Monday, September 18, 2017

It isn't all rainbows & sunshine.

I had a person close to me ask me a question, or maybe this person was making more of a statement about who they think I am. Regardless, it hurt my feelings and made me want to write about the realities of recovering from anxiety and depression, and why one should never judge a book by its cover. Especially when you don’t know what the chapters of that book entail.

 Seemingly out of nowhere, I was recently asked, “do you always have to be so perfect? Is everyday really all rainbows and sunshine? It just seems like that would be so exhausting.” The person who asked me this question and made this statement, is kind of a dick. I’m just going to put that out there, and so I’m used to random and sometimes hurtful things being said by them to me and to others. Still, it really hurt my feelings and then made me feel so upset that I even allowed it to hurt me or make me question who I am and how I come off to those around me.

It would appear that to this individual, I act like I am perfect and I come off as too positive and happy, too much of the time. Who knows, maybe they’re right – but you know what else I know to be true, they weren’t there when I was drowning in life and depressed for 2+ years, so they don’t understand why I am the way I am today. Do I highlight the good stuff, yeah. Are 95% of the pictures I share on social media of my family’s smiling faces, yes, they are. Do I make big deals out of holidays and even the smallest of special events – yes, guilty as charged. Does this mean that my life, my marriage or my family is perfect? No, of course it doesn’t. Does this mean that I’ve never known struggle or the overwhelming darkness of anxiety and depression? Hell no, it doesn’t. 

What this person doesn’t know is what I went through during my journey to get to where I am and who I am today, and how it broke me and then changed me for the better. They don’t know that along with having a broken spirit while trying to conceive, I lost what felt like half my head of hair due to a bad mix of anxiety and fertility drugs. They weren’t there when I was coloring my bald spots in with brown eyeshadow or crying in my car anytime a friend or family member mentioned my thinning hair. They weren’t there that Mother’s Day weekend when I went through the pain of losing the baby that was growing inside of me. They didn’t see me crying in the shower after not 1 but 4 of my cousins announced their unexpected pregnancies while I gained more and more weight harvesting eggs for my IVF retrieval. The IVF retrieval and FET that wasn’t meant to be. They don’t know how much anxiety robbed me of time with my family and friends for most of those 2+ years, because sometimes I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house.

You all know about all of this, because I wrote about it and so many of you helped me through it. I can never thank you enough for that. I was open about it all. The sadness. The impact it had on my marriage. The mom guilt knowing that I wasn’t being the mama I wanted to be. It’s all there still, in black and white for anyone to read. There did come a point when I could no longer write. I had fallen apart and needed to step away. This was the period when I went nearly 5 months without blogging, because I just couldn’t.

Then things started to get better. The fight was over and I made the decision to put down my sword. I told Georgia that I was done and that I needed to work on me. I needed to heal and so she took on the role of expanding our family. This is something she never wanted to do and still, she did it for us. She did it because she knew that my heart would be forever broken if I knew I was the reason Gracie grew up as an only child. To say that this made me love my wife even more doesn’t begin to describe it. She saved me in every way and was there by my side when the fertility drugs completely left my system and my hair started to actually grow back! I began taking calls from my amazing friends again, who were still around and reaching out even though I had blown them off a hundred times before. I started leaving the house and began feeling pretty again. I stopped feeling sad every day and started noticing all the amazing things in my life and this is when everything truly began to change for me.

When you’re in the middle of a dark storm, you can’t see all the good in your life. There’s just too much sadness and everything feels like it can break you. It’s scary. On the other side of this, if you survive the storm and you find your way out of it, your blessings shine brighter than ever before and you become a changed person – if you choose to. The biggest changes I’ve seen in myself over this past year, are that my general outlook on things has changed, in a BIG way. I worry less about the little things. I’ve started feeling crafty again and I am back to making stuff. My sexual drive returned in a major way (hallelujah!) and I am back to being a social person who looks forward to being around other people. Most of all though, I celebrate life! I celebrate it in a big way! I do all the fun things I can and take as many pictures of my beautiful family as possible. I feel like I’m nicer than I used to be and I would imagine that this happiness shines through on social media, even if some days aren’t as happy as others.  

