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

 

Processed with VSCO with m3 presetProcessed with VSCO with m3 presetProcessed with VSCO with m3 presetProcessed with VSCO with m3 presetProcessed with VSCO with m3 preset

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.

 

img_3144img_3148img_3150img_3147img_3145img_3149img_3146

If we’re being honest.

I’ve never been a big fan of change. I’m a creature of habit, a lover of routine. I take comfort in familiarity and am all about my planning and my schedules. It may sound boring, but it’s what works for me. Since my son was born, my family and I have settled into a groove that has worked for us and life ran pretty smoothly.

With my husbands job switch, that all changed. Going into this, we knew what to expect and decided that it was worth it. There would be three months of out of state training during which we would live separate lives thousands of miles away from each other. After returning, my husband would be working from home for the first time ever and instead of traveling to his previous territories for business, we would now be traveling to Arizona. We knew what we signed up for, but I don’t think either of us fully understood just how hard all of it would actually be on our family. Sometimes I can’t help but to feel as though our perfectly put together puzzle was taken apart and all jumbled up, and now we are left with entirely different puzzle pieces to form a new picture with.

None of this is a bad thing whatsoever, it is simply a different thing. While we are so excited to begin our traveling with this new company and we are so excited to settle into a life where my husband gets to work from a home office, it has not been an easy road. Three entire months away from the man that I have never spent more than 3 days apart from has easily been one of the most trying experiences of my life. There are visits for a couple of days every other weekend, but its just that… visits. Visits that never feel long enough. I cannot even begin to tell you how often I fantasize about the day that he comes back home to us, not for a visit, but to stay for good. To settle back into our home and our life together. To settle into a new routine, a new groove, a new normal.

We have both talked a lot about how this time apart feels pretty purgatory-esque. He’s away training, unable to actually start up new business ventures until he’s finished. I’m at home with our son, unable to fully settle into a new way of life knowing that once he’s home, everything will change again. The entire summer has just felt like the longest wait of my life.

It’s safe to say on any given day of the week that at some point I’m having a mild emotional breakdown. Going from co-parenting with the best most helpful spouse around to solo parenting entirely on my own 100% of the time has been a shock and a total roller-coaster. Like, I’m talking the craziest roller-coaster the amusement park has to offer. Mind you, all of this came in the midst of the terrible twos transforming into threenagerhood, or as my friend informed me the other day “the trying threes”. My son’s new favorite hobbies include having meltdowns over simple statements like “you can’t have ice cream for dinner”, as well as jumping off of the dining table and climbing up onto the kitchen counter (claiming that he is “rock climbing”, duh). I am fairly certain that he shows all signs of being a future extreme sports star, which isn’t exactly comforting for this overprotective mama. These days, I consider it an accomplishment worthy of a trophy (or maybe like…a free pedicure)  if I manage to get through an entire five minute shower without him destroying something and I’ve become accustomed to warming up my dinner a good five times before I actually have a moment to finish it. This blog post has been in the making for a good 3-4 weeks now and is only finally happening because I’ve been blessed with a small miracle called “my kid has decided to nap every day this week”. Then of course, right when I am at my wits end and about to finally suck it up and hire a babysitter to take him off my hands for a while, he snuggles up next to me and gives me the sweetest cuddles. He kisses my forehead, tells me he loves me, falls asleep holding my hand… and just like that, all is forgiven and I am ready to brave it out another day.

Perhaps the only few things getting me through this incredibly difficult stretch are my occasional weekends with my husband, really good friends, and visits from my grandparents. At the end of a long day, a wine night and adult talk has a way of totally renewing my sanity. In the middle of a rough day, lunch from my grandma has a way of just lifting my spirits (those cafe rio salads are magical I tell you). And at the beginning of an already exhausting morning, coffee with my grandpa while he goes on and on about politics/his homeland in Italy has a way of distracting me in the best way possible. I’ve found during this time that the only way to get through this is to count the small achievements and to focus on still doing things for myself sometimes, even if that just means curling up on the couch with a pint of gelato and binge watching bad reality tv for two hours after my son has gone to bed.

