Personal Days and Ponchos (& why both are necessary!)

A personal day? What’s that?
If you are asking that question to yourself or thinking, “SERIOUSLY!” – hear me out! I’ve just recently discovered the single best #momhack #lifehack whatever you want to call it hack.
Early on after having Calvin and going back to work, a co-worker gave me the advice that I should schedule days off work to get personal things taken care of.. aka suggesting that I would have to plan ahead to be productive, a super foreign concept to me. I put this in the back of my mind up until now, as it seemed like a waste of a vacation day, or that it wouldn’t be worth setting aside work or emails for a full day.

It has been a busy and stressful summer & fall back at work, and I have slowly started to fall behind on “life.” So at the end of last week, I decided I needed a personal day – to keep both my physical and mental sanity!

My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.

[Every vacation day for the past 18 months has been spent traveling (usually to and from holidays), which in itself can be extremely stressful and tiring. If we weren’t traveling, they were spent at home in Cincinnati staying at others’ homes and juggling how we can maximize time with every loved one we want to see and while in town.]
This was not the personal day where I sleep in until 10am, slowly enjoy my coffee cuddled on the couch with a nice book and then make my way to the salon for a day of pampering.  It was time – this mama needed a day to herself to just get. shit. done.

I never thought I would be the Mom that was off work and still taking her child to daycare, but I can now put myself in that category. It is almost impossible to get anything done when taking care of an 8 month old at home, so off to daycare Calvin went. Because my personal time is so valuable, I did not feel bad… he did get to go late and was picked up early. Either way, Calvin loves daycare (thinking of writing a post on daycare pros & cons) so it was just another chance for him to play with his “friends.” 🙂
I honestly can barely even believe I was so productive. I felt “free” and was able to check so many things off of my to-do that would’ve otherwise eaten into my entire weekend or taken a lot longer than 1 day to accomplish.
Some ideas for fully utilizing a personal day:
Drink your coffee out of a normal mug as opposed to a travel mug (it’s the little things)
Clean/pick-up your home
Laundry
Work on your side hustle
Go to a work-out class
Grocery shop/buy items for a new recipe
Go to brunch or lunch with a friend
Shower and actually get ready
Spend extra time with your child in the morning and afternoon
*I may or may not have been able to do all of these things and more*
If you are a busy mom, or hard working professional and feeling overwhelmed with work, life and responsibilities, I suggest putting some time aside for yourself. Even if ‘personal time’ means you are checking things off your list that involve others – if it’ll make you feel better to accomplish these things that you know need done asap, it’s time.
As a mom, you likely schedule everyone else’s lives around you – what about scheduling some time of your own?

So – my top 3 reasons you should take some time for a personal day – 1) get a bunch of shit done in one focused day 2) revive your mental sanity and 3) you deserve it!


OUTFIT INSPO:

Boots (similar)

Dress

Necklace

The poncho I’m wearing in these photos is almost like a blanket, super big and warm. It’s from marshals, or maybe TJ Maxx last year and LITERALLY doesn’t have a brand on the tag. (You can probably tell by now that I’m not a big brand snob – I buy what I like, don’t care where it’s from or what the brand is.) I also swore by ponchos when I was pregnant and they are actually what inspired my very first post.  They are probably my favorite cold weather accessory and I’m so glad it’s finally chilly enough to pull them out! Here are some of my other favorites for you to choose from:

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Image of Steve Madden Faux Leather Trimmed Zip Poncho

Image of Accessory Street Marled Knit Border Ruana

Product Image, click to zoom

Product Image, click to zoom

Tasseled Poncho

Fringed Plaid Poncho

Primary Image of Reversible Cape

Here’s to my two favorite things at the moment: personal days & ponchos! How do you feel about either? What is your plan of attack for completing “life” tasks and not getting overwhelmed? Any hacks I should know about?
Talk soon!

KaylaSignature-02

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{Month Seven} + Thoughts on Having a Baby Away from Family

We are officially to seven months!! How? Why? What’s happening? I have had 2 people in public say, “he’s almost one year!” Whoa people, let’s slow it down – he’s still my little cuddly baby. That is one exaggeration where I’d rather people round down. I’m so excited for our future but wanting to cherish every moment that I can. Every night after Calvin eats and falls asleep, I still hold hold him on my chest for about 30 min – 1 hour (and I wonder why I have no time to do anything) but I know that these moments will be gone so quick so – IDC!
I mentioned in my Instagram yesterday that he is seRIoUsLy giving us a run for our money! He is teething, not sleeping through consistently and extremely crazy rolling everywhere. The teacher at daycare told me that he loves taking the full bin of toys and pouring it over his head. I’ve never heard a more true metaphor for my life, LOL! I’m frightened for when he full on crawls, walks and then runs. #notready

In Month 7, I am officially feeling the stress of having a baby while living far away from the help of any and all family. {We do have friends here, but coincidentally (in a positive way) they all have babies or are pregnant themselves!} The first few months were great while I was on maternity leave and I had all the time in the world to focus on Calvin, while still getting personal items taken care of. Months 4-7 have been a bit of a different story. I’ve shared my working mom woes, but I think I have realized why the past few months have felt so challenging and straining. We have no help or moments of “relief.” It hit me like a ton of bricks this past weekend.
For a while I think I thought we were invincible and that we could do anything we set our minds to – which we can, BUT it would be better with people to help. Do a lot of people successfully raise their children away from family? Yes, and we are successfully doing it too, but it really is much harder. Our personal endeavors are very few and far between – and our time for each other is limited. Legit, I sometimes struggle finding time to shower. I am exhausted at night and he’s up between 5-6am each morning. Even if we only get “behind” on life a bit each week, it starts to add up. Before we know it, we have 6 bins of laundry waiting to be folded (we have to re-dry things like 3 times or they’re wrinkly as shit), I haven’t worked out in 2 months (more on this later), we’ve eaten dinner “out” 4 days in a row, and it looks like Hurricane Katrina has gone through our living room. While I know that this stage of our lives is short and fleeting – it is still extremely overwhelming and unlike anything I have experienced in the past.
All I want are mom-made casseroles and cookies on demand, and someone to do all my household ‘chores’ -is that too much to ask?
In true fashion to my writings, I want to also talk about the positives we have experienced while on our little Cantor family adventure away from home. While it’s been challenging, there has been no shortage of amazing moments that we are extremely grateful for.
*Craig, Calvin and I have become so much closer because of this. Even though Calvin doesn’t know it yet, I think he will be proud of the fact that we took a chance on moving away, getting out of our comfort zone, and then overcoming to provide as much love as we can to him in his early stages of life.
*We have learned to do everything on our own through trial and error – the best form of learning.
*When we DO have help, it’s such a blessing. Something we might have overlooked or expected while living close.
*This is only preparing us for our future and the challenges we may face with more than one child. Yes, we plan on sibling(s) for little Cal.
*Because this area is very full of “transplants”, three of our best couple friends are also going through the same thing – having new babies far away from family.
*Calvin goes with us everywhere and has become Mr. Social Butterfly. He’s so good when we get him out of the house!

Calvin Updates
Likes:
  • Not sleeping all night
  • Waking up early
  • Showering himself in toys
  • Bath time
  • Being tickled
  • Holding Mom’s cell phone
  • Eskimo Kisses
  • Toys that rattle
  • Soft blankets
  • Rolling everywhere!
  • Riding on Dad’s shoulders
Dislikes:
  • When Mom leaves the room
  • Chunky baby food
  • Sleeping in
  • Naps
  • Getting his face wiped off
  • Being constrained in any way
7 month photo update:
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Who else lives away from family and is feeling some of these challenges? I definitely want to connect – feel free to send me a message in any way 🙂
Stay tuned this week – I’ll be talking about one of my favorite new, quick, easy to watch, relatable shows and hosting a giveaway along with it!
Talk soon!

KaylaSignature-02

My Summer Post Recap: All things Baby, Back to Work, Engagement, Re-branding & Travels!

It’s been a summer for the books! So much growing, traveling, fun & so many firsts in our life! As I was rounding these up, I went back to re-read some of my posts – I need to take some of my OWN advice and remember why I wrote the things that I did.
The post that hit me the hardest was “The 5th Trimester: Learning to Balance Time & Give yourself a Break.” This post is very near and dear to my heart – definitely the most honest words I’ve written to date. If you are a working mom, or will be…check it out!
The most exciting thing that happened personally this summer, is that Craig and I got engaged! We are so official now!
The most exciting thing that happened blog wise, is that I re-branded from “Kayla Marie” to “Running with Strollers.” I finally found my niche and can’t wait to keep writing & bring great content to all my readers!
Here is a recap of this summer’s posts. I have re-linked for easy reading if you may have missed one in the craziness that summer can bring 🙂
Calvin Turns 4 Months + The challenges & rewards during this time 
Back to Work! + My Working Mommy Essentials
The 5th Trimester: Learning to Give Yourself A Break
*My favorite & most honest post of the Summer <3*
My Favorite Way to Order Prescription Glasses + Pics of this Baby Bear!
4th of July Inspired Family Photos
We got engaged! + Our Favorite Vacation Photos 
Calvin turns 5 Months + How Having a Baby Changes Your Priorities
Our Day Trip to NYC + Getting Out of your Comfort Zone 
Mom goes to Nashville + Increasing Your Happiness + How to wear Shorts & Boots
*Blog Re-Brand!!*
Flying with an Infant + Travel Necessities! 
Calvin turns 6 Months + Remembering to Live in the Moment 
Calvin Tries the MamaRoo!
Shirt Dresses: Perfect for the Transition to Fall
Here’s to a new season, more firsts, and finishing out 2016 strong.
So much love for all of you! ❤

KaylaSignature-05

How often do you get out of your Comfort Zone? + Baby’s Big Day in the City

Hello hello – the first day back from Labor Day weekend! It was a super fun 4 day weekend for me so today was a BIT of struggle city getting back into it!
I don’t think it’s a secret that the past 18 months of my life have been a bit crazy – relocating for the first time away from all friends & family, taking on a new leadership role with increased responsibilities, finding out we were pregnant, moving apartments 3 times, making all new friends, having Calvin, getting engaged, and the list goes on! Yada, yada, you guys have heard it all. That is so much to fit into 18 months and people have often looked at me like I’m crazy or asked me how this is possible.  NOT that I think i’m the expert on any topic, as most of the time I’m writing about something when experiencing it for the first time. I also DON’T think others haven’t gone through crazier changes or experiences in even shorter time frames or that I’m special!
BUT the past 18 months are what have inspired me to write -the challenges and rewards are what inspired me to continue on this blogging journey and allowed me to discover something I love to do.
But why do I keep talking about this? Why do I say the back half of my twenties has been a ‘life changing’ time?
It has all been done completely out of my comfort zone.
None of it this has been comfortable – it has stretched me (both mentally and physically, ha) but all of it is preparing us for our growth, success and new opportunities in the future. I sound so responsible! But for real – Nothing rewarding I have ever accomplished has been done in comfort.
I didn’t WANT to relocate initially but I knew I needed a change and to challenge myself professionally.
I didn’t WANT to move apartments after only 6 months in the other one, but we needed more space.
I didn’t WANT to live away from family when we started our family, but we stuck to the decision we committed to, and have made it work very well for us.
Even going back to college, I didn’t WANT to practice with my dance team 16+ hours a week, but I wanted to be on a team where I could win a world championship more than anything else in my life. *humble brag moment*
Sometimes the right thing isn’t the most fun (initially.) If you want the outcome more than you don’t want to feel uncomfortable, it will be worth it.
I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone more recently than I even care to admit, but making the best of the situation, overcoming, and moving forward, I think, is where you start to see rewards and new opportunities. People may look at you like your crazy but if you have a feeling deep down that what you’re doing is right, you have to try.
I guess my question to you is, are you consistently finding ways to stretch yourself or do you stay with what is familiar? Are you unhappy in some aspect of your life but you keep doing the same thing every day? What have you been wanting to do but are too afraid of what others think?
Getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be moving across the country – it can be sending that email or setting up that meeting at work that you’ve been putting off. It could be finally introducing yourself to another Mom you’ve been wanting to connect with in your “circle” of acquaintances. It could be going to an event that takes a hell of a lot more effort to attend than to sit at home on your couch eating chipotle.
What can you do this week to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow a bit? Seriously, I want to hear the “scariest” thing you’ve done recently! Let me know below!

One thing that we’ve made sure to do is to keep living our lives and truly incorporate Calvin into the things we enjoy doing. I’ve learned that having a baby doesn’t mean you no longer have a life – yes things are more difficult, and there are certain things you can’t do, but remembering you CAN still do things is key.
Since he was born, we have never shied away from taking him places – to restaurants, parks, the beach, friends houses, the city.
Earlier this summer my sister and brother in law let us know that they’d be coming into NYC in August and asked if we would be able to meet them for the day. We live in NJ – about an hour outside of the city, a 75 min train ride on the NJ transit. For anyone who has been to NYC, you know it is a different world – overwhelming, mesmerizing, full of opportunity. Before we got pregnant we went into the city a few times, always leaving exhausted but feeling grateful that we live so close to such a buzzing atmosphere. The east coast is no joke – it is fast paced and you can get lost in the shuffle easily.
When given the opportunity to take our 6 month old baby into the city with us, we could have easily said no or come up with a million excuses to why it isn’t safe, he’s too young, or that it’ll be too hectic. We knew it all of these things could be true in some capacity, but we were excited for the challenge and adventure of the day trip with Calvin. Plus, if we can take the babe into NYC and explore, we may just be able to take him anywhere!
It turned out to be the best day – even with an unexpected torrential downpour and we can’t wait to take him again.
Here are some of our fam pics from the trip!
^Cal’s first train ride
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^view from the Boathouse in Central Park^reppin’ the Bengals in NYC^central park

I hope you all have an amazing week and start to your September!!

Talk soon,

KaylaSignature-02

Ordering Prescription Glasses Online [aka save money & look smart]

You guys – how is it already the last week in July? I seriously feel like Summer just started! Time sure flies when there’s not enough hours in the day….I mean, time sure flies when you’re having fun. 😜
Calvin and I ventured to Cincinnati this past weekend. I’m here for work and decided to come in early to visit family and co-workers in this office. I posted this weekend on instagram, asking for advice, since it would be his first flight, and my first time traveling solo with him. Thanks so much to everyone who wrote to me – so sweet and helpful! I’m usually super positive but not going to lie, it was actually more hectic than I even thought it would be. He was pretty good but this process definitely involved more sweating, burning arms, stuff flying everywhere than it should have LOL…I will likely write about traveling with an infant (driving vs. flying) in the near future. Well, maybe – if we make it home in one piece!

Alright dudes, well doesn’t it seem like almost everyone wears contacts or glasses these days? I wear contacts 95% of the time but noticed my eyes starting to hurt more when I didn’t get a lot of sleep – which is pretty much every night for the past 5 months. It’s so necessary to have a reliable pair of glasses to wear to work or for early in the morning when those little guys (contact lenses) just won’t go in your eyes.

I have Michael Kors prescription glasses that I LOVE – the problem is that they are from like, 2012, and even though the prescription was outdated and no longer accurate, I didn’t want to order new ones because they are so expensive! Even with insurance, buying lenses and frames the traditional route (through your doctor) can be hundreds of $$$. So I just wore glasses that weren’t “strong” enough for a few years. Probably the cause of a few headaches? 🤔
I was so thankful that the Glasses Shop reached out to me at the perfect time – just a few weeks before I went back to work (while still waking up every night with a baby) – to pick out a pair of glasses and try out their shop. These glasses are:
Affordable
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit hesitant to order from this shop because they were so affordable. I figured something so inexpensive would be so so cheap. Not the case at all. The frames are so sturdy and the prescription is just right. Super impressed with both the price point and quality. I literally don’t have one complaint.
Fashionable
They have so many options to chose from and I’ve gotten so many compliments on these frames. Remember when you’re little and wearing glasses was so dorky – you’re like embarrassed when you have to get them?! Well now I feel like glasses (and sunglasses) are the best accessory and can make any outfit look more exciting. Did I mention The Glasses Shop offers prescription sunglasses as well?
Also, I need these glasses to make me look smart and cancel out my mom brain (which is real BTW.)

Convenient To Order
Request your prescription and PPD (pupillary distance) from your eye doctor. Because I had an exam in the last year, I called my doctor to request those two pieces of information and they sent them over via email within the hour. This is the information you will send over with your order
If you go to the glasses shop site on a desktop, there is an option to upload a picture of your face and virtually try on different frames. It sounds like it would be iffy but you can truly see how each frame will look on your face. Game changer in making my final decision.

Use discount code GSHOT50 for 50% off your order – enjoy!

I am wearing the Beauvais Wayfarer in Black (SKU: FZ0647) in case you are so inclined to try the same style.🤓
PS – how sweet is Calvin in these photos? Mama bear and baby bear tops made by etsy shop @hellohandpressed. 🐻

If you try out the glasses definitely let me know! Such a great alternative to ordering traditional prescription lenses or prescription sunglasses. I mostly love that you can order multiple pairs and switch up your look as often as you’d like, for such a great price!
Hope you all have an awesome week and go swimming or something along those lines, it’s seriously so hot!
💕 Kayla

{Month Five Update} & How Having a Baby Changes Your Priorities

Hello hello! How is everyone!?
In these monthly Calvin updates, along with his milestones, I’m also going to invite you inside of my thoughts and how I’m feeling from month to month. As baby changes, so does Mom, and I think it’s important we recognize that! It’ll be kind of like my Monthly Mom 2 cents. I don’t really have an exact focus for how I’ve been feeling in month five, as my brain and thoughts still seem to be all over the place, but I will try and put it into words.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I’ve changed this year. Things I never thought I’d say, do (not do), or want, are now my new reality. How having a baby, someone that relies on you 24/7, changes you and your priorities…big time. Am I an adult now? All bills and pre-tax contributions point to YES.

But seriously.

