Thursday, February 16, 2017

Self-Love at 34.


This is another post in the Together We Mother series, a collaborative blogging effort by myself and a handful of friends where we all write on one topic on a selected day. I'll link to all of their sites at the end of my post, and I encourage you to check out what they've shared! This month's topic is self-love.
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Before I became a mother I remember reading an article about taking care of yourself after having children. The details are hazy but I can still recall a comparison between an airplane oxygen mask and parenting- you have to put your mask on first, before you can help anyone else. For some reason this visual has stuck with me over the years, burrowed a little hole into my brain, and resided there over all of this time as I've become a parent to one, to two, and now to three little ones.

And every so often I check to make sure my own mask is on tight. Am I doing everything I can to love myself fully? Any of the times I've felt my worst I can look back now and see these were periods where I sorely lacked self-love. That love comes in so many forms- it's taking time out to nourish your relationships and in turn nourishing yourself, it's getting enough sunshine in the winter, it's sweating every day...eating well, prioritizing yourself, looking in the mirror with love instead of judgment...the list goes on. And over the years I have found that when I don't have all of these moving pieces in my life working together, the wheels start to come off the wagon a little. And being a mama, this has a ripple effect on my entire family.

But knowing what works for you means knowing yourself. And this can be a journey all in its own. It can take a long time to get to a place where you can read the signs your body is showing you, where you can anticipate and react before beginning to feel bad- preventing rather than constantly cleaning up messes. I'm grateful I know myself so much better now. I understand what works for me and what I need in my life to be the best version of myself, and in turn the best partner and mother possible.

In my world, I need a few things daily- exercise, sunshine, time spent alone, healthy food, lots of water, and to feel connected to those I love. It sounds like a lot, but once I began to recognize how important each of these things were, I saw how easy they were to fit into different parts of my day, even on a small scale. This is self-love to me. Taking care of myself so I can take care of my family. Loving myself first, so I can love everyone around me with everything I've got.

A couple of years ago Hank and I attended a New Year's Eve yoga workshop. It was part yoga, part intention setting, and there was a lot of talk about self love and getting to a place where we spoke to ourselves with only love, all of the time. It resonated with me so much, because as someone who has experienced periods where self-love was lacking, I have learned that what we say to ourselves, we eventually believe. It's my job to teach this to my children, in the hope that maybe one day they'll have an easier time figuring it out than I did. Little ears and eyes are paying attention, and I feel lucky for this, because it's a daily reminder that I only get one chance to do it right.

"Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion." -Margo Anand


Be sure to check out the creative women in the #TogetherWeMother Series by visiting their blogs below: 



Photos by Morgan Pansing



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Not My Story To Tell


The other week I received an email from a blog reader about something they've noticed on this blog. This wasn't the first time I've received a message like this- they've become more frequent over the past couple of years or so- and when I opened this one up and read it, it made me take pause. The email asked me what had changed, why I no longer really shared a lot about the boys on my blog or on Instagram. I had received a similar direct message the other week when I posted a photo of toothless Henry with his swimming band- a long time reader reached out and said how nice it was to see his face, and to get a mini-update, and that it had been so long since I'd done so. Both messages are not uncommon for me to get, especially as of late, and I wanted to chat about it here today.

Sharing about the boys has been a much-discussed topic here. I've always viewed it as a fine line, and something I struggle with often. How much is too much? My boys are 3.5 and 6 now, and as time goes on I have pulled back more and more to the point where only talk about things that are going on with them here and there. I'm still taking the photos of course, but rather than sharing every little bit in a public forum, I'm keeping them for us, printing them out in albums, enjoying all of these moments together without sharing them online. That's not to say that I've taken some new stance against social media- but always a re-evaluator, I'm at a point now where I'm taking another fresh look at all of this.

Most of all, I believe their stories are not mine to tell.

I think back to my blog in the earlier days and how much content I shared about Henry- I don't regret it, but there are times where I think that if I could go back, I would have been even more careful about what I put out there. My number one job is to protect my children, and I often wonder if I did the right thing back then. If we were discussing this over lunch, in the same breath I would probably then mention how much I enjoy writing and telling our story, my story- connecting with people and sharing. But then I would also add that my desire for connection will never ever outweigh any sort of need to protect my children and their own personal stories.

As much as I love blogging and social media, it is not my kids' jobs to bring smiles to faces through my posts, make a stranger's day on Instagram with a cute anecdote or photo, or connect with anyone else. Kind of a weird thing to type out, but wouldn't you agree with that? I haven't always done this correctly with plenty of missteps along the way, but as both they and I grow, I'm learning more and more what works for us. I do believe there is a way to integrate your family into your blog and social media properly, but it takes a lot of thought and mindfulness. For instance, I know I will want to share about Olive's birth, our nursing experience (whatever it may be), and related topics. But I think the key is making it me-centric, rather than focusing on the child. And as they get older, doing the same- this is my story, so sharing my thoughts and experiences from my protective lens. The boys are pieces of everything of course, but mindfully gauging the level of inclusion is so important. As a writer or blogger this is a tricky space to navigate when you value telling your own story- your children are obviously huge parts of that- but I do believe it can be done while respecting your children's privacy.

So here are the questions I ask myself before I post anything about the boys:

Why am I posting this?
Would they mind today if I shared this with the world? Would they mind in 10, 20 years?
Would I want this, shared about me, today?
How would I feel looking back at this post about a child me, today? Or looking back on it as a teenager?

And I proceed.

So I ask you- what are your thoughts? Do you ever think to yourself as you read blogs- wow, this is a LOT about their kids? Or do you enjoy reading the details? In your own social sharing, do you choose to post about your children? How do you decide what to share?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

xo

Monday, February 13, 2017

March 10th.


It still hits me sometimes when I'm doing the simplest of things- setting out two lunchboxes to fill before school, driving in the car with my little singers in the middle row, standing in front of the mirror looking at this belly that is growing bigger everyday- this is it. To be there, to look around and know you're in the place you have always dreamt of, and to have these clear, open eyes to take it all in- how lucky and blessed and overwhelming it feels. The other day I was checking out at Trader Joe's, the boys on either side of the cart, and the cashier said to me- "It never gets better than this, right here. These are the days you will look back to and miss the most." I nodded and smiled, "I'm sure that's true." And really, I know that it is.

We're preparing now for another baby. We have a month to go, and although we are busy with school and work and basketball and everything in between, our sweet girl has become a part of almost everything we do. "Do you think Olive will like this book?" Charlie asks as we read before bed. "Can Olive sleep in here with me?" Henry wants to know. I wonder all day long what she will be like, look like, smell like, sound like. And Hank and I lay in bed at night and talk about the future- three children and what that means, dreams we have for our family, where we see ourselves in a year, two, ten.

And although most of the newborn days are hazy, I can remember each boys' birth vividly, and the moment they were placed on my chest. Looking in their eyes, taking in their features, feeling an "I know you" recollection that is part déjà vu and part something very, very old that aches in the sweetest way, felt deep in my heart. Both times it's been the oddest sensation. And I think I'm looking forward to that most of all- one last time to experience this first. Perhaps my most favorite first of all.

There aren't many instances in life we are able to get a do-over. I've written on this before, the feeling we get when we look back at something important in our lives. It's easy to feel that "if I knew then what I know now" and have thoughts about what we would do differently. That's a gift I find buried somewhere inside raising multiple children. With Henry, although I was warned of how fast it would go, I didn't fully grasp it. Time slipped by too quickly. It went by in a flash, newborn, three months, three years, halfway to twelve. And with Charlie, although I knew time would move even faster, I was able to be more intentional about it because yes, I had done it before. Third time around all I care about is slow. I know exactly how painfully quick the first week will go, followed by those first months. That newborn period, one of the sweetest there is, will be gone in the blink of an eye, floating away in a haze of sleeplessness and surviving. But intentional- that's my focus. Each day taking the time to soak up that happy, heavy feeling of a soft, warm baby nestled into my chest, the small sounds and facial movements, the stretching of limbs no longer confined, the steady breathing on my neck while she lays sleeping on me at night. And this time, the third time, I know enough to take extra pause each day to memorize as much as I can.

So here we are, this family of four, four weeks away from meeting the little one who will complete our family. March 10th for her birthday, a Friday that is 10 days before the start of spring. So fitting that our little girl would usher in this new season with a burst of excitement, a flurry of new. Flowers will be blooming and so will we, coming alive in the warm weather, sunshine on our faces and soaking up every bit of this new in our lives. Four to five, and so incredibly grateful. Here we go...

(all items c/o except the slippers, rug, and outfit)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Little Green Here, A Little Green There



Did you see my post a couple weeks ago about Art.com's campaign with Pantone's Color of the Year? Since then I've read a few different articles on the color- greenery- and it's been interesting to learn more about the why on this color choice. Green is a big part of our lives since we try to spend as much time as possible outdoors, but we don't necessarily have a lot of green in our home. A few plants here and there, but I don't have a huge green thumb so I don't always gravitate toward filling spaces with plants. I'd love to have more around though- maybe this year will be my year!

