This is my space for all the things that I love, things that are close and personal to me: motherhood, my babies, family, and special moments. Here are some posts that’ll give you a glimpse into my happy, lovely, yet sometimes awkward world:
Last year, I was so overwhelmed with my new job that I took myself out of the school mom role completely. This includes packing lunch, getting them ready for school, drop-off and pick-up, and homework. Zero involvement. I left it up to my husband to fill the “school mom” role and my parents were there for support as well. It made me feel crummy, but it was the best thing for my sanity.
This year, I really want to be involved. I really do. But I need to set my expectations very low and make their school stuff part of my daily routine. So far, I’ve been packing their lunch everyday, getting them ready for school and dropping them off the morning. It’s been 3 days and we’re off to some good habits. The homework hasn’t kicked in yet, but my husband agreed to take that on since he’s with them in the afternoons.
I’m not going to be a PTA mom or a volunteer. I threw those request forms right in the trash. I know I won’t have time for it and I immediately felt the weight lifted off my shoulders when I admitted that it’s just not something I’m going to even try to commit myself to. I’ll just take it one week, one day at a time.
The start of the new school year is a big step for the kids for sure, but they are resilient, flexible and adapt to change well. It’s more of an adjustment for me to understand my role and limitations of being a school mom. It’s one of the many hats that I have to wear…this one doesn’t fit me very well. So even with these lower expectations, I really hope I don’t suck this year at being a school mom.
“Play a song on the piano” has been a bit of a challenge. Arielle and Zavier started taking piano lessons this summer and after 5 weeks, the teacher decided that Zavier was just not ready. He really tried, but Zavier doesn’t have the attention span. Arielle, however, is doing great and plays many songs! So we can kinda sorta check that off the list.
We didn’t put Disney on our summer bucket list because we’re season pass holders and our black-out dates are through the months of June and July. We are perfectly okay with that because we’d have to deal with the summer crowds and the summer heat. Instead we opted for Legoland – still a fun theme park, perfect for their ages and a lot less hectic. Everything was awesome!
We still have a ton left on our summer bucket list, but there are things that just aren’t going to happen – like visit Nickelodeon Suites (closed), visit Connecticut (maybe later), and complete the summer reading challenge (oops!). But we also covered off a lot of stuff that wasn’t originally on the list – like spend time with friends and family visiting from out of town. I swear, we had guests over almost every other weekend! My kids are the ones with no or one shoe:
I actually felt like a good mom that week. I left work at a decent hour to get her to her rehearsals on time. We spent time together as I put effort into doing her hair and make-up. I coached her through her pre-stage jitters and encouraged her to have fun.
The kids are on a short, 8-week summer vacation this year and we created a bucket list.
I’m a strategic planning manager by profession, but I actually stink at making plans for my personal life. It actually gives me anxiety. So this is the closest thing I have to planning for our family activities. So far, so good – we’ve actually knocked out three of the activities so far!
Speaking of being strategic planning manager…I am loving my job right now! I recently had the opportunity to speak in front of our licensee network on the importance of the associate experience to the future of our retail business. This is all part of the Choose to be Extraordinary program that I’m spearheading for our organization.
Then there’s babywearing. So much of my relationship with Alyssa and being a mom of three has been supported by babywearing and the community of friends I’ve made online and in real life. I have so many moments where I feel run down, tired, anxious, and stressed. More than I care to admit. My husband sees it, my parents see it, and unfortunately my kids see it, too. But I collect these pretty wraps and it’s kind of like a tangible thing that reminds me of all the support and love I have in my life. And when I get a chance to wrap, sometimes I feel pretty.
Recently, she became addicted to iPhone entertainment – she can open the Netflix app when she wants to watch Barney or tap on the YouTube app when she wants Elmo. (Insert #badparenting comment here.) Anyway, I figured out that if you sing the Elmo theme song, “La la la, la la la, Emlo’s World” while you’re taking a photo, she will sing along. And if you snap the photo at just the right time, then she actually looks like a happy toddler!
She also loves the Barney episode where they sing the “Happy Birthday” song. So when there’s no one around, I light a candle and we sing happy birthday. She really gets into it and even waits until the end to blow out the candle!
I asked him if he even knew what “graduation” means and he said enthusiastically, “Yeah! Dat means my go to Kinde-gauten!!!” He still talks funny. He’s quite shy, but seems to do okay as long as his big sis is around. I love his tanned, sweet face. He always has a goofy glimmer in his eye.
Anytime he has a dollar, he holds it proudly in his grubby hands and flashes it to people in public. So we bought him a wallet shaped like an emoji, but he still prefers to hold it. Here he is with a whopping ten-dollar bill in his hand – a gift from his grandparents on his special day.
Your future is bright, young Zavier. The world has so much to offer than just Ninja Turtles and Angry Birds. Eventually you’ll be speaking clearly and in Kindergarten you’ll probably learn that the center part of the Alphabet Song is not “Emmo, emmo, P” but that there are real letters in there (i.e., L, M, N, and O). Until then, enjoy the summer!
I’m super thankful for my parents, who graciously let us invade their home during our transition here to Florida. Living with my parents now that I’m 33 with kids is just as awesome as it was when I was living with my parents when I was 13. I don’t have to cook or clean or do laundry or pay bills! Seriously, I’m so spoiled here with the free babysitting, too. And it’s oddly comforting to be under my parents’ roof. I even got tucked in the other night.
I got super lucky with the kids that God has given us. I’m sure every parent thinks their kids are the best kids, but mine really are the best. They are super sweet and well behaved. Insightful, thoughtful and such a joy to be around. They are kind to others and more importantly, to each other. The only time they are brats is when they are fighting for my attention. Other than that, they are really awesome little humans.
I am so thankful for my new job. Not only to be employed, because that really is true blessing, but because of the amazing people I work with. Sometimes, I sit in meetings and I’m blown away by how intelligent these people are. I listen and observe and think, “Holy shit! That person is so smart. That is a genius idea!” I cannot tell you how inspiring it is to be surrounded by people who are smart, but at the same time humble and kind. They are not intimidating and they make me feel like I have a place at the table and value my input. Not only that, but I get to work on the coolest projects.
A Home to Call Home
We left our home in Illinois about five months ago and I’m anxious to move into our home in Florida. It is exactly the same in terms of square footage and number of rooms. It even has a very similar layout. I’m very thankful that we will soon have a place to call home.
Okay, I know I said five things, but I’m adding one more. I’m thankful for babywearing – which has been a very strange hobby of mine over the last six months. This has given me an avenue for me to bond with Alyssa, who is growing way too fast. I love being able to carry her close, especially since I miss out on so much time with her when I’m at work. I never got to do this with Arielle and Zavier, so this will always be our special thing.
I just adored her cake, but when it came time to dig into her smash cake she was overly distracted from all the singing and the people and a giant giraffe (don’t ask).
Overall, I think she enjoyed her birthday. I bet she won’t even remember this short and sweet celebration, but I certainly will. I loved the pink and gold theme so much that I think that I will carry the theme over to her bedroom when we get our new house. In the meantime, if you are feeling inspired to have a pink and gold star themed birthday for your little girl, here’s my Pinterest board for some other great ideas.
Then, everything went in slooooooow moooootion. The crossing guards start to make their way towards the center of the road – lifting their arms up with their flashing STOP signs in one hand and creating an invisible protective shield with their other hand. The cars yielded. All of a sudden, I felt this sense of urgency – Quick! I have to send her on her way before the crossing guards remove their invisible force field!
I let go of her tiny hand and she looked ahead to cross that street by herself. I imagined a tiny creature in her body puffing up and filling her with courage. It’s a rare occasion for my six-year-old to cross the street without holding a grown-up’s hand.
But I couldn’t let her go just yet. “Arielle, wait!” She stopped in her tracks and looked back at me, then back at the road ahead. I took a few steps towards her, tucked her hair behind her ear and gave her a reassuring smile and said, “Have a good day, honey.”
I rested my hands on my knees so we were about eye-level and hesitated.
Will she do it?
Will she kiss me?
I hear too many stories from traumatized moms whose kids refuse to kiss them in public places. I would die.
To my delight, her face lit up and she kissed me quickly and said, “Okay, Mommy! Love you!” and turned around and made her way across the street.
