New Year, Better Me.

You guys! I did not want to start this blog like this, but in keeping with the promise I made when I decided to start this site, I need to be transparent; I have really struggled with actually sitting down and writing this out. I think my main problem is the accountability that it gives me. Once I say my intentions out loud it feels like there is more pressure to keep them. I am so guilty of starting off with great ideas but with the long days, and some sleepless nights I don’t have the energy to actually execute them. Do you ever feel that way? How do you get out of that rut? The other day I promised myself I was actually going to make it to the gym and when I woke up to check the time I had woken up 20 min too late. 95% of me was screaming, ‘You are way too late, you’ll make it next time. Also, this bed is warm and your husband so snuggly!’ It is SO hard to make it out of bed when the person next to you is still happily in dreamland. Is it horrible that I gave him a light kick on my way up HA! #marriedlife but don’t tell him, and for the record it absolutely did not work! BUT! I made it. When I did, I felt stronger than I have in a long time. I truly believe that although I do feel physically stronger, there is something incredible about accomplishing something that you didn’t originally feel the energy to. That feeling for me came from actually investing in myself.

Investing in myself in this scenario, was that I got up and out of bed for no one other than myself. When my babies cry, or when they wake up, am I always energized? Absolutely not! But I jump out of bed or stop what ever I am doing to tend to them. Running on empty, I muster up the last ounce of oomph I have and pour it in to them. I adore them, and I know they are worth it all. Why don’t I give the same love to myself? In 2019, and hopefully as a practice for life, I will measure things that benefit me by how much I love, invest, and feel worthy of those benefits. I will take time for myself, even when I am tired, when I don’t necessary feel like I it, and when I feel as though I may fail.

Connectivity. Like in all aspects of life, blogging comes with its fair share of politics. Finding people that care enough about what you have to say, and genuinely connecting with people is so much harder than I thought. I received several DMs from people that I was  excited to connect with, whom I felt I related so much to only to be hit with an ‘invitation’ to meet other like minded moms. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Well, yes but when you join these groups they have lots of rules; first one being you have to follow everyone in this group, they all have to follow you back except for the (usually are around 3/4) members who started the group they don’t have to follow anyone or engage with anyone, really. They make rules of comment times and the type of comments you need to leave. I can not remember ever having rules to be someones friend, other than be kind. As moms, or even grownups we barely have enough time as it is, I absolutely refuse to spend the little time I do have pretending to care about someone who has absolutely no interest in reciprocating or having a real friendship. I truly have met amazing people, some even through Instagram and I look forward to developing those friendships. I do truly like to see pictures of their happy families and I love to share, learn, and communicate with other moms, dads, and people in general. My intention for this space is to grow, relate, and learn and I intend to keep my focus on genuine and mutually respected and appreciated connections.

Health. My intention is to focus on my health and make it a priority. I want to change the way I speak about my health, and above all how I speak about and view my body. I truly appreciate this body that housed, nourished, and continues to nourish in different ways the two most important little beings in my life. Above all, I want to lead by example, and teach my babies how to take care of their health and their bodies. Fat is the new F- word and we’re not speaking it.

Assert Boundaries. I wrote about this in my last post but for me, it is worth reiterating. In the past I have let the comfort and happiness of others control my boundaries. I am a very loud extrovert so people assume that I always say what I am thinking or am good at expressing my feelings. The truth is, I’m not. There are times that I completely disagreed with what people did or said and I didn’t say much for fear of being ostracized or being judged harshly. I have had people in my space that have done horrible things, and brought such negative energy in to my surroundings only because I wanted to keep the peace among everyone else. That is not my job. I do not always have to keep my mouth shut and constantly be made to adjust for the happiness of others. This is not to say that I shouldn’t at times be the bigger person or let the small things go and look at the big picture. When I feel very strongly about something or someone, I will speak up. I would never want my children to consistently keep people in their space that do not respect their feelings or boundaries and I need to teach them by doing so myself.

Sometimes as parents the lines get blurred on where moming ends and we begin. We lose ourselves in all that we give to others that even when we intend to love and care for ourselves we don’t really know how or what that entails anymore. What are the things that are important to me, as a woman, aside from my family? Sometimes it is hard for me to see what matters most and on those days I always think about my babies to guide me. What do I want my babies to stand for? What kind of people do I want them to be? What kind of friends would I want them to be around? and most importantly what should they not tolerate, and when should they speak up? My new rule is, if its not good enough for my babies, its not good enough for me.

 

 

Merry Mental Health And a Peaceful New Year

Hi friends! We are in the final countdown for Christmas and there SO many things we still need to get done. With so many things to still check off our list, it is easy to feel a bit out of control. Every year I always say I’m going to Christmas shop through out the year, that we are going to start sending out Christmas cards early so on and so on… Every year I am in the same boat, but maybe that is the thrill of it? At least that is what I tell myself! There is one thing though, that I have firmly checked off my list and I truly see a difference in how I feel through out the year and especially the holidays.

There seems to have been a big shift on where we place importance and finally it is on ourselves, our mental health and our peace of mind. It seems to me that in the years past there has been so much pressure on reconciling with people at the detriment of your own happiness. This year the message has continued to be geared towards keeping strong bonds with your family but where the big difference comes in to play is that while family is important, it is not more important than your own personal healing, and happiness. Family is, has always been and always will be the most important area of my life. As I get older and (hopefully) wiser I understand that while we all deserve love and acceptance not everyone needs or even deserves to be invited in to your space. I have met many friends along the way that haven’t spoken to a parent, a sibling, or other family members and it used to really surprise me. I remember often ending the conversation with “hopefully things will get better and you will be together again”. Sometimes though, it is not meant to and that is perfectly ok.

This is not to say that someone you are having a small issue with should be left alone, or that forgiveness is not worth exploring. But, if there is an issue that threatens your happiness and your peace, if there is a person who continuously causes you pain or attempts to make you feel small; if a person continuously disregards your feelings and ignores your boundaries, then it is ok to cut this toxicity out of your life. There is no guilt in speaking up for yourself or in knowing your value. Looking back, there have been times where I have let the comfort and happiness of others control my boundaries and my feelings. These last two years, inspired by my babies and how I want them to hold strong to their boundaries, I have been more assertive in protecting my peace. Heart racing, voice trembling and knees shaking I will say NO! to anyone that threatens the happiness or the comfort of myself, my children or my husband. We have one life to live, it should be shared with those that truly love you, encourage you and celebrate you. My wish for all of you is that you are surrounded by love, peace, health, and family- whoever that is to you. Healthiest of Holidays, and a peaceful New Year!

Babes Faves- Lets Get Loud!

Happy Thursday Mamas!! Time for another addition of my Babes Faves! My kiddies are 14 months apart (yes, I have my hands full!) and they are at the point now where they are interacting more than ever before. It’s such an amazing thing to watch their bond forming and getting stronger by the day.

While they are very close in age, you all know that the first year is where they grow and learn the most, so there are not many toys that can hold both of their interests for very long. One thing my babes can agree on is they love to be LOUD! As their mama, I want to encourage them as much as possible and I love to see them be lively, finding their voice and expressing themselves (even if my head ache doesn’t always agree!)

The B. Toys drum play set comes with a variety of musical instruments that they both love to explore. Whether they play inside, or we take them outside and they really start shaking, this play set is used practically every day at our home!

As you probably guessed, our neighbors all LOVE us! 😂

Happy Dancing!

Shop the play set!

https://www.target.com/p/b-toys-parum-pum-pum/-/A-12026425

Give A Little LOVE. Have A Little Hope

HAPPY MONDAY Mamas!! I am feeling refreshed (well, for a mom of two teeny tinys!) and I can easily tell you why. My #MamaMustHave this week was #datenight! The Mr. and I celebrated 12 years together on Saturday!

The last few night outs that we’ve had, we’ve gone the “fancy” route. Of course it’s fun to get dressed up, especially because we don’t always get to anymore, but sometimes it feels like there’s so much pressure on the night because we don’t get them too often. So to throw it back to old times we went for causal fun and just hung out. You guys! We had the best night, we sat at the bar- no worries about getting the “romantic table” we laughed so hard and even ordered some shots 🙈 Although we love talking about our babes, we only talked about us. We laughed hard at our old 20 year old selves and reminisced. I love Billy as my husband, I adore him as the father of my children. But in the busyness of life, we often forget to value each other as best friends, as partners, and team mates.

We are very fortunate that we have my family very close by so we are able to have the kids taken care of by them. I know not everyone is this lucky and it can be difficult to get out of the house. Dating doesn’t always mean going out, some of the best memories we have or our best times were nights in. I know we get tired and it’s hard! So this week I challenge you mamas, set the intention for love. Set up your mind for love, and open your heart to it. Do one thing every day that you feel you are putting off or to enhance the romance.

Send a flirty text.

Post a love note on the mirror.

Go in for a kiss, the REAL THING not just a peck on the lips.

Ask him to dance.

Pat him on the butt.

Give him a wink.

Turn the tv off and have dinner at the table.

Bring up a funny or a favorite memory, and reminisce.

Hug. Hold Hands. Touch.

I also want to say, my last two mama must haves have been seemingly centered around my husband. As women, we always know when we need something from our relationships and often want our husbands to ‘just know’ what to do. (Maybe that’s just me?!) But I found that while I wanted my husband to be more loving, or romantic or whatever the case may be that I wasn’t showing those same actions in my relationship. Treat others how you would like to be treated, that’s what we teach our babies, right? When we are shown love, when we are praised we often blossom and want to do the same for the other. So while it may seem like maybe you are the one putting in the work at the beginning, you will see that return to you tenfold. Equally important, your babies will be a witness and learn how to love and respect someone and especially the kind of love and respect they will always deserve.

Let me know how you showed and opened your heart to love this week! I am always looking for new ideas. Let me know how it made YOU feel to woo your partner!

Damn Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I know there will be a lot of cooking, and celebrating, going on today and I am so giddy thinking about my babes gathered around the table with my family and truly engaging and being a part of all of the holiday cheer. This year while amazing, has gone by literally in a blink of an eye ,and I know that is so cliché to say, but really you guys how is it almost over? Being a mom is non stop, and being a mom to two under two- 14 months apart was such a whirlwind for me! Just recently we were cleaning out all closets to make room for our winter wardrobe (we live in sunny so cal! So winter means it is under 70 degrees and we consider that cold!) and I was looking at my baby boys newborn clothes and I started sobbing. Did I miss it? Of course we interacted with him, but I feel like with our daughter all of our attention was so focused on her that we truly soaked up every move she made. Now, my son is only (already!) 8 months old so I know we still get him for so long but 8 months! He is trying so hard to walk and chase after his big sister, he is so expressive, and is always smiling and laughing. I wish we could all stay like this forever!! That being said, I have chosen to reflect, REALLY reflect and not the typical “I’m so thankful because…” half thoughts that I’ve had before. I feel after all of the horrible things that have gone on this year we owe it to ourselves and our families to really stop and stare at them and wonder aloud “How did I get so damn lucky?!” So these are a few of the people and things I am thankful for this year!

  1. I am thankful for my husband. Loving is hard. It is not the memes and the movies all of the time. It can’t be and it shouldn’t be. Being a parent while finding time for yourselves is hard. Dating and talking about anything else besides the babies when they practically consume your whole life? Hard. I am thankful for my husband because he tries even when its hard. It is not always the grand gestures that he always used to make like whisking me away on a surprise getaway that does it for me anymore (babe if you’re reading this, surprise getaways are still nice though!) it is little things, subtle things, thoughtful things. We were all at the table the other day, and my babies were laughing and eating and we had the music going and Billy and I were meal prepping and ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz started playing and he quickly looks up at me and asks “you know what this is from don’t you?” In 2009, Billy and I took a trip to Hawaii. Our first big trip as a couple, we rented a convertible and drove all over that gorgeous island and that song played every 2 minutes on every station. It became sort of like an anthem for us and we heard it everywhere after that. Of course, the song is gorgeous and popular so that is why it was everywhere but in our world it was always playing just for us. It was and is ‘our’ song, one of a few. He asked me to dance, in the middle of the kitchen and there we were. In front of our babies, the song from our early twenties playing and us, 9 years later. This is how I want to think of him. Not all days are like this, But I have days like this. I am loved. Through the easy days, and on the hard days, through laughter and tears and stress and every other emotion imaginable- I am loved. I get to sleep next to someone who sometimes knows me better than I know myself, even after all of these years.
  2. I am thankful for my daughter. Oh my wild child, my free spirit, my carefree hair flying in the wind, laughs loud freely and courageously. I could write endless novels about how her hair glistens in the light, how her smile shames the sun itself. She is the kind of girl that is the pure reason poetry was invented, and songs are worth listening to, and gives an entirely new meaning to the word love in fact she gave it meaning to me. I’ve known love in my life time but there is nothing that can compare to the overwhelming emotion of having your first baby placed on your chest. I could and I will, but I am literally already crying. So Valentina, you are the reason the word thankful exists in my vocabulary and the reason it truly means something to me. You made me a Mother. My heart longed for you since the day I held my first baby doll. While so many little girls dream of their wedding and moving on the amazing ambition of a career, my heart always longed for you. I knew being a mother would be the greatest thing I could ever do, and while there are not enough things that I could do for you and not enough words in the english language to praise you, I am thankful for you.
  1. This is actually #2 as well. I am thankful for my son. My sweet, beautiful, growing up entirely way to quick, thoughtful, curious, and perfect little boy. My heart needed you. It called for you before my brain had time to catch up. You have taught this family so much and it is so clear that you were wonderfully and fearfully made solely for us. You were meant for me. The second you were placed on my chest, I recognized you. I’ve had you for only 8 months, but your soul and my soul are very old friends. If we do live more than one lifetime, my son and I? We are meant to be together through them all. I remember being so afraid of not being able to love a second child as much as my first but my God how I adored you the second you came kicking and screaming into the world. When we locked eyes my heart grew so big, big enough to give you and your sister more love than you could ever endure. More love than you will ever want, especially when you are in middle school and high school and mama still wants to smother you with kisses and pictures in front of your classroom. I like you forever, I’ll love you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. I am thankful for you.
  1. I am thankful for my heart, my love and the courage that they give me. While I am blessed much more than I deserve, it is not always easy. Being a mom and for me, being a mom to two under two is hard, some days more than others. I am thankful for my own endurance, my ability to keep moving forward and doing what needs to be done for my family. I am thankful for how much love my heart has to give to my family, even on the days when I don’t show it to myself. I am thankful for my courage and strength as a mother, to stand strong as their caregiver and protector. I guard them from everything and everyone that does not add value to their lives and while I know I will not be able to do that forever, I will absolutely try. I am thankful for this body that carried them and that nourished them long after birth and that will continue to nourish them in different ways as long as I live.
  1. I am thankful for cameras. I know the age of cameras and phones being everywhere is a double edged sword but there are a few great things about them. I have so many memories on video and over 18,000 pictures at my disposal and I fawn over them often. When I think and feel sad about missing my baby boys newborn stage I have proof at the tip of my fingers at just how much I’ve loved him, and stared and wrapped him up in my arms daily. I have so many memories of all the new things my girl learns every day, and how much zest she has for life. All the magic in the mundane of our everyday lives.

I am filled with gratitude for all of the people in our lives that send us positive vibes and love us and most importantly our babies. But at the end of the day, when all is said and done we are the ones that are together always. We are the ones that experience all of the ups and downs on a day to day basis and the ones that take care of each other and lift each other up. Today, I will not think about all the stuff that I do not have that I can’t wait to get tomorrow. Today, I will not think about all of things that are wrong, my perceived failures or the ones of my husband. I will hug them, love them, and be so unbelievably grateful to have them. Many, especially in this time of senseless shootings and horrid fires, do not have that privilege. Today, I am thankful.

 

When Does It End?

When Does It End?

This morning as my baby boy nuzzled in to my husband and I, I held him extra tight. When I looked at my phone the first thing that popped up was the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks and I immediately burst in to tears. When does it end? WHY is this happening? Is this our new normal? What is this world we are creating for our babies? I can not remember a time when I was in elementary school, middle school, or even high school when we were ever concerned about peers with guns. I never watched a debate or thought about ever hearing elected officials speak on giving our severely underpaid teachers firearms. I never practiced a shelter in place for an active shooter. Sadly, this will not be my children’s reality.

I’ve been obsessed with crime shows for as long as I can remember and while so many people love them, I sometimes feel like I can’t shake them afterward. I have always felt so paranoid about predators, or murderers and have actively advised, and excessively pestered my sister about constantly checking her surroundings, about never being on her phone when shes alone and constantly remaining vigilant about her surroundings. While it is so important to me to teach my babies about safety, about strangers, about what is a safe touch and what is not, I often struggle with finding a balance. I want my babies to enjoy, bask in and celebrate their life. I don’t want them to worry about every unfamiliar face, or every dark corner. Life is an exciting adventure and I want them to experience it in full. My greatest desire is to soak up every single one of their worries, every doubt, every hesitation. But How?! I live with so many of them myself. How do I keep them safe, without teaching them to be afraid? I do not want to place my fears on them. I recently had a conversation with my husband as we were discussing all the different school options for our babies, as we want to be as well informed as possible for when the time comes. I have been looking in to home schooling and for a lot of people, I think it is a phenomenal option. I had to have a really honest look at myself and I realized that although a wonderful option for many, I was not interested in home schooling for the right reasons. The biggest draw for me was that I wouldn’t have to let go of my babies. I just don’t feel that is healthy mentally, emotionally, or socially for my babies or for me.

There are so many books, courses and articles on how to speak to our babies about certain dangers,but how do we protect them from something like mass shootings? How do we restrict them from going to the movies? The mall? A concert or even out to eat with their friends? Especially when they are of age, when they are no longer in our homes. When we go out I often look for the exits, I don’t like sitting with my back to entrances, and I distinctly remember going to the movies with a girlfriend and being so uneasy because I saw a man by himself who kept switching seats. I can not tell you what movie we even saw but I remember the pit in my stomach as I stared at this man waiting for him to jump up… I can’t even get myself to put in to the universe the end of that thought. When I had my babies the world was suddenly a thousand times more beautiful, but simultaneously the harsh reality and fear set in. All I want to do is protect them, while being able to set them free. I guess as parents there are many contradictions about what we want for our babies and wishes versus reality. I have no answers, and an overwhelmingly amount of questions. At the end of the day all we can do is hold our babies tight, teach them as much as we can, and pray and/or put out in to the universe that they will be alright.

THIS HAS TO END. If anyone has any ideas about how we can bring change, how we can band together and stop this. I can not see another life cut short, I can not see another parent mourning the life of their baby. I can not see another sibling crying at a grave. This is not a burden that a child should ever have to carry. It is truly heartbreaking, but it can not be another hashtag, another moment of silence, another life lost in vain.

MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT. GUN LAWS NEED TO CHANGE.

I haven’t stopped crying, my heart is in pieces watching these parents beg to see their babies. I will never understand why. I will never understand how. I will never understand. This can not be a reality and much less the future that our babies live in.

Behind the Pretty Picture

You guys! I’ve been totally lagging on my Kauai post, but I’ve been wanting to write this one for awhile. Probably since Valentina was born (as of this post, shes 20 months!). With mental awareness day having just passed, I thought it was an important reminder- especially to myself, about the social media black hole.

I distinctly remember while I was pregnant with Valentina, scrolling through instagram and seeing so many perfectly posed mommies in their gorgeous nurseries, most of the time all white, with their perfect little babes and everything was just so blissful all of the time. Magic fairies came in to do the mamas make up, while chirping birds did her hair as she got ready to walk her perfectly sleeping baby around the block in her 6 inch heels while paparazzi shot the most perfect candid photos. I used to look at these and think “YES! This is going to be amazing! And gorgeous, and I was made for this!”… and then I gave birth. And you know what?! it WAS amazing, and she IS gorgeous. But.. where the heck are my magic fairies?? and my hair is a MESS.. no matter how loud I sang no chirping birds came to my rescue. Instead, I was wearing a diaper with an ice pack.

Then it was time to breastfeed. Let me tell you, I had read a million blogs and forums about the difficulties of giving birth, about postpartum, about sleep training and everything else. Never breastfeeding. When people asked me if I was going to breastfeed my baby, and this happened A LOT, many times by men! It was a no brainer, of course I was going to breast feed. When I tried, it HURT. I had a milk delay and even when my milk came in, my daughter and I just couldn’t quite get the latch right. Breastfeeding my daughter wasn’t the pictures that you see scrolling through social media where the mom is happily cuddling her baby. It was cracked and bleeding nipples, it was feeding my daughter while I cried, crying because it hurt, and crying because I knew it wouldn’t be enough. I wasn’t enough. After I fed her I was on an intense pumping schedule because it was so important to me that if my daughter wasn’t getting it straight from me that she was at least drinking my milk. I remember for about a month and a half to two months I was just topless all of the time. I went to the lactation consultant almost daily. I put so much pressure on myself to breastfeed because it felt like that is what I was supposed to do, and when I wasn’t perfect right away I was failing and failing HARD. One day, it just clicked and we just did it. I’d also like to add my husband was a God send during this time especially. If it wasn’t for his unwavering support and constant validation I would have gone insane. Another reason why it is SO important to have a support system during this time. I loved breastfeeding her because it gave me some validation. But is that where I should have been looking for it? I wanted to do it, and with a lot of work, I could do it. What about all of the mamas who simply can’t? I never knew all of the struggles that women go through to feed their babies. And you know what? We are ALL doing a phenomenal job. Our babies are fed, happy, and thriving.

When my son was born, I sort of knew what to expect. I knew that post birth is pure bliss, and joyful, and so incredible. My husband actually set up my phone and recorded when my son was born, and got that perfect reaction of happiness like you can never fully explain to anyone else. But this time around I also knew that I would be slowly walking hunched back to the restroom terrified to go. I knew that I would be in a giant mesh diaper and wouldn’t be walking out of there in a few hours completely made up, hair washed and straightened waving to adoring fans a la Kate Middleton. This time I didn’t even pack my make up. HA! How hopeful I was the first time around. This time, the pictures I stared at weren’t the perfectly made up mamas, gorgeous and poised. They were pictures of the messiness and realness of two under two. When my son was born, I just stared. He latched on right away and we’ve been attached ever since. I squealed when my baby girl came toddling in to my room, my gosh I missed her, and I hugged her so tight. My husband and I introduced them to each other as we clung on to our new normal and to each other. It wasn’t glamorous, I was chowing down on chili cheese fries because that was all I wanted, but it was beautiful. MY beautiful.

Looking through all of the pictures from our trip, I was so happy with how many memories we made. How many times we hugged and kissed, and how many times my babies genuinely laughed with their whole perfect little bodies. But behind the pretty pictures? After the dancing videos? There was a mama and papa who got no sleep because neither baby got accustomed to the time change, or the change in their surroundings and took turns waking up multiple times a night. There are teething tantrums, and overly tired tantrums. I lost count of how many times I had to hover over my son and feed him as we were driving, with the side of his car seat digging in to my ribs. Not the safest, but a mama needs to soothe her baby and we were always in the middle of a winding road when he suddenly felt like he couldn’t go another second without me.

We have beautiful pictures, gorgeously made up, outfits well thought out pictures. But my favorite? The messy, the funny, the my heart is going to explode, the raw and the real. The ones that tell a story. Sometimes, the story is “we had an amazing day! Everything went well and everyone is happy!” other times it is more like “we had a fun day. You both cried at different times, sometimes at the same time. Please go to sleep, but I love you and I will miss you.”

I still look at pretty pictures of the perfect families on instagram, and I would be lying if I didn’t sometimes sigh and think wow, they totally have it together! But is there such a thing? I do compare myself with other moms sometimes, its a slippery slope on the ‘gram. But I find that those comparisons don’t stick around for long. Sometimes, I am the beautiful mama with the perfectly smiling babies. My husband was home so I got to wash my hair AND brush it, and we ooze ‘what, like it’s hard?!’ Awesomeness. Sometimes, I am the mama with the messy bun that stays up even after I’ve taken out my hair tie. The mama mindlessly scrolling with spit up stains on my shirt, that in all honesty I’m not sure are even from that day. The mama that locks herself in the bathroom for 5 minutes to cry, wipes her tears and comes out dancing and smiling at her babies.

We are all trying our best, for the ones that matter the most. Regardless of what your picture looks like, it changes and constantly. Those perfect mamas, they struggle too. Maybe more than we realize, how hard is it to get your babe to pose perfectly AND stay still AND clean all of the time?!

Momming is HARD. Amazing, but hard. And its ok, even when it doesn’t feel like it.