I LOVE the holidays! Growing up in Seattle was great because so much of my family was there. Every Thanksgiving we’d head out to the coast with my Grandpa’s side of the family and enjoy a day of lots of food and cousin fun. For Christmas we had SO many parties with so many different parts of the family! It was the best. I miss seeing all of my extended family during the holidays now that I’m not in WA. But it is fun creating new traditions with my new little family. Now I love spending Christmas at home seeing the excitement on little R’s face Christmas morning. Seeing life through the eyes of a child is an amazing experience!
It’s so fun creating new traditions with my fam. We host Christmas Even Brunch with our San Jose “family”, check out Christmas in the Park, went to My First Nutcracker this year, and created our first Advent Calendar.
It was super simple so I figured I’d share it!
I cut out stockings with my Silhouette cutter (this is literally my favorite craft tool I have!!) Downloaded this activities list from Etsy, cut them out and glued them to the back of the stockings. I decided I didn’t want to do many repeats so I pulled out some and made a few of my own. I added in Gingerbread House Making, Winter Artwork, Deliver Treats to a Neighbor, Christmas in the Park, and Check out the Lights on a Neighborhood Walk.
What I Learned –
25 days of things to do was ambitious! Sometimes I just don’t want to do things, this preggo momma is tired! Even though some were small sometimes the big ones were too much
Make sure you order the activities. This was my biggest mistake! I totally didn’t pay attention and ended up with big activities on weekdays when we didn’t have a lot of time. Opps!
In order for your little one to get into it you have to DO it. On the weeks where we did it most days R would get excited about it each day but if I forgot for a few days so did she. I think next year it’ll be more fun!
We had a fabulous holiday time with R this year. She got so into all of it, did an amazing job opening presents and actually played with all the things she got. I’m so excited to continue our family traditions and add to them when little man comes along.
I’m always looking for new mom blogs and communities to check out and inspire me. Today I found Coffee & Crumbs over on Facebook. As I was checking out their blog there was one post that really resonated with me and got me thinking about if I was a Super Mom.
Looking back, I feel like I started this blog with the intention of trying to prove to myself and those around me that I had it all together. That I could do it all. That I was just as good at being a mom as I was at my job. That I could be SUPER MOM! I get lost in that sometimes. The desire to feel accomplished and needed and appreciated…and honestly viewed by the outside world as someone who is good at this mom thing.
When I started this “job” of motherhood I honestly didn’t know if I’d be very good at it. I think that’s why I was trying to prove something, to myself and those around me. Work was life, not just a job to me. Leaving the comfort of something I enjoyed and was really good at was scary.
As my time as a mom continues, I’m realizing that I am Super Mom. The Coffee & Crumbs post was right, we are all Super Mom! We don’t need to “do it all”, what we need to do is love our kids, have fun, and do what is best for them. There are good days and bad. For me, there are days when I’d rather have a glass of wine then sit and play with her or when I want to leave her in her room longer so that I can get more done around the house. There are also other days where she wants to play dress up and have a tea party. Or days where she says new words or does something new like jumping off things with two feet (mastered yesterday, SO proud)! Those days, and even moments, are what make it all worth it. It’s not about perfection, it’s about love and a sense of humor.
As R gets older it does get easier. Now at the ripe old age of 2 she is SO fun! I love my days with her. Sure there are days that are really hard…she’s been whining all day today, but she needs me and I love seeing her grow and develop. As we were sitting and doing puzzles with R at the end of the day my husband told me I had the patience of a saint because I didn’t just do the puzzle for her. Reality, don’t tell him this, is that as she’s attempting to get those pieces together I’m staring off into space dreaming of the things I’ll get to do in 20 minutes when she goes to bed, but I’ll let him keep thinking it’s patience I have.
