It was 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday, and as I heard my daughter's whines and cries of "mama" through the baby monitor I groaned and remembered the days when my only alarm clock on the weekends was sunlight through the curtains and my hungry stomach ready for breakfast. I nudged Kyle to see if he would get up and bring Emery into our room, and he made the joke that she was calling for me, and to be glad that she at least knows how to say my name (we're still working on the whole "dada" thing 😉 ). I rolled my eyes and then got out of bed to go get Emery, and couldn't help but smile when I opened the door to her bedroom and saw her immediately light up and start bouncing and squawking excitedly at my arrival to take her out of her crib. I brought her into bed with Kyle and I with hopes of having us all go back to sleep for a little bit longer, but quickly gave up on the idea once I realized that Emery was up and ready to party, and making it clear by bouncing and crawling over every surface of our bed. I thought again back to mine and Kyle's pre-baby days of sleeping in, but this time I smiled because I knew that the way that things are now bring so much more happiness than sleeping in late on a Sunday morning. Life as a mother brings SO many challenges, but the blessings that it carries far outweighs any sort of frustration or struggle encountered along the way.
I had a friend/small shop owner pose the question in a Facebook group, "What is your favorite part about being a mom"? As different mamas posted their individual answers to the question, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of love that I could see each of these women had for their children. It also made me think long and hard about what specifically I love most about being a mom. There's obviously a million things that could be added to that list, but the more I thought about the question, the more I realized just how much value the knowledge of it's answer holds. So in honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I decided to sit and write a message to my one sweet daughter about my absolute favorite things about being her mom. I write the letter for her, in hopes that she'll one day look back and read about how much she's always been loved, but I also write for me, so that on those days when dreaded "mom guilt" steps in and I feel like I'm not doing nearly as well as I should be, I can look back and read and remember all of those most important things that bring me so much joy, and I feel like that will make all of the difference.
A very happy Mother's Day to all of my fellow mamas out there, whether you're a mom of two, ten, one, a mom-to-be, a mama with angel babies, grand-babies, and anything in between. I love you all dearly, and think that you're all amazing for all that you do. Enjoy your day for you!
em's shirts, snail print shorts, snail print dress: c/o ahoy amigo (use code SIMPLYPETT to save)
raindrop bow: sapling + knots (use code SWEETEMERY to save) | hat+ denim shorts: target
blue gingham bow: saywer & sloane | floral headband: little ms kays | moccs: rad moccs
If there is one thing that could be "defined" as one of my character traits, it is that unless my livelihood depends on it, I will choose fun over work pretty much every single time. Some might consider this a flaw because when there's lots of fun to be had, a lot of the work (cough cough, housework, grocery shopping, blogging, etc....) tends to get pushed to the side. Although those things have most definitely taken a backseat this past month, as I go back and reflect on what I spent my month doing, I don't regret choosing fun one single bit. H (the little boy I nanny for those just checking in) got a new little sister, so while he gets to spend time with his mommy and new baby for a few months, for the first time really since Em's been born I've been able to really experience what it's like to be a stay-at-home mom to just my one sweet little girl. We've been incredibly busy - we went to Utah to visit family, pulled an all nighter for a year's worth of free pizza, tried frozen yogurt for the first time (for Emery at least... heaven knows I've had my fair share of the dessert 😜 ), had Emery's first Easter, go on walks several times a week and are constantly outside and on the go with friends and Kyle when he's free from school. With everything that's been going on, I've found that I have very little time for things like social media and just media in general, and I'm surprised at just how OK I feel about being a little bit detached from it all. For memories sake I've still taken/posted plenty of pictures (big Chatbooks fan over here), but it has been so cleansing to just take a step back from everything else and live life simply for the sake of enjoying it in that very moment just how it is, and to not have to worry about what everyone else in the social media world is doing. For the first time ever I feel like I've gained a better understanding of what #childhoodunplugged really means, and I have a higher motivation to expand that from Emery to myself and try to live my own life a little more "unplugged". Summertime is quickly coming, and along with the warmer weather and summer festivities is Emery's first birthday and the realization that my sweet little girl will soon be a toddler and no longer a baby. These years are so short, and everyday I want to do my best to make sure that I'm soaking them in as much as I possibly can. So expect to see more messy knees and hair, comfy summer clothes (these cute ones from Ahoy Amigo are literally perfect for babies/toddlers), and probably lots more pictures of things like ice cream and outside walks and playdates, and other "typical" life as we know it types of pictures/posts. Since those are a few of Emery's favorite things right now, I fully intend to enjoy them all with her and give her the best living-in-the-moment, "unplugged" summer & childhood that I can. ❤️
emery's bow: sweet little soul
So..... the past five days or so it has been literally freezing cold in Kentucky. Like chill you to the bone, too cold to breath or even think about going outside to even check the mail cold. I'm not really sure what the deal with the weather is since we had weather into the 60's all throughout February, but this last week of freezing temperatures put me a little out of spirits and made me a major hermit. I finally decided that I needed to get out of my rut, but since going outside obviously still wasn't an option, we decided to bring the fun indoors with some finger (or in Em's case full body 😉 ) painting! This was Emery's first time finger painting and I was soooo happy that she actually liked it and enjoyed getting into the paints! She was a little apprehensive at first, but I think that once she realized that it was okay for her to get messy in the paints she went to town on it and had a blast! We had a few of her baby friends over and had a blast with diapered babies and messy paints for a whole afternoon! The best part about these paints in that they are 110% safe for babies to use and are even edible! We made them straight from everything in our kitchen in less than 5 minutes and were having fun immediately after! I figured that I'd include a quick DIY in here so that if anyone reading is itching to have some fun you can give it a try! I hope you all enjoy! Happy DIY-ing!
skill level: easy | total time: 5 minutes | cost: free!
And that's it! Easy peasy and provides a ton of fun for you and your little one! Just as one last note, because the paints are made out of food, these definitely aren't the types of paintings that you'll be hanging up on the fridge once they're done (we just tossed the garbage bags and paper in the trash when done for quick cleanup) but it does make for a great sensory activity for babies and can also be great to work on colors with toddlers. Hope you all enjoy!
weight & height: 19.8(ish) pounds and 26.75 inches long. We didn't have any doctor's appointments this month so these are just close guesses! eating & sleeping: Along with rice cereal, I've now officially moved into the realm of baby food, and so far I love it! I've only tried sweet potatoes so far but think they're delicious, and ever since learning how to eat from a spoon solid foods have been going well! Sleeping is still going pretty well; I'll still go for about an 11-12 hour stretch at night, and mommy & daddy are currently working to transition me into my flat bed from my rock n' play. exciting firsts/milestones: This last month I had a really exciting first with my first word which was MAMA!!!! Mommy was SO excited to hear that I'd made that my first word of choice, and even though Daddy is excited about it too, he's been consistently trying to get me to say "dada" ever since. 😉 things I love: Right now I love pretty much everything, but a few things that make the top of my list are talking to anyone who will listen, playing with toys, reading books with Mommy & Daddy, and chewing on anything that I can fit into my mouth. I've also gotten quite good at throwing things while sitting in my high chair, and if given toys to hold will throw them off almost immediately. things I don't enjoy so much: The thing that I enjoy the least right now is having to wait longer than a couple of minutes for anything that I'm wanting. Whether it's food, a nap, or just some attention, I've learned how to make quite the scene when I feel like I've been waiting long enough for something. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: Since I got all better from my cold in December and croup in the New Year, Mommy has noticed that she is feeling like she's finally getting a better routine down that allows her to spend lots of fun time with me, but also allows for her to do things for herself sometimes like reading a book before bed, exercising, or washing her hair & shaving her legs in the same shower. 😉 As hard as it can be for her (and a lot of moms from what I hear) to admit, sometimes taking a little bit of "me time" is exactly what is needed so that a mommy can have the energy needed to do everything she needs to for her kids.
I can't even believe while writing this that our little girl is already more than halfway through her first year of life. I've been flipping through her newborn pictures lately and wondering how on earth our baby has grown up so quickly! As always, thanks so much to everyone for reading and following along on her little journey, your love and support mean the world to us!
Dear Sweet Mama,
I'm writing to you today to share a short story in hopes that maybe you can relate; so that if you ever find yourself in a similar state of mind or situation, you can find peace in knowing that you're not alone and that you're doing a good job. I heard a statistic that stated that as a parent, one is able to feel higher emotional highs and lower lows than ever felt before having children. Since having Emery I've been blessed with experiences to feel those highest highs, but this last week has shown me what some of those darkest, lowest lows feel like, thus the point in my writing this story....
You see, this last week my sweet baby girl got sick with croup. Although I now know that croup is actually very common in young babies and toddlers, I didn't fully understand it at first, and in my mind my daughter had caught an illness equivalent to polio. The doctor in the emergency room made it sound like Emery's cough was no big deal (which was frustrating because the only reason that we went to the ER in the first place was because a doctor on the phone had told us to go in just in case she had croup) and I felt completely helpless because everything that the doctors were telling me to do to help the cough I already was doing with no success. All I knew for certain was that Emery had an awful cough, that it was the worst at night, and that somehow it had to be my fault that she was sick.
There were so many times in the middle of the night that Emery would wake up coughing and crying, and after calming her down and getting her back to sleep I would lie awake in bed unable to relax because I knew that another coughing attack was only a short 30 minutes to an hour away. It was during those dark hours in the night that I experienced some of those low points mentioned above, and the heavy sense of guilt and self-doubt was almost unbearable. I spent my nights blaming myself for taking Emery out in public too much, letting too many people hold her at the family Christmas parties, and wondering if she would have even gotten sick had she still been on breastmilk as opposed to formula. No matter the scenario I was always in the wrong, and the negativity combined with the lack of sleep wore on me phyisically, mentally, and emotionally.
Now that Emery is finally on the mend and I've had a chance to reflect on the situation with a more clear mind (and after several gentle reminders from my forever patient husband) I've come to learn an extrememly valuable lesson. Occassionaly as a parent, bad and/or scary experiences are going to happen with my children. I'm absolutely positive that there will be more colds, scraped knees, and possibly even another trip to the ER in my child's future and that is OK. It is not my fault, everything will turn out well in the end, and ultimately as long as I'm doing my part to love and take care of my child as much as I can and in the best way that I know how, then I am doing a good job as a mother, and guess what mama, SO ARE YOU. In fact, I bet that you're even doing a better job than you think. Society puts so much pressure on us as women and mothers to be "perfect", and even with how heavy that societal pressure is, I still feel like in many cases it's nowhere near as bad as the pressure that we put on ourselves.
So relax a little bit, go hug your babies tight, and know that you are an amazing woman and mother. If you feel like it, once you've been able to convince yourself of that insanely important truth, go tell another mama you know that they're doing an amazing job too. Despite how much happiness it brings, momming is definitely not the easiest job in the world, and I deeply believe that it's made a little bit easier with support from loved ones and friends. Thank you for letting me share my story with you, and know that I very much consider you a wonderful friend. ♥︎
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.