Mind Battlefield

The last couple of weeks I feel like I’ve been attacked and hit with so many grenades of the insecurity kind that I feel compelled to share with you ladies some thoughts on the subject.

Why are we, why am I, so negative and shameful towards my body?

All our body ever does is carry us through life, give us babies, feed the babies, give comfort hugs to those near us, waves hello, gives goodbye kisses, and welcomes home our loves ones. It protects, strengthens, comforts and loves on everyone else, so why don’t we do the same and protect our body by treating it properly and dressing it with respect and grace it deserves. Why not take time to strengthen our body at the gym, by going for a walk, eat proper fueling nutrition to give it power to keep going. Take time to comfort the body to let it heal, like after giving birth for example, and let the body rest on a regular basis (this one is hard for me, I tend to go and go until I’m really hurting) and take a day out of the week for a sabbath – no hard work physically or mentally.

After all the love our body gives to the husband, kiddos, hugs our friends, and pet the fur babies, I strongly believe we need to find time to actively love our body back. For me it means mani/pedi on a regular basis, sometimes a massage or a bubble bath with some alone time. The biggest fight in actively loving yourself, in my opinion, has to come from your mind. This battle every woman has to fight on her own and woman, I FEEL you these past few weeks. If YOU have been fighting in the battlefield of the mind against the weapons of insecurity and loneliness, I am with you.

You are not alone in the fight.

You are not alone because we, all and every woman, feel you.

You are not alone because God is there to catch every tear and hold your hand through every valley to help you walk out of that battle. Remember, you may not win every battle, and its ok because you just need to focus on winning the war. And I believe that you can and will win the war, you will build your self esteem, self love and self worth; you can do that by arming yourself with the strength of God, His love for you, His healing words and the perseverance to push through.

I am an introvert, it may be hard for some to believe that – but I am, I am just a very social introvert. When I am experiencing these attacks and the struggles I tend to close in and not share my thoughts and feelings with anyone, and let me tell you, it’s harder to get through when you’re dealing with it alone. So, find a friend or someone who loves you and will help you through the process. Talk to God in a way that works for you and you will find that your battle is almost over.

From one girl to another,

Luba

 

 

 

I am a woman before I am a mother.

Today is Mother’s Day. You would expect that I would be thinking about what it means to be a mom and how motherhood changed me. But it’s not what I am thinking about.

I have been a mom for five minutes and I feel like I still have so much to learn! Every day brings new joys and new learning experiences, new opportunities to learn about myself and about my baby. One day I hope to be like the mom my children can adore and see Jesus through every word (thats hard for me), and every eye roll, and every hug and every tear.

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I am every woman. I am a mother. I live postpartum. You may see the depth of my eyes and the strong love for my baby, but what I see is the body that carried that baby, the wide shoulders that still carry that baby and won’t let me wear my old clothes. But he needs me.

This past week my thoughts have been consumed by more insecurity and negative thoughts of my body, my wifery (if that makes sense), and the way I am doing this motherhood thing. Today I am thinking of WHY. Why is it that some days I am not able to see past the imperfections of my body and feel proud of what the stretch marks mean, and feel proud of the wide shoulders and strong arms that carry a big baby boy around all day long?!

Why is it that some days I am not able to see past my questions and struggles as a business woman to confidently help others?

Why is it that the emotions and insecurities I used to struggle with as a teen are not going away? Maybe this one you also feel with me.

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I will choose to put my trust in God and take photos like these to remember that I am loved and I need no further reason to get dolled up, more often then I do.

Every time I share my thoughts with a woman or a teen girl, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a married and a single woman, I find we all have something in common. We, a woman, each have the girl inside who is scared and wants to be loved for who she is, especially on the days when she can’t love herself. I feel like a lot of my adulthood revolved around either hiding this girl or pleasing her need to sulk in loneliness.

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I am not going to let the negativity stay. Every one of my fat cells belongs to a beautiful baby boy right now. And I feel like this picture can summarize my joy and my pain all in one. Because with every imperfection I am reminded that God loves me first, He made me in His image, by honoring my body I honor Him. Also, rolls made beautiful by lace.

Today I would to speak to that girl whom you like to hide, from one soul sister to another.

I am with you.

Let me hold your hand, look deep into your eyes until the human connection makes you teary, squeeze your hand a little and feel that lump in your throat that you’re unable to swallow.

I am with you. I feel your pains. I feel your insecurities. I see the imperfections in the mirror.

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I am here to tell you that you are beautiful, you are not alone and NO, you don’t look bloated, and NO, you don’t look 4 months pregnant. People don’t see what you see, they see the smile, the genuine laughter, the strong hugs you give that take your breath away a little, they see that bright lipstick, they see your hair curl and fall into your face, and they think its cute.

