I Thought I Birthed an Angel, Until He Turned Two


Jacob tuxedo

Jacob turned two years old in July. What a happy little dude he is, until I say that horrible, despicable, awful word: “No.” It all happens in slow motion for me:

  • His head tilts upwards
  • He looks into my eyes
  • His eyes begin to water
  • He frowns
  • A moan escapes his throat
  • The moan takes on a higher pitch
  • He’s yelling and screaming and running mad with rage

I’ve heard different things. Ignore him, let him know who’s boss, cuddle him while he fights your embrace, walk away and give us both space, etc. I try to think about how I feel when I’m told “No”. If I really want something, I consider asking “why?” and enter into a non-heated debate of opinions until I am satisfied with the explanation or get what I want.

But, a two-year old doesn’t have enough vocabulary to calmly sit down and have a good old debate. So all his feelings bubble up and he literally hits a boiling point. It makes complete sense to me. I can relate to him too. I feel the same way a few times a day as a homemaker. However, at my age, I’ve learned how to save the rage till after he goes to bed, then write in my journal or have a fist fight with a pillow while sobbing out all the bad feelings.

So how do I respond to the little demon who comes out when I say “No”? I try my best to be understanding. I don’t give in to what he wants (usually ice cream for breakfast or pretzels for lunch or to bring his entire wooden Thomas train set into the bath). I say “I’m sorry you feel sad, but we can’t do that right now.” Which usually brings on a whole new level of sobs. But I figure, it’s good for him. I do it, in private so I don’t freak him out, and feel like a new person afterwards.

His anger, and tantrums are totally normal. At two, I don’t think I need to teach him to “suck it up” I think he needs his feelings validated, felt and then to move on to playtime. Ignoring him? That’s not my style. I would feel absolutely rejected, defeated and unimportant if someone I love dearly paid no attention to me if I was sobbing.

He needs to know I love him, so much, that I won’t let him eat ice cream for breakfast, and that when he’s upset about it, mommy sympathizes with him.

This will all pass. I tell myself it’s just a season, like winter. Actually that’s the perfect season for “the terrible twos” – dreary and long, but often filled with absolute joy, excitement and carefree play.

Guest Post by Michelle Pino: DIY Home Spa Treatments


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Hello friends and followers! I have a treat for you. Michelle Pino was gracious enough to offer some amazing DIY recipes for home spa treatments. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Michelle Pino has provided these DIY recipes based on the treatments currently being offered at Skana Spa, at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge as well as finding ways to live a frugal, healthy and happy lifestyle. To connect with Michelle, email her at MichellePino@turningstone.com! Read her article below and pamper yourself a little:

 A Mask for Your Hands, A Mask For Your Feet:

A DIY Facial and Pedicure Just in Time for Valentines Day

Almost everyone enjoys berries and chocolate, and who doesn’t enjoy spending time relaxing at the spa? Why not combine the two this Valentines Day for a great do it yourself spa treatment that can be done from the comfort of your own home? Enjoy these recipes alone or with friends, either way you will not regret pampering your body and yourself to something naturally special.

Chocolate Strawberry Fruity Face Mask
Strawberries are great natural ingredient for controlling oil balance in your skin, as well as for the banishment of unwanted pimples and acne. The hydration from the honey will leave your face feeling fresh and smooth.

Ingredients:

½ cup Strawberries, pureed
¼ Cocoa powder
3 tbsp Honey

1 Egg White

Directions:
Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl making sure everything is thoroughly combined. (You may find you need to add more cocoa powder if the mixture is too runny, or another egg white if it’s too clumpy.) To apply the facemask, begin by washing your make up and any other skin products off. Next, apply the mask to your face with your hands. The texture of the mask should be smooth, not too runny or clumpy. Avoid your mouth and eyes. Allow the mask to set for about 15-20 minutes. Wash the mask off with warm water, followed by a splash of cool water to close your pores. Ta-da!

Homemade Chocolate Pedicure

Body wraps can be applied to the entire body or be made specifically for any one area of the body. Either way they are great for moisturizing and hydrating the skin, leaving it soft to the touch. They also provide great relaxation and allow the skin to become firmer, temporarily reducing the appearance of wrinkles and aging. This specific mask is targeted for the feet and can be done as a pedicure! Try doing it alone, with a significant other or with a friend!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
5 strawberries
1/2 cup champagne
1/3 cup honey

*Note: You will also need a microwave, blender, and paintbrush.

