maybe one of the harder parts of being a mom for me is realizing every day that you are responsible for putting food on the table. forgetting meals or electing to have ice cream for dinner doesn’t really cut it anymore. the number of times i’ve had a sense of panic as i’ve realized i’ve done both, and my poor baby is still waiting on me for a meal, has made me feel miserable. being a single mama with only one baby throws another challenging twist at me, as i try to keep from buying and cooking too much, while also finding the motivation to put together a meal that i know in large part will end up on the floor. ;) i can’t tell you the amount of times i’ve pinterest’ed “meal planning for single moms” and found nothin'. i’ve had to figure this thing out by myself, so as i finally feel like i’m starting to get some sort of grapple on it, i thought i’d share and hopefully help out another single mama. although these ideas can totally be used for any family model, the simplicity, quickness, and frugalness is what makes these ideas perfect for a single mama.
i now have a few variations of this post to come since i originally wrote this. this week, i shopped for 2 weeks in advance, ringing up at $92; with a vegetarian, (mostly) vegan menu!! i am so excited about these next couple of weeks. once i make it through and can confidently count it as a success, i will write about it. if you'd like to be clued in to when that's posted, subscribe here to hear about it first!
the shopping list
as you can see from this list, i actually only spent $43.88, and easily made it through our week! this was the first time i had taken a stab at really buckling down with a budget and meal planning. read on for what we did for this week, with a few additional ideas i've learned over the weeks. keep in mind in addition to this list, i had a few stock ingredients on hand in the pantry and fridge. if you're starting from scratch, have patience. spend a few weeks building your stock with smart buys and soon you'll easily have well-rounded meals for incredibly cheap.
check your farmer's market for produce. it is often much cheaper, and allows the option to even barter for lower prices. however, make sure you're familiar with your local stores' prices. some items might actually be more. for instance, target sells avocadoes for $0.89, whereas at my market, they were selling for $2. also, don't be afraid to check out the dollar tree for stock pantry items! things that have a longer shelf life are great buys here. again, be familiar with store prices. many canned goods can be purchased for less than $1 at major grocers. lastly, when creating your own list, choose ingredients that overlap and compliment each other. this decreases the number of ingredients you need, and makes mixing leftovers or remaining ingredients to make a meal easier.
my focus in the morning is ease, speed, and nutrition. aidric fortunately gets breakfast at daycare each day, but it could be a couple hours before he’s fed, and i still like the peace of mind knowing i’ve sent my child off with something in his belly and a healthy start to his day. because of this, i keep it very small and simple. here are some examples of what we do:+ banana (.25 ea)
+ canned fruit - aidric’s favorites: mangos, pears, mandarin oranges ($1 or less per can)
+ multi-oat & nut bread (my son prefers his plain and untoasted, so that’s what he gets!) ($3.5)
+ scrambled eggs ($0.5 for 6)
+ oatmeal ($1.5 small cannister)
my breakfasts are always either avocado toast, topped with Sriracha and garlic salt, or yogurt and fruit.
i’m fortunate aidric’s sitter also provides lunch. i recognize this certainly helps to keep my grocery costs down, but i’m confident if you are using this meal plan and are providing lunch for your child, you could serve up some leftovers from dinner and get by alright. i will include ideas of cheap, nutritious fillers you can use to add to various meals to make them, and the budget, stretch at the end of this post.
for my own lunches, i have two solutions. i either live off of frozen meals for $2 a pop (that’s $10 for a week of lunches), or, if i am feeling ambitious, i will simply swap this to buy extra of dinner ingredients and meal prep, rotating my few planned meals between lunch and dinner.
for this particular shopping list, i found a few cost-effective, nutritious solutions. these were:
+ stir fry
+ chicken fajitas
+ pasta + broccoli
stir fry is simply steamed rice and frozen veggies with teriyaki or sweet and sour sauce. to make simple chicken fajitas, i saute frozen chicken with fajita seasoning, onion, and bell peppers, and serve on tortillas with salsa. it's delicious! similarly, i also love preparing taco meat ($3 1lb + $0.5 seasoning) in bell peppers because it is an easy, super tasty way to get a good serving of veggies in. i like to top with salsa verde and/or sour cream. i like to keep chicken and fish on hand in the freezer for an additional meal i can pull out in a pinch. i almost always keep a bag of chicken nuggets ($6) in the freezer for aidric, and serve with canned or frozen veggies.
i typically buy one bag of a snack for aidric (and me) for the week. this week was veggie sticks, but for similar cost you can do pretzels, animal crackers, or string cheese. i also keep fresh fruit or veggies on hand for a healthy snack in a pinch (say, during a tantrum while i'm trying to cook with a toddler attached to my leg), like carrot sticks, grapes, and apples.
while the grocery list in this week's example wasn't glamorous, it got the job done, and gave me a huge confidence boost that i could grocery shop on a budget; and keep it healthy, too. over the weeks, i've been able to use the few leftover dollars in our budget to buy ingredients that last us several weeks, and add wiggle room and variety to our meals. below are ideas of such items to 'splurge' on when the budget allows, and suggestions on how to stretch meals further, or just give a punch of nutrition where otherwise may be lacking.
nice to have's
+ salsa (verde is my favorite!)
+ sour cream
+ peanut butter (for pb&j's of course, and also a nutritious addition to fruit or toast)
+ ramen (not at all a splurge, but i love this for a pinch or a night aidric is being picky. i add frozen veggies to make it healthier)
+ chia seeds or ground flax (great to add to yogurt)
+ honey (great for yogurt, toast, or even to cook with for many asian inspired dishes)
+ condiments and sauces
+ sparkling water or pop
+ chips (i love getting tortilla chips, as i often cook fajitas or tacos, and compliment well of course)
i use these either when i feel a meal is lacking nutrition, need to stretch a meal that is running out, or for a side dish. they add nutritional value for a low, low, cost, and fill you up to stretch the more costly ingredients.
i love to add these to my stir fry. whole eggs have every amino acid we need. don't skip the yolk!
my favorite are black beans. they have a subtle, salty flavor. they're nutritious, and add easily to taco meat, rice to make a complete meal, or as i did in college, to eat plain with tortilla chips. ha!
i like to get brown rice for added nutrition. i steam some for a side, or add to taco meat to stretch it. i also grew up with my mom serving me some with butter, sugar, and cinnamon for breakfast. maybe not the most nutritious, but a good treat. :) cinnamon is great for us, so if you go easy on the butter and sugar, it really is not bad!
+ frozen or canned veggies
most bags are under $1. my favorite to get is broccoli and use to top on ramen, or as a side with garlic salt and pepper. aidric also loves peas. they are easy to mix into pasta as well.
again, this was my first stab at living on a tight budget. i've learned so much! this week, my fridge is full of produce, and my shelves are lined with sauces and spices. we have treats and snacks, and sparkling water o'plenty. i am in the trial phase of this week's menu, where i am giving veganism a test spin (my first try!). i am so excited to bring this meal plan next; for $92 for 2 weeks! if you're ready to hear this list, subscribe here to be in the know as soon as it launches. thanks so much for reading. i hope you've found at least a tip or two to help you stretch your grocery budget. xx
bedtime with children can be the worst. something dreaded, full of frustration, and moments that don't make us the most proud of our mother'ing. but it doesn't have to be that way! i've slowly built the routine that gets my little guy down for bed on time and with ease - giving mama plenty of time to unwind before hitting the sack at a respectable hour. read on, mamas, so i can pass on the goodness!
as my mother always says, let’s work backwards. first decide when you would like your child in bed by (look >here< if you're unsure), then decide what elements are apart of your bedtime routine, and calculate a rough estimate of how long it takes to achieve those tasks. this will give you an idea of when to start prepping for bed. you will tweak this as you practice, learn, and eventually nail this routine.