You are beautiful! Especially because it is Mother’s Day take a moment to love you, the real you. If you are a mother and if you are not, take a moment to hug that young girl who’s hiding deep inside, bring her out to the sunshine (even if its raining all weekend like it is where I am). Spend a minute with God and let His presence and truth fill your heart with hope. Because when you are filled with love only God can provide and truth only He can make true, you will be equipped to love yourself truly, be a better daughter, a kinder friend, and a more patiently loving wife.

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I teach women how to apply makeup, I love my job. To me there is a great joy in what I do because I am on a mission to make the world more beautiful one face at a time. When a woman feels good about how she looks, when she is equipped to be able to do her makeup the way that makes her feel beautiful, my job is complete. So, here is an open invitation. If you need that feeling, talk to me, find me, and let me help you find your way to beautify.

Take time today to beautify. I love that word because to me it brings hope. You can take anything and make it more beautiful! I believe God does that with every one of us! Start with your hair, do something special, not like every day, add just a little more mascara then usual, wear the good shoes and that dress that makes your body curve in just the right ways. (if you don’t have a dress like that talk to me)

Go out of the house, love yourself and go love on your mom. Bring her flowers with some good quality time.

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I am a mother now and I love things, but no matter how many things I have on my wish list, the best gift for me is spent with my baby when I don’t have to worry about taking care of anything else but him.

I am a mother now, but I am first a woman. I believe that if I am a better woman then I will also be a better mom. If you’re not a momma yet, take the time now to better yourself and prepare because that strength you will need later.

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I hope you will be inspired to be the best version of yourself, the woman God wants you to be. Set aside and fight insecurities! Encourage the woman next to you! Hug your mama extra tight tonight.

Love,

your soul sister.

 

P.s. Photos are taken by Delaine, a New York City photographer. It was a dream to work with her! Something you may never see, she really is good at what she does, is how busy and hectic that morning was for me, my hair wasn’t the way I wanted it, the dress I wanted to wear didn’t come in on time, and other stuff that just kept getting in the way of how I wanted to feel that day. So I put my good shoes on and wore a little extra mascara.

p.s.s. Blue shoes are my favorite. It’s the best statement color because it looks good on everyone!

My Americanized to do list

 

Two weeks ago I took an oath and became a citizen of United States. You can read more about my experience HERE, and see pictures from the ceremony.


When I was in college my two friends Scott and Eileen had a great time making fun of my accent and my immigration status. I was in the process of getting my green card at the time and they came up with a list of things I needed to do to become americanized. 


Here is my list:


Watch a football game  

The first football game I watched was super bowl 2013, we just moved to a new city and were newly married. One of our new friends invited us to a super bowl party and in a couple of weeks we will see him in Ireland where he currently lives. Also, our son was born on his birthday. I just liked the commercials that year, Beyonce was performing the half time show and it was my favorite one so far, I’ve seen 3 more super bowl games since then, and that year also had the absolute best puppy and horses commercials.

Drink a beer

I hate beer. I never liked the smell of it, so I don’t drink it, but the first time I tasted it was by accident actually. I was running Rochester Flower City Half Marathon 7 years ago and at one of the stops they were giving out beer instead of water. I almost choked on it because it wasn’t what I expected. Now I will only taste beer from a brewing company our friends started, even though I don’t think I will ever like beer.

Eat a cadbury egg

I don’t know why this one was significant. I just never tasted a cadbury egg or knew what the big deal was. So my first Cadbury egg tasting was during Intro to Psych class; I’m sure my friend Eileen brought them the next day after adding that to the list.

Attend a baseball game

I am not a huge sports fan and baseball is definitely farthest on the list. My first game in person was in Rochester NY with friends from Grace road church. I remember it was very cold, very long, and it was the first time I had Dippin dots ice cream. Turns out ice cream was better then the game and my friends had to explain everything to me.

Shoot a gun

The first time and so far the only time I shot a gun was in 2011. A good friend of mine took a bunch of us through some good training on safety and let us practice with different guns. Let me tell ya, I did some damage to the dirt in that field and took very memorable photos.

 

Go to a hockey game

Apparently there is a theme to becoming an American and it has to do with sports. I didn’t grow up with sports, its not something a girl does anyway, and even now I am not a huge fan of sports, but I have attended multiple sports events to support events, fundraisers and sometimes just because my husband wants to go. My first hockey game was in Binghamton, NY, with southern tier young professionals group in 2013. It was a great way to meet people in a new city and I haven’t been to a game since.

Visit New York City

 

The first time I went to New York to go to visit and not just drive through the city was in 2010. I went by myself via train, it was the most memorable time as the city was hit with a huge snow storm and it was very cold. I walked the streets for hours, window-shopped, did some actual shopping and caught up with good friends. My favorite part was going to see Wicked on Broadway and people watching. That trip was so important for me, I found inspiration to run in New York and I came back 4 months later to run in my first half marathon, I found peace and forgiveness, I let go of things that were causing me a great deal of pain at that time of my life. I don’t remember how many times I’ve been to the city now, but last time was 2 weeks ago for my baby’s 6 months birthday. It is one of my favorite cities and I will go back every chance I get.

P.s. Lately we have been using AirBnB instead of a hotel to stay in New York. It’s been the best experience ever. If you’d like to receive $50 discount on your stay via AirBnB comment below and I will email you a code to use!

I Am Immigrant.

I am a first generation immigrant.


Today is a big anniversary for my family and since becoming an American citizen 2 weeks ago I am doing a lot of reflecting on what it means and how I got here.


My family immigrated to United States as refugees 15 years ago, no one spoke English and the only person we knew was my uncle who moved to Rochester, NY a few years before we did and “invited” us to move also. I don’t know the official terminology, I just know you can’t simply move, you have to have someone sponsor you into the country. I was under 14 years old at the time so I didn’t need to go through interviews upon interviews my parents went through with immigration officers in Kiev, Ukraine and in Moscow, Russia. What I remember is leaving my childhood, my friends, my life as I had known it in a small town called Smila, Cherkaskiy oblast, and move to a country I only saw in Beethoven (the movie about st Bernard dog) and seen in pictures from the lives of Americans who visited our town.

Fun fact, we now live just feet away from Beethoven St and drive on it every day to get home. I do think about that movie often as it was my favorite for years, I really thought that it was exactly what life was like in United States. I just didn’t know it was called suburbs. Also, feel free to send me that movie on dvd if you find it, I can’t wait for my kids to watch it with me.


So many people from “back home”, as it’s not home and hasn’t been my home for years, thought and talked about America as the country with money and opportunity and money. The way I remember growing up, the memories I have, the good times and the bad times, I know all my memories are coming through the glasses of a naive girl who didn’t grow up with opportunity and felt alone most of her childhood. Maybe one day I will be able to talk about my memories of growing up but for now my heart is filled with greatfulness for what we have. Moving to united states at 14 years old where we were sharing a 2 bedroom half of a house with 8 siblings and an outhouse for the bathroom; if you didn’t catch that, it means no toilet inside the house. Fast forwarding 15 years later I am a wife and a mom living in a 5 bedroom house with 3 (three!!!!) bathrooms ALL inside. I learned the language, learned how to drive a car, got rid of my accent (mostly), earned a degree in English education, started a business, and married an African American who now takes me traveling everywhere.

Another fun fact. The first time I saw a black person in the actual person was at the airport, at 14 years old. I remember it at JFK, but I am sure we saw them on the plane also, I just probably don’t remember.


15 years is a long time. It feels like a lifetime because my life is so different now. Sometimes I wonder if I will even remember my childhood and life in Ukraine because I never think about it anymore.


This country offers so many opportunities for every single individual who will take it. There are so many second chances to get back on your feet after a bankruptcy or losing a home, you have a dream – and you have the tools to achieve it if you look for it. It’s the definition of hard work pays off, my parents are the example of that. We all had worked to get ahead in every opportunity that was given us, and I’m so thankful for the freedom to be able to do that here, in a country I am a citizen of.


My parents now speak English, own their own home, have multiple cars (they still have teenagers at home who drive). I was the first one out of my family to finish a bachelors degree and this year my brother is graduating with a PhD in Chemical Engineering, and another brother graduated college last year as a Ceramics Engineer. I can list so many things that my family has come through from good to bad, from food stamps to a life we have now, and I am greatful for every single person who made a difference in my family’s life through this journey.

It’s almost impossible to list every one – but I will do my best to tag you all on Facebook – thank you for your support, prayers, financial support, teaching me to drive, driving my family around when we couldn’t, and being a part of our story!


Tomorrow I will talk about my get americanized list – a list my friends in college created for me as I was going through the process of getting my green card. It’s a fun list for sure and one of the things on there is probably going to freak out my dad a little… if he reads this that is. So subscribe or stop in tomorrow!

I hope you enjoyed my stories and going down memeory lane. Even though I got everything on my list checked off, the things I am most proud of are the accomplishments I talked about earlier, the education, the travel, and opportunities to experience so much in America that I wouldn’t have otherwise.


Treasure our country! I say as an American now and it feels strange because I’ve never said “our” in reference to this nation; treasure the freedom and take every single opportunity there is. You owe it to all the immigrants who came here years ago and made it possible for your life to be on this continent.

I am immigrant.

The day I gave away my greencard

I became an American Citizen on Friday.

That morning I felt so frustrated, so alone and so rushed as I was getting ready for my ceremony. I even had a dream about my first half marathon race in New York. These feelings were similar, 7 years ago I ran my first half marathon in Queens NY, and after I crossed the finish line I walked away with a medal weighing heavy on my heart and felt my heart break with every tear that ran down my cheek.

It was such a big accomplishment, yet I felt so alone. There was no one there to witness this super important event, no one to cheer me on. My naturalization day came with similar feelings, except I invited friends to come, and they came. They responded, they texted and were present before I even I realized that I needed to be the one to invite them.

When your baby is asleep in your arms, but you have to take an oath to become an american. 


I gave up my citizenship of Ukraine on Friday. I gave up the country I was born in and grew up in. Today, I realize that for almost 15 years I tried really hard to fit in and be this American, which I wasn’t, be this person I thought an American should be. So who is this american that we all chase trying to become? Is it a dream that drives us as individuals to achieve, because in achieving THE dream we become the evidence of what this country is built on?

I was brought up valuing community; the people around you – they mean everything and share everything with you. The pain, the joy, the sorrow and the bliss. Everyone knows everything and you don’t mind one bit doing life with people all up in your business. Ukrainians value community, it’s not spoken of, but you know it when you go to a friends house for a baby shower and leave 9 hours later or when you have people show up at your house within hours notice, or no notice at all, and you all sit around the dinner table drinking tea until it’s 1:30 am and you can’t be late to work anymore, so they go home. I married an American and I had to learn this new way of doing community.

The American dream is about each individual achieveihg their dream life. Today I gave citizenship of the country I grew up in and I know in my soul that for me, being an American means to take the old and the new into the same melting pot and live from the lessons of the past. I didn’t have anyone come to cheer me on my first race because I didn’t ask, I felt alone because I didn’t let anyone in. Maybe I just needed a break from everyone knowing my business like when I grew up, but I am so thankful for the reminder to reach out, to ask, to let others know what goes on with me and invite them into my life.

That piece of paper is so important. It’s the one piece that you need that proves this day a reality.  Also, I wore the good shoes for the occasion. 


Perhaps later I can share with you more about what my American Dream is, but for now, I hope to make you appreciate your country, your origin, your ethnicity and your nationality. Be proud of where you come from and proud of where you are going. I hope to inspire you to think of what your dream is and take the reroute if your dreams have taken the back burner spot. Detours in life happen, but you can always turn around.

I feel blessed to have friends who either showed up, or responded to my invitation to come witness my swearing in ceremony. I feel freedom. I think that I will continue to experience freedom and learn its meaning in many new ways in the years to come, and very soon as I am rushing to get a passport for our first trip out of the country as all american citizen. As my country of birth has been at war and without peace for a some years now, I have peace, knowing that no new law or regulation or mistake can make me leave a place I know and now call home and the many people I now call family.

Taking a photo next to the county clerk and the judge, both of whom my husband knows from working together. Only to think that I wouldn’t have these photos if my friend Brigit didn’t show up with less then an hours notice ( love you lady!!) 


I will take lessons from both countries. I will be the dream chaser like a true American inspiration. I will be a gentle soul and a true friend or the community like my parents taught me to be, and I will do my best to inspire you to hug your close ones tight, be present in their life and get all up in each other’s business because that’s what makes us not alone, but a community.

P.S. here are some fun things that happened during the ceremony. The whole thing took about two hours, and if you have a baby, you know they will be hungry and need a nap and a diaper change within that kind of time frame. So I sat there, then nursed my baby without a nursing cover of my nursing friendly shirt, I rocked my baby gently to sleep for a 30 minute nap and he woke up just as my husband got there. That way I didn’t hold him in my arms as I went to get the official papers. And my friend who came with her baby got to experience the same thing and some baby talking on top of everything. We ran into a couple of people we knew in the court room and it was a memorable day as I shared this experience with 66 individuals from 47 countries. Also, I had to surrender my green card, which was my travel ticket for so long!

p.s.s. What’s your naturalization story?

My favorite diaper bag

We planned a spontaneous trip to NYC and I started to worry about how I would get around with everything I would need for the day with the baby. In the last week or two I have been eyeing this diaper bag and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I ordered it with 2 day shipping.
Guess what?

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We got packed and ready to leave, then I had to come back to the house to get diapers that I forgot to bring with us, and then left the second time, and still no FedEx delivery. I was literally praying for the truck to show up on our street.

Guess what?

The truck shows up on our street a block away and we wave the driver to slow down and ask him if he has a delivery for us! So I got my big box and we kept driving to our weekend get away in NYC. After using this bag, I wanted to share some thoughts and give you all a sneak peak, I will update this post with a full review and more detailed pictures in a few days.


Let me start out with the fact that I am generally not a fan of diaper bags, at all. The idea is GREAT, I just hate how they all look – I’m a sucker for pretty things and this bag is SO adorable, functional, and large to fit everything! I like having a backpack for traveling and to make it easier if I have my baby in the carrier. My back is always hurting and it’s so much easier having hands free.

Pros:

  • Color: Pink or Charcoal – both so chic and sophisticated. I want them both honestly! (So if you want to send me one in charcoal, I’ll wear that one too!)
  • Large size: for traveling, for mamas with more then one kid – SO MUCH ROOM!
  • Large padded shoulder handles, they are soft and SUPER comfy!
  • Pockets within pockets: the way its organized is simple and allows you to fit everything and find everything easily.
  • Pockets and pockets: the outside pockets are so well positioned and easy to access while holding the baby and having the backpack on your shoulders. Because every mom is multitasking.
  • That hassle: so cute it deserves its own category.
  • Vegan leather: easy to wipe, clean and maintain. It got us through lots of rain.
  • Good price and quality.
  • Extra handles to hang on the stroller – visit the website to see an example.
  • Changing pad: I love that its padded, it matches the bag inside color and I don’t have to think to include one!

 

We’ve had lots of questions about this stroller and car seat cover. Scroll down below I included links for both. The stroller is currently on sale. 

Cons:

  • Size: its so roomy that for every day seems too big to carry around, this depends on personal preference and how much you carry with you as a mom.
  • Doesn’t have an insulated pocket for bottles/food. It’s the only thing that I really need in this bag to make it 100% perfect. (its so close!)
  • Changing pad doesn’t have a waterproof side to it. It’s still easy to clean and wash but I wish it was easier to clean with just a wipe if there is a mess, and we had one of those messes to clean up after already.

I hope that you find this review helpful and enjoy a diaper bag that can be function, fashion all in one! To shop for it click here: Greenwich Diaper Backpack  and if you get yours – tag me in it, I want to hear what you think of it and if your review would be similar to mine!

Stroller: Mutsy EVO – On sale right now

Car Seat: MaxiCosi

Carseat cover: MaxiCosi

Boots: Steve Madden 

Stay fabulous mamas!

L.

 

 

Inappropriate things people say to new moms 

It’s completely possible that you have said something inappropriate to new mom and didn’t even know it!

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I mean really, it’s like adults need education on what NOT to say and very often what questions NOT to ask! So here are my top favorite (means I dread them the most) inappropriate things people have said to me.

When are you going to have another one?

Ok. So you just had a baby, and the first time you’re in public, barely able to walk, feeling every stitch and every stretched muscle that just brought this babe into the world, and someone, there is always someone who will say “oh your baby is so cute! You should have another one!” Ok, people, slow down, let my behind heal first and maybe we can talk again in the future after a lot of chocolate, wine and “so sorry”s.

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Is he sleeping through the night yet?

Um. So the first time someone asked me this one, my baby was 2-3 weeks old, and I was sleep deprived, in pain, on Advil, sore, super hormonal, hungry, bloated, and all I wanted was to go to a grocery store. That someone came dangerously close to having been punched in the face by a crying hot mad new mom of a newborn. People, you just don’t ask that, ever. Because that’s salt on a wound of someone who isn’t sleeping.

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He’s perfect the way he is. Both of my babies are. 

Is he rolling over yet? Is he crawling? Is he saying words yet? Is he eating solids yet?

There have been so many in this category, and I am just going to put it all into one category of “milestones”. As soon as you find out how old my baby is and you want to know if my baby is doing what others are ‘supposed’ to do at that age? Well, my baby doesn’t like to roll over. He’s on his belly lots, doing tummy time and he loves it, but he’s perfectly content, there is nothing wrong with him if he isn’t doing one or another thing that other babies usually do at a certain age. That kind of question comes with lots of explaining and judgy looks, and I am sure I am not the only mom who was made feel guilty. No. Just no, my baby is a freaking genius, just wait and see.

Is there a baby in there?

This one is probably my favorite. So I am in the store, doing my business shopping for groceries, and my newborn is perfectly asleep in the car seat with a full cover. The cover is there specifically for these nosy people who want to see and often touch the baby. DO NOT TOUCH A SLEEPING BABY! You might wake a mama bear. Every single time I am out in public with this car seat cover I am asked if there is a baby in there, and then if they can see. Um, no, I’m walking around with a stroller and car seat as a fashion statement. Cracks me up.

Just wait until they grow up, boys are terrible when they are a toddler, I have a toddler who drives me crazy!

Let’s just sum up every comment I’ve ever received in this category about someone else terrible toddler or the most amazing infant. So what if my infant isn’t the most amazing, or what if that night I didn’t sleep, what if I’m already scared and you’re going to freak me out with your horror stories of terrible twos? Don’t jinx my baby. All I’m saying.

What I have learned so far is that there is no perfect baby, no perfect parent.  We are both just doing the best we can at this thing that’s new and difficult for both of us. Being a baby and learning how to do literally everything is not easy I am sure. Maybe I have been that mom to brag about my amazing baby who’s perfect and you walk away whispering under your breath and feeling that knot in your stomach because you haven’t slept in what feels like a decade.

Let me tell you, I’ve had and still have lots and lots of great moments, and lots and lots of pull your week old unwashed hair moments. I’ve had to deal with skin care issues and a baby who couldn’t breathe properly for 3 months because of congestion, rash of every kind hitting him up all at once, while I couldn’t do much to fix it and soothe him, I was doing what you moms do every day. I was trying to do my best and fail and get up and learn from it.

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Most of my mornings he’s either watching me do my makeup, or in my lap while I do my beauty routine of the day. I know I am not alone in this. 

So moms everywhere, keep up the good work, you’re doing a great job. And please continue doing a great job taking care of your babies.

If you don’t have a baby yet, and find this post some what comical, great! It was meant to be so! Also, just in case you need some suggestions, here is an appropriate thing to say instead to a new mom. In my opinion.

Your baby is adorable, I am sure all your babies will make the most beautiful family!

How is he/she sleeping? Are they letting you get some rest?

How is your baby doing?

The key: open ended questions.

Please don’t share horror stories and if you do share a lovely story about your babies, no matter what age they are, please consider leaving the young new mom in a hopeful and positive mood.

 

Stay fabulous!

L.

What we learned about traveling with an infant

Our first trip as a family was over Christmas and NYE to San Diego (from NY so it was a long flight), and our baby boy was just 2 months old.

Babies are more resilient then you think, so take your baby with you. Live the experiences. Our new mantra.

I was so nervous as a new mom taking my baby out into public, I’d cover him up (car seat cover that’s not see through), and people would ask me if there is even a baby in there. Now, after traveling on the plane, in the car, restaurants, malls and just everywhere I need to go, I can’t imagine not having him with me.

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Here are some thoughts my husband and I have about our personal experiences traveling with an infant.

Build in time for the baby’s needs: feeding, play, down time, tummy time, naps.

Don’t over plan, be picky about time you give to others and to your family.

When going to a place where there is going to be friends and family, be prepared for people touching your baby. I was not always prepared for this one, especially when it was extended family whom I didn’t know well and didn’t trust exactly.

You don’t need as much as you think you do. the first time we basically brought everything but the kitchen sink. It took us a few trips, like 5 or 6 before I figured out what we needed and never used.

You know your baby, he’s not like anyone else’s baby, you know what you’re doing, so take care of him the best you know how! This is personal to me, there are so many people out there, moms and not moms, who give baby advice but I know that its not all good, not all for me. Even though it is hard to filter, it’s necessary to keep my head sane from feeling like a real failure of a mom. My baby is awesome, and I will do all I can to take care of him. Especially applies when traveling. Period.

Make sure the baby has the shots appropriate to age done before the traveling. We found it helpful to talk to the doctor and ask advice about traveling locations and safety. Doctors have a network they can rely on to help you even when you’re out of town, as long as it in the US territory. I found it so comforting that if something happened to us on the trip our doctor at home could still help us out.

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Nothing happened to the baby on our trips, by the way, when we were in San Diego my husband caught the stomach flu, and we spent a lot of time in the hotel with him ordering room service, but baby R and I were great, and enjoyed lots of walks outside.

52 Date night ideas at home when the kids are asleep

Did you know?

When you have a good time you forget to take pictures, you get lost in the moment of joy and bliss.
When you are enjoying the company of your date you usually forget your phone, your world.

Forget the world for one night of the week and no matter how hard it is, spend time with your husband, spend time with your wife. Hold hands, hold each other and most importantly, leave the phones else where.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for your date night when the kids are asleep. Take 15 minutes, half hour or the whole night, once a week to grow closer to your spouse, the most important relationship, after your relationship with God of course.