Directions:
Place the chocolate chips in a glass microwave-safe dish. Put the dish into the microwave and heat for about two minutes on medium heat, or until the chocolate chips are completely melted and smooth. Separately, add the strawberries, champagne and honey to the blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Next, blend the strawberry mixture and the melted chocolate until it forms a paste. Let cool so that it is still warm to the touch, but not uncomfortably hot. While waiting for the paste to cool, clean and exfoliate your feet using either a scrub or brush. This removes dead skin cells and will give you better results from the foot wrap. Apply the chocolate berry mixture to your skin using the paintbrush. Leave this on for approximately fifteen minutes. During this time, kick your feet up and relax. Sip on champagne, indulge in some chocolate covered strawberries or place a warm cloth over your eyes. After fifteen minutes wash the wrap off your feet and pat dry.

*Note: Remove nail polish, cut and file toenails prior to this!

Strawberries and chocolate might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Valentines Day,” but they are not just for eating anymore. They offer great benefits to your skin and will leave you smelling heavenly, not to mention it’s an inexpensive way to spend quality time with someone you love. Light some candles and turn on some relaxing music, and you’re ready for your own do it yourself spa at home!

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/4189114299/

I Wish Pasta was Good for Me


lasagna

I’d eat it all the time. Even for breakfast.

We’re being hit by a major snow storm today. It’s the kind of storm that makes you stay indoors; venturing out only if it’s a MUST. Naturally, I want to warm up my bones, but not with a cup of tea, with a huge plate of lasagna with layers of cheese, meat. cheese, and more cheese.

Garlic bread on the side would be nice too. With melted cheese on top of course! I could make one right now. But the problem with that is my lasagna can feed about 8 people. So my husband and I, who have no will power when it comes to my lasagna, will eat the whole thing by the end of today. We’ll have a plate for dinner. But throughout the evening we’ll periodically grab a fork and take mouthfuls right out of the dish it’s baked in. This happens until it’s done.

If only eating lasagna was like having a big bowl of fruit. Chock full of nutrients that feed my immune system, rather than full of carbs that make my butt bigger. If only a plate of pasta a day would keep the doctor away, instead of that boring apple.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/exlibris/

Five Things Dad Can Say to the New Mother


During that first month of being a first-time mom, everything is a blur. You’re exhausted and sore, hormonal and moody, plus you have this new little human to care for. My husband and I refer to the first month as “the dark days”.

I couldn’t tell him what I needed to hear during those tough times, I didn’t know what I needed to hear. I just felt really down and sleep deprived. But looking back with a fresh perspective, I can tell you what the new mother would appreciate hearing.

“You’re Doing Such a Great Job”

No matter how much you prepare for your baby’s arrival, you’re still in shock. You go from being a carefree individual to being needed every second of the day…and night. You question everything you do:

  • Am I holding him right?
  • Is he too warm?
  • He just ate, but he’s still crying, should I feed him again?
  • Am I burping him right?
  • Why is he still crying? What am I doing wrong?
  • Is the bath water too warm?
  • Is he swaddled too tight?
  • Is he latched on correctly?
  • Did he get enough to eat?
  • Why is he still crying?

In a nutshell, there is so much self doubt involved even though you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do. You have no idea whether you’re methods are right or not, you just do what makes your baby content.

In all that chaos, the best thing a new mother can be told as she’s nursing, or burping or rocking her little bundle to sleep is: Wow, I’m so impressed with how naturally this all comes to you. You’re doing such a great job.

Most husbands think this about their wife anyway. They’re blown away by how that switch just goes on in her that makes her become a mother over night. So when you are thinking that about her, tell her!

“He’s Asleep. I’ll Stay Here with Him. Go Lay Down”

If I’m being honest, my husband Andrew said this to me EVERY time Jacob was asleep. But I was so stubborn. I couldn’t leave my baby. I had it in my head that I was the only one who knew how to handle him. Obviously I was wrong, but lack of sleep blurred my judgment. If your hubby offers you the opportunity, take it!

“Tell Me More about What You’re Feeling”

During “the dark days” I was in a very dark place. I’m going to be 100% honest with you and say exactly how I felt: I wanted to run away and live in a hole. I had some serious baby blues and didn’t fully understand that it was my hormones causing me to feel that way.

When nurses at the hospital warned me about those raging hormones after childbirth, I was thinking more along the lines of PMS. I thought I’d be a little irritated and annoyed. Boy was I wrong! When I looked at Jacob, I didn’t have that instant love for him like all the moms told me about. It made me scared.

On day seven of being home with Jacob I called Telehealth and spoke to a nurse. She was so helpful. She put me at ease right away when she said: “Honey, it takes time to love someone, even your own baby. Plus the first ten days after birth is when your hormones really take a plunge, so how you’re feeling is completely normal. You’re not a bad mother.” After asking me a series of questions to rule out Postpartum Depression or Post Partum Anxiety, she was pretty certain that I was experiencing a tougher-than-normal case of the Baby Blues. She even called me back a week later to see how I was doing.

Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband. He knows me so well that he knew I was really down. He was gentle with me. And would ask me to tell him what I was feeling. He didn’t try to offer a solution, he didn’t try to fix me, he just wanted me to talk about my feelings. This is SO important for the new mom with baby blues. You’ll be tempted to swallow your feelings and try to deal with them alone because you’re embarrassed, but don’t. Talk about it. It made me feel so much lighter after sharing my feelings with my husband.

“Thank You So Much for All You’re Doing”

When you have a new job that you’re excelling at, your boss will most likely acknowledge all your hard efforts. Being a mom doesn’t always come with the occasional pat on the back. It’s a hard job that usually goes thankless.

Until mom gets the hang of things and develops a routine with baby, she’ll be putting her own needs on the back burner for a while. That includes a nice hot shower that lasts longer than four minutes.

She’d appreciate her husband thanking her for all she does. He doesn’t have to do it with a gift or flowers; a genuine “thank you for taking such good care of our child, honey” goes a very long way.

“I Love You”

There’s not much for me to say about this one. It’s something you should tell her every day with sincerity.

I Lost Five Pounds and Five Inches!


Sure, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a huge motivation for me, especially when I’ve only been working out for seven days. I had my son Jacob in July and have been slowly trying to get back into shape. Eating healthier was making me feel better, but I still don’t like the way I feel in my clothes. So I started working out last Monday.

Wow, I’m out of Shape

When you’re three minutes into a video workout and huffing and puffing, it can be pretty discouraging. Especially when you’re trying to follow the steps shown by gorgeous women with sculptured bodies smiling back at you.

There were so many times in the first few days that I wanted to just press the ‘stop’ button on the remote control and be done with it. But I kept pushing myself: it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be WORTH it.

What the Heck Happened to My Balance?

Besides losing my figure and a great memory, it seems I’ve also misplaced my balance after pregnancy. The very first video I did, which is Brazil Butt Lift by the way, I was laughing as I tried doing lunges. Instead of looking as graceful as the sculpted beauties on the TV, I was trying to avoid smashing my head on the fireplace mantle or face planting the floor.

It’s Getting Easier Though, Little by Little

In the first few days I wanted to give up. But with every workout I start to feel better and better. Plus, my balance is slowly coming back the more I practice certain poses and lunges. And as my core gets stronger, my balance will also get better. I just have to keep going.

I’m Feeling Great and Only Five Pounds In

In the past, I may have been disappointed after only losing five pounds and five inches in a week. But I’m so pumped about it now. I guess I have a different mindset about weight loss and having a good figure than when I was younger.

In my twenties, I was more obsessed with how I looked in my clothes, or rather, how I thought other people would think I looked in my clothes. But now, my intentions are to feel healthy, good and enjoy being in my skin. So because I’m making progress in such a short time it’s really pushing me forward to try even harder.

When I’m struggling through a lunge or those last few sit-ups and want to give up, I tell myself I deserve this. Not the pain and sweat, but the end result. I deserve to feel good about myself. And I’m on my way!

What do you moms do to get back into shape? 

The Best Spouse in the Universe Award Goes To…My Husband!


About a week ago Andrew had to go away for a few days for work. In the days leading to his departure I was feeling nothing but dread in the pit of my stomach; I’d miss him terribly and would feel lonely. Not to mention we had a baby now so it would be way different than when he traveled in the past. I wouldn’t have him around to help.

I Have a Whole New Respect for Single Parents

It was just three days! Half way through day two I thought to myself: how the heck do single parents do this? If he was napping I could catch up on house work, laundry, food preparation, and myself (showering didn’t last longer than 4 minutes tops).

Andrew works from home and at about five o’clock every day he takes the long commute down the stairs to spend time with us. I never realized how much I look forward to that break. He plays with Jacob for an hour and I have time to do whatever I want. Usually dinner is in the middle of cooking, so I can go for a walk to get some air, take a super-long shower, go to the bedroom to lie down – whatever.  But for three days that break didn’t exist.

