“Already” One Year Old

This past weekend, we celebrated our Little Dude’s first birthday – a momentous occasion, to be sure! As I’m sure many parents can agree, though, that first party is really more for the parent(s). Sure, the gifts are for the kiddo, and I’m sure the little bambino loves that smash cake. But the celebration is really that the parent(s) survived one whole year with this little bundle of need.

A lot of people have said to me, “One year already!?” and I smile and chuckle and say, “Yep, I know. It’s crazy, time flies!” I don’t know why I say that. Well, okay… On one hand, it’s true. Time does fly – once you’re looking backward. But when you’re in the moment, especially those really tough moments, time seems to stand still. Every day that was filled with dirty dishes, laundry, a teething baby who couldn’t sleep, a dog who desperately needed attention and exercise, and a husband who was slammed at work and got home later than expected – those days felt like they’d never end. And there have been plenty of days like that. So believe me when I say that I feel every minute of this first year deep in my overwhelmed, sleep deprived, on-the-verge-of-a-breakdown body. “Already”? No no no. More like “FINALLY”. Finally I have a real notch in my belt, one that says “I deserve a damn medal because my kid, my husband, and the dog are alive, and guess what? I’m not completely insane (yet).”

So to celebrate the survival of my first year of motherhood, we threw a party for the kid. I tried not to go over the top, but let’s face it: I love throwing parties. However, most of what I did was homemade, because I’m also thrifty. I designed, printed, and cut out his invitations. I sliced up paper and made banners. I made a wreath using supplies that I already had around the house, plus a couple of additional cheap goodies. I strung up a banner showcasing his monthly pictures (newborn – 1 year). I made matching t-shirts for Little Dude, Hubs, and I to wear (I know, sickeningly adorable). The theme was baseball, so we even had baseball park food: hot dogs, nachos, soft pretzel bites, Cracker Jacks, sunflower seeds, and a strawberry & blueberry salad to appear somewhat healthy, complete with a banner hanging over the buffet reading “Concessions”. On the day of the party I woke up at 3am and couldn’t fall back to sleep. At 6, I got up and gave myself a special pedicure – you guessed it: baseball themed. Then I ran to the store for some last minute supplies, stopped for a giant coffee on the way home, and went into full party mode. The living & dining rooms were completely rearranged to make room for all the tiny kiddos that would soon be arriving. Hubs grilled the hot dogs, the nacho cheese was put in the crock pot to warm, and the cake & cupcakes were frosted. Just in time, I ran back and changed into my t-shirt, threw my hair into a braid (that would later be pulled out), and slapped on a little mascara. It was party time!


DIY T-Shirts


20140719_143539  20140719_143619

20140719_143833  20140719_144337



Cupcakes with DIY Cupcake Toppers


Rookie of the Year!


DIY Baseball Pedi



It was a wonderful day full of celebration, and complete adoration of our curious, adventurous, energetic Little Dude. This first year may have been rough at times, but overall I think that the scale is tipping more toward incredible. Incredible that we created this amazing little guy. Incredible that he looks at me with love and trust in his eyes, and a smile on his face, despite all the times I’ve lost my cool with him. Incredible to watch him learn and grow, and become who he is meant to be. Incredible that Hubs and I are still together and more determined than ever to keep the love alive during the tough moments and days. Incredible that we have so many more of these years ahead of us, that we’ll one day look back on and summarize in a nutshell while trying to hold onto all of the sweet memories. Incredible that my name is now Mom.

And for all those crazy, stressful, scary, maddening moments, there’s at least one moment like this:


Hubs & Little Dude

I love you, Buddy. Happy First Birthday.


4th of July Manicure

Recently I’ve discovered that when my nails are painted, my legs are shaved, and I have a bit of makeup on, I feel like I have my shit together. So in an effort to feel more like a human and less like a messy stay at home mom/housewife, I’m going to try to keep up on these things.

It all started when I took a “Mommy Weekend” to my favorite little river town, a trip suggested by my incredible hubby. I rented a small apartment and for 2 days and nights I drank wine, ate whatever I wanted, went window shopping, sat by the river, watched movies, read, and relaxed. I also shaved my legs and painted my nails, and oh… I felt like a real lady! Not just a mom covered in someone else’s boogers who wears leggings and sometimes goes a couple of days without leaving the house. The wine and sleep helped, of course. But when looked in the mirror and saw real clothes, nice nails and smooth legs, I felt good about myself. Like I gave a damn about me. And I think that’s something worth putting in a little effort for on a regular basis.

So for the 4th of July, I decided to do something special, and I gave myself a festive manicure! Normally I would’ve wanted to do it, but brushed it off with the excuse that it would take too much time. It did take a bit of time, but when it was all done I loved it! Plus I got compliments all day, which was pretty awesome. All in all, totally worth the time, and I plan on doing something special for each holiday, and probably for some events too (like my  Little Dude’s first birthday party – stay tuned!). You’ll also be happy to know that I’ve been keeping up on my legs… Really great, especially since it’s summer and HOT, so I’ve been wearing lots of shorts. You’re welcome. 🙂


What do you do to make yourself feel great?

Little Dude’s First 4th of July

It’s that time of year – heat waves, sunshine, barbecues, and of course, Independence Day! Last year, my husband and I drove up to meet some friends at a cabin in the mountains. I was nearing my due date (July 21st) and was starting to feel pretty round. This year, the 4th of July was extra special because it was our Little Dude’s first, and he’s getting old enough to really start enjoying the festivities surrounding special events.

We spent the day at the local Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration, where we rode a tractor train, visited the petting zoo, and watched the pie and watermelon eating contests. It was a blast, although LD wasn’t so sure about the animals…


Mama & Little Dude


Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration

After visiting the local festival, we headed out to my best friend’s house to eat some barbecue and play. Her son is just 11 days older than Little Dude, so they really have a rompin’ good time together!


The Fam!

The next day we spent the afternoon playing at a local water park with out-of-town friends who were visiting for the weekend. It was SO good to see our buddies, and Little Dude had the time of his life in the toddler pool and sand pit!!


In the big pool!


Mama & Little Dude


Our messy Little Dude in the sand pit!

We ended the weekend at home, resting up and eating popsicles – it’s starting to get HOT here. Our weekends for the next couple of months are completely booked… Welcome, Summertime!

One Year In…

My name is Jess, and I need a fresh start.

Just over a year ago, my husband and I packed all our things, put our house on the market, left a city we love, and moved back home. At the time, I was 7 months pregnant with our first kiddo, so the changes didn’t stop with the move. My husband started down a new career path, and became the sole financial provider for our little family so that I could stay home. I quit my day job for a 24/7 job: motherhood. We rented a house in my hometown, welcomed our sweet baby boy, and quickly went from being the carefree young couple with a packed social schedule to the brand-new overwhelmed parents with few friends in town. And yet… More changes were in store. One year after moving home, we decided to give notice to renters living in a house that my husband purchased before we were married, so that we could move in and settle down in a place that was more permanently ours. Unfortunately, the renters had completely trashed the house, and it needed new flooring and paint throughout, new appliances, deep cleaning, a new yard, etc.

So, as a recap: move, leave friends, new job, one income, brand-spanking-new baby, home renovation. All within a year. Cue some major exhaustion and stress, yeah?

I finally feel like we’re starting to settle into our new life. So why, might you ask, do I need a fresh start? Haven’t I had enough “fresh” over the past year? In some ways, yes. But my attitude needs a fresh start, a redo, a blank slate. I don’t deal well with change, so all of these transitions have been tough for me. I’ve had a crappy attitude about a lot of it, and it’s way past time to fix that.

So this is the story of me, of all life’s imperfections that I’m trying to embrace with gratitude and positivity. I believe that everyone’s life is a story, and we get to write on all those blank pages… But sometimes, most often, it’s not a perfect font, it’s more like scribbles. In crayon, with lots of cross-outs and misspellings and doodles in the margins.

These are the Scribbles On My Pages.