Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Peace Out, 2014.

I'm so glad 2014 is over.
It's been such a tough year.
A good year. But a hard year. 
Don't get me wrong, Felix being here has truly been the highlight of my life. 
But he couldn't have picked a more hectic time to come into the world. 

Between Seth graduating, us leaving our old church in San Jose, Seth completing his tests, me working two jobs, Seth finding a job, us moving in with my parents, and now moving to Oregon, and everything in between all of those HUGE things -- I'm exhausted. 
Emotionally, spiritually, physically. 
I feel like I need a year to sleep this last one off. 

During all of this change, I struggled. My relationship with God suffered. My marriage suffered. Our finances suffered. My role was constantly changing. The baby weight didn't magically fall off. I forgot how to take care of myself. 

I'm at a point in my life where I couldn't care less about church. That is a really hard thing to admit, but it's true. When we left the church in San Jose I was so disillusioned and mad at the church and Christians in general. 6 months later, I feel like I'm finally in a place where I can let it go and move on. I want to be captivated by the gospel again. 

2015 has the potential to be really awesome. We've been given a fresh start in a new state, my business is doing well, Seth likes his new job, and Felix is growing up to be a curious and exciting toddler. 

I have high hopes for 2015. I'm not sure I'm going to make any "resolutions" -- because 99% of the time those things don't actually happen. 

I hope my business grows, a lot. I am excited where JVN Designs is going!
I hope I fall back in love with Jesus. 
I hope we can get plugged in to a local church. 
I hope I can be a better wife and mama to my boys. 
I hope to lose the baby weight by sticking to low carb and not cheating. I want to lose the baby weight before having another baby and adding more weight on!
I hope to take better care of myself. Learning to slow down, listen to my body, and shutting my computer, phone and iPad off more often. 

Peace out, 2014. You were officially the craziest year on record. 
2015, I hope you're a little less hectic and a lot more enjoyable. 

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Mamalogues - Volume 1

Today was a rare, sweet surprise.
After his 1 year shots, Felix had a really hard time falling asleep in his crib even though he desperately needed a nap.
After 25 minutes of fussing I went into the room and started to rock him to sleep.
Within 1 minute he was out.
I breathed a sigh of relief and I almost screamed of surprise.
Felix hasn't fallen asleep on me in months.

He's just not that kind of dude I guess. Once he was out of the newborn stage where he could fall asleep anywhere, he chose only to fall asleep in the car or crib. No matter how much we tried he would not settle down in our arms.

As I continued to rock, bounce, pat his butt I turned around and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
Surely this is not how I wanted to look as my baby turns 1.
How, in one years time, did I not find the time to lose the baby weight?
How, in one years time, have I still not figured out how to do my hair in the morning before we have to go somewhere?
I stopped myself before the negativity went any further, knowing that I could go on for days about my inadequacies and insecurities.

Felix doesn't care about my unkempt hair. It's easier for him to pull on and play with this way.
Felix doesn't care about my extra roll on my belly. It's a warmer and cushier place for him to fall asleep on.
Felix doesn't care about the fact that I never have makeup on. It's better for him because I can't get upset about him messing it up.
He doesn't care about my messy clothes, they smell more like "mama smell" which he loves anyways.

A time will come again when I get to take care of myself a little more, but now is not that time.
And that is OK.
I'm preaching to myself here.
The hair straightener can wait, at least until date night.
Same goes for the mascara.
It's ok to wear yoga pants. It's ok to wear maternity least for a little while longer.
It's OK that I'm not Supermom. It's ok to admit that I can't do it all.
Having myself and my child fully put together, while juggling a small business, a move across state lines, and the rest of lifes craziness is unrealistic.

Its OK.
You are not inadequate.
It's ok if you haven't lost your baby weight.
It's ok if you haven't brushed your teeth in three days.
Rest in the fact that you are doing the best for your baby.
Motherhood is full time self-denial.
And I'm hoping that us Mamas of littles can stick together in that. Support each other in that. And fight on through the trenches of motherhood that are often so deep we can't see the light, but also often so shallow that joy overflows.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Felix Alexander: ONE YEAR OLD!

Dear Felix,
Today you are ONE.
One year ago today was the best day of my life, the day you made me a Mom.
I marvel at what your little life means.
You have made me more patient, more loving, and a lot more tired. 
You have made me more selfless, more silly, and a much better person than I ever was before. 
You are a gift. A precious gift. 
I know God smiles when you smile. He made you so He could delight in you, and you know what's crazy? He loves you more than I do. I can't even wrap my head around that. 
He delights in your big ol head, your turkey smile, your beautiful brown eyes, and your sweet curly hair. He loves your precious outy belly button, your big smushy cheeks, and your cute bear buns. 
Do you mind if we take a little trip down memory lane?
The year has just flown by so fast that I don't want to forget anything. 

You entered the world on a cool Sunday morning, after a long and difficult night of labor. You arrived at 6:29am, which is precisely what time you wake up every morning.
You came out upside down and all turned around, which made it a little difficult for me. 
But we quickly realized that you were finally here and that was all that mattered. 
You were perfect. 
Sweet cheeks, a full head of hair, a big head like Daddy, and almond shaped eyes like Mommy. 
You were supposed to be born on Grandpa's birthday, but you came 8 days late. That's ok though, you need your own birthday because of how special you are!
Your first Christmas was a blur. You were only two weeks old and things were still very new and difficult for all of us. This picture describes pretty well how things were:

The first few months of your life were hard. You spit up all the time, and your tummy troubles had us searching endlessly for the right kind of food to give you.
Once we settled on something it got a bit easier, and I'm so thankful you finally grew out of your spitting days! Now you just spit because you think it's fun. I'm ready for you to grow out of that :).
But, you have always been happy. Oh, so happy.
Even when you endlessly fought naps. Even when you kept us up all night.
You were happy. And you are still the happiest baby I know. 

Ok dude, I've already taken 3 breaks to cry while writing this post. I hope you appreciate these letters to you when you're older so all of my tears don't go to waste!
Just kidding, nothing is ever wasted on you my love.
This year we had so many adventures.
We took you to Oregon, Washington, and Southern California!
You have been in the pool and on the beach quite a bit -- we are so lucky to have had the opportunity to do so many things with you in your first year.
We also did lots of hiking, road trips around the state, and so many trips to visit your grandmas and grandpas. 
You even got to see Crater Lake! This is one of my favorite pictures. I mean, the lake looks cool and all..but look at my boy!

Can we talk about what a flirt you are?
When I took this photo, I just knew what kind of damage those lips and those eyes could do to a lady.
And now, as a big one year old boy you haven't stopped flirting -- you flirt with someone everywhere we go! But don't be fooled, people are flirting back, my dear boy -- how could they not with a grin like that?!
Your favorite person besides me and Dad of course, is your Grandma Alison. I don't blame you, she's a favorite of mine too. You light up when you see her, you leap out of my arms and into hers. And she gets weepy about it just like I do.
Apparently weepiness runs in the family. 
You also love Autumn the dog, kitties, Grandma Pat, birds, airplanes, balls, and wheels. 
You love your lovey. Like serious love. I bet you're snuggling with him as you read this from the future. 
You still love to drink bottles, eat num num crackers, and lick ice cream. 
You say mama, dada, ball, "A-DER", and OW!
You don't have very much interest in walking, probably because you crawl at the speed of light. 
Seriously kid, you could burn a hole in the ground. 
You are very insistent on feeding yourself, and you hate hate hate to get your diaper changed. 
You still are a catnapper. You often need 3 naps a day, still. I'm trying to let go of what the books say about sleeping though. It's obvious that you need as many naps as you take. 
You love taking baths, crawling on different textures of floors, throwing balls ( or anything that is throwable), and putting your hands in cups and boxes.
You immediately take off socks when you can, which gets me the side-eye from old ladies in various establishments -- I've started to put shoes on you to help prevent you from pulling off your socks!
You are so busy. You are always moving, always finding something that interests you. I love to watch you run around the house, exploring anything and everything. When you do want to be held, its not for very long -- so I try to soak up every snuggle I can get these days. 
But you do love to be picked up. You raise your hands up to us whenever you are ready to be picked up. You also love riding on Dad's shoulders -- you should see the look on your face when you're up there!

You are a big boy. You mostly wear size 18 month clothes.
You weigh about 24 pounds, and stand tall at 32 inches. 
You didn't get sick for a very long time, until the last two weeks you have had two colds and a bad ear infection. Maybe if you didn't stick all the things in your mouth we wouldn't have this predicament!
Speaking of mouths, you have 6 teeth. 4 on top and 2 on bottom.
Teething has not been easy for you. Some people talk about babies that are "easy teethers" -- I wonder what planet those people are on because there is nothing easy about teething!

You love to laugh. And the things you find most hilarious are raspberries on your belly, being tickled on your belly and back, and any funny noises that we make. You are starting to laugh at people too, which is so funny to watch. You are very entertaining -- the way you watch people and wait for them to notice you, then you flash a huge grin when they finally do. 
I am a much more relaxed parent than I ever thought I would be. 
Perhaps you are an easy baby. Perhaps I married your Dad, who is the most easy going man on the planet. I hope you get his laid back vibe. 
And you are laid back for the most part, until I leave the room.
You are a fierce mamas boy.
And I'm totally not complaining, the feeling of being "needed" by someone so badly is a feeling only a mother can understand. It is special, it is mysterious, it is totally beautiful.
And I try to remember that when you freak out when I put you down so I can use the restroom. 
I tell myself that I can wait another hour to use the bathroom when you are napping. 
Motherhood is so fulfilling in a I-constantly-forget-who-I-am sort of way. 

I remember writing in the early days of your life that I've never been so lost, and so found.
That is still true, dear boy. 
I have no idea where I am, but I know I'm right where I need to be. 
You have always had a long list of nicknames.
I wonder what your nickname will be when you're old enough to read this.
I'll just name a few:
Turkey Boy
Boo Bear
Little Dude
Butter Ball

I wish I had a decent explanation for those, but I don't. You somehow fit every single one of those names. But Turkey is the most fitting.
Have I mentioned that you are the most handsome Turkey ever in existence?

Well, Felix.
I'm crying again.
I bet you're used to that by now. 

I hope you get to know someday the absolute amazing joy it is to be a parent. 
I didn't know my heart could expand so wide and so far to make room for the amount of love I have for you.
I hope that you grow up and know how much we care for you.
I hope we give you the space and opportunity to explore, follow your ambitions and dreams, and make plenty of messes along the way. 
I hope I am patient with you during all of those messes.
I hope that you always feel at home when you snuggle into my lap. 
I hope you never tire of my constant kisses. 
I hope that you grow up to be brave, strong, and confident in who you are. 
I hope you meet Jesus, I hope you are as captivated with Him as He is with you. I hope you give your life to Him, and I hope you choose to live in the fullness of His love. 
I hope you know that whatever and whoever you choose to love, we will never, ever, ever stop loving you. 
I hope you know that our love for you is unconditional and absolute. 

Being your Mama is my favorite thing ever ever ever.
 I don't think I could ever put into proper words what a blessing you are.
I will mourn (for a little while) that you are no longer a tiny baby, but I will delight in each new adventure that we have.
I'm so happy we were able to experience every big milestone with you. 
From grasping your first object, seeing your first smile, hearing your first laugh, and seeing your first eager crawl across the living room -- you have been an absolute joy to watch grow. 
I look forward to the next year of your life as you learn to walk, talk, and make us fall even more in love with you.

Happy First Birthday, sweet boy of mine. 
You are so incredibly loved. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Drop Your Weapons

I winced as I pressed enter on this blog post. I admittedly don't have a thick skin, but that shouldn't stop me from sharing what I'm passionate about. I'm done being passionate about political opinions and social causes. I want to be passionate about loving people, so I ask you to drop your weapons as you read. And consider taking the same step toward a better and more tolerant future.


I've sat staring at this blank box for 25 minutes now.
I know, "where does she find the time to just sit down in front of a blank screen for 25 minutes?"
My time will be up here, soon. I assure you -- the circus starts again as soon as Felix opens his eyes.

I'm feeling sad lately.
It's December 4th, so I really shouldn't have anything to feel sad about.
Seth has a new job, Felix's birthday is coming up, Christmas is almost here..
But current events have me feeling lower than usual and I can't seem to shake the darkness.

The topics of race, religion, social justice and politics seem to be more on fire than ever before. We have become a completely divided nation -- almost down the middle. Black and white. Liberal and Conservative. Religious or non religious. Justice versus injustice. Each side seems to be more and more polarized.

This is a country that takes pride in being a melting pot, a beautiful mix of differing opinions, beliefs, colors, languages -- but it doesn't feel so beautiful anymore. We're all fighting to be right and will stop at nothing to tell people with differing beliefs that they are wrong. We will verbally abuse, name-call, and beat our point to death just to make sure we come out on top. And it is making me sick.  There is no more agreeing to disagree. There is no respecting each others differences. There is no meeting in the middle. Today I felt physically ill over all of it.

And don't tell me that deleting my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is going to help. It might limit my exposure but it doesn't change the reality.

I'm sad that people crying out over injustice means looting peoples homes and businesses. There is no justice found in that. I'm sad that rioting is the only way people think their voice is heard.
I'm sad that innocent lives are lost and pre-judged because of skin color -- as if were skin color were a determining factor in the actions of an individual.
I'm sad that people in roles of power, whether in law enforcement or politics, think they can ignore the law and bend the rules.
I'm sad that friendships and family relationships are tainted or torn apart because of opposing views.

Respect and love seem to no longer triumph these days.
I wonder what the founding fathers would say if they looked at our nation today. I wonder if they would be proud, or if they would be disappointed -- or if they want to run away to Canada like I want to sometimes.

I'm totally guilty of the negativity -- I don't want to skip over that reality.
I've slung the mud, posted the articles, thought the thoughts.
But I don't want to be guilty anymore.
I want to wipe my hands clean of the hatred and walk away.

Today I'm going to resign from the arena of sharing or even having an opinion.
It's not worth losing friends over. It's not worth the stress of defending everything I believe.
The only thing I'm sure of is that Jesus is Lord. That is the only thing I'm willing to die for believing. That is the only thing I'm willing to let people try to shred my dignity over.
Nothing else has ever really mattered that much anyways.
And that is an entirely different post for an entirely different nap time.

Today I'm a both a republican and a conservative. Because both sides have their errors and shortcomings -- and both sides have GOOD things.
I cry for justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Because guilty or not, EVERYONES life matters. Black, Brown, Red, White...All of them.
And I SEE white privilege. I wish there was more I could do about it then wish it didn't exist.
I'm pro-life and pro-choice. Because I love babies, and I think rape is deplorable.
I'm pro-gun and anti-gun. Because guns are good for some things but can do so much harm in the wrong hands.
I'm feminist and..not a feminist. Because I want equality for men and women but I don't think being equal means being the same.
I'm a formula and breastfeeding Mom, because my goal is to feed my child and watch him grow up and thrive.
I'm a homeschooling and public school Mom, because in so many ways I want to be Felix's teacher, but in so many other ways I want the professionals to do their thing so I can clean up my house and go get a pedicure at 11am -- no shame in my game.

As Christmas nears I'm remembering the Christmas truce of 1914 during World War 1. The dropping of weapons for a mere few hours so soldiers could enjoy Christmas, for many of them it was their last. Tolerance isn't found in waving signs and slogans on the sidewalk at a protest . It isn't found in hurling accusatory, negative, and downright hurtful comments at each other. Tolerance isn't SAYING you want tolerance but then slamming someone as "intolerant" when their opinions are different than yours. Tolerance can be found when we drop our weapons and agree to start working and thinking together. Not working together by shaking hands in front of the camera on the white house front lawn. Not pretending to work together while we have a secret agenda hiding under the table.

Because here's the crazy part. We ALL want the SAME thing.
We want health. We want freedom. We want equality. We want opportunity. We want respect. We want love. We want success.

Maybe, if we one by one, person by person, family by family, dismantle our polarized, opinionated views we might have more peace, more decision making in Congress, and less fear of having conversations about REAL things with people because we are afraid that they might not agree. I'm convinced that the Kardashians get so much media attention because no one wants to talk about things that matter.

My hope for the future is that tolerance can become a reality, not a slogan that we have to fight for. I want my future grandchildren to WONDER what it even means because it is so a part of their reality that it doesn't need a definition.

Phew. Thanks for hanging on for all of that. Do me a favor, if you want to sling mud, send me a message. I can't take any more public bashing today.