Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom   

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Learning to Love with Reckless Abandon: My messy, beautiful

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!
 
 
In life, there are some things that you know in your heart of hearts are a bad idea. Nobody even has to warn you. You can discern it all on your own. Red flags shoot up in your mind, and plead with you to steer clear of these terrible, horrible things.

Like...perhaps...gas station sushi.

For a long time, marriage and children were like that for me. The thoughts both terrified and intrigued me... but mostly terrified.

I come from a long line of people who, for one reason or another, have trouble making relationships last. While in most cases, divorce might be the lesser of two evils, it is not without cost. Growing up in a broken home didn't just impact me, it shaped who I was, who I am now. Long ago, when I should have still been dreaming of prince charming and rocking plastic baby dolls, I swore off marriage and babies instead. I set my sights on college and the career world and scoffed at the idea of a family.

Eventually, a charming, young man stole my heart and I was forced to concede to one of those. But even as I walked down the aisle, I knew I had not given myself completely to him. I remained enshrouded by emotional armor and as I vowed to pledge my life to him, I also secretly vowed to remain childless; lest our relationship ever crumple like so many before it.

Years passed and through his unwavering love, attention, and commitment that husband of mine chipped away at my armor. Slowly. Surely. Steadfastly.

Until one day, there was none left.

My soul was naked and vulnerable and bared. He had seen all the skeletons in my closet, dealt with every mood swing, and sorted through all my "baggage." When I tried to push him away, he pushed back.

He didn't run screaming. He dug in his heels and said,

"I'm here. 
I promised forever and I meant it.
I will never leave you."

And finally it just clicked. I could have happily ever after if I wanted it.
My husband was ready and willing to be everything I wanted and needed him to be...if I just let him.

Not long after I began to feel safe and enjoy the fruits of living in a truly authentic marriage, I caught baby fever. Bad. I was consumed by thoughts of little bonnets and teeny socks. The white picket fence and the tree with the rope swing hanging from it. I was ready for a family.

Despite years of my anti-baby sentiment, my husband happily obliged. Two beautiful, bouncing boys later, and I have finally learned what it truly means to love and be loved. To love without armor. To love without pretense. To love with my entire self.

To love with reckless abandon.

 
And yet sometimes, when nights with the babies are long, and tempers are short, that nagging fear sneaks back in and threatens to consume me. A few words spoken out of exhaustion or frustration snowball in my mind and we are suddenly in a "rough patch." I allow myself to think that our marriage is headed for that dark place and I question why I ever thought I was capable of making a marriage work. I tell myself I am defective. I panic.

And when I'm in that dark place, my husband puts his own frustration aside, and swoops in like always.....to remind me:

"I'm here. 
I promised forever and I meant it.
I will never leave you."

With every year that passes, my fear assuages a little. I am no longer held captive. Instead, I'm happily learning, and growing, and loving with reckless abandon.
 

 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

(2nd ed.) Fat Broads Can Do 5ks Too: Flavor Run 2014

Welcome to the second edition of "Fat Broads Can Do 5k's Too!" OK maybe not fat per se....but definitely wiggly and jiggly from carrying two giganto babies. I've let that extra pudge intimidate me from working out or attending awesome events like this in the past. Those days are over! This mini-series will chronicle me trying to tackle some awesome 5ks and finishing them by any means necessary!

Second up on my docket is the Flavor Run!
I'm super pumped about this one because it is so family-friendly and I know my toddler is going to LOVE it!!! Check it out and feel free to sign up too! Use the code: LITTLEMONSTERS20 for 20% off of your ticket! (Bonus: Kids 6 and under are free) Whether you are running, walking, skipping, or jogging it is sure to be an awesome time! I am attending the
Orlando, Fl run on April 26th, 2014!
From their web page: The Flavor Run "surprises you with fruit flavored color powder in one of the most unique family events ever created! This family fun run supports local charities and local businesses through creating a fun 5k run engaging all of your senses; sight, smell, touch, hearing, and most importantly TASTE.

During this 5k, there will be multiple Flavor Stations to cover you in fruit flavored (FDA Approved/All Natural Corn Starch) celebration color powder followed by a refreshing taste of REAL delicious fruits.

 YES. We said "fruit flavored" - Blueberry, strawberry, orange, banana, watermelon, and grape! Plus we have an awesome Post-Run Flavor Zone includes everything from fruit, vendors, live entertainment, and children's activities. Our Flavor Team's Mission is to make you smile."

Visit the Misadventures of a 20-something Mom facebook page for information on how you can score 2 FREE TICKETS!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Body After Baby: RUN or DYE!

 

Those of you who have religiously followed the facebook page, will remember that I started doing 5k's last year around this time...before I got knocked up again. :)
Please notice that I wrote "doing" instead of "running."
 
I'm not sure I could run if my life depended on it...but I can walk, jog, skip, and prance with the best of them. That's why I always pick the most laid-back, awesome, fun -tastic 5k' s on the planet. Run or Dye has been on my wish list and this year I finally get to do it! I am pumped!
 
3 months post-partum means I am more than a little wiggly and jiggly, but if I wait around until I have washboard abs, I will likely never get to participate in this awesome event! So, I am "carpe-ing this diem" and I am so flipping excited about it.
 
Read below for more info on the event and valuable coupon codes. I hope to see some of you there!
 
Run or Dye, the world's most colorful 5K, is coming to Osceola Heritage Park on April 5th. Bring all your friends and run a color-blasted 5K, where you get showered in safe, eco-friendly, plant-based cornstarch dye every kilometer. Then enjoy our world-famous Dye Festival afterward, where you can Tie-Dye the Sky (not to mention all your friends!) in this ultimate celebration of life, friendship, fitness, and fun.Create a team and save $5, then use the code: BLOGORLANDO to save another $10.
{link for Orlando Run or Dye http://bit.ly/1l00Usy}
 
Run or dye is for absolutely everyone! Whether you're a recovering couch potato or an avid marathon runner, you'll love the atmosphere and experience at Run or Dye. You're welcome to walk, run, dance, or skip your way to the finish line. And Run or Dye is family-friendly -- kids 6 and under participate for FREE  and do not require registration! Run or Dye Orlando is excited to be partnering with Susan G. Komen Central Florida!
 
 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Making Sense of the New Me: Mommy Identity Crisis?

I was offered a job today. Not just any job though....the DREAM JOB. The pinnacle of everything I strived for during my 6+ years of post-secondary education. I was offered partnership in a fledgling, equine-assisted psychotherapy program. That might sound like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but it essentially boils down to just using horses to help people; something that I have always been passionate about. So what did I do? I graciously thanked the kind man and then I turned him down.

With a toddler and another baby on the way, I'm just not in the position to accept a job right now. Any job. Even the dream job.

So, I turned down the job of my dreams. And it sucked. It quite literally felt like a punch to the gut. I saw everything I had worked so hard for in college, my passions, my dreams, dissipate right before my eyes. And it made me sad.

Well, it made me sad for a little while at least. Until I came to the realization that I have a new dream job, and fortunately for me, I'm already employed there. The job description is vast and the hours and duties are seemingly endless. Associated titles are numerous as well. I have been known to go by "chief purchasing officer," "activities coordinator," "master toddler interpreter," "president of waste management," and "head housekeeper." However, my favorite title is simply "mom."

I've been a mom for two completely, often, occasionally glorious years now and it still strikes me as odd sometimes. Odd that I am responsible for (almost) two other human beings. Odd that I am shaping their  past, present, and future. Odd that no one from the hospital ever realized the error in their ways and came to rescue my son from my clearly inept and clueless hands.

I'm 26 years old and until embarrassingly recently I was under the impression that El Nino was a South American terrorist organization that deviously altered weather patterns. I'm perpetually mispronouncing things (still have to remind myself that carafe rhymes with giraffe), I'm scared of the dark, I rely on my gps to get me out of my own neighborhood, and I have even been known to mess up EasyMac. Ya. That's me in a nut shell. I'm a hot mess.

And yet, somehow, someway, I was still entrusted with the care of these tiny human beings. Most days, I haven't the faintest idea of what I'm doing. I feel as though I am simply fumbling my way through this parenting business. Living, learning, and desperately trying to keep my kid(s) out of the emergency room. And today I realized, that this is my new DREAM JOB. Motherhood.

The place where sloppy kisses and toothy smiles abound. A place where there is never a shortage of tiny arms reaching upward to be held. Where baby blue eyes plead for one more story before bed and fuzzy, blond heads just beg to be kissed each night as we rock to sleep.

This is the place where I have found my new passion. My new zest for life.

This is truly the job of my dreams.

And while I constantly find myself questioning whether I am doing a good enough job, (i.e. Am I disciplining too much? Too little? Am I providing enough stimuli for their growing minds? Do I read enough books? Provide enough socialization opportunities? Will the occasional Happy Meal destine my child to a life of diabetes and obesity?) I am also sure that at least for now, this is where I am meant to be.

Where I was always meant to be.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Babymoon on the Bayfront!!!

While the terminology may be new, the concept of a "babymoon" has been around for ages. Simply put, its a chance for the mom and dad-to-be to have one last hoorah before the new baby arrives. It can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you choose. The important thing is just to get that alone time in with your spouse, because it will likely be a long while before you get to indulge in things like uninterrupted conversation or spontaneous spooning again!

That being said, "babymoons" are not just for first-time parents. In fact, they are almost more of a necessity for the experienced ones. The second or third time around, you know exactly what you and your spouse have gotten yourselves into! You can anticipate the sleepless nights and months of zombie-like exhaustion that will ensue once multiple children are underfoot. Therefore, taking some time out to focus on the relationship with your spouse, to reflect, and to recharge is imperative.

Fortunately for my husband and I, we stumbled upon the Bayfront Westcott House when we were planning our latest getaway. I knew that I wanted to spend our vacation in the comfort of a bed & breakfast and I have always adored St. Augustine, so the Bayfront Westcott House provided the perfect marriage of the two. To say that it is charming would be the understatement of the century. Every aspect of this B&B is absolute perfection!

The property itself is literally a stone's throw away from the Bay and is immaculately tended. There is a gorgeous courtyard, wraparound verandah, and a slew of room balconies overlooking the water. Regardless of the season, breakfast on the verandah is something that cannot be missed.











 The views are phenomenal and the food is absolutely to die for. They have a baked French toast dish that can only be described as every pregnant, scratch that, EVERY woman's fantasy. The Bayfront Westcott House's babymoon package also entitled us to breakfast in bed during our stay. They showered me with breakfast goodies, nonalcoholic mimosas, and delicious hot chocolate all in the comfort of my gorgeously decorated room. The package also included a 60-minute prenatal massage which ensured that I was one happy mama-to-be! It was as close to heaven as it gets when you're 6 months pregnant.

The property staff were beyond accommodating, and serious pushers of baked goods! Every time I turned around they had another fudgy brownie or fresh-baked cookie to offer me. The innkeepers also stocked our room with all sorts of preggo-friendly drinks and snacks so that I could satisfy my pregnancy cravings at all hours of the night. To make sure my hubbie didn't feel left out, they kept him happy with his very own "beer basket" and a nightly social hour with complimentary beer, wine, and hors d'oeuvres. 

 
As critical as I usually am about hotels and b&b's, I literally have nothing negative to say about this St Augustine bed and breakfast. It was easily the most beautiful property we have stayed at and our stay was both relaxing and rejuvenating. Certainly everything we needed it to be in order to prepare for our pending arrival! If you are considering a babymoon, or any vacation for that matter, this is the place to go! I highly recommend it :)



 

Monday, July 22, 2013

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling like I'm 2! (Under the Sea Party)

As the baby's 2nd birthday rolled around, I began the party planning process. If I had the common sense God gave a walnut, I probably would have gone the "birthday in a box" route this year. Party planning while pregnant is difficult enough...but add a mischievous toddler to the mix and its practically impossible! Alas, I have never been much of a logical being! So, I set out to create a custom Under the Sea themed party for my precious, little guy. He is obsessed with turtles and other sea life, so the theme kind of chose itself.

My husband, being the smart guy that he is, had me set a strict budget this year. (Last year may have gotten a bit out of hand with all the first birthday hubbub!) And I, being the awesome-sauce wife that I am, actually abided by it!

I learned a lot from the party planning saga last year. This year I knew it was best to keep the menu as simple as possible, and avoid trying to prepare anything myself! I ordered plenty of platters from our local grocery store, and ordered the cake & cookies from an awesome local baker. This all ensured that everyone enjoyed the food and I avoided unnecessary stress!

Special Thanks to my husband for helping me set-up this birthday extravaganza & the amazing vendors that made everything possible. (Crumby Art, Chickabug Paper & Printables, & Just Like Mom's Baked Goods)



Outside Signage (Chickabug Paper & Printables)
Birthday Cake (Just Like Mom's Baked Goods)

Side View of Buffet    
                      Handmade Jellyfish                                            Table Settings
                                                            Crumby Art Fondant Cupcake Toppers
 
    Godiva Truffles & Turtle Cake Pops   


          Candy Buffet



                       
                          

                                                              


       Cardboard Shark for Photo Ops!
 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

5 Things you Shouldn't Say to a Pregnant 2nd Time Mom

For a variety of reasons, it's been awhile since I've written a blog post.

A little writer's block. An epic bout of "morning sickness." A hormonally-induced fuse that seems to grow shorter and shorter the farther I get into this second pregnancy. All of these have combined to make me, shall we say, hesitant to blog.

Regardless, here I am! Ready to throw caution to the wind,  jump back on the proverbial blogging pony, and do what I do best: Vent.

And boy do I have some pent up frustrations! We'll start with some of the most common things my husband and I hear from family, friends, and strangers alike when they find out we are expecting again.

"So soon? Wow!"
"Was it planned?"
"I sure hope you guys know what you're in for."
"You think it's hard now, just wait!"
"I bet you're disappointed its a boy."
 
Please don't get me wrong. I realize that people have been making babies for millions of years and I don't expect a parade, or a pink pony for simply knocking boots with my husband. That being said,  would a simple "congratulations" kill you? Planned or unplanned (totally planned by the way), we created life! That's pretty epic!
 
And frankly,  I don't think that having kids who are 2.5 years apart qualifies us for some sort of Guinness World Record.
 
My personal favorite is the "I sure hope you guys know what you're in for." I'd like to think that 2 years into this parenting gig, I have an inkling about how difficult it can be. But for shits and giggles, lets pretend you're right. Let's pretend my husband and I are both clueless twits whose world will be utterly rocked with the arrival of a second child. Explain to me, how even in that hypothetical scenario, that smug comment is in anyway beneficial. Am I the only "glass is half full" person left around these parts? If you can't muster up some excitement for us, or choke out a "congratulations," then I'd rather you not say anything at all! 
 
Or, maybe try asking me or my husband how we feel about this second pregnancy for some perspective.
To which I'd reply...
 
"I'm thrilled! Frequently nervous. Perpetually excited to meet our new family member and watch his tiny personality unfold. Sometimes terrified. Occasionally overwhelmed. Aware that I'll have a toddler and a newborn. Concerned about having enough time, energy, and love to go around. Awe-struck to think of my current "baby" as a big brother. Anxious about the social, emotional, physical, and financial impact of raising a second child.
But overall, I'm happy.
 
I am so incredibly happy to be bringing another beautiful little boy into this world. I feel like everything is just as it should be, and I cannot wait to be a mommy again."
Baby Boy 2.0 Debuting November 2013
 
In summation, please think before you speak to a pregnant, second-time mom. We are already on the proverbial hormonal edge, and nobody wants you to end up getting punched in the throat.