Did I Tell Y’all That I am A Part Time Mommy Blogger?

Yep! I blog over at Mom.me and each week I toss up a post about…parenting stuff. I’ve been a mama for almost 2 years now (OMG!!) and it is the most time-consuming, hair pulling, stressfully rewarding experience ever. I mulled over starting a parenting blog but I didn’t like writing about parenting stuff THAT much. Being a contributor to Mom.me is great because it gives me a platform to share my thoughts and experiences without letting the entire world IN on our lives. Because y’all know how I hate sharing a ton of Elle’s pictures and experiences on the internet…

But from time to time, I think I will share a post over here with the Clumps family. I know that a lot of you all are parents (or parents to be) and knowing that you aren’t alone in the struggles is always so so helpful. That said, check out my most recent post

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I put my heart and soul into that post and did a lot of crying while writing it. I know. I’m a sap.

And while you’re at it, check out 10 facts about Elle Belle. It has been forever since I’ve written about her on Clumps so I’m thinking these facts will give you a clue as to what kind of character we’re dealin’ it. :wink:

  • Elle and I both have moles on our chins!
  • Elle’s name is mispronounced 80% of the time.
  • Elle’s bedroom is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom inspired.
  • Elle was born on the same day as Blue Ivy Carter.
  • 90% of Elle’s wardrobe are from consignment stores.
  • Elle is a picky eater and eats rice and eggs with spinach almost every day.
  • Elle learned her colors by playing with Mommy’s nail polishes.
  • Elle is the first and only grandchild on both sides.
  • Elle communicates with words and she also knows sign language.
  • Elle is almost 2 years old and barely weighs 20 lbs. She’s tiny but healthy!

That Time Mama Fell In Love With A Stroller #sponsored

GB ZuZu Stroller

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for GB. I received a gift card to purchase a GB stroller to both facilitate my review as well as thank me for my participation. It has been quite awhile since I’ve done a post on something baby related and when I was given the opportunity to test drive the GB Zuzu Stroller, I could not have been more excited. Despite having owned more than 4 different strollers, we have never really regularly used them. We’re a babywearing family so when it comes to getting around about about, Elle is usually wrapped on someone’s back or hip. Which sounds sweet ‘an all and it usually works well except um…it’s summer. In Florida. Like her Mama and Daddy, Elle has those overactive sweat genes and babywearing is uncomfortable for all when we’re doing outside activities.

GB ZuZu stroller review

The GB Zuzu has been more than perfect for our very active babe who lives a very active lifestyle. We head to a splash pad and farmer’s market every week and we would usually grab our very large so big it don’t make no sense stroller. It’s a pain. I hate it. But Zuzu in all of her lightweight’ness has been delightful. Grabbing it out of the car has been a breeze.

Zuzu also gets points for being the only stroller that doesn’t take up MOST of my trunk space and actually stands up on its own after you take it out of the car. The latter is one of those features you don’t think really matters until you actually have a stroller that DOESN’T stand up upright. Oh, and I should also mention that it took less than 7 minutes to put together right out of the box. I would really label Zuzu has an umbrella stroller PLUS. It has many sweet features that parents would want in an umbrella stroller but have to sacrifice. Take the large canopy, for one…

GB ZuZu canopy

This is so so useful in the summer and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a canopy THIS large on a stroller this small. So yes, the oversized canopy with ventilated window is more than appreciated. Also appreciated is the durable material.


GB ZuZu
Easy to wipe down and practically immune to minor staining, I found the Zuzu to do really well at the splash pad. It stayed cool in the sun and dried quickly when it got wet. Esposo was all excited when he saw this stroller but really it was the maneuverability that really pumped him up.

GB ZuZu wheels
And seriously…this baby can move. Our jogging stroller was always our preferred stroller (even when jogging wasn’t taking place) but Esposo and I both appreciated how easy this moved. It tolerates quick turns and bumps and it’s just one smooth ride. Random as it sounds, but I dig the handles, too.

GB ZuZu stroller handles

They aren’t only comfortable but helloooo, I can hang a bag or two on them. This is a big deal in the lightweight stroller world. Trust me on this. While Zuzu is lightweight, she still holds a lot of cargo.

GB ZuZu stroller in action

Count the bags. There are two in the nice sized basket, there’s a bag on one handle, and a cloth diaper wet bag on the other handle. That’s 4 bags of stuff on that tiny stroller. And that’s when I knew the Zuzu would definitely be passed on to baby #2.

Calm down, y’all. There are no plans for baby #2 yet. If you didn’t know it, toddlers are pretty effective forms of birth control. Just sayin’…

Zuzu Pros

-Easy breakdown and set up. I mean CRAZY easy.
-Small and compact. Perfect for small homes and cars.
-Self-stands when folded. Biggest perk evaaaa!
-Compatible with select infant carriers.
-Can last from newborn up until babes of 50 lbs.

Zuzu Cons

-May be pricey for some at $199.
-No cup holder.
-Pulling the handles up when opening the stroller may take some getting used to.

I can’t say enough great things about this stroller. I am thrilled. Elle appreciates it because she gets the ease of quickly jumping in and out. I love being able to haul our life in it and being able to store it with without it taking up my entire trunk. It’s the little things in parenthood. Fellow parents know what I’m talkin’ about. You can get more details about this baby and purchase it at Babies ‘R Us.

 

So, parental units with littles…what strollers are you rollin’ with these days? 

Dental Beauty…For Toddlers!

Beauty starts when you’re young, gals. It’s true. I am a stickler about healthy teeth and dental care and will raise my wee babelets to be the same way. Through PopSugar and Aquafresh, Elle and I got the opportunity to play with their Training Toothpaste and toothbrush.

Aquafresh Training Toothpaste

And I say “playing” because have you ever tried to stick a toothbrush in a toddler’s mouth? It’s hard stuff, y’all. Especially when you’re dealing with Little Miss Independent. Elle is a lot like me in that she always wants to take control. Even if she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Haaaa!!!

Baby brushing teeth

Hey parental figures, did you know that compared to your tooth enamel, your baby’s enamel is 50% thinner? Craziness, right? Since these tiny humans aren’t aware of this fact, it is our job to ensure that they not only take it easy on the sweets but that they keep those budding teeth healthy, strong and white. Brushing baby and toddler teeth should happen as soon as their teeth come in. Not only does it get them used to creating healthy habits but it helps their teeth get the best first start. Or so says The little mouth experts ™.

Aquafresh toothbrush

Elle is a big fan of her toothbrush. While she loves nomm’ing on the handle more than anything, I dig how soft the bristles are. The handle is eye-catching enough for even the most distracted toddler and it fits comfortably in her little hands. And she can’t get enough of that toothpaste. I also love how the paste is clear and free from random color dyes. Consistency wise, the paste seemed to be perfect for little mouths. A little went a long way and I appreciate that the paste is formula-free. If she could put together a complete sentence, I’m pretty sure Elle would agree that Aquafresh’s  Training Toothpaste is pretty stellar for a Kid’s 1st Toothpaste.

Aquafresh Training Toothpaste tube

And you know what? I’m a mint girl, myself but I’ve got to admit, the Apple-Banana flavor isn’t half bad. Mamas, papas, Aunts, Uncles, Grams and friends with babes, I’m thinking this toothpaste will be a major hit for the little one in your life. As always, please use product as directed on label.

 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Aquafresh through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Aquafresh, all opinions are my own.

The Woman With A Baby On Her Back

“Ohmigoodness…you NEVER feature Baby Elle anymore.”

I know, guys. Sorry, not sorry. I was serious when I said I wasn’t going to be posting a ton of pictures of her online anymore. This is why I can’t have a baby blog. Motherhood has brought about a new wave of paranoia, y’all. Law & Order SVU and Lifetime movies have already made me crazy but now knowing that I’ve got a cub to protect means that I am ready to pounce at any given moment.

Girasol Double Rainbow capitan

But what I will do is do a post on babywearing. Surprisingly, I get a lot of emails about this. Babywearing isn’t new, y’all. Mothers have been carrying their babies on their fronts, hips and backs since the beginning of time. If I can manage to catch Esposo when he isn’t working, I’ll have him photograph Elle and I in different carriers. Because Elle has never been a big cuddler, I’ve found that babywearing is the one way that I can snuggle her without much opposition. Oh, and then there’s that convenience thing. I’ve worked out, led meetings, shopped, traveled and worked in an office all with a baby strapped to my body. And since she was a newborn. I feel so ridiculously empowered when I wear my baby. It’s not just for us hippies. Epsoso has become an avid babywearing and so has Grandma Clumps!

Stay tuned for a post where I feature ring slings, a mei tai, soft structured carrier and wraps. You’re just so excited, aren’t you? I know. I know.

Life With A Toddler…and a Shaved Head.

African American baby

I just realized that I never wrote Elle a letter last month. I am severely slacking. Oh well. Not stressing it. Because that’s my new mantra in life “To not stress the small stuff.” So what if I didn’t write her a letter last month. That doesn’t make me a bad mama. Just a busy one. Whatever yo.

Last week was a crazy week. Between Matron of Honor duties, a sick Elle and lots of work at work, I didn’t have much time to run or sleep. But I’m hoping things are a little better this week. I’m attempting to take it one day at a time. Just one day. I think I’m going to start doing a list of weekly goals. Y’know…just a list of attainable, practical and simple goals. I NEED to feel accomplished at the end of each week.

I’ve also got wedding brain! Esposo and I eloped and I think it was romantic, and fun and cheap but I don’t know…after being in my cousin’s wedding, I’ve been thinking about how I too want to a rock a gorgeous dress and have all our family members surround us as they support our love. But I don’t want to plan anything. I kinda just want to show up and have a beautiful affair. For free. Doesn’t David Tutera do pro-bono work? Ha! A girl can dream.

Here’s hoping to a great start of the weekend! I’m totally missing that hour of sleep but I’m going to tryyyyyy to go to bed early tonight.

Oh and I shaved my hair off again.

Short natural hair

Esposo wasn’t happy. But girls, I ROCK the short cut. And it feels good to literally wash and go. I think I’ll keep it until the end of the summer and then grow it out…*sigh*

Let’s see if I can crank out 2 posts this week. I have SO much that I want to share with and I hope that I have the time to get it out.

Have a fantastic upcoming week!

I Can’t Do It All. So I Won’t.

Baby in stroller

I’m a stubborn woman. I ignore sleep when I’m exhausted. If it doesn’t work the first time, I keep trying. I overwhelm myself with promises and responsibilities and then get into mental clusters. Some would say, well…“Welcome to Motherhood”. But honestly, I was like this before my sweet girl graced my life. My Type A personality enjoys taking over and it wasn’t until a friend told me “You can do it all.” that I realized, well…that I CAN’T do it all.

Oh, but honey, I’ve tried. Attempting to raise a sweet toddler who understands English, Spanish, sign language and who gets enough exposure to nature, diversity, music and healthy food? Done. Work full-time at a job that sends me on trips and requires my undivided attention the entire time I am there? No problem. Maintain a 6-year old beauty blog by keeping up with new products and trends, draft posts, connect with the world on social media, take 1,000 pictures of a mascara and polish my nails 5 times in 20 minutes? Cool. Sign up and train for 4 races before April? Easy peasy. Be a loving and supportive wife to my workaholic husband, attend church regularly, volunteer at events on the weekend, plan and prepare healthy meals for my family, be active in social groups, keep up with friendships, find time for “me”. Um…how? How can I do all of that?

I’ve tried. And honestly? I’m failing at it. I want so badly to be MORE than “just a Mom”. I’m trying to be everything to everyone and…failing. I am beginning to scale back. Which is why you may notice sporadic posts on Clumps of Mascara. It’s the reason why sometimes I post on Instagram and sometimes I don’t. I stopped going to so many social meetings. Life can be simple. We complicate it. Oftentimes, WE are our own problems. My goal is to simplify as much as I can.

To spend time with my baby instead of rushing to post a picture of her.
To enjoy that date with my husband without snapping shots of food to upload to Instagram.
To enjoy training for my races without posting an update each time I put on my kicks.
To live disconnected.

And that’s tough considering my day job requires me to be connected aaaaand, my night job requires me to be connected. To share, to comment, to post, to snap. I don’t want to. I just want to be…

Being is easier and most times more gratifying than doing.

Thank you so much for understanding that I can’t do it all. And for supporting me through my faults.

Beauty in Mommyhood: Elle is 10 months old

Dear Elle,

I love that I’ve been writing you these letters. I love that when you’re older, you’ll get a chance to read my thoughts about what it was like to be your mama when you were just a wee babe. You’re growing up so quickly and it’s hard to remember everything. That’s why I make it my duty to document the basics each month.

10 month old

Look how pretty you are in your red Christmas dress! Unfortunately, you were more interested in eating leaves than smiling for the camera so we have to do a part II of attempting to get you to smile for your Christmas card photos.

You’re almost a year old and while in the past I’d get all weepy about this, I’ve decided to stop that. It is a blessing that you’re growing and developing the way that you are. There isn’t anything to be sad about. We’ve taken a few thousand pictures of you so we’ll always remember how teeny and small you were but to see you go from a tiny lil’ thang to this almost walking and talking little being…that’s sheer amazement! So no. Mama will not get choked up every time I think about how fast you’re growing. I will thank God that you ARE growing and that I get to enjoy this life journey with you.

Baby loves Christmas trees

Look at that. You’re not the only one growin’ up. Mama is too. Your 2 bottom teeth broke through this month and you didn’t cry one bit. In fact, your sore gums bothered me more than they bothered you. And it still surprises Daddy and me how quickly you went from scooting on the floor to crawling 30 miles per hour to now standing with no hands. Wow! You never cease to amaze us.

Oh…and you’re also talking. And A LOT! Some of your favorite words:

-Bob
-Butt
-Pop (you heard Daddy say this once and wouldn’t stop saying it!)
-Mum
-Dada
-Hiiiiiii
-Buh Buh (bye-bye)
-Pat, Pat, Pat
-Uh ooooohhhh
…and the unavoidable “NO”

I noticed you saying “No no no” a few weeks ago and I blamed myself because I got in the habit of telling YOU “no”. Daddy and me are trying to get in the habit of using words other than NO. It’s hard but we certainly don’t want you to go around saying NO! every minute of the day.

A few weeks ago we had a playdate with Sebastian and Cat. I’ve seen you interact with kids older than you but I’ve never seen you around kids smaller and younger than you. You were so sweet! It was as if you knew to be gentle wit him. You even gave him a kiss which just blew my mind!

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FOOD

Okay, mama will be honest. This food thing has me frustrated. Some days you’ll eat a ton of eggs and gluten-free toast. And other days, you’ll toss everything that we hand you. We offer you food multiple times a day but most days you just don’t want it. Mama has to practice patience because it’s a bit disheartening to give food for a baby that just won’t eat. You’re already petite and I want to get you on solids so that the breast milk train can stop a chuggin’ but it’s tough. You really are a picky eater. Daddy has been teaching me how to be patient and you keep developing beautifully so I’ve got to learn how to trust that one day, you’ll eat just fine. Can you believe that I’m still pumping? I’m so proud that I’ve been able to give you breast milk for this long!!

 

Duck face baby

SLEEP

I find solace in knowing I’m not the only mama with an older infant who won’t sleep through the night. It has become tougher since I have a grueling work schedule but I’m hoping that the end is near. Waking up every 3-4 hours at night is tough on your Mom and Dad. We’ve tried letting you cry it out but honestly, that just seems cruel and it’s heartbreaking to hear you scream “Mum” in dispair. Especially when a snuggle or milk is all that want. You sleeping through the night will change our lives for the better so help a family out, baby. Please?

Merry Christmas, baby
PERSONALITY

Girl. Your personality is so alive. You are hilarious. You do silly things (like go around screaming “butt”) that makes everyone chuckle. You also have your moments where you don’t want to smile. You don’t want to be bothered and you don’t want to be held. But then you have your needy days where you cry if someone puts you down. You’re so sweet. Sometimes when I carry you on my back, you rub and pat my arm. The most random things can make you giggle. We have learned to watch what we say because you repeat everythiiiiiing. And you want to get into everything too!

Happy baby

I’ve been learning to let go a little bit too. I’ve realized that I have become such a helicopter mama. I know hovering isn’t always a good thing so I’ve learned to let you play by yourself sometimes. And not always with baby toys. I stopped trying to block you from everything in the house and so you now have free range. That’s right, you’ve been known to dive right into mama’s stash of beauty products. I keep a close eye on you and let you play. Life is short. I don’t want to spend it limiting you to only playing with certain toys, in a certain room and at certain times.We started going to a new church and you’re not a fan of sitting still but you loooove the nursery. You’re such a social baby and I love that.

With every month there are different challenges, celebrations and I am just amazed at how much we are all growing. Daddy watched you for 3 days straight and he did such a good job! Some people call that just “parenting”, but hey…not every Daddy can go grocery shopping with a baby on their back. I am unbelievably proud of him and I love seeing how you can bring out the best of us. And I love the relationship that you have with your Daddy. It’s so beautiful to see you bonding with him.

Father and daughter

I love our little family so much. And we love you so much. You are the light of our lives and I thank God everyday for your health and happiness.

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Love you, baby.
Mama

 

A Month of Thanks 2013: Day 12 – Caretakers

Crawling baby

I am so grateful for Elle’s in-home daycare provider. I am thankful that she loves my baby as if she were her own grandchild. She cuddles her and knowing that my child is being watched by someone that I can trust makes being away from her so much easier.

It’s SO hard to find good caretakers. I get sad wishing that I had an Aunt or cousin nearby who could watch Elle. But we live in this big city by ourselves and I’m just ever so thankful that we have caretakers that we can trust.