  1. Make a gourmet meal together. One of you can take the time to grocery shop and pick out a special recipe – this can be the time to recreate your first date, or your favorite date from the past. Get dressed up in your fancy clothes, use the wedding china and get some candles.
  2. Exchange a massage. Pick a body part, because the woman who cares for a child all day long will never complain about a foot massage.
  3. Bubble bath and wine – the rest is left to your imagination.
  4. Work out together. Who knows, a little sweat and then a shower is good for the marriage.
  5. Go down memory lane and look through pictures/videos from when you were dating, from the wedding, vacations or honeymoon.
  6. Have a dance party.
  7. Get blue apron and cook a meal for your spouse and enjoy the conversation once kids are in bed.
  8. Striptease.
  9. Learn a new dance move or a new style together using youtube video tutorials.
  10. Host a dinner party and enjoy the company of another couple. Nothing like having people over to make you feel like normal functioning people of society.
  11. Make a meal for a family in need. Cooking together brings you closer. So it’s a great idea to let that benefit someone else. You can find out from a church or local charity who may be sick or in need of a meal.
  12. Do a house project together. Pick something small that will allow you to DIY together.
  13. Do a yard project together. You will spend time alone, rely on each other and learn new ways to communicate when doing, at the same time another topic to discuss other then kids.
  14. Make 15 sandwiches and deliver them to the homeless. Ok, one of you will have to stay home with the baby monitor, but you’re doing a good deed at the same time!
  15. Read a book together, even better to each other. Pick wisely on this one, there are plenty of adult books to read, some with lots of pictures. Just saying.
  16. Make your favorite cocktail and enjoy a relaxing evening with your favorite martini.
  17. Bake cookies, put them into cute little bags and drop them off to the neighbors mail boxes with inspirational quotes, without signing who its from. Chances are the baby monitor may work when you walk across the street, depending where you live, and you’ll get an adrenalin rush making sure no one can see you
  18. Watch a movie together. This may be a go to for most couples, just make sure you don’t fall asleep.
  19. Do a spring cleaning project.
  20. Do a wine tasting. This is one of my personal favorites especially after 9 dry months.
  21. Paint something together – can be a weekend project instead of just one night.
  22. Start learning a new language together, even if it’s youtube videos, even if its just for humor.
  23. Have a TV show marathon. 24 works great for this one, or it’s just a great way to catch up on all your favorite shows with some pop corn and cuddles.
  24. Sit in front of the fireplace and make out like teenagers. If you’re in upstate NY, this is a good one right now, it’s been incredibly cold and windy for March.
  25. Organize each others’ closet. Spend some time doing a runway show and let your spouse choose what clothes stay and what needs to be donated (bonus is saving money on date night so you can do some online shopping for new things after this one)
  26. Appetizer tasting. If you are tired of cooking for date night or tired of cooking period, pick up your favorite appetizers and do a tasting like the professional would.
  27. Fold laundry. If you don’t have a lot of time, or if you just have a lot of chores to catch up on, do the chores and make a little competition out of it. Whoever folds laundry first picks their reward of choice. You may be surprised that it will become your husbands favorite date night yet.
  28. Do a pedicure for each other, because men like to have their feet soaked and massaged too, they just don’t know it yet.
  29. Watch your husbands favorite sport, who knows, you may like it.
  30. Get take out and sit on the floor for dinner like you’re in college.
  31. Go for a walk, even if it means a lunch date and your baby napping is in the stroller while you’re walking.
  32. Sit down to plan your next vacation. You can dream right? There will be a time you can travel again just the two of you or you can take your new baby with you (be on the look out for my post about traveling with an infant).
  33. Mini golf. You can buy a mini gold starter kit on amazon and move some furniture in the living room for a night of simple fun.
  34. Coffee tasting. There is something about being a new parent – you are always drinking caffeine. So why not take advantage and french press locally roasted coffee.
  35. Bubble bath and wine. Because this one deserves a repeat on my list.
  36. Ask your spouse to teach you something, it can be sports, a favorite hobby or maybe cooking your favorite dish.
  37. Play cards, or board games. Whatever your favorite one is out of the two.
  38. Have you seen the movie “the fault in our stars”? There is a scene where the two kids in love lay on the grass and stare up at the sky. So do that. During one of the blood moons my husband and I climbed on the roof of our porch through the window, just looked at it for a while and took pictures. Whatever your version may be.
  39. Run through snow in your underwear. You may want to do this one at night to not scare the neighbors. If you don’t have snow – find a way to take a mud bath, even if its just for your feet.
  40. Breakfast in bed. Because weekends are the best and kids take naps during the day, and no one will notice if breakfast is at lunch time.
  41. Skinny dipping, it will be even more fun if its in your neighbors pool. After midnight of course.
  42. Play chess, or learn how to.
  43. Have an indoor picnic.
  44. Facials and those little cucumber circles for your own children induced dark circles. If your man is helping you out with kids, or if he’s just working really hard, then he will definitely enjoy this little spa at home kind of time with you.
  45. Order pizza delivery and pig out because you can still wear maternity jeans after the baby, they call it the fourth trimester, or firth or something..
  46. “Husband does my makeup” it’s a youtube thing, and I think in the end if you can get your man to do it you will end up on the floor laughing so hard trying to not wake up the kids that you will appreciate the silly times more then you think you would.
  47. Five more to go, you’re almost at the end of the year ideas. So I just want to stop and pause and tell you that it’s ok to just take a nap. Sometimes it’s ok to just sleep when the kids sleep.
  48. Take a long shower together.
  49. Make a time capsule video or letter. You can make it for your kids to view years later.
  50. Bake or make your favorite deserts (because not all couples have the same favorite desert) and sit down to talk about your goals. With kids and life in the way, it’s not easy to keep your eye on the prize. Talk about your goals and review the ones you wrote down in the past. They can be individual, or goals and dreams for your family as one.
  51. Ice cream sunday night. It’s a great desert to just skip over. Also since its so sweet, take time to talk about your financial goals. They usually will be a bit bitter with a look into the future, so dream sweet big dreams for your family financial future. The more you talk about it, the more you will stay on top of it.
  52. Pick your favorite date night idea out of the list above and repeat. Because why not.

