Filtering by Tag: life
I started writing for Cherish almost two years ago and the experience has evolved for me in so many ways. First, I was grateful to have a place to share the many ideas I thought about and talked about with my husband, other Moms, and family members.
The process wasn’t easy at first, even though I had many ideas to write about. Once I sat down to write them, I often found it very hard to get my point across or make the time to do so when I wasn’t exhausted. The biggest chunk of time I used to have was at the end of the night and usually the only profound or creative thing that comes to mind then, is finding that perfect meme on Instagram to tag a friend.
Writing for me has been eye-opening. It has forced me to come forward with ideas that I was really shy about sharing. It makes me feel stronger. I established a process, beginning with ideas, then turning them into bullet points, then sentences and editing a few times, writing got easier. I got more confident. Of course all of your support has been so helpful and has not gone unnoticed or under appreciated. It motivates me to try harder, to write more, and to deliver useful information.
I was inspired to do this because I felt that there were topics I was passionate about that weren’t discussed on parenting blogs in ways I could relate. I would either find super preachy posts, or overly whiny ones, neither of which were helpful to me. Motherhood is hard and I wanted a safe shared space where that was represented truthfully.
The writing process for me has been a leap of faith. Honestly, I am scared to death before many posts go live, wondering, “What will my Grandmother think of this one?” Or did I offend someone accidentally? I have learned to let go of most of these worries and embrace the fact that sharing my experiences with parenting is an awesome way for me to preserve my memories, especially the life changing milestones.
These days, I often take Blake to preschool and once or twice a week come home and write a blog post. I try to do this early in the morning with a good cup of tea, music blasting and my snorting dog at my feet. I feel so accomplished when I get a few of these things done.
The most rewarding part is when I hear someone got something out of my posts. It makes me feel like my efforts are worthwhile and that I am not alone in my thoughts or my situation.
If you had asked me a few years ago (before I had Blake) if I would be doing something like this, honestly, I would have answered no. Writing has turned out to be so therapeutic and inspiring. It’s made me read more because I want to improve and learn more. It’s also made me appreciate literature immensely and in ways I never did before, even in college.
Earlier this year I took my craft one step further and enrolled in a fabulous writing class in San Francisco, Blog Writing 1. It was like going back to college but for something you are totally interested in. Also, paying my own way made me take it seriously and show up in a way I never did in school. It has been the best part of my year - learning techniques, tips, and tricks to help make it all easier and more fun. There is something that really connects you to people when you share your writing. It’s one of our greatest forms of vulnerability and being able to do that in a room full of strangers has been such a cool thing. I have been able to spark more ideas, work hard on developing posts that would have just been okay, and embrace where I have room for improvement.
I am completely honest with myself that I am no Kerouac. I have a long road to travel, but I am taking the baby steps that are necessary to get there. For now, it feels so wonderful to be self-indulgent and do something just for me for a little while. You lose sense of that when you become a new mother and getting back into something, especially if it is a form of work, is the most gratifying feeling.
So if you are contemplating getting into something new, do it. You might just surprise yourself with where an unexpected hobby can lead.
When I envision the childhood I want for my daughter, it includes things that I didn’t do in mine, like camping. I grew up in Orange County, near the beach. Our vacations were mostly to Colorado to ski every winter. Camping was the last thing my Mom wanted to do.
Now that I have a child, sleeping in the great outdoors seems like the perfect family activity and I’ve been thinking about it more than I care to admit. I picture us all around a campfire roasting hot dogs, telling funny stories, wearing Patagonia fleece jackets and Ugg boots. I guess it needs to be cold which leads me to another point, I don’t even know where to go. I also don’t even like hot dogs, but the visual I have in my head includes them so I’m going with it.
A few months ago I was getting my bridesmaid dress altered for my best friend’s wedding. My seamstress is a wise Great Grandmother and further sparked my interest for tackling this family tradition. She said in her family, they camped all the time with her kids and even go now with their grandchildren. She spoke of it with the same fondness that my husband and I do of our trips to Paris pre-babe.
A Grandfather, who was also there getting some pants taken in, shouted from the dressing room, “Take her camping! For our family, it was the glue that stuck us together.”
Now that really stuck with me (pardon the pun). Often times, I receive (and dismiss) unwarranted parenting advice from strangers, but I try to heed the wisdom from elders, especially when it’s a good nugget like this that’s straight from the heart. I actually wrote this quote down right then in my phone and look at it to further motivate me to pull the camping trigger.
Here’s the thing: I know nothing about how to camp. I don’t even know where to start, except I know I need a tent and a sleeping bag and a flashlight and some hot dogs. Beyond that, I’m lost.
Last summer, my family took a road trip to Southern California to visit my Mom and stopped at this great place, El Capitan Canyon. Although I hate the term, we glamped for one night and it was so much fun. We stayed in a little yurt that had beds and electricity. My daughter loved it, especially making her own s’mores and waking up under the trees. They have a nice pool and play structure for kids and little log cabins to stay in, if fabric for walls isn’t your thing. It’s a great in between place to stop if you are driving from San Francisco to Orange County and also an awesome gateway camping excursion. Next time I want to stay for a couple more days to let sleeping in nature soak in and get a fuller experience.
I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as you go for it, right? What I have realized about parenting, is that adventure and taking that leap is what creates good memories and often that’s what kids cherish the most.
Do you have any new parenting goals for this spring that you would like to share? Tell us in the comments below!
People often comment on my daughter’s appearance. “Her bow is so adorable!” And, “I love her glasses!” Or, “what a great smile!”
If only these sweet-intentioned people knew about a different side of my daughter that I've come to call her 'Dr. Evil' side.
The other morning we were all cuddled up in bed. My French bulldog, Gustave, was next to us, doing his usual snorts and grunts. My husband was joking that he wanted to ship the dog off somewhere, (at seven-years-old, he’s still not house trained).
Laughing, my daughter mimics my husband’s sentiments, “Goosie, you are going away!”
I stopped her and said, “Hey, he can hear you and understands what you are saying.”
Her sweet little face then leans in, holds his giant ear close, and whispers,
“We are going to get rid of you”, followed by the most evil laugh I’ve ever heard come out of her.
Needless to say, I was caught off guard by my usually compassionate daughter being capable of such a scene!
What I realize is that maybe I don’t give my daughter enough credit. Sure, she looks really sweet and innocent but if I’m honest, sometimes I feel like she has a little maleficent inside of her.
My child often shocks me, and at times it breaks my heart. Her rudeness can surprise me, and it’s hard not to take it personally. All I do is love this little human with everything I have, then if I won’t let her have chocolate chips at 7am, she tells me she “Doesn’t care about me.” It’s rough.
This comes with the rest of the things that parents don’t usually share the extremes of before you become one yourself. The endless lack of sleep, the food challenges, all the “phases”, the potty training, on and on. Maybe it’s like childbirth; and as you get older, you forget the pain that your young toddler slashes you with, and you just focus on the who they are in the present moment.
All I can do for now is handle her random outbursts and Dr. Evil-like comments as they arise and document these little wicked strokes for pure entertainment, (and blackmail when she hits her teens).
Have you found a slightly malicious side of your little one? Please do share!
Weaving wreaths is a creative, intentional way to bring the wilds of the outside to your home. Whether it’s to hang on your front door, above the mantle or maybe in your washroom (it’s your world, do as you please), your base-form dictates the wreath’s overall look. A double or quadruple wire frame will support lush, full materials similar to the holly, spruce and cedar composition. A single wire frame, such as the minimalist circle with Tillandsia and succulent, will be airier. Building on the texture of a dried grapevine base makes for the most rustic interpretation, similar to the mixed-evergreen piece. Scout evergreens, bare branches, shrubs, and natural curiosities like feathers, stones and mushrooms that you’d like to weave into your wreath. You’ll need a few other supplies, which you can find at your local craft store, flower market or Amazon.
26-gauge paddle wire
28-gauge straight wire
Let’s talk through how you would make a wreath similar to the holly, spruce and cedar number for a modern take on a classic winter look.
1. To cover your base form, begin by stacking a mix of two or three ingredients in your hand, trim the stems, and start wiring by wrapping paddle wire around the cut end of the packet. I tend to wrap in threes to help keep a firm hold. Repeat until you have enough packets to cover your base.
2. Begin layering from the upper left of the frame. Lay and hold the first packet against the frame using your left hand. Using your right hand, wrap your paddle wire, (currently connected to your first packet), behind and around the frame three times– making sure you’re keeping the wire taut as you go. Do not cut the wire!
**If you’re left-handed, start from the upper right.
3. Place the next packet in position so the top of packet #2 covers the bottom of packet #1. Continue layering and wrapping with your wire, moving your way down and around the frame as you go. Do not. Cut. The wire!
4. When you’ve completed your base layer, give yourself at six-inches length of paddle wire and, ok, now cut the wire. Finish the loose end by wrapping and tucking until it’s secure and hidden.
5. Tuck in the gestural, natural bits (showy leaves, feathers, seedpods) by nestling them into the base layer’s wire wrapping, or some of the thicker greenery. You can further secure these pieces by threading in straight wire, twisting and tucking the en ds into the back of your wreath.
6. Hang your wreath, step back, and reflect on just how damn crafty you really are.
One of the hardest things about being pregnant with your first baby is not being able to anticipate what will happen during birth, especially if the only references you have come from Hollywood. I saw Katherine Heigl give birth in Knocked Up, it looked pretty painful but it was over really fast - I could handle that, right? It’s also a weird phenomenon that when other parents find out that you are pregnant, they want to tell you their birth story. When I was pregnant, I remember complete strangers felt compelled to share their experiences with me at the most random times; for example, as I was purchasing paint for our nursery at Home Depot.
As I approached my due date, however, I began asking a few close friends about the story of their first births, in an attempt to accurately predict how mine could go (even though I now know what an asinine theory that is).
From the stories I heard, I gathered a handful of expectations, including the following:
The epidural would hurt a lot.
I would have to wear large adult diapers afterwards.
I could simply look at the clock while in labor and set a goal for pushing the baby out, and it would work.
True story - these are things I actually thought would happen. Except, none of them actually did happen. The epidural didn’t hurt at all. Because I had a C-Section, I have yet to wear large adult diapers (maybe someday!). From start to finish, the process took hours, and when I was finally able to hold my baby in my arms had nothing to do with the deadlines I had naively set for myself.
Once we’ve been through the act of giving birth ourselves, we gain a lot of valuable information, and it’s natural to want to share our birth story and advice with others. But, besides recognizing that until someone asks for it, they might not be ready to hear your birth story, it’s also important to remember that no two births are exactly alike. By all means, share your birth story with those who ask, but make sure they understand that it’s just one possible process, and the reality will probably be vastly different from their expectations, no matter how much research they do.
Luckily for me, one of my best friends is a Doula (our resident Doula Aaryn Leineke) who grew up surrounded by midwives and family members who all had home births. Her experience with birth was not fear-based, and it was refreshing. Most of all, after talking with her, I felt confident that I would have the support I needed, no matter what my birth experience would turn out to be. She taught me the importance of choosing your birth team and letting go of the birth plan, when necessary.
We would love to hear some of your expectation vs. reality birth stories - please share in the comments!
Ever thought of a great lifehack or business idea that would make your day-to-day a little easier and thought, “if only that existed…”? Well, thanks to technology, app developers and service providers who get it, a lot of those things you dream of actually probably exist. We’ve put together a list that will bring more ease and organization into your life… Consider this a master guide for optimizing your world.
Extra Help & Organization
Having a an extra pair of hands to help with everything from running errands to cleaning the house can be a lifesaver, especially during those weeks when it seems like the whole world is needing your attention at once. Here are some on-demand services that will help you delegate away the stress.
Task Rabbit: Need someone to build that piece of furniture you ordered? Can’t figure out how to fix the garbage disposal? Need someone else to run the errands? Task Rabbit can help with all of that and more…
Thumbtack: The go-to for any type of “pro” you might need, from house painters to personal trainers and everything in between. Best part? Read reviews for all of them before you make a decision!
Keyring: Keeps all your loyalty and membership cards in one place -- and off your key ring. It’s 2016- there’s an app for that.
Cozi: Touts itself as the “Family Organizer” app and allows for you to keep track of everything from doctors appointments to soccer games in one place… We really like the part where you can make joint shopping / to-do lists, so your partner and you can just look at the app and know what to do… Magic!
When you have a growing family, organization and storage become more important. Our recommended companies come right to your door and - voila! All of the logistics are handled and your items are safe and organized.
Closet Box: Picks up your items for free and delivers them back to you whenever you need them. They charge based on the amount of space your items take up, so it’s a great excuse to purge before the pick-up!
Omni: If you live in the Bay Area, Omni is an intuitive storage solution. This awesome team will pick up your stuff, photograph each item, and store it in a secure facility. You can view all your stored items via their app, and when you need it, have them deliver items back to your home or office. Or, you can even send things to friends or family to borrow. Like, how often do you really use that tent? It’s great to be able to effortlessly share the things you don’t use often, without having them take up space in your home when not in use. It’s a win-win. Plus, you only pay per item, per month, which means no contracts or wasted space.
On-Demand Sitters & Help Around the House:
Leaving your heart (aka child) with another human being can a very scary thing! Luckily, there are services that can send qualified sitters to your door, so you can breathe easy and enjoy your date night.
Pampering & Self Care
The pre-kid self care and beauty routines can easily slip away and become a distant memory when you’re busy chasing babies around. Here are some easy ideas to bring a little pampering and pep back into your step, right from home. We love to use these services for at-home dates with your honey, or to help you get ready for some fabulous event, work function, or a zexy occasion!
Hair and Make-up:
Car & Transportation
Need a 4-wheel drive car for a snow trip? A bigger car to fit the whole family and your stuff for a weekend away? Or, maybe you’re just cool enough that you only need a car, sometimes! In any case, you can get your hot wheels across the country thanks to these great car share companies:
Family road trips and camping are leveled-up when you’re cruising in a JUCY! Check these things out; they come equipped with a fridge, two gas stoves, sink, and two double beds (not to mention a flat screen TV, in case you need a break from road trip games).
Uber now offers rides with car seats for an extra $10 so your little one can travel with you on the fly.
New baby can often mean a new car… If you’re in California, you’re in luck! Roadster makes it easy for you to buy a new car without stepping foot into a dealership. For a low fee, they do the negotiating for you and deliver the car to your door, along with a friendly concierge that makes sure you know how to use it.
Technology and the pace at which the world is changing can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it’s good to see the positively awesome ways tech can more deeply connect us to our values, relieve us of tedious tasks, and give us more time to be with our family. Not to mention, many of these services help to lower emissions, benefiting the environment and our collective future as well.
If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your family flow, we’re big fans of meal delivery services, and check out our post about earth-friendly diapers (which includes helpful diaper pickup and delivery services).
Are we missing anything? What apps or services keep you sane?
It’s that time of year when the kids have gone back to school, and us parents who stay home can catch up (on whatever we’ve been avoiding while entertaining our kids all summer and sipping spiked Arnold Palmers).
I had such excitement leading up to my daughter’s first day of preschool. The idea of my little one making new friends, the thought of packing her lunch, and the anticipation of a much needed “break” all to myself - what’s not to love? I was counting down the days.
However, dropping my “baby” off at preschool for the first time was, surprisingly, one of the hardest things I’ve encountered as a parent. If your child is like mine, they will cry and cling to you for dear life on that first day (or first few days). And you’ll have to duck out the door with your big sunglasses Anna Wintour-style, because you might be surprised that your kid isn’t the only one with the waterworks.
I knew that the first drop-off could be tough, but then hopping in the car without my little chatterbox behind me, and a few open hours ahead of me, was one of the weirdest feelings. I didn’t know if she was still sobbing or if she was peeing next to the sandbox. I can’t tell you how many times I almost went back to get her. Because so much of the toddler years, I dreamt of dropping her off somewhere for a few hours, I couldn’t have anticipated the way the feeling of emptiness would hit me like a ton of bricks.
That’s parenting for you. There are periods of time where a break is all you can think about, and when you finally get one, you don’t know what to do with yourself.
Many of you might not be at this stage yet, or you’re well into the preschool groove and past the point of empty nesting, soaking in your alone time and wondering what I’m smoking. But if, like me, you’re still adjusting to your newfound freedom, the best advice I can give is to keep yourself busy. I’ve started getting back into yoga and made it a priority to get in a workout while my daughter is at school - no excuses. I try to get a bit of extra work done, and no longer harbor that tiny bit of resentment for not being able to get my To-Do list items checked off. And after years of my life revolving entirely around another person, I’m realizing that it’s okay to allow some of my new free time to be just that -- free. I may have felt empty those first few drop-offs, but it’s worth it every time I pick her up feeling completely renewed and energized.
If you are anxious about preschool and what’s to come, know that all your feelings (even the unexpected ones) are normal, and that the anxiety passes. You will eventually love your break and wonder how a few hours flies by so fast. Preschool is a major step toward your child blossoming into the person she will become, and that’s something to be excited about.
By: Courtney Ward
I’ve got to let you in on a little secret. I am literally obsessed with a new weekly happy hour - and it’s not the one you’re thinking. I have been going to a B12 injection happy hour for the past few months and I’m hooked.
You might be thinking, Courtney, you go to a Happy Hour for someone to give you a shot?
Hell yes. And you should too!
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and one of the thirteen essential vitamins your body needs to stay alive. B12 is produced in the gut, so it is the only vitamin that you can’t obtain from a plant or sunlight. It’s also the only vitamin that has trace amounts of the element Cobalt, which can help our bodies form new red blood cells and treat certain illnesses like anemia.
For me personally, B12 shots have allowed me to forgo the afternoon energy slump, to sustain more focus when I’m working, and maintain an overall happier state of mind. Basically ever since I have been getting B12 shots I have been a better parent and person overall. I spend a lot of my day chasing a 3 year old around, so I’ll take any help I can get. Since I've been taking these shots, I no longer have coffee or caffeine to get me through the day. Not to mention it has greatly reduced any hangovers I could have (which, if you are in your mid-30’s like me, you know are a kick in the ass).
These injections were really popular in the 50's and 60's, in fact my grandmother and my Mother in Law both remember's their Mom's getting them too. Now they are making a comeback due to their incredible health benefits, non-existent side effects and easy access. You don't need an appointment or a referral from your Dr.
Here are a few of the facts that I have pulled from the handout that my now friend, Dr. Shannon Wood, gives her patients. Dr. Shannon is a Naturopath now, but was a midwife and is an amazing mother to three young kids! Before you read these, know that there are literally NO side effects to B12 injections, other than a possible bruise at the location of the shot.
What are the benefits of B12 injections?
Improves Athletic Performance
Increases Red Blood Cells
Essential for Neurological Health
Aids in Digestion
Support for Depression
Enhances Vascular Health
Aids in Memory Loss
My goal is to get everyone I know to try this at least once, because I know it works and it’s the easiest, healthiest way to give yourself a little, lasting energy boost.
Bay Area peeps, you can find B12 injections in 6 locations: Mill Valley, Oakland, SF-SOMA, SF-Mission, SF-Marina. Website here.
Still need convincing? Leave us a comment and we can help get your questions answered!
Creating a “healthy home” doesn’t mean you have to throw out the whole enchilada and start over with eco-EVERYTHING! No, no... There are small changes you can make today that cost little to nothing, or, even better, that will actually save you money. Here are 5 easy places start:
1. Get rid of junk mail: Did you know the average adult in the US receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year?! How annoying is that? Not to mention the dinosaur telephone books or Restoration Hardware “catalogs” (more like set of encyclopedias) that seem to magically show up at your door! Get rid of the junk by registering your address on DMA Choice and the National Do Not Mail List. There are other sites that enable you to opt out of credit card offers, like this one. And, c'mon it’s 2016… Consider getting your magazine subscriptions on your iPad or other digital device.
2. Save energy (and $): Instead of cranking your thermostat up in the winter, or down in the summer, set it at a comfortable temperature (for most people between 68-72 degrees F), and leave it. No touchy. Studies show that this method saves energy, and therefore saves you money. Of course, if you live in a temperate climate, turning your thermostat off completely for a season is the optimal way to go! We also love Nest and other eco-smart home technology tools that are easy to install.
3. Let there be light:
Indoor: We’ve all heard it before, but changing your lightbulbs to energy-efficient ones, such as halogens, LED’s, CFL’s, or incandescents not only uses 25%- 80% less energy than a traditional light bulb, but also can last up to 25 times longer! Many of these light bulbs have added safety features of not being hot to the touch and not shattering as easily, so if you’re in baby-proofing mode, there are a handful of bonus benefits...
One of our favorite tools that works like magic (kids love it!) for turning lights on/off from anywhere in the house is this wireless remote control kit for outlets! You can also use this to turn other appliances on/ off. Who doesn’t love being able to turn on the xmas tree lights from your bed?! Amirite?
Outdoor: Solar lights make so much sense for outside use, whether you want string lights or porch lights, and there are more options than ever! A quick Amazon search will provide you with many inspiring options.
4. Don’t go chasing waterfalls: In California, we’ve been hit with a major drought for years and have been forced to figure out ways to be more water savvy. Regardless of where you live, water is a finite resource that we all must cherish more. Besides the obvious, “don’t leave the water on while you brush your teeth!” rule, here are some other easy ways to conserve water, time, and money:
For your lawn or garden, consider installing a watering timer. They’re easier to install and use than you think! A drip system for your garden will also help reduce water waste.
Succulents and native plants are so hot right now, and require little to no watering. Forget the time- and water-intensive garden and boost your green thumb ego by planting those bad boys everywhere!
Set your washing machine and dishwasher to “quick wash” or “eco-mode” settings. For most day-to-day washing, you’ll be surprised by how thorough those settings clean. You can always adjust it back to “pots and pans” when needed. ;)