My Season of Twenties


Next week I’m leaving my twenties. Which is really really strange, because I’m still 23, right?

For a long time I felt like I was young. I started kindergarten when I was 4, so I WAS always young. Then I chose not to go to college and just jump straight into the work force, this again made me the young one. I remember when I was a supervisor at a printing company when I was 19, and almost all of my subordinates were significantly older than me, which was weird. I met Mr. Gaunt about a month after I turned 21 and had moved to Colorado. He was 26, so again, I was young. I got married two weeks after I turned 26.

When I was pregnant with Vada and my midwife said “Well in the scheme of your peak fertile years, you are on the older side for your first pregnancy” I was 27. It was the first time I felt a little bit worried about my age. In my head I wanted 2-3 children all before I was 30, because 30 is OLD. How could I possibly be birthing children in my THIRTIES, no way. My mom was 21, 23, and 27 when she had her children. My grandma was (I believe) 21, 24, and 28 when she had her children. But here I am, not giving birth this week, so it looks like if we plan to have more children they will GASP be in my thirties.

I graduated high school at 17. I moved in with a boyfriend that I kind of liked, and kid of hated when I was 19. I think for a while there, the whole skipping out on college thing felt so freaking overwhelming. I felt so lost about what I should be doing with my life. Was I playing house? Should I marry this guy? Should we be buying furniture together? Wait! I can’t even legally drink yet! I still want to be with other people! I want to travel! It’s funny when you are (almost) thirty, you stop feeling so angsty. I mean, now you feel stressed, and tired, and annoyed, but that crazy head throbbing angst that you had in your early twenties, it just vanishes. I remember my MySpace blog, many moons ago, and how fucking emotional it was. So filled with drama, and dreams, and tears, and song lyrics that no one could relate to like I could. I’m sure I would feel just horrified now looking back at those blog posts, how silly I was. But it was real. Those feelings you have when you are young and just on the very tip of adult life, and you feel like you know everything, and nothing all at the same time. That shit is real, and to be totally honest, thank god I felt all of that! Thank god I had those feelings, those lessons, that time of total confusion. It makes these boring days of motherhood seem a little more blissful than they are.

When I was in my mid twenties I spent a good few years obsessing about myself. I battled depression, and tons and tons of body issues. I worried about jobs, about whether or not I wanted to get married, about what my friends were doing with their lives. I felt jealous a lot. I wanted to be thin, and attractive, and rich, and drive a nice car, and have a good job. I wanted a big house, nice clothes, vacations. AND I WANTED IT NOW! At 25 I lost like a million pounds…well 75 pounds, and people said “you look so good!” “You’re an inspiration!” “You must feel amazing!” but I totally didn’t. I felt scared and obsessed. I spent all day long thinking about what I ate, what I wore, what the scale said. I couldn’t even see how I looked, I couldn’t see the difference, and I sure as hell couldn’t find happiness. I’ve since gained a lot of the weight back, which is kind of bummer, but also kind of a saving grace. The best thing about being (almost) thirty is self love. It’s realizing that no one who matters gives two shits what I weigh. It’s friends that tell you you look great even if you gained 20 lbs this year. Its celebrating your own accomplishments that have nothing to do with your physical appearance. It’s building a good relationship with food, EVEN if you still probably eat too much. Because it just doesn’t matter. My looks will never be able to make me truly happy. It’s my life, and my soul that make me happy, my looks are just surface stuff that straight up doesn’t matter…at all. So if you see me, and you think “wow she’s gained some weight over the last few years” that’s totally fine! And true! But I’ve also gained a family, a baby, a business, a beautiful home, some awesome supportive friends, a whole bunch of confidence….and those are the things that it’s cool for us to talk about, because my weight isn’t who I am, at all.

I’m not really sure what my thirties are going to bring. I understand now why many woman get a little lost, a little buried if they are doing the motherhood thing in their thirties. Just this morning in the shower I was thinking how un-funny I am these days. I use to think of myself as really funny, but now I’m a little bit boring. I don’t have as many witty remarks, I don’t drink as much, I feel tired and dull. I’m not necessarily complaining about these things, it’s just sort of my reality right now. I have a harder time letting loose now. Mostly because there is a kid who needs a new diaper, or something to be cleaned up, or money to be spent on bills. My days are filled to the brim with duties I have. Commitments, job stuff, whatever. And when I do have some free time I like to do boring mom shit like go to target, get a pedicure, or start on Halloween costumes. I think it’s just my season…to be a bit boring.

I’m hoping my thirties bring me another baby, and maybe some career adjustments. I’m hoping I can become a little more graceful and easygoing in this motherhood roll. I hope to make more friends, or at least find a way to hold on to the ones that mean something to me. I hope to let more shit roll off my back. I hope to find a little more love and excitement in my marriage, but also if we don’t, that we still appreciate each other daily. I hope we have lots of family vacations, holidays, and get to build our own traditions. I hope to keep my own voice, to do things for me too, to celebrate my own life, not just the life of my family.

So happy almost birthday to me. 29 years under my belt, not a wrinkle in sight (;


Raising Vada: Blabber Mouth- 21 Months Old


Can we just take one minute to talk about how quickly babies grow into people. SO FAST DONT BLINK!

I actually started a post like 5 weeks ago and never finished it, and then I went back to finish it and I realized that everything feels different. That’s why we say “She’s 21 months” instead of “she’s a year and half” because there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE gap between 18 months and 21 months. The baby I had at 18 months is sooooo long gone. Vada just hit 21 months old, crazy! Her 2nd birthday is fast approaching (A HUGE PUPPY PARTY IS IN THE WORKS!) and we are just in awe of all that is happening with this crazy kid. So Ill jump right in to update on her, and some updating on myself and life in general. It’s going to be long, I should really blog more often.



