Summer, I missed you. I forgot just how much I missed you until you paid us a visit this weekend. You showered us with warm temperatures, lots of sunshine, fresh air, easy conversation, cold drinks, backyard barbecues and lots of visiting with neighbors. Like an old friend, you felt so easy and natural to be around. No need to make elaborate plans to fill our time or small talk to fill the pauses. Nope, it was good just to be in your presence.
Thanks for spending the weekend with us. Stop by again soon. We always have room for backyard barbecues, sun filled days, a refreshing swim, cold drinks and easy conversation.
We were super lucky last weekend and hit the weather jackpot. Sunshine. Lots of sunshine with temps in the 60’s. It was a perfect weekend to explore our neighborhood. We recently found out about some local county parks that boast easy trails along the water. Finding something scenic in New Jersey is no easy feat. Trust me.
We were pretty fortunate to run across a site dedicated to South Jersey Trails. I had been looking for a comprehensive site for quite some time and had been pretty unsuccessful until I stumbled across this gem. A guy from New Jersey hiking and reviewing trails….with a toddler in tow. Perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. If you have a toddler, live in New Jersey or wonder what else you can do on Saturday other than go to Target, than you should check out this site.
We stopped by Amico Island and did an easy 4 mile hike while the toddler spent the better portion of the morning napping. We looped around the trails twice and stopped to hunt deer tracks for a while. The hunting paid off as we lucked out and easily spotted a pack of more than 20 deer grazing. I was feeling pretty grateful at the time that my toddler was sleeping as to not frighten the little white tailed beauties.
Excuse the grain but this is all you get. I am sure if you squint really hard though you can make out the deer, no?
The following day, we took the toddler out for a nature walk. This time we let him run wild on the trails. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend. I am looking forward to more weekends like this.
Last May, I started the C25K and ran my face off over the summer. As a result of all the running, nursing and lack of proper nutrition, I was dehydrated. I gained 45 lbs when I was pregnant but lost a whopping 60 lbs last summer. It was not intentional. My hair was falling out. My clothes were falling off. I felt fine though. I didn’t even recognize how much stress my body was under. I didn’t run to lose weight. I ran to improve my physical and mental health but failed miserably.
I was stuck last summer.
Lately, I have been stuck on the rest cycle and I’m okay with it. The winter was long and cold. I loved it. I ran intermittently whenever the mood struck which was rare. I took a long break from running. I actually contemplated giving up running.
Then, spring came knocking at my door. I answered. I find that we are spending more of our days outside now. My son could possibly spend all day, every day outside. It doesn’t matter whether we are raking leaves, hanging out in the yard, taking a walk in the stroller, exploring nature or running rampant on the playground. The outcome is always the same: sheer joy!
So, I have decided to pick up where we left off last summer and start running again. We have already hit the trails running. It is just as good as I remembered it.
This past weekend was riddled with three long nights of sleeplessness. I was exhausted and frustrated. I was mean to my family. I had just published a post on missing those newborn sleepless nights and here I was cursing myself for ever wishing for such a thing. I try so hard to enjoy my time with my little guy but sometimes it is hard. It is harder than I ever imagined it would be. Harder than I thought possible. There are some days when I don’t know how we survive. Like magic, we always do though.
Just when I started using phrases like “you’ll drive me to drink” (which happens to be one of my favorite sayings from my own childhood), I stumbled upon 100 happy days. Just a simple website designed to encourage noticing the small things in our day to day existence that make us happy because honestly everyday is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes we have to work a little harder to find the happy.
The truth is I am never to busy to be happy. I am never to busy to play with my son or enjoy him. In fact, I am extremely blessed with a husband who reminds me often that my only job right now is my son. The house, the laundry, the grocery shopping, the dinner….none of that stuff matters. It will all get done eventually and in the meantime I should rock my son, nurse my son, go for a run, take a nap, take a shower or do whatever needs to be done to make me a better mom. I don’t always listen. I don’t always hear him in the the thick of it all but when calmness replaces the chaos, I can hear clearly. He wants us to be happy. I am fortunate.
I am doing the #100happydays challenge on Instagram right now. Just a snapshot of something in each day that brings a little sunshine to my life. You can follow me on my Instagram account at superfreshbabypants to see my happy place each day. Better yet, you can join me in the challenge to find your happy in each day.
It was 18 degrees today. I decided that today would be a fine day to go for a run.
I was right. It was.
I used to despise winter. It is bitter and dreary. The absence of sun and warmth feels depressing. I used to spend my days in an office without windows. I never saw the sun. I arrived at work before the sun came up and barely arrived home before it had set. This scenario made for a very long and uneventful season. One in which I longed for spring to arrive.
Winter exudes it’s own peaceful quietness though. I am beginning to experience a beauty of winter that I have not seen before. Today, we bundled up and enjoyed an afternoon run. It was 18 degrees outside. The lawns were covered with snow leftover from the weekend. The river was partially encased in ice. The sky was gray and overcast as it is on most days. It is so bitter and cold these days that we have the streets to ourselves. It is peaceful.
These days are pretty spectacular for us…dreary skies, bitter temps and all.
Tuesday morning. A snow storm is pending. The television is off. All the channels have been encrypted. I cannot watch the news. I cannot see the weather forecast. I don’t know how the roads are or what is headed our way. It’s 8 am. The sky is overcast and gray.
By mid-morning, the snow arrives. From the warmth of my dining room, I am watching the snow cover the pavement, the cars, the trees. Hours pass. It snows. My husband comes home from work early. We spend the day inside. It is warm and cozy. It is quiet except the sound of our voices. The sound of laughter. There are no distractions beyond what is happening in the present moment.
This is my reality now.
The only sounds in my house now are the sounds of laughter and the voices from those that live here. The television is no longer a participant in our mornings. No news. No weather. No morning talk shows. No interruptions from people that don’t live here.
We have lived this life before. A life without any television at all. We lived this life for almost a year. It was quiet and blissful. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. A new television came into our home quite some time ago and some local television channels tagged along with it. Nothing that really distracted from our lives. Some local news and some football. It was enough to change the landscape of our days without ever really noticing.
Our lives have changed once again. We have lived this life before and are living it again. This time, we are bringing our toddler along for the ride. Our days look more like this now….
Earlier this week, I was woken at 3 am to the sounds of whimpering coming from the room next door. I rolled over and reached for the baby monitor. I watched my baby lie in his crib as still as can be. I could hear the whimpering and moaning coming from next door but there was no movement to accompany it. His whimpers eventually turned into little cries. There were moments of silence. I waited and watched. He was still. Perhaps he fell back asleep. Then, little cries pierced the silence. No. No, he did not fall back asleep.
I spent the next two hours quietly rocking him in his nursery. We moved from the glider to standing and back to the glider. We swayed. We rocked. We nursed. At one point, I was pacing the floor while holding my son and patting his back. His head was gently resting on my shoulder and I began to cry. It was at this moment that I realized that I missed rocking him to sleep. I had not held him this way in months. The last time I held him this way, I was just praying it would be over soon. I felt like I couldn’t rock him anymore. I couldn’t endure the hour long nursing and rocking to sleep sessions. I was tired. I needed time to recharge. I was failing at my job. My child wasn’t able to fall asleep. My child wasn’t able to stay asleep. I couldn’t do this anymore. Ironically, here I was savoring the moment. The exact moment that only months ago I had secretly wished would end. This time, I held on to my son and cried.
Time is fleeting. It goes by so fast. I miss so many moments and opportunities because I am distracted throughout the day and tired at night. This night was different though. I cherished the opportunity to spend two hours alone with my son. I would have rocked him for another 2 hours, 2 days or 2 weeks for that matter.
The house was quiet. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Just me and him.
Yesterday, I shared a little about my holiday hustle dilemma. You can read more about it here.
While I spent a significant amount of time in big box stores scooping up obligatory gift cards for all of the teenagers on my gift list, I was able to choose a few gifts with meaning this year which always makes my holiday season a little brighter. One of my favorite gifts this year that I gave was a canvas print of babypants.
I used this recent photo from a family photo shoot to order a canvas print from Easy Canvas Prints. The ordering process was super simple. I chose a single print option and the modest size of 8×10 with the standard .75 wraparound, although there are multiple sizing and wraparound options available! I uploaded the image seen above and chose the mirrored wraparound option. Since this picture was professionally shot, I opted out of any editing or color options offered. The entire ordering process from start to finish took less than 5 minutes to complete! I ordered at the height of the holiday rush and it took approximately a week turn around for my print to arrive on my doorstep.
I love it! It is such a perfect gift with so much meaning for my little family. I hope the recipient enjoys it as much as I enjoyed the process of creating it!
I really enjoyed working with Easy Canvas Printsand am happy to be able to offer my readers a 50% off promo code by using this link: Easy Canvas Prints Promo Codes! Be sure to check out their site and snag some goodies for yourself or loved ones. You can also check out their affiliate sites for more custom printing options and ideas at Build A Sign and Allied Shirts.
Are you a gift card, store bought or home made type of gift giver? What kind of gifts do you favor to receive?
FTC Disclosure: I was provided with a product to review for this post. As always, all thoughts are my own and I only work with brands whose products I love and can or would purchase with my own money.
I’m about to get deep into the world of selfies. I don’t even take selfies let alone use the word. The word conjures up images of Snooki, duck lips and teenage girls. I have nothing in common with any of them and yet I am about to embark on an adventure of selfies.
It all started yesterday when I ran across a 30 day self portrait challenge on instagram. Initially, I ignored it as this is not something I would normally partake in and quite frankly is really out of my comfort zone. Nice idea. Just not for someone like me. Someone like me being the girl that prefers to stay behind the scenes and take the pictures not actually ever be in the pictures. In fact, I am pretty sure that there are only 2 pictures of my son and me together since his birth. That’s the kind of girl I am.
A few hours passed and a picture of my girlfriend at Spearmint Baby popped up in my feed. She was participating in the 30 day challenge. She’s gorgeous so why wouldn’t she? This challenge is for girls like her, right?
Shari suggested that I participate in this 30 day challenge of selfie love. I wasn’t sold though. I mean why would I suddenly want to start taking self portraits and plastering them all over Instagram? That just sounds uncomfortable and out of my element.
The words uncomfortable and out of my element weighed heavy on me. See, I’ve been feeling uncomfortable and out of my element since the birth of my son, since quitting my job, since deciding to stay home for the next 5 years and become his primary caretaker. He is my world and I am his. This is some serious business I have going on. Leaving the comfort of my job to stay home and take on the full time role of a boss lady was the biggest risk I have ever taken. It is taking some time to get used to. It is taking some time to carve out my niche in the world again and redefine who I am and what I do. It has been nothing short of challenging, uncomfortable and completely out of my element at times.
Then, I thought about the article that I read on Huffington Post shortly before my son was born. The article about mom staying in the picture. Initially when I read it, I promised myself that I would not be that mom to hide from the camera. Instead, I would be that mom that was present in her children’s lives. Was fully present. No make up. Bad hair day (everyday). Sloppy outfit. Old sneakers. Whatever…..my kids won’t see any of that. My kids will only see me for who I am not what I am wearing, not what my hair looks like and certainly not whether I’ve recently had my brows threaded.
I failed though. I wasn’t that mom. Nope. I was still the girl hiding behind the camera. I had just morphed into that mom hiding behind the camera. I didn’t want to be that mom. I don’t want to be that mom.
I decided that I need to change. I need to push the envelope some more. I need to break through boundaries. I need to engage in a 30 day challenge of self portraits. Why? So, I can become comfortable in front of the lens. So, I can become that mom. I can be the mom in pictures. I can be present in my children’s lives without worrying about my hair or my eyebrows or the circles under my eyes. Okay, so maybe I will actually worry about the circles and the brows and all that good stuff. Instead of worrying about it though maybe it is time to actually do something about it….take better care of myself so that I can take better care of my babypants. That’s what this is all about. Being present. Being there. Being that mom.
Who is up for the 30 day challenge? You can follow me on instagram to check out my progress. I have posted my first two self portraits already. What do you think?