three year old William

Well, this is it, folks.  The first William update that no longer includes “baby” in the title.  Though clearly he’ll always be my baby William, he’s most certainly a real, little boy now.  He continues to grow, thrive, learn, and develop on a daily basis.  There are many similarities between his two and a half year old update and today, but since it’s been six months, I’ll update you nevertheless.

photos by stephanie cotta photography

Toddler William at three years old:

Height & Weight: 37 inches and 32.2 pounds (50th percentile for both)

Eating: William eats close to the same thing on days he goes to school, so I try to include more variety into our dinners.  Here’s some of his favorites lately:

  • Breakfast: whole scrambled egg and banana with peanut butter; on days that aren’t school days, he also like french toast or pancakes
  • Lunch: sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich, cheese stick, grapes, and apple slices
  • Dinner: chicken, turkey, spinach / kale balls, avocado, hamburger, etc.
  • Snacks: Trader Joe’s carrot apple pouch, strawberry bar, and yogurt

William continues to love meats and eats vegetables sparingly.  He is still sensitive to dairy, so besides a cheese stick and yogurt on school days, I really try to limit it.  We do Trader Joe’s macaroni and cheese on occasion, but I limit the amount of it he eats when he does have it.  William LOVES my mom’s or grandma’s matzo ball soup; he’ll even eat the carrots, too!

Sleeping (naps): When William naps with me, he naps for an hour; at school, he still naps for an hour and a half.

Sleeping (at night): I lay in William’s room while he falls asleep, and then he sleeps through the night. Typically he falls asleep around 8:00 pm and wakes up between 6 – 6:30 am.  Before daylights savings, he was sleeping until seven most mornings, but we’ve never gotten back to that.  Of course, there are evenings he goes to bed earlier or later depending on our schedule.

Clothing: Mostly 3T. He can still wear 2T shorts / pants, and his sleepers are either 3 or 4T.  His shoe size is a nine and a half wide.

linking up with healthy diva life

New this year: A lot of similarities with the two and a half year old post, but his language skills is probably the biggest change.  His vocabulary grows on a daily basis, he’s curious about everything, and remembers every word and experience. He’s literally a sponge and absorbs everything.  Something new this year is being able to spell his name!  He’s been able to sing his ABC’s for quite some time now, but we’re still working on identifying all the letters. He’s doing great with the letters in his name, and often asks what certain words start with.  William will help me “read” his favorite books.  We will switch off pages, and we’ve read them so many times that he’s able to recite them word for word.

William got a balance bike for his birthday.  Right now, it’s still inside which is good for when he falls off it.  We’ll take it outside once the weather is nicer on a more consistent basis.  We’ve been ice skating a few times, and William is still enrolled in soccer practice every week.  He loves to be active.

William likes: William loves anything relating to fire trucks, trains, tools, construction vehicles, soccer, baseball, books, pretend play, fishing, music, being outside, his cousins, his Yaya and Pops, and nursing.  (Yep, still going strong!) He loves playing in his kitchen, pretending to call his cousins, or playing doctor.

All of that was the same from his last update.  In addition, William loves directing his imaginative play.  Sometimes he’s the soccer coach and he tells me what to do, otherwise he makes up scenes for us to play out with his toys.  His imagination continues to amaze me!

William dislikes: We’ve definitely hit the threes that everyone talks about. While WIlliam is very easygoing (like his momma!), he does have strong opinions about things, particularly if he’s overly tired or hungry.  William thrives off of routine, so whenever we stray from that or I get him back after not having him for whatever length of time, there is a transition period that can be rough.  In general, he’s very easily distracted (when upset) and easy to calm and redirect.

William is my little man, my love, my pride and joy.

Alright mommas, what else am I in for during the threes?

the worst half marathon ever

Let’s call this post – the worst half marathon ever.

Because of me, not because of the actual race at all.  Actually, the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon is one of my favorite races.  It’s near and dear to my heart because it was my first half marathon I ever did (in 2007!) and, of course, it’s in my beloved hometown St. Louis.  It’s always a challenging course with lots of hills, but when properly trained, it’s a great race!  You get to see many parts of our city, run across bridges, see the Clydesdales at the brewery, Busch Stadium, and more.

Barbie and I on the Arch riverfront before the race began.

But you see, that’s where the problem lies.  I was not properly trained for this half marathon.  In fact, I wasn’t trained at all.  Not in the slightest.  Like so little training that I had trouble figuring out my race day outfit based on the weather and was frantically texting Barbie at 4:45 the morning of.  The extent of my training is laughable.  Some may even call it foolish.  Before this race, the last time I ran was four weeks prior.  It was two miles and that was tough.  So you can imagine how the race went.

So why in the world did I do it, you may be wondering?  Barbie.  (Ok, fine “Barbara,” but she’ll always be Barbie to me.  25 years later and I’m not changing what I call her.  Ever.)  Back in 2007, Barbie convinced me to do this very same race.  We were both away at college, and we decided we’d train separately and come back to St. Louis to run together.  Many years since then, we’ve completed this race together.  A couple of months ago while at brunch, she told me she signed up to run.  Sure, I thought, why not?  I’ll join ya!

Thinking the upcoming race would motivate me to get my butt in gear, I happily signed up.  I counted the weeks before, laughed to myself as I realized training would be challenging given my schedule and the weather, but figured I’d be fine.  After all, how many half marathons have I completed?  Fifteen-ish, I believe.

Check out our giant smiles before we started the 13.1!

I kept telling myself that I had done these races a million times, and I’d be fine.  I knew I certainly wouldn’t be earning a PR or anything, but I figured my body would remember what to do and go into race mode.  I also knew I wasn’t going to worry about my time.  I didn’t even wear any sort of running device to track my mileage or time (GASP!).  My last half marathon (also with Barbie) was two years ago and my training consisted of six runs with my longest run being six miles.  We ended up running the entire distance with a final time of 2:12:39.

linking up with healthy diva

This year was a different story.  Right out of the gate I told Barbie I felt good.  She chuckled.  100 feet later, I said the same thing.  After mile three, I begged Barbie to walk for a minute.  Barbie is one of those runners that no matter how “good” of shape she is in, she can always run.  She was basically running circles around me and so kindly pledged to stay with me the whole race.  The first four miles were rough.  Miles four through seven were a little better, and I might even dare to say we found a groove.  Mile eight was hard and my knee started throbbing.  I wondered if I’d be able to finish, but vowed I would since I have never had to have a DNF (did not finish).  We took a few more walking breaks, and somehow mile 11 was upon us.  Mile 11 was also where the first MARATHONER passed us and went barreling ahead to the finish line.  That was amazing to see and provided a bit of inspiration.  This guy was doing double the distance as us and was killing it!

I think we ran the last two miles with no walking breaks.  Although that mile 13 felt like it would never end.  Barbie kept telling me we were almost there, and we could hear the music at the finish line.  Well let me tell you what.  That finish line music was loud because I’m pretty sure we heard it an entire mile away.  But low and behold, we crossed that finish line and earned that pretty hardware!

Every bone, every muscle, every single part of my body was in pain.  When I’m in shape, I’m not even sore after races at all.  I could barely walk and I know it’s just going to get worse.  But you know what?  I DID IT!  Would I do it again?  You betchya!  But you better believe I’ll train, at least somewhat, for it!  It was the hardest race I’ve ever run.  I don’t usually wear my race shirts, but tomorrow I sure am.  That is, if I can get out of bed and actually walk.

Yeah, we were still smiling at the end.  They may not have been quite as big, but they were there.  Then we were laughing in between grimacing at every step we took.  Ok, I’m off to put my feet up yet again, possibly for the remainder of the day.

Have you ever run a race you didn’t train for? How’d that go?

a two year old that ice skates

Now that I’ve been back at school for almost a full week, I thought I would throw up a blog post with some of our spring break highlights.  It started off well and continued with many exciting outings, activities, and play dates!  I know I’ve been saying this since William was born, but this age he is right now is so awesome.  I’ll elaborate more in his three year old post which is coming up way too soon.  Mostly, he is able to do a lot more now, partake in different activities, and really get involved and stay engaged.  The weather in St. Louis was a little chilly, but we were still happy to soak up the sun as much as we could.

We had six different play dates throughout the week.  We had friends at our house and got to play at friends’ houses, as well.  William and his friends really play together now, as opposed to just playing next to each other (parallel play).  Of course, we spent lots of time with William’s best bud, Wolfie.

Just look at those studs.  William is a pro at driving thanks to Yaya and Pops.  And when I say “pro,” I mean I only had to run after him a few times to prevent the car from running into a curb or parked car.  They definitely enjoyed the ride.

I’ve always loved going out and about as opposed to staying home all the time.  However, if we’re going to stay at home, we love hosting play dates!  We had an all boy play date and dinner.

Buds!  The many other play dates were not very well documented.  It’s hard to get a picture of several toddlers together!  This one turned out great, if I do say so myself!  (There may have been some slight bribery of chocolate chip cookies, but hey whatever works!)

We played with my friend Diana’s daughter, Emily a few times, too.  They met us at a paint your own pottery place one morning.  Diana and I had high hopes of the kids really enjoying painting.  Well, William chose to paint a bulldozer and five minutes later he was “done.”  Errr… we stayed just long enough to cover the entire bulldozer with many vibrant colors.

He may not be a Picasso (yet), but at least he tried!

Sometimes I go stir crazy when we do spend a lot of time at home, but William was seriously so good over spring break.  And the few times that I may have felt frustrated with this fun toddler age (hello, trying to assert independence!), William would do something ridiculously sweet or give me the biggest, cutest grin.

Ever since my nephew Jacob had his eighth birthday party at the ice skating rink, I had been wanting to take William.  At Jacob’s party, there were some children who played ice hockey and were incredible skaters, and there were other kiddos who had never been on the ice before and had a very challenging time.  Because of this, I wanted to expose William to ice skating early, fully recognizing the fact that trying to take a two year old ice skating could be completely disastrous.  I was able to convince Julie to bring Wolf, too.

Honestly, I didn’t even think William would be able to walk in the ice skates because that is hard to do, let alone go out on the ice!  I carried him to the ice, set him down, and tightly gripped both of his hands.  The first lap around, I held on to his hands from behind, fully supporting him, while we shuffled along the ice.  That was hard to do since I had to remain bent over squating for the little guy.  William saw Wolf with a bucket, so of course he wanted one, too.  I thought that would be even harder since he’d have to keep himself up using the bucket as support.

I have never been so glad to be so wrong in my life!  I was SO impressed!  I think I told Julie one hundred different times while we were there how amazed I was at both the boys.  Not only were they staying up on their feet, they were skating, really ice skating!  Sure, they fell more than a few times, but they always got right back up!  A few more fun photos:

  1. Loving it!
  2. His legs cracked me up in this picture.
  3. Hanging out on top of the bucket.
  4. Having so much fun with Wolfie!

Kids are incredible beings!  They need to be exposed to all different things because you never know when or how they’ll excel!

Thanks to all of our spring break fun…

Little one was tuckered out by the end!

When’s the last time you went ice skating? 

beginning of spring break

One of the many, many perks of being a teacher is spring break.  Kids get so excited about their upcoming days off, but teachers do, too, possibly even more so!  William’s spring break coincides with mine this year which is perfect.  We’re just a few days in so far, and already, we’ve had lots of fun.  Let’s start off with a clean baby photo, because you know those black and white bath pictures are some of my favorites.  Even though he’s less than a month away from turning three (WAH!), and he really looks like it here, he’ll always be my baby.

So happy.  These days he’s more into showers than baths.  It’s not quite as easy to wash him this way, but as long as he wants to get clean, that’s one fight I’m not fighting.  Plus, it cracks me up because every time he’s in the shower, he makes different things for me.  Lately it’s been hot chocolate or macaroni and cheese.  That little one’s imagination is always running wild!

Friday was my first day off, so we didn’t have to rush to get to school.  William went to school for a couple of hours because they had their Purim celebration.  First, I worked out at home, and William joined in the warm up.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably saw the hilarious story of William doing jumping jacks and stretching.  Once he was at school, I went to Yoga Six for a Power Yoga class.

The class was tough, both physically and mentally, but it was just what I needed.  The next day I was incredibly sore, possibly from a combination of my morning at-home workout and yoga.  I certainly felt it!  I love feeling sore, especially in the beginning of a new workout routine, which hopefully this is what it is.

I met William at school for his Purim parade.  After, we headed home, ate lunch, napped, and played before going to Jacob and Audrey’s house.

I know I’ve said it before, but they sure are more like siblings than cousins.  They love like siblings and fight like siblings.  William and Audrey got into a little tiff, and Audrey pushed William.  It won’t be long before he’ll be the same size as her as he’s rapidly catching up, but Jacob immediately went after Audrey.  Big brother protecting the little one.  Once the situation was diffused, it did make Stephanie and I smile a bit… and become slightly worried for what the future brings when they all get bigger and stronger.

The beginning of spring break continued with a night out for me… which meant a nice, big coffee early the next morning for William’s soccer practice.

We’ve moved up a level in soccer.  For the last several months, William and I have done the parent – toddler class together.  Now, William is on the field by himself with me on the sidelines.  Some classes have gone better than others.  Sometimes all he wants to do is come with me and other times he’s very independent and a great listener.  He’s on the younger side of the group, so I think this will continue to improve if we stick with it.  It’s definitely hard not to quit and give up though.

The rest of Saturday went by quickly as I stayed very busy.  I ran errands, went grocery shopping, did laundry, even squeezed in a shower, all before picking up Diana for a “sprinkle” to welcome her second baby that’s on the way!

It was a surprise even though the kind host who took us to the room didn’t get that memo.  “You’re here for the private party?” he asked.  “Ummm yeah,” I quickly replied hoping Diana didn’t catch on.  Then, if that wasn’t enough, he added, “For the baby shower?”  Thanks, bud!  Diana caught on and was surprised anyway to see everyone.  Much to my dismay and like her first child, she refuses to find out what she’s having.  Guess we’ll all be surprised in the next month or so!

linking up with healthy diva

Following the sprinkle, my friends Julie and Sara came over for a makeup party.

Another fun evening didn’t stop me from getting in my morning workout!

Best part about working out at home is definitely little man joining in and both of us rocking the jammies.  Although William definitely gets the win for that one.

On Sunday, we went to a birthday party at one of our favorite places, Miss Kelly’s!

Monkey man had fun swinging and running around.  We celebrated Leo’s third birthday who is also a fellow Paw Patrol lover, like William.  William made him a birthday card and meticulously put 100 different Paw Patrol stickers on it.  When we arrived at a party, a girl asked if she could take his gift and card.  She took the present, but William told her, “No, I want to give my card to Leo (We-o) and tell him about all my stickers!”  And he did!

Ended the weekend with a big family dinner at my parents’ house.  I’m always grateful to be surrounded by so much love…

….especially with this little guy – my favorite!

How was your weekend?

power of framing words

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Who thought of that ridiculous saying?  Words can absolutely hurt.  Sometimes, words hurt the most.  I’m going to share my experience I recently had on learning the lesson of the power of framing words.  Let me start off by saying, I know that the people I will write about, 100% care about me and meant well with their comments.  I recognize that and am not doubting it whatsoever.  I’ve had time to reflect on various situations and have been able to shift my thinking.  This post will be honest and raw, but typing my thoughts always serves a therapeutic purpose, and maybe I can shed light on the power of framing words to others.

Also, let me provide a bit of context before I begin.  I’ve been at the same school for eight years, and I absolutely LOVE it.  I taught first grade my first year in a different district, then third grade for four years and fourth grade for four years.  I was an early childhood major in college (and also got my elementary certification).  While the little ones have always been my passion, I grew to love my third and fourth graders.  I was continually amazed by their sophisticated thinking, the growth they made, and the level of rigor they were completing.  People outside my school often asked me if I’d ever consider changing schools to be able to work with younger kids again.  Nope.  It was never a second thought.  The school where I teach is the best, from the administration to the coaches to the staff to the parents to the students and to the community.  Many of my coworkers have become some of my best friends.  Alright, so what in the world prompted this?

first day of school in 2013

Last Friday I was called into the principal’s office.  As I’m sure it is with anyone walking into their boss’s office, I was nervous as I did not know what to expect.  “I have to move you to first grade next year,” she said.  Instantly, my eyes welled up with tears.  My mind began racing with the first thoughts coming to mind were that I was being separated from my team.  The last several years my team was the best.  Literally.  We worked seamlessly with each other and tirelessly for the growth of our students.  We shared the responsibility, trusted each other, and loved each student as our own, no matter whose class they were in.  We celebrated together and problem solved together.  We were a team through and through.  We knew it wouldn’t last forever, but I was so shocked that this was happening without any warning and that I was going to be the one leaving.

After I left the office, it was time for me to pick up my students from music.  We went back to my room, I shut the door, and I got my students started on some work.  Then, I checked my email.  Official staffing was released which meant everyone knew I was moving to first grade (along with several other changes in the building).  Two of my wonderful teammates came to my room, gave me hugs, asked if I was mad and sad, and what I was feeling.  Each time, the tears flowed and I became upset all over again. My mind was racing as I was trying to process everything.  Over the next 24 hours, I received emails, texts, and calls “checking on me,” asking if I was ok, or how I was doing.

At some point in time, I really started reflecting on what was happening.  For the past eight years, whenever I filled out my grade request change sheet, I always put my current grade as first choice, and then first grade as my second choice.  I LOVED teaching first grade my first year of teaching, so why was I so upset?  As I tried to find the root cause, I became more confused.  I loved teaching the little ones.  I was excited about this opportunity.  But because everyone assumed I would be upset, distraught, and unhappy, those types of feelings that were lingering inside me were automatically propelled because everyone expected me to feel that way.

That’s not to say I wasn’t feeling any of those things initially.  There were many factors contributing including the process, changing friendships, and the worry of learning entirely new curriculum.  But those concerns should have been secondary to my excitement.  Then, I became angry.  Why were people assuming such negative things with my grade level change?  Yes, leaving my team is and will be the hardest part, and I’m definitely not happy about that.  I know there will be other challenging times throughout the rest of the year knowing I will be leaving the team.  But really, there are many positives to the situation.  My post is not really about the change in grade levels.  Change is always hard.  My post is about the lesson in the power of framing words.  I began to wonder if instead of people asking how upset I was, if they framed their words differently, in a more positive manner, would that affect how I felt about the situation?  I fully realize that I should be in control of my own thoughts and feelings without letting others affect me so.  I’m also not saying I felt that way solely because of people’s initial reaction.  Some of those feelings were inside, but joy should have been the primary emotion.

I called my aunt who is a retired teacher and spent a great majority of her time in first grade specifically.  Without providing any context to what had happened, I merely told her I would be moving to first grade next year.  “Congratulations!” was her immediate response.  Wow, what a difference that made!  When I told a few other non-school people, they all had similar reactions as they’ve known about my desire and passion to teach younger kids.  Receiving the happy and excited responses helped confirm within myself that I, too, really was excited about this opportunity.  The more positive people were with their reactions, the more positive I felt about the change.

So here’s the lesson: we need to be careful with our assumptions and how we frame our words.  Even though our words can have the most empathetic intentions, how we frame them can really trigger how a person feels.  I know they did for me.  Again, I know the words my dear friends asked me came from a place of compassion, care, and concern.  I was surprised with how much they affected me when, really, I just need some time to process and reflect on an individual basis first.

I don’t think there is / was one right way for how to handle the situation all around.  I think we’re all doing our best, and like everything else in life, it can be looked at as a learning experience.  I don’t want to dwell on the negative pieces.  Frankly, I don’t want to talk about anything negative today.  I want to be excited about this change and look forward to the cuties I’ll have in my classroom next year.  And I will definitely try be more thoughtful and positive with how I phrase questions, words of encouragement, or pieces of advice in the future, especially with sensitive topics.

[Tweet “the power of framing words can have a major impact on the person who hears them”]

Were you ever surprised with the way someone else’s words affected you?

Check out my happy baby!

Today is March first which means… NEXT MONTH MY BABY TURNS THREE!  Where in the world is time going?  I thought I’d whip out a quick blog post with some updated pictures of my little man since it’s been over a month from last time I’ve shared any.  Someone actually commented to me, “Where are all your pictures of William? He’s growing up and there hasn’t been anything on your blog!”  Ha!  (For the record, I’m always posting pictures and stories on Instagram – follow me there at @itzlinz!) Here are some of my favorites from lately.  Check out my happy baby!

Seriously, the happiest!  The weather in St. Louis has been unseasonably warm this winter, but I’m not complaining.  We’ve spent so much time outdoors and have begun having “picnics” outside on our front porch for dinner.  In between bites of food, William fills up the watering can with rocks, jumps off the front step doing cannonballs into the swimming pool, makes campfires, and blasts off in pretend rocket ships.  William amazes me more and more everyday with his wild imagination and extensive language skills! #mombrag

Here he is in his perfect and adorable Valentine’s Day outfit:

Obviously, I was his #1 Valentine!  And he was mine.

While William is always on the go, this next photograph was captured during a brief moment of stillness:

Black and white photos are so classic.

William had his first dentist appointment!  He did GREAT!  We went to a pediatric dentist and the dental assistant and dentist were both phenomenal with William.  They made him feel comfortable, let him touch the instruments they were using, gave him the choice of toothpaste (he chose chocolate, yuck!), and only did as much as he would let them.

They were able to do a complete cleaning on his teeth, flossed, and x-rayed his top teeth (he became a bit too wiggly for the bottom).  The dentist said his teeth look wonderful, no signs of cavities, and to keep doing what we’re doing!  Great report!

And back to William being on the move, he loves running races.  During soccer practice, the coach always has the kids run races.  William and I constantly run races throughout our living room.  William tries to get his friends to run races.  Jacob and Audrey run races with him.  We take walks, and we run races.  We race, race, race all.the.time.  We take turns calling out, “On your mark!  Get set!  GO!”

