Bumpkin Reusable Snacks Bags are My New BFF


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I am currently obsessed with these Bumpkins Reusable Snack Bags! Waterproof, washable and absolutely adorable, they now replace my endless use of ziploc bags for carrying my kids’ snacks around in my bag.

They come in a bunch of cute designs including firetrucks, Dr. Seuss, dinosaurs and more. My kids love unzipping them and indulging in their snacks. And not only am I saving myself from a car full of little baggies, it’s way better for the environment too.

More info:

  • They’re labtested food safe 
  • Zipper closure
  • These ones measure 7″W x 3.5″H but there are other sizes!
  • BPA, PVC, Vinyl, Phthalate and Lead free
  • Machine washable & dishwasher-safe (top rack) 
  • Sold in single or multiple packs!

Bumpkins Reusable Snack Bags are the BEST for school snacks too. Tupperware can take up space so these are a great alternative. I highly recommend these adorable snack bags for daily use or even back-to-school gifting!

I Love You, Gro-Clock



I swear my 3 & 5 year old boys were farmers in their past lives. Every morning the little boogers were up before the sun. I loved their enthusiasm for the day, I just wished they could be enthused a little more quietly.

I began to understand though, that they just had no concept of time. They were awake and wanted to party. I tried explaining to them that they were up way to early, but they just didin’t get it… until I bought their Gro-Clocks.

It’s like something clicked when we set their clocks up – which is ridiculously easy by the way! The visual of seeing a blue star at night and a yellow sun in the morning really helped their cute little brains grasp the concept of what a decent wake-up time is.

I was able to set the time when “the sun would come up” letting them know it was cool for them to get up and party. Until that sun came up though, they were to remain in their rooms and play quietly.

Instead of the typical twelve numbers around the clock, there are twelve stars. As each hour passes at night, a star disappears. So eventually my boys understood that if they woke up and there were a bunch of stars, it was still the middle of the night and they had to go back to bed. This helped my younger boy, Joshua with his frequent night wake ups – little dude just didn’t know it was still the middle of the night.

The Gro-Clock really helped them understand the concept of time. I swear by these things! If your toddlers get up a lot at night or are early risers GET THIS CLOCK!!! It has seriously made a difference for us.

I got both of ours at Amazon. They’re cheaper here than other places I have looked and they shipped in no time at all – and shipping’s free after $25 – score! Get your Gro-Clock Sleep Trainers today. Sweet dreams, Mammas!

What are some of your favourite products that actually helped make life easier? Please share them with me!!

Is There a Cure for This Mommy Brain Thing?


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Focusing is something I really struggle with lately. I know that “mommy brain” is an actual thing so it makes me feel better about my lack of concentration. But it doesn’t make things any less frustrating. It’s annoying how easily an idea that just entered my mind fades away like cotton candy in water…and I’m left feeling as panicked and bewildered as this poor dude:

I get agitated when I think of an item I need to add to my grocery list but can’t find a pen to quickly jot it down. It’s that bad – if I don’t write down the important thing that floats into my mind within 30 seconds, it’s gone. It’ll pop up at some other time during the day, but probably when I’m driving or showering.

At least three times a day I find myself standing in front of the fridge holding the doors open asking out loud what the heck did I need again? Or as I’m heading downstairs to the cold room for a jar of tomato sauce, it may occur to me that I’d like something sweet with my coffee later. Naturally I return upstairs with all the ingredients for pineapple up-side-down cake but no jar of sauce. Frig! Downstairs I go again.

Please tell me some mommies out there can relate? Any tips of how to focus again?

 

Unleashing My Inner Hulk


When Jacob whines, I want to grab a chair and throw it through the window. When he has a tantrum, I want to have my own tantrum too. I want to stomp and shout and cry and shriek and smack my head against the wall.

I never knew that I could feel such turmoil and violence inside of me. I feel like any second I’ll morph into The Hulk and start throwing furniture around the room. But while all these feelings are building up inside of me and my blood is reaching a hot, scolding boiling point, this is how I look:

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I look patient and kind and understanding. Somewhere on my skull there is a throbbing, pulsing vein as I contain these feelings. They are pushed down into my gut for the time being. But they get their chance to be unleashed at the right moment. Whether it’s when I’m alone in my room and I scream into the pillow, cry while I’m showering, sob as I tell my husband about how horrible our two year old treated me today, kick the stuffed animal that’s in my path, scrub hardened food off a plate with way more pressure than needed…

There are many opportunities for me to unleash. And I never let one pass me by. Having my own little fifteen-second tantrums, while alone and out of earshot from my children, are what let me remain calm and collected during my toddler’s tantrums. I’m able to stay in a logical frame of mind – remembering that Jacob is only two and has yet to learn to control his emotions. I can stay calm and guide him through his frustration and anger, rather than react to it with my own yelling and screaming.

I also tell any moms who listen about how tantrums make me feel like my head will explode. I think it’s good for us to share these stories. It makes me feel less crazy when I know a fellow mom cries in the shower too. And better yet, I learn new unleashing techniques!

What are some of the ways you unleash after a day of listening to tantrums and whining? Let’s all help each other stay sane.  

THREE Ways This Pregnancy Is Different from the First


In case my 700+ blog followers don’t know yet, we’re PREGNANT! Before you read on, just know that I AM excited about it. The following post is just about my pregnancy this time around…and how it’s not as awesome as the first one.

Napping is Hard

When I was pregnant with Jacob and I was tired I simply got comfortable and drifted off into a nice little piece of heaven. This time around, I’m lucky if I can close my eyes for a few minutes without a matchbox car being driven over my forehead.

I Don’t Feel Like a Million Bucks

Just like my first pregnancy my skin looks great, my hair is thick and I have a nice glow. Sounds soooo terrible, right? Ha! Well during my first pregnancy I had time to pamper myself. So my nice skin could be moisturized, and I could put makeup on to accent my cheekbones and eyes. And I could style my hair into a fun messy bun, or large beachy waves.

Now I’m lucky to put chapstick on and my hair gets thrown into a ponytail. I’m too tired to try looking nice. And on the days that I want to put the effort in, my two year old decides he wants to put makeup on like mommy, and I have a bigger mess to clean.

My outfits are a joke. Track pants and sweaters are my go-to items. Fast and comfortable. In a nutshell it’s hard to feel like a million bucks these days.

I’m Not as Giddy as the First Time

Maybe it’s because I know what’s coming. Oh my, that sounds so foreboding! I don’t mean that I’m not looking forward to having a precious newborn arrive, I’m referring to the Dark Days that are the first 6 weeks post partum.

With my first pregnancy I had NO idea what to expect. I thought it would be like playing house. What a rude awakening I had. Being a first time mom was HARD! So I just feel a little overwhelmed about how much my new bundle of joy will need me, as well as how much my toddler will need me as this BIG change happens.

BUT!! This time around at least I know that it passes! I can remind myself that it’ll go by in a haze but that things WILL get better. And although it’ll feel like there is no end in sight, I will KNOW that there is because I’ve done it before and it MUST have been worth it if I’m doing it again.

How did you feel during your second pregnancy? Any tips on ways to lift myself up a bit?

I Thought I Birthed an Angel, Until He Turned Two


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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.

Five Things that Jacob and I Have in Common…


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Jacob will turn two in July. That means the two of us will have spent 730 days and approximately 17, 520 hours together – well minus the hours when we’re sleeping.

In this time I have noticed that, even with our huge age gap, we have A LOT in common…

1)      We both like colouring. I’ll pick up a crayon and colour with Jacob any time. I find colouring to be relaxing. I love the smell of Crayola crayons. And I feel so accomplished when I’ve turned the drab black and white drawing into something colourful and fun. Plus, Jacob thinks I’m so awesome at colouring.

2)      We both like Thomas & Friends. I have always loved trains. Something about them, even with their loud disruptive whistle, soothes my soul. The hollow sound of the wheels clickety clacking on the tracks in a rhythmic beat makes me feel at ease. You have NO idea how excited I was when Jacob first showed an interest in trains. I knew the moment he said his first “choo choo!” that we’d be best friends for life.

3)      We both love to read. Since Jacob was able to hold his own little head up, I sit cross-legged on the floor with him in my lap and read him stories. We both look forward to reading before bed. Right now, The Gruffalo is still our favourite…it’s the first book I ever read him.

4)      We both love cuddling. I have always been an affectionate person, so it makes sense that Jacob is too. When he grabs a blanket and pulls at your shirt, he’s up for some cuddle time on the couch. I can only hope it will last as long as possible, because it’s such a special time.

5)      We both think farts are the funniest thing on earth. Some people find them rude, crude and disgusting. But Jacob and I will collapse to the floor laughing any time he toots…which is REALLY often.

What do you and your children have in common? 

Don’t Get Mad Get Even Nicer


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The first time I learned about the idea of “killing with kindness” was when I read Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. For those of you who haven’t read the story it’s about a man who meets an angry, rude, disrespectful woman. He continues to be kind to her no matter how badly she treats him, and soon enough her anger melts away because no matter how hard she tries, nothing she does provokes him. And they lived happily ever after.
Have you ever tried doing this? It’s funny how well it actually works. I have had TONS of opportunities because I’m a customer service rep part-time. I am the one the angry customer unleashes on. The one who takes the punch, gets back up, finds her balance, and then braces herself for the next jab.
For a long time I would take things personally. I would want to yell back, cry, defend myself. But then I would only fuel their anger even more. And worse, risk losing my job. I hated feeling so defeated all the time. I needed to grow thicker skin.
Instead, I just learned how to change my perspective. I’ve learned a few things:

  • I am not the one they’re mad at
  • I am most likely the tenth person they’ve had to explain their issue to
  • They don’t feel like they can trust yet another sales rep to resolve their issue
  • They have had an awful experience and FINALLY can tell someone face to face how pissed they are about it
  • The louder they yell, the calmer I need to be
  • The angrier they are, the more pleasant I must be
  • And even though what happened isn’t my fault, I need to apologize like it is

In a nutshell, don’t get mad get even nicer. It sounds like I’m telling you to be a doormat when people are rude to you, but I’m not. Instead, be a marshmallow. Let the anger bounce off of you, but continue to be kind…sweet, that niceness is what will bounce back and slap them in the face, not your anger. And they won’t know what to do with it.
They’ll be so confused by your reaction of niceness that their rage literally melts away. Their behaviour goes from rude or obnoxious to quiet and reserved. How can they justify continuing to be angry and rude to someone who is so darn nice? That would put them in the wrong, and suddenly they’re the bad guy. And who wants to be the bad guy?
You don’t have to be in customer service to run into rude people either. They’re everywhere. On the highway, at the mall, in the parking lot, coffee shop. Whenever I run into someone who’s obviously angry, I remind myself that I have no idea what their life is like and what struggles they’re facing. Of course, that doesn’t give them a license to be rude, but they’re just easily triggered by obstacles throughout their day and the anger just spills out of them.
I know they saw my signal on to get into a parking spot but they took it anyway. They saw me walking right behind them with a toddler in my arms and rushed into the elevator before I could and didn’t hold the “door open” button. In both cases, I make sure to make eye contact with the individual, smile and say “Hi”. I don’t give them the reaction they expect. Perhaps it makes the path for the next person they run into that day a little less bumpy.

NOW I Get It!


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Photo source

There were a couple of things people would say to me over and over again during my pregnancy and after Jacob was born. At first, I took these phrases with a grain of salt and shrugged them off. But soon, I preferred to shovel a spoonful of salt into my mouth rather than hear yet another piece of advice.

Enjoy your sleep now!

I was so sleep deprived from discomfort. I had to accommodate this massive watermelon at my midriff, get up to pee three times, prop myself up to avoid acid reflux, and it was always so darn hot! My blood would boil when people would tell me to stock up on sleep.

And of course, just a few days after Jacob was born I understood what they all meant. Waking up because of my own discomfort seemed like a luxury compared to waking up to the shrieking cry of Jacob…who needed me, no matter how run down I was.

Enjoy these moments, they fly by.

I refer to the first month of being a new mother as “The Dark Days.” I was exhausted, terrified, lost and desperate. And Jacob pretty much cried the whole first month. Of course, when visitors would come by he was a sleeping angel. So as they held my sleeping son, they’d tell me how precious this first little while was. I’d nod and smile, but really I was wishing he was in college already. I was too tired to understand how today, right now, I would give anything for those tender moments with him as a newborn.

Now that he’s walking running he doesn’t want to cuddle. He is never still and quiet; content to be in my arms. I totally get it now. So when he does feel affectionate, I drop whatever I am doing and run to him.

What are some of the things people say to you that drive you bonkers?

Moms Being Honest


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Photo Credit: Rants from Mommyland

One of the best things that helps keep me sane is talking to my best friend Ursula when I’m having a tough day. I can tell her how I really feel without fear of being judged. I’ve even said: “I’m so tired! When I woke up this morning, I kinda wished my only role in life was Cristina with no responsibilities. Not Cristina the new mom or Cristina the wife. I just wanted to get up, get dressed and go have a day alone.”

She knows that nowhere in that statement do I wish that I didn’t have Jacob or not be married to Andrew. And I don’t have to explain that to her. I don’t feel the need to make sure she knows because I know she understands. It’s great to be able to be so honest with her. And have her be honest in return. There is no comparing between her son Christian and my son Jacob. We don’t gloat about how they’re progressing. We don’t gloat about our routines and how they work for us or what good eaters our sons are.

Sometimes I find that talking to moms who I don’t have a close relationship with makes me feel inadequate. They talk about how much they love every second of motherhood, and I start to feel guilty about all the moments I wished to just be alone for a while. Then there are other moms who are completely honest about their struggles and even laugh with me when I tell them my own blunders. It’s such a breath of fresh air.

I know I’m not alone in being an imperfect mother when I have talks with other moms who are honest. It feels really good to be able to share my feelings without feeling like a bad mother. Thank goodness for moms being honest!