Monday, September 30, 2013

Slow Paced Living

I've blogged before about the need I felt to slow things down in our daily life. To spend more quality time with the kids as opposed to quantity, to be more intentional as a wife, mother and a friend. To focus on what truly mattered in life.

A few months ago our daily life was as fast paced as you could get. We had something every single day of the week. Our week looked like this

Monday-Mom and me group
Tuesday-Military Wife Group bible study
Wednesday-Gianna had school and we had small group at night
Fri-A playdate of some kind

And while that doesn't seem like much throw in nap times, errands, working out, cooking, cleaning, etc, etc and it was no wander I was started to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. I spent the whole day running around from event, to activity to place and then cramming all the household chores I didn't get done during the day into the hours after the kids went to bed that I knew something had to change.So I made the point of looking at our schedule and cutting some stuff out. The only activity I kept in my schedule was Mops(Moms of Preschoolers)

And a month later I am loving our laid back lifestyle. I am for the most part always caught up on chores, and if not I don't mind spending a day doing it all during nap time or in the early morning because I know that I have the whole rest of the day to be with the kids. I have reconnect with a lot of my close friends and the playdates that I set up are play dates with them and their kids. I learned that while mommy groups are nice, I don't need 50 woman and their kids to go to the zoo with me and mine. Now I plan those things with my good friends who have kiddos the same age as mine.

I feel less stressed, more calm, and I feel like a better mommy. I love having the mornings to wake up, relax and play with the kids, make a nice healthy breakfast and lounge around, going on walks or playing outside. Not having to get them up, get myself and them dressed and then rush them out the door for our first activity.

The kids and I have resumed going to story time at the library which we love and story time is usually followed by a picnic and walk at the park. I've noticed the kids seem happier with our slower lifestyle and love playing at home and having more one on one time with me. Naps are more routine and organized and I limit my errand running to once a week.

I do struggle with finding enough things to do during the day and some days hate not having at least one thing to go to but then I invite friends over for a playdate or go to the park and it all works out. These are the moments with my kids that I want to make the most of. In a few short years they will be in school and I will have all the time in the world to go to small group and bible study and hang out with my friends having adult time. And while I still do all those things, I just limit them. Finding a balance is what needed to happen and I feel like I am finally finding mine. No more complaining about lack of me time, or of how there is so much to get done. Now I don't stress if we have a busy weekend and the cleaning has to wait until Monday and I don't beat myself up if I use nap time to take a nap myself. It is amazing how much more calm, centered and focused I have become since making some changes in our daily life. I even found that the more unstructured you are a routine begins to present itself. And at the end of the day I am just enjoying time with my kids and being present in their lives

Friday, September 27, 2013

Body Image

Body image is something that I constantly struggle with. I have struggled with it my whole life! I have always been on the curvier side of the spectrum. I have a very athletic build and although I danced five days a week, on top of running track and being on my school's dance team I still felt fat. Looking back now I admire the figure I had then. I was strong, toned, athletic. If only I could have appreciated my body for what it was

Now I am the heaviest I have ever been. But also the healthiest I've been in a long time. Which obviously is very frustrating. I loved being pregnant. When I was pregnant with Gianna I worked out, ate well, still indulged in cravings but never went over board. I gained 27 pounds with her and had only the last 7 to lose when I found out I was pregnant with Ethan. This time around I didn't work out due to horrible morning sickness and utter exhaustion. Chasing after a baby/toddler was exercise enough. Still with him I only gained 20 pounds and by the first month I only had 10 to lose. When he was 5 months old I that final 6 that was still hanging around but I felt and looked pretty good for having two kids back to back. And then my husband came home and I packed on 10 pounds. I now weigh almost as much as I did when I gave birth to Ethan a year ago

Although I am not a stress eater I tend to hang on to weight when stressed. Add to that lack of sleep and it's no wander I'm having problems losing weight. In july I started my couch to 5k program and really cut back on my calories and started watching what I ate. As I increased my running time and found a love for salads and fruit smoothies the scale kept creeping up and up. I was not losing weight. Talk about frustrating!

Now almost three months after starting that program I have finally lost 2 pounds and I don't feel as if I have lost any inches. My clothes still fit the same, I don't feel like I look more toned, in fact I still feel as flabby as ever

And I constantly am stepping on the scale. So much so that now when Gianna  walks into my bathroom she immediately steps on the scale. That horrifies me. I can't let my body issues get to her. Because at the end of the day body size and weight is not important

What is important is modeling a healthy lifestyle and teaching your kids those healthy habits. Now when I go out running, I feel proud. Not because I am losing weight but because I am showing my kids what it looks like to be active. I have to take them out in the double stroller and after I get my run in, Gianna gets out and walks/runs with me. She loves running and constantly wants to race. And I am a firm believer that kids should be outside as much as possible so we take multiple trips to the park a week. And the beach, my kids are total water babies. I love showing them how to lead a healthy, active lifestyle

Eating habits are one thing I struggle with. Truth be told I think of dieting as not eating. And I am more likely to make the kids a healthy breakfast of fresh cut fruit and yogurt while drinking coffee instead of eating with them. Horrible I know. I need to make more of a point to eat what they are eating. My lunches and dinners are all pretty healthy and I am a firm believer in moderation. So yes I do allow them to eat a mcdonalds happy meal for lunch, We will order a pizza from time to time but I don't allow constant snacking and desert is something that is saved for a special occasion. Now if only we could get the husband on board with some of the healthy meals I prepare!

It scares me to think of Gianna growing up in this body obsessed world and by a young age feel the need to diet, or be skinny and to not feel comfortable in her own skin. As I have seen her grow these past two years I think she has gotten my husband's body over mine and for that I am grateful. She will hopefully have his long, skinny runner's legs and be slightly taller than my 5'1 self. I pray that she never has to struggle with feeling beautiful, skinny or worthy enough like I have. 

I hope that I can teach her that beauty is skin deep, and that it's the inside that matters. Even now when I tell her she's pretty and beautiful I wander if I'm doing her a disservice. But she is pretty and she is beautiful and I think girls need to hear that and hear it often. It may be superficial but a girl with positive self esteem and positive body image is less likely to be depressed, have an eating disorder and really struggle with her weight. It is my job to teach her all those things, instill a healthy lifestyle and teach her good eating habits

And for myself I have to cut myself some slack. My body is not what it used to be but it is better. I grew two beautiful babies and have the stretch marks to prove it. And Ethan, he changed around my whole body type and I'm still trying to get used to it. It'll take time, patience and work. But as long as I am eating healthfully and making a point to work out that is all that matters. Not the number on the scale but the effort and work I am putting into making me healthy

I, as much as my daughter can not keep buying into the skinny is beauty mentality. I fully appreciate woman with fuller figures, who rock self confidence and own who they are. That is who my daughter needs to look up to. And who I need to look up to as well

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to keep your toddler's entertained

We have all had those days. You know the ones. Where you wake up in the morning, ready to embrace the day with your kiddos. You fed them a nice homemade breakfast in comparison to the bag of oatmeal they usually get. You actually showered and got dressed and are left feeling ready to conquer anything. You get the kids dressed and out the door and off you go on your first adventure of the day. A nice, long walk around the neighborhood. By the time the walk is over you have a toddler melting down and a screaming baby. But you are not going to give up. Today you are supermom! You wheel the stroller into the garage and pull out paper and finger paint. Painting should last a good half hour. Maybe an hour if you are very creative. But within 5 minutes the kids are paitning on each other instead of the paper and within reach of their grubby fingers is your car so you move on to something else. Chalk, bubbles, water play, whatever you have within reach you pull out ready to use. After awhile both kids are ready to go inside. You head inside feeling smug. You are an amazing mom. It has to be later afternoon by now and you haven't even turned the tv on once! And the kids got lots of time playing outside and burning out energy. You wouldn't be surprised if it's way past nap time and more than half the afternoon is gone. Until you look at the clock and realize that only an hour has passed. And worse it's only 9am. Your still two hours or more away from nap time. Now what do you do?

I have these days alot. When I first envisioned becoming a stay at home mom I imagined days spent making creative things out of legos, building a log house with lincoln logs, putting train sets together, introducing the kids to my favorite chapter books which we would spend hours reading, snuggled on the couch on lazy rainy days. But babies and toddlers are not kids. They have the attention span of a bumble bee and as much as I plan on days spent reading books, coloring, painting, blowing bubbles etc, in reality those activities usually result in a toddler eating crayons, the baby spilling all the bubbles and them getting into anything and everything. I never intend on letting them watch tv all day but some days it happens. Some days I get so burnt out of ideas on things to do with them that I'm lost for new activities to try with them. Let's be honest, shaking a rattle in front of your babies face is fun for only so long! So of course I turn to pinterest for ideas, and while I have found a lot in regards to toddlers, they still tend to be activities geared to older toddlers, not young 2's and babies. But one list I found I thought was good. The author even has a link to a pdf checklist format that you can print off and check off the activities as they are completed.

Click on above picture to be taken to link

Any other fun suggestions for activities to do with both babies and toddlers?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hands Full

After Ethan was born, every time I ventured out with both kiddos I was always met with the same comment from people. Wow, you have your hands full. How far apart are they. I secretly relished in that. I would proudly announce 15 months apart, waiting for their gasp of shock. In some way I needed their validation. Without the husband at home to help out I wanted people to acknowledge the fact that I did have my hands full, that it was hard and that I was doing it! I was super mom.

Now that I no longer have two kids under two and my kids are older and better, things are so much easier. Grocery shopping with two is no longer as hard as it once was, doing anything with them both is no longer as hard as it once was so when I'm now met with you have your hands full I sometimes am insulted. I know when people say that they don't mean anything by it. But it still rubs me the wrong way

A few months ago I would have taken it as a compliment. And in a way it was. For it was hard after Ethan was born. Adjusting to  a newborn and a 15 month old was trying. I felt guilty at all times for not paying either kid enough attention. Recovering from a c-section was more difficult the second time around and on top of that I was struggling with crazy hormones and my husband being gone. I thought it wouldn't take long before the kids and I settled into a routine but I was wrong. It took months. Neither kid napped at the same time, Ethan was colicky, Gianna was sick all the time with ear infections and my days were spent running to urgent care, scheduling dr's appts, nursing a baby, rocking and walking with a baby who screamed all night long, sleepless night, endless days, you name it. I slacked on everything. Taking care of myself, cooking properly for Gianna and I, cleaning my house and so on and so forth.But as the months passed things got easier. Ethan got over his colic, Gianna got tubes put in, the husband came home and everything settled down.

 Ethan and Gianna sometimes napped at the same time, I slowed down on our daily activities and took the time to take care of myself. I started running, eating healthy, spending quality time with the kids, cleaning and taking care of household chores during nap time or downtime instead of pushing it off till the last second and then getting overwhelmed with it all. And I made the time for myself to read, watch tv or just rock on my front porch allowing myself a moment to breath.

It is nothing now to load up the car with two kids and run into the grocery store. A day full of errands with two is out of the question but I don't dread the bi-weekly run to Walmart the way that I once used to. Bedtime is around the same time for both kids and both are sleeping through the night. Ethan is on formula so I am not constantly nursing a baby and both kids are finally starting to play together. Our days are fun, exciting and I wouldn't trade them in for anything at all. I'm not saying everything is rainbows and sunshine. The terrible 2's are in full force and Ethan is so clingy and whiny when he is teething that it can be exhausting. There are some days where when I look at the clock I am shocked to see that it is only 10am and we've already ran errands, gone for a walk, ate breakfast and played and I can't think of another thing to do to occupy our day.