Just like that. Of all the crazy things that are happening right now, that simple interaction hit me like a ton of bricks. How did she get to be so big, so fast?
My favorite part was after she made it safely across the street, she looked back to make sure I was still watching her. She gave me a silly little wave and went about her way. I took one final panoramic glance at the morning scene before heading about my way and realized that she is still a tiny human being in the grand scheme of things.
For the record, this did not make me cry. It just blew my mind for a moment – my daughter crossing the street. Who knew?
PS Follow me on Instagram to catch all the other mundane moments that take my breath away:
It’s also nice to break free from the stroller, which we barely even use anymore. It’s so much easier to carry her at the beach.
But babywearing is a lot more than convenience and multi-tasking. It’s about holding her close, or as they say in the babywearing community, “Close enough to kiss.”
After a long day at work, I look forward to changing out of my office attire and putting on a wrap to soak in all the snuggles. I feel present when she is literally attached to me. There’s so much joy in these moments.
She’s completely content with me, too, as you can see.
OK, so I’m a little bit obsessed. And I take too many babywearing selfies. Guilty as charged! I just don’t want to forget this special bond I have with her.
Because she’s only going to be this little for a short amount of time. I’m reminded of this everyday when I see my big girl Arielle and big boy Zavier, and I so wish that I could have carried them this way.
Because there’s no such thing as too much snuggles with a little baby.
Sweet Alyssa, I hope you remember how much I love to carry you close. All the snuggles. All the kisses.
It’s all happening so fast! After having the best maternity leave ever, we talked about taking the leap to leave Illinois and move to Florida to enjoy beautiful weather, cheaper cost of living, and be closer to my parents. Months went by, and then all of a sudden – a job opportunity came, I interviewed, got the job, and they wanted me to start right away!!!
There’s so much to do in this short, aggressive timeline: Stage and sell our current home, wrap up things at my current job, pack, close accounts and memberships at local places, get ready for a BIG road trip with 2 kids, 1 infant, and a dog…good thing I’m a Project Manager, right? This is testing my organization and planning skills to the limits.
Just one thing I didn’t take into account – saying goodbye to my home and the place I grew up. My emotions are completely throwing me for a loop. I had a melt down when I went to pick up moving boxes that I found on Craigslist. I told the nice couple who had just moved into their home about our situation and how I grew up in the area and I had the best childhood ever. That poor couple was probably like, “Geez, just take the boxes already!” Haha!
I can’t even stop to breathe or process all the emotions that are going through my head. Like I said in my last post – I want to jump, cry, giggle, fist pump, and vomit all at the same time. Life is happening and I wanted to stop and write about it while I was in the middle of this crazy array of emotions.
And I’m in my bathing suit. That might seem random since it’s not my typical blog attire, but I guess not since I’m moving to Florida.
Recently, I got to play a small role in a video as a store associate helping out a customer. The video was for an internal meeting and it’s not available to share with the public, but I swear it happened:
And then on Wednesday, I was one of the models for a video that will go online on sears.com. (Did I mention that I worked there? Sears Corporate Headquarters, that is.) The video was for “How to Wear a Dress” for specific body types and how to accessorize for the day and night. This was so much fun that I just had to share part of my work on my blog! Here are some behind-the-scenes pics:
This is what happens when you work just down the hall from the people who produce these videos. I was so happy they asked me to come along – definitely a fun experience compared to a day in the office! I will be sure to post an update when the video is up on sears.com!
After an hour, my total earnings was one dollar and forty-eight cents. (You see what I did there? I spelled it out because it looks like a lot more than $1.48.) My original plan was to do six hours on Friday and six hours on Saturday. At the rate I was going, my total earnings would be $15.36.
By noon, I made the call to quit my own garage sale. There were so many other things I could have done on my day off than to sit around and wait for my stuff to sell. I could spend time with my kids, have a nice lunch, and then take a beautiful nap…and I did just that!
As for my goldmine of unwanted crap, there was still hope. I ended up selling a big chandelier on a local Facebook group for $40 later that same day. The house and baby stuff were in good condition so donated those items and now I can claim it as a tax deduction. Lastly, I saved my designer purses and shoes so I could sell them on Poshmark:
So I’ll admit that I’m a quitter and that my garage sale was an epic failure. I’m sure there are some people who make a ton of money when it comes to garage sales. But the time it took to plan, set-up, and wait for someone to buy something for waaaaaay less than I hoped for was just not worth it for me. I’ll just stick to the garage sale shopping!