I used to watch my favorite reality shows at night and now I get to watch my baby play instead- I used to lift weights and do push-ups -now on many nights, my arm workouts are rocking my 17 lb. baby to sleep. I used to take as long as I want to shower and relax at night, now I bathe Calvin as long as he needs, and take the quickest shower possible to maximize my sleep. I used to be late to work because I couldn’t get my ass out of bed, now I’m late because I have to feed, dress (and cuddle with) another human being all before 830am. And no, I’m not talking about Craig. LOL.
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Along with this, my priorities have completely changed. All that seems to matter is the well-being of my child.  His happiness is my happiness. His tears are my tears. His achievements are my achievements. You’d think he’d just won a gold medal on Team USA when he rolled over for the first time, or when he sleeps for a span of longer than 5 hours.
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 It’s so easy to slip back into the thinking of, “remember when” or “I used to be able to do this”, but it is just not worth letting your mind stay in that space for too long.  It really hits me when I’m trying to keep up with others who don’t have kids (or a baby) or when I’m trying to plan something that would have been logistically so simple when it was just me. Is EVERYTHING more complicated? Yes. Do I think twice about solving said complications? No. This is my awesome life now, and I figure it out as I go.
All the Moms I know just seem to know how to handle life’s complexities, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it too.
I think most things in life seem to work out in your favor, if you believe they will.


Alright, back to Calvin – because I know that’s the real reason you all are here anyways! Calvin is getting to be even more fun, even more adorable, and more outgoing than before. He is the biggest joy in our lives and as always, we are so excited for our future with him.
Here are his 5 month facts, stats and pics, of course!
  • Wearing 6-9 month clothing
  • ~17 lbs and ~27 inches
  • Eating 35-38 oz/day
  • Can hold his own bottle, however we don’t quite trust his grip just yet (envision milk everywhere)
  • No teeth yet, but starting the process with drooling, chewing on EVERYTHING and not sleeping too well at night
  • Still not sleeping through the night
  • Great at laughing, screaming, and talking
  • Can roll back to front and vice versa
  • Still the best baby in his class 🙂
  • Loves swimming at the pool
  • Loves clawing Mom & Dads cheeks when excited
  • Sleeping full time in his crib
  • His hair is finally growing back
  • Eyes are changing from blue to either green or brown (we can’t tell just yet)
  • Hates his nose or eyes being touched or cleaned
  • Loves nightly walks in his stroller
  • Just tried rice cereal for the first time tonight – it was a major hit and so cute!
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How have my other mama readers felt around 5 months? Anything fun/cool/scary I should be expecting in the next few weeks?
I hope you all have a fab rest of the week and that the weekend arrives seemingly quick! Love you all!

❤ Kayla

Our Engagement Story + My Fave Vacation Photos

Hi Friends! It has been a CRAZY week back from vacation and so much has happened since I posted previously about the 4th of July. I got those pictures taken of our family for both the blog and just to have some quality images of the 3 of us – little did I know that this holiday would take on such a larger meaning for our family. We got engaged on July 4th, 2016, in Corolla, North Carolina. We were on a family reunion type trip with 18 of my family members staying in one large beach house, so they were all there watching!
I know it may sound dumb or that you’re thinking, “yeah right”, when I say I was shocked. We do have a child together and already function as a true family, but I had NO IDEA it was happening at this time, let alone this year. We had talked so much about re-focusing our priorities to Calvin, our careers, figuring out where we’d be long term, and eventually buying a house, that I thought engagement was the LAST thing on our roster for this year. Also, Craig can hardly ever surprise me, so I thought I’d know for sure before it happened, and that I’d have to fake being surprised so he didn’t know I knew …lol! Well he got me good.
I has previously told Craig when we do get engaged, I better have my nails, hair & makeup done for picture purposes. #princessstatus So, the day before (July 3rd) it was pouring all day and my sisters tried to take me to get my nails done. I didn’t have time to go before we left & what else do you do on a beach vacation when it’s raining? When we got to the place they couldn’t take us because of availability and I said “oh well, I don’t even care about my nails.” There was no more convincing me that we should try elsewhere. Fail #1.
On the 4th, before dinner, we took showers and Craig was trying so hard to get me to dry my hair and “get ready” but I wasn’t having it because we were staying in for dinner to grill out. God knows I won’t get ready if I don’t have to…especially on vacation. 😂 So I threw my wet hair into a clip and bolted up to dinner. Fail #2.
These two things show right away that I had absolutely NO IDEA I was about to get engaged, as I was always sure I needed to look my very best during one of the biggest moments of my life.
Earlier in the day, Craig had told me that he wanted to give a toast before dinner just to thank my family for having him and say how cool it is that we all got together. I said, “ARE YOU SURE?” I thought he maybe just had too many beers at the pool…however, others had said prayers or toasts before previous meals, so I suppose it wouldn’t be that weird.
Craig telling me ahead of time he was doing this was so so smart – when everyone had gotten their food and he stood up, I was expecting the “toast.” When he started talking, I took a hugeeeee bite of my cheeseburger because I did not think I was about to get engaged. #hangrymama
As he began to get more serious and look a bit nervous, my chewing slowed immediately and my hands covered my face to hide my tears. I don’t even cry that often. I couldn’t believe it was happening. After every thing we’ve been through in the 3 years we’ve been together – a move across country, 3 apartments, stressful days at new jobs, A BABY – it was just so bittersweet and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. He did so good. He’d been planning so long for this moment.

It’s funny, you set all of these ground rules or requirements in your mind for when you get engaged and how you want it to happen. Then, when the moment came, I wasn’t thinking about anything except the fact that it’s finally official – I’m going to marry the most selfless, caring, sweet man and Dad that I know!  No fancy location, fancy outfit, perfectly polished nails, or expensive dinner could have topped this moment. I feel so lucky every day and I can’t wait to finally share a last name with my two guys.

Here are a few other of my fave photos from our trip:

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We didn’t take as many pictures on vacation as I would have liked because Craig’s phone got wet and we usually use his camera. Honestly, I was also trying to just enjoy each moment on our trip & not think as much about perfectly capturing every second. We also haven’t bothered lately with using another camera because well, that’s one extra thing to worry about. I do, however, want and NEED to invest in a DLSR. Does anyone have any recommendations for one that is easy to use and won’t break the bank? Please shoot me a message – would love your opinions!
Now, onto planning a wedding (scary!) We have a really busy summer with my work trips, my best friend’s bachelorette & wedding, etc, so we will probably focus more on planning come fall. For now, we are not in a HUGE rush, but I’m sure I will be capturing a lot of the planning journey here on the blog once it begins.
Huge thanks to everyone for your continued support and sweet notes on our engagement. Love you all!

❤ Kayla

What makes Parenthood “All Worth It?” [from Dad’s Perspective!]

Hello, hello, how is everyone’s week going? It’s almost Friday again! What are the big weekend plans!?
I’m so excited to be working with Gerber on their #growingupgerber campaign to talk about what makes being a parent all worth it. Gerber products have quickly become some of our favorite go-to’s that Calvin will continue to grow up with, and it’s truly an honor to work with such a classic household brand name.
^Calvin chillin in his favorite white Gerber onesie^ #gerberbaby!
Before I had a baby, I would watch other parents do things and think how unappealing it all looked. I remember seeing a co-worker wash all of her pump parts in the sink at work (multiple times a day) and think, “what a pain in the ass.” I remember hearing how parents typically need to add an hour to their before-work routine and think, “I can barely wake up in enough time to get myself ready,” or how parents are sometimes up literally all night with a sick child and think how I can only function on 7+ hours of sleep a night. My favorite is hearing how most families fork over a 2nd mortgage payment for childcare and I wondered how I would ever afford the 1st.
I saw and heard everything that the parents I knew did for their children and it seemed overwhelming, like such unnecessary hard work. I think that’s why there is so much anxiety tied to pregnancy. You are trying to imagine doing all of these things before the little one is even here. Then they get here, and most of the stuff you worried about doing is irrelevant – you do it because you want to, without thinking twice. Each smile, laugh, and hug we receive, reminds us of our why. The happy, content baby Calvin has become, makes it all worth it.

In celebration of Father’s Day, I’ve asked Craig to share his moments that make it worth it for him. I think we spend a lot of time talking about Motherhood….but Parenthood includes Fatherhood and I think it’s so important to appreciate both sides of the spectrum – because it’s no secret they are very different. No more of me rambling…here’s my boo, Craig:


“When we first found out we were having a baby and announced it to the world, we heard a ton of “Congratulations, so happy for you” and “that’s so exciting.” These positive reactions were soon followed by “kiss your life goodbye” and “prepare to be tired for the rest of your life.” All in good fun of course, and I’m sure our friends and family meant nothing negative in these comments but still, the prospect was slightly daunting.
Fast forward and Calvin William Cantor was born February 18th 2016, so I’ve been a father for about 4 months now. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Some sleepless nights, crying/fits that don’t stop, lifestyle sacrifices, these are just a few things I’ve experienced so far and you know what, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Because with these negative instances (which with Cal we have been extremely fortunate to have very few) come endless positives including baby laughter and smiles, numerous “firsts”, and pictures that are so cute I want to claw my eyes out.

I love being a Father, so I wanted to write down some of the perks to celebrate & remember on my first special day. Here’s a list that make all those blown out diapers and times being peed on totally worth it:
NEW YEAR, NEW ME
 The phrase New Year, New Me has never been more accurate. Not only do I have a new baby but I have a new life. This means new experiences, new goals, heck new everything! I’ve got new responsibilities, I’ve got a new daily routine, and through Calvin, Kayla and I met new friends. Each day brings something new and to me, this element of parenthood is beyond exciting. Instead of going out on weekends and staying out until 3am planning to sleep the next day away, I’m at home watching Netflix and in bed by 11pm. This is definitely new, but to quote one of my favorite shows and sitcom characters:

Life is what you make it, and I choose this new life every time.
NEW LOVE
I wasn’t aware I could love something as much I love Calvin. When you hear someone say this it sounds totally cliché, but then you look into your new baby’s eyes for the first time and you finally understand that Stevie Wonder song. I watch my Mom snatch him up when we arrive for a long vacation with our families and it makes me unbelievably happy. You can feel the love in the room as my sisters complain about how short of a turn they got holding him and my Dad constantly comments on how cute he is. Kayla’s mom just spent a week with us to help out the first week that Kayla headed back to work (delaying the inevitable daycare drop-off as long as possible.) Watching her play with Calvin or putting him through his bedtime routine, it breaks my heart that we aren’t closer. The fact that she took that time to help us like that makes me love and appreciate Kayla’s family more and more every day. They say “love makes the world go round;” well it sure as hell gets me through the day.

NEW GROWTH
Every little thing Calvin does amazes me. I can’t tell you how many times Kayla has heard “Kayla look, look, OH MY GOD LOOK.” Sure he’s grabbing my finger super tightly for the one hundred and fifty third time or giving me one of his 100 megawatt smiles, but to me these are incredible. Soon he’s going to have teeth, soon he’s going to be walking, and soon he’s going to be beating me at one on one basketball. You can totally tell he’s learning on a daily basis. His newest thing is to rub his hands and face on my beard. He continues to develop and surprise us but I am very thankful for him as he facilitates my growth as a father and as a person. I have physical growth to look forward to from him while I deal with my emotional growth. He was the first baby I had ever held, looking back I’m like “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF ONE OF THESE?!?” And now I have my answer, because I have grown that much in these four short months. I’ll ask my Mom to confirm but I believe I’m a better person now that he is here.

AN EXCITING FUTURE
This is my number one PRO of fatherhood, above the others mentioned, only because this can cover everything in one category. Kayla and I have started our own little family; I am now responsible for a tiny human’s life and well-being. Are we going to eventually move again? Are we going to buy a house then? How many kids do we want?
 I am no longer thinking in the “I or Me” frame of mind, now it’s “Our and We and Us.” It is immensely rewarding going to work every day, being the best I can be, knowing I have people at home who depend on me. I hope I can be half the Father to Calvin that my Dad was to me and same goes for teaching him to be a good person, right from wrong, all that jazz. I tell my parents “I love you” every chance I get and I count the days until I can hear one from Calvin because when I do, I will know I have truly succeeded as Calvin’s father.

It is almost impossible to describe the joy that comes with being a new Father, but I gave it my best shot. Sure it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but that comes with the job, the ups and downs, and I definitely enjoy the ride.
Don’t let these veterans of parenthood scare you with their tales of chaos and shambles, it’s like they can’t help themselves. It almost seems like an initiation into the club that is being a parent, they talk this way because it’s basically assumed that the benefits and rewards of being a parent are beyond any combination of disasters you can possibly imagine.
Every child is different; every parent is different, what works for me might not work for you. This is what I love about being a Father and I wish you well on your journey to figure out what makes it worth it for you.”
-CC


How good of a writer is Craig? He’s seriously the best Dad, too. I think I’ll have him write my heartfelt posts from now on…
With Mother’s Day just passing and Father’s Day approaching, we encourage you to think about what makes it worth it for you. Keep them in mind when the going gets tough….I know we do.
Want to join in on sharing your favorite #growingupgerber moments? Click here to find out how your Instagram picture could be chosen as a Gerber Pic of the Week and also, to unlock some savings. Happy Sharing!
❤ Kayla & Craig

New Mom Round-up: Must-Have Items for YOU!

As more of my friends and acquaintances begin to have their babes, it’s got me to thinking about the post-partum items that have been “life savers” these past few months. What are my go-to’s, my repeat offenders, my must haves? What items made my life easier after baby was born?

Have you ever noticed how moms needs are often put way on the back burner once baby arrives? Of course you have, if you’re a Mom. Well guess what, you are important too. Basically if someone asked me what they need, I would give them this list. If fact, people have asked, so here is my end of maternity leave round-up, captured in one spot. I’m no expert, but once you go through something, it certainly gives you perspective. I own all of these things – tried and true, y’all! I’ve linked the easiest path to purchase on each item title 🙂
Vans Slip-Ons 
vans
I love Vans because they are comfy, easy (slip on), very “in” right now, and cheaper than other tennies like Nikes, Toms, Adidas, etc. Cheaper = you can buy more. Wait, is that not how it works? I’m partial to neutrals such as white, tan, or black. Perfect for both Spring & Summer, comfortable for errands, and they go with jeans, leggings, shorts…all of the above. See how I paired them in a previous post, here. I’ll be talking about investing in neutrals on the blog later this week.
*Since maternity leave pretty much revolves around the boobs, you may see a theme in these next few items.
Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Bras
I love these because they come in a 2-pack, there are no clips involved, no wires, and they are super soft. If you have to wear a bra to sleep, these are the ones you want. Do not wear under-wires to bed…so uncomfortable. You kind of start to feel suffocated by bras, especially the super structured boulder holders, so these are super light. Also, racer back FTW. Or is it razor back? Anyways, highly recommend getting a few packages.
Hands Free Breastpump Bra, Soft Pink
Alright, why did no one tell me ahead of time that nursing pumps have to be plugged in while in use? Not only that, the plug is like 5 lbs – no exaggeration. I freaking hate being plugged into the wall….as if you aren’t slave enough to your boobs and the baby’s feeding schedule during this time. If you have to be plugged in, at least free your hands to do other things, like play on your phone, read a book, or get some work done. It’s also a great item for when you have to pump upon returning to work.
Nylon/Spandex Stretch Tanks
They have to be the kind that are like 90/10 or 85/15 split between Nylon and Spandex. None of that shrinking cotton shit – these are form fitting for under baggy shirts, give the boobs a bit of extra support, super soft, and the stretchy-ness makes them easy access. You can also substitute the sleep bras for these tanks. Also, no clips – because a screaming baby waits for nothing.
Old Navy Rockstar Jeggings
Oh. My. God. These are the best pants ever. WTF, I’m never going back to real pants. Look at that stretchy waist band! I feel like I could do the splits in these. They come in two shades of denim & black – and you need both. They also come in short, regular, and tall women’s sizes. This is key for a shortie like me.
Jessica Simpson 3/4 Sleeve Pull Over Wrap Nursing Top
 I was obsessed with cross style tops, even before I had a baby. Now, they are not only flattering, but functional. Any and all cross-tops will work, but I have linked the JS one that I own here. Size up, as I felt it was a bit small. Your eyes will start to become magnets to this style of shirt, once you realize how great they are.
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 25 ct

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 25 ct

There are so many days where you won’t wear make-up, but still need to quickly wash your face. When I don’t wear makeup, I’m really tempted to go to bed without washing my face, which is a no-no. Buy cleansing face wipes to keep by bed so that you can quickly wipe away the dirt from the day. I still encourage a cleanser, toner, moisturizer nightly routine, but when the going gets tough (and it does) have cleansing face wipes handy.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, 1.7 Ounce
Another item I was loyal to, before baby. I love this stuff. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin starts to look dull and fine lines appear. Since you won’t be able to prevent the lack of sleep, this hydro gel will moisturize your skin and I think it does help with the dullness that can occur. It is water based so, super hydrating, and never oily. Put on as much as you want. I’ve never tried the cream, so I am strictly referencing the gel. I know I know I know – there are a million skin creams out there that are probably great – but here is my drugstore, mom budget, pick.
Scunci No-slip Grip Chunky Jaw Clips,5 Count
Scunci No-slip Grip Chunky Jaw Clips,5 Count
Once your child starts pulling your hair, it’s over. You basically can’t wear it down without handfuls being pulled out. Also, when you throw them over your shoulder (not literally) to burp them, there is a 99% chance of spit up or drool collecting in your mane. Hair clips are so easy and convenient, can be clipped to anything (such as a diaper bag), and don’t leave as much of a crease as hair ties. You know that blow-out you spent 30+ min on, which only happens once a week? Well, you can kind of salvage it with the help of hair clips. I prefer the Scunci brand linked above, because they have rubber in the inside, helping them to stay put in your hair.
Sunglassesray bansSpeaking of not wearing make-up–it takes so long to get out the door with children, that you’ll probably want to just grab a pair of sunglasses…especially if you are just going on a walk, running to the store quickly, or to the gym.  My go-to are my gold ray-bans (I think I’ve owned 5 pairs of these over time), but I’ve also purchased a few pairs from Forever 21 as a cheaper way to mix it up and keep in the diaper bag.
Coffee Giftcards
If people ask you what you want or NEED after childbirth, just go ahead and say coffee giftcards…that is if you are a coffee drinker. Here’s why: (1) weeks of interrupted sleep starts to catch up to you and you’ll prob want some caffeine. I never worried about caffeine during b’feeding and it’s never affected Calvin. (2) Afternoon coffee runs were key to my sanity. Sometimes on fussy afternoons, we needed to get out of the house so we would jump in the car and go through the Dunkin drive through, or go sit at Starbucks for a few minutes and I would get some things done on my iPad.

