Maxi Skirt Heaven

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So I usually don’t like maxi dresses/skirts (unless I’m heavily pregnant) just because the length of it is always an issue when you are 5’2″.  But Stitch Fix sent me this great maxi skirt by Loveappella.  The light material is great for summer, the pattern is fun, and the length is absolutely perfect.  I matched it with an old Gap nursing shirt similar to this, but more form fitting.  Sammy is also chewing on her favorite Chewbeads.  If you’ve never heard of Chewbeads and your baby is teething, these things are awesome!!!  They look like any other fashion necklace out there, but these are made out of silicone.  If I wear Sammy, I don’t have to bring a teething toy when I wear her because she loves the Chewbeads.  I confess that I have worn my Chewbeads out sans baby as well just cause they look really nice.  And my shoes are the Rainbow flip flops I live in when it’s summer time.  It’s a great outfit to run errands in or for play dates on a warm summer day.

And in case you are wondering, that’s a Beach Front Baby Water Sling.  It’s made out of a jersey mesh material that’s perfect for a hot summer day and for when you want to take your baby with you into water like a swimming pool, sprayground, or calm ocean water.  It dries super quick and keeps Sammy cool, although I minimize the wearing just because we both get really sweaty and hot in the summer.

Pediatric Dentist Visit

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So the other day my son had his regular check up at the dentist, making this his third visit in his life.  His first two visits were disasters.  He was not interested in any strangers examining his mouth despite having the little dragon demonstrate how it is done.  There was screaming and crying–pretty typical behavior from a young child who just doesn’t understand what is going on.

This visit was met with great success because I really prepared my son for this visit, coupled with just a better understanding about things in general.  Ordinarily people say you should take your child with you when you, the parent, get your teeth cleaned so that they can see it’s safe and not scary.  And I would have done that, except our dental appointments were at times that would mean he would miss the entire day at school.  So I showed him a YouTube video of what happens at a dental visit for kids.  I knew he would be receptive to this because after I showed him a video of his sister at her swim lesson he suddenly was super pumped to go swimming instead of fighting us.  Anyhoo, he cooperated 100% with no tears or screaming, including getting x-rays done!  So if you can’t bring your kid to your dental appointment prior to their appointment, head on over to YouTube.  There are a lot of child friendly videos explaining what happens and the tools the dentist will use.  Good luck!

P.S. I was advised I should be flossing my son’s teeth?!?!

P.P.S. He’s still cavity-free!

Baby Jogger Glider Board

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Instead of buying a double stroller I bought the Baby Jogger Glider Board.  I liked how it encourages Oliver to walk more, but can give him a needed break on long outings like the zoo.  At first I really liked it, but the more we used it the more I fell out of love with it.  Oliver still loves it, but he’s just too tall for it.  As pictured above, he is always standing to the side because the handle bar of the stroller is in his face (plus he can’t quite see what’s up ahead).  This may be different if we had the City Mini GT, but we have the City Mini and it’s just awkward.  If you are pushing the stroller it is also awkward for the parent because the handle bar doesn’t stick out far enough.  You end up kicking the glider board, so you either walk weirdly, like a straddle, or you kind of guide the stroller along from the side.  When the glider board isn’t in use you can kick it up easily and it has bands to keep it up.  But it just falls down–A LOT!  It’s so annoying that I just take the glider board off the stroller when I know I’m not going to be transporting Oliver around.  The installation and disassembly of it isn’t so bad, so I take the time to do it.  The board makes the stroller significantly heavier and bigger when you are trying to lift it in and out of the trunk of your car.  I love how the City Mini has a small foot print and how light it is compared to other traditional strollers.  But once you attach that glider board it is very heavy and doesn’t lie as flat as it does without.

For right now it’s not a big deal because Sammy is still small enough that I can put her in the Ergo if Oliver is tired and wants to ride in the stroller.  I’ll have to worry about what to do when she becomes too heavy to wear.  Hopefully I have another year before it becomes a problem.

Turkey Meatloaf

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So with Sammy getting the hang of eating solids, we decided it was time to venture out from fruits and veg into meats. This Ina Garten recipe was a hit when Oliver was her age, and so tonight it was Sammy’s turn (she was a bit skeptical, but ate it with a little mash and steamed carrots).  I halved the recipe because no one wants meatloaf for days.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup of chopped onions
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. of fresh thyme
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/6 cup of Worcestershire sauce
3/8 cup of chicken stock
3/4 tsp. tomato paste
2 1/2 lbs. of ground turkey
3/4 cup of plain bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
~1/2 cup of ketchup

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.  Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste.  Take mixture and put in a bowl and let it cool in the freezer for about 5-10  minutes.  You don’t want to put your hot mixture in with your cool turkey because you will end up cooking some of the turkey.  Plus you don’t want to burn yourself doing the next step.

In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, turkey, bread crumbs, and egg. Mix well, but don’t over mix the turkey.  Once combined, put mixture on a baking sheet (I usually line mine with aluminum foil so there’s less clean up) and form mixture into a loaf shape.  Then take the ketchup and spread it evenly on top using an offset spatula.

Place in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until you get an internal temperature of 160°F (I always go by internal temperature).  Serve immediately and the next day the leftovers can be used in sandwiches.

Every Day Wear

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So my previous fashion post was probably not the most practical for any mom who’s breastfeeding a baby 8-12 times a day.  The t-shirt is nice, but quite annoying if you have to lift up your top that many times and you don’t want to ruin the collar by pulling it down.  So here’s the realistic mother fashion post for a mom with an infant (even though she’s only breastfed 3-4 times a day, but I definitely still wore this during the early newborn days).

I’m wearing a Gilligan & O‘Malley nursing camisole from Target.  I pretty much have one in every color.  I also love the henley cami version.  Thankfully my stylist at Stitch Fix was also keenly aware at how much a staple a nursing cami is for a mom.  She hooked me up with this 41Hawthorn knit cardigan for my first fix.  I live in a cami and cardigan, and I love the 3/4 length sleeve for summer (because we all know that the a/c is on and it gets too cold to just be wearing a cami).  To round off the outfit I’m wearing Lucky Brand denim Bermuda shorts.

This is what I wear pretty much every day around here.  I try to make it more interesting by wearing fun bottoms, cool shoes, and interesting cardigans.  But soon the breastfeeding days will pass and then I need to figure out another every day outfit.

Stitch Fix

So I joined Stitch Fix two months ago, and I have been surprisingly super pleased with the service.  I’ve gotten two “fixes” (fixes are what they call it when they send you your box of clothes), and I have been super super happy with what has been chosen for me.  I even made it very very clear that I am a breastfeeding mother, and they were able to find some tops that are ok to breastfeed in (obviously the camisoles are the easiest tops for breastfeeding, but I also don’t want to look too frumpy every day).

If you aren’t familiar with this new internet trend, Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription box (more or less).  You fill out a questionnaire about what your fashion style is and you give them your measurements.  The questionnaire includes different polyvore-type clothing boards that you rate so that your stylist can get a feel about what your style is and what should be included your box.  You also then have a personal comment box you can write to your stylist about anything specific you are looking for, like a dress for a beach wedding or tops you can breastfeed in.  Each fix comes with fives pieces of clothing and accessories your stylist thinks you’ll wear.  The only catch is that each fix costs $20.  However, the $20 will be applied to the pieces you want to purchase.  So you want to buy 3 of the 5 things sent, they’ll take off $20 and you pay whatever is left.  If you buy all 5 pieces, you get 25% off the entire fix.  Whatever pieces you don’t want to keep you can send back in a prepaid mailing bag that you send through USPS.  Super super easy!

It’s an awesome service, especially if you just hate shopping, don’t have time for shopping, and/or are fashion-hopeless.  As a busy mom, I fall in the category of no time for shopping on the verge of fashion-hopeless.  Haha.  I’m also kind of sad that I didn’t try Stitch Fix earlier because now they have maternity pieces!!!  Reasonably priced maternity clothing is absolutely bland.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get pregnant again and look to them for help!  😉

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Anyhoo, my very first fix I received these skinny jeans by Mavi Jeans.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t even think to try colored jeans.  I saw them and thought, “Well these are going back.”  I tried them on, and I seriously wanted to hate them.  But I was surprised I would like the bold color, the fit is great, and I love love love the tulip ankle.  What was initially deemed returnable has now become a beloved staple.  I am also wearing a printed t-shirt from Lucky Brand, flat gladiator-style sandals by Dolce Vita, and Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses (they didn’t come with the fix).

So far I’m really happy with Stitch Fix.  Like most people who subscribe to the service, I have a real hard time returning items because they just end up being great.  Hopefully I’ll keep posting more items I get as my personal journey towards fashionista mama instead of frumpy mama.

Summer Fun: The Beach!

So we’ve been super busy here.  It’s the summer time and we are just on the go go go go with vacations and birthdays.  I think I can finally catch my breath and post an update about our beach trip!

We recently took a road trip 4 hours away to the beach.  It was fantastic, tiring, and fun.  Thankfully my 3 year old occupied himself the entire time by singing and the baby took her naps in her car seat.  We stopped half way down at a Chick-Fil-A for lunch, and it happened to have a play place so my son could run around while we waited for our food.  On the way back was the same as well, but we stopped at Cracker Barrel instead.  My son had fun roaming the store and we played a little eye-spy in the restaurant.

The beach itself was interesting.  Armed with a lot of sand toys, my son enjoyed the beach.  At one point we really didn’t need the toys because he enjoyed chasing the seagulls.  Go figure.  My daughter enjoyed the beach and ocean so much.  She did not mind the waves coming in and she just splashed around like it was bath time.

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One thing I highly recommend, and researched for a month leading up to our beach trip, is a little cabana/tent.  I wanted one that was large enough for the kids to play or nap in; something that was easy to set up and take down; and something that wouldn’t take up a lot of space in our car.  The Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Cabana Beach Tent Sun Shelter totally fit the bill!  It opens and closes kind of like an awkward umbrella.  I think it was awkward for us since my husband and I are fairly short (he’s 5’7″ and I’m 5’2″).  But my husband managed to get it set up fairly quickly.  I also loved the little pockets on the sides of the tent to weigh it down with sand.  It also comes with stakes if you want to tie it down on grass surfaces.  I put a picnic blanket down because previous reviews said that the mat gets really hot when exposed to sunlight.  Inside you can easily set down two beach chairs, like the Tommy Bahama ones, and still have a lot of room for sand toys, coolers, beach bags, babies!  Depending on the time of day, the tent will provide a shadow at the front.  So my son was playing in the sand right outside of the tent and wasn’t in the harsh sunlight.  When it’s broken down, it is just slightly bigger lengthwise than a camping chair.  How awesome is that?!  The windows were great and allowed a breeze to flow through, but could be easily shut to stop the sunlight from burning a child. It’s a bit pricey, but for us totally worth it because we plan on using it for future beach visits.  So if you are in the market for one, I really recommend this one!

Overall our trip was quite the success.  My son at one point had the quintessential beach day:  no nap, sand, beach, ice cream, funnel cake, and fried chicken tenders with fries.  The only problem with a great long weekend at the beach is returning back to reality.  But imagine that with a threenager…

In the Moment

IMG_0213_FotorWe got this photo after we finished photographing my daughter’s 8 month photo.  I look like crap, but it shows her personality through and through.  Her brother was off to the side trying to make her smile, and they basically were giggling back and forth.  This happens on a daily basis, and it is the best thing ever.  I hope they continue to have a great relationship with each other.  It is amazing how much they love each other; and to see them both light up when they see each other, whether it’s first thing in the morning or when Oliver comes home from school.  I’m incredibly grateful tha they have each other and love each other so much.

P.S.  This was taken with a DSLR.

Relaxin

So it has been well documented in this blog that with my second pregnancy I had pubic bone pain, probably because I produced more relaxin in combination with general weakness from the relaxin during my first pregnancy.  Anyhoo, my pubic bone pain became such a big deal that I was seeing a chiropractor to help realign me and relieve the pain.

Fast forward to nearly 8 months postpartum, and I am in pain from a groin pull that happened last night from soccer.  Keep in mind that I haven’t had a groin pull in years!  I seriously can’t remember the last time I pulled my groin since I started wearing compression shorts as suggested by a trainer in college.  It seriously could be 10+ years.  So imagine my frustration and dismay to quit at half time because I just couldn’t jog, let alone play soccer.  My husband said that I am just old, which is true, but there has to be more to it.

So as I was lying in bed, moaning about the pain, I quickly did a Google search about relaxin.  Relaxin is the hormone produced during pregnancy to help loosen your ligaments to help your pelvis open up to push a baby through, but is nondiscriminatory so effects all joints in the body.  Why did I do a Google search for relaxin specifically?  Well, I have noticed that my hips and pubic bone aren’t quite 100%.  If I walk/run a lot (say a full soccer game) or an entire day of shopping, my legs feel like they are coming out of their sockets and sometimes a  little pain in the pubic bone area if it’s really bad.  (Also my historically bad shoulder has been really weak, as in it hasn’t been this bad since I first injured it.)  The last time I felt this kind of pain was when I was pregnant.  Turns out it takes a long time for relaxin to leave your body postpartum (a couple of months), and apparently your body produces relaxin if you are breastfeeding!  And this makes sense since Wikipedia says female breasts also produces the hormone.  Granted, the amount isn’t nearly as much produced when are you pregnant.  But the fact that it is present in your body is enough concern if you are trying to play coed soccer with people 10 years your junior who all played college level soccer.  No wonder I pulled my groin last night!!!

FYI, I stopped breastfeeding my son at 6 months, and that was around the time I really ramped up my exercise routine (e.g., bootcamp, soccer, and lacrosse).  So I never experienced this before with him.

Urban vs. Suburban Living

So we’ve been living in the DC suburbs for almost two months now.  And I’m surprised to find myself really missing SF a lot more than I thought I would be.  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I ended up really enjoying urban living and the easy opportunities that it brought about.  So here’s a compilation of the pros and cons to both urban and suburban living!

Suburban Pros

  1. Space!  Omg, it’s luxurious out here–more house, a larger backyard, maybe a front yard and side yard too!  We no longer live in a community where the houses are pretty much on top of each other, and a little brick yard.  My kids can freely roam around the backyard to play soccer, wade in the kiddie pool, or have a picnic under a tree.
  2. And with space comes a lot of nature.  I mean every city has a large urban park, like Golden Gate Park in SF and Rock Creek Park in DC.  But there’s nature in your backyard like large trees, grass, and tons of different animals roaming about.  Hello, deer?!
  3. Parking!  It’s so easy to park any where here.  It’s kind of weird not having to parallel park or factor in extra time to find parking.

Suburban Cons

  1. Nature!  I hate bugs!  They are all over the place.  They bite.  I hate it.
  2. I hate how you have to drive to do anything.  It’s not easy to walk any where, even though it may be half a mile away.  Unless you want to walk on the wild side, e.g. sidewalk-less streets.  No thank you.
  3. Strip mall after strip mall after strip mall.  It’s hard to find anything mom and pop, which is good and bad.  But we can agree there’s no charm to a strip mall.  And the cookie cutter houses.  No charm there, and slightly bordering on Stepford-ish.
  4. Kid activities are a bit difficult here.  It’s not as abundant and things are just further out.  There’s a world of difference when you have to travel at least 10 miles to get some where vs. a few miles, especially with a baby.  A quick 15 minute drive to the zoo is now a 40 minute ordeal.  You get the drift.

Urban Pros

  1. Culture!  Not that suburbia can’t have culture because there are different pockets here with different cultures.  But it’s just nice walking around your urban neighborhood and seeing different types of people going about their daily lives.  There is no seeking–it’s just apart of the mesh of daily urban living.  And I know most people may not necessarily view this as a pro, but I personally like my child to be exposed to the urban poor.  I want them to see homeless people because I want them to know that the world is not perfect and that there are people out there that need some help.
  2. Walking!  Even though I hated walking in SF and those bloody “hills”, everything was easily walkable.  There were three different parks I could easily walk to, a grocery store, shops, restaurants, everything all easily walkable from my house.  I miss it, surprisingly.
  3. Kid stuff!  You live close to museums and the zoo to take your kids to, local artists are always playing music you can expose your child to; all just a quick bus or car ride or walk away.
  4. The charm of different neighborhoods and iconic cityscapes.  Each neighborhood is known for something and it’s always amazing to see something so iconic of your city, especially during sunrises and sunsets.  Nothing is ever the same, so you are always discovering something new.

Urban Cons

  1. Crime.  I mean there’s crime in suburbia too.  But it doesn’t seem to happen so close to home like it did when we lived in SF.
  2. EXPENSIVE!  Good grief is it expensive to live in a city!  Your buck just doesn’t travel as far when it comes to housing and food and everything in a city.
  3. Public schools aren’t the best in most urban areas.  You just hope that you can afford to live in the best urban school district, you win the school lottery, or you make enough money to send your kid to private school.
  4. Parking!  Sometimes paying for a space to house your car is just as much as a bedroom in a shared home (no joke!).  And then there’s that whole parallel parking thing.  But I guess that’s why you rely on public transportation and walking more.

Obviously this isn’t an extensive list, and you may disagree.  But these are my pros and cons right now.  I’m sure that the list will change as I become more acclimated to suburban living.