SAHM, Minus the H

When I lived in Greenville, there were so many SAHM's.  It was the norm.  You had a kid (or 2 or 3 or 6) and stayed home with them until they were ready to go to school.  Sometimes at that point, you STILL didn't go to work... you just transitioned into becoming a housewife/ taxi service.  Like I said, that's the norm... the culture.  Of course there are still those moms that have to work, and they do, and it's fine... they're not shunned... much.

But here in Miami, the culture is the COMPLETE opposite.  Here, most women go back to work once their 3 month maternity leave is over...  The cost of living here is much higher and they have to go back to work for financial reasons.  So, they have their Abuelita's help take care of the baby or put the baby in a home care or daycare.  When moving here, I was really worried that I'd be one of the Only Lonely SAHM's in Miami and that I wouldn't have any friends.

Well for the most part, I was right.  The SAHM scene is scarse.  Most all the SAHM women who I know are trying to find a job or at least part time work to help with the responsibilities.  For this reason, our MOPS group has had a very hard time taking off.  We have very little consistency.  But I digress, that's not what this post is about.

In Greenville, if you met a SAHM, you'd immediately exchange information and set up times for your next playdate at the park... especially if your kids were around the same ages!  In Greenville, women are constantly calling, texting and facebooking each other, making plans for their kiddos for the upcoming week.  The kids stay busy, the moms stay social, everyone is happy.

The SAHM's here are different than the ones in Greenville.  They're private.  They're flyin' solo.  They want to be left alone.  I can not tell you HOW many women I've met, that we exchange a few words and no conversation ensues.  Or HOW many women I've told, "we should get together sometime" and they give me a weak smile and say, "oh, we just don't do that sort of thing".  Am I missing something?!  What "sort of thing"?!

Here's what I see about Miami SAHM's.  They think that just because they're a Stay AT HOME Mom, that they have to STAY AT HOME!  What!?  They rarely venture out of the house.  They don't want to meet up for play dates.  They don't want to leave their kids at any form of childcare or take them to activities.

We stay busy.  We have something to do EVERY single morning of the week.  And, if we don't then we have a few activities that I insert here and there.  Here's a run down of our typical week:
Monday- Mall play area OR Library Toddler time  (both options are free)
Tuesday- MOPS (cost $25 for the year.  Free childcare)
Wednesday- BSF Bible Study Fellowship (free with free childcare)
Thursday- Doctor Appointment day OR Library Toddler Time
Friday- Music Time class ($200 per child for the semester).

That's our mornings.  Then we come home for lunch, nap and our afternoons are usually watching a movie, playing, reading, cooking, etc.  As you can see, my activities are mostly free.  The only activity I splurge on is the MusicTime class for each of the boys because music enrichment is important to me.  But other than that, it's all free.

Did you notice, I leave the boys twice a week in "childcare"?  *GASP*  Once at MOPS and once at BSF.  And can I say, they don't mind one bit.  They love it.  They love that they have the opportunity to play with "new friends" and with new toys.  They need to be away from me a little bit... and I need it too!  And during that time, I am receiving an enrichment for mySELF that I wouldn't otherwise be able to receive.  You know, this SAHM thing is HARD... I need a break for ME too!  And if I didn't feel 100% confident that my children were being left in a loving, Christian, happy, friendly and safe environment, I wouldn't be leaving them.  And when I tell you that they love it... LOVE it.

I just can not understand how some moms can just stay isolated in their homes or with their errands all day, every day and not take a time out for the enrichment of their children.  Enrichment INCLUDES socialization!  Children NEED to learn how to play with other children... especially when you're NOT there!  Can't you see that by doing this, you're giving them the BEST of both worlds?... personal focused time with you AND enriching activities that offer social stimulation.

Maybe we should change the phrase SAHM to SBM (Stay Busy Mom) or SFEM (Stay Focused on Enrichment Mom).  I mean, if you're staying home from work, then your NEW job should be focusing on your children and their enrichment.

So with that, I tell you...

Edit: After I wrote this, we headed out to the library.  And case in point... we were the ONLY ones there.  As in, me Marco and Jonas... that's it.  Why!?  Why aren't people taking advantage of these FREE services?
And, I know some of you live in the coooold weather, so I give you a pass, but us?  We're in Miami... no excuses.

So Random Saturday

Here we are again, guys.  It's Saturday!  Yay!  And time for me to burden you with all of the random thoughts that are too incoherent to make entire posts about... ready? ok!

1.  Today marks a whole month that I've been working!  Awesome, right?  Well... not so much.  I've been working every Saturday for a half hour.  Yep, that's it.  Now, would YOU take a job if they told you it would only be for half an hour, one day a week... no? Didn't think so.  But, that's the way building up a music studio is... slow and steady.  I only had ONE student.  So, although it would take me over an half hour to get there, a half hour to get home, and I was only actually WORKING for a half hour, I did it.  Because that's how it works.  Be committed, be consistant, be reliable, and "if you build it, they will come".  So today, I actually got ANOTHER student!  Yay!  Now, I'll be working for ONE hour a week! The worst part is that if I get the hankering for a Starbucks on my way home, I've pretty much just spent the entire profit of what I just made.  Oh, geez.  I just gotta remind myself, it's not about the Benjamins.

2.  Yesterday we decided to go check out a new church.  The church is far... really far... like 50 miles, far.  But Mau has been listening to this pastor's sermons for a few years now and has always wanted to go, so we figured, why not?  We don't really care that it's far... we'd be willing to make the drive.  After all, the disciples walked across continents for the sake of the gospel... what's 50 miles while sitting in my air conditioned car?  But 50 miles each way with two kids... oh boy.  We had a plan though.  I was going to pack up the kids and meet Mau at work, which is about 1/3 of the way there.  Then we'd drive up together, have dinner, attend the service, drive back to Mau's car and drive home separately.  Good plan?  All was in place.  I loaded the kids into the car at 4:40 and we were at Mau's job by 5:30.  But Mau got caught up doing some last minute stuff and didn't actually leave the office til almost 6!  By then we only had 1 hour and our drive would be at least 45 minutes AND we had to eat!  As we pulled onto the expressway, which is anything but express, we realized it wasn't going to happen.  We were then stuck in traffic for another hour just getting back to Mau's job... which we had just left.  We ordered a pizza on the way home and called it all off.  All in all, we were in the car from 4:40-8:00 going a whole lot of nowhere.  Moral of the story?  Miami traffic SUCKS!

