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

 

Thanks.

To say that the last couple of weeks have been exhausting would be an understatement. Raising a puppy and a toddler at the same time was a much larger task than I had mentally prepared myself for and downtime is currently a thing of the past.  I’ve found myself going full blown embarrassing stress attack mode over things such as: the dog playing too aggressively with my sons favorite/irreplaceable stuffed animals… the dog and my son tumbling each other all over my feet as I’m trying to make dinner… the dog biting holes in about 6 pairs of my son’s socks. All should really just be slightly annoying occurrences throughout my day, and yet each one has just…been…GETTING to me. At one point I even turned to my husband and said “I am confident that this is how people go certifiably insane”. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself “dang, this girl is dramatic”. Welp, I would have to agree with you. And yes, I know I signed up for this the moment I decided to bring a puppy into our home. That being said… each incident built up and up and up and my amount of sleep was less and less and less. NOT a good combination to say the least.

As all of this has been going on, I’ve been so caught up in my stress and exhaustion that I have not once sat down and thought about all that I have to actually be thankful for. I live my life by the motto that you will receive back the positivity and good vibes that you send out into the universe. Every day (usually while doing chores) I take about five minutes to simply think about all that I have to be grateful for and thank our higher power for everything I have been blessed with. So, not having done so in a while, there’s nothing like Thanksgiving to bring me back to earth and slap me in the face with a big ol’ serving of grateful pie (does that even make sense?).

I’m thankful to have a roof over my head, but beyond that, to have such a beautiful roof over my head (although the actual roof itself is covered in pigeon poop usually). I’m thankful for a husband who takes care of me and our son in a way that is beyond the wildest dreams that I could have ever envisioned for my future. I’m thankful for my son, his good health, and his loving spirit. I’m thankful for a fridge that is always full of my favorite foods and a pantry that never runs dry. I’m thankful for the many loving family members that we are surrounded by who love us so incredibly selflessly. I’m thankful for Coffee Bean. I’m thankful for tacos. I’m thankful for wine and cheese, of course. I’m thankful for the many ways in which my husband’s job blesses us, from stability to traveling opportunities. I’m thankful for a functioning vehicle. I’m thankful for my education opportunities (even if this semester has been jam packed full of way too many writing assignments). I’m thankful for Bare Minerals and long baths. I’m thankful for our quality group of caring and often incredibly loud friends. I’m thankful for our pup, no matter how many pairs of socks she decides to destroy. I’m thankful for waking up every day, happy and healthy. I’m thankful for the beautiful life that I have been blessed with.  Very, very thankful. Today, every day, always.

A very happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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Two years down, a lifetime to go.

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I’ll be honest… Its hard to talk about my husband or my marriage without feeling as though I’m either bragging or attempting to write a Nicholas Sparks novel. But today is my anniversary and I have officially been married to my husband for two years, so I think on this occasion I’m entitled to a few paragraphs of shameless boasting.

2 years. 730 days. 24 months. Of long walks in the park talking about the future we are building together. Of date nights at the neighborhood bar when the responsibilities of parenting became temporarily overwhelming. Of traveling to destinations that would house some of our most special memories. Of little tiffs that we would later tease each other about. Of growing into adults that we can be proud of.

In these two years of marriage, I’ve learned that communication is always necessary and is the key to never having an issue escalate to the level of being a fight. I’ve learned that compromise can go a long way and that back rubs can mitigate absolutely any negative energy, always. I’ve learned that typically the best strategy to silencing your husband’s annoying song parodies is to sing along… or better yet, to out annoy him. I’ve learned that the small things can often mean the most and that dreaming together is the most effective way of creating your reality.

Most of all, I’ve learned that marriage is easy if loving each other is your biggest priority. I often find articles popping up on my various forms of social media with headlines like “10 things you could be doing better in your marriage!” or “5 things your spouse really wants you to say!”. But the reality is that there is not a magical list and there are no secrets. If loving each other and treating each other with love and respect is your biggest priority, you will never need a cheesy buzzfeed article to steer you in the right direction.

I know we’ve only been married for two years and haven’t yet earned the title of “Marriage Gurus” but what I can say is that I am pretty darn proud of who we are as a married couple. The man playing so happily with our baby in the bathtub right now is my best friend on the entire planet. He knows exactly how I like my breakfast sandwiches and always lets me steal sips of his water when I forget to bring my own glass up to bed. He can sit by the fire pit with me in our backyard for hours and never run out of things to say. He takes me on date nights regularly and no matter how much he hates Target trips, always lets me drag him there for a quality spending spree. He shares my love for cat/dog videos, interior design, and prohibition era tv series (all two of them…). He believes our home should never go without fresh flowers and he is totally just as partially ocd as I am. He thinks my Italian sass is funny and understands that I take my online shopping hobby very seriously. He is one of the smartest most ambitious people I’ve ever known and he protects his family with the fierceness of a giant pack of well trained german shepherds. He is the prince charming of a man that many believe can only be found in fairy tales.

Today makes two years of marriage, with many more to go. Happy Anniversary to the man that made me believe that love at first sight might really be a thing, that soul mates exist, and a bunch of other cheesy things that Disney movies teach you.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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Rants of a stay at home mom.

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Being a stay at home mom is such a blessing, and I am so thankful that I can be at home with my son every day. As much as it is a blessing, it is also far more of a challenge than most give it credit for. I remember while pregnant, telling my husband “being a stay at home mom is going to be easy! The house will always be clean and I will have everything done, and dinner will be on the table as you walk in the door!”.

Riiiiiighhhhht…

The most “cleaning” that gets done during the day happens when I put two dishes in the dishwasher before my son notices and comes wobbling over in an attempt to crawl inside the dishwasher. And my son LOVES helping me fold laundry… as in.. he likes grabbing the newly folded piles and tossing them all over the floor. What about during naptime you say? Naptime is for showering, answering emails, kind of trying to make myself presentable looking, trying to make food without waking my son, and on especially exhausting days, nap time is well… for napping. My son is a little ball of  one year old energy and if I’m not playing with him, staring at him, or within reaching distance of him, there.. will.. be.. trouble.

Oh but it doesn’t end there. I also work from home. I take care of all new customer accounts, processing wholesale orders, and managing social media for Ulubulu Baby Products. If you’ve spent as much time at Target as I do, I’m sure you’ve seen our products in the baby aisles. It’s incredibly difficult sometimes to be a stay at home mom while also working from home, but I have been so blessed with this opportunity and I mean, you can never have too many free pacifiers, right?

It gets better! I’m also attending college! I’m taking 2-3 online classes per semester, slowly working my way towards a psychology degree. So somewhere in between being a mom, wife, and employee, I also have to find time to be a student. Need I explain why I usually wake up exhausted?

My life has become a giant balancing act between baby, work, play, school, family, and friends. It is stressful and chaotic, but it is also incredibly rewarding. At the end of the day I might have a few emails that will go unopened until tomorrow. I might have a sink full of dishes, and a couch full of laundry loads that I just could.not.bring myself to fold. I might be tired and overdue for a pedicure. I might take a few too many days to write a new blog post, and I might only skim read my school assignment. Dinner might be 30 minutes behind schedule and missing a main food group. But at the end of the day, my son is happy, my husband is happy, and I am happy. And that’s really all I need.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

Family photos: tougher than they appear

Last weekend we finally had our family photos done! I have been planning these photos in my head for the last 7 months. Yeah yeah, don’t make fun of me. We are so very happy with how they turned out. If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in our photographer, please let me know and I would be happy to send you her way. Going into these photos, I was so nervous that my son wouldn’t behave. What do you know… he didn’t! He was so amused by the surrounding area that he did not want us to hold him, even for a second. We had a great time playing with him outside, but leaving the session I was feeling like we didn’t quite get any of the images that I had envisioned in my head for months. Then she sent us our photos… and I was absolutely blown away. I couldn’t be happier with these, and I couldn’t be happier to share them with you!

Cheers,

T.W.C.

Spoiled… And I’m not referring to the baby.

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I never realize JUST how spoiled I am until my husband is away on business. Trash? You mean I.. I..Have to take.. out.. the trash…?  And don’t get me started on the lack of relief. My husband normally gets home between 5:30 and 5:40, and I normally lose my shit around 5:35, so as he walks in the door, I pass our son off to him and take a few minutes to myself to regather my super mom abilities. Our system is like a perfectly oiled machine, keeping us each at the perfect level of “sane on the brink of mental patient” that every parent should be. Waking up every day for a week and knowing that there will be no relief or help of any kind at 5:35 can be quite a doozy.

Single moms and military wives: I don’t know how you do it.

Every Saturday my husband and I take our son to our community swimming pool. He carries my son and the ice chest, I carry the towels, beach bag, and floaty. Once we arrive, I hold our son while he sets up our “corner” in the shade. We then go in the pool, where I sit on the steps watching as my husband and son splash around the pool. My son eventually wants to play on the steps, and my husband and I take turns corralling him in so that he can’t make an escape for the scolding hot ground surrounding the pool. Needless to say, we have PERFECTED the art of taking an 11 month old to the pool.

Yesterday I decided I would conquer our pool with my son.. alone. I’ve done it enough time with my husband, that I figured going alone should be a piece of cake. I was feeling especially pumped for the day and could not have been more excited to have some one on one time with my little guy at the pool. We got ready and everything was going as planned.. until I realized that I only have two hands. It was time to make some sacrifices. I decided to part with the floaty and ice chest, and we were off! Things were going great.. until the second we got to the pool. I set my son down so that I could take my swim cover up off and BAM, he makes a break for the water. So there I am, swim cover up halfway off, one shoe on, chasing my son across the pool. Eventually we manage to get into the water, where we enjoy ourselves for all of… two minutes before he began to throw a fit because I wouldn’t let him play with someone else’s beach ball. The overly tan woman across the pool from us began to glare us down and within 10 minutes of arriving, we were leaving.

Returning home, I was disappointed with the experience to say the least. I decided I would not sulk however, and began getting us ready to go grab some lunch and run some errands. I put my son in his car seat and go to start the car… and what.do.you.know….my car battery is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Mind you.. we live in the desert. It was exactly 108 degrees outside, my husband is gone, and my car won’t start?!? Just my luck.

Fortunately my husband left his car keys at home while he was away, and I was able to transfer into his car and somewhat salvage the day. Although the day did not go as planned, when all was said and done, I did get to spend some quality one on one time with my little guy and somehow found the time to make an awesome dinner for the both of us. As difficult as my son can be, he is my little buddy. He’s just a whole lot easier of a little buddy when I’ve got some help!

Long story short, I am completely spoiled by my husband. I was once so independent, yet I  have become so accustomed to being spoiled and always having assistance with every little task. My husband will return home tomorrow, just in time for me to return the spoiling to him on Father’s Day. In the mean time, I’ve got a bag of trash to take out and a big glass of wine to sip on.

Cheers,

T.W.C.