Birthday Week Emotions


Two years ago tonight I was just a few days away from the most incredible day of my life. The day we met Rylan. This week is full of emotions.

For all the things that signal the era of parenting we’re about to begin, the terrible two’s, I do already have a favorite. Conversing.

When Mike and I went to Mexico for five nights in June we left a little boy with a growing vocabulary. When we returned we were greeted by a little boy stringing together two, three and four word phrases, working so hard to tell us what he is seeing in the world around him and how he wants to be a part of it. My favorites…

  • Oh, hi mama!
  • Ry see it
  • Ry push it
  • I try it
  • I do it
  • Woah. Muscles
  • More milk please
  • Tona (i.e., Kona) outside
  • No Tona (again, how he says Kona’s name right now)
  • Tona barking
  • Tona no barking
  • No raining. Sunny out
  • Ry needs (insert a myriad of requests)
  • Oopsie
  • Daddy plays the drums
  • Mike guitar
  • Daddy/mommy made it
  • I see outside

There are so many more new phrases and every day he surprises us with a new word that I can’t even imagine how he learned it. Tonight it was frisbee and porcupine when we were reading one of his favorite Words picture book.

We also had a hilarious and all-boy conversation on Monday about who poops. He said “sorry mama” when I was rushing to re-change a fresh diaper before daycare drop off. I told him not to be sorry because everyone poops. He sat there for a minute, processing the information, and promptly asked, “Mickey Mouse poop?” We then had to go through every character of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to talk about who poops. I am the mom of a boy, no doubt.

Ry will be two on Friday, and this birthday week is full of reflections for me. It feels like a really big birthday.

Last year I was an emotional wreck about stopping breastfeeding after 12 long but proud months. Ry’s walking was on the horizon but he was still taking his sweet time. Today he is running circles around us, daily, and tests our conviction as he learns how to press buttons and explore boundaries.

From birth to 12 months we made sure he survived. From 12 to 24 months the shift from survival parenting to ACTUAL parenting has been incredibly real…and fun, scary, exhausting, rewarding, confusing, and the list goes on. It’s hard not to obsess about every teachable moment and remember that he’s just two, and his “up please mama” requests are ever-fleeting. I am proud of Mike and I for stumbling through the transition and making the time to talk daily about what’s working, what’s not working and how to remain on the same page. Communication, listening and forgiveness is everything right now. Everything.

I’m going to be the mama of a two year old. It’s hard to comprehend. I am happy. I am tired. I worry to a fault. And, I am in love. I am head-over-heels in love with my family.

Fastest March Ever

The end of March is around the corner, officially making it the most “on crack fast” month of the year so far. We had a lot to look forward to this month, which naturally makes it fly by in the blink of an eye.

I rounded out my 2014/2015 ski season on day 18 (not bad for having a toddler!) in Vail at the beginning of the month. Then the second weekend of March I got to sneak away to the luxurious St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder for a night with two dear college + mom friends. Our massages, quiet time sipping bubbles on the patio, shopping and a decadent moms-only dinner at Black Cat was just what each of us needed.

Then the very best part came…our week long Florida beach escape to Hutchinson Island with Mike’s parents and sister’s family.


As a southern California girl I haven’t spent much time in Florida. The beaches and delicious seafood wildly exceeded my expectations and I took advantage of every moment. There were hours of sand castle building and chasing waves, reading and solo time while Rylan napped, afternoon Mai Tai’s and beers, good nights of sleep and quiet morning runs. Rylan ate lobster, clams, calamari, oysters and crab cakes like they were going out of style. I reconnected with my nieces and nephew during faux shark attack play times in the pool and beach walks for seashells. I cried when we left…always the sign of a good, unplugged trip. I can’t wait to share more pictures.

March has made me appreciate and reflect a lot. We’re healthy. And really lucky to be surrounded by friends who are like family. And speaking of family, I’m not sure anyone has two sets of parents, siblings and nieces/nephews as fun and endlessly generous as we do.

Simply perfect months are few and far between, but this has been one. I am clinging to the way my heart feels at this moment with all my might so I can tap back into it when future days or weeks are not so hot.

March 2015. One for the books.

Selfish Sanity


Parenting strips away overall selfishness. From the moment your tiny human joins the world it’s never “all about you” ever again. However, I am 19 months into this parenting gig and have realized that I still carve out ways to be selfish. Why? Because it is these me-centric choices that some people try to make you feel guilty about that keep me sane, balanced and happy.

