Going Back to Work-A SAHM story.

It’s been an emotional few months to say the least. After taking a full time job opportunity in the medical field and leaving my comfortable “stay-at-home-mom” gig, I feel like my emotions have been all over the board. Being able to stay home with your children is such a privilege, and obviously, not everyone is able to for one reason or another. And that’s totally fine! I got to have a little over 3 years with my babes and it was MAGICAL.

MAGICAL: -exciting, hard, discouraging, encouraging, exhausting, relaxing, empowered, chaotic

Anyways, it’s been fun. But the opportunity arose for my husband to pursue his passion and nitch. He enrolled in Grad school and is getting his aster’s degree in teaching. He plans to teach high school History.  I could say I am proud of him, which is true, but I am really envious of his ability to change careers and go for what he really wants. That takes courage and strength in a whole different way. In order to support him and make the next year and a half go by much easier, I took this new career opportunity so he could be home with our kids, and get his school work done at times other than 12 and 1 am.

The first few days were awesome. It was like all the things I did complain about, about being a stay at home mom were fixed. I got to drive alone in the car???? This had bee a foreign concept to me for many years. I actually got to listen to what music was being played on the radio- which that excitement lasted 2 hours in traffic when I realized it’s crap and very repetitive. I got to go talk to other adults all day. This was so exciting as I pride myself on being a very social person 🙂 I got that little “break” every day away from the house, away from the dishes and cleaning and screaming. And then, real life sunk in about 1 month into working. I realized I was never going to get to be home again with my youngest at the age he is right now. It hurt so much! I knew he was well taken care of and getting some awesome bonding in with his dad, but me! What about me?! We had been inseparable for almost 2 years now. I remember driving home about the 3rd week of work and just bawled. Turned on whatever sad song was playing- not Justin Bieber- and bawled. I think I cried the entire drive home which is an unpleasant 50 minutes. I thought about all the milestones I was missing, the laughs, the nap time rocking, the owies he was going to get without me being there to make it all better.

Once I got a hold of myself, pulled it together, approximately 1 second away from our driveway, I felt better. I needed to grieve my former job, former self, former life. I only cried like that once. Sure I’ve gotten teary eyed a few times here and there thinking about things or hearing things I’m missing, but I needed that 50 minutes to myself to wallow. And I think that’s OK. There is no book for the emotions and trials you will deal with when you go back to work. Well there is probably LITERALLY 100 I’m sure but…not my point.

Basically things have changed and we have all adjusted. Was my husband as scared as I was to make this transition? Absolutely. Is he still figuring things out every day like I am? Yup. The pressure we all have to do our best at every “job” in life or title is so exhausting. We feel the need to be the best student, the best mom, the best wife, the best employee. We are all just figuring shit out and doing the best we can! Well most of us 🙂 My husband, has completely won at stay at home chef, and maybe needs some improvement in stay at home house cleaner 🙂 🙂 🙂

I have re-learned the expression TGIF. I have now cleverly changed it to TGIFF. You can probably guess what that means. My weekends are SACRED. They are golden. I now appreciate Saturdays and despise Sundays just like the rest of working America 🙂 My husband has now forgotten what day of the week it is. I have to now brace myself in the garage before I walk in the door. I am flooded with “MOM, mom, MOmmy, MAMMMM, MUM” before I can get my purse or shoes off. “Listen to this song I learned, listen to me read this new book, watch my new trick, look at my owie I got today, he hurt me, sign this now please, help me with my homework, why can’t we go to the park? why don’t we ever do anything fun, you never are home, can I go play? Look at this giant mess I just made!” …..etc etc etc. Then when all I want to do is go change out of scrubs and into my sweats, my little one wants to be glued to my hip. I have to stop and appreciate this because I actually have MISSED him all day. It’s such a battle in my head between what I want to do and what I feel like I need to do. UGH. Soccer games, school functions pretty  much take up my non working time, and then I get left with the guilt of not having time to myself- me, Alison. I am hoping time will heal all…LOL or at least help me get my sh*t organized!

