finding balance in motherhood

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If you've been around a while it's no secret that I had a pretty rough start to motherhood. It was just...shocking. It was a big shock to my system.

I think I imagined I would be a certain type of mother - I would be easy-going and have it all together. I would have all the answers and my kids would be angels. A big HAH to me because that's just not the way it happened. Motherhood was so much harder than I imagined it would be. And I was so much more on-edge. And I had no answers. None. 

But still, I threw myself into motherhood. I mean, I was in mommy mode 24/7. And when I would burn out I just picked myself up and kept going. I was rarely away from my baby. I rarely let Alex take over parental duties. I never got haircuts or went shopping or did anything on my own. I lost myself. 

This makes it sound like I didn't enjoy motherhood - I did. Most of the time I didn't mind having a constant companion. Liam and I grew close and he got used to being carted around everywhere with mami. But it's so weird to have an identity stripped away. For twenty-six years I was Kristel. I was a woman. I was a person with thoughts and opinions and talents and skills... And then all of a sudden I was just a mother. 

As much as I like talking about birthing and babies and all things parenting - I have so many other thoughts swimming around in my head. And no, I don't want to talk about poop and breastmilk and baby schedules all the time. Sometimes I want to talk about other stuff. Sometimes I want to do other stuff. 

And so I'm finding a balance. 

Balance looks differently for everyone. For me it means exploring my passions and figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. It means sharing night parenting duties with my husband. It means sending my daughter to daycare part time so we can have some time apart. It means no more babies for me because I want to focus on the two that I have and moving on to the next stage in life. It means teaching my son to finally fall asleep on his own so I spend my evenings doing stuff I like instead of sitting in his bed. It means allowing other people to babysit my kids and trusting that they will be just fine. 

This is all a learning experience and I'm still figuring it all out. But I can say that ever since I started working towards balance I am much happier. I feel lighter and more fulfilled. I enjoy being with my kids more than I ever have. 

How do you achieve balance in parenting? 

A Few Special Ornaments

I wrote a piece for Disney Baby about the reason I buy special ornaments for our family. They're not a waste of money, you guys! Read my piece to see my reasoning. 

So I thought it would be fun to share a few of the special ornaments adorning our Christmas tree.

How CUTE is four month-old Liam with Santa. We took this at the mall in Denver. It was the first and last time Liam sat on Santa's lap with no tears. I just adore those chubby cheeks.

We failed to get Isabel a personalized ornament last year so I got this one for this Christmas. It really reminds me of her so much. She's cute and joyful and carefree. 

Liam is best friends with Zoe. Just check out the hashtag #LiamandZoe on instagram. It's pretty much the most adorable thing I've ever seen. Last year our friends were kind enough to gift us this ornament to commemorate their bestie status. I love it. 

I love owls so this is the perfect family ornament for us. The little bows just kill me. 

Now that you've seen ours we would love to see yours? What are some of the special Christmas ornaments you're putting out this year?

Art Basel Miami

My husband and I don't go out on very many date nights - maybe we should prioritize it more, but we do what we can when we can. I think we're both okay with the season of life we're in right now. 

But every once in a while an opportunity for a special date night comes around and we just can't pass it up. Art Basel gave us just that opportunity. 

Art Basel comes to Miami every year and it's a huge multi-day event - but neither one of us had ever been before. Since Alex works for the arts and communication ministry at our church they decided it would be a great outing for their team to get inspired by the best artists out there. I may not officially be a part of the team but I decided to tag along anyway. ;-)

And I'm so glad I did because it was a great time. I loved hanging out with our friends and stalking Leonardo Dicaprio (Yes! He was there!). I loved looking at (most of) the art. There are some amazingly talented people in this world. 

There's also a lot of art that I just don't get. There were some exhibits that left me confused and thinking, "That's art?! That's not art!" But hey, to each their own. I'm just happy that Alex and I were able to enjoy a night out with friends doing something different and cultural before returning to the land of poopy diapers and toddler tantrums. 

Anyone else visit Art Basel this past week?

An Advent Devotional for Children

If you read my post about our Advent wreath then you know I'm looking for ways to make this Christmas season more meaningful for our kids. I'm not anti-Santa, we visit him at the mall every year, but we don't want that to be the focus of our Christmas season. We want Liam and Isabel to know that Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I've seen so many people posting about this book that I had to get my hands on it. And let me tell you, it is beautiful. Ann Voskamp, if you're not familiar with her, is a writer who is truly inspiring. She has a beautiful heart that pours through in her writing. 

I believe this book is her first one meant for kids (and their parents). Each day of Advent has a Bible story followed by reflection questions and suggestions for family activities. I know my kids are still young. Isabel especially doesn't really know what's going on with Christmas. But Liam, at just three years old, understands quite a bit. And I believe it's never too early to start talking to your kids about the true meaning of Christmas. They're never too young to start directing their hearts to Christ. And yes, I'm thrilled that they will be unwrapping several exciting gifts this Christmas, but I'm even more excited about "Unwrapping The Greatest Gift" of all. 

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