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Vitamix Explorian Blender, Professional-Grade, 64 oz. Container, Black (Certified Refurbished)

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OneOdio Kids Safe Headphones – 85dB Volume Limited Headsets for Kids, Durable, Adjustable, Lightweight Headphones with 3.5mm Audio Jack, Christmas and Birthday Gift for Children and Girls. (Pink)

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Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners, 12 oz

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Dumping friends

You always hear about getting dumped in relationships, but you hardly hear about getting dumped or dumped friends in friendships. Life can be overwhelming and fast-paced and of you get sucked up in the toxicity of some people or some experiences, you might drown. There comes a time in your life where it’s time to let go of those toxic friendships. Good riddance. You can try and try to be a good friend, good listener, etc, but just like in a romantic relationship, everyone of us has a different perception and that’s okay. But if you start to misunderstand perceptions or your lives start to drift away from each other, chances are you start to lose touch/fade out/ move on in a whole other direction and that’s okay too. If the relationship is strong enough to withhold a tough season, awesome. They are true friends.

Then you have the friends who complain all the time or constantly need attention. That’s completely okay when your perceptions are similar, but if not and the friendship starts becoming more work and more toxic, it’s time to let go. And as we get older, we grow more balls with experience and realize we don’t have time for that.

Weed out the negative, bring on the positive. Its okay to be negative believe me. I’m guilty of it, but when it’s soul sucking or becomes more of a chore, your heart will tell you.

Recipes and Lists, oh MY!

This is a list that I update DAILY of dinners, apps, snacks, and desserts…Most are healthy and do not pertain to certain diets or lifestyles. However, most are keto approved, beach body approved, and isagenix approved. I have made every single one on here and they are all delicious. Some I made and some are from Pinterest or instagram. Enjoy!

