I Woke Up At My Parents House

1st October 2015

I woke up in my parents home for the first time in over 6 years today.

Usually when my husband goes out of town on business I just continue our normal routine at home, but I decided that with two kids it would be nice to have a little help, so I rounded up the troops and went to nana and papa’s house.

It’s funny how even after all of these years and a new house things can still feel the same. 

My parents pantry, filled with the same cereals and soups and pasta sauce brands. The softsoap hand wash in the bathrooms. My dad fighting me on putting up a baby gate outside the room we are sleeping in because he is just as overprotective of my kids as he was of me when I was living under his roof.  

I never realized it before, but when my boys spend the night with their grandparents they will be experiencing a piece of my own childhood. 

The foods and the smells and the same 12 jokes my dad has been telling since I was a little girl— I can sort of always count on my parents to consistently be themselves and I really love that. 

The thing that has changed the most within those walls was me. 

Rather than dragging myself out of bed at 11 am, raiding the fridge, and forgetting to put everything away before I spent the next hour or so getting ready, I was up at 6am with two kids, threw on some clothes, did the dishes, and put everything back where it belonged before I left. 

In my adult life I think of ways to make my parents lives easier, not harder. 

I wonder if my grandchildren will know my pantry for its peanut butter, quinoa, and chocolate chips. Will we be known for our Netflix binges and football obsession? I want to be ever-changing, but I do hope that I will have things about me that my kids can count on to be consistent— so that no matter how long it’s been since they’ve spent the night, they will still feel right at home when they finally do. 


Two Months Old

22nd September 2015

My chunky-thighed babe just keeps on growing and that’s really no surprise to me, because he eats more than any baby I’ve ever known.

Six hours straight of nursing is not my idea of a good time, but I know this is just a phase that will quickly pass, and if my body is providing enough milk to keep him healthy and happy then I know it’s all worth it.

Bennett has already decided that he would rather be awake more often than asleep and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I just wasn’t destined for children that fall into the majority, in regards to behavior.

He loves to have conversations and will chit chat/laugh right back at you.

Standing, “walking”, and bouncing are his fav and he is always very adamant about us giving him the illusion that he’s doing it himself.

The boys already seem to have an unspoken connection that just melts Derek and I. Bennett is interested in whatever Declan is doing at all times and D comes over to give B kisses and tell him he loves him all the time. I really can’t explain it, but I can already tell that they are going to have a very close bond with one another.

We had a little scare last month that sent us over to an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor. One night B started gasping and making a high pitched noise out of nowhere. Panicked, we rushed him into the light to check his skin tone, but he was perfectly colored and even smiling at us. When we realized that the gasping noise wasn’t him struggling to breathe and instead was just a noise, we calmed down and just monitored him closely the rest of the night.

After going to the doctor the following day, we were sent to the ENT where we found out he has a minor case of laryngomalcia (soft larynx). The doctor is pretty confident that Bennett’s case will resolve itself without needing surgery, but he will be closely monitoring him the next few months just in case. Thankfully, it doesn’t affect his airflow at all so he can breathe just fine.

Bennett is such a perfect addition to our family and it’s hard to believe we were ever without him.

My neighbor (who also has two boys) told me before he was born:

“People will always say you have ‘another boy’ but he won’t just be another boy, he will be Bennett. He will be his own person with his own unique personality that adds a whole new dimension to your family dynamic.”

I loved that outlook even before I met B, and now that he’s here it just highlights the truth in what she said.

Even at only two months old, he brings a new level of joy into our home. From his smile, to his cuddles, to the way he frowns— Bennett is just so…. Bennett. He is so uniquely him (even if he looks strikingly similar to his brother) and I am beyond in love with the little guy.

Life makes sense with my house full of boys— I wouldn’t trade a thing.


We Can’t Have It All

18th September 2015

(Brenda Munoz Photography)

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been you’re not alone. I too, have not been able to find myself for the past few weeks.