3.  I'm getting fat.  Since moving here in August, I have NO LIE, gained 30 pounds.  Granted, 30 pounds I desperately needed, but STILL.  I'm ready to stop gaining now.  The thing is that living here... in my in-laws house... is horrible.  My sweet MIL buys all the junk foods I love.  And guys, I am a real junk food junkie.  I'm all about chips and cookies for lunch and cake for breakfast.  When we lived in Greenville, we didn't have ANY junk food in the house because we were on such a strict budget that we were just buying the necessities.  While we still only buy the necessities, my MIL now buys the extras.  And I have NO self control.  Also, in Greenville, I lived in a 3 story house and my butt was walking up and down the stairs all day long... not here though.  Here I walk my butt from my bed to the couch and back again.  Food increase+exercise decrease = fatty. 

4.  Everyone keeps saying that they can't believe January is almost over... but I feel like this month has completely dragged.  Has anyone noticed this month had FIVE weeks?  I'm just anxious because we're trying to stay within a really tight budget, and as the days get closer to the end of the month, our budget numbers are getting closer to their max... and some have even overflowed.  We experienced more month than money this month.  We each have an allowance of $100 a month to spend on miscellaneous stuff... like lunches, starbucks, stamps, etc.  So far this month, I've spent $71.84!  Sounds ok, right?  But it's stressing me out!!!  I can not wait to be done with this month so my allowance goes back up to $100 and I can try again.  I downloaded This App to help me keep track of every penny.  

5.  Jonas is 16 months today... what the whhhhaaaat?!  Fond over his cuteness.  Such an angelic picture... be not fooled. 

That's all for this weeks episode of So Random Saturday!  Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a fabulous weekend!  Ciao. 

On this day in 2011:  Stroller Swagger

I'm a Winner!

During the holiday season, pretty much every blog I follow was offering some sort of giveaway.  It was awesome.  I decided to try for most of the things I saw because, for one, it only takes about a minute to sign up... and two, what's better than new stuff?  I'll tell ya... FREE new stuff!  So I tried for a lot, without any expectations what-so-ever... but, I won!  3 times!

Today I decided to share with you some of the goodies I won as well as say a huge THANK YOU to the blogs/shops that provided their giveaway.  You should go check out the blogs/shops too because they're pretty awesome.

1.  Design By Any Other Name, hosted on Book Nook Club

I signed up at Book Nook Club (for which I review for... check it) for their amazing giveaway by Design By Any Other Name, who was giving away a square inch plate with an engravement of your choice.  The pendant could be made into a keychain, a necklace or a bookmark.  I chose a keychain, so I could sport it all the time.  I decided to engrave one of my favorite verses, that brings me comfort as a constant reminder.  And I love it.  She did a super good job with it.  It's well made and made to last.

Find her shop on Etsy and Facebook!

2.  31 Purses, hosted by Mrs. Mommy

The next giveaway I won was hosted by Amy, who blogs over at Mrs. Mommy... head over there for some cuteness overload!  Amy sells purses for the amazing 31 store.  I have been coveting these bags for a few years now and I was over-the-moon excited that I actually won one!  I've heard wonderful things about this company, as a whole, and I know of many SAHM's who pursue it and do quite well.  I guess it's easy when the product is so versatile and practical.  The cool thing about these purses too, is that it's a great excuse to host a party... and as a hostess, you receive freebies.  I'm telling you, if I lived by Amy, I'd be having one, for sure!

Amy was hosting this giveaway on her Facebook Page.  She does that sometimes, so it behooves you to join.  She was giving away a cinch thermal tote.  This is the perfect lunch bag.  It's cute, small, practical and keeps all your stuff fresh.  It's really perfect for one person, but I've managed to fit all 3 of our lunches in there when we go picnicking.  It's my new "go to bag".

Find Amy at her Blog or her Facebook Page!

3.  No Paparazzi Please, hosted by Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I signed up for this giveaway super fast... only tried once and thought for sure I wasn't going to get it.  But I was so pleasantly surprised when Shawna from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun emailed me saying I won the giveaway hosted by her Etsy shop, No Paparazzi Please.  (Head over to Shawna's blog for double the cuteness!)  On her spare time, which is scarse I'm sure, Shawna hand makes shirts that are all sorts of adorable.  Since she has girls, she has THEE cutest girly stuff... but, I was so pleased to find that her boy stuff is just as cute.  She has a lot of personalized items that would be great for birthday pictures and such.

I decided to get two shirts... one for each boy.  And thankfully they were "on sale", so she gifted them BOTH to me!  Soooo generous!  I got the shirts in and could immediately see that Shawna's stuff is GOOD quality... she stitches the design to the actual shirt so that it's reinforced and looks legit.  It doesn't look flimsy or cheap at all.  I can't wait to get my boys in their "work shirts" for our next outing.

This was the best I could do with out impromptu photo shoot.  I'm telling you, toddlers are the worst!

And now Jonas is "monkey see, monkey do" with Marco, so since Marco was slouched, he was too.  The worst I tell ya!

 Find Shawna on her Blog or on Etsy!

Thank you ladies, I love my goodies!

School Daze

It's that time of year... school registration.  Yeah, that's right... in JANUARY you have to commit to deciding if/where/when you'll be putting your child in AUGUST.  Seems a little soon, I agree.

But, alas, that's how it is.  So, at the end of December I began my search for a school for Marco.  Truth is, Marco has no NEED to go to school.  I am not going back to work and Jonas will not be going to school either, but other factors have come into play.

For one, Marco really, really, reeeeeally wants to go to school.  Every time we pass by a school he asks if that's "his school" and if he can go play with his "friends in there".  He doesn't know what school is exactly, but he knows it's a lot of fun and he's excited... and that excites me!  I want him to be over-the-top excited about all things school.

Another reason I feel it's a good time for Marco to start school is that I would like some time alone with Jonas.  So much of my time, resources and energy are spent on Marco and I know Jonas often gets the short end of the stick.  I know I've dropped the ball with him a bit... I'm just not as available to go back to basics with him.  For example, he doesn't yet know his animal sounds.  Wow, big deal, right?  I'm sure he'll still get into Harvard without knowing that the cow says "moo".  But... like... he should.  I just haven't had the time/patience to go back to basics.  It seems like we're always more focused on whatever Marco is learning.  Maybe if I get a few hours of me and Jonas time, without Marco, we'll be able to correct some of that.

So those are my BIG reasons.  But I'm not ready to commit to a 5 day full time program.  I just don't think it's necessary.  Since I'm not going to work and there's no real NEED, I think that that'll be too much, too soon.  Plus, although I want to be alone with Jonas, I don't want to take Marco away from Jonas too much either.  They're kinda attached to each other.

I've been in a big time school daze.  Trying to find a program that is semi-close to the house, affordable, Christian, 3 day and part time.  That's a long list to check off.  I seriously called a ton of schools to find one that met my desires and guess how many I found... ONE.  ONE.  So, that made my decision easy, I guess.

We toured the school a few weeks ago, just me and the boys, and Marco was beyond excited.  He got in the classroom, began playing, talking with the teacher, looking at all the books and bins and he KNEW that it was all for him.  I felt really good about everything and everyone that I talked to.  The place is super kid friendly, gorgeous, clean and organized.  I feel good about it.

And yesterday we went back for their open house.  I took Mauricio and Marco.  As we were pulling up, Marco was screaming, "Loooook, it's MY school"!  He went right on in, with confidence.  He was showing Mauricio all the cool things he had seen the time before, like the play ground and the kitchenette.  He said "thank you" to the teachers... and of course, they all melted.  (who wouldn't?)

So I'm biting the bullet.  Paying the $200 registration fee today and reserving his spot for a 3day part time (8am-12) K3 class beginning in August.  And I'm really excited about it.  I can't wait to see him all ready for school... wearing his little uniform with his book bag.  OMG, I'm gonna have a melt down.

{For privacy purposes, I will not be revealing the school of our choice over the blog, but if you're interested for your own searching purposes, please feel free to contact me and I'll share my information}

He Said

Marco is at such a wonderful age right now. He's speaking much more and very intentional about what he says. You can literally see the wheels in his mind turning. So here are a few things we've enjoyed hearing him say lately:

I decided to wear a skirt one day, instead of my usual jeans. Marco looked at me pensively and said, "Mama, are you a princess?". So sweet. I just laughed and said, "yes, and you're a prince". To which he shook his head laughing "no mama, I'm not a prince... I'm a boooooyyyy".

Every evening we have to give Marco his nasal medication. It's no big deal... Just one squirt to each nostril. So when I ask him if he's ready to take his medicine, he replies without fail, "nah, maybe later though"...

Marco has always been ok being left in childcare of any kind. I leave him at church, MOPS and BSF and he loves it. And when I return to pick him up, he tells everyone, "hey guys, my mom is here. My mom is here to get me!". He says "my mom" like a teenager! When did he get so big?!

We have an Xbox Kinect. You are able to talk to the Xbox with commands and you don't need a remote. For example if we want to watch Netflix, we just say "Xbox, Netflix" and ta-da is starts. So Marco tells me how I should do it... Because I don't already know. He says, "mama, say Kabox, nexfix...GO".

This kid is too cool for school.  He's a feast for my eyes.  I'm falling deeper and deeper in love.

On this day in 2011:  Flyin' Solo

So Random Saturday

Seems like a good day to let out a few randoms...

1.  I start this post in the dark, on my phone. It's 5:45 am and Jonas woke up about an hour ago crying in his sleep. Now I can't get back to sleep because my brain won't shut down... So here I am... Writing. (if only it was productive).

2.  Already planning a wicked awesome father's day present for my hubs. What? Too early? It's only 6 months away... And if I plan on getting creative I'm gonna need time, people. I have very few crafty bones in my body, so if I'm gonna do this thing right, I need a little room for error- and fixing. I get my inspiration from pinterest (of course). I can't say any more because Mau is a sneaky one but if you want the inside scoop you'll have to comment or email. Sqweee!!

3.  I have been stuck reading the same book for a blog review for 3 weeks now. THREE weeks! It's totally throwing off my reading groove and slowing down my plan. If I plan on reading 40 books this year, I can't be stuck on the same one for this long. This book is simply draaaaaaging and I'm annoyed.
this is not me, by the way.

4.  Today we hit up the Chocolate Festival at the Fairchild Tropical Gardens. And I plan to get wasted... On chocolate. Yes sir.

5.  Tonight I will go on a "proper" date. Excited. We're going to leave the kids with the in-laws early. We'll be attending a concert at my job, a faculty recital, and then having some dinner at the Grove. Yay!
just a joke...

6.  And speaking of said "faculty recital"... I'm not performing... This year. I joined too late to hop on board for this year. But next year? Oh, you know it... And I'm gonna let my DIVA out. She's been hiding for far too long!

7.  There's a new app that's rocking my world. When we lived in Greenville we attended this amazing church called NewSpring. The pastor, Perry Noble is so real and relatable. And he's really speaking the truth of Jesus. He convicted me in each message. Well now, they have developed an app that contains all his messages!!! You can either listen to them or watch them and they're all outstanding. I've been listening to his messages while cooking or driving alone and it's rocking my world. Loving it! Download it guys, you won't be sorry!

8.  Sometimes I call Marco "punk" or "punky". I don't mean to call him "punk"... I'm just shortening "pumpkin" and since it's too difficult to say "pumpk", it comes out sounding wrong. People give me faces.
this is not my child...
9.  Jonas squeals every time Marco gets near him or touches him or lays on top of him. That's his self defense mechanism... I get it. But do you know how frustrating it is to hear the squealing all day long? 8/10 times he's totally over reacting. It causes me two reactions. First, I want to beat on Marco a bit... Just sayin'. Leave your brother ALONE!! And second, it makes me want to tell Jonas to toughen up! Don't be such a wimp! Gosh!  But I know, it's just brotherly love.

