Declan’s Mom

I had a distant memory of a girl.
She was whimsical and spontaneous and free.
She would write songs by the beach and start driving before she had a destination in mind.
Her style was eclectic, her eyes were filled with wonder, her heart was trusting and good.

Sometimes I long for a sense of significance.

At the grocery store I frequent almost every cashier knows Declan.
When we check out they are always talking to him and gushing.
On the rare times I am at the store alone they ask me where he is and remind one another, “this is Declan’s mom”.

I am nameless.
Sometimes it even takes them a moment to recognize me without an adorable baby attached to my hip.

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I am Declan’s mom and I am beyond proud to be such.
But I am so much more than that.

I am a writer.
A singer.
An adventurer.
I love to cook and act and try new things.
My heart is in people and I love to help those in need.
I’m a glass half full kind of lady.
I love being goofy & weird.
Random dance parties are a part of my daily life and I believe in the healing powers of chocolate.

Declan and I have a unique bond.
He has never taken a bottle which made us pretty much inseparable for the first 6 months of his life.
He likes to bring me a book and sit in my lap while I read it to him over and over again.
He quite literally will crawl up me until his body is covering my face while he sleeps, as if to say that he cannot get close enough to me.
He loves with an intensity that I have never seen before from another child.
And it is so special.

But in the midst of being his everything I feel as if I became nothing.
I was “Declan’s mom and Derek’s wife”.
The only time I sang was to get him to sleep, I would cook merely to put food on the table, and the only time I could squeeze in writing was if I chose it instead of sleep which I desperately needed.

I looked in the mirror one morning and cried.
Mulan style, I rinsed my tired eyes and asked myself who it was staring back at me.
I did not recognize this woman.
She was dull and lifeless.
Anxiety was seeping from her pores and she looked lost.
Where had I gone?
And how long had I been away?

I knew I needed to make a change in my body, my mind, and my soul.
So I did.

I started getting Declan to sleep in his stroller rather than on me, so that I could do my workouts in the morning and have the rest of the day to look forward to.
I went shopping and bought clothes regardless of whether or not it would be easy to breastfeed in them for the first time in over a year.
I did my nails and curled my hair and put on eyeshadow.
I bought bright flowers for the house.
And I started to play music during the day again so I could sing along.

It’s funny really.
I think I subconsciously thought that I had to choose between the two.
Like, I couldn’t be myself and Declan’s mom.
I couldn’t be a devoted mother/wife and still do the things I enjoyed, still be the woman I am.
But now I see that all of the things I love and that make me who I am actually make me a better family member too.

When I sing, the whole house listens in.
When I’m spontaneous, we always end up doing something fun and memorable.
Family dance parties have become something I look forward to every single day.
And I am the happiest version of myself that I have ever been.

My significance is found.
And if I am only remembered as Declan’s mom then I am okay with that.
Because being that woman is pretty awesome.

Parents Confess

I’ve got to tell you, yesterday I was not a good mother.
I didn’t turn my back as Declan walked towards an open flame or lock him in a play pin while I double fisted cocktails, but I was grumpy and impatient and just downright bitter.
Declan has been much more demanding in general recently but yesterday after four failed attempts at nap time I hit a new level of low.
I was exhausted and blaming him for my feelings rather than taking responsibility for them.
I started scanning le’ internet for quotes on patience (because that’s what you do when you have none) and I found this:

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I realized that I was choosing to wallow in self pity because he refused to nap rather than making a conscious choice to revel in my son’s personality and enjoy my time with him.

Once I turned my frown upside down a calm came over both of us and he took a nap.

And today?
Today my cup is overflowing with love, happiness, and excitement hanging out with my little firecracker.

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I know how blessed I am to spend my days raising this guy rather than in an office.
It is the hardest job I have ever done but it is also hands down the most rewarding.
Money is just money.
But these moments I get to witness are priceless.

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Enough gushing.
On Monday I asked you all to share your Sexfessions.
Thank you to everyone brave enough to put their stories out there!
We have all been there, so let’s all share a good laugh and recap the entries I received.

*All posts are anonymous*

“I’m sick of hubby waking me up at 2 am so I have been trying to catch him before bedtime! My son was in our bed watching Mickey and Dh had just walked out of the bathroom so I grabbed him and pulled him into the closet. Well we weren’t very coordinated standing up so we had to move to the bathroom. Made it just as Mickey got done!”

“My daughter found my drawer of lingerie. She commented on how pretty they were and asked if she could borrow them when she was older like me. All I could do was laugh nervously and change the subject.”

“Before our son slept through the night, we had a lot of “Don Draper sex” (taking off as little clothing as humanly possible), so that if the baby woke up one of us could spring into action!”

“Had sex in the living room while I was 6 months pregnant despite the fact that my daughter, my mom, or my sister could have walked in on us. Talk about spicing things up! (no one caught us, thankfully lol)”

“Having a one year old boy unthinkable it would put a halt to our sex lives no not us we. Our son cosleeps with is he hate the crib but when he’s in a deep sleep we put him in crib and we have 20 mins or les to go at it and if he’s taking a nap we run in our tiny shower and get our sexy on and try and get it in as fast as we can cuz our son seems to hate sleep. But the romantic dinner and late nights out have come to stop so we make our romance simple and to the point . I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Got interrupted during foreplay because my kid woke up. I threw a robe on over my sexy nightgown, but it didn’t cover the whole thing. Even though it was dark in the room she of course still noticed that it was different than my normal pajama pants and baggy shirt and asked why I was wearing a dress. Why are my children so damn inquisitive??”

“Honestly I’m just lucky for the crib we throw him in there all the time so anytime were in the mood we say “you do the kid, I’ll do dogs” and one of us throws him in the crib the other closes the dogs in their kennel… Then we are free to roam about the house ;) but we have had quite a few times late at night with the dogs sleeping (on the floor they aren’t allowed on the bed) and I have gotten sniffed and licked in the ass.”

“My partner and I once put our daughter in the umbrella stroller and awkwardly faced an iPhone on a makeshift shelf so she could watch Winnie the Pooh in order for us to escape to the bathroom for 5 minutes to have sex.

It had to be done.”

“Definitely have had to rush it towards the end because the baby woke up (the baby who was sleeping in a bassinet in our room). Then had to go from sex to breastfeeding instantly, which is just an awful mojo killer. Way too many hormones going on.”

“One time my golden retriever started howling because we made weird noises. Also we totally have done it on the floor of the nursery and the bed in his room (when he was an infant and was in our room in the basinette) and I hope he never finds out when he gets older lol.”

While our son played in our room my husband and I decided to have a quickie. But right when we started he looked at me as if I was in danger and came running over to me in a crying panic. I then coaxed him into his walker and pressed the buttons to engage him, while bent over so my husband could do the deed.

Well that was both awkward and awesome.
Thanks so much to everyone for sharing your dark dirty secrets!
Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Chateau De Franklin

We’re all adults here.
We know there isn’t a stork in a USPS hat that drops off little pre-diapered babies at our doorsteps, right?
(Dad, this is your cue to stop reading).
So it should come as no surprise that my husband and I created Declan the old fashion way.
Meaning sex.

We had sex.

But just like those frisky dolphin cousins of ours we like to have said relations recreationally as well.

I know that people say sex goes out the window once you have kids but in our case that just isn’t true.
Sex didn’t leave; it adapted.

Sex Before Declan:

Sexy attire, music playing, and a neat bookshelf.

Sex After Declan:

Pizza with ranch and baseball tees.

But with all kidding aside I will say that we have had to get a lot more creative.

I mean, what are you supposed to do when your baby not only co-sleeps but sprawls out over the entire bed?

I’ll tell you what.

We call it Chateau De Franklin.

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As you can see, we decided to go full-blown luxury with this baby.

There’s the leopard print side for a flirty night or you can turn it around for a cozy cabin feel.

I’m thinking of opening my own shop on Etsy.

Are you tired of having to restrict sex to the shower while your kid is in the bathroom with you, awkwardly watching?

Do they hog the bed and make it impossible to even scoot to one side and be intimate?

Do you wish you could have your very own space for you and your partner to get down and dirty?

Well now you can with My Sexy Chateau!

Since I’m sure Derek and I are the only parents on the planet that have ever made a sex spot on their floor with a blanket, I don’t think getting it patented will be a problem.

But seriously, you do what you’ve got to do right?

How do you keep intimacy alive after having kids?

What is your sexfession?
Whether you had sex with your kid in the bed or had your dog come up and lick your butt mid sesh, I want you to confess!
(Confession: Both have happened in my home).

Post in the comments or email them to me (amfranklin1016@gmail.com) and I will feature them on my next post.

I changed the settings on here too so if you would prefer to leave your story anonymously you may do so in the comments.

I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Hand, Foot, And Mouth

Sometimes a hazard of being a parent is days on end where you feel like you almost literally cannot breathe.
Bags decide to book an extended vacation underneath your eyelids, patience thins out quicker than an anemic’s blood, and total exhaustion swirls in like a class 5 twister.
I’ve found myself all too familiar with these things for the past few days.
On top of throwing tantrums and being super needy Declan also developed hand, foot, and mouth disease which has only heightened these outbursts.

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He has been stuck to me like Morello on Christopher.

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And when he doesn’t get his way he becomes Walter White scary.

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I’ve found myself whimpering in the middle of the night because he has decided to nurse like a newborn all over again, wearing my nipples down raw and preventing me from getting any sleep.

I know this is a small moment in a large life but it feels never ending when you’re smack dab in the middle of it with no sleep, sore boobs, and a throbbing headache.

My dear friend Amanda recently had a day like this too and what she posted on her blog (here) really helped me change my mindset today.

I still need a nap, some nipple cream, and a glass of wine but remembering that I am not in control and that it’s a good thing is rather comforting.

So Declan, when you’re older and you read this I want you to know that you have put mommy through the ringer this week.
You’ve been dramatic, clingy, overly emotional, and straight up mean at times.
But I love you more than life.
I cherish you more than all the riches in this world.
And we are going to come out of this stronger and happier than ever.

Here’s to getting through the awfulness that is hand, foot, and mouth disease!

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Well, maybe my worst.

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Party With D. Franklin

To say my one year old got spoiled for his birth week would be an understatement.

He had a beach trip, Aquarium visit, Farrell’s ice cream dinner, Disneyland day, and a party to top it all off.

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You would think after all of this fun he would have been pooped by party day but Saturday came and he was ready to go!

The theme I went with was The Great Gatbsy.

Believe it or not, I didĀ not come up with the idea by hours of Pinterest scanning.

Instead it came to me in a daydream while driving one day.

Since it was something I made up I also had to come up with a lot of the crafting ideas by myself.

For the centerpieces I decided to spray paint mason jars gold and hot glue ribbon around them.

Then I added some homemade bows to resemble bow ties.

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I also (with the help of my cousin) took napkins, plastic silverware, and the same gold bow ribbon from the jars and used them to make bow tie silverware holders.

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Of course the only picture I snagged managed to be of an oddly shaped one but you get the idea.

I had the tables pre-set with these beautiful plastic plates from Party City and the bow tie silverware to add the elegant Gatsby feel to the party.

I also got tuxedo party favor boxes from the dollar store andĀ filled them with ring pops and airheads.

I love the way everything came out.

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I also (with the help of my Apple Genius friend Brian) found this awesome app called Insta Booth that lets you take photo booth style pictures with the Ipad and I set up a little backdrop complete with homemade props for everyone to play with.

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My dear friend Amanda custom made Declan’s cakes as a present to us which was incredible.

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Did I mention she was on vacation visiting us while she did this AND she’s pregnant?

Uh-mazing.

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Declan loved the personal smash cake she made him too!

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It was such a great bash!

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Lots of friends and family showed up, we drank mint juleps and champagne sangria, and by the end of it all little man was exhausted.

Thank you again to everyone who came and celebrated with us!

