Life & Littles Podcast!

Exciting news!!!

Our own Dr. Annie is on this week’s episode of Doctor Mommy, MD’s podcast talking about second trimester of pregnancy. The Life & Littles podcast may just be your new favorite listen, friends!

Photo credit Fiona Margo Photography

“Imagine your best friend is a doctor and a mom, what questions would you want to ask her over a glass of wine? What questions would you text her in the middle of the night?” Sound helpful?

Grab a coffee or glass of wine and tune in on iTunes and subscribe to get all the upcoming fun times!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/life-littles-with-doctor-mommy-md/id1451847392?mt=2&i=1000429939961

You can also find Shelly on Instagram and Facebook @doctormommymd and should check out her gorgeous blog while you’re at it!

Xoxo!

Sexy as a M*ther

There’s a new sexy in town friends, and I would argue, it’s even better than before. It’s mom-sexy. We may not have the bouncy bounty of hair and bikini top filling of yesteryear, but we have some new moves that can light the 🔥🔥🔥 of romance like none other. (Literally. Because no one who’s not a mom would do this stuff…)

Wardrobe

Those young folks are all rocking flowy, low-cut tanks and dresses that show a hint of side or underboob here and there. The sexy implication being a nipple could be exposed at any moment. Enter: nursing tanks. This garment has the significant advantage of being able to actually whip out a titty in 1 second flat. Hey-yo!!!!

Shock Value

Sure Victoria would have you think your partner wants you in lacy little get ups 365 days a year. Let me tell ya, when all they’ve seen you in for months is spit-up stained sweats and then you slip on a real nighty? Firecrackers!!!

Naughty Naughty

Remember those teenage trysts making out when you knew your parents might walk in and bust you any minute -so hot, right? Well, as a parent, you get to turn the tables! You never know when a kid might wake up with a need for an escort to the bathroom and discover you and your partner “practicing stretching” or “having a tickle fight” 😳

Exploration

Another level of kink factor is available for all you cosleepers. Kid is in your bed so that’s off limits (at least I hope, because, wow! Boundaries, people). Hello, laundry room! Or take it to the bathroom counter. Nothing makes for creative sexcapades like having a literal cockblocker in your bed.

You said it!

New Turn Ons

Totally aging myself here, but… Remember when Devin Sawa’s bowl cut was the hottest thing (or were you a JTT gal?)? And then a few years later, it was boy band moves, then Abercrombie store dudes in barely-not-showing-pubic-hair-low cut shorts? What turns you on changes with time. And let me tell ya, once you’re a parent, there is basically nothing sexier than your partner going above and beyond with home & childcare.

Tell Me What You Want

What you really really want…. I’ll tell you what I want, what I really Really want. Because I’m a mom. And ain’t nobody got time for that Oh-let’s-pretend-this-is-fun-because-I’m-too-shy-to-be-honest sh*t. We know what works (hopefully!!) and we know how to get it and THAT, my friends is sexy.

Pregnant Sex

Ok, this one is transient, but can be ahhhhhmazing!! Increased blood flow? Yes please! Embracing your new curves? Oh yeah! Those pregnant boobs? 🙌🏻🙌🏻! If comfort allows, this can be one of the biggest perks of gestation. Get. After. It. There is a big ol’ dry spell (literally, so dry down there) coming up after baby. Store up some good times to last you through!

As always, keepin it Real

Real Talk

In all honesty though, it can be hard to feel like your former sexy self as a mom. Your body is different. It might feel better, it might feel squishier, it might feel completely foreign – no matter what, it changes. You may not have time for basic self care, much less a “beauty routine”. But instead of beating ourselves up about it and missing out on the fun, why not embrace it?! Your body can LITERALLY grow human beings. It’s miraculous. This is a special season in life and won’t last forever. Get out there and have a spicy Valentine’s Day, mamas! I, for one, think you’re SMOKIN!!! 😘

Dr. Annie is newly a mom of 3, a family doctor and finding new ways to be sexy all the time 😜

 

 

