JoJo

 
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I’m Nicole, and this right here is JoJo. Or Joey, as we also call him. And this little man is the reason the JoJo exists.

Adam and I prayed for a long time for a family, me especially. I dreamt of being a mom and a biz boss my entire life. Luckily for me, biz bossing came charging into my life in my early twenties and hasn’t subsided since. 

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Joey, on the other hand, didn’t make his appearance until about 7 years later. By the time JoJo became an addition to our chaos of a life, we knew he, and we, were in for a wild ride.

You see, Adam and I are both business owners. Adam, an outdoorsman through and through, is a hunting and fishing guide. Me, well, I am a designer by nature and a writer by heart. Between the two of us, we own a total of 4 different businesses, from the outdoor world to the graphic design world to the blogger world to the world of the JoJo. Which is most likely why you are here. 

The JoJo was designed out of pure necessity. Joey, unlike (or similar to, you decide…) most newborns was a hard one to get comfy. Meaning – naps and restful sleep were a no go for ALL OF US. 

And as business owners and a family with an incredibly active lifestyle, restless-resting was not something that we wanted for our baby. Or us.

At the risk of going broke, we ran the gamut of every newborn product out there in an effort to get the baby to sleep restfully. Swings. Pillows. Swaddles. Bassinets. You name it. We tried it.

Aside from babywearing, which is how we got through almost all our days until he was too old to carry that way, Joey, and us, could not get restful, satisfying sleep.

After watching Joey grow into a great sleeper in his toddler years, and after watching every single one of our friends struggle with the same battle, we decided to create a better way.

Something to comfort baby that didn’t inherently create dependence. Something that was as natural to lay in for a toddler as it is for a newborn. Something to hold them while they rested awake AND something to soothe them while they restfully slept. Something that would help them through their startle reflex. Something that would keep them safe and parents unworried. Something that was portable, pretty and pristine. Something that could be used on the floor, on the bed, on the plane. 

And though there were products that fit some of this, nothing fit it all. And minimalistic families unite – we don’t want to buy ANOTHER thing.

One evening, Adam and I sketched up what we thought would satisfy all these things, and contacted a friend that could help us get a prototype made. And Lord behold, IT WAS PERFECT.

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 This is Val, by the way. She's an avid JoJo sleeper and cutest doll of a baby we ever did know. Also, her mom is cool.

This is Val, by the way. She's an avid JoJo sleeper and cutest doll of a baby we ever did know. Also, her mom is cool.

Joey crawled into it on the floor in the living room and rested, awake, while we stared in awe. We took it over to my best friend with a 2 week old baby girl, who hadn’t slept in weeks, and rejoiced as she slept through the night the very first night. We watched as our girlfriends bickered over who got to take the one and only JoJo on which night, because they needed sleep the most.

One JoJo, obviously, was not enough.

We are so excited to get the JoJo toddler and infant lounger into the hands of every active and tired family in the world, who knows that there is a better way to rest.

We believe that rest means more than sleep. We believe in restful sleep and restful rest. Like us, babies need a place to seek comfort, solace and recognition in order to get rest. We, as adults, like our beds or our sofas or the arms of our loved ones. Babies, of course, love our arms. But a rested family is a happy family. And we all need restful sleep.

The JoJo is a lounger made for children and parents who are seeking restful sleep.

Made for baby, the JoJo comforts and relaxes baby by providing a familiar and tranquil environment for baby to sleep. Its barely padded center makes it incredibly safe but also incredibly comfortable, no matter the surface underneath. Its raised and padded perimeter prevents rolling for infants and keeps baby in place. The egg shape allows the JoJo to be used for babies as small as newborns or as big as toddlers. Made to be used as long as baby needs.

Predictable and routine sleep environments are not always available. The JoJo provides a familiar and serene rest environment for baby, anywhere, anytime.

Keep the lifestyle, but don’t lose the sleep. 

Summer Reading List

 
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I am totally the kind of person that goes through stints of reading and TV. And I don’t really like doing both during the same season. And recently, this has been the season of neither, for the most part.

FRIENDS reruns and an occasional classic movie (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Meet the Parents have been on repeat) have graced my TV screen on a low volume for weeks now.

But as I transition out of hustle and into rest, books will come back into play in a major way.

Here’s what’s currently happening for our reading and listening pleasure!

Podcast: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

I love Jen. She’s my spirit animal. The end.

Paperback: The Perfect Stranger

I read Miranda’s other book, All the Missing Girls, in two days flat. I started this one about a week ago and haven’t picked it up again, but only because of time. I can’t wait to start again.

Business: 4 Hour Work Week

My insurance guy told me I had to read this book when I told him about our new Amazon venture. I know he’s right, so I got the paper version instead of audio and I’m diving in, notes and all.

Audiobook: Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel is such a great spirit. I started listening from bed this morning and anticipate I’m done by tomorrow.

Parenting: The Awakened Family

This one is a longer investment, and I’m listening on Audible. It’s a 14 hour listen, and there’s so many good tidbits, I’ll have to take my time.

Joey

Joey’s reading choices are much simpler, but I have to admit, I like them more ;)

Mighty Mighty Construction Site

Bright Baby Trucks

Bear Snores On (still a fave)

Itty Bitty Moments

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You know those days, when you drive for hours and hours, only to spend a mere 15 minutes at your destination, and then you head back?

Growing up, and now as an adult, I tend to do a lot of this. Time in the car doesn't scare me. In fact, I really enjoy car time. Alone, with Joey, or as a whole family, car rides contain some of my fondest memories, and I always look forward to the trip.

What's even more meaningful than the car ride, though, is what happens in the moments you step out of the car for a stretch, or a snack, or a quick photo op. 

Not long ago, before we were married and really truly adults, Adam and used to take itty bitty road trips for the day, mostly to the snow. We'd just drive, and take photos, and marvel at the sites, and eat jerky and M&Ms in the car together. 

So last week, we both had an afternoon with little on our plates, so we loaded up Joey and all the snacks and headed for a drive to the snow. We had no intention of some major snow play,  no sleds or snow gear or mittens or firewood. We had muck boots and each other, and we drove until we literally could not go any further.

We literally oohed and aahed at the views. It's been so long since we've seen as much snow as there was that day, and we were giddy with anticipation of all this snow melting and heading towards our beloved river. 

Then we stopped, and it was during this itty bitty moment that these photos were captured. However, the entire day was simply magical. 

Side note – Joey isn't a huge deep snow fan, as he sunk to his chest and was blinded by the bright white that now encompassed him. But, snowballs seemed to make that much better and so we continued to tromp through and hit Daddy with a good amount of very wet mounds of white fluff.

Itty bitty moments, in the freezing cold and middle of nowhere, for a mere 15 minute snow fight. Magic. Pure magic.

Also, you guys... these itty bitty moments are ones I really really want to keep. So we've been having things printed through Artifact Uprising and LOVING IT. These little Insta books are so awesome – Joey loves to flip through them and see photos of himself. Anyway, here are some of our faves and we hope you start printing your itty bitty memories, too.

Get to know Artifact Uprising: this Denver-based custom photo goods company thoughtfully sources materials to create photo books, wall art, and other gift items. 

 

Instagram Friendly Books

Ideal for moving photos off your device and into your life, these soft cover books tout 100% recycled interior pages and a textured, matte cover.

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Wood Block Photo Prints

This rotating art display features 12 of your favorite photos set in a wood block, comprised of reclaimed pine from the Colorado forests. Perfect as a gift or to enjoy year-round, it's the ideal addition to a well-dressed desk.

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Baby Book 

The Story of You is an interactive photo journal that encourages parents to document their child's days in a meaningful way. Knowing timelines and little ones don't always mix, they've placed a focus on the everyday moments that matter most. Each book purchase includes a pen, photo adhesive, and code to create a complimentary set of Everyday Books to get you started.

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Ditching the Diaper Bag

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It's no secret that I rarely pack around a diaper bag. When I do, my friends are not only astounded, but dig through it to see what I could possibly need in order to need a full diaper bag in my hand.

Don't get me wrong, the newborn phase is different, leaving nothing to the improvising mind and a diaper bag, fully stocked, is utterly necessary. But as Joey got older, I found myself without much need for a full blown "ready pack." 

I started carrying an extra diaper in my purse, a large pack of wipes that stayed in the car, and snacks stashed in every crevice of where ever I was. 

But that backfired a few times. Cue, a very messy banana incident away from the car and a binky thrown out of the window when nap time was right around the corner.

Then, the other day, a freaking cat peed all over Joey's carseat and diaper bag on the porch overnight. After washing the carseat cover and emptying the diaper bag, leaving it to stew in the garage until I could muster up the energy to wash it, I decided to make a change.

Joey has a very minimal amount of essentials. 

Why am I toting around this gigantic backpack full of things that don't fit him, he won't use, and a massive amount of "just in case" scenarios?

I mean, really, it's not like we are going on a trip. The small drive from the house to daycare, the ranch and the grocery store surely don't qualify as needing all the doomsday supplies.

Moving on.

I packed a mini diaper bag today, and I thought I would share what's in it. We are almost two years into this parenthood thing, and a toddler is pretty much self sufficient at this point (cue, major sarcasm).

But honestly, he really only needs a few things, if any really, and my emergency supplies don't need to be prepped for worst case scenario. 

Look at it this way, if he has a blow out at this point, I have bigger problems than needing a diaper, wipes and change of clothes. I mean, he's a real boy now. Ain't nobody got time to deal with that in the trunk of a car.

So, necessities only. And if the worst happens, in his carseat he will go and driving home we will be to deal with the situation. 

In the little mini emergency kit:

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  • 3 Kirkland diapers
  • 1 overstuffed pack of wipes
  • Tylenol and measuring spoon
  • Lone binky – we use Natursutton
  • Spoon
  • Cliff Bar
  • Squeezer

I got two of these little bags when Joey was born, to put in the diaper bag to stay organized, and have found myself using them for EVERYTHING. I love them. Machine washable, you can see what's in them, they are the perfect size and I love the color.

Beneficial Baby Budget

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Full disclosure – we didn’t really do much of the “budget baby” situation. I didn’t buy anything used, we purchased what we need on Amazon Prime for full price and never looked back. I had an Honest diaper subscription for the first year and paid an extraordinary amount for glass bottles and rubber Natursutton nipples.

However, now that we are in a parenting groove, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks. I will admit, some things are worth paying for. Those glass bottles and those expensive pacifiers, for instance, since they were the only ones Joey would take. And to be honest, I felt better not putting weird chemicals and plastic in his mouth all the time.

Other super expensive things that come with baby? Formula (if you don’t have the privilege of a great breastfeeding experience), diapers and wipes, and contraptions to hold them.

These are the things that dented our budget. That overdrew our checking account, that made it so we could only eat ramen for a lengthy bit of time. I wish I was kidding.

However, this was a situation I was glad to be in, looking back. I felt really good about how we were raising our newborn, and there were things I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for him, but would definitely sacrifice for us. Hence, ramen.

If you’re on a major budget, I am probably not the best example. I prefer to be totally transparent, so whether this makes you like me more or not, it is the truth.

Fast forward into toddlerhood, and we are no longer in the initial – first parent of a newborn scared of everything wondering if we are doing it wrong – phase. No, we are officially in the – how can we save some more money for private school or college without having to eat ramen – phase. I like this phase a lot more.

Some things still apply – Joey’s primary cup is made of stainless steel (not plastic), he uses the same expensive pacifiers, though I can’t remember the last time I replaced them, and many of his clothes are from the used clothing store in town.

Alternatively, we now buy Kirkland brand diapers and wipes, feed him whole milk instead of formula and prefer to let him wander instead of containing his wild being.

Though probably not mainstream, I do want to share our three most beneficial baby budget tips for toddlers.

  1. Joey has had a horrible time with diapers. He HATES getting his diaper changed, and for the longest time, we couldn’t figure out why. No major diaper rash, no irritation. But then it hit me – it hurts when I wipe him! The wipes themselves hurt.
    1. We can’t afford the expensive, sensitive skin, fragrance free wipes. I mean, we go through them like we do blueberries (Joey is quite messy, if you haven’t noticed).  And on top of that, I can’t afford the time to make my own wipes from fabric scraps and soap.
    2. What did I do? I kept the buttload of Kirkland wipes I had, and added a quarter cup of extra water to his diaper warmer. THEN, I added a tablespoon of coconut oil to the top of the pack and let it seep all the way through. It took two days and his little bum is much happier. Sometimes, I even add some coconut oil to the diaper I’m about to put on him, for extra measure. Soft bum, happy mum.
  2. Meals. Food for babies. It’s freaking expensive. Especially if you buy the pre-packaged snacks “made for toddlers” at the store. Give yourself a baby boy with the energy of a navy seal and you’ve got yourself broke as a joke.
    1. Joey snacks on meal-type foods. The only snacks that are really in our cupboards are dried fruit and granola bars. Throw in some Goldfish and some sweet potato chips and we have ourselves a snack party.
    2. For most snacks, Joey eats things like mandarins, avocados and parsnip fries. Believe it or not, fruit and vegetables are way cheaper than pre-packages snack foods. I know that this saves us a pretty penny, and keeps our cupboards and bodies clean.
  3. Finally, strategic child care. And when I say strategic, I mean PLANNED SO WELL THAT FRIENDS THINK WE HAVE NO FLEXIBILITY.
    1. An entire section of the upcoming Mompreneur Ecourse is focused on strategic childcare. That’s how important I think this is. It will cost more than enough to find childcare, nevermind actually pay for said childcare. Your time is money, literally, so have a plan and don’t spend your evening scrambling for a babysitter for the next morning.
    2. Figure out what you have in your budget for daycare, and then use it. It’s worth more than you think to have that sort of reliability in your life. Then, when needed, use the remaining days to take advantage of grandmas and friends and sitters. I get more done in the two days Joey goes to daycare than any other day, simply because I have the reliability of those days. 8-6, no matter what. That’s worth the few hundred dollars a month for me, even if I don’t get to work the other days at all.

I told you they were not mainstream J But this is what has been the most beneficial for us, as a family of three. We are small, and not super tight with money, this I know. But these are the tools we’ve implemented to keep our baby and ourselves healthy, on budget and happy.

xoxo

Wear All the Babies

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Let’s talk for a hot minute about babywearing.

First, you’re preggo. And frankly, you wish, so badly, that you could take that baby off of you so heaven forbid you can COOL DOWN a little.

When I was working out while pregnant, I was so jealous of all the moms that could take their babies out of the carrier and lay them on a blanket, finish their get-ups and flutter kicks and bridges, and do a pushup all the way down without their belly hitting the floor first.

Second, after you have this tiny little human, and your belly ever so slowly begins to go back to the new normal, you wish so so badly you can put them back in, if only for a minute so you can GET SOME SLEEP.

No? Just me? Ok, didn’t think so.

This, my friends, is how babywearing made my life manageable. Notice I say manageable. Not great, not doable, not better, and certainly not easy. But, totally manageable. I mean, we are all living and happy and developing well and adjusting to this new thing, parenthood and childhood.

What we can so quickly forget is that babies need to adjust, too. This “baby” thing is totally new to them, just as this “parent” thing is totally new to us. Once I realized that we were learning together, not just trying to stay alive, it was much easier to understand his needs as they correlated with mine.

Something I found super early on was that this baby wanted back inside my belly almost as bad as I wanted him to be, too. But, alas, we cannot make that happen, nor do we really want to. So skin to skin, tummy to tummy, heart to heart is as close as we can get.

At first, the easiest thing to do was to accept the fact that this babe needed sleep, and so did I. And so sleeping on my chest was what we did. I soon figured out that I needed to do other things, too. Like laundry and eat and make dinner and WALK.

Enter, babywearing.

It was not uncommon at the very beginning, for me to strap on my Moby wrap and let that skin to skin contact happen. We all know that breastfeeding is ridiculous and mostly wonderful, and that sometimes it’s just easier to not wear a shirt. I mean, you’ll be whipping that thing out in no time anyway. For me, when we were alone and home and comfy, a shirtless baby and momma would be all wrapped up together in that Moby, happy and sleepy and full and perfect.

The babywearing continued into the night time witching hours, the social outings galore and then finally, back to the gym. Shirts on and all.

Joey is now 15 months old, and the babywearing trend has not faded, not even a little. And until he is too big for me to carry, it will stay the path.

Because of this experience, I want to share my passion, reasonings, tips and tricks and loves of babywearing with you all. But also because of this, it’s too much to share in a single post.

So coming at you the next three weeks:

  • Babywearing and the newborn bubble
  • Babywearing and fitness
  • Babywearing lifestyle

Coming at you this Thursday is all about the newborn bubble, and this was my most fondly remembered stage.


Ok, ok. But why should you care? I know that these “series” things are hard to follow and you might lose interest in a hurry and only read about the stage you’re currently in and then dismiss the rest. Can I ask you, friend, stick with me?

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Because that’s what I did, and then I wished I had prepared. Each phase of babywearing is different, and I would have taken even more joy and comfort and excitement in knowing how and what was coming next.

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Because there’s a GIVEAWAY with each post! I want to share this joy of babywearing with all of you, so with each babywearing post, I’ll be giving away a sling, carrier, membership, or something awesome to a lucky winner. Does this entice you?

I’m so thankful to all of you and for all of you. Many of you have stuck with me through this whole mommyhood thing, and now you support me sharing all about it. For that, I am eternally in your debt, and can’t wait to share the love with you.

Xoxo for now.

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WHY I AM MOURNING THE HARDEST YEAR OF MY LIFE BEING OVER

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Let’s be super clear about one thing – this last year was really, really hard.

However, I’ve had years that were full of much more pain, suffering, fear, loss, terror and hardships. But this last year was definitely the hardest.

So why then, am I sad it’s over?

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not going through baby fever. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to convince me to have another right now. I’m still getting used to this new life, and I’m not about to switch it all up again. My goodness, I barely have enough time to shave my legs on a weekly basis. And don’t even get me started on washing my hair.

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I’m having some pretty serious nostalgia though, about this last year.

We are never going to get this first year back. Not even with another baby. Joey was, and is, Joey, and nothing could ever be the same.

He was so, so hard. Newborn Joey was what we would call, well, INTENSE. And though I can’t exactly explain why, I can explain some of the moments that made it so.

Joey didn’t really sleep. Like, at all, for the first few weeks of this life. So we didn’t really get the whole squishy sleeping baby phase. But once he did start sleeping, it was only at night.

Disclaimer – I completely understand how amazing it is that my baby slept through the night at 6 weeks old and never regressed.

But to be honest, I would have taken a late-night bedtime or a 2 am feeding in hopes of it bringing us NAP TIME.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, other tough things? Adam had to go back to work SO EARLY (like one week); breastfeeding was NOT WORKING; major baby blues (and some managed postpartum depression); and a few other sleepless days and screaming baby road trips and bouts of pretty serious colds and the flue, and we are to where we are now.

But man oh man, will I miss so many things.

The slowness.

I feel like now that this season is over, we will be back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and though I missed that while we were in this season, I don’t really want to go back to that.

Having a baby brings so much slowness to life. Things simply revolve around sleep and food and diapers. So you learn to move slow, in everything.

Rocking baby to sleep is slow, diaper changes are (generally) slow, getting ready to leave to go somewhere is slow, as is getting to that place. Mornings are slow, bedtimes are slow. The slower, the better.

I will miss this slowness. I want so badly to rekindle that in my life. Why do we hurry when we could instead go slow, and enjoy the moment, and not worry about what’s next? We can’t enjoy the time we are in if we don’t slow down enough to see it.

Resting well.

Everyone knows that you’re tired with a baby. But before Joey, I did not understand how to rest. Now, I feel like if there is a moment to rest, I take it. And I do it well. Less time is spent “resting” while on my phone or in front of the TV. My rest includes things like prayer, and sleep, and nourishing my body with food and water. I rest with my husband by having good conversation and I rest with my friends by hearing about their lives.

Being a new mom.

Motherhood was new, and with new comes excitement. And fear. And change. And education. I love all these things. I like feeling the adrenaline of something new, and I like the magic that change can bring. New motherhood is such a huge blessing and privilege, and I so badly don’t want the feeling to pass.

Simple pleasures.

Things like naked butts and water hoses, belly giggles and throwing blueberries, clapping and clucking, head nods and head shakes, new teeth and growing fingernails. It’s so simple and makes us so happy. All our milestones now are huge – like walking and talking and learning the colors and picking out shoes. I will so badly miss the simple pleasures of when a “coo” turned into a real noise and when he learned to grab a rattle, and then to shake it. Watching him learn what music sounded like, or how dancing felt. Seeing him love the softness of a blanket, and the feeling of his hand on my neck while he nursed. So, so simple.

I know there are so many great, great things to come. That toddlerhood has its own loveliness and challenges, just as infants do. And I will enjoy each moment in its own right, and I will look back and feel like this every year that passes.

But right now, I feel as if I need the space to grieve this first year’s passing. I need to mourn the fleeting moments that I so enjoyed.

It’s like having the best night of your life, and not wanting to fall asleep because it will be over, and tomorrow will be different. But I really liked today. It was so, so long, and so, so hard. But oh, was it wonderful.

ERGO BABY | OMNI 360 + A GIVEAWAY!

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Let me start from the beginning.

I have an addiction to babywearing. I think it’s seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to motherhood. I feel proud to be a parent when I think about how long ago, and how wonderfully, moms have been wearing their babies. How much they got done, how much they bonded with their kids, and how much they knew it was the only way to parent.

Babywearing is really the only way I have been able to BE A PARENT this last year.

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Babywearing is how I got dinner cooked, how I went to church, how I wrote blog posts, and how I worked out.

Because of wearing my baby, I now have not only my pre-baby body back, but a body that is healthier, stronger and slimmer than it has ever been (that includes college…).

My journey of babywearing is long, and bouncy, as I use a lot of different carriers and jump back and forth between them often, depending on our current needs.

Ergo, though able to be used through basically every stage of babyhood, has been the most essential to me in the last 6 months, particularly at the gym.

(Post is in partnership with ErgoBaby)

I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of Ergo’s influencer team, and with that came the pleasure of trying out the brand new Omni 360 baby carrier. As a religious user of the original Ergo 360, I have to admit I was hesitant, as I didn’t really want to change my mind on how much love I had for my carrier.

Final thoughts? Well, I still ADORE my Ergo 360, and will continue to use it for my babywearing workouts. But, the Omni 360 definitely has a place in the babywearing arsenal.

Want to win one of these bad boys? Check out my latest Insta post to enter! Hurry though, giveaway ends in a flash.

WIN

Pros

  • Front babywearing. I actually prefer the Omni, simple because I can get Joey in an out without taking the carrier off my shoulders. Best part? I don’t have to clip the straps behind my back.
  • Flexibility of size. I love not needing an infant insert, and that depending on size of baby, I can easily adjust the height of the carrier, even while it’s on. So easy, simple, and customizable.
  • Front outward carry. Joey could have stayed like this all day in this carrier. I was able to keep him up a little higher because of the adjustment options, his arms were much more comfortable and the slimmer hip stance made it even more chill for him. Also, his head didn’t rub against my chest as aggressively as in the original 360.
  • Solid colors. My Ergo 360 is solid black, but honestly it’s the only one I’ve seen. This Omni 360 comes in lots of solid colors with no two-tone, light colored inside, making the look so much cleaner, and stains much less of an issue.

Cons

  • Hip strap. After wearing Joey on the front for more than an hour, my lower back wasn’t very happy with me. The thinner hip straps and lower back support patch didn’t really fit me very well, and I definitely prefer the wide, velcro strap of the original 360.
  • Going from person to person. Because of the so many adjustment options, switching the carrier from person to person is a little cumbersome. It takes a little more effort to fit it correctly.
  • Tightness. I couldn’t get it quite tight enough in our workout to do some of the exercises we normally do with our original 360.

So all in all? LOVED IT. But I will keep my nice, broken in, solid black, deodorant stained, perfectly adjusted Ergo 360 for the time being. Talk to me when I have a newborn though… I’ll be ordering one of these Omni 360s in a hurry.

Want to purchase an Ergo? I suggest you do ;) Get 10% by signing up for for the Nicole&Co. email updates and get your discount code.

Want to see Joey and me awkwardly review the Omni 360 at home? Check it out below and leave some love.

Testimony of a One Year Old's Mom

I’ve had so many posts scheduled for this day, the day before Joey turns 1 year old. Including:

  • Things I wish my 1 year old would remember someday
  • Why it’s the best and worst year ever
  • How time actually moves too fast
  • How to figure out why the hell the baby is crying

And a few others that now, seem completely insignificant.

So instead, I’m going to write a short and candid post on how I’m really feeling the night before my baby boy turns one year old.

I’m overcome. I feel like there’s no way in hell I could be a parent to a one year old. I mean, that means that a year ago, I gave birth to another human. That I actually grew another person inside of my body with fingers and toes and a heart and eyes. I mean, really. Who does that? Women, apparently. I had no idea, really, what that meant.

But now I know. I know what it feels like, literally and figuratively, to make a human. To raise them for a whole year, and know that it is only a penny’s worth of time in the grand scheme of life. But it seems like eternity, all the while seeming like a small fraction of my short life so far.

I like to think that so far, we’ve raised a good human. I mean, he’s doing great, as far as one year olds go. I think he has a wonderful personality, he’s kind and outgoing and outspoken. He is walking and laughing and playing like a big kid.

I also like to think that he knows Jesus, and knows that we love him, and that he has a profound purpose in this world. I also know that that’s a lot to expect of a human that’s only been in the real world for 365 days.

Joey has experienced so much in such a short amount of time. He has seen so much of our world. He has seen every emotion we could have in a single year: fear, resilience, passion, happiness, contentment, panic, sadness, grief, worry, joy, heartbreak. You name, he’s probably seen us feel it.

We can so quickly forget that our babies can feel, too. If we feel something, they can too. And how hard would it be to feel something, and not know why? Sweet Joey can feel my anxiety, and it scares him. His empathy is already there, and he doesn’t even know it yet.

You see, the first year of parenthood is a perfect disaster. You will probably cry more than you ever have before, tragedy or no tragedy in your past. You will laugh, and sleep, and also be sleep deprived. You will spend more time in a rocking chair than you ever thought humanly possible. Your hips and neck and wrists will hurt. You will forget that you have an identity outside of motherhood, and that your purpose is beyond this bundle of supposed joy that is currently screaming in your arms.

But then you’ll also do what are supposedly stupid things, like have a litter of puppies and a baby at the same time, and realize that it was actually the most fun you’ve had with little living creatures in your lifetime. You’ll drink wine and nurse your baby and forget that that matters. You’ll consume copious amounts of coffee and lose more hair ties than you even bought and break your cell phone more than once.

You’re going to lose handfulls of hair, from hormones and from your child pulling it out of your head (you’ll realize it’s too precious to pull out yourself, so you’ll drink more coffee instead). You can get your body back, or have a whole new body if you want one, it’s up to you. Your job will either be waiting or not waiting, and you’ll be ok with that.

The first year is just like nothing I could ever explain in the amount of detail it deserves. It’s life changing and life giving and life depleting, all at once.

I can’t say it’s been the best year of my life, but it’s certainly not the worst. And frankly, when Joey stands up in the middle of the living room and walks to the puppy for kisses, my heart explodes. And I’m just so happy that we did all that we did this year. No regrets, no questions. Just pure and utter amazement that we are all still alive, healthy and happy. Thank you Lord, for making that my truth.

Summer + Baby

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The day Joey was born, it was 106 degrees. And in the following weeks, there was no relief. And frankly, staying cooped up in the house with a baby because it’s hot outside was just not my style.

