New look, same story-telling

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Hey everyone, check out the new graphic web banner I had created for the blog. I’m super excited about it and will soon have a small, complimentary logo as well. I dove right into this blog at the first of the year and bypassed a lot of the technical details and logistics that would often times consume me and take away from my writing. This included the visual identity of the blog and other branding details. I’m slowly navigating through the technical aspects of the platform still, but prioritizing content in order to keep the stories coming. Please do me a favor, and visit the blog directly at http://www.caffeineandconcealer.wordpress.com and subscribe, follow me and comment. If you’re already here, you should see the “Follow Me” button in the right-hand navigation. Any activity helps generate awareness so that others can discover Caffeine & Concealer and will move it closer to the #1 New Blog of the Year 2016 (not sure if that’s a real thing).

There’s no pressure, but if you don’t do as I say, I may not use you and your lives as hypothetical content for my next blog post, or I will without your permission, depending on which is worse for you.

Thank you dear and loyal friends!

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“I’ll take a cup of coffee with a side of cynicism.”

There’s been a Spring Break vacation in between my last post and now, but let’s be honest – it’s mainly this that’s keeping me from being diligent in my writing:

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I’m exhausted. I can hardly imagine why – I only spend 2 hours a day driving, 10 hours a day working and 24 hours a day parenting. Somewhere within that time frame, I’m also growing my faith, pursuing my marriage, supposedly working out, sleeping, taking care of our new home, decorating, and pursuing a dream and hobby. It’s a fun and blessed journey, don’t get me wrong – but I’m just tired. It doesn’t help that recently, my youngest little lamb Olivia, who is so close to two years old that I’m Pinterest planning her birthday party in all my spare time, has decided to digress in her well-established sleep patterns. What is this nonsense? Her entire bedtime routine is now being used to strategize her anti-sleep methods and to plot against us. The very second we lay her down, she begins to scream and no matter how hard we try to “wait it out” – we’re going in every 15-30 minutes or so to soothe and reassure  her. One time, I was even so stumped that I let her cry for 45 minutes. I knew in my heart that everything was completely fine and convinced myself that she was messing with me, and if I gave in, she’d know I would raise the white flag.

We’re two weeks into this fun new game, and she’s finally only waking once a night – but nevertheless, still getting up when she’s old enough to know better.  *Sigh.*

Sleep deprivation is tough on everyone, but being required to get up like clockwork to shower, become human  again and show up to work on time with a positive attitude and brain power is tough. Am I right? Last week my Starbucks expenditures spiked, I was doing double takes in the bathroom at my blood-shot eyes and frizzy hair and thinking “wow, now that is a polished professional.” The better side of mothering I guess is the rewarding perspective and attitude of “you know I have small people in my household, so just deal.” It’s kind of along the same line as the elderly who speak completely unfiltered and pass gas openly on their way to the bank teller (the old folks are clearly the only ones who still physically go in to a bank).

I may be biased, but the working mother deserves extra accolades for these times. If for nothing else, wearing dress clothes and heels on three hours of sleep without busting a kankle.

So here’s to all the sleep deprived mommas still seeing patients, closing deals, making and receiving calls, teaching stranger’s children and representing your clients in court just hours after you were ninja rolling out of your precious angel’s room – you earn a Superwoman badge in my book. Or better yet, a completely justified excuse to drink as many liquid calories as you’d like. May your little one(s) soon grace you with eight to twelve hours of sleep, even if you catch just six because you accidentally fell into a Netflix bingeing or YouTube rabbit hole again. You truly are a master of all things, and you’re not alone.

Livi’s Life

 

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My Olivia Rae (Livi) is my baby, and she knows it. She’s more of my mini-me when it comes to looks and stature, but a healthy mix of both Matt and I’s personalities. It’s hard to say really since she’s not talking just yet, but she keeps us laughing and on our toes nonetheless. When Livi was a newborn, we used to joke that she was our “grumpy gramps” because she was a grunter. You were hard pressed to hear her cry because her little voice had a slightly muted rasp to it, and she communicated with frequent grunts instead. It reminded us of a crotchety old man, even though she was only hours and days new.

As she’s grown up, she’s become our little lover. She requires regular love and hug breaks – even if it means stopping in the middle of our flight of stairs to do so. She wants to be just like big sis, though Charlotte tends to dominate in typical big sister fashion. Even in their sweetest moments, it’s more of an aggressive love coming from big sissy–choke holds instead of gentle hugs, insisting on hooking Livi up to a leash “because she’s my dog,” and other sibling shenanigans.

Livi loves to eat (especially cheese and carbs), loves to wear shoes, loves to read books, insists on traveling by foot with no less than 17 items in hand, loves to take baths and has an ever-evolving nick name that started as “Baby Livi,” which has somehow ventured into Baba Lava / Boppalava territory.

Since I’ll be posting regular chapters of Charlotte’s Corner, I wanted to be sure Olivia found a place in my blog  as well. Thus, “Livi’s Life” was coined. This is the first of a recurring blog post that will reflect the life of Livi, just for laughs, and permanently documented worldwide web memories.

Livi’s Life Ch. 1

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Half naked, belly hanging out, “brushing her teeth,” rain boots.

Enough said.

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This is Livi’s Life.

The End.

Charlotte’s Corner

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Charlotte is my first born, fiery, larger-than-life three year old. She loves large, throws even larger temper tantrums, is never wrong, has an unusually keen sense of observation and detail, is extremely particular and keeps us both laughing and on our toes on a daily basis. She’s our “three-nager” as they call it, a word I’m jealous I didn’t coin first. Sometimes I look at her in awe that she’s only three years old because of her maturity. Other times, I’m grounded by her youthful, still-discovering-all-things-new naivety. I love her from the deepest depths of my being, and I thank God every day for choosing me to be her momma on this side of heaven. My life was forever changed the day she was born – she came out quiet with eyes wide open and lips pursed ready for milk. My literal first words were gentle and humble, and very refined and Christian:

“Holy Sh*t?! That’s it?!”

Referring to my labor of course, not my baby, because I had some insanely lucky one-push five-minute delivery. Don’t hate me, my boobs are most undoubtedly more destroyed after birthing and mothering than your tinies will ever be. Just let me have the rock star birthing story and pour yourself a glass of wine remembering your marathon session or still-not-as-short as mine C-Section.

But back to Charlotte …

This is “Charlotte’s Corner,” the first of a recurring blog post that will recount a particular event or dialogue of my Charlotte Grace. Just for laughs, and permanently documented worldwide web memories.

Charlotte’s Corner Ch. 1

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Charlotte: *early one morning*

“Mom, I wish I could wear boobs like you.” (it’s unclear whether boobs to her are actually boobs, or a bra which may also be “boobs.”)

Me: “Oh.” (lost for words.)

Charlotte: “Yeah, I just have teeeeeeeeeensy tiny boobs.”

Me: “Yeah …” (still waiting to see where this goes as I quickly get dressed and tell her that I’m “private.”)

Charlotte: *later that night, with several events and conversations in between, now dressed in glittery dress-up from her costume trunk*

“Mom, I wish I could have large nipples so that I can be a pretty, pretty princess.”

Me: “Oh Charlotte, you know, you’re a very beautiful princess JUST the way you are. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wish for anything that you don’t have.”

Charlotte: “Whale, (spelled to portray “well” in her pseudo southern draw), maybe I can pray to Jesus and ask him for larger nipples, because that would be so so bootiful and very nice of him.”

The End.

 

 

 

Winter ice-cream adventures and other memories with littles

article_wine-and-drink_Ice-Cream-Cocktails_1074x800Tonight, the girls and I took an “adventure” as Charlotte would call it. Poor girl, I got her using the term to pretty much describe any outing or errand. “Charlotte, you want to go on a mailbox adventure?” “Charlotte, we’re going to go on a Lowe’s adventure.” “Mommy, can we go on a Taaaaarrgggeeett adventure tonight?” She’s no dummy – she knows Target comes complete with popcorn and a slushy. It started in the womb ok?! I couldn’t stop eating Target popcorn and slushies when I was pregnant with her, but I maintain the deep desire for Target and all that comes with it is part of a woman’s DNA, so can’t be held responsible.

To be fair, tonight’s adventure truly was something fun and out of the ordinary – winter ice cream. Weeknight, winter ice cream (even more rebellious!). My husband Matt has drum practice on Wednesday nights, so the girls and I ventured out after dinner to appease mommy’s craving while creating childhood memories that appeared to be all about them. Isn’t that how it’s done? It was fun, quality time, and did create a memory – however the reality of a scenario with young children versus how you’d imagine that scenario to actually play out is always a stark contrast. In my mind, Charlotte, Olivia and I would skip together while holding hands into the welcoming doors of Dairy Queen. We’d decisively choose our ice cream, find a seat and have darling conversation while basking in our sweet treat. We’d live on the edge, because it’s a weeknight and close to baby bed-time.

How it really went down was more like …

Balance Olivia on my hip and figure out the smallest possible treat for Charlotte while she changes her mind 17 times over three entire choices. Dig through my purse, pay and sign the credit card slip – all one handed.  Set up camp in the cozy, over-sized booth where  groups of teenagers usually sit. Spend the next five minutes taking off the children’s coats and arranging the ice cream and napkins.

“Mommy, I have to go potty.”

Scoop up both  girls, my purse, leave their coats and ice cream behind and hope for the best. Hold Charlotte over the potty so as to spare her bare bum from less-than-clean DQ toilets, while shewing Olivia away from touching anywhere else in the stall and praying she doesn’t drop her stinky elephant (this is her lovey) since she chews on his nose and can’t sleep without him. Wash our hands, get a little too wet before reaching for the unstocked paper towel dispenser, and finally make our way back to our booth where our slightly melted ice creams await.

Ahhh memories.

Later that night, I found myself a little sore from the extended hold of a 30 pounder, sick in my stomach from a bad choice of dairy before bed (notice it’s only a bad choice for being dairy and not 5,000 extra calories) and trying to reign in an extremely hyper three-year old and tired, fussy baby.

Me: “Hey girls, it’s time for a very exciting bed-time adventure!”

Girls: *meltdown*

Me: *sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

2016 – Bring it.

I can hardly believe it’s been another year. New Year’s Eve celebrations have definitely changed for us in the past three years. What used to be celebrating with friends at a house party with one too many ridiculous decisions, or attending the at-least-once radio hosted bash, have alas evolved into a 7:30 pm mock countdown with the kids, mundane bedtime routines and beginning the night after hours (hear: after baby bedtime) for what we consider our actual celebration. We usually do it up with a nice meal- sans leaving the house, getting a sitter, squeezing in an undesirable reservation time and best of all, avoiding an enormously up-charged bill with obligatory tip. So it’s actually quite enjoyable. We try our best to stay up until midnight, and by we try our best – I mean me … because I just assume be in yoga pants by 5 pm and bed by 8 pm. I made it this year! We watched the ball drop at 11 pm CST and counted down our own 10 seconds before midnight. All in all, a grandiose time and worry-free of drunk drivers. Worth every homebody second.

A new year to me isn’t as much about official “resolutions,” but  just a fresh start. Why not take it up a notch at the beginning of a new year? I am the Queen of Purge. Something magical happens on Jan. 1 and dare not any item cross my path that shall not want to plead its case. If I haven’t thought about it in the final days of the year, it’s GONE. Over the New Year’s weekend, I started with the play room and the girl’s rooms and managed to gather a large Amazon box full of toy donations. I  also retired yet another Rubbermaid tub full of baby clothes. Then I purged all bins of baby clothes into a large black hole.

No, no I didn’t.

Don’t judge me, this is where I draw the line. I can’t get rid of all the teeny tiny baby girl clothes, because that would mean I have to admit I no longer have teeny tiny baby girls! Speaking of my little angels – word to the wise when gathering toy donations: make them disappear. I made the mistake of leaving the box accessible, to which Charlotte embarked on a treasure hunt and commenced a meltdown over a small, stuffed duckling she likely received in her first-ever Easter basket. “Mommy PLEEEEAAAASSSEEEE (super dramatic) don’t give away my chicky!”

But honestly, decluttering is the key to a fresh start. If you don’t have the time or energy to get it all done, at least make a list and accomplish some quick wins like cleaning out your personal e-mail account. Take care of some tedious tasks you’ve been putting off forever, so another year doesn’t pass by and you’re still in your own way. To help you get thinking, I’ve compiled a short list of ridiculousness that has become a background to my daily life. I’m calling this my sarcastic, “I would rather” for emphasis:

I Would Rather 

  • I would rather …  use a blow dryer with an extremely shortened cord and giant knot, than take an extra five seconds to untangle the cord.
  • I would rather … use an extra clunky, battery-powered, spin toothbrush with a dead battery, and cause my arm to get tired while reducing molar leverage, than replace the damn battery.
  • I would rather … skip eyeliner or find an alternate, than take the time to sharpen my eyeliner pencil.
  • I would rather … spend excess minutes looking for apps on my junked up phone and politely share a few choice profanities, than take the time to declutter my apps and rearrange my screens to be more accessible.
  • I would rather overbuy groceries and be wasteful with the excess, than declutter my fridge and pantry.

Ok, so the majority of these are related to getting ready and food. But, you catch my drift. New year, fresh start. Get er’ done.

Another quick win is to take an hour one day, (your lunch  break for example,) and schedule all your appointments and your family’s appointments that you’ve been procrastinating. Start by identifying the necessary appointments and calling just to get them SET. That is all. The more you can accomplish in January, the better. Dental cleanings, flu shots, that weird quirk you need an expert opinion on – get them on the books and feel amazingly accomplished.

Here are a couple of tools that might be worth looking into, both of which have made an impact on my life:

Unroll.me: This is an app you can get on your phone and/or visit their website. It  helps you unsubscribe from all the copious amounts of promotions you’ve inadvertently subscribed to, that are flooding your inboxes. All with a quick swipe or click of a button. I unsubscribed from more than 100 sites in about five minutes. No to mention, for anything I wanted to keep – I either flagged them to stay in my inbox OR “rolled them up” into a curated newsletter. I now receive a daily roll-up from Unroll.me, with only the promotions, news, etc. I chose to keep. Here is what you can expect in your inbox:

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Another handy tool is an app called Wunderlist. I still find it extremely gratifying to write lists with pen and paper and cross things off. If you share this neurosis, try keeping that list as your present “To-Do’s” but use an app like Wunderlist to list big picture or recurring items. This list synchronizes across all devices and can be shared between you and your husband or other family members. Matt and I have a Grocery list, Lowes/Home Depot list, Costco List, House Projects list … pretty much anything we can add to at any given moment and ensure we’re efficient and aligned. It’s fabulous! And for a special treat, you can stalk one another through the checked off notifications should you find yourself separated but following a shared list.

Wunderlist Shenanigans:

Matt (from home): add’s 17 lines of beer, a steak and tons of candy to Wunderlist.

Amie (@ H-E-B): checks off all beer, steak and candy as “done.” adds a new line item for “in your dreams” to be checked off.

Ok, so maybe that just got creepy. But once again, you get the picture.

2016 is going to be a great year. I’m already killing it, and it’s been an entire 5.75 days. You too can achieve rock star status – so get motivated, embrace your crown of purge and start listing, making calls, trashing and donating your crap.

Happy New Year friends!

 

 

 

Just do it – an introduction.

To say that I’ve started to blog again 100 times in the past several years, would probably be an understatement. Every time I set out to explore a blogging platform – I get obsessed with themes and images and templates and tweaking this or that, that my “writing session” is over before it ever begins. In the midst of heading down that path yet again, I told myself “just do it.” And at risk of being cliché and directly ripping off Nike’s tagline, here I am. Just doing it. Sharing my words for all to hear, for all who’ve asked, for my heart and mind overflowing with a story untold.

Welcome to my blog, Caffeine & Concealer. The title of this blog came to me one day when I realized that copious amounts of coffee and a persistent application of concealer pretty much summed up my existence. Well that, God, a lot of prayer, and love and support from my family – but that just gets wordy. Bare with me as I evolve the look and feel of this blog, carefully choose a logo and images, and set out on this journey to share my words amidst the picture-perfect backdrop and brand I’ve been dreaming of.