Fave Dinner/Apps Ideas

  • Roasted spaghetti squash with low sugar tomato sauce and ground turkey with basil, Italian seasoning, and any other spice of your choice
  • Edameme Spaghetti (We got it from Costco, or Explore Asia Organic Edamame Spaghetti, 8 Ounce– Add grilled chicken, avocado oil and Pesto Basil Sauce. Voila!
  • 20 minute skillet blackened shrimp fajitas- In a large bowl, add 1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp, 1 tbsp of McCormick Gourmet Organic Chili Powder, 1.75 oz, 2 tsp of McCormick Paprika, 18.4 oz, 1 tsp of onion powder, and salt and pepper. Set this aside. Then in a medium skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, bell peppers, and onion. You can also use Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil 1 L. Saute until 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add 1 tbsp of olive or avocado oil and shrimp and cod for 2-3 minutes until no longer pink. Serve in tortillas with avocado or guacamole!
  • Low Carb Taco Skillet- Brown (organic grass fed) ground beef in skillet. Slowly add 1/2 cup salsa, 2 tsp chili powder, salt and pepper, and 2 cups of shredded cabbage to pan and bring to low boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium for 10-12 minutes or until cabbage soft. Turn off heat and mix in shredded Mexican cheese. Add avocado! Low Carb Taco Skillet on Pinterest
  • Salmon Pasta- Pan fry salmon in avocado pil, salt, pepper, lemon pepper and lemon Juice. Cook and drain red lentil pasta and add 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 cup shredded kale, stir. Add in pesto and top with parmesan!
  • Easy Creamy Three Ingredient Pasta- Cook red lentil pasta and a tub of tomato basil hummus and arugula. Takes 10 minutes!
  • Cauliflower macro lasagna- riced cauliflower drained in a paper towel- take all the excess liquid out. In a large deep skillet, Sauté diced onions and garlic, add in lean ground turkey, sprinkle sage, sea salt, pepper, fennel seeds and add the cauliflower. Mix altogether and add in marinara sauce and top with fresh mozzarella cheese circles and Parmesan cheese. Cover skillet with tin foil and bake for 15 at 400. Remove foil and bake again for 3-5 minutes!
  • Sausage and Apple Stuff Acorn Squash- Cut ends of acorn squash, cut in half and cut out middle, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes at 400. In another pain add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 diced onion, 2 stalks of diced celery, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp rosemary, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 lb of ground sausage, 1 died Macintosh apples, 1 cup Low Carb Seasoned Bread Crumbs – LC Foods – All Natural – Sugar Free – Diabetic Friendly – 5.8 oz, 1/2 cup parmesan and mix altogether in pan. Pour the mixture into the acorn squash boats! Amazing for fall!
  • Tuna cakes with jalapeños and cilantro. These are soooooo good. Hudson LOVED these! We actually used the primal kitchen chipotle lime mayonnaise on them and it added the perfect kick! If you don’t like tuna, you can do chicken burgers instead. Just replace the tuna with chicken. Tuna cakes
  • This might sound weird, but I think I eat this everyday for lunch. Canned chicken salad (I love the Costco ones), with Sir Kensington Avocado Oil Mayo and 1 mini cup of guac all mixed together.
  • Ground turkey with low sodium taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, avocado, organic Kirkland medium salsa, 1 cup black beans, shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Quinoa taco bake https://pin.it/ny4fwjk2iqeqos
  • Grilled steak and broccoli with garlic
  • This is quick and healthy! Extra lean ground beef with diced onions, shredded lettuce, con queso salsa and fire sauce (keto approved)- This is our go to easy meal. Cook through the ground beef and once browned, add the onions and sauté. I add Terrapin Ridge Farms Spicy Chipotle Garnishing Squeeze 9 OZ (Pack of 1) and then pour over shredded leafy greens or shredded iceberg, then add about 3-4 tbsp of con queso dip. SO DELICIOUS, easy and healthy!
  • Zucchini noodles with shrimp and (Kirkland) pesto sauce. Sauté zucchini noodles, cook the shrimp in a skillet and add pesto and sautéed zucchini. Use ALL the spices. You can get the zucchini pre-cut or use OXO Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer.
  • Grilled chicken thighs with lemon garlic dressing (Chosen Foods Lemon Garlic Dressing and Marinade 12 oz.) and a veggie of your choice
  • Ground turkey with steak seasoning, riced broccoli, and riced cauliflower (can get at Costco or Trader Joe’s). It can get dry so feel free to add more seasoning or a low carb sauce. Howie likes to add steak A1 sauce, but I like it plain.
  • Egg whites with Aidell’s chicken apple sausage, broccoli and tomatoes
  • Brown rice with Aidell’s Habanero apple sausage
  • Mexican cauliflower rice https://pin.it/umdzolbw4jv2pv
  • Lemon garlic shrimp https://pin.it/55txhqhyabf4wb
  • Cauliflower fried rice with tons of veggies and low sodium soy sauce https://therecipecritic.com/cauliflower-fried-rice/
  • Roasted spaghetti squash with Alfredo sauce and broccoli https://pin.it/vgwjb2nwjnpmxo
  • Chicken burgers with sautéed mushrooms and avocado (I love the AMYLU chicken burgers at Costco)- I just grilled them or pan sear them on stove and serve with the mini guacamole cups or avocado!
  • Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Stuffed Spaghetti Squash- Roast the spaghetti squash- slice down middle, scoop out seeds and roast on foil at 400 for about 40 minutes. I usually place the halves upside down in olive oil. After this is done, make sure all seeds and gunk is out. Preheat oven to broil and spray non-stick skillet with avocado or olive oil over medium high. Add grilled chicken, season with salt and pepper sautéed and cooked through. I use frozen grilled. Put chicken on a plate and add a few tsp oil to same skillet. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and shallot. Sauté for a few minutes and add 2 cups broccoli. Season with salt and pepper and add a few tbsp of water and cover with lid. Let broccoli steam for about 2 minutes and add the chicken. Add 1 oz. cream cheese and 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth and mix everything until smooth. Then add in 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese until melted. Pour this into the spaghetti squash boat. Top with 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and broil until cheese is melted.
  • Cauliflower pizza- This might be my fave https://pin.it/fjeqyuqok4k5js-
  • Eggroll in a bowl- In a large, deep skillet, brown 1 lb of ground sausage. In a small bowl, combine 5 gloves of minced garlic, 1/4- 1/2cup of low sodium soy sauce or Liquid Aminos 16 oz. 16 Ounces, and 1/2 tsp of ground ginger (Ocean State sells them for $1); set aside. Once the sausage is cooked, add 1.5 bags of dry coleslaw mix to skillet and stir to combine. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the skillet and stir, continuing to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until cabbage is wilted, but still a bit crunchy.
  • Parmesan Zucchini- Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheet with Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper (SmartGrid, Non-Stick, 45 Square Foot Roll). Cut 2 zucchini lengthwise into quarters and put in bowl. Pour 1 tbsp olive oil over zucchini and add 2 cloves minced garlic. Rub the garlic and olive oil over zucchini. Put zucchini on baking sheet in single layer, skin side down. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and oregano. Put on top rack and make for 15 minutes then switch to broil and bake for 4 minutes.
  • 3 bean salad for summer
  • Baked Chicken Tacos- Preheat oven to 375 and heat medium sauce pan over medium, add 1 tsp olive oil, 3 chicken breasts diced, and cook for about 10 minutes, 1 jar of any salsa (I love the Kirkland medium or any of the organic medium ones), 1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning; stir and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Spray a Pyrex Easy Grab Glass Bakeware and Food Storage Set (8-PieceBPA-free) with nonstick coconut oil spray and fill taco shells or Keto Cheese Taco Shells – No Carb – High Protein with the chicken salsa mixture. You can top with guacamole or avocado and lettuce.
  • Avocado and White Bean Salad with Vinaigrette
  • BBQ Turkey chili- Cook 1 lb ground turkey, sauté diced onions and all colored peppers in a separate pan. Add the mix to the ground turkey, add 1 can of canned organic turkey chili (Amy’s Organic Chili, Low Fat Medium Black Bean, 14.7 Ounce), 1 can of red kidney beans, 1 can of canellini beans, and Simple Girl Organic Carolina Kick BBQ Sauce – 12oz – Low Calorie – Sugar-Free Diabetic/Vegan Friendly – Gluten/Fat/MSG Free – Vinegar Based – Compatible with Most Diet Plans/True Made Foods Vegetable BBQ Sauce, Paleo Friendly, Non-GMO, 50% Less Sugar, 18 oz Glass Bottle. Mix it altogether and voila! This is another fall friendly meal
  • Crockpot meatballs with Pineapple Habanero Sauce. Get lean meatballs (we like the Kirkland Italian meatballs) and put in crockpot on low, slowly add the sauce and BOOM, done! This is the sauce we love- Robert Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce (12.7oz) – Glaze & Finishing Sauce – Sweet & Spicy Sauce for Chicken, Fish, Pork, Shrimp – All Natural, Gluten Free and Certified Kosher.
  • Low Carb Cheeseburger Casserole
  • Healthy Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Broccoli
  • KID FRIENDLY SNACK- Sweet Potato toast!!!  There are SO many options for this. Slice a sweet potato and toast 1 slice. You can put peanut butter, sliced banana and cinnamon on it. Another option is to add sliced turkey bacon, scrambled eggs or egg whites and top with green onion. A sweeter option that my kids love is add almond butter, blueberries and you can add pomegranate seeds or any other fruit. Add a fried egg, salsa and cilantro. This is far fetched and more adulty, but add brie, walnuts and some raw honey. I love adding chicken salad with celery salt. Or light cream cheese, sliced strawberries and sliced almonds. Add avocado and tuna. Lastly, you can do ricotta cheese, sliced pears and drizzle some raw honey. This are higher carb option snacks.