This parenting thing is hard. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Take each day as a new opportunity to be Super Mom. Make a fort with your kids, blast music and have a dance party, have a glass of wine at 4pm if you need to. The thing that will make you the best Super Mom? Taking time for yourself and recharging your Super Mom powers. Now go out there and live your Super Mom identity, you got this!
I’m a person who needs routine and a schedule. If I don’t have a plan for the day I am way more likely to sit and do nothing. I’m still trying to work out the best way to coordinate a schedule with little lady R and after months and months of trial and error I think I found one that is fun and simple.
I found a few different ideas on Pinterest that I coordinated into my own schedule. I love that it gives us at least one thing each day that we can do. That way if we do nothing the rest of the day I still feel accomplished, we least kind of.
Make Something Monday –
This is my favorite day because I LOVE crafts! On the days we do nothing, we at least do some sort of craft. I’m not afraid of getting messy with crafts either, I encourage paint, glue and I even have an upcoming project involving glitter! Yes glitter and a 2 year old!
We got paint dotters from a friend for R’s birthday and they are fabulous! All the painting sans mess! On the left we used a q-tip as our “brush”. We also swear by our Color Wonder markers!
Get Outside Tuesday –
Pretty self explanatory but this is our guaranteed outside day, we get outside other days but this one I try to make longer. Park playdates, water play, bike ride and more.
This is an easy day too because, thanks to my amazing husband, we have an AWESOME backyard! On our most basic Get Outside Tuesdays we just hang out in the playhouse and enjoy the sunshine 🙂
What’s Cooking Wednesday –
Another one of my fave days! I enjoy showing and teaching R about cooking and she loves trying out new skills. Plus it gets me cooking more; I’m not much of a cook so I enjoy this aspect too. She’s even started using butter knifes to cut bananas and a few other soft items.
A lot of the time I have her help me with my snacks or dinner for the evening but it really is fun for everyone. Added bonus? It keeps her busy while I’m cooking so she isn’t fussing at my feet, SCORE!
Time to Think Thursday –
Science Day!! Last week we did baking soda and colored vinegar for fun eruptions. We love sensory bins! Our favorite is our rice bin (if you have dogs DON’T let them eat this stuff, it’s not pretty!)
How fun is this!! And easy, plus I get to eat the rest of the Skittles bag woot woot!! Another option for this day is checking out the library or library storytime. R loves books so this is her happy place. Today was a library day and she had way too much fun. We spent 2 hours there, most of it was spent rolling around on the floor and bouncing around the room. It was absolutely adorable!
Fun Time Friday –
Right now I’m part of a Friday Adventure Group so each Friday we find a fun activity in the area and head out. Hiking, amusement park, museum, etc. But once preschool begins we are only going to do the group once a month so R and I will find other fun adventures for the other weeks. There are SO many amazing things to do here in the Bay Area (be on the lookout for an upcoming post about my Bay Area Bucket List).
This schedule helps me keep my sanity and gives R fun daily activities. Plus it’s easy. One of my earlier plans was trying to coordinate more of a preschool schedule but I was too ambitious and most of the time we just ended up doing nothing I had planned. Plus Pinterest has way too many ideas and it was completely overwhelming. The themed days help narrow down the options too. Try it, see what works for you!
If you know me from my pre-baby life you know I was a work-a-holic (honestly who am I kidding, this hasn’t changed). It’s something I seriously struggle with now that I’m a stay at home momma. And as R gets older I find it even more of a struggle.
When R was young….well, she didn’t really do anything. Babies are blobs and to keep my own sanity I volunteered for everything and added even more to my plate. I currently volunteer with five different organizations and put in countless hours. But as R’s getting older she actually needs me more so than as a baby. She wants me involved with her activities, teaching her, playing with her and being present. I can’t sit and respond to emails while I’m breastfeeding anymore and she even actively asks me to put my phone down these days. It breaks my heart that a statement like that has to come out my 2 year olds mouth 🙁
A couple months ago I joined an online mom/wife group and began something called Project Reset (check out The Home Loving Wife for more info). Essentially the goal is to figure out your values and prioritize your life based on those values. It took me some serious time to think about my values and how I was prioritizing my life around those values. I realized that I was not prioritizing my life based on how I wanted to live my values.
After some serious soul searching I realized it was time for changes in my life. I needed to cut back on my volunteer work, I needed to spend more time with my family, I needed to spend my time with the people I love not spend my time constantly responding to emails and managing people.
So this year has been huge for me as I’m discovering the things that really matter to me. R is becoming more interactive, more fun but also more demanding and it’s harder to find time with my hubby. I’m STILL trying to figure it all out, I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that I’m taking steps to understand myself better, to create a positive family environment and to lead by example for my daughter.
I spent the morning with a couple fabulous mommas at the beach. The overcast sky and mild temperature was actually amazing. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda lady and it’s been crazy hot here so I was excited to enjoy a “comfy” day. Digging my toes in the sand, watching R play with her friends, shrieking about the coldness of the water. It truly was perfect and it was exactly what I needed to start off a weekend of focusing on my family.
This weekend I promise to keep my phone away more, to be present and excited with my daughter and to take some time to cuddle with my amazing hubby. Every step I take gets me closer to living out my life with purpose and happiness. I’m excited for this new journey I’m on!
Back in 2012, when I was trying to loose weight for my wedding, I tracked EVREY single thing that I ate, planned my meals out every Saturday and spent Sunday prepping and making meals. It worked wonders and I lost 20 lbs in 5 months.
Nowadays tracking, planning, prep, etc. is much more difficult. Having a toddler running around makes it difficult to make the plans and stick with them. I’ve been back on the band wagon many times and a few weeks in something comes up and I forget to plan a week, forget to enter in my food, and I fall off.
So here I go trying again….I’m hoping that by doing a weekly blog post I’ll keep up more with the planning. I’m not going to enter food into any app or anything like that, I’m just going to plan the week and really push myself to stick to the plan.
So here goes……
5 green peppers*
1lb grass fed beef
free range skin on bone in chicken thighs*
pasture raised eggs
whole fat greek yogurt*
2 cans tuna
2 heirloom tomatoes*
good seed bread
*denotes items I purchased, others I had at home
All of the above gives myself and R breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. I’m loving doing all of my grocery shopping at New Seasons Market. And the best part? I only spent $57.77 at the grocery store! When purchasing all organic, free range, hormone free food the prices can get a bit spency but so far New Seasons hasn’t been too bad!
First up on the menu? Green Pepper “Not”-chos
OMG were these delicious! Large sliced green peppers, a few purple corn chips and lots of delicious toppings (we did tomatoes, black olives, beef, and cheese). Bake at 325 for 20 minutes and enjoy! In our house we LOVE nachos so this was a great way to make them lighter. Give it a try.
Stick around for more posts about all the yummy things we make this week, can’t wait to share!
My husband and I love doing DIY projects, but honestly it can get a bit spency. Plus time consuming with all those trips to the home improvement store!
So since I tend to enjoy “cleaning” out the house often I figured HEY! Let’s find ways to use the crap we have to make something awesome! We have lots of plans so this post is the first in a series of awesomeness 🙂
Project 1 – Changing Table to Outdoor Bar
When we first had R a friend gave us this changing table. It’s been used as a changing table, tv stand, toy storage and more. Recently we acquired new toy storage so the plan was to give away the changing table. As I was preparing to post it to NextDoor I had an aww-ha moment. This changing table would be PERFECT for the outdoor bar I’ve been wanting to build!
This is what we started with. Great piece of furniture but needed some new life. So we decided to paint and put on a new top. We removed the top and measured it so we new what size to get for the new top.
Simple $20 piece of wood. My husband took care of this part (thankfully). We tested lots of stain options and decided on an oil type wood stain. But when we put it up against the paint color it was far too light. So we added oxidation solution on top (LOVE this stuff!)
While hubby worked on the top I worked on painting the old piece.
Our outdoor area has shades of brown/orange so we wanted to make this piece fit right in. I am not a lover of painting walls but painting furniture wasn’t so bad!
Here is our ALMOST finished product. We weren’t quite sure on the top so we waited overnight to see how it looked once it was totally dry. The next morning we still wanted to darken up the color to provide more contrast with the base so hubby sanded, oxidized and finally applied a poly seal to the top.
Totally in love!! It’s so nice to have a place to put food here instead of on the outdoor dining table, it saves so much room. It is also a great place to store R’s toys and all the grill tools. Plus the perfect place to set up a nice little drink station for parties!
Growing up I seemed to have a new best friend every year. I was still friends with the previous ones, it’s just that one relationship was the strongest and it seemed to change every year.
Nowadays, as a mom and an adult, I don’t have one single best girl friend (my husband is great and all but he’s no girl best friend 🙂 ) but instead I’m surrounded by lots of amazing women. Each of them holding their own special place in my life and part in who I am.
1.College Friends For me this is mostly my sorority sisters with a few others mingled in. These women have a special place in my heart, they were a big part of who I am today. College was my time of self discovery and where I “grew up” (kind of, I’m still working on that one). I feel like they also know the most fun me. The get drunk every weekend and dance all night me. I was so cool back then, nowadays 3 glasses of wine and I’m hungover the entire next day.
2.Gym Friends These are my motivation ladies. I’ve been working out pretty consistently since R was born and I LOVE it! I’ve never felt so strong. These are the ladies that keep me moving. They encourage me to keep it up and tell me my ass looks hot from all those squats I’ve been doing. Plus we also like to drink wine, especially on Fridays.
3.Volunteer Friends These are my inspiring friends. These are the ladies that inspire me to be a better me and always keep trying. They are some of the most amazing women I know. They are moms, lawyers, philanthropists, coaches, survivors, the list goes on. Whether they are the women I’ve encountered during my time advising or with the League, these women are the people that keep me doing my best. They have so much on their plate yet they still have the time to give back to amazing organizations. Plus we enjoy lots of wine at all our events too.
4.Mom Friends I love my momma friends. These are the ladies that keep me sane. They revel in my experiences and support me when I’m feeling like a shitty parent. And seeing our kids grow up together is amazing! We are all a little different but those little humans bring us together to laugh, cry, and drink lots of wine. That’s what moms need, lots and lots and lots of wine.
5.Old Friends Sometimes these friends feel like a world away. I have such different memories with them and they seem so long ago. But those are the things that connect us to them. Those are the things that make you able to complete each others sentences even when you haven’t seen each other in years. Every time we sit down to have a drink together it all comes back so easily.
So basically the requirement to be my friend is that you like to drink. If you enjoy an adult beverage or two we’ll probably get along just fine. And if you don’t, well you better at least enjoy chocolate.
This past week was spent with R’s besties camping out in the woods and celebrating the little ladies 2nd birthday! I can’t believe she’s 2!
Outside of celebrating her birthday we spent lots of time enjoying the great outdoors.
Ok, so let me preface this by saying that I haven’t been camping in YEARS! I went a lot as a kid, both with family and Girl Scouts, but it was probably high school the last time I camped. This camping was “supposed” to be easier because it was in cabins. But I swear tent camping would have been easier than these cabins. It was nice to have a stove and electricity but otherwise these cabins were basically death traps waiting to happen! Okay maybe I’m over reacting a little but seriously there were nails sticking out, broken benches, ugh.
We had such a blast! But I gotta say I’m quite happy to be home. Sleeping in my own bed and having a playroom to “lock” my kid away in is pretty damn awesome. We were too ambitious, we planned on staying 7 nights, we lasted 5….barely. So here are a few things I learned while enjoying the great outdoors with the little ones:
10. Don’t Do It!
If you’re thinking of going, just don’t. Instead put up a tent in the backyard and play outside. It’s much easier
9. Wrap your Kid in Bubble Wrap
They are toddlers. They fall a lot. Enough said.
8. Don’t forget the First Aid Kit
Believe me, you’ll need it. The bubble wrap I suggested above will help but I swear you’ll still need it. Likely for yourself too. One of our mommas cut open the bottom of her foot on the first day, not a fun way to start out the trip but she was a trooper and stuck with it.
7. Man on Man Coverage versus Zone
As often as you can, try to have just as many parents as there are children, or at least older children who can help the tots. The ground is uneven, there are hills to fall down, streets to get run over on, animals to get stung by, and a million other things to mess up the kids so you need as much coverage as possible
6. Lots and Lots and Lots of Spray
Bug Spray – I swear everything bites while you’re camping. We had flies, mosquitoes, freaking everything! I hate the damn bugs. Sunscreen – apply, apply, apply! I know, applying sunscreen to toddlers usually ignites lots of screaming but imagine trying to apply sunscreen to a burnt toddler. Give yourself a chance of avoiding a crispy lobster child by applying constantly
5. Remember, it’s Camping
That means it’s dirty. Really dirty. And toddlers attract dirt. They also really love putting dirt in shoes and then pouring it on each other and you
4. Go During the Week
This will allow you the weekend to recover from the crazy. Originally we planned Saturday to Saturday but after 5 days we were totally done. The last day was spent sitting in the grass entertaining our kiddos in the campground laundry room. That’s right, the laundry room. But the good part is we then had Friday-Sunday to get ourselves back to some semblance of alive before the hubby had to go back to work Monday
3. Nap Isn’t Just for the Kiddos
The kid takes a nap so you should too. The sun is exhausting, it’s hot, and you deserve it. It’ll keep you ready for more beers (see below). Plus it’s a family trip (not a vacation because anything that requires you to chase toddlers and be up by 7am is NOT vacation)! The perfect time to attempt to catch up on your missing sleep
2. Bring Lots of Booze
After chasing your toddler for hours all you are going to want after bedtime is a very large cold alcoholic beverage. But don’t drink too much, you need to be prepared to wake up in the middle of the night when something “scary” wakes up your little one and then again at the crack of dawn with a tot screaming in your face for breakfast
1. HAVE FUN!
Even though we were EXHAUSTED by the end of every day, we had such an amazing time. R had SO many firsts and it was exciting watching her explore. She went on a boat, she went tubing, had lots of ice cream, played horseshoes, played tether-ball and more. The adorable factor was on point for 80% of the week (the rest was spent sleeping or stressing about safety). It was the longest and most fun week I’ve had in ages
In the end it truly was a great trip but my final recommendation? Don’t plan on going for a week. I think 2 nights tent camping would have been perfect. Next year we will still enjoy a 4th of July #bestiesweek, and R’s birthday, at a cabin but more VRBO or AirBnB style. (We might be wimps but oh well)
Enjoy a couple nights of outdoor fun and excitement and then head home to relax for the rest of the weekend. It’s totally worth it!
Before R came I had been with the same company for 5 years. It was my first job out of college and I LOVED it. I had plans to go far in the company and was well on my way to making that happen. I was really good at my job, like really good, and now that I’m a mom I have to say I feel a little bit lost.
It’s not that I don’t love being a mom and love being home with my little lady, because seriously there is NOTHING better than a random hug and kiss from that sweet little toddler!, but it doesn’t come as naturally to me as working did. So I’ve been trying to find ways to make it more, like a job I guess. I’ll get excited about something (planning crafts, activities, etc.), then I get busy and then I forget and then I get excited about it again, do more work and the cycle repeats itself but I feel like I seldom actually accomplish anything.
I’m also not a homemaker haha! I don’t love cooking and I hate cleaning, especially the laundry and the dishes (thankfully my husband is much better at those things that I, score for me!). So I’m feeling a bit lost when it comes to what I do and where I fit.
I try adding in volunteer work to fill that spot of “work” and that sometimes helps. But trying to fit it in with my own hobbies and my family can be hard. There are times I feel like those hours are time I should be spending on R but then when I have that time I often have no idea what to do with it. I feel like before R, there was work and Matt with a little bit of other stuff. But now with R I have R work, volunteer work, hobbies work, Matt, home ownership, chef, maid, teacher, dog sitter, you get the picture. It’s not that I didn’t have some of those things before R but I swear I had way more time then ha!
So I guess what I’m trying to say about this thing called stay-at-home mommying is I’m still trying to figure out what the f*** I’m doing. I’m trying to figure out where I fit into this equation of mother, housewife, etc. I definitely haven’t found my sweet spot. I’m not unhappy, there really is nothing better in life than being a parent, but I just don’t feel that same sort of heart pumping excitement I used to get with work.
It saddens me to say that. Seeing R count to 3 for the first time the other day was AMAZING but I’m missing that same excitement for myself and the things I do. I get lots of time to be excited for R and my hubby about all the awesome things they do but I don’t have things I do that give me the same “feel good” feelings work did. Sure I have hobbies, but I’m just not as good at them as I was work (although I have to say I’m getting MUCH better!).
I know it’s been two years, almost awwww, already but with a kid I feel like every few months is like starting a new job. Every time you think you have it down, they change. So here’s to pushing on. Keeping strong, going with the flow, and encouraging myself to keep figuring it out. Someday, maybe I’ll get there.
If you know me well you know a few things – 1) I’m not great at creating my own stylish outfits, 2) I love StitchFix and 3) I love dressing my kid in adorable “mini me” clothes.
So when I heard about Runchkins, basically StitchFix for kids, I thought, “I HAVE to check this out.” I know what you’re thinking….why does she need fancy clothes for her little human that will outgrow them in 3 months anyway? Well I mostly did this just to check it out, I was crazy curious to see what they might come up with and yes, I’m a sucker for adorable boutique type baby clothes. Plus I figured the $20 styling fee was worth it even if I only keep one item.
My review? It’s an adorable idea but I’m not in love (like I am with Stitch Fix!!). The clothes just didn’t work for R. I’m kind of not surprised since she’s related to me and I struggle to find clothes that fit right. The outfits were pretty cute though! We had a fun fashion show 🙂
This one didn’t work at all, it has elastic in the legs which just doesn’t work for R (she’s still got her baby thighs hehe). I also just purchased something similar recently so although I love the look I wasn’t upset about it not working.
When I opened the box I LOVED these shorts, so cute! But they didn’t fit at all! If you check out the pic you can see the right side of the shorts have crept up her leg. Ugh, I know how she feels 😉
Although cute it was actually too big. Sure I could keep it for future but I wasn’t totally in love. She did love the pockets, I too love pockets!
This dress was not good. It’s actually odd, it’s long but a little short for a maxi AND the shoulder straps were way too long so if adjusted the length would have been even more awkwardly short. If it had fit I would have kept it though, it was really cute and fun!
The shirt wasn’t really my style but I actually thought this one was so adorable! I was also in LOVE with the skirt. She wore it today and it was a hit! She looked so grown up in it too! I kept the skirt but not the shirt, I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d rotate through her closet since I don’t normally like screen printed shirts.
The shoes….I love the idea of these shoes because they are hand made in South Africa but who thinks white shoes for a toddler is a good idea? They are also elastic in the back and R has always had those types of shoes cut into her feet:
The last outfit was very cute! A navy dress with birds on it. Love it, has enough detail to make it interesting, and she loved it! That’s how you know it’s a good purchase! I kept this one for sure!
If you want to check it out? Here is my referral link. Give it a try, worst that can happen is you pay $20 (styling fee) to have a fun fashion show with your little one. Totally worth the fun!