Pumpkin Cupcakes

Part of Fall that I love so much is pumpkin. Everything Pumpkin! So needless to say I was pretty excited when I found these Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pumpkin Cupcakes.

As usual, I made a few changes. I don’t like coconut milk, so I used original Almond milk instead and it worked just fine. I also used dairy whipped cream on mine, but not on Austin’s as he is still dairy free.

They are structured like a cupcake, but the inside was the consistency of pumpkin pie filling. It satisfied the pumpkin pie craving without having to make a full blown pie. It has been a perfect snack on these cold fall days.

Finding the New Me

News Flash. . . .Being a Mom isn’t easy!

I love being a mom, I truly think this was what I was meant to do in life; and I am so grateful that I am able to stay home and spend every moment with Austin watching him grow and learn. However, I have really struggled with who I am as a person.

Pre-motherhood, I was a career driven social butterfly. I enjoyed working a traditional 9-5 job, dressing up daily and having an ongoing social life from happy hours to ball games and going out in the city on weekends.  I knew who I was and I was happy with it.

Since becoming a mom I have really struggled with my identity. Who am I? It has been well over a year since I became a stay at home mom, and only recently do I feel like I have started to figure out and be comfortable with my new identity. Who knew motherhood would change me so much. So who is that new women that is finally starting to emerge?

Well the biggest change that I fought for the last year and finally have accepted is that I no longer enjoy being a busy social butterfly. Of course I still am social and like to interact with people, but the interaction is so different. I don’t enjoy the busy social calendar I once loved, but instead I prefer to hang out with other moms while our kids play, or who want to stay in for a drink or a cup of coffee instead of going out, and who understand that the night ends at 8 because we’re all falling asleep by that point. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy the occasional night out with my pre-motherhood friends, but it still ends long before it used too and usually includes tea or coffee instead of a cocktail.

I have also realized that I don’t really care what people think. I used to care and I used to want everyone to like me and be friends with everyone. I would go out of my way to make sure everyone was happy, but I would forget about me. Now, I don’t have the time or energy for drama or negativity. If I am going to spend time away from my family, it better be worth it and if it’s not then it’s not going to happen anymore and that’s okay. I am more selective in the outings I choose to do and frankly, most days I would just assume stay home. Is it really so bad that I prefer to hang out with My husband and son? I think not! That is the way it should be!

I am a happier person overall if I stay busy, but not too busy and a certain kid of busy. What does that mean? Well for me it means that I like to go to play groups, or library story time or the playground once a day but only for a short period of time. That is more than enough social interaction for me and Austin. After that I am ready to be home following our daily schedule and maintaining my house. Sure, maybe I have unrealistic expectations for my household as my family grows, but for now it’s working for me. I find I am more relaxed if I keep my kitchen clean and organized, and the toys to a minimum all with a home to go to at the end of the day. I’ve been on a mission to de-clutter and make sure everything has a home. Not because I care what other people think of my house or because I think my house needs to be in pristine condition, but because it makes me happy and stress free. I am by no means a neat freak, and when Austin is awake and playing with toys I am not in the least bit upset or frustrated with the “mess”, but after he goes to bed or takes a nap, I clean up and put things back in their place for him to pull out again later. That little bit of cleaning up relaxes me and then I don’t have to stare at the mess.

So now that I have rambled on for an extremely long post, let me narrow my point. The point is, I finally realized that I need to stop making sure everyone else is happy, and make sure I am happy. I am finally settling in to being the mom I want to be and have realized it is okay to just do me even though it is completely different from the image I had a year ago. It’s okay to be a home body and enjoy my daily chores and errands, playing with my son and being a little anti-social compared to the old me.

My Favorite Pregnancy Item

And so begin the pregnancy posts!

I am a belly sleeper so as my belly grows and belly sleeping is no longer an option, sleeping is very hard and uncomfortable for me. I know as you go along a lot of pregnant women don’t sleep well, but the second can no longer sleep on my belly it’s all over. I noticed this problem the first time around too.

Someone recommended a getting a pregnancy pillow and after researching them I bought the C-shaped Pregnancy body pillow.