As time went on, I realized that other mommas were having a hard time finding the right things to do with their babes in the heat of summer. Whether it’s the fear of overheating them, sunburn, or just plain “It’s freaking hot,” the heat can be really intimidating to new moms.

So I decided to curate a small list of the things we did as new parents with our new newborn in the heat of summer! These activities fought the baby blues for me and socialized Joey and helped us jump back into life as our new family of 3.

Babywearing.

Before we dive in, I feel as if I should note that I am an avid babywearer. Meaning, Joey is most often found strapped to my chest or back in one of the many carriers I own. I’ll post about babywearing on its own later, but wanted to point out just a few important notes: 

  1. Though it may seem not logical to wear your baby in the heat, it’s actually, in my experience, totally safe. Be careful about which carrier you use (see below), keep baby in cool clothing (or no clothing…), and let them wear a hat to keep their face cool.

  2. I suggest either the Solly Baby Wrap or a linen Wildbird Sling for summer babywearing. If you’re doing something more active, I have other suggestions, but again, another time.

  3. Reasons for this? Well, both are lightweight and breathable, can be packed up small for quick getaway, and both keep baby in positions where you can be hands free and they can still look around.

  4. Quick keys to babywearing: close enough to kiss, keep head and neck support if baby is under 4 months, and keep them in cool clothing or no clothes at all (just a diaper). The earlier you start wearing them, in my opinion, the better life will be.

Watch them eat watermelon

This is my favorite. Because seriously, no matter how old your baby is, this is fun. No teeth needed, no dexterity necessary. Break it up or give them the whole slice, and watch the watermelon juice cover their entire bodies while you laugh, eat your own, and see them smile. It’s simply the coolest.

Take them wine tasting

You heard that right. A week after Joey was born, I loaded him up to meet Adam and our best friends at our favorite winery for their annual blessing of the grapes and wine tour. It was super hot, like, so so hot. We kept Joey in the carseat in the stroller, covered him with a muslin blanket, let him wear only a diaper, and stayed in the shade. I wore a sundress for easy nursing access, and we spent the day sipping wine (well, less for me than everyone else), and stopping to nurse Joey whenever needed. Warm, yes. But perfect, also yes.

Visit family

Joey was a mere 3 days old when we took him to see his first family. For us, it seemed easier to load up a newborn to visit people than it was to have family over to our house. So we loaded up in the nice air conditioned car and went to see great grandma and grandpa, about an hour away. We had lunch and hung out just enough, and once I felt the need to get home, we left. I had to nurse Joey three times while we were there, and eat lunch with him in one arm, but it totally worked.

A week later, my mom and I took him down to the bay area to meet the other side of the family. We did an overnight trip, and stayed with a friend who would of course not mind the waking every hour on the hour baby.

I think these trips were really critical for us. It showed me that I could in fact get out of my house for longer than an hour, and that Joey could travel, too. Because we were proactive with this, I really do believe, Joey has since been able to sleep anywhere and loves to take road trips.

 

Walk and drink coffee

The buttcrack of dawn is so freaking early. But it’s also cooler then. I would set my coffee pot to go about 4:30 am, and then if Joey woke with the sun, I could pour myself a cup of coffee and get outside. I would either wear him in the Moby Wrap, where he would normally fall back asleep, or if we was wide awake, we’d go in the stoller. But we’d walk until it got too hot, or he got hungry. Coffee, and Henry, and baby and me are such a fond memory of those hot summer mornings.

Go back to work a little bit

By a little, I mean just a little. Joey and I would go to the office for super brief tasks. Tasks I could do in the amount of time he would be content in an office mate’s arms. So, like 5 minutes. It felt good to get out, back to the grind, even if it was for a hot minute or two.

Visit the farmers’ market

I feel as though I cannot stress this one enough.

Joey has not missed a farmers’ market Saturday since he was born. Not one.

And trust me, people will have an opinion. What could people possibly have to say, you might ask? Well, things like, “Your baby is way to young to be out and about here.” Or, “Have you thought about your vaccinations options yet? I assume you’re against it.” Or, “Can I hold him?” Or, “I hope you have sunscreen on that baby. The sun will burn is skin in a second flat!”

Take what you will, but I needed to be out of the house with people and sunshine and food. And this was the way. I went early, wore Joey in the Moby or Ergo, and did my thing.

Go to church

Newborns are generally easy to take to church. Especially with family. And churches are always cold. Again, I wore Joey (literally, I wore Joey everywhere, everyday, still do), and either stood in the back if need be, or sat down if he fell asleep. He loved the music and the cheering, and I LOVED that I was literally praying and worshipping with my baby, right off the bat, in community. It felt as though he was being baptized every Sunday, head to my chest, ear to God.

Start making baby food with fresh summer produce

There is nothing better than fresh summer produce. And if you have a newborn, you may not think you want to do this yet. But, if you plan ahead, baby food is literally the easiest thing in the world to make, and how cool is it that they can experience fresh tomatoes and peaches in December? Just puree and freeze. Again, farmers’ market, buy the goodies, go home and cook. All my favorite things rolled into one thing.

Swim

Do I need to say more than that? If you’re worried about baby and chlorine, then bring a friend and a baby bouncer, and set up shop right there in the shade next to the pool. You can be in, baby can be right there, and it’s a win win.

Cook

Experiment with food! Depending on how old your baby is, you can even experiment with them. In the summer, it’s enticing to stay inside, of course, and cooking is a great way to occupy your time, keep cool, and keep baby entertained. Generally, the kitchen can be a really safe place for babe, whether you’re wearing them, they are on the floor with some tupperware, or sitting in their highchair eating scraps. Just simply take some things you have lying around in the cupboard, and get to work! Have some old red potatoes? Make some oven baked french fries for you and the babe to snack on later. Some cashew butter that doesn’t seem good on toast? Add some pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips and make yourself some bite sized protein balls (btw, babies LOVE them).  

Backyard picnics

These are my favorite. Especially during those long months of witching hours in the evenings and when the sun starts to go down, just pack it all up and go outside. For some reason, the outdoors seem to calm babies down, give them some new surroundings to coo at, and you can enjoy your meal on a blanket on the lawn. We adored them.  

Early morning hikes

When baby wakes super early, sometimes the only logical thing to do is get outside and watch the sunrise from the top of some hill. These hikes can be so enlightening. Even when you’re tired, feel like you can’t wake up for the life of you, once you start walking up that hill, you’ll feel like a new woman. Again, strap on that munchkin and get to hiking.

Walk around Costco

Costco is literally the coldest place you’ll find. Whether you’re using the stroller, baby wearing or put them in the cart, the cold air and free samples are great. Plus, you’ll keep baby entertained with all the fun things to touch and look at.

Go to the fair

If babe is a little older, take an evening and head to the county fair. The animal smells and noises seem to provide never ending entertainment, and let’s face it, babies love corndogs. It’s a win win, and there’s usually plenty of shade and beer to make the heat bearable.

Baseball games

From what I’ve heard, new parents are generally nervous about packing the baby up to go to a baseball game. But here’s the thing - it’s loud, which usually makes babies happy. It’s full of new smells and people to look at. And french fries. And shade. And if you go with friends, just pass the baby down the line during the game, and then everyone gets a break and gets their baby fix.

 

Motherhood & Co.

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Currently, sitting in the recliner in the living room, watching a rerun of The Voice, looking down to find a piece of half chewed cheese quesadilla stuck to the back of my hand.

You see, I just finished picking up said half chewed pieces of cheese quesadilla off the floor while Adam put a very cranky and moody and teething, allergy induced, pink eyed Joey to bed.

So it makes total sense that there is a piece of it stuck to the back of my hand while I type this.

By the way, it’s still there. It’s safer on the back of my hand than it is on the floor where I might step on it, or on the arm of the chair where Adam will put his hand later and yell at me for leaving it there.

I also just trapped my husband in a not-so-kind conversation and totally set him up to fail.

I also have pink eye. In both eyes.

Earlier today, I let Joey chase and crawl all over Rudy the Roomba, which is not a rare occurrence, fully aware that it is not good for said Roomba, as Joey is quite strong and very capable of breaking it in two. And frankly, as of that moment, I’d rather pay for a new Roomba than get up from my seat to move Joey to a new location with a new toy, knowing full well he will be back to the Roomba in a minute flat.

Also, yesterday, I watched as Joey pulled the dining room chair over on himself. Seriously, stood there, frozen in my tracks, like a statue. It was like I knew that I couldn’t help him, but even if I could, I didn’t know how to. So I just watched, let it all fall, and then picked him after, hoping to God that he was not suffering from a concussion which I think I may have, might have been able to, avoid. If I had just moved.

Joey has a bruise on his eyebrow as well, from falling down on the edge of the coffee table.

Yep, I’m that mom right now.

See, we are all the same. Every night we put the babies down to bed and know that if we kept all the humans, animals, Rudy the Roomba and most of the plants in the yard alive, it’s a win.

But there are some things that are a little bit different, I’m realizing. And putting all moms into the same category as the “organized chaos” type really, actually leaves out so many of us.

Because yes, my life is complete organized chaos. And on most days, I feel like a hot mess. A blessed hot mess, but a hot mess nonetheless. But also on most days, my role as a mom is not the only role I play. And it’s important to know, though I am a mom, this is not my entire identity. And for so many other woman, it isn’t theirs either.

Many of the things we do fall into the cliches, however they roll. Such as the top knot, wine drinking, yoga pant wearing blogger. Yep, I am that mom.

I also am part of a Mommy and Me group, but instead of talking about our baby’s teething situations while sipping too much caffeine, we wear our babies and aren’t afraid to lift really heavy things.

I am a business owner, but I’m rarely ever a business owner and a mom at the same time.

I drive a mommy car, but it’s a badass mommy car, and I take the top off, a lot.

I read books to my baby, but they are things like “People Over Profit” or “Rising Strong” or the latest Nic Sparks book, because he doesn’t care what the book is about. As long as he gets to hear my voice.

Here is my point: you do not have to be ordinary, even as a mom.

This idea that moms “can’t do it all” is very true. It’s also incredibly false.

You see, we actually can. We can do all things. We can do all things well. And we can do all things THAT WE WANT TO DO.

We are all just winging it. Seriously. Nobody knows how to actually do this parenting thing. But the thing is, though there are millions of things to read and “experts” to talk to, it doesn’t seem like anyone is really sharing the ins and outs of HOW they did it.

We can keep using generalities, or we can talk specifics. And if you really want help with this mommy business, generalities don’t help any of us.

A friend told me, when Joey was a mere two months old, that I was doing it. I was doing what all moms wanted to do, but couldn’t. I was working on my businesses, I was working on projects for my clients, working on my body, my marriage, my faith, my cooking skills, my breastfeeding form, to name just a few.

I remember feeling like that was completely ridiculous. I was just trying to survive. Make it through the day without losing complete control of all I held dear. Turns out, those things I held dear? They held me together, too.

I get questions all the time:

How do you balance mommyhood and your businesses?
What tools did you use to combat your postpartum depression?
How are you able to cook dinner most nights and still get Joey to bed on time?
How did you get your body back so fast?
How do you justify using or paying for daycare?
What do you mean Joey sleeps all night long? How?! (that’s a fun one…)
Or my favorite, “How do you find time for it all?”

It’s time we got specific. It’s time us moms come together and actually outline how to do this thing. How to be a mom. AND all the other things we want to be.

Not one piece of our life that we find important is negotiable. And just because being a mom comes first does not mean that we need to have a numbered priority list, and start from the top and work our way down. All those things matter.

And so, since we all in this together, let’s talk about it together. I’d love to hear some of your really specific questions. About any, all, some, of these things we do in our lives. I want to help, or find some help, and make motherhood not so scary, for all of us.

Something is in the works for this, I promise, and with your help, we can put all the tools together, and have a very real, very candid conversation. Together.

PLEASE SEND ME YOUR QUESTIONS!

I truthfully, honestly, want to hear

xoxo

Name *
Name

How To : Be the Best at Baby Showers

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I have to admit, I am not a huge lover of showers of any sort… bridal, baby, engagement, regular (we can come back to that). I am, however, a huge lover of heartfelt gifts. So when the baby shower comes along, though I love any excuse for a good party, the gift part always feels a little weird. Opening up the obligatory gifts in front of everyone, while the crowd oohs and aahs at the seventeenth pack of overpriced onesies is really not something I enjoy, as the gift giver or the gift receiver.

Some of my favorite moments of my own baby shower was when the few people pulled me aside, before or after, to give me their gifts in private. Those moments are engrained in my memory, and to this day, I pull out the bibs or the books or the bottles that were in those gift bags, simply because they remind me of that moment.

I do understand, however, that isn’t always possible. Baby showers hold so much more significance than just the gifts, and the gathering of the people there is the part that matters. Whether you play games or do ice breakers or simply sip Virgin Marys while chatting with your tribe on a Sunday morning, it’s the company that counts.

So if you are going to do the gift thing, however you do it, I have a few tips.

  • If you have had a baby recently, rather than consulting a new mom’s registry, go ahead and take the initiative and buy some things that helped you out. First time mommas, and we’ve all been there, don’t always know what they might need, so their registry will be full of the obligatory bottle warmers and swaddles and crib sheets. And though important, there are things they might not realize they need, in which now, you are an expert on. Share your wealth, my friend.
  • Handmade is great, and keep their style in mind. Coming from a monotone and neutral lover, though I ADORE the handmade things I received, I don’t use them as much as I’d like to, simply because they don’t go with the other things I love. So if you want to do something handmade, keep her style in mind, and try to make something she will for sure use!
  • They are only newborn for like, one minute. Newborn sized goodies are so needed, but remember that they will probably be used one whole time. Instead, opt for sizing up in things, so they can be used a little longer and later. 3-6 month is fab, but the 9-12 month is even more fun, as we get to pull them out later and enjoy the gift for so much longer.

Now that I’m in a season of “friends having babies all the time,” I have got a nice little gift-giving routine down. There are some things that I absolutely must share with my friends, as they were life-savers for me, and then I like to throw something in there that I know they will love, and though I am not really a hand-made type, if possible, I see if I can pull something together (that honestly never happens, but hey, I try).

So here I’m sharing just a small snippet of my favorite baby shower gifts, in hopes it will help another new momma or two out there. God knows it takes a village, I’m just glad to be a part of it!

  • These knotted gowns from Candy Kirby.
    It’s no secret I love these, and I gift them to every new baby momma.
  • Momosas book
    Adam got me this book when we first found out we were pregnant, and it was really fun to be able to feel like I was enjoying a cocktail with everyone else. Especially with the heat of summer towards the end. When a glass of bubble water won’t do the trick, it’s great to be able to experiment with a “cocktail.”
  • Gripe water
    Don’t skip this one. It seems like so many still don’t know about “magic water,” as we called it. It solves hiccups and colic and gas and fussiness. And it’s ultra safe, totally natural and made by mommas. Really, it’s magic.
  • BabyWise
    At first, I hated this book. And I usually put that disclaimer in my card to the new momma before she dives in to read it. It wasn’t until after the first few months that I realized that BabyWise was my lifesaver. It was a fantastic solution for us, and Joey is now one of the best sleepers I know. Even if they don’t want to get “parenting” advice, this book is great for all sorts of advice. We really enjoyed it. (I will do a full review on BabyWise come Joey turning one year old).
  • One of these wooden teething rings
    Remember my comment about matching the momma’s style? Most teething toys are bright and obnoxious looking, but the wooden teething toy trend appeals to everyone, is mighty safe for baby and can work for anyone. We have at least 6 of these in all different sizes and types and colors and they are super easy to throw in the purse for on-the-go. And cute. That helps.
  • Gift card to the app store for this baby monitor app
    This is a new addition to my arsenal, and I realize I should have used it sooner. Now that the weather is nice, I don’t really want to carry around the baby monitor outside while we do things while baby naps. This app goes device to device, so my music playing iPad in Joey’s room transmits to my phone. Has video too, if you are so inclined.
  • This phone case with an easy-hold back
    She will need it. She doesn’t know it yet, but she will.
  • A stack of these washcloths/burp rags a mile high
    Again, no surprise I love these. I give them to everyone. Softest, most portable, durable and high quality out there. Seriously.
  • This snot sucker, nail clippers, thermometer kit from Target
    For some reason, we didn’t have these things before baby came, and someone dropped this gift off on our front porch shortly after. It’s those little things you don’t realize you need until the moment you need them.
  • Gift certificate for one month of diaper service
    Can’t go wrong. Because even though they might be stocked up for the first month or two, that sizing up challenge is real, and Costco is just not feasible on month number two.

 

Seven in Seven

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Everyone talks about how having kids will really change your life. What they don’t tell you is how. How will they change my life? Exactly. Not hypothetically. How is it going to turn my world upside down?

Well, as I’ve found out, they don’t tell you because it is really hard to articulate exactly what it’s like. Sure, you can say some superficial things, like:

  1. Spontaneity has no place with an infant.
  2. Poop and puke will no longer disturb you. It’s everywhere. All the time.
  3. Sleep may evade you. Get it while you can.
  4. Your arms will get nice and buff from lifting this god damn carseat everywhere.
  5. You will fight with your spouse, mostly due to hormones taking control of your life.

Yes, all true. But honestly, those tidbits don’t really give me any perspective on how to actually handle life with an infant. So, my friends, I am here to tell you the seven things I’ve learned in the first seven months of motherhood. Real, practical, you-need-to-know ahead of time things. Or maybe you’re too late and you’ve been there, done this, but still, read this. You’ll laugh.

1.     Some babies sleep. Some don’t. Some sleep at night. Some sleep during the day. And some do a little of both. Don’t believe them when they tell you that newborns sleep all the time. Some don’t. And please, don’t make plans for your post-baby life that rely, or really hinge at all, on the fact that newborns nap. If they do, kudos. If they don’t, well, the whole work-while-they-nap thing goes straight out the window. And if someone ever says to you, “Aren’t the newborn days of sleepy scrunchy babies just the best?!”, kick them. And then ask them to babysit. In conjunction with this life-changing realization I had for myself when Joey was 6 weeks old, I also realized that my no-napping baby was a prime example of a baby that sleeps through the night. Take your wins where you can get them. Mine was nighttime. Yours might be afternoon naps. But seriously, sleep train and don’t make plans that rely at all on sleep. Period.

2.     Hormones do take over. But they don’t have to. There is help out there. And honestly, I’m really going to say, out loud, this next part: there will be moments of utter and complete and enraging sadness. Moments when you ask your mom, “Did we make a mistake having a baby right now?” And then bawl so hard because you’re so hungry and your clothes still don’t fit. Literally. I had a total meltdown one afternoon because no one told me that I still wasn’t going to be able to wear my favorite clothes, not because they didn’t fit, but because BREASTFEEDING. Sorry, still no sundresses with sleeves or anything you can’t pop your boob out of in less than 5 seconds. Nevermind sleeping on your belly. Pregnant? Sorry, no belly sleeping. Boobs full of milk? Sorry, still can’t belly sleep. Ok, rant over. But really. Sadness is a thing and it’s ok. But don’t deal with it alone. Be honest with your spouse about how you’re feeling. Yes, they will think you are being ridiculous, but it doesn’t change how you’re feeling. See your doctor. Be honest with them. There are ways to cope. Most importantly, if someone asks how you’re feeling, don’t say, “Great!” Say, “Just ok. Hormones are no joke and I’m learning how to deal.” Most likely, it will open up a conversation that will lead to great things.

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3.     Good baby gear. Worth it. You can see my post on Joey’s favorite things here, but in short, get the good stuff if you can. I’m talking things like car seat, stroller, bouncer, carrier and swing. So worth it. They don’t break, they keep your baby in the perfect positions which makes them happier, and will most likely last until the next two or three babies grow out of them. Just sayin’. Speaking of good baby gear, let’s talk working out. I’m convinced that God’s greatest gift to women is baby wearing gear. Get one, really doesn’t matter which, and wear those babies while you do EVERYTHING. Including working out. Squats and tricep dips and rows and lunges and backpeddling. Get with it, wear that baby, and get your body back. Pronto. You’ll feel like a badass afterwards, and it’s really fun to tell your husband that you can do more squats than him, even with a baby strapped on you. Word.

4.     What babies cost. Ok, I looked, and there really isn’t a good “baby budget” worksheet out there that I can find. If you find one, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be making one soon as a free download y’all can have. The world needs it. But anywho, what they cost. Plan ahead. The first few months, honestly, isn’t too bad. Mostly because you, and the baby, won’t be doing much other than trying to figure out how to breastfeed, sleep and shower. And I’m not exaggerating. But after that, when their diapers get a little bigger, their clothes a little longer and their appetites a lot larger, the cost goes up. Add in daycare, extraneous medical bills (that we are still getting from the hospital, 6 months later), and the fact that you want to literally buy everything that your baby will fit into, you’ve got yourself a little extra mullah going out. Just prepare, is all I’m saying. Oh, also, moms, those first few breastfeeding months, you’re going to be SO FREAKING HUNGRY. Your grocery bill might be a little out of control there for a bit. Just go with it. It stops.

5.     Ok, now to some of the good stuff. The stage where they sit up but don’t crawl is the freaking best. I’m talking like right at six months, give or take depending on your baby (also, baby-accomplishment envy is a total thing. Sammy, I’m looking at you, you little scooting 7-month old). Sitting cross-legged on the floor and playing with literally anything (water bottle, report control, dad’s notebook) is the most invigorating and relaxing thing you’ll ever do. Pure joy, pure satisfaction, pure bliss. Floor. Baby. Blanket. Happy. The end.

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6.     Let’s talk dinner dates, plans with friends and the such. Ok, for the first few months, my suggestion is to take that baby to everything. Make plans. Go out. Visit friends. Have the steak dinner. They may or may not sleep through it. If they don’t, I promise there is someone that will help you. In our case, our favorite restaurant also happens to belong to a friend of ours, and she just walked around with Joey while we ate our food. Or if you’re at party, people love to hold babies. And feed them. And rock them. Let them. They make baby noise-cancelling head phones. Use them. Go to your church that is too loud. Go to Sunday brunch after. Honestly, you can still be so freaking social. Just make sure to have your diaper bag and maybe a pac-and-play in the back of the car. We’ve set that thing up in the most random places. Seriously though, go anywhere you want. In our experience, that whole “spontaneity is dead” thing didn’t exist. We just took Joey with us.

7.     You are allowed to leave. As in, leave the baby with Dad or Grandma or Auntie. And go. Joey was four months old when I left for 3 days to go with friends to Napa. Him and Adam were GREAT. Before this adventure, Adam and I had a multitude of date nights, a say-cation or two and a day trip while Grammy and Papa took the reins. It’s healthy for you, and the baby, to have some time with other people. The baby will do so much better than you think they will, and so will you. Happy mom, happy baby. And visa versa.

So, seven in seven. Which, coincidentally, is what I’m drinking tonight. We’ve officially made it into the second half of Joey’s first year. It’s been the hardest, fastest, longest, most grueling and the most exciting year of my life. It’s not a walk in the park, but it’s definitely not a sprint either. If you can stroll, smell the puke covered roses, and then skip and hop and then maybe run backwards a bit, but then remember that if you walk too fast, you’ll miss it. Your arms will be buff from lifting the car seat, sleep will have a new role in your life, and you and your spouse might spat (ok, probably but that’s the hormones talking, remember?).

I’m so excited to see where the next half of this year is going to take us. Honestly, you feel kind of under water for the first little bit. At least we did. But now, a measly few months down the line, we are swimming smoothly through the current. And by swimming, I mean playing in the dog hair on the floor while we marvel at Joey’s ability to roll over, yet again. It’s the best.

Nicole & Co. | A Rising Story

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Let’s be real about this.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a past. Everyone has a struggle, a strife, an inspirational experience that is worth sharing.

Everyone has risen up from the rubble.

Not too long ago, I realized that some people fall well, and some people rise well. Some of us prefer to find motivation while we are falling. Like the saying, “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds wings on the way down.” Or, on the contrary, some of us (like myself) fall off of said cliff, hit the dirt, and then decide to build a barrier so it doesn’t happen to someone else.

I am not quick witted. I am not really very funny. In fact, my husband would “quick wittedly” tell you that I am actually kind of non-observant and aloof. It takes me a long time to understand jokes, and I often Google things that were talked about over dinner later in the car on the way home. This makes it somewhat hard to “fall well.” I am not nearly quick enough to think about how to save myself from falling. With that said, I coincidentally tend to fall hard. I easily get caught up in the moment, and things tend to hit me all at once. My body likes to get sick when I have been working too hard; I get anxiety attacks more than I’d like to admit; crying is part of the most-everyday routine. I have been told that I feel too much, or that I’m oversensitive. This all may be true, but I like to consider this instead : I just don’t fall well.

Face down in the dirt is not my favorite place. Not that I think it’s anyone’s “favorite” place, but I really, really, really despise it. When I’m down, I almost always just break down. I cry, I kick and scream (or in mommy terms, I throw a tantrum), I reach blindly for help up, and worst of all, I am just straight up pissed off that I got my clothes dirty.

Most of all, I hate the feeling that I know I will be there soon. I can recognize when I’m falling almost immediately. And instead of trying to figure out how to stop falling, I always, always start thinking about how to get up.

I fall hard. But here’s the thing : I rise really well.

I am a strategic risk taker. I don’t mind falling if I have a plan to get back up.

Example : once (okay, wayyy more than once), I was riding a young horse who I knew was eventually going to buck. It’s usually on cold, foggy mornings after a few weeks of time off, and he’s fresh and giddy and has some energy he needs to burn. When I feel this horse hump up, I ALWAYS look for the safest place to land. The muddy puddle is usually a safe bet, soft landing and he probably won’t run over me. I strategically don’t go uphill, as I know downhill means speed which means energy which in turn, usually means bucking. You get my gist. I know I’m going to fall and instead of preventing the fall, I’m just working on how to get back up.

I do this all the time. With everything. A lot of it probably has to do with experience. A lot has happened in these last 28 years.

Which leads me to this. So many stories are told about the fall. Most of the story time is taken up with blind anticipation of an exciting incident. It’s funny how little time it takes to fall, but how much time is spent talking about it. It’s even more peculiar how it takes so much time to rise up, but so little time is spent talking about that part.

It’s time to tell my rising story.

Sure, I’ll have to spend some time on the fall, but that’s not the helpful part.

Experiences teach you things. But more importantly, what you do with those experiences MAKES you who you are. You can choose how to react to situations, and you can learn from your own, and from others’.

If you’re one that falls well but has trouble rising, I’d like to help. If you’re one that falls badly but rises well, well, call me. We should drink wine together.

So what does this mean? Ya, I’ve totally rambled on for way too long. There’s a point, I promise. Well, a few points, actually.

  • This year, I’m proud to announce that I will be writing and publishing my first book. It will be the first glimpse into my rising strong story (thanks, Brene Brown – you have officially coined the coolest term ever). My goal is to have it written by early fall and in the publishing spectrum before the end of the year.
  • But further than that, I am launching a lifestyle brand. This business will be focused on helping others rise – in life, in business, in God, on purpose. Nicole & Co. will be socially focused, reaching an audience through blogs, social media platforms and speaking engagements.
  • Finally, Nicole & Co. will be spending much more time on sharing what I know. Be looking for a fun little online shop, casual and quirky Insta stories and blog posts, behind-the-scenes of my days and oh-so-many collaborations with my favorite people.  

I hope you’ll follow along, share and engage with me. My goal is to be a small part of your life, and for you to be a big part of mine.

More details to follow. Rise well, my friends.

“And in the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus.”