Mixed Berry + Cocoa Smoothie [and growing into motherhood]

I watch my son, Josiah, hold onto the old, scratched up coffee table, gripping the edge with his tiny fingers while he shuffles over to the couch. At 10 months, he’s still wobbly, but every day I notice his legs grow sturdier and his confidence stronger.

He also falls. Often. Sometimes his face gets red with frustration when he can’t keep up with his older siblings, and tears well up when he stumbles. But he’s just learning, and stubbornness propels him onward.

I hear the slap of his hands on the hardwood floor as he makes his way to the front stairs. He’s beginning to climb steps now—a milestone I’d prefer to delay. I follow closely behind, because even though he’s gotten quite adept at going up, he hasn’t exactly mastered coming down—or at least coming down safely.

He sets his hands on the first stair and waits for me. The corners of his mouth turn up and his blue eyes squint in excitement. I tentatively “chase” him to the top. He enjoys the game and doesn’t realize I’m actually spotting him. Mama’s not about to let him take another tumble, although it seems to him like that possibility is all part of the fun of it. The threat of falling doesn’t deter him from climbing.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that fearlessness. I started to assume I should be able to walk without ever crawling, to bolt up the stairs without a misstep. In the past, I traveled across the world without the prospect of getting lost holding me back. I applied for jobs without being crippled by the idea of rejection. I jumped into new ventures headfirst simply because I found joy in possibility. But now in the daily work of mothering, I easily forget it’s not only okay to fall, but it's normal, expected, and part of the learning process.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!


Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Warm Pasta Salad with Lemon + Herbs

Warm Pasta Salad with Lemon + Herbs

Our twins had finally arrived. I never felt so tired and so joyful at the same time, so in love and so overwhelmed. I sat in the hospital bed under the fluorescent lights, tending to my babies and asking every “new mom” question in the book. I was exhausted and blissfully naïve. I had no idea what I was getting into — what we were getting into.

During those early days, several nurses commented that my husband and I worked really well together. He was hands-on right from the get go, despite never having changed a diaper in his life. His first diaper was for my newly circumcised son who made it a habit of projectile peeing on anyone within four-foot radius. My husband woke up with for every feeding for weeks, wiping spit-up, consoling babies, giving bottles — doing whatever needed to be done. He was, and is, a total rock star dad.

I agree with those nurses; we did work well together. Before my kids’ birth, I was warned that having kids could shake a marriage. Maybe we were the exception. Maybe we could glide through the struggles that supposedly came with having newborns.

Nope.

As weary as we were those first few weeks, a mix of adrenaline and euphoria fueled us. Then, we got tired of being tired. Family and friends no longer stayed over, which meant the social buffer keeping us on our best marital behavior left with them. My husband went back to work and I had to figure out how to do this whole mama thing by myself. But it wasn’t just the learning how to be a mother; it was learning how to parent and be a wife.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Warm Pasta Salad with Lemon + Herbs
Warm Pasta Salad with Lemon + Herbs
Warm Pasta Salad with Lemon + Herbs

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Haus Favorites: Bright Eyed Baby State Flash Cards [and a giveaway!]

Bright Eyed Baby US Flash Cards

My mom was a history teacher while I was growing up. Our family outings often involved scouting out potential field trip locations for her eighth grade class. I've been to quite a few battlefields and taken my fair share of photos in front of canon replicas. We drove everywhere for vacations, and whenever we groaned, "How much loooonger?", she'd respond by saying something about how difficult it would have been to travel in a covered wagon. I remember looking at the names of people who came through Ellis Island, learning about the history of flight at the National Air and Space Museum and silently standing in awe at the edge of the Grand Canyon. As I look back, I'm grateful for all those lessons I learned (despite often complaining at the time), and I'm convinced that my appreciation for the history, culture, beauty and diversity of this place has deepened because of what I was taught as a child. 

Bright Eyed Baby US Flash Cards
Bright Eyed Baby US Flash Cards

A couple months ago, I came across Bright Eyed Baby on Instagram and immediately fell in love with their USA-themed flash cards. There's a "50 States" set as well as a few state-specific sets (with more in the works). They're sturdy enough for my toddlers and have beautiful, colorful illustrations that my kiddos love. The cards also feature vocabulary words, making them a great tool for kids learning to read or for teaching various facts about the United States. 

Bright Eyed Baby US Flash Cards
Bright Eyed Baby US Flash Cards

If these were around when I was young, there's no doubt in my mind that my mom would have owned every set. I have to admit, when I flipped through them last week I learned a few new things even as an adult. (Did you know that Connecticut's unofficial nickname is the "Nutmeg State"? I had no idea, and there's actually a fascinating history behind it.) 

Bright Eyed Baby US Flash Cards

I'm excited to use these cards to teach my kids through the years - whether it be colors or animal sounds, how to read or the impact of Abraham Lincoln. And maybe someday, we'll even use them as a springboard for a  "USA themed bucket list."

Bright Eyed Baby US Flash Cards

Now for the giveaway! In partnership with The Homemade Haus, Bright Eyed Baby is giving away a set of flash cards! One winner will receive a "Celebrate our 50 States" set, which includes 50 flash cards with unique illustrations and vocabulary words associated with each state. The giveaway contest is available to U.S. residents and will only run until Friday at 12pm (CST). All the details on how to enter are posted on my Instagram feed, so head over there to learn how to enter!

As a bonus, Bright Eyed Baby is offering 15% off their flash cards to all readers of The Homemade Haus! Just enter coupon code HOMEMADE at checkout! The code is only good through Sunday, April 10, so get shopping!


Products for feature and giveaway were provided by Bright Eyed Baby. All opinions are 100% my own.