10.  Thats all for today. Hope you all have a happy weekend!!!


I think I'm gonna have to change my blog name... because lately it's been more about me (and my health) than my kids.  Oh well.  It's what's on my mind, so there ya have it.

So anyway, as you read in my last blog post, I've decided to start working on me.  I need to stay healthy.  This body requires a LOT of maintenance... and not for vanity's sake.  This means that I needed to make appointments to see all the doctors that I've been putting on the back burner... like the Gyno, the Dentist and the ENT.

Yesterday we went to the ENT... all 3 of us.  I wanted to recheck Marco's tubes, and verify that one of them had in fact fallen out.  I needed to schedule poor Jonas to have tubes implanted since he had 5 ear infections last year.  And I needed to have my ears checked too, because I've had an ear infection for two and a half years.

Yeah, you read that right... 2.5 years!  Serious procrastination here, people.  You're learning from the best.

But honestly, I hadn't procrastinated THAT bad... I had been to see an ENT before getting pregnant with Jonas, but since I was breastfeeding he couldn't treat me.  The medication is so strong that you can't be breastfeeding with it.  And since I later got pregnant with Jonas, followed by breastfeeding him for 12 months, here we are.  Actually I technically could have gone in September when I quit breastfeeding, but cest la vie.

So, as I said, I took care of it yesterday.  The PA almost went pale when he looked into my left ear.  I knew it was bad, just not that bad.  I haven't had any pain at all, but I have had lots of drainage and hearing loss.

You'd think the hearing loss would get me to a doctor, right?  But no... I'm a stubborn one.

We did a hearing test and I can barely hear from my left.  It was bad.  But the good news is that it's completely reversible.  Apparently my ear is trying to hear, and instead of hearing outside noise, I only hear inside noise... like my blood rushing, my heart beat and my breathing.  My ear is clogged from the outside-in.  Once the clog is cleared, by massive doses of antibiotics and steroids, my hearing should be restored.  Yay!

The infection actually lays in the cavity between my ears... like behind my nose IN my face.  And it's pushing outwardly through both my ears... but my left has taken the biggest beating.  I can't believe I've had an infection IN MY FACE for that long and it hasn't eaten out my brains yet.  Dramatic? yes.

And, hearing is kinda important for a musician, ya know?

I'm looking forward to hearing again.  I wont have to tell my husband to whisper into my "good ear".  I wont have to hold the phone on my right anymore.  I wont have to pretend to have heard what you said and just smile and nod.  I wont constantly be saying "huh?" anymore!

PS. I'm going to start posting a "look back" to help any newcomers to my blog get to know my story better.  So if I post on the same day as I have in the past, I'll put a link at the bottom of my post.  Enjoy!

On this day in 2011:  The Graduate

Working on Me

I am a horrible patient.  I tell my doctors that too... straight up... no sugar coating.  They tell me about a medication and I tell them it's not gonna happen.

I skip doses.
I self medicate.
I procrastinate.

Basically if I don't "feel" like the medication is "working"... and working means instantaneous relief... then I stop.

I think I'm irresponsible about this because I've had these two diseases for such a LONG time that I'm tired of it already.  I've had COPD since birth and RA since I was 17.  I'm over it.

Let me share with you the long laundry list of my medications:
Advair: 1 puff, twice daily

Spiriva: 1 capsule inhaled daily

Combivent: Rescue inhaler as needed
The Vest: Done once daily for 20 minutes.  See my vlog here:
But mine is pretty in PINK!
The Acapella: Breathing exercises one twice daily

For RA:
Enbrel: One injection a week

Methotrexate: 6 pills, once a week

Like I said, over it.  But just because my mind is over it, doesn't mean my body is.

So I went in to the pulmonologist a few weeks ago to do a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT).  It's a machine that you blow into and it measures your lung capacity.  When I did the test back in April, I had about 46% lung function after medication.  This time around it was worse.  Much worse.  So bad, that my doctor refused to even give me a number.  She just told me to be diligent about taking my medications over the next month and we'll take the test again in a month.

Ok, I told her I'd give her ONE month... with no cheating.

And guess what?!  I feel better.

I feel like I can take deeper breaths.  I feel like I'm not as winded while doing my daily activities.  When I lay down at night, I feel like I can exhale fully without hearing a symphony of crackles in my chest.

It's actually quite amazing.

I'm not trying to sound like I'm complaining, and I know I could have it a lot worse.  So I finally realized... after 29 years... that it's time to be responsible.  It's time to work on me... I need to be a grown up now and take care of my OWN health... because no one else is going to do it for me.  And if I skip doses, procrastinate or self medicate, I'm only hurting myself.

And I've decided I want to live for a long time.  Like a really long time.  And not just live... but live WELL.

myTunes Tuesday

Enjoy this Tuesday morning with Marco singing two all time favorite classics, while I accompany him on piano.
And don't mind me... I'm a music teacher, remember?

The Right Decision Made

Back when Jonas was born, I wrote this post about having to make the decision to get my tubes tied.  I know a lot of people have read that story and been touched by it.  I know that in writing it, I was trying to convince myself that I made a good decision and that it was the only way.

But it broke my heart.

At that time, I wasn't ready to say "we'll always be a family of 4".  I still dreamt of one day holding a baby girl in my arms.  My body missed having a baby inside.  I thought I'd one day long for more.

And then I got to know Jonas.  I mean, I really got to know him.  And I learned that that boy is work... lots of work.  So, my baby fever got put on hold.

Then I started to watch him and Marco together.  The way they love each other.  The way they play together.  They're two peas in a pod.  A match made in heaven.

And I felt...

Recently, I've felt more secure in my decision than ever before.  I've learned in the past few weeks that THREE of my friends are pregnant.  And all I feel is happiness for them.  Not a hint of jealousy.

Where before I used to feel an ache in my body... a yearning for another.  Now, all I want to say, "so happy it's you... and not me".  That's a sure sign.

I know that the decision I made... although hasty and forced upon me... was the right one after all.  God gave me a great gift... I'm content.  I know that this is exactly the way my family was always meant to be.  We were always meant to have a Table for 4.

Mom WoW- A Real Housewife Mom

Well, here it is guys, the last of our Mother's Words of Wisdom series.  Today we feature Allie from Table For More.  I actually found her blog because it was so similar to mine.  It used to be Table for 3... but then she got pregnant again, so it became Table for 3, Actually make that 4... but then she got pregnant yet again... so there you have it... Table For More.  Now she's free to have all the babies she wants without having to change her blog name over and over and over again!

Allie is terrific.  She's got an awesome blog that I love reading every day.  She also has two adorable little boys, around the same ages as Marco and Jonas, so we've got a lot in common.  But now she's having #3... another baby boy, Jude!  She is always doing cute things with her boys... things that I never have patience to do.  She is always baking... making me drool.  And she's got a rock solid relationship with her hubby.  Check out her blog, but first read her post as she talks about being a REAL housewife and mom!

When Nicole asked to guest post about being A Real Housewife. 
I of course first envisioned my obsession the actual "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"
{I love them all though...New Jersey...Orange County! I'm IN!"
Well I am sad to say I am not ANYTHING like them...
The only thing I have in common with those ladies is kids.
Okay let's be serious some of them do not even have kids but whatever.
I am a REAL housewife, just not in the reality sense.

Let's start by me introducing myself.
I am Allie, I am in my mid 20's. 
I am married to an amazing {hunk} named Jordan.
We have 2 little boys {Vincent 2.5, and Luke 17mos} and
I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with {you guessed it} another boy named Jude.
I blog over at Table for More 

Nicole asked me to cover "How I do it ALL" and 
it's tough because my answer to that is " I DON'T!" 
But let me clarify that....
I do it all just not in a super organized fashion.

I used to think being "supermom" was the way to go. 
To always have a plan and to live by that plan.
But once I went from 1 child to 2, everything changed.
I NOW had two little men to fit into that plan, 
I tried to keep a schedule and all it did was stress me out.
Nothing would time out how I wanted and it was frustrating....
By trying to be perfect, I was turning into a hot mess. 
I seriously could not sleep or function for that matter those first few months
after Luke was born. I was creating a MONSTER in myself...
I had had enough of trying to keep it all PERFECT. 
It was doing more harm than good and I was focusing on silly tasks that 
really did not matter. 
Who cares how perfectly clean my house was.
Who cares if the dishes pile up for 1 day. 
What mattered was me and my boys...
I switched to a new way of doing things...
Just winging it!:)
I found myself to be much happier by throwing out "my idea of perfection"

Alright here we go...
The boys never wake up at the same time every day, sometimes Luke is up first
and sometimes Vincent is up first. Usually both are up by 9.
{Thank God they are both great sleepers}
I am blessed to have an amazing husband who is such a great help with our kids.
He is in sales and works from home so a few days a week I will have
him here with us, he makes a killer breakfast when he is home!
Yay, for NO COOKING!
Like I said, I pretty much just "wing it" when it comes to our daily "day" routine.
One day I will wake up and feel inspired to bake, so we will bake. 
Some days are gloomy and we will stay in our PJ's all day.
Some days we are adventurous and head out to play or shop.
Some days we have play dates, thank God for mommy friends to also keep me sane:) 
It was a little more difficult when we had just Vincent to come up with ideas for ALL DAY, 
But now he has a brother to play with and it rocks!
I clean and cook while they play most of the times. 
Laundry gets done when it gets done {can you tell I despise laundry}
My oldest, Vincent does not nap, so I usually let him help me around the house while Luke naps.
That or we will just hang out and have some one on one time. 
Some days I am very productive on household chores, 
and others NOT.SO.MUCH.
I guess that probably has a lot to do with having zero energy from pregnancy.
I figured that once school starts we will have a schedule to keep 
so for now I just want to enjoy the freedom of doing whatever we want.

The night is where we actually have some "structure"
{That and Sunday for Mass, no exceptions for these}
We always eat dinner and do our nightly prayers as a family.
The boys are also in bed by 8pm.
After 8pm it is our time to unwind....
I focus on things I cannot do during the day...
Things I love...
Like party planning, my reality shows and blogs! 
I feel like having the nights to "myself" is what really helps, 
I can walk away from the day and just relax and get ready for the next day!:) 

I guess my secret to doing it all, is just winging it. 
At the end of the day if you are happy, then you are doing the right thing.
Just because Sally down the street is perfect and sticks to a schedule does not mean a thing.
Different things work for every family.
But that is my secret and I am sticking to it!:)

Mom WoW- A Relocated Mom

Today we're hearing from Aly, who writes the hilarious and true blog, Aly's Bloggity Blog.  She's got two gorgeous little girls.  Her older daughter is too cool and her younger one has the  Check her out, follow her... she's great!
Aly recently moved from her hometown to California.  She left behind all of her family and friends and started a new life far from all she knew.  Today she's sharing with us what it's been like being a "relocated mom" and how she has learned to adjust. 


Support System

Before my family moved to California a few months ago, 2500 miles away from all of our friends and relatives, I accepted very little help when it came to my daughters. Sure, I took my mother in law up on babysitting every 8 weeks or so while I got my hair done, but I never took advantage of the free childcare for the 22 months that I had it. To be honest, I never thought I needed it. I stay at home with my girls and using a babysitter seemed like I was abusing the system a little. I mean, watching the kids was my job after all. Letting someone else watch them made me feel a little guilty. Plus, it feels awkward to accept help when it comes to my kids. I feel like I should do it all, all the time.

Then I moved to the other side of the country. I found myself with no mother in law, no mom, no grandmother or sisters in law or best friends close by to help with my girls. I sort of panicked. Who would be available for my hair appointments or, God forbid, when I got sick? Who would I call when I ran out of milk and needed someone to drop some off? I suddenly realized that the support system I took for granted back home was really an essential part of this whole parenting gig.

I did the only rational thing one could do when they find themselves in this predicament: I insisted that we move back home at once. Naturally, that didn't go over so well with JD. So, I prayed. I prayed for new friends that could be my California support system. Friends that could watch my kids when I am in a bind, friends to commiserate the terrible 2s with, friends to recommend pediatricians and grocery stores and kid-friendly places. And friends to be friends with, too.