If this means that my life looks perfect, I’ll take it. I will gladly own it all because it took so much work and such a long time to get here. I feel blessed every day, even on the bad days. I am eternally grateful that there was a plan all along for my little family and that we’ve made it to where we are today.

So yes, I think Georgia, Gracie and Will are perfect, and yes, most days are rainbows and sunshine. There’s tough days, for sure. The kids can drain every bit of energy from us. My house is still a total mess, 75% of the time. G and I bicker like the best of them and I still have so much weight to lose – but we’re happy and healthy and that’s all this mama can ask for. If this means that I am projecting a life that looks perfect, well thank you so much! Thank you for such an amazing compliment, because I wouldn't trade this life, with these people, for anything in the world.

2017 Summer Bucket List | Part 2

Did you know that summer officially ends on September 22nd, which is also the fall equinox? I don’t know how I never put those two things together, but it’s in just a few days, you guys! This summer has been unbearably hot and so busy and while I’m more than ready for fall, I need more time to blog about summer! I have this installment of our 2017 Summer Bucket List and then a third, so basically, I’ll be wrapping our summer up in October when the leaves are falling off the trees… But meh, that’s fine, I guess. ;)

Go Swimming | Brother’s 1st Pool Parties

If there’s one thing we’ve done a ton of this summer, it’s swim. Swimming at the lake, swimming in the river. Swimming birthday parties and swim days with the kids’ fab Guncles. We’ve been total water babies, including Will! This is just another example of how different parenting has been with our little dude and how, while I’ve always heard that things are different with baby #2 – I’m now experiencing that it truly is. I remember insisting we wait until Grace was several months old and had received her first two series of shots before letting one single baby toe touch water and with brother bear we’ve been totally okay with it! It helped that Nani bought Will the most adorable NB water suit when he was still in G’s belly and it’s not like we were going to just let him grow out of it before trying it out! How could we let that happen with an outfit so stinkin’ cute?! Will’s first swimming experience was at uncle A and uncle B’s house and we let him get in up to his waist, the first time. Uncle A is always freezing, so the pool was a warm 90-something degrees and we didn’t get so much as a noise from our little guy when he first felt the warm water. He just closed his eyes and relaxed. It was adorable!

Our swim day with the Guncles was a full evening of swimming, grilling and patio lounging in their beautiful backyard and it was a day of relaxation that we were more than ready for! Since then, our guy has gone swimming (aka, held by his moms in the water) at a few parties and out on some of our adventures in the great outdoors. My hope is that he’ll be just as much of a water baby as his sister bear because her and I have a blast together anytime there’s water involved! Right now, Will’s next on the waiting lists that he’s been on since birth to get into Gracie’s Swim School, so I can’t wait for that call to come in. Mama loves her little fish!

Go Bowling | Another Fun Family Night!

The bean has asked to go bowling more times than I can count these past couple of months, so adding a family bowling night to our summer bucket list was a no-brainer! With G and I being on maternity leave April through July, Nani making her own work hours and grandparents who are retired, we had all the time in the world to spend the day knocking down some pins. The GIANT Main Event Center that finally opened in town was the perfect place and since none of us had visited yet, that’s where we decided to go.

Main Event was awesome! They have a ridiculously huge multi-level laser tag course, gravity ropes adventure courses, billiards, video games, bowling and even a brewery; which made my wife who was dying for a cold beer, very happy! They had dino-ramps for the kids to used when bowling and we just happened to go on galactic night, so everything including us glowed in the florescent lights. Grace was obsessed and declared before we left that she just has to have her next birthday party at Main Event, which sounds like a perfect plan to her mamas!

