum, and MötleyCrüe. Hersheypark Stadium, which houses30,000 outdoor seats, has scheduled acts that include: Jason Aldean, Train, Mix Tape Festival, Nickleback, and 5 Seconds of Summer. For complete schedules, head to the Hershey Entertainment website:

Cocoa Luxury

The Hotel Hershey is upgrading their signature line to launch organic Chocolate, Cuban and Noche Azul treatments and retail products. Soak up the chocolate - literally! - with one of their spa experiences during your next visit.

So, get ready to plan your next visit! The Hershey websites will be a big help: and

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