Toddler Travel Buddy

My husband’s company is in a different state which means we are a traveling family. Every few months we pack up the kids and drive down south. We call the Annapolis area our second home. We have learned through our travels some tips and tricks along the way. I seem to be prepared… well over prepared most of the time. I have a large bag filled with snacks, both for the kids and adults. I make sure to pack baby food that is easily accessible in the pouches for quick rest stop breaks. I find if we are waiting in line for food I can easily feed Priscilla a pouch and know she is getting a good meal. I keep Sophia, my toddler, distracted with her iPad for the hours in the car along with yummy treats and drinks like juice boxes and water. I have at least two hand sanitizers on me at all times. One in my diaper bag and one in the car… it’s an absolute must. I can tell you horror stories about our rest area stops…. but I won’t. The best mommy hack / road trip tip I have is to carry a potty in the car with you. It has been an absolute life saver for us. I can’t tell you how many times we have had to stop and let Sophia use her little potty when we couldn’t make it to a rest stop. Today we were headed towards the GW bridge… and let’s just say it’s a holiday weekend it was awful. She started crying she had to pee. We pulled off on the side of the road at a tiny gas station, let her pee on her own little clean potty, and kept on moving. It was the best and easiest option we had before embarking on hours of traffic. If you have to go on a road trip and have a potty training or just trained toddler I highly recommend bringing a potty in the car just in case! It’s a lifesaver!!!! We call ours our travel buddy!

Mommy with Migraines…. Botox ?!?!

I’ve heard so many times… oh you get headaches too? Have you tried Advil or Excedrin Migraine? Yoga or a diet change can do the trick you know!?! There have been so many people that have tried to give me advice about my migraines since I was a little girl. You see my migraines started when I was just 9 years old and have only gotten worse with age. When I was in my 20’s I was diagnosed with Hemiplegic Migraines which are a rare form of migraine with aura. They tend to come out of nowhere and mimic a stroke or seizure. When I decided to become a mom I never knew how my body would react to pregnancy. I always hoped that I would be one of those cases where the migraines calmed down during pregnancy. I was not. It was actually the opposite. My condition was so intense I became high risk for myself and my baby. I am beyond blessed to be a mom to two beautiful girls and I know my body cannot take another pregnancy … my brain just cannot handle it. I need to be on daily medications to prevent serious migraine episodes and I have even been running out of options for those too. My doctor during my last visit told me it was time for me to consider botox. I have been against it before. It wasn’t for me. I was scared of the unknown. Scared of the pain… just plain scared. He explained I have gone through all other treatment options and at this point, this is my best hope to live a some what normal life with less daily migraines. I so desperately want to be a good mom to my girls. I hate to be medicated. I hate to be in pain. I hate to have my toddler know to bring me water and a pillow and close the shades to make the room dark. It’s heart breaking. Today she sang a song to me and it started out ” Mom is always sick” that is hard to hear. My Botox went well this morning. I don’t really have much to compare it to. The entire process of the needles was quick and lasted 5 minutes. I will not say it is painless, but I will say it is tolerable. They do offer a numbing cream to use before, but I did not have it. They injected 20 needles into my forehead, scalp, and shoulders. I have been fine all day. There are no side effects and for the rest of the day I was told not to do any heavy cleaning or cooking. Not too shabby. Hubby and I are going to go out to an impromptu date night … so I guess it wasn’t all too bad. I plan to keep you all posted on the progress of my migraines and the Botox on my website under my migraine link. I will be posting my tips and other diet changes I have tried and continue to try for my migraines too. It’s all trial and error. I know how awful migraines are but as a mom… it’s down right heartbreaking. If you are a mom with migraines you are not alone … I’m here for you.

Summer time mommy hack…. ice pop & pot holders ?!?!

Sophia loves popsicles and freeze pops especially in the warm summer months, but there is one thing my toddler drama queen hates and that’s to be cold!!!! Just moments after the begging for an ice pop took place… to the excitement of picking a flavor… to that first yummy bite… the panic over cold hands started to take over. I had run out of paper towels and needed to do a large grocery shop today so I didn’t have my go to wrap your popsicle in a paper towel magic. I know how quickly a “toddler tantrum” begins so I needed to think quick. As I ran to the drawer to grab a towel I looked and saw my pot holders designed for the handles… the perfect fit! I slipped it right on the freeze pop and not only did it cure the frozen fingers, but Sophia was so excited she had this cool popsicle holder! It was a win for this Mom!!! I had to share my “mommy hack” with you all! It’s a quick fix and you can find these at pretty much any store. The perfect cure for cold fingers and freezer pops!

Proud… that’s my mom! ❤️

Proud… that’s the best word I can find to describe how I felt today watching my mom compete in our state Ms Senior America Pageant. My mom is a pretty incredible woman. She will be 70 this coming year and doesn’t act or feel it in any way. She lives each day of her life to the fullest. When she told me about this pageant a few months ago I thought it was a fabulous idea. I think it is truly amazing that a woman’s life can continue to blossom and grow in her senior years, or in the words of this pageant, their years of elegance. It’s the golden years. My mom is a phenomenal singer and performs all over the state. It is so amazing that she makes a living doing something she truly loves. She has always been there to support me no matter what I was doing. It felt so amazing on this Mother’s Day weekend to sit in the audience and support her. She was truly living her dream. I watched her sing on stage… speak about her philosophy on life… and walk with such confidence. It is an honor to be among those women who have been through so much of life’s journey and see the joy they have in their soul. The true love they have for life. I was so proud of my mom today… though she didn’t walk away with the crown… she will always be my queen. I’m so thankful to have a role model like this in my life and I hope to be that same role model for my girls too. Happy Mother’s Day.

Finding joy in the little moments

Today my hubby told me to take an hour to myself and go get my nails done. You see we are going on vacation Sunday and I can’t even remember the last time I got my nails done. It honestly might be when Priscilla was born… yes that long ago. I had it all figured out. I would put Priscilla down for a nap and give Sophia a snack and her iPad to “work” with daddy for an hour while I slipped away for some much needed mommy alone time. The only thing that stood in my way from the radio blaring to anything but radio Disney or kids bop… and my single order at Starbucks not containing a cake pop…..was Sophia overheard the conversation. She was dressed and ready to go get “our” nails done. Uh oh! My mommy me time turned into… mommy and me time very quickly. There’s really no easy way to get your nails done while having your unsure three year old on your lap getting her nails done. From the moment we walked in the door of the salon she told me she would be brave… and she was so proud of herself because she was going to get her fingers and her toes done today. I was so proud of Sophia. She was so excited to have these few moments of just her and I time. Priscilla was in dream land at home with daddy and Sophia and I were doing big girl things. The smile on Sophia’s face the entire time her nails were being painted were priceless. The lady asked if I was getting my nails done too. I said no not today. She said but it’s Mother’s Day. The truth is… this right here … this moment with my first born was all the gift I needed. It would have been nice to get pampered a little, sure… but spending time with my daughter and seeing her so happy means so much more. Being a mother is so much about finding joy in these unplanned moments…

Blue Apron

What’s for dinner tonight?

Sweet Pepper and Olive Pizza

Blue Apron is an awesome delivery service that brings fresh ingredients to your doorstep ready for you to start cooking. I teamed up with them to bring some yummy recipes your way! My first box arrived this week and I started cooking! This pizza was my first meal and it was delish! The veggies were so fresh and the step by step instructions were so easy to follow! I can’t wait to make the next yummy dinner! Check out my link to see what Blue Apron is all about!!! I was given some awesome coupons and even some free dinners to give to a few friends so they can see what its all about!!! Let me know who wants to try this convenient “mom hack” to week night cooking.

What’s it like not to work? … The “Real” Stay at home mom life!

“What’s it like not to work?” This is what my husband asked me today after lunch. I just looked at him with surprise… is that really what he thinks? What I do every day isn’t work? He could tell by the look on my face it was an Oh Sh*t moment… and he started back peddling his comment pretty quickly. But it was too late, he said it. You see we have a unique set up here. He is a high level exec and works from his home office when he isn’t traveling. Its great because he gets to be home for a lot of the special moments in the girls lives and for things like lunch and dinner. He has a stressful job and is on the phone constantly… I get it… but I honestly don’t think he could last a day in my shoes. I think of a day in a quiet office, on the phone, sitting… yes siting in a chair talking on the phone all day, sounds like a vacation to me. This got me thinking about my days, well what a day in the life of a stay at home mom is really like. We wake up when the kids wake up, no sleeping in for us. Once we are up its go time! We are the breakfast makers and milk getters. From there its up to us to make sure the butts are nice and shiny and the children are dressed. Forget about getting dressed myself, I most likely throw on leggings and a baseball cap. If I get a shower in it’s an amazing day. Today I brought Sophia to school, did three loads of laundry, picked up the toys cleaned the house three times, went to the grocery store, ran errands, made lunch ,and  prepped dinner all before 1 pm. This is a pretty normal day for me. The rest of my afternoons consist of putting away clothes, emptying the dishwasher, doing a craft or project with Sophia ( while Priscilla naps), making dinner, clean up, bath time, and bed time. Today is a slow day for me too. Sophia is involved in a ton of activities… Soccer, Gymnastics, Dance, Playdates… the list goes on. I normally add those into my daily routine as well.  You moms feel me? So I would say we put in … I don’t know maybe a 12-14 hour day on average. I only sit down when I go to the bathroom, which is never alone. I always have company, even when I finally go to bed at night. Stay at home moms are pretty amazing people. We do it all! We take care of the children, the house, cook, clean, and somehow keep it all together. So I think my answer to the question would be… I have never worked this hard in my entire life… but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Milk transition… it’s not that scary after all!

Priscilla is 11 months old!!! She is already trying so hard to keep up with her big sister and has been trying new foods recently. She has been showing much less interest in baby food and a huge interest in big girl food! She wants to eat what we are eating and I don’t blame her. I started Priscilla on yogurt around 6 months and she has been on formula since she was 4 months old. Unfortunately my breastfeeding path came to a screeching stop at 4 months postpartum due to a horrendous infection. I was devastated but I knew the best type of baby is a well fed baby…. period. Since Priscilla has been eating yogurt, all kinds of cheese, obviously sipping her sister’s cups of milk, and absolutely loving mac and cheese and grilled cheese lately I found no reason to wait any longer to try milk. Yes I know the rules say you need to wait until the child is one year old… but come on.. one month isn’t going to make a huge difference to her. I decided to put a tiny bit of milk in her sippy cup at lunch just to see how she felt about the taste… she LOVED it! From there I have been mixing formula and milk together in her bottles. The doctor recommends mixing half for a few days to allow the digestive track time to adjust. You repeat the same steps with the measurements 3/4 milk to 1/4 formula for a few days… then it’s all milk! It’s so simple! The entire transition can take anywhere from a week to two weeks depending on your baby and how well they are reacting. We have been really lucky with Priscilla. She hasn’t had any reaction at all to the milk and actually loves it. My husband and I did a dance today when I did my weekly target run and I did not have to buy formula. It’s a pretty awesome feeling knowing your baby is no longer on formula. It opens so many doors and gives a sense of freedom. What a crazy thing to say but my gosh this milk transition is a big one for everyone involved. We did it!!!!Cheers!!!!

Cake smash…. dressing up a store bought cake!

Priscilla is 11 months old today!!!! That means it’s time to start planing that very exciting first birthday! Now that we are settled into our home it is time to start planning! I have the theme all ready to go and found the most adorable dress at the local TJ Maxx for photos! We all know no one year old’s birthday is complete without a cake smash!!!!! A cake smash is a fun photo shoot where you have an adorable tiny cake and you dress your soon to be one year old up and let them go crazy eating the cake in hopes for some of the most amazing pictures ever!!!! I made Sophia’s cake from scratch and it took two days. It was beautiful and Minnie Mouse themed. You see it lasted seconds and that wasn’t the point of the photos.. it was all about the messy baby cuteness. I learned with baby number two how to do a few mommy hacks and get the same effect in much less time. What Mom doesn’t love a mommy hack?!?! I went to the local grocery store and purchased a small round cake that happened to have rainbow sprinkles on it!!!

Sprinkles…What a win! I bought a few sticks of butter, a bag of confectioners sugar, and some red food coloring! I was ready to doctor up this little cake and make it something photo worthy! After dance class today while I had a few minutes before dinner I whipped up the homemade frosting and decorated the cake. The entire process from start to clean up took me less than 25 minutes! I love making homemade buttercream frosting! I think it tastes so much better than the stuff in the can, and it holds up so much nicer on a cake! It takes just minutes in a mixer and it’s so much fun to make with your children. Sophia jumped up on her kitchen helper and helped me make the frosting… and of course taste it too! I created sweet little swirls to resemble the tiny flowers on Priscilla’s dress and the store bought cake was transformed into the perfect cake smash cake!!! So excited for tomorrow’s photo shoot! Can’t believe my baby girl will be 1 next month!

Frosting Recipe:

2 sticks of butter softened

3-4 cups of confectioners sugar ( depending on how sweet you like your frosting)

4 drops of red food coloring ( any coloring of your choice) I wanted pink frosting!

Vanilla extract ( 1 teaspoon)

Whip butter and vanilla add food coloring.

Add sugar 1 cup at a time mixing slowly while scraping sides of bowl.

Mix well till light and fluffy. Pipe on to cake!

Finding time to love myself…. and finding my love for Sanctuary Beauty too!

I always dreamed about what it would be like to be a mommy one day. I knew it would be one of the greatest moments of my life and I couldn’t wait to have children. I would watch moms and think gosh that looks like so much fun, I can’t wait for that day to come. Fast forward many years, I now have two beautiful little girls and a wonderful husband. I am a mommy and a wife. Is it everything I imagined it would be? Of course, and so much more! I smile as I say so much more… because my goodness this mommy thing is hard work. I would see it in the movies, or in a glimpse of life out in public through a stranger’s eyes, but I never knew exactly what my life would be like as a mother. It is wonderful, magical, more love than I could have ever imagined my heart could hold…. but it is tiring, stressful, crazy, and dramatic. Yes I said it, dramatic from every aspect of the word. My day begins early when my baby girl Priscilla wakes up for her bottle and runs crazy with my toddler Sophia….who by the way now sleeps in our bed with us till 10 pm at night. That’s for a different post. I don’t have much of a break throughout the day. I am downright “Mommy Tired”. I created this phrase because when my husband finishes work for the day and looks at me with a puzzled face when I am still in my pajamas and unwashed physique…. I only need to utter that one phrase.

 

You see I suffer from this crazy migraine condition called hemiplegic migraines. They completely wipe me out when an episode comes on. I try to control them as best I can with daily medication, but the doctor tells me I need a lot of rest and to reduce my stress. Come on!!!! I am a mom of a toddler and a baby girl…. sleep and reduce my stress?!? How can that be on my medical agenda? That is when I decided to start to look at options to take care of myself better from the inside out. I decided it was time to start finding “mommy moments” to heal my mind and de-stress my self the best way I knew how! Taking a bath always seemed like a crazy task that I just didn’t have the time for. Like if anyone in the house was getting a bath it was the children. But I quickly learned my mommy bath time was more for my mind than anyone being clean. I found that even escaping into the bathroom for thirty minutes, moving over the rubber ducky, and soaking in the tub was all I needed to hit the reset button. Ok…Ok…. I may have had a glass of a certain pink wine too… but that’s not a big deal .. it only helps with the relaxation. It’s all part of the process.

When searching for the perfect “Mommy Bath” experience I came across an awesome company called Sanctuary Beauty and Bath. They make the most incredible bath bombs I have used in my entire life. I immediately loved them because she was a fellow mommy like me and I love to support moms in business, but I also loved what she stood for. She founded this business because she was going through her own personal experience with post partum depression and wanted to help other women who may be going through something similar in their life and needed an outlet of healing. Her philosophy is finding the time to take care of yourself and your well being which will in turn help you to take care of your family better. Just taking a simple hot bath with these incredible bath bombs is all you need to unlock your senses and feel amazing. The first one I chose to use was called Balance. It smells like lavender and within seconds of putting it into my bathtub the scents filled my entire bathroom. I felt as though I was in a spa. It smelled truly incredible. For the first time I actually felt relaxed. The combination of the hot bath and this amazing bath bomb was all I needed to put my crazy day into balance. I got out of the bathtub and my skin felt amazing. I slept the best I have slept in a long time after that single bath. I cannot wait to take another one.

“Sanctuary Beauty was born out of a strong desire to enable women to prioritize their health and well being by providing all natural bath, essential oil bath and beauty products that promote stress reduction and healing.”

https://sanctuarybeautyandbath.com/

When you have had a long day or you are feeling like an overwhelmed Mommy… I encourage you to take a few minutes to yourself. Go for a walk, read a book, or do your favorite thing and take a nice hot bath with an amazing smelling Bath Bomb!!!! Taking a few “Mommy Moments” to hit the reset button is key to being a good mom. You need it and trust me your family needs you to take these moments too! It makes you a healthy mom. You need to not only keep your body healthy, but your mind too. Check out my good friend and fellow mommy’s website above and trust me when I tell you these bath bombs are by far the best out there. It will change your entire bath experience.