A New Pair of Shoes = Confidence at EVERY Age…(or is that just my excuse?)


Here I go AGAIN! Writing about the excitement I find in SHOES. Call me a GIRL OBSESSED! ARGH. As you who follow me know, I have written about the importance of shoes for babies in, “It’s All in a Girl’s Shoes,” and the fun of shoes for babies and toddlers in, “Bubblegum Scented Toddler Shoes,” and I’m about to share a combo about the importance, fun and my plain LOVE of shoes! Can a new pair of shoes help build confidence???I purchased my sons each crib shoes (shoes for fun to put on while they are babies and can’t crawl or walk that mainly match their outfits). Sounds like a HUGE waste of money, right? That’s what my hubby said. But I purchased them when they were 4 months old and starting to use the walker in the house and when we would go outside (I bought both pair on clearance at 50% off). I think it’s important that they get used to the feeling of wearing shoes. Like my post about my daughter’s shoes – her first fitting for shoes she was just 10 months old THAT DAY and that same evening, she walked for the first time. I think shoes give them balance and extra confidence a bare foot or sock foot with grippers don’t quite give (my opinion of course!) There are so many cute shoes for girls – (I could’ve spent a fortune but I DIDN’T!) But for my twin sons, I decided to go with Robeez which are known for having a snug fit that are more difficult for baby to kick off.

Why Robeez? “Robeez footwear mimics bare feet by flexing and bending with every step. Supporting not constricting growing feet, they promote good balance and unrestricted growth, while protecting little feet from the world. They stay on too, with elasticized ankles to ensure a perfectly snug fit.” From Why Robeez? They also have a downloadable shoe sizing chart (download Robeez Foot Sizing Chart). Love these little shoes with their orange soles for summer!  

This is my little Maxton who took to “walking” immediately in his walker just like his agile big sister. He will also soon be crawling and I am putting his Robeez on to ensure he has enough “GRIP.” So that’s my story on confidence for my boys!

You recall my post about bubblegum scented toddler shoes made by Mini Melissa? I decided against them just a few months ago because I wasn’t 100% sold on a pair of plastic shoes for a toddler (even though I grew up in the original era of “jellies” and had a ton!) The Melissa Brand shoes smell like bubblegum. Yes, bubblegum. They are a sustainable plastic shoe that is infused with a perfume that smells like bubblegum. Made of PVC recycled plastic, these “mini” versions of the adult Melissa line, are seriously “adorbs.” I must say, I was on the fence as to whether or not I wanted Mattelyn sporting a pair of bubblegum scented plastic shoes. But the sales associate assured me this is one of their biggest sellers for toddler sandals in the spring and summer season. WHO KNEW. While shopping recently for a pair of new shoes for myself POST PREGNANCY, we ran to the children’s department at Von Maur so Mattelyn could look at the train they have displayed and to “smell the Melissa’s,” now something Mattelyn likes to do. LOL. 😉 And lo and behold, the very pair of black Mary Janes with brown bows that I fell in love with were on sale 50% OFF. Yep, we bought them.

Mattelyn was thrilled, wore them out of the store, and sat in her car seat knotted like a pretzel with both feet pulled to her nose repeating, “Mmmmm! Smell, mama!” That evening (and every evening since) she runs to put on her new shoes and tells her daddy everyday when he gets home from work, “Look my new shoes.” So cute, I had to share!

And, Mama got a new pair of shoes too. My first pair of shoes for “going out” after my pregnancies. (Read, first pair of HEELS since giving birth). I LIVED in heels in my not so long ago previous life as a career woman. You couldn’t find me without heels on one, because I am 5’2″ tall (or should I say short!?) And two, I worked in a fast-paced downtown advertising agency and my title of Executive ensured I would wear heels the rest of my life! (Which was fine by me!) But even when they came out with tennis shoes with platforms, I was IN because I just couldn’t wear a pair of flat shoes. Needless to say, as with everything else – EVERYTHING CHANGED WITH BABIES. I am sure I will get back to my heels someday – but for now, none of my old heels fit (my feet grew a 1/2 inch with both pregnancies). So I have a GORGEOUS array of beautiful shoes just waiting to be donated. I can’t part with quite yet, but I did get rid of my first “round” with the birth of Mattelyn. Second round is soon! My birthday is today and my anniversary with my husband was yesterday. So this weekend, we are leaving the babes at home with my mother and father-in-law who have offered to drive up to stay the weekend to watch them – – that is two 7 month old twins and a rambunctious 2 year old. I am nervous about leaving them – the thought of not saying goodnight and giving hugs and kisses is REALLY difficult for me. Plus, I am hormonal as all get out…just ending breast feeding. I may have some post partum baby blues! They will be in loving care with their Mimi and Papa and I have no worries that way, it is just the initial leaving them all. *I am positive I will cry all the way downtown. Poor hubby.* I tried on a pair of new shoe boots with a good, sturdy, thicker heel that is only 3″ tall. They are a neutral color and I think will be a perfect complement to my attire for Saturday night’s outing on the Riverwalk along Chicago’s Riverfront that we are planning to do with a couple of close friends of ours who live downtown. I am excited and somehow, in my warped mind, I think having a new pair of shoes will give me the confidence and extra excitement I need to GET ME OUT THE DOOR Saturday night! (I will post a picture of me and my new shoes during our date night Saturday if you are interested at all in seeing them!)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Please share your favorite shoes for baby, toddler or yourself! I always want to know what I’m missing out on!

XO ~ Your Shoe Obsessed Mama

The “ROOT TRIO” Veggie Puree’ – Baby’s First Tastes

This may sound cliche, but I find great joy in making fresh, organic, homemade baby food for my babies! It is SUCH A SMALL AMOUNT OF TIME that they actually eat baby food. They can’t eat solids until 6 months, and they are often ready to move on by 8 months. And yet, during this small timeframe SO MANY GOOD EATING HABITS ARE ESTABLISHED. They learn to “chew” and swallow properly which also assists in their muscles that aid in speech. It’s hard to believe it’s really only two months we need to provide our children with such important “firsts” but it truly makes a difference down the road. Especially when introducing as many new flavors and textures as possible. I don’t like the flavor of baby food you can purchase on the shelf in the store – the preservatives make it storable for up to two years. And it DOES NOT TASTE LIKE BABY FOOD (in my opinion). The preservatives often make everything taste sweeter than normal and create a false expectation that all foods are sweet and they don’t learn an early appreciation for savory flavors which make up the majority of what we eat as adults. Baby food should taste just like what we eat but with less spice, perhaps. Our main objective when training our babies to eat is to eventually get them eating what we eat. If their first foods don’t taste like our food, and if they don’t get introduced to new flavors early on, they won’t be apt to trying different flavors and textures when they are toddlers. Which makes for picky eaters.

My 7 month old twins LOVE this “root trio” veggie puree so I wanted to be sure to pass it along. My daughter loved this too. It’s so important at this stage in their weaning to solid foods to introduce AS MANY new flavors and textures as possible! The more they try at this age, the more open to new flavors they will be when they’re toddlers. Plus, the more likely they will be to establish good eating habits early on. (If you are interested in reading more about stage one weaning and why I believe so much in this, check out my post on my first go around making my daughter’s organic homemade baby food – I read SO MUCH the first time around and I learned a ton that I try to pass along to you, “Homemade Organic Baby Food – My Journey,” and “Part Two: My Journey Making Homemade Organic Baby Food.”)The root trio veggie puree’ is simply carrots, sweet potato and parsnips steamed and then pureed in a blender with the water used while steaming. Root veggies are naturally sweet and puree easily to a smooth consistency. Add a little of baby’s regular milk to make it the consistency they like. Introducing your baby to a new flavor like parsnips or rutabaga might not appear to be your first choice but doing this early on really does open doors to what they will try later on in the toddler years. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and beta-carotene and are richer in nutrients than regular potatoes. One more to note – organic carrots, rutabaga and parsnips are best to use for baby (and yourself) as they are more susceptible to absorbing chemicals in soil than other vegetables. And, the darker the organic carrot, the more mature and more full of flavor and vitamin A and beta-carotene. Parsnips are a root veggie that is a relative of the carrot family. They are often sweeter when cooked than the carrot and make it a perfect pairing for the sweet potato and carrot and a delicious first food puree for baby.

I would love to hear about the best first foods you chose for your babies! As always, I would love it if you followed me here! I live to share new learnings and pass along anything I have found to be helpful to other new parents.

Enjoy your Monday! It’s a new week full of firsts!

XO ~ Stephanie

Motivation and Unexpected Inspiration…

36 Weeks Pregnant Singleton vs Twins (1)

During the post-partum journey, it is a struggle to find any “normalcy.” Hormones are raging little wars in your mind making things that would typically be commonplace in your day, something to be reckoned with. Breast feeding tricks your corpulent body into thinking it’s still pregnant holding onto every minuscule fat cell in case your baby needs it. Stretched hips, stretched skin, stretched abdominals all aching with the recent gestation of human life. Human life that grew inside my body, in this case, two human lives. While I bask in the fortuitous blessing of twin sons, my heart skipping every other beat with each giggle and smile, I can’t help but to cringe when I notice my husband glancing at my voluminous profile when I walk in the room. Pushing the oversized stroller in the first couple of months made me feel like my body was “covered.” Having given birth to twins 7 months ago Saturday I often hear, “You have an excuse – you just had twins!” While the very statement is true, I can’t help but understand it implies “You’re fat my dear, but it’s okay. Look what you just went through.” Everything changes when you have a baby and there are days when I am so overwhelmed with joy that my heart actually aches with happiness and I am in a constant state of AWE. Complete and total AWE. It’s with great vexation that I say I spend the other 50% of my days thinking about the horrific state my outward appearance is in. Is that fair? No way. My body just internally ran 6 plus marathons for 10 months. I just went through one of the hardest to endure physical moments of my life. And with a smallish frame at the height of 5′ 2′ my body was surprisingly capacious! My husband towards the end would lament that my tummy looked like a torpedo, (sexy, right??) Still, I managed to nourish both of my sons at the breast for the first 6 months of their lives and to care for them night (I emphasize all night long) and day, making them and their two year old sister my priority number one. I suffered minor hip displasia and severe diastasis recti as a result of excessive intra-abdominal pressure or “loading.” Both of which make exercising and typical running regimens a new found obstacle. Any sundress I attempt to don proudly emphasizes my new “pooch” that resembles a 5 month pregnancy, held high as though I am carrying a girl, right under my boobs. While I smile with pride and presumed blithe going about my day, I can’t help but feel solicitous about my appearance. What I endured was worth every single moment of pain and discomfort. It was worth all of the sleepless nights (then and now). But must I look so FLUFFY???

Now as I move forward and try to find motivation through helpful Websites, challenge groups, blogs by women in the same situation, I am finding solace in “this is what it is.” There is an insurmountable barrage of get skinny fast gimmicks, promises to “lose the baby weight once and for all” with celebrities at the forefront sporting amazingly fit three-month post-pregnancy bodies in bikinis I wouldn’t have worn pre-pregnancy. I hung a photo on my fridge pre-pregancy that made me feel good for about a week. I changed the photo on my iPhone to the same photo so I could be tortured with every glance and I watch everything Hollywood with a discerning eye. I am on a journey, that is for sure. Not to get my pre-pregnancy body back, but to begin diminishing this giant waistline I now have. I am in a downswing currently with body image driving my desire and it’s not what I want. I need to focus on long term results that of being a healthy, fit mama to these three bambinos. I know my determination and hard, tire less work will undoubtedly pay off. I need to take a moment to relish and pay tribute to what this magnificent body of mine just went through. In a matter of two years, I brought three human lives into this world. And I am not advocating for a superfluous outpouring of comments from my followers, I simply wanted to provide insight into my daily fight so you can know you’re not alone, in whatever your journey is at this moment. I also have decided today, I am going to use this photo of me 36 weeks pregnant with my daughter and 36 weeks pregnant with my twin sons as MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION to reach my fitness and health goals, rather than a photo of Beyonce’s amazing unjustifiably perfect post-pregnancy body. Because if I could go through that, then I can go through anything. Including finding that smaller me inside this hard-to-recognize body. Stand tall and fight the good fight. With fortuitous vigor I didn’t even know my body and mind had, I was met with accomplishing something I never knew I wanted and that was carrying twins without any bed rest or any physical problems, full-term, at “advanced maternal age.” Temporary pain, forever the gain. No truer words have been put to the test for me right now.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

Are you feeling this way? Do you have something to share? I would love to hear from you as always.

Put yourself to the test today and find the beauty within the fight you’re fighting – be it to be a better you, to help someone out, to be there for someone that needs you or to put a stamp on something you believe in. Today is a gift and tomorrow is just a promise. Live with high hopes and dreams. I have to remind myself of this at times (sometimes twice daily). Love to you all!

XO ~ Stephanie