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.

 

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Palm Springs 2016.

My husband and I have not been on a solo vacation since several months before I got pregnant with our son. That’s almost 4 years you guys. 4 years of not one single true vacation. Don’t get me wrong… I have so much fun traveling with our son. But as every parent knows… a vacation with a toddler is rarely a true vacation. Since becoming a mom, I could not help but fantasize about a vacation in which I could sleep in until whatever time I wanted… lay out by the pool relaxing with a drink in my hand without having to keep anybody entertained… pick restaurants based on trendy atmosphere rather than the children’s menu… and so on. Well, that vacation finally came and it came in the form of Palm Springs last week.

Several months ago I got a promotional email from hotels.com, which is really what sparked this whole thing. I sat there for a few minutes thinking about how great a romantic summer vacation with my husband would be, if only we could find a convenient time. And then it dawned on me… there would never ever be a “convenient time”. Whether it be work, money, lack of babysitting, or a million other variables… it is so easy to always find a reason not to take some much needed adult time to yourself. The truth is, it will extremely rarely (in fact probably never) be easy to find someone willing to watch your super high energy toddler for two whole nights while you run off to a desert oasis to lay by the pool and drink mimosas all day with your spouse. It’s just not going to happen until you make it a priority. So, that is precisely what we did. I booked the hotel right then and there, texted my saint of a sister begging/bribing her to babysit, marked it in our calendars, and just like that… we at last had a romantic get away set in stone.

Not surprisingly, Palm Springs turned out to be everything that I needed. We spent our stay at the Ace Hotel/Pool club and couldn’t have been happier with our hotel choice. Our room had a really cool private patio entry, the decor was spot on to the bohemian desert oasis vibes of the hotel, and possibly the best part… it was about 15 steps away from the pool entrance. The great thing about Palm Springs in the summer is that it is so absurdly hot and dry that there is almost nothing to do other than relax by the pool, so the place just has vacation written all over it. I really don’t know how anybody gets anything done around there because I know I personally found myself just wanting to be in the pool at all times. The small fraction of time in which we weren’t being total sloths by the pool, we were able to check out a few other cute spots around town, like the beauty that is the Moorten Botanical Garden, as well as the stunning ‘Alice in Wonderland-esque’ grounds of Le Parker Meridian Hotel.

After that vacation with my husband, I can confidently say that every couple with kids should make it a priority to do a “no kids vacation” every so often. Whether it be to Palm Springs (which I would highly recommend) or just a fun staycation in your own city, child free bonding time is so very important. Not only did I return from the trip feeling refreshed and relaxed and ready to be a good mom again, but I also came back feeling closer than ever to my sweet husband.

And as for my son? He apparently hardly noticed that we were gone. No matter how guilty you may be feeling for leaving your little one(s) for a couple of days, the truth is, sometimes they need a change-up in the schedule and a little bit of time away from you as much as you need a little bit of time away from them. My husband and I got a relaxing vacation, and my son got some quality bonding time with his aunt, so it was really a win-win.

I have no idea when the next opportunity for another romantic little getaway will be, but I sure am happy with the time that we got. Until next time, Palm Springs.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

Santa Barbara 2016.

I have to admit that up until now, I never truly appreciated Santa Barbara. Our last trip there was a little more than a year ago. It was off season, it was cold, our son was pretty moody the entire time, we stayed pretty close to the hotel, and I never got a true taste of the area. This time was different and I can now say that I completely understand what the Santa Barbara hype is all about.

What’s great about Santa Barbara is that it’s within 40 minutes of every activity we could have ever wished to do as a family. There’s the beach, there’s plenty of diverse food options, there’s hiking, there’s wine tasting, there’s tourist attractions. I’m telling you, we could have had a whole two weeks longer and done something fun/different every day.

We stayed at Hotel Milo, which is right on the beach and is situated on some pretty stunning property. The appeal mostly ends there however and I’m not sure I would actually recommend staying there (although I’m admittedly super picky when it comes to hotels and I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love this spot). If you’re looking for an affordable property close to the water/pier with plenty of food options within walking distance, then it might be the hotel for you.

Our first day in the area, we went for a morning hike at Nojoqui Falls, which is about 30 minutes out of Santa Barbara. Super short hike, easy for kids, beautiful area, nice and secluded. Only downsides were the not so comforting mountain lion warning sign (had us paranoid the entire time) and the fact that there was no waterfall at the end… Not sure if we went at the wrong time of year for it or what, but the hike was beautiful regardless of its missing waterfall. About ten minutes from the trail head is the Main Street area of Solvang, a quaint tourist town that personally felt like it could make an interesting setting for a horror film… A unique town to say the least. We had lunch at a Nordic cafe there, then we ended the day with a swim/mimosas at the hotel pool, which was probably one of the best features of Hotel Milo.

The second day of our trip after my husbands meetings, we went on our first ever wine tasting adventure. The Santa Ynez area is covered with beautiful sprawling vineyards and is only about a 40 minute drive from Santa Barbara. After doing my research to find the most child friendly vineyard options, we ended up at the Zaca Mesa winery. I was feeling a little hesitant to bring my toddler (who regularly enjoys testing his vocal range) to a wine tasting room, but it actually ended up being totally fine. We were told people bring their kids all the time and the tasting room even had a friendly puppy to keep my son entertained. We got to try six wines, bought a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc, got some beautiful pictures of the vineyard as a rain storm rolled in, and just had an overall really lovely time. It all left me with an itch for more wine tasting and I’m totally mentally planning a trip to Napa.

The third night of our journey was spent in LA at the Hollywood Roosevelt. The epitome of ‘hip’, the hotel’s target audience is certainly not families with young children, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time and taking over the flamingo floaty at the pool.

Traveling with the little dude typically leaves me so exhausted that I need a vacation from my vacation, but this time was overall about as relaxing as you could hope for while traveling with a toddler . As Liam gets older and more familiar with travel, taking him on all kinds of adventures gets undeniably easier, and for that I am so thankful. The entire way home he begged for “hotel, hotel!”, so I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed our travels as much as we did.

Until next time, California.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

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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

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When I have kids…

“When I have kids, they will never throw fits in public”.

“When I have kids they won’t be picky eaters”.

“When I have kids they will be off the pacifier before they turn one”

“When I have kids I’m going to breast feed for at least 9 months”.

When I have kids… When I have kids… When I have kids. We have all said it or thought it AT LEAST a few times prior to poppin em out. But when they’re actually standing there in front of you screaming and throwing their body all around in public because you gave them a yellow tortilla chip instead of a blue one, anything you thought about “when you have kids” just flies out the window. Because the truth is, sometimes your kid is going to throw a fit in public for absolutely no obvious reason, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Sometimes your kid is going to refuse to eat the healthy freshly cooked breakfast you set in front of him, but will happily eat the sweet potato cereal puffs that have been sitting in his snack container for a week. Sometimes giving your kid their pacifier when it’s the only thing that will get them to sleep is the best option you’ve got, and sometimes your milk production slows down far before you’d planned it to.

Nothing about parenthood is predictable, but that’s the beauty in it. “When I have this kid, I will love him more than anything in the entire world”… I thought to myself often as I watched my son somersault around in my tummy. But it is impossible to understand or predict how overwhelmingly true that is until your little one is snuggled up next to you in bed saying “mama” as he nestles his head into your neck. Every fit, every tantrum, every ‘hand in the toilet for the third time today’ incident is instantly forgotten with one sweet little smile.

Last week while on vacation in Newport, my husband and I took our son to breakfast. The establishment was full of business folk looking for a little peace and quiet before starting their busy work days. And what a surprise… Our son spent the entire 30 minute meal screaming because he didn’t want the strawberries and potatoes that we got him. We both left in somewhat of a bad mood, only to take him back to the hotel room in which he threw another giant fit because he couldn’t play in the bathroom. Right as I hit my limit, my son started crawling around on the floor uttering the sweetest “meow” sounds I’ve ever heard, pretending to be a kitten. And just like that, I’d forgotten about all of the chaos and all of the times that I had ever been ridiculous enough to think “when I have kids, they will never misbehave in a restaurant”.

The next day, my husband had to tend to business in the area, so I decided to have a day date with my son. I found a Barnes and Nobel near the hotel, got my ice coffee, and took him to the kids section of the store. It all was going great for the five whole minutes leading up to the moment in which my son found a toy that he wanted. I told him “no”, to which he responded “BYE!!!” and took off running towards the elevator with said toy. As I went to chase him, the weight of my purse on the back of the stroller caused it to tip backwards, sending my coffee flying and giving my son just enough time to reach the elevator. I jumped into the elevator and swooped him up just before the doors closed. And yet somehow after all of that, we left the store that day with a stuffed animal in hand, despite the many times in which pre baby me thought “my kids will never get rewarded for bad behavior”. But you know what? After the elevator incident, he cuddled up in my lap for a few sweet moments of book reading…found a stuffed animal he liked… imitated the sound that he thought it made….and then nodded his head yes so very enthusiastically when I asked him if he was going to be a good boy. So yes, I bought my baby that souvenir polar bear stuffed animal (that he thinks is a cat). And what do you know… He was a perfect angel baby for the rest of our day date and that stuffed animal has been his favorite possession ever since.

My point in all of this is that in the parenting world, things don’t always go to plan. Even if you are an over the top organized planning freak like me, shit happens (literally… sometimes your kid is going to poop in their diaper just as you’re walking into dinner). Going against all of the “when I have kids…” that pre parent you ever uttered does not make you a bad parent, it makes you a completely normal parent… A completely normal parent who is learning and evolving…A completely normal parent who is doing your best… A completely normal parent who probably deserves a really long bath, an early bed time, and a pat on the back (or a rub on the back if your significant other is feeling generous).

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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02.24.15: A february update.

I should probably change my blog’s description to “occasional blogger”, since clearly blogging consistency is just not my thing. It’s not that I haven’t tried, really. It’s just that this afternoon my son woke up literally the SECOND I sat down to work on this post. Yesterday my small amount of ‘free time’ (if that’s what you would call it) was taken up doing the backed up dirty dishes in the sink and being taught by my sweet but very bossy Italian grandpa how to ‘properly’ cook chicken. The day before that was meal prep day and the day before that was errand running day and the day before that was pretend you didn’t wait until last minute to do all of your homework day and the day before that I told myself I would write this blog post no matter what… until my son decided he should dive all over my laptop… and the day before that we were on a last minute business trip in Santa Barbara. You get the gist. As much as I would love to sit down and provide updates and stories and recipe ideas and advice and all of the other fun and adorable things that super mom bloggers write about… I just have not had the time, and probably will continue to not have the time until this semester of school comes to an end.

So here we are, several long weeks since my last post. Our time has been spent partly trying not to think about the hamburgers that we could be eating instead of the turkey vegetable patties that we are actually eating. We continue to work out 6 days a week (mostly) and as exhausting as it has been, we have found much success with the p90x3 workout routine. Now personally down 12 pounds, and my husband down another 15 or so, we are finally seeing the progress that felt so far away just two short months ago. Adding green tea to our nightly routine has seemed to make a big difference in our fat burning ability and getting to bed at an earlier hour has made an incredible difference both mentally and physically. I have picked up a love and appreciation for essential oils, and although I am still stumbling my away around which oil to use for what, at least the oil diffuser makes our house smell pretty freaking good in the meantime. Keeping our goals in mind, we are pushing along. Between the focus on our healthy lifestyle and our focus on both finishing up school, we are left with very limited free time. My husband is just one class away from taking his real estate licensing exam and all that we seem to be able to think about are the exciting new adventures on the horizon. All I can say is that there are two well deserved (probably low calorie) drinks with our names on them once pool season is upon us!

