The Sweet Spot

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.

XO,

Gi

Fall In Love With Autumn

Leaves Hang-on Ropeagriculture, autumn, croplandWe 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!

  1. Pumpkin Patch
  2. Making a big meal for Fall Equinox to appreciate Gaia’s gifts
  3. Pumpkin pie in bed
  4. Apple Orchard
  5. Hay-rides
  6. Disneyland (if you’re in CA because it’s legit themed and it’s awesome)
  7. Make a fall wreath or garland
  8. Have an apple cider night cap
  9. Pick a book to nestle on the couch with
  10. Diffuse some good essential oils! Thieves, Cedarwood, and Orange are my favorite for fall. I choose oils over candles these days.
  11. Preserve fall leaves and make crafts. I found a good and simple way here.
  12. Take a hike or evening walks at dusk.
  13. Help your kids make garlands. Michaels has really cool ideas too.
  14. 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.
  15. 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!

XO,

GV

3 Day Weekend Roundup-Sans Joshua

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!?

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 Pt. 2: From Daddy

As a kid you always think to the future and imagine what kind of life your going to have. You envision a life full of dreams, love, and happiness. I grew up holding onto those and  when I found out I was going to be blessed with you as my son, it was the happiest day of my life.

Over the past 3 years I’ve had the blessing of seeing you take your first steps, speaking your first words, and smiling at the world each day. Your full of life, fun and joy. I never get tired of waking up each day to your instant demands or watching you sleep with the peaceful dreams you embrace at night. Your energy and unimaginable love for me as your dad pushes me to be the best I can be.

Your surrounded by people who love and adore you. No one in this world will match my love for you my son. I could never imagine myself with another child, because I would never want to share my love for you with another. You have been the biggest blessing ive ever received and can’t imagine my life without you. These past 3 years have gone by so fast and I’ve seen you grow so much and I wish that I could stop time for a moment because I know I will never get this time back. I will be here every step of your life and will support you in all paths of life.

Your my best friend and the pride and joy of my life. I’m proud to call you my son and to hold you everyday. Your mother and I will never get over the fact of how blessed we are with you. Whatever her and I do in this world will only be to make it a better place for you and because we love you.
XO,
Daddy

Take Away Time and Why You Need One

We are currently in a state of seasonal bliss. (exhibit A: Us in a standard prom pose)

I define seasonal bliss as moments and time periods in life where you just feel at ease and everything has aligned. I rarely like to get super comfortable in this type of season, but I do by all means enjoy the peacefulness. Post graduation offers us some solitude in the fact that we can expect no major schedule changes, baby is with daddy during the day and at night Josh studies for the boards. I go to work and come back home and our weekends are for recharging and adventure. So here we are. We can expect things to change slightly once he’s on-boarded with his new job and new schedule and then we will need to revamp the setting again. But what can we learn from the last couple of years where we’ve had to adjust to one income, learn to parent, and still stay happily married? I always like to look at take aways whenever the dust settles and seasonal bliss is the perfect time to do so. They help gain perspective and they’re actively setting yourself up for success the next time chaos ensues.

 



♦♦A few aways from the last 2 years♦♦

1. Expect everything and nothing at all. We expected things to be structured and pretty much laid out and they most certainly were not. It was crazy how caught off guard we were and then just forget it when I started working again I think that’s when our whole world just did a 180. So that being said learning to just expect things to happen along with slight inconveniences. The element of surprise won’t be as strong and you’ll be more apt to respond instead of react.

2. Make peace with the process. This happened later on in the game because literally every 10 weeks when Josh’s schedule for class or rotations changed it honestly enraged me. Illogically of course I realize that now! But I really had to force myself to just accept this is what we chose when we agreed for him to go back to school so that was it. Either I could be psycho and complain or just shut up and figure out the next move. I’m actually annoyed at myself thinking back about what I complained about.

3. The tribe is everything. We really wouldn’t have been able to make this work without some very important and key people. From picking up Noah from daycare to watching him and feeding him just most of it surrounding the care of our baby they helped so immensely. And then there’s the ones that were there for us for meltdowns and disappointments not to mention tears and desperate calls. We all need a tribe that only works to support each other without judgement. The eminence of these few is immeasurable.

4. Be a team!! Oh my goodness the most obvious yet difficult component in all of this! Instead of fighting together we often fought against the other. Of course this came from stressors from work/school and frustration and the overall climate of life at the time, but it is counter productive if not done properly. Always remember you and your partner are here for the same thing working towards the same goal. Never forget that. Be attentive. Be mindful. Be supportive.