Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: 2012   

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rocking Resolutions: New Year, New Me

With the New Year right around the corner, I've started contemplating possible "resolutions."

Whether its a sign of maturing or simply an indication of too much time on my hands, I may never know, but I have been giving this some serious thought. For the past 5 years or so, I've come up with a bunch of lame sauce resolutions like "lose weight." I always have the best of intentions, go at it all gung-ho and what not. But ultimately, these "resolutions" last a few weeks and then give way to oreo binging and wine guzzling. My heart isn't really in it, and I think I go about it for all the wrong reasons. This year I wanted to come up with a better list. I wanted to set attainable and personally profound goals. I want to work toward being a better person.

 
2013
This Year I Will
  1. Let Go
  2. This is a big one for me. For years, I bottled up lots of emotions surrounding my childhood. Anger towards my Dad, pity for my Mom, sorrow for the life that could have been and never was. I think that in creating a family of my own, I am finally starting to find peace. My relationship with my Dad is now better than ever, and this year I want to continue my journey of forgiving and forging onward.
    I encourage you to do the same. If you are holding onto past hurts, work on letting go. You cannot control how other people act or have acted, only your response to it. Don't let the past weigh you down any longer.
     
  3. Live in the present
  4. I have a tendency to dwell on the past, or live dreaming of the future. I will always be a dreamer, but I can't ever truly appreciate the chapter I am living now, if I am always looking back or skipping forward. The older I get, the more I realize how quickly this life passes. We only really have today. I want to work on living in the "now." Wrestling my baby in a mountain of unfolded laundry and letting the dirty dishes sit so that I can read him his favorite book. Ask yourself what can wait, and prioritize what cannot.
     
  5. Be kind to Myself
  6. I don't know about you, but I reserve some of the harshest criticisms and meanest words for myself. I speak to myself in a manner that I would never address anyone else in. My internal dialogue sometimes includes things like, "You're so fat. Look at that Muffin top!" "Macaroni and Cheese again? If you were a better wife, you'd know how to make a REAL dinner." "If you were a better mom, he wouldn't be having a tantrum in the store like this." This year that dialogue has got to change. I need to be kinder to myself, to allow more leeway, and to stop striving for perfection. If you struggle with this as well, remember that life is supposed to be messy, humans are supposed to be imperfect, and some of the greatest moments are hidden amidst the chaos.
     
  7. Be kind to others
  8. I like to think I am a good person, but sometimes I catch myself engaging in behaviors that aren't in line with my values or belief system. I gossip, I lie, I am short tempered, and I wish ill will on people who irritate me. I am always, typically, sometimes kind in person, but I also want to work on being kind to others even when they aren't around. If this is an area you want to work on, understand that honesty and accountability are pivotal aspects of making lasting changes.
     
  9. Take Care of Myself
  10. This is as close as I will get to mentioning weight loss. Sure, I could stand to lose some poundage, nobody is arguing that, but I want it to be for the right reasons. This year, I want to work on being more active and eating better, so that I can be a better wife and mom. I'd love to be able to keep up with my son's boundless energy and also ensure that I'll be around to spend many more years head over heels in love with my husband. If you want to make changes pertaining to your physicality, go for it. Just make sure the reasoning behind the change is solid, so that your efforts are not in vain.
     
  11. Fight Complacency & "Court" my husband
  12. Speaking of my hubbie, this year I want to wage war against complacency in my marriage. It is amazing to be married to my best friend. It's freaking awesome that I can rip a giant fart, be bra-less and makeup-less in front of him, and never have to worry that he'll run for the hills. He is such an amazing man, he totally gets me, and I am beyond grateful to have found him.

    However, he is still a man. Men want to be proud of their wives. Not in a 1950's pearls and meatloaf on the table kind of way, but proud nonetheless. Can I really expect him to be attracted to me when I'm constantly wearing two day old pajamas, zit cream, and a rats nest on the top of my head? I want to work on giving him my best "me." Not just physically either. When he talks to me about his day, I want to give him my undivided attention, rather than pretending to listen as I return emails or channel surf. I want to be more patient with him, more understanding, less focused on his shortcomings and more concentrated  on the phenomenal husband and father that he is. This one might seem like an insurmountable task, especially if you have young children underfoot. I'd suggest starting with a shower a day..or maybe even every other day. ;)
     
  13. Be Grateful
  14. I feel like I am constantly working on this one, so it must be pretty important. All I can say is, I am always the most happy when I remember to stop and appreciate all that I have: my home, my family, my friends, our health, etc. I really am blessed. An easy way to accomplish this, is to make a list of all the beautiful things in your life that you are grateful for. Hang it somewhere easily visible, and refer to it when you are having a particularly trying day.
     
  15. Be Authentic
  16. It didn't take me long to learn that not everyone can appreciate my unique rhythm. Perhaps for this reason, I am outrageously shy around people that I don't know well. When I am finally comfortable enough to come out of my shell, there is no turning back.

    I am obnoxiously loud, sarcastic, inappropro, and completely unladylike. I love football, UFC fights, offshore fishing, and short* walks on the beach. I am a total homebody, and will always prefer my paperback to your party. I lack the stamina or stomach for hard alcohol, which makes me a terrible drinking buddy. (I will however, give it the old college try, if wine or beer is involved.)

    I am an over-sensitive, overachiever, who cannot watch a telethon or SPCA commercial without sobbing uncontrollably and coordinating a car wash for cancer-ridden kittens. I am prone to hormonal outbursts, but quick to apologize when I'm in the wrong. Loyal to a fault and probably much too naive for my age, but this is me.

    This year, I want to work on "owning" all of these aspects of myself. In other words, I will be waving my "freak" flag with pride. I'm clearly not going to be everyones cup of tea, and that's alright. I would rather live authentically than perpetually try to alter or temper myself in order to "fit in." As Dr Seuss said, "The people who matter won't mind, and the people who mind don't matter."

    I realize that this is probably one of the more difficult aspirations to embrace. To be authentic, is to be vulnerable. To completely put yourself out there. You could be shunned or you could be embraced. But wouldn't it be great to find those who embrace you, for you, and weed out those who don't?                                

    In summation, I'm pretty pleased with my list of New Years resolutions. Here's hoping you come up with something equally meaningful for yours, dear readers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pinterest Induced Stress Syndrome: Holiday Edition

I love everything about the holidays.

The music, the baked goods, the adorable crafts, and the lax rules surrounding leg shaving. This time of year is by far my favorite. At least, it used to be...before the Pinterest era.

Don't get me wrong. I love a good craft or delicious baked good, just as much as the next yahoo. But because of Pinterest, my toddler's cross-eyed reindeer hand print and my habitually burnt holiday cookies just don't seem to cut it anymore.

Christmas dinner has become this elaborate production, that involves more time, effort, and stockpiling than any of those doomsday preppers!  Because every Pinterest post is described as "delightfully easy" and "much more cost effective," we guilt ourselves into trying to create the perfect Christmas scene for our loved ones. And what would Christmas be without a whimsical candy forest, the perfectly dressed tree, chalkboard menus, dessert and hot cocoa bars, amusingly agile elves on shelves, etc.?

Let's cut the crap for a minute. We all know that those crafts and recipes are hardly ever easier or more affordable than their store bought counterparts. And we know that setting the perfect holiday scene is not a piece of cake.

Regardless, some of us are just gluttons for punishment. If you're dead-set on getting your crafting or baking on, its important to know that those Stepford biotches on Pinterest LIE. Big time. The project you are attempting will, most assuredly, NOT be delightfully simple. In fact, I think some of them purposefully leave out pivotal directions so you end up with a hot mess like this:

Top: Pinterest Peppermint Tray Fantasy
Bottom: Reality
Seriously. Did you get a good look at my tray? I followed those directions to a "T" and ended up with a giant pile of what...maybe snowman vomit? It literally took me like 5 tries to get anything close to resembling the top picture. Do you know what else they don't mention in the directions? That in order to complete this craft, you will be unwrapping individual peppermints for hours! Or scrubbing tiny pieces of peppermint shrapnel out of your carpet. "Delightfully simple," my ass!







My whimsical candy forest turned out alright. However, the time, effort, and money spent on these suckers would have been much better served equipping me with more wine to deal with my pig of a father-in-law this Christmas season.














These chalkboard trays turned out pretty cute as well, and were pretty cost-effective. The pinterest directions said to use spray paint, which was a giant pain in the arse. If I had it to do over, I would have opted for the roll on kind.


 After exhausting myself with all of my other pintrocities, I ended up wrapping one of the presents like this. Go to the store and buy an entire new roll, just to wrap ONE present?! Pshhh! I got this. Scraps from three different wrapping papers.

Now THAT was delightfully easy and cost effective! ;)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mom University: Making the Most of "Me" Time (Part Deux)

I want to welcome back those of you who already follow my blog, because where would I be without you crazy kids, and also extend an open invitation to everyone who found my blog via Hooplaha.com! Welcome! (Waves enthusiastically.)

This post is a follow-up on the original Mom University piece I did back in September, so you might want to start there. You can also catch up on some of my most popular posts here and here.

For those of you who don't know, I am a first-time mom to an adorable, heart-melting, patience-trying little guy, who will be 17 months old next week. When I first had my son, I was unprepared for how incredibly isolating motherhood could be. In my pre-baby life, I was a student and a therapist. Perpetually talking to, listening to, or otherwise engaging people. The transition from that to staying home with a demanding little bundle, who quite frankly didn't make for the most titillating conversations, was a difficult one.

From my experience as a therapist, I knew that taking a "breather" every once in awhile was imperative for maintaining my sanity. However, as a mother it is seemingly impossible to think in these terms. We are programmed to be selfless creatures; to prioritize our spouses, and our children. But the fact remains: Taking occasional time out really does help recharge, revitalize, and restore you. It makes you a better spouse, a better parent, a better person overall.

BUT, I found that making "me-time" was not enough in itself. The majority of the time, I would squander the limited alone time I did have, on passive activities like facebook or television. I was not actively pursing my dreams, or my passions. I felt like I had given up.

As much as I adore being a mother, it is not my end all be all. There are so many other facets of me, that make me the person that I am. I love baking, traveling, painting, photography, etc. and by constantly putting everyone else in my life first, I allowed those parts to languish.

We don't get another chance at life. This is our one shot.

I know that I am ultimately responsible for my own happiness. Therefore, I started Mom University in a concerted effort to pursue those passions once again. I like to think of Mom University as a "mini-movement." I am challenging other mothers to stop making excuses, prioritize themselves, and pursue their dreams.

Change your "some days" into "to-days."

Your time is now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FEATURING: Hollyday Designs

Welcome to Day 12, of the Misadventures of a 20-something Mom, 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza!!! I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed each of the amazingly unique, mom-based businesses and services that have been featured. Be sure to visit and "like" each businesses facebook page (Hollyday Designs) as they will be offering GIVEAWAYS & DISCOUNTS to every 20-something mom reader!
The 12th Day of Christmas brings us:
 
Hollyday Designs began in 2002, and initially only offered wedding stationary. As the designer Holly's life changed and progressed, she found new inspiration and began creating other products such as her infamous breast milk pendants. In fact, she considers her shop and it's products to be a reflective timeline of her life. For Holly, these are more than just products and accessories. Each piece is purposeful, meaningful, and inspired by her everyday life.
 
 
Holly employs a variety of different materials to create her diverse product line. For the milk pendants specifically, crystal clear resin and the customer's own breast milk are used to create a truly one-of-a-kind keepsake. Holly's products serve as a visual reminder of the extraordinary bond shared between a nursing mother and her child.
 










Holly is a pioneer in her craft, and over the years she has single-handedly perfected the process of curing resin and beautifully preserving milk. Due to the complex and multifaceted nature of the process, production takes a minimum of four weeks (from the time Holly receives a customer's milk.)
Pricing starts at only $65 for the milk pendants; which is more than reasonable considering the time, effort, and care that Holly puts into each piece.
 
Similarly to Holly, I also feel like "breastfeeding has changed my life, expanded my mind, and connected me to my son in ways I could have never imagined." With my son growing closer to weaning, the idea of being able to preserve a tiny piece of our nursing relationship in one of Hollyday Designs' beautiful pendants was beyond exciting! Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of time and effort needed to create one of these gems and Holly was unable to ship the piece in time for this post. However, I am confident that it will be just as gorgeous as those depicted in her shop. Perhaps even more so, since it symbolizes something so very precious to me!
 
 


 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FEATURING: Bobo's Blankies

Welcome to Day 11, of the Misadventures of a 20-something Mom, 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza!!! Tomorrow will feature our last amazing and unique Mom-Based Product! Be sure to visit and "like" each businesses facebook page (Bobos Blankets) as they will be offering GIVEAWAYS & DISCOUNTS to every 20-something mom reader!
The 11th Day of Christmas brings us:
 
 
Bobo's blankets is an up and coming online boutique that sells an array of handmade items such as blankets, quilts, burp cloths, bags, and bibs. Joanie is the owner and operator of this small business. By day, she is a stay-at-home mom to two handsome boys; by night, she is a quilting and sewing machine! (pun intended.) Despite having decades of experience and an unprecedented understanding of her craft, it never occurred to Joanie that she could turn her passion into something profitable. Fortunately, her husband and friends helped her see the light and convinced her to start selling her remarkable, one-of-a-kind items!
 
 
 Joanie decided to name her business "Bobo's" after a pet name she has for her two boys and "Blankets" because they are one of her specialties. Pricing starts at $4 for Bobos' BumBums (cloth diapers/burp cloths), and tops out around $75+ for toddler-bed sized blankets/quilts.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 As I mentioned before, Bobo's Blankets has quite the variety of different hand-crafted products. However, because of the businesses namesake and the fact that I am a glutton for snuggly accessories, I simply had to have one of Joanie's infamous blankets. Clearly, I made a wise decision! She sent me the. most. adorable. farm themed, patchwork piece I have ever seen! My son was instantly attached. He loves all things animal, with a special affinity towards cows, so he is already referring to this blanket as his "moo-moo." The blanket is incredibly soft with no scratchy tags or rough seams that are often commonplace in store bought blankies.
 
 Joanie's products are obviously stitched with the highest quality materials and sewn with love. Be sure to go check out her extensive product line. You will automatically be put into a drawing for a $20 gift certificate if you visit Bobos Blankets, like her facebook page, and tell her I sent you! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FEATURING: Just Like Mom's Baked Goods



Welcome to Day 10, of the Misadventures of a 20-something Mom, 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza!!! The next 2 days will feature some of the most amazing and unique Mom-Based Products and Services on the web! Be sure to visit and "like" their facebook pages (Just Like Mom's Baked Goods) as these businesses will be offering GIVEAWAYS & DISCOUNTS to every 20-something mom reader!
The 10th Day of Christmas brings us:
 
 
On top of being a stay-at-home mom to a gorgeous little girl, Sarah also finds time to craft exquisite culinary confections right out of her home's gallery kitchen. Sarah's first introduction to baking was working alongside her mother, as a child, fulfilling holiday cookie orders. Later as an adult, she took various decorating classes in order to hone her baking skills and further her craft. Sarah's decades of experience are evident in every beautifully prepared and mouthwateringly piquant piece.
 
The pricing of Just Like Mom's Baked Goods varies depending on the complexity of the order. Sarah can create a Full-size cake on just about any budget and smash cakes average around $10. Cookies run $1/cookie and the average cake pop is $2/pop. Discounts are offered for customers ordering numerous pieces. For a small fee, Sarah can even ship her infamous cookies to customers who aren't available for local pick-up.
 
Over the Summer, I was scrambling to find a talented baker to make my son's first birthday party cake, when I fortuitously came across Just Like Moms Baked Goods. Not only did I love the whimsical work in her portfolio, but she was also able to work with my limited budget. I was a little hesitant to use someone I had no experience with, for such a big event, but her amazing work turned out to be the highlight of the party! I had previously been under the assumption that a cake had to be fondant to be cute. With the design and creation of a scrumptiously unique Very Hungry Caterpillar Sheet Cake, Sarah blew that idea out of the water! The detail work on her cookies far surpassed my already high expectations, and of course, everything tasted delicious!

I have since used her services for a "Little Monster Mash" Halloween Party and it is now glaringly apparent that Just Like Mom's Baked Good never fails to impress!

 
I'm almost loath to publish this post, for fear that everyone will finally realize how incredibly talented and affordable her confections are..and then she won't have time to bake me tiny bits of awesomeness. ;) In all reality, Just Like Mom's Baked Goods is THE go-to business for all your baking needs. She's even offering my readers a FREE DOZEN COOKIES with the purchase of 2 Dozen cookies, for a limited time. So make sure to like her facebook page, and tell her 20-something mom sent you!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FEATURING: Heeps Bowtique


Welcome to Day 9, of the Misadventures of a 20-something Mom, 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza!!! The next 3 days will feature some of the most amazing and unique Mom-Based Products and Services on the web! Be sure to visit and "like" their facebook pages (Heeps Bowtique) as these businesses will be offering GIVEAWAYS & DISCOUNTS to every 20-something mom reader!
The 9th Day of Christmas brings us:
Don't let the name fool you, Heeps Bowtique specializes in way more than just hair accessories! The Heeps product line also consists of custom embroidered clothing, tu-tus, burp cloths, diaper wipe cases, you name it!