next, remember the foundations: consistency, choices, and preparation. do your darn hardest every single night to preserve your little one's routine. it is so good for them (for all of us), and lets them know exactly what to expect. in turn, this cues them on how to act. another key thing in peaceful parenting is providing children with choice. growing up is learning how to be independent. allowing your child to develop this healthy trait reduces resistance. of course, provide them with 2 choices that you are happy with; avoid open-ended questions where they could pick something that you have to say no too, upset them, and achieve exactly the opposite of our goal. lastly, remember to give your child plenty of time to adjust and prepare for what's next. allow them advance notice when something is ending soon, and never abruptly tell them it is time to stop or leave. this is startling to them, and very hard for someone who does not have any sort of understanding or grapple on emotions yet!
now let's see how to put these principles into practice. my ideal bedtime for Adiric is 7:30. this is due to the recommendation a 2 year old gets 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep, with a 1-3 hour nap. i wake aidric up at 6:30 each morning, just before we need to leave so that i can get him to his sitter before work. presuming he gets to sleep by 8:00, he gets 10.5 hours of sleep. now, there are many days he does not get to sleep until 9:30, due to a late start. that's ok. i do my best, and try not to stress too much about it. he can always make up for it at nap time.
i start winding him down as soon as he eats dinner. when i see that he is nearly finished, i begin running his bath. he goes directly from the table to the tub to wash up. his play time in the bath is determined by how long dinner took us. if dinner was prepped and all i had to do was warm it, he gets much more time to splash and play. but if it’s a night i’m cooking from scratch, he may be in just long enough to get washed up. either way, he always loves bath time, and i make it as interactive as possible. i use this time to let him be as independent as he’d like and encourage his development. i point out his body parts as i wash them, for example, and he follows my commands like “stand up,” or even practices tasks on his own. he loves to apply his lotion to himself and, most recently, has been learning to pour the water over his head when it’s time to rinse.
after his bath, i ask whether he would like to watch a show (the answer is always “ya!”). i make sure to have netflix ready and his pj’s out before we get out of the tub, to minimize his distraction. a major key i use at bedtime is reducing stimuli and temptations for other activities. this means picking up all toys before bedtime and streamlining our routine, so that there’s little room for him to want to do something else, ask for it, and be told no-thus bringing on frustration and tears.
i let him pick his show, and we snuggle on the couch, singing and dancing. how long he watches is again determined by what time it is. if i need to cut a show short, my trick is to fast forward to the last few minutes. my son watches primarily the same things time and again, so by now he is familiar with the endings of these shows. when the show ends, it’s one of many cues that it’s bedtime.
this is another key to an easy transition to bedtime. cues: lots of them. one way to establish this is of course through consistency and repetition, as routines accomplish as a whole. another is to repeatedly prepare your child for what is coming. giving them time to protest as they adjust to the idea is essential.
remember the protesting is not the problem. a kid is always going to be a kid; bedtime is just never going to sound fun. and that’s ok! as the parent, we need to be aware of this, and prepare for it. by planning ahead to give our child adequate time to feel their feelings about any given situation-on our time-we can remove the frustration and fighting about it. accomodate for this natural response by building in a few extra minutes to let it happen, and then prompting it to happen on your timeline. as i continue to say, i like to do this in a multitude of ways; through routine, and physical and verbal cues.
here's an example of physical cues: something he experiences that tells his brain it's time for bed. once the show has finished (whether naturally or on magic mama time), i quickly mute it, and turn the brightness down on my computer. this signals to my son it is OVER. when he begins banging on my computer attempting to see another one, there is nothing he can do to make this happen. i do this to ensure he does not see the beginning of a new episode, which would cue him that we are about to watch another, only adding to his confusion, frustration, and disappointment when i shut it off.
again, this helps to keep our whole routine geared to making a clear message, free of conflicting signs for his little developing brain to interpret: it is bedtime. i quickly transition aidric into brushing his teeth, something he loves to do, and will have him quickly cutting off his tears as he runs off, laughing, to the bathroom. he used to hate brushing his teeth, but repetition and allowing him independence in the process has worked to grow his love for it.
because i keep so consistent with this practice, i witnessed for the first time last night aidric going through his cues all on his own! it was a proud mama moment to top them all. when the ending credits of his show came on, i reached to mute and stop the show, but before i could, aidric had closed the lid of my laptop, understanding it was over and what was next. he ran to the bathroom before i could even mention brushing his teeth, and waited for me to help him do so. it was the most heart-warming thing to see him so well adjusted to his routine. a smart little cookie!
soon, i would like to be able to add reading books together as part of our routine. but for now, "reading" his books is one of aidric's favorite playtime activities, and gets him too hyper to be a part of his bedtime cues. to him, reading a book means it's time to get excited and play!
as i mentioned, i give aidric plenty of head’s up bedtime is coming, and this includes verbally telling him so. i begin this by telling him before his show starts, “one show and then it’s bedtime!” i continue telling him, “it’s almost bedtime!”, “are you ready to go night-night?”, etc. when the episode is just a few minutes from being done. as soon as he’s brushed his teeth, it’s time for kisses and goodnights. i pick him up and tell him it is now time for bed. i carry him to bed, and i lay with him. at this part, he is normally either yelling, crying, or scrambling away from me. however, i keep my tone light and happy, but don’t let him up. i hold him, patting his back, talking to him about his animals. after a few minutes, on a typical night, this dies down fairly quickly and he takes interest in his stuffed animals and snuggling with me. we practice giving kisses to his animals. he might be a little “too awake,” giggling and being silly with me and the animals. i allow this, as long as he is lying down. if he gets up, i stop, and firmly tell him to lie down. still, i do not raise my voice or get angry. as soon as he lies down again, i resume my happy voice and continue as normal. on a harder night when he is being inconsolable, i sing to him and rub his head to soothe him.
once he’s calmed and settled into bed, i tell him goodnight and that i love him. he knows what’s coming at this part, and will usually get apprehensive, telling me no or grabbing my hand. i repeat it a couple of times, getting him prepared for me to leave, then get up to slip out. i always stop at the door, no matter if he’s quiet or screaming, tell him goodnight and blow him a kiss, then shut the door. this provides some amount of closure, and prevents a child from feeling abandoned. some nights he’s completely quiet. some nights he cries for a few minutes. i always stand my ground, and rarely have a problem with him getting up, or continuing to cry more than a few moments.
of course, not every night will be perfect. but we can still be prepared, and save our efforts by enlisting some tried and true methods. the key is to knowing your child, and really interpreting what it is they need.
what to do if your child won't stop crying
if after i leave he is still inconsolable after a few minutes, i go back in. i usually find there’s something wrong, like he needs his water cup filled, he can’t reach one of his stuffed animals, a cat is bothering him, or he needs a new diaper. if not, sometimes he just needs more snuggling, and that’s ok. i lie back down with him, and almost always he quiets instantly. i simply restart our routine from that point. i sing to him, rub his head, pat his back, gradually backing off of these one by one, until he’s still enough i feel safe to slip out again.
what to do when your child gets out of bed
i read long ago about a solution for a child that continues to resist bedtime by getting out of bed. i used it consistently in high school and college with the children i worked with, and it has never failed me. if a child does this (and all other issues are resolved, ie, drink is filled, everything is in reach, pants are dry), you simply pick the child up or take their hand, and wordlessly tuck them back into bed. you do not speak or reprimand them. this is giving them attention, and to a child who does not want to go to bed, this is incentive to try again. continue this same technique consistently, as many times as it takes, until they are in bed. you do not have to be mean, cold, or rough to accomplish this. simply do it wordlessly, and consistently. this lets them know what is expected of them, and what they can expect to happen should they do it again. they will be less inclined to get up again if they are not receiving the result they wanted (to stay up longer), or an incentive to resist (attention). now if you have a child for which this has been an ongoing problem that you've handled another way, this may take a few nights of consistent work to overcome. but i promise you, i’ve had some of the worst bedtimers, and this always works!
