27 July 2016

Maddy's Fifth Birthday Party!

I know I say this every birthday, but man! I can’t believe my little girl is a year older. Time is fleeting, you guys. Next month, she will start kindergarten and I have absolutely zero clue as to how that happened. Don’t blink, mamas!

Well, we survived the shenanigans of Maddy’s fifth birthday party weekend. It was a great time but I’ll be honest, I’m one tired mama.

If you remember from this previous post, we decided to have Maddy’s party at an all-inclusive indoor inflatable playground this year. I highly recommend Bounce U if there’s one in your city. The packages are reasonably priced with no hidden costs, they are extremely organized and I literally worried about nothing. All we did was show up, party and leave. No decorations to buy or hang, no mess to clean up, no food to prepare, no home to clean beforehand or get destroyed in the process. #winning

Maddy and her friends had an amazing time. More importantly, they ran and played so hard that the birthday girl slept through the night. Always a huge plus in my book.

Later that evening, it was time for the adults to party, sans the kiddos. My parents offered to watch Maddy while me, Michael and my two sisters hit downtown Pittsburgh. We went to a few different locations but by far the coolest one was the Speakeasy in the basement of the William Penn Hotel. About four years ago, the hotel decided to do some renovations and in the process, found this room that was used as a speakeasy during prohibition days. When they discovered the room, they also discovered some of the original drink and liquor bottles from the era which are now on display in the bar. It’s such a cool little space and when I say it’s little, it’s literally just that. Only 45 people are allowed in at one time.

The rest of the weekend consisted of shopping, lots of food and celebrating our little girl.

I know I say this every birthday, but man! I can’t believe my little girl is a year older. Time is fleeting, you guys. Next month, she will start kindergarten and I have absolutely zero clue as to how that happened. Don’t blink, mamas!

How was your weekend? 

22 July 2016

Dear Maddy: On Sunday, You Will Be Five

Every day, you’re leaving me, you're transforming, just like the chrysalis we found on the frame of our front door a month ago. You're growing up so quickly and it’s a harsh reminder of how fleeting it all is, your childhood. It’s so much fun to watch you grow up yet, it’s so sad to know that you’re no longer my baby. I’m so proud of you, Maddy. Every day with you is special. Every day with you is magical. Every day with you is loud, crazy, chaotic and tiring but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so proud to be your mama and I know that you are going to do amazing things in this world. I can’t wait to see what they are.   Happy 5th birthday, Chickie. I love you, always and forever.

Over the past year, you’ve experienced so much change. We moved to Pittsburgh. You started a new school, where you learned about a chrysalis and how it changes into a beautiful butterfly. 

And on Sunday, you will be five.

I remember very clearly the day I saw your transformation. It was an evening at home. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and you walked in and asked, “Mama, can I please watch Paw Patrol?” I told you yes as I handed you a plate of grapes and we walked into the living room. You sat down, crossed your legs like a little lady and placed the plate on your lap. “Thank you, mama,” you said as I got the show for you. As I turned to walk back into the kitchen, I looked at you. At five, you’re long and lean, there is no baby fat or baby rolls left on you. Most times when you sit, you sit with your legs crossed. Your wisps of baby hair have blossomed into full-grown curls and your face has transformed from the happy-go-lucky baby and toddler I once knew to full-blown little girl: curious, thoughtful and beautiful. It was at this point that I realized you had turned from toddler to little girl right before my eyes.

20 July 2016

My Tender Moments In Parenting

These moments and more are the times that remind me how truly lucky and blessed I am as a mom, and I try my best to relish and cherish these moments because one day I know I won't have them. One day she will stop coming into our bed in the middle of the night for snuggles. One day she will want to leave and play with her friends and not me. These are my reality checks. So while the now seems unbearable at times, in the grand scheme of things, it's just a moment in time. What I will hold on to forever are the tender moments in my parenting.

It seems like lately, our life has been a scene from Jurassic Park; loud screeching, wailing and gnashing of teeth, and growls that even scare the dog at times. But alas, we don't have any cool dinosaurs living in our home...just a preschooler with the attitude of a dinosaur.

If you've never experienced the pleasure of raising a preschooler, let me break it down for you in one word: challenging…to say the very least. You know that scene in Jurassic Park where dude gets eaten right off the toilet? There are some days I wish that were me. Partially because (A.) I can't seem to get two minutes to go to the bathroom by myself any more anyway so what does it matter and (B.) partially because well...honestly...some days I just want to go running and screaming from my house.

I know none of this is her fault. I know Maddy is simply going through the normal growing pains every preschooler experiences; newfound independence, exploring the world around her and the influence of other children and their attitudes definitely adds another layer to the mix. For the most part, she’s grown out of the crying over everything stage and into the push back, argumentative stage where every parental decision, choice and instruction is up for question and analyzation. If you ever want to sound like your own mother, have a conversation with a strong-willed, uber-curious child and before you know it, you will boil all of your parenting choices down to, “Because I said so, that’s why!” It’s all in a day’s work.

19 July 2016

Currently in July

Currently happening in July: parenting, cooking, fun, creativity, travel and so much more. Come check out what's going on with us this month!

How is it mid-July already?


Mad About You reruns. Hands down, this is one of my all-time most favorite shows ever aside from Friends and Mad Men. I recently found a station that plays two episodes every morning so I quickly set my DVR to record and in the evenings, I’m happy as a clam.


‘How To Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living’ by Rob Bell. It’s an okay book. Would I recommend it to anyone? No. It’s disjointed, elementary and honestly, there’s nothing he’s saying that I haven’t heard a million times over already BUT it will speak to someone who is listening…it’s just not me.

18 July 2016

Madeline Monday

A Daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give.

I know a girl, she puts the color inside my world

Daughters are like flowers. They make the world beautiful.

Happy Monday, friends! 

15 July 2016


Life, family and parenting happening on these little squares we call Instagram.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”            
- Mark Twain

“Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the mountains and the stars up above. Let them look at the beauty of the waters and the trees and flowers on earth. They will then begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education.
- David Polis

“But if adventure has a final and all embracing motive it is surely this:
We go out because it is in our nature to go out, to climb mountains and to sail the seas, to fly to the planets and plunge into depths of the oceans. By doing these things we make touch with something outside or behind, which strangely seems to approve our doing them. We extend our horizon, we expand our being, we revel in the mastery of ourselves which gives an impression, mainly illusory, that we are masters of the World. In a word, we are men and when man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man.
- Wilfred Noyce

 You can discover more in an hour of play than you can in a lifetime of conversation.”
- Unknown

Are we friends on IG? If not, let’s connect! You can find me at ShirazInMySippyCup. Have a fabulous weekend!

13 July 2016

Four Kid's Cartoon Characters I'd Like to Punch in the Face

Most of the cartoons my daughter likes, I can’t stand. Some nights and mornings I do my best to completely tune it all out because I just can’t. With that said, I give you the top four children’s cartoon characters I’d love to punch in the face.

As a kid, I loved watching cartoons especially on Saturday mornings. There was nothing better than filling up a big bowl of Frosted Flakes, making a huge, fluffy pillow pile on the floor and snuggling up to watch Jem, The Smurfs and Looney Tunes. Childhood goals on point.

Fast forward about 33 years later as an adult with my own almost five year-old in tow, and it’s a completely different story. Getting up at 6 AM on the weekend is no longer appealing and while I’m a Frosted Flakes girl for life, nowadays, I’d much rather have a hot cup of caffeine-filled coffee to get me going for the day instead of a cold bowl of cereal.

And the cartoons these days? Eh. Maybe I’m showing my age, but the cartoon era of the 1980’s will always be the best in my opinion. Cartoons these days are just downright annoying and in some cases, borderline inappropriate for some ages. More than that if I’m being honest, most days I’m done adulating, even if I’ve only stepped foot out of bed. If it’s the weekday, by the time I work all day, come home and take care of my family, the house and the pets, do the bedtime routine and cook dinner, I’m fried. Hello, digital babysitter!

The thing is, most of the cartoons my daughter likes, I can’t stand. Some nights and mornings I do my best to completely tune it all out because I just can’t. With that said, I give you the top four children’s cartoon characters I’d love to punch in the face.

12 July 2016

Letters to Madeline: This is Your Daddy

It's often said that the bond between a father and his daughter is unlike any other. For you, my sweet girl, this is your daddy.

Dear Madeline,

In a couple of weeks, you will be five. By now you know that this is your daddy...

11 July 2016

Madeline Monday

As the mother of a girl, there are two things I hope my daughter remembers as she grows up. One, the most beautiful accessory any woman can wear is a smile and two, you have the ability to change a person's day and world with just one smile.

Hey hobo man
Hey Dapper Dan
You've both got your style,
But brother you're never fully dressed without a smile

Who cares what they're wearing
On Main Street to Saville Row?
It's what you wear from ear to ear
And not from head to toe
That matters

So Senator, so janitor
So long for a while

Remember you're never fully dressed
Without a smile

Who cares what they're wearing
On Main Street to Saville Row?
It what you wear from ear to ear
And not from head to toe
That matters

So senator, so janitor
So long for a while
Remember you're never fully dressed
Though you may wear the best
Brother you're never fully dressed
Without a smile

Oh you're never dressed without a smile!

Lyrics: From the motion picture soundtrack Annie

07 July 2016

I Didn't Bond With My Daughter After Birth...And That's Okay!

I Didn't Bond With My Daughter After Birth...And That's Okay! #parenting #parentingadvice #motherhood

For some mothers, the bond with their child begins the moment they find out they are pregnant. For others, the bond forms the moment they lay eyes on their baby for the first time. But for other moms? Sometimes the bond takes a little longer to develop. 

This is the category I fell into. 

I never thought I was ever going to have the opportunity to be a mom. Something you may not know about me is that in a faraway land a long, long time ago, I was married. Obviously, the marriage didn't work out because here I am with another man and a child but the point is that my first marriage was childless and by every indication would always be childless. I had pretty much given up all hope that I would ever be a mother. We divorced in 2009 and I moved forward with my life.

06 July 2016

What Will My Daughter Remember About Her Childhood?

What Will My Daughter Remember About Her Childhood? #parenting #parentingadvice #mothers #motherhood

This weekend while entertaining our out of town friends Joe and Mimi, I took some time to sit with Maddy in the living room and simply play blocks with her. It’s one of the things she enjoys most; building a car wash to run her Hot Wheels through or a Target or Chick-fil-a, two of the places we frequent the most. Michael was deep in the middle of cooking dinner with help from Joe and Mimi so it was the perfect opportunity to get some one-on-one time with my girl. As we sat and played, Mimi looked over to me and said, “I remember my mother playing with me. It’s one of the best memories I have of her growing up. Whether she was reading a book to me at bedtime or playing a board game with me, those are the times I remember most and cherish. You are doing such a good thing with Maddy by playing with her. She will always remember this time together.” 

It was such a sweet comment and compliment. I tried to allow myself the momentary feel good, the positive. As moms, I think we have a wonderful way of poo-pooing compliments anyone may extend to us about our parenting. We are gold medal winners at finding exceptions, excuses and rebuttals as to why we don’t deserve compliments or positive commentary on our abilities, but the more the comment marinated in my mind, the more I began to feel uncomfortable and fretful. The more the word, “remember” turned over and over again in my mind, the more I couldn’t help but feel worried.

05 July 2016

Baby, You're a F I R E C R A C K E R !

We had a great July 4th holiday: lots of food, drinks, live music, fun and time with friends and family. You know, all the good stuff that happiness brings.

Friday evening, Michael and I attended the Billy Joel concert at PNC Park and it was nothing short of amazing. Well, allow me to clarify. As it turned out, Kenney Chesney was in town for a concert on Saturday night so at the end of the concert, Billy invited Kenney on stage to sing one of his classics and let me just put it this way – Kenney should stick to country. He completely butchered Billy’s song. At any rate, it was a great concert and as always, Billy Joel rocked it.

04 July 2016

J U N E 2016: My Month in Numbers

Happy July 4th! I’ve never done a “My Month in Numbers” post but I read a lot of them and enjoy them so I thought I’d give it a shot and see how this goes. It’s also fun to look back at your month in numbers to see everything you’ve accomplished and the goals you’ve reached, so here is the mixed bag of randomness that was June 2016.

My Month in Numbers. #parenting #blogs #June

The number of pounds lost in June. My weight loss journey has stalled. It’s so hard to lose weight in the summer months! I attribute June to my birthday and indulging a little more than I should. Michael also planned an amazing Moe’s Southwestern buffet for my 40th birthday bash which meant that I *had* to eat on it for days after. I’m definitely not on track but I’m not going to beat myself up about it either. Life is short, eat all the tacos.

01 July 2016

Hello F R I D A Y!

ONE. Goodbye, Coach. There are no words to describe how sad I was to hear about Pat Summitt’s passing this week. I think in this day and age where sports stars are concerned, the word “legend” gets thrown around carelessly but in Coach Summitt’s case? She was a true legend. The winningest coach in Division 1 basketball men AND women, 100% graduation rate and 1,098 career wins. In Tennessee, she is often known as, “The Wizard of Knoxville” and it’s true. For as much as Knoxville is a football town, people tended to stand a little straighter when she walked by, always recognizing and respecting the presence they were in but aside from all the sports stats and accomplishments, she was just a good person, period. She demanded a lot from her players but expected more from them in their personal lives and as people. She will be missed so much. Thank you, Pat. We love you, Coach.