Maternity Photos.

You guys, I cannot even begin to express how in love I am with our maternity shoot. It was something I had envisioned for months and when it finally happened it surpassed any hopes that I’d had for it. This was the second shoot that we’ve done with The Light and The Love Photography and we were once again blown away by the talent that is Britany.

For years now I have wanted to do a family shoot up in Mount Charleston, but due to it always being pouring rain every time we tried to shoot there, it’s never worked out. At last, I got my mountain photo session and ohmygoodness between the scenery, the lighting, and Britany’s serious photography skills, these photos perfectly captured the beauty of this pregnancy.

I’ve had a lot of questions about my dresses. Unfortunately the lacy bell sleeved one is no longer available, but it was from Forever21. The other dress is from Show Me Your Mumu and is linked here.

Liam’s outfit is all from Zara (which i cannot believe I haven’t discovered sooner) and Andre’s outfit is from Express.

I was a little nervous about this session because the last few family sessions that we’ve done with Liam he’s become distracted/bored super quickly and getting any images with him were always a tricky task that involved a ton of bribery. This time around he was SO unbelievably well behaved and cooperative and cuddly and had all the smooches to give. We brought my sister along to assist as needed, which I think helped a lot. We also brought some treats for him to look forward to between locations because let’s be real, some Star Wars fruit snacks and lollipops will always be the easiest way to keep a four year old in a good mood.

This session was by far my favorite family session we’ve done yet–which is obvious the moment you walk into my house because I’ve already framed half of it. It was the last session of just the three of us and I’m so glad that I will forever have it to look back on. The next time our family is photographed we will finally be joined by our littlest babe, who is apparently very comfortable inside my belly with no intention of coming out on time. Stay tuned, she’s gotta make her debut eventually.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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The Nursery.

I started planning our growing little one’s nursery long before this babe was even in my belly. I would sit up at night pinning ideas on Pinterest, bookmarking websites that had cute decor inspo, and feeling slightly ridiculous for planning so in depth for a baby that did not yet exist.

Fast forward to finding out I was pregnant. After seeing those two lines on the test and spending my entire morning pacing around the house with an overwhelming feeling of joy, I remember wandering into the room that would soon belong to our baby. As I sat there rearranging the room in my head, I planned the perfect nursery for a little girl. Call it a mother’s intuition or call it wishful thinking… I just knew it would be a girl’s room long before we ever knew the gender.

Now here we are. Just 6 weeks from my due date and all that we need to complete this nursery is our sweet girl. Inspired by wild flowers, I created a girly little space with a boho touch. With the exception of her crib (which will be in our room for the first few months) and changing table/dresser, I utilized furniture that we already had. The leaning shelves were purchased for our first home years ago at The Container Store. The couch is part of a sectional that was in our first home as well. We’d thought about getting rid of it several times but since it was still in great condition we held onto it “just in case” we could find a later use for it…and sure enough we did. What was once the couch we bought for our first home together is now the couch that I will cuddle up and nurse our little girl on. The crib and changing table/dresser are both from IKEA. I’ve found changing table dressers to be so ridiculously over priced and not at all cute enough to justify the high price tags, so thanks to an idea I saw on Pinterest, we bought a basic plain white Ikea dresser and changed out the knobs with little crystals that I found at H&M.  It’s the perfect height to double as a changing table and will still look great once she transitions to a big girl room.

All of my framed prints came from Etsy shops Adoren Studio and Ivie Baby. The frames came from Ikea, Target, and H&M (which surprisingly has a super cute home section on their website). The furry stool is from Target and is probably my favorite piece in the room. The rug, almost all of the shelf décor, hanging flower crown antlers, wall hooks, and the pillows also came from Target because as we all know, Target is just winning in the game of reasonably priced home décor. The tapestry hanging on the wall-also one of my favorite pieces in the room-came from Modern Burlap. After spending so many months hoping and praying for this baby, the verse grabbed my attention the moment I first saw it and I instantly knew that it had to be a center piece of her nursery. Lastly, let’s talk about the giant flower S on the wall (which, for those who have been curious about her name, is totally a hint). I had seen giant floral letters on Pinterest a million times and was set on putting one in my girl’s room. Every internet search led me to Etsy, where the smallest letters were going for over $100. Since I have a million other things that I would rather spend a hundred bucks on, I decided to try to make one myself… and oh my goodness am I glad I did. With the help of a DIY website and some Michael’s coupons, I was able to put together a giant floral letter that matches the room perfectly, is double the size and cost a quarter of the price.

I could not be more proud of the little space that I put together for our girl. As the need to nest grows stronger and stronger I find myself sitting in her room on the couch several times a day, just picturing our sweetest new addition enjoying her space. The clothes and blankets are washed… the drawers are stocked and organized… Everything is in its place.

Now we wait.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

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Smile Brilliant.

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I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of times that my husband has said to me “let’s look into teeth whitening”. By “let’s” he of course means me, and I always responded with a good ol’ “yeah totally. I’ll look into it this week”… knowing good and well that I most likely would NOT be looking into it that week. It’s not that I didn’t want pretty pearly whites (I mean who doesn’t?), it just always felt so inconvenient and was something that was far easier to put off. So of course you can imagine that when Smile Brilliant reached out about working with us, we most certainly jumped at that opportunity. Unfortunately I couldn’t partake due to the little babe I’ve been growing for almost 8 months now, but my husband was more than willing.

We are major coffee drinkers in this house, and as my blog title indicates, we certainly enjoy a good glass (or two or three) of wine… When I’m not pregnant of course. While absolutely delicious, these tasty indulgences over the years have left us with some relatively stained teeth. My husband works in sales, where the truth is… your appearance matters. It is important to him that he have a smile that he feels confident about, and Smile Brilliant was a great opportunity for him to brighten things up.

The Smile Brilliant journey began with us taking a few before photos (crucial for measuring success) along with them sending us the whitening materials + a tray making kit…which I might add arrived incredibly quickly. A total sucker for quick shipping times, this was already a win for them in my books. The molding process for the trays was easy and provided simple directions. We popped them back in the mail, and in a matter of about a week already had the finished teeth whitening trays sent back to us. With that, it was time to begin the whitening process.

Not going to lie… my husband never really looks forward to his time wearing the trays, however I don’t think there will ever be a situation where sitting there with a whitening tray in your mouth for 45 minutes will qualify as “fun”. Per the instructions suggestion, he does the whitening before bed and we usually put on a tv show to make the time go by faster. Once the whitening time is over, it is followed by an additional 15 minutes of using the desensitizing gel, and just like that… You’re done (until the next session of course). So basically you’re looking at about an hour per session, all from the comfort of your own home. I personally hate everything about the dentist office, so doing this all from home is a much more appealing idea.  The good news is, while he doesn’t particularly enjoy sitting there with the trays in his mouth (lots of saliva and difficulty talking clearly) my husband has actually had very mild sensitivity to the product. The trays do cause him slight irritation to the gums, but nothing too crazy or long lasting. While each mouth is different and this might not be the case for all, the experience has been really smooth for him.

The process being smooth and easy and not too painful is a total plus, but the ultimate plus is the results themselves. I could go into a long descriptive paragraph about how nice and white my husbands teeth are (and how totally jealous I am), but instead I’ll just show you the before and after photo.

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Pretty impressive right? The good news for you is that my husband doesn’t have to be the only lucky one benefiting from Smile Brilliant. That’s right… it’s giveaway time. I’ve teamed up with Smile Brilliant to give one of my lucky followers a Teeth Whitening kit ($139.90 store credit). All you have to do is enter HERE and the giveaway winner will be announced in 2 weeks—Good luck!

For more information about this product and what you should know before beginning the teeth whitening process, go ahead and click here.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

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Baby Shower.

On Saturday with the help of family and friends, we celebrated our sweet baby girl (who will be joining us in just 10 ish weeks!). Since before I even got pregnant with baby #2, I had envisioned a beautiful girly boho styled baby shower and it was so surreal to finally see all of my dreamy pinterest boards come to life.

Breaking away from tradition, we decided to have a co-ed baby shower. Since this is our second baby, we viewed it as less of a “shower” and more of a celebration… so the more the merrier. Decorations mostly consisted of half the flower asile at Trader Joes and succulents and basically any DIY ideas I could think of to make use of all the extra pallets we had at my job. We decided on having the most delicious tacos catered because I don’t know of a single pregnant lady ever who has wanted to worry about standing around the kitchen helping to put together food for a crowd. Games were kept super simple. I have never been a fan of cheesy baby shower games and wasn’t about to torture all of my friends with them, so we chose just two games:

1. Baby Drawing contest: Everybody gets a paper plate and a marker, then they place the plate on their head and have to draw a picture of a baby. The mom/dad-to-be choose the best drawing as the winner.

2. Beer Drinking contest: all participants get a baby bottle full of beer. Fastest one to finish their bottle wins.

The games seemed to be a hit and were so easy to throw together… which was great because we honestly forgot about games completely until the night before the shower. For a photo backdrop, we took two pallets, nailed them together, stained them, and added some fake flowers. By we I definitely mean my husband. There was of course a mimosa bar in which I was able to enjoy nice virgin mimosas… aka orange juice. We set up a boho style low to the ground pallet table surrounded in blankets and pillows in the backyard. It was 110 degrees and got absolutely zero use but hey, it sure did look cute.

It was truly a beautiful baby shower that once again reminded me of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such a great group of people. My sister photographed the entire thing beautifully. We got lots of adorable little gifts for baby girl. I had like 4 rounds of tacos. Feeling blessed as always and so happy to know how loved this baby already is.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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28 weeks.

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28 weeks of growing this little girl inside of me.

We have officially entered the third trimester and while it feels as though I have been pregnant all year (probably because I literally have), it also feels like the time has absolutely flown by. In just 10-12ish weeks our family will grow by one. This littlest babe will make her debut, and we will finally get to meet the girl behind the kicks.

I definitely feel like I am entering the third trimester. As baby girl gains weight, moving becomes more of a challenge.  My bed time has been 9pm and mid-day naps are almost a necessity. While shaving my legs the other day I came to the realization that I am probably just a few weeks away from needing some assistance. My meals have had to become smaller as eating makes me feel more uncomfortable, but I’m hungry every thirty minutes. The pregnancy leg cramps have been SO real. Sitting upright in a chair for too long is a killer on my back. Working out is now less of a desired activity and more of a forced one. I have become increasingly irritable and my constantly changing roller coaster of emotions can get overwhelming. Basically, I am typical third trimester pregnant lady.

As the days of being “just the three of us” come to and end, I have been feeling all kinds of sentimental. The last four years of our lives, it’s been the Daddy, Mommy, and Liam show. Practically children ourselves when we had him, Liam has grown us up in so many ways and made us the people we are today.  Together, the three of us moved from our first condo to our first house. We have traveled and made memories all over the southwest. We have spent each night cuddling in our too-small-for-the-three-of-us queen sized bed. We got our first family puppy. We have gone through big changes and sleepless nights and laughter filled bacon cooking mornings. Together…just the three of us. As Liam says about ten times a day, we are “besssst friends”.  And now in the blink of an eye, it will be the four of us. The four best friends. This newest addition is already so very loved and I couldn’t be more excited to create new family memories with her, but I will always cherish the last four years of bonding that I’ve had with the sweet little boy who first made me a mama.

I thought that the second time around I would be less nervous. However as the countdown to due date begins, I have realized that I am not less nervous, my nerves simply lie in new places.  While last time my nerves were mostly about the labor/delivery process and the early days of motherhood, this time my nerves are more focused on Liam’s feelings/emotions and what balancing being mama to two will be like. I want to give both of my babies all the attention that they each deserve. I want to make sure that my husband and I get the time that we need together. I want to make sure that in all of that, I don’t forget to also take care of my own well being. My nerves mostly just come down to how I will balance all of that. I love my people… this little squad my husband and I have created. And at the end of the day, I just want to make sure everyone is happy and very well aware of how loved they are.

Despite the inevitable nervous thoughts that come with the unknown, I am filled with a sense of calm. This entire pregnancy I have just had this gut feeling that everything would be ok. And it has been. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my first pregnancy wasn’t the easiest. After almost losing our son at 23 weeks due to an incompetent cervix and being put on very strict bed rest, I went into this pregnancy being automatically classified as “high risk”. While we went into it prepared for the worst, the worst never came. My high risk specialist and I made the decision early on not to operate on my cervix. We decided to wait it out, closely monitor it, and only operate if necessary. With each appointment it became more and more obvious that we made the right decision. As my specialist likes to say, it’s like I went out and bought a new cervix. It has baffled all of us in the best way possible and with each passing day of healthy pregnancy I am reminded of what a blessing it has been.

As I head into the “nesting/I don’t want to do anything other than sit at home and bake a baby” phase of pregnancy, I am filling the next few weeks with as many activities as I can. With my baby shower next week, followed by a week long trip to Phoenix, followed by Liam’s fourth birthday and then our maternity photos… this growing mama will gladly welcome the end of pregnancy slow down once it comes.

