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.
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).
I was a much better mother before I had kids because my imaginary children were so much better behaved and more predictable in my mind. I have a higher degree in child, family and school psychology and, while I learned how complicated little ones really are in my studies, I thought that I would be way more prepared to deal with any obstacle or curveball that came my way. As a psychologist who works with kids on a daily basis, I have never pretended to have it all figured out, but I did have some ideas about how to approach difficult situations. When I was around other parents observing them deal with tantrums, whining, or irrational behavior, I would think, in a non-judgmental way (or maybe with slight judgement), oh, if they just did this or this, that would quickly solve the problem.
I get this knot in my stomach when people ask me if we are going to have another baby. It’s that forward thinking type of question our society asks anyone who has made a major life decision, such as “Have you set a date for the wedding?” after someone gets engaged or “What are you going to major in?” after someone has graduated from high school. I’ve been asked these types of questions my whole life so you think I would be used to it by now, or, at the very least, come up with an automatic response that I could say to appease someone when asked a question like this.
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!
We've had a few questions about Winter and her breath holding spells, so I decided to write a little bit about what we've been experiencing.
The first time it happened, Perry, Winter and I were in the bathroom while she was taking a bath. She had just turned one a few weeks before. She was overtired and we could tell she was a bit agitated. Winter kept tossing out her toy boat and after the tenth time of retrieving it, I simply put it behind my back because it was clearly becoming a source of frustration. This sent her over the edge. She let out a yell but then looked like she was silently crying, held her breath, arched her back and her face and lips began to turn blue.
At 16 months, Winter is beginning to add new words to her vocabulary on a daily basis. We are trying to raise her bilingual in Spanish and English and just the other day she said her first Spanish word, "Auga" which means water. My heart melted into one giant puddle. I love that she is learning two languages. Winter has also learned how to voice when she disagrees with you by saying, "No, No" (sometimes even with a sassy head nod and finger shake). I may be in big trouble over here guys. :)
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.
It’s taken me one year, three months, twenty-nine days and 7 hours to finally write about my postpartum experience. I know that every type of funk that comes with postpartum depression is equally as awful due to the anxiety, extreme sadness, fear and rage that accompanies it. The type that showed up for me ultimately shook me to my core and it’s gut-wrenchingly hard and embarrassing to talk about. Hence the reason it’s taken me so long to even be able to type it on paper.
Negative self-talk surrounds me. I am not immune to it but I am fighting to oppose it viciously. I look into the mirror and see flaws, things I want to chance, things that make me feel less than. But do I dare verbalize them, no? I have a duty you see. My duty is to expose the tiny ears around me that love will always win. Love for yourself, your body, your beauty and even more, all your perceived short comings. My daughter grew inside of me and now I have this beautiful baby, this tiny beacon of hope that is relying on me to help her to fill it up with light, positivity and self-worth.
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.
Today is my one year anniversary from returning to work after my maternity leave ended. I was able to stay home for 14 weeks in total, one week leading up to the birth (she was nine days overdue) and 13 weeks after Winter was born. Of those weeks, I got paid for a whopping two weeks (which is a different story to share). But now, my toddler is sitting in her new Skip Hop high chair (that fabulously converts into a toddler chair by the way---more on the high chair at the bottom of the post), and I can't help but think back to that first day that I left her at home to go back to work.
Her personality is blooming each day. There are so many things I want to remember about this time so I decided to post a series of snaps that Brittany got while we were just hanging out by the stairwell in our house. She kept playing peak-a-boo with Brittany and would hide behind the plant and jump out while saying, BOO! These photos really sum up my baby girl right now. She is playful, confident, sweet as can be and oh so feisty!
For my New Year's resolution, I told myself that I would do better at managing difficult emotions, that I wouldn't be so hot-headed and that I would give into my emotions for a short time, instead of letting them fester. I also vowed that I would give myself more slack and stop trying to be so damn perfect all the time. To hold myself accountable, I want to write about how it's going and share something that I use all the time that seems to be helping.
It seems like everyone I know is having a baby this spring and the baby showers this month are in full swing. I practically cried through my entire baby shower (I blame the hormones!) because I received some pretty meaningful gifts. I thought I would share some of my favorite shower gifts or "just because" gifts for your mama friends. Happy Saturday everyone!
Winter is nearly 14-months-old now. I’ve heard that once a baby turns a year old things get "easier". While Winter is becoming more independent, has always been a joy to be around and is beginning to develop quite the personality, I don't know if the word "easier" really rings true for my family right now. I am having to do a lot of cognitive re-framing and instead of wishing or waiting for it to get "easier", I am hoping to and working on finding vitality and resilience when faced with the stress of being a parent.
Before I had Winter, my New Year’s resolutions leaned on the side of being cliché’. I wanted to gain more muscle, become more flexible, be better about what I ate, etc. It wasn’t that I didn’t have depth to my intentions before kids, it’s just that my intentions run deeper now than they did before because I know that my goals affect her too. I want Winter to grow up in a household where her parents are happy, healthy and well-balanced. So even though I still want to workout more and eat better foods, my real resolution lies in the depths of my heart.
Although this is Winter’s second Christmas, it feels like the first all over again. She was so tiny last year at around 5-weeks-old and essentially slept through the entire Christmas Eve gift exchange. This year, she is walking, talking and showing interest in all the things I love about the holidays, like the lights, the parties and the holiday music and cheer.
I am slowly starting to put the life vest back on. The life vest that I always knew was there but was maybe too proud or too weak to grab for. For the last year, I have set unrealistic expectations for myself. When I am at work, I give 150%; I pumped three times a day while I was nursing, which meant I never got a lunch or any other break and I often felt like I was failing my colleagues because I couldn’t stay late for meetings. At home, I gave 300%; I took care of Winter, I grocery shopped, I tried to cook, I stayed up late to clean the house, worked on my blog, texted my family and friends, and responded to comments on Instagram all while trying my best to stay positive and enthusiastic.
So weaning happened and all I can say is holy hormones! When I first had Winter, I thought breastfeeding would come naturally for us. I literally thought that you just put the child up to your boob and they got milk. My naïve self snuffed at the thought of a breastfeeding class and never thought to ask any other mother I knew what it was like for them. When I first launched this blog, I wrote about my breastfeeding journey here.
On November 6, 2016 at 6:39 PM, you turned one years old. I can’t describe to you the joy it brings to me, the honor I share with your father in wishing you a happy first birthday. From the moment you were born, my soul flew free, wrapped its arms around you and hasn’t left your side since. I picture this process often. I envision a warm, translucent light hovering over you as you explore your world, encouraging you to spread your kindness to everyone you meet.
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of planning the second heymama Denver chapter event held at a gorgeous space called Union 27. The focus of the event was social media: how to speak to your customers, build loyalty and drive growth via your most relevant channels. We had the chance to sit with a wonderful mix of panelists who taught us the tricks of the trade.
A few weeks ago, Perry and I harvested the pumpkins that we grew in our previous house that was rented out over the summer (the tenants are amazing and still share the crops with us). When we planted these pumpkin seeds, Winter was a mere five-months-old. We both find so much enjoyment growing her goodies and we were super impressed with how big these pumpkins got this year.
Winter has two bottom teeth coming in! It is such an exciting milestone but can be a difficult one to navigate for both parent and baby. So, I asked the greater community of Instagram to provide any teething tips and was overwhelmed with the knowledgeable responses. I haven't tried all of them but I figured I would compile a list in case you too are needing some ideas.
A few months ago I shared how my marriage had changed after having Winter. You can read the first post here. I received such a positive response and talked to so many other women who could relate so I decided to write an update.
As a first time mother, I was unsure about a lot of things. I was definitely one of those mothers who would wake up multiple times in the night just make sure Winter was not too hot or too cold and to check if she was breathing.