Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Archive for the category “Associates”

Love Is An Open Door

I’ve been meaning to write about the highlight of our recent trip to Ohio.  We had a lot of fun – tractor rides, playing in dirt piles, a trip to one of the Top 5 Zoo’s in the country The Toledo Zoo, and spending lots of time with family.

But hands down, the highlight of the trip was seeing my boys and their cousins bond.  I love my nieces and nephews a little too much.  Its unhealthy.  I am probably the most proud aunt you will ever meet.  Because my siblings were close in age, wouldn’t you know it they all started having babies at the same time.  Between the 4 of them they had 9 kiddos born in about a 5 year span.  It was crazy.   And each baby that came was cuter than the last (sorry Drew 😉

I was living out of town for college and then grad school when they were all born and in these adorable toddler years.  I visited back home as often as I could to see them.  But it was heart breaking to have to be reintroduced to them every time.  Little ones just don’t have great memories, and when they only see you a couple time a year it takes a while to really earn the reputation as Super-Fun Aunt Katie.

For me, visits home for the last 15 years have been all about enjoying these kids as much as I can.  I wanted to know them and I wanted them to know me.  But when the CEO and I had kids, it all changed.  I had this crazy fear my kids would miss out on all the crazy cousin fun the others get to enjoy. I worried we wouldn’t be able to see them enough, or when we did there would be too much of an age gap for them to bond.

Thankfully, those fears and most certainly squashed.  Thanks to facetime, my kids see their cousins pretty often.  We also do a pretty good job of still getting together as a family, and my husband is cool with vacationing with my family.  Just last year we were all together for a week, then the boys and I flew to Ohio for another week to keep the party going.  It was great.

Playing Trains With Their Big Cousin and His Old Thomas Set.

Playing Trains With Their Big Cousin and His Old Thomas Set.

And even though we hadn’t physically been with any of my nieces or nephews since that vacation last July, both my boys instantly loved all their cousins like not a day had gone by.  They spent the whole trip playing with their cousins, and had a ball.  At one point, completely unprompted, Associate P declared  “I love Ohio because I get to play with my cousins here!”

I personally felt a little guilty last summer and this visit, because since having kids of my own, I’m no longer crazy fun Aunt Katie who comes to play with my nieces and nephews.  Now I’m a tired mom who sits back and enjoys the break as they play with my kids.  But it was very little guilt and the beers and laughs with my parents and siblings helped me get over it pretty quickly 😉

So when I think of the best moment of our trip to Ohio, it was definitely the beautiful sound of 2 preteens and 2 toddlers belting out “Love is an Open Door” as we enjoyed ice cream with the whole gang.  Yup. That was the best moment of the whole trip.

As I ponder the beauty of the moment and reflect on all the Frozen has taught me, I can say with confidence that family love is the most special force on earth.  We know each other from birth and there is the special something inside us that unites us, forever, no matter what.  No matter the distance and no matter the time.


**** I should mention, this post is a shout out to my oldest nephew who turns 15 today.  I can still remember the day you were born like it was yesterday, and everyday since has been a blessing because you are here!  Love you DJS4



Mile High Club

Don’t get to excited – this isn’t a sexy twenty-something stewardess’ blog. This is a mommy blog.  So when I say I am a proud member of the Mile High Club, yes I want to insinuate that I have done shocking things in an airplane bathroom and lived to tell about it.  However, what I am referring to revolves around a child pooping.

On our flight up to Ohio, the boys were perfect angels.  They snacked, read books, watched Frozen.  Associate A napped and Associate P made me very proud by going pee pee in the tiny airplane bathroom.  Since we were toward the back of the plane, we used the facility at the back. I left the door open and stood in the doorway holding associate A so I could help associate P and block the view of his cute little exposed butt.

As we exited the plane, people complimented my children’s behavior and I smiled, unsurprised.  “Thank you.  They are good boys,” wanting them to think they were like that all the time.

Mile High Club

Unfortunately, it would be an entirely different experience on our flight home. Not only was the plane larger, but it was nearly sold out.  There were bad thunderstorms and turbulence, forcing people to stay in their seats for most of the first hour of the flight.  We were of course seated toward the middle just a few rows from the middle bathrooms.

Associate A was already a hot mess because his lovie did not make it onto the flight with us.  When we removed him and lovie from the car and packed up the carseat to check it, lovie accidentally got placed in the carseat bag.  I of course didn’t realize this until we were nice and cozy in our seats, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to get it for him.  He must have screamed “LOOOOVVVIEEEEE” for 20 minutes straight, before moving on through the stages of grief over the remainder of the 2 1/2 hour flight.

Associate P then threw me for a loop, deciding that after about a month straight of being obsessed with Frozen and asking to watch it all the time, today was the day he’d had enough.  He didn’t want to watch the nice move that would occupy the vast majority of our flight, and keep both his and Associate A’s attention.  No, today he wanted to play games on the ipad.  If it were just he and I flying, fine.  Or if I’d had brought two ipad’s, fine, each kid could have their own.  But there is no way I could let him play, without Associate A wanting to try and play.  Which just results in Associate P pushing him away and screaming no, and associate A pushing back… and so on and so on.

So I try my sales pitch on Cars and the 3 other feature films I had loaded up ready to go. He wasn’t buying it.  We negotiated to Mighty Machines episodes, but I knew that the 20 minute episodes wouldn’t induce the long lasting zombie-like state I was hoping for.

After two episodes, eating every snack I’d brought and sucking down every last drop of water we had, I knew it would be time for a potty break.  I asked Associate P if he had to go potty, and he responded “Yes Mommy – I have to go poopies!”

Oh no.  Oh God.  No this can’t be happening.  My child is a poop-at-home kind of kid.  He has pooped out in public maybe 5 times SINCE HE WAS BORN.  Even as a baby, he’d hold it when out and about, saving the sweet release for the comfort of his own changing table.  To make matter worse, when he does poop it is kind of a production.  “Hold my hand mommy. Read me another book, Mommy.”  It is not uncommon for us to spend 10 minutes in the bathroom when his duty calls.

Complete panic set it….for Him.  Once I mentioned the option of potty, it became a RIGHT NOW urgency for his little body.  I had no time to panic or think, I simply unbuckled them both and stood up.  Associate A was overjoyed to be let free of the seat and squirmed and wiggled until I let him walk, not be carried, up the aisle.

The small size of the bathroom seemed shocking at first.  I wanted to ask a stewardess, “Are the regulation size facilities?” or inquire if there was a larger restroom in first class.  Alas, there was no time.  Associate P wiggles in and he gets to the business of pulling his pants down while I attempt to pick up Associate A and close the teeny tiny folding door.

Associate A is angry and doesn’t understand why I won’t let him stand on the sticky pee covered floor in the tiny bathroom.  Associate P struggles with his pants and I struggling with his increasingly violent brother to get a hand free to help pull the britches down and place my sweet child’s bum on the nasty airplane seat.   What if he  catches herpes??? At this point Associate A is crawling up my body and banging against the walls, door and mirror.

Associate P performs as expected.  Straining and pushing in dramatic form, letting farts rip and giggles follow.  Begging for a story.  I keep insisting there is no time for stories, he needs to do a quick poopie this time, other people need to use the bathroom.  “Oh Mommy, you are so silly.  This isn’t a quick Poopie.”

By now, Associate A discovered the sink and has put together that there should be water in it.  He screams for “WATER WATER WATER” and I cave, and let him start “washing his hands” …. i.e. soak us all with his excited splashes.  This has the unfortunately side affect of making me now have to go to the bathroom.  Great.

With one arm strapping Associate A to my hip, I wipe Associate P’s bottom and stand him up.  I pull my britches down and sit for my business placing Associate A on my lap and with my free hand helping P get his pants up.  In a moment of clarity I think about all the times at home I’ve had to pee with a baby on my lap as wonderful practice helping me survive this insane effort I find myself in now.

Associate P begins to wash his hands, which sets off Associate A to wiggle and scream for his turn at “WATER WATER WATER.”   With P at my feet I have to hoist Associate A up higher almost on my shoulder in order for me to stand up so he isn’t kicking his brother in the face.  Instead his legs are kicking the door and his hands grabbing at my hair and face.

