When life hands you pumpkins

I don’t know about you but there’s something about Fall that always seems to bring me back to life. To say it’s my favorite time of year would be an understatement; Halloween is my favorite holiday (yes even more than Christmas,) I got married in the Fall and last October our little dude entered the world. This year more than ever I feel like I am so caught up in the hecticness of daily life, from trying to manage an-almost toddler to still being a present wife, daughter and friend. It can be so overwhelming and one thing I’ve noticed amongst parents is this sense of competition;  “my kid walked by this age, my kid already eats those things, my kid doesn’t sleep like that” etc etc etc. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve been finding a great support system in the parenting community but this sense of competition amongst friends, strangers, social media and so on is crazy to me. Growing up I can remember my dad always telling me to not compare my grades to the other kids and to try to do well for myself, not to be like others who maybe did better than me. All I know after this year is that parenting is hard, and every child, every teenager, every adult is different. We all do things our own way and we should embrace the differences in our kids rather than criticize them. It’s so awesome to see parents come together and support one another by offering advice or to be a sounding board, which as we know is more than necessary to keep our sanity. As my little dudes 1st birthday approaches I hope to gain more confidence as a parent and realize we’re all doing good as long as our kids are happy. That being said, excuse me while I go get a hot coffee, throw on a sweater and geek out over finally having some cold weather.  

 

Hellooooo October!!

Well it’s officially my favorite time of year. Things have been so hectic lately between planning Sean’s first birthday party, starting Play School and trying to maintain somewhat of a social life, but I’m trying to stop and smell the roses so to say. Sean loves going to school and I am enjoying it a lot more than I thought. Once a week I get to go somewhere with him where he can play with other babies and I also get to spend time with other parents. It’s a welcoming environment that allows us to vent, exchange joys and concerns, offer advice and just relax. It has made me realize that as parents we all have issues; no baby is the same, we need to be easier on ourselves and learn to support one another. Finding a community amongst parents is more important than I realized, and being one of the only one of my friends with a child I am so glad I found a school that encourages parental support and forming friendships. 

Now if this weather would chill out I’m getting anxious to get my pumpkin patch on. Halloween is my favorite day of the year and my son decided to be born on October 29 last year so needless to say this month is going to be ridiculously fun..busy, but fun. Im looking to try some new pumpkin and apple recipes over the next few weeks if anyone has any they love I’d love to hear some ideas or recipes. Aside from pumpkin patches what else are some fun Fall activities for families or couples?  

  

I’ll take an extra large coffee and a vacation thank you

Im not one to go to social media or my blog to complain or rant but I know I’m not the first parent to say this and I certainly won’t be the last: holy lord I am so TIRED! And yes of course you’re tired from the minute your baby enters the world but lately I have been feeling like my energy ranges from 1-3 on a scale of 10. The poor thing is teething like crazy lately which overall has led to lack of sleep and some stressful days. He’s crawling now which is so fun but as you know it means never sitting down for more than a few seconds..how are they so fast?! If people ask me what I want for Christmas this year I’m sticking with a lifetime supply of coffee or a tropical vacation, or both obviously. On the other hand our little dude will be ONE next month…how is that possible?! I always thought parents who went over the top for their kids first birthdays were nuts because the babies barely know what’s going on and don’t remember..but I totally get it now. I am going to go broke by the time I’m done making trips to Michaels Arts and Crafts, so far I’ve started a backdrop for the candy bar, have made some signs, put a food menu together, bought decor from Etsy and I’m still not done..my poor poor husband and wallet don’t stand a chance. Any advice or favorite parts of your child’s first birthday? We are doing a Superhero theme, which needless to say got my husband way too excited. It’s hard to believe we’re already getting things for his birthday together because I’m fairly certain I’m in major denial that he will actually be a toddler before we know it. 

Adventure is my middle name! Well not really but you get it 

Is this weather crazy or what? It is so warm even in the city, which for those of you unfamiliar with San Francisco, is rare. Today we ventured right outside of the city to a town called Sausalito amd celebrated my husband’s grandparents anniversary (yeah, that’s a mouth full.) Few things make me happier than getting out of the house with the family and going on an adventure, especially if it’s somewhere I haven’t been before. I’m sure I’m not the only one who realizes that sometimes we take our surroundings for granted because we are so used to them and our daily routines are so scheduled. I’m realizing it’s important to take the time and experience the beautiful places in our own backyard, so to say. I hope our lil guy enjoys adventures as much as I do and that we can help him appreciate nature. It worries me how reliant children are on social media and technology these days for entertainment, and while I wouldn’t want Sean to miss out on that, I also want him to be able to have experiences like did growing up; building forts, playing in the mud, climbing trees and then some. Do any of you who have kids have advice on how to balance the intense technology and the simple things in life as your kids get older?  

 

Stop and smell the roses

Happy August everyone, the Sunday of summer! Anyone else kind of confused as to how it can already be August? I feel like it was January five minutes ago. I was reminded the other day that my little human will be one years old in just two and a half months..people always tell you time flies by once your baby gets here but wow..what an understatement. I remember when I was pregnant last year during the hottest summer on record here, I prayed for time to just hurry up, now all I want is it to slow the heck down. Sean is quickly becoming a little man with his very own personality and I want to hold onto these moments as much as I can. Today we strolled around the park, him in his little baseball shirt, me with a large coffee in hand (per usual); I saw so many people with their toddlers running around and realized how soon that will be him and that I need to appreciate this pre-walking baby phase as much as possible. Sean loved looking at all the kids running around and laughed as they screamed and played tag..oh to be young again. I’m looking forward to the days when he can run around and talk, but don’t get me wrong, I’m in no hurry! It’s so fun watching our little ones grow up, and we grow up right along with them. Three quarters of the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, there’s definitely no manual for becoming a parent and I may look like a mess or feel like a zombie sometimes but he’s happy and healthy, that’s what counts and in return makes me happier than I’ve ever been.  What have been some of your favorite memories with your little humans?

 

Run, mom, run!!

This is my first guest blog! Janice is a working momma of two whose article I was introduced to through a mutual friend. I won’t go into much detail as her article speaks for itself but I am so proud to be apart of a community of fit moms who give so much to their kids and their work, but also realize how important it us to for us to carve out time to work on ourselves and our health.

How to Be a Running Mom

By: Janice Bruce

I hear it all the time: “How do you do it?” Occasionally, someone is asking about my decadent mashed potatoes, but usually this has to do with my diligent running routine and how I am able to balance working and being a mom. Unlike many running moms, I think I had the benefit of already being a runner before I had kids.

I know it doesn’t come easily for everyone, though, and I have definitely struggled and sacrificed at times. Because running is so necessary for my sanity, I knew I needed to figure out a precise plan in order to be able to lace up my kicks multiple times a week. With 2 boys younger than 7, everything must be a coordinated effort.

Here is a rundown of how I manage it.

Always Be Ready

I know, you probably rolled your eyes when I mentioned a “precise plan.” When it comes to kids, everything is perfectly unplanned. I decided that the same goes for running. I tell myself, “I will get a run in some time today,” but I don’t always know when that will be, so I stay ready to dash out the door at any given time.

When my second was born, I was often doing my errands in my running clothes. I might drop the kids at swim lessons and run around the pool neighborhood. Or as soon as my wonderful husband came home from work, he took over kid duty for the next 30 to 45 minutes so I could work in my run for the day. (I should definitely mention that my partner in parenting has been hugely supportive, and I wouldn’t be able to juggle it all without him.)

Since returning to work, my routine has actually gotten a bit easier because the kids are at school or daycare all day and I run at lunchtime, then eat at my desk. On days when that doesn’t work out, I do sometimes find myself running as late as 10 o’clock at night. If you’re considering running alone very early or late, please take appropriate safety precautions or think about a gym membership. Here’s a bonus tip: Keep a backup set of shoes and clothes in your vehicle.

Pump Early & Often

I chose to breastfeed my little dudes. After learning everything I could about using and storing breast milk, I devised a plan. I pumped between 3 and 5 times a day because, remember, I didn’t know exactly when or for how long I would be gone on runs. While the duration of many of my runs wasn’t that long, sometimes my run times would coincide with feeding time. This would give my husband the ability to feed with or without me there. Another benefit of this was that I wasn’t always the one obligated to get up in the middle of the night, as we always had some milk stashed in the fridge.

The only time this didn’t work as well was on race days. Running a half marathon would mean that I would go up to 3 hours without pumping. To compensate, I pumped as soon as I woke up that morning around 4 a.m. I remember when my older son was just 7 months old, breakfast was in the car parked as close to the start line as we could manage while fellow racers were milling around waiting for the race to start. So learn the guidelines for milk storage, and save all you can.

Letting Go Sometimes

My best advice is probably to not stress out if you have to sacrifice something every so often. Take breaks when you need to. There will be a time when some other priority has to somehow fit into the schedule. For instance, I took a long break when I got a mommy makeover. As I said, I’ve been a runner a long time, and my athletic body was something I was proud of and really a part of my identity. Of course, pregnancy and breastfeeding brought changes. I suddenly had a lot of lumps and bulges that wouldn’t go away, even after a year and a half of diet and exercise.

I started reading up on surgical solutions and found this website from San Jose mommy makeover specialist Dr. Lepore. I realized I was going to need several weeks of downtime, and although I could gradually resume some exercise, I needed to keep it low-impact for a while. I decided this was something I wanted to prioritize, so I didn’t run for a few months. This little exercise in shifting gears helped make it easier to cope when other things came up, like the husband getting sick or school being canceled unexpectedly. I learned to let go a little and not beat myself up about skipping days.

I truly believe that running helps me be a better mom, so my family and I have found a way to make it a priority in our lives. With your loved ones’ support and some careful planning, you can make it a priority, too. 

 

When life hands you lemons

You have no choice but to make lemonade. As many parents know, vacations and relaxation come far and few between these days. We went up to Clearlake with my husbands family at their beautiful new house, and the first day of our trip consisted of trying to soothe our lil human who is teething badly right now. By later afternoon he was finally feeling better and mama was ready to get her vacation on. I swam, tanned, played games, drank some coronas and throgouhly enjoyed having family there to help with the baby so we could rest a bit. We all went to bed late after talking and fishing on the dock, which was so fun. Then our vacation was cut extremely short, I woke up at 4 am feeling as if I was going to die so my husband ran me to the ER (on 4th of July) and turns out I developed gallbladder stones and some liver issues. Life is going to be very different from now on in terms of my lifestyle, no more fatty foods, no more Taco Bell after a night out on the town, no more dairy, which for an Italian is unthinkable; veggies, fruit, chicken and fish is all I can stick to. I’m trying to look at this as a positive in terms of finally getting fully healthy and getting my weight back to pre-baby status, but I’d be lieing if I said I think it’ll be an easy change. Have any of you made this change or have advice? I’d love to hear some