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...]

How We Encourage Imagination From The Start

This post is brought to you by Mouse + Magpie and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. Living every single day of my life in a very creative role, it's even more important to me to encourage our kids to use their imaginations and connect with their creativity. Believe me, I still have friends and family who really don't understand what I do for a living and it's important to me that our kids have a support that will inspire and push them to live their life walking down an imaginative path. Branden has always liked to create things like paper airplanes, build, mold creations from clay - and might even follow in my footsteps because he's really interested in writing. For Blake, we work towards encouraging her imagination right from the start, too. At this age, I think the best way to spark her imagination is through surrounding her with creative things right from the start. Her toys are always brightly colored and inspire problem solving skills, we let her to explore her palate through the foods she eats, and her room has been coated in whimsical scenes from our favorite store, Mouse + Magpie.  Mouse + Magpie is a child inspired, adult curated collection of delightfully designed products and furnishings created specifically for little people with big imaginations. They partner with international artists and illustrators from around the world to exclusively design our one-of-a-kind products. Their artists are intent on putting imagination into the hearts of … [Read more...]

Overlooked Tips For Traveling With A Baby

  Traveling is one of those things that I'm always yearning to do more of, but with kids it's sometimes more exhausting than anything. I was worried before our recent trip to Orlando that I would feel like I needed a parents only, vacation from the vacation, but everything worked out pretty perfect in the end. But, it didn't come without some research on my part during the planning stages and a few lessons that we learned along the way. With these tips, traveling with a bay will be easier than you probably ever though. (I also have more travel tips here for the whole family!) If you follow along on social media, you've been seeing an overhaul of pictures from our recent travels and I admit that I'm kinda going overboard. But in my defense, we had such a great time together and I feel so relieved that everything was as seamless as possible. Growing up, my parents budgeted and saved so that we could have a magical vacation each summer no matter how far or close to home we were and I'm happy that this summer (after skipping vacay last year because I was pregnant and worried about Zika) we were able to do the same. Often Overlooked Tips For Traveling With a Baby I'm not talking about the basics here. These tips helped ease our vacation and made everyday a little bit more magical (because they take away some major stress)! Schedule flights around nap time. First, if you're like me, you start by searching for the cheapest flights possible because #budgets. But do … [Read more...]

How To Be Present When Traveling With Your Family

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. If you've been following me on social media, you can see that we've been traveling and are finally home to tell the tale. All jokes aside, we had a really great trip and it was a much needed vacation as we hadn't done a big one like this (we went to Orlando and did Universal while I popped in and out of the BlogHer conference) in a couple years. It was really important to me to try to put work aside and just be present with my family - to take the opportunity to re-connent after a busy school year and schedules that are all over the place. Little Collections: 3-Piece Tankini & Cover-Up Set In fact, it was more than just important to me, being present with my family was something that I was determined to make happen. I did a little planning and some research ahead of time, but here's what worked the best for me. Put down the phone. I know how much we want to check in on social media and refresh our emails, but putting down the phone was pertinent for me to being present. In fact, one day at the pool, my husband accidentally brought my phone up to the room with him while he put Blake down for a nap and I spent 4 glorious hours laying in the sun and floating round and round the lazy river with Branden. It was a blessing in disguise. In fact, bring a camera. If you're like me, my excuse for always having my phone by my side is so I can capture the perfect pictures - … [Read more...]

Why I Will Always Kiss My Kids On The Lips

  There has been so much uproar in the parenting community lately caused by something so simple and harmless (well, to me anyways): David Beckham kissing his 5-year-old daughter Harper on the lips. What was meant to be a sweet moment where he was showing his child affection caused quite a stir and the Internet has had so many opinions. Yes, something so adorable has gotten so much backlash that even Today, Huffington Post and BravoTV have all reported on it. Here is the original Instagram picture, so you can check it out for yourself and form your thoughts, but I want to share mine. Well, David Beckham has joined the ranks of celebs that are publicly shamed for something stupid and this silly thing is a big thing to me, so I want to be grouped with the parents coming to his defense. I think my above picture says it all: I will be kissing my babies on the lips until the day I die because that's my right as a parent and there is nothing wrong with it. The comments on his picture got out of control though, one person even writing, “You people are sick for defending this. The truth will come out... this may have been acceptable in the 1990s but times have changed and we won't stand for it any longer. Children's innocence must be preserved.” Comments like that honestly leave me with rage inside. Children need affection and it's an important part of your relationship with your kids. Both of our children (yes, I know Branden's not pictured, he was in school … [Read more...]

Time To Turn The Labels Around

This is a sponsored post. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood.  Mamas: give your head a little nod if you think that being a parent is tough. Yup, I’m imagining everyone giving a pretty vigorous shake of your head right now. In our current society we have a lot to think about on a day to day basis, which more often than not goes way beyond just the daily feeding, clothing and bathing of our children. We live in a world where social media plays a huge role, and we deal with judgement on the playground, at the pediatrician’s office and by people we think are our friends every single day. It’s stressful, is completely unnecessary and I want it to end. So, I’m working to turn those labels around. Let’s back up here for a second. When was the last time someone posted a comment on social media or said something in person that really rubbed you the wrong way? And afterwards, you keep going back through it in your mind, thinking about all the things that you should have said in response - to stick up for yourself. Probably recently. The thing is this: none of that really should be happening. Every mom needs her mom tribe as a support system as we work our way through every motherhood challenge and instead we’re often tearing each other down, when building up each other’s confidence is what we should be doing. It’s not cool, no matter which end you’re on. Beech-Nut found in a major survey that 70% of moms feel like the issue of mom shaming has gotten worse and … [Read more...]

For Those Times When Mom Needs A Break

**This is a sponsored post. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood. ** Well, let's be honest here: mom deserves a break every single day, but that doesn't always mean that we get it, unfortunately. With kids needing something pretty much every second of the day and the rest of the world needing things in between (and cue the countless emails, refrigerator that never seems to stay full and bathroom that never seems to stay clean), breaks can be far and few in between. For me, I look for those little, quiet moments when Branden is at school and Blake is either sleeping or interested in something just long enough for me to have a moment to collect my thoughts and recharge. Even if it's just 5 minutes, I need that moment for me. I've shared my coffee addiction with you all, which definitely stems from having two busy kids plus working full time. I know that you all can relate to how busy motherhood is. I try to share glimpses of my life with you all so I will be honest - days out and about aren't always part of my daily routine. I try to work hard Monday-Friday so that weekends are free, but that doesn't mean that they always are. And since the weather has gotten nice, I try to take Blake out in the city or to our local park during my work week so she doesn't get bored. The struggle is real! Which is why  I'm super excited to share with you my latest find that I enjoy while taking my quick mom breaks that combines caffeine and a little something sweet: Cafe Breaks. … [Read more...]

Cruzin’ In The Graco Extend2Fit™ 3-in-1 Car Seat

This post contains affiliate links. I hate to admit how quickly Blake has grown because I honestly try to pretend it's not happening every single day. In fact, I really feel like time has flown faster with her than when Branden was little because there's so much more going on being the second child. I have blinked my eyes and she's seven months old and carrying her around in the newborn car seat that she's had from birth is no longer doable (for me, because I'm weak lol). So, we have upgraded her car seat (and simultaneously trying to upgrade our ride) and are now cruzin' in the Graco Extend2Fit™ 3-in-1 Car Seat. First tings first, I LOVE (love, love) that we now keep the carseat in the car and don't need to waste precious space in our tiny apartment for the car seat. We just carry Blakey-boo to and from the car and it makes things way easier. In fact, because the Graco Extend2Fit™ 3-in-1 Car Seat offers 3 seats in 1 for rear-facing infants 4-50 lb, forward-facing toddlers 22-65 lb and big kids 40-100 lb, we really could have used it from birth through the big kid year without having anything else in between.  Why do we love the Graco Extend2Fit™ 3-in-1 Car Seat? It's ease of use and only needing one carseat for your child's entire life are the big ones on my list, in addition to being super safe, of course. We went through at least 3 car seats for Branden, so this is a dream to me. In addition, it features: Extend2Fit® 4-position extension panel provides … [Read more...]