 On top of her career as a mommy, Lizzie is the creative genius and driving force behind this fantastic business. A little over a year ago, Lizzie's women’s group was raising money to benefit the community. In order to help contribute, she started selling bows and other accessories, and donated all of the profit. Her efforts proved so successful, and she enjoyed herself so much, that she opened a "bowtique" under the acronym of "HEEPS:" Helping, Encouraging, Empowering and Providing Support. To this day, part of the profit from each and every sale is donated.


 
Lizzie utilizes high quality ribbons, felts, and fabrics in the production of all her pieces. Shirts are not only embroidered, but also frequently hand stitched. The pricing of Heeps Bowtique products is surprisingly affordable, ranging from $2.00-$23, with the typical custom shirt averaging around $13. (Far less than you would pay, for a lesser product, at the average department store!) 
 
 With Christmas Card pictures looming, and no outfit in mind for the baby, I was beyond excited when Lizzie offered to custom make a shirt for him. What she created, was nothing less than a tiny masterpiece! For starters, the shirt fit him perfectly, with just enough room to grow into. I also loved how it was all one piece, which is essential when dressing a tot, but it still managed to retain the authentic, layered look. The hand-sewn buttons and bow tie were simply my undoing. Paired with a GAP jacket I scored on clearance, he looked like the perfect British gentleman in our pictures. A true intellect. All he was missing was a pipe and a novel!
Shopping at Heeps Bowtique should be a no-brainer. Not only are the products adorable and affordable, but a portion of the proceeds is donated. Talk about a win-win!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FEATURING: Ballerinas n Bullfrogs


Welcome to Day 8, of the Misadventures of a 20-something Mom, 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza!!! The next 4 days will feature some of the most amazing and unique Mom-Based Products and Services on the web! Be sure to visit and "like" their facebook pages (BallerinasNBullfrogs) as these businesses will be offering GIVEAWAYS & DISCOUNTS to every 20-something mom reader!
The 8th Day of Christmas brings us:
The amazingly talented seamstress behind Ballerina's 'n Bullfrogs is Amanda. Amanda learned her craft as a child, when she would sit for hours, intently watching her grandmother sew. As the years passed, her love for sewing only further blossomed. When Amanda had her own little girl, she was happy to have her sewing skills to fall back upon. Many of the "little girl" clothes in big box stores were far too revealing for her taste; so Amanda essentially designed her daughter's entire wardrobe from scratch. The clothing she made was so popular with family, friends, and complete strangers that she decided to "set up shop." And Voila!  BallerinasNBullfrogs was born!
Amanda only uses top quality materials and notions. She frequently employs designer fabrics such as Riley Blake and Michael Miller and the majority of Amanda's fabrics are cottons or knits; with the occasional singed satin flower to perfectly accent her dresses and headbands. Prices start at $5 and top out around $55. The product line currently includes clothing and accessories, for both girls and boys, with hopes to expand to accommodate Mommies in the future as well.    
Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects about Amanda's products, was that they are completely customizable and specifically tailored to your child.
Ever since my son was born, my husband and I have had the most difficult time dressing him. Aside from being way off the "growth curve" at 16 months old, 33 lbs, and 33 inches tall, he simply doesn't fit into traditional clothing sizes. The toddler sized pot-belly he sports necessitates pant sizes in the 2-3T range. However, his short legs are swallowed up in those larger sizes and we are always forced to roll or cut the ends. BallerinasNBullfrogs was able to expertly take my son's measurements and design a pair of pants that fit both his waist and his personality.

 As you can see, the fabric is deliciously vibrant and playful..much like my boy! Because these pants are so unique, we were bombarded with numerous compliments and queries about them on a recent outing. Any product from the  BallerinasNBullfrogs line, is a "statement" piece, and will be sure to draw envious glances from onlookers. What you can't see from the pictures, is how incredibly soft and comfy they are. In fact, my son looked so comfortable in his pants that a friend of ours wondered aloud if she could snag an adult-sized pair of her own!

Amanda was also kind enough to send a beautiful apron skirt along for the baby's "girlfriend." I was amazed by how well the colors on the skirt mesh together and how wonderfully the various prints complement one another. An added benefit of this gorgeous piece, is the elastic waistband, which ensures that it will be able to "grow" with her for awhile.
One things for certain, the baby and his girlfriend are going to be the talk of the town in this gorgeous garb! Check out BallerinasNBullfrogs to ensure that your tot is sporting stylish threads too!