Along with the weather this winter, we’ve also experienced some pretty magical skies and sunsets… even here in St. Louis!

And then there’s the little things in life, like lollipops.  Kids have such a pure innocence about them.  They find joy in seemingly small things, though to them, its pure bliss.  William’s best friend Wolfie came over last week and brought lollipops to share.  Sweet treats are just that for William; they’re treats enjoyed sparingly.  So when Wolfie showed William the bag of lollipops, William’s eyes got wide, his mouth opened, and drool began puddling from his lips.  Ok, not really the last part, but you see how excited he was about his lollipop:

Lollipops.  Happiness.  Love.  William.  Life!

[Tweet “the happiest baby”]

Tell me something that’s making YOU happy!

Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla

A few weeks ago, I went on vacation to San Diego, California.  The sun was shining and the weather was warm; I couldn’t ask for anything more.  I was excited to spend time outside and relax.  We stayed at The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla.  It was perfect and completed our stay!  We learned that it is the seaside town’s oldest original hotel, built in 1913. You would never know it was over 100 years old though, as it’s been renovated and looks very new.

The rooms were nice; they were clean and spacious with plenty of storage space. The hotel had a quaint living room area complete with a fireplace.  The valet parking was clutch.  We didn’t take the car out too much as we spent most of our days walking around outside.  We had an ocean view room.  Waking up to see the ocean is amazing.  (Especially coming from this midwest girl!)  What’s even more amazing, though, is that the Grande Colonial is literally a two minute walk from the beach!  The location was, by far and away, the very best part.  Not only was it a skip, hop, and a jump away from the beach, but it’s located right in the heart of La Jolla.  We were able to walk to lunch and dinner, explore the town, do some shopping, and soak up plenty of sunshine!

[Tweet “Visiting La Jolla? Staying at the @grandecolonial is a must! #SanDiego #California #travel”]

If you’re familiar at all with La Jolla, then you probably know about the seals.  It was fun to watch these blubbery animals.  We were able to get pretty close to them and get a good look.  At first, I did not think they were the most attractive animals.  I mean, they are large blobs who don’t move too well on land.  But after watching them, I decided they actually are pretty cute.  Their faces sort of resemble dogs as they both have whiskers.  It was comical to watch the seals “walk” to and from the water.  In the water, they were much more graceful than out of the water.  And there were a couple baby seals who were just adorable!

While there is a lot to do in California, what I was looking forward to most was simply being outside in the sun and walking around.  You know me and you know how much I love walking.  Actually, the Grande Colonial has a partnership with La Jolla Sports Club where you receive a complimentary guest pass.  I wanted to check it out for a workout, but we spent the majority of our time on our feet walking around.  Exercise definitely wasn’t lacking in the fresh air!

linking up with healthy diva today

During my short stay, I was able to see firsthand how majestic the sunsets are.  It’s one thing to see photographs, but it’s extra amazing to witness the sunset and literally watch the sun go down.

There’s something very calming about listening to the ocean, too.  In a world that too oftentimes feels rushed, chaotic, and out of control, standing by the vast water, looking into the sunset, and focusing on just being at that present moment is a very surreal thing.  We all need more moments of peace like this in our lives; I know I do.

Have you ever visited San Diego?

model baby

I know I’m biased, but…

William is the most beautiful baby (toddler) ever.  I’m his mom, of course I think that.  But I hear all the time how precious is curls are and how his dark eyes (like his momma) could melt anyone.  Really, this is just a lighthearted post to highlight my gorgeous little one from January 2017.  He’s growing up so quickly, but forever my baby he’ll always be.

my mom needs caffeine

Ain’t that the truth?  Especially on Mondays!

There are those crazy curls!  They need to be tamed on a daily basis, and I probably do his hair more than most girls, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world!  Or those eyes.  Or that smile.

William loves living in sweats, just like his momma.  So on the rare occasion I get “real” clothes on him, you better believe I’m busting out my camera!

linking up with healthy diva

I just want to squeeze those cheekies!  And that big ol’ curl sticking out from his beanie. There’s something so beautiful about black and white photos; I’ve always loved them.  The closeup of his face confirms that he is certainly a little boy, baby no more.  My little boy, where oh where is the time going?

Detox Popcorn Recipe

It’s time to *POP* into a healthy, new year! Read more to find out how this Detox Popcorn Recipe will fit into your life in more ways than just a healthy snack!

I’m guessing many of your New Year’s resolutions, like my own, include something along the lines of making healthier choices.  Maybe they’re related to nourishing your body, moving more, or being mindful.  Whatever it may be, I’ve got something to foster your healthier intentions.

For the record, when I speak of being “healthy,” I like to refer to one’s whole self.  There’s not just one aspect that makes a person healthy (ie: diet).  Being truly healthy is being able to balance all aspects of one’s life.  Yes, it’s important to fuel your body with wholesome foods.  Yes, it’s important to be active.  Yes, it’s important to get enough sleep.  Yes, it’s important to manage stress.  Yes, it’s important to check in with yourself and give yourself what you need. It’s a balancing act and something that everyone can always improve upon.

Each day is a fresh start with new opportunities.  Wake up and remind yourself of that.  You’ve got to believe it in order for it to happen.  I talk to my fourth graders about having a growth mindset, and as adults, it’s much harder to make that shift.   Simple mantras can really pay off and change the way you think.  Reflect on the past in order to grow.  Don’t dwell on what has already happened; learn from it.  What went well?  What didn’t?  Move forward with positive intentions.  What will you do differently next time?  The more positive you are, the happier you’ll be.  Negative people generally are not happy people.  Be the best version of yourself.  Plain and simple.

So how in the world does Detox Popcorn fit into this post?  Well friends, let me tell you how.  This detox popcorn recipe doesn’t only deliver as a healthy snack, but it offers a physical cleansing, as well as a mental cleansing.  Before we get into those details, let’s first discuss popcorn as what you eat as a snack.

Popcorn is a seed which was discovered in the Americas thousands of years ago where it has captivated people for centuries with its mythical, magical charm.  Popcorn is a year round snack, but National Popcorn Day is January 19th.  Here are a few corny facts:

  • Popcorn is a healthy, whole grain snack food. Popcorn is a whole grain, which makes it a good carbohydrate choice.  Whole grains contain fiber, providing the roughage needed in a daily diet. Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar- free.
  • Popcorn is non-GMO.  There has never been, nor is there currently, any Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) popcorn or popcorn seed for sale.
  • Diacetyl was removed from microwave popcorn in 2006, and since then most companies have removed PFOAs from their packaging.
  • Popcorn is gluten-free. Popcorn does not contain wheat, rye, or barley gluten – the types of gluten most associated with gluten disorders.

Check out Popcorn Central for tons of popcorn recipes!

Ready to read about the benefits of and how to make Detox Popcorn?

Lemon essential oil has a multitude of uses and benefits.  It’s known for its purifying properties.  You can diffuse it, ingest it, or use it topically.  (You do want to make sure you are using a high quality essential oil.  There are many brands out there, but dOTERRA is a trusted brand – I used to be a consultant, just not anymore – and their oils are certified pure therapeutic grade.)  Lemon essential oil can aid in digestion and support healthy respiratory function.  Specifically, it supports your liver which promotes detox.

So how can you infuse your popcorn with lemon oil?  Simply melt coconut oil and stir in several drops of lemon oil!  Coconut oil has several health benefits that support detox, too!  Coconut oil is mostly composed of medium-chain fatty acids which go straight to the liver.  These fatty acids play a critical role in cleansing the body from toxins. Coconut oil helps to flush your body of toxins.

The last ingredient of Detox Popcorn is black pepper.  You have two options here: black pepper essential oil or real black pepper; you’ll reap the benefits with either.  Black pepper oil is high in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes which are known for their antioxidant activity.  Black pepper is good for the stomach and helps facilitate digestion, important in detox!

While the physical cleansing of detox popcorn has been explained, now let’s discuss the mental cleansing.  As aforementioned, having a positive mindset and reciting mantras can have a grand effect.  The affirmation to foster your mental cleanse to accompany the detox popcorn is as follows:

I am reminding myself of this opportunity to have a fresh start where I can rid my body of impurities and nourish it to thrive.

Repeat as often as you’d like allowing yourself to fully believe the words and acting upon it to support a detox, both physically and mentally.

Detox Popcorn Recipe 

  • Melt coconut oil.  Stir in 5 drops of lemon oil per tablespoon of coconut oil.  Stir in 1 drop of black pepper oil per tablespoon of coconut oil OR grind black pepper throughout popcorn.  Drizzle coconut oil on top of popcorn.

This recipe is not set in stone.  For a stronger taste, use additional lemon oil or pepper.  For a milder taste, use less.  Simple as that, just as life should be at times.

[Tweet “Detox Popcorn Recipe – #PopItAndTopIt @PopcornCentral”]

In what ways do you detox, both physically and mentally?

~Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by ALIVE Influencer Network on behalf of The Popcorn Board.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

being alone by choice

I’m not talking about relationships today, friends.  Sorry if that’s what you thought, but just no.  That’s one part (probably the only part) that gets left off the blog for a multitude of reasons.  For now anyway.  Maybe not forever.  Hopefully not forever.

ANYWAY… Being a single mom is hard.  I’ve said it time and time again and it still stands true.  I’m not looking for nor do I need any head pats.  Today I’m talking about the difference between being alone by choice compared to not.  You see, as a single mom, I spend close to all my time with my little William whom I love dearly with my whole heart.  With the exception of school (work), William is with me most of the time.  And when he’s not… well, that can be hard.  Let me try to explain.

this little one is my world

Don’t get me wrong; I like having “me” time.  There are times when I need to be alone in order to be able to recharge my batteries.  When I became a mom, that all changed.  I give everything to William and put him first.  That’s what moms do.  That’s not to say I don’t take care of myself; I do, as that’s incredibly important as a mother.

When the divorce was finalized and a visitation schedule was set, I knew I would have time without William.  While many say to me, “Well, you can use that time to get things done,” because any momma knows how challenging that can be with a toddler (or infant or child).  But it feels different when it’s not by choice, and, frankly, it’s hard and can be a little heart wrenching.  Yes, I can use that time to run errands, go grocery shopping, do the laundry, etc.  Most of the time, that is what I use that time for.  But sometimes, when all those little things are already completed, or maybe when I just don’t feel like doing those tasks, that alone time is hard because it’s not my choice.  So what do I do about it?

Almost always, I workout.  Finding time to workout with William around is not easy.  He’s two and likes to be engaged all the time.  Not to mention working out always gives me a boost, both mentally and physically.  Lately, my go to has been power yoga in a heated room which I am absolutely loving.  But that only takes an hour.  So what else?  Many times I try to schedule a get together with a friend.  Whether it’s coffee, lunch, or a walk in the park, not being alone during a time that is hard is a good thing; I just have to make the effort to solidify plans.

I do have the very best friends and family.

Other times, if I’m unable to make plans or choose not to for whatever reason, I do try to stay busy.  This means catching up with friends on the phone, running errands (sometimes unnecessarily shopping), cooking, or blogging.  I do have a very hard time relaxing.  Very rarely will I lay on the couch and watch tv during these times.  I feel like I need to be doing something.  The distraction is helpful when I stay busy, not to mention the productivity of it all.

[Tweet “being alone can be a choice, but when it’s not, it’s hard.”]

It’s a funny thing, being alone by choice compared to not having that choice.  While I used to crave that time, it certainly has changed these days.  Now it makes me feel lonely.  Maybe it’s the dreary winter days that’s keeping me inside more than I’d prefer or maybe it’s the nerves of William being away from me.  If I don’t have something planned, that time is hard.  The mature part of me does recognize that it is a positive thing for William to have a father in his life, but it’s still hard because there’s a lot I disagree with on that end.  It is different from our nice routine that we have going on when it’s just me and William, or when William is at school, or when he’s with my parents or my sister.  There is a notable difference when I get William back.  Change is difficult, for everyone, at any age.

Another thing that makes it challenging when I am alone not by choice is that it’s a reminder of the family I don’t have right now.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I’ve always wanted my own family, to be a mom, to create what I had growing up of unconditional love and support.  While I still can and do give that to William, it’s in a different way than I imagined.  My immediate and extended family are more than always there for me and William, and they are my family, really and truly.

my sister who I text and call 50,000 times a day – I know she wouldn’t want it any other way (despite her frequent #needy hashtags)

William and I are doing well.  This really isn’t meant to be a woe is me post, just some thoughts that have been on my mind the last few times I haven’t had William.  As much as I’d like life to always be rainbows and sunshine, it’s not always.  I do try to make the most of it, and while these feelings are uncomfortable, they do serve as good reminders to cherish the times I do have with William, even those challenging toddler times.  I wouldn’t have it any other way!

just you and me, baby!

I’m very grateful for my life, my William, my friends, my family, my health, and my happiness.  Like I’ve always said, everything happens for a reason, even though we may not know or understand the reason at the time.  It all works out; it always does.  I keep on believing that as it’s held true thus far in my life.  Good things happen to good people, so I’m going to keep on being the best person I can be.

What are your thoughts on alone time?