Another Year, Another Birthday

My oldest turned 4 last week. What is this nonsense?

I’ve never gone into depth about Rory’s development on this blog. I don’t know if I have the energy to do it today either. But, just know, that we’ve been through the ringer with him. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, professional evaluations, meetings with teachers, you name it.

Overall, his progress over the past 2.5 years is noteworthy!! But he is still significantly behind his peers in a lot of ways. I tend to toggle back and forth between obsessive concern over every little behavior and complete acceptance of wherever he’s at. It wears on me sometimes. Or, if I’m being honest, most of the time. But none of that affects the love I have for him.

First borns hold a special place in any mom’s heart I think. A place that doesn’t necessarily mean there is any less love for other children but a place that has simply just been there longer. That Rory space in my heart is big and it’s loud. Every milestone met, every obstacle conquered is met by enormous pride from my Rory-heart. Partly because all of these things are brand new to me since he’s the oldest. But, it’s also partly due to the fact that since he’s delayed in some areas I see other kids hitting these goals well before him so I have so much anticipation for when he finally gets there.

I’m hopeful that he’ll be nearly caught up with his peers by the time he starts Pre-K next year. But it’s going to be a long year of therapies and intentionality on my part to get him there. We’ve been in this groove for over 2 years now so we’ll keep on keeping on.

He may not be like other 4 year olds. But I’m convinced that if people knew how hard he has worked to be the 4 year old that he is, they’d be as proud as I am.

Happy Birthday Rory boy!

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And in honor of his annual birthday meltdown during the attempted family picture….

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I’m not finished with the Household Ops series so I’ll be back probably later this week with another post.

Until next time mommas 🙂

~ Erica

The Years Are Short…

We’ve all heard it: The days are long but the years are short.

Ain’t that the truth?

My older 2 kids, Rory & Sydney, had their first day of Mother’s Day Out today. It’s Rory’s 3rd year and Sydney’s 2nd so this isn’t new territory. But when I take those first day pictures I begin to reminisce over how much they’ve grown in the past year. All of a sudden I see their baby-ness disappearing. They’re becoming little adults and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

As mommas, our days with little kids at home can be exhausting, overwhelming and downright miserable at times. Dare I say, many days we feel defeated come bedtime. We tuck those precious little ones in their beds and our minds flood with all the thoughts of the things we didn’t do but should have, the words we probably shouldn’t have said and the endless list of everything we just could have done better. But, what a gift it is to start every day fresh.

Reince could be starting Mother’s Day Out as early as this coming January so I feel myself on the precipice of that next season of life where the babyhood is behind me. I’m thrilled to see my kiddos get older and experience new adventures and hit milestones but I equally mourn the loss of the babies they once were. This is the toughest part of motherhood that nobody tells you about. How babies and toddlers are so challenging that you can feel the life being sucked out of you but they get older and suddenly all of those challenging years don’t seem so bad.

I’m still in the early phases of motherhood with Rory only about to turn 4 years old. But these 4 years!!! My goodness how time has flown by!!

Hold tightly to your babies mommas. They won’t be babies for long. Trust me!

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Rory: First Day of MDO 2016, 2017 and 2018

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Sydney: First Day of MDO 2017 and 2018

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Let me just remind everyone that on this day 4 years ago, I had zero children!!! Rory was only a couple of days from entering the world but just to think about how much my life has changed in 4 very short years…

Until next time, mommas!

~ Erica

Household Ops: Dishes

This is a touchy subject for me. I don’t love doing the dishes but I am, shall I say, particular about the logistics. How they’re done, when they’re done, frequency, in/out of the dishwasher specifics, etc….it all matters to me.

Because our home has an open concept living/kitchen area, a kitchen piled up with dirty dishes makes even the living room feel messy.  In a household of 5 we go through a lot of dishes so it’s the one household chore that I virtually NEVER let get out of control.

Over the years I’ve developed a pretty solid system of staying on top of the dishes that keeps the task manageable without ever letting it overwhelm you.

  • 1. Clean as you go

Maybe it’s my personality or maybe I’m just crazy, but I can’t stand seeing dishes piled up in and around the sink…even when I have a meal in progress. So, when I have a few minutes in between meal prep tasks I will take care of the dishes that have accumulated in the sink.

The alternative is to let it all pile up and then there’s a mountain of dishes to tackle after dinner which, for our house, really means it doesn’t get touched until after the kids’ bedtime. To walk into the kitchen after having finally gotten the kids in bed and see a mountain of dishes…ugh, I’m not sure there’s anything worse.

