The Friday Post. [vol. 4]

It’s here! It’s Friday! Hooray! SO very grateful that my parents were here this week. We took advantage of them like crazy. My car was in the shop all freaking week , so they drove the boys and I around, let me borrow their car when I needed it, made dinner every night, cleaned, done every little bit of laundry, entertained, and were just such a comfort to me. So thankful for them. Really can’t do any better than those two. I’m a lucky gal and I know it.

In other news, I signed Charlie up for Pre-K and soccer last week and I feel like we’re entering into a world of activities and kid stuff, and once it starts, I know it doesn’t end. Trying to soak up these days of just coming straight home from school to be in a little cocoon of a family. It will be good to get him involved in some other stuff – he’s totally ready, and I know Ben will be too once Charlie starts. But it’s a little bittersweet, ya know? Speaking of Ben, that kid, sheesh. He has been such a delight lately. You know how your kids go through phases where they’re like…really difficult and then suddenly you turn around and you’re totally enchanted by this tiny person that you created out of nothing? We’re in the latter phase right now, and gosh he has been so much fun. And oh yes, Lukey Lou is being a good boy too, now that you ask, despite waking at 4:50 on the dot this morning. His hair is getting curlier and curlier by the day, he says “wow” about everything, yells “mama” at everyone (including his dada), points to the tv and cries if we don’t turn blippi on, loves tromping around in the backyard in his rainboots, wants to be anywhere his brothers are, tells us when he poops in his diaper and gives the best hugs in (I’m pretty sure) the state, or maybe even the world.

This weekend we’re continuing to take full advantage of my parents and going on a freaking DATE tomorrow! I have a little excited smile on my face just thinking about it. Truly can’t remember the last date we’ve been on. And Sunday, of course, is the super bowl, so we’ve started working out a little list for the menu (so far it’s – tot-chos, meatballs, and dorito dip). And then Monday is Valentine’s day (that came up quick right??), so we need to bake something fun to celebrate. Ok, ok, I’m done spilling my guts now. How about some links from the week?

My dad told me about this story the other day, and I just can’t stop thinking about it.

Heart Shaped Dinners.

I am SO excited about this book.

We’ve been watching this every night with my parents and it’s actually so good.


My husband buys me this every year for Valentine’s Day, and I love him for it.

I’d like to be invited.

Have a lovely weekend, friends! ♥️

The Friday Post. [vol. 3]

Happy Friday!! Doing my weekly sigh of relief and popping in here to say hi, give a little update and to share some fun links from the week! Luke went back to school on Wednesday after his bout of pneumonia and is pretty much back to his jolly little self. Still has a yucky cough, but his lungs are clear and no fever and praise hands for that. I’ve started to brainstorm ideas for the boys’ Valentines for school and there are sooo many fun ones out there, I just need to pick something and start on it. We did dinosaurs last year, and I’m just not sure if I can ever top that one. Our bathroom should be finishing up in the middle of next week, and I cannot wait to get our house back in order. Also, my parents arrive next week for their annual February stay, and I am so freaking excited I cannot contain myself. Trying to decide where to put Luke while they take the guest bedroom. Do we go for it and just stick him in with the big boys? Do we put up the pack and play in the laundry room and shut him away? Do we put him in our room? TBD. My dad also always likes to have a house project while they’re visiting to keep him busy and we haven’t decided on that either. Phew. This post kind of became my to do list, didn’t it? Or vent? Anyway – I feel better after having it all down.

What are you up to this weekend? It’s supposed to be “cold” here in Florida (think 30’s to 40’s), so whatever we do, we may have to bundle up and have a little bit of hot chocolate on the side. Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you enjoy it! Now, how about some fun links from around the web?

It won’t be January forever. (Made me weepy.)

Cold with a side of raining iguanas. And my favorite iguana story. Oh Florida.

What to cook this weekend.

And how to make those family dinners stress free.

The happiest day in kiddie lit!

This store has the best ad emails.

Low key dreaming about a Valentine’s Day date with my husband. This dress with these shoes at our favorite date spot and maybe even an extra glass of wine after? (sidenote – also very much into this jumpsuit.)

Sweetest midwinter DIY to cure those midwinter blues.

Have a sweet weekend, friends!

A Morning in the Life (of an elementary school librarian with three boys aged 4, 2, and 1).

I was going to do one Day in the Life post, but after starting to write, I have found that I need to break it up. I’m so chatty and explain-y! There is after all somewhat of a science to getting out the door in a orderly and not-pulling-your-hair-out fashion with three small children before 6:45am. I’ll do three posts over the next few weeks. This one is a typical morning for us, next week I’ll do a School Day in the Life if you’re curious about my school librarian gig, and then I’ll finish it up with An Evening in the Life. Maybe I’ll even do A Weekend in the Life? But you might be so bored to tears by then that I may have to skip it.

