If we’re being honest.

I’ve never been a big fan of change. I’m a creature of habit, a lover of routine. I take comfort in familiarity and am all about my planning and my schedules. It may sound boring, but it’s what works for me. Since my son was born, my family and I have settled into a groove that has worked for us and life ran pretty smoothly.

With my husbands job switch, that all changed. Going into this, we knew what to expect and decided that it was worth it. There would be three months of out of state training during which we would live separate lives thousands of miles away from each other. After returning, my husband would be working from home for the first time ever and instead of traveling to his previous territories for business, we would now be traveling to Arizona. We knew what we signed up for, but I don’t think either of us fully understood just how hard all of it would actually be on our family. Sometimes I can’t help but to feel as though our perfectly put together puzzle was taken apart and all jumbled up, and now we are left with entirely different puzzle pieces to form a new picture with.

None of this is a bad thing whatsoever, it is simply a different thing. While we are so excited to begin our traveling with this new company and we are so excited to settle into a life where my husband gets to work from a home office, it has not been an easy road. Three entire months away from the man that I have never spent more than 3 days apart from has easily been one of the most trying experiences of my life. There are visits for a couple of days every other weekend, but its just that… visits. Visits that never feel long enough. I cannot even begin to tell you how often I fantasize about the day that he comes back home to us, not for a visit, but to stay for good. To settle back into our home and our life together. To settle into a new routine, a new groove, a new normal.

We have both talked a lot about how this time apart feels pretty purgatory-esque. He’s away training, unable to actually start up new business ventures until he’s finished. I’m at home with our son, unable to fully settle into a new way of life knowing that once he’s home, everything will change again. The entire summer has just felt like the longest wait of my life.

It’s safe to say on any given day of the week that at some point I’m having a mild emotional breakdown. Going from co-parenting with the best most helpful spouse around to solo parenting entirely on my own 100% of the time has been a shock and a total roller-coaster. Like, I’m talking the craziest roller-coaster the amusement park has to offer. Mind you, all of this came in the midst of the terrible twos transforming into threenagerhood, or as my friend informed me the other day “the trying threes”. My son’s new favorite hobbies include having meltdowns over simple statements like “you can’t have ice cream for dinner”, as well as jumping off of the dining table and climbing up onto the kitchen counter (claiming that he is “rock climbing”, duh). I am fairly certain that he shows all signs of being a future extreme sports star, which isn’t exactly comforting for this overprotective mama. These days, I consider it an accomplishment worthy of a trophy (or maybe like…a free pedicure)  if I manage to get through an entire five minute shower without him destroying something and I’ve become accustomed to warming up my dinner a good five times before I actually have a moment to finish it. This blog post has been in the making for a good 3-4 weeks now and is only finally happening because I’ve been blessed with a small miracle called “my kid has decided to nap every day this week”. Then of course, right when I am at my wits end and about to finally suck it up and hire a babysitter to take him off my hands for a while, he snuggles up next to me and gives me the sweetest cuddles. He kisses my forehead, tells me he loves me, falls asleep holding my hand… and just like that, all is forgiven and I am ready to brave it out another day.

Perhaps the only few things getting me through this incredibly difficult stretch are my occasional weekends with my husband, really good friends, and visits from my grandparents. At the end of a long day, a wine night and adult talk has a way of totally renewing my sanity. In the middle of a rough day, lunch from my grandma has a way of just lifting my spirits (those cafe rio salads are magical I tell you). And at the beginning of an already exhausting morning, coffee with my grandpa while he goes on and on about politics/his homeland in Italy has a way of distracting me in the best way possible. I’ve found during this time that the only way to get through this is to count the small achievements and to focus on still doing things for myself sometimes, even if that just means curling up on the couch with a pint of gelato and binge watching bad reality tv for two hours after my son has gone to bed.

Beyond the difficulties of parenting on my own, there has been the obvious difficulty of living so far away from the man that I have always had such a deeply close connection with. We understand each other better than anyone on this planet. He’s my best friend, my partner, my love. Distance sucks.  Feeling as though we have had two different lives this summer sucks. I will never have a true understanding of what his life and training in Ohio has been like and he will never have a full understanding of what my life as a solo parent has been like. The best we can do is focus on communication, understanding, and always always always loving each other through it.

Our mantra through all of this has been “this is just temporary”. We like to envision ourselves a year from now, settled into our new way of life, looking back on this time and laughing at how dramatic we were to feel as though it would never end. I am fully aware that it could be worse. It could be longer, there could be no weekend visits, there could be far less opportunities to talk on the phone. All across the country right now there are military wives with deployed husbands that are going through a far more difficult experience than I probably will ever know. There are single moms that do what I’m doing day in and day out with little to no assistance. This experience has given me the utmost respect for these strong women, that’s for certain.

We are officially two and a half months into this training with only a couple more weeks remaining. Mid August, my husband will return home briefly before heading out to shadow for a couple more weeks. And with that, it will all be over. He will be fully trained for this new and exciting position, he will be living back home, we will be traveling on business adventures to Arizona… together.

With each day I find myself breathing a little easier knowing that we have almost made it. This summer certainly has not been what I’d had in mind, and while it may have been far from easy, it did come with its share of experiences. It has allowed me to strengthen my friendships. It has reinforced the importance of communication and being open and honest with my emotional struggles. It has taught me that I’m a pretty badass mom. It has taught me that no matter what total curveballs life may throw at me, I will deal with it and I will be ok. It has given me time to become a more creative parent and to work on my parenting techniques. Most importantly, it has reminded me that no matter where my husband is in the world, our love will always get us through. No matter how hard this has been for both of us, and no matter how much has changed this summer, the one thing that has never changed is the crazy amount of love that I feel every time I hear my husband on the other end of the phone (Yeah yeah yeah, I know that sounds so cheesy and sappy but it wouldn’t be us if it wasn’t).

This summer took me far out of my comfort zone to say the least, but we have finally arrived at the final stretch and we are SO close to creating a new “normal” for our family. 2.5 months down, 2 weeks(ish) to go. In my husband’s words, “This has been hard, but it has not left us shaken”.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

 

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Palm Springs 2016.

My husband and I have not been on a solo vacation since several months before I got pregnant with our son. That’s almost 4 years you guys. 4 years of not one single true vacation. Don’t get me wrong… I have so much fun traveling with our son. But as every parent knows… a vacation with a toddler is rarely a true vacation. Since becoming a mom, I could not help but fantasize about a vacation in which I could sleep in until whatever time I wanted… lay out by the pool relaxing with a drink in my hand without having to keep anybody entertained… pick restaurants based on trendy atmosphere rather than the children’s menu… and so on. Well, that vacation finally came and it came in the form of Palm Springs last week.

Several months ago I got a promotional email from hotels.com, which is really what sparked this whole thing. I sat there for a few minutes thinking about how great a romantic summer vacation with my husband would be, if only we could find a convenient time. And then it dawned on me… there would never ever be a “convenient time”. Whether it be work, money, lack of babysitting, or a million other variables… it is so easy to always find a reason not to take some much needed adult time to yourself. The truth is, it will extremely rarely (in fact probably never) be easy to find someone willing to watch your super high energy toddler for two whole nights while you run off to a desert oasis to lay by the pool and drink mimosas all day with your spouse. It’s just not going to happen until you make it a priority. So, that is precisely what we did. I booked the hotel right then and there, texted my saint of a sister begging/bribing her to babysit, marked it in our calendars, and just like that… we at last had a romantic get away set in stone.

Not surprisingly, Palm Springs turned out to be everything that I needed. We spent our stay at the Ace Hotel/Pool club and couldn’t have been happier with our hotel choice. Our room had a really cool private patio entry, the decor was spot on to the bohemian desert oasis vibes of the hotel, and possibly the best part… it was about 15 steps away from the pool entrance. The great thing about Palm Springs in the summer is that it is so absurdly hot and dry that there is almost nothing to do other than relax by the pool, so the place just has vacation written all over it. I really don’t know how anybody gets anything done around there because I know I personally found myself just wanting to be in the pool at all times. The small fraction of time in which we weren’t being total sloths by the pool, we were able to check out a few other cute spots around town, like the beauty that is the Moorten Botanical Garden, as well as the stunning ‘Alice in Wonderland-esque’ grounds of Le Parker Meridian Hotel.

