Being A Whole-Ass

I’ve never been shy about my love for Ron Swanson or Parks & Rec in general. I believe there are two type of people in this world – those who get Parks & Rec, and those who don’t. Obviously, those of us who do are superior. As Donna Meagle says, “We can GET it!” This past weekend, I was reminded of one of my favorite Ron Swanson quips…

never-half-ass-two-things-whole-ass-one-thingAlthough I currently stay home with young children, I have a variety of volunteer commitments that allow me to stay sane and prevent me from talking about my children 24/7 (as lovely as they are). I have a (maybe an irrational?) fear of becoming consumed by motherhood and loosing myself in the process of raising little beings into functioning members of society (no pressure!). So perhaps that’s why I am extremely active in the little guy’s preschool PTA, I am the {volunteer} librarian at his preschool, I am the FRG {Family Readiness Group} leader for Clay’s unit, and I teach Sunday School at our church. They’re not a full-time job with a nice paycheck but they’re enough to keep me busy outside of the home. It was while working at the preschool consignment sale on Saturday that I pretty much crumbled and realized I was half-assing two things rather than whole-assing one thing.

The details aren’t really important, but on Saturday night, I went to bed feeling like I let everybody down – specifically my family and the other volunteers who worked long and hard hours along side me. It was a horrible feeling. While volunteering is extremely important to me, I am beginning to realize that I need to find a way to better balance it all. Or at least learn how to say no. Because being a half-asser is never a good thing.

feminist-stay-at-home-moms

There are many out there who likely dismiss my decision to stay-home as lazy or selfish. That’s their prerogative. I do know that when I re-enter the workforce in the next few years, my time at home will be of value. I’ve had the opportunity to serve on boards, be part of community-action teams, and hone invaluable skills. My decision to stay home has not set feminism back but rather help propel it forward because I have a choice – society is not making the choice for me. But during these last few years at home, I need to make sure that I am choosing my volunteer commitments wisely – after all, I don’t want to half-ass this pretty sweet stay-at-home-with-the-kids gig.

A Weekend Near Water

I am finally emerging from the depths of my first preschool-related sickness. Now that the little guy is in school five days a week we’re at the mercy of four- and five-year-olds. Good times. On a somewhat unrelated note, Christopher Columbus (or Cristoforo Colombo if we’re being exact) by all accounts was not a great man, or at least not the noble explorer we were taught in elementary school. Despite “committing atrocities against native peoples and decimating their populations”, he is honored every year with an October holiday. And because of this federal holiday, Clay had a four-day weekend. We originally planned to take the kids on a mini-vacation but the water heater in our Oklahoma house went kaput and then our Volvo needed major work so before we knew it, our Columbus Day Weekend vacation fund was resembling our national economy. No bail-out for our family.

IMG_9531

Not that we slummed it over the weekend. I’ll admit that we’re incredibly lucky – my parents live on a lake and Clay’s parents live near the beach so we have ample opportunity for almost-free getaways, as along as we’re willing to stay with our parents and make the drive. Thankfully, both sets are pretty cool so we don’t mind ;).

IMG_9539

We left early Friday morning and arrived at Clay’s parents by early afternoon. The weather was absolutely gorgeous (a far cry from the storms northern Virginia was experiencing at the time) so we took the kids to the beach – late afternoon/early evening might just be the best time at the beach (especially if you’re a shark!).

IMG_9543

IMG_9547

IMG_9572

After dinner with Clay’s parents, we put the kids down to bed and headed into Wilmington for drinks and Gone Girl (highly recommend – NPH is perfect in his role). The next morning we went back to the beach and soaked up as much sun as we could before the cooler temperatures take over.

IMG_9593

Saturday evening is when the plague overtook Weston. We nursed the little guy and by Sunday afternoon he was feeling well enough to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for Clay and I to sneak out for a couple of hours to head to the riverfront in downtown Wilmington.

IMG_9598

We met a college friend for flights of beer and then strolled along the river walk before sharing a french-pressed coffee at a local coffee shop. We then made our way to Wrightsville Beach (our favorite) and walked up and down in the light rain – it felt like we were in a romantic comedy spearheaded by Nora Ephron or Nancy Meyers.

IMG_9616

Our weekend away just solidified what we already knew – we are happiest near water.

If only Clay had joined the Navy instead of the Army…

All The Fall Things!

Do you know that it’s fall? Perhaps you’ve noticed an increased presence of North Face fleeces, despite the still-warm temperatures. Same with UGG boots. Or maybe you’ve overheard, “Oh my gosh – pumpkin spice lattes are, like, my favorite thing ever” too many times to count. Is your Facebook feed overloaded with pumpkin patch pictures? Guess what? It’s FALL!!!!

tumblr_mav2onViuE1rhygxbo1_500

 {Sigh.}

Look – I love fall just as much as the next person.  In fact, I enjoy many of the activities featured on Buzzfeed’s 17 Fall Activities All Basic Girls Love. Fall is awesome. We’ve enjoyed our fair share of fall lately, like our jaunt to West Virginia and celebrating Oktoberfest this past weekend.

all-the-things{original source – Hyperbole and a Half}

Despite the fact that both Clay and I are of strong German heritage, we have yet to visit the homeland. Clay spent the night in Germany once on the way back to Afghanistan but that has been the extent of our time in Deutschland. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to travel there within the next few years but until then, we have to make due with neighborhood Oktoberfest celebrations stateside.

Desktop226

 We’re lucky that we have neighbors who brew their own beer!

DSC03713

Since no fall-related blog post would be complete without a Starbucks cup selfie, I’ll throw my recycled sleeve into the ring. Forget pumpkin spice lattes – nonfat chai latte’s are made from the nectar of gods. I’ve been working my way through our loose chai tea mix from Teavana that I {accidentally} bought for $70 (!!!) last year. And I can’t wait to try this Epicurious recipe once the weather gets a little cooler.

unnamed

I discovered a delightfully crunchy fall-esque treat that is nothing short of miraculous – Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Brittle. If you are even remotely close to a Trader Joe’s {I will mourn the day we’re more than 5 minutes away from Trader Joe’s}, pick some up immediately.

7653033174_e866d614dd_z

Confession time – I have yet to find a pumpkin beer that I like. I think a couple of the neighborhood girls may shun me now. I like pumpkin. I like beer. And I think I don’t like pumpkin beer. Clay and I have been really getting into Dunkelweizen beers lately, which isn’t all that surprising because we rarely meet a wheat beer we don’t like. Dunkelweizens are essentially wheat beers that are brewed darker – a perfect fall beer in our book. Trader Joe’s (of course) version is a decent and inexpensive option.

photo

 So while it may not look like fall yet in northern Virginia, it at least tastes like fall, right?