Beyond the difficulties of parenting on my own, there has been the obvious difficulty of living so far away from the man that I have always had such a deeply close connection with. We understand each other better than anyone on this planet. He’s my best friend, my partner, my love. Distance sucks.  Feeling as though we have had two different lives this summer sucks. I will never have a true understanding of what his life and training in Ohio has been like and he will never have a full understanding of what my life as a solo parent has been like. The best we can do is focus on communication, understanding, and always always always loving each other through it.

Our mantra through all of this has been “this is just temporary”. We like to envision ourselves a year from now, settled into our new way of life, looking back on this time and laughing at how dramatic we were to feel as though it would never end. I am fully aware that it could be worse. It could be longer, there could be no weekend visits, there could be far less opportunities to talk on the phone. All across the country right now there are military wives with deployed husbands that are going through a far more difficult experience than I probably will ever know. There are single moms that do what I’m doing day in and day out with little to no assistance. This experience has given me the utmost respect for these strong women, that’s for certain.

We are officially two and a half months into this training with only a couple more weeks remaining. Mid August, my husband will return home briefly before heading out to shadow for a couple more weeks. And with that, it will all be over. He will be fully trained for this new and exciting position, he will be living back home, we will be traveling on business adventures to Arizona… together.

With each day I find myself breathing a little easier knowing that we have almost made it. This summer certainly has not been what I’d had in mind, and while it may have been far from easy, it did come with its share of experiences. It has allowed me to strengthen my friendships. It has reinforced the importance of communication and being open and honest with my emotional struggles. It has taught me that I’m a pretty badass mom. It has taught me that no matter what total curveballs life may throw at me, I will deal with it and I will be ok. It has given me time to become a more creative parent and to work on my parenting techniques. Most importantly, it has reminded me that no matter where my husband is in the world, our love will always get us through. No matter how hard this has been for both of us, and no matter how much has changed this summer, the one thing that has never changed is the crazy amount of love that I feel every time I hear my husband on the other end of the phone (Yeah yeah yeah, I know that sounds so cheesy and sappy but it wouldn’t be us if it wasn’t).

This summer took me far out of my comfort zone to say the least, but we have finally arrived at the final stretch and we are SO close to creating a new “normal” for our family. 2.5 months down, 2 weeks(ish) to go. In my husband’s words, “This has been hard, but it has not left us shaken”.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

 

IMG_5531IMG_5348IMG_5257IMG_5162IMG_6079IMG_5858IMG_5205IMG_4985IMG_4390IMG_5968image4-3IMG_6103image1-4IMG_5997image5-3IMG_5934IMG_5837IMG_4148

IMG_4147

Three.

We’ve officially got a threenager on our hands and he certainly seems to have gotten the memo. With all the attitude of a teenager packaged into a toddlers little body, that kid  has been giving me a run for my money these days. With his new age has also come a whole new world of vocabulary and while he thoroughly enjoys arguing with just about everything that I say, I cannot help but to burst out laughing at half the sentences that he manages to put together. One moment the kid has got me on the verge of fuming, the next moment he’s squeezing my face saying “mama, love you soooooooo much!” and in those moments, all I can think is that motherhood is the most amusing and beautiful journey I’ve ever been on.

To celebrate three, we hosted a brunch themed birthday party. I’m fairly positive that Liam would be perfectly down for eating turkey bacon and donuts at every meal for the rest of his life if I let him, so I figured nothing would make him happier than a house full of his favorite people and a table full of breakfast.

I centered the decorations around shades of blue with silver/metallic accents. As always, with the help of Etsy I found a donut banner here for the photo backdrop, and I also found the cake topper and drink stirrers here. For the photo backdrop I used a metallic tassel garland that I found on Amazon.

For food, donuts were obviously the star of the show. I ordered a variety of gourmet  styles from PinkBox donuts, 80% of which were gone in the first hour. I tell ya, say the word “donuts” and people come ready to eat their weight in sugar. Of course there was also turkey bacon–three entire jumbo packages of it because well, people like their bacon just as much as they like their donuts. Keeping with the brunch theme, rather than filling the cupcake stand with cupcakes, I filled it with blueberry muffins and a spinach-artichoke crustless quiche (Pinterest recipes for the win). I made pancakes and as much as I would love to say they were from scratch, given the mass quantity of pancakes that I needed to whip up real quick, I got shake and pour Bisquick (which ended up being such a lifesaver time-wise). To top it all off we had sausage patties, my family’s traditional super chocolate cake, and a bunch of fruit.

No birthday brunch is complete without a mimosa bar for the adults, which is always a hit. We stuck strawberries and raspberries on the drink stirrers, had grapefruit juice and orange juice to offer, and an ice bucket full of champs.

Activity wise, I was able to find the perfect sized kiddie pool on Amazon that we put in the backyard along with water guns and a water table. Put a bunch of kids in a backyard with multiple water activities and they’re happy for hours, it’s awesome. Luckily the weather was on our side and the backyard was actually really comfortable to be in, which is almost unheard of for Vegas in July.

Most importantly, my son had the best time ever. So many of his favorite people were able to make it, he had like 3 donuts and a stack of turkey bacon to himself, and our living room was covered in new toys for three days straight.

This house officially has a three year old, and we are so excited to see the new developments that come with this age.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

IMG_5638

IMG_5838IMG_5839IMG_5840IMG_5841IMG_5842IMG_5639IMG_5845

Newport Beach 2016.

At 3 months old, we took our son to Newport Beach for the first time. I was so excited for him to breathe in the ocean air and listen to the sound of the waves at the same beach that I had spent so many summers at as a child. Being a wee little newborn however, he mostly cried the entire time and we packed up and left about 20 minutes into the whole experience. Sadly, our beach ventures have gone pretty much the same way every time since then, with our son either crying, whining, or trying to run away from us the entire time. This time however, was different. Finally old enough to appreciate all that is Newport Beach, the little dude ran around playing in the sand as happy as could be and has even asked to go to the beach several times since we left.

This trip was a major reminder of how blessed we are to travel so regularly as a family. I think I often get overwhelmed by all that goes into traveling with a young child and I forget to stop and simply be thankful for the experience. With the calmness of this trip, my husband and I were mostly able to sit back and watch as our son happily ran around exploring his surroundings. This kid has experienced places and things that I never could have imagined providing my child with, and I am forever thankful for the opportunities that my husbands job has blessed us with.

We stayed at The Island Hotel Newport Beach and just like our last stay there, it was everything we could have wanted. This time we had a corner ocean view/balcony suite, which was perfect for our family and gave us enough space to not drive each other crazy. The hotel has a beautiful pool with an outdoor bar, is a five minute drive from the beach, has some of the sweetest staff members we’ve ever encountered….And don’t even get me started on the delicious patio breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant-Oak Grill (ordering a round of mimosas is a must).

After a couple days of beach going, swimming at the pool, and walking around fashion island (probably a few too many times), we capped off the trip by visiting a few of my sweet family members in the area, who even babysat Liam so that we could end our trip with a baby-free dinner at one of our favorite spots in Irvine (The Lazy Dog). Our time in Newport had a little bit of everything and was certainly one for the books. It’ll be rough topping such a beautiful trip…but you can sure bet we will try!

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

IMG_1860IMG_2076IMG_2010IMG_2074IMG_1861IMG_2069IMG_2070IMG_2009IMG_2041IMG_2034IMG_2036IMG_2075IMG_2067IMG_1739IMG_1782IMG_2038IMG_1977IMG_2031IMG_2072

Nervous, Excited, and Employed.

When my son was brand new to this world and could barely lift his head, I was there to hold him against my chest and remind him that he would never be alone. When he cried out in hunger in the middle of the night, I was there to feed him until he fell back asleep. When he rolled over for his first time, pulled himself up for the first time, and took his first steps, I was there to cheer him on. I was there when he tried his first bite of solids. I was there when he said his first words. I was there when he learned his colors and when he began fully verbalizing his thoughts. I was there for every single major development my son has ever made because I was blessed enough to be a stay at home mom for the first 2.5 years of his life. It has been beautiful and emotional and amazing and exhausting. But now I must part ways with my stay at home mom title and partially re-enter the working world. The adult world.

You see, as amazing as this valuable time has been, for every minute and day and week and month that have been entirely for my son- there have been just as many minutes and days and weeks and months that have not been for me (which is exactly how it should be and how I wanted it to be, so don’t mistake that as a complaint). I knew what I was getting myself into and embraced my full time job as a stay at home mom with open arms. But as this kid approaches 3, the time has come for me to get out of the house a little more often. My days are spent building train tracks and painting shapes. Potty training and meal making. Cleaning up the same messes repeatedly and trying to convince my toddler to take a nap or not put sticks in his mouth. The most adult interaction that I have in my day is the few hours that I get to talk to my husband between when he gets home from work and when we go to bed. I see my friends maybe a couple times a month and I engage in brief 5 minute conversations with the cashier at trader joes or the fellow moms at the park. I often feel as though I have forgotten how to adult, and the time has come for me to return to a world that speaks in full sentences.

It will not be easy at first. That, I know for sure. The thought of not being there at night to tuck my son into bed makes me want to cry and the fear of not being there in the moments when he just wants his mama makes my heart ache. I’ve spent the last several months talking often about how important it is for me to start getting out of the house a little more… And yet now that it is here and looking me in the eyes, it’s scary.

Change is scary. Being an adult is scary. Re-entering a working world that I have not been a part of for almost three years is scary. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it or that I can’t do it.

So starting this week, I will be working a few days a week at the front desk of a yoga studio in the evenings once my husband gets home from his job. While it’s nothing too major to many, it’s major to me. Now, not only will my time be divided between raising my son, tending my home, being a wife, and earning my college degree… but it will also be spent punching into a time clock. The thought is exhausting and I might hate it. It might stretch me too thin and it might be too hard on my family. But I also might love it. It might fit so well into our schedules that it barely makes a difference and I might meet some great new people while making a little extra side money for my family. The fact is, I won’t know until I give it a try.

So try is exactly what I am going to do. I’m going to try to embrace this opportunity. I’m going to try not to cry the first time that my husband tucks my son into bed without me. I’m going to try to have fun with it and I’m going to try to make it work.Because the fact of the matter is that I can’t teach my son to be the change that he wants to see in his life if I don’t try to do it myself.

As much as I love my boy, I had recently found myself getting increasingly antsy with the need to get out of the house. The need to change things up a little. The need to do something for myself. These needs were making me cranky and probably unenjoyable to be around (I’m sure my husband is nodding his head and chuckling in agreement as he reads this). It was confusing to me because I am so happy to be “Mama” that it took a while for me to understand why I felt it so necessary to get out of the house and not be mama for a little while. But then it dawned on me that I am human and my need for real social interaction is a natural one and that going to work and surrounding myself with adults for a few hours a week does not mean that I love my job as mama any less.

Now, 85% of my week will be spent as mama and 15% of it will be spent as the girl behind the front desk. I am excited. I am nervous. I am thankful. Thankful for the opportunity to get out there and try something new… Thankful for a husband that is being so supportive of this adventure…. and most of all, thankful to have had 2.5 years to be mama 100% of the time. That time was precious and that time is something I would not change for the world. But now it’s time to try something new. Let the adventure begin.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

IMG_9962IMG_9961IMG_0640IMG_0064IMG_0618IMG_0231IMG_0756IMG_9748IMG_0563IMG_0130

Find The Amusement In It.

The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling, and sweater season is quickly approaching! Just kidding, I live in Las Vegas and none of that is happening here. Not that I haven’t been pretending it is. Turning the thermostat down at night so that I’m freezing in the morning when I wake up… putting pumpkin spice in my coffee every morning…sipping moscow mules by the fire at night…buying a faux fur throw for the bed… Shoot I even baked a casserole last night. Fall is in full swing in our household… as long as you don’t actually leave the house and head out into the 102 degree desert known as Nevada.

Blogging has taken a back seat because as it turns out, being a student//mother//housewife//attentive granddaughter//friend//blog writer//person that occasionally needs some time to herself is really hard to do all at once. This semester has already quickly reminded me as to why I don’t take more than a couple of classes at a time and the idea of finally being a college graduate is the only reason I haven’t dropped my course load yet. But let’s be real, nobody likes talking about school for more than a couple of sentences, so moving on to other news…

I may be the 100th billion mother to say this, but I think that my kid is one of the smartest children that I have ever met. As the terrible twos temporarily subside (kind of), we have been seeing our son grow more and more into a little boy. No longer our little baby (que dramatic mommy tears), this kid is developing at lightening speed–and I’m not just talking about the giant clown feet he’s sporting these days. The other day while painting, I silently spelled out his name on the piece of paper. As I finished and before I had given any indication as to what I was doing, he pointed to it and said “Liam”. And if that doesn’t amaze you, he is able to name/recognize at least a handful of letters in the alphabet. Obnoxious braggy mom moment, I know. But I mean… he’s just so cool! I cannot be the only mom that has those moments where you just stare at your kid for way longer than what would be appropriate with anyone other than the human you created, and you watch every little movement and listen to every weird sound that comes out of their mouth and you just think… “I made that!?”.

As cool as he can be, there have also been plenty of times lately where the “I made that?!” sounds a little bit more like… “why in the world are you crawling around making dog sounds in the middle of the grocery store”. Just yesterday as we were strolling through Lowes, after having to call my son’s name at least 30 times as he tried to touch every single item in every single row of the entire store, I stood there watching him as he began rolling across the aisle. How great it must be to be two years old and decide that the painting supplies aisle at Lowes is the most ideal spot you’ve ever seen to practice your ninja rolling skills. Just as I was about to lose it on him, my husband used his awesome husband mind reading powers, nudged me, and said ‘sometimes you just have to find the amusement in it’. And with that, I decided that I think that will be the motto that carries me through this next phase of twonagerhood. Because no matter how obnoxious my screaming child running like a crazy person down the aisles of the store may seem in the moment, these are the times that I will look back and smile on when my prepubescent teenage boy begs to stay in the car while I do the grocery shopping.

This fall is going to be exciting…not just because pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks (‘basic white girls’ rejoice) or because American Horror Story comes back on TV, but also because our little man is finally at an age where he will have a much better understanding and awareness of the seasonal activities ahead. I have been longing for a family trip to the pumpkin patch, and don’t get me started on trick-or-treating. Liam may be terrified of his lion costume at the moment (which makes no sense because it’s the cutest most softest lion you’ve ever seen), but I’m sure he’ll come around once we bribe him with Halloween candy–I’m never above a good bribe when an adorable little lion cub costume is involved.

As the seasons change (eventually), I will try to keep up on my writing more…if not for you readers, for me. While I never like to turn down a good afternoon nap, it is certainly more fulfilling to ride out my yawns and pump out some words that I know I will one day look back fondly on as I remember this quickly changing time in our lives. With each season our little lion cub gets bigger, my husband and I get a little bit wiser (or so we’d like to think!), and our mental book of family memories gains a few more pages. Looking forward to seeing what this season has in store for us…like hopefully some cooler weather.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

IMG_4125 IMG_3906 IMG_3976 IMG_4155 IMG_4013 IMG_3817 IMG_4039 IMG_4205 IMG_3829 IMG_4108  IMG_4538 IMG_4509 IMG_3892 IMG_4514

IMG_4322

It takes a village.

