It’s not Minnesota without at least one big snowstorm! Gotta love it (as long as it’s not in April)…
It’s not Minnesota without at least one big snowstorm! Gotta love it (as long as it’s not in April)…
Here I am, one month shy of an entire year since I’ve posted here. How sad is that! I love coming here, sharing my thoughts and photos, not only with you, but for myself and for my daughter to look back on years from now.
Being absent here for almost a year can only mean one thing — 2015 was complete craziness. Not only was I absent on my blog, but in a way, from my own life. My days were spent sitting at my desk in an office, working my full time job, and the majority of my evenings were a precise routine of picking up Finley from daycare, making dinner, being a mommy, and then parking my rear end on the couch to work again, this time on freelance projects, the minute Finley went to bed. It was all I could do to keep up. Nothing else mattered. It wasn’t unusual for me to have up to 20 ongoing projects at all times. Everything else
seemed to had to get pushed to the back burner. I would often tell myself that there would be no way I could maintain that lifestyle forever, especially as Finley got older and would have more “activities” in the evenings or when we, God-willingly, bring another child into this world. Plus, I just know there is so much more to life than only doing things to make extra cash.
Here’s the thing, I LOVE my freelance work, I really do. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do so much of it. But it’s still work, and it’s still taking away from the other things that fill my heart with joy. Freelance work has slowly started to make even my passions feel like too much work — because doing something for “fun” would take up the precious time I had so little of to get my money-paying freelance work done. Even coloring (and I LOVE coloring!) seemed to cause anxiety because I couldn’t finish it fast enough and I’d always feel like I wasn’t using my time wisely enough. That is no way to live, my friends! We only have one life to do all the things that make us the happiest and bring us the most joy.
So, moving forward in 2016, it’s my goal to be more intentional about what work I add to my plate, to focus a whole lot more on me (hello, exercising and making time for eating clean!) and my family (hello, toddler swimming lessons+dance class and date nights with my hubby again!), and doing the fun things that don’t necessarily put money in my pocket. Expect to see more personal photo projects of my two favorite subjects this year too!
With that, before Finley’s third birthday in 19 days (howwwww!?), here’s what her second birthday looked like! Wait til you see how much she’s changed since then…!
2nd Birthday Theme: Vizslas+Sprinkles
“Colorful sprinkles, vizlsa kisses, & a little girl’s wishes — Finley is turning two!”
It’s hard to believe the first photo was taken two years ago, just a short 24 hours before I would see my sweet little baby’s face for the first time. Fast forward two years — her hair fits in piggies and that sweet little baby has become a little girl. In true vizsla fashion, Lucy is close by, making sure to live up to the trademark vizsla nickname — Velcro Dog™.
Remember, “the days are long, but the years are short.”… I still can’t believe I have a two year old daughter and that Lucy will turn nine this summer… My girls… ❤
To the daycare mamas, especially mine, because she’s amazing and today is her birthday…
I wouldn’t doubt there have been arguments about who has the toughest job out there… Is it doctors? Surgeons, maybe? Deep sea fishermen? Police officers? Lumberjacks? Graphic designers (no-brainer)? 😉 Some say stay-at-home moms have the hardest job. While I don’t disagree with any of those jobs being tough, I might believe that it’s YOU, daycare mamas, who have the toughest job. But could it be more than just the toughest, and be the best at the same time?!
I know I can’t be the only working mom who feels an indescribable, deep appreciation for you. You think the Caramel High Rise from Caribou is generous on a Monday morning? If I could give you a million dollars, I would. What you do for me, for my daughter, is invaluable.
There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you drop off your 3-month old baby to be taken care of by someone else for the first time. I cried the entire drive there, regained composure, only to break down when I tried to tell you how much milk she drank that morning and at what time so that you would know when to feed her next. You just kindly smiled because you had been there yourself at one point and because you had seen it a million times from the other mommies on their first days. So, I went out to my car and ugly cried all the way to my office. I left my baby for you to care for. And you did. You became her second mommy.
Not gonna lie, there have been times when I’ve been jealous [of you] and felt sadness. When I handed her back to you after my lunch break visit that first week and watched you hold her while sitting on the couch, but I had to go back to work. (Best job in the world: snuggling newborn babies?!) Or the phase she went through when she automatically said “More please, Heidi” instead of “mommy” every time she wanted more of something. Or when she took her first steps there instead of at home (Best job in the world: Seeing happy babies do awesome things!). Or when I picked her up after work and she fought getting into the car seat, crying “Heidi! Heidi!”. While it is bittersweet at times, the sweet part outweighs the bitter by a mile, because how awful and heartbreaking would it be if she cried every time I dropped her off?! I’m unbelievably grateful she gets to spend her days with someone as caring as you, someone she loves, when I’m at work.
I’m still “jealous” you get to be with my baby every day, but my feelings have also shifted. It’s almost a deeper appreciation for what you do, because God knows how frustrating it can be dealing with kids some days. I feel for you when I drop Finley off and you have eight little kids at your feet, mine included. And I feel bad when Finley is already bickering (in a toddler “bickering” way) with the only boy there before I have even left, but I have to walk out, leaving you to deal with it. While I am at work, in my “grown-up” office (wah-wah), enjoying my coffee, going to “lunch meetings” or getting in a quick workout (which all can also qualify as the most dreadful things ever. Except the coffee.), you are at your home, watching your house get torn apart by kids day after day, caring for the little ones who mean the most to us. You don’t get a “lunch break” and a few minutes to yourself during the day. You are busy teaching them right from wrong, teaching them to share and be kind, tending to their needs, kissing their owies and giving them hugs, throwing awesome dance parties, making them healthy meals, and even potty training them. You are helping shape them into who they will become. You alone are doing all the things we do for just our own children in our own homes. Completely selfless.
You, daycare mamas, have the toughest (but the best!?) job in the world.
A Caribou Coffee and “thank you” will never be enough.
It was a typical evening after work, Lucy was living up to the classic vizlsa nickname, “Velcro Dog”, following me around like she was Velcroed to my hip. Toddlers tend to be the same way so Finley wasn’t far behind. I noticed that Lucy was “smiling”, acting weird, and taking deeps breaths through her nose, the sure tell sign a dog is about to puke. So, I did what is the best solution for this to ensure I don’t have to clean puke off the floor, and guided her into the shower (she goes in like she knows is the place to puke). As she was in there, I must have been staring intently at her and while I was staring at her, Finley must have been staring at me, observing my every move. And, I must have been making a funny face of concern because next thing I knew, Finley was looking at me with this funny lip face saying (also in a funny, low/scruffy/worried voice), “Lucy sick”.
Seriously, this child kills me!
Now, when I make that face at her, she giggles and does it back and immediately says “Ohhh, Lucy sick”, in that same funny voice.
In “Cheers-ing” news, she most recently ran to her playroom, grabbed her wooden camera, and came running over to me, while I was shooting some products for work, to cheers cameras! There also has been cheersing of eyes, toothbrushes, and tummies. What will she cheers next!?
Happy Friday, friends!
There are lots and lots of wonderful things about Finley, but one of them is that she plays really well by herself. She has such an imagination already and quietly goes from one thing to another, spending short amounts of time on each thing, like a typical toddler. The other night, while she played for awhile before bedtime, I glanced over at her to see what she was up to. She was placing her baby (My Baby Shivers from when I was little; I remember getting her like it was yesterday.. oh, the excitement!) on top of a Rubbermaid container, then proceeded to tell her “time out!” and walked away, leaving Baby Shivers behind. I about died. She gave her baby a time out!
Sometimes, I think it’s easy to forget just how smart out little toddlers are. They are watching and observing everything we do as adults. (So, yesterday when I hopped in the car to go to work, realizing I was on empty, maybe “shit!” wasn’t my best choice of words?)
As if I couldn’t love her more than I already do, last night as I talked to her at the end of one of her own time outs, she poked me in the cheek and exclaimed “cheek!” and then poked her own cheek and said it again, then said “Cheers!” as she pushed her cheek against mine. Cheers-ing isn’t only for cocktail glasses, in her little mind. I think I like this girl’s imagination…
Occasionally I am taken aback when I think deeply about the fact that I have a child. I have a real-live-human-child-baby who is mine, who depends on me, who I keep alive. I don’t feel old enough to have that responsibility, yet I have it and I do a pretty darn good job if it, I think. I read this blog post a woman wrote about what you “learn in your 40s” and although I have a number of years before I live through my 40s, that quote resonated with me.
All these “adult” responsibilities I have, I do, but half the time I have no idea how. I’m just winging it day in and day out. I think we all are, aren’t we? Who really knows what the hell they are doing when they have their first baby (or their second or their third!)? When I was pregnant with Finley, I would have mini panic attacks wondering how I would know how much to feed her when she was a newborn but then she came and I did it, and she grew like tiny babies do. When she was six months old, I didn’t know if I should give her baby food or how much or even what kind, but the time came and I did it again. And shoes. Does a baby under 12 months really need shoes!? My head always told me I “should” put shoes on her, but the mommy in me said “eff that, she doesn’t need shoes!” So, despite the grief from others, I never put shoes on her (rarely socks, even!). And guess what, she can run with those tiny little feet just like all the other kids her age! Small uncertainties happen at every stage of their lives, of our lives, and each time, as parents, we figure it out — albeit, winging it.
I suspect that when she’s in kindergarten, a sophomore in high school, or a mommy bringing home her newborn baby, I will still have those moments when I am taken aback by the fact that I am a grown-up… but I will hold my head high and confidently do what I need to do as a mom, all the while, feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing at all.
“Stop looking for the magic. You are in it.”
Whether you’re a little girl in the foggy woods, I mean, a “magical forest”, in Minnesota on a 47 degree November day, or the mommy to that little girl, take a look around — stop looking for the magic, because you are in it! Not every day with a toddler seems magical, especially the days when she tugs at your leg every minute and wants “uppia”, but only if you are standing, or when she fights a diaper change for ten minutes right before you were walking out the door in the morning for work, or when she demands “fishies” the entire 30 minute car ride, but you don’t have any left and can’t make her understand that. Just when you think you are at your wit’s end, you are overwhelmed with happiness when you go into her room in the morning and she greets you with a smile and sweetly says “in! in!” until you get into her crib with her for two minutes until “all done!” and she kicks you out, or when she points to the card on the fridge with a fox on the front and proudly blurts out her newly-learned word, except it doesn’t exactly sound like “fox”, but sounds more like the F-bomb, or when she answers with “Owwh-kayyyyy” (in a British accent) instead of “yes”, and what may be the sweetest thing to every mommy’s ears; hearing her say “lah-youuu, mommy” and puckering up her sweet little toddler lips for a kiss!
That is the magic.
This “forest” was pretty magical too, but I think that’s because she was in it… ❤
Today my photo was selected as one of National Geographic’s Daily Dozen and the photo with the most votes (by midnight) may be published in an edition of National Geographic! I would love your support and if you would vote for my photo!! Thank you thank you thank you!! 🙂 Just click the photo to be taken to the site to vote..