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A Year of Gratitude

Remember when 2020 started, and we were all so hopeful for the great things 2020 was going to bring? This post is going to be just about that. Instead of dwelling on the things that should’ve or could’ve been, I’d like to dedicate my last post of 2020 for the things that are amazing in my life. While that may seem silly given the actual reality of things, I want to look back at 2020 and remember what I loved and am super grateful for about this year.

My list of gratitude:

  • Technology: Oh how I cannot imagine what we’d be doing if this pandemic happened back before the internet and fancy computers and phones. I am thankful that technology allowed us to stay connected to our family and friends. What could’ve been a super lonely year was filled with virtual meet-ups, lots of text messages, making new friends on social, and learning new things via online video platforms.
  • Teachers: Luckily for us, the girls’ school has been open since September. The 6 months before that were tough being home with the girls 24/7 so we jumped at the opportunity to put the girls back in school when we could. I am grateful our teachers that do everything to keep our kids safe and taken care of during this crazy time.
  • My husband’s business: There was a point at the beginning of the pandemic when we thought this year was about to be horrible for business. As soon as they deemed real estate essential, things picked up and stayed booming. This pandemic has been rough on thousands and thousands of people, but I thank God every day that my husband can still provide.
  • Our health: Knock on wood we didn’t get sick this year. Other than the occasional allergies, we all remained relatively healthy. This pandemic really makes you think one itchy throat is the road to something worse, but luckily that was never the case. And after having my son, I was so worried for complications, and thankfully we were good in that department too.
  • Time: If there’s one thing this year has taken from us but also has given us at the same time, it is time. We lost time spent doing “the norm” but we gained so much time together. During this year, my girls grew so much. Time allowed me to see them grow before my eyes. Time allowed us to do more things as a family. Time was a gift this year, whether we liked it or not.
  • My complete family: I’ve said this one here before, but I’ll say it again. I never though we’d have three kids, let alone a son. And now that he’s here, our world is complete. I can’t wait to watch him grow more and more in 2021.

Thank you 2020 for all the things I am grateful for. You were definitely one for the books, but we’re ready for the next chapter of this decade.

2020 Top 9

2021, please be kind to us all.

What Being Filipino Means To Me

It’s been another busy month around here. Despite still being in the middle of a pandemic, we’ve managed to celebrate a wedding, 3 birthdays, and even our baby boy’s 100-days celebration. October is already generally a busy month for us, and I am biased to love October because it’s also my birth month. But on top of all these things, October is also the time to celebrate Filipino-American History Month!

Recently a friend asked me what are 3 things I love about being Filipino. After thinking about it, I realized my answer was the perfect base for this month’s blog. But instead of simply sharing what I love about being Filipino, I’m sharing what being Filipino means to me.

Being Filipino Means Loving Food

I would have to say the biggest tie I have to my Filipino culture is the love of Filipino food. As a Fil-Am, I am thankful my mom and Lolo (meaning grandpa) always made traditional Filipino food. Growing up I sometimes couldn’t differentiate the difference between Filipino food and non-Filipino food. I simply thought it was all just food. It wasn’t until I was in school that I learned the difference. But luckily for me, I grew up in a place where there were kids from all different cultural backgrounds so eating cultural food wasn’t seen as necessarily different. Now Filipino food has a special place in my home because it’s what has allowed me to teach my kids about their Filipino heritage. While they’re not full Filipino, their palates might trick you to think otherwise. Ask my kids what their favorite foods are, and they’ll easily say adobo, sinigang, and kare-kare.

Kamayan Dinner at our house.

Being Filipino Means Putting Family First

If there’s one thing I feel like every Filipino family has in common, it’s having a tight-knit family. And I don’t just mean your blood family. Filipinos really know how to have a deep connection with people which can allow even the closest friends to feel just like family. To me being Filipino means including your family in every celebration and milestone of your life because not only is your family there to support you, but they’re there to cheer you on as well. After God, family is everything.

My brother and cousins, who are basically like my siblings also.

Being Filipino Means Spreading Joy and Hospitality

I’ve often heard that Filipinos are the kindest and most welcoming folks around, and I believe it. When Filipinos find out you’re also Filipino, they welcome you in like you’re family. And even if you’re not Filipino, as long as you’re nice and will gladly eat the food being offered to you, you’ll be happily embraced. Walk into any Filipino household and the first question is “Are you hungry?” Sometimes you won’t even be asked the question and food will simply just appear. When I started working in hospitality, I liked to think I loved it so much because the “hospitality gene” is just in my blood. 

