Gorgeous Ladies of Running

Here we are at the end of another year and once again, Mallory and I are lamenting our failure to keep up with blogging. womp womp. Instead of promising to do better next year (because let’s face it, we might actually just suck at this), I just want to talk a little bit about the thing that’s been distracting us both from making more regular internet rants: Stroller Warriors.

If you know either of us, you’ve probably heard us talk about this running club ad nauseam. BUT, for the handful of random internet viewers who might end up here one day I’ll explain: Stroller Warriors is a running club designed for military spouses and their families. There are chapters all over the world, which is why Mallory and I still have this club in common even on opposite sides of the globe.

Mallory and I joined our first Stroller Warriors club together in San Diego. I would classify Mallory as an ultra runner so she was a shoe-in, but for me running was just kinda okay and I’m still not sure how much I actually “like” it. For me, it was something that kept me active where I could also bring my kid. Getting to regularly talk to other adults and bring our kids to playdates was a great added bonus too. It didn’t take long for Stroller Warriors to become my community, my tribe.

Alas, along came the time to move again and even though I was 7-months pregnant in a new place, without Mallory and without the same group of running friends I had grown accustom to, I knew I just needed to join up with my new closest SW chapter and just keep showing up. Mallory did the same thing while she was in Iwakuni. I happened to be around enough that I was asked to help lead some workouts, and eventually, since the timing was right, I was able to step up with a couple of other fantastic ladies to help lead the Parris Island chapter. Wouldn’t you know it, that same thing happened to Mallory and the Iwakuni chapter!

So here we are now, both with a bit more responsibility on our hands to take care of our running communities — the reason you’ve heard a little less from us on the blogosphere. I’m happy with how far we’ve come with this club; it’s so so important to me. You see, even though I barely liked running to begin with, it gave me a newfound ownership over my body. I think it’s something a lot of moms can relate to. At this point I’ve spent about a year and a half lending my body to grow children, and then I spent additional 2+ years operating as a never-ending milk factory. Sometimes I feel like I’ve merely been a vessel for the survival of my offspring.

The Netflix show, GLOW, can actually help me communicate what it means to find an activity like running after having kids. I watched all of the episodes on Netflix and one of the most relatable parts to me is when Debbie Eagan talks about why she would be sad to leave Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling:

“…It’s like I’m back…in my body…and it doesn’t belong to Randy…or Mark. And I…I don’t know, I’m, like, using it for me, and…I feel like a goddamn superhero.”

Yes. A goddamn superhero. A warrior, if you will. Thanks to running, I actually strive to see my body’s performance improve and not for anyone but myself.

5 Reasons to Let the Pinterest Mom do Her Thang

There’s a lot of snark and eye-rolling that can be found describing the mom who does everything oh-so Pinterest perfectly. As much as I love snark, I am not here to partake…this time. Oh no, I love the Pinterest moms! And that’s not just because I occasionally try my hand at a project or two.

Little Pookie Cupcakes

Pig cupcakes I created after perusing Pinterest.

Pinterest Moms make the world a better place. They put the time and effort into crafting and creating an experience for their kids’ birthdays and holidays. They’re making gorgeous, delicious cakes, themed DIY decor, over-the-top Easter Baskets. And that’s okay. It does not mean I have to meet them at every embellishment. Continue reading

Stitch Fix is a Mom’s Best Friend (plus other delivery services we love)

Before children, the idea of having a personal assistant seemed like some sort of unattainable dream; a frivolous luxury even. Now, with the variety of home delivery services and the reality of trying to accomplish a to-do list with two kids, having a sort-of personal assistant is actually very accessible.

From grocery shopping to planning date nights, the internet really does have it all. Here are some ways you can add a little personal assistance to your hectic life: Continue reading

Gallbladder Surgery while Nursing

After experiencing some excruciating pain that felt like extreme heartburn, I was actually relieved to find out I just had gallstones. I thought I was dying. Apparently, pregnancy puts you at risk for developing them. The gallstones were too big to dissolve and not big enough to warrant immediate surgery, so opting for gallbladder removal was going to be totally up to me.

I sat on the idea for several days because my new baby boy was still only about 4 months old, so I was worried what effect the surgery would have on our nursing relationship and (since he was still so little) I worried that juggling him and my toddler while recovering would be impossible on my own. Continue reading

Giveaway – New Baby Dove

You’re buying into the message they sell. Remember that.

This was part of one of the lessons taught in an advertising class I took for my public relations degree. The prime example used for this lesson was Dove and their “Campaign for Real Beauty.” We examined it as a brand that excels in messaging that reaches beyond their products.

Since taking this class I’ve always viewed Dove with high regard. I’ll gladly reach for their products over other brands. So, when they approached us with a chance to do a giveaway for our readers, I was more than happy to participate!

Now, as a mom, I’m elated to see their messaging hit all the right marks again with Baby Dove. “There are no perfect moms, just real ones.” Check out their commercial:

It’s one of those ads that makes you feel pride in the chaos and uncertainty of motherhood. Furthermore, I love that now I can look to Dove for the full package: something for me, something for my babies.

Want a chance to win a New Baby Dove Rich Moisture package? Hop on over to our Facebook page and join the conversation about #RealMoms there.
A little about Dove’s new products:

babydoverich

Baby Dove Rich Moisture range has been developed for babies with normal to dry skin and goes beyond mildness to actively replenish lost moisture and nutrients into baby’s skin. All products are hypoallergenic and mild with a fragrance specifically developed for delicate baby skin. Available in Tip-to-Toe wash, baby lotion, baby bar, shampoo and baby wipes.

(The baby wipes are my favorite for my own personal use! Nice for freshening up quickly when you’re covered in the dirty sticky sweat of the South.)

babydovesensitive

Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture range has been developed to take extra special care of babies with sensitive skin. It is fragrance free and designed to be kind to dry skin; is hypoallergenic and pH neutral. Available in Tip-to-Toe wash, baby lotion and baby wipes.

Disclaimer: I received samples of this product for my honest review on this blog.

The Southwest Nursery Theme of Your Dreams

Is it possible to be a fan of a new mom? (Some may even call it a mom crush). Well, I’m a fan of new mom, Kayla and after this post I think you will be too!

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Meet Kayla. Her maternity photo shoot is actually like a sneak peek into her nursery theme. “I rented the dress from MamaBump rentals and we took the pictures in Balboa Park Cactus Gardens. The head piece was made by my cousin!”

Seeing as my nursery decor is still just sitting on the nightstand and also lacks originality (woodland creatures w/ random lurking jungle creatures) it doesn’t take much to make me ooh and ahh over anyone’s nursery. But, oh man, am I swooning over Kayla’s nursery! So much care and detail went into the overall creation that I could feasibly make this a series of blog posts about her nursery, but that might be bordering on obsessive. Continue reading

HOOT For Kids

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This Box arrived to me at the perfect time. I had just gotten sick with mastitis, followed by a sinus infection and was trying to rest as best I could with a newborn and toddler (plus it was raining outside). I was feeling guilty about all the hours of screen-time we were racking up and needed an easy way to distract the toddler.

Enter HOOT Box.

What is HOOT Box?

HOOT stands for “Hands-on Occupational Therapy.” This is a subscription service that sends you a box of toys (just once, every 3 months, or every month – you choose) curated by an occupational therapist. Boxes are ideal for newborn to 6 years old. In our HOOT Box we received 3 toys – animal puzzle blocks, a zebra on wheels, and a Green Toys Submarine. Our box came with a list of suggested activities that could be done with each toy and identified what skills each toy would hone.

The box brought so much excitement to our day! Here’s what I loved about it:

  • An Aid for Parents – Sure, it should be pretty easy for parents to figure out how to play with kids toys, but with a list of suggestions from an actual occupational therapist, I felt better equipped to help my child with actual skills. Plus, I admittedly lack a lot of creativity when it comes to my child’s toys. This helps me with my own skills in that department.
  • Break up the Monotony – Again, I was lucky enough to get this at a time where I really couldn’t do much with myself and I needed help engaging my child. But I think this is the perfect thing to order sometime during the summer (or, for military families, maybe during deployment??) as a way of breaking up the monotony of your daily routine. I like the idea of holding onto the package and saving it for a (literal or figurative) rainy day.
  • Watching Your Kid Discover – I really enjoyed just watching my son pull out each toy and start playing with them his own. This was probably the first time he’s said the word “submarine.” I’m not sure he even really knew exactly what a submarine was before. Then I watched him slide the zebra along the submarine. It didn’t take long for him to exclaim, “I wuv my zebra! I wuv my submawine!” It was such a joy to experience something new alongside him.
  • Home Convenience – I’m going to write another post later about my newfound love for subscription services, but trying to go through and leave a toy store or toy aisle can be maddening with a toddler who wants to touch every toy and who ends up sneakily adding random thing to your shopping cart. Getting a HOOT Box means leaving all the extra toys and meltdowns over toys behind.
  • Gift Idea – for the grandparents or friends who ask constantly what your kid wants or who don’t know what would make an age appropriate gift, tell them to gift a HOOT Box!

