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

 

A new chapter.

When I met my husband, he was a long haired hippie living pretty much paycheck to paycheck. He took the bus to work at a call center where he would cold call for the sales department of a company in the hospitality industry. I would drive him when I could, but due to conflicting schedules and how far apart our jobs were, 8 times out of 10 he was on his own to get to work. As time went by, he ended up impressing the right people and got hired on directly for the company that he’d been cold calling for. He then had to take the bus even farther across town to their headquarters every day for several months until he could finally afford his own car. He never complained about it… he simply did what he had to do to get where he wanted to be in the professional world. One of the most determined people I have ever known, he worked his way up the totem pole and he hustled day in and day out for several years with that company to provide a good life for our family. Today however, I am proud to announce that he has been hired on as a Senior Sales Executive at an even bigger company, and I could not be more proud of that man.

The last few months have been a total whirlwind for us. Once he was approached with the opportunity, we were torn to say the least. Change is scary, especially when it could effect the entire course of your family’s journey. We were posed with the choice between sticking it out at a company that had provided my husband with an amazing stepping stone into the sales world, and a company that was far more established in the sales world. The choice between a company that my husband was successful at but had honestly outgrown, or a company that we were unfamiliar with but who offered a whole new world of opportunity and advancement.

In making our decision, we looked to respected family and friends for advice and support (thank you all, you know who you are), but we mostly looked to the signs. As we sat back and watched the situation unfold, it could not be mistaken that we were being guided towards the right decision. The decision to leave all that we had known for the last four years. The decision to take a risk. The decision that could get our family ahead by leaps and bounds. So, hearts racing and holding hands…we took a leap of faith.

The transition will not be easy, but it will be worth it. It requires my husband to spend the next three months across the country from us for training. I have been spoiled and lucky in the fact that I have not spent more than a couple of days away from him since our first date, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to start now. But life had other plans and we will try to make the best of it. He will be flying home every so often to check in very briefly and we will be planning a trip for my son and I to visit him mid summer. Additionally, his new job is allowing us to still go on a couple of the small vacations that we had planned out prior to the job offer, and those vacations will probably be our saving grace.

Today I dropped my best friend off at the airport and it was one of the hardest things that I have had to do in our entire relationship. I have shed more tears than I would like to admit and I can guarantee you that I will be drinking a bottle of wine and consuming a pint of ice cream in my sweats tonight once my son is asleep. I mean…I’m totally entitled to at least a couple nights of shamelessly wallowing around in my husband missing sadness, right?

Despite how rough this time apart is sure to be, there is no doubt that we have been blessed with an amazing opportunity, and even in my sadness, I know that the most important emotion to feel right now is gratitude. It is key to remain thankful, and it is key to remember that this distance is only a small period of time in the grand scheme of things. There are sure to be plenty of sad and lonely nights during this time apart, but that’s what Facetime and counting our blessings is for.

In 90 days my husband will return with a ridiculous amount of sales training under his belt, and I will proudly watch him conquer his new territory just as he did the last. In 90 days my husband will be back home, and in 90 days we can officially begin this new and exciting chapter in our life, together.

.5 days down, 89.5 to go…not that I’m counting or anything.

Cheers to changes and opportunity,

The Whine Connoisseur.

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When it all began.

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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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24.

If my 24th year of life is as good as the birthday itself, then it’s going to be one for the books. Surrounded by some of the sweetest most thoughtful people, we brought in my birthday with a wine tasting/pairing party, calling the theme “Wine tasting in Napa”. From meats/cheeses and dips to chocolate covered everything and girl scout cookies, we had a plethora of both traditional and slightly unusual pairing options to choose from, all centered around a bohemian inspired decoration spread. Multiple wine glasses were broken throughout the night (precisely why I buy dollar store glasses for parties), so obviously good (and tipsy) times were being had. I woke up the next morning (my actual birthday) and went to a bottomless mimosa brunch downtown with friends, followed by an evening well spent with my family and an absolutely delicious chocolate cheesecake made by my Nona. The weekend was a dream, and I can’t help but feel like one of the luckiest most blessed girls on the planet. Thank you thank you thank you to all that played any part in making it special.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

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Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

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The other day as I was about to head out the door to go grocery shopping, when upon feeling how freezing it was (60 degrees totally counts as freezing to us desert dwellers), I decided that I simply could not go on without a yummy new soup recipe.

So, I did what any modern day housewife would do and I took to Pinterest. All I had to do was type in “healthy soup” and BAM, two seconds later I stumbled upon this little blessing of a recipe. I chose it because it 1. looked tasty, and 2. more importantly, it had a super short and easy ingredient list.

I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of this recipe, I just thought it would be something quick to warm me up and make the house smell good. But boy oh boy was I pleasantly surprised. To me, the true sign of a good soup is one that tastes good right off the bat. Soups are one of those few foods where typically, the leftovers are better than the fresh batch because the flavors have longer to sit. So, one little slurp from the pot of this soup and I knew that if it already tasted THAT good, this recipe was gold.

Let me tell you, I didn’t even know! Served up my first “leftover” batch of it today and couldn’t get it down fast enough (although the heat of it forced me to take it easy). I promise you, just stop what you are doing right now and make this soup happen in your life. Dramatic? Of course. But it really is just that good.

I got this recipe from:
http://www.aspicyperspective.com
but I did add a side note at the end about a couple things that I changed up a little bit. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:
10 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoon olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion
1 large lemon, zested
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup israeli (pearl) couscous
1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 ounces crumbled feta
1/3 cup chopped chive
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Place the olive oil in a large 6-8 quart sauce pot over medium-low heat. Peel the onion. Then quarter it and slice into thin strips. Once the oil is hot, saute the onion and minced garlic for 3-4 minutes to soften.
2. Add the chicken stock, chicken breasts, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper to the pot. Raise the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, then simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the couscous, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Simmer another 5 minutes. Then turn the heat off.
4. Using tongs, remove the two chicken breasts from the pot. Use a fork and the tongs to shred the chicken. Then place it back in the pot. Stir in the crumbled feta cheese and chopped chive. Taste and salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm. **Upon serving, I added some extra feta, a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice, as well as more crushed red pepper-because my spice love is so real

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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A Winter Wonderland: Park City 2k15

I feel fairly certain that every Christmas song ever written was inspired by the winter wonderland that is Park City. And while that is definitely a very fabricated exaggeration and while I most certainly will not fact check that statement, you get the picture. This was the second December in a row that we have been blessed enough to visit park city during its most magical season and once again, it did not disappoint.

We started off the trip with a plane ride that ended up being far more enjoyable than one would expect when traveling with a toddler. Everything went smoothly (despite leaving the house 30 minutes late), the airport was amazingly accommodating towards travelers with young children, and Liam only had about 2-3 minor fits on the plane, which I deem a major success.

Park City is about a 30 minute drive out of Salt Lake, but the drive is so scenic that it really feels like 10 minutes. A quick stop at a business meeting for my husband, lunch at an awesome BBQ joint, and a few too many tantrums later and we were at our hotel. We chose to stay at the Westgate Park City thanks to our incredibly enjoyable experience there last year. They have a one bedroom villa that is perfect for families, is in prime location for just about anything that one would want to do in the area, plus the balcony view and fire place provide the perfect setting for a vacation full of cozy bundled up evenings.

Our first night there was spent with a lot of middle of the night wake ups. And our second night. And our third night. How is it that somehow a three foot-ish human being can manage to take up 75% of a king sized bed?

