A Letter to my Husband on Father’s Day

To my husband,

Not only am I so thankful for you, I really understand what an important influence you have on our family. 

Dads approach parenting completely different than moms do.  I think that children receive a completely different set of lenses in which they see the world from each parent.

As a mom I am so quick to worry about their safety and their feelings. Where as a dad you are always there to make sure they are adventurous and independent of  us.

Where I am there to help them not feel alone; you are there to show them that they are totally capable alone.

Where I am there to make sure they are fed and washed and their rooms are clean; you are there to show them that there is so much more and that the world is their playground and to get out and experience it!

Where I like to tuck them in their warm, decorated and coordinated bedrooms; you are there to tuck them in under the stars and into their sleeping bags.

I drop them off to school with their homework and semi healthy lunch; you show them what it means to complete school and chase a dream and make a difference in the world.

Do you remember that time one kid puked in the car and then the other kid sympathetically puked too? All on the side of I-17? We only had 2 Dairy Queen napkins and a half empty water bottle to clean it all up. Or the time the toaster oven caught on fire and you kept the house from burning down? What the heck would I have done without you?

Plus, without you who would I laugh with at all the weird things our kids do and say? Who would I trade off with reading the same bedtime story a hundred times with?

I need you not only as a parenting partner but as a life partner as well.

I need to look forward to you coming home so I can slip into copilot mode and all the pressure of the day isn’t on just me. I need you when I have been Mom all day and I need someone to see Me instead.  You knew me before this life we have built. We dreamed together of what the two of us would create. Without you it would just be me dreaming of a day maybe I would be lucky enough to meet someone like you to come along side me and create a life with me.

Without you who would binge watch Netflix with me? Who would tell me to get off Pinterest and Facebook because I am pretty enough and a good enough mom for you no matter what they say. And of course there is no one in the world I trust more to keep me and the kids safe if a zombie apocalypse happens. 

I love you big time,

B

 

 

So this weekend as you spend time with your husband or your own dad, say thanks and spoil them because what would we do and who would we be without them?

 

Fun and Local – Last Minute Flagstaff Father’s Day Gifts!

Fathers Day Gift

Are you looking for a last minute gift for your dad that is fun and local to Arizona? We put together a list of 6+ ideas that you can still get for dad! Some of them are right here in Flagstaff and some are a short drive from here. 

  1. Flagstaff General Store This amazing store has something for everyone! 
  2. Flagstaff Ale Trail. The ale trail is a self guided beer tasting adventure that will show you the best of Northern Arizona’s local beer.
  3. Flagstaff Extreme Course. Is your dad the adventurous type? If so he will love this place! There is a course for kids and adults. 
  4. A local concert, festival, show or sporting event! Does your dad love golf, baseball or fishing? You can set up a fun sporting event day by giving him tickets to see the Phoenix Suns, the Cardinals or the Diamondbacks if you are up for the short drive to Phoenix. Or if you want to stay closer to home, give him some tickets to see the Lumberjacks, a day of golf, bowling or whatever activity he loves! You can get him a ticket to a comedy show at the Orpheum, and a music event at the Coconino Center for the Arts or Pepsi Amphitheater, Micheal Franti anyone!?! A gift certificate for a movie and popcorn at Harkins Theater is always fun! Flagstaff has Theatrikos, our local playhouse, the symphony and so much more. 
  5. A night out at his favorite Flagstaff restaurant, or a gift certificate! We have so many new and old amazing restaurants here, there is surely something that he will love!
  6. An entry to a local race. Flagstaff has the amazing Flagstaff Summer Series and many other races here. The mud run and the color run are both coming here soon!

There are so many ways to celebrate dad, we’d love the here what other suggestions you have. Share them in the comments!

School’s Out! Now What? Summer Break Plans

 

Everyone looks forward to the last day of school and the unofficial start of Summer. That is, almost everyone. Some moms dread having their kids home every day for 9 weeks straight.

To be honest, I am one of those moms.  Summer Break is nine long weeks of being together.

I love my kids, but I also love dropping them off at school in the morning. Working from home is hard enough when the demands of deadlines, home, and family blur together. I look forward to Summer Break; then about week 3 (or even 2) I start counting down to the first day of school. (August 10 is 56 days away, just in case you were wondering.) 

Summer Break doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute but keeping some semblance of schedule will help things run smoothly. TV, video games, and streaming should be limited. I never thought I would use the TV as a babysitter, but it happened. However, when the weather is nice, we should all be outside. My boys still love to use chalk in the driveway and ride their bikes and scooters. Free play is great for learning, they are using their imagination and creativity.

The Flagstaff Arts and Community Calendar is a great site to find local activities. Art, music, nightlife, community, festivals, science, history, and sports are just some of the categories you can search. My kids are excited for the library programs offered at the two branches here in town. Our town also has a Community Market that sets up in the city Hall parking lot on Sunday mornings. The Urban Flea Market and Wednesday market will be opening soon. 

When I was a child, I loved going to Vacation Bible School. It wasn’t until last year that I realized why my mom loved it too! Dropping my kids off at a church for bible stories, games, and snacks is a perfect break for a couple hours. They love learning bible verses and meeting new friends. I love getting that time to myself! Watch CoCo And Twins for a list of Vacation Bible Schools offered this summer.

Flagstaff is a beautiful city and even after 7 years, I don’t take it for granted. I would not consider myself an outdoor person, but even taking a walk around the block is a start. There are so many parks, walking trails, and play areas around town. Did you know that there are 50 miles of the Urban Trail System? Or that there is a BMX park? The Flagstaff Recreation Department puts out Cityscape a few times a year with all the information. If you didn’t get one in your mailbox, you can see the online version here.

Lastly, DON’T OVERSCHEDULE. If you run from activity to activity every day, you will run out of steam way before the 4th of July. If there is a morning you want to sleep in, do it. Scrap your plans and head to the pool. Drive down to Oak Creek Canyon for a hike and some water play. Don’t limit yourself, be spontaneous. Take each day to find something that your family can enjoy, TOGETHER.

… and speaking of the 4th of July – the parade is amazing. Find a spot downtown by 7:30 am and set up your chairs. Watch the Downtown Mile race or grab some breakfast before the Parade starts at 9 a.m. 

 

What activities are you looking forward to this summer? Share with us in the comments, and leave a link if you have one. Thanks! 

 

 

 

Starting Father’s Day Traditions

In our house I have tried to instill traditions for many occasions.  Such as Tuesday night is of course Taco Night and for Easter we have the same ham.  So, I wanted to make Father’s Day special for my husband once we found out we were pregnant with our first child.  My husband does quite a bit around our house (i.e.- reminding children to put on clothes or go potty MULTIPLE times!) to keep it moving smoothly through-out the year, so spoiling him once a year seems justified. Here’s a few things that we do for the dad in our house through-out the day.

Photo courtesy of altonbrown.com

Breakfast

One of our favorite celebrity chefs is Alton Brown. My husband and I bonded over many hours of watching his show Good Eats pre and post kids.  Even now our kids enjoy watching the reruns of his show.  Alton has a recipe for cinnamon rolls that is just heavenly! Knowing how much my husband enjoys this recipe I decided that I would make him these every year in honor of him being a great father.  

I do have to admit that first year, while pregnant, my husband did help with making these, but man oh man are they worth it! To make these cinnamon rolls you do have to plan ahead.  I start these on Saturday afternoon/evening in order to let them rise and be scrumptious Sunday morning.

Linner (Lunch/Dinner)

In our house I tend to do all the barbecuing.  Grilled food tends to be my husbands food of choice so that is usually the next meal of the day! In most of the years past I have made either my own hamburgers or my carne asada. Both of which are really good options for my husband.  

My hamburgers are a mixture of lean ground beef, diced bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and spices, we then top them with more cheese, more bacon and our desired condiments.  My carne asada came into existence to please my husband’s limited and unique taste buds. I use flap meat, chipotle Tabasco, balsamic vinegar and spices.  My husband and father-in-law enjoy these items after they are grilled to perfection (and sometimes beyond perfection, because let’s be real, we are all busy moms!) and until they are stuffed. 

We will definitely be enjoying these cinnamon rolls and something barbecued on June 18th this year!

Do any of you have family traditions that you love and enjoy? Any from your childhood you’d love to now repeat for your kids? Let me know in the comments I’d love to hear from all of you!

Father’s Day DIY Succulent Planter

Father’s Day, Mother’s Day … we’re not really big on them in our house as far as buying gifts goes. We prefer to spend that money on traveling, experiences, or things we can use together as a family, such as home renovation projects. But ever since I became a mother two years ago, Mother’s Day has held a new meaning for me. I’m not sure if my husband feels the same, but each year I try to make something small/unique that celebrates his role in helping shape our tiny human’s future.

