After the response I got from Saturday's post, I decided I needed to take a bit of a leap... and force myself to do one of those "hard things" that I've let intimidate me for a long time.
I'm not a cook.
I have a few things I do pretty well and stick to.
I don't particularly enjoy cooking, and really, the idea of cooking multiple meals at one time has always intimidated me...
But seriously... this really wasn't that bad!!
It took me about 2 hours to make enough food for 20 meals!
On the menu for this week:
1. Eggs + egg whites scrambled with tomatoes and green chili & Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes (Pamela's mix, + 1 extra egg, add half a can of organic pumpkin)
2. Ground turkey, sweet potato fries and sautéed veggies (mushrooms, peppers & onions)
3. Chicken Sausage, sautéed veggies & spaghetti squash
It's a start!!
I can do hard things <3
Alright guys, Saturday morning sappy post to all my mamas...
being mom is hard.
We know this, nothing novel here.
Seeing your body do the miraculous accordion effect that happens with having babies... is absolutely beautiful.. but hard.
And it isn't like we're playing with a full deck here either.
Post partum depression hit me like a ton of bricks after having Mags.
Her early hospitalization, on top of the "normal" sleep deprivation, re-balancing hormones, adjusting to a whole new balance of day-to-day crazy... all road blocks to feeling like a somewhat well-adjusted human being. And I hit a really dark, yucky, non-functioning place.
Now, feeling like I don't recognize the woman in the mirror?
That's the one I still battle with the most.
But, I have a daughter now...
And she's lit a fire under my butt to figure out this whole self-esteem thing.
Cause I'll be damned if my daughter grows up with anything less than a strong, confident, healthy woman as an example.
So here's my two cents on rebuilding that confidence and reacquainting yourself with your post-baby mind and body, for what it's worth:
You're going to get a lot of advice; take it all with a grain of salt. Just like when you were pregnant, lots of people will weigh in. You'll hear everything from "You'll lose the weight if you breastfeed" to "it's not safe to lose weight while breastfeeding." Yeah, not that simple on either end. Just smile, nod and keep on truckin'.
Babies are not an excuse to be unhealthy. Guys, I don't mean that having babies should in no way influence your capacity for some elusive, diligent exercise and meal planning. Let's be real here. But being pregnant and/or having little ones is NOT an excuse to shrug off self-care and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. These babies need you at your best, healthiest and most energized. If it isn't motivation enough to do it for yourself right now, remember they're watching and absorbing.
Be your best example. Society, in some ways, tells us our job as parents is to make sure kids have unforgettable, magical childhoods. I'd argue that my main purpose as a parent is to help shape my children into compassionate, healthy, hard-working, well-adjusted adults... and that starts with me learning to be a more compassionate, healthy, hard-working, and well-adjusted adult. This will look different for each of us. It will be far from a perfect picture. It may even seem exhausting and burdensome sometimes, but this is your role as a parent, so ya know... put on your big girl panties and suck it up buttercup.
Be self-protective, but not selfish. I think our generation spends a little too much time thinking about how to preserve their cozy self-bubble rather than enveloping those they love into it. This stage of life is fleeting. Don't lose yourself in it and do the things you need to keep yourself centered, but learn to find joy and fulfillment in becoming a little more selfless as a parent.
Find YOUR balance. My nature is the complete opposite of balanced. I like to work at all hours of the night, I obsess over projects and ideas until I have them perfectly how I'd like, and I am really, really hard on myself. But I'm slowly developing more balanced routines... because it's important. Consistency, balance, dependability are crucial to relationships. If you're like me and absolutely suck at those things? Work a little harder at them.
Love yourself. No matter your motivation to improve or continue a healthy lifestyle, there are things about yourself that just aren't the same after kids. No matter how fit I was after my son, the constant swelling in my ankles hung around and only worsened after my daughter. Things will change, embrace it, own it, rock it. But don't let it deter you from influencing what you can control.
Be your own best coach. All those road blocks I talked about at the beginning of this post can make it really difficult to do all the other things we're talking about here. I'm not discounting that. Nor have I mastered any kind of easy solution. Overcoming PPD/Anxiety means finding a way to break a vicious cycle of physical and emotional depression. That's gonna be a little different for everybody.
For me, I realized that it wasn't going to get any easier. I had to convince myself to just do it anyway, to start anyway, in spite of how hard it was. The cool thing? I realized I was a hell of a lot stronger than I knew.
Getting to the gym with a baby is hard. Don't wait for it to be easy. You can do hard things.
Getting to the gym with two babies... is hard. Don't wait for it to be easy. You can do hard things.
Making good choices about food... is hard. Don't wait for it to be easy. You can do hard things.
Making healthy decisions after a week, month, or year of unhealthy ones, is hard.
But really, the hardest part is starting. Don't wait for it to be easy. You can do hard things.
Sam & Maggie helping mama lift <3
So excited to finally get around to sharing Maggie's space with you all!
We plan on co-sleeping/bed-sharing with Maggie, as we have with Sam for the better part of his life, so her "nursery" space is actually an area in our room.
Poor Sam... first kid... we barely had a changing station and a Rock N Play ready for him when we brought him home! Maggie's space is quite a bit better planned out haha!
As with Sam, I made all of Maggie's bedding, burp cloths, blankets, cloth diaper hamper, and we'll be using cloth diapers from gDiapers and our Grovia cloth wipes again!
But I also really wanted to make sure we included a number of our favorite handmade shops!
The dresser and shelf are the same that Daddy refinished for Sam, and the end table was a favorite yard sale find.
A few random decor items, a repurposed frame with ribbon hot glued to the back & some basic IKEA wall shelves finished off our nursing corner.
And now for the "Small Shop Shelf"...
Bracelets & Necklace from Little Saylor Shoppe
Top it off with some custom hand-painted bodysuits from our most favorite Mama-Shop Honey Bee True Co and I'd say Maggie is all set!
Oh hi there Too Rah Loo blog! It's been a while! We knew we had to get back on the blogging bandwagon somehow, and what better way to make that happen than with a fun Halloween craft you can do with your little.
We have a few new faces here at Too Rah Loo headquarters, Miss Rischelle, our new "utility player" and awesome do-er of all things, and her sweet baby girl, Haylee. Miss Rischelle also just so happens to be a crafting queen, so we asked her to help us come up with some fun projects to share with you all!
Today, we're decorating plates for Halloween using adorable toddler hands and feet!
What you'll need:
- A couple of ceramic plates to decorate
- Different colors of Enamel Paint
- A few paint pens, a paint brush & some sponge brushes
Our supplies cost about $15 total at dollar/craft stores if you don't already have any of the items on hand!
Step 1: Make sure you're helpers are awake and ready to go!
Sam just loves his "Baby Hays"... and tickling her belly <3
Step 2: Get your supplies ready! We put an old table cloth upside down on the kitchen table to catch any spills (though oddly none even happened!)
Step 3: Paint your toddler!
We didn't get quite as many shots of our last plate, because a sweet lil babe was hungry, but it was super fun to add to our collection!
Step 4: Distract toddler while you bake the plates in the over at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes! We gave Sam some Crayola Kids Washable Paint, Creativity Street Paint Brush,rolled some paper out on the table and let him go to town!
Step 5: Remove, let cool, and then either use to serve your favorite Halloween goodies or put on display!
Next week: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes!
For more Halloween and Fall craft ideas, check out our Pinterest board!
A while back I saw a cute little poster that said, "If a child is unhappy, put them in water," with a picture of a happy tot splashing away. I don't know that this is necessarily fool-proof, but it worked for us today. Sam totally woke up on the wrong side of the bed... well technically he woke up in the middle of the bed with his feet in my face, but you know what I mean. Grumpy during breakfast. Even more grumpy when Daddy left for work. Then this happened...
This random middle of the day bath time was the ultimate reset button. Water (and purple octopus) for the WIN!
Dear toddlerhood, you are far more intense, humbling, beautiful than I could have ever expected.
You cause my kid to be, in the same moment, heart-meltingly sweet... And hair-pullingly frustrating (I'm making that a phrase, you get what I mean).
He throws himself in a belly-flop on the ground when he doesn't get his way.
And it takes all my self control not to laugh at the drama.
He gives the sweetest hugs and kisses... often... and in a way that exudes love from every fiber of his little being.
He gives me a sly little smirk as he throws food off his tray for the tenth time in a row.
And I again have to try not to laugh... the level of sass is just too much!
He has a newfound fascination with pop-up books. And has started pointing at things to hear what they're called.
He wants up...
He wants down...
He wants up...
He wants down...
He says "yeah" when I say "no."
He tells me when he has to go #2 and gets a total kick out of flushing the toilet after.
He loves food.
And then he hates food.
He says "Mmmmmmmm" if I ask him if he wants blueberries.
Which sounds so simple, but is one of the coolest things to me.
He'll go hours without being still, then will sit with a single book for 30 minutes examining every image on every page.
But, oh, the screaming/screeching sounds he's capable of?! I'm pretty sure my child is possessed at times.
"Dada" is the coolest, but "Mama" gives the best snuggles.
The "oooo face" is my personal favorite.
He is a ball full of silly... singing, dancing and butt wiggles.
But still needs his mama when things overwhelm him.
Toddlerhood, I blame you for the 5am wake-up calls.
And I thank you for the resulting early nap-time snuggles.
Toddlerhood, I am frustrated by you...
Yet eternally grateful for you,
'cause you remind me how we all truly are at our core.
Beautifully messy, unbalanced and imperfect, loving and adventurous, dependent on one another, and perfectly, wonderfully made.
I haven't posted anything in a few weeks. I can list a dozen or so reasons why... sick, busy, husband traveling, social engagements, more sick, more busy.
But I think, if I'm being honest, I've simply been a little too focused on myself, becoming overwhelmed by issues that are, truly, only as big as I allow them to be.
The series of bugs we caught...
The husband traveling way more than we'd like and are used to.
I've even allowed the "good" stress to overwhelm me. We have some great opportunities opening up before us, yet I have focused only on the uncertainty of it all.
More than ever we have been surrounded by wonderful people... Yet I began to feel weighed down by my own perceived expectations of those around us, rather than remember what a blessing each person is to our family.
So, two nights ago I lay awake in bed and found myself asking God to please help me find some level of peace in all of this. I asked God for grace. I asked that God provide for me a better perspective... Because Lord knows none of these "problems" we are facing warranted how burdened I felt.
Then, in my narrow-mindedness I proceeded to become even more frustrated that I did not immediately feel relieved in any way. As if my merely acknowledging what I thought I needed should have been enough to attain it. Silly me.
Yesterday was a busy day. Orders to make, ship and deliver, people to visit, phone calls, errands to run, a house to clean, laundry to do, an active toddler, pavers starting to work on the back yard.
ALL positive things... but all I saw were the tasks.
At different points throughout the day, I was most certainly blessed with some very wonderful and very real moments of God's grace.
A sincere barista at Starbucks that seemed to truly hope I had a "wonderful day." Random strangers smiling kindly.
Some wonderfully appropriate and uplifting messages and songs on the radio.
A sweet and funny lady who helped to calm my child when he decided unexpectedly to freak out... in the middle of a packed and hot elevator.
But none of this registered. Finally, an incredibly kind older cashier at the grocery store brought the message home.
Grocery shopping yesterday was like something out of a comedy. Frazzled mom, dropping things and running into people while toddler-who-has-found-his-voice has emphatic, high-pitched conversations with himself and attempts to eat the cart.
In line, the cashier asks if I need any ice or stamps. "OH!! Yes! Stamps!" Something I've been forgetting for every grocery trip for the last month and need so that I can send out the Thank You notes from Sam's Birthday party. (I swear to all those applicable, we are eternally grateful! Especially since you all put up with my less than timely expressions of gratitude!)
I turned to Sam and, as if I expected him to respond, say "Mommy has been forgetting stamps forever!"
This cashier... This wonderful stranger who I will now never forget, stops what he's doing, smiles at my child and says, with full sincerity, "That's because, I'd be willing to bet, Mommy's got a lot on her plate. And I'm sure she is doing the absolute best she can."
Yet so unbelievably and incredibly wonderful... supportive, compassionate, encouraging. It probably didn't hurt that the guy sounded kinda like Morgan Freeman, but ya know... It's just that, in that moment, I realized that God had been blessing me with little bits of grace all day long... As he always does if I am able to get outside of my own concerns long enough to see them.
Okay, there's the grace part. So, what about perspective? This is what I found on my Timehop app this morning.
I did most definitely laugh about this. But not for the reasons I had expected four years ago. I didn't laugh because I found eating chicken nuggets after midnight at an old folding table funny or pathetic (as I saw it at the time). In fact, that memory now seems absolutely sweet and wonderful to me.
I laughed because even then, when I had a fantastic partner in life sitting across a table from me in the middle of the night, a job to come home from, a phone to play scrabble on, the ability to obtain food that wouldn't make me sick... all I saw was what I didn't have.
I had some grand idea of how flawless my life would "someday" be... without realizing that the flaws were what made my life perfect and beautiful.
This... this is my perspective... and one that I want to make sure I learn better for Sam. There will always be things I think we need... that truly do not matter.
There are things we have now that I will surely take for granted and look back on fondly down the road.
Life will always have an element of uncertainty. It's all part of the adventure.
Grace and perspective are already given to us, it's up to us to see them for what they are.