the key is to stay consistent and trust the process. give it time, and you will thank yourself. your well-rested, well-adjusted children will, too. xx
this little boy is learning and growing at a startling, rapid pace. he's filling up and breaking my mama heart constantly. i had a horrible reminder today that this is all so fleeting, and that we are speeding thru his little life, even on the days i am wishing the years away to a magical day when he can make his own breakfast as i sleep in and we won't have to power struggle over things like getting in the car, being nice to the cats, or wiping s*** off his butt. i want to remember my little boy exactly as he is in this phase of life. right now, he...
is adding new words to his vocabulary daily. he loves to tell you a cow says "moo," lightning [mcqueen] says "vroom," and when he says "unootee gooooooo," he's inviting you to race with him.
claps his hands for approval, excitement, and confirmation that what you interpreted for him was correct.
just learned the word no. or rather, "nooooooo." he's even quickly graduated to "uh-uh," which i am guilty of saying quite a lot, but it sounds so adorable in his tiny voice that i much prefer it to the demon toddler "no".
loves to dump things out, whether it's his basket of books, his chalk box all over the rug, or a bowl of berries. but his real love is then picking up every last piece.
he loves to help mama transfer laundry, or pick up his trains and cars upon command and put them in their rightful place. he is the biggest helper, and i do my best to encourage and praise him. doing the footwork now so i won't have to when he's 16, right?
mysteriously learns tasks. just last night, we were winding down for bed together when he picked up my phone and my charger, and attempted to plug it in. i was astounded that he had learned that. i can't think of one instance where he would have seen me do it, which comes as a weighty reminder to me that he is always watching and listening, learning by my unintended example.
puts himself to bed. or, will at least answer an honest "ya" when asked if he is ready to lie down (which he follows up with a demonstration of how much he is in fact not ready for bed). probably my favorite, heart-wrenching trick he has right now. i love to watch him climb down from the couch, cradle his cup, and pick up and drag his blanky across the apartment, straight past his crib, where he ends trying to crawl up into my bed. it is the most precious, innocent, grown-up thing i witness him do. we have never coslept, and i have to move him to his crib before i get into bed hours later, but how can you say no to a show like that?
it is my half birthday. i'm nearing 25, and feeling a minor sense of panic and lack and unfulfillment as i'm aging. i'm also sort of laughing at myself for this, but still can't shake the somber feeling. i'm trying to channel these energies for the best; making lists of things to set my mind to accomplishing, daydreaming and redefining my life's direction. happy almost quarter of a century, to me.
this post is part of an ongoing series i like to do every few months or so, to reflect, and to collect a snapshot of what life looks like in my current season of life.
you can find previous posts taking stock 001 here, and taking stock 002 here.
making: blog content and teaching myself how to further my brand, even out of my comfort zone (ok it's all out of my comfort zone).
cooking: chicken fajitas. not only right in this moment, but often. i've created a shortcut version that's so quick and tasty and cheap, and importantly, aidric approved. at least the chicken, not so much the vegetables.
drinking: focusing on training myself to drink my 65 oz of water daily.
reading: you are a badass at making money, sort of. it's staring at me from under my other half-read book, you are a badass. i've also had my itch to delve back into the world of ya fantasy return in the last few days.
watching: the handmaid's tale. with one or no eyes open at times, feeling like i'm going to be sick. but also reveling in a new found gratitude for the time i was born into and my rights and freedoms.
listening: to whattheeff podcast like craaaazy.
wanting: more adventure and deeper roots all at once.
looking: at houses on zillow today. something in a forest but close to the city has become my decided wish list.
playing: with dan and aidric, it is the most fun. a new definition of joy.
wasting: more than i'm comfortable with as i'm working to bring sustainability to the forefront of my mind and integrate it into my life.
wishing: for a shopping spree. i'd like a skincare line, clothes for sunny weather, a blender and other pretty kitchen items, photo prints, and fun things for baby boy.
enjoying: time off as i transition between jobs.
waiting: for d to come home (he just left this morning) and for summer adventures.
planning: a mother's day brunch!
liking: greenery and florals and neutrals and rattans. i'm swelling with an itch to nest and design home, these days.
wondering: about the truths behind some conspiracy theories and science behind alternative medicine... thanks, last night's insomnia.
loving: daniel so deeply every single day.
hoping: for a future and family and beauty and prosperity and creativity and wonder.
marveling: that i've found dan. that he is who and all that he is. that he's been there, all along.
needing: less and less.
smelling: way too much cat. i've just rescued/adopted a new kitty, and finding either she or simply the matter of having two is quite disgusting.
wearing: all the neutrals and layers, mixing flowy with fitted, trying to adapt winter outfits for the incoming heat.
following: more high energy people, ready to transform my life and looking for all the right influences.
noticing: how simple my desires really are.
learning: (trying) to learn how to be a half-hippie, and unlock my highest self.
knowing: good things are coming.
thinking: about my dreams, desires, passions, hopes, tastes.
bookmarking: self care ideas and hippie practices to investigate and implement later. but like a soon later.
giggling: with dan like schoolgirls. i love our shared sense of humor. i love that i've found a best friend in him.
feeling: deep, overwhelming gratitude, love i've never known, safe and sound and protected, bright hope.
i opened my eyes this morning and was greeted by anxiety. it told me i wasn't good enough. that i wasn't doing anything right; not by myself, not by my son. i balked at its familiar weight, planted on my chest. its grip on me making it more difficult to breathe. the lack of control of my body and my mind made me afraid, the fear making me irritable. this manifested in my loss of self control as i yelled at my sweet baby, twice. both times wanting to throw in the towel and quit the day already, humiliated and upset, and so sorry. i was failing. i was being weak, and cruel. i thought, 'great, another day i have to fight myself just to exist.' because that's exactly what anxiety feels like. fighting it for the real estate of your own mind and body. knowing its effect on you is not who you are. battling it or succumbing to it was not how you wanted to spend your day. but its power bends you to its will. to fight back when you feel so out of control, afraid, while battling invading thoughts, your body being manipulated into an unbearable, weaker state... it feels an impossible task most days.
but today i said that wasn't what i wanted for my day. i told my head to shut up. when it didn't, i decided to just stop listening. i decided to proceed with my plan for the day, even as my thoughts screamed at me, and my body cowered in fear, my lungs and my heart trying to steer me away. i continued to get myself dressed. my mind screamed at me how ugly and unworthy i was, would i really be going out in public looking like this?? i took aidric to play with his friends at his sitter's. my mind screamed at me how terrible of a mother i was, for abandoning him, how selfish i was for giving myself time to work. i drove myself to a new coffee shop, my familiar spot being closed for the day. my mind terrified me, running scenarios. i wouldn't find parking, i would look like a fool in a new place, there would be no place for me to sit and work.
the silliness of the thoughts that i was allowing to make me afraid killed me. did i really care if i didn't look perfect? i snapped and posted an ootd picture anyway. would i really rather fail my classes, my career, to appease the lie that i was a terrible mother for spending a few hours away from my boy? i asked him, do you want to go play with your friends? "YA!!" he said, clapping. i planned something fun for us in the afternoon. was walking into a new place really so terrifying?! i chanted to myself, angrily from my shame, 'it's just a dang coffee shop'. i sucked the power away from these thoughts by replacing my internal dialogue with my true thoughts about them, the ones i choose to believe. i replaced my power and eased my shame by reminding myself these silly thoughts were not my own.
these were my reflections as i found parking right next to the door and was welcomed into a near empty, beautiful space, with friendly staff and ample space for my laptop and books. as i sat, i felt my victory. the invading thoughts and the squeeze on my lungs slunk away. i felt euphoric. i worked in a tizzy, crossing off tasks from my to-do list that have been collecting dust for weeks one after the other. i received a picture from a's sitter of him smiling on top of a slide, enjoying his friends. i felt my strength in overcoming this vice that threatened to keep me in chains today.
i am taking this day, tucking it away to recall the next time, to remind myself i do not have to succumb to erratic thoughts and that fear does not mean imminent failure.
now, with a cleared head and less stress straining my self control, i'm preparing to go pick up my baby with eager arms and a clear heart. no longer on edge, my anxious thoughts will not burst out of me in a fit of yelling, but instead, i am eager to play and enjoy my little boy. i am thankful to myself, for valuing my son enough to know that i must take time to myself to be my best for him.
this morning's anxious thoughts can shove it. today, i did so good. today, i did what was right; by me, by aidric. today, i made a good day.
i've long searched for the planning method that works for me. i've since decided i simply need to make my own; so i did just that and i want to share it with you!
the details on how to download are listed below. but first, i'd like to give you a walk-thru of the language i've used and the things i'm tracking, so you can see how i use mine. if you'd like to skip, scroll to the download heading. otherwise, we'll start from the top.
as a drinking glass connected with the back of my skull i immediately felt electric pain as a string of curse words left my mouth. aidric instantly started crying. not his usual whine-cry, but a full on wail, covering his wide mouth with his hands, eyes spilling over, dropping to the ground from the couch where he lay, remorseful. or something of the sort. i continued rubbing the point of contact and cursing as i felt the high-pitched pain creep in, spreading to the rest of my head. my mama heart was twinging with shame and guilt for letting-no, making-him cry. i tried to find it in me to comfort him, but instead sat poised with one hand to my head, the other gripping the culprit glass, glaring down and my 1.5 year old, wondering how my life got this way.
we regained some peace eventually, how i don't remember. still, we were both cranky, and none of my usual tricks were soothing him. i knew he was tired, but it was infinitely too early for me to win a bedtime battle. i decided we needed to get out of the house. something i rarely do with him in tow beyond necessity. the effort and anxiety of having a toddler in public is just too much for me (i'm working on that).
i announced it was time to go, a key phrase he understands from our mornings rushing to the babysitter on time. normally, this is met with excitement as he runs to the door and attempts to open it, usually allowing me to put his shoes, coat, and backpack on him with little protest. today was not so. i chased him around the place with socks, and you would have thought i was trying to cut his feet off the way he struggled and wailed as i pulled him into my lap to put them on. i hurriedly grabbed the essentials-his blanket, a snack, my keys, his diaper bag, an umbrella for the grey skies-and corralled him to the door.
we made it outside, and immediately we both were calmed. he sat quietly, taking everything in with wide eyes. i noticed how good it felt to move my body, drink in the fresh air, feel the chill on my skin. i discovered picturesque community areas and diners i pass by every day, but never notice thru the blur of commuting. i noted their locations for future visits. we stopped to watch a fountain, aidric watching eagerly. next we encountered a pigeon. excitedly he pointed him out, watched as he flew and settled onto a perch just above us, gazing at us with a bobbing head and beady eyes. this was clearly the best part to aidric as he began to chatter to me about what he saw. we continued on to my intended destination, a quiet little neighborhood just blocks from us made up of the dreamiest brick condos, with glistening black gates enclosing the tiniest of yards.
finally away from the noise and bustle of traffic, my mind began to wander and daydream as it so often does. of life and home to come. the glistening grey pavement with the pops of lavender of fallen petals inspired in my heart a reminder of the simple joys i still so long for. i realized how simply i desire to live, how much the thought fills me up. i crave adventure, too, but deep roots and a daily life of the mundane turned beautiful is what my soul has long called for. as we strolled, i envisioned the flowers i would tend in the tiny front lawn, replaced a cat we spied taking in the breeze through an open window with my own, imagined the warmth there will be in a home full with loved ones. i imagined family walks with a dog, summers splashing in the garden hose, the sweet smell of cinnamon and vanilla filling the house as i baked for a family all my own.
i looked down at my sweet boy, unruly curls and bronzed cheeks made slick by his nose, his tiny fingers grasping the sides of the stroller as he eagerly looked on, and wished so much more for him than what i have provided. i scolded myself for the times i lose my temper, or blame my lack of success on his sweet soul. i wanted to scoop him up right then, whisk him away into one of these homes made of dreams and brick, and redevote myself to crafting his childhood and raising him with tender love. our walk was the reminder i needed that i have the makings for everything i want. it was a time-out on my frustrations and short-comings, a reprioritization of my life's ambitions.
we made it home. i placed him straight into the tub, and after a few snuggles with one of his shows, announced it was time for bed. he picked his head up off of the couch to look at me so sweetly, picked up his blanky, and made his way into our room. past his crib he walked, straight to my bed, where he attempted to crawl in. i was stunned at his understanding and obliging obedience. charmed by his actions, i helped him in, where he immediately snuggled down into my pillows. as i rubbed his back and tucked him in, i marveled at his cleverness, his sweetness, and his innocence. slowly i crept out, peering at him through the thinning crack of the door. silently i swore to him tomorrow will be a better day. and each day after, better than the one before.
i could talk about the things we did in a place of overwhelming beauty, but i find myself thinking only of the beauty of your laugh and watching your eyes light up in joy. my favorite parts were all of you. waking up in a dark room, aware of your weight behind me, turning in to your embrace with a soft kiss planted on my head, as we sleepily resisted the breaking day in favor of stealing a few more minutes exchanging the warmth between our skin. your hand on my knee as we wound higher into the mountains. your concern and the care you gave when i was overcome with an unknown excruciating pain, bathing me in the warmth of your love. sitting in silence, working separately on the passions we share, marveling at my gratitude to have found someone i can indulge in them with. the way just meditating on the man you are and the things i feel for you burns my throat and wets my eyes. a love that ignites me with excitement for the future, and gives me peace i've never known. i silently thank you for that one hundred times over each day. loving you is the most beautiful adventure i will ever know.
+ vacuum lines in the carpet. they make my apartment look so fresh and clean, that i vacuumed my already clean carpet again this morning just to refresh those lines--before breakfast. i have a problem, yes.
+ school being back in session! i love learning! i love science! i love these things so much, i don't even know what other words could convey it! just know i'm the happiest on tuesday and thursday mornings, mind reeling with the complexity of the human body and this divine universe. it's a beautiful thing.
+ matcha. i tried my first matcha latte early on this semester, looking to see what all the hype is about. i'm now in love with the earthy, semisweet flavor and its brilliant green. i have my own personal stock at home now, thanks to amazon and trader joe's!
+ speaking of, amazon. specifically, amazon prime. maybe less specifically, shopping.
+ and then, trader joe's. i have long traveled here for their fresh, cheap, unique flowers that last f o r e v e r. but now that a & i have moved, i have a tj's much closer to me and made our first grocery haul there earlier this week. our tummies and wallet have never been happier. now is probably a good time to mention their double chocolate + coffee ice cream sandwiches and frozen matcha bites. you're welcome.
+ fresh flowers will always be on my list of favorite things that make me slow down and see the beauty in every day moments.
+ long-awaited clothing packages showing up from amazon that shipped from china, probably, for like, $15 a pop. i am dying over my growing spring wardrobe. to everyone ever who has asked me where i got something in my #ootd pictures: amazon!!!
+ scrapbooking. the bug has bit me again, and i am printing off photos and buying stickers, washi tapes, and pretty paper like a maniac. the kind of happiness that physical pieces of your best memories brings is a special kind of magic.
+ dan. i'll spare ya the mush.
lately, my anxiety has been getting the best of me. this comes at a time where i am becoming more and more attuned to the fact that i am running from what it is i want to do most in this lifetime, by busying myself with what it is i think i should want. i have been trying and trying to find ways to overcoome this, but what i am realizing is there is no way around it. there is only through it. i cannot hope to stop the fear, as it innately is an emotion evoked by the unknown. instead, in order to rid myself of it, i have to turn the unknown familiar. i've been reading as much as i can about this, and have learned some helpful lessons: