Simplicity Parenting-Pt. 2

img_9863Okay 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:

  • Food
  • Sleep

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.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Introduce a new food weekly. No more than once
  3. 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.

Simplifying Sleep

    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

Mr. Panda series

      • . There’s 4, Please Mr. Panda (linked above),

Thank You, Mr. Panda

      • ,

Goodnight, Mr. Panda

      • ,  and

I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda

    • . 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!

XO,

GV

 

Simplicity Parenting-Pt. 1

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.

Evaluating Questions:

  1. Is it developmentally appropriate?
  2. Is it based on a product or TV show? (Keep an “ad free” zone. Kids are 80% the target audience for products)
  3. 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.

Predictability.

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!

XO,

GV

A Weekend Wonderland

Ahhh the weekend. Yes I know it’s Tuesday and I’m already counting down to the 48 hour break! If you read in my latest IG post, you’ll catch the drift that our schedules during the week are crazy and can feel slightly chaotic. But now that Josh is graduated and just studying for the NCLEX, we’ve had a nice streak with consistency. However, I’m still working “9-5” (sometimes later) so my time with family, especially my baby is cut waaaay down. It sucks, but I don’t dwell. Instead I make the most of the time we do have by creating value in our activities.

Last weekend, as we do every weekend we woke up slow. We let morning light in and let the sun wake us up-the alarm clocks become a distant memory. Coffee is made and our little boy is as ready as ever to enjoy both of his parents. Even just the potential of a beautiful day brings peace.

The time i feel is so precious that I get with him and very delicate that I want to maximize our experiences together since it’s so little in the grand scheme of life. I try to make a point for us to be outside with no toys to leave room for conversation: you would not believe the things you can learn from a toddler if you just let them talk!

This particular weekend, I took Noah to Prospect Park and Ford Park in Redlands, CA. A suburb just over an hour outside of L.A.

Such beautiful places and little ducks Noah could feed which made it a first for us. So our weekends? Slow, mindful, minimal. Very buzzword-y but honestly that’s what we aim for. With the whole week of going and coming, we like to leave room for calm and reconnecting. How? We get outside. So if you’re like me and attempt to soak in every waking, free minute you get with your family and babies- go outside, make no plans, and create the space to make lovely memories.

XO,

GV

Open Letter To You: Part 1-From Mommy

Hi Noah dear baby boy! You turn 3 today. Your dad and I decided to write you letters now so that later when you’re all grown up, you can go back and read them so you know how your parents felt about you “back then”! First I want you to know how much you are loved and adored. Not only by your parents, but the family that surrounds you. Your bright personality never ceases to fascinating me I can’t get enough of observing you and watching what you’ll do next. From the moment I found out you were in my belly, after the sobs of terror ended, I worried that I wasn’t ready to be someone’s mommy. Someone’s lifeline and for 9 months, someone’s house. It terrified me even more so that when you got here, would I be the mother you needed? I prayed every single day multiple times a day that God would bring me peace and guidance to help you through your journey into this world and for every moment thereafter.

Having watched you grow each day for the last 3 years has been nothing short of amazing, brilliant actually. I’m in constant awe of your words, the way you speak, and the ideas you come up with. Not to take away the fact that your tantrums are more so entertaining rather than debilitating, because even then I can see your personality. It is apparent that you are a passionate boy. You feel very deeply and have no shame in expressing your love or dissatisfaction even, for anything. It becomes challenging at times because I want to help you channel that passion into healthy outlets like sports and creative endeavors-wherever your heart leads you. I also want you to be very aware of the fact that you carry a firey personality inside I can already see burning so bright, this fire can be what drives you most, but it is all about direction. So that being said, don’t let anyone dim that or take from you what makes you who you are. Stand tall always, stand up for yourself and others that can’t do so on their own. Use that voice to spread your love, kindness, and passion and greatness. You are meant for great things little one, but most of all you were meant for me. Thank you for making me the woman I am today through challenges and self reflection, I will be forever grateful for your soul.

Happy 3rd Birthday Noah! I can’t wait until you read this one day!

XO,

Mommy

What’s the Big Idea?

I do have to credit the title of this post to my child since he seriously says “What’s the big idea?” He got it from Mickey………Anyway!


They (whoever they is) say that everyone comes up with a million dollar idea at least once in their lifetimes. I completely believe it because human beings for the most part are highly intelligent however, that intelligence can be misused for which we’ve sadly witnessed. But ideas are magical moments, because just for a second you have something new and brilliant that you thought of on your own. However, most ideas remain ideas and thoughts just holding all this magic that don’t get to be shared with the world.

We all seek knowledge and thrive off of production and progress which is why when we have an idea or thought full of fabulous potential we have that rush of inspiration. I believe where we get caught up is converting that idea into action. Manifesting it into reality which is the trickiest of all. Because in our heads, it is one thing in theory, but out loud, on paper, in front of us, it is another being. So how? How do we bring these ideas to the world to share?

  • Break through the fear. So what if you think someone wont’ receive it the way you want them to or if someone believes it’s useless? Do you.
  • Make time. MAKE time. We have the ability to create most of anything we need if we are resourceful enough. Even time.
  • Start sharing. It doesn’t need to look or sound a certain way. Let it evolve organically. The worst part is watching someone else do what you want to do or what you just started doing because then you begin to compare and the belief system shifts to thinking it needs to be where they are. Nope. Nope. Nope. You don’t know where they started and how they ended up here.

I literally wrote these steps for myself January 3rd, 2018 when I annoyed myself of complaining of not having the time or not being in the right place to start what I wanted. If you want to write, write. If you want to be something or start a career change research. The best ideas have begun with a standard Google or Pinterest “how to…” search. Do it. We ALL have something wonderful and amazing to share and to know that is where it starts.

XO,

Gi

Aspirations of a Chronic Snoozer

In the beginning of the year, I gave myself a word for the year: discipline. The purpose was to encompass all things that required discipline to help me stay on track in my facets of life. I gave up resolutions, because they just didn’t work for me. After February, they tend to drift away along with sanity. My word of the year is reflective. It evokes for me a sense of accountability and personal responsibility.

Discipline included lifestyle choices, dietary inclusions and exclusions, and hobby to business goals to name a few, but one very tall giant i wanted to conquer was waking up early. Now this is tricky because we are already woken up rather early with our human alarm clock otherwise known as Noah. B.C., (Before Child) I would sleep until the very last second and rush to get ready and would still be on time for work. Alone time wasn’t a scarcity and a small person was asking for a bagel at 630am. Therefore, waking up last minute had no real affect because I wasn’t missing out. Fast forward to motherhood and working full time at that, mornings are gone. If I wake up 1 hour before i have to leave as in the olden days, I spend 15 minutes making coffee, 20 doing make-up and getting dressed, and a few left over for hanging out with my kid that I won’t see unit bed time. Hence the waking up early. Now back to discipline.

I have yet to exhibit any type of discipline with waking up early-except today. 45 minutes before anyone was making a peep, a sound, or asking questions I was up and ready. That quiet time to look at the calendar, enjoy hot coffee that stayed hot, and be alone is what started the day off. The productivity manifested in those quiet moments was completely and pleasantly unexpected. So my take away? Try it. Slowly. Start with 15 minutes earlier, then 20, then 25…see how it goes because us mamas need as much time to recollect as we can get and there’s not one reason we should feel guilt for it. Where do you carve in time for yourself?

XO, Gi

For the Love of Families-Fight

Reading the news or politics now has just not only become disheartening, but ultimately disappointing. Disappointment for our leaders and the poor inhumane choices that are being made. I have never been into politics, but his goes beyond political stance and just comes down to the heart.

So what’s happening? In a nutshell:

Families are escaping their homes where they’re being subjecting to various acts of violence. In short their home countries are literally unsafe and toxic and they flee to protect themselves and their children. They’re seeking not only asylum, they’re seeking peace, protection, and hope.

Why are families being separated?

There is a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that is enforcing the separation of families. Parents that came over the border are being sent back and their children are being held in shelters that vary in condition, but the point is that those conditions are no where near the standards of a loving home with their family.

Are we powerless? What can we do?

  1. Call your senator/representatives. You can find your specific office here. Put in your address or zip. Offer your stance and if they’ve already signed a bill against it go right ahead give them a mental high five!
  2. Vote it up! Find out when voting takes place and VOTE! Here’s a link to find your specific locations and dates.
  3. Donate. Together Rising is raising funds to contribute to kids for legal defense. Also ACLU is actively raising funds to help defend the parents that are being separated from their babies.
  4. Prayer. Without ceasing. To give these families relief, hope, restore the peace in their lives, and repair the damage a stranger has inflicted. It costs no money, yet is most powerful.

Thank you for reading- this is not political this is humanity. We must fight for humanity and it’s rights, fight for love, and above all fight for our future.

XO,

Gi