So I took what felt like a long break from writing and blogging and posting and all that jazz. I needed a break and to take a step back to figure out whyyy the heck I wanted to blog/write and why I wanted to put stuff out there. The trend of blogging hit like a damn tidal wave. I’d been blogging on and off since my early college days just about random stuff. Relationships or lack of, deciphering the college aged male and what makes them tick or IF they were ticking at all… I enjoyed taking my experiences and those of my closest friends and leveraging them into cheeky Sex and the City-like posts where I’d end it with a thought provoking Carrie-like question. Now, my blogging has taken on a different tone and perspective mainly due to the fact that I’m now a wife, mother, and full-time employee at a wonderful world renowned university. Well, all that being said I began to wonder…who am I appealing to now? (Did you catch my Carrie vibe?)
Obvi there aren’t any fun scandalous dating escapades to rehash- we’ll none of mine at least! But I needed a break to refuel and reflect on what I wanted to write that would positively contribute to someone’s day. Mommy blog? Ok i can get down with that…But not my thing to post recipes and savvy DIYs because honestly I don’t choose to use my time to do those types of things however I will find myself dabbling in both those items on a quiet Sunday. Which I’m happy to post.
Here’s the thing about trends, they can be quite loud. By loud i mean it can infiltrate your thoughts and cramp your style with all the noise of how Sally or Mary are rocking their blog…ok so? Just because they niched down on organizing and taking stellar photos of their white kitchen doesn’t mean you need a white kitchen to write about. Make sense? Clear the noise. I had to clear the noise. I had to unfollow people who weren’t inspiring me anymore. I had to stop caring about followers-how many, engagement, posts at certain times, like no. I will post blogs with what I’ve learned or how I’ve learned to tackle the real stuff -to me at least. And those words will reach who they need to reach when they need to reach them. Sure I want it to get out there and help someone somewhere far or next door, but my energy is simply redirected.
So… take a step back from what you’re doing if it feels mundane or you forget why. Even if it’s at your JOB. Ask why you’re in that position at that company.
Ask if it’s serving you as much as you’re serving it.
I sure did and here I am 6 months later in a different position at a different company.
Do yourself a favor and remind yourself why.
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!
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!?
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!
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
Mr. Panda series
. There’s 4, Please Mr. Panda (linked above),
Thank You, Mr. Panda
Goodnight, Mr. Panda
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!
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!