Closer to 2 Than 1

My daughter is 18 months and a few days, or “closer to two than one” as a friend of mine pointed out the other day. We had her 18-month well-visit, which was a total sh*t show BTW (Note to self: never EVER schedule a doctor appointment in the middle of nap time.) As we left the check-up her doctor reminded me that he wouldn’t need to see her again until her second birthday. HOW is that possible??? This child is growing at lightning speed and while I hate it and so often just beg time to slow down, I also kind of love it. Luna is the coolest toddler I know and watching her learn new stuff everyday is the best. It makes the whole getting older thing not so terrible.

Aww, sweet thang
Aww, sweet thang

At 18 months she is doing forward rolls, playing with dolls, learning how to listen and kind of sort of follow some directions. While she is still a good eater, she has become pickier. She has started refusing certain foods (like green goldfish, what the heck?) and requesting her favorites…cheese. She LOVES putting things in and out of baskets and purses and then carrying them all around the house. She’s also a huge fan of accessories. Hats, bracelets, necklaces and shoes are all the rage. She has peed in her potty twice (woo!).

ALL the time
ALL the time

stair climber

Her hair is growing, so I can actually put in a bow, which lasts about 7 seconds. I’ve attempted pigtails a couple of times, but I think we both need a dose of Valium to make that a successful endeavor. The girl is obsessed with books and either “reading” them to herself or begging us to read the same ones over and over and over and over. YES. T. Swift is still her fav music and YES “Shake it off” is still our go-to anytime we have an uncontrollable meltdown. She loves being in the water is actually learning to get around in it pretty well.

puddlejumper
Swimming at the beach in Hilton Head.

This summer she has been to the zoo, the aquarium, the beach, Hilton Head Island, Texas, a couple of splash pads, the pool, lots of parks, the library, a few parties and had many trips to Starbucks. It’s always one adventure after another.

water play

JUMP!
JUMP!

She’s still hasn’t mastered the art of naptime or even sleeping through the night, but hey who needs sleep? Can I get an amen Moms? #teamnosleep

"Wait for me Dad!"
“Wait for me Dad!”
Picking fresh berries at Wagner Berry Farm.
Picking fresh berries at Wagner Berry Farm.

AND did I mention my super-advanced little genius has her first joke? Get this, We say “Hey Luna, say “fish””, and Luna says “shoe”. She then immediately cracks up at her own joke. That’s pretty hilarious material, right? I think I’ve got the next Amy Schumer on my hands (Dear God, please no).

On second thought, maybe I just need some sleep.

Me and my girl on the 4th of July
Me and my girl on the 4th of July

Cheers

Climbing

Over the last couple of weeks I have taken a big break from the blog to try and prioritize my life, get organized and even relax a little. This summer I have started a part-time job, a few home projects, traveled, planned more trips and began training for a half-marathon. (Insert shocked emoticon here). Plus, it’s summer and I can’t help but want time to swim, go to the park, drink iced coffee and spend as much time outdoors with Luna as possible. It’s been a great summer, no complaints here, it’s just been a challenge to do it ALL. I just read an article about happiness and how happiness isn’t any achievement we reach, but working towards those achievements. It’s apparently more important to set goals, work hard and dream…or as Miley once said “It ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb”. (Too cheesy? Anyone gag?)

So, I’m climbing. Some days I feel as if the peak is in reach and the next day I feel as if the mountain grew another 500 feet. It’s challenging and I learn a bit more about climbing as each day passes, but the best part is when I pause for a second and look away from the mountain. It’s when I look out and around me. I get glimpses of not only what I have accomplished, but of the people around me, supporting me and making memories with me. It’s quite a sight. I’ve done a lot of pausing over the last couple of weeks.

Here’s a few pics of my journey that you may have missed lately.

I got to pet a baby deer by our house!
I got to pet a baby deer by our house!
Our third wedding anniversary night out. We clean up nice.
Our third wedding anniversary night out. We clean up nice.
Husband and I went through a VERY old box of photos one night and uncovered this gem from our first international trip to the Dominican Republic. #thathair
Husband and I went through a VERY old box of photos one night and uncovered this gem from our first international trip to the Dominican Republic. #thathair #circa2007
Luna's favorite zoo animal.
Luna’s favorite zoo animal.
Baby's first canoe trip.
Baby’s first canoe trip.
Her new fav pastime...walking around in Mommy and Daddy's shoes.
Her new fav pastime…walking around in Mommy and Daddy’s shoes.
The library, Luna's idea of heaven.
The library, Luna’s idea of heaven.
This little diva refused to drink her milk unless served in a Starbucks cup.
This little diva refused to drink her milk unless served in a Starbucks cup.

IMG_20150619_102739357

Playing at the splash park with friends.
Playing at the splash park with friends.

Take a look around and enjoy your view too. Keep climbing! I swear I figure out this whole juggling act out someday.

Cheers!

Choices

This week I started a new part-time job, not for fun, not for career advancement, not out of boredom (God, no), but simply because some extra money around the house would be useful. Going back to work, even part-time, became a huge life decision for me. My simple need to make some extra cash brought up questions about my career, success, future, retirement, preschool choices, resume and goals. It’s been hard enough to feel successful as a stay-at-home Mom, but now I was questioning if a part-time job is considered good enough… Should I be using my degree? Should I look for something with career advancement possibilities? Will this look good on my resume? Should my happiness and sanity be considered?

While debating and making my pro/con lists, I did what I always do when faced with a tough decision and discussed it with my Mom. She listened patiently as I rambled on about my options. I said to her “I do no want a full-time job right now. I love staying home with Luna, but my one worry, is that I will look back in 5 years and regret not taking the job that will help advance me in my career.” She stopped me right there and said, “No. You will only ever look back and regret not spending more time with your daughter.” That, right there, made my decision for me. That reminded me that my career is not my life, nor is it my meter of success, or at least it doesn’t have to be.

children

 

Then, because she always seems to know what I need to hear, Momastery posted this. This was the exact reminder I needed. My success is not dependent on if I work full-time, part-time or stay at home with Luna. I find success daily, in how I raise Luna, care for my family, treat others and lead by example through whatever I am doing. Today, I am a part-time working Mom, one day I may be a full-time working Mom, or perhaps a stay-at-home Mom to four kids, or a principal, or a writer, or a zookeeper. My roles will change, but my character will remain the same.

character

Right now, my role of Mom to Luna is by far the best damn role I’ve yet to play. It’s time I lay my insecurities and others’ opinions on what I should or should not be doing to rest. I hope one day Luna will look to me as an example of someone who followed her heart and did her best do what is kind, courageous and right, and I hope she does the same.

Cheers

Spreading Some Love

A couple of weeks ago, I had a mother daughter photo session with Dottie Beasley. A friend of mine told me about a “pay it forward” payment plan Dottie recently started offering, and after reading about it and Dottie’s bio on her site, I just had to reach out to her. I knew instantly that Dottie was someone I would want to be around, so I emailed her, asked her to be friends and booked a photo session.

Her “pay it forward” plan is simple. You book a session, do something nice for someone (anything!), take a picture of you and said person, send Dottie the pic with a few sentences describing your “pay it forward” experience and voila! Your photo session is paid in full! Isn’t that incredible? It’s Dottie’s way of spreading love around and making this crazy world we live in a happier place. It’s genius and beautiful.

For my “pay it forward” fee I decided to treat some new friends of mine. You can read about my story here, but to sum it up, I wanted to let my new “mom friends” in my life know I appreciate them. They have given me support, company, sanity and a lot of laughs over the last several months and I am oh so so thankful for them!!! New moms, trust me, you need a great group of Moms in your life.

And, NOW I can share the outcome of my photo session! I love them and I cannot thank Dottie enough for capturing such beautiful candid moments between me and Luna. We literally just danced, sang and played in one of Nashville’s coolest coffee shops, Atmalogy, while she snapped away. Here are some of my favs.

