Our Crazy Christmas Weekend

Every year after the holidays I look around and say, “Wow! That went by fast!” as most things do in life. Christmas is a lot like a wedding; you plan for a while before, make preparations, spend lots of money, get excited, and then in the blink of an eye it’s over! That’s why it isĀ so important to enjoy life in the moment, and take lots of pictures of course!

We had a great Christmas weekend, and it was so much fun to see the excitement on James’ face on his 2nd Christmas. He didn’t totally understand what was going on, but he certainly loves Santa and still screams “ho, ho, ho!” when he sees someone in a red hat or jacket!

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5 Things That I Refuse to Feel Guilty About Anymore

As a SAHM with two children younger than one and a half, I have spent countless hours feeling guilty about things that I refuse to worry about anymore. When I first made the decision to stay home with my son, I felt guilty about staying home. I felt bad that all of the sudden all the financial responsibility was placed on my husband, sad to leave my students and co-workers that I had just gotten to know so well, and unable to relate to many of my friends, who didn’t have children and were still working. Fast forward about a year and two babies, there are many things I have learned as a mom, and one is the ability to let go. Because I take my full time job of being a mom very seriously, I often beat myself up over things that I either cannot control, or that I know will not make a difference in my children’s lives when they are grown up. To be a better mom to my babies, I need to let go of the guilt and give myself a break! Here are 5 things that I refuse to feel guilty about anymore (and you should too):

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Marvelous Monday!

Happy Monday! I wouldn’t normally be in such a great mood on a Monday, but we have a lot to celebrate today. I hope your Monday was as marvelous as mine. Here’s why I’m so happy!

  1. Ella laughed for the first time! I mean a real, deep, belly laugh and it was the cutest thing ever. I actually looked at James because I thought it was him. They sound so alike! She laughed because he was playing with a horse and said, “Neigh!” Go figure! I tried to make her repeat that contagious laugh for the rest of the day, but I had no luck. I did get lots of smiles though šŸ™‚

2. Chris got a job offer from another company and it is a big pay increase and a few other great benefits! I’m so proud of my husband for always striving to do more and to succeed at his career. He even got a part time job for a while so I could stay home. We are by no means comfortable financially, but we are getting there, and I am so lucky to be able to be with my babies every day. When you think about the cost of daycare, it doesn’t make much sense for me to go back to work right now. If one of our mamas would retire though, I would definitely thinkĀ about going back. It’s a tough decision I struggle with all the time. For now though, we will relax and celebrate new opportunities!

3. Chris took the week off, because he had extra time, and I am so excited to spend the week together as a family! He is such an amazing dad, and is totally hands-on. I’m really looking forward to some fun day trips (maybe to the museum etc.) and just getting ready for a busy weekend for Christmas.

4. James seems to be sleeping a little better, and although it’s only a half hour to an hour more in the morning and at naptime, the extra sleep is making him such a happier kid! He’s back to his old self, and although I know we will go through many more ups and downs in the area of sleep, I am going to enjoy my happy, well rested guy as long as I can.

We had a nice, relaxing day today which included running a few errands. I still have to get some Christmas shopping done before this weekend, but I kind of love waiting until the week before so I am really in the spirit! Here’s a photo of these two cuties, just because. Have a great week!

The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself!

I’d love to eventually start a “Thoughtful Thursday” post, to add specific things that have been on my mind throughout the week aside from the day to day. Today, I am thinking about this accurate photo I stumbled uponĀ this morning:

 

I love a few good minutes (or hours) to myself once and a while; what mom doesn’t?! Especially because when you have two little ones and a toddler who would love to poke his sister’s eyes out (in a loving way), leaving themĀ alone together is not an option! Therefore, I bring one of them Ā everywhere with me at all times, including the “potty” as James would say, which has become one of his favorite places recently! Oh the glamour of motherhood…

Today was a busy day; by 9am we were out the door to playtime, and within 10 minutes driving both babies had fallen asleep! EllaĀ always falls asleep in the car, but as soon as the car stops she wakes up and hates being in her carseat. James almost never falls asleep, except when it’s past his bedtime or when he’s extremely tired. Today, he was overtired. I decided to take it as a victory and enjoy my time driving while listening to Christmas music while glancing at the two adorable sleeping, peaceful faces in my rearview mirror. As a stay at home mom, I cherish these moments!

