“This is not how I want to live my life”

I thought as I was commuting at 6:52 A.M. this morning. “I’m wilting”, I repeatedly thought to myself.

I find myself in the same slump I ended up in when Flowers and Wanderlust was birthed two years ago. “The point is to feel alive” and not end up living the same day over each time the sun comes up. Why do you work long hours and get minimal sleep? Usually I would say “for the end-of-the-week adventure” or the next weekend trip out of this town. But considering neither of those wonderful happenings have met my joy lately, I often wonder why. It seems that we miss our travel financial cap by a sliver and it’s just enough to jet away. So how do they all drain out of the account and seep into the hands of bill collectors?

We have cut every unnecessary expense out of the budget and I have the entire year accounted for (as usual), but it’s always just right there. I can taste the road trips, smell the mountain air, and feel the wildflowers just at the tip of my fingers. We work all day, come home, eat, and then sleep. When we wake up, we do it all over again. When the paycheck arrives, it leaves in just the same manner for others to grasp it before we have a chance to even total it out.

We keep on this path and continue “to catch up”. Weeks pass, months pass, and then you find yourself at the end of the year feeling like you’re almost caught up. But wait? This feeling never goes away.

SO GO. JUST GO.

Take a risk and take that trip. Your ducks might not all be in a row but that’s okay because they’re always waddling off some way or another. That’s when I bring myself back to earth and become grounded. That’s when I realize there’s more to life than Netflix and that some of our best trips have been when we weren’t sure of the rest, when we didn’t have a plan. Somehow we made the money back up. Somehow.

It always works out. That’s what I have learned.

So I think it is time.

I ask you, please, go on an adventure. Go somewhere new, eat something you’ve never had. 

Make time. Take your kids with you. Do something that doesn’t cost anything. Don’t make excuses and don’t be scared. Take a day for yourself.  

Stop looking forward to the weekend and to next month. Just have fun with it now and every day.

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(Was supposed to be Mama Mondays | ) Being a mama is like..

** this was supposed to be posted Monday but come to find it was still sitting in my drafts folder. Oops. One of these days I’ll post on the correct day. **

(This was previously my Facebook post.. but as I revise this, she’s using me and my shirt as a means to pull herself up and bounce. Literally climbing all over me. She also had her first crawls today.)

Here’s the real, raw definition. Within the past two hours, I laid practically motionless breastfeeding her for an hour in hopes that she’d fall asleep. So it seemed safe, so I unlatched her like a freaking ninja and slipped away. So I manage to get a centimeter away and the dogs find a random passerby to bark at as if someone were here. Nope, nothing there. Thanks guys. Tiny, furry a-holes. So she’s sitting here wide awake, staring at me, now pooping herself in her diaper. So I get up to change her and apparently mid-change, I find out she isn’t done. I find out as I’m cleaning up the spit up coming out from the other end, with things just adding to my to do list. One for instance, is sucking the dripping snot through a tube (those nose fridas really weird me out okay?) Because now apparently she has a cold. And all the while I haven’t showered since yesterday and all I’ve eaten is breakfast today (which was at 5 PM) and I was up since 6 AM (running on 4 hours of sleep). So I send my husband to get me pizza rolls for dinner while he’s working 12 hour shifts at night temporarily and I haven’t busted into them bad boys yet, why? Because I’d rather spend that inkling of time on the floor of my hallway, making weird collages from magazines, and having me time accompanied by a tiny human who is surrounded by toys but would rather

A- suck on and play with her comb
B- find random dust bunnies to seriously study and gradually move to her lips
C- fight me like a tiny, angry monkey for my magazine clippings AND SHARP scissors.
D- talk to the couch and put all the dirt that she can find in this small corner in her mouth.

Oh and that on top of me trying to adjust her sleep schedule and getting her to fall asleep in her crib alone for naps but still cosleep with me at night. So if you’re wondering why I am on the floor in the hallway in the first place, it’s because I sat outside of her door, watching her nap for two hours because I emotionally couldn’t take her sleeping in her crib for the first time and wanted to make sure she was okay, even though the sound of her crying for even two minutes broke my heart into tiny pieces.

I’ll even admit that I even squeezed into her crib temporarily with her to calm her at some point today.

And the best part? I’m NOT EVEN COMPLAINING. I love this baby more than life itself and being her mother is the best job I’ve ever had. She doesn’t come with insurance or 401k or vacation time or days off hahaha but who needs that when you have the love and joy of this creature.

And I couldn’t be happier even on the bad days. Life is crazy but so rewarding.

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“You’re taking a baby to Disney World?”

“But he/she won’t even remember it…”

That was me. My husband and I had this very discussion while our peanut was still just a-cookin’ in the oven. We vowed we would never do that.

That’s the funny thing about parenthood. You end up doing a lot of things you said you’d never do.

Despite this given sentiment, I wouldn’t trade the magical experience I shared with my husband and our almost-six-month old infant for anything.

Disney World changes when you have a kid. You see, it’s already magical but once you have a child to share it with, it stops being about you. At this point, it’s all about them and your every action revolves around watching their face light up with joy.

And that is exactly what happened. It gets to the point that your eyes start welling up at the sight of this tiny, sweet baby you love so much just smiling at princesses, trying to put satin-gloved fingers in their mouth, and grabbing at the costumes of villains.

Their happiness becomes your priority. Your everything.

With that said, you have to keep them neutral among the elements. With that said, it gets really hot in Florida. I mean, really hot. 95% of the year is spent under the blistering sun in 90+ degree temperatures.

Even though Florida is a thousand degrees year round, you still find a way to look past it and make the best of it. We had a small fan that sprayed water and it was utilized almost down to the last drop. Sunscreen is also a must! A sufficient supply of drinking water is also an important item to have.

Although the sun is out 90% of the day, do not be deceived. Just because it is called the Sunshine State, that does not mean there won’t be torrential rain one minute or even quite possibly a shower through sunbeams. It did rain but we managed to be in between rides at the time. That’s how quickly it can dissipate. We just kind of become accustomed to it and deal with it though. You could get ponchos and plastic strollers cover though I’m sure.

Despite the intense weather, our love child was so happy. She smiled at each character and stranger that greeted her.

Despite what one would think, Disney World is very baby friendly. There is a fabulous baby center that is like an unlocked achievement that doesn’t unveil itself until you pop one out. In other words, you won’t have the need to know where it is unless you (or someone with you) has a kid. Or needed to go to First Aid. That is also a definite possibility.

The baby room is really nice because there are multiple tables with large disposable sheets of paper to change your baby and a room complete with any essential item you could think of needing. There’s another room in the air conditioner with a television and tables to eat on complete with a microwave in the next room.

My favorite was the nursing room. I went into the baby center expecting I’d have to feed her in the open until a kind costumed lady ushered me a to a sliding wooden door that opened to a room illuminated by a single lamp and six recliners facing forward. Those chairs were very comfortable and it was a quiet hideaway from the bustle of the amusement park outside. It was really cool because I had never been among fellow breastfeeders.

After popping into the fantastic room as often as I could, we ran from world to world riding as many rides we possibly could with the help of FastPass. I didn’t think waiting in a two hour long line would be fun with a baby. Although, she did just fine for the few that were half an hour. We managed to ride most of the classics without even needing to wait in line.

I had to wake her up for Winnie the Pooh and she seemed uninterested as she was still in her half-asleep daze. The guy ushering us in the line noticed my husband was playing classic Pokemon on his DS and of course after mentioning our daughter’s name, the guy was stoked. Turns out he was a huge video game nerd like us.

She also rode our favorite ride: Haunted Mansion. She did so well! She hardly got scared and I want to say that it wasn’t even her fault the one time she did. It happened in the beginning when the room stretches and then goes dark. Normally this wouldn’t have been a big deal but because we managed to get in the ride with the most eccentric people in the park, a different tale unfolded. They literally recited the opening scene and screamed really loudly, namely my husband who was right next to her. (That was one of the only times she cried within the 12 hours.

However, she loved It’s a Small World. LOVE. She watched all the dolls singing, she giggled, squealed, and baby-talked every one of them. She bounced in my lap nearly the entire ride.

As she rode the Little Mermaid, she sat quietly and content in the seashell, watching Ariel’s story unfold in a melody-filled adventure around her.

And lastly, of course the Carousel of Progress, and it was our chance to avoid the rain but who are we kidding, it’s such a classic. This was the first ride I actually had to nurse her on. It was nice to feed her in the AC and the dark where no one would say anything. It was kind of cool. So now I can say that?

But it was all worth it when yet again, she excitedly squealed, watching the animatronics move and talk. She actually tried to get their attention and talk to them. She just stared at them wondering why they weren’t interacting with her. As she was looking back at me, asking me with her eyes why they weren’t paying her any attention, I started to feel something.. something was on my fingers.

I fought the darkness to discover what this unidentified liquid was. Then my nostrils started doing their part and voila. I found out very quickly what had happened.

She ended up pooping on me, like a slight blowout kind of thing. Here’s the kicker. The ride got stuck so we got had to sit in the most modern era for about two runs. We watched them repeat the same lines and saw grandma beat the high score three times. The one time I’m trying to rush out the door, here we are going through their lines over again. So yeah welcome to motherhood.

Still totally worth it.

Surprisingly you can ride a lot of rides with a baby with the exception of the roller coasters with height restrictions. I think that would probably make me too nervous anyway.

Onto the princesses…

She met Princess Tiana, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Ariel, and Princess Aurora. Every last one of them were greeted with a big, gummy smile. She patted and grabbed at their sparkly dresses, she tried to stick Cinderella’s satin finger in her mouth, and she delighted many people. All of them smiled back, spoke to her in their voices, and simply shared the magic of Disney with us.

It was completely magical.

I was disappointed when I found out Snow White was only doing meet and greets at EPCOT. I met her three years ago in the Princess Fairytale Hall so my hopes were crushed thinking it’d be the same. Guess they decided to switch things up on me the one day I needed it to happen. I found out she would be in the parade so I went on a glimpse of hope that I may or may not see her. I was anxious all the way until the parade started at 3 A.M. Not to mention, my butt cheeks were like buns in an oven waiting for the parade to start for an hour, as the pavement underneath me heated up from the Florida sun. I was ready for that parade to start.

While we waited, our baby was making friends with the people behind us, just as she did in all of the ride lines. She’d whine with me every once and a while but go on to smile and squeal at literally everyone else. She was ecstatic. If she’d get antsy, I would just turn her around to her new friends and she’d pep right back up. This happened for strangers, the full crowds gathering around her, people taking her photo (before we even got into the park), princesses, villains, and big, scary characters. She wasn’t phased. She grabbed at their costumes and tried to put gloved fingers in her mouth.

At one point, a very large costumed creature was coming closer and leaning down at me. As my infant child was giggly and excited at the attention, I was squealing and turning away, almost in tears. I have and always will be afraid of large costumed things. I was very awkwardly uncomfortable.

It was cute because the guy sitting next to us had a blank sketchbook out at the beginning of our wait. Toward the end, I kept catching glimpses of the works of his pen, and I noticed he drew an adorable version of our baby in her Snow White costume and the biggest, toothless smile on her face.

Once the end of the parade was nearing, I noticed a few big-nosed, short creatures, with goofy outfits on and I knew it was time. The Snow White troop was approaching. One dwarf spotted her and turned around to get the rest of them. Next thing I know, there are seven dwarves crowding around her. This section of the parade basically stopped  as the dwarves excitedly flagged Snow White down.

For anyone who knows her, she made the perfect Snow White and since she was born I had wanted to dress her up like the first Disney princess because of her dark hair and fair skin. Her hair is so long and has been since birth so it was nearly perfect. Everyone made a comment but because the resemblance was uncanny. That’s why it was so important for her to meet her and it ended up being more than I could ever imagine.

Other than the fact that it was amazing for me to see her face light up, it was cool for me too as I got to try dole whip for the first time and I got my first pair of Mickey ears. The Polaroids I captured were incredible too.

In all, this trip was amazing and I can’t wait to go back when she will remember it but it was most definitely worth taking her.

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Things they don’t tell you about pregnancy and having kids

Disclaimer: By no means, do I mean that these things will happen to you. Every mother, every baby, and every pregnancy are so different. We’re all unique. This is just my experience and meant more to be funny than anything. Plus there are some weird things that happen and you just gotta talk about them.

Moms are so cool and so supportive especially with your first. They’re so quick to help you with your registry, to soothe your worry and panic, and give extra hands. I’m not sure how many times I’ve insisted I didn’t need help carrying anything, but the diaper bag flings out of my hand into the kind hand of another who was once there.

With that said, maybe you don’t need every single thing off of your registry? The one thing I didn’t get ended up being the most expensive and the one thing I actually needed: the beloved baby carrier. Thanks, Ergo. But I have not put my kid in 99% of the socks or mitts I bought, nope on the shoes, most of the clothes I’ve had her in have only been worn a few times, and she has enough bath supplies to last her until her first second grade field trip.

Sex after childbirth? That’s funny, right? Not only does the desire just slip away for some, it seems physically impossible. Besides doctor’s orders of waiting, it literally is a mess down there, and should be avoided at all costs initially. None of those baby books, mom groups, or Google searches prepared me for the pain I was going to experience. Trust me. It’s true when they say it’s like starting over from the first v-card ever played. Good luck ever having that pain go away. I’m still waiting patiently almost six months into the game.

You also might bleed for six weeks straight. That’s lovely right? But then if you breastfeed, you may or may not get a period until you’re done.

Your heartburn may get so bad that you wake up choking on lava right on time for your third pee. I mean, “gasping for air-I’m dying” choking. Guess it’s true what they say about heartburn and babies being born with a full head of hair.

That’s another thing. Don’t be so quick to tell everyone about your “old wives tales”. People WILL jump on you the first chance they get. Some, with proven scientific information, will still go on and be the first to tell you that it was absolutely not true. That’s because there’s something about the same hormones that cause hair growth and the relaxation of the sphincter in the esophagus, thus tying the two together. It’s not fool-proof but it has been tested which means that it is possible to be apart of the smaller percentage that had heartburn, but no baby hair. No but really, I’m joking, but let’s all just humor each other, shall we? If someone says something, let them have it! Don’t shoot them down. There is no set anything when it comes to pregnancies and babies. We’re ALL different.

The nurses helping you deliver WILL do everything they can to keep you positive… even if they’re driving you crazy with the “you can do it” babble. Eventually you WILL do it and prove yourself wrong but do you want to know how many times I wanted to tell them to shut it for just two seconds. *side note. I am so thankful for the nurses that assisted me in my 24-hour labor. You guys are the real MVP.

The epidural may not go in correctly when you’re 6 cm dilated and going through the most painful contractions- six hours after your first one wore off. Especially when sitting still is virtually impossible. Thus resulting in a withdraw and re-poke. You can in fact receive two and a half epidurals. And you might still feel it from time to time many months postpartum.

You will lose friends. Some way or another. It actually does happen. I don’t know how but it’s just a switch that just flips like clockwork.

Labor can and will last 24 hours. It will last as long as you can tell yourself it won’t be.

You may not be able to eat anything. Except ice chips. So even though they will probably say otherwise, try to eat something before you go into the hospital. I couldn’t even have water. They made me go without anything until that little baby was OUT, even after not eating since 10 PM Sunday night but not actually delivering until 3 AM Tuesday morning. Mmm.

You CAN sleep. I honestly thought you weren’t allowed to. Like there was some rule or that you couldn’t physically sleep. I was in and out of a drug induced sleep the entire day. Until it got real.

You may spend a month packing a hospital bag…and using almost none of it.

You will feel an intense rectal pressure when you’re getting close. Seriously. You’ll feel like pooping yourself. You may tell the nurse you have and although she says you haven’t? You may still continue to be convinced. You may even try to in order to relieve the pressure. Go before the big stuff kicks in. Trust me. Even if you poop yourself, it’s okay. Chances are you won’t, even if you try.

You probably will not be able to pee after you give birth. It may take trial and error runs before you can. You may try as hard as you can just so they won’t give you a catheter after you’ve been poked and prodded for an entire day. You may visualize the water-iest of waterfalls and beg the nurse to give you just two more minutes. When you do finally go, it may feel like tiny needles for a few days.

Postpartum depression is so real and can be intermittent. Please don’t think there is anything wrong with you. Even when people call you an emotional mess or say you have issues. You don’t. And postpartum isn’t just when the baby is first-born. People should always cut some slack for new mamas and spread kindness.

You don’t owe anything to anyone. Visitors can wait. It is okay to cry. It is okay to be topless for two weeks on the couch while you figure you and your baby out. It’s okay to eat all of your food in bed. As long as you take care of that baby, the world around you can wait.

Don’t be so afraid of germs but don’t be afraid to put your foot down when it comes to kids and other people holding them. I legitimately took my 2-month old infant to a Chuck E. Cheese for her cousin’s 7th birthday party. She survived — of course I exercised the utmost precaution; keeping them close, lots of hand sanitizer, and so on. Babies are far more resilient than you are lead to believe.

Your body does a weird shaking thing while you’re in labor. It’s hardly controllable. It can freak you out but it’s completely normal. It’s probably not the best time for your husband to get back from the cafeteria. Seeing your wife shaking uncontrollably, under three blankets, and then throwing them back off seconds later… with an oxygen mask on, isn’t the most soothing of sights.

Breastfeeding is amazing, free, and helps you lose all of your baby weight. I’ve lost the 50 pounds that I gained while pregnant without doing any exercise and eating 3x what I ate while pregnant. Seriously, you will feel like a bottomless pit while doing it but it is very much rewarding. Some can’t, and it is very hard in the beginning: it will make you cry and question why you can’t do anything right by your child, but do yourself a favor. Join a breastfeeding support group and if you really want it, never give up.

Your child will be the most beautiful creature you’ve ever laid eyes on. You will lay there some nights, trying not to cry because of how perfect your child is. You will stare at this being in your arms and be content with only that.

And yes. It does fly by. So cherish it while you can. Get newborn pictures taken. Take videos of their small movements in the beginning. Snuggle with them while they’ll let you. Don’t, for a second, let this scary newborn stuff scare you from enjoying the precious memories you will experience for just a short amount of time when they’re so very tiny.

From one mama who has no idea what she’s doing but is okay with that to another.

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