Back To The Basics | Living Life With Less

Budda Quote_CissyRomano.comHave you ever seen those programs about tiny houses? The ones where the people live in spaces under 500 square feet? If you haven’t – check out this YouTube channel. Absolutely fascinating. While this lifestyle would never work for me right now, it got me thinking if one day I would be able to live with a minimal number of possessions – truly live with only what I need. I’ve been intrigued by this lifestyle for at least a handful of years. It was only recently that I started making changes in my own life to get closer to this minimal way of living.

Regardless of what you have going on in your life and the number of warm bodies (human and furry friends) you are responsible for, have you ever spent an entire Saturday or Sunday cleaning up your crap? I’ll take that as a resounding YES – even if you aren’t admitting to it now, we’ve all had to take time out of our valuable and precious weekends to sort our things out. Call it “spring cleaning” or whatever you want – it exists. And it stinks. It makes you realize real quick that you are an adult and that being an adult is just not fun sometimes.

So this whole minimalist movement is about solving that problem. What if you controlled your living space and possessions instead of these things controlling you? Admit it – its intriguing right? And completely counter-intuitive to our Western culture where more is more and less is less. What if less really was more?

As I mentioned before, my husband and I have already started making smallish changes in an effort to explore this new less-is-more lifestyle. It was easy to get him on board by merely talking about how much time we would save on our weekends and dedicated free time if we weren’t having to do mounds of laundry and spend hours picking up the explosion of toys that happens immediately after the previous pick-up session.

My first step happened in January of this year – I started in my closet. Clothes seemed to be the easiest starting place for me as I am not emotionally attached to clothing. My reason for having so many items of clothing was practical and rational for this point in my life. My body has endured so many changes over the past 6 years – I have grown and delivered three human beings, so of course my body shape has been all sorts of shapes and sizes during this time period. I was hanging onto clothing with plans in mind of not being as large or round in certain body areas forever. OK, so its taking longer than I would like for this to happen. I’ve accepted it and I have now parted with the variety of sized clothing in my closets. It is still not where I want to be – I need to shed some more – but it is better than it was when I started.

My second step was our kitchen – again out of rational thinking – we are about to undergo a much-needed kitchen reno next month, and therefore we need to have all the crap that we don’t use out of the way so its easier to work around the reno and store our belongings. I have 4 of the same-sized pyrex! How does that happen? I also shed our old plates we received from our wedding. We had more than we needed and the majority of them were chipped anyway. We upgraded to stark white plates, which I am obsessed with and they bring joy to me every time we sit down to eat.

After the kitchen purge, I watched a review of a book that seemed to be taking over people’s conversations (in the social/web community I take part in): The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her book basically summed up everything that I was reading and watching that was inspiring me to make these changes. I picked the book up in hopes that it would help me organize my plan of attack for this new exploration of mine. I’m about half-way through the book and it is amazing. And life-changing. And magic. I highly recommend it.

This past weekend we purged toys. It was amazing. It was joyful. My house smiled when we finished. My children did not even notice. Again, I feel we could purge even more, but this was an awesome starting point. My next attack will be my closet again. I plan on documenting my process now that my house is not as embarrassing. Had you only seen where I started.

I can tell you that so much peace has already come upon me and my family. After three months of slowing chipping away at the over-abundance of STUFF that was taking over our lives, I have never felt so at-ease walking into my home. It is slowly but surely becoming a place I enjoy spending my time.

Have you been intrigued by this minimalist movement? Have you tried changes in your own life? Please share with me any successes or failures you have experienced. I hope at the end of the day the promise of minimalism comes true, and I hope you enjoy our journey.

I feel a “Namaste” is an appropriate exit of this post. So, namaste.

Cissy

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TAG | 25 Facts About Me

1003570_10101919504614435_1907611018_nFor me, starting to blog is like starting a new book that you just can’t put down. I’ve entered into a new world and every door I open increases my desire to learn more and see more. Tag videos on YouTube are some of my very favorite videos to watch – mainly because you get to know the people you follow on a deeper level. I’m pretty new to Bloglovin’ so I’ve been spending a lot of time (probably too much time) exploring all of the beautiful and creative blogs that exist! I stumbled upon The A Style yesterday and saw this tag and thought it would be appropriate for new-ish blog. So here we go!
 
What is your middle name?: My given middle name is Curtis. I know. It’s unattractive and boyish. Not something I would have chosen for my girls. I legally changed it to my maiden name when I got married. So glad that chapter of my book is closed. It does, however, still exist on my college diploma, which hangs in my office.
What was your favourite subject at school?: Theology. I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Catholic Schools and I was always fascinated with the deep thought required in all of my theology classes. Props to my teachers who encouraged such thinking!
What is your favourite drink?: Beer. If I had to choose a fav, it would be Hoegaarden. I love it. I also love the huge craft beer movement that is going on in my town right now. So many different varieties! And I love shopping local!
What is your favourite song at the moment?: It would have to be Slumber by NEEDTOBREATHE. I’m slightly obsessed.
What is your favourite food?: Ice Cream. No doubt.

What is the last thing you bought?: A dishwasher. Life of a homeowner…
Favourite book of all time?: The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Takes me back to being a teen.
Favourite Colours?: Red. If you are into the psychology behind this, read more here.
Do you have any pets?: We have a dog. His names are: Charlie, Charlie Brown, Charles in Charge, BoBo, Buddy, Dog!, Bub. He is old. He is our original baby. He used to sleep between my husband and me in a queen sized bed. He is now blind, can not eat table scraps, and has a HUGE mass of fat on his undercarriage that can not be removed because its tangled in blood vessels. Poor BoBo.
Favourite Perfume?: Very Sexy by Victorias Secret.
Favourite Holiday?: Thanksgiving. I love food.
Are you married?: 7 years strong!
Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: Yes. Italy twice. Spain twice. Caribbean a few times. Mexico a few times. Canary Islands once. And I stepped into France for about 10 minutes. Spain is my favorite. I love you. I hope to see you again soon.
Do you speak any other language?: I fell in love with a boy from the Dominican Republic when I was 16. *Sigh, young love!* That will make you want to learn a language like nothing else. I then majored in Spanish in college and spent a couple of semesters in Spain. So I would say my Spanish is good enough for a basic conversation. I can read and write fluently though.
How many siblings do you have?: I have an older sister and a younger brother.
What is your favourite shop? So many to choose from! It all depends on what I am shopping for. Food – Whole Foods. Clothes – Gap. Makeup – Ulta.
Favourite restaurant?: Oh, Hot and Hot. Let me count the ways…
When was the last time you cried?: I have three kids ages four and under. I cry a lot. Mostly because I am tired and don’t know how else to react.
Favourite Blog?: If I had to honor just one, it would be Essiebutton. But there are LOADS of others that I am in awe of.
Favourite Movie?: I have issues with watching movies more than once, so I am going to skip this one. I do love movies though.
Favourite TV show?: I’m really into Sherlock right now. I will also watch the crap out of Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds is probably my only exception to watching a show or movie more than once.
PC or Mac?: Mac
What phone do you have?: White iPhone 5.
How tall are you?: I would not use “tall” as a descriptive word for me. I am short. Lets just leave it at that.

Can you cook?: I repeat. I love food. Which translates over to cooking. Love of cooking is something my husband and I share. I love him only slightly more than I love food.

El fin! I really enjoyed this tag! I hope you did too. Share with me if you decide to do this tag as well!

xo, Cissy

How to Survive a Beach Trip With Babies

emma backYes, a beach trip with babies and toddlers is completely doable. When my parents approached me a year ago about my thoughts on “spending a week at the beach” next summer, my only response (in thought of course) was “Are you flipping crazy?”.

Here is why:

1. I only get ONE PAID WEEK of vacation a year – and you want me to spend it all at one time?

2. Three kids ages 4 and under?

3. No pool?

4. A FULL WEEK? What will happen to my desk at work? It will take me 3 weeks to recover!

Ok. Ok. Once the automatic “No.” was decided upon, my husband sat me down and made me think about it. How often will we get the opportunity to spend the week at the beach? AND paid for?

So… we decided to go. And because it was not last minute (nothing with my family is unplanned), we had the chance to prepare the Dave Ramsey way. We saved a little each week for a year so that we wouldn’t have to worry about spending money while we were down there.

We are notorious for believing we are millionaires while on vacation.

So, my point here is to show those scared mothers and fathers that a beach trip is totally doable. AND, with proper planning, it should not break your piggy bank either.

SOME TIPS:
  • Plan to cook your meals at the beach. Not only is this a piggy bank saver, but a trip saver. We turned into so-called “beachbums” that week. We woke up bright and early for those inspiring sunrises (and because we usually had a kid screaming), ate our breakfast, then headed to the beach. We did not leave the sand until it was time to head in for supper. Cooking our meals allowed us to savor each moment in the beach breeze.
  • Don’t stay at a place with a pool. I was downright frightened about this lack ofbeachbums amenity. Our daughter has been on sand before (not during the summer) but we had never spent anytime at the beach in our 4-year parenthood journey. I have always heard horror stories about kids hating the sand / afraid of the ocean / stung by a jellyfish… what was I going to do with three young kids at the beach for an entire week if they hated the ocean and sand? So – my answer to this is to not give them the option to hate it! My oldest now looks like she is of a south-of-the-border ethnicity (I guess she already is a 1/4 Italian though) and could be a certified beachbum for the rest of her life.
  • Don’t overpack. Wow – you should have seen our van. I am now regretting not having a photo to hang in my house to remind me never to overpack again! Because I didn’t realize my family would turn into beachbums, we had enough clothing and toiletries to dad and twinslast us at least a month in our normal lives in Birmingham. If we were not in swimsuits, we were in swimsuits with coverups. The fancy outfits I brought to clothe my children in for the quintessential beach photo opps remained in our Vera Bradley bags for the entire week. I only remembered I packed them when I was repacking everyone on the last day. Geez. I can be very silly sometimes. I guess the saying down at the beach is true, “No shoes. No shirt. No problem.”.In that same vein – you don’t need $100 worth of toys and beach accessories to keep the kids happy. My four-year-old literally spent an entire day sitting on the edge of the water while scooping and pouring sand over her legs. The buckets and nets and frisbees and kites and sand tools all remained under our ez up with the adults and babes.
  • Don’t overplan. I know. I know. I just finished saying how important “proper planning” was… What I mean here is that you don’t have to have a slue of activities planned to occupy your crew. I mean, it costs a small fortune to head to the coast anyway. Jet-skiing, parasailing, deep sea fishing, etc. will not make the trip any better if you are hopping from one activity to another. My best takeaway from our trip is that my brain went to Jell-O for 7 days. Thank you Jesus for such a great blessing!
  • Swimsuits not required! haha… no, I am not an aspiring nudist. BUT, my babies – thetwins real babies (14 months) – did not, I repeat, did not need the 5 sets of swimsuits I bought and brought with me for this trip. They also did not, I repeat, did not need the swim diapers. They wore regular old Pampers for the duration of the trip. I did put them in a t-shirt at bedtime, but they were semi-nudist for a week. And they loved it. And the pictures are adorable because of it.

All in all, the trip was better than I could have ever imagined it. For a woman who works full-time, I was slightly frightened at how my system would react to being around all three of my kids 24/7. I did MUCH better than how I imagined myself – not that I don’t believe myself to be a good Mom, but I am definitely not accustomed to hearing my name five million times in a day. 😉

sandcastlessand hillemma sandcastle

So, if you are on the fence about a beach vacation with your youngin’s, I am here to witness that a parent can survive and make memories. Best of luck to all of you parents, grandparents and guardians out there. Summer of 2015: I am looking at you with eyes wide open. You better be ready for the Romano crew!

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Prayers For Rain On Your Wedding Day

78_526597033435_7508_nYes, you heard me correctly. Rain on a wedding day is such a blessing. I remember counting down the days to my wedding day back in ’07. I was obsessed with checking weather.com for updates on a daily basis. April weather in Alabama is so unpredictable. I take that back. Weather in Alabama is so unpredictable. It really does not matter the time of year – you never know what you are going to get.

All of the planning and expectations could not have prepared me for the actual day. The beautiful, bright floral arrangements – because it was SPRING after all! The dogwoods were blooming. The azalea bushes were exploding with color. My wedding day pictures were going to be perfect. Perfect.

All week the forecast had been warning me of rain for Saturday. But, it was Alabama after all – so I believed in the forecast about 50%. The weather the night before our wedding was beautiful. 65 degrees. Zero humidity. The cute, cropped sweater I bought to go along with my dress would have been totally optional. I thought to myself, “self – we may get through this with rainbows! Oh, rainbows – what a magical touch for those flawless, colorful outdoor photos. Right.

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At our rehearsal dinner.

I woke up on my wedding day around 5am. My two best friends from college had spent the night with me and were going to help me get to the hotel where I would be getting made into the bride who was going to look amazing in front of those blooming azalea bushes and dogwood trees. We dodged the sprinkles as we loaded up my friend’s car with all of my bags, wedding dress, veil and shoes. It was gray and dreary. I wanted to cry. My friends kept assuring me it would probably clear up by my 3pm wedding and not to worry. I worried anyway.

I can’t remember if it was that morning or later that day that I received a text message from my soon-to-be-partner-for-life. He had done some research regarding superstitions of rain on your wedding day. He said he found that the Hindu believe that rain is a good sign as a “wet knot is harder to unravel than a dry knot”.

So, for all of you brides-to-be out there fretting about rain on your wedding day. Here are some other thoughts to help ease your worries. And, if you don’t get the wedding photos with the blooming trees and bright azalea bushes – it is not the end of the world. I would much rather have the luck of rain bring me 80+ years of a committed marriage.108_518339776045_3174_n

OH RAIN… How I love thee. Let me Count the Ways!

Rain renews. It feeds and brings new life. It hydrates our Earth. How can a life-giving and life-sustaining thing be bad?

Fertility. There are some who believe rain on your wedding day is a symbol of fertility. Well, my three tiny blessings are living proof of this theory/superstition/belief.

Fresh Start. Most religions believe that rain is symbolic for a new beginning. I am Roman Catholic. I baptized all three of my munchkins shortly after birth. The Holy Water was used to cleanse my little ones at baptism for their fresh start in the Catholic Faith. Also, if you have ever lived in a place where blooming trees and bushes paint the sides of streets and fronts of houses every spring, you also know how welcome rain is to wash away all of the pollen that is making you and the rest of your house ill from allergies. 😉 Rain washes away the impurities and allows for the air you breathe to be fresh.

God bless you rain.

10253801_10102192903685505_2461846037452914752_n (1)So, as you can see, rain on your wedding day can bring so many blessings to you and your significant other. It is raining, once again, on my 7th wedding anniversary. I feel just as blessed today as I did 7 years ago. Our knot is strong because it started off drenched with rain.

Happy Monday everyone!

-Cissy

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Making a Marriage Survive in 2014

First, I’d like to start off with a disclaimer. I am not perfect. My marriage is not perfect. I do not know it all.

Second, I’d like to start a boycott of the term “ball and chain”. As you can see in the photo below, our photographer thought it would be funny to snap a picture of my soon-to-be-husband’s groomsmen trying to prevent him from running away on our wedding day. Why is this funny?

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Why are the marriage jokes constantly adding a negative hue around this Holy Sacrament? Because, when I read about or watch interviews of couples who have been together for 50+ years, you never hear them breathe a negative word about their partner or their marriage.

My husband is my ray of light. He is my very best friend and someone who I trust completely to be there for me. He is, as they say, my other half. He knows more about me than the woman who gave birth to me.

After 11 years, I can say that our relationship has had some really high moments and some really low moments. I remember the low moments the most because it was when we hit rock bottom that we decided to figure out how to climb out together. The two of us are better human beings today because of the hard times we’ve been through.

So, I would like to strike down all of society’s harmful jokes and replace them with some best practices that my husband and I use to help keep our relationship going. I was young, dumb and in love when I got married – so I know how lucky I am that everything worked out. Hopefully my experiences can help bring to life the reality of marriage as well as point out just how special this life-time commitment is – in my opinion, anyway.

KEEPING MARRIAGE REAL… AND VALUABLE

When I was a kid, my Dad always told me, “Cis, one day you are going to look back on your life and you will be able to count your true friends on one hand.” I didn’t hang out with bad kids – Dad was just keeping it real. You can’t possibly commit 100% of yourself to the 800+ friends you have on Facebook. (Facebook didn’t exist until I was out of college, but you get the idea). Looking back now, he is so right. I have several acquaintances that know a lot about me, but only a select few that genuinely give a crap about me and what goes on in my life. I say this, because it took me a long time to understand the idea of a 50/50 relationship. So, while these best practices are regarding my marriage, I also use these same concepts in my friendships and family relationships.

  1. COMPROMISE – I know this seems obvious, but you are not the end all, be all. There are 7 billion people on Earth right now. What works for you, is not necessarily what works for someone else. When you decide to enter into a committed relationship, all opinions matter and must have a voice. Being the alpha-female that I am (is that even a term?), I usually end up making a decision and enforcing it on others. After all, we only have 24 hours in a day and no decision warrants spending countless hours pondering over options. 😉 Any other ladies out there share my frustrations? Ok, so – I’ve had to learn how to compromise (the hard way, of course) with my husband. I think this is the most important best practice. It forces a couple to sit down and discuss both sides and come to a middle ground. We’ve done this for very large decisions, like deciding to grow our family, to very minor decisions, like “what is for dinner?”.
  2. BE HONEST – Lies have no productive place in a marriage (or a relationship). Not only does it take communication out of the picture, but it leads to a lack of trust when the truth eventually comes out. And the truth always comes out. What I love most about being in an honest relationship is that I have someone who I can share with without feeling judged. Having an outlet that you can trust to be completely honest with is the very best feeling in the world. It is an awkward path to get to the point where you share these thoughts, but when you finally arrive it is the most freeing feeling you will ever experience.
  3. NEVER GO TO BED ANGRY – Long, over-fought fights are so unproductive and a such a waste of energy. Now, I am not saying that arguing and fighting is not necessary. Living with another person is bound to lead to tension every now and then. Add kids to the picture and you can quadruple the tension. I have quite the temper, and there have been some airborne frozen veggies and laundry baskets in our house every now and then. The past two years have been especially trying on my marriage – a multiple pregnancy, 10 weeks of bedrest, and two infants plus a three-year-old all at once. We are tired and we get on each others nerves. BUT, if we have a fight – that just means we will have to stay up later to clean bottles, feed babies and get ready for the next day. Which means we lose more sleep – no bueno! Once we get the emotions out – we eventually (sooner than we ever have before) get over our anger and come back together. For sanity’s sake!
  4. CONTINUE TO DATE – I am the pot calling the kettle black here. We have not been on our own in a long time. But that is just natural for our situation right now. Eventually, we will be able to leave our children with a sitter or family member and take a much-needed adult time-out. Side note – we are actually going out this Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary – YEAH! But, if you search YouTube for interviews of 50+ year married couples, they all say (in their own way) keep dating. I believe this is a common best practice because it reminds you to keep your relationship a priority. As you get older you are naturally pulled in several different directions. Learn to put each other at the top of the list.
  5. RESIST THE URGE TO VENT – Every now and then my man does something that really gets my temper going. I usually vent this frustration on the first human being willing to listen. This is a bad habit. Just remember – negative thoughts beget more negative thoughts. We make a conscious effort not to bad-mouth each other to anyone. Usually – if I am in the right state of mind – I will resist the urge to spout off something ugly about my man and replace it with a compliment. This helps remind me of all the things I am grateful for about my husband. And there are many. I am lucky – I know this. For example, if I harp on the fact that my husband is the SLOWEST HUMAN BEING ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET, I am completely forgetting that this is why I LOVE him so much. He helps slow me down and teaches me how to make rational decisions. He takes the time to do things correctly the first time. I was a hot mess in my early 20s – I am now a better human being because he taught me how to slow down and appreciate what is right in front of me instead of blowing past it.

So there you go. Take what you want from my rambling. I feel if I have done anything correctly in my life – it is that I have really worked hard at my marriage. Marriage is not for the faint-hearted. The love between a couple makes it easier, but it will not save you from experiencing really low moments. Setting your expectations too high will blind you from keeping it real and making it your purpose in life to be constantly aware of where you are as a couple so that you can see when the dips are about to happen. Working with the best practices I mentioned, as well as others you pick up along the way will help you be proactive so that when the low times hit, the blow is cushioned some because you are prepared for them.

Marriage is the most beautiful gift I have been given. Even more beautiful than the gift of motherhood. Marriage has taught me so much about the world and it has equipped me (and continues to do so) with the tools to discover how to be the best person I can be.

If you are in love, congratulations. If you are engaged, best wishes. If you are married, you are blessed.

Help me squash these terrible connotations our society has placed on such a beautiful thing. Marriage is AWESOME.

– Cissy

Tips From A Professional, Pumping, Working Mother of Three

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 10.43.24 AMJust like any other professional, pumping, working mother – I have an interesting relationship with my Medela pump. You see, I’ve spent the 21 months of my life attached to my pump. I love this machine because it allows me to provide nourishment for my children, while also earning a living to help provide for the best opportunities for said children.

I guess I should have started first with the details of why I need to work. Put aside the obvious financial reasons why a good number of households are dual-income. I work to keep the Romano house at peace. I wish I had the patience of the Ree Drummond, where I could spend 24/7 with my three lovelies. I wish I had the creativity to provide unending entertainment for my children so we wouldn’t constantly find ourselves gravitating towards the T.V. and Disney Junior.

So, my husband and I work incredibly hard – full-time – and our children attend a Catholic daycare here in Birmingham with some of the finest women teaching and leading our children. We are blessed – beyond measure – to have the resources available to provide our children with this opportunity. My three-year-old counted out 10 straws at breakfast the other morning and shocked and impressed all present with her mad skills.

photoAlright, onto the focus of this post – the joy of pumping. So, if you were to ask anyone close to me why I pump they may roll their eyes. I don’t step up on my soapbox often (often enough at least ;)), but in my opinion, I don’t understand why women would not milk if they are capable. I’m sure that previous sentence will stir up quite a discussion – as it has before. You can read a plethora of literature regarding the health benefits of breastfeeding, so I will not attempt at preaching on that subject matter in this post. If you are interested, kellymom.com is an awesome resource to research and read up on anything breast-feeding related.

Lemme tell you that kids are expensive – super-expensive. Breastmilk is cheap – super-cheap. And, thanks to Obamacare (no matter your thoughts on the man or the plan), mamas in the U-S-of-A can get a complimentary breast pump (or a relatively cheap one – I had to pay a $40 copay). If you are pregnant or a mom of a new-born, call your insurance provider – NOW – and ask them how to get a breast pump through your insurance policy.

If you are pregnant and you are debating the breastfeeding feature of motherhood, just do it. Its the most selfless thing I have ever done in my entire life – and I tend to be naturally selfish (I’m working on that flaw). I am proud of my accomplishment. It also helped with the guilt when I returned to work after each of my deliveries.

So, I pump exclusively for my 9-month-old twin girls right now. That totals up to about 60 ounces a day with about 6-7 pumps day and night. I would consider myself a professional-pumper. And I were looking for tips and advice on this subject, I would totally take a mother like myself seriously. Not much else I can speak on with such assurance, but pumping is definitely something I am very familiar with.

Here are my tips to help a mother thinking of pumping, starting to pump, or already knee-deep in pumping.

  1. TAKE YOUR PUMP TO THE HOSPITAL. If you are a mother who’s child latched right away and was a pro-nurser right off the bat – GO YOU! Those first moments of nursing can be so trying. The mother is learning to nurse – the baby is learning to suck and eat… so many variables can affect those first nursing sessions. I did not have pro-nursers. I had one child in the NICU for the first 48 hours of life. I had c-section births. I had GINORMOUS breasts and nipples for my teeny-tiny babies. SO – you have no clue how you will do or how your children will do. So bring your pump to the hospital and expect to start using it as soon as you are able. I started using mine soon after the first nursing session with each of my children. I pumped for 10 minutes after each session. NOTE: you will not get anything out of these pumping sessions. You are simply triggering stimulation. Do not do more than 10 minutes, or else you will cause an over-supply.
  2. DO NOT ALLOW VISITORS FOR AT LEAST A HALF OF A DAY.  I’m the pot calling the kettle black here. I had my family and my husband’s family visit as soon as possible after each of my deliveries. I was excited for everyone to meet the newest little additions to our family. Its a great thought at first, but it causes so much added stress and anxiety during those initial eating and learning hours. Go ahead and let others know that you are excited for them to meet the new additions, but it will probably be awhile after birth. Get your partner on board so that when you are feeling elated and you start to have a weak moment to invite everyone in, they can step in and put a stop to it. They have an entire lifetime to bond with these little ones – they can wait a few more hours.
  3. BUY A BIG WATER VESSEL.  I recommend the Nalgene Water bottle. I like itnalgene bottle because it has a wide mouth and measurements on the side. And it comes in pretty color choices – always a bonus. You will need to hydrate CONSTANTLY. If you think you have a ton of water, you probably need to drink more. Drinking water helps with your supply, keeps your energy levels up and helps keep feeling you 100% when you should be feeling 60%. Your friends, family and coworkers will start to think your water bottle is new appendage you’ve grown.
  4. DON’T BUY FANCY NURSING TOPS.  Its tempting, I know. But, in my opinion, those nursing tops are not necessary. I mean, you are covered up anyway… what good is a quadruple layered tank top that allows your nipple to pop out going to do for you? All you need for nursing is a good nursing cover and 2-3 nursing bras. There are a ton of brands on the market for both of these items. I recommend the Bravado Bliss Nursing Bra if you have GINORMOUS breasts. It took a lot of searching to find a supportive nursing bra that did not have underwire. The Bravado is “bliss”ful ;). Do not go cheap here people. You will spend long days/nights with these two items – invest wisely. Save the money you would spend on a nursing wardrobe.
  5. BUY A HANDSFREE PUMPING BRA.  I feel this is pretty self-explanatory. Who wants to hold pump parts to their boobs for 15-20 minutes several times a day. I have a strange relationship with my pump bras too. I’m weird. And I pump a lot. Also – you need more than one. TMI ALERT – your pump bras will become crunchy if you don’t have a few to rotate through. No matter how careful you are, you will get milk on your bra. I have two pump bras that I rotate through. Pumpease makes the ones I use. Again, I’ve tried several of these. The pumpease bras are my favorite. Plus, they come in super-fun colors.
  6. BUY AT LEAST ONE ADDITIONAL SET OF PUMP PARTS. Your partner will thank you. You will thank yourself. Washing pump parts get super-old super-fast. That is all – just have at least two sets. I have three sets.
  7. BUY THE MEDELA STEAMBAGS.  I use the Medela steambags to clean my pump parts at work. This also allows me to leave the parts there during the week so I don’t have to tote them home every day.
  8. BUY A CAR CONVERTER FOR PUMPING ON THE GO.  You will find yourself tied to your pump for the next year or so. Being able to pump on the go is so liberating.
  9. SUPPLY ISSUES?  There are so many home-remedies for supply issues. Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 11.58.12 AMDifferent things work for different people. Some of the things that have helped me through supply issues are: lemon-lime gatorade (full-sugar stuff people), homemade oatmeal cookies, steel-cut oatmeal, Newcastle beer, a lot of water, mothers milk supplement. Really, at the end of the day, a consistent pump schedule, a well-rounded diet and lots-o-water are KEY to maintaining a milk supply.

There are my tips. This is what I would say to any new mother – whether they wanted to know or not – ha! This is something I believe in 100%. There are some women out there that really have a lot working against them when it comes to trying to nurse/breastfeed. I understand that – I do. Being a mom is tough in general. And adding the long hours and hard work that goes into breastfeeding your child can add so much unnecessary stress to a woman. But, for those that can and want to, breastfeeding is something you will never regret and it is such a worthwhile investment of your time and resources. I do hope this helps.

If you are nursing/pumping mama and you have more questions, please feel free to reach out! You can email me at cissyromano@gmail.com or just comment below!

Best of luck to you and your partners!

xo, Cissy

Real Life Mom | Gwyenth Paltrow Has A Tough Life

I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow has it rough. And for a minute, I was wondering how I was going to survive the day. Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 9.29.22 AM

Recently, Ms. Paltrow sat down with E! News and discussed taking a break from her demanding job so she could go back to being a mommy. I definitely pat her on the back for getting her priorities in line. However, I never realized that all of the stress I experience as a full-time working mom is NOTHING compared to the stress she experiences from being on set 2 weeks out of the year. Gosh, I bet those 12 consecutive 14-hour days are hell!

See, I thought I had it hard. Waking up to screaming babies at 2 am. Taking an hour to put them back to bed just to turn around and wake up two hours later to start my day at 5. Then dropping my kids off at daycare when the doors open at 7am so I can make it downtown to sit at my easy office job for a mere 9 hours – head back to pick my three cranky, lovelies up – make dinner for my family of five – clean bottles and dishes and pump parts – make bottles for the next day – somewhat “clean” the damage from the tornado that hit the inside of my house – bathe all 3 children – feed babies – read stories – fight with three year old about going to bed – put babies to bed – then…. look at the clock, it’s 9pm. Time to do it all over again. I have it soooo easy compared to Ms. Paltrow.

Maybe her marriage failed because her life is so demanding. I’m sure Ms. Paltrow doesn’t have any help with the cooking and cleaning and butt-wiping and temper tantrums. I’m sure she never gets any alone time to recover from being needed 110% of the time. It must be terrible to have to miss school-events and the carpool pick-up. I wouldn’t know anything about that.

I have a boss who thinks its totally cool to miss half a day on Valentines Day so that I can make it to the preschool Valentine’s Day party – NOT. And I probably would think less of him if he was cool with it. He would also probably laugh in my face if I told him I needed to cut out 3 hours early every day to make the carpool pick-up line at school. Most businesses operate in 6-hour day, right?

I bet it is hard to have so much flexibility with your job that you can cram all of your year’s work into two weeks so that you can free up the remaining 50 weeks of the year to dedicate to your children. I bet thats why it is so hard to appreciate those gruling 14-hour work days.

Ms. Paltrow, you should definitely quit your career and pick up an office job. You are right – it is so much easier working a 9-5er (more like 7:30-5:30er). Thank you for bringing it to my attention of how ungrateful I am.

Mamas Know Best. It only took me 30 years to understand that.

32056_815193803195_1880974_n“You’ll understand when you have your own kids.” Man, I must have heard those words spit from my mother’s mouth a billion times when I was growing up. I say “spit”, because I she was in a constant state of being pissed at me because I was ALWAYS in trouble – for my mouth. I never got into normal teen-trouble growing up because I was constantly grounded for the way I fought and talked back to my mother. How she manages to love me today is beyond me because I was terrible!

So, the day before her 57th birthday, I am reflecting on how appreciative I am of the Mother I have been so blessed with. She is a quiet woman who has an inner strength capable of moving mountains. Although, she does not believe this. She is gorgeous – the kind of gorgeous that will never fade. She is not materialistic because she never had the liberty of learning what it would be like to be materialistic. She raised three kids with only a mere year31998_805085829655_6648410_n spread in age between them each. She worked hard for a very long time so that we were able to have the very best opportunity at education. She is only just now learning how to take time for herself and indulge in small luxuries – like reading a book in peace and quiet.

She spent countless months away from her life, her husband, and her family to be with me and my brother’s family for the birth and the few months after with each of my children and my brother’s children. Stepping in to help when we needed her the most.

Did I mention how terrible I was growing up?

For me, she is the best example of a woman.

Beauty Review | Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm SPF 25

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I’d like to start this beauty review off with a disclaimer. I am 31 and I JUST started experimenting and working with liquid face makeup – I’m about six months into it. I’ve always had pretty well-behaving skin with the exception of some red blotches every now and then due to my rosacea. As i turned the curb into my 30s I started noticing these deep, dark circles growing under my eyes. As I kept adding children, they grew darker and darker ;). I needed to do something.

My husband and on our wedding day - 2007

My husband and on our wedding day – 2007

I’ve owned the Bare Minerals starter kit for almost 8 years now. I purchased it right before my wedding because I figured I should probably throw on some face makeup for the special occasion (ha). This powder collection has lasted me that long. When I would wear it, I would just barely dust some on. So I started trying to use the mineral powder to cover up and conceal these terrible eye circles. No dice. It did a great job evening out my skin tone and minimizing my redness, but those half-moon hockey pucks were still staring back at me.

On to my review… I managed to get my hands on this Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm with SPF 25 about a month ago. It was a decent enough size sample for me to use the product for a week – so I feel that is a substantial enough amount of time to let you know my thoughts.

PROS:

– This product does an excellent job moisturizing without leaving a greasy residue on your face. I have combination skin with an oily t-zone and dry everywhere els

wonderfully strange! I’ll take it!e. So if the product is too matte of a finish, my dry patches are so noticeable! This Beauty Balm has some sort of magic ingredient that fixes the dry patches and tones down the oil in the t-zone. So

– If you don’t like heavy coverage, this product is perfect for you! It’s just enough coverage to even out minor color imperfections without looking like your plastered your face with clay.

– No-fuss application. I applied this just like I would my daytime moisturizer – with my fingers. I needed some minor blending with my fingers, but I was finished in about a minute. Easy-peasy.

CONS:

– The staying power of this product is poor. Now, my days are SUPER LONG. My makeup starts out at 5:30ish and needs to last until at least 5:30 in the evening. I know that is asking a lot, but its what I need. I find this wears thin and almost non-existent by 3pm. Which, for a light-coverage product, I think is probably to be expected. But, I still consider that a con.

– The price-point on this product is slightly pricey. I have not tried any BB creams from the drugstore, but I’ve seen plenty of reviews on YouTube to know that there are satisfactory products I can find in the drugstore for half of the price of the Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm. Sephora prices this product at $18/.66oz and $36/1.5oz.

Life With Twins | My Secret To Survival

My commute to work in the morning is about 20 minutes. It is just enough time for my mind to wander while I listen to whatever Pandora station I’m in the mood for that morning. This morning, while listening to some awesome soul music by NEEDTOBREATHE, my mind wandered to my husband. We had a tough night last night. Our second blessing, Rosie, had 103 fever yesterday afternoon. I’m crediting this fever spike to the two red, swollen buds on her top gums. Poor kid. She’s congested too – so she can’t breathe and her mouth is throbbing in pain.

My partner-in-crime with his girls.

My partner-in-crime with his girls.

Anyway, back to my husband… so, I am constantly asked “How do you do it? How do you manage work, home and twin babies?”. No matter how many times I am prompted by this question, I still feel a pit in the bottom of my stomach. The initial thoughts that cross my mind are, “What do they mean? How do I answer that?”. I’ll be honest, what my house has experienced since October 1, 2012 (conception) has been a difficult. I am a short woman with a short waist that carried over 12 pounds of baby. These babies then brought an entirely different dynamic to our house (like most new babies do) which caused us to switch gears and learn how to manage a house of five instead of a house of 3 – overnight.

Of all of the crazy twin questions I get asked, “How do you do it?” is my least favorite. Mainly because it implies that I am some sort of heroine in my crazy life story. Why don’t they ask “How do we do it?”.

I’m a pretty analytic person, so of course I’ve spent some time (probably too much time) pondering the psychology behind this question. I’ve come to realize that I’m an extraordinarily lucky woman. See, I don’t do anything by myself. There are times I feel I put too much on my plate responsibility wise (I am still a woman – and women like me do these things to ourselves. Its in our nature).

I am never alone in anything I do.

1390778_10101810035631155_1014133044_nI have a partnership with this man who was crazy enough to spend the rest of his life with me. Responsibilities are shared. Personal weaknesses are made up by the other person’s strengths. I do not do more than he does and he does not do more than I do. He is not above changing more diapers than me or washing pump parts in the middle of the night. He does not complain. He is tired. He is just as tired and worn out as I am. And he did not carry two babies at the same time to term.

I’ve never thought of my husband as being extraordinary. Mainly because he has made me believe that all men in the world are like he is.

Did I mention that he does not complain?

So my answer to the dreaded question that hits the pit of my stomach when asked “How do you do it?” – Well, we don’t think about it because we don’t have any time to think about how much it may suck to wake up in the middle of the night – twice – every night for 9 months.

We wake up everyday and power through. At the end of the day we collapse into our sheets after putting our oldest to bed and give thanks to the Big Man upstairs for trusting us with so many blessings. We look at each other and know that these tough times will pass and the fruits of our labor (legitimate labor) will be so abundant in our future.

I love my partner. I trust him with my life. I trust that he will always be by my side fighting the trials that life throws our way.

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Now, I am going to bring up something controversial. No matter your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg and her “Lean In” movement – her opinions on relationships/marriages are so parallel with mine. I think personalities like mine have a hard time letting go of responsibilities and control. This can lead to problems in a marriage with so much going on in the background and behind closed doors of homes. In order to “make it” or “survive”, there must be a shared burden of responsibilities.

My spouse is TERRIBLE at most domestic responsibilities. But, that does not mean he is not capable of getting them done!

A good parent doesn’t allow their young children to say they can’t do something without trying first. Why would you have the same expectations for your adult spouse?

I am still learning to give up some of the burden of house and allow him and trust him that he will get it done. He may not do it the way I think it should be done and it may take him twice as long to do it – wait, scratch that, it WILL take him twice as long to do things as I would take – but at the end of the day, he does it. And I don’t have to do it.

A day only gives us 24 hours. The amount of work required to run our house requires more than one person is capable of giving. If you try to do it all, you will fail. Give the spouse in your life a chance to learn and take some of the burden off of you. They may surprise you!

So, if you ever happen to run into a multi-tasking mother or father and you are curious of how they do it – be sure to ask them “How do y’all manage?”. Because behind every Wonder-Parent, there is a Wonder-Supporter. No one manages it all alone.

Happy Thursday – now, go hug a parent!