Nicole’s Cupcake Corner

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I’ve loved cupcakes pretty much forever, as in even before they were a fad.  Ask me if I want a piece of cake, and I’ll probably say, “Yeah, sure, that sounds good.”  Ask me if I want a cupcake, and I’ll reply, “Oh my goodness, YES!  And can I have one to take home too??”

Cupcakes just taste better than cake, am I right?  I mean, I get that they’re technically the same thing, should you compare notes on paper.  But in real life (or at least in my life), they’re not technically the same thing at all.  Cupcakes are just — I don’t know — so much more delightfully delicious.  And they’re pretty.  And they’re single servings, so I can eat two in order to try different flavors…

Eat two pieces of cake, and you’re overindulging.  Eat two cupcakes, and you’re broadening your horizons in the world of culinary art.

Yeah, I like the way I think too!  :)

Over the past year or so, I’ve dabbled in learning how to not only bake cupcakes from scratch but also how to decorate them.  (You might remember that my cupcake passion really took off over the summer, when my bestie Liz asked me to make cupcakes for her gender reveal party.  I’ve honestly never recovered…  Cupcake fever is still running through my veins)!

I have the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe and am now searching for the best vanilla cake recipe I can find…  As for decorating, YouTube videos are incredibly helpful, as was the incredibly large cupcake decorating kit that my hubby bought me last year.  But I felt as though I hit a bit of a wall when it came to learning how to use all the tools in my kit, so I was ecstatic when my best friend Wendy suggested we take a cake decorating class together.

Plus the class price was half off!

Plus the hubby agreed to watch the baby!

Plus I really didn’t need any reason other than the word – ‘cupcake’!!

So last night, Wendy and I attended our first-ever cake decorating class together.  :)  (It was a little hilarious to be taking classes together again, and apparently we have not changed since our college days.  We’re both still perfectionists and annoyingly organized.  ;)  I’m not sure that the teacher ever had students take notes during a decorating class before… but, then again, she had never taught me or Wendy before either).

The class was SO much fun, you guys!  I felt so energized and refreshed to have that creative outlet.  And while I was eager to get home to see my little guy, it was also a much-needed time away, where I could chat with ladies and spend time doing something that I love.

This first class was pretty easy, as I’d already learned most of the techniques on my own.  But I think next week is going to be a frosting-filled challenge.  Ooh, I can’t wait!!!

(What happens in cake decorating class, stays in cake decorating class!)*

And the best thing is that we had to buy a huge tub of frosting (while I usually make mine from scratch), so I can fill up my piping bags over the week with the leftover frosting and practice on waxed paper.  So it’s a hobby that I can easily work on and perfect, that way I’ll be ready to decorate real cupcakes when the time comes.

Or when the sweet tooth demands it!  ;)

*Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat the cupcakes or frosting, because of my dietary restrictions.  Nate said they’re good, but that he likes my homemade frosting better.  Yeah, he’s a good man!  Ha, ha!

 

Brady’s First Outing

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This winter has felt loooong… Brady was born smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season (a brutal season this year in New England, at that), so Nate and I made the decision to keep him away from large crowds, especially since he was already facing so many painful tummy troubles. And with the weather being so blustery and cold, it’s not like I could walk him around our quiet, neighborhood streets in order to get some fresh air.  (Not unless I purchased a fur-lined dog-sled anyway…).

Actually, it wasn’t so difficult in the beginning, since I was recovering from a C-section and just getting used to life with baby (and an irritable baby at that). But now that it’s been three months and Brady is – for the most part – one of the happiest babies I’ve ever met, I’m finding that I feel a little antsy.  Okay, fine, a whole lot antsy!

HELLO, Cabin Fever!

Over these past few weeks, it’s been particularly hard…

In my neck of the woods, there really aren’t any stores that I can run to quickly in order to take advantage of a napping baby left home with his doting daddy. Sooooo, desperate times call for desperate measures! You can be sure that I take full advantage of grocery shopping days, as I peruse every single aisle, whether or not I need any food from that particular section. Hey, I’m outside my house and walking amidst adults, so – yeah – I’m pretty happy.

But then Brady turned three months, and the calendar was flipped to ‘March’. And I did this should-have-been-ridiculously-embarrassing-dance, except it wasn’t embarrassing because only Nate and Brady saw me do it. And, well, they know me by now. ;)

I’d known all along that I’d feel comfortable taking Brady out in public at three months, especially since we’d be in the tail end of the flu season.

So Nate, my sister Sarah, baby Brady, and I decided to take advantage of a particularly sunny afternoon by taking a 25-minute drive to the most fun, magical place on earth.

Target! :)

The last time I was at Target, my sister and I were there to look at Christmas decorations together! Yeah, I haven’t been since November. NOVEMBER!

Honestly, it felt a little strange to be pushing a baby carriage through the store. I’ve been home so much with him that it was surreal to have my mommy-life cross over into a familiar territory that was such a big part of life before baby. It was a good strange though! A kind of new, unfamiliar strange that left me smiling with glee… and also feeling a little bit panicky.

I’m sure I’m not the only new mom who has brought their baby out in public for the first time and spent the first 15 minutes thinking, “Please don’t vomit… Please don’t have an explosive poop… Please don’t scream… Please don’t breathe in any germs.”

But I started to calm down as time went on and just enjoyed the experience. :)

Brady did absolutely great for his first time out. He woke up about ten minutes in and stuck out his lower lip in the most adorable pout, obviously a little disoriented by all of the unfamiliar noises and sights. But we showered him with plenty of smiles until he was assured that all was well.

I think that maybe he was a little bit shocked to see that not everyone wears stripes though…

“Seriously, Mama, you’ve been dressing me in stripes this whole time, when there’s an entire world of patterns and solid colors out there? What?!?”

The trip, in total, didn’t last long, as we weren’t sure how long he would last. So Sarah grabbed her makeup, Nate stacked the tallest tower of cat food ever (#shouldhavegrabbedashopping cart), and I grabbed two Jillian Michael’s workout DVD’s that I hope to incorporate into my weekly routine. (Brady’s face in this picture says, “Ha!  Mama, you think you’re going to have time to workout?  You’re silly!”)

I’d say we ‘shopped’ for about 20 minutes before Brady decided that he had spent enough time in his carriage. So we quickly paid, and we made it back to the Jeep before he decided to have a baby fit.

At which point, we strapped him into his carseat, drove away, and let him sleep peacefully on the way home. (Gosh, I love how quickly babies fall alseep in the car)! :)

Quick trip or not, it was JUST what I needed! And as the days get warmer and Brady gets a little bigger, going out on small adventures will just happen all the more often. Eeee, I just can’t wait!  Life really is SO much fun now!!

Makin’ Time for Me

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My Time

I realize that now I’ve entered the world of poopy diapers, endless laundry loads, constant cuddles, and messy spit-ups, it’s important to make time for me. I need to make sure that I’m being refreshed every so often, especially since the role of mommy is 24/7.  Just this morning, Brady decided to make it a triple-whammy kind of day, presenting me with explosive poop, excessive spit-up, and a nice warm squirt of pee… all within the time frame of roughly 30 minutes.  I realized, as I was scrambling to cover the pee fountain, that I was really tired.  It’s as though 3 months of no sleep decided to suddenly catch up with me, and I went from tired to oh-my-goodness-give-me-the-largest-coffee-ever-before-I-die-of-exhaustion.

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So Me-Time…  I think I need to squeeze some of that back into my life.  AND, for the record, listening to Taylor Swift while folding laundry doesn’t count!  ;)

That being said, I’m not yet sure what ‘me-time’ is even going to look like. These days, finding the time to do a quick makeup job in the morning is about as close as I get; and considering how rushed it is, I’d hardly call it refreshing. ;)

Anyway, I started to put some thought into what I might consider ‘me time’ for a new mama…  It was tough at first, because I couldn’t think past ‘take a bath’ or ‘nap’.  ;)  But I soon realized that I just really, REALLY want to make time for some creative outlets that make me feel like myself.  Quite frankly, taking care of Brady makes me the happiest mommy in the world. It really does… He makes my heart melt every single day. But still, we all need those moments during which we do something for ourselves. Those moments that fill us back up and that challenge us creatively. Or those moments that leave us feeling rested and pampered.

My sister came over to visit a few days ago and presented me with a photography challenge: to come up with a theme-of-the-week for the rest of the year and to try to capture images that fell into that theme. Seeing as how photography is a passion of mine (although I still have so much learning to do in regards to it), I instantly jumped on board.

This is perfect! Photography is something that I can do while Brady is little and to meet a weekly theme is most definitely doable. It will challenge me without being too much. And it’s a way for me to keep my creative juices flowing without taking too much away from my mommy time.

I’m still working on some more potential ways that I can slip me-time into my busy schedule… (Some other ideas of mine consist of exercising, running occasional 5k’s with friends, writing, reading, and volunteering). Ooh, and my friend Wendy and I both signed up for a cake decorating class that starts next week!!!

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But back to photography…  I’m excited about sharing the photo’s with all of you! :) Each week, I’ll post the picture(s) I took, and I’ll post the following week’s theme. That way, any of you photography lovers can join along! (If you do decide to take pictures that follow along with the theme, send me the link to your blog post so that I can check out your works of art)!

Ready…set… SMILE! :)

Whether or not you’re a mom, how do you add me-time into your busy life?

The Theme for the week of March 1st is ‘HOMEMADE’. Who wants to take part in next week’s photo challenge?

 

That’s Me

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I Am That Momma

I was the last of my friends to get bitten by the bug my bestie Ashley refers to as ‘Baby Rabies’. You know the one… The ‘fever’ that leaves you ‘oohing’ over every newborn and dreaming of tiny little onesies. While my girlfriends were all eagerly dreaming of the day they would become mommies, I was busy mapping out my career.

Life was good, and I didn’t feel that there was anything missing… So while I knew that I wanted to start a family one day with my husband, I also knew that I wasn’t in any hurry. After having worked so hard for a college degree, I felt that I wanted to reap the benefits and spend some time in the work-force. (I also was really focused on traveling AND paying off bills, and my job paid pretty well so that I was able to do both).

(My Hawaii trip was already 2 years ago now.  Oh, how I miss that beautiful island)!

My friends who already had babies didn’t quite understand my hesitation, assuring me that there was no love like a mother’s love. No job like being a mom.   But they also respected my choices and accepted the fact that – in the grand scheme of things – we’re all different. We all have different goals, and dreams, and passions. So they supported me in my career right up until the day that I quit my job in the hopes to start a family. (At which point they all erupted into cheers of eager excitement that their friend had finally come around). ;)

(Me and a few of my friends on the morning of our first 5k.  I can’t believe this was almost 3 years ago now)!

Now I have no regrets over the path that I chose. We’re all built differently, and I truly believe that I needed to work – and to work hard – in order to reach a certain fulfillment within me. I needed to prove to myself that I could advance and that I could tackle – and conquer – a challenging job placed before me. I’m proud of what I achieved those 7 years as an Accounts Receivable Specialist, even if it was a stressful job most days. I also really appreciate the opportunities I had to help pay off our debt (down to just the house and one vehicle), as well as provide us with abilities to travel together.

That being said, I now understand where my friends were coming from when they encouraged me to start a family sooner rather than later…

And what does surprise me, now that my baby is three months old (as of today), is that I have become one of ‘those’ moms…

-Baby Brady is allowed in bed with me and Nate. I was going to be a modern mom who followed the ‘rules’ down to the letter, and all the latest books and articles say to never let your child in bed with you. It only makes sleep training more difficult if baby knows that mommy and daddy’s bed is a comfortable alternative to the crib. But when your baby is screaming bloody murder from stomach gas and the only thing that calms him down is a cuddle in bed – well – all rules are thrown out the window. (And… when you’re a breastfeeding mom and your baby is waking up every 2 hours to eat, you kind of come up with your own, comfortable system. And nothing is more comfortable than bed at 3am). So, yeah, I’m one of ‘those’ moms.

-I’m excited about baby supplies. I used to see them as nothing more than practical things, while I’m now obsessed with researching the latest gadgets and gizmo’s. It’s fun. I’m slightly obsessed. And it’s turning me into one of ‘those’ moms.

-I’m planning to join a mommy / baby play-time group. A woman at my church asked me if I would be interested in taking part in one, should she decide to start such a group. I was giddy at the idea of meeting other new moms and letting our babies play together. Yes, I am SO becoming one of ‘those’ moms.

-I wear my baby. I was never against baby wraps or carriers, but I also just didn’t see myself doing it. That was for women like my friends who had spent their entire lives wanting to be a mommy and who wanted to keep their baby close at all times. It shocks me, but I am one of ‘those’ moms. Baby and I wear our new Ergo like we’re sporting the latest fashion trend.

I have a breastmilk stash in the basement freezer. It’s probably only two day’s worth right now… But whenever I’m able to add another bag of breastmilk to the supply, I feel this unexpected sense of accomplishment and pride. I never in a million years would have thought that I’d be one of ‘those’ moms. Seriously, who am I?

My entire world revolves around one squishy, little baby; and I guess that doesn’t surprise me. Yes, I am one of ‘those’ moms.

And I wouldn’t change it for the entire world. :)  I love my lil’ rascal SO much!

Happy three-month birthday, Brady!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Funny Valentine

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My Valentine

I love the way your diaper crinkles when you kick your legs. How your hair smells like vanilla and is fuzzy-soft like a peach after it’s been washed. How high-pitched and excited your squealing becomes, when you try to talk.

I love our morning snuggles, how you rest your chubby, dimpled hands on my shoulder as though giving me a little hug. How you lose your latch when you’re eating because you suddenly catch sight of me looking at you, so you can’t help but smile. I love how you fall asleep in my arms, knowing that you’re safe with me.

I love the little coo’s that you make when you try to talk. The way you splash your legs in glee, when it’s bathtime. And the way your forehead wrinkles, when you’re curious or staring at something intently.

I love how fast you’re growing up, yet dislike it so terribly too. I wish I could pause this moment forever, yet eagerly await each new moment as you discover something new.

I love you, my baby boy. I love you forever and ever. And you will always be me and Daddy’s valentine!

Even though it’s late, I just had to share Brady’s first Valentine’s Day.  :)

What Should I Wear?

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Choose My Outfit

I don’t blog about Nate’s side of the family much, mainly because I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned Just Live It to them. So I don’t feel that it would be right for me to post a ton of pictures of them online without their consent. And I always feel a little weird telling people I know personally about my blog (I mean, is there a less awkward way of telling a friend or family member to check out posts in which you’re writing about yourself?), so only a handful of people – outside of my family – actually know about the blog.

But all that to say, 2014 – leading into 2015 – has been a pretty big year for the B family. Nate is one of three brothers, one of which got married in October. His only sister is getting married in May.  And, of course, we gave his parents their first grandchild back in November.

So, yes, thanks to two weddings and a baby, there has been plenty of excitement in the B household over the past few year or so. Especially now as we’re preparing for his ‘little’ sister Naomi’s wedding.

Fun Fact: Naomi’s fiancé Ben is the brother to Liz (the beautiful red-head I’ve blogged about before). Basically, my sister-in-law is marrying the brother of my best friend. I know that this doesn’t make me and Liz related, but – in my head – I like to think that it does. ;)

Anywho, Nate and I are both involved in the upcoming wedding, which is fun. Nate is going to be the DJ, and – honestly – this has unleashed a beast. ;) He is absolutely loving it, and he was even able to buy some pretty great equipment for a great price. I’m not complaining about it at all; because as he’s working in the basement and blaring some great music, Brady and I dance together upstairs in the kitchen.  And he’s talking about possibly letting this become a side job in the future. Honestly, I think he could be great at it; because he has the personality, obsession for music, and knowledge of complicated sound equipment.

My ‘job’ is to make cupcakes for the bridal shower (insert squeals of excitement) and then to also play piano at the wedding reception. So I guess you could say that between me and Nate, we’ve got all of your wedding music needs covered. ;)

And it’s all coming up so fast, as Naomi’s bridal shower is early next month. Her shower is tea-themed, and the guests were asked to wear a tea dress and a hat. I don’t have a hat that’s appropriate, so I’ll have to look for a black fedora or floppy hat to see if I can wear one. (Oh, how sad that makes me… that I have to shop for a hat, since – you know – I’m kind of obsessed with them). ;)

Actually, I’m due! I haven’t bought a new hat in about two years (but who’s counting)!

Anyway, these are my potential outfits for the special day…  So let’s have some fun!!

Which of these five dresses is your favorite outfit? Any votes as to what I should wear to the bridal shower? :)

Cold!

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Hi Everyone!

Sooooo, I’m taking one more week off from blogging (as let’s face it, I haven’t been very good at mommy blogging up until this point).   :)  I have some posts that I’m working on and excited to share (including a ‘Choose my Outfit’ post, a ‘Q & A’ vlog, a ‘Day in the Life of a Mommy’ vlog, AND a post that recaps my mommy life so far).  So I’m hoping to whittle away at everything this week, and maybe (hey, a girl can dream) I’ll actually have a full week of posts up and running next week!

I’m really focusing on organizing my days a bit in the hopes that March will have a little more semblance of order than January or February did.  ;)  So wish me luck!  Ha, ha.

BUT I do have a small little video to share that shows you how much snow we have here in New England now.  (We’re supposed to get up to another 3 inches tomorrow). YIKES!

Well, I’ll catch up with all of you next week!!!!  Drop a comment and let me know what you’ve been up to lately, because I LOVE to hear from you!  :)

Lots of love,

Nicole

 

 

Hi!

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So I’m just chillin’ and waiting for my next piano student to arrive, and I thought that I’d write a quick little note to let you all know that I was thinking about you.  :)

I know that I haven’t been all that dedicated to blogging lately, but – well – I also know that you all understand.  I kind of gave myself January to just survive, and February is turning into a let’s-feel-this-out-and-come-up-with-some-sort-of-routine type month.  ;)  But that being said, I’m also embracing this completely different lifestyle of being spontaneous and living in the moment!

(I’ll share more on that when I finally get my Q&A vlog up and running)!!

AND I’m hoping that once I do fall into somewhat of a routine, blogging will come much easier.  As will exercising.  And not craving chocolate all the time.

Okay, so, yeah, that last one is a bit of a reach.

But anyway, I have high hopes for March, when it comes blog ideas, starting an exercising routine, and even just focusing on a few goals that kind of slipped through the cracks since I became a mom.  But for now, I shall continue to feel things out and see how the weeks are kind of going.

Because as you know, my priority is a chubby little guy who lights up my whole world (and trust me when I say that he follows absolutely no schedule right now).  (Oh, yeah, he had his 2 month checkup yesterday, and he already weighs 17 pounds…  Soooo, my arms are going to be buff by spring, workout or not).  ;)

Our chunky-monkey now weighs 17 lbs and 2oz.  :). I love my little guy so much!!!

Anywho, I just wanted to stop in and say “hi”.  Hopefully I’ll be blogging more regularly very soon.  But in the meantime, I’m sending lots of love out there to ya!!  :)

 

 

Just a Random Mommy Vlog

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My Q&A vlog should be up this week too, if all goes according to plan…  Look at that, possibly two vlogs in one week!  :)

I filmed this one at a spur of the moment, when I felt a little-too-tired from a night of no sleep (and maybe a tiny bit crabby as a result).  I decided to ignore the exhaustion and to have fun instead!  And it really did turn into a wonderful day.

Ooh, and of course, Brady makes his vlog debut…

I hope you enjoy this random vlog I put together!  Ha, ha.  In the meantime, we’re all snuggled up at home and bracing to get another foot or so of snow tonight through tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

Blessings

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It was a very strange thing, dropping Brady off at my mom’s for the day. It wasn’t even a full Wednesday, to be honest. I dropped him off promptly at noon, but I knew that I’d be back by 6:15pm that night. Normally I teach piano lessons until 7pm on Wednesdays, but my two last students of the day are in Florida for the week. So Brady would only need a babysitter for 6 hours, which really isn’t all that bad.

Right?

Except, for this first time at least, 6 hours seemed like such a long time. An eternity, really. And honestly, the only reason why I was able to do it so calmly (I mean, without sobbing hysterically) is that my mom was the babysitter… and she lives only two miles up the street from me. I kept telling myself that Brady was going to Memere’s house for a playdate, and that somehow made it a million times easier on this mama.

Because who doesn’t love a playdate?!?  Brady sure does!

It was such a good situation, really, that I couldn’t help but feel a little excited for my chunky monkey and his doting Memere. My mom is just so amazing with him, and he already loves her to death. (You should see the smile that pops onto his face, whenever he sees my mom or sister Sarah)!  The two of them are going to have so much fun together, especially as Brady grows up (and especially as the weather gets warmer and they’re able to go for walks outside in the quiet neighborhood).

So I’m blessed. I’m so blessed to be working part-time from home doing something that I love. I’m blessed that my mom will watch my baby on Wednesdays and that my hubby will be watching him on Thursdays.   There’s absolutely nothing to complain about!

Except for the fact that the house seemed unusually quiet and lonely when I had a break between lessons, and I really felt that Brady wasn’t home. It’s kind of strange… He’s only been a part of me and Nate’s life for two months and already I can’t imagine our world without him. I can’t imagine our home without him.

It just seemed too quiet. And so empty.

But still, for the first day, I have to say that it was a very good one.

Lessons went very well, even if I was a tad bit scatter-brained. ;) Next week’s lessons will go so much better, not that this week’s went badly. I just made some silly mistakes when it came to prepping for lessons and ordering books (which I shall blame on the fact that I’m still learning how to organize my time now that there’s a little guy to take care of 24/7). Thankfully, the first week back was all about review anyway, so no one minded. :)

When 6 o’clock arrived and my last student of the day left, I grabbed my coat and ran out the door, my mouth instantly breaking into a huge smile. I couldn’t shake the smile for the entire drive to my mom’s, and I was possibility giddy as I ran up her front steps!

I walked into my parent’s house to see my baby boy sleepily cuddled in my mom’s arms. :) My mom showed me fun pics from their day together and said that he was such a good boy.

So, yes, my first ‘week’ back to work went very well. It was a super easy week, to be honest, as Wednesday wasn’t a full day and snow cancelled Thursday’s lessons.  But it was a nice way to kind of ease back into the swing of things!

Seriously, I am so very blessed, and I thank God every day. It’s so easy to focus on the worrisome things or on the stressful things. But really, God has BLESSED my socks off!!! :)


My Q&A Vlog should be up next week!!!!  :)