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.

Spring Cleaning. . . .In July

Do you ever get that feeling when you are just over it and want to get rid of everything? Well that was me this weekend, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was completely over my stuff and when the mood strikes I have to take advantage of the motivation.

Saturday, I spent the day cleaning out my guest bedroom and kitchen. The guest bedroom was the main goal. It was somewhat organized until we needed a nursery at which point all the stuff being stored in the nursery was moved to the guest room. I had attempted the guest room before, but wasn’t in the right mood to part with some of my stuff; that changed this weekend. I ended up with a trunk load of stuff to take to the Goodwill and then we found homes for what was left. I also re-arranged the room and it now feels open and spacious. Now when I walk up the stairs I don’t feel stressed and overwhelmed.

While I had motivation, I decided to go through my kitchen cupboards as well. I got rid of expired food, and rearranged them. Now I have an entire shelf that is empty and can be used, and Austin’s food and sippy cups now have their own home as well.

Finally, on Sunday I decided to go through my bedroom and work on Austin’s Nursery. I am determined to finish his nursery before his first birthday. I got rid of a black garbage bag full of clothes and shoes that I haven’t worn or don’t see myself needing in the future. I also finally put away the last of my maternity tank tops that I was still wearing, it was long overdue. I hung some hooks and a mirror I have been wanting to hang on the wall in Austin’s room. I also got some bins for the shelves in the closet. I have a few more shelves and storage ideas that need executed, but it’s almost there.

Now as I sit in my living room and type this post, I feel so relaxed looking at a clean, organized house. It maybe have taken 4 years, but I finally feel like everything has a home, even if it is a junk drawer.

Grilled Zucchini

Two of my favorite parts of summer is all the fresh produce and grilling. Last week I grilled zucchini for the first time. It was delicious.

At the time I didn’t have one of those fancy grill trays that can be used to grill vegetables or fish, so I rarely grilled either. I figured I would attempt zucchini because I could cut them in strips about as wide as a hot dog so they wouldn’t fall through the grill grate (there was one casualty when I was taking them off the grill, but it hit the ground, it didn’t go through the grill grate).

I cut the zucchini in quarters length wise, then put them in a zip lock bag with olive oil, lemon zest and juice from a whole lemon. Once they were lathered up, I put them on the top rack of the grill for about 5 minutes a side (there were 3 sides, the 2 cut sides and the skin side).

Because I was sharing with Austin, I didn’t put any salt and pepper on them until they were served, but if he weren’t eating them, I would have added the salt and pepper to the bag before grilling. Next time I might experiment with different flavors or spices, but overall we really enjoyed our grilled zucchini.

I know have a grill sheet so I foresee more grilled vegetables in my future.

Friday Favorites #13

I don’t known about you but I can’t believe it’s July 1st already. I’m still trying to figure out what I did in June!

We have fun weekend plans with family for the 4th of July holiday, but first I have to share some of my favorites from this week. 

1. Gymboree: Austin has been going through some nap changes AGAIN! Sometimes he takes a long morning nap, sometimes a short one and sometimes no nap at all. When he doesn’t nap he gets cranky just sitting at home which had been this week. Luckily, I have been able to head to Gymboree for a class multiple times this week and the activity and stimulation wears him out enough for at least a short morning nap. He is also starting to be more comfortable there and seems to be enjoying it. 

2. J Crew Chino Shorts: Having lost the baby weight and toned up, all of my summer clothes are too big on me, so I have been on the hunt for casual shorts small enough for my little bum. I go to store after store and the smallest size is a 0 which are still too big. The clerks tell me to shop in the junior department, but finding basic nice shorts that aren’t booty shorts or whatever is the current fad isn’t easy either. Thankfully, J. Crew has 00 and 000 sizes in a basic style short and they carrier different length inseams, 3″, 4″, 5″ or 7″. Needless to say I bought 2 pairs. 

Don’t mind the dressing room selfie

What are some of your favorite things this week?

 I hope everyone has a fun, safe Fourth of July weekend. I’ll see you back here on Tuesday! 

Stroller Workout

Today Austin and I went for a walk with friends. Austin woke up from his nap early and was getting antsy, so we headed to the park early and had about a half hour to spare. I decided to take advantage of the nice, not to hot weather and get some strength training in before our walk. I didn’t follow any specific workout, but made my own routine for a full body stroller workout.

  1. Sumo Squats 
  2. Squat with side kick 
  3. Push-up downward dog 
  4. Stroller Bridge 
  5. Tricep Dips 
  6. Standing oblique crunches
  7. CrunchI did 3 sets of 10 for each exercise. I felt like my whole body had a nice workout and it didn’t take to long. Get creative and you can get a little exercise in anywhere and anytime.

What other creative exercises do you squeeze in outside of the gym?

Farm Park

Yesterday Austin and I went with some of our friends to the Lake Metroparks Farm Park. I had heard about it many times, so when one of my fellow moms mentioned she was going to go, I was excited to check it out.

Farm Park is a farm that is open to the public. They have farm animals, walking paths, and educational programming. There are plenty of employees around working with the animals, answering questions and encouraging everyone to pet the animals. They also have different scheduled activities; milking cows, boarder collie training, horse training and more. There were multiple summer camps going on.

We started in the Equine arena. There were pigs and piglet’s, sheep, chickens and of course horses. Big horses!

After that we headed back to the dairy parlor to learn about milking a cow, we were invited to try milking it but the line was too long, maybe when Austin is older we’ll try it.

We headed back to the horses to see some horse training and then finished with a walk through the barn yard to see sheep, goats, chickens, and cows.

It was a beautiful day to be outside and it was a nice outing, not too long or overwhelming for the kids. I think that we will be regulars there when Austin is a little older and can enjoy it more.

HIIT workout

One of my favorite summer TV shows is America Ninja Warrior. Not only do I enjoy watching the athletes of all different walks of life complete and conquer the course, it motivates me to workout and stay in shape. I mean these people are incredible athletes! So last night while watching the newest episode, I did my very first HIIT workout.

For a long time I always saw people post about HIIT workouts, but never knew what that meant. HIIT stands for high-intesity interval training. I have posted before about the mommy fitness blogger I follow, diary of a fit mommy. Yesterday, she posted a video on her Instagram account of a full body HIIT workout. So that was my workout last night.

What I liked best about doing the HIIT workout is that it was a great workout that only took 10 minutes out of my day. I was sweating, winded and feeling the burn after the 10 minute full body workout last night. Looks like I have a new Monday night workout routine!

What is your favorite HIIT workout?