Somehow, I mange to pull my britches up and put the seat cover down.  I place A on standing on the seat and then flush.  That was a mistake.  The loud noise and vibrations set him off into a full on panic cry.  I attempt to wash my hands while he tries to monkey crawl back onto my body.  I look in the mirror and vow to walk out of here with my dignity.  I am going to pretend like no one could hear our commotion.  I am going to calmly talk my boys back to our row and sit down like that was the easiest potty break ever done.

I open the door and smile calmly at the 3 people waiting in a line that has since formed, and then try to head up the aisle to our seats.  The one gentleman is holding back laughs, I can tell, and the others offer sympathetic smiles back.  I’m greeted by a Stewardess who nicely asks if everything is alright, and I tell her I would be so grateful for a few more of those delicious cinnamon cookies if she didn’t mind.

We slouch in our seat and the cries for Lovie begin again.  It feels like a lifetime before she returns with the cookies.  When she finally does, I sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet as my two little angels happily stuff their mouths.  I did it.

As I ponder the ridiculous situation I just survived, naturally I also ponder how impossible it would be to get two grown adults in there together, let alone how absolutely disgusting it would be to actually have sex in an airplane bathroom. I am convinced, more than ever, that the traditional Mile High Club is an impossible dream.   However, what I just lived through is reality for probably hundreds of mommies everyday, just trying to take a trip with their Associates.  We are the real Mile High Club members!
















helped a toddler take his sweet time with a poopie, while holding another younger toddler


what is joy if it is unrecorded. What is Love of it is not shared. – call the midwife

Feeling like a Supermom

It has been an exciting few weeks here at Rudloff Inc. and I really wanted to write a few posts and document all the fun we had before it leaves my mind.  For the most part, I am on mommy cloud nine with the success of two flights alone with my Associates, a great week in Ohio, a family trip to Walt Disney World and Associate P’s birthday.

The thing is, these amazing experiences don’t just happen.  As a mom, we spend the countless hours worrying about details, packing lists, and logistics for days if not weeks before.   There may be a mom out there who just wings it, but I haven’t met her yet.

Many late nights and early mornings may have me a little hysterical, but when I look back at all we did over the last few weeks, I can’t help but feel a great sense of accomplishment.  We did it.  I did it.  And we had fun doing it.

I don’t like to throw around the word “Supermom”, but let’s just say Associate P isn’t the only one pretending he has a cape on today.  I am going to embrace this feeling of invincibility while it lasts, because I know any moment now I’ll snap out of it and realize I have washed but not folded clothes for two weeks straight, and have Mt. Saint Underpants waiting for me to climb next.

And for those of you who are interested, in the coming days I will post a few of the highlights and even share the humor that was in the darker moments of our travel.

So for all you supermom’s who have felt the glorious glow of successful family trips and events – I salute you.  This was a busy and tiring month, stressful at times, but overall joyous.  And worth every sleeplessness night last month 🙂



Real Interviews For The World’s Toughest Job

This is a priceless experiment!!!   Goes to show you that when you spell out all that is required of moms it is more than just a job, it is the #worldstoughestjob.  (And double that for all those working mommas!)



I also love that they point out the respect people give job titles.  For whatever reason, Stay At Home Mom just isn’t a title that garners the same respect.   Director of Operations though – now that is something worth applying for!  That is why when I left my awesome career in politics, my farewell email to colleagues and friends stated not that I was leaving work, but assuming a new career and role as EVPHO of the Rudloff Family.  I didn’t see it as quitting work – it was a career change.



OMG They Are Just Like Us!

From the moment children are born, everyone loves to comment about what traits they get from which parent.  Associate A has a cleft chin like his daddy, and Associate P looked just like me when I was a newborn… but we could already tell he had his Daddy’s feet.  I joked that he was me from the belly button up, the CEO from the waist down 😉

Trying to identify all those cute little physical traits is magically mind-blowing because reality is kids are 50/50 of their parents, and even the most adorable mini-me parent look alike will have some undeniable similarities of the other parent.

The REAL fun begins as the Associates develop their personalities and it because obvious – sometimes awkwardly – that they are just like us.

