Chi Town

I don't often travel for work, ok I never travel for work but I've been fortunate enough to be invited to Chicago twice now. I obviously can't provide too many details about the work but I had such a fun 48 hours that I wanted to share.

So quickly this is an overview of things. I flew in Tuesday evening and (with the help of my travel partner) put on my big girl pants and road the train downtown to our hotel. We met up with the team, had a late dinner at an enjoyable North Carolina style BBQ restaurant called Q. Afterwards we hung out at a local bar by the hotel where I got to enjoy Polish beer. My favorite being Zywiec (of course I loved the label artwork):

Wednesday we did all the boring work stuff that I obviously can't talk about but needless to say it went well and I enjoyed being included. Once the work part was over my host took us out for a fun adventure at Girl and the Goat. Of course it was super exciting for me because this is the restaurant owned by Stephanie Izard. The boys and I are addicted to Top Chef and Stephanie was the first female winner of the show. Anywho, call me and I will go in to great detail about how great the meal was. I had a cauliflower dish that may have altered my life. Since I was with work people, I felt weird taking a photo but someone else asked to take one outside the restaurant so I am including that although I cropped out the others because I just didn't know how they'd feel being added to my blog - so enjoy my floating head in front of the Girl and Goat and a photo of Stephanie for reference. My host requested that she sign my menu but she was at her new restaurant across the street.

After dinner my travel companion asked to stopped by the Billy Goat Bar (I guess we had a theme going), we then walked the City a bit and stopped by this great store called Eataly that was so much to take in and I wanted to eat and touch everything. Definitely visit the website. I wish I had taken photos but I was too self conscious; something I will need to get over if I keep traveling. We ended the evening back at the local bar from the night before so I could have another Polish beer.

The trip home was uneventful although we were on a packed plane of northerners heading to Austin for the second weekend of ACL Fest. It was a great trip both work-wise and getting out to see some of the City. Sadly I wasn't able to meet up with Barb like I did on my last trip. Hopefully I will get to do some more travel although just my brief trip makes me have new appreciation for the teams I work with and my dad. It would definitely be hard to travel all the time and I honestly don't know how my dad managed in the age before smart phones and laptops to help navigate locations, keep up with work, and help with travel.

And yes, Rick and the kids survived. JT kept me updated on life via text. Both boys gave up and bought lunch at school so they wouldn't have to make their own lunches.


I am Leaving - A selfie

Occasionally, I want to leave.
Most times it is so I can have a few moments by myself at Target or as it was in this photo, to sit on a Sunday afternoon with friends and drink a glass of wine (or two).
Often this is what happens and usually it is Kit Kat.

It feels good to be loved but sometimes it is overwhelming.



A friend sent me this article this morning and while it was written back in February, I don't know that this message ever gets old.


We all need a chance to recline now and again. So often I am overwhelmed with all that is expected of me and a friend described it as being the glue that has to holds all these pieces together.

  • Mom - and not just any mom but several different moms -  the cool, awesome mom that does awesome things or creates cool shit from pinterest, the mom can solve most if not all issues from finding a lost toy to easing pain of middle age years, and the authoritative mom that doles out the punishment and keeps everyone in line
  • Friend - because we can't survive without them in good times and bad so we have to ensure that we are putting the energy in to nurture and be a true friend
  • Co-worker - the one that helps others and leads because we are also Employee Extraordinaire (see below) 
  • Employee Extraordinaire  - doing it all and doing it well because we are expected to be the best at what we do
  • Spouse, friend, lover to the one person that we probably see and talk to the least and when we do get to talk it is in clipped phrases, reviewing schedules and to do list, or moments before falling asleep exhausted from being the other personas all day. 
Women are the glue (and talk I women here b/c that is what I am - I don't want to short change guys here -  importance of dads or partnerships in marriage but today is about women). We keep it together and some days we have help and others we don't but what is the most miserable part is that even though women everywhere are doing this rather than join together in support some of us take joy in crucifying others when their glue doesn't stick and we falter or fail. 

A close friend of mine is going through some personal and private shit and sadly another mom has ensured that her failings have been made public at school to the point where even the staff is aware of it.  My heart breaks for my friend whose private matter became public.  I am angry at how quickly another woman is willing to cast the first stone. Sometimes the glue doesn't stick and we fail, sometimes we fail daily, and we probably beat ourselves up more than we should but what we don't need is other people especially other women beating us up as well. 

So just like we need to recline a bit and give ourselves a chance to be, a chance to breathe,  we also need to remember (and believe me - I know I am no saint and need to work on this) to give other women a chance to recline and chance a to breathe. Rather than pointing out their failures in hopes to make ourselves feel better or swear that we would never do what they did (because believe me never is a dangerous word to use); we need to support them and make ourselves feel better because we are there to offer to help, to provide glue, and help them hold things together for just a little bit. 


How I Spent My Summer and Other Meghan Musings

The boys informed me that they had to take 3 week tests this week. And obviously I am out of the loop because I couldn't believe we were already 3 weeks in to school but I guess we are. We are in our school routine groove and the Texas fall weather is here. College football dominates the television. My head is full of fall ideas, I bought (and ate with help of my friends) the first bag of candy corn, and I am thinking about craftiness for the upcoming holiday season.

Our summer this year was quieter than last years by leaps and bounds and this is the first year that we did not take a family vacation but we still had a good summer. I've never liked having a structured summer as I feel like the majority of our year is spent following a school and extracurricular activities. Our summer basically revolved around going to the pool. Here is a long overdue summary of our summer.

They seem to be growing rapidly. They ended the summer with both of them swimming, jumping off the edge of the pool, and diving down to retrieve pool toys. Their sense of humor amazes me every day. They are quick witted and definitely understand all that is going on around them. They are in love in Cinderella (Lulu) and Ariel (KitKat) but they also enjoy watching Star Wars and rough-housing with their brothers.

This was our first summer that JT did not play baseball and as we move in to our first fall of no baseball, I have to admit as much I love watching him play I am loving not having the time commitment of baseball. As you recall, JT trained and competed in his first triathlo. He worked odd jobs for some of the neighbors and enjoyed the freedom of having his own money. And of course he has embarked into the world of middle school. I've of course have been a nervous wreck about middle school but he seems to be coping just fine despite my angst.

I am constantly overwhelmed with how gentle and patient and Zach is with the girls. He is such a great help although when he has had his fill he needs a alone time (just like the rest of us). Zach played short season summer ball and had a good time. He has been educating us all on Marvel superheroes. He is also now a resident expert on the Price is Right.

I spent my summer at the pool with the kids as well working. In between that I became mildly obsessed with Veronica Mars and watched the series as well as the movie. How did I miss this show when it first aired? How did I survive before Netflix and Amazon Prime? I also did a lot of reading. I tend to pick up beach reads in the summer and I had some definite favorites this time around. I sped through Gone Girl and I am eagerly awaiting the movie. My other two favorites coincidentally took place in Australia - Silver Bay and The Husband's Secret. My go to is usually some UK Chick Lit but both of these books were great reads. I enjoyed Silver Bay enough I read through 3 others of Jojo Moyes books.  Sadly my least favorite book of the summer, The Lost Husband took place in the Hill Country.

So now we move in to fall and I am busy working on Ariel ad Cinderella costumes and trying to finish a homemade Christmas present that I started last fall.


and then...

I've been feeling overwhelmed lately with the weight of it all - work, life, finances. It weighs on me and makes me sad and grumpy and I have even less patience with everyone at the house and then I feel bad for being so grumpy and then I get sad again and it goes around and around.

And then I get an update about coworker's 5 year-old son who had a near drowning experience while at summer daycare and 3 weeks later remains in the hospital, with the ventilator just removed, but still unsure of a long term prognosis.

And then a friend stops by  because she needs to unload the news that a good friend of hers just had to sit for 5 hours while her 3-year old had a tumor removed from his brain. They have to wait another 3-5 days to learn what the next steps will be.

And then I have to remember that things are just things. Money comes and goes, not everything has to be new and flashy, there doesn't have to be big fancy vacations, a house is just a house but what matters most (get ready for the cliche here) is family. I have 4 precious beings that no amount of money, a bigger house, a new car could replace. And while I can't wish away (believe me I've tried) some of life's daily problems or shirk my responsibilities, I have to remember to not let them eat at me all day and become a cloud that ruins my day and makes me miss out the limited amount of time I have with the kids because before I know it there will be graduations, the kids moving out, and what will eat away at me is how I wasted my time worrying about things rather than enjoying it.


Scary Shit!

The girls are really, really excited about Halloween. Who knows where they get that from?! To help satiate their requests for "spooky" books I've been getting Halloween books from the library. I just picked up some new ones and we were settling down in their room to read them when out from underneath their bookshelf at an abnormally fast speed came this guy.

I screamed, Lulu screamed, Kit Kat started crying and we all three jumped up on their bed. I then (and I apologize for this for many reasons primarily to the library) took one of our books and smashed our visitor.

Rick had his  PTO crew over to start planning the fall carnival so I went and got JT who was clearly the wrong choice because he screamed and jumped in the bed with the girls. I asked him to get me something to pick it up with and he returned with one (!) paper towel. I sent him back for a container so I could preserve the kill. I then scooted the spider out into the hallway, managed to sweep it into the container and put the lid on.

Thankfully my fabulous friend Rebecca has a good friend (who has a PhD in bugs and stuff ) and thanks to the magic of our connected worlds, we identified the spider as a Wolf spider (not a brown recluse as I was 100% it was). I felt a wee bit bad for killing it, worse about using the book, and not real pleased that this spider came to our house.

I kept looking at the spider all night and shaking the container to ensure it was dead but by the time I went to bed I placed it outside because I was certain there was a decent chance that it wasn't dead and knew how to bust out of a container. Turns out it doesn't know how to open tupperware and it is actually dead.

And to get the spider image out of your head, here are the chickens checking out the Halloween store.


And we are back

School started today and I am not officially the mom of a middle schooler. Ugh! I have so much angst about the year and I am trying super hard to not let it show. Both boys seems little anxious about starting the day but we managed to get everyone out and on their way. The 30 minutes difference in school start time is an adjustment but hopefully it will work out.

JT was still asleep when Zach was up and ready to go. He actually left early with Rick to help sell t-shirts at school. The girls were asleep to see Zach leave but cried when JT walked out.

Lucky for me, I can view JT on his walk to and from school from the back deck. This is me sneaking a pic as he walks to school with friends.