5am – My alarm begins to bong. I recently switched the setting to Timba and I find it a little less jarring than what I used to use. Sencha I believe? Feels more like I’m an extra in Tarzan and I don’t hate it. The first thing I do is make my way to the kitchen to put the water on to boil for coffee (we make ours in a french press and if you haven’t tried french press…well you’re missing out), then comes emptying the dishwasher, packing lunchboxes, getting breakfast ready, switching the laundry if I forgot to the night before, and getting my own stuff ready for school if I didn’t the night before. Typical breakfasts are cereal, frozen pancakes, french toast sticks, oatmeal, a baked good if we have it, (all of the above with sprinkles added if they need urging to eat), or, of course, the occasional refusal of all of the above in favor of…not eating breakfast at all. 

Things can easily devolve here during this critical morning prep time if everyone wakes up really early, but on an ideal day, after everything in the kitchen is ready to go and I have a mug of hot coffee in my hand, I get myself ready before the boys get up. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I would say that on 3 to 4 days a week (aka…most days), one or another wakes before I’m ready. On those days, I wake my husband up and I hand that one off to him. Ben (2) is typically the first one up and he requests warm milk and a show so they’ll snuggle on the couch until another kid wakes up too. Favorites morning shows are: searching the term “construction trucks” on youtube and watching trucks move dirt, searching “recycling trucks” – there’s some great compilations of trucks picking up trash, sometimes Blippi, sometimes Pokoyo, and sometimes just yelling that he doesn’t want “that one”. lol…gotta love the whims of two year olds. Luke (15 months) is next up, and I take care of him if Ben is already up snugging with the best husband on earth. Luke gets a bottle, a new diaper, dressed in his school clothes right away, then a snuggle and sent to destroy things in the playroom.

6am – Now it’s time to wake anyone who isn’t already up – namely, Charlie (4). I usually start the wake up process at about 5:55. This includes, turning on the light in the family room, opening the door (Ben and Charlie share a room, and we’re toying with the idea of tossing Luke in there too soon – but we may have lost our marbles), and then turning off their sound machine. I give them about five minutes and this generally does the trick. If they’re still slumbering like angels, then I go in for phase two of wake up and rub their little backs, sing a wake up song, and give them another few minutes to roll around. The last step, or code red you really must get up as I like to think of it, is to turn on the light on their room. I try to avoid this as it can really be not a very nice mama move to those sensitive morning eyes. But! We’re not here to be nice, are we? And then, of course, first stop is to the potty when they wake up.

6:10 – Get the heathens, I mean boys, dressed, if they aren’t already. I try to have clothes laid out the night before and set it in the playroom so it’s easy to find everything. There is nothing I loathe more than searching through laundry for socks first thing in the morning. It is enough to put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day. Now…getting them dressed can be a touchy thing. Sometimes they don’t want to get dressed. Sometimes they don’t want it to be a school day. Me either, dudes. So to soothe their big emotions stuck inside their tiny frames, I try to be flexible. This looks different for each kid. For Luke, as mentioned above, he is happiest if he drinks his bottle while getting a new diaper and getting dressed. He doesn’t really get a choice. For Ben, the most difficult morning child, he is easiest if we get him dressed while he’s slightly distracted and still watching his little morning show. For Charlie, it depends. He often likes to get dress while in our room on our bed, sometimes he likes to do it himself, sometimes he likes help. In most cases, it’s all about the time. It could take fifteen minutes to get them dressed, or it could take two. If they’re having a hard time, and don’t want to get dressed yet, I leave them and I move on to something different (making their beds, making our beds, finishing my hair or makeup if it needs it), and then come back after a few minutes. Sometimes they just need to feel like they’re in control for a few minutes. Sometimes they just want dada to do it instead! Sometimes they want to listen to a Laurie Berkner or Caspar Babypants song on my phone. I try to be flexible. And I have definitely learned this the hard way. I remember feeling so very frustrated with Charlie because he would often refuse to get dressed in the morning and then we would both wind up upset, and late. Now, I give him a few minutes, then come back to him, and try to give him choices if he needs them.

6:20 – Now it’s time for breakfast which is already sitting out on the table, so they just go to eat whenever they’re ready or around 6:20 when we say it’s time to stop doing whatever they’re doing because we have to eat and get out the door soon. Breakfast is smooth if not a little silly. My husband always sits with them while they eat breakfast and at this point I go finish getting myself ready if I haven’t already. Hair, makeup, etc. If I’m ready, then I sit and eat breakfast with them.

6:35 – Brush teeth and vitamins. Easy – they love their vitamins and they know they only get their vitamin if they brush their teeth. Pairing works really well for us. Feels a little like bribery sometimes, but they need to take a vitamin, and they need to brush their teeth, so it’s really just a win-win here.

6:40 – We declare “ok! time for school! Lunchboxes and to the car!” Luke looooooves his lunchbox, so he trots out the door right away (and his little legs pumping out the door dragging his lunchbox next to him might be my favorite part of the morning), Ben often stalls if he’s playing with something, in which case – he gets to take that toy to the car with him. Again, feels like bribery, but it really works for him and we both get what we want. Compromise here. Charlie is pretty easy to get out the door, but can often play around when we get to the car. He puts himself in his own carseat in the back and loves to do it, so we do a lot of counting to three with him. “I’m going to count to three, and if you’re not in your seat by the time I get to three, then I’m going to put you in your seat for you.” I use this a lot in the afternoons too if he’s being squirrely. Counting to three does absolutely nothing for Ben, so to each his own. Ben gets to eat a squeezy yogurt when he gets into his carseat, and that does it for him.

Another thing that really works for us at any point in the morning are “Special Mama Hugs”. I use these more in the afternoon, but in the morning if anyone is losing it, I will say, “do you need a special mama hug?” And this generally stops them in their tracks and they nod yes. This means dropping everything we’re doing, me being wholly focused on the child who is struggling and I pick them up for an extra long, tight hug. Works wonders during times of overwhelm. It’s just a little moment of connection to reset. Like – ok, let’s take a minute, forget what we’re struggling with, and just hug. it. out. Charlie now will even ask for one if he knows he’s getting too upset or emotional.

6:50 – We must be on the road. It takes about fifteen minutes to get to the boys school, and I cannot stand for lateness so to get me to school on time (by 7:30), this is what it takes. For whatever reason, I didn’t care a bit about being late when I was pregnant with each of the boys (I think pregnancy can make us a little selfish, as it should. We’re one with the baby, and our bodies need all of our attention.), so I had several phases of being late to school every day, but I’m past that. We listen to Caspar Babypants radio on Pandora in the car, a story podcast (favorites are Circle Round and Little Stories for Tiny People), or sometimes if moods are sour, I will put PJ Mask on my phone on the Netflix app and prop it up in the middle of the seats so they can watch.

7:05ish – Arrive at daycare. We always call it “school” just to get them ready for school and the idea that school is fun, etc. And of course, we also call their minders teachers too! I think it’s good to get that mentality that you must listen to your teachers instilled really early. Charlie and Luke have always been happy to go to school and they love walking from the car to the door. Ben can sometimes take some urging. If he needs extra hugs or attention, I will sometimes take Charlie and Luke in and come back for Ben. Lately, hasn’t been much pushback on getting from the car to the door though. They don’t even look back at me when they’re going through the door. lol. I generally call my goodbye’s and “I love you’s and ok I’ll miss you’s to their backs. At one point, this would have made me sad. But now, I’m just glad that they love their school.

7:15 – I arrive at school and the second leg of my day begins. My School Day. Eeeeeee. Come back to see “A School Day in the Life” next week!

Five Favorite Things (lately).

  1. Stok Cold Brew
    Have you had it? I’ve been getting the Un-sweet Bold and Smooth and omg it is so creamy and delicious…while somehow not having any cream in it? I can’t stop thinking about it when I’m not drinking it. I’ve been treating myself to a cup of it in the afternoon with a splash of half & half and I swear it just makes the day go by so much smoother for me. While it’s cheaper than buying a coffee from Starbucks every day, it’s not exactly cheap. So I googled how they make theirs (it’s not exactly rocket science), and I’m going to buy some nicer beans than normal and give it a shot. It’s not the first time I’ve made cold brew, but their recipe is a little different than how I normally do mine. Will report back if it’s worth making yourself or if we should all just give something else up in the grocery list to buy Stok.
  2. Duolingo
    It’s an app that you can download for free to learn another language. The school that I teach at has a very high Spanish population, so I made it one of my new years resolutions to brush up on my Spanish skills. I’ve been having so much fun with it. Haven’t missed a day yet in the new year. Fingers crossed I can keep my momentum going. If you want to try it and to have an accountability partner my username is emetroka! They have all kinds of languages – not just Spanish!
  3. Meal Planning
    Ok, ok this isn’t a new obsession, but it bears repeating that meal planning is the only way I get dinner made every night. I don’t know how people decide what to make for dinner when they don’t have it planned out for the whole week. I seize up in indecision. I have a little formula that I follow for each day of the week to make it even easier. I’m always trying to reduce decision making fatigue. If you’ve seen my Making Every Day Special document, then you already know it. Sunday – Warm and cozy meal (think casserole, soup, pasta, etc), Monday – Crock Pot, Tuesday – Tacos, Wednesday – One Pot/Sheet pan meal, Thursday – Leftovers, Friday – Pizza, Saturday – Grill day.
  4. Ozark
    It is so intense. Every season has stressed me out so much. Why are shows like this so addictive?? This is the last season, and we’ve been allowing ourselves one episode a night to really appreciate it rather than binging the whole thing at once. So we’ve been watching one episode and then reading or Mike watches sports after. It’s been a nice little evening routine.
  5. Reading
    You know I’m always obsessed with reading (I am a librarian after all), but I have read SO many good books lately. I’m usually pretty good about sharing my book reviews on Instagram, but I have been putting it off for some reason this month. I’ll share this week sometime, but I’m also going to share a post every month on here to tell you what I read, so that it’s all in one place for you to easily find book reviews.

The Friday Post. [vol. 2]

In the grand scheme of fast weeks versus slow weeks – it was a fast one, but I can’t say that it’s one I enjoyed all that much. This morning, our whole street was blanketed in a thick sheet of fog. We drive down a mile long stretch of straight road to get out of our neighborhood and on my way to drop the boys at daycare (just Charlie and Ben. I’m still home with Luke.) it felt as if I was driving into oblivion with Charlie and Ben in the back chattering about where the moon might be. I’m not quite sure where the days went. Maybe I lost them somewhere up in there in the fog. And all week, despite being home with Luke and not doing nearly as much as I normally do, when the days were over I tossed myself into the couch and almost immediately fell into a deep dreamless sleep, waking around 11 when I realized I was not tucked in my bed as I should be. I’m glad it was a fast week because honestly I’m ready to move on to the next one.

Things are going full speed ahead in our primary bathroom remodel. Everything has been torn apart, and the task of putting it all back together again has started. Drywall is going up today, electrical work is done, and next week tile will start to go up. That’s when it starts looking like a bathroom again instead of an empty shell. We’ve made our picks for tile, but still have to pick up everything else. Honestly, I think it’s going to wind up looking an awful lot like the boys’ bathroom except with a shower instead of a tub and that will make for a very happy bathroom indeed. Should be done in another week and a half, just before my parents arrive for their annual February stay.

This weekend will consist of trying to get my bearings, trying to decide if Luke is well enough to go to school on Monday, and I hope lots of fresh, clean, healing air. What have you been up to? I hope you had a lovely week. How about some links from around the web?

I’m pretty sure this cinnamon toast is what dreams are made of.

Broccoli soup. yum.

My friends were all chatting about this earlier this week and now I’m obsessed. Have you tried it?

If you’re in the US – run!

I saw this dress the other day and can’t get it out of my mind.

How to be more successful and less stressed.

I’m dreaming about all the places in my house I want to stick a sconce.

Adding to my list of February cocktails.

Have a great weekend, friends! ♥️

Parenting Tip #1: Check and Double Check the Crib Sheets.

I wanted to start things off right here with letting you in on the most embarrassing parenting story that’s happened to me lately… I’m not sure why this is jumping out to me as what should begin my writing career with, but here we are. My heart is set and it won’t be changed.

Let me set the scene for you. It was a Monday night (much like tonight) in the not too distant past. We had just gotten the boys down to bed, and were beginning the arduous task of cleaning the house from top to bottom. My husband is always on kitchen duty, and I am on laundry and general tidying duty. So I was sitting on the couch surrounded by my boys’ tiny folded things, listening to my audiobook when my husband called to me laughing from the other room. “Uh, honey.” “Mmhmm?” I replied, not knowing that soon my life would be irrevocably changed.

But when he came in he was holding something very small, very lacy and very…leopard print. A thong. It was my thong. Now…I am known to wear the occasional thong every now and then if my chosen outfit requires it. I am a strong proponent of the anti-VPL community. But I’m not normally a lacy leopard thong kind of gal. More sensible comfort thong with a little lace because I like pretty things. But I won’t deny it. This leopard print thong was mine. Well, I thought, nay! I hoped! to myself that maybe I dropped it from the laundry when I was carrying the basket to the couch. But those hopes were dashed when he said these next awful words, “Look what I found in Lukey’s lunchbox.” And that’s when it all became clear, friends… On Mondays I send in freshly washed crib sheets and blankets for each of the boys. My thong was found inside one of the pesky corners of Luke (our youngest)’s crib sheet and one of his kind teachers then returned it to us in Luke’s lunchbox.

It’s been a few weeks, so the memory burns a little less, but I also wonder if I am now known at the boys’ daycare as The Thong Mom. Maybe it would have been kinder for the teacher to just throw it away and I would be none the wiser? What do you think? In the end – let my mistake be a lesson to you – always check and double check the crib sheets before sending them in to daycare. Hope you guys had a great Monday! No thongs found in any lunchboxes tonight, so I’m doing just fine.

(The boys’ matching monogrammed school bags are from LL Bean. They’re the medium boat and tote and they work wonderfully for daycare trips, and when the boys turn into school age boys, they’re perfect for library book bags.)