Dessert Alert

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed

3 large eggs…

½ cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Prepare 12 muffin cups by lining with muffin papers or coating with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

3. Place chickpeas, eggs, maple syrup, cocoa powder, baking soda, coconut oil, and extract in blender or food processor; cover. Blend until smooth.

4. Divide batter among 12 prepared muffin cups.

5. Top each muffin with about four chocolate chips; push into batter.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7. Cool completely and enjoy!

These are just some of my faves, but they are easy for mom’s and so yummy. Keep checking back because I add daily!!!!

I also made a clean eating COSTCO shopping list to help you get started on the path of lifestyle change and happiness- This is just a list of the things I love and need!

  • Granny Smith apples (lowest in sugar for fruits)
  • Kirkland egg whites
  • Eggs (to make boiled eggs)
  • Thermoflask water bottles (so good for keeping track with water consumption)
  • Spring Mix/Romaine lettuce/Spinach (too much spinach personally makes my stomach hurt)
  • Organic ground turkey
  • Himalayan salt (any spices- cinnamon, ground ginger, garlic, pepper, etc.)
  • Steamable bags Brussel sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kerry Gold Irish Butter
  • Dave’s Killer Bread (Not keto approved)
  • Avocadoes
  • Kirkland pecans
  • Organic mini guacamole cups
  • The good bean chickpeas for high carb days
  • Kirkland canned chicken salad
  • Sir Kensington’s avocado oil mayonnaise
  • Lemon garlic dressing/greek vinaigrette (primal kitchen or chosen foods)
  • Avocado cooking oil
  • Organic Chicken breast or thighs (awesome for grilling)
  • Amylu Chicken burgers
  • Aidell’s chicken sausage (any flavor)
  • Kirkland protein bars
  • Kirkland cashew clusters or coconut clusters
  • Raw almonds
  • Black beans
  • English cucumbers
  • Brita water and filters
  • Broccoli (frozen or refrigerated)
  • Riced cauliflower
  • Kirkland pesto sauce
  • Edamame spaghetti
  • Strawberries, blueberries, Cotton Candy grapes (HAVE YOU TRIED?!)
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers/simple mills almond flour sea salt crackers
  • Kirkland almond butter
  • Canned chicken salad
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Coconut oil
  • Kirkland olive oil
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Perfect bars!!!! Amazing deal because you can get 12 for 20!
  • Almond flour
  • Cacoa powder
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bananas for shakes
  • Edamame spaghetti
  • Frozen grilled chicken (farm raised or organic)
  • Grass fed beef
  • Rolled oats

Dear Trader Joe’s, can you please come closer to Somers, CT? I heard there might be one coming to Manchester, CT, but hurry up! I love Trader Joe’s, but I can hardly get there because the closest one is about 40-45 minutes away. I follow a lot of Trader Joe fanatics on Instagram and found some awesome products. Follow @traderjoeslists for more ideas! Note: I haven’t tried all of these items, but I want to. Maybe there shouldn’t be one close to my house…#theregoesallmymoney

  • Unsweetened green tea in glass bottle
  • blue cheese stuffed olives
  • watermelon kombucha
  • ONE bars (I am obsessed with the maple glazed donut)
  • cauliflower gnocchi
  • matcha green tea cans (never tried matcha, but @kristafitstagram loves it
  • chili lime seasoning
  • everything but bagel seasoning (put on hard boiled eggs yum)
  • almond cashew macadamia nut beverage
  • creamy almond butter
  • mixed nut butter (my kids eat it from the jar)
  • green goddess salad dressing
  • cotton candy grapes
  • sweet potatoes
  • unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • rainbow wraps
  • raw cashews
  • 86% dark chocolate
  • lemon elderflower soda (with vodka?!)
  • blueberry lavender almond beverage (you can mix it with rolled oats and OMG)
  • veggie protein burgers
  • maple ladder cereal
  • sriracha and garlic BBQ sauce
  • cinnamon apple snack sticks (a must for kids)
  • red lentil pasta
  • hemp seed bars
  • raises the bar BARS
  • sweet potato ribbons
  • ginger mints
  • boxed wine

The day I snapped

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Life is freakin hard lately. Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever done in my life. I am trying so hard to juggle my life and I can’t seem to get ahold of it. I feel so overwhelmed with everything and I feel like a big failure. I miss my first-born- just her and I and I miss Hudson because I never got that alone time with him like I did with Jules. Poor Hudson is always in the shadow of Jules. I have to put him down to chase her…and because he’s too heavy.  I just want to cuddle him on my chest and let him nurse and eat all day long, but he’s almost 1 and now he’s not a baby. This makes me sad. And now my toddler is almost 3 and she’s not a baby anymore. My heart actually hurts. I miss my own kids, but somehow I feel like I need a break. How the hell does that happen?

Early dismissals are so hard for me. Most teachers love early dismissals, but I can’t stand them because our daycare closes when school closes, which means that I have to pick up the kids RIGHT before nap time. And for some reason, my kids don’t want to nap with me  EVER. Well, a few days ago, Jules was a walking nightmare- hitting, blowing her nose, tantrumming, not sleeping, cranky, etc. We finally brought her to the doctor and sure enough, after almost a whole year of not getting any ear infections, she had a double ear infection. Her tubes are on their way out and she gets an ear infection. Poor thing has been up multiple times at night (see my bad mom post) in the past few days. Finally, we got antibiotic steroid ear drops. Okay, 1 down, 2 to go. Hudson woke up this morning with his eyes crusted all the way shut. I asked Howie to keep him home from daycare because I can’t keep taking sick days- never mind being late to work every single day. But no, the husband has too much going on and can’t keep Hudson home. But I will be the one who keeps getting texts from daycare to come pick him up because he can hardly open his eyes. And being a teacher…you just get it. If one of my students came in with his eyes looking like Hudson’s I would wonder the same damn thing. 5 minutes after he dropped the kids off, I got a text saying they can’t take him out of his car seat because he could give the other kids pink eye. Great, so my baby is still in his car seat crying with his eyes crusted shut. Howie had an appointment at noon and I was getting out of work at 1225. Husbands just don’t get it. He eventually picked him up after tantrumming himself and brought him to my work. Poor thing was a mess. I brought him to doctor and sure enough, double ear infection (his first) and conjunctivitis. My poor babies.

Meanwhile, when I picked Jules up at daycare, she is having a tantrum because she didn’t want to put her shoes on to get to the car, so I brought her to the car without shoes. Well, that was a big mistake. Now I have 2 sick babes who are off their schedule and not napping while I drive around and Jules is crying/singing at the top of her lungs and Hudson just wants to sleep. This is where I just want to snuggle Hudson and give him all my attention because he’s so sick. And then my heart wants to hold Jules and tell her I love her so much and she has all my attention. But then I am so mad at her for screaming. Oh my heart. My brain hurts too.

On top of it all, Howie is sick and our furnace is just casually smoking. And Juliana is hitting. Like full on hitting her cousin and brother in the head for attention. I am a behavior specialist but I don’t know what the hell to do for my toddler. Poor thing wants Daddy all the time and usually misbehaves only with me. She is bombing out of dance and not wanting to leave daycare. She tantrums for hours because she is so strong-willed, like Daddy. And now both kids are sick. Most moms get a break because their kids nap or go to bed early, but NOT MINE…ever.

