The Motherhood Milestone I Hoped to Skip

The seasoned moms told me it would happen and I cautiously waited. I waited, watched, and wondered when it would happen to me. But it didn’t. Months went by. Then my daughter turned one. Then two. Then three. Still nothing.

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But then the unthinkable happened last night when I turned my head for just a second to check on her baby sister. My completely potty trained (or so I thought) three-year-old pooped in the bathtub. Not only did she poop, but then she attempted to clean it up which made things far, far worse.

I scratched my head, baffled. Where to begin the epic cleansing of the tub, toys, bathroom floor, and child. Meanwhile, the aforementioned baby sister began to wail. I pulled my older daughter from the tub and attempted to dry her off without smearing feces everywhere. Two really nice wash cloths we got as wedding gifts were lost to this cause, and many, many Clorox wipes were used.

My husband had picked the perfect night to work late and arrived home after the girls were both clean, happy, and full of smiles for Daddy. It was one of those mothering moments that seem like a complete and utter circus. And one I’ll be delighted to share with any and all of her future boyfriends.

 

 

All 50 by 40: Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana

I was pleasantly surprised by the city of Cincinnati. People were welcoming, weather was gorgeous, and the food was fantastic. Newport, Kentucky and our riverboat cruise on the Ohio River were both fun. Indiana, maybe I didn’t give you a fair chance, but you’re now crossed off my list nonetheless.

Cincinnati August 2017 (4)

My mom and I did a lot of walking because the weather was so great. We ate two absolutely delightful meals at Boca (more on that later) and watched the Reds play the Cubs on one of the most beautiful evenings of all time. We shopped at Tiffany’s (kind of funny that the first Tiffany’s I have even been into was in Cincinnati, right?)

Cincinnati August 2017 (10)

Cincinnati August 2017

We got pedicures at Paragon, went bowling, and visited the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. I had a mint julep in Kentucky and ate some delicious Cincinnati ribs. I didn’t take as many photos as I usually do, but I was enjoying time with my mom and that’s what really made this trip count.

Cincinnati August 2017 (6)

As we visited with people throughout the trip, I was touched by their support of my goal to see all the states. I missed my daughters tremendously and was glad we kept the trip fairly short. However, travel continues to be important to me and I hope they catch the wanderlust bug a bit themselves. Eight states left!

Cincinnati August 2017 (9)

Cincinnati August 2017 (7)

The Updated List

Alaska

Arkansas

Hawaii (scheduled for January 2018)

Michigan (I have been to airports)

Tennessee

Texas (I have been to airports)

West Virginia

Wisconsin

All 50 by 40

I love traveling and lists, so it seemed only natural to set a goal of visiting all 50 states before I turn 40. I have a six short years left to visit the remainder of my list, which you’ll see below. I have detailed the rules, essentials, and list below. After hitting Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky later this month and Hawaii in January, seven states remain. If you have been to these states, what are your pointers? If you live in one of them, do you have a couch I can sleep on? (Kidding, not kidding).

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The Rules

I must set foot in each state for them to count.

Airports don’t count (sorry, Texas and Michigan)

Extra credit for eating local fare.

The Essentials

Enablers: These are the people who are willing to hop on a plane with me, stay home with the kids, or drive me five hours out of the way so I can cross Idaho off the list (my mom, husband, and bestie, respectively).

A plan: I have a full-time job, two kids, and have to stay within budget. Having a game-plan is important.

Willingness to explore the boring ones: People keep asking “why Ohio?” We’ll make it fun!

The List

Alaska

Arkansas

Hawaii (scheduled for January 2018)

Indiana (scheduled for August 2017)

Kentucky (scheduled for August 2017)

Michigan (I have been to airports)

Ohio (scheduled for August 2017)

Tennessee

Texas (I have been to airports)

West Virginia

Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from Three-Year-Old Girls

Three-year-old girls have it figured out. They can perfectly balance being glitter-covered, spider-hating princesses with being tree-climbing, nose-picking tomboys. The other day my nearly three-year-old daughter, fully dressed in Elsa of Arendelle princess attire, announced loudly and proudly “I have to go poop!” and ran to the bathroom.

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While I am gently helping her work on discretion when it comes to bathroom issues, I love that she embraces her femininity while being oh so real. When do we as women lose this ability? It seems somewhere between three and 30 we start to pigeon-hole ourselves. Can I be feminine and still be assertive? Can I enjoy shoes and clothes and still be practical and grounded? Can I be kind and still be a strong business leader? Can I love my career and still be a great mom?

I have recently been trying to encourage this balance with my daughter. She enjoys being feminine and that’s OK, but when she wants to try on my lipstick I apply it while reminding her that she doesn’t need makeup to be pretty. I encourage her to play with her trucks as well as her dolls, and she’s never discouraged from getting dirty.

While I’m glad we all eventually grow out of the nose-picking thing, I think we can learn from the unapologetic, do-it-all attitude of our younger counterparts. Be who you are. Wear that crown. Climb that mountain. May our little ones keep that fire inside them.

 

The First Day Back is the Hardest

I left a piece of my heart in the daycare center last Thursday. After a blissful 12-week maternity leave it was time to return to budgets, workflows, and managing my fantastic team. Returning to work was good, hard, painful, liberating, exciting, exhausting, and strange all at the same time.

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(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

I think all moms feel this pain at some point. Eventually we must leave our children, whether it be to return to the office after maternity leave, dropping them off at their first day of kindergarten, or leaving them in a dorm room at a university. We all must endure that feeling of our heart being down in our stomach.

I got through that first day with a lot of support from friends and coworkers, and especially from my aunt who is a working mom with two kids herself. And you know what? The next day was easier. Now, after just completing my third day, I’m feeling a bit more in the swing of things. I will spend a lot of time trying to balance my roles as mother, wife, friend, employee, and supervisor in the coming months. I know it won’t be easy, but, as with a lot of things, it’s the first day that’s the hardest.

Omaha Children’s Museum and Henry Doorly Zoo

Last weekend when my husband drove eight hours to Omaha for a work conference, my daughters and I decided to join him. It seemed the perfect opportunity to have a little family vacation, if you can call road-tripping with a near-three-year-old and a six-week old a vacation.

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The girls did great, and since my husband was only in the conference during the morning, we had plenty of family time. The two main highlights were the Omaha Children’s Museum and the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

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We actually ended up going to the museum, which was downtown and very close to our hotel, both mornings while my husband was in meetings.

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It offered a lot of fun activities like a water table, a grocery store and dress-up area, and an entire room full of pneumatic tubes sucking in a spitting out plastic balls.

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There was a room for treating injured dolls.

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The carousel was my two-year-old’s favorite, and, I will confess, mine, too.

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The zoo was hot and crowded, but also full of amazing exhibits. The elephants, zebras, penguins, and giraffes were favorites among our little family.

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My younger daughter spent most of her vacation sacked out in her car seat or stroller, but, hey, whatever you do to relax.

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My older daughter used any and every excuse to ride Daddy’s shoulders like here…

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and here.

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I love family vacations. It’s so rejuvenating and special to make memories with my children and husband, and get away from the distractions of home, even if it’s just a simple road trip this year. Cheers to summer!

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Black Hills Adventures: The 1880 Train

My dear friend and her two adorable sons visited us this week. I love when friends come visit. The icing on the cake is the visit is an excuse to check out some local tourist attractions. This time we took a ride on the 1880 Train.

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Despite having lived in the Black Hills area most of my life, I had never ridden the train.

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My mom graciously agreed to watch my one-month-old so my friend and I could take my two-year-old, and her two-year-old and four-year-old on a train ride.

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The ride from Hill City to Keystone and back again is beautiful and relaxing. Our kids enjoyed chatting with the friendly conductor and hearing the whistle.

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My friend and I enjoyed watching our littles be little even if it meant cleaning up two bags of jelly beans spilled on the train car floor. They aren’t little long. We were reminded of this when we saw the bored teenager sleeping with his ear buds in on the train bench behind his parents.

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Also on site at the train depot in Hill City is the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, which is definitely worth checking out.

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