Almost immediately, I made some friends and my support system was established. Having these women has made adjusting to our new life out here so much easier. I don't feel like I am completely alone each day. If I run out of milk or get sick, someone in my support system would have my back and come over. With milk. I have learned to treasure this help because most of the time, having a support system is not about the kids. It's about the mom. Sometimes the mom needs a break. Sometimes the mom needs to know that there are others who care enough about her to make themselves available to help out. Sometimes it is enough to know that there are people there to help, even if you don't need it.

So for the first time in my 26 months of motherhood, I am utilizing my support system. I now know the value of having people available to help a mama out. And not just for babysitting, but for encouragement and advice too. And fellowship. Sharing experiences is a huge part of the parenting journey. Having a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on is just as vital as having a trustworthy babysitter. That's what the support system is all about. And I have learned that having one and utilizing it makes all the difference in the world, whether you live near your family or 2500 miles away.

Mom WoW- The Working Mom

Today we'll hear from D over at Unpolished Parenting.  She is a mom of 2 and works full time.  I love her blog because she's so real about everything... not always sunshine and puppies, ya know?  She's taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging, but I'm hoping she'll be back soon. (Come back to us, D!)  After reading this post, I'm sure you'll be feeling the same way!

Recently, I’ve had several friends become pregnant for the first time.  Being that I am the veteran mom among my friends, they are always asking questions.  I hardly feel qualified; even with two kids.  But the first thing I tell them is that every child truly is different and what works for me may not work for you, and vise versa. 

My second words of wisdom I give to friends who are becoming new parents is that being a parent is the most wonderful and challenging thing you will ever do in your life.  You will spend more time questioning and doubting yourself than you imagine.  Your nights of sleeping soundly are over.  You will get frustrated and upset at your child, and then they will make your heart melt seconds later.

You find yourself resenting your spouse and having to work five times as hard on your relationship.  You will share the most intimate experience in the entire world with them, bringing you closer than ever.  You will lose your identity and wonder where “you” actually fit into the picture of being a parent and spouse.

You will learn that happiness is found lying on the floor with your kids – just staring at them, reading stories, acting silly.  You will have an ache in your heart the first time they get sick.  And as a mom returning to work, you will feel guilty for leaving your child and sometimes for wanting to go to work.

Every decision you make will leave you wondering if this choice will scar them later on in life.  Did I make her cry too long?  Was I too lenient with him when he threw his food on the floor? You will experience the joy of walking through the door and having your daughter’s eyes light up; she can’t hug you fast enough.

There are those first laughs of your baby that make you wonder how you ever functioned before that moment.  And those deep belly toddler laughs bring you to tears from laughing so hard. You will work sun up to sun down, and in between.  You will wipe snotty noses, kiss big crocodile tears, and talk about poop like you are just discussing the weather.  You will have a new found respect for your parents.

And you will wonder how you lived life without knowing the joys and sorrows of being a parent.

My two year lives on chicken nuggets and hot dogs, our house is anything but organized, and I have taken a 2 month hiatus from blogging because I can’t seem to keep up with everything.  I constantly struggle with having a dinner prepared even four days a week.  And I’m sad to say that there are days when the only affection my husband and I show each other is a quick kiss as we race out the door and head to work.

But we make it work.  We are big on hugs and forgiveness.  Some days we are not so patient with each other, but we have learned not to take every single thing so seriously.  We do please and thank you and I love you.  We say our prayers and give thanks for all of the amazing blessing God has given us.  Just be accepting and patience with your kids and spouse.  Find the silver linings in dark moments and savor the beautiful ones.

And above all, ask for help.  I know I said there are a million answers to every question, but if you find yourself worried or feeling alone, you will quickly learn there are parents out there who have been there.  Just knowing that one other person has survived the situation I am currently struggling with - whatever that may be - gives the confidence to push through one more day.

Mom WoW- The Military Mom

Today we have the sweet and awesome Stephanie from Doyles Days, blogging to us about her life as a military wife and mother.  She has spent about 50% of the time away from her husband, as he travels overseas to keep us all safe.  She's such a pilar of strength and has taught me not to be such a cry baby when Mau gets home late from work!

Doyle’s Days

Words of Wisdom – Losing Control and Gaining Pride 
A couple weeks ago, I was so happy to see that Nicole had e-mailed me asking me to be a guest blogger on this awesome blog of hers. She asked me to write up some words of wisdom about being a military wife and mom. It was perfect timing because Jesse is about to reenlist for six more years tomorrow. This type of commitment has had us both weighing in on sacrifice and what it means to be in the military and whether our family has what it takes for him to make a career out of it.
I met Jesse my senior year of college about five and a half years ago. Jesse was and still is a C-17 loadmaster in the United States Air Force. It’s a really excited job that is considered “air crew”. It means that he travels all over the world and gets to be a part of exciting and crucial missions. His missions vary and include:
Humanitarian relief (like air dropping supplies to natural disaster victims)
Transporting vehicles, supplies, and people to war zones
Presidential support
Missile air drop testing
Deep Freeze (transporting people and supplies between New Zealand and Antarctica) 
He does really cool things! But, along with that comes a lot of time away from our family and in many cases on very short notice. He is usually away from home 200+ days every year. This time away comes in the form of four month deployments every year and missions that have a varying duration of five to thirty days at a time.
I remember crying over the fact that Jesse would miss a company Christmas party, our anniversary or a birthday. I both smile and laugh at that new military wife that I once was. It has gotten so much better since I stopped fighting it. It is what it is and as soon as you let go of control, you will be so much happier. Yes, it still is difficult and a little frustrating to not be able to plan things in advance or know what next week or even the next day will entail. But there is no sense in getting angry or hurt because there is no stopping the military. There is a bigger agenda for the men that support our country than whether their wives will have to cancel their scheduled girl’s night out.  If they say go, then they must go. It doesn’t matter if your brother is getting married the day after they are set to deploy or if your son’s birthday is during the time of the next mission, whatever comes up in the military world is going to trump any plans you may have. And you have to accept it and embrace the time that you do have together.
The second part of staying happy being a military family is finding extreme pride in what being a military family means. I wish I had this pride from the very beginning, but that would not be the truth. I have developed this pride and gratitude over the years and after seeing what my husband sacrifices and what others who serve give to be able to do so. I used to pity myself when he deployed and would play the poor me card. Now, I can honestly say that I am so honored to be able to serve this country by serving and supporting my husband and family while he is away serving our country. That change in mindset has made all the difference in how I feel in my role of being both a military wife and mother.
Those are the biggest words of wisdom I can give to those who are thinking of joining the military community, are new to it, or those who are struggling with the obstacles that being a military family puts in our way. Relax and find pride in what you are doing because there are so many people that are so appreciative of what you are doing, including myself.