So here are my faves – what am I missing? What are your go-to’s? Are you about to have a babe and have a question?! Let me know! Seriously, I want to chat with you ALL!
I hope your Monday was pain-less, quick at work, and that you are cuddling your fams extra tight. We are celebrating Craig’s birthday with presents and a cookie cake when he gets home from soccer. 😊 Oh, and you better bet I’m watching the premiere of the Bachelorette!
💕Kayla

{Month Three}  

I can’t believe that we are already through month 3 with Calvin – it has been quickest 3 months of our lives. I’ll probably say that same sentence every month. I have to say, he has officially stolen our hearts. I know they say this happens when your baby is born, but it really seemed to have happened for real this month. He suddenly knows us, watches us, responds to us, and I can’t really imagine being any more obsessed with him than I already am. I’m so thankful we’ve been given something…someone to love so much.
I’m going to keep this post short & sweet and share his 3 month photo update.
He is the craziest, yet sweetest baby – one second he’s shoving his hands in his mouth, climbing all over us, pulling out my hair and the next he’s super content and showing us the biggest gummy smiles.
This month we had our first visit home to Ohio where Calvin met so many friends & family members, we made another baby friend, got his vaccines, he had an all day #boysday with Dad, celebrated Mom’s first Mother’s Day, and learned we are in the 86th percentile.
Favorites
  • Playmat and hanging toys – there’s a hanging monkey that plays music when you pull on it and he knows how to do it on his own now.
  • Carters elephant blankie – we’re definitely enabling this attachment but it really helps him when it’s time to calm down. It’s so precious when he holds it close to his face, not as precious when he’s trying to shove the trunk in his mouth…haha.
  • Practicing standing (with our assistance of course) – he could do this for hours.
  • Grabbing everything – sides of changing table, sleeves, moms hair, you name it.
  • Going anywhere in carseat – we have to take him out when we get home or he will sleep for hours.
  • Drooling – his drool has landed in my mouth multiple times.
  • Bath time – he took a bath in the large tub while I held him and he was kicking and swimming so much. He looked like a little swimming frog, it was so freakin cute.
Who are you? ^^We still have a cone headimg_2758^ I guess we can be friends^Sup?^ This smile melts my heart ^Then we became destructiveimg_2774img_2776img_2778
As always, thanks for following our family – love you all!
Stay tuned this month for several new exciting posts [including a few giveaways 😬]
💕Kayla

Motherhood & Guilt: How to Stop Comparing & Feel like a Badass

I recently read an article on Women & Guilt, and I can’t stop thinking about it – so you know I had to talk about it here. This blog is suddenly a catch-all for my thoughts – thoughts I think all 20-somethings, new moms, or young women have probably felt at some point. I was actually going to wait until I had the *perfect* images to go along with this post, but wanted to get it published before the start of another week.
 This particular article titled, “Why Women Need to Stop Feeling Guilty About Literally Everything” on Elite Daily, had a bit more substance than most of the articles I’ve read on the site. (Side note: I contribute for Elite Daily but usually have to simplify or make my posts more generic to get them picked up. They are sometimes a ‘dumbed down’ version of what I would post here and the titles are chosen by E.D.) This particular article begins to describe how most women feel guilt in their daily lives, whether you’ve had a child or not…but even more so after they’ve given birth as there is now another human in the picture.
 The problem with the article is that it doesn’t actually talk about WHY we feel the guilt or HOW we can stop feeling this way. It just talks about the issue – yes awareness helps issues, but it doesn’t solve them.

I hadn’t labeled some of my newly found anxiety as “guilt” until I read this – I realized in the past 12 weeks I have felt guilt for some of, but not limited to, the following reasons:
Putting Calvin down for periods of time during the day (Should be holding him or interacting 24/7 instead of trying to get things done? I only have one maternity leave.)
Waking up Craig in the night to help with diapers or rocking back to sleep (I wouldn’t want both of us to feel tired tomorrow.)
Eating a piece of cheesecake at 10pm on a weekday (I’m supposed to be watching what I eat.)
Signing Calvin up for daycare (Will he forget me? Will he have a worse childhood for me not staying home? Which isn’t an option BTW.)
Taking 14.5 weeks of maternity leave instead of the 12 my company expects (Even though most Moms can, and do, take 18 full weeks in my state.)
Missing a company leadership retreat during this time (It was a 3-4 day trip to New Orleans.)
Not living near family (They can only see Calvin during designated and planned times this first year.)
Meeting friends in NYC for several hours on a Sat (Should I never do anything fun independently again?)
Writing this blog post while Calvin watches in his swing (Literally, feeling guilty while I’m writing a post about feeling guilty.)
Leaving a mess everywhere (Dishes in the sink, clothes covering the whole floor, stuff all over the bathroom sink, breast pump parts all over the kitchen counter.)
Being a jerk and making Craig get us coffee one Sunday (His spilled on the way home and he didn’t even get to have any.) 
Only 12 weeks into motherhood and I literally feel bad about everything or am constantly apologizing – in other words, HELLO GUILT.


I think talking about this issue of guilt – how, why, and what we can do, can help some of us to find peace in everything we are trying to accomplish. Your priorities are different than mine and mine are different than yours, yet we still compare and feel a sense of failure when we can’t accomplish the same thing that Suzy Home-Maker, Business Betty, or Workout Barbie accomplished yesterday.

WHY do we feel guilt?

There’s this image that is portrayed in which women/mothers are supposed to have and do it all: contribute financially for the family, take care of both the children and husband, spend quality time with family and friends, cook healthy and well balanced meals daily, remember everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, & special events, exercise and maintain a healthy body image, etc etc etc. The list seriously goes on and if we can’t give 100% in all of those areas (which we, as humans, physically cannot) a sense of failure or guilt beings to creep in. These are the biggest areas I can think of, but then we are hit daily with the small things that cause us to feel bad as well. We take on too much. So basically we are always feeling bad about something.
I believe this sense of guilt is heightened by the rise of social media – a topic I’ve discussed before but is becoming an increasing issue. Even the most popular social media ‘stars’ will tell you that it is not reality. Fitness guru and big name brand with 5 million followers, Kayla Itsines, recently posted on Instagram stating, “On my account, I’ll tell you now, you don’t see a lot of things. Not because I don’t want to show you, but because I cannot physically take a photo of them…the 5am wakeups, the late nights, the constant bullying, the lack of support from friends.” Basically, you can’t always show the tough moments in photos.
I post a ton of smiling, happy, feel good pictures with my family because these are the good moments, right? You don’t see the 4am feedings where I’m so tired I want to gouge my eyes out, the screaming fits he throws when he won’t nap, the afternoons when I pace around the apartment for up to an hour before going to the gym because I’m exhausted and procrastinating from making myself go, the weekend I had mastitis with a fever of 102 and was so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed, when I had such a bad cold on Mother’s Day, I could barely taste my lunch. The list goes on. So never look at social media and think that someone has it all – because they are just doing the best they can like the rest of us. I promise everyone has their own struggles/complicated story.

HOW can we eliminate some guilt?

I don’t have the magic answer for this but I am going to share with you all an idea on how we can begin to stop the comparison and feel great about what we have accomplished, opposed to feeling bad about what we didn’t. 
Set nothing in stone. Our priorities will change daily, weekly, monthly, forever. But for the purpose of this, let’s talk weekly priorities. I’m also not going to say, “write this shit down” because then it’s just adding to the list of things you have to do. You’re a woman, you can likely keep 5 billion thoughts in your brain, effortlessly. 
Each week, say Sundays, just think about what is most important to YOU for that week (outside of the given ‘go to work’ or ‘take care of children.’) IF you feel so inclined, or already write in a journal, or already make lists – feel free to jot them down. Maybe they are (1) cook a healthy family dinner 3 nights, (2) get to the gym twice, and (3) spend 30 minutes of quality time talking with my husband each night before bed. You’re going to do a million other things in this week as well, but these 3 are the most important to your well-being, this week. By mentally separating these things, or writing them down, you’ve now organized your priorities. Think about them often, or keep the list in front of you. Feel great when you accomplish these 3 things that you’ve deemed as most important, instead of feeling guilty about the 10 other somethings you may not have gotten to. You’re now focusing your mind on what’s important to you & what you accomplished. Life is a big mind game, anyways – the body will often follow what you focus on and think about consistently.
My 3 for this week, would probably be (1) Pick-up & clean the apartment in its entirety – it’s getting bad, (2) Make a dinner at home with the groceries I just bought, as opposed to going out and (3) tackle the tasks I already have planned relating to this blog. If I can do those 3 things I will feel accomplished.
You guys, this is not tried and true, it’s just an idea I have. Who wants to try this with me and feel badass about what we can accomplish this week?

Let us remember how awesome we are as individuals, give ourselves credit for just being us, and know how lucky we are to be surrounded by the loved ones in our lives.
❤ Kayla

Original referenced article here.

Bomb Breakfast Burritos

Let me preface this post by saying I do not consider myself a food blogger, a food photographer, or a domestic goddess in the kitchen. In fact, I am quite the opposite & kind of lazy when it comes to cooking. It has to be SIMPLE with a minimal amount of ingredients or it gets overwhelming and I shut down all together. I know it sounds dramatic. When I left for college my parents were actually concerned with how I would survive…much to their surprise, I made it (cue: “look at me now”) 🎧
If this sound like you, then you are in the right place! I will only post meals from time to time that I truly find delicious, healthy-ish, and that are quick & easy to make! I made this burrito in about 5 min, rushing around with a baby staring at me…probably thinking, “what is she even doing?”
I have officially graduated from breakfast sandwiches to breakfast BURRITOS. When I find a clean, easy recipe I tend to wear it out – so right now I’m in a scrambled egg/salsa/avocado burrito phase. So yummy and filling! It’s an entire meal in one tortilla.
I don’t really count macros or calories, esp since I’m breastfeeding & exercising right now, and need to make sure I’m eating enough. My goal is to simply be choosing clean ingredients in what I am making, when I can.  I do know that this burrito has around 30g of protein! If you are looking to cut out some calories or fats, you can remove the cheese, avocado, and/or tortilla for a simple egg scramble. I’m not a fan of giving up food groups – all in moderation. 

Ingredients:
olive oil or non-stick spray
whole wheat tortilla
1/2 avocado
2 eggs
1 cup spinach 
1/4 cup chopped red onion 
1/4 cup skim sharp cheddar 
2 tbsp.tomato salsa 
protein of your choice – I used honey ham, but bacon is awesome too
pepper to taste
*Although more expensive, I try to choose organic ingredients when available and I ALWAYS choose organic, all-natural, antibiotic free, etc, etc, meats. Nature’s Promise is my grocery chain’s organic brand.

Step 1: Scramble two eggs in a bowl with a dash of skim milk

Step 2: Chop red onion & honey ham, separate out spinach and begin to saute in pan with non-stick spray or olive oil

Step 3: Pour eggs on top & scramble into veggies – sprinkle on sharp cheddar & pepper

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Step 4: Warm tortilla in microwave for 20 seconds

Step 5: slice avocado and spread 1/2 onto tortilla

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Step 6: transfer eggs onto tortilla

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Step 7: top with 2 tbsp. organic salsa

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* ENJOY! *
I hope you all had an amazing Mother’s Day & that your weeks are off to a great start!
❤ Kayla