Oogie Boogie Bash - FAQ’s Answered! Plus our party schedule to help you plan yours!Read More
Recently we visited Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort and opened up my social media for any questions you had. I received over 80 questions about visiting Disneyland during Halloween Time as well as visiting the parks in general. I’ve answered the your frequently asked questions here! Plus, I’m sharing my favorite moments from our visit!Read More
Dan and I are fresh from five days well spent in Cancun, Mexico! This trip will definitely live on as one of the most relaxing adventures we’ve ever experienced. Which is exactly what my goal was when planning this surprise trip. Earlier this year Dan and I decided to plan more surprises if you will. In hopes of igniting that giddy passion from our years of dating. I have been working on this trip for a few months now and I managed to keep it a secret up until we arrived at our flight gate! When I finally told him we were headed to Cancun, his face was priceless. Like an excited schoolboy when the last bell of the day rings. Dan is very much a man of small emotion, so to get him to emote such surprise was awesome!
We spent our five days napping and swimming between the beach and pool. Our hardest moments of the day were when we had to choose which drink to enjoy. It was honestly the best time and dare I say I fell in love with my husband just a bit more than I already do? Time just us is such a treat. Though everyone says it is much needed, it is truly so hard to come by! Even the simplest of date nights can seem so daunting to plan at times. Not just sitter wise but emotionally daunting. At least for me, my heart broke when it came time to leave Mila. Not kidding, I turned into a blubbering hot mess wherein everything seemed to come crashing down. Our surprise trip destination was nearly blown, then Mila climbed into her stroller that was parked in our hallway and fell out bonking her head and I suddenly found myself laden with fear. Like why, why would I even try to leave her for so long?! But my mom kicked me out the door and we were suddenly on our way. Though the loss of my son may lead some to think my over protractedness is only natural … Every mom can relate to the inner struggle of leaving our babies with any caregiver other than yourself! It is hard!
Once we checked in and signed into the WiFi things were fine. My mom send Mila updates via text and Snapchat which were hysterical. The hours spent lounging together were re-filling our inner cups. We hadn’t taken a trip just us in a while and though hard to plan and hard to leave Mila it was beyond needed. I have mentioned on my blog (and Instagram) that the end of last year and early this year had been pretty difficult. Not just because of the holidays and dealing with emotions tied to grief, but Dan and I had frankly slipped into a frumpy rut. The love was not lost but the lust rather had been buried beneath work and our children. Honest, Dan was in the midst of building his own personal training business as I was getting ready to launch my third product for Baby Boy Bakery Kids and we somehow fell behind on taking care of US. Most days we found ourselves talking about each others schedule and giving a high five to each other as we traded off watching Mila while the other worked. To be truthful, last year was one of the most beautiful ones as it was our first year with Mila in our lives. But even as second-time parents having a newborn threw us both for a loop! A lot of the time we felt like we were drowning a bit and it all kind of came to a head at the end of last year. It was one of those things I didn't feel comfortable talking about because it seemed insane to feel so heavy when holding our gift of a newborn baby! Rest assured last year was great! It just came with a few bouts of struggle too.
It is very easy to post a smiling photo, but don't forget that there is a story behind those smiles and hard work to support them upright. That goes for everyone guys, not just us. I have now come to realize that comparison offers nothing but death to happiness. So comparing you or your relationship or your children to others around you or others on social media is toxic. This is a something I have to remind myself of often, daily even! The good thing though? Seeing how others do life can be really inspiring. It can offer ideas and advice that you can form fit to your own lifestyle. What is better than seeing something and then applying it for the betterment of your family? (just a random thought here, something I have been struggling with lately is the comparison thing.)
It is with that notion that I had to share, Dan and I work hard at our marriage like most. It isn’t easy, but things that are easy aren’t worthwhile right?! I've listed a few "tips" or things that I have come to learn in keeping our marriage a happy one. They might not work for you and most of you may already do them! Quite frankly they are things I need to refresh myself with from time to time. Being married is all about compromise and a forever give and take. I will say for certain, Dan and I aren’t perfect. Not in the least. But at times we feel perfect and we laugh after fights. We try really hard to make each other happy and we also try really hard to push each other's buttons because then can be fun sometimes too ;) We try new things and revisit things that we have been through whether they were hard or fun. It is most important to take a look back at the path we have trail blazed thus far, doing so makes us excited for our future.
