My Best Day as a Mom...So Far

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Photo Courtesy Erin Miller Photography
My best day as a mother came about six months after my worst day as a mom. One of those random nights in January where we were picking up my five year old daughter's room before bathtime when she dropped a bombshell on me. I was asking her about her day when out of the blue I asked this:

Me: "What do you like most about yourself."
Lila: "What? I don't like anything about myself."
Me: "What do you mean you don't like anything about yourself? You have a beautiful smile and a kind heart. You draw lovely pictures and have the cutest laugh. And you are so much fun to be with!"

She was quiet, sad, and quite thoughtful for a bit when I decided to prompt her with what I loved about myself. I told her "I like my dimples, even the ones on my butt! I can do lots of different things for work, and I have the silliest personality." Then I shocked her when I shrugged and said, "I love myself."

Quite honestly I shocked myself too.

I'm not totally ready to say those words...yet. But I'm close. I do love lots of things about myself, but positive self-talk has not always been easy for me, as I'm my worst critic and always too hard on myself. But in that moment I knew I needed to teach her by example.

Later that evening I was devastated about that conversation. Lila doesn't like anything about herself? Was I failing as a mom? Are we already having self-image issues and she hasn't even started Kindergarten?

We'd already talked about body issues when she asked me if her tummy was fat. (She had overheard me talking about trying to lose baby weight.) She'd even told me once not to eat a cupcake because "you need to loose weights mommy." This was something we needed to work on...pronto. But how do you teach a child to have a healthy self-image? Perhaps I need to have one too.

I didn't buy a book, or google it, or read tons of blog posts on the subject. Instead I looked within. I decided to try to model better behavior and ask her a few times a week to tell me what she did that was special during her day. Not just activities, but things she did herself that she was proud of. I've asked her who loves her, and a few times I've even asked her to say, "I love me." She felt silly doing it though. (Quite honestly so do I).

I've also stopped worrying about my weight and just started trying to be healthier. We've been exercising as a family, and focusing more on the positive. I didn't do anything magical. I didn't check out any books for her to read at the library. I just paid more attention to my words and actions and made sure she (and I) tried to look at the bright side.

That's when I was totally surprised last weekend when we were driving home from visiting some of our family when she said:

Lila: "Mommy there are lots of people that love me."
Me:  "Yes you have cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents that love you very much."
Lila: "Yes Ryan, Laura, Stevie, Jack, Jilly, and Tommy love me."
Me: "And Nana, Papa, Heather, Eric, Susie, and Timmy love you."
Lila: "And I love me!"

I grinned. I was quiet. I was so completely happy. This could quite possibly be my best day as a far.

I'm not sure if at the age of five that she really understands what this statement means. But I hope that encouraging positive self-talk will make a difference in her self-confidence as she grows older. I also hope that I can continue to be more positive with myself.

We all read stories about the trials and tribulations of motherhood. Our kids won't eat anything we cook, they throw tantrums, and we are utterly sleep deprived. But then there are those parenting moments like this that make it all worth while. The "aha" moments where we see them becoming little people, with a real understanding of the world. Hearing Lila say those words made me feel so completely proud.

It's amazing how quickly they absorb life lessons...and how much our children teach me every single day. I may not love me fully yet...but for Lila and Emy I will continue to work at it. Who knew three little words could have such a large impact. Can you say it?

Ultimate Mom's Night Out! [Giveaway]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Can you believe summer vacation is drawing to a close? Just three weeks until our first born starts Kindergarten...hooray! (I mean sniff, sniff.)

Let's be real, summer is fun, but sibling rivalry has reached an all-time high, and so has our wine consumption. Sometimes you just need a night out... and I was super excited to learn about a premier event coming to South Florida, the Ultimate Mom's Night Out!  And you don't have to be a mom yet to attend, moms-to-be need just as much pampering.

Mom, Baby & Beyond is hosting the Ultimate Mom's Night Out on September 23, 2014 at the Ft. Lauderdale Marriott Coral Springs Hotel (Heron Bay) from 6-10pm. There will be a fashion show featuring looks from event partner Belly Love Spa and Maternity Boutique, food and drinks courtesy of Whole Foods Coral Springs, and of course shopping! There will also be guest speakers including Sara Haley who is a pre/postnatal fitness expert. Flying in from California just for this event, Haley was named of the 50 hottest trainers of 2014 featured in Shape Magazine. 

Don't forget the amazing raffle prizes and overflowing gift bags too! And what's really touching is that 100% of the raffle proceeds and a portion of the ticket sales will benefit two year old James Edwards (#turtlepowerjames), as he recovers from his near drowning accident on May 30, 2014. 

So how can you get a ticket to the hottest moms night out in town? You can enter to win a free pair of tickets in the giveaway below! Additional prizes include:

  • $25 Gift Card to Whole Foods Coral Springs
  • A Manicure & Pedicure at Belly Love
  • Sweat Unlimited DVD from Sara Haley Fitness
And good news for mommy in SPORTS readers, you will receive 10% off by using code MOMMYINSPORTS if you purchase your tickets here! The giveaway ends July 31st at midnight...good luck! 

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Baby Fans Giveaway

Emylia modeling her red Dwayne Wade jersey at the 2014 NBA Finals courtesy of Baby Fans

Ever had a hard time finding your favorite teams' gear for your kids? That's exactly what happened to the owners of Baby Fans, and what prompted owners Josh and Tom to start an online store. Their mission is to deliver the very best officially licensed products and customer service to everyone that visits their shop. And they are doing just that!

I recently discovered Baby Fans during the 2014 NBA Playoffs and was surprised to see so much variety on their site. They sell MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and NCAA merchandise...but it's not just t-shirts and hats like most sites. They have quite an assortment of unique infant, toddler and kid's products. From baby hats, leg warmers and booties, to bibs, pacifiers, dresses and even baby wraps for moms...all adorned with your favorite teams' logo!

And with NFL players reporting to camp this week, who wouldn't want their baby sporting these totally adorbs football items?!

I was sent these super cute Miami HEAT items during the NBA Finals this season, and our girls loved them. I was impressed with the quality of this beautiful merchandise, plus the reasonable prices. The HEAT dress was something I'd never seen before, wish we had a baby boy to wear this onesie!

Miami HEAT Infant Braided Dream Dress from Baby Fans

Sizes at Baby Fans range from newborn to to 4T, but they do have some items in larger sizes for older kids. So the next time you need a gift, or just want to spoil your children, nephews, nieces or grandchildren, check out this awesome site! And lucky for you Baby Fans is offering one mommy in SPORTS reader the chance to win a $25 gift card. Enter below and good luck!

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Meal Plan Monday #13

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I think I need a day off from our weekend! It was pretty busy with me back to work at the Marlins on Saturday, and then we had a family party for my husband's birthday Sunday. Luckily we have some leftovers, and a semi-light work week this week.

Here's what's on the menu this week!

MONDAY - Leftovers! We have lots of tenderloin and potatoes from Sunday dinner.

TUESDAY - Balsamic Pear and Portobello Slow Cooker Chicken. Sarah from Play 2 Learn with Sarah linked to this last week, and it sounds so good!

WEDNESDAY - Arroz Con Pollo with VIGO Yellow Rice and Peas. (This is super quick to prepare and the kids love it for lunch the next day!)
Lower Carb Meal Option - Chicken Salad with guacamole and salsa.

THURSDAY - Sweet Chili Glazed and Walnut Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Asparagus. Fingers crossed the kids will eat any portion of this, might need to add some couscous or rice on the side.

FRIDAY - Pizza night!

SATURDAY - The goal is to make this divine looking Mixed Green Salad with Mandarins, Toasted Almonds & Sesame Vinaigrette.  Our girls won't eat salad, but they do love almonds, oranges and grilled chicken.

SUNDAY - I try to make a big Sunday dinner, but I'm thinking Italian Sliders from Whole Foods as a shortcut with fresh corn on the cob and some fruit sounds good. Eating out sounds even better!

No muffins this week since I totally overdosed on this red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting I made for my husband's birthday.

Hope you find some good meal ideas for your family here!

If you are looking for gluten free options though please try Sarah's meal plan at Play 2 Learn with Sarah.
Or Elizabeth at Rockabye Parents has easy dinners for single parents.
You can always buy your own awesome meal planner from Carrie Elle!

Have a great week!
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She Knows - Sibling Spats

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Things have been so hectic this summer I forgot to share some exciting news! I was recently added as an Expert Contributor to one of my favorite websites SheKnows. I am extremely honored and humbled to share content on Parenting, Sports, Broadcasting (any anything else I come up with!) to a broader national audience. 

My most recent article is one most parents can relate to...Tips to Stop Summer Sibling Spats! With summer nearly half over, I'm sure I'm not alone with sibling rivalry reaching an all-time high. Please check it out and share if you like what you read. Thanks for your continued support!

How to Eat (Semi) Healthy & Stay Fit On Vacation

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How many times have you gone away and eaten terribly and said, "Oh well, I'm on vacation!"?

Me too, but it totally sucks.

It's so easy to fall off the wagon and say "I'll worry about it when I get home", but it really is difficult to get back into a routine. Especially after a week long carb-fest. We recently went on a seven day vacay, and though I indulged in dessert and more wine than usual, I still found a way to snack healthy and workout. Here are a few tips I've learned if you don't want to totally lose all that hard work you've put in when you finally get a chance for a much needed vacation.

Pack Snacks for the Trip

It's easy to travel with small things, especially if you have a big carry on. Plus it's hard to find what you are used to in new locations.  I usually bring food for the whole trip like cinnamon almonds, Yogi tea, a few Vega smoothie packets, super greens and stevia. And they all fit in a small ziploc sandwich bag! I also bring the kids a lunchbox full of snacks for at least two meals. I know that seems excessive for a four hour flight...but don't forget about the possibility of delays. It's nice to have enough just in case...especially when they get squirrely. Or stuck unexpectedly on a tarmac.

For the girls I normally bring on board the plane:
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Sandwich
  • Fruit packets like Buddy Fruits
  • Apple or Banana
  • Carrot sticks
  • Gummies
  • Granola Bar or Cereal Bar
  • Lollipops for take off and/or landing ( I realize this isn't healthy, but it's a lifesaver!)

And for the grown ups:

Shop When You Arrive

We almost always book a place with a full kitchen and head straight to the grocery store when we arrive at our vacation destination. We stock up on eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, carrots and celery, hummus, fruit, lunch meat and salad stuff. At the very least we can have a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks, and then go with the flow for dinner. It's especially helpful traveling with kids with allergies to get almond milk and a few things they are used to eating on a daily basis.

Plus it saves lots of money not eating out so much - more to spend on fun activities and souvenirs! Or in our case more rides at the Mall of America.

The view from my morning hikes on Big Powderhorn Mountain in Ironwood, MI.


Many don't like working out on the road, but I find it relaxing and energizing, especially when we don't sleep well. Hotels always have gyms, and if not you can always walk. We recently stayed on the side of the mountain, and I hiked up and down the ski hill every morning. Then came in and rotated legs, chest, triceps other cardio workouts in our room. The kids have fun doing squats and abs too! It wasn't perfect, but I'm proud I only gained a pound or two on this trip.

There are also lots of online workouts you can access on your phone like Crunch Live classes or Always Active Athletics if the weather isn't picture perfect!

Go With the Flow

This one is hard for this Type A creature of habit, I like to eat the same things almost every day. But you really do have to make the best choices you can, and deal with more processed food sometimes when not at home. My rule of thumb when traveling is pick one vice at dinner: bread, wine or dessert. And if you do have all three...burpees the next morning!

Summer vacation for us was almost a success...just need to work on getting the girls to sleep in the same bed without pulling each others hair, or pushing one another out of the bed. Maybe next summer....

*Disclosure: Vega sent me samples of their various products, however I was not compensated for this post. I love their dairy free products and all opinions are 100% my own! 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's been a while since I broke out and shared a Teaching Tuesday...mostly because we've been playing more than learning this summer. But we made it back to art class today and even I was mesmerized by the popsicles in the paint bowls. I mean frozen paint? That's genius! And who wouldn't want to cool off with a super cool art project?

It's super easy too! Use food coloring mixed with water, or put liquid watercolor paint in ice cube trays with popsicle sticks. Then freeze.

Then let your little ones go to town painting their creations! We had five colors to choose from today.

I loved the concentration, sticks her little tongue out like her Papa!

Emylia was proud when she accidentally painted a 'W'.

After the painting was complete, the teacher asked the toddlers to make "ice" with clear glue. My little artist chose to make smiley faces. 

And here's the finished product!

This is one we are doing again and again, I can't wait to show our five year old! I love painting with new mediums, and this one would have been perfect for our Frozen Birthday Party.

What's your favorite summer art project so far? 
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