Stocking Stuffers

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. In hopes that St Nicholas would soon be there.” And what are in those stockings you may ask? All kinds of goodies if you have been a good boy or girl!

IMG_2901Growing up, the stockings were my favorite part of Christmas morning. We would open all of the presents and then just when we started to get sad that Christmas was over, my mom would say, “we still have the stockings, girls!” YES!!! I almost forgot about those little gems. And my mom was (and still is) the best stocking stuffer EVER! She would not only get us stuff we actually needed (like shampoo, body wash, chapstick, etc.) but there would be fun little surprises in there too! Here are a few of my favorite (and Rhoda approved) stocking stuffers for your kiddos this year:

Lifesaver books are the classic stocking stuffer that made me so happy every year. And yes, they still sell them at Target and Walmart with the classic flavors that we all remember. Can you say Butter Rum? I distinctly remember trying to steal my little sister’s Butter Rum flavored roll and bartering with my older sister to trade the Wild Cherry roll for the Tropical.

What kid doesn’t like bubbles? Whether it is bubble bath or bubbles to blow outside, they will always be a hit with the little ones. And they make the stocking like super heavy so your kids will be amazed at how ‘full’ it is. Genius!

IMG_2696 2Tiny Captain socks are Meyer’s (and mine) favorite socks ever! She wears these every day and every night. Not only do they have the cutest designs ever, they are comfortable, non-slip and come in the best packaging! The latest style added to Meyer’s collection were the baby girl animal socks. These Tiny Captain socks will make the best stocking stuffer because your kids will love the adorable styles and you are technically buying them a useful item without them really knowing it!

My mom would always put a toothbrush in our stockings. But hey, toothbrushes can be fun right? Electronic Minions, spinning Princesses, even just a bright-colored simple toothbrush…they are all fun and practical, right parents?

I know Meyer is always asking to use my chapstick, so why not buy her one of her own? Disney Lip Smacker has so many different flavors and characters that will surely make a great addition to the stocking. And you can think of it as practical because kids do get chapped lips in the winter time.

IMG_2902You have to put a few small surprises in your kiddo’s stockings along with the essentials that they need. And what kid doesn’t like a small toy? Even if it ends up in the bottom of the toy box next month with the rest of those damn small toys, it will be the best thing that your kid will pull out of that stocking! I suggest going to McDonald’s and ordering a Happy Meal (I am encouraging a splurge day!) and BAM! There’s your small and unique toy to add to the stocking.

Personalized anything…with a name like Erin, I could always find a mug with my name on it at Disneyland or a key chain from Six Flags but now that I have children with names like Meyer and Easton, I know that it won’t be as easy. That’s why personalizing anything is the coolest stocking stuffer ever. Just think how your 4-year-old name ‘Basil’ will feel when she pulls out that bracelet adorning her name on it. Score! Take that, Amy and Jeff! Basil can have something with her name on it too!

 

 

My New Mommyhood Is…

As I sit here with a passed out newborn on my chest, a messy bun in my hair (I can’t remember if I showered today) and breast milk stains on my shirt (it’s my new fashion trend nowadays), I scroll through Pinterest and Instagram looking at a few other mommy blogger sites. Hmmm….these ladies seem to have it all together with their perfectly done hair and nails and overly makeup-ed face, displaying their regally dressed newborns perfectly posing in their brand new DockATots. Seriously? Either they had someone watch the baby all day while they put on makeup and did their nails and ever so carefully placed the newborn in a position that took about an hour to nail that one shot, or I am just not the supermom that I thought I was. All I can say is, it is definitely the first of the two and it is absolutely their first baby….even with just one child I learned a lot about myself, but now that I am a mother of two, there are a few things I have figured out and experienced that I would like to share:

Your house will never be clean. Don’t even try to imagine that your living room is ever going to compare to those on Pinterest with the perfectly folded quilts draped over the spotless couch with the perfectly plumped up pillows. Those homes do not have children.IMG_2022

Don’t put anything away until the kids go to bed. It’s pointless. If you ever want to pretend that your house is organized, just take pictures or invite people over once the kids are in bed. Otherwise, people will see that it will always look like a hurricane went through the playroom and there will always be a Boppy/Legos/Barbies/trucks on the couch. But that means that your home is one that is played in, loved and full of happy moments.

Terrible twos are real and you will lose your mind. As much as I try my hardest not to lose my shit and yell at my precious two-year-old, I sometimes do. I try to take deep breaths and speak in a calm voice to get her to understand why she shouldn’t hit her brother or throw her food on the floor, but it is hard. And when it comes to bedtime, my sweet angel recently began to turn into the Exorcist and our precious nighttime routine is now a two-hour horror story. Once she finally falls asleep, I have to American Ninja Warrior my way out of the room, crawling through obstacles and avoiding the creaky floorboards, so I don’t wake the wildebeest. I always tell Meyer mid-tantrum to breathe and relax because most likely what she is screaming about is not a big deal. I have learned to take the advice that you give to your kids.

55432759839__FE03C24D-6B88-4CA5-BFAE-1DB5EFBE4ED7If you are lucky enough to have a moment to yourself, take full advantage of mommy time. And when I say mommy time, I don’t mean napping. I mean mixing up the strongest dirty martini you can, putting on some music and relaxing. And about those moments alone? I thought about how I would do a lot of writing, pickling and organizing the house while I was on maternity leave but in reality, I binge watched Ozark or sat by the pool with that delicious martini.

Don’t stress about the little things. As I mentioned before, it’s okay that your house isn’t spotless or your playroom is in shambles. It’s not a big deal that your toddler is making a mess at the dinner table and your newborn just pooped though two outfits in a row. Life is short and your family is everything. Those are the moments that you will look back on and miss. You will adapt to this organized chaos.

Value the days that you get to run errands alone. On the days that I get to go grocery shopping without the kids, I used to constantly think that I had to get home quick to relieve my hubby or to feed the baby so I would just throw things in the cart and quickly dart out of the store. Until I realized that Anthony is capable of taking care of the kids alone and I kept coming home with nothing on the list but 3 bags of tortilla chips, 6 onions, antibacterial lotion and organic cat food (we don’t have a cat). Once I figured that out, I would take my time through the aisles, read the ingredients, compare products, check things off the list and even stop on the way home to get an iced coffee. It was so freeing!

Weekend mornings in bed are the best. Yes, I complain that my daughter, Meyer, crawls into bed with us in the morning, but nothing is more special than snuggling with my husband and my kids in our big comfy bed watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

IMG_2044Home improvement projects when you have a newborn are not a good idea. As much as Anthony and I were dying to renovate our master bathroom, we had terrible timing on the project. Unless you love dust, banging, running up and down the stairs every two minutes, tools everywhere, sharing a smaller bathroom with your toddler and did I mention excessive banging!? It’s no fun. As much as we are struggling now, we will be so happy once our bathroom is done. I am going to pour the biggest glass of wine and take the longest bath ever.

Time flies, so enjoy every moment of your life as you will never experience so much love. I recently saw a few quotes that completely encompass motherhood, melt my heart and make me grateful for every day of my life:

“The days are long but the years are short.”

“I can’t promise to be here for the rest of your life but I can promise to love you for the rest of mine.”

And cue the tears….

Welcome To The World Easton Wells Gudino

I woke up at 1:30 am on Saturday, July 21st thinking I had just peed the bed. What am I, 5 years old? Did my water break? Am I sweating? What was going on? I waited a bit before I woke up Anthony because I wasn’t having any pain and didn’t want him to get up if it was a false alarm. Then I got a few cramps and the suspicious liquid returned so I nudged my hubby and told him it was go time! But not before making him smell the liquid on the pillow to reassure me that it didn’t smell like pee. Gross, I know! I got up, got dressed, put on some makeup (every woman who is ready to go into labor does it, trust me!), got Meyer up and brought my hospital bag downstairs. By the time we were at the emergency room, I was ready for a long day/night considering I was in labor with Meyer for like 20 hours and pushed for 4 hours. But, by the time I saw the nurse and she determined that my water did break, I was informed that it would be pretty quick and I would probably have a baby by noon. WHAT!?!? By this point, I was already a little annoyed by my husband who had forgotten the hospital bag by the front door and kept telling me to hold off a little longer on the epidural….really?!?! I love you to death, Anthony but this is a pain you will NEVER experience! So, zip it and hold my hand!IMG_1557.jpg

The pain was a little too much to handle at this point, so Anthony brought Meyer back home, where my mother-in-law was waiting to stay with her, and of course to grab the hospital bag. By the time he returned, I was feeling nice and numb and the doctor was on her way. Once the doctor arrived, I seriously pushed like four times and the baby popped out- it was amazing! I think I even said, “Wow, I could do that again!” Since we weren’t finding out the sex with this one, my eyes immediately darted towards my tiny baby’s nether regions when the doctor held he/she up and I shouted, “It’s a BOY!” My tiny little peanut, Easton Wells Gudino, was born at 10:21 am on 7.21.18 at 6 lbs. 2 oz. and 19 inches. We are so in love and thrilled that Meyer has a little brother.

 

 

Just The Two Of Us

I started my maternity leave on Monday and now the waiting game begins. Baby G #2 isn’t due until July 20th, so I am enjoying the final weeks I have alone with my first baby, Meyer London. While I am definitely enjoying my time with her, I am also realizing that it is quite the job being a stay at home mom. Not that I had any doubts prior to this experience, but wow, taking care of a two-and-a-half-year old while 9 months pregnant (in this 100 degree heat might I add) is freaking hard! In my head I was thinking that during this time off, not only will I have time with Meyer, but I was going to write, bake, tackle some pickling I have been meaning to do, rest and get some sun by the pool. Guess how much of that I have done? I made one loaf of banana bread, sat outside for 10 minutes today and am writing this now. And speaking of rest (or lack there of), Meyer has apparently realized that she wants to be an Olympic Pole-vaulter when she grows up because she now hurls herself out of her crib so smoothly and swiftly every night and runs into our room. This literally started on Day 1 of my maternity leave, so that’s been a lot of fun. I now get up a few times during the night to intercept her in the hallway and try to coax her back to her room (I guess she is just giving me practice for the upcoming months ahead). She definitely senses all the changes happening in the Gudino household.
IMG_1455But we have been doing all kinds of activities together like trying out soccer and dance, going to the library for story times, running errands together (after each store she asked if that store was called ‘Errand’), movie nights together on the couch and extra cuddle time before bed. I am trying to squeeze in all the time I can with Meyer before our home gets taken over by a baby. I pray that she will take to the new baby transition well and not be too jealous of Lil’ Gudino or too clingy to mommy. I’m also trying to treasure the special moments and sweet snuggles between us since they may be few and far between soon since I will be busy breast-feeding, not sleeping and entertaining the littlest member of our family.

Arroyo Seco Weekend 2018

Last weekend, we conquered yet another music festival (Meyer’s third) with the little one in tow acting like seasoned vets. We had so much fun at Arroyo Seco Weekend for the second year in a row and luckily Meyer was an angel for us! Not only was the weather a perfect mix of sunny and breezy, with no humidity like last year, but the atmosphere was so happy and alive. There were so many families in attendance…Dads holding their kid’s hands and Moms pushing strollers around, that we felt right at home. There were a handful of first time music fest parents who were carting around giant wagons stuffed to the brim with every baby product under the sun, and the more experienced music fest junkies whose kids (like mine) were grooving to the music and strutting around with their flower crowns like they owned the place.

With a toddler, you can’t expect to see every band you want, especially when they tend to come on in the evening, so we had to pick and choose who we saw. We enjoyed the music of Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Spitzer Orchestra, Fantastic Negrito, Gary Clark Jr. and Alanis Morissette. Meyer was seriously dancing all over our blanket and I even caught her bobbing her head to the beat while on Anthony’s shoulders a few times. We ate until we couldn’t have another bite and relished in the atmosphere of a great Southern California weekend. I was in heaven sitting in the shade on our Mickey Mouse blanket, sipping my cider from 101 Cider House, enjoying the tunes and magical weather with my family. Being from Maine, I had to try the lobster tacos and lobster Mac and Cheese at Wicked Maine Lobster, which did not disappoint. There was so much lobster piled high on that bowl of creamy mac and cheese, I was shocked! Then we satisfied our sweet tooth with a vegan, gluten-free, organic yogurt cone from Yoga-urt (one scoop strawberry and one scoop vanilla), a vegan chocolate chip cookie from The Naughty Cookie and donuts from Dream Donut Truck. I highly recommend the lemonade donut, it will change your life!

If your kids wanted to explore a little more, you could check out Visions of the Future by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. The cool looking dome had planets hanging from the ceiling, an astronaut photo opportunity and activities for kids with fun ways to learn about the solar system. One of my favorite things about the Arroyo Seco Festival is the Kidsspace Children’s Museum area, which offered drum circles, a play space for toddlers, bubbles and various other activities for kids. They could play with musical instruments, take a photo with a drum set, or make their own guitars and buttons. I encountered another mom inside the play space who admitted that she was a little nervous about bringing her two kids to a music festival for the first time so her and her husband left them at home on Saturday, so they could scope it out without them. She said she felt guilty though once she got to the festival since she saw so many families and kids enjoying the day. She agreed with me that there were a lot of activities for her kids if they got bored with the music but thought next time she would get some headphones for them to muffle the noise. It’s all about being prepared! It doesn’t hurt to bring too much the first time, but you will learn what you need the next time you go. Depending on the venue, low back chairs and a blanket are always key, as well as a stroller or a wagon (depending on how big your kids are), headphones, plenty of sunscreen, wet wipes, antibacterial hand gel, snacks and empty water bottles (they can be filled at the water stations).

As I have said before, music festivals are the perfect place for kids to soak in the culture, tunes and experiences they have to offer. But be prepared, be positive and don’t expect your kid to be perfect. There could be meltdowns that will cause you to miss your favorite bands. There will be potty breaks in the middle of your favorite song, but there will also be memories made and a heck of an awesome weekend for the little one to tell their friends about. Although we didn’t make it to see Kings of Leon (hey, it was a Sunday night and Meyer (also Mommy and Daddy) has a bedtime!) we still had an amazing and memorable weekend and will certainly be back next year for more!

Photo credits: Arroyo Seco Weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highchairs and Heels Is Heading Back To Arroyo Seco Weekend

arroyo-seco-17-glory-1480x832Guys, I am so excited to head back to Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena to cover the festival for Highchairs and Heels! Not only is this one of my faves but it is where the idea for my blog sprouted from. It was at the inaugural festival last year, where I was sitting with Meyer and a girl came up to me and asked if she could take a picture of us for her mommy blog. Mommy blog? Why wasn’t I already on top of that one? I knew that would not be my last music festival with Meyer, let alone any other crazy adventure….and BOOM! Highchairs and Heels was born. And this year, I actually get to go back and discover everything Arroyo Seco Weekend has to offer for parents and kids alike…again! The food, the drinks (more for my husband since I’m 8 months pregnant), the music, the atmosphere and the people! I am so excited to be the girl this year who is going around asking mothers how they feel about taking their kids to music festivals, if they have any tips for me and if this is their first time experiencing Arroyo Seco Weekend. We are the few brave mommies who venture out into this music festival world with our kids (and bellies in my case) in tow to have a fun time, just as we did when we were single. And as I have said before, kids can have a blast too! Last year, they had an entire Kids Zone sponsored by Kidspace Children’s Museum set up where little ones could do art projects, make their own music and cool off. Meyer did not want to leave that tent! And on a more somber note, Meyer got to see Tom Petty perform at one of his last shows before he died in October. What toddler can say that?

A few of the performers that I am excited to see this year are Jack White, Kings of Leon, Third Eye Blind, Alanis Morissette, Fantastic Negrito and Jeff Goldblum. Within the vast array of food and drink vendors that will be there, I am excited to check out Baby Love Sweetery, Beer Belly, Chilola’s Fine Filipino Tacos, Hanjip, Ms. Chi, The Naughty Cookie, Yoga-urt and The Ponte to name a few. And even though I won’t be able to partake in any drinking, my husband will surely enjoy the Glenfiddich Experimental Dome where he can sip on some craft cocktails like the banana daiquiri, strawberry rhubarb daiquiri, grapefruit mule and rocket pop snow cone! So, stay tuned for my coverage of the Arroyo Seco Weekend June 23rd & 24th in Pasadena. I can’t wait to share it with you guys!

 

Let It G(r)o!

IMG_1264-1.jpgWhen you’re a mom, you will do anything for your kid. I’m not just talking about the many times you have taken a booger from your child’s finger and wiped it on your own pants or spending endless hours watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but the little things that we have done for our kids just to make them smile. Meyer is obsessed with Elsa from Frozen to the point where she is wearing her glittery blue dress pretty much every day when I get home from work. She has the Barbie doll, the stuffed doll, the movie, the coloring books. You name it, she probably has it. But the one thing that she can’t have? A braid in her hair just like Elsa. I know, wipe your eyes, it is extremely depressing. Her hair just won’t grow long yet! And every time she sees anyone with a braid, or I wear a braid, or she sees Elsa’s braid, she just looks at me with those sad eyes and says, “Mommy, I want a braid like Elsa!” I couldn’t take it anymore! I decided to take this matter into my own hands last night. I gathered some of my long, blonde hair extensions, a blue headband from her collection and my sewing kit. About thirty minutes later, I had crafted a sweet little homemade Elsa braid to give to Meyer. When I presented my little gift to her the next day, her face lit up like I had just told her she had landed the starring role in the Broadway version of Frozen. She was so happy and immediately put on her new headband. Today is only Day One, but I’m pretty sure she is never going to take that thing off.

Oh, The Little Things We Do For The Big Bump

Depending on your body, your tolerance and your support system, pregnancy can be exhausting. Especially when you are 34 weeks and still feel like you can still do everything but naturally can’t, like me. I was the girl who could carry my toddler, the laundry basket full of clothes and a bag of groceries throughout the house with ease. Now my toddler has to carry me, my purse and her baby bag wherever we go. I do have my days where I feel like I can still skip up and down the stairs whistling happily, but those days are getting to be few and far between. My daily strength workouts have changed to a few squats and a push up a few times a week, my weekday lunch break walks have slowed down and incorporated more time on benches than on my feet and I am in bed by 8:00 PM nightly. But there are a few things that keep me going that I make sure to incorporate into my daily routine. I know these things are beneficial to my body and my baby, so it is crucial that I don’t forget to do them.

IMG_1223Every morning, I drink my concoction of water, lemon juice, honey and my Standard Process Prebiotic Inulin powder (a Prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in the gut). Then I take my prenatal vitamins and my Floradix Iron and Herbs supplement.  For my prenatals, my personal choice is a combination of Standard Process vitamins that support pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. I opted out of the traditional over the counter prenatal vitamins that contain a handful of ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce and went with a more homeopathic route when I was pregnant with Meyer and chose to do the same with Baby G #2. Call me a hippie, but Standard Process vitamins are all natural and derived from food, so I know exactly what I am ingesting. I take Folic Acid B12, Calcium Lactate and Tuna Omega 3 Oil along with my balanced diet. Another step I never miss? I make sure to lather my belly every morning and night with either coconut oil or Shea Moisture lotion. Lastly, (and when I can), I try to squeeze in a walk or a strength training workout at least 3 times a week. It is so important to stay active (unless of course advised by your doctor not to) whether it is a simple walk around the block, yoga or a quick dip in the pool. (I think sitting on the couch in yoga pants watching TV with a resistance band around your legs works too). A good foot massage from the hubby, a hot bubble bath and a classic chick flick also should be incorporated into your week too…just sayin’.

Trying to keep myself happy and healthy with this pregnancy is exhausting enough but to be honest, I don’t remember my first pregnancy being this tiring! I remember being 8 months pregnant and still doing my Tracy Anderson workout videos in our loft downtown and walking up and down 7 flights of stairs daily a week before my due date. Then it dawned on me. Meyer was making me exhausted! I mean, I’m not blaming her or anything, but being pregnant alone is a lot easier than being pregnant with a toddler. Not only am I trying to get through my daily duties carrying around a watermelon in my belly, but I have a clingy toddler (who would be my personal cape if she could) that I am constantly chasing around. Which got me thinking about everything else I did with the first pregnancy that I didn’t with the second. Oh, poor second baby, they never have it as good as the first-born, right? You always hear the stories and see the commercials about the difference between the first and second born (organic everything vs. generic brand and using anti-bacterial on everything vs. simply brushing it off) but let me tell you, it is the truth! With Meyer, I documented my growing bump with a weekly picture in front of my chalkboard wall with the week # spelled out in chalk. I have yet to snap one weekly bump picture with Baby #2. I did a maternity shoot when I was pregnant with Meyer where I proudly displayed my naked self in the dusty hills of Temecula but never did that with Baby #2. I used to read to my bump and play music to it with one of those pregnancy audio belts during my first pregnancy but with Baby #2, it just gets a few nudges from Meyer and the music I listen to in the car.