Have you had any luck with selling your stuff at garage sales?
I don’t remember exactly how I “met” Rea, but I’ve been following her blog for about a year now. She’s a working mom like myself and she’s all the way from the Philippines! When I read her blog, I get a sense of her lifestyle and I imagine that’s how my life would be if I were a working mom in the Philippines. She has an optomistic outlook on motherhood, relationships, and life. We could all use more positive friends like that regardless of whether it’s in real life or in the blogging world; nearby or in far away countries.
So, what is Ask Away Friday? It’s when two blogging friends ask each other 10 questions so that they can be BBFs (Bloggy Best Friends) and so our readers can get to know us better, too. Then, we all link up to a big party that is hosted by these lovelies:
Here’s what Rea wanted to know about me. Don’t forget to check out her answers to my questions here.
1. I know your maternity leave was grand! What are some adjustments you need to make now that you’re back to being a working mom?
I went from being a beach bum and mall rat during my maternity leave to a full-time career woman, mom, cook, and cleaning lady. AAHHHH! My head spins when get a chance to stop and think about all I have to do.
I just have to be more organized. I plan out the family’s week and balance everything between my work schedule and my husband’s work schedule. On the weekends, I go grocery shopping and I plan what we will eat for the week – a few home cooked meals and a few quick n’ easy pre-cooked meals. Every night, I try to organize everything needed for the following day: the kids’ school stuff, the baby’s milk stuff, and my work stuff. Lots of stuff!
2. Have you considered the idea of being a stay at home mom? Do you think it is possible for you to leave the corporate world in the future? Why or why not?
There are times when I think being a stay-at-home mom would be ahhhmazing because the corporate environment can be stressful; however, I got restless towards the end of my maternity leave and looked forward to going back to work. I thrive off of being productive because my mind is always active. I also love having a career and I take pride in being able to provide for my family.
Here’s a picture of me in my work habitat:
Yes, that’s a work selfie. No, I’m not really working in that other picture. And can you see the nod to Mommy A-Z in the background?! Oh, and do those DIY Instagram Photo Magnets on the far right look familiar?
3. Show us a snapshot of a happy moment you have recently and tell us the story behind it.
This was taken just before I went back to work. My friends came over to meet Alyssa and we had one giant playdate!
These are my life long girlfriends and we go waaaaay back. Way back before we had boobs. Way back when we had braces. Way back when boys still had cooties… It was surreal to be surrounded by my childhood girlfriends with their babies and pregnant bellies. I almost cried. I’m blessed to have such dear good friends.
4. I’ve seen some of your DIY creations. Do you have any DIY baby stuff in mind for Alyssa? Or anything that you are working on right now?
There are so many DIY baby projects that I would love to do for Alyssa. I just don’t have the time to stop and actually do the “Do It” part of the DIY. I want to do more baby photo shoots with her and get more practice on my fancy camera. It doesn’t even have to be elaborate. I just want to capture her in her everyday loveliness.
5. I’ve been following your blog for some time now and I see that you take a vacation in Florida from time to time. What are some things that you love about Florida that are not in Chicago and things you love about Chicago that are not in Florida?
I want to move to Florida! I’m not kidding. Florida has the beautiful weather, the beaches, my parents, and hellllerrr DISNEY WORLD!
But Chicago* has my heart. I grew up here and most of my family and friends are here. Sweet home, Chicago.
*Well, not really Chicago. Chicagoans get really pissed when suburbians say they are from Chicago. I’m actually from the northwest ‘burbs, but nobody knows where that is so I just say CHICAGO.
6. Describe Arielle, Zavier, and Alyssa in 3 words each.
Arielle: Quirky, charming, articulate
Zavier: Goofy, sensitive, affectionate
Alyssa: Sweet, yummy, squishy
7. You mentioned that you’ve always stayed in your comfort zone. Aside from your job role transition, what are other events in your life that made you leave your comfort zone? What are some things that you’d like to try which are different from what you usually do?