Stay in a Cabin | Road Trip to Show Low, AZ

Any friendship that stands the test of time, does so because the people involved balance each other. This is most certainly the case for my bestie Sara and I, of these past 3 decades. I lead the way in some aspect of our friendship, but when it comes to planning, she is far more talented than me. In early March, she called to tell me that we would be staying with her family in a beautiful cabin in their home state of Arizona during our mat leave and she then proceeded to plan every detail from the cabin itself, to our family style meals. I so appreciate that Sara did this as we were soon home with a new baby and I would have forgotten to pay the deposit on the cabin, or something else equally important with my preoccupied baby brain!

The cabin was amazing and just so beautiful. It looked like something straight out of the movies with big wooden beds, bears carved out of wood all over the property and décor covered in fish and other woodland creatures. There was an actual bear carved into the toilet seat, you guys! LOL! The drive wasn’t bad at all and with Will being so little and sleepy and Grace fully stocked with snacks and electronic devises, we were there in no time, having dealt with literally no fuss from the kiddos. Even I was shocked!

Sara and Vince also have a son and a daughter. The girls are just a month apart, so they both lose their minds with excitement anytime they get to hang out and they had an absolute blast together! We cooked out, we hiked, we had water fights and bubble parties in the big jacuzzi tub. The kiddos slept in sleeping bags in the loft, watched movies and hunted for bugs. Us grownups loved the big balcony on the second level of the cabin and had our own fun each night when the little ones went to bed. It was 3 days of fun that flew by and I can’t wait to do it again when our little guy is bigger and can really play with sister and her friends!

Soccer Camp | Becoming the next Abby Wambach or Mia Hamm

Soccer is something else that’s been fairly new for the bean this summer and she’s LOVING it! As I’ve written before, we put Grace in soccer when she was just 18 months but she didn’t take to it at first. Fast-forward a few years and she’s loving it again. Putting her in a summer soccer camp was the best idea ever as it allowed her to give the sport another try without the pressure of having games and practice. It was just a week of soccer fun, learning new skills while also working on fun art projects and enjoying yummy snacks.

Grace ended up enjoying it so much that we put her back in regular soccer and just got her signed up for her elementary school’s soccer program, which starts in a few weeks! She’ll take a break from her soccer league once school soccer starts and already she’s so excited about it! I would love for her to kick-butt at soccer in high school and oh I don’t know, maybe get a full soccer scholarship to college down the road! It all starts here, guys! This is when legends get their start! ;)

Visit the Botanical Gardens | …and get eaten alive by mosquitos!

I may be bias, but I think that we have one of the most beautiful Botanical Gardens in the US. In fact, this past year the Travel Channel ranked our BioPark Botanical Gardens as one of the top 12 in the country! How awesome is that?! New Mexico is unique in that we really do have 4 separate seasons, each lasting roughly 3 months and no one season is more extreme than the other. What does this mean, you ask? Well, it means we can grow some really amazing and unique plants all in one place and we are able to do this year-round! The Gardens are a super popular place to visit and one of the most popular venues for weddings. And as I discovered earlier this summer, they do evening tours of the grounds too.

I came across this on Groupon when I was mapping out our summer, this past April and with the tickets practically being given away for free, I signed us up. We all arrived at the BioPark with our sun screen and hats on and proceeded to be covered in bug spray again by our tour guides. I tried explaining to them that I had applied bug spray on all of us before leaving the house, but still they insisted on drenching us a second time and THANK GOD they did! Even with the extra application we were eaten alive and covered in bites for nearly two weeks, following the event. I wasn’t worried about the Zika Virus or any other mosquito spread virus as we live in the dessert and have zero issues with those kinds of things that are a huge danger in more moist, tropical, places with bodies of water. Mostly I just didn’t want the kids covered in annoying bites. Thankfully for them, we did an awesome job of spraying down their little bodies and just sucked at covering our own exposed parts, haha! Better us than them, right!

Our guides took us through every square inch of the grounds and we toured places that we had never seen before in all our previous visits! The BioPark has 36 acres of gardens and together we explored nearly 2 miles of paths through formal and whimsical gardens with amazing designs! The areas that stood out the most to us were the Japanese Garden, which was designed by a famous landscape architect named Toru Tanaka and the Children’s Garden, which is Gracie’s favorite and is guarded by a 14-foot topiary dragon! We were able to see waterfalls, different kinds of animals and lakes with huge Koi fish that Gracie got to feed. It was so much fun!

Here’s a little video montage of the day. :)

Order Room Service | Brother’s 1st Resort Experience!

I seriously hit the jackpot in the brother-in-law category! Both my bro-in-law and his partner of 6 years are the most amazing guys, uncles and friends that anyone could ask for! They make it a point to stay closely in touch with us, even though they live in California and always fly in for special occasions and not just the big ones. Of Gracie’s birthdays, years 1-5, they’ve only missed celebrating one with our gal! See – best uncles ever! They facetime with the kids and are always spoiling their niece and nephew to the point that we have to tell them when our kiddies have enough of all the things!

They surprised my MIL in June, not only flying in for the weekend but getting us all suites at the new resort in town! The resort just opened two months before and it was even more beautiful then I was told! It’s covered in modern art with totally odd but very awesome art installations all over the place and gourmet food that was ridiculously good! We had a spa day, swam and had drinks at the pool; had dinner at the beautiful roof-top restaurant and enjoyed sleeping in what can only be described as the most comfortable Sleep Number beds that have ever been in existence! And while I know that Will won’t remember a thing about his first stay in a hotel, it was seriously the best weekend ever!
Thanks uncle Chris & uncle Dean! We heart you!

There have been a few other special little boxes we’ve checked off our list, and while they didn’t involve days of adventure or staying in spectacular places, they were great summer memories all the same! Here’s a few favorites.

{Have a Movie Date with Mama }

{ Sleep in a Tent }

{ Plant Our Summer Garden | FINALLY, Watermelon! }

{ Have a Family BBQ}

{ Brother’s 1st Visit to the Movies }

** For part 1 of our 2017 Summer Bucket List, click here! **

22 adventures down. 8 to go!

Have a Family Bowling Day
Stay in a cabin
Have a Sleepover
Cook Out with Friends
Go Swimming 
Have a Family BBQ
Start Soccer Camp
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Order Room Service
Grow a Butterfly Garden
Eclipse Watching
Brother’s 1st Visit to the Movies!
Ride the Train
Plant a Summer Garden
Visit the Natural History Museum
Go to the Zoo
Visit the Aquarium
Will’s 1st LGBT Pride
Sleep in a Tent
Go to a Baseball Game
Movie Date with Mama
Take a Ton of Pictures

Monday, September 4, 2017


How much do you guys want to bet that I can’t get through this post without crying? Anyone want to wager that I totally will (hint, hint - you’ll win the bet).

My baby, our sweet little girl who was just a newborn like yesterday, is now officially in kindergarten. She started on August 1st and is already a month in. I didn’t write about this transition as it was taking place because I needed to process it for myself. I know that may sound dramatic, but it’s the absolute truth. I’ve never been good at handling change in any regard, but for some reason, watching my babies grow up so quickly, breaks my heart into a million pieces. You’ve probably noticed that almost every post I write about our kiddos begins with a bit on how time is passing too quickly and they’re growing way too fast. I know I write this all the time, but it’s because this is what’s running through my head, most days. I wouldn’t consider this an unhealthy outlook on parenting necessarily, because I truly do want Grace and Will to grow, to evolve, to learn new things and become awesome young adults. I really do. It’s just that sometimes my heart takes a bit longer to catch up with my head. I think this is also the main reason why I chronicle every.single.thing these kiddos do, haha! I take a million pictures, I write this blog, I make photo albums, I document their lives via video on Vimeo and via social media on IG and FB. I mean, they’re basically going to be able to read, hear and see every minute of their wonder years when they’re bigger, if they want to – which they probably won’t because they’ll be sick of my mamarazzi shenanigans by then… but we’ll see.

Anyway, I digress. Back to elementary school. We LOVE Gracie’s school and I so wish I could share every picture showing how awesome the actual school building is, but the school’s name is everywhere and there’s just too much to edit out. The school has an industrial design with big trees growing indoors, right in the middle of the school! There’s little lounging areas all over, think coffee shop and several playgrounds that look like they’re from the future, complete with climbing walls and other awesome play things! Grace LOVES her school and that’s the best part! As I wrote in this post back in April, Gracie’s school operates on a lottery system and when we found out that the school had around 200 applicants for kindergarten alone, and they were only planning to accept around 30 new kindergarten students, we never thought we would get in. Getting the call that we did was the most amazing thing ever! Gracie totally understood what a big deal it was and how blessed she was to draw lucky #15. This and 2 of her buddies from preschool got in, so all us moms were thrilled!

We were all so excited for big sis to start kinder that the preparations started all the way back in June. G got this urge on afternoon to take Gracie shopping and literally bought the kid an entire kindergarten wardrobe and for my wife who hates to shop, it was shocking! We don’t normally go out and buy “school clothes” but rather just have the bean wear whatever she already has. This little shopping spree was special and something G really wanted to do, which I thought was just the cutest.

 I’m a bit obsessed with fun lunchbox accessories and went all out for our big girl, finally splurging on a Planetbox Lunchbox and all the accessories and gadgets that come with it! I’ve forced myself to wait until Kindy to splurge on this and I think that’s why I went a bit overboard. I picked out two magnets sets for the front of her stainless-steel lunchbox, one being rainbows and unicorns and the other a fairy garden and Grace LOVED them both! The cool thing about Planetbox is that their products last FOREVER, as in, every purchase has a 5-year warranty but they’re built to last 10-15 years! They’re eco-friendly, non-toxic, non-leaching, BPA/phthalates and lead free. You can change out the magnets on the front daily or yearly if you’re passing it down to another kiddo and I just love that there’s all sorts of compartments and colorful containers to pick from. As a family, we’ve been trying to eat less complex carbs and this has made packing lunch so much fun! The bean’s lunches are a beautiful rainbow of fresh foods. Each one is my Mama-Masterpiece!

P.S. I’ll be sure to re-read this post in 6 months when I’m officially over it and would rather walk into oncoming traffic than pack a godforsaken school lunch, ha!

{As the daughter of a former teacher, I know that earning those parent points begins on day one! This is the special little gift Grace picked out for her new teacher, Mrs. M.}

Gracie’s teacher has quickly proven to be the most creative teacher she’s had yet and this crafty mama is loving it! She sent a “Sweet Dreams” kit home following their meet the teacher event for each kid in the class. The kit had instructions for Gracie to open the special packet the night before her first day of school and NO PEEKING! Gracie was dying to see what the packet had, so the night before we opened it up and read her the poem sent special from her teacher and teacher’s aide. It included a bag of magic confetti to help our anxious and excited gal sleep and she was so excited to put it under her pillow. I know the power of this magic confetti is 100% suggestive – but dang did it work! After dinner that night, the bean took a quick bath, we prepped her hair, sprinkled some confetti and she was out!

Georgia and I took the morning off for Gracie’s first day, which gave me plenty of time to enjoy every minute with our big kindergartner and take a ton of pictures! Gracie was so excited when she woke up that she brushed her teeth and ate breakfast without even having to be asked 5 times! We took her traditional first day of school chalkboard picture as she stood there, much taller than the chalkboard that used to be taller than her. My little cutie wore her absolute favorite alligator dress that her Nani got her and was ready to head out into the world, backpack and lunchbox in hand. :)

When we arrived at the school, it was a madhouse. Most parents accompanied their kids for the first day and together we all flooded into the halls looking for classrooms. When we arrived at Mrs. M & Mrs. L’s room, Grace was excited to see that her name was up in several areas of the room and that even more colorful decorations were out welcoming the new students. We got our baby girl situated, said goodbye and that was it. We watched her from the other side of a large window at the front of the classroom as she made her way to a table. Our independent gal went and sat at an empty table and my heart raced as the other tables filled leaving her still sitting there, alone. I’m sure only about 5 minutes or so passed but I felt my heart race as I watched her, saying to myself, someone sit with my baby, someone sit with my baby! Soon enough her table filled too and with that, it was time for the mamas to go. Surprisingly, the only one to cry that morning out of all of us was baby brother.

And now that I’ve covered all the fun stuff, I would be remis if I didn’t mention the other stuff…

I’m not going to lie to you people, getting into the swing of things wasn’t the easiest for our sleepyhead, or her mamas. For the first time in years, Grace was exhausted in the evenings on school days. Like so tired she would fall asleep at 5:30pm as we drove home from picking her up after work. Being exhausted also meant that she was “too tired” to want to eat dinner and “too bored” to want to take a bath at night. The emotions ran high those first 2 weeks because anytime our gal is tired, she morphs into a ball of feelings just waiting to explode and before you know it, she’s yelling and then I’m yelling and then everyone is yelling... She also had to navigate the transition from chillin’ all summer to getting up early, making sure to eat breakfast, which can’t always be fluffy eggs and turkey bacon, (think more along the lines of cereal, breakfast bar, fruit with yogurt, etc.) and put her own clothes and shoes on. Now, I know you’ve all heard me refer to Grace as the human equivalent of a sloth, so just imagine what getting our sloth to kick it into high gear, every morning involved… Throw in getting ready ourselves, pumping, getting the dog situated, getting baby boy dressed, fed and ready to leave with his sister and I think it’s safe to say that we all deserve a medal for successfully transitioning into our new routine without killing each other! Hallelujah! 

Homework is another change we’ve been adjusting to and OMG, Grace has been a Rockstar! Her class is made up of 10 kindergarten students + 10 first graders and the homework is pretty intense. The kids have mandatory reading time every night with a reading log as well as a math and a writing homework packet that’s due every Monday for the week prior. They have computer simulated lessons they have to do at home nightly and families are expected to play board games in an effort to teach strategy and logic on Friday nights. My mind was blown when Grace started working on homework because girlfriend totally killed it! She was doing the homework for both kindergartners and first graders and did both for the first 2 week without us even realizing it! One of the math goals for the school year for first graders is to count, identify and write numbers 1-120. Grace did this (as a kindergartner) in week ONE. She totally smashed one of the math goals for the entire year, in her first week you guys! She’s been rockin’ and rollin’ in the area of reading as well! The intensive reading program we enrolled her in over the summer was worth every penny. Grace learned a lot about site words and can now read more site words than I’m even aware of, going into kindergarten. Sorry not sorry that I’m totally bragging right now, I’m just so darn proud of her! She’s excited about doing homework and concentrates so well every night, even if she’s tired.

This past week Grace had her first big school project due and she did awesome! The project was a presentation all about her and she worked on it for a week followed by an entire weekend of practice for her big 5-minute presentation in front of her class. She was so happy to tell us that everyone clapped for her and her teachers said she did a “fantastic job”! I mean, seriously – how cute is my gal?!

The Bean’s school had a BIG school event for the eclipse this past month and I was so bummed that I had to miss it because of work, but Mommy made it and they had so much fun! G woke up at the crack of dawn the morning of the eclipse to stand in line with hundreds of other people at our local library to get ISO approved glasses for Gracie to watch the eclipse with her school friends. Gracie had no idea that G was coming to have lunch with her and was bringing her special glasses and was beyond excited when she walked in! I love my geeky wife. :)

Our beauty has already had picture day and rode the school bus for the first time too! The school has one bus pick-up on our side of town and it just happens to be at a church that’s just down the road from us. Gracie’s goal in life has been to ride a school bus and when we told her that she was going to ride the bus to school she screamed her little heart out! G dropped her off at her stop and chatted with the teacher who rides with them there and home everyday. We drop Gracie off in the morning and her Gaga picks her up for us, so adventures on the bus won’t happen often but it was an exciting new experience for all of us!  

