Traveling to NYC with a Toddler

We recently took a fabulous trip to NYC…with a toddler. To my surprise, she handled all the traveling like a champ and seemed to have a wonderful time, as well.

Being raised in the city, J-bird is in love with tall buildings, people watching, and riding the “big train.”

CLEcitymom Traveling to NYC with a Toddler

CLEcitymom Traveling to NYC with a Toddler

Our trip was somewhat Hamilton themed. We visited his home “The Grange”, the dueling grounds where he was shot, the Morris Jumel mansion where President Washington had meetings, Fraunces Tavern, where Washington gave his farewell address, Trinity Church where Hamilton is buried, and of course, we saw the Hamilton musical on Broadway.

It was magical.

CLEcitymom Traveling to NYC with a Toddler

There were definitely some key things we did or brought that helped make this trip a success.

For the car, an almost 8 hour drive, we had some fun activities and a very enjoyable ride. Here’s a list of a few tips that helped make it work for us:

  • Bring a few “new” items in a special bag. Our new items were:
    • Play dough
    • Magna Doodle
    • A new coloring book
  • Bring lots of snacks.
  • Bring a few dolls or staple toys you know your child loves
    • J-bird spent a decent amount of time in her own imaginary world with her stuffed animals and her purse…she LOVES having a purse

CLEcitymom Traveling to NYC with a Toddler

Navigating the city required a few more staples…

  • Purell gel and hand wipes
  • Snack containers with plastic rings that you can attach to the stroller
  • A very very very lightweight and easy to open/close umbrella stroller with a cover
  • Snacks on hand at all times
  • Water bottles with good lids to keep the tops clean and leak free

I cannot even explain how much I loved traveling to NYC. The city is electric. I love seeing so many people pursuing their dreams. 

CLEcitymom Traveling to NYC with a Toddler

Oh…and the food is amazing. We eat vegan and had absolutely no problem finding food. Our favorite spots included Superiority Burger and By CHLOE’S.

CLEcitymom Traveling to NYC with a Toddler




the day it all started


February 25th… One year ago today, I woke up with the anticipation of Baby Girl arriving at any moment. It was my due date, so get it together kid…it’s time to come out.

I went to work hoping to make it through the day without my water breaking all over my cubicle, or something horrifically embarrassing like that. Thankfully that didn’t happen. Instead, I started feeling the tiniest contractions every 30 minutes in the late afternoon. “This is it,” I thought.

Little did I know that it would be 48 more hours of contractions, 3 visits to the delivery unit, and a heck of a lot of pain and screaming before I would get to meet Baby Girl.

One year later, I’m planning a birthday party, sipping my coffee, and enjoying the giggles of my little girl.

In one year so much has changed in our lives. Date nights require babysitters, the apartment gets really quiet after the 7:00 pm bedtime commences, and getting out the door is no small task.

Our vocabulary has changed to include baby babble, our Amazon cart is full of diapers and wipes, and our apartment looks like Toys R’ Us’ vomited all over the place.

Despite the chronic sleep deprivation and busy schedules, this has been the best year of my life. Baby Girl is full of personality, loves to laugh, and is a social butterfly. She will literally stare you down until engage in conversation with her. She thinks it’s hilarious to jump on Daddy’s pillow in the morning while he sleeps. She gives very open mouth kisses and puts the phone up to her ear when you say “hello.” She is incredibly active and basically never stops moving. Her favorite thing to say (and then giggle) is “ba-di-gum.” Maybe one day we’ll figure out what she means.

This is my girl.

I’m treasuring up the last two days before Baby Girl turns one. The countdown to the smash cake has begun!




Parenting Goals 2016

IMG_20160104_1440262016 started off a little different than I expected. I got a case of strep throat, Baby Girl had the worst cold she’s ever had, and David is feeling under the weather, too.

Needless to say, I’m very thankful for z-packs, nose suction bulbs, and being back home in my bed after all the holiday travels.

I’m also thankful to have a husband who went 30 minutes out of his way to get me the tea I needed, a mom who keeps checking in on me to make sure I’m feeling okay, and sister who sends lots of encouraging texts throughout the day.

Seeing how much that’s meant to me over the last few days, I think 2016 needs to be the year of deepening relationships and rich community. We need each other!

With that in mind and also thinking through my other goals for the year, I’ve come up with a few mom goals for 2016.

  1. Be present. Don’t miss out on the little joyous moments of life with family because you have to go finish the dishes or do chores. Those things matter, but don’t miss the good stuff!
  2. Show Baby Girl who Jesus is through my life. Sing songs that tell of His goodness. Pray prayers over and with her. Tell her stories of His faithfulness. Read Bible stories together. Create art that shows her more of who God is.
  3. Show Baby Girl how much I love her daddy. She needs to see hugs and kisses and quality time spent by her parents.
  4. Explore. I have a little explorer child. She is so curious about everything! This year, I want to show her fun things, take her to new places, and let her curiosity and wonder of the world get bigger and bigger.

2016 is going to be a great year. Only two months away from having a toddler, I’m looking forward to my little girl who can pretty much only say, “dadda, momma, oh wow!, and yeah” to start picking up more words, running around the apartment, and stealing our hearts with her big personality.

Happy New Year to you!


taking time for you

IMG_20151205_212917714Have you ever seen the sketch that Ellen does where she reenacts one of her viewers who accidentally put an Airborne tablet in her mouth without water while stuck in an airplane seat?

She starts foaming at the mouth uncontrollably and can’t go anywhere because she’s stuck in the plane.

I don’t know why that is so hilarious to me, but this past week I keep thinking about it as I have been putting white strips on my teeth during my commute on the bus. As I ride to work and walk through the office I am hoping no one talks to me and notices my foaming teeth. Thankfully, none of the foam is escaping my mouth, but still. How embarrassing would that be?

So far, I’ve only been talked to once by someone on the bus. Hopefully they didn’t notice.

Over 9 months of being a mom has taught me that it is really easy to take care of your child, apartment, to-do list, etc. without taking time to care for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in feeding, bathing, cleaning and forget to go get your hair cut for months.

Since Baby Girl has started sleeping through the night, I feel a little more like a human and ready to reclaim some time for me.

Step one was obviously teeth whitening strips. Let’s be real…coffee drinking requires teeth maintenance.

I’ve started thinking through the things I loved doing pre-baby and how I can get back into some of those hobbies. I also want to do better at incorporating BG into the things I love to do like baking, playing guitar, crocheting…

Point being, I’m understanding the importance of getting out of survival mode and enjoying life, hobbies, and taking time to care for yourself.

How do you make time for you?

How do you incorporate your kids into your hobbies?

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season!



This guy.



This guy. The man. The myth. The Legend.

Sometimes he goes by Pops. Sometimes, Popsicle. Sometimes he’s Dad or Grandpa.

Whatever we call him, he’s my dad and I’m thankful for him.

When I was a little girl, my dad was the designated Turkey Slicer each year at Thanksgiving. I used to love watching him take the electric knife and shave off pieces. My favorite memory of Thanksgiving morning is actually him cutting off a few little pieces for us to enjoy before the meal.

I don’t eat meat anymore, but I’m excited to spend Thanksgiving with family again this year.

This happens to be Baby Girl’s first Thanksgiving. As I was thinking through what we could do to make her Thanksgivings special, I was reminded of my memory with my dad. It was a simple little thing- a special moment that he shared with me each year. We were little Turkey Thieves.

I don’t know what Baby Girl will remember from our Thanksgivings each year, but I hope we take time to enjoy the day with her, make time for special moments, and tell her how much we love her.

As the years go on, I look forward to the Thanksgiving cooking we’ll get to do together, the little bites we’ll sneak before the meal, and the time gathered as a family around the table.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Make some awesome memories. Each way too much pumpkin pie. And sneak your kids little bites of food as you prepare the meal.




Toy Rotation Baskets


Toy Rotation Baskets

Want a quick weekend project that is going to save you time and money?

In about 10 minutes, I created Baby Girl’s Toy Rotation Baskets. What is this, you might ask? This is a way to stop buying new toys all the time and reduce the number of toys you have to clean up every day. This is a way to keep the novelty in what you already own.

So what did I do? First, I laid out all of the toys, stuffed animals, teethers, and books that we own, outside of the big toys like the exersaucer or activity mat.

Next, I made piles of similar items. All the stuffed animals go in one pile, books in another, etc.

Finally, I grabbed 4 baskets and divided each type of item equally into the 4 baskets. What we are left with is 4 different baskets that all have each category/item type.

Now what? To keep your current possessions fresh and novel to both you and baby, put one basket out for 1 to 2 weeks. At the end of the time frame it goes back on the shelf and the next basket comes out. Tadaa! New toys! New books! New stuffed animals! Awesome!!!

Here’s my one exception: anything that baby is incredibly attached to or you seriously need all the time, keep out all the time. For us, it’s Sophie the Giraffe. Sophie is our best friend.

So now you’re able to save money by not buying new toys, and save time by having less to pick up every day.

We’ve been trying this out for a little bit now, and love it! The basket is even a fun part of the playtime options as Baby Girl can flip it over and climb on it. I’ve also come to enjoy toys I didn’t even realize we had or barely touched before.

What do you do to keep the novelty in what you already own?

Have a great day!



meal planning made easy


Have I mentioned I hate meal planning? I’m going to blame my taste buds on this one. I am totally okay with bland food. Eating peanut butter on bread for dinner is just fine for me. Plain noodles? Sure.

So when it comes to meal planning, the thought of deciding on interesting foods just isn’t that exciting to me. Don’t get me wrong, I actually do love well-seasoned foods and great flavor, I just don’t care if something is bland either. Whatever you stick in front of me, I’ll probably eat.

But when you have a family to cook for or enjoy having people over for dinner, dishing up spoonfuls of PB with a side of chips and salsa is not going to go over well.

So over the last 5 years of marriage I’ve tried to figure out meal planning. We’ve also been vegan (minus most of my pregnancy) for the last few years, so that adds a fun dynamic.

Happily, VERY happily, I like my meal planning system, thanks to a little board I created on Pinterest called “Menu for this Week.”

Each Sunday while I’m sitting on the couch feeding Baby Girl I peruse the web and Pinterest for main dishes that sounds appealing. I take into consideration our schedule for the week as well. Are we super busy, or do I have an hour for a meal to cook?

When I find something I like, I pin it to this board. If I don’t want to find a new recipe, I peruse my other boards, “Mains and Sides” or “Soup.” I simply edit the pin and move it over to the “Meals for the Week” board.

My goal is usually about 5 main dishes, which leaves room for eating leftovers or those nights where we are craving a veggie burger and homemade fries.

Do we eat side dishes in our household? Hmmmm….not really. We are more of a one-pot, one big main dish kind of family who will have an evening snack of popcorn, fruit, chips and salsa, or maybe even vegan ice cream a few hours after dinner.

But you would never guess this if you come over. I up my game for company and dream up a side dish. Lucky ducks.

After I’ve made the meal, I click on my pin and move it over to the “Mains and Sides” or “Soup” board. This naturally empties out my board each week and tells me what I have left to cook.

This also helps my grocery list. I can easily pull up the pins, write down the ingredients that I need, and make sure we have them  on hand.

Working mom + terrible taste buds. This system is winning for me!
What’s your meal planning system?