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Well, it’s certainly been awhile, eh?

I thought I would stop in and do a little life update. I have no life altering news or any big announcements, so don’t get too excited. It’s been so quiet around here because plain and simple – I was tired and uninspired so I wrapped up most of my obligations, cancelled some stuff, and proceeded to be a Grinch through most of the holiday season. Literally the last time I logged onto my site was November 1, 2017.

I suppose I just needed a little break. In the blog world it is easy to get wrapped up in numbers and stats, comparing yourself to other bloggers, and bogged down with obligations that steal the joy from just writing. Add that to all of the stress from the holidays, it was pretty clear I just had to peace out. You might have noticed I’ve been slipping for a long time since going back to work. I wrote a little bit about my story as an overwhelmed mom on Genesee County Mom’s Blog if you want to get a little more personal.

So long story short, basically I’ve been MIA because I’ve been grouchy. But I don’t want to be grouchy anymore and I don’t want to waste time worrying about not having time or energy to do all of the things I want to do or think I should be doing. Because seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that. I spend way too much energy on worrying about things when I could actually be doing the things.

For those of you who care or are maybe just a little bit nosy, here’s a quick summary of what’s been going on in my extremely ordinary corner of the world.

Evelyn

Evie started a new daycare in October and I could not be happier with the switch. It is a lot more expensive but when it comes to daycare – you certainly pay for what you get. I didn’t even realize how much better it could be once we found the right place for her. It’s worth all the money and more. She loves going to “school”, loves her “fwends,” and loves her teachers. It has made the mornings a whole lot easier and I don’t even think twice when I drop her off anymore because I know she loves it. I mean, she claps when we pull into the parking lot. That’s a good sign.

She started gymnastics recently and asks to go everyday. It’s perfect for her since she is always doing somersaults in the living room and jumping off the couch! We aren’t doing swim lessons anymore – because you know, Grinch. But I’d like to get her back into lessons because I think she misses swimming. And she was doing so well! I’d hate for her to lose those skills she was getting so good at.

She talks a mile a minute and is an extraordinary story teller. She loves to sing and drops her knowledge bombs that she learns at school on us everyday. Who knew she could count to 5 in Spanish? Or the fact that she knows this month is February? She shocks me with how much she is learning. At least all that tuition money we are shelling out is paying off!

Life, Marriage, and Home

Overall it feels like we are just hibernating waiting for spring. This time of year in Michigan gets a little rough. It’s been cold for so long, there is little sun and the days are so short, and most of the time you are stuck indoors.

In November we did take our first big solo trip without E. My husband had a conference in Vegas and so we took advantage of that and I flew out at the end of the week for a long weekend. We almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves and all of the freedom. It was glorious.

E keeps asking about when she will be going on a trip. She was a little offended when we told her she wasn’t going and she kept asking where her suitcase was. I love that she has that sense of adventure in her veins. So we are trying to come up with somewhere to go for a little stay-cation this month before we take off again for another weekend for a wedding. I’m pretty sure she would not be happy staying home for two trips in a row because she keeps asking when it’s her turn. I’ve created a monster and I love it.

Work

I am coming up on my one year anniversary in March. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Going back to work was a good decision and I’m certainly a better mom as a working mom. But man, it’s hard. I still don’t feel like I am 100% adjusted even though it’s been so long. My ideal situation would be part time. I enjoy what I do (most days, I mean, it is still work) and I don’t dread it, like I have jobs in the past. So, there’s that.

If you don’t know, I work at the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) clinic as a nutritionist. I think it is what I’m meant to do – but it gets to me sometimes, too. A lot of unfortunate situations for the people and kids we see. And then some people are just crazy – so you never know what you’re gonna get that day. I don’t know – but it’s hard for me to think this is what I will do everyday for the rest of my life. Honestly, I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up!

The Blog

I can’t bring myself to quit. I love blogging and I love the community. Meeting and connecting with other moms, even if it has not always been in person, was my lifesaver. It gave me purpose when I had no idea what I was doing with myself. The opportunities blogging has brought me are worth more than any dollar I’ve ever earned. So I’m going to keep on keeping on. I’ve got some great things lined up and big plans to be intentional with my time.

So see ya around!

The post Who Are You Again? appeared first on Life As Mama Bear.

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This post was sponsored by DAPY. All opinions are 100% my own! 

You know what there never seems to be enough of? Well, I’ve actually got a few answers for you (money, chocolate cake, wine, just to name a few) but what I’ve been struggling with a lot lately is time. There are just not enough hours in the day. Even though, sometime it feels like there are plenty but somehow I still never get anything done.

It’s been months since I’ve gone back to work full time and our schedule is still out of whack. I have grand plans of doing all of these fun things with E over the weekend or a fun family craft/activity each night before bed. But then life with a toddler happens and dinner ends up on the floor and I just want to sit on the couch and count the minutes until bedtime because I’m just. So. Tired. See what I mean about the time thing?!

That’s why when we got the opportunity to try out a new subscription box that sent a box of fun, developmentally appropriate activities, with all of the supplies we’d need, I just had to try it out. You mean I don’t have to stay up all night scanning Pinterest for activities I’ll never actually do? Not that I actually do that anymore. We haven’t been very creative around our house lately, but the DAPY box makes it so easy.

DAPY Subscription Box: Developmentally Appropriate Play 

We received the DAPY Explorer Box that is made for little ones ages 18-36 months. There are also boxes available for ages birth-18 months and 3-5 years. Each box comes with developmentally appropriate activities, a book, and a few fun prizes based on a monthly theme. All of the activities have an instruction card that tells you what developmental skill the activity will work on as well as everything you need for the activity.

They explain questions to ask your little ones that make them think, turning the simplest, fun task, like using a water squirter into a learning experience.  There were so many helpful developmental tips included on the parent cards that I was able to take some of the skills and concepts and use them in our everyday play.

It was so easy. Everything we needed was in the box.  I hardly had to do any work and I had such a nice time doing all of the activities and spending quality time with my girl. Not only was it fun, she was also learning.

Our favorite activity was the “Dino hunt”. We played this at least 5 times!

If you are short on time or just need some inspiration, this might be what you are looking for. We get to be crafty, play games, and it’s exciting for E to get something in the mail. That’s a win in my book. Lately, I need all the help I can get! 

If you would like to try out a DAPY Box for your family use code MAMABEAR15 for 15% off!

The post Busy Mom Hack: Discover the Magic of a Subscription Box appeared first on Life As Mama Bear.

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Thank you to Goldfish Swim School for their partnership. I received complimentary swim lessons to facilitate this post; all opinions are 100% my own.

Summer is here! And these hot summer days means one thing – swimming, swimming and more swimming!  Whether it’s to cool off or do some good old fashioned splashing around, a quick trip to the pool or lake can turn a dreadfully hot day into some fun in the sun.

This also means so many opportunities for kids to show off and practice their swimming skills. They also get the chance to learn how to adapt and swim in lots of different environments.  Just because it’s summer and the swimming is plenty, I’ve learned from Goldfish Swim School that it is important to keep up with swim lessons all year round. During this past year, we’ve seen E go from barely interested in the water to wanting to jump off of any surface she can find (all while singing the alligator song of course!). She has made so much progress since starting last fall. Keeping up with swim lessons helps keep the skills she’s been working on fresh.

“Alligator, alligator on the wall Alligator, alligator watch me fall!”

With Goldfish’s Perpetual Lessons model, you can make sure all of the hard work your little swimmer has done in the pool won’t be lost over a long break. [Not to mention all of the money you’ve invested in lessons!] Goldfish takes the time to introduce and repeat skills until they become second nature.  If they don’t see complete mastery of a skill, they will continue to work on it until they do.  Only when they’ve mastered certain skills will they move to the next level. Repetition and consistency are what build a strong foundation!

Admittedly, because summer is such a busy time, we’ve missed a few lessons. Although, I’ve taken advantage of the flexible schedule Goldfish offers and have switched our swim lesson time with just a phone call. When we we’re on vacation and weren’t able to make a lesson that week, I was able to “bank” it and use it later. This flexibility is so convenient when it comes to busy schedules!

So make sure during the summer months you plan plenty of fun activities, trips to the beach, and keep up with swim lessons! If you are interested in starting swim lessons, check to see if there is a Goldfish Swim School near you!

The post Why Year Round Swim Lessons are the Way to Go! appeared first on Life As Mama Bear.

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The last weekend in June we celebrated our sweet girl’s 2nd birthday! It’s hard to believe that number 2 has come and gone already. Time sure is flying!

We decided to plan the party around one of E’s favorite things…dinosaurs! It was such a fun theme for a party and I must admit, I got a kick out of planing a traditional “boys” themed party for my little girl. Girls can like dinosaurs, too!

