Family Tales · Mom Tales

Girls Road Trip.

One of my goals this month was to do something I’ve never done before. I decided to go back to Chicago for a few days with London. My parents hasn’t seen her since April, I wasn’t feeling like I was in a good spot in Minnesota, mainly because I was missing my friends in Chicago, and I needed my hair done. Yes, I’m that person who travels 300 plus miles to get her hair done.

My parents had no idea I was even coming in, thanks to the technology of Facebook, o was able to make plans with a few people and not let my parents know. Shout out to being able to block people from seeing my posts. 

London has driven with us back and forth to Chicago twice now, but this was the first time it was just going to be me and her alone. Arthur stayed in Minnesota to hang with Dobby. Scary? Absolutely. But isn’t life about doing something that scares us? To be able to look back and say ” Yea I totally did that.” Not to look back and think ” I wish I would have done it when I had the chance?”

Our drive there was scary but so much fun, thanks to our Spotify playlist, we listened to everything from Motley Crue, to afi, to the Goofy Movie soundtrack. Considering it was already a 6 hour drive, add an extra hour for having to stop for diapers, we made great time. 

The first surprise was to my mom who was working. If you’re friends with me on Facebook then I’m sure you saw the video of use surprising her. Same with my dad. It was the coolest thing to be able to do, and I’ll never be able to pull that off again because it was already hard enough to keep a secret like that. 

Originally we were supposed to stay til Thursday morning, but we ended up leaving Tuesday afternoon after London had gotten sick. We made the most of our time, missed out on a few things. But a mini get away way exactly what I needed. 

We’re definitely blessed to have the option to go back to Chicago basically whenever we want. Maybe within a few more trips I’ll figure out how to pack us up without bringing every single thing we own. I’ve accepted I’m a very heavy packer.

So our first summer adventure was a success, shortened but still a success. But it’s time to get back to the real world, until it’s time for Vegas for a girls weekend!

Mom Tales

Besties Turned Mesties

Mestie will forever be a special word in my life, which almost no one will get except for my Mestie, Leah. 

A little over 5 years ago, Leah and I started following each other on Twitter. Which turned into Instagram, which turned into Facebook, Snapchat, texts, and mailing each other gift boxes. 

Leah has my social media bestie through almost every huge moment of my life. My wedding, my kidney transplant, having London, and moving to Minnesota. We’ve talked everyday for the past 5 years, we’ve had inside jokes and stupid conversations on multiple social platforms at the same time. We always said ” when we finally meet….” and it finally happened last week.

Yes, after 5 years and convincing her family that I was in fact a real person, Leah flew out to Minnesota from the East coast and spent a week here!

We had the entire week planned out, plus room to finally just be real life friends. And the coolest part about this, was that it wasn’t even awkward. Let’s thrown in right now, that this was the first time we actually had real conversations and I heard an easy coast accent. 

We did the usual Mall of America trips, Wild Rumpus Book Store, the Eagan Outlet Mall, the Zoos, and of course visiting Prince’s house. As per London’s request we ate at Bubba Gump, and shockingly we were able to eat at different places like the 5-8 Club and the Rainforest Cafe. 

One of the nights, we were able to go out to Downtown Minneapolis with a few people and go to Up-Down bar, which is by far one of the coolest bars ever. This bar is literally filled with every arcade game you can thing of plus giant Jenga and Connect 4 and a giant projector screen to play N64. We spent most of the night playing skee ball. No complaints, minus coming home at 4:30 in the morning.

This week was literally a week of firsts for Leah. It was her first time flying, her first time having real Mexican food, her first Vegas bomb, and her first tattoo. Of course we got matching bestie tattoos. 

But let’s get to the good stuff, the best part of this trip, the part where we will always laugh, uncontrollably, the part that was almost the highlight of her being here. And go figure, it was being of Arthur. If you already know, you know where this is going and you know how hard I’m already laughing and I’m hoping I can type this without missing a few words.

So if you don’t know, Arthur recently got a motorcycle. He let me get a puppy so I had no real say. I don’t mind actually, except he told me he knew how to ride. I’ve never heard of him riding a motorcycle let alone have seen him ride. So last week, he came home real quick and decided it was a good day to ride back to the shop. We live about 4 miles from the shop, so not super far, unless you’re trying to ride a motorcycle…you’ve never been on before.

Arthur gets set up, and Leah and I both looked at each other like “something is going to happen.” So we decided to watch to make sure he gets going ok, plus it was the first time he would be riding the bike. At this point, the bike has been running for a little bit, he sits down, and the bike stalls. Then shuts off. He starts it again, it moves forward a little bit then stalls. And this point, we all knew he shouldn’t even do this, because he had yet to take his riding classes. 

So finally the bike is on, and he gets going, a little wobbly but he’s going. We living in a cul-de-sac, and the way to go to the shop is to turn right. Our neighbors had a truck on the street blocking our full view of Arthur, but we were waiting to see him turn. I stepped out into the street to see why he wasn’t turning. And that’s when we saw him…in the grass. 

At this point I was freaking out, Leah didn’t know what to do except hold London’s hand while I ran to see if he was ok. Mind you, he was only one house down, so I wasn’t running blocks. He was trying to turn around before getting on a street with through traffic, and instead of switching gears and braking, he reved and ended up over the curb and in the lawn. Now after he got the bike back on the street and to our house, with the help of someone doing their nightly walk, he said he was ok, and decided to wait til his riding class to try riding again, that’s when me and Leah lost it and had joke after joke. It’s been almost a week this happened, and I still can’t control myself when I think about it or tell the story. 

And that’s the lawn he ripped up.

Side note – he has not tried to ride his bike since, but had taken his class and passed.

Once our week had come to an end, it was sadder to say goodbye than we thought. It’s not like we live close enough to drive to each other for a weekend. I’ve always said she is literally the East coast me. From movies and books, to our opinions on almost everything, there’s a reason why we were besties for so long. 
I can’t be honest and say I was the saddest to have her leave. London was heartbroken because London claimed Leah as her new bestie the day she got here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my daughter so sad to not have someone at the house anymore. 

Having to go back to reality with Leah gone was sad but at the same time she left me with so many memories, laughs, pictures, and took a little piece of me and London back home with her. I feel lucky to have had the chance to meet her and spend a week becoming Mesties. We may be far apart, but I’m so glad social media brought us together. 

Family Tales · Mom Tales

Speech Therapy for Toddlers.

Recently, we made the choice to start London in speech therapy. And originally I wasn’t even going to make a post about this because it’s been hard for me to talk about it. With her progress so far, I’m finally ok and seeing that I’m just making sure she is on the right path and she’ll be prepared for preschool.

So yes, we decided it was in London’s best interest to have her start seeing a speech therapist. Over the last few months, we’ve noticed she wasn’t repeating words, was having a hard time telling us what she wanted, and it resulted in her being frustrated and us being frustrated for not knowing what she was trying to tell us. 

Originally, I started with taking the binkys away, eliminating screen time even more, and switching all her cups to straw and magic 360 cups. None of that was helping her talk to us. 

Her doctor knew it’s been a concern and with our first steps not showing improvement, she set her up to see an audiologist. I can’t begin to explain how scary the thought of her not being able to hear or needing surgery was. But we went to her appointment with positive thoughts and preparing for the worst. The audiologist basically thought we were crazy because there is absolutely nothing wrong with her hearing. 

So here we are doing speech therapy. After her evaluation, London does has a delay in her talking but she is incredibly smart by way of gesturing and being able to do commands when we tell her to hand us a certain toy or show us where the green crayon in. So as we work on her speaking and using her words, she is being taught sign language.

It may have taken me a few weeks to accept the fact London needs help with learning how to talk, but her therapist even said, it’s not our fault and this is helping her to prepare for preschool.

We couldn’t be more happy with the facility we decided on for her, and we’re so proud of how much London has already picked up as far as sign language and the way her words are starting to come together. 

Mom Tales

Embrace Life, and Thrive.

Since moving to Minnesota last November, I’ve been waiting for the weather to give us the opportunity to thrive. I couldn’t wait to spend our days outside in that amazing fresh air. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. 

Each day after breakfast, the park is the first place we visit. I love being surrounded by so many parks for not just London to burn off her morning energy, but now with Dobby, he can run around as well. Not only does this give London a chance to soak up some vitamin D and a change of scenery, we kick it up a notch and have lunch at the park too. Talk about a toddler having the best morning ever. 

We have an entire list of new places we can explore and really take on the beauty Minnesota can offer, and the best part is that we have all the time in the world to do it. I keep thinking we’re just on vacation and we have the cram everything in at once. But we’ve been given the adventure of a life time and you can bet we’re going to soak up all of it.

One of my favorite places here is right in our backyard. Literally. Our backyard is huge and we take advantage of being able to go in and out all day. Watching London explore and then chase Dobby when he has a stick is a full day or energy burning in itself. Bonus that I don’t have to pack up the diaper bag.

Now I’m not sure if it’s because London is getting older so we’re able to do more, or if it’s the thrill of being in a new state that makes our life feel like it gets better each day. Maybe it’s a mixture of both, but I take each day as a blessing and live it to the fullest. Don’t get me wrong, I still make sure our bills are paid and the house is as clean as a toddler and puppy will allow it to be, but I do not allow anyone with a negative lifestyle or attitude to have an affect on our day. 

I wake up each day and challenge myself on how I can make London’s day better than yesterday. How I can be a better mom. Something new we can do. I’m not talking about big things either, do you know how excited she gets when I bring out one of her toys outside that she’s only played with inside? It’s the coolest thing ever for her to know she can have more toys outside. 

Challenge yourself everyday. Find how you can thrive and make the most of your days. 

Family Tales · Mom Tales · Wife Tales

So, We Own A Puppy.

Yes, we have added to our family. We have welcomed an adorable 11 week old cavanese puppy named Dobby to our family. Are we crazy? Yes. I mean I think we are. With a two year old, 3 cats, still trying to finish putting our house together, why not add a puppy to the mix.

I guess I’ll explain that first and foremost, this was not a spur of the moment decision. With Arthur and I coming from having dog backgrounds, me more cats, we knew what we were getting into. We’ve been talking about getting a dog before even moving to Minnesota. Our apartment in Illinois didn’t allow dogs so we knew we would be able to once we moved out here. We didn’t get a dog right away because I didn’t want to have to potty train in the winter. That would just be mean to a puppy…and myself.

And mostly, we waited til we were more prepared to own a dog. Being new to the area and getting use to everything is still a process, but after being here for almost 8 months, I’m more comfortable being out with London and bringing a puppy with.

It’s been almost a full 48 hours, and I’m exhausted. Having a puppy is literally having another child. But we’ve somehow made it through two mornings, and only 2 accidents from Dobby in the house. So I think I’m doing something right.

Exhausted or not, wondering what else I need to do for Dobby, I don’t think I’ve ever seen London so happy. She loves waking up and seeing her puppy each morning, helping us feed him, playing in the yard with him, and her favorite, getting a good night hug from him. 

Here’s to hopefully a not even crazier household…with a puppy added to the mix.

Mom Tales · Wife Tales

Mom Shamers, Body Shamers..Seriously, Just Stop It.

Here’s a quick warning before you continue reading- this post is very blunt, real, and probably a few words you hope your kid doesn’t repeat. If you are one of the title people I mention, you may want to pay close attention because I am so incredibly tired of people judging other people and judging myself, especially when London is with me.

Now then, recently I was shopping for a new bathing suit. Like most of us, I do not look like I did when I was 22. I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost weight, oh hey I had a child. I’m a normal person. I have extra saggy skin from carrying my baby past her due date, and believe it or not I have a few stretchmarks. It has taken me months to start getting over the fact that I do not have my 22 year old body. And to be honest I don’t want that body back. I was unhealthy, I drank all the time, I had no life goals. I was a damn mess. 

Now tell me why, it’s the “polite” thing to say to a woman right after she had a baby that she looks so good for just having a baby. But if her baby is now 2, she’s looked at as lazy or doesn’t care about her appearance if she doesn’t look like she did before she was pregnant. Those of you who judge a mother on something like that, shame on you. 

Back to my bathing suit shopping. I have a girls weekend in Vegas  coming up in June and realized my bikini from before London doesn’t fit, and the tankini I have from after London isn’t exactly what I want to wear. I don’t feel like I should have to wear a bathing suit I only bought because I was body shamed at London’s swim class. Oh yes, you read that right. I was made to feel uncomfortable at my daughter’s swim class because not only am I judged daily by my amount of tattoos, and then purple hair, but I was “that mom” who wore a two piece swim suit and God forbid you can see my stretch marks and belly pouch. 

So as I was browsing the swim suits, with London in the cart, I had a lovely women come up to me like it was nothing, and tell me how I shouldn’t be looking for a bikini with the shape my body is in. Umm excuse me? Now, normally this is where I would put my reaction full of those nasty words, but in all honesty, I feel bad for that women. If you need to put other people down, strangers for that matter, you need to stop and look at yourself and figure out what went wrong. In the words of London, ” You need Jesus.” 

Did I buy a bathing suit? Nope. Was it because of that sad woman who had nothing better to do? Absolutely not. But I’ll tell you right now, she had no effect on me looking for a swim suit to cover myself a little more? In fact, she inspired me to wear what I want and be proud of my body. 

Was I taken back and hurt by her hurtful words? Absolutely. But as a mother, it’s my job to teach London, it’s easy to be the smaller person, but it’s more rewarding to be the bigger person.

So mamas and non mamas,  be you. Do you. Do whatever the hell is making you happy. Do not let unhappy people bring you down to their sad life. And those who are guilty of mom shaming or body shaming, or both. Take a minute and think before you talk. Especially if you find it necessary to give your opinion where it’s not asked, to a mom who is just browsing..with their child in the cart.

So on that note, can you figure out which bathing suit I’m going with?

Nope ^^^^

Family Tales · Mom Tales

Step Out Of That Comfort Zone, Mama!

If you knew me before I was pregnant, and even now, you know that for how loud I am, I rarely step out of my comfort zone. I like sticking to what I know and enjoy. But every once in a while, I catch myself doing something I never thought I would do.

Like last May, while Arthur was working up in Minnesota, I took London around to be a tourist with me. First time ever being in Minnesota and we just went. We went everywhere and packed in as much as we could in the 5 days we were here. When we lived in Chicago, I never took her to the city,  but I had no problem walking around St. Paul looking for the children’s museum.

Since moving to Minnesota, I find myself looking to do more, to better myself as a person and a mom, and to live my life as an adventure. In a previous post, I had talked about how I look at my life as an adventure. It doesn’t necessarily mean going to new places or trying new things everyday. It’s enjoying the life ideas given, because I only get one life. Which is why I post my goals in the Best Me I Can Be section and why even when it’s freezing or rainy, I do stuff with London everyday. Hi Target dollar spot, you make for a great rainy day basket. 

Something I did recently, very much out of my comfort zone, was take London out to dinner…by myself. Does it sound silly? Yes. Was I nervous about doing it? Absolutely. Did we have so much fun that I’ve been doing it week. Hell yes. 

Being a first time mom, I was always nervous about taking her anywhere alone. It took me forever to be comfortable enough to go shopping with her because I was scared I would forget her somewhere. So the thought of taking her out to eat was even scarier. I don’t know why I allowed that fear to continue for so long. But randomly one morning I decided I didn’t want to cool dinner or order. And I had a taste for shrimp. 

I’ve done a girls night dinner once a week with her and plan to do it every week. Some may think it’s silly to eat out once a week, but isn’t that your Starbucks money for a week? But it’s not about spending unnecessary money, it’s about having those traditions with my girl. Living life how I want and having the memories because sooner or later she’s going to be cool to want to go out to eat with mom.

Family Tales · Mom Tales

Oh Twodles, Happy Birthday London!

We just celebrated London’s 2nd Birthday in Chicago with our family and friends, and my goodness did she have the time of her life! 

With pretty much making it a last minute thing, I was still able to make a few center pieces and set up a birthday party to be able to have photos for her to enjoy when she gets older.

From seeing her family and friends, so many presents and a custom made Toodles cake, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate her 2nd birthday. We are beyond grateful and blessed for everyone in our lives who care for and love London.

Of course, I completely slacked on actually getting all of the photos I wish I did. Isn’t that just how it goes mama’s? But again, for what I did get and for everyone who was there, I’m incredibly grateful.

Happy 2nd Birthday London, we love you more than words can say, to Hogwarts and back, to inifity and beyond.

Family Tales · Mom Tales

Our Baby Is 2.

Before you continue, I’ll just warn you now this post is full of photos. I’ve gone through and pulled a few of my favorite photos of the last year to show you, and London, just how great of a year it was for her. 

Now then, I’m so full of happiness to be celebrating my girl turning two! I can believe where the time went and I know where the year went. Hi, I’m mom I’m was there, and I made sure each and every one of these moments happened. Plus more.

London is 33 pounds and just shy of being 3 feet tall. She loves to help me clean and cook. Her favorite foods include scrambled eggs, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, ham, and green beans. When she’s not being a book need, she’s letting her imagination soar in her playroom between her kitchen set and cooking up some yummy meals and she is quite the artist these days. From crayons, pencils and paints, we have a ton of London originals.

In her only 2 years, London has done so much that I’m actually shocked at how much I did with her, that I never thought I would have. It’s scary being a parent not knowing what you’re actually doing. But we made it another year. And as it should be, this year was even more fun than the last!

This past year has been a busy year. And bless her little heart for sticking it out and trusting her mama and daddy that it would all be worth it. 

From moving to Minnesota,  a ton of plane rides, a Disney vacation, a road trip, zoo trips, exploring new places, and making an unfamiliar place into a home, I couldn’t have imagined a more fun year for her. 

We don’t have anything as crazy as moving to a new state in mind this year, but a few vacations and new adventures are planned. I mean life just only gets better as your kids get older right? 

I couldn’t feel more blessed to call her mine. I’m thankful everyday I was chosen to be her mama. She makes me a better person and teaches me something new everyday.

Our adventure together is just starting, but I plan on making the most of everyday together and every adventure, new or old, worth an amazing memory.

Family Tales · Mom Tales

Hey Terrible Twos, Just Stop It.

My goodness, I never believed “Terrible Two’s” where a real thing. Honesty. I thought it was just some clever word play mom’s said. 

Let me just say, they’re real, and they start before two. We’ve had the lovely honor of dealing with London and her ridiculous terrible two’s attitude for quite some time now and all I can think of is that it’s just a phase and we’ll be dealing with another phase she’s in. So my adorable little baby will always be my little girl with the attitude of her mother. So with that, I say ” thanks Karma..”

I’ll admit, I thought I was going to be that mom who miraculously didn’t have a kid go through a terrible two phase, or maybe I just thought people exaggerate and that phase really isn’t that bad. Nope, no miracle and it really does suck. And no comments about how 3 is worse, I’ve heard it and I’m mentally preparing myself for it. 

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

That’s how I feel almost all day, let’s be honest, I say that all day because talking to London is the same as talking to someone whose not even in the room. Even though she’s standing right next to me. Her hearing works just fine, so this can’t be reasoned with bad hearing, she just ignores me. Cool, thanks London. Talking to a wall is one of my favorite past times. 

So if she’s allowed to ignore me, why can’t I ignore Her? Who says I can’t? Because I most certainly do ignore her sometimes. 

Now before you make that ” WTF kind of mom is she for ignoring her kid” face, when I say ignore, I’m talking about not getting into a screaming fest with her. There is absolutely no way to reason with a two year old. They don’t understand “let’s do this and then you can watch Mickey Mouse.” If she doesn’t want to do something as simple as change her diaper and wants to scream at the top of her lungs, guess what? I’m not going to stand and just watch her scream. I turn my back and continue with making dinner or cleaning up the kitchen. 

Now, again, before I find myself explaining myself to any mom shamers, we very much practice getting down at her level and talk through problems. It’s a little difficult when she can’t tell us why she’s upset, but being a parent is learning for yourself, and teaching your child how to communicate. While London is still learning her words and how to use them, her main way to communicate is actually showing us or pointing. Well how is she going to point at being upset or angry? She’s not, she’s going to scream. I do my best to try to avoid her getting to that point, but that’s sometimes impossible. 

Bribes. Bribes. Bribes.

Oh yes, I have no shame in admitting I bribe my kid. If she’s having a melt down in the car, I’ll bribe her with a binky; even though we don’t give them to her during the day anymore. I mean does anyone want to listen to a toddler screaming because she can’t see the airplane anymore? I sure as hell don’t, I want to listen to my music because it’s not the Hot Dog Dance song. 

Do I bribe her with being able to watch cartoons if she picks up her books from the living room? Absolutely. Why? Because I just spent half the day cleaning up after her and she needs to start learning how to pick up her stuff. 

The days are longer now, there’s no schedule anymore. Remember when I was that mom who tried to keep everything on a schedule? Yea that went out the window real quick. I find myself struggling each day to have enough to do to keep her busy and avoid the monster in my toddler coming out. Which is also why I make so many to do lists, bucket lists, and I spread out what we’re going to do during the week over a couple of days. 

At the end of the day though, I couldn’t imagine how boring our life would be if she wasn’t here. Those hard moments really being out our parenting survival skills, and believe it not everyone has the ability to survive their toddler. 

Even as I sit here and write this, and look over and see she just dumped a container of flash cards all over the hallway, all I can do is chuckle and say “oh well, I’ll clean it up later.”