Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes I want more

At what point during motherhood do you let yourself just be you?  #motherhood #metime #workingmoms #sahm #twins

I'm a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes I want more. Does that make me a bad person? I've been thinking about myself a lot lately, and what I truly want out of life as far as personal success and fulfillment. Yes, being a mother is the biggest blessing that I have ever had, and it's the single most important thing that I will ever do in my life. For some, that is enough, but for me, I would still like to achieve more success career-wise. I've always been a dreamer and goal-setter, but it is hard to find a good balance of caring for children while still keeping a piece of yourself for you, and that balance is different for everyone.

Since becoming a mom, I've made lots of sacrifices. I'm not complaining about them at all. I'd make the same decisions and sacrifices all over again, i.e. putting my career on hold and staying home, breastfeeding, waking up very early in the morning everyday, rarely going out on dates with my husband, etc. But at what point do I start thinking about my needs and wants again? It's been a tough question to answer.

Corbin and Lynley are almost two. They're thriving and full of energy. We've done a great job with them. I've done a great job with them. (we should not be afraid to pat ourselves on the back!)  I've dedicated every part of my being to them to make sure they exceed all expectations for preemies born at 31 weeks. They're walking miracles. We have a lot of fun together playing and learning, but there have also been some not-so-fun moments lately. In particular the toddler tantrums, hitting and kicking. These behaviors really wear me down, and I don't want to be a yelling mom. I have to admit that I have raised my voice a bit more than I ever thought I would. I always want to give my kids my best, but it's so completely frustrating sometimes that I have to give myself a time out! I've found myself lately wanting to spend time away from Lynley and Corbin. And then I feel bad for that. I've found myself thinking more and more about returning to work outside the home. And then I feel bad for that. We're financially fortunate in that I do not have to work, but sometimes I wish that working or not wasn't my personal decision. And then I feel bad about that. It's a never-ending cycle that I think all moms go through. So what's the solution?

At what point during motherhood do you let yourself just be you?  #motherhood #metime #workingmoms #sahm #twins
When babies are sick, they sleep with Mama.
For our family, the solution right now is to hire help. We've had a wonderful nanny coming a few times a week to teach Tot School with the babies, and it's been so helpful for all of us. I hear much less tantrum-throwing <funny how not being around mom or dad will do that. They're learning a lot, and being around someone else is giving them better social skills and less anxiety about being apart from me. She also brings her two-year-old son when she comes, so it's a win-win for him too- to be around two kids his age that he otherwise would not get interaction with.

So you might be thinking, what do I do with the "free" time? Trust me, it's not free time! I spend the three hours that she is here catching up on laundry or other housework. I've also decided to use this time to focus on myself. I am currently enrolled in the masters degree in Strategic Public Relations program at George Washington University. I am four weeks into my first course, and I could not have kept my 'A' without having our nanny's help. Aside from those two "jobs," I also do freelance writing for a number of clients. I don't get paid a ton of money, but I like the fact that I am able to keep up my writing skills and network with reputable organizations. Oh, and there's keeping up with this blog too, and all of the social media promotion, sponsorship outreach, product reviews, etc.!

I have a lot of jobs. I like my jobs. But sometimes, I really miss working in journalism and PR- the rush that comes with meeting tight deadlines, breaking news and hot-button issues. I shouldn't be ashamed that I miss a part of my former self. For many, many years, I lived and breathed my career, so it's as much a part of me as being Corbin and Lynley's mom is.

At what point during motherhood do you let yourself just be you?  #motherhood #metime #workingmoms #sahm #twins
Family swim day!
Nothing will change anytime soon, but it's nice to know that my children would be okay if I did decide that I wanted to return to my career full time. I can see that they would still learn just as much from someone else who shows them the same love, attention and kindness. I feel blessed to be able to witness this first-hand. I hope that other working moms out there can see it too with their children. The choice to work or not work, when it's truly a choice, not necessity, should NOT make us feel guilty. After all, we are just doing the best that we can.

Have you ever experienced these feelings? How do you handle the decision to work or stay home? Please share with me in the comments.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's so hard finding the perfect cups! {Nuby Product Review}

Seriously, why is it so hard to find a good straw cup these days? We've tried a few different brands, and after a few months they all start to leak. We've been fans of Nuby brand from the beginning, but the recent cups we received for review are a mix of good and not so good for us. But that definitely doesn't stop me from recommending them!

Product Review: Nuby Flip-it Easy Grip cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

First, we really like the first set of cups we received, which are the Nuby Flip-it Easy Grip cups. I love that these cups are easy for Lynley and Corbin to hold, and the fact that the cup features an easy-to-use flip top cap. This uniquely designed feature protects the straw from contamination when not in use, making it great for travel and short trips! I find these straw cups to be much more easy to drink from because it's a hard straw, instead of a soft one with a valve. The only downside is that I can't leave the twins unsupervised with these cups even for a minute or they've turned them upside down to dump the contents all over the wood floors and then play slip and slide in it! I am shocked that they came up with that game all on their own. Despite this fact though, we would definitely recommend this cup.

Product Review: Nuby Flip-it Easy Grip cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

Product Review: Nuby Printed Sports Sipper cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

The next set of cups that we tested are the Nuby Printed Sports Sipper Cups. These cups come in super cute designs and are sized perfectly for little hands, which is why I was really excited to review them. However, there is no actual straw that sits into the liquid. It's a straw spout only, and I find it to actually look more like a sippy spout. Corbin and Lynley haven't used sippy cups in months, so when I handed them these cups to drink from, they got very agitated. They didn't remember how to tip the cup up to get a drink, and they both prefer to drink from long straws. So these were a bust for drinking out of, but as you can see, they make a great chew toy.... My conclusion, great for younger babies, but for toddlers who drink from straws, it's a step back.

