Monday, December 30, 2013

A Little Bit Wiser

2013. Where should I even begin? This year has been an ultimate challenge on my mental and physical state. I spent half the year as a beached whale (aka pregnancy) and I spent the other half of the year becoming a mom. Every year I grow just a tad bit more, and this year was an extreme struggle for me. I don't cope with change very well, and just a month ago I finally started feeling confident as a mother, although I think parenting is something that is a constant learning process.
I have to say through all 365 days, each day in 2013 tested my patience. I've never ever been a patient person and it's still something to be worked on, but this year I learned that patience really really is a virtue. 
The first half of 2013 was spent with tree trunks for ankles, anticipation of labor, and my first ever empty bottle of Tums. The second half of 2013 was spent with a darling honey, a 6 o'clock witching hour, and the ultimate adjustment of all...being parents. I cherish this year so much and I swear by the end of every year I'm so so so ready for the next year to come. Why? Well I guess I unconsciously long for a new start of some sort. And I think the reason why is because every year I'm faced with a new challenge and life lesson. As I look back at past year, I realize I could name them by lessons learned rather than their numbers. So 2013, the year of patience. Let's see what 2014's new leaf has to offer.

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I also had to mention the most exciting news of the almost new year! Lola started sitting up on her own today. She topples over after a few minutes or sometimes longer, but I believe it's her New Years resolution ;) oh and we had a mega blast day with Grandma at Phillipee Park which is by the way the most gorgeous park in our area.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Happy New Year Lovelies! A new horizon and blank page is ahead of us all.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


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*A very sick shoosh overcoming her first cold, camping out living room style with mommy and daddy.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sick days

I came down with the traditional Winter cold that looms from person to person each year. I was so very proud of my withstanding record of not catching a severe cold through the fall that I realized I got a little too cocky when I woke up Christmas Eve with a scratchy throat. All I have to say is that my mom is the sweetest and gave me a "sick day" yesterday, formally known as laying in the same spot all day watching the food channel and gulping down broccoli cheddar soup. She took the shoosh which really saved me more than anything and now she is over here as we speak cleaning up our entire apartment from top to bottom (and she forcefully will not let me help). I seriously have the best mom ever and I strive to be like her for Lola everyday. She truly is my best friend in this entire world.
So here's to sick days, recovering from the holidays and to moms like my very own.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos *Lola and her Zany Zoo on Christmas morning.

Christmas 2013

This Christmas has to be one of my favorites of all time. This year I have the gift of motherhood. The gift that brings a new kind of excitement for Christmas morning. Lola was awakened by both her sets of grandparents, mommy and daddy, and her furry family. She discovered wrapping paper and the joy in ripping it to shreds and in Lola's case trying to chow it down. It was a chilly morning surprisingly and I served a french toast casserole and crockpot Nutella hot chocolate. I will share recipes on a rainy day. Santa even left Lola a little note even though we left him granola bars instead of cookies. (Oops!)
All in all this Christmas was over the top magical for all three of us, Ryan got new parts to rebuild parts of his computer and I got my dream camera and my new best friend the Canon Rebel SL1. Oh and I might be a tad bit spoiled but Ryan got me a Kitchenaid stand mixer, so I'm OVER THE MOON for that because now I get to take my baking to a whole new level.
But out of all the gifts we all received the most precious one of all was driving around Christmas Eve night watching the glimmer of christmas lights shining through our car windows. We found a small community that lights up their whole neighborhood with christmas wonderland. We were able to plop Lola up front with us to get the best view. Our little family so close and cozy in our tiny car, with twinkling lights passing us by, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better gift.

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Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Mini Christmas Party

As I've mentioned before Ryan's family is ginormous. I mean he probably even have some long lost relatives living in igloos somewhere in Antartica. Who even knows honestly. But I do know that when it comes to the holidays I could only wish that Christmas was a week long holiday or that there were more than 24 hours in a day. Heck, I wish there was more than 24 days in December to prepare for all the gift giving and togetherness.
This year we decided since Lola is now the main focus of our holiday that we were going to throw a mini Christmas party and invite his half of the family over to open gifts, drink eggnog, and just be together. Our Christmas now is going to spent here at home, I mean this IS where Santa will be stopping for little miss shoosh ;) so we decided to eliminate the stress of going to a gazillion different places on the day of Christmas and having a shindig the weekend before.
It was a really wonderful day, reconnecting with everybody and Lola really got to interact more with her cousins Mikaela and Maddie that unfortunately live about 2 hours from here.
A mountain of colorful gifts, two pans of spaghetti pie in the oven, and the sound of everybody reuniting is all a recipe for a successful Christmas triple eve.
 This may even become a new tradition for our house.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Quirks of being a Parent

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A beginner mom writing a beginner's guide to having a baby. There's an extreme amount of irony in this statement, but I told myself I would write a post like this when Lola was nearing her six month birthday. I am absolutely NO expert, and you may take some of this advice and tuck it far away in your brain or make some sort of use out of it for your future or now. Either way, all of these little quirks have worked for Ryan and I as new parents. And I'm sure at some point in my life I'll be happy I jotted all this down myself for future reference.

Quirk #1

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Keep in mind that you're going to try and try so many different things, but sometimes you just have to resort to what works best for you. I can't tell you how many times I stayed up hours on end searching for answers on the internet and in books. NOTHING prepares you for having a baby. The funny thing for me was that I spent zero time searching when I was pregnant. I knew being a parent was going to be life changing, but silly me didn't think it was going to be life altering. It's defintetly everything you don't expect and expect it to be. If that makes any sense? Just stick to your gut and your heart and they will lead your way. It's okay to adventure all your resources, but don't make it an obsession. The magical part of parenting is that the answers will come if you wait patiently enough.

Quirk #2

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Having a routine of any sort not only makes your life easier, but it makes your baby's life ten times easier. Think about how you started your day "pre-baby." Maybe with a cup of coffee? Or a nice shower to really freshen your whole day. And let's say you kept those morning rituals for an extended amount of time. Those "little things" become a form of comfort and you start to associate mornings with them. Guess what? Babies find so much comfort in balance and routines. Ryan and I started Lola on a bedtime routine when she was probably 3 weeks old. I know I know that sounds bananas, but the in the beginning it was more about forming a new habit for us as adults then it was for her. Every single night since then we have done what we call "Bath, Feed, Read." Around 7ish every evening we get her bath ready and warm and lather her in yummy baby soap. We let her relax in there for a bit, then start warming her bottle. We always put her in feetie jammies because she has hated blanket since she was a newborn (no swaddling allowed for this girly). We pamper her with lavender lotion and zip her up. We switch off feeding her most nights and then after a few earth shaking burps she's ready for her bedtime story. At this point she's either really really into the book or exhausted and ready for bed. She sleeps on her own in her crib every night for 11-12 hours straight. An occasional short wake up here and there for her pacifier, but that's it. So yes we believe in routine, and if you start early enough the baby will adapt to it much easier.

Quirk #3

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Be prepared. I have lived my entire life forgetting until I had Lola. Constantly leaving things at home when I need them or leaving useful and potentially worthy items in public places. I will never forget Lola's 1 month doctors appointment. We got into the check up room and the nurse instructed me to undress Lola. As I did, Lola started peeing all over the table and then of course pooping. Then to my surprise as I'm rolling up the dirty diaper she begins to pee once more! All over the table (again) and all over her precious (and I mean precious) outfit. The reason it was so precious was the simple fact that I had not ONE item of clothing for her to wear after her first one had been drenched. This resulted in her looking like a Greek goddess in a receiving blanket and diaper all the way home. Never again. I always make a mental checklist right before I even come close to the door. My diaper bag is stocked with plenty of diapers and even back up diapers, wipes, mini baby powder and diaper rash ointment,  extra pacifiers, pacifier clip, EXTRA CLOTHES and pants for cold situations, bibs, at least one light blanket, and on the go formula and a bottle, and jar baby food. Anything else is just miscellaneous, like teethers and little softies of our choice. I now never leave the house unless I know we have all the goodies we need, it has even helped my terrible forgetfulness trait. Don't sweat it though, you're going to forget little things here and there and that's okay. That's the fun in being a new parent, the learning process.

Quirk #4

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Accept that you're not perfect. Easier said than done am I right? I went through so much more in Lola's first week of life than I have ever went through mentally in my whole life. From the minute I found I was pregnant I knew I was going to breast feed. There was no question about it. Never did I consider the struggles of breast feeding. Lola wouldn't latch, we tried and we tried. The doctors made a lot of excuses as to why it was such a struggle for her, and I tried to make myself feel better with their words, but I beat myself up. I felt like I failed her as her mother and I know thousands of you have felt like this before. Mommy guilt is such a horrible thing. I spent the next few weeks pumping for her because I was so very determined, but I lost myself. I recorded every pump session that I did and became so overwhelmed by perfecting it that I felt like even LESS of a mother and more of a milking machine. I felt like I just kept losing myself in this breast feeding business that I lost such a precious portion of Lola's life. Breast feeding is definitely not for everybody and I stand by that. The day I let go of breast feeding and pumping altogether, I held Lola in my arms and finally felt like I was doing the right thing. I kept striving to perfect something that was right in front of my face all along. I didn't have to be perfect to be her mommy, I just had to be me. So don't get wrapped up in anything that you feel from the beginning isn't right for the way YOU want to parent. Don't try to obsess over it and perfect it because your baby is a human just like you and nobody's life is perfect. If you constantly strive for perfection you will never reach it. Just be you and be the mommy that you want to be and don't overwhelm yourself with perfection. 

Quirk #5

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Let loose. I saved the most important quirk for last. I know us as parents want our kids to succeed and to do everything "just right." We want our kids to be the best version of themselves that they can be and I know some of us can get caught in the control trap. We want things to be step after step after step because we as adults see it that way. Kids and babies do not. They like to skip steps here and there and they like to see what happens when they do something out of the ordinary. It can become frustrating, but you just have to let loose and be patient. If you child wants to take a few more minutes to smell the sunflowers let them and join in too. If your child wants to dip their fingers in paint instead of the paint brush, let them. There is a place for rules and I'm not saying that you should always let them get away with everything, but there's a balance aspect of parenting. Us as parents could learn a lot from our kids. The patience and focus that they have when learning something new or discovering something different. Learn with them, discover with them, and be patient with them most importantly. Their little minds are expanding and you as their parent need to let that happen instead of constantly glueing yourself to this imaginary set of rules. Instead of always leaning on controlling a situation, strive to just be.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos *Lola's first Santa visit includes a tiny human sized igloo. Magical would be an understatement.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Time Stood Still

When Lola was a wee two months old, I started taking her on walks every single morning. She used to wake up at about 6:30 in the morning, so we would finish breakfast and be on our way at about 7:30. It started off as a morning pick me up of some sort, and Lola was in such awe of the tree branches and birds chirping by. So it became our morning ritual, if it's really really cold or rainy we stay snuggled inside in our jammies, but mostly everyday in Florida is a sunny one. It's such a major benefit for us both, I get much needed exercise and at the end of the two mile walk we end up back at home, and Lola is in stimulation overload so she actually gets a nap in to rest it all off. The past week I've noticed that our morning walks are starting to become so much more than just a daily routine to help start the day. As I was walking with Lola this morning I couldn't help but stare at her in her carriage. She is out growing it day by day. Soon I'm going to have to force myself to put her in the big girl section of the stroller and not be able to gaze at her after every few steps. As we kept walking I decided to go off the trail, there's a bunch of ponds surrounding the park trail that we always pass. The water is so very clear and there are hundreds of birds of all species. I stopped the stroller, grabbed Lola and plopped down with her in my lap. I picked a spot right next to one of the ponds and we just stared together and listened. We listened to the time that felt as if it stood still for that moment. All I needed was that moment of stillness. She's growing so quickly, and I want to hold onto these moments forever and I will. It's her that I'm going to have to let go at some point, but the moments last a lifetime. I know that as she grows and grows our walks may or may not become less frequent, but I know that I've cherished every single step of them and I will continue to. Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cookie Jars + A Recipe filled with Cinnamon

I got into baking shortly after Lola was born. I was never really good at it in the past because I never really took the time and patience with it. I was ALL about the pull apart cookie dough that took ten minutes. Now that I'm a stay at home mommy I have found more time to learn the art and science of baking from scratch. I haven't quite "mastered" it but I know I can make a damn good cookie. So since Christmas is rolling around the corner I decided to go all out with baking. I always wanted to be that person that baked for holidays, scrambling to gather copious amounts of baking supplies and warming the house with sugary goodness.
So I sent out four different types of cookies in extra tall mason jars to our closest friends and families. I chose cookies that remind me of Christmas right after the first bite. I'm not very good at the traditional sugar cookie cut outs. They always come out looking like over sized puffy versions of themselves. That's why I wanted my cookies to individually bring you to a different Christmas memory without visually seeing a candy cane or Santa.
I made:
  • Oatmeal Cranberry cookies
  • Andes Minty green cookies 
  • Red and White cookies n' cream cookies
  • Gingerbread chocolate chip cookies
My absolute favorite out of all of these are the oatmeal cranberry cookies. They have just the right amount of spice and just the right amount of nice. I make sure they are extra chewy since oatmeal has the tendency to get a little to crispy. The recipe originally was for plain ol' oatmeal cookies, but I couldn't resist the dried cranberries in my cabinet. They turned out just as good, and that little touch is what really makes the cookie my favorite. Below you can find the recipe that will change your mind about oatmeal cookies for the rest of your life.

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Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.


1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups old fashioned oats
A few handfuls of dried cranberries


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl or an electric mixer combine the butter, sugars, and eggs. Once combined add in the vanilla.

3. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Slowly add to creamed mixture. 

4. Mix in the old fashioned oats.  Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or so and then mix again. (Tip: try not to over mix the oats in, or your dough will become too drippy.)

5. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets for 10-12 minutes.  (They spread, so bake about 6 at a time on large cookie sheets).  The edges will become golden brown but the middles will look underdone.  Cool on pan or wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on racks. Enjoy! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013


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*A Grandpa and Mommy day calls for laying in the stuffed animal pit at The Disney Store.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Felt Bulbs

Tonight we finally dressed our Christmas tree up with all the proper attire. well, Ryan actually handled all the ornamenting while I snuggled the shoosh on the couch. It happens, she IS pretty irresistible when it comes to cuddling, especially because it is very rare when she even wants to snuggle. Very particular. Anyway, I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and I stared blankly over at all the overly sophisticated Christmas trees on the magazines staring back at me. Yes, they were beautiful and I'm sure they were way more valuable than they should be. Now, don't get me wrong I am a hug sucker for pretty sparkles and bows, especially on my tree. But a real tree tells a story. Each ornament has a tiny story and memory behind it. You know, those "1st Christmas" ornaments and those ones that have pictures in them from years ago. A few big shiny bulbs here and there, sparkling lights and memories strung from each piney branch. Those are the Christmas Trees that should be in magazines. 
 My ultimate favorite ornaments are the ones that are made by hand. I came across an etsy shop that was selling little felt light bulbs. I love when I am pinteresting and I quietly say to myself, "I CAN DO THAT." So I got a bunch of sheets of felt and got to work. Image and video hosting by TinyPic
You will need:

  • multiple colors of felt in sheets
  • scissors
  • thread
  • needle
  • fluffy stuffing
  • ribbon or yarn for hanging
  • cup of hot cocoa ;)

Start out by folding your felt sheet in half and snipping out light bulb shaped cut outs. I fold them so it creates one whole piece and you will only have to sew two sides.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic Next you're going to do a blanket stitch. just start from the back of the bulb and come up. Keep sewing all the way around until you have about an inch left to the end. Now you're gonna reach your hand into fluff heaven and stuff your little light bulb, just enough to make it look 3-dimensional. Nice! Almost time to hang it. Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Now you're going to snip out little yellow squares from your stash of felt pages, and attach two (one on the front top of the bulb and one on the back top of the bulb). This is going to be the metal part of the light bulb. You're just going to traditionally sew in and out, back and forth until its secure. The traditional stitch gives the effect of grooves in the metal part. Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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For the hanging, I just used some yarn from my dusty collection, but get creative! Maybe some ribbon, or use them in a garland or something to make imitation Christmas lights. I attached my yarn by hand just insert it onto the back or into the yellow felt before you sew the metal part on.

Happy Decorating!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tree Pickin'

Traditions play a very important role in our lives. Christmas traditions definitely tend to outshine most because it's just such a heart warming togetherness holiday. Getting our christmas tree at the very beginning of December is one of them. I would probably keep a tree in my house all year if it I would allow myself. That pine smell always fills my nostrils and yanks out my christmas spirit in an instant. We are very picky about our trees, they must be much much taller than my little self and they must be full but not a massive bush.
Bringing Lola along this year had to be my favorite part of  picking our tree. We even found a tree that was fit for her and we were so very tempted to get it for her because we're nuts like that.
After we get our tree we go down the street to what we like to call "The Christmas Store." It's this giant wonderland inside filled with ornaments upon ornaments and crazy decorated fake trees. The whole store twinkles with christmas bulbs and fake snow. It's a little bit of winter heaven since Florida never really "feels" like Christmas. Lola had a blast and shrieking throughout the whole store in total awe.
Every year since Ryan and I have been together we have exchanged christmas ornaments that reflect things we love and the kind of people we are. One year I got Ryan a cowboy boot and he got me Alice and Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. We get very creative. It's a traditions that I look forward to every year, especially because it helps build our memory ornament collection and makes our tree really scream us. Of course Lola is now included in this tradition so tonight we took a stroll aisle to aisle and found her favorite Sesame Street character, Abby Cadaby. We snatched it right up and it was the first ornament on the tree when we got home.

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*Thanksgiving day means mashed potatoes in Lola's belly for the first time.