Surviving Motherhood with Goldfish Crackers

This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

IMG_4683.JPGIf you follow me on instagram, you know Ryan and I recently vacationed in Mexico sans kids with our best friends and we felt like we were young again. To say we were rejuvenated would be an understatement. Between the non-stop chaos of having two boys under five and the stress that is moving and remodeling a house, we were so drained. We spent seven days just resting by the pool and taking care of ourselves and it felt SO FREAKING GOOD!

Fast forward to the present; we’re knee deep back in the chaos. Don’t get me wrong, some of me actually missed the chaos and by day five of our vacay, we were craving seeing our babies. By day seven we were antsy and couldn’t even relax anymore. I love my life and I wouldn’t change having my babies if someone gave me a time machine.

HOWEVER, life with little ones gets crazy and you have to find things to make it a little easier. For us, one of those things is making sure to always have a snack on hand when we’re on-the-go; and my favorite snack I feel good about giving my boys are Goldfish crackers. I know there are nay sayer moms out there…moms who think they are full of bad stuff. But I think those people don’t realize this longtime favorite snack is baked with real cheese and have no artificial flavors or preservatives. In fact, all the Goldfish Colors crackers are actually sourced from plants:

  • Red Goldfishcrackers are colored using a mix of red beet juice concentrate and paprika extracted from sweet red peppers
  • Green Goldfish crackers are colored using watermelon & Huito juice concentrates mixed with extracted Turmeric; Huito is derived from South American fruit
  • Yellow Goldfish crackers are colored using extracted Turmeric
  • Blue Goldfishcrackers are colored using Huito and Watermelon juice concentrates

By now, you can probably guess that this is a sponsored post, but if you read my blog at all, you know I don’t endorse products unless I truly believe in them. The fact is, I don’t know what I’d do without Goldfish crackers because my kids love them, they’re so easy to grab and I don’t have mom guilt when giving them to my boys!

Life with kids is always busy, especially spring and summer months with sports, school and summer camps; Goldfish crackers save me from the dreaded whiny voice sound of “I’m hungry” when we are running around and busy.

Check out their Pinterest page for more ideas on how to creatively use Goldfish crackers! I was seriously blown away by all the ideas on their pin boards. Learn more about Goldfish Colors crackers here.

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How I lost 40 Pounds Without Depriving Myself

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I’ve dropped 40 lbs since this photo to the left was taken last March, so I decided it was a good time to open up about this journey that I didn’t even really set out for.

I guess I’ll start by going way back…back to my birth weight. I was born at 9 lbs 8 oz so from my earliest moment, I was not a small human. I was chunk city as a baby – I had rolls for days. I was never overweight as a kid, but I always had more muscle mass than my peers and wasn’t ever “skinny” – it’s just in my genes; my athletic legs are a spitting image of my father’s and you can even see me here at four years old (pink swimsuit) with defined muscles in my legs. I resent tiny people that make fun of people who say they are “big boned” because I legit have a larger skeleton than most other girls I hang out with.

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Fast forward to high school – Again I wasn’t ever “small” but I didn’t have much fat on my body and was more muscular than anything else and my abs were always flat despite consuming Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, Round Table Pizza and Taco Bell almost every single day. I was just active and did occasionally workout. I was a cheerleader, but never a flyer because I wasn’t 98lbs like the flyers on my squad were; I rotated between being a base and a back-spot for stunting. I was told by multiple people I had the same body as Britney Spears (I was in HS 1999-2003 so Britney was major back then). Britney’s muscular legs helped me to be more confident in mine. Like so many other girls, I always thought I had to look like an anorexic Abercrombie model to be considered attractive. So many articles have been written about how Kim Kardashian has helped change the trend from Kate Moss bodies to more curvy Kardashian bodies, but I think Britney deserves some credit as well for providing young girls with a positive body image. If you haven’t seen what Brit looked like back then, Google her. Then check out her instagram because she is killing it as of late. #abgoals. I should also mention that I’m not dissing skinny body types AT ALL. I’m just referring to pop culture and how media defines what is “beautiful” and how so many girls grew up thinking they were fat because they didn’t look undernourished.

Once I got to college, I gained like 30 lbs because drinking and eating fast food and not working out will do that to ya. I started eating healthier and working out, the weight fell off because young metabolisms are the best.

By the time I was preparing for my wedding at age 26, I was in the best shape of my life and decided to give Ryan a little saucy book of myself as a wedding gift. I tried to pick a photo to share that didn’t reveal any more of my body than a swimsuit, but sorry if this is offensive to any of you. I’m actually pretty modest by nature. My point in showing this is that I hardly had any fat on my body, but as you can see, I wasn’t “skinny.” I do not have “skinny” in my genetic makeup. But even here, I weighed 150 lbs and was considered “overweight” on the BMI charts according to my 5’6” height. My doctor looked at me and chuckled. “You’re not overweight, these charts are archaic and I don’t know why they’re still used. You are in great shape.”

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Ryan and I were married for a little over a year when we conceived Porter. By then, I had probably gained 5 or 10 lbs because I was working 10+ hour days with a 2 hour commute (one hour each way) and was barely holding my head above water, stress-wise. I certainly wasn’t going to the gym and I was fo-show eating carbs.

The beginning of my pregnancy threw me for a loop. Morning sickness is rough, folks. And I didn’t even have it that bad compared to some. I just felt nauseous ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME. The only thing that would make me feel better was to eat very specific foods. I craved salty foods and cheerios almost constantly, which was a great recipe for weight gain.

By the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 60lbs. Riiiiiiidic. Some of it came off naturally and through breastfeeding, but only about 1/3 of it.

Postpartum, I had a tough time. You can read my birth story if you want, but basically I wasn’t doing well mentally because I felt traumatized from the birth. By the time Porter turned one, I finally started feeling like myself again and I got into spinning classes at my gym. The weight slowly started to come off as I developed healthier habits, but by the time I got pregnant with Preston eight months later, I hadn’t lost all the weight I had gained with Porter.

With Preston, I gained another 40lbs. Breastfeeding didn’t go well so I didn’t lose as much weight right off the bat. By the time he was four months old, I was completely done breastfeeding and that was stretching it as far as I could go. I found stay-at-home-mom life to be challenging with two kids, and I definitely ate more crap (hello toddler snacks) and drank more wine to cope. Taking an infant and toddler to the gym was more of a challenge, and I didn’t make it a huge priority. I tried doing Beachbody, but found the program to be ineffective. I needed cardio and a break from my kids, not living room weight training with a crying baby and toddler interrupting me. By the time Preston turned one in March of 2017, I was definitely not healthy and in retrospect, wasn’t that happy.

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When I saw this photo of myself, I decided it was time for a change; I started running and going to the gym regularly.

I put my house on the market that May and by July we were living in a new neighborhood. Our neighborhood is bursting with charming homes and large trees, making it a waaaay happier place to run around in compared to my old neighborhood. I started running with my girlfriends who live right by me and it became routine…and we were pushing our kids, which made our runs extra tough. I ran my first 10k that November and the weight was definitely coming off.

By January, it was pretty cold here in Sacramento and my friends and I opted for the gym instead. I got an Apple Watch, and I started to see how many calories I was burning per day; I set my goal for 800. My friends and I don’t belong to the same gym, but I can still see what they’re doing through the watch. My friend started doing the stair climber, something she had always done apparently. I had literally never gotten on one before, but decided to give it a try. WOW. That thing WORKS. I started doing the stair climber five or six days a week and when I’m on it, I really push myself. I make a point to burn at least 400 calories doing the stairs, followed by light weights. I’m not crazy about weights and I get bored, so I don’t do them that hard core. But what I’m doing is working! I’m down 40 lbs from that picture in the red shirt and I still drink wine, eat cheese, pizza, etc. For the most part I eat healthy, but I don’t deprive myself, because #BALANCE. Life is too short to not consume cheese and wine in my opinion. I don’t ever want to be one of those people who Google how much sugar is in an apple.

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I’m not yet at a place in this journey to where I’m completely satisfied with where I am – I still want to lose another 20 lbs. But I’m heading in the right direction and I have the most encouraging circle of friends and husband. I feel like I need to share that Ryan NOT ONCE ever made me feel anything less than beautiful. Never one tiny comment about my weight gain. He’s always only ever made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world and oh my gosh, I’m so grateful for that. If he had criticized me in any way, it would have crushed my soul. Having our babies really took its toll on my body, so thank you Ryan for loving me so unconditionally.

One quote that’s written on my gym wall that I have found to be so inspiring is this:

 

“Success does not come in one giant leap, but in small steps over time.”

 

Thank you California Family Fitness for having such a wonderful kids program; one that my kids are genuinely excited and ask to go to; one that always has enough staff to cover all the kids; one that remembers my kids’ names.

Life’s Gripes and Grapes | And a Unique Wooden Watch

IMG_2795Anyone who’s married knows marriage isn’t always a cakewalk. I think that’s good though because if it were, there would be no opportunity for growth. Constant cakewalking=stagnant relationship. My goal in my marriage is to always be evolving and growing with Ryan. I have an expectation that I will gradually know him more and more deeply as the days go by and sometimes the fastest way to do that is to experience adversity together — it’s the silver lining to crappy situations.

Everyone goes through tough times in his or her lives and most people choose not to share it publicly (with the exception of those few who post pity party essays as their Facebook status’ for attention). But the majority of us look like we have the most perfect lives when you scroll our feeds – I’m guilty of it too. But I do it because dwelling on what’s negative in my life doesn’t serve me well – what does serve me well is putting a positive spin on things, then posting about it. I basically trick myself into seeing the bright side of obstacles haha.

However, when I started this blog, I told myself I’d always be honest; I want to share my real life. So I’m going to take a moment and list out on here what’s been putting a strain on me and my marriage lately and how I’m working through it.

For context: One of the PR firms I worked at (arguably my favorite one) used to take a moment at staff meetings and for employees to share their “gripes and grapes.” Gripes were things that were bugging you, Grapes were positive shout outs. So here I go with mine…

Gripes:

  • We live at my parent’s house because our house was gutted for a remodel
  • Our oldest son is struggling emotionally from living in limbo
  • We’ve been feeling unsettled for 9 months and counting; it’s wearing on us
  • We don’t know exactly when our house will be done
  • We are making big decisions when it comes to money and it’s stressful
  • We don’t get very much time alone
  • We have tons of design decisions to make together regarding our house; it can feel overwhelming
  • Ryan spends most of his free time working on the house
  • I have a million goals regarding my blog and some other things but I don’t feel like I have the time I need to spend to accomplish those goals and it makes me feel frustrated

There ya go…my little rant. When I read through it, I feel like I’m being a whiny millennial, which is why I don’t like to share things like this on social media. Was that uplifting to any of you? NO! Lol. Not to mention, I know a million plus people have it worse than I do! I know I could be dealing with REAL issues like cancer, death, divorce, hunger, poverty or any other sort of crisis so I feel silly whining about my life. But at the same time, my issues are impacting my sanity. Here’s how I cope…

Grapes:

  • I drink wine if you haven’t already noticed via my insta stories
  • I go on mommy dates fairly frequently and it fuels my soul
  • I pray and talk with my oldest son about how he’s feeling and try to show him unconditional love – I’m also completely redoing his room so that when we move back into our house, he’ll be blown away
  • I think about how lucky we are that my parent’s have a house big enough to accommodate our family so well
  • I remember how supportive my parent’s have been and how gracious they are to let us live here, rent free
  • I remember back before Ryan got his engineering license and I quit my job in PR and we were BROKE with a newborn baby in our starter house – I’m beyond grateful we have the means to buy a house in our dream neighborhood, then gut it to studs and remodel it
  • I think about how lucky I am to be married to a man who trusts my design decisions and genuinely loves and appreciates how I can transform the look of a room
  • I communicate with Ryan about how our lack of alone time together is making me feel disconnected from him – we remedy this by going out on dates
  • I remember that accomplishing big goals requires small, consistent efforts; although I can’t put the time/energy I want into accomplishing those goals right now, I’m still working towards them in small ways and I’ll eventually be able to ramp up my efforts

In addition to all of these things, I also totally surprised Ryan with a unique men’s wooden watch for Valentine’s Day a little early. I’ve gotten a JORD Wood Watch for him before and he LOVED it, but they’re constantly coming out with new designs, so I wanted to add to his little collection. They are also a great Valentine’s Day gift for him PLUS you can enter to win $100 towards the JORD site (enter here). You may not win the $100, but you automatically win $25 just for entering! Contest closes 02/04/2018

Thanks for listening to my rant. Next time you find yourself going to negative town, try and spin each gripe you have into a grape 🙂

Links below to check out more watches!

Ryan’s watch

Men’s watches

Women’s watches

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Luxury Wooden Watch

 

8 Reasons I Love Being a Boy Mom

JRP_3372copy (1)Let me start this off by saying that this post is not a dig at girl moms or to say being a boy mom is better. Nor is this meant to imply that I wouldn’t love a daughter one day, because of course I would. What I’m sharing today is simply all the things I love about having boys.

I can shape them into gentlemen

This is probably the biggest one in light of all the recent news stories on inappropriate male behavior. I didn’t participate in the social media #metoo frenzy for various reasons, but I’ve experienced my fair share of unwanted comments and even some situations where I had to be physically aggressive to keep myself safe.

There are so many wonderful gentlemen out there who are overshadowed by the animalistic predator men who view women as objects for their enjoyment. I have been blessed with the opportunity to shape two young boys to become the former, not only by what I deliberately teach them, but what they observe watching the Ryan’s behavior toward me and other women around him. I feel like God has given me the opportunity to better our society of males by entrusting me with TWO to raise right.

Chivalry won’t be dead and manners will be ingrained

Does your husband know how to properly set a table? Like does he know forks go on the left? Does he pull out your chair? Open your door? As much as I love Ryan, those things aren’t ingrained in him. It’s something you have to be taught and I definitely am already teaching Porter at the age of four about good manners vs. bad manners.

I don’t have to host a wedding

Since we only plan on having one more, at the very most we’ll be responsible for one wedding.

Boys love their moms

Of course they love their Dad’s too, but that mother-son bond is unique and I creepily stare at them with doting eyes on the regular.

I don’t have to clean poop out of a vagina

That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

I don’t have to have a teenage girl

Because I hear teenage girls just love their moms; I know I did.

I save money

Being honest about the fact that I would probably spend way more on clothes if I had two girls vs two boys. And that would likely continue until adulthood.

I’ll have special relationships with my Daughter-in-laws

I’ll have such a pent up need for estrogen in the family that I’ll probably spoil and love my daughter-in-laws like they were my own more than I would if I literally had my own daughter. But only if they’re quality girls. If they aren’t, I’ll just do my MIL duty of intimidation.

So… if whenever we decide to try for a third and I end up with a third boy, don’t give me the “I’m so sorry!” charade. Although I’m sure I’ll 100% get at least a handful of comments like that from random complete strangers.

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Message to the Judgmental Natural Birth Moms

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Note: This is an old blog post I found in my drafts. I edited it a little bit since my writing style has changed, but my feelings on this topic are the same.

Dear random judgmental mom at the grocery store,

On a casual shopping trip to Trader Joes, you successfully ruined my day. I’m sure you didn’t mean to, but you did. My 10-month-old Porter was sitting in the shopping cart eating samples, happy as a clam. Just prior to bumping into you, a kind stranger told me that he looks like Prince George. We’d gotten this before; Porter is fair skinned with chunky cheeks and he’s a big boy, – he’s been in the 90’s on the charts his entire life, with the exception of his 100 percentile head.

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So there I was, drooling over the cheese section as per usual and you pulled up next to me. You had a son in your cart too — the boys began to cutely interact.

Random Mom: “How old is your son?”

Me: “He’s 10 months. How old is yours?” I asked with a smile. (I’m careful not to have my #restingbitchface when talking to strangers)

Random Mom: “He’s 15 months. I know he’s small.” (for reference, he looked substantially smaller than Porter)

Me: “Awww he’s so cute.”

Random Mom: “Your guy is big but I bet you weren’t able to give birth naturally without any drugs like I was!”

Me: “No actually I ended up with an emergency c-section and it was a really horrible experience.”

Random Mom: Shuts up.

I walked away as quickly as possible.

I bet you weren’t able to give birth naturally without any drugs like I was!”

I realize this lady said this because she’s clearly insecure about the size of her child, but this is not an isolated experience. Through social media and even other face-to-face interactions, I’ve encountered numerous mothers who judge c-sections. What’s crazy to me is that if I hadn’t had one, I would have risked Porter’s life. He wouldn’t budge after two hours of pushing (you can read my full birth story here), so when his heart rate dropped and the doctor said they needed to get the baby out, I said OK because obviously I wanted my baby to be born safely and alive and I’m not the one with the MD after my name and neither does your doula.

“I bet you weren’t able to give birth naturally without any drugs like I was!”

Who honestly says that to a complete stranger or any mother for that matter? Do you want to get punched in the face? Or maybe you want me to tell you how amazing you are that you gave birth to your smaller than average baby without any drugs? That’s not how this works. I honor ALL mothers no matter how their babies come out because we all sacrificed ourselves on some level to make a human, and we all have our own stories to tell.

My opinion of anyone who brags about anything, let alone how they had their baby, is that they are immature. A woman of wisdom understands that being humble earns more admiration. If you want me to think you’re awesome, don’t tell me how awesome you are.

“I gave birth naturally” in my head equates to “I made the choice to give birth as though it was the olden days so I could feel like I’m better and judge other mothers who used drugs or had surgery.”

This is less relevant to the point of this rant, but I personally think pretending we live hundreds of years ago is kind of stupid. So although you think it will impress me, I literally think you’re kind of a weirdo. But I would never say that to your face because we are all different, and that’s ok.

I thank God I was born when I was, with modern medicine saving lives on the daily. I plan on embracing modern medicine for the rest of my life.

And to the natural birth moms who judge my c-section: If you ever have to have a limb amputated, I challenge you to do that “naturally” too. Let’s just pretend it’s the olden days for everything. Let them cut off your limb naturally; no anesthetics – maybe just a shot of whiskey and a stick to bite on from a pesticide free tree.

Ok, I’m being snarky now. I know I’m probably pissing a lot of people off and I sound like a hypocrite because this sort of comes across like I’m judging the “natural” moms. I’m really not though; this rant is about all of the judgmental moms out there who try to make other moms feel bad about themselves. I couldn’t care less how everyone’s babies are born because it’s none of my business.

Motherhood is hard enough, so let’s just support each other. You might be thinking something in your head when you see another mom, but don’t say it out loud unless it’s kind/supportive/encouraging.

Rant over.

Xo,

Bethany

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Tulle Skirt Round-up

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I’m what society  snarkily refers to as a #basicbitch. I love Christmas, I’m a sorority alumni, I have fake blonde hair, I enjoy Louis Vuittons paired with everything (including my Ugg boots when I feel like being cozy, which is often), I wear leggings as pants, Nordstrom is life, I sometimes hit curbs while driving my Chevy Tahoe mom-mobile, I like white subway tile, I listen to gangster rap when I’m driving without my kids in the car, you get the idea. So I’m sure it’s a big shocker that I LOVE any excuse to glam up in some tulle because it makes me feel like I’m still a little girl playing princess dress-up.

Christmas time allows me to pull tulle off without judgement (for the most part). I mean, haters are always gonna hate, but I feel like wearing Christmas glam gets more of a pass than if I were to try and pull off some tulle in the spring/summer or even fall. I urgently ordered one via Amazon Prime right before my holiday photo shoot because I didn’t have my ish together, but I’ve rounded up some of my favorite black tulle skirts that work as the perfect holiday party outfit, or even holiday photo shoot outfit if you still haven’t done yours yet.

Below are 5 Holiday glam – worthy black tulle skirts:

Here’s the one I wore $32 on Amazon Prime

Tulle Lace Midi Skirt $26.99 at Charlotte Russe

Halogen Tulle Midi Skirt $79 at Nordstrom

LC Lauren Conrad Flocked Tulle Midi Skirt on sale from $60 to $26.99 at Kohles

Pearl Tulle Skirt $148 at Anthropologie — a bit of a splurge but I love the pearl details

 

Hope everyone is having a happy Christmas Season so far!

Cheers,

Bethany

 

 

 

 

 

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Mitchell Family Holiday Photos 2017

Photo shoots are HARD when you have a four year old and a nineteen month old. With Porter, we were dealing with smile refusals and attitude problems. With Preston, we were dealing with just general crazy behavior that mostly included running away when we put him somewhere to stand or sit or even heaven forbid we hold him and he isn’t diving head first to the ground. I tried bribing with food, but it was ineffective.

Somehow our photographer managed to capture some moments that made it look like we have our *ish* together, so thanks for that Jacki Raney. Hopefully we can fool everyone that’s on our Christmas card list. And thank the Heavens above for Amazon Prime’s free two day shipping for giving me something to wear. My outfit is linked below and I really think every girl should buy these shoes.

Sam Edelman Leopard heels (on sale for $119 from $140 – kind of a splurge for me, but I’ve been obsessed with these forever and plan on wearing the heck out of them)

Plaid Shirt (only $15 with a looser boyfriend-ish fit)

Tulle Skirt (Under $30 and comes in every color you could ever want)

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