Is that a doll?

Why yes, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Why does it matter to you? I know this may sound harsh, but really I don’t need random people giving me their opinions on what my child should be playing with.

H started playing with baby dolls at an ECFE (Early Childhood and Family Education) class we were taking. He would rock the baby and feed the baby. It melted my heart watching him play with the baby dolls. He always knows when a real baby is nearby and makes a point to say hello. He’s a loving and caring child and I will nurture those qualities no matter what.

I was telling my mom how much H wanted a baby doll and kept asking for one. She sent him the one seen in the photo above. He was beyond excited to get HIS BABY. The joy in his little body was so great, he smiled so big when he opened his package.

Since his baby arrived, they go everywhere with us. The baby doesn’t have a name yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. The baby goes to the gym, the grocery store, to school pick up, etc.

I can’t tell you how many people commented on the fact that my son was carrying around a baby doll. A friend said to me when discussing this issue with people inserting their opinions, “Do you think they would have made a negative comment if he were carrying a stuffed dog?” Honestly, I don’t think any comment would have been made or if there was it would have been, “Aw, so cute!”.

I tend to walk away when people make comments at the store, but maybe I need to take the time to explain to them that there is nothing wrong my son playing with a doll. To me, I see a child learning to be nurturing (he changes the baby’s diaper and feeds them too), caring, and pretending to be just like his Mom and Dad.

H is learning and growing. It doesn’t matter what he plays with, he’s using his imagination and developing important life skills. So, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Playing with his baby is no different than him playing and using his imagination with his tools, cars, trucks, superheroes, stuffed animals, etc… It shouldn’t matter to you what he chooses to play with, what should matter is that we are raising loving, caring, and compassionate children who will one day excellent friends, uncles, fathers, partners, and contributing members of society.

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What’s for dinner?!

Hey Friends! This week I’ve been MIA because of the Polar Vortex and didn’t have time to write while we were hibernating.

Here is the meal plan for this week!

Sunday: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Monday: Chicken and Rice Casserole serves with green beans

Tuesday: Crock Pot Beef and Potato Taco Chili

Wednesday: LEFTOVERS!!!

Thursday: One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Friday: Homemade Pizza Night

Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner

Most of these recipe ideas come from https://thepounddropper.com/

What’s for Dinner?!

The week of January 27- February 1 is a odd dinner week here! I will only be making dinner 5 out of the 7 nights. I am already thinking ahead and have some fun dips/dishes planned for next weekend…for the Puppy Bowl…we are much bigger puppy fans than football fans.

Sunday: Easy Vegan Falafel (thank you to Jasmine for sharing this recipe) served with couscous, cucumbers, tomato, roasted red onion, and hummus.

Monday: Dinner with Gert and Papa

Tuesday: Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

Wednesday: Chili / Mac & Cheese Night at School

Thursday: Skillet Gnocchi Pizza Bake served with salad

Friday: Hamburgers with potato wedges and salad

Saturday: Omelets and fruit and maybe 2 ingredient bagels!

Bon Appétit

Luminous You: Consultation

This photo is of me on January 19, 2019 without any makeup on. This is my before photo. I know I have scars (from pimples and chicken pox when I was little), I have rosy cheeks, zits, and I’m starting to see lines.

I do my best to take care of my skin and have been for some time now, but I’ve done most of it on my own. I use a lot of Kiehl’s products, and I love them so much! I also saw a dermatologist after having H because my skin decided it was time for me to have acne at 30. Thankfully it isn’t as bad as it was.

I know most of the things I’ve mentioned are things that you might not notice on my face, but I notice them, we are our own worst critics right?!

I do wear sunscreen every day on my face. I also moisturize every morning and night. I wear a foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, and maybe a little highlighter daily. Wearing the makeup makes me feel a little better about myself when leaving the house.

I was so excited when I learned about Luminous You (Medical Spa) and the services that they offer. I set up a consultation to sit down with Valery, the owner. I felt so comfortable, like I was having coffee with an old friend, while we discussed what Valery does and what I thought my problem areas were. We talked about what my goals are, and one of my goals for 2019 came up: To be more confident.

One way that I can be more confident is being able to go out of the house without my “face” on. This is a great skincare goal. I’ve been invited to join the “No Foundation Club”, who wants to join with me for 2019?!

Before I left Luminous You, Valery asked me to come up with some questions about skincare or questions that were specific to my skin. I’ve never met a provider that took this much time to speak with me and really make me feel cared for. I sent Valery a handful of questions and she responded with answers that I think will be very helpful for my skin! Here are my questions: She also sent links and additional information that I found to be very educational: To find out your skin type: https://www.skinbarnyc.com/2016/04/18/considering-laser-hair-removal-get-know-fitzpatrick-skin-type/

About BBL: https://www.adamscheinermd.com/achieve-forever-young-skin-with-forever-young-bbl-treatment

I have to say, I really appreciate that Valery want to help me learn about the processes and tools I will experience rather than just doing whatever without me knowing.

Another thing that I really appreciated about our first meeting was that Valery wants me to focus on solutions for my skincare problems rather than specific treatments. I really didn’t know there were so many options to help me, and as a 32 year old, Valery has a whole package meant just for the 30 something crowd! Everyone’s skin is different, so there isn’t a one size fits all. I also plan on educating myself through my skincare improvement process and use products that are appropriate for my skincare needs.

It means a lot to me that Valery wants to help me look and feel like the best version of myself. I am nervous because I’ve never done anything like this, but I’m also very excited for my future with Luminous You. My first treatment will be in two weeks!

I hope that you follow along and if you have any questions or if you have been thinking about going to a MedSpa, reach out to Valery (even if you don’t live in the Twin Cities, Valery has so much information to share so you can be knowledgable about your skin and skincare). Valery offers FREE consultations.

Just remember, you can change your hair and clothes, and makeup…but you only get ONE SKIN. Take care of your skin, drink water, use products that won’t damage your skin. USE SUNSCREEN! (Valery shared with me that your sunscreen should be sunscreen with at least 5% Zinc Oxide.)

I’m leaving a link that Valery shared with me for a shop that sells “sun protection you wear”: Coolibar and they have so many clothing options as well as swimwear for everyone!

What’s for dinner?!

Alrighty! Back for another edition of What’s for Dinner!!

Meal planning really just takes a lot of stress away with our weekly calendar filling up quickly! I like to know what I need to have on hand or know what I need to grab if I have to run out that day.

Sunday: Chicken/Turkey dinner with Heavenly Potatoes and asparagus (L really, really, really wants a wishbone)

Monday: Chicken Shawarma Bowls (cauliflower rice for us, brown rice for the boys)

Tuesday: Chicken Taco Soup (0 points if you follow WW) served with tortilla chips, cheese, and avocado

Wednesday: Lemon Chicken Scallopini with spinach served with rice and salad

Thursday: Steak with gravy served with either mashed potatoes or steak frites and green beans

Friday: Daddy Does Dinner/ Takeout for M&K after event

Saturday: Hamburgers with veggie tots and salad

Enjoy! If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Duck Duck Grey Duck

No, no, not the game…the bags! Have you heard about the Grey Duck Bag Company? If you haven’t you have got to check them out. https://greyduckbags.com/

I received three bags and a wrist strap: The Market Tote, The Adventurer, and The Minimalist. I am going to review each bag for you! First you should know though, these bags are WASHABLE, not just in a sink, but machine washable! The bags are made out of a super soft laminated cotton and they contain 0% lead, BPAs, or Phthalates. These Grey Duck bags are HANDMADE in Ely, Minnesota. One of my favorite things about this company is that a portion of every sale goes to the Ely Community Resource.  You can learn more about this here: http://elycommunityresource.org/

The Minimalist: This is a lifesaver for me. My wallet just doesn’t fit into my Coach wristlet and my wallet is always a mess then. I can easily fit my wallet, my keys, and some essentials (MAC lipsticks!) in my Minimalist. This will be a great asset to my summer pool/beach bag, I will be able to keep everything important zipped and in one place, and if the bag gets sandy or dirty I know that I can wash it and it will be good as new!

