This Mom's Gonna SNAP! http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com An Ordinary Life + Style Blog... With a Stevie. Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:57:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/cropped-logo-e1501652647547-32x32.jpg This Mom's Gonna SNAP! http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com 32 32 Fall Goals http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/fall-goals/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/fall-goals/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:55:54 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13867 This past weekend Paul and I casually brought up the holidays and discussed whether or not we’d be hosting any parties this year.  Which lead me to realize exactly what the date is. Gulp. I checked and double checked the calendar to make sure.  But…

Yep.  We are less than 14 weeks away from Christmas.

Just let that sink in for a moment…

OK.  Now close your mouth and refocus here.  Just like you, and just like every other year — I am shocked. I’m left wondering where the time went. Wondering how this is possible.  The days are so long and the weeks go by so fast.  It makes no sense!!!  So of course I’m feeling like it’s all rushing. Feeling like I’m not embracing the seasons enough.  Not just the seasons in nature, but the ever changing seasons in life.  Are we appreciating the little things?  Are we doing things that make us happy?  Are we living for Christ’s sake??  Sometimes these thoughts are too big for me to process.  I can end up down a rabbit hole pretty quickly.  So I have to break it down.

And one way to do that is to set these little goals each season.  Whether I achieve them all or not, I think it’s important to slow down and give myself permission to work on other things outside of the day-to-day grind.

So with Fall officially starting on Friday, here are a few little things I’d like to accomplish in the next few months.

Go somewhere new with the husband // This goal is actually carried over from Summer, since we never really got around to it.  Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just make the effort to go out and smooch each other in public.  Just kidding, Paul doesn’t allow that sort of thing.

Teach Stevie to put shoes on //  This is another one that didn’t happen over the Summer.  We are getting closer, but wow.  It is a process.  A couple people suggested Crocs for him and I think I might just have to try that.  If he could at least learn to slide those on to go play outside, it would save me a lot of grief.

Don’t get too worked up over apple picking or pumpkin patching // While it’s usually on my to-do list to participate in all these cute, Fall-type activities, I honestly don’t want to go out of my way to make it happen. I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep it fun, but especially in Stevie’s case, it is really unnecessary.  So if it works out, great.  And if friends want to go, I’m in!  But if not, I won’t look at it as a mom-fail.

Reduce waste //  This is a big one.  And it’s going to be done in baby steps.  Every time I clean out my car I’m kind of disgusted by how much garbage there is.  It’s bound to happen when we are always on the go, but I think I can do better.  So that’s where I’ll start.  Reduce waste in my car.  Prepare better, pack snacks in reusable containers, minimize the use of straws and disposable cups.  Seems as good a place to start as any.

Learn a few tried and true Instant Pot recipes // Along with the rest of the population, we got an Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day.  It’s cool.  It’s capable of a lot.  But so far, I have ruined more than half the meals I’ve made.  I mean, they’re edible and they taste ok, but the texture seems wrong more often that not.  Mush.  So I’ll keep trying to get a handful of no-fail recipes under my belt.

No phone use while driving // I know this should be a total no-brainer.  And I’m embarrassed to admit this isn’t the first time I’ve made this goal for myself. In fact, it was one of my new year’s resolutions.  But for whatever reason, I get more and more relaxed with it over time and break this promise to myself over and over again. We are in the car so often and while I don’t use my phone as much as I used to, I do still pick it up and text at stop lights or in reeeally slow traffic.  I need to just keep that darn thing put away.  I sends the wrong message to Stevie and it’s plain old dangerous.   I hear the iPhone 8 has a “Do Not Disturb” feature.  Guess it’s time for an upgrade, eh?

Keep clothing expenses to a minimum and sew something //  I posted a long rant about clothes earlier this week, but my overall goal is to just calm the eff down about clothes.  It’s the never-ending, forever-changing goal.  I’m not saying I won’t add any more items to my wardrobe, but I am saying that I have some beautiful fabrics calling my name…

fall goals, life

Do you have any simple goals for the Fall season?

loves,
jaana

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Fall Capsule Wardrobe… (?) http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/fall-capsule-wardrobe/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/fall-capsule-wardrobe/#comments Mon, 18 Sep 2017 05:14:30 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13970 The other night (I can’t believe I’m admitting this to you guys) I went into my Instagram feed and started shame-scrolling through all my old posts, finding things about myself that I hated.

Your style is not that great.

Your hair looked better before.

Your legs look so chunky in that one.

Sloppy.

Lame.

Your captions were better back in the day.

All over the place.

Uninspired.