HZ-16
Romper from Rags to Raches

HZ-1 HZ-3-BW HZ-11 HZ-12 HZ-15 HZ-18-BW HZ-19-BW HZ-23 HZ-27

Dottie says she wants to take photos of us that hold up a mirror and say ‘Look! You’re awesome! You’re beautiful! And you are loved’. Well, Dottie, that is exactly how these photos make me feel. Thank you for doing what you do and spreading love around as you do it! People like you make this world a happier place.

For any of you locals looking for a photographer, I highly recommend Dottie and suggest you check out her work here and here and here!

Cheers!

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who have mothered, longed to mother or helped mother others. You are heroes!

Berry Pickin’

Luna and I are so lucky. We have the best group of friends here in Tennessee. We have been on so many play dates over the last several months, and while they began as more of a social gathering for the Moms, the babes are finally starting to be social themselves. It’s the best. This week we took our little ones to Wagner Berry Farm.

Aren't they the cutest group of girlfriends?
Aren’t they the cutest group of girlfriends?

The farm was supposed to be closed due to an abundance of pickers over the weekend, but lucky for us, the farmer couldn’t turn down 5 moms with 5 toddlers! He welcomed us and let us have the whole farm to ourselves as he walked with us and told us all about the different berries.

wagner

We spent the morning roaming up and down the garden rows, taste testing the 7 different types of strawberries and filling our baskets.

Luna may have taken advantage...
Luna may have taken advantage…

Luna stuffed her face with whole berries (leaves included) and possibly a couple of green berries too!

strawberry

Luna and I picked about 8 pounds of warm fresh berries and they are almost gone already! We will definitely be back for more!

picking

What fun stuff do you like to do with your toddlers this time of year?

big girls

Cheers!

15 Month Luna Update

It’s been a while since I had a Luna blog, and since she is 15 months old today I figure it’s a great day to write all about her! Luna is just growing and changing at such a fast pace I can barely keep up with her. Like, literally, I can barely keep up with her. The girl is fast! She’s got this hilarious rambunctious personality. She’s into absolutely everything, eats everything, climbs everything and then manages to destroy everything. She’s wild, but she’s our little ball of sunshine and we love her more than we ever thought possible!

coffee date

At 15 months, she is jumping (cutest thing ever BTW), blowing kisses, doing itsy bitsy and wheels on the bus, learning new words and body parts and is still a dancing machine! Her favorite song is by far still “Shake it Off, but she loves the “itsy bitsy spider” and “twinkle twinkle” too. Seeing her face light up and her body start moving when music is on is the best. I love that she’s into music and dancing. We have dance parties everyday.

leggings

Luna is also into books. Her favorite game is to pull every single book off the shelves, sit on top of the pile, pick one up and “read” it aloud. It’s precious. She has favorite books now that she picks and brings to me to read. At the moment her favorite book is Potty by Leslie Patricelli. (Which BTW is $3.81 on Amazon Prime right now!) She is OBSESSED with this book, and I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty cute. I sent one to my nephew and he also loves it. This, and the Llama Llama Red Pajama, series and is her fav at the moment.

mickey

Luna is so crazy and fearless. It is terrifying. She can climb ladders, go up and down stairs, throws balls, climb in and out of just about anything, she runs and looovvesss running up to any and every animal. If I take my eyes off of her for 2 seconds she is in the fire place, eating cat food, on top of the entertainment center or sorting through my cash that was in my wallet in the diaper bag on a chair. She’s a mischievous little ninja.

nikes

Luna is also talking. She’s says lots of little words, but right now her favorite is “bye”. She says it over and over, then attempts “buh-bye”, but it always comes out as “bobby”. So when we leave anywhere it sounds as if she is screaming “bye Bobby!” all the way out, into the car and even as I buckle her in her car seat. Either that, or she’s made a friend named Bobby who I’ve yet to meet.

shoes

Since turning one she has  been back to NYC, traveled to England and Scotland, “ran” three more races, finished weaning and had her first stomach virus. AND, tomorrow we leave for her first trip to Disney World! Can’t wait to tell you all about our magical adventures.

stars

Now can someone tell me how to slow time down? I

Cheers!

10 Minute Workout With a Toddler

What? What? Guess who is back with more workouts???

10minute

The last few months of juggling life, Luna and the blog have been challenging. I am trying so hard to manage everything without ever having a sitter (like, ever), and it’s tough. Just last week, I went through my stats and realized that I am getting tons of hits on my “10 Minute Prenatal Workout” blogs and I am stoked! I LOVED exercising during pregnancy and love even more that I have been able to keep it up since having Luna. Thank you so much to everyone trying out the prenatal workouts!

I wish wish wish I would have written about working out with a newborn and an infant, but you know, you live and learn and now I’m back and ready to share new workouts with you! Since having Luna I have completed Shaun T’s T25, P90X3 and am almost done with the 4th month of Insanity Max 30. I have also picked up running and walking. Luna is with me during each and every workout (unless she by some miracle is napping). Having her with me has taught me a couple of things about the challenges of working out with an infant and toddler. I’ve learned a lot.

We workout in a fairly large room and basically let her have free reign. She runs around, plays with her toys, eats snacks and of course, interacts with us. She babbles, yells, pulls, points, pokes and climbs all over us. There are often occasions where I hold her and workout with her in tow. So, today’s 10 Minute Workout is going to include those exercises that her and I have found to be the most successful for Mommy-toddler workout time.

This workout uses no equipment and can be done virtually anywhere! Do each exercise move for 1 minute. I suggest doing this when you are a) Trying to squeeze in a quick workout. b) In need of a warm-up. or c) Trying to entertain your child while simultaneously energizing yourself. Of course, you could always do it three times in a row for a good 30 minute workout!

(I KNOW some of these photos are blurry. Blame it on the toddler.)

10 Minute Workout With a Toddler

1. Squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat, squat EVERYBODY! Hold that baby and get low. Remember, sit your butt back, chest up and don’t let your knees go past your toes.

squats

2. While lunging you can hold your baby facing you, or facing out while sitting on your thigh. Do 30 seconds on each side. Keep you knee in line with your ankle. If you are feeling really strong do an extra 30 seconds of pulsing on each side!

lunges

3. Luna is a big fan of knee lifts. The faster the better. Lift each knee as high as you can, tighten your abs and tilt your hips under.

knee lift

4. In hindsight, carrying your baby on your shoulders may not be the best idea. Hold your little one however you feel safe in comfortable and lift those heels up! Don’t forget to tighten that booty!

calf raises

5. The ab twist is another favorite of Luna’s. I usually have to switch her to my other hip halfway through, but she loves being twisted from side. Remember to hold your abs in tight, keep your back straight and knees slightly bent.

ab twist

6. The pelvic lift is so good! Lie back, tighten your glutes and abs, and lift and lower down. Luna tends to run over and jump on me for a ride every single time I try this.

pelvic LIFT

7. Time to work the arms. Clearly, Luna has made herself right at home. Keep your bottom off the floor, and lift and lower you body while making sure your elbows go back, not to the sides, as you lower down.

tricep dips

8. Time for some ab work. I love V-sits but it’s near impossible to do them when Luna is crawling all of me. The trick is to use your arms. It’s not considered cheating when a 23 pound baby is jumping on your chest. Just focus on squeezing your abs and using your lower abdominals to hold up your legs.

vsit

9. For your low plank, go to your elbows, keep you body straight (no butts in the air or sagging hips). Let your babe go wild. Luna enjoys crawling over and under me.

low plank

10. Finish it off with some cardio! Run in place! When the little one starts begging for attention, grab their hands and have them run with you! Fun for the whole family.

runinplace

Good luck peeps! Let me know what you think of the new workout and any new workouts you would like to see!

Cheers!