Sometimes I am about to write a post and I’m like “Man, this sounds like an ad!”. I have said these words before, but only because it’s true. There are certain brands that I am passionate about that don’t need to pay me or send samples to promote them, brands that I buy on my own and recommend to friends. And I just want you to know about them. So that when you go to the store and you see them on the shelves, or when you realize you need something like this you will buy and use a product that I can stand behind.
I have been a fan of board games since I was a kid. What else did we have to do in the days before video games and iPads?
Lexi displayed interest in board games very early on, but was too young to play anything traditional. So we picked up Scotchi games which I wrote about and are a good precursor to more traditional board games. But I couldn’t wait until she was old enough to play more serious board games. About a year ago when she was 3, almost four we started on the GAME OF LIFE. She loved the concept and the fact that you get a husband and a baby, but in her 3 year old fashion wanted things to happen her way and was not happy when she wouldn’t land on any baby spots.
When I was a little 10 year old growing up in Russia, the highlight of my summer was the summer camp my parents sent me to that year. Most kids would be gone for the summer at their grandparents’ summer homes or out to the country, and those kids who stayed in the city were left to either be bored indoors, or spending the hot days in the front yards playing with whoever was left in the city at that point. I remember spending weeks studying in the summer. Because I liked it, I loved reading books and I loved learning.
I also remember visiting my nephew’s kindergarten class and asking the teachers to allow me to be their TA and to play with the kids.
Another post in this series that I am determined to push out.
This time I would love to talk about tracking your fitness progress
I have recently fell in love with a company called Withings through Daily Mom. You may or may not have heard of them. A really amazing brand that has innovative and technologically advanced products for your health. Up until recently, I have just been eyeing their products for their cool design and functionality, so finally I got a chance to test them out in real fitness situations. I am in love.
My new series- FIND OF THE WEEK.
As an editor for Daily Mom, I get pitched so many products and as a natural mom, I spend countless hours researching for the best products for Lexi and I, so I end up having a lot of recommendations based on the research I do and the access I have to new products. So once a week I will continue introducing one cool product or service that I either use or think would be really cool for others.
I seem to have this habit now: blogging about Lexi’s last birthday party right before her new one. Probably because I am thinking about it, so it pushes me to talk about the last one.
I already posted the 4th birthday photos we shot with the scooters here, now it’s time to show what the party itself looked like.
This was the first party where I did not focus on making sure I had the perfect decor and food. Probably because I am so much busier than previous years. The idea of the party came to me literally 2 weeks before the birthday. So we did the best we could with items in a retail store, rather than online which is where I normally search for and buy decorations for other birthday parties.
We had a main Inside Out birthday party theme and the Scooter after party. Every guest received their own scooter to use and take home, which was a fun and unexpected “party favor” to give.
We decorated the rooms in our house into Emotion Rooms. The main party area with the food was Joy, all food on the table was yellow – bananas, fish sticks, organic chicken nuggets for those who eat meat, oranges, cheese, pears, chips.
The cake and candy table was Bing Bong, pink and colorful. The one thing we did splurge on was the cake. Though honestly, I do not think it was necessary this time. Everyone enjoyed the cake itself, not the decorations on the cake. Damn, it makes me want to have cake.
One of the bathrooms was the FEAR room. With a gross bug on the handle and a skeleton hanging on the wall and spooky music playing. We had fun walking each and every guest into the Fear room. Everyone loved it.
The playroom was separated into SADNESS with the tent covered in blue balloons and blankets to sit and be sad in and DISGUST with a table with yucky bugs and critters.
All the room boards were decorated by Lexi. I wrote the words and she proceeded to match it up with the right emotion and help me draw things on it.
Everyone enjoyed the ANGER room. It had red balloons and red tissue paper that everyone could stomp on and tear apart and be angry, along with blow up baseball bats for taking your anger out on other things or people. There was lots of pretend fighting and then we had a dance party!
After everyone ate and played, and blew the candles and enjoyed the cake.
Finally, we went for what in my opinion was the best party of the party: SCOOTER ride. We spent probably 3 hours riding around (along with adults) and hanging out on the cul de sac. Some of the neighbor kids joined in and we all had a lot of fun. Even adults rode our big scooters.
When everyone left, Lexi opened her presents. To her surprise, it was all Lego (that was all she ever played with so when asked about what she liked, we said “legos”), she lay there staring at them and then immediately demanded that we build them all. which we did!
This year, we will be doing a party outside of our home, since we moved into a much smaller place. And as much as I would love to plan something at our community clubhouse, I don’t have the mental energy to do it all. So we are outsourcing it to an indoor playground type of place since there will be even more kids this time.
This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included fitness equipment as compensation. All opinions and routines are my own
It’s been a while since I wrote about fitness. Which is ironic because I have learned so much more about our bodies, nutrition and exercise this past year.
I have never felt or looked better in my life than I do right now after having a kid and at age 32. Which again is ironic. You expect your fitness level to decline with kids and age, yet it’s clear to me that what declines is your drive and time for it more than the actual ability.
So, I have a whole series of posts planned for this, touching on every aspect of my fitness journey and my routine.
Today I want to talk about building a home gym. And hopefully with it being a New Year, this coincides with your 5th resolution to get fit. This time you’ll definitely get it!
Lexi has grown into a girl who appreciates beauty and order. That makes me happy because, for the most part, my life lacks order due to all the travel. When we are home together however, we love organizing and cleaning things up. Since moving to our new place, she has taken huge pride in her room. She periodically walks into it and makes sure that everything is nice and pretty.
I wanted to post some photos of the main elements of the room. We have since moved things around and added a lot of touches which I will take pics of, but the majority of the room design was complete with these items.
How many of you here are a work from home mom?
What about major hobby at home mom (yes, I just came up with that term)?
Or those who work outside of home and have to catch up on home stuff after bedtime?
What I am trying to ask is, how many of you, when it’s past bedtime and the kids are asleep, actually get up to go do something meaningful?
And I don’t mean to say that binge watching 16 episodes of Game of Thrones isn’t meaningful… Ok I do mean to say that. We all need some down time, so I get it. I used to be a binge show watcher. Before Lexi, before I had 3685208605 things to fit into 24 hours.
So if you have a hobby that you go to after kids are asleep, or a job/project/business that you work on, how do you manage the mental argument going on in your head?
This is how my evenings usually go, let me know if you can relate or what different struggles you go through:
Put kid to bed. Luckily, bedtime is a breeze now. That is if you don’t count Lexi trying to play just ONE MORE GAME OF LEGOS (she loves making up stories with the sets she builds from scratch, that often involve witches and potions and, of course, her favorite, KITTENS). After I manage to peel her off her sets, she instantly announces she is hungry (oh the hungry/thirsty game).
Because I vowed not to be a parent who just assumes that they know better what their child’s body wants or needs at any given time (which started with child led breastfeeding, weaning to solid foods, weaning off milk, potty training and sleeping through the night without training), I take her to the kitchen and give her a healthy option for a snack. Unless she had just eaten. I know she often does get hungry before bed, and often it’s a ploy to get more time. Since I cannot be the judge of which is which, I give her the benefit of a doubt and offer a snack. Sometimes, she readily eats it because she was hungry. Other times, she pretends to want it and continues playing without touching her food, which of course earns her a walk upstairs to brush her teeth.
So I thought step one would include the whole putting to bed process now but I feel like teeth brushing is a completely separate step. Teeth brushing is non negotiable. You can cry, scream, complain, sign songs, run away from me. Your teeth are getting brushed before you go to bed. Period.
When I am feeling lazy, I insist she brushes her own teeth. But most of the time, I allow my “little for only a few more years” girl to lay in the bed spread eagle, clearly exhausted from the day and have the “buggies brushed from her teeth” by her mommy. She still whines, but who cares. (post on products for bedtime is here, insert link when published)
Then we do one of two things. If I’m mean like a mean mommy that night and can see that Lexi can handle the mile long walk from the bed where we brush her teeth to the sink, I will tell her to go do “rinse and spit”. Otherwise I do it the “daddy” way (who is a softy and would literally rinse for her if he could. Not saying it’s a bad thing, just not always necessary, but I’m glad my little girl gets the special treatment from her dad, because mom is way too efficiency oriented to handle that). The daddy way is where he brings two cups to bedside with him, brushes her teeth, then has her drink from one and spit into another. Sigh. I guess we can let daddies spoil their little girls as long as there is also someone to set it all straight afterwards. haha
So then, we lay down. She lays on my shoulder wrapped completely around me and I turn on her favorite song of the moment. Right now it’s “Me Muero De Amor” by Natalia Oreiro (a song I adored as a child). It takes her about 1-3 minutes to fall asleep on a school night. Before she fully falls asleep, she rolls off of me and drifts off to snoozeland.
And yes for those curious, she has weaned, herself, completely naturally. With maybe a tiny push from me. More like a talk or a few about the time when it is going to be over. (Anyone want a post about the whole process?)
So here we go, bedtime in 2 steps. I wasn’t being sarcastic when I said it is a breeze now. I really mean it. To me, some bedtime toothbrushing struggle and “hungry” calls is a far cry away from the hours it would take me to wind her down from all the excitement and get her drowsy enough with breastfeeding that she would actually fall asleep. And now breastfeeding is no longer needed either. It’s amazing!
(wow this post is getting long)
So here is the step I sat down to write about that I want your experience on.
Step 3: The Mind over Body struggle.
So when you have finally heard the slow deep breathing of your child and realize it’s FREEEEEEEEEDOM, what do you do?
Because I go through an internal argument that goes something like this:
-Ok, she is asleep, I need to get up and get stuff done
-Oh but the bed…It’s so comfy, these cool sheets, and it’s so dark that it’s impossible to keep your eyes open. And I am half asleep now.
-yeah, but you are always complaining about not having enough time to do everything. Take these precious minutes and go get shit done.
-but if I get up and start working, it’s going to be another late night. I am not going to get up for just an hour. (Lexi goes to sleep at 10 pm). It has to be 3-4 hours to make it worth it and then I will be exhausted in the morning (I need to touch on this point later, because it is possible to wake up completely refreshed after even 4 hrs of sleep with a few simple steps). I’ll just get up early and get some things done in the morning.
-bwahahahaha who are you kidding?
Fine, I will just check my email on the phone right now and then get up.
10 minutes later, still in bed, email and messages checked, everyone texted good night, Elena’s body has won “Fuck it! I’m too tired. I am going to sleep!”
Then once in a while during an early bedtime or if she falls asleep in the car, I am able to stay up and work without the whole “in bed in the dark” struggle and it’s awesome and I stay up till 3 am and get a ton crossed off my to list and even a little bit for my own pleasure (Like editing). But I just hate the struggle. I want to be lazy, I want to just sleep, I want to sleep 9 hours a night. Or 12 preferably.
This happens every night. Even as I am sitting here typing this at only 12:13 am, I am literally imagining how good it would feel to lay down in bed. I swear it is partially to the mattress and bed that I have now (read about it here), or maybe it has more to do with my increased work out routine… But omg I just can’t wait to put my head down and snuggle up to Lexi, my warm ball of cuddles.
So that’s my dilemma every night and every night a different side wins. I am out of control, they just do what they want. Stupid brain and body. One needs productivity and satisfaction, another wants rest and recovery.
On that note, I have talked myself into going to bed now. And while I am sleeping, those who are up right now, let me know your bedtime mental, physical and kid struggles!
It’s no secret I love cruises. I don’t really know of a person who has cruised on a good ship and did not fall in love with this mode of travel.
Aside from the fact that it’s an all inclusive vacation, your stateroom moves from one destination to another. I have traveled a lot in the last few years. Half of that travel was with Lexi, so I am no stranger to traveling with a kid. When it comes to cruises, I am less experienced, but I have been on enough cruises to know what I am doing and to be able to compare those experiences.