9 Things I’ve Learned In 9 Years of Marriage

9 Lessons I've Learned in 9 Years of MarriageToday marks nine years since I married the only boy I’ve ever really loved. Because we had been together off and on since we were 16, I thought I knew what was in store for us in our marriage because we had already been through and worked through so much before getting married (plus, don’t we always think we know more than we do when we’re young?) We dated other people throughout college, I lost my dad, we dated long distance for 2 1/2 years (before smart phones and FaceTime, and before he even had a cell phone at all!)… But when two people commit to spending their lives together it is still two imperfect humans who cannot predict the future sharing close quarters with another person day in and day out, forever. And then sometimes those two people bring new little into those close quarters. Basically, I didn’t know sh*t! 🙂 But over the last nine years I have learned a lot of lessons and feel like I have a small amount of wisdom I could share. So, here goes…Read More

Swim Lessons at Goldfish Swim School: A Progress Update

goldfish swim school lessons progress update

We’re about 4 months in to swim lessons for my boys (ages 7, 4, and 2 1/2) and I have to say that their improvement is amazing! If you missed my first post about how the were doing after the first month, read this one first. We took quite a few weeks off this summer as well due to family trips, Calvin’s hospital stay, and illness. I wanted to share their progress for those of you who have been interested in putting your own kids into swim class or wanted to know how Goldfish Swim School compared to other places we’ve done lessons.

First of all, if you have a kiddo who has never taken lessons or who is afraid to get in the water, then I can’t recommend Goldfish Swim School enough. Quincy screamed and cried and hated to swim before we started. Now he begs to “go swimming” which means go to swim class. They were so patient and compassionate and helped him ease into things. My oldest son Charlie is always anxious when starting new activities and classes and usually dreads going. But he enjoys going to Goldfish and is proud of how far he has come. They give ribbons at the end of class when kids have accomplished a milestone or made a lot of progress. He works hard because he loves to get a ribbon that reinforces that hard work.Read More

Calvin’s Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party

Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party

If you know Calvin, either in real life or from my IG feed, you know garbage trucks are his favorite thing in life. And you also know he’s had a rough couple of months with a health scare and physical therapy for his toe walking. He also hasn’t had a birthday party since he turned one, and last year we were in the process of a cross country move and weren’t even in our house yet on his birthday. So I thought he deserved a super special garbage truck birthday party at our home and I was determined to make it as awesome as he is.

Unfortunately, minutes after we snapped this photo and guests had only been there for about 10 minutes, the sky went black and it started pouring. The forecast had shown no rain and even as it was raining the radar was clear. So, everyone rushed inside and the party was soaked. The canopy blew over, the garbage in our “dumpster” was sopping wet, and the backyard was a disaster. We saved the food, brought the cooler inside, and 20+ kids proceeded to run wild all over my house. It was basically my worst birthday party nightmare come true. Despite kids eating apple sauce pouches and cookies while jumping on my furniture with shoes on (true story) we survived and Calvin had a ball. After about 40 minutes the sun came back out and we all went back outside and made the best of it. The cake and piñata that I had slaved over were both hits and Calvin was beaming. I didn’t get many photos before the rain unfortunately, but I thought I would share the few that I did get.

Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday PartyCalvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday PartyCalvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday PartyCalvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party
I’m not really a themey person when it comes to birthday parties, but I think you can have a focus or theme that runs through your party without it being too cheesy. I made the garbage truck piñata (I’ll be sharing a full DIY next week!), collected our dry recycling for a couple of weeks and filled our baby pool with it to make a dumpster. I planned to have the kids play a game where they sorted paper and plastic into the bins and I also set up our big cardboard boxes into jenga-like stacks. I had printed coloring pages and bought a roll of white paper and a roll of chalkboard paper for a big art table with chalk and crayons. None of that got played with or used at all due to the rain. But the kids jumped on the trampoline and played in the sandbox and they even started their own game of musical chairs after they ate birthday cake. The piñata was a huge hit and was a great way to end the party. The kids were able to put their candy loot into their goody bags (just green paper bags from the dollar store with a couple of favors inside (poppers, bouncy balls, and bubbles) with a tag that I made held on with a zip tie (also from the dollar store). I printed some Waste Management logos and recycling symbols and pasted them to mailing labels and put them on little trash bins that held favors, popsicles, etc. I used tin cans for the flatware and black plastic table cloths on the tables and turned them into a road with a little masking tape. The party was from 3-5 so we just served snacks and nibbles and desserts like dirt cups (pudding + oreos + a gummy worm and Swedish fish). My mom and mother-in-law helped a ton with making fruit salad and veggie trays and dips and salsa. Oh, and I made “Toxic Waste” for the adults, which is my go-to party beverage: peach sangria rum punch (I’ll be sharing the recipe soon). I think I might have drank most of it myself while the kids were running all over my house 😉

Calvin's Garbage Truck 4th Birthday Party

I’ll share the couple of sources below for things I didn’t make myself or that I’ve been asked about on Instagram. All in all, a lot of rain and a little hail couldn’t bring us down 🙂 And I’m feeling all the feels today on Calvin’s actual birthday reminiscing about what is probably the most magical experience of my life with Calvin’s birth. Out of my three, his was such a dreamy labor and delivery (where as the other two were tough and had complications). I shared his birth story here if you are into that sort of thing. I know I’ll be reading it like 10 times today.

Happy 4th birthday my sweet sweet baby boy. You make this world and our home a better place with your kindness and joy. You are a ray of pure light and are just good at life and you handle everything that is thrown your way better than I ever could. You’re the best!

{Sources} Cake: DIY (with this as a topper and toy — it is cheaper in store at Target, FYI) / Balloon garland & YAY balloon: Glamfetti / Gold 4 balloon: Amazon / Garbage Truck shirt: Amazon / Piñata: DIY (full post on this coming soon)

Los Angeles to Columbus: One Year Since Our Move

Family Trip to Lake Erie

I can hardly believe a whole year has gone by since we said goodbye to Los Angeles and moved to Columbus. It went by so fast, even with what felt like the longest winter in the history of winters. I have had quite a few readers tell me they were thinking of making a similar move and wondered how it went for us, whether we’re glad we did it, and what the best and hardest parts were in our transition. So I thought I would share a little update on the one year mark since we moved and look back at our first year in Ohio.

One Year Update From our LA to Columbus Move

The Transition

Those first few months were exciting, new, and there was a lot of novelty that kept us going through the harder transitions. The boys loved how green everything was, how we had birds and squirrels and bunnies in our yard and could watch them through the window. They were obsessed with all of the new bugs and critters Ohio has to offer 🙂 And fall was magical. Starting a new school was hard for my sensitive and anxiety-prone son and we’re still working through that. If you asked him if he has made any new friends here he would say no. But I think he is really afraid of rejection and gets the sense that he is different (in that he moved here from California and also because he is more of an emotional, artistic type and not a sporty, game playing type of boy). Things are defined much more along gender lines here (or maybe it is also the age that coincided with our move here). I understand how hard it can be to make new friends — I’m doing it right along side him. We all are. I’ve met a couple of sweet moms through school events and have found a neighborhood group to do occasional girls’ nights with. And I’m lucky to have my college best friend and her husband and kids who we love on the other side of town. We’ve made progress — we don’t feel as “fish out of water” as we did in the beginning. But have we found our village here yet? Not quite, but we’re working on it.

Cold Weather Essentials for Kids | oh lovelyday.comThe Challenges

Well, winter is the obvious one right? And it was hard. Really REALLY hard. At first it was exciting, especially for the kids. And watching them light up at seeing snow was magical. But by mid-January we were kind of over it, and we had two more months of snow. Our health also went through a transition period being exposed to new germs in a new climate. We were all sick for weeks and weeks — I think we passed around a stomach bug several times over and had respiratory stuff the entire winter. We needed a break from germs so we stopped taking the kids to the child watch at our YMCA, stopped going to our local indoor playground, and basically became shut-ins. Between all of the viruses, cabin fever, and seasonal affective disorder we started to seriously doubt our decision to move. It was definitely a hard period. On top of it my husband went back to LA for work from late January to mid-March, so I was on my own with three small children in the dead of winter while my husband was somewhere warm.

My oldest son has also struggled. While he was happy and excited about the move and loved our new home, he closed himself off from the new kids and didn’t make friends easily. He’s a worrier and he’s super smart and his little brain basically told him kids can’t reject him if he chooses not to make friends with them. He would play alone at recess and didn’t want to do playdates. We also had a hard time with the new school curriculum. Ohio schools do state standardized testing starting in kindergarten and the school where we were in LA was more progressive and didn’t start testing until third grade (which is the national standard). The pressure on Charlie’s teacher to prepare the kids for testing and to test 25 students while also trying to teach 25 students (with no full time assistant to help her) was hard. Charlie was a little behind, especially in reading, and there was so much more homework than we were used to. Combine that with the new social setting and a sensitive/emotional kiddo and you’ve got a tricky situation to navigate. He cried everyday on the walk to school for months and still gets anxious before going to school or camp or birthday parties. He has asked me to homeschool him. But I will not enable him to retreat from his anxiety and live his life avoiding hard things. Also, I’m so not a homeschool mom. I just know my limits and that is definitely not in my wheelhouse. We did find another boy in his class who is more artistic than athletic and into dinosaurs and Minecraft and drawing like Charlie is. And his mom and I have become friends. We just need to keep working on Charlie’s confidence and worries.

The job search was (and still is) stressful. My husband is working on his second novel for Audible (you can find his first here and if you like crime fiction I highly recommend it from a totally non-biased perspective 😉 ), but that and my blog work isn’t enough to keep us afloat and he is looking for work outside of his writing as well. We turned down his returning to LA for his old job (he worked on a seasonal show that films in the summer and is on hiatus 7 months of the year) because he would have had to be gone from June through October and we decided it was just too long for our family to do again. But that was our main source of income and would have gone a long way here in Ohio. And there isn’t much work here in Columbus that fits his entertainment industry experience (maybe Atlanta would have been a better choice than Columbus for job purposes…) He took a sales job but we can tell it isn’t sustainable and we’re giving it a chance through the fall as he finishes his novel and then we will reevaluate. I wasn’t prepared to return to work outside of the home quite yet, and I don’t have a license to practice law here in Ohio nor do I have the brain capacity to take a bar exam at this stage in my life. So we’re just keeping the faith that he’ll find a job that fits with his background and experience or that my blog will continue to grow and the income it generates will too. I would like to use my legal knowledge in some capacity that isn’t practicing law (teaching, consulting, finally launching Blogger Law — my dream of the last four years that combines my legal experience with my blogging experience and  advises my fellow bloggers and creatives on the legal and ethical aspects of blogging and influencer micro marketing. It’s hard to chase dreams and be an adult at the same time, but I firmly believe that quality of life makes it worth it in the long run.

Our First Six Months In ColumbusThe Highlights

Oh man, there were so many. Some of our favorite highlights from this year: real seasons, more time with grandparents, getting real time with my best friend for the first time in five years, buying a home, having a backyard, taking steps to get out of debt that comes with being a regular person who lives in Los Angeles, being able to be at my nephew’s birthday party for the first time, getting a trampoline, adopting kitties, suburban conveniences, catching lightning bugs, planting our first garden, styling and decorating a home that was finally MINE, walking to school, no traffic, teaching Charlie to ride a bike, exploring an awesome new city, and living a simpler life. And those are just a few off the top of my head. As hard as our first year has been, the highlights have outnumbered the challenges tenfold. Only in the dead of winter in the middle of a really sick season did we ask ourselves “did we make a mistake?” But we know it was the right choice for us. And we know like all things worthwhile, it takes time for things to feel like home and to make friends and to feel settled.

From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year UpdateFrom LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update

Oh, and more dates with my husband was a big highlight! Now that we are in a less expensive city and things are simpler we have found it easier to prioritize our marriage, to book a sitter and go on dates, and to explore a new city together. I mean, when your sitter is $12/hr for all three of your kids instead of $15/hr for only one it is easier to prioritize those dates. Plus, sometimes we get free babysitting when my mom comes to visit since she is only two hours away. And when Calvin had a health scare and had to spend a few days in the hospital, having her that close made a scary situation far less stressful.

From LA to Columbus: Our One Year Update

Don’t think for a second that we don’t miss LA and that it won’t always be a second home to us in our hearts, but this move has been life-giving. It has also been exhausting and draining and challenging and scary and sad and overwhelming. But we know that the payoff as time goes on will only grow bigger and bigger. It was right for us. So if you are thinking of a similar move and aren’t sure if it is the right choice or if you are having a hard time taking the leap,  let me leave you with this: if you are thinking about it and it scares you, there’s a reason. Take the leap! You can always move back if it doesn’t work out 😉

I’ll be doing a Q&A session on my IG stories and saving them in my highlights. So head over there and DM me some questions about moving or whatever else you are wondering about! Anyone need moving tips or have questions about relocating cross country or Columbus specific questions I can answer? Or maybe a nugget of wisdom to share? I’d love to hear and I’m sure other readers would too.

PS- You can find our 6 month update here, our home tour so far here and on IG under #casafredrick, and you can shop many of the things we have in our home or plan to add eventually here and here. And if you are interested in future updates on Blogger Law sign up for my newsletter! And if you are a lawyer or former lawyer with good work-from-home or part-time ideas for using my law degree, I’m all ears 🙂

Our First Summer As Homeowners

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lennox. All opinions are 100% mine.

Our First Summer As Homeowners We moved to Ohio in late summer last year, just before fall weather arrived. This is our first real summer in our new home and our first summer as homeowners. Being homeowners means lots of new fun things like planting a garden, getting a trampoline in our backyard and being able to decorate our home however we want for holidays. But it also means being introduced to and responsible for a whole new collection of things that as renters we never had to think about. Like mowing the lawn 😉 There is so much to being a homeowner that is new to us. We’ve learned how to repair basic things, how to seed our lawn, how to tackle some DIY projects around the house, and how to hire help when our needs are beyond our skill level. Moving to Ohio from Los Angeles, we’ve also had to learn how to prepare our home for real seasons. With this being the first summer in our home, we had to learn how to prepare our home for the summer season, and we had to learn fast since we basically went straight from Ohio winter to LA summer. Here are a few things we’ve learned about how to prep our home for the summer months. Our First Summer As Homeowners

Check Your Air Conditioner

The last thing you want is your central A/C dying in the middle of July, right? Check and make sure your A/C system is working properly. before summer hits. Change the air filter, clean your vents, and clear the area around the unit of grass clippings, leaves, or shrubbery. It is a good idea to call in a professional who can clean your unit and can test it to make sure your system is summer ready. You might also consider replacing your thermostat, especially if you don’t have a programmable thermostat. If you are looking to replace your thermostat, consider a smart thermostat like the like the iComfort® ultra smart thermostat from Lennox. The smart technology allows you to override your programming while on Smart Away Mode with a single touch to help you save energy. It is even compatible with smart home systems, such as Amazon Alexa, so you can use your voice to control your HVAC system.

