Right now I’m listening to the birds chirping a happy song as sunshine and fresh air stream through the kitchen window carrying with it the smell of booming flowers and freshly cut grass. Ahhhhhhhhhhh – spring is here! I’ve always thought of myself as a summer girl, but the more I think about it, I’m pretty sure spring really is my favorite season. There’s just so much to look forward to in springtime and everyone just seems like they’re happier – coming out of their shells after a long winter hunkered in. It is so good.
Since I’ve obviously had a bit of a writer’s block lately and have found myself spending more free time outside and just enjoying this season of my life entertaining small children, I thought I’d at least take a few minutes to share some happy bits and pieces in my life lately.
>>> Mustard Girl Gourmet Mustards
If you’re wondering why I’m listing mustard as the first thing on my “making me happy” list, there are a couple of reasons. First off, I get lots of random product review requests, but usually pass them up due to shortage of time, just not being interested in the product, or it just isn’t a good fit for my life or blog. When I was contacted by Mustard Girl to try out their delicious assortment of gourmet, American made mustards I instantly responded YES PLEASE. You see, I love mustard. I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I was pregnant with Roman and my only really odd pregnancy craving was mustard. I would literally dig through my kitchen cupboards to find something to dip in mustard so that I wasn’t just squirting it into my mouth from the bottle. Ha ha! I’d usually settle on cheese and crackers and pickle with a hefty squirt of the yellow stuff.
So while I don’t eat mustard quite as much as I did while pregnant, I still enjoy it as much as possible on sandwiches, burgers, and now that the weather is warmer – barbecued hot dogs! Yummo! And now that I’ve been given the chance to sample Mustard Girl’s array of mustards, my world has been changed for the better. For example, if you like a traditional yellow mustard, Mustard Girl’s Sweet N’ Fancy Yellow takes it to the next level. It’s a little bit disturbing just how much I love this stuff. It’s got just a touch more sweetness to it, but still that tang you expect from a yellow mustard. Another favorite of mine is the Sweet N’ Spicey Honey Mustard. OMG.
More to love about Mustard Girl??? It’s made in Wisconsin, gluten-free and Kosher, contains NO preservatives, contains NO high-fructose corn syrup, and makes an awesome dip or marinade. We like to mix some of the American Dijon with a bit of oil and vinegar and seasonings for an AMAZING salad dressing. So so good.
Wanna give it a try? You can now find Mustard Girl at Target (cue singing angels), on the Mustard Girl Website, and on Amazon.
>>> My Updated Kitchen
One reason I’ve been absent around here a bit more than usual is that we’ve been busy, busy, busy fixing up things around our home, including our dated kitchen. If you follow me on Instagram (@dreamstodo) you’ve seen our new kitchen floors. Well, we put those in with the help of my dad and it was quite the long and tedious project. But so so so worth it! We also got our cabinets painted (they were so dirty and dingy before) and new hardware installed. The finishing touch to the space was that gorgeous teal cabinet from, can you guess? Yep, Target! I’m a sucker for that place.
For those interested, the tiles we went with are from Lowes – Leonia Silver Glazed Porceline Tile. Love them so much!
>>> Egg Tray as a Jewelry Holder
So as I was perusing the aisles of Target right before Easter, I stumbled upon this Easter egg tray in the kitchen section. I had remembered seeing something similar used as a jewelry holder on a fashion blog I follow, so I snatched it up. I seriously LOVE this thing. It looks pretty and is absolutely perfect for keeping my favorite every-day jewelry pieces organized and easily accessible. While I can’t find this same one available any more at Target since Easter is over (but you could check their clearance stuff!), they do have this one that’s similar or I found this one from World Market or this smaller one on Amazon.
>>> All Things Spring
We had the BEST Easter! Perfect weather, lots of candy, egg hunts, lots of love. Each holiday is so much more special with Roman here – just knowing our family is complete and we’re making memories all together moving forward. The weather around here lately has been AMAZING and it does wonders for my kids’ behavior and my attitude. The days just fly by now that we can spend a good portion of them outside.
I’m loving the blooming tulips, the endless park playdates, the short sleeve shirts. Some days I look around me a think, “life really doesn’t get any better than this.” In those moments I know I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
How about you? Are you enjoying this spring? Anything awesome that’s bringing some extra “happy” to your life?
Disclaimer: Yes I was sent some mustard in exchange for a review of the product, but I only share products that I truly love and believe are worth my time to share. This is seriously awesome mustard.
Well, we’re heading into the home stretch of Roman’s first year of life. He’s officially 9 MONTHS OLD now and I just don’t know how it happened.
(And I don’t know how I’m going to keep up with the next few monthly photos like this because BIG BABY.)
All about my Roman Michael at 9 months old…
- That cupie curl on top of his head? All the heart eyes.
- This boy is on the move! Nope, not quite crawling but his upper body strength is insane because he literally drags himself everywhere.
- T.R.O.U.B.L.E. Hide your DVD player, glass of wine, and fireplace tools because this boy is after them all. Basically anything that he shouldn’t play with he is magnetized to.
- I pull something he shouldn’t be eating out of his mouth at least once a day. His favorite is paper of any kind. He chews it like gum and screams bloody murder when you remove it from his mouth.
- Overall, still the happiest, easiest baby. (knock on wood… we all know what happened with Landon and I used to say this about him all the time)
- No clue what he weighs these days, but he’s pretty much in size 12 month clothes now.
- Cries “ma, ma, ma, ma” when he’s fussy. I’ll take it.
- Talks a LOT. Ba ba ba ba. Ma ma ma ma. Da da da da. Bla bla bla bla.
- Sissy is the funniest person ever to Roman. He seriously starts cracking up just when he hears her voice coming from another room. The anticipation that she may come visit him is just too much for him to handle. I really need to get a video of this!
- Eating pretty much everything and anything these days (with the exception of the things he shouldn’t have until he’s at least one, of course). But, he only eats a few bites at a time and then he’s bored. Favorite food so far is french fries and I don’t blame him (no I don’t feed him french fries all the time).
- Makes the most pathetic fake cry sound when he wants to nurse. It seriously makes me LOL. And then when he sees the boob coming he gives me the goofiest grin.
The love I have in my heart for this kid is astronomical. Like, I haven’t wanted to be away from him once since he was born. I hope spending time with him never gets old.
One of my greatest dislikes is stagnation. I absolutely hate when life falls into too much of a rut or routine. If I’m not constantly moving and changing and growing and working towards something new and looking forward to things to come, life just feels bland to me. And it makes me get all twitchy and I slowly start feeling down and depressed.
This is probably why I’ve never stuck with one thing for too long. My hobbies are constantly changing. I get bored with one thing and move on to the next. Yes, I sometimes wish this wasn’t the case so I could really excel in one area, but it is also what makes me who I am. If I don’t have something to look forward to on the horizon (a new endeavor, a trip, a new baby), I’m not the happiest Ariel I can be.
I was starting to feel that itch of boredom with life tickling the back of my throat a few weeks ago. I was falling into the rhythm and routine of my day-to-day existance with nothing much to look forward to or work on that really excited me. And then my husband who is obsessed with watching the local real estate market found a house in our dream neighborhood with a price that was too good to be true. Were we looking to move any time soon? No. Were we ready to sell our house? No. Were we in a financial position to buy a new home? Not necessarily.
But somehow one spontaneous and rather irresponsible decision brought a spark back into my life. On the same day that the “dream house” was listed for sale we went and looked at it. And then within a matter of hours we got a pre-approval letter for a new mortgage and put in a full price offer (on a house that we probably couldn’t even afford). That day I seriously almost died of a panic attack over all of it, but the adrenalin felt so good at the same time! Ha!
Needless to say, the next day we lost in bidding war to an offer that was like $30k OVER the list price! It was heartbreaking and such a HUGE relief at the same time.
So why am I writing about this when we aren’t moving and haven’t even bothered mentioning it to many of our family or friends? Because that one little (big?) irresponsible decision sparked a couple more spontaneous decisions that have brought a little light and excitement to my boring ole life. First of all, we immediately decided to fix up our kitchen in case we do decide to sell our house soon. Right now we’re installing new floors and will be getting new appliances and having our cabinets painted soon. It’s exciting! And then we booked a last minute trip to DISNEYLAND (!!!) at the end of this month and we’re going to surprise the kids and I’m SO EXCITED I CAN’T TAKE IT!!
Should we be saving money instead of fixing our kitchen and taking an expensive trip? Yes. Should we at least sit on ideas for more than a day (or a few hours) before signing up to spend a bazillion dollars? Absolutely. But ya know what? Sometimes it feels good to be a little bit irresponsible. And I’ve definitely decided I need to make space for a little more spontaneity in my life. Maybe just not the expensive kind next time.
Here are some bits of life lately. Follow me on IG (@dreamstodo) if you want to keep up (since I can’t seem to find time to blog as much as I used to).
It was practically overnight that my whole world changed when I gave birth to Roman 8 months ago. After working full time pretty much straight out of college – through a marriage, becoming a mom, buying a home, having a second child – living on an 8am to 5pm work schedule was my normal. While I didn’t always enjoy it, the early wake ups and getting kids ready and dropped off at daycare before getting to the office and putting in a full day’s work then frantically doing housework in the evenings was all I ever knew. The land of leisurely, long days and mid-day park playdates and daytime TV and too much time at home was all foreign to me. I always craved seeing what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mom, but I was terrified of the prospect at the same time.
My last day at my job of almost 8 years was a Thursday. I gave birth to Roman the following Monday. My husband had a few weeks off work where we lived in a dreamlike land full of family time and then I started on my new adventure. Eight months later and it still feels like I’m living in a bit of a foreign land. I never realized just how much being a working mom became my identity. Most of my friends also worked. I didn’t know about MOPS groups or co-op daycares or where all the best places to entertain toddlers in the middle of the day were. I didn’t know what it was like to actually have time to plan and prepare dinner. Or be caught up on laundry. Or what it was like to not wear high heels for weeks on end!
After 8 months, I feel like I’m the new kid at school who is finally starting to fit in. I’m making new SAHM friends in my neighborhood who are teaching me their ways. I’m slowly learning to manage my time instead of having someone manage it for me (but I still have a lot to figure out in terms of time management – hello long lost blog!). And I’m getting to know my children deeper than I ever did before.
I felt compelled to write this today because today may just be the first day that I really feel like I’m owning this SAHM thing. I’m happy here. I’m figuring it out and it’s growing on me. It’s a whole new world that’s slowly losing its “newness” and finally just becoming a part of who I am.
Just over 8 months ago I was a wreck. I was a big ole ball of nerves – full of anxiety over becoming a momma to three and birthing a baby who may have some medical complications. Fast forward to today and I just can’t imagine existing before this little goofy butterball came into my life…
My baby. I already know that this one is always gonna be mommy’s baby. I have special connections with all of my children, but there’s definitely something different about being able to spend pretty much every waking hour of Roman’s life with him. I will always remember the way he lights up when he hears my voice or sees me enter the room. This kid has stolen my heart.
All about my Roman Micheal at 8 whopping months old…
- Roman is still a rolling machine. No crawling yet, but that doesn’t stop him from getting where he wants to go. He rolls and rotates his body and rolls again until he gets where he needs to be.
- If I need to cheer him up (which frankly is pretty much never since this kid smiles just about non-stop), a good pony ride on the knee does the trick like nothing else.
- Finally LOVES food! We just had to ditch the purees and go straight for the good stuff. He’ll eat pretty much anything I’m eating as long as I chop it up really small. But he only eats very small amounts at each meal.
- Unlike his big bro, Roman has no eczema and no constipation issues thus far. It’s so nice for a change to have such an easy-in-all-ways baby! (knock on wood)
- Oh wait… Roman still isn’t a huge fan of nap time. He does nap, but he gives me his cranky scream cry as soon as we approach his crib. Oftentimes he just catches cat naps in his car seat or in the Ergo while I do housework or play on the computer.
- Still sleeping through the night from about 6pm to 7am. I do still pick him up and feed him when I go to bed because I just can’t get enough of that special snuggly time with him.
- Wearing 6-9 and 9-12 month clothes. I know he looks huge in these photos, but he’s pretty darn average according to the charts (a little on the tall side, though).
- Currently his favorite toys are these three plush green peas and a wooden chicken drumstick from Melissa & Doug. Haha!
- Roman is talking a lot these days: bla bla bla and lots of cooing mixed with plenty of high pitched squeals. He’s a noisy one!
- OBSESSED with the bath. Like if I’m holding him and we enter the bathroom he will literally dive out of my arms towards the bathtub. If he even hears the bath filling up for his sis or bro, he will throw a fit until I put him in it, too.
As far as Roman’s medical situation, we’re just waiting until he’s one to get a final verdict on his kidney reflux. Otherwise, he’s a happy, healthy, hearty 8 month old. And he’s my little ray of sunshine each and every day.