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I grew up in a small town. The kind of town where people are born and die in the same hospital bed. Midwest dreams of nothing more than marriage and babies and your own plot of land to park your trailer…

 I chose to head West. To follow love and adventure and something else, something I still can’t quite put my finger on. I found those things in my husband and in the life that we have led since then. I chased the sunset looking for a place to stick my toes in the sand and smell the salt water air. Those places seemed golden to me at 18 and live somewhere between my memories and fantasies now that I have experienced them. 

In the last six years I have learned to let go, to forgive, to love unconditionally, and to trust in the process. I had a baby, lost a baby, and am growing new life again. It all comes down to family, first seeking my own and now trying to fit it all back together. 

So away we go. Tonight we pack up the car, say goodbye to the California home I never thought I’d own and head back towards the sunrise, to start anew in an old place. So many changes to come and I have never been so ready. 

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On The Eve Of Two

Today you are one. Tomorrow you will be a big girl. A bigger girl. Somehow at two the world has decided you take up too much space to be a baby anymore and you’ll become something else. Someone with her own seat, Someone with her own ticket, someone who needs her own menu… Not quite a baby, not quite a kid, just somewhere in between the spaces.

It’s surreal.

As I write this I feel the tears coming on. They’re going to spill over and if you catch me sitting here crying you’ll climb up onto this unfamiliar bed, put your still 1 year old hands on my cheeks and you’ll ask me “Mommy is sad?”

“No,” I’ll say. “Yes.” I’ll decide. “Both.” I’ll finally understand.

Because I am sad. I am sad that I am losing my baby so soon after I lost the baby I thought would make it easier. Because, in a selfish way, it is sad to watch you grow up. It’s heartbreaking to know every day you are one day closer to going your own way, and that every decision I make now is geared towards preparing you for that time.

But I’m happy, too. So happy! I laugh so much because of you. Today you sang songs in the car I didn’t even know you knew and I thought my heart might explode. Because you are bigger. Because every day you do something to amaze me. You take my breath away and you fill me with joy. Because without you I wouldn’t have been able to survive losing something so precious. And even so, without that loss I might not appreciate all of this so much.

Baby girl, my baby for a few more hours, I love you so much. You are everything I could have ever asked for. You are my soul. My bright eyed, independent, fierce little girl who’s got my chin and my smile and my eyes. You’ve got your dad’s tenacity and intelligence and cheeks. You are the best and the worst of us and you make it perfect. My little big girl, I am so lucky to have you.

So tonight while you are still my baby, my only baby, I’ll cry a little but I’ll laugh a lot. Because I love you as big as the moon, as much as the stars, as endless as the universe!

 Tomorrow you will be two.

Too much.

Much too big.

A big girl.

My bigger girl.

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On The Eve Of Two

How To Tell If Your Kid Is Now A Toddler

This morning when reaching into my gym bag for my badge to get onto base, I stuck my hand in a cup of water. The same cup of water I looked all over the house for last night after Emi said she put it away. Also, her new favorite game is “I have a surprise for you…” Ohhhh, life with a toddler.

Let's jump off a rock down a steep mountain! It'll be fun, Mom!
Let’s jump off a rock down a steep mountain! It’ll be fun, Mom!
-Toddler Logic

Are you living with a toddler? Take this quick quiz to find out!

1. Have you been finding random cups of liquid in your gym bag?

A. No
B. Yes
C. I’m too afraid to look.

2. Do you say this phrase more than once a day?
“DON’T MOVE UNTIL I WIPE YOU!”

A. No
B. Yes
C. Except for the days I am saying “Drink this juice, it will make your tummy feel better.” Then, I just pray a lot.

3. Are you failing miserably at hiding your laugh when your child says to you, “This tastes like dirt.” and then just handing her whole tubs of cottage cheese or another food that is the only thing she will eat?

A. No
B. Yes
C. At least it’s got fats and protein. She also eats a lot of dirt, that’s full of minerals, you know.

4. Have you ever seriously thought about duct taping a diaper closed?

A. No
B. Yes
C. Do you like cleaning poop off the walls? Didn’t think so.

5. Do you end the day praying for bedtime, then find yourself randomly standing in the doorway, missing them like crazy?

A. No
B. Yes
C. Yes. But I also have a very big glass of wine in my hand and it’s usually after I’ve spent 3 minutes on the toilet just sitting there without anything catastrophic happening.

Mostly A’s: Why are you even taking this quiz?

Mostly B’s: Welcome to Toddlerhood, Mama!

Mostly C’s: This probably isn’t your first rodeo. Raise that wine glass high!

How To Tell If Your Kid Is Now A Toddler

Snapshot Saturday

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My ray of hope.
My reason to keep trying.
My first, but not my only.

Snapshot Saturday

Living Life on Purpose

555150_148807201952265_2081807157_nThe biggest decision I have made in my life wasn’t to become a parent. It was the kind of parent I chose to become.

My husband was the first of the big decisions I made. I had a very clear choice. I could have done the safe thing and went off to college, built up a staggering debt, and repeated the small town cycle of life I grew up in. I didn’t know any different. Through him I had another choice. He said, “Stay with me.” And *poof* just like that I made the decision to leave everything I knew and write my story my way. The Hub has been the greatest gift of my life. Together we’ve built a beautiful life full of happiness, trust, and support. I know without a doubt that in 50 years he’ll still be by my side come hell or high water. He makes me strive to be better, for him, for Emi, and for myself.  I know I made the right choice.