This pillow is so comfortable (pregnant or not). I did give it up after Austin was born as it put a barrier between Aaron and I and that’s not fun, plus it takes up extra room in the bed, but I slept great for the remainder of my pregnancy after buying it.

Well this past weekend it came time to get it out again and I love it just as much as I did the first time around. If you are pregnant (or if you just have a hard time sleeping) this is a must have in my opinion. Totally worth the money.

New Beginnings

So now that my family and friends know and heck it’s been posted on Facebook, I figured I should put it on the blog. I am pregnant with baby #2. I used a cute pumpkin picture on Facebook. We got 1 pumpkin for each of us. . .

I am 14 weeks and just entered my 2nd trimester. I’m due in April, but if this kid is anything like Austin, they may have a March birthday. I guess we’ll all have to wait and find out.

14 Weeks. . .

My belly popped pretty early with Austin and true to 2nd babies, this one popped out even faster. There will be a lot coming a long with this pregnancy considering Austin was born prematurely and I have a toddler on my hands, that I plan on posting about my experiences. Check back for the trials and tribulations of pregnancy number 2.


So anyone who knows me well knows that this is my favorite time of year. In my opinion from September through December is the best time of year. Football season, cool crisp air which means cool weather clothes, everything pumpkin, soups and stews, chai tea latte’s, crisp apples, homemade applesauce, apple pie, and then the start of the holiday season; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Are you excited yet?

Well let me slow down and focus on the fall for now. Last year we didn’t do much with fall activities because Austin was only a couple of months old and well, life with a newborn doesn’t include a lot of extra curricular activities. This year however, he is older and more aware so doing fall activities like going to the pumpkin patch, dressing up for Halloween (mainly to go to boo at the zoo) and going for walks in the crisp fall air (although this year we haven’t had many crisp days yet). Watching him realize that leaves fall on the ground and crunch when he picks them up is so much fun.

The Pumpkin Patch 

Boo at the Zoo 

I made Austin’s Halloween costume again this year. He is going to be a tiger. I found this simple DIY tiger costume. It was very simple and cheap and I think Austin looked pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

We are hoping to carve pumpkins soon, so check back for more pictures of our fall fun.



Wow it’s been 2 months. . . Where have I been?

I can’t believe it has been 2 months since my last post. A lot has happened since Austin’s 1st birthday and time got away from me. So let me fill you in on what I have been up to. This is probably going to turn into a ridiculously wordy post, you’ve been warned!

Austin had his 1 year well-check appointment shortly after my birthday post, and although everything is just fine, it didn’t go as well as planned. I have debated whether to post about it or not, but have decided that maybe my experience will be of comfort to some other mom out there who might be going through something similar. So where to begin. . .

The first concern was a mom driven concern. At 1 Austin wasn’t crawling, or pulling up, or sitting up from laying down, all things that his peers were doing. Of course, I know all kids develop at their own rate and learn to do things in their own time, but at what point should I be concerned? So I asked the doctor and she agreed that at this point it was a little concerning that he wasn’t even showing interest in doing these things. She put me in contact with the Help Me Grow Program.

Help Me Grow is a state funded program for early intervention. They came to my house and interviewed me on my concerns. Next they sent an evaluator who spent time with Austin playing and observing him. She looked at everything from his cognitive and problem solving skills, to verbal and motor skills. There is a point system and at the end of the evaluation she added his score to determine if he was eligible for early intervention. Just as I had thought, he was behind in his gross motor skills (ie. crawling, pulling up, cruising etc.). At least I wasn’t crazy and being that overly concerned first time mom.

We now meet with a Physical therapist weekly for 45 min sessions to help improve his muscle tone and teach him how to start moving around. She has given me many tips and explanations of why he isn’t crawling and ideas of what I can do during play time to help him. It has helped tremendously and after only a few weeks, Austin is crawling. He is still very cautious and won’t go to far or too fast, but every day he is getting better and braver. He even pulls up to kneeling now.

At the one year appointment, they take blood to test for lead and anemia. The lead came back negative, but he did come back severely anemic. Although anemia is fairly common in 1 year olds, his numbers were so low they decided he needed to see a specialist. So over the last 2 months he has been on the max dose of Iron supplements and is being followed by a hematologist. His numbers are slowly improving and he is getting back to where he needs to be.

The next problem that came to head at his 1 year appointment was that he wasn’t gaining weight. We have struggled with weight gain since the beginning (probably because he was premature), but this is the first time that he fell off his weight chart. The doctor wasn’t initially too concerned, but wanted us back in 1 month for a weight check (story of our life since day 1). Well in that 1 month he hadn’t gained any weight.  On top of that he suffers from chronic constipation. So with the poor weight gain, chronic constipation and anemia, the doctor felt he needed to see a GI doctor. Mind you, his constipation got so bad that he ended up vomiting. After a few visits to GI and meeting with their nutritionists, Austin is starting to get back on track, pooping and gaining weight. We are still going through some tests to make sure that there isn’t any underlying issue, but we have a plan and are heading in the right direction. He gets 1 cap-full of Miralax a day to keep him regular, is on a 1000 calorie/day diet and gets a high calorie drink called Pediasmart before bed.

So needless to say, we have been very busy the last 2 months, going in and out of doctor’s offices, and figuring out a new routine to help Austin continue to grow and thrive.

I hope now that we’re on the right track, I can start keeping up with the blog as it is much-needed creative time for me.

Austin is One!

Well it’s official, I am the mom of a 1-year-old! I can’t believe it!

I decided I didn’t want to do a big birthday party for Austin for many reasons; the cost, the planning, the stuff and it would just be over-whelming for Austin! Turns out that was probably a good decision, as someone was extra needy (he’s in a developmental leap and cutting teeth) and all the extra attention and messed up schedule wouldn’t have been fun for anyone. So we had a quiet, calm day at home with the usual daily schedule. My mom did come up for the day and we did presents. They were a hit!

I also decided not to do the popular smash cake. Instead, I made a regular cake and gave him a piece. Of course he managed to smash it and get it all over the place (that is part of the fun after all) and ate some too!

With the money we saved not doing a big 1st birthday party, we instead had a professional Photo shoot. It was so much fun and we now have great pictures to look at for years to come! Just a few of my favorites thanks to This Beautiful Life Photography.

We have more family coming throughout the week to celebrate. For us, I think  many small celebrations will be more enjoyable for everyone.

I am looking forward to this next year of adventure and all that it will bring.

Daily Schedule and My New Planner

I have always been a person who likes a schedule. I am more productive knowing what the plan for the day is. Over the past year, I haven’t been able to keep a great schedule as Austin’s schedule is always changing. Now that he is almost 1 (how did that happen?) and is taking less naps, I felt like I needed to plot out a daily schedule for us.

I found this awesome day planner at Target the other day that motivated me to get my act together and actually execute what I have been talking and thinking about for weeks.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized this planner had much more to offer me and was exactly what I needed at this particular time in my life. The beginning of the planner had guided pages to really think about overall life goals and plans.

So, after I filled in my goals, which included weekly scheduling, friendships, finance, exercise and more, I went through the monthly calendar and put everything in that was scheduled (Appointments, plans with friends, Gymboree etc.).

Then I went to this week and started planning the week. I plan on spending the beginning of each week with my calendar to have a plan for the week and make my lists and goals to follow. I think this will help be more productive and in return I will be happier at the end of the day.

After going through my new planner, I wanted to make a general daily schedule for Austin. I was feeling like I wasn’t giving him a nice balance of structured and unstructured play time, and I wanted to make sure that I was including plenty of time for music, reading, playing outside and interacting with other kids. Although we were doing all of these things, it was really sporadic, and I had a lot of mom guilt. So, I plotted out what our typical day looks like and tweaked it to include everything I wanted to do. Aaron thought it was really detailed, but even though I have the entire day timed out, some of the activities are vague enough to go with the flow.

I made sure to include my own activities during times when Austin is napping or having independent play time, so I know when I can do my chores or even relax. Having on paper, I am more likely to follow it.

Overall, I think that having this type of schedule will help keep me on task. This schedule works for us now, but will have to be changed when Austin drops his morning nap for good. The plan for the future is to make a more interactive schedule with more detailed activities and that Austin can help plot each days schedule, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take it one day at a time.


Motherhood and Self-Care

After reflecting on a very busy, social weekend, I realized that I need to take care of myself a little better. I told Aaron I needed to start being a little more selfish, but after talking to my mom she made the point that it is self-care, NOT selfish. That there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself physically and mentally so that you can be a better mom, wife and friend.

This weekend was very busy for me. My awesome husband stayed home Friday and Saturday night with Austin so I could have some time out with my friends and then Sunday we went as a family with some friends to the Cleveland Indians game.

Overall, it was a fun weekend, but last night before going to bed I was talking to Aaron and I realized that it was all too much. My pre-mom self would have loved all the social plans I had, but my post-mom self was overwhelmed and exhausted. I told Aaron that I needed to learn to not over schedule myself and that it’s okay for me to stay home sometimes. So, here are some self-care rules I want to start to follow.

  1. Mom Time – I need some quality mom alone time. Sometimes that means meeting up with my mom friends without the kids, but who understand where you are in life. Or  it means hanging out with my pre-mom friends who remind me of who I was before adding the title Mom to my resume. It might mean saying no to plans I would have said yes to in the past because I would rather spend time at home with my family chilling on the couch watching TV. The meaning of mom time very likely will change as Austin grows up and life changes but mom time always needs to be part of the schedule.
  2. Date Night – Whether we stay in and watch a movie after Austin has gone to bed or find a babysitter for the night and go out, scheduling date night is important for both me and my relationship. One of the first things my doctor told me at my postpartum appointment was to make time for my husband and not forget who we were before kids. To take care of that relationship, because one day the kids will be grown and out of the house and it will be just the 2 of us again. In last year we haven’t always kept up with this, but in recent weeks, we have been better and realize how special that time is.
  3. Take Care of my physical appearance – This is something I have always done and been pretty good at it since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, but it needs to stay on the list. For me putting on real clothes, make-up and doing my hair just makes me feel better and like a real human. I am not so good at keeping my eyebrows plucked or my legs and armpits shaved (TMI I know, but hey it’s true isn’t it?). I also need to make an effort to get a hair cut more often than 1 or 2 times a year. I usually push it off, but having a nice style and shape makes me feel good and just going to the salon counts as mom time.
  4. Give myself permission – This is a big one for me. I tend to feel like I always need to worry about everyone else’s needs first, but giving myself permission that it’s okay to do what I want and to think about my needs first. To give myself permission to not eat great one day or to lounge around and watch TV instead of scheduling every moment of the day. To give myself permission to NOT be a perfect wife or mother; that it’s okay to make mistakes, or not have a clean and organized house or order out occasionally when I don’t feel like cooking. Finally, to give myself permission to be me. To trust my skills as a mom or a cook or a friend, but to stand up for myself and what I believe in.

By following these few rules, hopefully I take better care of myself and my family. What other things do you do for yourself as a mom or dad?



Blog Recharge

If you have been following me regularly then you probably wondered what happened as there hasn’t been a post in a few weeks. I took a blog hiatus to recharge my blogging battery.

I was feeling overwhelmed by the blog and didn’t feel like I was producing any good content. I started to dread writing and felt like I had to write everyday and it was no longer fun. I was putting way too much pressure on myself for something that was supposed to be fun. I realized that I needed to take break and let things simmer.

I started blogging to give myself a creative outlet. As my blog grew and developed, I realized I started writing for others instead of for myself. I don’t think I ever settled into my own blogging voice. Although, I will still be exploring and learning what my own blogging voice is and I am not sure where this blog will take me, the time off gave me a chance to re-focus and remember why I wanted to blog in the first place.

My goal is to stay away from the pressure I put on myself last time to maintain the blog regularly and instead, write when the mood strikes. If I don’t post every day that’s okay and if I have a lot to say and post for 2 weeks straight, that is okay too.

So join me on this journey (oh dear, that’s a bachelor phrase) and we’ll see where it ends up.