Category Archives: Arbonne

His Feminine Side

There are many ways that Little O is “all boy” as they say.  His love of trucks nears obsession.  He does not stay still for more than 30 seconds. When he has been inside too long, he yells like a caged animal.  He often  hugs other children just so he can throw them to the ground to wrestle.

But he is also a sensitive kid very concerned about who is crying and why.  He often asks if we are ‘very sad’.  He will tell me when he needs “to cry a little bit” and when  he is “just a little sad”.  He is often looking in the mirror perfecting his pout lip when he says these things – but that is for another post.   He also has  a lot of time with Mom who sells skincare and other beauty products.  He asks to go to Arbonne parties and he is very determined to get into that makeup case.  Here he is below having some QT with his mama:

Can’t go to bed with wet hair in February

Who doesn’t need Gold Heels?

Ok. Vacuuming is not feminine, but the Parakeet does so few chores – there had to be documentation.



Long Time Readers, The Parakeet owes you an apology.  She hasn’t been filling you in on even the highlights of her hectic life in the city with a toddler and a husband.  Yes, husbands make things hectic. Do you have one?
It is part of her New Year’s Resolutions to get back on the blog.  Twice a week, you will hear from the little Bird.

Writing for this blog and choosing pictures and links is a nice little creative outlet, but more importantly – she has realized that it is her scrapbook and her memory lane.
Little O is getting so big these days.  He is going through so many changes, and because there is no large photo album in this house, she must take to the computer and catch it all before time, as they say, flies.

Looking forward to hearing more from all of you!

How Does She Do It?

The Parakeet is like so many moms. She works downtown a few hours a week.  She has her own business that takes time, too.  She cooks. She plays with her child. She wants to do fun and exciting things as a family. She wants to stay in touch with friends. Her husband also works. He also has his own business.  She tries to blog and read and exercise…the list goes on.

Occasionally (and it seems more often lately) someone will say to her, “How do you do it all?”  The Parakeet usually responds with something like, “all you have to do is visit my house to know I don’t do it all. There is laundry to be put away and some pretty old leftovers in the fridge…”
They chuckle. HaHa.
But the truth is, most of the time, the Parakeet prides herself on being pretty organized with time, pretty relaxed under these “pressures”, pretty good-to-go with 2 cups of coffee and six hours of sleep.
Lately, like the in the past week lately, a few instances have risen up to remind the Parakeet she is not, in fact, ‘doing it all’.
They range from funny and irritating to OH SHIT! You all deserve to hear about them.

The Huz and Parakeet decided they wanted to buy Little O a wagon for his 2nd birthday.  A beautiful Red Wagon. You know the one. They wanted to support their local toy store, but after talking to the owner – he said their best bet was to get it online or from one of the “big guys”, but that the “big guys’ mostly carry plastic.  So – they went to good old and found just what they were looking for.  They were clicking around discussing shipping and other nuances of the purchase, and Little O was getting quite frustrated that no one was playing with him.  The Parakeet said she would order it later when he was asleep.  So later that night, she ordered the wagon. Hooray! Thursday night, two wagons arrived at her door.  Sure Enough – she had ordered it twice. On two different credit cards.  !!!???? Little O is awesome but he does not need two wagons.  So….she had to refuse one and hopefully will be refunded the entire amount in a few days…oops

Registering for classes with the Chicago Park District is a special pleasure.  95% of registration is done online. Awesome.  Classes are 100% full after 15 minutes. Seriously. Not Awesome.  In order to prepare for this virtual stampede, one must plan ahead (The Parakeet’s specialty, right?).  You can view all available classes a week ahead of the Registration Date.  You can put the classes on a wish list. Then, at 9AM SHARP on the appointed day – you just “register” your wishlist and are hopefully one of the first ones.  This Fall, the Parakeet had chosen for Little O a Swimming Class (to take with Daddy) and another Gymnastics class.  She put two times for each in the cart (you have to be flexible, people).  She made a note on the kitchen calendar and in her planner.  It’s perfect to do on a Monday morning because she is downtown and the toddler can not distract her.  On Monday at work, she looked up to see it was 11AM!! Curses!! NOT A SINGLE CLASS LEFT AT ANY TIME.
She will wait in line for an hour on Saturday morning to maybe get into  the swim.  She has also applied for financial aid for this fantastic music class, so cross your fingers….
Before you say, “he doesn’t need all those activities” please remember that he is a two year old boy in an apartment in the city.  These two classes will fill up 2 out of the many hours there are in a week.

And then….the kicker.  A cute little envelope from the Illinois Department of Revenue arrived this week.  You residents of Florida and Texas may not understand this, but here in the mid-west we pay State Income Tax. It’s withheld (from regular jobs) just like the Federal stuff.  The Russells were expecting a small refund. The Parakeet had wondered why they hadn’t received it yet, but felt like looking into it was just not  a priority.  Well, the letter said they owed $xxxx in taxes and had withheld nothing, so they now owed $xxxx plus a late fee and 10% was due immediately or they were going to be drug out of the house by their fingernails for all of the city to see. AHH. What? Why would nothing be withheld?
The small print said, “do you disagree? then mail us your W-2s and prove it”.  The Parakeet thought, well duh, those get sent in with the return. You should have them! Was Illinois just sending these notices out willy-nilly because they are in a terrible financial situation?  So, the Parakeet did a little investigating back into her files where she found her W-2s from last year in order in a neat little stack with the copy for the state still attached.  SERIOUSLY? She had sent her return in WITHOUT W-2s attached.  What an idiot.  She has now enclosed those W-2s in an envelope and sent them back to the state hoping for the best.
2011 may warrant an accountant….


Fitting In.

The Parakeet had two trips for business this month.  They were her first over-nights away from Little O.  The hilarity came, however, before she ever left Chicago.
Naturally, she needed new clothes for this type of thing.  She is her mother’s daughter in that regard. She is also her mother’s daughter in that she was able to pack in a color scheme with two pairs of shoes for the whole affair, but that’s another post. 
Time in which the Parakeet had the magic three before her trips was sparse.  The Magic Three?  A Car, Daytime hours, and no Owen.
So…in a desperate attempt two days before the trip to find just one more thing or two – she took Owen in the stroller to Sears. (it’s walkable and rumor had it there was a sale).
She took a bunch of business-y clothes into the dressing room with a toddler who had already been yelling “all done” for five minutes as he continued to get stuck in the way-too-close-together racks of this barely a department store’s clearance sale.
The Parakeet groaned in the frustration of being too big for one size and too small for another while O sat on the bench and played with a toy from his diaper bag.  For thirty seconds.  Then, he had to wiggle down and “explore” their little room while Mommy squeezed herself into something else. 
Then, he found the door.  The Parakeet had locked it, of course, but Little O wanted out and to ‘balk wound’  (walk around).  He pulled on the handle repeatedly yelling , “help,  help”
The Parakeet shushed him, told him he was fine and said all the other things you say to a kid when you want him to stop acting like a kid because you have your own s**t to attend to.   No one could blame O with being bored of his surroundings – especially as it was approaching five o’clock – the child’s witching hour.
He continued this repeated one word phrase over and over “Help! Help! Help! Help!”
A woman a few stalls over said,  “You might want to do something.  People are going to think you’re hurting that kid.”
oh jeez.
That hadn’t occured to her.  She was much more focused on whether black pants or a black skirt would be better with a lavendar top.  Ugh.
“O” she said sternly.  “Sit there and play with this truck. We can’t go anywhere for just a minute.  Your mommy is in her underwear.”

Earning Our Wings

Anything a month old seems soo long ago in Blog world, but the bird felt she should update you anyway.

In January, the Parakeet was up for a promotion with Arbonne (very exciting – she did it -and got a Tiffany’s necklace and everything).  So, her mom and sister-in-law offered to help.  They threw two very fun Arbonne parties and the Parakeet and Little O flew down to Lake Mary, FL for the occassion. 

That’s right – the Huz stayed in the Windy City to work.  So.. The Parakeet was flying alone with a toddler. The End. Or it could have been..she was so nervous leading up to the trip.  Faithful readers know that the O-ster is not so awesome with the traveling.  But would it be different in a plane?  Were there some secret spells she could cast (no, not Benadryll) to make it all OK?  Don’t think she didn’t talk to everyone who would listen about their advice for a plane ride.  She bought a fancy backpack because the day job wanted spreadsheets updated while she was out of town.  This way she could carry a laptop and push a stroller.  She booked evening flights, hoping that if the little guy was tired he may be more understanding about the fact he could not run around. She filled the aformentioned backpack with diapers and books and silent toys and SNACKS…lots of snacks.  She put a sippy cup in both mesh water bottle holders.  She looked like she  had weapons strapped to her back – weapons of hydration.

Then, she prayed. She prayed for good weather and no delays. She prayed for no fits and crying from the O.  But mostly – she prayed for NICE people, she wanted to sit next to VERY NICE people.

Their flight out of Chicago was non-stop and miraculously on time.  She and Little O ate some pizza in the airport and watched planes at the arrival gate.  The check-in attendants were announcing who got stand-by seats and she knew instantly:  FULL FLIGHT. Boo.  She and O were seated next to a Man and his son (maybe in higschool or just starting college) who were flying one-way to FL to get some weight lifting equipment that they were going to drive back.  Hmmm…
Turns out the Parakeet sat next to a very nice teenage boy (they are out there, folks) who probabaly opened and closed his tray table 73,000 times to entertain Little O.  It was great.  O was cranky, for sure, but there was no total meltdown and they survived.  Not a wink of sleep -but really what did you expect?

The flight back had a connection in Memphis.  They got to the Orlando airport with lots of time to spare.  So, this time the Parakeet got Little O some yogurt from Starbucks. Wow – did he love that!!  Then, she found some crayons at one of those over-priced-here-are-the-things-you-forgot stores.  Thank God. 
They sat in a row with one empty seat.  Little O was not so keen on being buckled in, but the Parakeet was very keen on not having him in her lap.  He took the crayons in and out of the box for most of the flight and ate about 4 Delta cookies. Who knows Delta Cookies?  Enough said.  The other woman in the aisle had been in Orlando on business and had a grand-daughter Owen’s age. She was MORE than helpful and retrieved the red crayon from the floor at least 83 times.  She did, however, insist on telling Owen what color all the Sesame Street characters should be in his coloring book .  The Parakeet tolerated her comments in the name of neighborly cooperation, even though she firmly believes Little O can color things whatever damn color he pleases. 
Again – No sleeping.

Then – they get to Memphis.  A stunning airport.  Kidding – it is very small.  The Parakeet got them both to the gate and then let Little O RUN….and seriously RUN.  She was having to jog to catch him.  She needed him to release some pent-up energy and settle down for another 70 min in the air.  He ran all over the little terminal while they waited for the connector.  He was yelling and giggling and being adorable.  But all the people waiting on their planes kept eyeing her.   As she got in line to board, she knew all of those around here were thinking “She is flying to Chicago. Aaarrgghh”.  The woman scanning her boarding pass said ‘let me just check where you are sitting’.  She glanced at the screen. ‘There is no one else in your row’.   An angel chorus began to sing.  Then, they lifted the Parakeet and her Toddler and carried them softly to their seats to rest on pillows of clouds. 
Seriously – the last flight was the easiest.  The Parakeet gave Little O his blanket and a passy.  She put a little Thomas the Tank Engine (silently) on the laptop.  He stared and closed his eyes and mostly fell asleep.  Although, he did somehow manage to have probably 2  more Delta  Cookies.

Successful flying with Toddler.  He was not amazing. He was not a Hellion. He was 17 months old and they both survived.

Oh, and Florida in January – that was cool, too.
Some Fun Pics:

End of Month

Nearing the end of October, here are a few things the Parakeet is really enjoying. What are you enjoying?

-The National Park documentary on PBS
-Pumpkins and Squash, in oh so many forms
-Peppermint Tea
-Little O’s new dance moves
-SeaSource Detox Spa Cleanse
-Journal Time
-Trips to the Library
-The Colors of Fall Leaves- this year is an extra special “Wow”

What are you enjoying?

Re-Claim, Re-Organize

The Parakeet is taking part in a year-long life and business coaching program.  It may sound a little wackadoo zoo to you, but it is going really well, and she will tell you more about it if you email her.  The whole first month focused on Choice Management, commonly called Time Management.  Seriously – there were HUGE lessons during these few weeks. The Parakeet feels greater control and calm throughout each of her days.  She has broken some old habits and replaced them with healthier ones.  One big assignment that took her a while to commit to, however, was ‘re-claiming’ her office space.  The assignment was to take 2-5 hours and take everything out of the office that was not attached to the floor.  Then, put it back in after throwing, tossing, or moving out everything extraneous.  Basically – create systems, get organized.  Start a “to-file” pile, but do not file during this time.  Just get the job done.
Well, the Parakeet was so scared of this task.  Over the past year, her office has Imploded, Exploded, and Vomited.  Her once adorable sun-room has become the clutter magnet of the house holding everything from empty formula cans to Arbonne samples to Family pictures.  Aack.
But she knew it would feel so good to have in clean and organized. She just didn’t believe it would take only 2-5 hours – it looked so overhwhelming. She tried to focus on how it would feel to have it done. 
When she could no longer ignore that the messy Office was preventing her from working, she decided that Saturday night would be the time. She would put O to bed and tackle the room.  She would have to finish because O can’t have all that stuff in the living room come morning. 
The Huz went to the shop because he needed to work, and he did not want to witness the horror.
The Parakeet read every blog she could think of in a small effort to procrastinate and then turned off the computer. No distractions.

BEFORE (it is a brave thing to bare one’s cluttered rooms, so be gentle)
clutter blog 1
clutter blog 4
clutter blog 3
clutter blog 2

She began around 7:45.  By 8:30, she had everything in the living room:

clutter blog 5
and by 11:45 – yes, on a Saturday night (yay! parenthood) -she was done. Holy Moly. What a Project.  She threw out some old things and put some things in other closets.  She should have a garage sale – seriously.  Maybe there will be time for that in September. 
It was such a GREAT feeling to have everything its place – a new place, but a place 🙂
Sometimes the Artist personality is so messy and resists order.  Then, when things are tidy all of the creative urges come up again – maybe there actually  needs to be room and space for creative thoughts.  Surely there are people who have written books about that concept already.
cluttler blog 6
clutter blog 7
clutter blog 8
clutter blog 9
Hee. It’s so much darker in the after shots.  Well, that was totally worth four hours.  Where can you spend four hours this week? What space do you want to re-claim?
Let’s hope the Parakeet is not writing about this room again next July

By the way, the most ridiculous thing found in the office came in the form of an office supply.  The Parakeet loves office supplies and re-uses them forever to be a bit more ‘green’ and budget-friendly.  She is a fan of erasble tab dividers for ring binders and has used them for a long time. Apparently.  She threw one out last night that said “Vietnam”.  Now, nothing the Parakeet ever would have to label “Vietnam” could have happened since highschool history classes.  So, good thing, the Parakeet moved some erasable tab dividers from Florida to Texas to Maine to Florida to Chicago to three different apartments.  Yeesh.