When Jules hit Noah, her cousin, I snapped. I usually snap at 3am, but it was broad daylight and I just lost it. I start crying and I picked her up and put her in her room and shut the door. I felt like she wasn’t safe to even be near anyone because she was so impulsive and dying for any type of attention, positive or negative. I felt like a big failure and like I lost control of my kid. The boys were fine, but God forbid we weren’t there to intervene. What if she really hurt someone? I felt embarrassed and even though Renee is my sister-in-law/best friend, I felt a weird sense of embarrassment and guilt. I just kept thinking, wow, at least your kid is calm and gentle and not all over the place. Wow, at least your kid loves you. Wow, at least you only have one kid. I went back out in the living room shaking and crying and cursing Howie and the snow storm and my life. I kept validating that I am so blessed and lucky, but in that moment I felt depressed and sad and tired and done.

I had her come out and try to apologize, but I don’t even know if it was the right thing to do. That consequence is attached to the behavior, but does it have any meaning for her? Probably not. But what am I supposed to do if she’s hitting other kids? Remove her from the desired area, but she won’t stay in a time out or another suggested area. She will run around laughing or maybe hit again, because we are paying attention to her even if it’s the reprimanding that is reinforcing to her. Here I am again feeling sad and missing my first born so terribly. Where did my baby go? My innocent little curious baby. She’s flying through her terrible two’s into the threenage years and then she will never want me anymore. Having two kids can suck big time, but it can also be amazing. It feels like mine are twins because they are both at tough ages- terrible twos and 11 months and cruising/into everything. I can do it and I want to do it, but don’t ever expect me to be on time or plans anything.

After she apologized and we praised, she hit them again and I actually almost left my house. Before judging me, remember I only slept maybe 10 hours in the past 3 days and everyone in my family is sick except for me. Renee calmed me down and I had to take a few deep breaths and get myself together, but I came around and surrendered. This is my life and even though it is chaotic, messy, and overwhelming, it is also full, happy, exciting, and beautiful. There will be ups and downs and chasing around, but I know someday I will look back and pray for these times back. This will be the easy part.

Between my jacked shoulder (from Hudson sleeping in my armpit), early dismissals and snow days, ZERO sleep, Hudson falling off the bed this morning- DON’T ASK, constantly rushing, sick babies and husband, intense toddler tantrums, and no breaks, it’s no wonder I suck at my job and feel like a bad mom. It is totally normal to get stuck in the storm of life and want to cry and scream. We are all entitled to feeling like this, but we are also equipped to get it back together with the help from our friends, family, and wine. For me, let me run a few miles, take a hot bath, drink some wine, and eat some dark chocolate. Boom, recharged and feeling great.

Dear soon to be mom or can’t wait to be a mom,

Don’t take your time for granted. Go to the grocery store alone and realize that this will end up being a vacation for you someday. Be with your significant other and put away ALL technology and just BE with them. Soak in those quiet and intimate moments. Sleep. Go to dinner and breathe. You don’t have to rush back to pick up your kids- we call this the calm before the storm. Embrace your calm and do things- lots of things. Do them together and do them alone. Go shopping and go to the gym. Go to dinner and do whatever you want. YOUR time is so precious and you forget that once you have kids. But also know that you will be the best mom ever and even though times get hard, that LOVE you have is even harder. I love my kids so damn hard it actually feels like my heart is going to explode out of my chest. I live for my kids and I can’t even remember what my life was like without them. I do know that I took time for granted. Just know that having children is one of the greatest loves in the world. People will say things like- oh you will never sleep again. This is the calm before the storm. Oh, just wait. You’re life with change forever. And while all those things are true, they aren’t negative. Your life will change but that goes without saying when you have kids. Yes, it is the calm before the storm, but the storm isn’t bad- it’s the storm of change, adjustment and unconditional love. You won’t sleep as good as you used to- maybe. But most likely you won’t sleep great the first year or two, but eventually they sleep and you will be so proud.

As a mom, you need to be able to feel every emotion and accept it. If you want to feel sad, feel sad. If you want to feel happy, feel happy. If you want to feel done, feel done. Lean on others to help and support you. You got this mama, I promise. God chose you to be their mama. These feelings are totally normal so give yourself a break, feel the emotions you need to feel, accept it, write about it, talk about it, and then get it together and embrace it all.

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What about me?

Today, in particular, I’m feeling the weight of the world. I am tired and cranky and exhausted. It’s not about me anymore though. It’s about the kids. I don’t mean to sound conceited or rude, but I just want it to be about me today. I want to curl up in a ball in my bed by myself, eat the whole pint of banana chocolate swirl gelato by Talenti, and watch This is Us. I don’t want to be at work or answer to anyone today. I don’t want to run or pick up the kids at daycare or pack lunches or write IEP’s. I don’t even feel like showering.

Last night was really tough. Juliana was screaming because she thinks we know what she wants all the time, so instead of using her words she will scream at the top of her lungs. Meanwhile, Hudson has blood all smeared on his face from his 2 front teeth that are ripping through his gums so he is restless and cranky as ever. He woke up every hour last night throughout the whole night. There were a few times that I actually slept on my hardwood floor while he and Howie slept peacefully in our bed. What about me? My eyes were burning so bad I was crying. He wants to sleep on my boob and if I try to put him in his crib, he cries and then usually hits his head on the crib or wakes Juliana up. I surrendered and just let him nurse, but then I had to pee and he loses his mind because my boob isn’t in his mouth. What about me? I just want to hug a pillow and sleep without anyone near me.

We dropped the kids off at Howie’s parents the other day so Howie and I could go to Home Depot to look at carpets and paint colors for our bedroom. Ahhh, finally alone time, but the clock is ticking. We spent a little over an hour there and I was starving. When we went to pick up the kids I couldn’t wait to eat dinner, but of course I couldn’t eat right away. Hudson came crawling at me like a bullet and wanted to nurse. Okay, everyone else gets to eat, but what about me? Don’t get me wrong, I love nursing. I love my kids. I love my life. I am thankful AF as the kids say these days. But damn, let me breathe. Give me a second. Give me one night I can sleep more than 2 hours at a time. Give me one meal where I can eat at an appropriate pace and not shove food down my throat while I clean the table and make sure the kids don’t choke. Give me one shower where I don’t have to rush because Hudson is crying his eyes out or Juliana is half way in the toilet. Give me one day where I can go to the spa and get my hair done, a pedicure, and a massage and I don’t have to rush.

Most moms or people will be quick to tell me to stop nursing. Yes, that’s a huge factor. Not as much of a factor as it was with my first because I have so much milk pumped I could feed a country. But I’m definitely not ready to stop since it is my last baby and this is the only thing I have to hold on to. Both my kids are active and into everything and when they are so busy, they don’t necessarily need mama anymore. Hudson still needs me and I love it. I don’t love it at 3am, but I am so in love with my kids that it trumps all.

I’m not writing this for solutions or opinions, just to vent and let other mamas know that it’s okay to take time for you. It’s okay to cry and feel like your identity is being ripped away some days. It’s okay to want to go back to a life where you had no kids once in a while because this is the most exhausting, yet rewarding job on the planet and we don’t get paid or enough recognition. I’m not saying we need to at all, but even our kids (and husbands) don’t understand how much of us we give to them. And when you give give give give give all day long (God bless stay at home moms), you are entitled to be burnt out. It’s okay. Take a step back and breathe. Set up a plan with your husband, wife, significant other, babysitter, and plan time for you. Schedule it in- even if it means driving to Starbucks and sitting there to write your blog or read a trashy book. For me, I have to actually leave my house to get any time or solitude. It’s OKAY to feel like this. This too shall pass. And on the other side of that, there are kids who love you SO damn much and even though they can’t entirely express it how we wish they would, they love you unconditionally.

And what about me? Well, I’m a damn good mom and I deserve time to recharge because that makes me an even better mom.

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Fit Mama

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I’ve always been a little OCD about fitness, especially after college. In college, I was a Division II cheerleader and competed every year at Nationals in Disney. In high school, I was a cheerleader as well. When I was younger, I played soccer, basketball, ice skating, and gymnastics. I was terrible at soccer and basketball. Since I was a cheerleader in college and practice was pretty strict, I never really gained the freshman 15, but I fluctuated a lot because I ate crap food. I was never a big drinker either…I’m still not a big drinker, thought I like wine or a cider from time to time.

Fast forward now, I am 33 years old on Friday and I have 2 kids. One of them is only 10 months old so of course I don’t look like I did in college…at all. But I will say I am pretty damn proud of my self-motivation. I run 3 miles a day Monday through Friday, a quick 7 minute mile on Saturdays after I teach Zumba s\Step and sometimes I will take a rest day on Sunday or do Core De Force kickboxing/T25 Ab intervals. I know what to listen to my body, although my mind begs for routine so if I can’t work out because I am sick or there are other priorities, I go crazy- this is all from my Dad.

I was never a runner, but I have trained and trained and trained and now I am a decent runner…not advanced by any means but I can run a 9 minute mile for my half marathons. In 2014, I ran my first half marathon at about a 10 minute mile and was in what I thought was the best shape of my life- pre-kids 105 lbs. Then I ran my second half 4 months later and shaved my time down to 9 minutes and 40 secondsish-again pre-kids and same weight- newly married and just pregnant before I even knew it. I had Juliana and thought I could never run again, but 6 weeks postpartum I ran 6 miles with Kim. Besides feeling like my uterus was going to fall out, I felt great and started to run more and more. It really is so hard when you train diligently and then have to re-train to get back to where you were. I ran my third half marathon in October of last year- 6 months postpartum and ran a 9 minute mile finishing at 2 hours 4 minutes. I felt amazing and definitely wasn’t 105 lbs. I actually struggled more to get back to pre-pregnancy with my second than with my first. Thank you nursing for helping me get back to where I was both times.

I don’t obsess over losing weight like I used to- especially as a college cheerleader they used to throw up in the air. I do obsess over when I can work out and get my run in. I know I need to vary my workouts, but I adore running. I love what it does to my brain, my mind, and my heart. I sneak out of work and run 3-4 miles before I pick my kids up at daycare. I catch up on The Bachelor, This is Us, or Grey’s Anatomy on my phone in the dark in my work clothes with my running sneakers. That is ME time. I could take a bath or lay down and watch TV, but I decided I needed to leak those endorphins and get my heart pumping. I do it for me and I do it for my kids. Anyone who knows me knows I can be competitive, but when I am running, just me, myself and I, the competition is me. Personally, I love to vary my speeds and inclines. I have pinned a few great HIIT treadmill workouts, but I typically start out running at 6mph, then every .10 miles I will increase speed to 7.0, 8.0, 9.0, back down to 6mph. Sometimes I will put an incline of up to 10.0 and walk at 4.0. My OCD brain has trouble walking, but some days I am downright tired and just want to walk. I will say one of my strengths is my mindset. Once I hit habit status, my mind doesn’t let me fail. I will always find a way- even if it means I have to put on Core De Force on my DVD player in the living room with both kids climbing all over me and the house. I crave endorphins- it’s like anxiety and depression medication. It’s good for my soul.

When I was pregnant, I was teaching Zumba 2x a week and taking a HIIT class. I stopped running with both pregnancies in the second trimester due to sciatica. I did acupuncture for both pregnancies since my posture was pretty terrible and the sciatica hurt so much- I swear by it! I haven’t taken HIIT since I had Hudson because having 2 kids really makes going to the gym difficult. I do teach Zumba Step on Saturday mornings and will run a quick mile while I blast the most inappropriate rap because I can. Out of the whole week, this is the time I don’t usually have to rush and for that I am grateful.

Another thing I love love love is joining challenges on Facebook or Instagram. For example, I just joined a plank challenge where we plank for a certain amount of seconds per day for X amount of days. I started doing a 2 minute plank so instead of learning up to a 90 second plank, I am committing to doing a 2 minute plank daily. I also joined a 50 push up challenge sponsored by DJ TANNER! Yes, DJ Tanner- judge all you want- she is amazing and such a fit mom. I am inspired by her big time.

Besides zumba, running, and challenges, I like to be part of a team or a group. I discovered an awesome boot camp group on Sunday mornings in the summer and fall. Again, with my schedule and Howie being a firefighter I can’t always commit to going. But when I do I feel strong. With all the running I do, it can be hard to feel strong because my body is memorizing running certain distances. If I had time I would vary my runs and distances but I am usually rushing to pick them up from daycare or relieving Howie from daddy duty, etc. In the nice weather, I love going for a good ol’ fashioned walk or jog with my kids in the stroller. My Fitbit is great for tracking all of this. Although, I will say it’s not amazing for people with OCD–> me. I will run around my classroom just to get my steps in.

My point is get out there. Do something for you that makes your heart pump a little bit. It doesn’t have to be crazy. You don’t need to join a boot camp class or attend CrossFit (which I used to be part of before paying $1760/month just for daycare). Take yoga, do a yoga DVD in your house, do some zumba on youtube, set a goal of doing 100 pushups in a month, take one class at the gym you love once a week, walk on the treadmill and watch your favorite show…do whatever it takes. I don’t work out to lose weight because. I do it for me- my mind and my soul crave it. Make it a priority.

The rest happens in the kitchen. I will make another blog on healthy treats I LOVE and can be easy to make. I don’t eat the best lately, especially because I am nursing and pumping and I’m pretty much a ravenous beast and starving every hour. I am not a qualified dietician or personal trainer, but I am a tired old beat up mama who just wants to let other mamas know that you’re not alone and it’s not as hard as you think. I have 2 kids who are hyper and on the move and I still make it work because I need it. I want to set a good example for my kids that being healthy and loving fitness is fun. Juliana already wants to be a runner and I will run a 5K with her soon. I love that she sees me running and striving to be fit.

You got this, mama. Do it for you and your kids. Start out small and see how amazing you will feel.

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I hate phases

“They grow up so fast. Oh, it’s just a phase. You think the terrible two’s are bad? Wait until they are three. I miss that age.”

I can’t stand it! I hate phases! I don’t want my babies to grow up. Yes, I complain that it’s hard right now trying to balance everything while having 2 active kids, but I am savoring every single second. I will cry and pout about being exhausted, but dammit, I love it all. I love this age and I love that they want me and need me. There may be a few days that I can’t shower or clean my house because I am so busy chasing them- one kid is behind the couch and the other is jumping off of it. As a teacher, I normally love snow days since I don’t have to work, but instead of lying on the couch watching Netflix relaxing, I am non-stop with Monkey 1 and Monkey 2. I know I will look back and beg for these times back. In those crazy moments, I am able to stop and breathe it all in. I am good at that.

Every week, Jules and I pick something to bake- our signature are pumpkin muffins and we just made avocado brownies. We blast our homemade Spotify playlist, bake, and jam. Hudson usually crawls around and plays in the kitchen. Lately, we bake and dance on snow days- this usually means I don’t go running, we stay in our jammies, dance, bake, and run around the house- all. day. long. Literally.

Every other night or every other 2 nights we all go in the jacuzzi- Jules, me and Hudson. Yes, I take baths with my kids. That’s when Jules begs me to shave her legs. Hudson loves the water and he can’t really sit up in the tub alone yet because he’s like a fat slippery pig haha. I want to create moments that my kids will always remember doing with me.

I try so hard to make time with just Juliana. I miss her. I miss us. Now that Hudson is getting older- there we go with the phases- he doesn’t want to be held or snuggled. He wants to crawl around and stand up on everything. Juliana actually wants to play with me. She wants to do puzzles (for hours), play with her dollhouse, bake, dance to her new guitar, go shopping (Costco and Target), play outside, etc. When she 1.5-2, she loved to play alone, but now she’s in the phase where she loves to play with people. She loves daycare and all of her friends. She loves dance class (although she didn’t love it last Friday and I cried). A few months ago, Hudson just wanted to cuddle and nurse because he really wasn’t mobile. This is why I hate phases. I hate time. Why does it have to go by so fast? There’s not enough time in a day. There’s not enough time in this life. A lot of people think otherwise, but this PHASE in my life is amazing. Everyday that passes by makes me nervous because I feel like my kids are growing up and soon I will miss this. I will miss them.

The other night we went out as a family and my heart was bursting. I don’t say it enough, but I love love love being with Howie, Jules and Hudson. It can be difficult to go out places because of all these damn phases. Hudson used to love being worn, but now he wants out. He doesn’t mind the stroller, but if we are at a stand still, he wants to get out and crawl around. Last night we went to the furniture store to get a new headboard and I wore Hudson. Jules can hang because she can walk or use the stroller. In the stroller I will sometimes let her use my phone to watch YouTube Kids. Hudson was okay for the first 15 minutes but then sees his sister playing on the bed or walking around and now he wants to get out and makes it known. I can’t hold him the whole time because he’s huge and I don’t want to let him crawl on the dirty floor. Oh, the struggles. We went to the guitar store too because Jules loves music. They both loved it and to see their faces when they heard the drums and piano was priceless. If I can remember and feel these moments, so will they.

Hudson fell asleep on the way home and Jules was wired, of course. So I got her dressed for bed and spent a little 1 on 1 time with her. We laid in our bed together just her and I and it was so special. She was playing with my hair, kissing my face, telling me she wanted to marry me, telling me she loves me and Daddy and Hudsie. We had a long conversation and cuddled for a half hour before he woke up. In that moment, she loved me. She forgave me for being upset that she didn’t finish dance on Friday or that I told her she had to sit to eat a popsicle. She loved all of me so so much. I really never ever knew what love was until I had kids.

Before I know it, they will both be walking and I will wish to go back to this. Then they will be running and fighting and I will want to go back to when they were just walking and listening to me. Jules loves to walk with us in the store. It’s so easy-going shopping with just her, but I remember going shopping with her before Hudson was born and it was a nightmare. She never wanted to stay in the cart or the stroller. Hudson will chill in the stroller still. I remember right before he was born- the day before actually- we went to Target at 8am on a Sunday and it was the first time I had her walk with me and she did amazing. She held my hand and stayed with me and even helped me pick things out. It broke my heart when I realized it wouldn’t just be me and her anymore. Those phases that she was going through were so clear for me. But when you add another baby to the mix, those phases pass without even remembering it. Thank God Hudson was an easy baby because I was still able to recognize each phase that she was going through.

The phases are life are tough, but beautiful at the same time. We all have to grow up and move on with life no matter what. Life doesn’t ever stop for us. It just keeps going and going and going. We raise our kids just to let them go. They get teeth just to lose them. They grow up to eventually take care of us. The circle of life is insane to me. The phases of life are so short. I can’t fathom anything bad ever happening to my kids and with everything going on in this world and in my circle of friends, you can’t help but be petrified. So live for those moments- the ones where you want to scream, laugh, cry, drink and sleep all at once. They won’t last forever and before we know it, they will be 13 and won’t want us anymore. I want to be their mama forever and ever and ever…in every phase of their life. Even when they hate me. Even when they don’t need me anymore.

I love you a million skies.

Love,

Mama