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Aaronica

    which comes first? the other chicken or the egg?

    proverbially speaking of course.

    but in a marriage, which do you put first, your marriage/spouse or your children? this has been a hot topic and was recently (as in today) posed to me as well. my answer has always been the same. my spouse comes first.

    some people might be up in arms like, “OMG how could you put anything before your child?!?” for those that are religious, it’s in the bible it speaks to putting your spouse first always. for those that aren’t religious, it honestly just makes sense. just like how it’s crucial for a mom to have “me time” to be a better mother, it’s equally as important for spouses to have a strong connection so they can parent cohesively.

    even outside of parenting, your children are going to grow up and leave you and then have families of their own. if you’ve neglected your spouse during the time that you were raising your children, once they leave, you’re left with a stranger. the very cute chick flick “failure to launch” with matthew mcconaughey and sarah jessica parker touches on this. in the movie, once mcconaughey finally moves out at like 35, the mom doesn’t know how to act outside of her role as a mother.

    in all honesty, my priorities are as follows: God, me, the hubs, the babes. yes, in that order. if my spirit isn’t right, then honestly, nothing else is right either. for some this looks like a relationship with God through religion or other spiritual paths. for others, this may look differently. after getting my spirit right, then comes me. so what this looks like to me is making sure i’m taking the time out to handle what’s important for my growth and sanity. on sunday mornings, i take time out to give myself a facial and deep condition my hair, i work out, i make sure that the foods i’m putting in my body are healthy and delicious.

    these things come before my husband because i want to be a whole person for him. i don’t believe in this whole “you complete me” jazz. i want to be a whole person just like i want him to be complete as well. that way when we come together, we’re even greater. nurturing a connection with my husband is vital for my role as a mother and as a woman. we need to connect on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. we do this through texts throughout the day, conversations at night, snuggling, and other intimate times. we’re able to discuss parenting among other things that are important.

    having this strong connection with my husband makes us better parents for our girls. he knows how i feel about certain things and i know his feelings as well. so when mini comes and asks me something that she’s already gotten a “no” out of him for, i also say know showing a united front. but because he and i are affectionate, respectful, and loving, it sets the standard for what mini and baby abc should expect from relationships as well.

    so for me, the other chicken comes before the eggs–that way there’ll be more eggs 😉

    Copycat Arden’s Garden Yoga 1 Recipe

    The Arden's Garden Yoga 1 is one of my favorite fresh juices ever. I'm lucky that Arden's Garden is located local but I made this copycat recipe!

    When I was in college, my dad and I got into juicing before it became really popular. I remember picking out which juices we were going to make together and then falling in love with the standard carrot juice. But then I tried Arden’s Garden Yoga 1. Guys, this juice is seriously the best green juice I’ve ever tasted.

    Arden’s Garden Yoga 1

    This is organic energy waiting to be digested. Arden’s Garden is native to Atlanta and I’m so happy about that. They have a couple of juice bars where you can go and pick up one of their delicious juices, shots or smoothies. 

    The amount of money that I’ve spent on these juices is insane–but worth every penny spent on them. But in true DIY fashion, I figured that I could make my own at a fraction of the cost. I don’t know how true the fraction of the cost is but I do know that my version is sooooo good. 

    Copycat Arden’s Garden Yoga 1

    My version of the Arden’s Garden Yoga 1 juice. 

    Keyword Juice
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Juicing 5 minutes
    Servings 1 person

    Ingredients

    • 2 handfuls spinach
    • 3 whole apples cut and seeded
    • 1/4 in fresh ginger or more if you like!
    • 1/4 pineapple skinned

    Instructions

    1. Juice and enjoy!

    The Arden's Garden Yoga 1 is one of my favorite fresh juices ever. I'm lucky that Arden's Garden is located local but I made this copycat recipe!

    This is the first of many juices that I’ve come to love!!! We currently use the Breville Juice Fountain Juicer and love it. 

    The Breville Juicer we love!

    So do you juice? What are some of your favorite recipes?

    friday funny: the thing baby abc doesn’t have time for

    my husband and i working on our connection.

    yep, abc made this perfectly clear last night. what do i mean right?

    backstory: i believe in most of the principles of attachment parenting. this was an easy philosophy to adopt when i was a single mother. i would wear mini all.the.time. she slept with me until she was 1–like literally her first birthday was the first time she slept in a different room than me. so naturally with baby abc i’ve been going the same route. but things are a little different because i’m not single and i’m newly married. the hubs and i still have some newly wed bonding to do!

    current story: i’ve been working on getting baby abc to sleep on her own. she is probably the inventor of snuggling. she takes expert snuggling to the next level so getting her to sleep in her own space on her own is a challenge. this should really be read as mommy loves snuggling with her baby and isn’t 100% ready to have her sleeping on her own. i digress…

    last night we did our nightly routine: she screams and hollers at me and her boob till she finally calms down and lets the effects of nursing and snuggles take place. i put her into her co-sleeper next to bed. boom. she’s sleeping wonderfully. the hubs comes upstairs–i was getting my thursday night tv fix– and we snuggle, have pillow chat and really connect. it was great to just have some alone time with my husband! so great that we stayed up till her first nursing talking. but this was good! i nursed her, put her back in her co-sleeper, the hubs and i snuggled up and finally fell asleep around 12:30.

    here’s where i messed up……. abc starting rustling to nurse again around 4ish. i was half sleep and kinda woke her up when i put her in the bed to nurse. she latches, i fall back to sleep, she doesn’t. i wake up horrified as she begins boxing my nipple. major ouch. and then she wouldn’t go back to sleep! she was looking at me all cute and bright eyed with a look that said “i don’t give a single damb about you and daddy reconnecting!!! get your lazy butt up and rock me to sleep”.

    and i did.

    she had no regard for me trying to bond with my man… the nerve of her.

    i don’t want to go back to work

    i think that most new moms battle with this feeling. don’t get me wrong, i’m extremely grateful that i have a job to go back to. unlike after having mini, this time i actually have a source of income. i’m very happy that i don’t have to worry about how i’m going to pay for food, diapers, clothes, etc. but again, unlike after having mini, my mom isn’t going to be keeping abc.

    at the time, i really slept on the importance of having a family member–someone you trust–take care of your newborn child. now on the verge of having to send my newest baby into the arms of a potential stranger, i really appreciate having my mom and my network in myrtle beach keep mini until she was 7 months. at 7 months i wasn’t worried about her going to day care. i was grateful for it in fact. she went to school with the first baby she’d ever met, my friend’s son. i trusted them. it was good.

    this go round is very different. unfortunately we don’t have friends or family that could keep her for the first couple months of her life. and the anxiety is building about having to leave her. it’s not so much that i don’t want to go back to work. i like my job. i like the people i work with. in fact, they’re all parents and will understand if i’m mopey my first week back because i’m missing my baby like crazy. i’m tearing up now just thinking about it.

    i really want abc to go to the school that mini goes to. i love them. i trust them. my first born goes there and they love her, hug her, discipline her, and genuinely care about all the kids that go there. but you get what you pay for and believe that this school is an arm and a leg. it’s affordable, but expensive. there’s a “babysitter” that my co-worker uses that’s significantly cheaper that i’ll be calling on to check out soon but gosh, my anxiety is so high. i really don’t want to leave my baby with someone i don’t know and don’t know if i can trust.

    *le sigh* the joys of parenthood.

    sometimes being a mom sucks… and i guess that’s ok too

    i’m sitting here beating myself up because after a long week of talking back, screaming, crying, tantrums, and a smart mouth, i’ve finally lost my temper with mini. i feel guilty about my thoughts and it hit me that tonight i felt like it sucked being a mom. i’m not sure if this is ok because so often i read the FB status updates of “being a mother is the best job in the world” or “my child is so perfect/smart/charming/whatever” that i wonder if it’s just me and a handful other people who are having a smidge of trouble with these little people we’ve been assigned.

    i’ve decided that yes, motherhood is awesome but you know what? it sucks a lot of the time too. like when you’ve been battling with your 4.5 year old about bed time for the past week and on friday you finally lose your shit because you just want some adult time with your husband and you finally have the screaming baby asleep but is awakened because you’ve had to yell at the 4.5 year old about not being in their beds after they got tucked in. that sentence was the very definition of grammatically incorrect but i haven’t the energy to go back and re-write it because if you’re reading this, you’re probably a parent and totally understood what i was trying to say. i digress… sometimes parenting is awesome but it normally sucks ass right after a grandparent leaves.

    today was a particularly hard day. i’ve returned to working out which normally has my happy endorphin’s flowing but since this is my first week back, i’m a little sleepy with the early mornings. i had a great workout this morning. abc stayed in a nice slumber for me for the workout and a shower. we had a nice day surprising daddy at work with lunch and then kicking it with some of my work friends. i took a moment to pause from the things currently stressing me–where we’re going to send abc when i go back to work, how we’ll afford childcare and rent, if we should move or stay, if we move where do we move to, what’s going on with my STD payments, why haven’t i received my reimbursement for my dependent care, should we continue to switch banks, etc. There’s obviously a lot on my mind. but it was a nice day.

    which made it worse when i picked mini up and the meltdowns began. the first one was because she didn’t get to keep charlie the classroom stuffed animal for the weekend. they send the stuffed animal home with the kid and we’re all supposed to do these fun things, take lots of pictures, and look all happy. yay. she was really disappointed about not getting him and really let the waterworks flow once she got in the car. this i understood though i thought it was a little funny. i mean, she was really emotional about it. we talked through that one. then she had a full out tantrum when i told her that we wouldn’t be going to the disney store and buying any of the “dress ups” they have there. whenever she does this i always try to figure out who these tantrums work for. but we talked through this one as well. i felt good. she felt good.

    we get home. she’s bouncing off the walls. i settle her down. it’s now time for bed and shit hits the fan!!!! i really wish that she would just understand that life would be better if she would just listen. either way, i flipped my shit. she cried. i feel like a bad mom. and now the night is over.

    sometimes being a mom really does suck.

    play date fun

    when you become a parent, you learn that play dates are part of the plan. now, my oldest daughter has had plenty of “play dates”. i use this term loosely because they are dates in which my daughter played but they were with my friends and their kids. i don’t know if these qualify as official play dates because it was really just me hanging out with friends of mine that happened to have kids.

    but mini has a best friend at school. she has been wanting to have a play date with her forEVER. at a recent birthday party i finally exchanged information with the bff’s mom. while we were there we set up a tentative date. i went into a borderline catatonic state smiling and nodding. contrary to popular belief, i’m super shy and have a lot of trouble getting comfortable with new people.

    naturally i want her to have the play date. it’s great for her to play with more than just the kids of my friends. plus i really do want for her to have a best friend. i think all my friends i went to school with and i really do want her to have a friend that she’s made as a youngster and she grows with. but i don’t really know her mom. of course i’m open to getting to know her but it doesn’t seem like we really have much in common. she’s older than i am and definitely comes from a different background. i don’t want to just drop mini off with someone who’s a stranger to me. gah!

    of course i’m open to getting to know new people and have been anticipating this happening for sometime but sheesh, i guess i’d been putting off arranging play dates for so long that now i’ve got the anxiety! but i’m sure that everything will be fine and i’m fretting for nothing. i mean, these are both our first kids and we have that in common if nothing else. i absolutely cannot wait for mini to hang out with her friend and i’ll definitely be doing some research on getting to know people via google before then–don’t judge me!

    equipped with new equipment

    during yesterday’s postpartum doctor’s appointment i was given the all clear to resume my normal activities. after the awkward moment where my doc told me that i needed to make sure to use condoms during “all normal activities” in front of my mom, i began to rejoice! i celebrated this monumental moment by cancelling my LA fitness membership and shopping for some tools to use at home. as absurd as it sounds, i absolutely cannot wait to use all the things that i got!

    so what did i get and how do i plan on using them?

    kettle bell (8lb)

    i really wanted a 10 and 15lb kettle bell but all i could find at tj maxx was the 8lb one. i took that as the universe’s way of telling me to calm down and ease back into things. i fell in love with kettle bells about 3 years ago. i used to go to retro fitness and they had a bunch. one of the fitness apps i used at the time incorporated them. then i trained with a trainer that used to try to kill me with kettle bell swings. i loved every moment of it. i’ve found some really awesome HiiT workouts that will incorporate using the kettle bell. one of the great resources i’ve found for kettle bell moves is on the greatist‘s website.

    weighted gloves

    during my first couple of workouts i did a lot of punches and some secondary arm movements that would have been more effective if i had some more weight on there. so i found these nifty weighted gloves that are more comfy than the wrist weights. plus, when i use the kettle bell it’ll increase the weight as well.

    weighted jump rope 

    there’s nothing like doing strength training and cardio at the same time. talk about an increase in effectiveness. i remember the first time that i used one i was so sore after. this is what i’m looking for. this will be perfect for the high impact/cardio parts of my workouts.

    i didn’t use any of them today since i went for a jog–and i use this term loosely. it started out as a nice jog and then it went to a walk with some jogging sprinkled in there. my legs are super sore already from monday and tuesdays workouts. i feel like i barely did anything in my little 20 min workouts but apparently i was mistaken.

    what equipment do you use when working out? what are some of your most effective workouts?

    Having Two Kids: What They Don’t Tell You

    Having two kids was the most life changing event to date--not only for the good. There are so many things people just don't talk about. I did though.

    Let me start this post off by saying that 2 things:

    1. I love my girls and love being their mother.

    2. It’s taken an entire month to get to the place where i can finally put my finger on this to be able to share.

    It’s Scary In The Beginning

    Being a mom of two is scary in the beginning and no one really says that but that’s the truth and it’s ok. When I had mini, I was a little nervous but I’d been raising other people’s children for awhile. Things are very different when it’s your own but it wasn’t crazy. Having abc was a little different because my situation was different. I was already a mother to a crazy 4yo who is dealing with her own things in her life, I was a new wife to the man of my dreams and now I had this new person that was dependent on me. I’m a worrier and this new life was another person for me to worry about. And I worry A LOT. I wanted to stay home with abc as long as I possibly could so we cancelled mini’s after care with school. So from 3pm until 6pm I’m on my own with them.

    It’s Overwhelming

    Initially I had no idea what I was going to do with both of them. I was in a lot of pain from having abc and then I got some badly infected cysts that caused even more pain. But kids don’t really get that. I didn’t want mini to come home and park in front of the tv but at the same time I didn’t know what I would be able to handle. I cried. not a whole lot. But I cried with my husband who helped me make a plan which made me more comfortable.

    Having two kids was the most life changing event to date--not only for the good. There are so many things people just don't talk about. I did though.

    Your Kids Are Smarter And More Adaptable Than You Think

    I’d heard crazy and insane stories about how people would take both of their kids out at the same time and how overwhelmed they were. This wasn’t my experience and i’m quite happy about that. Mini, with all her excitement and energy, picked up on the behavior that I needed from her when we were out. I’ve yet to have an uncontrollable trip out with the two of them. Now, when my husband gets home, all bets are off. She returns to her wild, rambunctious self. and honestly, the only thing I can feel is appreciation because during the time I need her, she manages to be the biggest help that I can expect her to be.

    You’re Going To Cry

    Whether it’s the hormones, the overwhelming feelings, the sleepiness, or the pain, you’re going to cry–even if you’re not a crier. I felt so foolish sitting at the dinner table after excusing mini to her room play. I sat and I cried. And I didn’t know what I was crying about but I just knew I needed to cry. I cried about feeling like I had no idea what I was doing. I cried about feeling like a bad mom to mini. I cried about feeling like a bad wife to him. I cried about the fact I was sitting there crying. I didn’t want company. I didn’t want anyone but my husband with me. And I cried about being a bad friend, daughter, daughter-in-law because I just wanted to be alone with my man and my babies. Yeah, there were a lot of tears. but then they stopped.