Mom WoW- The Christian Mom

Today we're hearing from Callie Nicole as she writes on how to keep Jesus in the center of your home and teach your babies about His love.  She is such a powerful woman of faith and is always an encouragement to me.  She writes at Through Clouded Glass
First of all, thank you to Nicole for asking me to write a guest post!  I think this is a great idea, and I'm so excited to be a part of it!

As a new parent, you are a prime target for all kinds of advice.  Advice about infant care, advice about parenting, advice what kind of products to use.  People like to tell you what worked for them, and personally, I like hearing what worked for other people, so the advice usually doesn't bother me.  I've gleaned alot of useful tidbits from other's advice.

When I'm seeking advice on a certain subject though, I always go to my mom first, and the best bit of advice I've received on being a mom, particularly on being a Christian mom, came from her. 

The actual words came indirectly from her in the form of parenting resources she loaned me (more specifically, tapes from Jamie Womack - we don't agree with alot of what the Womack's have to say, but I appreciated alot of Jamie Womack's thoughts on parenting).  However, my mom gave me this advice in the form of her example long before I ever heard it elsewhere.

As a Christian mom, my greatest desire for my baby boy is that he would come to know the Lord at a young age.  I want to do my best to teach him about Jesus as soon as he can understand so that he will have that desire to follow Him.

Obviously there are alot of ways to go about teaching your children about Jesus, but for me all of that can be summed up in this bit of advice - saturate your children with God's Word.

Looking back I can see how my mom did this for my siblings and me - she sang us Bible songs, listened to Bible tapes with us, read us Bible stories, took us to Bible studies and Sunday School and church, prayed with us often.  We grew up knowing about Jesus, and it wasn't long before we had that desire to know Him personally as well.

It is my intention to saturate my kids with God's Word just as my mom did for me.

We've already started this in a way in our home.  As soon as we brought our son home from the hospital we started reading the Bible together as a family before bed.  We read Christian storybooks to him even though he can't understand them yet. I've started gathering Bible CDs and movies for when he gets old enough to understand.

It's not always going to be easy or like second nature (though I think it will probably get easier as I get in the habit of it).  I'm sure I will get tired of listening to kid's Bible music when we are riding in the car together.  But for the joy of hearing my baby singing about Jesus?  I'll listen to them hundreds of times for that. 

I might get tired of reading the same Bible stories over and over or watching the same old Christian kid's movies.  But for the blessing of having my children grow up loving those stories? Of having them know about Jesus at a young age?  For the blessing of instilling a love for the Lord in my kids so that choosing to follow Him is an easy decision?  All of it would be worth it.

One thing I'm coming to realize though is that I cannot saturate my kids with God's Word unless I am saturated with it myself.  This isn't a one-time, learn-it-and-your-done type of thing.  Being saturated with the things of God is a constant battle, a daily decision.  The world is trying so hard to get you to soak up everything it has to offer. 

I know I too often focus on secular things instead of things that are helpful to me in my walk with the Lord.  I want to change that though, so I can be a good example to my kids, like my mom was to me, and so I can give them the proper things to "soak up". 

I think for me this starts with taking my quiet time with the Lord a little more seriously again.  Reading a chapter of the Bible for two minutes before I fall asleep at night doesn't qualify, and I'm afraid that's the habit I've fallen into. 

I'm getting back into the habit of setting aside the time in the morning when I'm giving my son his bottle for my devotions, and this has worked really well for me.  Try to find a time that works for you to spend time with the Lord each day, and stick with it!  It makes a big difference for me, because if I start out my day soaking up God's Word, it's easier to pour that back out into those I interact with, most importantly my family! 

I hope you can find some encouragement from this post to begin saturating yourself and your kids with the Word of God - now is the time to start!  The blessing of having our children choose to follow the Lord infinitely outweighs all the time and effort we might put in.  I can't think of a better reward!

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Galatians 6:9

Mom WoW- The Newbie Mom

Please welcome Suzanne from Already Right Where I Belong as she offers up her words of wisdom on being a new mom!
Hot new momma, right there!

Already Right Where I Belong

I got really excited when Nicole asked me to do a guest blog and then I thought "OMG I have nothing to say!"  Then I thought "OMG I have a TON to say."  Then I thought "OMG I hope I don't come off as an ass."  And then I thought "Whatever I’m going for it."  That was all in the span of about 20 seconds.  Anyway, the lovely Nicole asked me to talk about Being a New Mom.  Well, I am right in the thick of "New Mom-ness" what with my 4 month old and all. 
Do you die over those cheeks or do you die?  I DIE!
I have learned so much in the last few months and it is incredible how much of it was just like "well of course that is what I'd do."  However, it is even more incredible how much of it was like "WTF IS GOING ON I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO!"  Anyway, here are some of my tidbits of what I've learned over the last few months.

1)  Trust Your Gut - So, I am pretty sure that the nurses at my pediatrician’s office know me by my voice.  While some parents only go to their ped's office for well-baby visits, we have been for the following reasons: At about 3 weeks, his poop turned green (it was fine, normal, natural and nothing to cause concern); At about 5 weeks because we went to my cousin's pep rally at her middle school and he slept through the entire thing so I was convinced he couldn't hear (we got a hearing test, he can totally hear and just still had a very young and immature nervous system); Well baby visit (I went with a list of questions); He was sick with RSV (This was after I made two weekend phone calls); Check in after he had been using his nebulizer for a few days and hadn’t really changed.  That is a LOT of visits.   Also, you know when your baby needs to cry a little and when you need to swoop in and get him/her.  Trust your gut and even if you feel silly calling the doctor, you’ll be happy to be reassured.

2) “Thanks for your concern.” – If you are or have been pregnant, you know that everyone you come across will tell you what to do and how to do it and what you’ll do wrong and  you will never even have asked their opinion.  About once a week, I had someone tell me how much I would hate working after the baby was born and how I would want to quit my job and stay home with the babe.  Well, that wasn’t true. I am a worker. I like to work. I like to feel like I’m doing something.  I spent a shit-ton of money (sorry for the cursing, but I need to be that emphatic) getting my degrees and damn it I am going to use them.  Well, I got laid off really soon after coming back from maternity leave (is that typically legal? No.  Did it happen in a way that makes it legal? Yes.  If you want the specifics I’ll give them to you, but I’m not going into it).  Anyway, the best thing I learned to say was something along the lines of “OH thanks!  I appreciate it.” Or “Thanks for your concern.”  When really, all I wanted to say was “F OFF!” (I just censored myself which I rarely do, but don’t know how Nicole feels about it and don’t want to offend anyone else who may or may not have issues with excessive cursing.  You come to Nicole’s blog to read her words, not mine. You can find me cursing on my blog haha).  No matter what, people will give you unsolicited advice.  Take what you want/find useful and think about what color you’ll get on your next pedicure or your grocery list or how good a margarita would be right now when the others are blabbering on.  (What?  Just me?)  For example, I had a woman give me parenting advice left and right while I was all knocked up. (Yes, I am married. Yes, he was planned.  Yes, I still call it knocked up sometimes.)  I did not respect this woman as a parent so I would typically just think of other things and throw in the perfunctory “Oh ya, thanks.” and other phrases of the sort when she would talk. 

3) Nursing is great, but it will hurt, but then it will get better. – I thought something was terribly wrong when I started nursing because it hurt like a bitch!  I mean, I had sore, raw, cracked nipples.  My kid is a very fast nurser with a very strong latch.  Man, it hurt . . . for about a week or two and then it just didn’t.  I, being the slightly OCD person I am, did so much research before I gave birth about everything, including nursing.  And the one thing I read over and over was “If it hurts, you’re not doing it right.”  Well ya, like WEEKS down the road.  However, when you start out, IT FREAKIN HURTS!  Like “OMG NIPPLES ARE GOING TO FALL OFF AND DIE!!!”  But, like I said, it goes away.  I made good friends with the lactation consultants from the hospital where I delivered (their services are free if you delivered at that hospital) and called them regularly during those first few weeks.  They were life savers.  Also good things: Mother Love’s Nipple butter, Ameda hydro gels and some good old fashioned ibuprofen. 

4) Find “new mom: friends. – After my first trimester, I joined a prenatal yoga class and ended up with a couple friends from that class.  I also met a woman through Junior League who was a couple weeks ahead of me.  These women have become invaluable to me.  When you have grown kids/kids who haven’t been babies for a while you forget shit.  You forget that most babies don’t sleep through the night at two weeks (see above re “Thanks for your concern” to learn how to deal with these assholes).  You forget that things just happen.  When you have friends who have little ones, you get to go through things together.  It’s great.  Plus, you get to have play dates where moms gossip and just have adult conversations while babies do what babies do.  Trust me, you will want this.
Mom friends are the Best!
5) Newborn Clothes are BS! – Seriously, my kid was in his “newborn” clothes for about 2 weeks.  Granted, my 4 month old (as of January 6) is a GIANT (seriously, he’s close if not already to 20 pounds and like 26 inches.  GIANT!).  However, please don’t waste your money on a TON of newborn clothes.  If you have plenty of 0-3, those will suffice.  They may be a little big on your sweet babe at first, but they will quickly become “just right.”  Also, don’t pay attention on the “month” sizes on clothes.  Figure out what the sizes mean and go off of that.  For example, for Carter’s fleece jammies (which are THE BEST EVER), 9 month fits 16.5-20.5 pounds and 26.5-28.5 inches.  Now, I find that you can get a bit more wear out of these clothes than that, but seriously, focus on bigger clothes and just roll the sleeves/pants.

6) Google and Baby sites are your frenemies! – Asking what is going on with your baby will cause you to realize that everything is perfectly normal or cause you to believe the worst case scenario. If you’re freaked out, please refer to #1 above and call your ped.

7) Your baby will have opinions and MAKE THEM KNOWN – My sweet baby boy knows what he wants and damn it he will demand it.  If he is wet and we don’t get to it on the first “eh eh” whines, we are on the express train to Meltdown City; population: Me, B and LB; run by a little 20 pound dictator who rules with a piercing scream.  Learn your babe’s preferences and what they like/don’t like then live by it.  We were lucky that LB would take just about any bottle so long as there was milk.  However, he hated pacifiers until just a few weeks or so ago and even then he only likes 2, as in 2 pacis of the same type.

8) Speaking of preferences – It’s ok to take a pic of your baby’s fit before comforting him/her – Seriously, after a few months, you will start to laugh when your little one starts throwing a fit.  I’m so serious, it gets funny.  B and I have spent so much time making LB’s fuss face (along with all of his other faces) at each other and just rolling with laughter.  So for as much as this face is sweet:

This face is hilarious:

P.S. I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS go and comfort my baby after the photos.  Sometimes he is just ridiculous though.

9) Schedules are gold. – It is damn near impossible to start a schedule until, at the earliest, about halfway through the second month.  I let LB lead our schedule, but I watch the clock and make sure he goes down when he first starts showing tired signs.  I also make sure to stimulate him with play and books and talking as much as I can when he’s awake. 

10) You can never take too many photos or videos. – My boy is so tired of having his photo taken, but I will never tire of it. I have over 1000 photos of my kiddo already and he isn’t quite 4 months old. 

11) Get out of the house – I go to the grocery store and run other errands every Saturday.  That is my “me” time and I covet it.  I love my son and my husband more than anything, but sometimes, I need some “me” time and when I don’t get to run my errands, I get antsy.

I am sure there is so much more, but I can’t think of it right now and you are probably thinking “UGH won’t this broad just shut up!”  However, if you can’t get enough of me/want to ask me anything else, come on over to my little spot on the internet or email me at suzanne (dot) r (dot) Phillips (at) gmail (dot) com.