Taking Stock

I saw this post from The Small Things Blog and thought, “what a great way to post random stuff without needing to have an actual point” :). So here we go!

Lately I’ve been…

Making: mental notes of what I need to take Holly to Brazil 2 weeks from now

Cooking: french toast+hazelnut coffee for breakfast, eggs+brown rice for lunch

Drinking: water, always

Wanting: to know what’s next, always

Looking: like a mom, no matter how much makeup/accessories I put on (or how much I suck my stomach in)

Playing: tickling games with the big kids, first-word games with the little one (she loves to say “duck!”)

Adding more bite marks to the beak

Watching: old shows on Netflix, the Bachelorette, Youtube beauty/mommy channels

Wasting: mental energy worrying, if I don’t watch myself

Enjoying: NAP TIME (*cue to angels’ choir*)

Wondering: if I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing at this very moment

Wishing: I could fast forward every transition (HATE transitions)

Needing: to quiet my mind down+chocolate

Noticing: how the craziness of having 3 kids now feels weirdly normal

Loving: Melissa’s princess phase

Enjoying a carriage ride at a friend’s birthday party

Hoping: Andrew will remain cuddly as he grows bigger

Lord, please let him use his strength for good. Amen.

Knowing: we’re entering phase 2 in our family life (“the growing years”)

Thinking: of how to make my 30’s so much more awesome than my 20’s

Feeling: emotional/hormonal often (probably due to nursing less)

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Preparing to Fly With an 11-Month-Old

So my planned trip to take Holly to Brazil is being accelerated! Instead of August, we’ll go in July – which means I’ll get to watch the last 2 World Cup games there (and if Brazil doesn’t make it to the finals, that will be depressing lol).

I’m trying really hard not to freak out about traveling for an entire day and a half ALONE with an 11-month-old. I’ve flown with Melissa when she was a toddler (almost 2), and with Andrew when he was a baby (5 months), but what do you do with a child who’s in the middle?? The websites I see about traveling with kids never completely apply to my ridiculously long trip. Tips like “schedule the flight during their nap time” make me laugh, and not in a good way – more in like a maniac I’m-already-out-of-my-mind-and-the-trip-hasn’t-even-started-yet kind of way.

Whew. Deep breath. At least I have these things to soothe my nerves:

1.My new super light suitcase.

Found it at Target! Brand is New French West Indies

I remember the PAIN of being alone with Andrew and trying to drag a heavy suitcase from the luggage carrousel. After much frustration, I finally asked a guy next to me for help. This time, though, I plan to pack light and maybe even be able to do this on my own! Girl power lol (by the way, isn’t this the perfect girlfriend getaway suitcase??)

2.My first diaper bag in 4 years.

The last time I’d worn a diaper bag had been after having Melissa, and before finding that we didn’t actually need to carry the whole house in order for her to survive an outing. Ever since then, I’d just been sticking a diaper into my purse, thank-you-very-much. For this trip, the plan was for me to just use a tote bag, but the more items I realized I needed to bring, the more I freaked out. So when I saw this at Target (where else? :), my heart sung.

diaper bag

I love how it’s not puppies and rainbows, but it’s also not ashamed to be a diaper bag. I’ve seen some that try so hard not to look like one that they just look like a gigantic purse, which has never been my style. This one just says, “yes, I’m a mom, but I’m also a woman, and I’m proud of both.”

3.My new haircut.

I did need one regardless of this trip, but even more so knowing that I’d have little hands grabbing my hair all the time. I’d already have a heavy baby, didn’t need heavy hair! Now, how do moms take adorable cell phone pics with their kids all the time?? Do they have a photographer on call or something? :) I was literally sweating after several tries, and never got a “proper” one.

Haircut approved! :)

She cracks me up

I predict this will be a very fun trip, but maybe too much fun lol. Prayers/sympathetic comments appreciated!

A Belated Fathers’ Day Post

I’ve been sick since last Saturday until yesterday (and still kinda, sorta today), so that’s why I didn’t post anything for Fathers’ Day. But I hope at least the dads in my life had a good one! Hubby got this ADORABLE mug I ordered for him online. CAM00340 He says he loved it – and of course he wouldn’t tell me if he hadn’t, but who wouldn’t, right?? I think this will be a keepsake for our family. Maybe once Holly’s older we’ll get a new one so her head will be as big as her siblings’ lol.

<3 this picture of him with the girls

In all seriousness, I’m so glad to have him as the father of my kids. I remember right before we began dating, I started seriously praying about the person I wanted to marry for the first time (meaning not just shooting up random desires, but actually listening what I felt God was telling me to look for). And one of the first things that came to mind was that I wanted someone who’d be good for my kids. I had this realization that the choice I’d make in that area wouldn’t affect just me.

Today I’m SO thankful for how God answered that. I don’t think I can hope anything better for my son than to turn out just like his daddy, or for my daughters to marry someone like him. Single gals out there, dependable AND cute guys DO exist!!

On Fathers’ Day, I also called my dad in Brazil, even though it wasn’t Fathers’ Day there yet. I joke that since he has daughters living in the US he gets to have 2 Fathers’ Days :).

Dad & I on my wedding day

My dad and I share a lot of things in common, like our curly hair (I mean, not at all! OF COURSE my straight manes are all natural – they just need a CHI iron to come out :), our love for movies (we went to the theater together every week while I lived there) and even our love for words (he used to write poems back in the day).

I miss him so much and  can’t wait to visit him for when it is Fathers’ Day in Brazil (in August)!! The only teeny weeny thing I’m holding my breath about is traveling all by myself with (then) 1-year-old Holly…that should be interesting. She’s already a force to be reckoned with, and she’s not even walking yet. I can see myself going up and down the plane corridor to satisfy her need for movement. If Holly happens to be walking already, the thought even crossed my mind to invest in those horrific looking but still very efficient child leashes. Hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!

Anyone who’s ever traveled with a toddler, please send your tips my way in a comment! And regardless if you have or not, please send your prayers :).

5 Permission Slips for Moms

In honor of High Five for Friday at Lauren Elizabeth’s blog, I decided to make a list of 5 things that every mom should give herself a break about. In my opinion, any human, non-television created mom is allowed to:

1.Make a Fool of Herself in Public. When Andrew was 5 months old, I traveled with him all the way to Brazil (a 3-planes, overnight trip), so that my dad could meet him. Things went okay on the way there, but coming back, I missed the flight from Rio to Houston, which led to a crying meltdown at the airport (mine, not Andrew’s). Looking back, I see that I could’ve handled that much more elegantly, but if you’re ever going to have a meltdown, having a baby next to you somehow makes it more acceptable – I mean, at least that one little person understood how I was feeling (and it did scare the check-in guy enough to send me to Washington).

2.Be Angry Out of Exhaustion. crabby mommySometimes, it’s not that the kids are being too difficult; it’s that mommy just didn’t have enough sleep. I’ve found that a good way to stop the guilt for being flat-out cranky is to be honest with them. I say: “Sorry, mommy’s not feeling good today.” It’s amazing how just admitting it out loud helps me keep my mood in check (plus your child’s hug might be the most healing thing in the world). I also want them to know that they can tell me anything they’re feeling too, and that it’ll be okay – just like it is for me.

3.Want to Run Away. Not forever, but to Target for an hour, YES! :) There have been times when hubby gets home and I’m like, “I need to get out of the house.” He’d suggest I can relax at home, but stay-at-home moms everywhere know that at the end of a stressful day, your mind starts associating the house with the endless diapers, tantrums and time-outs you’ve had to deal with. So do not feel guilty about needing a little fresh air! You’ll come back missing your kids and feeling more like yourself than before.

4.Feel Powerless. Isn’t the modern woman supposed to feel powerful at all times? The media has kept us informed that being a complete woman means repeating the mantra “I can do this.” But what about when you can’t? In moments when you can’t possibly make all your kids happy at the same time, let alone keep yourself happy in the process, it’s time to call for a higher power. I don’t know what you believe about God, but He’s there – and even if you don’t believe Him, He’s there the same way! Like when you walk into the living room, discover a pile of cinnamon/sugar (I’ve experienced both) and exclaim “oh. my. God.”, there’s actually somebody listening! So you might as well elaborate to get your prayer’s worth.

5.Believe You’re a Good Mom. Go ahead. Do it. It’s not being vain – that’s simply acknowledging the fact that no one on Earth loves your children more than you do, and therefore, yes, you ARE good enough for them. One thing I notice more and more the longer I’m a mom is that just like every home is different, no mom is created equal either. It’s a waste of time to compare, because the family you’re creating won’t be like any other. So embrace the flaws and have fun! You never know what will become your child’s funny memory of the future :).

Heels X Motherhood

Whenever I see a mom of small children in heels at a casual place (like the grocery store), I want to give her a trophy. Or actually not, because I’m too jealous. For me, it’s been a 4-year-long winter of not wearing heels – ever since I was pregnant with Melissa. I mean, you try carrying a carseat (with a baby in it) plus your heavy purse (with the baby-emergency-kit inside), then add another kid (or 2) running circles around you, and let me know if you feel like suffering for beauty!

As you can tell, I’m oh so thrilled that our baby phase is almost officially over. Since our youngest is approaching her 1st birthday, it’s like the clouds are opening in my flats-covered sky lol. Suddenly, I have flashes of memory from my college years, when I used to walk through uneven streets in Brazil feeling taller in my cute sandals. Where is that girl??

So in the name of reclaiming my womanhood, I couldn’t resist these heels on sale when I saw them. They cost, respectively, 12.99 (JCPenney), 12.99 (Payless) and 14.99 (Payless). Sorry if they’re not in stores anymore (bought them a couple of months ago), but the good news is, I’m baaaack!

Not too high - but the thin heel still makes it fancy!

Not too high – but the thin heel still makes it fancy!

Favorite color these days (and apparently, so is the rest of the world's)

Favorite color these days

Really, I should be a Payless spokesperson

Really, I should be a Payless spokesperson

I’m also so proud of myself of picking fun colors (instead of my usual brown or black habit). Now, it does make them a little harder to match. But it also might be because I’m not used to statement shoes (at least not since I was in college). It’s slowly but surely coming back to me!

Now for the moms out there – how often do you get to wear heels? Or have you given up on them like I had? Let me know in a comment!

We Survived Our First Road Trip!

This last Mothers’ Day was historic. Not only I was able to see my sisters (which is rare enough, since we all live in different states), we got to spend it with our mom as well!!

I don’t remember the last time we were all together for a holiday. Now that we have families, traveling becomes more complicated than ever. But one day hubby and I just looked at each other and we were like, “it’s time.” If we wait for it to not be hard to visit family, we’ll never see anybody again until the kids are off to college.

The couple-of-days-long road trip wasn’t nearly as bad as we would’ve imagined! Of course, thanks to our wonderful minivan (I could kiss it) plus lots of snacks for the kids. Andrew, Lucas & Melissa One big reason why we decided to go was so the cousins could play together. And they got along great! I love this age, when they can make friends in a second. Lucas (my nephew, in the picture) is such a sweet boy.

Speaking of boys, I was glad Andrew finally had one to play with. I never want to have a 4th kid, but I do feel a bit of guilt for not giving him a brother. He’s such a manly boy, and sometimes the poor kid just wants to play rough, but with 2 sisters, I have to keep forcing him to go “gentle, gentle.” On the upside, now he’s a gentle giant lol, very warm and curly. I can’t wait till he’s older so I can become soccer/football/whatever mom :).

Bromance

It was so good to hang out with my sisters and my mom again. I especially like to see them interact with my kids. They’re such fun ladies that I always think my kids are missing out on them.

My older sister Andrea and Holly

My mom and Andrew

My sister Alice already had her hands full

Together again! Love this picture, even though Mom's eyes are closed lol

Together again! Love this picture, even though Mom’s eyes are closed lol

Everybody! Boy, we've multiplied :)

Everybody! Boy, we’ve multiplied :)

My sister’s house is awesome, but I remembered the post-baby fog too well to let her host our family of 5, so we stayed in a hotel. On our last day there, we took the kids to the indoor pool area.

Melissa was in her element - she's always loved water

Melissa LOVES water

Andrew freaked out, and only enjoyed it a bit when we were about to leave. Funny how it totally doesn’t show in this picture – he just enjoys taking pictures. Male modeling future perhaps? :)

Hot tubs used to be a LOT more relaxing 3 kids ago :)

Hot tubs used to be a LOT more relaxing 3 kids ago :)

After this visit, we drove a few more hours to get to my other sister’s house. She lives near Indianapolis, one of my favorite cities. We walked around downtown and then ate at California Pizza Kitchen. I was so happy I had to register this moment. us at restaurant By the way, there was a homeless guy right next to us who, the whole time we were there, kept yelling to people that passed by: “Look over there! You dropped your smile! (drunken laugh)” Just a tad bit disturbing, but most people did smile back, and at least he wasn’t screaming obscenities l0l.

Sorry Holly, for you have inherited my frizz :)

Sorry Holly, for you have inherited my frizz :)

Had to include this one of her fascination with all things plastic

Had to include this one of her fascination with all things plastic

If you have a house full of kids like me but still want to go on a road trip, hope these pictures gave you courage! Because really, kids will drive you crazy anywhere, so we might as well be somewhere interesting :).

Makeup: To Splurge or Not to Splurge

*this is post is participating on the High Five for Friday bloghop at www.thelaurenelizabeth.com*

Last Christmas ruined me. Having received an Ulta gift card from my sister, I bought my very first pricey makeup product – Benefit’s Gimme Brow. Now, whenever one of my cheap products doesn’t deliver, I always wonder if a nicer brand would do the trick.

Well, so far, I have come to the conclusion that these are the 2 reasons I’d be allowed a trip to Ulta/Sephora:

1.If I have some kind of allergy reaction/special need (and just a particular brand will do);

2.If it LASTS.

Notice that I capitalize the word LASTS – as in, the tiny eyebrow-filler I bought 6 months ago is still going strong! I think 22 dollars twice a year (if that much) is a pretty reasonable price.

friends-dating-ulta-breakup-with-your-makeup-ecards-someecards

Ha! Words to live by :)

Another thing I discovered recently is primer. I used to think this was such a waste, but really, the older (and busier) you get, the less time you want to spend in front of the mirror fixing what you did a couple of hours ago. So I decided to give this thing a try, but went cheap first, of course (if you’re on a budget like me, always go cheap first! :). After some research, I grabbed the Rimmel’s Stay Matte one.

I learned quickly that if I applied it to my entire face I’d look like I was going to a wedding (a little too effective!). So I started just applying it to my T-zone, which is the area where my make-up melts. That worked, except for the fact that it also dried up my skin. Plus, if I dared putting it anywhere near the eyes, it irritated them so bad that I needed eye drops everyday. Worth the cheap price, I ask you? I didn’t think so.

After another Ulta gift card for my birthday (my sister knows me so well lol), there I was again at the Benefit section. By the way, the great thing about cosmetic stores is that there are testers everywhere – they WANT you to try out the products. You don’t have to sneak a drop on the back of your hand before the Target salesperson notices it (not that I’ve ever *cough* done that).

So I’d heard about this miraculous 15-hour primer, that calls itself the “makeup magnet”. Sounded good to me! And indeed, I’ve been very impressed. Not only it holds everything really well, but it actually makes it all look more natural. I don’t know about you, but I hate SEEING my makeup. I think the point of it should be for people to think you’re polished without exactly knowing why. I don’t want someone to look at me and say, “what a nice powder!” instead of “what a nice skin!”

Just a wee bit different – left: me at 23, with no glasses, no kids and much paler/lighter makeup. Right: me today (30), holding a kid, having discovered foundation+bronzer (oh, and a flat iron!)

Speaking of powder, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve disobeyed my 2 valid reasons and committed the violence of buying a nicer brand before trying all the cheap ones. I was so excited when I got Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Mineral Powder, thinking I’d transcended to a higher level of make-up, but now I’m disappointed. Yes, it performed well, but it’s only been a couple of weeks, and I can already see the the bottom of the case! Seriously?? I cannot afford to spend 32 freakin’ dollars on my face every month. So I feel like I’ve been through a whirlwind romance. It was good while it lasted (not long), but it’s over.

In summary, my suggestion is that if you’re on a budget, it could be best to go for cheaper versions of products you need to use a lot of (such as foundation and powder). Now, for things like blush or eyebrow stuff, that we only need a little of, that’s when I’d allow myself to grab something nicer sometimes (preferably near Christmas or my birthday lol).

What about you, what’s your parameter when it comes to makeup brands?

The Big 3-0

Wooohoooo – it’s the start of a new decade! This even inspires me to re-invent myself a bit. Not that I’ll become a different person, but instead, I’m less hesitant about going for things that I do enjoy.

For instance, the beach. I know, I’m so much more of an indoors person, even though I do have fond memories of swimming at the beach as a kid. But as I grew up, whenever there was an opportunity to go I’d over-think it so much (Do I have the right swimsuit? Do I look ok in it? I already shaved my legs yesterday – if I do it again today, will they be itchy?), that by the time I felt ready for it, the opportunity had already passed.

So lo and behold, guess what I did on the morning of my birthday – I went to the beach! How funny that now, that it’s a lot more work with 3 kids, I’m more spontaneous about it than I was kidless. Hey, better now than never, right?

beach bday

But my birthday celebrations started a couple of days before that, when I gathered a few of my favorite moms and we watched that movie Moms’ Night Out. SO good! True, a bit silly/exaggerated at times, but so encouraging and cute that it totally makes up for it! I’m even planning on owning it when it comes out, so I can laugh again at how silly/exaggerated I can be too lol.

moms night out

An example of my silliness/exaggeration – here’s a T-shirt that I ordered online just for my birthday dinner:

bday shirt

It says “Crafted in 1984 and aged to perfection” :)

bday shoes

Birthday shoes to match (ignore the horrendous toe nails). By the way, I have an entire post written about my newfound love of colored shoes. Will put it up soon!

bday dinner

With my lovely Texas family (plus a couple of dear friends) at Olive Garden.

bday brownies

Gluten-free (and surprisingly decadent) brownies instead of a cake! Paired with ice cream, but of course :).

As you can see, so far being 30 rocks! I remember my 20s, and how lost I felt about what to do after college and just life in general. I think I spent too much time during this decade trying to be accepted instead of just enjoying being me. For example – on my 20th birthday, I invited a bunch of people I wanted to be friends with to go watch a movie, but when we sat in the theater, there wasn’t enough space in the row for me, and nobody seemed to notice! I just watched the movie alone behind them – not one of my fondest memories. Needless to say, I’m so grateful for the wonderful people God surrounded me with on my 30th, and don’t miss my 20s in the least.

Ps- I’m ridiculously behind on posting on this blog – there are so many cool moments/pics to share!! I’ll try my best to catch up little by little, so stay tuned. And let me know on the comments what you did/plan to do on your big 3-0!