Things to remember- SJ 2.5 years (and some change)



This post is going to be more for me because there are things I just never want to forget about SJ at this age. Seriously 2 and a half is my favorite.  I hope I never forget the joy you bring us, the things you say and the way you say them.  The kid is magical, even if he is going through sleep regression and I am once again sleep deprived.  My current favorites are as follows:

1. When you grab your “gi-gi” and come up to me and say, “I snuggle you?”, to which I always say, “I WILL snuggle you!”

2. The fact that you know all your colors, and the adorable way you say yellow (ellloow one?)  You are doing well with your counting as well.

3. You freaking love bath time or as we call it “tubby time”.  So hard to get you out of there, you are such a fish.  Speaking of which you always grab your swim shorts and ask to either go “beach” or “swimming”

4. The fact that when your dad doesn’t answer you, you call him Steve.  “Mama where is Steve?”

5. When you eat something good you say “mmmmm a-licious!”

6. Your undying love of Thomas the Train.  We have fed into this love by buying you an obscene amount of Thomas the Train trains and tracks but it makes you so happy, how could we not?  You know all the train names even though we just started watching the show and there are a lot of train names.  You learned them all by yourself by watching YouTube.  You love YouTube.  You also carry all your trains around in a Mickey Mouse bag I got from the dollar store that is about to break from the weight.

7. Your favorite food is probably cucumber.  You are an insanely good eater, despite your gluten intolerance, I am so impressed by you.  It has been a long road and I am happy we are where we are.  You also love soup, especially from PF Changs.

8. You also inappropriately say, “DAMN GINA!” which you picked up from me a long time ago and just hung on to.  Well truth be told we may encourage it sometimes because it is freaking hilarious.  I know I know, parent of the year.

9. You giggle hysterically every time you say “ooo gross!”. I think it is a boy thing.  Then you say “that’s funny”.

10. You love your dogs.  You ask about them all the time by name, especially Max.  He has become your partner in crime.  Max drives your dad and I crazy, but you have all the patience for that pup and love to play into his antics and him yours.

11. I just can’t believe how smart you are.  You really listen to me and respond.  You are decisive and you know exactly what you want when you want it. Our favorite is when you answer, “yeah sure” or sometimes “I’m not sure” with your hands up.  You are kind, and loving, and I will take your “hugs and kisses” every second of every day.  You love to play with the kids older than you and I just love to watch you drink it in- you follow their actions and words and fit right in.  My absolute favorite is your love of music and dancing.  You ask me to put “shake it off” on the iPad (Taylor Swift) and you know all the dance moves from the video.

You have exceeded all my wildest imaginations of what I thought you might be.  We love you so much, like so so so VERY much! And now I can’t wait to go home and hear you say, “MOMMY!” as I walk through the door and get one of your smiles and huge hugs.

You are the best!






To the lady who asked if something was wrong with my kid at Nordstroms

I’m sorry I lost my cool and my mama claws came out but when you saw my child crying and screamed across the store, “looks like someone is throwing a tantrum” and then proceeding to walk up to me and ask if something was wrong with my kid you really struck a cord with me.  Instead of swearing and marching out I should have just said this:

No, nothing is wrong with my child.  He is 2-years old and a boy at that.  He is not North West, sitting quietly at Valentino’s brunch admiring the expensive decor. He makes a jungle gym out of everything he can and he choose the Nordstroms escalator as his playground today.  After I took him up and down 3 times I told him we had to go and he got bummed, I mean wouldn’t you?  I am assuming you don’t have kids and you probably don’t know much about toddler boys so let me tell you, to a 2-year old boy escalators are pretty rad.

As for my outburst.  Parenting is REALLY hard.  It is especially hard to be a parent outside the comfort of your home.  You have to find entertainment in the smallest things just so you can get an errand done.  Please don’t take for granted a quick trip to the grocery store or making a return to Nordstroms because once you have a child these will become huge exercises of strength and patience.  On this particular today I was tag teaming errand running with my husband which is actually a real treat because usually it is me doing the errand running and the toddler taming, I mean entertaining, all by myself- I mean can you imagine?!  I felt like I was doing a stand up job entertaining my kid while not driving the customers and store employees crazy, so when you called this into question I took major offense to it.  Oh and by the way, before you ask why I would even bother bringing my toddler to Nordstroms when I had my husband, we were trying to get him (my son) new shoes, but the kids shoe department is conveniently right next to the escalators, so yeah.

The real reason I took such offense to these comments is because I put into question every single decision I make as a parent.  I constantly feel like I am doing the wrong thing and wonder if my decisions are going to result in ruining my child’s future as an adult.  I realize these are my insecurities shining through but the reality of the situation is it is the truth and I am not alone in feeling this way.  I just don’t understand why as human beings we can’t spend more time building one another up instead of finding ways to tear people down.

So the next time you see a sweating mom trying to wrangle a crying child, don’t ask her what is wrong tell her she is doing a good job because at the end of the day we are all just doing the best we can.


Laura a.ka. a mother to a wild but totally awesome 2 year old boy

The season of change


It’s funny how everyday goes by similar to the one before it.  Hello December, here we are again at the end of another year.  We are quickly approaching January, the start of a new year, which brings on all the feelings and thoughts of change.

It’s interesting how many people I talk to that aren’t exactly satisfied to the fullest with their current situation, the current situation usually pertaining to their work or career, but nobody knows what to do to make the change to find or do something they really love waking up and doing everyday.

It is like a merry go round that you can’t figure out where to get off.

I know for me, I have dreams of businesses I would like to start, inventions I would like to make, and blogs I would like to write, but when do I find the time to start and where do I start?  It can be quite overwhelming at times.  I am crazy busy from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, if I didn’t have to sleep I probably wouldn’t.  There are literally not enough hours in the day. Is this an excuse or is it reality?

Don’t get me wrong I am extremely thankful and grateful for my current situation.  I am thankful I have a job to go to that provides flexibility and income for my little family.  Life is good, I am thankful.  But there are days where I want more, I want to be truly excited about what I am doing everyday.  I want to spend more time with my son, while achieving greatness for myself.

So many of us want change, we crave that change but we just don’t know where to begin.

SJ turns 2 – the party

I am finally getting around to posting pictures from SJ’s birthday party- well look at me!  Only how many months later?

This party is something I through together fairly last minute.  June was a busy month with our first big family vacation to Hawaii, work, etc.  I was so embarrassed I didn’t even send out formal invites or an evite.  I literally just emailed people 2 weeks before-eek! At any rate, we pulled it off and it was a very special day.  My mom and grandma even came up from San Diego!

It was a fish theme and I decorated the inside of my house with this nautical banner from Amazon.  It was huge so I cut it up to put it in different places.  I also bought a party pack from an Etsy shop, Dream Party Paperie, that had a birthday banner, door sign, and cupcake toppers.  Super cute!

For the favors I got water bottle labels from the Etsy shop, jjinspirationstudio and put them on bubble bottles with a custom gift stickers from Tiny Prints.  We also set up a table outside where the kids could decorate their own treat bag to use for the pinata.  You know what is hilarious?  Watching a bunch of toddlers experience a pinata for the first time.

We rented a bounce house for the backyard and I don’t think I will ever have  a party without one again.  Kids go crazy for those things!  It made me so happy to see SJ so happy jumping in that thing.

I forgot to take pictures of the food but my husband BBQ’ed hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages. We also made brushetta, caprese skewers, fruit skewers, pasta salad, ceasar salad, and meatballs.

I made the cake myself (with my mama’s help).  I got the idea from Pinterest, here.  We made cupcakes as well for the dessert table. SJ didn’t quite get the whole “blowing out the candles” thing, maybe next year!

I also made a “sushi bar” with all sorts of different kids of goldfish.  I got the idea from the fabulous Erin of Erin loves Earl and Candy Kirby Designs.  She is amazing, seriously I have never in my life seen someone so creative and talented.

Enjoy the pictures below!

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SJ turns 2 – an update


I can’t believe this little monkey is 2.

At 32 lbs and 34 inches you are just as precious and sweet as ever.  I have never met a little boy who is as organized as you.  You will line up your toys by size or color, it really is incredible to see. I once walked outside to see you had organized all your balls by size against the back fence.  You have also done it with all the play food.  You are quite sporty my friend, you especially love “soccer ball”.  In fact you call every ball you see a “soccer ball”.  I am thrilled we got you signed up to start playing already.

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Your favorite shows are Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Thomas the Train (or as you call it chooo, chooo). I love how you know the names of each of these shows and can tell me exactly which one you want to watch.

Your dad and my favorite thing you do though, is when you want one of us to come with you, you say “hee whoo” and point in the direction you want us in (or down at the ground- but always a point). I have to get a video tape to record it accurately because it is AMAZING.  It is hilarious and we absolutely adore it.

We put you in swim lessons this summer and it was fun.  You were a little defiant at times but now that we look back it was probably because you weren’t feeling well since we now know you have a gluten intolerance.  You are such a fish though.  You really love the water and played in the ocean in Hawaii and San Diego this summer.  You are also totally fine with getting your stool and putting it up against the kitchen sink and playing with that water as well.

You love to be tickled, dance, laugh and color.  We put you in a toddler bed shortly after your second birthday because you were crawling out of your crib you sneaky fella you.  This was no surprise to us as you are such a monkey.  We were only surprised it took you to 2 years old!

You are talking up a storm and get so excited about the little things in life like a set of keys or fruit snacks. You are starting to play well with other children and you are a big hit at school being the youngest and all.

We love you so much little one and can’t wait to keep watching you grow into your own.  You are one very special kid.

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Hello friends


Well it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?  I wish I had a good reason for not blogging but really I have just been busy, as in hanging on for dear life.  It’s that mom life.

A lot has gone on in the past few months I am going to try and go back and post about.  We went on our first ever family vacation to Hawaii, SJ turned 2(!!), started school, we have been through health issues, wellness and back again.

I am still cooking 6 nights a week, still anxiously awaiting to finally get pregnant with baby #2, still trying to find the magic secret to doing it all as a working mother.

So shortly after my last post back in March, I decided to try Whole30 and ended up getting really sick.  I was having extremely bad stomach pains (different than a stomach ache).  I would be doubled over in pain and popping tums and pepto like it was freaking skittles.  It was extremely frustrating for me to being getting sick from healthy foods especially when I was working so hard on my journey. I had ultrasounds and an endoscopy and they couldn’t find a concrete answer as to what was going on.  On my own I kept track of how I felt after all my meals and concluded that it was foods high in potassium that were making me sick.  So strange and so scary since potassium plays such a crucial role in the ol’ ticker.  The doctors didn’t seem concerned (or to even believe me) but that is one of the many issues I have had lately with doctors, which warrants it’s own post.  I think I just over did it as my diet was basically consisting of high potassium foods (bananas, sweet potatoes, lara bars-(dates), almonds, avocados).  I am doing much better now and have even brought most of these foods back into my diet in moderation.

I did gain some weight back during all this but have recently gotten back into running long distance and we are now a gluten free family (story coming soon) so I am hoping this will all pay off.

So this is basically a post, to let everyone know I am still alive and a preview of the things I will be posting here shortly.

This summer was a good one, wasn’t it?

Fitness Update + Meal Planning 6


Happy Friday!  I am doing my meal planning at the end of the week because we went a little off schedule this week.  I am so proud though because even though we had a few changes to our schedule I still managed to use the groceries I bought to cook every night.  I am coming a long way!

First a quick update on my path to greater health and fitness (and hopefully weight loss too).  I started week 3 of T25 yesterday and I am feeling AMAZING.  I have more energy than I have in a long time and I feel downright good.  Granted a lot of this has to do with the fact that I have really cleaned up my eating and have been trying to eat as clean and whole as I can.  I feel myself getting stronger and the work outs getting more manageable.  I also squeezed in 2 runs this past weekend because I was feeling that good.   I take my measurements tomorrow and I am hoping for a little success that will encourage me to keep working harder and harder.

This is what we cooked this week:


Sunday: Corned beef and cabbage because DUH.  I am 100% Irish so naturally we had to celebrate in style.  I cooked it in the crock pot along with carrots and potatoes.  SJ loved it- that’s my boy!

Monday: Salsa chicken Mexican casserole

So this was a rework.  I had originally planned to do salsa chicken tacos.  I made the salsa chicken the crock pot (jar of salsa and a little taco seasoning). I felt like it didn’t come out with enough flavor to serve alone, so I put it into a Mexican enchilada casserole- boom.

Tuesday: Baked salmon with steamed veggies (carrots and broccoli) and brown rice and quinoa (this mix is so freaking good and SO easy)

Wednesday: BBQ chicken asparagus and wild rice  

We were originally going to have lemon pepper chicken but the weather was so nice I asked my hubby to BBQ.

Thursday: Pesto ground turkey with tomatoes and broccoli.  I made pesto pasta for the the boys and I had brown rice.

This was by far the winner of the week in my opinion.  It was SO GOOD.  I just browned a little ground turkey with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I then stirred in some grape tomatoes and pesto sauce.  I steamed some broccoli separately and then stirred it in.   It was light, lean, and really yummy.

Friday: NIGHT OFF.  We will probably head out tonight to eat.  I have been cooking on Saturday nights lately too so this lady needs a break.

* Bonus meal: SJ and I made these banana oat cookies that were absolutely divine from my favorite Lauren at Eating Whole.  They were easy and I even felt comfortable with SJ eating one for breakfast the next morning.  Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!


Days like these


This post is probably going to be uninteresting to all of you, I am mostly writing it for myself.  I want to make sure I never forget magical weekends like these.  Weekends full of so much good stuff.  We didn’t do anything particular but SJ was happy and I was happy and I felt like I CAN DO THIS all weekend.  I can kick ass as a mom, and there is no better feeling than that.

Friday night we had a great dinner at a restaurant with no fits.  Just my well behaved child eating chicken dumplings at PF Changs and coloring nicely on the black and white panda the hostess kindly left for us.  We went home, let SJ stay up just a little too late but that is okay.  I didn’t work out but I think my body needed a rest.

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Saturday morning I woke up at 7 am, SJ woke up at 8.  I laid in bed watching TV until he woke up.  He woke up happy has the sun shined on his face, such a big smile in his crib.  He handed me Gigi (his blanket) and I carried him out.  We watched cartoons as he drank milk in bed.  My husband had to work, so SJ and I cooked breakfast (eggs and turkey bacon) as we played outside in the warm sun.   Around 10:45 we decided to run to the park (well I ran, SJ sat in the stroller I pushed).  The park is SJ’s love language.  He is so happy there.  We came home at lunch and SJ took a nap.  I did at T25 video.  Once SJ woke up we had to do our weekend errands: Costco and Trader Joe’s.  There was a fit thrown at Costco for Oreos but other than that we carried on.  It was so warm outside, I decided to treat SJ to his first overpriced ice cream at Cold Stones.  We stood together in a long line in a hot and humid shop waiting patiently for our turn.  We ordered a sweet cream with oreos and sprinkles.  SJ LOVED it, but would you expect anything less?   Steve was at his brother’s bachelor party in San Francisco at this point so we came home to the dogs.  We played with the neighbors for a half hour  before dinner.  I made pesto spinach tortellini’s for SJ and maple glazed brussel sprouts with chicken sausage for me.  We played together until bedtime, I put SJ down and climbed into bed shortly after myself.


