Baby Number 2 is a…..

So last week I announced our newest life update, that we are expecting a second baby due in April 2018!!

I am only 12 weeks but I was lucky enough to find out the gender of our newest member early! (More on that in another post)

We would like to officially announce that we are expecting another sweet little boy!

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Not The Only Pumpkin In The Patch!

I have some exciting news! It looks like Sebastian isn’t going to the the only “pumpkin in the patch”. In April 2018, we will be welcoming a new bundle of joy!

We went to the dr at the beginning of this week for our first ultrasound. Everything looks perfect and baby number 2 is measuring right on track. Which gives me a huge relief, after a miscarriage and then a high risk + difficult pregnancy with Sebastian. I am still in the first trimester, but I am already 11 weeks so it’s definitely flying by!

I am finding out the gender early (VERY EARLY). As a matter of fact I find out next week! Get ready for the blog post revealing the gender of our newest bundle of joy & how I found out!

Fall bucket lists (for moms and toddlers)

It’s officially fall!! Even though the weathers trying to convince me otherwise with unusually warm (HOT!!) temperatures. I figured I’d get into the fall spirit anyways!!

This fall will be Sebastian’s first fall as a toddler. Which means we get to do lots of fun things now that he might actually enjoy. Here are 12 of my fall bucket list activities to do with him this year. You can do them with your toddler too!

1. Explore new playgrounds

We have a playground in our little mountain town called The Pumpkin Patch. What could be more perfect for fall?! Though it’s not new for us it is currently being updated for fall and I can’t wait to take Sebastian once they reopen it!

2. Visit an Apple orchard

We also have a local apple orchard on the mountain. We moved here last year at the end of the season so this will be our first year going!

3. Pick & paint pumpkins

Sebastian will finally be old enough to pick out his own pumpkin this year! Instead of carving them, we paint them. I think he will love picking it out and painting it!

4. Hayrides

Hayrides are the perfect fall activity with cooler weather! Throw on a light jacket and cuddle up on the hay bales and just enjoy the fresh air!

5. Picnics

I don’t know why but I have this love for picnics! It’s been so hot this summer, though, we haven’t been able to have any. This is why I love fall weather! It’s perfect for all those fun outdoor activities and not so hot you feel like you’re melting.

6. Nature scavenger hunts

Sebastian, like all toddlers, loves exploring new things. He loves pointing at things and having me name them. He also loves finding items I name off. Nature scavenger hunts in the fall are perfect for learning colors with all the leaves changing too. Try it out with your toddler!

7. Fall crafts

Yeah, I’m that mom. I love doing crafts because they are excellent learning activities! There are endless amounts of fall time crafts for toddlers. Some of the ones I plan on doing with Sebastian are pumpkin painting (as mentioned above), Apple stamping, and leaf painting!

8. Rock hunting

Have you heard about the new rock craze?! In towns all around us we have groups that paint and hide rocks for anyone to find and keep or hide again for another person to find. There aren’t any rules to it and anyone can do this. We have a few different Facebook groups for different cities and people post the rocks they’ve painted and hidden along with hints to find them! It’s a great way to get out of the house and into nature without spending a lot, or any money!

9. Corn maze

It’s been a long times since I’ve been to a corn maze but I think this is an activity toddlers will love! They can run through the maze without a time limit and generally they send you in groups and give you a flag or 2 way radio if you get lost or have an emergency. I know Sebastian loves to run around with me so this would be something everyone can enjoy!

10. Fall themed books

It’s so important to read to your toddlers. It’s how they learn new words, language skills, and lots of other things. A few of the fall themed books that are on the top of my list for toddlers include:

-I love fall by Alison Inches

-Red leaf, yellow leaf by Lois Ehlert

-It’s fall by Linda Glaser

-Leaf jumpers by Carole Gerber

-We’re going on a leaf hunt by Steve Metzger

11. Costumes and Trick or treating

I know some families don’t participate in trick or treating due to all the dangers but most communities have church events for kids to dress up in kid friendly costumes and play games, win prizes, etc. Some even set up to hand out candy at the church. If that’s not your style why not let the kids pick out a costume (or make one yourself like we are doing!) and do Halloween activities at home or with some friends!

12. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

This, for me, is a tradition my mom started years ago when I was growing up. It’s also a tradition I plan to carry on with my children.

While seasons and holidays with kids are loads of fun we can’t forget about ourselves! Here are my top 12 fall bucket list items for moms!

1. Fall outfits

I can’t wait to pull out all of my fall clothes. Boots, vests, jackets, scarves, and of course sweaters! Fall fashion is my favorite!

2. Halloween costume prep

Fall is my favorite season and Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday. I love it so much that I can remember my mom having a conversation with me when I was a teenager about my love for Halloween. She said, “I’m surprised you’re not ‘gothic’ with how much you love creepy things and Halloween”. What can I say, I have a lot of love (okay maybe obsession) with this holiday. My favorite thing since having Sebastian is doing our family costumes! This year we will be doing a DIY costume so it will be fun to make!

3. Read a new book

I don’t know about you guys but I love cuddling up by a fire in the fall time and reading a good book! So what better time to treat yourself to a new book for that by-the-fire fall reading?!

4. Bake a new fall themed dessert

If you know me you know I hate cooking but I LOVE baking! I plan on finding a new fall dessert recipe to try!

5. Try a new crockpot recipe

Crockpots are a moms saving grace! At least in my case. Fall time is the perfect time for all those yummy crockpot soups and chilis!

6. Watch a scary movie

I love scary movies and haunted houses! While I don’t plan on going to any haunted houses this year I will watch at least one scary movie this fall!

7. Fall family photos

This fall is going to be a very exciting and busy time for us as a family. We have my birthday, as well as my fiancΓ©, Adam’s birthday. Did I mention they are in the same week? Yeah, talk about busy! But since we didn’t get any family photos until December last year I have planned to get some very special family photos done for my birthday!

8. Visit our local farmers market

We have a cute little farmers market up here on the mountain and I can’t wait to go see all the locally grown fall produce and baked goods! The best part is it’s all locally made/grown so you get to give back to your community by supporting these businesses!

9. Try a campfire recipe

I’m sure you’ve seen those campfire aluminum foil recipes floating around on Facebook and Pinterest. I can’t wait to try at least one out!

10. Grab a new fall candle/diffuser scent

There’s just something so relaxing about the fall scents companies come out with around this time! I will definitely be picking up a few candles and maybe a diffuser scent for the fall!

11. Pumpkin spice flavored everything

Okay, I’ll admit, even the industry goes overboard with some of these pumpkin spice flavored things. BUT, I do enjoy being able to get a pumpkin spice latte or iced coffee (yes I do drink iced coffee year round lol).

12. Fall/Halloween decor

Like I said, fall and Halloween are my absolute favorite things and decorating for them is so fun to me! This will be the first year since having Sebastian that I will get to pull out my decorations and set everything up! I can’t wait!

What are some things you have on your fall bucket list?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

You are a castle. You deserve boundaries.

I’ve been talking about self-care a lot, as it is something I’m very passionate about. Boundaries are another form of self-care. How? Think of it like this, let’s imagine you are a castle. All of the best castles have some sort of rules and boundaries. This means not just anyone is welcome and those who are must respect the castle along with following the rules. The same should go for ourselves. Not just anyone should be allowed into your life. We have to pick and choose who is allowed into the personal part of our lives.

Boundaries allow you to be in control.

When you allow people to come in to your castle you get a variety of people. Some good, some not. Some that will take a permanent spot there and some who will only stay a little while. You will have people who only use your castle when they need it. You will have people who bring positivity and love, as well as people who bring drama and negativity. Having boundaries allows you to keep out or remove those who can’t respect the rules of your castle. It’s like having a moat around your castle with a drawbridge. You control who is welcome and who is not.

Protecting your castle is not selfish.

Having boundaries is not selfish. It doesn’t make you an evil or bad person. You have every right to protect your castle. Because what happens if the castle isn’t protected? It gets destroyed, overthrown, and is left in shambles. Essentially, that’s what happens to ourselves when boundaries are not set. People come in and take advantage of you. They walk all over you disrespecting you and your boundaries. Allowing that type of behavior to have a permanent spot in your life can destroy yourself.

Setting Boundaries Is Not Easy

It’s something, I’ll admit, I struggle with everyday. I’ve noticed in the last few years that I have this horrible pattern of giving and giving until its become WAY too much. It has to get to the point of self destruction, in a sense, before I say “No. This is enough. I will not tolerate this.” That’s bad because I’ve allowed a person to take my happiness and positivity for a long time. So long that they have become accustom to treating me a certain way that is not healthy for myself to allow. I let them come into my castle and destroy rooms over and over. Each time I clean up the room and hope they will stop. This doesn’t work. I’ve learned if I want this type of negative behavior to stop I have to put up a boundary. I have to tell them “No. This is not okay. If this continues you are no longer welcome here.” When you put up a boundary you have to enforce it. If people are disrespecting your boundaries, they are disrespecting you. In order to have a happy and positive castle these, as I call them, boundary violators must be removed.

The guilt.

When you remove them it’s normal to feel guilty. We don’t want to remove anyone from our lives. It’s not something any normal person has fun doing. It’s actually very hard. I’m a highly emotional person. So when it finally gets to the point that I have to cut ties and remove a boundary violator, or toxic person from my life I can promise you I’m not having fun or enjoying it. Truth is, and let me be really raw and honest here, 9 out of 10 times when this has to happen I’m losing sleep, I’m not eating due to stress and lack of appetite, I’m snappy, I’m emotional. It’s just not a good time for me. Sometimes the hardest things in life are the most worth it. It’s worth going through the hard stuff to have a happier life.

Boundary violators and toxic people will not like that you have set these boundaries.

They will act offended and appalled that they can no longer treat you however they like. When this happens they tend to spark arguments that make you feel like you have to defend yourself. Don’t feed into it. The moment they have you on a self defense tangent, you have lost. It always seems like it will be a sense of relief to FINALLY tell them how you feel and to defend yourself to them, but it’s temporary. They are just prolonging their toxicity in your castle. You won’t get the outcome you want from this approach. The only thing you’re going to do is take apart your own healthy boundaries in order to get them to see it from your point of view, which never works. Instead ignore them. Don’t feed into their argument. Simply remove them from your castle and begin repairing it. Nothing you say or do will change anything about the situation so don’t waste your time on something negative.

Begin repairing your castle.

Once these people have been removed its important to repair the damage to yourself. Don’t leave the parts of your castle that they destroyed as a reminder of it all. Now this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything that reminds you of them. It’s more about self-care. Take time for yourself and learn to be at peace with your decision. Don’t dwell on the negative things they’ve said to or about you. I’ve been accused of being a bad mom. I’ve been accused of being a controlling person, as well as being told I’m a disappointment. Those things can easily get me down. They can take hold of me and consume me. But I can also make a choice to let it go. You have to realize they are trying to manipulate you when they say these things. They want you to feel bad. These types of people love to play the victim. That’s out of your control. However, you can control how you let it affect you. You can either let their negative energy remain in your castle or you can get rid of it. It’s not something that’s going to be easy but it’s necessary that we feel at peace with our boundaries and decisions. It’s necessary so that these types of people cannot manipulate their way back into our lives. While it’s very necessary to set and enforce boundaries, it’s not easy to do. Be gentle and patient with yourself.

What Is Self-Care (and what it is NOT)

I am a big believer in the NECESSITY of self-care for everyone. As a mom I feel like I need it now more than ever. That’s probably due to how much I neglect myself since having Sebastian. Regardless, I feel that self-care is necessary for a person to be less stressed and overwhelmed. Self-care is something everyone NEEDS to be happier and less stressed, but does everyone know what self-care really is?

WHAT IS SELF-CARE?

What comes to your mind when self-care is mentioned? Getting your nails done? Taking a hot bath? Treating yourself? It is so much more than all of that. Self-care is different for everyone, but here is a list of what self-care is (or should be) for everyone.

1. It is something that should be done daily. This means you will have to plan for it. It requires a conscious effort. It is meant to be done deliberately and with purpose.
2. It’s a deep sense of self love. You have to acknowledge that you not only need, but deserve to care for yourself the way you do for others.
3. Sometimes it’s as simple as self respect. Respecting yourself enough to not put pressure on yourself. Respecting yourself enough to allow yourself to skip things and not feel guilty. Respecting yourself enough to not be mean to yourself when you feel like a failure. It honors yourself, your accomplishments and your efforts no matter how small or unimportant you feel like they were.
4. It is something that you should look forward to.
5. It is about taking care of yourself and treating yourself with the same love that you give to others.
6. Self-care is the key to a happier, less stressed you.
7. It is self preservation.

WHAT SELF-CARE IS NOT.

Self-care won’t be the same for everyone. When I ask if someone has made time for themselves today I sometimes get the response, “I don’t really like yoga” or “I don’t have any money”. Somehow self-care has been mistaken for only yoga, meditation, or spending money. And while it is different for everyone here is what self-care is not (or doesnt HAVE to be).
1. Self care isn’t necessarily splurging on a new wardrobe or a fancy new gadget. It doesn’t have to involve spending money at all.
2. It isn’t something that should happen by chance or just once in awhile. You need self-care daily.
3. It’s not something you force yourself to do.
4. It’s not something you don’t enjoy. While I fully believe in trying new things, you shouldn’t force yourself to do things you don’t like.
5. It’s not for when the tough stuff is over or when you earn it. Self-care is not something that needs to be earned or perfect. Don’t feel as though you have to earn acts of self-care. It is for everyone, every single day. It’s not based on how much or how little you did.
6. It isn’t easy and won’t just happen. You have to consciously plan to do it and sometimes it will take help from others. Sometimes you may have to be flexible or choose to neglect something to make it happen but it’s worth it. YOU are worth it!

MAKING TIME FOR YOU!

So how are you supposed to find time for yourself when your daily life is already exhausting you? You have to MAKE time. You have to figure out what works for you! Put it in your planner. Write it on the calendar. Talk to friends and family if you need help. There’s nothing wrong with getting help so you can take care of yourself. Start off with small things daily or every other day and don’t give up. Ask for help but be flexible. Plan it around your schedule and deadlines so that you can really enjoy it, even if it’s only 5 minutes.

The goal of self-care is to relax, refresh, and refuel ourselves. Don’t let it overwhelm you or stress you out. That’s not the purpose. It’s a lifelong practice that takes time to create a habit of. So remember to be gentle and patient with yourself.

10 Household Uses For Vinegar (with pets and small children)

I'm one of those crazy people who prefers natural cleaners especially with a dog and toddler who puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. I love trying out new natural cleaning products but I know they can get expensive so here is a list of all the ways I have used Vinegar as a natural & cheaper cleaner!!

1. A Clogged Drain.

There's nothing worse than a clogged drain! To fix this problem take 1/4 cup of baking soda and pour it down the drain. Follow with 1 cup of vinegar and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse it with a small pot of boiling water. This should clean out whatever was stuck.

2. Keep Ants Away.

I mix 2 cups of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a reusable spray bottle. Spray around the problem area and they should stay away. I have to reapply every 3-4 days typically.

3. Mosquito Bites.

Mosquitoes, this summer, seem worse than ever before. No matter what I use I still end up getting bit! To relieve the itch from a mosquito bite simply dip a cotton ball into vinegar and apply to the bite for 5-10 seconds. This should alleviate the itch and redness.

4. Bee Stings.

If you get stung by a bee or wasp (or other flying insect) use the same cotton ball technique and apply it to the sting to relieve pain and itching.

5. Diaper Rash.

While I am a very lucky parent that my son has never had a diaper rash, he still gets red and irritated from time to time. When this happens I take a soft baby washcloth and mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with 1 cup of water and wipe him. I let him air dry and then put a diaper on him. I do this until I see an improvement and so far he's 18 months without a rash!

6. Disinfect Children's Toys.

There are 2 different methods for this! You can use a dishwasher or a bathtub/sink.

For the dishwasher method:
Load up all the plastic and rubber toys
into the dishwasher. (Make sure none
of the toys are battery operated or
electronic.) Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of vinegar
and just run the dishwasher!

For the bathtub/sink method:
Put all the toys into the bathtub/sink
and plug the drain. Add 1 cup of vinegar
to 1 gallon of hot water and let soak for an
hour. Then wash and rinse off! Make sure
you get all of the water out. (Pro-Tip: You
can close the holes on toys with hot glue
to keep water out of them.)

7. Tub/Shower Cleaner.

Take 1/2 a cup of hot vinegar and combine it with 1/2 a cup of dishwashing liquid in a reusable spray bottle. Spray the shower/tub and let it soak for 45 minutes. Then just gently wipe down!

8. Oven Cleaner.

I hate my oven being dirty but the fumes from the self cleaners give me a headache. I prefer this natural scrub! In a bowl, mix 3-4 drops of dishwashing liquid with 4 tablespoons of baking soda, and 5 tablespoons of vinegar. Apply to the areas of the oven you need to clean and let sit for a few hours. Then you just go back and wipe it down!

9. Microwave Cleaner.

My microwave is something I can't stand to be dirty. I also don't want to scrub it for 30 minutes. The solution? Work smarter not harder. Take a microwave safe bowl and combine 1/2 a cup of water with 1/2 a cup of vinegar. Place the bowl into the microwave for 5-6 minutes (or however long it takes to begin bubbling). Let the microwave cool down, then using oven mitts remove the bowl. You can then use a paper towel or washcloth to wipe down the inside of the microwave.

10. Recharge Towels.

After awhile towels get a residue build up that causes them to not only loose their fluffiness but their absorbency as well. To recharge your towels wash once with hot water and 1 cup of vinegar. Wash again with 1/2 a cup of baking soda and hot water. This will get rid of the residue build up on your towels.

5 reasons why I don’t make my spouse’s plate first.

So we've all seen the debate about whose plate do you fix first, your child or your husband/spouse. Now I know it stems from religion, where the man comes first under god, however (and maybe I'll get some backlash from this) I'm not religious. That's not to say I don't believe in God, Jesus, miracles, etc. I refer to myself as spiritual and maybe that's why I have a different view on things. I don't believe in making your spouse's plate first and in our house, I don't practice it. Here's a few reasons why:

1. My child literally depends on someone to make his food and his plate for him. Meaning until someone does this for him he doesn't get to eat.

2. My spouse is 28 years old and is fully capable of making his own plate or being patient while I make OUR child's plate.

3. My son is only a year and a half old. He doesn't understand patience yet. While I do try to make him practice waiting for things, food is NOT one of those things.

4. I don't believe my son getting his food before his father is going to make him disrespectful. I mean can we be real here? There are so many more things in life that can make a child disrespectful, getting his plate first is NOT one of them.

5. Okay, call me a feminist if you want to but I don't think that just because he is a male he should be treated as though he's above me. We are equal and he agrees.

Just because I fix my child's plate first doesn't mean I don't value or respect my spouse. I appreciate how hard he works for our family! As a matter of fact he works so hard he's rarely home for dinner but when he is I fix our son's plate first and he fixes his own plate. Why? Because even he understands that my son depends on SOMEONE to make his plate and as a mother I take that duty on.

My spouse and I are partners. We parent together. He goes to work while I work at home taking care of our house and son. Regardless of me being a stay at home mom he knows what I do all day everyday (& even at night) isn't easy. He acknowledges that we both work hard and he doesn't care if I make our son's plate first. As a matter of fact if I tried to make Adam's plate first he would take it from me and make his own plate as well as a plate for me while I get out toddler set up.