I think every mom (stay-at-home, working outside the home or some combination of the two) needs to feverishly protect her selfish sanity time…whether it is a few hours each month or a couple weekends per year. For me, that means:

  • Daily (or as close to it as possible) workouts
  • Skiing on weekends (Mike goes in the morning and I take the afternoon). This, I know, isn’t a forever reality once Rylan has weekend commitments like sports and friends that keep us in Denver most weekends
  • Not talking on the phone after Rylan goes to bed in order to spend time with Mike, watch trashy TV, catch up on work or just zone out on Pinterest. I cannot handle phone conversations after 7:30 p.m.
  • Tacking on a pedicure or quick mall trip to family errands, especially if Rylan is napping. I have a lot of guilt about not being home anytime during the weekend when Rylan is awake. But if he is napping, all bets are off.
  • At least one girls trip per year – be it overnight and close to home or somewhere that requires plane travel

I love Rylan and Mike more than anything, but to be the best mom and wife I know how to be, I have to wave the white flag from time to time. I still have and want to be Alexis. I feel recharged and recommitted to my family and work every time to steal away for a few moments of me time.

And to be fair, I have to remember to let Mike do the same. He still plays in his band and practices weekly. He snowboards most Saturday and Sunday mornings. He is going on a guys trip the first weekend of April from a Thursday to a Sunday. He golfs in the summer. These things make him a better dad and husband too.

Call me selfish. I don’t really care. It’s how we do things right now.

Blogging Struggles

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I’ve been quiet here on Lex & Learn. Really quiet.

Sure, the holidays give all of us hobby bloggers (that is how I categorize myself) a bit of a reprieve because everyone is running around like chickens with no heads. However, even before that my cadence had dropped significantly. The first huge drop, of course, was when Rylan was born. Then it plummeted again when I went back to work after a 12-week maternity leave. Once Rylan turned one and our monthly pictures and milestone posts stopped I barely squeaked out a post per month.

There are a lot of reasons for this. I am busy from the moment my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m. until Rylan is zipped into his sleep save at 7:30 p.m.. After that I am borderline brain dead once Rylan is down, dishes are done, nightly laundry is started and work emails are triaged one more time. All I want is to turn off my laptop, turn on Apple TV and veg.

Beyond those totally standard and mundane mommy woes, I blog when I am inspired. I haven’t kept this site up with the hopes of attracting advertisers or free samples. I have kept it up because I am a communicator by nature and I love to share what makes me tick. From recipes and fashion to everything Rylan, I have never lost that giddy, “I hope people like it” feeling before I hit publish on a post.

Yet lately nothing that I start to type has seemed overly interesting…

Rylan is thriving but at the same time we’re somewhat baffled by his new favorite word being “no” and the phase of hitting to get attention. I’ve ordered two books that come highly recommended but they are still sitting unopened. Freezer meals are saving our post-workday lives and you should absolutely make this Slow Cooker Red Lentil curry right now…but is writing a blog post about the curry worth delaying my 30 minutes of Apple TV with Mike before I inevitably fall asleep on the couch? I’m not sure.

All of this said, I do not want to turn off Lex & Learn. I want to keep sharing what is working for our family and also reach out for support when I’m hitting my head against a wall. I vow to keep my computer open for just a few minutes longer a couple nights a week to reconnect with why Lex & Learn has given me a sense of pride for so long. I want to hear from you about why you read my personal blog and what else, if anything, you like to come here to see. Please, your input means a lot!

Thanks for bearing with me as I figure out the next phase of my hobby blogging!

Featured on Breadwinning Mama Series


You guys. Have you ever formed a new blogger crush, only to have that person reach out and offer to feature YOU as part of your favorite series on their blog? Me either…until today!

Kerry at Breadwinning Mama writes a fantastic ‘Her Juggle’ series in which she profiles other working moms in a Q&A format. She reached out to me via Twitter to ask if I’d be interested in sharing my perspective and I jumped at the chance. A few nights later I stayed up way past my self-imposed bedtime to answer the questions. The process felt therapeutic and uplifting.

I hope you’ll take a moment and head over to Breadwinning Mama today to read my ‘Her Juggle’ Q&A. And while you’re there, sign up to receive her latest posts by email. I know I’m way too busy these days for the nightly blogroll reading I used to do, so waking up to her fresh perspective, advice and journey is refreshing and motivating.

Thank you, Kerry, for this honor!

Year One Realities: 20 Personal Learnings


We have less than a week to go until Rylan’s first birthday. I find myself almost daily looking back on our first photos as a family. The speed at which babies change in year one is nothing short of remarkable. His budding personality and infectious smile, especially his little smirk and what I call “mom eyes,” are what motivate me even on the toughest days.

Year one is messy. Messy in the literal sense (So. Many. Diapers.) and messy emotionally. You go from only taking care of yourself to giving 150 percent of yourself to this little being, wanting to give even more if that is humanly possible. Exhaustion is real. As is questioning–everything. My return to working full time out of the home was tougher than I prepared for mentally. I still struggle, especially on Mondays after a fun weekend, with leaving him five days a week.

Year one is also truly rewarding. Who knew the pride that comes with watching your baby find its hands? Rolling over? Forget about it. My iPhone is full of videos from that day. Below are some more of my personal year one realities. I’d love to hear about yours as well.

  1. Worrying. About everything. All the time.
  2. Cringe-worthy Google searches.
  3. Humorous and tear-stained text message sessions with other moms. At 2 a.m.
  4. Sleep. There is never enough.
  5. Friendships changed in wonderful and difficult ways.
  6. Complete reliance on your partner, falling in love over and over again.
  7. More disagreements with your partner than ever before. See #4 lack of sleep observation.
  8. So much judgement, from yourself and others (other moms being the harshest sometimes).
  9. An Amazon Prime addiction.
  10. A dresser drawer of t-shirts and sweats where dry clean only tops used to live.
  11. A hot shower behind a locked bathroom door = divine escape.
  12. Quiet nights and weekends at home as a family are deeply fulfilling…realizing it is ok to miss out on things.
  13. Cutting a little too loose when you do stay out past 8 p.m. I’m in dry clean only clothes people!
  14. Feeling overwhelmed with pride for the littlest achievements. My baby clapped today!
  15. Running out of space for all of the pictures and videos on your phone.
  16. Wondering what the heck you did with all your free time before baby.
  17. Gaining an entirely new perspective on life’s blessings…and regaining it over and over again when you see a single mom, or a sick child or a family desperately wanting a child.
  18. Patience.
  19. Humility.
  20. Love. Gut wrenching, tear evoking, soul changing love.

Rylan, we’re in utter awe of how fast this year has gone. I want you to reach for every star in the sky and promise to help you in every way we can. But my heart also drops a little that our first year with you is nearly complete. You were and still are the most incredible baby. We love you tremendously and can’t wait to embrace the next year with you.

We Are Enough

The “we” in the title of this post is for my fellow working moms — whether you have been at this for years or are new to the game like me.

Credit: The Unconventional Doctor's Wife

Credit: The Unconventional Doctor’s Wife

Last night I found myself solo with Rylan as Mike is traveling for work. Before Ry I used to look forward to my alone nights because they meant I could get to the gym, have cereal for dinner and watch any trashy reality show my heart desired.

Now I get a little nervous about those nights. I grab Rylan from daycare and arrive home anywhere between 5:30pm and 6pm depending on traffic. I race to do his first of two nighttime cluster feeds on our new schedule (which is working fabulously for him but a little more stressful for me as I continue to breastfeed as much as possible). Then we sit down for some solids, which last night ended up more on the wall, floor and me than in his belly. And then normally we enjoy some snuggle and play time, followed by a bath if needed, then one more nursing session and bed. It is quick but sweet. The best part of my day.

But last night I could not turn off from work and my Type-A self was screaming. There were dishes to be put away, laundry to do and some emails and tasks that didn’t get done before my last meeting that were gnawing at me. So I put Rylan in his swing during those precious few minutes we have together during the week and I worked, picked up the kitchen and conquered the laundry.

But in the end, I felt awful. By the time I put Ry down for the night I wanted those 30 minutes back. The emails could have waited and the dishes weren’t hurting anyone. I missed it.

However, that’s the tightrope we walk every single day as working moms. Please know that I am NOT saying we work any harder than stay at home moms. I commend my friends who do that and I am in awe of all they juggle. We’re all equal, I am just writing about the tightrope I know and walk every day.

So when the alarm went off this morning and the guilt was still there I sat up and out loud told myself, “you are enough.” I am enough at work because I give it 150% every day. I am enough at home because my heart and soul is in everything I do for my boys. Yet, sometimes, “enough” is spread over a few days — or even weeks and months. Yesterday I was more “enough” for my job and a little less for Ry. Today I am going to strive to be all there for Ry when we get home and work will have to wait until he is down and I have found time to eat dinner sitting down in a chair.

We are enough. It may not be all the time to everyone, but we are enough.

Rylan’s Baptism Celebration

We baptized Rylan on Sunday and celebrated the day with family and close friends. He looked dapper in a sweet red bow tie and was extremely mellow through the entire process. Not a single tear as water was dribbled onto his head or when the oil was put on his forehead. He was also a total sport as the pastor walked him around the congregation to “meet” everyone in the church. Adorable is an understatement. It was extra special to be joined by my brother, Rylan’s godfather, from California and Rylan’s great grandparents from Minnesota.

Getting to Rylan’s baptism day was an interesting journey, as both Mike and I were raised going to church but have not been personally active in many years. It was very important to me that we find a local congregation and baptize Rylan but Mike wasn’t on board right away. After a lot of discussion, driven by me, we found a Methodist church close to our house that embodies the values we plan to instill in Rylan. The church’s mission is to be respectful of all people no matter their color or lifestyle and give back to the community in every way possible, be it time or money. The programs by which the church gives back are fantastic. I am particularly excited to attend a PB&J ministry morning when they make sack lunches and pass them out to people in need at a park in downtown Denver. I hope Rylan will enjoy doing these sorts of things with us as he gets older. It builds character and in my opinion, will help him learn how lucky he is to have everything he needs.

I mean, just check out this Welcome Statement! Highlands United Methodist Church embraces Jesus’ message that God loves and accepts every person, and so our welcome knows no boundaries. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we welcome people of every age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental ability, and economic condition into full participation in the life and leadership of our congregation.

I feel so blessed that Rylan enjoyed so much love and attention from his extended family all weekend long. It makes us even more excited for the holiday season ahead…he’ll meet more great grandparents, dozens of cousins, aunts, uncles and more! There is truly  nothing better in this world than family.

Happy Anniversary Hubby!

Credit: Zorn Photography

Happy 2+8 anniversary to my handsome and incredibly supportive husband Mike. The 2+8 reference is that we’ve been married for two years today, but together for 10 years total! Meeting, falling for and giving my heart to Mike has made the last 10 years unforgettable. He is my rock, my patience, my best friend, my biggest fan…and soon-to-be the most wonderful and supportive father.

Credit: Zorn Photography

Our wedding was a celebration for the record books and I know the years ahead, even with highs and lows, will continue to be filled with many more celebrations. How do I know that? Because we do not take anything for granted. We know that relationships, at all stages, take work. And we’re more committed to that work – the fun and the challenging – than ever before.

Credit: Zorn Photography

Mike, you know that I love you to the moon and back. And in case I don’t say it enough, I appreciate you every single day. Thank you for making me the luckiest wife around. Happy 2+8 to us.

Overwhelmed and Blessed


I’m sitting at the airport in Burbank, Calif., on my way home to Denver after a weekend in LA for my baby shower that was way too short. Pictures to come but I had to write about how overwhelmed I feel with all the blessings and love we’ve been shown over the past few days in anticipation of little sprout.

On Thursday my office threw a three-way baby shower for myself and two other colleagues who are expecting in May and July respectively. I received so many thoughtful gifts and warm wishes. My heart was filled to the brim.

Then yesterday, Saturday, my mom threw me a gorgeous baby shower attended by family, family friends and my dearest girlfriends. I was astonished by all the generosity, appreciative of the advice and grateful for the chance to connect with the women who have helped shape the person I am today, and I mom I hope to be.

I am not ready to go home to Denver and I wish I could ditch my flight and stay just a few more days. The life change ahead is becoming more real each day and the next time I come back to LA I won’t just be me. I’ll be a mom with little sprout in tow, introducing him or her to the entire family. It seems impossible to fathom. But I am bursting from excitement and anticipation.

We are so ridiculously loved, lucky and blessed. Family and friends are truly what make life so sweet.

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