How Are We Almost There?

Nearly two months ago I apologized to Pint in a blog post. And now, here we are. The “summer of Ry” has come and gone.


I am 32 weeks with seven to go until my scheduled Halloween induction. We have taken perhaps a handful of bump pictures and are skipping the professional maternity ones this time around to save money. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll even remember this pregnancy compared to the way I savored every moment of Ry’s.

Warp speed.

[Read more…]

Pint, I’m Already Sorry


Dearest “Pint…”

You’ve lived in my tummy for nearly 24 weeks. You are endlessly active and I believe you have learned how to roll, kick and punch simultaneously.

You are already quite different from your big brother.

You like to make me dizzy when I stand up too fast. You made me nauseous for the first 12 weeks, though luckily never fully sick, and still give me waves of it even today. You didn’t like a lot of foods, especially anything along the lines of ramen or Thai. There is still one specific dish that I used to love that makes me turn green just thinking about it. You haven’t let me sleep through the night more than once a week since we found out there was going to be a “Pint” in our lives. Do you sit on my bladder at night?

Despite all of these differences from my 39 weeks with Rylan, I am the one who should be apologizing. Already you are so clearly the second child. Of course we already adore and talk about you constantly. You do even have a secret Pinterest board where I sometimes aimlessly save ideas for redoing the room you two will share. Ha. HA HA.

By now Rylan had probably close to a dozen blog posts dedicated to him. I blogged for weeks in secret about the little “Sprout” in my belly, documenting the earliest of weeks. We took pictures every few weeks of my barely-there belly. We framed ultrasound pictures and shared every BabyCenter weekly email update with family. We signed up for baby classes and attended showers graciously thrown by family and friends. We sat at night, just Mike and me, and watched my belly wiggle and jump. I spent hours picking out every detail for the nursery.

I want to be completely honest with you sweet Pint. Your ultrasound pictures are laying on the desk downstairs. I have little to no plans to make any changes to the room unless you happen to be a girl, in which case I have a few little touches in mind. Maybe. We were so lucky to receive an incredible amount of stuff for Rylan that I am honestly a little relieved not to be the center of attention again at more baby showers. I am debating a CPR refresher class but may watch a few YouTube videos instead. I’ll be lucky if I blog a handful more times before your arrival.

But there is an up side to all of this. I am relaxed and confident that you are going to adjust just fine. Your big brother loves to talk about you, kiss my belly and throw toys in your empty crib so that you have plenty to play with when you get here. Your grandparents, aunts and uncles are anxiously counting the weeks until you join us, as we all believe you will be the last sweet baby for both sides of our family. Oh you will be so very spoiled little one. I want to hold you more, and for longer, rather than obsess about every sleep training rule. I cannot wait to sit alone with you for hours while I am on leave and Rylan is at daycare enjoying his “big boy” routine, knowing that all of your firsts will probably be our lasts as parents. I am going to be more selfish in your infancy. I just know I will. I think your dad will be too.

Pint, unless you have other plans we’ll meet you in about 15 weeks. Your home will be ready and waiting, in whatever state, full of love. Until then, grow strong. I simply cannot wait to hold you, get to know you and even more precious, introduce you to your incredible big brother.

We love you Pint.

Too Plugged In

Credit: Beth Jusino

Credit: Beth Jusino

Despite my inability to blog with much regularity, I am ridiculously “plugged in.” And it’s wearing on me. Particularly, I am so disappointed with myself in not being able to leave my iPhone tucked away during my cherished and limited time with Rylan after work or on weekends.

Wanting to take a quick picture or video of him turns into a rabbit hole of Instagram uploading, Facebook scrolling and Twitter scanning. While I certainly don’t leave him unattended, I am not present.

Two weeks ago I took a random Monday off to ski, which didn’t end up working out, but I was still excited to have an extra day with Rylan in the mountains. Within minutes of arriving at the park I was on my phone getting sucked into work happenings. I heard from across the way, “mama! Put your phone down.” My heart stopped and my stomach sank. We hadn’t even been at the park five minutes and my head was down in a device–something that happens more often than I’d like to admit.

Being plugged in is part of our culture today. Our phones hold our email, conversations with friends, links to all the things we aspire to cook or make in our spare time…we are obsessed. I can’t seem to kick it.