Minus the poor sleep however, I would have to say the trip was a great success. My husband had several business meetings in the area that show potential, we ate a ton of delicious food, and went on long drives through the beautiful snowy mountainsides. We drove through neighborhoods full of dreamy homes, walked around with coffee as the snow fell on us, and got to frolic around main street for a while. On our second night there, Liam fell asleep in the car on our way back to the hotel with some take out. My husband somehow managed to quietly ninja walk him back up to the room and put him into bed without him waking, creating the most relaxing of evenings for us. Curled up on the couch in front of the fire watching Elf with pizza, beer, and my husband, all I could think was “man…someone up there REALLY loves us”.

It was the kind of trip that did nothing but remind me of how incredibly blessed we are. There were tantrums and there was not quite enough sleep. My son threw a water glass all over me at a restaurant while it was snowing outside and on a couple of other occasions judgy uptight old people stared us down with the wrath of god in their eyes while we tried to get our two year old to behave. But none of that mattered because I was with my two favorite people in the whole wide world exploring a winter wonderland that looked like something out of a magical fantasy novel or a snowglobe. The pictures do not even do this place justice, so I highly recommend that you all put this place on your travel to-do lists.

There’s nothing to put you in the Christmas spirit quite like a trip to a small snow covered mountain town. With Christmas next week, I go into the holiday feeling blessed blessed blessed and am greatly looking forward to seeing my little man’s excitement on Christmas morning. Wishing all of you and your families a whole lot of loving, smiling, eating, cheersing, relaxing, laughing, and celebrating as Christmas rolls around.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

 

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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A letter to my pre motherhood self.

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Dear pre-mommy me,

A short time from now, you are going to be blessed with the craziest ball of energy you’ve ever seen. He will look just like you and act just like his daddy. He will say no to absolutely everything (even when he means yes). He will throw entire bowls of food on the ground and laugh in your face as you tell him to pick it up. He will cover your white coffee table in dark baby cub paw prints… Five minutes after you’ve cleaned it. He will roll around the dirt in the backyard at least twice a day (and usually try to snack on it as well). He will deny the plate of dinner you set in front of him 5 out of 7 days of the week. He will test your patience. He will make you question yourself and your parenting abilities. But more than any of that, he will make you a better person. He will give you the title of mommy, and you will wear that title with pride.

Because pride is the feeling in your heart when you look into the innocent eyes of the little human being that you created. Pride is the feeling in your heart when your little human shouts an enthusiastic “HI!!” to the sad stranger walking by and manages to make that stranger genuinely smile. Pride is the feeling in your heart when your little human figures out a new word or follows a new direction.

I will not lie, motherhood is just as scary as you’re expecting it to be. You’re faced with decision after decision and you won’t know if you’ve made the right decision until after the choice has been made. You will make mistakes, but there is no mother who hasn’t. You will do your best, and at the end of the day, that is what your son will see.

Rest up, for motherhood is exhausting, and like a guard dog, you will never truly sleep. But for every night of 2am wakes up, there is a morning of sweet snuggles. For every tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, there is a playful dance in the middle of the living room. For every time that you look in the mirror and miss your old body, there is a happy little boy running around as reminder that the changes were worth it. For every doubt you have, there is a sweet little hug as confirmation that maybe you really are doing it right.

During the quest to be a better parent, Google will be your best friend and your worst enemy. So will social media. You will find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other mothers, forgetting that your life does not need to look like anyone else’s. You will struggle to allow your little one to leave the protection of the safety bubble that you’ve created for him (even if it’s just playing on the jungle gym with another toddler). As cliche as it may sound, follow your heart. Follow your mother instincts. They will always point you in the right direction.

Of all the titles you can have in this world, mommy is certainly one of the best. I know that at this time, the only thing scarier than the idea of giving birth is the fear of being a bad parent. But fear not, for epidurals are a gift from the heavens and the happiness that motherhood fills you with will forever outweigh any worries you may have.

I guess all of this can really be summed up with this: motherhood is awesome (even if it doesn’t feel that way in the midst of a restaurant tantrum). Don’t be afraid, be excited. For there is a little boy who is about to REALLY make life interesting.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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