In more interesting news, my son has recently added moon and night night to his vocabulary, while also getting a little bit better at not calling everything on his face an eye. He has gotten surprisingly good at following directions (when he wants to) and has figured out how to open the fridge and bring us the apple juice container when he’s thirsty. This kid has a love for the outdoors like I have never seen before, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have a backyard for him to frolic around in. Other than throwing our backyard rocks down the garbage disposal and crunching leaves all over the freshly swept patio, Liam’s favorite new past times have included dancing the most adorable of dances to any and all types of music, along with with a love for all things with four wheels. He points at airplanes and says “oooooooh!” and he can down a bowl of mac n cheese as though he’s in a food eating competition. We gave the potty a try the other day, but he thought that big porcelain bowl of water was the scariest thing he ever had to sit on… so we probably won’t be trying that again for a while.

As we enter this weekend, I look forward to my upcoming birthday celebration. I honestly could not tell you the last time that I had a night out with my friends and I am looking forward to it so very much. My blessing of a grandma is taking Liam for the night so that my husband and I can join our friends for a night of good food, good drinks, and good times. The reservations are set, my outfit has been picked, plans for the taxi that we will inevitably need have been made, and my nail appointment has been scheduled. All that comes between me and my celebration of 23 years of life is a few long week days, probably several rounds of dishes, a couple of homework assignments, and some dreaded workouts. But hey, it will make the days go by quicker… maybe? Kind of? Sort of? Probably not, but one can hope! In the meantime I will continue to fantasize about the cheat donut that I am going to consume the second I wake up on Saturday.

I’ve held my son hostage in his high chair for a few minutes too long now, and the second his strawberries are gone, I know the protesting will begin. With that, I will wrap this up and return to my mom duties/master chef dinner preparing duties with the pride of a blog post finally done!

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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01.28.15

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“Sweet Caroline! Dun dun dun. Good times never seemed so good!”. At that point my mom would shout “so good! So good!” as she threw her arms in the air, imitating what happened when the song played live in concert. She did the same thing every.single.time. it came on (Which I might add, was about four times a week thanks to the mix cd that she insisted I make her). To this day, I can’t help but to think of her each time I hear it. The first few years after her death, the song was a trigger for instant tears. However, with the 6 year anniversary of her death upon us, the song finally brings me the same amount of nostalgic joy that it once brought her.

My mom was a beautiful person. She was a hopeful romantic and she was a dreamer. She once wrote on a very official debate tournament semi finals ballot that her reason for voting the way she did was because the winning team ‘had more spunk’ than the opposing team. She would drive 10 laps around a parking lot if that’s what it took to get a prime parking spot, and her broccoli cheddar soup would put Panera bread to shame. She was not perfect, but she found so much joy in the silliest things, and I know she would have been the most loving grandma to my son.

She was never able to meet the love of my life, and she was never able to meet my baby boy. For that, there will always be some sadness. But I can feel her in our lives each and every day. When my son points to her photos, and when I turn the car radio on to one of her favorite songs, she is there. When I am scared or nervous or lost, I remember the silly pieces of advice she would give me, and she is there. When I snuggle up with one of her throw blankets or a family member shares (an always hilariously ridiculous) story about her, she is there. The fact that my mom will never have the chance to hold my son or to hug my husband is a fact I had to face long ago. But she is there in spirit and memory each and every time that I need her to be, and that is enough.

So on this sad day, I am going to choose to be thankful for the precious years I had with her. I am going to be thankful for the love that she put in my heart and the lessons that she taught me both before and after her death. I am thankful for the fond memories that I can share with my husband and son, and I am thankful for the truly amazing family members that have been there for me in the moments that she couldn’t be.

Six years ago today, the party in heaven got a little bit crazier. With terrible dance moves, rum/diet coke in hand, and surely wearing a hot pink sparkly dress, my mom made her heaven debut, and the world lost a special woman too soon. Flip flops in paradise, rest in peace mama.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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Taking California. Again.

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Going on a family trip to Southern California may not have been the best thing for my diet, and it certainly was not the best thing for my workout schedule, but it was great for my soul, so it all balances out, right?

Going into this trip, I felt like I needed to get out of Las Vegas… like, yesterday. I am not a winter person. At all. I enjoy the winter months from Thanksgiving until New Years, and as soon as those winter events have come to an end, my brain moves into summer mode. So in other words, this trip came at a much needed time. Between a memorial service for my great grandma in San Clemente, and my husband needing to take care of some business in Santa Monica, this trip just fell into place perfectly.

We spent the first portion of our trip at the Ocean View hotel in Santa Monica. Directly across from the beautiful beach/Santa Monica Pier, and right up the street from the Third Street Promenade, we couldn’t have asked for a more prime location. I have seen master bathrooms larger than our hotel room and the walls were so thin that it sounded as though each passing hotel guest was standing in our room… but when you can open your balcony doors to the smells and sounds of the ocean, you are quickly reminded that there really isn’t much to complain about.

When my husband tended to business and meetings during the day, I took my son on long walks on the Santa Monica bluffs over looking the ocean. When my husband was done working, we strolled through some of the most stunning beach neighborhoods that I have ever laid eyes on, we spent time on the beach as the sun set, and we went to some of the most delicious restaurants in the area. We did have a breakfast incident in which Liam threw his sippy cup at my coffee cup, sending coffee all across the table and into my lap… But hey, after the mess was all cleaned up my avocado/mushroom/goat cheese omelet was so great that it was impossible to care too much.

As beautiful as Santa Monica was, after several awful nights of sleep due to Liam waking up from all of the noises outside, the second half of our trip was welcomed with open arms. Moving on to stay with my god mother in Irvine, our family fell nothing short of being totally and completely spoiled. Upon arriving in Irvine, my husband and I were hitting our parenting limit. Liam had been great for most of the trip, but after the bad nights of sleep and a terrible experience with him (involving 10 too many hysterical fits) at a restaurant that day, we were in great need of a break. Little did we know, my real life fairy god mother and her dear husband had already planned on babysitting Liam for the night so that we could go out to an ‘adult’ dinner. Who knew how relieving a two hour dinner could be! We found a lovely restaurant down the street, shared some delicious sangria, then came back to a sleeping baby and the good company of my amazing God mother and her family.

The following day, we attended a lovely memorial service for my great grandma in San Clemente. At my cousin Kelly’s beautiful home overlooking the ocean, the family came together to remember our great Gammy and to celebrate the long life she lived. Liam found joy in chasing a bunch of the little girls around the house, while simultaneously draining my husband and I of the small amount of energy that we had left.

Returning to Irvine that night, my god mother had one more grand surprise up her sleeve: a hot tub date for my husband and I in her backyard. Not only did she create the loveliest ambiance of candles and light fixtures surrounding the hot tub, but she also put Liam to bed AND treated us like royalty, bringing us drinks and Liam updates as we enjoyed the peace of the perfect California night.

Heading home on Sunday morning, we were feeling relaxed, thankful, loved, and pretty freakin stoked about the lack of traffic. Our trip was everything we needed it to be. We got to relax, my husband was able to secure some important meetings, we were able to spend quality time with our loved ones, and Liam was better behaved than we’ve ever seen him be on a trip. The year has been off to an interesting start to say the least and it has already presented its fair share of challenges. However, sitting in the comfort of our home, relaxed and refreshed, I can’t help but to feel as though we are one very blessed family.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

 

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Mission Get Hot: week two.

Our journey started almost two weeks ago. I am down 4 pounds, 2 inches, and can already see a major change (as in I finally don’t look 5 months pregnant before I go to bed each night). That being said… All I have been wanting is a cheeseburger.

Week one was the easy week. Feeling pumped and excited, I whipped out new recipes left and right and looked forward to working out each day. Going into this week however, I had a temporary crash. Sunday evening, after 10 days straight of workouts and home cooking every single meal, I found myself completely worn out. I did not want to cook. I did not want to meal prep. I did not want to drink another fruit smoothie or even look at another piece of broccoli. I did not want to move a single limb in my body. I just wanted to sit on the couch gorging myself on hamburgers and pizza for the rest of eternity.

That’s where my husband comes in. As I sat there obnoxiously wallowing in my hamburger fantasies, my husband reminded me of all of my success so far. He told me he would make me a healthy meal so that I didn’t have to cook yet another one. He told me my feelings were completely normal and understandable at this point in our journey, but he also told me that I could not let those feelings consume me. In other words, my husband was a saint.

Eventually, after lots of pep talk and hugs, I got past my hour of weakness. I woke up on Monday feeling ready to face another week of hard work, and feeling grateful for the community of support I have on this mission. While I wasn’t proud of my moment of weakness, I can also pat myself on the back knowing that I made it through the first one, when just a few weeks ago I would have caved.

Steel cut oats, berries, grapefruit, eggs, pistachios, broccoli, kale, salmon, and brown rice have taken the place of fast food, cheeseburgers, French fries, pizza, and beer. I have found an array of Pinterest recipes that creatively allow me to sneak in the not so tasty nutrients that my body needs and I have made it a priority to read up on nutrition facts and to become more familiar with the foods that I am putting into my body. With each day of workouts I have found that I am becoming stronger and stronger, and each time I look in the mirror I am becoming happier and more confident.

Just 2 weeks down, and 10 more to go, I am sure I will continue to have moments of weakness. I’m sure my husband will have moments of weakness. But in those moments, we have each other and the vision of our healthy and fit future.

And with that, the journey continues on.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

 

wild Alaskan salmon marinated in Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce, brown rice, green onion, and broccoli

wild Alaskan salmon marinated in Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce, brown rice, green onion, and broccoli

Crustless quiche made with eggs, almond milk, spinach, red bell pepper, onion, and  thin layer of mozzarella cheese.

Crustless quiche made with eggs, almond milk, spinach, red bell pepper, onion, and thin layer of mozzarella cheese.

stovetop popcorn made with organic popcorn kernels and coconut oil

stovetop popcorn made with organic popcorn kernels and coconut oil

Meal prep: broccoli, brown rice with green onions and pepper, ground turkey patties made with organic ground turkey, green onion, spinach, yellow onion, red pepper flakes, and oregano.

Meal prep: broccoli, brown rice with green onions and pepper, ground turkey patties made with organic ground turkey, green onion, spinach, yellow onion, red pepper flakes, and oregano.

blackened organic chicken breast, yellow squash, zucchini, and steamed green beans.

blackened organic chicken breast, yellow squash, zucchini, and steamed green beans.

Chicken tacos made with: corn tortillas, low fat mexican cheese blend, cilantro, onions, organic chicken (seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, chille powder, and cayenne pepper), homemade quacemole, homemade chipotle sauce

Chicken tacos made with: corn tortillas, low fat Mexican cheese blend, cilantro, onions, organic chicken (seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, chilli powder, and cayenne pepper), homemade guacamole, homemade chipotle sauce

grapefruit with a smoothie containing: frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, strawberry greek yogurt, banana, oats, and orange juice.

grapefruit with a smoothie containing: frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, strawberry greek yogurt, banana, oats, and orange juice.

Mission: get hot.

The new year is upon us and this slacker mommy is finally back to blogging. While my blog took a back seat in the farthest row possible during the holiday season, I now welcome it and the new year with open arms.

I have never been a ‘new years resolution’ type of girl. Always taking the pessimistic route, when asked what my resolution was for the year, I would come up with a sassy answer along the lines of ‘to not eat any shellfish’ (I am allergic to shellfish and hate the stuff anyways). I approached the entire thing wrong, thinking that if I set no goal for myself, I couldn’t disappoint myself when I couldn’t accomplish said goal. This year however, inspired by my husband’s incredible ability to achieve his wildest goals, I set myself a goal. To put it at it’s simplest: get healthy, fit, and well… get hot.

I went into pregnancy weighing 107 and wearing a size 0 or 2, but I was by no means healthy. I ate McDonald’s once a week, drank a dr pepper once a day, and couldn’t even tell you what the last fruit I ate was. Since having my son, I have drastically modified my ways, however I still have not been consuming in a way that any nutritionist would approve of. I have lost very little of my birth weight and every poor food choice I make seems to haunt my remaining little baby pooch for weeks to come. Wasting money on poor food choices and fattening alcoholic beverages has led to very minimal baby weight loss, which in turn has led to a very low confidence. In the 19 months since birthing my son, I have done several juice cleanses and diet modifications, however I have not fully committed to any of them. My exercise routine consisted of a few squats and push ups every 3 or 4 days, if at all… And I wondered why I wasn’t losing any of the baby weight? I was living a lifestyle that was simply not sustainable long term for my health or for my bank account. It took talk of New Years resolutions, Instagram creeping some super hot fitness models, and several conversations with my husband and close friends to realize that now is the time for some big change.

In the least overdone and cliche way possible, I mean it when I say that 2015 is our year. My husband and I are committed to not only getting the ‘hot bods’ we’ve always wanted, but we are also committed to living a healthier lifestyle. Knowing that I will be on bed rest for the entire duration of my next pregnancy, I have always said that I cannot get pregnant with baby #2 until I have lost all of my previous baby weight. Getting pregnant before I have achieved that goal would most likely cause me to gain so much weight that I fear I may never be able to come back from it. With that being said, I am not only losing this weight so that I can look good for my husband/myself, and I am not only losing this weight so that I can demonstrate the importance of a healthy lifestyle to my son…but I am also doing this so that I can bring another little human into this world.

After a beautiful holiday season filled with cooking the largest most delicious meals, a Park City vacation in which diet was the least of our concerns, stuffing our faces with chocolates, and having a few too many beers, I can confidently say that I am ready for this change. My body has been begging for this change, and it is about time I listen to it. This year I will prove to myself that I am capable of accomplishing my goals. I will prove to myself that New Years resolutions CAN be fulfilled, and I will prove to everybody else that it is possible to be in better shape after a baby than you ever were before.

To put our plan into action, my husband and I invested in the newest p90x. I was always skeptical of workout videos prior to meeting my husband, however, he has completed the p90x program in the past and was very successful with it (that is, until I got pregnant and he joined me in my endeavors of eating for two!). Two days into the workouts it already became very clear to me that if done right, p90x will be very successful at whipping us into shape… By ‘it became very clear to me’ I mean that I have not been able to walk up the stairs without wincing for 3 days straight. In addition to our 7 day a week workouts, we will: go for long walks in the park on weekends, be drinking the suggested daily amount of water intake, going to bed earlier, drinking no alcohol (with the exception of the occasional glass.. Or 2..of red wine of course), eating no fast food, and we will be sticking to a very strict meal plan that contains primarily fruits, veggies, and protein.

Everybody may be seeing a little less of us. I may not be the ideal person to ask to go grab a burger with and I may not want to drink as much at social gatherings. I may decline an invite because I’ve got to work out, and I might not hang out as late because I’ve got to get my 8 hours of sleep. Call me boring, but I’ve got a bigger goal in mind. A goal that will lead to a healthier me, a more plentiful savings account, a husband who is even more attracted to me than he was when we met, a son who can see me as a healthy role model…and eventually this goal of mine will lead to Baby #2. With the goal on my mind, a positive outlook, a supportive community of friends/family, and a fridge full of meal prepped food containers, I WILL make 2015 my year. Let ‘Mission: get hot’ begin.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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