Beauty is in the eye of the toddler

A moment I witnessed my son having on a brisk fall day inspired me to revisit my blog. I want to hold onto this moment forever and the best way I know how is to write it down.

Cole took his stuffed animals for a walk the other day in his new red wagon. As we strolled down the driveway and took a right onto the street he looked back every once in a while to make sure all his “friends” were still seated in the upright position.

All of a sudden a long gust of wind blew. Cole dropped the handle of his wagon, a huge smile plastered across his face. The wind blew leaves all around him and he started to spin and dance in the middle of the street. He giggled and shrieked uncontrollably, exclaiming, “The wind! The wind, Mommy!” in between spins. The scene lasted only 20 seconds or so, but the joy I witnessed in my son has left an imprint in my heart that will last forever.

From lining up his stuffed animals one by one to breaking out in a spontaneous wind dance in the middle of the street. The yin and yang of a toddler. They expect and trust order and routine, but then there are these unexpected moments of spontaneity that add so much color and joy that you can’t help but join in on the fun.

It’s moments like these that remind me of why I love being a mom so much!

Thoughts on turning 30

When I was little, I used to think people in their thirties were old. Especially my parents. However, I have distinct memories of Dad and Mom in their thirties doing things like lighting fireworks off between their legs (Dad) and teaching step aerobics classes (Mom). These aren’t things that old people do! I’m not planning on doing either of those any time soon, but I have been thinking a lot about what adventures the next decade will bring.

In four words I can sum up my twenties: college, jobs, husband, son. Short words that represent major milestones. I always felt like I was in a rush to check things off life’s to-do list. In the back of my mind I was always thinking, “Okay, what’s next?” All of the ups and downs, the people that have come in and out of my life, the quiet moments and the loud ones, have led me down a path to discovering who I am. And although we all have our good days and bad days, I’m pretty damn happy where I’ve landed. Yesterday I was 29.

Today I am 30. My intention is to slow down and do more of what I love with the people I love. One of the benefits of being a stay at home mom is that I get to choreograph goofy dances and sing silly songs all the time. I get to discover the inner kid that was buried under years of “Okay, what’s next?” I want to cook delicious meals and take more time to chew my food. I want to see family and friends more often and focus less on the things and people that create negative energy. I want to take risks and try new things. Not because I think it will get me ahead or create some major change, but because it just feels good.

I don’t mean to sound sappy and everyone’s journey is a personal one. I just hope that maybe sharing how I feel about turning thirty might spark a nerve somewhere out there. That maybe we can all shift our focus just a little from where we think we should be to where we are right now. That a small change like that might cause a ripple in our hearts and open us up to finding a little more inner peace. Because that’s where peace lives! It’s not around the corner…it’s in all of us. Right here and right now.

Thank you for reading and have a beautiful day! I’ll be spending the day with this little man and loving every minute! (Well…except the minutes that he’s acting like a crazy toddler…) So I’ll be enjoying some of the day, haha!

cole mommy

Bye Bye, Binky

We had Cole’s two year check up today at Elliot Pediatrics in Londonderry. Sometimes I wonder whether I should change pediatricians, because there are a lot of practices that are closer to us. But then Dr. Hajduk’s awesomeness reels me right back in and makes me realize the extra ten minutes in the car is totally worth it.

When you have a baby who is born below the 1st percentile in weight, or if your child has any weight gain issues, you tend to be a bit of a numbers freak. Even after two years of happy and healthy check ups, I still get anxious when Cole is sitting on the scale. Thankfully, his numbers place him in the 35th percentile for both weight and height….not that I’m counting :)

The biggest news of the day? I took the pacifier away. I promised myself (and my husband) that when Cole turned two, the binky would bounce.

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It was time…

I won’t go through all the gory details, but he was reeeeally angry that he didn’t have that binky to help him fall asleep at naptime. He cried. He whipped himself over his crib railing and onto the floor (ouch). His lovey stuffed animal, Piglet, took a few punches for the cause, but he did fall asleep after about 20 minutes of fussing.  I felt so bad that I snuck into his room after he fell asleep, picked him up out of his crib, and rocked him for 20 minutes while he slept in my arms.

Thankfully, he still loved me when he woke up from his nap a couple of hours later. We’ll see how tonight goes. Bedtime is right about….NOW! Wish us luck and a binky-less night.

An “Out of This World” birthday party: Cole turns 2!

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Last year Cole was a very hungry caterpillar and this year he was a space explorer! I’m a sucker for a theme party, so my son’s birthday parties are the perfect opportunity get a little crafty and have some fun. Since Cole starting talking it’s been all about the moon. Practically every night he’s running from window to window shouting, “Moon, where are youuuu?” and “Moon! Big moon!” So I’ve known for a while now that I wanted to do an outer space theme party for his birthday. Here are some pictures from the party.

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Guests were greeted at the door.

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Space-themed balloons, garland and decorations everywhere!

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A craft corner for the kids to color and play with stickers. I printed out some coloring worksheets and found the space stickers at Michaels craft store. I hung up their masterpieces after the party :)

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The cupcakes were adorable and delicious! We ordered them from Swirl Bake Shop in Merrimack, NH. I’ll be featuring this cupcake shop in a post later on this year, so stay tuned for that!

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Inspired by a post on Divine Party Concepts, I put together a cute bean bag game for the kids. Each bucket represents a planet and they throw the bean bags in, stack the buckets, use the buckets as hats…whatever they felt like doing. Bargain side note: Each pail is a $1 at Dollar Tree!

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A quick search on Pinterest gave me the idea to make rocket ship goody bags out of zip-lock baggies, clothes pins and stickers. We called it “rocket fuel.” Half the bag was filled with chocolate covered cranberries and the other half with cheddar bunnies.

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It was such a fun day and we are so proud of our happy two year old. If you have any cool kids theme party ideas, please share in the comments section below!

Happy wife, happy life?

Let’s face it. Sometimes we are so focused on our kids that we forget about the super cool couples that created these little humans. If you are like my husband and me, you might find yourselves on a Sunday afternoon sprawled out on the family room couches, feeling flat out tired, while your toddler naps. Our conversation went something like this -

Me: You okay?

Him: Yeah, I think so. You?

Me: Tired. And I feel kind of bummed out. When was the last time you did something for you that made you feel happy?

Him: I don’t even know.

Before we were parents it was a lot easier to go out on a whim and do something fun! We travelled, tried new places for dinner, and snuggled in on Saturday mornings. My husband could catch up with friends over a round of golf while I sweat it out in a yoga studio. The freedom made it a lot easier to connect, communicate, and resolve any issues that came up between us. Besides connecting with my husband, it was also a whole lot easier to connect with myself! Although I am happy with our decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom, there are a lot of things I miss about my old life as a working professional. I had great co-workers, an active social life, and felt proud of my accomplishments in the digital marketing industry.

Greg and me golfing in Arizona.

Greg and me golfing in Arizona.

Now that I’m a mom I’m realizing that the saying “Happy wife, happy life” has a whole lot of truth to it! And I don’t mean it’s up to my husband to keep me happy. Feeling good about myself gives me more energy to focus on my family, fulfill my responsibilities as a mom, and be more attentive and supportive to my husband. A friend of mine made a comment on her Facebook page that struck a chord with me and I want to share it with you. (Side note – follow Judy Hu Counseling Services on Facebook! Judy is an amazing mom, Psychotherapist and Parent Coach. She shares some great stuff on her page!)  She suggests, “The adjustment to a growing family can be easier if the priority is shared between self care, partner care, and child care…priority in that order.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? If I am happy, we are happy. A child will thrive in a home with a strong foundation built on happy, loving parents.

Having my son has been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. He has altered the way I look at myself, my husband, and the world around me. He will be two years old next week and I’m turning 30 a couple of weeks after that! I’ve been on quite a personal journey over the past couple of years, and I’m just now realizing that it’s possible to find a balance between who I used to be and who I am now. With a little faith and a lot of hard work I can achieve both personal and professional success. One thing is for certain. Next time we ask each other, “When was the last time you did something for you that made you happy?” I want us both to have an answer. I think the world would be happier place if we all took the time to answer that question. If you love your family, love yourself!

My beautiful little family.

My beautiful little family.

Love, peace, and happiness to all!

Natural ways to beat cold and flu season

Cold and flu season is kicking our butts! Your local pharmacy has a plethora of remedies to choose from to help provide some relief. However, kid-friendly and natural remedies are a bit harder to find in the aisles of a store. With a little bit of searching and a little bit of experimenting I’ve rounded up a list of natural ways that can help you stay healthy or beat that nasty cold.

1. Buy a Neti pot – Fill your neti pot container with filtered water and saline solution and use it to flush out your congested nasal passage. Seriously. This works. And it’s such a relief to be able to breath again. Check on the age restrictions if you want to use a neti pot with your kids…they need to be old enough to control their breathing so I don’t recommend using it with toddlers and real youngsters.

2. Keep a cup of quartered lemons in your refrigerator and squeeze some in your (and your kids!) cups of water.  I could list a whole bunch of benefits to drinking lemon water, but I’ll stick to how it relates to curing the common cold. Because lemon has an anti-bacterial property it’s great for helping with infections. Lemon is also a natural source of vitamin C, which makes it a great antioxidant. Lastly, I remember reading somewhere that it can reduce fever.

3. Make your own cough syrup. I mixed up a batch of this magic potion a few weeks ago when my mom had a cough coming on. She swears by it now! 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, a tablespoon of Honey, a dash of Cayenne Pepper, a squeeze of Lemon…voila!!

4. Try Oil Pulling – A friend of mind told me about oil pulling a couple of months ago and I’ve been doing it several times a week every since. I use coconut oil, but there are a variety of oils that you use. Supposedly oil pulling is most effective when you do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You take a tablespoon of oil, put it in your mouth, and swish is around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Do not swallow it! After time is up you spit it out. Here is article on some of the science behind it, but basically it’s suppose to have a “powerful cleansing and healing affect…on the mouth and sinuses.” The jury is still out on whether I’ve felt any benefits with oil pulling, but I figure it’s worth a shot!

There really isn’t any conclusive scientific studies that would back up that all of the things on this list will 100% cure you. BUT if they are harmless…why not try? It can never hurt to try out some natural, alternative remedies. Please let me know if this inspired you to try any of the items I listed…and let me know how you liked them! Feel free to add to the list too :)

Peace, love, and health.

When life gives you snow…

It is the same drill every year. As holiday season approaches I wish and wish for Jack Frost to wave his wand and transform the world into a winter wonderland. When the first sprinkles of white appeared this December, I fell asleep watching them fall from the sky, dancing in the spotlight of our front house lights. It feels like magic every year. But then, somewhere down the icy road, or amongst the news reports that 50% of the US population has contracted the flu, or during the sleepless nights listening to Cole cough himself awake, the magic wears off. So here I am, hugging a box of tissues, with a major case of the winter blues.

Today I decided to whip out the snow shovel and dig up some good times from my memory bank! Beyond the blistery weather, dry skin, and stubborn ailments, my family has been enjoying our first winter in New Hampshire.

Cole loves playing in the snow. From the moment I strapped on his boots and snow gear he set off into the fluffy white stuff to make some footprints and snow angels. I taught him how to roll snowballs, which of course turned into a snowball fight (courtesy of mom) so now we are working on aiming for below the neck.

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On the really cold days we have to get creative and find things to do indoors. Moving Greg’s electronic drum kit has been a major hit in our household. I get a request for “Dums, dums, dums!” about 8 or 20 times a day. Here is a preview of future rock legend, Cole Benson, on the drums.

And sometimes the mood strikes us to get our hands dirty and create a piece of art. Here is a snippit of my soft, gentle boy making handprints.

I suppose the point in all of this is that when life gives you snow…make snowballs. We have found a lot of ways to keep ourselves busy and active this season. In my next post I’ll share all of the fun ways we’ve been trying to stay healthy! I’ll share some homemade remedies, green drinks, and even a couple of cold weather recipes.