Reasons Why I Love Sunday

Sundays. You either love them or you hate them. They’re the wind down from the weekend and the amp up for the work week. For some Sunday is filled with dread of the week ahead but I have grown to love Sunday.  In between all the chaos of every day life, the chores and the commitments, the errands and the expectations,  Sunday becomes the perfect opportunity for unstructured family time.

Up with the sun and the birds, our Sundays usually begin before 7 A.M. With puppy’s head on my pillow and his feet in my darling husband’s face, I wake up and instantly know I’m where I’m meant to be. It’s those few moments in the morning that often become the most cherished moments of my day.

Reason #1 why I love Sunday: Waking up at home with my family. 

Although Sunday is a day for unstructured family time, it has also become a day of tradition. Since the early days of our relationship, Dave and I have loved treating ourselves to breakfast on a Sunday morning. There’s something about someone else making your breakfast and cleaning up the dishes that becomes the perfect way to start your day. Once we’ve sipped our final cup of bottomless coffee, we scurry home to grab the pooch and make our way to our next traditional Sunday spot.

By 9 a.m. on a Sunday you’ll find Dave and I walking the trails at our favourite park. A park my parents first introduced me to as a child when we used to spend our Sunday mornings together. I thank my parents for instilling my love of nature and zest for adventure. My deep rooted love of exploring is something I’ve been able to thankfully rub off on Davey.

“You know, when I used to think about what life would be like one day when I was a kid, I never thought I’d be walking trails with my pregnant wife and 10 pound dog in the early Sunday mornings. But I love this.

Reason #2 why I love Sunday: Living tradition. 

dAAVE AND LOUIE

Our mornings at the park allow Dave and I time to talk without our screens or gadgets. It’s an opportunity for us to reconnect with one another, listen to one another and truly hear one another. It’s also an opportunity to embrace our silly puppy in all his spunky glory.

Reason #3 why I love Sunday: Creating time for love and laughter. 

Louie - Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sundays belong to our family – our new, little and growing family, and our larger, love with all our hearts, made us who we are today family. It’s about creating meaningful moments that will get us through the sometimes difficult week we have waiting ahead.

Reason #4 why I love Sunday: Spending quality time with family. 

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Sundays are for relaxing and feeding our hobbies. It’s a day for me to plan my weekly entries for my blog, for Dave to rule the world (an Civilization players out there?) and for us to get in some snuggles. A day to be mindful and grateful about the blessings we have in our life.

Reason #5 why I love Sunday: Cuddling my sleepy pup (thanks to the big morning at the park). 

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Its a day for me to binge-watch my favourite teeny-bopper TV shows – currently hooked on Pretty Little Liars, cover our bed with clean sheets and fill our fridge with home made nutritious meals for the busy week ahead.

Sunday is about calming my mind and healing my soul.  Before I learned to go-with-the-flow of a Sunday, I also used to dread them by overwhelming myself with chores, errands and to-do’s. By focusing my time and attention on the important things in my intimidate world, I’ve been able to find balance between creating memories and managing our home.

This morning is Monday and I started my day but spilling an entire blender full of the banana chocolate peanut butter smoothie I had been craving on the kitchen floor. Remember my cute and spunky pooch? Well he got a stain on our brand new couch. And my husband was unable to zip me into my favourite dress.

Thank goodness for Sunday.

 

What do your Sundays look like?

 

 

 

 

The Results Are In…

Dave and I are overjoyed to share that our sweet little Pork Chop has officially been cleared of all genetic/chromosomal conditions!!!!!!

Of all the times I’d love a drink to celebrate, this is it but instead, we’re going to treat ourselves to a round of ice cream!

There are no words to express the relief and happiness (happy is an understatement) we feel right now, which is probably why I’m sitting here blubbering away as I write this.

It’s always so much easier to be positive on the flip side of things, but faith, love and kindness from others kept us strong. If you’re currently going through a shitty situation, we pray you can find some light in your darkness.

Peace & love,

Annie and Davey

Breast to Work

Empowering Woman: Tineke

It took me quite a while to get breastfeeding well established and to really start enjoying it. In the first months it was quite difficult (understatement..), not only painful (don´t get me started on cracked nipples or mastitis) but also the pressure of an underweight baby who needed to eat very often (and took his sweet time meaning you were basically only having 1 hour breaks in between feeding sessions) and not knowing how much milk you actually have and whether he was eating enough. By now I can say I loved breastfeeding but it took quite some tears and screams to get there.

So when my 16 weeks of maternity leave were over I definitely wanted to continue breastfeeding for a little longer. I guess my situation was quiet luxurious in the sense that I work 4 days a week of which 2 from home. So the 2 days from home were easy to cover: until midday when my partner was taking care of Lucas at home I would plan my breaks from work around feeding Bottletimes and in the afternoon when he was with his grandparents I had to extract milk once and then the evening session was live with mommy again. However, the days that I did go into the office were much more complicated. I have a very long commute to my office (2,5hours) so I would leave the house a little before 7am and come back only after 8pm. In the beginning I still did a morning feeding around 6am but once Lucas got a better sleep rhythm he wouldn´t wake up before 7 / 7.30am anymore meaning that I was not home for any of his feedings. Then my challenge was where and when to extract in the office or even on my way to the office.

When you have a baby, sleep is not a commodity anymore so there were some trade-offs involved. This basically meant that I could choose between getting up 20 minutes earlier to extract milk or leaving my first pumping session for the commute… Yep, sleep is scarce so I chose the second option. So I would extract milk in the train under a huge scarf hoping and praying that the passenger sitting next to me would keep sleeping (advantage of the early morning train!) or working and at least not notice that something was moving under that scarf.

Then the next challenge came with the fact that in my office there was no nursing place. Our “office” is basically a little village with over 10k employees divided over different buildings and we have loads of convenient services in the village (gym, childcare, pharmacy, doctor, dentist, optic, travel agency, supermarket, Starbucks, hairdresser, and the list goes on) but no nursing room to Pumpbe found. So that left me with the option of the toilet (which was very cold because of no heating system, and let´s not get into the background noise) or booking a meeting room. The inconvenient part of meeting rooms is that most have windows so there were only a few I could work with. I would try to book these meeting rooms that had no windows or at least windows at strategic locations so I could set-up my “extraction station” with a barrier on the table from my bag, laptop and my notebook standing up open so that if somebody would come in, not too much would be visible. After a few months with the combination of toilet and meeting rooms, I finally found out that the reception had a closed printing room behind them and although it had no chairs I did use that option for the last weeks of breastfeeding. On the commute back home at night I would repeat the scarf trick.

All of this involved quite some logistics, not only the choice of scarf but also to bring your small cooler bag, make sure you put it in the fridge as soon as you arrive, don´t forget it in the fridge when you leave, getting the milk from the toilet / meeting room to the cooler bag in the fridge without everybody noticing what you´re doing and most importantly, keeping that cooler bag stable in your backpack on the commute back home. I did come home one night noticing a lot of little white spots on my black boots, yep, one of the bottles with extracted milk had opened and spread through my backpack…. The worst part was that my immediate thought was not “uh oh my laptop” but “noooo, after all the effort 250ml down the drain…”.

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Another challenge is when to pump. When I had relatively ok days with some meetings here and there I would just block my calendar every 3 hours for 30min but when you have full-day workshops or team meetings it gets a bit more complicated because obviously the breaks there are never on convenient times for your pumping schedule. So I would sneak out a few times a day with my grey Medela bag. (Also in Spain you never know when a break will actually happen, because hey who needs an agenda or if there is one why stick to it, so of course I would often go out in the middle of a discussion and 2 minutes after I came back they would break..)

After 4 months of this, when I had some business trips coming up and when Lucas had started eating solid food and therefore only has 2 milk feedings left I decided it was enough, but it definitely has been an interesting experience! The downside of stopping with breastfeeding is that it gets a bit depressing to look at your “new” breasts in the mirror (You would almost understand why in Spain they tend to keep breastfeeding for years!). Also I am already a bit nervous for Lucas´ next monthly check-up and the speech that I am going to get from the breastfeeding-taliban-nurse, but that´s a whole other story!

Photo credit Medela: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/dharder9475/23919221670/”>dharder9475</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>

 Photo credit extracting in office: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/118317846/”>cafemama</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

About Tineke

Tineke I am Tineke, a Dutchie living in Spain, happily not-married to César and mommy of Lucas. Before becoming a mom I always thought I was busy, however since we have Lucas the term “busy” got a whole new definition! Trying to juggle two demanding jobs, a busy social life while squeezing in some sports, keeping the house somewhat liveable, pursuing both of our entrepreneurial ambitions ánd having sufficient family time makes me wonder how I ever thought we were busy. And all of that in a country which is not my home country and therefore causes quite some cultural clashes in this whole motherhood thingy.

 Want to read more about my adventures as a working mommy abroad?

Workingmommyabroad.wordpress.com

Instagram: @workingmommyabroad

Twitter: @tinekefr

 

Things I Will Never Do for My Kids

Empowering Woman: Fran

Before I became a parent, I had certain ideas of what kind of a mother I wanted to be. Those ideas were fairly vague initially, but nonetheless I had a list as long as my arm of things that I knew I would NEVER do. I wasn’t going to be THAT mum. I wasn’t going to be a slave to my kids. Nope. Not me. There was going to be rules and those rules would be followed. So here are some of those things that were on my list of things I wouldn’t do.

  • Give in to their begging for sweets. Not going to happen. I will not be blackmailed by a 3 foot Tyrant! Cry all you want. You think you’re persistent? Guess whom you got that from! That’s right!
  • Follow you around the house bowl and spoon in hand trying to feed you. If you are hungry, you’ll eat sitting down at the table like a normal person! Else, you go hungry.
  • Get drawn into your fashion allures and the whole circus around it. You are 3 years old. You will bloody well wear what I picked out for you!
  • Co-Sleeping. What do you think I bought that cot for? That’s where you will sleep. That’s what the book says.
  • Cook more than one dinner. Are you high? You will eat what everyone else is eating. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?
  • Molly-coddle you past the age of, let’s say, 5? That’s the cut off. After that I have expectations of self-sufficiency. Maybe you could get yourself a part-time job or something.

…..and then I had kids.

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And that’s when everything changed. My world was turned upside down. Theory met reality. The more kids came along, the more the rules went out the window. The more I started free styling. Partly by choice. Partly by necessity. Did I say I wasn’t going to give into your begging? Go on. Just say “Pleeeeeeeeeeease” again with the cute face and that big smile of yours. I know you are trying so hard to win me over. You know how to play me and you know you have me wrapped around your little finger. I guess in the perseverance competition you win hands down.

And yes, I have run after my baby, bowl and spoon in hand, when he just refused to sit in his high chair. We all know that food equals sleep. The more he eats the longer he will sleep. At least in theory. So Mother will do what she needs to do to get that food into him.

Baby – 1

Mama – 0.

Fashion allures? Well, unless it has Minions, Batman or Turtles on it, the boy child won’t wear it. He has his own ideas of what he likes and how he wants to look. I have tried to be persistent and enforce that what I say goes, but another very important lesson in the parenting game is “Pick your battles”. I am not going to get upset (again) or upset the child over a silly T-shirt. Today he has chosen to wear all 3 of them. Batman, Minions and Turtles. Who am I to argue with that.

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Co-Sleeping. When I started co-sleeping with my eldest child, I explained to him, that he needed to sleep by himself like a big boy. His reply to me was “But, Mama, you don’t sleep alone!” Good point, and so well made. That got me thinking. No-one likes sleeping alone. We have co-slept with all of our children. By choice. Then choice became habit. While there are days where I wish we had our bed to ourselves and that one of us wouldn’t always end up in the spare room or on the floor, I know this is for a short time…..relatively short time. I mean it’s been 5 years give or take. But this isn’t going to last forever and I know that the kids sleep peacefully and happy and will (hopefully) grow up to feel secure and loved and close to both parents.

I’ve been cooking more than one dinner for the best part of my parenting tenure. I have had two very fussy eaters and I have tried the approach of “You’ll eat what everyone is eating” and failed. I chose the easy way out because (see above), you have to pick your battles. Now one of the fussy eaters is nearly 5. I can reason with her. I can tell her about food and the importance of eating her vegetables and coax her by telling her about the poor children in Africa. She gets that now and we are on the way to one meal for the whole family. (Can I get a whoop whoop please!)

I mollycoddle all of my kids. Mum-turned-Slave will do everything a lot for them. I will stand outside the shower, holding the towel for my 9-year-old. I will make sure his hair is brushed and that he changes his socks. I will clean up after all my kids and do their jobs for them. I know. Sometimes it’s just easier. Sometimes I get a fit of “This is it!” and “Things are going to change around here!”… Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll start putting my foot down.

Note to self:

1625748_10152050181536704_320173756_nMaybe the things all critics and I think of as parenting mistakes aren’t really ‘mistakes’. Maybe they are a chance to learn to trust ourselves, to trust our instincts and to do what we feel is right at any particular point in time and enjoy riding the waves of parenting. Without the need to constantly second guess ourselves. Everything we do, we do by choice. It is OK to back down from the society-imposed or self-imposed parenting expectations because we know what is best for us, for our family and our children. No-one else knows what we know. No-one else knows our children like we do. No-one else is walking in our shoes. All that matters is that we care about our children and that is why we walk the extra mile bent over backwards to make sure we give them all they need…..and much, much more.

What are the things you said you would never do and have done when you became a parent?

 About Queen of My Castle: 

I am a thirty-something parent and lifestyle blogger passionate about parenting (fueled by wine & coffee), art, DIY and interior design. I’ve four children aged 1, 3, 5 and 9. Recently having gone through a career transition from Customer Service Manager in a multinational company to family manager, I am looking for a new sense of presence, possibility, and creativity. I am the “Queen of my Castle” riding the waves of parenting and I write about stuff that stirs our motherly souls while trying to survive life that’s never boring (or relaxing for that matter), with 4 kids running circles around me. Embrace yourself for tales of toddlers, tantrums & triumphs as well as the joys and frustrations of parenting.

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Twitter: @queenofmycastl1

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An Odd, Yet Truly Heartfelt Letter to Baby Gap

Dear Baby Gap,

This thank you letter is probably unlike one you’ve ever received before. It has nothing to do with your staff or your customer service. It has nothing to do with the pleasant shopping experience I had darting around your online store. It does however, have everything to do with the joy a recent purchase brought me.

For the last seven weeks my husband and I have been going through the ups and downs of genetic testing. We are expecting our first child, and the wonderful pregnant glow that most women get to enjoy has been ripped from beneath my feet. With so many unknowns about our beautiful little baby, we’ve feared becoming “too” excited.

Last week I couldn’t resist splurging on adorable items at your store. I made my purchase with both giddiness and hesitation. In the week that followed my purchase, we continued to wait for our baby’s results. Today, we are still waiting.

Yesterday was one of the harder days for me. After a chat with our hospital, we were advised we could have another week and a half of waiting. Another week and a half of torment. Another week and a half of wondering if our little baby will be healthy. Then my husband walked in with a package.

Tearing it open, the contents inside brought immediate tears to my eyes. I envisioned my child, healthy and happy as can be, with their tiny little bum in your tiny little pants. I imagined the fall, with my child sitting plump in a pile of leaves, transformed into a little cub while sporting your adorable bear hat. For a moment, my spirits were lifted and I had, what I imagine, is the feeling of excitement most women have while experiencing a healthy pregnancy.

So here’s an odd yet fully heartfelt thank you, Baby Gap. Your clothing gave me hope. It gave me excitement. It put my husband and I back on cloud nine. You delivered exactly when we needed it, in a moment of weakness and tears. And we couldn’t be more grateful.

Anneliese

Managing Guilt as a Working Mom

Empowering Woman: Ana

As a working mom I feel like there is always this guilt of leaving your baby to go to work.  As much as you might love your job, there is no love like the one for your son/daughter. While I was on maternity leave I honestly couldn’t wait to get back to work and my “normal” life.  I thought I wouldn’t miss my daughter that much, after all my mom was the one that would be babysitting.  Boy was I wrong!

The first couple of weeks after I returned to work were great! I felt like the “old me”. I missed my daughter but I knew she was in good hands at home with my mom.  I received a few pictures and videos throughout the day and I was fine.  Fast forward to 3 weeks after maternity leave and one day it just hit me out of nowhere.  I missed my daughter so much, I felt so guilty and nearly wanted to cry.  I just wanted to go home to her and hug her and kiss her.  But I couldn’t, because you know, I had to be an adult.  Ever since that day I have this constant guilt that I am not sure it will ever go away. Every time I leave to work, I know I do it to keep sane, but also because I want to provide a better life for my daughter.  It is a crazy concept.

Like I said before, I am blessed that my mom is able to care for my daughter.  There really is nobody else I would trust. In the beginning I remember having to tell my mom how Cami liked being held, how she liked being rocked to sleep, her schedule, etc… But now, she is the one that has to tell me how to be with my daughter. It breaks my heart. It is only natural tho, Cami spends most of her time at grandma’s. When she gets home its play time, nap time, bath time and her night time routine to get to bed.  My time with Cami is so limited. So even on days when I get to workout, ugh, it is hard! I feel like such a bad mom or even selfish for taking time away from her.

So there is this love/hate battle I have within me about loving and hating how much Cami loves spending time with grandma.  Sometimes feeling like I am not enough.  What if she doesn’t realize that I am her mother?  What if she thinks that my mom is her mom? Does she feel more comfort in my mom’s arms? Man, am I the only one that feels this way? Am I bad daughter for feeling this way? I don’t know. I would so love to be able to stay home with Cami every day and not have to worry about leaving her, or wonder if she knows who I am.  But that is just not possible for our family at the moment.  Although, I was able to move my work schedule around and reduce the amount of hours I work, I feel like it is just not enough.

Then there is the issue about how my husband and I want to raise her vs. how my parents would want to do things.  Obviously, they are the grandparents so they want to spoil her. So having to tell my parents to not do this or that, or do things a certain way is not the most pleasant thing. They have more experience at parenting than us, yes, but Cami is ours and sometimes having different parenting styles can be difficult. Having to say “no” to mom and dad is hard, especially when she is spending most of her time with them. However, I know my parents try, for the most part, to do things the way we ask, and it is so appreciated.

 

I realize that all these feelings I have may be normal.  I just never expected to feel this way. Deep down I know Cami knows I am her mother and loves me. She is just  growing so fast and I just hope to be able to experience all her firsts. I am very grateful to have such a loving and caring family that support us in every way possible, and that Cami will grow surrounded by so much love!

About Ana: 

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Hi there! My name is Ana, I am a 26 year old first time mama to a baby girl.  In my blog, The Blushing Mama, I talk about my experiences as a first time working mama, as well as health and fitness.  I love my job as a Paralegal, but most of all I love being a mama! In my down time I love spending time with my family discovering new places, working out and hey why not, catching up on some Netflix. The Blushing Mama is dedicated to my fellow mamas and women in hopes of creating a positive space to support and encourage each other in this crazy amazing life.

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