Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kidz Drop In Naperville: Life Saver for Local Moms

I found it interesting when I learned of a recent study that stated Naperville to be the "third best city in the country to find babysitters." (

Up until August of this year, I was thrilled with my child care arrangement. I had a high school girl come over to help out a couple days a week for a few hours at a time so that I could get things done around the house, run errands and work on my many projects for the Naperville Moms Network.

When my sitter moved off to college, I never dreamed it would be so difficult to find a replacement that would be a good fit. Actually, I still haven't found someone that can help me out during the week. 

Thankfully, Kidz Drop In opened up in October behind Naperville North High School and it turned out to be the answer to my prayers!

Kidz Drop In is a flexible child care facility offering local families the option for full time, part time and drop in care. They take children ranging from 6 weeks old to 13 years old and are open 6:30 a.m. till midnight. I also love that they provide fresh, gourmet, organic meals and snacks daily, so I don't have to worry about packing any of that for my son, Brady when I'm dropping him off. They have teachers for each age group and designated rooms with age appropriate toys and activities.

I could go on and on about everything they have to offer and what makes them unique, but ultimately, the one thing that has me raving and wanting to tell EVERYONE I know about this new child care option for local families, is the fact that Brady is thrilled about going there. 

He leaps out of my arms to give "Miss Shari" a hug, then runs off to play with his favorite friend, Megan. When I arrive to pick Brady up, his face lights up and he wants to show me all of his favorite toys of the day. Another bonus is that I've noticed a significant increase in his language and overall social skills. 

As if that's not enough, I've also enjoyed having a few hours to focus on some of the things I need to get accomplished and don't feel guilty because I know that he's happy and in great hands. Priceless! 

Kidz Drop In Naperville has a great special holiday offer running right now through December 23rd. It's called "Drop and Shop" and once your child is registered, you can drop them off and get the first hour FREE!
If you're a mom looking for child care options, do yourself a favor and stop in to check out Kidz Drop In at 420 W. 5th Avenue.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm amazed at the amount of candy this first time trick-or-treater came home with! 

bradykitkat.jpgOur son, Brady was a lion this year. Of course, I found him to be absolutely adorable and couldn't get enough of him in his costume! We started to practice wearing the costume a few weeks in advance so we could enjoy a fuss free Halloween. Brady hated the costume at first, but once we taught him to ROAR with it on and made a big deal about how great he looked, he stopped fighting it. The plan worked!

We had a great weekend! On Saturday, we attended the Kidz Drop In Open House and Halloween Party. Kidz Drop In is a new childcare facility that offers drop in care as well as full and part time care. In case you're curious, they're located behind Naperville North High School on Mill and 5th. It was great! Brady got to meet lot's of new little friends, play games and enjoy Halloween treats.

On Sunday, we went to a friend's house to take Brady trick-or-treating for the first time, along with his little pal, Braxton. They rode together in a wagon collecting absurd amounts of candy from each house. It was laughable what these too first timers came home with! 

Of course, Brady and Braxton are too young for all of this candy and mom and dad certainly  have no business keeping all of that temptation around the house. Turns our there's a great solution out there! Have you heard of Halloween Candy Buy Back?

Halloween Candy Buy Back is a great program where dentists all over the country are offering to buy back your Halloween candy at $1 per pound, then donate it to Operation Gratitude, which then ships the candy off to our troops. It's a great opportunity to teach our children about giving back (if they're old enough to understand)! Or in our case, it's a great way to unload the temptation and give back.

It's pretty simple, go the website and type in your zip code to find out all of the participating locations in your area. 

What did you do over Halloween weekend? And how do you respond when your kids come home with pillowcases full of candy?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toddler Dumping

Today is just one of those days!

My son, Brady is pushing 17 months old and I feel like the terrible two's are phasing in. I have to tell ya, I'm a little at a loss for disciplining this little one man wrecking crew! I find myself constantly asking "Is this normal?"

He's in this new phase I like to call "Toddler Dumping." Brady has an obsession with emptying everything he can get his hands on. When he wakes up in the morning, he throws everything out of his crib and laughs. Every meal that's put in front of him almost immediately ends up on the floor or the tray of his highchair. If he can reach his mess, he smears it and begins finger painting if it's liquid based, or stomps on it if it's crunchy. He has an obsession with dumping things in the toilet too. We've already had to replace one of them!
Childproofing? What's that? Brady knew how to get through those latches before I could! Every kitchen cabinet, bathroom cabinet and drawer gets emptied multiple times daily. Obviously, I could use some help in effective childproofing, but what about appropriate discipline for toddlers?

Here's a list of disciplining tactics for toddlers I found while researching how to handle this new phase:

1. Just Say NO - I've tried telling him "NO" when he's doing something he's not supposed to by getting on his level, using a serious voice (without yelling) and looking him in the eye. Brady's response: he giggles. Go figure! We'll keep trying though. He's bound to get it eventually

  1. 2. Redirect - I find myself constantly trying to engage him in doing something else like reading a book or playing with his toys instead of really focusing so much on the "NO." This works for a few minutes, but ultimately, curiosity wins and he's back to dumping whatever he can find in the cabinets and drawers. 

  2. 3. Positive Reinforcement - Hearing "NO" over and over isn't going to be effective alone. I'm trying to get him to understand the difference in the attention he's getting when he does something well or desirable verses when he does something he's not supposed to be doing. 

  3. 4. Time-Out - Given that Brady is only 17 months old, we haven't really tried the time-out bit. Experts recommend that the toddler be at least two to three years old for them to grasp the concept of what is and why they're in it. Many say that time-outs should be set at one minute per year of age.

I know that this is a learning process, especially since this is my first toddler rodeo, but some days I just wish there was some sort of magic solution out there to make it easier. 

Surely, I'm not alone in feeling this way (I hope)! I would love to get feedback from other moms as far as what they've experienced and what has worked well for them. Is anyone else out there familiar with the "Toddler Dumping" phase? How did you deal with it?

Read more:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Purpose Driven Moms

About a year ago, I woke up at three o'clock in the morning with "Purpose Driven Moms" in my head. I jumped out of bed and ran to the computer to see if there was a domain name available. I was shocked to see that it was available, given the fact that it seems EVERY mom related .com is already taken! I bought it and went back to bed.

Over the last year, I've been trying to understand what "Purpose Driven Moms" looks like. Here's what I do know and what threw me out of the bed in the first place:

Women have a certain identity and then they become moms.  Becoming a mom is an amazing gift that comes with so much responsibility. Many of us want to be the BEST mom that we can be for our children. It's so easy for us to become consumed in living out the BEST mom role, that often times we slowly lose ourselves and our identity beyond our role as mom.

My belief is that while many may feel that their purpose in life IS to be a mom, we all have a divine purpose beyond that role. Being a mother may very well be the most important role a woman ever has, but she is also born with so many gifts that shouldn't go untapped!

One day, those precious little ones grow up, move out and start living their own lives. Many moms then take a step back and say "now what?" They've poured themselves so much into motherhood that they don't know who they are, what they enjoy, what they're good at and what they should fill their time with. Many know this phase in life as "empty nest syndrome!"

It's so easy to get stuck on auto pilot and just move through life filling time. I believe that we're all born with a purpose and it's our responsibility to seek all of it and pursue it. You've heard it before, but in your final days, how will you reflect on what you've done with your life? Did you live it to the fullest? Did you accomplish what you felt you were here to accomplish?

Purpose Driven Moms is about awakening women to take a look within and get to know themselves; identify their interests, their gifts, their dreams and desires. It's about supporting and empowering women to take action and implement change; shed what's not working and absorbing time and energy, then dedicating time to what's fulfilling and energizing by serving their purpose.

Purpose Driven Moms is about creating better balance in life. It's all about being intentional about what makes up one's life.

A Purpose Driven Mom is happy, healthy, thriving and offering the very best of what she has to offer her family.

That's a snippet, but I'm STILL trying to determine how I'm supposed to be spreading this message and impacting the lives of MANY moms! I'm open to feedback and ideas!

Just Write Already...

I don't know what it is, but I've been resisting the urge to write lately. I need to just get over it and DO IT! I feel so much better when I do. Sadly, I've had a ton to write about, yet I'm not.

I guess I've just been building up too many expectations in my mind and it ultimately paralyzes me from taking action. I'm just too in my head these days. I worry about what people will think or say. I don't want to be boring. I fear criticism and judgement. And as much as I don't want to care about what other people think, it still affects me. I HATE that! I hate that I allow other people's 'stuff' to have an impact on me. I have to make it a priority to change this about myself. I'm recognizing that this is one of my life lessons; one thing I'm supposed to conquer in this life.

Anyway, my intention of starting this blog was for me to have an outlet to dump stories about my journey. I wanted to be brutally honest about becoming a mom and the impact it is having  on my life. I wanted to share the good, the bad and the ugly. Here I am completely resisting and withholding stories that I KNOW others can relate to and find comfort.

I'm realizing it all comes down to mindset, commitment and pushing through fear. Enough is enough! Time to get writing and moving forward.

If you're reading, hold me accountable! Don't let me allow fear and excuses prevent me from documenting my journey!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Diagnosis

I talked previously about a bitter sweet March. Well, it didn't exactly end there.

I've been debating whether or not I should write about "this" for a while now and have decided it's time I start talking. Uggghh, where to start...

I've been sick quite a bit over the last year. You name some kind of bug floating around out there and I've caught it. It has been extremely frustrating to go from one illness to another. It seems like I was only healthy for a few days a time throughout this past winter. I've been to see several doctors and had countless blood tests run to try to determine what could be causing me to get so sick. Unfortunately, the blood work wasn't helpful with diagnosing the problem.

When I wasn't warding off a sinus infection, bronchitis, strep or the flu, I was just left feeling extremely weak and fatigued. I was experiencing severe joint pain and found it difficult to get through every day tasks like doing the dishes or picking up my son, Brady.

A lot of people chucked all of this up to me being an overwhelmed and sleep deprived mom. At first, I thought maybe some were right about me, which is why I had been beating myself up for not being able to do everything and be everything to everyone. I wondered how others were able to maintain this Super Mom lifestyle and why I could cut it. I carried so many feelings of inadequacy and found myself constantly comparing myself to other moms in my life.

I recently realized that I've been "abusing" ....yes, verbally abusing myself over all of the areas I felt I was falling short. It's like this nasty recording of my voice would just play through my head every day, all day long.

"Kelli, what has happened to you? You used to be so much more active. You used to be able to handle 20 times more than you do now. What's wrong with you, why can't you just get the rest of the baby weight off already? Come on, every other mom out there manages to keep a clean home, groceries in the fridge, meals on the table, laundry clean, play dates for the kids, visits to the gym.... Why can't you just get healthy and be normal again?"

I knew something had to give.

"Am I going crazy? Why can't the doctors find an explanation for why I feel so awful all the time? Am I really just a weak person? Why can't I pull it together? I'm trying to eat healthier, drink water, take my daily vitamins, get rest whenever I can. I swear I'm doing everything I know to do to get well and I still feel awful. My head is the old me wanting to do, do, do and my body is telling me loud and clear NO, no, no."

I had some friends tell me that they were sick of hearing that I'm sick...again. Some felt that it was all in my head and I just needed to work on starting each day with a positive attitude and I might feel better. Others thought that I had postpartum depression and needed medication. Everyone wanted to diagnose me except for the doctors, which left me feeling more confused, frustrated and lonelier than ever. 

Finally, I had a doctor say that she wanted to go through a long questionnaire to determine if I possibly had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was like a light bulb went off. I remembered that I was diagnosed with that back in high school when I got really sick at the age of 16 fighting a bad case of Mono. After going through the questionnaire, I knew that this is EXACTLY what I was battling. We talked about it for over three hours!

On one hand, I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis that explained in black and white exactly what I've been experiencing, but on the other hand, there's no cure. This is something I will have to face life long. There are no medications to treat CFS, but there are holistic remedies that can help me feel better and take my life back (in time).

It has been a roller coaster since the diagnosis in April. I'm going to continue to talk about this and my experiences because it is a widely misunderstood and under-diagnosed condition. If I can help even one person out their realize that they're not alone as well as raise some awareness, then sharing my struggles will be worth it. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brady's First Birthday

I had been dreading and stressing out over my son's first birthday for several months. Why is it that us first time moms feel the need to get all worked up about planning the perfect birthday for our lil' one when they are never going to remember it anyway?

I can't tell you how many people reminded me of that fact over the last several months. I've experienced lot's of eye rolling and people telling me that I was being completely ridiculous to stress out over a one year old's birthday party.

But I wanted something wonderful to look back on. I suppose I was looking to build a memory for our family more so than for Brady since he won't remember it anyway. There's always pictures and videos for his viewing pleasure in the future. And the stories we tell him when he asks about it later. What kid later wants to hear "Oh, it was just an ordinary day. We knew you wouldn't remember it, so we didn't really do anything special."  Not something I want to tell my son!

First, I was thinking of planning a fun day at a local park. We could rent a covered picnic pavilion, grill out, have a few fun games for adults and children of all ages. Who wouldn't enjoy an afternoon at the park with good friends and family? Well, that plan backfired when all of the parks I was interested in were already reserved.

My bubble was burst. I couldn't think of another plan that felt right. I started thinking up this plan when Brady was nine months old, so the fact that it wasn't going to work out just like I had imagined was frustrating. I kept thinking that something would come available, someone would have a great suggestion that fit exactly what I was looking for. I asked everyone I knew for advice on locations and alternatives, but nothing felt quite right. Before I knew it, Brady's birthday was only a few weeks away. I had all of the grandparents flying into town with no party planned!

Panic mode set in about one month out, then intensified two weeks out when I STILL didn't have a confirmed plan. Nothing was really coming together and everything I tried fell through. I felt like I was a bad mom and I was failing miserably at pulling something together. Finally, I decided to take a friend's advice and just have something small at the house for the immediate family.

At first, I was thinking it was a lame effort on my part, but it turned out to be the perfect scenario for Brady's first birthday! I was so worried about our house being too small to accommodate everyone, but thankfully our deck was just the spot for a family dinner. The weather held out so we could relax and enjoy each other's company without outside interruptions. Brady ended up diving into his cake early (while we were all still eating dinner) because he was fading fast and needed to go to bed. Had we been out anywhere else, we couldn't have put him to bed and continued our celebration. It would have been nice to have some of our friends there to celebrate with us, but we only see our families a couple times a year, so this gave us an opportunity to share stories and reflect on good times.

Everything about Brady's birthday weekend was about family spending time together and celebrating Brady's life.

What I realized is that while I wasted all of that time worrying about planning the perfect party, the only thing that mattered was having meaningful time together as a family. We now all share a memory that will last a lifetime. Thankfully, we have some great stories to tell Brady when he's older along with some great pictures and videos! What more could a mom ask for?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Mess is My Message

I've been wanting to write about this for a while now, but have held off because that would mean getting SUPER real and letting my panties show a little bit (as Suzanne Evans might put it)!

I recently realized that everything I'm experiencing in my life is preparing me to work with and impact the lives of other women. I've known for a while that I'm supposed to be working with women, but I didn't understand exactly why or in what capacity. I've really prayed on that so I can understand what God is asking me to do while I'm here. Slowly, it's becoming clear!

Do you ever feel like you’re living two lives?

That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. On the surface, everything is going pretty well. I have to acknowledge that I’m truly blessed. And most days, I give thanks for those blessings - I have a fun, loving husband that truly is my best friend and beautiful baby boy that makes me laugh every day. I have security in the roof over my head and the unconditional love of two dogs that have been there through every phase of the last ten years of my life. I find comfort and peace in all of that.

Now, I’m about to get super real. Ready?

Even though I have what others might long for, I still have this feeling of misalignment, feelings of stress and overwhelm, feelings of inadequacy and even failure at times.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought to all of this over the last couple months. I’ve been feeling guilty for having these feelings. How could I feel this way when there’s so much to be grateful for? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just be happy and satisfied with what I’ve been given? Why do I long for more?

Let me dig into this a bit. When I was pregnant with Brady, I was nervous about how my life was going to change. Part of me was looking forward to staying home with him, but the other part of me knew that I didn’t know how to not work. I’ve been working and collecting a paycheck since I was fourteen years old. I’ve learned that losing that paycheck makes me feel like I’ve lost some control and my voice when it comes to spending. A lot of my identity has been wrapped up in the work that I was doing. Intellectually, I know that’s not true, but what a tough mindset to break. I came to realize it was time to get used to a new role that doesn’t come with a paycheck to acknowledge my value. Now that’s an adjustment!

Throughout this time at home with Brady, learning how to be a mom and manage a household, I’ve come to recognize that I’m not very good at this. I get stressed over things that shouldn’t matter a whole lot, like never ending mounds of laundry, constant dishes in the sink or left around the house waiting to go into the dishwasher, little stacks of miscellaneous clutter that hasn’t found a suitable home, and planning nutritious meals. I feel like I’m failing at managing and maintaining all of these things, one because I loathe these tasks that are never-ending and two because I might have undiagnosed A.D.D which makes it difficult for me to complete a task before getting caught up in another one.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom to Brady. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to watch and be a part of every phase of his growth at this point. I know that I’m a good mom to him. He knows that he is loved. He is smiling and happy, rarely fussy. He is well fed, kept clean, entertained and engaged. I know that I’m not depriving him of anything. I can feel good about that – but, I know that I’m depriving his mom of things that stimulate her and remind her of her gifts and value.

At the end of the day, many times I’m left feeling like an inadequate, sloppy housewife. I wonder when it’s my turn to do something that is stimulating and recharges my battery a little bit. Here’s an example, often times I wish I had more time to put toward the Naperville Moms Network. I’m really passionate about developing this space for women in our community. I am contributing here, but not at the level I believe I should be. I don’t know how to ignore this calling, nor do I want to.

My husband tries to tell me that if I would just find contentment in being Brady’s mom and his wife, I would be a lot less stressed, juggling less and find happiness. Sadly, I know that this simply isn’t true. I wasn’t built or wired to just be Brady’s mom and his wife. I have a purpose beyond those roles and while I’m thankful for those roles and enjoy many aspects of them, they don’t complete or define me.

I have been conflicted with determining how to be what’s expected of me and also step into the person that I’m called to be. I fully believe that there’s a way to be the wife and mom I want to be and also be the individual I was put on this earth to be. There has got to be a way to fulfill my purpose beyond my role as mom and still be a great mom.

So, I haven’t cracked the code, but when I do, my big mess will be my message to other women walking in my shoes. Surely, I’m not the only one!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Is there such a thing – a Supermom? Is it just me or am I the only one that feels surrounded by them?

I think I might have a slight case of mom envy. Or maybe it’s a case of mom inadequacy. Whatever it is, I find myself wanting to be and do more even though I know that I’m giving it all that I’ve got right now.

Do you know these amazing moms that I’m referring to? The ones that make homemade baby food, buy everything organic, use cloth diapers, juggle multiples, make fitness a priority each day, prepare healthy, gourmet, fresh meals for their families, keep a perfectly organized and clean home, run all the errands, and still have time for lattes and pedicures with their girlfriends.

Intellectually, I recognize that we’re all wired and built differently. I know that we all have certain areas in which we are gifted and things come easy. Maybe these Supermoms are simply living out their greatest gifts. This role is their primary purpose and greatest priority. Or is it possible that they only appear to have it all? Is there more than meets the eye with these Supermoms?

I suppose I’m realizing more and more that the domestic housewife and stay-at-home mom role is not where the good Lord has blessed me with stellar skills. I have to work really hard at it!

I find myself talking to other moms about the difficulties of motherhood. Some can completely relate to the challenges and struggles, while others almost immediately dismiss me and tell me to “talk to them when I have at least three children.”  Talk about invalidating one’s feelings!

The one thing I’ve come to realize in all of this is that as women journeying through motherhood, we have to remember to support and help one another rather than pass judgment.

If you’re one of those Supermoms, I say “Bravo, Woman! Now, be a dear friend and teach me a thing or two!”

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Bitter Sweet March

I've been trying to understand the deeper meaning behind why I've been sick for most of the month of March. There was about 4-5 days of good health in between the two illnesses, so I've spent about three and a half weeks very sick.

I have been pretty frustrated because bed ridden is not a true option for me. Brady (my 10 month old son) is addicted to mommy. If he knows she's in the house, he wants nothing to do with anyone except mommy. And when you're that sick and that weak, what's a mama to do?

It's times like these that I wish I had my family near by. I would have him go to grandma's house, OR I would go to grandma's house to get some rest. That hasn't been an option for me, so that could be one reason I haven't been able to fully shake this bug.

Another reason could be that I'm burning the candle at both ends. I'm not sleeping much. I'm pushing myself hard to get it all done and be everything to everyone. I'm also facing my fears and putting myself out there more and more every day. That's stressful! That stirs up anxiety. I try to keep it under control and in perspective, but that is definitely easier said than done.

There's cool stuff happening in the midst of all this sickness. Momentum is building in so many ways, but my body is saying NO, SLOW DOWN!

I was recently interviewed by a reporter from Naperville Magazine to be mentioned in a story for the May - Mother's Day issue. He wants to say a few words about the Naperville Moms Network. That makes me very happy! Hopefully, someone that needs a place to connect with other women will discover NMN when she reads that article.

That same day, I attended a Tribune event in downtown Naperville and met the who's who of the Tribune! That was pretty cool, but what was even more cool is that I was asked to become a contributing columnist, submitting stories based on my blog. I have to say, I'm still shocked and a little in disbelief. But, I'm very honored and excited to do so.

I've met some amazing people lately that share the same passions that I do. They want to help women. They want to impact families in the community. I'm recognizing how these developing relationships have so much potential to make an incredible impact. It's such an exhilarating feeling to have a vision for what's possible if we all come together!

I've had a lot of major ups as well as some real downers this month. One thing I'm realizing for sure, I can't make anything happen for anyone until I focus on getting healthy. I suppose that needs to become my top priority. I'm not any good for anyone when I'm sick!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Make It Happen Mom - The Beginning

I can remember thinking Life is really good, and then immediately thinking, uh-oh, I think all of that is about to change. And boy, did it ever!

I was living in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL in a small condo overlooking the Sawgrass Village golf course only a  few blocks from the beach. I always dreamed of living at the beach as a child, and finally, my dream was my reality.

I was feeling great about my career, moving up the ladder and feeling blessed by the friendships I had and the relationship developing with the man I would eventually marry. I don't know that anyone ever feels that their life is  perfect, but I can remember a moment in time where I felt, Wow! My life is pretty amazing. I am so blessed!

One month after my engagement, my fiancĂ© (now husband) told me that he was offered a promotion within his company which would result in a move to Chicago. I had never really been to Chicago, but my college roomie (born and raised in Naperville)  let me know that it gets ridiculously cold  and snows for way too many months out of the year! Being the beach girl that I am, I knew the snow and winter thing wouldn't come easy for me.

I was in love, so I decided to take a leap of faith and walk away from all of the things I loved; family, friends, my career and the beach lifestyle!

I remember driving up to Chicago over the course of a couple days with my two dogs and cat. That's a trip I'll never forget! I remember staying over night at the Motel 6 because it was the only lodging option that allowed pets. Sleep? Are you kidding me?! Not a chance. Let's just say, there's a lot of activity throughout the night at the Motel 6.

I remember rolling into the AMLI at Seven Bridges after and my fiancĂ© saying, "Home sweet home!"

Can you believe that? I let him select where we would live without seeing the place first. Looking back, even I am amazed! I must say though, he did a great job! It was the perfect place to start out.

I was grateful to my company, a national IT consulting firm, for allowing me to transfer to the Downers Grove office in the same role I had been recently promoted to in Florida. At least, I thought I was grateful. It was a tough start and my friendly, happy-go-lucky attitude was less than well received in this dog-eat-dog Chicago market. People told me time and time again, "You're too nice. No one will ever respect you in business when you're as nice as you are."

And I can remember thinking, but that's exactly what got me to be the leading sales person (out of the recently promoted) in Jacksonville.

It didn't take long for me to realize, this was a different ball game and it wasn't meant for me to play.

As a super social and friendly person, I was surprised to find out how difficult it was to make new friends and figure out where I fit in. Thankfully, the Young Professionals of Naperville opened a lot of doors to new friendships and new career opportunities.

After fourteen months in Naperville, I finally had some friends, an exciting new career path, got married and bought a house. Things were looking up! Once again, I remember thinking, okay, life is pretty great! I am feeling so blessed! ...Uh-oh!

Of course, nothing stays calm and consistent for very long. Four months after we were married, the shock of our life: We're Pregnant!

Stay tuned for that story! It is sure to make you laugh!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Trib Local Naperville

I'm sitting at my kitchen table with tissues plugging my nose (second illness this month), trying to think of what to write for Trib Local. All I really want to do is write about the fact that I'm still in disbelief that Trib Local would like for me to submit some of my blog posts for their weekly newspaper distributed in Naperville. 

(Wait, was the tissue part too much information?!) I was going to vlog today, but I'm way too stuffy to be in front of a video camera.

Anyway, last Thursday, I went to a Naper Tweet-Up which doubled as a Trib Local community event. I had heard of Trib Local before, but didn't fully understand how it worked. It's an insert to the Chicago Tribune that is distributed weekly covering community happenings in each suburb. There are a few articles included by Tribune staff, but the paper is primarily content that has been submitted online from various people in the community. Honestly, it's a brilliant way to increase interest and readership. I can't believe I wasn't aware of what a huge resource this is for the community. How crazy is it that an average joe like me can submit information about my Naperville Moms Network events and possibly have my content show up in the paper?! I think that's pretty awesome!

So, the real dilemma is that although I realize a few eyes might glance over this blog randomly from time to time, I don't really promote it or list it out there to get lot's of attention. I'm just not sure I'm ready to put myself out there like that (yet). So many of my posts are crazy embarrassing. This is sort of my dumping ground; my place to sort of look in the mirror and laugh at myself and my life. I don't know what the distribution for Trib Local Naperville is, but I'm pretty sure that's A LOT of people!

I told my dad the other day about this. I was kind of excited to share that the paper was interested in having me submit some of my stories (not sure which ones), but whoa! My dad was immediately like, "You're not actually going to do that, are you?" I was like, "What? Why would you say that?" Basically, he thinks that I would just be opening myself up to judgement, criticism and misrepresentation. Here I was, all excited to share this with him and he totally burst my bubble.

I guess dad might have a point, which is probably why I'm a little freaked out about actually submitting something, BUT I'm on this journey, trying to step out of my comfort zone, put myself out there for a greater purpose. That might sound a little cheesy, but I just feel that there have to be others out there that can relate to me on some level. There's nothing worse than feeling all alone! When you realize that there's someone out there walking in your shoes...or she's worn yours before, it's immediate comfort and validation. You feel like you can breathe again and move forward.

If I can positively impact even one person, then I suppose it's worth it. I think I'm going to do this!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vlog 3 My Story...Facing Fear

Here's a little background as to what I'm focusing on and how I'm facing fear straight in the face! Yikes!

Vlog entry 2

I'm home from the Be the Change Event reflecting on my experience. I've come to realize that it's as simple as making a decision to live my purpose and share my movement with the world. I have to push through my fears, live outside of my comfort zone and focus on helping others.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Naperville Moms Network

I’m not sure why I haven’t been talking or blogging much about the Naperville Moms Network or NMN as I like to call it. It’s kind of weird actually because it’s my little (or BIG) project right now.

NMN is a social network that I created to connect a local “community of moms empowering moms.”  There are monthly events to bring this diverse network of mamas together as well.

I launched it December 1, 2009 at a local family owned restaurant. I had about 20 women show and stay beyond the time we had the private room reserved for. It was amazing to see these women out having a good time, connecting with friends and making new ones. It was very apparent that this was meeting a huge need in the community. I was really happy with the turnout and the feedback.

Since the launch, we have over 150 moms and continue to grow every day by word of mouth. We’ve been featured in the newspaper and on the local TV station. I’m amazed and excited to see the potential here. I feel like my vision for this community of moms is becoming a reality and people’s lives are being impacted positively.

I have a great feeling about the future of this group, but I’m definitely getting out of my comfort zone more and more as we grow. I just pray that I will continue to have clarity  on the direction I’m supposed to take this thing. This is not “mine” …I’m just the facilitator and vehicle to making it happen. I have a huge responsibility to this amazing community of women and to my Creator that has lead me to do this.

I’ll try to continue to update on NMN. It should continue to be an interesting ride!

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Naperville Moms Network

Windows Live Writer

Just discovered this tool on my new netbook and was curious to see how it works. What’s the benefit of using this over going to blogger directly? Feedback anyone?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

That Darn Cat

I was thinking of starting another blog under an alias to tell all of the ridiculously embarrassing stories of random things that happen to me. Just when I think I couldn't possibly be any more embarrassed, something else happens. The thing is, I'm not all that great with keeping up with this blog, so why would I want to spend more time starting another one to tell these stories...simply because I would be mortified if people that I actually know read them?! Ehhh

Well, I suppose I'm lazy and I'll share this story with you...even if a few people I know happen to stumble upon it.

I often joke that I live on a mini farm. I have a cat and two dogs in a humble little three bedroom ranch. My kitty is about 10 years old and has recently discovered that she LOVES being outdoors. Now that it's winter in Chicago, she can't spend nearly as much time outside. We keep a litter box in the house, but she rarely has to use it since she has learned that she can just go outside.

Through the winter months, she has decided that she enjoys sleeping in my closet under my low hanging clothes. Not quite sure why, but she sneaks in there a lot these days. I've started noticing that she gets shut in there sometimes without me realizing she was in there in the first place. Not good...

It's the start of the new year and like millions of other Americans, I'm ready to shed this extra (baby)weight. My trainer likes to think of it as excess stored energy. ;) Sweet, huh! Anyway, I tend to leave my gym bag on the floor in my closet. My husband was rushing me to hurry up so we wouldn't be late for our appointment to drop Brady off in the infant room. He usually drops me at the door to take Brady in while he parks the car.

I was standing in line with Brady sitting on the counter and I'm digging in my gym bag for my membership card when I hear, "Kelli, Oh my gosh! I didn't know you go to this gym!" I was like, "Well, yeah we got the membership back in August when Brady was old enough for childcare, but I'm not as regular as I would like to be."

My friend notices that I'm digging in my bag for my card. She reaches in to help me because she thought she saw it. What does she end up grabbing? Oh yeah! You guessed it... dried up cat poop. Are you freakin' kidding me? Mortifying!!!

I wish I would have had the time to go through it before I left the house. I keep the bag packed for the next visit, so I didn't really need to. I just had to throw a water bottle in. Ohhh my gosh! I can't believe I haven't seen this girl in forever and she just grabbed dried up cat poop from my bag while trying to help me find my card. She avoided me the next time I ran into her in the gym. Go figure!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Need a Wife

Do you ever feel like life would be a lot easier if only you had a wife? I've determined that's what I really need since I'm not your stereotypical wife and happen to have a very traditional husband.

I know he loves me and knew exactly what he was getting when he married me, but sometimes I can't help but feel completely inadequate in fulfilling my "wifey duties." I HATE cleaning and household chores. I do them, but I loathe the daily household tasks. Going to the grocery store stresses me out. The idea of cooking completely freaks me out and overwhelms me.

What I've come to learn is that I'm a total perfectionist, so if I'm not super awesome at something or don't enjoy doing it, I try to find a way to not do it at all. I always justify by saying that I could spend my time better doing things that I'm good at. I WANT a clean home and delicious, healthy meals, but if I'm honest, I don't want to be responsible for making those things happen. I hate that about myself. I wish I felt differently. I wish I could change my mindset to enjoy those duties, but I'm not sure that's ever going to happen.

So, I have this friend that's divorced with two boys. She's dating a guy that is also divorced with two girls. They just moved in together over the summer and each have joint custody over their children. They're sort of like the modern day Brady Bunch! If you were just meeting them, you would never know that the children have a different father and mother. They all look alike which is kind of cute and they seem to get along pretty well together.

My friend has totally lucked out by dating this guy (that she will eventually marry). She found herself a wife! She's not super organized or clean, but her boyfriend is a total neat freak that loves to be organized and cleans EVERY day from top to bottom. He freaks out if the bed isn't made immediately after getting out of bed. Did I mention he loves to cook healthy gourmet meals? Yep, another huge perk.

This friend of mine gained about 50-60 pounds through the divorce process. She also owned a business with her ex, so she had to split that off and somewhat start new. Talk about stressful scenario! This new guy has decided that he will cook full meals from the South Beach diet cookbook three times a day and pack her snacks for work. Are you freakin' kidding me?! She has lost 13 lbs. in a week and a half. Wow!

Let me just say, I'm very happy for her. She deserves to be happy and treated like a queen. She was cheated on several times by her ex and very much unappreciated. I want nothing but the best for her.

All I'm saying is that I think a lot of my stress would be relieved if only I had a "wife" of my own. Then I could focus on what I'm good at and not always feel like an inadequate failure for not living up to society's expectations of what a wife should be.

My husband doesn't give me a hard time about my inadequacies. It's more me being super hard on myself. But he did admit the other day that he wouldn't mind if I did become more wifey...cook and clean more. This just confirmed that I'm not a good housewife. Dang it! I love my hubby and don't have an interest in trading him in (even though he is a complete slob), I would just like to find a wife for both of us! I'm pretty sure that would solve all my problems ;)