Three Easy (and Doctor approved!) Stretches to Relieve Pregnancy Pain

What Women Are Not Being Told About Pregnancy-Related Pain

It is estimated that at least 50% of women who are pregnant will experience low back or pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. It is a fairly common expectation of pregnancy. Our bodies change as baby (or babies) grow and we experience changes in hormones, potential changes in sleep patterns and changes in the mechanical function of our bodies. No surprise that aches and pains arise, right?

It is ok to acknowledge this potential pain and discomfort as long as we are also keeping women well informed about the fact that there is help with it during pregnancy. That is often the missing piece that women are not being told: common pregnancy-related pain should not be considered “normal” pain that you just have to deal with. In fact, some of those aches and pains can continue to progress after pregnancy into postpartum, so beginning to address them early is, at the very least, providing your body with help from the onset.

Several months ago I was invited by Tara of Organic Birthing Hypnobirthing to provide a few quick tips on how to help with pregnancy-related pain. Below you’ll find the tips I discussed and a video showing you how to safely and comfortably practice these poses. Of course, there are more than just three, but for many, these three are a great start to relieving discomfort.

(More of a visual learner? Keep scrolling for the video version)

“Hug the Baby”

This movement is used to activate the low core muscles and create movement in the belly. During pregnancy, many women feel that they lose connection to their core (abdominal) muscles. This gentle contraction of the low core provides a nice movement of the belly and helps to keep the core “connected.” It is a myth that women cannot keep their core connected and strong during pregnancy.

Child’s Pose

Yogis will appreciate the benefits of this position. A slight widening of the legs can help to create room for baby. This position provides a nice stretch along the back down around the sacrum and into the hips.

Deep Squat

The deep squat is great for stretching the hips and the pelvic floor. It is an important stretch to include in birth preparation. This squat takes the pelvis straight down toward the floor, as where a basic squat is often done with a posture as if one was getting ready to sit in a chair. This stretch should always be done carefully, so holding onto a chair or non-movable support is fine. This can also be modified as the pregnancy progresses or if the full squat is not attainable.

Remember: especially when stretching and exercising as an expecting mom, keep incorporating breath. Breathe through the movement and listen to your body.

 

Dr. Robyn Wilhelm, PT, DPT is a perinatal and pelvic Physical Therapist specializing in pelvic floor and women’s health physical therapy. Connect with Dr. Wilhelm on her practice website: http://www.wilhelmpt.com.

 

The winner of our HQ birthday party giveaway is…

Dominique Gastelum
The prize is a FREE day rental at HQ, 3 large pizza’s (cheese or pepperoni) from Queens Pizzeria and 2 hours of FREE face painting from Pop’n Art by Liz.

This event was sponsored by Team Evolution Real Estate.

It’s October! Top Fall Family Events in AZ

At last! October in AZ has arrived!!  Time for outdoor living, zoo trips, park play dates and, of course, HALLOWEEN!

Over at MOMnation, we know it can be tough to narrow down the fun, so we put it all in one place. Below you’ll find all the info you need for a family and fun-filled fall season.

Events

MOMnationMarket and Halloween party is happening at HQ on October 28th.  MacPea Photography will be there with a cute little Halloween set-up and will be offering photo minis! All market vendors will have candy for the kiddo’s and Liz with Pop’n Art will be face painting.

For more info and to RSVP, click here.

Queen Creek Trunk or Treat  is happening on October 21st from 5p to 9p. Children trick-or-treat by going from car trunk to car trunk on “Trunk or Treat Street” to get their bag filled with goodies. Admission is free.

For more info, click here.

The SpOoOoKieST Trick or Treating Locations

Our MOMs love these neighborhoods for the best trick or treating and the spookiest decorations.

Gilbert:

Power Ranch

San Tan Ranch

The Gardens*

Circle G Ranch

Coronado Ranch

Gilbert also has The Halloween House!

Mesa:

Dobson Ranch

Evergreen Historic District

Las Sendas

Boulder Creek

San Tan Valley:

Ironwood Crossing

Circle Cross Ranch

Phoenix:

Desert Ridge Aviano

Ahwatukee:

Equestrian Trail in Ahwatukee

 

🎃 Pumpkin Patches 🎃

MacDonald’s Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ

Take a horse or mule drawn hayride over to the pumpkin patch and pick your favorite pumpkin!  Come for the pumpkins and stay for the petting zoo, hay maze, pony rides, gem mine, cowboy golf, carnival rides, face painting, and sand creations. Visit their website to learn more.

Mother Nature’s Farm, Gilbert, AZ

Tons of pumpkins to choose from and a cute little “farmhouse” shop with local goodies.  You can also enjoy hayrides, an adventure maze, a straw bounce and farmyard animals. Learn more at their website: http://mothernaturesfarm.com

Tolmachoff Farms – Glendale, AZ

There’s a six acre corn maze, a petting zoo, train rides (weekends), corn box, pedal carts and a jumping pillow. Not done yet? Tolmachoff Farms also hosts the AZ Field of Screams and of course, a pumpkin patch!

 

👻 If Haunted Houses are your thing:

AZ Field of Screams – Glendale, AZ

Haunted House and Hayride – Phoenix, AZ

Jack and Jill’s Haunted Hill – Phoenix, AZ

13th Floor – Phoenix, AZ

Fear Farm – Phoenix, AZ

Sanctum of Horror – Mesa, AZ

The Crypt Haunted Attractions – Mesa, AZ

The House on Camino – Mesa, AZ

Dark Scares – Mesa, AZ

Golfland Fright Nights – Mesa, AZ

Scarizona – Scottsdale, AZ

 

Did we miss something that you love?  Please comment below and share!  

Happy Halloween!  

 

This awesome home in The Gardens in Gilbert, AZ is available for sale!  Check it out!

The Gardens in Gilbert, AZ

MOMnationAZ Summer of Fun!

Our hearts are FULL!!!  These last few months have been some of the best for the MOMs of MOMnationAZ. From charity events to prom, we had a blast. Here are some highlights:

MOMnationAZ Charity Events

We helped raise over $600 for Kitt’s Kitten Rescue in May!  A kitten was given a second chance because of our efforts.

In June, we raised $131 for Tempe Young Lives.  We were able to sponsor a “club” night for these young MOMs.  

We are always proud of the work we do within our community, but our August efforts left us beaming.  We were able to donate $400 to a Chandler family that has run into some health surprises that quickly impacted their finances.  

MOMnationAZ Events

Over the summer we had 50+ events but the most memorable events were the 80’s themed MNprom in August, and the Find Your Soul MOM Speed Dating 2.0.  

MNprom was just that!… An adult prom with a little twist. Hairspray, 80’s music and pink lipstick were in abundance that night, as was the raffle winnings, cold drinks and yummy appetizers.  We rocked the Macarena, the Dougie, the Electric Slide and even crowned prom King and Queen.  Good times!!

 

The original Find Your Soul MOM was such a hit that we decided to do it again.  Nearly 50 women met up to “speed date” by asking each other a series of questions (and not your average questions either) to determine their next MOMbff  That event started at Boulders on Southern and turned into some late night karaoke at Doc and Eddy’s.  Turns out, there’s quite a bit of karaoke talent in this group.

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Did you miss out on the fun?

Keep an eye out for a packed fall and holiday schedule with new events at HQ, MOMnation Market, and tons of other awesome goodies for our MOMmies and MOMboss members too.

Best Coffee Shops in Arizona

If you’re a MOM you’re most likely also coffee obsessed! Our MOMs are too.  Sure, Starbucks is great (drive-through, hello!) but where can a MOM get away in Arizona to enjoy great coffee, and maybe even a… kid’s play area?  Here are our absolute MOM and pop fave coffee shops around Arizona.

Best Coffee Shops in Arizona

 

Chandler

Peixoto: This shop operates on a supply of Brazilian beans direct from a family-run South American coffee farm.  We love supporting that!

Sozo: Sozo is a huge coffee shop in Chandler that has a stage with open mic nights and live music!  It’s also kid-friendly with a separate toy room for the littles.

Gilbert

Bergies: Aside from the cool downtown Gilbert location, we adore the little rustic cottage and the cute outdoor patio.

Sweetz Cold Brew: Cold brews and vegan-friendly foods here! We also love the layout and high-top bar with plugs for your laptop/phone.

The Coffee Shop: Located in Agritopia in an old, rustic barn… need we say more?

Glendale

Cabin Coffee Cafe: We love the vibe here!! Friendly staff, cozy vibes, great coffee + a kids table.

Rayner’s Chocolate and Coffee Shop: It’s chocolate AND coffee 🙂

Mesa

Jarrod’s Coffee & Tea Gallery: Coffee plus art equals a one of a kind experience in historic downtown Mesa.  

Volstead Public House: Vegan and adult beverage options at this old historic coffee shop located along the light rail.  We LOVE the exposed brick wall and the old wood floors.

Phoenix

The Velo (Roosevelt Row): It’s cyclist-friendly coffee shop! They even boost Sunday social rides and live music on First Fridays. Swoon! 

Where U Bean Coffee (Ahwatukee): Awesome decor and they make an amazing banana pudding!

The Teapot: One of the most family-friendly coffee shops that we’ve ever come across. Inside, there’s a children’s corner with toys and outside, large play structure, bikes, toys, umbrellas for shade. Teapot also has picnic tables and a big community table, making it even more MOM-friendly. We love it!

Scottsdale

Maverick Coffee: Located just south of Shea, Maverick coffee has everything you need to get away and maybe even get some work done: big couches, incredible coffee, yummy pastries, and an ambiance that cannot be beat.

Sip Coffee and Beer House: Get your espresso or coffee infused with a little liquor. Sometimes, when you’re a MOM, there are days for this. 🙂

Tempe

Cartel Coffee Lab: Dedicated to quality and integrity of coffee, this stuff is so good. The beans for every cup of coffee are ground and drip brewed as you order. It’s worth it, but maybe not so kid-friendly.

Gold Bar Espresso:  Great coffee and great pastries.  Sometimes there’s even live jazz!

Got a MOM and pop coffee shop that you love that wasn’t mentioned?  We’d love to know about it.  Please leave your recommendation in the comments!

Energy Bill Savings Tips for Arizona MOMs

As MOMs in AZ, there’s lots we have to think about and energy efficiency certainly is at the top of the list.  It’s not only important for a comfortable home environment for the fam, but it’s also beneficial to the household budget. 

There are several ways to keep the house comfier and the wallet happy during the summer months.  Here are our great suggestions from our MOMs:

  1. Get sunscreens, especially on the windows in direct sunlight.  Sunscreens come in many different sizes ranging from 60-90% sun coverage. They not only help block the heat but also provide some privacy.  Sunscreens can make a really big difference in the overall comfort of your home, and also offer major relief on your energy bill.  
  2. Sunshades are a must and we LOVE the automatic version.  There are many options and colors of shades that are programmable.  Once the sun hits a certain level, the shades come down.  It’s great!  Manual versions are also available and are a bit more cost effective while still offering the savings on the monthly energy bill.  Check out one of our favorite, and very popular, manual sunshades here.
  3. Nest Thermometer! This programmable thermostat learns your habits and saves approximately 15% on your cooling bill. The coolest part is that it can be controlled by your smart phone.
  4. Check out energy rebates and usage programs from SRP, APS and SW gas.
  5. Check your insulation levels.  Having the correct amount of insulation is super important, and at least 90% of AZ households do not have sufficient insulation.  Speak to a professional to determine the appropriate amount of insulation and appropriate R-value. Here’s some more info.
  6. Energy efficient windows are a great investment and will definitely help reduce the energy bill.  When selecting new windows, consider their energy performance ratings with respect to climate and home design.  You can expect at least a 20% savings on your energy bill if not more.
  7. Make sure your “extra” fridge in the garage is up for the challenge.  Higher temperatures can stress it by forcing the motor to run constantly, especially if your garage exceeds 110 degrees.  The energy bill will spike and you run the risk of the machine failing and risking food spoilage.
  8. Service your AC unit ASAP if it has not been regularly maintained.  You’d be surprised how much more efficient a regularly maintained AC unit is and you might even find that it makes sense to upgrade and replace the unit with a higher SEER rating for maximum efficiency.  Be sure to change your AC filters regularly; it may seem small but this helps keep the unit running efficiently.
  9. Speaking of AC units, don’t forget about your ductwork.  This is nearly as important as the unit itself.  Look for sections that should be joined but have separated, and for obvious holes. Don’t want to do the work yourself? Consult a pro.  Ignoring this could mean a 25% to 30% energy loss.
  10. Seal energy leaks around doors, windows, etc.  If you can see the light of day, you are losing energy.  Caulk and/or apply weatherstrip to doors and windows. Caulk to seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. You can even install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  11. Moving air is cooler that turning on your air conditioning because it creates quick evaporation of moisture from the skin.  Ceiling fans are found in almost all homes in the Phoenix, AZ area and help create a more comfortable environment by moving air.  Don’t think there’s a fan for you? Ceiling fans come in many styles and colors to fit any design scheme!
  12. Go solar! Solar power popularity is on the rise and you can now either purchase or lease the systems.  There are still several options and incentives available for installing solar panels on top of the already big savings on energy bills.
  13. Upgrade to energy star appliances, and don’t forget the water heater.  These appliances save a ton on energy but they don’t slack on performance.  Upgrade your dishwasher, freezer, refrigerator, washer, dryer and water heater.
  14. Keep the fireplace damper completely closed while not in use!  Consider adding glass doors and keep them closed to increase energy efficiency.  
  15. Planting the appropriate trees in strategic places around your home conserves energy and reduces your energy bills.  Be sure to consult a professional as planting an inappropriate type of tree or placing it in the wrong area can be damaging to some major systems of your home including the roof, foundation and plumbing.
  16. Purchase black out shades or blinds and place on all windows affected by the sun.
  17. Consider purchasing a home with North / South exposure.  This is the most optimal orientation in the Phoenix AZ area.  Search Phoenix area homes for sale here.  

Contact me to discuss your energy efficiency level.  I have great referrals for professionals to help with any of these suggestions and love to get to know MOMs!

 

This house just SOLD! Want to see properties just like it? Click the image or visit: http://bit.ly/2tJVI7v

Katie Halle Lambert
Associate Broker
Team Evolution at 
Revelation Real Estate
480-250-0023
www.EvoAZ.com

7 Things to Save for When Buying a Home in Arizona

Face it, it’s time to buy a house. You’ve been thinking about it more and more since your rent went up…AGAIN. All of your friends are taking the plunge and some are even building new homes with the New Build Ninja AKA Jen Duncan! You’ve realized it’s time to get it together and start the process, but where to start? Buying a home can seem daunting, but with a strong real estate team supporting you, and a few tips, you can simplify this exciting process.

So, what is the most important thing you can do to prepare for buying a home in Arizona?

Start saving ASAP!

Toss as much in a savings account as possible. The more money you have to work with, the more options you’ll have during the process which can save you time and money in the long run.

Here’s what you are saving for:

Earnest Deposit: This is the buyers “good faith” money. This deposit is due upon an accepted contract and is held by the title company in an escrow account until closing. The typical earnest deposit amount is 1% of the agreed upon sales price.

General Inspection and Termite Inspection: The inspection period is typically the first 10 days following the accepted contract date in AZ. During this time, the buyer is responsible for performing any and all inspections of the property. It’s common for the buyer to cover this fee as well as a termite inspection fee. Depending on the size of the home and the inspector that is hired, this fee is typically around $400.

Closing Costs: Costs to close for the buyer is typically around 2-3% of the sales price for financed buyers. This estimate does include prorated property tax amounts and an appraisal fee. The appraisal fee will likely be due once the buyer’s lender orders the report. This fee is approximately $500. Costs for cash buyers are a bit less and there are no appraisal fees generally.

Home Warranty Plan: Home warranty plans can help ease the stress of home owning. Depending on the size of the home, home warranty plans are around $500 for a basic plan and around $650 for a basic plan with pool coverage.

Deposit: Depending on the loan program, financed buyers usually have a down payment due at closing. Typical down payment amounts are 3.5%, 5%, 10% and 20%. A quick conversation with Ryan Gilliam with Waterstone Mortgage will help determine the best, most cost-effective loan program and can advise down payment amount.

Repairs: Keep extra money aside for repairs that may be needed prior to moving in. A little extra cash for possible appliance purchases is a good idea too. Both of these items may be negotiation points during the sale, however.

Utility Accounts and Deposits: Some utility companies charge deposits for new utility accounts. Buyers should be prepared for this and call all utility companies during the inspection period to check all fees and schedules.

Some of these costs can be absorbed by the home seller and that can be accomplished by having an experienced and seasoned negotiator on your side. In Arizona, the home seller is responsible for paying the fee to the buyer’s agent. There is no charge to the buyer.

Contact me with any questions about real estate in Arizona! Either call me directly at the number below, or fill out the form and I will be in touch.

Katie Halle Lambert
480-250-0023
EvoAZ.com

4 Simple Tips for Organizing Your Playroom (and Life)

Hi Moms! This is fellow Mom and resident MOMnationAZ professional organizer Katy Krupnik of The Tidy Cottage. I love my kids, I love the way they enjoy their toys, but man toys can be a literal pain in the butt (or feet in the middle of the night).

Read on for tips to create a tidy toy room so those pesky toys stay out from under your feet!

1. Pair Down the Duplicates

We don’t even realize that our kids are playing with a lot of the same toys. Our kids don’t need three types of pretend laptops or four different types of train tracks. In fact, if our kids have only one or two options for each style or type of toy it will be less overwhelming to choose what to play with.

For example, this last year we bought my son a train table and it came with a bunch of little knick-knack wooden trees and signs, some tracks that built a bridge and around a mountain. Then my husband bought a box of different train tracks from a garage sale so they would have plenty to play with. So cool right!? Except it was a pain! My kids would get really frustrated and upset every time that bridge fell apart and they would fight over the wooden knick-knacks, and then the different track pieces would overwhelm them. It was such a frustration for all of us! I did not want to hear them running over complaining about it one more time so I took all of the bridge pieces and knick-knacks and non-wooden tracks away one evening, just to see if they would mention it or miss it. And life went on…with less arguing and running to mom complaining about something breaking or someone stealing a little piece, it was awesome!

Pairing down toys to just their favorites and what they enjoy the most is helpful, it eliminates the clutter and focuses in on what your children want to play with – which brings more peace into the home.

2. Purge the Broken and Worn Down Toys


If the puzzle has missing pieces or the wheels are off the car, it’s time to toss the toy. These are only cluttering the playroom or area and add frustration when played with.

Group “like with like” toys. Similar toys should be kept together. All cars together, all little people toys, music toys together, doctor kits together…etc. This will help your kids to be able to play with one type of toy at a time and make it an easy reset for the whole family. Everyone will know where cars go because they will all be together. It will be very obvious if a toy is misplaced, the car will look very funny next to all of the play food.

3. Clear Containers

If your kids tend to throw everything into baskets or bins, store toys in separate clear containers with lids. Kids can see what they want to play with, take it out and then put it back after they are done. They can’t go back to the habit of tossing toys together.

4. Take the Puzzles Out of The Box.
Take puzzles and memory games out of their boxes and put them in clear pencil pouches or ziplock bags with the cover of the puzzle or memory game cut out and placed in the bag. Then you can put the puzzles and memory games in one basket instead of taking up a whole shelf or area in your home!

I hope these tips help you on your journey to tidy the toy rooms in your life, we as Moms deserve to enjoy the wine at the end of the day without sitting on those pesky toys!

Katy Krupnik
Owner of The Tidy Cottage
www.thetidycottage.com

Want to see more organization and home design inspiration? Follow along @thetidycottage on Facebook and Instagram

12 Things to Know About Dealing with Scorpions in Arizona

Our family business has always been bugs. Growing up, my dad owned a pest control business, so I’ve been around bugs my entire life. I can vividly remember when I was little, my dad would bring home jars of scorpions, spiders and all kinds of things that he would catch while out working. He would place them on the kitchen window seal (I’m sure my mother just loved that!) and teach us about them.

While I never did grow fond of our house visitors,  I did learn a lot. Sure, I still run from the room screaming if I see a spider, but running a pest control business in Arizona means knowing the importance of being knowledgeable about all insects, especially scorpions.

The truth is, that no matter where you in the valley, scorpions are likely there. Maybe you are one of the lucky few that have never seen one inside your home, or perhaps, like many of us, you’ve found one in your shoe!

Scorpions tend to come out more when it’s hot, so with the extreme weather we are having, we felt it was important to remind you of the basics in scorpion safety. Being educated and knowledgeable about scorpions, and all dangerous desert critters, is essential to protecting both you and your family:

  1. Scorpions are not malicious and they do not hunt humans.
  2. Most scorpion stings are caused by accident, by being  accidentally stepped on, or by aggravating where a scorpion is sheltering
  3. Scorpions seek warm places, so use caution when putting on shoes, or taking out towels from the closet.
  4. While scorpions are mostly found outside, they are attracted to heat sources inside of homes such as cars, hot water heaters, and attics. Always check storage boxes that are stored in the garage and attic before bringing them inside your home.  
  5. Scorpion mothers have anywhere between 25-35 babies which she will carry on her back until they are ready to survive on their own, at around two months! Yikes! Can you imagine having 25 babies?
  6. If the mother scorpion cannot find food, she will eat her babies. She would have to be pretty hungry though because scorpions can go up to a year without eating.
  7. Scorpions can live up to 20 years but average about 6.  Scorpions can also live underwater for about 2 days. So if you see one in your pool, use extreme caution, as it may not be dead.  
  8. Scorpion venom is a neurotoxin designed to immobilize their prey.
  9. An adult scorpion knows how to control its venom when it stings.
  10. A baby scorpion does not know how to control its venom, so their sting can be much worse. This is why you will often hear that small scorpions are more dangerous than big scorpions.
  11. Everyone is different in how they react to a scorpion sting, but most adult humans will not need any medical treatment. Symptoms will last for several days and include a feeling of pins and needles, numbness, shortness of breath and pain at the sting site.
  12. A sting for a very small child, elderly person, or ill person can be very dangerous and immediate medical treatment is advised.

So, what can we do about these creatures that have been on earth for longer than humans and multiply at alarming rates? Here are 3 proven ways that we recommend to help stay safe, and not just from scorpions, but all kinds of creepy crawlies:

  1. The first and most important thing is to have your home sealed. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. If you look at your doors and you can see daylight underneath, then your house is inviting all types of bugs in. This can be a simple fix at Home Depot. If you have a hole in your ceiling where a ceiling fan was installed, this needs to be patched and sealed! No matter how much pesticides are laid down, if your house has openings, scorpions, and other bugs will find a way in.
  2. Make sure your yard is de-cluttered and free of debris that scorpions can nest in, including keeping your grass is trimmed down. Also, make sure your palm trees are debarked and kept trimmed. Scorpions LOVE palm trees for their moist shade and protection they provide. Do not place any type of shed or outdoor container directly against your home. Place it along a fence away from your home. In fact, do not have anything touching your home; keep a minimum 6-inch gap. This includes shrubs, trees or any vegetation.
  3. Have regular pest control service. Don’t wait until you’re having a problem. If you’re not seeing a lot of activity, think about having bi-monthly or even quarterly service. This will kill off the food source of scorpions which will help keep them away. We also recommend having your attic dusted at least twice a year.

What about the babies? Keeping our littles safe from scorpions is really important, and luckily there are a few easy things we can do:

  1. Do not place a crib directly underneath a fan, air vent or can light. Bugs can come through very very tiny openings and fall from the ceiling if they are residing in the attic.
  2. Do not place a crib directly against the wall as several kinds of bugs can crawl up the wall and into the crib. Some people have resorted to placing glass jars on the legs of the crib – this would be because scorpions and spiders cannot climb slick surfaces.

If you or your child is every stung:

  1. Stay calm and get away from the scorpion.
  2. Some scorpions can make themselves flat so it’s hard to smash them. Try to capture it in a glass jar or throw a cup over it and come back to it later.
  3. Clean the area well with soap and water.
  4. Apply an ice pack or cold cloth to help relieve the pain and stop the venom from spreading.
  5. We recommend calling your doctor or pediatrician as soon as you can for their further recommendations.

Ready to keep your house safe from scorpions? Give Creepy Crawly Pest Control a call at 480-969-2926. Be sure to mention this post!

Special thanks to Jessica Nelson with Photos By Jessica for the photo.

The Secret Life of Demoted Fur-babies

Since having kids, especially since having our second baby in January, my interactions with our pets have gone something like this:

“Jack, move. Jack, get out from under my feet!”

“Jack, OMG your farts are gross.”

“Did anyone feed Jack today?” (Jack has had either no dinner or two or three dinners because we couldn’t remember if we had fed him or not, due to “new baby” zombie status).

“Jack. JACK. JAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!”

“The damn cats stole the baby’s bottle nipples again!!”

“Ugh, the damn cat is stuck in the nursery!!” (after we juuuuuuust got the baby to sleep)

*crash*

*random baby toy starts lighting up and signing in the middle of the night*

“DAMN CATS!!!”

Jack is our Boston Terrier, and honestly, he is the most amazing dog ever. I know that every pet owner thinks that about their pets, but seriously… everyone loves Jack. I mean, look at this face! Jack is almost 13. He is old, he is arthritic, he’s going deaf, and he’s generally running out of craps. He is my toddler’s best friend, and he has tolerated a lot of abuse from her as we try to teach her “gentle!” And boy, does he love her come meal time (and I’m happy that I don’t really have to clean my floors).

Before our first human baby, Jack was our fur baby. He went everywhere with us; hiking, visiting friends, shopping, long walks to the park. He was photographed with us in a Santa suit for our family Christmas cards. Every eight weeks he would go to an organic doggy spa and get a blueberry facial, to give you a sense of the lifestyle that Jack was accustomed to.

And then, our first daughter was born. Jack had to learn his new place. Instead of blueberry facials, he was lucky to eat dropped blueberries off the kitchen floor.

Then my husband got the bright idea to “surprise” me with two kittens. He felt compelled to rescue these kittens because they were the same age as our daughter, and because I talked about MAYBE SOMEDAY having two kittens… not necessarily when I was like, completely overwhelmed with being a first-time mother. We are HUGE “Fixer Upper” fans and I always loved how Chip would surprise his family with animals, and perfect Joanna Gaines is all like “Oh, Chip!” and then they’d laugh and teehee… but the reality is, we’re not millionaire farmers with hired help to tend to the animals. We live in a cookie-cutter development with not a lot of land, and I was pissed that I had to rearrange my newly organized laundry room to accommodate this giant, stinking litter box. I shook my first in the air and declared they were my husband’s cats, not mine. I had enough bodies to keep alive!

So naturally, the cats love me and don’t really care too much for my husband.

Jack was sick over the weekend and it was one of those icky situations where I was following him around the house with the carpet cleaner and paper towels in hand, trying to scrub his yellow bile vomit out of our cream-colored rugs (clearly the previous owners didn’t have kids or pets). And when I looked into his sad, aging eyes, I realized… he was our first baby. He needs me right now. And those damn cats, they need some attention too besides my scowling and yelling at them to return the baby’s bottle parts to the kitchen sink.

It was long overdue, but today I decided to use the very limited and precious free time that I had to devote to our pets. After scrubbing the pukey carpets, I made parboiled chicken and white rice for Jack to help his stomach. I also took a few minutes to get down on the floor by him, and really look into his eyes, and scratch his head and neck and just pet him and talk to him.

howtoreconnectwithyourpets

When my longhaired cat, Sesame, jumped on my lap I decided to seize the moment and groom her. It hadn’t been done since my baby was born in January so it was way past due. In these 100-degree temps, she’s been so uncomfortable trying to find the coolest spot in the house to lounge. I brushed what looks like ten pounds of fur off of her, and not only do I live to write about it – she seemed to enjoy it!

The other cat, Nip – well, she’s the unruly one. She killed a moth that was in our house last night so I made it a point to praise her and scratch her neck.

Our home has two girls under two, a dog, and two cats. We are our own circus. And despite my yelling or complaints at our animals, they give us so much love (at least Jack does, the cats do on their own terms… as cats do!). My toddler plays with Jack every day and says goodnight to him every night by leaning down and gently placing her head on his body. And you should hear her giggle when she chases the cats around the house. The baby is just starting to focus her attention on Jack and her face lights up with a smile when he licks her feet. Puke-stained carpets and “DAMN CATS!!!” aside – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just don’t tell my husband that.

Tips for Reconnecting with Pets After Baby:

  1. Take a few minutes a day to devote to your first babies. Whether it be an early morning snuggle sesh or a late night rub, a few minutes go a long way!
  2. Remember to not feel guilty – your pets love you just as they always have. There is always an adjustment period!
  3. Have your little ones help with your pet’s maintenance. Include them when brushing and feeding your pets;  this will help your child learn responsibility and will help to form a bond between baby #1 and baby #2.

MOMlife by Courtney Spiak

Pools and Splash Pads! An AZ Summertime MUST 🏊🏻

The triple digits have hit.  Our MOMs are meeting up and cooling down in these area “hot” spots:

CHANDLER

Desert Oasis – We love it for the rain drop and spray whale plus the zero depth entry pool with kiddie slide.  There’s also a splash pad!

Mesquite Groves – We love it for the family area/pool with zero depth entry and the lazy river!

GILBERT

Santan Village Mall – The splash pad is very toddler friendly with a soft surface and nearby family restrooms.  We LOVE that!

GLENDALE

Rose Lane Park – We love the zero depth entry pool and awesome splash pad.

MESA

Eastmark Great Park – We love it for the covered splash pad and shaded picnic ramadas.

Golfland Sunsplash – We love it for entertaining the older kids and, of course, the water cannons!

Mesa Aquatic Complex – This facility just opened days ago and the pool and long and lazy river is why we love it!

Riverview Park – The playground is extraordinary and the splash pad is HUGE!  We love that!

PHOENIX

City Scape – We love the splash pad and its ultra urban feel.  Even better that it’s accessible by light rail.

Desert Ridge Marketplace – We love the splash pad location right by AMC movie theatre!

Mountain Vista Park – The Ahwatukee location and the splash pad put this park at the top of our list!

SCOTTSDALE

Scottsdale Quarter – We love that the splash pad is surrounded by awesome shops and great restaurants!

TEMPE

Beach Park at Tempe Town Lake – This splash pad playground is one of the largest in the Valley.  We love all the “water” play equipment!

Kiwanis Recreation Center – We love it for the wave pool!

 

Brought to you by Team Evolution Real Estate and Stafford Cleaning Services