Precious Moments

Having the opportunity to stay home with my son (hopefully until he begins school) is something I will cherish forever. I am thankful for this time away from work so I can bear witness to how my son will blossom over these next few years. Although some days range from difficult to amazingly easy I know that these days are just a snapshot in time compared to the rest of our lives together and beyond. He has taught me so much even within the four months he’s been home with us. I have found strength where I didn’t know it existed and I am forever grateful for these lessons.

As Greyson continues to grow it’s important for me to capture these moments in photographs so that I will always have a little piece of him as he is little to hold onto. I know he’ll only be this little once and my plan is to document it all – and learn a little photography in the process!

Here are just a few snapshots I took the other day of my little man.

Camera: Canon Rebel XTi

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The Mom Without A Village

When my husband and I first became pregnant with our son we were simply beside ourselves. Just three months prior we were surprised to find out that we were pregnant the first time and unfortunately at 5 weeks I had lost the pregnancy. Then, after some time and the realization that we were ready to make that leap into parenthood we were officially on the path to trying to conceive (TTC to all those baby message board friends). No matter when one loses a pregnancy it takes a hard toll on your mind, body, and soul, and although we weathered that storm I found strength through my faith and marriage, which made us that much more determined to welcome this little baby into our family. Fast forward to today and baby Greyson has enriched our lives in so many ways within the few months he’s been with us.

When deciding to have a baby there’s a lot to consider and spending 9 months to prepare yourself for what life would cease to be like in exchange for a new normal is a lot to take in. For example, we had only been living in CA for about a year and a half before getting pregnant and were enjoying the opportunities to travel, wine taste, and pretty much do all the things we felt like like easily spending a few hundred dollars on ourselves or a good meal out. Not to mention I had started a new job as did my husband and a baby wasn’t so much in the plan. Then as life would have it, one pregnancy test later and we were on the journey that would bring us to where we are today and that’s (still) figuring this whole parenting business out.

All while without a village to rely on. But do we really need one?

A Mom Without A Village

New moms are told from the very beginning by society, and preconceived notions, that they NEED a village in order to raise their children. A notion that equates us to chickens with our heads cut off until an older and wiser adult comes along to guide us into proper parenting. It’s a perception that family and friends should descend upon your home with favors of cleaning, cooking, and watching the baby while you slept. Although we had friendly neighbors to help us with many of those things, my husband and I had to figure out most of those first few weeks and months on our own due to our families living so far away.

Was I sleep deprived and delirious those first few days home with the baby? Yes. Was my husband also attempting to figure this whole newborn thing out with me while continuing to work? Yes. Did we learn to stagger sleep schedules just so one of us could have enough energy to lift just one eyelid to change a diaper at 2am? Without a doubt. But we made it; we survived and I personally feel more accomplished as a new mom that we figured it out on our own not simply because we are super parents or looking for praise but because we had to.

Since becoming a mother for the first time I have found a purpose I never knew before. I have found confidence and unwavering patience due to the struggles I’ve faced on those tough days. I have learned a new role and dynamic within my marriage that wouldn’t have existed should Greyson had not come along. These are the mommy milestones that are overlooked when becoming a new parent – and I can say that I wear it proudly even in the face of not having a traditional village to help guide me.

Philip’s parents had stayed with us from birth up until a few weeks after Greyson came home. They helped (and continue to) financially with all the preparations for baby as well as providing groceries and taking care of our dog while we were at the hospital. I am grateful for them during such a transitional time, but they eventually went home – leaving us to continue figuring this whole parenting thing out ourselves. It continued to be hard, tiring, frustrating, but immensely joyful and exciting all at the same time.

Eventually us mothers must figure this out for ourselves and no amount of assistance can do that for us.

I’m not saying that a new mom should turn down help when it’s offered or available to her – Lord knows I need it from time to time! But, when said new mom lives thousands of miles away from family the responsibility and lessons learned about caring for a newborn far outweigh what she would have learned about herself as a mom if it were done for her. It is my opinion that moms should struggle a bit, as ludicrous as that sounds. Struggling provided me with a newfound sense of confidence and desire to learn the little nuances of my baby – things that only a mom would discover. When that precious baby lands in your arms it’s not as though you just automatically know him or her – it’s a relationship that over time you each learn more and more about. It’s a beautiful thing and parenting is just the same – it’s relational and takes time to figure out.

I’m the mom without a village and it turns out that your village is exactly what you make of it. I understand that I am probably in the minority of women who would rather do things without the help, but I also acknowledge the times when I do need it and have no problems asking for it – knowing that our village has become the few close friends we have out here. I have enjoyed getting to experience the complexities of parenthood rather than my struggles be circumvented by others stepping in. A quote by Linda Wooten puts it best: “being a mother is about learning the strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with the fears you didn’t know existed.” Being a mom is scary, but looking at yourself in the mirror knowing you’re badass for finding your strength outweighs the struggles you may experience – whether you have help or not.

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Life Lately

Unintentional Time Off

Life lately has had me pretty busy but in the #momlife kind of way. For example, now that my little guy is four months old he’s a lot more aware of everything around him and although I am enjoying this newfound freedom from having to be his personal court jester (he’s able to play alone for more periods of time), it’s left me catching up with other things and leaving this blog a little bare in regards to new content. Sorry, guys.

I struggle sometimes with writing and promoting my blog only because I’m having to adapt to a new baby schedule all the time and I want to keep my writing authentic. Before, I sat in envy of all the new mom bloggers who were able to keep up with posting 4-5 times a week – like, is there a super secret I’m not aware of? However, now I realize that as I begin to balance my responsibilities as a new mom I can focus more on the things I enjoy, which includes hanging out here.

So, thank you to those who spend a little time over here on the days I am able to hit publish. It’s nice to know that there are friends/bloggers who stop by even if it’s only every once and a while! But, please be sure to follow me on Facebook and especially Instagram because even though #momlife is in full swing these days I post there almost regularly…and, you know, it’s more fun to connect on a more personal level anyways…

Resurrecting My Photography Goals

One, I can’t leave this post without sharing a little #babyspam in the form of my little nugget – and two, I’ve dusted off my camera and decided to play around a little bit with it (I still have a long ways to go) and what better test subject than this guy? So, here are a couple photos that I’ve taken most recently…I feel like they came out pretty good! I’m still learning how the camera works and editing the photos. If anyone has any recommendations or posts about the subject please feel free to share in the comments!

Back In The Kitchen

I’ve really enjoyed getting back into cooking and finding new recipes for dinner. Some of my favorites this past week have been hearty, healthy, and full of veggies. I’ve been pretty much addicted to the food blog Damn Delicious and almost every meal I’ve tried my husband and I both have loved. If you’re looking for some recommendations to try for dinner you must try this, this, and this! Oh, and if you’re in need of a sushi fix this recipe for a California Shrimp Stack is seriously to DIE for and so easy-peasy to put together.

Hearty Chickpea & Pesto Soup

Summer Reading 2016

So I’m going to already mention that although I’ve seen every single Harry Potter movie (and loved them!) I haven’t read all of the books. I know, what’s wrong with me? So, knowing I wanted to find good books to keep me busy (as if being a mom isn’t) and my mind entertained I’ve decided to challenge myself to reading the complete Harry Potter series this summer. I’m already on Prisoner of Azkaban and just am in love with all the goodie details I’ve been missing out on for so long. Still love the movies, but nothing comes close to the original storytelling from J.K. Rowling herself.

So, that’s been pretty much my life lately and some of the things that have been keeping me busy beyond the screen. My hope is to be able to get back on here a little more consistently, but I never want to share something on this space that isn’t authentic or has a purpose – I don’t do fluff posts just to have something out there. Hope you all have had a lovely week so far!

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Easy DIY Accent Walls

Sometimes whenever my husband is out of the house long enough some of my bigger DIY projects I’ve pinned come to fruition. Accent walls were always a favorite project of mine because they’re easy to do, budget friendly, and a little bit of paint and a steady hand can bring a lot of charm to any living space. So, when I had pinned enough inspiration I wound up at Lowe’s purchasing a tub of paint, some brushes, painters tape and got to work.

Sometimes whenever my husband is out of the house long enough some of my bigger DIY projects I’ve pinned come to fruition. Accent walls were always a favorite project of mine because they’re easy to do, budget friendly, and a little bit of paint and a steady hand can bring a lot of charm to any living space

I had just published a post on easy DIY upgrades for any rental and one example of how I upgraded my own apartment was adding a striped accent wall in our living room and bedroom. Painting is typically an easy way for any renter (or homeowner) to add a touch of personality to their walls. Here’s how I accomplished this look in one day.

This post does contain Amazon affiliate links. Any purchases made with these links goes on to support this blog. Thank you!

Creating an accent wall is an easy DIY project that will be sure to brighten and upgrade any home. Here’s how you can achieve a similar look. To begin making your accent wall you’ll need these materials:

painters tape (I recommend these)
level (I used the app on my phone)
a pencil for making your marks
ruler or other tool for making your lines
accent paint color (I used white since my walls were already a cream color)
brushes & paint tin (I recommend this combo pack to make things easy)

STEPS

  1. The first thing you want to do before anything else is remove any light switch or outlet covers that you’ll be painting around. Also, take down any frames or other wall hangings (obvi).
  2. Then get out your level, pencil, and tape and begin marking where the stripes will be on your wall. I went with the top of the door as the beginning of my accent stripe and worked from there.Tip: Be sure that the measurements of the stripes correlate to where you’re hanging photos and such. It’ll look a bit off if your frames hang in between your stripes.
  3. When you’re ready to begin putting your painters tape down, be sure that you place the tape correctly. This means you are placing the edge of the tape along the pencil line of where you intend to paint your accent stripe. I made the mistake of laying the tape on the wrong side of the line – it’s just time consuming to fix.
  4. Mark with a little piece of tape to remember which lines you’ll be painting (see BEFORE photo) as you’ll be painting the thicker looking stripes. Once you run your finger and get all the possible air pockets that are between the tape and the wall you’re ready to begin painting! Taking the extra time to make sure you get all of those air pockets is crucial for seamless lines.
  5. I first began painting with the brush along the edges of the stripes where it meets the tape. This assures that a clean line is being made – plus it helps me begin slowly so I’m sure to get the feel for how much paint to use, how to brush it on, etc. Once I got comfortable I was able to move a bit quicker. I also used my brush in those tight corners and around fixtures. After a first coat was done I switched to my roller and proceeded to add my second coat and continued until the white looked even.
  6. This last part was hard for me since my excitement outweighed my ability to wait. But let the wall dry before taking the tape off. Also, keep air circulating with a fan or open your windows or doors as you work to keep the paint fumes to a minimum.

Ta da! Decorating my new wall was just as fun as creating it. I found wall shelves from Ikea to lean my frames, these similar wall sconces from World Market, and you can never go wrong with fresh flowers and a good ‘ole scented candle.

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What DIY projects are on your to-do list?

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