I literally just let out an exhale as I sat down to write this. LOL. Does that explain it all?
I’ve wanted to sit down and write a life update for a while. I’ve had so many thoughts and things to share, and have really felt this pull lately to get back to capturing and sharing more life updates like I used to here on the blog. I love writing here, and love sharing with you. I’ve missed it. Also selfishly— I want to keep writing these so that I can remember this season of life better, and have it captured in time.
So, that slow exhale^.
As I’m writing this, it’s probably what all of us feel like right now, in some capacity. It’s winter, Feb 2022. And life has felt like a whirlwind the past two years (or is it whiplash?!). Jk.
But, that’s to be expected really, with a small baby and a toddler. There’s a sweet simplicity to this phase of life, pandemic or no pandemic. It’s been about just being together as a family. And all about the simple things– walks to the park, early dinners, mini adventures, bike rides & front packs. And finding joy everyday in the tiniest of moments.
But, let’s make no mistake, there’s been a lot that’s been chaotic over here too.
I know I’m so far from alone in that.
Let me back up. Because it’s been a looong time, my friends. Where should we even start?
Let’s catch up.
So last winter, some of you may remember that I was out of commission, in bed all day for a good 5 months (December through April), with hyperemesis in pregnancy that just wiped me out.
I had no space or capacity to do anything other than just try to get through each day, which is so opposite my normal way of being. And even though it’s been a full year since then, I keep getting these flashbacks to last February (or photo reminders on my phone), and remembering just how intense it all was. Nothing about that time was normal for me– my thoughts, how I physically felt, not being able to do simple things like keep water down (let alone food!), how flat my emotions were, how much I missed Noah and being a family and being a mama, and how much I missed that feeling of vibrancy and excitement for work, etc. Or anything, really.
Every ounce of energy I had was put into trying to stay positive and think about the bigger picture. Through a lot of tears of course, and a lot of hours laying in my bathrobe on the cold tiles of the bathroom floor, or in my bed all day long for months.
But, I did it. I kept telling myself that I’m putting in a few hard months of work………to get someone I’ll have for the rest of my life.
And now, I just look at Junie’s face. I spend in-ordinary amounts of time just staring at her. Holding her. Snuggling her. Tearing up just sitting with her. Just trying to soak her in. In my head, the two events are not connected– being pregnant, and getting her. It does not compute in my head, and I’m not sure it ever will. It’s wild.
I don’t know how it’s possible to say that it was all worth it, but it was. It is.
When I was going through it and (well-intentioned) people would tell me that it will all be worth it, I would think silently “you really have no idea what this feels like. This is not normal pregnancy morning sickness”. BUT….. it’s true now. I would do it all again for her. My mom says she thinks she’s an angel. Like sent from the heavens directly. A gift from god. I couldn’t agree more (I know we’re both biased, but it’s just true). Her little nature is so sweet and mellow and calm and joyful. And she’s just so easy to be around. She’s been a completely different baby than Noah.
Side note— I know that people say that you’re just different as a parent too the 2nd time around. That you’re more confident, more relaxed, etc so it’s easier. But I just don’t agree. We WERE laid back and relaxed with Noah. He wasn’t. Ha. I mean, he IS now– he’s the most wonderful, sweetest natured calm toddler I know, who talks up a storm, eats sushi and olives like it’s his job, and has great emotional IQ. But I mean, the poor guy as a new baby was probably hungry for the first 5 months of his life (my milk supply was never great but I put my ALL into it). He turned a corner once real food was a part of his life…..and the guy hasn’t stopped since. But I didn’t know any different back then, I just thought all babies were fussy, colicky, gassy, took 45 mins to get to sleep, etc. Until having June, who was just wildly different from day one.
I wonder if it’s any indication on their personalities— I think so, but time will tell.
Anyways, I’m a mama of two. Two little wondrous, amazing, beautiful babies.
It does feel different than having one. I feel like I’m really a mom now. Like I’ve got a crew, time to shower is rare, I wear the same clothes for 3 days in a row, I think about things like what to pack for school lunches, and I always have a million logistics bouncing around in my head. Moms are so gritty and badass.
I’ve had so many moments where I just think— Wow. I remember the days that this used to be a dream. And here I am living it. Two healthy, round headed little babies. And then I usually start tearing up. Those hormones! Just kidding, that’s just always the way I am.
OUR NEW HOME:
So back in June, some of you might remember that we moved. We’d been kicking the idea around for a while, looking for around a year, and we always went back and forth. We loooooved our old house. We did a gut remodel on it before we moved in, and to this day, it was one of our favorite projects Kyle and I got to work on together. He’s so great at the big scale visualizing of things– moving this wall here, knocking this out, and having the vision. And then I love filling in the gaps with the details–the textiles and the look and feel– picking materials, design, thinking about the layout with daily functionality, etc. We’re a good team that way.
So we designed that house to stay there, possibly forever. Every inch, we picked. Every paint color, slab, fixture, light, we picked. Everything was exactly how we wanted it to be. We remodeled the basement and turned it into a mother in law apartment, and had renters down there, which was actually awesome. But it was an option to open it back up if we wanted. Or to do a upstairs remodel if we decided to stay there long term. We loved it. It felt like home, and was the home we brought Noah into. The kitchen I designed as the SRH kitchen, where the 2nd cookbook was made and shot, and where we started our life together officially as a couple and a family.
And after covid hit, it became even more apparent that one of the things we value the most in our lives is our family and friends. Immediate and extended. Our community that we do life with. Our house was always a little far off the beaten path (which is exactly what we wanted when we bought it– quiet, quaint, and out of the hustle of the city, but close enough to it to get there within 5-10 minutes if needed). But enough of a distance where seeing friends, or seeing our parents always required a lot of planning and driving. We didn’t have a ton of neighbors or community. And with a young baby, the time to do that was even more limited.
So we started looking in other neighborhoods, at first for another huge remodel project. We had 2 neighborhoods that felt like it would have both of those things: a deeper sense of community, close to people we love, and good schools close by. And then……….. I got pregnant. And was feeling the way I did. A big remodel project wasn’t gonna be as feasible now. We needed something that would be at least functional from the beginning, even if we decided to change it over time.
We ended up finding our house last March– a combo of all the things we wanted. Except that someone else had started the remodel…. not exactly how we’d want to or do it, but it felt like the right one and had enough of what we wanted. Through some kind of miracle, we got it. Because of a lot of factors, and trips we had already booked that couldn’t be refunded, we moved in June, and I was due in August.
When we finally moved in, there was a lot more work to be done than we thought. And also we knew we had about 8 weeks to do anything that was gonna be life-interrupting before a baby arrived (floors, drywall, painting, etc). So, ensued the moving, re-settling, being 8 months pregnant in a summer heat wave in seattle, plus projects, construction dust, living at my parents for a few weeks time, etc.
I think about it all– our summer– and they are some of the best memories. Although it WAS funny and messy and hilarious to live in.
But we were THERE. Finding our new rhythms, our new spots, settling into a house that was nothing like our old one, and trying to keep things feeling normal for a 2 1/2 year old. And close to our dear friends! Closer to our families to stop by. Just closer in general to more life going on, and it felt so good.
In summary: the now house is a work in progress, and we’ll go in spurts fixing it up over time. But it’s liveable. And functional. And so worth it, being here. I’ve been loving the design parts and taking my sweet time with it, but Kyle’s ready to just get it done. Ha. Classic of both our personalities.
Noah, by some miracle of grace, got in off a waitlist to our favorite pre-school— and with friends in his class. I found out in the beginning of August, and then had 2 weeks to wrap my head around it, then decide to try it (it’s 2 days a week for a few hours), and then potty train him, and get him ready for school, right as his baby sister was being born.
I think doing 3 big life things at once is just how we roll as a family I guess.
And it’s all been great. Truly. I die taking him to school and picking him up, it’s soooo freaking cute. His backpack is too heavy for him because of his lunch. I mean, if that doesn’t explain it all I’m not sure what does. It’s been such a joy to watch.
WORKING MOM LIFE & SIMPLY REAL HEALTH:
Work wise, one thing with having two kids that I knew I would have to be a part of our plan, was finding more childcare help. My personality is a bit like “oh no, no I don’t need help. I can do it. I can figure it out. I can make it work”. But if you ask Kyle….. things really suffer when I do that. I am a lot more stressed. It’s palatable in the house. I get resentful and maxed out. It’s not really healthy or sustainable to live in that mindset. So as much as I resist it, when I finally do let people help me and get creative around what that looks like, having a little more spaciousness is always a good thing if you’re able to make it work.
So with 2 kids, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to roll like I had been– with my ANGEL of a mom helping a few hours a week (to which I will forever be indebted to her and forever thankful), and just waiting for naptime or pockets of time, because with two kids, it’s always someone’s naptime (and they are rarely at the same time as each other).
All of that to say, I’m still trying to figure out my flow. It’s clunky and I’m always in the way right now, trying to maximize my time but also be super present with my kids whenever it’s possible. And this fall and winter has been so weird to navigate with sickness, covid, school closures, childcare, and still having a newborn that eats every 2-3 hours and is awake for 90 mins at a time. I’m not killing it in the work area, let’s say that.
But I’m also not expecting myself too. June just turned 5 months. She’s still so little.
That’s what I keep telling myself. And I know in my heart it’s true. I’ll never regret spending just a little more time with them when they’re little. Reading one more book. Sitting and talking with Noah over breakfast just the two of us. Holding June just a little bit longer as she’s nursing. All the other things will be there. But this time? I’ll never get it back.
But I do need a million reminders of that every day.
And major thanks and props to my amazing team, who has truly HELD IT DOWN the last year and counting. I cry when I think about it. These women have held and supported me, our entire community and so much this past year– and doing that on top of their own families and lives and other jobs.
But needless to say, I am excited to get back into my work flow. I’m so excited about the cooking club and doing monthly cooking classes free for my yearly members and just to keep pouring out my energy and time into creating new recipes and helping more families and women shorten their time in the kitchen and feel the best they can in their lives. I know it’s what I’m here to do in the world– to take complicated things like eating healthy, cooking healthy, meal planning, etc and make them SIMPLE. I feel more on fire ever to do exactly that.
BODY, ENERGY, MOOD & SLEEP:
It’s a process of coming back to yourself, this postpartum thing. Overall it’s been much slower this time than last— with my body, with my expectations of myself, and my expectations of daily life, in general. It has to be! I’ve been really working on giving myself more grace and not just rushing the process to get back to “normal”.
What even IS normal anymore? Who knows.
But now I do have more wisdom. I know now that it takes my body about 18 months really to feel back to myself. Nursing requires me to eat a different way (lots of grains, lots more snacks and more proteins and fats than usual) and my body needs every last bit of it to produce milk.
Same with workouts— I can’t do more than 20 mins of a faster pace bc my supply drops. So I just know this is a different phase. And I’ll get back to my own body in a while. And back to my energy, sleep, routines, etc. But that doesn’t mean I’m just giving up on taking care of myself. It doesn’t mean I’m just gonna sit around and wait— whatever I can get in, matters. It all “counts”. The all-or-nothing mentality and thinking in extremes is something I struggled with for years (with food, my relationship to food, workouts, my relationship to work/success, etc). But these days I’m so aware of it, and can stop the train before it takes off.
Every little thing you can do for yourself and your mental health counts and matters. And you should do it, even if you just have a few minutes. Slay that all or nothing dragon.
I’m finally feeling ready to start picking up a few more Peloton workouts, longer walks if I have the time, and quick pilates/yoga flows. But first, sleep is the priority. LOL.
Little Miss is ready for sleep training (and so is this mama, which is exactly the same timing as we did with Noah). So that’s up first. Then I can think about workouts and what my solo time in the morning will look like when I want to get up earlier than the kids a few times a week.
After that, it will be time to start June on some real food. How did that happen so fast?! It’s also hilarious to me how much you forget how to do things like introduce foods and teach them to sleep. Your brain only holds what it needs as a mom, and nothing else. Like, this week I’m pressing print on my copy of the Baby Food Files for the next few weeks, and silently thanking my past self for creating that.
Ok, I’m literally having to stop myself right now because. THIS IS SOOO LONG. If you made it this far, congratulations. Can you tell it’s been a while?! I promise these won’t be like this going forward, I want to do them more, just little life updates (and not have to cover a year’s worth in one swoop).
Anyways, how are you?
What’s going on in your life?
Let me know if there’s anything above ^ that you want to hear more about. It’s like 9 blog posts in one afterall.
Thank you for being here, along this journey with me of motherhood and business and home and health and creating lives that fill us up from the inside out. It’s all connected, as we know.