I Realized How Much Andrew Does

Andrew and I are an awesome team. He’s not the kind of man that expects his wife to do all the house work, care for the baby on her own, have dinner ready and warm by six, etc. He’s always told me that he believes marriage is about doing what we can to make life easy and great for the other person. It’s never one-sided.

We work together so naturally. If Andrew sees me dusting and he’s not in the middle of doing anything, he’ll vacuum. If I see him starting dinner, I ask what needs chopping. It’s a two-way street that works great. So obviously, I felt so overwhelmed with him gone for work those three days.

Our days usually go like this:

  • Jacob coos on the baby monitor
  • I get up to warm a bottle & Andrew changes Jacob
  • I feed Jacob his bottle & Andrew brews a coffee for us
  • He heads to work upstairs; I spend the day with Jacob & write or do house work during his naps
  • While Jacob plays in the Jolly Jumper at around four o’clock I start dinner (on fussy days that doesn’t always happen so smoothly)
  • Andrew comes back from work & plays with Jacob
  • I get time to myself for a while
  • We eat together
  • Andrew sets up things for bath time
  • I bathe Jacob, give him a bottle & put him to bed while Andrew…
  • Cleans up dishes, bath supplies, toys from the day & straightens out the living room
  • I come down from putting Jacob to sleep and Andrew & I can hang out for a couple hours

If Andrew didn’t help out so much, then relaxing together at the end of the day would be tough. I’d come down from putting Jacob to bed and still have all that tidying up to do. But since it’s done we can wind down together.

Those three days were tough. I didn’t have all that help. It made me miss Andrew so much; not just for all he does, but also for the wind-down time together.

I Don’t Do it All; I Just Have a Great Husband

Some people ask me how I have time to bake things or where I get the energy to write. When they see photos of me they’ll mention that I look well-rested for a new mom. I give all the credit to my husband. If he wasn’t so supportive and didn’t view us as a team, I’d be a stressed-out, exhausted, frustrated, annoying and unhappy woman.

He makes my life easier and pushes me to reward myself with time alone, spa days, a day at the mall while he watches Jacob and more. In turn, while he plays soccer once a week, goes for bike rides, or out with friends once in a while I hold the fort down at home. We do what we can to keep each other sane – and that makes us even more devoted to each other.

I always say I’m the luckiest woman to have such a supportive husband. That’s why he’s getting The Best Spouse in the Universe Award.

Spending Time on Me


relaxing

Up until Jacob was about four months, the only time I’d go out was for a walk around the block with him in the stroller, to doctors appointments, and to one play date that lasted about an hour tops.

I had it in my head that I couldn’t leave him. That I was the only one who knew what his cries meant, how he liked to be held, how snug to swaddle him. It was silly now that I look back on it. I was depriving me of time for myself and Jacob of experiencing new people.

A Kick in the Butt

My husband came downstairs from his home office one evening and told me to hand him Jacob. He then said he was kicking me out for the evening. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. Whether I went shopping, watched a movie, got a manicure – he just wanted me to have some alone time.

I protested for a while but knew I wasn’t going to win. So I huffed my way upstairs to get dressed in clothes that weren’t yoga pants and a sweater.  Before I left I started listing off to my husband how Jacob’s bath time went, but he told me he watched me do it so many times. We’ll be fine! And if the house burns down I’ll text you. Go enjoy yourself.

Unwinding Felt Good

Once I was driving the first thing I did was go to the Tim Horton’s drive thru for a coffee. I missed doing that. And by the first sip I could feel my body begin to relax as it fell into familiarity.

We Are Young by Fun came on the radio and I was softly singing. I caught myself smiling so turned up the volume and sang really loud. It felt so great! I soon forgot about about my responsibilities at home and just lived in the moment.

The House was Quiet and in One Piece

After watching a movie and eating a huge bag of buttery popcorn I went home. As I pulled into the driveway I noticed how much lighter I felt. One evening out alone, without doing anything big and special, and I felt completely recharged and wanted to burst through the door to see my little family.

Once inside, my ears went into superhero mode as I tried listening for a crying baby. Everything was quiet. Hubby came out of the living room and asked how my night was. We sat down on the couch together and I told him about my night.

Jacob was fast asleep in his crib, the house was in one piece and best of all, I was at peace. I’m married to the smartest and most generous man who did what he could to give me my sanity back, even for just one night. But we came to an agreement that each of use should have a night out on our own when we could a couple times a month. It’s a deal!