Have you ever had one of those nights where nothing goes as planned? That was my night. The hubs was out for the night so it was just me and my little BFF. I was looking forward to spending extra quality time with her. Just her and me. Maybe dinner out somewhere and then a visit to the park. Or a bike ride through the neighborhood. Or spa party night where we do our nails and just hang out. No matter what it was going to be fun…
But my little friend ended up having something else in mind. A complete and total meltdown AKA a tantrum from the exorcist. It was HORRIBLE. Apparently she didn’t get a nap at school and I had the pleasure of suffering the consequences. It was seriously one of the worst tantrums she’s had in all of her 5 1/2 years. I’ll save you the details of the tears, screaming, head spinning, bulging veins, etc. It was awful.
This visit from the Exorcist lasted about an hour off and on, but it felt like eternity. It was just me and her. Her and me. Exactly how I like it on our “girls’ nights” usually, but last night OMG I would’ve given anything for someone else to be there with me enduring this freak show. It sucked big time. Luckily this isn’t an everyday occurrence or I would probably become an alcoholic. Good lord.
Eventually she calmed down and life was good again. So good that the little darling went to sleep at 9pm which is a freaking miracle for my little night owl. That meant I had the whole rest of the night to myself which is a miracle and never happens! So what did I do? I laid my exhausted butt on the couch only to find there was absolutely nothing to watch on TV and then I went to lay down in bed next to my cranky, beautiful sleeping baby girl. Such an exciting life and yet I wouldn’t change it for a second. Well, maybe I’d change those tantrum moments, but you know what I mean!
It seems like everything in life is all about finding the right balance. The balance between work and personal life. The balance between eating healthy and splurging. The balance between exercise and spending time w/ your family. The list of balances in life, especially mine, seems to go on and on. Sometimes I feel like a side show act in the circus trying to balance on the tightrope while holding a pretty parasol and if you knew me in real life then you’d know how disastrous this is as I am a total klutz!
But lately I feel like I am slowly getting a good balance on these things and it totally relieves stress from my daily life which is awesome. How do I do this? Well, I’ve been grocery shopping on Thursday or Friday nights right after work w/o my little sidekick which saves time and money — it’s so much quicker & cheaper to shop on your own! And that might not sound like much, but it totally saves 2hrs on the weekend which is awesome and weekend time is precious. That frees me up to do other stuff I love doing like taking my little friend to the library for a few hours or going to the park to run around. It sounds silly, but just knowing the grocery shopping is done is such a great feeling! Another grocery related tip is meal planning for the week before you go — it saves you money, time, and stress. I never have to say OMG what’s for dinner?! I just look at the list on the fridge and know what we’re cooking when I get home from work — it’s such a timesaver.
I’ve also been getting up earlier in the morning to shred it out w/ JM while everyone is still sleeping. It’s only a 20 minute workout, but that 20 minutes of solitude in the morning really helps get me going and sets the tone for my whole day. I feel energized, centered, and even strong when I have my “me” time to work out in the morning. It gets my blood flowing and the adrenaline pumping. I love it. And yes I am still doing it, woo hoo! Some nights I wait or do it again w/ my little friend as she looooves it too and it’s the cutest thing. She wears a teeny tiny sports bra w/ yoga pants and lays down her mat next to mine, grabs her 1lb weights and “shreds” it out. It’s seriously beyond words adorable! I’d share pics, but the internet is a crazy place and you never know who’s lurking so there’ll be no pics of my baby girl in her outfit — I’m sure you parents out there totally understand. Such a sad / sick world, isn’t it?!
And then at night I do 60 minutes on the elliptical while my friend plays / watches TV. Honestly, it ends up taking closer to 80 minutes typically because there’s always something she needs / wants during this time — toys, hugs, bathroom break, etc. — but it’s alright and I’m still getting my workout. Of course there’s some nights when this all goes to hell and it just doesn’t happen at all, but I give it my best effort and I feel so accomplished when I do it!
Here’s a pic of my little friend playing w/ all her 10 million ponies while I sweat it out on the elliptical.
So there you have it, just a few of my personal tips on how I balance life on a daily basis.
Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Honestly, I didn’t know that. I just always think of March as Oh shoot bikini season is almost here month, ha ha. But since it’s actually an official month to focus on healthy eating (every month should be though!) I’ve teamed up with Stop & Shop’s full-time nutritionist, Julie Menounos, to help you get the most out of your grocery shopping experience w/ healthy eating in mind. Regardless of food preferences, lifestyle, culture, health concerns, when it comes to meal planning for many families, the supermarket is the place to start, it’s where healthy eating begins. And if you go armed w/ your list, coupons, and a meal plan for the week then you’re so much more likely to leave those deliciously fattening cookies and chips on the shelves.
Here’s a few grocery shopping tips that Julie wanted me to share with all of you:
Before You Leave:
Don’t shop hungry. Be sure to have a light meal or snack with fiber and protein before shopping to avoid impulse buys.
Make a grocery list. Plan out your week of meals, snacks and beverages and those you need to restock. Organize the list by the departments of the grocery store to save you time shopping.
During Your Shopping Trip:
Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where the freshest, most natural food lies. So fill most of your cart with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and dairy items then venture down the center aisles to stock up on staple goods like whole grains, beans, vegetable-based soups, canned tuna and wild salmon.
Pay attention to symbols to help you shop. For example, at Stop & Shop, you can look for the Healthy Ideas® symbol next to the price to find products that are better for you and your family.
Read the ingredient list. If you are not sure how to accurately interpret the Nutrition Facts label, the ingredients list can provide you with enough information to make a healthy decision. Ingredients are listed in order of weight from high to low. In general, the less ingredients the better. If sugar is listed in the first or second ingredient of your breakfast cereal, look to swap it.
When You Get Home:
Focus on filling half your plate with fruit and non-starchy vegetables. Fill the other half with whole grains (bread, rice, pasta and starchy vegetables like corn, peas, potatoes) and lean protein (chicken, turkey, beef seafood, beans).
Don’t forget a serving of dairy (milk, yogurt or cheese) either incorporated into the meal, on the side or as dessert!
Think about adding fruits and veggies to your families favorite foods. Add strawberries in cereal, blueberries in yogurt, sliced pears in a grill cheese sandwich, shredded carrots and zucchini to pasta sauce and broccoli on pizza.
So now that you’ve read all of those tips, what do you think? Will this help you get those booties in gear and in shape for summer?
Disclosure: All of the opinions expressed were my own w/ the exception of Julie’s fab tips. I did receive Stop & Shop GCs as a ‘thank you’ for my participation.
I try to live my life with no regrets. I am truly one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason and whatever is meant to be, will be. Of course I’ve had my share of heartbreak / disappointment / bad choices over the years, but I really believe all of these situations have helped mold into the strong woman I am today. However, there is one choice in my life that I will always regret no matter how hard I try to tell myself it was for the best and there was no other option. That choice is having Isabella be in daycare from the time she was 12 weeks old up until this very moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love her daycare (for the most part) and I can say with full confidence that she’s taken care of and safe, but I still don’t like it. Knowing that someone else spends more time with my child than I do absolutely kills me inside. They were the ones who comforted her when she was a baby crying out for her Mama. They were the ones who might’ve possibly seen her roll over for the first time, crawl for the first time, take her first steps, etc. They are the ones who are always there M-F from early morning till evening and it makes me crazy. Yes, I know she’s learned a lot and gained valuable social skills, but I selfishly don’t care about that and wish it was me who could’ve taught her all of these things.
Isabella has never known what it’s like to be home with her Mama all the time. She’s grown up being raised at a daycare center and it absolutely sucks big donkey balls. Of course I spend every waking and sleeping moment with her when she’s not at school, but a part of me still feels like that is not enough. She is my baby, not theirs and it kills me they spend all of these precious moments with her. Precious moments that no matter what I will never get back. It makes me teary eyed just thinking about all of the years that have gone by with her at school.
I understand we all do what we have to do and we needed to be two working parents in order to buy our home, put food on the table, clothes on her back, etc. But I still hate it and will always regret not being home with her for the past five years. When she was a small baby a friend said “If you can’t afford to raise your own children then you shouldn’t be having them”. I know that person just made the comment in general and it wasn’t directed towards me, but it stayed with me and has bothered me ever since. You know that little voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough or whatever you’re doing is wrong? Well, my little voice constantly tells me there’s something else I can do to make this work. Something. Anything. There’s got to be something. And you know what?! There is something else that I can do and I will do! I will become a stay-at-home-mommy or at least a working P/T mommy so I can be there for my daughter. I have to and I will. Somehow I will make this work.
Isabella starts kindergarten this Fall and that schedule won’t align w/ my work schedule so things will be changing. I will be there for my daughter every single day and every single school vacation and day off. She is my #1 priority and damnit I WILL make sure that I am there for her. I can’t undo these past 5 years, but I can be there for all the upcoming years when she needs me and I will.
As I’ve said before everything happens for a reason and while I can’t explain the reason for having to be in daycare, I do know that things are FINALLY lining right up where they need to be and I couldn’t be happier or more excited. I am very blessed to have an understanding hubby who agrees the most important place for me to be is home w/ our daugther and we will make this work. I am not saying I want to be a SAHM who sits around the house all day while the kids are at school as I do plan to work P/T mother’s hours, but I do need to be home when she is home. If anyone out there wants to hire a cute and devoted Mama for a few hours a week and are willing to pay me big bucks then let me know — I’m your girl, ha ha!
It’s just one of those freaking days… I’ve been procrastinating writing on this little ole’ blog and I said to myself ‘Girl, get outta your shell and just write from your heart’. So guess what I did? And it was pretty damn good! And then guess what happened? I freaking erased it!! Like literally I was sitting here for almost 2 hours perfecting my post and it was awesome. Bam! I hit the wrong freaking button and it all disappeared into thin air and it’s freaking gone. Sigh…
So with that said, this post is not going to be all touchy feely or from the heart because I am drained emotionally from my last post and I just don’t have the energy to write that up again. Don’t worry, I will get to it later on this week, but I think it’s a sign to take a deep breath and focus on fluff topics for the moment.
Speaking of ‘fluff’, I have a lot of it and it needs to go. Fast. So what did I do? I turned to that crazy biatch, Jillian Michaels. And I honestly think she might be trying to kill me. I did the 30 Day Shred this morning and holy balls she kicked my butt! This is my 1st offical day getting back into the 30 Day Shred Challenge and OMG I am outta shape. It’s bad. Like really bad. How did I ever let myself get to this point?! Sure, I lost 80lbs back in the day like a million years ago and then had a healthy pregnancy a few years later and immediately lost all the pregnancy weight (thank you breasfeeding!), but over the past couple years the weight slowly crept on and instead of acting on it, I just ignored it and let it continue to go up. Well no more. This Mama is getting serious this time around and there’s no turning back.
The 30lbs lost by my 30-Something Birthday challenge is on! That gives me about 5 months and it’s totally feasible. Who’s with me?
Alright so maybe the title of this post could be a little misleading and make you wonder what I’m up to. No, it’s nothing like 50 Shades of Grey, ha ha! I am talking about keeping it fun at home for my little one.
The child literally has enough toys to open up a damn toy store (not even kidding!) and yet she’s constantly telling me how she’s bored or has nothing to do. Are you kidding me? Of course the reasonable explanation would be that she needs a playmate to keep her busy, but since there’s no little kids in the neighborhood and at this point a new sibling would be way too young to even keep her attention for long then that leaves us w/ 1 other option. Me. Yup, that’s right, I am her playmate. Her BFF. Her partner in crime. You name it and that’s me. Am I complaining about this? No way. I love every single second we spend together and we have a complete blast together. No matter what we’re doing, it’s like a party.
Some of our favorite things to do together are read books during our “book night” which means we change into our pj’s and cuddle in bed while reading a pile of books taller than us. Literally, the child picks out as many books as her little arms can carry and then turns to me to show me my huge pile!
We play chef and put our matching aprons and then cook up a storm in the kitchen. Usually something sweet like cookies or brownies, but it’s always fun and a great opportunity for her to count her measurements and even learn her spelling when we look at the ingredients (eggs for example) and recipe.
We do “projects” which consist of anything from coloring to cutting out pictures from magazines to make collages to making macaroni necklaces, etc. In fact the macaroni necklace was such a huge hit that she wore it to school today. It was also pajama day at school so trust me, that girl is stylin’ in her jammies w/ her Easter themed shaped macaroni necklace, ha ha.
At least a few times a week we have Game Night and we play tons and tons of our favorite games. I am proud to say we have all of the classic kid games and the majority of them we got for literally quarters from yard sales. I really do love a good sale and can’t wait for the Spring when they start again. I find the best bargains for kid stuff!
We build forts / tents out of snow as you saw last week or simply blankets when we’re inside and it’s too cold. A child’s imagination is truly amazing and the fun we have is endless.
Of course don’t get me wrong we always end up playing dolls, dinosaurs, super heroes, etc. but it’s still always nice to keep it interesting and creative so I don’t hear that adorable / whiny voice tell me she’s bored. And there’s lots of times when she’s playing by herself and having a ball – I love listening to her play and talk to her toys! And before you think I’m Super Mama, trust me I am not as she watches her fair share of TV too. I am just trying really hard to limit it as much as possible. Of course when I need to get my 1 hour of cardio in then I will turn a movie on w/o hesitation, but she still plays while she’s watching something so I feel like that’s OK.
What do you do to keep your little ones entertained?
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Ever feel like you’re having a total Mom fail? Well, don’t feel bad because I probably have you beat.
Last night (AKA the night before freaking Valentine’s Day) I’m in the kitchen baking cupcakes for my little Valentine’s party at her school. Well, I didn’t think to look ahead of time at the list of kids in her class, I just assumed one box of cupcake mix would be enough. Uuum yeah, it totally wasn’t. I came up like 5 short and that’s just not gonna work. I mean, you can’t short 5 kids cupcakes, especially for a party! Ugh. So I look in the cupboard and of course I don’t have another box mix. Nope. I don’t. Errrrr. Okay so I find a chocolate chip muffin mix and figure that will be just fine — I’ll throw a little frosting on them & sprinkles. It’ll be just fine, I mean these are just pre-schoolers, right? So I make them and all is good. Of course I also am using a mix of Diego and Halloween cupcake wrappers, but whatever…
Alright so while I’m baking the cupcakes I decide it’s also a good time to make lunches, empty / load the dishwasher, wash the pans in the sink, and of course clean the fish tank. I mean, it makes perfect sense to just multi-task and get this all done at once, right? Yeah, not so much… But a mom’s day just never ends so it seems like we’re always doing ten million things at once. So I get everything done and then realize I need to put Pepper back in her clean tank (she was in a container waiting for her tank’s water to be ready). I absolutely hate cleaning the tank as it smells and fish creep me out, so I wash my hands (paranoid that I will smell fishy, ha ha) and then I am about to dump the damn fish back into her tank, but I am trying to dump the current dirty water down the drain so I don’t get my just cleaned sink dirty — horrible idea. I dropped the freaking fish down the freaking drain into the freaking garbage disposal. OMG. OMG. OMG. My daughter’s fish is now inside the disposal which is full of soap from just washing my hands and I can’t see the damn fish. OMG what do I do? Do I run the disposal to hide the evidence and blame it on the cats? But then Isabella will be hearbroken. Shoot. So I do what any desperate mama would do — I stuck my hand inside the disposal and pull out the fish all the while it’s flopping around and I am having a bitch of a time trying to get it out, ugh! I’m so scared that I will cut the fish on the disposal blades and end up w/ a fish filet in my hands or end up cutting my damn hands. Oh and this whole time Isabella is sitting at the kitchen table doing her Valentine’s cards – eeks! After lots of flopping around and rinsing the soap fish off, I think I saved it.
I literally checked on the fish 100 times last night and it seems to be OK. But this isn’t the first time I did this — I am known to be a fish killer!
And then of course my little friend decided she was done filling out her Valentine’s so I ended up doing them. I so should’ve planned this out better and had her do a few every night. I am such a procrastinator — I bought the damn cards a year ago on clearance so I really have no excuse!
And then to top it all off my cupcakes don’t even look that pretty. But again they are like 4 yrs old so whatever! I did put an ‘I’ on Isabella’s and a heart on the others so she’d def get an all chocolate one, ha ha. She was very concerned w/ getting a chocolate chip one and in a preschooler’s world this is a big deal so I went w/ it and made sure my baby got the cupcake she wanted.
It looks like all crisises were avoided so maybe this wasn’t such a Mom fail after all! A day in the life of a Mama is never boring or predictable for that matter…