I’m very awkward in real life social situations. I’m okay in small groups, but the words “networking event” make me want to hide in a quiet place and call my mom. Seriously, when there was an ice cream social at work, I got my ice cream and ate it at my desk and had my own little “ice cream anti-social.”
Anyway, I attended MommyCon as an official “Sisterhood Journalist” the other week. It was my first event that I covered as a blogger. This forced me to step out of my comfort zone and interact with other attendees and network with the vendors. (I’m almost done writing my guide to MommyCon post, so stay tuned for that!)
I think it was the Media badge and the selfie stick that gave me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone and get out there and meet people. Here are some mommas that also sport the Tula Baby Carriers:
8. You have a very lovely house/home! You’re so blessed! What’s your favorite spot at home? Please show us a photo!
My favorite spot is the living room. It’s the only room in the house that manages to stay clean for some reason. When we hang out here, it’s solid quality time where we play the piano, karaoke, read, play games, or just talk.
9. I know that you’d love to visit the Philippines if you get the chance. What are you most looking forward to when you do get to visit? Any Tagalog words or phrases you already know?
I would love to visit my grandparents and see where my parents grew up in Tarlac. I would also love to see where my husband grew up in Batangas and pay my respects to my father-in-law who recently passed away.
I would love to explore the beaches, get cheap pedicures and massages, and maybe go to a Ryzza Mae show. I know some words and phrases in Tagalog, but not enough to get around. I can sing karaoke songs in Tagalog! And if all else fails, I’ll just point with my lips if I need something.
10. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned so far from your marriage?
I’ve learned that marriage needs to be a priority, not just an after-thought. There’s so much stuff going on with work, finances, the kids, the baby, and our crazy schedules – so it’s easy to forget about our relationship. Before we got married, our pastor told us that the best gift we could ever give our children is a mom and dad that love each other and stay together.
I’m thankful everyday for my husband, my kids, my family and friends, our health, the food on the table and the roof over our heads. That’s obvi. But sometimes it’s those little things that deserve a special thank you note. So here goes:
Thank you, boobs, for giving me the superhero powers to feed and nourish my little baby. Special shout-out goes out to Left Boob, for being a ridiculous overachiever and making me my chest look freakishly lopsided.
Sometimes I feel like my world revolves around my boobs. Seriously, I have to drop everything when it’s feeding time! My parents refer to me as a “Milk Production Agency” or call me the “Milk Lady.” Arielle once drew a picture of me as a cow with udders and a calf sucking from them. (I really wish I saved that picture!) Again, thank you to my boobs for plumping up these chubby cheeks:
Thank you, confused receptionist at the hair salon, for totally forgetting that I arrived for my appointment and keeping me waiting for so long…and then making up for it by giving me a complimentary massage and 50% off my entire service! And thank you, Cara at Spa Bleu, for making this momma feel pretty again! (Even though the only place I went was to Target to walk around aimlessly.)
Thank you, Tula baby carrier, for letting me hold my baby close while getting stuff done around the house! I thought my hands would be tied with three kids, but I’m able to cook, do laundry, get A&Z ready for school/ready for bed, work, and even hang pictures on the wall while carrying the baby. This thing has been a life saver!
She’s close enough for me to kiss her anytime I want! And when I glance down, I see this cutie pie looking up at me:
Don’t you want to kiss her???
Thanks for reading along on my first “Thank You Notes”! (Please excuse the grainy iPhone photos and the glasses.)
What are you writing “thank you notes” for this week?
I’m officially back to work from the Best Maternity Leave Ever. It’s been a challenge to get into the swing of things like dealing with the cold weather, getting the kids back to school, and keeping up with the fast-paced work environment. So far I didn’t forget to wear pants to work (yes, that actually happened! Read about it here), but I did forget my baby’s name. Someone at work asked me what her name was and my mind went completely blank. You can blame it on the “mommy brain” but I assure you, it’s more complicated than that.
Let me ‘splain. I forgot my baby’s name because we’ve all been calling her different things:
(And while I’m at it, here are Alyssa’s newborn photos that I’ve been meaning to share. She’s already three months old so it’s now or never! These photos were done by Ashley Gee Imagery)
We had a hard time deciding on what to name her and she had no name for the first two days after she was born. At that time, she was known as “Baby Girl Tamanio.”
