Let Them Be Little

The other night Calvin wasn’t wanting to cuddle before bedtime like usual. He was happy and very much awake. He kept pointing to the door and I was too tired to force bedtime so I let him get down. I brought him into my room, settled him onto the bed with Cars 3 on my phone and I laid down to get a little rest.

After about 10 minutes Calvin put down his movie and took the next 30 seconds to slowly pull a blanket over me. He’s so small and the blanket was so big it took him several one-handed pulls but once he was satisfied he patted my back and went back to his movie.

I teared up a little then and I get teary-eyed now just thinking about such a tender moment shared with my little guy. He is so sweet and loving and I never want to forget how he thought to look out for his mama like that.

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IMG-4158Like most moms, I lose my patience from time to time, and I worry that those moments of weakness will be what my child remembers. I worry that he’ll remember the days that I’m tired and accidentally fall asleep on the couch. I worry that he’ll remember the days that I spend more time doing dishes and cleaning than playing with him.

However, I hope he remembers the days that I cover him in kisses. I hope he remembers the days that we spend at the park just playing and running around. I hope he remembers the tender moments we’ve spent together as I rock him to sleep. And most of all, I hope he remembers how much I love him.

I hope he remembers that he changed my life in a million wonderful ways.

IMG-4167IMG-4166More than anything, I hope I forget all those times I lost my patience and that my memories of Calvin’s childhood will be the ones when we played, laughed, hugged, and discovered new things together. I hope my memories are filled with the first time he held my hand to walk down the street, the first time I rode a bike with him on the back, the first time he gave me a kiss, and the first time we played hide and seek together.

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Being a mother is definitely challenging. It’s so hard. Sometimes it seems impossible to figure out the best way to raise a tiny person who is always changing! But it’s also an incredibly beautiful journey full of tender moments that make your heart melt.

I hope I remember them all ❤

 

 

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The Reality of City Life

We have officially lived in Hoboken for six months! To say time has flown by would be an understatement but I feel like life in general is passing by way too quickly.

I blame Calvin. I also blame him for the six new white hairs on my head…probably because he still calls me “dada”. It’s a good thing he’s so cute!

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So is living an urban lifestyle really that different from living in the suburbs? Uh yes. So far nothing has made us want to move back though! It’s been a positive change and we’re really happy with where we’re at.

Here’s how we’re making it work!

 

I MASTERED PARALLEL PARKING…THEN WE SOLD OUR CAR

Parking is complicated in Hoboken and expensive no matter where you go in the area. I wanted to keep our car when we moved (to make the transition a little easier) and I’m glad we did because not only can I parallel park like a boss but we’re also experts on the rules and regulations of parking in Hoboken.

Parking in a lot can cost up to $350/month so we opted for the $15/year street parking. Since Brandon takes the train to work and I wasn’t planning on using the car that much this worked out great.

We sold Brandon’s car before moving to New Jersey and as we got closer to 260k miles on my car it started having more and more issues. After we settled in here we were only using the car once a week so we decided to sell it. I frankly LOVE not dealing with repairs, insurance, and needing to re-park it every week. I take the bus or light rail most places and if we need a car for a roadtrip we can rent one from a block away. Selling our car removed a huge hassle in my life and it’s been great so far! As long as we’re in this area I don’t see us buying a new car.

IMAGINE A LIFE WITH NO LAUNDRY

In-unit laundry is rare here and unfortunately you’re lucky to find an apartment building that has laundry in the basement like ours. The first weekend we moved in we had NO clean laundry and couldn’t find where to put money on our laundry card so we discovered something that has changed my life & I never want to go back.

Same-day laundry service with free pick-up + delivery.

Most laundry places around here do Wash/Dry/Fold and provide free delivery. One of the vans I’ve seen around says, “Imagine a life with no laundry” and let me tell you, it’s pretty sweet. We have a scheduled time every week where someone picks up our two bags of laundry and returns eight hours later with beautiful, clean laundry that’s still warm. Yes, it’s the best thing in the world.

ALL MY GROCERIES FIT IN THE STROLLER

We initially ordered our groceries through Amazon Fresh but the produce wasn’t staying good long enough and we were throwing away too much food. I started getting our produce from Trader Joe’s and eventually make the switch to shopping for everything there.

Having Calvin come with me actually makes grocery shopping more convenient because I load everything into the stroller basket underneath his seat or hang it from the handle. While I’m shopping I do have to keep in mind my limited space but I’ve been surprised at how much I can fit into that basket! All the heavy things go down below while the lighter things stay in the bags. I bring the reusable bags and wrap the handles around the stroller handle so it carries most of the weight. Trader Joe’s is only three blocks away so it actually works out really nicely!

It also helps that the workers at Trader Joe’s are genius at bagging your groceries.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION — YOU NAME IT, I CAN NAVIGATE IT

Calvin loves every form of public transportation so taking it with him is easy. He waves at the drivers and even hailed a taxi last week — he was just copying Brandon but I love hailing taxis so I was proud of my little city kid!

Learning how to navigate public transportation has been challenging but it makes me feel accomplished when I successfully navigate my way around. Each system has it’s own quirks but once you get the hang of it, having access to public transportation is fantastic! We have a bus stop at the end of our block which gets us into NYC in about 10 minutes.  The ferry terminal is a 5 minute walk from our place and if it wasn’t $9/person I would take the ferry into the city every time because it’s only a 6 min ride, it’s super convenient with a stroller, and it’s I think it’s so fun!

I’m still not a master of the Subway but I can get to the Upper West Side on my own which is where Central Park, Levain Bakery, the LDS Manhattan Temple, and the Natural History Museum are — so the essentials 🙂

 

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Happy New Year!

 

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In the last few weeks of 2017 I excitedly pondered what goals I would set for the coming year. For the first time in my life I felt thrilled by the idea of setting goals to change my life and make it what I want. Don’t get me wrong – I love my life – and my goals are nothing drastic but the overall mindset and momentum behind my goal setting was unprecedented.

Here’s what did it for me: The Compound Effect and The Minimalists.

If you haven’t read The Compound Effect, you really should. Long story short: picture the life you’ve always dreamed of and set goals today that will get you there. This idea isn’t revolutionary but the details in the book guide you to make the most effective physical and mental changes so that those dreams can become a reality much sooner!

Keep in mind, that dream life is probably not hiding right around the corner – it will take a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy while we pursue that dream.

“The happy life is not ushered in at any age to the sound of drums and trumpets. It grows upon us year by year, little by little, until at last we realize that we have it. It is achieved in individuals not by flights to the moon or Mars, but by a body of work done so well that we can lift our heads with assurance and look the world in the eye. Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life…you make it.”

Thomas S. Monson

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The less we negatively compare our lives to the lives of other people, the happier we’ll be! And believe it or not – the less we HAVE the happier we’ll be. If you have Netflix check out The Minimalists documentary, it’s life-changing. While I don’t think all of my belongings will ever fit into one suitcase, the idea behind it is what I’m working towards.

If you limit what clothes and household items you have, you limit the choices you have to make and the mess you have to clean. Instead of having five $10 shirts you sort of like you can have one $50 shirt that you love, looks amazing on you, and will last. And who doesn’t want to easily get dressed in the morning, always look fabulous, and have less to clean?! Less laundry and less clutter = more time and more of what you love with the ones you love.

Nothing makes me happier than being a mother and the entire package of life that comes with it. Now, that’s not to say that it isn’t hard – it is – but each day is a chance to start fresh and do better than the day before! And who would not love to be kissing this little face instead of doing laundry and cleaning?!

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I have several goals set for each aspect of my life but they all come together for the one goal of making the happy life I want with the ones I love. I hope yours do too!

Happy New Year!

 

 

PC: LW Photography

Why I’m Glad Being a Mom Was Hard Today

IMG_2131Recently I’ve read several articles written by mothers who, for one reason or another, feel suppressed by their current situation. For the most part the issue comes down to four things: feeling overwhelmed by housework, putting others’ needs before their own, not feeling acknowledged for all that they do, and lastly, not having enough time for themselves. I’m here to say, I get you. I get you 100%.

But I’m also here to explain why I’m glad that being a mom was especially difficult today.

My 15-month-old is in the middle of getting 6 teeth. At. The. Same. Time. The term “growing pains” has never rung more true for my little guy and I can only imagine how he’s feeling. As long as I keep the Tylenol coming he’s a pretty happy kid but he’s also discovering a tantrum phase which any mother can tell you, isn’t fun.

After a rough night, and yet a decent morning, Calvin wouldn’t go down for a nap this morning. He cried for 30 minutes and when I went in to soothe him he wouldn’t cuddle with me like he usually will. I let him stay up and I turned on a movie while we had some lunch. When I suggested a nap (an hour later) he melted down and I decided that one way or another – this kid had to sleep.  After wrestling with me for a bit he did eventually go to sleep and as I quietly walked out of his room I felt like I could finally breathe.

With some time to myself I took stock of what needed to be done. Piles of dishes on the counter, clothes needing to be washed, emails to be sent and a home to be tidied…but with all of that I decided to make the bed and take a shower. When the bed is made and I’m clean I feel like I handle things much better. As I waited for the water to warm up I thought about how stressful the last 12 hours had been and felt really glad to have a minute to take care of myself. But as the cold water splashed on my toes I realized that it wasn’t going to warm up (still have no idea why – it was 2 in the afternoon?!) and choked back tears. Nothing was going right and while I realized this was definitely a first world problem – they’re still hard to deal with when you’re in them.

I turned off the water and felt like my only option was to move on with my day when I was reminded of the freezing cold showers I would take in the MTC when my companion and I would go running and only make it back just in time to get ready for the day. I thought to myself how the water coming out of my shower today wasn’t that cold and that if I really wanted to be clean then I could deal with it. I tried to avoid getting completely wet as I took a shower and I thought about my mission and other hard times of my life. I also thought about being single and how care-free life is when it’s just you.

And that’s why I’m glad being a mom was hard today. We might have loads of laundry to do but we have clothes on our backs and loved ones to serve. We might have piles of dishes to get through (I hope that unlike us, you have a dishwasher) but we have food to eat and people to eat with. We have children to nourish and love. And when we only have 10 minutes alone to shower or sneak our favorite snack or get some work done it’s because we have little souls who look to us for love and guidance and a wonderful life.

If you’re not living the life you want then do something about it.

If you work from home like I do and things aren’t going your way, take an honest account of how you spend your time and look at what can be done. You might need to suck it up and realize you’re wasting time. But if you’re not, outsource what you can — have your groceries delivered, have your laundry picked up, or hire a nanny or a friend to watch your baby so you can work. If you’re not making enough to have those expenses then do what you can to get more clients — if that’s most important to you. And if you’re having issues with your husband (not spending enough time with you, or not helping out, or not picking up after himself or whatever) then TALK TO HIM.

We only get this one life! And at one time this is exactly what we wanted. So let’s all buck up and look for the blessings in the mess. Women are tough. Women are strong. Women can do really hard things and it’s ok to have difficult days. After feeling sorry for yourself that your shower water isn’t warming up – let’s realize that it’s really not that bad and get back to being *awesome*!

You got this momma!

Calvin’s 1st Birthday

I’m sure every mother feels the same way I did when Calvin’s 1st birthday came around. I couldn’t believe an entire YEAR had gone by! It feels like it was just last night that I was standing over my teeny little newborn in the hospital, desperately trying to change his diaper in my exhaustion, only to discover seconds later while I was drying to wet down those stupid dry wipes that he had started pooping again.

Ahh motherhood 🙂

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Needless to say, things have really been great since that night and I absolutely love being a mother. Calvin is so much fun and unless he’s cutting a new tooth he’s really happy. I knew that going into his birthday with high expectations would be a recipe for disaster so I told myself that as long as I got ONE good picture that would be great.

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And guess what? His birthday was great, we had so much fun, and I got a ton of cute pictures! I’m so glad I approached his birthday with minimal expectations because I was able to focus on what was happening and just watch Calvin enjoy his birthday.

I meant to make him a sugar-free, baby friendly cake and practice the week before his birthday but what with everything else going on that just didn’t happen. The night before his birthday we grabbed a few traditional decorations like a Happy Birthday sign and streamers while I got the essentials for the cake and I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of how it turned out! My mom helped me engineer Calvin’s little cake and was a great sounding board for how much dye to use to get the ombre right – so glad she was there!

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Calvin was really more interested in playing with the cake than eating it 🙂 We all had lunch and cake then went to Hoboken to enjoy an afternoon in the park. We took the chance to rent bikes and show the town off to my parents – which I would definitely recommend! Biking is a great way to see the neighborhoods and all of the waterfront without getting exhausted.

All in all, Calvin had a very successful first birthday and I think everyone else enjoyed themselves too!

 

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Beauty Hacks for New Moms

Becoming a mother has been the most amazing experience of my entire life. From the moment the doctor told me to open my eyes and take my son in the delivery room I fell head over heels in love with him.

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Calvin is pretty much an angel child but something I didn’t anticipate was being completely okay with putting ALL of his needs before my own. He’s just so darn cute that it’s way more fun to watch him sleep than go take a shower, or a nap.

I remember when Calvin was 2 weeks old I got out of the shower and heard him crying in his swing – like really crying. That was the first time I had heard him cry like that, where they still make those little gasping sounds while they calm down. It broke my heart and in that moment I swore off showers for the rest of my life.

Not really, but I seriously considered it for a second.

Taking care of yourself can go out the window pretty quickly as a new mom. Every baby is different and every woman approaches motherhood differently so it goes without saying that some moms don’t need these hacks – they’ve got it together. Pretty sure those moms are also imaginary.

But if you’re not imaginary and you’re very much real, here are five beauty must-haves I’ve discovered make life a little easier.

Makeup Removing Wipes

As a brand new mom my days and nights blurred together for a while so my nightly routine went out the window. Several brands market makeup removing wipes but I prefer Neutrogena. These wipes make it easy to clean your face before you hit the hay for a few hours or when you realize the next morning that you look like you were partying all night when in fact you were just trying to keep your little human being alive.

You’re doing great, by the way. Keep it up.

Tinted Moisturizer

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Of all the time-saving products out there I think tinted moisturizer is genius. Pregnancy did a number on my skin so if I’m meeting up with someone or going to church I still use my separate lotion and foundation but for an every day natural look, this works! The 2-in-1 product is every mother’s best friend.

 

Dry Shampoo

I didn’t think to use dry shampoo until Calvin was almost 3 months old! Let me save you the hassle – do it. Buy it, use it and love the fact that if you don’t manage to shower that day your hair won’t look like a bird’s nest. Unless that’s what you’re going for.

Mascara

Now that your face is clean, skin tone evened out, and your hair is on point it’s time to bust out those lashes! Your eye lashes might feel like the only asset you have left after having a baby. Recovering can be emotionally hard too, so feeling great about the way you look doesn’t always come easily. Mascara is a staple for me because I feel like as long as your hair isn’t insane, your lashes are defined and your baby is still alive — you’re doing pretty darn good for a new mom.

Essie Nail Polish

essieGorgeous nails are the icing on my beauty cake. I realized pretty soon after having Calvin that getting a predictable hour to myself wasn’t going to happen. So I’m crazy about Essie’s Gel Couture nail polish! In 30 minutes you can have fabulous nails that last for 2 weeks! So far I’ve stuck with a neutral color because it goes with whatever I end up wearing that day. If I actually get dressed.

