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

 

A letter to my pre motherhood self.

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Dear pre-mommy me,

A short time from now, you are going to be blessed with the craziest ball of energy you’ve ever seen. He will look just like you and act just like his daddy. He will say no to absolutely everything (even when he means yes). He will throw entire bowls of food on the ground and laugh in your face as you tell him to pick it up. He will cover your white coffee table in dark baby cub paw prints… Five minutes after you’ve cleaned it. He will roll around the dirt in the backyard at least twice a day (and usually try to snack on it as well). He will deny the plate of dinner you set in front of him 5 out of 7 days of the week. He will test your patience. He will make you question yourself and your parenting abilities. But more than any of that, he will make you a better person. He will give you the title of mommy, and you will wear that title with pride.

Because pride is the feeling in your heart when you look into the innocent eyes of the little human being that you created. Pride is the feeling in your heart when your little human shouts an enthusiastic “HI!!” to the sad stranger walking by and manages to make that stranger genuinely smile. Pride is the feeling in your heart when your little human figures out a new word or follows a new direction.

I will not lie, motherhood is just as scary as you’re expecting it to be. You’re faced with decision after decision and you won’t know if you’ve made the right decision until after the choice has been made. You will make mistakes, but there is no mother who hasn’t. You will do your best, and at the end of the day, that is what your son will see.

Rest up, for motherhood is exhausting, and like a guard dog, you will never truly sleep. But for every night of 2am wakes up, there is a morning of sweet snuggles. For every tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, there is a playful dance in the middle of the living room. For every time that you look in the mirror and miss your old body, there is a happy little boy running around as reminder that the changes were worth it. For every doubt you have, there is a sweet little hug as confirmation that maybe you really are doing it right.

During the quest to be a better parent, Google will be your best friend and your worst enemy. So will social media. You will find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other mothers, forgetting that your life does not need to look like anyone else’s. You will struggle to allow your little one to leave the protection of the safety bubble that you’ve created for him (even if it’s just playing on the jungle gym with another toddler). As cliche as it may sound, follow your heart. Follow your mother instincts. They will always point you in the right direction.

Of all the titles you can have in this world, mommy is certainly one of the best. I know that at this time, the only thing scarier than the idea of giving birth is the fear of being a bad parent. But fear not, for epidurals are a gift from the heavens and the happiness that motherhood fills you with will forever outweigh any worries you may have.

I guess all of this can really be summed up with this: motherhood is awesome (even if it doesn’t feel that way in the midst of a restaurant tantrum). Don’t be afraid, be excited. For there is a little boy who is about to REALLY make life interesting.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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When I have kids…

“When I have kids, they will never throw fits in public”.

“When I have kids they won’t be picky eaters”.

“When I have kids they will be off the pacifier before they turn one”

“When I have kids I’m going to breast feed for at least 9 months”.

When I have kids… When I have kids… When I have kids. We have all said it or thought it AT LEAST a few times prior to poppin em out. But when they’re actually standing there in front of you screaming and throwing their body all around in public because you gave them a yellow tortilla chip instead of a blue one, anything you thought about “when you have kids” just flies out the window. Because the truth is, sometimes your kid is going to throw a fit in public for absolutely no obvious reason, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Sometimes your kid is going to refuse to eat the healthy freshly cooked breakfast you set in front of him, but will happily eat the sweet potato cereal puffs that have been sitting in his snack container for a week. Sometimes giving your kid their pacifier when it’s the only thing that will get them to sleep is the best option you’ve got, and sometimes your milk production slows down far before you’d planned it to.

Nothing about parenthood is predictable, but that’s the beauty in it. “When I have this kid, I will love him more than anything in the entire world”… I thought to myself often as I watched my son somersault around in my tummy. But it is impossible to understand or predict how overwhelmingly true that is until your little one is snuggled up next to you in bed saying “mama” as he nestles his head into your neck. Every fit, every tantrum, every ‘hand in the toilet for the third time today’ incident is instantly forgotten with one sweet little smile.

Last week while on vacation in Newport, my husband and I took our son to breakfast. The establishment was full of business folk looking for a little peace and quiet before starting their busy work days. And what a surprise… Our son spent the entire 30 minute meal screaming because he didn’t want the strawberries and potatoes that we got him. We both left in somewhat of a bad mood, only to take him back to the hotel room in which he threw another giant fit because he couldn’t play in the bathroom. Right as I hit my limit, my son started crawling around on the floor uttering the sweetest “meow” sounds I’ve ever heard, pretending to be a kitten. And just like that, I’d forgotten about all of the chaos and all of the times that I had ever been ridiculous enough to think “when I have kids, they will never misbehave in a restaurant”.

The next day, my husband had to tend to business in the area, so I decided to have a day date with my son. I found a Barnes and Nobel near the hotel, got my ice coffee, and took him to the kids section of the store. It all was going great for the five whole minutes leading up to the moment in which my son found a toy that he wanted. I told him “no”, to which he responded “BYE!!!” and took off running towards the elevator with said toy. As I went to chase him, the weight of my purse on the back of the stroller caused it to tip backwards, sending my coffee flying and giving my son just enough time to reach the elevator. I jumped into the elevator and swooped him up just before the doors closed. And yet somehow after all of that, we left the store that day with a stuffed animal in hand, despite the many times in which pre baby me thought “my kids will never get rewarded for bad behavior”. But you know what? After the elevator incident, he cuddled up in my lap for a few sweet moments of book reading…found a stuffed animal he liked… imitated the sound that he thought it made….and then nodded his head yes so very enthusiastically when I asked him if he was going to be a good boy. So yes, I bought my baby that souvenir polar bear stuffed animal (that he thinks is a cat). And what do you know… He was a perfect angel baby for the rest of our day date and that stuffed animal has been his favorite possession ever since.

My point in all of this is that in the parenting world, things don’t always go to plan. Even if you are an over the top organized planning freak like me, shit happens (literally… sometimes your kid is going to poop in their diaper just as you’re walking into dinner). Going against all of the “when I have kids…” that pre parent you ever uttered does not make you a bad parent, it makes you a completely normal parent… A completely normal parent who is learning and evolving…A completely normal parent who is doing your best… A completely normal parent who probably deserves a really long bath, an early bed time, and a pat on the back (or a rub on the back if your significant other is feeling generous).

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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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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