I decided that I wanted to name her “Alyssa” because it sounded nicely with her siblings’ names, “Arielle and Zavier.” Also, I figured that if Arielle’s nickname is “Arie” and Alyssa’s nickname is “Allie,” then “Arie and Allie” would have a nice ring to it.
Jeffrey wanted to name her “Jaime” after his late father. However, Zavier was already named after Jeff’s dad because his middle name is “James.” Also, I’m not a fan of the unisex names (personal preference, no offense). So the compromise was that her middle name would be “Jaime” on her birth certificate. Regardless of what her name is on paper, Jeff insists on calling her “Jaime.”
And then there are the many silly names that Zavier gives her. He’s three years old and is super proud to be a big bro. I don’t know where these names come from, but they’re pretty cute. There’s “Baby Ana,” “Bean” or “Beanie,” and my personal favorite – “Uncle Baby.”
In summary, her name is Alyssa. AKA Jaime. AKA Uncle Baby.
I guess it doesn’t matter what her name is. All I know is that she is so sweet and squishy and much bigger than she was during her newborn photo shoot. Here’s a more recent picture of her at 12 weeks:
I was intrigued by how simple this looked and then I bought a Moby wrap on impulse just before leaving for Florida. Alyssa and I loved it immediately! I was able to get stuff done around the house while she slept peacefully in the wrap. I looked up YouTube videos and learned how to breastfeed hands-free while wearing her. Ever since, it’s been our go-to carrier (no stroller!) when traveling and sightseeing with the baby:
At the beach:
At the mall:
At the restaurant:
At the zoo:
We’re in love with the Moby wrap! It’s so easy to travel with her and discreetly breastfeed in public. How did I not know about this with my other two babies?! I was hungry for more information on babywearing so started doing some research and came across a couple Facebook groups – and holy smokes! There’s an entire subculture and luxury goods market around babywearing. It’s a completely new world to me – from the different wraps, slings, carriers, holds, textures, colors and patterns. People collect, sell, and trade them in prices ranging from $100-1200+.
My faithful Moby wrap falls into the “stretchy wrap” category and is good for babies up to 15 lbs., so Alyssa and I will need a new one soon. I started pinning some of the pretty wraps and carriers on my Pinterest board here. I’d like to try different ones on before taking the plunge and spending over $100, and I found out that there are local babywearing chapters where you can try different ones on and even borrow from their library of carriers.
I also found out that MommyCon is coming to Chicago on February 21st ***SQUEAL*** where there will be a “Babywearing Lounge” where I can try on different carriers and get some help from babywearing experts.
Also, I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be attending on official business as a MommyCon blogger (in exchange for free admission to the event). I have a badge to prove it:
If you’re not familiar with this event, it’s a boutique-style convention with all sorts of seminars for parents-to-be, new parents, and parents with toddlers on breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, and organic products that fit into our modern lifestyles. You can check out the schedule of events in Chicago here. I’m looking forward to the Babywearing Lounge the most and I plan on bringing Alyssa so we can find a wrap or carrier that works for us.
This is my first event that I’m covering LIVE as a blogger and I’m a little nervous because I can be such an awkward person IRL. Sweaty upper lip, shifty eyes, nervous laughter. You won’t be able to tell if I’m too excited or if I have to pee…just plain awkward. (Okay, maybe I’m not that bad. Ha ha!) So I’m hoping that a few friends or readers will come along to take the edge off of my social weirdness! If you’re in the local area, you can come to MommyCon Chicago, too, and receive $5 off of the admission price using my promo code: MOMMYAZ15
Or you can enter for a chance to win a ticket for admission (a $40 value). Two winners will be chosen!!!
Here are some do’s and don’ts on how to have the best maternity leave ever:
Do make sure you know all about your employer’s maternity leave policies before your baby is born. This will put your mind at ease knowing exactly how much time you’ll get off, how much is paid versus unpaid, and knowing you’ll still have a job upon your return. It’ll be one less thing to worry about once you have everything squared away with HR and your manager.
Do sleep. Get lots of sleep. I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase, “Sleep when your baby sleeps.” Guess what? The newborn babies sleep on average of 16-17 hours a day. It might not be consecutive hours, but since you don’t have to clock-in at work, you’ll have the luxury of sleeping in or taking naps throughout the day. Naps with the baby make the best kind of naps.
Don’t stress about work. They will figure out a way to carry on without you. If you set your emails to automatically reply that you’re out of the office, they will quickly realize that you’re not available and not bug you.
Don’t take on big projects. You may think that 6-12 weeks off is a great time to take on that big reno or start working towards that masters degree. Uh, no. Big projects bring on big stress and there’s no room for that with a new baby. With my first maternity leave, I planned my wedding. On my second maternity leave, we took on the daunting task of house hunting. This third time around, the only project on my agenda is to love and get to know this baby.
Do take lots of pictures of your little baby. Their tiny faces change so much the first few months so hone in your mommarazzi skills and capture each and every squishy-faced moment.
Do take a vacation or stay-cation if your budget allows and if you’re comfortable with taking the baby out. The maternity leave period is a good time to get away since time off may be limited once you return to work. The kids and I went to Florida for an extended stay-cation at my parents’ house and skipped out on the brutal Chicago winter. Check out what we did here.
Do ask for help. If you need help – whether it’s for someone to watch the baby for a few hours so you can run errands or if you need advice from a lactation consultant – don’t be afraid to just ask!
Don’t worry about chores or housework. Those can wait. They’ll still be around even when your maternity leave is over. Which brings me to my last and final piece of advice…
Do nothing at all. Unless it involves kissing, hugging, starting at, nursing/feeding, smelling, cuddling, admiring, snuggling and just loving on your sweet baby, then nothing else matters. Forget about your smart phone, forget about social media, and go off the grid for a couple of days. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the days seem to last longer when I’m unplugged. And when it comes to maternity leave, you’ll want to stretch all the time you can get.
What’s your advice for having the best maternity leave ever?
My parents go there all the time for the bike trails and the fishing areas. They brought their beach tent so we could lounge or nap (or eat burgers) as we pleased.
On the gloomy or not-so-hot days we chill at the mall just to get out of the house. I feel like a teenager again! Except instead of getting crazy around the mall with my girlfriends, I’m getting nauseous around carousel with my kiddos.
Even Alyssa is a baby mall mouse. No stroller for this little diva! She likes to be toted around in a wrap or sling. I’m new to this babywearing thing, but so far it’s working out great!
My mom is loves wearing her in the sling, too:
We’ve definitely earned our “mall rat” status. So far we’ve been to Brandon Mall, International Plaza, Ellenton Premium Outlets, and the newest one, the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota.
The malls here are very nice, although I wish my bank account was fat enough so I could fully take advantage of all they have to offer! I swear, I’m not a shoppaholic. We just like to walk around and window shop…and eat.
And occasionally wear lampshades on our head. LOL
So that’s what we do the majority of the time here in Florida. Beaches and malls. Malls and beaches. Occasionally, we throw in a day where we exercise or golf, or learn a thing or two at the children’s museum, zoo, or aquarium…but mostly malls and beaches. Weeeeeeeeee! Love it!
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A&Z were hesitant about getting dirty, but quickly got over it when they discovered the seashells at their feet.
We ate lunch at Sandbar Restaurant, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The food there was delicious and the people there were friendly. Don’t my parents look like Alyssa’s mommy and daddy? The fellow patrons at the restaurant seemed to think so and they couldn’t believe that they were actually the grandparents.
After lunch, we spent the rest of the day playing on the beach. The kids loved it. It was a little too cold to go swimming, but they had a blast chasing the waves and playing in the sand. Little did they know that they traded white snow for white sand. Instead of building snowmen, they built sand castles.
It was a good day for seashell hunting, but I was too consumed with basking in the kids’ delight. Sorry for my unattractive feet and finger-toes. I just had to get this shot to remind myself that this is January and snow boots were not required here.
My parents were consumed with the baby. Alyssa was as happy as could be just beach bummin’ underneath the big umbrella.
We just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather, the water, and the fresh air. It was a lovely day, proving once again that Anna Maria Island is still my happy place.
P.S. I took these photos with my handy-dandy iPhone.