This is How I Feel, X

When I read a parenting book that makes me feel like I'm totally screwing Eli up. 

When a non-parent tells me about what kind of parent they will be when they finally have kids. 

When Mike tells me we don't have time to stop at Starbucks on our way to, well, anywhere.

When Eli thinks he's being super hilarious by intentionally dropping food on the ground during breakfast/lunch/dinner.

When Eli started crawling.
When Eli's teeth came in and I realized I wouldn't have to work so hard to only feed him soft foods. 

When I'm out past 10 p.m.

When I need motivation to not buy that new shirt/hat/necklace/frivolous item and instead save some money because I'm a SAHM.

When I'm feeling passive aggressive towards Mike because he's been working a lot and I need attention.

When I hear about another baby-momma's discipline probz with their child. 

When I see a twin mom carry two carseats and a diaper bag at one time. 

When I wake up in the morning on the days Eli had a sleepover at Grandmas. 

When Eli starts screaming in the middle of my incredibly interesting story at the dinner table and I can no longer hear myself speak. 

When I hold a friend's cute baby.

When Eli's bawling forever then suddenly stops and smiles at me. 

When I've had three times the amount of caffeine I usually do because Eli was a crazy-man the night before.

When I make a super hilarious SAHM joke and I'm the only SAHM in the room. 

When my mom-friend tells me she was able to successfully drink an entire hot cup of coffee that morning. 

Mike and I, when Eli actually performs a trick on command in front of an audience. 

NMC: Kristin At The Mommy Project, San Diego

Today's New Mom Confessions guest post is from Kristin at The Mommy Project, San Diego.  Kristin is another fellow Rookie Mom, and we both share a background in PR before becoming SAHM's. She has such a fun blog and shares lots of great tips and articles on navigating motherhood for the first time, like her 10 Signs You're A First Time Mom, or 10 Things I Would Tell My Pre-Baby Self. If you're a first time mom (and I know many of you are!) you'll definitely need to check her blog out. When Kristin's not musing on her blog, you'll find her hanging out in the usual online spaces: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Hello, my name is Kristin and I am a first time mom to my beautiful baby girl, Blake, who is now 4 months old. Pre-baby I worked in the corporate world doing marketing and public relations for Hyatt Hotels but I’m now a SAHM and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I blog regularly over at The Mommy Project, San Diego – a blog dedicated to the life-altering journey that encompasses being a first time mom: the lifestyle changes (you know - giving up trendy peplum tops and late night dinners at fancy-schmancy restaurants for nursing tank tops and passing out as soon as the baby goes down at 8PM), the experiences (I love finding new activities and baby outings for Blake and I to enjoy together), and, most importantly, the humor found in our everyday life (it’s just beautiful chaos, really.)

Here are my confessions:
  • I find myself singing Christmas carols to my daughter when she’s fussy. Apparently my brain is auto-set to December because in times of need, I immediately bust out into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Jingle Bells. It’s bizarre but it somehow does the trick.
  • When Blake was a newborn, I use to shove our huge B.O.B. stroller (whole) into the trunk of my car because I didn’t know how to compact it down. Blake screamed bloody murder every time we were in public for the first 6 weeks so I was always frantically trying to flee the scene and didn’t even take the time to learn how to compact it down. I’ll never forget some of the looks I received while picking up that huge stroller, and placing it nicely shoving it into my trunk – I could just read their faces: poor rookie mom doesn’t even know how to work her own stroller! My husband finally showed me how to compact it down and I was a little embarrassed at how easy it was. You live and you learn.

DIY Cake Bunting + Simple Smash Cake Recipe

In recent years, a smash cake has become so much more than just something to eat at a first birthday party. It's a dessert, yes, but it's also a major decoration and these days, it's become the "big event" at the party.

So when I started thinking about Eli's smash cake I knew I needed to pull in a professional. Luckily, one of my close friends is Madison from Espresso and Cream, who also works as a food editor and recipe developer. When I approached her on the idea of making Eli's smash cake, I told her about how I had looked all over the place for a healthy, yet pretty smash cake recipe and kept coming up empty. Most healthy smash cakes seem to be super dense, making it tough for a baby to dig into it and often they are well, brownish in color - which isn't pretty at all. While I'm not against sugar - Eli has had his fair share of ice cream, cupcakes and other desserts - I usually limit his intake of it a bit. But for his big day, I really wanted to let him go all out, while still feeling good about what he was eating with something that was at least semi-healthy.

And boy did Madison deliver. The cake was gorgeous, delicious and for the most part, healthy - and it was hands down my favorite decoration AND food item at the party. I created the toppers for the cake, but Madison truly did the heavy lifting with all the recipe testing and development. Together, I think we turned out a pretty sweet cake.

Below, I'm sharing how I created the bunting and today she is sharing the recipe for the smash cake on her blog. So once you're done here, head on over to check it out!

While Eli was a bit slow to start (it was pointer finger mania at the beginning), once he tasted it, he dug right in.

Fancy That Loved + Giveaway

The three most talked about things at Eli's party were the food, the smash cake and the silverware. Yep, that's right, the silverware. I'm willing to bet that's not normal at most parties. But when Ashley from Fancy That Loved approached me on picking something out from her shop for Eli's first birthday party - her wooden utensil sets were one of the first things that popped out to me. As soon as I saw them, I knew that's exactly what I wanted - and little did I know they'd be such a hit at the party!

To jazz up the disposable wooden utensil set a bit, I added a strip of red washi tape to the handle of the fork. To make it easy for everyone to grab their utensils at the party, I just wrapped all three pieces in the napkin, and secured it with bakers twine. We made about 65 of these, but thankfully my mom and brother and sister-in-law were in town when I was assembling these, so we got it done super fast, assembly-line stye. It's amazing how productive you can be when you involve an engineer....

Ashley sells all sorts of stuff in her shop, she even sells bakers twine and washi tape, so you can pretty much get everything to make these utensil sets from one place.

See how many options she has for washi tape? I've already declared my undying love for the stuff, but seriously, this picture makes me salivate. Or it could be all these salty peanuts I'm eating while I'm writing ... 

Eli's First "Carnival Themed" Birthday Party

First things first: The winner of the Little Love Lane giveaway is Danielle Meder. Danielle, check your inbox for an email from me to claim your prize!

Wowza, It took me a lot longer to pull this post together than I thought it would. The past couple weeks have been absolutely crazy and it was all I could do to keep my head above water with all that was going on. Plus, on the day of Eli's party I got pretty sick from a short bout of food poisoning (from food earlier in the day, not the party food). Because of that, I didn't quite capture all the photos I was hoping to get. In particular, I completely missed taking photos of the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance - the food table! I kept waiting until the food arrived (we had it catered) to take the photos, but once it did arrive it was pretty much my mission to stay as far away from any food as possible, and I completely spaced on the photos. I'm super bummed, but I have lots of photos of the rest of the space, so you'll get the general idea. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be sharing detail on the DIY's involved to make this party a reality, and if you're looking to see where some of my inspiration came from - it's all on Pinterest. The board for a "carnival // circus themed party" has lots of specific theme inspiration and the general "party time" board could be great for anyone planning a party. 

Another note before we get this party started - I learned a TON about hosting a party outside your home. Not everything turned out perfectly or how I imagined it, but that's real life, right? When you rent a space out, you don't have time to trial, test and tweak, which is probably good for someone like me who is always tweaking (not to be confused with twerking) things, but is tough when you have a vision and it doesn't turn out quite right. Anyway, lots of thoughts there, but I'll save them for another day. On to the party!

For the space, we rented out a local community center. I needed an indoor spot since Minnesota is finicky in April (we received 8" of snow the day before Eli's party) And community centers are super cheap to rent out - this one was $20 an hour. Everywhere else I looked would have cost upwards of $1,000 when it was all said and done. We rented this space out for $80 which also included tables and chairs. It's not the prettiest, but it certainly did the job. 

We had about 60 people there, 40ish adults and 20ish children - all under the age of 2. Yes. I can hear your thoughts now: That's INSANE. And yes, it was a little insane. And a lot awesome. 

Because of all those kiddos, I set up a little space for them to play - even though they pretty much ran and screamed all over the room - it did keep them semi-occupied and contained. For the toy area, I just brought an indoor/outdoor rug from home as well as a few of Eli's toys. I brought a couple plush toys, and looking back, I would have left them at home. It's a lot easier to disinfect the plastic toys after the party....  The ball pit was a HUGE hit. I think I saw up to six kids crammed into there at one time - that thing was rockin'. 

We also had a popcorn machine to go with the carnival theme. I didn't want it to be a crazy-themed party, but this was one fun thing I couldn't pass up. We were able to borrow it from a generous friend of my sister-in-laws and it was treat for everyone to enjoy. 

On the main wall I threw up a huge (12') banner I made, as well as displayed Eli's monthly photos. I printed them as 5x7" with a coupon at Target, but I'll be honest, printing 5x7" are expensive - especially when you have 24 to print. I'm trying to figure out what to do with the prints now that the party is over - any ideas are welcome!

Eli - Twelve Month Update

Naps: One one and a half hour nap in the morning and one two hour nap in the afternoon.
Feeding: Weened off formula in the middle of the month, now fully on whole milk and table foods. 
Clothing: 12 - 18 month
Bedtime: 7 p.m. (ish) Sleeps 12 hours consistently each night.

No more formula! The transition was actually pretty easy. I started out at the beginning of the month trying to do a sloooow wean. A quarter whole milk with three quarters formula at about room temperature. He took it like a champ, but the next week when I upped it to half and half, he didn't seem to like it as much. One day on a whim I just let him try cold milk straight out of the fridge in a sippy cup and he chugged it. So from there we pretty much went cold turkey. I gave him a room temp formula bottle in the morning and at night, then he drank cold milk with his three meals of table food during the day day, and water in between. (I just leave his Nalgene laying around the living room and he loves just grabbing and drinking out of it for fun - wish I was the same way.) As the weeks went on I eliminated his morning bottle, then his evening bottle, and about three days before his birthday the formula was gone for good. I now give him a sippy cup of milk right when he wakes up because he is ravenous and can barely wait for his diaper to be changed if he doesn't have something, then milk during breakfast (usually about 45 minutes after he wakes), lunch and dinner. We still offer some milk before bed, but he usually only takes about two ounces. Since it's a sleep signal for him, I'm waiting to eliminate it (the diapers are HUGE in the morning). I think we'll try later this month. 

Pretty much the same as last month, he's doing really well. He had at least one new tooth come in that made him pretty unpredictable for a couple days, but overall it's been great. There was also a night that he woke up around 2 a.m. and was signing for "drink." We went downstairs and he downed an entire sippy cup (this one is probably about 12 oz.) of milk then went happily back to bed. It was during one of our transition days and I think he just didn't get enough liquids during the day. After that I started trying to pay a little more attention to how much he's drinking so I know he stays hydrated.

Oh goodness. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I think Eli's done more changing in the two weeks before his birthday than he did in the two months prior! It's crazy. He's so, so grown up! He finally started army crawling, but still gets frustrated with how slow it is so he can often be found doing a combo army crawl/roll move. He also started trying to pull up on furniture, it's hilarious to watch him grunt and groan and grit his teeth while his butt literally doesn't even leave the floor. I usually just give him a little boost and he's right up there, prouder than a peacock. And once he's up he'll stay up for a loooooog time, but mostly because I think he's scared to come down. He'll usually fuss until I help him sit, then ask to be boosted right back up again. Right at the end of the month he also started walking with lots of assistance, but he's finally figured out that if he lifts his feet, he actually goes somewhere. He looks like one of those crazy clowns walking on stilts at a carnival, but he's getting better every day.