It Only Took Me 1343 Days

The other day I went a full day of not thinking about Max. I feel like a bad mom even thinking that, but I guess I went a full day without being sad, but he was in my thoughts all day. Does that make sense? It took me a while to make sense to me. 3 years. 44 months. 192 weeks, to be exact.  As I went to bed and replayed the busy day in my head, I was filled with guilt for not feeling sad. I caught myself searching for sadness. I wanted to be sad. 

"I have to be sad or it’s not honoring him."

"I have to be sad or else I’m going to forget his face."

I know grief more than I know happiness and I'm kicking myself for allowing that grief take over my life, even with therapy, even with books, great advice, bad advice, those hundred of think-pieces on grief, the grief groups, all of it. I was consumed and Max was missing and grief was in his place. I feel like I'm letting go of the grief. Grieving grief. Ha. 

The irony of all of this is I wanted so long to be happy, when I finally am, I'm sad about it. Ugh. 

I look back at everything I went through with MM, everything. What if I didn't go to therapy? What would my grief look like without social media? Would I have been able to make it without the support of strangers? I had moments of joy but I fought them hard. I feel like I can finally enjoy it. Scott deserves that. Miko deserves that. And dare I say I deserve that??

I read back on my captions on Instagram or even this blog and I cringe. CRINGE. I regret being so open and vulnerable sometimes, but then I read the hundreds of emails, comments and letters and I don't feel like it was such a big mistake. Sometimes I wish I would have grieved privately and just let myself live but I remember there are moments where I felt like if he couldn't live, he could at live in these internet spaces of mine. I think I needed that reassurance. I give myself grace because I was grieving and going through a traumatic experience. I need to remember that.

The wonderful part of all this? You let me be me. Occasionally I would get the email saying "Hey, you shouldn't grieve this way!" Or my favorite, "hey! I can't have kids so just be grateful you at least had ONE! Even dead!" Those really got to a grieving mom but at the end, those people were grieving in their own way, even if it meant hurting others. I wonder how they're doing all the time, too. 

Motherhood is finding your identity in a new lifestyle and I don't know who I am without grief. Just because I let go of this sadness, it doesn’t mean it represents who Mordecai Maximus was. It doesn't belittle the grief I did go through. It just means I’m finding different ways to remember him. 

And here's a photo of Miko wearing a piece from Max's wardrobe. Happiness. 

Growing With ErgoBaby- 6 Months!

When I was editing these photos, there's this gross feeling that hits you when you watch how big your baby is getting. It's not nostalgia. It's time. Time is a SOB and while I have loved watching Miko grow, I couldn't deny the punch in the gut from the overwhelming feeling. It's exciting to watch but also a little sad. Ah, motherhood! 

Miko loves it, I swear, but she's so tired. I wanted to catch her in the 'magic hour' for the photos but it's bedtime right before! Sorry, Miko! 

Miko loves it, I swear, but she's so tired. I wanted to catch her in the 'magic hour' for the photos but it's bedtime right before! Sorry, Miko! 

Here's an update with the ErgoBaby- I still use it often and the Adapt model is ideal when you want your baby to grow with you. When she was a tiny baby and I remember how scared I was to wear her. I have two models- the Original and the Adapt and while I love both, I had to use the insert with the Original and do more adjusting as she grew. With the Adapt, I've barely adjusted my straps and there's a bucket seat that easily adjusts for weight and height. 

New things I've loved about it- 

+ Adjustments are easy. My weight has changed, my milk is in, and with a couple pulls on the straps, it felt like I had a new custom carrier. If you're plus sized and think you can't wear a carrier, this is your carrier.  

+ Even distribution on weight- I've tried other carriers while recovering from my c-section and it always felt like my back was about to go out. It actually did recently when I wasn't carrying an Ergo! Big mistake. I can feel a difference- it's even throughout my back and hips without feeling like my poor back is about to snap. 

+ Mobility- I wrote about how excited I was to wear her everywhere and I do! We've been to IKEA, the mall, church, the grocery store, and most importantly, it helps getting out of the house so much quicker than a stroller. 

+ On a non-techincal note, I love it because wearing her puts her to sleep right away. I mean, look how TIRED she is in these photos.

What I don't like-

+ I love Ergobaby because they make neutral products that grows with your family- mom can wear it, dad will wear it and you can save it for your next baby! But I would love if they made a pink one in the Adapt

You can see Miko and Ergobaby here when she was tiny (I almost said when she was a baby, ha!). You can buy the Adapt here. Thanks to Ergobaby for the introduction to babywearing, they've supported this post series and it's a product and company I 100% believe in and I hope you love them as much as I do. You can see more of Miko and her babywearing adventures here! I'll be sure to update in a few months with it. 

Miko Reads

It's Scott's birthday week and I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of Miko's favorite books! 

We started reading to Miko as soon as we brought her home from the hospital. Aside from the fact that children who are regularly read to from birth are more like to know more words by the age of 2 and learn to read when they’re supposed to, storytime with Miko provides a special kind of bonding.

It’s a little awkward at first--you feel like you’re reading to a blank stare. By the time she was about a month old, she was already starting to respond to mannerism and silly voices, and by about two months she was starting to study the texture and symmetry of the pictures.

Now, at six months, books can actually calm her down; she’ll be fussy and as soon as she sees a book she starts looking at the pages and waiting for me to read it to her. She even is starting to help out with turning the pages. 

Every baby will have different books that excite them. Below are the ones we’ve found Miko most enjoys.

  1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - This was the first book that made Miko laugh. It’s great for it’s repetition and colors.

  2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Another great book that teaches baby about colors. This one is a special one for me because she responded most to this book- laughter, excitement, awe, and of course crying when it was over. 

  3. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! - Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? Apparently, babies! While the Seuss library is great for slightly older kids, they are a little long. Miko loves the rhyming, but she just doesn’t have the attention span for true Seuss classics. This book is like micro-Seuss; it retains the sounds and illustrations of a longer Seuss book, but is short enough to keep Miko’s attention the entire book.

  4. Giraffes Can't Dance - If you really want to keep baby interested, then you need to get animated. Just try and read this book without getting excited! It’s silly and easy to get into.

  5. The Pout-Pout Fish - This is another silly book that has an added feature that Miko can’t resists: kisses! Lots and lots of kisses. If there’s one thing Miko likes more than silly voices, it’s books that call for mom and dad to tickle and kiss her.

  6. Tuesday - This book proves that words are not always required for great storytelling. The entire book is told with pictures. That means it’s up to you to point things out to baby and tell them what’s going on in each page.

  7. King Bidgood's in the Bathtub - The illustrations in this book are amazing. We love reading it to Miko before or after her bathtime.

  8. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - If you can’t get your silly on with this book, then probably no book will work for you!

  9. Disney Tails We Love Marie - She may not be the most known Disney character, but if you want your baby to love cats, you can’t go wrong with this one!

  10. BabyLit - BabyLit is a series that takes classic books like Pride and Prejudices and turns them into books just for baby; if you want your baby to appreciate the classics later in life, than this is a great introduction.

  11. Where the Wild Things Are- This is Scott's favorite. It's special to see Miko enjoy it just like him. 

My personal favorite- Counting Kisses. I love kissing Miko. One of these days she'll know these kisses are of love and not annoyance, but there's actually benefits to kissing your baby more often. 

Miko usually has at least two reading times throughout the day. One in the day, and another at night. Her night books are all about sleep. She, unfortunately, doesn’t see the connection between the books and sleep (yet), but night is usually one of her most fussy times of the day, she rarely naps--she’s tired and cranky and these books help calm her down.

Goodnight Books:

  1. Pajama Time! - Miko hears this book almost every night right before or after we put her in her pajamas.

  2. The Napping House - The most beautifully illustrated goodnight book you’ll probably ever find!

  3. Goodnight Moon - Certainly one of the most soothing books for baby, and a true classic.

  4. The Going-To-Bed Book - Written by the same author as Pajama Time!, this a silly and fun book to read just before bed.

  5. Goodnight, Numbers - Okay, I’ll admit I picked this up because it’s written by Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years! But it’s actually a great book. It encourages you to teach baby about numbers.

Happy Birthday to Scott! What a good dad he is and I'm so grateful our value of reading will hopefully go to Miko! Watch this space for more updates on her books! All links are affiliated, thanks for the support! Matching Where The Wild Things Are shirt and onesie from Out of Print Clothing, Miko's bow from Little Poppy Co. 

If you'd like more reading inspo, I love this tag from Anabela. Happy baby reading! 

Miko + Chloe

Miko made a new friend recently thanks to Cuddle and Kind! I want Miko to have few toys but the ones she has I want her to grow with and love. Chloe is an heirloom doll- I'll tell her the story of how it's made by hand by a special woman in Peru. I'll tell her a purchase of one doll will be able to help support her but I'll also tell her 1 doll means Cuddle and Kind gives away 10 meals to families in need. They support 49 countries through orphanages, hunger organizations, and they make sure every child is impacted. All of this through ONE doll. (Yes, this is the same outfit for her from a couple posts back because she looks CUTE in it, it's my favorite so far). 

Cuddle and Kind offered me a doll for Miko in exchange for a post and social shares. I couldn't be more excited to share this company. One of the Cuddle and Kind dolls was on Miko's baby registry before they contacted me. This was one of the dolls I would hope Miko would grow with. I got the smaller size in Chloe to not overwhelm her, to have someone her small size. She's noticing faces and her memory is getting stronger, I want her to recognize her doll more. She's already spit up on it on accident, thrown it, used it as teether, basically doing what babies do and Chloe has taken it all and still looks great after a good hand wash. 

You can buy the dolls here, and read more about what Cuddle and Kind is doing here. Thanks for the support Cuddle and Kind

New Favorite: Victoria

PBS makes the best period-pieces. Downton Abbey was great, but Victoria is even better. Queen Victoria is sassy, strong, and in the first season she grows from a teenager to a woman thrown into royalty. I've watched it twice and just like the big nerd I am, I had to get the companion book. I had fun playing with the ABM PS filters Pearl, High Society, and Puget Sound

I grew up on PBS, we didn't have cable and I wasn't allowed to watch "regular" TV. PBS helped me polish up my English, gave me a push to read via Reading Rainbow, and loved mornings even more with Sesame Street. The current administration is cutting National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities funding which PBS and NPR fall under the umbrella of. It may be privatized and even though Sesame Street is on HBO, the rest of the network could go south, too. There are so many things to donate to defend, but if your heart is in to defend the NEA and NEH, you can donate here. Or buy merch from your favorite podcast from NPR and PBS show. If you're not able to, even a quick phone call to your reps is important. 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a collection of things I find darling.

+ Have you seen the new items from Society of Motherhood from Fine and Dandy? I love what they stand for- "Ending the judgement, gossip, and mom shaming while promoting the sisterhood of motherhood."

+ There's a breastfeeding emoji coming to Apple June 30.

+ The Death to Stock Photo curated list of inspired quotes to get you going. 

+ 50 years later, Heinz finally says yes to Don Draper's ketchup pitch (TBH, I think about Mad Men at least once a day). 

+ A Clueless comic book! 

+ I love poetry but if you're not a poetry person, here are some books to get you started (my personal favorite is Howl). 

+ Saturday Night Cry-By. Grief and humor don't go together normally but Kristen's genuine, warm and hilarious writings on losing her dad and her sister are touching. You'll do a laugh-cry for sure. 

+ Was Jane Austen poisoned? 

+ Love the details on this dress for Miko but I don't love the price! 

Oh Blogging, Where Art Thou? I really loved this post and made me nostalgic for blogging years ago. 

+ Loving this dress for spring.

+ Friday night pizza night with AIP-friendly calzones! 

Have a great weekend! 

The Momofuku Birthday Cake

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I'm a fan of a good novelty cake. Even when I was on Whole30, I had a fun "cake". Scott surprised me this birthday weekend starting off with Milk Bar's Momofuku famous Birthday Cake from Goldbely. We wanted to try some in NYC last time we visited but we were short on time and missed the opportunity. And then Friday afternoon, the UPS man drops off a cake I've been thinking about trying for months. I'm on a AIP diet for most days and this cake was a treat to have. I had a slice, prayed it didn't cause mess up my AI (it didn't!) and shared the rest with friends. According to Milk Bar, this cake is a"vanilla rainbow cake layered with rainbow cake crumbs, topped with vanilla frosting". 

Goldbely is a service that delivers delicious food all over the country, this isn't sponsored but if you use my referral code, I'll get credit to order more fun items to show on this blog in the future! 

Swaddle Diaries- ErgoBaby Infant Swaddle

I started a series of swaddle posts because when people say “slept like a baby”, I really thought something was wrong with them, because have they met my baby?? Miko doesn’t sleep much. She doesn’t always nap and she was up often feeding or just playing. She’s four months and it took us awhile to find swaddles she loves, and she's so particular. Now that she’s in the beginnings of teething, she’s even more uncomfortable and I’m doing what I can to help the girl out. I’m hoping these posts will help a fussy baby sleep! Every baby is different but little did I know every swaddle is different too! 

Modeling in her Poppy and Co. Bow, and her Out of Print Onesie. 

Modeling in her Poppy and Co. Bow, and her Out of Print Onesie. 

Miko has always been a wild and independent baby since day one. When she came out of the womb, one of the surgeons was so upset by her screaming, she told me it was the angriest baby she’s ever seen in her career. When they first handed her to me, bundled and swaddled, her stare was intense. She was angry I woke her up and took her out of her warm wet sheltered home and brought her into a sterile cold bright place. A mother knows and I knew. So, we did what we would do to any newborn- we swaddled her and hoped for a pleasant baby. We noticed a pattern right away- she hated the swaddle. Her arms would flail and the familiar arm hitting certain organs made sense from the last weeks she was in utero. We kept trying, but she sometimes wakes up at night angry, and trying to flail her arms again. We remove the swaddle and she’s fine, she’s happy. Well, most of the time. 

We've use the Ergobaby Sleep Swaddle since week one, it was the first Ergobaby product I ever tried. It’s been our saving grace for extra sleep at night. I have tried traditional muslin swaddles but this girl needs the extra structure. She will kick and scream her way out of every swaddle and remind us about it all night. This one however, has been the one we keep going back to. 

What I liked about it-

+ This is a must for nap fighters and reluctant swaddled babies. I also like The Sleeping Bag Swaddle from Ergo, but this is one piece, which makes it easier for laundry. She tries to get out but is knocked out within a few minutes. 

+ It's breathable. Infants can't control their temperature yet and I'm always worried she's too hot and there's been SIDS report leading to hot babies. This makes me worry less!  

+ I can still change her diaper in it. 

+ I never had a chance to try out their previous swaddle, but this claims to be 33% lighter. 

+ The velcro isn't cheap. This is one thing I noticed about Ergobaby- they don't hold back on quality and that also includes every seam and even velcro! 

+ It comes in neutral colors. It sounds like a silly thing to like but I loved it so much, I couldn't help but wonder if it can be used for the next baby if there is one. 

+ Bells and whistles aside, it works. She's knocked out so quick. 

What I didn't like-

+ It looks confusing at first. Whatever you do, don't use it on a screaming sleepy newborn for the first time, ha! Once you get the hang of it, which took a couple times to not keep glancing at the instructions, it was so easy. I even ended up swaddling her towels similar to how it folds this after bath time, like picking up a new habit. 

I know new moms want the best for their babies and they don't want to spend a lot but this is worth a try to help your babe sleep. I love beautiful swaddles but unfortunately, Miko doesn't. This has been a huge help for us in her sleeping. Get the Infant Swaddle here

This post is in collaboration with Ergobaby. This swaddle post has been long overdue, it's tough to take photos at night indoors without waking Miko but I caught her at a good time! All honest opinions are my own and there's no monetary influence. Just keepin' real! Other products mentioned are not associated with this blog, I just really love them. Thanks for the support in reading! 

 

 

Dressed for 40 Days

2 years ago was the first time I participated in lent, I gave up TV and I loved it. This year I wanted to challenge myself but giving up TV seems too easy. I spend all my time with Miko and the TV is rarely on these days. Lent is about service, fasting, and prayer so what could I do as a woman, wife, and mom that would provide all these to my family and God?

I wanted to get dressed. Really. That's it. As in putting on a pant leg one at a time like anyone else. It seems too easy, but it's a challenge right now. I give all my time to my family right now, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to serve them while working a paid job for a company at home. However, I noticed a pattern- when I was in my pj's all day, at the end of the night I was bad company. I enjoyed my baby but I resented parts of motherhood, my marriage, even my grief and played victim. I felt beaten, and I was inspired by Anna's post to do something more than breastfeed and give my family the bare minimum of myself. The line between relaxing, depression, and laziness was so blurred. I was overwhelmed and I started from the beginning-- to get up and get dressed. I think of this verse when God is talking to Elijah- 

The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." - 1 Kings 19:7

Elijah was spiritually depressed, fearful, anxious and life was too much for him. He made bad decisions, he wasn't taking care of himself, and his traumatic events stayed with him. I felt like Elijah at the moment I read this. 1 Kings 19:1-18 is the story of a spiritual falling and getting back up. I understand God will accept all of us, no matter where we are, but I've been better and I wanted to get there. I understand I'm in a position I cried many nights over to be in but that doesn't mean everything is suddenly a-ok. 

So far, it has been a challenge. I don't want to do laundry on my spare time, I don't want to get out of bed, wallowing and self-pity is comfortable. I hate to admit it, but I feel better. I mean, I can't say I look better in a spit up dirty tee and undone hair, but a clean pair of jeans goes far these days. I worked in salon for 10+ years and I was in the business of vanity. I remember how those new tired moms would walk in the salon and dragged themselves to the salon chair and I especially remember how they would feel when they strutted out with the extra hair flip. This dedication to get out of pj's represents more than pj's- it means I'm getting out of bed, getting uncomfortable, and if I've learned anything from my life, is being uncomfortable means some major growth is coming. I'll update on this after the 40 days! 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a collection of things I find darling.

+ I love the new board from threepotatofour in collaboration with Shop Bando! My mantel has pink now! This lyric is from Ben Howard's Keep Your Head Up, one of my favorite songs from him. 

+ Ashley from MakeupTIA popped in for a visit to California. We had coffee, chatted, took a walk, and she shared her great LA and beach trip on her IG stories- now I'm inspired to get out more. 

+ Torrid has a new Beauty and The Beast line. I'm loving this print on this flattering peplum

+ Read 15 Classic Books in Under a Minute

+ Since the movie is coming out this month, why not? Beauty and The Beast Le Creuset? Okay!

+ Finding Books in The Least Unexpected Places in LA  

+ The conflict between millennials and Gen X'ers. I'm neither, I'm right in the middle and this is an interesting article. 

+ The History of Dream Pop 1983-2017

+ A taco pizza? It's friday pizza night. 

Happy Friday!