Personal Stuff

Seriously Amazon?

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[Links in post are Amazon affiliate links]

I posted yesterday about the highly publicized Amazon Prime Day which was touted and marketed by Amazon to be “Better Than Black Friday!”

I am such an Amazon Prime fan that I felt compelled to do a post yesterday about Amazon Prime Day in the hopes that I could also share these amazing, “Better Than Black Friday” deals with you.

As a shopper, I was also fired up to go online and see all the amazing “Better Than Black Friday” deals that I might be able to take advantage of.

What a disappointment!

Did you guys think the same thing?

First off, I found it to be very confusing.

And then when (I guess) I found the Amazon Prime Day deals, they were things that (to me) were completely random.

So I did not buy any deals on Amazon Prime Day.

Did you?

I am still an avid Amazon Prime fan, but to Amazon Prime Day, I give it a two thumbs down.

What were your thoughts? Did I miss something? Anyone get a great deal?

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Random Thoughts

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Well, we made it. We made it to summer that is. Friday was the last day of school. But every single year, it never ceases to amaze me just how exhausting the last few weeks of school can be. SO much stuff. Too much stuff. My bestie sent me this text in the middle of it. Yep. Summed it all up.


Last weekend was my husband’s birthday, and of course, also Father’s Day, so when friends invited us to share their campsite down at El Moro for the night, it was pretty much his idea of heaven. And I couldn’t say no given the birthday/Father’s Day thing.

So we packed up for one night of camping.

The entire back of our minivan was full. We packed for 1 night but could have stayed for a month. Here we are in front of my Dollar Tree birthday tent decoration with my husband forced to do an awkward kneel to get the decoration in the photo.


We had the most gorgeous 24 hours spent on the beach and camping with a group of friends, so the packing of stuff was worth it for the memories.

And my kids had the time of their lives.

Lesson, if something involves potentially good family memories, just go.


The very next day we headed home so we could unpack and get over to my parent’s house for a Father’s Day BBQ. I snapped this selfie with my dad and sis and I truly didn’t realize until this very photo just how MUCH we all look alike.

I’m on the left, my sis Suzanne‘s on the right.

I love my dad.


Emma’s birthday. Check. Hubby’s birthday. Check. Father’s Day. Check. Next up, Morgan’s birthday. Yes, my three family members all have birthdays within three weeks. Um, it’s a lot of celebrating.

One to go.

I recently learned about this company Shindigz and was given a credit to shop for supplies for my little one’s birthday party. We are talking full party themes of stuff. Including lots of personalization options.  I had so much fun. You really could outfit your entire party without having to step in a store. Look out for post to come on all the adorable rainbow birthday party goodies I found.



Speaking of Morgan, yesterday was her first day on a swim team.  I was on a swim team growing up for many years and I have a lot of good memories of swimming.

I love the culture and the sport.

My heart went pitter patter a bit when I saw her in the cap and goggles. Is there such thing as “Swim Moms”?


Happy beginning of summer to you! How has yours treated you thus far? 

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I was on Facebook yesterday and saw a friend’s post of her baby girl’s nursery, her first baby, who is due any day now.  It took me back to early June, 9 years ago, when I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first baby girl.

This baby turns 9 today.

I read this post titled, To My Daughter, At Halftime, not too long ago and it hit me right in the heart because I could relate so much. Today I have a daughter at the halftime of her childhood.

I needed Kleenex. Not because I’m sad she’s getting older, or growing up too fast, but because I am so proud of the person she is becoming and 

Growing more into the person she was born to be.

When she was born I believed it was my role to shape her into the person I thought she would be. Or should be.

Now granted, there has been a whole lot of parenting done the past 9 years, but the essence of WHO she is, in her soul, was the way she came out of the womb.

This realization has been one of my most profound lessons of parenthood.

It would have been a lot easier if I realized from the get go.

She was not an easy baby. 

SO FUSSY. So, so, so fussy.  She wouldn’t let me put her down.

She wanted to be walked around, looking at things.  She would get bored easily. I would put her in the exersaucer to try to get dinner going, but then after 30 seconds she would start fussing until I came to relieve her of the exersaucer torture.

I thought I was doing something wrong as a mom. Why was she so fussy?  I wanted to make her HAPPY.  Isn’t that our goal as a mom – to make our children happy? To me I was failing because she was so fussy.

I would visit with friends who had mellow babies and marvel at how they appeared to be content.

Emma was the opposite of content. I used to describe her as “unsatisfied,”

She just wanted MORE.

But now as a 9-year-old I love this quality in her. I love her quest for knowledge. I love how she asks endless questions. I love her energy. I love her movement.  She’s a little gymnast, so she’s on her head half the time in handstands. It’s a joy to watch her.

She was this same person when she was a baby, but stuck without words or able to move on her own. 

No wonder she was fussy.

She was also a challenging toddler and young girl. Strong-willed was an understatement. She is very black and white – knows what she wants and is relentless in getting it.

She wore the same pair of pink Crocs for her entire 2-year-old year. I have a picture of her in her beautiful Christmas dress in dirty light pink Crocs. No amount of bargaining, tricking or convincing would change the fact that she was NOT going to wear another pair of shoes.


Photo credit: Erin Palos

This relentless conviction used to frustrate me to NO end.  WHY couldn’t she just put on another darn pair of shoes? WHY did she make things so difficult?

She likely wondered the same thing about me.  

No wonder she was fussy.

But now I love that quality in her.  She has a very strong sense of right and wrong and uses that same unwavering conviction to navigate good choices.

I love that she will be a woman who knows what she wants in life – and she will get it.

After an emotionally charged doctor’s visit for her two-year-old well check where she very clearly expressed her unhappiness with the appointment, my pediatrician looked at me with wide eyes and  told me, you really have a spirited child, and wrote down a book for me to get, “How to Raise a Spirited Child“.

I looked up the title, and the description was A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic. Yep. That pretty much summed her up. Then and now.

Raising a spirited little one can be draining.  I was tired for many years raising my spirited child. 

But at 9-years-old I appreciate her spirit more than words can express.

I love her intensity. Her passion for life, learning and her sport. I love her sensitivity and kind heart. I love her perceptiveness and how she doesn’t miss a beat. I love talking with her about her perceptions and observations. I love her persistence. If she sets a goal, she achieves it. I love her boundless energy.

As a new mom I wish I would have known then what I know now.

Knowing my Emma today would have made SO much more sense when she was a baby. I would have looked at her and said, “Of course. I get you.”

I wouldn’t have fought it so much or thought something was wrong. I would have realized she is who she is, and those same qualities that made her a challenging baby and young child are the same qualities that make her who she is, which is a pretty spectacular little girl.

When I told my friend on Facebook, you have the the best day of your life to look forward to, when thinking about it, that’s  not completely true. The experience of watching your child grow into the person they are only gets better and better and better.

Today I celebrate the fact we are at halftime, because I feel the best is still yet to come.


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It’s a…

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The Pregnancy Diaries…

Here it is, my BIG gender reveal! I know, I know. We weren’t going to find out. Really, we weren’t, but my Type A personality just couldn’t stand it. We just went in for our 21-week ultrasound and found out that we are having a… 


…girl! A little girl, another little princess, a sweet, delicate bundle of little girl joy. Our whole family is thrilled, and my husband and I cannot stop smiling and cooing over the fact that we are expecting a little “pink” one.

And this pint-sized angel was bouncing around happily, stretching her legs completely out and doing leg presses while on the ultrasound screen.  So far, she looks very healthy, praise God, and we were just mesmerized by her tiny little perfectly formed body, her powerful kicks and pokes, and her long stretches.

To be honest, we almost didn’t find out what we were having (and by almost, I mean we were 99.9999% sure we were on “team green”).  Team green – another new pregnancy term I learned this time around…meaning that the parents do not want to find out what they are having.

Actually, my hubby was 100% on team green, until a few days prior to the ultrasound.  What changed his mind?  Well, funny story…

My husband did not want to find out the baby’s sex with either of our big kids.

And each time, being the sweet, loving (and smart!) man that he is, he agreed to find out what we were having. And of course, it ended up being one girl and one boy.  So as the story goes (and I still maintain to this day that I don’t quite remember the exact moment I made this commitment), he made me promise that if we ever had a third child, we’d wait until the delivery room.

And I apparently promised. It was right after I had our son (I mean, right after), so I was pretty sure we were DONE.  I wasn’t planning on having a third, so sure, why not?!  And I promised.  And he promised I could name the kiddo (which was huge!).

Fast forward almost 5 years later, and that promise was still lingering.  Well not lingering, so much as a bright flashing neon light over this pregnancy.  I promised.  And I keep my promises.  But boy, was it bugging me.   You know how some people love surprises? You know how some people are motivated by the element of surprise?  I am not one of those people.

So my hubby, my family, and my friends had lots of fun “lovingly” teasing me over the course of the first trimester, and into my second.  And people loved, loved guessing what it was going to be – by the way I was carrying, to how big I am (Yes, I am baby huge this time.  No, it is not twins, I promise.  Yes, we had them triple check.), to pretty much every pregnancy symptom I was having.

I was told girl, boy, twins…you name it.

And I wanted a boy.  And I wanted a girl.  Truly, I didn’t care.  With each pregnancy, my husband and I are thrilled to be parents and to have a baby – the sex of the baby really doesn’t matter to us.  I just love to know.  So I can plan and nest and organize and prepare.  I know I’m crazy, but this actually relaxes me (yes, I know, I know – I’m nuts).  And, he’s always wanted that special, magical moment in the delivery room of , “It’s a ________!”

It became clearer and clearer that this Type-A mama was not getting out of her promise. I would wander around the Target baby section and just sniff over the ONE somewhat gender neutral onsie they seemed to have in stock. And my mid-point ultrasound was looming, getting closer, and starting to stress me out.

See, my hubs is waaaayyyy more patient and chill than I am (and thank God for that!).  So in his mind, this was totally not a big deal.  I believe he told me…grab a couple of white onesies, buy two sets of wall decals (one boy, one girl), drag all the newborn girl and boy stuff (we saved) upstairs to the baby’s room, and then wait.

Once the baby was born, slap on the few wall decals I want, wash a load of baby clothes, and put on the sheets I wanted.  Done, done and done.  What was the big deal?

To fellow Type-B’ers, this probably sounds very reasonable.  To my fellow Type-A’ers, can you back me up here?!?!  Our sweet little one is due one week before my son starts kindergarten and my daughter starts 2nd grade.  Not exactly the time I want to be nesting and decorating and “preparing” for baby – with the chaos of school, carpools, homework, activities, and little (to no) sleep.

So I asked my husband a very simple question – why was it so important for him to wait?

Did he really, really want to wait for a specific reason?  Or was it just fun to tease me…and fun to wait and see for the heck of it?  Did he want 40 people in the hospital waiting room for that Hollywood moment of “It’s a _____!!!!” (His answer was no).  Did he want a big gender reveal party (nope).  Because if it was that important to him, of course I would keep my promise.

And it was important to him for several very good reasons.  I’ll spare you the details of our 4 or 5 (or 10!) discussions about it.  But bottom line, he told me that as important as it was for him to be surprised, it wasn’t as important to him as it was important to me to find out.  

He wasn’t “giving in” for any other reason other than  he knew this pregnancy has been very difficult for me (it really has), and that he knew that finding out would bring me a lot of enjoyment and a lot of fulfillment – nesting and planning and preparing and such (very important to us Type-A’ers).

He is such a sweet man, truly he is.  And I so appreciate him, and him being extra supportive, especially when I was the one breaking our pact.

In my humble Type-A opinion, you can either be surprised at 20 weeks, or be surprised at 40 weeks.  Either is a surprise, and either will bring you joy, wonder and excitement.  My hubby and I just had different visions of when we wanted to be surprised.

And yes, both of our kids wanted to know asap.  And yes, both were thrilled.  Because both wanted a baby sister (even my little man – he was adamant about wanting a little sis to watch over and protect).  So everyone was as happy as could be.  And my husband and I were beyond thrilled that the baby was healthy.

So I’m curious – who else out there in our readership has been (or is!) “team green?”  Did you keep your commitment to wait?  Or did the suspense get to you???  Did both you and your partner want to wait, or was it a split household? Any Type-Aer’s out there like me who wanted to find out more than anything???

That’s all for now from my “Pregnancy Diaries.”  As always, thank you so much for your support and sweet comments – they make my day!!!

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On Happiness in Motherhood

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This post is a personal one on happiness in motherhood and how to be a happier mom and it starts with this… happiness

The other day I was cleaning out the dresser next to my bed and found a folded letter written on lined paper. My husband and I must have been in an argument and I took pen to paper to get all my feelings out.  I wrote it on 10-28-2008 and must not have ever given it to him (if you are reading this Stefan, you’re welcome.)

At the time I wrote this letter, I had a 2-year-old toddler and a high maintenance one at that (bless her).

Looking at the date, I must have been very hormonal because I didn’t know it yet, but I would find out I was pregnant with her baby sister 3 days later on Halloween. If I thought life was hard on THAT day, mama didn’t know what was in store with two children!

It brought back so many memories of that time in my life when I was exhausted, unbalanced and stretched to my limits between staying home with my toddler and trying to run this blog on my own. Those years for me were completely joyous and magical, but also SO FREAKING HARD.  I was not very happy. Not like I am today.

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote to my husband:

“…I want to apologize for breaking down last night. I didn’t want to sound ungrateful, the truth is I am incredibly grateful. I was just SO TIRED.

Here’s the deal. For about 12 hours a day I am responsible for the care and happiness of Emma. I pour 200% of my love and energy into that little person. I love her so much I almost can’t comprehend the depths to which I love her. I give her pretty much all I have in me. 

At the end of the day, I am really spent. Physically, emotionally, mentally.  I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I am just SO TIRED.

At night when you come home, I wish you could show some more affection. I feel like I need someone to take care of me.”

Thinking back, I was looking to my husband to rescue me from the constant demands. I wanted him to pamper me, baby me, care for me. I wanted HIM to make me happy.

If only HE would really GET how hard it was to be a stay-at-home and also work-from-home mom, I would be happy.

If only HE would come home and do what I wanted him to do (which was send me upstairs with a glass of chardonnay and a bath while he put down little one and then came upstairs after to give me a foot massage and empathize with my hard day) I would be HAPPY. Ha!

But in real life, the poor guy was dealing with his OWN stress of supporting a family. Who was going to rescue HIM? Was I making HIM happy? I can assure you, I was not.

How to Be a Happier Mom

Since those early days I have become a happier mom and happier person in so many ways, but not without a lot of work and making changes in my life to make me happier.

I really wanted to share what I have learned with you today, because these lessons were learned the hard way, which, in motherhood is often the way it goes when navigating unchartered territory.

No One is Going to Hand You Your Happiness. You Have to Take It.

This profound statement came from my wise friend Lisa one night and I have reveled in just how TRUE it is ever since.

We are the ones responsible for our happiness. It’s a choice.  If I want to be happy I have one person responsible for the majority of my happiness – me.

We have the power to make changes in our lives to make them better.

No one is going to hand you your happiness, you have to take it.

Visualize What Being a Happy Mom Looks Like to You.

The term “being happy” is so vague. If you don’t know what would make you happier, it’s impossible to make the changes to get there. So the first thing you have to do is figure out what being happy looks like to YOU.

Finish this sentence, “I am happiest when…..”

The vision is different for everyone. Would  you be happier if you spent more time with your friends? More time doing something you love? Some time to yourself alone to de-stress?

Know what being happy looks like for you.

Then Do Something About It. 

It’s great to DREAM about being happier, but if want to BECOME happier, you have to take action to get there.

It’s like losing weight. You can really want to lose 10 pounds, but until you take the steps to make it happen, it’s just a dream. You have to put your thoughts into action.

As moms it is SO easy to get caught up in an unhappy rut due to the hamster wheel of every day life. If you barely have time to take a shower, when on earth are you going to plan for your happiness? Right?

But aren’t we good at analyzing the things that make us unhappy? And that is such a crappy place to be.

It’s such a better use of time to invest the same energy into analyzing the things that MAKE you happy.

Have your husband take the kids on a weekend and go and sit in a coffee shop by yourself (that alone will make you happier) and put pen to paper and think about the things in your life that make you happy. Or, the things in your life you are MISSING that would make you happier.

Then start to take action and make plans to include those things.

From those series of breakdowns early on, I realized I needed help. Running a blog and being home full time with my toddler wasn’t humanly possible so I hired a college babysitter to come in for a few hours a week to help. Did that make me happier? ABSOLUTELY.  We weren’t meant to do this job alone.

Find Your People.  

Motherhood early on can be really isolating. There is so much happiness to be found in friendships with people you can relate to. Friends you can be honest and vulnerable with. Friends that don’t judge you.

Take time to think about how you feel after being with someone. Do you feel happier? Uplifted? Energized? Understood? Better about yourself? Those are your people.

Make plans to see them regularly!

Find Something That is Yours, Alone. 

I truly believe as humans we are meant to be continually growing, changing and learning. It is so important to find something that is yours, something you can call a passion that you enjoy. Something that doesn’t involve your children. Something that is yours alone.

Running, crafting, cooking, baking, reading, photography, volunteering, designing, decorating, yoga-ing, writing, traveling, connecting, socializing, movie-watching, foodie-ing…find your passions and include those in your life.

“In motherhood, I have discovered and continue to discover who I truly am.” 

Becoming a mother has been the biggest gift of my lifetime. In motherhood, I have discovered and continue to discover who I truly am.

If I wasn’t pushed to the brink of insanity trying to figure that out, I wouldn’t have had the insights that pushed me back, one baby step at a time, to a happier, fuller life.

Do you have any thoughts on how to be a happier mom? What are the things that make you happier? Would love to hear your comments below!

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