Oh Baby!

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This past weekend we celebrated babies. We are having a baby boom in our extended family and in our circle of friends.

We hosted a Sip and See for a new cousin. In attendance was another newborn...along with a bunch of doting women. The Sip and See was pea themed because they added a new pea to their pod. It was a play from their pregnancy announcement. So cute! 

And we also went to a Brit Tikkun (a Hebrew baby naming ceremony). It was a lovely ceremony where the parents promise to raise the baby in the Jewish tradition. Family and friends were there to witness, to love, and to support. It was a beautiful and meaningful service. 

It was a weekend of newborns and there is another baby on the way...another cousin. 

With all these babies it is hard not to get sentimental about my own "babies." Our Little Miss will be 5 this month and The Boy is 9 1/2. I feel like it was yesterday we brought them home from the hospital.

Look how cute they were!

I love snuggling these new little people in our world and inhaling all their newborn yumminess...well that is until they scream or poop all over me and then I feel a lot less wistful.

Parenting is hard work...it is hard work no matter the stage...just different kinds of hard. 

I feel like our number one job as parents (other than keep them alive...and some days that is all we have) is to raise kind people. Truly...the more kind people the better. 

Your job is to love your children and make them feel safe and secure. 

You know the way we feed babies, burp babies, or hold babies will change and evolve. The kinds of gadgets, beds, and car seats will keep changing. What doesn't change is that our children learn from what we model...so let's make sure we are modeling kindness. 

And one way we can be kind to parents...new and veteran...is to help them out.

So here is a list of ways you can help lighten the load for new parents.

  • Lend a helping hand. Come help with house work. Put away their dirty dishes, wash some clothes, etc. Maybe you aren't tight like that with the parents or they don't want people all up in their business. You can ask them what would be helpful (they may know) or give them a list of options of things you can help with (they may not have the energy to think of something themselves). Or if you can afford it offer to pay for a service...housecleaning, dog walking, or yard work (or you could do it yourself).
  • Let them sleep. When you share your life with  a newborn you get soooo sleep deprived. I told a friend it was the ultimate injustice of  parenting that these babies come into the world when you are already so tired and exhausted and babies basically say "Here, hold my beer" and they show you a new level of exhaustion you never knew existed. So offer to hold their baby so they can sleep. You can go over and sit and be on baby duty so the new parents can get some much needed zzzzz's. 
  • Make a dish. Bring them some food. Keep in mind likes and dislikes and dietary restrictions. And bring them something easy to manage. They don't need extra work. And if you aren't a cook there are lots of options...go the grocery store and get something pre-made, give them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant (bonus points if they deliver), or even a food delivery service (or if your local grocery store offers online shopping offer to pick it up for them).
  • Shower them in love. Baby showers, Sip and Sees, or even baby naming ceremonies are about the baby for sure, but really it is about the family and you are showing up to show your love and support of the family. That baby has zero idea you are there, but the family knows. Sure you can tell the baby you were there from the beginning, but it is more than bragging rights. For baby gifts sometimes families have registries and sometimes they don't. I like to do a combo of something they ask for and something homemade like a knitted hat or a blankie I sewed (you know I am all about the fast craft).  It doesn't matter what you bring, what matters is that you are there. Oh, and be there in the beginning, but circle back in a few weeks...people tend to dissipate after a few weeks after a baby is born and some times that is when parents need the most love (and help). 

As a parent one of the best parts is having our friends and family love our kids and have their own relationship with them. It seriously warms my heart so much. 

Parents are trying to raise kind humans, help them by being kind. Babies may not remember you were there from the beginning, but they can feel that you love them. 

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I do miss the baby stage, but I am sure enjoying these two knuckleheads. And I know that these busy days are fleeting so I am trying to live each day to the fullest. 

These two will always be my babies. 

Have a great day!

See you soon! And be kind!

Your Tribe

Mother's Day is this weekend. Maybe you are a mama, or perhaps you have a mama, or maybe you just have some kick ass ladies in your world. 

I have several women in my life that have helped shaped my world as a child and into adulthood...starting with my mother, my Nana (my grandmother), my Mema (my other grandmother), my stepmom, my aunts, church ladies, neighbors, friends, and various other family members. The truth is we are always being influenced and growing as we age...I learn things about being a better mom, wife, friend, and just being a better human every day from all sorts of people...especially some amazing women. 

Mother's Day (and Father's Day) can be hard for people because maybe they had some pretty crappy mothers (or fathers) or their mom (or dad) is dead or gone for some reason. I get it. I did not grow up in a world that it was all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. My mom is one of my besties...I talk to her all day every day on the phone...we live 8 minutes away from each other...she means the world to me. However, our life has been hard. It doesn't take away from how I feel about her or what a great mom she is, but when I get to see her with my kids without all the drama we had when I was young it makes my heart sing for them. 

Nana time. 

Nana time. 

Before my son was born I thought we were going to call my mom "Yogi" and my little sister "Boo Boo"...we thought it was funny. I even made my mom an embroidred bag with "Yogi" on it. Well, Boo Boo stuck and our boy decided to call my mom "Nana." I wasn't having it. I had a Nana that helped raise me and as far as I am concerned was one of the most perfect people to ever grace this world. My mom is great and all, but she is no Nana. Well, she is their Nana. And while I didn't want her to have the name, our boy knew what he was doing.

My Nana

My Nana

I think it is so interesting what we call people. In the South our grandparents are not "normal" names (mine are Nana, Papaw, Mema, and Popaw). For my husband's family everyone is just "Grandma" and "Grandpa." Also  in my husband's family I couldn't even tell who was "real" aunts and uncles and who were family friends...they were all named "Aunt" or "Uncle." But turns out we now do the same, all of my besties are my kids aunts and uncles and my kids don't bat an eye. Well, my daughter does refer to her godfather as "her other dad" so that can get confusing. The bottom line is all of these people are a part of our tribe. 

Let's talk a little about language and using the word "tribe." It is a word that is used a lot right now...especially in the parenting circles. But let's look at Merriam-Webster's definition of Tribe...

Definition of Tribe

a:  a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers                                                                                                                                                                                        b:  a political division of the Roman people originally representing one of the three original tribes of ancient a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest

My Tribe

My Tribe

I think those definitions are pretty spot on. For me, my tribe is a mix...a mix of my family, friends, and neighbors...in that mix there are parents-some with young kids and some with kids that have grown and left the home; some have never had kids; there are men and women, old and young; gay and straight; conservative and liberal (but c'mon let's be honest...mainly liberal); married and single...they all are a part of our world.  Think about your own tribes. You need those tribes.

Why You Need Your Tribe

  • It takes us all. It a million percent takes a village to raise children.  I have eyes and ears on my kids from the people in my hood and I am doing the same for them. We pick up each other's kids from school or sports and when needed we pick each other up from the lows of parenthood.
  • You aren't alone. Your tribe reminds you that you are not solo in this world. If you are a parent, and especially if you are a stay-at-home parent you can feel very isolated. You have people. You aren't alone.
  • You learn from others. Listen, none of us have this mess figured out and if you think you have...you either are lying or are delusional...you are something...but it ain't perfect. I love to hear (and watch) what other people are doing with their kids. Why reinvent the wheel? And also there is so much I would never think about...you need a different perspective some times to help you out. 

How to Celebrate Your Tribe

  • Where your girls at? Give your tribe a call, a text, an email...whatever you can do to say that you are thinking of them. Even better if you can see them in person. 
  • Share the love. Once you have located them, make sure you tell them how much they mean to you. Sometimes we take that for granted...we don't say that we love our people. 
  • Do something nice. Your tribe loves you and chances are they have done something nice for you (probably time and time again). So this time practice some good ol' fashion random act of kindness for them. Check this out to get some ideas on how you can shower them with love unexpectedly. 

Love your tribe, tend to those relationships to help them flourish and grow, and celebrate each other...for Mother's Day and every day. 

Here are some examples of my Mother's Days of years past. My favorite? The year that my son said that I like to "eat poop and drink pee."  Hope your Mother's Day is beautiful just like that sentiment. Word to your mamas.

The Ties that Bind.

I adore these little Ladies.

I adore these little Ladies.

Spring break has been magical and yet it is kicking my booty! I feel like we have been in a whirlwind of nonstop commotion.

My husband was out of town for business Wednesday night, so I put the kids to bed and promptly fell asleep with them...accidentally of course. I woke up at 2 am and decided I should finish cleaning the house and pack since we were leaving town the next day (well, I guess technically the same day). I opened up the bedroom door and saw chaos and smelled poop. My dogs were locked in the bedroom (when dad is gone...everyone sleeps with me in my room...it is crazy, but it works for me). But right before bed, my daughter got up to get something and she locked the dogs OUT of the bedroom. It didn't go well. 

They had gotten into my new yarn (so much yarn in so many places), they tore apart two bags of garbage I was going to take out, and they had our clothes all over that I was going to pack for the trip. Both dogs looked at me with excitement like I might want to join in the fun. I declined the invitation. Instead I crated them and cleaned up the mess. Oh and the poop smell? One of the dogs pooped in the house. (I am not naming names, but it may have been the gross, spaz  dog.) However, before I got to work with what I really got up to do...the dishes, packing, taking the garbage out...I decided to flip the script for a moment. So instead I put some essential oils in the diffuser, I started a Golden Girls episode (you know I did), and I did what I love...I did some fast crafting. 

Okay, before you read any further you may want to stop if you are a knitting purest. I love knitting...all kinds of knitting, but really my favorite is loom knitting because it is basically instant gratification. Now, you may be poo-pooing this method, but you really can make some great things this way. In the middle of the night I made a baby hat and some baby legwarmers. I have a bunch of babies in my world right now, so it was the perfect little break for me and I was able to make a gift for someone we love super fast.

My secret.

My secret.

So in about an hour I whipped up a sweet little knitted set. Now I am not going to make a tutorial (why am I so mean?), but are ton of resources online...Google loom knitting and you will be set. If you are a visual learner there are a million videos or if you learn best by reading there are several sites that will give you tutorials. They can do a far better job teaching/demonstrating this technique than I. 

The rhythm of knitting can be so rewarding. You cast on and row by row you are making something. For me, row by row I am giving up something...my anger towards my dogs, forgetting about a hard day or hard feelings, whatever is ailing me at the time. It is meditative for me and once again something so mundane helps teach us about life. 

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.
— Elizabeth Zimmermann

One of the things we did for spring break was a meet up with some of my friends...mommies need play dates too! One of my nearest and my dearests has two little girls. It is so fun to watch our kids forge their own new relationships. They are legit friends...they are second generation friends. Reminds me about knitting, the loom kinds AND the regular kind; these relationships build off of one another...the new row needs the first row. I never thought my relationship with my friends could get better, but when you add these new little beings into the picture and the relationships they make with our friends and with each other...it really puts it at new level. Like when you get the hang of knitting and you all of a sudden can do more than just a scarf...the basics gave you the foundation to build upon.

Just as my kids have these "aunt" and "uncles' and these lifelong friendships...so is the case for my husband and I. There were "rows" before us. My husband recently lost one of his "aunts"...a woman who was not blood, but who was every bit family. She was an amazing woman. She made you feel  so important when you had a conversation with her. She was attentive and soooooo smart...if you had the pleasure to talk with her you undoubtedly were smarter and a better person from doing so. Her joy for life was infectious. And to see the love between her and her partner of a lifetime was awe inspiring. And he is the first person that all of us thought about when we first heard about this devastating loss, because he is still here and without his soulmate. Life is so beautiful, but can be so cruel.

Not only does her loss cut so deeply it reminds us of our own season of life. Our kids will feel these sort of losses with our besties. But the relationships they are making together with the next generation of friends will hopefully allow them to walk that path together when the time comes. Time (and that loom) keep on turning. We just need to enjoy the ride, pay attention to our rows we are knitting, and love our people. 

In life, as in knitting, don’t leave loose ends. Take the time to thank the people who matter in your life.
— Reba Linker