Two weeks…

Two weeks ago the kids and I boarded a plane unsure of what life was going to hold. Now two weeks in I can tell you we are surviving and making great strides in becoming settled and also preparing for the looming school year. Don’t let my “were surviving” fool you, a lot of things are different in Arizona then back in Pennsylvania.

Let’s just get it out in the open – the H.E.A.T. – yes it is Arizona and it is hot. Temperatures have been anywhere from 110-120 and yes it’s HOT! The heat is totally different though, in PA as soon as you walk out of the house you get drenched with sweat from the humidity but here instead of getting sweaty you can feel the sun on your skin hence why on the 100+ degree days you stay inside, go to a park under a canopy or stay in a pool and don’t get out. 


Grocery shopping is different too, they don’t believe taco kits should come with soft shells so now I have to buy a shaker of taco seasoning and  a package of shells separately. Grocery stores also don’t carry Italian sandwich bread in their bread aisles which is all we use in our house so this was a major issue but finally I found some at Walmart and all is good on the bread front again. 


Street signs. In Pennsylvania we were used to seeing signs for Bethlehem, Allentown, Harrisburg, Quakertown and Philadelphia. In Arizona we see signs for Phoenix, Tucson and the one I still can’t believe I see is Los Angeles! It’s so unreal to me because I just never imagined I’d ever see a sign for L.A.  

You also have to be conscious of things like – will my electric bill skyrocket if I do laundry between 12pm and 7pm on a weekeday? The answer to that question is yes since electricity is triple the price during those hours (in the summer months). So you adjust and do laundry first thing in the morning, late at night or save it for the weekend! 

I don’t want this to be seen as one big complaint because it’s not. So far I have loved being in Arizona, heat and all. I of course wish my family was here but thanks to technology texting, Facebook and FaceTime is making it easy to communicate with our family and friends. One of my favorite things is the amazing mountain views when I’m driving. They are so spectacular I don’t think looking down the palm tree lined road to the mountains in the distance will ever get old. 

In two weeks I’ve accomplished a lot. My Arizona drivers license is on its way, Brayden is registered for kindergarten, Makayla is registered for preschool, we took care of finding a new bank and the boxes are starting to disappear from our house. There is still a lot to do especially with the school year only starting in a mere 40 days. This life change hasn’t been easy but taking it one day at a time seems to work best. 

Stay cool,

– Brittany

Mommy Guilt

Last night, well really early this morning, laying in bed trying to fall asleep mommy guilt started to set in. I had cleaned the house did all the laundry laid out their clothes for the next three days and even somehow managed to pack myself and although everything was done to make my trip away easier for them I still felt guilty. Why mommy guilt? Well for starters Makayla is 3 years old and I’m pretty sure our time apart has only ever consisted of one night away from each other. She’s my sidekick, my extra arms, sometimes a pain in my ass but nonetheless my baby. For Bray it’s different. We’ve spent time apart I think really just Jay and I’s honeymoon but he’s also older now and I know if he needs something or something is out of routine he won’t be afraid to voice it, a comforting feeling. But then there’s his soccer game, the first game of the new season this weekend and as the involved mom I always try to be my heart is breaking I can’t be there but again all of his stuff is laid out and the latest email about our weather conditions and instructions has been emailed to the family member caring for them so really everything is taken care of and his Grammy will be there too so his support system is in place.

So as I sit here and try to eat this oversized greasy slice of pizza waiting for my plane my heart still breaks. Being a stay at home mom is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing that I get to be with them everyday watching them grow, helping them when they need it and helping shape them into the little human beings they are becoming. A curse because being with them everyday is my place so when separation which should be extremely exciting for me because breaks like this are as often as seeing snow in the town we are moving to in Arizona I should be ecstatic. Not sure it helps that Bray followed me around all morning like a lost puppy instead of his usual routine of going downstairs and playing with his cars or on the iPad. 

Regardless of my feelings and anxiety about the kids I am excited to see my husband and the town I am uprooting mine and the kids lives to live in.

 So here’s to new adventures🍻


– Brittany

Never Underestimate a Little Human

So it’s Saturday night which meant a movie and pizza for the kids and I. It’s unbelievable that with all the DVD’s we own, Netflix and On Demand the kids (and I) could not come to an agreement on a movie. Like seriously 20 minutes of back and forth because Brayden wanted to watch Hop and Makayla wanted to watch every Disney Princess movie we own. Finally as I was 2 seconds short of saying “forget it no movie” I went into the kids DVD bin and found The Peanuts Movie still wrapped in cellophane from Christmas. Finally we had an agreement and better yet it was a movie none of us had seen.

With our pizza and drinks on the coffee table we started the movie and to be honest about 10 minutes in I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end.  I am happy to say it did get better. Brayden (5) sat through the whole thing while Makayla (2) was watching while bouncing around on the couch and demanding more pink lemonade. After awhile we made it to the part where Charlie Brown sees his crush practicing dancing in her window and to impress her he goes home to learn how to dance for the winter dance at school. The kids enjoyed the dancing but they really enjoyed the song. Then the winter dance scene finally comes on and the song plays again, “Better When I’m Dancin'” by Meghan Trainor. It is really upbeat and catchy and the kids loved it, Makayla was even up dancing!

As the movie continues you see all the disappointments Charlie Brown goes through it’s like nothing ever goes his way but then finally at the end of the movie he has success; he flies the kite and talks to his crush. Now as a Mom I’m thinking “aww what a cute ending he finally talked to his little girlfriend and we seriously need to download this song for the car!” So the kids and I went on iTunes and downloaded the song, the kids danced for a little bit and we headed upstairs for bed. As I got Brayden’s toothbrush out I asked if he liked the movie and his response caught me off guard:

Brayden – “I did! Charlie Brown never gave up!”

Me –  “Wow bud your right he didn’t give up, can you tell me what he didn’t give up at?”

Brayden – “Talking to that girl and he flew the kite.”  (5 second pause) “I’m like him I don’t give up.”

Me (with a happy heart) – “You’re right you have never given up.”

We exchanged big smiles and I went about brushing his teeth. You don’t realize just what your 5 year old picks up on until moments like this. For those who don’t know Brayden’s story he has been through a lot. He had heart surgery at 5 months old. A second unheart related surgery at 15 months old. He’s struggled with medical issues from his heart during the winters and this past December had oral surgery. So yes at a mere 5 years of age him recognizing that he doesn’t give up is HUGE for me as a mother. He has been a fighter from the beginning and he is where I have gotten my strength on my weakest days. (I will be writing more on Brayden in the next few weeks during congenital heart defect awareness week.)

So lesson learned don’t underestimate your 5 year old, they may drive you crazy and make you want to pull all of your hair out but they are paying attention. They are paying attention to the journey they are on and all that’s going on around them.

And if you’re ever having one of those rough mommy days listen to this song it’s a good pick me up and bound to get you dancing 🙂

Better When I’m Dancin’ – Meghan Trainor

– Brittany

Should you join the planner community?

Let me start by saying regardless of your profession or how big your family is (aka how many kids you need to keep track of) there may be a form of planning for you. It’s a common misconception that because I’m a stay at home mom and don’t work a typical 9 to 5 job that I have no reason to plan the way I do. What could I possibly be keeping track of? Well here’s a list of the things I write in my planner:

  • My babysitting schedule
  • Kids school schedules
  • My daughters dance schedule
  • Dinner plan each night
  • TV show schedule
  • Fitbit steps
  • Household chores – vacuuming, laundry, dusting, clean bathrooms, etc.
  • Birthdays/anniversaries
  • Drs appointments
  • Typical family events
  • Sons sports schedules
  • Husbands coaching schedule
  • Basic list of tasks – phone calls that need to be made, things to be done on the computer or bills to mail
  • List of things we need at the store
  • Notes
  • Date nights!

For a stay at home mom I have plenty to keep track of! There are a lot of other ways to use a planner though. Some people use them for journaling while others use them as memory planners where they put in pictures and captions to remember their day. If you have fitness goals you might want to look into the specific fitness planner or there are free printables online that you could add to your everyday planner. Other people use them as faith planners where they keep track of bible studies and put the scriptures they may be specifically focusing on.  Then there are the students who use them for school and activities. Professionals even use them at work to keep track of tasks, deadlines and meetings. If you fall in one of these categories planning may be for you. Remember planning doesn’t need to be as creative or decorated as I make it. I choose to make my planner fun and set aside “me” time to decorate it but again that’s not necessary. 

Still not sure you should join the planner community? Think of the things you could keep track of and write them down. Remeber there are different size planners so if your list isn’t real long there can still be a planner for you! Just for reference I use a Big Happy Planner, there is also a Medium and a Mini which is great to keep in your bag while on the go!


Happy Planning!

          – Brittany

Trusting the Process

As I sat on the couch verbally pondering over my next post my husband, who is watching the 76ers basketball game, said “trust the process.” After a slight chuckle because it’s the teams motto since they are rebuilding I actually took it into consideration. What does this phrase actually mean? Can it be applied to everyday momhood or more broadly life?

So here’s what I’ve come up with, trusting the process is = to a firm belief in the steps you take to get to an end. Stop and think about that for a second. Are you currently trusting the process?

Yesterday I went and signed my first born up for kindergarten (which I’m still trying to recover from, how can my baby be old enough already!) but the process to get to that final school choice wasn’t easy. All my life I expected my children would go to public school just like I had, but when my husband and I realized what our public elementary school would be we suddenly realized that was not an option and so the process began. Between Googling to find private schools in our area, talking to people who’ve grown up here, and deciding which schools to visit the process was stressful, after all this was going to determine my children’s future. Regardless of the stress I had to believe as a mother that the steps I was taking and the decisions I was making were best for our family. Now at the end of the process I am happy with the decision I’ve made and my son is excited to start kindergarten in the fall.

The more I think about it this concept is common in everyday life. Some days I wake up and the end for me is to just literally make it to the end of the day thanks to my crazy munchkins but some days there are definitely things I want to accomplish and so I make a list of things to do that I believe will get me to those accomplishments, most days it works. So tomorrow morning when you wake up think about what your goal for the day is and what you can do to make that happen. Trust yourself and follow those steps and you may just find happiness at the end of the day because who doesn’t love success?!

And as I finish writing this post the Sixers scored the winning basket with 4.5 seconds left on the clock. I guess they are trusting the process 🙂

Brittany

Why I Became a Planner

     Last July our schedule was crazy. The baseball team my husband coaches survived playoffs and extended their season by two weeks which meant an additional two weeks of snack stand food, driving, and sitting in the heat. By the time the season was over the list of things to do was growing. Next on the list was getting our son Brayden ready for 5 day preschool and figuring out how adding another babysitting family to the mix would work with the already 5 car seats in my SUV. Soccer registration was starting, my husband was deciding whether to coach or not, it was time to register my daughter for her first dance class and get her leotards, tights, and shoes and in the midst of it all we were planning a weekend trip to New York to visit family. Needless to say I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t get a grasp on everything going on.
Throughout the summer I had taken occasional trips to Michael’s and always stopped to check out these cute planners called Happy Planners. Not wanting to commit to the $35 expense I always just moved on and shopped for other stuff. Then one day I got an email that the planners were 40% off and I decided maybe this would make a difference in the stress I was having about our schedules and the mounting lists of things that needed to be done. That day I went to Michael’s bit the bullet and bought the big Happy Planner! Later I joined a Happy Planner group on Facebook and realized it was so much more then just writing my families schedule in the squares! Ladies made their planners beautiful with scrapbook paper, stickers, and washi tape, which I could never figure out the purpose of before! This would turn out to be the perfect creative outlet all while getting my family organized!
Later that weekend while we were in New York I spotted a Michael’s near the restaurant we were having dinner. After dinner we parted ways from our family members and we headed to Walmart to grab a few things for the night. Since we weren’t in a rush to get back to the hotel I expressed my desire to go to Michael’s (because now I knew I needed all the awesome extras) and before I knew it I was in the store picking out washi tape and stickers, my obsession had officially begun.
My Happy Planner has been a great outlet of stress and a perfect excuse for “me” time. Since my Planner purchase my family’s schedules have been organized and I feel like I have a good grasp on what I can accomplish in a week by seeing everything laid out. I know that planning may not be this awesome creative experience for everyone but if you’ve ever scrapbooked or just want to get your life more organized and under control some parts of Happy Planning may be for you and I hope throughout my blog you will find helpful tools and tips to get started!

Happy Planning!
Brittany

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My family on our New York trip at the Cornell Bird Sanctuary