DIY Desk Succulent Planter

Our daughter isn’t in school yet, so we don’t have any of those cute kid crafts that are sent home to celebrate these special occasions. So this year I decided to make a desk succulent planter and enlisted my daughter’s help! This is a fairly inexpensive, yet thoughtful gift that is sure to make the dad in your life smile every time he sees it.

Materials you’ll need

  • Wooden planter (we got ours from Target in the craft aisle, $3.99)
  • Paints (we used acrylic paints that I had around the house from Michael’s, $2-$4/tube)
  • Paint brushes (we had these already, but you can also use sponges or your fingers!)
  • Skewers or sticks
  • 2-3 small succulents ($3 each, Home Depot)
  • Printed photos of your child or child/dad together
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Steps

  1. Have your child help you paint the wooden planter. Let them go wild. My daughter started with brushes and moved to a sponge brush and eventually just used her fingers to swirl the paint around. Let dry.
  2. Cut out your child from the printed photos. I have a photo printer at home so I made a collage of photos I wanted to use in Photoshop and printed it on one 8.5 x 11 sheet of photo paper. If you don’t have photo paper or a photo printer at home, you could send a few photos to your local drug store. Make sure to select a few options and different sizes to have on hand.
  3. Attach the photos to the sticks with tape.
  4. Pot your succulents into the wooden planter.
  5. Stick the photos in the planter so that they are popping out.
  6. Water your succulent.
  7. Ta-da!

I think it turned out pretty darn awesome and I know my daughter will be excited to gift it to her daddy on Father’s Day. I chose to use photos from some memories they’ve made together: the first time they went ice skating, one of her dressed in his favorite pajamas of hers (yay Toy Story), and a recent trip to San Diego.

If I remember to do it, I might print new photos out each month and switch them out for some fresh blooms 🙂

This was super fun to make and brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

If you decide to make one, come back and let us know — we’d love to see it! Tag @tiffanytcheng and @flagstaffmoms on Instagram.

Father’s Day Fun Printable

Father's Day

As moms, we work so hard to make Father’s Day fun. And if we’re being honest, more than one of us is a little resentful at the, ahem…difference in effort put forth for Mother’s Day. 

I found a way around it. I still look like a super star, but with way less effort.

Now, it’s your turn. 

The idea came to me on my husband’s second Father’s Day.

His first Father’s Day was insane. I created an entire picture book documenting his first year as a father. As you flipped through the book, you read this beautiful poem about a son’s hands eventually growing to be as big as his father’s hands.

My husband cried. And it was only his first present! He also got a trendy leather bracelet with our son’s birthday engraved on a metal plate, a special donut breakfast (which I had to run and get while our 8-month-old was still sound asleep), his favorite dinner, time to watch the U.S. Open – and the list goes on. 

You know what I got on my first Mother’s Day? An electronic photo keychain that isn’t compatible with a MAC and has never been taken out of its package. I also got cards and flowers…but I was already working on his elaborate Father’s Day and honestly felt deflated.

Needless to say, when the next Father’s Day rolled around, I didn’t put nearly as much pressure on myself to provide a perfect day.  

Instead, I created a simple little “Menu” for a Fun Father’s Day.

The first iteration explained how a genie had visited me in my sleep. The genie asked that I grant my husband and father of our children three wishes for Father’s Day. My hubby then got to circle his top three choices, with the option to write-in anything I hadn’t already thought of. 

He received the rolled up 8.5×11 sheet of paper with a dozen of his favorite donuts in the morning and the entire day became a “choose your own adventure.”

He LOVED it! 

It’s become a tradition in our household. And bonus – now all I have to do is update the list, print the page and pick up a Father’s Day breakfast to start the day off on the right note. 

Enjoy this FREE printable of the Father’s Day Fun idea. 

Father's Day Printable

Then sit back, relax and enjoy a Fun-tastic Father’s Day! 

Much Love – H 

 

5 Fun Free Summer Activities in Flagstaff!

Flagstaff Summer Katie Woodard Photography
Image via Katie Woodward Photography

Oh summer in Flagstaff! Are you ready for the warm days, cool nights and all around amazingness that Flagstaff has to offer in the summer? I know I am! I love the lazy days, the pool time, and just about everything summer has to offer! Summer is a great time to travel with the family, but it is so hard to leave this amazing town in the summer when the weather is so great! I always look forward to the monsoon season too, when the flowers come out again and everything smells amazing. Here is a list of five fun free summer events, all of which our family has done frequently.  I am so ready to dive in again! Please click on the links for more information.

  1. Kids Squared Wednesdays from 10-11am starting June 15th at Heritage Square! These events are for age 2-12 years old. I used to go to these fun meet ups when my kids were younger and it was always fun. 
  2. Movies on the Square These movies are on Saturday nights from Memorial Day through Labor Day and start close to dark. Bring a chair and a blanket, you know how it get chilly when the sun goes down here in the summer!
  3. Concerts in the Park Every Wednesday in June and July! This may be my favorite! This year they are opening with Flagstaff Music School performances, then the main event is from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Bring blankets and chairs and get ready to dance!
  4. Story time at the library. There are events at both our Main Library downtown and the eastside location. This is for infants up to five years olds.
  5. Beautiful hikes. There are so many great books on this topic and so many hikes to choose from depending on your needs and interests! A few favorites are the Lava Tubes, Mt. Elden, Fatman’s Loop, Buffalo Park, every trail in-between Elden and the Peaks (so so many!) and the San Francisco Peaks, I could go on and on on this topic! 

What’s your favorite Free Family-friendly activity in Flagstaff?

10 Best Patio Restaurants in Flagstaff

Best Patios Flagstaff

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to eat out! As a mom of 3 small kids a lot of my eating out is dominated by Chick Fil A and Café Rio. Don’t get me wrong those places are great; I mean play areas and free quesadillas hold a special place in a momma’s heart! That being said, I need, I mean NEED, my time with my man or my girls surrounded by yummy food. Summer is by far my favorite season in Flagstaff and I intend on soaking up every minute of it which means eating outside! 

Here are 10 restaurants that have great patios, some for date nights and some also are great for those times you want to eat out as a family. This by no means is a list of all the great patios in town just some of my favorite! So this summer set aside some time to eat some delicious food, enjoy Flagstaff’s beautiful weather, support local businesses and sip a cocktail on the patio watching one of Arizona’s legendary sunsets. If you see me there say Cheers!

1. Criollo – Date night must see.

Criollo serves Latin infusion which pretty much means delicious and super fresh. They list all the farms and local sources they get ingredients from and the wait staff is super knowledgeable in all the menu options. Their little back patio can be hard to snag but is totally worth it! It is everything I love about Flagstaff and I would say is my favorite patio of them all! First off it is in an alley. I  mean what is cooler than a downtown back alley?! I’m not talking smelly, creepy back alley, in Flagstaff back alleys are art canvases with murals plastered on all the open spaces.  Criollo has fresh herbs and plants all around their patio and lights strung for awesome ambience after the sun goes down. Be sure to get there for happy hour Monday-Friday 3-6 pm. They have great margaritas and special prices on small plates like fish tacos and Sonoran hot dogs! Put this on your list of must sees!


2. Lumberyard – Family by day, party by night.

Lumberyard is a versatile choice. During the day you can bring your family and sit on the patio and watch the trains go by in the heart of downtown. Lumberyard is a historic building aptly named for the Flagstaff Lumber Company from 1890 that used to be run out of that building. Saturday nights are Country Night. Starting at 9 pm meet in the brewery area where you can take country dance lessons. Do not miss this! This is the most fun you will have on a date night or out with a big group of friends. After a time of practice the tables in the restaurant are moved and the dancing begins! If you are a curmudgeon and refuse to dance be sure to at least come inside for a bit and watch the dancing. A loyal group of who show up every week and throw it down! We are talking legit Two Step with the guys flipping the girls over their heads!  After you get done dancing be sure to head out to the cooler temps on the patio and enjoy one of their awesome brewed beers under the stars!


3. Macy’s European Coffee House – Delicious coffee south of the tracks.

Macy’s has been a Flagstaff staple forever. They have a loyal following and the place is always full of locals before work and tourists getting their morning start. Summer is the best time to check out the front patio. Always full of people, dogs and the perfect spot to people watch! Their breakfast menu is all vegetarian but don’t let that scare you away. Their biscuits and vegetarian gravy will not leave you longing for sausage! The Coffee Bohemian is my favorite, a cappuccino with chocolate and cinnamon. The coffee is not only yummy, their latte art is on point!

 


4. Tourist Home – Friends in town? This is your breakfast and lunch spot!

Tourist home is one of the best new additions to our mountain town! The building was built in 1926 and is the perfect mix of history and modern décor. You walk into a coffee bar smack dab in the middle, surrounded with people talking or working on their laptops. Stepping up to the counter you’ll spy some carb eye-candy galore! The pastry chef fills the case daily with everything from the most amazing Cronuts (half donut, half croissant) to cookies and more. For breakfast they have all you could want, from a Breakfast Burrito to Benedict.  For lunch they have sandwiches, burgers, salad and a great selection of kids items. The restaurant has two unique patio areas. The front is porch style and the back is a large fenced yard with picnic tables. Bring the whole family and sit in the back where the kids are contained and can run around while you dine on amazing food!


5. Diablo Burger – Perfect for First Friday or Date Night Downtown.

Diablo Burger is located in Heritage Square in Downtown Flagstaff. During the Summer Heritage Square is a weekend hot spot. Between Movies on the Square every Saturday night, to all sorts of events including First Friday Artwalk, this is the place to be on a weekend. Seating at Diablo is SUPER limited and most of it is patio family-style picnic tables. If you don’t want to fight for a spot check this place out for lunch or on a week night! The burgers are made of grass fed beef from the Diablo Ranch right here is Arizona. A unique twist – burgers are served on English Muffins instead of hamburger buns! Once you try them you will only make your burgers at home that way from now on!


6. Old Town Creperie – The sweetest ending to an evening downtown!

Right next door to Diablo Burger is this little  gem! It’s a cozy spot with all the charm of Heritage Square.  They serve Savory and Sweet crepes. Savory include the Margherita featuring spinach, avocado, tomato, mozzarella, and feta with an herb tomato sauce and fresh basil. My favorite are the sweet crepes like the ‘Flagstaff’ with bananas, strawberries, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, berry puree, chocolate sauce and whipped cream! Crepes are the best ending to any great date night downtown! The Old Town Creperie is open May through Halloween and are also at the Farmers Market every Sunday at City Hall.

 

 


7. The Oakmont – Family Friendly Patio with amazing views!

The Oakmont is located in the Continental Country Club on the east side of town. The patio over looks the Continental Golf Course and has a great view of Mt. Elden. They offer all sorts of food from appetizers to pasta to burgers. The patio also offers tons of grass space to let the kids run around, including corn hole and yard jenga! If you can catch a sunset while eating dinner your experience will be complete! 

 

 

 


8. Altitudes Bar and Grill – Who doesn’t love a train shot?!

Located south of the tracks on Beaver Street is Altitudes Bar and Grill. This place is locally owned and offers up burgers, sandwiches, salad and soup. My personal favorite is their Green Chili Chicken Stew. They have a great front patio next to the train where every time a train goes by you can join in on their Train Shots served up on a ski! They also have live music during the summer and you may even see the Alpine Pedaler show up, think booze cruise on a big trolley-like bike!

 

 

 


9. The Mayor – Skee Ball and drinks out of an Airstream?! Sign me up!

The Mayor is fairly new on the bar scene here in Flagstaff. Located south of Downtown close to the Northern Arizona University campus. They have a huge patio space with Yard Jenga, Corn Hole, Washoes and tons of seating around multiple fire pits. Make sure you head over to the airstream or as they call it ‘The Land Yacht’ to get your drink of choice or XXX Snow Cones. That’s right –  what is better than a snow cone? A snow cone filled with alcohol of course! They also serve sandwiches and salads and even have a snack menu including pizza rolls and soft pretzels. If you don’t mind hanging out with college age folk this place is definitely worth visiting when out with friends!


10. NiMarcos Pizza – Family friendly pizza by the slice!

If you are going to be spending time downtown as a family be sure you hit up NiMarcos! You can get a whole pizza ,or even better – slices served all day! Established in 1979 and then taken over by 2 NAU alumni in 2000 this has become a Flagstaff favorite. Dough and sauce are made daily and they always have a great selection of slices beyond your typical pepperoni and cheese. There are 2 locations one on the west side and my choice for the best patio is the downtown location on Beaver, south of the tracks.

 

 

 


What’s your favorite Patio in Flagstaff? Do any of mine make your list? 

Making Work at Home Work

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If you are one of the people who scored a coveted spot for your kiddo at a pre-school,  I applaud you, however if you are like the masses and stuck on a miles long waiting list then you have probably had to make some career and lifestyle changes.  Our little one will hopefully be getting into a school in 2018; but until then, I get the joy and pleasure of staying home with her. While also trying to balance working part time.  

For me working from home didn’t come easily or naturally.  When you have a toddler, baby, really any age child at home it’s hard enough to get your daily household and childcare tasks done while making sure that said child isn’t burning the house down, ravaging any organized space or just generally plotting their own demise.  

When I would be ignoring my child to fire off some client emails I felt like a bad mom, and when I was playing legos and doing the same puzzle 298 times a day I felt detached and stressed, like my body could actually feel the emails stacking up in my inbox.

I think all parents go through this struggle. You want to be the best everything; parent, spouse, friend, daughter, employee and human, but ultimately feel like when you succeed at one role it is at the expense of another.  It’s rough.  I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think anyone really does, but here is what helped me to make working from home work.  

Make nap times work for you

Duh, right? Even though this may sound silly or obvious, hear me out.  I treat nap time like it’s a timed test.  I become hyper focused because I know I have a solid hour and a half to DO IT ALL. This “beat the clock” mentality is almost competitive in nature and truly motivating.  After I have worked for an hour and half, any time that I have after that is for me.  It’s like the carrot at the end of the stick.  Not only did I get a lot of things done professionally; I’m less stressed and feel more in control when I am done and can actually enjoy my “me time.” Which can range anywhere from a mere five minutes to – gasp – whole thirty minutes!

Have a routine

As a former elementary school teacher I love structure.  Having a routine gets me focused; and studies show having a routine gets your brain in the head space to perform.  For me, my routine is to boil some water for tea, light a candle, and then start setting up my work space. Cleaning up anything that will impede my work (think: sticky breakfast dishes, grocery bags, the after effects of the pre-nap tornado, etc.) By the time my tea is ready there is a nice scent around my work space (our massive kitchen island). It’s fairly clutter free around me and I am mentally prepared to get down to business.  The scent of the candle and the act of drinking tea are also great physical cues that it is time to get down to business.  Doing this every day helps provide some structure and makes the act of working a little more pleasant. 

Have a family schedule

I’m sure you already have some sort of schedule. You probably have too many schedules; school schedules, your baby’s sleep schedule, your partner’s work schedule, and on and on, but hear me out on this.  My husband and I sat down together and made my “work schedule”  yes it’s true I may not be going off site to an office but what I’m doing is just as important and meaningful as any work I did in an office setting so it’s important to schedule the necessary time.  

We made set “work hours” and those are protected times where I cannot be pulled away to take care of household duties or childcare. Just like if I were away from home. I wouldn’t be folding laundry and watching TV while trying to field calls at an office. So during my work hours it’s like I am a walking do not disturb sign, I am not really here, I am at work.  This has been so helpful because I know I have allotted times to accomplish specific tasks. I can better plan my days and prioritize. This strategy also helps to keep me from doing a halfway good job all day long, during my work hours I am fully present and doing my job instead of trying to sprinkle in work all day throughout my day.

Be realistic

I’m a mortgage loan officer, and most of the things I need to do can get done during nap time. But, the things that I can’t do during nap time, like meet with clients or participate in phone calls without a screaming baby in the background; that’s when I have learned that a babysitter can be the most valuable investment in your career.  You can do a lot with your child, but some things are not professional or productively done with a toddler in tow.  

Knowing what I can and cannot do and accepting that was huge for me.  Yes I can take my baby with me to drop off marketing materials, but do I really want to? Here are some flyers that use to be nice but now have cheddar bunnies smeared on them. Is that the professional message I want to send?  No, thanks.  Many successful people say you should invest in yourself first if you want to be profitable. Well, for me investing in myself meant investing in a sitter once a week so that I could put my best and most professional foot forward. 

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you find your #momboss self. I would love to hear the suggestions you other mamas have! Do you work from home and make it work?

YOU are my Why

making mom friends

Ever since I was in High School, I was one of those people who had a ton of acquaintances – but only a few close friends.  That trend followed me into my college and through post-college life.  My two best friends moved across the country finally landing in Wisconsin and New Hampshire; which was fine because we were able to text, email and communicate daily. 

Finding Friends

When I joined the workforce, I made work friends that I would gladly attend Happy Hour with, and often joke along with at work.  But we never made it much past work friends, and I was always fine with that.  Soon I met my husband and with his unique work schedule, I treasured every free weekend we had together.  My husband had a close group of friends, so we often hung out with them and they quickly accepted me into their social circle.  They generally did not have long lasting girlfriends or wives, so I was still missing that female connection. 

The next chapter of my life brought me to motherhood.  What anyone who has been the mom of a newborn has realized, is that motherhood can be awfully lonely

I love my son more than anything, but I was used to working 40 hours a week.  Now I sat at home with my son, felt the pressure of all the internet posts that I wasn’t creating daily lessons for my week old son to learn. I felt that tug of sadness coupled with guilt for even feeling sad in the first place.  I got out of the house as much as possible; the park and story time are fabulous activities, but not for a 3 week old. 

I eventually made my way back to work, submerged in adult conversation, feeling like myself again and valuing my weekends off with my son and husband.  Sure, I would meet the occasional mom at the park, but nothing ever “stuck”.  And to be fair, it wasn’t for lack of these moms reaching out. 

I was the one who often said no to plans until one day they stopped asking. 

In my mind I only had a few days with my family after a full work week; so I wasn’t going to make plans to hang out and do playdates!  What kind of mom would do that?!  The unfortunate part was I would see these moms post pictures on Instagram of birthday parties or playdates that I inevitably wasn’t part of, and I felt the sting of guilt and pain of sadness.  Sure I could handle it, but my immediate thought was, “why were they excluding my son”?  But, of course they weren’t.  They had asked me numerous times to hang out, and I always said no because that was the time I chose to spend with my family.

Missing out on Mom Friends

Enter my second child.  I realized Maternity Leave is a lot more fun and entertaining when you have a toddler around!  I now had the time to take my son to art class.  We went to story time and the park, all with little sister in tow. 

I started to meet and talk to moms, and that’s when I realized it; I had really missed a lot about life, kids and being a mom by not having mom friends! 

It sometimes makes me sad to think of how much I missed that first year by not having any close mom friends near by.  There is a lot to be said about commiserating over your screaming  child (while drinking wine), and knowing you’re not being judged. 

I felt like I didn’t know the best baby brands, toys or foods because I had no one to talk to.  I felt like my son missed out “making friends” and playing. 

Flagstaff Moms Blog was created not only for our love of Flagstaff and the community, but to be honest, I wanted a close support system and community for myself.  So if you are a mom reading this and you find yourself in my words, I encourage you to join in our community. 

Sign up to attend an event.  Comment on a post, I promise we’ll write back!  Engage yourself, because as we know, being a parent is hard, but what’s even harder is realizing later what you missed out on. 

Mastitis : A Lesson in Listening to my Body

Doctor's OfficeI was in those first few moments of bliss where your mind cannot tell if you are in a dream or reality.  My husband and I were on a beautiful island resort; drinks were flowing and I was commenting how wonderful the water felt as we sat at the swim up bar. 

Moments later I awoke only to find I was not basking away in a pool; but my 103.4 degree temperature had caused me to sweat through my pajamas and blankets.  In that instant I knew I had mastitis.  My entire body ached so bad that I felt as if I couldn’t move. 

During the night, my breast became so painful that I could no longer bring my 7 month old daughter anywhere near it to nurse.  I had the perfect trifecta of constant pain, intense throbbing and burning in my breast. 

Warning Signs and Treatment

This should not have come as a shock as the day before I had the tell-tale symptoms; achy body, fever and pain in my left breast.  Unfortunately I ignored the symptoms, convinced I was getting the flu and it would go away on it’s own.  My son had been sick the day before and the last thing I wanted to do was sit at the doctor’s office, just to have them tell me I had the common flu, which had no cure. 

With the help of my parents I made my way to the Minute Clinic (of course it was Saturday!) and the doctor looked at me, took my temperature and told me she really should send me to the ER.  She measured the infection, a very visible red splotch, which was 9″ by 5″.  She told me I should be thankful that after 24+ hours it hadn’t spread outside of my breast into the rest of my body.  I was sent home and instructed to continue to breastfeed, which put me into tears, take 10 days of a strong antibiotics and make sure the infection did not spread.

The next 48 hours were a blur. I was thankful that with my husband out of town for work, the kids and I were staying with my parents.  There was no way I would have been able to care for them.  I had actually told the doctor that after two non-medicated childbirths, this was more painful.  She looked at me as if this was common knowledge, and said, “yes, it is”. 

