As Winter gets older we find ourselves adapting, revising and starting new holiday traditions. Last year I wrote a post on our holiday traditions (here). This year I really want to focus on making the magic of the holiday spirit last throughout the year. Below are three meaningful ways to achieve a little extra holiday cheer.
Eek! Tomorrow is December, which means I have put away all the fall books and got out all of the winter ones. I am super choosy when it comes to books. I feel like because I work in an elementary school and have a daughter that lovesssss to read books, I have had my fair share of reading some doozies over and over. Below is a round-up of my most favorite winter/Christmas themed books out there right now. I hope you like it!
Okay, I am going just to come out and say it, I don't want to be a working mother anymore. I realize that my privilege allows me to even have this thought. I understand that the reality for many is that this idea could not, would not be entertained due to certain circumstances and the fact that I CAN think it makes me feel well, privileged.
We want to teach Winter that Kindness is infinite and oh so important. A few weeks ago, Winter and I had the opportunity to participate in a campaign called the #DoGoodWeek. We bought four dozen roses and gave them out to strangers to people walking in the park, coming out of a nursing home and at a local school. At first, WInter was so shy and wanted me to hold her while we passed out the photos, but within 10 minutes of being at our first location, the park, she was so excited and willing to hand them out. She would say, "here" or "more" while smiling and handing them out to people. I found myself stepping back a bit and just watching her interact. The joy I felt that day was indescribable and I want to keep the momentum going and do some more selfless acts for others.
Perry and I will be traveling to Arizona this year to be with my family for Christmas. We plan to pack up our belongings including a 70 pound Husky and drive the whole 13 hours to Phoenix (if you have any travel tips with toddlers. please let me know)!
Because our car is going to pretty full from the get-go, we are opting to either send our gifts to the family via mail and/or be very thoughtful about what we pack in the car. When I discovered, Snapfish, a digital photo printing service that helps you personalize your prints, I knew that this was the route I wanted to go for my family.
You have mellowed out quite a bit in the last few months, yet you are still our mighty Winter. Your independence, language, and empathy have soared to new heights over the past few months. You are our little observer; taking in the world around you, watching others and patiently waiting to engage once you feel like the time is right.
You express so much love for those that care from you. You look sincerely into the eyes of those you love and provide us with the sweetest gestures of affection from holding our cheeks with both hands, saying "te amo" (which means "I love you" in Spanish) and asking for besos (which means "kiss" in Spanish) or to hold our hand.
Well, I wish that my blog and Instagram account would just write themselves. Man, life would be so much easier as a full-time working mother if it did. But because it doesn't, I spent one week tracking how much time I spend on my social media business to give you guys an idea of what it takes to keep things going on a weekly basis.
A few weeks ago, I shared on this post how Perry and I started making "To Be" lists, which are primarily a tiny list of adjectives that you want to embody that day. These lists have helped me wrap set intentions and take the pauses that I need when I find myself become reactive.
One day while I was taking a three-minute pause to reflect on how I was speaking to my husband, It dawned on me that the lists that I was creating also mirrored images of how I now see myself as a mother.
hese past few weeks, I have noticed myself become so intensely in tune with how I spend my time with my daughter. I already get emotional when I think how one day she won't be the only child that has stolen my heart (and I am not even pregnant yet). I want to breathe in as many moments with her before our family size does grow. One of my most favorite times of the day with Winter is before bed---it's my time to practice mindfulness with her, wind down from the day by stretching and to spend uninterrupted time with my girl.
At our baby shower, my sweet friend suggested that we ask the guests to bring a book with a handwritten message to our baby in it. I am so grateful that she suggested it because Winter and I spend a lot of time reading together and when I read those sweet messages from my friends and family, I get a lovely rush of joy.
Since her shower, we have slowly been building up her book library (buying books in both English and Spanish because we are rasing her bi-lingual). I may have overdone it this Halloween, but below is a collage of all the books we are currently reading.
When I envisioned this post, I thought the words that would accompany the video of us from Hawaii were going to be light-hearted, blithesome and effortlessly joyful. I, however, experienced something much deeper after watching this video.
How can three seconds completely transform your entire way of being? I must have watched this video a thousand times, and I can’t stop crying when it hits the 50-53 seconds mark. The way her hands touch both of our faces at the same time, it’s like she knows.
I have really been struggling with being a working mama this year. I am not exactly sure why it seems to be getting worse, but I feel myself clinging onto the moments that I have at home with Winter, counting down the days until summer, and racking my brain with ways that I can become a stay-at-home mother.
We decided in June to go for it. We were finally ready for baby number two! Winter was getting much easier, we were about to embark on a two-week vacation in Hawaii, and my postpartum depression really seemed to be going easy on me. Life was good.
It's all going entirely too quickly. I can't believe that in two months, my sweet Winter will be two-years-old. There are so many moments during the day that I find myself begging for time to pause so that my memory has time to etch every single detail of her into my soul. I want to savor every bit of time that I have with her while she is this little. Gosh, where is that darn pause button??! Slow down, time!!
It's been awhile since I have updated you guys on Winter and her dreaded Breath Holding Spells. If you don't know what they are, you can read about them in our first post describing what they are and what they look like for us HERE.
I have had this lingering feeling that unsettling thoughts and emotions about returning to work are in my near future. I know that I am beyond blessed to get the opportunity to stay home with Winter during the summer, but once I begin to get so used to it, it seems like I am already staring at the end of summer on a calendar. Before I can even blink, I am back to work; 10 weeks is not long enough.
I have written a few blogs on the topic of being a working mother (which I will link below), but this blog feels so much heavier, less optimistic, if you will.
When I wrote this post, my view consisted of the beach, waves, and people enjoying the sunshine and beautiful palm trees. There was absolutely no reason to complain. Except, I keep sitting here thinking what could have been and romanticizing the video clip I had imagined in my mind. You see, about a month ago, I looked over at Winter and something came over me. This emotion that I had never felt before, the longing of another baby. Before, when people would ask, I would cringe at the thought of another child. The idea of it all made me feel sick to my stomach and full of fear. Postpartum depression hit my family like a banshee out of hell and I could not, would not, risk putting myself or my husband through that again. Fear would win in my mind, and for the longest time, I thought our family size of three could be complete.
We are just a few days from our Hawaii trip and couldn't be more excited. Perry has always wanted to go to Hawaii and for his birthday, we decided to take the plunge and book a trip. The timing is perfect because Winter still flies for free. Despite her free flight, it's crazy to think that we are essentially paying the same amount for a two week vacation as we did for a six week one when we went to Cambodia and Thailand back in 2014. It's a tough pill to swallow how much our trip is going to cost, but we know that it will probably be a once in a lifetime trip and we couldn't think of a better time to do it.
In December 2016, I decided to take Love & LaRock on with full steam. I post to Instagram at least six days per week, put a blog post up twice per week, and shoot content every Friday. I have noticed that while Insta-Blogging brings so much joy and has connected me to many wonderful people and brands from all over the world, it’s also had some negative ramifications on my mental state.
I have always been quite the worrywart. It’s probably my least favorite personality trait of mine. I have always heard that worrying can become even more in the forefront of your life once you have kids and that has undoubtedly been proved to be my experience thus far. I have been working very hard to squash the worry bug because I while I think some fear serves purpose, letting it dictate your daily thoughts is not a way that I want to live.
I got my first tattoo when I was 18. I have always loved them and kinda thought I would end up with a sleeve or married to someone with a lot of tattoos. Turns out, I didn’t get as many tattoos as I thought I would and Perry doesn’t have a single one! There was a moment when I thought he might get one. It was right after we got married and were traveling in southeast Asia. He got a rash underneath his wedding ring. It bothered him so much and he teased me that he was allergic to marriage, saying that he may end up getting a ring tattoo. Within a few weeks, the rash cleared up and I haven’t heard a peep about a tattoo since.
I am almost through my entire first bottle of antidepressants. This is a big deal for me. It’s like getting down to the final pills in the first bottle is some type of symbolism that the depression I felt beforehand is just a speckle of dust lying at the bottom the floor, almost entirely obsolete.
Father’s Day is right around the corner and I wanted to do something homemade and super special for Perry. For Mother’s Day, he surprised me with this amazing plant stand out of his grandfather’s old barn wood (view the stand, here). So to keep with the theme, I knew I wanted to do something plant-related.
Perry and I have had our fair share of stressors when it comes to raising Winter. She has breath-holding spells (read more about our experience, here), she has already entered into the tantruming phase of her life, and recently, we ended up completely stuck and lost on a bus in the middle of the redwood forest with a very car sick,puking child without cell reception. I know when difficult parenting situations arise, the panic, pressure and chaos can easily take over, and it’s hard to keep your cool whether you are alone or with your partner.
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.
A few months ago I would have given anything to be able to say that I was happy. Now, a week before Mother’s Day, I finally can. I remember during one of my meditations a random thought bubbled up about how on this Mother’s Day, I didn’t want anything else in the world other than to experience a true sense of contentment within my heart. A card, flowers, candy or even a special meal prepared by my loving husband just wouldn’t do. In that moment of clarity I experienced while meditating, I decided that for this Mother’s day I was going to love myself and do something that I probably should have done months ago.
Today, you are a year and a half years old. I am having a hard time starting this letter because I have so much to say, but I am not entirely sure I have the vocabulary to convey it.
I remember writing you a letter the day before you were born (you can read it, here). I was so eager to meet you, little one. When I wrote it, I wasn’t feeling apprehensive about the labor or delivery. I remember the words just pouring out of me. While I typed, I experienced this cool, calm, and collected ease and energy pass through my body. Now, here you are a year and a half later, and that easy-going, serene-like energy is passing through me again as I am typing this today.
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).