It was brutal and it was admittedly a huge waste of time.  I wish I hadn’t done it.  I don’t know why I did. I usually have a slightly better filter with the negative self talk.  But it happened.  And while I’m trying not to dwell on it, it did get me thinking about where I stand and what my goals are for all of this.

Ok now brace yourselves for a brain dump.  And if the whole clothing talk is not your thing, no offense taken.  I’ll let you know when the next Stevie post goes up.

PART A: BLOG STUFF
So when I did my first mom style post back in 2012, I did have some long term goals to get affiliate sponsors through my blog so that I could make a little side money putting together outfits and showcasing certain brands. But I didn’t know much about real blogging at all, and everything has changed a lot throughout the years.  So it turned out to be harder than I thought. And my creative shlump, yes SCHLUMP, this past year certainly didn’t help matters.

I have been able to slowly grow my Instagram following, and I’ve been able to partner with some amazing brands along the way — but I’m definitely feeling discouraged about most of it.  Algorithm. (People on IG say algorithm a lot).  Everything I post leaves me wondering if this is what people will want to see as well as get the attention I need to help me get affiliates and become a bona fide brand influencer while still staying true to my values?  (The short answer is no!)  So while I enjoy putting together outfits, my excitement behind it all goes up and down on the daily. Those selfies are no joke, and do take up a lot of time.  But I gotta post something! And considering that I keep things as simple as possible (little makeup, no staging, no photographer) I’d say I’ve done pretty well. Just can’t get to the next level ya know?

Without a clear direction and being able to give it 100%… I think I’m kinda done with working toward the affiliate/sponsor thing.  I have been turned down more than once, and while I’m all for a never-give-up mentality, at some point I have to know my limits.  I’ll still partner with some of the awesome brands I’ve been working with, but I do realize that being a successful blogger is like catching lightning in a bottle, and sometimes ya don’t got it.  It’s fine.

And I feel like now that that’s in the open and I’ve typed it out loud, I can move on and go back to writing for fun.

PART B: CAPSULE WARDROBE
Now, another thing I am realizing is how much of my brain power is going toward clothes in general.  (My husband coulda told ya that.)  Granted, I find that looking at clothes and following style blogs and finding inspiration around the web is a legit and necessary escape from what is going on with Stevie (which is always a lot), not to mention everything going on in the world too (!!!)  But it also kinda feels like clothes are really important to me when they don’t need to be.

To clarify, I do think it’s important for me, personally, to make responsible purchases. Purchases that will do as little damage to people and the environment as possible.  And I think it’s important that I keep learning to make clothes.  I don’t want to get lazy about style.  But it’s starting to feel like my voice regarding clothing is just added noise to an already overwhelming digital world.

I started my capsule wardrobe journey 4-ish years ago and I have succeeded in keeping my wardrobe on the small side, but I evaluate it constantly and I continue adding items to my shopping list and I get buyer’s remorse.  But like just this one more thing and I’ll be complete!

Logically, I should have known it doesn’t really work that way.  The process is never-ending, and now, a few years into it, I’m coming around to that realization.  When I talked to Paul about it, he even laughed at me, asking “did you really think that you would come up with a perfect capsule wardrobe and just wear those clothes for the rest of time?  Even when you’re like 60?”  And I shrugged.  I guess I kinda did, however ridiculous that sounds.

I just sort of kept trying to revamp my so-called capsule wardrobe and make it fit into whatever season of life I was in.

It started out with no shopping for a year.
Then I minimized my wardrobe to 40 pieces each season.
Then I wanted a year-round capsule so I didn’t have to pack seasonal items away — just wanted all my clothes to just fit comfortably into my teeny tiny closet.
This Fall I had a plan to put my favorite items on a separate rack (without packing anything away) to make a Base Core Capsule-ish, while my other clothes are still accessible if I need them.

But at what point is this just a straight-up normal wardrobe?

It seems kind of silly to keep referring to it as a capsule now.  I keep making rules and regulations for myself — which do help in a lot of ways — but can also be a bit much. It gives me a lot of opportunity to break those made-up rules and do it “wrong”.  Which doesn’t feel good.  It’s like I’m letting myself down.

So.  I still want to simply find contentment with what I have. NEVER SHOP AGAIN.  JK JK JK, I take it back, let’s not get carried away.  I like shopping.  But I think the bottom line is that I just want to BE CHILL ABOUT CLOTHES.

Breezy, if you will.  Easy and slow.  No frantic feelings.  No desperate needs.  Keep an air of calm about shopping.  Don’t get too caught up in shiny new things, don’t compare what I have to others, but also move away from that feeling that I’m doing things right or wrong.  No fancy names or labels.  It’s something I have to be conscious of, but can’t obsess over (kind of like my weight!  I get exactly the same way!  And I’m just now realizing this may be a character flaw.)  Hoping I can loosen up on rules and still keep my wardrobe in check.

fall capsule, capsule wardrobe, slow fashion

With all that in mind, I have a quick question for ya:
Would you like to continue seeing day-to-day outfit posts on my social media or would you rather see it go back to more of a lifestyle/journalistic flow with the occasional outfit post?

DO YOU EVEN CARE, REALLY?! 

loves,
jaana

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Summer 2017 Video! http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/summer-2017-video/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/summer-2017-video/#respond Sat, 16 Sep 2017 15:29:08 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13966 I got on a roll editing this week!  Go me!  Often times I use my big camera with big plans and big intentions to put together the cutest videos, but it’s a really easy thing to put aside for later.  And later.  And later.  So they rarely never happen.  And while one of my summer goals was to not be lazy with my camera, I didn’t specifically say I wouldn’t be lazy with whatever came out of that camera.

So I’m glad that this is done!  I got a cute little video put together of Stevie’s summer activities.

YOU CAN VIEW IT HERE.

Summer is not my favorite time of year.  Well, not since I became an adult anyway.  But this summer was miles better than last summer.  Last year I felt kinda… destroyed and burned out, to sound as dramatic as possible.  Everything just seemed too hard.  The days with Stevie were sooo long.  I had to pull him out of summer camp because his behavior was so bad.  And I just couldn’t find it in me to be a fun mom.  It’s actually a big reason why I fell off the blogging band wagon too.  I was zapped emotionally, physically, mentally, and creatively.  No juices left for any of it.  I’m not even fully ready to come back yet!

This summer, I tried to find a little balance.  I knew we couldn’t go on adventures every single day, but I did muster up the energy to do a few fun things.  I should clarify the “fun” things are the things that I want to do.  And the rest of the days, we did the things that make Stevie happy — playing Hot Wheels, riding bikes in the front yard, and going for walks.  Snoozefest.  Haha. We did find a mutual love for pool parties though!

Anyway, I love this video and when I compare it to the last summer video I made (3 years ago!) its fun to see how much he’s grown.  He looks the same, just scrunched into a tinier body.  So cute.

Enjoy!

loves,
jaana

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Ventura County Fair 2017 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/ventura-county-fair-2017/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/ventura-county-fair-2017/#respond Sun, 03 Sep 2017 23:38:29 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13954 I have taken Stevie to the Ventura County Fair every summer since he was born.  It’s honestly never been that much fun.  I force it on him for tradition’s sake.  BUT, I am getting a little wiser in my old age and went with friends this time!  It made all the difference.  Stevie had someone to go on rides with — well, RIDE with.  And I had another adult to talk to.  For some reason, I felt a little more relaxed knowing that we both had to chase our kids and be interrupted constantly.  Teamwork?

vfair, vcfair, ventura county fairgrounds, ventura, summer vfair, vcfair, ventura county fairgrounds, ventura, summer vfair, vcfair, ventura county fairgrounds, ventura, summer vfair, vcfair, ventura county fairgrounds, ventura, summer vfair, vcfair, ventura county fairgrounds, ventura, summer vfair, vcfair, ventura county fairgrounds, ventura, summerYou can see some of our other VC Fair experiences here:
2012
2013
2015
2016

loves,
jaana

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Museum Day in Santa Barbara http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/museum-day-in-santa-barbara/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/museum-day-in-santa-barbara/#respond Fri, 01 Sep 2017 17:04:19 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13855 Stevie has sort of a reputation with museums.  They sound so good and fun in theory, but usually end up in an embarrassing disaster.  By the time Stevie was 5, we’d been to almost every museum in Los Angeles (and dragged out of almost every museum in Los Angeles).  And it was about that same time that I gave up trying.  Even the Petersen Automotive Museum, which sounds like a slam dunk, just doesn’t hold his interest.

So when we were invited to come see the MOXI, Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, I couldn’t exactly say no… but also went in with very low expectations.  I figured Stevie would last about 15 minutes, max.  But I loaded the car with snacks and songs that Stevie likes, and we made the haul to Santa Barbara anyway.

Now, Santa Barbara in and of itself, is one of my favorite places to be.  Period.  The weather is great.  The architecture is beautiful.  The vegetation and plant life are exceptional.  You put this girl in an old, Spanish-style town, covered in bougainvillea and close to the water?  Well.  You’ll have a happy lady on your hands.

You add in a museum with car racing, toy parachutes, and a giant lite-bright smack dab in between the SB train station and the beach?  Turns out you’ll have a happy Stevie on your hands too!summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbara summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbaraThe museum is pretty small.  But Stevie stayed in each area nearly 30 minutes because the activities were so engaging.  And I loved that his limited fine motor skills didn’t actually limit him at all.  He was able to participate without much help (which minimized tantrums).  So when I say these activities are good for kids of all ages, I mean it.

We started out playing with pom-poms.  You’d stick the pom-pom in a wind tunnel and watch it fly up through a maze of tubes and shoot out the top.  Fun.summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbara summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbaraThen we toyed around with parachutes.  These were a slightly upgraded version of the little parachute men you get in a grab bag at a birthday party.  Place them on a grate blowing air and watch them fly up high.  FUN.summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbaraWe moved upstairs to a giant race track.  You start by building your own wooden car (kind of like putting together thick puzzle pieces).  Place the car on a lift that takes it up to the top of the track and then race down against the other wooden cars.  SO FUN.  (Not to brag, but the car that Stevie made won a handful of times.  Ok that was to a brag.  A little bit.)summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbara summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbaraIt was around this time that we started getting hungry for lunch, so we wrapped it up, playing with a few last things and then just walked the 2 blocks from the museum to the beach and ate a picnic lunch staring at the ocean.  We even got the see the Surfliner train pass right by.  Up close and personal.  That was a hit for sure.summer, summer vacation, museum, day trip, santa barbaraSo the bottom line.  If you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara with the littles, make this stop a priority.  If Stevie liked it, everyone will!  Guaranteed!*

*Not actually guaranteed.

Do you have a favorite museum in your area?

loves,
jaana

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Summer Goals Check-In http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/summer-goals-check-in/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/summer-goals-check-in/#comments Thu, 31 Aug 2017 20:27:11 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13857 It’s been nearly 4 months since I made my Summer Goals list.  Whaaaaaat?  And even though the weather says otherwise, summer is nearly over.  So it’s time to report on how it all went down!

Hydrate better.  Champagne doesn’t count.  At least 64 oz of water a day.
I started off really strong with this one, trying to finish 3 of my 24 oz. Bubba cups every day.  But I noticed as the summer wore on, I started feeling tired and wanting to treat myself.  So I’ve developed a very expensive La Croix habit.  The bubbles just make my mouth feel like it’s having fun.  I guess I should try and work regular water back in too.  It’s much cheaper!

Wear freakin sunscreen and/or a hat.  Like every day.  Note: find a good hat.
I did it!  I found an incredible responsibly made hat from Equal Uprise (mine is sold out, but they have other colors available) and threw on a good old fashioned baseball cap once in awhile.  As for sunscreen, I wore this one from Bare Republic every single day.  I was impressed how much better my skin has looked since I started.  Dark spots on my cheekbones were noticeably lighter within days!

Continue Wednesday date-nights-in.
We did miss a couple of Wednesdays here and there, including last night.  But overall we did pretty well with this.  It’s an easy one to accomplish because my husband and I generally like hanging out together.  Not that everything was always rainbows and unicorns… Truth be told, we actually argued on a few of our date nights.  I guess we don’t even have time to do that right!  But I’m glad we are making time to connect with each other, even if that means the occasional eye roll or middle finger in each other’s direction now and then.

Teach Stevie to put shoes on.  Any kind of shoes. I don’t care anymore.
Ugh.  No.  Couldn’t do it.  Epic fail.  I mean, I would’ve been happy with flip flops, but they don’t stay on his Fred Flintstone feet.  I tried a few different methods and different shoes and while I am seeing some improvement, he’s not there yet.

Pare down the closet and make a summer style lookbook of my favorite outfits.
I got this one partially done, since I did get rid of a few things in my closet.  But the lookbook is only just a fantasy for now.

Don’t be lazy with my big camera.
I took a lot of video footage with my DSLR this summer, and I’m so glad I did.  I hope now that I’ll actually get it compiled and edited into something fun to watch, like I did a few years back.  (Look at that cute little squirt!!)

Go somewhere I haven’t been yet with my husband.  Doesn’t have to be fancy.  A nice restaurant or museum will do.
Oops.  We didn’t really do this one.  I have a couple places in mind still.

Continue working on my sewing skills.  I am going to try pants next!
YES.  I did make a pair of harem pants that I included in my Summer 10×10, as well as some pink culottes and a couple swingy tops.  So I’m still plugging along.  And I have some great fabric waiting in the wings too.

Take the yelling down a notch.
Mmmm… no comment…

Swim, play outside, dance in a meadow, frolic on a beach, wear dresses, ride bikes, day drink, belly laugh, s’mores for dinner, watch the sunsets, relish in silence.
While I probably wasn’t as lighthearted as I dreamed, we did have some magical days this summer. Stevie had a great time when his cousins came to visit.  I looked forward to weekly pool parties with my mom group.  Summer camp was a smashing success.  We took a little road trip to Utah.  Made a few small home and garden improvements.  I may have even taken a nap or two.  And it’s never too late to do the whole s’mores for dinner thing!

I feel like I have a long way to go, reclaiming my time and my young fun-loving self.  And there were definitely challenges mixed in with the successes.  But if I can be better about capturing and really living in and breathing in those dreamy moments, not taking them for granted, they will eventually add up to a whole bunch of happy memories.  And I think that’s my ultimate goal.

mom life, summer, summer goals

What was your favorite moment of the summer?

loves,
jaana

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Packing Light for a Summer Road Trip to Southern Utah http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/packing-light-for-a-summer-road-trip-to-southern-utah/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/packing-light-for-a-summer-road-trip-to-southern-utah/#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 01:44:05 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13836 Welp.  Summer break is over.

I am obviously relieved that Stevie will be getting back to his regularly scheduled programming, but I’m also kinda… flabbergasted, I guess?  I mean, it just went by so fast.  I don’t know how much you can even consider summer break to be a break when you have summer school and summer camp and therapy and doctor’s appointments and everything else.  But we did get a whole 2 weeks off together.  And that seemed plenty.  It certainly had it’s ups and downs.  Lots of swimming (FUN) and Hot Wheels (BORING) and bike riding (MEH) and a new museum (COOL) and the fair (YAY) and forced coloring/practicing letters (LORD HELP ME).

And last but not least, Stevie and I took a little road trip to Southern Utah.  I hemmed and hawed about this for weeks.  WEEEEEKS.  I just didn’t see how I could get through 6 hours each way in the car with him alone.  But I knew once we got there, he’d have a great time with his cousins and aunties and uncles and grandparents.  So at the last minute, I decided to pop a Xanax and just go for it.  (Kidding about the Xanax, but really wish I wasn’t.)

The drive up was hard.  Really hard.  I used a clicky-counter-thing to distract myself and keep track of how many times Stevie asked “are we there yet?”  For the record, it was 67.  He asked 67 times in 6 hours.  He also wanted snacks constantly and screamed bloody murder when I couldn’t help him get things out of his backpack because you know, I was driving.  But we made it in one piece and I was right that he had a great time.  I had a great time too.  Going back always reminds me why I fell in love with that area.  It’s hot this time of year, but no less spectacular.  The only thing I missed was being able to drive up to Zion.  Since it’s tourist season, it’s just impossible.  But I didn’t have to look far to find beautiful reminders of home.

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I was pretty proud of myself with the packing situation as well and couldn’t wait to share.  I fit all of our stuff for 4 days in one little duffel bag.  I mentioned to my husband that my practice in the 10×10 challenges over the last couple years have really come in handy at times like this.  I had my outfits picked in like a minute.  Seriously.  Although I over-packed a tad because I didn’t even end up wearing my dress!  Here’s what I brought:

minimalist packing list, southern utah, weekend trip, packing list, road trip

  1. FLIP FLOPS (made in the USA) | SIMILAR for less
  2. LINEN BUTTON UP SHIRT (made responsibly)
  3. PACKABLE HAT (old from Madewell) | SIMILAR | SIMILAR (made responsibly)
  4. WHITE TEE (made responsibly)
  5. STRIPE DRESS (made responsibly + on sale)
  6. TUNIC (made by me, fabric from Michael Levine)SIMILAR
  7. DROP CROTCH SWEATS (made responsibly)
  8. DENIM SHORTS (old from Gap) | SIMILAR (organic cotton) | SIMILAR (for less)
  9. JUMPSUIT in natural (made responsibly)
  10. SWIMSUIT (went up one size for perfect fit) | SIMILAR (in plus size)

So as much as I hate to admit it — all in all, I’m glad I went against my better judgement and got a little road trip squeezed in for the end of summer.  It was nice to make some memories with my family.  And just so you know, the drive home was so much easier than the drive there.  He only asked “are we there yet” 28 times.  It’s an improvement, I’ll take it.

