Mom. Mommy. Mama. Mimi.
I once was very scared to have children. When I got married, I didn’t even think I would want any kids. Not only was I deathly afraid of being pregnant and birthing a human, I didn’t think I would naturally know what to do or how to love a child. I babysat a couple times at one point but that experience definitely did NOT tickle the ovaries. But once I got pregnant something just clicked. I was going to be a mom and I was….excited.
Now here I am with two children and I wouldn’t know how my life would have turned out if it changed course. I don’t even think I want to know how my life would be if I didn’t have my two boys. Being a mom still comes with crippling fear and anxiety no matter what age they are. I constantly think I am doing all the wrong things and the other half of the time I feel like I don’t even know WHAT I am doing. But what I do know is that I love my kids fiercely and I will do anything and everything for them. It really does take a village to raise these babies and if it wasn’t for these women, past and present, I don’t think I could do it.
And when I have those moments where I question my ability as a mother, I look to the women I admire the most. Not all of them may have children of their own but their maternal instincts are on high and I appreciate them all just the same. I dive into a safe space with all these women and talk about my thoughts and feelings and I appreciate their words and support.
To my mom who shows me that no matter what stage the relationship between mother and child are, the love will always be fierce. My kids never have any doubt how deep and how strong my love for them will always be. I’ve made it a point to have a little mantra with them during the tough times.
“Me: Even if I’m upset…
Them: You still love me?
Me: I still love you.”
To my aunts and grandmothers, who offered me a space to be able to come to them when I just couldn’t go to my mom for whatever reason. They let me vent about whatever was happening in my life and listened like a friend and guided me like a mother.
To the women I have met through my children’s school, the teachers and PTA patnas that have become friends. We have created bonds through these primary school years because our children are going through these growing pains together. We are able to lean on each other since we all are experiencing the same things at the same time. We all know how hard this mom thing is, and we never once thought to judge one another. These women taught me that village isn’t just in blood and I am forever grateful for their love and care for not only me but for my children as well.
Mother in law, sisters in law, mother figures to me, mother figures to my kids, cousins, sisters and other friends. The list of women who make me a better woman and mother is long. I’ve listened to their words and I’ve watched how they move. I have surrounded myself with a whole bunch of badass mamas and I can’t think of a better group of women to help me raise my boys. Thank you, each and every one of you, immensely, for being my village of women.
Kole And The One Three.
Last month my oldest turned thirteen. THIRTEEN. I’ve said this so many times and I’ll keep saying it again and again…Father Time, you are wildin’!!
I remember the day he was born so clearly. I remember all the events that lead up to his birth, all the people who were around me and the conversations I had over the phone. So many funny, scary, and beautiful moments of that time in April 2010. Then we blink. And the year is all of a sudden 2023 and the boy is all of a sudden a teenager.
I admit, I look back in time and I cryyyyy. I want so very badly to carry him in my arms and sing him lullabies. I want him to call me mommy and tell me silly stories in his baby voice. I want him to still look up at me and hold my hand. But all the things that I want, can no longer be.
I look at him and the baby face features are fading. His voice has completely changed, his face doesn’t always light up when he sees me and holding my hand is an absolute NO. GO. I am absolutely terrified of this new stage we have been slowly entering and I have no idea what I’m doing. I feel like all my words and choices are all wrong when it comes to parenting a teenager. I can no longer make decisions I think are best for him. I have to learn to give him the freedom to make those on his own so he can learn all the lessons he needs to learn.
I know it’s time for me to look at my little boy as a young man taking control of his own life. As much as I’m having a hard time with this, I can put a positive spin on it and be completely proud of him for advocating for himself. He’s learning new things about himself and trying to figure out what kind of human he wants to be. He’s trying new things to figure out what makes him happy and what brings him joy.
All the things I get frustrated with about him are things I know could possibly be his strengths. When I offer up a punishment he sits there and questions my choice. He debates with me making sure the “punishment fits the crime”. And he never settles for “because I said so.” In the moment, I’m furious with all of that. But with a clear mind I can see how healthy it is that he knows to fight for himself no matter who he’s fighting with. We just need to work on his delivery. *eye roll* He and I are hella similar, I feel so bad for my own mom. But again, with a clear mind and time, my mom has also seen I will not and never have settled and I will and have always fought for myself in the same way Kole does.
Despite the puberty part of it all, I enjoy seeing the journey of his change. Kole has always had a good heart and I know he is growing up to be a strong, smart, and talented gentleman because he is a strong, smart, and talented young man. With spice. I can’t be all that mad because let’s be a 100, he get it from his mama.
I am so grateful to look around me and take a strong notice of my female friendships and connections.
To the women who have become my sisters, they have stayed down for me No. Matter. What. They have allowed a safe space for me to feel my feelings, shout out my petty, and express my frustrations without judgement. They let me be me and still love me. They know I am NOT my worst day. They have grown with me and we vibe so well together because we allow each other to express our boundaries and most importantly we respect those boundaries. With clear and healthy communication and understanding, we know that cancelled plans are not the measure of our love and respect for each other. We know life happens and it’s ok to miss a dinner or a trip. Not showing up physically can be looked over because what matters is when we show up and show out for each other in different ways.
Some of my strong connections are with women I keep in touch with through social media or texts here and there or maybe a coffee/dinner date from time to time. We can sense hardship and struggle through posts and texts and we are always down to lift each other up. When we have the capacity to be present for one another, we set aside time to share an encouraging note or similar experiences and how we got or are getting through it.
This is the kind of energy I want to surround myself with. That I NEED to surround myself with. There was a moment I let a person into my life that drained the hell out of me. She let out more negative energy than positive. Now that our friendship has come to a close, I look back at our relationship and realized it was no where close to healthy or enriching. In my pursuit in trying to continue our friendship because I felt it was the nice thing to do, it was clear it was not the right thing to do. I let it run way passed its course and it was just time for me to remove myself from her. The end was not peaceful in action (ya’ll…I am heal-ing, NOT heal-ed) but still extremely peaceful in essence. I am happy to let go of that chapter. HELLA. It made me appreciate the women I do have in my life that want nothing more than great things for me as much as I want great things for them. They are the ones that charge me with their light.
Here’s to dope ass women who lift each other up, never want to drown our light with dark, and always make sure we glow for the gods.
crownandcoffee reads. vol. 2
It Starts With Us | Colleen Hoover I am pretty sure we know all about Colleen Hoover books by now and especially the cult favorite “It Ends With Us’. That book (and #booktok) got me sucked into the #CoHo world and I am not mad about! This book is the sequel to “It Ends With Us” and dives deeper into the Atlas character. It’s not as good as the first but still worth the read. If you didn’t fall in love with Atlas then, you WILL fall in love with him now.
Beach Read | Emily Henry This one was my least favorite of the romance novels I’ve read so far. I did feel it dragged a bit and I just didn’t quite connect to the characters. The outcome was nice to read but the path getting there was just kind of rough for me.
Wrong Place Wrong Time | Gillian McAllister I thought I’d switch up the genre for a bit and get into a crime thriller. This one took me a little while to read but once it picked up, I couldn’t put it down. It had a time loop, crime, a mother’s love, and a soul mate. The ending was pretty good!
Local Woman Missing | Mary Kubica This is definitely for the crime lover in you. There were so many gasping and “oh shit” moments, I had to reread the page to make sure I read it right the first time! It’s a yes for me!
Mad Honey | Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan This one was a good one. I felt like I was ignoring all other things I had to do and just getting immersed in the story (even if it did have some slow moments). The characters and their own stories kept my eyes stuck on the pages and had me feeling so much for them. So many topics and scenarios in this book that can create profound conversations amongst your friends or your book club pals. This is a great pick up!
All Your Perfects | Colleen Hoover Gah this book had me feeling all the feelings. The happy, the sad, the spicy! As a married woman, knowing the struggles a marriage can have, this can hit you close to home. The chapters were broken down by time frame so you were actually on an emotional rollercoaster! I could have read this one quicker but once the book’s present day chapters came, I had to pause to prepare myself emotionally. Another CoHo book that I loved!
*Commission links listed above.
I have always had a hard time putting me first. Most people I know have the same problem. We are so concerned about taking care of others, we often forget that we can’t help anyone else if we are running on empty.
Yes, it is admirable to always be of service to those in need and especially to those we love. But just like we are told on the plane, “Be sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.”
Saying “No”, “I can not”, or “I will not” always left me with huge amounts of guilt. Sacrificing my own schedule and feelings to appease a loved one was always at the top of the list. What I wanted or needed could be put at the end of the line because putting everyone else first makes me an amazing friend.
