Every day that I leave for work, I wonder what Winter is doing, what it must be like for Perry to get to work from home and if I am doing the right thing for my family. I’ve opened up before (here), that while I would love to stay home, it’s not a reality for me right now (dang those student loans). Being a working mother means that I have limited time with Winter and the last thing I want to do on the weekends is run errands with a toddler in tow.
Well, it's official. We are going to Hawaii this summer and we couldn't be more excited. The travel day is about 10 hours from Colorado to Hawaii (including one layover). We have made several airplane trips with Winter since she has been born and have definitely learned what keeps her busy without the use of screen-time.
Take a peak at the list below to view my favorite tried and true travel toys for toddlers.
It’s been nine months since we moved into our new home and our living room is finally starting to take shape. For months this room has jokingly been called our “lobby” because it consisted of plants, a rug and Perry’s desk (he says he is the house receptionist). Our short term plan is to live in this home for a few more years, purchase another home and rent this one out so we can have two rental properties (we rented our first home out last August).
I get asked about my mindfulness practice on a daily basis. I think one of the biggest misconceptions about living a mindful life is that you have to set aside 30 minutes a day or longer to do it. This is simply not true. In fact, I practice being mindful several times throughout the day. I have noticed that by doing even these simple techniques, I am less reactive, more attentive, feel more grounded and am able to manage stress with more ease.
The following is a list of my favorite ways to take one minute to be mindful. Note: You don’t have to do them all in a day to reap the benefits. Just pick one or two from each category and mix them up.
I have opened up quite a lot on this platform about my marriage, revealing what's it’s been like for Perry and I after having a child. I am constantly learning and evolving, discovering new ways I can better myself and our marriage. I share our experiences because I think it's important. I often wonder why we don't take communication and relationship classes all the way through grade school, high school and college? I feel like so many fights or mishaps could have been avoided if we had just been taught how to fight fairly. I learn the most about my marriage when I reflect and talk to others who can relate. So, I will continue to keep talking about it because, while I don't believe my marriage is quintessential or the holy grail of marriage, it's all I know.
Next month is National Mental Health awareness month and after experiencing my own struggle with depression/OCD I wanted to help bring light to this topic in every way that I can. Over the next month, I will be highlighting ways that you can get involved to #normalizePPD. This post features my new friends Ziraffe, who are helping me to raise money to donate to a charity I believe in with my whole being. It’s alarming that “1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family” so keep reading to learn more about Ziraffe and how you too can get involved. (Source: NAMI:National Alliance on Mental Health).
Perry and I are finally tackling the basement and going through all the boxes that we never got around to back in August when we first moved. These boxes are filled with old college memorabilia, childhood belongings, art and music supplies and quite frankly a bunch of things that we just don't use.
In my twenties, my friends would make fun of me because I was a bit of a hoarder. Meaning, I attached sentimental value to everything and kept a lot of objects that really didn't serve me. Now that I am in my early thirties, I have realized that the more stuff I have around me, the more chaotic I feel on the inside.
Winter's nursery was the first and still the only room in the house that is completely decorated. It usually takes me months to put together my vision (and let's be real, months to save the money to do it) but somehow it came together quite effortlessly until I got to the bookshelves.
I don't know what it is about shelves but they always intimidate me and take me hours to figure out what the heck to put on them that's both functional and fun to look at it.
When I was 14 I dreamt about owning a Ford F-150 truck. I’ not entirely sure why I wanted to own one but I know it had something to do with the good ol’ American nostalgia I experienced as a kid riding in my grandfather’s truck. I loved being seated up high with the windows down and the music blasting on the open Oklahoma country roads. To make this dream a reality, I got a job as a lifeguard and saved every nickel and dime I had. By the time I was 17 (with the help of my generous parents) I was living my teenage dream and driving my F-150 around town with so much pride. It wasn’t red like Winter’s little Ford push cart, but it was mine, and I can recall feeling a sense of girl empowerment, a feeling that I don’t think I had ever been attuned to before getting my truck. It wasn’t because I had a truck per se, but because I had a dream, worked hard and achieved it. Plus, it helped that I burned the stereotype down in my town that trucks were only for boys, because, hello, NO they are not!
When I am having a bad day, I feel consumed by negativity. Unfortunately, this makes a lot of sense from a psychological perspective. Our brains respond to negative information three to five times more than they do to positive input. In the old days, this was crucial to survival. It wouldn’t have been wise for our brains to notice the beautiful scenery when we had to be attuned to natural threats such as predators. Even though we aren’t faced with the same threats today, our brain is still wired the same, which is a major bummer if you ask me.
I am trying to find the balance between paying attention to my thoughts and the source of these thoughts. I have been consistently practicing mindfulness, taking time to pause, breathe and truly slow down.
But out of nowhere, I have been feeling a lot of pressure located around my heart and feeling faint of breath, almost as if I am drowning. It's puzzling to me that I can't quite pinpoint the root of it all. I know it will pass but for now, I am getting by simply by visualization my happy place which happens to be in greenhouse, surrounded by beautiful plants with Winter.
Since posting about my postpartum hell on the blog (here), I found out that the number one leading cause of death in the first year of mothers is suicide (source). This statistic shatters me. We have to change this! We have to speak out.
I never in a million years could have imagined the amount of women who not only read my postpartum experience but also personally reached out to me through direct messages, emails, texts and comments.
I really want to respond to each of you. You deserve to hear that I see you. I hear you. In the meantime, here are some common questions that I have been asked since that post.
We tried to take Winter to a local restaurant this past Friday. When we showed up, I thought it would be a blessing that it wasn't too crowed when we arrived. Nope, I was wrong. By the time the appetizer had come, Winter had played with everything in my purse, climbed on top of every empty seat, grabbed the squirt bottle from the server's station and screamed in protest a few times. Needless to say, we chugged our beers, pounded the app and bailed as quickly as we could with a huge sigh of relief when we made it back home. Some moments, I feel like I am raising a wild animal.
Perry and I have never been big on celebrating Valentine's Day. No candy, no flowers and definitely no gifts. We both struggle with the concept of commercializing our love so for the last five years we have been together, we've opted out. It's been no lie that Perry and I have struggled with our relationship since becoming parents. There was a definite shift in our marriage when all of a sudden we went from being each others' world to having a small baby orbit in between us.
There have been far too many blog posts featuring Winter and I playing on my bed. I can't complain, the cuddles while looking outside to our very own snow globe have been amazing this season. Yet, Perry and I can't seem to stop talking about our plans for this summer.