8 Things That Happen When You Plan Your Kid’s 1st Birthday Party

You did it. You kept a human alive and thriving for 365 days. After 525,600 minutes, glasses of wine and Google searches, it all comes down to this: the 1st birthday party.

Is it for them? For instagram likes? Or an excuse for you to drink champagne and cry? I’ll be honest, I’m not sure. But I these 8 things will totally happen in the process.

You’ll Spend His College Fund.

The very little that you started to save in the first place will be gone. Consider that piggy bank smashed. Do you know how much a helium tank goes for these days? More importantly, did you know rock candy costs as much as a helium tank? It doesn’t matter, you need all of it.

You’ll become an expert on things you never thought you’d care about.

The average life expectancy of a mermaid is 36. Chicken noodle soup that was flown on Apollo 11 is worth more than your life. Unicorns fart glitter. The first dinosaur to be formally named was the Megalosaurus. This party will be authentic AF.

You’ll ruin your walls.

Kiss your security deposit goodbye. Your landlord will be convinced you threw a Keg & Eggs banger, not a Pancake and Pajamas soiree that wrapped up by nap time. There’s 923 variations of the Command hook, yet none can hold your balloon garland just right. Stick to a hammer and some duct tape–literally–and it’ll look like you hired a professional.

You’ll forget it’s your birthday, too.

Last year you planned a trip to Vegas to see BSB front row. That trip was cancelled once you did the math and realized you’d be 36 weeks pregnant at showtime, but you always did it big.  This year you listen to their new album while you curate the perfect collection of moon rocks for your little dude’s big day. With a glass–or 12–of wine, of course.

You’ll invite someone you met once.

The kid with the rash from your trial swim class, your downstairs neighbor you’ve never spoken too, the cashier at the grocery store. They’re all invited. This is your baby’s FIRST BIRTHDAY and everyone’s coming.

You’ll convince yourself that there must be a petting zoo.

It will not matter if you’re celebrating at a princess tea party…there will be goats. And pigs. And giraffes if you know the right people.

You’ll cry. A lot.

That’s your baby. You literally just met that mush 5 minutes ago and now they’re double fisting smash cakes. What an amazing and heartbreaking feeling all mixed into one. Time surely flies, everyone warned you.

For out of this world party ideas, visit Momo Party!

You’ll party hard.

Once you wipe the tears off of your face and custom NASA jacket, it’s time to celebrate. You literally watched a tiny person you made change and grow for an entire year. Drink it all in, and drink champagne.

Whether you celebrate with some extra snuggles before work, or you erect an entire circus tent and hire Raffi, this is a day you’ll never forget.

I don’t think the collections calls will ever let me forget it.

He’s Here, I’m Whole

My stomach is stretched and my body is healing. My makeup, if any, isn’t blended, and I think I’ve officially gone gray. I carry three bags and have no idea what’s in any of them. I’ve traded cheap beer for cheap wine, perfume for spit-up. I eat once a day, and it’s usually while balancing a nursing baby. I cry about the same amount. I’ve always been a good crier.

Once dressed in head-to-toe black, you wouldn’t find a single flower on my underwear, and now my closet is an urban garden. I gave up dedicating a chunk of my day in hopes of capturing a fire selfie, I’m not the first one I look at in a photo anymore. I ask myself “who am I?” more than once a day. I smile a whole lot. Man, this baby got me chucked up! I’m a mama, and I’m the happiest, best version of myself.

Soon, we’ll talk about how he got here, but for now…he’s here, and I’m whole.

Bumpy Road: Pregnancy Travel Guide

Tip #1: Don’t do it.

Juuuuuust kidding! Seriously, traveling while pregnant was a lot easier than I had anticipated. We live 1,500 miles away from our families in New Jersey, and the thought of spending the holidays away from them wasn’t very cheerful at all. Although we already had a flight booked for early January to celebrate our baby shower, we decided to make the trip home for Christmas as well. When we shared our itinerary with others it seemed a little insane, especially during my third trimester, but we were happy to make the trip(s)!

Keep in mind, this is not intended to be medical advice, just a few things that helped keep me comfortable on a 26+ hour drive and a 3.5 hour flight. Of course we got medical clearance, and my OB’s only advice to was to take frequent stops (every 3 hours) to amp up circulation in my legs. I took it a few steps further and am happy to report ZERO swelling and minimal discomfort on both voyages.

Space Jam: Rent a Car

To my pregnant body, our vehicles seemed like clown cars. There was no way I’d feel comfortable riding shot gun with our pup and presents crammed in the backseat with no room for me to push back or recline. If we were going to make this trip, my number one priority was to be as cozy as possible, so we rented an SUV. Nothing over the top, just large enough for me to be able to push the front seat ALL the way back and be able to recline if I wanted. A pet peeve of mine used to be people’s feet resting on the dashboard (can’t tell you why, but I’d gag at the sight) but you better believe my pregnant puppies were stretched out up there. I apologize to the fellow travelers who had to witness this.

Compressed is Best:

Glamorous? No way. Necessary? Hell yes! I am now a HUGE fan of compression socks. They vary in intensity and price, so I went with my gut and grabbed the cheapest pair I could find. “As Seen on TV” means they gotta be good! They were extremely comfortable and I had ZERO swelling on land or in the air. Get yours here.

Hydration Nation:

All day, every day, hydration is a huge pregnancy priority. I made sure to keep a bottle of water nearby and munched on low-salt snacks. Yes, I brought an emergency potty. No, I didn’t have to use it.

I boarded the plane with a liter of water each way and wasn’t shy about asking for sparkling water every time my lovey ordered another whiskey.

Speak up:

I take road trips very seriously and value making “good time.” That went out the window as soon as I stuffed my belly into the front seat. As annoying as it was for me, and the driver, it was important to speak up any time I needed to use the restroom or just stretch out a bit. The doctor suggested we stop every 3 hours, but sometimes baby and I were ready after 45 minutes. Listen to your body!

Work it Out:

Blood clots are a concern during long trips due to poor circulation. Compression socks absolutely help, but I felt even better if I made an effort to move around a bit. I spent a lot of time doing (c)ankle circles, and pointing and flexing my feet to get my blood pumping. As soon as the pilot turned off the “fasten seatbelt” sign, I had absolutely no shame in making that aisle my runway.

Cloud 9:

My pregnancy pillow took the ride with us! I wasn’t exactly sure if it would get much use, but better safe than sorry. At one point during our road trip, the dog and I switched places so I could stretch out in the backseat. My pillow swallowed me like an anaconda and my legs almost immediately fell asleep. I found the front to be the best spot for me, and although it was a tight squeeze, my pillow offered lots of cozy support jammed up there with me.

We all made it in one piece and had the most amazing time with our families. Again, this is not intended to be medical advice, just a few extra steps that made this mama comfortable on the go.

Special thanks to my babe for driving the ENTIRE way, and to my bestie for providing food, shelter and sweet babies to play with at the halfway point.



Pre-Baby Bucket List

The term “bucket list” sounds like a dirty word. It totally implies impending doom and that is not how we feel about becoming parents at all. “Things we’d like to do before we’re responsible for another human and I love you and I’m kind-of a little bit scared about what will happen when it’s not just us anymore so let’s go on some dates real quick!” just doesn’t roll off the tongue. Bucket List it is!

This is a sweet and simple concept, and can be customized to fit every couple (it can totally work for friend groups and families, too!). Jot down a list of ideas in your phone or on paper, or run to the craft store like me. The whole point of this “bucket list” is to make time and effort for your lovie before your life changes forever. Seriously, it’s about to get real. Think small, yet seemingly impossible, tasks like taking a nap together. Day trips and date nights are a go, too!

  • Go to a concert (we chose Ja Rule and Ashanti)
  • Play mini golf
  • See a movie
  • Go dancing
  • Get hot chocolate at your favorite local spot

My favorite part about our “bucket” is the reversible sign. We are so excited to start filling it up with more ideas and “things to see, just us three.”

What are some things you’re trying to squeeze in before baby comes?

Love Yourself *Bieber voice*

Now that we’ve officially entered the year my baby will be born, my focus is less and less on me every day. I’m less concerned about my personal resolutions, and more zoned in on getting the finishing touches done around the apartment and how to be the best mama I can be.

In between throwing away pots and pans, and scouring internet reviews for the best white noise machines, I discovered that January was “Self-Love Month.” If I’m already putting myself on the back burner, I know how hard it’ll be to make time for “me” once the babe is here. Instead of just adding “self-love” to my never ending To-Do list, I came up with a list of ways to show myself a little extra love…

Take a Bath-you might want to make sure someone is home to help you out, though.

Pamper Yourself- Get a mani/pedi, or facial, or paint your own nails with that Bonne Bell polish you’ve been hanging onto for decades…whatever you’re into, take the time to make it happen. It’s amazing what just a little tinted moisturizer can do for your soul.

Get a New Pair of Slippers-your feet totally deserve it!

Go For a Walk-take the dog even, they won’t be the baby for long…

Read a Book-that has nothing to do with labor and delivery, crazy symptoms, vaccines, or even BABY pandas…give yourself a break!

Go to the Movies-The Greatest Showman will blow your panties off!

Dance!-sometimes I don’t even close the blinds…

Cook Dinner with Your Honey-pick your favorite recipe, shop for the ingredients and make it a romantic night in.

Get Crafty-I have a ton of projects on deck for the baby’s nursery. By actually starting, I can stop stressing about getting them done and enjoy them. 

Quit Stressing-PLEASE!

Take a trial class at that new yoga studio that just opened up, stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself you’re beautiful, as long as you do something for YOU, this just may be your best year yet.

Happy New Year!



Mother Christmas: DIY Ugly Maternity Sweater

Hot chocolate runs through my veins. I take the holidays very seriously, and with a tiny snowflake on the way, my spirit is off the charts.  Even if I didn’t have an official event to wear this to, I’d make it and go to the grocery store.

There are a ton of “round” themed holiday items to pick from when faced with making a maternity ugly sweater. Snowman, wreath, ornament, snow globe, the last dozen cookies I inhaled. Snow globe, yes!

Initially I had a problem with all the supplies being “ugly,” but I quickly reminded myself that was the whole point. I’m wearing this to an ugly sweater party, and I didn’t actually have to be seen at the grocery store in it. Once I accepted that, I filled my Dollar Tree cart with all gaudy tinsel and garland.

  • Shirt or sweater
  • Plastic wrap
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Everything and anything to set the scene in your snow globe! I found fake snow, ornaments, tinsel and foam crafts at Dollar Tree.

Click through the gallery for a very professional tutorial!


Homesick and Hormonal

You know those intimate, candlelit restaurants that have a random guy in the corner playing an acoustic guitar? We went to one a few weeks ago for our anniversary dinner. It would have been perfect, but I burst into tears when the charming musician played “If I Only had a Brain” by the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.

I understand that I may literally be the only one to react to that song in such a manner, but I was immediately transported back to my kitchen table in Beachwood, New Jersey. My youngest brother and I sat there together singing through laughter in attempts of preparing him for his very first audition. He got a part and hasn’t gotten off the stage since.

A year ago, the love of my life and I decided to move to Austin, Texas. Since being here, I’ve missed roles and auditions, big and small. I also feel like I’m slacking in my own roles as daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend. I’d hang out with my family on purpose, and now we rely on group texts. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s way easier to lie about how you’re doing that way. You can’t hear the shakiness in our voices. Not only do I miss my family and friends, I miss myself. I’ve unraveled a little bit, veered way off track, and have been closer to depression than I ever have been.

Back home, by lunchtime I had already talked to thousands of people–for real–and now I find myself in silence more than I’m comfortable with. In addition to changing careers, the social schedule I was accustomed to vanished. My man is the best, most hardworking, man in New Jersey and Austin combined, and having opposite schedules with him has put into perspective how easy it was to take our time together for granted before we moved. Now, we’re lucky if we cross paths in our own apartment.

Missing birthdays and big occasions has not been easy, but nothing could prepare me for what was coming. To share the news that you’re expecting through the phone and not be able to hug the most important people in your life is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. For the past year, I got through stuff like this with a good cry and some whiskey. Chocolate milk can only do so much.

Circling baby sections solo while sending text blasts of all the cutest items just isn’t the same as waddling around the store with your Mom and Grandmother. My friends and I used to talk about being pregnant together, and now we have to settle for #bumpies on Instagram. As my belly grows, we’re watching babies we love learn to walk on FaceTime. No, this isn’t how I thought it would be, but it is. I’m so fortunate to be in love, to have a healthy child on the way, a new city to continue to explore, and to have a family who’s willing to plan a baby shower from 1,500 miles away.

My little family of 3 is so lucky to be loved by so many, near and far. As I prepare for my biggest role ever–Mother–now is the time to step it up and be stronger than I ever have been. Texas gave us our baby, and a wonderful group of friends, but circling back to The Wizard of Oz, there’s really no place like home.