No. NO TO ALL OF THAT.
I have finally come to a point in my life where I HAVE to put myself first a lot of the time. There are
some times a lot of the times where I do struggle with this but there are other things that I can make a “non-negotiable” for me to make sure I keep on track.
I have been consistent with making sure my morning routine is on point with every step checked off. I’ve learned to not always be in a rush. I do what I need to do for the kids to get their morning going and I cherish the 10 minutes I set for MYSELF. I throw on some music and do every step of my skin care. I take my time putting on every serum that can keep me looking clean and Cullen and slather every moisturizer that can keep me glowing for the gods. A Gua Sha is a FA SHO. It keeps the blood flowing and it’s such a great little face massage to start off the day!
I limit the amount of times I cancel on myself. There have been times where someone has invited me to a last minute coffee date or a lunch during a scheduled workout or during a time I set aside to read. Those things may seem unimportant to others but it’s not just the act of working out or reading, it’s me intentionally choosing an activity that I know fills my cup. I will be much better company on the next coffee run or lunch date once I bring myself some joy.
I still have a lot of work to do but I am finding opportunities to offer some peace and happiness for my mind and my soul. If I pride myself in being a ride or die for my people, I must remember to offer the same energy to myself. Love me.
*Commission links listed above.
crownandcoffee reads. vol. 1
Since I have been going through so much in the last few years, I have been trying to make a conscious decision to implement activities in my daily routines that bring me joy. I have to do this to keep my spirits up and my mental above water. One of those things are getting back into reading. In 2022, I was able to dive into 7 books. I know that may not seem like a lot to some but it was a whole lot for me compared to the recent years of racking up 0 books.
I love finding articles or following book club posts to find new reads so I thought I’d share some that I got into and especially share the ones that absolutely grabbed me in and got me obsessed with the story and it’s characters. When real life is a struggle, who doesn’t like free falling into a hardcover and doing snow angels in it’s pages?!
People We Meet on Vacation | Emily Henry I loved this book. I enjoyed going on the journey with both characters from when they met to the book’s present day. It was funny. It was romantic. It was spicy. Took me a day to read. I just could not put it down!
Book Lovers | Emily Henry Another book I devoured. It was a bit slow at the very beginning but picked up pretty quickly soon after. If you love Hallmark movies, you will LOVE this book.
It Ends With Us | Colleen Hoover If you know what #booktok is, it made Colleen Hoover books go hella viral and that goes especially for this book in particular. Strong start. Strong middle. Strong end. I absolutely loved this book. It absolutely was not all sunshine and rainbows but the story will suck you in. This is one of my favorite books from Colleen Hoover so far. Fun fact: A movie is in the works!
Reminders of Him | Colleen Hoover This book – couldn’t put it down. This took me a day to read. I felt pins and needles in my heart the whole time reading. It was so good.
Verity | Colleen Hoover Another one day read for me. A. Lot. Of. Gasping. It was just too crazy to put down! I needed to know what happened next. If you like suspense and spice, this one’s for you!
What She Knew | Gilly Macmillan This one is for the crime buffs. I definitely had my detective hat on the whole time reading.
Where The Crawdads Sing | Delia Owens This book had such rave reviews, I thought I would love it. I didn’t hate but I definitely didn’t love it. It was good but I felt it was a bit slow for me.
Now go off and take a little break from real life and get lost in these stories!
*Commission links listed above.
I don’t like celebrating February 14th much because it just isn’t one of my favorite celebrations. But whenever February rolls around, I do have a little tradition I have with the boys.
It all started in February 2019, Kole was 8 and Monroe was 4. I surprised the boys with a little note each day from February 1st through February 14th.
I would cut pieces of different colored cardstock into hearts and wrote little notes on them. I would write little things that told them what I love about them and every night, for 14 nights, I would tape the heart shaped notes on the wall for them to find and read in the morning. To my surprise, they were just as happy and excited finding the notes as they are about opening up gifts on Christmas Eve night.
That year, we ended up keeping the notes up all year round. As the seasons changed and the next February 1st rolled around, the hearts were taken down only to make room for that year’s set of Love Notes.
The boys have a memory box that they keep each of the notes I wrote for them. It is only in this moment, that I am not going crazy over how much of hoarders they are. They never want to let go of anything! There are times I have to negotiate with them on items they can keep and what they MUST get rid of! Thankfully, these Love Notes are a non negotiable for them.
Alas, February 2023 is here and a whole new set of Love Notes with sweet somethings are ready to be written for them.
To The Boys I Will Love Always. 🤎
Teachers, You Are Top Tier.
What a crazy school year it has been!
It’s been such an emotional rollercoaster this whole year. With all this craziness, I have to give it up to all the teachers who thugged it out and extended their patience peak for not only the students, but for the parents as well.
They kept it calm and cool, as best as they possibly could. They were going through their own life stuff with their own families and dealing with their own anxieties during a pandemic and they still tried to make it as easy and seamless as possible for our children. No doubt they were the real MVPs this year.
As much as I was so hesitant in letting Kole and Monroe go back to in person learning, I’m glad I decided to let them continue the year that way. Monroe was able to get a little experience in class as a kindergartner and Kole was able to spend some time with half the class before bidding farewell to 5th grade. Now that we are ending the year, we still feel like we want more time with their teachers! They really are hella amazing. Hella.
Last year, I couldn’t get Monroe interested in reading or writing at all. His teachers not only got him to read AND read well, but also got him to LOVE school. Big ups to them, for real for real.
With Kole, it’s no surprise that he loves school but his teacher kept him excited to learn each day even if it was from a distance and with half the time.
Now it’s the end of the year and time to say goodbye to zoom classes, asynchronous/ synchronous learning, and our wonderful teachers. So I do as I always do and show our appreciation with end of the year teacher gifts.
I dusted off my cricut and got busy in design space. I used black heavy cardstock to line an 8×10 display case and decided to use school supplies to decorate the inside. I didn’t really feel like taking out my glue gun so I just used a mix of adhesive dots and Crafter’s Tape. Both did the job well! We thought this would be a great piece to put in their office at home or use as part of their decor in their classroom next year!
They deserve way more than these DIYs, but hopefully they felt all our love and appreciation.
Leave Meeting. Have a great summer!
Crayola Crayons | Cat In the Hat Bookmarks | #2 Pencils | Index Cards
Holly Daze. 2018.
This holiday season was sure a busy one for me this year. Since I started my holiday shopping pretty early this year, I had this idea (from Pinterest of course) to decorate my Christmas gifts my own way. I bought Kraft paper rolls and used my paint pens to address and decorate the gifts. Although it took a whole lot of time, it was the most satisfying holiday craft project I’ve done! It was a great way to put my little personal touch to the holidays!
• • •
On to Kole’s class. If you know me or follow this blog, then you know I can’t let a major holiday/event go with making the class goodie bags. Last year, I made the kids little snowflake ornaments and this year I knitted mini stockings and stuffed them up with a couple of holiday candies.
His teacher and his classmates thought it was pretty cool and were all smiles so I’d say we had another class Holiday success!
• • •
Everyday I start the mornings off with the news on tv. That may not always be the best idea because of how absolutely depressing the entire world is right now, but it’s always a good idea to keep updated. While I make breakfast for the boys, Kole is always paying attention to the news as well. Last year he was so concerned and felt such sadness for the victims of the Tubbs Fire that he asked me if there was something we can do. (And yes, that made me cry!) So that was the beginning of a new family holiday tradition. As a family, we decided to make a donation cup, which Kole decorated himself, and leave the cup in the middle of the dining table during Christmas and ask the family if they’d like to donate.
We are a small family but I know our donations helped a little and it surely did teach the kids in our family that the holidays are not only about all the gifts they receive for themselves but also how small gestures and just the act of love and care can be a huge gift to someone else. Last year we donated to SonomaStrong Fire Relief and Recovery by Rotary. 2018 news had a whole lot of coverage on the homeless. It’s sad how many people live on the streets here in the Bay Area, absolutely heartbreaking. So just like last year, Kole chose a cause and he wanted to try to help the homeless somehow. Our donations are going to a great organization started and ran by a family friend of ours called, The City Eats. Ryan has volunteered with this organization and has even brought Kole along to help prep the meals as well.
With the way the world is today, I am doing everything I can to make sure I raise little gentlemen that move through this world with intentions of love and care for others everyday and especially during the holidays.
Hope you all had a magical holiday full of love and lots of Christmas lights!!