We have been getting so many wonderful gifts from our loving friends and family, this little bear is seriously so lucky in love already! With Christmas two days away, I'm sure we'll receive so many more, and I have to stop and express gratitude for all the love expressed in so many ways thus far, and so many ways to come.
The gifts have been so thoughtful, including everything from unexpected gender-neutral and stylish baby clothes (than you Aunt Sarah and Uncle Derek!) to much-needed and functional baby furniture and carseats (thank you Grandmas Terri and Lupe and Sue)! I'm personally loving purging our own things to make room for babies necessities! But more on that later...
But outside of the things we've received, I feel even more grateful for the gifts of care and love Kevin and I have received and continue to receive ongoing from our tribe. So many of you have sent us love from near and far:
It isn't the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.
And then there is perhaps the greatest gift that I have received of all - I can't help but get a little mushy here, so bear with me. Thisi past week my husband took some of his much-deserved vacation time to rest up and relax after a the huge feat of completing yet another successful project. For those of you who do not know, Kevin is a consultant- and he works his butt off on various projects at different companies, often travelling and working long hours. His dedication and skill are truly impressive and I probably don't tell him enough how proud I am of him- for the actual work that he does, and the reason he does it- to help build our wonderful world and life together.
Now, back to this vacation time he took. Kevin took the full week off, ahead of when we travel, to do a sort of stay-cation. But he didn't rest a bit all week. Kevin, instead of taking an actual break, spent the week putting so much time and effort into preparing for our little baby bear to arrive- and I didn't even ask him to! He did all of this completely on his own, which makes it even more sweet. He made trips to IKEA (that deserves a standing ovation on its own), put together furniture, replaced our carpets, organized closets and he even trained Louie to stop barking and to not be scared of the rock 'n play! :)
The love and dedication he put in this past week has just blown me away and has truly been the best gift I have received yet. So, he deserves a big shout out here and gratitude everyday- I love you Kevin!
Thank you to everyone who is in our community- close and extended, near and far. We appreciate you <3 And our little bear, who is almost 28 weeks now, she appreciates all the love and can't wait to give you all cuddles when she arrives in early Spring!
I hope we all enjoy the many gifts of the season, most importantly our special time with loved-ones.
This past Monday at my Fit4Baby class, right at the end, we sat in meditation with our hands on our bellies as our teacher read us a beautfiul poem. As she read the words, tears came to my eyes. These are the words she read:
Repeat this to your baby -
You are loved.
You are valuable.
You are crafted with beauty and purpose.
You are treasured and this world needs you.
There is no one else like you.
You don’t need to look like the rest, talk like the rest, or be like the rest.
This world needs you as you are.
There is NO truth in the lie that you don’t matter.
You are loved.
You were put here for a reason.
You are not an accident. You are not a mistake.
You are mine and you are loved.
Now repeat this to yourself -
I am loved.
I am valuable.
I am crafted with beauty and purpose.
I am treasured and this world needs me.
There is no one else like me.
I don't need to look like the rest, talk like the rest, or be like the rest.
This world needs me as I am.
There is NO truth in the lie that I don't matter.
I am loved.
I was put here for a reason.
I am not an accident. I am not a mistake.
I am my baby's and she loves me already.
I felt so close to my baby as I repeated the words in my mind to her. We are as close as can be - a body within a body, a soul within a soul. I am not only protecting and growing her, she is protecting and growing me too.
It's so easy and natural for me to reapeat these words to my little baby girl. But I realized as I spoke those words to myself sometimes they can still be hard to remember and hard to believe about myself. My confidence waivers as I still work to find my place in the world, find my place in a career and passion I love, some days I still feel like I am searching some days I feel like I am lost. I have a loving husband, a loving family, wonderful friends- but I have to know, myself, I was put here for a reason- even if all the pieces haven't come together yet. Right now, my reason is her. And that's a damn good reason.
We have just around 13 weeks until our little girl arrives. She'll be here, in my arms, needing me to be fully confident and present for her. In these 13 weeks I want to do more in preparation for her arrival. More to grow and evolve myself. More internal and loving work, to help prepare me for motherhood. I am not sure what it will look like, but here's to more meditation, journal work, reflection and self-love.
Weeks 25-26 of this pregnancy have been tiring and had me down with a cold. My second cold of the season, in fact, which is very unike me. Even when I was a teacher and coaching in schools, I was able to avoid catching bugs flying around. But, alas, this is much more challenging on the body for sure!
To keep my spirits up, rest up and stay connected, our little family has found some fun activities to do at home. I know throughout the pregnancy and even (especially) after our little bear joins us, Kevin and I will need to focus on our relationship and staying connected - so its important that we begin these routines and "dates" now, so that we can get in the habit of connection time and "us time" and continue it even after our little one has joined the outside world!
The picture from above and those below document our first belly painting experience, which brought so much joy, beyond words. Kevin took such care and patience to make this belly ornament just right- it took over an hour. The best part was watching our little girl wiggle around, as Christmas music played in the background.
Another fun date at home this week was cooking and eating a fantastic meal together. It was our first time trying out Blue Apron and we loved it! Thank you to my cousins who gifted us 2 weeks of Blue Apron for our wedding gift- it was truly a thoughtful gift and great experience. The cooking and eating was a wonderful experience and just perfect to brighten up our Monday evening together! The process and the results are below.
I love how our partnership is growing in so many wonderful ways during this pregnancy. There are sure to be many challenges ahead, but if we can stay connected through it all, we'll be better partners and better parents for our little baby girl.
Wow- it's December! How the time is flying!! Being a mom-to-be is stretching my mindful muscles as I love the now, but feel anxious to plan for what is to come!
Our little bear is due in March, but today we went to visit and tour our second day care center. We don't even need child care until she will be 5-6 months old. So why are we visiting day cares now, you might ask? No, we're not crazy, we're not control freaks, and we're not even really big planners.
We are not trying to get our little baby girl into some fancy private school yet either- but if we wait any longer we might get stuck without childcare. In fact, I'm a little concerned this still might happen to us if the waitlists stay full. The waitlists for day care centers in the bay area are unimaginable. Some, around a year. So today when we put down a (non-refundable) deposit, we were told that there are around 30 families on the waitlist and that September is probably when they will start having openings.
This is just one of the major things we are having to start planning for now- and it's challenging. I'm trying so hard to stay present and mindful, but I am finding it difficult.
Additionally and related to the daycare planning, my mind has been drifting often to our next move. Probably not a big move like others we have done in the past (NYC to LA, LA to Chicago, and Chicago to our current home in the Bay)- but a move nonetheless, which is a lot of work even without a baby. Our current lease is up in August, and while we love this place- the location, the comfort, the room, there are several reasons why we probably will not sign another lease.
Our rent is insane- but let's be honest, prices almost anywhere in the Bay Area are outrageous. Do we continue to pay these sky-rocket rent prices and feel like our money is going down the drain? Do we downsize a bit to try and save up more money (but continue to spend money on rent rather than invest in property). Or, do we bite the bullet and put all of our savings into a teenie tiny home here in the Bay Area, where the prices are at an all time high? Can we even afford a down payment, a mortgage and taxes on a little house if we want to? Maybe we should just get the heck out of here and move to Texas- okay I don't really mean that- but the idea of a nice home of our own for "cheap" compared to California is sometimes tempting. I don't have answers to any of these questions, but they just seem to consume my brain lately.
It doesn't help that our lease is up in August, which is right about when Kevin will be heading back to work after his paternity leave. As much as I want to stay in the moment, I know its important to begin the planning, so I need to work on a good balance. I do know in my heart it will all work out exactly as it has supposed to. Our life is so blessed and I am so grateful for the mere fact that we have so many options.
Here I am now, after this long stream of consciousness coming back to my center. My blessings. What I know to be true & what I know to be thankful for:
- we have eachother
- we have a loving and supportive family
- we have a warm cozy home
- we have well-paying jobs, with benefits and paid maternity and paternity leave (4 months!)
- we have adventures, opportunities and memories
- we have nutritious food and the ability to enjoy it
- we have joy and laughter
- we have our health
- we have time to figure it all out
- we have everything we need & more
Plus, we have baby kicks and baby hiccups to keep us focused on these wonderful moments that make up our wonderful life! Just watch her wiggle: