Carpool Lane

Carpool Lane - Meet Joline for a "CuppaJo" as she juggles two kids in school, homework, extracurricular activities and trying to find some "me" time.

 

 

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Vacationing Without the Children: We're Back! (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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welcome

welcomeWell what do you know?
The two people who raised me were quite capable of also taking care of my children while my husband and I lived it up in Atlantis last week.
(Our first trip alone since having our first child 11 years ago. This year we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Long overdue. You think?)

Well, go figure. Thanks, Mom and Dad! (wink)

When I wrote my previous post, I was in the midst of preparations. The "to-do" list kind of preparations. I wanted to make everything easy for my parents. I spent two weeks thinking through every detail - down to, "When you enter the house, the dog will either pee or throw up. Here are the towels and spray to use to clean up." (They didn't need them. The dog held out on throwing up until today . . . I got to use the towels and the spray.)

As the day of departure grew closer there was an even larger piece of anxiety spiralling around in my head.

Maybe you've been there before. After 11 years of raising children, my husband and I were going to be alone for 5 glorious days.

Uh-oh. Would we have anything else to talk about other than the children, church (his job), or Beachbody (my job, and the host of our trip)?

We woke the kids early on the day of departure after a late night of hanging out together - even if hanging out meant folding laundry, putting it away, and helping Mommy and Daddy pack. It was fun. They were excited to be going to a friend's house at 6:15 in the morning and had grand plans of waking our friend's children by jumping on their beds . . . not sure if that actually happened. I do think there was some early morning Wii action. Cool by us.

We kissed and hugged. Kissed and hugged again. And then, there were a few more kisses and hugs, and we were off to the airport.

Once at the airport we met up with other friends joining us for the trip, chatted, read a little and boarded the plane.

It was then that I realized I hadn't thought of the children ONCE since being driven to the airport . . . Clue #1 that perhaps we would NOT be discussing the children on the trip.

My husband had attempted to pack a book he was asked to read for work, but I replaced it with the Hunger Games. And, since we'd be international, there would be no texting anyone back, including a few people who had already sent him several work related texts. Clue #2 that perhaps we would NOT be discussing his job on this trip.

But, then there was Beachbody - the folks sending us on our adventure. We certainly couldn't look the gift-horse in the mouth.

After all, they foot the bill to give us total relaxation for 5 days (with a few hard-core workouts thrown in for good measure). So we participated in a bit of company chatter. And then, from noon to 7 everyday it was just us. No agenda. None.Thus, George and I found that our conversations outside of those brief business moments were centered entirely on . . . 

US.

We are now sold on the idea of getting away alone once a year. We know that we can do so without children or careers monopolizing our conversations. After 20 years, you just kind of wonder . . .

I wonder no more.

He's still the one, and the kiddos will just have to deal with Mom and Dad taking off for a bit each year.

If you haven't done so . . . I highly recommend it. 

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

 

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Vacationing Without the Children

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 1

atlantis4Sorry for the boring title.

I am currently in the process of completing a 7-page document for my parents who will be watching the kids  while my husband and I jet to Atlantis for our FIRST EVER vacation without the children. 

Yes. Our first.

We've both taken trips individually, but never together. Just the two of us. At least, not since my 11-year old was born. ELEVEN YEARS AGO! (Goes without explaining, I know, but really, this event warrants the use of repetition and ALL CAPS!)

I realized in May of last year that I had the opportunity to earn a vacation to Atlantis through my company. And since 2011 also marked our 20th wedding anniversary, I decided that I would work my little tail-feather to clinch that trip! Just. For. Us. Happy Anniversary, George!

And now, here I sit. Writing a post about vacationing without the children - offering you a boring title, because I'm overwhelmed with so many details. 

See, I've never planned for a trip where both of us would be away. ('Cause remember . . . WE'VE NEVER TAKEN ONE!) I thought it would be easy. 

I never realized I'd have to "pack" for them to stay behind. 

My brain is fried from "packing".

Which takes us back to that 7-page document, containing emergency numbers, daily activities, instructions for the dog, etc. There were also two Wills to be written (I know, I know, we hadn't gotten around to doing this over - ahem - the last 11 years), checks for school lunches to be written, medical release and change of permission forms for school pick-up to be signed. The car still needs a few minor repairs, the front storm door is broken (this is important when you have a dog that will bolt), and our shower isn't working well. Online shopping has become a MUST and I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of Amazon Prime. Yes, I bought toilet paper and various other household items all from the seat on which I now write this post. And yes, some guy in a warehouse is shaking his head going, "Really. This chick purchased ONE hairspray?" Free shipping, baby.

There were rides to be arranged and meals to plan.

There is still laundry to do. Oh! The laundry.

My goal? To have all of these details finished several days before we leave so we can enjoy just hanging with my children, who will also be experiencing something new - having Mom AND Dad gone at the same time for 5 days.

THE CHILDREN! ACK! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

In all the planning, I've not really given any thought to how they will do. I know they will be fine - but I still have a son who gets lost on his way back from the bathroom in the middle of the night, and thus, lands in our bed.

I have a daughter who is concerned that my parents won't pray our scripture blessing over her before bed. (Yes, I printed it out.)

I can hear pings of anxiety in the questions of, "Who will walk with me to the bus-stop?", "How will I get to art class?" and "Will Me-ma and Pe-pa take us to Cafe Kolache?"

But mainly, they are a bit "put-off" for not receiving an invitation on our adventure. Not this time, kiddos.

I'm sure all will go smoo-Oh!, I just thought of something else for my list . . .

Gotta go.


 

pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Vacationing Without the Children (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

atlantis4Sorry for the boring title.

I am currently in the process of completing a 7-page document for my parents who will be watching the kids  while my husband and I jet to Atlantis for our FIRST EVER vacation without the children. 

Yes. Our first.

We've both taken trips individually, but never together. Just the two of us. At least, not since my 11-year old was born. ELEVEN YEARS AGO! (Goes without explaining, I know, but really, this event warrants the use of repetition and ALL CAPS!)

I realized in May of last year that I had the opportunity to earn a vacation to Atlantis through my company. And since 2011 also marked our 20th wedding anniversary, I decided that I would work my little tail-feather to clinch that trip! Just. For. Us. Happy Anniversary, George!

And now, here I sit. Writing a post about vacationing without the children - offering you a boring title, because I'm overwhelmed with so many details. 

See, I've never planned for a trip where both of us would be away. ('Cause remember . . . WE'VE NEVER TAKEN ONE!) I thought it would be easy. 

I never realized I'd have to "pack" for them to stay behind. 

My brain is fried from "packing".

Which takes us back to that 7-page document, containing emergency numbers, daily activities, instructions for the dog, etc. There were also two Wills to be written (I know, I know, we hadn't gotten around to doing this over - ahem - the last 11 years), checks for school lunches to be written, medical release and change of permission forms for school pick-up to be signed. The car still needs a few minor repairs, the front storm door is broken (this is important when you have a dog that will bolt), and our shower isn't working well. Online shopping has become a MUST and I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of Amazon Prime. Yes, I bought toilet paper and various other household items all from the seat on which I now write this post. And yes, some guy in a warehouse is shaking his head going, "Really. This chick purchased ONE hairspray?" Free shipping, baby.

There were rides to be arranged and meals to plan.

There is still laundry to do. Oh! The laundry.

My goal? To have all of these details finished several days before we leave so we can enjoy just hanging with my children, who will also be experiencing something new - having Mom AND Dad gone at the same time for 5 days.

THE CHILDREN! ACK! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

In all the planning, I've not really given any thought to how they will do. I know they will be fine - but I still have a son who gets lost on his way back from the bathroom in the middle of the night, and thus, lands in our bed.

I have a daughter who is concerned that my parents won't pray our scripture blessing over her before bed. (Yes, I printed it out.)

I can hear pings of anxiety in the questions of, "Who will walk with me to the bus-stop?", "How will I get to art class?" and "Will Me-ma and Pe-pa take us to Cafe Kolache?"

But mainly, they are a bit "put-off" for not receiving an invitation on our adventure. Not this time, kiddos.

I'm sure all will go smoo-Oh!, I just thought of something else for my list . . .

Gotta go.


 

pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

We've Broken the "No TV During the Week" Rule For . . .

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 1

bookbycoverTHE VOICE.

Yes. Yes, we have.

The singers. The blind audition. Cee Lo. Petting his cat.

We're all over it.

I hate reality television. And specifically reality talent shows. As a private coach for young actors a few years back, I actually had a student who made it through several cuts of the American Idol experience, only to be told by the producers (the step BEFORE getting in front of the celebrity judges - took 4 auditions to get there) that he was not "marketable". I also don't dig the whole viewer voting thing. I think Dancing With the Stars is like that also. The way I see it, these kind of shows are popularity contests, cloaked as talent competitions.

So, I question them.

On the last season of The Voice, I learned that the finalists were all working musicians, with managers, and touring schedules - so, not necessarily amateurs. They already had budding careers. But, at least they were talented - and chosen for their actual voices. And not their choice of haircut. Or cool shoes.

That being said, we love The Voice.

I'm usually the Queen of I Hate Cliches, but for The Voice, I relinquish that throne, for the show is a GREAT lesson in, "Don't judge a book by its cover."

With their backs turned, the coaches choose the singers for their teams depending solely on sound, rather than gender, appearance, wardrobe, or even the ability to move naturally while performing. 

I love this.

And interestingly enough, my kids do also. I can honestly say that while watching the program, my children haven't made comments about a performer's looks, but have had PLENTY to say about what they hear during the auditions. We've been confused about a few picks, to be sure, but make no mistake, the coach turns around because they HEAR something intriguing, rather than basing potentional on a first glance.

The Voice has reminded me of the importance of teaching my children that outer appearance is no indication of a person's talent and brilliance which may just need the opportunity to be heard. 

As silly as it may sound, The Voice is a great tool to teach this point. If you can work around the frequent bleeped-out profanity, and the commercials for smutty shows in between segments, I say, push your button, turn your chair around and give it a try.

Anyone else out there watch The Voice? What are your thoughts?

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Workingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coachand sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

We've Broken the "No TV During the Week" Rule For . . . (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

bookbycoverTHE VOICE.

Yes. Yes, we have.

The singers. The blind audition. Cee Lo. Petting his cat.

We're all over it.

I hate reality television. And specifically reality talent shows. As a private coach for young actors a few years back, I actually had a student who made it through several cuts of the American Idol experience, only to be told by the producers (the step BEFORE getting in front of the celebrity judges - took 4 auditions to get there) that he was not "marketable". I also don't dig the whole viewer voting thing. I think Dancing With the Stars is like that also. The way I see it, these kind of shows are popularity contests, cloaked as talent competitions.

So, I question them.

On the last season of The Voice, I learned that the finalists were all working musicians, with managers, and touring schedules - so, not necessarily amateurs. They already had budding careers. But, at least they were talented - and chosen for their actual voices. And not their choice of haircut. Or cool shoes.

That being said, we love The Voice.

I'm usually the Queen of I Hate Cliches, but for The Voice, I relinquish that throne, for the show is a GREAT lesson in, "Don't judge a book by its cover."

With their backs turned, the coaches choose the singers for their teams depending solely on sound, rather than gender, appearance, wardrobe, or even the ability to move naturally while performing. 

I love this.

And interestingly enough, my kids do also. I can honestly say that while watching the program, my children haven't made comments about a performer's looks, but have had PLENTY to say about what they hear during the auditions. We've been confused about a few picks, to be sure, but make no mistake, the coach turns around because they HEAR something intriguing, rather than basing potentional on a first glance.

The Voice has reminded me of the importance of teaching my children that outer appearance is no indication of a person's talent and brilliance which may just need the opportunity to be heard. 

As silly as it may sound, The Voice is a great tool to teach this point. If you can work around the frequent bleeped-out profanity, and the commercials for smutty shows in between segments, I say, push your button, turn your chair around and give it a try.

Anyone else out there watch The Voice? What are your thoughts?

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Workingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.