Sunday morning we woke up and decided to make homemade blueberry muffins from scratch.  I love cooking with SJ.  You helped with everything- the pouring, the measuring, we watched as the kitchenaid mixed it all together.  Shortly after they finished baking, Steve came home.  He was understandably beat so SJ and I decided to play outside to give him a break.  I set up his water table and we had a blast.  As I went in to start getting lunch ready, I came back and SJ had taken off his diaper and jumped in the water table for a swim.  It was hysterical, I love that kid so much.   I dried SJ off, we lunched it up, and then it was off for nap time.  I took this opportunity to go for a long run by myself and it was AMAZING.  It was one of those really good runs where my I felt like nothing could stop me or take me down.  After nap time, we played and ate corned beef and cabbage for dinner in honor of our heritage and St. Patrick’s Day.

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You see, there was nothing major that happened.  We didn’t go to Disneyland or to the beach or on an extravaganza.  We spent quality time at home just me and you kid and it was so special to me.  I never want to forget days like these.  You are the most amazing person I have ever met and if it is even possible I love you more and more each day.


Meal Planning 5


You didn’t think I would forget did you??  Here is what I planned and am cooking this week.  Also, last week I started T25 and can I just say so far so good.  It is a tough workout but I am really enjoying it.  It keeps me motivated and sore but most of all it is inspiring me to keep eating healthy.  I need to find a fabric tape measure so I can start to measure my progress!

Sunday: Steak + Chicken + Zucchini + Rice  (We basically just used leftover food that we had in our fridge and freezer that needed to be cooked up- 1 steak, 2 chicken breasts and a zucchini)

Monday: Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts with Chicken Sausage

This was freaking amazing!! I could eat this 3 nights a week.  Seriously- it was that good.  I left off the pomegranate seeds and used 2 links of Italian chicken sausage and 2 links of spicy Italian chicken sausage and this was so money.  The spicy was a nice compliment to the sweet sprouts.  Plus I would also recommend going heavy on the caramelized onions because in my opinion it made this dish.

Tuesday: Orzo with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Feta

This was another win.  Usually my husband graciously eats my creations whether he likes them or not, but this he said “this is really good” after one bite.  Without me even having to prompt him with my incessant asking “do you like it? do you like it?” I have been trying to not make a lot of pasta and stay mostly gluten free to keep with my weight loss but this was well worth it.

Wednesday: Turkey Taco Salad  A staple in my house.

Thursday: Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Wish me luck.  This time I am going to crock pot it all day while I am at work, hopefully this is a success.

Friday: Night off or easy meal.

*Bonus: Last Saturday we actually made an excellent meal.  We made a pasta with pesto, chicken, sausage, broccoli, and tomatoes.  Again I tried to eat mostly the veggies and meat to lay of the gluten pasta but it was so good.  PLUS this means last week I cooked 6 nights- boom!  I will make it again, photograph, and post the recipe.


Shrimp Orzo


Maple Brussel Sprouts with Chicken Sausage

Weekends are hard

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I know you must be thinking, “what?!, you cray girl!”  But truth be told, weekends can be hard.  They can also be ridiculously amazing.

A weekend is only two days and it can be hard to fit in everything I need and want to do in just those two days. All I really WANT to do is spend time with my kiddo and do fun things.  You know, maybe go somewhere cool, see a giant smile on his face because I just really nailed it in the fun department.  The reality of the situation is I also have to grocery shop, Costco, Target, clean, and do laundry (yes I realize I made Costco and Target verbs, I mean they kind of are).  I always feel guilty schlepping my son along on these tedious errands since he already spends a lot of car time commuting with me weekly.  I want him to spend as much time on the weekends being free and having fun!

At the end of the day I am just a mom doing my best to balance it all. I know this post probably sounds like a rant but I am hoping it will be a reminder.  A reminder that someday when I am fortunate enough to either be a SAHM, working from home mom, or part time SAHM, that I will appreciate the luxury that is going to a Costco on a Tuesday morning.

It’s the little things in life.