Holiday Baking Hacks

“Twas the night before the holiday party and all through the fridge, not a stick of butter could be found, not even a smidge…with the children in bed and the dog in her crate, I’m wondering if Amazon delivers this late… “

 

man in santa claus costume
“No butter?!?!” It would be nice if the big man delivered late night baking essentials too…

The week of last-minute-everything

It’s the last week before Christmas, y’all. The final countdown. The week that in our home is unofficially known as “the week of last-minute-everything.” Between the perpetually forgotten stocking stuffers, out-of-stock toys, procrastinated holiday cards, cookie exchanges, white elephants, and school holiday performances; the office, classroom, and social holiday parties that often tend to occur during this same chaotic week have a tendency to sneak right up on me. Which is bad enough when you can’t find your ugly sweater, but even worse when you realize you’re on the hook to bring holiday treats for two dozen preschoolers and are plum out of a key ingredient.

We all wish we could bake cakes out of rainbows and smiles, but in reality, we need butter. and sugar. and eggs. And sometimes… we run out. So, here are a few ways to save yourself if you come up in a bind in the kitchen.

Favorite “Baking Hack” substitutions

Here are some of my favorite ways to get the job done when a run to the store is just not going to happen.

  • Heavy cream – for every 1 cup of heavy cream, substitute 3/4 c. whole milk and 1/3 c. butter. Melt butter and mix into milk.
  • Eggs – Substitute 1 tbsp cornstarch whisked together with 3 tbsp water, whisked together, per egg.  I use this substitute all. the. time. It’s great in a pinch, but also for saving eggs for brunch, for when that one vegan relative comes over, or even for cookie dough you know the kids will be sneaking. (No raw egg to worry about here!)person peeling the egg
  • Baking powder and Baking Soda – Contrary to popular belief, you can substitute baking soda for baking powder, and vice versa. ON ONE CONDITION. The substitution is NOT ALWAYS EQUAL. Baking soda is much more powerful than baking powder and contains an acid. Read carefully!
    • Baking Powder: Substitute 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice for every 1 tsp baking powder needed.
    • Baking Soda: You may substitute baking powder for baking soda at a 3:1 ratio. So simply use three times the amount of baking powder as you would baking soda.
  • Sugar – Both honey and maple syrup (or a combination of both!) are good sugar substitutes in baking. Use 3/4 cup honey or syrup per every cup of sugar needed. Color will be darker if you’re subbing for white sugar here. (Note: Some recipes suggest reducing liquid and adding 1/4 extra tsp. of baking soda for each cup of sugar replaced. I haven’t done this, but you may notice less of a difference in texture with these adjustments)
  • Vanilla – Equal amounts of maple syrup, slightly less almond extract, or (something I always have in the fridge) vanilla almond or soy milk. When cooking for adults you can also spring for a boozy dessert by equally substituting any dark liquor like bourbon, rum or brandy.yellow pastry on white powder on brown wooden table
  • Butter – You have a few great options here.
    • Greek yogurt: For every 1 cup of butter required, substitute 1/2 cup of greek yogurt.
    • Coconut Oil: Substitute in equal amounts, but note that taste can be noticeable (I think this can be a bonus, but non-coconut lovers should proceed with caution). A combination of coconut oil and greek yogurt is also fantastic!
    • Applesauce: For every 1 cup of butter, substitute 1/2 cup of applesauce.
    • Avocado: Substitute equally.
  • Shortening – Coconut oil is the same texture and subs really nicely here. It will give your baked goods a coconutty flavor, as noted above, so not the choice for you if you don’t want that. You can also substitute butter (if you’re not out!) at equal parts plus two tablespoons per cup. But expect a softer dough if you’re making roll-out dough for cookie-cutting. making gingerbread cookies christmas cookie cutters

If it’s healthier holiday treats you’re after, some quick (and sneaky) ways to make seasonal sweets less sinful are to:

  1. Reduce sugar. You can do this without being skewered at the cookie exchange by adding extra vanilla and/or cinnamon if applicable. You can also cut up to 1/4 cup of sugar from most sweet bread and muffin recipes simply by sprinkling a teaspoon or two of sugar on top before baking.
  2. Choose healthy fats. Butter, coconut oil, avocado, and whole milk yogurt are all good fats that top hydrogenated shortening, vegetable or canola oils in our kitchen any day.
  3. Add fiber. You can easily add fiber to bread and muffins by reducing flour and adding flax, wheat germ, chia seeds, and/or oats in its place.  These substitutions not only add fiber but naturally cut calories and boost other nutritional benefits too.
  4. Add protein. You can squeeze protein into bread and muffins (and even cakes!) by adding a scoop or two of your favorite vanilla or unflavored protein powder. Chia seeds are a nice addition to some baked goods as well.

Turns out you can have your holiday cake (and cookies and muffins) and eat it too.  Now that’s some joy definitely worth spreading.

happiness is a piece of cake close up photography

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and amateur late-night holiday baker. (Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography)

Pumpkin Patch Survival

It’s that time of year again!! Who’s heading out for the ultimate mud-filled, over-priced, over-stimulating, “quaint”, some-how-always-45-minutes-away “local” pumpkin patch outing this weekend?!

You know, we’ve all been keeping up our own family traditions of the annual pumpkin patch pilgrimage here at Real As A M*ther for years, and after 9 kids and counting we think we’ve finally (sort of) got it figured out. So in the spirit of giving, we’re going to share our pointers here on how to best succeed survive through the sweet, yet often parent-punishing task that is #pumpkinpicking2018 with all the rest of you toddler-toting gourd gatherers. Follow these pointers and you might, actually, we daresay *enjoy* the outing!

Step 1: Let it go

In the words of the almighty Elsa, you need to let some sh*t go.  The first of these things being your perfect-fall-photo goals at the pumpkin patch. Don’t act like you’re all cool as a cucumber over there… at our last pumpkin patch encounter I saw 100% of moms constantly fumbling with their iPhones and begging, bribing, basically doing WHATEVER possible to get their small adorable children to sit still in fall coordinated clothes, ON, IN, or anywhere in the vicinity of, a GD pumpkin-on-a-vine.

Listen, we bring our kids to a mud-filled patch full of gourds, in khakis and bow ties, gingham and bows, and expect them to stay clean and hold still… Now tell me, who’s crazy, US or the kids??!

I know you’re cringing. But let go. Go to the pumpkin patch after your kids’ soccer game, after the playground, after ANYTHING in which you are already dirty and don’t care. And then don’t sweat it. Take your formal, posed photos later (you can go somewhere quieter separately with a photographer, or take a cute outfit-coordinated photo of the kids with their pumpkins at home on your porch. If you can, leave your phone IN THE CAR and just enjoy being out in nature as a family. Pet the heck outta the petting zoo if there is one. Ride that messy tractor. Climb on alllll the haybales. And get muddy, if you can. 🙂

Step Two:  Plan your attack

This one seems obvious when you’re talking about planning, but I can’t tell you how many outtings we got so excited about picking the perfect pumpkin and did that first. And then…. had to carry said pumpkin in tired arms or a cart for the rest of the outting. Because, you can’t give up *the perfect one* to go do the petting zoo or get an apple hand-pie, someone might take it and then the whole afternoon is for naught!

Check out the offerings for activities FIRST. Do some activities. THEN, when you’re gonna do nothing else but shell out an obscene amount of money for a pumpkin that cost $0.01 to plant or less, go hunting. Purchase and get the heck outta dodge.

Step 3: Eat at The Patch

Yes, it probably is Dijorno pizza at 500% mark-up sliced in the back of the barn, but you know what, if your kids will eat it, let them. We are all big on healthy eating here, and providing smart choices for our kids is very important. But, we also believe there are times for rules to be bent, broken, or “accidentally” forgotten. And those times, if any, are holiday traditions. So, if it’s in your budget, let your kids eat the overpriced less-than perfect food at the patch.

My face says: It’s 90 degrees. We’re all starving, rev it up Farmer Joe! Can’t this tractor get back to the snack bar any freaking faster??

We fought this for years and usually ended up with muddy, HUNGRY kids, which in case your wondering, in fact IS much worse than muddy, fed children. Take a second to appreciate how awesome it is that your kids can get that excited about food that is served not-in-your-house. Kids are kind of awesome that way sometimes.

Just in case the food there is intolerable or lines are long, always a good idea to have some snacks in your bag for back up (I don’t really know moms who go places with snacks in their bag… but just in case you’re out there). Bring your own water, but if they have real lemonade or fresh apple cider, buy that too. Just, because.

Summary:

Do:

  1. Put your phone down and enjoy. If you *must* have a photo (guilty!), segregate a time you’re gonna be “photographer” and then once you’ve got some snaps, put that thing away!
  2. Streamline activities
  3. Enjoy the indulgences they have and also bring snacks

Don’t

  1. Expect your trip to be perfectly Pinterest-worthy AND enjoyable, you can have one but not both.
  2. Try to bring a whole picnic lunch of healthy food and deny your kids the goodies
  3. Pick out your 3 perfect 20lb pumpkins the minute you walk in

Happy Fall Y’all!

galleryWith love from the 4 of us at Real As A M*ther, Kristy, Christiana, Annie and Margo!

Fresh Air

The exhilarating feeling of getting fresh air on a perfect fall-ish day is something I always forget how much I love until I get the opportunity to do it. Sometimes, I even have to be forced into it by what could be seen as an unfortunate turn of events…

Saturday, I decided to spend the majority of the day outside with the kids.  It was gorgeous.  We took a long walk/run throughout the neighborhood.  Levi asked, “Do you think Aiden (our neighbor who we’ve only seen once) wants to come out and play?”

Usually, I would say, “He’s probably busy, bud.”  But that day, the fresh air must have gone to my head.  “Let’s knock on his door and find out!”  After all, that’s how I made friends when I was a kid.

We knocked on the door and his grandma answered.  They already had plans and were about to head out for the day, but she encouraged us to try back tomorrow.  I promised we would.  Success, just delayed a bit.

On the walk back, we decided to take the long route, down the back gravel roads.  Levi asked lots of good questions about the trees, the holes that (hopefully) were bunny burrows, and imagined some rocks were dinosaur fossils from a T-Rex who used to roam in our area long ago.

When we arrived back home, off to the trampoline we went.

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a sport, shoes, sky and outdoor

Then, to the swing set.  Then, the kids got some ice pops and rode around in Levi’s little Jeep.

Image may contain: Lee Cook, smiling, outdoor and nature

Idyllic is certainly a word that comes to mind.  When I envisioned having kids, this was the dream.  A blue house on a cul-de-sac.  Riding bikes, taking walks, swinging and ice-pops.  Watching my studly husband fix things outdoors with his muscles shining in the sun.

Image may contain: tree, car, outdoor and nature

You know what I didn’t dream of?  Realizing I had lost my keys somewhere on that long, long walk and having to retrace my steps 2.5 miles to try to find them, only to come home and find them wedged under the sun-visor of the stroller.

Still, I had had such a good day that I managed to laugh at myself and carry on.  I think the universe knew I needed more fresh air and had to force me into it 😉 For dinner, we went out for pizza and got the kids some ice cream. After all, we burned a lot of calories with our accidental adventure!

Despite my absent-mindedness, Saturday was a blazing success, and a nice reminder to enjoy the weekend, and ignore the chores sometimes.  They can wait, and they won’t mind.  But my kids can’t, and they do. Three cheers for the power of fresh air! Go get yourself some!

What are your favorite fall fresh-air activities to do with the family? We want to hear all about it!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeupMargo is a financial advisor back in school again and a married mom of 2 in Maryland.

 

10 Reasons why your kids are like law school roommates from Hell

As I transition into this season of my life where I spend more of my day surrounded by children than adults, I have noticed some striking similarities between my darling young children and another group of people with whom I was privileged to spend a good number of my days as well. Wait for it… law students.

adult blur books close up

Now, you may think “whoa, whoa, whoa my kid is definitely not a blood-thirsty litigator-to-be or self-righteous mumbler of constitutional convictions!”  I hear you. But truly, neither are most law students.  Actually, based on my (dare I say, experienced?!) observations, law students and young kids share some pretty similar day-to-day living habits. And really, this list just makes me laugh out loud.

10 Reasons why your kids are like law school roommates from Hell:

1. They attempt to use words in discussion that they don’t really understand yet.

2. They try to pass off pajamas as proper clothes. (Particularly to school.)

3. They pass out in random places, at random times.

4. They try to steal, and subsequently lose ALL your notes.

This includes lists, calendars, and pretty much anything else in paper form.

5. They start arguments over the smallest issue for no apparent reason.

6. They seem to exist entirely on snack food.

And leave said snack food in ALL the couches.

7. They say they “want to read” with you and then bolt after the first few pages.

8. They unapologetically raid your groceries.

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9. They continue to debate an issue ad nauseum long after a decision has been reached.

10. They can, without fail, think of 998 other things that urgently need doing before homework.

In reality, I had two super-fab law-school roommates who are now both super successful #lawyermoms and (unlike myself) fully understood the words they used and did NOT pass out in random places. But let’s be honest, we were all kind of like this all “knew someone”

Keep laughing friends, Monday is already partway through! Cheers to your week (perhaps with your littlest roommates) from REAL AS A M*THER!

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe and fine wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

Friday Fails

This week was a doozy ya’ll.

And today I am just drowning in a swamp of mom guilt and “not enoughs”.

I left Mimi crying for me not to go at Daycare this morning so I could get things done without the extra walking and lifting of bringing the girls with me. Cue severe mom guilt for being selfish.

I need the help today because I didn’t do enough rehab on my knee this winter when we were selling the house, moving and I started a new job and I tore a ligament again. Cue severe self guilt for not being stronger and more disciplined.

I didn’t get a “real” Friday post organized because I was late at work and then bedtime and my husband has been at work till 10:30pm every night this week and I crashed. Cue professional guilt.

I have a house that’s a wreck and still only 3/4 unpacked from moving in May, a mountain of laundry and a poor sad dog who hasn’t gotten a walk in weeks because of said knee and the fires even though it was his birthday this week. Cue alllllll the rest of the guilts.

It’s so so stinking easy to focus on the ways we are not doing enough and so much harder to give ourselves permission to celebrate the wins.

I also worked incredibly hard at my “day job” this week and helped over 60 people with their problems. I fed my family mostly healthy food. I stayed well hydrated. I did not push myself too hard on my injured knee (my default is to ignore, hence why the knee got so messed up to begin with). I caught up with several friends I’ve been missing. I organized things for my side business. I got dressed and brushed my dang teeth every. single. day. I know what Jen Sincero would tell me…

Why do we feel this need to push push push and not in the productive “make my dreams come true” way, but in a nit-picky, judgy way?? Why do we talk to ourselves in a way we would never let someone else talk to our kids?

I honestly used to do a lot more of this. I would drag myself down with the negativity until I felt more worthless than a slug marring someone’s garden walkway. I did a LOT of cognitive behavioral therapy learning to reroute those negative pathways. I have gotten WAY better at balancing the inner demons, but they still creep in now and then. And I know I’m not alone in this.

This is why I’m writing this today. We all have our down moments and there are ways to fight it. You can turn the negativity train right around. Try a few things that work for me:

  • Say the thoughts out loud. To someone supportive of you can or to an imaginary supportive friend if not. Let them reality check you.
  • Read inspiring books. I have had my life changed by The Science of Happiness, The Happiness Project, The Universe Has Your Back, Girl Wash Your Face and now You Are A Badass.
  • Write down the positives. See them. Internalize them. Pat yourself on your damn back.

Happy Friday everyone! May you be filled with positivity!!

Dr. Annie