Product Review: Nuby Printed Sports Sipper cups. #review #Nuby #toddlers

Flip-it Easy Grip Cups are available at these retailers: Amazon; Buy Baby Direct; Walmart; Diapers.com Baby Depot at Burlington; DD's Discounts and TJ Maxx.

Printed Sport Sippers: Amazon and walmart.com

Our other Nuby product reviews on the tub-time turtle & bath stacking set, flex-straw cups/utensil travel set, grooming set and Wacky Ware bowls can be found hereherehere and here.

Connect with Nuby via FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

I received products free of charge for review purposes. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are 100 percent my own. I only promote and support products and companies that I believe in.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Free Blogger Opp: Origami Owl Giveaway

Sign up with other bloggers to give away some Origami Owl Merchandise. Bloggers must promote the event through their blog and social media outlets at least three times a week!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A vacation without kids

Vacation without kids.... yes, it is everything you thought it would be! Blissful #vacation #summerfun #kidfreeweekend

Going on vacation without two high-maintenance toddlers seems like a dream come true, right? Well it kind of was, and I'm not sorry for admitting that I enjoyed my few days of sleeping in and not dealing with a tiny diva and a little boy who has discovered how to kick and hit! This was the first long trip away that we have taken together without the babies, (minus a quick overnight trip for a wedding last fall) and we really needed it.

Derrick and I traveled to Lake Tahoe, Nevada with his family for Independence Day weekend. My mom kindly came to Austin to watch Corbin and Lynley while we were away. In Lake Tahoe, we stayed in a huge house right on the lake with all of Derrick's family. It was absolutely beautiful. Here are a few pictures and some recaps from our trip. I shared a lot of these on Instagram, so follow me there if you aren't already!

Vacation without kids.... yes, it is everything you thought it would be! Blissful #vacation #summerfun #kidfreeweekend


Vacation without kids.... yes, it is everything you thought it would be! Blissful #vacation #summerfun #kidfreeweekend

Even though I had to work on a research paper for my grad school class, I was still lucky enough to do it looking at this! (P.S. I made a 100 on it! I'm still in shock, but I worked really hard despite being on vacay!)

Vacation without kids.... yes, it is everything you thought it would be! Blissful #vacation #summerfun #kidfreeweekend

When we went swimming, this group of ducks came over to say hi! I had to take a picture for Corbin. He absolutely loves ducks.

Vacation without kids.... yes, it is everything you thought it would be! Blissful #vacation #summerfun #kidfreeweekend

I cannot remember the last time that I had a drink. It's been at least three years probably more. Trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, breastfeeding and now having to wake up at 6:45 a.m. everyday and do the most work I've ever done (being a mom) all day has deterred me! But.... now that I have discovered Blue Moon, it's over. I really liked it, so I think I'll give myself a treat every once in awhile.

Vacation without kids.... yes, it is everything you thought it would be! Blissful #vacation #summerfun #kidfreeweekend

And this licorice.... oh my goodness! It's heavenly. I actually bought it to bring back to my mom, but I had to taste it first. I almost ate it all before we made it home! Oops...

Have you taken a vacation without kids? Tell me about it in the comments!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Changing the Face of Beauty

What do you find beautiful? Matilda Jane Clothing is teaming up with the Mighty Acorn Foundation to Change the Face of Beauty! #beauty #givingback
Photo Credit: Dominik Martin/Unsplash
Changing the face of beauty- this topic is not something that is new to women. Dove is just one example of a company that embraces all shapes and colors of women in their campaigns. The concept is inspiring. As role models to our children, we should acknowledge our differences and teach that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

That's why I'd like to share this amazing campaign with you called Change the Face of Beauty, put together by Matilda Jane Clothing Company and the Mighty Acorn Foundation. These two organizations are working together to produce a catalog featuring children with disabilities as the models. They're on a mission to make every girl feel beautiful!

After the photo shoot, the items will be auctioned off online to raise money for Mighty Acorn. This is your chance to score some MJC pieces for you or your girl's wardrobe and support a worthy cause at the same time. The shoot takes place on July 13th, so be sure to come back here for information on how to bid in the auction. And come back at the end of the month for cute photos and stories from the campaign.

You can read our reviews of MJC herehere and here. We're big fans!

More about MJC
Matilda Jane Clothing designs are youthful, playful, and expressive. Their approach to texture, pattern and color results in designs that capture the spirit and imagination of childhood. Matilda Jane Clothing is available in girls, tweens and adults. Matilda Jane Clothing was originally sold at art shows, and has now moved the business toward a Trunk Keeper model—a direct selling approach that keeps the spirit of art fairs alive while building personal relationships across the country.

More about Mighty Acorn Foundation
After witnessing firsthand the dismal conditions of the slums and the thousands of children who, by no choice of their own, are forced to live in houses made of mud, plastic, and cardboard, Denise and David decided to step in and help. They believe that while everyone desires to help make a difference in the world, figuring out how to do so is not that easy. The Mighty Acorn Foundation will make it easy for people to help. Through this foundation, the hope is to save children, one at a time, from the dead-end life that they are forced to live in the slums. While general monetary donations are always accepted, the Mighty Acorn Foundation’s ultimate goal is to connect one child in the slum to one open-hearted family here in the USA.
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