Family Tales · Mom Tales · Wife Tales

A Look Back- 2016.

This has been quite the year for us! A year of traveling, new adventures, old adventures and celebrations. 

We put London in swim class this year, which she did amazing at. A real natural in the water, unfortunately with most infant/toddlers they lose interest and it wasn’t fun for her anymore. But even to this day, London still does her kicks and even puts her face in the water by herself if we’re at the pool or even in the bathtub. 


I attempted to go back to work this year. Yes attempted. I was hired for a great part time position that worked good with my home schedule and Arthur’s work hours. I really did enjoy working, unfortunately with working there comes unnecessary drama and cattyness with some people and going to work wasn’t even fun anymore. But as it turned out, that was the start of Arthur working more in Minnesota and I had to be home more often. 

We celebrated London turning 1! A whole year of being parents to the coolest princess. A year of firsts and a year full of memories. 


We traveled quite a bit this year. Our first vacation to Minnesota right after London’s birthday, before we even knew we would be moving. Our first trip here was incredibly fun because we got to be tourists and explore everything, including paying respects to Prince at Paisley Park. Which led to more trips to Minnesota, and during that time, hoping to find our future home. And of course, my 29th birthday in Disney World. I was lucky enough to be able to take a mom vacation with my soul mate that I met a little to late in life, to Philadelphia for a Harry Potter Festival. 


Just like everyone, we had our downs which was basically in fault of our previous apartment that we called home. It was the beginning of Arthur being two states away for weeks at a time, missing out on multiple milestones of London’s life. But it was also a blessing in disguise. It gave my parents more time with London, it allowed Arthur to find the beautiful house we call home now, it gave me a little bit of break and help with London, and it gave me time to bond with my parents again.

I had a few of the greatest friends be there for me when I needed a friend during the hardest months. That will always be special to me and they will always have a place in my heart for being there for not just myself, but for London as well. 


We moved. We finally moved. If you would have asked me four months ago where we would be I would say still in Illinois trying to figure out how to make life stop slapping us in the face. But we did it. Arthur did it. But of course, meeting Luke Perry, Jason Priestly, Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth had to happen before we moved. 


We even were lucky enough to go back to Chicago for Christmas. While it was a short visit, it was by far the best Christmas we’ve had in a very long time.

Just like everyone else, we had our ups and downs and then some more downs, but more importantly our ups went up again. Do I wish we did more this year? Of course, but that’s what next year is for. 


“Old ways won’t open new doors.” This quote is my quote to live by in 2017. We are surrounded by opportunities and you can bet I’m going to be taking advantage of those opportunities with London, Arthur and even just myself. 

I hope you have a chance to look back on the year and smile at something you’ve accomplished, got to do, or even realize there’s something you want to do next year. 

One of my focuses for this coming year is to organize myself and make each day a goal that I achieved. You can find my goals that I set for myself in the Best Me I can Be section at the top.

Happy New Year!

Mom Tales · Wife Tales

Chicken and Mushroom Slow Cooker Pasta

I couldn’t be more excited to have been able to finally use my slow cooker and try out a new recipe.This one is going into our family favorites!

Ingredients

Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup onion and chive cream cheese

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Pasta of your choice.

Combine cream cheese, broth, butter and soup til fully mixed. 

Add chicken to slow cooker and pour combined ingredients over chicken. Cook on low for 5 hours. 

Cook pasta and drain. 

Place chicken over pasta, or in my case because of mom brain, place pasta over chicken….
Enjoy!

Family Tales · Mom Tales · Wife Tales

Holiday Traditions.

If you know me personally or have been following my blog for a while, you know how much I love traditions and lists and bucket lists. The holiday season is like my list overload because there’s just so many things to do and so many things I want to make a tradition in London’s life. With the months being a little more hectic than normal, I’ve been squeezing in as much as I can. 

So here’s our family traditions and a few that I do for myself for some me time.

Decorating. 

I think this is a given. I say every year that we’re decorating the day after Thanksgiving, but everything always goes up the week before Thanksgiving. With London getting older, Arthur and I put the tree up after she goes to sleep and when she wakes up the next morning, Howard is there to greet her with a basket of ornaments to put up. 


Christmas Music.

Again, a given. And again, I say no Christmas music til after Thanksgiving but somehow Spotify ends up playing Christmas music the week before and it plays pretty much all day til bed time. This actually works out great with London not being allowed to have any sort of screen time and she loves dancing. Our must plays include the entire Hanson Snowed In album, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Glee, Justin Bieber, and Mariah. 

Christmas Movies.

This is a little different this year because of the new rule of our house. However,  since that new rule gas taken place London has learned she loves the Elf on the Shelf movie and the Grinch. Christmas movies are my absolute favorite and I only watch them in December so every year they’re just as magical to me. My favorites include the classics, Home Alone 1 and 2, Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the Polar Express.


Christmas Books.

I find myself buying London more books and once the holiday books are out I can’t help but to give her a new book once a week. 

Elf on the Shelf.

Howard J. Elfowitz is our family elf who came to us in 2013 and has been a tradition for Arthur and I and is now something London enjoys because she sees him everyday. We read his book on Thanksgiving night so the next morning he’s ready to start his job this season. He also brings London a Christmas Eve box. 


Christmas Eve Box.

I started doing this for Arthur, each Christmas eve he gets a box with a movie and a small gift. Now Howard brings him and London a gift that’s usually a new Disney ornament and a movie for us to watch that night before we go to bed.

Family pajamas. 

We started this last year for our family holiday photos. We each got a pair of Disney pajamas and wore them Christmas eve to open presents in. This year it’s been to hectic to be able to get a new pair so instead we’re doing family Christmas sweaters and I cannot wait to put them on for Christmas.


Holiday Baking.

My favorite! I usually end up just giving all the goods to the guys at Arthur’s work but there’s something about baking cookies and other yummy treats while listening to Christmas music that just makes me happy.


Wrapping presents. 

This is my me time tradition. Even before London was here, a week before Christmas,  I pick a yummy wine or cocktail to make, put on my favorite holiday movie and spend the evening wrapping gifts.

Visiting Santa.

Usually multiple times in the season, but it’s a must.


What’s your favorite tradition during this time?

Mom Tales

When You Start To Feel You’re Failing As A Mother.

Nobody likes to feel like they’re a failure, let alone failing as being a mother. Since the day I found out we were going to be parents, I did everything I was supposed to. I read every pregnancy book, I called my doctor for every little thing I thought was going to effect my pregnancy, I researched every car seat and stroller, and even got rid of my dining room set because I wanted London to have more room to play in.

One of my biggest things while I was pregnant was that I said I would never be that parent who gave her kid an Ipad or sat them in front of the TV to make them happy. For awhile, technology wasn’t even an issue with London. Did I allow her to watch Mickey Mouse while I cooked dinner? Yes. Did I play music videos for her so we can have dance parties? Of course. I even put a few playschool apps on my Ipad for her to learn shapes and colors. But it never took over her day. She still picked her books and blocks over the Ipad.

I’m not sure when exactly I started feeling like she was “addicted” to screen time. Was it my fault? Absolutely. It went from using the Ipad to keep her occupied while we were flying back and forth so much from Chicago to Minnesota, to giving her the Ipad first thing in the morning while she ate breakfast. I can list a million reasons as to why I was letting her play on the Ipad, between the flights, the moving to my parents for a month and then moving into a new home, having to unpack the new home, going back to my parents for a visit, taking a longer flight to Disney world, it can seriously go on. But that was no excuse. My once imaginative Little was no longer playing with her favorite toys or even picking up her books anymore. So I knew it was time to change everything about her day.

But how was my biggest problem. It’s way to cold for her to be outside so we are stuck in the house for a little bit. How do I get her back to playing with her toys and reading and laughing again? Yes laughing again. I noticed a huge difference in London’s personality the last couple of weeks. She went from such a happy toddler to incredibly cranky and difficult to even enjoy our days together. Again, I thought it was because of the flying and all the changes.

So I did something about it, starting with myself. My phone is never attached to my hand anymore. It stays up on the counter out of her view. How can I expect her to not want to play on the Ipad if I’m sitting here with my phone in my hand. I was one of those that I needed my phone on me at all times so I wouldn’t miss a text, a snap or a Facebook notification. Plus if London was going to stare at the Ipad, why couldn’t I stare at my phone. Mother of the year right?  They say it all starts with the parents. Well I refuse to raise a daughter who doesn’t want to interact with people because she would rather stare at a screen. Did I have a minor panic because my thought of not being able to get a picture of London occur to me? Absolutely. I can’t even count how many photos I’ve taken of London since she was born and now I’m forcing myself to not keep my phone with me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last days without my phone because it’s given me a chance to live in the moment of watching London play and laugh and smile.

Now I knew that in order to not give London a chance to know the Ipad was missing I had to take it after she went to bed and completely hid it from her. Trying to take something away in the middle of the day was not working and trying to explain to an almost two year old they need to eat their dinner first then they could watch Mickey was out of the question as well. That was the other problem we came across. London literally only wanted to watch Mickey, all day and everyday. Which, if you’re a parent, a babysitter, or have anything to do with being with a toddler, you know how obnoxious the Hot Dog Dance can get. The obsession with Mickey came with the obsession with screen time. London used to love Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, basically anything with music. Once the screens were introduced it was literally Mickey and only Mickey. Again, with taking the Ipad away it’s only giving her the option to play and use her imagination.

We still give her time to watch TV, the only difference is that all the Mickey Mouse recordings have been deleted and she has to watch what is on. No more of putting on only what she wants. And guess what, she’s realized she actually enjoys other shows than just Mickey Mouse..thank goodness.

Having that feeling that I was failing broke my heart. I’ve been incredibly hard on myself worrying if I was or am a good mother. I wasn’t about to fail my daughter because life got a little complicated and I didn’t know how else to fix it besides having her stare at a screen.

I will say, these last days during our new routine have been awesome. It feels like my baby girl is back to herself. We’ve had numerous tea parties, read every book in the house, colored, made a fort, played hide and seek, and she’s even helped me reorganize a few cabinets that didn’t need organizing.

As I had stated in a few posts back, I’m going to be revamping a lot with my blog and adding a ton. I’m slowly converting this to not just a blog for London to see as she gets older but to help myself in making sure I’m the best me I can be. With my new routine going on, most of my posts will be during nap time and bed time.

 

Family Tales

Disney World 2016.

We’re literally on the bus leaving our resort right now to head home. I can’t even begin to describe how absolutely amazingly magical our first family Disney Vacation was. Minus forgetting to pack a few things, I’ll get that out the way right now, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect three days in the happiest place on earth. 


London may not remember this trip when she gets older, but her dad and I will never forget her reactions when she first set eyes on the characters she’s grown to love over the last year and half. Infact, we’re already planning out trip for 2017. The only thing we’re going to do different is the amount of days and the dining plan. Three days was not enough to be able to do everything we wanted without trying to cram it together, which resulted in missing a few attractions and characters. The dining plan is a must do now especially with bringing a little one, food adds up quick here and I feel like we spent more money eating than buying souvenirs . 

Epcot

The day we arrived we went straight to Epcot. It’s a good park to do after traveling all morning, with so many characters it was perfect to give London an idea of where we were and what was going on. My original fear was London was going to be scared of the characters and have no interactions. Our child of course, no fear at all. Daisy Duck was her first character experience and my goodness was she amazed. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen her eyes light up the way they did. After hugging and high-fiving Daisy, London was ready to go mingle with every character we could find, including ones she didn’t even know! I love the around the world section because each country has a princess, except this time there was only a few out. We did get to meet Anna and Elsa in their summer house over in Norway though, so I’m pretty sure Mom was more excited than London was. Except when they asked her if she liked chocolate cake.


Hollywood Studios.

Our second day began with a Disney Jr character breakfast at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios. We knew we wanted to do a character meal this trip and once I saw they had this one geared towards the younger Disney fans, I was sold. I loved this specific dining reservation because it was close to the entrance and there were multiple characters walking around. While we grabbed our breakfast from the buffet, Mickey Mouse waffles of course, London watched her favorite friends walk around and greet other guests. Patiently awaiting her turn. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity in her eyes ( 15 minutes ), London had breakfast with Doc Mcstuffins , Sofia the First and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Hollywood Studios was great for London to really see some of her favorite characters like Chip and Dale, Olaf, Buzz and Woody, and of course Mickey and Minnie. Arthur and I are huge fans of Hollywood Studios because of the old time feeling we get when we walk in. Minus the few shows London would possibly be interested in, there’s not much for her to do there, so when she took a nap in her stroller it was the perfect time for Arthur and I to take advantage of the rider swap option and go on Tower or Terror. By the time I waited in line and he went on, London had woken up. Unfortunately the line for the Aerosmith Rollercoaster was over an hour and I didn’t want London to just be sitting in her stroller while we took turns on a ride. Since we had done most of what she would be interested in we decided to just head to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day. 


Magic Kingdom

We spent a day and a half here, which was a good call because we both forgot how big this park actually is and it ended up being London’s favorite. Right when we walked in, she was already going crazy pointing at everything and couldn’t believe the castle that was in front of her eyes. We spent the first half of our visit seeing more characters and doing a few rides she could go on. From Tinkerbell, Gaston, Ariel, Snow White and the Fairy Godmother and even Peter Pan , I don’t think London thought she would make so many friends in one place. As far as rides go, I couldn’t have been a more proud mama. We did the expected Aladdin Carpets, Dumbo, Little Mermaid, which of course London was absolutely amazed by. I think I paid more attention to her watching what was going on than I did on the actual ride itself. However, I was impressed that she didn’t get scared or even blink while we were on Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a Small World was definitely her favorite though!


While we did so much in the last three days, there were a few things we had to skip out on because we didn’t want to push London even further than what she was already taking in. Would you believe me if I said we already planned our next trip for next year? Because we already did. 

With this being our first real family vacation, I definitely have a list of things we plan on doing different, things we didn’t even think of doing, and things we missed that are a must do. I may have forgotten to pack a few things but I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation or a better way to celebrate my 29th birthday. 

This wasn’t a birthday vacation or a vacation to escape reality. After the last five months we had this was our way of being together as a family and enjoying the time we missed together. Before we even went to Disney World, I had a few people telling me to not even bring London because she’s so young and wouldn’t enjoy it and it’ll be too hard to do anything. Absolutely not the case at all. I couldn’t have imagined a more magical time. The memories of seeing London in the happiest place on earth will be memories I can never forget. Each trip we take after this will be even more magical, but there will never be a 1st trip. 


We head home in a few days and Arthur and I are going to be finalizing our plans for our next trip. So until then, I get to a make our Disney scrapbook! 

Family Tales · Mom Tales

Christmas Cookies.

With London obviously being older this year, Christmas activities have been a little more fun. Part of me was a little bummed because of how much we’re traveling this month, we wouldn’t be able to really do alot of Christmas activities. But, Papa made sure to cover a few things while we’re in town this week.

London got to decorate Christmas cookies! Papa and Nana bought a box of cookie cutters so of course London had more fun playing with those instead of actually pressing them into the cookie dough, but she did enjoy handing us every cutter she wanted to us. Our cookies included a snowman, Santa, stars, a dinosaur and a motorcycle for her daddy.


We ended up with more frosting on our hands and more sprinkles on the table but London being my daughter, had to clean the table right away. Ten points to London. 


Since Nana had to work while we decorated the cookies, she brought home a gingerbread house for us to decorate before we head back to Minnesota next week.

Decorating cookies will definitely be added to our family Christmas traditions, even more so now that London realized we get to eat them afterwards.
** I’ll be taking a little break from my blog posts til we get back home from Disney World and Chicago. You can still follow our Instagram @Momandthefairytales