Mother’s Day 2017

PicMonkey Collage

Mother’s Day 2017

It’s been another magical year of motherhood! I rounded up a few candid pics (above) from the past year! Our fur baby, Louis, has brought so much love to our family. Audrey has become an avid reader and continues to write/illustrate her own novels. Her imagination and creativity continues to amaze us! She hopes to be an author or singer one day! She’s busy with basketball, soccer, tennis, Girl Scouts, and soon piano! Jack has found his love of golf as he enters his first golf academy! His teacher’s seem to think he is extremely bright, and I’ve found I have a little heartbreaker on my hands. He is my old soul, extremely gentle and kind-hearted. Art, soccer, and music are a few of his favorite things, but mostly he still likes cuddling with mommy! I’ll take it as long as I can! Motherhood is a journey. It’s not always easy, but it’s an amazing gift. I’m so blessed to be their mama and I’m so grateful to have learned from the best! Which leads me to my own mother…

For the past two years I’ve written/drafted a post or I guess more of a tribute to my own mother.  I have a collection of stories and moments that I reflect on, this part is easy for me. It’s more the emotion behind it all that gets me. Nothing I have written thus far is good enough, sigh. I know she would love anything I say about her, and she’d tell me it’s the best thing she has ever read. That being said, my words of how truly special she is to me, and to so many people in her life seem to still not do her justice. So, until my words/tribute are perfect I’ll simply say Thank You, Mom! You have been the best example of EVERYTHING in my life. I love you to the moon and back!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing mamas! I hope that you were spoiled silly today! Know that your job as a mom is truly the most important role you will every have and that it goes way too fast!!! Cherish these moments!

Tassel Stripe Dress

Tassel Stripe Dress

The tassel trend is still one of my favorites, especially in the summertime, but I’m also loving ruffles these days. How cute are the sleeves on this dress and the ruffle hemline?! The fit is lose and comfy which y’all know I love, and the stripes give a nod to nautical which I also adore. Grab this dress for  only $19 here! In other news, I turned another year older! In recent years birthday’s seem to have brought more meaning than presents and cake. I find myself reflecting on what I’ve done and what I hope to accomplish in the future. I remember my mom always telling me that her mid 30’s and 40’s were some of her favorite years. While I haven’t reached my 40’s I am really loving my mid 30’s. Getting older isn’t just about those laugh lines creeping up. With age you gain a stronger confidence in yourself. You value real relationships that only make your life better. I’ve discovered my goal in life is really to be the best version of myself. The best mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend as possible. So CHEERS to getting older!

Tassel Stripe Dress

Tassel Stripe Dress

Tassel Stripe Dress

Tassel Stripe Dress

When Mom Gets Sick

A few weeks back I was lying in bed one night feeling absolutely awful, body aches, fever, ya know – just miserable. I remember praying that neither of my children would wake, that our puppy would actually sleep through the night, and that somehow, magically, I might miss the sound of my husband’s alarm clock. Unfortunately, everything I hoped and prayed wouldn’t happen, happened. As I slowly crawled back in bed for the third time, I couldn’t help but think of all my Mommy friends and the raw truth about being sick as a Mom! But first let’s talk about how a Mom actually gets sick.

Every Mom can relate to this blog post. Many Dads can too, but for this post I focused on my ladies! Working Moms, single Moms, SAHMs, it really doesn’t matter! I think it’s safe to say, as Mothers, that we actually dread being sick far more than cleaning up our children’s barf, snotty noses, diarrhea bums, or any other side effect that comes with having a sick child. We (Moms) are pretty good at taking care of sick children, and are also very cautious about spreading germs. So in theory, we should be able to avoid getting sick, but 4 out of 5 times this is how and why we get sick…

  1. Child comes home from school feeling sick. Depending on severity of sickness, Mom spends the next few days/nights caring for child. There is a lot of love and hugs nurturing your little bean back to health. Sleep is the last thing a mother worries about. Mom is aware that child number 2 will probably get sick next. Mom does her absolute best to keep children from sharing anything and spreading germs! But, this is like trying to keep the Real Housewives of Orange County (or any RH series) from fighting – Impossible!
  2. Sick child number 1 is finally doing better and Mom looks forward to a night of rest. Oh Mom, what were you thinking? A night of rest, lol! That was a great joke! Conveniently, child number 2 wakes up sick the same night child number 1 is doing better. The entire process starts again. Better pick up some extra coffee – gonna need it.
  3. Mommy adrenaline kicks in and you manage to get through a week of 3-4 hours sleep a night. Nothing really changes in your schedule. You still work, manage the household, meals, laundry, etc. It’s all good, you’ve got this Supermom and you’re not complaining! You continue to remind your husband and yourself these 3 things. 1. Don’t touch your face! 2. Wash your hands constantly! 3. Don’t eat or drink off anything that isn’t yours!
  4. Thankfully, the kids are better! They are back to jumping off beds, making messes, and fighting over everything. Good thing, because these were the things you missed most when they were sick and sleeping oh-so-quietly on the couch. Ha! You post an adorable Facebook picture that the kids are better and even though it was a hard time, you cherished the extra cuddle time. We are mothers, we always find the good.
  5. Although tired, you’ve done a pretty good job at staying healthy, but Dad just called from the office and is sick. Home he comes. Poor guy. He crawls in bed, turns on a movie, and sleeps for a long long time! Like the doctor says — > Rest is the key to a fast recovery! Sooooo, you nurse Daddy back to health bringing tea, soup, and trying your best to keep the kids busy and out of his space so he can get better. But, you can’t help remember the last time you were sick and the doctor told you to rest up. It’s always hilarious when a Mom is sick and friends or doctors tell her to go home and get rest. I mean really, it’s just such a funny concept. Mom, rest, ha! Another great joke. The only people who won’t tell you to go home and rest are other Moms. Why? Because they know two things. 1. None of the other family members will survive without you! 2. Nothing will get done!
  6. Dad is on the mend after resting like the doctor says! Phew, good thing most of your family follows the doctor’s orders. “Ge’ez Mom, you really need to listen better.” Anyhow, you’ve been so good about doing EVERYTHING to prevent getting this bug, plus you pray nightly that you will avoid it. You’ve lovingly cared for each family member, all you ask is to simply NOT GET SICK yourself.
  7. After a week of sleep deprivation and pushing your body to the limits, prayers aren’t enough. Not to mention that while your children were sick it didn’t stop them from touching everything and constantly sticking things in their mouths. It also doesn’t stop them from repeatedly coughing or sneezing in your face, and wiping boogers all over your clothes and body. What were you thinking? All the hand sanitizer and echinacea tea in the world couldn’t keep this bug away! But the truth is you did love those extra cuddles.
  8. Surprise! Lucky you! You’re sick and this is what your family thinks WHEN MOM GETS SICK! (from my fav Pinterest images)

Mom_Sick2 Mom_Sick3 Mom_sick4 Mom-Sick5 Mom-Sick6 Sick_Mom1

Oh and this is what Dad thinks when you get sick….

Mom-Sick7

To all my Superhero Moms and Dads (because I know that many of you do this too), May the force be with you when your household gets sick!

Separate Vacation Time

Separate Vacation Time

After a month off to enjoy summer vacation with my family, I’m back! Anyone else feel like they blinked and summer was over! It went too fast, but what a great couple months we had with Audrey and Jack. Hoping y’all had a wonderful summer full of yummy bbq, lots of sunshine, and memories to last a lifetime. Speaking of vacation, today’s blog is all about a new approach to how you might vacation once in a while.

Vacation time, it’s the time of year the entire family looks forward to. Whether it’s a summer week spent at the beach, or a winter weekend skiing the mountains, family trips are always full of fun. Like most families, we always vacation together but this year I decided to include a different type of family vacation. I decided to take a three day trip with just my daughter! A little mommy-daughter journey. At first, it felt odd to be without my husband and son but it didn’t take long to start feeling the benefits of a little one-on-one time with little miss. Rather than sharing the fun memories created from our trip (which were many), I wanted to focus on the benefits of taking a vacation/short trip with one parent and one child. These are my top four reasons you and your partner should consider solo trips with each child.

1. No competition – If you have more than one child then odds are, your children compete about EVERYTHING. Who has the bigger ice cream sundae, who runs faster, who get’s in the car first, who get’s to read with mom, who get’s to read with dad, who colors the best, and so on. Just the other day my kids were arguing/competing about who pees faster. I mean…really? You do your best to make things fair for each child but of course someone is always complaining. We all raise are kids to be grateful for what they have, but the truth is they are always worried about what everyone else has. When your child has no sibling to focus on competing with, he/she will be more focused on the moment and considerably more thankful for that ice cream sundae, regardless of its size.

2. Quality bonding  – When you travel as a family, the focus moves around. Each sibling has different interests that you try to fulfill, and you’re trying to spend quality time with your partner, but it’s a juggling act for everyone in the family. Simply put – Your attention is always divided and sought after. I loved having the opportunity to focus on and bond with just my daughter. Everything from eating with just her, singing songs in the car with just her, sharing first adventures with just her, to sharing a bed with just her. Being able to give all my love, affection, and attention to one child was rewarding on so many levels.

 3. No sibling bickering – When there is no competing and no divided attention there’s no arguing and therefore, just fun times. Yay! As a mom of two, I’m constantly breaking up battles and disciplining, which is expected, but it’s REALLY nice to have a break from all that. A little one-on-one time removes those stressful parenting moments and gives you the time to just have fun. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy having both my children together because I do, and I relish in seeing them bond, but all siblings argue. We’ve had family vacations where our children bickered All DAY LONG, and it has spoiled a fun day. I’d be lying if I didn’t share that sometimes I couldn’t wait for my kids to go to bed after a day of bickering over ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Pretty sure I’ve even prayed (while chugging a glass of wine) for bedtime to come, ha! When you spend time and money to take a vacation, the last thing you want to do is wish away the day, but the truth is, sometimes kids are tired and things don’t go how you planned. Traveling with just one child gives you the opportunity to encourage your child to appreciate and value each day of vacation time spent together. Even if your child gets upset about something or becomes over tired on your trip, every scenario is easier to handle without a second or third child melting down as well.
4. In depth conversations – We traveled from the Bay Area to San Luis Obispo, so we had three hours of travel time which meant lots and lots of opportunity to talk. I think I’m a good mom. My kids and I talk all day long, I spend time playing with them, I’m active in their schools and activities, and most importantly I’m focused on raising good human beings. But with a busy family schedule, it’s rare that I have a few days alone with just one of my children. During our travels, Audrey and I had lengthy conversations about what she likes, her friends, her fears, her dreams. Our children are constantly growing and evolving, so we (parents) may think we know everything gong on in their wild imaginations but you’d be surprised what you can learn. Our alone time gave me a little more perspective on her growing personality and I loved every second of it.

I’m not suggesting that y’all start taking separate trips on a regular basis. My most cherished time is when our entire family is together creating lasting memories. Maybe next year my husband and daughter will go off on an adventure, and maybe the following year my son and I will. Maybe our trip will be for three days again, or maybe it will be for one night only. There is no special formula on how you choose to have separate vacation time, it’s what works for your family but I highly suggest giving it a try. The benefits listed above apply to children of all ages. Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers there are many positives to traveling one-on-one. I think parents feel guilty leaving another child behind but I’m here to say–> Don’t feel guilty, feel the joy you will get out of your one-on-one time. Embrace the opportunity to bond and build upon your relationship with each child. Think of the adventure and memories you will create while exploring a new town or city together. Our mother daughter trip will be a special memory in my heart forever, and I can’t wait to have one with my son!

Separate Vacation Time

Separate Vacation Time

Separate Vacation Time

Girls Supporting Girls – It Starts Young

Girls_supporting

As a parent, bullying has always been one of my greatest fears and worries, but it wasn’t on the forefront until recently. Like most families, our children bicker or sometimes say hurtful words to each other, but those scenarios are different. Home is where the heart is, and also where children feel safe and comfortable to assert themselves or push the boundaries. With my five-year-old daughter starting Kindergarten this past fall, the topic of bullying or teasing has been up for discussion, both at home and school. So it was at no surprise to me, when one day after school, my daughter shared a story about a few classmates teasing. My heart was saying, “Oh no, it happened, and I’m not there to protect her” but my mind was saying, “This is part of life, how can I empower her to best deal with situations like these”? As we held hands and walked to the car from school, she looked up at me and said, “Mom, some of the kids were teasing my friend at school today. I told them to stop and that they were being mean and bullies”. Turns out, her story was different that what I was prepared to hear. I was so proud of her for having the confidence and courage to protect her friend.

The incident hasn’t left me, and I continue to ask myself questions around the topic of bullying. How can I best raise my daughter to be inclusive and kind? And, I have a strong-willed daughter. Does this put her at a higher risk to become a mean girl or bully? When I began to form my answers to these questions, I broke it down to the qualities and characteristics I already see in her, and the ones I want to teach her. I decided to write her a letter. I guess it’s a vow for myself and to her, promising to actively teach her how to be kind, inclusive, and to become a young girl who uses her strength for good. In time, when she has a greater understanding of bullying, or perhaps encounters a challenging moment during those trivial teenage years, we can read this letter together. If anything, I hope that she sees we started this journey together, years ago, to fight back against bullying before it could ever affect us.

Dear Older Audrey,

If we are reading this, I hope it’s not because you are being bullied or bullying. Instead, I hope it’s that you are of an age, where I can share these thoughts with you. One day (far from now), you will hopefully become a parent and understand that the day your child is born, life has gifted you, your most important responsibility. With that responsibility comes an immense amount of love, planning, and worry. So yes, all these years ago I worried and I still do! I worried about you ever being hurt by a friend, teased by your peers, or feeling any peer pressure from others to be mean to someone. I worried, but guess what.. I planned! Your Dad and I have been and still are committed to teaching you and your brother to be kind, caring, inclusive, and confident young adults. 

To 5-year old Audrey, I promise to teach you these values. 

This is what it means to be inclusive and kind. 

It’s embracing and celebrating your own differences and unique characteristics, and those of your peers. It’s being the kid who befriends someone who feels alone or picked on. It’s making a group of friends that welcomes new friends. It’s understanding that gossip is often derived from jealousy. It’s understanding the value of true friendship. It’s seeing the good in people. It’s having empathy. It’s being empowered to know right from wrong and not being afraid to stand up for it! It’s building your friends up, not breaking them down. It’s understanding that gossiping doesn’t create friendships. It’s loving yourself and others.

This is what I want you to do with your determination and strong will. 

Let me be clear that your strong will and determination are two characteristics I love most about you. Challenging at times, yes! But, it’s my role to help you channel that powerful energy to be more than self-seeking. At five-years-old, it’s normal to want everything to go your way. Honestly, at 35 it’s normal to feel that sometimes. But, I hope to teach you to be a positive leader (like the day you stood up for your friend in Kindergarten). A leader who uses her voice and strength to empower others. Be competitive, but don’t compete with others. Have a voice, but listen as well. Leave drama behind, don’t create it. Celebrate others successes and you will have yours. Share in your friendships. Be outward and think of others. Give compliments. See kindness as a strength. Bullying means insecurity. Kindness means confidence. 

My darling sweetheart, I understand that you are only five years old, which is why this letter is for the future. You are still developing, learning, and growing. Some of your characteristics may change, but what will never change, is how proud of you I am. I will always be your biggest fan. This is my promise to support and teach you the value of kindness, and to be the best example of that possible.

All my love, 

Mom

While teasing and bullying happens with boys and girls, I want to point out that my daughter’s teasing experience was with a group of girls. So, this is my message to mamma’s of little girls. It starts at home. Lead by example. Unfortunately, adult women are often bullies or mean girls. I still come across women who only enjoy breaking others down or gossiping. I choose to walk away from these relationships. Mean mom’s raise mean girls. When you see this in a mom, say a little prayer that she will soon recognize the damage of her ways and encourage positive conversation. It’s never too late for change.

Bullying will always be present, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for less of it. Let’s raise a generation of kindness. Be the change!