Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Friday, August 28, 2015


This week the unthinkable happened.

Dan- my Dan- my crazy smart but somewhat (dare I say) unorganized Dan, bought his own planner. PLANNER!! When he first told me I thought he said "planTER" as in to plant flowers which I thought was sort of odd, but then when he corrected me and told me he was buying a planner in which to plan his GOALS and LIFE and DAYS I was in total awe and feel even more in love because planners and all things organization are after all at the very top of my list of favorite things. 

He, of course, researched the very best one to buy and found something called The Purpose Planner. When it arrived I was head over heels and so very quickly ordered my own. And so all week long I've been waiting for this moment- for this Friday night- to begin filling out my very new planner which has a place to set GOALS! Goals for the year and then broken down by prioritizing goals for each month. It's my idea of Heaven, really, to think and re-think about said goals. 

So here I am, in pure bliss. In my (almost finished) new home office, thinkin' bout' goals and fillin' in planners and using alllll of my self-control to not fill in Dan's for him too. Because I would totally do that if I could get by with it... 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

tiny dancer.

The peanut continued her big day of firsts with her first dance class. 
She claims she already knows everything about dance. 
But, I convinced her she might have a thing or two to learn ;). 
And can we all agree that little girls in dance clothes are pretty much the cutest?!

the peanut goes to preschool.

As I sit here, my Audrey- my peanut- is at her first day of preschool. 
A day she's been waiting for nearly her entire 3.5 years of life. 

Not surprisingly, she had her dress (and accessories, obviously) picked out last night. Her backpack was stuffed FULL of all the things she could think of- all of which I snuck out this morning and girlfriend was the first one in the classroom door, ready to get down to business. 

No tears, just hugs and "I'm so excited! Are you so excited too, Mommy?"
Oh yes, peanut, so excited! Because my sweet Audrey is growing into a little lady who I know, just KNOW, is going to love every little thing that comes along with preschool. 

*Post Edit- After picking up the peanut, she declared it was "so much fun!"
-When asked what they had for a snack she said, "it wasn't dog food!" I told her that was a good thing but asked her why she said that and she explained, "well, it looked like dog food, silly! But it wasn't."
-She also explained that she hasn't asked anyone to be her best friend... YET. I guess she's still assessing her options :). 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

kicking-off soccer season (pun intended).

Last night was Jackson's first soccer game of the season. 

We unfortunately had our first ever "divide and conquer" evening since I had preschool orientation for Audrey at the same time. Not cool!
Luckily Nanna came to watch as well and he's playing on the same team as several friends so it was all good. 

I met up with them at the fields after my meeting and he could not wait to tell him how he scored FOUR goals! Go Jackie, go!

Monday, August 17, 2015

the bear at 18 months.

We are about a week late getting to this, but the bear is 18 months! That is less than six months away from hitting the point when it's wholly inappropriate to track his age in months- which translates to: the boy is getting old. 

Jonah is following the clinically studied birth order role to a tee- he is our clown, our fearless one, our can't-sit-still-ever third child. He is, from what I understand, so much of who Dan was at this age (and still is?). 

We are currently debating what to do because he has already started climbing out of his crib. We find him most mornings laying on top of his bed's railing- with one leg and arm on each side holding on for dear life calling for "mama... maMA... MAMA!" Putting the bear in a toddler bed right now would be a nightmare for so many reasons so we're considering other options, not excluding a baby net- things that once felt like borderline inappropriate now feel rather comforting! #thirdchild

It feels like Jonah is less verbal than Jackson and Audrey were at this stage. He certainly knows a lot of words, but he seems to use them less often. His newest word this weekend was "help" which he used over and over and over again :). 

For the most part he's super independent- almost to the point of being a challenge, but when he's tired or not feeling well he is a total mama's baby and I. love. it. 

There is so, so much we love about the bear at eighteen months but I think tonight's scene at bedtime summed so much of it up- he is the baby of the family (at least for now) and so everyone loves on the bear ALL the time. He made his rounds to tell everyone "ni-night!" and touched fingers (his way of saying "I love you") along with multiple hugs. This went on for a good ten minutes- going from daddy to mommy to jackie to audrey over and over again. Eventually, grabbing his paci and two enormous stuffed animals to make the long climb up to his bedroom. 

Oh, Jonah, you pretty much have all four of us wrapped around your little fingers. 
And I'm also pretty sure you know it, you little stinker! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

date night.

We have this goal of having monthly date nights. 
But here we are in August and I'm not sure if we've had more than one this entire year. 
But Friday night it all came together- we had a sitter and the most beautiful fall-like weather- it was glorious.Dinner overlooking the river, exploring an old bookstore and a long walk while the sun set with a Jimmy Buffet cover band playing live in the background. 

It was so simple, but so needed. 

We were home earlier than we needed to be but it's hard to not be with my babies on a Friday night and so we came home and soaked up the cuddles. As much as I go and go and go during the week, weekends are sacred. 

Weekends are my peace, my quiet, my comfort. 
Weekends recharge all of us in magical ways- and thank goodness for that :). 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

it's hilarious.