And sorry (not sorry) for this picture heavy post.

One Year

It was a long day.
We had spent half of it in the car driving home from Pismo beach and the other half doing birthday party crafts.
But last night I found myself unable to peel my sunken, sleep-lusting eyes away from the tiny little being curled up next to me.
It was his last night in the first year of his life.
I knew once I fell asleep the year would be gone forever, and I was having a hard time parting with it.
I wish I could lock away the last 365 days in a steel vault so that I would forever have every moment, every breath.
But memories have already begun to fade, stories already meshing together.
If I can’t remember what we were doing on November 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm now then I’m surely not going to remember in the years to come.
While I cannot tuck away every waking moment I have made it a point to preserve this year the only way I know how.
Through photos, videos, and writing.
Thank you for following my monthly Declan updates, my “I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing” parenting moments, and for loving my son.

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Sweet boy:
You are the light of my life and my greatest gift.
Your father and I are abundantly blessed by your presence.
You bring so much joy to everyone who meets you and it has been such a treat to watch you grow.
I am honored to be your mother and I promise to never stop telling you that.
Sometimes life will knock you down and you will feel defeated, but I will always be right there to help pick you up.
Be kind, love fully, and always save room for dessert.
Happy First Birthday Declan Lael!

Love,
Mama

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Tonight we are taking Declan to Farrell’s for ice cream, tomorrow is his very first Disneyland trip, and Saturday is his birthday party!
This kid is in for a weekend of partying and I will be sure to report back with lots of photos and stories.
My weekend starts now so I hope everyone has a good one!

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A Prisoner Of The Scale, No More

For the first time in 5 1/2 years I told my husband how much I weigh.
Let that sink in a moment.
I have been with Derek for over half a decade and I have never told him my weight.
Not because he just never asked or the subject never came up.
It was because for some bat shit crazy reason I have found myself a prisoner to that number on the scale my entire life.
I literally never told anyone.
Not my husband, not my friends, not my own mother.
But I don’t want to be shackled down by a number anymore.
That shiny metal machine should not define me; I won’t allow it to.
Not ever again.

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Don’t you wish our scales looked like this?
Don’t you wish they prompted confidence and self-esteem rather than depression and self-loathing?

When I was 21 I weighed my absolute lowest.
I had just gone through a nasty breakup and went on a liquid diet of booze, booze, and more booze.
The rare times I did eat, it was all fast food trash.

Fast forward to the present.
I weigh 9 lbs. MORE than I did back then but I am healthier, happier, and my body even looks better.

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The turning point for me was having a baby.
Obviously I wanted to lose my baby weight, but since I was breastfeeding I started to learn a lot more about nutrition because I needed to make sure I was getting enough nutrients to pass on through my milk.

I had heard about “eating clean” before but I started to actually read up on it and realized that it wasn’t the tasteless diet I thought it would be.

At the same time I saw a Facebook post by friend Noelle who had just completed P90x.
She looked AMAZING and I was sold.

We did the program (I posted about it here, here, and here) and both lost over 20 lbs.

Eating clean and doing P90x completely changed my life.
So when I was approached about becoming a Beachbody coach I was really excited.

Get discounts on the products I love AND get to help motivate other people?
Sign me up!

I started Shakeology and a new workout program called TurboFire three weeks ago and so far I love them both.

TurboFire is a combination of cardio kickboxing and HIIT training videos.
The music is loud and upbeat and the instructor Chalene is full of energy and motivating.
I’ve never had so much fun working out from home and I am literally dripping in sweat after every workout.

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As far as Shakeology goes, I have lost two pounds since I started drinking it and I also have way more energy.
Derek and I have both been replacing our breakfasts with it and we have been able to almost completely eliminate coffee from our diets.
The days we haven’t had our shakes we both have noticed a huge drop in our energy as well as overall feeling of healthiness.

And beyond everything else I have a new found confidence which to me, is the greatest thing to come from all of this.
I’m no longer weighed down by self-induced pressure to fit into a certain size or idea of what number the scale should say in order for me to be deemed “skinny”.

So I’m freeing myself.

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This number holds no power over me anymore.
I feel healthy.
I feel strong.
I feel confident.

So let’s come together and give a big middle finger to the scale.

Be proud of the weight you lose and the work you put into your fitness, but don’t let that number define you.

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And if you would like to join me in a journey the being a stronger, healthier you please do!
I’m in a free Facebook fitness group and I would love to add you.
We share recipes, post daily workouts, and even do weekly challenges.
For me personally, it has really helped hold me accountable and keeps me motivated talking with the other members.
You don’t have to do beachbody workouts or use their products to be part of our group either.
You just have to be committed to getting healthy.
If you’re interested feel free to email me (amfranklin1016@gmail.com), connect on Facebook, or Instagram (@fitformemommy).

Right now is a good time to start taking control of your lifestyle.
I hope you’ll join me!

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Surviving Your Friend’s Pregnancy

Let’s face it:
When you get pregnant it affects everyone.
And while it would be awesome if all your friends and family were on the same level of excitement (and misery) as you, it would also be kind of creepy.
It’s like I’m growing a baby right along with you.

Um, no.

But while this post is about you mama, it isn’t for you.
This one goes out to everyone who has been personally victimized by their friend’s pregnancy.
Aka, all of my friends during mine.

SURVIVING YOUR FRIEND’S PREGNANCY

It will start as all days do.
You’ll probably be milking a hangover as you eat a bagel and casually scroll Facebook from the comfort of your bed when you see a post that will stop you in your tracks.

Our family is expanding by two feet!

And then there were three!

We’re pregnant!

You immediately begin the five stages of grief.

Denial: OMG I knew it! I’m so happy for her!

Anger: Wait a minute. Why didn’t she tell me before she announced it on Facebook? What a bitch, she had better not expect me to come to the baby shower.

Bargaining: I should get her a bottle of wine so that she has to drink it with me when she pops that thing out!

Depression: I’m going to end up owning 25 cats and knitting them all sweaters for the harsh California winters.

Acceptance: It’s just a baby. Not like she’s going to change into a completely different person or something.

But of course you’re wrong.
Very, very wrong.

You will start to notice that it physically pains her to talk about anything other than her growing spawn.

And you’re like…

She will begin several sentences by saying,
“I know this is really gross and you probably don’t want to hear it, but…”

Every time you blink there will be a new photo shoot.

She will invite you to her baby gender reveal party and you will secretly wonder why on earth anyone would have an entire event surrounded around finding out what the sex of their baby is.

And you will never look at her the same way again if she makes it a dry party.

Speaking of, “parties” with her will never last past 7:00 pm.

Your days of splitting a cheat dessert after dinner will be long gone.
You turn your head for a moment to grab your fork and she’s already devoured the entire cheesecake slice and now she’s crying uncontrollably because it’s all gone.

Did I mention she will tell you that she misses caffeine every single time she sees you?

When the infamous baby shower comes, you will be at a loss on what to get her.

Does this present say, “Nope. Not bitter at all that I lost my Taco Tuesday PIC.”

And when she finally pops that monster out she will expect you to come to the hospital to visit this weird creature that you have no real attachment to.

You’ll look that little baby in the eyes and uncomfortably say the first thing that comes to mind.

Everyone will laugh, completely unaware that you were 100% serious and your new mom friend will put that tiny little being in your arms.

You’ll be terrified that any move you make will snap it’s neck and put you on death row.

He/She will lock eyes with you and look directly into your soul.

You’ll want to look away because there is way too much shit in there that is not child friendly, but you will find yourself mesmerized by those tiny little eyes attached to that tiny little body.
And for a moment, you will completely get why people decide to have kids.

When the baby is done uncovering your deepest darkest secrets they will then cleanse you of your sins by vomiting all over you.

This will snap you out of your trance and you will be free to leave.

Congratulations, you survived!

Now go enjoy your baby-free life with a trip to the movies.
Or a theme park.
Or a smokey bar with a regular named Patty.
The childless world is your oyster my friend.

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Father’s Day

When I fell in love with Derek it was that last night in Vegas, I’m all in kind of love.
We were high on the excitement of each other and drunk on our passionate love.
Only unlike Vegas, we didn’t come home ashamed and broke.
Instead, we were rich with love and found ourselves in a forever honeymoon.
I didn’t think it was possible for love to be any stronger than ours already was.
And then we became parents to our son.

This past (almost) year watching Derek transform from my husband to my husband AND the father of our child has been breathtaking.
I never doubted he would be a wonderful father but I still find myself in awe of him.

I have literally never seen a child in my life get more excited to see their father than Declan does every day when Derek gets home from work.
It’s easy and often expected for a dad to sort of sit on the sidelines and let the mom be the parent.
So I know how fortunate I am to have a partner who is so hands on not because he has to be but because he wants to be.

I have always loved Derek.
But the love I have for him now as I have watched him father our son has surpassed what I ever imagined was possible.

There’s so much more I want to say but I’m finding myself unable to put it into words.
It is very rare for me to be speechless but when it comes to this I just am.
So I will leave you with some photos that speak louder than my words ever could.

Happy Father’s Day my love.

I am honored to parent our child by your side.

Catching Up

I’ve got two blog posts sitting in my draft folder.
They are quirky and fun and almost done.
(That was an accidental rhyme I promise).
But I'm leaving them there because today I just want to catch up.

Life has been so hectic recently.
Not bad hectic, but the kind that has you unable to keep your eyes open past 9 pm.

I've had to make a decision during nap time on whether I want to blog or workout and frankly, working out has been winning because I'm hitting the Las Vegas strip in a month and I want my baby-made stretch marks to look slightly less stretchy if you know what I mean.

Currently I'm in full blown birthday planning mode for Declan which is both fun and stressful.
Damn Vistaprint ruined my invites but I don't have time to get new ones so I had to send out these weird, oversized, and cut off ones.
Our guest list is HUGE and I'm trying to think of ways to ensure that Declan isn't horribly overstimulated at this massive event that is supposed to be for him, not against him.
And our awesome photographer is moving to Dubai so now I'm on the hunt for a new one.
(If anyone knows a reasonably priced photographer in the SoCal area please let me know!)

Derek went on a fishing trip Thursday-Sunday and Declan did not enjoy his daddy being gone for so long.
He became super clingy as if he felt I was going to leave too every single time he was out of my arms.

Example:
On Sunday he took a nap and I worked out.
He woke up as I was finishing the last 2 minutes of my program and watched me calmly as I finished.
I picked him up out of the stroller, got him some snacks, and made our way to the bathroom so I could shower.
I turned the shower on and put him down so I could get undressed.
The minute his tiny feet hit the cold tile he began to scream and stomp.
He grasped my leg with both arms, cried "Mama!" and refused to let go.
So I sat there, naked and sweaty on my bathroom floor and did the only thing I could think of to calm him down.
I breastfed.
After about 5 minutes of wasting water during a horrible drought later he seemed like a new baby.
I began to put him down but before his feet even hit he was screaming again.
So I took him in the shower with me.
Mind you, I tried to bring toys in and have him hang out on the floor while I washed off quickly but he was irate and I was afraid he would slip and hit his head if I just forced him to stay down there.
You don't know skills until you have held a slippery wet baby in one arm and washed your body with the other.

Needless to say I was so happy when Derek came home.

I also hosted a bridal shower for my sister-in-law Jamie on Saturday which was great.
Her sisters, mom, and my mom helped me out A LOT which I was super grateful for.
It was beautiful and everyone had a great time.

Park days, lunch dates, and hour drives to see my mom have left us with hardly any down time.

I'm looking forward to relaxing this Father's Day weekend and just connecting with my little family.

I'll leave you today a hint for Declan's birthday party theme.

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Can you guess what it is? :)

P.s.
Here’s a little photo dump of everything we have been up to lately!

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Jaxon’s first birthday:

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Heaven and Hell party (we went as Miley and the Biebs):

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My dad’s birthday:

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Talk soon friends!