Calvin is 4 months old now and I’m proud to say that most days I take a shower and seldom do I sit there and watch him sleep. He’s great at napping in his crib and I’m great at getting stuff done! Mostly.

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Anyways, if you’re a soon-to-be mom or just became one, CONGRATS!!!!!! it’s the best thing in the world! Get ready to love someone more than you ever thought you could.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself and don’t worry – it gets easier!

 

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

5 Must-Haves For New Moms

Becoming a mom has been 90% amazing and 10% can’t even – mostly because this job is 24/7 and “tired” has taken on a whole new meaning. Luckily, I’ve had a pretty easy go of it with my little Mr. but I also invested in a few life savers every new mom should have.

1. Aiden + Anais Swaddle Blankets

If you live in Arizona you have to get these, it’s not really an option 🙂 These blankets are super soft and lightweight which makes them ideal for hot climates but even here in New Jersey I would still recommend them.

 

Obviously they’re swaddlers so that goes without saying but they also function as a stroller shade, nursing cover, and are key in building baby’s first fort. We have 8+ of these blankets and believe me – we use them. Pair one of these with white noise and if your baby loves being awake like mine they should finally take a solid nap!

2. Milkmaid Goods Nursing Cover

I ended up making my own but if they ever get my favorite fabric restocked you might see me wearing one of their nursing ponchos in my sleep. It’s that cute.

These are a must-have because you get full coverage so you can rest easy knowing you’re not going to flash anyone if baby kicks around while you’re breastfeeding in public. The jersey fabric makes them wrinkle-resistant and easy to pack in a diaper bag. You can put it over your carrier to block the sun (and strangers adoring hands) but still see your baby! If that hasn’t impressed you, just focus on the fact that they’re ridiculously cute.

3. Boon Grass Drying Set

I first saw this when I worked as a nanny in Arizona and promised myself that when I became a mother I would get one. In addition to the cuteness factor it’s really useful.

The grass sits in the white tray so you can easily separate the two for cleaning. The tree and flower hold bottle covers, nipples, bottle rings – all those little parts. I’ve also washed medicine syringes and stuck them over a blade of grass to dry. Moral of the story: drying bottle parts, etc. has never looked so good.

4. Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag

In the months leading up to Calvin’s birth I asked around, read reviews, researched & FINALLY settled on this diaper bag. They’re expensive though so it’s only thanks to my Grandma that I even have this bag and I’m so glad because I *love* it.

I could go on and one but I’ll just hit the highlights: The bag is structured so it will stand on it’s own. You want the diaper bag to work for you, not against you. The backpack straps are built into the bag so it easily converts from purse to pack. And check out all those pockets – what’s a diaper bag without compartments? Yes, Petunia Pickle Bottom bags are popular but it’s not just because they’re cute, they’re great bags and I would say they’re worth the price. Several moms told me their bags have lasted a few years without having issues or wearing out. So far, so good for us!

5. Diaper Genie

Not cute, fun or soft but insanely useful like everything else on this list. The lid has a slot for an odor-control pack and the entire contraption is designed to keep your nursery smelling well…not like diapers.

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I don’t know why anyone would buy one without a foot pedal but in case you’re on the fence, GET THE ONE WITH THE FOOT PEDAL! Trust me. Being a mom is all about being as hands-free as possible, right? Especially if you have a particularly wiggly baby and need to keep a hand on them when you toss the diaper – you don’t have three hands. You need that pedal. The bag tears off with a little gizmo inside, you tie a knot at the new end and you’re set to change more diapers! Yay? With all those diapers – you need this.

That’s it! Those are my Top 5 Must-Haves as a new mom. I’m only 3 months in but each one of these has made life a breeze! Of course, having my adorable baby helps too 🙂