The bear. He think it's hilarious that he gave mama his germs. 
My sweet boy has been both teething and battling a nasty cold for a week.
And now it's my turn. 
My throat is on fire and as usual, it's turned into a sinus infection. 
Here's to hoping I'm through the worst of it because 'mama ain't got time to be sick.'

Friday, August 7, 2015


Years ago someone I worked with told me how when you're feeling good about your work- I mean really good- you are "soaring." It's the feeling of being in the groove, when things are clicking and you see and feel the impact multiplying around you. 

The past few months work-wise have been hard- both the challenging kind of hard and the busy kind of hard. There have been days- even weeks- when my mental and physical energy have felt beyond empty. But the thing is I'm soaring. And so while it's hard- it's also really great. 

I'm so thankful
So blessed.
So incredibly lucky.

Top that off with some pretty spectacular opportunities and I'm one happy (and exhausted) lady. 

My work team.
A couple of weeks ago we had the rare opportunity to all be in the same city for the week.
We had people fly in from Singapore, China and London to join the rest of us in Cincinnati and we had the best time together.
That's the plus side.
The down side is we also were beginning to say goodbye to the absolute best manager and coach I've ever known. He decided to follow his heart and a true God calling to leave P&G and help lead a company that not only builds brands, but changes lives. 
The opportunity was absolutely perfect- purpose-driven work at its best. 

One of the reasons my team was in town was for an annual event we host called Signal at P&G- where essentially every industry leader in all things digital convene for a day. It was brain candy at its best hearing from leaders of Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, you-name-it. The below was when our chief marketing officer was celebrating the Always "Like a Girl" campaign success which we drove primarily through digital media. That campaign for me epitomizes so much of what I want to do- pair up all that I'm learning professionally with all the things I'm passionate about personally to make a difference. A real difference. I would be lying if I said the day didn't have me in tears multiple times. Messages- stories- campaigns... they can be powerful. They can touch people in deep, deep ways. 

Later that same week I had the opportunity to lead a group of P&G leadership through an unforgettable experience. An event called NewCo hit Cincinnati for the first time- it's sometime that takes place in most major cities globally annually where there is a large start-up presence. Throughout the day, those start-ups open their doors and offer up talks/tours to the public to share their story. To me, NewCo and start-ups are the epitome of the American Dream- they're about taking an idea, a passion and working tirelessly to make it a reality. As a team, we covered 12 of those start-ups throughout the day and I walked away inspired, energized and more in love than ever with this city of ours. 

And finally last week I had a quick business trip to northern Minnesota. 
We flew into Minneapolis and then drove more than three hours north to Alexandria to a lake resort. 
Our P&G team who works directly with the Target corporation had asked me to come and be the keynote speaker for their annual summer off-site meeting and it was a blast.
Not only did the actual speaking part go well, but the team was amazing, fun and their energy was contagious. 

This is my summer intern and I with the 95+ people I trained at the event. So fun!

 My flight landed late and so when I got home this is what I found.
Jonah was asleep in his bed.
Jackson had fallen asleep with Dan.
And Dan had thought Audrey was also sleeping with him BUT no, the peanut had decided to do some wardrobe-changes and squeezed in some solo playtime, eventually passing out in her bed with all the lights on in her room before I arrived home. 

I'm hoping (HOPING) that things will slow down a bit in the next few weeks but the reality is that any time I have ever thought that it hasn't been the case. 
The key is to be thankful for the opportunities and create time away when I need a break or when things feel out of balance. 

class of 2028.

It's Friday night and I feel like I finally have a chance to breathe. 
This week was good but this week made us tired. 
Between crazy work stuff, starting Kindergarten, a teething baby and some summer colds we are ready for the weekend BIG time!
But before that, a few more photos from Jackson's first day of Kindergarten...

What is it they say about your babies growing up before your eyes?
I think this is what they meant. 

I will never forget walking my little man into his first day of "big kid school"
I will never forget feeling his little fingers wrapping tighter and tighter around mine.
And the feeling of never wanting to let go when we reached his classroom.

But I did let go.
And so did he.

I know we'll have to repeat that- many, many times- throughout his childhood.
I'm not naive enough to it that will get easier.
But I do hope I'll remember how happy he was- how proud he was- at the end of this week. 
New friends, new adventures, new things learned- all under that little belt of his.
It's funny how the hard things turn out to be the really great things- no matter what your age. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

day ONE success!

Yesterday was a good day.
We had a slightly bumpy start when Jackson's last minute nerves got the best of him at drop-off. I left with us both in tears, but after some shopping therapy with Audrey, we returned to a smile from our Kindergartner that more than made up for it. And the peanut just couldn't stop loving on her Jackie who she missed all day long. 
He loved his first day and more importantly was excited to go again this morning!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

first annual back to school pool party.

For most people who know me, this will not surprise them: growing up, my absolute favorite time of the year was going back to school. 
I loved the school supplies
I loved the learning.
I loved ALL of it. 
And so to amuse me, my mom would throw a back-to-school party every year for my friends to celebrate. 

And so this year, with Jackson going to his first official "big kid school" a la' Kindergarten, we passed the tradition down with our first annual Back to School Pool Party. 

It's a toss up on who had more fun- Jackson and his buddies or Dan and his.