Monday, September 18, 2017

5 Tips for Two Under Two

One of the most requested topics I regularly receive from readers is how we managed two kids under two years old. It's taken me forever to write this post because truthfully I have no idea how we did it. It was such a blur. Our first year with two kids 14 months apart was our hardest and most exhausting year ever, especially with Thomas’ eyes. It was a year filled with coffee, tears, wine, lessons learned and lots of snuggles. Parenting is hard. And to be honest, we are still in the trenches. Although we no longer feel like we’re drowning in spit up, blowouts and doctor’s appointments, the survival mode and challenges are different now (hello toddler sass, tantrums, nightmares, etc.!). But you know what? I would do it again and again a million times over. And I wouldn’t trade our age gap for anything.

So at your request, I thought I'd share the top 5 things I've learned that helped us survive (and continue to survive) two insane little people who have endless energy. 
Disclaimer: Even though I've been doing this mommy thing for a little over three years now, I still have no clue what I’m doing most days so take ALL this with a grain of salt! Seriously.

5 Tips for Surviving Two Under Two

1. Surrender expectations and learn to let stuff go. It took me awhile to give myself grace but once I did our world changed for the better. For me, that means being fine with serving cereal for dinner...several nights in a row, handing the iPad over to decompress in another room, leaving dishes in the sink overnight and allowing the stacks of laundry to pile up on the dining room table. It also sometimes means sometimes missing daycare events due to work travel, bringing store bought cookies to the bake sale, forgetting water play day clothes and not attending every classmate's birthday party. I had to learn the hard way that I just can't do it all. And that is OK.

2. Find your mom tribe. I honestly couldn't imagine going through mommyhood without my best mom friends, especially the more seasoned ones who have "been there, done that" and always know the best remedy for diaper rash, the trick to hiding vegetables in meals, potty training advice and more, like way more. I've leaned on them during my toughest parenting days and celebrated the victories together too. But what is most fulfilling is having their kids grow up together with mine. Over countless kid & parent play dates I have watched friendships grow not only between our children but our husbands too. And there is nothing cooler than that! Find a community that will lift you up, let you vent and encourage you when the days are hard.

3. Get outside. Fresh air work wonders for me when I'm feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, have run out of patience or can't stand to hear one more episode of Caillou. Even when we're not in the mood to go outside or the task of getting the kids out of the door seems daunting, we power through. And 99% of the time we are thankful we did. This can be a walk down the street, a trip to the playground or even just opening the backdoor and letting the kids go wild with water balloons while relaxing for 3 minutes in a lawn chair.

4. Splurge on a nice concealer. Seriously, you've earned it. If you don't already use it, you need to buy this magical NARS concealer (color: vanilla). It's creamy, smooth and can cover even the darkest under eye circles.  

5. Be Nice To Your Husband & Put Your Marriage First. I saved my #1 tip for last -- another lesson learned the hard way. There will be plenty of grumpy mornings when you're both running off just a few hours of sleep for days on end. Having even a three minute uninterrupted adult conversation over two screaming toddlers is near to impossible. Spending quality time alone together seems like a distant memory and at times it may even feel like you've forgotten about one another. If you don't have family nearby, find a great babysitter. And use her often. Carve out date nights and even overnight trips. I know it's not inexpensive and the cost adds up quickly, but it's your marriage -- invest in it because it's worth it.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

2nd Annual Football Viewing Party

Over the weekend we had a few of our friends over to watch the Ohio State v. Oklahoma game on the big screen and let our kiddos run around. This is actually Matt's party of the year and it's the one he gets most excited preparing for. Last year we kind of blew this shindig out but since planning events weeks in advance is not in the cards these days we decided last minute to invite the usual suspects over for a casual last minute party.
Matt got serious about improving the projector screen this year and doubled it in size using pvc piping for the frame, a large tarp and 3 yards of white fabric (instead of our king bed sheets -- hallelujah). Our mini projector has been one of our best and most fun purchases. 
Game snacks!
The girls in their matching Cecil & Lou dresses (monogrammed by Sara of course)!
As always, the kids bounced the night away in the bounce house.
Anddddd game time! 
 
The game may not have ended well but the party was a success!

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Five on Friday!

Yay for Friday! It's been a busy week and I'm happy to wake up in my own bed this morning after several days of work travel (Charleston & Greenville -- can't complain)! 
ONE // On a serious note, I've been tracking Hurricane Irma (& now Jose) constantly. To all my Florida readers, friends and family, I'm praying for you! And stay safe! I've been in frequent communication with my mom and sister as they prepare their homes and family for the powerful storm. If the Hurricane stays on track as the weathermen forecast, it should hit them late tonight through early tomorrow and then hit us late Sunday night through early Monday. So many prayers!
TWO // Sniffle Stopper Shot. A few days before our Florida trip I started coming down with some cold symptoms that I knew I needed to get rid of fast. On my way home from work one night I stopped at the Juice Bar for a powerful Sniffle Stopper Shot which is NO joke. This shot is a kick to the face and requires a pineapple chaser but it. is. magical. The next morning I woke up feeling 80% better. 
After posting my sniffle stopper shot to my insta-stories a really sweet reader surprised me with a Starbucks gift card for one of their secret menu items -- The Coldbuster (AKA The Medicine Ball). Seriously, how dang nice is that? I had no clue this drink existed and had to share this menu item with all of you as we embark on the unfortunate cold & flu season!
THREE // Caroline's first dentist appointment! I'm not gonna lie, I was soooo worried about how this appointment was going to go down. For weeks I had been preparing Caroline for it. I just knew she was going to bolt out of the chair the second the dentist came near her with a shiny metal tool. But nope. She surprised us all and breezed through the exam and giggled over all the "teeth tickles". I was so proud! And so was she.
FOUR // While working in Charleston this week I walked over to East Bay Deli for lunch and ordered the Veggie Crisp per Natalie's recommendation. It was so delicious that I'm determined to recreate it at home -- Lettuce, tomatoes, avocado spread, cucumbers, onions, pepper relish, sprouts and provolone on toasted wheat bread.
5 // Dog Heaven. When we broke the news to the kids that Charlie had gone to Heaven, Caroline did not take it very well. She was so heartbroken and couldn't understand why he had to go to Heaven. Once she calmed down we gave her the book Dog Heaven and told her it was a gift Charlie had sent. This book y'all. It was recommended to us by so many friends and is definitely a tearjerker but so beautiful. Highly recommend if you're ever in this situation.
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