The Adventurer: THIS BAG IS EVERYTHING in my opinion. Right now, I have a few diapers and wipes in this bag. I can attach the wrist strap if I need to. I know I will use my Adventurer all the time. We are almost at the potty training point with H and I will add undies to this bag and I can also use this bag if I need to put in soiled clothing if we are out, BECAUSE the bag is washable!!! This bag will also be an essential in my summer bag, this is the perfect bag to keep all of our sunscreens in (yes, we have a few varieties!). 

The Market Tote: I know the first thing I always check in larger bags is the pocket situation. This bag has three deep inside pockets, on the Grey Duck website, it says you could even put a wine bottle in there, and I think I am going to have to try this out! Honestly, the pockets are great, and I know I won’t lose anything if the bag falls over, or is knocked over by  a toddler. There is also a pocket on the outside, which is a great place to put your keys and phone until you are able to get them into your Adventurer or Minimalist! I know this bag will have many uses for me, the bag with many hats, I have been needing a bag for the gym because I really don’t want to put my stinky gym sneaker back in my diaper bag after  workout, the Goldfish crackers don’t need that smell. This bag is a great fit for my shoes, a towel, a water bottle, and my sneakers. I know if I drop my bag in the slush and snow, I can wipe it down and then wash it once I get home!

I really need you to go to the Grey Duck Bag Company website and look at all of the patterns. These bags aren’t only great for moms but these would be a great addition to your child’s backpack, or uses in the car to hold toys, books, and crayons! These bags are a great teacher gift idea, or a gift for a friend or family member. The wrist strap can turn these into sweet wristlets for anyone to use! 

I know I love my bags and you will too. Even my children love my bags, and I don’t have to worry about a water bottle ruining them. Remember, these bags are handmade, and made with love. You can feel the love from Ely, MN when you are using your Grey Duck Bag.

Full Disclosure: I was sent these bags from The Grey Duck Bag Company. The review of the Grey Duck Bag Company is my honest opinion.

Urban Forage: Winery and Cider House

I’m writing this post while I enjoy a nice cold cider from this fun winery and cider house I got to check out today.

Matt and I like to venture out and find fun and new place to go, with and without the kids. Today we drove across the Mississippi into Minneapolis to Urban Forage.

We walked in and we were greeted by Jeff, the owner. Jeff is extremely knowledgeable about his wine and cider and we enjoyed talking with him about his bar and the details that go into making their wine, cider, and mead.

We started with a tasting of the ciders, Urban Forage currently has four ciders on tap: Dry Cider, Pear Cider, Spiced Cider, and a Semi Sweet Cider. We also tried the dry red wine and the sangria (you have to see what this is a combination of!…go and order! You won’t be disappointed!)

I have to say, my favorite was the seasonal Spiced Cider, it tasted like Holiday Cheer in a Cup! I even left with a growler (that what I’m drinking now).

The Pear Cider was another favorite. The Pear Cider reminded me of growing up since my parents have a pear tree in the backyard and the cider tasted like fresh pears. All of the pears are gathered from all over the Twin Cities and Metro area, it really was incredible to speak with Jeff and see how much love he and his wife put into their production of their wines and ciders. I really love that everything they use is locally sourced, I feel like it makes it feel like home, even though the Twin Cities are heavily populated!

I feel like Urban Forage is the place to go where everyone would know your name, there was such a welcoming and calm feeling in the tap room. The Urban Forage also had a cute game hutch included Hungry, Hungry Hippo! The Urban Forage is family friendly! I know my children would love to play a game or two while snacking on the cheese plate and Mom and Dad could enjoy a drink or two.

I wish I tried the Wassail, their warm spiced cider! Next time!

Jeff offers tours on Sundays at 1:15, you can purchase you tickets online. Their hours are as follows: Thursdays 4-9 (GAME NIGHT), Friday 4-11, Saturday 2-11, and Sunday 2-6. They are located at 3016 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. You should check them out and follow them on social media. I truly cannot wait to go back, visit with whoever I am with, drink delicious, locally sourced ciders and wines, and fill my growler!

Who is coming with me to game night?! (Fun Fact: Jeff comes up with all the themes and trivia questions!)

Urban Forage Winery and Cider House

Disclosure: This post is an honest review based on my experience. This post is sponsored by Urban Forage.

My #momlife

This. This photo. This is how my #momlife looks most of the time. My husband had come in from the other room to see our two children and two dogs basically on top of me. In this position I usually end up covered in slobber (from both the humans and dogs) but I also know I’m covered in so much love. I wish you could hear this moment, there was so much laughter and I’m so thankful Matt snapped this photo. It’s not perfect, it’s not set up photo, this is our real life…and I wouldn’t change it for the world. (Ok maybe I would make the dogs not shed, but you know what I mean.)

What does your #momlife (or #dadlife) look like?

Minnesota Children’s Museum Night

Mini Postal Workers

The car wash might be the boys favorite exhibit! They can get all soapy and wet!

This week we got to explore the Children’s Museum after hours! We have been many times but there something about Matt being able to come after work even more fun!

We two hours to play and explore and that time flew by! I know we could spend an entire day here! It’s such a fun space for children and adult. There is even a sign that said “Attention: For Children and for those who use to be Children”.

For kids of all ages!

We are so lucky to live in a big city where there are so many opportunities for us to take our children so they can grow and learn as individuals, with each other, and with other children.

My only complaint…the parking garages 😂 Other than that, this place is a membership worthy spot, especially with the cold winter months coming up!

How to help a loved one going through a miscarriage.

I think this is appropriate to share again today. Today is Miscarriage, Still Birth, and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. You or someone you know may be experiencing loss. Someone might not be ready to talk about their loss, others may be looking for someone to talk to. Let’s break the stigma. Let’s “replace silence with storytelling” (@ihadamiscarriage) Always remember, they are yours and you are theirs. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about our two Angel Babies, Harper and Ava. I am so thankful for the love and support of our family and friends over the last three years, but I am still grieving and I probably always will be…having the conversations though, that is helping me heal.

I heard many things from many people after experiencing my miscarriages. “At least you know you can get pregnant.” “You already have one.” “You can try again.” “Maybe there is something wrong with you.” “God has a plan.” “Everything happens for a reason.” All of these things were said to be helpful. I truly appreciated all of the love and support and I know the people who said these things were trying to help.

I also found that many people were more sympathetic rather than empathetic. A friend who also experienced a miscarriage and I had a deep discussion about this and she sent me this video. Empathy vs Sympathy

From my own experience, I have found that just lending an ear was helpful. I had friends that told me how I was feeling was ok. I was angry and sad. I was confused. But I felt so much love and compassion from those around me.

Allow your friend or family member to grieve. They lost their baby. Bring them food and just be with them. Be their shoulder. Give them hugs.

Matt and I knew we wanted to do something special for our babies. We wanted to plant a tree for each baby but we were renting a townhouse at the time of both we decided to donate to a local conservatory and our babies names (yes we named our babies) are on The Tree of Life and they will be there forever. We have pictures with the tree as well as our friends who came with us for the dedications and who have gone back to visit our babies. We also adopted Remy after the second miscarriage. I needed a distraction. He needed a family.

Every person will grieve in their own way; and that is ok. The mother will not be the only one grieving. The partner, the grandparents, as well as others who are apart of that babies life will also be grieving. Just be there for them. They just lost a baby.