Thank you to Oriental Trading for sponsoring this post! Links to all of the party details are at the end of this post. This post contains affiliate links. I will only ever share things I love and would use myself! Thank you for supporting this blogging journey!

Our menu included:

BBQ Chicken Sliders + Slaw

Potato salad

Corn bread muffins

Variety of fruits and veggies

Mini Italian Skewers

Dinosaur tar pits

Volcanic punch

It was so fun to have a couple little ladies there to share in the fun with E. They searched for dinosaurs during the “dino dig” in the sandbox, chased a giant beach ball around the yard, jumped on the little trampoline and had lots of lessons and practice in the sharing department!  It was fun to watch them play and “raaawwrrr!” all afternoon!

Everyone was pretty excited about the dinosaur theme and some of our guests even dressed for the occasion! I totally mom failed on E’s birthday outfit and opted for a shirt I found at Target and a back up that she already had from Carter’s. Neither my husband or I were prepared in the dino apparel department, either. You win some, you lose some! Come to find out, there are some awesome options out there for kids and adults! I added some links to our wardrobe re-do at the end of this post!

My niece won best dressed dinosaur style with this adorable T-Rex dress complete with spikes!

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On Thursday June 25, 2015 I had a doctor’s appointment. The second one that week. I had just hit 37 weeks on Monday and my blood pressure had been inching up. The doctor wanted me to come back later in the week so they could keep an eye on it. Sure enough, that Thursday afternoon my blood pressure was high again.

I remember the doctor saying she was on the fence about sending me to the hospital. So she had me lay down for a bit and took my blood pressure one more time. She said if it is still high she was going to send me to the hospital so they can put the monitor on the baby and make sure everything is alright. If it was lower, she just wanted me to go home and rest.

I got a little panic-ey because I was not ready to go to the hospital! I had just finished up my time at work and had a to-do list a mile long for the next two weeks or so that I planned to be home. I tried to relax because I knew this was only going to raise my blood pressure and I did not want to go to the hospital! To my surprise, it was lower.

36 weeks celebrating baby during my last week at work before maternity leave!

The doctor told me to take it easy and we scheduled an appointment for me to come back on Monday. She instructed that if I started to feel “off” or if I noticed the baby moving less over the weekend, I should just go to the hospital and get check out. As much as I didn’t want to go I was so worried. Maybe I should just go anyway? They can put the heart rate monitor over my belly, tell me the baby is fine and send me on my merry way.

So when my husband got home from work, we ate dinner and I laid on the couch waiting to count those baby kicks. An hour passed and I hardly felt a thing. We decided to go. I had a bag sort of “packed” so we put it in the car “just in case” and drove the 45 minutes to the hospital.

My last bump photo  at 37 weeks!

When we got there they had me change into the gown, put the heart rate monitor on the baby, and took my blood pressure. High. Really high, I guess. The baby was fine, but the nurse called in my doctor and he says, “we’re gonna have you stay”.” At first I didn’t realize he meant stay and have the baby. He started talking about how the baby was fine and that there wasn’t a problem right now, but they wanted to get the baby out before there could be complications. And I was like what? Honestly my first thought was, “Shit! We didn’t even leave the cat food!”

Baby must have heard us talking, because while I was in the intake room hooked up the all the machines, I felt my first little contraction. The nurse said, “did you feel that?” I was so oblivious that I didn’t even know that’s what it was! I hadn’t even had any false contractions before then. I was excited and nervous and scared all at the same time.

I moved to the labor and delivery room and they started me on medication to prepare me to be induced early the next morning. They gave me something to help me sleep and just as soon as we were finally settled and had turned the lights down around 2am, my water broke naturally. Doctor came in to check to see how dilated I was. I can’t remember how far a long I was, but he said “baby is really on her way now, she must have known it was time.”

Contractions started fast and furious. By 6am they were so strong and the nurse asked if I was ready for an epidural. I told her no and then by the time I was about to agree to it, it was too late. It was in my plans to not get one and in the end I was happy I made it through without one, but damn. I was so delirious from the pain and exhaustion and my lips were so freakin’ chapped and my mouth was so dry. At one point I looked at my husband and literally said “I can’t do this anymore.” He of course assured me that I could and continued to feed me ice chips each time I yelled, “ICE!” like a crazy woman.

I was hanging out dilated around 9 cm for what felt like the longest time. I kept wanting them to check because I was sure I needed to start to pushing. I’m pretty sure I yelled some obscenities at this point and told them the baby was coming and I needed the doctor NOW. I just knew I had to push. Thankfully the doctor got there quickly and 35 minutes of pushing later at 11:35 am June 26, 2015, our sweet baby girl, Evelyn Rose made her entrance.

They laid her on my chest, Daddy cut the cord and I remember crying partly because I was so happy and partly because it hurt like hell and I was so glad it was over.

We laid that way for an hour, taking it all in. Baby girl was perfectly healthy 8lbs. 2oz. and 20 inches.

It sure was a whirlwind. I never even brought my hospital bag in because things happened so fast and I didn’t want my husband to leave me to go get it!  If I had to do it again, my labor and delivery necessities would be a hair tie and ChapStick. That’s all I’d need! My lips were not the same for weeks and weeks later.

I did end up back at the doctor’s on Monday.  Except I had a baby in tow and was going to see her Pediatrician instead!

I sure wasn’t prepared but I am a strong believer in that everything happens for a reason. We came home to a messy house and baby room that still had baby shower gifts all over the floor. We couldn’t find half of the things we needed and Daddy took multiple trips to the store daily. But we had a healthy, sweet bundle of joy to love on and that’s all that mattered!

The post Evelyn’s Birth Story appeared first on Life As Mama Bear.

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Thank you to Goldfish Swim School for their partnership. I received complimentary swim lessons to facilitate this post; all opinions are 100% my own.

Summer is right around the corner and that means beaches and pools and lots of fun in the sun! With all of this extra time spent around the water, you want to make sure your family is safe. We all know accidents can happen. No matter how much of a watchful eye you have, it just takes a second. Being comfortable in and around the water and knowing what to do in an emergency is one of the most important skills a child can have.

Each week at our swim lesson at Goldfish Swim School, the little swimmers (even the babies!), practice water safety skills. E is so much more comfortable around the water since starting swim lessons. She is almost 2 and is enrolled in the Mini Parent and Tot class (ages 4-35 months).

While she can’t swim on her own yet, she has learned to close her mouth and go underwater.Goldfish explains that if they know how to do this, it means fewer chances of swallowed water because it will be second nature to close their mouths. You would think it was instinct for them to close their mouths, but it’s not. It took a few weeks and some pointers from the awesome instructors at Goldfish to get E to close her mouth when going underwater!

From Goldfish Swim School: The 5 Things All Kids Should Know How To Do in the Water
  1. Get in and out of the pool safely.
  2. Turn over for a back float.
  3. Tread water.
  4. Swim forward.
  5. Go underwater.

Climbing out of the pool by herself! Elbow, elbow, belly, knee!

Practicing these skills each week will result in confident swimmers and a life long skill. You can even look at swim lessons as an investment in your child’s future! Children ages 4 months – 12 years can be enrolled in classes.

May is National Water Safety Awareness Month

Goldfish Swim School’s annual Water Safety Awareness Day will be held May 20, 2017 at all 7 Metro Detroit locations.

  • Ann Arbor: 4:00-6:30 p.m.
  • Birmingham: 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Canton: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Clarkston: 2:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Farmington Hills: 4:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Macomb: 4:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Rochester: 4:00-6:00 p.m.

This is a FREE community event for both members and the public. Children and families will learn about ways to stay safer in and around the water this summer – all while having fun!

According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury death among children ages 1-4. Goldfish aims to educate families by calling attention to steps we can all take to prevent accidents from occurring.

Visit here for more information and to find a Goldfish Swim School near you! Happy Swimming!

The post Water Safety: 5 Things Kids Need to Learn How to Do in the Water! appeared first on Life As Mama Bear.

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As a mother’s day gift to myself, me and my girl did a Mommy and Me photo shoot with the wonderful Niquita from TwoKnights Photography. And it was pure magic. Matching outfits and flower crowns. All my girl mom dreams came true that day!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. I could never put into words how blessed I feel to be this sweet girl’s mom. She made me a mommy and I always say I could never imagine life without the joy she bring to us.

I am so in love with each of these photos. I adore that they capture her love and slobbery kisses and all the silly faces that come along with this age. They will be something I treasure forever!

I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating all of the special moms in your lives!

In case you missed it, my tribute to my own mom was over on Genesee County Moms Blog earlier this month in the form of a letter to my sixteen year old self. Happy Mother’s Day!

The post Mommy and Me Photo Shoot to Celebrate Mother’s Day appeared first on Life As Mama Bear.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Smile Brilliant. All opinions are 100% my own!

As a busy mom, you won’t often find me doing things just for myself. It’s hard for me to justify spending what little extra money finds it’s way into our pockets on something “I don’t really need.” But along the way I have realized that doing these little things for myself is important, and heck, with all we do as moms, we deserve it!

When I was offered the opportunity to try Smile Brilliant’s Teeth Whitening System, I was a little hesitant because normally, something like this would fall into the “I don’t really need” category. And as a blogger, I only want to share things I absolutely love and would genuinely use myself.

But then I looked in the mirror and realized all of this coffee I have been drinking since our little bundle of joy has joined the family is really leaving it’s mark! I started to notice my teeth looking more dull in photos and thought this is something I could do for myself.

In the past, I’ve tried the white strips available at any drug store with less than spectacular results. So I was really excited to get started with a more professional system.

When you order a Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit, they send you all the materials you need to make impressions of your teeth, just like the impressions you would make at a dentist. They use these impressions to make your custom fitted teeth whitening trays. You mix the two materials together, fill the impression tray, and bite down to make your impressions. It is really easy to do and only takes a couple minutes. They even send extra in case you mess up and need to try again! But really, it was easy and I didn’t need the extra.

Once the impressions are dry, you mail them back in the pre-paid envelope that is included in your kit. A few days later, your custom fitted teeth whitening trays will arrive. The trays are very thin and flexible and fit comfortably in your mouth.

Once you have your trays you are ready to get started! First, you will brush your teeth with water. Using toothpaste can decrease the effectiveness of the whitening. Then, you will line trays with a thin line of whitening gel on the part of the tray that touches the front of your teeth. Insert the trays and leave them in for up to three hours depending on the sensitivity of your teeth.

I chose to leave them in for an hour and a half at a time because I have had sensitive teeth in the past. My teeth were never bothered by the whitening gel.

After you remove the trays you brush your teeth like normal with toothpaste. Rinse out your trays and dry them. Once they are dry add a thin line of desensitizing gel and leave the trays in for an additional 15-20 minutes. When you take the trays out, you can just spit out what is left, but avoid rinsing your mouth so you don’t wash away the gel left on your teeth.

Smile Brilliant recommends doing this process at night after you are finished eating for the day. This way the desensitizing gel can stay on your teeth while you sleep. The gel re-hydrates your teeth after the whitening and reduces the sensitivity and prevents future staining.

I was so glad the desensitizing gel was included in the process because of my sensitive teeth. I’ve always been weary about whitening systems but I did not have a problem with sensitivity at all using Smile Brilliant!

I used the whitening system for about a week, doing treatments every other day. I did about 4 in the first week and then life got in the way when I went back to work full time and our routine was all thrown off! I had trouble staying awake long enough to complete the treatment after dinner (and let’s be real, after I got to eat my dessert once the baby was in bed!) In the meantime, I did about one treatment a week for a few weeks so I didn’t completely lose all the progress I had made.

I picked it up for another week once we were more used to our schedule and did 4 additional treatments, every other day, for a week. In total, I did about 10-12 treatments, no longer than 2 hours at a time.

During my treatments, I didn’t change my coffee habit because, #momlife. But I have seen great results! I especially notice in photos. I was so happy with the results because I was not sticking to a strict schedule. I did it when I could, sometimes for just an hour, sometimes longer, so I was really impressed with how well the system worked in just a few short treatments.

Once you achieve your desired whiteness, you can use the leftover whitening and desensitizing gel to maintain your results. Doing a treatment once a week will help keep your teeth white and avoid future staining.  This system is such a great value and produces professional results without the huge price tag of professional whitening.

If you’ve been noticing your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like, but you aren’t interested in spending hundreds of dollars on teeth whitening treatments, I would definitely recommend this system. I am so happy with my results and I am going to continue to get my smile even brighter.

My only obstacle was committing to not eat for the rest of the night once I did a treatment, which meant putting the trays in early enough after dinner so that I could stay awake for the whole session (~2 hours total for me)! So really, it also worked as a great diet plan because I didn’t have any late night treats on my teeth whitening nights! Ha ha ha!

I am so happy with my new, brighter smile from Smile Brilliant! I just pop those trays in and by the time the kitchen is cleaned up, bath time is over and bed time is here, my teeth are already whiter!

GIVEAWAY!

Smile Brilliant is offering one lucky reader a teeth whitening kit of their own! Simply enter your name and email address

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