In July Vada started stringing words together. To backtrack a little, at one year Vada could say around 15 words. By 18 months she could say probably 100 words. By 20 months, there really wasn’t a word she couldn’t say once we said it to her. In June Vada said a lot of “mama, eat” “shoes!” “papa, book” but then in July it turned into “Mama eat dinner” “my shoes” “papa read book” the mini-sentences were usually 2-3 words long, she had just begun stringing simple words together to explain what she wanted. Now 16 days into August, she just talks, straight up talks to me. The other night I was using the hose to fill up her cup with water in the backyard and she said to Mr. Gaunt “Papa, Mama filling my cup up with water for me” and today when she burned her hand on the stove while helping me stir scrambled eggs she said “I burned my finger while cooking. Hot, burned my finger right here” and points to her little blister. And it’s all day long. It’s a constant blabbing of names, and places, and what we are doing and where she is going, and songs, and counting, the words never stop. In full mom-disclosure I sometimes wanna scream SHUT UP! so I can have 15 minutes of silence. She narrates everything she does “I read book with my kitty, kitty need water, you’re welcome feed my kitty” “My puppy needs a new diaper, needs to change, mama change puppies diaper please” that’s the other thing, Vada LOVES her manners, which is rather adorable. Teach your kids words like “please” “thank you” “you’re welcome” “bless you” and they will seem like the nicest kids on the block! lol, even if they are little shits. Vada is also really into “Mine!” right now. EVERYTHING is MINE! She’s pretty good at sharing still, but she’s gonna let you know it belongs to her…even if it doesn’t.



Vada has basically no fears. Especially around other people, everyone is worth talking to. In May Vada started going to a once a week daycare, and the first day I took her there she freaked out; total meltdown. It really shocked Mr. Gaunt and I, it was so unlike her. Week after week she continued to cry as soon as we would pull in the driveway, and she would cling to me and I would have to leave her screaming. Her daycare teacher would text me to tell me she had stopped crying, so I knew she wasn’t horribly upset, but still, it was awful. It took about 6 weeks before she stopped crying when I dropped her off, and now she’s totally fine and says “bye mama, thank you” and sits down and plays. So an interesting thing to deal with, but I’m glad we pushed her and that she responded well in a rather quick amount of time.

I’ve had to work a lot at the restaurant lately, and since Mr. Gaunt is at work all the time, I take her with me. She usually comes in for a 3 hour shift, and she goes back and forth between riding on my back in our Toddler Tula, to sitting at the counter in a high chair. She eats lunch, colors, makes a huge mess, but mostly she talks with all the patrons. She greet people, and if they engage with her she always tells them “hello! Vada! Sit down! Eat dinner!” and wants them to sit next to her to chat. She yells about stuff she sees, babies, puppies outside, people eating soup, me washing my hands. And she sings her ABC’s and other little songs she knows. Sometimes she gets a little antsy and we let her run around for a few minutes. People are always impressed with how well she does sitting at the counter while I work, but she’s been coming to the restaurant since she was in a the womb, it’s her 2nd home. And my mom is always there, and if we are lucky my brother comes in and hangs with Vada too. Sometimes it feels super stressful and I feel angry that I have to work with her, but mostly we all adapt, and we all make do, and I am proud of her and myself for making it all work. In the end I think growing up around so many people will make her a better person. She will have been exposed to so many people who she might never be around otherwise.


Mr. Gaunt took Vada to Colorado for 5 days without me in June. They flew there and stayed with his mom, and hung with lots of friends and their kids. I am so glad that Mr. Gaunt took her, even though I’m sure it totally stressed him out, and I was a little sad to be without her for the first time overnight, but overall, I think it was a really empowering thing for him to do as her dad, and it was really good for me to let go and trust that he would meet her needs. Mr. Gaunt knows how to do everything I do, but because I’m with her all day long, he doesn’t have to. So for 5 days he had to remember everything she would need and want. Vada did great. Except for one time when we Face Timed and she freaked out because I couldn’t pick her up and she cried, no more Face Time after that. But she did FINE without me. Just fine. She doesn’t care at all that I’m not there. Which makes me sad, but also proud. She so confident and so happy and independent, it’s what I really wanted for her. We have also now had her stay overnight at a friend’s place, and she did great with that too.

At parks and events I have to follow her. Vada will NOT keep her eye on me. She will roam forever, and never look back. She will sit with other families, she will talk to other people, she will never come looking for me. As much as I like how strong she is, it’s definitely annoying too. I keep Vada on a very long leash, longer than most parents. I let her explore as much of the world as she wants, as long as I feel she is mostly safe (we really don’t worry as much as most parents) and that I could sprint to her if need be, I let her go. I know this makes other people uncomfortable, and I try not to worry about what other people think. I know she’s like 100 feet from me, but I can see her, she’s fine. I know she is swimming on her own, sans life jacket in the shallow lake. I’m right here, I’m always watching her, but no, I’m not hovering, I’m trusting her, and I’m trusting myself to help her if she needs help. I let her climb things that are tall. I let her swim. I let her play alone. I grew up being able to do all sorts of things by myself, and I’m not willing to let the internet, or other parents freak me out into being a helicopter mom. I’m just not. It’s not what works for us, and it’s not what would work for Vada. #freerangeparenting



Probably one of the cutest things Vada is doing these days is make-believe play or roll play. She often will pretend her friend Avery is with her, and “talk” to him, and do things like tuck him into bed, or buckle him into the wagon “Avey come’ere, Waggey, sit down! Buckle Avey”. Things she has done in real life, only pretend. She also does a lot of feeding, changing, and talking to her stuffed animals. She pretends to go grocery shopping, she pretends to cook in her kitchen. She pretends to color. Her doctor said this is an early age for her to doing make-believe, and from what I read it’s usually something that starts closer to two. But I figure her advanced verbal skills are just making this more apparent.


Vada definitely is being a pickier eater these days, which I was prepared for. Nearly everyone I know who had a good eater as a baby, has some set backs in toddler-hood. We are still offering her the same things, but I can almost bet now that she will pick around all the veggies. Sometimes she wont eat meat either, and all that goes down the shoot is fruit. I don’t want to remove the nutritious foods from her plate, despite the total waste, because I’m hoping she grows out of it. I don’t want her to think she can just live on crackers and cheese and fruit. It’s a bummer though, I loved how good of an eater she was! I can still get her to eat some things though, she loves sautéed Kale, and recently discovered she likes hamburger. She likes Caesar salad, and broccoli. She like peanut butter and humus, tuna fish, salmon, and of course cheese. At the restaurant she will eat soup too, Split Pea, or Pumpkin soup, she will have seconds and thirds of soup. Her favorite food right now is scrambled eggs, I kid you not she would eat 6 eggs in a sitting if I let her. She HATES watermelon, it’s the only fruit she will not touch, even if its super sweet. Weird. We cook a lot, so we just keep offering nutritious stuff, and let her do what she needs to do. No stress. Whatevs.