Ensure High Air Quality

Old and poorly maintained HVAC units can do more than fail to keep you cool — they can make you sick. Inspect your air ducts to make sure there is no visible mold or dust build-up. Making sure you change your air filters more frequently during hot months when your HVAC is working overtime is super important. Adding a good air purification system also helps tremendously, because it isn’t just pollutants, but also ventilation and humidity levels that effects a home’s air quality. The PureAirâ„¢ Air Purification System from Lennox cleans the air in your home better than any other single system you can buy. Single-area air cleaners may help the air in one room, but they don’t address pollutants that can circulate throughout your entire home. PureAirâ„¢ is a whole-home solution that means cleaner air in every room. Many air cleaning systems filter out particles. Some combat germs, and some fight odors. But only the PureAirâ„¢ Air Purification System addresses all three types of indoor air pollutants: Airborne particles, germs & bacteria, and chemical odors & vapors.

Change Ceiling Fan Direction

Did you know that your ceiling fan is designed to rotate in different directions depending on the season? I didn’t! In summer you should make sure your fans are running counter-clockwise to cool and create a breeze, while in winter it should rotate clockwise to distribute the heat that has risen properly.

Prevent Potential Water Damage

Rainy months and a hot and humid climate can be a recipe for disaster when you’re a homeowner. We had to figure out where our sump pump is and what to do if our power goes out and it fails (the con of having a basement among many pros). We also had to get a dehumidifier for the basement and have to empty it frequently during the humid summer season. We had to check our gutter and downspouts to make sure rain will drain off our home and away from our home’s perimeter properly. Since we had our home inspected when we purchased it, we knew the roof and foundation were in good condition but if you haven’t had a recent inspection it is a good idea to have those checked as well. We had our chimney inspected in the winter before we used our fireplace and learned that we needed a new rain pan. Had we not caught that it could have collapsed during a heavy rain and allowed water to flood our home through our chimney and fireplace. Our First Summer As Homeowners Having a healthy and safe home is the most important thing to us, and these are a few ways we have protected and prepared our home for the hot and humid summer months. Stay tuned for a follow-up post when winter rolls back around, which I’m in denial about already. Are you a homeowner? If so, what steps do you take to protect your family and prepare your home for the changing seasons?

Click here to Learn more about how you can get your home ready and here to Find a dealer near you.

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How Well Are You Sleeping?

This post is sponsored by ORB Wellness, but the opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who help me bring content to you on Oh Lovely Day.

Our First Summer As Homeowners

How well are you sleeping? How much sleep do you get each night? Do you wake up feeling rested? Up until recently my answers to these questions were: “not well at all, not nearly enough, and what is rested?” Since having babies I have not been a good sleeper. Even once they started sleeping through the night, I had a very hard time getting a full night’s sleep myself. I don’t really have trouble falling asleep — I’m usually exhausted by about 6 pm. But I couldn’t stay asleep. I am a light sleeper anyways and once something woke me up (husband, child, a noise, pain) I struggled to get back to sleep. That has deteriorated even further to always waking up a couple of hours after I go to bed and being awake for hours. Even trying things like going to bed earlier, diet changes, meditation before sleep, and reading before bed didn’t work anymore. I was waking up every night between 2 and 4 am and felt terrible in the morning.

I felt like I needed something to help me sleep beyond the usual things. I tried ibuprofen pm but am really trying not to take ibuprofen unless absolutely necessary. I tried melatonin but that alone didn’t work and I still often woke up at 4 am unable to fall back to sleep or would feel groggy the next day. I didn’t want to take anything stronger because I need to be able to wake up and be a mom if one of the kids needs me. Then I discovered ORB Wellness and their Sleep Complex. It helps me sleep like I did before I became a mom and it is all because of the combination of ingredients and their delayed release. ORB Sleep Complex contains melatonin and valerian to help promote sleep and relaxation. L-Theanine, a natural antioxidant, helps to give you a sense of calm and well-being. They use a relaxation oil blend of lavender and ylang ylang to help you wind down and improve the quality of your sleep. And their delayed release of B-12 helps you to wake up energized. All I know is, I feel like a new person who can actually sleep again. Read More