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

 

 

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

Chapter 32

It’s kind of crazy turning 32. I distinctly remember feeling that this particular age was so far away so I basically felt like I blinked and here I am: grad school graduate, married 5 years, and baby boy that’s cuter than I could’ve ever asked….and turning 32. When I thought about my 30’s I always imagined, I’d have it all together. That there was this grand plan that plateaued at 30 and that was the epitome of being a grown up. Boy was I wrong! And I’m so glad I was wrong.

I am still growing, but I will say since I did enter my 30’s, I’ve learned the art of self-reflection. This is a difficult piece of maturity that can be chilling when we search within to find out who we really are and sometimes we come face to face with the fact that we need to change. I never thought I’d be in my 30’s and be a completely different person and in many ways I’m still that 22 year old girl who can get wild when the mood strikes. But those raw parts of me, the parts that never allowed vulnerability, seeing it as a weakness, yet self-criticism was a ritual for me, I not too long ago was faced with challenges that forced me to look at who I truly was and really just started asking myself, “Giana, is this who you want to be?” The answer was no for the most part, so I changed my habits, my thoughts and perspectives. I realized the power of choice and my GOD was that freeing. We all know we have the choice to do or be or say things we want, but have we really ever taken advantage of those choices and actually made them? So what choices have I made ushering me into the 32nd chapter.

  • I have made the choice of happiness. I am choosing to be happy, regardless of circumstance and situation.
  • I am choosing my husband-everyday. Because that’s what marriage is. The choice to love that person every damn day until you die. And I happily make that choice. (We’re renewing our vows soon btw! Stay tuned.)
  • I choose freedom in faith. My unwavering faith in God knowing He’s got me. No questions asked.
  • I choose to create time, instead of complaining that I don’t have it.
  • I choose to be present. Making eye contact when my son calls my name, leaving my phone in the other room while I play with him or put him to sleep.
  • I choose to pour myself into every facet of life where my passion leads.
  • I choose to share. I choose to share my experiences, lessons I’ve learned, the times I’ve fallen. Because mistakes are what make us great. And hiding those mistakes in shame does no one any good.
  • I choose to learn. I choose to accept that I don’t know everything and that every moment is an opportunity to grow.
  • I choose to be brave-standing firm in who I am, drawing boundaries, and demanding self-respect. From strangers, friends, and family. It’s important to see that there are limits to what we accept into our spaces.
  • I choose to see each road block as a redirection to something better instead of using my energy to move it.
  • I choose to see every person I meet and everyone in my life as a teacher with a lesson. Whether they see it that way or not. I choose to ask myself what I can learn from every encounter.
  • I choose to let my curls be crazy sometimes and not really care.I choose to see make up as an addition to beauty and show my son a woman’s natural beauty.
  • I choose to accept the responsibility of being a mother and understanding that sometimes it means putting myself, my well-being, and mental wellness first.
  • I choose to be my best everyday and I choose to understand that my best each day can look different.

That being said, hello 32!

XO,

GV

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

 

Meet Your Veggie Meat

A couple weeks I posted a question on IG stories-well a vote really asking what people thought was healthier-veggie meat or free-range organic meat. The results reflected that a majority believe free-range meat to be a healthier choice more so than the processed veggie meat, but there were quiet a number voting that it’s opposite lead the pack. But I’ll be honest, I was raised on meat, just chicken and turkey, and made a choice to go vegetarian at 25. There were a few periods of wings and tacos sprinkled in there, but for the most part I said adios to meat. Reasons ranged from health to mercy for animals.

Whatever the reason, choosing a meat substitute, many meat-free people believe they are choosing the healthier option much like I did when I went vegetarian, but even then those savory veggie meats some of us grew up with are processed and contain some pretty questionable materials. I took it upon my self to flip over the bags of some common veggie meat brands and noted what I found. Some surprisingly disappointing and some pleasantly surprised. So what to look for if you’re going meat free?

  • Textured Veggie Protein or Soy Isolates. Secret word? Hexane-a toxic byproduct of gasoline basically that is literally approved by the FDA to give veggie meat that meaty protein. Uh no thanks.
  • GMO Soy. If you aren’t aware by now of what Genetically Modified anything does to your body go read Shape Magazine’s article on possible risks with GMO.
  • Pretty much anything you can’t pronounce would be a good sign to avoid intake. I mean just a suggestion.

Guys, just take the time to flip over the package. Meat isn’t abysmal, yet what it does to your body whether free-range or not is DEFINITELY for another post entirely and that’s not to run down the ethical challenges with “organic” or “free-range” meat as highlighted here by PETA. Read up on the meat industry. Be educated on what goes in your body whether it’s meatless or not.

So anyway, what’s a good sub? My two favs are Beyond Meat  and Amy’s Organics. For more things to look out for on the veggie meat front, you can also check out Food Babe’s post for more keywords to look for in your next purchase. Hope this helps answer the questions from last week!

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