Leaving my phone behind in my purse at night helps me stay present through dinner. I have to fight every urge to check it at bath time or “catch up” while Rylan is engrossed in his one TV show before bed. There is so much enjoyment to be had during these routine yet special, everyday moments…learning, laughing, being totally silly. I hate when I miss it and regret my decision to check “just once” for the rest of the evening. Because “just once” typically opens Pandora’s box into work, social media or both.

An entire generation of children are growing up fighting for their parents attention from a device we carry around with us at all times. How crazy is that?!

I am failing at unplugging, and so is Mike.

How do you get a grip on your technology addictions in order to be a more present parent (and friend, spouse, etc.)?


Tantrums. Some of them make an all night Cry It Out session with an infant seem like a day at the spa. If no one prepared you for how hard life can be as a brand new parent, then it can really feel like you’re living alone on an island with a crazy person when the true toddler tantrums begin.


Case in point. I believe, if memory serves me right, Rylan’s tantrum above was about the raisins I gave him. The raisins he asked me for as a snack. The ones I bought for him at the store because the day prior, he liked raisins a lot.

Tantrums are here. Daily. Many days, thank god, are mild and others (like this past Sunday) resulted in me calling my mom nearly in tears as we neared the 45 minute mark.

I have no tricks. No words of wisdom. Well, maybe one. Try your hardest to figure out what I.N.S.A.N.E. trigger *may* be a tantrum tipping point. For example,  maybe the breakfast you prepared to their exact specifications is offensive and totally wrong. Or, you offered them a warm and relaxing bath after a long day at daycare. How. Dare. You.

Then, figure out if there is any S.A.N.E. way to avoid a tantrum without turning into a complete toddler punching bag/pushover you said you’d never be. Perhaps it’s offering a few choices, letting them pour their own milk, or warning them 1,000,000 times during dinner that bath time is next.

In all seriousness, one of our biggest tantrum tipping points right now is screen time. The iPad has slowly crept into our lives when traveling or in Breckenridge and Rylan simply cannot handle his emotions when it’s time to turn it off. Melt. Down. City.

But, this introduction of technology and easy “crutch” in certain situations is totally our fault. It’s easy. TV is similar, though he is more easily redirected after one or two shows. The iPad not so much.

We have to re-introduce the iPad (aside from airplane flights) when he is mature enough to handle turning it off. I will not fly without it. Sorry Pinterest moms who board planes with 100 homemade crafts for takeoff to landing. Not happening.

In the moment of Ry’s worst tantrums I feel like I am doing everything wrong. Should I hold and comfort him? Ignore the outburst and walk away once I know he is safe? How do I keep my frustration, anger and temper in check and not show Rylan just how much he’s wearing me down?

It would be so much easier to give in. I get why parents give in. At times we give in. I can admit it, and move on.

In the moment you just want to fix it, especially in public. In those moments it’s unbelievably hard to keep the “long term” in perspective…the fact that I don’t want our now 2.5 year old running circles around us as a tiny dictator at 3 and 4.

Tantrums suck (literally, they can suck the life out of everyone involved). Tantrums are why entities like The Honest Toddler make toddler parents feel like we’re not alone on an island with a crazy person. Posts like “Three Quick Dinner Tips for Toddlers” and “A Toddler’s Apology to Santa” make toddler parents laugh and cry…and cry. Thank  you Honest Toddler.

How do you deal, aside from wine, with toddler tantrums?

Surviving PukeFest 2015

Credit: Chris Pawluk

Credit: Chris Pawluk

I write this with complete uncertainty if we have weathered the storm that lasted from approx. 10:30 p.m. – 4 a.m. last night. All signs thus far point to a quick-moving bug, but Internet forums tell me more might be on the way. Please let the Internet be wrong.

“Puke n’ rally,” while disgusting in college, is exactly what we’re hoping for today as Thanksgiving looms and all of our fun weekend plans in Breckenridge hinge on having a healthy and somewhat agreeable toddler. Why do kids ALWAYS get sick around holidays?

All in all, for having a kid who has gone to daycare since four months old, we’ve been quite lucky on illnesses. We’ve had our colds and coughs, the standard hand, foot and mouth party, one stomach bug at five months, a quick bout of croup, and a one really weird viral/strep-type infection that my mom had to deal with over the summer while we drank margaritas in Mexico (thanks again mom!).

But last night Mike and I earned what I am calling our “wash everything and pull an all-nighter because your kid keeps throwing up everywhere” parenting stripes. Yuck. Gross. Sad. Really sad.

Rylan didn’t know what throwing up was until last night and the way it scared him and made him cry broke our hearts. I kept hearing myself reassure him over and over as he cried while getting sick and it made me think back to all the times my mom and grandma did the same for me. If Rylan ends up being a “pukey kid,” he’ll have me to thank for that. Sorry buddy.

Whether it has already hit your house or you are nervously watching the calendar for the end of cold and flu season, let me share a few rookie suggestions with you from #PukeFest2015.

  • Get everyone involved. I seriously cannot imagine if last night would have happened when Mike was traveling. I know that you have no control over when the exorcism bug takes hold but I pray for you that at least two healthy adults are present. Rylan gravitated toward Mike for comfort so I sprung into the “it’s okay Rylan” coach and crazy sanitizing lady. As more and more surfaces got hit I raced loads of laundry downstairs. Oxiclean got the stains right out and my Thieves Laundry Soap got everything smelling fresh again.
  • Speaking of smells, our house smells (ironically) pretty yummy thanks to the dozens of times I used the all-natural Thieves Household Cleaner on every soiled surface and every place I knew he had touched earlier in the evening.
  • Beach towels saved the day when he wanted to get back in the crib but we weren’t sure what was yet to come. We covered his sheet with one, and made a path from the crib toward the bathroom with two more. Genius.
  • Back to oils and natural remedies, Thieves Essential Oil has been diffusing in his room all day and rotating around our house in a second diffuser since about 6 a.m. I also immediately applied it, diluted in a bit of olive oil, on the soles of our feet and behind my ears. On Rylan I also diluted DiGize in olive oil and rubbed it behind his ears and over his tummy.
  • Download the Children’s Hospital Colorado mobile app or the app of your local children’s hospital. All of the symptom checkers and at-home care advice has been both comforting and invaluable today.
  • Always, I repeat ALWAYS, have at least one bottle of Pedialyte on hand.

As we wait to see who might be next I’m washing my hands like an insane person, totally glad I splurged on Thieves Hand Soap and my favorite Honest hand sanitizer.

I in no way get compensated for all my product plugs above. I just love and believe in them that much.

Ok mamas…time to share your war stories or natural remedies! Or, just send coffee and wine. Both are sounding pretty epic right about now.



Thank goodness toddlers are cute. Between the pulling-out-my-hair moments and legit time-outs I have to give myself to avoid going off the rails, Rylan opens his mouth and precious Rylanisms come out to make us keel over in laughter.

Spend enough time with Rylan these days and you might just hear…

  • “I need a tow truck for my nose.”
  • “I have a booger.”
  • “I not know.”
  • “How many minutes? Two minutes. Five minutes. Ok one minute.”
  • “I’m amazing.”
  • “Havin’ beers?”
  • “Coffee is yucky.”
  • “I need a ladder.”
  • “I have french fries and ice ceeeeeeem?”
  • “Yummy in my tummy tummy yummy.”
  • “The sun is taking a nap.”
  • “I have a poop.”
  • “Go Ralphie CU Broncos.”
  • “Green light WOO HOO!”
  • “Is that from your butt?” (Gross, boy humor already starting)

In the last 24 hours alone there have also been some sweet moments. So very sweet. Last night he asked me to sing him the “sunshine song” before putting him in his crib. And this morning when I woke up feeling like hell from round I cold & flu season hit, he patted my leg and bed and said “I wanna cuddle you mommy.”


Right when you aren’t sure you can make it through a toddler’s day, they flip it on you and you’re not sure how you’ll ever be able to be away from them.

Darn you crazy toddlers!

I’ll Never: Dinnertime Edition


Before you actually become a parent, you’re the best version of a parent you’ll ever be. You live and talk in “I will” and “we will” and “they will” sentiments. You are confident, cocky even.

Then real life kicks in.

And you think back to all the fake smiles and gracious head nods parents gave you pre-children. How nice they were to wait until you walked away to laugh and say to themselves, “oh just wait.”

Real life as a parent is 100% opposite from the saccharine Pinterest boards you pinned for nine months of pregnancy. I break my own pre-Rylan parenting rules every single day. Numerous times each day at that. How you ask? Let’s explore all the lofty things I aspired to when Rylan was still the size of a blueberry in my belly:

  • I’ll never rely on microwaved chicken nuggets as a nightly dinner
  • I won’t raise a mac & cheese kid
  • My kid will not watch TV every day
  • I’ll buy all organic produce
  • No juice boxes
  • We’ll eat dinner as a family at night
  • We will all eat the same things. I am not a short order cook

A tremendous source of my day-to-day guilt is centered around how I envisioned shaping Rylan’s relationship with food.

I am a conscious eater in most regards. I gave up meat nearly five years ago and my daily gym-going nature shapes what I will and will not put in my body. Yet I haven’t been able to find the time to weave my individual approach to food and food prep through how I (barely) get food onto the table at 6:30 p.m. every night for Mike and Rylan.

Much to my horror, he asks for, and gets, chicken nuggets on his dinner plate more nights that I can bring myself to admit. I hate it. Yet it’s a cycle I can’t harness the energy to break on the regular. Meal-prep Sunday only takes me so far. By Wednesday and Thursday, I am so tired. So dang tired.

I get angry and throw up my hands when I bust my butt to try a new “toddler approved” recipe from scratch only to have it met by a toddler who refuses to try even a bite of the dish, proclaiming “I no like it,” before it hits his lips.

My Pinterest boards are full of meals I mean to make. And have every intention of making and sometimes even shop for. This week will be different I tell myself.

Convenience foods are winning. Toddler pickiness is wearing me down.

How do your family meals live up to your pre-kid expectations?

Realizations from the Big Apple



Tired mommy soaking up the little guy before leaving again in the morning.

Tired mommy soaking up the little guy before leaving again in the morning.

I just returned from five nights away from home, and am turning around in the morning for one more day and night away. While I’ve been away from Rylan for five nights once before, this is the first trip of this length where I have been, essentially, by myself. I tacked Saturday and Sunday onto a Monday – Wednesday work trip to New York City. It’s a city that has a piece of my heart even though I’ve never lived there. I spent two carefree weekend days wandering Manhattan with my cousin and it was blissful. Both moms, we reveled in not having any sort of a schedule. We shopped, ate and slept in for two uninterrupted mornings. Heaven. Then I checked into a hotel for two hectic but rewarding days for a client media event. I opted to skip the lure of the city both nights and trade busy bars for basic hotel cable and blackout shades.

Safe to say I didn’t realize just how exhausted and run down I was until this trip. Ironically, I slept more in New York City than anywhere else I’ve been in months, maybe years.

When I am away from home people love to ask how I do it, or comment how it must be so hard. Many ask, “is this your first trip away?” I love the varying reactions when I say “nope, I’ve actually been away for nights here and there since he was 7 weeks old.”

But every trip is different, and this one (since it somewhat continues through Friday…I have a company retreat in Vail tomorrow through Friday morning) feels especially long. It has made me realize a few things I have been taking for granted.

  • My husband is the best. Seriously, the best. He never batted an eye or made me feel guilty for one minute about extending my time in NYC, or when our company offsite got scheduled for the day after I returned from NYC. He planned a super fun weekend for Rylan while I was playing in NYC that included a hike, seeing friends and going to the pumpkin patch. Every time I talked to Rylan on the phone he sounded extremely happy and content
  • I’m pushing myself really hard, mentally and physically. The pressure I put on myself to workout Monday – Friday, eat healthy and work full time is tremendous. I am not saying anything is going to change, but I need to be careful. I was in shock how much sleep I needed to catch up on this trip.
  • I want us to be better savers so we can do more traveling with Rylan. I was enthralled with viewing NYC through my new “mom lens” and want to bring him back to explore the parks, museums and other kid-friendly Big Apple attractions. I know he will LOVE the subway trains, buses and seeing the water.
  • It’s more than possible to live small with kids. Like, really small. I am in awe of how my cousin makes their 1,000 square foot apartment gorgeous and totally livable. I spent a lot of time thinking about how much I hope we can stay close to downtown Denver and make the most out of our urban-ish home, a mansion compared to how Manhattan families live. A BBQ is a luxury to most Manhattan dwellers and we have a ton more space to maximize if we simply learn to cut back where we can and make Ikea storage hacks a regular part of our vocabulary.
  • Mike is amazing. Yes, I had to reiterate this one more time. I am so damn grateful to have a true partner day after day.

NYC, I already miss you. But home sweet home (for 12 hours) feels quite incredible.

Healthy, Organic Sleep

Note: I was provided a sample of Naturepedic’s organic waterproof crib sheet for review as part of its #NPBigKid and #healthysleep campaign. All opinions expressed are 100 percent my own. 

I buy organic produce. Well, most of the time. Ok…sometimes I really try to buy organic, but I just can’t pay $4.99+ for blueberries when conventional are on sale for $2.

I am a “Dirty Dozen” gal in that I buy natural and organic where I believe it truly matters, and look to save money in other areas. Daycare bills are no joke you guys!

Organic clothing and housewares are an area I rarely splurge. Of course when Rylan was still “Sprout” in my belly I envisioned organic everything–sheets, clothes, lotions and soaps. And then real life happened.

So when the amazing Stroller Traffic Scouts team approached me to test an organic crib bedding product from Naturepedic I was hesitant but also intrigued. Rylan, a ridiculously amazing sleeper, spends a LOT of time in his crib. Could I make it cozier? Healthier?


When I received the organic waterproof crib pad I was immediately intrigued with the accompanying booklet. Naturepedic’s mission is to source certified organic cotton and latex according to strict environmental and labor standards. This statement alone reminded me that choosing organic is not just about my body or Rylan’s body, but about the long term health of the planet I hope he thrives on for a very long time. A commitment that every single parent today needs to seriously think about, within reason, given chilling headlines like this.

The organic cotton flannel pad itself is soft with a natural beige hue – no bleach used here. And because Rylan has been known to wet through even the most “leak proof” 12 hour+ diapers, I appreciate that it can be machine washed. At $69 it is an investment, but Rylan has been in his crib for two years and isn’t getting moved anytime soon. It will surely get much more use than many of his adorable outfits.


Rylan loves having a pillow so I do want to invest in the Naturepedic organic toddler pillow next. At $49 it is again an investment, but given his sweet head will sleep on it every night I love that it’s made from organic cotton and a washable plant-based PLA batting (made from non-GMO potatoes!!).


Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be continuing to help raise awareness for the Naturepedic brand by sharing our favorite “wow, he’s a big kid” moments on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #NPBigKid and #healthysleep. I hope you’ll spend some time learning about the brand and thinking about it for your family or for thoughtful, healthy gifts for little ones on the way!

Transition Timer

Transitions are hard. None of us like leaving something fun for something we believe to be not as fun. And when you’re a toddler, transitions pretty much mean the world is ending and your parents are evil doers.

Rylan is, in general, an easy going kid. Most of his “moments” are standard two-year-old outbursts. Share a Thomas the Train book, mom? You must be out of your damn mind. Stop making strawberry soup in my kitchen and take a bath? You’re totally nuts dad.



Since reasoning with Rylan when he is mid-tantrum isn’t an option (it’s like gasoline on a bonfire), I’ve started trying to exert some semblance of sanity around the transitions I can, sometimes, control.

Dinner → play → bath → book → bed is the main transition of angst on hectic week nights. So, at the suggestion of an understanding daycare teacher, we have started using a timer for the most difficult part, ending play time. Once dinner ends and Ry picks his pre-bath activity we make a very clear display of setting a timer on our phone based on how long he has before clean up needs to begin. We tell him the timer is being set, show him if he wants to look at the screen, and then ask him to repeat back what happens when the timer goes off. Rylan responds really well to very clear instructions when we engage him in repeating them.

The system isn’t perfect. The timer going off usually results in some fake crying and pouting. But, let me tell you. Nine of 10 times he begins to clean up and make his way to the bath. I am a firm believer in structure (oh wow, shocker I know) and more and more, I recognize that he’s my son in that same way.

The timer gives toddler’s a way to grasp time and the beginning/ending of a set period of time. Type-A, controlling toddlers. Sorry, Mike. At least he looks like you!

Do you set timers for transitions or other sensitive times around your house? What works?! Please share.

Design by Designer Blogs