It’s my birthday today! So, in lieu of turning 32 (Can you tell I’m having fun rhyming with my age?), I thought I’d share some random little tidbits about myself that you may or may not know.Continue reading
Yesterday marked the first day of the new dance season. This season makes my eighth year as a teacher at my “dance alma mater”. I love teaching dance. This artistic expression is one of my passions in life and I get to share that with kids from ages 3-18. Three nights a week I get to train young dancers and teach them about this great art form. I also like to think I teach them a little about life as well…#lifelessonsfromMsKelly.
I teach kids from all levels of experience as a recreational dance teacher. What does that mean? It means the kids that I teach take class for fun and have a recital at the end of the year. The classes I teach are not like what you may or may not have seen on Dance Moms. My kids don’t compete, they take their time learning their end of the year routine, and are simply doing it for fun. With all of this said, there are still some things that I feel that parents and students should learn about this dance world.
So, clearly there’s been a big change and I’m ridiculously excited about it! I have officially switched to WordPress, rebranded a bit and I’m so ready to get back to more consistent blogging. There are still parts of the site that aren’t quite up to par yet (oh you know, like my about page that has been MIA for about 3 months! *facepalm*) but they are coming! Now that we’ve had the chance to be in the new year for one whole week, I thought I’d take a look back and share some favorite moments from 2016 and some of the things I’m looking to accomplish in the next year.Continue reading
Somehow I’ve ended up taking a month long brake from blogging. A MONTH. And I have to say, it was much needed and accidentally came at the right time. If we’re going for complete honesty here, I was in the middle of one of those blogger identity crises where I had no idea what I was doing anymore. I loved blogging but had no idea if anyone was reading my stuff, was my stuff any good, why am I doing this, and so on and so forth. So I stopped. I stopped stressing about getting something done just to be able to push the publish button and sat back a decided to refocus.
I stopped worrying about applying for campaigns or reaching out to companies to do collaborations because, while it was really awesome to get those things, I didn’t find my voice in it. I love small shops and of course I love the companies that I applied for sponsored posts for but in all honesty, I’d just rather purchase from them, post about it if I want to and share that way.
So why even blog anymore? Because I want to share my DIYs still, I’d like to get back to that. I’m constantly crafting and I enjoy being creative. I want to keep this as a log of motherhood, especially these early stages. I want to connect with other people. That’s the exact reason I started blogging in the first place. It was my way of feeling connected to the world again after Gav was born.
Another reason this break has been a happy accident is because I have been super busy! I’ve been blessed with so many chalkboard art clients, commissioned art pieces, and photography work that something had to give. I want to share that all here as well. So I guess to some it all up, why still blog? Cuz I wanna!
There will be some changes here and there and I will be in and out. My hope is that by the new year I will have all of my ducks in a row and be ready to tackle a tight but doable schedule. This hopefully will also include a switch over to WordPress. *fingers crossed* As for now, I’ll be popping in from time to time, sharing this or that. If you have stuck around, THANK YOU! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I pray that you will continue to visit my little corner of the web and walk with me on my journey. Want to know where you can pretty much always find me? Follow me on INSTAGRAM and say hey!
In less than one week, 6 days to be exact, our sweet little Ro will be one. One whole year has passed and I can’t help but be super nostalgic about it. I remember, with Gav, feeling so excited about him getting older and each new stage. Not that I’m not excited for Ro’s new stages but I’m almost sad at the passing of the younger ones.
For me, not necessarily God’s plan but in my head, we’re done having kids. I feel totally complete with my two boys. I have no desire to “try for a girl”, I’m fairly convinced if we actually did that it would be another boy anyway. But I don’t feel like I am not fulfilled by not experiencing having one. Our family feels whole, the boys get along so well, for now that is, and I’m very happy with the dynamic of our little family. This is also not to say that we would be up in arms and upset if something “happened”, we’re just not planning on anymore and don’t want to try.
So this leaves me knowing that this is my last baby. The last time I will carry my child everywhere because he can’t walk yet. He also has zero interest in it and would rather just watch big brother do stuff. The last time I will cut things into little pieces for mealtime or make airplane noises with a spoon. Hopefully it’s not the last time I’ll have a kid who will try anything I put in front of him. I hope that one sticks!
My days are numbered for baby wearing and cuddles. Soon he won’t be falling asleep on me and sucking his thumb. He’ll start talking, which will be so wonderful, but along with that comes tantrums and the “terrible twos” and “threenager” phases. For now I still get to listen to the playful babble, the sweet “mama”s and “dada”s.
With Gav, every stage seemed like it took forever. Not in the way that he was behind but in the way that I looked forward to each stage and could barely wait for him to do something new. I swear it took twice as long for him to turn 6 months than it did Roman. With Ro, everything is seeming to go so much faster. Except for his teeth. He didn’t get his first tooth until he was 10 months and then I found myself missing his gummy smile. I was almost hoping he wouldn’t get them until later than that! It’s just little silly things like that that start to pull on my heart strings.
To know that I’m done carrying a life inside me is hard to think about sometimes as well. I was blessed with two wonderful, very easy, pregnancies. No morning sickness, no complications, etc. So if we weren’t done, that definitely wouldn’t be a factor in our decision. I loved being pregnant for the most part. I got super uncomfortable towards the end but that’s normal. Feeling the kicks, hiccups, and knowing that your body is growing theirs. It’s such an incredible experience.
But now I’m moving on to the next stage of my life, just like my boys. I’ll be a mom of a preschooler and a toddler and I know that life is about to get a lot more rowdy. I’m ready!
A couple of weeks ago, national breast feeding week/month kicked off. I’ve seen tons (and TONS) of posts about normalizing breast feeding, “breast is best”, and extended breast feeding. These posts are all wonderful, but they kinda make me sad sometimes. When Ro was just a month or two old, I wrote about my dislike for breastfeeding. Not that I don’t think people should do it, just that it was not an enjoyable, easy experience for me. You can read the full post HERE.
Pretty soon after that, I wrote another post entitled “A Farewell to Breastfeeding”. It didn’t last very long for me, just under a whopping three months, and I was ok with that. But there was/is a small part of me that is not ok with it. A small part of me that is sad about it. How in the world am I sad, STILL sad about something I didn’t enjoy in the first place? I’m not sad that I don’t have any documentation of breast feeding like some women. But I guess I wonder if getting help from a lactation consultant would have made it better, easier. I wonder if I gave up too soon. I wonder if I didn’t pump enough. Maybe I should have just sucked up being too tired to clean the pump after and just pumped anyway because that’s what was best for my baby. I wonder if I should have said no to supplementing in the hospital, even if he was jaundiced. Maybe he got used to a bottle too soon. But he was sick, he needed more nourishment than I was able to give or he was able to get right from the start. Why would I deny my baby his health, his best chance at getting better faster. I am so blessed to live in such a privileged world where I can get food for my baby elsewhere. That I live where my baby had every opportunity to thrive and didn’t have to struggle daily to get milk.
So what does it mean to me to be a formula feeding mom?
It means I did the best I personally could for my baby. It means I chose to give him a better shot at nourishment than my body could give him. It means that I chose happiness and stress free feeding for my baby. It means I tried hard for three months, whether the outside world knows that or not. That I researched lactation and breastfeeding until I was blue in the face. That I ate everything I could to increase my supply and it just didn’t work out for me.
It means that sometimes I’m embarrassed when I whip out a bottle and formula dispenser and start shaking. That whether or not it’s happening, I feel judged by other mothers. Along with that, it also means that I’m probably getting the approval of boobie-phobes. It means that I feel a little uncomfortable when I see breastfeeding pictures because a part of me is ashamed that I “gave up”. Not that I think they shouldn’t be posted because, by all means, go for it! It means that I feel a little embarrassed when someone asks me if I’m still breastfeeding and I answer no.
It also means that I was able to bond better with my child because I wasn’t stressed about latching or worried about him getting enough to eat. That I could kiss him and breathe easier as he drank from a bottle. It means he could calmly get nourishment rather than scream and scream hungrily while my body literally streamed milk in his face. It means I choose try exclusively pumping to get the most breastmilk as I could for him. It means I know that breastmilk will always be better than formula in my mind, not to mention cheaper, but I did what I could. The first time around, with Gav, it meant that I chose to give him his best mommy by going on medication. This time around, with Ro, it just means that my body couldn’t keep up. And that’s ok because that is how God made me. For my best friend, God made her to produce abundantly and that’s awesome! I even have another friend that has had more than enough for her children and has been able to donate ounces upon ounces.
Being a formula feeding mom, to me, means I accept that this is the way I was meant to feed my child. It means that I am blessed to have this option. It means that I still fully support breast feeding however, wherever, whenever it needs to be done. It means that I’m doing MY best for MY baby and isn’t that the point?
I mentioned this a little in my resolutions post last week and I said I would share a little more about what I meant. So here we go!
Why is NEW in quotations you ask? Well that’s because it’s not a new philosophy in the blogging world. It just new to me. For the longest time I thought I had to post EVERY DAY.
E V E R Y D A Y
I’ve read post after post about blogger block and “the best blogging advice” and so on. Essentially, they all say the same thing. If blogging starts to become an obligation, assuming this is something you do for fun, then you need to take a step back. This was really weighing on my heart. I felt like maybe I was just too caught up in the “I have to post. I have to post.”. I was spending so much time at the computer that maybe I wasn’t present with Mr. G enough. I would feel anxious if on any given day I didn’t post at all, what would happen to my numbers? THE NUMBERS!!!
Oh right…all those posts I’ve been reading say don’t worry about those.
They also said the timeless classic “Quality Over Quantity”. Hmm… These bloggers may be on to something. But what was I going to do about any of this?
So I prayed about it. (Another resolution! Bringing God into ALL aspects of my life) I prayed for God to lead me in the way I was suppose to go in this blogging thing. Should I change my image, rebrand, again? That just sounded like a terrible idea. Plus, I like the whole focusing on happiness thing I have going on. Should I just take a sabbatical, just to clear my bloggy-head. Should I quit altogether? Wow, that was a hard one to think about but it did seem like a real option. But I kept hearing “Quality Over Quantity” again and again in my head.
Quality Over Quantity…
And that’s where I am now. I’m not quitting. I enjoy writing too much and sharing my little creations. I’m just posting less. So if you want to know what to expect, here’s a run down of my blogging schedule:
Monday – Ten Little Things
Wednesday – Mommyhood or DIY
Friday – Mommyhood or DIY
Sat/Sun – Inspiration (sometimes a freebie!)
Short and simple. Some weeks might have 2 DIYs, a mommy post then a DIY, sometimes a Pinterest try out (Saw It, Pinned It, Tried It), and so on. This decision has lifted a HUGE weight off my little bloggy shoulders and allows me to spend more time being present in my everyday life.
Last week I did something crazy. I did something I never thought I could do unless I never left the house. I went an entire week without wearing a stitch of makeup. No consealer, no tinted moisturizer, nothing. I went an entire week with only plain ole SPF face moisturizer and lip balm. A whole week with my face in it’s birthday suit if you will.
I started it on a whim when I ran out of time last Monday morning and had to leave the house without makeup on. I remembered an article I had read where a woman had done a week without makeup and I thought, “That sounds like a really hard thing to do…let’s try it!” So, the week was chosen at random and I didn’t really have anything super important going on, no real plans. I thought this was going to be pretty easy. Not so. Here’s how it went down complete with photographic, no filtered, unprocessed evidence.
Not feeling super confident but not that bad. Just like any challenge you try, new habit you start, day one can be one of your most determined, self disciplined days. I went to work where I teach dance so it’s not that uncommon for me not to wear that much makeup. I forgot to put in my contacts and hiding behind my glasses made me feel better. And as you can see from my main photo, I stayed in them for most of the week.
Still, not the most comfortable but not that bad either. I wasn’t going to work so I could dress a bit nicer and I re-straightened my hair. I did have a play date to go to with friends I hadn’t seen since the beginning of the year but we’re all moms so we don’t judge.
Yeah…this day was harder. Dance clothes, no hair or glasses to hide behind. Plus, this was the day Mr. G ended up going to after hours care from coughing so much. I was all stressed and I could just feel the pimples forming from it all. But I got through it. When I looked at myself in the mirror at work, giant wall to wall mirrors guys, it wasn’t as bad as I felt it was. So there’s that…
Then I realized that Mr. G had a birthday party to go to on Saturday. People I don’t know, a new setting, a prime “put-on-your-best-face” situation. Greeeeeeaaaat. I considered backing out at this point. But then again, these are people I. don’t. know. Not that they matter any less, but when will I see them again right?
Getting better here. Yeah I was breaking out a bit from stress but I started feeling more “eh…” about it. I looked in the mirror and told myself that it is what it is and I’m not the only one who breaks out. I’m not ugly because of it, it’s life. Then, in the afternoon Hubs texted me that we were going to dinner with his parents and some of their friends on Sunday. I think I started convulsing. Why….why did I pick this week?! Maybe I’ll quit now. Saturday and Sunday I NEEED to wear makeup!! But no, I was on day 4, more than half way through, and maybe I’ll feel better on those days. I’ll curl my hair or something.
Ah….Friday, sweet Friday! I don’t do anything but stay home with Gavin on Fridays. We stayed home all day, went to Walmart that evening. This was a very easy day. I actually felt like this weekend was gonna be no problem, I was going to do this if it killed me.
This is the morning I came 2 seconds from quitting. I forgot to take a picture for day 5. This was my out! “Oh well I forgot, I’ll do it again another week. I NEEED to wear makeup today and tomorrow. I forgot, this isn’t quitting, I forgot so it doesn’t count anymore!” After all that nonsense, I realized I was making excuses. So I snapped the pic you saw for day 5 right after waking up because, let’s be honest, I didn’t look any different that morning than I did the day before.
I curled my hair, did NOT put on makeup, and went to the party with Mr. G after work. And then a shocking thing happened. I realized that no one cares what I look like! I mean, I KNOW the party was, of course, not about me, but I realized my feeling that I need to impress people with my appearance is just plain incorrect.
Sunday! Day 7 and I did it! Hair still curled from the the day before, spruced up with some dry shampoo, and my glasses. I dressed nice and it wasn’t all that bad. Yes, I still felt insecure at the dinner being with people who are used to seeing me with makeup but no one said anything. I never even got the oh-so-wonderful “you look tired” comment.
So there it is, my week without makeup. Did I enjoy my experience, not really. Would I do it again? UH NO. Did I happily slap on foundation as soon as Monday rolled around again? You betcha!
But did I learn a whole heck of a lot? Yes ma’am, I did! I learned that I don’t need makeup like I think I do. Half the time, people really don’t notice. I have other qualities (and I’m not talking about my hair and glasses) that are more important.
I didn’t tell my husband about this until Sunday. I knew what he would say if I had told him on Monday. He would tell me he loves me just the way I am, that I don’t need makeup, I’m beautiful without it to him. And yes, this should be enough but since when does anyone, male or female, listen to their spouse/significant other the first time around? I needed to do this for my own crazy mind. I look at myself a little more forgivingly now. I did tell a couple of friends so that I would feel accountable to go through with it, kind of like a diet. You feel more inclined to stick with something if you tell people you’re doing it.
Most importantly I actually realized that the cliche “it’s ok not to be (or look) perfect” is true. I embraced it rather than stress about it or blow it off. Call me cliche then, if you must, but I am perfectly imperfect and that’s pretty awesome.
The past 33 months I’ve learned a lot about myself. Why 33 months? That’s about how old Mr. G is. It’s amazing how much one can change and grow in such a short period of time. I can’t really say if I’m the kind of mom I always thought I’d be but here are 33 things I’ve learned about myself as a mother, in just 33 short months:
1. I can handle a lot of gross things.
2. I have a very high tolerance for poop.
3. To find out what something is, I’m apparently not afraid to smell it.
4. I will sniff a butt in public.
5. I can go an inordinate amount of time without remembering to shower.
6. I function well on less sleep. (I realize this is unusual.)
7. I have no problem disciplining/taking away privileges from my child when he misbehaves.
8. I instinctively reach to catch vomit.
9. When my child is hurt, I stop everything I am doing and RUN to make it better.
10. I’m not as much of a mama bear as I thought I’d be when it comes to Mr. G playing with other kids. However, if you hit/push/shove my son, prepare for the wrath.
11. I am not immune to cuteness. Sometimes our time outs become pointless.
12. I will do anything for a kiss from my boy.
13. As much as I love him, sometimes I long for the times when he’s asleep.
14. I actually enjoy being outside.
15. I’m not as jumpy to call the doctor as I thought I’d be. I usually let “cold-esque” symptoms ride out a day or two before calling.
16. However, when he is sick, need to go to the doctor sick, I get really stressed out.
17. I really like Curious George, Bubble Guppies, and Team Umi Zoomi
18. When Mr. G hits a milestone, I cry.
19. When he starts something new, i.e. preschool, I cry.
20. I’m a crying mom….just everything new and precious, I cry.
21. I still don’t like to get messy. This is a hard one seeing as I have a boy, but I’m getting better.
22. From time to time, I don’t have as much patience as I thought I would.
23. I love watching him explore. I don’t even have to be included. I just love to watch him.
24. I never knew that I could feel such amazing love and “OMG if you don’t stop right now I’m gonna freak out” anger at the same time.
25. I’m actually ok spending time away from my son. Like a weekend away, I’m totally fine yet very happy to come back to my buddy.
26. I don’t always cry when he cries. Whether he’s hurt or sad, my heart always breaks but I don’t cry. Obviously this is contrary to 18-20.
27. I’m a bit of a “mommy hoarder”. I have a very hard time getting rid of his things/clothes. This tends to aggravate my allergy to clutter.
28. I take pictures of EVERYTHING. Everything, anywhere, all the time, every time.
29. I will bribe my child to get him to cooperate. Hey, sometimes you just have to!
30. I don’t mind getting in the water as much as I use to just because I know how much Mr. G loves it. I enjoy going to the pool now! What?!
31. I don’t want as many children as I thought. This does not mean that Mr. G is an awful terror child, I just know how difficult it is now. At one point I thought I wanted 4…um no.
32. I don’t know how to carry on regular conversations with people without mentioning Mr. G at least 100 times. In every conversation I have now, even with people who don’t have children, somehow my son will get mentioned. Can’t help it!
33. I live for play dates! You never know how much you can crave adult interaction until it is no longer your norm.
This motherhood thing is a crazy, beautiful, amazing, scary ride but I can’t imagine my life any other way or without my little man in it!