Mom Life Must Have’s

“To be honest, I’m just winging it. Life, motherhood, my eye liner. Everything.” -Unknown

Becoming a mom you suddenly realize that your “before baby” regimen is completely unattainable and suddenly brushing your teeth, hair and throwing on your good sweats is the new norm. It’s just life. You realize this phase won’t last forever, they will grow up and be able to feed and dress themselves, they won’t want to play with you, go to the bathroom with you, hang on your leg as you try to pack lunch. They will eventually have a life of their own and you will suddenly have all the time in the world to do all the primping and pampering that you so longed for, but will probably wish for just one bad hair day and a dirty shirt for a little snuggle time with your baby.

Well, until that day comes, we mama’s gotta do what we gotta do. Here entails my first installment of a few favorite items that I could not live without. There are many things that make my life easier as a mom of 2 little kiddos, but when it comes to getting ready, it needs to be quick, easy, comfortable and cute. Cause “ain’t nobody got time for that.” haha!

So here is my a little list of my mom life must have’s, I hope you love them as much as I do!

  • I have come to realize that most days I am in jeans and a t-shirt so that I can run around on the playground and get dirty and I don’t worry that I have some “dry-clean only” adorable outfit on. So when it comes to jeans I have to say it is best to invest in a one great pair that make you feel good so you are not pulling them up all day or uncomfortable. My favorite jeans right now are by Paige jeans. I love the light color and the slight distressed bottom. They fit perfectly and make me feel like a million bucks. Totally worth the investment.photo1-13
  • For my t-shirt I want soft, comfy, but stylish…so let me introduce you to Andi from Lendmeyourkite. She is a hard working mama who just happens to make the cutest T’s around! I absolutely love my “Party like it’s nap time” shirt and secretly wear it to bed and then wear it out the next day (did I just say that out loud)?!? Head over to her website to check out all her awesome designs, you will thank me later.image
  • Next up would have to be my new favorite sandals that I have been wearing constantly. We all know and love Toms and the fact that they give a pair of shoes to someone in need each time you buy a pair, but did you know they make such cute sandals?!? I am loving these black strappy ones, they make me feel super “on-trend,” whatever that really means, and wish I could buy them in more colors!photo4-9
  • Now to share about the lovely hat I’ve been sporting lately (and when I say lately I really mean everyday since I got it in the mail). My “Mom Life” hat from momlifemusthaves is designed by the amazing mama Gina Kirk and she knows exactly what we mama’s need for a bad hair day (which for me is maybe 6 out of 7 days a week, on a good week). The hat is not only cute but comfy and breathable so I don’t get all sweaty wearing it! It’s a total mom win! Her shop is full of cute stuff, so don’t wait head over there now! And if you do I have a special prize for you…a discount code! Use the word “princess” at your checkout and you will receive 10% off your order. Now aren’t you glad you read the blog today?!?:)photo1-14
  • I don’t do much makeup anymore, but if I have just 5 extra minutes my absolute go-to makeup is the CC Cream from MaryKay, it is a 2-in-1 sunscreen & light foundation, so you get some coverage plus sunscreen, a total mom win. Then I slap on some of their lengthening mascara and lipgloss and that’s a wrap. Just those 3 items make me feel pretty put together.photo1-15

These are my mom life must have’s on a daily basis to make me feel somewhat put together. What are some of yours? I love finding new companies, especially if they are a small business or giving back in some way.

10 Best Parks South Side of the OC

“Of all the paths you take, make sure a few of them are dirt.” -John Muir

We love going to parks. When you have young kids parks becomes your best friend. Scouring for new parks has become my new obsession; like when I used to hunt for the right size when Nordstrom was having their half-yearly sale.

So instead of keeping all this goodness just to myself I thought I would share it with all of you.

Without further adu; The 10 Best Parks South Side of the OC (in no particular order):

1.) Pavion Park (24051 Pavion Mission Viejo)- We love this park, especially since it is so new & very clean! There are things to do for all ages. Big & little slides, big & little swings, interactive learning, some sand for those sand lovers, but also lots of soft turf. The only advice I would give is to get there early in the morning, or as the sun is going down because even though there is a nice grassy area with shade, most of the equipment is not covered.photo1-6photo2-6photo4-4

2.) Adventure Playground (1 Beech Tree Ln. Irvine)- The name of this park says it all! If the kids are ready for adventure, then you definitely have to check this place out. Rope nets, huge slides built into the hillside, life size leggos to built your own personal fort and a mud pit for the little ones to get DIRTY. Advice: not a ton of shade, so don’t pick a super hot day unless you plan on going into the mud pit to cool off. Bring a change of clothes, shoes in case your little one does end up in the mud. Not great for early walkers.photo3-3photo4-3photo3-43.) Lake Forest Sports Park (28000 Rancho Pkwy Lake Forest)- This park has it all. A small area designed for toddlers and a bigger area made for the big kids. Rope webs, rocks to climb, slides, swings and everything is covered for shade. In case you get hot there is even water misters on the soccer fields that you can use!photo1-10photo2-4

4.) Beacon Park (501 Benchmark Irvine)- We like to call this the “Tree House Park,” most obviously because there is a huge tree house, which is so super fun! This is a brand new park and some of the features include a life-size chess set, basketball court, bocce ball, 3-way teeter totter, climbing nets, tunnel slide, swings, huge grass area and more.photo1-5photo3-5photo1-4

5.) YMCA Laguna Niguel (29831 Crown Valley Pkwy Laguna Niguel)- We LOVE the YMCA in Laguna! It has a brand new park with two play areas (one for the small tots and one for the bigger kids). No swings, but lots of interactive buttons to learn about animals, bodies of water and the types of noises they make. There is also a beautiful hiking trail that leads up to a gorgeous view! It’s a great walk for kids and adults alike. In the summer there is the added bonus of the water park/splash pad (open from Memorial Day-Labor Day). photo2-8photo1-8photo3-8

6.) Irvine Spectrum (670 Spectrum Center Dr. Irvine)- Most of you locals know the Spectrum for the shopping, but if you are a mom then you know it has a playground right next to the Target! It doesn’t get much better than that! Mom gets to shop, then the kiddos get rewarded by going to the playground. There is also a small splash pad adjacent to the playground (so bring a change of clothes if you want to do anything after). There is also a small train ride, carousel and ferris wheel if you really want to treat the kids (small fee for those extras). Not to mention a slough of options to eat in case you get hungry after all the Target shopping and playground romping.photo1-7photo2-7

7.) Laguna Main Beach Park (Pacific Coast Highway & Broadway Main Beach)- Thinking about a beach day, well, why not go to main beach in Laguna that way the kids can play on the playground then you can have a picnic on the sand. We love this small, but adventurous area and it even has a set of baby swings that over look the ocean. Just make sure you do not go on a weekend during the summer, it can be super crowded.photo1-9photo4-7

8.) Oso Viejo Park (27241 La Paz Rd. Mission Viejo)- This is such a fun park we knick-named the “Giant Slide Park.” It does have a giant structure in the middle with some huge slides that the kids just love. There is also a smaller structure for the smaller tots. Swings and of course some sand play are always a hit. Not much shade, so go early or around dusk. There is also a great trail for walking that even includes a really cool maze. Definitely one of our favorites.photo3-7photo4-6

9.) Light House Park or Marina Park (1600 W. Balboa Blvd. Newport Beach)- If you enjoy parks with a view this is another beauty! Over looking the bay of Newport Beach this park is super fun! There is a lighthouse the kids can climb then zoom down the tunnel slide. The climbing nets, obstacles, wooden dock are all a hit as well as plenty of sand. On a hot day you could take a few steps past the playground and dip your toes in the water.photo3-6photo4-5

10.) OC Great Park (6950 Marine Way Irvine)- This is definitely a great park, but one you only want to visit on the weekends. Mostly because the carousel, large park balloon and even Farmers Market are all only open on the weekends. We love going here because for $3 the kids can have unlimited rides on the carousel, there are art and crafts set up in the art lab, a kids rock playground, an old hangar that houses some pretty cool planes and even a farm & food lab where they offer different workshops. The farmers market is held on Sunday’s from 10am-2pm.imagephoto1-11photo2-3I’d love to hear if you check out these parks, or if you have any suggestions on other parks you think I should add to the list! Feel free to comment here or tag your photos on Instagam with #bestocparks.

Our Homeschool Preschool

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6

Since last fall my girlfriend and I decided to co-teach a homeschool preschool for our 3 year olds. I never thought I would want to homeschool, but because both our kiddos are September babies, missing the cut off to start Kindergarten until age 6, I knew we were not going to pay for 3 years of preschool (if you haven’t researched it lately it is pretty expensive). So instead of going somewhere to have them learn some of the basic things; alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, patterns, etc…I figured we would be able to handle these types of lessons at home. But I also knew we were gonna need a plan.

That’s where Pinterest came in handy (gotta love me some Pinterest). I was able to find a free curriculum on Motherhood on a Dime called God’s Little Adventure’s Preschool. She has everything on her website including free printables, pictures of the activities and detailed descriptions of the lesson plans. Every week was a different letter with a coresponding bible story, activities, songs to sing, crafts, even extra books you could check out from the library.photo2

I set up a little area in our house with a small table and chairs (all from Ikea), craft supplies & even found a velcro calendar that we could change the date, weather, season, etc…Here are some of my favorite lesson plans from the year…photo1-2

 

photo3*A was for apple. We painted our own apples out of plates & glued real apple seeds to them, picked apples off the tree; counted them & put them in number order, taste tested different kinds of apples & learned about sweet, tart, soft, crunchy, etc…We also incorporated the Bible story about Adam & Eve.image

*T was for Tent, Turkey and Thanksgiving (we skipped around the lesson plans so that we could have certain letters at specific holidays). We pitched a tent in our backyard, made a turkey pinecone craft, made a handprint turkey and learned all about being thankful. Plus we learned about the Bible story of Abraham living in a tent.photo4

 

*F was for fire. We, of course, had super fun with this lesson plan! Learned all about fire safety; practiced what to do if there was a fire in our home, how to stop, drop and roll, what number to call in an emergency an incorporated the Bible story of the Shadrach, Meshack & Abednego. Plus, we also got to take a field trip to a fire house (aka we went to visit Daddy at work).image

*K for King. We learned all about King David, King Solomon & the King of Kings being born in a manger (this was right before Christmas). We made a castle out of shapes, decorated a crown and even made a manger ornament out of popsicle sticks for the Christmas tree.image

*S was for Shamrock and P was for st. Patrick’s Day (I veered from the lesson plan for this week). I wanted to teach the kids about the three leaf clover and how each leaf represented Jesus the son, God the father and the Holy Spirit. We also learned about st. Patrick, painted our shamrocks and even made green pancakes for lunch.photo3-2

photo2-2*U was for Up. We talked about all things that go up or are up in the sky; the sun, moon, stars, clouds, airplanes, rocket ships, birds, etc…This was a really fun day!! We made a mobile with cotton balls clouds then had the kids draw & cut out the sun, stars & moon. We tied in the Bible story of Jesus ascending to Heaven (we planned this so it was right after Easter) and ended the day at the park flying a kite up in the sky.image

*Our last day was I for insect and ice-cream (which turned into an ice-cream celebration). We incorporated the Bible story of the 7 plagues, made insects out of tissue paper and flew them outside.

Even though the lesson plans had enough activities for having class four times a week, we were only able to meet once a week so we would just pick and choose our favorites.

In the end, I think the kids learned just as much as we moms. I learned that even though I didn’t always like school as a kid, learning can be fun, especially when you learn through play. I loved watching the kids grasp new concepts, even if it was just learning manners and how to treat each other kindly.

Our journey came to an end this past week, but I am so happy for the memories that we have created for these little kiddos. I am not sure where exactly we will go from here. Our friends are moving and we are beginning to look at outside options for further preschool. I have to say it is difficult with a younger baby, who no longer was napping at the time we were trying to have school, which is just one of the reasons we are looking for other options. But if at any time either of our kids decide that they are not liking more “main stream” schooling I would for sure look into other avenues of homeschooling. I do think it is a great option, especially when you have someone to co-teach with you, but it is definitely a lot of work. I give so much credit to all you homeschooling parents out there, you are amazing!photo1

(Had to include a picture of us celebrating our last day with our little graduates & the babes who wanted to join in on the fun every week)

Feel free to share your journey or thoughts; are you considering homeschool? Or are you already doing it? Do you co-teach? Do it alone? Have a co-op of parents? I’d love to hear your story!

You Know You’re a Mom When…

“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so HAPPY.”    Tina Fey

Welcome to the first (and probably not the last) edition of “You know you’re a Mom When…” This was such a fun list to put together & quite honestly hard to pick just a few, which is why there will most likely be future enstallments. So without further ado I give you…

You Know You’re a Mom (of young kids) When…

  1. You contemplate things like “If Mickey is a mouse and Donald is a Duck & both of them can talk, then why can’t Pluto the dog talk?”
  2. You talk to people (husband, friends, complete strangers) about poop.
  3. You can smell poop like its following you…probably because it’s on you.
  4. You can’t remember the last time you had a conversation with someone without being interrupted by either a crying baby, cranky toddler or whining child.
  5. You day dream about a full nights sleep, a hot meal (which now you really know why mama bear’s porridge was cold) & a shower long enough to wash your hair & shave your legs!
  6. Speaking of showers, you can’t remember the last time you had one.
  7. You leave the house and can’t remember if you a) brushed your teeth b) brushed your hair c) brushed your new cool mustache or unibrow you have growing.
  8. You spend lots of time looking for things like the remote, which is in the fridge, the bottle which is in your purse or your cell phone which the baby is holding.
  9. You only know what’s going on in the news because someone said something on Facebook when you happened to check it when you were hiding in the bathroom pretending to have a stomach ache.
  10. The “Sunday Funday” trip to the beach takes longer to pack everything up than you actually spend at the beach, which included at least one child eating lots and lots of sand, then crying because they had sand in their mouth.
  11. You desperately try to find some lipgloss in your purse to pretend like you are wearing makeup but all you can find is a Thomas the Train, a squished granola bar and even a few marbles (you weren’t kidding when you said you lost those things).
  12. Your idea of “date night” is now getting the kids to bed before 8pm so you can binge watch your favorite show, eat the cookies you’ve been stashing away and still get to bed before 10:30pm!
  13. You hate it when people say the phrase “I slept like a baby” because you have a baby and ain’t no body sleeping!
  14. You don’t want anything for Mother’s Day other than to sleep all night and maybe even sleep past 7am then have a relaxing day with no requirements of you at all.
  15. And finally…You know you are a mom (of young kids) when…you get teary eyed thinking about how fast they are growing and that sometimes you wish you could freeze time (mostly when you are watching them do something cute or sleeping, but still).View More: http://loveeyelet.pass.us/rosalie-belle-one

