Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Mama with Irish Twins born 1 year apart TO-THE-DAY

I am so excited to share a beautiful mama with you all. One that I have had the pleasure to get to know the past couple of years, and watch as she went from being a mama to one to being a mama to two. All in one year. Yes, you read that right. Her children? Were born one year apart to the day! Irish twins. What a blessing and incredible journey she has been taken on. One that I literally cannot imagine. I know that we if we lived near one another, we would have plenty of play dates and maybe a few drinks by the pool? Absolutely.

Also, after getting to know Aliya, enter the giveaway below! Not only is she amazing mama, but she is an amazing graphic designer and she is giving away 20 custom designed notecards!

1. Tell us about your every day life. How do you juggle two babies 1 year apart {Exactly!}. What are you favorite activities to do with them?
Well, as you can imagine it's usually more of a circus at our place than not. Especially now that Ariana is walking {read: running} everywhere, has no fear, and is a total daredevil. So when I'm not peeling her off a staircase, or off the top of a play table, I'm making sure Ky stays out of trouble as well and isn't drawing all over the kitchen walls or something. I did a detailed post on our basic everyday here.

Our favorite activities are almost always outdoor ones and even though it's hot, I'm loving the warmer weather. Winter is just the pits when you have a toddler! On SUPER hot days, we stay in the shade on the deck and play in the watertable. If the heat is bearable, or it's a cooler day, we like to take walks and we have a tot lot pretty much in our backyard that we visit daily. If the weather is awful but the kids (and I) are going stir crazy, we'll go to the mall and just stroll around or hang in the play area, there. (I know, gross. But sometimes, you just have to.)

2. Any tips for moms with babies that are 2 under 2?
I really recommend sticking to a routine/schedule as much as possible. It's easier with one baby to just fly by the seat of your pants, but with two little ones, the more your day is "scheduled" the more it is manageable and there is less time/chance for the unexpected which, with two toddlers, almost always leads to Meltdown City ;)

Also, if you have family or friends closeby that are willing to help out every now and again, take them up on it! My parents live super close and sometimes my mom will just swing by and take Ky to the grocery store with her for an hour - to give me a bit of a break and to give him an outing. It's stressful having one kid, definitely stressful having two, and DEFINITELY stressful having 2 under 2. Keeping them active, engaged and busy as much as possible is my daily goal... that way, they sleep well, eat well and everyone is happy(ier). 

3. What is your favorite date night with your husband. How do you juggle the wife/mom role?
My husband and I try to do something one-on-one at least once a week. Again, my family is close which makes that possible and it's a much needed break for us both since he works long, hard hours and let's be honest, so do I. One of the things we probably do most is just go to dinner or go out for a drink. It's hard to carve out two straight hours where we can have a conversation without one of the kids in our face, especially since during the week we are usually spent by the time bedtime rolls around. Every now and then we'll do something longer like go to the movies, out with friends, a concert, etc. We recently spent a day wine-tasting and it was a total recharge for our batteries.

As most of you moms know, juggling the wife/mom role isn't always easy. Some things will get sacrificed or even abandoned because frankly some times, there just aren't enough hours in the day. However, for me personally... the bottom line is that I wouldn't be a mom if it wasn't for my husband. We built this family together, and as much as I love my kids to the ends of the earth (and of course I do), our relationship is always a priority. On the worst mom days, the only thing I want is for my husband to walk through the door because I know his love, support and help will be what gets me through it. Not to mention, he works damn hard for our family and I love showing him how much I (we) appreciate it... even if it means scrambling to straighten up the house, fix my hair and start dinner 15 minutes before he gets home ;)
4. If there is anything that you could do different, what would it be and why?
This one was a toughie! I think I would have to say I need to be better about saying "no." I always pile way too much on my plate, and I get easily overwhelmed... I'm a people pleaser and if one friend wants to meet for coffee, and my husband wants to watch a movie and someone else was promised a phone date and my mom wants to go to lunch, but I have 4,302 emails to catch up on... Well, I just try to cram it all in because truthfully, I do WANT to do it all. I think I just need to be better about living out the quote, "You can do anything, but you can't do everything." 

5. Give us 3 truths and a lie about you!
a. I used to work for The Discovery Channel
b. My husband and I dated for 6 months before getting married.
c. I have never lived anywhere else besides the Washington, D.C. area
d. My kids have the same birthday


AR Design :

GIVEAWAY20 custom-designed notecards (flat or folded) with plain, white envelopes. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 28, 2013

How to survive at the pool with 2 babies

With summer offically here, the warm weather peering through the windows, and cold ice cream sandwiches calling my name {on the daily}, playdates and fun activities have become my number one focus. Dishes, laundry, and everything else? That can wait until winter. Day dreaming over here. But in reality, I have gotten to the point where I don't stress about leaving the house a mess. If it means a fun filled day at the pool? Then I'm there.

How exactly do we go about planning a playdate at the pool, and what all do we need? Find out here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

This & That


We went to Cleveland this past weekend and just spent time with Andrew's family. It was super nice and all we did was just hang out with family, eat lots of food {not the kind that is good for you }, and just enjoy one another. Those are the best kind of mini-vacations inmy book.

Having Elliana's last dance class this upcoming Saturday and then signing her back up to gymnastics. I'm kind of torn, as I think she has been doing great at dance and really enjoys it, but I know that she loves gymnastics even more. Even if you ask her, it's all "gymnastics, gymnastics, gymnastics!"

Will be celebrating Graham turning 6 months this weekend!

Started flashcards with the little guy since he is now at the age that we started with E. I am really excited to be able to teach him again the same why I did with this big sister.




I have some fun posts in mind, and I'm hoping to get them accomplished before it is too late. You see, I come up with all these ideas and then never am able to follow through because the weeks and months are just flying by. But some things to look forward to:

Beach essentials for toddlers, toddler must-have list {months and months in the making}, baby shower gift ideas, and more mushy gushy posts {what else is new}.


Loving my baby food chef maker and that I can now put my own homemade food into these pouches using the station!

Love this activity website

Loving Elliana's new pare of squecky shoes! Now, we all know how much I love those shoes that make noise... but it has been a few months since Elliana outgrew her old ones and these new ones came in, and I'm just in love all over again. And the comments from other people have already begun.


Huge jewelry sale! Here is just a glimpse. These were a steal and just too hard to pass up.

And $12 rain boots for E! Originally 30? It's a steal. Now I'm tempted to go back and get all the colors!
Ridiculous sale on toddler shoes

Tried a new recipe: beef stew. Loved it. Mainly? Because it was super easy, and I love me some good old crock pot recipes!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Graham 6 Months

Weight: Fill in after appointment
Height: Fill in after appointment
Head: Fill in after appointment

{I know I should do these at home, but we have an appointment in a couple of days... so... it will be there soon!... If I had to guess though, you're probably around 17 pounds and 28 inches, and head has definitely gotten bigger. Still smaller, but I'm guessing more like 30%}

Look at me and my fine guessing abilities.

Anyways. You! Let's talk about YOU!

You love to stick your hands in people's mouths. Specifically mama's. Especially when eating. And you stare at me with those big hazel eyes of yours. Yeah, those up there. Just like that.

You are getting rolls. I'm counting you know. And you are just becoming squishier and yummier and more kissable by the day. I will pick you up and kiss you to pieces. It's sick.

Your desire for play has doubled, tripled, just plain old increased in size. Especially now that you can sit up.

Which by the way, YOU CAN SIT UP! How exciting is this! Can I tell you a little secret? I've been wanting waiting for this day since you were born. I remember telling your  papa... "Won't it be so fun when he can sit up!" And yes, yes, it has been loads of fun.

No teeth yet, but we are close I think. You still have very fussy moments and those fists go right in. Your sister never had problem with teeth so this is all new territory for me son. Bare with me.

You are still BF like a champ. On demand. Whenever you went. My children seem to be the same. Sometimes it's every 2 hours. Sometimes 3. I'm lucky if I get 4. And other times? Every hour? It's all whenever you want. And boy do you get what you want. You still get a bottle of BM at night when I am at work 3 nights a week, and by one, I mean two. Since you still wake up around 4-5 am. But once. Only once!

So sleep? I'd say is good. You go down around 8 every night, wake up around 4-5 am, and then depending what we have going on in the day, you may even sleep until 9-930. Which is amazing. Not that this means your mama gets to sleep until then. Remember we have a crazy little toddler sister of yours? But still... it just means I get those dishes cleaned. Some. 

Your mama started making baby food for you {finally, said the grandma}. We were going to go with the whole Baby Led Weaning route, but then I realized that it just was not for us, and that doing what we did with your sister {puree} would be just fine as we have had a very successful road with her when it comes to her eating habits. We did however eliminate cereal, and only sticking with vegetables and fruis at this time. So what have we had? You I mean... although I have been your personal taster. Bananas, carrots, apples, and avocado. And how are you doing with it? You have the whole open mouth when you see spoon coming concept down. It's pretty cute. Then you make that stinkin adorable "yucky" face. Yet you open your mouth for more. In the mornings you will eat a whole banana in the morning mixed with whatever I feel like {carrots, broccoli, etc}, and in the afternoon 2 apples,and evening a vegetable.

Man, keeping up with baby food is a lot harder the second time around with one heck of a busy toddler.

Busy. Our life you know. For a 6 month old, I have to say that you have seen it all already. You've been to the children's museum multiple times, the zoo a few times, daily trips to the park, 3 times a week to toddler time, gymnastics classes, dance classes, outings to farms, and whatever else we have up our sleeve. You will be one well rounded little man. That's for sure.

You smile. You smile and you light up the room in an instant. Everyone around us always comments about how much you smile. You will smile at anyone and everyone, and it is by far the absolute cutest thing in the world. How could anyone ever be mad or upset once they see your smile. You have this way of just making everything else go away. Strangers stop and just stare. It's a beautiful gift that reminds me everyday to just... smile. 

Your favorite place to hang out is either in mama or papa's arms. If not there then the high chair with lots of toys scattered on top for you to throw off board and have mama and papa running to put them back on for you. To do again. Sister is a great help with this! You also love to just hang out on the floor with lots of toys around you and do so well playing next to your sister. Which, by the way, she loves that you can play with her now.

Your sister just loves you period. A lot. I know I have said this from day one, but you are one lucky little man. She adores you and she lights up every time you wake up. She is gentle, and caring, and caresses you and kisses on you and is so proud of what you do! She encourages you, cheers you on, and praises your hard work.

You both are lucky to have one another.

 You are a talking machine and there is no stopping you! You babble like it's your job and you are getting paid. And if that was the case, we would all be rich and mama and papa could retire. But since it's not? We just get to enjoy that sweet voice of yours and I cannot wait to hear what it has to say one day! I imagine it will be nothing but sweet things... right?  

You still very much enjoy car rides. The minute we place you into that car seat you are out. Even if you had just taken a nap. The longest so far that you have slept {stretch} in the car has been 3 hours on our way to Cleveland, and so far you have had 2 {five} hour trips. We are just preparing you for the 12 hour trip to come.

Your first beach experience in a few weeks! Boy I cannot wait to get those little piggies in the sand.

You started crawling! At 5 months. I would have never imagine this to be possible, as I thought your sister was early doing so at 7 months. I thought I still had time. But, time, I don't. It's not full blown crawling, but you are almost there. It's kind of the slow, I'm still learning, but I'm getting there mama crawling. You can get from point A to point B if you desire, and seeing you on all fours is just the weirdest thing to me. Weren't you just a newborn? Right. That's what I thought.

Happy 6 months my sweet precious baby boy. It's hard to imagine that 6 months ago, I was heading across the street after work to which would be my last few moments of me carrying you inside my belly. It's hard to believe that just 6 months ago, we did not know what life was like with 2 babies. It's hard to ever even imagine what life was ever like without you. Because life? It's only gotten better with you in it. Our family will never be the same, and we are so blessed and thankful for this gift that we have been given. You. So happy half birthday my little man. And thank you for being the best little son I could have ever dreamed of.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sitting in the dark

It's 9:30 pm. I just walked downstairs. I had to tiptoe out of Elliana's room so she wouldn't hear me leaving. Just as I do every night. Cover her with blankets, give her a soft kiss on the forehead, roll off the bed like a soldier trying to smoothly leave the scene {except I'm not so smooth}, and shut the door quietly on my way out. It's quite the routine. Sometimes though? I go to plan B. Which involves me passing out right there next to her until I feel constant poking at my chest. "Becky, becky, wake up," in which I open my eyes to find Andrew talking to me. Those nights? Have come more often than not.

Little man has been sleeping now for over an hour. Still in our room. Almost 6 months old that little guy is. Right around the time that we switched E to the nursery. We just aren't there yet you know. Everything happens slower the second time around. Besides the growing part. That seems to go faster. But we just aren't in a rush to do things like we did the first time. Like baby food? G had his first bite this week. Two months behind E. And? That's okay.

Anyways, I'm sitting now. On the sofa. In the dark. Waiting for Andrew to get back from the store with our... special treat that we plan on enjoying together tonight. Whatever that might be.

I see toys scattered all around me. I forgot to tell Elliana to pick them up before bed. That's okay. Carson is also sitting next to me. He loves sleeping on the couch. And I'm just waiting.

But before I was here. I was there.

In Elliana's room, laying with her. Trying to stay awake, since I worked the past 2 nights, and I'm just notorious for passing out with her {like I said}.

And as she started falling asleep, I stroked her hair. Put my hand on her face, and really just held her like that for a moment. I then touched her hands. And her feet. And I made note of it all. She's bigger. When did my baby become... so big? A little miniature version of... me.

I've watched her grow. I've made note of the fact that she was no longer a "baby" and more of a little girl. That isn't anything new. But sometimes... sometimes, you just need to really lay there for a moment and take it in.

I'm always reminded during those moments to slow down. To just remember how fast time really goes by. To not allow it to take hold of me. To do the opposite. Take hold of time.

Looking at her, I imagined Graham being that age one day. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't see it. I just couldn't go there. But thinking about him being that age then led me to think about E being.. well... 2 and a half years older. Five. Then before you know it, five turns to 10, 10 into 20.

I think about how she will be as a little girl {an older little girl}. A young girl. A teenagers. And then a young adult. More importantly, how our relationship will be. I hope that she still wants me to tuck her in at night. That she still wants and asks for multiple hugs and kisses. That she always feels protected, safe, and loved within my arms. So much so, that she will be open with me through the teenage years and any challenges that she, or we, may face down the road.

I stroked her hair. I kissed her forehead. I squeezed her little hands and said a small prayer.
She's so real. Everything I ever dreamed of.

Lying right here in my arms.

She was out. Finally asleep. Dreaming of what I would hope would be nothing but sweet beautiful images of life. The world so innocent and pure through a child's eyes. And a child's dream.

So I tiptoed out of her room. I closed the door. I walked quietly down the stairs. And I sat on the sofa.

And so, here I sit, waiting for the one that is my better half to get home.
Just me and my thoughts. The quiet. And the mess.

A moment to take in, to reflect, and to slow down. It's my favorite thing to do. When the world is quiet, when the world is sleeping, my thoughts are busy running through my head. It's when I'm happy I'm close to the computer so I can freeze these thoughts for a later moment in time.

But, now I can't help but wonder... what will my treat be tonight....

Monday, June 24, 2013

10 Things I Live For; 52 weeks of Blogging with a Purpose

Summer Days. It's my favorite season. Close tie with fall. But there is just something special about the summer. It always represented such a happy time in my life, and still does, and I've always just felt better during this season of the year. I wake up happier. I'm more productive throughout the day. And overall, we just have so much more fun. I think having kids has also gotten me more excited about this season. Actually, every season. There is always something to look forward to, and with summer, it will always represent water, family vacation, and sunshine. Like I said, I love me some summer days.

Cuddles & Holding Hands. One thing Andrew and I still love to do is cuddle. On the couch. In bed. Standing up... joking. We love to "spoon" as he calls it and I have to say, he is a pretty darn good cuddler. Holding hands is right there behind it. When we get a chance to... which is rare these days when we each have one kid to be in charge of. So when we get the opportunity to? Even briefly? We do. It reminds us of the.. good old days.

Laughter. Man can that husband make me laugh. Man can laughter be the perfect remedy to any bad day. I love to laugh. I love to be around people that make me laugh. And when possible, not as much anymore, I love to make people laugh.

Being a good mother. A great mother. The best mother that I can be
It's something I live for. For the days where I say to myself..."Man, I am proud of myself and the mother that I am." I live for the days that I become more patient. That I listen more, and talk {or scold} less. I live for the days that my children are able to tell me how proud they are. That they have the "BEST" mommy in the world. I live for these children, and being a good, great, the best, mother I can be is of utmost imporance to me.

Being a great wife & taking care of the home. I value this role of mine and I live to being better. I want to be that old couple that people talk about. I want to have that relationship that our children look up to. I want to always work at becoming a stronger and closer couple.

Making memories. Trying new things. Taking our kid's to do something for the "first" time. Live shows. Zoo memberships. Museum memberships. Train rides. Festivals. Carnivals. State fairs. I live for these memories that we create as a family. Ones that we can look back on. Ones that we can recreate every year. Ones that we can pass onto our children and grandchildren one day.

Seeing our babies learn and grow. It's one of the greatest gifts in life. To watch them. To watch their personality unfold. To watch them soak everything up like a sponge. To take what you have taught them and apply it to real life. I live for moments where I say... "wow, we did something right!" And wow, look at my baby grow. And wow, we are so proud.

Taking pictures. Capturing beautiful moments. Having these moments to look back on. Freezing time in the form of an image. I love to take them, look at them, and save them.

My family being together. This includes all family members. Including my parents, in-laws, siblings, and anyone else that you would find us spending the holidays with. Often times, Andrew and I talk about how wonderful it would be if everyone lived close to one another. My family is pretty much all within 30 minutes of us, but his extend anywhere from a couple hours to 10+ hours away. Family to us is the most important thing in life. That's why you will find us, 99% of the time, with our family.

Writing. I've always been better at expressing my feelings through writing. Being able to sit down at a computer screen and spill out my thoughts has been such an important part of my life. It's my little personal outlet. My counseling session... with myself. I write and I write and I write until I cannot find the words any longer. It's my therapy, my outlet, a peace of mind.
For a list of the weeks topics to come visit here.
Next week: My Life 5 Years From Now

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Baby Purchases I'm Loving This Week

Anyone else obsessed with Amazon like I am? Anyways, I had made a few purchased this week for the baby, and of course the free quick 2 day shipping got me, as always. The infantino squeeze pouches and station above? Genius! Now I can have my own homemade baby food for on the go. Also those teether food feeder I am amazed with. Graham has not grasped the concept just yet, but we are working on it. Tom's toothpaste for E. Anyone tried the adult stuff? Eh.

And lastly those small popsicle molds are perfect for the tiny mouths. I love to freeze mushed strabwerries in there. And can you believe we are in the territory of sippy cups? Where does the time go...

Any baby products I should check out?


Friday, June 21, 2013

You know...


I knew when I woke up at 6 am feeling bright and chipper that today was going to be a good day.
When I walked downstairs, threw in the laundry and started the dishes without huffing and puffing.
The moment that I opened up the blinds and pulled the curtains back, I knew.
Today was going to be a great day.

It was the first day of summer. Well, not technically, but it sure felt like it. But when I read that it is 80 degrees out at 8:30 in the morning, then, yeah, I think it's officially summer.

I hurried to get everything done around the house. Finish those dishes from the night before. Put away the clothes sitting in baskets. Make the beds. Feed the baby, feed the toddler, feed myself {thank you cereal bar}. Get the kids ready, and take a shower myself. Throw the hair up in a bun. Wet hair. Grab a ziplock bag, throw in some fruit. Grab another, throw in some crackers. Nice cold water. Hats. Sunscreen. Did I get it all?

And we are off.

Elliana starts out by walking with me. She loves to walk hand in hand. The baby of course goes in the stroller, as it is already his morning nap time. And we walk. We walk and talk, until finally I tell Elliana she's slowing us down and at this rate it will be mid afternoon before we make it to the park. So she goes in and we continue our walk to the park.

We meet Elliana's friend there and she runs around wild with her. They play in the dirt. And it's fun to watch them interact. To share. To have these conversations with one another about who knows what. We can't understand half the things they say anyway.

After about an hour and a half we decide it's time to head back. G man is waking up anyway. Elliana though is not having it. I have to fight to get her in the stroller, but we make it, and we talk about it, and she calms down. But getting her into the house was the next challenge. Elliana is an outside girl. I don't blame her. But she cried those big sobby tears "Nooooo mama." It was almost too pitiful to watch.

That is, until I remembered the G man needed to be changed and fed, mama needed a nice cold drink of water, and probably a change of clothes and another layer of deodorant. The truth.

But that all lasted all of 5 minutes. Because then Elliana says to mama "Lets go outside, sprinkler." 

Oh. Yeah. That. Never tell a toddler that we will go home and then she can go out in the sprinkler.
They remember.

And because I keep my promises, and because I had no desire to stay inside anyway, we went back outside and I hooked up the sprinkler. The wild, out of control, sprinkler.

Drenched. Soaked. But the giggles. Oh those giggles. They are the best part of motherhood. The best. Nothing in this world could ever compare. So I soaked it in. I grabbed the video camera and soaked it in.

In no time we found ourselves inside, Graham strapped to me in the wrap, making the famous almond butter jelly sandwiches. I say famous because no one can make them quite as good as me. 

And now that brings us to now. It's noon. Elliana is in her underwear. Graham man is in the bouncer. And me? Me is sitting on the couch with the wrap still on, still in that first layer of clothes {and first layer of deodorant} and wondering if we should skip nap time and do it all over again. So yeah, I broke my rule to blog before nap time, but I wanted to write down today and remember the details. First day of summer. G man's first summer day. The first of many to come. 

I think we'll nap. I have work tonight. But? We have nothing on the agenda for the afternoon except enjoying this 80 degree beautiful summer weather.

What more do I need anyway. Besides my husband who's at work, enjoying this day with us.
Summer, welcome. I'm happy to have you join us.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A World You Can't Live Without

I was sitting on the couch with one of my best girl friends, catching up on our everyday life, when she proceeded to tell me, "I'm not sure if I ever want to have kids."

I had to stop midsentence when it finally registered to me what she had just said. Frozen for a brief moment. Lost my ability to speak. And stared at her for what seemed like forever. but was merely a few seconds. I wasn't sure what to say right away. I was taken back, stunned, and in a way, sad. Not because I thought that life could not be great or full of happiness without children, as I am fully aware plenty of people choose this path without regret and live great lives, however for me, it was because this was someone I cared deeply about. Someone that I grew up with. Loved. And most importantly, someone I always envisioned as a mother. From the day I met her A great mother, at that.

She just has had that about her.

And so, when I finally found the words, I began to attempt to explain to her the love of a child. To the best of my ability.

But how.

How do you tell her about the moment you saw that positive sign. How the first thing you did was place your hands on your belly and instantly felt like a mother.
How do you explain growing a baby inside of you. From the morning sickness, to the kicks, to the staying up all night in the last few weeks of pregnancy wondering when that day would come. To the unknown. What would life be like once they were born. What would the sacrifices be that you would have to make. How would your relationship with your husband hold up through all this. More importantly, what they would look like, and who they would remind you of.

How do you explain that moment when your child first makes his/her appearance. The flood of emotions. This powerful feeling that comes across you. Changes you, and the world around you.

How do you explain what its like to wake up every day with the excitement of seeing your child's face and hearing their voice. That no matter how often you were up the night before, no matter the lack of sleep, you still wake up feeling as though this is the greatest day in the world. Why? Because you have them.

The way they wrap their arms around you. The way they give you the slobbery kisses. The big hugs. And the first time they say I love you. Which always sounds so much sweeter with their soft tones and childish words.

How do you explain what it is like to have this responsibility of someone else's life.Not just physically, but all that comes with being a parent. To raise them to be strong, kind, independent individuals. To know the difference between right or wrong. To lend a hand to those in need. To be selfless. To dream.

How do you explain the ability to relive your birth story each time you celebrate their birth. That watching them grow is perhaps one of the greatest gifts in life. A gift that you know gets unwrapped year after year. Yet, one at the same time, that you wish so badly you could hold onto forever. Each stage, each milestone, each age that slips right on by. You want to have your child in each one of those years for the rest of your life.

How do you explain that moment when you watch your child learn. To take what you have taught them and apply it to the world around them. And the way their eyes light up when they discover new. Or even old. Just the way their eyes light up period. It's all you ever need in life.

How do you justify to her that the best show you had ever gone to was a cartoon live performance. How do you tell her that it was exactly how you would want to spend every Saturday evening, if given the chance. That anything that involves your family is by far greater than any gift or experience out there.

How do you fully explain the most incredible blessing in life. Something, someone that you are utterly proud of for every thing that they do. That you feel like you won the lottery, over and over again, every time you wake up to see their smiling face.

There truly are no words. No way to describing it. I could sit for days upon days trying to tell my friend how much love I have for my children, how your life truly begins when you become a mother, and how incredibly worthwhile and meaningful each day becomes after that.

But it still wouldn't be enough.

Not enough for her to understand what it's like. To convince her that she needs it in her life. Until that moment comes. When she becomes a mother. When she experiences all the firsts. When she sees herself in her children's eyes.

It's a remarkable thing. Being a parent. A gift, a blessing... the beginning of life. My life didn't truly begin until the day I became a mom. And that, that, I know I can say with 100% certainty.

But explaining the love for a child, from a child, by a child is nearly close to impossible.

How do you explain a life you never knew was missing until it began.
A kind of love you never knew existed until you heard the sound of your baby crying.

A world you didn't know you couldn't live without, until you started living in it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Current Favorites

That's what they are labeled as. However, I don't run. I used to. But these {KEEN Women's A86 TR Trail Running Shoe} are by far my favorite shoes to wear to work, and I plan on asking for more for Christmas so that I can actually have pairs to walk in and run errands in. My favorite part about these shoes? How compact they are. Not sure I am using the right word here. Better example. Nikes? I love them. But they seem to be too bulky for me. Keens? Little. Tight. Compact. Compact.

Awesome. Seriously. I got them off zulilly back in the winter when they were 50% off, but I'm pretty sure you can find them anywhere online. I have seen them go on sale a few times since then, so you can always hold out if you are a zulilly shopper.


Lunch Bots. I purchased these from zulilly a few months back and the whole family has been obsessed. I want to pitch all our tupperware and switch to these, but since they are a little pricey, I will just have to do so slowly.


Elliana has again started napping by herself {we will see how long that lasts}, and so I have loved being able to chat with her back and forth through the VTech Communications Safe & Sounds Full Color Video and Audio Monitor. We are still seriously obsessed, and I love everything about it. From the dual cameras, to the music, to the two-way talking, night vision, multiple views, and temperature monitoring. It's fabulous.


Another zulily find. Since we are on the road to baby food making {on it on it}, I am in LOVE with my new Baby Chef Ultimate Baby Food Maker . It is absolutely everything {and more}. I actually got this last year in preparation for the little man, but really never looked much further into it. The other day when I whipped it out and actually got to use it? I fell in love all over again. It can do so much more than just puree {which by the way is way better than the stinking old food processor I used to use}. It can steam veggies. It can warm up bottles. It keep things warm. And I don't have to stand there and hold a button! It will do everything for me while I wrangle the two babies.


I have raved about these cheap tees from old navy the past couple of weeks. But seriously! They are amazing. And for only $4? How can you beat that. Here is the deal, I am normally an XS and purchased that. It fit great. Definitely a little bigger than my normal shirts, but I figured that was the style. However, I ordered a small for my mom... and they are huge. So, if you are trying to size... I would definitely size down!


I purchased these a couple months ago and live in them. I'm actually going to go order different colors as we speak. The thing I love most about these is that they don't get loose like my other pants. They actually stay fit and don't fall off my behind. Ahem, Target jeans.


I have scored some amazing deals from zulilly and really loving them. I honestly try to check all the new deals once a day if I get a chance.


Seriously, if you shop online and not using ebates, then you are basically throwing away free money. I can't believe I just discovered about it 6 months ago only. Also, new members get a free $10 gift card {of your choice} after shopping online and making your first $25 purchase. The whole program is free. Sign up, search the website you want {sear, walmart, target, etc}, it directs you there, tracks your orders, then gives you a percentage back! Tell your friends and make more money.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breastfeeding. The second time around. With a Toddler.

I've actually had a couple people ask me to write a post on how to wrangle the toddler while breastfeeding a baby, and somehow {although it did start out in draft}, I never got the words out further than one sentence. That sentence being, breastfeeding with a toddler. Let me clarify here, breastfeeding a newborn with a toddler running around. I was first asked this question when Graham was just a teeny tiny baby, and then again a couple of days ago on instagram when I posted a picture at the pool with the little ones. For four hours. Which of course, naturally, included 2 nursing sessions. Should I also talk about breastfeeding in public during this post? Yes? Why not. And maybe about how I almost had a scare with my supply? Yes? Okay then.

I might as well just lay it all out there. Since I know not everyone wants to read about my boobs and milk coming out of them. So if I'm going to talk about it, then get it over with and do it all in one place.

What should I cover first? Or should I just go with the flow and talk about my breastfeeding journey...

Lets see where this takes me.

When I became pregnant with Graham, I knew there were many things that I was going to do that were similar with what I did with Elliana. Sleeping arrangements, breastfeeding {atleast up to a year, like I did with E}, baby food making, teaching, and so forth. And although there are many things that I have also done differently {a post for the future}, one thing has been pretty much the same... my breastfeeding journey.

So much so, that it brought back so many memories of my first time around. In much detail.

Fast forward to Graham being born. He latched on. Right away. And nursed during the hospital stay no problem. My milk came in on day 2, and I was one happy mama. He gained weight perfectly, and by week 2 he had way surpassed his birth weight. I believe by a pound or so.

It hurt for about a week and a half, and I remember around day 9 things just all of a sudden felt normal. Just like they did with Elliana.

Another thing that was just with E? The right side always produced more than the left. Double the amount. And still does to this day.

Supply wise? I always over-produced. In the beginning, both my babies would choke every time they would feed and could never empty out. In fact they would only eat on one side during a feeding. And another interesting part about my breastfeeding journey, is that it would only take 5-10 minutes to feed. Pumping only takes about 5 minutes.
As far as pumping goes, during maternity leave I would pump every morning and sometimes at night. I could pump more, but my stash was already getting too big that the 3 month rule would leave me with old milk. At work, I try to pump at least 2 times, sometimes 3 if we are slower than normal.

Numbers wise, I could pump about 5-6 ounces every 2-3 hours.

Now. About those scares that I memtioned earlier. It has happened during both breastfeeding journeys and both times I panicked. Both times I had to leave the state. Both times for two days. E was 7 months at the time. G was 5. Both wedding related {eh, one wedding, one bachelorette party}. I pumped every 3 hours, and did not notice a drop until the very end. It's like my breasts just knew that I was trying to trick my demand. So it dropped. And I came home and could only pump 2-3 ounces every 4 hours or so. But, after a couple of days, and lots of time with the babies on the breast, they build my supply right up! Now, I'm back to where I was before.

Breastfeeding In Public?

Much different than the fist. Because well, I've actually done it a few times. At a live show. At a restaurant. At the pool. Zoo. Children's museum. Wherever I need to, I do. Covered, of course, but my head held up high. Not worrying one bit about what other people are thinking. Funny, because the first time around? I would only feed in the car.

Okay, lastly, the reason I even started writing this post: Breastfeeding with a toddler running around. Obviously I never dealt with this the first time around, as E was just my only one, however I have to admit and say it was not something I thought too much about while pregnant with G. During the coming weeks of Graham's arrival, we had focused a lot with E on listening. A lot of talking about the baby and feedings and diaper changes. Listening charts. Listening treats. And so forth. And when Graham arrived, we continued with this journey while on maternity leave.

What did I do?

Well for one, I always tried to make sure that before I started feeding, E had a new activity to start to work on and another one nearby that I could divert her attention to if she were to get bored with the first. That way she was always exposed to what I was doing and understood {to the best of a 2 year old's ability} the importance of what mama was doing and her staying close by. Honestly, she really never has a desire to leave her playroom anyway unless she were to go to the bathroom or kitchen briefly.

Two, I would simply try to talk to E during the feeds. Talking about the day. Talking about the blocks she was building. Singing songs. And any other way I could engage with her during the process. It helped to kill off time and make this seem as "normal" to her as possible.

Lastly, she has never been one to really get into stuff. Anymore at least.  She doesn't go through the cabinets, drawers, climb on tables, refrigerators, or anything else that would get me to jump out of the chair with a baby attached and go running.

However, I have plenty of times done just that. Minus the running. When a toddler needs something... sometimes... just sometimes... they NEED it. Not to mention, we did the whole potty training gig while G was a newborn. So I would be nursing and trying to get undies off all at the same time.

I guess my only advice to any new mom with a toddler running around is to just engage, interact, and keep them busy! They truly "get it" more than we give them credit for. I know... not much for tips, but hey, it's all I have!

Overall, both my breastfeeding journeys have been nothing but wonderful experiences and I know that I have been very lucky to have such a smooth road with the two of them {with one not even close to being done}. I have loved every part of breastfeeding, truly, and it's something I will miss when my babies are older.

One of many, many things.

I hope I have answered any BF questions you may have had in mind, if not, feel free to ask away! I am pretty much an open book when it comes to this subject.

Monday, June 17, 2013

52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose: Who I am

I thought about writing about all the different roles that I play. Not play, since it's actually real life. But all the roles that define me. And then as I started writing them out... "I'm a nurse...I'm a mom...A wife..A friend... daughter... writer.." I realized that I did not want to focus on what those titles mean to me, but rather the person I am in those specific roles. Because you see, when I think about who I am, I don't necessarily think, mother, daughter, wife, woman. I think about one word that would best describe me and.. well... who I am.

A caregiver. I've always felt this desire to take care of others. From a young age, I learned to be older than I was. To be more mature. To have bigger responsibilities. I think I had a lot put in front of me from early on, that I had no choice but to.. well.. grow up. And from a young age I knew two things; I wanted to A. Take care of people and B. Have a family to take care of.

I think I have accomplished both A and B. Being a nurse and a mother. But also, much more than just that.

So... who am I? As a caregiver:

I'm a mom that loves her children with every fiber in her body. A mom who would not know what life would be without these children. A mom that would sacrifice everything in this world to provide the best kind of life for them. One that believes that she was put on this earth for this specific purpoes. To be a mother. I care for them. I nurture them. My goal is to provide a life of safety, and one that is rich of positive, happy memories.

I'm a wife that is learning. A wife that needs to learn to be more patient with her husband. One that pictures herself on the front porch, rocking away with a wrinkly old man. One that would, without a doubt, hide his wheelchair or his cane, but would spend her life showing this man just how much she loves him. I've always wanted to be the wife that takes care of her husband. Food on the table. House clean. Children happy. Being a wife is very important to me. But more importantly, being a wife to Andrew, is what I cherish the most.

I'm a daughter. I'm a daughter who although I can be stubborn, although I may hold grudges, and although I have many moments where I could have been better, I would still do anything to take care of my family including my parents, brother and sister, that I possibly could. It's in my nature to want to help. To want to give. 

I'm a friend who doesn't call enough, text back fast enough, and doesn't make time for her friends enough. The little that I have left. But if you called me and were stranded states away? I'd drive in the middle of the night to come get you. 

I'm a person. A person of human nature. Flawed and room for growth. I have good days, just like I have bad days. I have happy days, just as I've had sad days. More good, and more happy, but there nonetheless. However, I am proud. Proud of who I am and what I have accomplished in my life. Strong. Confident. Beautiful and creative. I am everything I ever wanted to be. And more.

And if there is just one piece of advice I could pass onto my children, that would be for them to always be proud of who they are. Fight to be better. But always be proud. I think the only way for us to truly find the beauty in life, we must first find it within ourselves.
So who are you?
For a list of the weeks topics to come visit here. Next week: 10 things I live for/ Can't live without

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