I decided to give intermittent fasting a try back in the summer of 2018 and MAAAAAAAN did I fall in love!! Like I can’t speak highly enough of it because I have had so many… More
We watched our wedding video the other day from start to finish for the first time in a while! I mean we watched the pre-festivities, the parties, food gatherings, ceremony, reception, the whole shindig. Noah wanted to watch it and we also wanted to watch him watch us before he came along. Aside from us noticing all the fashion and styles “back then”, I noticed just how young and blindly unaware of what marriage really was.
Sure, the lacy overlay dress, and bouncy curly hair couple with the glittery and shimmery champagne glasses, made it such a magical event. But that is quite all weddings are- a declaration of the undying love a couple has for one another. But no one talks honestly about the after party. The challenge of staying in love or maybe choosing to fall in love everyday.
I want to remove the illusion from any eyes that marriage is a part 2 version of a chick flick. Marriage is hard work. It is challenging and honestly that word doesn’t even cut it. Living with a person for what you plan to be the rest of your life, understanding that you and that individual changes on a daily basis, and choosing to love them despite everything. Loving them in the highs of life and the lows. Can you truly say you love someone unless you’ve seen them at their worst? Can I say the way I loved Josh the day of our wedding is the same that I love him today? Absolutely not. Would I want to love him the same? Hell no. Why? Because love should grow. Real love- the love that goes through hell and comes out stronger should never look the same.
The way I look at Josh now is a deeper sense of love more so connected to an immense gratitude. Gratitude that he and I made the choice together to stick out what felt like the worst time in our lives. We teamed up. We stopped fighting against each other and decided to fight together, for each other for our marriage, for our family.
What has 5 years taught me? It has taught me to expect nothing yet expect everything. It’s taught me that love is seasonal and sometimes that love looks a little messy and doesn’t feel like love at all. It was taught me to understand that my partner in life will change and it is MY job to love him, not his job to make me love him or be the person I expect him to be. And vise versa though don’t get me wrong. If we are consistently putting love, sacrifice, gratitude, affection, and intimacy and all the other beauty it comes with into this marriage for each other we’ll have something to lean on. Foundation. It has taught me that seeking God I ultimately seek love and with that perfect love I can attempt a bare form of human love.
When I look at my family now, I see a strong couple. A couple who had a cuh-razy time but that came out on top. I see a couple who is invincible who can withstand anything together. Whatever the world wants to bring us- we’re ready.
I have been on a slight rampage clearing out all rooms of unnecessary belongings. Very intentionally though. I find inspiration from just waking up to a clear surface as means to make me feel as though my mind is also clear.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -Williams Morris
And so I set out on a clearing of the space mission. Post-Simplicity Parenting. After being active in the motherhood space for 3+ years now, I have gathered little bits and pieces of information along the way to help in my decision making processes. As I’m positive I have much more to learn and more challenges to face on this journey, early on, I began to notice within myself feelings of inadequacy simply based off of the reports of other moms on social media or Pinterest recommendations.
The trends splashed across my feed, encouraging thoughts like “my home doesn’t look like this”, “I’m not a minimalist, my kid will grow up with anxiety”, “He watched an extra few minutes of TV, his brain cells are literally frying”. Like UGH. Stop. I annoyed myself. I was aspiring to have a picture perfect family, home, and child when I should have been been aspiring to be the best mom to MY child in MY home. Granted, there are bits of information as I go along i integrate into our home and family rhythms but that is now because i see them as a good fit for my family-not because it’s the trend.
That being said, I am not a minimalist by any means. But do I want to have less? Yes. Do I feel that outward clutter creates inward clutter? Absolutely. Do I consider myself holistic? YES. But do I reject Western medicine when necessary? Not at all. Just because I feel like we are slightly more on the whole and mindful living side of the spectrum. The way I dress may not seem so. I might have print or have a shirt or 2 from Forever 21. My point here is that we need to stop feeding into this all or nothing, mindset. We have enough to worry about with making sure our kids are safe in the car, at school, at daycare, at home or what have you. It is not all or nothing.
Parenthood would become a daunting chore robbing all of the joy and fluidity that it’s supposed to come with.
I have come home being proud of what I see. Sometimes there’s blankets on the floor from a fort earlier that morning, dishes in the sink, and maybe a little laundry piled up, but if I’m putting that off to have a dance part with my son, then I’m ok with that.
We love fall! You may have gathered that just based on the recent posts, but we can’t get over it. In fact, we started decorating for fall specifically on the 2nd weekend of September which is standard for the Vasconcellos household.
I asked on the latest IG stories, what everyone does for fall traditions to share it with you guys so that if you don’t have any traditions or you’re looking to add some into your home with your family, you’re in the right place. Also thank you to the many of you that sent your fall suggestions! Here is a compilation of them all.
So I’ll just get right into it so you can get right to it!
- Pumpkin Patch
- Making a big meal for Fall Equinox to appreciate Gaia’s gifts
- Pumpkin pie in bed
- Apple Orchard
- Disneyland (if you’re in CA because it’s legit themed and it’s awesome)
- Make a fall wreath or garland
- Have an apple cider night cap
- Pick a book to nestle on the couch with
- Diffuse some good essential oils! Thieves, Cedarwood, and Orange are my favorite for fall. I choose oils over candles these days.
- Preserve fall leaves and make crafts. I found a good and simple way here.
- Take a hike or evening walks at dusk.
- Help your kids make garlands. Michaels has really cool ideas too.
- Get themed home goods! Good non-toxic products can be found here at my favorite home delivery service Grove Collaborative! They have fall scents all over their site.
- Clear every surface of your home. This brings a clear vision and welcoming energy to your home to invite all the happiness of fall and holiday season.
I feel like us humans are very sensitive to energy and vibes and if so doing activities that encourage a familial gathering and full tummies, I’m all in.
Have anymore you’d like to share? Send them my way!
I’ll be honest, I was at point in my life where I felt like I had no time at all to clean my house. Whenever I got home after, I literally felt feelings of discouragement, inadequacy, and just legit lazyness solely based on the fact that I had no time to clean. I would’ve rather spent those couple of hours with the baby and hubby than to spend hours cleaning so I hired a cleaning service. They came faithfully, every other week and all was well in the world. That is until I became aware of toxic chemicals in cleaning products and the implications that arise from inhaling them. (Thanks to the Colorful Eats Podcast for bringing me to this awareness!) And aside from that, I wanted to involve Noah in a cleaning routine so I womaned up and told our cleaning crew that Mama was taking over!
Now by any means, my home is not sparkling on a daily basis. If anyone knows our home always has family or friends over for dinner just I mean everyone is welcome pretty much so there’s typically company. Also Josh has sleep issues worse than a baby so he’ll set up shop on the couch-down comforter, pillows and everything. It’s insanity. But I mean I love him so yea. The point is I kept seeing these homes on Pinterest and Instagram and I’m like how the eff do people have time to keep their home spotless! And while I realize that is simply a moment in time for them, I would still get in my feelings aforementioned. So I pulled out a notebook and wrote down each room in my house.
I also found a crazy cleaning product hack and subscribed to Grove.co for all non-toxic home products that get delivered straight to my door. This is in no way sponsored I just LOVE this service because if I don’t have to leave the house I’m into it. Anyway I wrote down each room in my house and all the things that needed cleaning for each room. If you reduce it to each room, it becomes less intimidating and then from there you can delegate what needs to be done.
Kitchen | Bathroom | Dining | Living
- Counters | Floors (sweep ups) : DAILY
- Stove | Fridge : Sundays
- Counter | Floors (sweep ups) : Daily
- Toilet | Shower : Sundays
Dining: Wipe down surfaces
- Floors (Vaccum or Mop Sundays)
Living: Wipe down surfaces
- Floors (Vacuum or Mop Sundays)
I use this as a base and work my way room to room.
**MAJOR TIP** NO MEANDERING or WANDERING. Don’t float otherwise you’ll never complete a task. This will turn your cleaning into an entire day event which we do not want! Unless that’s you’re thing than do you!
**MAJOR MAJOR TIP**
Keep the cleaning product underneath the kitchen sink or bathroom sink. SOOO much easier to just grab, spray, and wipe. (we use method or Seventh Generation from Grove Collaborative-linked above and eco-friendly and sustainable paper towel also from Grove). This helps me especially because somehow I feel it is a major inconvenience to walk “all the way” to the laundry room to grab the cleaning basket….I sound super lazy I really am not though I promise!
Also, just get a little wool duster. It’s easy to just swipe over everything as you go. Maintenance is key because you know I’m all about efficiency and using my time wisely, hence the deliver for Grove Collaborative products.
Oh and also, try a timer. Some people work well under pressure. Put that thing to 15 minutes per room-you’ll be surprised how much you get done.
I hope this simplifies your cleaning process like it’s done mine and maybe you can fire your cleaning lady too if you had one 🙂
What quick and easy cleaning hacks do you have? I’d love to hear!
It has been quite the week! Remember that post about me getting all the Noah snuggles since Josh is gone for the week? Well i’ll just go ahead and say that snuggles were had but not to the extent I had planned. This morning we flew almost literally out of the house because Noah had to be dropped off with his Titi and Uncle in Reche Canyon. Quite a bit into the mountains for those of you who aren’t familiar.
I hate rushing. Espcially with Noah. he gets anxious obviously because I am and he just doesn’t know what to expect next since we’re running around crazy so I have to stop myself in the middle of the chaos and sit down. Even for just 5 minutes and tell him I’m sorry for rushing. Even those few minutes sitting down with him immediately calms him. If you parents take anything away from this post, it should be try not to rush with your kids. They can feel the anxiety.
I’m really happy though because I feel like Noah and I are gaining traction with our bonding time. Since I work a full time job, it can be difficult for baby and I to find little things for us to do just us. Him and Josh have PLENTY of things that they do together because they have all day.
My thing with him? Making sure he knows he’s included in the home rhythm. Traditionally it is up to Mom to include children in the home rhythm but I’m not home! So these times are so intentional!
Weekend Round Up:
Lake Arrowhead and Sis/bro in law time was had and Noah got time with his cousin. We sat by the water, went to the park and ate all day! We did nothing. It was quiet. No traffic and all the stars. Everything I needed to detox from in the city.
Birthday brunch was had for Koko! Happy birthday best! My best and God mama to Noah and most recently new roomie for the next year! We’re both going to buying our first homes next year so this year it’s time is triple up on savings!
First day of homeschool curriculum. We are using Habitat Schoolhouse. Read their blog on this wholesome concept. I’m so excited to integrate this into our rhythms at home. How will I homeschool when I work FT? Good question! I’m still figuring it out but I’m gonna make it work. I’ll make a post on our progress once we get into the swing.
We tried Plant Power for the first time. They opened one in Redlands so holla! We were stoked. That chicken and waffles sandwich though….
All this followed by a 3 hour nap and some park time.
Now I’m sitting in bed with Noah who is in the lightest of sleeps. Josh should be home any minute and I think Noah is secretly waiting up.
How was your Labor Day weekend with your littles!?
Okay so welcome back to Simplicity Parenting book review part 2! I split it up into parts because, well it’s easier to digest that way since the first part had so much information. To be honest with you, I became very overwhelmed when I read this book the first time. Yep, this was my second go with it because I quit 1/3rd of the way in. It literally makes you face a lot of what your home consists of and it shows you what adjustments that may or may not need to be made for the betterment of the child or children in the home.
Take aways here:
This second part we are currently working on in our home meaning these pieces are challenges for us especially food. I lose my mind trying to get Noah to eat. All he wants are bagels, quesadillas, and yogurt. Don’t get me wrong he loves fruit. Strawberries, grapes, etc. But he will not try anything new so the food fights-not the throwing of food, but the bribery to get him to try something new all of that is going out the window. Makes meal time a headache-can I get an amen? Concepts here are again simplifying food.
- Limit food choices: give them just a few whole foods at a time. Whole foods meaning un-processed foods. For Noah we try to keep everything plant based with the exception of yogurt and whole cheese. Everyone’s family diets are different so go with limiting choices.
- Just as we tossed “loud and noisy” toys, do so with food. Ask yourself if the food is designed to nourish or entertain.
So how do you go about simplifying food? I needs steps so I made a list of steps we are taking starting this week.
- Wean them of processed snacks with little to no nutritional value. This I’ve read can take about a month or less to detox the palette.
- Introduce a new food weekly. No more than once
- Be Consistent. Hardest part especially if you aren’t home most of the day so here meal prep will be key. I have yet to meal prep. I know… I’m working on it.
- Quiet time begins for baby hops in bed. We try to keep blue light activity at a minimum. Crazy bright lights are off while we brush teeth and wash up.
- Story time- something that can nourish his dreams. No action stories that invoke strong emotion. Right now, he’s into the
- . There’s 4, Please Mr. Panda (linked above),
- , and
- . He’s OBSESSED. One of his Uncles and Aunts get each version a year for his birthday.
- We do have prayer while a Himalayan salt lamp is on. So we’ve turned out all head lights or standing lights. Once prayer is done-lights go out. One of us always lays with him until he’s fully asleep.
The book did elaborate on where the child sleeps but we currently have Noah in our room. We’re advocates of attachment parenting. This is what works for us. We have loved implementing the warm lighting. Before it would just go from light to dark and kind of just expect him to shut off with the lights, but kids are humans too! I feel like we forget. If it takes us a while to “unwind” in the evening and we have routines that get us ready to relax, we should only expect our littles to be the same.
I hope this helps and I hope this encourages you to buy the book so that you can take some pieces away that suit your family. Please reach out for questions or further suggestions!
I absolutely loved Simplicity Parenting! I have finally finished one of the best self-improvement parenting books on the market! Since becoming a parent and learning about who my child was I quickly began to realize we’re all just winging it. However, there are certain tools that we can all learn from each other or others who have studied children throughout careers. Of course we all have different goals and ways that we parent and how we would like our children to turn out so for us, we want to raise a well-rounded human, respectful of others, and loving, creative and all the things we see he has the potential to be. So it is our job as parents to nourish those abilities and there are certain things we can do to encourage them.
This was pretty lengthy and I took so many notes that I have had a hard time putting this together efficiently for you guys. But here it goes!
The most definitive take aways I gathered were the following:
- Minimize Options: Toys, activities, etc.
- Simplify Surroundings: Child’s space, food options etc.
- Be as predictable as possible: Prepare the child let them know what to expect.
Now let me elaborate.
Minimizing Options. Many of us have toys on top of toys. Some from grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, collections form birthday’s etc. We accept graciously, child is happy for maybe 24 hours to a week and then interest is lost and quite possibly so is said toy. Parents this is the hard part-parting ways with the unnecessary. So how do you determine what is not needed?
- Remove age-inappropriate toys. If your kid is 3 and there’s a teether in their room. TOSS. You get my drift.
- Reduce emulating toys. Toys that look like cartoon figures are discouraged in this book because it can replace the space for creativity, but it’s based on preference which is why I say reduce and not remove.
- Remove toys that make noise or light up. These are highly stimulating. Stimulation is good, over-stimulation can have effects later to where kids learn to expect entertainment at all times. Besides, I have yet to meet a parent who adores their baby’s toys that play the same jingles over and over.
When minimization is occurring you may be wondering, well what will entertain my child? The answer I found is you. Your home. Involving the Noah in the home rhythms has helped exponentially. Invite them to help with the dishes, picking up around the house, make it an activity. Children enjoy being apart of something. Ever notice how they start getting psycho when you’re on the phone or cleaning up in a frenzy, they suffer from FOMO! ItHelping a child learn his/her place in their home is settling. Gives them a sense of belonging. Instead of saying “you need to clean the dishes now!” I invite Noah to help by saying, “would you like to be my special helper with the dishes?” Telling him he’s my best helper is music to his little baby ears.
Simplifying Space. This might’ve been the toughest spot for us. Noah’s space is a full room right now, yet his bed is in our room, yet we co-sleep for right now. Noah’s room has a small bookshelf, chalkboard eisle, toy box, and a closet. That’s it. which we have turned into a reading corner. Simplifying the room just making things accessible and minimal helping the child learn to focus. What we did: we turned the bookshelf into a reading corner. We have removed MOST books and have left 5. Those 5 are in the rotation for story time. (More on stories later)
The toy box is full. We, to be honest, are still working on this part of simplification. Stay turned. The idea is to have age-appropriate toys etc (refer to toy minimization above).
When you are simplifying, ask yourself evaluating questions.
- Is it developmentally appropriate?
- Is it based on a product or TV show? (Keep an “ad free” zone. Kids are 80% the target audience for products)
- Does it tell an unfolding story or is it all over the place? Does it nourish the child’s dreams? Does it encourage the child’s positive play.
Family rhythms are key. Children thrive off of the expected. This has been and is currently the absolute hardest piece of our daily lives because of Josh’s school/clinical schedule and me working full-time, it has been incredibly difficult to determine predictably. This is the reason I picked up this book, because our family rhythms were off and I could see my little boy being shuffled about, from daycare, to my mom, to godparents picking him up, I needed help. So I’m here to tell you no matter how busy you are, this is possible! The busier your life is, the more they need YOU the parent to be transparent.
- Start at any point to develop a rhythm. Find points in the day that they can learn to expect. For example for us one was waking up and having prayer and saying what we’re grateful for. He expected this.
- Create visuals. Help them pick out their outfit for the next day. They will be prepared knowing what they’ll wear this brings comfort. Tell them who is picking them up. Include them in the process. Noah is only 3, so this is slightly less of a conversation, but for an older child this will bring less anxiety.
- Recap their day in the morning. We tell Noah, what’s happening from the point I’m dropped off at work to the point of when I get home. He asks A TON of follow up questions-questions I now call comfort seekers. Try not to get frustrated (I know it’s hard), but remember he is just trying to understand his day. Involving Noah in dinner process helps as well because he KNOWS he is needed.
I have 2 more points to address: Sleep and Food. These points are the most sought after pieces of advice that I have personal sough as a parent so I’m sure many other parents are just as curious. How can we make both of these very vital pieces of our children’s lives, simple and efficient? Part 2 will be saved specifically for these two bad boy topics. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or how we’ve implemented some changes in our home. We’re all in this parenting thing together! To purchase follow link here and enjoy the learning process of raising tiny humans!