I think I left me somewhere between tired and exhausted, at the corner of Overwhelmed Ave.

Yesterday, I thought it was Monday— Not kidding.

Days feel like they are fused together when you are only getting 3-4 hours of broken up sleep every night. There doesn’t seem to be enough coffee in the world to perk me up and I’m already a paranoid person, so taking up cocaine is a no go.

I’ve got a 13 lb. newborn who literally wants to eat all day long and a toddler who is in the “test every boundary/this is mine” phase.

If I’m lucky enough to get both of them down for a nap at the same time, I have approximately 40 minutes to do one thing before they are awake and screaming simultaneously.

So then it’s a matter of choices: Which part of me do I nuture today?

Do I clean the house, feeding the homemaker in me?

Do I workout so that I can feel confident about my body again?

Do I blog, allowing myself to express my emotions and release creative energy?

Or do I do my hair and makeup so that when Derek gets home I look presentable?

At this stage in my parenting life, I really do have to choose one and only one every single day.

And for someone like me, that is incredibly hard.

I want to do it all. Doesn’t everybody?

The picturesque idea of being a stay-at-home mom.

The woman who cooks, and cleans, and works out, and always looks put together, and takes awesome pictures for her awesome blog that she posts on every day.

I take one look at my toy-infested living room or my chipped toe nail polish and the devil whispers in my ear— you’re failing.

This isn’t my first rodeo and I know better than to listen to the harsh words of faint voices.

But then exhaustion takes over, self-doubt creeps in, and I can’t tell the difference between the devil’s voice and my own.

It’s easy to feel like a failure when you haven’t showered in two days and your kid has been living off of popcorn and frozen pizzas all week.

In a feeble attempt to control something at a time when I seemingly have no control over anything, I chopped off all of my hair.

I came up with an exotic dinner menu for the week.

I put my kids in the car and drove around just so I could listen to Pandora through one headphone and be hands-free-of-child for 10 minutes.

But it wasn’t until I had the courage to say “I’m failing” out loud that I realized, I’m not.

My bed is made every day.

 The toys… They always make it back into their rightful place— even if only long enough for Declan to pull them out again.

I never go to sleep with dishes in the sink, and though it might not always get put away before its worn again, our laundry is always clean.

I may let my kid eat frozen pizzas and popcorn sometimes, but I also make him homemade dinners every night andhealthy alternatives of almost everything he loves.

Messy hair is in, so I’m actually quite stylish with my au naturel do— and I work out every chance I get, even if it’s just a wall sit while I’m brushing my teeth.

My husband still wants to kiss me the minute he walks in the door, even if I’m sweaty from a workout. And my kids— they have the biggest smiles on their faces for the majority of each day.

So, maybe we can’t have it all.

Or maybe we can, just differently than we expected.

When I look at that list above, I don’t see failure— I see me thriving.

And while it may not be the vision I had in my head of success, I may just find that it’s even better.

The Softest Diapers Yet + A Giveaway

9th September 2015

I’ve been an Honest Company girl since day one.

But if I’m being HONEST (see what I did there?)— there are a few things I’m not crazy about when it comes to their diapers.

The designs are super cute, but I feel like the material isn’t soft enough and irritates my kid’s thigh rolls.

This wasn’t an issue with Declan, since he never had rolls, but Bennett is a chunky monkey.

So when P&G offered to send me a sample of their new Pampers Swaddlers I was all for it.

Why not bust out of my diaper bubble and try something new, right?

The first thing I immediately noticed was how much softer the material was. Usually B has red marks from where his diaper creases into his rolls, but he didn’t get that with these swaddlers—they were super soft.

I loved the blue line indicator that lets me know when he’s soiled his diaper too. It beats out having to stick my finger down the diaper to check for wetness, which yes— I do all of the time.

The other thing I really appreciated was that even when he had a full diaper it didn’t feel full. The swaddler absorbed the moisture, making it still lightweight even while full.

The only downside for me is the fact that they don’t have an array of super trendy patterns to choose from— talk about a first world problem!

Now if only I could get these Pampers Swaddlers delivered to my doorstep, am I right?

While they aren’t currently up for delivery (get on that, guys!) you can purchase them at Babies”R”Us. And for all of my mamas-to-be out there, Babies”R”Us will give you a FREE wristlets gift that includes a sample of the new Pampers Swaddler when you create a baby registry.

And because P&G is awesome, they have given me a $75 gift card to Babies”R”Us/Toys”R”Us and a box of Pampers wipes to give away to one lucky reader!

This giveaway will last until 9/13 and the winner will be announced 9/14 so make sure you check my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts to see if you are the lucky winner.

Enter Competition


Good Luck!


My Heart Is Full

8th September 2015

If you had told me five years ago that I would be a stay-at-home mama to two little boys… I would have believed you.

There’s really nothing surprising about that to me.

But if you had told me that it would be this hard and this rewarding, I probably would have brushed you off as a little melodramatic.

After all, I owned a dog which is practically the same as having a child right? (Insert crying-from-laughter face emoji here).

Doing the newborn stage all over again has turned Derek and I upside down.

I’m not naive— I knew it was going to be tough for a few months while we got into a groove. But I had forgotten about things like all night cluster feedings and the fact that having a newborn and a toddler to care for means that “sleeping when the baby sleeps” is not an option.

If someone were to break into my home at 2:00 am and see me walking to the other room to change a diaper, they would legitimately think I was a zombie and run the other way.  Sometimes I even scare myself as I’m dragging my feet across the floor and get a glimpse of the droopy-faced Frankenbeast staring back at me in the hallway mirror.

I wish I could say that as the sun rises the beast recedes and the beauty within is revealed, but sunshine just highlights the dark hue underneath my eyelids and raggedness of my hair.

I vaguely remember what a real shower looks like (you mean I get to shave both legs today instead of just one?!) and I’m pretty sure my new scent—Milk Au Perfum— is to blame for a recent cat invasion on the block.

Remember when I used to buy coffee out of desire rather than necessity? Yeah, me neither.

I’m like a guy weeding through the trash to find the bread that his wife threw out because “it’s still good as long as you cut off the mold.”— I will drink day old coffee straight from the sitting pot if I have to— I DGAF.

Exhaustion has caused me to develop a speech impediment making Declan the frontrunner for correct sentence completion in this family, and he’s two.

And if I’m being completely honest, I have no idea what day of the week it is anymore— in fact, all I know is if it’s National taco or donut or smack-a-baby-elephant day, thanks to Instagram.

If you’re not a parent or even if you are, this all might sound crazy to you. But do you want to know what’s even crazier?

I wouldn’t trade a single moment.

These days— the ones we beg and plead to fly by— they do. They zoom past us and next thing we know we’re sobbing as we listen to an old clip of their little tiny baby cries, because those moments are gone and we will never get them back.

The truth is, despite all of the trials and exhaustion, my heart is so full.

I have these two amazing little people that God has entrusted me to raise.

Not only do I get to watch their entire lives unfold right before my eyes— I get to play a vital role in them.

How lucky are we as parents, that we get to spend our days with the future of our world?

I see so much sorrow, so much suffering on this planet. But I look into my children’s eyes and I see hope— I see goodness. And their pure hearts remind me of how we should all be. 

It is because of my children that I am able to love not only them, but even total strangers, with my whole heart. 

This awesome shirt from Tink & Key is a my new favorite because not only is it super comfy, it reminds me just how lucky I am to have my two sons.

I first discovered their IG account through a giveaway and immediately fell in love with their line, specifically because of their “Miracle Baby” and “Rainbow Baby” tees that they are so well-known for.

They came up with the concept for their shirts after their second born son was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot at his 5 week check up. He is their living miracle baby and they wanted to honor that and highlight God’s love through their line.

Declan is our rainbow baby as I have previously discussed, so the brand really hit a chord with me.

You can check out all of the awesome clothes they have (here).

And as a special offer to my readers, you can enjoy 25% off your purchase with the Discount Code: SUMMERBLOG15

What makes your heart full? Take a moment out of your day to reflect on it and be grateful for the wonderful things that fill you up!


SwaddleSure by HALO SleepSack Giveaway

27th August 2015

I think as parents we all have one main fear whether it be that our kids will drown, or snap their neck, or have potato spuds growing out of their ears. Derek is terrified of our boys choking and mine has always been that they will suffocate in their sleep.

Okay, so this post is starting out a little dark— sorry about that!

The thing is, both Declan and now Bennett have a problem with conventional swaddling and refuse to keep their arms inside of the blanket.

So co-sleeping became a natural solution because if they are on my chest then I can tell if they are breathing or not.

Now don’t get me wrong— I love the closeness and bond from co-sleeping.

But sometimes I need to be able to sleep on my side instead of my back— sometimes I need to be able to actually enter my REM cycle instead of carefully treading outside of it in barely-asleep mode in case my baby moves the wrong way.

So when I was approached with the opportunity to try out the SwaddleSure by HALO SleepSack, I was really excited.

*HALO sent me this product sample. All opinions are my own*

The SwaddleSure has a patented three-point fastening system that makes it harder for your baby to bust out, which was a huge selling point for me.

It also supports hip health by not constraining the legs like receiving blankets can, but rather allowing your little one to put them in a natural position and move as needed.

Beside the fact that B looked absolutely adorable in the sack, I was pleased to find that he really enjoyed it too!

I was able to place him in a crib for the first time since the day he was born and he actually slept there.

(Don’t mind all of the different patterns we’ve got going on in this picture!)

So far I’ve only been able to remember to put him in the sac for naps.

Usually at night I get distracted and once he is asleep I don’t want to wake him.

 I’m hoping to get him in it for bedtime this week so that I can sleep on my side and dream about Costa Rica.

Now for the fun part:

I want to pass the goodness on to all of you!

I’ve got one SwaddleSure by HALO to giveaway to a lucky reader.

You can enter to win this awesome SleepSack below.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, September 1.

(US and Canada entries only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to win even more?

HALO is currently participating in a “Get Ready For Baby” giveaway where you can win over $3,000 worth of prizes!

The prize package includes:

HALO Bassinest + HALO SleepSack Swaddle

Baby Brezza Formula Pro + One Step Food Maker

Baby Jogger City Select

Babysteals.com $100 Gift Certificate

Beco Gemini Baby Carrier

Boppy Pillow

Doona Car Seat/Stroller

Earth Mama Angel Baby 1-year supply of baby skincare products

Kidco Go·Pod Activity Seat

Kolcraft Mira Studios Crib and Stearns & Crib Mattress

To enter the giveaway, visit http://bit.ly/1ey3oxd

This contest ends on the 31st so don’t forget to enter.

And make sure to follow HALO on all of their social media outlets for product details and deals.

[Facebook] [Instagram] [Twitter] [Pinterest] [Google+] [YouTube]

Good luck everyone!


One Month Old

24th August 2015

Onesie from JamJamsJam

Saturday marked one full month since Bennett made his grand entrance into this world.

Seeing as this is our last baby (God willing), it feels very emotional that his first month is already over.

He gained a whopping two pounds and 3/4 of an inch in just 4 short weeks and I already have to pack up his newborn onesies because they no longer fit.

Are you kidding me?

Declan was wearing newborn clothes for at least 3-4 months, so I just assumed I had more time.

Along with being a big old scrumptious wad of baby, Bennett is incredibly strong— just like his brother was.

He has been able to hold his head up since birth and now has close to full control over it.

He tries to stand all of the time, and diaper changes can sometimes be a struggle because he pushes his legs out so firmly and holds them there with his Hulk-like strength.

He eats All. Day. Long.

But I’m not even kidding— the average baby eats around 8-12 times per day. Bennett eats more like 15-20 times, with stretches where he will literally nurse for 2-4 hours straight. While a big chunk of that is just comfort nursing, it can still get a little overwhelming when you’ve been an open tap for that long.

And heaven forbid a boob fall out of his mouth before he was ready for it to. He makes this ravenous sound that Derek describes as when Beast (from Beauty and the Beast) is eating his porridge. It’s a hilariously creepy snarl that frightens my husband at 2:00 am.

B loves his daddy. He will wake up with a big smile when he hears Derek’s voice and loves sitting with him and getting/giving kisses.

Declan is in love with his baby brother for the most part, and always asks to hold him or give him a kiss. He loves playing with his feet — I’m  actually pretty sure Declan has a foot fetish, but we’ll save that for another time.

It’s been a month full of sleepless nights, multiple cups of coffee, and milk-stained shirts, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Can’t wait to see what this next month has in store for us!


His & Hers Pillowcase Giveaway

18th August 2015

Yesterday morning I peeled out of bed, threw on my robe, and started our day as usual.

I was nursing my baby in one arm while peeing — because you give up your right to use the restroom by yourself when you become a parent— when Declan began throwing a fit over the fact that I was in the bathroom, despite the door being wide open.

I jumped up at his banshee scream and when I did, my phone fell right out of my robe pocket and into the toilet.

So I started my day fishing an iPhone out of my pee.

After sanitizing the damn thing I threw it in a bag of rice (because that’s what Google told me to do) and 8 hours later it was as good as new!

Seriously, where would we be without the Internet to tell us life hacks?

That story had absolutely nothing to do with my post today, I just really wanted to tell you guys.

Anyway— if you follow me on Instagram then you may remember this picture I posted a few weeks back of these lovely pillow cases I got for our master bedroom.

I’ve spent the last two years carefully selecting pieces for the room because Derek claims that I change my mind on home decor like I’m speed dating.

So these pillow cases spent a year on my inspiration board before I finally pulled the trigger and bought them from ZanaProducts.

And well— I love them so much that I want to give a set away to you!

Mine are white but the ones I have for this giveaway are off-white. Just wanted you to keep that in mind for decorating purposes.

This contest will close on Thursday at  8:00 pm PST and I will announce the winner later that day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!


In The Next 10 Years I Will…

11th August 2015

Saturday was my husband’s 10 year high school reunion.

We didn’t go, because getting a babysitter for your two week old seemed a little too Kim Kardashian for us, but we laughed about how old we are on our couch while watching a weird Netflix series and eating homemade banana cookies— clearly winning.

With my own reunion less than two weeks away (see above for why we won’t be attending), I am taken back ten years to the young girl that I was.

Derek’s school did a thing where they gave everyone at the reunion a copy of a “where I will be in ten years” paper that they had all filled out back in high school.

I sort of love that, and while I did not fill one out in my senior year, I can tell you what it would have said:

“Married with two kids. Traveling the world as a singer.”

I started thinking about how we determine and set these long term goals and it made me want to reevaluate the way I do things.

I mean, doesn’t it seem weird to make settling down with a husband and kids a goal within a specific timeline?

Granted, I met these goals within the allotted time, but what if I hadn’t met Derek until later on in life?

Would my sensational need to live up to my 17-year-old self’s expectations have caused me to settle into a lack-luster marriage?

Naive 17-year-old Andi: Senior portrait

I know I’m not the only one who made these marital/family goals.

I always thought that I would be married by 21, having kids by 23.

But once I actually was 21, I realized how completely insane that was.

No, marriage and kids did not fit into my schedule of Vegas weekends and pub crawls.

And thank goodness— because sitting on the asphalt outside of a Vegas hotel in my bikini crying over my spilled purse and watching my friend unknowingly chug a beer with a cigarette butt in it at Oktoberfest are some of my favorite memories.

My kids are amazing.

I wouldn’t trade them for all of the irresponsibly fun nights in the world.

But I didn’t settle down because I had a deadline to fulfill— I did it because I met the love of my life and we both decided we were ready.

Maybe instead of holding ourselves and our relationships to impossibly high standards such as timelines, we should make other goals instead— ones that are more impactful on our lives and the people around us.

I’ve decided to give this a go— feel free to quote me in another ten years and hold me to each and every one of these on a daily basis.

In the next 10 years I will…

Treat everyone as an equal.

Respect and love my husband.

Exercise patience and understanding towards others.

Give more of myself to the people I love and less of myself to my cell phone, tablet, etc.

Teach my children kindness and compassion.

Forgive freely.

What will your goals for the next ten years be?

I’d love to hear from you!

Comment below or get in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #inthenext10years


My New Breastfeeding Journey 

8th August 2015



It’s the last day of World Breastfeeding Week and being two weeks in, I have found that there are a whole new set of obstacles to face when you decide to exclusively breastfeed the second time around. 

I was prepared for the sore nipples, the all night cluster feeding, the pure dedication it takes to be someone’s food source all day, every day— But what I had not accounted for was how much it would affect my relationship with my oldest son. 

Wednesday I was punched in the gut with this realization.

I had put Declan down for his nap and was feeding Bennett in the living room when all of a sudden I heard D crying.

Mid-nursing and knowing he was okay,  I called him to come and join me on the couch. 

He continued to cry as he cuddled up next to me and waited for his turn to have mommy.

Bennett had finally fallen asleep so I gently placed him in the rocker so that I could tend to Declan’s needs. 

He immediately draped his long limbs over my body and held me tight for a bear hug. 

Then he rested his head in the crease of my arm and began to drift back off to dreamland.

Less than 5 minutes had passed when we heard Bennett struggling next to us, clearly pooping.

He began to fuss through the gas and Declan opened his eyes and looked at me desperately, silently begging me not to move. 

I tried to wait it out and see if Bennett would go back to sleep, but within seconds his fuss turned into a full blown scream and I knew I needed to change and tend to my newborn. 

My chow hound was no doubt hungry again after blowing out his diaper and waiting turns is not a concept that a two week old can grasp. 

So I kissed my toddler on his head and gently moved him off of me, explaining that I needed to change his brothers diaper and asking him if he would like to join me and help.

Declan let out a cry— no, a sob, unlike any I had heard from him in a long while. 

I rushed through the diaper change and scurried back to the couch to try and snuggle with him while feeding Bennett.

Through tears he began pleading with me:

“Mama, Bennett down. No Bennett. Mama pease.”

I joined him in his cry and pulled him in close.

“I’m so sorry my baby. I’m so sorry.”

Salty, tear-filled kisses left my lips to his forehead and I found myself completely unable to control my emotions or the situation.

Fortunately, Declan noticed the car pattern on Bennett’s onesie and began to point and name the colors which calmed him down.

But for me it took a little longer to calm down— I’m still calming down from the whole thing. 

I never anticipated that Declan too, would have to make sacrifices for mine and Bennett’s breastfeeding journey.

With Declan I had nothing but time. 

Time to sit and stare into his eyes while he ate.

Time to lounge on the couch and let him eat for however long he wanted. 

Time for comfort nursing and couch naps together. 

But with Bennett, things are different for everyone involved.

They have to be. 

And I am starting to understand that that is okay.

Our journey will be different because our circumstances are different. 

I think I had to let it set in that neither of them are suffering.

Declan can entertain himself while I feed his brother every now and then and Bennett isn’t going to be a serial killer because he didn’t get as much comfort nursing as Declan did. 

I know now that I’m going to have hard days that go beyond the level of my milk supply or comfort of my breasts.

New challenges will emerge as I balance life with two littles.

But I can take comfort in the reminder of what I have accomplished before and the motivation to do it again even amidst these new obstacles.