Our Knight Turned Nine

  One week ago exactly, I was filled with so much excitement as I picked Branden up from the bus stop and brought him home to find his new, big 9-year-old bike waiting for him. Just as I expected, he was quickly overflowing with excitement and just like he does every year, exclaimed that it was the "best birthday ever." Chris and I sat back and watched him enjoy his special day, while we also reminisced about the last nine years and how lucky we are to call this boy ours. The weekend following his birthday, he had a special dinner hosted at Medieval Times in Lyndurst, NJ (just a quick 25 minute drive from us) with sweet family and friends who truly made it a birthday to remember. Our funny little backstory about Medieval Times is that we went about three years ago and our super picky eater couldn't get enough of the tomato bisque soup that's serve during your dinner. He loved it so much that I tried to re-create it a couple times at home and it just didn't compare. So whenever he first bit into this soup - the one he talks about all the time and was so excited to ave again - I had to get the picture on film. And of course, for the adults, there was wine. In all honesty though, I look at this picture and I definitely see a boy whose growing up right before my very eyes. I've watched those toddler features fade over the years, because as moms, we pay attention to these almost painful details, yet are immediately met with so much happiness … [Read more...]

How to Practice Positive Parenting

This post is brought to you by Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. Mamas: I will be the first person to admit wholeheartedly that I lose it sometimes as a parent. I don’t always make the perfect decisions and I’ve been called “the mean mom” before by my almost nine year old. It comes with the territory. But on the flipside, I’m also the mom who believes in positive parenting and having it be a part of my everyday, and will lay awake at night feeling immense mom guilt if I didn’t help foster a positive experience or moments during the day for my kids. It’s all about balance with parenthood, amiright? I will repeat over and over that I’m not the perfect parent, because that doesn’t exist. We’re all just learning as we go and making the best choices as we can on a daily basis with the best interest of our kiddos in mind. At the end of the day, I always want my kids to know that they can come to me for a huge dose of positivity and lots and lots of hugs. Here’s how I help to practice positive parenting in my everyday life. We play. This summer, I mixed up my regular routine a bit so that I could take a break in the afternoon everyday before Blake’s nap to spend some quality time with the kids. Whether we go to the park or do an indoor science experiment or board game, it gives us a chance to connect and step outside of our tech filled days. We make sure we have down time. I feel like this is … [Read more...]

Our Next Steps With a Busy Toddler

I received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-888-777-3395. I will fully admit that I find myself saying silently over and over again, “just breathe in and out” lately. Our little baby Blake just turned one and even though I have fully embraced and enjoyed those last, sweet baby moments, it’s so hard for me to believe that we have a toddler on our hands now - officially. A giggly, full of life, still sleeps with her bum up in the air toddler ready to take in all that the world around her has to offer and we’re so excited to be along for the ride. While there are so many things that we now need for these toddler years (and a lot more things that we don’t - thank goodness!), Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™ was the first thing on my list to get as our baby officially hit this milestone.   Did you know that 85% of brain growth happens during the first three years of life? It’s true, and so important for us parents to take note of this to help ensure our toddlers are getting important DHA to help nourish this brain growth. Experts recommend that toddlers have 70-100 mg/day of DHA to support early brain and eye development on average, a toddler’s diet only provides about 25% of the amount experts recommend. I do the best I … [Read more...]

15 Motherhood Rules To Live By

  A few years back, I wrote a post about 10 beauty commandments to live by and its been hands down one of my most popular posts, day after day. I think it might have something to do with the fact that we're always searching for guidelines or rules to live by to simplify life a bit - or maybe not. Either way, I've been thinking a lot about motherhood lately as we're transitioning into toddlerhood over here and have a big boy about to turn 9, and I'm reflecting on what I've learned, what I would like to learn and how I've changed. The whole motherhood experience is humbling and if I could boil it all down to snippets or advice learned from my last 9 years of being a mom, these are my 15 motherhood rules to live by. When visiting Pittsburgh @stationsquarepgh is a must with your littles 🏙#travelgram . . . . . . . . . . . #momlife #momblog #travelbug #travel #travelblogger #armylife #momblogger #mombloggers #traveltips #momtips A post shared by Allison Cooper (@projectmotherhood) on Aug 26, 2017 at 5:23am PDT 15 Motherhood Rules To Live By Ok mamas, here we go! 1. Always trust your gut instinct. I promise you that when all is said and done and you look back on your life, you will never regret living every moment by trusting your gut instinct. There's just something that takes over inside of us when we know something isn't quite right, and going with those feelings will almost always put you right where you belong. 2. Don't ever (EVER) forget about your … [Read more...]

Giving Our Kids The Tools They Need {Giveaway}

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. We recently celebrated Blake’s first year of life with a joyful party and some (behind closed doors) tears on my end. I can’t believe how fast that first baby year went by, but I’m equally excited to watch her experience the world through more independent eyes. With so many milestones to be hit, I want to make sure that I’m nurturing her as much as possible and giving her the tools she needs to thrive - which at this stage, starts at home. If you’re schedule is like mine...busy (which I’m certain it is), you know that setting aside dedicated time each day isn’t always a reality. I want to share some easy ideas for how we’re working on developing executive function skills with Blake that can be effortlessly worked into you day, inspired by Primrose Schools. First, what are executive function skills and why are they important? These six skills (Adaptability, Teamwork, Problem Ssolving, Critical Tthinking, Self-Ccontrol and Memory) help set up our kids for success in life and teaching these skills early on is super important and easier than you think. We teach self-control at the park. I think having self-control is so important in life and and a tough one to teach. For us, the easiest way has been through helping Blake understand that she needs to wait in line whenever we’re at the park and whenever someone else is using a toy or … [Read more...]

How to Host an Epic Moms Night In Party {Giveaway}

This is a sponsored post. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood. I KNOW that it's not just me who is over here giving a big "hip hip hooray" that kid's are officially back in school. After a busy summer with so much traveling, I am craving the feeling of a routine, sleeping in my own bed every night and hopefully establishing some better work hours over here. Branden officially started back to school today and we got all the hugs, kisses and pictures in before sending him on his way. So now, I'm over here saying cheers to a great school year with some easy tips for all you mamas to host the most epic moms night in with my favorite tool, Wine Glass Writer.  I promise you all, this simple little tool will honestly get the party going! Hosting Your Own Moms Night In The amazing thing about hosting your own moms night in celebration is that you only need a few things: your mom pals, wine, wine glasses and these Wine Glass Writers. (I mean, I guess if you want some food there, too, that would be cool, but to me it's really all about that wine.) They offer 6 different styles with so many pretty colors to choose from (we experimented with them all!) and I loved having them all out of their packages and ready to go whenever people arrived because it was fun to get everyone to sit down and get creative together. Each marker is non toxic and easily used  to keep track of your wine glass and so much more. You can also use them to label things around the home on all … [Read more...]

Blake Is 1

  I'm not going to lie: typing those words, "Blake is 1" almost took my breathe away. It's been a magical year with her arrival and a complete whirlwind all at the same time. I've felt so much joy as a parent watching Branden be a big brother and Blake a little sister that even during the most difficult parenting moments, my heart is so full that it could burst. On Monday, we celebrated her first year of life and our little princess (crown and all) is now in the one digit numbers. It was bittersweet though, because as you all know, Chris is away at training this month. It was spontaneous and unplanned and thrown in our laps and we've just rolled with the punches because we still wanted our little one to have first birthday memories to look back on. Our party decor started with this gorgeous (c/o) Minted Let's Get This Party Started Banner and the gold sparkles matched her little gold polka dot dress to perfection. The snack tables were decorated with (c/0) Minted table Confetti and Table Signs which really spiced things up. If the surroundings look different to you, it's because we're at my parents house in Pittsburgh, where I traveled by myself with the two kids a couple weeks ago to just hang with family while Chris is away. We had such a great trip and I'm so thankful for all the family that came out to celebrate our sweet little Blake. With Moana being Blake's absolute favorite, we couldn't resist giving her her first official … [Read more...]

A Little Life Update

  As I write this, it's been one week almost to the hour that Chris has left for a whole month of army training. It's the longest we've ever been apart since we've been married and had kids, and I'm holding things together the very best that I can over here. The morning he left, he got up and watched Moana with Blake, her favorite movie that has been admittedly acting as her babysitter for almost two hours each day - because mama's gotta work. And then walked out the door for a month of grueling training. I feel bad that I've been turning to technology to keep these kids occupied each day, but I'm in survival mode right now and I'm just trying to accept thats way its going to be this week, until we travel to see my family in Pittsburgh this upcoming weekend. We're sort of in transition mode over here, and as couple, still very much wanting to get out of the city so the kids can have a back yard (and not to mention, a dishwasher and garage would be nice, too), but working on figuring out the right path to make that happen. It's not easy when you're locked in an expensive lease. I love New York City and will cry my eyes out the day that we do eventually leave, but our whole family is ready for this change. So Chris is busy progressing further in his military career and I couldn't be more proud of his hard work and dedication. As you all know, Blake is about to turn one this month and before Chris left we had plans for a big party in Pittsburgh. But he … [Read more...]

Back to School Bonding

Thank you JCPenney Optical for sponsoring this post. Visit your local JCPenney Optical to find your perfect frames! We have been soaking in so much summer these days that I can hardly believe that the back to school countdown has begun. This year, with Chris away doing training this month, I'll be on the back to school train by myself, scrambling to get everything crossed off his supply list and new uniforms ordered. It can be overwhelming to say the least, (thanks to online shopping I've got most things under control) so before Chris left, I set out to do some good old fashioned bonding with my firstborn child to get us excited for back to school, elevate some of the stress and most importantly - have a little fun.  But with "busy" being pretty much all of our middle names these days, this mother/son bonding that I was dreaming about did come with a purpose. Both Branden and I were in desperate need of new glasses before the school year started. His prescription pretty much remained the same, but my eyes on the other hand had gotten worse after this last pregnancy and my specs were a little outdated, too. So this little guy and I had a day date over at JCPenney Optical and bonded over our search for the perfect frames. As silly as it sounds, I felt like a kid again. This little guy and I spent the whole time running back and forth across the room showing each other the different frames that we had tried on and asking each other what we thought. It's fun to get … [Read more...]

Strong Moms Raise Strong Kids

This is a sponsored post. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood. I never considered myself a “strong” person until I got married and had kids. There’s something about the experience that changes you right down to your very core. Growing up, I wasn’t the most confident girl, veering away from raising my hand in class (even if I knew the answer) and never stuck up for myself the way that I should have. But fast forward to almost nine years of motherhood and I’m much more assertive and will stick up for my whole crew if need be. Motherhood has morphed me into the strong person that I am today. Truth be told, it really surprised me how much becoming a mom strengthened me right down to my bones. It was like it washed over me as soon as I gave birth to Branden and happened yet again when Blake was born. Kids humble you and at the same time make you realize that you have these precious lives that you’re in charge of protecting, and you need to be the rock that’s always there to support them when they need it most. Strength comes in many different forms, and while I probably turn blue in the face most days repeating myself, I know that my kids pick up on the actions that I put out into the world more than anything. I’m kind, I’m fair, I’m a hard worker and if my kids want to see my strength in a more physical form, they can meet me at our local track a few mornings a week where I run really intense sprints. I hope that my kids see what I do for them, myself and … [Read more...]