Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Embracing the wild(flowers).

This spring, we have been on a constant hunt for wildflowers. They were abundant this year and only stick around for a short season, so we have gone on many family hikes and adventures exploring our local canyons to spend time amongst the flowers, and we can't seem to get enough.

Spring brought us these wildflowers that paint a beautiful and fitting backdrop to the wild season of life in which we currently find ourselves.

Amongst the wild, there is beauty and joy.

Our life is often chaotic and we are constantly exhausted, but I have so much joy in my heart. I am learning to accept the beautiful mess that is this season of life and just be. Focusing on being present is actually hard for me, but when I let go of expectations that I place on myself or feel like society has laid out for me, I am deeply happy. I never expected to find this much joy or purpose in motherhood, and I am grateful to be here and that I get to fully immerse myself in it for now, as overwhelming and intense as it is.

This season, I am learning to embrace the wild(flowers).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Seven months.

I love this stage so much, when they can sit up on their own and clap and play, but can't crawl yet. It is so fun and cute, and I am a little bit obsessed with seven months old Cambria. This is one of my favorite ages.

With Everett, I remember being so excited for him to crawl and cheering him on, and with Cambria, I'm like, can you just not crawl until you're one, please? You're pretty perfect as a sitting, clapping baby. And the way your big eyes get small and your nose scrunches when you are really excited? Yes, please stay that way forever. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Taking myself on a date.

For Mother’s Day, I asked for a five hour date by myself. Cambria is seven months old, and the only time she has ever had a bottle has been when Matt and I have gone on a date, which means that I haven’t been alone for more than two hours since October. I am a girl who has always loved time alone, and that has been hard for me. 

So a week after Mother’s Day, I took myself on a date. On Sunday afternoon, I left a bottle for Matt, packed a beer in a cooler, picked up sushi, and had a picnic by myself in the sunshine of Balboa Park. 

This week was particularly difficult with Everett dropping his nap and being overtired, Cambria teething, and marriage ups and downs. Turns out that being surrounded by two young children 24/7 can be a bit hard on a marriage, and yet, we created this family together, and it is utterly beautiful beyond our wildest dreams. Sometimes we have a tendency to make life harder than it needs to be, and while we recognize this, we can’t seem to escape ourselves. 

As I sat in the park, eating my sushi, sipping on my cold beer, and reading a novel in the sunshine, I couldn’t help but think of my family that I was surprisingly missing during my time alone. 

There were reminders of them popping up all around me. Everett’s favorite park musician was playing nearby, and I thought of how he would love to dance to the music and watch the man play guitar, and I missed my son. The musician began playing a song that Matt used to sing to me, and I missed my husband. 

I couldn’t help but think of how I got here, to who I am and where I am at today. I remember being in college and studying abroad, falling in love with another country and culture and a new part of myself that I discovered while traveling. I was so happy learning and growing and experiencing new things by myself, and yet something, or rather someone, was missing. The deepest desire of my heart was to adventure with my then boyfriend, Matt. I wanted to be by his side and travel and have a career and make a home and live life together. So I followed my heart and got married while I was young and naive and hopeful. We traveled the world together, established careers that we are passionate about, made friends, said goodbye to a lot of close friends who moved away, turned toward each other, loved passionately and fought too, mostly over nothing important.

After we had experienced a lot together, we got to the point where we knew something, or rather someone, was missing, and we decided to have a baby. All of a sudden, the deepest desire of my heart was to get pregnant. We added Everett to our family, and loved him more than we ever thought possible. And so we decided to add another family member, and we love Cambria more than we ever thought possible. My life now is better than I could have ever imagined as a college student, when I started to discover that Matt was the person I wanted to marry. Yet, being a parent is harder than I ever expected, too. The sleep deprivation, the tantrums, the constant mess and chores, the weight of shaping a human being. It is not easy, and this season is tough for us as individuals and in our relationship. It takes more effort to connect and be intentional and have time and attention for ourselves and each other. 

It is helpful for me to take space away and remember, I now have the deepest desires of my heart, my family. In the midst of everything, they are my dream come true. And although I asked for alone time as a Mother’s Day gift, time away helps me to realize that there is actually nowhere I’d rather be on a Sunday afternoon than with the three of them.  

(The photos are from an afternoon we did spend together in Balboa Park.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Yosemite.

One of my greatest dreams for motherhood is to adventure with my kids. I’ve thought a lot lately about what kind of childhood and memories I hope to create for my children, and while they probably won’t remember me as a mom who always had a clean house and a delicious home cooked meal on the table every night, one of my hopes is that they remember me as a mom who took them on adventures, both near and far. 

We not only survived, but also really enjoyed our first traveling adventure as a family of four. To be honest, as this trip approached, neither Matt nor I was looking forward to it. Driving from San Diego to Yosemite with two young kids sounded like torture, only to be matched with another form of torture, lack of sleep, once we arrived. However, we have learned that almost always, it is worth it to just go on the adventure.

Our adventures are different these days. There were no ambitious hikes on this trip, because Everett doesn’t stay in the backpack for long enough anymore, but he can do short hikes on his own, which is a new kind of fun. We travel with a lot more gear these days, just of a different kind. Our lightweight tent and sleeping bags that we used for backpacking right before getting pregnant with Everett are stored away, and our car is instead packed to the brim with baby beds and car seats and diapers and too many changes of clothes, just in case. 

Yet, what we seek is the same. Connection. With each other. With nature. With something bigger than ourselves that we can’t seem to find as easily in the fullness of our daily lives. With something powerful and awesome. It’s as if we need to check out of our normal surroundings and into a place of majestic beauty to reconnect with something deeper within us. And every time we go to the Sierras, we find it and feel refreshed, with a renewed appreciation for each other and ourselves.

While we miss the days of hiking from sun up to sundown or backpacking, there is an incomparable joy in showing your kids places that speak to your heart and adventuring alongside them.