An Open Letter to The Love of My Life

An Open Letter to The Love of My Life

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I’d like to take a moment to point out how difficult it will be to summarize the immense love I have for you, but I will try my hardest.

There are a million and one ways I could begin this letter, but I think the best place to start is by saying thank you. For everything.

Thank you for loving me, even when I think I’m unworthy of it.

Thank you for being my Dwayne Johnson.

Thank you for always allowing me to speak my mind even when I cut you off, or make you feel like I don’t value your opinion.

Thank you for holding me when I feel like I have the weight of the world on my Shoulders. More importantly, thank you for being willing to carry my burdens for me.

Thank you for reminding me it’s okay to laugh at myself.

Thank you for standing in the kitchen with me every night after work and letting me unload my frustrations on you.

Thank for you wiping my tears, and for the many forehead kisses.

Thank you embarking on this amazing journey with me.

Thank you for trusting me with our son, even when I didn’t trust myself.

Thank you for not thinking I was crazy when I told you I wanted to deliver our son at home.

Thank you for always being supportive of my choices even when you don’t always agree with them.

Thank you for respecting my body when I’m too tired, you offer a back rub with no motive.

Thank you for telling me my body is beautiful, and that it’s okay to have loose skin and stretch marks because I made a person.

Thank you for being patient with me when I freaking out for literally no reason at all.

Thank you for reminding me that it’s just a panic attack and that I’m not going to die.

Thank you for remaining loyal, and faithful to me.

Thank you for always making time for me even when I don’t make time for you.

Thank you for loving Jordan as much as I do. And thank you for helping me pick up the pieces when I almost lost her forever.

Thank you for pointing out when I’m being selfish, and unreasonable.

Thank you for supporting me in raising our son differently than how we were raised.

Thank you for doing the diaper laundry.

Thank you for being an amazing father, and a fantastic role model for our son.

Thank you for rearranging your school schedule to stay home with Walter after my mom’s surgery.

Thank you for always packing my lunch for work.

Thank you for being my best friend, and loving me even when I couldn’t love myself.

Thank you for the best two years of my life. I know we have many more trials, and tribulations to go, but I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

I hope you never question my love for you.

xoxo

Destiny

 

5 Tips for Minimalism with kids

5 Tips for Minimalism with kids

Hi there! If you haven’t seen part one STOP and click here to get caught up.

Like always I’m going to start by saying this post isn’t about bashing moms. Parenting is hard enough without all the added drama social media can bring. I’m a supportive person, and I try my hardest not to judge others on their parenting choices. Please keep that in mind while reading this post. If we want our children to grow up in a kinder world, we need to start being kinder to each other. ❤

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Now I know some of you are thinking I’m full of it. I only have a 7 month old, I don’t understand how difficult older children can be. Well, you’re right, I have no idea what that’s like. I’m not here to tell you to throw all your kid’s stuff away and move on. I know these kinds of transitions take time, so below you’ll find a few tips that I hope will make things a little easier.

  1. Speak openly to family members 

I want to give you my most valuable piece of information first. The biggest problem parents can face when they choose to do anything outside of the norm is their family. I hear all too often ” oh I can’t get rid of that, ____ got that for her.” Well, the easiest way to combat this problem is to let family members know your policy on gifts ahead of time. When doing this always be respectful, but firm. You’ll encounter some family members who don’t agree with your choice, and that okay. Try your hardest to explain what brought you to your decision. If you find that doesn’t help, just move on. You’re no required to argue with anyone.

To try and avoid hurt feelings as much a possible, my partner and I have decided to have a families and friends follow a few simple rules when getting gifts for our son.

  • We limit gift giving to special occasions ( I’ll touch more on this later)
  • The gift much be something he needs, something he wants, something he can read, or something he can wear
  • We prefer sustainable materials. This basically means no/ very little plastic

 

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2. Activities over possessions 

I know this one can seem kind of like a splurge but just stick with me. What’s more logical, buying a toy that will sit in box or room unused like the 4,000 other toys your kid has or buying an annual pass to a theme park you can use over and over again. Honestly, the choices are endless hear, find an activity your child is interested and do that instead of buying another toy.

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3. TEACH THEM TO GIVE 

I put this one is all caps because I wanted it to really stand out. This is something that I believe is incredibly important. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, it’s never too early to teach them to be generous. Something my partner and I plan on doing with our son when he’s older is allow him to go through his toys and decide what he wants to keep, and what he wants to give to another child. I personally don’t see the point in hanging on to things that aren’t being used.

