Vegas, here we come again

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Adventures, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, TODDLER, TRAVEL

IMG_0184

Almost exactly a year ago we took our first cross country trip since Lexi was born to attend a trade show. It was nerve racking for many reasons and looking back I have a mix of emotions about it.

Going into it, we had no idea how  it was going to work. We had never done anything like that with Lexi and her reaction could not have been guessed.

On one hand I was excited to fly with her for the first time, to show her the sights, to experience it with her for the first time. One of my most favorite things about have a child is seeing the world through their eyes and finding things that brings them joy. At the same time, I was completely lost at the idea of how she would tolerate a 5 hour non-stop flight considering we just barely got a handle on 3 hour car rides. We were also getting into what I consider the most challenging age (18-24 months), so it was a complete shot in the dark for us. Not knowing whether I’d be able to be away for most of the day when she normally doesn’t let me out of her sight, not knowing how she will tolerate the flight, and airport waiting times and waking up early to catch the flights…

I can’t stand it!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, LIFE, PHOTO

IMG_0027

This blog has become such a big part of my life that during times when I can’t blog, I get this nagging sad feeling.

Right now we are frantically working to finish the National Breastfeeding Month with a bang and planning the annual Vegas trip for the ABC Expo, so very little time is left to blog, which will change again shortly at the end of this month.

In the meantime, this is what has been keeping us busy….

South Seas Getaway Day 3: A tour around the resort and Pool time

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Adventures, Florida, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, TODDLER, TRAVEL

IMG_3992

 

#justescape was the hashtag of our South Seas, Captiva trip and I can certainly say that is what we did.

We just escaped.

Looking at the photos, it is almost as if I have temporary amnesia from our stay there. I don’t even remember and can’t imagine being in that beauty.

I guess it’s normal because I feel that way every time I step onto the beaches here in Florida. But one thing I do know is how much I wish I could be there again. Taking photos, enjoying the sunshine, the food, the view. Not a care in the world.

Real Life in Cell Phone Photos

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Real Life Photos, TODDLER

Here are some of our more candid moments that would normally be posted on IG. I am thinking about coming back to IG soon, just posting during our travels and such. Probably in a few weeks or so.

So these photos- just some of the moments of our every day life.

1. Lexi and me at the beach. She is so much fun at 2.5!

 

may1

Top to Bottom, Left to Right

1. At the playground with her cartoon crush Prince Wednesday ( she is no longer crashing on him, btw. Moved onto Bill from Curious George books and Winnie the Pooh)

2. Just us hanging out in the backyard

3. Lexi walked up to Brian (Alexa’s dad), sat in his lap and asked him to read a book.

4. Two redneck husbands.

5. The girls at a Disney train

6. Cinderella’s Carousel with my new hair ( which is here to stay btw)

7. That tub is the reason we stay at Marriott Vacation Clubs

may2 may3

Beach Evenings with Friends

 

may4

Top to Bottom, Left to Right

1,2. At her gymnastics class, doing monkey vars and a hand stand

3. Swinging

4. Girl’s Movie night. I took this picture at the request of my hubby. He said “Lexi wants to see you and the girls”. But really, I think he was just jealous and wanted to make sure I am out with girls. :))))

may5

South Seas Getaway Day 2: Jet Skis, Beach and Fun

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Adventures, Florida, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, TODDLER, TRAVEL

south seas
Day 2 of 3 Days at South Seas Resort.
See gorgeous Day 1 here

The next day after our arrival,packed with more experiences, was no less full and exciting. After a nice relaxed breakfast buffet at the marina with gorgeous views of gleaming white cottages and blooming bougainvillea, we set off for the beach. What gorgeous beaches Captiva has!

BUSY MOMS: How to get more done in less time (GTD technique)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, BUSY MOM TIPS, Daily, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, LIFE, New Mom Experience, TODDLER

gtd

This is a part of BUSY MOM series of posts.
To see others, click here: BUSY MOM TIPS

All my DM girls have been asking for this post and here it is. I know many of my readers, busy moms, might love this concept too.

I have a post pending on 10 best tips for productivity and time management and a related post about my work out routine, but it all wouldn’t be complete with an in-detail account of my main time management technique, POMODORO.

BUSY MOMS: How to get more done in less time (GTD technique)

{ Glasses c/o David Kind }

Up until recently I have been struggling with fitting everything into a 24 hour day. With all the hobbies and projects, obligations and websites, desires and an active and engaged toddler, it seemed like there was no way to find extra time to be more productive, or accomplish nearly everything on my constantly growing to do list. It turns out there is. Or at least there is a way to make it a little bit more manageable. It’s a several step process most of which I will give away in my 10 Tips for Time Management post, but the biggest concept that turned my life around is right here in this article.

For those unfamiliar with time management and GTD (Get Things Done) concepts, Pomodoro is a technique where you work in increments (pomodoros) and then take a break. Usually it’s 25 minutes of work with a 5 minute break. That’s one pomodoro.  But in reality, you can adjust each pomodoro to be as long as works for you. It seems like a simple concept, but it works fabulously.

In an effort to be even more organized and efficient ( I didn’t think it was possible), I downloaded a pomodoro app to see if I can make it work for me. IMG_3305

At first it seemed counter intuitive. What? I barely have time and now you want me to take a 5 minute break out of my already jam packed schedule? That’s insane.

And then I made a change to it. Instead of actually “taking a break”, I took a break from the activity I was doing (which is the goal in pomodoro). In my eternal chase for efficiency, I HAD to do something useful during the 5 minute breaks.

So the first 5 minute break, I sat there for a few seconds, completely NOT ok with wasting even five minute of my precious time on “rest” or something silly like that. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Rest is subjective, too. I wasn’t going to go surf the Internet when there were so many important things to be done and not enough time to do it all. So after a few seconds of sitting there, lost with what I am to do on this self-imposed break, I think I went and did some personal care: brushed my teeth, washed my face, actually moisturized. All the little things that I need to be doing anyways, but never have time to do. Hmmm, It felt good!

Five minutes went by really fast and I was back to working. This wasn’t so bad. But again, I needed to have a more strict use of my extra 5 minutes to feel good about it. Prioritized use, so to say.

I had  to find something better to do during those 5 minutes. The next five minute break I lay down on the floor to do some exercises. Just because I never get time to exercise.

That’s when it dawned on me.

I could work out during the 5 minute break! Duh!

IMG_3216

{ Glasses c/o David Kind }

Of course!

I had been working out using Fit Star and their 12 minute a day program but I always seemed to prioritize other things over the work outs. Even with only 12 minutes.

It’s well known that it’s beneficial to do short exercises throughout the day to boost your metabolism so it seemed perfect. And it was.

In this new situation I didn’t have a choice. I HAD to take a five minute break and Fit Star had to be it.

I think that’s where it really worked for me. I am a very driven person, I don’t take time to rest or chill out. Not often. I feel BEST when I am busy, working, maximizing every second, getting things done. I become depressed when I feel like my time is wasted on something low on the priorities list. So this was perfect. For the kind of personality that I have, I needed to be FORCED to take a break from the activity I was doing. And that’s exactly what this technique did for me. Just like for a less intense person, the technique will force them to work, rather than do things they want to do.

You are also much less likely to skip out on it because it’s just 5 minutes, no biggie. When I think of a half an hour work out, I’m like “ I just don’t have time or energy for that“. But five minutes? Sure why not.

So fast forward to now and I am obsessed.

What a great way to be productive. The break gives you new energy to tackle your to do list but  too short to be distracting. Five minutes turn into 30-60 by the end of the day depending on how much you work. It’s amazing.
So nowadays after I finish two sets of fit star during my first five minute breaks, I do the 7MWO ( read work out post here), then I do some personal care stuff like shave, do my hair, floss, brush, moisturize, whatever needs to be done. And if I have any breaks left, I clean.

I haven’t tried this concept on days where I’m with Lexi all day, only on my “working ” days but I think it could be applied to those days too with some self discipline.

IMG_0686

As a work at home mom, this concept works really fabulously, especially at nights when I only have 3-4 hours to work after Lexi goes  to bed (if that) and need to maximize every minute of it.

You can use the pomodoro concept and apply it to everything. Define what your main goal is for the purposes of pomodoro for that moment and take 5 minute breaks from it to either do something else or rest.

So in case of SAHMs, the main job would be taking care of kids, so one could spend 25 minutes playing and interacting with them and then say “OK, mommy is going to go do so and so for 5 minutes“. It’s a short break for you to do what you need to do and your kid isn’t upset because you’re back to playing with them before they can say “Mommy!”

Since I am writing about it, I am going to try doing that with Lexi next week. We are out of the house all the time, so it only works if you stay in ( though can probably get adapted for outdoor time), that’s why I haven’t tried it yet on the SAHM side of things. But on the WAHM side, it is life changing.

IMG_7314

{Maxi Dress by Garnet Hill. Check out their Sale of the Day}

After a day of using the Pomodoro technique, I feel like I have had a balanced productive day, rather than a day where I got something done for one aspect of my to-dos, but nothing for others.

In fact, as I am writing this, I have 8 minutes and 45 seconds left on my 5th pomodoro of the day, after which I will have to take a break and  in my case it will be 7MWO, since I completed FitStar today already. Then the next breaks, I will get ready for bed, take a shower, etc etc.

So check out this app. I tried a few and this one is the most pleasant to use.  The app has a ticking timer so you always feel like “Tik tok, work faster! Concentrate!”, as well as a great and easy to use interface. It makes it pleasant to keep track of your pomodoros.

The feeling of being efficient is what gives me the energy to do this, work without a real break. Every day, all day. Knowing that I am getting so much done is the best feeling in the world and is so much better than taking breaks and never feeling like you have enough time or accomplished, and realizing that it’s also balanced makes it so much more rewarding. I still get to chill out when I feel like I need to. usually by Friday, I’m all “Baby, let’s just watch a show tonight and go to bed”. I still get on my computer and work half the time, but I am not chasing productivity at that time and just enjoy unproductive multitasking.

IMG_3284

{ Sunglasses c/o See Saw Seen Eyewear }

Of course, one pomodoro technique isn’t going to help if a person is disorganized to begin with, so that why I am working on a post about 10 time management tips for moms and 10 amazing apps that will make you an efficient mommy machine. These will include everything I have learned and tried in the years of working and the 3 years of being busier than I can ever imagine ( kids do that to you and so do new projects).

I feel I have a really good handle on things now. I spent the last two years trying everything in the world to see if it works, throwing it against the wall till it sticks. This has become my trifecta of productivity. I feel like I spend extra quality time with my daughter and my family, get work done without feeling too behind (though I know I will always BE behind until I find more ways of delegating my work or not take on new things), I take care of myself and my body and that results in  a more relaxed mommy, wife and an individual who isn’t constantly watching the clock and wondering when she can get to do all the things on her to do list, rather than playing with her kids and really being in the moment.

IMG_6238

{Maxi Skirt by Garnet Hill. Check out their Sale of the Day}

Having a more self-sufficient 2 year old rather than a baby is helpful, too, but that’s another story for another time.

NEXT POSTS:

10 time management tips for busy moms

10 amazing apps that will make you an efficient mommy machine.

 

 

Super Lexi!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, TODDLER

IMG_4485

We have been so deep in pretend play and dress up that I thought it was fitting for a mother of a 2 year old to write at least one post about it.

At first the two most played out dress up and pretend games were DOCTOR and SUPERHERO.  Just a week ago, I ordered a Princess Dress up outfit and the twirling and “Mama, I’m a princess!” have been incredibly cute to watch. I can’t stop saying what a magical time it is right now. There isn’t an hour that goes by that I don’t hug Lexi tight and say “Oh My God, can you be any cuter?” To which she normally says “Mhm!”

Unfortunately, someone here LOVES to play sans clothes, so I can never share any of the videos or photos of what goes on at home, but I love that I have it all to remember this darling age by.

For her superhero play, she loves to have her daddy pick her up and fly across the hallway. It’s their thing. I just watch and smile with  happiness knowing that my little girl could not be more loved, more engaged, more EVERYTHING. That this is it, the pinnacle of happiness for her, for me, for her dad.

That it doesn’t get any better than when she flies around, her arms outstretched, her fitsts in little balls, screaming “SUPERHERO!!!!!” She is only two. She is already two. Finally, I want time to stop.

Beach Evenings with Friends

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Florida, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, PHOTO, Photo Stories, TODDLER, TRAVEL

IMG_4497

It’s summer now, so it’s almost too hot to go out, even in the evenings except on cooler days. It should  cool down in a month or so, but in the meantime I get to post photos from our evening beach trips a few weeks back.

Jenn with her son Caden who is 4 months younger than Lexi  were with us that day and we had so much fun. I picked up sushi on the way, we swam, played with the sand, they ran around and we got a chance to chat while the kids played. I gotta say life in Florida is pretty perfect. I won’t write any more, just some pictures from that day.