Cleaning as I go through meal prep and then everyone bringing their dishes to the sink after dinner means I only have about 5-10 minutes of rinsing and putting in the dishwasher, a quick wipe down of the dining table and kitchen counters and I’m done. Glory, Hallelujah!

  • 2. Run the dishwasher every night

I took this tip from a mom friend of mine and it was life changing!

As long as the dishwasher is at least half full, I run it every night. It’s the last thing I do before I go to bed. When I wake up in the morning every dish in the house is clean and ready to use.

It may sound like a waste of water. And maybe it is to an extent. But the “waste” is negligible and worth it to start every day with a clean slate.

  • 3. Use cast iron as much as you can

This may not seem like a dish maintenance tip but, trust me, it is.

There are the obvious flavor benefits of using cast iron but the dish upkeep benefits are even better. There’s no soaking, no heavy scrubbing, no dishwasher. Just a quick, light cleaning with warm water and a little dish soap and it’s ready to use again.

I have a big heavy cast iron that I use sparingly. But the every day cast iron items I use come from Le Creuset. Yes they are pricey. But I’m not kidding when I say I use this stuff every single day. I have a nice, complete stainless steel cookware set that we registered for and I haven’t touched a single piece of it for years. I only use my Le Creuset stuff because it’s so easy to clean. Some of the enamel pieces do need to soak for the hard, sticky stuff but it’s still easy to clean by comparison to my stainless steel pieces!

If you’ve never used a Le Creuset item and don’t know where to start, I recommend you start with this item right HERE! Get the size appropriate for your household and use it for anything: soups, stews, sauces, etc. Technically these are dishwasher safe, but I hand wash all of mine. Personal preference.

  • 4. Simplify

Scale back the amount of dishes you dirty at each meal wherever and whenever you can. For example, my kids reuse their individual plates at all 3 meals each day. 3 meals does not equal 3 separate plates for each kid. After each meal the child rinses their plate and lays it on the drying rack until the next mealtime. Same with drink cups and snack bowls. They all go into the dishwasher at the end of the day.

For yourself, use the same drinking glass throughout the day. Reuse dishes when you can. A plate that propped up a piece of toast for 4 minutes can be rinsed and reused.

And, hey, ain’t no shame in the disposable plate game. Not all the time, but on the crazy days where maybe you’re having to do a lot more meal prep or food distribution than usual, whip out those paper plates and don’t feel guilty about it.

Now….go forth….and dirty dishes….and clean them….and do it all again tomorrow.

Until next time mommas 🙂

~ Erica

Household Ops: Laundry

The daily grind.

Being a stay-at-home mom who is also responsible for a business requires things to operate pretty efficiently. It helps that I’m very Type-A and efficiency might as well be my middle name. If I can shave 90 seconds off a frequent task/chore, I WILL do it.

This may seem counterintuitive but I truly believe that my ability to rock the efficiency game is because of my equal ability (and desire!) to be lazy. So I go, go, go putting in extra effort here and there all for the grand prize, which is complete and utter laziness for a predetermined set period of time. I also have a really hard time fully relaxing when a specific chore/task on my mind is incomplete.

So, I’m bringing a little series to the blogosphere. A peak into my world. Household Ops…one specific chore at a time.

Let it be known, laundry is my absolute least favorite domestic chore. I hate everything about it. But, it exists and must be conquered. And, as I’m sure all of you mommas fully understand, letting the laundry spiral out of control only makes it worse.

So, here are my tips for staying on top of the bane of my existence: Laundry.

  • #1 ONE load every single day

I know you’ve heard it said before. But it’s truth. Just do it. One small to medium sized load every day (washer to dryer to folding to put away) is manageable.

  • #2 Kids laundry is done together (no separating colors, one kid at a time)

A hamper in each child’s room. Toss it all together (one kid at a time) in the washer on cold and DONE! No sorting through a clean pile of laundry to figure out whose clothes belong to who.

  • #3 Stop ironing! Just stop

I may be speaking blasphemy here but I haven’t ironed hardly anything since before my oldest was born and I couldn’t be happier. If you or husband require crisp, ironed work clothes just dry clean them. We use one of those dry clean super center places and it’s very affordable. It’s worth the few bucks to save my sanity. There’s several of my husband’s shirts that don’t require dry cleaning but do wrinkle easily so I pull them from the washer IMMEDIATELY after the cycle is done and I hang them to dry. And I dry everything on the permanent press setting. There may be a wrinkle here and there on our stuff but I guess I just don’t care. Maybe that should be tip #4: stop caring so much! LOL.

Side note: overcrowding the washer can also cause excessive wrinkles. Following #1 will help minimize this since the loads are never that large to begin with.

  • #4 Get the kids involved

There will come a day when the kids’ laundry will be their own responsibility. So, start with age appropriate tasks today to get them involved. My 2 and 4 year old carry their own hampers into the laundry room and put their clothes in the washer. My 15 month old isn’t there yet but he watches and is learning from big brother and sister every day. Now, having a 2 & 4 year old be responsible for getting their laundry to the laundry room and into the washer doesn’t sound efficient, does it? Well, it’s not. It them probably about 10 minutes to do this. But, when I’m able to get dressed and do my makeup without 3 kids at my ankles, in those 10 minutes….that IS efficiency in action.

  • #5 Cut yourself some slack

Not every day will go as you planned. You’ll skip days because you’re too busy. You’ll skip days just because you don’t feel like doing laundry that day. Some days you’ll need to do an extra load…or two. Sometimes, you’ll forget about the clothes in the washer for hours or even days at a time. Sometimes you and/or your kids will live out of the clean clothes in the laundry basket because you haven’t mustered the energy to put them away. It’s all normal and it’s ok.

These small adjustments have helped my home run efficiently and I hope they help you too.

If you have any tips of your own please share!!

Until next time mommas!

~ Erica

New Normal, Ever Changing

Pedicures? Reading a book? Getting my oil changed? Planning my soon-to-be 4 year old’s birthday party? Blogging?

All things I’m currently wishing I had more time for.

I feel like I have so much insight, wisdom, encouragement and advice to share with fellow mommas. I just want to know the best way to share it. Then I remember I have this blog. Why am I not using it more? Because blogging is intimidating. It’s time consuming. Is anybody actually reading it?

Also, where do I start with all of this. I don’t know want to give the impression that I have it all figured out. I REALLY don’t! But one thing I have figured out is that just as I perfect the “new normal”, it changes. The kids get older, the family’s needs change, the schedule gets tossed around and we are back at square one.

So let’s recap. In May of 2017 I had my 3rd child that put me in the 3 under 3 club. Currently they are almost 4, 2.5 and 15 months. Boy, Girl, Boy. Rory, Sydney, Reince.

The question I get most often is “how do you do it?” To be honest, I never really know how to answer this because I know that as much as it’s a question, it’s also an expression of somebody’s admiration towards me. I, like most of society, post my highlight reel on social media and that’s what pretty much everybody sees. So, it appears that I’ve got it all figured out….but I don’t. So, I want to be real with all of you.

First, Erica Weddings is still in full operation. However, I’ve become pretty detached from the day-to-day operations and working with the clientele. Prior to baby #3’s arrival, I passed off full day-to-day management duties to one of my Associate Consultants who is now the Primary Consultant for the business. I stay in contact with her regularly to oversee the financial aspect, marketing/branding, etc and I do the monthly payroll. I have 3 kids who are all still very LITTLE and they require my full attention every day. So, for this season of life, this is how it has to be. And I’m ok with that!

Second, some days I slay this stay-at-home mom gig. And, others, it’s an epic fail. Case in point, I was up at 5:45 this morning, went to the gym, took baby to a well-check, all 3 kids are napping simultaneously, kitchen sink is clear of all dirty dishes and I just moved a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer. WIN! Also, I noticed a sticky mess under the kitchen table a few days ago, undoubtedly from some toddler spill that I didn’t see, and I have yet to clean it. For no reason other than I just don’t want to. FAIL!

Third, my love for my children is endless. I can’t imagine my life without them. They bring me so much joy, excitement and laughter. I’m blessed beyond measure. BUT…..there are some days I just don’t like them very much. Maybe it’s a day where one or all 3 of them are being more challenging that normal or maybe it’s a day where my mojo is off and I’m more irritable than usual. Regardless, these days come….and, thankfully, they also go.

So, while the mompreneur aspect of the blog will pop up from time to time, there will be a shift to more focus on the usual everyday, stay-at-home mom grind stuff because that’s my current reality.

I’ll wrap up this post for now, but just know that more momma wisdom and encouragement is coming your way.

I’ll sign off with a picture of my crew.

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Until next time mommas!