I'm getting a landline

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Yup! You heard me right. I’m getting a landline home phone and no, it’s not due to a lack of cell phone service at our house. I’m getting a landline in an effort to be more present with my kids. I’ll be putting my cell phone down in the evenings until Lucy goes down at 8:30. As it is, I make a conscious effort to be present and focus on them, but there are instances where I check my phone or post a pic on Instagram and the reality is, all of those things can wait until after they go to bed.

This may seem like it’s coming out of left field, but I’m newly a parent of two. Being that I’m not pregnant anymore (thank GOODNESS!) and I’m starting to feel more like myself again (if myself was part dairy cow…mooooo), I’m starting to assess our daily routines. We, as parents, are creating our kids memories and what they will grow up to remember as their version of normal. I want to make sure that I’m mindful of that responsibility. I want them to see me being active, engaged, reading, playing, laughing, etc. I don’t want them to see us plugged into our phones and not plugging into our family.

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This can be really hard, especially when your jobs become more and more demanding with expectations that we are available 24/7. My plan is to give my close family, friends, and boss my landline number, so if there is an emergency or something time sensitive, I can be reached. Otherwise, I’ll be responding to texts, emails and DM’s after 8:30pm. The boundaries are clear and, as Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face says, “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being better today that I was yesterday.”

Being a Woman in Today’s World

I’m not sure what made me think about this, is it that I’m raising a daughter and wanting to protect her?  Or wanting her to be the best she can be and positively contribute to the world?  Is it the #metoo movement and the talk about women’s rights in the world today?  I don’t know.  What I do know is being a woman in today’s world is complicated and women aren’t making it easier.

My little Lucy

Yup, you heard me right.  Women are some of the biggest reasons why I believe it’s so complicated being a woman today.  To give you a little taste, I didn’t like the Lindsey Lohan’s movie Mean Girls because it hit too close to home.  Yes, girls really do that kind of stuff and yes…it’s terrible.  I started to see that just because someone was nice to your face, doesn’t mean they are your friend.  I also realized that what they were saying to your face, wasn’t necessarily the same thing they were telling people when you weren’t around.  

I don’t want you all to think I didn’t fall victim to this same behavior because I did.  It happened to me, I thought this was the way it went and that’s how the “training” begins.

As I started to come into my own and settle into my skin, I realized that I could be more selective with who I chose to be friends with. I could find people that weren’t that way and things got better.  It didn’t completely go away…but it got better…until I started my way into the working world. 

Me as a little girl

Now, I was raised by a business owner who trained me to look at things from a business owner perspective.  I have never just done the job I’m assigned and go home.  I’ve always looked for ways to improve things and as a result, I moved up the ladder quickly.  Now, you’d think with all the “good ‘ol boys” running the show back then, women would band together and support each other.  

NOPE!  It turns into a Hunger Games scenario, kill or be killed…except for the promotion or for the praise of your boss.  No joke.  Women will literally throw you under the bus, to make themselves look better.  They’ll even take you under their wing and show you the ropes to then throw you to the wolves later, if you do too well.  As a result, you go into survival mode. 

I learned to read people, which turns out is pretty valuable in the business world.  Being that I had an older brother that I hung around with, I also learned to speak “boy” pretty well, too, which helped.   

What I didn’t plan on, was being in my 30’s and still feeling like I don’t have it dialed.  Those friends that you make and confide in, may STILL be telling your their version of the truth.  You may feel they’ve been wronged by another woman and take their side, when in reality they’re playing you and that other person is great, but they’re jealous of them.

Being a woman in today’s world is complicated and I’m going to do my part to UN-COMPLICATE IT.

Family ladies

I’ve decided something.  I’m going to take a stance to NOT be one of those women.  I’m not going to be jealous and try to bring someone down.  I’m not going to assume they don’t like me because they don’t include me in a project.  I AM going to be positive.  I AM going to compliment good work and encourage people to chase their dreams, whether man or woman.  I’m going to commit to break the cycle.

Who's with me!?

Plum Picking Fun

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We have entered a new phase in our lives...transitioning away from diapers and on to underwear.  For those of you that have gone through potty training, you know what a balance it is.  You've got to make it fun and exciting, but also urgent when you've got to go.  That being said, we were on lock down all weekend and Lucy did great, but by Sunday afternoon, we all needed a little break.  That's when we got the text from aunt Weezy, "The plums are ready!"

I don't know about you, but stone fruit season is my favorite and of the stone fruit, there are two that hail above all else: Blenheim Apricots and Santa Rosa Plums.  Santa Rosa Plums are flavorful, aromatic, juicy, with a dark purple tart skin.  They're the best in jam, syrup, sauces, and desert.  You name it and they are good in it!  

We loaded up the family into the truck, Bert included, and went to pick some plums.  We came home and sorted the really really ripe ones out, washed them, cut them up, and made a crisp.  

My rule of thumb for crisp making: only add sugar to the fruit as needed. The crisp topping is sweet, it’s nice to have a little tartness come through.
— Erica Manfre

I covered the bottom of a 9-13 inch pan with plums.  I didn't go too deep because we like a good ratio of fruit to crisp.  Now, for my crisp topping, here's my go to.  I've tried a few others (see my Rhubarb Crisp recipe HERE), but I always come back to this one.

INGREDENTS:

  • 1/2c Sugar
  • 1c Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1c Flour
  • 1c Oatmeal
  • 3/4 tsp Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/2c Cold Butter

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in cold butter until mixture forms large crumbs.  Squeeze small handfuls of crumb mixture together, then crumble evenly over fruit in coarse chunks.

Bake 375 for 45 minutes or until fruit is tender and crisp is golden brown.

College is Wasted on the Young

I wish I knew then, what I know now.  I would’ve taken advantage of the classes so much more. I’d have taken every opportunity to do extra curricular activities in my area of study.  I’d love it.
— Erica Manfre
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Has anyone ever asked you the age old question, "If you could go back in time and do something over, what would it be?" The truth is, there isn't a lot I would go back and do again. I'd do the typical: take more time for those that left us too soon, make a different dating choice here or there, but the one thing I'd really love to do again, is go back to college. 

I was one of those annoying kids in grade school that LOVED it.  I loved the challenge of learning something new.  If I didn't get it, I would keep at it until I did and felt this immense sense of accomplishment.

Then high school came and it was even better! You could take honors and AP classes to make it even more challenging!  How cool is that!?  Yes, I'm hearing myself. 

By the time I went away to college, I was burnt out.  I knew I needed a degree, but I wasn't into it.  The classes lost their luster.  They weren't challenging.  I don't know what happened. What I do know is I got my degree in Ag. Business with a minor in Wine and Viticulture and am thankful for that I did.

What I wouldn't give to be able to go back through some of those courses.  I've looked into different masters programs, but do you know how much they cost!?  Besides, I'd have to work my full time job, go through a masters program, all while raising a kid, and paying a mortgage...you get it.  

I wish I knew then, what I know now.  I would've taken advantage of the classes so much more. I'd have taken every opportunity to do extra curricular activities in my area of study.  I'd love it.

I'll definitely be one of those annoying older people that tells kids to enjoy college and not to rush to get into the "real world."  If they're anything like I was, they won't listen, but it won't stop me from trying.

Being a first time parent changes more than the obvious

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I'm just talking about for me, but when Jerud and I talked about having a baby, we talked about all the logical stuff: child care, insurance, diapers, car seat, etc.  Then, when we got pregnant, we talked about the first time parent stuff...nursing, bottle feeding, bath time.  You get the drill.  What we didn't talk about was how it was going to change our relationship and our dynamic.  For me, as soon as I held Lucy, my life changed.  I was no longer the top of my priority list, she was.  My relationship with Jerud wasn't even the top of my list, she was.  It was like in that split second, everything I used to care about became obsolete.  

It's been a real struggle for Jerud and my relationship.  I don't consider myself naive.  I knew I wouldn't get sleep and I knew that my life was going to change, but I didn't realize how much it would change. Do I want to go on a date?  Not really.  I'm away form her all day while I'm at work and the last thing on my mind is getting a babysitter to go out to dinner.  When I go home, I just want to hang out with her, and play tea party.  Before you gasp and say that I'm being selfish.  Keep in mind that yes, we DO things that don't involve her.  I do some travel for work and we have events that we go to that aren't "kid friendly."

My recommendation?  Talk, talk, talk.  Lame? Maybe, but at least you'll know you're on the same page and be better prepared for all the fantastic, exciting, moments that are about to come your way. 

Just know, it's all worth it.