Before we got to playtime, I gave them a call to make sure they were open (sometimes if they don’t have a volunteer, they close the playroom) and unfortunately they were closed. I debated driving around for a while and then heading home, but instead I chose to try a new storyhour at a library pretty far from our home – don’t ask me why – I was feeling ambitious! If you have little ones, especially two under two years old, you know how hard it is to get both in the car and have a successful trip in public, so I was taking a big chance! James could wake up cranky, Ella could be starving when we arrived, but hey, you never know unless you try.

Fast forward a few hours, we were on our way home after having a great time! Trust me, I always get looks when I’m out in public, and people often look at me like I have 10 heads when they learn that my kids are 13 months apart, but confidence is key. When they see my ability to literally get two babies in and out of the building in one piece, their jaw drops. Trust me, I’m not exaggerating! Especially when James just learned to walk confidently a few months ago and doesn’t understand how to walk nicely next to me holding my hand. Word to the wise – always use a backpack for a diaper bag in these situations! To my surprise, this outing proved to be a huge success. Both kids were in great moods and James was totally into the books, toys, and music during storytime. That kid LOVES to dance and sing!

When we got home, of course both kids were starving, so I quickly prepared lunch (quesadilla) for James and fed Ella while he colored in his highchair. By noon, both babies were napping – James in his crib and Ella in her swing upstairs. Once you get a coordinated nap time down mamas, all is right in the world. It actually didn’t take much work for me; turns out my kids’ schedules line up at about the same time, and thank goodness for the second child and my good sleeper, Ella Bells. I usually use her swing for this nap so that it is a long one. She tends to catnap throughout the rest of the day, probably because the world seems to revolve around her brother, so I want to make sure she gets a good few hours in when I can. She is also resisting the swaddle a bit now, so I am considering buying a sleep suit for her. Anyone have experience with this? James has always been a crazy sleeper, but I blame myself because I held him, rocked him, fed him to sleep, co-slept, you name it and we’ve tried it. I don’t regret any of these but it is definitely easier to create a more independent sleeper with the second baby, purely out of necessity!

Anyways, I usually have about an hour to myself each day after getting both kids down, which flies by! Today I was starving, so I sat down in front of Top Chef and had myself a bagged salad. I know, not exactly the most exciting lunch, but it’s easy, healthy, and delicious. This salad had dried pears and nuts, with a pear gorgonzola vinaigrette.

I also make sure to drink lots of seltzer throughout the day and I love trying new fruit flavors. I’m not a huge water drinker, so this really helps me enjoy staying hydrated. It’s important to take care of yourself and sometimes I forget that sometimes! I often find myself eating the remains of James’ lunch and snacking on pretzels by the afternoon, realizing that I haven’t yet had a proper meal. I hope to change this in the next month, when I start exercising again and eating better! Did I mention that I’ve joined Beachbody and I am in a challenge group starting in a few days. I will definitely let you know how it goes. I’m super excited for the meal planning, workouts, and Shakeology.

Well I know I’ve gotten on many tangents this post, but the most important thing today to remember as a stay at home mom, is toĀ tryĀ to take care of yourself as well as your children. Trust me, when you are happier, the kids are happier, and can definitely tell when you are not in a good mood. Throughout the week (but certainly not every day) , things that make me feel good include:

  1. Showering
  2. Eating healthy
  3. Coffee
  4. Wine after kids are in bed šŸ˜‰
  5. Taking an hour trip to Target by myself
  6. Taking a walk

Chris and I are enjoying a date night tomorrow night plus some Christmas shopping. What could be better?! If you’re like me, your kids consume you 24/7, and it truly is your full time job. Sometimes, though, you need to take some time for yourself, and around the holidays is the perfect time to do so! See ya next time šŸ™‚

Snowy Days and Memories

As I mentioned in my previous post, usually my mom has us for dinner on Sundays. Since she is actually staying with us for a few months while her house is being renovated, we all decided to have a takeout night last night and got Chinese (comfort food for sure)! Whenever we order Chinese, we read our fortunes aloud and tend to take them very seriously šŸ˜‰ Here is the one I got last night:

Ironically, I have been thinking a lot lately about the career that I left behind when my son was born – teaching. I am a true elementary teacher at heart; I worked hard to get my Bachelors and Masters degrees and I am certified in Literacy as well.Ā Before becoming a mom, there was nothing I loved more than teaching! Now that I am a mom full time, I see many parallels between the two. Both being a mom and a teacher are somewhat thank-less, tough, hands-on jobs that require a ton of patience. On the other hand, both are rewarding, involve spending your days with kids (what could be better?!), and there may not be a better sight than watching a child’s unconditional love towards you and their zest towards life and learning.

There are definitely days when I miss being in the classroom. Don’t get me wrong, teaching is hard work, but I honestly think that being a stay at home mom can be harder sometimes.Ā James has had a difficult time sleeping recently; I think we are hiting the 18 month sleep regression a bit early. He has been waking early, which causes him to be a little cranky by late morning, which causes an early nap, and you get the trend. On top of that, we are still trying to figure out our “schedule” with the addition of our baby girl. Have I mentioned that having two under two is not always easy?!

Anyway, I went to bed thinking about that fortune and how much I sometimes miss work, and just like it always goes, we had SUCH a fun day today and I can’t even imagine ever going back to work!!! šŸ˜‰ We woke up to a few inches of snow and it was the first time James has ever played in it.

 

 

 

 

I am always grateful to be home with my babies right now, but it’s days like today that I feel even more blessed. James and IĀ spent the day playing in the snow, doing arts and crafts, making delicious chili, and just enjoying each other. He is talking up a storm now, and repeating everything, so it is SO much fun to actually know what he wants and to be able to reason with him (to a point!). Ella had great naps today and gave James and I some much needed alone time, although he did give her an extra big kiss when she woke up this afternoon.

 

 

Visit our “FUN” page to find the craft we completed today!

To me, the best analogy forĀ motherhod is that it is simply a rollercoaster ride. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows, twists and turns, but you have to take the scary with the exhilarating. Like a rollercoaster ride, it may be terrifiying at first, but always worth it in the end. I love my babies more than anything, and would do anything to spend each and every day like our snowy day today. Because, even though I miss teaching and it was literallyĀ my life before I became a mom, life is truly just better with babies and I wouldn’t change a thing.

The Magic… and Madness… of the Holidays

Happy Sunday! We have had a magical weekend so far spending time with family, and I absolutely love Sundays because we get to spend time at home, comfy in our pajamas, doing whatever we want to do, and my mom makes dinner:).

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with my in-laws, exchanging gifts with them and my sister and brother-in law. Honestly, in my opinion, there is nothing better than family. Sitting around the tree, watching three cousins laughing and playing (well Ella was a little young to join in on the fun this year), sipping on a glass of wine ;), and eating great food is my idea of a perfect day! The grandkids are ridiculously spoiled by their grandparents and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s hard to believe that my nephew Landon, who is the firstborn grandchild, will be THREE in May! He will also have a little brother or sister in June, which we are ecstatic about. I love watching James and Landon together; they are literally going to be so close and always have so much fun. I had the privilege of babysitting Landon full time for about 10 months last year, until Ella was born, and being a part of his life as an aunt and godmother has always been so special for me.

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Being in the holiday spirit definitely makes me want to relax, unwind, and really think about life. It’s probably because all of the madness of running around to different events, kids crazy on sugar and excitement, watching our bank account dwindle as we buy gift after gift, and stressing about eating too much that makes me a little crazy sometimes, but causes me to sit back and take a breath. I can be a tad bit controlling, a perfectionist at times, and tend to worry a lot. I’m sure all moms can relate. Having babies so close together has got me in complete mom mode 24/7 and I haven’t really had much time to myself in the last… 2 years! It’s times like these though, that make me feel so completely grateful for my life and my family and realize that everything I do for my kids is SO worth it. In a few years they wont need me as much, which just thinking about makes me sad!

One of my favorite quotes about parenthood is, “The days pass slowly, but the years fly by.” This could not be more true. When you catch yourself in the day to day madness, especially around the holidays, it’s difficult to see the value in motherhood, or parenthood. When you sit back and spend time with your children, do things that make you truly happy, and try to enjoy the little moments, you realize how fast time flies.

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As we approach Christmas and the New Year, I am going to make a promise to myself – to embrace the magic of the holidays and to really enjoy time with my babies. James is just starting to appreciate the magic of Christmas, and already loves Santa, or as he calls him “Ho, Ho, Ho” and he deserves a calm and relaxed mama! I may need some assistance with a glass of wine or coffee here and there, and I am looking forward to the manicure I have scheduled for next Sunday, but hey! We’re only human, right?!

So go and cuddle your little ones today mamas! Happy Sunday šŸ˜‰

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A Little Background

I thought I’d introduce you all to the reason I started blogging in the first place; my babies! Here is a little background on each of the little ones.

James – our firstborn and lovable 16 month old son. James, who we sometimes refer to as “Goose” (who knows why!) is a determined, smart, funny, leader who can capture anyone’s attention with his smile. He was born in August, 2015, and since then has completely stolen our hearts. I had a difficult delivery with J, after being induced due to fever. I labored for a whole day and after failing to progress, we decided to go through with an emergency c-section. I’ll post more on my birthing stories later, but for now, meet James!

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Adorable, right? He’s constantly changing and growing, which is one of the most amazing things about being a mom and why I feel SO lucky to be home with him for the first few years of his life. I don’t have to miss a thing! Right now some of his favorites include “singing” the alphabet, dancing with Elmo, anything Daniel Tiger, blueberries, bathtime, and of course his baby sister. He absolutely adores her, which is so surprisingly refreshing since I was so nervous to have them so close together. 13 Months to be exact! At any moment you can find James running to “EWWA!” and giving her a big sloppy kiss, which is both adorable and scary as he would love to lay right on top of her!

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Enter my baby girl, Ella, who we often call Ella Bells or Sweet Pea. She is an absolute darling, and typical second child. We quickly realized when James was about 5 months old that all of our lives were about to change, and at first I was completely terrified. Fast forward 11 months, and our little girl has brought SO much love and laughter to our lives, I can’t imagine life without her. Ella was born in September 2016, as a repeat c-section, which I chose, and came out the epitome of perfection. She was literally kicking her way out! I had the most amazing recovery and tons of help from friends and family, and of course my wonderful husband.

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Since then it has been a joy, and a marathon ;), to watch Ella and James together every day. She is also growing and learning with each month, and at three months she loves her playmat, cooing and smiling at us, and kisses from her brother. She usually sleeps from about 8-3, eats, and then wakes up for the day around 6.

Stay tuned for more posts about baby and toddler schedules, and of course, life with two under two, which was almost two under one! Life is not always glamorous, but it is always exciting around here, and I can say that my life has definitely gotten better with babies šŸ˜‰

Out and About

Even if you aren’t a mom of two kids under two years old, you know how difficult it can sometimes be to get out of the house. Every morning I am faced with an angel and devil on my shoulder.

The devil says, “Stay in your pjs and don’t change into yoga pants! You and the kids can make messes all day, keep the curtains closed, eat junk food, and stop caring about showing your face at the library this week!” And I have to be honest, sometimes it’s fine to listen to this devilish character. Some days I embrace this side of mommyhood and spend my days snuggling my little ones.

But, let’s be honest, staying in is not all is cracked up to be. Staying in sometimes means feeling lonely while Daddy works, bored, tempted to pick up my phone and browse, and worse than all of those, it means the kids will become stir crazy by noon. I am not someone who is content sitting all day. Come on, I used to beĀ a kindergarten teacher. Some days I miss the “busy-ness” of work, and the best I can do as a stay-at-home mom is get my kids out and about, even if it just means a nice long walk.

So today I listened to the angel, who told me to get dressed (I even got to shower!), pack the diaper with ALLL of the necessary items for an infant and toddler, pack up the car with a stroller, baby wrap, bag and kids, and get out to playgroup!

Oh, and did I mention that winters in NY meanĀ lots of layers, which takesĀ lots of time.

It’s not easy moms! It’s much easier to stay in and let the kids run wild all day, but I am MUCH happier if we get out of the house, even for just an hour or two. We had a blast at a new playgroup and will definitely be returning…as long as I can get out of the house on time!

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Hello world!

Hey everyone! I’m SO excited to share with you my daily struggles, accomplishments, and simple moments of being a mom to #twoundertwo ;). I’m still getting used to the blogging world but check back often to see what’s going on in our crazy household! To learn more about our family, visit the “About Me” page. Thanks!