I love what I’m doing, and I love helping patients heal. I love my new co-workers and I love the providers I get to work with daily. I keep getting asked “Do you like working better? Do you think it’s easier than staying home?” The answer to both of those is yes and no. Yes I enjoy working, helping people, interacting with adults and meeting new people. No, I miss my kids, I miss being able to have my own schedule, I miss having more patience with all of them. Yes, I think in some respects it is easier to work than stay home and a big NO at times it is much easier to be a stay at home parent than work. The debate is dumb and shouldn’t even exist. Every day is different and everyONE is different. I will say, my husband has an entire new respect for me and what I did now. He expresses it daily 🙂

So that’s what’s been going on around here lately. I apologize to any friends, parents, people I have ignored or forgotten to call back over the past few months. I have been a complete scatter brain trying to figure this all out and learn TIME MANAGEMENT all over again!!!

**Thank you all who have supported us/me as a family and individually in making this transition for both Brent and I, and the kids as easy as it could be!!**

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pillow Talk

Hi, hello! It’s been 2 months since I’ve last posted! I have been busy blogging over at SugarBabies about awesome kid stuff, and most recently- I started a new job! I recently started working at Virginia Mason and so far I am loving it!
Today I wanted to talk Toddler Pillows. Most of you probably didn’t even know that was a thing. It is. It’s a very good thing. I started realizing Luca, my almost 2 year old { enter sad sad sad face } whom we still bed share with, was not only stealing my entire side of the bed, but stealing my pillow all night. He hadn’t done this before. He now sleeps like a normal human, with a pillow and all. Which again, is super sad. I don’t know why but it just is! So I realized that he actually may need his own pillow. So many questions came up:

    Are toddler pillows even a thing? Are they safe?Do they fit in cribs?

Yes, yes and yes.

I always head over to Instagram these days to find any kid/baby related product I am interested in. They usually have a page, or I can usually check a hashtag and find loads of info on products this way. Sure enough #toddlerpillow brought me to ClevaMama.

When I first began researching toddler pillows, I discovered a whole new world of these tiny little pillows I had no idea existed. They do indeed make pillows JUST for our little toddlers. And yes, they fit in cribs! Even though I do have two older kids, I had never used a pillow for them until they were in their own twin bed. It didn’t even occur to me. I guess, my main reason was safety. How could a pillow, which in some cases is used for smothering, be safe for MY BABY?! There were about 5 top leading brands and pillow types in this toddler pillow category. The ClevaMama pillow definitely stood out among the rest.

There were, like I said, around 5 other brands of top rated toddler pillows. One seemed all too “fluffy” for a crib. It didn’t seem at all safe to me. One pillow seemed extremely tiny for even a kid. It almost looked like a doll sized pillow. And then just like Goldilocks finding the perfect fit, I found ours.

Behind the Pillow:

The ClevaMama brand is a Dublin, Ireland based company founded by two moms, who are also sisters. Their moto is “Designed by mums, for mums.” Seemed perfect. The pillow is made of a type of foam that is scientifically designed to reduce the pressure on the back of your baby’s head by 50%. Manufactured using fabrics and foams that are hypo-allergenic, PH balanced and toxin free makes the pillow suitable for use with toddlers who suffer from asthma and allergies. The AirFlow fabric draws away moisture and increases airflow which makes it safe to breathe. These were all HUGE factors in choosing this pillow. Luca’s head and spine would be in perfect alignment while using the pillow, and I didn’t have to worry about suffocation. I read a few awesome reviews and decided this was the right pillow for us.

Our Experience:

ClevaMama was so generous to send Luca a pillow to try out with their adorable boy themed replacement pillow covers. I was SO excited to try the pillow out that night! I think he was excited too as he tried to pry open the box before I could grab a pair of scissors!

ClevaMama Toddler Pillow Review

 

I laid it at the top of his crib, which fit perfectly in to place. He struggles all night with thrashing around the crib from one end to the other and I was hoping this might help that with having a specific spot for his head to go. We used it first at nap time that day. After laying him down with is head on the pillow and walking out I quickly ran to my monitor to see what he would do. He laid on it for a while, and then sure enough fell asleep just below the pillow. I was just happy he didn’t try to use it as a toy to distract him from sleeping. That same night, I laid him down and was watching him on the monitor. He seemed to be keeping his head on the pillow….and then he fell asleep in the correct position. I was SO PLEASED!

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We have been using the ClevaMama Foam Toddler pillow for about 2 weeks now and he LOVES IT! Though he still ends up in our bed, using MY pillow half the night…the first half he stays on his own pillow sleeping soundly.

The cool part for me as a mom, is knowing he is getting healthy spine alignment and his breathing is not affected. It almost feels like a mini Tempurpedic toddler pillow. Spoiled little thing 🙂

Overall Luca and I would give this pillow 5 stars and I would highly recommend to any momma out there!

The ClevaMama company not only has toddler pillows but so many more awesome baby products I would highly suggest looking into! I have linked the pillow URL below if you wanted to check it out!

ClevaMama Foam Toddler Pillow

**This products was given to us at no cost for reviewing purposes. All thoughts and opinions about this product and company are my own.

 

 

 

How To: Restrict Your Child’s iPod Touch/iPhone

The big debate happened this year on my son’s 9th birthday. Though I am against giving a child a cell phone until they can drive, I didn’t know what my stance was on the iPod Touch. This of course was all he could talk about and all he wanted for his birthday. My husband and I went back and forth whether we were ready for him to have this kind of responsibility.  I knew he would have access to the internet, YouTube, texting, games, videos, songs…all of which I couldn’t possibly monitor. Wrong. I managed to figure out how to completely crack down on the apple product and make it work for me, the parent.

Now, we did have a discussion about what was going to be allowed with this new investment prior to purchasing. We let him use his birthday money to buy it…but we pre-warned him about all the things he was not going to be able to do. We had decided

  • NO YouTube. There is FAR too much on there for a 9 year old to see. Even if it’s on accident.
  • NO texting, iMessage, Facetime (all which come with the newest iPod version)
  • NO full internet use…
  • NO downloading things without permission
  • NO listening or playing  inappropriate songs, videos, games

But the problem was, how do you monitor all this? How can I make sure he wasn’t still doing all of this? I took to the internet and was so happy to find I could restrict and manage literally any part of his use I wanted. Here I will show you how to do it:

  • Go to the Settings on your child’s iPod
  • Go to Restrictions
  • You will have to create a passcode that you can only use to edit your restrictions…one your child cannot get into
  • Here you will be able to turn on and off all the applications on the iPod. Facetime, Messages, camera use, internet etc.
  • Below you will be able to allow certain applications-but restrict them. For instance: You can allow specific webpages on the internet…and only those ones you allow. You can choose what rate of movie is allowed to watch (G, PG, PG-13 etc) same with music. You can even make it so they cannot talk inappropriately to Siri.
  • You can make it so they have to ask permission to buy, download ANYTHING on their device. More on that below. (requires family iCloud sharing)

 

iCloud Family Sharing:

This is a really cool setting you can use if one of the parents also has an apple product..iPod or iPhone. You can go on your own phone under iCloud settings and create a new iCloud account- it will even ask if it is for a child. A child’s account will go under yours but it will allow them to make their own decisions…though will ALWAYS ask your permission before anything is bought-downloaded.

  • Your child will go in the app-store and try to download a game
  • They will have to send a message to your phone asking permission to do so
  • Then they will have to wait until you approve or deny the request.
  • You will have a message sent to you which you will need a specific passcode (only you would know) to approve or deny this.
  • You can read the description of the game, video or app they are purchasing and see the rating on it to help you decide if it is appropriate or not for your child
  • As soon as you do so, it will respond back to your child’s device.

My Child’s iPod

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My iPhone

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My iPhone

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My iPhone

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I hope this helps in your decision on whether to let your child get an iPod…and know that we still have power as parents!!!!

Please share if you think this was helpful and could help another parent! Thanks!

 

 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Can I start off by saying just how much I honestly love all the stuff I post on here. Like, I eat all of the stuff I post on a regular basis…which might be why I am up 10 lb. from summer! But really though, it’s a collection of all my faves…and my family and friends’ faves.

My spinach artichoke dip is ridiculous. Ridiculously fattening, ridiculously delicious and you will want to start eating it before it’s even done because it smells RIDICULOUSLY good 🙂

Ingredients:

-2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, well rinsed and stems trimmed
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 cup chopped yellow onions
-1 tablespoon minced garlic
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup milk
-1 cup heavy cream
-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
-1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan
-Assorted chips for dipping (pita chips, tortilla chips, bagel chips)

Directions:

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round chafing dish and set aside. **It doesn’t have to be round. I use a rectangular deep dish.

-Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze to remove all excess water and chop. Set aside.

