The 5 Best Mommy and Me Workout Classes in San Diego

Working out after having a baby is hard. And I’m not talking about physically hard, I’m talking hard in finding the time and energy to fit in a workout session. And just when you think the seas have parted and you can actually squeeze in a good workout, many moms (including me) don’t have nannies or daycare options to watch the little one(s) while breaking a sweat. That’s why I was so excited to find these different mommy and me workout classes in San Diego where your can bring your baby and also receive a great workout. Here are the 5 best Mommy and Me Workout Classes I’ve found in San Diego (specifically, North County):

  1. Stroller Jam at the YMCA, Encinitas:

    The YMCA in Encinitas is pretty awesome! They offer so many classes, daycare for the little ones, a big indoor pool with a retractable ceiling to let the sunshine in, and the thing that attracted me the most – their Stroller Jam classes. Stroller Jam incorporates a workout with your strollers and your babes in tow. They usually conduct these classes along the coast in Encinitas, so moms can enjoy fresh ocean breezes during this challenging workout. Really challenging. I might have had to lay down on the sidewalk to catch my breath while my baby secretly judged me from her stroller (ok, yes, that happened). Now, THAT’S what I call a good workout.
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    Magdalena Ecke YMCA Encinitas
    200 Saxony Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024
    760.942.9622

  2. Barre Class at the Dailey Method Barre Studio, Carlsbad:

    I attended  this fun Mommy and Me class with my mommy group (read about the whole experience here). Who knew that half-inch movements could provide such an intense workout! Of course there’s much more to the class, including a combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, muscular strengthening, yoga and orthopedic exercises – all while wearing your baby in a carrier! It’s a win-win; baby gets to be close to mama while mama gets in a great workout with added weight!
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    The Dailey Method Barre Studio
    905 Calle Barcelona #227, Carlsbad, CA 92009
    760.479.0764

  3. Mommy Bootcamp with California Core

    If you’re like me and love circuit training and exercising outdoors, this one’s for you! California Core is set to open this coming Winter in North County, San Diego. I had the pleasure of experiencing a demo class which was an hour session mixed with cardio and strength training. California Core is all about  functional fitness training designed for the San Diego lifestyle. I loved this class because it focuses on building your core through personalized training at private residences, local beaches and parks. Their mobile fitness comes to you and babies in strollers are welcome to join! Your first class is always free and mention you heard about California Core through Mommy Project SD & get your second session 10% off!
    Contact for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    California Core
    Throughout North County, San Diego
    954.303.0368 (Call or text to set up your one-on-one or group training session)
    info@californiacore.com 

  4. Mommy KCal Class at Baja Body Athletic Club, Oceanside:

    Baja Athletic Club is a new gym in Oceanside. The thing that makes them unique is their sand studio where they teach different core classes, an Anti-gravity class and more fun, unique workouts. After trying (and loving) their Anti-gravity class, I signed up for the Mommy KCal Class where you burn 1,000 calories! (It was insane). During this high energy cross training program, they mix strength and cardio integrating suspension cables, jump ropes, overhead monkey bars and more! This is a very fun, high energy class for moms to enjoy while babies are having supervised fun playing in the sand room! 
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    Baja Body Athletic Club
    1220 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

    760.231.1755

  5. Mommy & Me Yoga Class at Soul of Yoga, Encinitas:

    This was one of the first Mommy and Me classes I took after Blake was born (read all about my first experience here). I love these classes because not only do you get some amazing stretching time while your baby looks up at you from your yoga mat in awe of the different poses, a portion of the class also incorporates baby yoga where you move your baby’s legs and arms to stimulate circulation and digestive. Fun for mom and baby! Namaste.
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    Soul of Yoga
    627 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024
    760.943.7685

mommy and me workout classes in San Diego

International Breastfeeding Week: A Story of One Mom’s Journey

In honor of International Breastfeeding Week, my dear friend from my Mommy Group, Shelley, is here guest blogging to share her amazing journey/struggles with breastfeeding. Shelley is such an amazing mother and all-around great person and I’m so happy she chose my blog to act as the platform for her amazing story. If you are a new mom struggling with breastfeeding, please read – there are some great resources at the end as well. Without further ado, here is Shelley:

International Breastfeeding Week

My Breastfeeding Journey

By Shelley C.

The latch

Ahh, breastfeeding… sweet, sweet breastfeeding. It’s almost taboo how no one really warns you what lies ahead between you, your soon to be poor, raw nipples, and your little paraná with what feels like razor-sharp teeth chomping down on you.

I remember being pregnant and listening to stories from my mom about her breastfeeding journey, and she had absolutely no troubles. Zero, zip, nada. Not one. So, naturally, I assumed baby pops out, latches like a champ (latch: a term I had no idea I would hear over and over again for the first few months), and the rest is history. Well, not for me. In fact, my breastfeeding experience was quite the opposite. A rough, confusing, extremely painful and emotional journey intertwined with anger, frustration, and doubt. It turns out I wasn’t alone amongst my breastfeeding struggles, and I thankfully was (eventually) able to create a beautiful, positive, blissful breastfeeding relationship between my son and me, who is turning one at the end of the month.

I remember how magical it was after my C-section when they finally brought Tanner to me in the recovery room. They placed him on my chest for skin-to-skin contact and he pecked his way over to my boobies right away. It was amazing to see this tiny little creature have such natural instinct for his mom and his food supply. He latched right on, and no one ever showed concern that something could eventually prevent a struggle.

The hospital I delivered at had a couple lactation consultants on staff who would stop by and check in on you at least once during your stay, because they wanted you to succeed breastfeeding. Mine was named Cari & I remember her popping into our hospital room on day 3 because I was absolutely exhausted. My family and my in-laws were all in our tiny room, and I already felt overwhelmed amongst the chaos. Everyone was so excited to meet and hold Tanner the days following his birth, and inside I remember thinking “Do I ever get to hold my baby?!” I remember how uncomfortable it was that no one excused themselves from my room when Cari was clearly there to observe my boobs, and I knew my nipples hurt so bad I just wanted to lay around topless all day and have her wave a magic wand around to get the pain gone (and for everyone to give me some privacy). Ya, most your dignity goes out the window during childbirth, but there’s still something about whipping your boobs out in front of your dad and mother-in-law that’s just weird & awkward. Cari didn’t have a magic wand, but we did have the bedside curtain to close, and that’s as good as we were going to get for now. I had my mom with me (she’s a nurse and we’re super close, so her seeing my boobs was no biggie) and Cari had Tanner latch on to feed, and watched him nurse. I told her how excruciating it was and had been since his first few latches, but she said his latch looked great, and the pain should only last a couple weeks. A couple weeks?! Ah!! How will I ever survive?! If only I knew that pain would continue for three.more.months. Yep, three.

