Fighting Fatigue

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My husband looked at me from across the dinner table with the most exhausted face I've ever seen and asked me, "Are we always going to be tired?"
Yes. Yes, we are always going to be tired.
The last few months for us have been a whirlwind. We've been house hunting in the little spare time we have, staying up late with Lucca struggling to find ways to get him to go back to sleep, working the daily grind everyday and fighting to find time to stay awake when the workday is finished.
The good news: we found a house. Finally. This has been the longest, most drawn out experience-- one we began before we even got married. We put that on hold for the wedding. Fast forward two years, we begin the search again while I'm REALLY pregnant. We never found what we were looking for, I desperately needed to "nest" somewhere, anywhere, and at 8 months pregnant we moved into another rental. Two years later, we started our (very narrowed down) search once again, and finally found our home.
I was so happy to FINALLY not have to be up late waiting for the newest listings to pop up, to bring Lucca along to showings during the most inopportune times (i.e.: lunchtime, nap time, dinner time) and to think about spending yet another year renting. We put in offers on two other houses which didn't pan out, but we felt like third time was a charm. I took it as a good sign when Lucca actually broke one of the homeowner's decorations--like "Heyy! We're home! Let's break shit!" Our offer was accepted and now, three weeks before Christmas, we're frantically packing up our house for our big move.
Our house is currently in shambles right now--there is crap everywhere, Lucca has limited toys to play with, and the boxes are piling up. The only time to pack is when Lucca is sleeping, either napping or at bedtime, so the packing process is slow-moving. I don't know what's worse--packing and moving while 8 months pregnant or packing and moving with a two-year-old. It's a toss-up.
The other good news: Lucca kind of sleeps through the night again. It's funny to look back and replay all the things we've done to try and get this kid to sleep in his bed. I'm all about the cry-it-out deal, but that doesn't exactly work with a toddler. The screams and hellacious sounds coming from that child at 2 a.m. was enough for my neighbors to ask me if everything was OK in our house. We were so exhausted we let him sleep in the bed--and I slept in the guest bedroom. 
Greg and I took turns rocking him, putting him back to bed, only to be awoken to screams and cries minutes later. We patted his back until we practically fell asleep ourselves over the side of his crib railing. We slept in his rocking chair to let him know we were still there. We slept on the floor. We bought a night light toy. Slowly, and slowly we convinced him to lay down and go back to sleep himself. And today, he has certain requests: Door stays open, pat his back, books in his bed, light on in the hallway. Whatever works, kid. Just please for the love of God shut your eyelids.

Don't get me wrong, I love these chaotic days of toddlerhood and listening to all the ridiculous things my son tells me- "I'm sorry Mommy. I can't give you a hug right now. I have a muffin in my hand." But I ache for sleep something so fierce... and I'd really like to keep my eyeballs open enough to have a conversation with my husband after 6 p.m.

So we push on through this crazy time in our life with eyes half-open and walking around like zombies. Packing up and moving on to the next chapter. Maybe sleep will be in our future, maybe it won't. But for now, yes, we will always be tired...but at least we'll be tired together.

5 Things I Wish My Toddler Understood

Friday, November 20, 2015

My son just turned two a month ago, and we are all still adjusting to this new, ahem, “phase”. The fact is, two year olds think they run shit. They live life according to their own agenda, and my kid is no exception. I know we’re likely to endure this stage of toddlerhood for awhile, but there are a few things I just wish my son knew already…

1. Just because you can pick it up and hold it, does not mean it needs to be flung clear across the room.
I have dodged so many objects that have been hurdled toward my face. Legos, stuffed animals, mulch, forks, diapers. I’ve considered wearing a hockey mask to protect myself. No place is safe.

2. You don’t have to do the opposite of what I ask you EVERY SINGLE TIME. Surprise me once in awhile, ya know? Actually eat your food, don’t feed the dog your mac and cheese. Hold my hand in the parking lot instead of making a daring dash past the car. Honestly, your brain is working overtime to give it that much thought. Give your little head a break.

3. You don’t need to see my face at 3 a.m. every morning. You will be awake in 3 more hours, calling from your bed to come get you and demanding a cup of milk. Let’s just wait for that moment. I’ll be happier to see you at a decent hour and might even give in to a few of your requests. 

4. You don’t own everything. The slide at the park is not yours. My shoe; not yours. The dog’s tail; not yours. I understand this is your world and were just living in it, but you can’t just claim everything you set your eyes on. 

5. You do own your boogers. Though I fully appreciate your effort in sharing with me, really, you can keep your boogers to yourself. I don’t need to wear them as an accessory on my sleeve or shoved in my face inches away from my eyeballs. Boogers; yours.

Patience is NOT my Virtue

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Two weekends ago, after a hurried and stressful mall outing with Lucca, my husband said to me "You don't handle tantrums well."
This came after Lucca refused to sit in his stroller then ran back and forth with it in the dressing room hallway of Banana Republic, banging it into the walls and doors and running over anyone in his path. (My apologies again to the victims). Then he wanted to run toward the escalators on the second floor and I wouldn't let him near it. Our little Sunday afternoon outing ending after I used several quick one-armed lifts to get him out of other people's way, only to be 'toddler-ed' and thus making the situation worse.
No, I'd say I don't handle tantrums well. My patience level has absolutely deteriorated in the last year, and I believe I can thank the terrible-twos for this. Sometimes I wonder how I ever was a teacher in my previous life. As a teacher, I had an abundance of patience. Not just for one child, but for 14 children. I had rocks thrown at my face, I've had punches and kicks thrown my way, I've been yelled at, and endured a countless amount of tantrums on a daily basis. 
So why the hell can't I handle this with the same grace as I did before?
I know I'm not the only one experiencing this. I know this comes with the territory. My friend assured me the other day (as my son was running around dangerously close to the parking lot outside of Starbucks) that it will, in fact, get better. But right now, it's tough. It's exhausting. It's a constant battle. More and more I see how strong-willed Lucca is, how much I fight back, and usually the fight just isn't worth fighting.
I'm all about finding a method to the madness, the calming techniques, setting boundaries, and blah blah blah. But in that moment, all of that is bullshit to me. In that moment, I'm fighting against the will of a thirty-pound mini-person who has just recently discovered his ability to scream at the top of his lungs. My patience for this usually lasts about all of 30 seconds. After about the third or fourth attempt to "calm down", I CAN'T CALM THE F*&$ DOWN. Enter the one-armed scoop, the over the shoulder-potato-bag lift, the under-the-armpit-kicking-and-screaming pick-up, and I'm just looking for a way out.

My husband is a saint. He'd be a great teacher. He's calm. He's cool. He's collected. Complete opposite of how I handle these situations. But being home with him every single day, ALL day, I'd say I get the majority of the meltdowns. My husband probably experiences 2% of the tantrums that I encounter on a daily basis. God love him, but I think he'd probably lose his shit too three days in.

I'm not looking for any advice or suggestions to parenting books. I just need the "girl, I'm right there with you" camaraderie. I love this age--I love to watch him become more independent, to see him explore, make friends, show emotions, ask questions. But HOLY CRAP, people. Toddler tantrums are enough to put any mother in a nut house. 


Throwback: Lucca's 1st Birthday Party

Thursday, September 24, 2015

We're a week away from Lucca's second birthday, so I thought I'd do a little throwback to his first birthday bash from last year. I never posted about it-- I wanted to, but in between loading the 10,000 photos and backing up my computer a million times, a year passed by and here we are. At least now I can try and free up some space on all of our devices to try and capture this year's birthday...
Celebrating Lucca's first birthday was so important to us. Yes, we had a one-year-old but it was also a family celebration like, "Oh my God! We made it through our first year as parents!". So naturally, we invited all of our family and friends, partied with the kids, ate cupcakes and other yummy Fall treats, and somehow, after Lucca finally crashed from his cupcake high at the end of the night, the adults kept the party going with beer pong and flip cup in the basement. 
Because you know, that's how you celebrate first birthdays.

I spent a lot, and I mean ALOT of time on Pinterest to try and find cute themes for his birthday. As many of you know, I hate anything cartoonish, babyish.. all of that crap. And he's a baby still, so what did he care? I decided on a pumpkin theme and loved it. Yes, I went all out and ordered special invitations and a personalized shirt for him to wear. But in the end, Lucca was excited about all the pumpkins, I was excited that our house was decorated for my favorite season.

The end result was perfect. Pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin beer, yummy treats for the kids (and big Kids), outdoor games and pumpkin activities inside (including a picture frame 'guestbook' for everyone to sign) and a beautiful Fall day. I stuck with a color scheme-orange, black and white, and stayed away from anything too kitschy or Halloween-ish. I had a picture in my head of exactly how I wanted it to be--something I could live with in my house even after the party was over. I was damn proud of that birthday party. I even made a hashtag for the festivities. 

I can honestly say that party was one of my highlights of Motherhood.  
First birthday party planning: "Check, check, hellll yeah I Pinterest-ed my ass off and everyone had a great time--annndd check."
At the end of the day, Lucca was practically bouncing off the walls. He tore through presents like it was his job, and was so happy to be around family and friends, laughing and playing until he literally could not keep his eyelids open. I couldn't have asked for a better day.
This year, I gave in to the cartoonish crap that I loathe because my kid is freaking obsessed with Toy Story. I want to see him happy and excited to have Buzz Lightyear overload--just for him. That's what it's about, right? I can deal with 1 1/2 hours of in-your-face Toy Story party gear. And this year, we decided to skip the house party and opted for a party at a local kid's gymnastics spot instead. So far, it seems to be way less stressful as far as planning goes, and hey, that also means no set-up/clean-up for me! 
And no beer pong.

Surgery Vacation

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Last week I had surgery on my wrist after dealing with a little thing called "De Quervain's tenosynovitis" for the past year and a half. I discovered the pain almost four months after I had Lucca when I couldn't even pick him up out of his crib, and after having several cortisone injections with little to no help at all, the next step was to have surgery.  Apparently this is a pretty common problem among pregnant women, or after just having a kid who is really freaking heavy and you are constantly lifting him all day everyday. 
See, these are the things they never tell you could happen to you when you have kids...
Anyway, I was set up to have surgery, two days off of work and Lucca was staying at my mom's for the weekend. For such a small surgery, the surgery prep was such a big deal. I went under general anesthesia and had a nerve block down my entire right arm from my clavicle to my fingertips. This will sound terrible (it sounded terrible in my mind) but I wasn't nervous about the surgery at all. In fact, I was actually looking forward to the drug-enduced sleep I would have over the next few days (yep, it sounds worse after writing it).
And I slept. A lot. Like swimming in a pool of drool on your pillow kind of sleep. Like holy shit what day is it kind of sleep. And it's been AMAZING. Don't get me wrong, I'm not promoting any kind of prescription drug use for sleep-deprived mothers, but this past weekend kid-free while I recovered from surgery was a lot like vacation.
I would have much rather been laying on a beach somewhere sipping Coco-Locos (you can get those in the Dominican) but instead I hadn't showered in 3 days, was wrapped in bandages with a hand full of stitches and an arm that felt like it weighed 60 pounds, and practically lived on my couch.
But, I got to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. 
I got to watch movies during the day.
I slept past 7:00 a.m. 
I took naps sporadically, often in the middle of eating or watching a movie.
I was waited on by my dear husband who cooked, cleaned and fluffed my pillows.
I mean really, if you want a "vacation" go have surgery on something. I'm healing quite nicely on day 3 post-surgery, a little sore but moving. Quite honestly, I've had the most difficulty just adjusting to being back to reality-- just like returning home from vacay
It was a good little "getaway", but I sure did miss that kid. I was ready to have him back once Sunday rolled around. And he sure came back roaring through our house like a tornado. Right now, I've just got to convince him not to get anywhere near my arm. Or not to touch it. Or bump it. Or squeeze it and laugh while I scream in pain.

Ha! Yeah right.

To-Do List

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ever since Lucca was born I've always been very particular about things. Like most new mamas who have spent countless hours reading up on books and blogs and everything else, I packed my head with a shit-ton of know-how to take care of this kid. It's always been a learn-as-you-go kinda thing, I've kinda done things my own way, and now as far as I'm concerned, that IS the way.
I get made fun-of.. well, not really, just given a hard time, about my particularity. Like what food groups Lucca should be eating throughout the day. Or that I don't want him to have the iPad in the car right away, wait until he gets restless. Or that he needs to be playing outside everyday for at least an hour. There are just certain things that are a standard for me. If I don't achieve these things I get hung up on them. And I think other people should care about them as much as I do.
I'm aware this is stupid. I know he'll survive if these "requirements" aren't met. The thing is, sometimes I can be a fly-be-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of mom. No clothes today? Sure run around naked. Leftover mac and cheese for third time this week? Whatever. But some things I just can't budge on. When I leave him with our family, I always give them the run-down, what's changed in his schedule, how to do this, how to do that. For the most part, I think they stick to the plan (how will I ever know unless I attach a body-cam to him?) But mostly I get the "Ok yeah sure... we'll see how that goes" kinda vibe. 
Totally understandable. Sure. I get it. Motherhood has made me worry about stupid freaking things. And to be honest, I thought it'd get better as he got older. But the list keeps getting longer. The requirements keep getting more and more absurd. 
Do I blame them for wanting me to STFU when I'm naming off each and every thing that should be done? No. Will I apologize for my ridiculousness? Of course not.
And that's that.

Now, it's raining and I need to think up something to do indoors that requires some kind of physical activity to reach our quota for the day.


100 Percent

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's been awhile since I've posted, and really the only excuses I have are that we've had so much going on and the only time I've had to write is when I'm sleeping. And I'm sorry, but I will always choose sleep.
And just like that, Summer is over. It's already September, there are already leaves on the ground (of which I've been raking up since July) and this morning we head out on our last summertime adventure. It's 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday, and although Lucca has slept until sunrise this week, he's all too excited about a family day-trip to the beach. So here I am. Not sleeping. And blogging while it's still dark outside.
This is also the time where I begin the countdown to my babe's birthday, and the days ahead that I will most likely cry for no freaking reason. I cried a lot last year. I held him a lot in those last few days of September, stared at him, soaking in all of his baby-ness that I'd never see again. I was pathetic. And guess what? It's back again.

I almost feel like I'm having a tougher time with him turning two. He's a little person now. He wants to learn about the world around him, and he wants my time more than anything. I've had ridiculous amounts of mom guilt this Summer, when he'd come grab my hand every 5 minutes and say, "Come on Mommy, come on..." when he just wanted to dance or to race his cars together. He asks to go places: the pool, the beach, his friends' houses, the park... and his all-out rage when my response is "later" or "not right now" is totally warranted. To be honest, I want to jump up and down and scream at the top of my lungs too.

I've felt so shitty about it that I've been looking all over for a daycare situation for him a few days a week. Yes, I work from home and I'm looking for daycare. But not for me, for him. A lot of my guilt stems from the fact that he's stuck in the house, with me while I click-clack away for hours, and all he's got is the TV and his toys. We take breaks and leave the house throughout the day, but I feel like he needs more than what I can give him: the back and forth from my desk, the "mini lessons" on letters and shapes and colors, the thrown together art projects. I don't need him to be away from me all day long, but a few hours a day a couple days a week would be ideal. Reading these words back makes me feel shitty for even wanting him to go to daycare because I'm home, and the cycle continues.

This is why mothers go bat-shit crazy. They got bat-shit crazy just over worry and guilt alone.

We'll figure something out. It's funny that even after 16 months of doing this work-at-home deal, I just can't find the right balance. I can't ever give 100% of myself to anything, and that's been so difficult for me. I know I'm always looking for the perfect situation, and I know there isn't one, but it always feels good to bitch and complain for a bit. Then, I'll move on.

For now, I'll return to the couch with my love to watch Buzz Lightyear until the sun comes up. I'll look forward to a day ahead filled with sandcastles and wave-chasing with my little family. I won't care about the week ahead or the frustrations I'll encounter.

Today I'll give 100%.


On Feeling Accomplished

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

If I saw my present-self four years ago, I wouldn't know who the hell I was looking at.
A work-at-home mom, trying to hold it together, wearing the same thing every damn day, practically jumping at every playdate opportunity just to socialize. And then there's the random stuff thrown in like running races and taking step aerobics classes with the geriatric group at the women's gym. Yes. I'm a stranger even to myself.
I've had a few conversations with a fellow mom friend (which, we became friends via Facebook, something I also never thought I'd do) about just this very thing. This is the life we dreamed of. This is the life we've always wanted. What we didn't really think about were the tough times, the day-to-day moments of tantrums, sleeplessness and the overall feeling of being just completely overwhelmed. But don't you dare complain. Because this is what you've always wanted.
I've had some pretty low moments. During the newborn stage, the teething stages, the sleep training stages--there are so many freaking stages and I'm sure I cried through all of them. I've cried while looking out my window many a time before, counting down the hours and minutes until my husband came home. For almost 2 years ( I can't even believe that as I write it) I've felt completely consumed by being a new mom. But this is what I wanted.
In a way, yes it's been lonely. Yes, I've had to "find" myself. I've had to really work hard to find things to do that make me happy and to make me stay sane. I love being a mom more than anything in the world, but it's consuming, and I'm not used to feeling like that. Call that selfish, tell me I should have known what I was getting myself into, but it's the truth. And thankfully, I don't think I'm the only one that's ever felt this way.
This past year I've done one 5K, two 10K's, and a Spartan Race. I will straight up laugh in your face if you call me a "runner", because that couldn't be farther from the truth. I hate running. But doing these ridiculous races has given me something to accomplish. It's something I can get a freakin' medal for. You crossed the finish line, congratulations. Nobody hands me a medal at the end of the day. The closest I get to that is a ginormous glass of wine, barely past 5 p.m. I feel like a freaking superwoman running those races. I don't do it for the times. I just do it for the feeling I get just for finishing. (Well, and for the brunching/drinking that occurs afterward. Duh)
So is this the life I always dreamed of? In a way, yes. I don't really remember my life before having my son. And I love this kid so much it hurts. But I still have to work even harder to bring back my own personal happiness- feelings of accomplishment and success for me. Not just getting a high-five because we made it through the day without any shit (like literally, shit) appearing on the carpet. 
Props to all the mamas who are livin' the dream, makin' it work and not compromising on your happiness and fulfillment. I'm still trying to figure it all out...

Potty Training 101

Friday, August 7, 2015

I feel that I need to address the craziness that is happening in our household as of late:
Potty Training.
Yes. I said it. Yes, my son isn't even two yet. Yes, I'm batshit crazy for trying to do this. However, we thought we'd give it a go, he caught on, and now we feel like we've gone this far, we have to keep going. 
But holy shit, it's intense. You decide to do potty training because the end result is a little more independence for them, and it's sooooo much easier, right? Well, before you get to that point, you've got to be on top of your game 24/7. Trust me, there are some days where I just want to say screw it, use a diaper and let's go on with our day. But, no. I WILL NOT GIVE IN. I WILL NOT GIVE UP
Okay, I think the Spartan Race that I did last weekend has gone to my head a little bit..Ha, more on that later...
Anyway, since we bought all the gear (i.e.: potty-seat for upstairs, potty-seat for the basement, potty seats for the toilets, a 'traveling' potty seat, underwear, pull-ups, alcohol..) we've been full force and celebrating small victories along the way. In the beginning, we started with a cute little chart and bought a bunch of stickers. At first, he was into it. He was excited. He picked out which ones he wanted and proudly put them on his chart. But then that quickly lost its appeal. So we had to up the ante.
Bring on the candy. Yep. No shame here. He goes, he gets an M&M. If it's a truly magnificent end result (I don't particularly enjoy talking about my kid's bowel movements, so I'll leave out the details) then he gets two. This is something that he can be excited about. But God forbid you forget to give him one...Or you eat the entire jar that's on top of the fridge and there aren't any left.
Look, this is in no way any kind of tutorial, and I have no tips or tricks or suggestions to offer. I have no idea what the hell I'm doing, all I know is, it's working, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 
Has he shit on the floor? Of course. Has the dog ate it? It's possible. Does he refuse to go? Absolutely, he does what he wants. But yesterday, while we were out running errands and he told me he needed to go, I busted out our 'traveling potty' in the back seat, sat next to him for what seemed like an eternity, and he actually did it. To all the people in the parking lot of HomeGoods, my apologies for the hooting-and-hollering that was coming from my car, with a half-naked kid and a toilet on my seat. This is my excitement these days: Peeing in a car.
We celebrated by making a trip for 'special toys' at Five and Below and he picked out a Donald Duck and Goofy figurine (Jeez, are these guys ever going to leave? They keep showing up at our house in droves..) He was excited. I was excited. We made it another day closer.
Best of luck to all of you who are in the thick of potty-training, whatever way you're doing it. I will say this, if you find a way, stick to it. Get everyone on board (I made Greg SWEAR he wouldn't F#*% this up by throwing a diaper on him when I was gone) and know that there will be days where you are literally shadowing your kid around your house making sure they don't pee or crap on your couch, your BAR CART, your bed, underneath the dining room table, underneath their slide, etc. It's intense, ladies and gentlemen. 

8 Times I "Literally Can't Even" With My Toddler

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My now 22-month old (jeez that sounds so stupid...he's almost 2) has been on a mission to make my life difficult these days. Then I read somewhere that making life difficult is a toddler's only job description. But damn, sometimes I just can't handle the MADNESS. 

1. I literally can’t even handle the 38 toys that you’ve all of a sudden decided have to travel to and from your bed every single freaking day. First I have to carry your heavy ass everywhere and now I’ve got to haul around your entourage too? Your friends may start to disappear when you aren’t looking.

2. I literally can’t even negotiate with you when there is no car-like shopping cart available at the grocery store. Or that we can’t go to the park at 6:30 a.m. Or that we can’t run through the parking lot. Or that we shouldn’t put a potty seat on our heads and dance around. 

3. I literally can’t even believe there is a toilet in my kitchen. While I’m enjoying a nice meal, you’re just running around the house naked and occasionally making it in time to this plastic receptacle that sits in the corner. There is a reason why it’s placed next to the bar cart with the wine rack.

4. I literally can’t even believe that you have to jump and/or dive off of every startionary object in this house. Seriously kid, you are not a stunt man. Our house is not made of rubber, bouncy foam. But by all means, leap off the dining room chairs or the 6th stair. 

5. I literally can’t even handle the fact that you last all of 20 minutes in a restaurant. Order your food too soon, you scarf it down and you’re ready to hit the road before anyone else even takes a bite. Order your food with everyone else and you turn into a starving devil spawn. Whatever the case, when you’re finished, that means everyone else must be done too. I’m sorry, are you paying for this meal?

6. I literally can’t even fight you to take a bath. What happened to those blissful, cheery days you spent splashing around in the bubbles with your rubber duckies?  Now you scream like the water is melting your happiness away. I don’t care what it takes, the days-old spaghetti that is crusted in your hair and copious amounts of dirt that covers your body is coming off one way or another. 

7. I literally can't even deal with the fact that we can't just leave the house in an orderly fashion. You refuse to wear shoes, you want to bring every toy you own, you want to walk to the car yourself but you don't actually want to get in, you won't bend your body to sit in your carseat, and you just pooped.

8. I literally can't even run after you anymore. You've been walking since November, but really kid, you only WALKED for like, a day. I put you down and you run off like you are some kind of caged animal who's been waiting to bust out. I'm jealous of those kids that want to hold mommy's hand and go for walks. Instead, I'm over here screaming like a man on the outside of Panera with the entire restaurant staring at me just so you don't run in the street. Do they offer Free 2-Day shipping on monkey-backpack-leashes on Amazon? 

No days are easy. Every day is as crazy as the next. I literally can't even on most occasions. But at the end of the day, the madness is so worth it.

Disney Adventures: Part II

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

So I know that you've been hanging on to the suspense of my next blog post about our trip to Disney. I know, and I'm sorry. Things have been out of control around here. My kid is jumping off furniture left and right, we've started the initial potty training process, and we don't stop moving until the sun goes down (more on that later). Writing about our trip to the hottest, I mean happiest, place on Earth just had to wait.
But alas, Nonna is here visiting and I have some freedom to leave the confines of my basement and actually formulate real adult words. Words outside of the realm of learning how to control bodily functions. So, here we go. Back to Disney.
We didn't do Disney like most people do Disney. Well, I shouldn't say that. But from what I see from friends and family on Facebook is that people actually plan these things out down to the millisecond. No, not us. We jumped on this trip with my sister and brother-in-law and their three children, bought our plane tickets a month before, bought our park tickets a week before, and had no idea what we'd do or see. We only really planned to hit up two parks (Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom) since we figured those would be the only ones Lucca would care about. My sister and her family came earlier in the week, hit up the other parks, and then we all went together on a Thursday and Friday.

A few things. It was hot as shit. Unless you have a semi-free trip with a free place to stay and discounted tickets, don't EVER go to Disney in freaking June. Also, don't go during that time unless you WANT to sweat out 30 pounds in a single day. And don't plan on your kids looking cute in pictures if you go to Disney in June because they will always look like overheated sweaty messes. That's just a side note. Also a side note: if you ever go to Disney in the summer months, don't be the idiot that waits until they go to the park to buy the $20 squirt fan because that shit's batteries will die in an hour of using it. Go to the dollar store before your trip.

We had a great time at both the parks with no planning whatsoever. We walked around Magic Kingdom, hit up the popular rides: the teacups, Dumbo, etc, saw a few shows, watched the parade in the afternoon, and we were good. The kids were spent by 4 p.m. We had a few meltdowns by everyone, including the adults, and we were ready to go. Lucca was happy the entire day just as long as we kept feeding him and letting him run around and get out of his sweat-pool of a stroller. By the end of the day, all anybody wanted to do was shower. And nap. And drink alcohol. (Us, not the kids. Duh)

The second day we went to Animal Kingdom. I don't know why, but I guess I just pictured it to be a huge zoo with attractions all around it. I literally saw 2 monkeys the entire time we walked around. We did take a little safari bus and Lucca was so excited to see all of the animals in their "habitats", but I guess I expected them to be sprawled throughout the park. By the time we took that safari, everyone was pissed off, hot and tired, so it kind of lost it's appeal. It was more like "Oh my god let's just do this and get it over with". Yay animals.

After the sweaty safari, we had our dinner reservation with all of the Disney characters at one of the restaurants. Our friends had suggested doing this instead of waiting in a long line for a stupid picture (The one we got with Goofy was the shortest!)  It was literally the most expensive meal we've ever paid for (especially for hardly eating any of it because I was too busy chasing my son who wanted to kidnap Donald and Daisy), but in the end, it was worth the money. Lucca is OBSESSED with Mickey Mouse, so I knew he'd love it. Plus, he got to join in on a little dance party action right in the middle of dinner. He was in Heaven.

Trust me, I had so many people question why the hell would we take Lucca to Disney now, when he's so little. But honestly, this kid practically jumped out of his damn skin when they came around the corner to our table. And then, he just wouldn't leave them alone. No, he won't remember a damn thing about it. But I'll never forget that dinner. And these faces:

And this bill:

All in all, it was a great trip. Lucca did a much better job traveling than I ever imagined he would, we handled everything better than I ever imagined we would, and I'm so glad we went on this adventure. We won't be back to this magical place for at least another decade, but we've got some great memories to hold us over until then!


Mama's Separation Anxiety

Monday, July 6, 2015

Last week, Lucca spent three days at my mom's house. When she offered to pick him up and have him stay with her, I jumped on that opportunity and immediately thought of a million things I wanted to do during those 72 hours of kid-free time. Sleeping and drinking were high on my list. Because, priorities.
I met her halfway between my house and hers, loaded up the extra carseat in her car and transferred all of his necessities for his mini-vacay. He could not have been more excited to see her and could have cared less that I wasn't coming along with him. I hopped back in my car, waved goodbye and set on down the road back home.

Bringing a few friends for the ride
This isn't the first time I've been away from him. Greg and I have been on trips before and have had our moms watch him while we are away. But this was the first time not having him at our house with us. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's the first time in (almost) two years that it's just been the two of us. I started to think about that on the way home, and after almost 5 times of checking his carseat and reassuring myself that I hadn't forgotten him somewhere (seriously, does anybody else do this?) I made it home to a very quiet house.

For all the loud-ass beeping and singing toys we have in our house that Lucca plays with, for all the screaming and screeching and yelling that goes on in a daily basis, the silence was deafening. And I felt like I was trying to have conversations with our pets. Sure, my conversations with Lucca are pretty minimal, but at least he's human and answers me 90% of the time. I didn't have a happy, cheerful face to greet me in the morning, either. I mean I love my husband, but "cheerful face" does not describe him at 6 o'clock in the morning.
The first two days, I did take advantage of the extra Zzz's when I took a mid-day nap. I also enjoyed some time lounging at the pool and reading all the magazines I've been meaning to read since December. It was glorious. Not having to run around in a bathing suit and fear my child is going to drown every 5 seconds- that alone was relaxing.

However,  I did find myself doing things that I've become so accustomed to doing with Lucca around. When I went to the grocery store, I drove round until I found the closest spot up front and next to the shopping carts-- what I usually do with Lucca in tow so that it's easier to get in and out. I would tiptoe upstairs at night so I wouldn't wake him up, forgetting that he wasn't in his room. I would turn on the baby monitor, forgetting that there wasn't anyone to watch. I would close gates behind me, forgetting I didn't have a wild child here to keep contained. Every time I would do something like that, I'd just laugh at myself. I need to get out more, apparently.

By the third day, I was freaking bored. Yes, I said it. I wanted all this free time, and then when I got it, I was bored as shit. I don't know if it's because we're always on-the-go and doing something, but I was so bored I didn't know what to do with myself. I missed the hell out of my kid. I got some time to myself, but it was way too quiet here that I think it was starting to drive me crazy. I did enjoy the clean house and the extra snooze time, but damn. That was a long three days without any crazy in this house.

Be careful what you wish for, I guess? We all need a break sometimes, but it's funny how much you miss your babe when you are away from each other for so long. I quickly learned that I had a bit of separation anxiety from not having a miniature human attached to any of my limbs. Next time maybe I'll plan some more "activities" so that I'm not stuck here talking to myself like a crazy person. Jeesh.


Thursday, July 2, 2015



Another Slice of Cheesecake

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The other night G went out and I stayed home with Lucca. I wanted to go out, we could have found a babysitter, but I really didn't mind having some quiet time to myself on a Saturday night. We had a very busy day, and Lucca was practically begging me to put him to bed.
He went to sleep no problem, and I poured myself a glass of wine, watched 'How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days' on TV, and perused around Pinterest for awhile. I put myself to bed when I couldn't really keep my eyes open anymore and when I ran out of wine. Snooze city on a Saturday night.
At 4 a.m., for whatever reason, I was woken up by Lucca crying out in his room. I waited a second before I even turned on the monitor. When I flicked on the screen, I saw him standing there with his blanket in one hand and a cat named Buttercup (Bubber-Bup) from my childhood in the other. Now I usually, (and I'm talking like 99% of the time), let him get himself back to sleep. But his cry sounded different. I didn't wait much longer.
I walked in to his room, scooped him up (with his blankie and Bubber-Bup still in clenched in his hands) and he instantly quieted when he flopped over my left shoulder. Now again, this isn't usually my tactic. If I ever do go in his room, it's usually to lay him down and walk right out. But I couldn't. Not tonight. I missed this.
I don't know why, but I felt so sad when I picked him up. I could really see how big he's grown just by how far his legs extended past my hips when I held him. I felt sad at how heavy he felt, the way it took real arm strength to hold up his sleepy body. I missed him being a baby. Maybe it's because I sub-consciously want another baby? And then I wondered, standing in his room at 4 a.m., if I really could ever love another baby the way I have loved this boy. And after all we've been through, would I be able to do this a second-time around? Yes, I know. Profound thoughts for 4 a.m. Maybe it was the wine.

There's that question that everyone asks: "Do you think you'll have more?" As if "having more" is like having more shoes. Or having another slice of cheesecake. There's much more to it. Yes, in theory we want to "have more". But we're so focused on our lives the way they are now that it's difficult to imagine anything different. And when I look back on these past two years, I really wonder if I can handle it all with another babe in the mix. And more importantly, I'm so obsessed with our first babe that I'm not sure I'm ready for that huge shift in our lives.

And this is why motherhood is absolutely INSANE. Pregnancy is a joy and a pain. Childbirth is a joy and (a lot of) pain. And everything after that is a cluster-f*@# of emotions. So many highs and peaks of happiness, so much that your heart could just burst. And then there are so many lows with frustration and weakness when you feel like you're just not gonna make it. You don't know it 'til you're living it. And when you do, you want to do it all over again. Seriously. We're all freaking crazy. It's the best damn thing ever, but it's crazy, you have to admit it.

It's all happened so quickly, as everyone says it does. Our little babe that used to squeak and coo and snuggle now runs around our house like a crazy person and bosses us around on a daily basis. We've made it through difficult phases and have celebrated so many amazing moments. He made us parents, and we are still relishing in that fact every single day.

So right now, I'm just trying to hold on to everything and squeeze the goodness out of every moment with our #1, before we even think about #2. You can probably find me in his room at 4 a.m. like a creeper listening to him breathe, just like I did when he was a newborn. I know that moments like that are numbered, so I'll take advantage of them now.

Ahh motherhood. You never cease to take my emotions on a freaking roller coaster ride.

Disney Adventures: Part I

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I've been on a bit of blogging hiatus for 2 reasons:
1. My pre-Disney trip anxiety.
2. My post-Disney trip recovery.
We had a pretty great trip, I must say. It was short (5 days, 4 nights), it was hot, it was expensive, but we had such a good time with our family. I've had so many people say to me "Why are you taking him so young? He'll never remember it!" Well, they're probably right. But being able to go together with Lucca's cousins who are so much older than him, this was the time to do it. And no, he won't remember it. But Greg and I will never forget the look of absolute joy and excitement when he got to dance and hug Mickey and all of his friends. If anything, this trip was for us. So what? 
We have been back for five days now, and he keeps asking me "Mommy, we go back castle?" Right now, he remembers. He looks at his stuffed Mickey Mouse like that guy is about to get up and start dancing around. 
But before the trip even started, I was so nervous about taking him on the airplane. I'll be honest, I've always had sympathy for parents with crabby kids on planes. Sure, kids can be jerks. But don't you feel bad for the parent who has to endure the whiny,  seat-kicking, tantrum-throwing, loud child for 2+ hours? All while taking the heat from hateful stares and under-the-breath comments from people sitting around them? I mean, damn. That's tough. They deserve a cocktail, not unsolicited advice about what to do to make them stop crying.

I wasn't so much worried about what Lucca was going to do on the airplane. I was more worried about how I could handle it. Would I be irritated? Would I be embarrassed? Would I want to punch someone in the face? I wasn't sure how things were gonna go down. I wanted to prepare myself for the absolute worse-case scenarios that could ever happen when flying with a toddler.

In the end, I feel like I worked myself up for nothing. We strolled through the airport like a breeze. We let him run around in and out of people's legs through the airport to tire him out. We fed him a gazillion snacks and brought out an arsenal of cheap, new toys for him to keep himself busy. we loaded the iPad with new shows. (I did a lot of blog-type research for flying with toddlers. I was NOT going to go in blind for this adventure!)

The only time he went buck-wild was the last twenty minutes of our return flight. It was the longest 20 minutes of our lives. He was done, he was over it, and just as I handed him an applesauce pouch to eat to help him with his ears popping, he grabbed it and started flinging it around. Applesauce went flying and covered my face and the window. Thank God we were sitting on the inside seat, otherwise I don't think anybody sitting next to us would have really appreciated that.

We made it, we survived, we had a wonderful time and now we're still in recovery mode. I'll post later about our Disney adventure, and how even though Lucca is almost two years old, this kid had a pretty kick-ass time. In fact, I'm feeling pretty inadequate as a mother not being able to entertain him with his favorite Disney characters during dinner time. He's gonna need to get over that...

So Long Sweet Pool Days

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The smell of coconut sunscreen. A cute new bikini. Piles of magazines or a quick-read summer book. An iTunes playlist specifically made for beach or pool sessions. Some food and drinks to snack and sip on while you enjoy laying out under the sun's rays and taking an occasional dip in the water.

Gone are those blissful days. These days it's more like slapping on thick, pasty mineral-based sunscreen all over your kid and then inevitably looking like ghosts. It's packing every noodle, water-sprayer, diving ring and freaking bucket you can possibly carry only to have your kid NOT play with any of them when you actually get there. (And you're so tired of bringing them that you say F it and leave them there for someone else to handle...)
It's trying to fit into your pre-baby bikini knowing damn well you don't fit in it at all. It's tip-toe-running after your kid all around the pool to somehow prevent any extra wiggle and jiggle from happening. It's trying to keep their grabby hands away from your top so you don't have an unfortunate nip-slip.  It's actually having to go IN the water. And like, get WET.

It's convincing your kid to sit in a chair and have a snack of goldfish/popcorn/crackers (or whatever other junk you threw haphazardly in a bag) every hour for 15 whole minutes. 
It's trying your damn hardest not to yell at the jerk kids that splash or push the little ones out of the way. 
It's trying your damn hardest not to yell at the lifeguards for sleeping behind their holographic fake Ray-Bans.

Nope. There's no relaxation here.

Instead, a trip to the pool with a toddler is more like a triathlon of sorts. And what begins as initial excitement: "Yea! Let's go to the pool!" usually ends in exhaustion for you and hopefully a long, 2-3 hour nap for your little one (that is after you strip off all the wet swim clothes...)

Take all the pictures you can possibly take on that first day at the pool. Trust me, you won't have time to Instagram for the rest of the summer.

Now can I go on vacation?


Surviving Sick Days with a Toddler

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lucca rarely falls ill but when he's down, he's down for the count. Since I've been down this road before, I've put together some survival tips for making it through sick days with a toddler.

1. Throw all routines out of the window. In fact, chuck them out of the window. This coming from a routine-stickler is very important. They're restless, they're whiney, they feel like shit. Your normally scheduled nap times and meal times do not apply to the situation at hand. So they want to cuddle up to you on the couch and sleep at 5 p.m.? So be it.
2. TV is your best friend. I've relied heavily on my cartoon crew over the past few days. Blue. Mickey. Dora. Elmo. Keep them running on a loop. This will keep your kid on the couch, resting (as they should be) and not have any desire to run around the living room while they're Tylenol starts to wear off. Sure, you can use books too. But come on, let's be real. When you're sick do you want to sit around reading novels? No. You want to get your PJ's on and watch trash TV.
3. Food is food is food. If they eat 6 goldfish crackers, 2 orange slices and half of a cheese stick? Perfect. That qualifies as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Don't put pressure on yourself to make the same meals they would eat when they are feeling normal. They don't want that shit. And to avoid the plate being thrown your way, give them what they want and what they'll eat in that moment.

4. Pants are overrated. You aren't going anywhere, anyway. No need to get your kid dressed, or yourself for that matter. But who am I kidding, you already weren't going to dressed so you're ahead of the game.
5. Accept advice/suggestions/remedies with caution. Your child has a pediatrician. If you have questions, call them. If you're worried, schedule a visit. People mean well,  and they generally do want what's best for you and your kid, but don't be overwhelmed with the advice. You don't have to be a bitch about it, just say thanks and move on.
6. Fuel up with coffee, wind down with wine. How else are you supposed to function? You need some caffeine to be a human blanket for the day and to deal with tiny, whiney demands. If you're lucky enough to put your kid to bed, head for the wine rack to get your recommended dosage of "grape juice".

7. Tag out. Chances are, your kid will favor one parent over the other when he/she is sick.  If you are the lucky parent that your kid has latched himself on to, you will feel like you have no love left to give after a 24 hour period. Every ounce of sympathy has been squeezed out of your being. Tag out with the other parent. You need a mental health break before you lose your mind when your kid wants to be in your lap AND out of your lap at the same time while demanding his 5th cup of milk and to watch Mickey for the billionth time. Let your partner take over for awhile so you can recharge and fill yourself back up, ready to be drained all over again.
If you are the "other" parent, don't take it personally. In fact, enjoy those brief moments of solitude and quiet and having your limbs to yourself. Don't worry.Your time will come.

Dealing with a sick kid who is normally running circles around you is tough. It's mentally, physically and emotionally draining and you can never be sure when the end is in sight. If you throw out all normalcy and just go with the flow, (I think) you can manage. It will get better and you can go back to wearing pants again. Or don't. That's okay, too.


Lessons in Motherhood I Learned from My Mama

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I wouldn't have been able to do this whole mommy thing without my own mama showing me the ropes. She's brave, she's strong, she's compassionate and wise. I'm so thankful for everything she's done for me in all phases of my life: my childhood, my adulthood, and now, motherhood.

And because Mother's Day this year just didn't do her justice, this post is dedicated to her.

Here are the lessons in Motherhood I learned from my Mama:

1.  Be Strong.

There will often be times that you have to stand up for yourself, for your children and for your family. Stand your ground. Don't let anybody push you around or intimidate you. Only you know what's best for your family.

There will also be times where you think you've been through hell and back. Motherhood has its challenges from the very start. Don't let it get the best of you. Be strong and you'll pull through. Be strong for yourself and for your family.

2. Don't apologize. 
Don't apologize for your screaming kid who is hungry, tired, bored (or all three) in the middle of a restaurant or store. Don't apologize for looking like shit or feeling like shit. Don't apologize for being late or missing an event. Don't apologize for not being completely present. Don't apologize for your off-the-wall, bizarre parenting tactics.

There's nothing to be sorry about. Motherhood is a constant state of survival mode; you don't need to apologize for that.
3. Be Your Own Kind of Mom
Through trial-and-error, figure out what kind of mom YOU want to be. So your friends are the baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, breastfeeding kind? And you aren't? Who cares. There should be no judgment, no pressure. The only person that matters is your baby. Be there for them in the way THEY need you. If it doesn't work for the both of you, try something else. In the end, all that matters is that you are a mom that is loving, understanding, and nurturing.  (I wish I had caught on to this from the very beginning, but it is just now that I fully understand and embrace it).

4.  Let Them Be
Let your children figure out how things work, get messy, fall down and brush themselves off again. That's how we prepare ourselves for life right? It's messy, sometimes it hurts, and nobody can tell us the right or wrong way to do things.

Let them make mistakes, let them feel emotions, let them figure out their own path. Just let them be. They will learn on their own with your guidance, and you both will be stronger and smarter because of it.

5. Just Love
There will undoubtedly be some really tough moments in parenthood. At the end of the day, just love. Look to your family for support. Cry, because you're allowed to do that. Cry hard and then put yourself back together and love yourself and your family.

Not every single moment will be joyful and magical. In those in-between moments, love your children and your family the most. Experience tough times with them and you will truly appreciate the greater (laughing, smiling and happy) times with them later. Just love.

I love you mama. I hope to be as strong and brave as you, and to be a great mother to Lucca just as you have been an amazing mother to me. Happy Mother's Day.