The Unwritten Milestone

To say I wasn’t prepared for Mila’s new and unwritten milestone would be a complete understatement. Not only did it come out of no where, it completely took me off guard.

Usually, Wednesdays are to tell you all about their weird things Mila does. It’s one of the things I look forward to sharing most about. They make me laugh to think about and I know other parents can connect to them too. I’m pretty sure all our kids are somewhat weird.

Anyways, I couldn’t even call what she did yesterday weird. It was more like… touching, heartwarming, and inspiring.

She absolutely made my heart grow with one little sentence.

Here’s what happened.

As I was leaving to go back to work after lunch, Mila did her normal goodbye routine. She has to give whoever a hug and kiss, at least two times. Then tells them she loves them and to have a good day. Just when you’re about to walk out the door, she’ll yell, “I need a hug and kiss!” Then run up to you.

Well, this lunch period was a little different. She ended up walking me out of the house, instead of watching me go. When I bent down to give her a hug and kiss, she said something new. Something no one prepared me about: the unwritten milestone.

You’re the best, Mom.

She has never, ever said that before; especially when I’m about to leave her for a few hours.

As she said it to me, she gave me a big squeeze. Then, she flashed her smile and walked back to the door. She waved and told me to have a good day.

In that big moment, I had to take a deep breath and get back to real life.

On the inside, I melted. I swear if it was any other time, I probably would have cried. With all the leaving her lately, I wonder how she thinks of me. That statement let me know everything I was doing was right.

It might sound silly to cherish this one unwritten rule, but no one told me what that one little saying would feel like when they said it.

There’s a high chance I’m not the best mom in the entire world, but I’m the best mom to MIla and that feels pretty good. One day she’ll learn the power in her words and how I’ll always think she’s the best girl.

For now, I’m celebrating this victory in motherhood and the unwritten milestone.

Always Blow the Bubbles.

In a month, Mila will be three.

Three whole years of learning about and loving her. I’m going to admit, two has been my favorite. It’s a gift that I only have a month more to cherish.

If I could go back to a year ago and talk to myself about parenting, I’d tell myself one thing.

Always blow the bubbles.

When she has her bubble bottle outstretched to you, take that ten minutes and blow them. Even when you’re swamped with work and need to clean, blow the bubbles.

This is the purest time in their lives. The world around them is magical.

With all the worries adults have going on, bubbles are the only thing on a toddler’s mind. That and seeing their favorite smile in the world.

Bubbles are, of course, metaphoric.

They can be singing, or playing, or running, or listening, or dancing. Whatever it may be, when your child asks, try and blow the bubbles.

The years go so fast and in the moments you drop everything, time stands still.

Their laugh is all you can hear. And their smile… well, there hasn’t been a sweeter sight. They’re engrossed in the moment as much as you. All it took was focusing on this second.

Work, a dirty house, and other adults will always be around, but they won’t be little forever.

There will come a time where they don’t want you to blow bubbles. They’ll just do it themselves. The freedom you crave now will come and those toddler cuddles and desires will fade away.

Two and these toddler years are hard, but they go away so soon.

For us, two ends in a month.

If three-year-old Mila’s mom came to talk to me today, I bet she’d tell me the same advice…

Always blow the bubbles.

What advice would you give to toddler moms?

A Letter to My Daughter During International Women’s Month.

Dear Mila,

There are so many powerful women that have changed our world. Way more that I can list, but here are some.

Ruth. Michelle. Malala. Susan. Harriet. Clara. Amelia. Frida. Anne. Marie. Georgia. Mila.

Yes. You’re going to change the world. You are powerful.

No matter where life takes you, there are so many opportunities at your fingertips. It doesn’t matter who you want to become or what you want to be. You have the ability to do what you want.

In a world that I’m not so certain of, I am certain of your value and worth. We live in a time where girls can grow up and not be looked down on just because they’re women. Women are superheroes. You, my small, little woman, are a superhero.

