Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday: Home Tour Edition

Hi... welcome to our home tour! We live near Dripping Springs, Texas (about 20 miles west of Austin). Our house sits on 0.87 acres, and we custom-built it in 2013. It's actually FOR SALE now, so if you're interested, leave a comment! :-) Here are aerial photos of the front and back yard.
And here's a better view of our front yard. I love our big front porch, the double doors (painted such a pretty blue) and the cedar columns and shutters. Our home is mostly one story, with only a guest room with an en-suite bathroom upstairs (which is great for when my mom or other family or friends spend the night). 
Here's our entry way, looking into the house. Our office is to the left through the French doors, and the dining room to the right.
 Here's the opposite view of the entry.
And a peek to the right into the dining room.
Our dining room table is nearly nine years old and from Pottery Barn. I had the chairs made at the same time we got the table from a place online called Carrington Court Direct... and I love how they turned out!
And here's our office. My husband often works from home, so we have two desks.
As you continue to walk through the entry, you come into our open kitchen and living room.
The lights in the entry, dining room and kitchen are from a place in Austin called Four Hands.
The backsplash is tile that looks like wood.
All of our couches (his are the dark brown, mine are the tan ) were purchased more than 10 years ago, right before we started dating. Off to the left, you can see the area that is our play room and leads to the kids' bedrooms.
We do most of our TV watching here. The door off to the left in this view goes to our coat closet, linen closet and our master bedroom.
This is our playroom. I love all the windows! 
Here is my son's bedroom. It's big enough to hold a two-person tent and a train table... both of which he likes to keep set up!
And here's our daughter's room.
The kiddos' bathroom is near both rooms. I don't have a shower curtain on it because my daughter takes baths, and my son prefers to take showers in our bathroom. There's also a walk-in shower in the guest bathroom upstairs.
Here's our master bedroom. I would say that it's very undecorated because it's listed for sale... but the truth is that even though we have been in the house for nearly two years, I never took the time to hang much on the walls! But we're usually only in here at night, and to me, it's actually quite serene and peaceful.
Here's our master bathroom. We have really long, tall counters, a great jetted tub and a pretty big shower.
Our master closet is one of my favorite spots... it's huge (this is just one side of it)!
Back toward the kitchen, we have a mud room near the laundry room and the door to our garage.

The stairs lead up to our guest room... which also contains our workout equipment.
And then here's our back patio. You can have about 15 people sitting/standing on this back patio and still not feel too crowded. We like to sit outside while barbecuing and watching football on the TV.
And that's our house! We love it and will be sad to leave it... but my job is 40 miles away, and for the last year, I've spent about 2.5 hours on the road every day. It will be nice to be back in Austin and closer to work, which will give me more time at home with the kids!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Common Misconceptions of a Working Mom

I enjoyed reading “Common Misconceptions of Stay At Home Moms,” but I must say none of the answers were a big surprise to me. I know it’s a hard job, and without getting into the “Mommy Wars” that seem so inescapable nowadays, I will say that I have a lot of respect for SAHMs. However, I don’t think a lot of Working Moms are afforded the same respect. Many of the misconceptions Ruthie mentioned seem to imply SAHMs are lazy or boring. But I don’t think anyone ever accuses those mothers of not loving their children or being selfish. Unfortunately, I’ve been accused of both things… plus many other negative ideas. So before I attempt to set the record straight, let me first say that I love my children completely and whole-heartedly. More than I ever wanted to be a wife or have a career, I wanted to be a mom. I’m lucky enough to have the world’s sweetest 4.5-year-old boy and the world’s cutest 7-month-old girl (in my humble opinion!). And my husband and I love the life we continue to build for our children. But here are some questions I’ve been asked over the years:

“Don’t you miss your kids during the day?”
Yes… every day! One of the most emotional days of my life was the day I took my son to daycare for the first time, and while it does get easier over time, I miss and think about my kids countless times a day. Luckily, they both love school (yes… even my baby). They have great teachers, sweet friends and have so much fun throughout the day. They are also learning more than I would feel equipped to teach them, and I’m grateful that they are both so smart and social.

“Why would you have children if you weren’t planning to raise them yourself?”
My children may be with another caregiver during the day, but make no questions about it — my husband and I are raising our children. We’re teaching them our values, morals and unconditional love. They learn right and wrong from us, and we are their #1 teacher in many ways. But also… what an insulting question to ask! Would you ever assume that your child’s kindergarten teacher is “raising” your child? You can raise a child in many different ways, and my way has been pretty successful so far. I’m also lucky to have a fairly flexible schedule, and that helps me spend extra time with my children.

“Isn’t it sad for your children to not really know their mom?”
Trust me — my kids know me more than they know anyone else. And I know them better than anyone else does. I’m the one who puts them to bed, and they cuddle on my lap in the morning. Our car rides are always full of conversation about what happened in school or making up games about our favorite things. I’m the one who has the magic touch for healing owies and the right kind of hug to make everything better. I know what color straw my son wants in his milk cup or what technique will help my daughter fall asleep. And likewise, my children know what I like (from favorite foods to where I prefer to shop) and know how and why to obey the rules in our house.

“It must suck to miss out on seeing so many milestones.”
Yep… it does. I’ve been lucky to see a lot of firsts — but I missed my son taking his first step. And I wasn’t there when he had his first allergic reaction to a food. But I make a huge effort to spend quality time with my children. And I rarely miss special occasions and parties at school. In a more-perfect world, I wish I could have taken a full year of maternity leave after giving birth to each of my children. A year at home with each one would have been wonderful, and I would have likely never missed anything. But taking two years off work in five years’ time would have been a career-killer for me. I don’t have the type of job where I can just bow out for a year and then come right back in and hop on the same rung of the career ladder. It just doesn’t work like that for me. Having children in and of itself is a bit career limiting right now, simply because I have declined frequent travel and refuse to physically be at my office more than a certain number of hours each week. I’m not a slave to my job, and because of that, I’ve missed out on some opportunities. But I know my personal priorities, and I know where I draw the line between work and home.

“So are you only like a part-time mom?”
Um, no. I’m a full-time mom, as well as a full-time employee and a full-time wife. Believe it or not, just like SAHMs manage to juggle housework, cooking and cleaning with all the duties that come with taking care of their children, I do too! I’m not able to give 100% of myself to my children — but nobody can (and if they do, they’re hugely neglecting some other areas of their life). It’s a very careful and arduous balancing act, but I can multi-task with the best of them, and my children don’t question their supreme importance in my life.

“You have it so easy… you get to go to work all day.”
Not surprisingly, I’ve only heard this comment once, and it was from a SAHM at her wit’s end. I don’t think it’s actually a misconception that working moms have it easy, but I do think some people think I get to avoid a lot of things at home by being in an office during the day. And in some ways, that’s true. But there are still meals to make, dishes and clothes to wash, kids to bathe and a house to clean. We don’t have a maid or a nanny or a gardener. But again, I do have a great husband who does more at home than the vast majority of husbands I know. And my mom has also been a great blessing to us when we need extra help to watch the kids or get things done.

“Why would you choose your career over your kids?”
I don’t feel like I picked a job over my children… but I do love the career I’ve built. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. And I’m really good at the work I do. Plus, I hope my children would be proud of what I’ve achieved and the impact I’ve had in a variety of situations. I also hope I’m instilling in my children a great work ethic and the importance of handling responsibilities with grace under pressure, doing things with integrity and working hard to reach your goals. We already have college savings funds for our children, and I’m excited to see what careers they might each have in the future. I hope they look at me and my husband as great role models.

“Your husband must not make enough money for you to stay home.”
This comment really burns me up because it’s so degrading to my spouse. He makes plenty of money, thank-you-very-much. But with our combined salaries, we have a very comfortable life. We’re able to put money into those college funds and take vacations. And for the most part, we’re able to live the kind of life we want to live. My decision to work has nothing to do with how much money my husband makes. And even if we won the lottery, I’d probably still work in some capacity.  

“You must have no time just for yourself.”
This is actually not a misconception… it’s pretty close to the truth. A lot of my time is reserved for my children, my husband or my employer. What’s leftover goes to my family and friends. Plus I have to find time to sleep. But I’m honestly not the kind of person who needs a lot of “me time,” and I’m happiest when I’m with my kiddos, hubby, friends and family. And when I do have some alone time, it’s often spent blogging about the kiddos, hubby, family and friends!

One thing I don’t think I’ve ever heard is, “You’re so lucky.” But you know what? I am! My kids are amazing, and I’m so lucky to have a husband that supports me and takes a very active role as a father and a spouse. Also, I wonder how most working dads would answer these questions. I don’t think anyone has ever asked my husband why he picked his career over his kids. Sure, some people may think I’m a bad mom for not staying home, but nobody would ever say he’s a bad dad for working full time. Oh well… it’s a battle not worth fighting. I’m happy with the choices we’ve made, and I hope my children understand how deeply I love them and why I work so hard to balance it all.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hannah, H or hSc Embroidered Baby Clothes

Hello visitors from Kelly's Korner! I have at least 10 outfits from my daughter, Hannah Claire. It's mostly embroidered onesies, but I also a dress (that she later wore as a tunic shirt) and a pair of GAP overalls. Two onesies have her monogram, HSC (first name, last name, middle name). No stains. Smoke-free and pet-free home.

Please contact me if you'd like to purchase any of these outfits: jocelynsextonpr at gmail.com

 GAP Overalls with "H" on front pocket and pink rickrack along legs — 0-3 months (Worn twice. $18 shipped)
 White long-sleeved onesie with light pink "H" — 0-3 months ($12 shipped)
White {h} Hannah onesie — 0-3 months ($15 shipped)
 Gray long-sleeved onesie with purple "Hannah Claire" — 3-6 months ($12 shipped)
 Light blue onesie with medium pink HSC monogram — 3-6 months ($12 shipped)
 White onesie with purple "H" and yellow, purple and hot pink insect (bee or butterfly?) — 3-6 months ($12 shipped)
 Navy blue onesie with medium pink HSC monogram — 3-6 months ($12 shipped)
 Hot pink dress (later worn as a tunic) with white letters — 3-6 months ($18 shipped)
 Brown onesie with hot pink letters — 3-6 months ($12 shipped)
White onesie with cherry applique and red letters — 3-6 months ($12 shipped)

Friday, January 24, 2014

HI! Meet Amanda

Hello visitors from Kelly's Korner! I'm sharing a post today about my sweet friend, Amanda.
Amanda moved to Austin, Texas, a year-and-a-half ago and works as a student affairs coordinator at one of the best universities in the world (Hook 'Em!). She grew up in Pennsylvania, and after graduating from college, she lived and worked in West Virginia for more than 10 years. I know Amanda through her current job, and within minutes of meeting her, it's easy to see her kindness, patience and helpfulness. She's funny and smart, and I'm lucky to have her as a friend.
Amanda moved to Texas partly because her sister lives here, and she loves spending time with her family -- especially her two young nephews. Also, although I doubt many of the students she works with know this, she is pretty serious about her faith. Before taking a job in higher education, she worked in churches and ministry. In fact, she's been a missionary in the Dominican Republic and a bible teacher in Ghana (West Africa).
Despite having lived in Texas for a while, I don't think she's really taken a lot of opportunities to explore this great state (other than during work-related activities), so I'd love to see her go on some awesome adventures with a great guy.