I remember when my husband remodeled our downstairs bathroom… by himself. Llama was one-and-a-half at the time. Josh assured me that it would be a very quick job… finished in two weekends tops. Our bathroom was very small after all that it wouldn’t take very long to lay the tile, replace the sink and paint. Simple. Two weekends of hanging around the house without playing with Daddy wouldn’t be too big of a deal. Entertaining our daughter on my own for two weekends would be easy. Josh finished the bathroom and it was beautiful. Gorgeous stone tile. A free standing sink with a cabinet underneath. But it didn’t take him two weekends. He finished in six weekends. That was six weeks of keeping a one-a-half-year old occupied and out of that bathroom, plus flying solo for six weeks without any real Daddy weekend time. When we mulled over the possibility of remodeling our kitchen, both he and I agreed it was too big of job to tackle on our own. He missed having family time during the bathroom remodel. And I know that some people are born DIY’ers, but I’m not. It stresses me out. I do not have a DIY gene and would rather everything stay the same than risk upheaval and change. Thankfully, my husband is completely opposite and pushed me in the right direction. We decided to redo the kitchen. After researching a lot of home improvement companies, we chose Republic West Remodeling. The company is local to the Phoenix area. Immediately, I worried about logistics. How long will it take? Where will we eat in the meantime? Will it turn our house into a construction zone covered with dust? How will I keep Llama out of the remodeling zone? We sat down with a consultant and discussed our new kitchen. To keep it within our budget, the consultant suggested we reface the kitchen cabinetry, replace all of the cabinet doors and replace the white laminate counters with a nicer finish. We borrowed a few moving boxes and boxed up our kitchen supplies on a Sunday night. Llama helped put a random thing here and there into a box and then ran off to play with her dolls. The morning of the remodel, our contractor arrived and we handed him the keys to our house so that he could lock up at the end of each work day. We said goodbye to our kitchen looking like this: Everyday after work, I was always excited to see the kitchen’s progress. Llama loved it as well. A plastic sheet separated our kitchen from the rest of the house. This held in all the dust so that our living room remained spotless – well, relatively, spotless. This is our house we’re talking about. On Friday – 5 days later – we moved everything back into the kitchen. Minus a few drawers which went in the following week. Still, only 5 days without a kitchen! Compare that to six weeks without […]
I feel guilty, too. Some of my phone use borders on addiction. I crave that small burst of joy when I see that little red number appear on Facebook. My heart leaps when the word inbox is followed by (1). When I’m stressed, or overwhelmed or bored, I check my phone continuously for hope that I will find that immediate gratification. But I can be a good parent and use the phone, too. I shuffled my son into the mall playground. It was 9am and the mall shops weren’t yet open so the toddler playground- usually a zoo – had only 8 or 10 kids in it. My son immediately ran toward the little school bus slide and started climbing while I sauntered over to a wall and pulled out my phone. I kept an eye on him while checking through my email. I read an email, looked up, checked on my son and then back to email. Every once in a while, I heard my one-year-old scream at another kid. I’ve read enough articles circulating Facebook about parents on their cell phones, not paying attention to their little ones. Stories of moms with their backs turned and texting while their child pushes someone off the monkey bars. Or possibly taking selfies when their daughter has her fist wrapped firmly around another child’s ponytail. Or maybe checking email as their kid is yelling in other kid’s faces. I was determined not to be that parent. My son screamed again. I walked over calmly and I removed him from the playground. Make that strutted off the playground, proudly showing that I knew my kid was being unreasonable and I can still be on my cell phone and parent at the same time. Why do I feel like I need to prove myself to other parents over the cell phone? When my kids are with me, a little voice tells me that all my energy should be focused on them. Watching my son’s every move. Hanging on my daughter’s every word. They are only young for a short time. I should revel in it. And I do love it. But as a stay-at-home parent, my phone is my link to the world of adults. Chasing my son around the house when he keeps making little mad dashes for the litter box is much more bearable when I can share my woes with my New Mama Group. Art can be found on the playground when I have instagram in my back pocket. My husband is only a text away when I need to share what “his son and daughter” did now. But that doesn’t change my parental cell phone guilt. If only they made an app for that.
Nothing prepared me for having my first kid. Three days before she was born, I remember standing in the closet and panicking: What have we done?!? Our lives will never be the same again! The weeks that followed were filled with unspeakable joy and wonder accompanied by sleepless nights, massive mood swings and the overwhelming feeling that I had no idea what I was doing and I was failing at all of it. And breastfeeding. How can a “natural” thing be so damn hard? I learned a lot from my first child. I did some things differently with the second child. Following, is what I found made the difference. (I credit a lot of these tips for my success with breastfeeding my son. If nursing is not for you, that is awesome 🙂 It was not for me with my daughter. Be sure to read Megan’s Formula Feed Without the Guilt.) A Grandma I realize that this is not under everyone’s control. My mom stayed with me and my family for a week following the birth of both my daughter and son. She took care of everything! Laundry, cooking, shopping, changing diapers, putting up with her hormonal daughter.. the works. Meanwhile, I would cry on the couch from both sleep exhaustion and breastfeeding woes with my first. With my son, I worked, gung-ho, trying to be my normal self even though I was healing from a 6-inch incision in my abdomen. My mom was there, telling me to rest and bringing me my 32-ounce hospital issued cup of ice water to me. If only she could have stayed around longer. An Educated Partner Guys have no idea what it’s like for women to be pregnant and give birth. They just don’t. But, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to. When our daughter was born, I remember pacing up and down the hospital halls waiting to be called into triage. I was having painful contractions and back labor. My husband sat in waiting room playing on his phone. He’s not an insensitive person, he just didn’t know how he could help me. The birth of our second child was different due to one very significant thing: An Amazing Childbirth Preparation Class The Bradley method is a natural (no drugs) childbirth method that centers on husband-assisted childbirth. Over the course of 8 weeks, we attended classes together and learned about the stages of labor and how he could be a part of the birth process. Even though my natural childbirth plans didn’t work out (breech baby), my hubby helped me relax with massage, he advocated for our baby while in the hospital and knew what to do when first-time breastfeeding troubles arose (call our Bradley instructor who came running :-). As an added bonus, all the women in my Bradley class were such lovely people that we still keep in touch today. We were each other’s support system during those early months and still continue to lean on each other with […]
Santa. The Easter Bunny. The Tooth Fairy. All magical creatures that parents love keeping alive for their children. However, what happens when the parents slip up? “Mommy!! Look!!,” enthused Llama. I could see that Llama was holding up a clear, ziploc sandwich bag. “It’s your tooth!,” I replied! Finally, this tooth fell out. For the past month, Llama wiggled it back and forth. She complained that it hurt her too much to eat when I desperately pleaded with her to try new food. We tried each night to give it a gentle little tug to see if it would fall out on its own. Finally, it came out! The next morning, I trudged into Llama’s room to wake her up. One-year-old Dude climbed up into her bed and started his morning routine of climbing on her and hitting her in the face. I couldn’t help rubbing my eyes as I gently tried to rouse her for school. Her eyes shot open and her hand immediately darted under her pillow. “My tooth is still here.” Well, crap. “Uhhhh…” I stalled, “That tooth fairy!” I had to pretend rage a little. “How could she! She must have gone on vacation and forgot to tell another fairy to take her place.” I excused myself quickly, backed out of the room and walked down the hall to wake up my husband. “Josh,” I hiss, “JOSH! We forgot the tooth fairy.” My hubby wakes up with a jolt. “Ugh,” he replies, “Is she already awake?” “Ya, I told her the tooth fairy must be on vacation.” You see, we have had our close calls with the tooth fairy before. Usually, we remember as soon as we wake up, bolt out of bed, rummage through one of our wallets for a dollar and stealthily sneak into Llama’s room to make an exchange. There have even been times she has woken up and one of us distracted her while the other reached under her pillow. This was our first complete tooth fairy screw up. Oh well, everyone makes mistakes, even the tooth fairy. Josh and Llama discussed some theories about what may have happened to her. We knew that tomorrow was another day. Fast forward to the next morning: a Saturday. Dude had again woken me up so I stumbled over to Llama’s room to cuddle with her for a bit. She blinked open her eyes. Her hand once again shot under the pillow. “Mama, my tooth is still here.” “Uhhh…”, I say dumbfoundedly. This is bad. Really bad. Parenting failure. “She probably doesn’t know you moved. Like, she knew you lost a tooth but doesn’t know how to find you. I’m sure the people in our old house will tell her that you moved when they see her and…. let me go check on something.” I dash out of the room. “JOSH,” I shake my husband out of sleep, “JOSHHHHH… we are the worst. parents. ever.” There was no waiting for another day, I knew I […]
Sometimes, you just need to know that you are not alone. If you are feeling sad, or mad, or glad (Thank you, Dr. Seuss) it’s always nice to read about someone else in your exact situation or one close to it. As you take stock of your year and start making goals for 2015, here are a few reads to let you know that we’ve been there, done that. Feel no guilt and hopefully move forward.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias Waking up. It’s a delicate balance between being mentally awake and physically getting out of bed. My one-year-old still does not sleep through the night. So technically, I wake up at 3Am, 4Am, 5:30Am and then finally get out bed around 7. After all those wake-ups, coffee becomes more of a necessity in my mind than a luxury. Luckily, I married the right man and he is the exact same way. So we bought a Keurig and installed it in our bedroom. Yes, just like a hotel. No, this is a perfectly normal thing to do. And needed. Here’s why. This is what I look like in the morning. Actually, I need to amend that slightly. My son is usually in our bed, nursing right next to me in the morning. I like to have him nurse because it buys me a good extra hour of lying in bed and trying to sleep while he claws at me and sticks his fingers in my belly button in his early morning haze. This brings me to reason #2. My son looks like this in the morning. He wakes up ready to start the day. In fact, this was him trying to eat the raw coffee beans that I was using to set up my McCafé coffee shot. McCafé is a premium quality coffee made from 100% Arabica beans. It’s available in eight flavors, so there is a large variety. While I was at Walmart, I picked up the new McCafé coffee pods in French Roast since I like my coffee extra dark. The McCafé pods are so new that they aren’t even on the shelf yet. I found them in a little corner by produce. Even better, there was a demo going on while I was there so I was able to sip my coffee while I shopped. Post by Whimsicle. Notice the bags under my eyes. Reason #3 I need my daily coffee. My son is one of the reasons for my caffeine addiction and my daughter is well aware of her parents’ coffee habits. She quickly learned how to use our Keurig and after she made her hot chocolate one morning, she made both me and my husband coffee. She just turned 6. She popped in a McCafé coffee pod for me on Sunday morning while I chased my son down the hall and tried to persuade him into a diaper change.As soon as my coffee was ready, I stole away for a quiet moment outside and soaked in our Arizona December weather. My husband entertained the kids while I just sat, looked out over our backyard and sipped my coffee. While it may have been short, I treasured my moment alone to just be still and enjoy the quiet.I need more of these little moments away during the holidays when it seems like we have a party every day. […]
I remember my childhood Christmases vividly. Stockings stuffed with the smell of peppermint candy, presents wrapped with my favorite sparkly red paper with a perfect green velvet bow. The anticipation of the gifts made me giddy.
I turned the key in the lock, pressed down on the brass handle and pulled open my front door. My one-year-old son, Dude, had just fallen asleep upstairs and I made it my mission to be productive for this nap. I had scooped the cat box, called AAA because my car battery died (thankfully in my driveway) and was now taking out the trash. I felt so productive and accomplished in those past five minutes. I could have conquered the world! I threw the trash in the bin and turned back to look at our house. We had just moved in 2 weeks ago and I loved it. New neighborhood and a new place to raise our family. I gripped down on the handle of the front door and pushed. It wouldn’t open. Thinking I was mistaken, I pushed again. Nothing. I’ve been locked out of the house before, so I have a habit of always checking the outside handle before closing the door. I checked this handle. The handle pressed down when pushed but the door wouldn’t budge. Apparently this handle doesn’t announce when it’s locked. It just shuts you out. All the blood in my upper body dropped down to my stomach. My cell phone was inside the house. My keys were inside the house. I glanced up to my son’s window. Since he had just fallen asleep, I knew I had a little time. I darted around to our back gate and silently pushed it open. Even though I was in panic mode, I couldn’t risk waking him up. I tried our back door. Locked. I checked all the windows. Sealed. I looked up to our bedroom windows. Closed as well. I ran out of options for getting inside without breaking a window. I ran back out to the front yard and looked up and down the street. That’s when I realized I knew no one. Sure, I’ve said hi to a few people, but I didn’t know anyone by name nor knew of anyone who might be home. Across the street, I saw a garage door open. I ran over and knocked on the door. A college aged girl opened it. “Hi. I just moved in across the street.” “Oh, hi!,” she said. “So, I just locked myself out of my house and my one-year-old is taking a nap inside. Can I use your phone?” (Stops for a second, stunned)”Oh sure, come on in” I got lucky. She was home on a break from the U of A. Usually, her family isn’t home in the middle of the day. She handed me her cell phone. As I dialed, I prayed that my husband would answer. He had been so busy at work lately that he wasn’t regularly answering his phone. It rang once. I paced back and forth in my neighbor’s kitchen, mentally running through my next steps if I couldn’t get a hold of him. It rang again. My stomach twitched. Should I be leaving […]
I’m not usually one to complain. Wait, who am I kidding? I actually complain quite a bit, but THIS TIME it’s for real. Something has to be done about the NFL.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I just really love Starbucks. I admit, I’m a bit of a Starbucks addict. The objective of my morning walk most days is to walk to Starbucks and back. I love the green straws. I love the mermaid. I love the red holiday cups. Recently, I had to trim back on my Starbucks expenditures because I was going twice a day. I got an Iced Grande Americano in the morning and a Iced Grande Caramel Machiatto in the afternoon right before I picked up my daughter from school. They know me well at my neighborhood Starbucks. From being such a frequent visitor, there are a few tips and hints that I would like to recommend for this Starbucks holiday season. From money saving tactics to holiday promotions, here are some ways to help you get your Starbucks on. Money Saving Tips #1 Put your Starbucks Card on your cell phone. Starbucks has a great app for both the Android and iPhone that lets you pay directly from your phone. I use this all the time because in addition to a fast payment, it keeps track of how many times you visit and gives you rewards. Once you reach 30 visits in a calendar year, you are moved to Gold level. At Gold level, every 12th visit, earns a free drink or food item. You also get a free treat on your birthday (regardless of level), free refills on coffee and tea in the store (Green Level) and promotions such as 25% Food items. The Starbucks card is a must have if you visit as frequently as I do. Downside: It counts per visit instead of per item. If you are ordering for a group, you only get one star. #2 Watch out for “Buy One, Get One” Every time Starbucks launches a new drink line, they usually have a “Buy One, Get One” promotion. I visited with my friend Brie in September when the fall drinks were announced and treated myself to a Salted Caramel Mocha. The new Holiday drinks will be promoted next week and my Starbucks sources tell me that you will be able to buy one holiday drink and get one free November 12-16th from 3-5pm. Take advantage of this to test out the new Chestnut Praline Latte. #3 Split a Venti with a friend. Frappuccinos are an amazing indulgence – especially with all the amazing combinations out there including special concoctions you can ask the barista to whip up for you through the Starbucks Secret menu. However, if you order two tall Frappucinos, you are going to be spending over $8. Instead, order a Venti with a tall cup on the side and split with a friend. You will get the same amount of Frappucino and will save $2. #4 Ask your Barista when the promotions are planned Behind every Starbucks cash register is a Starbucks marketing calendar. Laminated 4X6 cards on a little binder ring tell when all […]