“Well a mother, a real mother is the most wonderful person in the world. She is the angel voice that bids you goodnight, kisses your cheek, whispers sleep tight. Your mother and mine. Your mother and mine. The helping hand that guides you along. Whether you’re right, whether you’re wrong. Your mother and mine. Your mother and mine. What makes mothers all that they are, might as well ask what makes a star. Ask your heart to tell you her worth, your heart will say, heaven and earth. Another word for divine, your mother and mine.” -Your Mother and Mine (Peter Pan)View More: http://loveeyelet.pass.us/rosalie-belle-one

Happy Mother’s Day to all you AMAZING mothers out there. Sending you love, laughter and hopefully some extra sleep on this special day.

View More: http://loveeyelet.pass.us/rosalie-belle-oneView More: http://loveeyelet.pass.us/rosalie-belle-oneIMG_2647Had to include pictures of the ones that made me a mom and one of the woman who I call mom and best friend…Love you mom!!

*Professional photos by: Lindsey Gage Photography

That One Time on Ellen

“Keep Calm and Dance with Ellen”image

Three years ago today my husband surprised me for my 30th birthday and got us tickets to see the Ellen Degeneres Show (yes, now you all know exactly how old I am and I bet you are all thinking “she can not be over 30” and for that I thank you). I absolutely LOVE Ellen, going to see her show was on my bucket list, so to say I was excited is an understatement. It was an epic day that we will never forget, especially since my name got picked to play a game called blindfolded musical beach balls, where not only did I get to hug Ellen, but I got to dance around like a fool on national television. It was such a blast and this video will help me always remember (I’m the goofy girl in the striped skirt and blue top & might I add she told us to only dance like we were at a 1960’s pool party and I ran out of moves pretty quickly).😂

Blinded folded musical beach balls (click here to see video)

IMG_2571To put the icing on the cake, Ellen came out during a commercial break to talk to the audience telling us how much she loved our energy and our awesome dance skills (I’m sure it had something to do with my killer dance moves, haha)! Then she proceeded to announce that she wanted us all to come back for one of the 12 Days of Christmas Shows. After the shock wore off you would have thought we all won the lottery (which we kinda did), we screamed so much that we lost our voices! When we went back for the 12 Days of Christmas the hubby and I had a chance to do a little dancing, but together this time. After we finished dancing Ellen acknowledged us and said she would be putting our dance up on her website, which she did…

Dancing Duo (click here to see video)

So there you have it, a little trip down memory lane of our (2) amazing trips to Ellen. Hope you had a good laugh!image

The Worst Diet Ever

“That which doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.”

Being a dancer I think I have heard about every imaginable diet out there. The crazy cabbage diet, Atkins, juice/liquids only, only chips and salsa (I kid you not), I even heard of someone picking up smoking and drinking coffee just to curb their appetite (wowzers, talk about a double edged sword). But nothing could prepare me for the worst diet ever!!

Most of us have been on at least one diet in our lifetime. Some of us maybe a different diet every year, every few months, maybe even every week. I’m not here to judge or to claim I know everything there is to know about nutrition, but I will tell you about the worst diet ever that I had to go on and I hope non of you will have to experience it (but if you do, I am here to help).

I had waited all my life to find my prince, get married and have a family of our own. The second we found out we were pregnant I was ecstatic. I planned out the nursery, the maternity photos, we picked a name and that was all within the first few weeks! Haha! What I didn’t plan for was the results of a test that most pregnant women dread…the glucose test.

For those of you not familiar the glucose test it is to see if you have gestational diabetes. You have your blood drawn after fasting all morning, drink a super sugary drink, wait one hour, have another blood draw, wait one more hour and have another blood draw (every doctor seems to have slightly different rules, but this was what my doctor required). For some reason the hormones in some women’s bodies during pregnancy causes them to not be able to keep their glucose levels at normal/healthy levels for the baby. Some are able to control their glucose with a strict diet and exercise plan; others have to go on medication.

Well, as you can probably guess, my test came back positive; I had gestational diabetes. Just one of the blood draws was over the allotted amounted by about 2 points, but I was still considered diabetic. To say I was in shock was an understatement. I had no idea how my pregnancy was about to change.