When I got pregnant, I realized parenting wasn’t just about my child, it was about me too. When I chose a home birth I faced some of the normal backlash of “But it’s dangerous!” and “It’s selfish!” I think it started me off on the right foot because it forced me to prepare, to research, and to gain more knowledge in the physical and mental processes of pregnancy and birth. I didn’t sit back and let things happen to me, I chose the path I felt was best, regardless of other’s thoughts. This was a huge realization for me. It isn’t selfish to think of your own wants and needs, it doesn’t make you a bad parent to respect your own happiness while fostering your child’s. You matter too! It was the beginning of listening to my truth above the chatter of everyone elses.

As I started thinking about the kind of parent I wanted to be, I only had to think about the kind of person I wanted Emi to be. How could I shape her into a strong, kind, independent, loving, secure, and healthy person? By being that person to her. Without showing her love, kindness, strength, security, and an example of health, how could she internalize those things? She could eventually, but it’d be a harder road than it needed to be. For starters, I do not withhold affection from her for any reason; if she asks for me I give her everything I have. Period. No situation changes that. I set limits, I tell her no, but I do it with respect and empathy for her feelings, because her feelings matter. When I speak to her, I think about what I am saying and I choose my words carefully. I don’t tell her she can’t do something if I can’t give her a valid reason. “I see that you can climb onto the counter! That is exciting for you. I don’t want you to climb onto it because it’s not safe for you to be up there. Remember when you fell off yesterday? It scared us all and it hurt you. I won’t let you play up there.” Does this upset her? Absolutely! Does she push limits to test my seriousness? Of course! But I am her parent and I owe it to her to be consistent and trustworthy. My word has to mean something and without follow through and consistency it won’t.  I am not perfect, I fail many time a day. When that happens I apologize. I take responsibility for my actions and my feelings and I am open with her about them. The night before last I fought with her, becoming so frustrated that I yelled while I was trying to get her ready for bed. I stopped, I looked her in the eye and I apologized. I took responsibility for my frustration and asked her how we she wanted me to help her get dressed. All she wanted was to lie on her stomach while I put her diaper on, such a simple request that took me much too long to listen to. We got her dressed and she crawled into my lap for a hug. It’s moments like that that I am so thankful I parent deliberately and not just from the hip. She deserves my best, I owe it to her to be present and involved in her life every moment, not just for the big picture. It’s the moments that matter most.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” — Maya Angelou.

Read that quote again and again; live by it. Let your past go and embrace your future. Learn more, do better, and make the most out of what you have. Live deliberately. Make the choices that will facilitate you dreams. I spent too many years miserable, letting things happen to me instead of making the choices that would have made me happier. I made the right choices where they counted and I love the life I have made for myself with my family. I think the key to happiness is going for what you want and failing as many times as you have to until you get it. And if you have the right people around you, they will support you. They will help you build the ladder that reaches to your moon. Hold those people close and don’t ever let them go.

Living Life on Purpose

Step One: All In

Yesterday, I wrote about how I’ve decided to pursue my passions and apply to become a Bradley Method™ instructor and a certified personal trainer. Today, I bought my personal trainer exam voucher and study materials and I am going to schedule my exam for sometime in July. I’ve already filled out my Bradley™ application for the December workshop, rewrote my birth story, and will be putting down my deposit in the coming months. Because why not just jump in head first? I am so excited and nervous! I know I have a lot of work ahead of me but I am so ready to get started.

I’ve wanted to do these things for so long but I kept making excuses, mostly pregnancy/baby related. After losing our baby last month, it really pushed me to just go for what I want. To let what happens happen, but to make sure I was doing everything I could to make my dreams a reality.

Last night I dreamed that I got fired from my job. I was happy, I was not only forced to make the changes I wanted to make but I was free to do it. Alas, it was only a dream and it will be a long time before I’ll be able to make these things my main source of income, but it’s a road I am ready to travel. It’s not going to be easy, I’ll be a little like Lightening McQueen ripping up the old path and laying down new pavement, (yepppp I’m a mom!) but it’s going to be worth it. (And now I am going to adopt Ka-chow! as my own personal catch phrase.) Next up is to get CPR/AED certified before my exam.

If all goes as planned, I’ll be a certified personal trainer and Bradley Method™ instructor by the end of the year!

Well hello, Life, I see that you’ve been waiting for me.

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Step One: All In

Your Mountain Is Waiting

I adore Dr. Suess. His imagination, his outlook on life, how as an adult his words are more profound to me than ever — he’s eternal. My favorite Dr. Suess quote of all time is:

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This may be because my favorite thing to do is climb the mountain ranges surrounding my town and running down them. There’s a point when I’ve picked up so much speed and my toes are barely touching the ground that I feel like I am flying. It’s the most exillerating feeling. The mountains have become my happy place.

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Lately I have been thinking about happiness, about the things that matter to me and how I want to spend my time. I’ve realized that I am not doing the things I am passionate about. I want to work with women and babies, I want to teach people about health and fitness, I want to spend more time with my daughter, and I want the time I spend away from her doing things that fill up my soul. So with the Hub’s encouragement and support, I’ve decided to pursue becoming a Bradley Method™ instructor, doula and a personal trainer. I’m still deciding when I want to take the personal training certification, but I know I will be attending the Bradley workshop in December. I am excited and scared and so super nervous, but you’ve got to take risks to make things happen. I want to live my life in a way that will inspire Emi someday. I want her to follow her heart and work hard to obtain her dreams and I need to be the person I want her to be.

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Your Mountain Is Waiting