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Happy Valentine’s Day – I Love You Anyway

February 14, 2017

This Valentine’s Day I’m definitely earning ‘Mom of the Year’ status. At least it started out that way. I had a Pinterest worthy moment this morning creating pancakes complete with festive Valentine’s Day M&M’s which my toddler quickly branded ‘disgusting’ before they even hit his plate. Even my little guy refused to eat (vigorously shaking his head ‘no’ at the sight of one).

In addition, rather than adorning my children in festive holiday themed frocks they went to school wearning Star Wars and mint green t-shirts.

I tried to make-up for my gross display of love in the form of pancakes by leaving behind some cute Valentine’s Day treats. Which, with my luck, will probably backfire. I’m imagining a few tantrums before dinner prior to me arriving home from work. Happy Valentine’s Day hubby!

But I did try. At least a LITTLE bit to be on board today.

As I flip through social media I realize that I may be the only person on God’s green earth bah-humbugging Valentine’s Day. But hear me out… I have good reason…

I’m f*&%ing TIRED. Yeah… that’s my excuse… I’m tired. Just tired enough to be dulled around the edges. Maybe because we had to change our son’s sheets in the middle of the night when he had an accident. Or that he came into our room in the wee hours of the morning to Darth Vader breathe on us until we were startled awake to take him to the bathroom. Or when we got him back to sleep and his brother cried probably because he lost one of his 15 pacifiers somewhere in his bed (kidding he only has like 4). Or when my husband’s not one but TWO alarms went off this morning. (For the record he NEVER gets up with the first alarm – honestly I could murder him).

Facebook and Instagram bombarded me with eloquent descriptions of unwavering love today. My lover, my soulmate, my best friend? UGH. I guess some combination of those things is true. We’re not ‘lover’ type of people. Too SNL skit-ish for us. My soulmate? I guess so (cue eye roll). My best friend? Well he’s one of my best friends for sure but I always think of that new Kay ‘Ever Us’ commercial – you know the one for the double stone diamond (insert type of jewelry here) for your best friend AND your true love which happen to be wrapped up in the same amazing human being?! Quite honestly if my husband did consider this gift, he’s also ask how much it would cost to split the diamonds so as to give one to me and one to his cousin, who is his true best friend.

So this Valentine’s Day I’ll tell the many loves of my life that I love them anyway, because I do. I REALLY do. With everything I am – in the middle of the night, through two alarms in the morning and when they call my cooking disgusting.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

-JLVR

 

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“I’m sooooo tired”…

February 19, 2016

… says me, all parents ever and over 1/3 of Americans.

FACT: If you’re a parent of young children you’re not getting enough sleep.

The good news is, you’re not alone. Over one third of America is right there with you on the struggle bus that is exhaustion. According to the CDC in an article on NBC News we’re not getting enough sleep as a nation. Cold comfort, I know.

We’ve not been getting much sleep in our house, and by ‘we’ I really mean ‘me’. My husband has learned better than to tell me he’s tired (or ‘exhausted’… he sometimes has a flair for the dramatic). Because no matter how tired he is… I am always more tired. This may or may not be true on any given day but for the most part it’s always true all the time. Especially with a toddler that is having night waking issues and a new-ish baby at home. No full night of sleep has been had in a very, very, very long time.

I cannot tell you how genuinely devastated we were to learn that President’s Day, our shared day off, that daycare was closed. We were looking so forward to dropping our kids off and then returning home to SLEEP!

Thankfully there’s a Starbucks on the first floor of my office building, which means I don’t even have to brave the harsh winter elements to get an extra jolt of caffeine to get me through the day.

Thank God for Coffee.

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vacation hangover

May 7, 2015

Returning from vacation is always a bummer. As soon as it starts – it’s over. We had an amazing time and were spoiled with a fantastic location, beautiful weather and family fun. The toughest part though was leaving these guys to head back to work. Made even tougher by a particular challenging time at the office.

Digging in and trying to dig out of this vacation hangover.

The weekend cannot come soon enough! (Even though I may be working…)

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online retailer + free shipping = winning christmas

December 22, 2014

There never seems to be any time, at least not any time available during actual retail hours. It’s hard to find time to shop when you’re balancing work hours and demands let alone adding a baby to the mix.

That’s why online shopping is winning this working mom’s Christmas. I should specify, online shopping WITHOUT shipping fees is winning this working mom’s Christmas.

My favorite go-to retailers include…

  • Amazon – Not just Amazon, but Amazon Prime. It’s my go-to for literally anything all year round and gets even better during the holiday season. Great, large selection and free two-day shipping. Can’t beat it!
  •  L.L. Bean – I have an affinity for L. L. Bean not only because they’re based in my home state of Maine but they also have the absolute best guarantee on quality. Plus they offer free shipping without minimum order.
  •  Zappos – Free shipping and fantastic customer service for returns or exchanges.
  •  Target – Hit or miss on free shipping, but always has the pick-up in store option. Most times you can find items cheaper online than in the store. So you can shop from the convenience of your home at any hour and swing by the store to pick-up.

Shopping at any time of day from basically any device is an absolute dream. It frees me up to do all of those other holiday things like decorating, getting a Christmas tree, baking (or think about baking), visiting friends and family. etc.

– JLVR

NOTE: Any online retailer that offers a gift wrapping option is icing on the cake! Especially if you’re shipping directly to the recipient, the few extra bucks is worth it!

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gwyneth… I just can’t

November 17, 2014

Let’s just agree once and for all that Gwyneth Paltrow is an unreasonable human and be done with it shall we?

The latest buzz around Gwyn is the release of the Goop Holiday Gift Guide on her website Goop.com. Yes, as noted it features a good amount of items under $100 however I wouldn’t label them as reasonably priced. For example, a onesie for $93… yeah not super reasonable. Beyond those items for under $100 there are some ‘splurges’ which seem exceedingly ridiculous such as an almost $5,000 gold juicer.

Media is blowing up this list and I get why for sure, it’s cray. But do you expect anything less from Gwyneth?

Not so long ago she was eloquently explaining why it’s better to work 9-5 than a hellish film schedule…

“I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”*

I see what she’s trying to get at. It’s hard to work 14+ hour days and be away from your family. However, when you weigh the amount of money she’s being paid for such relatively little work as compared to many of us 9-5 working stiffs it becomes a bit hard to relate.

She seemed to add insult to injuy when she followed it up with this explanation on her website…

“This somehow was taken to mean I had said a 9-5 job is easier, and a lot of heat was thrown my way, especially by other working mothers who somehow used my out-of-context quote as an opportunity to express feelings (perhaps projected) on the subject. As the mommy wars rage on, I am constantly perplexed and amazed by how little slack we cut each other as women.”**

Wow, this response is exhausting. Projected feelings? Victim of mommy wars? Ugh.

I’m sure she meant well but she came off kind of like Ricky Bobby in Taledega Nights after saying “with all due respect…” It doesn’t give you the right to say whatever you want without repercussion Gwyn!

Gwyneth Paltrow is a celebrity with a charmed and weathy lifestyle. She has the luxury of choosing whether to work on a film or stay home and do the occasional spokes-model gig to pay the bills. Not just to get by, mind you, but to live exceedingly well.

So are we surprised that her website has an unreasonable collection of outrageously priced items tempered by a good amount of items under $100 which are, in their own right, unreasonably priced for said items? No, not really.

With all due respect Gwyneth, give it a rest will ya?

LV ♥

– JLVR

Links to full articles…

E! Online

** Goop Journal

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family first

November 5, 2014

Was just chatting with my cousin this morning about work/life balance, career, family and the grass always being greener. As a working mom it can be easy to feel guilt for not being around for all of the moments of every day. Sometimes, when the scales seem to be tipped the furthest away from your personal life, it can be difficult to feel truly committed and fulfilled.

That’s why I had to share this video from Union, an ad agency on the short list for Agency of the Year.

Their set-up is simple:

This business of advertising isn’t easy. There are people who put their blood, sweat and tears into the campaigns they produce. That’s why, when an agency like Union gets shortlisted for strategy‘s Agency of the Year awards, the painstaking time and effort that goes into the creative product is worth celebrating. And the shop knew just what gift to give its staffers for a job well done.

Agency life can be creative, amazing and fulfilling while at the same time maddening, insane and all-consuming. This video is a hilarious reminder.

Hope you like it as much as I did!

LV ♥

-JLVR

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perspective

October 29, 2014

My brother-in-law is famous for putting things into perspective. If you’re having a Chicken Little ‘the sky is falling’ kind of moment he will snap you back to reality with “did you know that militants stormed the diplomatic compound in Libya and killed the ambassador, maybe your day is not so bad.”* Yeah, he goes there. But sometimes you need a different perspective to allow for reevaluation. And sometimes you’re just having a moment and want to vent damnit. It happens!

As I’ve written before, and will surely do again, the biggest shift in my point of view has come from the arrival of Dan V. But there is no shortage of ideas, articles, content, people, places and things that cause us to shift our thinking every day – some in small and some in not-so-small ways.

Enter Nora Purmort. Nora and I went to the same college in Cincinnati, she was a year behind me and we ran in the same circles. She’s also a fellow working mom. In 2011 she and her husband were married at the same time he began battling brain cancer.  The video above is a teaser for a documentary that Anders Holine is making about their story – girl meets boy, boy gets brain cancer, the adventure continues.

She truly is a tremendous writer, check out her blog at My Husband’s Tumor. Worth a read for when you need perspective, or cannot find the strength, or just need to believe in existence. And if those reasons don’t do it for you, then just  because she’s a phenomenal writer and you’d like to be in awe.

Sometimes all it takes is a second look from a different perspective. Sending good vibes out into the universe via the interwebs.

LV ♥

-JLVR

You can support Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research by purchasing a ‘Still Kickin‘ tee (or hoodie, or crew neck) thru Cotton Bureau that Aaron Purmort designed.

 *Comment above was in reference to the 2012 Benghazi attack.

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in defense of my netflix addiction

October 23, 2014

I have a lingering Netflix addiction from when Dan V was little-little. It all started when he was first born. I found, like probably any normal human staring down unpredictable sleepless nights, that getting up in the middle of the night to breastfeed nearly blind with exhaustion was something that I dreaded. Something I dreaded, that is, until I downloaded the Netflix app on my iPhone. It literally made a world of difference. It made getting up, and staying up, so much easier. As I fed him I was able to watch Orange is the New Black (OITNB), for instance, which not only kept me awake but entertained. I actually found myself looking forward to the next time I’d be able to watch and, trust me, there was always a next time.

Now that V’s over getting up during the night (most nights anyway) I find myself without that extra time to binge watch. Not that I’m complaining! I LOVE actually sleeping enough to be a productive member of the human race let alone wife, mother and worker-bee. I’ve also cruised through everything semi-meaningful to me and am now left with choices I’m less than enthusiastic about yet I hesitate to lose it.

Excuses include but are not limited to… My husband (Dan IV) and I still need to finish watching House of Cards (the only reason I’m not done with it yet is we watch it together and I’ve honored that… so far). Who really wants to cancel and then resubscribe? A new season of OITNB is coming out… eventually. I haven’t watched, like, EVERYTHING yet.

Anyone else share my quandary?