-In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
-Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
-Add the garlic, salt, pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
-Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes.
-Add the milk and cream in a steady stream, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
-Add the cooked spinach and lemon juice, and stir to incorporate.
-Add the  grated cheese, artichoke hearts, and stir well.
-Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared dish.
-Top with the Parmesan and bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

 then ENJOY

*****Remove from the oven and serve hot with chips.*****

I made mine last night for a family Christmas party, and I’m making it again Christmas eve! My favorite thing to serve it with is Stacey’s Pita chips…delicious!!

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Here is the onions and butter and garlic simmering—at this point you will want to start eating it!

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The milk/cream roux should look like the above image when it is done….it’s not going to get super super thick.

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This is completed and ready to bake in the oven with more Parmesan cheese.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is probably my most asked for recipe. It is definitely not my own recipe…but it’s amazing. I make this roughly once a week and I am STILL not tired of it. My soccer moms love it and I get asked almost weekly for the details! There are so many crockpot recipes for tortilla soup, or easy methods. If you want EASY, this is not for you. I mean it’s easy…it’s just not fast. It is time consuming and has lots of steps. BUT that’s what makes it my favorite thing ever. That’s what makes it drool worthy. So if you have a free afternoon or evening to dedicate a half hour/45 minutes to it….Here you go!

Vibrantly Living- Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

(Pictures are not mine either- they are from Pinterest)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (1/4 cup) — Only if you want it spicy
  • 1 (32 oz) carton low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp of each chili powder, cumin, and paprika– For less spicy use half the chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts*
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup corn meal
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Toppings: Cilantro, Shredded Mexican cheese, Avocado, and Tortilla chips (Juanita’s are the best)

Directions

  • Heat canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and jalapeño and saute 3 minutes, adding garlic during last 30 seconds of sauteing. Add chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken breasts and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover pot with lid and gently boil until chicken has cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and allow to rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add diced tomatoes with green chilies to pot. Then, in the 2-cup liquid measuring cup used to measure milk (or a bowl), whisk together milk and masa harina until well blended. Pour mixture into pot and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture boils and thickens slightly (it won’t thicken much). Dice chicken and add to pot, then add black beans, pinto beans and corn. Then stir in cream and sour cream and cook until heated through.
  • Serve warm topped with cheese, sour cream, avocados, cilantro, limes and tortilla chips.
  • *If chicken breasts are fairly thick, slices them horizontally through the thickness to create two portions. They will cook faster this way and be more tender as they’ll cook more evenly.

Vibrantly Living- Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Share with your friends, family and definitely your soccer mom group!

*recipe and photo source: Cooking Classy

Why You Won’t Have Anything Nice Till You’re 80

Hot damn. I have developed a much higher patience level since my little Luca was born. I’m older, wiser (hehe) and don’t have the work stressors anymore. BUT this toddler has hit toddler’hood’.  I was having some difficulty or inspiration on my next post. It’s been a while. But every morning I realize I have the best material for a “mom blog” post there is. Here is why you won’t have anything nice till you’re 80.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

I really don’t think my writing anything here will help you understand what is going on in this picture. It’s very obvious. Well, obvious to a mom who once liked nice things. Like Laura Mercier makeup brushes. If you aren’t the biggest makeup lover, you will need to know, this brush costs roughly around $40-50. I know, I know. That is a ridiculous price to pay for a brush. But when you are a grown up with kids, you start asking for these things for birthday, Christmas, heck even St. Patrick’s day presents. You can’t afford to spend that amount of money on that.

on anything for yourself actually 😦

SO I was upset. Upset that my adorable almost 18 month old digs through my make up drawer every time I need to get ready. He pulled looked at the brush (I’m assuming, I was getting ready) decided that he would try to use all his toddler strength, and pull out all the bristles on that nice brush.

Because it’s fun that’s why.

So that was fun. I looked down and went “NOOOOOOOOOOOO” like on of those really drawn out, cartoon sequences no’s. Then, that little bundle of joy went “NOOOOOOOOOO” back at me. And then I laughed and got over it.

RIP Laura, RIP.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

That’s a whole lotta damage right there. OK. Here from Left to Right we have….Anastasia Beverley Hills Eye Shadow Pallet, Bobbi Brown Lip Stick, and of course a LIMITED EDITION Bare Essentials highlighter. That I might add can only be purchased on Ebay now. Why you ask? THEY DON’T MAKE IT ANYMORE. If you look closely you can see little baby fingernail markings in the highlighter. Trust me, I am still using these. I slowly open the eye shadow and I very carefully apply the lipstick. I am 28 with three kids and technically one income, you will NEVER see me throw anything away. Unless it’s something important of my husband’s that he needs the next day. Then you will find it in the garbage truck just leaving our house.

