June 2, 2017
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

Mothering: Noah and Allie (Part 5)

I must admit this “Mothering Series” is something that I thought about for years. It wasn’t until maybe 2 years ago that I put pen to paper, so to speak, and began to gather my thoughts. The surprising thing was how nervous I was about hitting the ‘publish’ button.

There are so many things I have written about, that were incredibly raw and personal. Over time I started to wonder if I would ever stop hovering and click my works out to the interwebs.

Which is comical because there aren’t that many people that read this and even less that comment. So, what am I afraid of?

Well, let me tell you, there is one person who always reads them: Gil. Yeah, you know him, the hubs. He’s the nice guy that everyone loves. The reserved, yet personable guy that throws witty zingers across a room. Everyone remembers him, even if they never see him again. I love him, but there are days that we have a hard time connecting. Which is a foreign concept for us.

Before kids I didn’t think there was anything that would break us, not even a crack. Absolutely nothing that could give a flicker of doubt that we wouldn’t be in our 90’s talking about “the good ‘ole days.”

Then, we stopped talking.

It was hard and I don’t even remember it happening. I do remember how frustrated, alone and isolating it felt. Being a parent, who mostly stays at home with really small kids is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t feel good at any of it; work, wife, or parent.

Don’t feel bad for me, though, most everyone feels this. It’s something we all have to work out when adjusting to babies and toddlers, otherwise known as the little messes that get you sick at every turn and scream at you just for looking at them. However, they are kids who need and want their parents. We are so special to them. Though living up to that task, every day, is harder than it looks.

I stopped having time and energy for our marriage.

Becoming overwhelmed is easy to do.

Yet, I’m happy to tell you that today, we are better. Much better. The swift touches, as you pass by, have come back. The little compliments have snuck back in our daily routine. And we look at each other more.

Having a baby changes you.  As a woman it changes your chemical make up. This is something I wasn’t aware of and it’s the most insidious aspect I had to conquer. The fact that you will never go back to the way you were before is a tough pill to swallow, but settling into a new me is something I feel a good about, now.

We were lucky and didn’t have to work at our relationship, for a long time. They say marriage is a full-time job, for the rest of your life. It’s something I get, now.

Almost six years of marriage or 10 years of being together is monumentous, for me. I can’t imagine life without him. I feel lucky to have him as my partner, even luckier that he chose me (though it  could have been that I wouldn’t let go and he was ok with it).

Which leads me to the title of this blog post: Noah and Allie. Did you ever see (or read) The Notebook? If not, you should; read the book, then see the movie. It’s a love story to end all love stories. Good, ugly cry, type of thing and worth it.

I strive to be like them. Having the heart crushing love they have is worth the hard work.

Plus, have I mentioned how much the kids love him. Of course I have, I could I wax poetic about how great he is with them. They adore him, as they should.

In life, times get hard, I realize you can’t control them. At this point, after all we have overcome, I’m confident in saying we can make it through them. We have two amazing kids and we have each other. We just need to remember how it all started, how easy it was to love one another, and we will persevere.

I will conclude in saying, “We love you, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I love you most.”

Our 6th year wedding anniversary date!

May 14, 2017
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

Momma’s Day Pictures

It just so happens that a friend of mine is a pretty awesome photographer, so when she invited me along with her to do DIY Momma’s Day photos I jumped at it. She had been wanting to take her little to this store called, Pigment, in our neighborhood. It’s a super bomb store and they are dialed in to have two areas outside that are prime for selfies and pictures made perfectly for Instagram posting.

To say the least I was ecstatic at the idea of having someone else take photos of me with the kiddos. It was a shower day for me (yay!) and I even took the time to put make on! Since it was last-minute so we threw on whatever was easiest and made it happen. Cecito didn’t seem to love it, but he did well. LL seemed to really enjoy it.

The best part was hanging out with Nikki and her little. She’s been a friend for over 10 years, and I met her here in California, at work. I even like to say I hired her, but really our creative director did, I just interviewed and gave the thumbs up. She’s an inspiration from a work perspective, friend life and momma world. So, a big thank you to her for starting off my mother’s day weekend with a bang!

Here are the fruits of labor to enjoy!

Going for a ride…

Where’s Momma?

Almost got us all smiling!

BIG HUGS!

Kisses and smiles.

Who wants ice cream?

Miss Nikki!

She loves making funny faces for pictures now.

There’s that dazzler.

He wanted one with just us. (heart explosion)

Making friends is so much fun!

Let’s do another one, Momma!

I want to do that again!

She could have done this ALL day, but I had to stop her. There was only a little pouting.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

May 5, 2017
by gwendolyn
0 comments

Mothering: Realizing Who I Am (Part 3)

Part 3: Where it gets real. (Or it did 29 versions, ago)

I’ve always been a very social human. I crave learning about new people and getting to know someone who could be my friend. Connecting with people is something that makes me feel alive; to a certain extent it makes me feel more worthwhile.

A true extrovert, a friend collector, the ultimate social butterfly; all of these are adjectives other people have used to describe me. I don’t disagree. In my twenties I was just as comfortable going to a show at a small bar alone as I was going to the grocery store. If I wanted to do something and no one else was interested, so be it; I was still going and would have a great time. No biggie. Then I experienced something that changed me. There’s something about putting your faith in one person who ends up using your trust to lie to you and turn your life upside down. The chaos leaves you to question everything, most importantly, yourself. 

*we’ll come back to that in a bit*

When I got pregnant it never even dawned on me that any of my friends would choose not to journey down this path of parenthood as my confidant. Very distinctly, it feelt like they weren’t interested or plain didn’t care about what I was going through and what was happening in my life. After it was all said and done, they simply faded away. Which should have been ok, but I was pregnant; on the cusp of reinventing life as I knew it. Only I didn’t know that was how it all goes down.

As you know from my last Mothering post it’s not all sunshine and roses with motherhood. It can be the most uplifting, rewarding -heart-bursting-with-love experience. Alternately, it can also be the most lonely, terrifying, anxiety-ridden-soul-crushing-mind-fuk. So everyone tells you to rely on your support system; your family and your friends. Reach out, talk to people, ask for help. Well what does one do when family lives across the country and most of your friends aren’t interested?

It’s a tough one. I attempted to figure it out and that’s when I realized I was different. Not only from becoming a Mom, but also from trying to piece back together who I was when my life went to shit. *see I told you we would circle back*

No longer was I that free spirit who could talk to anyone in line at the grocery store, even if they didn’t want to. I’m too aware of my own insecurities and their inconvenience, now.

After becoming a Mom I realized just how uncomfortable I was in my own skin. I thought it might be the fact that I relocated across the country and simply didn’t fit in. Then, I thought it was because I was getting older, maybe this is what happens when you aren’t in your 20’s. Your 20’s are where everyone you know is in the exact same space in life so it’s easy to create incredibly strong bonds. There was even a point where I thought there was something innately wrong with me. (Ridiculous, I know.) It’s embarrassing to admit that I let a few bad apples spark that inside of me.

Coming back from feeling like you were torn down, as an individual, isn’t always easy or noticeable. I, also, think that the last person to realize the truth is always, you.

When I became a wife, then eventually a mother I felt like I belonged in my life. Both of these milestones made me stronger and gave me a better sense of self. Yet, it had to be reconciled with the old me, the one who was still healing.

I’m pleased to say that I’m starting to return back to that witty, welcoming, sometimes sarcastic, and memorable girl you meet and think; I want to be her friend. Even better I feel more compassionate, more open-minded and smarter (despite the mom brain).

Most importantly, I’m narrowing down my field to leave only the brightest flowers. I don’t need a thousand friends and activities. A handful of pals that really get what I’m going through, want to be there for me and are there for me is enough.

Quality is essential and I didn’t get that before. Especially when I was in my 20’s and nothing could stop me. From what I can tell, this is a natural progression. Where I feel lucky is knowing and understanding quality. It sure did take a lot, but I’m relieved to have the chance to teach my kids what I’ve learned. Hopefully I can set a good example and show them it is the most rewarding. 

Thanks for “listening”

May 2, 2017
by gwendolyn
4 Comments

Momma’s Haircuttery

Not sure if you know this, but I have taken to cutting the kids hair. I figure what is there to lose when I was already unhappy with the cuts I was paying for. At least this time I would only have myself to blame.

So far it’s been going ok, I’m not that great, which is why you haven’t read a play by play of all my learnings. However, this time I feel like all those YouTube videos and diy blogs I’ve been scouring paid off!

Over the last year, LL has been asking for short hair. First she wanted a pixie cut like I used to have, which freaked me out. How was I going to pull that one off? Then she wanted bangs because I got them and shortly after that she wanted a cut like her brother. Say what?

After a year of all that I caved and cut it shorter. And gave her bangs. She has been in heaven ever since.

She keeps telling me how much she likes it and her brother announced that she looks like a friend of her’s with the same kind of cut, which I found to be pretty astute. (Remember when I told you he might be a genius?) 

Well, I can’t tell you enough how good I feel about haircut for my Little Love. She loves it and plays with the bangs, constantly. We are now excited about brushing hair and there are less knots, so really this is a win-win that I never dreamt of.  What do you think?

My heart sings (really guys, it does).

April 16, 2017
by gwendolyn
0 comments

LLs 5th Birthday Trolls + Donut Party

Who doesn’t want a super soft, larger than life Princess Poppy stuffed doll? (To be honest, sometimes I think Cecito likes it better than LL!)

Here we are again, another post for another birthday party. It’s even another donut party! Only this time there’s the addition of a Trolls theme. You know, that incredibly popular animated kid movie with none other than Justin Timberlake (most of you know how much I adore that dude)!

So. The big news is that our LL turned 5! Can you believe it? Of course not. (Well, let me tell ya something, me either.)

SHE’S FIVE!

or

WE’VE BEEN PARENTS FOR FIVE YEARS!!

Meanwhile, someone told her that life was going to completely change once she was 5. Which means she’s been talking about turning 5 since about day 3 of being four. Ha!

The party was really fun. It’s completely dialed in, as you can imagine. This is my third donut party. The changes were an addition of pink lemonade, cold brew (that’s coffee, just in case you didn’t know), and crudités of many raw veggies, accompanied with dip and hummus.

One of the big changes was that Gil and I made ‘troll hair’ for the kids to play with at the party and take home. It took us a little time to make them, but it was worth it. Even some of the adults joined in the ‘troll hair’ fun!

Just take a look in the pictures…

Momma and LL

This is what I think of this not being MY party, guys.

A motley crew, enjoying the new play structure

Pink frosting filling donut for the birthday girl, with Princess Poppy figure on top. (Oh and a glitter, pink #5 candle to boot!)

I had to jump in there! Such cuties.

Dancing and singing to the Trolls soundtrack was a favorite.

Fun with friends. Keep the magic going!

Sometimes you just want two troll hair headbands.

Friends! Check out the sequin dress and new shades.

We made it through! Even so, we were exhausted after having a great time with some amazing guests.

Someone won the “Most Tired” award, on the way home. (too cute)

This video is super cute if you just imagine what they look like. Sorry it’s so pixelated. I have no idea how that happened. Eek! Even so it’s really great because I can still ‘see’ them all dancing and now I can hear them singing, for years to come.

March 10, 2017
by gwendolyn
2 Comments

Cecito is Two + 1/2

The boy is two and a half and it just doesn’t seem like that’s possible. I feel like he’s been with us as long as LL has. It’s a strange feeling, but very true.

So guys, there’s a real, stark difference between our two kiddos. I mean, I knew that innately I could care less about sports (always) and when I was a little girl I thought that pink and princesses were the greatest things on this green earth. However, I coudn’t get far enough away from them once I became a teen. What I wasn’t ready for was the male/female difference happening at two!

For example, Cecito decided to hit LL while they were playing today, she didn’t care and they kept playing, but he continued to hit her. So his Dad told him not to he responded with, “that’s what guys do,” and a little shrug. Then kept throwing punches at the air, in jest. (Say what?!?)

Even though, Cecito can’t wait to see LL when he wakes up and has to find her about every 5 minutes, if he doesn’t have her in his sight. Still, he will fight her over her little princess dolls, but that’s just because she wants it, really he adores his monster trucks.

He’s rough, loves blue, runs around like a maniac still getting bruises on his face. He’s all boy, yet still loves his sis so much that he will wear dresses, crowns, princess costumes, and ask for ponytails. He’s as obsessed with a skirt that will flare out when he twirls as she is. It’s got to be one of the most adorable things he currently does. Well, that and when he insists on wearing a skirt over sweat pants to go to school.

My little man is also a great cuddler. It doesn’t last long, but when you get a kiss and hug from him the warm fuzzies are particularly spectacular.

Then there is his smile — oh man! He has a dazzler and I find myself doing a double take when he flashes me his pearly whites with those big, dark, baby brown eyes. He’s gonna be as much of a heartbreaker as his sister will be.

We are in trouble.

It’s ok, we love him

Here is LL’s 2.5 year post, it’s got a lot of great language examples. They are some of the cutest memories I have of her at this age. Gil and I sat down trying to recall the same kind of list for Cecito, but it’s not as long or even as memorable, because he’s a bit of a language master. He speaks like a 4 year old (according to his teacher). So when he makes a flub you really have to remember it. There’s a chance he won’t ever do it again!

Cecito’s list:
peeky-boo (peek-a-boo)
meemow (meow)
wub (love)
mout (mouth)
Dec-a-lan (Declan)
buh-cation (vacation)
plian-na-no (piano, courtesy of LL)

 

…let’s move onto the good stuff, pictures!

Hanging out with Daddy at Balboa Park! (first time on the butterfly ride)

 

Happy and excited with a Nutella (choc) mustache and cowboy boots. Perfect accessories for your pajamas!

 

When he’s tired, he’s really tired. No nap, boy.

Hi Momma, I see you.

Sleepy boy.

There’s my sweet boy, who won’t stand still for a picture, ever.

Picking flowers with sister. Of course, no pants. Who needs pants?

I can do everything you can do…see?

I’m not trying to get out the doggy door…just look at how cute I am. That’s all there is to see here.

Harley guy, already?

Let’s see if we fit on the stairs? (He did, she a little long and had to bend a bit.)

My little stud. Darn cardboard box that attacked his face!

Little feet and a squinty smile.

Saved the best smile for last. Well the best one I could capture. So many kisses!

 

 

February 3, 2017
by gwendolyn
0 comments

I’m Four and a Half

LL isn’t far from turning 5, but I just had to write a half birthday post for her!

She is the sweetest, most nurturing almost 5 year old I know. Who can also clench her fists so hard they are white knuckled while she’s in rage at almost anything that doesn’t go her way. Mostly that means she’s really pissed at her brother. You know, normal sibling stuff.

What she, also, does a lot, is pretend she’s a momma and has a baby in her tummy. Which means a stuffed animal is in her shirt. She used to claim it was the “babysitter”. So awesome, guys! The “babysitter” doesn’t happen any longer, but playing family does. What’s extra cute, right now, is that either one of our kids can be the the dada (she’s brought that term back, in full force — even Cecito says it), momma, brother or sister…it’s equal opportunity, folks!

Another favorite is socks worn inside out, because why would you ever wear them the right way where they don’t slide!? If you didn’t know, almost all little kid socks have grippys on them so they don’t fall and bust their face open. These two kids will beg to slide, just once, at any point in the day, it’s that exciting to them. They, also, really really need to wear a pair on their hands. It’s the new fashion craze, people!

We are constantly in the search of matching pairs way more than before. But I blame that on Gabby, because she is the one that showed LL it’s way cooler to wear mismatched socks! And woudn’t that rule apply to your hands?

Gosh, you know I could go on and on, but I’ll end it with one more ultra adorable thing. She is as cuddly, loving, smiley, sweet, happy, nurturing, inquisitive and intelligent as any other kid; but what sets her apart is how she can make you feel so loved your heart is literally going to burst open. She might take a while to warm up, but when you are in, you are IN. I think she’s the type that’s going to love big and love hard, but not that often.

She’s the best of what I envisioned she’d be.

Sibling love at UTC Mall.

With Momma to see The Lion King (off Broadway)

Happy Girl!

With Daddy at Uncle Tom’s Wedding!

Sliding down!

Just one of the girls, in LA!

Friends of every generation.

Standing tall. Standing strong.

October 5, 2016
by gwendolyn
1 Comment

Mothering: Being a Mom of Two (Part 2)

Part Two: Are you ready?

This one is about being a Momma of two. Not just two, but two humans that are born so close in age that you never get out of the rough times to enjoy #2 as much as you love them.

In my head, it’s a lucky thing that my #2 is a different gender and that he will always be my last baby; because, he doesn’t get as much of my undivided attention that LL did as a newborn and toddler, or really, in general. He doesn’t get all my patience to become who he’s supposed to be. Neither one of them get all of me. It’s just a fact and I feel guilty.

I had a newborn and a two year old. Those ages are beyond exhausting and demanding. When I was the mother of one, I found ways to make life work. Managed my time well enough to feel like I was giving her an acceptable amount of myself, not to fall apart. Still, I found joy in every moment even though I was living second-by-second.

Once number two was here I never caught up. We are two years into two children and I still don’t know when I will recover. My poor husband; I haven’t felt enough like myself, in the last two years, to even consider what we need, to be us.

These are the things that happen. This is life. I’m not complaining.

I’m just admitting that some days, I wonder, if my dream is ever going to be what I imagined it to be.

September 30, 2016
by gwendolyn
0 comments

Mothering: Becoming a Mother (Part 1)

This is the first post in a series I have wanted to write for some time now. Mostly, I want to write this post to memorialize the occasion, but also, so I can go back and read it whenever things get rough. If there is anything I have learned over the last four years it is that we all need a little reminder of how good we have it, once in a while. The topics of this series will vary, but centered around being a Mom. Hence, the ‘Mothering’ title.

Are you ready? Ok, let’s get to it.

Becoming a mother, simply put, is magic. Yes, I said it, magic. The feeling you get when you find out a little person is growing inside of you. A mini me? A mini him? I thought about becoming a mother my entire life and since I didn’t get pregnant until I was 35 that was a pretty long time. So many emotions, so much confusion and so much HAPPINESS! While I was, also, scared out of my pants.

Then, you feel the little buggar in your tummy. Then, you give birth. Then, you hold that little baby in your arms. I was in such shock that I had just birthed a human being I’m not sure I was living in reality. I was just doing. All the while, not realizing my heart was growing with every second that I held my new little, teeny, tiny baby. I mean, did that thing really just come out of me!?!?

When you make it through the first year it’s totally acceptable to celebrate with a big bash that the kid will never care about. Because, my friends, you just ran a year long marathon. It’s worth celebrating. What else are you going to do with all the extra love that oozes out of you every time you look at that precious one year old face?

I’m sure you are getting the gist of this post. All this magic and all this love is what it felt like, to me. I have learned more about myself, my partner and what it is to truly love. How scared you are that anything, and I mean anything will ever happen to your child. I remember the first time LL got a bruise and then a scar, I thought I had totally messed up this perfect little human we created. Then all the emotional turmoil that happens when they start figuring out social graces. My heart will always get hurt for her, even when it doesn’t need to.

As parents we take on a lot, I think everyone knows that. What I want to remember the most and what I want to share with you the most, is how amazing all that love and heart growing really is. Really. Because, nothing beats the moments when they come running at you with all the excitement in the world, just by virtue of you being their parent. The first time they say, “I lub you” and go for a kiss. When you know they realize what they are saying and they can now verbalize how important you are to their little world. It’s life changing. It changes who you are from the inside. You are no longer your own. It took me a while to give in to this, but once I did…I figured out it was what I needed.

I’m her Momma. She talks about this a lot. I hope she never stops.

September 9, 2016
by gwendolyn
0 comments

Outtakes: Cecito’s 2nd Birthday

When your brother turns two, but you are, also, the star of the party!

Girls just want to have fun (and hugs).

Girls just want to have fun (and hugs).

If anything happens to LL or she gets something new, these are the two that she HAS to tell about it, immediately.

If anything happens to LL or she gets something new, these are the two that she HAS to tell about it, immediately. ‘Cause, you know they can’t live without hearing about pink fingernail polish and new dresses!

Deserted donut, no need to worry...

Deserted donut, no need to worry…

You sure this isn't MY party?

You sure this isn’t MY party?

I finished it! Queen of the donuts!

Finished it, just call me Queen of the Donuts!

Determination Face

Determination Face

The day before this party the kids were fighting with the bathroom door. Seems LL didn't win. At least it wasn't broken, just badly bruised.

The day before this party the kids were fighting with the bathroom door. Seems LL didn’t win. At least it wasn’t broken, just badly bruised.

Preschooler and teenager playing their best selves. hehe

Preschooler and teenager playing their best selves. Two peas in a pod.

Really, I'm pretty sure you can call this my party...go ahead...I dare ya.

Really, I’m pretty sure you can call this my party…go ahead…I’ll wait.

He sure knows how to pull the adorable out of nowhere.

One more of the birthday boy, for good measure. He sure knows how to pull the adorable out of nowhere.