The one where I recap 2015


This post is a few weeks late, but you know, better late than never…

2015 was full of amazing memories, big challenges, and great changes. I learned a lot about myself as a wife, mama, and friend; but most importantly I grew stronger in my faith this year. We have been very blessed and all the praise hands for God’s amazing grace and forgiveness on my stubborn mama self as I continue to make mistakes + learn + make more mistakes + more learning + repeat throughout this journey in mamahood.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so no better way to chronicle my year than to do a total photo dump of some of our most memorable 2015 moments. Hope you don’t mind 🙂



I’m ready for 2016 and can’t wait to see what God has planned for our little family. It’s gonna be a good one, I can feel it 🙂



The one where I talk about potty training

The week of Thanksgiving I decided to potty train.

I know, genius.

Traveling. Turkey. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Green bean casserole. All ties in perfectly with cleaning up accident after accident, right?

Let’s just agree to blame it on mother-of-one idealism, eh?

No, seriously. I totally thought I would be writing this amazing + slightly humorous series of posts on how “fun” our experience was and how “successful” we were and how it wasn’t easy but definitely”doable”.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

In fact, motherhood lesson #14,320,439,025,238 was the complete understanding of why Pull Ups and other companies make diapers in big enough for elementary age kiddos.

Not gonna, lie. It’s pretty appealing to just call it a day and let the kid figure it out on her own when she’s a teenager.

Seriously…and it would probably keep the boys away. *insert evil laugh here*

Long story short: potty training attempted and failed.

In true Sarina fashion I read all the books, blogs, and scoured the Internet to figure out when a good time to start would be. All of them said that toddlers are typically ready at 22 months and/or when they’re aware of their “movements.”

Check and check.

But nope. Still not ready for the “big girl potty” over here.

Here’s a rundown of how it went:

Little S would tell me that she had to go potty. We would run to the potty. She would scream and scream and scream and scream that she didn’t want to sit on it.



More negotiation.

More candy.

No potty.

She’d hold it for 4 hours and then proceed to have accidents for the next 3 hours every 30 minutes.

Because I’m stubborn and because the things I read said it would “click” eventually, we did this for about a week before the hubs and I were resigned to the fact that it wasn’t going to click. At least not right now.

And that’s okay.

So much of this motherhood business involves learning that its okay to not succeed the first time around.

It hasn’t been an easy lesson to learn, but I’ve gotten better at rolling with the failures and knowing that they don’t define me and being a mom sometimes involves just being okay with resolving to try again…later.

And if potty training doesn’t take the next time or two around we’ll just buy stock in Pull Ups and call it a day. Amiright?


The one where I explain why Little S keeps telling people that mommy fell off the table

“Mommy fell table”

This is the toddler talk in my house and if you don’t know me it probably sounds a liiiittle scandalous.
No. In case you were wondering, I haven’t picked up any new hobbies. 
I’m still happily standing (and dancing) on floors 🙂 
This is the table she’s referring to. And this is what happened.
It’s all very complicated. 
(It’s actually not)
I was walking backwards helping the tiny human with something and tripped over this table. 
In the waiting area at our gate coming home from Montreal.
It wasn’t pretty. 
And it hurt.
And there were a lot of people watching us because I was the only person with a toddler waiting for the plane. 
Little S kept asking me “Mommy hurt?” after it happened which was very sweet, but instead of saying a simple “Yes” I said the line I would be hearing for the next month or so: “It’s okay, mommy just fell on the table.” 
Totally did NOT expect this to be her opening line when we meet new people. 
Oh toddler mamahood…all of the explaining…all of the time. 
Moral of the story: it’s time for me to think about what I say and how the toddler translation might sound.

The one where I talk about what’s in the travel backpack

Keeping a kiddo entertained.

To me, that is single-handedly the most difficult part about traveling with a toddler.

Well, at least MY toddler.

Although I am totally okay with iPadding it up on the plane, I usually try to save that as a last resort.


Truth be told,  I’m just worried I’ll stick it in the pocket of the seat in front of me when she gets bored of it and then I’ll forget it on the plane.

Not a huge revelation, but there are enough things to manage so I just prefer playing with things on the plane that won’t be missed if they get forgotten.

So here is what was in our backpack this time around:

Stephen Joseph Backpack: So cute and functional. Only downside is that it doesn’t have a handy side pocket for her water bottle.

Tegu Blocks: These are amazing! They are magnetic so it limits the risk of a runaway block on the plane and it comes with a felt bag to keep it all contained + organized when not in use.

Fisher Price Let’s Go to the Zoo/ Vamos al Zoologico Lift the Flap Book: We’re practicing our bilingual skills and Little S is a huge fan of animals so this book is a win-win for mama and the tiny human.

Learn to Tie Laces Activity Board: My mom found this at the dollar store and even though we are nowhere near lace tying, homegirl loves stringing things through…this just helps us (i.e. me) avoid dealing with a bag of beads while we travel 🙂

Little Ones Think Sticker Skill Book: My mother-in-law found a few of these at her local JoAnn Fabric and they are amazing. Best part? When the stickers are all gone she colors scribbles on the pages and then we get to throw it away. Lighter load for the tots backpack? Always a good thing.

Plain Notebook and Stickers: I don’t travel without stickers. Lots and lots of stickers. My girl loves them and I let her practice all of the sticking + peeling + more sticking + more peeling that she wants. I like to put packing tape on several of the pages in the notebook to help the stickers keep their “stick” since there is a lot of sticking and peeling that happens.

Any easy go-to travel favorites y’all have? I’d love to know!


The one where I talk about our weekend in Nashville

Flying solo to Nashville was much much easier than my flight to Montreal.

Most likely because there wasn’t a layover, the timing was better, and it was only about a 90 minute flight.

Everything I knew about Nashville prior to this trip was learned from the TV show. And yes, we totally stalked some of the filming locations during the tiny human’s car naps (more on that in another post), but here were some of my favorite things.

The Hermitage
This was Andrew Jackson’s home and the teacher in me loves all of these historical sites and the random info you get from the tour guides.

Folliage y’all. This Houstonian is all.about.the.leaf.change.

Squint central, I know… but we’d left the sunnies in the car because it was raining when we arrived. I should’ve known the sun would pop out right when we wanted to take a pic.

This is where Andrew Jackson (and his family) is buried. Creepy, but cool.

Ryman Auditorium
This was the original home of the Grand ‘Ol Opry (the Opry is actually there temporarily right now). Totally worth doing the tour here.

This is the happiest C looked in any of these selfie-style pics. I have a whole post dedicated to his non-smile coming up, don’t you worry.

Peg Leg Porker
Because food is important. This place won all of the mama votes when my picky eater devoured anything we put on her plate.

The Pharmacy
Good food + great atmosphere + kid friendly= lunchtime perfection. Little S even got a lesson in stick figures from Daddy.

Centennial Park/Parthenon
We had a super fun morning walking around Centennial Park, looking at the ducks, and of course swinging (because that is the toddler’s jam right now). Oh yeah, we also toured the Parthenon…well the American replica of it at least.

All of the traveling and all this kid wanted was a good park and all of the swinging.

We visited the weekend after the CMA’s so there were still red carpets and party tents up everywhere. So, why not roll that stroller down the red carpet?

Broadway Street
Not a whole lot of nightlife sites on this trip because, you know, tiny human and all…but we did walk down Broadway at night. There is music blaring from every single doorway you pass by. We did manage to visit the rooftop at Acme Feed & Seed (not actually a feed store) to get a good view of the Nashvegas strip from there.

It was a great trip and we had so, so, so much fun visiting!


The One Where I Give My Friday Favorites || Vol. 6

1. Because mom-life

This has been my mantra lately…sleepless nights and early mornings.

2. Because tiny humans

Great idea using contact paper + leaves to keep the littles entertained this fall.

3. Because fashion

Easy + quick + intentional hairstyles are so my jam right now.

4. Because travel

These travel journals are an amazing way for kids to document their travels.

5. Because health + fitness

I’m a big fan of make-ahead oatmeal smoothies- some recipes + ideas I use can be found here.

Enjoy your weekend!


The one where I talk about our weekend in Montreal

I didn’t realize how much I would LOVE Montreal.

It was amazing.

The weather was perfect and we were able to spend some quality time with some of our amazing college friends! Win. Win.

Since our friends have a tiny human of their own, they planned a great, toddler-friendly weekend for us. So fun! Here are some of the highlights.

And by highlights I mean: you need to do this stuff if you ever visit 😉

Village Cafe

A sweet little coffee shop PERFECT for mommas + toddlers. They have a little play area near the tables so the mommas could sit and chat while the little ones played. It was beautiful.
(It’s the little things, right?)

Parc du Mont-Royal

As a born + raised Texan I was all.about.the.leaves.changing.  It’s not something we really see here. To the best of my recollection most of our foliage goes from blooming to non-existent. Just kind of skips all of the color change. No better place to see it on this trip than from the Parc du Mont-Royal. Apparently there are several methods to get to the top (driving, biking, running, etc.), but we took the stairs. Little S was a big fan of this and made it up a good way before she looked at me and said “Mommy hold you?”
Oh, there is also a totes legit view of the city from the top.

Vergers & Cidrerie Denis Charbonneau

Apple picking day!  This might have been might favorite thing ever.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but totally, totally fun and worth doing.

Oratoire Saint Joseph 
This was kind of a happy accident. We were driving somewhere else (after apple picking) when C saw the dome and asked our friends what it was. After looking it up we realized it was something we definitely wanted to check out and even though Google Maps didn’t really want to get us there, we found a way. Extra happy coincidence that we got there as the sun was going down so it was extra-amazing-view-time from the balcony.
Also, there were lots of stairs and the little apparently is stair obsessed. Who knew? She was a big fan  and anytime she’d see more stairs instead of sighing about it like the grownups in the house she would point and say “‘nother stairs!” 

We were only there for a weekend, but these main sights along with walking around the city made me feel like we really got to enjoy some of the best that the city had to offer. Overall it was definitely worth the drama of flying solo with Little S.


Also: Photo credit to my talented friend, Jim Gibbs. Pretty sure he took most of these because C was just not cutting it as a photographer.