Recent Read: Great With Child

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I’ve recently read the sweetest book. I wished I would have read it while I was expecting … I think it would have really calmed my nerves about the idea of raising a child.

Great With Child by Beth Ann Fennelly is a compilation of letters from one mother to her dear friend and an expecting mom-to-be. The letters are beautifully written and sentimental, yet they offer practical and usable advice for new moms. She touches on so many moments that I’ve experienced in the last year and offers advice I wish I’d known.

If you’re a mom-to-be or have an expecting friend, I’d definitely recommend this book. It’d make a wonderful shower gift!

Image Source.

Capturing Memories

Inspired by one of the best books I read last year, I have deemed myself ‘historian of the house.’ Someone has to take pictures, document the little guy’s growth, and keep the grandparents in-the-know on important stuff like head size and number of teeth. And that someone is me.

At first I took this role very seriously. The first day of my new role, I wrote out a nice email to all the grandparents explaining how I would send them monthly updates and photos as well as report on recent doctor’s appointments, what’s happening at school, etc. I busted out a baby book and began taping pictures into it and trying to remember when exactly it was that the tiny guy crawled, sat, smiled, etc, etc.

Well,  that day ended and so did my newly established title. Woops. Life … it happens, right?

Months later, Christmas was approaching and I really wanted to give the grandparents something special that showed the journey my tiny man had been on for the previous year. Having failed miserably at documenting anything, I wasn’t quite sure what to do until I saw a deal online to make my own photobook.

Oh, interwebs, sometimes I love thee.

So, with a stockpile of images from the fabulous freckle photography, I logged into the site and began work on our very own family photobook. It was WAY more work than I anticipated (due to a number of user errors) but totally worth it. Pleased with the results, we gave it to all of the grandparents and the great-grandparents. And kept a copy for ourselves. I LOVE it and flip through it frequently.

We made ours via Tiny Prints and I thought the quality of the final product was great. I recently found Artifcat Uprising and might have to consider them with their lovely cloth covers and 50-page books (compared to our 20-page book) next year.

Here’s a peek at the final product. What do you think? Mamas – did you make a scrapbook, fill a baby book or document your kiddo’s first year? How do you fill the role of house historian?

Book1

Book3

Book5

Book6

Thankful Friday

Who says we only have to be thankful on Thursday? Since I missed yesterday’s Thankful Thursday post, I thought I’d share what I’m most thankful for today.

Since I’ve returned to work and officially become a ‘working mom,’ finding time to blog, workout, and keep up with everything else has become impossible. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the future holds and keep going back to this post, trying to figure out how to manage all the different aspects of life that are important to me.

While I’m uncertain about how long it’ll take to prioritize and create a schedule that works for my little family, I am certain that I couldn’t have survived the last two weeks without one person. And that was this lady:

My Mom.

Mom stayed with the spouse, baby, and I for the last several weeks so that she could help me transition back to work full-time. Without her here to calm the little one when he was upset, run to the store for groceries or diapers, or take me out to lunch so I could take a break, I wouldn’t have survived my first two weeks of the balancing act that is now my life.

She listened to me vent, gave me advice, and nodded in agreement when I explained irrational fears and worries. She changed diapers, warmed bottles, cuddled the baby, and took him on walks. She gave the spouse and I several nights ‘off’ to enjoy dinner out, a concert, and even attend a meeting or go fishing (I didn’t go fishing but that’s what the spouse did with some of his free time).

So, on today’s Thankful Friday, I am so very thankful for my mom (who is celebrating her birthday today!). I’m thankful for her time here, the example she’s given me to be a good mom, and for her love.

Thank you, Mom!! And have a wonderful birthday!!

Twelve Weeks…One Blink

Yesterday, I returned to work full-time.

You know what that means? It means my little man is twelve weeks old. Twelve Weeks!

I can’t believe it.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was breathing his first breath? Wasn’t it just a moment ago that I first looked into his perfectly blue eyes? It seems like it’s been just one heartbeat since I first heard his tiny cry.

Before he arrived, I was terrified. I didn’t know how I’d manage sleepless nights and baby cries. I couldn’t imagine operating day-to-day around a two-hour feeding schedule. I didn’t quite believe I’d be capable of taking care of another person. But then, somehow, it just happened.

Although some days were long and the nights were even longer, the minutes of baby smiles and coos flew by. And now, in just twelve short weeks, I feel like I’ve completely forgotten what life was like for the 31 years before March 6th, 2012. I just can’t imagine life without this little guy.

Baby Boy

While I’m sad and feeling a little bittersweet that my time at home with my little one is over, I’m excited at what the future will bring. I’m curious to see what working and being a mom will be like. I’m wondering how often I’ll go for a run, bake yummy treats, or sneak away for a drink with the girls – and how often I’ll opt to snuggle with him instead.

Right now, I’m not sure I’ll be able to balance life between raising my tiny family, volunteering, working and spending time with friends….but I’m excited to try. The last twelve weeks surprised and awed me. And I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for us….I just hope it doesn’t go by too fast.

P.S. Thanks for allowing me a short break from blogging on my last days of maternity leave. It all started with this last post and we’ve enjoyed a whirlwind 10 days since then. I’ll be sure to fill you in on all the fun we had over the next week or so.

Thankful Thursday: Mom (Item #8)

Happy Thursday & Happy March!

We’ve reached the due date month….eek! We’re starting to feel more and more prepared around here, but still a little freaked out at the idea of bringing home a baby!

Things are definitely starting to feel more settled though and I’ve had a little quiet time to reflect on the past months. Thanks to that quiet time, I can say that Item #8: Write a Thank You Letter to My Mother is complete! Of course, I am not going to share it with you all. It’s all sealed up and waiting for her arrival later this month.

I will say that the pregnancy experience has given me a whole new appreciation for my mom…..who gave birth FOUR times! I’m so thankful for her desire to have a big family and her healthy lifestyle that allowed her to produce me and my siblings. Right now, I’m especially thankful for the fact that she didn’t get stretch marks….and so far me either! Woot Woot!

I don’t want to get too mushy on you but I just have to say that the past few months have given me new perspective into what my mom has done for me. When I think of how I’ll raise my little guy, I can’t help but think about the love my mom showered us with, the sacrifices she made, and the way she taught us about life.

Today, I’m filled with gratitude for my mom. Aside from the stretch mark thing, I am most thankful to her for providing me with an amazing example of the kind of mom I hope to be.

On today’s Thankful Thursday, say thanks to your mom or mom you admire.

My Mom & Me

Work-It-Out Wednesday: Alternative Workouts

Happy Wednesday!

How are all of you on this beautiful June day? I hope you are all doing well! We have been so lucky here in Colorado for the past couple of days – it really feels like summer here! On Friday, I took advantage of that summer feeling and took off work early to head up the Poudre Canyon and go hiking with my mom and spouse. (The spouse actually ditched us and went fishing in the river. Puh, to each their own, I guess.)

Mom and I did short hike, probably around 4 miles total, in an hour and a half. It was a beautiful trail along a babbling brook with wildflowers, interesting rock formations, and lots of Colorado fresh air! Actually not a lot of air, that’s a lie. It gets pretty thin up there in the Rockies. My sea-level livin’ mama was having a bit of trouble catching her breath on occasion.

It was quite the adventure…we had to cross the brook several times, we were warned of mountain lions, and Mom even got attacked by a wild Yorkshire Terrier. All right, it wasn’t wild. It was just a tiny dog that some people on the trail let run ahead. The little pup jumped up on mom’s leg when she wasn’t looking and, by golly, you’d think she was attacked by a wild beast. I know it’s not funny ’cause she was scared….but….okay…it was really freakin’ funny.

Our hike ended by meeting up with the spouse at the Mishawaka, where we relaxed on a deck over the Cache la Poudre River and enjoyed a couple of CO local brews. It was a lot of fun!

Going on a hike got me thinking about all the different forms of exercise out there that I rarely take advantage of. I tend to feel that my exercise doesn’t count unless it’s running or yoga…period. I overlook going on long bike rides, hiking, swimming, and other modes of movement. I plan to make an effort to incorporate more summer activities in my workouts going forward and included a couple in this week:

  • Wednesday 6/8 – Off
  • Thursday 6/9 – Off again
  • Friday 6/10 – 1.5 hour hike
  • Saturday 6/11 – Danced, danced, AND danced at a wedding
  • Sunday 6/12 – Off
  • Monday 6/13 – 30 mins yoga
  • Tuesday 6/14 – 3 mile run; Ab workout

I’ll be looking for fun summer workouts, so if you have any suggestions, please send them along! What kind of exercise do you do? Is it different in the summer vs. the winter?

Chip Off the Ol’ Block

Good Morning!

Today I’m pushing back our typical Tasty Tuesday and instead sharing a very fun photo shoot with you! Recently, my dear friend, photographer, and blogger over at freckle photography, Jesse, did a photo shoot with me and my mom! I was so honored and excited when she asked me to participate and explained her idea for her new series ‘Lessons from My Mother’…which you can read all about here.

The basic rundown is my mom and I got to laugh, pose, and smile for the camera on Sunday evening and then I shared five life lessons that I’ve learned from my wise mama. I’ve previously written about my mom being my healthy role model and how incredibly proud of her I am, but this fun shoot gave me the opportunity to share some light-hearted and also super-important advice she’s given me over the years (for example, the correct undergarments can make or break an outfit).

Here are a couple of my favorite shots, but be sure to check out the whole shoot over at freckle photography!

A big thanks to Jesse for her inspiring idea and snapping such great images!

And, of course, a big thanks to my mom! Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

Work-It-Out Wednesday: Role Model

Today is a very special day…..it’s my mom’s birthday!

For the first time in a very, very long time I actually get to see my mom and spend time with her on her birthday! I’m looking forward to hitting up one of my favorite spots in Old Town FC for dinner with her later tonight to celebrate her….uh….I better not reveal the age, let’s just say, ‘Special’ birthday. I am excited to toast to a woman who has always been a role model to me, especially when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

Growing up, my mamacita set a very healthy example for me and my siblings. I remember living in a house without soda, processed foods, and pre-packaged junk food. Instead we were given fruit, milk, or home-made snacks and sat down almost every night to a family dinner. I remember being full of high-school ATTITUDE and thinking that I really wanted Doritos, Twinkies or Dr. Pepper, but today look back on the home-made cookies, the insistent reminder to drink water, and home-cooked meals with great admiration (except when she force-fed me eggplant….blech!)

In addition to healthy eating, mom also encouraged all of us join sports that we enjoyed and to spend time outside with nature whenever we could. We grew up going on camping trips, visiting the ocean, or going on day trips to local picnic grounds. She carted us around to endless soccer trips, cheered for us from the stands during games, and gave up more than I will probably ever know to support our activities.

My Mama

Today, I still look at my mom and her approach to a healthy life (and Jennifer Aniston’s Smart Water ads) when I need motivation or a reminder to live a balanced lifestyle of tasty treats, nutritious fuel, and consistent excercise. Thanks, Mom!

Speaking of exercise, this week’s work out schedule was very light (oops!). With my mom visiting, the big anniversary weekend, and an already hectic schedule, I let my workouts fall by the wayside. This next week will be much better…but for now, here’s what I accomplished last week:

  • Wednesday 6/1 – Off
  • Thursday 6/2 – 3 Mile Run
  • Friday 6/3 – Off (unless you count go-karts!)
  • Saturday 6/4 – 3 Mile Run; Ab Workout
  • Sunday 6/5 – Off again
  • Monday 6/6 – 3 Mile Run; Ab Workout
  • Tuesday 6/7 – 30 Mins In-Home Yoga
So, tell me, who is your healthy living role model? How do they inspire you?

Word to Yo’ Motha

Happy Friday!

This Friday is a little different than other Friday’s cause I don’t just have a quote in store fo you. Since Mother’s Day is only a couple of days away, I’d like to tell you all about my mom….one of my Modern Day Superhero’s.

My mom is a strong, independent, and gorgeous women. She’s enrolled in school full-time, working on her nutrition degree, and is cultivating her natural talent for photography along the way. She is truly one of the most naturally gifted people I know, she has no formal training in photography and took ALL of the pics in this post!

She’s a mom, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a godmother, a cousin, and is about to be a GRANDMOTHER! BAH! No, no, no, it’s not me that’s elevating her to this new status. Just in case you’ve somehow missed all my other talk about my expecting sister, I’d just like clarify that it’s my sis that will be having a son and you better believe my mamacita will be the best grandma you’ve ever met!

I’ve told my mom countless times that she’s one of the strongest people I know and that’s because it’s 100% true. She’s kept her held high and charged her way through very difficult times determined to create a life surrounded by love, happiness, and nature. She’s truly an inspiration to me and I only hope that when I’m her age that I’ll be able to say that I’ve accomplished half as much as she’s done (and still look like her too…the woman doesn’t age!). She has a huge, caring, loving heart and will drop anything to help one of her kids, family members, or friends in need. Her selfless attitude and dedication to enjoying all of the little things in life motivates me daily to be more like her.

Aside from her strength and her motivation, my mom is just plain fun. I have countless memories of my youth with my mom teaching me to bake (thanks for teaching me to cook, pssh), taking my siblings and I on camping trips, spending summers with our east coast family, and spending many a night in my 20’s pouring red wine and listening to classic rock. Thanks to a mom and daughter cross-country excursion in college, every time I hear the song Tiny Dancer by Elton John, I think of my mom and the memories created on that trip.

My mom – an inspiring soul, an artful eye, a beautiful face, and tender heart. I love her very much and am so thankful to  have all the gifts she’s passed on to me, all the advice I have sometimes listened to, and all the memories you can only create with someone you truly love. Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

 

“Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band. Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man. Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand. And now she’s in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand.” ~ Elton John