Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Special Kind of Friendship

When Jason and I got married in November 2011, we knew we wanted to do a honeymoon right away and we knew we wanted to go somewhere tropical. With the help of our friend/travel agent we booked a week long vacation in Riviera Maya, Mexico at the El Dorado Casitas Royale. We figured our honeymoon would be a nice relaxing week filled with new husband and wife time. And while it was, it was also SO SO SO much more. 

The very first night of our trip {Monday, November 7, 2011 to be exact} we were walking along the beach after dinner, trying to find our way back to our casita. It started to pour rain and we sought cover under a tiny little beach bar. There was a larger group of people sitting across from us, whom, after a few drinks we learned were all on their honeymoon and had all met that night. All it took was a massive gust of wind shooting the rain horizontal and all of us were ducked behind the bar. It was at this moment Jason and I officially met Billy & Jackie. 

They were our age. They were married the same day as us. AND, they lived in Iowa - just across the border of all places. This is going to sound cheesy, but we hit it off immediately. The four of us just clicked and had a blast. We ended up hanging out with Billy & Jackie every day {at some point} for the rest of the trip. I'm sure to some it seems super strange to spend so much time with strangers on your honeymoon but it truly made our honeymoon as amazingly fun as it was. Jason and I were able to have our date nights, excursions and newlywed time, and then we'd meet up with Billy & Jackie later in the evening...where hilarity would ensue. Again - super cheesy - but we all bonded so fast that we were heartbroken when it was time to say goodbye.

I don't know if it was fate, geography or just the amazing friendship we were able to build in 7 days, but we've managed to get together twice a year every year since. Well, that first year we only got together once because it turns out I was pregnant when they came to visit and didn't know it. WHOOPS! We label our get togethers with Spanish numbers as an ode to our meeting place and are always planning the next time before the current time is over. 
Part Cinco just took place a couple of weeks ago! Jason and I made our way down to Iowa early on a Friday morning so we could squeeze in as much time with our "honeymoon friends" as possible. Billy & Jackie just built a new home which is absolutely gorgeous and we were so happy to be able to see it. We spent Friday on the boat, stayed up way too late, drank way too much, the boys golfed on Saturday, we went to a Hawkeye bar, went to a carnival, created about 10 more inside jokes, laughed more than ever and as always had an amazing time.
These two are so special to us and it makes me so happy that we've made the effort to stay in touch and see each other on a somewhat regular basis. When we get together it's like no time has passed, there's never an awkward moment and all we do is laugh.

Now I just wait for part seis!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting My Head On Straight

1. July has been nuts. 
2. I need help. 

To start let's talk about nuts-o July. It's been a whirlwind. We have been so busy and I have had so much on my plate, something had to give and unfortunately that had to be blogging. I knew it was bad when Katie texted me and asked if I was pregnant, because we all know being pregnant is the only reasonable excuse for not blogging. No, I am not pregnant. I've just been busy. And if you don't believe me, this past month I have...

...had a girls boat day, celebrated the 4th of July, took Kenley to dance class, spent a long weekend in Iowa, went to Vinny's 2nd birthday party,  modeled in a fashion show for Tzu Tzu Sport, assisted Sara Jayne Photography with a 3 month shoot, a special little monster shoot and my little sister's senior pictures (!), helped my dad with his biggest basketball tournament of the year, celebrated getting through my dad's biggest tournament of the year (a little lot too much), helped my dad's friend with his basketball camp in Texas, had a double date night, planned a baby shower, oh, and ran the coffee shop I'm working at while the manager was gone.
And now I'm just trying to recover and catch up...maybe clean my house and maybe get some sleep.

As for the "I need help" part...I need help! I am currently working 5 jobs. Yes, 5 jobs.The combination of these jobs is allowing me to have pretty much the perfect arrangement of Stay at Home Working Mom. I am working both in and out of the house. While all of these jobs are very much part-time, there's a lot on my plate and I'm at the point where I don't feel like I'm doing any of these jobs well. SO, I need to get organized. Which is where you come in. I know so many of you are working moms or stay at home moms or stay at home working moms...and even if you're not a do you do it all? How do you get yourself organized and manage your time so you can accomplish everything you need to AND still have time to blog? Because I miss blogging and never want to go 20 days without a post again! I'd really love to hear your tips and advice!!!

***and don't forget to check out yesterday's post because you could win a Febreze Noseblindness Product Pack AND a $60 AmEx gift card!!!****

Monday, July 28, 2014

Febreze Noseblind Giveaway {+ $60 AmEx Gift Card!!!}

No, your eyes aren't deceiving really is me. July has been probably the craziest month of my life and I am FINALLY getting my life back in order, which hopefully means more time for blogging! But, more on that tomorrow, today I am not only going to tell you about some amazing Febreze products but give you the chance to win some...along with a $60 AmEx gift card.
You are welcome my friends. You are welcome. 

Febreze got in touch with a little challenge: have some friends over for a movie night, pop some popcorn and have them take a couple surveys on the scent of my home. Kenley asked her best bud Brody to come over and watch Princess and the Frog and we asked his parents to come along and smell our house. 
When Kenley parties, shirts are optional.

Upon arrival Colin & Sharisse took a survey and answered that the primary smell of our house was cleaning products - which was a huge relief because our front door walks in right next to the kitchen, so often our garbage can is the first thing you smell. Also, I knew we were having company so I cleaned that day....which is why the house smelled like bleach. And after popping the popcorn, the predominant smell was a split tie between popcorn and cleaning products - yum!

Over time, we all become accustomed to the odors around us therefore becoming Noseblind. This nasal condition definitely concerns me because, like I said, when you walk in to our house the first thing you are smelling is the trash - not to mention I live with a toddler, a dog and a husband who plays sports. Using these Febreze products over the past couple weeks has definitely made my house smell fresh and clean but also given me piece of mind because they aren't just masking the smells they are eliminating them! Febreze contains a molecule known as Cyclodextrin that traps and eliminates the bad odors, so you can rest easy that your guests aren't smelling trash, dirty socks, wet dog or dirty diapers upon entering your home.

I am guessing you would like to get in on the clean smelling house Noseblind action...right? Simply enter below and you could be bringing home the following:

*1 Febreze Refresher
*1 Febreze Air Effects
*1 Febreze Fabric Refresher
*1 Febreze Noticeables with refill
*1 Febreze Candle


*1 $60 AmEx Gift Card!

{winner announced next Monday, August 4}

To keep up on these fantastic products, be sure to follow Febreze on Facebook & Twitter!

This review and giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Febreze. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Girl Trip

Remember back in the day when you weren't allowed to hang out with boys so your only option was to hang with your best girlfriends? Sorry boys, but those were kind of the days! Two weeks ago {officially the worst blogger ever}, I got to spend 36 hours with some amazing girls and this trip seriously filled my soul with good old fashioned happy girl time - something I definitely needed. 

If you follow My Beeb, Dawn and Andrea then you've already read three versions of this story and if you don't follow them, well I feel bad for you because they rock my socks off.I apologize if you've read this three times already but you should probably read it's that good.

So, #truestory, a few months ago I received an email from one of my favorite bloggers, Katie Mango, asking me a question about a yoga event she was organizing. She told me all about the awesome event and I sarcastically {but somewhat seriously} said "It sounds awesome, I should come." Katie's response...."You totally should. Bring Andrea". A couple text messages, emails and convincing arguments as to why Carolyn & Dawn should leave their babies overnight for the first time we were packed in my car with a lifetime supply of Doritos, enough Britney & BSB to drive to Mexico and Andrea's hangover.

After 6 hours of lots of girl talk we arrived safely in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We rolled in to town with just enough time for a Target pit stop before yoga. As we pulled up to the MAC {where Yoga at the Cove was moved due to stinky weather} we saw her...IT WAS KATIE MANGO! We all freaked out and screamed like teenagers because that is the natural reaction when you see a blog friend in the flesh. The first blate nerves kicked in so some yoga tailgating vodka was in order - at least for those of us who weren't hungover or hiney {hungry + whiney}.

