And Then There Were Two

Excuse the blogging hiatus, but I think you’ll understand when I tell you, we are adjusting to life with two under two over here; beautiful chaos, as I like to describe it. As I sit here and type this, reflecting on the past 8 weeks of our lives, the best word I can muster up to describe my overall emotion is: overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed with LOVE. I have added a new “love of my life” (3 in total now – I’m a lucky lady), our son, Gavin Michael who recently joined our crew. I call him Mr. Sunshine because he’s the happiest little guy. When you smile at him, he can’t help but smile back — even if he’s crying, you can see his face trying to hold back a smile. I’m smitten.

Overwhelmed with EXHAUSTION. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours straight in 8 weeks and the fact that I’m even able to string together sentences right now is quite the miracle (so please excuse any typos, run-on sentences, etc.). “Napping when the baby naps” only applies to life with one child. Naps for Mom are null and void when you have two in the house. Write that down.

Overwhelmed with GUILT. Oh, the mom guilt is on FIRE while making the transition from one to two kids. My heart sinks every time my daughter asks me to hold her while I’m holding or nursing the baby — poor thing is not used to having to share Mommy. And I feel like the worst Mom in the world when I’m so busy fixing my daughter lunch that I don’t realize right away that my son is covered in spit-up in his bouncer – when did that happen? Trying to split my time and attention between the two of them is the most difficult, heart-wrenching obstacle I’ve experienced in motherhood so far.



Overwhelmed with TO-DO LISTS. Turns out life doesn’t stop moving when you have a new baby. Nope. It just keeps chugging along at miraculous speeds. And laundry piles up, dishes accumulate in the sink, grocery shopping trips lurk just out of reach (maybe we’ll make it there tomorrow), friends and family expect call-backs and updates, and there are just never enough hours in the day. Never. Life in general, is harder.

Overwhelmed with HAPPINESS. Among the chaos, the tears, the temper tantrums, the 3 A.M. feedings and the constant mess, there’s this thick layer of happiness that cushions the “hard”. It’s quite incredible, really, that among all of these struggles — arguably the hardest and most grueling life moments — happiness still permeates through our house. Are we all stressed, tired, adjusting to this new life? Of course! But are we all happy? Yes! And that’s what keeps me going every day, because my heart and soul are full.

So I’ll take the “overwhelmed” feeling and all it brings — the good with the bad. Because in the end, this is our life — the stuff memories are made of — and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

adjusting to life with two under two




Coming to Terms With Life As A Stay-At-Home Mom

life as a stay-at-home mom

After 15 years of working my way up corporate ladders, becoming a stay-at-home mom was definitely a bit of a culture shock. I found myself suddenly dreading the question: “What do you do for a living?” For the first 3 months of being a stay-at-home mom, I answered this question with a lie. Not because I was intentionally trying to mislead the interrogator, but simply because I hadn’t come to terms with my new role yet. In my mind, and my instant gut reaction – I always responded, “I do marketing for Hyatt Hotels.” I was proud of that position, I generally liked telling people what I did because it was an interesting role and I worked hard at it. I was successful.

After I finally realized that I was telling these lies, I switched my story to a more truthful tone, “I’m a stay-at-home mom.” The reactions this response prompted were unexpected, to say the least. Depending on who I was speaking with, I either received blank stares, a judgmental eye, or pure and simple jealousy. I could physically feel these acquaintances writing me off as someone who perhaps lacked education, work ethic, determination – maybe some even thought I opted for the easy road and now lived some “cush” life without a grueling 9-5. Others simply felt they probably had nothing in common with such a simple-minded person or simply couldn’t relate. Fellow mothers, who didn’t or couldn’t give up their jobs after having children either seemed to judge me for wasting my education and a spot in corporate America or looked at me envious of my “easy-breezy” lifestyle.

I’ve come to despise these reactions, hence me hating the question itself in the first place. I found myself desperately wanting others to know that I was educated, that I put myself through college and have worked hard for everything I’ve ever had, and that prior to becoming “mom”, I was climbing the corporate ladder with one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. I was not lazy, I was not on some “free ride”. For some reason, I needed people to know that, so I found myself working my past resume into the conversation somehow – proving my self-worth to these outsiders who had probably already made up their mind about me the second “stay-at-home” left my lips.



The only time I ever felt validated for my “stay-at-home mom” title, (besides my husband telling me how grateful he is for me – he’s a gem) – was when my husband’s grandfather looked me straight in the eye and said, “I think it’s so wonderful what you’re doing for your family – staying home and raising your daughter. You should be really proud.” That simply stated compliment was so shockingly different from the other responses I had grown accustomed to hearing, that I fought back tears and could barely spit out a muffled, “Thank you.” 

THANK YOU to this sweet old man for understanding what it meant to stay home with children — he should know, his wife had stayed home with five! And he was right — why wasn’t I proud of my new title? Why was I letting these negative reactions and judgmental tones determine my own self-worth?

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room — I am lucky. My husband is the breadwinner and he works extremely hard to financially support our family. When my daughter was born, I made the decision to leave the corporate world and stay home with her. A decision that I know many of my friends and acquaintances never had the opportunity to make because of financial or family situations. Others did have my same decision, and they chose careers over staying home, and to that I say; to each their own, no judgement here. I could have easily made the decision to go back to work and continue building my career – it was a close call. But in the end, I decided that I loved my job, but I loved the idea of staying home and raising my daughter more. The decision was mine, and my husband’s, and we made it together.

But let’s get one thing straight — staying home and raising a child/children is as far from “cush” as it gets. You punch in for this job and you never punch out — unless you go back to work of course. I’ll tell you what looks really “cush” to me right about now — sitting in my old private (and quiet) office, answering emails and phone calls while having uninterrupted conversations with adults, attending high-level meetings in my perfectly pressed suits and manicured nails, and receiving praises and raises for a job well done — that sort of lifestyle feeds the ego.

Often being a stay-at-home mom is a thankless existence that requires you to pat yourself on the back every now and then — a role that often gets lost under stereotypical labels associated with yoga pants and loads of laundry. (Dont’ get me wrong – I do wear yoga pants and I do A LOT of laundry – but the point is, there’s more to my job than that). Unlike my past corporate life where I kept my eye on big goals and projects, I now live and breathe by the small accomplishments my toddler and I achieve throughout our day; like teaching her how to pick and smell flowers, brush her own teeth, say please and thank you, or eat all of her veggies (well, the veggies are a work in progress).

When you’re consumed by these small, sometimes mundane, accomplishments every day, it’s hard to see the big picture that paints the importance of a stay-at-home mom. It’s hard to truly grasp that these small actions that fill our days are molding my daughter into the woman that she will become someday.

It took some time for me to appreciate my new role and what it really entailed. When I finally stood back and realized that I’m the biggest influence in my daughter’s life right now and my constant presence and guidance is impacting her overall existence, my role as a stay-at-home mom seemed larger than life. I suddenly could care less about outside judgement or not feeling “appreciated” enough in society. Me staying home with my daughter was working for our family, and I couldn’t ask for a better reward.



Healthy Spinach + Bananas Breakfast Muffins Recipe for Toddlers

I originally posted this recipe on Tribe Magazine, but I wanted to share it here as well because it’s one of our favorite toddler recipes and has been such a big hit with other mama readers! It’s a perfect breakfast recipe for picky toddlers who refuse to eat any vegetables. Also, don’t let the green color fool you — they’re REALLY good and a breakfast staple in our house now. A big thank you to fellow toddler mom, Ashley, for sharing this recipe with me!

Enjoy!

Breakfast Muffins Recipe for Toddlers

Breakfast Muffins Recipe for Toddlers

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (one of the single serving cups)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh organic spinach (uncooked)*
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup organic pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • *could also add shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, or shredded yellow squash (all raw) to really pack it full of veggies!

Breakfast Muffins Recipe for Toddlers

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Put the first seven ingredients (applesauce, egg, vanilla, spinach, banana, maple syrup and coconut oil) in a blender or food processor and blend.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in a smaller mixing bowl.
  4. Add the wet spinach mixture from blender to the dry ingredients.
  5. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. You can use a spoon or spatula. The mixture might be dense. Add a splash of milk to loosen it up if you need to, but the mixture should resemble a thick pancake dough. It won’t pour easily, will need a spoon.
  6. Scoop the batter into greased muffins tins.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees  (12 minutes for mini-muffins or 17 minutes for regular-sized muffins).

Enjoy!

Breakfast Muffins Recipe for Toddlers

 

First Pregnancy vs. Second Pregnancy

I’ve been reminiscing about my first pregnancy lately and how it was so extremely different from this second pregnancy. We’re talking night and day! I’ll also be the first to admit that I was a little anal-retentive with my first one. I’ve relaxed A LOT this time around, so I’m sharing some funny differences between a first pregnancy vs. second pregnancy:

Frist Pregnancy vs. Second Pregnancy

First Pregnancy: You document your nutrition and ensure each food group is a part of your daily diet.

Second Pregnancy: Is gold fish off the floor and your toddler’s leftovers considered a full meal?

 

First Pregnancy: You take photos every week to document your growing little bump.

Second Pregnancy: Woops, you’re already in the third trimester; better take a picture of the bump so you can document it for the baby book that you’ll never have time to make anyway!

 

First Pregnancy: You avoid soft cheeses, turkey sandwiches, sushi and wine like the plague.

Second Pregnancy: Ehh- everything *safely* in moderation.



 

First Pregnancy: Your nursery is complete and perfect 3 months into pregnancy.

Second Pregnancy: You’re scrambling to get the room and “gear” together up until the last second.

 

First Pregnancy: Most of your soon-to-be son’s/daughter’s clothes are purchased new and hanging nicely in his/her closet months in advance.

Second Pregnancy: You’re all about the hand-me-downs – either from your older kids or your friends’ kids – spit-up stains and all! You also consider if it would be wrong to dress your newborn son in your daughter’s old pink pajamas – who will know?

 

First Pregnancy: You attend every class offered on child-birth, parenting, and breastfeeding and take notes.

Second Pregnancy: You could teach those classes in your sleep.

 

First Pregnancy: You read every pregnancy and parenting book cover to cover, sometimes twice.

Second Pregnancy: What is this thing called “reading” and who the hell has time for it?

 

First Pregnancy: You complete pregnancy-safe workouts at least three times per week.

Second Pregnancy: Chasing around your toddler and walking the dog = exercise complete.

 

First Pregnancy: You do your kegel exercises every day in preparation for labor.

Second Pregnancy: This time around the baby will just fall right out, right? 😉

 

First Pregnancy: You track your weight gain weekly, if not daily, to make sure you’re growing in the “normal” range.

Second Pregnancy: You have no idea how much you weigh except when your doctor checks you every month, because you threw away your personal scale after the first baby. (I gave the weight tracking duty to my husband: “Just tell me if I’m getting really fat” 😉 ) 

 

What else would you add?



Things That Become Difficult When You Have a Toddler and a Baby Bump

I’ve been lucky enough to have two “normal” pregnancies with no complications so far, and for that I am thankful. But, I will not lie, this second pregnancy has been much harder than my first. Maybe it’s because I just blocked out some of the less-glamorous aspects of being pregnant from my memory after the first time, or maybe it’s because I now have an energetic little toddler running around 24/7. Either way, the simple, small tasks of every day life have become increasingly more and more difficult when you have a toddler and a baby bump. Here are a few that come to mind:

toddler mom

1. ROCKING YOUR TODDLER TO SLEEP OR CUDDLING BEFORE BED TIME
Gone are the days when my toddler can cuddle up on my chest before bed time. She still tries but it’s not the most comfortable of places with a huge basketball between us. The cuddle sessions have evolved over the last few weeks from cuddling on my chest, to cuddling on the side, to now cuddling with Dad. :(

2. PUTTING YOUR TODDLER DOWN TO SLEEP IN HER CRIB
Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! Belly bumps make it almost impossible to gently place a toddler in her crib for nap time or bed time – especially if the mattress is on the bottom level. My only solution is to reach in as far as my baby bump will allow and then ever-so-gently drop my toddler onto her mattress while saying a quick prayer that the minor fall doesn’t jolt her wide awake. This works about 75% of the time, and that percentage keeps dwindling as the bump gets bigger and the height of the drop increases.

3. MAKING MEALS FOR YOUR TODDLER
Nausea and food aversions have made it pretty difficult to whip up any sort of weird-smelling vegetable, chicken, or any other food that doesn’t sit well with me on that particular day. What’s worse? Watching your toddler attempt to eat said food while she smears it all over her face and the high chair. I’m still trying to perfect hiding my look of disgust during meal time. “Mmm, yummy green beans!” (barf!)

4. READING WITH YOUR TODDLER ON YOUR LAP
My daughter LOVES reading books so this has been a big adjustment for us. No longer can she sit directly on my lap while turning through the pages of her favorite books. We’ve switched our routine to her sitting directly beside me, tucked under my arm enjoying Good Night Moon for the 50th time that day.

5. PUTTING SHOES ON A TODDLER
Bending down to almost ground level to place shoes on a moving target is quite the challenge. I’ve found that counters come in nicely, if you can get your little one to sit still for more than 5 seconds and not jump off!

6. OVERALL EXHAUSTION
During my first pregnancy I worked full time, and often kept long hours at the office Monday through Friday – I thought that was tiring, even though I had the weekends to rest and do nothing. Now, this second time around, staying home with my 18 month old daughter is sort of like completing an obstacle course over and over again, 24/7. I chase her around, bend down then up to pick stuff up off the floor, lift her up and then down, carry her around for long periods of time, etc. Let’s just say, I hit the couch hard after she goes down at 7PM every night.

I know life is about to get a whole lot harder with “two under two” in the house, but at least I’ll be able to bend down and touch my toes when that time comes. 😉

Pregnant moms with toddlers, what else would you add? 

Cox’s New Contour Changes Television

The following is a sponsored post from Cox Communications.

With my daughter now almost 3 years old, I’ve started letting her watch a few choice shows on TV. Especially now that baby brother is here, keeping my toddler entertained while tending to the baby has saved me time and time again. A quick shout out to my 25-minute babysitters: Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Sophia the First.

This being said, I now care about things that weren’t on my radar before having a TV-watching toddler. Like, being able to monitor and limit what she watches (she’s surprisingly technologically advanced with a remote!), being able to easily record her favorite shows all at once, and being able to find and play these programs fast (aka baby bro is crying and I need to play Daniel Tiger immediately so I can tend to him).

That’s why I was excited to partner with Cox Communications and attend their media event which rolled out their newest product, Contour.Voice_Remote_Comp
In a word, Contour is: awesome! It’s also pioneering the way we interact with our television.

Here are the 10 best new features that allow you to get more out of TV and “get right to the good stuff” with Contour:

1. I’ll start with my favorite — the Kids Zone — which monitors and limits what children can watch with security PINs. There’s also Integrated Common Sense Media ratings that help parents select age-appropriate programs.

 

2. Typing or scrolling to search for programs is a thing of the past. With the new Contour remote you can speak directly into your remote and give demands to change the channel, search for your favorite actor, movie genre, or ask for recommendations (ya, they know what you like!) You can even say a line from a movie into the remote and it will find that movie – think “to infinity and beyond” and watch as it brings up Toy Story (coolest feature ever?)

3. The interface is served from the cloud so updates and enhancements can happen smoothly and regularly.

4. The “last” button has stepped up its game and now let’s you choose from the last NINE programs you recently viewed.

5. The new on-screen guide displays rich graphics, show and movie posters, and super detailed information on more than 35,000 On Demand titles. And if you want to rent a movie with a particular actor, just say the actor’s name into your remote and browse all of the movie titles staring said actor. (Will Ferrell movie binge watching? Yes, please!)

Movies_Popular_Comp

6. You can download the Contour app on Apple or Android devices and watch your favorite shows from anywhere in the house, on your tablet or smart phone.

Movies_Featured_Comp

7. Want to view specific news, sports games, weather and traffic all in once place? There’s a (personalized) app for that which can be viewed simultaneously with other programming. The sports app even includes details of games across all channels, fantasy sports information and game rosters and stats.

8. You know those annoying big boxes that are usually installed for each TV in the house? The new Contour box is SUPER small and sleek.

9. You can store up to 300 hours of high-def programming, 1,000 hours of standard-def programming, and can record six programs at the same time! How, you ask? Oh just A TRILLION bytes of storage capacity – nbd.

10. SOS! If you’re ever lost you can conveniently ask your remote for “help” and view tips and tricks and a help menu with common video tutorials. That remote is one smart cookie!

All in all the new Contour platform is very impressive and truly provides innovative updates that the whole family will appreciate.

Now, if you need me — I’ll be quoting movie lines into my remote. It’s just so fun!

For more information, visit Cox.com/Contour

My “Ma” Morning Practice: 5 Steps to Sanity

The following is a guest sponsored post by Jessica Jennings from Ma Yoga

ma morning meditation

When I became a mom, I was pretty sure of myself. I’d been teaching prenatal yoga for years, I felt strong from my yoga classes, and I was fine with not being able to take a weekend trip to Vegas.

Cut to: Me, barely able to find time for a shower, exhausted, depleted, and completely core-less. I am blissed out in love with my baby, but the one thing that has always helped me ground myself and feel calm and clear – my yoga – just does not seem to fit anymore, like my skinny jeans. I don’t have an hour and a half of serene quiet time at home; and I don’t want to pay for 3 hours of childcare to go to a class.

So what to do? Eventually, after returning to grad school and finishing my MS in Exercise Science, I created Ma Yoga, which focuses on the needs of new moms through what I call “Anchor Practices”: short, effective, simple meditation, strengthening yoga and food & wellness habits we can do in between feeds and while baby naps.

Most important of all the Anchor Practices for me is the morning practice. If I skip it, it feels like nothing works – I lose my keys, my computer breaks, I’m kind of a mess. Even a 2-minute practice in the morning (pick one or two items from the list below) can help life feel much easier to handle (I probably still lose my keys, it just doesn’t bug me as much), and seems to wake up my more intelligent cravings and desires for the whole day so I take better care of myself.

Here are the basics of my Ma Morning practice – again, if it feels way too long, then it is. Just pick a couple from the list and start from there.

ma yoga

(Ma is Sanskrit for the divine flow of nurturing energy):

1.) Grab a notebook and sit on a blanket or cushion, in a place in your house that feels special to you. Over time – put some things nearby – rocks, shells, candles, whatever makes you feel good and calm to look at.

2.) Do a breath practice. Start with this easy grounding breath: close your eyes and exhale to the count of 6 through your mouth. If you’re not pregnant, use your abs to draw ribs and belly in and back on the exhale, connecting to your core. Either way, make a “ha” sound like you’re misting up a window in winter.

Then breathe in through your nose to the count of 6, lifting your chest and sitting up tall. With each inhale, sit taller. With each exhale, softly rest your shoulders and ribs back and allow yourself to be held, as if there were a soft chair you were sitting in, and leaning onto the tall back.

Do these breaths a bunch of times, as long as you’re feeling like you’re becoming more tall and spacious.

For many of us – especially those with anxiety and a lot of stress – we are in fight-or-flight mode all the time. Our adrenals are overworking and getting tired out, and never getting a break.

Focusing on a long exhale slows down the heart rate and blood pressure, like pressing the reset button for our nervous system.

3.) Close your eyes and sit in meditation for 2 minutes, which means let go of everything – even judgement about how well you’re letting go. Let your thoughts float by without attaching to them (no, they won’t stop coming – we are not that in control). If you’ve never learned to meditate, try this super easy visualization to get you started.

4.) Then, pick up your notebook and write a list of what was hard about yesterday. Then, write a list of what was really pretty cool about yesterday. You’ll be surprised at how much there was. It’s so important to acknowledge the gifts that come and start to look for them all day long!

Then, ask your Future Self for advice. This is crazy, but I have gotten SO much information from doing this I didn’t know I had. She is just our wise inner voice. She says things like “slow down today” or “one thing at a time, it will all get done” – things I would tell a good friend, but I forget to tell myself. If you do this practice long enough, her voice becomes the one leading the way forward in your life.

5.) Get on hands and knees on a rug or yoga mat, and simply do cat/cow with your breath. This connects your movement to your innate rhythm for the day, so you’ll be able to find it again easier. If you don’t know cat/cow – or for more poses to add into your home practice – check out the Ma Yoga Living Room.

That’s it! This is the essential morning practices for mamas.

