The Puddle Jumper

Save a few hot summer days, rainy days are not my favorite.  I understand their importance, but it’s still challenging to avoid becoming hyper-focused on the daily logistics of trudging along with kids in tow.

There was a time that I welcomed inclement weather with a smile.  I remember my red floral umbrella, puddle stomping, and fully-drenching my delicate ruffle socks.  And when the weather turned I’d get snow getting stuck in that spot around my ankles where my moon boots and ski pants didn’t quite match up.  Sure it was cold, but rarely uncomfortable enough to make me stop the important work found in childhood play.

There isn’t a puddle that this little guy doesn’t want to voraciously attack.

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Here is NYC, like many other places, we recently experienced what I like to call the sloppy melt; the time when the heaps of snow finally begin to dissipate into a wet, slushy, slop.

A puddle-jumper’s dream.

A few weeks ago, after school, my son looked at me with a giant mischievous grin, upon spotting a course of puddles.  His expression quickly changed when he met my eyes.  My mind was with his non-waterproof shoes and the walk home from school that we had ahead of us.  Without saying anything, he sensed my thoughts.

In that moment, thankfully, I caught myself.

And as arms flailed and water propelled into his face with each stomp – I marveled in his laughter, the repetition, and the refreshing gift in a four-year-old perception of the world.

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My goodness, how childhood innocence reflects in those ripples.

puddle splashing

Whispering

Protect it.

Don’t let that joy evaporate.

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On Combating Stress

I’ve had more than my share of the sort of moments of clarity that tell me to get a better grip of life’s stressors. I know what it’s like to suppress stress, or vent it inappropriately.  And I’ve learned that how I choose to deal with stress is crucial to my wellbeing and that of my loved ones – as it bleeds into other areas of my life.

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The funny thing about stress is that it may drive us batty, but it isn’t always a bad thing.  And if we can find ways to turn stress into fuel – then we are all the better for it.

each day brings a new beginning New York sunrise sunset

In addition to working out, eating well, getting sufficient sleep and practicing daily gratitude, I’ve found help in essential oils and other natural/homeopathic products.  RESCUE Remedy was first introduced to me about 15 years ago when I was living in Hawaii.  I tried it. It worked!  And since that time, little bottles of RESCUE Remedy Natural Stress Relief Spray can be found in corners of my home.  I’ve also tucked RESCUE Remedy Pastilles into care packages for friends facing hard times.  Want to test it out?  Grab your RESCUE Remedy coupon here.

natural ways to reduce stress Rescue Remedy

I’ll forever be a work in progress and am fully aware of the importance of proper self-care.  When I’m equipped to handle stress well, I’m able to see the incredible memories built past the sink full of dirty dishes.  Amidst the blurry heaps of toys, I hope to always find beauty in the evidence of a vibrant family life with kids.

tips on managing stress

When I manage my stress well, I’m able to view that overflowing inbox as freshly brimming with opportunities, and as a true testament to my own hard work and perseverance.  When I greet every single morning with gratitude, I’m able to appreciate the abundance of goodness that I have and model that perspective for my children.

And on days when I’m frazzled and less-forgiving of myself – I have simple steps in place to help bring me back.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Please feel free to share how your combat stress in the comments below!

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Midwinter Pause

kids looking out a snowy windowWe had big plans of hopping on the train to local museums and galleries and filling our days with the sort of spontaneous adventure that typically leads an entire week of school vacation.  But the cold was simply too cold, and the kiddos could hardly handle walking to the train during our attempts to explore.  So we spent the majority of our time hunkered down together, and while I honestly prepared for the sort of conflicts anticipated when the kids are cooped up for long periods at a time – I was pleasantly surprised.

The were amazing, actually.

Two kindred, silly spirits, plotting made-up games and running every single wheeled toy, stuffed with animals and buckets of make-believe across the hardwood floors.  Temporary-tattooing their chests and leaving a trail of disaster throughout their tiny sanctuary.  Carefully arranged abandoned toys became vestiges of life frozen in childhood creativity. And during a week of carrying an unexpected heavy heart – I was grateful for all of it.

Inside the snowy windows – all that seemed to matter was the love cocooned between four walls and evidence of an incredibly vibrant life with children.

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On Not Giving Up – Lessons In Motherhood

She barrels into the indoor gym, slapping her legs, bolting forward with a look of determination.  Sometimes, her nervousness is palpable. Manifested in the flip of her braids, the tug of her jersey. Tell-tale mannerisms that only a mother would know.  She’s the only girl at Saturday soccer.

And she never gives up.

What my daughter taught me about not giving up

Even if she rarely has a go at the ball, she runs and gives her all.  Flushed cheeks, dramatically squirting her waterbottle over her head during breaks – always excited to return the following week.

This sort of 7-year-old determination makes me think about my own metaphorical playing field, and the countless times that I’ve been complacent, paralyzed or held-back in some way.  She has no idea that she’s made me revisit the words strewn in draft form that weren’t quite good enough. Questioning my recent risk-taking or lack thereof.

Only time will tell if this sport will stick.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to cheer inwardly and from the sidelines for my girl.  And as of now – it looks like she’ll continue to show up and bring her best.

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The Importance of Self-Care in Motherhood

Thank you Huggies Little Snugglers and Latina Bloggers Connect for sponsoring this post.  Content and opinions, as always, are my own.

On my bedroom wall, hangs a photo of me lounging on the beach, in Aruba, in my first-pregnancy, full-bellied glory. My children often ask questions about the “me” in the photo – quite fascinated with the idea of mama’s existence prior to them.

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The woman in that photo, wholeheartedly understood the importance of self-care – for her wellbeing and that of the growing baby within.  Emotionally taxing days were counteracted by a reserved spot in my favorite spinning class.  Evening walks with my husband, prenatal yoga, meaningful time with friends and healthy eating were prioritized.

Amidst the daily juggles of motherhood, one of the first things to often go is taking care of ourselves.

I have been there. 

And sometimes, I still have to pull myself out.  When I find myself making promises rooted in “when things slowdown”, I know it’s time to reassess and prioritize.  Because in motherhood, when we invest in our self-care, we allow ourselves to be the best that we can possible be for our loved ones and ourselves.

I’m not speaking of the once in a few months trip to a nail salon.  I’m urging mothers, both seasoned and new to make a daily commitment to self-care. This can be as simple as identifying support-systems to help when a new baby arrives; connecting with friends; meditating; asking for help – or squeezing in rest.  The emphasis is on making time for things that energize, ground and inspire.

In my life, working out has been a sanctuary and is vital to my own emotional and physical wellbeing.  Adequate sleep, connecting with steadfast friends, participating in social good and functioning in a creative capacity are important to me too.  The joy found in sewing and crafting is often absent on the pages of this blog – yet left to be appreciated by me and the recipients of my efforts. I know that I’m better when I give back to myself – even if on some days that means being present in enjoying that morning cup of coffee.

Thinking of mindful and consistent self-care as a lifestyle and not a once-in-a-while thing requires continual effort and evaluation.  It is a process that I am committed to working on and one that I hope you will join me in practicing.

Special thanks to Huggies for sponsoring my writing and for continuing to keep babies dry and comfortable with new and innovative products that just may allow mama a bit more rest.  Request a sample of their New! Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers and Huggies Natural Care Wipes and enter to win your dream registry via  Huggies Little Snugglers Registry Relief.

Cheers to making yourself a priority.

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Unstoppable Moms

I wrote this post in participation in a blog tour for The Motherhood on behalf of the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Motherhood gifted me with a newfound appreciation for women – mothers in particular.  As I stepped into motherhood, I felt more connected to my own mother’s experiences of raising my brother and me – countries away from her incredible support system.  How in the world did she do it all with such grace and beauty? 

with mamaWith my mama.  Isn’t she lovely?

With motherhood came a greater concern for the plight of mother’s internationally. Motherhood also greeted me with an unnamed code of cohesiveness among the moms that I crossed paths with for the briefest of moments.  Mothers who helped pack up my belongings in the park during my first outings with my newborn and toddler. Women who communicated so clearly without words when I stopped to hold a door or offer a seat on the subway.

I have been lucky enough to know incredibly exemplary women in my life.  They are my family, my friends, my neighbors, and others that I know from a mere passing encounter.   The sort of people who ignite the part of me that wants to be the best that I can possible be, for myself, for my family and the greater good.

Motherhood brings new ground to navigate nearly every single day.  And while this journey is inherently glorious  – it is also meshed with mistakes, mess, and overwhelming moments.  Many times, the most challenging of life’s circumstances give room for true strength and wisdom to emerge.

 Remember to connect with the exemplary people in your life – the supporters, the believers, the unstoppable mothers.  Know that no woman lives free of uncomplicated moments and those struggles do not define us.

The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® are inspired by all the things that Mothers do and are inviting moms to share their knowledge in the form of tips and tricks that help keep them going. By joining the conversation and posting tips and tricks to the MOTRIN® Facebook page under each week’s Kelly Ripa question video, Children’s MOTRIN® will donate $1 to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit helping mothers keep their children safe.  Also look out for weekly giveaways of $100 gift cards simply for posting.

 *NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion ends 11:59p.m. ET 12/28/14. Sponsor will donate $1 for each approved Submission made as part of the promotion, with a minimum donation of $30,000 and a maximum donation of $50,000. For Official Rules, and complete details, visit www.unstoppablemoms.com. Sponsor: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. To learn more about Safe Kids Worldwide visit safekids.org.

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