28 weeks down, 12 to go. See you soon baby girl.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

 

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Jord Watch Review

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I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been a huge fan of watches for myself. I love them on other people and have bought my husband a slew of them throughout our time together, but personally I am just incredibly picky about them. My husband has always been a big fan of the wood watch look however I was never able to get into it myself, always thinking it was way more of a masculine look. Then I saw Jord’s collection of feminine looking wood watches. Ranging in colors from rose, to champagne, to a pretty turquoise and so many more, their watches stood out to me right away as a watch I could totally get behind.

Upon receiving my watch, I was impressed before ever even seeing the watch itself. I am all about presentation. I prefer my food to be perfecty placed with care on a plate and I prefer my new clothes to arrive wrapped in a cute little box with tissue paper. Jord and I apparently have that in common because the presentation on this watch was just stunning. The watch comes perched on a little pillow inside a beautiful high quality wood box. The wood box even has a little drawer for your watch cleaning accessories and includes a watch cleaning starter pack. Once you get past the amazing display and study the watch for itself, there is even more to be impressed with.

One of the things that has always annoyed me about watches is that they are so difficult to take on and off. Each one has their own little version of a clasp, and I usually feel like I’m about to break the watch (or a nail) trying to take it off, eventually just asking my husband to take it off for me. The people at Jord seem to have thought of every little detail, because this watch is SO easy to remove. Push the two little side clasps in, and just like that, the watch is off.

I’ve worn my ‘Cora series- Zebrawood & Rose’ watch out and about a few times now and love the extra little touch that it effortlessly gives my outfits. Being a major fan of gold and rose gold, the rose cora matches all of my jewelry perfectly and despite my usual distate for watches, has managed to quickly become one of my go-to accessories.

As I mentioned, my husband loves wood watches, so I have bought him a couple different ones now, both from Amazon. I did research for days and finally chose ones that I thought were good quality for a fair price. One ended up breaking pretty quickly and the other is nice but nowhere near the quality that I have seen with Jord.  I had always seen the Jord watches advertised but wondered if they were really worth the slight jump up in price. I can now assure you.. they totally are. From presentation, to quality, to visual appeal… Jord has figured it all out when it comes to wood watches and you really do get what you pay for.

With Fathers Day right around the corner, Jord would make the perfect gift. To help you out with that, I have teamed up with Jord to give one of my followers a $100 gift card to put towards the watch of your choice. If you’re like me and you’re getting real sick of entering giveaway after giveaway only to lose them all, the extra kicker here is that EVERY person who enters this giveaway will automatically receive a code for $25 off of a Jord watch purchase. This giveaway ends May 28 at 11:59PM, so go on and get yourself entered here: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/thewhineconnoisseur

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Baby #2 is a…

At 12.5 weeks pregnant, we went in to see my high risk specialist for a cervix check. I knew it was super early to ask about the gender, but I was so anxious to know that I couldn’t help but beg him to take a guess. Right away, the doctor said “looks like a girl”.  The words my husband and I had been hoping like crazy to hear. He let us know that he was 80% sure and would check again at the next appointment. Scared of getting too excited, we shared our news with only a couple people and I did my best not to get my hopes up (and by “did my best” I mean I only added like 50 girly items to my online shopping carts instead of actually purchasing said items).

At the following appointment at 14.5 weeks, the doctor changed his certainty to 90% girl. That was all I needed to hear… from that moment on, baby became a she. I went home that day and started buying flowery little swaddle blankets and pink onesies. I sat in bed awake at night dreaming up the perfect girly nursery and smiling at the idea of watching my husband raise a little “daddy’s girl”. In the back of my mind however, I was still so nervous that we would walk into our next appointment only to find out that she was suddenly a he. I of course would still love that baby with everything I had either way, but I knew it would be a bit of a temporary shock if the gender changed on us (not to mention I sure would have an embarrassing amount of returns to make).

Finally this week, at 17.5 weeks… we got the confirmation that we have been waiting for. Baby number two is 100% a girl. The moment the ultrasound tech scanned over the little girl parts she exclaimed “oh yeah that’s without a doubt a girl” and all I could do was smile the biggest smile.  Just like that, I get to be the mama of a daughter. I want to cry just saying it–thanks pregnancy hormones.

I remember as a little girl, I always said that I hoped to first have a boy so that he could be the protector, followed by a girl who would look up to her big brother. As we began our journey into pregnancy number two, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would actually get to experience mothering a girl or if I was destined to be a boy mom. Now I am filled with so much joy to be able to say that I have got my sweet crazy boy + a girl on the way.

Trimester two has been much easier on me than the earlier weeks of pregnancy. My nausea has finally passed and most days my energy levels seem to be normal again. Best of all, my incompetent cervix has not yet come back to bother me. The high risk specialist has told us at every appointment that he is shocked by the total turnaround and that it’s like he’s looking at an entirely different patient’s cervix. I remain under careful watch and he’s ready to operate on me the second he feels he needs to, however so far there has been zero sign of the return of my cervical problems.

I have to say, it’s a bit of a shock. A good shock, but a shock nonetheless. Ever since the complications of my last pregnancy, we have been warned to expect the same thing this time around. We were prepared (or at least as prepared as one can be) for me to be on bed rest for the majority of my pregnancy. The moment I found out I was pregnant I held off making any plans out of fear that I would be bed ridden for the following 8 months. But here I am, 18 weeks along and still movin and groovin. Things could change suddenly, but for the time being we are simply hoping for the best and trusting the talented doctor who is closely monitoring me.

I have recently begun feeling tiny baby kicks all throughout my day and from time to time I have even been lucky enough to feel quick little movements on the outside of my belly, excited for the kicks to grow stronger so that my husband and son can share in the experience. I’m growing bigger by the moment and at least half of my wardrobe is now very much off limits. My cravings include bean and cheese burritos with sour cream (if there is no sour cream I will throw a pregnant lady fit and refuse to eat it), Frosted Flakes/about half of the rest of the cereal aisle, corn on the cob, and chocolate chip cookies accompanied by an almost frozen glass of whole milk. The nursery/baby item check list is quickly coming along and I find myself staring at the already acquired items in excitement at least a couple times a day. Surprisingly, I have managed to make it to the gym for a 30 minute workout 4-5 nights a week and am feeling pretty darn great about that.

Just about halfway through this pregnancy and so far it has been everything I’d hoped for and more. I plan on soaking in every sweet moment as this little one continues to grow,  awaiting the big day that we get to welcome our girl into the world.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

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Oh Baby, Baby.

On the morning that I found out I was pregnant it was a beautiful rainy day. I woke up and rolled over to Facetime my husband who was away on business. As we talked, he stopped me and said “babe you are glowing! Are you sure you’re not pregnant? Look at you!”. I blushed and didn’t think too much of it… he was always one to lay on the sweet/sometimes cheesy compliments and I was resting  directly under the light of the window. Once I got out of bed, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to take a pregnancy test. When I was finished, I put it down and walked away, not expecting anything exciting to take place. I had become accustomed to the month after month disappointment of seeing just one sad little “not pregnant” line on the test and no longer allowed myself to hype up the situation.

When I went back a couple minutes later to check on it, I burst into tears. I don’t cry often… and I especially do not happy cry.  At my absolute most happiest I have never been able to muster up tears and have never understood how other people did. Yet there I was, sitting on the bathroom floor balling my eyes out (although I’m sure the pregnancy hormones played a role). After 11 months of trying and wishing and hoping and praying, we finally got the news we’d been wanting for so long.

I hadn’t planned on telling our son right off the bat, but when he heard me crying he knew something was up and all I could do in that moment was just blurt out “mommy’s having a baby!”. His eyes got big and he pointed to my belly and asked “you got baby!?”. We hugged and I cried some more and called my husband. We had a five minute conversation before he went into a meeting and chuckled to ourselves as we recalled finding out we were pregnant with Liam. Filled with so much excitement, I continued about my day unable to sit still, happy dancing all around the house. I wanted to shout my news from the rooftop and tell the mailman and the gardeners and the neighbors.

And now here we are, about 6 weeks since we found out, and I can finally share the news with you all. The journey to this point hasn’t been an easy one but it certainly has been a happy one. I’ve been nauseas more often than not, my hormones have been all out of whack creating all kinds of mood swings and skin trouble, I have food aversions to just about everything (which has led to weeks of living off of Saltines and cereal) and my energy has been so depleted that naps have become a necessity/my bed time is usually 6pm. I’m finally justttt beginning to feel like myself again and am so ready to be heading into my second trimester.

My last pregnancy was high risk due to an incompetent cervix, which means that this pregnancy is automatically considered high risk. We will find out in the coming weeks what that will mean for us. Cervical surgery, long term bed rest, or restricted activity are all very likely possibilities that we will have to face when the time comes… but for now we are just enjoying my current state of physical freedom, hoping for the best, and taking it all as it comes.

Liam has quickly and very happily accepted the fact that there will be another little human joining us soon. Some days he wants a brother, other days he wants a sister. He has added “baby” to his nightly list of “I love yous” , he gives my already growing belly little kisses, and has expressed the sweetest concern for “how baby is going to get out of there”. He has had moments of stress about the baby playing with his toys and his feelings took a pretty big hit when he saw a package of the teeniest little baby booties arrive that weren’t for him… but in the grand scheme of things, I’d say he is pretty darn excited.

We have just recently begun to talk about how we will rearrange the house to accommodate for a whole new person. I have started purchasing some irresistible gender neutral baby items as my impatience to know the gender grows stronger and stronger. Many of my thoughts are consumed by day dreams of our growing family and what life as four will be like. I am filled with endless excitement and can think of no other word to describe my current state other than blessed. Absolutely.. undeniably.. blessed beyond belief.

So with that, this ‘whine connoisseur’ is taking a little break from the wine… I’ve got some baby growing to do.

Baby number two, joining us September 2017.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

 

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Hello 2017.

2016 was a lot of things for us. It was change. It was adventure. It was new beginnings. 

While I dropped the ball on my healthy lifestyle the last half of the year and I still have not managed to figure out how to get all the things done and simultaneously finish my coffee while it’s still hot, this year did bring its share of accomplishments and positive changes. I still am not supermom (my son has confirmed this by repeatedly telling me that he cannot see my muscles when I flex for him) and I still have not made a single trip to Target in which I left with only the items on my list… however I have added “working mom” to my list of accomplishments and I’ve finally mastered the art of making the perfect flank steak +garlic mashed potatoes.

This year brought a lot of unexpected events. Within the course of 12 months, my husband decided to change companies (and had to spend 3 months away from us training across the country), we traveled to more destinations than we ever have before, I took on a part time job, my husband managed to break 3 iphones, I had like 4 different hair styles/colors, and our son developed a serious love for telling fart jokes to as many strangers as he can. There were highs and lows as there are every year, but overall I am ending this year feeling like one of those most blessed ladies on the planet.

If I was to narrow my lessons for the year down to one all encompassing lesson, it’s probably that things don’t always go to plan… and that’s ok. I have always been a planner. I try not to let anyone see the “notes” app on my phone because there are so many lists and plans going on in there that it’s honestly surprising that I haven’t started a line graph documenting how often my son makes comments about pooping/farting or how many times a day I say “honestly”. Planning and being prepared is my comfort zone and that’s how I like it, however almost nothing that went down this year was “in the plans”. And yet what do you know… Everything turned out ok. More than ok. Life has a way of working itself out and whether I care to admit it or not… Life does not care if I made a plan for this or a plan for that. Everything happens when it happens for a reason, and while I still have no plan to stop planning, I have learned to be more accepting of when things do not happen according to my schedule.

Going into the new year, I feel optimistic… I feel excited… I feel blessed. I have a sweet/successful/super handsome/loving husband who is currently in an ongoing battle with my grandpa as to whether or not he should grow out his beard. I have a son who is absolutely taking his sweet time at potty training but says the funniest things I’ve ever heard in my life and always tells me that I’m pretty. I have a job that challenges me and keeps my mind moving and allows me to still spend most of my time at home with my family. I have a home that makes my heart happy. I have a sweet puppy that won’t stop jumping on my house guests but has the most amazing tolerance for loud three year olds that want to use her as a jungle gym. I have a small but great group of friends who thoroughly enjoy getting down with wine/cocktails whenever I need one (or five). I have family near and far that constantly remind me that I am loved (even if it’s a string of texts at 5 in the morning or comes in the form of 6 back to back snapchats). I could not imagine needing anything else as I take on this new year.

I wish you all nothing but happiness. If this year was good to you…take time to count your blessings and cary that love into the new year. If this year was bad to you…take time to count your blessings and clear your head, and shake it all off. It’s time for resolutions and positivity and optimism and all of the cheesy “new year, new me” phrases that someone is bound to make fun of you for. It’s time to take on 2017… Happy New Year my friends.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

A time for change.

For three years now, I have been a stay at home mom. Day in and day out, I have been blessed enough to have the privilege to stay home raising my little boy. Every milestone, every bad day, every good day… I have been there to see them all. When I began my journey as a stay at home mom, I never thought I would see the day where I felt like I needed more. My job was to be mommy, and that was all I could ever want.

But here I am three years later and I found myself beginning to think “what about me?”. I am a mom. I am a wife. Those are my two favorite titles and I am so proud every day to be both of those things…but I’ve reached a point where I need to have my own identity outside of those roles. I need to take care of me in order to take care of them.

Some of you may remember me writing a blog post similar to this earlier this year. I briefly tried working part time at a yoga studio before deciding that it just wasn’t for me. I happily returned to my life as a stay at home mom, thinking that I had gotten it all out of my system. I’d seen the other side of the grass, decided it was not actually greener, and told myself I never wanted to leave my baby ever again.

Until a few months ago.

My husband has been traveling so much for work lately that more often than not, he is gone about 2-3 nights a week. Sure, we sometimes travel with him. But when he’s got too much work to do or we don’t want to put our dog in boarding too often, Liam and I remain at home. I found myself having far too much free time, and with that time, I couldn’t help but feel like I could be doing something more to better how I felt about myself. Something that could not only benefit our family financially, but something that could motivate me and get my mind moving (because sometimes potty training a toddler day in and day out just isn’t quite the mental stimulation you desire).

It slowly began to dawn on me that perhaps the problem with my short lived yoga studio front desk job had not been with me being a working mom… perhaps the problem was that I was leaving my baby to do something that I wasn’t excited to be doing. I felt like I had been giving up precious time with my baby to go to a job that I had zero interest in pursuing a real future with. What I needed was a job that I enjoyed. A job that I could excel in and be proud of.

And then just like that, everything fell into place. I often find myself completely amazed at the way the universe works… The way you can throw a thought or a prayer out there and have it answered in such an obvious way.

I had been taking a long “me time” bath a couple of months ago. As I sat there thinking about what sort of job I really wanted to pursue, I found my mind continuously going back to the job that I was working when I found out I was pregnant with Liam. I worked sales, customer service, and social media for a locally based baby product company and it was a job that I truly had a lot of fun with. I knew that the responsibilities that I had at that job were what I wanted to look for in my next job, I just wasn’t sure how I would find it…let alone find something that worked into my ideal schedule. I had thought about contacting my old bosses but assumed they had filled my role long ago and wouldn’t have a spot open for me to return to.

Several days later, out of nowhere, my old boss just so happened to contact me to see if I was interested in working a convention for them. I accepted the job and before I knew it, one thing lead to the next and suddenly I had my old job back. I was able to work out a schedule with them that allows me to work from home half the time, which gives me the best of both worlds. My biggest fear in returning to the working world had been that I would have to sacrifice the time that I got to spend raising my son. The way that it worked out, I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice anything. I get to go to the office a couple days a week where I am surrounded by adults + get to focus all of my attention on the job at hand…and Liam gets to go to a great in home daycare a couple days a week where he can socialize with kids his own age. I could not have asked for a better situation and I am so incredibly thankful that this opportunity came our way because no matter how long it ends up playing out… It has made me feel like me again.

It has been a few weeks now since I have returned to the working world and so far I couldn’t feel better about the decision. Liam absolutely loves playing with the little babies at day care, and I absolutely love what I do. On days that I have to be in the office and my husband is in town, we forgo the daycare and Liam gets to spend quality one on one time with his daddy… something that very rarely happened before because I was always around.

I take a step back and look at my life each evening and can’t help but to feel completely overjoyed with the life and the opportunities that my family and I have been given. Perhaps it’s just the joyful Christmas spirit filling the air, or perhaps it’s the total uplift in my own spirit, but I couldn’t be more content and excited about what the future holds.

If you’re a stay at home mom struggling with the same feelings that I was experiencing… take control. I was in a slump for a while there and the only thing that finally picked me up out of it was my husband reminding me that this life is mine to do what I want with. Whether your inner happiness is going to come from a part time job, starting your own blog, getting involved in mommy groups, getting out of the house to go to yoga a couple times a week, or the hundreds of other possibilities… just go find it. Find whatever it is that is going to make you feel like you again and make it happen.

As Christmas approaches, I wish you all so much love and happiness. I would like to say that I will be blogging more consistently again but after saying that a good five times now, I’m going to refrain from making any promises (but i certainly plan on trying).

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

 

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