It Takes a Village

They weren’t joking. It DOES take a village. Today Gigi and I traveled up to Orange County to have lunch with a group of women that I made friends with…online. Yep. Online.

Last year when I was pregnant I joined a “October 2014” expecting mom’s group in the hopes that I could get some advice re: stretch marks and car seats. A year later, I consider some of these women my dearest confidantes. I have truly made some great friends through this group. If this year has reinforced anything, it is how important family and friends are. And how important women are. Forget mommy wars. We have a mommy army. And it’s a powerful thing.

I lament the power technology holds over us quite regularly. We watch too much tv. We spend too much time on the Internet. And I know that in my own life, I am trying to limit my time spent focusing on some sort of screen. But I’m also grateful. My daughter was visiting her great-grandparents and grandparents this weekend and I was able to FaceTime her while she was away. It’s hard sharing time with her, but the possibility of that intimate connection helps and makes my day a little brighter. I can’t tell you what my mom group has done for me over the last year. Who else is up and ready to relate when I’m up at 3AM with a cranky baby? Motherhood is a tough job. I think the toughest. Having a support system in place is essential. I’m lucky that I found this group of women. I promise they have contributed to the mother I have become these past few months. (That’s meant as a compliment, just for the record!)

So Here’s The Thing

I have been writing draft after draft these past few weeks. Trying to come up with a post that I would be happy enough to hit “publish”. The thing is, it’s hard! This blog was created by a completely different person. And I don’t think I even realized how much I’ve changed until the past few weeks. You know what’s coming, I’m sure. But I’ll carry on anyways.

I have never been a “baby” person. I have never cooed over a stranger’s baby. I never dreamed of having children of my own. I used to look down on women who only talked about their kids (I will discuss this point in detail, later, I’m sure). I looked at having children as an inevitable event in the distant future. I never felt my biological block ticking.

But it happened. Last fall I became a mother. And my existence has irrevocably changed. And now, eight months after the blessed event I’m having the time of my life. Babies are fun. Babies are magical. But they are WORK. But one day, my little newborn looked at me and smiled. And I got a little surge of energy. And then a few months later she sat up on her own. And suddenly, she’s clapping. And she’s babbling to me. And she’s throwing little tantrums. And she’s….fun. And I look at her and I realize, I have never loved anyone or anything in my life as fiercely as I love her. And I…I don’t know what’s happened to me. But I’m not complaining.

And that brings me to my dilemma. I started this blog as a late-20, early 30-something singleton who cared about food, and drinks, and late night hotspots. And now? I’m well-versed in Elmo. And the things that I’m interested in would horrify the person who started this blog. But I want to keep blogging. Because for every inch I have gained as a mother, suddenly, I feel like a better woman? It’s hard to describe. Yes. I’m a mother now. But you know what? I still enjoy my wine. i LOVE cooking. And I want to be out and about in San Diego like I used to be. And for the most part, I am. I just have this extra facet to my life now. One that sometimes overshadows all the others. But if this makes sense, it amplifies the other facets in my life. I feel like I’m kinder. I’m more fun. I’m more patient. I enjoy my food even more. I’m happier. I’m happier than I can remember in a long time. And yet….I’m struggling to define my new “self”. At this point I think I’m rambling. Clearly, my lovely daughter sleeps to much and I therefore have too much time to sit and ponder this stuff…. (she sleeps through the night, you all. Through the night!)

So what this boils down to is…I’m a mom now. And this blog is going to change. And I was resisting it and trying to figure out how to continue as it was. But that’s not reality. So if you would like to read along, that’s cool. If not. I understand. I was there years ago (that’s not meant to be condescending…please take it for it is) – I had no interest in kids and so it didn’t appeal to me. This may be you. Totally cool.

But if you are interested then even better. I will warn you, my name is still Andrea. It’s not mom. I’m just a better version now.

This post was brought to you by wine, a marathon of the Housewives of New York, and the exhaustion that results after running around a teething, but adorable 8 month old baby.

Things I Like – Spring 2015 Edition

Just a few things that have made me smile lately…

Chemex

Oh goodness. Where do I begin? I have always had a great appreciation for coffee. However, in these last few months, that appreciation has blossomed into a full-blown love affair. I have nothing against your regular drip machines, your french presses (I still use one!), your nespresso machines or keurigs. But please. We’re talking about next-level coffee here. Pourover coffee (pourover is the method) results in coffee that is full-bodied, smooth, and free of bitterness. Plus, it’s a beautiful piece of equipment.

Mossimo Supply Co. Layla Sneaker

Casual and easy. That sums up my style right now. In the last few weeks ago I’ve taken it upon myself to clean out my closet and adopt a “Capsule Wardrobe.” For me, that means a few skinny/slim bottoms, v-neck t-shirts, popovers and various flats that all mix-and-match with ease.

So enter these sneakers. I love them for two reasons – first, they have a nautical feel to them which is perfect for where I live. Second, they are a steal! I bought them last week for $14. Since they are white, I know they will probably only last a season or two before they need to be retired to “yard” shoes. At that price, I’m okay with that. (I did spray a few coats of ScotchGuard on them in an attempt to extend their life.) Thus far I’ve worn them with rolled boyfriend-style jeans, skinny chinos, and some navy shorts. I plan on wearing these all summer when flip-flops won’t do and I don’t want to wear ballet flats.

Succulents!

To be honest, these are a perennial favorite. I love how versatile they are, and how easy they are to care for. And since my free-time is very limited these days, low-maintenance is key. California is also experiencing a severe water shortage, so these drought-friendly plants are great right now.

I have them placed inside my house as centerpieces on my tables, and all over my patio. I love them!

Duolingo

I LOVE this app! I studied Italian in college, spent time in Italy a few times, and have made a concerted effort to speak the language. However, in the last few years that has fallen to the wayside. This app is great because it allows me to practice daily with short, to-the-point exercises. The app itself has many languages available and comprises exercises thatspan from translating to speaking the phrases yourself. It will also send you a daily reminder to complete your exercises.

After only a few days, my Italian is noticeably better!

Here’s a screenshot:

There you have it!

My First 

My first Mothers Day Weekend at a glance.    

 I have no complaints. 

Revamping

Six months in and we are finally getting the hang of it. Baby is sleeping (mostly) through the night, naps are established, we’re starting to speak the same language, and life is starting to settle down. A little.

That means that I’m no longer in survival mode – just trying to make it through the day. Projects are getting started AND finished around the house. Mom and baby are happy. Seriously, this is the happiest little baby in the world. And life is good.

So I suppose that means I’m ready to blog again. I have been writing several posts in my head, but wasn’t ready to commit until this week. I’m thinking I’m due for a re-design. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m happy to dip my toe back into the world of blogging.

Still Grateful

It’s been a hot minute since I last blogged. I can’t remember why I stopped. But I’m sad that I did so in the middle of my ’30 Days of Gratitude’ series. I can take solace in the fact, however, that I did continue to record my 30 Days in my own private journals. Perhaps this fall I shall try to take it on again. Because these days I have even more to be grateful for.

In particular? This:

I’m carrying a little extra weight these days. And for the first time in my life, I’m happy about it. My life is changing drastically this October. And I couldn’t be more ecstatic. (One could argue that it has already changed a considerable amount…)

So, clearly, my life is much different than it was a few months ago. But it’s certainly for the better. Much better. And I continue to find myself grateful about the smallest things these days. Today, for example? Hiccups. Seriously. I have been feeling little one’s hiccups for the last few minutes deep inside my tummy and it thrills me. There is a growing human inside me, and we’re so connected that I can actually feel her little, tiny, delicate, hiccups. It’s insane. And suddenly, I understand how all mothers and mothers-to-be change their world view. I can’t go an hour without being reminded of the life inside me.

Life has, indeed, drastically changed.

30 Days Of Gratitude: Day 14

Well here we are on hump day, which I think is appropriate because…

Today I am grateful for:

  • Camel pose aka ustrasana. (Get it? Hump day? Camel Pose? hehe) This is one of my favorite poses for several reasons: I have a very tight back and this really helps to alleviate the back pain I occasionally experience; it’s good for your thyroid and I have a hypo-active thyroid; and it’s empowering! I feel strong and open in this pose. It really is one of my favorites.
  • Off Days. This sounds counter-intuitive, but sometimes having a day that isn’t going your way is just what you need to put what you really have into perspective. It’s the perfect opportunity to practice gratitude or to practice your coping mechanisms. My main coping mechanism? Yoga!
  • Classic books. I’m currently re-reading Mansfield Park (I’m a girl, Jane Austen is in my blood). Next on my list is ‘100 Years of Solitude’ and ‘East of Eden.’ It’s replaced my nightly television watching and I think it’s definitely helping me fall to sleep better. Not to say that the books are putting me to sleep, but they are an excellent way to settle your mind before bed.

30 Days Of Gratitude: Day 13

Today has been a fantastic day! I say this a lot, but October in San Diego is absolutely unbelievable. The sun is out, the sky is clear, and I’m a happy gal!

Today I am ever so grateful for:

  • DIY manicures. Such an inexpensive, easy pick-me-up. It’s a little vain, I know, but I like to look down and see pretty nails staring right back at me. And you know what? We all deserve little indulgences from time to time.
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Nailpolish: Chinchilly be Essie

  • Live music! Tonight I am going to go see my boyfriend’s band (Castoff) in some dive-y, grimy bar on El Cajon Blvd. and I can’t wait! I love watching people do what they love. And it doesn’t hurt when they’re actually good at it either. Also, I’m sure I’ll get a beer out of it! Cheers! And break a leg Castoff!
  • Scary movies. Last night my roommate loaded up the living room with snacks, champagne, the pups and put on some scary movies. It was such a blast! Even if I did end up falling asleep somewhere around movie #2…. We might not have the super-chilly weather, but we can certainly pretend.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend.

Namaste!

30 Days Of Gratitude: Day 12

Day 12?!?! Wow, I have really been dropping the ball! The good thing, is that even though I haven’t been diligent about recording my gratitude journal online, I have been starting my day doing so (with a cup of coffee, of course) and it’s had such a powerful impact on my day and my life. If you haven’t started doing so, I would greatly encourage you to do it. Of course, it doesn’t need to recorded online, or even shared with anyone. Just take a few short minutes every morning (or evening, or whenever it is convenient for you) and set you mind into one of gratitude.

With that said, today I am grateful for:

  • Being myself! Gone is the blonde SoCal wannabe hair and back is my dark, twisty self. Hehe. Kidding. But it’s a nice change to be back to brunette. Less upkeep as well! And that is always a good thing!
Image

Embracing my Italiana roots. Blonde no more!

  • Practicing yoga outside. I’ve been fortunate to find a studio that has an outside patio. It’s beautifully set up with bamboo floors and walls, banana trees, twinkle lights, and steps away from the pacific ocean. They also play live music, which is such a great experience when getting down with your yogi self. But lately, as I’ve been trying to cut costs (darn you yoga and your expensive classes!) I’ve been bringing my practice to my own outside patio. With the help of a few great iphone apps, I’ve been having a great time. I encourage all my fellow yogis to get away from the mirrors of a studio and practice outside. Trust your body. I think once we all take our focus away from the mirror we can really start to experiment and have some fun with our practice.
  • Fall weather. I know that’s such a funny concept in San Diego. But the last few days have had a definite chill in the air. I felt not even a little silly breaking out the tights with my favorite LBD the other day.

Anyone know of any outside yoga classes in San Diego? I’m thinking a beach class would be AMAZING!

Namaste!

30 Days Of Gratitude: Day 11

Alright, I have been horrible about posting daily, so this 30 Days of gratitude might stretch out for a bit. But maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Practicing gratitude is something I aim to do daily; not just for the month of September.

So today, I am grateful for:

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  • My boyfriend! He has the best sense of humor, is incredibly sweet, and is an excellent partner to compete against while watching Jeopardy. He’s cute too🙂 But honestly, he has proven to be an excellent partner in every way. I respect his intelligence, the pride he takes in his work, and his unwavering support. He’s one in a million.
  • Fall! Fall or Autumn – whatever you wish to call it, it’s my FAVORITE season of the year. Here in San Diego, I wouldn’t say we get the changing of leaves other cities get, but there is definitely a change in the air. Even if it’s in my head. I am looking forward to the day I can comfortably break out my boots!
  • Hurdlers pose. My roommate and I have been diligently working on this particular pose for the last several months. And I think this speaks to our relationship perfectly, but we both favor opposite sides. I’m better on my left (I am a lefty, afterall) and she absolutely nails it on the right. So I’ve been working on my right side, and I’m starting to feel some real progress. My next goal is to transition from Hurdlers into side crow. Eeeek! Regardless, these balancing poses are turning into such great confidence boosters. They aren’t bad for my arms either!