We are STILL on the fence about baby #2, I know I’ve said it before, but it’s true. I think we would be happy either way, but we aren’t dying for a 2nd baby. Part of me feels like if we do have another Id like it to be relatively soon, so that our children aren’t too far apart. I also really don’t want Vada to be an only child, so yeah, it’s still on the radar and maybe we will actually get around to trying to make them happen. I do feel like I’m slightly falling behind, almost everyone I know who had a baby around the time Vada was born is pregnant with their second. I know this probably isn’t true, I’m just being sensitive to it. I wish that Mr. Gaunt could be pregnant, lol, that would make everything easier! I use to worry about the size of our home with a second baby, but I don’t really worry much about that anymore, I know we can make it work. I hope that by the time we have another that maybe the restaurant has more help, and that I’m not the sole backup for when people call out or quit. It would also be nice if Mr. Gaunt has his own salesmen route by then too. But having another baby takes like FOREVER, so a lot can happen between now and then. I have begun to think of names, so that’s a step in the right direction…probably lol.


Woah having children really sucks the fun out of a relationship! Just kidding….or am I? Mr. Gaunt and I love love love each other, duh, but shit man, a toddler really exhausts everyone, and when everyone is exhausted and annoyed and burnt out, it’s so hard to be nice to each other! Mr. Gaunt and I try really hard to talk things through, talk about parenting, talk about work, talk about loving each other. We talk about why we are angry, whats bugging us, how we are making each other feel. We try to let the other person do stuff that makes them happy, see a movie, go for drinks, buy something, rearrange a room, whatever we need to boost morale, make things fun. Isn’t that what life is about? Struggle through shitty shit, and then try to celebrate all the fantastic shit?

Mr. Gaunt got a new job back in May, he’s a beverage salesmen/distributor now, which means he works all kinds of crazy hours, and he has to deal with tons of stores and bars, and holidays, and new products, and displays, and merchandisers, and since he is kind of still an assistant-salesmen (he doesn’t have his own route yet) he covers vacations and maternity leave and all kinds of crazy junk for all the other salesmen. Basically on any given day I have no idea when he goes to work, where he is all day, and when he comes home. Could be 1:00 could be 5:00, and since I work at 3:00 every day, I have to take Vada with me, which like I said above….sometimes sucks. It took a solid two months before we mostly adjusted to this. The first month was me being a raging bitch and feeling so annoyed and frustrated about the whole thing, it was bad. Now I understand the inconsistency and I’ve mostly accepted it. It’s still hard when he has no days off and then he has to DJ a wedding on his one day off. Its just SOOOOO much time with a toddler, too much time really. And I DO HAVE A JOB I work too! Just because it’s more flexible doesn’t mean it’s not important too. I’m being a full-time mom and business owner, and I’m almost solely responsible for household stuff (because Mr. Gaunt legit works alllllll the time, he can hardly do anything at home) and we both have hobbies and social lives we try to maintain too. So yeah, its been a crazy summer, and we are doing our best to make everything work.

We did make some awesome progress on our financial goals this year. We bought a new (to us) minivan last month, took out a partial car payment which was never racking. Mr. Gaunt and I have been trying hard to build our credit (for years we had no credit at all because we didn’t use credit cards, which really just bit us in the ass in the end) so now we actually have decent credit scores! It means that hopefully in 4-5 years we might be able to buy a home if we want.

Sometimes I think that parenting has changed our lives so much, but in reality we made a lot of huge changes right at the the same time as becoming parents. I opened a restaurant, Mr. Gaunt got a new job and started DJing wedding, we changed up some of our friendships, it all cray cray around here!



We attempted potty training a couple of weeks ago, and it was a big failure. I thought because Vada talked about the potty, told me when her diaper was poopy and happily sat on her baby potty, that she might be ready. After a day in underwear I realized that she isn’t. She just isn’t aware of her need to actually go potty yet. So we are going to wait until she is two and see if she’s ready.

I’m thinking we may want to move Vada to a big girl bed next spring/summer, Id like to get her a twin with a trundle-bed underneath so I’m keeping my eyes peeled on Craigslist for a good deal. It’s the best way to get cheap furniture, look regularly for a long time and it will come to you. I think for Vada’s birthday we are going to get her a Strider Bike, she LOVES bikes and helmets, and I think she is almost tall enough to understand a bike.

This winter we are going to do more swim lessons, maybe a little dance class and work on our colors and numbers a bit. We’ve started taking Vada to the library every other week and let her get 6 books, which she loves to read. Winter will obviously bring more indoor time, so we recently rearranged our living room to make it more kid-friendly, spacious, plus room for a tiny dining room table so we can start doing meals at the table. I’m nervous for winter, even though I love FALL and look forward to holidays and sweaters and just cooler weather in general, I know we will be stuck inside a lot and that things can get kinda grey and sad. Hopefully we can stay busy.

OK OK OK I’m done for now. I’ll probably do a post in a couple of weeks to log all the stuff we did this summer, and then it’s on to PUMPKIN PATCHES AND BIRTHDAY PARTIES!!!!

Because I’m an Expert: Summer Toddler Supplies

I haven’t done one of these in a while. Obviously I’m joking about being an expert, here are my other posts: SUMMER BABY SUPPLIES, BABY FAVORITES, and NEWBORN FAVORITES. I’m not paid to share my thoughts on any of this stuff…unless you wanna give me something (;

It’s so funny how fast they grow out of their baby stuff. You think all the swaddles and gadget and nipples are sooooo important, and then you blink and they are a big kid and you can put all that stuff away. I will say there are a few items that we STILL use from last year, like our SPACE SAVER HIGH CHAIR which is so fantastic and we take it everywhere we go because Vada eats best in a high chair. We also of course still use our crib, and we still use our changing table/pad, and I still rock the same diaper bag. Other than that, we’ve upgraded or grown out of so much stuff. Some things that were pricey or our favorites we have kept for a future baby, but so much of it I have passed on to friends babies. We got so much stuff handed down to us, and I think it’s such a nice way to keep the giving going. I know when we have another we will be given more stuff. Like the swing we used for maybe a few months, we just borrowed it from a friend, then gave it back to her when she had another baby, it’s so much less wasteful.

Anyway I wanted to share some of our current favorite items as we move into summer.

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1. TODDLER TULA: We just bought this used from a friend and I am SO happy we did. We had a Boba 3G when Vada was born, and I really loved it, and we used it sooo much. It says the Boba can carry up to 45lbs on the back, but Vada is 31lbs and it was so uncomfortable and UN-suportive for her weight. I talked to a few friends about getting a Toddler Tula, and everyone questioned whether I would actually use it to make it worth the price. I ended up borrowing one for  a month from my local babywearers lending library, and was pretty sold on how comfortable it was. When a friend offered me a great deal I went for it, and I am so glad! We have used it so much in the last month. I’ve even started wearing her in places that I had stopped (like grocery shopping) because she is usually way more content in the Tula than on the ground or in a cart. Last weekend we went to a festival and she even took an hour-long nap in it. I know toddler-wearing isn’t for everyone, but we love it! Vada is super independent, and likes to walk (we really aren’t stroller people although I do LOVE our BOB) but sometimes mama needs two hands and to not have to chase after a crazy kid. I can’t recommend a Toddler Tula enough!

2. RADIO FLYER PATHFINDER WAGON: We were given this wagon, and ours has kind of a bum wheel from an adult sitting in it, but it still works great and Vada is obsessed with it. Mr. Gaunt takes her all over the neighborhood with it, to parks, the school, we took it to a parade, and the other day my mom and I used it to grocery shop at Cash N Carry! It has two seats, cup holders and seat belts so Vada and a friend can ride in it (way easier than a double stroller! It fits in the back of my minivan, it’s totally outdoor safe, and Vada has spent many an hour playing solo in it. I HIGHLY encourage this wagon for a toddler!

3. HONEST COMPANY DETANGLER & BRAIDING BANDS: Vada’s hair is finally long enough to put in piggie tails! I had been using some crappy pony tail holders from Clair’s, but when those ran out I bought these Braiding Bands from Amazon and they are soooo much better! I can often use them more than once if they don’t get lost, Even Mr.Gaunt can use them with his big fingers, a major win. The other thing I bought a while ago is The Honest Company Detangler spray. It smells like a creamsicle, and is the best to spritz on crazy bed head, or to dampen hair to get it easily into nice tight piggies. She actually likes me brushing her hair now, no pulling or rats, I love this stuff even for my hair.

4. HELLO HIGHLIGHTS FIRST MAGAZINE: Vada’s Nana subscribed us to these, and they are so cute and always perfect for what she is into. Lots of pictures of kitties and balls and blankets and sippy cups. There are fun little activities and songs. She often thinks the baby on the cover is her, it’s very cute. They are also durable so we can keep all of them. I think it’s the perfect gift for a first birthday!


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SWIMZIP & SUNSCREEN & SUN HATS: I’m so crazy about sun protection. Sunburns freak me out! My baby has skin like me, pale and pink, a bad combo for sun. I wont lie, I generally thing rash-guards are dorky. BUT I’m soooo paranoid about sunburns that I love this thing. I originally saw Swim Zip on Shark Tank (HELLO I LOVE SHARK TANK!) and it seemed really smart to have a full zipper on a rash-guard rather than struggle to pull them over their heads! I ordered mine Amazon Prime (FREE FAST SHIPPING) and we have used it a lot. I even throw it on her as a little light coat. It dries super fast too. I got a 2T and it fits Vada perfect (shes a 2/3t). This year we upgraded our sun hat to this Columbia Packable Sun Hat, and I love it. Its got UPF 50, and a good Velcro clasp and its wide-brimmed. We have always done sun hats, and we put it back on if she takes it off so she is use to it. I also think these are so dorky but so freaking fantastic. I don’t worry about her face, neck and scalp now. Lastly we have switched from Badger to Honest Co sunscreen. Partially because its cheaper and I get it in my Essential bundle, and partly because the Badger sunscreen is so thick it makes her look all white and greasy for hours! I much prefer the way the Honest Sunscreen goes on. So overall we are all sun-protected around here!

WATER BALLOONS: Toddlers LOVE water balloons! They aren’t quite old enough to realize they pop if you throw them, so it takes them forever to go through a bowl of them. They are cheap and so fun in summer weather! We bought a tub of 500 and I break them out any time kids come over.

SIPSSNAP LIDS: These are really fun and so easy to use. I ordered the three pack, and now I keep one in my bag, one at the restaurant and one at home. They are a stretch sleeve that pulls over any cup that creates a spill proof (not leak proof as they could shake water out the straw hole) lid for a straw to go in. Vada is really hit or miss on the sippy cup front, she MUCH prefers a straw or real cup, but she can’t be trusted. Plus now I don’t always have to worry about bringing a sippy cup everywhere. I’ve been really pleased with these.

SUMMER SHOES: We like shoes that can get wet, be washed and dry quick. Our go to shoes are our Natives, Salt Water Sandals, and Nock-off Natives from Old Navy (currently not available). They are all easy to get on, The Salt Water Sandals are so cute and can easily be dressed up with a cute dress. Keep in mind there are two kid styles of Salt Water Sandals, we got the ones with the thicker textured sole for traction. I hear crocs are great, but I don’t love the look as much.

That’s all for now. I battled my toddler for at least have of this post so I’m shocked I actually finished it.

On The Wagon To Fit Town


You know when you see a photo of yourself and you go “nope! not how I want to look” well I saw like 20 of them, from our trip to the beach last week, and man would I REALLY prefer to look a little different.

I’m going to address something right now though, I do NOT hate my body, I do not hate how I look, or the extra weight I have on. I think I dress nice, I think I am a strong, attractive person who is doing the best I can, and who feels proud of herself. I do not have self esteem issues. I like women of all body types, big or skinny, I really could care less as long as you feel good about yourself, than Hoorah! for you! This post is not about me hating my weight (which for a long time I did), its just that right now it’s not working for me, so Id like to change it.

Clothing is hard to find at this size, and my legs rub together in skirts, my body doesn’t bend and stretch the way I would like, all those things that make a bigger body less desirable. So I’m going to change some things. I’d like to check in weekly, or every other week on where I’m at in my fitness goals. I joined a gym, I’m starting out slow, but I have the perfect time to go, after Vada goes to bed. I’m going to do cardio and maybe some strength training too. Lots of stretching. I’m trying to get out a lot with Vada and just MOVE my body.

I’m also doing MyFitness Pal to track my food and workouts. If I put it in my phone I’m so much more accountable for what I eat, what I weigh, etc. I’m not doing a specific food diet, just low carb/sugar, high protein and veggies. Lots of water, gotta drink more water.

So that is where I’m at. BODY POSITIVE but working to make my body fit my lifestyle more. Keep me accountable! (:

Raising Vada: The Long Days of Toddlerhood

vvvFirst off, I can not believe how much Vada has change in just 2 short months! I know part of it is her hair, which is growing like a weed…finally, but in the last few weeks she is looking so much like a big kid! She’s also acting so much like a big kid, full of sass and tantrums, but also really funny and quirky.

Here’s how things have changed over the last few months:


In the last month or so Vada has learned the fine art of a full on tantrum. Limp body, throw herself on the ground and scream. Preferably in Target, or at the Farmers Market, or anywhere that other people might have a proper view of her total meltdown. It’s a real joy. Seriously though, its FREAKING HARD. It makes me cringe and feel frustrated. I’m not exactly sure how to handle these situations besides A. Give in B. Haul her kicking and screaming away C. Distract/redirect…blah blah blah. We do all of the above depending on what it is. To be honest I try to let her do lots of things. She’s not interested in the stroller anymore so I let her walk everywhere, and I let get SO dirty, and stomp in ALL THE PUDDLES, and I let her eat shit off the ground and throw gravel, but that only entertains her for so long. Mostly she wants to hurt herself or destroy other people’s things, preferably both at the same time. To hell with toys and playground, she’s much rather climb on a strangers bike until it falls over on top of her. Shes not a sweet gentle quiet child, she’s a rowdy adventurous outgoing child who wants to explore everything and destroy her clothes while doing it. We are averaging at least 3 outfits a day right now. Part of me is so in love with her spirit, and the other part of me is flat-out OVER IT. I tell myself that she is learning, that she is not maliciously trying to exhaust me, she’s just testing boundaries and learning what she can get away with, whats fun, whats dangerous. All those things you have to learn eventually, but she’s going to do it full force, no tip toeing into the water, Vada is running into the water fully dressed, “screaming MAMA WAAWAAA!”

vvmThere are days where I drop everything, we pack our bags and leave the house and don’t return until nap time. These are the days where I make no plans, no play dates, have no errands to run, we just hop from the park to a walk in the woods, to lunch in the grass, I take lots of photos and do nothing but follow my busy bee around until she’s rubbing her eyes. These are our BEST DAYS. These are the days I don’t fight with her, I don’t text my husband in tears, I don’t let my house get destroyed (because no one is home, duh), but these days aren’t every day, they can’t be. I have a job, I have lots of errands for home and work, I have emails to answer and bills to pay and taxes to do monthly. I have dishes to do and bathrooms to clean and a lawn to mow. I have to grocery shop, and pick people up, and watch other kids. I have a very busy and very full life, and dropping everything to follow Vada through the woods looking for bugs and sticks can’t be every day. She doesn’t understand this, obviously, and she FIGHTS ME over every task I need to do. She hunts me down and clings to my legs and whines and thrashes and hurts herself anytime I look away from her. These are the WORST DAYS, where I want to give up, where I want to trade places with anyone who works full-time, where I am so angry and so over it, and am such a crappy mom. But I know this is our season, this is toddlerhood, and it is sooooo long and sooooo short, and it will change just when I get the hang of it. My baby is never going to learn to talk again, she is never going to hold an earth worm for the first time again, she is never going to have her first bite of carrot cake, her first stamp for riding on the mall train, her first pair of Salt Water Sandals ever again. So I will drink lots of wine and sob to my husband, and make lots of time for evenings with girlfriends, and I will document ALL the firsts, and ALL the sweet moments between the tantrums, and we will get through this stage and still love each other…mostly (:


My kid is TOTALLY that dirty child. She’s messy as hell in everything she does. Her clothes are so stained with food and dirt and blood, and snot. She’s got a runny nose and chapped cheeks. Her knees are all scabs from falling down over and over, she never even cries or notices the blood. She’s got a fat lip and a nasty scab on her nose from falling off the patio table. We strictly wear shoes that can get wet and muddy, I collect them in the evening and scrub them and put them in the dish rack to dry for tomorrow. She’s got greasy hair from sunscreen and peanut butter. Her nails are too long even though I cut them once a week, her toes are filled with lint and covered in scratches. She eats holding her fork in one hand, unused, and shoveling food into her mouth with her other hand. She’s got a 2 inch blueberry stain around her whole mouth, crumbs filling her car seat. She’s taking her smoothie down the slide with her, chewing on sticks like a puppy, I’m fishing cigarette butts and snails out of her mouth that she’s picked out of the pea gravel at the playground. She woke up with a puffy eyelid and a sunburn on the tops of her feet, the ONE place I didn’t slather with sunscreen. Shes the most beautiful disgusting child I have ever met. ALL THE HEART EYE EMOJIS.



I’ll be the first one to say I HATE picky eaters, especially adults, I think it’s weird. I know that’s so rude of me, and who cares if people wanna be picky, but it’s seriously drives me CRAZY. If I raise a picky eater, I will have failed as a mother. Vada has always been a very adventurous eater, right from the get go she would eat anything. These days she has way more of an opinion. She would live off of frozen blueberries if I let her. It’s the only food I could bet money she would eat (besides ice, she’s happily trade in her mother for a cup of ice). Almost every other food is a real hit or miss depending on her mood. Some days she gobbles up all of her food, some days she eats nothing. I don’t worry too much about how much she’s eating, in fact I’m glad that she knows when she is hungry, and knows when she is not. I continue to offer her a similar amount at every meal, and she can take it or leave it. I also continue to offer foods that I know she probably wont eat: raw vegetables, salad, steak, because she does put them in her mouth, she tries them, maybe she eats a little bit of them, maybe not, but at least they are familiar to her, and maybe one day when she has more teeth or her palate changes she will eat them. I’d hate to keep vegetables off her plate because she doesn’t always eat them, because then they become foreign to her, strange, weird, yucky. By offering up all the foods I want her to eat, it allows her to have continual exposure, which I hope makes her more eager to eat them later on. We also don’t make her eat anything, sometimes if she hasn’t touched any of her food we spoon feed her a little and she likes that and will often happily eat a few bites, but if she shakes her head or pushes it away we stop. Her body, her food choices. I will say one of the bigger down sides to Baby Led Weaning is that she is really only interested in eating with her hands. This means she is super messy and very tactile. We offer a fork at every meal, and she tries a little, but so far she prefers her hands, and really who wouldn’t?

Recently I have stopped giving her fruit at breakfast and dinner, only lunch so that she doesn’t become full off of just blueberries. We are also still giving her two bottles a day (first thing in the morning and at bedtime), I know she’s old enough to stop using them, but I just don’t see a problem with it yet. It’s one of the last baby things I still get to do for her, rock her at bedtime in the dark with a bottle. I love it, it’s the perfect ending to crazy days, where it’s just me and my baby and she quiet and relaxed and she strokes my face and has her “bah” and then I lay her in her crib and she falls asleep. I promise to be done with it by 2. (: Another thing that continues to be a concern is sugar. We have let Vada have the occasional bite of sugar (home-made whip cream, a bite of carrot cake) but we still don’t allow her to have any regular sugar. No cupcakes at birthdays still, no ice cream, no juice, no cookies. She doesn’t care at this point, so it’s still working well for us.



We get this a lot, people commenting on Vada’s vocal skills. She knows a lot of words, and can repeat most words. I can tell she’s working on building sentences, but they haven’t come quite yet. She blabs all day long to anyone who will listen. She greets everyone with a “hi” and any time she sees someone putting on a “coat” or a “bag”, maybe a “pack pack” she yells “buh bye” to them. She points out all the “puppy, woof woof” “bird” “kitty, meow” “crow” any “baby” walking by, any kid is greeted and chatted at. She talks about animal sounds, about her “shews”, about “poopoo” and “potty”. She wants “water”, wants to “eat”, to have a “bite” of a “Crackuh” a “nack” “pwease” “tank yah” “here yago mama” she wants her own “cup” to have her “bib” put on so we can eat out “side” so she can “slide, wee, side, wee” she sits at the top of the slide and counts “one two weee” and slides down. She knows “eight, five” too. She kicks “ball” pulls “Avey wagdon”. She’s always excited to see any of us, and talks about all the people in her life, lists us in a row “mama, papa, graama, nana, avey, sister, puppy, eba” all she wants to do is go for “walk” pick “fower” and listen to “crow bird caw caw” watch for “car car” tries to open strangers car doors. If her “shew” falls off she promptly tells you “uh oh shew shew shew” until it goes back on her foot. She like to tickle herself “ticky ticky ticky” and give hugs “awwww”.

The words are endless, all the foods and books and numbers and colors and sounds and objects. We tell her everything we are doing, we narrate our lives to her and she repeats them back to us. She has begun to sing the lyrics of songs she hears in the car. When she is upset she spews a mumble of words we can’t understand with snippets of ones we can. She says the same jumble over and over exactly the same, she knows what she is telling us. We just don’t know it yet.


We are busy busy GO GO GO. I don’t want to stay home all day and be miserable having to clean my house over and over and over. If we get out of the house then the house stays clean and Vada is so much happier. often this is just in the backyard, which we are putting a lot of work into. We have built a large play area (which I’ll blog about when it’s done) and put up a brand new fence! We have collected lots of balls and outdoor toys so our backyard is a big kid oasis that we love. Vada plays for hours by herself outside, its like a 180 from the way she plays inside, where she is clingy and needy and bored. Outside the world is our oyster and I get some space from her and she has fun. We also explore our town a lot. We have visited so many parks in the last few months, each unique, some better than others. There is a new “cool” park by our house, that I kind of hate. It is crowded, and there are too many big kids, too many bikes and roads and stairs to be dangerous. Vada wants to explore and not  just play on a playground. I have found other parks that are quiet and have grass and trails to explore that work so much better for us. I’ve also discovered that it works so much better if I don’t go to parks with other people. Vada is so independent, that it feels frustrating going with another mom, because I can’t talk to her, and our kids don’t play together. I LOVE having playdates at our house, in the backyard, but park adventures are best when it’s just Vada and I and no distractions.


We went this year to the local apple orchard for Easter and Vada LOVED to pet bunnies and do the Easter egg hunt, which she totally got and thought it was so fun to find eggs and put them in the basket. Luckily Vada LOVES a big mascot, so she did great for the Easter bunny too! We celebrated Easter with some friends and she had so much fun running around their yard and blowing bubbles with Nana and finding rocks. We also have tried to keep swimming, we might start swim lessons again soon, but I worry about the schedule commitment. Vada is such a good swimmer, it blows me away. We took a  family vacation to The Great Wolf Lodge water park and she was awesome and had a blast. It was so kid-centric that she just ran wild and loved the water so much.

We like to take Vada to the mall to run around, it’s a fun open space for her to explore. We also love the museum, Perch and Play, anywhere that lets her be a kid. Eating out with her has taken a bit of a backseat, shes a bit too wild to sit in a high chair for long. We will probably be going to picnics in the park as the weather gets warmer. Our bedtimes have slowly crept back to 8 or 8:30 because we are having too much fun in the evenings with friends. I’m excited to do all the fun family summer things, but I have to remember that Vada is unique and that we need to do fun things for HER and not just for us. If we try to fit her into a box of playing with other kids nicely then we will be frustrated and disappointed. We need to remember she needs freedom, open spaces, less structure more exploration. I should make a reminder every day about this, lol, its easy to fight it. I also have to remember to slow down too sometimes, to blog, to take time for me. Mr. Gaunt is good about letting me get away with friends in the evenings after Vada goes to bed. He knows I need the break to keep me sane. I also have to remember to spend money on me, to buy myself new clothes, to be ok with putting on a 20 minute episode of Little Bear so that I can get ready without a screaming baby at my feet. If I feel good about myself then I feel good as a mother. Me First. (:

vvySo that’s where we are at. Our lives are so boring and so thrilling all at the same time. We are parents of young children, and I know that the only people who can understand how that feels are people who are currently going through it. As soon as it’s over you wont remember the struggle, you forget, you look at moms of toddlers who look so so exhausted and you think “I don’t think it was that bad when my kids were little” and it was, you have just moved past it, you don’t remember it, thank god. (;

PS: This blog was brought to you by a solid 2 hour nap. THANK YOU JESUS.



Raising Vada: 15 Months, She’s A Toddler?

v1Vada turned 15 months old on the 12th of February. Remember when she was just one? Ahhhh! Her brain is in super power mode right now. She is busy busy busy, chatting, singing, dancing, playing, exploring, eating, and soooo much sleep. Today Mr. Gaunt said to me “It’s so sad that she is going to grow up and be her own person and move away from us.” and it is sad. Every single day I think how freaking true that saying about motherhood is:


Every day that statement echos in my head. Those long whiney days where it’s a struggle to keep her entertained, to plan all the meals, to wash MORE dishes, to change a million diapers, fight naps, make messes, change clothes….” and then you blink and they are suddenly responding to the words you say “should we brush teeth?” and she runs to the bathroom and says “ahhhh” pointing to her mouth. Where she picks up a hairbrush and runs it through her hair. Where she pulls your high heels out of the closet, dusty, and slips her tiny feet into them “shew shew, bye, mama, mama, shew” and you can see her mind expanding as she grows and grows and grows. Like lighting. I was thinking today about how important it is to me to keep an updated log of her growth and changes, which is what this blog is for me, a glorified baby book. So here is what’s going on in our world.


Working Mama:

I had to work a lot more in December and January than normal. We had some employee turnover, and some maternity leave, and vacations I had to cover. Vada went to a new nanny for a couple of months that worked out really well. Childcare is a HUGE pain in the ass. It’s so expensive, especially if you need part-time childcare. It’s basically a wash, what I pay out and what I bring in. It’s also hard to find people who you trust and are available for my somewhat unpredictable schedule. I could probably qualify for some state assisted childcare, but I do not have any desire to put Vada in childcare full-time. I want to stay home with her 80% of the time. I love to get away sometimes and I often need alone time to get things done for work or around the house, but when it comes to the day-to-day stuff, I want to be the one to teach her things. We have been really lucky to have had such great childcare. In both our nanny experiences I chose to have Vada go to someone else’s home, who also had children. This way it felt small and safe, but they were already equipped for babies, and there were lots of toys and other children to play with. I’m a HUGE advocate for exposing children to lots of people! Build trust away from mom, learn to share, to explore, to communicate with other people. I want Vada to feel safe without me, and to trust and respect other adults and children. Exposing her to lots of people has been one of the BEST decisions I have made with her. Anyway we are now taking some time to decide what kind of childcare I want, how often, and where she will go. I don’t have to have it right now, so I’m in no rush. I’ve also tried to be better with setting boundaries for myself, not take on too much and be really clear about how much I want to work. It’s really nice though feeling like I can take Vada nearly anywhere to be babysit and she will adjust fine. I know lots of moms struggle with STRANGER DANGER or their children simply being uncomfortable without them, this is not our case. Unless she’s crazy awful baby and her babysitters just aren’t telling us, I think she’s a pretty good kid and easy baby to watch.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my purpose in life, and my career. I’ve definitely decided that RIGHT NOW I’m a mom first, and everything else is coming 2nd. This is what I want, and what I believe is best for our family. I know that I am smart and that there are lots of work and creative opportunities out there for me, but right now my role is mama/wife. Let me be clear that’s not in some yucky 1950’s sort of way, its in a strong independent, I DO WHAT I WANT sorta way. (; I know there will be a time when all my babies will be grown and I will have time and energy and spark to do some great things in my professional life, but I’m not going to beat myself up that I want to take a step back from that right now. I’m not dead, I’m just being a mom for a bit. This has also relieved some of my anxiety about having a second baby. A second baby will be much less frustrating if I have fully embarrassed the mom roll instead of fighting it all the time. Let’s just get all these nursing/diapering/playdate days out-of-the-way in one decade. (:


Talkin’ the talk:

Vada’s vocabulary is bursting at the seams. Besides her near constant baby talk rambling, she can say so many real words. As of 15 months Vada can say:




















-pretties (necklaces)

-sister (Hula)





-See Yah



Plus she does signs for “more” and “all done”

She can also repeat things if we ask her, they just don’t always stick. And she can understand so much. The other day I asked Vada “Where’s your hair?” and she ran her fingers through her hair. If I ask her to sing, she will sing one of two songs “Hello To The Grandmas” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, if I ask her to dance, she will dance. If I ask for a hug or love, she will hug me and rest her head on my shoulder and give me a pat and say “awwww”. She follows direction pretty well, and understands “no”, and “follow me” “lets get jammies on” “do you want to eat”…the list goes on forever. I can’t wait until all her gibberish become real words. We try to talk to Vada all the time, repeat words a lot, not use baby talk. When her and I are running errands I narrate where we are going and what we are seeing or doing. I show her things and call them by name over and over. We try not to do too many flash-card style exercises, and are just letting words come naturally to her. She doesn’t know what a cow says because we flat out don’t talk about cows much in this house. She does however know how to get a paper cup and fill it with ice at the restaurant…priorities people.  It’s really a fun thing to watch someone learn to talk. Every single week she is saying more and more things and showing that she understands so much. I know everyone thinks their kid is really smart, but seriously folks…