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4. Only keep what they’re interested in

We all know kids go through phases. I’m sure all of you reading this could walk into your kid’s room and find something that hasn’t been played with in months. Why are you holding on to it? Find a few things that they’re loving at the moment, and donate everything else.

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5. Limit new possessions to special occasions 

How many times have you walked into a store and allowed your child to grab something off the shelf just to avoid a meltdown? Don’t be embarrassed everyone does it. The only problem with this is, it creates a habit. To avoid this try limiting getting new items to special occasions like birthdays.

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I can not stress this enough, this post is not able shaming parents who don’t follow this lifestyle. This is only a guide to help those who feel like they can’t rise above the chaos. My goal with this blog is to create a safe space for like-minded people, and show people it possible to live a life that’s focused on the things that matter.

xoxo

Destiny

Minimalism with kids

Minimalism with kids

I’m positive this post will ruffle so feathers because there’s something about kids and their toys that always gets someone’s undies in a bunch. I want to start by saying I’m not making this post to shame anyone. I’m sharing this for the mom out there that are feeling overwhelmed with all the clutter. And for the moms that are just like me, and what their child to appreciate the things they have.

I hate that I have to say this but, again this is not to shame anyone! Do what you think is best for your family. Whether that means your kid has two toys, or two thousand!

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I’m not going to lie, guys I am by not means the perfect minimalist. I’m not even sure if I should call myself that. Before I had my son I was like so many people, and thought that the more things I had the happier I would be. So as you can imagine I had a TON of crap, and I was miserable. I was constantly feeling overwhelmed and would find myself having panic attacks if things weren’t where I thought they should be. While I was pregnant I stumbled across the minimalist documentary. This is kind of embarrassing but I think I watched twenty times. It was eye opening! After watching I started to pair down my things. Again, I’m not perfect and to be honest I still have a ton of stuff but I try not to beat myself up about it ( and neither should you). It’s a work in progress, and I’m okay with that.

Now for those of you who read the title, I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell any of this has to do with children. Well don’t worry, this is where I talk about that 😉

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Anyone who has ever had children knows you end up with a bunch of stuff and most of it you never even use! For example, my partner and I still have boxes filled with baby stuff up in the attic and for some reason, we felt the need to hang on to it. Even though we never plan on using it! We’re constantly being told to hang on to things for the “what ifs” well my advice to you is just get rid of it! If you don’t absolutely love it, or use it on a regular basis there’s no point in hanging on to it.

For my family, this also applies to my sons toys. My partner and I are very selective when it comes to the toys we buy for our son. If we don’t think he’ll absolutely love it  we don’t buy it. If he has fourteen other toys just like it, we leave it at the store. I’ll be honest ,right now it’s pretty easy because he’s only 6 months old and can’t have a melt down in the middle of Target. If you’re a parent to older children just take one step at a time, and remember it’s not about being perfect. Minimalism is what you make it. It’s not about who has the least amount of things, or never buying anything ever again.

I’m sure some of you are thinking I’m cruel. I’m sure some of you are thinking my son will grow up feeling deprived, and thinking I don’t love him. I can assure you that is not the case. I want to raise my son to appreciate the things he has,and to understand that monetary things don’t bring happiness. I want to show him that its possible to live a life that’s in line with your values. If you’re one of those people who think I’m crazy I’d like to share with you some of the things I hope my son gains from minimalism.

  • Creativity and Innovation 

Fewer toys will enable him to be more creative and imaginative with the toys he has available to him.

  • The ability to share with others

By having fewer toys, he’ll be able to develop good communication skills by practicing sharing with other children

  • Less stress 

Clutter creates stress in humans of all ages. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone say “all these toys and my baby only wants to play with ___.” When given too many choices children can become overwhelmed and stressed.

  • Independent play

By having fewer toys around he’ll be able to stay engaged longer. It will be easier for him to locate toys, as well as clean up after himself.

  • Conscious Consumerism 

By helping him to be selective with his toys I’ll be able to teach him the importance of spending your money carefully.

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Above all I want my son to value our time together as a family. I want to teach him that moments are more important than material things.Again I’d like to state that this post ( none of my post actually) isn’t about shaming someone. Parenthood is difficult enough. My goal here is to build a community of like-minded people, however I don’t intend on doing that by tearing others down.

If you found today’s post helpful, make sure you check in later this week because I’ll be continuing my series on minimalism. Make sure you subscribe to get notifications every time I post! If you’d like to see more of my day to day life follow me on Instagram . I make new post there daily!

xoxo

Destiny

 

SCREEN TIME

SCREEN TIME

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It’s safe to say We all know screen time in excess can be harmful to infants and toddlers. And I’m sure we all know it’s not great for older kids either. So, why is it that so many young kids are getting so much screen time? Well, because parents are tired and it’s often easier to plant your kid in front of a TV.

Quality caregiving requires so much of our time and energy. It’s understandable why you would want a few minutes to yourself.

I’m not here to tell you how much screen time your kids should be getting, ultimately that’s up to you. I’m also not trying to make you believe a few minutes of TV is going to damage your kid forever. I’m simply sharing the reasons my partner and I have decided to limit our little guys time in front of the TV.

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The AAP suggest TV for children under two, and no more that 1-2 hours a day for older children. For my family these recommendations ably to anything with a screen, not just TV. We don’t allow our son to play with phones, tablets, or watch television right now (he’s six months), and when he’s older his screen time will be limited. If you’d like some information about how to break your family’s TV habit, this article is extremely helpful.

So at this point, I’m sure you’re all wondering why we don’t let our little man have screen time.  Well, if I’m perfectly honest we weren’t always this way. In the beginning, we were like most parents and believed it was perfectly fine for out newborn to watch TV with us. It wasn’t until a few month in that we changed our minds. I started to notice how focused Walter was when we would watch TV together. He was always perfectly still, and quiet. At first, I thought this was great because I was able to do the things I wanted while Walter was watching TV. However, the more I observed him, the more worried I became. Whenever he was in front of the TV he became a zombie. It was almost like he was in a trance, and that really freaked me out.

Once I started doing more research about the effects of screen time on little ones, we just swore it off. Don’t get me wrong here, there are times Walter catches a glimpse of a screen every now and then. Media is everywhere, it’s impossible to keep him away from screens completely and I’m okay with that. I don’t see any harm in a few seconds ( or minutes) of screen time once in a while. The problems start when young kids spend hours in front of a screen.

Recent studies have shown excessive screen time can lead to delayed language development, connotative issues, and some have even linked it to ADHD. In fact, Dr. Ari Brown, the lead author on the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there’s a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they’re basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities,”. Countless other studies have show that children don’t understand what they’re watching on TV until around age two.

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I do want to take a moment to touch on the difference between passive and active screen time. Passive screen time is just plopping your kid in front of a screen and expecting it to babysit them. Whereas active screen time is something like a Skype call or face-timing with a relative. There is a HUGE difference between the two! Georgene Troseth, a Vanderbilt University developmental psychologist conducts some of the country’s leading research on children and screens. She says, “We’re finding pretty consistently — in fact, two recent studies with actual Skype [calls] — that children do seem to learn better when there is social interaction from a person on video. So it’s kind of encouraging with FaceTime or Skype for parents and grandparents to know that [with] that interaction, the children might actually be willing to learn from a person on a screen because of the social interaction showing them what’s on the screen is connected to their lives,”.

If you’d like more information about raising a child without screen time, Mama natural has a fantastic blog post discussing the topic. You can find that here.

I’d like to stress how important it is to do what works best for your family. If you choose to use interactive media with your child make sure you find a healthy balance. Actually take the time to sit down with them, and get involved, that’s going to be more valuable than anything else.

xoxo

Destiny

Starting Baby on Solids

Starting Baby on Solids

I often get asked why my son hasn’t started solids yet, or what foods I want to start him on. So in this post, I’ll be going over why we haven’t started solids, when we plan to, and what foods we’ll start with. Enjoy!

WHY WE WAITED

My partner and I decided before Walter was even born that we were going to wait until he showed true signs of food readiness before we gave him anything other than breast milk. There are a thousand and one reasons why parents delay introducing solid into their babies diet. The most simple being babies only need breast milk ( or formula) to thrive. I know, it’s shocking! I’m sure someone’s mother in law just fell out of her seat. Unfortunately today it’s not uncommon for mothers and fathers to be encouraged by their doctor, or family to start solid food long before baby’s digestive system is ready. Introducing solids before baby is ready (especially grains) has been linked to food allergies later on in life. If you have a history of allergies in your family, the longer you wait the better.

WHY WE’LL NEVER GIVE OUR SON BABY CEREAL 

We chose not to give our son baby cereals for two main reasons. Number one being that babies can’t digest grains before the age of one, and two because rice cereal has been known to contain arsenic! Parents are often encouraged to give their baby cereal to held them sleep better. There is no scientific evidence that supports that theory, in fact, many recent studies have disproved it altogether. The reason people think it helps babies sleep is because it binds their tummies. The main reason babies wake up at night is to poop. If you give them a bottle filled with cereal, they’ll theoretically sleep longer. Not because their tummy is full, and they’re satisfied but because they’re constipated. As for the arsenic, I won’t go into too much detail about why I don’t want my son eating that. I’m sure most people will agree we shouldn’t be feeding our children a deadly poison. If you’d like to read more about it on your own here is a link to the FDA website.baby semolina isolated on white background

 

WHEN WILL WE FEED OUR SON SOLIDS 

The short answer is when he’s ready. I know that’s not the answer you guys are looking for so I’ll elaborate. I believe no baby should receive solid food before the age of six months. the AAP even states for optimal health and wellness babies should be breastfed for the first six months of their life. With that being said we obviously weren’t going to feed our son anything other than breast milk before he was six months old. Along with that, we chose to wait until he showed other signs of food readiness. For example:

  • A desire for something other than milk. Babies often show a desire to play with food before they are actually ready to eat it. I’ll just take a second to mention my usual disclaimer, of course, every baby is different, use your intuition when it comes to feeding your baby. Your little on may show signs of food readiness long another. Always do what YOU think is best.
  • An ability to pick up small objects. I believe it’s important to allow our little ones to feed themselves, in order for them to do so they’ll need to have developed their pincher grasp. This is when baby uses his thumb and forefinger to pick things up.
  • The ability to sit on their own. This is extremely important because this skill is needed to allow baby to swallow properly. Wait until your little one can sit on his own for several minutes before introducing solids.
  • Last but not least baby should have lost his tongue thrust reflex. This is the reflex that causes a baby to immediately push anything thicker than milk out of their mouth. I’m sure you’ve all seen a mom feeding their baby a jar of baby food and the little one immediately pushes it out of their mouth and mom scoops it up with a spoon and shoves it back in. All for the baby to spit it right back out again. If your little one does this, it may be a sign he isn’t ready for solids yet.

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WHAT FOODS WILL WE START WITH

Mostly likely we will start with avocado. Mainly because when it’s ripe is soft enough for Walter to chew without it having to be cooked first. Plus it’s high in fat which is fantastic for brain development. We plan on offering him other soft ripe fruits such as bananas, mango, and peaches. I often hear parents talk about how they are afraid of offering their baby too many sweet fruits, fearing they will only eat sugary foods and no crave the savory taste of vegetables. I’m not worried about this but to debunk this theory let discuss the natural craving for sugar. We are by nature fruit eaters. I know this comes as a surprise to most but just stick with me. Breast milk is naturally sweet, whereas cow’s milk isn’t. This is because humans are designed to have a diet high in sugars (natural sugars of course). Humans thrive in the tropics, where natural tree ripened fruit is the most abundant source of calories. In our natural environment, we would be drawn to fruits because it’s much easier to sit under a mango tree and eat until your heart’s delight than it is the hunt, kill, skin, and eat an animal.

whatever food your choose to start with is up to you. However, I do want to stress the importance of seeking out the highest quality, organic food possible. It is incredibly important to feed our little one’s food free of pesticides and chemicals, not only is it better for their bodies it’s also better for our environment. Shop at farmers markets whenever you can. This is the best way to get organic, nutrient dense foods. Plus you’ll be supporting a local small business 😉

I do want to stress that before the age of one breast milk should be your child’s primary source of calories. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.”

However, you choose to feed your child always remember they are a reflection of ourselves. If you want your child to love fruits and vegetables YOU have to love them! One of my favorite bloggers once said “If you are a mom or dad who is trying to feed your kids healthy whole plant foods, and are surrounded by negativity and discouragement to do so, I encourage you to press forward. You are not alone. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.” -Ellen Fisher.

 

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xoxo

Destiny.

Attachment Parenting

Attachment Parenting

For me, parenting has been a very complex journey. It’s the hardest thing I’ve even done, however it has brought me a tremendous amount of joy and happiness. I’ve found that as parents we all face the same struggles, and we all hope to reap the rewards of confident, successful, and happy children. We are all just trying to do our best.

There are so many choices to make from the food you feed your children to the way they sleep. All of this can be incredibly overwhelming. I know so many families who choose to meet their children’s needs in vastly different ways. For me, I have chosen to parent outside of the norm.

My partner and I chose a more natural form of parenting. For us that means making informed decisions about our son’s medical care and choosing a holistic approach whenever possible, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, and many more decisions that don’t fall in line with a more traditional, adult-centered style of parenting.

I know that all parents get negative feedback on their style of parenting. I have encountered many people who don’t agree with my decisions and that’s okay. Below you’ll find the ways I stay sane when it feels like almost everyone has something to say about how I’ve chosen to raise my son. Enjoy.

Seek out like-minded people

I’ve found that online support from facebook groups is my saving grace.  This is my safe space to discuss information with parents who share the same beliefs I do. This applies to any style of parent. Find people with similar views, and hang out with them. Trust me it will keep you from pulling your hair out.

Have research to back you up

This one mainly applies to my crunchy mamas. Whenever you chose holistic care over more traditional care people are going to give you shit. Therefore I am always seeking out new information to help me feel more confident with my decision. The more I read, the more I learn and the better I feel when talking to people who don’t agree with my decisions.

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Don’t let other people’s thoughts influence your beliefs 

You can’t please everyone. You will always encounter someone who doesn’t agree with you. Try your hardest to offer information in a calm respectful manner. If that doesn’t work simply walk away. Always remember you don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone, and most importantly you don’t have to argue! If they don’t like it, that’s their issue, not yours.

It’s not always the most convenient but it’s worth it.

When I first read about attachment parenting I knew that was the way I wanted to raise my children. It’s just what made sense to me. Along the road I’ve debated my choice many times but I’ve never given up. My partner and I believe this is what id best for our son, that doesn’t mean it’s what is easiest for us. Trust me We’ve struggled. People told us we were crazy when we decided to co-sleep, they called us baby killers because we don’t vaccinate, they told us our son would hate not being circumcised, and they swore up and down we’d regret not having a stroller. What I trying to say is we’ve dealt with our share of hate and it hasn’t been easy. Through it all we’ve stuck to our guns, and trusted the process, because of that we have a beautiful, happy, healthy six-month-old son.

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If any of your are parents and are struggling know that you’re not alone.Trust your instincts, you know more than you think you do.

 

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xoxo

Destiny

Crunchy Mama Must Haves

Crunchy Mama Must Haves

Hello my sweet sweet friends! I’m glad you’re back. I decided to post a list of my top crunchy must haves. When I was pregnant I read tons of these to get an idea of what I might need for baby. If you’re expecting, or if or looking for more natural products this is the post for you. Enjoy! Oh and to make things a little easier for you I’ve included links to where you can buy all the products listed.

1. The Windi 

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These little beauties are a life saver. I seriously don’t know what I would have done without them. When my son was dealing with terrible gas pain I would use a windi and it seconds my little guy would be gas free. They are safe, effective, and a better option than giving your little one medicine (in my opinion).

2.Gripe Water

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If you’re looking for something to help with more that just gas I would try gripe water. This is great for colic and hiccups! It’s made from all natural ingredients which gives me peace of mind. Whenever my little guy was having a hard time with hiccups, I would gibe him a little bit of this and poof they were gone!

3. Baby Carrier

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A baby carrier is a must-have for any new mom in my opinion! This helps a ton with getting things done around the house, or just getting in some extra snuggles. If you have a baby that doesn’t like to be put down popping them in a carrier meets their needs as well as helping mama keep her sanity! They one I’m wearing here is a chimparoo woven wrap. I rented this from my local baby wearing group and I love it! I’ve tried a few different carriers and woven wraps are my favorite so far. A few other great ones are ring slings and soft structured carriers.

4. Coconut Oil

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The last thing on the list coconut oil. This is my go to for EVERYTHING! I used this when I first started nursing, and it helped a ton with sore nipples. I also mix it with a little bit of breast milk and use it as diaper rash cream. Coconut oil is the only thing I use for my little guy as far as a moisturizer.

I hope this little list helps you find some natural baby products. Each and every one of these products are staples in our household, I seriously couldn’t live without them. Make sure you check back on Sunday for a new post. If you haven’t already make sure you subscribe. When you enter your email you’ll automatically get notifications when I have a new post.  Make sure you post some of your baby must-haves in the comments!

xoxo

Destiny