  • Associate P has his daddy’s OCD tendencies already in full bloom.  Lord forbid I put two foods on the same plate or hand him a wet cup… “DRY IT mommy!”  And he already is very eager to wash hands if at all dirty.  Cute, if you like washing a million kiddy cups every day.  But, just like his daddy, this OCD tendency is just that.  Thankfully, neither are fully over the cliff with quirks, and both are completely oblivious to the tornado of mess they leave behind them.  As long as what is immediately in front of them makes orderly sense, they are happy campers.
  • Associate A does not like to be told “No.”  I have always struggled with this, and become more defensive than a Buckeye lineman facing off against the school up North if I hear the big N-word.  Associate A has also had a visceral, primal reaction to the word from just a few months old.  He throws a mini-terror for 30 seconds…. usually.  Sometimes longer.   Combine that with the way he is eating lately and maybe he will grow up to be a Buckeye lineman.
  • Associate A also loves to dance like his mommy.  Put on some music and that kiddo will bust a move.

Maybe we should look for more of the cute positive personality trait similarities, but usually they only jump out at me when they are the negative ones.

Just yesterday I really reached outside of my comfort level to suggest some painting with BOTH associates.  I am not naturally creative, nor is that where I would say I enjoy spending my time… but it is good for both kids imaginations and fine motor skills, so thus I am compelled to offer it.  Normally this is an activity I enjoy 1:1 with Associate P.  Associate is the wild card free spirit, which is even more reason I should be doing this with him.

Easel and big brown paper on the ground on back porch, check!  Washable paints, check! Clothes off the associates, check!  Towels, rags and wash bowl ready, check!   We were all set to have some amazing creative fun…. for exactly 6 minutes.  They had a great time. Associate P painted two nice neat pictures of garbage trucks for daddy, and Associate A made an amazing amount of mess covering himself in gooey paint from head to toe.

Associate A Mixing His Palette

Associate A Mixing His Palette

They impressed me with their focus.  Associate P set out with a vision and took great care mixing his colors.  Associate A was giddy with joy at the creative process. I thought to myself, “OMG they are just like the CEO.”

The entire time they were painting I was also shallow breathing telling myself it was ok.  That is what they were supposed to do.  It would all clean up. Thanking God for washable Crayola paint.

And after the brief inspired burst ended, they were more than happy to spend 30+ minutes washing the brushes, scrubbing down the easel and wiping down the messy paint cans.

Associate P Washing Brushes and Hands With Great Care

Associate P Washing Brushes and Hands With Great Care

As my blood pressure dropped, I felt a sense of pride swell up as I saw Associate P hose his brother off and help him wash the brushes.  Then I thought “OMG, are these kids me or what??”  I am the one who restores order and is a caretaker… and only enjoys creative release in small doses.

It was a perfect example of their 50/50 split.  They are a little me, a little of the CEO and everyday we get to see a little bit more of their own unique personalities shine through.






So this past weekend I was exhausted… for a number of reasons other than just being a mom of a teething toddler.   I ran a 5k (go me!), the CEO had been out of town for an entire week (i.e. I stayed up too late every night working on the computer), and I’d been losing sleep over a to-do list that has grown out of control.

So Sunday, as jet lagged daddy and associate A napped, I took Associate P out for some 1:1 time.  We biked around the neighborhood and parked at the playground.  After about the millionth game of “pay a toll with a kiss to get by,” I could barely keep my eyes open.  It was 78 degrees, sunny, perfect and breezy.  All I wanted to do was lay down.  So I pulled a play from the dinner playbook and bribed my little one.

“If you let mommy lay on the bench and take a little 10 minute nap, I’ll give you a cookie when we get home!”

Associate P enthusiastically agreed, and promised to stay in the little playground area and play quietly.  I flopped over on the bench and passed out faster than you can say “I LOVE NAP TIME!”

I know he is only 2 1/2 but he is the most cautious kid in the world and won’t consider doing anything remotely exciting or dangerous unless my hand is within reach, so I had full confidence he would stay clear of the huge climbing wall and just be playing “yard work” — cleaning the mulch and bushes  — like he usually does.

10 – maybe 15 – minutes later I open my eyes.  My sweet boy is siting on the ground next to my bench playing with a stick. Then I notice there is another family that has joined us at the playground.  I sit up, wipe the drool from my cheek, and say a quiet prayer they just arrived and didn’t just observe me sleeping while my kid examined rocks and mulch.

I was totally BUSTED napping on the job.  Hopefully they didn’t then hear Associate P say, “can we go home and get my cookie now, mommy?”

Let’s Play Find The Poop

I play all sorts of silly games with the kids to help make mundane tasks seem fun.  Pretending we are cranes to pick up toys, etc.   I bet every parent dabbles at least a little bit with this sort of psychological manipulation with hopes they will be the gold star parents to have a teenager who actually likes to help around the house.  (wishful thinking I know!)

It is so second nature, I can make just about any activity a game, in hopes it will brighten my Associates’ spirits and increase cooperation.  Sometimes, like today, we do this to lift MY spirits and remind me not to get upset about the silly stuff kids do.   Let me reenact a scene from earlier today for you:

Scene One: Picture a happy bath time, cleaning up after a fun morning at the beach and lunch.  Two toddlers splashing without a care in the world.

Mommy: It’s time to get out!  Who wants to go first?

Associate P:  Associate A, Associate A.  I get two more minutes.

Mommy Scoops up Associate A, who wiggles and giggles while being patted dry.  He waddles off, presumably to find his lovie and paci, while mommy scoops up Associate P.   Once dry he scampers into his room, and I follow, expecting to see two perfectly clean toddlers naked and ready for clean comfy clothes before nap. 

Mommy: Holy $#!*.   

Associate A is standing next to his brother and his entire bottom and legs are covered in Poop.  Mommy scoops up the soiled child and takes him back to the tub, watching where she steps along the way.  Associate P follows behind. 

Associate P: A poopied mommy! He did it! Did he go poopie in the potty?! Where did he do it mommy? Where? 

Mommy:  ( trying not to cry while doing unthinkable things with my bare hands and warm water.) I don’t know hunny.  I don’t know where he went poopie! Please just sit right there until I get your brother…

Associate P: (interrupting excitedly) Let’s play find the poopie mommy!  Poopie where are you?  Poopie Where are you?!”  (running off… brief silence….) Oh, here it is Mommy!   I win.  I found the Poopie! 



Needless to say, this has never happened to me before, and it is a lesson I don’t need to be taught twice.  From now on Associate A will be placed directly in a diaper after bath… no more streaking for him.   I really had to laugh and thank God that everyone was in such a great mood.  Perhaps Associate P saw that I was about to loose it and was emotionally advanced enough to recognize he had to act fast and make it a game.  More likely, he was just imitating what he hears me do, which is find the fun in absolutely everything.  Especially when dealing with poopie situations.

Just Own It

Why fight it?  We are a family with two small kids. We have two cats.  My husband is obsessed with UCF.

So I figured, why not fully embrace what it means to be in this phase of life and go ahead and put the equivalent of a tramp-stamp on my precious car.  YOLO!!! Am I Right?!?!

Photo Feb 18, 5 53 53 PM


Unlike an awkward or inappropriate tattoo, I have zero regrets about my life and would be proud for anyone who drives up behind me to say “OMG! Becky, would you look at her trunk!  That sticker is SOO BIG.  Who does she think she is?  She looks like an overeducated housewife.”

And yes, I am tempted to buy the Ohio State family sticker pack and replace the mommy and one child with OSU characters.   But I’ll let the CEO have a win for a while and then when he least expects it, and stops checking, I’ll swap them out 🙂

UPDATE: June 2014

That's me in red ;)

That’s me in red 😉



For My Mr. Right

February is a stressful month for me.  Valentines Day and my husband’s birthday are super close together and every year I struggle to decide how to translate what the love of my life means to me into some sort of gift or gesture.

Some people are really good gift givers, unfortunately I am not.  Not only am I a super thrifty shopper, I rarely (READ: never!) get to actually go shopping by myself to browse and contemplate gifts in a non-child-stress-induced-rush. For at least three years now, I have survived buying everything I need from Amazon.com, Publix and The Lamb Shoppe.

For a while I tried to say that the CEO was just hard to buy for… he is the type of guy who likes technology and buys  gadgets for himself.  Then I tried to excuse my behavior because we are experience people who enjoy traveling and doing things together.  The reality is, there are things he wants, things he could use and things that would make him smile that I should know and be able to acquire for him.

He desperately needs new athletic socks.  He wants the new xbox.  Neither seem appropriate (we HAVE 2 xboxes, before you men gang up on me) So here I am struggling to find something somewhere between white tube socks and expensive electronics that screams “I love you!”

Ugh. It really bothers me.  Why is it so hard for me to give meaningful, thoughtful gifts or gestures for my favorite person in the whole world?

I started this post about three weeks ago, and have been coming back to it night after night.  After much thought I have realized it is because I will never be satisfied. Nothing will ever be enough – special enough, big enough, or symbolic enough – to show him how much he means to me.  Anything I could buy will seem like junk from oriental trading compared to the love in my heart.  Cheesy, I know, but that is the reason.

As I think back to gifts of past holidays, birthday’s and anniversaries they have all been fine, acceptable gifts.  But it is my perception that they aren’t special enough that stresses me out and causes me to devalue the gift. Lord knows he has never complained and is always grateful (even the year I got him a cheesy engraved compass from Red Envelope). So this Valentines/Birthday bonanza I am going to let go of my crazy, emotional overthinking.  There is no way he won’t love the surprise I have in store for him.  The boys helped me pick it out and have managed to keep quiet about it too.   Check back in a few days and I’ll post a pic 🙂


Pintrest Almost Ruined My Valentines Day

As a non-creative mom, I was dreading the Valentine’s Day party at preschool…. just like I now dread birthday parties and all other kid related events.  Over the top thematic, unique and detailed craftiness of others is really hard to live up to.

And I get it, Pintrest was made for people like me to get inspired ideas and find little ways to spice up our bland lives.  I am 100% positive I would love it and become addicted to searching and pinning recipes, cool kid crafts and domestic ideas.  Which is exactly why I have avoided it like the Plague.   There is no room in my life for another online addiction. Email, Facebook, news (not really, but I want you to THINK I take the time to read current events. I am hoping to improve on this), and my volunteer efforts keep me tied to my computer and smart phone waaaayyy more than I would like.

So this week I have tried to join the When at Home blog in her Tech Free Challenge.  I have been more conscious about putting the phone away, on a shelf, and not carrying it in my pocket.  It greatly reduces the urge to check it while playing with the kids.  I have tried to keep it away during meals, when normally I take advantage of them be confined and occupied so I can squeeze in a few moments of “productivity.”  A shocking thing happened.  Meals were enjoyable and actually a little less messy.  Maybe it would be easier to ensure the food goes in the mouth, rather than just check out and then clean up the tornado wreckage after.

On Tuesday, Associate P’s school reminded us to bring valentines in on Thursday to share with his little friends.  I panicked.  I knew, with 100% certainty that other moms were on Pintrest right then creating something that would be adorably awesome.  I knew all I had to do was log on, create and account and I too could be a crafty creative mom and wow these 2 year olds with a Valentines Day Pun they have zero chance of understanding.

But we had a very busy week.  The CEO works extra long hours on Tuesdays and I’d be on my own for bedtime (read: the house will get destroyed and take an hour to rebuild after the kids are down), I still had 3 loads of laundry to fold, I had legitimate volunteer business to attend to.  We had play dates, gymnastics and a much needed moms night out Wednesday.  I did not have time to try Pintrest this week, I was going to have to make it through another holiday on my own.

It isn’t pretty, but Associate P and I made 8 little Valentines. He helped cut and put stickers on.  I sloppily wrote Happy Valentines Day on them. And you know what, we had fun doing it.  We sent him to school yesterday with a brown sandwich bag filled with our little creations and 2 Hershey’s kisses for each kiddo.  No ribbons, designer stamps or puns were used.  I prayed that the other moms would think ours were sweet and cute, not lazy and sloppy.

When I picked him up and looked through the bag of Valentines he would get, there was only one Pintrest Valentine.  I was so relieved.  The rest were store bought with a piece of candy.  A few had let the kids scribble on the cards.

We are all moms, just trying to get by, doing the best we can.  There is a time and place for Pintrest and I love the idea of it.  But I’ve come to terms that I’m choosing to express my creativity in another way, and that’s ok.

Photo Feb 13, 1 37 56 PM

The Tech Free Challenge

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