LOVE YOU honey.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

Now this, is not because of my toddler. Can you guess who the next culprit is? Our dog. Basically this post will apply to any person/persons who have either a child or a dog in their household. Again, why you won’t have anything nice till you’re 80. When we first moved into our new house I expected some regression from our dog. That’s normal. What I didn’t expect was 3 ripped up pairs of TOM’s, 2 Dolce Vita shoes and my husband’s pair of italian leather Ferragamo’s. That one took a while to get over. And it’s your dog. So all that cuteness that makes up for it afterwards when your kids do stupid sh*t, isn’t there. All they do is run from your like you’re some psycho who is coming after them. Just me? eh. I have had my mother in law sew this pillow already. But for some reason it continues to get ripped open. God only knows what my little fur ball is doing when i’m not home to completely destroy this poor pillow. I don’t even want to know.

Vibrantly Living- Why You Won't Have Anything Nice Till You're 80

This might be my last piece of evidence for this post, but I assure you, this is not the last thing they will destroy. My couch. I don’t even know if you can technically call it that anymore. It’s like a bacteria infested, pee stained, juice drenched large piece of fabric located in the most used room in the house. My favorite part is when you explain how you need a new couch to other mom’s, or even better, people who don’t have kids but like to chime in on stuff. You start complaining how gross it is and how your kids have completely destroyed it.

“Well, my kids aren’t allowed to drink in the living room” Oh really? I actually tell my children to have a free for all in the living room on the most used furniture in the house. Trying to monitor and control three kids and friends is dumb. I agree, I could enforce this “rule” more but I actually have twenty other things I am doing. The toddler, likes to run away when I am changing his diaper. He starts crawling all over the couch with his little “peepee” touching everything. While I am still on the floor waiting for him to return to get his diaper on, he looks over at me, sticks out his belly and little manhood and pees. On the couch. Then laughs.

So I am sure you understand by now why if you have children or a dog you won’t have anything nice for a while. But why 80?

My husband and I figured this out one night as we were looking around our kid trashed house. Right now we have babies and kids who obviously ruin things. Then we will have teenagers who will be smearing pizza grease and cheetoh’s on everything. Not to mention our son ruining all my towels (ahem). Then just when you think you can breathe for a minute and go out and by yourself a new Sellens couch…

BAM

They return with THEIR kids. The cycle starts all over. So when we are 80 or so, maybe we can invest in something nice. But then we will probably die a few years later and our kids will get it and then let their kids ruin it.

Cue music…… “The circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife.”

END SCENE

Donut Holes-Do not Blame me for your weight gain….

10 minute Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

Who Doesn’t love donuts, right? Well maybe some people, but that’s dumb. I personally love maple bars, and donut holes. I “Pinterest-ed” the other day and found an awesome recipe for flawless maple bars. I did not take pictures because honestly they were gone before I could find my phone.

I would love to sit here and tell you that I did take pictures of the donut holes I made, but sadly..I did not. Again, they were gone faster than my husband leaves the room when I talk makeup. BUT i will attach a lovely stock photo of a pinterest version of these bad boys just to entice you.

ingredients:

  • Pillsbury Biscuits- in refrigerated aisle–not croissants
  • Vegetable Oil/Canola Oil
  • Mixture of cinammon and sugar in a bowl
  • Your self dignity after you eat everything you just made

how to:

  • open the biscuits and separate them
  • cut them into 4 little pizza looking slices
  • separate them again and roll into small balls
  • pour oil into a saucepan about 3 inches deep, turn on medium heat until hot
  • put about 4 balls in the oil at a time and rotate occasionally till they are an even deep golden brown
  • use tongs to get the donut holes from the sauce pan
  • lay out on plate or paper towel to cool off for about 5 minutes
  • roll each donut hole in the sugar/cinnamon mixture until fully coated
  • try to leave some for your kids…only if you want to

For realzzzz these are addicting. You should even try the Maple Bar Recipe…basically the same but you home make the maple glaze…which is amazing.

Now that you are roughly 5 pounds heavier, your welcome!