Come to our house, I’ll force feed you my baking.

I can go on and on about what being Filipino means to me.

But simply it means food, family, and love.

To My Kids: Please Stop Growing

Happy end of September, friends! Can you believe another quarter of the year is over? Honestly with the pandemic, this has been one of the fastest years yet. Once September hits here, it’s basically the start of our busiest time of the year. Between the many birthdays in our famly plus getting ready for the holiday season, this last quarter is usually a whirlwind. Put the pandemic on top of it, and I feel like I’m going to be hit by a tornado around here.

What’s ironic about this pandemic is that while it gave me more time to spend with my children, I do feel like time went by so fast that they’re constantly changing into a newer version of themselves everyday. As I’m writing this it’s been 2 weeks since my younger daughter turned 3, and it’s 2 weeks until my older daughter turns 5.


What’s amazing with technology (wow I sound old) with apps like TimeHop, Google Photos, and Facebook, you are constantly shown throwback photos of this day “______” [blank] number of years ago. So literally everyday I’m comparing my children to what they looked like on this day “x” years ago. Don’t get me wrong I love throwback pictures, but at the same time I’m reminded how quickly these kids are growing. And it makes me sad. It makes me so sad that I even ask my kids to stop growing, but even they know that’s impossible. Whenever I ask them to stop growing, my oldest always says… “Then stop feeding us mama!”

To my kids… mama knows you’ll never stop growing. All I have are my photos and memories. So when I think back on this time of our lives, these are the things I want you guys to know/what I want to remember:

  1. During a time when we had to limit seeing people, I’m so glad you had each other. I didn’t have a sibling until I was almost 10-years-old so watching you play and laugh together while I was stressed about the world just added ease to my mind. You’ve probably heard this a million times from me, but you are so lucky to have each other.
  2. Zay – As much as Leah may annoy you now, know that she has looked up to you since the moment she knew who you are. She has been copying your every move since she was a teeny tiny baby, and I know she only has nothing but love for you. Even when she bothers you, you still show her so much love. You really are the most loving big sister, and I hope that never changes. You are our most loving child, but also our most difficult. We know you have a hard time dealing with your emotions, and while you love your siblings so much, you need more attention. Please know we are trying our best to give it to you.
  3. Leah – You are our middle child, and because your dad is a middle child, we are more aware of your feelings. We didn’t put you in school the same number of days as your sister so you could have one day a week without her around. On your solo days, we love watching you play by yourself. You love playing alone. You are constantly cracking us up with the things you have to say. You just turned 3, but it feels like we’re talking to an 6-year-old. In the last 6 months, your vocabulary has grown so much that we’re constantly surprised with the things you have to say.
  4. JJ – From the moment your sisters knew about you, they were already obsessed with you. The moment they first saw you, they never let you out of their site. You’re the first person they look for in the morning, and they are always fighting about who gets to hold you. Right now you’re only 2 months old, and all you ever want to do is be held. And because you’re my last baby, all I do is hold you. Your dad hates it, but I know I’ll never get this again. I’m actually holding you right now as I type this. You also just started sleeping 5-6 hours stretches every night. Because you’re our third child, we aren’t actually as phased as much by the lack of sleep we’re getting, but we still need you to start sleeping longer. Also know, you have completed our family.

By the time you are reading this, who knows old you are. But I hope that whatever age you are, when you think back on this time, you remember the happy times during this crazy year. And if you do remember mom and dad being particularly upset or more stressed than usual, please know it was a weird year. And please know I only say “I love you so much” a million times because I really do. I love you guys so much, and I always will. You will only keep growing, and while it’ll make me sad to think about, you three will always be my babies.

God’s Plan is Greater

I never thought I’d be a mom to a son. I actually never thought we’d have three kids. And despite how many times I joked with my husband about being a stay-at-home mom one day, I never thought I’d actually be one. If you asked me 5 years ago what my life would be like by 2020, I would’ve said by now I’d be trying for my second and last child. And career wise, I would have gotten myself promoted within the company I started my hospitality career in.

See thing is, I’m a planner. I like to plan so much that my husband gets so annoyed. I plan things down to every detail that you might think I have a control problem. And maybe I do. But despite being a planner, if there’s one thing my life and faith has taught me, it’s that God’s plan is always greater.

There’s a lot of heavy things happening in the world right now. On top of the heavy things from the world, each of us are carrying our own personal burdens so it can feel like a lot. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world, in the news, in social media, and in your own problems that you might lose yourself. You might feel like all things you’ve planned were for nothing or were a waste. Or maybe you’re afraid to do something so you don’t it, but in reality, you’re only hindering yourself. It’s during times like these that we have to remember that God’s plan is always greater.

When you trust in God’s plan, you might be surprised with the outcome. And you’ll realize that all the burdens you endured and all the plans you had made were just part of His greater plan.

So hang in there friends. I know the world is scary right now. I know things aren’t going the way we imagined. I know we miss our friends and families. I know we miss seeing traveling and exploring new places. I know sad things keep happening that seem unfair and unbelievable. But we cannot lose faith. We cannot forget why we are here. We cannot forget to spread love. We cannot lose faith in love.

A wise friend once told me “I know [this year has been scary]. Stay in love with life. With each other. God has a plan for us to rise above all of this strife. Remember who we are and to remember we are love. No matter what. Each and every one of us.”

By trusting His plan, my life has unfolded with things I never thought I’d have. While sometimes I am afraid, I am strong for these three little blessings. Thank you Lord for this life ❤️

Giving Birth During COVID

Happy end of July friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve mustered up thoughts for a blogpost. But it’s mostly been because I was getting ready for the birth of my son. As of today, he’s 11 days old.

Jeric born 7/20/2020 – 6 lbs, 14 oz & 19.5 inches

And just like that he’s here! When the pandemic started back in March, I didn’t think we’d get to July with the pandemic numbers in our area at a rise. But sadly, that’s the reality we live in. Because of this, our hospital experience had a handful of differences from my first two births. If this was my first baby I probably would have had a lot more anxiety about giving birth, but knowing other pregnant moms who gave birth right before me and asking my doctor all the right questions kept me prepared for what to expect. 

Let’s be real, all together the motherhood journey is no easy task. Pregnancy in itself can be stressful and exhausting, then childbirth itself is another level of stress. And let’s not even start talking about the challenges you can face once your baby is here. Add the pandemic on top of that, and I can’t imagine moms being anxiety free during any of this.

I feel blessed that this wasn’t my first delivery. But for any first time mamas out there, I want to share some things to help you feel prepared for your COVID childbirth.

The hospital is probably one of the safest places to be during the pandemic.

While the thought of staying in a place where there are folks potentially exposed to COVID can be worrisome, I realized that the hospital is one of the safest places to be during the pandemic. At our hospital there is only one way in and one way out, and they are screening you for symptoms at the door. And on top of the preliminary screening, your doctors and nurses are all wearing protective gear the entire time. During our stay we were also asked to wear masks, but whenever it was just us and the baby in the room we took off our masks. I also had to wear a mask during my c-section, and I know moms who’ve had to wear masks during their vaginal deliveries as well.

While you cannot have any visitors, your support person can be with you the entire time.

One of the biggest changes for us for this birth from our previous two was knowing we wouldn’t have any visitors. While this bummed us out, I had to remind myself that I would still have my husband there. Worse case would be that you’re doing this alone, so if you’re sad your mom/sister/BFF can’t be there also, remember that your partner (or one support person) can still be there every step of the way. (Note: we live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but hospital rules may be different where you live.)

During our first day with the baby we realized having no visitors actually made it a lot easier to adjust to a newborn. When you have visitors coming and going, not only do the parents get less rest when they need it, but the baby’s sleep gets interrupted as well. With both girls we remember their first nights being exhausting, but with baby boy we were able to get a lot more sleep. It might be because this is our third baby, but we like to think it’s because we had no visitors throughout the day. While we love everyone’s company and appreciate all the love and food people would bring, without visitors we had a lot more rest, a lot more downtime to sit in silence, and a lot more newborn snuggles.

Your support person might not be able to leave the hospital.

The nurse that did my pre-op appointment with me warned me that my husband might not be able to leave the hospital, and in our case it was true. He was able to leave the room to get coffee or other food in the cafeteria, but other than that he wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital building itself. Because we knew this, he packed lots of snacks for our two night stay. And also because of this rule, support partners are fed during your hospital stay as well. For both girls, my husband would make food requests from our family or friends who were visiting, but this time around, whenever I was fed, he was fed too.

The hospital has everything you will need.

Easier said than done – try not to overpack. While it might be easy to overpack knowing that your partner can’t leave to get things you forgot, remember that the hospital will likely have everything you might need. All you’ll really need to bring are:

  • Going home clothes
  • A few items for baby: onesies, socks, an outfit for going home, a blanket, and car seat
  • Slippers for walking around your room
  • A robe if you want to change out of your hospital gown
  • Plenty of snacks
  • A phone charger
  • Toiletries (but even if I forgot this, my hospital provides a whole bag full of toiletry essentials!)

Remember that you are not alone.

One of the things that comforted me through my pregnancy and childbirth was knowing that I’m not the only mother going through all of this. It’s a crazy and weird time we are all living in, but we must remember that we are ultimately going through this together.

If there are any expecting mamas reading this with more questions about my experience, I’d be glad to chat and answer any questions you might have. It’s ok if you’re feeling anxious and scared in general, but once your baby is in your arms, any worries or fears you might have will turn into so much love in your heart for the baby you just grew in your belly.

And if you have any questions about giving birth via c-section or want to see what our birth experience was like in general, be sure to check out our latest vlog from our YouTube channel.

Our Pandemic Vacation

Happy end of June, friends!

With the end of another month, we’ve hit all sorts of milestones.

  • We’ve passed the 100th day of our state’s Shelter-In-Place order.
  • We’ve started a new season… YAY SUMMER!
  • And as of today, we’re exactly 3 weeks away from baby boy’s arrival via c-section. (and crossing our fingers he doesn’t come earlier!)

When SIP started, I wouldn’t have believed you that we’d be going into summer in the state that we are in. But it is what it is. Our SIP norm is our new norm:

  • We’re still not visiting friends and family outside my mom and brother.
  • We’re still using food delivery services for our groceries.
  • And our family activities still involve long walks as a family, bike rides, and picnics.

While all of this is our new norm, we did manage to sneak away from our home to a do a short family getaway in Monterey.

And it was glorious.

We didn’t tell the girls until the day before so they were completely surprised. While our usual summer family vacation would be longer than 2 nights, I felt that with the pandemic happening, 2 nights would be perfect, and it was. We were gone long enough for it to feel like a getaway, and it was short enough to ease some paranoia.

Don’t get it twisted. I didn’t plan this getaway paranoia free. I made sure to chose a hotel with a very flexible cancellation policy and one that listed all their COVID procedures clearly. You better believe I was reading the same procedures every day to give myself peace of mind that this was a safe decision. And when our eldest daughter found out we were going on a trip, she goes “Don’t forget our masks!” So you better believe I had our masks + extras and lots of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in my purse ready to go.

Usually our main reason for going to Monterey would be the aquarium, but since it was still closed (& to be honest, I wouldn’t have been ready for that anyway), I planned our getaway with activities we would normally do at home: walks, trunk picnics, lots of outdoors, and lots of takeout. But what really drew us to Monterey was the beach, and it was the best thing to see my beach babes frolicking in the sand with beaming smiles from ear-to-ear.

@ San Carlos Beach, Monterey, CA

I shared our trip on my Instagram stories (@zherranne), and I got a handful of questions about the trip in general. Mostly about how folks were behaving in terms of the wearing of masks and social distancing. And also questions about where we stayed. I did share this on my stories, but I wanted to share with you all also:

This trip was exactly what our family needed.

All-in-all, while I was hesitant to even drive 2 hours away from home for a short getaway, I realized as we were leaving that it was exactly what we needed. Our main excuse for going was that it would be our last family “hoorah!” as a family of 4 before baby brother, and it was. But ultimately, we all needed a change of scenery after being home for 100+ days.

When I think back on the pandemic and what I did during SIP to take care of my family, I want to remember that I also took care of their mental well-being. Even though my kids are so small still, the difference the trip made on their emotions and moods was a complete 360. Need proof?

