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

 

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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Taking California. Again.

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Going on a family trip to Southern California may not have been the best thing for my diet, and it certainly was not the best thing for my workout schedule, but it was great for my soul, so it all balances out, right?

Going into this trip, I felt like I needed to get out of Las Vegas… like, yesterday. I am not a winter person. At all. I enjoy the winter months from Thanksgiving until New Years, and as soon as those winter events have come to an end, my brain moves into summer mode. So in other words, this trip came at a much needed time. Between a memorial service for my great grandma in San Clemente, and my husband needing to take care of some business in Santa Monica, this trip just fell into place perfectly.

We spent the first portion of our trip at the Ocean View hotel in Santa Monica. Directly across from the beautiful beach/Santa Monica Pier, and right up the street from the Third Street Promenade, we couldn’t have asked for a more prime location. I have seen master bathrooms larger than our hotel room and the walls were so thin that it sounded as though each passing hotel guest was standing in our room… but when you can open your balcony doors to the smells and sounds of the ocean, you are quickly reminded that there really isn’t much to complain about.

When my husband tended to business and meetings during the day, I took my son on long walks on the Santa Monica bluffs over looking the ocean. When my husband was done working, we strolled through some of the most stunning beach neighborhoods that I have ever laid eyes on, we spent time on the beach as the sun set, and we went to some of the most delicious restaurants in the area. We did have a breakfast incident in which Liam threw his sippy cup at my coffee cup, sending coffee all across the table and into my lap… But hey, after the mess was all cleaned up my avocado/mushroom/goat cheese omelet was so great that it was impossible to care too much.

As beautiful as Santa Monica was, after several awful nights of sleep due to Liam waking up from all of the noises outside, the second half of our trip was welcomed with open arms. Moving on to stay with my god mother in Irvine, our family fell nothing short of being totally and completely spoiled. Upon arriving in Irvine, my husband and I were hitting our parenting limit. Liam had been great for most of the trip, but after the bad nights of sleep and a terrible experience with him (involving 10 too many hysterical fits) at a restaurant that day, we were in great need of a break. Little did we know, my real life fairy god mother and her dear husband had already planned on babysitting Liam for the night so that we could go out to an ‘adult’ dinner. Who knew how relieving a two hour dinner could be! We found a lovely restaurant down the street, shared some delicious sangria, then came back to a sleeping baby and the good company of my amazing God mother and her family.

The following day, we attended a lovely memorial service for my great grandma in San Clemente. At my cousin Kelly’s beautiful home overlooking the ocean, the family came together to remember our great Gammy and to celebrate the long life she lived. Liam found joy in chasing a bunch of the little girls around the house, while simultaneously draining my husband and I of the small amount of energy that we had left.

Returning to Irvine that night, my god mother had one more grand surprise up her sleeve: a hot tub date for my husband and I in her backyard. Not only did she create the loveliest ambiance of candles and light fixtures surrounding the hot tub, but she also put Liam to bed AND treated us like royalty, bringing us drinks and Liam updates as we enjoyed the peace of the perfect California night.

Heading home on Sunday morning, we were feeling relaxed, thankful, loved, and pretty freakin stoked about the lack of traffic. Our trip was everything we needed it to be. We got to relax, my husband was able to secure some important meetings, we were able to spend quality time with our loved ones, and Liam was better behaved than we’ve ever seen him be on a trip. The year has been off to an interesting start to say the least and it has already presented its fair share of challenges. However, sitting in the comfort of our home, relaxed and refreshed, I can’t help but to feel as though we are one very blessed family.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

 

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Mission Get Hot: week two.

Our journey started almost two weeks ago. I am down 4 pounds, 2 inches, and can already see a major change (as in I finally don’t look 5 months pregnant before I go to bed each night). That being said… All I have been wanting is a cheeseburger.

Week one was the easy week. Feeling pumped and excited, I whipped out new recipes left and right and looked forward to working out each day. Going into this week however, I had a temporary crash. Sunday evening, after 10 days straight of workouts and home cooking every single meal, I found myself completely worn out. I did not want to cook. I did not want to meal prep. I did not want to drink another fruit smoothie or even look at another piece of broccoli. I did not want to move a single limb in my body. I just wanted to sit on the couch gorging myself on hamburgers and pizza for the rest of eternity.

That’s where my husband comes in. As I sat there obnoxiously wallowing in my hamburger fantasies, my husband reminded me of all of my success so far. He told me he would make me a healthy meal so that I didn’t have to cook yet another one. He told me my feelings were completely normal and understandable at this point in our journey, but he also told me that I could not let those feelings consume me. In other words, my husband was a saint.

Eventually, after lots of pep talk and hugs, I got past my hour of weakness. I woke up on Monday feeling ready to face another week of hard work, and feeling grateful for the community of support I have on this mission. While I wasn’t proud of my moment of weakness, I can also pat myself on the back knowing that I made it through the first one, when just a few weeks ago I would have caved.

Steel cut oats, berries, grapefruit, eggs, pistachios, broccoli, kale, salmon, and brown rice have taken the place of fast food, cheeseburgers, French fries, pizza, and beer. I have found an array of Pinterest recipes that creatively allow me to sneak in the not so tasty nutrients that my body needs and I have made it a priority to read up on nutrition facts and to become more familiar with the foods that I am putting into my body. With each day of workouts I have found that I am becoming stronger and stronger, and each time I look in the mirror I am becoming happier and more confident.

Just 2 weeks down, and 10 more to go, I am sure I will continue to have moments of weakness. I’m sure my husband will have moments of weakness. But in those moments, we have each other and the vision of our healthy and fit future.

And with that, the journey continues on.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

 

wild Alaskan salmon marinated in Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce, brown rice, green onion, and broccoli

wild Alaskan salmon marinated in Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce, brown rice, green onion, and broccoli

Crustless quiche made with eggs, almond milk, spinach, red bell pepper, onion, and  thin layer of mozzarella cheese.

Crustless quiche made with eggs, almond milk, spinach, red bell pepper, onion, and thin layer of mozzarella cheese.

stovetop popcorn made with organic popcorn kernels and coconut oil

stovetop popcorn made with organic popcorn kernels and coconut oil

Meal prep: broccoli, brown rice with green onions and pepper, ground turkey patties made with organic ground turkey, green onion, spinach, yellow onion, red pepper flakes, and oregano.

Meal prep: broccoli, brown rice with green onions and pepper, ground turkey patties made with organic ground turkey, green onion, spinach, yellow onion, red pepper flakes, and oregano.

blackened organic chicken breast, yellow squash, zucchini, and steamed green beans.

blackened organic chicken breast, yellow squash, zucchini, and steamed green beans.

Chicken tacos made with: corn tortillas, low fat mexican cheese blend, cilantro, onions, organic chicken (seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, chille powder, and cayenne pepper), homemade quacemole, homemade chipotle sauce

Chicken tacos made with: corn tortillas, low fat Mexican cheese blend, cilantro, onions, organic chicken (seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, chilli powder, and cayenne pepper), homemade guacamole, homemade chipotle sauce

grapefruit with a smoothie containing: frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, strawberry greek yogurt, banana, oats, and orange juice.

grapefruit with a smoothie containing: frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, strawberry greek yogurt, banana, oats, and orange juice.

Mission: get hot.

The new year is upon us and this slacker mommy is finally back to blogging. While my blog took a back seat in the farthest row possible during the holiday season, I now welcome it and the new year with open arms.

I have never been a ‘new years resolution’ type of girl. Always taking the pessimistic route, when asked what my resolution was for the year, I would come up with a sassy answer along the lines of ‘to not eat any shellfish’ (I am allergic to shellfish and hate the stuff anyways). I approached the entire thing wrong, thinking that if I set no goal for myself, I couldn’t disappoint myself when I couldn’t accomplish said goal. This year however, inspired by my husband’s incredible ability to achieve his wildest goals, I set myself a goal. To put it at it’s simplest: get healthy, fit, and well… get hot.

I went into pregnancy weighing 107 and wearing a size 0 or 2, but I was by no means healthy. I ate McDonald’s once a week, drank a dr pepper once a day, and couldn’t even tell you what the last fruit I ate was. Since having my son, I have drastically modified my ways, however I still have not been consuming in a way that any nutritionist would approve of. I have lost very little of my birth weight and every poor food choice I make seems to haunt my remaining little baby pooch for weeks to come. Wasting money on poor food choices and fattening alcoholic beverages has led to very minimal baby weight loss, which in turn has led to a very low confidence. In the 19 months since birthing my son, I have done several juice cleanses and diet modifications, however I have not fully committed to any of them. My exercise routine consisted of a few squats and push ups every 3 or 4 days, if at all… And I wondered why I wasn’t losing any of the baby weight? I was living a lifestyle that was simply not sustainable long term for my health or for my bank account. It took talk of New Years resolutions, Instagram creeping some super hot fitness models, and several conversations with my husband and close friends to realize that now is the time for some big change.

In the least overdone and cliche way possible, I mean it when I say that 2015 is our year. My husband and I are committed to not only getting the ‘hot bods’ we’ve always wanted, but we are also committed to living a healthier lifestyle. Knowing that I will be on bed rest for the entire duration of my next pregnancy, I have always said that I cannot get pregnant with baby #2 until I have lost all of my previous baby weight. Getting pregnant before I have achieved that goal would most likely cause me to gain so much weight that I fear I may never be able to come back from it. With that being said, I am not only losing this weight so that I can look good for my husband/myself, and I am not only losing this weight so that I can demonstrate the importance of a healthy lifestyle to my son…but I am also doing this so that I can bring another little human into this world.

After a beautiful holiday season filled with cooking the largest most delicious meals, a Park City vacation in which diet was the least of our concerns, stuffing our faces with chocolates, and having a few too many beers, I can confidently say that I am ready for this change. My body has been begging for this change, and it is about time I listen to it. This year I will prove to myself that I am capable of accomplishing my goals. I will prove to myself that New Years resolutions CAN be fulfilled, and I will prove to everybody else that it is possible to be in better shape after a baby than you ever were before.

To put our plan into action, my husband and I invested in the newest p90x. I was always skeptical of workout videos prior to meeting my husband, however, he has completed the p90x program in the past and was very successful with it (that is, until I got pregnant and he joined me in my endeavors of eating for two!). Two days into the workouts it already became very clear to me that if done right, p90x will be very successful at whipping us into shape… By ‘it became very clear to me’ I mean that I have not been able to walk up the stairs without wincing for 3 days straight. In addition to our 7 day a week workouts, we will: go for long walks in the park on weekends, be drinking the suggested daily amount of water intake, going to bed earlier, drinking no alcohol (with the exception of the occasional glass.. Or 2..of red wine of course), eating no fast food, and we will be sticking to a very strict meal plan that contains primarily fruits, veggies, and protein.

Everybody may be seeing a little less of us. I may not be the ideal person to ask to go grab a burger with and I may not want to drink as much at social gatherings. I may decline an invite because I’ve got to work out, and I might not hang out as late because I’ve got to get my 8 hours of sleep. Call me boring, but I’ve got a bigger goal in mind. A goal that will lead to a healthier me, a more plentiful savings account, a husband who is even more attracted to me than he was when we met, a son who can see me as a healthy role model…and eventually this goal of mine will lead to Baby #2. With the goal on my mind, a positive outlook, a supportive community of friends/family, and a fridge full of meal prepped food containers, I WILL make 2015 my year. Let ‘Mission: get hot’ begin.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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Who says baby boys can’t be stylish?

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If you’re a momma to boys, I don’t have to tell you that buying clothes for boys pretty much always sucks. Walking into the children’s clothing section of just about every store, the girls side takes up about 75% of the space and is overfilling with adorably stylish options, while the boys side is picked over with only a few ninja turtle graphic tshirts remaining. Upon quickly discovering this, I set out to find the best brands for catering to my stylish little dude. The first and most important thing I discovered was that internet shopping is your best friend when it comes to little boys clothing… Which works out for the best because taking a little guy shopping can be a whole journey in itself. Here is a list of my top 5 baby boy clothing websites. Let me know what your favorite baby boy clothing shops are in the comments section below!

Baby Gap: Gap is where a good 2/3 of my son’s clothes come from. If you pounce at the right time, they’ve usually got major sales going on with anywhere from 25-40% off everything. They have everything from basics to adorable button downs and cardigans, and they very rarely are out of stock of the sizes that you need. I think a lot of people avoid baby Gap because they are under the impression that it’s super pricey, but if you shop with them online and wait for the major sales (which happen at least once a week), you can snag deals just as good as you’d get at a department store. Website: gap.com

VonBon Apparel: VonBon sells my favorite baby leggings in the entire world. A lot of baby leggings tend to sag or fit awkwardly, but not VonBon! These leggings are on the pricier end of things, but with the unique patterns and organic cotton, splurging on a couple of quality pairs of leggings can be completely justified. They also sell matching organic cotton bibs and blankets. Website: vonbon.ca

Etsy: Etsy is a dream come true for the mama who wants unique trendy baby clothes without breaking the bank. There are hundreds of quality shops selling moccassins, graphic tshirts, bandana bibs, and leggings that look almost identical to some of the most expensive designer baby brands. And since I’m pretty sure your little man will never look back at his baby photos and scold you for buying him Etsy shop moccs instead of designer baby moccs, you can’t go wrong! Website: Etsy.com

Lucky Brand: I felt so.. Lucky… when I discovered the sales going on at Luckybrand.com (giving you all a free pass to make fun of me for that dorky joke). I had initially checked out the website for myself after I’d outgrown all of my jeans during pregnancy. While on the site, I decided to check out the baby section, and what a pleasant surprise it was. The baby sale section has some of the best baby sales out there. I managed to buy my son two pairs of pants and four adorable tshirts for $40. Lucky sells very few products for the smaller guys, but is awesome for boys 2T and up. Website: luckybrand.com

Loola: I came across Loola on Instagram and instantly fell in love with their unique baby leggings. While a lot of their products are geared more towards little girls, they do have some awesome baby boy items also. My son has several of their clever tshirts as well as a pair of their leggings. The leggings are so flattering and are far more affordable than a lof the the quality baby leggings on the market. Loola also regularly posts discount codes on their instagram, which only makes them even more affordable! Website: loola.bigcartel.com

First Birthday Party attempts by a pinterestaholic.

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Going into my son’s first birthday, I repeatedly told myself “He’s one… How hard can planning his party be?”. The answer: HARD.

Part of my problem probably lies in the fact that I am a pinterestaholic. For months and months, I laid in bed pinning away on my “First Birthday” board. Because of this, my bar was set high. After changing the theme multiple times, I finally settled on a Tribal theme. If you’re anything like the rest of my family, you have no idea where I’m going with that.. so by tribal I mean arrows and dream catchers and things of that nature. Honestly, even I thought I was crazy as I attempted to put it all together, because let me tell you… tribal theme is by no means a “popular” theme at this time. So of course, I went to Etsy. Etsy has never failed me. I was able to find a grande assortment of everything I had envisioned, and as each item started to arrive, I could see my vision coming together.

Finally, the day arrived. With the help of my friends and family, we were able to pull off what was easily the best first birthday party I’ve ever thrown. Ok, it was the only first birthday party I’ve ever thrown, but it was definitely the best I have ever attended. From macaroni salad and spinach dip, to sangria and passionfruit tea lemonade, there wasn’t a person who left hungry or thirsty, and there wasn’t a baby who didn’t leave completely exhausted. A party that produces an excellent nap time can never be a bad thing, right?

My husband and I had a tornado of a mess to clean up the following day, but we could both agree that it was completely worth it. Next year’s 2nd birthday party will be a whole other adventure… Good thing I’ve got a whole year to prepare!

Cheers,

T.W.C.

One. One. One.

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Exactly one year ago, I was sitting on the couch watching a movie with my husband, when I suddenly felt that I was sitting in a puddle of wet. Overcome with embarrassment, I ran to the bathroom thinking that my “pregnancy bladder” had caused me to pee myself. It wasn’t until five minutes later when water was still dripping out of me that I realized I was in labor. My husband and I each took a quick shower, and scurried off to the hospital. I arrived at already 6 cm dilated. None of the nurses believed that I was in labor because of how calm I was, and they were even more shocked when they realized how close to being fully dilated I already was. 1 epidural and a few pushes later, my 6.5 lb baby boy was in my arms. This first year has been filled with every emotion on the spectrum, but most of all, it has been filled with happiness. Today is about celebrating an amazing first year of my son’s life, and surviving our first year of parenthood! Heres to many more.

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.