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Tracy

How Our Summer Is Going To Be NEW & EXCITING!

summer1Los Angeles, CAlif: This Mommy is ON. A. MISSION.

1. I’M SHOPPING DOUBLE. You heard me. I’m buying 2, 3, 4 of EVERYTHING. May I also recommend a secondary, fully-packed diaper bag complete with non-perishable snacks + extra everything (a wrapped gift in the car also never hurt).
Example: We have at least 4 open containers of sunscreen (1 for beach bag, diaper bag, car, and house).

Objection: Too expensive.

My Response: No way – this will SAVE you money! Imagine buying sunscreen at the Zoo gift shop (hello 1/4 oz. bottle for $12). When you’re desperate, you certainly can’t be a brand snob (like I am- Mary Kay sunscreens are the BEST). And seriously, if you can’t get through 4 bottles before they expire, you and your LO’s need to get out more. Or use more sunscreen. Just saying.

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2. CALL ME CHRISTA-COLUMBA MOMMY. Discover new places! Your city’s Red Tricycle is the best place to start. What’s happening near you, that you’re missing out on?

Our recent discoveries:
- Splash Parks (L.A has dozens)
- Mommy nail places + spas
- Pamper & Play (in L.A.)

Objection: “I can barely go to the grocery store with my kids, it’s just all so hard.”

My Response: Seriously, you guys? I am SO TIRED of hearing moms who have been tricked into thinking they can’t do things that they CAN. C’mon, be adventurous! What happened to that 22-year-old whose motto was, “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me!” — Time for her to make a permanent come-back.

Photo Jun 22, 7 58 49 PM

3. SING WITH ME: Summer lovin’ had me a blast… MORE DATE NIGHTS!!

His benefit: He’s reminded of how good you look dolled up as his arm candy.
Her benefit: Sanity. Returning. Slowly…

Objection: If babysitting costs are an issue, trade babysitting with your bff’s. If you’re really desperate… I know a couple who checks their kids into the church nursery/ Sunday School and once a month goes to Starbucks next door (no joke). Whatever it takes, your kids benefit when their parents are getting enough mommy-daddy-time.

For our super-observant readers: Yes, most of my blog articles say something about breaking free from kids. I swear this is not a secret cry for help. I just enjoy my breaks!

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4. MAKE A GOAL POSTER. Make your goal your Summer Theme and display it where you’ll see it all the time (“This Summer, Jack is Signing on 35 New Clients!”). Pick your goals as a couple/ as a family, narrow your focus, and be proactive. Be your spouse and children’s strongest believer and biggest encourager!

 

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Beyond Super Cute Cocktail Dresses: 3 Mommy Lessons of the 1950s

1950s blog3 Moms of the 1950s. Remembered for their car seat safety? Doubtful. Responsible for the mompreneur movement? Not so much…  What Google would like you to believe is that this decade was full of nothing but limitations for moms- and women who were expected to become wives and moms.

Ok so I won’t jump in my time machine quite yet.

But… There are some life lessons to be learned from these women of 60 years ago!

1.  Challenges in Parenthood… Inevitable!*

 *Unless you were blessed with perfect children like we were… LOL!!!

1950s blog4They knew it back then, but did we not get the message? Or were we not listening? Do we think having the Internet is going to magically transform parenthood into a cakewalk?  Of course, we can now share tips instantly (thank you, Pinterest) to make our lives easy-ER. I can’t even count how many doctor trips WebMD has saved us. But if we can get it out of our head that parenting is meant to be “the easiest thing in the world”… then I think we’ll all approach this more realistically and not be surprised when the rubber hits the road.

2.  Life Does Not Need to Be SOO Complicated

1950s blog2Life used to be- figuratively and literally- more black & white. You’ve heard of the famous Mary Kay Ash slogan “K.I.S.S.”? Keep It Simple Sweetie (Mary Kay was known for saying this, although I couldn’t find its exact origin). When you are juggling your ping pong balls (wife hat, mommy hat… serious disciplinarian mom, fun mom…) remember to keep things as simple as possible. When in doubt, go with your maternal instincts. God built those inside you for a reason!

3. Pre-dating the ‘50s… Depressed Moms Got Time Away!

momvacationOk yes I’m referring to psychiatric centers. HAHAHA!!! Ok fiiiine that may be a liiiitttttle extreme for the majority of us and I’m not proposing we bring these back (although admit it, there are some days you’d jump at the chance), but my question is this: when’s the last time you escaped for a day sans-kiddies? Or took yourself out to coffee without someone begging for a cake pop? If you hesitated, then it’s time girl. Go forth and enjoy!

What my husband has taught me: enjoy your kids and THEN clean up.

IMG_9985[1]Maybe dads have it right.

Have you seen the Kitchenaid slogan “Cook Like You Don’t Have To Clean”? This IS how men cook: They’re not afraid to use every spoon, bowl, and pan you own in preparation for one meal. It’s also how men live in their house. And… It’s how they play with their children.

If you watched me play with my 1 and 2-year-old sons, you’d see me sneaking toys back to their boxes as soon as (I hoped) they were done playing with them. My husband, however, isn’t afraid to let them empty every toy vessel in their room. Then he’ll chase them into their high chairs and go back and tidy while they’re stuffing their faces full of… well, daddy dietary choices and their perception of appropriate baby feeding times will be saved for another blog.

Since we became parents almost 2 ½ years ago, I have watched my husband in action.

Messy RoomAnd this is what I’ve learned:

1. IT IS OKAY- IF NOT PREFERENTIAL- TO MAKE A MESS! You’ve seen the Pinterest now-cliché “Please excuse the mess, the children are busy making memories”? I used to wince when the kids splashed water on my top while I gave them a bath… Now, I’m grateful if there is less than an inch of water flooding the bathroom floor.

The change came when I realized we weren’t going to raise an Olympic swimmer if Mommy modeled disgust at a few droplets of water.

2. A BROKEN ITEM CAN TEACH MORE LESSONS.

The Mom Scenario:

Mom sees potential hazard and moves it. End of story.

The Dad Scenario:

Dad never dreamed his 2-year-old would throw the snowglobe on the ground that was just handed to him. But in the 15 minutes that follow the breakage, 2-year-old will learn: cleaning, responsibility, and how to say, “I’m Sorry.” Dad and son will also dissect the inside of the globe (science lesson!), and if  he cut his finger–medical lesson! Dad will probably whisper, “Son, you are far more important than any material object” (lesson in FATHERLY LOVE!).

3. CLEAN-UP IS QUICKER SANS-KIDLETTES.

Daddy Vacuming

 

If possible, clean around your baby’s sleep schedule. But in case they’re awake, it’s time to get out the pillows, blankets, and a chair for some serious FORT TIME.

I believe GOOOD parenting is not determined by whether you compiled the most perfect baby shower registry, whether you were a breastfeeding mom, or know all the lyrics to “Rock a Bye Baby.” Good parents spend their time LOVING their kids and their spouse.

And GREAT parents… Are ready to get their hands messy.

 

Superdads Solving the Diaper Bag Algorithm

diaper bagsThis one goes out to all the SUPERDADS out there!

Has anyone else had this conversation with their spouse?

SuperMom: Honey, could you finish packing the diaper bag before we go?

***DRUMROLL***

SuperDad: Um, yeah… I can totally do that… Can you just go over what that entails?

SuperMom: Babe, we’re going to be late! Ok, look. Put these 10 items in these 6 pockets. But make sure to pack double of Item X, unless we’re out, in which case please pack triple of Item Y. And check the weather report in case we need to pack rainy day items which are in the bag in the laundry room. But if it’s not rainy, we’ll need extra snacks and drinks because we’ll stay longer, in which case, could you also pack a second snack bag?

SuperDad: Riight… Ok, no problem sweetheart.

~~~~~In case you’re a dad (or know one) who’s not naturally programmed with the Mommy Diaper Bag Algorithm… We hope this video from Jenni June helps alleviate diaper packing stress!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO4emJ9fi7c

Diaper Bag Selection: A lot of dads will still carry it for you if it’s pink, but… Why put them through that? I suggest picking a gender-neutral one, that he can comfortably carry even when you’re not around OR pick 2 – his and hers!

eddie bauer bag

Beastfeeding – Better Make that BREASTFEEDING.

 breastfeeding google

No baby blankets. Back to sleep. Don’t wake up to feed. It’s ok to fly when pregnant – heck, it’s ok to leave your house (my sweet grandmother went grocery shopping at night when preggies!). So yes, just about EVERYTHING about raising babies has changed since the last group of moms walked in our shoes.

Except Breastfeeding.

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Assuming Eve didn’t dish out formula or operate a pump, nursing hasn’t changed since Cane and Abel were breastfed. Well, pumps and lactation consultants aside.

Some of you could have been Eve it comes so naturally. You’d excel without reading a single book or blog. For others, it CAN be a BEAST! In my 22 months of nursing experience, I have seen the good/ the bad/ the just plain painful, but I’ve learned a few ways to take the edge off.

cooper nursing pic

WHAT I WISH THEY’D TOLD ME: How to make it easier on you, so you can keep at it.

Be ready to hand the keys to hubs, crawl in the back seat, and nurse on the go.(If you’ve never dangled your bosom over a car seat while buckled in, try it! It’s fun. But I strongly recommend tinted windows).

Eating for two – STILL! My OB recommended I continue to take prenatal vitamins. Since breastfeeding burns an extra 500 calories a day, make sure you’re not under-eating because of this!

AAAHHHHH!!!! Apparently (thanks for the unpleasant surprise, people!) it is normal to be excruciatingly painful the first few weeks (usually just first child). Of course, double check with an expert that everyone’s latched on/ position is good… but yes, this is part of it. And after 4-6 weeks, one day, the pain will simply be gone. Poof.

Supply goes up if you start pumping as soon as you get home from the hospital (see photo). So with all your spare time (remember they are sleeping 20 hours/day at first), pump between feedings – even if just an ounce or two comes out at a time. And don’t forge to sock yourself with some breastmilk freezer bags.

Take a nursing cover everywhere you go. I have one for my purse (which is too frequently disguised as a diaper bag) and one for the house. Unlss of course, you’re braver than I am. And if so, you go girl.

breastfeeding2

ABOUT TRACY VIDAL:

Tracy is a mommy of two precious boys, a 27-month-old, and a 9-month-old. She is a Mary Kay Sales Director, and her favorite part of her job is making a difference in womens’ lives, and the flexibility that this lifestyle affords her. Tracy is grateful beyond words that she is able to make an executive income while also not missing a single moment along the FAST track of newborn baby through childhood.To learn more about the Mary Kay opportunity, click here.

Tracy Vidal Biz Card

 

Baby Nutrition – Is My Baby Getting Enough?

Hey, LC readers! Did you know that March is National NUTRITION Month?

Fittingly, Jenni June - mother of four and certified family sleep consultant- is here with us today, to give us her advice on this hot topic of PROBIOTICS.

What do you think? Comment below to let us know your opinion!

A Baby Sleep Schedule that’s E.A.S.Y. Squeezy!

sleeping thomasI won’t even tell you what my family calls me, in reference to my “absolute silence mode” when the boys are napping. For many of you, no explanation may be necessary- this is the time of day I regain my composure. Whether you’ve figured out the perfect schedule for your baby(or babies!) or struggling to juggle all the things you need to get done before 7pm bedtime (totally recommend that, btw), I hope you’ll find some things in here to improve your smoothly running LLC – Lovin’ Life Crew!

1.  Get advice from a mom (but not your own). Love her dearly, but she has probably already dispensed her wisdom before you thought to ask. To avoid any outdated advice (“We always gave newborns tons of blankets!” Yikes…), do you know someone just *slightly* ahead of you in life, that could give you some new ideas? If not, what mommy forums could you seek out advice, from moms who have been where you are?

2.  Do the same’ol, lame’ol boring routine EVERY sleep time.  Activities that you do solely pre-bed will clue your bumpkin that it’s that time. Especially if you’re implementing a new schedule.

  • Go around the nursery saying “good night” to each object in the room
  • Sing the same baby lullaby (Lullaby Confessions CD is here to help). You may want to brush up on your favorite Christian lullabies, or ask Google, “What are the lyrics to Hush Little Baby?” if you can’t remember what all the things mama is going to buy.

3. It has to be YOUUU. If you are exhausted, tired mommyyour kids will be dealing with a tired mom. If you’re worried about a bill you didn’t have time to pay, your kids will have a distracted mom (not to mention the lights will eventually be shut off). So ultimately, to give your children YOUR best, you have to be good to yourself. And no matter how many children you have and what their ages, I solemnly swear IT IS POSSIBLE to create a schedule that is a hybrid best-for-mom/ best-for-children.

 

I swear by this schedule- which is more like a pattern: Eat –  Activity – Sleep + You-time.

Download and print the E.A.S.Y Cheat Sheet here (thank you, NoobMommy!).

 

easyEAT: Nummy-nummy-time fires off the EASY cycle with some energy!

ACTIVITY: Go for a walk, bath time, watch funny baby videos on Youtube, undo your nicely-folded laundry… whatever! My toddler sometimes enjoys a good “morning soak” (wherein he just sits in the tub and stares into space)… I wish that were my morning activity!

SLEEP: Start your baby bed time routine at the first sign of sleepiness

YOU TIME: While they sleep, it’s time for YOU YOU YOU.  My goal every naptime: do at least ONE thing that’s just for me.  Even if it’s paint one fingernail. You bet I smile every time I look down at my hand after that.

EAT: The cycle repeats as soon as they wake up.

 

ABOUT TRACY VIDAL:

Tracy is a mommy of two precious boys, a 27-month-old, and a 9-month-old. She is a Mary Kay Sales Director, and her favorite part of her job is making a difference in womens’ lives, and the flexibility that this lifestyle affords her. Tracy is grateful beyond words that she is able to make an executive income while also not missing a single moment along the FAST track of newborn baby through childhood.To learn more about the Mary Kay opportunity, click here.

Tracy Vidal Biz Card

3 Tips to The Best Baby Shower Ever: Going BEYOND a Unique Baby Shower Theme.

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“It’s A…. And You’re Invited!” You know the drill. Parents-to-be announce their news, and you’re invited to celebrate. Suddenly, you find yourself scanning pages of online registries. If there is no registry, you’re probably wondering, “What IS a good baby shower gift?” Or as the host– please tell me I’m not the only one– you are carefully balancing diaper-cake layers on top of each other. Wherever you are in the process, it’s time to take a step back and spend your time and money on what is really important.

1. MAKE THE MOM-TO-BE LAUGH. HYSTERICALLY.

pregnant-lady-tra-la-la-1Your pregnant friend will soon be in painful labor. Assuming you have her future in mind when getting her a gift, what if you lightened things up? Make her laugh so hard she cries.

  • Frame an inside joke. Attach a sticky note on the front: “Throw me in your hospital bag, in case you need to smile mid-labor!”
  • Arrange a group of attendees to show up with beach balls under their shirts (intro music and costumes can really drive this one home)
  • Serenade the new mom with some baby lullabies (have everyone join in, by passing out lyrics to baby lullabies)
  • Buy a card so funny you had tears running down your cheeks in the Hallmark store
  • Buy her a lighthearted parenting book (any title along the lines of “Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay” should make her smile)

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2. AVOID 2 HOURS OF GIFT OPENING.

(Special note: this hold-tiny-outfits-up-to-your-pregnant-belly ceremony MAY be unavoidable. Know thy audience!)

If you can politely skip out (or speed it up) remember that every moment at this party should be treated like rare currency. Quality solo time with the pregnant mom will soon be difficult to come by! So schedule the majority of the party to talk, sing karaoke baby lullabies, take goofy tummy pics… the Pinterest list goes on!

3. DO SOMETHING UNFORGETTABLE (even with Preggo-Mommybrain).

  • Since LC came into my life, I now skip the Baby Einstein and give the gift of lullabies for babies with a Lullaby Confessions CD. I believe the positive affirmations in these lullabies can make an amazing difference in every baby’s life!
  • Go off-registry for something totally over-the-top-chi-chi (would the expectant couple enjoy babymooning at the Ritz Carlton for a weekend?)
  • Have everyone sign a card, saying, “Your final gift is: no thank-you notes allowed! Instead, enjoy your baby or take some you-time!”

THE BOTTOM LINE: The most important thing to give an expectant mom is a reminder of your LOVE and SUPPORT from pregnancy through motherhood. Knowing you have her back is far more valuable to her than any diaper cake or Pinterest-inspired decoration could ever be!

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No Un-Love. Ever.

love

I’m living by a new rule: NO UN-LOVE. EVER. In fact, I AM ON A QUEST to watch every thought that goes through my mind and every word that comes out of my mouth. (Yes, Psalm 19:14 was my inspiration on this one). That seems pretty simple, right? Um…. Yeah… Super simple when I’ve had a tear-your-hair-out kind of day, and my hubs comes home and compares our living room to a “war zone.” No un-love! Or when the repair man rings our doorbell EVEN THOUGH there is a sign saying “Please don’t ring – we have 2 babies sleeping.”  No un-love!

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Keeping it Real…Real Cool, That is!

 

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Last month, Megan wrote one of the most hilarious and relatable blog posts I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here. No fail there, girlfriend.

And on the note of keeping things REAL… Let’s deal with some imperfections many of us are dealing with this summer.

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