Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just Do it... Traveling With Young Kids

Having had numerous traveling experiences with my two little ones I thought I'd share some tips that have really helped me along the way.

1. Just do it. Don't let the idea of traveling with young kids intimidate you. There will be tough moments, but it's worth it.

2. Start them young. We went on our first traveling adventure when our daughter was only 5 months old. She's almost 3 now and seems like a seasoned pro. She can do long bus rides, plane rides, boat tours, hiking trails, you name it. 

3. Use what you got. Don't get weighed down with random toys. It's amazing how entertaining an empty water bottle can be for a 6 month old.

5. Show your children grace. After 5 hours of hiking through a jungle and checking out some ancient ruins, it makes sense that your 3 year old is throwing a tantrum at lunch. Don't let that one tantrum make you forget abut the 5 hours of awesome that she just was.

4. Spend a little more on the hotel. You'll be spending a decent amount of time there with nap breaks and resting. Spend the extra buck or 2 and get the hotel with the pool.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Heaviness of Raising a Girl

A sweet friend at work is pregnant with her first child and just found out she is having a girl. After the initial congratulations, I asked her how she was feeling about it.

She told me that she was scared. She was excited, but scared.

Having a daughter just seemed so much heavier of a job for a mama.

Not the physical running around part, but the day to day interactions, the desire to instil a positive self-confidence in this little being; to raise up a young woman who respects herself and knows she is beautiful.

As my own daughter begins to transition from toddler to little girl, I am faced with this reality. How am I portraying the idea of a woman to her? How am I describing beauty to her? How am I lifting her up in a way that fosters a confident and positive strong will? When I write it all out, it does seem all that more heavy.

All the sudden, we as mothers of little girls, are forced to examine how we view ourselves. What is the self-image I am projecting? Because she is watching.

Everyday, she is watching her mama. She is listening to what I say, whether it's about her, someone else, or myself. She is watching me put on my makeup and brush my hair. She watches my interactions with her dada. How I let him stop me each night in my dish washing frenzy and hold me for just a few seconds.

I want so badly for her to have a strong sense of self, to have a positive self-image, to know she is truly and deeply loved and to know that what she looks like on the outside will never change that.

I don't ever want her to think that she needs to change herself to fit in, or to look just right in order to please others. She is already just right the way she was made.

This world will try to sway her and TV and movies will try to tell her what is beautiful, but in all of that I hope she remembers her mama.

I hope she remembers all those days of messy hair and no makeup. The days where the clothes didn't matter and flip flops worked just fine. The days where her dada showed her tired mama that he loved her in all her realness in front of a sink full of dirty dishes.

Because this is what I have control over. I have control over how I view myself; how I portray myself; and it matters.

Not just for me, but for her.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To My Children

Dear Isabela and Morgan,

This Mother's Day, I have the honor of writing to you both, my two children.

My children. That phrase sounds so beautiful, doesn't it?

Maybe not to you, but to me it makes my heart well up with a feeling of love and grace.

Grace. This is something I pray for daily. I pray that I show you grace in the day to day; but also, I pray that you are able to learn how to show it to others. Your dad and I happen to be some of the others to which I speak. 

We both love you two so deeply, but daily we fail in some way or another to show you the complete love that we feel in our hearts. This is where that grace comes in.

I pray that you learn this kind of loving and forgiving unbiased grace through your dad and I's interactions with you and with each other. I pray that you learn it from your grandparents who love you in a way even I can't comprehend. I pray you learn it from your school teachers as they guide you in growing your mind and your attitude.

I pray that you learn it through your friendships, as some will let you down and others will build you up. I pray that you learn it through your community, however big or small.

I pray for these things because I know how great it is to have grace shown to me. It has been shown to me through your dad, my family, my school teachers, my friends and my communities; but above all, it has been shown to me through the love of God. He is our standard on this and I am forever thankful for that.

Isa, my daughter, your strength in mind and spirit blow me away. My heart gets so full when I see the little girl that you are quickly becoming. Your confident tone and your sweet empathetic attitude towards others are amazing to see. You have such an endearing heart for others. When I think about who your will become and who you already are I get goosebumps. I can't believe you are mine.

Morgan, my boy. My boy. I just love saying that. I love that when you snuggle with me, you sink your entire weight into my shoulder. It's a mix between wrestling and nuzzling. I love the way you watch your sister. I can already tell how much you love her. You are such a mellow little guy. You like to take everything in. You already have such a gentle spirit. I am so excited to watch you grow.

Kids, I love you so much. It's this crazy kind of love that has taught me that I can be so much more patient than I thought; so much stronger and so much kinder; so much better. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to experience this kind of love.

In His Grace,
Your Mom

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wobbly Legs

So this is happening now....

My little man's skinny, wobbly legs learning to hold themselves up.

That's me next to him half smiling, half freaking out, sure that he might come crashing to the ground at any second.

Pretty sure big sister over there doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

It's ridiculous how much I love that little face.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Better Health and Babies

Doesn't that sound like a great magazine name?

My little boy has decided it's time to join the big boys and is now sitting up on his own. At a skinny 7 months old, it's hard to believe that he's more than half way to being 1.

My first baby has decided she is no longer be a baby, let alone toddler anymore. Apparently, according to some mommy website, once they hit age 3 they are no longer called toddlers, but preschoolers. Which is basically telling me to brace myself, because I am about to have a full on little girl.


Parenthood is long days, short years.... so true.

In other news, I have spent a week spearheading the Kitchin Family Health Initiative... or simply put, eating better and exercising.  We weren't eating terribly unhealthy before, but there was little variety and lots of carbs (think pastas and breads... all the time).

So, I went into my recipes board in pinterest and decided to give some of those pretty pictures a try. I made a grocery list and meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And I actually COMMITTED.

We've had a week of healthy meals with tons of whole foods and variety. Isa is eating everything  I put on her plate, which equals.... amazing!

I'm actually starting to see some muscle definition on my 2 baby stomach thanks to Jillian Michaels and her 6 week 6 pack series. I totally recommend this video if you're looking to rebuild strength and muscle. I basically started with none and am really starting to see results just 2 weeks into it. Plus, I just feel better.

Not so much when doing the work out. When doing the workout I often feel like collapsing and/or throwing up.... but worth it. Really.

That's it for now in this edition of BHB. I'll be sure to post some recipes soon.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day by Day

Princess crowns next to baseball caps, piles of laundry yet to be put away because you're too busy playing with a curious baby, spring flowers that greet you as you walk in the door, a husband who likes to cook while watching the Daily Show, and a little girl who I sometimes catch daydreaming. Real life is so beautiful in its simplicity.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013


My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

-Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

Blessed by those who have lived more life than me; who have offered the world their wisdom. I take this bit of wisdom to heart this quiet morning with my coffee and baby boy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

For When you Don't Feel Awesome

Every night as I tuck my 2 year old daughter into bed I say the same few sentences to her:

You are beautiful. You are smart. You are special. You are awesome. You're the best daughter in the world.

And each night, without fail, she repeats each sentence in confident agreeance.

I am beautiful. I am smart. I am special. I am awesome. I'm the best daughter in the world.

I pray she holds these phrases close as she navigates her way through this world.

But do I hold these phrases close?

Could I say these things about myself without shyly lowering my head after each one?

What about on those days, weeks, months, when I don't feel awesome.

Awesome is defined as "inspiring awe."

Do I really believe I inspire awe in others, that I feel it in myself? It's hard to feel awe-inspiring when you're going through the motions.

So, how do I stop going through the motions? How do I remember my own awesomness and let it exude?

How do I confidently respond to that phrase?

I am awesome.

First, I need to say it. Not in some, oh man, check me out, everyone. If you haven't noticed my awesomeness then, man, you're missing out.

I need to say it in an understanding that I was created to be awesome, to pursue awesomeness. Then I need to believe it.

I am thankful for this girl; who believes without a doubt in her own awesomeness.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quarter Life

Lately I've had a feeling of unrest creeping up inside of me. My soul is shaky and I'm afraid it's showing in my stride. I try and walk carefully, thinking about each step before I take it, but I'm still landing a bit unbalanced.

I've been struggling through the why of this for the last week or so and I've concluded that I'm having a bit of an identity crisis.... a quarter life crisis if you will.

I'm 27 years old, a mother of two, a wife of 4 and a half years, a teacher still fresh in her career and an American living in Mexico, speaking imperfect Spanish on a daily basis. I'm making dinner, doing dishes, letting laundry build up, grading papers, dealing with students, attempting to grow a 2.5 year old and care for an infant, all the while trying not to forget that I have a husband who needs time and attention and a marriage that needs looking after.


There's more, but I'm tired of thinking about it all. The part of that short paragraph that has been pulling at me over the last few months is the 27-year-old with 2 kids part. 

I'm young. I see my friends who are the same age living the single life, working through new living situations, new jobs, finding their niche; exploring, discovering who they are.

I see other moms out there living this so called "mom life." Most of them stay home. They are caring for their kids, cleaning the house, finding new recipes on Pinterest; fully occupied with caring for their family.

Neither of these people are me and yet, I so badly want to fit into one of these categories.

The thing is, I am not a single 20-something finding her niche. I am not a stay-at-home-mom, focused fully on caring for her family. I am this 20-something working mom.

I love my kids. I love my husband. Sometimes I wish I could go out all night and not have to worry about the next morning, or the 3am feeding. 

I like to look at recipes on Pinterest and write down a weekly meal plan with a hint of hope that those meals might actually get made (they often don't). 

The truth is, I envy my single friends. They have so much room to discover who they are; to spend the careful time it takes to reflect, to grow. 

I envy my mom friends who seem so confident in their role as mother, wife, homemaker.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing wrong.

When saying all of this to my husband the other day, he simply said, yeah, but we're not any of those things. We aren't the norm. We're the exception.

He lit up as he said this. 

He went on to say, we live in Mexico, we visit ancient ruins, see swarms of butterflies over the weekend. This is our life.

He loves our life.

Why am I having such a hard time feeling the same love.

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids deeply. They are a part of me; a limb, my heartbeat.

I love my husband deeply. He is my adventurer; my handholder.

But I want to feel the love for my life. For where I am and who I am. 

If I'm completely honest, I'm just not there right now. I'm in process. 27 is young to know who you are and where you fit.

I'm still trying to figure it out; actually I feel like I'm just starting to try and figure it out. I have this urge to know, or at least to have an idea.

For right now I'm unsteady. I'm working through it, and I know that's OK. I'm allowed this time, as long as I use it wisely; productively. Time is not something to be taken lightly. 

So I'll use it. I will take on it's responsibility and begin to find my niche.