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

Cleaning Hacks for a Working Mama

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.

Main Rooms:

Kitchen | Bathroom | Dining | Living

Kitchen:

  • Counters | Floors (sweep ups) : DAILY
  • Stove | Fridge : Sundays

Bathroom :

  • 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!

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

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

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.

7 Years a Crazy Woman

7 years graffic

Through the last couple of years, we have been through moves, marriage, more moves, a baby, job changes, and more moves. Did I mention moving? I can’t tell you enough how much transition our little family has gone through since the early years of it’s creation.

Why does this matter? Because I personally know so many of you, and those I know no so personally experience transition and change and bumps and sometimes chaos. It can be hard feeling like you can’t keep up with Jones’s, let alone yourself. Our timeline? Let me share so that you know that I understand how you feel!

2011: Moved back from AZ to CA.

2012: Got engaged -Josh moved to CA and then back to MD to accept a new fantastic job.

2013: Got married in October. I quit my job of 2 years and moved to MD 2 months later. Moved into a condo. Our favorite place we’ve ever lived in! Our first home together.

2014: Started working a new full time job and then we had a moment of peace and quiet. UNTIL! I got pregnant with Noah.

2015: Gained 80 lbs and gave birth to a 9.6 ounce baby boy that Summer. I quit my job 1 week before I was set to return to work. Also, we reevaluated and really decided that it was best I stay home with the baby. This particular time was tough because Josh was working 60 hour work weeks and was gone a lot. We reevaluated AGAIN and came to the conclusion he should continue nursing school for better schedule and $$ so that I could work part-time. We prayed and prayed and we were led to Loma Linda University School of Nursing where Josh was immediately accepted all credits transferred. To us prayer and positive thinking believing people, this was the sign we needed. But wait. LLU was in CA. We were in MD. Moved again. Cross country. The two of us and baby in tow. Shipped two cars and moved in with my mother for 3 months.

2016: Moved to an apartment closer to campus because Josh was doing a 3 hour round trip drive every day at 5 am. By this time, Noah was 9 months old when I was being recruited by my old job (see 2013). We decided at least one of us needed to work so back to work I went. Full Time. Worst nightmare literally until recently. Why? I’ll tell you later. Oh yea, we moved again into the house we currently live in now! Haven’t moved in 2 years which I consider a deep win!

2017: Worst. Summer. Ever. Transition sucks. Mom guilt. Nursing student. Husband and wife=ships passing in the night. Growing toddler. We struggled like for real for real. Almost fully separated. It was awful. There is clearly more to this but I’m setting this up. Bear with me.

2018: Present. Peace finally. Love restored. Josh graduates in 1 week. We will be looking for a place and things have finally settled.

Why is this necessary? Because I want to share that no matter what, no matter how many transitions you go through there is a light at the end of the tunnel! It might be dim, but it still shines. So how do you deal with change and transition without completely losing your mind? Stay tuned!

XO,

Gi

 

You Said It Charles Dickens

When I read A Tale of Two cities, by Charles Dickens, I had no idea that the infamous “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”. would be my life’s most reflected on quote. Mr. Dickens sure does have a point and he sure did know how to collectively describe the life of a 30 something year old working wife and mother, supporting her husband through nursing school.

This week is a week of lasts. It was Josh’s last day at the hospital as a nursing student. This Friday will be his last day of actual class in the nursing program and June 10th, he walks across the stage. The last 2.5 years of our lives has come down to a cap, gown, and 2 hour ceremony. He didn’t care much for the fact that I’m forcing him to go to commencement, but to me it is more than the commencement, the ceremony, or the recognition even. To me, it is the epitome of what we have sacrificed almost literally to get to this point. But honestly? I wouldn’t have picked another man to do this with.

I will share in a future post how we got to this point, but the last 2.5 years have been a season of distress, yet complete positive growth and challenge. For lack of better words, a bittersweet season. When we look at that degree he earned we will not just see a Bachelor Degree of Science in Nursing. We will see late nights and early mornings, babysitter interviews, schedule changes, arguments, disagreements, tears, and self-doubt. But we will also see, relentlessness, discipline, persistence, love, faithfulness, and sacrifice.

I can’t wait to share with you the hows and the whats, but I need to find the right time and delivery because of how personal those events have been. My point is that any masterpiece or accomplishment is never in vain and rarely does not require sacrifice. So that thing you’ve been thinking of doing but hold back because it’s a temporary inconvenience, but can shift your whole future, do it. Future you will thank you for the growth opportunity. Accept the challenge. Change your life.

XO,

Gi