As you grow up, I’ll never pressure you to do anything you don’t want. I will, though, show you how much women have overcome throughout the history of the world. It’s important to know that growth. Better yet, to help you realize your strength and importance in the world.

You independent and intelligence is going to get you everything you’ll ever want. When those don’t seem enough (and believe me they are), you have the support of women everywhere.

I don’t know what the world will be like when you’re in your twenties, but I hope it keeps evolving.

It’s my dream that you’ll have a society where there’s equality and justice. I don’t want to ever worry about someone ever hurting you and then getting away with it. I hope there won’t be any threat to your right to choose what you to with your body.

Mila, you’ve been born into a generation full of power and opportunity.

I’m so excited to see you grow into whoever you’ll be. Always know, you’ll have your mom’s support. No matter if you end up becoming a dance teacher or a world leader.

Just being you is powerful.

All my love,

Mom

Another Spooky House Story.

Accurate description of what my face looked like this morning…

I had another post planned for today, but I wanted to write this out before it got lost in the others.

My house and I have had an up and down relationship. Yes, you read that right. The house I live in is sort of it’s own… entity. I’ve had a lot of spooky things that have happened throughout the years I’ve lived there.

In 2019, the house got so bad that I had to get it blessed. Honestly, it was a really scary time to live at my house. I considered moving, but wanted to try everything to stay there. Since then, it’s slowed down a lot. But, there are days, like this morning, that bring back that eerie feeling.

Back to this morning.

All night, I was in a deep sleep with really vivid dreams. So, when I woke up before my alarm, I was a little drowsy.

I opened my eyes and it looked like my living room light was on. Then I heard two things. The first was Max breathing and sounding like he was getting pet. Remember, he gets excited and when he gets attention, he sounds different (that sounds strange, but animal owners will understand). Then there was this squeaking. I thought it sounded like Mila’s one dump truck toy, but I had picked up the toys last night. So she must have found it and started playing with it again…

It’s not unlike her to get up and play with Max in the morning. She can reach the lights and knows where her toys are stored. I relaxed thinking it was just her.

Until, I felt someone move in bed beside me.

I turned my head to see Mila in a deep sleep. So, it wasn’t Mila out in the living room playing with Max and her truck.

After that realization, I involuntarily let out a sigh.

The truck stopped squeaking and a few seconds later, Max got up and ran into my room. I was afraid someone had heard me wake up and left, but I didn’t hear any footsteps or the door open.

Instead of getting up, I just laid there for a few minutes more.

There was no way Max could get the truck out of the bin and how could he make that squeaking sound. Maybe that sound was just in my head. I had been dreaming all night. It had to be explainable because my house has been so calm.

Before I got out of bed, I told myself that the truck was put away and I was psyching myself out.

When I walked into the living room, her yellow truck was flipped on its side. Just like it had been played with and put back down. Cold chills instantly went all over my body.

I know not everyone’s a believer, but it felt like there was someone in my house or Mila was playing out there. It’s the strangest feeling to not know what happened out there, but I know the toy was being played with and Max was getting attention.

No matter what anyone things, it definitely had to be a spirit or ghost. I didn’t feel threatened. It literally felt like a child was in my living room waiting on me.

Let’s just say, I’ll be burning sage in my house later tonight.

How Anxiety Makes a Scary Situation Worse.

Story time.

Three nights ago, I had a scary incident. I still have the bruises on my arms to remind me what happened.

Since it’s happened, I’ve been unsure if it’s a loss mom thing or a general parent worry. Either way, I wanted to share it with everyone who reads this little blog because you’ve followed my family’s story this far.

So, I have a barn door for my bedroom door. The doorway is in between my bedroom and living room. My mom and I built it and it’s pretty heavy and sturdy. It’s fallen off the tracks a few times, mostly when I’ve been messing around with it and no little living thing is in the way.

The other night, Mila and I got home later than normal. Max was super excited to see us. As I’ve stated before, he can get a little hyper.

I fed Max and gave him a bone to calm down. Afterwards Mila and I walked into my bedroom and I didn’t latch open the sliding door. Max figured out we weren’t in the living room anymore and took off to my room.

While he was running, the door was shutting. Mila was going toddler speed and was only a few steps in front of the door when it happened.

Everything that happened next was in slow motion.

Max tore through the door and knocked it off the track. I saw it pop off and lift up. Then it started to tilt.

I yelled for Mila to move. All my anxiety could just imagine the door smashing into her.

Of course, she was frozen because she didn’t know why I was yelling. The dog looked scared… probably because it hurt a lot and he knew I was upset.

As it falls more slowly and everyone’s still froze, I had to jump into action. When I took that first step, time caught back up.

I threw my arms under the heavy door as it neared Mila. Somehow I kicked her to safety too.

The door landed on my wrists and forearms. There’s cuts and bruises, but nothing I can’t handle. Mila was upset and the dog was too, but everyone was safe.

After it all happened, I just kept thinking of what could have happened.

What if I was in the laundry room and didn’t see it happen?

What if I didn’t catch it in time?

How serious would it have been?

Would she have gotten badly hurt?

What can I do to make this safer?

Even though everything turned out ‘okay,’ all those questions scare me. I don’t know what I would have done if she had gotten hurt.

I think after losing a child, the thought of losing another is always right there.

Anxiety is always in me. When I’m not with Mila, it skyrockets because I can’t be there to save or help her. It’s exhausting to always keep worrying and thinking of the bad.

These cuts and bruises on me remind me that she is safe and I’m doing my best.

I’m never going to be able to protect her from everything; I’m just learning how to manage that.

Do you overthink situations like this? Or can you just put it in the past?

One Thing that Drives Moms Nuts.

There’s an age old question that plagues every household. My family of two has it and I’m sure families of a lot more have it too.

I’m not sure how it starts and I’m sure as heck not sure how to resolve the problem either.

So what’s this great issue? Take a look…

One type of silverware is lacking way more than the others. Our family’s most lost item: spoons.

Somehow Mila and I have been able to lose all but four spoons. I started off with a ton of regular spoons when I first moved in. Then bought the rainbow ones last year.

They’ve all but disappeared for no reason.

When I went on the great spoon hunt, here are some of the places I found them:

  • In the couch
  • Under Mila’s bed… that she’s never in
  • Dollhouses
  • Bags
  • Cars
  • Toy box
  • Laundry basket

I have no idea how so many spoons have disappeared, but I need a secret set to store away for when this happens.

So, what type of silverware goes missing in your house the most?

To the Women Who Puts Everyone Else First:

I know how these days feel.

You try to share you love to everyone you hold close to your heart. No matter what’s going on, making sure they feel loved is most important.

There are nights you don’t sleep to make sure everything gets done for them.

When you need something like clothes or a new haircut, you make sure your kids or partner have them first.

Sometimes you spend hours listening to others to make sure they’re okay. You know your problems will work themselves out eventually.

Instead of a long hot bath or shower, you rush through yours or share them with your littles.

Your meals are cold because you make sure everyone else gets full first.

We put them first because we love them. We’re the glue the helps holds those we love together.

But…

You deserve the same love you give to others.

Never forget that you deserve a good nights sleep, a new hair cut and clothes, knowing your problems are important, a long shower or bath, and a hot meal.

That’s just touching the surface of all you deserve and need.

It’s hard to put yourself first or accept the love that we give out. When you do, don’t feel selfish. You are in need of those things too.

You cannot continue keeping everyone else afloat when you’re drowning.

Allow yourself that space. You’re worth it.

When you put yourself first sometimes, you give all those you love the opportunity to be around the best you.

More importantly, you get to give yourself that love that you pour into others.

You deserve all the things you want and more.

Love,

Another Woman Who Puts Others Before Herself

You have the strength.

Whenever I’m feeling down, I remember I have the most important cheerleader looking up at me. 

She reminds me that I have the strength, especially when she hits this power pose.

Even on the days, I can’t imagine getting through, I know she’s watching. She reminds me that with love and determination, I can accomplish anything. 

Now I know motherhood, and parenthood, in general, is hard. It’s even harder when the last year has been all out of whack. We’ve been through a pandemic, crazy election, and overall change in every aspect of life. 

Somehow, we’re still doing it. Every day we come back better than ever. Before we know it, this hellacious time will be over. 

Today, I’m going to be your cheerleader and verbally scream online, you have the strength. 

If twenty-two grown men can go play a football game and are considered strong, you have the strength to do anything you set your mind on. 

When your kids (human, animal, or plant) are demanding all your attention, you have the strength to keep doing it. 

You have the strength of all the energy you put out in the world because all that good comes back.

No matter how long we have left with this pandemic and lockdown, you have the strength to do your best with it all. 

You have the strength to decide what’s best for you.

During your time at work, school, or home with your children, you have the strength to crush all your goals. Whatever goal you have, big or small, I know you’ll hit it.

You have the strength to be the badass woman (or man) you’ve always been. 

On the days where you don’t feel strong enough to keep going, I know you will find the strength to keep moving forward. 

You have the strength of the stubborn toddler you raised.

If you haven’t raised a toddler… I’m still cheering on that strength to you because the energy that’s in a toddler could move mountains. Everyone deserves that.

You have the strength.

10 Things to Try When You’re Feeling Stuck

If you’re stuck at home or work not knowing how to get motivated, try some of these activities. They may just get you back on track.

1. Take a shower or bath.

The first thing I do any time I’m feeling stuck is take a hot shower or bath.

Water is so healing. Showers feel like they wash away all troubles from your skin just as the water falls. It instantly feels relieving. Baths are like a warm, water hug. All your stress leaves your body and the bath helps recover that trauma.

My favorite thing to do is add aromatherapy to showers and baths. I feel like it helps clear my head. Usually, I use eucalyptus and lavender.

2. Listen to a podcast.

I just discovered podcasts in 2020, but they’ve helped me get through the toughest times.

When you’re trying to get through a stuck moment, find a podcast you want to listen to. When you listen into a conversation about something that inspires you, you want to get up. A lot of the time I do chores or work, I’m listening to podcasts. It definitely helps motivate me.

Some of my favorite podcasts are from the Exactly Right Media, like My Favorite Murder, That’s Messed Up, and I Saw What You Did.

3. Tend to plants.

This one sounds SO silly, but tending to plants might be the most relaxing thing I do.

Any time I get to water my plants, dust them off, or propagate them, it makes me want to do more. It’s like the more I help them, I also want to help myself. Somehow, they’re self care reverse psychology. I want to do a post about the best starter plants for newbie plant parents, but I haven’t gotten there yet!

The connection to nature really helps get a person unstuck and back to themselves. You’ll have to try it out to discover that.

4. Meditate.

Meditation is one of the hardest things to practice, but it really clears your mind.

There’s a ton of meditation music on YouTube or any music app. If you want to try to mediate, put one of those songs on and try it out. I usually sit with my legs crossed, close my eyes, and take deep breaths. After a few minutes, I feel better and try to get unstuck with whatever I’m doing.

I don’t think anyone’s great at meditating their first time. So don’t be discouraged if you try and it doesn’t help.

5. Dance your heart out.

I feel like this one is self explanatory, but I’ll explain anyways.

Getting up and moving with your favorite songs, helps. Once you’re on your feet after a mini dance party, you’ll want to keep going. You just released a ton of endorphins which makes you feel happy. That’s the best way to get unstuck.

6. Call a friend.

One of the most underutilized resources we have are our friends.

When you reach out a friend or close family member, they can help with so many different things. If you’re out of ideas for a project, want advice, or have no idea why you’re feeling stuck, they’ll be able to help out. A person you trust can help organize your thoughts and motivate you to keep going.

Another great option is to reach out to your therapist. Some reasons why you’re feeling stuck goes deeper than surface level feelings.

7. Start a journal.

Not everyone is a writer, but there’s a variety of different journals to get unstuck.

For me, writing whatever is on my mind helps clear it up so I can tackle the things I need to do. If you want to write and don’t think you’re good at it, you don’t have to be. You’re just writing to help you, not impress other people.

There’s also art journals where you can doodle out what’s going on in your head too. Do whatever works best for you. This is to help you feel unstuck.

8. Do a chore.

Chores are boring and I put them off until they HAVE to be done. So how does this help?

It’s almost like when you check something off a to-do list. When you get a chore done, you feel a rush of endorphins. It also lets yourself know that you can get things done. This will help you realize you can do whatever or help motivate you to do more.

This one is the last option for me, but it does get me feeling better. As soon as I start folding laundry, I want to do anything else to stop. You can most definitely laugh at that.

9. Take a walk.

Again with the endorphins, I know.

But really. Getting up and moving releases so many good feeling hormones in your brain and body. It clears up your brain and gets your body moving. If you can walk outside, you’ll have the added benefit of the healing effects of nature.

Plus, if you can go for a long walk or a tough run, you’ll feel on top of the world.

10. Slow down and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Sometimes when you’re stuck, you’re meant to slow down.

When you take on too many things or just need a break, your body will let you know. Maybe this is your body and mind telling you to rest. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone needs a day or week to get back to yourself.

Once you give yourself that time, you’ll feel back to normal.

What do you do to feel unstuck?

10 Things To Try When You're Feeling Stuck

The Blanket of Grief.

Almost five years after losing Jensen, grief feels like a blanket of snow.

It comes out of no where and all of the sudden. There’s a sense of beauty to it mixed with the coldest you’ve ever felt. Once you start to get used to it, it melts away and the season changes. Grief is complicated and is always reshaping itself.

I’ve never thought of it as snow or the winter season, usually just the ocean waves as it comes and goes. This year feels different though.

Somehow, it doesn’t feel like all this time has passed. Maybe the weight of time and the part of life I’m in has made me feel this way. When I saw Jensen’s angel covered in this literal blanket of snow, I somehow felt the instant beauty and cold at once.

Grief, for me, has its seasons. I can tell when I’m close to important dates or I’m beginning to feel it more heavily now with his upcoming birthday.

It’s beautiful to look at the love I will always have for Jensen. Mila adores talking about him and seeing his picture. The way he touched our lives in such a short amount of time will always be so touching. Love and grief are so intricately intertwined.

Then when it all comes down and lingers, the weight of the cold and loss settles.

His absence is so heavy. I cry knowing I’ll never have him again or Mila will never be able to play with her brother. Then, five years feels like such a short amount of time compared to how much longer I have without him.

These thoughts make me feel cold and alone. There’s no real protection from the cold and snow. You can put layers on or go inside, but it’s still out there until it’s time to go away.

Just as you start tackling it, the sun starts to shine a little. The world gets a little warmer and the weight of that season of grieving lightens up. Grief is always there. Always. Somehow you get stronger and can carry it through what’s going on then.

You always remember the sting of the cold, but you can live in the warmth of summer.

At this point in my grief, I go through my seasons of heaviness. I think about his loss and the hurt surrounding it. When I can move forward through the coldness, I still always carry him with me. I think about him walking through life with me and picturing his smile. He would want me to smile when I think about him.

I miss Jensen every single day, but the love and guidance he brought me is something I’ll always treasure. Five years later, and I’m just starting to get to this new season of grief.

It takes time and a lot of work, but summer will be here again. Then you don’t have to feel the constant, overwhelming weight of the blanket.