Saying “I Love You” - I mentioned in our New Years Resolution blog post earlier this year that Dan and I need to try and say “I Love You” more. During our frumpy rut last year we weren’t saying it out loud as often and I simply wanted to hear it more. So I brought it to his attention and we both set a goal to say “I Love You” more. I think after being with one person for so long things can get dusty and lay within our sub-conscious. Like we know we love each other, but we didn’t say it out loud often. Making us both aware of it was important and now we are conscious of our words and how impactful they can be.
Communication Is Key (& Be Specific) - This is simple, speak whats on your mind. It is easier said than done though. What I have learned is that I was constantly getting upset that certain things weren’t getting done. Things I thought were common knowledge. But when dealing with men things are just different. They don’t think like we do. So, I started detailing things I needed help with. Things I needed Dan to get done. Having that open line of communication is so helpful and it makes me feel like we are a well-oiled machine at times. I do think though that compromise comes into play major here because when we speak our mind and detail things we want it might not always be reciprocated. So even though communication is key, coming to a compromise is the goal.
Time Away Just The Two Of Use + Time Away From Each Other - The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from my mother on the day of my baby shower for my son Ryan. She said “Be sure to not let your lives revolve around your baby. Make time for just you and Dan because once the baby grows up and moves out you don’t want to turn and look at your husband like he is a stranger.” For whatever reason that suck in my brain and has hard as time away from our kids is, it is that time just for ourselves is what keeps us afloat. Both Dan and I feel so refreshed after Cancun! It goes without saying that you can’t survive on empty and taking time to ourselves is a way to refill. What is also important is taking a few days just for us solo. For example, last month Dan went on a rafting trip with his brothers for a weekend. In turn, I plan a girls night out or a few days up north visiting my best friend Holly. I hold this thought in high regard, I never want to lose the Jacqui I was prior to having kids. And I never want Dan to lose that in himself either.
Life has a funky way of twisting and turning things over and over until we are forced to grow and evolved. Which is great! But let us not forget who we once were, let us not forget who were when we fell in love.
We have been spending all our long Summer days together at the beach and it has been so beautiful. By beautiful I mean not just the gorgeous scenery, but watching Mila and her fearless demeanor when running into the waves is out of this world amazing to see. Going to the beach was one of Ryan’s favorite Summer activities. He has that same fearless attitude when it came to water and pouncing into the shoreline. Seeing Mila resemble her big brother in that way nearly takes the breath out of me. I feel so lucky. Of course, remembering Ryan always brings on a bit of bitter to the otherwise sweet scene. Though thinking about him, talking about him is worth the pain … simply because it always ends up reminding me of the great he was. The great he still is within us all. Especially his little sister.
Heading the beach with Ryan those first few times as he at the peak of his toddlerhood was daunting. At first I really wasn’t expecting the struggle and down right cardio it took to rangle a toddler on the sand. The beach really must seem like a giant open play area equipped with water and a never ending sandbox. Both kids run wild the second their feet sink into the sand, they either run straight into the waves which gives me a heart attack or head straight into another families beach set up to check things out. Because who believes in personal boundaries when your two years old? Now, I realize that all little ones are different. But all I know is wild, which I am grateful for. So beach going with Ryan proved to be interesting, hard at first but I soon got the hang of it. Last year taking Mila to the beach was quite easy because she wasn’t crawling or really interested in the water. We sat under the umbrella and enjoyed the sound of the waves. This year we spending the majority of our time holding on to her as thinks she can swim right into the crashing shoreline. We build sandcastles so she can demolish them. And we eat a hefty amount of re-fueling snacks. Gone are the days where heading to the beach meant laying out on a towel, reading a book or falling asleep while listening to my iPod. Now we head to the beach for a full day of sandy fun and try to keep up with our ever curious kid. (I’ll enjoy the later every day if I could)
Since we are heavy beach goers I have developed a few tricks I like to do that make my life a bit easier. I am no pro and honestly I am pretty casual compared to most. I love letting my kids get dirty and explore on their own. But if you are heading to the beach with a toddler here are few things to possibly keep in mind …
Applying sunblock to a squirmy child could be a sport. Of course both my kids are redhead and fair skinned and both my kids loath putting on sunblock. Especially when I put it on their face. If someone wanted to rub lotion all over my body I’d lay still and enjoy it, but I’m not a toddler I guess. You might already to do this, but try applying a nice full coat of sunblock before heading down to the beach. I like to do this to so getting sandy isn’t an issue. I also apply a layer of sunblock while my kids are just in a swim diaper. This way I can get every inch of their body in case their bathing suit or rash guard moves. Try and use a sunblock that contains zinc, I love Supergoop Play Mineral Mist sunblock and their new Super Power Mousse. I’ve been using Supergoop ever since Ryan was little and just love the products. The consistency and texture is smooth and goes on really easy. I also love that it rubs in and absorbs quickly. Which helps a ton when your kid is screaming their head off. I’ve also found that offering Mila a snack while applying that second layer of sunblock mid-day is helpful. It keeps her occupied and still. For me I think you can never have too much sunblock on!
I love love love a baby in a bikini! But truthfully full coverage is key and kids in bathing suits are downright adorable … keeping them covered and free from sunburn is better. Both of my kids wear rash guards which I have found to be the easiest way to have peace of mind when playing in the sun for hours. I buy them big at the start of summer so they can wear them all season long. I will say, having kids in just a rash guard and bathing suit bottoms is easier. Last week Mila wore a one piece and the rash guard over, which was fine at first. But it made diaper changes a little more difficult because I had to completely undress her. O’niel makes great rash guards for kids!
Nap time at the beach is touch and go. Mila has never been a great napper and I typically follow her lead when it comes to day time sleep. If she seems overly crabby and keeps rubbing her eyes I know its time for a little rest. I always undress her completely, rinse her off and put a fresh swim diaper on. I wrap her in her towel and she’ll go down (in my arms). With Ryan we were able to lay him down under an umbrella, but Mila is a bit more high maintenance. We rinse off her bathing suit and lay it out to dry so when she wakes up we put sunblock on again, her semi-dry suit and she is off to the races again. Recently a friend on Instagram mentioned baby powder as a way to get sand off. I tried it and it definitely works. I bought a travel size and keep it in my beach bag now! This works great if you have to get sand out of their diaper area ;) or their face and hands before snack time.
Ok so snacks at the beach are a huge highlight for my kids. Scaring me as they charge the water is their favorite, eating comes in as their second favorite. I have found that keeping a stash of healthy snacks that are unique to the beach has been helpful. This way anytime Mila begs for a “nack” I can offer her a variety healthy options like; fruits, granola bars and cheese. I also try and offer snacks that she doesn’t normally get at home. For example, nectarines she gets excited for at the beach because she doesn’t eat them at home. I switch up her normal cheese sticks and give her new granola bars. I don’t know really why I started to do that, maybe because I thought it would keep her attention longer so she would sit still and eat rather than roam around and eat. Which always leads to her tripping and getting the snack covered in sand. But I do always remember getting special treats when on vacation as a little kid, so this is probably an extension of that. Some snacks we enjoy are; That’s It bars, Annie’s Fruit Bunnies, Natures Bakery Fig Bars, mini boxes of raisins and stone fruits (which travel well to the beach). We keep a small cooler lunchpail and only drink water. We use Klean Kanteen water bottles which keep our water ice cold all day!
You know, you can only play in the sand and get pummeled by waves for only so long. One thing we like to do is go for a walk. We’ll take our personals, but otherwise leave our stuff and take a nice walk down the beach and back. It is a nice way to break up the day and get Mila’s wiggles out. Right now she is obsessed with birds and loves chasing them down the shoreline. Taking a walk always seems to ground us in a way, Dan and I end up talking about upcoming Summer plans or stay quite and soak in Mila. I think a lot of the time we both end up thinking about Ryan and have our own way of embracing our life as it was and as it is now. Honestly, if all else fails. Go for a walk to clear your head, get your wiggles out and remember why life is so damn good. Even in the midst of dark times you can seek goodness to be had. Promise.
Sand games are a huge hit in our family! Right now Mila is all about destructing sand castles, but soon she’ll grasp a few games and beg to play them. Here are few ideas you can do with your little ones; Set up 8-10 bucket sand castles and race to destruct them all. Outline 6 different shapes in the sand a few feet from each other, then have your child jump into the shape you call out. Dig 3 holes at various lengths away from you and toss a ball into the holes. Designate points for each hole and who ever has the most points in the end wins. (Winner gets to dump a bucket of water on their opponent!)
In all honestly I think the main thing to remember is, sand everywhere is inevitable. Embrace it. A full beach day with your toddler will be messy, but great fun. Follow their lead and soak in every moment (even the hard ones). Take a ton of photos that also include YOU in them (don't worry about your body). You and your children will love to look back at the fun you had together! Cheers to Summer and the gift of beach days with our little ones!