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Filling the well and the best six minutes

March 07, 2013


Bryan and I had THE. MOST. INCREDIBLE. trip to the Dominican Republic for my thirtieth birthday. I was on E (crazy eye problems from staring at a computer screen every day type of EMPTY…) when we left. E for empty. I was tired, grumpy, spent, all the words you can think of for EXHAUSTED and DRAINED.

I wasn’t even as excited as I should have been to escape to a tropical island for nearly a week. But the trip was incredible. I hate leaving the little guy just as much as the next Mama, but gracious did I need it. A few days at the spa, many hours (ouch, sunburn) at the pool and on the beach and bottomless margaritas, yes please. Not to mention fun friends, birthday celebration after silly birthday celebration and precious time with my sweet hubby. Lots of fun photos over on Instagram.

I forgot how much I liked him! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love him to death, but I like him so much! Don’t look at me weird! You know what I mean! :) We had a blast, seriously, and he scored major points with his surprise bottle of wine and birthday cake in our room after a day of snorkeling (ps: panic attack. I hate snorkeling. I can’t breathe!)

Every time I leave (leaving again on Sunday for the Making Things Happen 2013 Conference!) I get super anxious and sad to leave Brady. But every time I return I am so refueled with JOY and happiness and love that I’m overwhelmingly ready to get back to what matters most.

And that brings me to the point of this post. You (yes, you!) stop it. You can’t do that thing (you know the one!) from an empty well!! Hello, Mamas, I’m talking to YOU! You just simply can’t. It’s a matter of physics. Full well = lots of water to give. Empty well = no water to give. Dry. Bone dry.

You don’t have to escape to a tropical island to do this either (although I sure do wish I could!). You just have to remember what FILLS your tank, what FIRES you up. I love reading. I love old literature and good books (Favorites: Love Does (buy it), Paradise Lost (the best) and, most recently, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, by Richie Norton (love you, Nat and Richie). Richie’s a friend of ours – more on his REMARKABLE book later this week. I love taking care of myself (getting outside and sweaty [though I detest it before I’m doing it], massages, pedicures [ok, admit it, you do too!]. I love accoustic music and good wine. I love laughing with Bryan. I LOVE laughing with Bryan :) No one makes me laugh like him. I love being with my parents and soaking them up. I love my girlfriends. I LOVE spending time with Brady.

Today was a long day. It was great, but long. Tonight I decided to take Brady on a date. We went to Surf Shack for Taco Thursday, Starbucks and Target. He was so well behaved (2+ years old and restaurants DON’T always get along these days, but tonight they did!) and said “HIIIII!!!” TO EVERYONE he saw (no, seriously, everyone). And after his bath, I sat down in his rocking chair with him, like I always do, anticipating the 2.5 seconds he’d sit still and then say “Night, night, Mama… pillow” and want to get in his bed. But tonight, he just let me rock him. In silence. We sang a few rounds of Happy Birthday Elmo/Maggie (McKay’s dog)/Daddy/PopPop/Choo-choo, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider then he just settled in and closed his eyes.

You know those moments as a Mom when everything is just so PERFECT and PRECIOUS and you just want time to stop? Then you start trying to shut down any other thoughts that creep into your head? Like the laundry or your work day, or that call you forgot to make for your dog’s grooming appointment? Yea. Oh it was precious. I shut them all down and just rocked. For six glorious minutes. The six best minutes ever. I think they were better than any six minutes I sat on the Dominican beaches with an umbrella’d drink in hand. This is an old photo from when Brady was about six months old, but it’s one of my favorites. Thanks for this Gina :)

And after I put him down and shut the door, I thought… “aahhhhh, my tank is full.”

You can’t draw anything good, ANYTHING GOOD, from an empty well. Fill ‘er up. Do what matters. Ease up on yourself. Soak them up.

xo,

Emily

Trip Prizes and Leaving Little Ones

February 25, 2013

Leaving B for any amount of time is hard. I miss him when I’m not with him, no matter where I am. I’ve intentionally scheduled my workdays so that I can be with him (as a self-proclaimed part-time SAHM) two days a week – Mondays and Fridays. I soak those two days up like crazy and work 9-5 Tues-Thurs. I do have to travel a bit for my job about 2-3 times each year.

Making Things Happen accounts for 1-2 of those trips every year. For those of you who don’t know about it, go here. It’s amazing. Soon, I’ll be leaving for back-to-back trips: the first to celebrate my thirtieth birthday with Bryan in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana!) and the second to co-host (with Lara Casey and Gina Zeidler) the Making Things Happen 2013 Conference in Chapel Hill. I’ll be gone for 5 days for DR and 6 days for MTH (home for 6 days in between).

Starting when Brady was three months old (when I had to travel to the National Stationery Show in NYC) I’ve created “prize boxes” for Brady. For every day that I’m away, there’s a wrapped “prize” and note for Brady to open while we FaceTime after his bath every  night. Each prize is a small, inexpensive silly gift or treat – something I’d never buy him otherwise (that’s the fun of it!) or something he LOVES and doesn’t get often. When he was small these things included his favorite green pacis, squeeze packs (at least that’s what we call them) or bubble bath. Now, they include any and everything from the Target Dollar Section, bath toys, cool socks and a sweet treat or two.

I write Brady a note to go with each prize that tells him how many days until I come home and how much I / we miss him and hope he’s having so much fun with our nanny, Danica and / or my parents.

When he sees this green box come out, he gets excited about the fun time he’s going to have and our nightly FaceTime / prize tradition. Preparing to be away helps ease my heart and watching him LIGHT UP every night helps me feel better about being away too.

It’s hard being gone, but making sure everyone involved knows our nightly routine (bath, jammies, books, prayers, the right animals in his bed with him, etc) and special traditions makes it easier and helps me enjoy my time away (and fill my proverbial “tank” to come back home a refreshed, refueled mama).

I’d love to hear your tricks and tactics for being away. One of my best friends, Amy (writer of the amazing mama blog Lily & Bliss), is about to take her first trip away from her daughter Lily and I know she’d love to read some of your tips too.

Getting very excited for beaches, umbrella’d drinks and (gulp) MY THIRTIES!

xo,

Emily

Simplified (as if its possible): A Sick Little One

March 11, 2012

The last week the Ley house has been germ central.

Call it… The Ley Family vs RSV.

Brady got it first. Then I got it. Then Bryan got it. At least the dog didn’t get it. That’d be a 150lb disaster (no really, Briggs is a bull mastiff). It was a miserable week. This was Brady’s first time being sick ever and my first experience with a sick little one.

I think a number of times this week I said all I want is my mama. (Nana, we’ll see you on Friday!)

Brady has a little play group that we spend time with on Fridays and our little group passed it back and forth to each other. Thank goodness for good mama friends. It was so good to be able to lean on each other for support.

And today it was Mama vs Germs. Every door and window was opened. Every surface was disinfected. Every article of clothing/linen was washed. I had to laugh when I typed the title to this post – if there was any way to simplify life with a sick little one… well, the person who invented that method would be rich. Life this week was anything but simple as I tried to manage a busy work-week and a very sick little boy/husband/self, but hopefully this quick list will help some mama who’s searching the internet on her iPhone in the middle of the night while she rocks her stuffy little one back to sleep for the umpteenth time. A few things I couldn’t have made it through the week without:

  1. Crane Cool Mist Humidifier: We have the frog version, but how cute is this little thing. Secret: I may or may not have had a small fascination with cows growing up. We put Brady’s frog humidifier near his crib every night to help open his chest and help him breathe better.
  2. Amazon Mom: If you are a mama (or heck, anyone) and don’t know about the Amazon Prime Membership, you’re missing out. For $79 a year, Amazon Prime members receive free two-day shipping and $3.99 overnight shipping. If I had a dollar for every Amazon box I’ve had to break down, I’d be a millionaire. I remember when I was nursing and I’d remember (at 3am of course) that I was out of face wash. Done. Ordered on my iPhone with Amazon One-Click and my Prime Membership. Perhaps I’ve gotten a little TOO good at this…
  3. A Sense of Humor: Having a sick little one is no joke. In fact, the experience I had introducing Brady to the nebulizer was my worst mom-experience to date. It broke my heart. But in our house, if we can’t laugh, we don’t survive. We had to sing and dance and make funny faces in the mirror with Brady to keep the mood light. That little boy will smile through the hardest of things. He has such a happy demeanor. I read this about JOY the other day and keep thinking about it… Joy is not happiness, which depends upon happenings, but it is a deep settled inner pleasure. That’s my B. What a lesson he teaches us with his joy everyday.
  4. VeggieTales: I’m not a huge fan of lots of TV time, but I would be lying if I told you Brady didn’t get a little VeggieTales (or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Sid the Science Kid) time everyday. : )  The nebulizer was so hard to get Brady used to. What we figured out, is if we put VeggieTales on TV – something fun like Silly Songs with Larry (the Cucumber!) Brady was mesmerized enough to let us hold it in front of him. After a while, he started to play with it. We let him hold it while it was on so that he could see it wasn’t scary. I’ve learned that as long as he feels safe, he’s happy. And as quick as it started, the big fear of the crazy nebulizer machine subsided. Now he lets us hold him (I sit with him in my lap) with just a few squirms.
  5. Smart Water: I unfortunately got sick just a few days after Brady. And I’m also notorious for never drinking water (coffee or Diet Coke? Yes, please.) I stocked up on these at the beginning of last week so that I had enough around to grab in a hurry.
  6. Popsicles: Growing up, if we were sick, we got a “sickie present.” I can’t help but carry on the tradition – even if my version is full of sugar. We gave Brady a popsicle in the bathtub every night after his last breathing treatment. No, he didn’t really know what to do with it and half the time he dropped it and just played with it in the warm water. But his first taste was a sight to behold.
  7. Iced Lattes + Starbucks Pay By Phone: Enough said. I would not survive without caffeine. Greatest thing ever – Starbucks now lets customers pay with their iPhones! I have a gift card that’s set to auto-reload – I hooked it up to my iPhone and now I just show that puppy and don’t’ think about a thing. Some things are a little too easy.
  8. Mio + Mao: You might not recognize these two. But you should download their app if you have a little one. Since Brady was three months old, he’s been FASCINATED with them. Some of his first laughs were at these two. Mio + Mao are two kitties – clay-mation stars of their own little show. There are no words just silly little sounds as they explore the world during each of their short adventures. When we were at the doctor’s office three times last week, these two kept Brady happy while we waited.
  9. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner: Today it was me against the germs. I love Mrs. Meyers products because they’re organic and smell SO good. I love Meyer lemons so much and hello, look at that amazing packaging!

In short, this week was rough. I should have a #10 up there with a photo of our amazing friends who called to check on us, shared their RSV stories and gave us much needed advice. Thank goodness for good girlfriends. And thank goodness for my own mama who walked me through a hard week.

Cheers to a clean, healthy, joyful week ahead!

xo

Emily

I can’t publish this post without a very serious end note. All week long, I’ve though time and time again of my dear, dear friend Natalie Norton. Natalie and her husband Richie lost their sweet Gavin to Pertussis (Whooping Cough) when he was just a few weeks old.  If you have a few moments, hear their story. Get vaccinated. And spread the word. Many pediatric offices now offer the vaccine to parents and children.

copyright 2018 emily ley