The more I've focused on this color, the more I've realized how calming and wonderful it is! It just makes me happy. And today I wanted to share some photos of the items we received from Art.com, and how they're looking in our home. This afternoon we spent some time hanging pictures and getting organized, and it made my 36-week pregnant, nesting self so happy. Henry elected to put his special green print right above his bed and Charlie helped with some of the other items. Next week I'll share a few more things and how we placed them around our home, as well as some more greenery picks from Art.com- they have a whole section dedicated to the color which is super helpful.

Here are some photos- and if you have a moment, take a look at Art.com's Greenery collection- so many affordable, cute things to spice up your home. And they're having a big sale now too!

xo


This post was shared in collaboration with Art.com. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Random Questions and Answers


Are you guys liking Instagram Stories? I stopped using Snapchat for a number of reasons, and I wasn't sure if I would end up liking the similar platform on IG, but I definitely do! I don't share a ton of the kids on there- just little bits now and again- but I really love to post little updates and especially enjoy seeing what friends are up to. It's nice having everything in one place, for sure. The only downside is that I find it impossible to keep up with the questions. It's important to me to try to answer every comment on photos (and anywhere else I post content), but my direct messages have gotten out of control and I feel terrible about it! So, I thought today I would answer all of the questions I've been getting via Stories here today.

Here we go with the first five--

1. Where did you get Olive's bookshelves from?

You can see them in the "in progress" photo up there, and they are really great, you guys. We have always gone with the IKEA versions of these, but for this space the long ones were too long and the short too short. I found these on Amazon, and Hank and I were both pleasantly surprised with the quality. They were super easy to hang, and the space where the book actually rests is large enough you could also put objects, which is a great. I definitely recommend them. On a related note, the juju hat hanging over Olive's crib is from Zeal Living, the crib is from Fisher-Price, and the rug is from Anthropologie (5x7 size). Much more on her nursery later as it comes together!

2. Where did you get your couch? Do you still love it?

Oh man. The couch! This couch has been a dream. We bought it from Macy's during a big sale, and I agonized over this decision. It was hard to buy such an important, big ticket item without trying it out beforehand or even seeing it in person, but I had been searching for a sofa for the longest time to no avail so I decided to just pull the trigger and do it. I was out of town when it arrived so Hank was there for the delivery and he texted me right away saying how nice it was! When I got home later that day and saw it in person I was so happy- the texture, fabric, everything was better than expected. It's super comfortable, huge, and we're just very pleased with it. We also got the 7 year rips, tears, stains, and spills warranty which gives nice peace of mind. If you're in the market for a new couch, definitely check it out. One word of advice- we got the Mocha color, which is actually a true gray and not brown in the least.

3. Where is your rug from? 

One night I went on and on about our rug search on IG Stories and subsequently got a ton of questions. We've gone through quite a few because I just couldn't make up my mind. Interestingly enough the rug we chose is the original one I wanted, but I was hesitant due to its light color and it being 100% wool, which we'd had a bad experience with before. I had previously gotten a white Moroccan type rug that shed horribly, getting white fuzz into literally every nook and cranny of the house, so I tried to avoid light colored, wool rugs every since then...but for our living room, light and neutral really is the best choice. We also tried out a Persian rug for a bit but it was ultimately too much red for me and too much of a color commitment, so back it went. Three cheers for awesome return policies! The one we have now (8x10 size) is a keeper for sure. It's from West Elm, and another great deal I scored on sale a few weeks ago. It sheds minimally and is super soft underfoot, which is perfect for lounging kids and a baby on the way. One word of advice- it's thinner so you absolutely need a rug pad. We tried a couple out before getting this one, which is a total game changer. This is the best rug pad ever, and I will never get another brand. It's amazing.

4. Do you eat lunch meat while pregnant?

All I've wanted this pregnancy are sandwiches. Actually non-pregnant that's all I ever want too! haha. There is a recommendation in the US to avoid lunch meat due to listeria. You can read more about it here, and it's definitely something I followed to the letter with both boys. This time around though I feel more relaxed, and decided to just go ahead and eat lunch meat. My doctor okayed it as well, and it's been really wonderful to be able to eat my most favorite food! Definitely trust your gut though, and listen to your doctor- if they advise against it then by all means, avoid it! But for me I decided it was okay and I've been eating lunch meat a few times a week as evidenced by all of the Nick's Feed Your Face photos I share via Stories. But again, I did not with my first two pregnancies and it is not advised to do so.

5. What is your workout routine while pregnant?

I've basically been doing the same things I did before I was pregnant, except running. Some days I don't feel like working out at all and I listen to my body and just REST, but most days I definitely crave getting up and moving, so since it's been so cold I do cardio at home or at the gym for about 40 min- mixing it up between incline walking, the elliptical, or the stair stepper, and then weights. The big difference with this pregnancy is that I'm still lifting pretty heavy. With the boys I totally scaled back but this time I just listen to my body and do what feels good. I think that's a big difference between my first two pregnancies and this one- I feel less nervous and know what works for me and how to really pay attention to what's going on. With ALL of this said, I don't feel comfortable sharing workouts or anything because I am obviously not a trainer and you really really need to check with your doctor about all of it, but my friend Amy Suzanne is amazing, certified, and shared many pregnancy workouts during her last pregnancy I reference a lot. I just love her!

I'll end this here but I have more for next time too! If you ever have anything you want to know, feel free to ask.

xoxo

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Lunch for Olive June


This past weekend my girlfriends threw me a lunch in honor of Olive's arrival! It was so much fun and the sweetest way to celebrate this pregnancy. It was held at my friend Gina's restaurant, which just so happens to be the most delicious bagel and juice spot in town- Olde World Bagels- and Gina created the menu and made all of the food, assisted by Kasee. The menu was insane: a winter salad of fennel and apple with pomegranate, and blackberry, wild rice salad with goat cheese and a sherry vinegar dressing, and a smoked beet root hummus with fresh veggies. She also created some delicious toast: one option with cannellini bean, garlic, and rosemary mash with wilted kale and avocado, and then another with melted nutmeg scented gruyere and roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. SO good. My friend Rachel also made the naked cake that was to-die-for, topped by fresh olive branches Shirley brought up from Chandler. I was so touched when I walked in- every detail was so beautiful and perfect, and it was overwhelming to feel all of the love in the room.

It hasn't been the easiest time lately- I feel super up and down as my Dad's health hasn't been the best- so it was extra special to just have this time surrounded by so much love and kindness from almost every one of my closest friends, and my Mom, sister, and mother-in-law. We kept the guest list intentionally very small, and it ended up being perfect especially since I had a little bout of ugly crying while doing the toast. ;) Each of my sweet guests brought Olive a little something, and I left with adorable girl outfits, precious toys for her, and of course, books. I will have to share some of the beautiful books I received in an upcoming post- we should be hanging her bookshelves this weekend and getting that part of her room set up so there will be a place for them, and I'll share next week.

Life goes by so quickly, and I can remember when I first became pregnant living here in Prescott. I didn't have any "mom friends," and at times I felt lonely. Then I met Veronica, who has grown to become one of the dearest and most treasured people in my life, and from there our little circle has expanded to include some of the best women I've ever known. When we're all together we often talk about how lucky we feel to have each other. I feel like it's not too often that we as adult women are able to find our "people," and especially in a small town. And the icing on the cake, our husbands and kids are all close too. Sunday was a day to celebrate baby Olive, but to me, it was also very special to look around and see all of these people that mean so much to me from my oldest friends like Shirley to the girls who have become like sisters a little later in life. The other "sisters" in my life are spread between California and Chicago, but I know they were there in spirit! 

Here are just a handful of photos from the day, some by me and my phone and some via Sunshine, whose website you can view here. xoxo

olive soap at every place setting- so many cute details.

my sweet hostesses!

get my dress here- for reference I'm wearing a size small. 


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

We All Need a Little Greenery


Did you know my favorite color is green? I love all shades of green, but forest green is my all-time favorite. I think I decided that when I was about five- I can think back and remember a green teddy bear my Grandma gave me and being SO excited that he was the exact color I loved. I also think it had to do with my Dad's favorite color being green...it's funny how that happens. The boys are solidly for their own favorites, red for Charlie and yellow for Henry, but green is a close second for both of them. And this year Pantone's Color of the Year is...green! Awesome.

Art.com has been a long time partner of Sometimes Sweet and when they reached out to collaborate again I was excited to hear about their fun new project all about Pantone's Color of the Year, Greenly. They have a whole section on their website dedicated to decorating with it, and a ton of options and ideas of how to incorporate the color into your home. Our vibe at home is mainly neutral with pops of color here and there, but outside of plants we don't have a lot of green. The boys and I sat down one evening and went through Art.com's site, choosing some "Greenery" to add to our home, and it was fun to pick and choose different ways to add color into various rooms.

I'll be sharing some posts over the next month showing how we incorporated the color into our decor, and as I was writing this the other morning we got our first delivery: a couple prints for the boys' rooms and some succulents! I'll share more next week, but for now be sure to check out their site if you want to add some happy green to your home, too. 

Before I go I also wanted to share the inspiration behind this year's color from Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute- "We know what kind of world we are living in: one that is very stressful and very tense. This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring we enter a new cycle, and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to." 

Isn't that great?



This post was shared in collaboration with Art.com. Thanks for reading!
 
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