Archives for category: Toddler activities

Being a mom is one of the most adventurous things I have ever done. I have traveled. I have gone all over. I have had adventures close to home. I have seen some crazy things living when living in downtown Chicago. But I will say being a mom is still the most adventurous thing I have done. Every day is something new. The moment you feel like you have everything figured out, things change. That doesn’t mean in a bad way either. Life is just always evolving when you have kids. Your kids are always evolving, growing, learning, and changing.

I LOVE to have adventures. I love doing things with Jackson and soon with Alexander as well. I do not think there is a week that goes by where Jack and I don’t leave the house and do something, anything, just enjoy the world. We stay busy on a regular basis. Last week alone we made a trip to the park, Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, a local fest, and a Chicago White Sox baseball game. Spending time with him is truly one of my favorite things to do. I miss him if I go to the grocery store by myself. He loves to help me and is a fantastic helper. I know I see a lot of sarcastic things out there saying something along the lines “you know you are a mom when going to the grocery store is a vacation” I don’t really follow that motto deep in my heart. Sure, there are moments where I need a breather, but give me 20 minutes by myself. Even quietly sitting on my couch, and I am usually able to reset.

We have had so many adventures together in the 3 and 1/2 years he has been my little partner in crime. I had so much fun downtown this week. He is getting to the age to finally understand the city. He was so observant. I have taken him down there before, all over. In fact, he has been to Navy Pier many times already. This time though, he had a million questions!

We went to the Dinosaur exhibit. It was a temporary thing going on. It was not our favorite part of the day. I don’t think it will be something we jump at going to next year if it comes back, but we made the best of it. Then moved on to other cool things at the Pier.

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As you can see in the top photo, he was not impressed! Ha! Mostly he didn’t want to stop for a quick photo. We really didn’t spend much time here. It wasn’t as cool as the commercial made it seem.

We went and ate our lunch. I was the only crazy (smart?) parent who packed her own lunch. There are so many restaurants to choose from that people usually eat at those places. We love our picnics though. I even offered to skip our packed lunch after he saw all the places to eat, and as always, he picked my lunch! Then we made our way to get some ice cream for Jackson. In a waffle cone! It was messy and delightful for him. I don’t eat ice cream, but I enjoy watching him eat that special treat once in a while. He loves it so much and the delight on a child’s face when the eat a big ice cream cone is something you can easily get lost in.



We made our way to the carousel and HUGE ferris wheel. That ferris wheel is so big! I was proud of him for being brave enough to want to try it. He was so excited. We talked about how we could see all the different things over the city. He was pointing out different boats he saw zipping around Lake Michigan. I had to keep prepping him for the exit, because you have to get off while it was still moving. That was a little tricky for him but mostly because he was in his own world still wanting to observe everything. Ha! IMG_6692 IMG_6702 IMG_6695


Our plan was to next head to Build A Bear to make a Ninja Turtle. They recently started carrying them to promote the new movie. We saw the display when we arrived that morning. We made our way behind all the action and ended up walking through the Crystal Gardens. It was nearly empty and very quiet in there compared to the rest of the Pier and to the rest of our day! Jackson was enamored with what he called “the jungle!” He wanted to see the plants and wanted to see all the cool different water fountains they had. We were in there for quite a while. I know where we will eat lunch next time. They even had tables and chairs for meals set up and they were nearly all empty. He sat watching this one fountain for quite sometime. I asked if he wanted to take a photo with the cool fountain and he said yes. Then instructed me he wanted it like this:


He is such an old soul. I had a hard time getting him out of there. He probably could have spent an hour in there. Next time, I know we will hang out in there a bit longer.

Eventually we made our way to Build A Bear and he made his Turtle. Raphael. He hasn’t slept without him since that night last week. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever. He has made animals there before, but again, something about 3 and 1/2 makes a difference. He gets it now. He is excited. He is inquisitive. He remembers.


Our plan that day had been to just go to the Dinosaur adventure. I figured on a lunch break, then we would head back inside and keep doing fun Dinosaur things. My plan didn’t include many actual Navy Pier attractions. But, life is an adventure! I was so happy that we just went with the flow and ended up having a blast all day long. Doing all the cool things we wanted to do, even if the initial thing wasn’t as cool as we hoped.

I have been getting out and about with him since before he was a month old. I started mommy and me classes when he was 7 weeks old. I love keeping active and busy. I know things won’t change once Alexander comes along. We might get out the door a little slower at first, but I know we will still be getting out the door on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, Alexander will be born smack dab in the middle of Jackson’s fall soccer time!

What does this week hold for us? I am not sure yet. We might go to the park today. Possibly go see Planes tonight. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays are usually our adventure days. But today I have a Dr appointment and tomorrow night we have a Natural Childbirth class (I hope to write about that!) So Thursday will have to be our big day out, but what shall we do? All I know is, I will be spending time with that little man. Holding his hand and being adventurous together.


It’s the 3rd Trimester! I am one day into it, actually. Yesterday was the official 28 week marker. I have said this about 100 times this pregnancy, I cannot believe how FAST it has flown by. I should probably stop saying it. Ha!

I am still keeping up with all my fitness. I am still running. As a matter of fact I celebrated the start of my 3rd trimester with my fastest run since probably early on in the 1st. I even managed to go for an outside run yesterday. Instead of my treadmill.

On Thursday I ran over 2 miles, went to the Children’s Museum for the better part of the day, then swam in the pool before dinner. I did a Prenatal Jumpboard class on Friday. It was amazing. That is one Reformer accessory I don’t have yet and I will be purchasing one this week I think. Yesterday I ran and swam. Needless to say, today will be a rest day. With a swim, though, I am sure. I rarely get away without swimming almost daily. When you have an indoor pool and a 3 & 1/2 year old who has been swimming since he was 3 months old, it is hard to skip a day of swimming. I am not complaining though!

This was from the 4th of July. So I was just shy of 7 months.


July 4th. I am clearly pregnant!

July 4th. I am clearly pregnant!

You can see the 3 & 1/2 year old swimming his heart out in the background! My little sweetheart fishy. I am assuming this one is going to be the same, since he won’t know life without a pool to take a dip in. I plan to introduce him into the pool as early as I did Jackson, if not earlier. We are swimming people in this family.

I am still maintaing my clean eating. With occasional cheat moments. Which is kind of normal. By this I mean, I allow our family to have pizza night from time to time. Or I will indulge in some kettle corn. But for 98% of the time I am making my own meals and keeping it nice and fresh and healthy.

My husband is about done with painting the baby’s room. Today he will put together the crib. I have to order a mattress and a dresser. We are waiting on the glider to be shipped. It is all coming together.

Jackson keeps me busy as ever. He loves to do things and go places. And when he has had enough of our activities he will tell me he just wants to stay home for the day. I love being able to communicate with him so easily. Preschoolers are great that way. They are so honest and can tell you exactly what they are thinking. Sometimes it makes life interesting but for the most part it makes life a little easier. He is so excited to be a big brother. I didn’t really want a second child for the longest time. I planned on him being an only child. But now that I am 12-13 weeks away from having a 2nd, I know this was the right choice. Our first was born to be an older brother. He kisses my belly and rubs my belly daily. Here is he is giving me a check up, another thing he does all the time . “I want to check your baby”


A few weeks ago on a walk to the park he said “I just wonder what his face will look like mom.” I think that every day! What a mature thing for a 3 & 1/2 year old to be thinking about. His heart is so warm and big that I feel we are giving him one of the greatest gifts. The chance to be a big brother and have that sibling relationship. I am aware not every moment is going to be sunshine and butterflies. I have two younger brothers of my own. I remember the brawls and fights between the 3 of us. Heck, sometimes we still go at it, but overall, that is a good love. Jackson is always thinking of Alexander. He wants to buy things for him. He gets worried if we have enough blankets for him and other baby items. Recently he asked me if we had any baby diapers. When I said we didn’t yet, he was very adamant that “We need to get some baby diapers!!!” Out of nowhere he asked me that. We were not even talking about diapers. These are the things his mind thinks of.

I mentioned I did my fastest run in months and trimesters. The time is not what I would consider fast on a normal run. As a matter of fact, if I ran a mile that slow while not pregnant I wouldn’t even talk about it. I was in the 12 minute/mile range! Yikes. I am normally in the 8:30ish range. So accepting how much I have slowed has been hard. I actually don’t talk about my time much anymore. I even turned off the voice update on my running app yesterday. When I am on the treadmill I usually have my iPad over the screen and just slide it over to see how far I have run. I know once I have the baby and start retraining myself I will get my times back to normal, since I have done it once before. So I try to not overly focus on my current snail’s pace. My trainer asks each week how much I run. Whenever I tell her I usually say something like “Oh only 2-3 miles each run” The other day she said “You say that like it is no big deal, but it is because you are 7 months pregnant!” I hadn’t thought much about it that way. I am 7 months pregnant and STILL running multiple miles a week! That is a great achievement, no matter how slow those miles end up being.

Before my run at 28 weeks exactly

Before my run at 28 weeks exactly

I am looking forward to the rest of this trimester and eventually holding my sweet baby boy in my arms. And eventually cuddling on my couch with my two little sweethearts.

Today was Jackson’s last day of soccer. He is 3. There were no games. It was basically indoor skills practice. He has had a difficult time with soccer. He is good at dribbling and scoring. He enjoys playing it, at home. The boys he plays with are mostly 4 year olds. They have played before and can be aggressive with each other and the ball. My little man tends to be on the more non confrontational side. So there have been many tears on Tuesday morning trying to convince him to get in the car to just finish up what we joined.

Over the past 3 weeks his confidence has grown. I could see him enjoying himself a little bit more while he was on the field. This morning I had been thinking I wished there were one or two more weeks because I feel he would start to say he enjoys it. But all things must end.

Today there was one 4 year old boy that was being quite nasty. He was throwing elbows when trying to steal the ball. He was pushing Jackson. The worst moment? I saw him actually get close to my son and spit in his face! The coach happened to not see that. He has about 7 little 3 and 4 year old boys to guide. His back was turned. I could see my son’s face from the sidelines. I wanted to get up and scream at that little monster. How dare he! What do his parents teach him? I held my tongue. I watched my poor son aghast take a step back. I could see he said something like “no” to the boy. However, that was all he did. He is non confrontational. Not that I want him to spit back, because I don’t! But it made my heart ache to see this happen to MY kid. One of the most disgusting and disrespectful things.

A few moments later he stole Jackson’s ball. I cheered for Jack to go after him and steal it back. He did. The kid threw another elbow. The coach saw this time. Jack came running to me to tell me what happened. I assured him he was ok and that it wasn’t nice that he did that but to keep trying to get the ball and score a goal. Meanwhile the coach started lecturing the other boys on how they do not use their hands and arms to get the ball from someone, only their feet.

I am protective of my child. Most moms are. I have yelled at other kids at the park who would throw sand when he was a baby and playing in the sand. I have told nasty older children to be mindful and nice to the toddlers at the park. But he was a little guy who still wobbled when walking and often needed help on most things at the park. This was one of the first times I did not step in. He is starting to become a child. Not just a baby. I wanted to step in. Everything in me screamed to go say something to the coach. “That boy SPIT in my child’s face!” What would have happened? Nothing. It was the last day. It is preschooler skills development. There are no yellow or red cards. The coach would have just told the other kid not to spit.

This was the first time I had to face the fact that shitty things are sometimes going to happen to my boys. And during some of those shitty things I won’t be able to intervene. All I will be able to do is be there after the fact to console them, listen to them, love them, and let them know it will all be ok eventually. On our way out we chatted about the things that had happened. I told him I saw what that boy did and it was nasty and wrong of him. He shouldn’t have done it and I was sorry it happened to Jackson. I also explained when he does play soccer with other kids it is ok to keep trying to get his ball back with his feet. To follow through and stick with it. I didn’t tell him to throw an elbow if someone is being particularly douchey, though I was tempted. Ha!

Milestones don’t end after the first year or so. They just come in different forms. Sometimes they are milestones for your child and sometimes they are actual parenting milestones for you. Today, this was a big parenting milestone for me. It will probably bother me for a long time that some little jerk spit in my chubby cheeked sweetheart’s face. I probably won’t forget this day in particular. A little piece of my heart was left on that indoor soccer field this morning.


Yesterday was an adventure. I am going to write, not to complain, but because I am still baffled as to how ALL of these things happened to my son and myself in a little over a 24 hour period. I woke up today, a new day on the horizon, still spinning around about how how how do so many adventures happen in that time frame.

The story begins Tuesday night, 8:30pm. Two minutes after I walk in the door from my evening Pilates classes. My boys are playing hide and go seek together. Meaning, my husband and my son. I found them upstairs in Jacky’s room. When he saw me, he was so excited. He wanted me to play too. My husband told him to go hide. He ran into the guest bedroom. 10 seconds later we heard him screaming in pain. He had bumped his head. It was a nasty bump. There was an instant goose egg right between his eyes.

photo 1This was Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning. I have work. Jack has school. Wednesday this week meant my husband wouldn’t be home until somewhere around 11pm. I woke up around 5:40 am, because, well, why not? As I walked into my living room with a fresh hot coffee and large glass of water in each hand, I slipped on one of the two stairs that leads into the living room. I managed to stay upright and not drop the cups (YAY PILATES!) But the liquids went flying everywhere. It was a huge wet mess.

Finally I am done getting ready for the day. Jacky is still not awake. I start to get concerned because of the head injury the night before.

photo 2 (1)He didn’t want to wake up. He had also opened his blinds at some point, not normal for him, but went back to sleep. I finally get him up. His head looked even worse.

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He was complaining that it hurt. Actually, he was hysterical. I had to make a choice. I had no one to cover my one class on that short of notice. I decided to let him eat breakfast at home instead of school and of course have to rush to work because of that. He was miserable for the time we stayed home. I gave him ibuprofen but he still wasn’t convinced.

photo 4I get him to school, with about 10 minutes for me to get to work. I had to talk to his teacher about his head. She suggested a dr trip. So I rush out the door trying to get to work and call the dr at the same time. I couldn’t get a hold of them before I walked in the door. Luckily my husband called them after I briefed him on the situation. I finished my one class and rushed back to grab Jack and head to the pediatrician. We were super early, so we had to wait forever. They cleared him for his head, but he had been coughing all morning as well. They check that, thought his lungs sounded good and his ears weren’t infected. So it had to run its course.

We managed to make it to the toy store for a treat and home in one piece (or so I thought). I decided to unload the dishwasher while he played with his new Percy train car with the rest of his Thomas train cars. He was pushing them around the kitchen floor. I carried a mug in my hand by the handle to put it away. I was walking toward Jack when the mug just came detached from the handle and crashed to the floor. We both froze in astonishment. The handle still in my hand.

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It was straight up crazy.


It was finally nap time. As I read him a few stories I noticed that it hurt to speak. Oh great, I am getting sick too!

He napped for less than 2 hours.  Very abnormal for him. He was upset that his cough hurt and his belly hurt. I was able to get him to relax. We played Candyland for the very first time! It was so fun. Warm sunshine on our faces on an otherwise gloomy day!

Then we were getting hungry. Knowing my husband would be gone, I had already promised him we could go to a restaurant for dinner. He still was feeling awful, so I kept reminding him that I would be happy to cook some dinner at home, whatever he wanted. He was adamant that we go out to eat still. I sighed and thought, here goes!

Shortly after exiting my driveway, my car started going nuts with warnings. About my tire pressure. We are in the negative temps here, so I was thinking it is probably because of that. I took a photo at a red light of the warnings and texted the husband. He was sure I had a flat. But I had to get a few more lights down the road for the restaurant. I made it. Got out and checked.

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This is the very first flat tire I have ever had. Feel like temps were easily well below 0! Luckily we signed up for roadside assistance after we bought this car in November. They were helpful. We went inside to eat. We were stuck for about 2 hours. We still needed to stop at a grocery store to grab a few items as well. We made the best of it though. Luckily Jack picked a place that was at a mall. An outdoor mall, so that sucked, but we were able to walk next door to a craft store, then walk back to the other side of the restaurant and sit in Starbucks after.

So this happened in Starbucks as we waited.

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We finally made it home, grocery trip and all. Jack wants to cuddle in my bed. Then he tells me to surprise him with a movie choice of mine. I picked Finding Nemo. See, I LOVE Ellen! I felt like I could really use hearing her say “just keep swimming” We were watching the movie and Jack was talking to me. Mid-sentence, he pukes all over himself! He is not a puker. He even said “Mommy what was that? I didn’t like it” I called the on call dr. She determined that it was from this cold and not the head injury since it had been 24 hours since hitting his head.

Great! No ER trip. As we cuddled, unbeknownst to be, Jack’s temperature was climbing. Movie ended and we headed up to his room for bed. I decided to take his temp one more time. it went from 100.5 to 103.9! Then it even crept up into 104. So bedtime took about an hour and a half. I gave him ibuprofen to help bring it down. I dressed him in cooler jammies. I gave him ice water and ice cubes. We read many books. Then I rubbed him and sang to him until he fell asleep. I ninja mom’ed my way out of that room.

I got downstairs and decided to open a few things from that craft store. Including some adorable button pushpins for our little board. Big mistake.

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I managed to stab myself. It was an awesome way to end the night. When I sent this to my husband he told me to wrap myself in bubble wrap and go to bed! I didn’t quite do that but I did head to bed. My cold managed to keep me awake all night. I did suck down some Chinese herbs that my acupuncturist gave me the last time I was sick. They seem to be helping. I am not as sick as I should be feeling today. It actually feels like the end of a cold. I am feeling like I skipped the whole gross middle part.

So here we are. January 23rd. Jack is still asleep. I am not sure how he is feeling yet. I imagine it is not great. He never gets fevers. Even with his two ear infections in November.

It is comical how many batty things happened to us yesterday. I wasn’t stressed out of my mind. I didn’t lose my shit. No I was pretty calm and collected. We did what we had to do.  There were no tears on my part. I guess that is empowering. Knowing that you can handle all of that by yourself as a parent. Earlier this week I was feeling a bit stressed. When Jack is starting to get sick, his temper is challenging. I was feeling like a mom who is just constantly battling. So maybe in a way the world was like “oh you think you suck and can’t handle this? Well I will show you just how much you CAN handle! And how easily you will be able to juggle it all!” Lesson learned world.

Ninja mom, out!







Jacky is at such a hilarious age. My sweet boy will be 3 in 3 & 1/2 weeks! Pushing aside the fact that I simply cannot believe it has been 3 years since I gave birth to that squiggly little tiny (at the time) boy, 3 is fun. It is a lot of work but it is different work than when he was a newborn. I can be having the most difficult day or moment ever with him and two seconds later he will turn around and do something so funny that I can hardly keep myself from peeing my pants while laughing.

We are in the depths of potty training. It is an interesting journey. It is probably the hardest thing I have done thus far as a parent. I won’t get into the nitty gritty. That is for another post. My husband recently taught Jacky how to stand and pee. I was helping him last night. I stood behind him, trying to let him get it in the toilet without my help but still be there to guide him. He stopped peeing, turned around, and said, “Don’t stand behind me mom. I don’t want to poo on you!”

I lost it. I could not stop laughing. Even thinking about it sends me into a fit of giggles. It was so funny. It was unintentionally funny. He was so sincere and serious about it. He was concerned for me. I explained that he can stand to pee, but he still sits down to poo. I literally laughed on and off all night anytime it crossed my mind. I kept thinking, What if I hadn’t be standing behind him? He may have pooped while standing! Then I go over how concerned he was for me and the innocence in the statement made me smile and laugh at the whole situation.

