Life Update.

Hello strangers!

It’s been so long that I temporarily forgot how to even create a blog post. Kidding… kind of.

The last we left off, Scarlett was just a little wiggly larva baby, Liam had yet to unleash his teenager-like attitude,  Andre had yet to become obsessed with marathon running, and I had yet to start my photography journey.

Clearly a lot has changed around these parts.

Scarlett is now 18 months old and has blossomed into her own. She is THE most strong willed baby and the word “No” means absolutely nothing to her. She is slowly but surely growing hair and is putting her no hair don’t care days behind her. She loves dogs (pronounced ‘dagas’) and she also loves daddy (pronouned ‘dagas’). Most of all, she loves eating. Cheese, Bananas, and apple sauce all come in close ties for her favorite foods, surpassed only by “boobies”. Because yes, I am still breastfeeding. I always said I would be happy to make it to six months of nursing. Then I said a year. Then I said 18 months. And now here we are, nursing twice a day still and no matter how many people squinch up their faces at me and look at me like I just told them I’m growing my armpit hair out (don’t worry, I’m not), I just can’t bring myself to take away her most favorite thing in the world.  I don’t know when it will come to an end… Probably soon-ish. But I plan on soaking up every sweet moment of it until then.

Liam is my little five-nager these days. I’m “the worst mom ever” at least 7 times a week and I’ve decided that must mean I’m doing something right. He is obsessed with Minecraft and is always ready to tell anyone willing to listen a crazy story about what goes on in the virtual world of Minecraft. Regardless of the major ‘tude he’s been dishing out these days (mostly when we tell him he’s hit his Minecraft time limit), he still enjoys play dough, wearing his batman cape out to the store, and cuddling up with me in bed… so I know my little boy is still in there for at least a little while longer. We’ve been homeschooling him for Kindergarten and if you’re wondering how that’s been going, the answer is that he will be going to a charter school for first grade. It’s been an interesting experience that I was so happy to be able to try out, but I can’t help but to feel like maybe homeschooling just isn’t for us. Not only do I feel like I don’t always have the time in my day to dedicate to teaching him properly, but I also feel like he would learn better from someone who isn’t his parent. I’m sure I’ll regret that decision temporarily as I wipe my tears on the first day of school this fall, but in the long run I think this is the best decision for our family.

Andre has developed a major love for marathon running + obstacle races and while I will never understand why someone would choose to run 26 miles for “fun”, it makes him happy and that’s what matters. Based on the personal records that he beats every single time, it’s lookin like he’s pretty dang good at it too. Running has become his thing he does for himself and it brings him peace (it also brings him like 3-5 days of pain and discomfort post every marathon but hey, to each their own). He continues to work hard for our family constantly and is always looking for ways that he can improve. I still can’t seem to get a good back rub out of him however he is exceptionally awesome at pouring me a glass of wine and doing the dishes without me ever asking so I’ll take what I can get. He’s the best person I know and I’m pretty proud to call him mine. We have our first date night in forever scheduled for next week and excited doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about it.

While all of that has been happening, I have been busy over here putting together a photography + social media marketing business. I have been doing social media marketing for 6 ish years now but finally decided to turn it into more than just a small side job. After brainstorming business names with some friends during mom’s night out, Cactus and Vine was born and has become my third baby. It is primarily focused on photography however I do offer social media marketing consulting on the side. Creating this business allowed me to combine a skill that I’ve been developing for years (social media marketing) with my love for photography. While its been chaotic and often really overwhelming trying to get a business up and running while still tending to mom + wife duties, it has been a major source of pride for me.

I think that about wraps our whole life right now up into a few grammatically incorrect paragraphs. It’s taken me five days just to write this much, the entire family has barged in on me as I try to finish this last paragraph, and I’ll probably skip editing it because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Thanks for following along with our crazy fam… It’s good to be back.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

A time for change.

For three years now, I have been a stay at home mom. Day in and day out, I have been blessed enough to have the privilege to stay home raising my little boy. Every milestone, every bad day, every good day… I have been there to see them all. When I began my journey as a stay at home mom, I never thought I would see the day where I felt like I needed more. My job was to be mommy, and that was all I could ever want.

But here I am three years later and I found myself beginning to think “what about me?”. I am a mom. I am a wife. Those are my two favorite titles and I am so proud every day to be both of those things…but I’ve reached a point where I need to have my own identity outside of those roles. I need to take care of me in order to take care of them.

Some of you may remember me writing a blog post similar to this earlier this year. I briefly tried working part time at a yoga studio before deciding that it just wasn’t for me. I happily returned to my life as a stay at home mom, thinking that I had gotten it all out of my system. I’d seen the other side of the grass, decided it was not actually greener, and told myself I never wanted to leave my baby ever again.

Until a few months ago.

My husband has been traveling so much for work lately that more often than not, he is gone about 2-3 nights a week. Sure, we sometimes travel with him. But when he’s got too much work to do or we don’t want to put our dog in boarding too often, Liam and I remain at home. I found myself having far too much free time, and with that time, I couldn’t help but feel like I could be doing something more to better how I felt about myself. Something that could not only benefit our family financially, but something that could motivate me and get my mind moving (because sometimes potty training a toddler day in and day out just isn’t quite the mental stimulation you desire).

It slowly began to dawn on me that perhaps the problem with my short lived yoga studio front desk job had not been with me being a working mom… perhaps the problem was that I was leaving my baby to do something that I wasn’t excited to be doing. I felt like I had been giving up precious time with my baby to go to a job that I had zero interest in pursuing a real future with. What I needed was a job that I enjoyed. A job that I could excel in and be proud of.

And then just like that, everything fell into place. I often find myself completely amazed at the way the universe works… The way you can throw a thought or a prayer out there and have it answered in such an obvious way.

I had been taking a long “me time” bath a couple of months ago. As I sat there thinking about what sort of job I really wanted to pursue, I found my mind continuously going back to the job that I was working when I found out I was pregnant with Liam. I worked sales, customer service, and social media for a locally based baby product company and it was a job that I truly had a lot of fun with. I knew that the responsibilities that I had at that job were what I wanted to look for in my next job, I just wasn’t sure how I would find it…let alone find something that worked into my ideal schedule. I had thought about contacting my old bosses but assumed they had filled my role long ago and wouldn’t have a spot open for me to return to.

Several days later, out of nowhere, my old boss just so happened to contact me to see if I was interested in working a convention for them. I accepted the job and before I knew it, one thing lead to the next and suddenly I had my old job back. I was able to work out a schedule with them that allows me to work from home half the time, which gives me the best of both worlds. My biggest fear in returning to the working world had been that I would have to sacrifice the time that I got to spend raising my son. The way that it worked out, I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice anything. I get to go to the office a couple days a week where I am surrounded by adults + get to focus all of my attention on the job at hand…and Liam gets to go to a great in home daycare a couple days a week where he can socialize with kids his own age. I could not have asked for a better situation and I am so incredibly thankful that this opportunity came our way because no matter how long it ends up playing out… It has made me feel like me again.

It has been a few weeks now since I have returned to the working world and so far I couldn’t feel better about the decision. Liam absolutely loves playing with the little babies at day care, and I absolutely love what I do. On days that I have to be in the office and my husband is in town, we forgo the daycare and Liam gets to spend quality one on one time with his daddy… something that very rarely happened before because I was always around.

I take a step back and look at my life each evening and can’t help but to feel completely overjoyed with the life and the opportunities that my family and I have been given. Perhaps it’s just the joyful Christmas spirit filling the air, or perhaps it’s the total uplift in my own spirit, but I couldn’t be more content and excited about what the future holds.

If you’re a stay at home mom struggling with the same feelings that I was experiencing… take control. I was in a slump for a while there and the only thing that finally picked me up out of it was my husband reminding me that this life is mine to do what I want with. Whether your inner happiness is going to come from a part time job, starting your own blog, getting involved in mommy groups, getting out of the house to go to yoga a couple times a week, or the hundreds of other possibilities… just go find it. Find whatever it is that is going to make you feel like you again and make it happen.

As Christmas approaches, I wish you all so much love and happiness. I would like to say that I will be blogging more consistently again but after saying that a good five times now, I’m going to refrain from making any promises (but i certainly plan on trying).

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

 

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Nervous, Excited, and Employed.

When my son was brand new to this world and could barely lift his head, I was there to hold him against my chest and remind him that he would never be alone. When he cried out in hunger in the middle of the night, I was there to feed him until he fell back asleep. When he rolled over for his first time, pulled himself up for the first time, and took his first steps, I was there to cheer him on. I was there when he tried his first bite of solids. I was there when he said his first words. I was there when he learned his colors and when he began fully verbalizing his thoughts. I was there for every single major development my son has ever made because I was blessed enough to be a stay at home mom for the first 2.5 years of his life. It has been beautiful and emotional and amazing and exhausting. But now I must part ways with my stay at home mom title and partially re-enter the working world. The adult world.

You see, as amazing as this valuable time has been, for every minute and day and week and month that have been entirely for my son- there have been just as many minutes and days and weeks and months that have not been for me (which is exactly how it should be and how I wanted it to be, so don’t mistake that as a complaint). I knew what I was getting myself into and embraced my full time job as a stay at home mom with open arms. But as this kid approaches 3, the time has come for me to get out of the house a little more often. My days are spent building train tracks and painting shapes. Potty training and meal making. Cleaning up the same messes repeatedly and trying to convince my toddler to take a nap or not put sticks in his mouth. The most adult interaction that I have in my day is the few hours that I get to talk to my husband between when he gets home from work and when we go to bed. I see my friends maybe a couple times a month and I engage in brief 5 minute conversations with the cashier at trader joes or the fellow moms at the park. I often feel as though I have forgotten how to adult, and the time has come for me to return to a world that speaks in full sentences.

It will not be easy at first. That, I know for sure. The thought of not being there at night to tuck my son into bed makes me want to cry and the fear of not being there in the moments when he just wants his mama makes my heart ache. I’ve spent the last several months talking often about how important it is for me to start getting out of the house a little more… And yet now that it is here and looking me in the eyes, it’s scary.

Change is scary. Being an adult is scary. Re-entering a working world that I have not been a part of for almost three years is scary. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it or that I can’t do it.

So starting this week, I will be working a few days a week at the front desk of a yoga studio in the evenings once my husband gets home from his job. While it’s nothing too major to many, it’s major to me. Now, not only will my time be divided between raising my son, tending my home, being a wife, and earning my college degree… but it will also be spent punching into a time clock. The thought is exhausting and I might hate it. It might stretch me too thin and it might be too hard on my family. But I also might love it. It might fit so well into our schedules that it barely makes a difference and I might meet some great new people while making a little extra side money for my family. The fact is, I won’t know until I give it a try.

So try is exactly what I am going to do. I’m going to try to embrace this opportunity. I’m going to try not to cry the first time that my husband tucks my son into bed without me. I’m going to try to have fun with it and I’m going to try to make it work.Because the fact of the matter is that I can’t teach my son to be the change that he wants to see in his life if I don’t try to do it myself.

As much as I love my boy, I had recently found myself getting increasingly antsy with the need to get out of the house. The need to change things up a little. The need to do something for myself. These needs were making me cranky and probably unenjoyable to be around (I’m sure my husband is nodding his head and chuckling in agreement as he reads this). It was confusing to me because I am so happy to be “Mama” that it took a while for me to understand why I felt it so necessary to get out of the house and not be mama for a little while. But then it dawned on me that I am human and my need for real social interaction is a natural one and that going to work and surrounding myself with adults for a few hours a week does not mean that I love my job as mama any less.

Now, 85% of my week will be spent as mama and 15% of it will be spent as the girl behind the front desk. I am excited. I am nervous. I am thankful. Thankful for the opportunity to get out there and try something new… Thankful for a husband that is being so supportive of this adventure…. and most of all, thankful to have had 2.5 years to be mama 100% of the time. That time was precious and that time is something I would not change for the world. But now it’s time to try something new. Let the adventure begin.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

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