Whatever movement you do first thing, keep your exhales long and you will align with a deeper, slower rhythm so when things get nutty, it’s easier to find throughout the day. You will be able to access your inner gps easier, and your life will begin to reflect more of your authentic desires. Focusing on the full exhale will also teach your nervous system to stay calm, focused, energized and strong – no matter what waves come and knock you off your feet!

Grab more quick and effective practices for moms from Jessica Jennings, MS, by going to the Ma Yoga Living Room Project, her Indiegogo campaign running through March, and picking an incentive. Choose from video programs that include meditation and breathing, core strengthening for moms who hate bicycles, and low back pain relief – all made to squeeze into your busy day, in your own living room.

ma yoga

5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Nursery

Designing my children’s nurseries was always such a fun time for me during pregnancy —  the planning, the pinning, and of course, the shopping! Our partners over at AFK Furniture, a beautiful, designer nursery furniture store located in Beverly Hills, are sharing their expert advice on the 5 key ingredients you need to consider when creating the perfect nursery. 

The following is a sponsored guest post from AFK Furniture.

perfect nursery

Photo Courtesy: AFK Furniture

Creating your dream nursery is something most people only have the chance to do once or twice in their life. And, with your child’s infancy, this time doesn’t last forever, which is why this unique and finite time is so special! Make sure you cherish the time you have with your baby in their nursery before they grow into toddlers, and in the blink of an eye are off to college! With a beautiful nursery you will have beautiful memories of them as a baby to reflect on throughout their life; this magical time deserves a dream room to suit it. Here are five tips on how to have a perfect nursery!

1. Color

perfect nursery

Photo Courtesy: AFK Furniture

Pick a color scheme that is calming for you and your baby. Blue and white are classic nursery colors. Blue is calming like the sky and ocean while white is the perfect neutral to pair it with. You also can’t go wrong with any pastel color palette.

 

2. Toys

perfect nursery

Photo Courtesy: AFK Furniture

Cute little animals throughout baby’s room will inspire their imagination and little nursery furniture provides them with their own miniature space to play.

3. Rocking Chairs and Gliders

perfect nursery

Photo Courtesy: AFK Furniture

Babies love the feeling of rocking back and forth; having a rocking chair or glider in your nursery will make it easy for you to rock them to bed while comfortably seated.  Pro Tip –  Try out the seat before you buy it, you want to make sure you are comfortable sitting in it!

4. Personalize

perfect nursery

Photo Courtesy: AFK Furniture

Personalized items for your little ones is a great way to show your love! We have seen everything from letter decals above beds to, ‘We Love you Johnny’ painted into a mural! The possibilities are endless and truly transforms the nursery into the baby’s own space.

5. Attention to Detail

perfect nursery

Photo Courtesy: AFK Furniture

Little knobs and color pops here and there are the key to taking your nursery from pretty to perfect! It’s the little things that matter. If you have a more glam style, try luxury baby furniture in hot pink! A pop of color truly livens up the room and is a wonderful choice for a vibrant space.

perfect nursery

Photo Courtesy: AFK Furniture

For beautiful, designer furniture visit AFK Furniture located in Beverly Hills, CA. Our lovely shop will immerse you in a world of beautiful fine furniture for nurseries bringing you one step closer to your dream nursery!

This was a sponsored guest post from AFK Furniture.

Fab Mom: Katharine Coggeshall of Fitness Translator

I’m excited to introduce you to a new “Fab Mom” in my Fab Mom Series, Katharine Coggeshall of Fitness Translator. Katharine recently switched careers from being a full-time scientist to becoming an in-home personal trainer, specializing in women’s weight loss. The career switch enables her to spend more time with her three children, while giving something back to the community — her knowledge of science-based healthy weight loss, especially for moms trying to lose weight after baby is born!

You can follow Katharine on Facebook and Twitter, or learn more about what she has to offer on her website here.

Here’s Katharine:

fitness translator

Who calls you mom and how old are they?

I have 3 little ones: Emma (7 yrs), Michael (5 yrs), and Adeline (3 yrs).

What do you do?

I’m an in-home personal trainer, specializing in women’s weight loss, and I have a health and wellness blog—FitnessTranslator.com. But when my kids get out of school in the afternoon, I’m home with them. They get my full attention.

What does a typical day look like for you?

All 3 littles are dropped off at school and I prioritize my day: my own exercise routine, in-home training sessions, blogging, household chores, and lots of reading. When the kids are done with school, I pick them all up and we do our afterschool activities, head home to prep dinner, spend the evening with daddy, and put them all to bed.

Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?

Organize! I make lists of all the lists I need to make. Every Sunday I plan the meals for the week and make a grocery list to coincide with it. I write down all of the activities and action items needed for the kids that week, and a separate list of my own action items. I keep a pad of paper and a pen in my purse at all times, because if it doesn’t get written down it is probably not going to happen!

When was the first time you really felt like a mother?

When I breastfed my first baby. It’s a powerful thing. I can remember every detail of it still.

What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?

Having mommy guilt—that feeling like I’m supposed to be conquering the world mixed with that feeling of I’m supposed to be taking care of my babies. You never feel 100% comfortable with where you are at that moment because you can never be in 2 places at once.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?

When I see one of my children being kind to another child. I feel like all of my caring, patience, disciplining, time, and energy was worth it. Like I helped to add something positive to this world.

What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?

I was recently prepping my assembly line of lunches in the morning, and my youngest (Adeline) asked me to make her some pancakes (“fancakes” as she likes to call them). I told her I was too busy, so she decided to quietly help me out by making them herself. She knew all of the ingredients and poured them all on the floor: flour everywhere, smashed eggs, oil, and even some cinnamon! She was so proud of herself, I didn’t know what to say!

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 ones so far?

This past summer I took all of my kids back to my home town in New Mexico to visit my family and their cousins. My mental snapshot is of my littles with all of their cousins, playing in the desert just like I used to do growing up. It was really special.

What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?

A Moby wrap. It’s appropriate for newborn-toddler. My second baby practically lived in it while I was chasing my oldest around, who was a toddler at the time. Babies find it so soothing and moms can actually have their hands free.

What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?

I never realized how patient I could be. In fact, I don’t think I was until I had children. But there is no limit to what a mother will do for her child, even learn to be patient!

What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?

Apart from exercising, I love to get a massage and take a really hot bath. It’s even better when your muscles are really sore.

What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little ones?

I love the San Diego Zoo. It’s a really nice combination of nature, walking, attractions, and excitement. My kids are never bored there and they always sleep really well afterward!

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 family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?

We love the Panera in Carmel Mountain Ranch because it has a covered outdoor area that is absolutely perfect for noisy kids! It’s even shady.

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”?

Never forget to mother yourself. She won’t need much advice about mothering her child, we do it pretty naturally, but we moms never understand the importance of nurturing ourselves. Your child benefits from it as well.

For more information about Fitness Translator, contact Katharine:

fitness translator

FitnessTranslator@gmail.com
217.979.0253
fitnesstranslator.com

Find the Most Qualified Nannies in San Diego on The Nanny League

The following is a sponsored post brought to you by The Nanny League. All opinions are my own. 

While I’m a stay-at-home mom and haven’t required the services of a nanny up until this point, I’ve seen many fellow mom friends go through the tiring task of finding and locking down a good nanny. It’s often hard to find nanny services that fit within your family unit — whether it be a matter of schedules, family values, reliability or ease of mind, finding and choosing the right candidate is no easy feat.

It’s no doubt that your children are the most important pieces of your life, so naturally you want to find the best possible person to care for them. But where to begin in the search? How to conduct background checks and evaluate past references? The sheer process of finding the right person to nanny your children often seems daunting and overwhelming. That’s why I was very interested to learn about The Nanny League, and their services now opening up in San Diego.

The Nanny League

The Nannies

The Nanny League

The Nanny League matches only college-educated, highly competent, creative and nurturing nannies with families residing in and around New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and now San Diego (yay for us!). They are also able to extend their reach in other cities across the U.S., based on referral.

What sets The Nanny League apart from other nanny placement services, is their meticulous, personalized process to find and vet potential candidates to serve your family’s exact needs. All of their nannies go through a highly discriminating selection and screening process including background checks, drug screening, and thorough reference review. Each nanny must also be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement, if requested by the family.

Representing and helping place such exceptional, smart, selfless, loving and inspirational professional nannies is one thing, but knowing that they are helping impact the lives of so many children, in such a positive way, is by far the most rewarding aspect to my job.  They are the ones who make what I do not a job at all, but instead, truly a labor of love.” – Lindsay Thomason, CEO TNL 

To ensure families are selecting from the best of the best, each nanny who is accepted into the Nanny League must:

  • Posses at least at BA/BS college degree
  • Be CPR/First Aid Certified
  • Have the ability co make a one-year commitment to a family
  • Have at least two years childcare experience
  • Have excellent work and personal references
  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be fluent in English (bilingual a plus)
  • Be a competent swimmer
  • Be a Non-smoker
  • Sign a no cell phone driving guarantee

I just love this up-front vetting process – especially the no cell phones while driving which is such an important conversation to have with your caregiver in today’s world!

Where to Begin?

The Nanny League

The Nanny League offers full-time and part-time nanny placements as well as babysitters and tutors in a variety of subjects.

Because no two families’ needs are the same, the Nanny League will work with you to create a job description and salary that will attract the right candidate from their database of nanny professionals. It’s through this personalized matching service, that your family will find the perfect caregiver for your children.

The Nanny League believes in their matching process so much that they even offer to provide two replacements during the first six months of your contract at no additional charge in the rare event that a nanny does not work out with your family.

Find Your Family Nanny:

Contact The Nanny League for more information and to take the first step in finding a loving nanny for your family.

San Diego Contact: Anna Stein
Phone Number: (206) 349-1622
Email: anna@thenannyleague.com
W
ebsite: www.thenannyleague.com

You can also connect with The Nanny League and their wonderful nannies at upcoming MomCo San Diego playdates! During these playdates the nannies play and conduct crafts, face painting and games with the children so the parents can socialize and get to know each other. To find an upcoming playdate, download the MomCo app here.

This is a sponsored post brought to you by The Nanny League. All opinions are my own. 

Baby Boy’s Vintage Sports Nursery Design

I must admit I’ve been having way too much fun decorating baby boy’s nursery. We decided to do a vintage sports nursery theme since my husband was a huge athlete growing up and still had many old sports pieces from his old room that I wanted to incorporate into the overall design. I didn’t want the room to be overrun with the sports theme, but just wanted to add some key elements to give off the vintagy-sports look and feel. I’m so happy with the outcome and even happier that we are all ready to welcome Baby G in just a few short weeks!

vintage sports nursery design

I love the two glass french doors that open up into this little room in our house. We decided to add some privacy with some simple white faux-wooden blinds from Bed, Bath & Beyond to keep it neutral and light.




vintage sports nursery design
Rug // large wooden ruler // vintage cradle // gray glider // big block wall letter

I purchased the rug first because I knew I wanted to incorporate navy blue, and this rug from rugsusa.com had a sports-look and feel, so I thought it would fit nicely with the theme.

The cradle was handcrafted by my grandfather in 1983. I slept in it when I was a baby, my two sisters and two cousins slept in it when they were all newborns and my daughter used it a couple of years ago as her first cradle. Now, the tradition continues and baby boy will sleep in it when he arrives! We put a fresh coat of antique white chalkboard paint on it to keep the vintage feel.

The big “G” on the wall was inspired by my niece’s nursery – and we opted for a masculine navy blue color from Pottery Barn Kids.

I’m sort of obsessed with the wooden growth ruler from Lex’s Little Darlings on Etsy and can’t wait to start documenting the kids’ heights as they grow.

vintage sports nursery design
dresser // baseball knobs // gray glider // American Football pillow // sports toy bag

vintage sports nursery design

We already had the dark brown 8-drawer dresser from Ikea (which serves as the perfect height for a changing table), but I found some adorable wooden baseball knobs from ATG Stores online to add to the drawers and dress it up a little bit.

The “American Football” vintage throw-pillow and the big blue sports toy bag are from HomeGoods. We also had the gray glider from my daughter’s nursery, which we originally purchased from West Elm and works as an extremely comfortable and smooth rocking chair.

vintage sports nursery design
metal basket // baby boy shoes

My husband had a few of his old home run baseballs saved from when he was growing up, so I took those and added some new baseballs from Big 5 to a metal basket I found at HomeGoods.

We received these adorable baby boy shoes (from Carter’s) from a friend at our baby shower, so I had to display these as well. :)

And I’m OBSESSED with this crazy green cactus that grows right outside the nursery window – the perfect backdrop for a little boy’s room!




vintage sports nursery design
blackout roman cordless navy blue shade // starstruck changing pad cover // dresser //dresser knobs

The two little baby baseball player paintings above the glider are vintage from my husband’s nursery when he was a baby and the framed football player on the left is a signed photo of Troy Aikman that was also my husband’s when he was growing up (he’s a huge Cowboy’s fan). The white frame on the left has my daughter’s two feet prints from when she was born and we plan to replace the ultrasound photo of baby boy on the bottom with his own two feet when he graces us with his presence.

I also love the Aden and Anais organic cotton changing pad covers, so we added the starstruck design for baby boy.

vintage sports nursery design

More vintage fun from my husband’s old nursery including the two Cowboy’s football figurines, old Texaco piggy banks and airforce airplanes. My Father in Law also gave us baby boy’s very first Air Force football.

My sister made the awesome navy blue “G” mounted on a wood stump for our baby shower and I loved it so much I had to incorporate it into the room – so rustic and fun!

Overall, we were able to turn this small little room into a functional and cute baby boy’s vintage sports nursery. We can’t wait to welcome our new addition soon!




Southwestern Quinoa Enchilada Casserole Recipe

The following is a sponsored post brought to you by Ground 2 Table. All opinions are my own.

I’m always looking for ways to cook healthy yet appetizing dinners for my family, including my toddler who’s expanding her taste buds day by day. That’s why I was so intrigued to hear about the organic spice company, Ground 2 Table and their mission to bring tasty, and healthy flavors to everyday meals.

About Ground 2 Table

Ground 2 Table

Ground 2 Table is an organic food company that is passionate about serving flavorful, organic and sustainable food and ingredients in new ways for consumers. This company offers 12 organic spice blends free of salt, sugar, artificial flavorings and GMOs.

By providing an innovative, individual use packet of a product typically sold in bulk, Ground 2 Table hopes to educate consumers  on small steps they can take to adopt their Buy Small | Use it All™ revolutionsuch a brilliant concept for a cook like me, since I have old spices in the back of my cupboard that I only used once – such a waste! Each spice blend inspires and keeps culinary creativity alive by providing endless ways to mix and match foods. Intended and designed for anyone from beginner cooks (present!) to accomplished chefs, the 12 organic spice blends are convenient and simplifies spice usage in sweet and savory meals. 

The 12 signature spice blends truly cover all palate tastes and include an all-purpose, spicy all-purpose, taco, mesquite BBQ, salsa, steak, poultry, Chinese 5 spice, Italian, seafood, curry, and cinnamon and spice flavors.

I decided to try out the taco seasoning (spice blend 3) in lieu of other seasonings I previously used in my Southwestern Quinoa Enchilada Casserole Recipe, and the final outcome was incredible – not to mention salt, sugar, artificial flavorings and GMO free! Win-win! I recommend adding this healthy quinoa recipe to your weekly dinner rotations.

Southwestern Quinoa Enchilada Casserole Recipe

Southwestern Quinoa Enchilada Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Near East Quinoa blend (flavor of choice)
  • 1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 (4- oz.) organic can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 cup organic shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup organic shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup organic canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 packet Ground 2 Table Taco Seasoning (Spice Blend 3)
  • 2 Limes
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Instructions:

  • Cook quinoa on stove top on sauce pan according to box’s directions, and set aside.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish
  • In a large bowl, mix: enchilada sauce, beans, corn, green chiles, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and cooked quinoa
  • In small bowl, mix together Ground 2 Table Taco Seasoning (Spice Blend 3), juice from 2 limes and 1 Tbl. water. Add this mixture to the large bowl.
  • Transfer large mixture to baking dish and top with a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese until fully covered
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until warm and bubbling
  • Take out and garnish with diced tomatoes, avocado and a dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy! 

Southwestern Quinoa Enchilada Recipe

 

And check out some other fun recipes utilizing Ground 2 Table’s spice blends, available on their recipe page here. Next on my list is the BBQ popcornyes, please!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Ground 2 Table. All opinions are my own.

9 Things Pregnant Women Are Sick of Hearing From Strangers

things pregnant women are sick of hearing from strangers

I want to clarify that this post does not pertain to my beloved family and close friends – people I don’t mind getting personal with and sharing details of my life with. This one is dedicated to the Nosy Nancy’s of the world who I’ve never met before and will never see again after our little “encounters”.

Now well into my second pregnancy, I’ve noticed that strangers LOVE talking to me about my pregnancy. It’s really quite baffling. I sort of noticed it during my first pregnancy, but I was just so enthralled in my new state of maternity that I didn’t mind the questions and sometimes off-putting remarks. Now that this is my second time around and the nostalgia of being pregnant has faded, some words for the wise: No, I don’t want to talk to you about it; yes, you’re being too personal, and for the love of God, DO.NOT. touch my stomach. You’ve been warned…

1. When are you due? 
I know, I know – this is the inevitable question – but must we really share with these complete strangers the presumed birth date of our new baby? I always wonder – what’s in it for them? So they can quickly calculate how far along I am in the 9 month journey and then make a judgement call on if my stomach looks “about 8 months” large?

2. Are There Twins In There?
This one always comes from old men who think they’re being funny. I get it, I get it – you’re making a joke because I’m so hugely pregnant. You’re hilarious, sir…really, you should be a comedian.

3. You Look Great!
This is all well and fine, but I mostly dislike the tone that accompanies this “compliment” — which is usually pure shock. It’s as if they picture all pregnant women laid up on the couch, sitting pretty at 500 pounds and stuffing their faces with donuts. (OK, while I might not be 500 pounds, there’s been a time or two – or maybe every Sunday – when I’ve been posted up on the couch with some maple bars).

4. Wow, They’ll Be Close in Age
This one usually follows the “when are you due” question. And after the complete stranger has computed my personal life (what month of pregnancy I’m in and the age of my toddler), the light bulb goes off for them: this woman’s kids will be close in age. Thank you, Captain Obvious! And from here there’s a 50/50 chance that they’ll either go into their experience of also having children close in age and tell you stories of how well they played together or, they take the negative route and say, good luck – I can’t imagine having two under two! Big gulps.

5. Let Me Guess — it’s a Girl! (or Boy!)
I always think it’s odd when complete strangers try to guess the gender of my unborn baby. Do they think they have some sort of psychic power? I blame it on all the old wives tales like, “if a pregnant woman is carrying high, it’s a girl — low, it’s a boy” and other assumptions that make every Suzie Q at the grocery store a maternity expert. I secretly love when they get it wrong though: Nope, nosy Nancy – it’s a boy. Better luck next time. 

6. You’re All Belly
I know this is meant to be a sweet gesture but really, they’re not fooling anyone. What are they going to tell me instead, “Wow, your arms are looking really FAT!” Or, “Yikes, look at the size of your thighs.” And let’s be honest, they didn’t know how I looked before pregnancy so can they really comment now on the fact that I’ve only gained weight in my mid-section? Me thinks not.

7. Have You Had Any Weird Cravings?
This one always makes me feel like they think I’m a mad woman who can’t control my eating habits (don’t look her straight in the eye or she might try to steal our bagel – these pregos are unpredictable!) And again, what’s in it for the questioner? So she can go home and tell her husband over dinner tonight that she met a pregnant woman at Starbucks who will only eat chocolate covered pickles with sprinkle on top? I refuse to be a part of the gossip chain so I usually reply with a smile, “just salty things.”

8. Your Bump is So Cute
I know this one is well-meaning but honey, I do NOT feel cute right now; carrying my 19 month old on one hip and trying to push the cart at Target with my hair disheveled and wearing my prego uniform including my husband’s baggy t-shirt and my tried-and-true yoga pants (even though I haven’t been to yoga since my daughter was born). But, thanks, complete stranger, thanks for trying. And again my question; what’s the alternative? “Wow, mam, you have an ugly bump – it looks abnormal. Really, you should get that checked.”

9. Can I Touch It?
Umm, excuse me, have we met? Can I awkwardly touch your shoulder and invade your personal space? If your answer is “no” to either of those questions, then my answer is most definitely, NO! And, spoiler alert: it feels like a basketball!

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