We named our house!

We named our house! | RISING*SHINING

Slowly we're working to put our personality into our cookie-cutter suburban house. And somewhere in the last year I decided that our house needs a name. Because a name distinguishes a thing from the rest and you name the things you love.

It took months before Chris and I could agree on a name. Naming our house might have been more challenging than naming our boys. I suggested things like East Nook (since we live in the east Phoenix valley) or something French-inspired with the word Chez (meaning "house of") but Chris didn't love them. But Chris came up with a great name that we both love...

HiFi House!

HiFi is short for high fidelity, which is usually used to describe audio recordings and refers to a reproduction that's an accurate, good-quality copy of the original. We loved the nod to audio because Chris plays guitar, we love having dance parties with the boys and two podcasts are produced out of the house. High fidelity has another meaning to us as well: it means striving to live a life that mirrors our ideal life and having high fidelity to our values. I think it's so lovely. Isn't Chris clever? 

Since we bought our house eight years ago I've been slowly falling in love with it. Bringing home two babies and watching them grow here has been part of it. Meticulously going through a.l.l. of our stuff two years ago, keeping only what we need and love, and getting rids of SO MUCH of it was another turning point. And more recently having the interior and then the exterior painted has made our house feel even more like home. 

I still swoon over renovated mid-century modern homes or a craftsman bungalow with nooks and architectural details. But maybe a bit less so. I definitely still have a long list of updates that I'd love to make to our house but our house is home and we are happy here, at the HiFi House.

Do you have a name for your house, or if you don't what would you name it? I'd love to know!

Chatting about being a working mom

Chatting about being a working mom | RISING*SHINING

Recently I've had the opportunity to guest on three different podcasts and have chatted about my experience as a working mom. I love sharing what's great, what's challenging and what I've learned during my three and a half years of being a mother and working full time. 

I'm a regular listener of each of the podcasts I was on and if you haven't listened to theses shows I would recommend them! They are all available on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Mom Hour // Inside the Lives of 3 Working Moms

Coffee + Crumbs // Episode 15 part 1 & Episode 16 part 2

The Postpartum Podcast // Episode 52 (Sarah is a guest on this episode, too!)

Goals - September 2016

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Whoosh - it's nearly mid-September already! And whoosh! the very worst of the summer heat is behind us. Even though it's still hot (and technically still summer) I have welcomed fall into my home and into my heart and am breathing a sigh of relief. We're at the very beginning of the very best stretch of months here.

We're venturing outside more and more. Soon, oh so soon, we can head to the park any time of day and that will make all the difference: to take our boys, bounding with energy, outside to play and run instead of finding something else to do inside.

The month is marching along and it's already been full but there's lots more to come. On Friday I get to hug Sarah Bagley for the very first time, even though we've been friends for over two years. This weekend Sarah, Erica and I are heading to Sedona to write and talk and laugh for three days straight and it will be glorious. Just two days later I dive into solo parenting for three nights. And the next weekend Chris and I have a date night!

Amidst lots of fun and travel this month my full time job has been demanding and bit more stressful than usual. Plus Erica and I have been working to develop new content for The Girl Next Door Podcast and I'm collaborating with a good friend on a new little side project. It's a lot! But all good stuff and hopefully the work stress will subside as will the extra creative projects tasks. With so much going on this month I'm giving myself only one goal on top of all that I'm already doing. The fall does seem to be a time to be productive!

Big things happening in September:

+ Chris turns 39!

+ Weekend family trip to Prescott. We had so much fun!

+ Sedona writers' retreat. YES.

+ Solo parenting. Chris heads out of town just a couple days after I get back from my writers' retreat. But after July I'm a veteran solo parent so I got this!

September goals:

+ Plan and consolidate weekday evening work sessions. Recording, editing and prepping for podcasts; responding to emails; writing blog posts; and doing general household and life "admin" work often falls to weekday evenings although often all I want to do is curl in bed with a book. Instead of doing a little each night I think I could consolidate everything to just one or two nights per week. I hope this will help me accomplish what I need while letting me relax on the other nights.

Recurring monthly goals:

+ Exercise three times per week. On Monday and Friday mornings I go to Orange Theory and in August I was able to fit in a few weeks with TWO runs. My goal this month (with so much going on) is to fit in one run per week.

+ Publish to RISING*SHINING at least once a week. I'm finding I get into a blogging groove and then lose it, but then find it again. I'm accepting the ebb and flow and know that I always get back to it, that's just life right now!

+ Record and produce new episodes of The Girl Next Door Podcast and Matrimoney on schedule.

Happy September!

End of August catch up

We're settling back into our routines after our weeklong travel to Austin and Dallas. I'm going about it rather slowly. Disconnecting from my full time job and all the responsibilities of my creative projects was really glorious and made me realize just how much I've piled on my plate. Overall they are good things, endeavors that energize and fuel me, and for the most part things I actively chose to have in my life, but it is a lot. I told Chris to help me enforce a rule of not taking on anything new until after the new year (at least!).

Our trip had many firsts including the first time I wasn't nervous about how Dash would do on a plane, the first time Chris and I were away from both boys since Cedric came along, the first time the boys have stayed overnight with anyone other than their parents, the first time I saw a Hindu wedding ceremony. We had so much fun and it was also the first time traveling with kids that a trip felt like equal parts fun and work or maybe even more fun than work (!!). 

I absolutely love having my boys at my parents' house, my childhood home and shady, wooded property that is so deeply familiar. During this trip Dash slept at my parents house for the first time each night - in my old bedroom! - while Chris, Cedric and I slept at The Bunkhouse guest house next door.

The boys did wonderfully while Chris and I were away for two nights at Chris's best friend's wedding in Dallas. It was the most fun. We stayed in a nice hotel, were with a fun group of friends that I'm sad not to see more often and although Chris was the best man I had zero responsibilities other than to relax and enjoy myself: CHECK. Seeing the boys do so well while we were away makes me even more excited for the four night trip Chris and I will take - just the two of us! - this fall to the Pacific Northwest.

The first couple of days back in Gilbert after being in Austin are always a little hard for me. I love the city of Austin and the important people in it fiercely. It's my hometown and when I'm there and with those people I feel a deep sense of belonging and being "of" a place. It's a nostalgic and cozy feeling. 

But, as always, I soon get into the groove of our cozy life here in the desert. And we are getting hints of the season change to come. Certainly not in the daily high temperatures, which still soar above 100, but there is a near-coolness in the morning. I'm getting a bit giddy about fall and winter this year, I think it'll be our best yet. Bring on the fall candles.

Happy Wednesday!

What I want to remember vol. 4

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My boys are 3 years 4 months and 19 months old and this is what I want to remember:

The near constant wrestling. They remind me of puppies.

Dash's sweet, nurturing nature and spontaneously coming to cuddle or hug us and saying, "I love you."

Cedric's big brown eyes and long dark lashes on his little face.

Dash's love of books. Recently we had put him to bed and then he came out to get our bag of library books and went right back to his room. When we check on him before we go to bed we often find him asleep with a book laying open on his chest or beside his pillow.

Bringing Cedric into our bed in the morning if Dash isn't awake yet and snuggling and reading books.

Cedric's exclamations of "Whoa!" when he sees pictures of big trucks or dinosaurs...or anything big.

The wonderful stories Dash tells. "The wild thing was coming closer...and closer...and closer! And so I run up into a tree! And then I get away in a airplane!"

Cedric announcing "Bih truh!"(big truck) to us whenever he sees a truck in the car. Usually he makes sure to get our attention, too: "Mama! Bih truh!"

Cedric checking to see who is in the car when we start to back out of the driveway, "Mama? Daddy?"

The deep pride that I feel when I can see that Dashiell is proud of something he did - like getting dressed all by himself.

The deep declarative voice that Dashiell sometimes uses when he talks. The other night we were at the dinner table and Chris made a banging sound in the kitchen. Dash got up from the table and called to the kitchen in his deep voice, "What is it Cwhis?" Chris and I are still laughing over it.

Cedric's love of I Spy books and the Find It pages in his Hello magazine.

All the audio books we listen to in the car. Cedric's favorite is Duck on a Bike (he asks, "Bike? Bike?") and can mimic some of the sections of the book. Dash's loves Where the Wild Things Are and Peter and the Wolf. When the wolf swallows the duck Dash narrates along with a British accent, "He swallowed her!" (Our favorite books lately)

Cedric alerting us of anything falling on the floor with a very loud "OH NOOOOO!" as if something truly terrible has happened.

Dash telling us he saw a shape in the clouds for the first time (a dinosaur).

Cedric getting my attention in the car one day, "Mama? Mama?" and then "humming" a little song for me.

Dash's excitement to start his first school year of preschool (he starts today!). Even though he's been doing a summer program he'll be moving to a new classroom today and this feels like our first "first day of school" experience and I'm so excited for him.

Hiding our collection of dinosaur figurines while the boys (attempt) to keep their eyes closed in the next room. (I remember playing this game so much with my dad and sister growing up.)

That solo daycare pick up and drop off has (thankfully) become so much more manageable. 

Watching Dash's sense of humor emerge and being able to joke with him.

Reading cooking magazines and cookbooks with Dash, a very favorite love of mine that I'm excited to share with my boys for years to come.

The focus and respect Dash shows when I give him cooking tasks.

That the boys are sleeping so much better! Cedric goes to bed so easily and sleeps through the night until 5/5:30. Dash usually goes to bed easily and is up 4:45/5 but will often wait in his room until his clock lights up around 5:30. There are still some too-early mornings with Dash but we are in such a better place than we used to be (hiring a sleep coach made all the difference and we are so thankful!).

The deeply contented "these are the days" feeling I have being with my family, especially on laid back weekend mornings, drinking coffee, playing blocks, reading books and not wanting to be anywhere else but right there.

P.S. Archive of all What I want to remember posts, family memory keeping blog post and podcast episode.