Saturday, January 3, 2015

OPEN in 2015

Happy New Year!  I had every intention of posting on New Year's Day but, well I decided to enjoy my time with family and friends instead. 2014 was an amazing year that brought us our beautiful baby boy and changed our lives forever. It's pretty tough to top that, but I am eager for a new year and all the inspiring motivation that comes with a new start.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that I've been trying out this "One Little Word" idea for two years now. Basically, you choose a word that acts as sort of a mantra or theme or inspiration for your year. It is something that helps you set your intentions for the year.  In 2013 my word was choose and in 2014 my word was believe and both years it's just been sort of there - really strong in the first few months and then sort of just in the back of my mind under a pile of everything else by May - leaving my year lacking, in a sense, some intention and resolve.

But I'm trying again this year. I've been thinking about it for a while now, and my word for 2015 is OPEN.  It's funny because I really didn't want to choose this word initially, but it started coming back to me and making the most sense...then I saw a commercial that kept flashing the word "open" RIGHT AS I WAS THINKING ABOUT IT. So I took it as a sign and decided to stick with it.

So what does that mean for me? How is OPEN going to help me in anyway? It seems like an arbitrary word, but think about this: by keeping this word upfront and in focus this year I can remind myself to keep an open mind and open my heart to so much. I can focus on opening doors for new opportunities and remember to open windows for some fresh air.  Also, fun fact, one of my resolutions for this year (more on that in a bit) is to work on my photography skills. When I looked up "open" in the thesaurus, the word "aperture" showed up too, which convinced me, yet again, that open was the right word for 2015.

I'm not giving up on resolutions this year though. For the last two years my "word" has been a replacement for resolutions and goals, but then I don't really strive for anything different and new. This year I have a few goals that I'm setting for myself:

  • Keeping my word open in mind, I want to just keep my mind and heart open to be the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, person that I can be. 
  • Like I mentioned before, I want to focus on my photography skills this year, and learn how to use my camera in the manual setting. I love taking pictures, but I really feel like there is so much I have to learn to capture things (and baby A) the way I really see them.
  • E and I are going to focus on another year-long food project! You can read about our 2013 52 Soup Project here.  We will be posting our journey and our recipes on our food blog The Grapeleaf - so stay tuned!
  • I want to do my best to plan out what we'll be eating this year. I resolve to not be so wasteful with our food and to have more intention when I cook. 
  • On that note, I want us to focus on our garden again - I miss growing veggies, and as baby A grows, I think it will be a fun activity to do together.
  • And speaking of baby A, once he's old enough, E and I want to make our own baby food (and maybe blog our recipes!). 
  • I want to walk more. I'm debating on signing up for the Avon Walk 2015 in Santa Barbara.
  • I also have a few craft ideas that I want to try - more quilting! And maybe some knitting!
Most importantly though, I want to enjoy every single moment of my time with my little boy. He is the sweetest baby and he is growing so fast. I recently read this article, and it really struck a cord with me... everything is a phase and I definitely want to savor every moment I can.

OK, so I'm not going to lie, writing down that list just made me a little nervous. That's a lot, and it's a little overwhelming (OK, really overwhelming) but I want to put it out there. I want to be open to the fact that I might not be able to get it all done, but also to be more open to working on my goals and achieving these things I've set out to do. So maybe this will help me be a little more accountable. I'm open to it.

What are your goals or intentions for this brave new year? Are you choosing one word to guide you? Setting goals? Or both? I'd love to hear what your goals and ideas are - let's motivate each other to keep going throughout the year!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Comfy & Cozy Must Haves

'Tis the season! Christmas is literally days away, it's so hard to believe. I'm definitely getting in the spirit and it's helping that for the first time in quite a while we're actually having chilly winter days! Our Southern California Christmases are usually fully of lovely gifted sweaters that you want to wear all day on Christmas, only to find you can't wait to get it off because it's 80 degrees outside. This year we've had rain in December and the nights are cold enough for us to use our flannel sheets and keep the heater on.

Any cold winter day (especially when on maternity leave, and while prepping for Christmas) requires some cozy essentials to get you in the spirit of the holidays and help you enjoy those chilly nights. Here are my cozy-must haves that help me stay warm and comfy.

A soft blanket: Blankets are something I absolutely love. Handmade, store bought, what have you, nothing beats a well made blanket to keep you warm on a cold day. These blankets and bedding sets from Parachute Home look absolutely snuggly (and pretty!) - I'd love to cuddle up with one of these next time it's raining out! Not to mention they help out a good cause too which is a double win in my book!

A hot cup of tea: Scratch that - a pot of tea is more appropriate. I can't believe I am saying this, but I've actually had more tea than coffee lately! We have a special "cold remedy" tea that's been working wonders, and tastes delicious (which means I'll drink it at the slightest tickle in my throat). I'm also loving a cup of English Breakfast in the morning!

Christmas lights: Usually when I'm spending my day curling up, it's in the living room (by the window, especially when it's raining!), which means I am right next to the Christmas tree. So on go the lights to twinkle on while I get comfy. The amazing smell of the tree helps too!

A scented candle: If the smell of the tree weren't enough, I have a "fresh balsam" scented candle that really adds to the mood. Nothing like the lovely scent of pine to help you feel warm on a cold day.

A good movie: I love cuddling up with an old favorite. My go-to for days like this is usually Julie & Julia, or something with food that's photographed well! (future movies to add to this list: 100 Foot Journey and Chef)

My tablet: Cozy time is Pintrest time, I love browsing boards and getting inspired. I also like to catch up with all the blogs I follow, and when I get the chance to read, I take it!

My baby boy: The best perk of maternity leave in December (aside from having the baby and all the joy that comes with that!) is getting to curl up on the couch with my little guy and cuddle. He's a snuggly one when he's not trying to wiggle around (OK so he's snuggly sometimes), but he's also like my own personal heater, so we're always cozy and warm when we're together. And, let's be honest, he's the best part of curling up on the couch any day!

It's a Monday morning in December, we're 3 days away from Christmas and I have a ton of presents to wrap and a stocking to make (will share as soon as it's done...which will hopefully be before Christmas!), but right now, it's chilly, the heaters on and the Christmas tree's twinkly lights are calling my little one and I to snuggle up on the couch and enjoy the day all comfy & cozy.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

growing up and packing up

My little nugget is 10 weeks old. I don't think I'll ever stop saying's been the longest shortest time of my life.  I'm even typing this with one hand, holding him in the other. Welcome to blogging little buddy.

This week I realized just how much he's grown (he's double his birth weight already!) when we had to try on multiple outfits a day...looking for something that would fit,  We're officially out of newborn clothes and into the 3 months.  When did that happen?  I packed up the little onesies with a bittersweet feeling.  He's growing so well. So well.  But I thought about the sweet little outfits he wasn't going to be able to wear anymore.  The one he came home in from the hospital in. The ones that family brought us the week he came home because no one was expecting that he was going to be small enough to fit into newborn clothes and we didn't have enough. The cute one with the mustache face and attached shorts. They're all packed away. Tucked in the closet for a while. Maybe if we're blessed with another little boy, he'll stay warm in these. And we'll remember how cute they all were. And if not, maybe a baby clothing quilt will be in the works... one day.

But for now, they're packed away and waiting. And we're here enjoying each day as it comes, still growing.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Morning Routine

This is part two of "Morning Routine." Read this one first.

I wake up to the little grunts and sounds that my 7 week old is learning to make. Sometimes he's already crying and sometimes he's just struggling to get his hands out of his sleep sack so he can suck on his fingers. I roll over and with my eyes only half open and check the time - earlier than I was hoping - we're not sleeping through the night yet. My back aches as I twist up and out of bed, grab a drink of water, and make my way to the bassinet at the foot of our bed.

 It's early morning and this little one's clock seems to want to stay awake for a while. I bring him back into bed and hold him close as he nurses and stares above my head- at the blinds on the window behind me. As he drifts off to sleep I wonder if it will wake him up if I try to go make a cup of coffee - now only decaf so his sleep isn't interrupted. After I make sure he's really asleep, I try to carefully climb out of bed without disturbing him in my arms, but he's awake. I carry him into the kitchen and put on a pot of hot water for my French press as he fusses and looks around the kitchen in the morning light. While trying to eat a bowl of cereal and juggle a baby at the same time, I think about how one of these days, he'll be on a regular schedule, and I might be able to sit at my computer, in a house I cleaned myself, and be able to check in and stay up to day, and not have to sneak a quick post in during one of only two or three twenty minute naps that happen during the day. Instead, I scarf down my cereal, and make my decaf coffee and carefully carry my coffee cup and my baby boy into the living room where I set the coffee down and play and rock and love my little guy and forget about my coffee until an hour later when it's cold.

 My mind works faster than my day allows for it, ideas float around my head as I bounce around with my little guy in his Moby wrap. I cherish the time I spend with him, I examine the curves of his face and I'm in awe at how much he's grown. I sip my cold coffee in between coos and peek-a-boos, and if he decides to sit in his rocker for a bit, I might get up to warm it up. But if I do, chances are it will get cold again, very quickly. 

These mornings are slow and fast all at once. Sometimes they're quiet and sweet and full of smiles and my heart melting with each one. And sometimes full of cries and soothing and my heart breaking when I can't figure out what's wrong.  They are full of things that didn't get done, dishes in the sink, mail that needs to be sorted, laundry to be folded. But they are short-lived. It blows my mind when I think these mornings of my life are moving so quickly and soon I might have more of a routine, but he'll be crawling and I'll miss him terribly when I'm back at work. I relish in the moments and soak them in, and then I even when he's sleeping and I might get something done, sometimes I just watch him some more because, well, because for right now, I can. 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Becoming that cliche

"Your life will never be the same after kids," "you won't be able to relate to your old friends anymore," "suddenly the most exciting thing in your day will be if your baby pooped and what color it was."  I've heard all sorts of things about what being a new parent would be like. People telling me how I would think and feel, what things would be interesting to me after my baby was born. I remember thinking they don't know me, that's not how it's going to be.  

And then I had my baby boy.

Flash forward... E and I are out for the first "big outing" with family and friends. We've run into an old friend we haven't seen in years. The niceties pass; the questions progress, "how's it going?," "what are you up to?," and "WOW, you have a baby!," and 5 minutes later I feel like I'm grasping at straws to fill in those awkward lulls that keep creeping up into our conversation.  E and I so badly want to say, "Our baby is smiling now when you tickle his neck!" and "he just LOVES staring at the blinds!" because these really are the things that make our day. I'd even slip in a "he hasn't pooped since Wednesday so we're expecting a blow out soon..." but I don't. We don't because we don't want to be THAT cliche couple that only talks about their baby. 

But that's who we are, I guess. That's all that's going on in our lives and it's just so good, that's all we really do want to talk about. We are THOSE people. I'm sorry if that means you'll want to avoid talking to us for a while. I'm sorry if you have trouble trying to relate. But really, I'm sorry that I'm not really sorry about it. I love being a mommy. We love being parents. And these moments are fleeting. I want to catch/remember/share every moment possible because each one is so precious. So I'm sorry (but not really) if you didn't want to know, but he did finally poop three days later, and it was the highlight of our day. 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Month

 Before you have kids, you have some idea of how quickly time passes. It seems to speed up a little bit every year. When you do have kids, you finally understand what your parents meant when they would say, "time flies," because it really does. In it's own strange way, time passes quickly and still seems to drag on. What's that saying? The minutes last days and the days last minutes.  That person had kids.

Our little boy is one month old. I thank God that he's healthy and home with us now. I've been struggling to figure out what to blog about and struggling to actually find time to sit down at my computer for more than 2 minutes to actually type something.  I realized that the time passes too quickly to plan out the pinterest-perfect blog post. This is our life, our little boy.

At one month:
Arek is smiling when you tickle under his neck and brush a blanket over his face
He's eating like a champ and grew 3 lbs since his last appointment
He loves falling asleep in daddy's arms
His favorite song is the ABC's
His best friends are the blinds on the windows - he'll just stare and stare at them. Mesmerized
He holds up his head so well - we're all impressed with how strong he is.

We're so excited to keep watching him grow and soak up every minute of life with him. Because really, what was life like without him?


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baby Arek

It's almost been month since this little bundle joined our lives. I can't even begin to describe the love that I, that we, have for this little boy. He is just the sweetest ever. It was a bumpy journey in the beginning, but it was our journey. I'm still letting it all process in my head and hope to get his whole birth story written out, and maybe shared on here in the next week or so. It's hard to believe it's been almost a whole month since he came into our lives, and I can hardly imagine what our lives were like without him.

Right now he's nestled in his rocker next to me, dreaming away. And while I can still tell he's the same baby in the picture above, he's grown so much. We're really in for it with all the changes and growing that are to come, but we're so excited for it all.

Baby Arek, Mommy and Daddy (and everyone else) love you to the moon and back!