,

Why Winter Break Needs To Be Over

Disclaimer: I love my kid, like a lot.

Even though I could squeeze her until it hurts, I also need my alone time and my sanity. So at the end of winter break (yes I know it was only a little over two weeks) I am ready for the sound of the school bell.  Call me selfish, but I bet you have felt the same way as me at some point over the break.

Winter Break needs to be over because:

  1. Quiet, I just need some quite time.
  2. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
  3. My bank account and the sitter need a break!
  4. I want to throw my activity planner out the window (no more play dates, museums, or Disneyland trips for at least a month…okay maybe a week).
  5. Mom, Party of One, needs to happen. I want to watch daytime television in my pajamas, or get ready for work without any interruptions.

Are you sad to see Winter Break come to an end? Or do you feel like school can’t start soon enough??

,

Pregnancy: The Exhaustion Is Real

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka 

Pregnancy comes with many beautiful qualities, and many what the hell is happening to me moments. I like to call these “the little things no one tells you about” symptoms. When I was first pregnant with Willow everyone talked about how amazing they felt, when really I was feeling borderline narcoleptic over here. I literally had no energy and could easily fall asleep anywhere. I kept reading that I would be the energizer bunny when the second trimester hit, but I almost felt worse. I just thought this was normal for me and everyone is different, so this is just my plight.

With the second pregnancy, this Mama got a little smarter and realized I don’t want to be the girl snoring at the party. So here are some tips that have helped me beat exhaustion with this pregnancy. It is important to note that some fatigue is related to pregnancy hormones. Although there isn’t anything you can do to change hormone levels, I have found that these little actions help me feel alive and energized.

  1. Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. You really might have to rearrange your schedule to allow yourself to rest more. Embrace your inner slacker and become less busy if possible. If you have more energy in the morning, schedule activities then and rest in the afternoon. Remember it is okay to say NO, and to put yourself first. Plus who is going argue with the pregnant lady?
  2. Eat regularly. This has been a lifesaver for me this pregnancy. I eat every two hours to avoid any dip in blood sugar (this has also helped my pregnancy weight gain remain steady and on point.)
  3. Moderate exercise. I know this one sounds like the complete opposite of what would make you feel better. Yet, regular exercise, even a 20 minute walk can release mood-elevating hormones and put a little pep in your step. So ignore the couch calling your name and set aside a little time for exercise.
  4. Set an earlier bedtime. Go to sleep one hour earlier than you normally would. This can give you a bit more energy in the morning.
  5. Ask for help! This is what I wish I would have done more of during my first pregnancy. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman, and there are people who will help you! Asking is the first step!!!

 

,

#AskAbby: How are you preparing for the newborns?

Like all expecting moms, I’m not immune to the stress that comes with preparing for a new baby (or two babies in my case!) but one thing that has been useful in managing my stress is a handy to-do  list.

This list is comprised of actions that need to be completed before the babies arrive and is not inclusive of my shopping list for baby items and the nursery (I will be writing a blog post on my favorite baby brands soon but would love any recommendations!)

 

  1. Making sure the house is as organized/clean as possible to come home to after the babies are born. This is a must! The last thing you want to be worried about is cleaning up or clutter when your hands are full with newborns. Thankfully I’m able to get some help in this area, but planning ahead so everything is immaculate for the first day back at home is important.
  2. Getting my general to-do’s out of the way. Whether it’s getting the oil changed on the car or paying bills… any of my general tasks will be done before the due date or hopefully far in advance since these boys may arrive early! This will help make sure my brain is fully in the moment with the babies when they arrive.
  3. Planning meals for the first month or so of the newborns being home. I’m the queen of easy meals but having a plan thats suitable for the whole family is important. Homemade frozen dinners, healthy takeout and/or meals prepared by family and friends is key!!
  4. Planning Willow’s schedule. I definitely want Willow around as much as possible with her new baby brothers but I know there will be moments when it may be best to have her occupied. I’m arranging drop-offs and pick-ups for school and some playdates so she’ll be able to have some fun while mom and dad hopefully get to have a nap.
  5. Clearing phone memory. This may be a ‘huh’ on the list but newborns grow SO QUICKLY and I know I’ll want to capture every moment (x2). I would be devastated if I miss the new cutest thing ever  because my phone ran out of memory.
  6. Arranging the nursery in a realistic way. Though aesthetics are important, I know when two new babies are crying and need a diaper changed… I’ll be less concerned with whether it looks cute! Setting up the changing table where everything is within close reach and being practical in my decor is important!
  7. Packing my hospital bag. Though we still have a couple months left, this is something I’m taking care of early on since I know the babies could arrive unexpectedly. I’ll probably consistently remember things to add to it since I have a slight case of pregnancy brain!
  8. Making our labor playlist. Going into labor is very memorable experience and special moment… I want to make sure the background music is not a stressful decision in the moment. I’m curating an energetic one for when I may need some motivation and a peaceful one for the quieter moments.
  9. Going through Willow’s baby items. From books to blankets, I don’t want to overbuy baby items that I may already have. Plus, it’s pretty nostalgic and fun to go through her old stuff!
  10. Organizing and saving important phone numbers. From our pediatrician to local emergency numbers…. I want to make sure I’m as prepared for every emergency situation with the fastest way to get help.

 

,

How To Manage Large Crowds During The Holiday

Many of us are able to handle and prep for the holidays very well but one thing that will always be unavoidable are the large crowds during this busy season. Large crowds freak me out and I try to avoid them as much as possible but that’s not so easy when I have holiday shopping or other family outings to do with a little one in tow. When I do need to go out I try to bring Willow with me, which can become another challenge in itself. I’ve picked up some tips along the way on how to make managing crowds more merry!
Here’s some tips for staying safe in large crowds with kids:
1. Keep Sight Close: I try to make sure to not let Willow out of my sight and I (or AJ) will try to physically hold her hand as much as possible! Shoulder rides count too 😉
2. Bright Colors: My friends have suggested putting bright colored clothes on Willow so she’s easy to spot, definitely something to keep in mind though #1 and not losing sight in the first place is key!
3. Stroller: If you child is still small enough I suggest taking a stroller with you for a sense of containment. I still bring mine with me sometimes even though Willow is starting to grow out of it already.
4. Talk to Your Kids: Willow and I had the stranger talk not too long ago so she is aware not to talk to anyone she doesn’t know. It’s important to stress the importance of stranger danger and what to do if they were to get lost (tell an official in uniform, remember mom/dad’s phone number, meeting spot, etc.)
5. Time Your Trip Well: Before I go out I make sure to have a list of things I need so I manage my time well and don’t spend too much time out which may lead to a cranky child that makes the whole outing more difficult than necessary.
 What other tips do you have for managing crowds with kids? I’d love to know them!
,

#AskAbby: How do you get things done with a toddler?

For those of you with a small child, you know how much attention they require! Though we love giving our kids all the attention in the world… sometimes we still need to get things done without them. These are my 5 survival tips for when productivity is needed around the little ones:

 

  1. Teach your toddler to respect when you’re busy. I know, I know, easier said than done!! Repetition is key here… eventually, when they learn that their time will come when Mom or Dad is finished with what they are doing, they’ll begin to learn some patience. This happens over time and is no quick fix but it’s the basis for instilling patience in toddlers early on.
  2. Snacks. Sometimes a little hunger is behind the grab for attention, always having healthy snacks on deck is helpful! Pre-portioned carrots, celery, berries, etc. is a great way to boost your child’s fruit and veggie intake while also giving them a distraction (and hopefully learn to enjoy healthy snacks as well!) Bonus points for snacks they can play with… hand over the celery sticks, a lump of a nut butter, and some raisins with instructions on how to make “ants on a log” and you’ve just bought enough time to pay the bills. 
  3. Vitamin D. We’re lucky enough in California that we pretty much have sunshine all year around which is perfect for the kiddos! Fresh air, space to run around in the yard, and some plants to explore is usually enough for Willow’s imagination to run wild for at least a little while. If you don’t have a backyard, try to bring your own task into the outdoors so you can watch the kids. Doing your own to-do’s in the outdoors might just make them more enjoyable as well!
  4. Inclusion. Since Willow is about to be a big sister, we’re really starting to teach her what responsibility is. I’ve begun to task her with simple tasks… putting toys away, counting things for me, matching socks, bringing in the mail, etc.. She also loves to “help” with some of my tasks… whether it’s working on the blog or decorating rooms in the new house!
  5. Bag of activities. I bring this bag with me everywhere and keep a bunch of little play things in there… coloring books, markers, play dough, figurines, blocks, books, etc.. I like to keep exactly what’s inside a mystery so she’s always guessing what I’m about to pull out!

,

#AskAbby: How are you preparing Willow for twin boys?

So many people have been asking how Willow feels about two new babies joining the family! We know this is going to be a HUGE transition for her since she has been by herself for 4 years but we’re determined to making the change as easy and exciting as possible for everyone. Here is how I am helping Willow prepare!

 

  1. My dad bought me a book called Siblings Without Rivalry and it’s given me very valuable insight on what Willow may be thinking now and could feel after the twins arrive. My Dad gave me a great analogy, he said, “compare a new sibling to what it would feel like as a wife for your husband to come home with a younger and better wife that was now joining the family”… certainly not ideal for any wife!!! I can only imagine the jealousy that would arise from a situation like that (however far fetched it would be). But that analogy really put how Willow will be feeling into perspective.

 

  1. Another fun practice I’ve been trying with Willow is giving her twin dolls to play with. We’ve been taking care of the baby dolls together so she learns to take ownership of her role as a big sister. I want her to be happy and eager to help take care of her new baby brothers. We’re hoping having the two dolls around will help her get used to the idea that the family is growing, and that the babies will need some attention.

 

  1. We’re trying to help foster the relationship she’ll have with the boys and to have her involved in as much as we can. When we get ultrasounds we tell her that the twins are waving “Hi” to her and that they are SO excited to meet their big sister. She’s also helping to pick out  things for the nursery and other new baby things we need. She is going to be a baby expert!

 

  1. I reminded Willow that she is going to be the princess of the castle since both babies are going to be boys (they of course will be the princes…haha). In doing this I wanted to remind her that even though new babies are coming she is still our little girl! I plan on being very aware of maintaining mommy and daughter time as well.  I know having the two newborns will be tough, but I want to make sure I continue to make the extra effort to do activities with Willow, like putting her to bed myself, etc.

 

I would would love to hear from you all on what you found to be helpful when introducing a new baby (or babies) to the family! We have a few more ideas that AJ and I are considering implementing like sending Willow gifts from the twins, etc. But we’re stilling learning and researching!

,

The Party That Changed My Life!

 

This past weekend was finally the moment we had been waiting for! AJ and I  found out the genders of our twins and BOY were we in for a surprise. 😉

Leading up to the day of my party I wasn’t exactly nervous. I was excited but when the day finally came and I had so many butterflies in my stomach. More than anything I just wanted my babies to be healthy, but of course I was looking forward to knowing what these little bundles of joy would be.

I was so lucky to have such an amazing team of people help me put together my gender reveal party. The weather was perfect, as most days in California are but since it was an outdoor party the cool weather and sunshine made the day that much more pleasant. PRIV did my hair and makeup the morning of, which definitely helped me out as I was trying to relax and let every moment of the day sink in.

Our close friends and family were there to celebrate with us. Thank goodness I had some fellow moms-to-be there so we could exchange stories and sip on delicious “mocktails” made by Health-Ade Kombucha. 

The real adults got to drink Babe Rosé by Swish Beverages that matched out decor perfectly!

One of my favorite decorations of the party was the dessert table, lined with the cutest baby cake pops and beautiful balloon decorations from Brag Designs.

Also, we had The Lobos Food Truck come and serve up mini chicken sliders and fries for everyone. It turned out to be a hit!

Once everyone was well feed and mingled for a bit it was time for the big reveal.

Willow and AJ did the honors of opening the first box while everyone gathered around. We took a bet from the crowd before we opened the box, and most people thought we were having two girls.

The first box slowly opened and blue balloons came flying up! As you can see from my reaction I was definitely surprised but mostly so excited! I wish more people were there to have seen AJ’s reaction…priceless! Willow, and most of the kids at the party, got a little startled by all of the commotion. So we held her when opening the second box.

Then it was time to open the second box and guess what?! It was blue balloons AGAIN!

That’s right, we are having TWIN BOYS!

We could not be happier to bring the Buckley boys into this world very soon!

Willow was really banking on a girl and a boy but we’re sure once they come she’ll be excited and jump right into her role as a big sister.

Now that we know it will be boys, it’s time I start shopping for my little men and relaxing for just a little bit longer until they make their big debut.

Again, I couldn’t have done all of this without the support of you guys, my friends and family and all of the people that made this party possible!

 

Special Thanks To:

PRIV

Shop Pink Blush

Brag Designs balloons

Health-Ade Kombucha

Mi Florita flower arrangements

The Lobos Truck

DrinkswithMJ

Swish Beverages

,

#AskAbby: What’s been your experience with pregnancy cravings so far?

For those of you who have been pregnant, you know the struggle is real when it comes to managing food cravings while pregnant! My experience with the twins so far has been a bit different than my pregnancy with Willow. Funny enough though, by this point in my pregnancy with Willow, I had gained DOUBLE the weight than what I’ve gained with the twins so far! I thought it would be the opposite and I’m honestly not sure if it’s attributed to it just being my second pregnancy or that there are two babies to feed.

I have noticed that my appetite is definitely much more constant than when I was pregnant with Willow. If I don’t eat every two hours, I’m STARVING and begin to feel a bit light headed. One of the ways I’ve been combating my constant hunger without completely overeating is by starting off my morning with a very healthy breakfast and by keeping snacks on hand at all times.

In the mornings my go-to breakfast has been a smoothie! I’ve kept the specific ingredients pretty flexible and have been throwing in whatever fruits & veggies are in the fridge with my homemade almond milk and occasionally a scoop of an organic nut butter as well. Pretty easy and stressless! Though a smoothie sounds light, my secret has been making two servings. I’ll have my first serving around 6AM and then my second about an hour to an hour in a half later while I’m in the car driving to work. A well fed mama and a well fed nurse is key! For snacks, my favorite is to keep granola bars on hand but if I feel like I’m eating too much sugar, I’ll switch to almonds and other nuts.

Lastly, I’ve been super aware of my water intake! 4 liters a day! SO many times we confuse dehydration with hunger so keeping a water bottle on me at all times has helped me minimize over indulging with some unmentioned non-healthy snacks 😉 

,

#AskAbby: How do you teach Willow the spirit of Thanksgiving?

There’s so much more to Thanksgiving than a fun opportunity to sit around a delicious dinner with friends and family. Now that Willow is older, we’ve begun to teach her to the greater meaning behind the holiday: gratitude and generosity. We recently sat down to go through her toys to pick out a few that we would donate to other children who aren’t fortunate enough to have them. It was quite comical explaining to Willow that there are kids who don’t have toys… she couldn’t believe it! I’m really happy that she is beginning to understand these concepts and how important it is to share her abundance with others. We’re hoping to continue these lessons with more charitable work and donations as she gets older.

 

Another aspect of Thanksgiving we’re hoping to instill in her is how to appreciate doing activities with the entire family. Dinner is a VERY collaborative effort in our family! It’s always a joy watching Willow participate and contribute in making the big dinner!

 

After dinner is prepared and we’re all sitting at the table, everyone in the family takes a turn of sharing with the group what they are especially thankful for that year. Willow is still getting a hang of her public speaking skills but it’s a great habit for her to practice!

 

Our Thanksgivings are always concluded with a big family game of Pictionary! It’s usually boys versus girls and then losers have to do the dishes. Never too early to start teaching her a good sense of family competition and fun!

,

Tips For Transitioning A Toddler To A Big Kid Bed

Willow is turning 4 in January and we finally just transitioned her to a “big girl” bed. It was always shocking to other parents, when they found out she was still in her crib at well past the age of 3. The truth is she loved her crib, sleeps 10-12 hours a night still and never tried to climb out! She was finally starting to outgrow the crib, and I knew it was time to find her a bigger, more comfortable bed. Since this is always a hot topic for parents, I thought I would share some ways we helped her prepare for this transition.

  1. Make It Sound Amazing! We talked about her new bed for about a month before it even came! I let her look at pictures and involved her in the process of picking out her new bed. We chose this amazing twin bed frame from Sweet Home From Wood and a nontoxic mattress from Tomorrow Sleep.
  2. Let Them Decorate…Willow picked out all of her sheets and quilts for her bed. I think letting her in on the process also kept her excited about sleeping in a new space. She went with mermaid sheets with a fun double sided quilt (all from Target).
  3. Go Over Ground Rules… Kids thrive off of routine and structure. Getting Willow into her new bed, came with some rules that we went over quite a few times with her. I has some anxiety about her having the freedom to get up and roam around at night now. So we discussed that she may only get out of bed to use the bathroom, or come directly to our room. Thus far she has followed the rules and is loving her new bed!

Shop The Room Below: