Savoring the small moments

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As parents, at the end of a long day we want nothing more than for our kids to just go to sleep easily. We may sometimes hit a breaking point and it isn’t pretty. Well, last night thankfully wasn’t one of those times. But I was definitely ready for my daughter to go to bed. My son has been waking really early for a couple weeks and I’m just not a morning person. I had let my daughter stay up later than her brother and she and I were watching a show on my iPad together before her bedtime. Continue reading “Savoring the small moments”

Clingy kiddos

I love to joke that my daughter was clingy from the time she was in my belly. She had to have an eviction notice and came out 12 days late after a 3-day labor. She didn’t want to separate from her mama then, and to this day, she is by my side a lot of the time. Little girl definitely branched out a bit and spread her wings when her baby brother was born. She went to school and became actually quite extroverted. I knew that the secure attachment we formed over time was going to propel her into feeling safe with others soon enough. I also know some children are just the types who want to remain by their mother’s side for longer periods and some may be more introverted by nature. My daughter is definitely extroverted, and now on playdates, she is the one who comes to check in once in a blue moon. She has definitely come into her own.

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Continue reading “Clingy kiddos”

The challenges of staying at home

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A mother staying at home with her children is not revolutionary.  This, I know.  There is nothing unusual or particularly interesting about it.  But what I didn’t know when I decided to quit my job to stay at home full-time is how incredibly challenging and long my days would be.  What I want you to know is that staying at home with my children does not always feel like “enough” for me as I had always envisioned it would.

Continue reading “The challenges of staying at home”

Mom Guilt

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This week I had one of those horrible parenting fails – you know, the ones where you do something you completely regret with your kiddos?  Something you do or say (or in this case yelled as loud as possible) when all buttons have been pushed and the adrenaline is rushing at lightning speed.  I am still processing it days later because I feel so terrible I let myself get to that point.  Hindsight is 20/20 – but really, couldn’t I have seen it coming?  When I felt the spike in blood pressure, why didn’t I go to another room and shut the door in order to take some deep breaths and regroup?

The only consolation in this situation is the words of wisdom and support from my girlfriends I texted after it happened. Continue reading “Mom Guilt”

Life Lessons

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I love having friends with kids older than mine.  Granted, I have a stepson who is in middle school, but I have not parented him from the beginning which is a little different.  I love when a girlfriend with three children older than mine assures me, “I promise – it does get easier.”  It does?  When might that be?  When they’re able to bathe on their own?  Get their own breakfasts and get ready for their day by themselves?  For about five minutes last week I turned on HGTV and watched a renovation show I used to love.  During those few moments I had this vision of myself getting to do some of my own projects someday or watching a 30-minute show in peace…while the sun is still out.  Those days have been gone for so long, I can’t even remember them. Continue reading “Life Lessons”

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Shower

There are certain things promised to us as human beings and also, as Americans.  But once you become a parent, I believe you give up many of those rights, whether you realize it at first or not.  One being a long, hot shower.  Not that any of us should be taking long showers, especially in drought-ridden California…but maybe just a shower a day?  Or…a shower every couple days?  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently so.  And the days I do manage to get one usually involve a screaming toddler on the other side of the shower door, so I have to finish in lightning speed.  Real relaxing.

Continue reading “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Shower”

Let it Rise

This is a piece I wrote last Summer – on why I started to write again…and reminds me to pay attention to the signs…they’re all around.  Hope you enjoy!

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Last year I found myself facing unexpected anxiety following the birth of my second child.  I’m not sure if I had just presumed we would all adjust seamlessly in this new transition?  Or maybe I figured since I already had this parenting thing down, another kid was no big deal.  How much work could one more child be, really?  A lot.  I honestly had no idea how hard it would be.

Continue reading “Let it Rise”

Here Comes the Sun

One of my life songs is “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.  Several years ago, I was on a small group retreat where we each picked a song to share that had meaning in our lives.  I had gone through a good amount of healing with these girls during this particular season of life and was finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Thus, the lyrics to “Here Comes the Sun” felt very fitting.

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to get away for a refreshing weekend with three close girlfriends.  As I was out to lunch enjoying a mimosa, I suddenly noticed ‘my song’ playing.  How appropriate, I thought.  Here I am, about seven years later coming off yet another hard season, this one due to riding the exhausting yet exhilarating roller coaster we call ‘parenting small children.’  Once again, though, I can see that light.  My “sun” is around the corner peeking through.  The kids won’t always be this small.  The baby stage is slowly slipping behind us.  Life will never be without its challenges, but it seems the ice is slowly melting.

With the New Year now here, resolutions and goals are all around us.  I’m one of those who doesn’t do much in the way of setting high expectations for the coming year.  Instead I view it as a clean slate, which I admittedly love.  Who couldn’t use a point in time to start over in many ways?  It feels so cleansing to look behind us but also to look ahead to the blank page that is 2015.

I start this year not with a goal in mind or a list of ‘to-do’s’ or lofty expectations of what this year may bring.  Instead I begin it with simply one word:  BELIEVE.

My word of the year.

I often struggle with negative thinking and I’m continuously conscious of attempting to change those thoughts.  This one word is pivotal to shaping the direction of my days.

Believe what?  Believe who, you ask?

Believe in people’s best intentions.  Believe in myself and my dreams and my passions.  Believe this life is a beautiful blanket of memories and moments woven together over time.

Believe that lifelong goals will someday become a reality or seeds will at least be planted this year.

Believe in answered prayers.  Believe in the most desirable outcomes.

I’ve realized that even during prayers, if I believe God is working on my behalf to answer them or provide a solution, I’m so much more thankful and patient as I wait.  Thanking Him and trusting that He has it all under control is half the battle.  It makes me feel more confident in the end result instead of worrying myself to death about all of the other possibilities.

I’m believing my kids aren’t trying to grate at my nerves, but really need me and are curiously exploring the world.  I am believing tomorrow is always a new day.

I’m believing I am the best mother for my children.  Believing in my husband and his practice.

I’m believing there is not always a motive behind every move people make.

I’m choosing to meditate on this word and let it guide me this year.  Belief helps counteract any self-doubt I may face and that’s a huge positive.  It helps me see the best in people all around me and most importantly, the ones I love most.

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Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.

Season of Self-Care

One day last week I found myself needing a break in a bad way.  When it was noon and I was irritable and antsy and had no idea what to do with my kiddos the rest of the day, I decided I was in need of some time for myself.  Time to process these crazy past few weeks, time for solitude, time for breathing, time for healing.  So I booked my sitter and spent two lovely hours on the beach alone where I did not talk to one person.  It was glorious.  And it was just what I needed.

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I wrote, I cried, I listened to music.  I prayed.  I asked for words.  I heard.  Humbled by God’s beautiful creation, there really could not be a more calming spot for me than the beach to enjoy my afternoon of silence.  There is something about the ebb and flow of the waves crashing and the stillness that occurs in between.

All week I knew I was in some need of some self-care, but it was hard for me to make it happen.  It is interesting because I have been doing a lot of dreamwork lately, and came across a synopsis that said if you’re dreaming you are neglecting an animal or a baby in your care, you are neglecting yourself in real life.  I couldn’t believe it – for years, and I mean years, I had dreams just like this.  I don’t know why I never looked it up, but how crazy is it that self-care has turned into my passion now that I’m a mother.  I wish I had analyzed the meaning of my dreams at the time, but I’m grateful I now know the underlying message!

I find it can be so challenging to focus on our own needs when we are constantly meeting the demands of our children.  I feel so worn down some days that the last thing I have energy for is time for me.  But I’ve found that even little things I can do for myself like grabbing Starbucks on a day that drags on, squeezing in a 20-minute workout or reading a few pages of a book can buy me some time until I have a few hours to solely devote to me.  Just being mindful of making myself a priority, even if in a small way, can help feed my soul and rejuvenate me a bit.

As I read this mother’s question on a blog I follow, I couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of why I started this website in the first place:  so that others would also spend time connecting and caring for themselves in ways that will make them the best mothers, wives and women they can be.  It reminded me to re-read my Self-Care 101 post to refresh myself, too, on how I can slow down and honor my body in this busy season of life.

I also love this friend’s blog on the very same thing, and perhaps turning this new season into a pattern of no’s instead of one of perpetual yes’s.  As I’ve written before, I feel that Fall often gives us that permission to settle in a bit earlier, and stay in a little more.  I hope this season of life brings all of us intentional quiet moments of reflection.  May we establish a new, healthy rhythm of listening to ourselves regularly.

Happy Fall, friends.

Mom Misconceptions Part 2

Another round of those moments I assumed would be different once I had children….

I recently saw this post and completely related to it – when did having kids get dropped off to birthday parties become a thing of the past?  Is this a generational thing?  When I made a list last year to have a party for my daughter’s 3rd birthday, the total was around 75 people and that did not include anyone under the age of 2.  There is no way to have all of those people in our house and where would they all park?

In the end, I had her pick 3 little girl friends to invite and I provided food, cupcakes, goody bags (and wine for the moms, who happened to be my friends).  The girls went outside, played dress-up together, colored and ate.  It was the perfect little party and in no way overwhelming for my child.  When I read the above-mentioned article, I was in complete agreement.  I am so down with the drop-off party!  I hope people start doing it as my daughter gets older.  Birthday parties seem to be every single weekend…does anyone else feel they’re a bit overrated??

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I’ve touched on this before, but I never realized the incessant talking – and more specifically, the talking in circles – that would take place with toddlers.  For example, this conversation happened on Saturday with my 3-year-old:

Her:  “Mom, why am I taking a break from Sunday school?”

Me:   “You’re not.  You went the past 3 weekends.”

Her:  “No, it was the past 5 weekends.”  (5 is her go-to number)

Me:  “Oh, ok.”

Her:  “Well, can I take a break from Sunday school?”

Me:  “I guess, if you want to.”

Her:  “No, I really don’t want to take a break.”

Well, that really solved a lot.  Sometimes I have no idea where anything is going in conversations with her…these seem to happen quite a bit lately!  They leave me very, very puzzled.

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The idea that two of your own littles ones close in age will play (or play well) together.  When, if ever, does this happen?  I know mine are still pretty small, but I am constantly intervening.  It’s almost worse than if it was just one of them playing independently.  Inevitably, one will hurt the other on accident (or on purpose, let’s be honest) and I must stop what I’m doing for the hundredth time.  I guess I thought they would be happy to have each other.  There are glimpses of this at times, so I’ll keep hoping it gets better in the future.

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Back to the sleep issue (mentioned in my other Mom Misconceptions post) – my baby, bless him, has been sleeping like a dream for 5 straight months now.  No wake-ups that whole stretch except one, ironically, on Saturday night (darn eye teeth, I think).  My nearly 4-year-old who has dropped her nap will now crash out before 7, but going to sleep that early means a wake-up may possibly happen in the night.  To inform me she has to potty (just do it – no need to wake me!) or like the other night, to say, “Aubrey told me today that I can’t do a cartwheel.  But I can.”  Is she really wanting to discuss gymnastics and friends at midnight?  When do they ever continuously sleep – or when is it that us parents get to sleep, I should say.  I hear we will worry when they’re teens and out at night, so really, I guess once you’re a parent, sleep is for the birds.

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I never knew driving would feel so tumultuous at times.  Tantrums and meltdowns in the car are no fun.  I feel like I may lose my mind.  When I’m trying to navigate to a new place, that makes it even worse.  I’m attempting to hear Siri, but the cries or screams make it near-impossible.  Luckily, these episodes don’t happen too often, but when they do – Lord have mercy on  us all.  Sometimes, all you can do is laugh and that is what I often find myself doing!