I was immediately forced into a diabetes center where I was instructed to take nutrition classes and meet with a nutrition counselor every few weeks to monitor my glucose levels. I remember sitting in my first class and was incredibly angry. As I sat there listening to what I was going to be allowed to eat, when I could eat and how much I could eat, the anger grew. Wasn’t this supposed to be the one time in my life that I could “eat for two?” How could this be happening to me? I was a healthy person. I ate well. I worked out and was in great shape. I did not fit any of the categories of people who were most likely to get gestational diabetes. By the end of the class my anger turned into tears.image

After being shown how to use a glucose monitor to check my blood 4x per day the nutritionalist could obviously see that I was upset. I explained to her that going on a diet during pregnancy was not exactly what I had in mind. I was a dancer, I had already tried lots of diets, I had to do weigh-ins in college, I could not handle counting out my allotted 12 wheat thins for a snack (I am not exaggerating). My mental well being was at stake and I was on the verge of having a major meltdown.

After some convincing, the counselor allowed me to skip the other nutritional classes (since I had taken some in college) and we were just to meet up one on one once a month to go over my glucose numbers. Once she could see that I could keep my numbers in the correct range then she cut a deal with me and said I could test just 3x a week instead of everyday.

I remember the first morning on my new diet plan, I was no longer allowed to have fruit or any kind of dairy for breakfast, instead I was instructed to eat one protein, one fat and one carbohydrate (so that is like one egg and a piece of toast with a bit of butter on it). Except all I wanted for breakfast was a big bowl of cereal with milk and fruit on top. As I stood cooking my egg, I cried. Cried because I didn’t want to eat an egg, because I wanted to eat whatever the heck I wanted to, because I was pregnant, because it just did not feel fair.

I didn’t talk much about my gestational diabetes during my pregnancy because I thought people were going to judge me. I felt like there was a stigma with the word diabetes. I had been exposed to diabetes at a young age when my nephew was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 3. I knew there were different forms, I saw it first hand, but most people associate it with over weight, non-active people and I didn’t want to be lumped into that category. I didn’t want people to think I was feeding my unborn baby junk food and sitting on the couch all day long. So I kept it pretty much a secret.image

Then when I got pregnant for the second time I had to have a blood draw called A1C in the first trimester and they could already tell that my glucose levels were just over the limit (again) and I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Heart Break ALL OVER AGAIN!! I knew this time was going to have a whole different set of challenges considering I was so busy with a 1.5 year old and didn’t have time to be measuring food, making sure I got good work outs or even testing my blood at the correct times.

In the end I was able to control my glucose levels with proper diet and exercise, but it was NOT easy. There were no late night trips to the store for ice cream and cookies. No “eating for two.” In fact, I am pretty sure I eat more now then I did when I was pregnant!hutzlermaternity-48

I share my story now because if there is another mom-to-be out there that is going through this I want her to know she is not alone. I know what you are going through and I am sorry that this is not what you had expected. You do not have to feel ashamed, like I did, because as I have now learned you can have gestational diabetes through no fault of your own. I repeat: It is not your fault. Even now it is therapeutic to say those words. Remember that this won’t last forever and that baby is totally worth skipping out on all the special treats you might be craving (plus it did make it a bit easier to loose the weight after, one bonus of it all).

And just in case you were wondering, the first meal I ordered in the hospital after our babies were born was cereal and milk!image

The Happiest Place on Earth

“Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” Walt Disney

imageThe Happiest Place on Earth, also known as Disneyland. The place where dreams come true and magic comes to life. The place your favorite characters live and play, where you can fight the dark side, soar on rides through your beloved childhood movies and even hug Mickey Mouse himself. The land of Happily Ever After.

If you know me, then you know our family loves Disney (even after both my husband and I worked for the company for a combined 18 years). So it might not come as any surprise that for my birthday this year I decided that I wanted to go to Disneyland. But this time I did not want to go for just the day, I wanted to surprise our kids and spend the night at one of the hotels and make it into a little “staycation.” We had actually never stayed at any hotel, let alone a Disney hotel, with both kids before and we thought they were finally old enough to enjoy the experience (and this would be my first time at a Disney hotel as well. I know, I know, enter shocked sounds here).image

It was an amazing trip. Even though it was only for one night, we made the best of our time. We arrived at the hotel early, enjoyed the pool and had a great dinner at The California Grand.imageimage

imageWe were even able to see the fireworks from our balcony (this was a huge bonus since the baby is not old enough to stay up that late).image

The next day we were able to go into the park for the extra “Magic Hour” which is totally awesome (hotel guests are able to enjoy an entire hour before other guests are allowed to enter). Then when the park started filling up and getting a bit hot we actually took the kids back to the pool for a couple hours and finally topped off the trip with a special dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen.image

imageIt was honestly one of the best times we have ever had at the park with the kids. Enjoying the hotel, pool and park was the best birthday present (not to mention the hubby had flowers, cake and decorations in the room when we arrived). It made us super excited for possible vacations as a family in the future, and of course we will always consider Disney one of our top choices! Not only does it hold a special place in our hearts, but to see the magic light up the eyes of our children makes us gleam with joy.image

image“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.” Walt Disney

I Lingered a Bit Longer

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” -Jeremiah 31:3IMG_8224

The other night I lingered a bit longer.

It was a beautiful day filled with an outing for our daughters 18 month birthday (yes, we celebrate half birthdays in our home). I had been planning the trip for a few weeks to go to the famous flower fields since they are only in bloom for just a short amount of time each year. I color coordinated all our outfits, made special bunny ears, packed a picnic and even made cupcakes for the day.

Of course, even with all my planning, there was still the usual running around. Trying to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door seems like a circus act at times. We, of course, ended up leaving about 40 minutes later than what I had originally hoped, but we were on the road and that had to be some sort of success.

Once we arrived we had to stand in line to purchase our tickets. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted two lovely little girls, around the ages of 2 & 5, who had walked in with their dad but were now standing with two women. I couldn’t help but over hear the conversation between the two women and the little girls. One woman said to the older girl “I love the flower in your hair, is that your mom’s?” The other woman replied “Yes, it is her mother’s flower and she is looking down on you and smiling.” What? Could I have possibly heard that right? Cue tears welling up in my throat. Her mother looking down on her? These beautiful, sweet little girls had no mother? I must have heard it wrong…so I kept listening. As the two women continued on in hushed tones I realized what I had heard was correct. The mother of these precious babies had passed away. My mommy heart immediately ached. The kind of ache that made me want to reach out and just hug these girls and tell them that their mom loves them so much (but seeing as though I was a stranger I thought that might be a bit un-welcomed).IMG_8243

The entire day I kept thinking about those girls. The fact that their mother would never get to see them grow up. Never watch them get dressed up for their first prom, fall in love for the first time, hug them when they had their heart broken, kiss them on their wedding day or hold her grand babies. Time is such a precious gift we have been given and too often we take it for granted, I know I do.IMG_8266

While we walked around the flower fields I tried to really capture every moment with my family. I soaked in the bright, warm sun on their faces and the cool wind in their hair. I unknowingly took a couple hundred pictures not wanting to miss a single expression, a twirl of a dress or a jump of happiness. When it came time to sing and blow out the candles I watched intently as our two children bounced and jittered with excitement.IMG_8200

After arriving home it was the usual song and dance trying to get dinner ready, baths done, pajamas on. I knew baby girl was super tired because as we sat in the rocker and she drank her milk she immediately collapsed as I lifted her to my shoulder. Her entire body melted into my neck and I drank in the smell of her skin and hair. It was quite simply the greatest feeling in the world. I wish I could have bottled that moment. I usually have to put her down pretty quickly so that I can get little man to bed shortly after, but tonight, I was in no hurry and I lingered a bit longer. I rocked her and I held her tight and whispered sweet prayers into her ear. I prayed that she know how much I love her and her brother and that even if I wasn’t around forever that my love for them would never change.IMG_8324

I’m usually not the type of mom who says “Oh I wish I could stop time.” or “I wish they would stop growing up.” or “I just want them to stay a baby forever.” That was never me. But for the first time since having a baby, I finally understood. It isn’t that you want them to never grow up, or to stay a baby forever (or at least not in my perspective), but really it is because you are afraid that you might not be around forever to see it all happen.IMG_8193

Life is such a beautiful gift, isn’t it? Here is trying to make the most of each day that we have been given.IMG_8342

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

I Won an Award!

It’s official, I won an award! I have been nominated for my first writing award. Cue celebration music, pop the confetti, pour me a glass of champagne…ok maybe hold off on the confetti (that stuff is really messy).image

In case you were wondering the award I have been nominated for is the Leibster Award. It is an honor given by fellow bloggers to new blogs that have been around less than two years and have less than 1,000 subscribers (so I definitely fit the category). It is a great way for the blogging community to encourage one another and give recognition to people who are just starting out on their journey. So, no it is not quite a Noble Peace Prize, but I would still like to give an acceptance speech (I’ve been practicing since I was about 8 years old)…I’d like to thank God, my husband…*interrupted by the commercial music*

I was nominated by three fellow mommy bloggers and to say I was flattered was an understatement. Does this mean people are actually reading what I write? Hooray! Success!

The three mama’s who nominated me are Annie from simplyannieblog,  Alexis from mrs.mombie and Allison from somethingcutehappened. If you want to read more inspirational, sometimes down right funny adventures about motherhood you should definitely go check them out! Thanks ladies for the nomination…

Each nominee is given a list of 11 questions they must answer, once finished I will then create my own questions for 5-11 other mommy bloggers. So here it goes (since I was nominated by three different people, with three sets of questions I decided I would pick my favorite ones)…

  1. What makes you happy? Oh man, so many things make me happy, I consider myself to be a pretty happy person. But if I had to choose my top few things I would say Jesus makes me really happy; knowing Him is the best gift my parents ever gave me. My family makes me happy; my amazing husband, my two kiddos, my three older sisters, my parents and my seven nieces and nephews. Dancing makes me happy, although I don’t get to do it very much any more, but whenever I do it makes me one happy girl. Cookies and milk while watching Project Runway also makes me super happy!!
  2. What is the focus of your blog? Well, it started out as a fun hobby just writing about my life. I didn’t have a specific plan, I just started to write. Then the more I wrote the more I loved it and realized it was a creative outlet for me. I like to focus on everything from a bad mom day and what I learned from it, to great products I couldn’t live without, to planning a fun birthday party, to a fun outing with the kids. So really life as a mom is the focus of my blog.
  3. What is your all time favorite blog you’ve ever written? That is a hard one, it is a toss up between “Why I didn’t like my baby” and “Dreaming New Dreams.” Both were heartfelt stories that I felt like a lot of people could relate to and turns out a lot of people did…I had over 1,000 views on “Why I didn’t like my baby” my highest reading ever!!
  4. What is your favorite way to promote your blog? By far it has got to be on Instagram! I think because it is nothing but pictures and I am a sucker for good photography. I think of it as a photo album that I am leaving behind for my kids some day. I am also on Facebook, but I’m still a newbie here so I am just beginning to pick up steam. Please feel free to follow me on both!:)
  5. Why did you start your blog? Good question! A friend commented on a picture of mine “you need to start a blog.” and I got to thinking “why not?” “why not me?” I did enjoy writing (although dancing/performing had always been my first creative outlet), but since I didn’t really get a chance to do that anymore I knew I could write when kids were asleep and maybe, just maybe, my stories might help another person. I am a firm believer that sometimes you never know why you went through something until you share it with someone else and it gives them validation that they are not alone. I wanted to share my pain, struggles, laughs and experiences so that at least one person could say “wow, I’m glad I am not the only one.”
  6. Do you like to cook? If yes, what? I do like to cook, but more than cook I like to bake! My mom was always baking in our home growing up so I think that is probably where I got it. Now that our son is 3.5 he loves to help me bake so it makes it even more fun (and messy). As for cooking I have gotten into the whole Blue Apron thing because it is all your ingredients and recipes sent to you in one box, it doesn’t get much easier than that!
  7. What is your pet peeve? Umm…it is kinda hard to pick one (I have a tendency to be a little OCD sometimes)…I really hate being late. It might be the dancer in me. I was always taught that being on time was like being late. And now that I have two kids it is almost impossible to make it anywhere on time! I also really hate loose hair, it creeps me out.
  8. What is your favorite Netflix show to binge watch? We don’t have Netflix and I don’t get much time to watch TV. Honestly, by the time the kids are in bed I sometimes really just like having a quiet house. But, if I do watch a show it might be Project Runway, Ellen, Days of our Lives, Say Yes to the Dress or re-runs of Friends, Sex & the City or even Little House on the Prairie.
  9. If money were not an issue, what is your dream job/career? Well, if you would have asked me this before kids I would have said Broadway! I graduated from college with my Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance, so The Great White Way was all I ever dreamed about. But then I met my Prince Charming and he lived in Southern California so my dreams changed. Now my dream job, post marriage and kids, would be to make my blog more successful because I do love writing and sharing my stories with others.
  10. Are you a stay at home mom? or work outside the home mom? Currently I am a full time stay at home mama. I still substitute every once in a while at the dance studio I used to teach at, but nothing consistent. My mom had always stayed at home with us and I loved knowing that when I got home from school she would be there for me. So I wanted my kids to have that same experience. It is the toughest job out there, but I really don’t think I could have it any other way.
  11. What is one thing you love about yourself? Oh gosh..Why is that so hard to answer? I think (from what my friends tell me) my honesty. I am always straight forward and share my honest opinion. I think you can find it in my writing, I don’t try to sugar coat things and for the most part I think people appreciate that. Motherhood is tough and I talk about my own struggles, but I also try to give encouragement because it is also an amazing journey that can teach you so much about yourself (and your relationship with Christ).

Thanks for reading! Now I get to nominate some lovely ladies…

Shannon: faithfullybeautifulblog

Keil: munchkintimeblog

Brittany: evereverafterjbs

Francesca: thehungryhomemakerblog

Bre: maintainingme

Chelsea: sippycupconfessions

Here are your 11 questions:

  1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. What made you start blogging?
  3. How many kiddos do you have? Ages?
  4. When the kids go to bed, what is the first thing you like to do?
  5. Where is your favorite place to go as a family?
  6. Have you started any cool traditions? or passed on traditions from when you were a kid?
  7. Favorite show or movie you could watch over and over?
  8. If you had to pick, would you hire a house cleaning service, a yard maintenance crew, a chef or a personal trainer?
  9. What is your favorite blog that you have written? Why?
  10. Salty or Sweet?
  11. What is one thing you hope your children will learn before they go off into the world?

Have fun ladies! Can’t wait to read your answers!!

 

 

 

 

My Skin is Not Glowing, You’re Annoying!

“Each month has an average of 30-31 days…except the last month of pregnancy which has 1,453 days.” -E cards

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One of my best girlfriends is due any day now and we recently got to talking about the hysterical, sometimes horrific, things people say to pregnant women. We decided, and I think most pregnant women would agree with us, there is an epidemic that needs to be corrected. I experienced the audacity and bluntness during both of my pregnancies and I feel like I finally have the opportunity to explain the top 10 things you should never say to a pregnant woman.

  1. “Oh my gosh you are so HUGE/BIG/Much bigger than last time!!” Try re-phrasing this to “you look beautiful/amazing/could barely tell you were pregnant. And you can stay away from the whole “your skin is glowing” phrase because what we really think you are telling us is that we look sweaty, which is true, our hormones are a furnace that are literally cooking up a baby, so you don’t need to point out the elephant in the room, that is just annoying!
  2. “WOW, you are really going to have your hands full!” Thanks Captain Obvious, I didn’t already think of that myself. Try re-phrasing it to “It will be so great that your kids will be so close in age they can be playmates” or “full hands, but fuller heart.”
  3. “Pregnant all during the hot summer?!? You really didn’t time that one right!!” Actually, some people just want to have a baby, no matter the season, so you don’t need to tell me it was poor timing, it was actually God’s perfect timing! But I do thank you for reminding me how hot it is outside and how hot my body gets while baking up a baby. Try re-phrasing it to “you must love going swimming this time of year.” or “you are handling pregnancy during the summer so flawlessly”.
  4. “I know what you’ve been doing!” Can we just say gross? Come on, really? I am not going to re-phrase this one in any way because it is completely inappropriate.
  5. “Oh, another boy (or another girl)? I guess you will have to try again.” No, some people do not feel the need to keep trying to have more children just so they can have both a boy and a girl. Some just feel blessed enough to have happy, healthy children. I will not re-phrase this one either.
  6. “You must be due any day now.” or “You look like you are ready to pop.” You have no idea when a complete stranger is due so please do not assume you can tell by her stomach when she is going to have the baby. Try re-phrasing to “You look great, when are you due?”
  7. “You probably shouldn’t eat that/drink that/lift that/wear that/smell that…” Listen, most women are being seen regularly by a doctor or midwife of some kind and have probably read at least one pregnancy book, we know what we should and should not be doing. If we want to have a cup of coffee, do not judge. If I sneak some sushi do not give me the dirty eye. If you see me lifting my 25 pound son at 40 weeks pregnant, do not tell me he is too heavy and I should not be doing that. We do what we gotta do when we gotta do it, so let us be.
  8. “I bet that wasn’t planned.” or “That was poor planning.” I actually didn’t ask for your advice on the planning of my pregnancy so please do not feel the need to share it with me. Thanks.
  9. “Are you having twins?” or “Are there twins in there?” Chances are, it is not twins, so saying this is NOT going to make me feel any better about the fact that I already feel huge. So unless I tell you I am having twins, do not ask me.
  10. “Don’t worry you will bounce right back.” or “You will loose the weight/get back in the swing of things in no time.” Please, do not make statements that might have been true for you because they may not be true for someone else. When I don’t “bounce back” right away I don’t want to think there is something wrong with me. I am glad you are an optimist, but loosing the baby weight or getting back to “normal” life after birth with no maid, no personal trainer, no chef and no nanny is going to take a long time if it ever happens at all.hutzlermaternity-121

To all the mama’s out there, I hope you can share this with that “friend” who just doesn’t quite get it. People, you have to realize that we cease to be a regular human adult once we are pregnant. We can not feed or dress ourselves without a comment, at no other time is an adult’s personal hygiene open for comment; hair dye, hair spray, deodorant chemicals, dangerous shoes, dental office fluoride, basic medicines, food choices, etc…It is so weird and then you discover it never ends! You always belong to the creatures you carried. It is a total loss of autonomy. After two years of wearing maternity clothes, you consider a new plan while you are eating cheerios off the floor…then opt for new sweats and sleep. Being pregnant is just the beginning of THE hardest job in the world, so please do us moms all a favor and think before you speak, that is all we ask of you. Thank you in advance.

*Photo’s by the amazing Lindsey Gage