Disclaimer: I received free samples of this product for my honest review on this blog

 

Dear Village

Dear Village,

I heard you outside when you mowed my lawn for me this week. That’s twice now since my husband left and has had to spend this month away from us while I was left to care for our toddler and newborn. Maybe you haven’t heard a lot from me lately. I’m, at times, a bit discombobulated trying to adjust to our new normal. I’m not quite sure how to thank you for all that you’ve done for me…

You’ve helped me corral my half naked son running in the street and even let him play in your houses in all that naked glory. You even reassure me about my potty-training failures (hence, all the nakedness).

You probably didn’t realize that when I moved across the country in my third trimester, I had already accepted the fact that our second kid wouldn’t be getting the celebration and preparation that our first did and was I feeling a bit guilty for it. So, the insistence on throwing Baby No. 2 a shower not once, but twice, really touched me more than you know! Seeing so much selflessness for someone you had just met is indescribable.

I also arrived here wondering how my labor might play out and what I would have to do to find care for our first-son. I appreciated your initial offer to watch him when the time came, but was really blown away when, without batting and eye, you took him for an indefinite amount of time.

When we came home from the hospital we were welcomed with decorations and then meals for our family everyday until extended family arrived.

Family, you too are part of our Village. I loved having you all visit from hundreds of miles away to share time with time with these little boys in our new town, but to also help me cook, clean and to distract a busy fun-loving toddler. Having an extra pair of hands (or 2 or 3) turned out to be a necessity, especially as I tried to learn to soothe a fussy, gassy baby. This has been a very different experience compared to the first-time around.

There are so many more things I’m forgetting to address specifically, but every gesture, gift, text, call, or note has meant the world to us. When they say “it takes a village,” now, more than ever, I have felt exactly what it means to have that reliable support system surround us in every possible way. You are our neighbors, family, friends new and old, near and far.  Although it will never be enough, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Thank you thank you thank you!

*End Sappy Post*

Oh Yeah, I Remember This… (Labor and Post-partum Thoughts the Second-time Around) 

It’s funny how the second kid kind of becomes an afterthought. Okay, wait, that sounds kinda cruel. Seriously though, I remember being so precious about every little thing with my first pregnancy – I dared not lift a heavy thing, eat or drink a drop of forbidden poison like caffeine and I began studying up for a healthy, efficient labor. When the second kid was on his way, I was still too busy with my first to even remember I was pregnant at times.

Preparation this second time around really only included figuring out how to juggle the toddler whenever the second one decided to come. When he was finally on his way, a few things happened differently, a few things had become second nature, and a few things were of the oh-god-no-wonder-I-blocked-this-feeling-from-memory variety.

Here are a few that fit into the latter category: Continue reading

Husband Appreciation Day – April 15

April 15th is National Husband Appreciation Day! You read that right! What are you doing to show your husband you appreciate him? Maybe cook him a nice dinner? Clean his house? Wash his clothes? Care for his children? Oh wait! You do that everyday? That’s exactly what I thought when I saw this, in fact, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. What is this bullshit day and who thought it was necessary? I’m not even sure it is real because even Wikipedia didn’t have any info on it (and duh, they are all knowing).

Here are 3 reasons why we love our husbands on this day, as listed on http://www.nationaltoday.com (the website that created this dumb day):

1. He is our best friend for life – um ok, Claire is also my best friend, but you don’t see us married 

2. Travel partner – this is debatable, my husband is worse than a toddler during airport security. He always seems confused about what needs to come out of his pockets and bags. 

3. They take out the trash and other gross chores – well this just isn’t true! I can maybe get him to take out the trash once a month and now that we live in Japan where we have 4 separate trash cans for things he has completely stopped throwing stuff away because it is too confusing for him!

So yeah, these would not be my 3 reasons for appreciating him! 

FULL RANKING OF WHAT WOMEN APPRECIATE MOST ABOUT THEIR HUSBANDS

#1: My husband is a hard worker (69%)

#2: I can be myself around my husband (62%) 

#3: My husband makes me laugh (61%)

#4: My husband is smart (56%)

#5: My husband is supportive of my goals and desires (52%)

#6: My husband is a great parent (52%)

#7: My husband is sexy (43%)

#8: My husband does the dishes (33%)

#9: My husband is good with money (31%)

#10: My husband buys me things (29%)

Don’t get me wrong, these are all great reasons to appreciate him, but I still don’t see a reason to have a whole day dedicated to it. I mean, does he not realize I appreciate him when I get up at 5 AM with him to make his breakfast and pack his lunch? Or when I’m waiting up for him when he gets home from work and have a nice dinner ready?

When is wife appreciation day? Now that’s a day I can get behind!