After Cari came by, the pediatrician came in to do a weigh in. It’s normal for newborns to lose a pound or so from their birth weight, so Tanner’s weight was okay, but he had orange pee crystals, so that was the first red flag he wasn’t getting enough fluids. Instead of someone trying to help me breastfeed further, or call Cari back in, they said the only option was to add formula to some of his feedings. Being a health conscious, I was irritated & confused, but they were the doctors and recommending what’s best for my baby…right? They ensured me they had organic formula and “not everyone can make enough milk.” Are any pro breastfeeders or LC’s losing it right now? Are flames coming out of your ears? Are you throwing things at the computer screen?? I started to hate myself for not being able to naturally provide for my son, and blamed myself (and the breast augmentation surgery I had when I was 22, which turned out to be totally unrelated.)

[Note: I believe ALL moms are wonderful, whether you chose to breastfeed or to not. This is simply my personal journey with breastfeeding & always wanting to breastfeed. I fully support every mom's decision to provide for their baby in ways that work for them & their circumstances.]

After meeting with Cari again, she said lose the formula and stick with breastfeeding, because babies only need colostrum the first week anyway, and a teeny, tiny amount.

I would cringe every time he would feed

Around week two and a half post partum I was completely sobbing to my mom (thank god for her; she took every single day of her work vacation days & flew out to help us for three weeks; she was my therapist, our house keeper, our chef, our nanny, my go-to – thank you so much, Mom!!) about how badly it hurt every time still Tanner fed. My nipples were literally cracked, bleeding, blistered and scabby. I would cringe every time he would feed, and any new mom knows newborns’ cluster feeding “schedule” (aka 24/7) is NO JOKE, but something just wasn’t right! We Googled how long new mom breastfed nipples should hurt, and every article and source said max two weeks, or to contact an LC (lactation consultant aka breastfeeding guardian angels) if pain was still present. I felt embarrassed and frustrated I had to reach out for help, and figured since my mom didn’t have problems, that neither would I. This was also right around the time we had Tanner’s follow-up pediatrician visit, and he was in a super low percentile and labeled as “failing to thrive.” Which meant my boobs were failing to thrive. More formula was sent home with me to “bulk him up; you’re hurting his brain growth!” with the phrase “some people just can’t produce enough milk.” Great.

The outside pressure

The outside pressure from everyone else around was irritating too because they just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand my struggles because they all bottle fed or didn’t have breastfeeding issues to be able to offer advice. The bottle feeders always said “just give him a bottle, it’s easier.” Actually, it’s not because my husband travels for work and sanitizing bottles, pumping milk, and warming milk all hours of the night is way more overwhelming. P.S. – Don’t ever say that to a new breastfeeding mom who’s hormones are raging out of control. Ever. I was also the first in my circle of friends to have a baby, so didn’t have any modern mama to turn to for help. Lucky, my husband was very supportive of my breastfeeding desire because he attended the classes with me while I was pregnant and learned about all the health benefits. He had testicular cancer as a child, so his ears perked up when exclusive breastfeeders lower their children’s risk for childhood cancer and can help set them up on a healthier path. There’s something so attractive feeling like your husband’s got your back; that you’re a team; that you’re supported.

After we got home from the pediatrician appointment, my mom found Cari’s card and I called her for advice. She dropped everything she was doing and came for a private lactation appointment at my house. She cringed at my nipples and decided to test out my brand new, ridiculously expensive breast pump to see if I could pump anything. We got a drop. Like literally one drop. After 20 minutes of pumping. Devastating. So she had me get in the shower and try to massage my boobs as hard as I could under the hottest water I could tolerate. Turned out almost every single one of my milk ducts was clogged, and I would’ve woken up with mastitis the next morning if she hadn’t massaged the clogs out. Yes, you heard that right; she literally squashed the life out of my boobs for me while I was naked in the shower to get my milk to come in. We tried the pump again and still only got a few drops. Are you kidding me?!? She said it would take time, and that my milk would continue to come in…

I just knew in my gut, something was off

A couple days later, I still never felt my boobs feel full, and I still hadn’t experienced a letdown. I just knew in my gut something was still off, so we found the schedule for the local breastfeeding support group. My mom packed Tanner and I into the car (I actually had to get dressed?!), and came with me to my first breastfeeding support group session. An LC and about twenty other new moms and babies were there, all having problems nursing, all looking for support. I fell in love with that support group right then and there knowing I was no longer in this alone. They ended up being my outlet & some of my closest friends, and came at perfect timing because my mom had to fly back home a couple days later.

Monster list of tips to increase milk supply

Cari, Nicole, and Janet were the three LCs who ran the group. Each new mom would introduce herself, her baby, and discuss the issues she was having. All the moms were suffering from some sort of breastfeeding issue; nursing pain, latch issues, thrush, low supply, oversupply, over active letdowns, nursing twins, etc…When my turn came around I opened up about my issue, which ended up being classified as “low milk supply.” So after Cari observed Tanner’s latch, which was determined to be good, I was left with a monster list of tips to increase my milk supply…

  1. Pump after every nursing session to try to tell your body it needs to create more milk. (EVERY NURSING SESSION. I felt like a cow. I literally didn’t wear a shirt for weeks).
  2. Bake lactation cookies (thanks, mom!)
  3. Drink Gatorade for electrolytes; some women swear by the red or blue. (Who knows! At least it’s a change from water.)
  4. Drink 90oz of water per day. (Some days I thought I was drowning! PS – never drink all your ounces per day at once; that can be dangerous).
  5.  Eat 2,000 calories full of healthy fats, protein, dairy, and fiber. (Because we totally have time to go grocery shopping and cook. Hopefully your better halves, parents, or friends can help you in the kitchen – it’s for the baby!)
  6. Start taking Goat’s Rue and More Milk Plus by Mother’s Love. Also used Dairy Diva. (You can find them at Whole Foods or online).
  7. Continue to nurse on demand. (If baby is ever sucking their hands the first few months, it’s probably not for comfort; it usually means they are hungry.)
  8. If baby still seems hungry after breastfeeding, supplement with an ounce or two of formula, then pump after for 10 minutes. (This was the most exhausting process!)
  9. Don’t exercise yet- you can lose what supply you do have burning too many calories too quickly. (Be gentle on yourself and your post-partum body. I started working out at 8 months post-baby because I felt confident with my supply, my eating habits, and my water intake. DO NOT DIET while trying to keep your supply up. I know many women who wanted to lose “those last 15 pounds” and they all lost their milk around 5 months because they were limiting their calories. If you’re eating healthy foods, you can still reach the calorie intake you need).
  10. Try power pumping - (keep your pump hooked up to you for an hour. Pump ten minutes on, ten minutes off, for 60 minutes. Obviously try to time when baby doesn’t need to breastfeed).
  11. Try to get some sleep (seriously?)
  12. Your milk is “best” from about 11pm until you wake up, so pump before the last feeding of the evening, the middle of the night feeding, and the first feeding of the morning to boost your supply the most. Your supply is worst from around 4pm-10pm, so pump to stimulate then. (Eek…this mom thing is definitely a full time job!)
  13. Drink More Milk Tea (Sold at Target or Whole Foods. You literally have to drink like a gallon a day, so pre-make a big batch and mix with honey or lemon because it’s GROSS. PS – From the herbs & tea, your sweat and body will start to give off an herby smell, be ready for that ;) 
  14. Try Milky (an herbal blend of milk boosters; it tastes way better than the tea but I’m not sure if it really helps or not).

I tried all of these things for months. It became my life. I was literally obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t going to give up. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. When I would have to supplement I felt so guilty, like I had failed. And I was becoming mentally and physically exhausted. At night it was the most brutal; Tanner would nurse for literally an hour, then I’d have to supplement, then I’d pump for ten minutes. By the time I was done with that cycle, I had to start it over. My husband was also traveling for work 2-3 weeks out of the month, and that started when Tanner was two weeks old, so the bottle & pump cleaning was a nightmare and so hard to keep up with. When my in-laws would come over to see Tanner, I would secretly wish they were cleaning & doing my laundry instead! I was super grateful they brought me meals a couple times, I would’ve probably starved to death when Kyle was gone.

About two months in of these crazy supply tricks, I was still going nowhere. We’d weigh Tanner before and after feedings at class and he was still only getting an ounce after nursing for nearly an hour. And on top of that, my nipples were still totally scabbed, so I was now referred to the nipple shield. The nipple shield is a soft piece of plastic that goes on top of your nipple so the baby’s mouth sucks on that instead of direct contact with your skin, causing less pain and allowing the scabs to heal (like putting a bottle nipple over yours). It helped a little, but Tanner had gotten so used to using it, that he was soon refusing to nurse without it. Ugh, a new battle. Once my boobs felt a little better, It took me two full weeks to completely wean him of using the shield. And then the scabs returned…

We were creeping up on three months post partum (still supplement after some feedings, still dealing with scabs, still pumping after each feeding to stimulate a supply increase, taking goat’s rue and more milk plus three times a day and eating BF cookies like it was my job) when a speech therapist came to our support group to observe infants for the first time. She was there to look for upper lip and tongue-tie issues. I had overheard chitter chatter about this mysterious tongue tie thing from a mom I got close with in support group; her baby, Charlie, had just had both her upper lip and tongue tie removed with a laser. But, no one had ever mentioned that diagnosis to me, so I just thought it was some rare thing.

My Hail Mary

The next group meeting, the speech therapist was there again to observe. I introduced myself and told her that everyone says Tanner has a great latch, but my nipples were still raw going on three months post partum, and I’m still only able to get about an ounce per feeding, so I was still having to supplement. I told her she was literally my Hail Mary, and asked her to observe tanner’s nursing. She watched him eat for thirty minutes and…wait for it…said she was pretty sure he had both upper lip and tongue tie. (There’s a fancy frenulum name for it). Ummm..wait, frenulum what??

As frustrated as I was that it took three months for someone to throw this new diagnosis at me that could be causing my low supply and soreness issues, I was actually excited that there could be a reason for all the madness and my low supply wasn’t going unexplained. Charlie’s mom, Stephanie, referred me to the dentist she went to that specialized in tongue and upper lip tie removal via laser (which is considered to be far more accurate at removing these ties than it being snipped, and is supposed to heal quicker as well). I called the office that day and they scheduled Tanner an appointment the next morning.

When I got to the dentist, I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect. The one thing I did know right off the bat was that the staff was incredibly warm and friendly, and the office was decorated so cute for fall, smelling and looking like home. I had great vibes from the moment I walked in and was greeted by the receptionists. They took us in like we were their family. (And this was South Florida!) Once we were called back, we met the dentist and other staff, and they were all incredibly friendly as well. They took one look in Tanner’s mouth and said he had one of the thickest, longest upper lip ties and tongue tie they had ever seen, and couldn’t believe I was even still nursing. After they explained everything thoroughly they asked if I wanted to move forward with the procedure. They went over everything in full detail until I felt full informed; like how lip & tongue tie can lead to tooth decay, speech issues, latch issues, and other problems later on in life. And that is cost $1000, which is due upfront, but insurance may cover it partially. The answer was obvious to me – YES. PLEASE HELP US! When children get older, they have to be sedated and have sutures to close the removal of the ties, but when they’re infants, laser is fast, virtually pain free, and the recovery is only a few days. Tanner just made the cut by a week. After three months, they have to be monitored in an outside facility. They put Tanner in the most funny, teeny tiny glasses I’ve ever seen to protect his eyes. I gave him lots of love and snugs, then I left the room so I didn’t have to watch. They preformed the laser on both ties then and there. I was sent home with recovery instructions, and they had him latch immediately after the procedure to see if I could feel a difference. I’m not sure if I was so desperate for an improvement, or if I really felt an immediate change in his lap, but I was convinced I could. (Update: our insurance is 80/20 so they covered 80%, which was incredible! Although, it ended up being priceless to me).

Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me?

After each time Tanner nursed for a week I had to rub under his upper lip and under his tongue. They have you do this because the mouth is the fastest healing place on our body, so they don’t want the ties to grow back. You have to keep disrupting the tissue growth. That was by far the saddest and most painful part to watch after the removals, because he was in a lot of pain when I rubbed them (obviously, ouch!). I had to give him Tylenol the first two days for discomfort, but after a week, he was completely pain-free, and the wounds were healing greatly. I was so relieved because we were flying to California the next week to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I was actually able to supplement with the tiny amount of milk I was collecting from pumping after feedings that week, rather than formula. And he was only taking about one ounce. Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me? Could this really have been the culprit for my supply issues all along?

We got to California for vacation a girl I went to high school with (who was also nursing her son the same age as Tanner) dropped of bags of donor milk for me to supplement with in case I was still having issues. When I was supplementing with organic formula, Tanner wasn’t pooping and would wake up screaming all night from gas pain. (I had been SO fortunate with breastfeeding mamas around me. At first I was using a mix of organic formula & donor milk from a friend of the family in Florida, but didn’t want to risk bringing the frozen stash I had in case it thawed & went bad). I was in awe how generous other mamas were. Once you’re a breastfeeding mom you have this instant bond with other breastfeeding mamas.

I don’t know if the California Gods were with me, if it was finally getting to relax with my family & holiday cheer, or if it was just the perfect timing (2 weeks) after Tanner’s tongue tie procedure, but my milk came in the second day I was home. I could cry just writing this and reliving that day. I woke up and my boobs were HUGE. Like full for the first time EVER. He nursed like “normal” that day & I was literally in shock when he wasn’t crying for more milk after nursing. And he was feeding for an efficient half hour rather than dragging feedings on for an hour+. I continued to pump after feedings that week just to be safe, but after a week of that, I no longer had to anymore. My supply issues were finally over. I couldn’t believe it…His tongue-tie was fixed. It was his latch all along. Three of the longest months of my life were finally behind me.

I feel like it’s my mini calling to help other moms suffering from low supply issues or supply issues related to tongue-tie now. It robbed me of enjoying the first three months with Tanner because I was so focused on being able to breastfeed and all the struggles along our way, that it was literally my 24/7 job.

I’m actually thrilled to announce that eleven months later I am still exclusively breastfeeding, and even happier to report I have just donated around 80 ounces of my beloved freezer stash I had at home (from the whole time I was pumping during my Thanksgiving & Christmas visits) to a mama in the area who was unable to breastfeed due to IGT. Talk about my breastfeeding journey coming full circle! If you have breast milk you won’t be using, please don’t toss it! There are so many moms looking for donors, and you can pay it forward here - https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=180419095335971&tsid=0.2959478737320751&source=typeahead

Use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support and gather advice

If you’re reading this and struggling with low supply, I hope you can use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support in me, and gather advice. Most of all I hope you know you are doing the best you can. You are an incredible mama.

Turns out, there are many different reasons for low milk supply. For example, IGT, chronic low supply, thyroid issues, hereditary issues, breast reduction surgeries, etc. This was my personal experience with low supply related to upper lip and tongue-tie. If you need more support, there are some wonderful groups on Facebook:

Tongue-Tie:

Low Supply:

General Breastfeeding Support:

What is Tongue Tie?

If you are struggling from low supply and want to continue breastfeeding rather than switch to formula, first and foremost, find a lactation consultant in your area. Go to a breast-feeding support group. Actually, find a few LCs and go to a couple support groups. 1. You’ll need all the love and encouragement you can get. You are not in this alone, and there are other mamas struggling just like you. 2. You’ll sometimes need a second (or even a third) opinion to really pinpoint your issue like I did.

To find an LC near you, visit the following:

 

Breastfeeding is hard. Being a mom is hard. But they are both two of the most rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. Happy International Breastfeeding Week, and I’m sending all the positive milk- making vibes possible to you!

 

 

Sous Kitchen: Healthy Dinners Delivered + Giveaway

As busy parents it’s sometimes hard to plan out your grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking – especially if you’re hoping for gourmet, healthy meals. That’s why I was excited to learn about Sous Kitchen, a California-based kitchen that delivers healthy, gourmet, family dinners straight to your door. All you have to do is defrost, cook and serve. Forget about the meal planning, shopping, chopping, measuring and prepping! And the best part? They use all-natural, local California ingredients so the meals are always fresh and delicious.

About Sous Kitchen

  • Areas served: California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Arizona.
  • All ingredients used are 100% natural, fresh, anti-biotic and hormone-free delivered daily from local farms and suppliers. No additives or preservatives are used in any part of their process.
  • Meals can be ordered online from the Seasonal Monthly Menu.
  • All meals are family size and serve 3-4 people at an average of $5 – $6 per serving.
  • Meals come in convenient, insulated boxes filled with dry ice (that can sit on your door step for up to a day).

I was able to try a couple of meals from their menu, and they truly did not disappoint! I chose to try the BBQ Chicken, Green Beans with Garlic Butter and Southern Baked Beans, the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and the Lava Cake for dessert (yes, please!)

Every meal comes with easy instructions on how to defrost and prepare, so literally all I had to do was throw the green beans and baked beans in a pan, the enchiladas in the oven or the chicken on the grill.

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

And the final outcome was delicious and ready within 30 minutes!

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

 Enter to Win a $100 Gift Card to Sous Kitchen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food to review this business. However, all opinions are my own and the Mommy Project, San Diego only features services that we can truly recommend. 

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I met Olivia Howell through the site, Rookie Moms, as we’re both first time moms participating in the 52 weekly challenges. I love her blog, The Lovely Sisters, where she blogs alongside her sister about all things style, baby, weddings and really, anything considered lovely. We also share a deep-rooted love for some of the same musicians, James Taylor and Van Morrison! The best.

I also really look up to Olivia as a great writer which is why I was so excited when she invited me to join in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour,” which is a really fun way to see how different bloggers approach the thought-development and writing process. The idea is for me to answer the following 4 questions, so my readers can get an idea of the thought process that goes into my blog posts. So, without further ado, here’s my blog tour:

(1) What are you working on?

My passion project with this blog is the Fab Moms series because I personally LOVE reading other moms’ stories. After I read each guest blogger’s post, I truly come away inspired in one way or another. So, I’m on the search for more Fab Moms to feature!

I’m also really loving my Whine & Dine series and am getting some great feedback from restaurants in the area inviting me to come and experience their venue with my family. As a new mom and a foodie, it was sometimes hard to decipher if some of the nicer, trendier restaurants were family friendly or not. I think my Whine & Dine series continues to highlight amazing venues and great cuisine in a, surprisingly, family friendly environment.

And, of course, I’m always searching for the “golden” posts – the ones where I can share some raw, more personal insights into “mom life”. I think those touch my readers the most.

(2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are definitely a ton of other fantastic blogs out there that focus on being a first time mom, but with The Mommy Project, San Diego, I try to keep it pretty light-hearted. I’m the type of person that will just laugh at myself if I trip and fall, so I think my blog sort of reflects that “laughing at myself” type of mentality as I navigate motherhood. However, along with the hilarious moments I’ll occasionally share some of the “doomsdays” because I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that my family and I live in some perfect little bubble over here – motherhood is hard.

I also try to make my blog useful for local parents - highlighting great restaurants, attractions, businesses and outings for moms and families to explore and enjoy with their babies in San Diego. The Rookie Moms Challenges got me thinking this way and once I started with the challenges, exploring this city through new eyes (with a baby in tow), I wanted to share all of these great, sometimes hidden, gems I was coming across.

(3) Why do I write what I do?

First and foremost, I’ve always loved writing. In the 5th grade my teacher told me that one day he was going to stand in line to have me sign a book for him because he really believed I would publish my own book one day. That has really stuck with me and, although publishing a book is a long-term goal of mine, I started this blog to chronicle being a first time mom. With my new title as “Stay at Home Mom” and this life-altering transition before me, I thought this blog would be the perfect outlet to share my experiences that, hopefully, would resonate with other moms. From time to time I will do sponsored posts (It’s nice to receive some fruit for my labor) but the main point of this blog is to write, to share, and to connect.

(4) How does my writing process work?
I’m actually quite moody when it comes to my writing. I never write just for the sake of writing because I find that I will put out less-than-stellar articles when I do this. I need to be moved by something; an idea, an experience, a cool restaurant or activity. Blog post ideas usually come to me suddenly and I typically write the “idea” of the post down in my notes app on my phone so I don’t forget. I then think and ponder over the idea (in my mind) for a few days before I start typing. After I type out the first draft, I sit on it for a couple of days, tweaking it, re-reading it first thing in the mornings while my mind is fresh. Hitting the “Publish” button always requires a deep breath in and a deep breath out and a quick click. :)

There have been a handful of times when I was so excited about an idea or a post that I had basically written the entire article in my head before typing a word. Then from time to time you may see my blog go silent for a week or so – that’s because I’m not inspired to write anything (or I don’t have any time because I’m chasing around my adorable little 8 month old). Like I said, I’m very moody with my writing and I need a spark – something that triggers an idea for a post, and then my mind just works it out from there.

Thank you for your interest in my writing process. The second part of this Blog Tour is to share some of my favorite bloggers, so here they are, in no particular order:

Oakland Avenue

I’ve featured Laura on my Fab Moms series, I was a guest blogger on her site sharing my New Mom Confessions and her blog remains at the top of my daily reading list. I love her honest approach to being a first time mom and her dash of humor keeps me coming back for more. I’m also a huge fan of her This is how I feel series. If you’re a parent, these are absolutely hilarious.

Chic/Social SF

My bestie, Meg, recently started this amazing blog in San Francisco talking about all things SF – restaurants, fashion and design. I just LOVE this line from her “about” page:

So, in a city of Lost Boys, this site is for the Tinkerbells. The dreamers. The dare-to-believers. The ones who don’t take No for an answer and who live life with moxie.

That’s just SO Meg, and I love it and you must follow along with her adventures in SF!

San Diego Mom’s Night Out

Technically,  is this cheating because I also write for this site? (Hope not!) But I wanted to include SD Mom’s Night Out because Angela and I go way back and I’ve worked with her on several events while I was in the hotel business, and now as a mom. She was also a huge inspiration for me in starting my own blog.

SD Mom’s Night Out is not only a blog, but a wonderful, local community of influential women who get together for regular events to celebrate some amazing San Diego venues and businesses. Their events never disappoint and I’m happy to be a part of the talented team over there!

Reverie Print Shop

 

Whine and Dine: The Patio on Lamont

If you read my restaurant reviews, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m all about the ambiance and overall vibe of a place. If I’m going out to eat, I want to feel like it’s an event: unique decor, music to set the tone and of course, delicious food and fabulous drinks to back it all up. After visiting the Patio on Lamont, this place checks all of those requirements and then some! (Warning: this post is going to be very picturesque because The Patio is so unique and photogenic, words simply don’t do it justice). San Diegans (and future visitors of San Diego): if you haven’t visited the Patio on Lamont yet, please add this to the top of your “must try” list.

I dined with my two sisters and daughter in what turned out to be a beautiful “girls day” for lunch on The Patio:

The Low Down:

  1. An Environment to Remember: The Patio on Lamont is the type of restaurant where you feel like you could just sit there for hours – pretty, comfortable and interesting enough to stimulate your senses. We opted to sit outside on the patio (because, when in Rome), next to the beautiful green living wall. Succulents adorned every table with bulb lights hanging overhead, and a brick fireplace and cool indoor/outdoor bar to complete the scene. Scratch wanting to stay here for hours, I wanted to move right in! I was pleasantly surprised that The Patio’s interior was just as gorgeous – big windows, dramatic mirrors, fun chairs, and mood set by way of chandeliers (my favorite!)
    the patio on lamont
    the patio on lamont
    the patio on lamontthe patio on lamontthe patio on lamont
  2. All-Day Happy Hour: I mean, how can you say no when they offer half off wine, drafts and cocktails, Monday – Friday 11AM – 6PM? Both of my sisters ordered the Patio Mules (Bourbon, Ginger Syrup, Pear Puree Lime Juice and Ginger Beer) and I was feeling fancy so I went with some bubbly: the sparkling rosé to be exact. All were excellent and now I’m a huge fan of sparkling rosé, a new one for me. Weekend goers are also in luck because they offer an afternoon happy hour, Saturday and Sunday from 3PM – 6PM.
    The Patio on Lamont
  3. Let’s talk about the food: If I could pick two words to describe their cuisine, it would be delicious and beautiful. Besides food that tastes good, I always feel the presentation really drives it home and get’s your taste buds excited, like “I’m about to experience something incredible.” And it was all incredible. We shared the Radicchio & Grilled Endive Salad with arugula, apples, candied walnuts, chevre, and dijon-agave vinaigrette, the Roasted Beet Bruschetta with beets, goat cheese, arugula, candied walnuts on ciabata bread, and the Beef & Bleu Flatbread with new york steak, Gorgonzola, Mushrooms, roasted Garlic sauce and white truffle oil (I want to have this flatbread everyday for lunch, and maybe even for dinner!) And of course, the perfect end to our dining experience: Crème brûlée! Check out these show-stoppers:the patio on Lamont
    the patio on lamont
    The Patio on Lamont
  4. Smaller Bites: They offer a kids menu including some favorites, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, cheeseburgers, pasta with marinara and pasta with butter sauce.
  5. Bring the Pup: They’re dog friendly! I just get SO excited when I hear the words “dog friendly” because my first (and furry) child, Tucker likes to join in on family fun days as much as possible!
  6. Live Music: Every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6-9PM. The vibe of this place was already so cool, I can only imagine what live music does for the already-stellar environment. I MUST come back to enjoy some live music while sipping my sparkling rosé. Heaven!

My Favorite Part:

Besides me wanting to move into this restaurant because of the decor, my favorite part was the roasted beet bruschetta with goat cheese! It was absolutely delicious and I just couldn’t get over how pretty and colorful it was! A must try!
the patio on Lamont

Visit the Patio on Lamont:

4445 Lamont Street
San Diego, CA 92109
858.412.4648
Website

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food and beverage to review this restaurant. However, all opinions are my own and the Mommy Project, San Diego only features restaurants that we can truly recommend. 

The Top 4 Family Fun Events at the 2014 Del Mar Races

Top 4 Family Fun Events at the Del Mar Racetrack

Where the turf meets the surf, down in old Del Mar… it’s that time of year again! The Del Mar Racetrack has officially kicked off their 2014 race season and there’s so much to look forward to! Here are just a few recommendations on how to make your next day at the Del Mar races family friendly:

  1. Family Fun Days Every Weekend: Every Saturday & Sunday in the Infield from 1PM – 6PM, families can enjoy kid-friendly activities including giant scramble slide and obstacle course, inflatable games and rides, a meet and greet with the Del Mar Mascot “Pony Boy”, pony rides, magic shows, a game zone, jockey stilt walkers, face painters, caricature artists and more! Children under 17 are admitted FREE when accompanied by a parent and adult general admission starts at just $6. Del Mar RacesPhoto courtesy of Del Mar Racetrack.
  2. Wiener Dog Nationals: Forget about horses for a second, this meet shows off the fastest dachshunds in the west! Always a fun family favorite, this race takes place on August 30th and the winner will advance to the national finals, which determines the fastest wiener dog in the nation!
  3. Concert Series: Concerts are all ages and include some amazing performers this year, great for the whole family! I’m personally looking forward to the Counting Crows on August 9! Concerts are also FREE with racetrack admission so essentially you can purchase Stretch Run admission (for $6) and that gets you a day of racing and a FREE concert! Concerts always begin shortly after the last race and food and drinks are available for purchase during the performance. Check out the line up here.
  4. Donut Day: You don’t have to ask me twice to attend this fun event – I LOVE donuts! Join in on the fun on August 23 from 8AM – 10AM in the Seaside Terrace area at the west end of the Grandstand. (Insider tip: If you park in the main parking lot off Jimmy Durante, trams will transport to West end of Grandstand). Donut Day will also include a meet and greet with the Del Mar Mascot “Pony Boy”, face painting, entertainers, and free prizes for the kids. (Sponsored by Yum Yum Donuts and Star 94.1.) Del Mar RacesPhoto courtesy of Del Mar Racetrack.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to the Del Mar Racetrack. All opinions are my own and The Mommy Project, San Diego only shares venues and events that we can honestly recommend.

Monday Mashup

I’m back with a Monday Mashup this week! There are just so many good things to share! Hope everyone had a nice weekend! Here are the things I’m loving this week:

  1. Family Fun Day at the Del Mar Races: Did you know that the Del Mar Racetrack is holding Family Fun Days every Saturday and Sunday for the duration of the race season? Rumor has it! Stay tuned for my post tomorrow about all things Del Mar Races including all of the information on the Family Fun Days! And while Blake may not be old enough yet to participate in some of the activities, she sure does love her adorable little plush horse (thank you Del Mar Races!)Del Mar Racetrack
  2. Sand Cloud Beach Towel: I don’t know about you but every time I lay out on a beach towel at the beach, I stuff my clothes under my head to create a make-shift pillow. Those days are now OVER because Sand Cloud has conveniently built a pillow into their beach towels for you! Brilliant! And the towels are so soft and stylish, offering cool colors to choose from. I also love this start-up company because it’s the brainchild of 3 best friends local to San Diego and they’re all about good vibes, good people and good energy! Help spread the word about their kickstarter video that launched on July 21st!sand cloud beach towel
  3. Chatbooks: If you’re like me and post way too many photos on Instagram (sorry, friends), Chatbooks will take your photos and print them in a 6″ x 6″ photo book (perfect for your purse or coffee table). And the best part? 60 pages for only $6 plus free shipping! I’m ordering my first volume when they come out with the Android version on September 15th!
  4. Green Toy Stacker: I had to give a shout out to this AMAZING baby toy. Blake easily grows tired of toys so I usually have to rotate them for her weekly. That is, until I bought her this green toy stacker. She’s obsessed! When I stack up the pieces she loves knocking them down, then she throws each one across the room and crawls over to get it. It’s like her own personal game of fetch and it provides hours of entertainment. Eventually we’ll get to the stacking part, but for now, Blake’s perfectly happy chasing all of the pieces around the family room. (No BPA, PVC, phthalates, or external coatings.) green toy stacker
  5. Reverie. a print shop.: I’m happy to share that I’ve opened up my own print shop on etsy – something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but just never had the time. Now, as a stay-at-home-mom, it’s such a fun creative outlet for me while Blake naps and I can’t wait to officially launch the shop in mid-August (celebrations to follow). You can expect digital prints, framed prints and much more coming soon! Straight from my site, here’s what REVERIE is all about, in a nutshell: Reverie Print Shop

    My name is Kristin and this shop is my creative outlet, allowing me to escape into a state of dreamy meditation full of fanciful musings that feed the soul. I love anything that sparkles, words that encourage, and phrases that empower. I believe your office/work space should be a showstopper: motivational, creative and pretty, because you’re a go-getter, darling. So DO.WORK. Like a boss. Welcome to my REVERIE and I hope you enjoy.

Reverie Print ShopReverie Print Shop

Fab Moms: Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right

I’m excited to introduce you to my next guest blogger, Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right. Nicole and I actually go way back, having attended the same Elementary and Middle School in Sacramento and playing in the same softball league growing up. We’ve recently reconnected as we’re on similar life paths, both as new mothers and starting our own consulting businesses. Nicole is the ultimate Fab Mom because she’s the mother to two beautiful TWIN girls (they’re absolutely gorgeous!) Nicole also recently launched her own HR Consulting Business: Hiring Done Right.

Here is Nicole’s Fab Mom Spotlight:

Hiring Done Right

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    Layla Rossi Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st) and Emelia Grace Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st).
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    Business Owner – When I became pregnant with my twins I knew that corporate america was no longer going to fit into the lifestyle I wanted for my family. 3 amazing things came from 4 months of bed rest: Layla, Emelia and the launch of my business, Hiring Done Right.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    In addition to building a business I am also planning my wedding. Of course, losing the baby weight to get into my wedding dress has proven to be a big challenge. Before the family wakes up I try to run to the gym or a spin class. I get the coffee brewing and straighten up the house from the disaster it was the night before, return emails and of course, check social media. The twins and their daddy wake up around 7. We play for a bit, have breakfast, get dressed and ready for our day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the nanny comes to the house, and I work from my home office or go out and meet with clients. Mon, Wed and Fri I am home with my sweet girls. After their morning nap, we usually try to do 1 fun activity outside the house everyday. From swinging on the swings at the park, to spending time at the beach or going on a play date with our friends, it’s always a great time. By the time afternoon nap time rolls around, I usually try to get some work done. When the girls wake up from their naps, we play and wait patiently for daddy to come home from work. My fiancé and I usually cook dinner together while the girls sit in their high chairs and eat “appetizers”. After we all eat dinner together at the table, the girls take a bath, we read some books and cuddle up until bed time – which is about 8:30.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    I certainly don’t have it all figure out but I must say communication with my partner is key. It took some time, but we have learned how to be excellent communicators. From our daily schedules, to our daughters eating habits, to how many more pounds I need to lose before I can fit in my wedding dress, we talk about everything . Because we are so open about what we want and need, I feel like we are willing to make sacrifices to make sure our each others needs are being met. We are more of a team than ever before. There is no way I could do any of this without my fiance, he is willing to bend over backwards to accommodate my needs and the needs of our girls. If your husband, wife, baby daddy or life partner knows what you need help with, they just may surprise you and step it up to support you in ways you never imagined. All mommies are super stars, but we cannot always do it alone.
    The other way I have learned to “juggle it all” is to put one of the “balls” down. Less to juggle makes life a lot easier. For example, I have learned to lower my standards when it comes to keeping up the house. There are toys everywhere, the dirty laundry has overflown out of the hamper and onto to the bathroom floor, there are tiny handprints and lick marks all over my mirrors and windows. To learn to let go of what used to be an immaculate and adorable house took some time, but I have learned that it’s just not as important in the grand scheme of things. My kids are never going to look back and say, “Mom, those chipped walls from us banging the stroller around the living room has had a huge impact on who we’ve become as adults”.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    A lot of women say they feel like a mother the moment they find out they’re pregnant. That wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t even feel like a mother when I held my babies in my arms for the first time. The first time I felt like a mother was when my own mother (who stayed with us for the first two weeks) flew home to Northern California and my fiancé went back to work for the very first time. The girls were two weeks old and we were laying in bed, alone for the very first time since they were brought into this world. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with emotion, I felt a deep and unexplainable love that I never could have imagined and I just cried. I was theirs and they were mine.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    I constantly worry about making the right decisions for my girls. I worry about society, the community, and keeping them safe. I stay up at night and worry about the “mean girls” in middle school. For me, that is by far the hardest part of being a mother. I want the absolute best for them and I second guess myself and the decisions I make at least a dozen times a day.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The most rewarding thing for me as a mother is seeing how happy my girls are. When I see their genuine smiles and hearing their laughter give me a sense of security in knowing I must be doing something right. The girls have also started showing affection. They are now giving me big hugs and kisses, it melts my heart. Those little actions of love my girls show make up for the sleepless nights 100 times over.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    I can’t remember the single “funniest” moment that has happened since I’ve become a mom, there are just so many. I can tell you that I am the most shocked by how unaffected I have become by bodily fluids. I used to gag when people would spit in front of me, now I go out in public with throw up in my hair and pee-pee on my yoga pants.
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    My favorite mental snapshot is when my girls were just about 6 months old, they were in their high chairs looking at each other smiling and laughing. All of a sudden, they both reached out for each other and held hands. They sat there quietly smiling at each other holding hands for about 15 seconds. I literally cried watching that beautiful moment. I LOVE how much they love each other.
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    Dr. Browns Natural Flow Bottles – they have been a life saver. The girls have had the same bottles since they were born and absolutely LOVE them – we just switch out the nipples for faster flow as they get older. (newborn – present day).
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    Since becoming a mother I am more confident with who I am and what my priorities are. I’m not consumed with what other people think about me, my outfit, my hair or my car, my whatever. My family is my number 1 priority and I will do what is best for them 100% of the time. I like this strong and secure version of myself. Also, I have such limited time, I have really been able to evaluate relationships in my life, the people who are important in my life are still there, while I’ve learned to let go of others.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I love being able to workout in the morning, it gets my day started on the right foot. Once a month I like to schedule a night with girlfriends. After the babies go to bed, I have dinner and cocktails with some of the fabulous women in my life. On the occasional Saturday morning, I love to sneak away for a massage.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    My most favorite outing was a recent trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My brother and sister-in-law recently had a baby boy, Colton. We took our girls up to visit our family and meet Colton for the first time. I absolutely loved sitting in the back yard with my fiance, daughters, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and watching all the kids play. It was a magical day seeing the whole family together for the 1st time.
  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Pitfire Pizza in Marina del Rey is incredible. The staff is warm and inviting, the food is delicious and they have the best sangria. There are always a ton of kids around so I don’t get dirty looks thrown my way if one of my girls has a melt down.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    Follow your gut. There are so many different opinions and ideas out there about how to raise children. You have to ignore all of it, listen to what your gut is telling you and do what is best for your family.

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com – we’d love to feature you!

 

A Look Behind the Rose Colored Posts: Motherhood is hard

I wrote this post about a month ago when I was going through a bit of a rough patch with Blake not sleeping through the night and not taking naps and I was really feeling like I was at the end of my rope. I’m happy to share that things have completely turned around since I first wrote this – more sleep for baby (and mom) does wonders for quality of life - mostly sanity! I still want to share this post though, because I think it’s very honest in showing that motherhood is not always butterflies and rainbows over here – as I know it may appear that way sometimes on this blog, other blogs or on social media. 

I write a lot about the joys of being a first time mom, because honestly, 99.9% of the time – it’s all joy – of course trying at times, but still all joy. Some days, I even feel like I’m ON FIRE – juggling all of life’s pieces with a baby in tow as if it aint-no-thang. Those are glory days! Then, there are the doomsdays – the 0.1% of the time where things just fall apart and you realize, this is hard. Today, I’m getting a little more personal than I usually do and sharing one of those days because – honestly – it wouldn’t be fair to always only show the bright side of being a first time mom. Plus, I think it’s therapeutic to say it out loud and share.

How are we going to make it through today?

This morning I just stared at myself in the mirror: dark bags under my eyes, a dazed look on my face and lifeless eyes staring back at me. How are we going to make it through today?

Blake woke up three times last night, once to eat and twice just to remind me that she was still there and that she knows how to roll over. I swear the second she learned how to roll from tummy to back to tummy – the child will not stop rolling. This includes rolling in her sleep, which means she’s waking herself up several times per night, which means I’m waking up several times per night helping her get back into a sleeping position. This has been going on for 8 weeks now and, to put it simply, I’m tired. Really.Freaking.Tired.

The Predicament

So after Blake woke up nice and early after a horrible night sleep, we all (Tucker, Blake and I) go downstairs and I let Tucker out in the backyard to go to the bathroom. Tucker, still being the pup at heart that he is, decides to dig a hole around some of our plants in our backyard and then proceeds to re-enter the house and prance around in triumph – tracking mud everywhere.  I finally chase Tucker back outside, shut the door and try to put Blake down in her bouncer so I can go clean the mud off of Tucker’s feet. But Blake begins wailing because she doesn’t like when I put her down during the day. You see, she’s going through a “stage 5 clinger” stage where she only wants Mama right now. I leave Tucker outside so I can pick Blake back up, but Tucker is barking and barking and  jumping on our glass door, smearing mud everywhere. I just sit there baffled because I’m not sure what to do at this point. There is a puzzle game in front of me: muddy dog, muddy house, crying baby – and at this moment, I don’t know how to make the pieces fit back together so we can go about our life.

I feel the urge to flee the scene and when I realize that Blake and I need to head to the grocery store because there’s no food (or coffee – yikes!) in the house and I’m starting to get hungry, I give myself a mental high-five, “Brilliant! Let’s get the hell out of here so we can deal with this mud fiasco later.” I’m also kicking myself for not going to the grocery store over the weekend when Mike was home to watch Blake. I need to remember to do that next Sunday so I don’t run into these “no coffee in the house” predicaments anymore!

The Incident

Blake and I complete our grocery store trip and on the way out of the parking lot, I sideswiped a parked car. A PARKED car. Are you kidding me? I get out and assess the damage which was quite minimal since we were going 2 mph, but still – ughh, why today? As I’m leaving a note for the owner of the car with my insurance information, she appears in a frenetic state and I immediately understand that this conversation is going to be much more dramatic than I had anticipated. I was right. Over the woman yelling at me and carrying on over her scratched bumper that was all my fault (she reminded me several times), I hear Blake crying from her car seat and I quickly end our conversation and tend to my daughter.

As we get back in the car to leave, I feel myself wanting to go anywhere but home because I know Tucker is waiting for me with muddy paws and our house is a disaster zone from his stunt this morning. I try to think to myself how I’m going to unload all of these groceries, while keeping Blake happy and having to listen to Tucker bark at me from the backyard. I shake my head at myself because these are all such simple tasks: unloaded the groceries, clean Tucker’s feet, vaccuume the house – but at this moment you might as well tell me that I need to find a way to fix this country’s current debt catastrophe – it just seems impossible.

Hi, it’s Kristin…I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment

Blake is in a mood when we get home because she’s about 20 minutes past her usual nap time, thanks to the incident in the parking lot. I put her down in her crib and then run to the car to grab the groceries. She begins screaming bloody murder as Tucker is barking and jumping on the back window. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. I count in my head really slowly to calm myself. After running up the stairs and putting Blake’s pacifier in her mouth several times, she continues to scream bloody murder even though her eyes look so tired, poor thing. I decide to let her cry it out for 5 minutes. I never let her cry, but I’m feeling desperate. I lay down on my bed, watching the baby monitor and note the time so I know when the 5 minutes is up. 2 minutes pass and you would think the child is getting tortured in there with her high-pitched screaming. I also hear Tucker barking downstairs and realize that I NEED to go and put at least the cold groceries in the fridge before food starts to go bad. I feel tears starting to flood. Why is this so hard?  I’d like to “dial a friend” and ask for help – “Hi, it’s Kristin – can you come unload my groceries? I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment. Thanks.” or “Hi, it’s Kristin – are you looking to adopt a 70 lb. golden retriever dog? I have just the one for you.”

Don’t Call it a Comeback

After some deep yoga breaths (oh yea, that fun relaxing thing I use to have time to do), I somehow collect my thoughts and “return” from my frantic mental state. I walk into Blake’s room, rock her for a minute or two and give her the pacifier. She goes right to sleep! I feel like I just scored the winning goal in the World Cup. GOOOAAAAALLLLL! A small victory dance ensues in my head.

I run down stairs, unload all of my groceries in record time (seriously, Guinness Book of World Records: Hi, I have a new one for you) and head outside to clean Tucker up. I finish my whirlwind of accomplishments with vacuuming the downstairs dirt and scrubbing the mud out of the carpets. BOOM. Success!

Sometimes You Just Need a Minute

Bottom line, motherhood is hard, and sometimes you just need a minute (or several). Simple tasks become a matter of moving mountains, and if one thing goes wrong, you feel incapacitated. I find myself questioning my old life, pre-baby: did I really juggle all those work projects at once and then come home and cook dinner like it was no big deal? Am I that same person? Where is that gal when I need her?

Raising Tiny Humans

Sometimes I underestimate what goes into raising a human. Just think about that for 5 seconds though… we’re raising tiny humans aren’t we? It’s kinda crazy when you think about it. This is the hardest job – especially on the 0.1% days where all seems lost and you have no idea how to get it together.

But don’t fret, I remind myself – 99.9% of the time, you’re doing OK, mama – you have it together, even if you’re just barely hanging on to sanity and any sort of “life order” – you’re rasing  your daughter, a tiny human, and that’s impressive.

The Mommy Project

Whine and Dine: Ignite Bistro

After recently reading many rave reviews and receiving stellar recommendations from friends about Ignite Bistro, I had to try this San Diego restaurant for myself! So, off Mike, Blake and I went to experience another Whine and Dine for the books!

Upon entering this venue, you immediately feel like you’ve left the real world at the door and entered into a tropical vacation. Welcoming you to Ignite, lush plants and a stone outdoor fireplace and patio confirm that you’ve now officially checked-in to a hidden oasis tucked away from every day life. You suddenly get the urge to order a fun cocktail, share some appetizers and mix and mingle with the other patrons on the big open patio – this is Ignite, and everyone is in a good mood!

We opted to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the beautiful ambiance next to the stone outdoor fireplace – it just felt right when dining at a place called Ignite!

Ignite Bistro

The Low Down

  • Knowledgable Service: The service couldn’t have been better as our waitress was extremely attentive, efficient and knowledgable about menu items – recommending great food and drink options.
  • “Pretty” Craft Cocktails: Like I mentioned before, I was feeling very “vacation-like” dining al fresco at Ignite, so I journeyed beyond my usual wine order with dinner and opted for a craft cocktail from their amazing craft cocktail happy hour menu. It was extremely difficult to choose just one because everything sounded inredible, so I ended up just asking our waitress which one was the prettiest. (Because you know if I’m going to drink a craft cocktail, I’m immediately uploading it to instagram). She steered me to the “Hipster” made with tin cup whiskey, St. Germain, lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh grated ginger and mint. Delicious and pretty – sold.
  • Calling all Bacon Lovers: Two words: Man Candy. Forget everything you know about your favorite bacon appetizer – this is way better than anything else. Trust me. A sweet and spicy homemade bacon appetizer. (Ignite: 1, any other bacon appetizer: 0).
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  • Calamari with a Kick: If you like Calamari, you must try this unique dish: the Thai Firecracker Calamari. I’m definitely a calamari kind of girl and I’ve never tried anything like it - bold flavors burst through (I guess you could say, like firecrackers) in this tasty dish.
    Ignite Bistro
  • Harris Ranch Beef & Fresh Fish: Mike and I split two entrees: the Gorgonzola Steak with Harris Ranch natural twin filet mignon medallions, mushrooms, sweet onions, steak sauce, and mashed potatoes (wow) and the Wood Roasted Salmon with wilted spinach, wild rice and lemon-caper butter sauce. Confirmation: this place has a great ambiance and the food to back it up – everything was incredible.
    Ignite Bistro Ignite Bistro
  • Fun for the Kiddos: Although Blake is not quite old enough to partake in ordering from the kids menu, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ignite is very kid-friendly. Children can make their own pizzas that are then cooked in the stone fire grill, followed by fun s’mores for dessert!
    Ignite Bistro
  • …In a Mason Jar: We almost made the horrible mistake of NOT ordering dessert, but somehow found the room to order the Banana Cream Pie…in a mason jar. Just let that soak in for a second and take a look at the photo below (disclaimer: yes, it was just as good as it looks – probably better).
    Ignite Bistro

My Favorite Part

I can’ t choose just one so I’m going to list all of my favorites for you: the Man Candy, Craft Cocktail list, Wood Roasted Salmon and Banana Cream Pie in the Mason Jar…oh and the overall oasis-like ambience of this San Diego restaurant. I also really appreciated Chef Alex coming out to say hello at the end of our meal - a very nice and personal touch.
Ignite Bistro

So, if you’re keeping close tabs, then yes, I just listed most everything I experienced at Ignite Bistro. This place gets all tens in my book.

Visit Ignite Bistro:
6996 El Camino Real,
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760.438.7800
Also, follow Ignite on Facebook as they’re heavily involved in the community and always have fun events and specials happening weekly!

 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food and beverage to review this venue. All opinions are my own and The Mommy Project, San Diego only shares businesses that we can honestly recommend.

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