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

 

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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Bring on the holidays.

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November first is officially holiday season in my books (aka my favorite time of year) and after the busiest month of October I have ever experienced, I couldn’t be more excited to settle down and enjoy the upcoming holidays with my two favorite boys.

My husband and I moved into our new home just about two weeks ago, and we are already entirely moved in. I’m not sure if that makes us overachievers or if that just makes us crazy, but either way, it feels pretty damn good to be settled in to our new house before the holidays arrive. Other than one pretty scary fall down some stairs, my son has adjusted well. For the first several days he was incredibly confused and had a rough time sleeping, but as the days have passed he seems to have forgotten that our condo ever existed. Intrigued by the trees in the backyard and loving the fluffy carpet, he has finally embraced our new dwelling, and thankfully has returned to sleeping through the night.

Halloween brought on its share of events as well. Being the online shopping addict that I am, I spent months searching for the perfect Halloween costume for Liam’s second Halloween. The way I see it, as a parent you’ve got two, maybe three years to choose the Halloween costumes before your little ones want to take charge, so each costume has really got to count. Eventually I decided that I would be a lifeguard, my husband would be a surfer, and Liam would be a shark. As soon as I found his costume I knew he would hate it… But I also knew he’d be the most adorable grumpy little shark I ever did see. I couldn’t have been more accurate with that prediction. Halloween evening arrived and as I put my son into his shark costume, he became immediately angry. Upset that he couldn’t move around as easily as he normally could, he began throwing his body around in the most dramatic of tantrums on the floor. However, just when I was about to give up on taking him out for the night, we decided to take him to my grandmas house and he finally realized what Halloween was all about. Upon seeing other children dressed in their costumes and houses strung up with lights, his mood was instantly changed. My little shark baby began frolicking around the neighborhood trying to talk to absolutely anyone and everyone. We allowed him to have one (his first) lollipop and watched as he sunk into the couch, quickly going from 10 to 0 on the energy scale.

Following Halloween, my husband and I dedicated our weekend to getting our house into shape. The last push of the move was probably the most tiring, but it was all worth it when we were able to lay back at the end of the weekend and enjoy some drinks and quality time with friends around the new fire pit.

Which brings me to Monday and the tale of our first family trip to urgent care. About three months ago I arranged for us to have winter family photos done with our family photographer. I spent the last several weeks putting together our outfits. I got my hair done, and put Liam down for bed early on Sunday night so that he’d be in a great mood for photos. Monday morning arrived, and as we were getting ready, Liam put his hands where they were not meant to be and burned himself on my curling iron. We had left the room for just a moment, and in all of the chaos of trying to get everyone ready in time, I forgot that id left my curling iron on. The second I heard the scream I knew exactly what had happened and fear and guilt immediately overtook me. The amount of pain a mother can feel while watching her child experience pain never ceases to amaze me. After a couple of hours Liam seemed to be feeling a lot better, however after seeing the blister that ensued, my husband and I decided to take him to urgent care that evening. The doctor assured us that the wound would heel on it’s own, Liam babbled away (successfully winning the hearts of every nurse working the night shift), they bandaged him up, and sent us on our way. Luckily we were able to reschedule our photos and he hasn’t shown any sign of pain or discomfort since the initial incident occurred. I think it’s safe to say that Liam and I both learned our lesson.

It has been the most eventful past couple of weeks, and I welcome the joy and relaxation of the holiday season with open arms. My husband has got a busy month of traveling ahead, which might make life a little trickier than usual…however, equipped with a new home, new fall clothes, and a Pinterest board full of holiday ideas, I will most certainly be embracing November and the winter events to come.

Cheers,

T.W.C

 

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Who says baby boys can’t be stylish?

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If you’re a momma to boys, I don’t have to tell you that buying clothes for boys pretty much always sucks. Walking into the children’s clothing section of just about every store, the girls side takes up about 75% of the space and is overfilling with adorably stylish options, while the boys side is picked over with only a few ninja turtle graphic tshirts remaining. Upon quickly discovering this, I set out to find the best brands for catering to my stylish little dude. The first and most important thing I discovered was that internet shopping is your best friend when it comes to little boys clothing… Which works out for the best because taking a little guy shopping can be a whole journey in itself. Here is a list of my top 5 baby boy clothing websites. Let me know what your favorite baby boy clothing shops are in the comments section below!

Baby Gap: Gap is where a good 2/3 of my son’s clothes come from. If you pounce at the right time, they’ve usually got major sales going on with anywhere from 25-40% off everything. They have everything from basics to adorable button downs and cardigans, and they very rarely are out of stock of the sizes that you need. I think a lot of people avoid baby Gap because they are under the impression that it’s super pricey, but if you shop with them online and wait for the major sales (which happen at least once a week), you can snag deals just as good as you’d get at a department store. Website: gap.com

VonBon Apparel: VonBon sells my favorite baby leggings in the entire world. A lot of baby leggings tend to sag or fit awkwardly, but not VonBon! These leggings are on the pricier end of things, but with the unique patterns and organic cotton, splurging on a couple of quality pairs of leggings can be completely justified. They also sell matching organic cotton bibs and blankets. Website: vonbon.ca

Etsy: Etsy is a dream come true for the mama who wants unique trendy baby clothes without breaking the bank. There are hundreds of quality shops selling moccassins, graphic tshirts, bandana bibs, and leggings that look almost identical to some of the most expensive designer baby brands. And since I’m pretty sure your little man will never look back at his baby photos and scold you for buying him Etsy shop moccs instead of designer baby moccs, you can’t go wrong! Website: Etsy.com

Lucky Brand: I felt so.. Lucky… when I discovered the sales going on at Luckybrand.com (giving you all a free pass to make fun of me for that dorky joke). I had initially checked out the website for myself after I’d outgrown all of my jeans during pregnancy. While on the site, I decided to check out the baby section, and what a pleasant surprise it was. The baby sale section has some of the best baby sales out there. I managed to buy my son two pairs of pants and four adorable tshirts for $40. Lucky sells very few products for the smaller guys, but is awesome for boys 2T and up. Website: luckybrand.com

Loola: I came across Loola on Instagram and instantly fell in love with their unique baby leggings. While a lot of their products are geared more towards little girls, they do have some awesome baby boy items also. My son has several of their clever tshirts as well as a pair of their leggings. The leggings are so flattering and are far more affordable than a lof the the quality baby leggings on the market. Loola also regularly posts discount codes on their instagram, which only makes them even more affordable! Website: loola.bigcartel.com

Being Happily Frustrated is a Thing

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Every single night Monday through Friday, I make dinner.. we go for a long walk.. we put my son to bed. Two minutes into hitting the bed, he passes out and remains passed out until the morning. Tonight was different. You see, tonight, we had a friend over. Overcome by the excitement of seeing a face  other than mom and dad’s, my son jumped from couch cushion to couch cushion showing off for our friend. Eventually his bed time arrived, so I prepared him milk and took him to bed as I always do. Seconds after tiptoing away, the screaming began. I knew he was tired. I knew he was ready for bed. I also knew that he was filled with excitement for the small change in routine. I went to his room and decided that tonight I would rock my baby to sleep as I did when he was just a little guy. As I held him in his rocking chair, listening to the sound of his sleepy sighs, I couldn’t help but to smile at the fact that my little boy was simply so happy that he could not bare the thought of sleep. I find myself doing this constantly through out each day.. smiling at something slightly frustrating that my son does. I mean, of course I wanted my son to go to sleep. I had had a long day with him and was tired myself, and wanted him to easily fall asleep just as he would any other night… But his little baby brain was filled with so much happiness at the fact that we had a visitor. Who was I to be upset about that?

Just yesterday, my husband and I watched as my son learned to climb the couch. And I don’t just mean climb on to the couch.. I mean climb up and walk around and climb over and crawl under the couch. He will go from one end of the sectional to the other, running as fast as his little baby legs will carry him, laughing the entire way as my husband and I hold our breaths in frightened anticipation of a fall. Initially, I had told my son no. No couch, no couch, I told him repeatedly for fear of having him fall off. But then I realized that he is a baby and the couch is new and walking is new and the world is new and he just wants to explore it all. And so I let the climbing begin. I obviously monitor him, however, I let him run free for the most part… and free he runs. I have never seen that boy happier than when he pounces around on those cushions. It is scary and it was originally somewhat frustrating… but it is also adorable and for that, it makes me happy.

We have recently found that my son seems to be really working his “problem solving skills” as well. He has had an obsession with the light switch for his closet since he could see what it was. For months I have watched him stand on the floor looking up at it with interest. The other day I was doing dishes in the kitchen, and decided that my son was far too quiet for my comfort levels. I went to his room and discovered that he had climbed on top of his play table and had managed to finally reach the light switch that he had longed for. My initial reaction was to lunge towards him in fear that he would fall off. My following reaction was to be absolutely amazed and proud at his newly found problem solving skills. I eventually took him down, but only after spending a few minutes standing next to him watching the pure joy on his face as he flipped the light on and off.

Then there was the diaper incident. Anything titled the diaper incident just cannot be good. Ever. My son has been struggling with a bad diaper rash recently, and my husband and I have tried our best to change each diaper within minutes of soiling. But sometimes you’re busy being a mom/housewife and you’re cooking dinner while simultaneously doing laundry and you just cannot change your babies diaper at that very second in time. So.. my son took matters into his own hands. He removed his diaper, and the discovery went a little something like…

husband: nooooooo… liam took his diaper off! Pooooooooop. Pooooooop! Hellllppppp!

You can fill in the details from there. We found ourselves so initially frustrated at the fact that he would remove his dirty diaper in the middle of the living room.. then, we realized.. it was really intelligent for him to recognize the problem and figure out what to do about it. I’m by no means saying that I find it appropriate for my son to take his dirty diaper off in the middle of the room, however, I can recognize how smart it was for him to recognize that his dirty diaper was causing his discomfort and that the solution would be to get rid of the dirty diaper. Again, slightly frustrating… but pretty freaking smart.

Since the beginning, we knew that our son would be a testy little one. He does not like boundaries, he laughs at the word no, and he enjoys doing things that he knows he shouldn’t. He has the energy of 5 babies and the charm of a puppy (along with the desire to eat out of a trashcan like a puppy). He is sometimes frustrating and nerve wracking and daring but he is also the most adorable thing I have ever seen and he fills me with so much joy that I find myself with goosebumps at the thought of how happy he makes me.

In my entire life, I would have never paired the words happy and frustrating… These were always two entirely different emotions to me. Then I became a mom. Children will test you. They will push you to your farthest limits. But they will also make you smile bigger than you ever thought possible. They will make you cry with happiness. They will make you live in the moment, and they will open your eyes to how quickly each day passes. You find yourself staring at the perfect little human that you created, and no matter how frustrated they may make you, at the end of the day, they are still your perfect little human.

Cheers,

T.W.C

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A Cali Baby is a Happy Baby

 

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     Our last family trip to California took place last year when our son was just two months old. We were new parents full of impractical and ambitious ideas as to how the vacation would go. Long story short, we spent almost the entire vacation stuck in our hotel room, completely overwhelmed by our cranky colicky newborn. This time around, we could not be more excited to fully experience southern california with our far more alert little man.
     Initially this trip had been planned as a family vacation over six months ago. As the time came closer however, my husband was asked to travel to the same area for business, so we figured we might as well extend the trip. An entire week away from home with a one year old whose favorite activity is testing the word no to the fullest extent. “Patience”, I told myself repeatedly as I mentally prepared for the trip. As I packed a weeks worth of baby diapers, toys, sippy cups, outfits, beach supplies and more, I prepared for every situation that could possibly occur. Back up outfits, backup blankies, backup wine, backup everrryyyything.
      First obstacle to be tackled: car ride. My son has hated his car seat since he was about 4 months old, so it was safe to assume beforehand that the 4 hour car ride would not be his favorite thing. I made sure to have snacks, juice, and toys within reaching distance. Between that and his nap, we made it to the halfway point without a problem. Luckily, we stopped off to visit my grandparents, which gave my son the perfect amount of time outside of the car to “reset” before heading out for another two hours on the road. This was the first time that my son ever met my dad’s parents, and I couldn’t be happier to have been able to share my son with them. We spent the entire visit playing on the same floor that I used to play on, with the same toys that I used to play with as a child. By the time we loaded our family back up into the car, we ALL needed a nap time.
     Finally arriving at our first hotel in Newport Beach, we couldn’t have been happier with our beach front room. The best part was that there was a balcony connected to the room that my son seemed to think was the best thing that ever happened. A major joy of hotel traveling is that there are so few items in hotel rooms that they are pretty much “baby proofed” before you ever get there. So between the baby proof room and the balcony, our son was one happy camper… and we all know that a happy baby makes for  two VERY happy parents. 
     Day number 2 in Newport, we decided to set up shade on the sand and have a relaxing beach morning. Relaxing.. not so much. About 15 minutes into our adventure, my son lashed out at my husbands soda can, cutting his finger on the edge. Blood.. was.. everywhere. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we came with no bandaids and there was no lifeguard on duty. As my husband ran back to the hotel, I sat on the beach trying to hold a cloth to my sons wound as he flailed around, unable to understand what I was trying to do. By the time we got the bandaid on, all of us were exhausted from the entire event and we decided to head back to the hotel and find a more baby friendly activity for the day. 
     The trip continued on, and we quickly discovered my sons newest development: screaming. Boy oh boy does that kid have a voice. I wouldn’t mind if the screams were taking place in private… I could handle private screams. But of course, his favorite place to scream is in the middle of restaurants exactly two minutes after our food arrives. He stuffs his face with as much food as he wants, then the second he’s done, he begins screaming and throwing his body around. There was not one.. not two.. not three.. but FOUR times on this trip that I had to leave the restaurant early with my son while my husband grabbed our tab and to go boxes. It was a little chaotic, but by the end of the trip I can proudly declare that we were masters at handling “the scream”.
     Our trip was full of visits with family members and friends that I haven’t had a chance to see in far too long, food that was so amazing that I was in shock when I hadn’t gained 10 pounds, and beach front hotels that made a girl feel spoiled. Driving around by myself with my son in LA while my husband was working was stressful and challenging, and by the end of the trip, I felt as though I should have won a trophy for conquering the California roads. The trip certainly had it’s ups and downs, but bumps are to be expected when traveling with a curious one year old. All things considered, it was a beautiful trip with my favorite two humans. And I mean… crawling into our own bed at the end of it was pretty great too.
     We have been going to SoCal annually since before our son was born, and I hope to make it a tradition that lives on… Three years down, many more to go.
Cheers,
T.W.C.

 

When did “discipline” become a bad word?

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When I became pregnant, I was young, scared, and paranoid that everything that could go wrong would go wrong. I ran out and bought a baby heart monitor that I would lay In bed with every night. I bought the pregnancy books and I had a new list of questions for my doctor every visit. One of my biggest ways of coping with my constant fears and questions was pregnancy chat forums like babycenter and circleofmoms. On these sites, I could find women with all of the same crazy questions and concerns as me. Not sure if that’s gas or a baby kick? There’s a forum for that. Is being this tired normal? Forum for that. Can I eat that food? Forum for that. These forums helped calm my nerves and guided me through my pregnancy complications and bed rest. After enjoying these forums so much while pregnant, I naturally turned to them as well once my son arrived, but I’ve quickly become more and more disappointed by what I’ve found on these sites.

I recently began having issues with my son while at restaurants. The second he turned one, it was as though a switch was flipped and he suddenly began acting out at restaurants in a way that was obviously disturbing to those around us. It upset me that not only was I being glared at by those around me, but even more, it upset me that nothing I did to soothe my son seemed to work. Being a first time mom, I had no idea what to do in these situations, so I went to the internet in an attempt to seek advice. Upon finding an open forum started by a mom with the exact same issue as me, I was completely disappointed with the responses I found. Fellow mothers were taking over the forum and absolutely destroying the mother who simply wanted advice as to how to teach her child to behave in a restaurant. One mothers response in particular stood out to me. She said something along the lines of “you are a terrible person for trying to train your child. Children should not be trained, they are not pets”. Excuse me? Since when is teaching your child good behavior and proper manners  treating them like a pet? Has the current generation of child raisers become that morphed in their thinking that they view discipline as an abusive practice? I would like to apologize to anybody offended by my thoughts on this matter, but I can’t, because I truly am not sorry for thinking that children should be raised to grow into respectable adults.

I am honestly nervous about the future my son will face. Raising a well behaved and respectful child is proving to be a more and more difficult task when surrounded by a world of new age parents who view teaching respect and good manners as an abusive practice. Teaching your child right from wrong.. Teaching your child how to behave in public.. Teaching your child to respect.. These are things that I feel are common sense, and by no means does teaching my child these things mean that I love him any less. While I realize that he is still young and is unable to communicate his feelings, it is my job to use my judgement to determine how to respond to the situation, and it is my job to respond in a way that my young son will understand. It is not mean to encourage my son to have good behavior… it is mean to allow him to grow up thinking that he is free to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I feel as though there is a very negative connotation tied to the idea of “disciplining” your child. Discipline does not have to be harsh and it does not have to be mean. Discipline and good behavior can one hundred percent be taught through love, respect, and understanding.

I have found that raising my child is not simply me raising my child. It feels as though there are always watchers. If I tell my child no in public, there are parents who look at me as though I am cruel. If I let me child do what he wants in public, there are parents that look at me with disgust. There is no way to please everyone, so with each day and each public outing, I am left to make a decision not for the public, not for me, but for my son. I want my son to grow in to a strong, respectable, polite man. I could choose to overly baby him now. I could choose to let him do whatever he wants. I could choose to let him call the shots. But when would that end? At what point would he suddenly become the respectable man that I wish for him to be? It does not just suddenly happen. Good behavior is something that starts young. It is something that must be taught, and it is something that takes time. So what better time to start than now? I am not “training my child like I would a dog”, as the forum mother said. I am simply teaching my child to be a good person, and I am doing my best to teach my child that in a way that he understands.

I would like to know what other moms think about this topic. I am not here to argue, and I am completely open to hearing all opinions. As I’ve said before, I am a first time mom. I am stumbling my way through parenthood and hoping I making the right turns along the way. If you have any thoughts on this matter, I would love to hear them.

Cheers,

T.w.c.

First Birthday Party attempts by a pinterestaholic.

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Going into my son’s first birthday, I repeatedly told myself “He’s one… How hard can planning his party be?”. The answer: HARD.

Part of my problem probably lies in the fact that I am a pinterestaholic. For months and months, I laid in bed pinning away on my “First Birthday” board. Because of this, my bar was set high. After changing the theme multiple times, I finally settled on a Tribal theme. If you’re anything like the rest of my family, you have no idea where I’m going with that.. so by tribal I mean arrows and dream catchers and things of that nature. Honestly, even I thought I was crazy as I attempted to put it all together, because let me tell you… tribal theme is by no means a “popular” theme at this time. So of course, I went to Etsy. Etsy has never failed me. I was able to find a grande assortment of everything I had envisioned, and as each item started to arrive, I could see my vision coming together.

Finally, the day arrived. With the help of my friends and family, we were able to pull off what was easily the best first birthday party I’ve ever thrown. Ok, it was the only first birthday party I’ve ever thrown, but it was definitely the best I have ever attended. From macaroni salad and spinach dip, to sangria and passionfruit tea lemonade, there wasn’t a person who left hungry or thirsty, and there wasn’t a baby who didn’t leave completely exhausted. A party that produces an excellent nap time can never be a bad thing, right?

My husband and I had a tornado of a mess to clean up the following day, but we could both agree that it was completely worth it. Next year’s 2nd birthday party will be a whole other adventure… Good thing I’ve got a whole year to prepare!

Cheers,

T.W.C.

First year reflections

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My son’s first birthday is just a week away, so of course I’m feeling pretty darn sentimental. As he attempts to tackle my laptop, I can’t help but to be amazed that the tiny 6.5 lb boy that I brought into this world, is now walking around the house attempting to dig goodies out of the trashcan and destroy as many books as possible.

As his first birthday draws nearer, I find myself holding him for a few minutes longer each night before putting him in his crib. I stare at his tiny little baby feet and his plump baby thighs and I think of all of the grand hopes that I have for his future.

I hope that my son loves. I don’t mean that I hope that he loves his mickey mouse doll or that he loves going to the park. I mean that I hope that he grows up with the ability to truly love another human being with all his heart, and I hope that he has the strength to walk away from those that don’t love him back the way that he deserves.

Ihope that he surrounds himself with the right people. Looking back at my life, I often find myself wondering what path I would have gone down had I had different friends. The quote “you are who you surround yourself with” always comes to mind. The quote has always bugged me a little because I would like to think of myself as an individual who makes my own choices, however one of those choices IS who you surround yourself with. I strongly believe that I made the worst choices in my life when I was surrounded by the wrong people, and I made my best decisions when I was surrounded by happy, successful, and supportive people. I hope that my son has the ability to recognize who the “right” people are, and that he chooses people that will encourage him to be a good person.

I hope that my son is a hard worker. My husband and I often talk about how we do not want our son to be lacking of anything. We want to provide him with the best education, to get him involved in sports and activities, and we want to show him the world. I feel that there is a very fine line between providing for your child and spoiling your child, and I hope that my husband and I can raise him in a way that he knows that he can have the world, but he is not entitled to it.

I hope that my son is respectful. I hope that he grows to be a man of admiration. I hope that he is emotionally strong and level headed. I hope that he learns from his mistakes. I hope that he is charismatic and I hope that he is polite.

Most of all, I hope that we can teach our son to be all of these things. My biggest fear about having children was always the fear of being a bad parent. My son is only one and I feel as though I have already been faced with so many decisions regarding how I want to raise him. There are thousands of parenting “methods” out there, but I am beginning to feel more and more each day that the only “right” method is your own. And so I go into each day doing my best to demonstrate all of the things that I want my son to be. Children learn by example, and the best I can do for my son is be the example that he needs me to be.

My son will be one next week, and I am so very proud of who he is already becoming.

Cheers,

T.W.C.