And even with summer technically being over, it will live on here for awhile, in a way.  The heat will stick around and I’ll kind of get my summer break while Stevie goes back in school.  Time to clean the house and do Medi-Cal paperwork and make more doctor appointments.  And obviously a mani/pedi at some point too.  Because I’m an adult and I do what I want.

Did you go anywhere fun this summer?

loves,
jaana

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Jumping Off Point http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/jumping-off-point/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/jumping-off-point/#comments Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:46:01 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13824 Yesterday, we had a big time doctor’s appointment for Stevie at Boone Fetter Clinic.  A few of you already know that this was long awaited — not only for the last several years of talking about it, but once we finally made the decision to go forward, we had to book 6 months out.

Popular place.

They offered to make a referral for us, but I knew there was a long wait for a reason.  These are great doctors / developmental pediatricians, and I’m really hopeful that they can point us in the right direction. Felt worth the wait.

So with this looming for so long, I was ready to get it over with.

Or at least I thought I was!!  The morning of the appointment, we were up early.  I had my usual coffee and went for a second cup, when I realized I probably shouldn’t.  My stomach started to hurt and I started feeling the nerves kick in.  Trying to portray calm, while my insides were anxiety-ridden.  As I put on my face, I envisioned the feelings that inevitably wash over me every single time we are at Children’s Hospital.  The memories, good and bad.  It’s a strange feeling to return there.  I knew what was coming, but not really.

The direction we are going now is all new territory for us.  Not heart related, not eye related, but not-really-sure-what related.

You see, Stevie’s brain and the way it works and the way he processes things has always been a total mystery to us.  We’ve never been able to reach a diagnosis, even though he’s been assessed a few times.  They simply call it global delays or an intellectual disability, but I think it far outweighs either of those.  So while we’re not sure why he is the way he is (we have our hunches), we are ready to try and find out.  But mental health issues and learning disabilities are tough to nail down.  Is it brain damage, ADHD, learning disorder, multiple issues?  Can it be treated with medication?  Do we want to treat with medication?  Will he need more therapy?  Has what we’ve done so far helped him or hurt him?

And the first thing I realized during the appointment was that this was going to be the start of another long journey.  Or like a new branch of our already long journey.  A little fork in the road type thing, where we are choosing to go left and seeing where it will take us.

His lack of diagnosis is one of the reasons it’s been so hard for him and me to relate to other kids and parents.  Obviously there are no two families on identical paths, but there are usually similarities.  And we’ve had a hard time finding people to share this with.  Which means there’s no one to turn to for guidance or advice.  It’s definitely tricky to use our method — the “try everything and hope something helps” method.  I’d love to hear something slightly more definitive, and maybe find some other people who can connect with us.

So we arrived bright and early for our appointment.  I sat and gave them a long medical history (don’t they have charts for that??) and shared our concerns, while Stevie patiently waited, driving Hot Wheels on the couch.  It may have been the most well-behaved I’ve ever seen him, go figure.  The doctors were thorough and kind and didn’t rush me.  They told me I was doing a great job with him (which is always nice to hear).  They mentioned that this was definitely something they couldn’t give me any answers to right away, but we would start working toward that.

So they made a referral for me to do the following:

  • More therapy in all areas (Occupational, Physical, and Speech)
  • See a Neurologist for an MRI or some kind of brain scan
  • Cognitive testing with the Child Psychologist
  • Get his hearing tested again

Immediately, I felt… calm and overwhelmed at the same time.  Like I know this will be the right step, but also OMG WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO MUCH WORK.  We already have such a busy schedule and it’s been off of our radar to visit specialists on the regular, other than his cardiologist and ophthalmologist.  This child is going to continue keeping me busy for quite some time.  But I know I can do it.  And Stevie can do it.  We’ve been drowning in appointments before, so it’s just breaking those busy days down into increments.  And if it means getting some answers and doing what is right for him, we’ll do it.

stevie fan club, parenthood, special needs parentingAnd I do hope with all my heart it’s right for him, as I’ve hoped with everything else we’ve tried.  This kid does not lead an unhappy life, by any means.  But his struggles are very real.  So if we can help take some of the weight off him, so he feels successful and confident, we just have to.  We want to do all we can to set him up for a happy life.

So here’s to the jumping off point on our little left turn at the fork in the road.

loves,
jaana

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Summer 10×10 Challenge http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/summer-10x10-challenge/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/summer-10x10-challenge/#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:54:28 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=13782 Another day, another style challenge!

Summer is definitely my most difficult season for dressing.  It seems like it should be the easiest!  I really feel like I should have this down by now.  I mean, I always start off optimistic enough.  Every single June, I’m like this is my year to wear cute dresses and embrace those easy, California-girl, summery feelings!

And every single July, I’m like it is way to freakin’ hot to be cute.  Cut-offs and a tee.  FOREVER.

So for 2017, I made some real changes to my summer wardrobe, without spending a lot of money:  I feel myself more and more drawn to linens and relaxed fits, but finding dream clothing that is responsibly made can get really expensive.

SO I TAUGHT MYSELF TO SEW.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this.  I’ve been sharing a few of my projects there as I go.  It has been really fun and really frustrating.  But I’m proud of myself that I started and I’m learning.  I’m seeing improvements (for the most part) and I’m really figuring out what I like to wear.  When I make the clothes myself, it has to be simple and comfortable because a) I’m not very good yet, and b) putting all that time and effort into something that I’m not going to wear would be such a waste.  So it’s all very thoughtful.  I buy fabrics that I love and let them sit for quite some time.  I look at them and touch them and wait until inspiration strikes.

Not all of my projects have been successful.  A jersey knit dress was a complete fail.  Some simply haven’t held up.  And some items are waiting to get reworked.  But all of this sewing takes my mind off shopping like nothing else.  It’s given me a new excitement and appreciation for clothing.

And back to my point.

This #summer10x10 challenge (hosted by Caroline + Lee) has by far been my most successful wardrobe challenge to date.  I made about 1/2 the pieces that I included, and I’m so pleased with all the looks.  They all reflect that easy, effortless, California (AKA beach bum) vibe that I’ve always struggled to achieve.  Once I put all the pieces next to each other, I realized I inadvertently chose colors that reflect those beach vibes too.  The blue-ish gray of the ocean, the warm sand, and even a little seashell pink.

So I ultimately think this mini capsule would make the perfect packing list for a sun-soaked vacation.

summer capsule wardrobe, mini capsule, style challenge, summer 10x10

  1. LINEN TANK (old, I altered into a crop style) | SIMILAR made responsibly
  2. PINK WRAP TOP (made by me, fabric from Michael Levine) | SIMILAR tee (made responsibly)
  3. STRIPE DRESS (made in the USA) | SIMILAR fabric from Amazon
  4. STRIPE CROP TOP (made by me, fabric from Amazon) | SIMILAR matching set in pink stripe
  5. STRIPE SHORTS (made by me, fabric from Amazon) | SIMILAR  matching set in pink stripe
  6. DENIM SHORTS (sized up for loose fit)
  7. JUMPSUIT in natural (made responsibly)
  8. TUNIC (made by me, fabric from Michael Levine) | SIMILAR (this is the one I want!)
  9. HAREM PANTS (made by me, fabric from Michael Levine) | SIMILAR
  10. FLIP FLOPS (made in the USA) | SIMILAR for less

Here are the 10 looks that I came up with:

summer 10x10, wardrobe challenge, mini capsule wardrobe

I barely even accessorized, because I didn’t want to complicate this one tiny bit. I only added sunglasses and a bag (this one or one like this).  Oh, and this beautiful hat while I was out and about.  I think the styling — or lack thereof — only contributes to the relaxed energy I’m trying to give off.

Before the challenge started, I honestly wondered if I should do another one.  I didn’t see any thing else I could possibly learn, and I don’t know that it necessarily helps with my writing rut.  But I’m so glad I did.  It forced me to hone in on the summer style I’ve been craving and makes me hate the heat a little bit less.

Tell me more about your summer style!  Do you have one nailed down?

Loves,
jaana

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We Are All Parents In Training http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/we-are-all-parents-in-training/ http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/we-are-all-parents-in-training/#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 16:25:25 +0000 http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com/?p=12372 As I started writing this blog post, I wanted to dedicate it to the new parents out there. Because holy crap if you’re a new parent.  You are surely going through some big changes.  You are definitely tired.  You are probably hormonal.  You are feeling accomplished and hopeful and well-adjusted one day — and like a huge flop of a failure the next.  I was gonna be all, don’t worry guys.  You’ll figure it out!

But the more I thought about it and wrote it out, I realized this blog post is probably just as much for me, and all of us who are in any stage of parenting.  You see, just when you I think I’m getting the hang of things, it all changes.  I wonder why I forget that.  Maybe because I feel like I’ve been doing it a long time.  Maybe because I think I’ve survived the hardest years of my life and I lived to tell about it (so far).  Maybe because my brain tricks me to believe it.

But I think I’ve mentioned here before that things as a parent don’t always get easier.  They just get different.  We overcome one challenge to be met with another.  Each stage of parenting has it’s own demands.  From the newborn stage to toddlers to tweens and teens all the way into adulthood.

If you’re a parent, you’re in training.  We ALL are.  Learning as we go.

parents in training, parenthood, stevie fan club, special needs parentingI personally had (another) big lesson a couple weeks ago with Stevie.  It didn’t seem big at the time, it seemed ridiculous.  But when I sat and thought about it, it gave me a lot of insight into what this kid is dealing with.  Basically I had asked him to go get his swim trunks from his dresser.  He went in and returned saying “I can’t find them”.  I rolled my eyes because he can never find anything.  That’s what kids always say.  I sent him back and he returned 10 seconds later repeating that he couldn’t find them.  I explained EXACTLY where they were — in the drawer with all his other shorts.  Same place they’ve been all this time.

He started showing signs of frustration, whining and yelling that he really couldn’t find them.  I started getting stern with him and said “Listen, if you don’t go get your swim trunks, we are not going swimming.  And that’s it.  Enough is enough!  Don’t even come out of your room until you have them.”  I went back to doing the dishes (that doesn’t sound like me, but let’s go with it) and assumed with that kind of ultimatum he’d be back real fast.  But all I could hear was him crying and screaming.

It gradually turned into a full-fledged-over-the-top-meltdown.  And it went on about 5 minutes before I had the thought to record him and send a video of this insanity to his dad.  At least we’d laugh about it later.  I sneaked into his doorway with the iPhone rolling and what I saw broke my heart a little bit:

He was opening and closing all the drawers, screaming at the top of his lungs, big crocodile tears rolling down his cheeks. He was… desperate to find his swim trunks.  He looked in the drawers I had asked him to over and over.  He was trying.  But couldn’t figure it out.  I watched for a minute and then set down my phone and put my hand on his shoulder to calm him down.  I showed him that the swim trunks were underneath a different pair of shorts. He simply needed to move one pair out of the way to see the others.  I had never specifically shown him that he could do that.  When he chooses his own clothes for school, he picks whatever is right on top.  It was a light bulb moment for him — and for me.  It made me think of all the other things I’ve never specifically shown him, and made me realize how many skills I’ve had to teach him, baby step by baby step, that come so naturally to other children.

An important training moment for me, at this stage of parenting — when I thought he had a simple task down, but there was a very important factor missing.

parents in training, parenthood, stevie fan club, special needs parentingAs our children grow, we seem to be met with unique and different circumstances all the time.  We take them as they come.   Make a lot of gut calls and hard decisions.  Things that we never thought we’d have to deal with and things that other people will surely offer advice on. It doesn’t matter what anyone says though.  Because you ultimately have to make a judgement call based on what’s right for you and your family.  This is your experience.  This is your training.

It’s also interesting for me being in a mom’s group where most of the children are toddlers and younger.  I feel like a seasoned veteran in some areas of discussion.  It’s easy for me to say “let them cry it out” / “they’ll be fine” / “you are doing a great job” because seeing it all from the other side, I know this.  I know that if your baby drinks formula or breast milk, they’ll be fine.  I know that if your kid watches the iPad before the age of 2, or after, or never, they’ll be fine.  I often encourage moms to relax.  And encourage them to take time to themselves and their partners.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

But it’s so different when you’re in it.

And still in my own life, I’m a lot harder on myself.  As a parent, as a wife, as a friend.  I fall short more often than not.  I try to forgive myself daily, but it sometimes builds up.  I certainly don’t give myself much credit for the hard work I put in because there is always more to do.  I don’t take my own advice.  I feel guilty taking time for myself.  I feel guilty that I don’t give enough time and effort to my relationships.  And I totally feel guilty asking for help.

Is it a genetic thing?  A generational thing?  A mom thing?  Well, my husband gets guilted too, so maybe a parenting thing in general?

The silver lining in the whole matter is that we are not alone in these feelings.  That keeps me hopeful.  I know the seasons will change.  Sometimes more slowly for some than others, but there’s really no stopping it.  We all have our ups and downs.  We all make mistakes.  We are all figuring it out as we go.  We are being trained.  For what, I’m not really sure.  Since there never seems to be an end in the lessons.

But god-damn if we won’t be awesome grandparents, because for sure we’ll have it all figured out by then!  Or at least we’ll be smart enough to pretend we do.

parents in training, parenthood, stevie fan club, special needs parentingWhat stage of parent training are you in right now? Any advice you would give yourself looking back?  

loves,
jaana

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