Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Confidence that Comes with Motherhood

Baby HugsI am woman, hear me roar (please read in a sarcastic tone).

With motherhood comes a lot of other things.  Once you birth a child, your title doesn't just change.  You don't just get promoted from wife to wife and mother or single to mother - however your story went - , you are a different person.  After I had J, I felt incredibly powerful.  I grew a human.  I pushed and pushed and was an effin warrior and gave birth to a PERSON.  With that came a rush of confidence.  I made a person and I did it like a champion.  I can do anything.

I was having a conversation this weekend about confidence, and it made me think about my viewpoint of myself since becoming a mother.  All of the things that I never thought I could do, I do.  For years I told my husband, I am way too selfish to have a baby.  I did things I didn't want to do for other people, but, in all honesty, I did it out of obligation, not because I wanted to.  To me, this felt very selfish.  I didn't want to do anything for anyone, but I did it anyway.  I told my husband this one night, and he said, to him, that sounded even more selfless.   I didn't know how much I subscribed to his idea of my mind state at the time, but I did appreciate the fact that others might not take my mind state as a selfish one.

My point is, since having J, I do things all the time that I don't want to do, but I don't mind doing them because I see how happy it makes J.  I don't feel like reading the same book over and over and over, but I really kind of love it because J loves it.  Pre-motherhood, I was much harder on myself about my selfishness, but now, I realize that I am not nearly as selfish as I thought I was.  I feel more confident in who I am and I realize I have the power to change the things I don't like about myself and I have the confidence to accept what I can't change.  I own this person that I am.

Having a child makes you realize you aren't breakable.  You can withstand more than you ever thought you could and you come out the other side Even.  More.  Awesome.

What I listened to while writing:

King by OAR

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Calming Play-Dough Recipe (Using Essential Oils)

essential oil play doughWho doesn't love Play-Dough?  Why not bump it up a notch?  This week, the H, J, and I made a fun little project.  I searched the darkest corners of the internet in search for a great Play-Dough recipe that I could tweak to fit my needs - and I found a winner!

So, here's the deal, when I get home from work, I usually sit J in his kitchen booster seat at the island, and start up on dinner.  Sometimes he'll play with cups, sometimes, he'll eat; I'll take whatever I can get to distract him.  I wanted to give him something that will help his motor skills and keep him in a calm mood (instead of getting antsy, which he usually does when I'm cooking).  I decided to make him this awesome Play-Dough recipe and add lavender essential oil to 1) keep him calm and 2) keep him clean (it's anti-bacterial).

We have been using this recipe for a week, and it is still super soft and just like store bought, except better!


1 Cup Flour

1 Cup Water

1/4 Cup Salt

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

2 Teaspoons of Cream of Tartar (it's in the spice aisle, took forever for us to find it; "cream" threw us off)

Food Coloring

Couple drops of Lavender Essential Oil


1.  Pour all ingredients into a sauce pan.

2.  Stir until mixed well.

3.  Put on low heat and keep stirring until it forms a ball.

4.  Remove from heat and knead until it's ready.

Recipe from the blog, "We Love Being Moms!," I added to EO tweak.

The whole process took no more than 10 minutes, and it works great.  J plays with it at his booster seat while I cook and he always stops and sniffs it.  The lavender scent has really held up to.  It's just as strong as it was a week ago!

What I listened to while writing:

Two Step by Dave Matthews Band

Bartender by Dave Matthews Band

Sarah Smirks, documenting baby's accomplishments Get essential oils here - I use this brand! Aromatherapy Top 6 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Basic Sampler Essential Oil Gift Set- 6/10 Ml (Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Orange, Peppermint)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Feeling Blessed

happyWe don't always take time out of our day to feel the blessings of our lives.  As a lover of punishment, I read a blog, Cocktails and Chemo, written by a former high school classmate's wife.  She is a twenty-something widow with a 1 year old.  She wrote today about how she regrets always fighting about whether or not the things she did for the household were appreciated by her husband (an argument I know I have regularly!).  After reading that blog post that reminded me to enjoy the moment because nothing lasts forever, I turn on Spotify and decide to listen to the Fault in our Stars soundtrack because I love pain, obviously.  A song by Birdy (who is amazing if you haven't listened to her.  Her Skinny Love cover is awesome) came on and it talked about a voice mail that she listens to over and over and will never delete.  It got me thinking that the Cocktails and Chemo writer is probably doing the same thing.  I would save all my voice mails from Kyle if I knew tomorrow I wouldn't hear his voice.

The point of all this is that I'm in a blessed mood.  All of this made me realize I have it damn good.  Below are my top 10 things I am feeling blessed for.  Please share yours too!  Let's create a feel good train to carry us into the weekend.

1.  Kyle is very thoughtful.  He sent me flowers at work yesterday because what girl doesn't love that?

2.  Jax has been incredibly good lately.  Ever since we started with the time outs he has been an angel.  Who knew that a little parenting would go so far?....

3.  I have a lovely home that more than comforts me.

4.  Along with #3, my backyard is huge by Evanston standards and I love that we can drink beers around the fire pit all summer.

5.  My friends are amazing.  They are loyal.  I have the type of friendship that a year without talking could never take away.

6.  I am blessed with a great family.  My parents and in-laws would do anything for our little family.  They are completely selfless.  My cousins and brother and sisters are more friends than siblings (and in law siblings).

7.  We are all healthy - usually.  J gets sick quite often, but the times between illness are getting farther and farther apart.

8.  Kyle and I both have careers we love with employers we appreciate.

9.  It's mid-February - almost spring!  I love that we live in Illinois and get to experience all seasons and have the excitement of waiting for that next season.

10.  It's a weird one - but Kyle and I both feel blessed to have reliable cars.  If you've ever had a junker, you know how nice this feels.

What do you feel blessed for today?

What I listened to while writing:

Bubble by Colbie Caillat

Tee Shirt by Birdy

I'm Yours by Jason Mraz

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How We Handle the Terrible Toddler Stage


All of my readers know, J is going through a bit of a tantrum-y stage, making mommy and daddy nuts. Once we took a step back from the situation,  we realized we weren't handling it well. We stressed when he'd yell, causing more problems. He thrived off of our moods. When we were at the end of our rope with him, he'd go one step further, testing us.


We realized we were going down a bad path when J's teacher said he'd been pushing other kids. That was our wake up call. We adjusted some things that we were doing and it has worked very well! Tantrums are coming in less quantity and we are actually enjoying each other's company again.

1. Time out: J might be one, but he is not exempt from time out. We give him 2 chances. If we tell him no a third time, he goes in the pack n play in a far off corner for 1 minute. We've only been doing this for a few days and have already noticed a huge change. He even stopped shoving at school.

2. Stay calm: Now that we aren't freaking our about him doing the same thing over and over, we are calm about his behavior. We all know that if he does something wrong, third strike results in time out. We no longer get frustrated because we have a plan.

3. Schedule is everything: J wakes up, goes to sleep, eats, naps, and plays at the same time every day. This keeps his frustration down because he knows how his day will be. Babies thrive in routine.

4. Give yourself a break: The H and I have been making it a point to go out with our friends more often (sadly, that means like, twice a month). This gives us time away from the family environment and we appreciate it more when we return.

What do you do to ward off tantrums? Advice is always appreciated!

What I listened to while I wrote:
My bath water! I actually wrote this while taking a nice detox bath.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sometimes I want to SCREAM!

[caption id="attachment_20048" align="aligncenter" width="300"]In need of my happy place today! In need of my happy place today![/caption]

J's toddlerhood is in full swing.  If his schedule is thrown off just a bit, the next day - maybe 2 - is thrown out of wack.  Yesterday we got a flat tire on our way home from a friend's house, and this was the wrench thrown into our next few days....

When making plans to go out with J we always plan meticulously.  We had planned everything down to the minute, to get him in the car in time for bed.  We changed him into his PJs before we left and everything.  We could have a clean transfer - mama's know what I'm talking about.  That perfect transition from car to bed.  It's magical.  Well, he had different plans.

He was totally content looking out the window on our way home...okay, that's fine I guess.  Don't go to bed in the car, but we'll still get home at a reasonable time for him to get to bed close to bed time.  That was - until the wrench in our plans was thrown at our heads.

The car starts making strange loud noises, the tell-tale noises of a flat tire.  We pull over and sure enough, flat.  And, icing on the cake, J is still awake.  Long story short, the tool the H needed was jammed and it took about an hour to change the tire.  J's up the whole time.  We get home 2.5 hours past his bedtime.  He passes out as soon as we put him in his crib.

The next morning he rises nice and early and the day his been a shit show ever since.  He has been insane.

Here are J's thoughts:

No, I don't want to nap.

Yes, I want everything that you have in your hand.

Yes, I will scream until I have it.

No, I don't want to eat what is on my plate.

Yes, I want whatever you're eating.

No, I don't want to be in the playroom.

Yes, I want to be anywhere that isn't baby-proofed.

Yes, I will scream to get whatever I want today.

Well, guess what, kid?  I want to scream too.  What do you think of that?

While his behavior makes me want to scream, in reality, it's on us.  We need to keep him on schedule.  We need to make sure he gets his energy worked out constructively.  We signed up for this, and it is our responsibility to make sure he has an outlet for his crazy toddler energy.

Serenity now!

What I listened to while writing:

J screaming

J pulling important docs out of our filing cabinet

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Baby's Gonna Play, Play, Play: Our weekend with the Dude

Any parent can tell you, when you have a baby your weekend plans change drastically.  Here's my thought on how they go.
20-25 years old:  Thirsty Thursday - Saturday = bars; Sunday = brunch, trying to piece together the fragments you remember from the weekend.

25-30 years old:  Lots of TV marathons, going out to dinner, and having friends/family over for home made meals.

30+:  swim lessons, karate lessons, quick meals, and, if you're lucky, a glass of wine after bedtime.


baby swim lessons

This weekend we ran around as usual.  Saturday, J had swim lessons in the morning, which he cried through (again).  We dropped off our tax docs at our accountants in the afternoon, and then we hit the road to see my oldest friend, Megan.  We've known each other since we were 11 years old in Mrs. Dargatz's class.  It is always a blast when we get together.  This time I got to see her new house that her boyfriend practically built from the ground up, which was cool.  J had the opportunity to test just how baby-proofed their house was.  He was honored.

Sunday, I went out with my good friend from college, Erin, and we went to this place in Lincoln Square called Gather (check it out here).  If you try it out, the skillet and bloody marys are amazing.  It's the kind of restaurant you eat with other people at the same table.  As two die-hard intros, we didn't acknowledge those people.

Once I got home, I made a detox salad.  You gotta detox after the crap you eat all weekend, right?

detox salad

The salad included:



Chia Seeds





I'll probably add some bacon bits and goat cheese too; it doesn't have to be ALL detox foods, right?

lemon vinegaretteand this amazing homemade lemon vinaigrette:

1/2 cup Lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

and a bit of salt, pepper, and honey to taste

Since having J, yes, my weekend has changed.  It went from bars, parties, and restaurants (and all the money spending that went along with that) to family-friendly living.  As much as I sometimes wish I could go back to that simple time - especially right now when J is in full toddler mode and acting like a bi-polar stretch arm strong - if given the chance, I wouldn't go back.  This is where I'm supposed to be now.

What I listened to while writing:

J screaming as he opened and closed my office door

J whining when I took away the random stuff he grabbed off my desk

J crying when he couldn't get past the baby gate

Yes, I listened to all that while writing this and still wouldn't go back.....ask me again in 5 minutes.

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