Our sweet girl. This year is totally going to RULE!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 Summer Bucket List | Part 1

This summer will go down in history as one of the best summers we’ve had as a family, without a doubt! It’s been busy, at times crazy, but amazing! For starters, G and I were able to spend the first 3 months of summer at home with our kids, which for a couple of working moms is unheard of and a total dream come true. For two, it’s been our first summer as a family of four and the excitement that comes along with that is what’s been the most amazing of all. Thirdly, we successfully completed our #12weeks12adventures plan that we set out to do at the start of the summer (and yes, we created a hashtag for it, lol). The idea was that even with a new baby, we would do things a bit differently this maternity leave and set out on at least one family adventure each week of our 12 weeks at home. To understand what a mission this was for us, you should know that with Gracie, we almost never left the house when she was a newborn… so this was a challenge we made to ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. We wanted to get outdoors, fight our natural inclinations to be paranoid helicopter moms and make the most of what will be the last time we’re all home like this together. All in all, I would say we totally nailed it!
FMLA mission accomplished!

Train Ride to Santa Fe, NM | Gracie’s Last Prek Field Trip
We kicked the summer off by taking the day to go with our gal on her very last preschool field trip (and I’m feeling teary again just thinking about the fact that prek is finished for her) waaaaaa! The field trip was a two-part adventure. First, we all took the Rail Runner to Santa Fe, NM and this was a mini field trip in itself. Grace had never been on a train before and all the kiddos were a bit nervous but so excited to go! Since it was the last field trip of their preschool years, all us parents tagged along and I think we were just as excited as them. The kids had a blast on the train and then enjoyed a yummy picnic in this awesome industrial park in Santa Fe. I had lots of time to reflect during our train ride back into town and felt sad as I thought about this chapter of Gracie’s childhood coming to an end. At the same time, I felt excited for how amazing I know elementary school will be for her. I guess sometimes I just wish I could slow everything down a bit and keep her a baby for a little while longer. But don’t let her hear me say that! If there’s one thing that drives my kid crazy, it’s when I say I want her to stay little. “I’m going to keep growing, Mama! It’s what I’m supposed to do!” This one. 5 going on 15, I tell you! 

Museum of Natural History | Our 1st Family Outing!

For our first adventure as a family, when baby boy was just a little over a week old, we spent the day at the Natural History Museum. We wanted to start with something indoors as it was hot as hell outside, mid-April! Like seriously, it’s been the hottest summer this town has had in 30 years (thanks climate change that apparently doesn’t exist) and because babies overheat so easily, indoors was the only option for us. Grace was super pumped because it had been more than 2 years since we last visited the museum and she’s at an age now where she’s really into dinosaurs and things like the constellations and planets. We also kinda loved that Will’s first family adventure would involve being introduced to outer space, since that’s been the theme for little dude’s nursery, his baby shower and half his wardrobe!

If I’m just being honest, baby boy slept through about 95% of the day as he did for most of our outings at the start of the summer, but he was there with us looking all cute and cuddly, and just being out as a family of four was the best feeling in the world. Grace basically ran from exhibit to exhibit at full speed asking us to read everything in sight. She would often come over to the stroller to tell her baby brother something, even though he was fast asleep every time she peeked in on him. She would smile and touch his little belly or feet and say “aww, he’s cute” before running off again. It made my heart so happy to see her try and involve him over and over. It was just the cutest! :)

We ended up staying all morning and afternoon before heading out because Georgia needed to pump, but not before visiting the museum giftshop! Gracie picked out a little stuffed green triceratops for her bro and a gift for herself and just like that, brother had his first ever souvenir and our first outing as a family was in the books! This family outing went way more smoothly than I thought it would and it surprised us. It showed me that things really are easier with your second child and I think you can attribute this to the fact that most parent chill the F out by their second baby. We weren’t worried about every person who came within 10 feet of us. We didn’t feel the need to get home right away and we knew that every possible disaster would likely NOT take place. This meant we left the house with a stroller and one diaper bag, as opposed to packing for a 2-day trip like we did anytime we left the house when Grace was a babe. We put mittens on Will’s hands (like any good germaphobe would do), packed an extra outfit in the event of a blowout and that was it. Live and learn, less is more, or whatever.

New Mexico BioPark Zoo | Will’s 1st Play Date

There are a few friends from my college sorority days that I’ve stayed in close contact with since graduation and my good friend Katy is one of them. Katy and I shared the experience of struggling to conceive at roughly the same time, with Georgia and I finally getting our baby girl in 2012, followed by Katy and her husband, Sean having their beautiful boy Logan in 2013. A few years later it was a struggle again for both of us to conceive our second little ones. Katy ended up getting pregnant first this time around, welcoming her adorable son Jackson in 2016, followed by the arrival of Will in April, 2017. As I’ve written in the past, conceiving was such a roller coaster, involving so much emotion and through it all, Katy was an amazing support to me, as I was to her. Now that our families are complete, it’s the absolute best when we’re able to get everyone together and this play date was the first that it was all 4 of them!

I knew I wanted Will’s first “play date” to be with Jackson, so when we noticed that a few cloudy days were on the horizon, we all planned to meet at the Zoo! It ended up being hot, but it was a bit overcast and so we found ways to keep cool as the kiddos ran their little legs off, all through the Zoo! They got to see nearly every animal attraction including some new attractions that just opened this summer. Again, brother bear slept, but this time he had a bit more awake time and seemed to be fascinated by all the trees. Gracie and Logan picked up right where they left off the last time they hung out, even though it had been almost a year. We picnicked, we visited and we loved on all the babies. So much fun!

And about these photos, ughhhh… can we please talk about how tiny my sweet boy was in these pictures?! I know they say time flies, but I don’t think anyone prepared me for the fact that it passes even faster the second time around! It really wasn’t until I starting writing this post recapping our summer and looking back at pictures, that I realized just how big Will is now! I’m sure I’ll say this again when I finally get around to uploading the remainder of our summer photos, next month. Be still, my heart!

A Day at the Aquarium | with a side of rain… 

I should start my story of our day at the aquarium with a warning. Never let your older kid think it’s ok to place things like wooden owl figurines in the base of your baby’s car seat. Even more importantly, don’t fail to notice said item and fasten your car seat down, right on top of it – because here’s what will surly happen… An epic thunderstorm will take place as you’re trying to take your car seat out of your vehicle and you will find that much to your dismay, it’s completely stuck. What will follow will involve buckets of water raining down on your head as you struggle to remove the car seat and you’ll end up spending the remainder of your day at the aquarium with swap ass, (caused by soaking wet pants). True story, this is how our day at the aquarium began.

Thankfully, we were super pumped for our visit, so we all forgot about getting poured on pretty quickly. Gracie is obsessed with sea life and always has so much fun at our local aquarium, so she cared the least that she was wet, ha! This is the place we visited when the bean was a newborn for her first play date with bestie, Olivia and she could not wait to show Will all the fish, especially the sharks!

Grace knows her way around the place at this point and we’ve learn from previous visits that we have to slow her down and actually read the displays for each exhibit or we get through that place at lightening speed. Now that our gal is older, she was really into hearing about all the species of fish and happily accepted our challenge to identify each type of fish in the tanks as we read them off. Brother bear was more awake on this adventure then he had ever been on previous outings and while he did keep nodding off, he was awake long enough to see the awesome tanks and stare wide-eyed at the glowing water! We made our way through in about 45 minutes to find that the aquarium café now serves our favorite beer on tap, so we grabbed lunch and some drinks… because it’s totally acceptable to drink beer on a Tuesday afternoon when you're on maternity leave and we all know that beer increase milk supply. Two birds, one stone! Yay!     
And there you have it, Part 1 of our 3 part blog series – The Roybal Family 2017 Summer Bucket List Adventures!

Up next: Will & Gracie’s 1st Swim Party, Family Bowling Night, Soccer Camp, Cabin Camping in AZ, Baby Boy’s 1st Stay at a Resort and so much more. Damn, I have a lot of catching up to do! #storyofmylife ;) 

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