adulthood 101

I frequently feature guest posts on career, family and culture by inviting friends and peers to share stories and anecdotes from their own experiences to uncover and introduce different and unique perspectives on being a parent in today’s world.

Please drop me a line if you would like to be featured or submit a subject, via my submit button above, that you would like us to cover.

xx Ly

email: lydiamaria at gmail dot com

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9 weeks a madre

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We hit nine weeks yesterday and two months of life with Mo on Monday. Just last week we hit a major milestone: fun. Mo is more fun than ever.

Part of this fun and general happiness might be attributed to the wonderful weather we have been having this month. The fact that we can spend each day outside in the warm sunshine is definitely a wonderful thing. I was so nervous about having my maternity leave in our PNW winter, figuring we would be stuck inside each day due to the rain and gloom. But have been more than pleasantly surprised by the temps in the 60’s and regular/frequent time spent outside.

But back to the kid… He is smiling regularly and so much more engaged with us, still quite serious and very inquisitive (judging) with those eyes. Also, it must be known that the boy loves to have me sing to him, which makes me feel quite special.  We are still working on ironing out the right schedule. I know that schedules are important with babies and children. Mike and I really had no schedule and little structure to our lives outside of work before the baby came along. We were quite spontaneous with plans and activities. So along with adjusting to this extra heart beat we are working through what it means to have more of a schedule we can rely on.

Mo consistently sleeps six straight hours at night and after those six hours wakes for a feeding then can be put back down for another three hours. The trouble with this is that due to our lack of a schedule he might fall asleep some nights at 8:00PM and other nights at 11:00PM. When he falls asleep at 8:00PM he is up at 2:00AM for his feeding but when he falls asleep at 11:00PM then he does not wake til 5:00AM which is much more our speed. With the later bedtime he usually takes a nap mid morning for an hour to an hour and a half and then a mid afternoon nap 3:00-6:00PM or so. This then allows for our family activities like visiting with friends, going out to dinner or whatever to happen during the hours that those make sense for all the non babies and then he gets tired out appropriately for bedtime. I am not sure if I can attribute his six hours of sleep to the dreamfeed as we only truly did it maybe five times. I figure that is not enough consistency so I will just say he is a good sleeper on his own.

We submitted Mo’s passport application on Monday- his two month mark, and in one month we will be in sunny Mexico with Mike’s side of the family. I am now on the hunt for appropriate stuff for our little guy to wear while poolside. I always thought the kids with the full sleeve suit things were a little bizarre. The parents were literally ‘over protecting’ their kids. But now I am eating my words as we will have a fair skinned three month old sitting poolside who I definitely do not want to have get burnt up. I am taking any and all suggestions on what to get for our little guy to wear while we are down there. Thanks in advance!

Now lets talk clothes. The boy is obviously still a baby. So most frequently he can be seen in sweats: cotton onesies and cotton baggy little leggings. I love how simple and easy it is to dress him in this stuff. It all matches cause it is all solid colors- grey and navy seem to be the go tos. I did however get him into a pair of his jeans from baby gap over the weekend and paired it with his chuck taylor crib shoes which are still a little too big but pretty dang cute! The jeans are not really jeans, much more like cotton sweats with detailing like jeans- pockets, tailoring, etc. I am looking forward to real outfits with the baby boy but while he is still so mini we will stick to the coziness of cotton onesies with snaps and baby steez.

Lastly I am almost halfway through maternity leave. Which is a bizarre feeling. These days don’t feel like they have added up to much outside of course nurturing this baby. I have all kinds of feelings about maternity leave. There is stuff that makes me feel great and stuff that makes me feel not so great. I have been thinking about this a lot and will probably go in to more depth about it in a future post, but in short it is an amazing gift to be able to focus on my baby, myself and our family, but I struggle with the lack of accomplishment I feel now compared to what I felt from my tasks and responsibilities in the office.

That’s where I am at these days with nine weeks in the rear view.

xx Ly

sportswear/ workout gear/ loungewear

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A post about some of my favorite sportswear/workout gear/ loungewear is overdue. I can be seen in my Nike sweats and sneakers more often than not. Don’t be worried it is not a sad post baby wardrobe slump, sportswear/ workout gear/ loungewear is a major part of my wardrobe both pre and post partum.

I recently took a visit to the Nike store and added some new favorites to the rotation.

1) Bliss Pant: These are a version of the very on trend jogger but the fact that they are Nike makes them legit sportswear both for lounging and activewear. I love the cut, soft fabric and fit.

2) Bomber: An updated classic athletic silhouette that I can throw over any pair of sweats/leggings/tights/shorts and feel automatically cool.

3) Legend Tight: My ultimate black leggings. These are perfect for working out but also super flattering for daily use for laid back days. Plus these pants claim to give you the ‘best butt ever’ which I am not mad about.

4) Flyknit Chukka: Not a shoe for working out but the best looking everyday sneaker. Super comfortable with super stylish details.

5) Indy Bra: I have been wearing these as nursing bras. They fold down nicely when I need to nurse, are very comfortable and offer great support. They also have padding inside them which is kind of odd, but that serves as a great barrier for leaking nipples when you are not nursing!

The obvious bonus of wearing this gear is that I am more often than not one step from being workout ready, but the real benefit is how comfortable & flattering everything is. So i end up feeling confident and chic in these looks which does wonders for a post partum madre. Hope this post inspires you to work in some sportswear looks into your wardrobe.

xx Ly

Mo @ 2 months with Frenchie

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Mario is two months old. He is wearing this cute little outfit from Nordstrom that I cannot find online. Highlights from the past month include:

  • Smiles!
  • Beautiful spring like weather means lots of time outside.
  • Passport application has been submitted. Trip to Mexico booked for next month!
  • Six hours of sleep at night is his new norm, more on that later.
  • Very active and alert- we have been convinced we have a very smart boy on our hands.
  • First real bath in our upstairs bathroom sink was exciting at first but homeboy lost interest after about two minutes.

More updates and thoughts from me coming later in the week with my nine weeks a madre post.

xx Ly

a super simple diy

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If you are a child of the ’90’s you likely have a bin of beanie babies hiding at your parents house. I sure do. You can use such beanie babies to make this really easy DIY accessory for your baby.

The pacifier, chupón in our house, is something that we are very happy to be using. It provides some extra quiet and soothing to our little guy. We refer to it as a ‘chupón’ as that is how you say it in Spanish. My madre called it a chupón as I grew up so naturally that is just what I call it.

Mo is too young to keep the chupón secured in his mouth so to stop it from dropping and fallout out of his mouth I thought to get him a Wubbanub, $16 pacifiers with small stuffed animals attached. What I had heard was that the stuffed animal rests on baby’s chest and keeps the chupón in place. Plus babies like holding on to the arms and legs of the stuffed animal.

As soon as I brought the item home I realized that I could make my own with the stash of beanies I had at my parents. Below is the super easy instructions to make your own.

DIY BEANIE BABY CHUPÓN

MATERIALS

  • beanie baby plush toy
  • needle & thread
  • chupón

DIRECTIONS

  1. Choose the part of the toy that you want to attach the chupón. Make sure there is enough room to fold in the fabric of the top so that handle on the chupón has a little pocket to fit into.
  2. Using the needle and thread begin to sew the chupón into the pocket. I did about 6 stitches and it is secure. Thats it, now you are done.

I have heard from a few parents that weaning your kid off of the chupón is actually quite easier with this type. When the time comes you can just cut off the chupón and your kid still has the security of the toy, just not the chupón.


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I am proud of this litle DIY and like the fact that I am up cycling some toys from my childhood. Look out friends, this DIY will be coming to a baby shower or gift near you!

xx Ly

because I’m happy

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As the Pharell hit from last year goes so does this post about my Saturday. I remember multiple times on Saturday where I just paused and thought: I am happy. Saturday was of course Valentine’s day but more importantly it was a full day spent with Mike and Mo.

Soon after Mike returned from his shoot in NYC he got both an ear and throat infection so all last week was kind of just like having him gone again. He was resting and on the mend during most of the waking hours which left Mo and I where else but my moms house. But on Saturday he was back to about 99% and we spent all day together. We spent the morning in bed trying to make Mo smile and Mike brought me a juice from the fridge that I joked was breakfast in bed. Then we ended up out to lunch. The rest of the afternoon spent doing some spring shopping downtown after, which is always fun! It felt like old times and Mo was along for the ride, just cozy in his Sollybaby wrap, I guess it is just our new normal.

We ended the day with a run around our hood and then up to my parents house and watched a movie. I was proud of myself for being in the moment and being grateful for the people I was with and the simple experiences we were sharing. It was my best Valentine’s day so far.

xx Ly

thanks to the village

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My mom & cousin Anni visiting us at the hospital on day one.

I am settling into almost eight weeks as a madre and feel like I owe some ‘thank yous’. The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child. My experience thus far it could not be more true. Ever since sharing the news that we were pregnant the positivity and excitement that family and friends had was truly wonderful. We were nervous, hesitant and scared being pregnant and telling those near and dear to us had us quite anxious. We soon learned that this type of news is really fun and quite special to share. People cannot help but get a huge smile on their faces when they learn that their favorite people will be welcoming a new person into the world. So one big thank you to friends and family who from the get go were so congratulatory and positive when we told them the news.

We have lots of people to thank: parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, the list goes on. But a couple weeks back, before we figured out I had the breast infection, I had three random yet coincidental visits from three women who have known me my whole life. So a big thank you to Julie, Barbara and my Aunt Trish for visiting, thinking of us, bringing food and smiles. It really came at the right time and I was very thankful and felt a sincere sense of community as these women naturally comforted and mothered me. Showing genuine care and enthusiasm to help, nurture and support us.

I am reminded of a note I received the night after Mario was born from my dad. He sent me the above picture from that day in the hospital and said: Your mom is so happy… In 1000 different ways, I am so proud of you. Looking forward to welcoming Mario home tomorrow.

So naturally my biggest thank you goes to my own parents, especially my mom, the original madre. I know what you are thinking: everyone thinks their mom is the best thing ever. We are wired that way. Even if your mom is a nagger or someone who will always embarrass you publicly you know that you can always count on her for whatever you need. She is your number one fan and someone who knows you better than most. She can read you like a book. My mom is all of the above. She is not only my number one fan but also Mo’s number one fan. She can count on one hand the days that she has not seen him in his 55 days of life. That is a testament to her desire and ability to help me but also to snuggle the little guy as much as possible. She is always a text away with an answer about why he has not pooped in the last 24 hours or how to reheat my breast milk from the bottle. We are very fortunate that she lives just up the street from us so I can walk, run or drive over to drop the baby off or come up for a meal.

The gift of her confidence with babies and children has given me a real safety net. I take Mo up to her house at least 3-4 times a week to visit. We go to lunch or catch up. More often than not I leave him so I can take a run or take care of some stuff at home. I know it is a blessing to have family nearby, both of our families live in town, and family that is excited and interested in being so involved with helping us. I am definitely taking advantage. I cannot begin to thank her enough but we are so appreciative of the help so far and undoubtedly the help she will provide in the months and years to come.

I will end by saying that I have begun to feel a new connection with my own mother. A different kinship to her that I did not feel before and I know that is coming from the shared experience we now have as madres together and a true respect for the love, guidance and devotion she has given to me since I was as little as Mo.

THANK YOU mom TQM & thanks to our village!

xx ly

FOLLOW FRIDAY GUEST POST

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Back on the guest post wagon today with my coworker Andrea. She is madre to nine month old Reece and put together a list of four themes that cover the ups and downs of parenthood thus far for her.


Hi!  I am Andrea, Lydia’s friend from work, and Mom to a 9 month little lady.  It has been so fun to watch Lydia become a Mom through her blog, as well as get a peek into her personal life and style sources (I mean girls got game right?!?!).
Reece is my first babe, and while I clearly don’t have a ton of experience in parenting, there are some things I would like to share of the ups and downs on my journey through parenthood.  Somehow all my theme’s came out in the form of F words, so I just rolled with it.
FOCUS
As if Mom brain wasn’t enough, where things slip in and out of it as easily as  water through a stream, one of the challenges I have found with motherhood is is that I simply can not give all of my focus to those I love anymore when Reece is in attendance.  No longer can I sit across from said loved one with my full attention, and really absorb everything that they have going on in their lives, ask insightful questions, and discuss topics that don’t somehow circle back to her.  I feel that my time with them no longer holds the same quality that it used to, and I am somehow shorting them, and myself, by not giving them 100% of my attention.  For me, becoming a Mom has been like looking at life through the lens of a camera.  Reece is my sole point of focus, and she will always be crystal clear, where the eye is drawn, and where a huge part of my attention goes.  The rest of the picture however is slightly blurred, a little harder to remember, or stay focused on.  While still important, it is hard to keep the eye on them for long.  Ultimately what I concluded is that while I aspire to get better at it, I also know that Reece will always occupy (and require) a corner of my mind, and that’s ok too, because if anyone is more deserving of it, it is she.
FEAR
With a large family with lots of cousins, nephews, nieces, etc., I feel like I was pretty well prepared with what motherhood would bring.  However, the thing that came up and slapped me in the face is the inordinate amount of fear that came with bringing a child into the world.  Before Reece, I lived in an ignorant yet blissful bubble, in which I felt that I and my loved ones were safe from harm.  Yet the fragility of life comes into sharp focus after birth.  Now that bubble has shattered, and I constantly have scenarios of bad things happening to her running through my mind, sometimes very unlikely scenarios, but still the weight and worry is there.  There are times that I honestly feel relieved that she is alive and well when I go into her room to get her up, or when I get home from work.  I have asked other moms about this, and unfortunately they tell me it does not get any better over time (ugh).  The upside is it does make me better relate to my own mother who at 30 years old still calls and checks on me every few hours on road trips, and insists whenever I fly that I call once landed.  I get it Mom.
FUN
Having Reece has renewed the child in me that has been dying to get out again.  With her I dance, sing, and have more lighthearted fun than I have in awhile.  It has gotten to the point where I think the ratio of singing to talking is like 90/10, and I wonder if she will grow up to think that life is one big musical.  Which would be pretty awesome.  The other fun side effect is that doing all these childish things, is reminding me of so many good memories from my own childhood.  Unearthing all these happy things that haven’t crossed my mind in years.  I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but I honestly feel like the saying that you get to relive life through your child’s eyes, is absolutely a valid one.
FRIENDSHIP
I have never quite felt the power and pull of kinship as I have since becoming a mother.  All mothers are inherently drawn to each other, as if we all belong to this secret club that no one else could possibly know how amazing yet simultaneously challenging it is.  Sometimes it is in the form of unwarranted advice, but I have found that more often than not it is to lend a helping hand, give you a word of encouragement, or simply give that knowing smile that says “honey, I’ve been there”.  Friendships have sprung up from other mamas that I may never have connected with before, or old friends from school that I hadn’t heard a word from in years, simply because we have the common ground of motherhood.  I feel crazy lucky that I only have supporters in my community both online and in real life.  It can so easily go negative, judgmental, and gossipy.  Read through some of the comments of parenting articles online, and it makes me want to scream “Where did our community go?!?!  We are in this together!!”  I think that our society has in many ways bred us to be insecure and defensive of our choices, especially those made as a parent.  But imagine how much better off we would be if instead we took the approach of “That’s interesting.  Is it working for you?  Great!  This is what has been working for us lately.”  It’s hard not to think one way (your way) is the best, but every child is different, every parent is different, and sometimes you simply have to go with what works.  Let’s find our commonalities, and celebrate the fact that we are keeping them alive and happy, because really, it takes a village.

Thanks so much Andrea! I knew you would have something great to add here. I love your positivity and honesty about being a madre to Reece!

xx Ly

seven weeks a madre

7 weeks a madre


On Tuesday we hit seven weeks with Mo. Breastfeeding is a million times better and I am so thankful. His thrush has also cleared up so we are doing really good. I am anxious to see what he weighs at his next appointment. He is starting to get little rolls and definitely is bulking up. Lots of his newborn clothes no longer fit and we are definitely in the 0-3 months territory so that means he can start wearing the clothes that we have been gifted and that I bought him early on. I am quite jealous that the guy pretty much gets a new wardrobe every month or so!

Mo has begun to smile but is overall still pretty serious and most often has an inquisitive look on his face or furrowed eyebrows concentrating on looking and figuring something out. When he does smile it is most often first thing when he is up for the day. I hear him rustling next to me in bed and look over. He takes a big yawn and then gives a grin. I wish I could say that he smiles right at me, but no. He is usually looking up at the ceiling making a smile.

On the home front Mike had his first business trip last week. Weds- Saturday. I leaned on my family a lot and spent most of my time up the street with them- thanks fam! Mike and his business partner work from our house most days so it is really noticeable when he is out to meetings or on business travel. We now have Mike back with us all week before he heads out on another shoot next week. It is hard on me to have him gone, not having another sleepy person at home to commiserate with or the extra hand with bottles and diapers. Not to mention the fact that I am jealous of his travel schedule, he has Kenya on deck. Mo and I are looking to tag along to LA in March for a shoot they are scheduling. Looking forward to seeing friends in LaLaLand and spending sometime in the warm weather.

The dreamfeeding is something we are still working on, as is just defining a solid schedule. I have not determined what will work best for us but like the idea of him going down to bed on the later end so he can let me sleep in. We are not consistent with any schedule quite yet. Maybe while Mike is out on his next shoot Mo and I can work on nailing a schedule down.

I am on my third week of working out post partum. Mostly doing short runs and sometimes 15 minute NTC ‘get focused’ workouts. On Tuesday I went into the doctor for another check up and after being weighed learned that I had lost one pound since my last appt three weeks back. That was disappointing. I am only 10 pounds away from my pre pregnancy weight and honestly lost most of the weight right after birth and then quickly with breast feeding. I attribute my minimal weight gain during pregnancy to my commitment to working out throughout the entire pregnancy. I actually ran up one of the steepest streets in Portland 12 hours before my first contraction. But now post partum I think I need to get more serious and diverse with my workouts. Looking forward to getting back to spinning soon and committing to that at least weekly for a good workout. I probably have to work on eating healthier and more balanced meals but will focus on working out initially cause that is what comes more naturally to me.

I am now rounding the corner on thinking this guy is pretty damn cute. Fresh outta the oven newborns have never really been my thing. But now that this guy is getting more expressive and beginning to show his little personality I am feeling the pride in being his madre. He is feeling more and more like my own little friend. I know this must sound bizarre to most, but It was not love at first sight. It was responsibility at first sight. He had my care and affection from the beginning but lately I am falling in love with the guy. My favorite thing ever is sleeping with him. Knowing he is safe, happy and fed in my arms with Mike beside us is pretty sweet.

That is all I have got at seven weeks.

xx Ly

Five Feb Faves

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I was inspired by my recent purchase of two boxes of Trader Joe’s peanut butter sandwich crackers to put a list together of some of my latest & favorite (non baby related) things, three of which are pictured above. My favorites this month have all been about the small things. Time with family and friends and simple pleasures.

First on my list has to be the crackers. My one complaint is that there does not seen to be enough crackers in each box.

Second, the stag horn fern I mounted this past weekend. I went with two friends to a local nursery on Sunday to learn about care and maintenance of these trendy indoor house plants, we even mounted and came home with our own plants. Good use of $15 if you ask me.

Third, my current manicure. Enough said.

Fourth, the craziness of this season’s Bachelor. With my maternity leave schedule I have lots of time for entertainment and with feeding Mo I get to sit on the couch and watch the girls go wild. I have not paid attention to much if the past seasons but am ashamed to admit that I am fully committed to this current season.

Fifth, sleep. Semi baby related, but when I get a good stretch it’s the best. Dreamfeed has been hit or miss for us but when it works I am very impressed.

xx Ly