Traveling as a family with small children is never easy. I wish I could just let go and do it more often and not worry about how hard and exhausting it is going to be. It’s almost always worth the fun and memories made, but there are just so many variables and logistics to figure out that sometimes just the planning itself starts to make my brain hurt. We had only taken one trip since Quincy was born, and that was to visit family back in Ohio and West Virginia where we grew up. But to “vacation” (and I use that term loosely since travel with small children is never really a vacation) and stay at a hotel or resort means figuring out a whole slew of things: where will everyone sleep? Is there a crib or high chair available? Is the property family-friendly? Are the rooms baby-proofed? How many stairs are involved? Is there a refrigerator for keeping milk cold or a microwave for easily heating food? — the list goes on and on. And that is exactly why I love staying at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. It is the most family-friendly place I have ever stayed! If you’ve been a reader for a while, you might remember our first stay here when I was very pregnant with Quincy. It was the most amazing visit and I was so glad we had the opportunity to go back and experience it as a family of five.
Bathtime is probably one of the most challenging times of day with three kids, especially since two are toddlers. I don’t know if it is because they are all boys, or because of their ages, but when we try to bathe all three together it is just a crazy mess. There is way too much boy energy in that little tub and they get really bonkers, all the water ends up in the floor, and someone inevitably gets hurt. So my husband and I tried out an assembly line style of bedtime routine: He bathes one, then I put that one to bed while he bathes the next one, and so one until all kids are clean and asleep. But doing them one at a time can sometimes make the process go long and someone ends up staying up a bit too late. The happy medium that is now working for us is the two toddlers in the bath method. We bathe the littlest together, then I take Quincy and nurse and put him to bed while my husband takes Calvin and reads and gets him to bed. Meanwhile Charlie is finishing his dinner (he’s the slowest eater of all time) or doing homework or if that is all done, watching one 20 minute show until it is his turn. I think the key to this method’s success is the fun distractions we have in the bath for the toddlers. So I thought it would be fun to share my favorite tools, toys, and tricks that makes bathing two toddlers a much easier and more pleasant experience.
If you follow me on Instagram I’ve been teasing this new at-home workout series for a while. But in typical fashion since becoming a mother, things always take me longer than I anticipate. I’m 6.5 years in, so you think I would learn by now (eyerolling at myself). But I’ve finally got part one ready to help get us all started on our fitness journey to get our bodies moving. And if you haven’t seen my posts about this, here’s my mission with these workouts: all of us, but especially moms of small children, have a hard time finding time to exercise. Those of us that have no help REALLY have a hard time, because it means our little ones are always around. Most of us are sleep deprived and just trying to get through the day the best we can. The only free time we probably get is when our kids are sleeping, and we usually choose sleep ourselves during that time. Or we’re too tired to workout. Starting fitness programs at home can be problematic because we are easily distracted, we don’t hold ourselves accountable to stick with it, we don’t have equipment, and/or we don’t have someone there to help with proper form or remind us to breathe.
That’s why I wanted to share these workouts. My friend Amanda of Balanced Method Pilates is a really wonderful pilates instructor here in Los Angeles and I’ve done workouts in her studio off and on since I was pregnant with Calvin. I really enjoy working out on the reformer and pilates in general because it feels good on my body. Instead of bunching things up, it lengthens me out. Moms tend to be bunched up anyways — breastfeeding, baby wearing, stress, pregnancy, childbirth — our bodies go through so much. While I was working out with Amanda one day we were talking about how hard it is to fit in workouts and Amanda was explaining what a misconception it is that you need 45-60+ minutes to get in a good workout and that if you do a few specific exercises correctly you can get the same benefits from 10 minutes or 20 minutes. And that is how “When You Have 10 Minutes” was born. I have 10 minutes a few times a day. I think we all do. So we wanted to share how you can start small and fit in good toning workouts into each day. It is doable. These exercises require no equipment (although if you have a mat or bands, etc. you can incorporate those too). Our hope by the end of this series is that you will have a good foundation for full body workouts that you can easily and effectively do at home, on your schedule and within your circumstances. And they motivate me to keep up with my fitness on the 6 other days of the week that I’m not with Amanda. And on top of that I’m trying to fit in walks or other cardio and a hike once a week. Of course, always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially postpartum.
Here are 5 moves to start with to help tone your abs, butt, thighs, and hips:
I’ve had a lot of babywearing questions and I thought I would answer some here. I love babywearing and have done it with all three of my boys. With my first, it was most convenient for getting stuff done when he didn’t want to be put down. But with my second two, babywearing was a matter of survival. When I did preschool drop off and pickup babywearing kept my newborn high above the germy little hands that wanted to touch the baby. It helped me keep my hands free to hold and tend to my other children. It got me through many colic-filled weeks. It made plane travel way easier. It has been such an key part of my motherhood journey and I’m so grateful to the babywearing brands that have been a part of that. Here are a few FAQs & answers for those who wanted to know more: Read More
Ok, so I imagine you are one of two camps when it comes to essential oils: 1. The Eye-Rolling Skeptic or 2. The All-Natural Oil Lover. But the truth is I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle — at least I do. I don’t shun all Western medicine in favor of all-natural remedies, but I also think trying out all-natural or homeopathic treatments before medication can be beneficial. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am not an oils expert. I’m just a mom who used to roll my eyes at things like essential oils and baltic amber teething necklaces — until I got desperate and tried them myself and realized “these things might actually work.” Read More
I know two things to be true about mothers everywhere: They work their asses off and they don’t treat themselves enough. Me included. No matter how many kids they have, whether they are brand new or full grown, whether they work in the home or out, whether they have lots of help or none — motherhood is a tough business and every mom deserves to be spoiled. This year’s Mother’s Day gift guide is all about Treating Yo Self, or that special mom in your life. These are things I love, or want, or both. They are things I might start to buy and then stop myself because I always have mom guilt over spending money on myself. They are things I think mommas would love. And because I love this community of readers, followers, sharers, mothers — I’ve teamed up with all of the brands in my guide to give everything in it to one lucky momma! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter. But first, gift ideas for the mom in your life: