Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"It's Worth It" - September

In exactly one month, I'm going to be a Momma to a 3 year old. I have no clue how we got here. Time has moved so dang fast and because there is nothing I can do about it, I have to find way to savor every. single. second. Every day over the last 2 years and 11 months has been perfection with Connor. Every good moment and every chaotic phase has been completely worth it. 

Connor has taught me so much about being a Mom, about who I am as a person. I've learn and will fully admit that I'm an enabler. I'm not a very good disciplinarian. I have a habit of giving in far too often. While this could easily cause havoc in our lives, it doesn't make my form of mothering in less. If anything, I'm the most perfect Momma Connor J could have been given. God knew exactly what he was doing when he paired Connor and I. The bumps, lessons and fits along the way have been more than worth it. 

Daily I'll snuggle up with Connor and whisper in his ear that he is my best guy and as he hugs me back he'll say "You're my best guy too, Mommy." I can't imagine being anyone else's best guy. Even on the worse days of parenting, I know that with one cuddle or adorable comment, all is forgiven. I know that the long days of fits and emotional meltdowns are worth it because we are shaping Connor into the man he will one day be.

I've learned that every stage comes and goes, ushering in a new phase to conquer or even sometimes just barely survive. While Connor has never been a good sleeper, I've decided to take this moments of "hey let's party at 2AM" as a chance to cuddle more. Give attention that's not being dragged away by some other chore and responsibility. I remind myself that there are childless couple out there that would give everything to have a baby to wake up to in the middle of the night. I tell myself that one day he won't need his Momma to cuddle and rock him back to sleep; that the lack of sleep is worth it.

Being a mother has changed me. It's made me love deeper than I ever imagined. I know that without a doubt that Connor has taught me what unconditional love is. He has taught me that being selfish only hurts yourself. Giving love, support and encouragement is what really matters. Connor has shown me that the ups and down of parenthood are worth it. They are something to be treasured; something to be cherished.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Let's Learn About the Lord's Prayer :: Book Review

As a member of the Litfuse Group I often get the chance to review and share adult fiction books with my readers. This month I landed the opportunity to discover, read and share a children's book with you. As you know, we LOVE reading so when we scored this book, I was super excited. Let's Learn The Lord's Prayer is the perfect introduction to the Lord's Prayer. Here is more about this children's book.

In this vibrant, colorful board book illustrated by Ryan Jackson, DeVries introduces Emma, a preschooler who welcomes readers at the front door and invites them in for a special play date. Upstairs they meet Blueberry, Emma’s favorite teddy bear. The two show readers all the fun toys in Emma’s room before heading downstairs for snack time. As they sit down in the kitchen and get ready to pray before eating, Emma shares with readers she has been learning about the Lord’s Prayer.

Emma quotes each line of the prayer and explains every part in a way preschoolers can understand. As Emma’s mom taught her, children will learn “this whole world belongs to God. Everything we do is for God’s glory, which is like a big celebration that shows Him how amazing we think He is.” Children will then head back to Emma’s room, where they teach the Lord’s Prayer to Blueberry. The entire prayer appears at the back of this delightful book, along with an access code to a whimsical song that will help them learn it.

Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer and all the coming HeartSmart releases will offer parents the opportunity to infuse their homes with God’s Word. By using these charming books, moms and dads will be equipped with a clear spiritual formation path for building in their child a strong foundation of faith based on key Scriptures. Through engaging and playful stories about children their own age, young people will be captivated by the colorful illustrations and inspired to hide God’s Word in their hearts through repetition and song — two prescriptions for memorization. 

Catherine DeVries has written 20 books for children, including the bestselling The Adventure Bible Storybook. As associate publisher of Children’s Resources at David C Cook, she leads product development for The Action Bible collection, which has sold more than 1 million copies. She is a graduate of Calvin College who has won Retailer’s Choice awards in 2000, 2009 and 2010, as well as a Gold Medallion award in 2008, among others. She also serves on the board of the Tween Gospel Alliance. Catherine lives with her husband, their three children and big furry dog in the Colorado forest. 

As a Mom to a very active 2 1/2 year old boy book have to have big impact right from the start to get and keep C's attention. Let's face it: little boys aren't known for being able to sit still for long. I love the unique way that this book incorporates scripture in a manner that allows for little ones to understand in real-life situations. For instance, four year old Emma learns: "Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors." She discovers this means she is to forgive friends in situations like a disagreement on the playground. Additionally, I enjoy that the book allows for reading involvement. Emma asks interactive questions, like how old they are and what their favorite food is so the child feels included in the story. This sturdy board book has fun and colorful illustrations that will grab the attention of young readers. Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer is the perfect solution to teaching your little one the Lord's Prayer in a way he or she would understand.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Brown Sugar Tenderloin :: RECIPE

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®, and  Smithfield®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #GetBacktoPork
With cool temperatures here to stay, I've been spending more time in the kitchen. Summer was meant for evenings outdoors so often times dinner was something quick and easy. We wanted to soak up all the sun we could get while it was available. But those days are long gone so it's time to get back in the kitchen, making meals that scream "cool, Fall weather". One of my favorite meals to to make is pork with mashed potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Tasty and filling, it's often a household request. When Fall rolls in I switch up how I make the pork and pull out brown sugar. I don't know what it is about brown sugar but I instantly think comfort food. Here is my Brown Sugar Tenderloin recipe. ENJOY!

Making this delicious Smithfield pork tenderloin is oh so easy. Trust me when I say anyone can make tasty pork with this easy recipe. Like I've said before, I'm no cook so if I'm able to pull of sweet sticky tenderloin, so can you! Everything you need, from the meat to the spices, can be picked up at Wal-Mart.

1 package of Smithfield Golden Rotisserie Tenderloin
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of ketchup
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine and mix thoroughly soy sauce, ketcup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice in a large bowl.
3. Place tenderloin on greased baking sheet.
4. Using half of the prepared sauce over the tenderloin.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate meat, adding the remainder of the brown sugar sauce and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Fall brings with it school, extra-curricular activities, MOPS, book club, holidays and so much more. Cooking doesn't have been difficult or time consuming. With a quick and easy recipe like I shared here will have dinner on the table in 35 minutes. Visit for easy recipes, great for any night of the week. Share your favorite recipes with friends to earn additional entries into the $5,000 kitchen makeover sweepstakes, while supplies last.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites :: The Mister

In honor the Mister who's birthday is a month away, I thought I would dedicate Friday Favorites to him this week. I've shared a bit of Q&A with him before (May and June) and folks just love James so much I thought why not do another The Guy Behind The Blog post. Here September's questions and Coxy's answers.

1.) What's the silliest thing you and your significant other have had to compromise on?
We don’t really compromise too much with each other. We are both fairly easy going when it comes to the small stuff and align well on the big items.

2.) If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 must haves would you bring with you?
A boat, a GPS and enough food for 30-days. 

3.) Talents aside, what is your dream job?
I think I’d really enjoy being a comedian or some kind of entertainer.  I like laughing and making people laugh. Total talent aside, I really want to be a rapper. 

4.) What are three things on your bucket list?
Travel the US living in a tiny house. Learn to play the piano or guitar. Live and work in another country for a couple of years.

5.) What kind of date is your favorite to go on with your significant other?
I like to go on dates where we learn things together and can engage in conversation.

Here are the questions for October's link up! The October post will go live on Thursday, October 29th and stay open through November 6th! Now grab your guy and join in with us and submit your link over at Heavens to Betsy. September's TGBTB linkup is open until next Friday so join in on the fun. 

1 // We’re headed into fall, which means cooler temps for most of us…are you a warm weather or cold weather kind of guy?

2 // What's the best Halloween costume you've ever worn?
3 // What's your favorite Halloween candy? 
4 // What are your favorite parts of fall (ex: football, the weather, Thanksgiving, etc)?
5 // How do you feel about pumpkin spice lattes? (As a joke question hahaha)

Each Friday Favorites post is shared in these linkups:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

MTT :: How I Stay {SLIGHTLY} Organized

For the last 8 months I've been sharing Mom Talk Tuesdays with you. The third Tuesday of the month, I share my thoughts on a particular topic. Tuesday was the 3rd Tuesday of the month, where I should have been sharing my tips on organization. But guess what? I totally forgot. The irony of forgetting your own linkup (especially one about being organized), isn't lost on me. But because I was really looking forward to sharing my tips with y'all, I'm going to share them ... just 2 days late.

I would like to thank Liz for the reminder of Mom Talk Tuesday. It's a good thing my friends are organized. 
I love using paper planners and calendars. I find that I'm able to organized my thoughts and that it's easy to glance at any single day/week/month and know exactly what you have going on. There are a ton of planners options out there but I tend to go the cheaper route if possible. For blogging, I use a planner I got from Minted. It's small yet gives me plenty of space to plan out my posts. For personal use, I have a lightweight planner from our local grocery store. For just $3.99, it's a bargain and allows me to plan our days with ease. I also have a printed calendar on the fridge so that James can see what's going as well. This is how he knows when we have play dates or I've made plans for the family (I usually plan and then inform him ... I'm that wife). 

Because some of our days are packed full of errands, meeting and play dates, I find that the only way we will have a dinner worth enjoying is if I meal plan. My go to place to find new meals is Pinterest. I find that if you type in the word easy before any search you are likely to find a recipe that is simple yet delicious. I recently shared this week's menu on IG and some folks asked for details on recipes. Here are the most asked about recipe links.

I have always been a bit OCD about our home. I like for it to be "company ready" so it's safe to say that our house is always in order. The same goes for laundry. While there are times it looks like a tornado (named Connor) went through parts of the house, I always try to stay on top of things. One day a week, Connor and I stay home and tackle cleaning and laundry. This is usually a Monday or Friday. One entire day at home allows for us to take care of thing around the house along with some one on one time together. I also like to tidy up at the end of the day. Dishes are done, toys are picked up and everything is in it's place. I like waking up to a clean and orderly home.

I take a ton of photos of Connor and of life in general. Because of that, my iPhone and laptop can get pretty full, not to mention messy. Once a week or at the very least 2 times a month, I clean my desktop of images that I don't need or want and I upload photos from my phone to Facebook to an album that I started in early 2015. James gifted me a external hard drive for photos and I really need to get to moving photos off my laptop and onto the extra drive. Maybe this will be something I do in the new year. Here is a perfect example of a before and after of my laptop desktop.

And there you have it. That's how I keep our family, home, blog and personal electronics {slightly} organized. How do you keep it all together? Please know that I don't always have my act together. Sometimes I'm so organized that I'm not... hence why my Tuesday post is coming to you on a Thursday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Falling for Fall || GIVEAWAY

Happy First Day of Fall friends! While our house has been decorated for the season for a few weeks and we've started in on our Fall Bucket List, I feel that now we can truly start celebrating the season. This time of year is my favorite. From the changing of the trees to the holidays and birthdays to the weather and outdoor activities, Fall brings so much change and excitement, something I thoroughly enjoy. I wanted to do something fun for my readers in honor of the first day of Fall so I've reached out to a handful of bloggers friends and we've put together today's Fall themed giveaway.

One lucky winner will be spoiled with a new brown and white chevron scarf, Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin hand cream, Pumpkin Cupcake PocketBac, a mini Pumpkin Carving candle, OPI's 'A Great Opera-tunity' polish and a cute notebook to organize your thoughts.

I was so thrilled that seven other bloggers wanted to celebrate with me. I asked each of them to share what they love must about Fall and here are their answers:

Leah :: Football!

Aubrey :: I love switching to Fall nail polish.

Taylor :: The weather hands down. Fall is my favorite time of year and my birthday is in October so that's another reason to celebrate.

Michelle :: The whole atmosphere of fall and the changes it brings; colors, food, cooler temps, warmer clothes.

Angie :: One of the things I love most about Fall is the element of change you feel.  There's a crispness in the air, a sort of smell that includes the leaves aging and fireplaces burning, and all of it combines to give you this sense of change that always seems to energize me and prompt me to make change happen as well.  I find myself re-dedicating myself to my goals and finding a renewed sense of excitement that had gotten lazy over the hot Summer months... Fall is my favorite.

Amanda :: I love the chill in the air and the pumpkin patch.

Faith :: I love when all the colors change and there is beautiful leaves everywhere. And of course the boots, sweaters and scarfs.

To enter our giveaway, just follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter below. Winner will be drawn by random and announced on my Instagram so be sure to follow along! Good luck and HAPPY FALL!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

10 Apple Themed Recipes + Our Favorite Apple Lunch

Our family's Fall Bucket List includes apple picking and while we haven't gotten the chance to do that just yet, we have been enjoying some delicious apples from Lil Snappers. Lil Snappers is kid size fruit that make eating and enjoying delicious fruit easier than ever. If you are in the Ohio area you can pick up your bag at Meijer and WalMart. When Lil Snappers sent us a bag of Gala apples from Stemilt growers, I was so excited to dig in and start making tasty snacks and lunches with our apples.


Lunch in our home needs to be three things: 1) Tasty 2) Quick to put together and 3) Easy to assemble. One of my go to lunches, perfect for home or on the go, is Apple and Peanut Butter Wraps.

1 whole wheat wrap
10 slices of Gala Apple
2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
1 squirt of honey

This is pretty obvious but for those (like me) that look real skills in the kitchen, here you go! Lay wrap on a plate and spread with peanut butter. Spread the apple throughout your wrap on top of the peanut butter. Drizzle with honey. Roll wrap and enjoy! One wrap is about 360 calories (or less depending on your wrap) and backs 13 grams of protein; just what a growing toddler and busy Mommy needs.

We've put a dent in our Lil Snappers apples so we really need to hit up the farmers market or apple orchard so I can get in the kitchen and make some of these yummy apple filled recipes. What's your favorite way to enjoy apples?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Currently :: Week 4

Happy Monday! Yes, happy. I'm one of those people that enjoys Monday mornings. It's the start of a new week, with fresh possibilities. And it's coming anyway so you might as well make the very most of it, you know? To kick off the week, I'm joining Becky over at Choose Happy to share what's going on in our life lately.

My girlfriends lately, old and new. As someone who didn't have a ton of friends in high school, it's refreshing to know that even in your 30's you can still make friends. Recently a friend surprised me with a "Pumpkin Everything" basket and it was the sweetest gesture. It's the little things like making time for each other, doing kind things for one another and planning days together that really mean the most to me in my friendships.

Organized and ready to tackle October-November. The last 3 months of the year are our busiest. Between birthdays, holidays, school, work and MOPS, we are on the go a lot and it's nice to feel as if you are ready for whatever comes you way. I've been using 2 planners (one for blogging, one for personal) along with a calendar on the fridge and an app on my phone (that sounds like overkill doesn't it?) and I'm on top of things for the first time in a while. Now, if the bathroom would clean it's self.

My new Firmoo glasses. I have 4 pair of glasses and these are my favorite. They are lightweight and match everything I wear. While I don't need them all the time, it's nice to have a pair I like when I do need them. I actually like them so much that I have a pair up for grabs on IG. Head over and enter to win now!

Connor's 3rd birthday party. His party this year is no where near as big and over the top as parties in the past have been. And I am a-okay with that. I've finally realized that less is more when it comes to parties. He would have fun no matter what we do but we've decided on a Marvel Hero Pizza + Arcade party and so far, it's been a breeze to plan and really easy on the ol' bank account.
My friends Sarah and BreAnn. Sarah is about to have her second child.. like any minute!... and I wish I could be there to meet Nora but since I can't, I'm just praying that the transition from a family of 3 to 4 goes smoothly. BreAnn is about to move back to California from Texas and I hope and pray the trip goes well for her and the kids (she gets to drive back with a 7 month old and 3 1/2 year old). Changes are hard but both of these big transitions are going to be so worth the challenges they have faced.

What's currently going on in your world? We have a busy week ahead of us (weekend included) so we are kicking the week of with some errands and a play date. Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Favorties :: September 18

With another week coming to a close and plans made for the weekend, I've decided that Friday is my second most favorite day of the week (Mondays are my thing... I'm a weirdo). We had a fairly good week, with some highs and lows (C spiking a fever for no reason) and I wanna share them in this week's Friday Favorites. 

Here are the post from this week, in case you've missed any... be sure to visit those marked  as both have pretty sweet giveaways and I would hate for you to miss out!

My little man came down with something on Wednesday and he was just so pathetic. His fever was 101.5 and within 14 hours is was completely gone but Thursday afternoon looked a lot like this. Rudy knew C wasn't feeling well so he cuddle up with him. As crazy as G. Rudy is, I sure do love his sweet kind spirit. While his temperature is back to normal, he is still a bit grumpy. I'm thinking he has a touch of something and he isn't dealing with it well. That just means more snuggles with Papa, Rudy and I.

The blog world was on fire this week. Maybe it's because school has started, folks are back to their routine and creative juices are flowing again but I read a ton of amazing posts this week. I want to share my favorite 5 with you today.

Teressa - Homemade Larabars
Sarah - Daily Resting
Elizabeth - How to Purge Your Closet 

Connor's birthday invites have been order (from Shutterfly). I was able to redeemed my Pampers Rewards for them, making the invites FREE! How awesome is that?! We are having a Marvel Hero birthday party this year as picked by the almost 3 year old. I have a lot of fun ideas, I'm just hoping to pull them together. Also? I have 42 days to eat up all the 2 year old Connor I can. 

Fall weather is moving in next week and I can not wait to spend hours and hours outside enjoying cool mornings at the park and evening walks with the family. Autumn in Ohio is the closest thing to Heaven on Earth. I mean, it's that awesome. High 70s during the day and mid 50s at night. It's totally perfection.

Happy Friday, friends!

Each Friday Favorites post is shared in these linkups:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall 2015 Reading List

There is nothing I love more than the chance to curl up with a good book on a crisp Fall day. Ohio Falls are beautiful but they can also be very wet so depending on the day, we could spend more time indoors than usual. On those days, Connor plays with his toys, I light a pumpkin scented candle and cozy up on the couch for a day spent reading and relaxing. Fall weather is rolling in next week and I have the perfect books to read this season.

The Midwife's Confession
Dear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle - her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family - described a woman who embraced life. Yet there was so much they didn't know. With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives - and the life of a desperate stranger - with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

The Rosie Project
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Perfect Witness
She had the perfect life.
She had the perfect cover.
She was the perfect witness.
Until they found her.

When Teresa Casali was young she discovered she had a strange gift: the ability to read people's memories. But the gift seemed more like a curse as her mob boss father used her to gain the upper hand in his world of corruption and violence. Exposed by her own family to the darkest impulses of mankind, Teresa is alone and unprotected. She realizes that if she is to survive, she has to run.

Out of nowhere, or so she believes, a man by the name of Andre Mandak appears. He kills her pursuers--but that's not nearly enough for Teresa to trust him. It is his promise to get her into Witness Protection, along with his mind-blowing ability to help her control her gift before it consumes her, that convinces Teresa Casali to become Allie Girard. Living a normal life with a new family, she shuts the door to the past …although Mandak is clear: when the time is right, he too will benefit from her powers.

For years Allie flourishes …until the day her cover is blown and the truth comes tumbling out. Once again she is on the run, with her own life and those of her loved ones at stake. But this time she will not be a pawn. This time she will use her finely honed gift to end the threat that began with her family's betrayal. From perfect target to perfect witness, Allie Girard is ready to take on the past even if it kills her.

After You
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

Little Earthquakes
Jennifer Weiner's rich, witty, true-to-life "New York Times" bestselling novel tells the story of three very different women as they navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journey of new motherhood.Becky is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderful husband and baby girl, a restaurant that's received citywide acclaim -- and the mother-in-law from hell. Kelly is an event planner who's struggling to balance work and motherhood while dealing with an unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day. And Ayinde's basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at her most vulnerable moment, putting their new family even more in the public eye. Then there's Lia, a Philadelphia native who has left her Hollywood career behind, along with her husband and a tragic secret, to start her life all over again.

From prenatal yoga to post-birth sex, "Little Earthquakes" is a frank, funny, fiercely perceptive take on the comedies and tragedies of love and marriage.

Go Set a Watchman
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.

First up on my list is Go Set a Watchman. I finally snagged a copy from the library and once C goes down tonight, I'm crackin' that baby open. What's on books are you reading or plan to read? I'm always adding books to my Goodreads TO READ bookshelf so share you suggestions!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Parenting 101: Never Say Never

Today's post originally appeared on Being Mrs. Beer this past summer. You can find the original post HERE. Because I enjoyed writing this post so much, I wanted to share it with my readers as well.

People. Moms. First time parents. Call it what you will. Regardless, I am one of those people that made profound statements of what I was and wasn't going to do as a mother and first time parent. And then I had a baby. And plans, ideas changed. Went out the window. Never even attempted.

I had planned to breastfeed. Well, after 28 hours of labor and a c-section that I wasn't crazy about, the idea of being the sole feeder for Connor made my head spin. All I could think about is how I would be the only one to feed him and I wouldn't be able to rest and recover. I know this sounds selfish, trust me, I know it does but I just didn't have it in me to breastfeed. I know I could have pumped and James could have fed him but even this didn't make me feel better about breastfeeding. 2 1/2 years later, it really doesn't matter how Connor was or is feed. I'm just over the moon thrilled if he eats all of the PB&J that he demanded moments before then said "no thanks" once I handed it to him.

I had made the comment multiple times that Connor was not going to use/take a pacifier. When I received them as gifts at this baby shower, I returned them. When he was brought back from an exam and his circumcision with a paci in his mouth, I made the nurse remove it. I didn't want him to be dependent on a paci and I didn't want it be something I had to break him of. Enter the little Mister who likes to suck and self-soothe. He used a paci after he ate most days to help sooth acid reflux, to help settle his stomach and again when he slept. Fast forward to earlier this year. We simply took the pacifier away and no harm was had. Turns out it's not always the end of the world when breaking a habit.

I had never heard of the term co-sleeping until I was informed that Connor and James/I are co-sleepers. This isn't by choice, really. We weren't blessed with a good sleeper so 3-4 nights a week (if not every single night), Connor ends up in our bed, taking up much more room than his 3 foot self needs. It's been this way for as long as I can remember. One the nights that Connor doesn't end up in my bed, you'll find me rushing to his room in the morning to check on him. But as long as he sleeps when he is in our bed, then I am a-okay with him joining us. I'm one who enjoys sleep.

Connor was never once breastfed. He used a pacifier until he was well over 2. We co-sleep on a nightly basis. None of these makes me a bad mom, less of a parent. If anything, I'm doing what is best for Connor. What works for me, him and our family. James hasn't once mentioned my failed declarations and neither has my friends and family. The goal is to have a happy child. We have one. He has his Connor-isms and I love him for each and everyone of them. Even when it's hard to. Because really in one way or another, we are all one of those parents that said we would never ever do something and find ourselves eating crow a few months into this parenting gig.

What did you swear you would never do as a parent yet found yourself doing? I know I'm not the only one so fuss up; it's a safe space here where we except all Mommy truths; no judging allowed!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Busy Mommy Survival Guide

September is here and all of a sudden my life is completely overrun with play dates, plans with friends and family and weekend activities. I don't know how it happened but our calendar is packed full. While it leaves me pretty tired at the end of the day, I don't hate it. We are making memories, growing as a family and Connor is learning vital social skills. But here's the thing? How long can we sustain such a busy schedule? I've came to the realization that this is what being a SAHM looks like. You play hard, rest later. Now that I know life isn't slowing down, it's time to figure out how to survive parenthood.

First and foremost you have to stay organize. Between family, friends, play dates and MOPS we always have something going on. It's a good thing I'm one of those OCD paper calendar folks. I have to write everything on down or it's going to get overlooked. I like being busy - it allows for days as a SAHM to have a bit of routine and expectation. While I love days spent at home, too, we tend to stay busy based on the fact that it wears Connor out. We all know how much energy little ones have; it's endless! Here is what the calendar on our fridge looks like for the month of September.

Keep your bagged fully packed at all times. Our backpack is fully stocked and by the door at all times. I never have to worry about being out and about and not having something we need. In our bag you can find snacks for both Connor and I along with a change of clothes for C, wipes and handsanitzer and Connor's water cup. I toss my wallet and keys in before heading out and I'm confident that we are prepared for whatever comes our way.

Always eat breakfast. Either because we've woken up late or Connor isn't cooperating, a couple times a week I end up leaving the house on an empty stomach. And if I'm being honest, a hungry Stephanie isn't someone you want to be around. I'm a fan of protein bars for a few reasons: easy to eat on the go, packed full of protein that will keep me full until lunch and I can feel good about what I'm putting in my body. I recently stocked up on ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple bars and let met tell you - THEY ARE SO GOOD! My favorites are Almond Toffee Crunch and Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk. I mean, who hates chocolate for breakfast?!

It's okay to say no. Our schedule is busy but I will say that last Friday we had plans and by the end of the week, I was exhausted so I cancelled the night before. Saturday we spent the day lounging and taking it easy. James slept in, Connor played with his toys and I read nearly 250 pages in my latest book. It's okay to not be busy. It's okay to say no when someone offers you a play date or dinner out. Don't push yourself past your limits. If there is anything worse that an over-tired toddler, it's a worn out Momma.

Fall is always busy for our household and I know that it won't always be this way. But in case it is, I'm prepared. I know how to plan for our busiest days. I know when we need to slow down and take a day (or two) to relax. We are making memories, spending time with friends and enjoying the here and now and I wouldn't want it any other way.

How do you balance it all? Working Moms, what are your secrets to getting everything done? 

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