While we're on the subject of independence this week, let's talk about it on a more personal level. In this day and age where helicopter parenting (it's a thing, I promise, look it up) is so popular and so damaging, let's remind ourselves to be more like America and loosen the reigns a bit. When I was teaching, the one thing I always swore was that I wouldn't be a helicopter parent. And while what you say before you have kids and what you do once you actually have them are two different things, this is one thing I have tried to stick to. And while Caleb hasn't started school just yet, and I don't know what I'll be like once he does, I am trying to make sure he doesn't feel like he is still attached to me by the umbilical cord.
According to the article I linked from Parents Magazine, helicopter parenting means that parents are overly focused on their children. In this day and age where we are so consumed with perfection, we sometimes forget all the great parenting skills our parents had, whether they were intentional or inadvertent. I find that I have to be very conscious and tell myself not to hover. We have been taught to fear so much, danger lurks around every corner. The other day, when talking about traveling abroad, someone told me, "You have to watch your stroller every second or they will walk away with the stroller and your child in it." I get it. We want to protect our kids. We NEED to protect our kids.
But it cannot come at the cost of their independence and ability to do things for themselves.
I think helicopter parenting is a term that is typically applied more to school aged children and parents who are making sure their children succeed at any cost, including completing assignments for them. However, I definitely think the tendencies can begin before school begins, and I am trying to do a few things to foster independence in Caleb that will help him adjust to life away from home and Mommy & Daddy's arms.
He plays independently. A lot.
Momma's got work to do. The house needs picking up. Blog posts have to be written, meals need to be made. When we over schedule our kids from such a young age, they never learn to be bored and use their imaginations. They feel like they need to be entertained at every moment. And I do not have the time, nor the energy, to entertain him every minute of every day. He's got a playroom full of toys of every kind at his disposal. This doesn't mean I won't play with him for a little while, or schedule play dates or take him to do an activity of some kind, it just means I'm not planning every second of his day.
He isn't attached by the umbilical cord.
They cut that thing the second he popped out. Literally - it was cutting off his air supply. There's no need for me to keep him within arms reach when we are in open areas. At the playground, at the park, at the beach, I give him space. If I see he needs help or there is imminent danger, I stop him or help him. But otherwise, I'm letting him build up that confidence. And I'm always paying attention and just a short distance away.
He gets hurt. And gets in trouble. And everything he does is not adorable or funny.
My child isn't always in the right. If he hits your child without reason, I'm going to scold him, but you can go ahead and scold him too. If I tell him not to do something because he's going to get hurt, and he keeps doing it anyway and gets hurt, I'll comfort him, but I also talk about the consequences of our actions. And contrary to popular belief, everything he does is not adorable, and we shouldn't laugh when he does something he really should not do. Is this hard sometimes? YES. But it's important for them not think that everything they do is adorable.
It isn't easy. I've had to make a very conscious decision for some of these things. And I know once he starts school, it won't get any easier. But when he applies for college or a job and stands out because Mom isn't the one doing his communicating for him guys this really happens, like for real), then I'll know we did a good job.
Guys, the twos have seriously taken me by storm. I know I promised this wouldn't be a horrible year, and there has been a lot of amazing development going on in Caleb's little mind. But man. It's been tough to keep my cool. And to be totally honest, I haven't always been able to do that.
The last few weeks have been fraught with tantrums, hitting, and an unimaginable stubbornness on the part of a very tiny little dictator who thinks he runs our home (truth is, he might, to a certain degree). I didn't know little personalities could be quite this strong.
If you follow me on Instagram, and you watch my stories, you have caught a glimpse of it. Truthfully, I have never been the kind of person who felt like she needed a glass of wine at the end of each day. I now feel like on the hardest evenings I need not just a glass, but a bottle. There are days when from start to finish, I feel like I am a hostage negotiator, negotiating every single little mundane detail of the day.
"If you let me change your diaper, you can play with Mr. Potato Head."
"If you eat one more bite, you can play outside."
"If you pick up the toys, you can watch TV."
"If you get in the tub, I'll fill it up all the way."
And so go my days. The negotiations are easy compared to the tantrums and the hitting though. On more than one occasion, I have relegated him to his crib so that I could calm myself down while he was contained and couldn't wreak anymore havoc on me.
And at what point do I say, I can no longer chalk this up to normal toddler behavior? I still don't know the answer to this, and I'm not sure I ever will. But according to everyone with whom I have spoken, we are still within the realm of toddler "normalcy." Everyone has told me to breathe, drink often, and remember that it's just a phase.
And you know what? It might not be over, but today was a good day. Today we played together, he napped when he needed to, and I didn't get hit, at all.
So don't you fret mama. Because this too, shall pass.
I try to limit Caleb's usage of my phone and iPad as much as possible. Truthfully, he doesn't use it very much at all when we are home - he typically uses it when we are out and he is tired and starting to pitch a tantrum. It's just the easiest way for me to cut the tantrum and not ruin others' dining experiences. Otherwise, though, the phone is solely an emergency use basis. I keep the iPad mounted on the headrest in the car and he watches it like a TV when we are on road trips.
With that being said, there are a few apps that we go to for just such occasions.
The folks over at Kidloland sent us a subscription for unlimited access to the content in their app. It's been such a great resource for me to use. Even if Caleb isn't using my phone, sometimes I get stuck on what nursery rhymes or songs to sing. Their library is absolutely enormous. They have songs for counting, ABCs, and phonics, and they all involve some kind of interaction, so your kids aren't just watching the videos. They have tracing activities and coloring activities. Have a picky eater? They have songs about fruits and vegetables. They have a phonics module, and tons more. The app is recommended for toddlers through age 5. Their website also has some great resources and coloring pages! I know that I will be renewing my subscription for this app!
The awesome people over at Kidloland have given us some free subscriptions to give away to you all! Read all the way to the end of this post to find out how to enter!
To download the app:
Because, duh. Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and Pluto. Caleb likes to watch the episodes. They also have games, but we haven't explored that very much. You can sign in with your cable provider account info and have access to all full episodes for your kids' favorite shows. This is convenient for those moments when your child (well, my child) is yelling for a specific show.
These apps are adorable. It's basically Elmo & Cookie Monster FaceTiming your little one! The app accesses your camera so it looks like they are really on a FaceTime call. There are pauses for your child to respond back, and this is another one that makes Caleb crack up.
This app kept Caleb calm basically the entire flight when we flew from New York to Denver this past December. You can build Mr. Potato Head with all kinds of accessories and then put him into different environments. Then he interacts with the environment and does silly things, which always elicits a hearty laugh! (I have to say that Mr. Potato Head is Caleb's favorite real life toy. He plays with it every single day.)
This app is great for identifying things around the house. Caleb loves to have Daniel use the potty and he loves to put him to bed. It's not an app he will use for an extended amount of time, but it doesn't keep him busy for a few minutes at a time.
This app is for mamas, not for little ones. I haven't used this much lately, but when Caleb was a newborn I did, a lot. I used it to track his feedings, and his wet and soiled diapers. I also kept track of his growth when we would visit the pediatrician. It is a very functional app with a lot of capabilities. If you're a pumping mama, it helps you keep track of your pumping sessions as well, including how long you pumped, and how much your output was.
We probably spoiled Caleb for life, but we have a sound machine in his bedroom that we put on for him every night. It helps to drown out the other sounds in the house, and I have found that he sleeps so much better with some white noise.
There you have it! Our favorite apps! Don't forget to enter the giveaway below for a 3 month subscription to the Kidloland app!
I'm always interested to hear what other parents consider their absolutely must-haves. For some parents, it's certain toys, for others it's a food product. Our top must-haves in our house vary, but these are the things that have gotten the most use in our house over the course of the last 2 years. I'm including links to the products to make for easy shopping (I got you).
And there you have it! The items we absolutely cannot live without in our house!
I'd love to hear your must-have items - leave them in the comments section below!
*This post is not sponsored.
When I was pregnant, I knew right away that it was a boy. When the ultrasound confirmed it, I was so excited to have a little boy. I get asked all the time when we are going to have our girl, and I honestly don't like that question. If God gives us a daughter, I will be thrilled. But I will not love my children any less because of their sex. My friend Justine over at Sunny in June is pregnant with her third baby boy. She recently wrote a great article in response to why this question in particular annoys her so much, because apparently raising boys is the worst.
I've noticed a lot of articles floating around recently about raising boys. Maybe it's because Facebook's algorithm is that good and notices I don't click on stuff with daughters so it pushes all the "boy parent" stuff up to the top of my feed. Regardless, I have read some interesting things out there in the last couple of weeks, with a particular resurgence since the Women's March.
I'm not making a political statement here. I'm writing from the heart on my thoughts, concerns, and fears when it comes to raising a boy. Girls and women get so much attention nowadays that it's hard to cut through sometimes and remember that raising our boys is so important too.
Firstly, however, I want to say that women's rights are important. We are equal to men. We are different, and those differences are cause for celebration. I mean, show me a man who can push a baby out his bits after carrying said baby for 9+ months, then continue to give that baby life by breastfeeding, and I will show you that pigs can fly. Women should be paid fairly for doing the same work men do, women should have the same opportunities men do, and women shouldn't have to feel like someone else needs to shatter glass ceilings for them. I am also in no way implying that every man is the same nor is every woman the same. Amongst us all, there are so many differences. Which again, should be celebrated, not shamed, in the way that some people do. If you want to work and pursue your career, go for it. If you want to stay home and take care of your children, do the damn thing. If you don't want to get married and travel the world with no strings attached, DO YOU GIRL.
But there are biological and developmental differences in men and women that can't be denied. We can't treat our boys and girls exactly the same because their needs are different. Having taught middle school for many years, I can tell you that the developmental difference is very much present. Their individual needs have to be met so that they can develop into the men we want a whole generation of girls to marry.
And while the old school mentality of "man up" doesn't necessarily sit well with me, neither does the notion that our boys have to be the same as girls, or that girls somehow deserve more of our attention than boys do. We want our boys to grow into men, into fathers, into spouses, and into incredible members of society. I don't want a son who is offended by everything, but I also don't want a son who is offensive. If we neglect them. or imply that somehow women deserve to be treated better than they do, then we are setting ourselves up for a generation of boys who is resentful.
So how do we raise our boys into men? I'm not sure that there's a right or wrong way to make our boys into men, but I know it starts at home. I don't know what the future will bring - I don't know if a few years from now I'll look back on these words and think, "Wow, Jenise, you had so much to learn." But I'd like to think that by doing some of these things, my Caleb will grow from a boy into a MAN.
Be the example.
Dads, you play a super important role here. The way that your sons see you treating women will be the way they treat women. You know that saying, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree?" Kids learn best by example. If you are demeaning women, making women seem less than men are, then that's what they will emulate. We are our children's first teachers. So hold open all the doors, allow women to go first, and give up your seat for the pregnant woman, for crying out loud. Same goes for us moms - whatever we allow to be done to us will be what our sons think is acceptable. But also very important will be how they see us treat other women. If we are bitchy and backstabbing and gossipy, they will think that behavior is okay.
Recognize their unique needs.
Some boys are sensitive. Others are not. Some boys are rough. Others are not. There is no mold for boys, just as there is no mold for anyone else on this earth. Pay attention to your child. If your son has an interest in trucks, let him play with trucks. If your son has a desire to rescue animals, let him do it. I come from a family with a diverse group of men. My grandfather was always a baseball-loving, scotch-drinking factory worker who loved to build things and use his hands. My dad is also great with building things and is super handy, but he loves to decorate and has never been interested in sports, really. One of my brothers is a priest who will occasionally play soccer and loves a good cigar, and my other brother is a lanky engineer who loves video games. Encourage the uniqueness in your boys. Don't ever tell them, "You're a boy, you should (or shouldn't) be doing this."
Let boys be boys.
Before you jump down my throat and say, "That's the most misogynistic phrase ever!" please let me finish. I don't mean that boys should be excused for inappropriate behavior because it's somehow ingrained in their DNA to be inappropriate. I do mean - let them play outside, give them activities that involve movement, teach them healthy ways of getting out stress or anxiety. I have friends whose daughters are content to sit and color and play with PlayDoh for hours. Caleb stands at the back door and begs me to go "ousside". He runs in circles while aforementioned girls are coloring. Their energy needs to be expended, and it's usually in super active ways. Let them go outside, let them get dirty. Let them learn to fix things. Take them fishing and let them bait the hook. Since when is being a man's man a bad thing (as long as you're not being a jerk while at it)?
Monitor what they watch/listen to/read.
I'm not saying to censor anything, but if it has a questionable message, (and their maturity level is at a place where this is an appropriate action) talk to them about it and discuss why the message is questionable. Mainstream media is full of smart, independent women, but it's also filled with terrible messages that heavily influence our boys. They think that if the celebrities they look up to say it's okay, then it's okay (don't even get me started on kids having celebrities as role models). We also live in a society where sex is "easy come, easy go," and a lot of things are no longer considered taboo, especially when it comes to what we are watching and listening to. If we teach them that sex is something to be valued, then they will recognize those messages as frivolous. It all comes down to talking to them openly. Having open lines of communication with your kids makes a world of difference in their perception of the world.
Teach them self control.
This one is huge. I think if more people (men and women alike) practiced self control, we would avoid a lot of the issues that we have. If we teach our boys to have self control and not act on every impulse, that will cut the issues we have tremendously. By teaching them to control urges of all kinds, we teach them about patience and respect. One of the things I always used to tell my middle school students was, no matter what a girl says to you, you need to exercise self control and think about the situation. I came across many situations where girls were baiting boys, and the boys would get in trouble when they really didn't think they were doing anything wrong, because girls were sending all the "green light" signals. When the boys got in trouble, they were dumbfounded, and a lot of that could have been avoided if they had exercised self control. My parents' favorite phrase to tell us was "There are choices and there are consequences. Every single choice has a consequence. Consider your options." After a few years, it was shortened to, "Remember: choices and consequences," as we were leaving the house to head out to wherever we were going. It makes you stop and think about what the reaction to your action will be.
Teach them that feelings are okay.
One of the most damaging things we can tell our boys is to "man up." They need to learn that a healthy expression of emotion is normal. Crying is normal, anger is normal. Punching or hitting someone isn't (unless they deck you first, in which case, have at it... and that's something I would tell my daughter, too, if I had one.). So many guys grow up thinking that they can't act a certain way or feel a certain way because it isn't manly. That just isn't true. Feelings are a normal reaction to events in our lives and should be felt, not squashed. And if our boys don't learn to deal with their feelings, then they hold them inside until they blow, resulting in rage, violence, depression, you name it. So go ahead baby boy, cry it out. I'll comfort you and tell you it's okay.
Teach them kindness.
Kids can be cruel. Teach your kids to stand up for those who are picked on, to sit at lunch with the kid who sits alone, to offer a helping hand. And don't just tell them to do it. Model the behavior! Don't talk badly about people or make fun of others. Be kind to everyone you meet, and your kids will emulate that behavior. Help those you come across who are in need, and teach them that being a silent spectator is just as bad as committing an act yourself. If our kids learn from a young age to be kind, then they will continue to practice that kindness throughout their lives. And really, that's what the world needs right now - a whole lot of kindness.
Don't make excuses for them.
My mom always tells this story about me. When I was in high school, I was in an Honors math class. I had a bunch of friends in the class, but since Math wasn't my strength, I always sat in the front of class and was ready for when the teacher walked in (go ahead, call me a nerd). One day, he walked into class and the rest of the class didn't settle down, so he said that since we didn't need him, he was just going to give us a test on the material we were supposed to have learned that class. Two of my bookish friends and I, all of whom were ready for class to begin, got up and walked out of the room, something that was totally out of character for us. My mom was the Assistant Principal at the time, and we marched straight to her office, indignant that we were being treated so unfairly by the teacher. She looked at us and said, "I don't care whether you think it was fair or not, he actually has the right to report you, and you could be suspended for your actions. I suggest you march right back to his classroom and apologize." We burst into tears and walked back to class, heads down, so embarrassed. We were lucky we didn't get into more trouble, but it's a perfect example of not bailing your kids out. My mom and that teacher still work together and laugh about this story every time we are all together, but it taught me a really important lesson, and that was that regardless of what my mom's position was within that institution, she wasn't going to let me off easy.
This is probably, by far, the most important thing. My mom could have made up an excuse for me and said it wasn't fair, the teacher was wrong, any number of things. But she didn't. Kids have to learn to deal with the consequences of their actions. All of these stories in the news where boys sexually assaulted a girl, what do they have in common? Mommies and daddies who swoop in and save them. As a parent, it's natural to not want to see your child suffer. But sometimes, a little suffering goes a long way. If they see that their parents are going to hold them to the same standards that everyone else is held to, they won't think they'll get off easy.
Will these things make a difference? Will these things help me make my boy into a man? I don't know. And the answer is that truthfully, nobody knows. And we can teach our boys everything we know, and they are still going to make mistakes. And at that point it will be up to us to reconsider our use of the phrase "boys will be boys." Because really, boys are human, and like every human, should be held accountable for their choices.
Stay hopeful friends, there are some good men coming your way.
And go check out Justine's latest post on raising boys, too! I promise you'll love it!
Some days, going outdoors isn't really an option. Whether there are sickies in your house, the weather is crummy, or you just don't feel like putting on pants (hey girl, I feel you!), sometimes you need to keep those kiddos entertained indoors. And while I am the first to admit that I use my TV pretty often, I also like to have Caleb do engaging activities that hold his interest for a little longer than 5 minutes.
Sensory play is anything that engages your child's senses. Sensory play is important in helping your child explore the world. It also helps them to naturally use scientific processes, problem solve, and develop skills such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. PBS Parents has a really informative article on why sensory play is so important.
Most of these activities require little prep, and I actually keep everything stored in a box and just pull it out a couple times a week. Once you have all the tools it's actually fairly easy to incorporate these activities into playtime a couple times a week.
If you check on Pinterest, there are hundreds of activities you could do with your little one. I'm only focusing on five that are tried and true in our house..
Sensory Rice Box
I bought an underbed storage box, filled it with rice, and bought a couple of tools so he could play. The same tools are actually used for multiple activities. There are: measuring spoons, fine motor skills tool set, plastic tongs, and little construction trucks. He's snuck a few other toys in there over the months but those are generally the tools he uses in there. I know many people do this using beans, but when we started doing it, Caleb was still pretty small and putting everything in his mouth. Even if uncooked rice would give him a tummy ache, it wasn't a choking hazard, whereas a dry bean could be.
Level of ease: Very easy once you have the tools, but cleanup can be a nightmare if you don't prep for it. Pro tip: use a fitted sheet with the ends propped up on the sides to keep the rice contained and make for easy cleanup!
We did this just yesterday, with zero prep or advance thought. I realized I was out of paper towels and decided to do something with the roll since I had a cranky toddler. I cut the roll in half, and covered one end of each with paper. I had him fill them about halfway. We used garbanzos and couscous because that's what we had on hand, but you can use rice, pasta, any kind of dry bean, cheerios, etc. With the garbanzos, I also practiced counting with him. Once they were filled, we covered the other end and had a dance party! A friend also reminded me that this can be down its water bottles, which probably makes it quite a bit easier!
Level of ease: Easy. But not very independent. If you're looking for something to keep them busy without you having to work, this isn't the activity for you. lol
Pom poms keep Caleb entertained for over an hour. There are so many things you can do with them: counting, color sorting, size sorting. He likes to transfer them from one place to another. A lot of times I will pour them all into a big mixing bowl and give him the muffin tin and his fine motor tool set and let him do as he pleases. This day I just put some on the floor and some in the muffin tin and let him use the tools to move them around as he pleased.
Level of ease: SUPER. Literally just dump everything and let them go.
Strainer & Pipe Cleaners
This is another super easy activity. The strainer is in my kitchen, so I just thread a few pipe cleaners through the holes and have him do the same. Sometimes he does it, sometimes the game is pulling them all out, but it keeps him busy for a little bit.
Level of ease: Eh. Doesn't keep him busy for a super long time, and threading those pipe cleaners can be a pain in the ass.
No Mess Painting
I fill Ziploc baggies with some paint, tape it down to chart paper, and put the chart paper on the window. Taping the baggies down keeps them in place, and I love the effect of the light coming through the paint, which is why I attach it to the window.
Level of ease: Semi-easy. Requires a little bit of prep with the taping and such, but I typically leave this up for days.
There you have it! Five sensory ideas that will keep your kids busy for a good amount of time! Incorporate them as you feel your child needs it - one a day, a couple a week, once a week. Below is a photo of how I store the tools, pom poms, and rice. I usually have the pipe cleaners in there too, not sure where they are at the moment. haha
What other fun activities do you do with your kids around the house? I'd love to hear about them! Drop them in the comments below!
If you have toddlers, or young children, or children period, odds are you find yourself saying "NO" pretty often. Some days I feel like I haven't said "yes" to anything, and I guess it's part of the territory. But it also makes me feel pretty crappy. As a kid, I didn't like hearing "no" all the time, so I can only imagine what it must make my son feel like.
However, it is important to me that I raise a good, decent human being, who doesn't just act on impulse all the time. This means that somehow I have to teach him boundaries and limits and proper behavior, especially in social settings (I guess in private ones, too - I don't want his future spouse to be like, "Damn your mother let you do some weird stuff.").
And I know that toddlers and testing limits go together like peanut butter and jelly. But I feel like there has to be a better way than constantly yelling "No!" I also feel like I say "no" a lot preemptively, because we learn to anticipate what our kids are going to do - it used to happen to me with teaching. When explaining instructions I would rattle off a list of dos and don'ts. Students would raise their hands to ask a question, and I would say, "Hang on, that's next." They would always ask me how I knew what they were going to ask. I would tell them I could read their minds, but the truth is that you learn to anticipate behaviors, and the same goes for your kids. I spy him eyeing the dog's food, and I know he's going to make a beeline for it next. So I automatically shout, "NO! Leave Bella's food alone!"
But I don't want to be grouchy mom anymore. I don't want "no" to be the primary word that comes out of my mouth. I know it has to be in my vocabulary and I'm not saying it's a bad thing to say no, but there has to be a better way of getting my point across than barking NO twentyfourseventhreesixtyfive. I also don't want him to be afraid of trying new things because Mom is always yelling at him to stop.
So I'm working on this this year. I've come up with four things I can do to help myself and sound less like the Grinch and more like the sweet, loving mom that I am (most of the time).
Reason with him. I know, I know - who am I kidding, trying to reason with a toddler? But you'd be surprised at how often they just get what you're saying. Instead of "NO! Don't eat Bella's food!" I'll try saying something like, "You don't like when Bella takes your food, so let's leave Bella's food alone," or "Bella's food is for doggies, not for people." (Side note: this is really a thing in my house. He eats Bella's food like once a day.)
Encourage the good behaviors. Positive reinforcement always works. We all want to be told we are doing a great job. I've been working on this little by little and I praise him for helping me throw something away, or for not crying hysterically for me when he wakes up in the morning. It's not an instant fix but it is one that will work over time if you do it consistently.
Determine why you are saying no. Are you saying no because something is dangerous? Or just because you don't want them to do something? Or because it's a behavior that isn't socially acceptable? A lot of times I find myself saying no because he could hurt himself. But I also never want to be the reason my son is scared to try new things. So I'm replacing some of my nos with "Be careful," or "Let's try it this way," or "That could be too hot."
Keep them busy. When we let our kids get too bored is when they get into trouble. I'm not saying they should never be bored - that's how imaginations grow - but they need to have something that they can use while they are bored that will not push them to do things they aren't supposed to do. Caleb has a room full of toys - so when I have to get something done, into the playroom he goes. As long as he doesn't get into the closet, nothing in there is off limits to him. Blocks, magnets, crayons, and stickers also work really well for keeping them busy. ;)
I have no idea if it will work or if I can carry it through, but I'm sure as hell going to try. And I have zero answers to these big questions. I'm on this trial and error journey just like you are!
If you have any tips to contribute, let me know in the comments below - I'd LOVE to hear your take on this!
The end of a year always brings on reflection of the past 365 days. This was a year filled with adventure and growth. We traveled more than I ever thought we would - it felt like every month I was packing for something or other. I wouldn't trade the adventures we have had as a couple or as a family for anything in the world.
It was also a year of growth in many ways. We grew in wisdom as parents. I no longer feel like I am so reliant upon the opinions of others. I know my son and we as his parents know what is best for him. This also means we grew in confidence when it comes to Caleb and our parenting decisions.
I grew my photography business, even though I didn't have plans to do so. It ended the year on a really high note.
Finally, I started this little labor of love and it has been a far greater and more fulfilling endeavor than I ever thought. I started it thinking that not very many people would be reading it, but knowing that I wanted to write about motherhood and life in general. I never imagined the feedback I would get and the number of people who would tell me that they loved reading my blog. I have had moms of toddlers, women younger than me who don't have kids yet, and women of my mom's generation alike tell me that they love reading what I'm writing. It's been so much fun and it's been incredible to hear that kind of praise for something that truly comes from the heart. So thank you, dear reader. Thank you for your shares, your likes, your comments, and for sticking around and hearing about my journey through motherhood!
My goal in the new year is to post more consistently, but also to maintain great content. It's important to me to keep this blog true to how I started it, maintaining authenticity and quality content and writing.
I'm looking forward to all the incredible things 2017 will bring our way. May the next year be filled with peace, love, and prosperity for each and every one of you!
October is Hispanic Heritage Month. Until recently, I kind of scoffed at these "heritage months," but I have come to appreciate them and their meaning. A little family background here: All four of my grandparents were born in Cuba. My paternal grandparents emigrated in their early twenties, and they met here, were married, and had my dad and uncle here. My maternal grandparents were married in Cuba and lived there until their forties. My aunt was born in Cuba and came to the US in her teens, and my grandparents came to the US when my grandmother was pregnant with my mom. That makes me second generation American.
My father-in-law was born in the Dominican Republic, and my mother-in-law was born in Cuba. Her family left Cuba when she was a little girl. After a brief stint in Spain, they settled in the Dominican Republic. My in-laws met and were married in the Dominican Republic and my husband and brother-in-law were born there. They came to the US right around the time my husband was entering first grade.
That makes Caleb first generation American on his dad's side, and third generation on mine.
As a second generation American, I know what it's like to feel a deep-rooted love for your culture without ever having experienced firsthand some of the things that your family talks about. Spanish was my first language - I didn't learn English until I started school. I love Cuban food over most other kinds of food. Living in Miami makes it a little easier to keep those roots intact (who am I kidding, it makes it impossible not to). With that being said, I feel like for myself, as for so many of my peers, there is a kind of disconnect between our identity and our experience of that heritage.
I figured I'd do something a little different this week and show you some of the stuff I'm loving right now. A few things I'm loving this week...
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.