“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
–Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
In other words, talk is cheap. When I look back on my life, and define this time in it, I know what I want to say. Yet at this moment, I cannot. There are a few changes to be made. I am getting closer every day. Where I am headed…
More self-love and less self-criticism.
More doing and less thinking.
More making and less wishing.
More camping and less shopping.
More fishing & gardening and less grocery stores.
More living and less internet.
More exercise and less Netflix.
More bravery and less fear.
More risk and less insecurity.
More dresses and less jeans.
More swimming and less sitting.
More hiking and less Pinterest.
More supporting and less jealousy.
More kindness and less judgment.
More honesty and less confusion.
More writing and less talking.
More listening and less assuming.
More hugs and less Facebook.
More bonfires and less news & media.
More local and less global.
More love and less resentment.
Last night, I was trying to complete this post by defining myself in this moment. I kept grasping for words and falling short. I walked away for a little while to clear my mind. I picked up the book I am currently reading and this was the first thing I read — How can we write the truth about ourselves? There is the vision our friends have of us; the vision we have of ourselves; and the vision our lover has of us. Also the vision our enemies have of us. And all of these visions are different.
The Universe was speaking right to me as she often does (when I am ready to listen). She was there to remind me that I cannot be defined. I am as fluid as running water, which nourishes all things without trying to.
All of this takes me back to the start of this post. It isn’t what we say or think, but what we do. It’s time to stop trying to define, and just be; time to let go and let God. xo
“Defined” is the March writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Gillian of Comes in Colours. A few words from Gillian — Hey, I’m Gillian and I blog at Comes in Colours! I am passionate about motherhood and passionate about photography. I am married to my middle school sweetheart and we are now raising our two boys, Roman and Asher, in northern Colorado. My life is real and far from perfect but my blog is a place where I celebrate motherhood through pictures and words. Connect with Gillian on Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin and pop by her blog to say hello.
A couple of weeks after Roman was born, we received a gift — a large picture frame containing twelve circles, one for each month of baby’s 1st year. At the time, that frame seemed irrelevant to us. Twelve months — ONE YEAR! — it will be forever until we get there, I thought. And now… here we are, just two little months to go, and the frame will be full.
My Dearest Roman James, I’m not quite sure how it’s possible, but every day my heart continues to grow with love for you. I love every little thing that you do — the way that you study your food with such seriousness before putting it in your mouth; the way that you light up with the biggest smile when you catch me peeking into your nursery; the way that your eyes grow wide as saucers when you hear a noise (you’re so nosy!); the way that every new object you come across is a new obstacle to pick up/eat/climb/conquer. Happy ten months to my sweet, smart, funny, silly, adventurous, baby boy!
Making :: plans for Roman’s 1st birthday party!
Cooking :: eggs for breakfast every morning.
Drinking :: a big bottle of H20 — hydrate me.
Reading :: recently finished The Secret Life of Bees and now reading Burial Rites.
Wanting :: an early spring.
Looking :: through tons of photographs of my little boy, always.
Playing :: Ride (on repeat every day).
Wasting :: too much time with worry.
Sewing :: pillows for the birthday party with this lovely fabric.
Wishing :: that everything will work out as it is supposed to & sooner rather than later.
Enjoying :: daydreaming about warm weather.
Waiting :: eagerly for my sushi date tonight.
Liking :: my manifest board on Pinterest, so.much.gorgeous.
Wondering :: how I am going to handle all of the changes on the horizon.
Loving :: watching my little boy grow & learn every day.
Hoping :: to have the strength to make it through the next year with grace.
Marvelling :: at the fact that I will be thirty & Roman will be one — in less than less than three months!
Needing :: a bit more sleep? yes.
Smelling :: burnt eggs from this morning’s breakfast.
Wearing :: pajamas.
Following :: lots of lovely new blogs in The Mommy Blogger Collective.
Noticing :: that I need to work harder to shift my thoughts to positivity.
Knowing :: that this too shall pass.
Thinking :: about what’s next on my never-ending to-do list.
Feeling :: alright.
Bookmarking :: lots of crafty goodness for Camp Roman!
Opening :: my mind & heart to the prospect of joy.
Giggling :: at the endless funny faces my boy makes at me.
There is only what is.
The what-should-be never did exist,
but people keep trying to live up to it.
There is so much that I love about this set of photographs. Roman is wearing my favourite pants and his onesie is my favourite shade of green. My living room is clean. The sun is shining in a lovely way that makes the room bright & cheerful. Roman is doing that wonderful move where one leg is kneeling and one leg is attempting to push himself to standing — this amazing moment in his life, just on the cusp of standing on his own.
The best thing about this set of photographs is how beautiful they are, how many wonderful things they capture, despite what was really going on last week. Fact is, last week was one of the most difficult weeks that I’ve had in the past year, maybe in my life. I cried so much some days that my eyes swelled shut. And yet, here are these lovely moments — the calm in the center of my storm.
Last week we celebrated my nephew Brian’s 5th birthday and his brother Aden’s 1st birthday. We had a pizza party at Chuck E. Cheese on Friday night & a birthday bash at my sister’s on Saturday. It was a weekend of fun festivities to celebrate two of the sweetest little boys this side of heaven. It’s really crazy to think that my little sister’s oldest son is five. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I remember when she was five!
Growing up, I always heard “older” people talking about how quickly life goes by. Well, I’ll be damned, now I am one of those older people.
The faster life flies past, the more important it is to cherish every moment.
Sweetest birthday wishes to my gorgeous nephews from your Aunt Dee-Dee & your cousin Roman. xo
How did you introduce solids? Also, does Roman sleep in his own room? And does he fall asleep during the night time feeding? Or do you put him back in bed drowsy? (As you might guess, I am trying to figure out the feeding and sleeping thing over here!)
–Cynthia at Living in Neverland
Last week I got these great questions from our friend & reader, Cynthia. I always love to receive questions from readers and try to answer them here in case my responses may be helpful to others.
Let’s start with the easier one (for us!) — introducing solids. Roman was always a good eater. I slowly started introducing him to solids at about 4.5-months-old. I realize that is quite young and many books/doctors will tell you that six-months is the right age to start solids; however, I believe that as mothers we need to listen to our gut more-so than we listen to books/doctors/etc. Roman always was (and is) a big boy. Breast milk has been good to him, but at 4.5 months, I could tell that he was still hungry. He started eying up our food and I knew that it was time.
The first three foods that I gave him were rice cereal, avocado, and banana. It was touch & go at first. Sometimes he would eat an ounce – an ounce-and-a-half and other times he would be totally uninterested and would spit it out. Since he was so young I let him lead the way. I loved the idea of baby-led weaning, but Roman was ready for solids before he was able to pick-up food on his own, so baby food it was and I have no regrets about that. After a few weeks, I started introducing new foods one at a time, always leaving two days between introductions just in case he had an allergic reaction to something.
By six months, I stopped feeding Roman rice cereal and switched exclusively to oat & quinoa cereal. I was giving him a variety of simple homemade baby food (mostly banana, avocado, and potato) as well store bought baby food, my favourite was Earth’s Best 1st Foods. By seven months, we started giving Roman teething cookies, rice puffs, and little bits of what we were eating. Today, at almost ten months, he gets a 50/50 combination of small pieces of whatever we eat and easily digestible baby food (stage one or stage two). I keep this combination to help with his digestion. I’ve found that too much “regular” food leads to constipation. The best foods to keep him regular are sweet peas, sweet potatoes, and pears — so I always keep pre-made jars of those three on hand.
Unlike eating, sleeping was (and sometimes is) a serious challenge for us. I wrote a little about it here and here, but there’s a bit more to say. I’m going to try and give the Cliff’s Notes version of where we have come from and where we are now.
For the first eight weeks, Roman slept in my arms every night, all night. Simply put, nothing else worked and I was not willing to let him cry it out for more than five minutes at that tiny age. At around three months, he started to sleep in his swing and his car seat. So… we let him. I know that it’s not considered the safest — but really, what is when it comes to newborns!? Everything has risk associated with it and once again, I followed my gut.
Then, around four months, I was finally ready to start putting him in his crib. Since nothing else worked — and I flipping tried everything — I resorted to the Ferber Method (also known as “Cry It Out”). From four months to six months, it was difficult. He slept in his crib, but he was up often. I was up comfort/nursing him anywhere from three to six times a night. Many times, after getting up for the umpteenth time around 4 a.m. I would just bring him into my bed for a couple hours of uninterrupted rest.
Then on his six-month birthday(!) he slept through the night (in his crib) for the very first time. It was amazing!
Now, to answer your question — yes, Roman sleeps in his own room and in his crib. We try to follow a bedtime routine — a bath, some cartoons with Mama on the couch, into his room for nursing in the rocking chair, and finally into bed with his pacifier. I know that the books say that you should put a baby to bed drowsy vs. sleeping; however, I never followed that rule. I nurse him and then I put him in his crib in whatever state he is in. When he was smaller, he would often fall asleep nursing and I’d put him down that way. I wouldn’t dare wake him up because that could bring on a whole ‘nother round of screaming! Now, he’s too darned alert to fall asleep in my arms, ever. So I mainly put him down drowsy and he either cries and fights it for a little while and then passes out — or he just falls asleep peacefully. As for sleeping through the night, it’s hit or miss. I think it’s about 50/50 at this point where half the time he’ll sleep through and half the time he’ll wake once in the night to nurse. On rare occasions he’ll wake up multiple times to nurse, but that’s typically only if he is sick or teething.
Overall, we’ve come to a happy place regarding sleep. We still have hard bedtimes/nap times occasionally and I’m still up to nurse once a night — however, compared to where we started out, I’m in heaven now, no complaints!
* * *
I hope I’ve answered your questions about starting solids and bedtime, but please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in the comments. Additionally, I know there are a whole bunch of mamas reading this, so if you’ve got anything to add, please go for it! Our routine is just one out of millions.
The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.
9/52 — Here he is, pleased as punch to be celebrating his big cousin’s 5th birthday at Chuck E. Cheese. Lord, does this boy make me smile. I’ve had a hard week, a really hard week, but no matter how difficult it gets, Roman puts a smile on my face. Before I became a mother, I used to hear mamas say things like that and I would roll my eyes. If only I had known then: the indestructible, indescribable joy of motherhood.
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. —from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I know that I’ve shared that quote a million times already, but it’s so important to me. I’ve been reading it daily, sometimes multiple times a day, for weeks now. There are big and difficult things happening in my life, things that I don’t always have the heart to write about, but that quote sums it up pretty well. It’s why I’ve always done what I’ve always done and why I’ll always do what I’ll always do.
February is slowly (oh-so-slowly) rolling to a close and I’ve decided to take inventory. I started twenty-fourteen off on the right foot eliminating negativity/toxicity and focusing inward. However, what I’ve learned about goals is how quickly we tend to forget about them. Not surprisingly, I’ve been slipping a bit myself. The energy around the start of the year is invigorating, but it quickly fizzles. It’s important that we re-evaluate and re-focus regularly.
Lately: I am taking more risks professionally. I am attending poetry circle at my local library. I’ve started reading again (actual books, not just blogs!). It feels as though I am coming out of a cocoon and it’s not just because winter will end soon. I was wrapped up in pregnancy, then postpartum, then other problems. For a long time, I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. I am slowly finding my way back to myself and learning how to be me and be a mother, which is harder than I’d anticipated.
Forgive me if I sound like a broken record lately. One of the reasons that I am so stuck on the Benjamin Button quote is because it is the advice that I will one day give my son. If I can teach him to live by that piece of advice, then I believe that I will have taught him everything that he’ll ever need to know. The problem, however, is that I — myself — am not living by that advice, not completely. I do not want to be a parent who says, “Do as I say, not as I do.” That’s why it is so important to me to get where I need to be and to live as an example to him.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
Last week, we had Roman’s nine-month checkup. He is 31 inches tall (above the 95th percentile) and 22.5 pounds (in the 75th percentile). The doctor gave him a thorough check and he’s right on track as far as development goes.
Bath time is his new favourite activity & man, can this boy splash!
He can stand and walk (up to about ten steps) with assistance.
He “dances” (rocks back & forth) every time he hears music.
He loves to make us laugh. If he does something silly and we laugh, he’ll do it again & again — quite the little clown!
He crawls around like a pro at top speeds.
He’s very coordinated — picking up even the tiniest little things & he loves to feed himself.
He’s just recently switched from three naps a day down to two. I won’t be surprised if he moves to one soon with the way it’s going.
Occasionally he sleeps through, but most of the time he gets up once during the night to nurse.
We are still exclusively breastfeeding. He’s stopped biting for the most part, though it still happens once in a blue.
He’s a great chewer and will eat anything that you put in front of him.
He has eight teeth, four of which have just broken through in the past two weeks.
He waves bye-bye if someone leads by example. We’re still working on clapping…
He loves to “talk” when we’re home & in the car, but clams up when other people are around.
We have had a few difficult bedtimes recently (I think as a result of him being overtired/teething); but in general he’s just the happiest little bear!
^^^ Everyone has been commenting on how mature he look in this one. I know, I know! It’s amazing. Some of the things he does & faces he makes just bowl me over! It’s s bit difficult to see my baby turning into a boy, but it’s fun, too. He’s so much fun to interact with now. I can’t get enough of him.