The thing is with parenting, there are a ton of funny moments like that. I laugh every single day. Even on days when I want to pull my hair out. He still manages to make me laugh. How easy it is to forget those fantastic moments. We age, life goes on, memories sometimes fade. I post a lot of his funny sayings to Facebook, but that led me to think, is there more I can do? The answer is obviously yes. My Google Drive is filled with files and folders of other things I need to remember. I created a folder and a Doc where I add funny quotes by Jacky. I have even gone back through my Facebook to add any that I couldn’t think of off the top of my head. I also add the date. On a few of them are brief explanations of the scenario. I think one day I will be so happy I did this.

I also add adorable and sweet things. They don’t have to be funny. Just anything he says that makes my heart happy or I find interesting. There are no rules to my Jacky Says Doc! If he says it and it strikes a cord with me, I add it. The one thing I am realizing, as his 3rd birthday is a mere sleep or two away, is that time goes by so fast. Which is cliche to say. However, the memories of the day to day stuff fade just as fast. I hate that! I know one day he will leave for college. I will be a hot mess. One day his sweet cherub face will be the face of a grown man.  A grown man I beam over, but those tiny chubby hands will be bigger than mine. He one day may become a father himself, with his own sweet cherub faced child to snuggle. I will be an old lady by then. An empty nester. No sound of bare feet running around my kitchen saying “watch this mommy!” I will have this document to look back on from time to time, remembering the sweet, loving, funny, crazy, hectic, time that was toddlerhood and childhood. I will savor this as I grow old and our family dynamic changes.



As the 3rd week of summer session comes to a close I have been doing a lot of reflecting. I started my journey to become an instructor last September. Up until that point I had strictly been a stay at home mom. I thought that was what I had always wanted. My husband and I had decided on that well before we had a child. I went into that experience with an open mind and open arms.

I had never experienced being a working mom at all. My whole world revolved around my son. Everything I did 24/7 was about him. I never knew anything different. That was fine. I was happy and content. Or at least that is what I thought. Then I started my training. After the classroom portion was over I started my training hours. That was time consuming, but it still wasn’t “working” in my book. I went according to my own schedule, when I could fit it in. I mostly did evenings and weekends when my husband was home. An hour or two at a time. I was busier and out and about a bit more than the previous two years. Still, I didn’t really know the different feeling until 3 weeks ago.

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This morning I started thinking about how I have been feeling. Which has been great. I am super busy. Always busy. I should be cleaning the kitchen right now, but decided to take a few moments this afternoon for myself. I am constantly back and forth to the studio. There in the morning and even coming back in the evenings at times. Working 5-6 days a week. They are not 8 hours in a row days, but like I said I am back and forth. The thing is, I am less stressed now that I was before I started working. How is that possible? I think because I have this thing that is uniquely mine in my world. I am doing what I love.

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He is my Pilates protege!

I find that the time I DO have with Jack, I cherish it more. I spend that time more engaged with him. Playing, coloring, laughing, etc. Not that we didn’t play before. But honestly sometimes you just want a break and you have to veg out and let them do the same. Or you are multi tasking and they aren’t getting your attention. I am sure these moments still happen, but I feel they have been less. I find I miss him, so when I do see him I want to soak it up. I have more patience for him in general. I do not feel totally burnt out at the end of each day. I get this adult connection. Sure, I talk about my son and husband  A LOT in my classes and with my clients. They still are my world and own the biggest piece of my heart, but I am speaking to other adults. I am sharing stories, listening to their stories, spending time outside of the home.

Teaching him to rock climb

Teaching him to rock climb

I never knew that being a working mom would feel this good. I do not think I was miserable as a stay at home mom, but I definitely reached the end of my rope a lot quicker each week and sometimes each day. I feel as if my life has more balance now, even if I am busier than ever. I know that if I ever lose my mind and decide to have a second child I will not go back to being a stay at home mom. No, I will take some sort of maternity leave and then be back at it. I love the place we send Jack for school, which also has day care for the littles. I would continue at this place. It really helps that I am so happy with the school we chose for Jack. He loves it. That also helps. He talks about his teacher constantly. We kept him home the other day, due to a terrible storm and flooding. He was mad when he woke up and found out that he wasn’t going to school that day. That makes a difference. He loves where he is, I love where I am. I would also miss teaching after too long. I guess for me it is easier to feel this way because my work is my passion in life. My wonderful boss did not let me tip toe into work. She threw me in the deep end right away. Which is nice. I have been getting private clients and covering shifts for other instructors when needed. I don’t dread the extra hours. Actually, they fly by rather quickly.

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Life is good. I am happy. I LOVE being a working mom. I feel like I fit right into where I am supposed to be in my life. I feel like maybe I should have done this sooner. It didn’t work out that way because I needed to find this studio and attend classes there. Then I needed to get that email about teacher training. I just know now, that despite what I thought, I wasn’t meant to always and only be a stay at home mom. No, I was meant to be a working mom. Working at the career I love and truly am obsessed with. Teaching Pilates has been the best decision I have made as a mother. I truly believe that.

I have a ton to write about. I have a ton of updates in my life. Our internet has been screwy. One reason I cannot wait to move. There is not much you can do about that when you are renting. When you own, well my husband can hunt and hunt until he finds the problem. He thinks the issue is at the source of the connection. I have my iPad and iPhone, but I don’t like trying to write out a post on those. I do not type quite as quickly as I do on a good old fashioned keyboard.

So what has been going on?

My obsession with the Wunda Chair grows each day. This morning, I cannot recall the last time I took a day off of working out. I think that means I should skip today. We shall see.

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Jack started preschool last week! TWO days a week. It was a crazy feeling. I was so excited for him to learn. I was a bit excited to have some time to get things done. I was sad that he is growing. I felt so guilty. My guilt increased when he cried both mornings and begged me not to leave him. BUT both days, after I left, he calmed down and had a great time. Both days when I picked him up he said “GREAT DAY!” On the first day, I bawled when I got into the parking lot and on the phone with my husband. I felt so awful seeing him so upset. I have been feeling VERY guilty for sending him in the first place. I feel like a crap mom.

I have been a stay at home mom for going on 2 1/2 years. I dedicate myself entirely to this boy. Now that I am ready to embark on my career (I even have SIX classes on the summer schedule), I needed to find some time during the day to work. As parents, we decided together Jack was ready for socialization with his peers, so we picked an early preschool program instead of an in home nanny. Yet, I still feel like I am doing him a disservice because for a couple hours a week I let him go learn and play with others. I know it makes no sense, but it is how I feel. It does help to hear about his day through him when I pick him up. He even made me a Mother’s Day gift at school! It was the best gift ever! This school gives us daily updates, emails, photos, and progress reports. Even what times his diaper was changed, how he ate, how his mood was. It keeps me involved without actually being there. Jack is super attached to me. Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I still had to change every single diaper because he flips out if I am around and my husband tries to do it. He is a momma’s boy. So this has been a transition for the both of us. I think it will prove to be great, I already see sparkles of that after 2 days. It is just a matter of me getting my irrational guilt in check.

Check out some photos from his first 2 days!

Jacky's very 1st day!

Jacky’s very 1st day!


Cooking some food on his 1st day

Cooking some food on his 1st day


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After his 1st day was over. Too cool for school 😉


Making some art on his 2nd day

Making some art on his 2nd day


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My Mother’s Day gift!

We close on our new home on Thursday. Yes, as in 3 days from this post! That has been a big contributor to the insanity in our lives. We are swamped. Plus our landlord has listed our current place for rent, so we have had showings. While packing I also have to keep the house pristine and in showing conditions! Last week we stopped by the house for some quotes on some repairs on the pool.

We took some time to take a couple photos of the new place. We are so excited for this adventure to come to a close (pun intended) this week.

In our backyard

In our backyard


Making himself at home by our pool

Making himself at home by our pool

The only reason I have time to write all of this today is because I am taking a day off of working out. I do have to take Jack to swim lessons this morning. Tonight I am teaching 2 Reformer classes. I have to prep a bit for those, even though I am pretty sure I know what I am doing anyway. I should clean up the living room too because it is a disaster after a Mother’s Day lego session yesterday. This was my 3rd Mother’s Day. It feels crazy to say that! I can’t believe I have 3 under my belt already!

Mother's Day 2013

Mother’s Day 2013

This might be the last post for a while. We plan to move everything Friday if we can. Which means we will probably have our first somewhat settled night in the house on Saturday. AH! Craziness. June is going to be nuts for us. We always have a lot to do. Our wedding anniversary, my husband always has a conference in the beginning of June so he is gone for a few days, plus there are always tons of family parties and/or weddings. My summer session begins June 9th. I will try to update though, especially about the new pad.

I hope everyone is doing well. I hope Mother’s Day was great!


I took a huge ginormous step this week. On Wednesday I went on a tour of a preschool for my 2 year old son. We have an appointment with another school today. Jack and I are pretty inseparable. We have been since he was conceived. He was literally attached to me the entire first year of his life via nursing. I was unsuccessful at pumping. So I was his only source of milk. I still have to do everything for him. He even insists I feed him his meals. He can feed himself, but he begs “mommy do please.” I have to change his diapers, dress him, bathe him, wash his hands, prepare his meals. He doesn’t like anyone else, even my husband, doing these things. At times, it can be exhausting. Especially since I am a stay at home mom. I have only been teaching early on Saturday mornings. Jack is usually still asleep for most of the time I am gone. photo

I am ready to branch out and work on my career a bit more. It took me two months to actually go in for the first tour. I contacted them in February. It is tough for me to let go. I know that eventually I have to. Or one day he will legally have to be in school for 8 hours a day and I will be sitting around twirling my thumbs wondering “what now?” I don’t want to be doing that. I am filled with guilt though. I feel so guilty for sending him to school. That is entirely irrational, I know. I am not dumping him somewhere just to get me time. I am sending him to a school with a curriculum and educators. For 5 or less hours 2 times a week. That is 10 hours out of 168 hours in a week. It is really not that much at all.

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The tour went really well. Jack was shy whenever we were in the office. The moment we stepped in the classroom he hopped out of my arms. He went off and started playing with toys and other children! He doesn’t even do that at our gymnastics class! We have been going there since summer. He will run off to play with things, but not with the other kids. He barely interacts with the other kids at gymnastics. He does NOT like the teachers touching him at gymnastics. He screams “mommy do” and flips out. He constantly wants me by him. On Wednesday, he didn’t even look for me for several minutes. He was on the other side of the room playing with a little girl. He didn’t want to leave when it was time for us to be on our way. It helped me to feel excited that he will have this opportunity. I still feel awfully guilty, but his excitement proved to me that he does need time with his peers in a classroom setting. We will see how today goes at this other school. They are both located near my work and our soon to be new home. I was referred to the first location through someone I know. The 2nd place is a place my husband found after doing some research.

Gymnastics and swim are so fun. They are much different from the classroom setting though. They are the extracurricular activities. We still have to make our decision on where to send him. We will have to register, get medical paperwork completed, and pick a start date. Nothing is set in stone though. It is looking like he will go to one of the locations. I am not the only one struggling with this ginormous step, my husband is too! We are both picky and a little bit of control freaks with Jack. No wonder the child is pampered and has become “accustomed to a certain lifestyle” 😉

How did you handle the first school enrollment? Did you feel guilty? Excited? Nervous? Any other emotions? How did the transition go? I am not there yet, so I am curious. I know all kids are different. 

We are a technology family. My husband started his own company when he was 19. Email marketing is his world. Software, computers, technology of any sort is a huge part of his and our lives. So it is no surprise when I say our son has been using an iPad since before he was 1 & 1/2. He is a pro on the iPad and iPhone. He can swipe, scroll, click, and play games better than some adults out there. Some people feel that children shouldn’t be around technology too much. We don’t take that position. Seeing as how our very livelihood is because of technology and the internet, we support him learning about and through it at a young age. Jack is 2, a bit over 25 months to be exact. He speaks in sentences, says please and thank you, can count to 3 and is working on learning to count to 4, he knows many of his colors, he can do puzzles on the iPad, he is great with memory and matching games, and over all he is just bright. At the store the other day in the checkout line he pointed out that the box of his new angry bird toy was blue. He said “the box is blue.” The cashier was blown away and complimented me on how well he speaks. We get that a lot. I am not trying to brag here. I am trying to set up the argument that technology is not a bad thing for young children. We don’t feel that way. For us, the proof is in the pudding. I do spend time going over the apps and games with him to help teach him about each one. I also let him play on his own. We reinforce the themes he learns. We do spend time teaching him as well. The iPad and apps just help us along the way. They are tools. They are also a good way to have some time to get something done around the house or just take a little break yourself. Because in all honesty, sometimes you just need that. It is an all around winner in our book.

I want to share a couple of our favorite apps. When it comes to Jack it has to go without saying, Angry Birds are at the top of his list. He is obsessed with Angry Birds everything. However, those are not the toddler specific apps I am thinking about. They are fun though! We play them together.

mzl.udxltyix.320x480-75 Monkey Preschool Lunchbox 

This app has been on our iPad for about a year. It is overall fantastic. It covers colors, numbers, differences, matching, memory, letters, and fine motor skills. There is a reason why it is says it is the #1 preschool app. Jack loves this app. He gets so excited when he completes each task. He always tells me “did it self!” I started saying “Yay, I am proud of you” Now he will add “Prou of you” After he exclaims he did it himself. The reward stickers are very cute. After a couple rounds of successful games they are taken to a sticker board and get to pick a reward sticker. There are all sorts of different characters, animals, shapes, and items. The puzzle can take some time to learn, but it is great because it really fine tunes those fine motor skills. Sometimes even adults have a hard time getting the puzzle exactly lined up. So when a 2 year old does it, wow! That is skill! The monkey is very cute. He cheers them on each time the are successful at a task. The colors are bright and fun. It is a winner all around. I do not have even one bad thing to say about it. It is our favorite. Jack calls it The Monkey Game.

thmb3_l_trucks Trucks 

Trucks by Duck Duck Moose is another favorite. Jack loves cars and trucks. This app offers 5 different car/truck related activities. Toddlers can get cars dirty and then wash and dry them. They can pick sharp objects to pop a tire, then send the car to the shop to repair the car. There is a dump truck game. They can even sort out trash between compost, recyclables, or trash. There are extra little treats on each screen. You can touch the monkey near the mud pit and he will throw a mudball at the screen! You can touch the shark in the image to the left and he will rock out on the guitar. The instructions are clear and concise. The colors are bright and vibrant. One thing I think is nice is in the garbage truck game the correct can opens up when you hover over it. That is a nice feature because these toddlers are just learning the differences. It would be hard to decide cold turkey which piece belongs in which can. The fact that the only the correct can opens is  setting the toddler up for success in learning the differences correctly. There are multiple Duck Duck Moose apps that we love. I suggest checking all of them out.

p029_1_07  Baby Bubble School for Toddlers

This is a great flashcard type game. If you child loves real bubbles, this provides a nice incentive for learning. They get to pop all the interactive bubbles they want! Jack loves bubbles. We use them a lot. He thinks they are the bees knees. So when we are taking a real bubble break, he has the option to play with more bubbles on  his iPad. This app has 10 categories of items. Everything from toys to upper and lowercase letters! It is an app that can stick around for a while. Jack prefers the toys, fruits, vegetables, and animals right now. As he grows letters and numbers will be available too! There are 3 game modes, learn, play, and explore. It has continuous options. It is great that toddlers can grow with this app.

I am going to stick to these 3 for now. I can always do another post down the road. We have a ton of apps on the iPad. These seem to be the three favorites of Jack. Other than ALL the Angry Birds apps as well. Even Star Wars. He has never even seen the REAL Star Wars! Ha!

We are happy with the supplemental education our iPad provides our toddler. It is so exciting to watch him learn and grasp concepts. I love seeing his excitement when he knows he got it right. We really feel technology should be embraced. Our whole world revolves around technology. If you shelter your children from it too much or entirely, you are almost setting them up for struggles down the road when they are behind their peers on their exposure to it. I am not advocating letting them do whatever they want all the time on devices, but we don’t count minutes or hours he plays with these things. We don’t have strict rules about no more iPad time. If he is naughty that might be a privilege he loses for a little bit, but that is about not acting naughty not about an egg timer on his learning. It is about balance. We do play outside. We do run around. Jack loves soccer and can already dribble a soccer ball. April has been very cold where we live. Yesterday we played soccer in our living room! He wanted to go outside so bad but it was just way too cold. We made the best of it. He goes to gymnastics and swim classes. He would be in soccer but the place I found with 2 year old soccer had low enrollment. We will sign him up for soccer and hockey when he is 3. I teach Pilates, clearly physical movement and getting outside is also important to me. I just don’t count down how much he does of that or plays on his iPad. We don’t keep track of things like that in our home. We just do what is available to us at the moment.

Creating your own safe and non toxic products can be a lot of fun. It also can come with a lot of trial and error. Despite common belief, if it is on the internet, it isn’t always true! Ha! Meaning, just because someone has posted a cleaner recipe, doesn’t mean it is the best choice for you. I have been messing around trying to find products I like. I have had a couple flops the past two weeks. In  both beauty and household care. BUT I have found a few that I love. It just takes trial and error. Trying it out and seeing how it works for you.

I finally made a kitchen cleaner I am happy with. I had to adjust the recipe a little because I was missing two of the suggested essential oils. I replaced them with other oils I have seen in cleaning recipes. This smells so good. It has easily taken off the dirty stuff on my counters and stove. Now, I must mention, I clean a lot. So things are not really overly stuck on. I clean so much that when our living room floor was messy yesterday because I skipped the living room two days ago, Jack, my TWO year old, said “Mommy ground messy. Vacuum? Clean?” And we cleaned and vacuumed.

Here is the recipe I used:

8 drops Orange Essential oil

8 drops Lemon Essential oil

4 drops Grapefruit Essential oil

4 drops Clove essential oil

4 drops Rosemary Essential oil

4 drops Eucalyptus Essential oil

Pour 2 cups of water into a spray bottle, add the essential oils. Shake to mix. Shake before each use to blend the oils again, as they will settle. Spray on surfaces to disinfect and clean. I actually ended up doubling it after I saw how my spray bottle was only half filled. I figured I may as well fill the whole bottle so I don’t have to make another batch so quickly.  The listed recipe is not doubled, I doubled it from there.

I have an essential oils webinar to listen to. I am looking forward to that. I would be doing it as I write this but I am having technical difficulties with my laptop. I have to have my hubby look into it tonight. I also have a shipment from DoTerra coming. It is a blend for digestion. I have IBS and I looked into this product. I literally found 0 bad reviews of it. I tried several different search terms regarding it. I even looked past page 1 of Google results 😉 I figure it is worth a shot. I don’t write about my issues on here much, or at all really. But it is something I struggle with daily and anything is worth a shot. My dr basically told me she had no help for me. This was nearly a year ago. I will write about that product after I have been using it a while.

One more small update on my Essential Oil experience. Last night at 6pm Jack had his usual meltdown. We call 6pm the “witching hour” Nearly every day he gets cranky around then and just wants me to hold him. It is usually when I am in the middle of cooking dinner. It generally starts 5-10 minutes after my husband gets home. We are not sure why. He gets so upset he cannot even communicate what he actually wants from me, other than to be carried. He had poop and needed a change in the middle of this. I got him to lay down for that (small victory!) I decided to rub some of my headache relief on him to relax him. Almond oil and Lavender Essential oil! Within a minute, maybe 2 at most, he calmed down and was suddenly chipper. He let me finish preparing dinner. He was pretty happy for the rest of the evening. I have also used it on several of my headaches and it works! My husband calls it voodoo, but he can call it what he wants, it worked for Jack and me!

I followed this recipe:

1 oz.Sweet Almond Oil

12 Drops Lavender Essential Oil

1 amber bottle

Combine Almond Oil and Lavender Essential Oil. Roll between hands to mix. Apply to temples and back of neck for headache relief. For Jack I rubbed some on his belly/chest, back, and back of his neck.

Have you had any good experiences with Essential Oils in your life? Do you create your own products with them?