But like anything else in life I went through one phase and am onto another. Pretty soon Ethan will be 1 and I will have two toddlers running around my house! My house will probably never be clean and I will be spending my days breaking up fights between brother and sister. And I'm ok with that. So now when people comment and tell me I have my hands full, I smile and say I got this. Because I do and on days that I don't I give myself grace and tell myself that tomorrow is another day. Motherhood is a work in progress and we all keep getting better and better at it as the days go on. I would never trade this past year of my life in for anything. I have learned so much about myself, have grown in so many ways and have made so many positive changes in my life all because of my two beautiful little people. I am so blessed to be their mommy. And I love having my hands full

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


It's been awhile since I have done an update on Gianna and since I don't do monthly updates for her anymore I thought I would document all the new and cute things she is doing

- She knows most of her uppercase letters. She loves the preschool prep letter DVD and I have letter flashcards taped up on the wall of her playroom
-She can count to 10 but only when she wants to
-She calls her grandma Shema and her Grandpa Papa
-Ethan is E-she
- She loves walking around and asking people What are you doing?
-She is so curious. Everytime we go for a walk we have to stop a million times and point at everything with her asking What is that?
-She hates sitting in her stroller and prefers to be out walking with me
-She still loves to drink milk. Will tolerate juice and will sometimes drink water. I am working on cutting down her milk intake
-For the longest time her favorite toy was her Baby doll. Now baby is picked up sporadically and instead Gianna is into little figurines. Her Belle, Sofia the first and bubble guppies figurines are among her favorites
-Her new favorite movies are the Lion King and Little Mermaid
-She loves to color. She could color all day long if I let her.
She hates taking naps and sleeping on her own. If she is tired she asks to go sleep in Mommy's room. I indulge her since the husband is gone
-She is strong willed, stubborn and independent but so sweet. She will apologize when she does something naughty and always says please and thank you
-She is working on sharing her toys. It's a daily struggle
-She likes to look at books and be read to
-She loves music and dancing. In a few months I will be signing her up for ballet
-She loves to play outside. She could go for walks all day long
-She loves pumpkins and loves all the halloween decorations we have up at the house. She constantly asks to turn on the pumpkin lights
-She loves playing in her toy kitchen and making pizza for her brother and myself
-She says the cutest things ever
-She loves the beach and is always asking to go. She also loves the hot tub ever since our trip to Panama City Beach and asks to go to the ta-tub once a day
-She is such a happy child. Everyone is always commenting on that while we are out and about
- She has such an exploratory nature and is so curious about everything
-She is a total joy to be around and I am so proud to be her mommy!

I can't believe this was two years ago already

Monday, September 23, 2013


Currently I am...

Listening to
    - the sound of my grass being cut. I could not get my lawn mower to start and in truth I have never cut the grass once in my life. So I called a lawn service to come out today and cut my lawn. It was long overdue

   -Bubble Guppies. They finally have some new episodes on. This ensures me 20 minutes of Mommy time!

My book club's latest pic. All our babies are turning one soon so we wanted to get a head start on reading about the toddler years. I started this when Gianna was 18mths and loved the first few chapters.  Then couldn't finish the rest. So I have to finish it this time around

    -Bedtime for the kids. Why, because it's the Fall tv premiere tonight.I watched Sleepy Hollow on friday night since there was nothing else on and I have to say I am hooked! Love this new show. Can't wait for the new episode tonight

I will also be watching
Luckily I got my whole house cleaned during nap time today!

Inspired By
This dollhouse DIY by The Busy Budgeting Mama. I bought Gianna a wooden dollhouse last year with the intent to make it all pretty and give it to her for Christmas this year. I haven't started. That is my next project on my to do list after Ethan's party is over!

Happy Monday everyone

Sunday, September 22, 2013

You're Gonna Miss This

One of my all time favorite songs is  Your gonna Miss this by Trace Adkins. It came out shortly before I was married and I remember playing it over and over a year later when I packed up my car, left my job, family, and friends and officially made the move to NC where my husband was stationed

Even now hearing this song I can't help but cry. Back before I was married whenever I heard this song I was reminded of my childhood. Now when I hear it I think of my life now. Some days I get so overwhelmed with the constant cleaning, cooking, bottle washing, diaper changing and teething that I just want to scream. But after the house is clean and the kdis are asleep I want them to be awake again, playing and making a mess.

A friend and I were talking today about how our houses resembled a Fisher Price showroom. And they do. I think I own pretty much every single fisher price toy out on the market. While some days the clutter, bright colors and irritating noises can really bother me, I can't even begin to imagine how empty my living room will feel when they are all gone.

As my kids get older and older I find myself feelin gnostalgic about how fast the time is flying by. Even now when Gianna pushes me away for a hug, or refuses to let me kiss her I can't help but feel hurt and offended. I know it will only get worse during the teenage years and the less and less my kids need me, the more I will find myself clinging to the past

All we can do is live in the moment. I may not have the biggest house, the nicest car, the cleanest house or the fully decorated model home we all envisioned we would have once we became adults. But my house is full of love, with two beautiful children and a husband who I adore. And while days can be tough, I know that one day I will be wishing for all these moments back. So who cares about the messy house, the constant diaper changes and the toys thrown all over my floor. I can't imagine my life without them. And I know I will always be the parent that wants these years back. So make them count. For you are going to miss them

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Taking Your Kids Seriously

When I first had Ethan, my parents were down staying with me for a few weeks to help me out. Now I'm sure as adults and parents we can all relate to the unsolicited advice we receive from other people once we pop out children of our own. Alot of that advice comes from our own well meaning parents. And while they only are trying to help, it is only in our human nature to roll our eyes and ignore them. I know my parents and I really struggled with that when they were down staying with me. They took things I said and did too personally and I bit their heads off at any idea they suggested. But that's all in the past and we have started to communicate things better but now that my daughter is in the toddler years, I wander if I will do the same with her. I mean, will we ever get used to the fact that our children are growing up and will one day be adults. Adults that won't need their diapers changed, clothes washed, and baths every night

I can only imagine how my parents still see me. I'm sure they still see the 2 year old toddler I was.And in their defense how can you take someone seriously when you've watched them poop in the toilet, moon everyone out in public, shove toys up their nose, start a food fight in the kitchen during dinner time, wet the bed, change multiple diapers a day and so on and so forth. You get the picture

Even now with Gianna I find it so hard to take her seriously. I mean when she starts growling, stomping her feet and launches herself face first on the ground hands and feet everywhere it is impossible to not want to bust out laughing. And when my sweet child demands I buy her a mermaid crown at the store, cries and screams the whole car ride home because I can't open it, only to open it the minute we walk in the house and be met with her No mommy, I don't want that toy. Sigh, I do find it impossible to not want to shout, But Mommy spent money on that and money doesn't grow on trees. You don't appreciate anything

Ha the life with kids. All I have to say is well played Karma, well played

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting For...

Not only does Fall bring weather changes, pumpkin flavored everything and the start of football season, fall also means Fall Tv and the release of new books by some of my favorite authors! Again, I know that I am a huge nerd. While I am not the biggest football fan, I do love me some new shows to watch and new books to read. Here are some of the one's I am looking forward too

Oldies but Goodies
  • Parenthood
  • New Girl
  • Revenge
  • Once Upon a Time
  • American Horror Story
  • Modern Family
  • Suburgatory
  • Glee(although I will probably stop watching after the Cory Monteith tribute episode

 Excited For these new shows

  •  The Witches of East End(also a book series which I loved) I hope this show sticks. I loved the show Witches of Eastwick with Rebecca Romain(even the hubs liked that one) and it was cancelled after a few episodes

  • Tropy Wife with Malin Akerman
  • Blacklist(looks like it has potential) For decades, ex-government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader, "The Office," "Boston Legal") has been one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as "The Concierge of Crime." Now, he's mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth "Liz" Keen (Megan Boone, "Law & Order: Los Angeles"), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it's going to be one hell of a first day on the job. 
I am always on the lookout for good books to read. Especially since lately my reading list has been related to parenting and toddlers
Here are the books that I can't wait to read
  • Spelling it Like it Is 
    I love Tori Spelling
  • Sabrina the teenage Witch was one of my all time favorite shows growing up as a kid. And a few weeks ago, when the hubs and I went down to Seaside Florida to visit our favorite toy store Duckies, she happened to be in the store a few minutes after we left. If only I had walked around in their a little longer!
Other things I am waiting for

  • Ethan's first birthday
  • His smash cake and 1 year photo session
  • ABC's familys 13 Nights of Halloween. Kicked off on Ethan's birthday 10/19
  • Pretty Little Liar's Halloween episode
  • My parents coming to visit
  • Going to the pumpkin patch every weekend
  • Taking the kids to the circus that's coming to town
  • Trick or treating-Our Costumes this year are so fun
  • Spending the whole month of December in Wisconsin with my family
  • The husband coming home in 3 more months
  • And the Halloween party that I am hosting at my house
If I haven't mentioned it before, I love Fall

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Confess-Mommy style

I confess...

-That I now have the child that starts screaming for the toy aisle the minute she is loaded into a cart and you enter the store. People stop and look, watching the spoiled child and her indulgent mom push the cart to the toy aisle. Lucky for me she is still in the little trinket phase and is usually happy with a toy from the dollar aisle. Hiring a baby sitter to watch her while I go to the store may be a cheaper option in the future!

- I am that mom in the grocery store that is opening up bags of crackers or chips and letting my kids munch while I shop. Hey it leads to a happier shopping experience for everyone involved.

- When I became a SAHM I envisioned days and days of perfectly planned outing and adventures. Crafting, story time, fun with music, trips to the park and long walks, etc, etc. And while some days that  happens, I also admit to spending days on the couch watching a Disney movie marathon while the kids play near me or cuddle with me on the couch.I don't even feel guilty about it anymore when those days happen. When you have a tantruming toddler and a teething baby you do what you need to do to get through the day.

- While I usually try to make healthy meals for the kids I am not however opposed to making mac and cheese or chicken nuggets for dinner. In fact, in the months after Ethan was born if it hadn't been for jumbo sized bags of chicken nuggets and family size boxes of mac and cheese, Gianna would have starved.  But in all seriousness, breakfast is usually fruit, lunch a mix of meat, fruit, veggies and dairy and dinner is whatever we eat. Usually chicken and vegetables. If some days we stop at mcdonalds for lunch so be it and if we happen to end up at Little Cesears for a 5 dollar pizza after a play date that is awesome for everyone. I figure that in a few short years my kids will be going to school where I won't be sitting in the lunch room monitoring their food choices. And while I may plan on packing super healthy lunches for my kiddos, I remember all too clearly dumping out the turkey sandwich my mom packed and heading straight for the lunch line on mozzarella stick day at school. My kids need to learn moderation and making healthy choices

- I am perfectly fine spending Friday night at home watching a disney movie. In fact one of my favorite shows is a kids show on the disney channel. Good luck Charlie. I find that if there isn't anything on tv at 10 at night I will end up turning on the disney channel or watching one of the many disney movies we have recorded while drinking a nice big glass of merlot

-Gianna is in the princess stage and I'm loving it. Her new favorite thing is to play dress up and I of course indulge her. Sometimes I find myself buying her toys I want to play with. Ahh, being a mom brings out the kid in us all

- Some days a glass of wine is required at 1pm. Don't judge me.

- I used to envision myself as the trendy, fits into pre-baby clothes mom who has it all together. However my wardrobe consists of yoga pants that used to fit. Hey, at least if I dress up in work out clothes I may actually fit a workout in.

- I am not a scheduled, routine structured mom. From baby on I just read my kids and went off that. Now a clear routine has emerged but it wasn't one that I made for the kids.

- I swore I would never co-sleep with my children and that the cry it out method was the best way to go. I turned into a co-sleeping, non cry it out mama with two kids that sleep pretty well!

- I am always learning. Some days I make mistakes, other days I'm convinced I have this mommy thing down. Either way being a mom is like being a student all over again.

- I am totally sitting her drinking a glass of wine as I type this waiting to turn on tangled. Oh the life of a SAHM

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hello Fall

Fall is coming! Well the fall season at least. Here in Fl it'll still be hot for quite a while yet. I so miss living in Wisconsin this time of year. The changing leaves, that crisp scent in the air, apple picking, haunted hayrides in nice fall weather! You get the drift. Although I may not have the cool weather I want I do have every thing else that makes fall my favorite time of yea

Pumpkin spice lattes. Need I say more. I live for these! And pretty much anything pumpkin flavored. Donuts, pies, creamer, chili, etc, etc. Anything that you can put pumpkin in I do

Pumpkins in general. I love decorating my house with pumpkins. Last year Gianna and I were constantly at the pumpkin patch by our house picking out pumpkins to add to our collection. I can't wait until the patch opens up again

The decorations. I love fall decorating. Currently in my kitchen I have a beautiful owl candle holder and matching owl hand towels. It's so fall and festive. And of course I have my pottery barn Halloween plates and cups that are waiting to be placed out on the table

Boots and sweaters. I miss fall clothes. I'd love to put on a pair of tights, boots and a cute sweater. Sadly I will be wearing shorts and a tank top to the pumpkin patch

That cozy feeling fall brings. What is it about fall that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I don't know if it's all the decor, or the fact that fall really starts the holiday season but just something about it makes me happy. Right now we have pumpkin lights around our mantle and there is just something so special about cuddling up with my kiddos on the couch, with only those lights glowing and watching a movie that makes my heart melt.

I love that fall brings football season, festivals, Halloween, thanksgiving and then leads to Christmas. All that time spent with family and friends just makes this time of year so magical.

 I love all the fall, halloween, and christmas movies that this time of year brings. And of course all of the traditions that come along with fall. Pumpkin carving, trick or treating, hayrides, apple cider, bonfires.

Fall truly is a magical time of year

Friday, September 13, 2013

What my kids have taught me

Becoming a parent is really a life changer. You learn so much about yourself. Things you never even thought possible. Here is a few of life lessons that my own kids have taught me

- Gianna taught me the meaning of unconditional love. When she was born I was so unprepared for that overwhelming feeling of love. It was such an intense feeling I don't think I will ever be able to put it into words. And as she grows, the love I have for her grows daily. And for Ethan too of course

-While Gianna taught me the meaning of unconditional love, Ethan taught me the most about myself. I grew and changed so much after he was born. As a wife, mother and a person. He completed and changed me in ways that I never thought possible

-Give yourself grace. Not every day is going to be the perfect day. I am going to have bad days and lose my cool. The same way I need to give my kids grace, I need to give myself grace as well

-Live life to the fullest. Nothing brings a smile to my face or warms my heart more than watching my kids enjoying the moment. Whether it's pointing out the moon in the sky, or watching an airplane fly overhead, going for walks, or splashing in the tub the way my kids live life and enjoy it all is something to cherish. Something we should all strive for

-Don't compare. Don't compare your kids to each other, to other people's kids and don't compare yourself to others. It doesn't do any good and it just adds to the stress. Be yourself, accept who you are and love your kids for who they are

- Just go with it. Some days I try to have a plan for the day. Usually those days are the ones where one kid gets sick, the other throws a temper tantrum and I am exhausted before the day is halfway over. On those days it's ok to just go with it. Maybe it means laying on the couch all day, snuggled up with your kiddos and allowing them to watch way to much tv. It's ok to screw cooking dinner and popping in a frozen pizza and it's ok to let the dishes pile up in the sink or let the laundry do one more round in the dryer just because you don't want to have to fold it.  Go with it and make the best of it

-These years are short. It may not seem like it in the midst of parenthood. The sleepless nights, dirty diapers, spit up, piles of laundry and toys everywhere. But it is amazing how time flies and how fast they change and grow in such a short amount of time. Like everything else in life, it's a phase and it will be over before you know it

-Having a daughter is one of the greatest feelings in the world. I love playing princess, having tea parties and painting her nails

-Having a son is magical. That mother/son bond is un-describable. I love my mommy's boy

- You can never hold, cuddle, kiss, or sing to your children enough. And always, always, always tell them you love them.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1.5 weeks In

You would think after four deployments and numerous TDY's I would get used to saying goodbye to the husband.
Coming home to an empty house would no longer phase me 
and I wouldn't tear up anytime I saw one of his coffee mugs laying on the counter where he last left it
or refuse to take in his sunglasses that he left in my car
But it never gets easier and I still do all those things
I still wander up and down the grocery store aisle, tears spilling from my eyes as I no longer have to fill my cart with his favorite snack foods and soda, or prepare his lunch every morning before he goes to work
Friday nights alone still get to me as I sit and watch disney movies and drink my glass of wine
only to wish my husband was home to argue with about watching The Real Housewives or let him play Call of Duty
I get sad thinking about everything he will miss, Ethan's 1st birthday, his first steps, first word, trick or treating, pumpkin carving, thanksgiving and all those ordinary moments that mean something so much more when you have kids
Some days I don't even leave my house, going back and forth between anger and sadness, anger that the grass needs cutting and that the husband should be here to do it and sadness that for the next 10 years our life will consist of more time apart than together
But I have to keep it together for my kids.
Watching your daughter's face when the doorbell rings, the excitement when she thinks it's daddy and the crestfallen look when I gently remind her that daddy is at work for awhile
Having her sleep in bed with you every night because she misses daddy and knowing and appreciating that at least your son is still to young and unaware that daddy is not home
But at 1.5 weeks we are hanging in there. WE have a routine established, the house is cleaner than it's ever been and cooking for 1.5 people is easy peasy. A meal lasts me four days at least
So while we miss the hubs terribly and are counting down the days until he is home, we are hanging in there. Getting through each day looking forward to every phone call and skype conversation that we are able to have
All the while trying to make him proud that we are doing it on our own. Here's to 3 more months apart. We can do it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We remember

In honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11/01. You are not forgotten


One of the best parts of being a parent is reliving your own childhood in a way. So many of the things we do with our kids are things that we did growing up. We remember our favorite toys and activities of our childhood and wander if our daughter will share our love of american girl dolls, or if our son will want to spend hours upon hours building houses out of legos with us. I still catch myself buying all sorts of age inappropriate toys for my kids. Ethan has a Thomas the train set waiting in his closet until he is just the right age for us to set it up. Gianna has a few my little ponies and books that I loved during my childhood that she has shown no interest in.Sometimes I still catch myself wandering down the older kid toy aisle daydreaming about hours spent building legos or playing paper dolls that I have to remind myself the ages of my kids and hike it back to the baby aisle

And as much as I can't wait to engage my kids in all my favorite activities I know that the day that they will be interested in those things will come as quickly as the day they grow out of those things.

From 9 months on Gianna was in a bubble guppie phase. That lasted until about a month ago. Bubba (bubble) was one of her first words and every morning she'd wake up, run into the living room and ask for bubba and milt(milk) Now however she screams if you turn on bubble guppies. It could be because now Ethan has started loving bubble guppies, and we all know that what one kid does the other doesn't like anymore, but now she has started requesting Belle or Little Mermaid. We are well on out way to the princess stage

Gianna's other favorite item was her baby doll. For her first birthday someone bought her this creepy doll. I was going to return it thinking Gianna wouldn't be interested but it was love at first sight. After that that doll went everywhere with Gianna. On walks, to the store, in the car and heaven forbid that doll didn't go to sleep with her. And if baby was misplaced for a second a thorough search of the house had to be conducted, with G screaming baby, baby over and over. She loved this baby so much that she even despised any other baby bought for her. The 50 dollar american girl bitty baby that was her big sister gift she refused to touch for months. Now though, like bubble guppies, baby is often left behind. She doesn't ask for baby at night anymore and there will be days before she finds her and plays with her. Now she will equally play with her stuffed animals and other baby dolls. I have to catch myself from running after her, offering out her once precious baby. When I do this I'm usually told no and Gianna resumes playing with whatever had her attention for the moment

I realize that like everything else these phases symbolize a part of her growing up. And with each new phase that the kids enter I will need to learn the process of letting go and let them grow up. Snuggling a baby doll for comfort will turn into playing Mommy, exploring her play house will turn into playing house, watching Bubble Guppies will turn in to watching shows more geared for her age range, and the disney music I blare in my car will turn into whoever is the current obsession during her teen years(thank god it won't be Justin Bieber, I'm so glad she is too young for that phsae!)

I know that one day I will hold these phases close to my heart. I will save her very favorite baby doll, a bubble guppie dvd and anything else that represent one of her phases in the hopes that at 10 years old she will want to sit on the couch, ask for milk and cuddle with me while watching Bubble guppies. Or that she may pull out her favorite baby from long ago and remember the hours spent playing with her. It's a funny thing about these phases, some hate the princess stage and do everything they can to avoid it, some hate the pop culture phase and swear their kids won't listen to that music and we all have those shows that our kids are not allowed to watch(spongebob I'm looking at you) But some day those phases we tried so hard to avoid or control will become something of the past and we will see a spongebob episode or hear a Justin Bieber song and instantly go back in time and see our little toddler dancing and singing along, or to our five, 10 or 15 year old playing with their legos and barbies and in that moment we may wish for that time back. That those moments would have lasted longer and didn't go by so fast

Right now besides the princess phase Gianna is in total Mommy mode. She has become Ethan's second mom. She asks for him when he wakes up, tells me when he's crying and walks around asking him if he's hungry or if he is ok. She also likes to pull down his diaper for me and notify me when he has pooped or peed. I hope this stage lasts awhile. I will enjoy it as long as I can and when it's over I will keep the memories close to my heart, and move on to the next phase all the while letting go of my little girl more and more.

On a side note, don't you hate when you are on a total role pouring your heart out in a blog post, writing profound thought after profound thought until your baby crawls over and starts screaming and crying and biting your leg. Yea it happens every time I sit down to blog. One day I will have amazing, perfectly written posts. Until then thanks for reading all of my rambles and going with it

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mother's and Daughters

From the moment I first found out I was pregnant with Gianna I hoped and prayed for a girl. And at 17 weeks when the ultrasound confirmed that I was indeed having a girl I practically jumped for joy. I envisioned so many moments and memories with this little girl of mine. Tea parties, dance recitals, mani and pedi's, days spent shopping, girl talk, and many more.

And after she was born I couldn't imagine life getting any better. Gianna was a sweet baby from day one. She loved to be held and cuddled. I indulged every second of it and secretly loved when Gianna preferred myself over the hubby. Even after he came home from this past deployment I grinned every time she chose laying with me over him

And then one day out of the blue things changed. Gianna started asking for daddy all the time, choosing him over me and preferring to be with the hubs over myself. I'm not going to lie I was devastated. Every time she asked for him over me, or broke away from me to go lay with him it felt like I had been punched right in the gut. I'd look at them, cuddled together and have to blink back tears. ( I know, I know. how dramatic of me) But it felt like rejection. It was hard not to take personally. I'd sit and rack my brain and wander what I did. What was wrong. Was our relationship changed from here on out. Would it always be like this, her preferring the hubs over me. And was this a glimpse of what the teenage years would bring. Endless rounds of battling it out, her thinking I was always wrong, uncool and annoying(Sorry mom for doing that to you) and running to her dad for comfort.

Even since the hubs left last week she is still on daddy mode. And when asked for a hug or kiss I more thna likely to be met with a no than what I asked for. I also know that for the next few years at least, every time the husband leaves I will be her punching bag so to speak. I realize that right now she is acting out and taking everything out on me because she is too little to fully understand what is going on. All she knows is that daddy is gone. And this go round she is struggling to deal with it and figure it out. So what is a toddler to do but act out, be defiant and take it all out on mommy.

These last few days I have struggled. I have taken it personally, cried, worried, stressed and wandered what I was going to do to fix it. And then I happened to be browsing on Pinterest(shocker) and came across this

This couldn't be more true. At the end of the day Gianna is her own person and always will be. If I took every action, thought or saying she had personally I'd be holed up in my bedroom bawling my eyes out. It is not about me. It is about her. It is just my job to be the best mother that I can be. What she does with what I teach her is on her. I just have to hope I taught her right. And I can't take the things she does or say personally. She is after all her own person and is allowed to have her own opinions, ideas and ways to express them

As a mom it is sometimes hard not to react personally. Especially because we know that our time with our children is so fleeting. Every step they take, word they speak and year that passes by brings us one year closer to their adulthood. I know my mom still looks at me like I'm her baby and I can only imagine that I will do the same when Gianna is a 29 year old mother of 2.

In order to ensure that Gianna and I have a good, open mother daughter relationship I do always need to remember that it is not always about me. I can't be offended every time she want's to cuddle with the husband over myself. This will be important to remember as she continues to grow up. Especially during the teenage years when all sorts of rebelling and rejecting will be going on. All I can do is be there for her, to always talk and listen when she needs me and to fill her childhood and teenage years will lifelong memories and traditions. If I started taking everything personally I am just setting myself up for a closed relationship with my daughter. And that is def not what I want

Besides, I do also know that this was true for me and will possibly be true for Gianan
As a child you always swear you will never be like your mom. You will do things differently, etc etc. I found that ever since having  children I become more and more like my mom each day

Here's to all the mother daughter relationships out there!

Friday, September 6, 2013

40 Days

In 40 some days my little boy will be 1! How is that possible? It seems like it was just a month ago that I was still pregnant. Anxiously and nervously awaiting his arrival. And then it seems like he was just born. I can so vividly remember being wheeled into the OR, and counting down the minutes until I saw his face for the first time. And when that moment arrived, that overwhelming rush of love that I was prepared for yet still overwhelmed by. It can't be possible that my baby boy is already almost a year.

How did he go from this?

To this so quickly?

His turning one is hitting me much harder than when Gianna turned one. I can't put my finger on why. I just keep getting his with huge pangs of nostalgia lately. This time last year I was hugely pregnant and trying to soak up every minute possible with Gianna
I cherished those nights cuddled on the couch watching Spookly the Square pumpkin, or Doc Mcstuffins. I think we went to the pumpkin patch numerous times a week just so Gianna could pick up a new pumpkin. I remember feeling sad and afraid. Sad that Gianna wouldn't be an only child much longer and afraid about the delivery of my baby boy. So many fears. What if something happened to me during the C-section., what if something happened to Ethan. Would Gianna understand what was going on? Would she feel replaced? Would I love Ethan the same way I did Gianna? In truth it seemed impossible to love another child the way I loved Gianna. Would I have enough love to go around

And then Ethan was born and I knew that everything would be ok.Your heart grows and expands so that you are fully able to love each child as much as the other. Of course it's different for each but as each child grows and grows, I love them more and more each day.

I long for those newborn days with Ethan. Not the colicky nights but those first few weeks of cuddles on the couch, breathing in his baby smell, savoring every squeak and squeal he made, adoring his precious features. Who can resist baby hands or feet. I also wish I could go back and give him more one on one time. Even now I feel like he gets jipped for my attention since Gianna demands it all. Sibling rivalry is rearing it's head around our house. I feel bad that Ethan never has my undivided attention the way that Gianna did for her first 15 months. And I still spend days feeling I don't have enough hands, energy or time to fully devote to either of them

However they are just reaching that stage where they are starting to play together. Gianna proudly introduces Ethan any time we are out in public and he is the first thing she asks for and looks for in the morning. And all he needs to do is be in the same room as her in order to be happy. She could be sitting drinking her cup of milk and Ethan would think it was hysterical. The love I have for these two is undeniable

And as I wish I could press a pause button or at least slow down these last 6 weeks of Ethan's babyhood I am excited to see what this next stage brings. I can't wait until he says his first official word, and take his first steps. Until he starts really showing interest in things, until he asks to cuddle just because. Not because he's tired, teething or sick.

It is still crazy to me how fast time flies. Everyone tells you that when your first child is born. But it speds by double the pace when your second comes around.It's true what they say, The days are long but the years are short. So hugs your children, look long into their eyes and drink this cup of motherhood dry

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 1-The Love Dare for Parents

I received the book The Love Dare for Parents a few months ago. With Ethan being so sick on and off for basically a month I wasn't able to fully commit to the Love Dare. Now that the hubs has left, Ethan is healthy and Gianna is in the midst of the terrible 2's I thought it would be the perfect time to restart my Love Dare

As we go further and further into this stage called the Toddler Years it is easy to get exhausted. Every day I feel like all I do is spend my time referring, pleading, begging, yelling and saying No. All those advice books, the ones that tell you to praise your child when they are doing something good and state that yelling is more for the parent than for the child;s benefit are def right. However some days when you are caught up in the moment it is hard to stop, think, and take a breath before properly disciplining your child. So I figured this Love Dare would enable me to do that!

And day one is oh so fitting

Words are a powerful way to communicate love. The first dare is simply to find a moment when you can verbally express love to your children. Whether they are in your house or reachable by phone, if it is possible, make sure they hear you say the words I Love You today

After completing the dare for the day you are supposed to write down what you did and reflect on it. What was the result of your interaction? Did they respond? Was this easy or difficult for you? Why are these simple words,though often taken for granted, so very important to say consistently?(Love Dare for parents, pg 4)

I'd like to think that I am good at verbally expressing my love to my children. I tell them I love them constantly,especially before nap time and going to bed. I always pull them in for hugs and kisses and my favorite time of day is when we are all snuggling on the couch or the floor. However I do have to say that I really need to work on positive discipline and praising my children more for their good behavior than immediately saying No or sending Gianna to time out

So that was my goal for yesterday. And I succeeded. Not only did I praise Gianna for everything good I caught her doing. I made sure that if I had to correct her behavior or point out something she was doing wrong(such as hitting her brother) I made it positive and politely explained things to her. As a result I felt our day went pretty smoothly. She listened more, wanted to engage more and I felt I had to say No a lot less than normal. And Ethan I of course smothered with kisses and I love you's whenever I was able.  And I ended the day with multiple hugs, kisses, cuddles and I love you's as I usually do

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The ABC's of Giana

I came across this cute idea from this BLOG. 
And since I haven't done monthly updates for Gianna in a long time I thought it was a cute alternative

A is for: Apples. Gianna's new favorite food. She asks for them all the time. At least she's not asking for ice cream constantly
B is for: Baby. Her favorite doll. She carries it with her constantly and won't go to bed without it. She dragged baby in the mud the other day which resulted in Baby needing a bath and cried hysterically when she was drying and couldn't be taken to bed with her
C is for: Crackers. She loves having a snack bowl of crackers to walk around the house with and finds it funny to feed the dogs her crackers. Sigh. At least she shares

D is for: Diapers. Which I can't wait for her to be out of. She loves her Elmo and Cookie Monster diapers(Pampers) and she has to be shown who is on the butt of her diaper before we are allowed to put it on her
E is for: E-She. Or Ethan as we call him. Hearing her try and say Ethan's name and calling him E-she is the cutest thing ever. So cute that we now call Ethan E-she
F is for: Flashlight. The hubs bought Gianna a flashlight before he left and she loves it. She will walk around asking for it if she misplaces it and loves shining it on her toys. Or in Ethan's face

G is for: Gil! One of Gianna's favorite bubble guppies. Bubble Guppies is hands down her favorite show and Molly and Gil are her favorite characters. She has bubble guppies sheets and all the toys. Even I have to say that that show is super cute
H is for: House. We live in a newer neighborhood and they are building houses next door and behind us. So when we go for our walks she points them out and wants to go look at them and watch them being built
I is for: Ice cream. I had to bribe her with ice cream while out to eat the other day in order to get her to sit still. Mommy of the year award goes to me! But what kid does not like ice cream

J is for: Jake. Gianna's second favorite show is Jake and the Neverland Pirates. If it's on tv she will stop what she's doing and scream Jake. Maybe someone has a crush
K is for: Kite. My dad brought Gianna one when he was visiting and she asks about it all the time
L is for: Love. I love this little girl for pieces and hearing her say she loves me is the best sound in the world

M is for: Mini-Me. This child is me to a T. Stubborn, strong willed, independent, a nite owl and a total girlie girl

N is for: Nap time. She has started resisting nap time lately. I hope it doesn't go away so soon. I still rely on it to get things done around the house or to catch up on some Me time
O is for: O. Gianna's favorite letter. She loves drawing it and points it out on everything she sees

P is for: Pumpkin. She loves pumpkins. Pumpkin books, the pumpkin lights I hung up and the show Spookly the square pumpkin that she asks to watch multiple times a day. I always give in since that show brings back memories of a very pregnant me and lots of snuggle time on the couch with a 14 month old Gianna

Q is for: Hmm, I can't think of anything 
R is for: Running. I have a double stroller that I use when I go out running with the kids. Gianna hates to be in the stroller and prefers to be running next to me. Although she slows me down a bit I couldn't ask for better running partners

S is for:Shema. That is how Gianna says Grandma and I can honestly say her grandmother's will probably be called Shema from here on out. It is so sweet

T is for: Ta-Tub. On our vacation a few weeks ago Gianna loved the hot tub or Ta tub as she calls it and every so often she asks to go to the Ta-Tub

U is for: Up. It is rare when Gianna asks to be picked up these days, but when she does it's with a quiet little Up as she's standing next to me with her arms raised. Who can resist. I can't
V is for: Vacations. We went on our first family vacation this year. Two of them actually. One to Sanibel Island Fl and one to Panama City beach. Those vacations are so full of amazing memories. I can't wait for our next vacation
W is for: Wa-Wa or water. Gianna is a water baby. Every day she asks to go to the beach or to go in her little baby pool. I love my little water baby

X is for: I'm drawing a blank here. Here's a cute picture of Gianna instead


Y is for: Yellow. Her favorite color
Z is for: Zanac. I'm going to need it to get through the terrible 2's with this one. Just kidding. As trying as this new stage is I love love my little girl more than life itself. She is truly my best friend and my life changed forever when I had her. Thank you Gianna for teaching me what it means to love unconditionally. I love you more than you will ever know

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Terrible 2's

The terrible 2's are here! And they truly are terrible. I feel like my sweet baby has changed into someone I barely recognize over night. Gone is my sweet girl who always wanted to cuddle, be held, hug and kiss me and be near me at all times. In her place is a raging toddler. One whose new favorite word is No, one who kits and kicks when she gets mad, refueses to eat and throws food across the table and who now won't sleep because she's too busy crawling out of her bed multiple times a night and wanting to play with her toys.

I look at my friends with their only baby and feel a pang of envy. It wasn't so long ago that it was just Gianna and I. We would spend the days cuddling and playing together. I was the perfect parent then. Babies I can handle. Toddlers, EEK! I feel bad for Ethan in a way as well since I never really got a chance to fully enjoy his baby days since I also had a todddler to deal with. Even now if I'm playing with him or trying to just cuddle with him on the couch she's vying for my attention, pushing him away, stealing his toys, you name it

To say I am at my wits end is an understatement. And since the husband left Friday it's as if she kicked these behavior's into overdrive. I'm hoping that as we get back into a routine and adjust to him not being home, she will settle down. I just hope I can last that long.

I feel as if our days consist of power struggle after power struggle. I try my best to keep calm but in truth I end up exploding and resorting to yelling. It's a constant battle between yelling or saying NO over and over. I don't want to be the parent that disciplines by yelling. And yelling is not working anyway. Neither is time outs, or the occasional spanking which I am not opposed to.

And as Ethan gets closer and closer to his 1 year old birthday and I realize I will have 2 toddler's in the house I want to try and figure out my strategy so to speak as quickly as possible

So Mommies. Any resources, help, tips and advice on dealing with toddler's?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Quick Catch Up

We have been so busy these past few weeks that I haven't really had time to blog about everything! So here is a quick catch up

- The hubs and I had date night last weekend. Why is it so hard to figure out what to do on a night away from the kids? What did we do before having kids? We finally decided on dinner at our favorite Italian place, followed by a trip to Barnes and nobles and mini golfing

Wine and olive oil dip for the yummy bread. Be still me heart!

Stocked up on some fall books for the kids

We enjoyed lazy days goofing around with the kiddos

Spent a fun day down in destin. Someone loves her ketchup

Lunch at an old fashioned diner

Train rides with mommy

First swing ride. We terrorized her on the Ferris wheel so I'm pretty sure any festival rides will cause her major anxiety from here on out

Splash pad fun

We once again said goodbye to M for another four months

I bought this to cheep me up

Got a head start in decorating for Halloween so I could focus on something other than the fact that my husband is gone again

Wore this old navy shirt (Thinking happy thoughts) to help keep my mood positive

And got all dressed up for a night out with good friends

Bought a new comforter set for our bedroom. Finally!

Started reading this last night

Enjoyed snuggles with my big girl. There are not enough snuggles with this one any more. Tear

And today I started our week off by going back to church. We took a long break this summer. It felt good to be back

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone

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