Monday, November 30, 2015

A Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had one of the best I can remember, it was relaxed and filled with family, fun and food.  We actually spent Thursday at home, just the four of us.  We watched the parade, played at the playground and decorated for Christmas.  We took naps and ate lasagna for dinner.  It was completely untraditional, but we haven't had a day like that in forever so it was perfect.  Friday we had our family over for the traditional feast and then Saturday we went to my parent's house for more family fun.  I need to do a better job of getting pictures of everyone...I'll make that a goal for Christmas :).  But here are a few from our weekend.  I'll be back later this week with an update on my clinger Audrey.  She will be 15 months old on Friday! Crazy! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Shoes New Goal

I was in desperate need of some new gym shoes.  I had planned on rewarding myself about 15 pounds ago with a new pair, but time and budget got away from me.  I also have a very difficult time finding gym shoes to try on in person, without having to order them online.  But last week I took the plunge and headed to Dick's with both kids, promising a look at basketballs and toys.  Thankfully they have carts and thankfully the kids were patient enough for me to try a few on.  I just happened to find some in a brand I've liked, colors I didn't mind and a good fit.  Add a discount and a coupon and I was sold.  

With these new running shoes comes a new running goal.  Several years ago, Andrew and I "ran" the Flying Pig Half Marathon.  I put "ran" in quotation marks because we did do a good amount of walking, but we finished and it was a great accomplishment.  I'm not crazy enough to try that again (at least not yet), but ever since my open heart surgery last January, I've had it in my head that it would be a great goal to run the Heart Mini 15K, or just over 9 miles.  Considering I've done 13.1, it seems doable.  

I am the biggest cheese ball you will ever meet and cry at any and every thing.  I've watched many races as my dad and friends have participated and I always get choked up, especially at the finish line.   You can see the accomplishment and relief as the runners cross the line and the pride in the faces of their friends and family.  I've always felt that I should be in there with them, rather than on the sidelines.  I guess you could say I've always felt like an athlete trapped in a body that couldn't, or wasn't ready, to perform.

So there you have it, my next fitness related goal.  I am going to train to run the 15K on March 13, 2016.  My OCD with numbers self loves that the date is 3 +13 = 16 :).  I think it's a sign that it's meant to be.  I haven't officially started training yet, that'll start in a few weeks, but I did go jog on the treadmill today.  I'm not a fan of the treadmill, but it was way too cold to push Audrey in the jogging stroller.  It went better than I expected and I look forward to seeing how I do outside.

I will say this...I'm going to listen to my body and if running hinders my overall progress with injuries or anything else, then I will pick a new goal.  I'm excited to work toward this, but not at the expense of the things I now find so enjoyable.

So I guess you could say I am now off and running.... ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Aiden Paul - 2 and 3/4

I hadn't planned on writing another update on Aiden until he turned three.  But then I read what I wrote three months ago and couldn't believe how much he has changed.  Physically, emotionally, intellectually...time slow down pleeeease!  The past few months have had their ups and downs with Aiden.  He is challenging us as parents and we often feel like we are learning as we go.  But with big emotion comes a big payoff.  He is affectionate, passionate and energetic.  A combination that I think will serve him well as he continues to grow up.

Aiden continues to follow in Daddy's footsteps and love all things with wheels.  Trains, trucks, construction equipment, tractors, planes...just a few of his favorites.  He can not only tell you which is which, but he knows where the engine is on a tractor, the bucket on a loader and more that I can't even tell you because I have no clue what he's talking about!  We accidentally found these videos on youtube (during the longest road trip ever this past summer), that are done by this guy named Blippi.  Anyone ever heard of him?  They are actually pretty good and they make an excellent bribe learning opportunity. :)  He sings the songs from the videos as he plays with his toys, it's amazing what he is retaining these days.

Speaking of retaining, pre-school is going so well!  The past two weeks we have had zero tears at drop off, which is HUGE!  He will usually tell me all about his day, which friends he played with (always Harper ;)) and what activities they did.  I am so glad we went with our gut and enrolled him at two.  

A few more of Aiden's favorites right now...Paw Patrol, Jingle Bells and all things Christmas, Mickey Mouse still and play doh!  I love playing play doh with him, but I do not love cleaning it up from the carpet.  We are really trying to work with Aiden (and Audrey) on manners and emphasizing good behavior.  I mentioned earlier that he is challenging us and he definitely is.  There are many times when I just have no clue what to do.  How do you get a toddler to listen and follow directions?!  I'll probably post more about that concern another time, but if anyone has some wisdom in the meantime, I am ALL ears!  

And it wouldn't be a post about Aiden without talking about sleep.  He still isn't.  Yep, those of you with infants who are "bad sleepers"...brace yourselves.  He typically doesn't nap and if he does, he won't go to sleep until very late and it's a battle.  It's been very hard to keep him in his bed, so he often ends up in ours.  We are over it and are ready for some changes, but again....clueless.  Is there ever a time when parents aren't? :)  And don't get me started on potty training... (we'll just go with he's not ready yet).

In three short months we'll have a three year old.  Hard to believe as I sit in our basement and watch him go down the slide he got for his second birthday.  Wasn't that yesterday?  I adore this little boy and am so proud to be his mom.  I mean, how can you not smile when you see this mischievous, sweet little face? :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Real Life

I wanted to write a new post today.  It was on my list, along with many other items that have been on that list for weeks, even months.  Our only plans today were to go to the gym this morning, which we did, but then real life decided to step in and give me a horrible migraine.  I know when they're coming...the blurry vision and dull headache start and within an hour I have a full on, can't open my eyes, don't make a sound migraine.  Luckily after tylenol and chugging a ton of water they tend to go away fairly quickly, but tell that to two toddlers.  Needless to say, most of the pain has passed, Audrey is thankfully napping and Aiden seems happy playing in a dark basement with no sound except his trucks taking turns down the Little Tykes slide.

One of the first lessons you learn as a mom is to plan, but don't count on those plans actually happening.  Because they probably won't.  It sounds depressing when you say it out loud, but really I think it's life's way of guiding us along the correct path.  Not an easy thing to admit when you're type A and like to have control over everything.

So back to that to-do list and my biggest challenge at the moment.  


I can handle a mess, I know that comes with kids and I've accepted it.  But our house looks like this 98% of the time and I need a better system.  I've been working with both kids on how to clean up and put away toys, but the problem is, we don't have an easy set up for putting them away.  We have some of those small totes and one big basket, with a similar setup downstairs (which often looks the same). Bigger toys don't have a place to go and the little ones gets all mixed up so they are no longer easy to play with.  Before you start thinking, "this is her biggest challenge?!" keep in mind that this issue affects a lot of other things.  I need my kids to be able to play by themselves from time to time and that isn't happening.  Aiden doesn't nap, so ideally he would play by himself for at least part of Audrey's nap time so I could, oh, I don't know, clean our bathroom every once in awhile.  

I've found it very difficult recently to balance having control and structure while also being flexible and taking advantage of fun moments with the kids.  I'm probably being too hard on myself, but aren't all moms?  I did have a moment the other day when I realized how happy I am right now.  I hope this post doesn't come off as unappreciative or whiney, because that is definitely not my intent.

Headaches happen (usually when my kids are eager to play), illnesses strike (always on holidays) and messes are around me everyday.  That's real life.  But as I type, Aiden came up and wrapped his arms around my neck and said, "Feeling better mommy?"  I am now, buddy.  And this real life is pretty amazing.

And PS...if anyone has any suggestions on how to organize my spaces, I'd love to hear them! :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Gratefully Picked || Giveaway with Freshly Picked

I had two initial thoughts when we found out Audrey was a girl.  Are you sure?? and I get to buy girly clothes!  But over the past 14 months, buying these girly clothes has at times turned into more of a stress than a pleasure.  There are SO many cute options out there so instead of going overboard, I've actually done the opposite.  Audrey has definitely owned less clothes than Aiden and it's probably because I'm much pickier when choosing outfits and accessories.

Audrey learned to walk this past summer, so she really spent most of the time barefoot.  But as the weather's gotten colder and I've realized she's too old to get away with just wearing socks, I've been searching for the perfect shoe.  Audrey has very very wide/thick feet so even the typical wide sized shoes don't fit well.  She also thinks it's super fun to take shoes off the moment I get them on her, which is no small feat (pun intended ;)).  But I've found the answer to all of our shoe woes - Freshly Picked Moccasins.

I first heard of Freshly Picked when Aiden was an infant but just never got around to trying them.  But after following them on Instagram and Facebook for quite some time, I knew Audrey had to have a pair.  I had read so many wonderful reviews, but was still skeptical and had some concerns.  Would they stay on her feet?  What if they get dirty?  Will they even fit her feet?  And are they worth the cost?  I have been pleasantly surprised by the answers to these questions.

First of all, she does not take them off.  They stay on and she must love them so much that she really doesn't mess with them.  The day after we received the moccs in the mail, we hit up the playground.  I was on the verge of a heart attack the whole time as she ran around in the mulch.  I did keep her away from mud, but they really didn't get that dirty.  The mulch brushed right off.  I ordered her pair in a size that I knew would be a little big because I was worried about the width of her feet.  She definitely could have worn a size smaller but she gets around fine in these and they will just last longer!  Which answers my last question.  Investing in well made shoes that will literally match every outfit she has and that will last longer than a month?  Definitely worth the price tag.

After playing in the mulch

I love success stories like Freshly Picked.  I also love supporting these businesses and I am honored to work with them.  To share the love, Freshly Picked has generously offered to give away a pair of soft-soled moccasins to one of my readers!  To enter, all you have to do is comment on this post with the name of your favorite pair from the Freshly Picked website.  And then follow Freshly Picked on Instagram and/or Facebook.  That's it!  I had a hard time choosing, I almost went with these, but decided on the more practical "Let it Go" pair.  They are gorgeous, the pictures do not do them justice.  I may just have to tell Santa about the other pair ;).  Any option you choose will be the perfect addition to your little one's wardrobe!  Good luck!

*I am SO grateful to Freshly Picked for sending Audrey a beautiful pair of moccasins and for providing a pair to our winner.  This giveaway will run now through Friday November 13th at midnight.  The winner will be notified by Monday November 16th!  All opinions are my own!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Few Surprises

This post title may be a bit misleading...unfortunately I don't have any surprises for my wonderful readers, at least not today :).  But I have been surprising myself recently, so I thought I'd share.  The past few weeks have felt busier than usual for some reason, maybe it's the new job or the fast approaching holidays.  Either way, I'm really trying to find down time, even if it's just a few minutes here or there.  Since starting this new job, I've had a lot of surprising reactions but one has definitely been feeling more balanced.  I'll write more on that soon, but it has felt good to change things up a bit.  And on top of that, a few other surprises these past couple of weeks....

I can run a mile.  Well at least I think I can.  Our group training this week was a circuit that ended in a quarter mile run and we had to do the circuit as many times as we were able.  Each time, I went through it five times, which makes more than a mile.  Granted, it was divided up by other exercises, but still.  I haven't done much running recently, and even with having completed a half marathon, I would never consider myself a runner.  But in these workouts, surprisingly, the running felt like a break.

I can have a social life.  This is mainly thanks to my wonderful husband, but last night I was able to get out of the house for awhile for a Cincinnati Moms Blog event that was all about healthy eating.  I really enjoyed it and am excited to try some new recipes!  I even went out AFTER that to have a drink with my best friend.  I can't remember the last time we did that (probably years) and it was so nice to just sit a chat (mostly about the kids).  

I can fit into a size that doesn't start with an X!  To most this may not seem like a big deal, but to me, this was life changing.  I bought a new workout outfit that is a size large.  Not x-large, just large.  I know size doesn't matter and in some brands I'll always need that x, but damn did it feel good to fit into it.  

Ignore our messy bedroom!

I'm already in the Christmas spirit.  I'm usually anti-Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but this year I am feeling the love.  I won't decorate until after we eat turkey, but I may have listened to some Christmas music in the car yesterday.  I think knowing how short and how fast December goes and how magical this time of year is, I just want to soak it in.

Aiden asks daily to ride the Polar Express.  

Nothing mind-blowing today, just a quick update on some randomness in my life right now.  But check back here on Monday for an amazing giveaway with Freshly Picked moccasins! :)

And of course..WHO DEY!!  Go Bengals!! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Hot Dog Halloween

Holidays definitely change when you have kids.  A Saturday night Halloween in the past would have meant a big party with a full out costume and add in daylight savings extra hour of fun!  With our 2.5 year old and 14 month old, though, it meant an early dinner, early trick or treating and praying that the time change wouldn't screw us up too badly.  That being said, this was one of the best Halloweens EVER.  We chose Mickey and Minnie costumes several weeks ago, as both kids love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  We "hot dog dance" regularly around here.  They were both adorable and Aiden totally got it this year.  Audrey loved her poofy dress and carrying her pumpkin.  I'm sad to see October end, it is such a fun month filled with time outside and festive activities.  But I know the next couple of months will be magical (and busy) and I look forward to the memories to be made.

Pumpkin carving Friday night.  

Audrey did not like the guts.

Facetiming with PaPa
Hard at work on his birthday. 
Newlywed pumpkin carving