I’ll start off with this: my kid is SOCIAL. He will talk to anyone, anywhere and wants to be friends with whoever happens to be playing at the park when he arrives. Normally this isn’t an issue. My husband and I take our son to the same park every single night, and have been since the time he was kicking around inside my tummy (during a fit of desperation, I heard swinging could induce labor… so I took to swinging nightly in my final weeks of pregnancy). Normally when we arrive at the park, my son runs up to whatever other kids are there, they become instant friends, we exchange a few friendly words with the fellow parents, and laugh as our children frolic around together. Tonight however was different. As soon as my son ran up near this particular group, the parents sent out “are you going to come get your child away from us” vibes. On any other occasion, I would admit that I may have been reading deeper into it than need be, but moments later, the group migrated to a different area of the enclosed toddler park. Still, I thought to myself “perhaps I’m being dramatic and it was just a coincidence that they wanted to move spots when my son got there”. But again, my son ran after them to try and play with their children. Moments later, the group migrated. And then again, it happened for a third time.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are times that my son can be a bit ‘in your face’ and downright obnoxious if you don’t know him. But in this particular situation, my son really had done nothing to this group other than want to play in the general proximity of them. He was not being too invasive, he was not being mean… he simply wanted to play. And yet time and time again, the mom would herd her children away from him. Finally, the mom decided that she was tired of actively keeping her children away from my son and took them to go to the big kid side of the park, past the enclosed toddler gate. However, while doing this, she held the gate open and watched as my son escaped… not saying a single word. No “hey, your little one is trying to run out!”… No “hey sweetie, stay inside here with your mommy”… and No “hey kids, hurry up and close the gate so this little guy doesn’t get out”. She allowed and watched my son run out of the gate without doing a single thing about it. My husband and I believe in watching our son from a distance and allowing him his own space to play, so we had been observing from afar. Upon seeing him make a break for it, I had to go running off towards my toddler track star of a son across the park, just barely reaching him while he was still within eyesight… but I shouldn’t have had to because she shouldn’t have allowed him that opportunity.

I’m not saying that everyone has to like my child. I’m not saying that everyone needs to allow their children to play with my child. And I’m not saying it is anyone else’s obligation to step in to parent my child. But as a fellow mother, I do feel that it should be instinct to watch out for the well being of other children… meaning that when you see a child trying to run out of the toddler gate, you don’t actively hold the freakin gate open for them to run out of sight. When I’m at a park watching children play, my first instinct when witnessing a kid about to fall, is to lunge to catch them. My first instinct when someone’s child is about to run off while they are looking in the other direction is to alert them. My first instinct is NEVER to turn a blind eye to a situation that could result in a child being hurt or lost.

I feel that the parenting community is a strong one. There is no one that ‘gets us’ like fellow parents do. We should be each others biggest supporters and we should view ourselves as a giant unstoppable team of parenting greatness, driven primarily by the hopes of creating a generation that will thrive. And yet it often feels like parenting is instead turning into a giant competition in which its every parent for themselves…whether it be a rude and unnecessary comment on a fellow mother’s Instagram (adult cyber bullying at its finest), an unpleasant glare from the mom in the grocery store who clearly does not approve of your parenting methods, or the parents at the park who (upon bringing their child to a very public place) expect your toddler to keep a 15 foot distance from them at all times.

It is important for us to remember that our children will practice what they see. Looking out for another child on the playground or giving a fellow mother a helping hand teaches our children to look out for each other as fellow human beings. I feel as though this post could become rather preachy rather quickly, so I will wrap things up… but really guys, can we just all play for the same giant parenting team? We might not all agree on what the most flattering ‘parenting team’ uniform color would be (but let’s be real, its maroon) or what discipline technique is most effective, however I think that we can all agree that we want the best for our babies. In order to give them the best, we need to show them a world that knows compassion and acceptance and love and the value of a strong community… And to do that, it truly takes a village.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

IMG_3508 IMG_3469 IMG_3598 IMG_3355 IMG_3660 IMG_3716 IMG_2961 IMG_2409 IMG_3791 IMG_2509 IMG_2886

Moms, don’t feel guilty.

I recently had the opportunity to guest blog over at Positively Oaks. To check out my post about 5 things that mom’s just shouldn’t feel guilty for, head over to:

http://www.positivelyoakes.com/blog/2015/07/29/moms-dont-feel-guilty/

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur _DSC1947

_DSC1943 _DSC1957

Some Fathers Day Words that don’t quite fit into a card.

-10

They say (whoever they are) that watching your husband be a good father is the most attractive thing he can do. They are not kidding. Not even a little bit.

My son has recently decided that 8am wake ups are simply not early enough, and that 5:30am wake ups would be a little bit more exciting. No matter what time we put him to bed, how long of a nap he had the day prior, or how much energy we allowed him to run off at the park before bed, like an alarm clock… He is up at 5:30 every weekend. The first few times that this happened, I let out a complainy little groan, rolled over, and mentally pleaded with my son to go back to bed. As I did this, my husband (who was easily just as tired as I was) hopped out of bed, grabbed my son, changed his diaper, and brought him into our room to hang out in our bed with us while we tried to fully wake up. My husband did this without me saying a word about it, and I thought to myself ‘oh man that was wonderful. I guess it will be my turn next time’. But then next time came, and again, my husband was the one to jump out of bed without any hesitation or negativity. The following weekend was the same way. And this time all that I could think to myself was ‘this guy that I married is the absolute best’.

My husband has been this way since day one. During my pregnancy he took me to get an Oreo shake each and every time I craved one, spoiled me with gifts, kept me company while I was miserable during bed rest, and he attended every doctors appointment with me. While I was in labor, he rubbed my head and did everything within his power to help (like ask the nurse once every five minutes when the epidural guy would arrive). The day we brought our baby home, you would never know how exhausted he was as he sat there holding our sleeping little Liam, staring at him with overwhelming amounts of pride. During the 5 month long period of multiple middle of the night wake ups, he made sure to help me with at least one wake up a night… Even when he had to be up for work at 7 in the morning. When he comes home from a long day of work and finds out that our son has been testing me all day, he sends me off to go get my nails done or take a bath. When the park is empty and Liam needs a playmate, my husband steps up for the job, chasing him around the park making loud ‘scary’ monster noises while Liam runs away from him squealing with joy. Through the diaper changes, and the endless messes, and the doctor appointments, and the tantrums, and the little baby colds, and learning to walk and talk and eat solid foods, my husband has been there for every single moment of it. Not because i ever once had to ask him to be, but simply because he wanted to be.

My husband is the type of man that every baby deserves as a father, and every women deserves as a husband. He makes mistakes, but does everything in his power to correct those mistakes immediately. Not even a few hours go by in my day in which he is not reminding Liam and I how much he loves us. He works incredibly hard and deals with a ridiculous amount of stress to ensure that Liam and I are taken care of, and he never stops talking about the future that he wants (and I know he will) provide for us. He is really terrible at giving back rubs that last longer than 1.5 minutes and he turns all of the lyrics to my favorite songs into parodies relating to gassy bodily functions. He puts the air in the car on full blast when it’s not even seventy degrees out and he always…and I mean ALWAYS wins the movie picking battle. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because at the end of the day, no matter how many very intentional attempts he makes at annoying me, he certainly keeps things amusing while he takes care of his people… Protects his people… Loves his people. And I am so very proud and blessed that my son and I get to be his people.

Happy Father’s Day to a man so great that I feel the desire to write a million braggy blog posts about him. My baby’s daddy, my best friend, my husband.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

-9 -4-6 -8 -3-5 -7