The Empty Chair

I had a goal. A goal to give my baby breast milk for twelve months. Whether that may be through bottle or breast. With my first one, I pumped milk for 8 months but with so much we had saved up, we pretty much made it to twelve months with JUST breast milk. With my second, I wanted to do it similarly. As Abbie’s birth was quickly approaching, I had my mind made up that I was going to give breast feeding a shot. I forewarned myself that I would at least try but if she didn’t latch or I was getting too frustrated with trying that I would stop.

Breastfeeding is HARD, boy is it. No one ever tells you how hard breastfeeding actually is. All you hear is how good it is for your baby and how the bond between you and your baby will strengthen. I didn’t know there would be more sleepless nights with me crying in my bed because my boobs hurt than actual restful  nights. I didn’t know that I couldn’t go anywhere without my baby because she was exclusively breastfeeding. Worst of all, I didn’t know that I could get so upset for her not latching, that I would yell at her.

If only I had someone to tell me back then that I was going to make it to eighteen months. I guarantee that a lot less tears would have been shed. During month zero through seven, my nightly routine of bathing and feeding her became a two hour deal. It became very draining since I would be away from my family for two hours EACH NIGHT just to get her down to sleep. She would eat for about 45 minutes and then doze off while I was rocking away in the chair. Right as I put her in her bassinet, she’d wake up. I didn’t know what else to do but to start all over again with nursing her for another half hour. That was my night; just me, my chair and my baby.. each and every night. But like all else, I knew this too shall pass.

Each week, it became easier and easier to put her down. After we got our bedtime routine down to under an hour, things were more enjoyable and I began to LOVE our time we had together, just her and I. Breastfeeding became a bonding moment that I looked forward to every night.

EIGHTEEN MONTHS. The reason I keep saying it is because I am so damn proud of myself. After the twelfth month, I often got asked by my husband and other family members when I was going to stop. I just politely told then that I would be done when she is done. Side note: When did it become the “norm” to stop ALL breastfeeding at twelve months? I don’t think I’ll ever understand that.

Everything comes to an end at some point and that day was four days before her eighteen month birthday. If I said I was completely thrilled about being done with breastfeeding, I’d be lying. I think it was harder for me to let go of this phase of life than it was for her. I guess in a way I didn’t want ‘our moments’ to end. However, I knew our breastfeeding journey was soon coming to an end when she was becoming less and less interested in latching for more than 5 minutes. It was the perfect win-win for both of us to draw a line in the sand and stop.

So for now, the rocking chair where we once spent hours each night together, remains empty. Does she still ask for ‘boobies’ if she sees me naked? Always. Would I ever go back and not breastfeed her? Never. I feel there will always be a special bond that only her and I share and for that I am so grateful.

Xox,

Marlee

*Mamas, this post is in no way promoting breastfeeding over bottle fed over formula fed babies. This post was just simply just share my journey of hardships and joys throughout my breastfeeding experience. I support ALL mamas because we are in this together!

” As moms, we are in it together — raising the future. We are a tribe of future makers. So let’s support each other.” Marrisa Hermer

A Date with Disney

Over this past weekend, my family had the chance to visit “The Happiest Place on Earth.” We thought it would be fun to take our girls to see the Magic Kingdom during Halloween time since neither of us had gone before. So we packed up the girls and Nana and left for our magical vacation.

I am not the type of person to just go on a trip all willy-nilly without some kind of plan of attack.  Before embarking on our adventure, I did a ton of research on ‘tricks and secrets’ behind Disneyland. I was always curious on if these secrets were really true, so I compiled of few of them and put them to the test. So here they are for you:

  1. You can get free souvenirs simply by asking. Verdict: FACT. Before entering The Jungle Cruise, you can nicely ask a cast member for a antique style map. Also, each cast member around the park has stickers that they keep on hand. If you ask nice enough, you can have one or two.
  2. There is a real pet cemetery near The Haunted Mansion line. Ask a cast member and they will take you to it. Verdict: PARTLY TRUE. Disneyland does in fact have a pet cemetery behind this attraction, however, the cast members are NOT allowed to take guests there. When I asked one of the cast members about this secret, they said that they used to be able to take people there, but due to a safety issue they can no longer do this.
  3. Make your single day ticket worthwhile. Make sure to look out for a worker with a tablet and answer their survey. You’ll get a free ticket for another day. Verdict: MYTH. I am so bummed about this one. Although, I thought it was kind of a long shot, I was most excited to try out this secret. BUT it is a big fact myth. First off, the surveys are given to random guests, so if you ask to take to a survey, they will do do that. On our final day of Disney, we were chosen to do a ‘random’ survey, I was ecstatic! We finished our 3 questions, and then the cast member said “Okay, that’s it! Thank you!” My husband and I looked at each other, deeply saddened because we didn’t get our free Disney ticket. So, either I am just an extremely unlucky person or, whoever came up with this Disney secret is delusional because there was definitely no free ticket for doing a survey.
  4. In the Haunted Mansion’s ballroom, lean forward until you can see the floor where there’s spilled wine. There is a ghost passed out under the table. Verdict: FACT. You have to look really hard and not blink because you will miss it. However, there is indeed a passed out ghost under the table.ACS_0209
  5. Always try to go to the line of left instead of right line. Verdict: FACT. We’ve tetsed this theory over and over again and it deems true! Out of instinct, people usually head towards the right lines which makes them super long. So try it out and go towards the left and you’ll thank me!
  6. At any pickle stand in Disneyland if you ask an employee how their day was, they’ll give you a free pickle. Verdict: MYTH. Unfortunately, this one was a myth as well. When we asked a pickle stand cast member how their day was, they replied “good, thank you!” And then we stood there looking at each other. My husband finally asked if we get a free pickle. The cast member had no idea wheat we were talking about. Needless to say, we felt pretty stupid haha.

Welp, those are the ‘secrets’ we tried out this time while at Disneyland. If anyone has any other ‘Disneyland secrets’ that they have tried out, I would love to hear them!

Xox,

Marlee

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Rainy Day Blues

Picture this: It’s raining. You have two toddlers who need to let out some energy. They’re going stir-crazy because they cannot go outside. You’re on your 3rd cup of coffee but wishing it was 5:30 so you can switch to wine.. Does this sound familiar?

I’m from Phoenix, AZ where 350 days out of the year there is sun. When it is raining outside, all my kids want to do it go outside and play. That would normally be okay if it was 90 degrees outside, but not when it is 65 degrees and pouring. So my oldest, who is 3, helped me come up with fun things to do with toddlers inside when it is pouring rain outside.

 

Fun things to do with littles when its raining outside:

  • Bake: We made cookies this day. It was such a fun activity that took up a good amount of time. Note: A lot of patience was tested during this activity. I mean, have you tried cooking with toddlers before? However, the girls did have fun!
  • Make slime: This was another fun activity that my older one likes to do. I didn’t let me 1-year-old help make slime because my house would literally have glue all over it, but she did play with it afterwards. Scroll down for slime recipe.
  • Make a fort and read books
  • Find your child’s favorite children’s book and draw, or trace pictures from it. Let them water paint
  • Board games
  • Hide n’ seek
  • Paint nails: This is a perfect opportunity to get the little ones to sit still. Both of my girls love getting their nails painted. Just plop them by the window so they can see the rain and “voila!”
  • Building with magnetic tiles: These things are magic. They are amazing and keep them entertained for a while. Click here to purchase them!
  • Dress up: whether you have boys or girls, who doesn’t love to play dress up? Especially on a rainy day, dress up is a perfect way to pass the time.
  • Playdough
  • Make homemade popcorn and watch an agreed upon movie. It is always Hocus Pocus at this time of year.

What other fun things do you like you like to do with your kiddos when it is raining outside? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Xox,

Marlee

SLIME RECIPE:

  • 1/2 tbsp of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp contact solution
  • 4 fl oz Elmers white school glue
  • your choice of food coloring

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RELATIONSHIP TALK: A rainstorm and only one umbrella

There is a saying that I just recently saw that speaks real about relationships:

“No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share an umbrella and survive the storm together.”

Marriage is definitely different from what I expected it to be before getting married. This blog post has been on my mind for a while but I was not sure how I wanted to write it. I didn’t want to spill every detail of my relationship, but I also wanted to be real about my marriage and share what I’ve learned. If this blog reaches to only one person and helps save their relationship then I’ve done what I’ve set to do.

It will be three years of marriage for us in November. There are times where I know what he is going to do or say before he even says it. That’s what living together and marriage will do to you. He knows whats gets on my nerves and vice versa.

After we had our first child, I became depressed. I would literally cry over anything. When people would ask how I’m doing, I would just burst out in tears. Not because I didn’t want Brooklyn, but because I couldn’t express my emotions any other way. My husband would try his best to comfort me by asking if there was anything he could do, but frankly, that would make me even more mad and start crying more. I wanted him to KNOW why I was crying.. not ASK me. Honestly, nine times out of ten, I didn’t even know why I was crying. He would have a weekly night out with the guys and I would be alone with Brooklyn thinking “Why can’t I have that?” and ” How can he just do whatever he wants?” That got me more upset. After a while of being in a slump, divorce was often talked about between us.

I couldn’t change my husband, and until I actually changed my mentality, I knew that nothing was going to change. My husband and I had some deep heart to heart conversations about how to strengthen our marriage. And I want to share what we talked about with you:

6 things that can restore your relationship

  1. Do not compare your relationship. In my opinion, this is the biggest killer of relationships. Especially in this day and age when social media is at its highest, it is very easy to compare EVERYTHING with what every one else has. However, what this secret killer does is make you doubt what you have currently creating tension and turmoil in your life. You start resenting your spouse for them not doing something you saw another persons spouse do for them on Instagram or Facebook. Comparing your relationship with others, will not be an overnight destruction; but a long, drawn out murder to your current life.
  2. Be selfish. This is not to be how it sounds. I just mean that when you stop doing things that are purely just for you, you start forgetting who you are as a person. Allowing yourself to go to Starbucks and indulge in your latest read, or having your weekly guys night out that you have been doing for years. Not stopping what you LOVE to do just because you are married.
  3. Remember the little things. Remember when you first got married or first entered your relationship, they opened the car door or bought you flowers for no reason? Fast forward to now.. how often does that still happen? I cannot speak for everyone, but the simple, small things mean more to me than buying me the latest Michael Kors purse. However, this goes both ways. I suggest ASKING your SO (significant other) if there was anything that you did at the beginning of your relationship that you do not do now.
  4. Do not expect too much. Expecting your SO to know what you are thinking and then getting mad when they don’t do it. This may not be for everyone and I can only speak for my own marriage, but this definitely put a stress on both of us. He would expect me to do something he never told me, and vice versa. We would get mad at each other and it would turn into a big argument. Recently, my husband and I sat down and told each other what we expect out of each other as spouses. I think setting clear expectations leads to a lot fewer headaches and arguments.
  5. Say I’m Sorry when you actually mean it, not just to say it. Apologizing and saying I’m sorry have a different meaning than saying the one word ‘sorry’. It is actually taking the time to THINK about why you are apologizing to your significant other. The meaning of ‘sorry’ is often lost when someone just says it too often just because they don’t want any hard feelings.
  6. Kiss him goodnight. I, of all people, knows that this is easier said than done. When I am mad at my husband, the last thing I want to do is give him a kiss goodnight. I think it is my ego that if I give him a kiss, then it means that he won the argument. But this little gesture of a ‘kiss’ has more power than any I love you. Not only does a kiss reduce any tension, but it also releases a hormone called oxytocin or the ‘happy hormone’ that gives you and your partner an instant connection.

When all said and done, it’s just you and your spouse at the end of the day.  My marriage is far from being perfect, and frankly will never be, but taking these things I’ve learned to action, has really helped the strength of my relationship with my husband.

I know that no relationship is not all sunshine, but there’s no other person I’d want to go through the rainstorms then you, babe.

Xox,

Marlee

I would love to hear other relationship advice from you as well. Comment with your best tips and advice!

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(Advisory: I am not a marriage counselor and in no way am I saying this advice will help every relationship. I am just speaking my opinion about what has worked in my marriage.)

Mouthwatering Pumpkin Bread

Happy October!

It’s finally October. Finally an acceptable time to decorate for fall! (Those who know me already know that I’ve had my house decorated for fall since August 31st.) October means FINALLY cooler weather! It’s 78 degrees out right now and I’m wearing UGG boots and a chunky sweater. Call me basic, but who cares… I am who I am.

Anyways, whenever I think of my favorite part of Fall, I reminisce of my childhood. My mom scouring the grocery ads for the best price on canned pumpkin. Mhmm, PUMPKIN BREAD. Sinking my teeth into the first bite of the season and the bread just melting in my mouth. I remember coming home from school knowing she made this recipe even before I walk into the house. The smell of pumpkin has me longing for another bite even after Fall is gone.

Today, my friends, I share with you our recipe. Advisory: You may become very selfish while consuming this bread and not want to share with anyone. 

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MOUTH WATERING PUMPKIN BREAD:

Ingredients:

5 eggs

1- 1/4 cups of vegetable oil

1 can (15 ounces) solid packed pumpkin (I ALWAYS use Libbys )

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 packages Jello cook- and- serve VANILLA pudding mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt ( I use just a tad more)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs.
  • Add in oil and pumpkin; beat until smooth.
  • In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture
  • Pour batter into greased loaf pan ( I use a bundt cake pan).
  • Bake for 55 minutes ( time will depend on efficiency of oven. I suggest checking bread after 45 minutes.)
  • To check if loaf is done, place toothpick in center of pan. If it comes out clean.. your pumpkin bread is DONE!
  • Let cool on wire rack
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional)
  • ENJOY!

**TIP: you may want to cover edges with tin foil about 45 minutes in.

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For muffins: bake for 25 minutes

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Tell me, what fall recipe brings you back to your childhood? I’m always looking for new recipes to try! Comment below.

If you do try this recipe, comment below your thoughts!!

Until next time friends,

Marlee

 

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Wakeup and makeup.. in less than 15 minutes

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Isn’t there something about putting a little makeup on that makes the day so much better? There is for me at least.

Being a working mom of two, I am always looking for ways to cut my time that I spend getting ready.. because who has that much time anyways? Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I like to experiment with other kinds of makeup for occasions like date night or a night out with my girls, but for every day use I like to keep it as simple as possible.

Here’s is my 15 minute makeup routine:

  • I ALWAYS ALWAYS start with a clean face. This is a big deal for me. I didn’t used to do this but now that I do I see a huge difference in the longevity of my makeup.
  • Moisturize and prime. Again another step that I thought was pointless, BUT IT IS NOT. Trust me, you will notice a difference in your makeup life if you add this step in your routine.
  • Foundation. I now use a cream based foundation that I absolutely LOVE. This stuff covers everything! I do avoid using foundation under my eyes and on my eyelids since I use concealer for those things. Layering concealer over foundation will cause unwanted creases.
  • Conceal don’t feel. ( I just watched Frozen this morning with my little one so I had to write that haha) Okay, no but really. Concealer is my life. Without this little piece of heaven, I would like a homeless zombie. I have mad bags under my eyes because, well I’m a mom. My lightweight waterproof concealer hides tiredness without making it look too cakey. I think the biggest tip I have about concealing is finding the RIGHT brush to apply it with! BONUS TIP: Apply concealer in a triangle shape underneath your eyes to get the best results!

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  • Apply setting powder (aka translucent powder). Setting powder is another big thing for me. If I forget this step, because I sometimes do, I definitely regret it later on. The translucent powder adds a matte finish to your makeup to decrease the oil shine. I mainly focus on my forehead and chin because those are my oil driven problem areas.
  • Fill in Eyebrows. Ive been contemplating doing microblading on my eyebrow so I can eliminate this tip all together, but something about tattooing my facing freaks me out. So until then, I will manually fill in my own eyebrows. This is also a very important step in my makeup routine. My eyebrows need to be done or else I don’t feel complete.
  • Bronzer. This is a new friend of mine. Bronzer was never part of my everyday makeup routine until one of my good friends turned me on to it a while back. Now I use it every day!
  • Blush, blush, blush. I don’t think there is a day I go without wearing my blush. I currently rotate through three different blushes depending on my mood. Pink, mauve, and a nudist pink.
  • Mascara. I recently just found the perfect application process for my mascara after literally YEARS of trial and error. I first apply a one step mascara to my lashes. before that dries, I then apply a two- step mascara (fiber lashes). Using this technique in this order has transformed my eyelashes and I get asked every day if my lashes are fake.
  • Last, but not least is finishing spray. I actually use my primer, as stated above, as my finishing spray as well!! Its so versatile!

And THAT’S IT! It takes me 12 minutes to do all of this. Twelve minutes to not feel and look like a zombie anymore.

Scroll down to see my favorite products and where to purchase them!

I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any other tips on makeup routines or application, comment below! I’d love to hear!

Xox,

Marlee

Facewash

Moisturizer

Translucent powder

Primer/ Setting spray

Foundation

Concealer

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

Bronzer

Hot Mama Blush

Mascara (one step): Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt

Mascara (two step):Voluminous Superstar X Fiber