How to survive the trenches

Recently we went through the toughest of times, the most emotional, and the busiest. We were flying by the seat of our pants, and there were many weak points filled with tears, stupid arguments, high stress levels and pure exhaustion. In those moments, I felt incredibly overwhelmed and like there was no end in sight. The trenches. I feel like we’re finally over the hump, and those few weeks of transition and complete chaos are now a blur to me. Hey, we survived! In reflection, here’s how.

Repeat: This too shall pass. Everything is a stage and a phase. The good and the bad. Savour the good moments, and repeat as often as necessary, “this too shall pass” to survive those can’t see past them tough moments. Time is your best friend and worst enemy.

Let other priorities drop. We got married on our property, and hosted a wedding here. That was the messiest our house has ever been. Well, these past few weeks? Gave that mess a run for its money. Big time. We’re still not there, but hey, at least now I can say our floors have been washed twice since W was born. The housework had to fall to the bottom of the list. Something had to give.

Make time for the things that will keep you sane. See above. Let other things go, but don’t give up on the things that help you relax a bit. Mr. M went on a camping trip. I had lots of baths and binge-watched a few Netflix shows while staying up too late. Me time is more important than sleep sometimes.

Splurge on something that will make you feel better. For me, I spent some money on some energy work that I knew would help me sort through and process all of the change and craziness that I was experiencing. Get a massage, get a manicure, see a therapist. Whatever it is that will make you feel better and somewhat grounded, it’s probably worth it. 

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A Meal Kit Review of Gobble

I recently ventured into the world of meal subscription services with HelloFresh, but wanted to see what else was out there, so next on my to-try list was Gobble. Again, this service was chosen based on the recommendation of friends. Gobble promises convenient, fast, and easy recipes with using farm-fresh food that is locally sourced, using fresh produce and hormone-free proteins. All of the recipes are created by celebrity chef Michael Mina’s protégé, Thomas Ricci.

Plans: 3 dinner kits for two (6 meals per week), or 3 dinner kits for four (12 meals per week).
Price: $11.95 per meal (per meal = per person) if you order 6 or more meals, and $13.95 per meal if you only order 4 meals.

After spending more time than I would’ve liked cooking the HelloFresh meals, I went into this with a fair amount of skepticism. After we got the box, I even said to my husband, “I’m really not in the mood to cook tonight.” Imagine my surprise when I read the recipe card and it said “10-minute dinner.” Did I read that right?? I spent a few minutes reading and re-reading the instructions to make sure I understood the words “10 MINUTE DINNER” correctly. Are they sure they didn’t mean just the prep time? But nope, they indeed promise 10 minute dinners from start to finish, and I was actually pretty close to hitting that 10 minute mark. All my meals took no more than 15 minutes to make, but they tasted like I had spent at least an hour in the kitchen!

First impressions: The box came past dinnertime on the day I requested it to be delivered. I was a little disappointed because I had not planned for dinner that night, so we were left scrounging. However, they do have a 12-hour delivery window between 8 am and 8 pm, so they did deliver within the promised timeframe. One thing I didn’t like was that when I placed my order online, I was only given a choice between Tuesday or Saturday for delivery. Ideally, I would’ve wanted my delivery to be on a Monday, but was not given that as an option.

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Being a Shoe Gal for a Little Boy

Besides my love of hair and makeup, one of the girliest things about myself is that I love shoes, and my love for them has now moved over to choosing shoes for Baby Pencil. He has so many pairs of shoes waiting for him!  It’s pretty hard to dress up a little boy because so many places cater toward little girls’ accessories. But I’ve found my sources and want to share my favorite styles and stores!

My favorite place to get cute boy shoes is at Zara. What I like about it is that they are good mix of trendy yet cute and they last a long time. Also, people don’t usually buy their kids’ shoes here so they tend to be more unique. I get asked all the time where I got Baby Pencil’s shoes! Since they are a European company, you’ll have to get used to the sizes. They tend to run a little bit big. Overall, I love their winter bootcut style shoes! Most of them are pretty easy to take on and off, which is so key for toddlers.

zara shoes

These in particular lasted a really long time and looked great with jeans! I also use these shoes if he needs to dress up a little. Zara can be expensive except when they have sales. Most of these shoes were originally $35 but I would get them for $19.99 when the sales hit the stores.

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12 month and 11 month update

It is so hard to believe that my last monthly update is here and the second of the twinblings will be celebrating her 1-year birthday in only two short weeks! The past month has been full of change as we make the official transition out of the baby stage.

Lilly on the left is 12 months old; Audrey on the right is 11 months old.
Lilly on the left is 12 months old; Audrey on the right is 11 months old.


You may recall that both Lilly and Audrey were late crawlers (around 10 months) and so it is not a shocking surprise that we are still waiting on walking. After expending so much energy worried about their late crawling a couple of months ago, I am trying (and mostly succeeding) in being more laid-back about the fact that they are not walking yet. Helping to ease my anxiety is that I recently spoke to my own mother about the girls hitting their gross motor milestones a little late and she reminded me that I was also very late to the crawling and walking game. So at least they come by it naturally!

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Breaking the Pacifier Habit

I’m definitely team pacifier for many reasons, but I always dread when it’s time to break the habit. Loss of sleep and cranky days are the reason I gave my kiddos a pacifier from the beginning. However, we used a solid method for breaking the pacifier habit with both kiddos, and it worked well, even though they used a pacifier for different reasons and at different ages.

So here’s what worked — I cut the tip off the pacifier in stages. But it’s not that simple. There’s strategy involved. First, I made sure to do this when the weather was nice. It’s a lot easier to distract a kid from a tantrum when you can go outside and look for ladybugs, than when you’re stuck in the house for winter. I also tried this when I knew we would be busy. With BeBe, her cousins were visiting from out of town, so we were already off schedule and constantly doing activities. With our little guy, I started on Friday and jammed packed our weekend. No lazy days in the house! I also made sure to do a clean sweep of the house so my kiddos wouldn’t find a hidden pacifier tucked in the cushions, and thwart my master plan. And we avoided the pacifier aisle at the store.

On the first day, I only nipped the pacifier on the end. Then without saying a word, I handed the pacifier to them when they asked for it. When they popped it into their mouth, the kiddos both had the same reaction. They laughed and ran to show me the “broken” part of the pacifier. They didn’t cry because they could still use it, kind of. When they showed me their broken pacifier, I would tell them it got too old and the dishwasher broke it. Then each morning, I would sneak away and trim the pacifier back a little more, and keep telling them the pacifier was just getting old. I did this for about five days, until it was down to the nub.

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Building a Dress Up Collection

Both of our kids love to play dress up and I think it’s great that they have so much fun with imaginative play. Lion has enjoyed dress up for quite some time and when I pick him up from school, he’s often decked out as a ninja or has a piece of construction paper taped to his back as a cape. Recently, I found out that Panda has developed a love of dressing up, as well, and at the most recent parent-teacher conference I was told, “One of his favorite things to do is to go to the community helpers box and put on those outfits.” We have a bin of dress up clothes and toys at home for the kids, some items we’ve purchased, some were received as gifts, and some we got for free at street festivals and other events.

Here are some of my favorite picks (as well as tips) for building and dress up collection:


1) Set of hats and helmets – Hats are great because the kids don’t need any help with them and they can change their character in an instant. Of all items in our dress up collection, the hats definitely get the most use.

2) Pirate hat and eye patches – I found this adorable pirate hat at Target when I was hunting for stickers. I’m sure there’s some story that goes along with this, but Lion insists that he and Panda are “good pirates” whose names are “Bruin” and “Juice” (am I the only one missing the reference?).

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Link Roundup – May 22, 2017

An unimaginable tragedy has struck our family and we’re trying to figure out our plans for the immediate future. I apologize we’re not ready to talk about it yet, but appreciate your understanding during this very difficult time, especially if Hellobee is affected in any way.

Here are some parenting links from the past week we thought you’d find interesting:


Homeschooling is the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century via Business Insider

The Ethos of the Overinvolved Parent: Colleges are adjusting to increasing contact with adults who are more ingrained in their children’s lives than ever. via The Atlantic

This Stanford researcher has designed a 15-minute study hack to boost grades via World Economic Forum

Children should be playing more games in the classroom. Here’s why via World Economic Forum

Fending Off Math Anxiety via New York Times

Family by Family, How School Segregation Still Happens via New York Times


How to get started with toy minimalism—and let creativity flourish via Mother.ly

No, I don’t want your unsolicited parenting advice via Motherwell Mag

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice via Your Modern Family

The ‘overscheduled’ child: Is being busy really so bad? via Washington Post

Your 5-year-old is already racially biased. Here’s what you can do about it. via Medium

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