A Painful Lesson Learned

So, as I sit here, antibiotics finished and finally feeling like myself, what lesson have I learned?  I learned that I completely ignored my instincts.  As moms, I think we’ve nailed it when caring for others.  But when it comes to our own health, we put it far on the back burner.  The phrase that keeps ringing through my head is, “I really should send you to the ER”.  I cannot imagine what I would have done with my kids if I was sent to the hospital.  I was so concerned about parenting, going to work, etc. that I refused to go to the doctor the day before.  The irony is that if I was put in the hospital, none of that would have mattered. 

Moms, please listen to your bodies.  We cannot care for others if we cannot care for ourselves.  Thankfully this was something that was easily treatable and cleared up relatively quickly.  Next time I know to listen to my gut and not take my health for granted.

Mastitis Symptoms: (WebMD)

  • Tenderness/swelling, body aches, fatigue, breast engorgement, fever/chills, lump in breast, persistent fever, puss draining, redness/swelling/pain that does not disappear after breastfeeding, red spot.

Please note, I am not a doctor, so please contact a medical professional if you have any questions or concerns. 

Have you been diagnosed with Mastitis? How did you manage? 

 

 

Swimsuit Shop Round Up!

swimsuitshop

Summer is upon us, and we all know what that means – swimsuit season! Maybe you’ve got a family vacation on the calendar coming up, or your kiddo is enrolled in swim lessons. Perhaps you’ll be hitting the community pool 3x a week like us! Whatever your summer swim plans, we’ve got you and your kiddos covered with some cute and functional suits. With kids we know it’s so much easier to shop online, rather than hauling your whole crew to the mall for a marathon swimsuit search session. We linked to some of our favorite shops that allow you to order online! 

FOR MOM

swimsuitformom

1. Albion Fit – We love the fun and whimsical look of these retro-style suits.

2. J Crew – Classic styles and prints. 

3. Target – The right styles at a great price!

swimsuitformom1

4. Land’s End – Their ‘Swim Finder’ helps match you with your perfect suit style. 

5. Athleta – Bra sizing options make finding your fit easy. 

6. Anthropologie – So many unique and beautiful suits to choose from. 

FOR GIRLS

swimsuitforgirls

7. Justice – Bight prints and cute styles. 

8. L.L. Bean – Sporty styles to keep up with swim lessons. 

9. Land’s End – Fun suits with coordinating rash guards to match. 

FOR BOYS

swimsuitforboys

10. Tilly’s – All the best surf brands in one place. 

11. ZARA – Retro styles and prints. 

12. Old Navy – Great value for your money. 

:: PIN IT ::

swimsuitpin

What are your favorite swim shops? Do you enjoy shopping for suits for your family ?

Welcome to Flagstaff Moms Blog!

Hello!

Welcome to Flagstaff Moms Blog, we cannot wait to share more of our community with you. We are so excited you’re here! Want to know what we’re all about? This is the place to start. 

We’re About Community 

Our mission :

To be the number one local parenting resource connecting Flagstaff area Moms with information and parenting perspectives unique to our community.

We live in Flagstaff, we work here, and we are passionate about connecting moms with local resources, local businesses, and each other. Our site is a community-focused resource aimed at helping you find the best that Flagstaff has to offer your family. 

 
Amanda + Daniella Co-Owners | Co-Founders

We’re About Local

Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for everything you might want to know about raising kids in Flagstaff, AZ. We’ll share our favorite kid-friendly spots, from coffee shops to breweries. Need to find a Preschool or a Pediatrician? We’ve got you covered with the best options our town has to offer. We are passionate about providing you with the best resources and information for local businesses that care about Flagstaff and the families who live here. 

We’re About Moms 

Flagstaff Moms Blog is a collaborative blog, written FOR local moms, BY local moms. We want to be your trusted guide for all things family in Flagstaff, but most of all we want to support you as a Mother. Our team of amazing and diverse Contributors are sharing their stories and experiences as Flagstaff Moms. Everything from the challenges of being a working mom, to the triumphs of finally finding the best way to road-trip with your toddler.

We believe in the strength of a village, and the power that comes from finding your tribe. Stay tuned for more ways that Flagstaff Moms Blog will connect readers off-line through events and activities in our community. 

Join The Flagstaff Moms Blog TribeJoin our Tribe and always be the first to know what’s happening!  

xo, 

The Flagstaff Moms Blog Team

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