Check out these happy faces for yourself:

If you’re like me and this pandemic has given you extra anxiety, don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone and leave your hometown/city. Just do it safely. It doesn’t have to be far, and it doesn’t have to be overnight, but the change of scenery will help you mentally in the long run. Just wherever you go, be safe.

  • Social distance
  • Wear your masks
  • Wash your hands
  • And don’t put yourself in a situation or location that will make you feel uncomfortable.

Have a happy summer, friends!

And to see more from our trip, check out our latest vlog below from our channel @LivNGwiththeNgs.

Let the Baby Prep Begin!

Must-Have Items for Your Baby Registry

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

We’re going on week 10 of our shelter-at-home order, and I’ll admit things still remain the same, yet chaotic around here. Being with my girls 24/7 has definitely been mentally exhausting, and since my last post I’ve started by third trimester of pregnancy so my energy level has slowly decreased as well.

With our days seemingly meshing together most days, my husband and I didn’t realize that we really only have 2 months until the baby is here. The last 10 weeks have flown by so quickly, and we are now finally getting ready for baby boy’s arrival.

Luckily he’s our third child so we have most of the things we need, but in preparation for his arrival I wanted to share my must-have items to have for your baby registry.

I know so many soon-to-be mamas right now, and I remember doing so much research for our first baby registry. While most of us expecting mamas probably will not have a baby shower, it doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate our little baby’s with baby shower parades and virtual baby showers. Before your baby shower even happens, be sure to check out my list of must-have items for your baby registry so your family and friends can spoil your bebe.

My Baby Registry Must-Haves

1. Swaddles

My go-to: Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle

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For both of our girls, we found these swaddles to be true life savers. Nothing kept them sleeping for longer periods of time than the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle. You can easily swaddle with a cute receiving blanket, or you can save yourself the trouble of trying to master the swaddle by wrapping them up in one of these. They even come in a variety of fun designs and colors.

2. Breast bump

My go-to: Medela Pump In Style

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The Medela Pump In Style was a constant reliable for both of my girls. I noticed there are a lot more options nowadays for breast pumps, but Medela has been good to me since 2015. I used the pump for almost a year with both girls. If you want a pump that works great, easy to transport, and is more affordable compared to it’s newer competitors, this is the breast pump for you.

3. Pack-and-Play 

My go-to: Graco Pack-and-Play Change and Carry Playard

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Another old reliable for both of my children that I plan on using even for my third baby is my Graco Pack-and-Play Change and Carry Playard. What I love about this playard is that it’s compact enough to fit in a corner of your room, and it comes with both a changing table and bassinet. So while your baby is small, you can easily put them down for a nap in the bassinet, and as they get bigger, you can use the playard for it’s full size. It even comes with a side pouch to keep your diapers and wipes in!

4. Diaper Pail 

My go-to: Playtex Diaper Genie

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One of my least favorite parts about having a baby in the house is having stinky diapers. While some might find throwing a stinky diaper in the trash the best easiest way to get rid of a soiled diaper, we found that a reliable diaper pail is definitely needed. Our go-to diaper pail is the Playtex Diaper Genie for it’s easy-to-use functions, large size, and simple design. Whatever the theme is for your nursery, I’m sure you can find a Diaper Genie in the color that best fits your needs.

5. Nursing Pillow 

My go-to: Boppy Nursing Pillow

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If you’re planning on breastfeeding, the Boppy Nursing Pillow is a must-have! It’s versatile use makes it something you definitely want to have for your child’s first year of life. When it’s not being used as a nursing pillow, it can also be used for tummy time or learning to sit up. It’s also easy to clean – just throw it in the washing machine. And don’t worry, white is just the base color. You can get different cases for it that match your style or nursery.

6. Stroller

My go-to: Zoe XLC Traveler

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For this stroller, we actually have it as a double-stroller, but if it was around when our oldest daughter was born we definitely would’ve gotten one then too. When choosing any stroller, I have two things in mind: weight and size. The Zoe XLC Traveler is not only light for a stroller of it’s durability, but it also folds nicely into a compact size. It also comes in 8 different colors, AND it’s Disney approved. Meaning it’s not too big to bring to the parks. Even their double-stroller is Disney approved!

7. Baby Carrier

My go-to: Boba Wrap Carrier

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While a stroller is great to have, what your baby will love being in, especially during the first few months, is a baby carrier. For both of my girls, I have two different carriers – a traditional carrier and a wrap carrier. My favorite of the two was definitely the wrap carrier, specifically the Boba Wrap Carrier. With it’s super soft and stretchy material, it’s easy to use and clean. As a first-time mom, it was the perfect thing to use around the house to keep my baby girl close while getting things done. And I’ll definitely be using it again with my third.

8. Onesies with Zippers

My go-to: Gerber Sleep & Play

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I’m not sure why they don’t make all onesies with zippers, but I think they should. I personally think button onesies should be avioded at all costs, and you should try to get as many zipper (or magnet) onesies as possible. My go-to zipper onesies are the Gerber Sleep and Play for their soft fabric, easy use, and comfortability for baby.

9. Socks

My go-to: Simple Joys by Carter Baby 12-Pack

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Another one of my least favorite things are baby socks, but they are definitely needed. I honestly only hate them because they’re so easy to lose, but that’s the same reason why you’ll want a lot of them. Your child won’t be wearing shoes until they’re closer to 1-year-old, so you’ll need as many socks as possible in the first year. My go-to choice for socks are the Simple Joy’s By Carter Baby 12-Pack. With one or two of these 12-packs, you’ll have plenty of socks for the first six months.

10. Nursing bras

My go-to: HOFISH Push-Up Nursing Bra

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And the last on my list is an item for mom. With my first pregnancy, I did not even think about nursing clothes and nursing bras until after the baby was born. So if there’s one thing I recommend to first time moms, it’s to be sure you have at least nursing bras on your registry. The HOFISH Push-Up Nursing Bra are comfortable, affordable, and come in a variety of colors that can fit anyone’s style.

Keeping Sane in Quarantine

We’re going on 6 weeks of quarantine. And while last time I mentioned it basically felt like everyday life because I’m a stay-at-home-mom and our life typically revolves in this fashion, I’ll admit I’m starting to feel the affects of the situation.

I’ll be real, I really miss Target. I miss Target and Costco. Yes, I know those stores are still open, but the designated “shopper” (aka the one we’ve voted for tribute) in our household is my husband. More specifically I miss going on shopping dates with my husband to those places, and I miss going to those places by myself even more. I love my children, and I firmly believe this time right now with them is so valuable and precious, BUT this mama needs a mental break. Before all of this, grocery shopping was my mini mental getaway, and now that I haven’t done that in more than five weeks, I’m starting to realize how important that was to my life. Also the few hours they spent in school gave me the chance to focus on myself for a few hours a week, and now I only get those moments if I manage my time well.

If you ask me how I’m doing, my answer will be “I’m doing ok. Just tired from being with the girls 24/7.” Truthfully they’re one piece of the puzzle, and the other piece is the fact that I have a to-do list of things that I can’t seem to check things off of. I’m really trying not to focus on the list and be gracious with myself, but there’s a part of me who is feeling like a failure for not getting things done. I feel like because I can’t manage my time as well as I used to, I can’t work on my list. And mentally it’s hurting me a little.

Luckily I have a husband who keeps me in check.

  • He reminds me why it’s ok I haven’t gotten as much done as I want to.
  • He lets me take a nap instead of doing a chore.
  • He looks at my list and gets something done for me.
  • He gives me a pass for washing the dishes because all the hand-washing in itself is making my eczema go crazy.
  • He encourages me to bake often because he knows it’ll make me happy.
  • He FaceTimes me while he’s at the store so I can at least see Target.
  • He even encouraged me to start “In the Kitchen With Mama Z” on our YouTube channel because he knows I need a creative outlet to keep me sane.
  • And the list can really go on and on…

And he does all this while still working full-time from home.

As for my list, I’m learning to just look at my to-do by the week instead of by the day. I’m learning to be ok with pushing things off until tomorrow or even the next week. I’m learning to let go of how I’d normally do things because in reality, we’re all in a new situation. We’re all living a new normal.

But what’s my real secret to keeping sane during this quarantine? It’s having a partner who recognizes what helps me stay sane. When I’m busy managing two little kids all day, it’s nice to have someone who will take care of me.

So to my husband, thank you. There’s no one I’d rather be stuck in quarantine with.

And if you want to check out my “In the Kitchen With Mama Z” videos on our channel, here’s my favorite recipe I’ve done so far!