Despite the fact that Katie didn't see me when I started jumping up and down and waving my arms at her....she was everything we expected her to be and so much more! Seriously, from the SECOND I met her I felt like I had known her forever. Also, she's so beautiful it's gross. At this point we were all STARVING {eating Doritos at 9am doesn't really give you the pre-workout energy we had expected} but it was time for yoga! The class was incredible! It was a super tough workout but so much fun. There were several times we bursted out laughing in the middle of the practice and I'm sure our neighboring yogi's thought we were idiots but we made it through without passing out from hunger. 

After yoga, Katie sent us over to the Horseshoe Casino where we were met by two men in suits and headsets who escorted us through the casino to the restaurant, seated us at our table and comped our meals. Rolling with Katie Mango is legit you guys. You would have thought the four of us had never eaten and we were pretty certain everyone in the casino was staring at us while we stuffed our faces. 

 Once our bellies were full and we were no longer hangry or hiney, we headed to Harrah's where we'd be staying. Not long after, Mango came to join us and surprised us with champagne room service which forced her to hide in the corner and under pillow and also forced Dawn to awkwardly prevent the nice man from bringing in our champagne.

We sipped our bubbly and got ready for the night and then made our way up to the 12th floor to 360 Steakhouse. We had so much fun getting to know each other better, sharing stories, drinking cocktails and stealing bites of Mango's crab cakes. It was at this point that I discovered when I sat and then stood back up my tank top and skirt worked as a team to create what appeared to be a #teenieweenie. From this point on any mention of the teenie weenie sent us girls into a fit of laughter....I said we were awesome, not mature. 

It's at this point this trip gets EPIC.

Another suited headset man comes to our table and asks Mango {who is Queen of awesome} if we'd like to go to the roof. Of course we jumped on the chance. It was SO cool. The sun was starting to set and we had an awesome view of the Missouri River and downtown Omaha. Not to mention the up close and kickass view of the Harrah's sign. Rolling VIP, I tell you, it's the way to go.

After our escapades on the roof we were off to downtown Omaha, where like a beacon in the night, we passed a frickin Wiener truck. When is the last time you saw an Oscar Meyer Wiener truck? It's been ages for me. As any normal #oldballs would do we completely and totally freaked out, whipped a u-ey, and ran to the truck as fast as we could so me and my teenie weenie could take a picture with the weenie truck.
So after my teenie weenie/giant weenie photo shoot we noticed there were people IN the weenie truck. So we made our way to the other side and sweet talked the #steamyweenie driver boy to let us in. As you'd imagine the entire inside is red & yellow like ketchup & mustard but when I see those colors I instantly think of my Gophers whose colors {maroon & gold} are really just fancy versions of ketchup & mustard. So I step in the truck and scream "OMG! It looks like the Gophers in here". To which #steamyweenie driver boy replied with "WHAT did you just say?" I panicked a bit when I remembered I was in Cornhusker country and most likely my Gopher fandom would not be well received but before I could answer #steamyweenie said "Like, U of M Gophers?" Turns out the #steamyweenie was a U of MN grad and a fellow die-hard Gopher fan which resulted in him pulling out his drivers license to prove it, us singer the rouser, throwing down the M and then taking group selfies. 

The rest of our night included sushi, lemon drops, an Irish pub, dolphin noises, and laughing until we cried. 
We said our farewells to Mango for the night and made our way up to bed. But like any good sleepover, we got a second wind as soon as our heads hit the pillows. We contemplated a late-night trip down to the casino but instead stayed up talking, taking pictures of us fake sleeping, watching Andrea trip over coolers, and arguing over which nature sound machine app noises were the least annoying.
We woke up the next morning well rested {what mama gets to sleep in until 9:30????} and not hungover! GO US! So all 4 of us hopped out of bed, the Beeb made me some delicious hotel coffee {she's a keeper} and we were all packed and dressed and ready to go in 1 hour's time! #winning

We checked out and made our way back to Omaha to meet Mango for a good-bye lunch at Blatt. I am both happy and sad that we don't have a Blatt in Minneapolis - happy because I would gain 400 pounds and sad because OH-EM-GEE the food is good. We tried basically everything on the menu and loved everything but the water. 

Then came the worst part of the trip, parting ways with our Mango. This girl showed us such an amazing time, was a wonderful host, an absolute sweetheart and a total blast! A yellow-loving, chardonnay-drinking, Carrie Underwood lookalike is just the kind of girl I prefer to be friends with and I am so happy we got to meet in real life.
After we sent Mango back to real life the 4 of us did a hot lap around the block to walk off our food babies before sitting in the car the rest of the day and in typical "us" fashion this was the most eventful and hilarious 5 minute walk I've ever been on - #birdattacks #saynotoicecream And the 6 hours in the car that followed were no different. We reminisced about our trip, ate more food {not sure how}, and bonded over a near-death experience being stuck in construction behind a semi-trick, driving 10 miles an hour, during a tornado warning, with cows running for shelter, corn laying side ways, tipped over trucks and cones, Andrea's wannabe meteorologist husband deciphering the Doppler, spinning clouds, #nervouspoop, #nervouspuke, #nervouscoffee, baby birth videos, almost missing the MN sign, killer mosquitos, locked bathrooms, and of course #thepinkheadband.

While this trip was short, it was incredible. Girlfriends are SO important and I feel really blessed to have these girls in my life and to have added Mango to the mix. I can't put in to words how refreshing, uplifting and revitalizing spending time with friends who just GET IT really was. We are all working moms, wives, bloggers and while we have different personalities and interests we have so much in common and being able to spend 36 hours just being ME and talking about everything from my fear of birds to motherhood to how to spell monkeys {it's NOT monkies, in case you're wondering}was just what I needed without even realizing it. I woke up with sore abs and feel pretty confident it was a result of laughing until hurt and not the yoga class we drove to Council Bluffs to do.

next up...#MangodoesMN


After reading my travel buddy's recaps I have learned that they are not only WAY funnier than I am but WAY better at describing this ridiculous trip. If you haven't already, READ THEIR POSTS!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mason's Birth Story {07.18.12}

Happy Tuesday mamas!

Here's what you do:
1. Write a post about ANYTHING baby {or pregnancy} related.
2. Add my button to your post.
3. Link your post with the link-up tool found at the end of all of my posts.


Hello Mama and Mou readers! My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at Chasin' Mason, a blog about the adventures in motherhood and daily life with a toddler. I am a true California girl. I was born and raised in Northern California, in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved down to Southern California after I graduated college in 2006. I met my husband in 2006 when we worked together at Barnes and Noble. He was a part time bookseller (he had a different full time job, this was just his job for extra money) and I was a Merchandise Manager. We began dating in 2008 secretly since we weren't technically supposed to be dating since I was his manager {oops!}. We got engaged in September 2009 at Angels Stadium (I thought we were celebrating my birthday! I had no idea!)...

 ...and got married in November 2010...

...and then had our amazing, sweet little boy in July 2012.

He is now two years old and is the light of our lives.
Now that you know a little bit about me... here's the story of how we met our sweet little man.


It all started on the night of Tuesday, July 17, 2012. I'd been on maternity leave for a week and a half and was starting to actually get bored. Who would have thought? I thought I would be so happy that I didn't have to work and got to hang out, watch tv, or do whatever I wanted everyday. Turns out, not as exciting as I thought (that had since changed since Mason was born as I had established my tv lineup everyday and of course, I had Mason to take care of). Plus I was starting to get big (or what I felt was big - everyone else said I was still so small) and uncomfortable. Pretty sure Mason had his foot up in my ribs, which made it really hard to sit with our discomfort. I was ready to meet my boy!

Anyway, the night of July 17th I really wanted In n Out for dinner. Seth (my husband) of course didn't object and picked it up on his way home from work. We ate dinner, everything was great, and we watched tv...but as we watched tv, I started to feel what felt like minor period cramps. I didn't really think anything of it and went to bed at 11pm. I woke up around 3am and it still hurt. I waited a few minutes and decided to wake Seth up. I told him what was happening and he told me to call my doctor. I was kinda hesitant because I felt bad because it was 3am...but hey, doctors are on call for a reason and I'm sure I'm not the first one to call and wake them up. Plus that's what they get paid the big bucks for, right? So I called the on call line, told the on call guy what my symptoms were, he paged the on call doctor (which actually happened to be my doctor - both good and bad for me), and my doctor called back. She asked me if I had taken any Tylenol. I said no. She told me to take some and see how I felt and call her back if I needed to. So by now it was like 3:15am. I took some Tylenol. Seth got up with me. We watched tv (which by the way, there is NOTHING on at 3am lol). And then... I started feeling contractions. I started timing them and Seth wrote down how long they were for and how far apart. They ended up being 5 min apart for an hour. By this time more time had gone by and it was 5am. I was getting uncomfortable. My doctor asked me if I wanted to go to the hospial. I love my doctor, but Do I want to go to the hospital? Aren't you the doctor? I called to ask YOU if YOU think I should go to the hospital. So, given the choice, I said yes. She said she would call and let the hospital know that we were on our way. So we put on some real clothes (well Seth did, I kept my sweatpants on lol), got our stuff together (our bags were packed but just the las minute stuff), and were on our way. By now it was 5:45am. I was secretly happy that all of this was happening in the early hours of the morning because the most direct way to the hospital is one specific freeway. A freeway which 1) happens to be the worst freeway for traffic (or at least one of the worst in my opinion), 2) happens to be the best way to get to the OC Fair that was also going on and 3) happens to be the best way to get to the beach. I was happy we were leaving so early and were going to beat the traffic....or so I thought. Turns out... there are already a lot of people on the freeway at 5:45am! But we didn't have a problem. We got to the hospital around 6:10-6:15am, checked in and they put us in what they call a "triage" room. When I think of triage, I think of someone who has extremely bad injuries (but maybe I just watch too much Grey's Anatomy!), which I didn't.
 when we got checked in to the triage room

the million dollar view

A nurse came in, talked to us, checked me (3cm) and then left us for a little while. She came back, asked about my contractions (on a scale of 1 to 10, I said I was having a 5-6 pain out of 10). She said they typically don't admit people until they are at 4cm and asked if I wanted to try walking. I definitely didn't but didn't want to be sent home so I said if I had to, I would. By now it was like 7am and the change in the shifts of the nurses were happening so the night nurse said she would update the day nurse and they would see what they wanted to do. The day nurse came back and said they would admit me (yay!). So we moved from triage to labor and delivery. (I later learned that since my doctor was on call the night before, she was off that day. I guess they have some sort of app on their phones that let's them check on their patients (cool but kinda creepy) and she was yelling at the phone wondering why they had me in triage for so long when she knew I was in labor). So by 9am we were finally "checked in" to the hospital and were on our way to having a baby!

contractions on the computer screen

Now I understand they need to ask you a lot (A LOT) of questions before they can admit you, but one stood out to me as kinda stupid....why are you here? Really? Why am I here? I'm having a baby! (I asked the nurse if anyone says anything different and she said just slight variations - I'm in water broke...etc). She asked what my pain level was and I said 7 (now that might have been a littttttle more than most people would say but hey, it was painful to me!). I asked when I could get my epidural and she said after I had an IV of fluids. By this time I had started to feel a little sick and she said that was normal. She gave me a bucket, just in case, which was teeny tiny! I'm like umm, that's not going to work if I throw up, so she got me a bigger bowl. Still not your ideal bowl size, but definitely bigger. The nurse left the room and Seth was distracted by something (the view or his phone or something) and then... BLAH! (TMI...sorry so graphic). Poor Seth definitely saw more than he wanted to. Not the most fun or proudest moment of my life, but hey, he did this to me, he can see the results, right? LOL. The nurse came back, I told her I got sick, and she cleaned up. Poor nurses get such a bad job. I felt so bad. A different nurse came in after that and gave me my IV. She had a hard time finding a good vein to use so she tried one on my left wrist and what happened? She blew my vein. I'm sorry, what? You did what? Now this has never happened to me before so I was thinking this is bad. Apparently it's not really that bad, but it hurt. And later (like a couple days after I got home from the hospital) turned a lovely shade of black and blue. It honestly looked like someone grabbed my arm and squeezed. So, she looked and looked on my other arm and she couldn't find anything, so luckily for me, a different doctor came to check on us and she asked for help. It hurt, but at least he knew what he was doing. It ended up having to be on the top of my right hand though. Not the ideal spot, but it worked. Some time in all of this, they also broke my water.

After what felt like FOREVER, the anesthesiologist came in and I was getting my epidural! YAY! I was pretty scared but the contractions were hurting A LOT (to me) so I was ready. They said it wouldn't hurt any more than my IV (great, that hurt....). I had to sit up and hug a pillow and not move while the doctor did his thing. He cleaned my back, and then... you get the idea, I will spare you the details. It hurt a little, but not NEARLY as much as I imagined. I was terrified of the thought of a needle in my spine.  So many things could go wrong and I was so happy when it was over.

They had me lay down and that's what the magic happened. I started to not feel anything! It was bliss.  HEAVEN. The nurse asked if I felt anything and I said no and she said that was good because I just had a big contraction. So by now it was 10am and I was at 4cm (they don't give you an epidural before that) and we just had to wait... so we took a nap. And woke up at noon. The nurse came back in to check me and I was at ... 9 cm!!!! What?! 9 cm? That was fast! If I take another nap, when I wake up, will Mason be here? (just kidding!) Now I just had to wait to get to 10 cm.

The next few hours are a bit of a blur so the timing is just an estimate.

At noon we informed the family that I was at 9 cm. Seth's dad was at the fair and left to come to the hospital. And Seth's mom left work. Little did we know, but my poor in-law's were way too early and had to wait in the waiting room for what I'm sure felt like forever. I left bad. I don't know how much time went by but I was finally at 10 cm. Probably around 1pm or 1:30pm? The nurse asked me how I was doing and I said I just felt a little pressure. She said that was good and they were just gonna let me sit. Let Mason do some work and let him move down as much as possible. So at 2pm or 2:30pm-ish they checked me again and she said she could feel his head. What?! Isn't that bad?? Where is the doctor?! The nurse called to have the doctor paged and told me we would try to push. Wait?! Where's the DOCTOR??? So we did. She asked if I wanted a mirror and I said NO WAY. Gross. Poor Seth held my one leg and the nurse held the other. I think he saw more than he wanted to. I will spare you the details. He didn't plan on looking (I told him not to also) but when the nurse yells "I can see the head!" you can't help but look. She asked if I wanted to know what color hair he had and I was shocked he had hair! The old wives tale is that if you have heart burn, the baby has lots of hair and if not, no hair. And I had no heart burn. But he had hair! Brown hair! Lots of brown hair! I pushed a little more (which was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be since in the short span of one contraction (like 1 min) you have to hold your breath and push for 10 sec and hold your breath and push for 10 sec... AND hold your breath and push for 10 sec. 3 times!! So tiring. THANKFULLY I didn't have to push that much. I seriously feel for those people in labor for hours. I don't know how they do it.)

And the doctor was no where to be found. So the nurse called again. I guess the doctor (not my doctor since she was off, but a doctor in the same practice) had actually been at the hospital earlier in the day at noon doing a c-section but nobody told her my progress, so when she was done, she went back to the office. The office is just down the street but she said she needed 5 min to finish some stuff and then she would head back. So we waited. We waited because I had an epidral and couldn't feel anything. Then I pushed again (just for the nurse said. I didn't think it was so fun). Then we waited because if I pushed again, she thought she would be delivering the baby.

The doctor finally came... maybe at 3:15pm? and after a few pushes...

He was here!

Mason Noah Birenaum
July 18, 2012
7 lbs. 8 oz. 19 inches
3:36 pm

I feel like the doctor was there for like 10 min (clearly longer) and then was just GONE! I guess that's all that was necessary. In and out and get paid BIG BUCKS. Maybe I should have been an OB/GYN? Haha. So Mason got cleaned up, they finished up with me, and then I got to hold him! My baby! I can't believe he's HERE and he's MINE! So surreal. And so amazing.

So after the "golden hour" where it was just the 3 of us, we went up to the mother/baby unit and everyone else got to meet him! I can't believe that you can only know someone for one minute and already have SO MUCH LOVE. I was in awe of him, in awe of what me and my husband created. Our boy, our Mason.


If you'd like to submit a birth story or guest post, please email me at