    You’ll Get Into A Groove

    After you’re done crying, you realize that you’re ok and you’re going to make it. This feeling is an amazing one–one you want to hold on to for forever because you’ve finally realized that everything is alright. You aren’t a terrible mother. You aren’t an awful wife. your friends are more understanding than you expect. And your mother(s) have been there so they don’t expect crazy things from you. more importantly, you’ve realized that being a super woman doesn’t mean having the house cleaned everyday, an organic dinner made every night, an afternoon full of activities for your preschooler. it means loving your family, loving yourself, and doing the best you can every day.

    **Images courtesy of CreateHer Stock.

    sunday = goal setting day

    i’ve been home with abc for a month now. i’ve loved every minute of it. unlike most, i really love this newborn phase. they do so much growing during this time and i really enjoy the snuggling. but even though my (awesome and amazing) husband is insistent that i do too much and need to rest, i really want to return to being an active contributor to our home outside of birthing our new addition and being a human cow.

    so i’ve come up with a way that will not only allow me to contribute, but it’ll allow me to tap into my creativity and hopefully continue to push me in the direction that i ultimately want to go in–teaching and being a life coach. i’m working on balance though and not burning myself out. i’m such an extremist that my thought process is normally geared towards all or nothing. if i can’t spend 4 hours cleaning straight, i don’t want to do it period. but being a mom of 2 and a new wife and having responsibilities in all aspects here, it’s crucial that i get a little done a day so that i can be successful.

    here are my daily goals:

    monday – meal planning/grocery shopping, bathrooms, iron 5 things

    tuesday – vacuum downstairs, mop, handle sock situation, iron 5 things

    wednesday – mini’s room, master bed, vacuum upstairs, iron 5 things

    thursday – organize living room, iron 5 things

    friday – iron 5 things, relax

    saturday – iron

    sunday – relax

    i’m also addicted to pinterest, working on a book, returning to blogging, and attempting to return to exercising. so this means that i’ll have to incorporate these things in as weekly goals. i love to create things–this truly feeds my spirit in a way that non-creatives wouldn’t understand so this is a big must in my book. and i love writing and exercising. this is how i’m able to destress and express myself. pregnancy and postpartum thus far has shown me that i’m not as productive without these things so they also must be incorporated. but these are more weekly goals than daily.

    weekly goals:

    creative – “est. 2014 cole” sign, 1 t-shirt upcycle project, sweet potato butter

    writing – 3 blog entries/1 hour of writing

    exercise – 150 minutes of exercise

    in my head i want to do more but i have to remember that although i love the infant stage, they’re super needy and normally just want mommy at this phase. so these are my goals. boom.

    what goals do you have for the week?

    couponing: my epic fail

    when extreme couponing came on whatever channel it was on, i, like everyone else, was fully engaged in the show. watching these people cut coupons then go into a store and rack up a bill that was in the hundreds only to have the store owing them money was amazing to me. during this time it wasn’t in my time budget to coupon clip and look at circulars. but now that i’m on maternity leave, i thought i’d take a stab at it.

    i got a text from my bestie saying the grab the sunday paper because there was some kind of extreme sale going on. i had my husband grab it and bring it home. i clipped for what seemed like hours on end. then i logged into my publix and kroger accounts and clipped the virtual coupons for more hours on end. then from there i made a shopping list at each store. boom. i was feeling successful. here’s where i think i failed: i didn’t organize. and yes, i failed miserably.

    i went to publix first. i stuck to my list and only got the things that were on sale and that i had coupons for. publix is typically more expensive than kroger so this list was pretty short. like i can probably name everything that was on my list and what the discount price was kind of short. i get to the cash register and she rings everything up. the total was $115 and some change. i was a little flabbergasted at the price since my cart really wasn’t full. but my coupons hadn’t been applied yet. i give my phone number and coupons and i prepare myself for that number to start coming on down. if you blinked you would have missed how many numbers i came down. after all my coupons, my total was $107 and some change.

    i saved about $8. eight.fricking.dollars.

    i don’t know if anger is an accurate description of how i felt. i felt like screaming and hollering like abc does when she’s strapped in her carseat and ready to eat. rage. i felt rage.

    how was it that i’d managed to miss the mark so badly??? i mean, all that time and cutting for $8???? yes, i failed miserably. i’m going to try again and this time i’ll organize but after this, i’m done.

    eight.damn.dollars.