How to Start a Book Club

Last year when Lisa and I were discussing our New Year’s Resolutions I mentioned that I wanted to start a book club. A teacher at work was always talking about hers and it seemed like it was so much fun. I felt like it would be the perfect mix of reading and socializing; it would give us an excuse to get together once a month and it would also push us to read more (both things that I wanted to do!).

Lisa immediately agreed that I had to start one and we began planning! I’m pretty sure this was the only resolution I kept last year but it I’m so glad that I did! If you are thinking of starting your own book club (which you definitely should) read on for my suggestions. Now, I have only been doing this for a year so please let me know what has worked for you and your book club, too!


1. Choose Members Wisely

Once we decided that we were going to start a book club the first thing we needed were members. We had 3 requirements for members of our book club. The first requirement was obviously someone who liked wine. The second was that they needed to like to read. The final requirement was that they had to be fun—who wants to hang out with someone every month if they’re not fun!? We decided to ask 3 of our friends (who we met either in college or through our college friends) who met all of these requirements.

Once we had our first meeting and other people started hearing about our book club they obviously wanted to join. We decided to keep it small because working around 5 schedules is hard enough, we couldn’t imagine working around more. And also, the more people you have the more expensive it would be to provide food and wine. We may allow other members to join eventually, but our group of 5 is perfect for now!

2. Set Ground Rules

Before we even started the book club we came up with some rules. First of all we all discussed the types of books we did NOT want to read. This included genres such as fantasy, historical fiction and smut (I know, bummer). We figured that we wanted everyone to at least have a chance of enjoying the books so we wanted to weed out the genres that didn’t appeal to us right away. Next, we decided that each month one person would be the “host”; they would be responsible for choosing the book, hosting the other members, and providing the food and drinks. Lastly, we talked about how serious we were going to be about the club. Ultimately we decided that we were more concerned with the gossip and wine (obviously) than the actual literary elements of the book. Now don’t get me wrong, we still discuss the books, but that definitely only amounts to a little bit of the time spent at our book club.

3. Serve (lots of) Food and Wine

Please refer to the above paragraph. The wine (and food) is the most important part of our book club! It is up to the host to decide what kind of food to serve and how much of it to have. When I hosted the first month I wanted to do something super creative and have all of the food make you think of something in the book. Unfortunately the first book we chose was not an easy book to do this with, so I just opted for a regular (boring) spread. The types of food we have enjoyed at our book club include: pizza & salad, a charcuterie board, appetizers, catering from the local grocery store, and an assortment of Trader Joe’s favorites. And of course…lots of WINE.

4. Be Flexible

This was an interesting year for the members of our book club. There were 2 pregnancies (and 1 baby so far—congrats, Lisa!), 2 houses bought and renovated, and 1 death (of a very close family member). This meant that we had to be super flexible. We had to reschedule a few times because people didn’t have enough time to finish the book, we skipped December all together (because…holidays), and we even had book club at a wine bar instead of the host’s house (that was under construction)!

After all of the above we needed a little break, so this month we decided that we would all read a book of our own choosing and share with the group whether or not we would suggest that they read it too. I’m sure we’ll go back to choosing one book for everyone to read but for now this is working for us. Everyone has stuff going on in their lives and you have to be understanding and flexible if you want to keep your book club an activity everyone looks forward to instead of something else that we HAVE to do each month.

5. Get Creative

Once I decided to start the book club I did the obvious thing anyone would do: I hopped on Pinterest and looked for cool ideas. Now, I am not a very creative person but I was able to find a few cute things that I could provide for the members of our club. First, I decided on the motto of our book club – “reading between the wines”. It seemed like the obvious choice for our group since the wine is more important than the books (see above again!). I wanted to commemorate this motto so I made book marks for everyone (yes, they’re laminated…I was a teacher!)

I also found cute socks that say “our book club reads between the wines” at John’s Crazy Socks. This was not only perfect becuase of the quote, but John’s Crazy Socks is an organization run by a man with Down syndrome and his dad so my money was also going to a good cause! I’m sure there are much cooler things that people have done for their book clubs but these two things were easy and fun to do/find and the other members seemed to really appreciate them!

I hope after reading this that you decide that a book club is just what you and your friends need in your lives. I also hope that these suggestions help you once you decide to start one! Please keep us posted and let us know if you do start one and what you found helpful! Also, if you want a copy of the bookmarks, email us at and I will send them along! Happy reading (and drinking)!

Mom of Fame – Ale: Mom, Step-Mom, Infertility Survivor

Ale is another amazing mom-blogger that we were lucky enough to “meet” through the wonders of the internet. She is a new mom, a step-mom and an infertility survivor. After having her son, she feels like she forgot about what she used to love to do for herself. In order to get those feelings back she started her blog, HappinessYpunto!.

Ale talks about the important advice she received from her mom, what being a step-mom taught her, and how she teaches her boys all about choices and consequences. Please help us welcome her into our Mom of Fame and check out her blog at the link above!

Please tell us a little about you and your family.

Hi, my name is Ale and I’m a wife, a new mom and a step-mom, and an infertility survivor. We live in Florida with our two Boston Terriers. We are an outgoing family, always looking for the next adventure to go to. You can always find us out on the boat, snorkeling, deep fishing, or just relaxing at the beach.

I am a bilingual blogger at HappinessYpunto! A happiness blog helping women think more positive. A place where I share my experiences and life hacks I discover along the way, so moms like you can spend more time where it matters and achieve more #momwins.

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it?

Out of all the solicited and unsolicited advise I received, I think the one that stuck was to “listen to your gut”. It has been my compass and my guide when other advise received has conflicted with one another. Your gut/your heart always knows best.

Would you give that piece of advcie to someone else?

Absolutely! My advise to new moms has been “you will receive tons of advise, too much even. Don’t let the hormones take over and tell people off – just nod. Turn around and listen to your gut. Then do what your gut tells you”.

How is motherhood different that you imagined it would be?

Motherhood has been a lot harder. Your brain is constantly on and there is little room to pause and just relax.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I think by being a step-mother first I learned a lot of tricks and ways to manage situations, so when my baby came along he was kind of like a second child in some ways that I was able to be more relaxed and flexible and understanding as I adjusted to this new role.

Describe a time when you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

I think the first few months were definitely very overwhelming. This tiny human needed me and depended on me and it was a lot of responsibility when I had no idea what I was doing. I had my step-son since he was two years old, so this baby stage was completely unexplored territory.

Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I have but I can’t really put my finger in it. I am so busy in mommyhood that I forgot what I liked and what I did before baby came along. I have slowly tried to make room for those things that sparked joy in my life such as creating art and blogging.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I always tell my son that life is about choices and consequences to those choices. Your state of mind is a choice, what you choose to focus your energy is a choice, you can choose to focus on the negative or you can choose to focus on the good stuff life has offered you. I think if I can get them to understand that, they will be happier in life.

Mom of Fame – Christine

Christine is another mom blogger that we recently “met”. Her blog is called The Growing Creatives and it’s a place where you can find crafts, pretend play ideas, and other creative parenting hacks. She told us, “I think it’s really important to be intentional in how we play with our kids to let them freely express their creativity and grow their imaginations. I wanted to add a little corner to the internet where parents could be inspired to find silly and unique ways to interact with their children.”

In her interview she talks about how it’s important to be present, why she tries not to micromanage her kiddos, and how being a mom is “mentally exhausting” (right!?). Please help us welcome her into our Mom of Fame and check out her blog at the link above if you are looking for fun things to do with your kiddos!

Please tell us a little about you and your family.

My husband and I met in 8th grade, dated for a couple years in high school, and eventually got back together after 4.5 years apart. Now we live in a very rural town with our 2 kiddos. My 3 year old, Adeline, is super sassy and thinks she knows it all, but her confidence is amazing and the way she loves loving on her little brother melts my heart. My son, Jaxson, is the silliest and most curious 9 month old ever. He can get super focused on one thing which is pretty cool but also drives me crazy when he’s trying to get into something he’s not supposed to!

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it?

When I was pregnant with Adi, my MIL told me not to listen to anyone but myself. I really appreciated that because you get so much advice thrown at you and it can be overwhelming. It was reassuring to hear from someone I trust that my own intuition will tell me what’s right for my children. I do look to others for guidance a lot, but I’m secure in knowing my final decision will be what’s right for my kids because no one knows them as well as I do or has their best interest in mind as intensely as I do.

Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

Absolutely. I think it’s the only advice that can be used for anyone. Anything else is subject to that particular mom and baby. But generally speaking, a mother who is involved in her kid’s life and trusts her intuition will always make her decisions out of love.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

It’s more mentally exhausting! Some days I can’t even think of anything I accomplished and yet I’m still tired. Constantly putting your children before yourself, making sure they’re ok, worrying about their future… it’s a lot more mental weight than I expected. 

 What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Hmm. I am pretty good at making sure my kids are creatively stimulated throughout the day with art, pretend play, building stuff, etc. Doing activities that make them think or use their imagination is really important to me, so I make it a priority to be a part of every day.

I try to be present with them for a good portion of the day and not distracted by my phone or housework. It’s hard when it feels like so many other things are fighting for my attention. But I’ve realized not only does my daughter behave better when she’s spent a decent amount of quality time with me, but I also have more time to focus on other stuff! If I give her 15 minutes of undivided attention, she’ll willingly play on her own for a little bit. So much better than trying to do everything all at once!

Lastly, I consider it a strength that I don’t hover and micromanage my kids. It’s so tempting to show them the “right way” to do something, or hover over them to prevent any bumps or scrapes. I still make sure they’re safe, but try to give them space within the security of knowing I’m right there while they try figuring stuff out on their own.

Describe a time you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

When I was pregnant with Jax. I am apparently one of those people who doesn’t like to be touched at all during pregnancy. At the time, my daughter was still nursing a lot during the night. Between the pain and just needing to not be touched so much, I really struggled when she wanted to nurse constantly. One night I remember feeling like I was having a panic attack because I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had planned to nurse until she was 2, but ended up having to wean her at around 21 months because of this.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

Absolutely, this is something I struggle with. I go through phases where I feel like my identity is entirely based on being a mother. I’m better about it now because I know there are many other parts that make up my whole. 

However, what I’ve gained is the fact that being a mother IS such a large part of my whole and I’m proud of it. There’s nothing more meaningful I could do with my life than make sure my children are cared for and grow up to be kind and productive people.

What do you want your children to learn from you?

To be genuine. There’s going to be so many people in their lives trying to tell them who to be, but if they stay true to themselves they will always make the best decisions for THEM. I will always try to be transparent with them so they know our mistakes don’t define us and there’s a difference between *doing* something bad and *being* bad. 

I also really want them to have amazing imaginations. It’s such an important part of childhood and helps with other mental developments like critical thinking, contentment, and independence. I try to encourage it in as many ways as I can, which is why the daily creative playing is such a priority to me!

Activities To Promote Cognitive and Physical Development: Part 2

If you have been following Momfaming you know that my son Ryan has Down syndrome and because of that qualifies for Early On. This service is provided through our school district and includes an Occupational Therapist and a Physical Therapist coming to our house to work with him each week. These wonderful ladies give us so many great ideas and activities to help promote his physical and cognitive development.

Ryan is 16 months old (today, actually!) but is not necessarily working on milestones for a typical 16 month old. So to figure out if these activities are developmentally appropriate for your child, focus on the concepts they are working on as opposed to their specific age. So if you have a baby that is working on goals such as sitting up, mimicking, or using signals, check out my first post here. If you have an older baby (or toddler) working on things like standing, walking, or a pincer grasp you’re in the right place! Read on for the activities I have found the most helpful and Ryan has found the most fun! Let me know in the comments some activities you do to help your child meet these milestones, we’re always looking for new things to try!


Large Motor Practice – Standing

Right now we are really working on standing with Ryan. These are the three activities that we’ve been doing to help strengthen his legs and teach him how to pull himself up to stand:

  1. Standing with Assistance – he starts out sitting in a chair with his knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then he puts his hands onto a walker (or other toy that is the correct height) and he pulls himself up with assistance. I always make sure I’m correcting his feet once he’s up so that he has a sturdy base and each time he goes to stand I say the words “stand up” or just “up” so that he starts to learn the word that correlates to the action.
  2. Keep Toys Out of Reach – once Ryan started pulling himself up to stand without much assistance we started putting his toys (and books) up on the couch or ottoman instead of on the ground. This way if he wants to play with his toys/read his books he not only has to pull himself up, but he also has to stand there while he plays.
  3. Encourage “Cruising” – now that Ryan is continuing to pull himself up and standing to play for a few minutes we are starting to try to get him to “cruise” along the couch by moving the toys he wants to play with a little to his left or right. He needs a lot of support while he moves right now but hopefully soon he will start to do it more independently.

Large Motor Practice – Crawling

Ryan is now crawling around the house like a champ! Now that he is comfortable doing this we are working on crawling onto things. These activities are helping him practice this:

  1. Start with the Couch – I know what you’re thinking, the couch cushion again!? But I’m telling you it works! We just pull a cushion off of the couch and put it on the ground right in front. We then put one of his favorite toys onto the couch where he can see it. When we first started we had to first put the toy on the cushion so he would crawl onto that; then move it onto the couch where the cushion used to be and so on so that he wouldn’t get discouraged. Now that he’s more comfortable doing it we can just put the toy high up on the couch and he crawls to get it immediately.
  2. Crawling Onto Your Lap – once he got the hang of climbing onto the couch I started to encourage him to crawl all the way into my lap instead of just grabbing him and putting him in my lap when he crawls to me.
  3. Finally…the Stairs – climbing up the stairs is eventually the goal of all of this so once you feel your child is ready, make them try it! When Ryan first started I had to really assist him (by kneeling right behind him so he could push off of my legs and encouraging him to put his hands onto the next stair). Then we moved on to helping him bend his knees and lift one leg up at a time (to do this, just gently squeeze the hip of the knee you want him to bend and his natural reflex will be to lift that knee up). He is still not doing the stairs independently but he crawls (with some assistance) up them every time we go upstairs and he is definitely getting better each time!

Fine Motor Practice

Fine motor skills are definitely harder for Ryan to master. Luckily, these activities are fun so he likes to practice often!

  1. Put On/Take Off – we use a toy (like the ring towers below) and I say “take off” and have him take the rings off one at a time (sometimes he just knocks the whole thing over so that they all fall off but I encourage him to do it one at a time because that takes more fine motor control). Then I have him pick up one of the rings while I hold the base out and instruct him to “put on”. I make sure that he is successful by moving the base around until he is able to easily place the ring on it. Then we cheer like he just finished a marathon so that he knows that he did it right. This is also great because along with practicing fine motor skills it also helps him start to follow simple directions.
  2. Put In/Take Out – we started to introduce this concept with a large bin that had several small toys in it. I would have Ryan put his hand in the bin and say “take out” each time he would reach in and bring out a toy. Then we would empty the bin and encourage him to put the toys back in by handing him a toy one at a time, holding the bin under his hand and saying “put in” (if a child is having trouble releasing the toy make sure to rest his/her arm on the bin and it will cause him to drop the toy because of a reflex). After repeating this many times with help he is beginning to independently put toys in when asked. Next step, helping mom clean up!
  3. Practice with Food – picking up food and putting it into our mouths takes a lot of fine motor control. We started to practice this by holding a piece of food in our palm and having him scoop it up with all of his fingers. Now we hand him a piece of food using our pincer grasp (thumb and pointer finger) which encourages him to grab it the same way. Right now he is using his middle finger along with his thumb and pointer but that is okay at this point!

Language Development

  1. Give Choices – to add some language to play time we have started to give Ryan choices on what he wants to use. For example, when we are reading him stories we hold up 2 books and ask him to choose which one he wants us to read. He will point to one, so we read it, and when we are done reading we give him 2 new choices. We do the same for his toys but he isn’t always as decisive with this. To help him understand the name for each toy I made him a book with pictures of his favorite toys in it and what we call them (make sure you are calling it the same thing each time so that he can start to associate the correct name with each toy). We show him the pictures and ask him to point to which one he wants to play with and hand him the toy he points to (see picture below).
  2. Use Signs – since Ryan doesn’t have very many words yet we have started to introduce signs. We started with “more” and have moved on to “all done”, “open”, and “want/give”. Whenever we are playing we make sure to make the sign while saying the word several times and encourage him to try to do it himself. If he is having a hard time we will move his hands with ours but we try not to do this too much.
  3. Simple Directions – now that Ryan is understanding a lot of what we’re saying we ask him to follow simple directions. This also reiterates labels for things he sees all the time (ball, mama, doggy, etc.). A game we play a lot is “give the ball to mama” or “give the block to dada” to see if he will bring the correct toy to the correct person.

Foster Independence

  1. Crawling Everywhere – now that Ryan is crawling so easily we don’t pick him up and carry him around as much. When it’s time to eat, we walk into the dining room and tell him to come with us. It may take a little longer but eventually that smiling face peeks around the corner and joins us. We do this as often as we can and he has really started to get the hang of it and follows us pretty easily.
  2. Playing Independently – although these are all activities that involve you playing with your child I also encourage you to allow them to play independently (it is actually a milestone they need to reach!) Ryan loves to sit on the ground and “read” his books or play with his toys even when we aren’t doing it with him. He’ll always make sure we are close and checks in with us but he’s really good at playing by himself.

Mom of Fame – Kyra

Kyra is one of those moms that we all aspire to be. She is completely selfless and puts the needs of her family above her own. She decided to be a stay at home mom because she felt that her daughter needed her more than she needed to work as a physical therapist. We were so excited when Kyra agreed to answer our questions and tell us a little bit more about herself.

She talks about why she ultimately decided to be a stay at home mom, the mix of cultures her family celebrates each day, and what it was like to have a baby with colic. Please join us in welcoming Kyra to our Mom of Fame and be sure to check out her motherhood blog at the link below!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Kyra. I’m a physical therapist, wife, and mommy to a beautiful little girl who just turned 5 months old. Our household is half Hispanic and half African-American so we constantly have a mix of the two cultures with everything from the food to the languages we speak. My husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family after we had been married for only two months and three months later we were pregnant! Our daughter was born in August 2018. We plan on having more kids in the future. It was a huge adjustment for me to transition to working over 40 hours a week as a physical therapist to staying at home with my daughter. I knew that I needed a creative outlet so I decided to create my own motherhood blog. A month ago, I launched to share my advice and experiences as a first-time mom. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given about motherhood? Did you take it?

The best piece of advice I was given about motherhood would have to be from my mother. I was scheduled to return to work when my daughter was 8 weeks old, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to leave her just yet. I felt like there was so much more bonding time that we needed together as mommy and daughter. However, I also knew that I had an obligation to return to work. 

My mother told me, “You have to decide what would benefit your daughter more: going to work to earn money or spending time with her during this precious time while she’s still a baby. What your baby needs is YOU.” I was reluctant to stay home at first, but it was the best decision that I made! My daughter and I are so close and I love catching those special little moments with her that I wouldn’t have experienced if I went back to work right away. 

Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

It’s totally fine and normal if you feel overwhelmed with your duties as a mom. You are not alone. Motherhood is challenging and rewarding all at the same time. You don’t always have to know the right answer to everything when caring for your children. Just do the best you can and everything will be fine.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I knew motherhood would be challenging, but I didn’t expect it to change me as a person as much as it did. Each day as a mom, I experience an array of emotions. Happiness for having the opportunity to raise a beautiful little girl. Sadness that my old life as a young, 20-something newlywed is gone. Guilt that I’m not doing something exactly the right way for my daughter. Joy when I see her laugh or smile. The emotions just repeat themselves over and over again several times throughout the day. I never expected that. 

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

My first strength is that I always put my daughter’s needs above my own, even if that means not getting much sleep!

My second strength is that I always try to be very affectionate with my daughter so that she knows she is very loved. I love cuddling with her and stealing kisses from those little cheeks. 

My third strength is that I always try to care for my daughter in the best way that I can. I always try to research the best tips on baby care and always try to think of activities that help her with development. 

Describe a time you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

As a newborn, my baby had colic and she would cry all day and night. I thought something was wrong with her, but the pediatrician told us it was completely normal. After like a month of non-stop crying I just broke down. I remember sobbing in my rocking chair as I nursed her. I just felt like there was nothing I could do to calm her and I felt so guilty as a mother. Luckily, with time I learned some great tricks for soothing her and she began to cry less. She doesn’t really cry that much at all now. But, I really felt overwhelmed at that period of time. 

Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I feel that I’ve lost some of my identity of who I was as a person. As a mother, I put my family’s needs above my own all the time and I don’t even think about myself. Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself, “What do YOU want?” I’m constantly thinking of my daughter and my husband. 

On the other hand, I’ve gained so much more. My daughter has completely changed my world for the better. Every day that I wake up and see her face, it’s like Christmas morning. She inspires me to be the best person that I can be.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I want my daughter to learn to follow her dreams and believe in herself no matter what.

Mom Life – Pregnancy with a Toddler

Let me tell you something. It was about four years ago now when I was having one might call ‘the perfect pregnancy’. I felt great, I thought I looked great and I was anticipating this little boys arrival with many rests and naps.

Pregnancy the first go around means a photo every week!

Anyone I talked to I would tell how wonderful pregnancy can be and how I would do it ten times over. We had some scares in terms of blood work, but the pregnancy itself was great.

My labor was much of the same. I started feeling contractions in the morning (I had extremely bad cramps growing up so it almost felt like I was used to this) and didn’t go to the hospital until midnight. My son was born about four hours later.

Let’s fast forward three years later. Pregnant with my second little one is extremely different. The reason? My guess is the toddler that is currently hanging on my arm begging for chocolate milk while also requesting that I make dinner and build him his new dresser.

Being pregnant with a toddler is not for the weak. I repeat. NOT FOR THE WEAK. You have to go into it KNOWING that it will not be the same. You have a little person that doesn’t understand limitations and demands attention. You would *almost* forget that you were pregnant if it wasn’t for all those wonderful symptoms and the fact that you start showing extremely early (I mean, someone asked if I was pregnant when I was only 13 weeks)!

Last week my pregnancy app had a little note saying ‘take time for yourself, mama. Go get a manicure or go take a nap’. This note literally made me cry (literally). Why? Why would you tease a mother that clearly cannot take the time to do that (but desperately wants to)?!

On top of all this you build in the total mom guilt of bringing such a big change to your first born. My son seems to be doing OK with everything right now, but we clearly know that things will be different. I will never forget my mom telling me that she felt that as soon as my oldest brother came into the hospital room to visit her second born – things changed. Right then and there the relationship changed.

I know we are in for a change. I am not sure I am completely ready for it, but I know how completely blessed I am to have it.

Pregnancy is hard and motherhood is harder. The thing I appreciate the most right now is my mom friends and family. The friends and family I can easily talk to about the ups and downs of motherhood.

I enjoy my nieces and nephews and I love them like my own (whether they are by blood or friendship). This season of life that we are all going through is beautiful so please, spam me with photos of your children, cry with me when you feel overwhelmed and let’s feel joy for each other when an accomplishment is made.

This is life for all of us right now and although it’s not perfect, it’s pretty great.

Mom of Fame – Naomi

Naomi is the epitome of a fun mom. She has two toddler aged boys and she’s always taking them somewhere or doing something exciting to keep them entertained. Because of this she decided to start a blog to give other moms ideas of things to do with their own kiddos. We were so excited that Naomi agreed to share some of her expertise with us, all the way from Canada!

She talks about why she loves being a stay at home mom, why moms just need to accept help and how she keeps her boys healthy. Please help us welcome her into the Mom of Fame and be sure to check out her blog at the link below!

Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.

We are a family of four living in Ottawa; Canada’s capital city. My husband John, myself (Naomi), and our toddler boys, Jax aged 4 and Hudson aged 2. We certainly have our hands full with our boys who are so full of energy, they keep us busy all day long! I was a working mom, now turned stay at home mom, and I absolutely love it. I never thought I would be but I’m feeling so fortunate that I’m able to stay at home. My eldest, Jax, will start school this September and I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. I’m happy I got to spend all this time with him before he goes to school. Jax is a January baby so he will be one of the older kids in school and starts later which gives us more time together. Hudson too, being a February baby.

I started my blog in the summer of 2018. Since I had Jax in 2015, a friend of mine kept encouraging me to start a blog. I always shrugged it off, until more people started suggesting it since I was always out doing fun activities. Everyone said I might as well write about it and finally I thought, hey why not! I am truly enjoying it and have loved connecting with other mom bloggers all over North America.

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it?

Accept the help! People will naturally want to help, so take the frozen lasagna and accept the babysitting for a nap. Have your friend over who also went through a breastfeeding nightmare in the beginning. I listened a wee bit but I’m guilty of not accepting help. My neighbour and friend were wonderful in helping me with my breastfeeding challenges and I was able to breastfeed both children for the first year.  

Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

Absolutely, 110%. That’s what friends and family are for.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

Honestly I don’t think I ever had any foresight into motherhood. I knew it would be harder than my childless life and it certainly is. You’re trying to keep your precious ones alive and thriving.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Firstly I like to think I’m a fun mom. We are always somewhere on the daily. Whether it be a play center, a museum, a pumpkin patch, an apple orchard, winter festival…you get the picture! I love being out and about, and they are always having so much fun so it makes me feel good to know they are getting the most out of life (even at an early age).

Keeping my kids healthy and active. I try my best to introduce them to new healthy foods and recipes regardless of resistance from one or both. We keep active with soccer, swimming, gymnastics and more. They have even started to exercise with me.

Last but not least I’m nurturing in general and to their personalities. I let them try different things to see what they’re excelling at and provide accordingly.

Describe a time you were completely overwhelmed as a mother?

Probably the early days of bringing a newborn home with a 2-year-old around. Trying to breastfeed with a toddler was chaos. Luckily, like anything else in life, we eventually found our groove.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since  becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I’ve gained everything and can’t imagine my life without my kids. What I have lost, is the ability to just leave and do whatever I want at any moment of time. The ability to just go to the mall and shop for three hours. It’s just not that easy with kids in tow. It’s amazing how errands without children feel now! It’s such a luxury and I’ve lost free time essentially, but doesn’t everyone when they have kids? At nap time it’s a decision between laundry, or forget it and just relax. One thing I know is that I will miss not having that free time when they are older and don’t want their mom during teenage years, or when then go to college or university should they choose that path.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

Empathy, respect and compassion. I pride myself on these qualities and as a mom, bullying worries me so much. All you can do is teach your kids life lessons and hope that they take it all in. You never know your child might be the bully and you must work with it. Kids can be cruel and it’s a scary world unfortunately.

I also want them to continue to learn safety rules because I truly believe you can never be too safe in this world. There are terrible people in our world and we have to try to keep our kids prepared and as safe as possible.