You Are Stronger Than You Realize

I saw a quote today that really stuck with me:

“This is tough, but I am tougher.”

During this chaotic time in our lives, I really want to focus on what I do have. And to remind myself that being “stuck” at home is tough, but I am tougher.

This week marks week 3 of our shelter-in-place. In the beginning of all of this, I wasn’t too phased by having to stay indoors and keep my kids at home with me because it’s basically my every day life as a stay-at-home-mom. But as the weeks move on and the shelter-in-place has been extended, I am starting to feel my anxiety creep up on me a little more. And the reality of the situation is starting to put a toll on my mental health.

  • I am sad I cannot see my family and friends.
  • I am scared to go outside.
  • I am scared that my husband, who’s job has now been deemed essential, can get sick or bring the virus home.
  • I am sad my kids aren’t able to go to their happy places – the playground, school, their grandparents’ houses, etc.
  • I am disappointed we had to postpone our Spring Break trip that I’ve been planning since last October.
  • And I am worried about giving birth without my husband by my side.

But at the same time, I am so grateful and feeling so blessed for what we do have.

  • I am grateful for the technology of FaceTime and Zoom calls to connect with my loved ones and for the girls to connect with their teachers and classmates. I feel like with all the free time we have, I’m actually talking to my loved ones more than before. While no hugs are involved, just having conversations with them fills my heart.
  • I am grateful we live in a place where it’s not too cold and not too hot. We live in a part of California where the Spring time means you’re just going outside in a light sweater and leggings. This has made going outside for walks and bike rides part of our daily routine, and the girls just love it.
  • While I am worried for my husband’s health, I am grateful he still has work to keep him busy during this time and that we still have income coming in. To be honest, I think quarantine would be much harder on me mentally if I had to listen to my husband complain how bored he is everyday.
  • I am grateful for Amazon, online grocery services, and really all technology that makes sheltering easier. In anticipation of the quarantine lasting longer, we went ahead and ordered an at-home jumpy house for the girls. The joy it gives them just lights up my heart each time they wait for it to blow-up. They also don’t seem to notice much has “changed” in our lives which really puts into perspective how adults are looking at this entire situation. I wish we can all live as resiliently as children.
  • I am grateful that we’ll be going on our trip during my birthday like originally planned. Before I found out I was pregnant, I had requested that my big 3-0 be spent on a family trip, and when I found out I was pregnant we decided to move it up before the baby’s arrival. Guess it was always in our cards to have this trip for my birthday after-all 🙂
  • I am grateful there’s still 4 months until baby boy is here. No one knows when this chaos will “mellow out”, but I am being hopeful that it will by the time the baby is due. And if it doesn’t, I have to remind myself that “this is tough, but I am tougher”.

There’s a lot of fear in the world right now, but instead of living in fear, I am doing my best to live in love and gratitude. And I hope you all are too. Just remember, you are stronger than you realize!

Stay safe and healthy, friends!

It’s a Boy!

As my husband would say… third time’s a charm. We are happy to announce we have a baby boy on the way!

This is exactly the type of news we needed during this chaotic time. While the mayhem of COVID-19 fills our social media platforms and news channels, we’re over here getting ready for our little boy. He has become the perfect distraction in our household.

But I’ll be honest with you all, never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d have a son. Not because I don’t want a son, but because I’ve always seen myself as a girl mom…like I’m wired to parent girls and deal with the sassiness that comes with parenting little ladies. So I was actually rooting for a girl all this time, but I am sure glad I was wrong.

Now he is all I can think about. But I’m even happier because two very important people in my life are OVERJOYED with this news.

  1. My oldest daughter has been asking for a baby brother from the moment she found out I’m having a baby.
  2. My HUSBAND has been waiting for a son since our first pregnancy.

This whole time I was over here thinking I knew exactly what was going to happen…we’d have another girl, and my husband would be a girl dad for life. But instead God threw this curveball at me, and I am feeling so blessed.

To share the news with our family and friends, we did decide to have a gender reveal party. And we are so glad we did because everyone else was hoping for a boy too! To see everyone’s reactions, check out our gender reveal vlog. So many priceless reactions caught on camera!

But even before the gender reveal, we decided to share the moment together and find out the baby’s gender by ourselves at home. The moment I realized my husband and eldest daughter’s prayers are answered seriously broke me to tears. Check out that moment here: