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Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer Me

The summer version of me is WAY more fun and creative. Every year, over summer vacation I like to pretend I'm crafty. It's very fulfilling. It's not like I'm sitting around being bored...there is plenty in this home to keep me busy. It's just that during the school year, I find very few opportunities to branch out and learn new things. Yes, I know that if you want to do something bad enough, you can make time. The reality is that crafting is very low on my list of extracurricular activities. Obviously you've got the very important stuff at the top of the priority list...trying to nail the work/home blend consumes it all. This encompasses all things family, and a very demanding work schedule. I do enjoy cooking, at least I try not to make it a chore. Scrapbooking used to be a HUGE hobby of mine (one of the reasons I originally started blogging forever ago). I found a way to incorporate scrapbooking into my regular day to day work and home planning by going all in with the planner community. Perhaps that's a post for another day. Moral of the story....when it comes to crafting....it's just not something I make much time for unless I'm home for an extended period of time and have a stress level of at least 90% less of what it is during the school year. It's just the reality right now...no complaints. 

Why am I blogging about this? Because.... 1. I want to share some awesomeness from over this past summer break, and 2. I don't want to forget where I left off, so I can pick it back up next year! 
This is a cozy baby blanket that I made for a friend. It was ridiculously simple, and since the yarn is so chunky and the hook was so fat....I finished it in about 4 days! THIS is the tutorial I followed.
I also made these adorable donuts for a sweet little two year old's birthday. At first I was unrealistically ambitious and thought I was going to make a dozen....in reality it ended up being only four. They are pretty easy but slightly time consuming for as small as they are. After I cranked out the first four for the birthday gift, I ended up attempting more for my girlies. So far I have 1 and a few random tops and bottoms that still need to be stitched and stuffed. That is a project for another time. I don't want to forget the exact tutorial I followed for these. It's THIS one, and HERE is the link to the actual pattern. I'm going to make more of these....some day. #tobecontinued
It blows my mind how you can learn pretty much anything on YouTube. A while back, a co-worker taught me a few crochet basics, and I relied on YouTube to take it from there. I'm nowhere near pro status, but if it's basic and the tutorial is clear enough...I can figure it out (and so can you, I promise). 
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life is short....take the trip

For a little over 8 years, I've been living in Florida. Stephen and I took a risk by leaving New York, in order to start our careers...and ultimately our life together. As exciting as all of that was, it was never easy to just leave....and I'm saying this for a lot of reasons. For me, a big reason was my little brother. We were ALWAYS close, even while growing up with just three years between us. To this day I consider him my best friend in the whole wide world, and literally I think the world of him. Of course we don't talk as much as we would like but it's understandable as we are both incredibly busy people in two totally different ways. We see each other but not as often as we would like. It also seems that when we do see each other it is for either holidays or special events. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see him under those circumstances but I always figured it would be nice to spend time with him "just because". Pete (that's his name, FYI) is a musician and all summer long I was hoping to plan a trip to see one of his shows. 

There always seemed to be a reason to put it off until the next one...legitimate reasons too....the girls, timing, taking off of work, flight expenses....life, ya know. After returning back to work after summer vacation and talking to a co-worker and friend of mine I decided life is just WAY too short, and I was so over putting the trip off. My sweet hubs understood and just one week out - I "spontaneously-ish" booked a trip for a visit to see Pete in Boston at one of his shows. BEST decision ever! It was a blast! My cousin Jen went too, and we had the best time...mostly eating, and drinking, and being silly like we've always been. In those moments it's like time is standing still...we don't seem like grown ups, it's like we're kids again. Here are some of the highlights from my very quick but wonderfully jam-packed trip to Boston.... I definitely hope to be able to spend more quality time with him JUST like this, JUST like old times. 
We wandered the city, and did what our family does best....eat! When we aren't eating, we are usually planning out our next meal. This is normal for most families, right?! Pete's show was incredible, the crowd was insane, I don't have any pics because I was a very proud sister....and I Facebook-lived, almost the entire show for my parents. Good times, I hope it isn't long before I get to experience another bro-sis trip, even if it's something a little more local. Love you Bro!! 
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*Dear El + Em, 
I hope you girls have a bond as strong with one another as I do with your very cool, Uncle Peter. There's nothing like it! 
Love, 
Mom

Monday, July 10, 2017

Can't do all the things

I'm a sucker for a good quote. Pretty fonts, words that have meaning....big fan over here. Lately the ones I choose to share have a common theme which is being gentle with yourself, accepting that you can't do it all and things aren't always perfect. Sometimes a little reminder helps bring me back down to the ground when my head is in the clouds. When I'm working like a maniac and striving for the perfect balance between work and home I need reminding. When I'm on a break and home with the girls trying to find time for them AND myself...I need reminding. When I'm striving for "wife of the year" status....yup, reminding.
There is this pressure to make sure I'm "being productive" and packing as much into the day to be sure every moment counts and is worthwhile. Thankfully I don't at all have a husband who has any kind of expectations on how I am spending the day with the girls. Obviously I'm the only one putting this pressure on myself...but why?!? I KNOW I'm not alone on this.  

Surely many of you know the feeling. For me, the day begins with an unrealistic grand plan and when I reach that point where it's obvious things aren't going the way I first envisioned...it almost feels like failing. I'm beginning to really see how ridiculous it is for me to feel the need to justify every moment of the day. It's a lot of work and frankly I'm over it. I posted this on instagram the other day and it completely sums up how I'm feeling...
My summer vacation is coming to an end, and there are many things on that summer to-do list that just won't be happening. Every year I go through this. Summer starts and I'm thinking "this is my chance to accomplish everything I've been wanting to". I'm going to organize my life and make every moment meaningful.

In a perfect world, this is what my summer vacation would look like:

-Organize, organize, organize! My closet, the kitchen, the girls toys....minimalism looks nice...try that out!
-Craft! This includes, crocheting, and my latest obsession that I'm doing research/buying materials for but haven't actually done....bracelet making. You could learn anything from YouTube tutorials...my "watch later" list is a LONG one!
-Read! Oh, there are so many things I want to read! I've gotten into a bunch of essential oil books and cook books. Non-fiction is fitting into my life the easiest at the moment, but oh how I long to dive into some good chick-lit! I've also got a new Marzano book that is calling my name. 
-Cook! From those cookbooks I've been poring over, I've got some big plans. I'm picturing the movie Julie & Julia!
-Oils! I want to learn everything there is to know about essential oils! I'm part of several amazing communities I would love to keep up with, read everything that's shared, learn about the latest products, watch all the live videos, participate in all the classes! 
-Document! I want to take a million pictures (which I do), blog all the important moments, and capture every milestone in some way!
-Be a #fitmom! Eat well, exercise at least 4-5 times per week. 

This is just a glimpse at a few of the things that have my head spinning. I want to do all the things! Ummmm, helloooo! This list is insane...the reality is I can't do all the things. Balancing my work and home life doesn't mean that I have to spend every home moment jamming in a ridiculous amount of accomplishments in every minute of free time. I know this...yet sometimes reminders still help.
Who cares about a to-do list anyway? All I really want to do is sit on the floor and play with my babies! They are only little once, and in 10 days, our summer vacation will end and I won't have the option to spend an entire lazy day with them like this. 
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Friday, June 30, 2017

All about Emmy-Ems

Let's talk about our Littlest E! Since I left things hanging at 36 weeks pregnant, it only seems right that I dedicate this entire post to the newest member of the family. Emmy Kate was born on August 29, 2016 at 6 lbs, 10 oz. The best way I can describe her is an absolute JOY...this includes now and even during the "newborn trenches"! 
Emmy has such a sweet little personality and a smile that melts our hearts. She is a very easy going, low-key and go with the flow kind of baby. I think I birthed one of those mythical unicorn babies....parents often refer to them as "good babies". Ella gave us a rough start, mainly due to her tummy troubles, so you can't really compare (and shouldn't). Since I don't want to jinx things, I'm not going to get into what a great napper and sleeper she is...and how she is smiling most of the time. Ha! 

Ella is a phenomenal big sister and of course, a great helper like Stephen and I knew she would be. People often ask me if she experienced jealousy. She absolutely did, but in never presented in any animosity between her and Emmy. Instead, she demonstrates it through attention seeking behaviors. She absolutely adores her Little Sis! Now that Emmy is more interactive, Ella gets the biggest kick out of playing with her. All day long Ella says things like "isn't she cute", and "awwwwww, look at Emmy". I love how she loves her and is just as fascinated with her as Stephen and I are! We are all enjoying watching this baby girl grow. Why does it have to be happening so fast?! 
As of now, Emmy is in full-on crawling mode, is always trying to pull herself up and she cruises around in her walker like a boss. It's hilarious to watch her fly across the wood floors and crash into things! She also has found her voice recently and is always trying to copy us and even sings too. Speaking of singing, she LOVES the movie 'Sing'....even the cover of the blue ray makes her excited! Anything with music she loves because bopping along and clapping is her favorite. She is just so happy and sweet! So far, she claps, stomps, waves, blows little kisses and pretends to talk on the phone. No joke, her first official words were "Aunt Laura"...referring to one of her little people with blonde hair! We call her Emmy-Emys, Em, Ems, Emmy Face...sometimes I call her my meatball baby, or my "Shnookies" (not sure where that came from but it really stuck for me). 
It's been a blast being home with her this summer vacation. The timing is perfect because she's changing and learning so much by the day.  Hubs and I are thrilled to have another little Skoblicki girl to love on! Now if only time would slow down!
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Dear El + Em

Oh, Hi! It's been a while, huh?! 

A few nights ago, I was going through my e-mail....I mean REALLY going through it. Deleting, unsubscribing, the first step in organizing my life like I said I'd do this summer vacation (that's now halfway over). What a cluster! Things had gotten a tad bit out of control. The e-mail icon on my phone had been haunting me for a while. How did I things get to this point? No idea! I'm the person who doesn't like ANYTHING hanging over my head...let alone WELL over 1,000 e-mails! It wasn't work e-mail, these were 99.9% personal e-mails....and of course it was mostly junk. The only time I'd pop in was to check for Michael's coupons, or to check a tracking number for whatever the latest delivery was that I had on the way. However, buried amongst all the junk was a very important e-mail. My domain for "neverthesamespicetwice.com" was on the brink of expiring within the next few days! 

Yes, that was a whole lot of dramatic build up to get to the point...but for me this was a wake up call in so many ways. It's not like my blog would have disappeared if I didn't take action immediately, but it was time to make the dreaded decision. Should I stay, should I go, should I start over entirely. I've invested the past EIGHT years into this space. It's changed and grown along with me. The big move to Florida, an engagement, wedding planning, two pregnancies, bumpdates, motherhood. Let's not forget all the scrapbooking (old school "Day in the life of Sessy"), new friendships, jobs, recipes, meal plans, link ups and guest posts! There's no part of me that thinks of myself as a good writer, it's not like I'm one of those people who use writing as an outlet...maybe I do, but sometimes it can certainly feel like a chore.

I just simply like to document life. Yes, I have a tendency to highlight the positive for the most part of course, with some boring every day details that no one necessarily cares about thrown in there too. What are the things I want to remember? Am I marketing my "brand", or am I just using this as a place where I can compile my thoughts, share my favorite things and document life's blessing big and small? This blog is MY place, maybe I should just blog what I want and stop overthinking things. 

For now, I'm getting back to basics with a little good old fashioned "no-frills, no-pressure blogging". Who reads this thing anyway...and does that matter? I'm not trying to please the masses. There are two tiny people that I know will maybe want to read my thoughts some day...Ella Rose and Emmy Kate. These girls are my everything, I'd like to think that they would get a kick out of checking this place out. When I thought about starting completely over, I figured there's just too much history here it would be a shame not to keep it all together. So, here I am again. Same blog, a new name. I don't know how often I'll be around or exactly which direction is coming next. Let's just start here! I still love to cook, I feel like maybe I'll share an occasional recipe from time to time. Even though Hubs and I are nowhere near parenting experts, there are definitely certain aspects of this adventure that deserve to be documented! Besides my two girlies, the two new latest obsessions include essential oils (which I'd love to post about... Young Living distributor up in here, WOOT) and planner stickers (did you know that was even a thing...no really)! 

Boy, I'm glad that I finally decided (at 1:00 in the morning) to take charge of my life and sort that disastrous inbox out! It's amazing how simply changing a blog name can make you re-evaluate your entire life! Even though a few years ago I said I wasn't going to change it, it felt like it was now time. If not for any other reason, I needed to freshen things up in order to have a little added motivation. "Tacos and Target" was available....5 years ago, 20-something year old me would have been ALL over that! However, I needed something a little less trendy, and a little more personal! "Dear El and Em" seems perfect because at this point, the minute I open a draft or proofread a post....I'll be picturing reading it from their point of view, years from now. This is for me, but it's also for them. LOVE you both! 
Ella, 3 going on 13 - I mean 4 Emmy, 10 months
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(Mommy)

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