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William at 3

I seriously don’t even know where to begin to describe William with words. He’s not like any other kid I know: he’s a force of nature. He always has been, really, so I’m not sure why that fact surprises me every day.

If I had to choose one word to describe Will, it would be easy. PASSIONATE.

He is passionate about every single thing he does. He is outgoing, rambunctious, energetic. But I keep going back to the word passionate. You see, unlike no other kid I’ve ever seen, he commits 100% to something. Sometimes (more often than I’d like!) he’s committing to something less than ideal, such as a temper tantrum, doing “naughty” things (I’ve never seen a kid with the climbing capability that he possesses) or having an argument. That’s the bad side of passionate. When he laughs, it’s a deep belly-laugh, and it seems to start at his toes. When he screams, it’s like a banshee.

He loves fiercely. He loves being the center of attention. Spending 1 on 1 time with him is my favorite thing to do, because he’s in his glory. He has the sweetest heart, and loves his people without fail. He still lets me rock him to sleep, and squeezes my neck as hard as he can until his tiny arms go limp around my neck and he starts quietly snoring. He is stubborn, and daring. He loves jumping, climbing, and doing the most dangerous things possible, wherever he is.

He’s seriously hysterical, and loves telling jokes, and pretending to be different things. His current favorites are monsters, Captain America, the Hulk, and Iron Man. He calls his stuffed animals his “dollies” (I suppose we can thank his sister for that one) and he has to take a different dolly wherever he goes. He loves football, and watching the Denver Broncos games with Mommy & Daddy every Sunday. He’s so smart. He has been speaking in sentences for ages now, and can recite entire verses of songs from memory. He amazes me every single day.

He’s the worst eater you can ever imagine. He literally survives off of the most random bites of food throughout the day: usually while running away from me yelling, “Go eat that at the table!” He wakes up every single day at 6:30am and greets me with, “Good morning, Mommy! I had a good sleep!”, and I can usually pacify him with Disney Jr. until I finally have a lapse in judgement and he’s able to successfully sneak into his sister’s bedroom to wake her up.  He loves dancing, and singing, and going to the library. He’s freakishly good at puzzles. If you ask him what his name is, he will always answer, “Brother Bear!”

He lights up our world, and I cannot believe he’s 3 years old. Happy birthday, Brother Bear!


Choosing Environmentally Sustainable Household Paper Products

I like to refer to myself as “50% crunchy.” Basically what that means to me is that I will scour the aisles of my local market, investigating the labels of body wash soap to make sure it doesn’t have palm oil listed as an ingredient (because, #monkeys) but then I’ll drop and grab some fast food on the way home. I realize the blatant discrepancies, but, we all have priorities, right? The “crunchy” side of me mostly cares about the environment, when it comes to bath and body products. I also have crazy-sensitive skin, and pretty much break into hives if Tide clothing detergent comes within a 100 ft radius of where I’m standing. (I also have a flair for the dramatics, eh?)

Pair that with my tree-hugging love, and, it’s a recipe for disaster for most paper products featured at your local Kroger store. When I got approached by Caboo, I was thrilled to learn about this alternative product.

Did you know that global toilet paper use takes 27,000 trees, per day, out of our ecosystem? 

Replacing each tree to get to the same level can take decades. But, I mean, it’s toilet paper. Sure, the 100% crunchy mom would switch her family to a cloth system, or even a bidet to cut down on usage. But, the 50% mom? Well, I’ve always just gone with Charmin and made mental notes to plant more trees on my property and apologize to my future grand children.

Enter, Caboo. Exit, guilt.

Caboo products are made 100% from sustainable bamboo and sugarcane. How is bamboo any better? Bamboo and sugarcane are a grass, and can quickly be re-grown to harvest, unlike hard, wooden trees. They also don’t require re-planting to grow again. That makes bamboo and sugarcane a sustainable alternative to conventional paper made from trees, as part of an effort to minimize our overall environmental footprint.

All of the products in Caboo’s line feature the same awesome quality, without anything to make you feel guilty. Everything is fully biodegradable, more eco-friendly than recycled paper, non GMO verified, and they don’t use any chlorine to bleach the products.

I was able to put some of the products to test, in my own home, for the past few weeks. Let me tell you, I was googling where to find them locally!

  • Baby wipes: These are my favorite product from Caboo. They are wet, and extremely durable. They are  infused with natural organic extracts including Chamomile & Aloe (Soothing), Vitamin E (nourishing), Gromwell Root & Honeysuckle (Antioxidants). This product receives an A+ on my scale, and, even though we are now out of diaper stage (Hallelujah!) I still have packs stashed everywhere to clean up gross kid-messes that happen every time I blink. I also love how I can wipe the kid’s face directly, and don’t feel like I’m just depositing gross chemicals on them.
  • Bathroom Tissue: I mean, I’ll spare you the details, but, it’s pretty great. It is 2-ply, though it does feel a bit “thinner” than other conventional 2 ply TPs at the store. I’m okay with that, though, since we do have a septic system and I’m pretty paranoid about what I send down the drain. It’s very soft, to the touch.
  • Facial Tissue: Truthfully, I only stock tissues because my mom is a tissue addict. I tend to usually grab some TP if I need to wipe my nose. But, to each their own. I really enjoy the Caboo facial tissue, and think it’s very thick, and extremely soft. Vivien got a really bad head cold a few weeks ago, and her little nose didn’t get nearly as chapped/red as it usually does.
  • Table Napkins: Love these! I usually buy recycled paper napkins, however, I like these more.

Caboo can be purchased from many local US retailers, such as Wegmans, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, etc. I wish that they were sold via Amazon, because I would totally switch out some of my normal subscribe & save products I usually purchase monthly for Caboo. Next time I make the hour+ drive trek into Detroit for Whole Foods, I’ll have to stock up!

Make sure to check out Caboo to learn more about the brand, and find out where you can purchase these amazing, sustainable products for everyday life!


I was not compensated for this post. I did receive the products free of cost in exchange for my honest reviews. As always, my opinion is 100% my own.


Taking the pledge to play + a Green Toys giveaway!

 

As you may, or may not know, my family recently decided to take a step back and move back to Michigan, where the towns are small and everything is slower. With that, I feel as if I’ve had a sort of revelation with my parenting. One of the biggest changes has been the fact that we no longer have a TV on the main floor, so that “crutch” for me automatically has gone down quite a bit. I’m not saying that we’re perfect, by any means, however, we’ve all come to a different reality. We stopped and played. We’ve colored together. We’ve spent 4+ hours at the park, or played tag outside in the backyard.

We’ve imagined. We’ve explored. (And we have discovered that our 10+ acre property wooded area is covered with poison ivy. Eeek!)

William has been a pirate.

Both kids need a bath practically every single day, and go to bed utterly exhausted. I feel as if we’ve grown together as a family- at least I know that me and the kids have. While William would play outside all day if I let him, Vivien looks forward to the days that she doesn’t have to take a nap, and we hang out in the afternoon. She begs me to play “pretend wedding” with her. I’ve been letting her play with my silver tea service set, and most of the days she will sit down and come up with some hysterical scenes in her pretend play, in which we act out. Most of the time it involves eating cakes and drinking tea.

When Green Toys approached me about their #PledgeToPlay campaign, it was seriously the perfect fit for us, at this point!

Here’s some more info about it:

It’s easy! For one hour each day, pledge to turn off your technology and turn towards each other for good old-fashioned playtime. A down on the ground, make a mountain with a pillow or an ocean of your bathtub kind of playWe call it 100% play and there are no batteries necessary. So while you are making quality connections with your family, you are also saving energy!

Share your 100% play moments by posting a picture on Facebook and Instagram with #PledgetoPlay. Five lucky players will win a Green Toys toy chest packed with everything you need to 100% play, including our brand new Puzzles, Cupcake Set, and Rescue Boat & Helicopter ($150 value)! The pledge starts with Earth Hour on 3/19 and ends Earth Day, 4/22.

We seriously love the cupcake set from Green Toys for pretend play. We have always loved Green Toys because it’s made out of recycled materials, and is affordable, yet amazing quality.

One hour of play a day. One hour a day without checking my phone, or instagramming the crap out of every single breath they take. You guys, it’s been hard for me! I admit I am not the most awesome mom when it comes to playing pretend with my kids. I’m more of a “I’ll take you someplace cool and we’ll go a billion places” kind of mom. But so far, we’ve been rocking this challenge, and I urge you to give it a try! Snap a few photos and #latergram the snot out of them that night while you’re silently willing yourself to go to sleep with the lights off.

Want more?  You have the chance to win the Green Toys Cupcake set, right here, right now!

I’ll do this down and dirty style and make it as easy as possible. Leave me a comment below, telling me your most favorite activity you did with your kiddo this past week. I will randomly choose a number, and if your comment number wins, you win! Wahoo! Winner will be chosen and announced at midnight, April 22.

Good luck!


Nurturing open discussions (part 2)

I got some awesome feedback from my past post on how I nurture open discussions with my preschooler about “tough” topics. I am partnering with Good To Know Colorado yet again, because Spring break is coming up for schools nationwide and having an open and honest conversation is one of the most effective ways to deter illegal underage retail marijuana use.

Why does it matter? 

It’s important for parents to share information and resources amongst ourselves so that we can be armed with pertinent and correct information to pass along to our children. Talk to your children, and keep the communication channel open for future talks, as well.

Additionally, speak to the parents of your children’s friends. Approach the topic from a knowledgeable standpoint, rather that an accusatory one. Discuss proper storage, and where marijuana should be located in the home in order to minimize the risk of it getting into the hands of the children.

Consider getting your “tribe” to spearhead a movement. Are you part of a PTA, local Mom’s Club, book club or playgroup? The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has developed many resources available at www.GoodToKnowColorado.com/talk for your organization to learn more about retail marijuana youth prevention efforts and how to implement youth prevention in your community.

Having these types of conversations doesn’t have to be frightening, or make you sound judgmental, as long as you approach it correctly, from a loving standpoint.

Have you ever spoken to your friends and family about preventing underage retail marijuana use? How did that conversation go? If not, what are some opportunities in everyday life that would provide an “in” for this type of conversation to occur?


This post is Sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. All opinions and viewpoints are 100% my own.


That time we moved to Michigan

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you will have realized that our little family recently moved cross country (again!), this time to Michigan.

“Why Michigan?!” you may ask. 

Well, simply put, I grew up here. I lived in Michigan from when I was 10 years old, until I moved away when I was 20. And truthfully? I couldn’t escape fast enough. I had a variety of reasons that basically, made me despise my hometown for a very long time. But, everyone grows up. Matures. I like to think that I did both of those things pretty successfully. After all, I got married, divorced, learned how to survive 100% on my own in Southern California, got married to Eli, had a few kids, moved to both Northern California and Colorado…well, the list goes on.

One of my realizations during my journey was the utmost importance of family. And I couldn’t help but miss them, every single day. I missed the craziness, the (ridiculously loud) get togethers for every single occasion and holiday known to mankind, and having my kids exposed to that experience. I missed having my mom around to watch the kids so Eli and I could step out alone for an hour- whether it’s to go to a football game in Ann Arbor, or just down the street to the grocery store. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I missed Michigan.

When we came back here for vacation in September, we kind of jokingly threw around the idea of “what if we moved here?” Realistically, the cost of living is drastically lower in Eastern Michigan compared to Denver. (Shocker, right? Sike.) Our home that we bought in Colorado was valued (literally) 50% higher than we purchased it for back in 2012. It seemed fiscally responsible to “cash in” on the crazy housing market, when the value was so high. Eli and I always had dreams of owning land, and taking a step back, and it seemed like the perfect chance to do so.

We sold our home in Colorado very quickly, and made an offer on the “perfect” one to appease our laundry-list of wishes. It’s a gorgeous home, nestled on a private road and has 10.5 acres of land, and the kids are ecstatic over the pool and hot tub in the backyard. I have wild “homesteading” dreams, and it’s the ideal location to begin that endeavor. (More to come on that!)

We ended up driving away from Colorado on March 11th. Eli and I were both sobbing as we drove away, because we left some pretty amazing people & family behind. We had no intentions of ever moving, so tearing my kids away from their playgroup they’ve been best friends with since birth was the hardest thing I’ve done in a while. When we moved into our home in Colorado, I imagined having my kids grow up there. I dreamt of Vivien walking down the stairs and meeting her prom date, and William rolling his eyes at me as I took 4,000 photos of him in the front yard before going on his first date.

But, things change. Dreams change. Admittingly, I don’t typically handle change well. I tend to internalize until I break down. That’s why this blog has always been such a great outlet for me to express myself, creatively.

I almost feel as if we are taking a step back, as a family. We are removing ourselves from the hustle and craziness to plant some roots, harvest the land, and grow together as a family unit. Part of me is terrified. Part of me is excited. But I am (mostly) sure that this was the right decision for the family.

Ironically, this blog was started back in 2009 when I moved away from my support-net of friends. I continued it as I quit my job and we moved to Colorado, and now it’s following us to Michigan a few years later. Life is a stupidly-weird journey, and to quote one of my favorite movies, “ Life’s a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.”