We’re crazy for carnivals

There’s something about a carnival that I love. The smells, the sights, the sounds … running into people you know. To me, carnivals have a small-town vibe. Some say our area of town reminds them of one giant cul-de-sac. I think that’s why I love it so much. You can live in a huge city, but events like this help make your neighborhood feel like a community.

Saturday night, we took the kids and grandpa to the carnival. It comes every year (see 2012 here). This time Kelsey was big enough to ride all the rides. Colton use his good looks to convince a lady working to give him a yellow duckie stuffed animal at no charge. It worked. He walked away a happy camper. It was a successful Saturday night.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blogmom blog

many hats of a mom blog

Shots & Shark Bites

I took a personal day from work so I would be with Kelsey all day. We had a 9:45am doctor’s appointment (her 4 year well visit). Translation: the day she had to get 4 shots. It sucks too because she is so aware now. We were preparing her for weeks.

We played doctor at home and told her that shots just make “a little pinch” and then it’s all over. I even planned the entire day out – after shots we would meet Grandpa for pizza and then we would go see the movie, Frozen. I brought Tylenol to the doctor’s office and a little ice pack to ease the pain.

She did great. She sat on my lap and took her shots like a champ. Her little eyes got so teary eyed and she cried a bit. But after an hour or so, she was good as new. After her shots, I looked at her and said, “Does it hurt, baby? What does it feel like?” To which she replied, “A shark bite. It hurts like a shark bite.” If that wasn’t cute enough she then said, “Mom, I never want shots again. Not for many years. Never.” I had to promise her that she wouldn’t get any more.

She gets more at 5 years, right? I hope her little memory fades her. She’s upstairs sleeping now. Bless that little girl. These two kids are my world and I hate seeing them sad. But thank goodness for extra mommy hugs and a little Häagen-Dazs ice cream to ease any pain.


Four years ago I became a mom

It was February 8, 2010. Ryan had just finished putting the car seat in. The house was extremely calm and quiet. As if everyone and everything around us knew something was about to happen. We climbed into bed and shut our eyes, it was the last time we would go to bed, just the two of us.

The phone rang at 4am. It was the nurse. She said, “Is this Stephanie? Are you ready?” I knew exactly what she meant. I perked up from bed and excitedly yelled, “We’ll be right there.” We were getting an induction that morning, February 9, because Kelsey was averaging over 9lbs and it was her due date.

I hurried up and ate oatmeal (a decision I would later regret), jumped in the shower to wash off, grabbed our suitcases and we hit the road. We were on our way to the hospital, and it was so dark outside. I can’t even remember if we listed to the radio. We were so excited and so scared. I remember being over the moon that I was about to meet my daughter, but terrified at the same time because I had no clue how to be a parent.

We arrived at the hospital and immediately went into Triage. It was 5am when we got there and we weren’t ‘seen’ until 7am. I remember laying in the hospital Triage room, watching the Today show when the nurse came in and gave me an IV. No one can ever find my veins so they had to prick me like 5 times. Then, I turned to my right and threw up on Ryan.

A little after 7am, we were wheeled into our delivery room. This was the moment we had waited for. Shift changes at 7am and 7pm, so we got a new nurse. This one would stay with us the entire delivery. She was not nice. In fact, I remember her being cold and matter of fact. She didn’t get my humor, but that’s okay. I wasn’t there for her.

A lot happened in between. The Pitocin. Drip. Drip. Drip. The nurse broke my water, then I got a catheter in, then I got the epidural (yes, in that order). Pain. Pain. More pain. The contractions were intense. I remember my mom by my bedside trying to keep me calm. Ryan was there too (I think he was just about as scared as I was) but I remember him being right by my side the entire time.

The epidural felt like someone hitting your funny bone … in your back (I would later have the complete opposite experience with my son, no pain whatsoever there). I was laser focused on the machine to my right. It was monitoring my contractions, but more important it was monitoring Kelsey’s heart beat. I listed to it very carefully. I heard every beat. My mom had a daughter before me who didn’t make it. I was terrified this would happen to me.

I just listened. Thump. Thump. Thump. Good, she’s still with me. If anything had happened to her, in this moment, I would have lost my mind. God had a plan for us. And it involved meeting a healthy girl in just a few short hours. The epidural was heaven sent. I felt one contraction after that, and that was it. Pain free.

My doctor arrived in a leopard dress skirt and top. She looked like she walked out of a St. John catalogue. Which is what I loved most about her. She’s fashionable. Amazing at her craft and really put me at ease. “Let’s have this baby,” she pronounced. And just like that, my mother and mother in law scooted outside to the waiting area and it was just Ryan, me, our doctor and the nurses. It was go time.

They put an oxygen mask on me. I remember thinking it smelled like a spray tan. You know the way that solution smells? That was it. My doctor asked me if I wanted to a mirror to watch. TO WHAT? NO. THANK. YOU. I said something along those lines, and then we started pushing. And pushing. For about 45 minutes (Colton would later come out in 15 minutes. Boys are much easier from the beginning).

I remember knowing when “it was it”. I looked at Ryan, then looked at my doctor and said, “This is it.” Sure enough, Kelsey came out right after I said that. She was crying, of course. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Life. That’s what it sounded like. Everything after that was a huge emotional blur. I heard her crying, saw her beautiful blue eyes, rubbed her cheek and never took my eyes off of her.

Ryan stole her first kiss. I really wanted that, but he just swooped in. He couldn’t help himself. We both couldn’t, our eyes never left her face. We went back to our room where I devoured graham crackers, peanut butter and a giant éclair. We settled into our room, where we would stay for the next 48 hours. We listened to music, stayed up all night, laughed, cried and somehow learned what to do.

Every day since has been a blessing. Kelsey has blossomed into the world’s sweetest girl. Do you know something? My dad always said to me, “You’ll always be my little girl.” And I get it now. I really get it. Because no matter how big she gets, how mature she becomes or how much distance is every between us, she will always be my little girl. That little 9 lb girl who blessed our life on February 9, 2010.

Happy birthday, sweetheart. Mommy and daddy love you so much!! Nanni took this picture of you and I when you were 24 hours old. You were in this hospital crib, which sat next to my bed. Dad had to sleep on the hospital couch while you and I got beds. You never left our side the entire time, and you know what – we will never leave yours. Ever.

love – Mommy

newborn Kelsey

Things strangers say when you’re pregnant

I’m not pregnant now. But, I was. Twice. I gained a lot of weight (50 lbs with my daughter, 40 lbs with my son). That was fun. I was sick for 16 weeks with Kelsey and 21 weeks with Colton. I looked like a house and felt miserable.

I was hopeful strangers would spare me the obvious – and instead of make comments, just let me pass by in peace. Here are some of my favorite things strangers said to me. And yes, these were all said. Promise.

Is this your first one?

That’s not too harmful. But it was my first one. And 9 times out of 10 the question that follows is: Do you know if it’s a boy or girl? At that point the conversation ends. It’s unusual because I just told a stranger the sex of my first unborn child (see: personal) and then I just walk away, never to speak to this person again.

When are you due?

This is always weird. This happened at the deli counter while I was buying meat. I told the guy that I was due in February (it was October) to which he proceeded with:

Are you sure it’s not twins?

Translation: You really have 4 more months to go lady. Here, double up on the meat. You need it. I find this comment totally insulting and no offense guys, but I got this comment with each pregnancy and each time it was a man who asked it.

They are easier in than out.

This is true. Oh, so true. But when you’re pregnant you want nothing more than to get that baby out because you can’t eat, sleep, breath! The baby literally takes over and your left walking around like a beached whale to which strangers remind you of every chance they get. See the question above.

Who’s your doctor?

Really, lady? I got this question from a lady who was walking next to me in the parking lot of PetSmart. I was buying dog food and she kindly helped me lift the bag into my car. Then, turned to me and asked. Who’s your doctor? Excuse me? Yes, I have a great doctor in Scottsdale if you’re interested. This was the weirdest comment yet because – while nice of her to offer – I’m pretty sure by 7 months along I have picked out a Gynecologist.

How long have you been married?

Then they start doing math in their heads. I sit in silence for a second, then jump in … we got pregnant a year after we were married. Ohhh … they said. Then, they smile. As if I have their stamp of approval. I got this question twice. Both times from other women.

Were you trying?

Was I trying to ….? Oh, have a baby. Yes, yes my husband and I were trying to have a baby. This was a planned pregnancy. Thank you for asking, person I don’t know.

Are you going to have a natural birth?

It’s other moms who ask this. Other moms who want to tell you about their labor story and their plans. It wouldn’t be terrible to ask, ya know – mom to mom – only, I wish I knew the person. But stranger moms asked this and I vowed never, never, never to ask someone this. I don’t care how many minutes ago we met.

How are you feeling?

This one I liked. Finally … someone who actually cares about how I’m feeling. Cares that I have shooting pains down my leg at night. Cares that I have been on Zofran for 21 weeks so I don’t vomit at work. Cares that I can’t fit into my seat at the movie theater. I could have hugged this person.

In summary …

If you find yourself in public staring at a pregnant woman, and you just can’t resist the urge to say something all you need to do is say this one simple thing:


Then, swiftly walk away and leave her and her hormones alone. xo

A Love Note to Kelsey Jean

Her confidence and her personality are two of the most beautiful things about her. She shines when she enters a room. It’s like there is a spotlight following this girl. I know I’m her mom and moms are supposed to think the world of their children … but there is something about this girl. Something so remarkable.

She has the most powerful personality, laugh, smile, heart and that makes her an all-around beauty to me. She is my best friend and I could not vision my life without her. Nor would I want to.

She’s almost four years old (I can’t even …).  And I can still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.  It’s like somehow you forget all about the pains of labor (until you’re about to do it again) but you remember so clearly exactly how you felt the moment your child was born.

When people ask me about my daughter, they all seem to ask the same question  “What’s your favorite age?” And my answer is always the same. This one.


The Family Hat: Weekends

Sprinkled donuts. Button noses. Squishy baby butts. Handsome husband. And one obsessive chocolate lab.  That’s my weekend and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

bosa donuts family family


The Travel Hat: Disneyland Photos

I love fall. I love Disneyland. It was like the stars aligned for this trip. Two weeks ago we went to Disneyland with Kelsey. I was there for a work trip so we decided to make the most of it.

Ryan flew out with Kelsey and away we went. We bought a three-day pass and used every minute of it. And even more exciting is seeing the Park from your child’s eyes.

We went on the Ariel ride (about 5 times) and just before our first ride, Kelsey would turn to us and say, “When we see Ursula, we have to cover our mouth so she won’t take our voice!” See what I mean. Just too cute for words.

disneyland at halloween time

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big thunder ranch barbecue

We went to Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue for dinner on our first night. It’s family style barbecue food (and oh-so good!). They had great country singers, we sat outdoors and there were pumpkins all around. Kelsey’s favorite part were the tongs on the table. Go figure.

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disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kidsClick on this picture to enlarge it. There’s something so nostalgic about it. Maybe it’s the guy in stripes. Maybe it’s the bouquet of balloons. Or, maybe it’s the castle in the background. Whatever it was, I really liked this moment and had to snap a photo.

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kidsKelsey’s two heroes: Dad and Peter Pan. I’m pretty sure my daughter was the only girl in the Park carrying around Peter Pan. Two years ago, all she wanted was Mickey. This year, it is all about Peter Pan and the Princesses.

disneyland with kids disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kidsThere is something about heights and going round and round in a circle that doesn’t do it for me. But, Kelsey’s G-ma told her that she had to ride Dumbo and the Tea Cups so away we went.

For the record, I stayed on the ground and Ryan took one for the team on Dumbo. It’s a classic. You can’t come to Disneyland without riding the elephant.

disneyland with kids

After day one, we had been on Dumbo, Tea Cups, Alice & Wonderland, met some characters, visited Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue and the nearby Halloween Fall Carnival.  And to think our day started at 2pm.

We went to Cars Land too. We had no idea who the Cars were, but the rides were so much fun. We at ice cream at “Cozy Cone Motel”. It’s this super cute outdoor eating area where the buildings are orange traffic cones. The cones light up at night and it makes for a great spot to end the day with dessert.

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disneyland shirt

There came a point during our trip, when Kelsey wore a Snow White costume and I was purchased a Dumbo tee-shirt. When in Rome, right?

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

Meeting Tinkerbell was one of the highlights. But, not to be outdone by the new Starbucks that opened on Main Street the very day that we were there. They even have their own Disney cups. Let’s just say we were a bit excited.

disneyland with kids disneyland with kids disneyland with kids disneyland with kidsThe castle! Where do I even start? Kelsey loved seeing a real Princess castle up close and personal. She even threw a Princess-sized tantrum right outside of the gates. What’s that saying? Ah yes, If the shoe fits.

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

cars land at disneylanddisneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids We convinced Lauren to visit us on Friday. And then a few hours later she and her brother convinced me to try the world’s best sandwich, the Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou Restaurant. Wowza. This thing was loaded  deep-fried goodness and I think I’m still working off the calories of that lunch. You can read about the Monte Cristo here.

goofydisneyland with kids   disneyland with kids

disnyand with kids disnyand with kids OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, we waited in line for Goofy, Minnie, Mickey … the works. The button that she is wearing is from lunch at Ariel’s Grotto. If you’re going to Disneyland, I recommend the Grotto for lunch.

I’ll be honest, we spent way too much on lunch ($115 for three) but it was worth it to see her face light up as each Princess visited our table. And she met Ariel, her favorite.

All in all, Disneyland was worth every penny, every tantrum, every early morning. We just loved experiencing the “Happiest Place on Earth” through a child’s eyes. We’ll be back … next time, we’ll take baby Colton with us.

The Parenting Hat: Girls will be Girls

It’s something else having one of each. Colton is only 8 months old and already I can see the difference between boys and girls just by the way they play with toys.

Kelsey would analyze a baby toy. Hold it tight, and really try to figure out how it works. Same toy. And Colton eats it. Throws it across the room. And bangs it against another toy. It’s cool having one of each and being able to celebrate their differences.

But, don’t count Kelsey out just yet. She can climb a tree just as easy as the boys can. And she can do it in a dress! She’s more of a risk taker than her mom and I love that about her.

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mom blog *Don’t worry. I was hovering down below just in case she fell. My husband doesn’t call me “helicopter mom” for nothing (although, when he starts making propeller noises around me, that gets kind of annoying). She’s my first-born. I’m totally allowed to hover.