Bed Time, and All the Lies

I can’t believe how many people warned me about sleep, or lack there of. Even when Vada had proven she was a good sleeper, people would still say “it will probably change, be prepared, teething…blah blah blah” Its been 10 month since Vada moved into her crib, and 8 solid months of sleeping through the night. Since Vada hit about 11 months old she upped her sleeping to nearly 14 hours a night, and it’s stayed there. The girl LOVES her shuteye. She goes to bed at 7:30 every night, I rock her with a 6oz bottle, when she is done with her bottle I put her in her crib, awake, turn on her white noise machine and put a blanket on her and she goes to bed. Every single night. Am I lucky? Yes I suppose, but I also think that we made some choices for her sleeping, we didn’t coddle her too much (we didn’t cry it out either) and we really just trusted her to be ok in her room all night long. And she is, she’s the best damn sleeper of any baby I know. Shes also gotten really good at nap time. We can generally lay her down at 2 every day and she will sleep until 4 (MOMMY HAPPY HOURS!). She’s also proven that she can go to bed at other people’s houses just fine. In fact twice now I’ve put her down at other people’s homes and then woken her up around 1am, drove her home and laid her back in her crib and she goes right back to sleep, no tears. I think all this sleep keeps her happy and healthy and her mind open to growth. Sleep deprivation is so bad for you, sleep is your bodies time to rejuvenate! We recently went on vacation and I was so worried about the hotel room, where she would need to sleep while we were still awake in the same room watching TV. Vada did excellent, with the exception of night two she woke up at 5am and was up for two hours (we wandered the hotel) but then went back to bed for 2 more hours, so not too shabby. I guess my point is that don’t believe what everyone says. Kids CAN be good sleepers, just like they can be good eaters, and good socializers. Have faith!


Don’t Feel Sorry For My Big Girl

Vada is big. She’s super tall, and sturdy. She’s 98th in height and weight. The doctors have no concern because her growth has been even and is proportionate. They say it will slow down, but at 14 months she was 30 lbs, and I’ve started buying 3T clothing. I know we live in a society where people don’t appreciate a big girl. They for whatever god forsaken reason think petite wisp girls are cuter, and sweeter, better? It’s sad, but it’s true, and its a stereotype that THIS FAMILY will not tolerate. We promote strong healthy smart nice girls, that’s what we care about. I will do everything I can to tell Vada every single day to be proud of her body, her strength, her stature. She is such a perfect powerful human being, and she will conquer the world in that big body. We are doing our best to show body pride, and to teach Vada how to eat well, and play hard. We will encourage her to play sports, to be creative, to dance, to perform, to express herself. We will teach her to respect her body and to respect other people’s bodies. We will lead with example, show her how wonderful a life, and how happy and loved and successful you can be in any body. So I hope other people will teach their own children that different is perfect too. I hope she towers over everyone, with height and personality.

v10The ‘Tude

Now that I’ve bragged about her sleeping and talking, lets talk about her attitude. One is a challenge. She has so many opinions, but she can’t communicate and she can’t understand me. It’s a constant battle of the “no’s” and the “please sit down” and the “no you can’t eat that” all day long. Vada has good weeks and bad weeks. Sometimes she’s mostly chill and we can go to the store and she will eat a little snack in the cart while I shop. Other times she will arch her back and twist around and scream and throw a fit until I let her out of the cart, only to throw herself onto the ground when I make her hold my hand. She wants to walk everywhere! But she still just rips stuff off of shelves, and goes up to strangers and asks “up” and eats shit she finds on the floor. She would throw herself into traffic if I let her. She also has days where its whining allll day long. Where her and I just battle each other on everything, and by the time Mr. Gaunt gets home from work I nearly sprint out the door to get away. It’s super hard sometimes. When she was 7/8 months old we could go to a restaurants and she would sit in a high chair and eat and be happy. Now she wants to get down and yell and grab things and drink our water and make a huge mess. We are definitely limiting the places we go now. She wont sit on my lap anymore, we get about 30 minutes of good behavior before she melts down and we both leave feeling exhausted and sad. The last month was SUPER tough, but then about a week ago she settled back into her mostly sweet self and things have been better. That’s how babies are, they go through these crazy phases and then one day they are back to normal, just in time for you to cancel those adoption papers.

So what is one suppose to do? I’ve read a bit about child discipline, and I have a pretty good understanding of what I want my kids behavior to look like. Yes Vada is a baby and babies do not understand or care about societies rules. She is here to learn and explore and no one is going to convince her that she shouldn’t. And that’s a good thing, I want her to be smart and curious and fearless, that being said, I don’t want her to be an asshole. We respect people and their things. We respect other patrons, wait staff, and property. We pick up our messes, we wipe down our high chairs, we leave if we can’t stop yelling. Vada needs to hear NO and to listen.  We try to get down on her level when she is frustrated and explain to her why we need her to stop doing something. We talk about how we are sorry she feels sad or mad or upset, but that sometimes we can’t act the way we want. And when all else fails we let her lay on the grown and have all her feelings out until she stands back up and is better. Sigh. Mr. Gaunt and I want to discipline her with education. We want to show her how to be a respectful member of society by making her understand the way things work. Is she too young to get it? Maybe, but if we start now, eventually it will make sense to her. As for us, we have to keep our cool, which is so so so hard, especially for me. I’m someone who doesn’t like to disappoint or upset strangers. I’m the mother picking up all the food she drops under her high chair at a restaurant. I’m the mother that will up and leave a store if my kid is crying. I’m the mother that apologizes and cancels play-dates if my kid is in a bad mood. So its hard for me to be patient and sensitive to Vada’s needs and struggles. I work really hard to keep a loving calm voice when she’s being crazy. Mr. Gaunt and I consistently talk about being on the same page with her behavior. We both agree that loving her and educating her will be our best bet when teaching expectations. We are not push over parents, but we are not jerks either.


So here we are, in the thick of parenthood, and not feeling too bad about it. Vada is funnier than ever, and a total smarty pants (at least we think so). I’m looking forward to summer when we can get OUT of the house more without getting soggy soggy. We have HUGE backyard plans, and so many adventures (and alcoholic drinks) planned too! I hope nice whether will let her explore the world a little more, and make me feel less cooped up, less like a maid cleaning up after a tornado. Im excited for her to continue to learn new things, to impress me and make me smile. Happy 15 months crazy.