 

I had a fun time with this list, what’s your favorite date night to spend with your spouse?

Ladies, love your man. Men, love your woman and hug her extra every night.

xoxo

L.

A mom’s rant on “the new normal”

After I had the baby everyone started telling me this is your “new normal” so get used to it. Get used to this life as if it’s going to be BAD, as if I should expect it to be a punishment. Punishment for love? (I mean, we all know where babies come from)

Frankly, I do feel waves of guilt and feelings of “this is my punishment” crawling their way into my mind slowly and it’s a conscious effort to keep that space clear from negative emotion. Ok, so most days I fail at keeping the attic of my brain clean, but so what, it doesn’t mean I should give up, it means I should fight harder.

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This week I learned something about myself. Not that I didn’t know it, not that I had never heard it before, I just learned it. I mean really learned something about myself that made me feel all empowered and like I am getting to know this new ME, at this stage of my life. I just sat there marveling at this quality and I think I am going to continue getting to know me and instead of getting down on all the failures, I will attempt with all my effort to build on my strengths instead.

This week as I reflected on some circumstances of my life, I learned that I am resilient. So many times I’ve fallen down, been disappointed, yet I still stay positive and keep trying. The thought of completely giving up has not registered long enough to become reality. This is huge news to me. It means a great deal of self empowerment and a true encouragement.

If I was honest though, at the same time this week an overwhelming feeling came over me when I was painting my nails. There is one thing I NEED – to be able to walk into a grocery store or shake anyone’s hand before a business meeting with a nice looking manicure. So about a month or two ago I started doing my own mani/pedi. I wash dishes, cook, constantly wash my hands – so it means doing my nails every other night if I’d want to keep my manicure fresh. Who’s got time for that?! I really got fed up – because while baby is down for the night, I’d rather cuddle on the couch with my husband then wait for the nail polish to dry.

So instead of feeling all beat up about my new normal – I am now going back to get my manicure done and embracing womanhood – because its empowering. Because when my baby boy is growing up I want him to know that a woman isn’t meant to do it all, she is meant to be the best at the role she was designed to do. I want him to know she is beautiful and graceful at every moment of joy and every moment of diaper spill all over the floor. I want him to know a woman who builds a life on her strengths and isn’t destroyed by her failures.

Yes, I am aware that the new normal is having a little human cry for you from early morning until night, and then in the middle of the night, tugging on your body parts expecting food every two hours, without considering that you may be hungry too, since it always happens as you are about to sit down to eat. The new normal is pregnant – but not too pregnant so people can still look at you and say “awe, you’re all belly”. Then in 3 months you’re expected to loose the baby weight, go back to work, have him sleep through the night and roll over (what if your baby doesn’t want to yet?) There is the house, dishes (every day), meals to cook (every day), clean floors, shower and washed hair at least 2 times a week, change all the diapers, put on makeup (every day), give time for your husband, spend time with friends.. I know I am missing a lot more on this list as every mom’s to-do list is different, but seriously, can we just stop and celebrate how resilient a woman’s body is?

You allow your body to go through so much and experience the joy of giving birth (whoever says that by the way never had to go through it without the drugs), then you bring the baby home to experience the “New Normal”.

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Let me just say that after 5 months of this new normal I think that WE – The Woman – are pretty freaking amazing. Let me just stop for a paragraph and tell you – husband, girlfriend, sister, co-worker – go celebrate your woman, especially if she is the mother of your offspring. Let me stop and tell you that if you’re not celebrated and you’re too exhausted to ask for it and demand it – you are amazing, you are resilient and you are beautiful. Your every effort will not go in vain, even though dishes in the sink and the pile of laundry on top of the dining room table remind you of the better version of you there once was. Be the best you today. Be the best version of you for your baby and for your husband, but most of all – be the best version you can be for yourself.

The new chapter of life where quiet frankly you – the mom – are the hero, the lifesaver is a great kind of normal, not a punishment.

Today, I will let the dishes sit for a little longer so I can hold my baby in my arms and take in every sigh, smile and every cuddle he will give me. Today, I will not let the Instagrammable world of expectations become the reality for my life. I will let the love of God allow me to love myself for who I am, and my every imperfection to be able to truly love on my family and friends.

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p.s. if you are a new mom, kudos, you did it. Not feeling me on this one yet? Just wait until month 4 – after three months of cluster feeding and growth spurts, I really think it gets a LOT easier!

 

Stay fabulous!

xoxo

L.