After that vacation with my husband, I can confidently say that every couple with kids should make it a priority to do a “no kids vacation” every so often. Whether it be to Palm Springs (which I would highly recommend) or just a fun staycation in your own city, child free bonding time is so very important. Not only did I return from the trip feeling refreshed and relaxed and ready to be a good mom again, but I also came back feeling closer than ever to my sweet husband.

And as for my son? He apparently hardly noticed that we were gone. No matter how guilty you may be feeling for leaving your little one(s) for a couple of days, the truth is, sometimes they need a change-up in the schedule and a little bit of time away from you as much as you need a little bit of time away from them. My husband and I got a relaxing vacation, and my son got some quality bonding time with his aunt, so it was really a win-win.

I have no idea when the next opportunity for another romantic little getaway will be, but I sure am happy with the time that we got. Until next time, Palm Springs.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

Santa Barbara 2016.

I have to admit that up until now, I never truly appreciated Santa Barbara. Our last trip there was a little more than a year ago. It was off season, it was cold, our son was pretty moody the entire time, we stayed pretty close to the hotel, and I never got a true taste of the area. This time was different and I can now say that I completely understand what the Santa Barbara hype is all about.

What’s great about Santa Barbara is that it’s within 40 minutes of every activity we could have ever wished to do as a family. There’s the beach, there’s plenty of diverse food options, there’s hiking, there’s wine tasting, there’s tourist attractions. I’m telling you, we could have had a whole two weeks longer and done something fun/different every day.

We stayed at Hotel Milo, which is right on the beach and is situated on some pretty stunning property. The appeal mostly ends there however and I’m not sure I would actually recommend staying there (although I’m admittedly super picky when it comes to hotels and I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love this spot). If you’re looking for an affordable property close to the water/pier with plenty of food options within walking distance, then it might be the hotel for you.

Our first day in the area, we went for a morning hike at Nojoqui Falls, which is about 30 minutes out of Santa Barbara. Super short hike, easy for kids, beautiful area, nice and secluded. Only downsides were the not so comforting mountain lion warning sign (had us paranoid the entire time) and the fact that there was no waterfall at the end… Not sure if we went at the wrong time of year for it or what, but the hike was beautiful regardless of its missing waterfall. About ten minutes from the trail head is the Main Street area of Solvang, a quaint tourist town that personally felt like it could make an interesting setting for a horror film… A unique town to say the least. We had lunch at a Nordic cafe there, then we ended the day with a swim/mimosas at the hotel pool, which was probably one of the best features of Hotel Milo.

The second day of our trip after my husbands meetings, we went on our first ever wine tasting adventure. The Santa Ynez area is covered with beautiful sprawling vineyards and is only about a 40 minute drive from Santa Barbara. After doing my research to find the most child friendly vineyard options, we ended up at the Zaca Mesa winery. I was feeling a little hesitant to bring my toddler (who regularly enjoys testing his vocal range) to a wine tasting room, but it actually ended up being totally fine. We were told people bring their kids all the time and the tasting room even had a friendly puppy to keep my son entertained. We got to try six wines, bought a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc, got some beautiful pictures of the vineyard as a rain storm rolled in, and just had an overall really lovely time. It all left me with an itch for more wine tasting and I’m totally mentally planning a trip to Napa.

The third night of our journey was spent in LA at the Hollywood Roosevelt. The epitome of ‘hip’, the hotel’s target audience is certainly not families with young children, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time and taking over the flamingo floaty at the pool.

Traveling with the little dude typically leaves me so exhausted that I need a vacation from my vacation, but this time was overall about as relaxing as you could hope for while traveling with a toddler . As Liam gets older and more familiar with travel, taking him on all kinds of adventures gets undeniably easier, and for that I am so thankful. The entire way home he begged for “hotel, hotel!”, so I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed our travels as much as we did.

Until next time, California.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

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Newport Beach 2016.

At 3 months old, we took our son to Newport Beach for the first time. I was so excited for him to breathe in the ocean air and listen to the sound of the waves at the same beach that I had spent so many summers at as a child. Being a wee little newborn however, he mostly cried the entire time and we packed up and left about 20 minutes into the whole experience. Sadly, our beach ventures have gone pretty much the same way every time since then, with our son either crying, whining, or trying to run away from us the entire time. This time however, was different. Finally old enough to appreciate all that is Newport Beach, the little dude ran around playing in the sand as happy as could be and has even asked to go to the beach several times since we left.

This trip was a major reminder of how blessed we are to travel so regularly as a family. I think I often get overwhelmed by all that goes into traveling with a young child and I forget to stop and simply be thankful for the experience. With the calmness of this trip, my husband and I were mostly able to sit back and watch as our son happily ran around exploring his surroundings. This kid has experienced places and things that I never could have imagined providing my child with, and I am forever thankful for the opportunities that my husbands job has blessed us with.

We stayed at The Island Hotel Newport Beach and just like our last stay there, it was everything we could have wanted. This time we had a corner ocean view/balcony suite, which was perfect for our family and gave us enough space to not drive each other crazy. The hotel has a beautiful pool with an outdoor bar, is a five minute drive from the beach, has some of the sweetest staff members we’ve ever encountered….And don’t even get me started on the delicious patio breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant-Oak Grill (ordering a round of mimosas is a must).

After a couple days of beach going, swimming at the pool, and walking around fashion island (probably a few too many times), we capped off the trip by visiting a few of my sweet family members in the area, who even babysat Liam so that we could end our trip with a baby-free dinner at one of our favorite spots in Irvine (The Lazy Dog). Our time in Newport had a little bit of everything and was certainly one for the books. It’ll be rough topping such a beautiful trip…but you can sure bet we will try!

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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Moms, don’t feel guilty.

I recently had the opportunity to guest blog over at Positively Oaks. To check out my post about 5 things that mom’s just shouldn’t feel guilty for, head over to:

http://www.positivelyoakes.com/blog/2015/07/29/moms-dont-feel-guilty/

Cheers,

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The Mom Life is the Only Life for Me.

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I haven’t been blogging much lately, and I could go into another story about how busy I’ve been, or I can just tell you that I’m a mother. I’m a busy mother who cleans and cooks and teaches and plays and at the end of the day I just cannot always bring myself to write a blog post about all of the things that are keeping me so busy.

I often find myself feeling guilty for not doing more. Not writing more. Not photographing more. Not working out more. Not seeing my friends more. Not cleaning more. Not…doing…more. But then I look at my energetic little guy frolicking around the house, just happy to be playing with mama amongst his ever growing pile of toys, and I think that maybe I have done enough. My role as a mother is to raise a happy child, and I think it’s safe to say that I am in the process of doing just that. All that other stuff is just icing on top of the big cake of being a stay at home mom. The messes will be there to clean tomorrow, and my blog posts will eventually get written, but my son is one year and 2 months old today, and there will never be another day where he is that age. That tiny. That innocent. These days of cuddles and tickles will soon turn into days of high fives and baseball practice. When that eventually happens, I will do that extra load of laundry and workout every day, and maybe even finally return an old friends phone call. But for now, my baby is just a little guy who wants nothing more than to hang out with his mommy. And so that is what we will do.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself involved in a conversation during which the person I was speaking to asked “how do you do it? You’re too young to stay at home with a baby all day”. The sassy Italian in me wanted to respond “you’re too old to be out partying all night”, but I refrained. The real answer is that yes, I’m young, but what are most young people doing? Trying to find their purpose in life. Trying to give their life a meaning. I’m just fortunate enough to have already found mine.

I remember when I was little, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, and the answer that first popped into my head was always “a mom”, but instead I replied with an assortment of careers that society deemed respectable. You see, even as a child I was made to feel that simply “being a mom” was not enough. You have to be more. You have to do more.

But I am a maid. I am a cook. I am a personal assistant. I am a caregiver. I am a teacher. I perform the tasks of multiple different careers all in one day, with no “days off”, and yet there are members of society that make me feel as though simply being a mom is not enough? This thought had me temporarily aggravated… Then, my son came waddling into the room holding out his fake telephone and saying “ello?”, and I remembered why I do all of this. Because it makes him happy. It makes my husband happy. It makes me happy.

Being a mom is what I do best. I care too much and I love to organize and cook meals and have full conversations with babbling one year olds. Diapers don’t bug me (unless there’s 4 poops in a row, then we have a problem), watching Disney movies is my favorite pastime, snuggling is my forte, and cleaning up messes makes me feel oddly content.

