Weekend Getaway- To Take the Kids or Leave Them with Grandma?

Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post… we’ve been busy to say the least! My stepdaughter came back from Arizona which means my hands are full all day long. She’s at the age where, while she’s helpful in her own way (she can watch my youngest for a 10 minute span while I quick throw clothes on), she also requires a lot of attention. We need to make sure that she knows she still has her own special place in our little family.


Anyway….. last weekend we went to a wedding in Wisconsin for my husband’s cousin. It was at a really cute ranch in the middle of nowhere which is actually refreshing (kind of like the fun cabin trips in the summer). After a 4 hour drive stretched to a 5.5 hour drive (because when you’re pregnant, your growing child continues to punch your bladder (and you imagine him maniacally laughing the whole time) and your legs cramp up… super glamorous), we got to our hotel. It was a sight: we stayed at a typical 3-4 star hotel chain but what makes this so special is that it was called “The White House” and had a mini white dome on it. When you went in, there were pictures of presidents all over the walls of the lobby. Each hotel room was named after a state (we stayed in Montana). The reason I’m bringing it up is because that is the full extent of the Presidential analogy the hotel used. I’m so confused as to why they spent so much money on that huge dome when they didn’t continue the “theme” anywhere else?? Well, that’s Wisconsin I guess.


A 5.5 hour drive with an 11 year old and 18 month old was surprisingly easy. They both slept a little, we all ate junk food, and then we got to the hotel and then went to the ranch to see friends and family. That’s when the shitstorm started. Fiona (our 18-month old) decided she didn’t want to sleep because she didn’t want to miss any action. She slept 6 hours that night (the night before the wedding- instead of her usual 11) and only napped for 30 minutes the next day (instead of her normal 2 hours). Going into the wedding, we knew we were in trouble.


The ceremony was beautiful and funny too (apparently)– we wouldn’t know. My husband and I w ere desperately trying to keep our toddler busy inside the house while the wedding happened just outside. We missed our 11 year old being the flower-girl and looking absolutely stunning. I have 0 pictures of our family from the event (bad mommy!). Fiona was a tyrant during the entire day and also, on a fun note, wanted nothing to do with me. If I picked her up, she’d scream “DADDY!” and looked at me as though I was torturing her. My poor husband had to chase her around all day because she definitely didn’t want anyone  but him.


Chris: 1, Stevie’s Ego: 0.


That night, we let her cry herself to sleep (which took a full hour) and she slept through the night and morning. She finally woke up and was our normally, happy toddler (right before we left to come back home).


Here’s the issue: I’m so happy that we brought her because the 1st and 3rd days she was my happy, beautiful toddler who lit up the room! The 2nd day she was an absolute nightmare. I know the family enjoyed seeing her but I wonder where the “Crazy/Cute Line” is for toddlers (I’m referring to the Crazy/Hot Scale from How I Met Your Mother: a person is allowed to be crazy as long as they are equally hot). Should we have left her with Grandma or was it better to drag her along? I’m not just thinking about us and the rest of the family, I’m thinking about her! She must have been MISERABLE the day of the wedding- she was exhausted but so concerned with missing something that she wouldn’t sleep! I wish this was a question I knew the answer to… for now, we’ll just keep playing it by ear. We’re planning a trip for July 4th with the tyrant… I’ll keep you informed. If you’re someone who prays, please pray for us.


Below is Fiona at the playground on Day 3 when she was my happy girl. She loves her belly and likes to pose like her pregnant, size-of-a-house mommy (belly OUT!).





Below is the last picture taken from our trip (I’ve already said I didn’t take pictures at the actual wedding, I took 2 pictures, the two I’ve posted here. Mom of the year right here, folks). They’re both completely passed out on the trip back. I am absolutely going to throw my husband under the bus here and say that he had an epic fail taking this picture…. he barely got Fiona in it at all! At least Alexis looks adorable! P.S. Notice the Hot Mama bag in the background… subtle advertising technique? Perhaps!–PLEASE VISIT THE HOT MAMA ST LOUIS PARK LOCATION (not so subtle, huh?) 🙂 !!!





You Can Call Me the Chef (can I at least wear the hat?)

When I was a kid, I thought when someone became a Mom they automatically loved to cook. Stay-at-home-Moms lived for looking through their cookbooks, going to the grocery store, coming home and making a spectacular meal to serve her family. I used to think that someday, I’d be that Mom.


I am not that Mom.


I am the Mom that cooks out of necessity. I am the Mom that, when I’m REALLY craving something, I will make it the old-fashioned way but then I find out that Costco makes it just as well (and then I can spend the 3 hours that I thought I’d be cooking in front of the TV watching Mindy Project). I am the Mom that (GASP) gives my kids vegetables out of cans (and sometimes fruit too)! Who has time to let vegetables cook twice a day??!! I want to find the Mom that does and ask her for her daily schedule. Hey, let’s chat and meet up sometime (insert awkward pause).


Does her 17-month old know how to open the “child-proof” gate and go down all the stairs in her split-level home? Does her 17-month old give half of her food to the greedy dog circling below (and laugh hysterically when I tell her not to— literally laughing in my face)? Does her 17-month old throw food against the wall and the dry clean only curtain?


Does her 17-month old refuse to say “Please” no matter how many times I stay strong and don’t give in without her asking nicely?


Me: “Fiona, can you say please?”

Fiona: “More!”

Me: “Fiona…. that’s not please. Can you say please?”

Fiona: “Nah”

Me: “Fiona, if you can say, ‘Nah,’ I’m pretty sure you can say please.”

Fiona: “Haha. Nah” (shakes head)


And so it continues. 


I made ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, melted cheese, etc. (basically, a my-version-of-gourmet-hamburger) and she literally threw it against the wall and said, “ICK!” Then when I made (and by “made” I mean heated up) the Elmo frozen pancakes (OK people… at least they’re organic) she said, “Mmmmmmmm….. more!” What is the point of cooking? Okay… is it really that much healthier? Alright, maybe. I’ll keep trying.



This is Fiona eating grilled cheese, pineapple with carrots & broccoli. Notice she hasn’t touched it yet. She’s laughing at Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street (and I think she’s laughing at me for thinking it’s a good idea to load up her plate with so much food… she’s planning her next move: do I throw this against the wall, give it to the dog, or simply refuse to eat it?)

Maternity Style, 20 Weeks- Part 2

Maternity Style, 20 Weeks- Part 2

Here’s my second 20 week maternity-style photo! Here I’m wearing a Press Ruffle Tank (I love the ruffles, they hide my growing belly since I’m not at the point where it’s obvious I’m pregnant! This will also work great for the women like me who carry their weight in their stomachs when not pregnant!), a Fashionista Floral Bomber Jacket (I am LOVING the bomber jacket trend!), and the AG Maternity Legging. I’ve paired it with Dr. Scholl’s black wedges (the comfiest wedges I’ve ever worn)!

I’ve worn this outfit before with my black Chanel sneakers as well… the wedges dress it up, the sneakers dress it down 🙂

Maternity Style: 20 weeks- Part 1

Maternity Style: 20 weeks- Part 1

I’m at the point where I’m not obviously pregnant yet… I just look like I’ve eaten too much 🙂 I’m probably going to be at the “cover the belly” stage for another week or two… then I’ll show it and embrace it!

Here, I’ve worn a floral tank by Allison Joy (and I layered an orange tank under it), with a Sanctuary Cammo jacket (both from Hot Mama), maternity AG Legging Jeans with Tod’s oxfords (these are my FAVORITE SHOES right now! I’m obsessed!). This is my “mom-on-the-go” style 🙂

I love wearing orange and camo together— camo and olive can really be seen as a neutral now which is really exciting. Pretend like it’s brown when pairing it with other colors and prints!

Target Adventure

Everytime we go to Target, I am aware that I have about 30 minutes before Fiona becomes a tyrant. If I continue to move and give her things to play with (and eat), she is the sweetest toddler alive. She even says “Hi!” to people (although it’s usually after we’ve made it around the next curve and so they can no longer see her).

The last time we went… I should have known better. There were multiple red flags.

I started in the baby section and she starts saying, “Pa-Pa” when we go near the training potties (she has one at home that we’ve attempted… she isn’t ready so we aren’t pushing it. She likes to go on it because it has a stupid button that makes a “swoosh/ding” sound when you hit it). When I said, “Yep, that’s a potty” she threw a Cheez-It (the super healthy, preservative-free snack) at my face. I should have known then.

When we got to the diaper section, she started pointing to her butt and saying, “THIS! THIS!” which usually means she’s gone poop but she just wanted to inform me that yes, the item in my hand was the same that was wrapped around her butt. When I grabbed wipes she reached for them and missed and threw a total tantrum. Being the so-so mom that I am I gave them to her and she said, “Thank you!” And then she threw the wipes on the floor and started screaming. I should have known THEN!

When we got to the grocery section, we ran into someone I grew up with. Ohhhhh no. They want to stop and talk. They also don’t have children so, despite Fiona throwing things and starting to cry, they kept trying to console her. In the middle of Target. Right before nap time. When Mommy should have known better.

I made a rookie mistake. I took Fiona out of the cart and said, “Okay, but only if you promise to be good.” REALLY?!?! She immediately took off and went for the waist-height cheeses. She grabbed all the cheese she could and threw them on the floor and started laughing hysterically. I began to pick them up and when I tried to put them back she threw herself to the floor and screamed, “MAMA! MAMA! NNNOOOOOOOOOOO MAMA!” and bawled her eyes out.

At this point, a normal mother would get really embarrassed, get her purse (and hopefully her toddler) and walk out.

What did I do? I started laughing. I didn’t know what else to do and frankly, it was hilarious. There I am in the dairy section and my toddler is throwing cheese all over the floor and throwing a complete tantrum. I realized mid-tantrum that if it was someone else’s kid, I wouldn’t think, “What a terrible mother.” I’d think, “Oh my god that poor mother. Now, pass the popcorn- let’s enjoy the show.”

Because that’s what it is. Fiona was putting on a show for everyone at Target to see what she could get me to do. Rather, what she could get me to let HER do. While I can’t say that I enjoyed the show, and while I can’t say that I wasn’t a little embarrassed, I at least recognized a couple of things:

1) Her tantrum doesn’t reflect my skills as a mom
2) Her tantrum doesn’t mean that everyone is looking at me thinking I’m a bad mother (and if they do, then screw them!)
3) Her tantrum meant that I need to PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS SHE GIVES ME!!!!!!!! If she is rubbing her eyes, don’t leave to go to Target if it’s within an hour of her nap time. She fell asleep in the car on the way home (which is a 5 minute drive) and then was wide awake when I took her out of it. That day, she basically skipped her nap… it was super fun.

Below is Fiona.. wide awake after an unsuccessful attempt at a nap (and an unsuccessful trip to Target).


Fiona’s New Vest

Fiona's New Vest

Fiona is obsessed with her new vest. She runs around the house (at full speed) yelling, “JACKET! JACKET! JACKET!” (although to someone who isn’t her mom, it’s probably sound like “YAKA!”). She won’t let me take it off. Ever. Even when I get her ready for bed… she ends up walking around in just a diaper and her vest. It’s super classy.

She’s also wearing my hat here. Too cute.