As busy moms (and dads) the days can feel really, really, long. With young kids it’s hard to keep our expectations in check. The reality is that babies and toddlers (and preschoolers) can be little tiny terrors. They are exhausting, bossy, and mouthy, small humans. But they are also wonderful, sweet, kind, caring, and oh-so-very smart.

But it seems like I am always bouncing between losing my mind and being in awe of their greatness. And so, in those less-than-awesome-moments, I’m constantly reminding myself that I need to Let Them Be the little people that they are.

Here’s how you can Let Them Be Little

1. Let them have your attention. Put the cell phone/tablet/computer down when they want to snuggle. Ari is in this stage where every time he hears and sees a Huggies commercial on TV, he says “Aww Mommy!! Look!” and insists on giving me a giant snuggly hug. Because, babies. And it’s in these moments that I realize just how spacey and in my own head I can be. But life is about hugs and tiny moments like this.

2. Let them crawl into bed with you. There’s much debate about bedsharing, and I even have friends who think I’m absolutely nuts for not forcing Ari into his own bed. But I also know that he won’t be 15 and sleeping in my bed. They grow up. So I enjoy it while I can — all of the kicking and fussing and blanket-stealing — it’s all worth it.

3. Let them get messy. I’ll admit it — I’m very type-A when it comes to messes with kids. I despise playing with PlayDoh and paint, but these are actually constants in my daily life. But I try to keep it as ‘organized messes,’ meaning that they are able to be isolated in their nonsense and still get creative. Because these messy moments? They not only create memories, but also confidence in ‘doing’ things for themselves.

4. Let them melt down. Listen, I’m not talking about the “I want this candy/toy,” meltdown in the middle of Target; but a productive meltdown. Our tiny humans are just learning to cope with everything we’re throwing at them. And life can be difficult, ya’ll! Even when you’re three! In these moments I try (keyword: try!) to take a deep breath and give Ari some tips on how to express himself with words (his favorite saying is “Mommy, I’m just so frustrated!”). Just let them feel all the feelings and encourage them to communicate with you.

5. Let them use their imaginations. Over the last year (particularly between the ages of 3 and 4), I’ve noticed how crazy amazing Ari’s imagination has gotten! I constantly overhear him playing make-believe with his friends and, while I don’t always understand the allure of zombies, I can certainly appreciate the active imagination. So even if you don’t understand what the heck they’re thinking (boys are weird, ya’ll), let them be with their crazy thoughts. Even if it’s annoying (note: it will be annoying sometimes).

6. Let them know love. That’s the biggest, ya’ll. Just show them love. They won’t remember the Pinterest projects and crock pot dinners. They will remember the feeling of being safe and loved; they will remember the hugs and kisses; and they will remember love. So give it freely; give it often; and give it unconditionally.

In all of my life I never expected to have this many thoughts on raising kids, but I also never expected to feel this much love for two tiny humans — so I guess it just comes with the territory. Where there is love, there is worry; and where there is worry, there is love! So just do yourself a favor — come to terms with where you’re at with your life with little ones. Just breathe and just do the best that you can. And just let them be little, friends! xo

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After graduating college ten years ago (eek!), I made the decision to move back from Upstate New York to Northeast Ohio, where I grew up in a tiny, country town. I had spent years away from my family and friends and I knew that Ohio was where I was supposed to be. After college I moved back into my childhood home with my parents and made an hour + commute to an office in Downtown Akron. It was manageable. I was young and fresh-faced — ready to take on the world!

And then I happened to begin dating my (would be) husband, who just so happened to live here in Akron. Fast-forward a year and I finally took the plunge and moved in with him — and we began exploring the city of Akron together!

My husband even proposed to me at the same restaurant where we had our first date — Crave!

Sure, after we had kids we considered moving elsewhere — in fact, after my sister moved to Columbus, Ohio and my parents moved to Louisville, Kentucky, we considered moving further south to be closer to them — we even looked at available listings in Dayton, Ohio! But Akron is our home. And we adore exploring our city!

Over the years so many amazing establishments have been added to Downtown Akron. Here are some of my favorite places:

Crave. Of course this place has a special place in our hearts. Not only is it special to us, but they have amazing food. From the Root Beer Braised Pulled Pork on a Pretzel Bun, to the Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese with Blackened Chicken, to my newest personal favorite — the Buttermilk Fried Chicken + Waffles. Ahhh-MAZING! (PS. Totally looking forward to Crave Cantina, opening up on Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls this Summer!

Sweet Mary’s Bakery. Mary and the crew make specialty, handmade, baked goods every single day. My personal faves? The pies, the macarons, and the biscuits! Give me ALL OF THE BISCUITS!

Apotheclaire. This salon, located on Mill Street across from the John S. Knight Center, uses all eco-friendly products and they recycle everything. Everything! Even your hair! Claire and her crew are the bomb dot com.

NOTO North. Pretty much the cutest boutique in all of Northeast Ohio. I’m absolutely digging their Feminist t-shirts! MUST get one, ASAP!

Diamond Deli. I was introduced to this deli my first week in Akron. It. is. GLORIOUS. And very much a traditional deli shop. The family that owns this restaurant has owned it from day one. And each of the sandwiches is named after a family member (my favorites are the “Where’s Jason?” (turkey, bacon, Colby cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, Mayo on wheat bread) and the “Mom – Come Get Me I’m Sick!” (Smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, Mayo, Dijon mustard on grilled rye bread).

Akron Rubber Ducks at Canal Park. A double-A minor league baseball team located in the middle of Main Street. The park itself is gorgeous! There’s a kids area and a full bar, and every single seat is a fantastic view!

The Lockview. Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches + an incredible craft beer selection = one of my go-to lunch and dinner destinations!

Do Good Yoga. My dearest friend Gretchen opened this amazing brand new yoga studio a couple of months ago. It combines two of my greatest loves — yoga and the raw parts of the city of Akron.

The Northside Speakeasy. Handcrafted cocktails in a traditional speakeasy setting. In fact, the door is a ‘secret’ entrance (I legit had to ask some random guy outside how to get in).

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. You can take the CVSR from Northside Akron and view of the natural scenery and wildlife of the national park and an opportunity to learn about the history of the railroad in valley all the way to the Independence station! It’s an awesome excursion and a great way to see a side of the land that is typically hidden! PS. They do a “Day Out With Thomas” in May! So get your tickets now! SO fun!

Akron Art Museum. If you’re local to Northeast Ohio and have never been to the Akron Art Museum, you are missing out. With free admission every Thursday, it’s easy to get in and see all of the temporary exhibits as well as get hands-on with my little ones at the kids workshops! Bonus? A live band plays outside every Thursday evening during the Summer!

Nuevo Mod Mex. It’s a tequila bar and upscale Mexican restaurant with a killer rooftop patio! What could be better? Chad and I went right after they opened and have kinda made it an anniversary dinner tradition ever since!

Akron Civic Theater. Ari and I just recently went to the Civic to see The Little Mermaid Ballet, but I’m constantly amazed by the beauty of this theater. There are always concerts and shows to attend — heck, even a Bernie Sanders rally in 2016!

Chill Ice Cream. I’ve long-searched for ice cream that rivals Jeni’s (in Columbus) and Mitchell’s (in Cleveland); but the search was over when I tried Chill. They have vegan AND savory flavors! PS. If you haven’t had savory ice cream flavors, you’re one-thousand percent missing out.

The Akron Zoo. I’ll admit it — we are members and have been for years. But I just love, love, love this zoo! Sure, we’ve been to others — Cleveland, Columbus, Buffalo, Louisville — but none compare to the ease and awesomeness of the Akron Zoo. We can get to it in, no joke, minutes. Parking is a cinch and making our way through the exhibits is easy peasy!

The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. I always hop on the trail behind Canal Place (near the Spaghetti Warehouse) and run behind Canal Park, over Route 59, and down past the Mustill Store. It’s such a gorgeous view of the Cuyahoga River!

Just going back through this amazing list of places makes my heart so happy. And with that, I’m excited to be able to host a $25 Giveaway to Nuevo Mod Mex (located in both Akron + Cleveland) so that you can check out one of my most favorite places in the whole world! Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And tell me, what makes your city unique!?!

 

 

*Disclaimer: This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal. As always, all opinions herein are my own; I may have been compensated for this post and it may contain affiliate links.* 

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Something amazing happened yesterday. I didn’t expect it. It wasn’t major. But it changed me.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details, almost 9 years ago, just as my husband and I started dating, a few incidents occurred with another person. This person was, by all accounts, a stranger to me. But was a friend of my husbands (boyfriend at the time). Again, I realize I’m being vague, but I’m doing so on purpose. But know this — it didn’t involve any form of cheating (after reading the first few lines, I realize that this could easily be incorrectly assumed); it was just a psychological incident to which I was an innocent bystander. And for many years, it caused me a good deal of anxiety.

I constantly wondered if we would run into this person. If so, was I equipped to emotionally handle it? Randomly I would have nightmares about her and the situation.

But, over the years I thought about it less and less. Time heals all wounds, right? Well, that’s what I thought. Until recently when this person randomly walked into a gymnastics class I’m teaching with her son. I was.. caught off guard. I texted my husband and he said, “She probably doesn’t even know who you are. Relax.”

The weeks went by and every single class I thought about how this person and I have so much in common — and this common experience — but technically we do not know each other. And it haunted me a little just to know that this whole situation was within arms reach. Literally.

And yesterday, after about 10 weeks of interacting with her and talking with her and getting to know her and her son (and feeling like a total phony for staying at arms reach), I finally spoke up.

I said, “Okay. So. There’s no way for me to say this without me sounding like a crazy person.

Immediately she smiled as if she knew exactly what I was going to say. So I said it. Well, I said it kinda wrong, but I said it.

And she literally breathed a sigh of relief. She said “I know who you are. I just didn’t know if you knew who I was. And I’ve owed you an apology for many years. I wasn’t in a good place and I’m very sorry.”

And we hugged. And I told her that Chad always said we would get along swimmingly, and that over the last 10 weeks, I knew he was right. But that the air needed to be cleared.

But then she said something that really surprised me… she thanked me. She thanked me for clearing the air and being braver than she was by bringing up the elephant in the room.

And THAT — that was what really got me. Both of us had been tiptoeing around an uncomfortable situation. We both had agonized for years over something that haunted us, but it took this single act of bravery and humility (on both of our parts) for us really to be at peace with the situation.

I immediately felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders — one that I didn’t even realize I was still carrying around with me after all these years.

What if I had never spoken up? What if I had never gone far beyond my comfort zone and approached her about the elephant in the room? And I started thinking about every other thing I’m emotionally holding onto and how much it’s holding me back from truly enjoying life.

So I’m making it my mission for the remainder of 2017 — to let go of things that do not serve a purpose and to accept more of what does. Bring on all the positive, bye to all the negative!

While there’s nothing like a random Tuesday morning slap-in-the-face from the universe, there’s also absolutely nothing like a giveaway, am I right!?

Remember those Freshly Picked moccasins that Remy absolutely loves!? Well, I’m hosting a giveaway for a pair! Use the rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You and your little one will absolutely love them! So soft and beyond adorable. And this is just one way that I can keep passing on the good vibes I’m riding high on from yesterday! xo

 

*Disclosure: I received one pair of Freshly Picked moccasins in exchange for a giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own.*

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Life Lately // and a Mantra

April 10, 2017

Ya’ll. I keep wondering, where did the day (night, week, months) go?? As I find myself smack dab in the middle of a 22-day working streak, I’m not only exhausted, but I’m so grateful for those little moments that make this hustle and this (part) stay-at-home mom nonsense worth it. Here’s what we’ve been up […]

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5 Eco-Friendly (and Realistic) Spring Cleaning Tips for Busy Moms

April 7, 2017

Since becoming a mom two things have become very clear to me: First, is that in order to best protect my children I want to limit the amount of chemicals they are exposed to; the Second, is that my house will never truly be clean — there will simply always be toys and clothes and […]

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5 Course Tasting Menu // Devils Backbone Brewing Company + the Black Pig Cleveland

April 4, 2017

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Devils Backbone Brewing Company release party for Cleveland at Ohio City’s own Black Pig restaurant! I’ll admit something — I had never heard of Devils Backbone Brewing Company prior to this event. In fact, although I have frequented many of the restaurants in Ohio City, The […]

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What I’m Loving Wednesday //

March 29, 2017

It’s still Spring break around here and we’re keeping busy with activities and naps galore! But I feel like I’ve had too many awesome experiences to ignore as of late! So I’m sharing what’s good — here’s what I’m loving lately: The brand new podcast S-Town, from the people who bring you Serial and This American Life. […]

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Our Week In Pictures // and My Monday Mantra

March 27, 2017

Shame on me — I’m a bad, bad, blogger! I’ve been doing a fairly decent job of getting lots of sleep + snuggling my babies. So basially I had the best excuses ever. Oh, and I worked — a LOT. But here are the exciting parts of our week, as told by pictures: [a trip […]

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The Little Mermaid, Retro Dog, and a Pi(e) Day Celebration // A Wrap Up

March 20, 2017

Yesterday, after staring at my planner for what seemed like hours, I was amazed to see that we’re nearing the end of March. Amazed because it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Remy Bea’s first birthday — but it was two whole months ago! Every single day with little kids feels like the.longest.day.ever. Everyday […]

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Friday Introduction //

March 17, 2017

I recently realized that I’ve been blogging for close to 10 years. That’s a long time, friends. Like, a ridiculously long time. So it’s likely that most of you have no idea who I am or what exactly brought me to where I am now. I never wanted to be a mom. It’s true. My ‘grand plan’ […]

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