There is no doubt in my mind that living “the mom life” is exactly what I am supposed to be doing, and when you’re doing what you love, it is always enough.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

Three’s a crowd

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As I sit here on a Monday morning cuddled up on the couch drinking coffee and watching my little guy chew on an old DVD case, I couldn’t be happier. My own home, surrounded by my familiar things, with all of the time I could want to focus all of my attention on my little man. I always appreciated this special time I have with him, but not to the extent that i do following last weeks events.

Last week I found myself babysitting Monday through Friday for 10 hours a day in a house that was not my own. The children were two girls ages 2 and 4, and I brought along my one year old. As I played out the week in my head beforehand, I told myself that it shouldn’t be too difficult because the children were all close enough in age that they would all play together happily. Anybody with 3 children is probably getting a good laugh at that one. Now I know.

About 3 minutes after arriving, it became very apparent how…interesting… The week would be. The two little girls were instantly aggravated by my son, who mistook their sippy cup for his own (to his defense, they did look almost identical). Having two annoyed little girls, I can handle. Having two annoyed, shrieking at the highest pitch possible little girls, I cannot handle.

The week went on in the same fashion. My son would do a normal innocent baby thing (such as sit on their beanbag chair), and they would scream and shriek and pretend to cry fat nonexistent alligator tears. As if the behavior wasn’t enough to handle, the unfamiliar home was not baby proofed in any way, shape, or form. Flights of stairs, expensive wine cases at floor level, and tiny craft beads were all the most amazing things my son had ever seen, and each posed a threat of their own. All in one day, my son fell down several stairs (luckily I was nearby to catch him), he broke a wine bottle (which spilled glass and red wine all over the tile hours after their cleaning crew left), and he almost choked on a small bead (he mostly just put it in his mouth and I freaked out more than necessary). The not so baby proofed house wouldn’t have been an issue had I had my undivided attention to dedicate to following my curious baby around, but I was also busy dealing with countertops painted with nail polish and little girls pretending to be hurt in order to acquire an ice pack. Stressful does not even begin to sum it up.

Headed home at the end of what was easily one of the hardest work weeks of my life, I had two thoughts:
1. I’m not sure I would ever be able to have three children of my own. I want a second without a doubt, But I think two babies might be all that this mama can handle! As I grow as a mother in both years and experience, my feelings towards having three could change, but at this moment in time I’m definitely feeling fonder towards the thought of completing our family at baby number two.
2. Mothers of multiple children are little angels sent down from the heavens.

Really though, I don’t know how you guys do it. I wish I could send all of you on week long vacations to the Bahamas because you all are so very deserving of it. You have the patience of saints.

After finally winding down at the end of the week with several oversized glasses of wine, and the stress of the week had finally worn off, I couldn’t help but to think about how lucky I am to normally spend every day in the comfort of my own baby proof home, paying all of my attention to my son, my housework, my husband, and my own well being. I may have done far too much complaining about last weeks circumstances (I’m sure my husband wished I would shut up on multiple occasions), but in a way I am thankful for the experience, because it reminded me of how blessed I am to be in my situation. I do miss getting out of the house and going to an office full of adults where I could have adult conversations and deal with adult situations, but I am so very lucky to be taken care of by a husband who wants nothing more than for me to experience the joys of being a stay at home mom and psychology degree seeking student.

Last week was long and last week was exhausting, but it was also rewarding and thought provoking. So now I will enjoy my day with my son, following him around the house as he makes messes for me to clean and diapers for me to change, and I will perform each of these activities feeling incredibly thankful for the life I have been given.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

Being Happily Frustrated is a Thing

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Every single night Monday through Friday, I make dinner.. we go for a long walk.. we put my son to bed. Two minutes into hitting the bed, he passes out and remains passed out until the morning. Tonight was different. You see, tonight, we had a friend over. Overcome by the excitement of seeing a face  other than mom and dad’s, my son jumped from couch cushion to couch cushion showing off for our friend. Eventually his bed time arrived, so I prepared him milk and took him to bed as I always do. Seconds after tiptoing away, the screaming began. I knew he was tired. I knew he was ready for bed. I also knew that he was filled with excitement for the small change in routine. I went to his room and decided that tonight I would rock my baby to sleep as I did when he was just a little guy. As I held him in his rocking chair, listening to the sound of his sleepy sighs, I couldn’t help but to smile at the fact that my little boy was simply so happy that he could not bare the thought of sleep. I find myself doing this constantly through out each day.. smiling at something slightly frustrating that my son does. I mean, of course I wanted my son to go to sleep. I had had a long day with him and was tired myself, and wanted him to easily fall asleep just as he would any other night… But his little baby brain was filled with so much happiness at the fact that we had a visitor. Who was I to be upset about that?

Just yesterday, my husband and I watched as my son learned to climb the couch. And I don’t just mean climb on to the couch.. I mean climb up and walk around and climb over and crawl under the couch. He will go from one end of the sectional to the other, running as fast as his little baby legs will carry him, laughing the entire way as my husband and I hold our breaths in frightened anticipation of a fall. Initially, I had told my son no. No couch, no couch, I told him repeatedly for fear of having him fall off. But then I realized that he is a baby and the couch is new and walking is new and the world is new and he just wants to explore it all. And so I let the climbing begin. I obviously monitor him, however, I let him run free for the most part… and free he runs. I have never seen that boy happier than when he pounces around on those cushions. It is scary and it was originally somewhat frustrating… but it is also adorable and for that, it makes me happy.

We have recently found that my son seems to be really working his “problem solving skills” as well. He has had an obsession with the light switch for his closet since he could see what it was. For months I have watched him stand on the floor looking up at it with interest. The other day I was doing dishes in the kitchen, and decided that my son was far too quiet for my comfort levels. I went to his room and discovered that he had climbed on top of his play table and had managed to finally reach the light switch that he had longed for. My initial reaction was to lunge towards him in fear that he would fall off. My following reaction was to be absolutely amazed and proud at his newly found problem solving skills. I eventually took him down, but only after spending a few minutes standing next to him watching the pure joy on his face as he flipped the light on and off.

Then there was the diaper incident. Anything titled the diaper incident just cannot be good. Ever. My son has been struggling with a bad diaper rash recently, and my husband and I have tried our best to change each diaper within minutes of soiling. But sometimes you’re busy being a mom/housewife and you’re cooking dinner while simultaneously doing laundry and you just cannot change your babies diaper at that very second in time. So.. my son took matters into his own hands. He removed his diaper, and the discovery went a little something like…

husband: nooooooo… liam took his diaper off! Pooooooooop. Pooooooop! Hellllppppp!

You can fill in the details from there. We found ourselves so initially frustrated at the fact that he would remove his dirty diaper in the middle of the living room.. then, we realized.. it was really intelligent for him to recognize the problem and figure out what to do about it. I’m by no means saying that I find it appropriate for my son to take his dirty diaper off in the middle of the room, however, I can recognize how smart it was for him to recognize that his dirty diaper was causing his discomfort and that the solution would be to get rid of the dirty diaper. Again, slightly frustrating… but pretty freaking smart.

Since the beginning, we knew that our son would be a testy little one. He does not like boundaries, he laughs at the word no, and he enjoys doing things that he knows he shouldn’t. He has the energy of 5 babies and the charm of a puppy (along with the desire to eat out of a trashcan like a puppy). He is sometimes frustrating and nerve wracking and daring but he is also the most adorable thing I have ever seen and he fills me with so much joy that I find myself with goosebumps at the thought of how happy he makes me.

In my entire life, I would have never paired the words happy and frustrating… These were always two entirely different emotions to me. Then I became a mom. Children will test you. They will push you to your farthest limits. But they will also make you smile bigger than you ever thought possible. They will make you cry with happiness. They will make you live in the moment, and they will open your eyes to how quickly each day passes. You find yourself staring at the perfect little human that you created, and no matter how frustrated they may make you, at the end of the day, they are still your perfect little human.

Cheers,

T.W.C

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First year reflections

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My son’s first birthday is just a week away, so of course I’m feeling pretty darn sentimental. As he attempts to tackle my laptop, I can’t help but to be amazed that the tiny 6.5 lb boy that I brought into this world, is now walking around the house attempting to dig goodies out of the trashcan and destroy as many books as possible.

As his first birthday draws nearer, I find myself holding him for a few minutes longer each night before putting him in his crib. I stare at his tiny little baby feet and his plump baby thighs and I think of all of the grand hopes that I have for his future.

I hope that my son loves. I don’t mean that I hope that he loves his mickey mouse doll or that he loves going to the park. I mean that I hope that he grows up with the ability to truly love another human being with all his heart, and I hope that he has the strength to walk away from those that don’t love him back the way that he deserves.

Ihope that he surrounds himself with the right people. Looking back at my life, I often find myself wondering what path I would have gone down had I had different friends. The quote “you are who you surround yourself with” always comes to mind. The quote has always bugged me a little because I would like to think of myself as an individual who makes my own choices, however one of those choices IS who you surround yourself with. I strongly believe that I made the worst choices in my life when I was surrounded by the wrong people, and I made my best decisions when I was surrounded by happy, successful, and supportive people. I hope that my son has the ability to recognize who the “right” people are, and that he chooses people that will encourage him to be a good person.

I hope that my son is a hard worker. My husband and I often talk about how we do not want our son to be lacking of anything. We want to provide him with the best education, to get him involved in sports and activities, and we want to show him the world. I feel that there is a very fine line between providing for your child and spoiling your child, and I hope that my husband and I can raise him in a way that he knows that he can have the world, but he is not entitled to it.

I hope that my son is respectful. I hope that he grows to be a man of admiration. I hope that he is emotionally strong and level headed. I hope that he learns from his mistakes. I hope that he is charismatic and I hope that he is polite.

Most of all, I hope that we can teach our son to be all of these things. My biggest fear about having children was always the fear of being a bad parent. My son is only one and I feel as though I have already been faced with so many decisions regarding how I want to raise him. There are thousands of parenting “methods” out there, but I am beginning to feel more and more each day that the only “right” method is your own. And so I go into each day doing my best to demonstrate all of the things that I want my son to be. Children learn by example, and the best I can do for my son is be the example that he needs me to be.

My son will be one next week, and I am so very proud of who he is already becoming.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

Rants of a stay at home mom.

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Being a stay at home mom is such a blessing, and I am so thankful that I can be at home with my son every day. As much as it is a blessing, it is also far more of a challenge than most give it credit for. I remember while pregnant, telling my husband “being a stay at home mom is going to be easy! The house will always be clean and I will have everything done, and dinner will be on the table as you walk in the door!”.

Riiiiiighhhhht…

The most “cleaning” that gets done during the day happens when I put two dishes in the dishwasher before my son notices and comes wobbling over in an attempt to crawl inside the dishwasher. And my son LOVES helping me fold laundry… as in.. he likes grabbing the newly folded piles and tossing them all over the floor. What about during naptime you say? Naptime is for showering, answering emails, kind of trying to make myself presentable looking, trying to make food without waking my son, and on especially exhausting days, nap time is well… for napping. My son is a little ball of  one year old energy and if I’m not playing with him, staring at him, or within reaching distance of him, there.. will.. be.. trouble.

Oh but it doesn’t end there. I also work from home. I take care of all new customer accounts, processing wholesale orders, and managing social media for Ulubulu Baby Products. If you’ve spent as much time at Target as I do, I’m sure you’ve seen our products in the baby aisles. It’s incredibly difficult sometimes to be a stay at home mom while also working from home, but I have been so blessed with this opportunity and I mean, you can never have too many free pacifiers, right?

It gets better! I’m also attending college! I’m taking 2-3 online classes per semester, slowly working my way towards a psychology degree. So somewhere in between being a mom, wife, and employee, I also have to find time to be a student. Need I explain why I usually wake up exhausted?

My life has become a giant balancing act between baby, work, play, school, family, and friends. It is stressful and chaotic, but it is also incredibly rewarding. At the end of the day I might have a few emails that will go unopened until tomorrow. I might have a sink full of dishes, and a couch full of laundry loads that I just could.not.bring myself to fold. I might be tired and overdue for a pedicure. I might take a few too many days to write a new blog post, and I might only skim read my school assignment. Dinner might be 30 minutes behind schedule and missing a main food group. But at the end of the day, my son is happy, my husband is happy, and I am happy. And that’s really all I need.

Cheers,

T.W.C.