A Battle Won (+ some link love)

This week has felt like an eternity. I’ve been attempting to sleep train my Little and my God, it is hard. Sleepless nights have melded into each other and as this deficit continues to grow, I just have to keep chugging along, trying to make it work. But the worst part is seeing him struggle. It hurts my heart to hear him cry, to see that look of desperation in his eyes. I know he’s tired, I know he doesn’t fully understand how to soothe himself back to sleep, but he is so curious and just wants mommy to pick him up so he can feel her warmth and observe the world around him.

Naptime w Watermark

For the first time, he slept last night for a long stretch of time in his very own crib, in his very own room. It was a long fought battle that we won that night, but all the while, I yearned to have my baby next to me. They grow up so quickly, don’t they? I know it’s healthy for him to discover his independence, but I’m already missing the sound of him stirring next to me. Ah, motherhood is full of so many juxtapositions!

Sleeping Babe w Watermark

Feels like such a lifetime ago!

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Obviously, I’m feeling a little reminiscent and whimsical these days as that little guy you see above becomes more and more determined to do things on his own. So I thought I’d share a few links that struck a chord with me this week:

  • Mary Beth always has such a sweet way with words. No one is meant to do life alone – we should all be willing to encourage each other, help each other, and accept help from others.
  • I love Joanna’s honesty. Motherhood is hard and it seems like a lot of moms out there want to hide that aspect of it, as if feeling bad meant you were a bad mother. But feeling bad happens, that’s Life, and it’s OK. It’s how you pick yourself back up that matters.
  • Hug it out, folks!
  • If you ever needed an excuse to think positively, this is it…
  • …and here are 50 ways to help you get there.

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Traveling with Baby: Tips & Tricks

These are the kind of memories that get me through weeks like this one….

Hawks Caye Beach w Watermark

Can you believe Mother Nature dropped more snow on us?! In Spring (#springfail). Oh how I long for warmth!

Luckily, I managed to escape the wrath of Mother Nature earlier this month with a week’s worth of vacation in the Florida Keys. And my God, it was heaven and so very much needed. I’m quite certain that if I didn’t escape, my brain would have exploded by now.

I was pretty nervous about traveling with a 4 month old though and spent the week prior to vacation packing, repacking, scouring the web for travel tips, and checking my list twice.

In the end, Little G was an angel and heck, I give myself props for packing like a champ and having everything go amazingly smooth!

I’m sure some of this was pure luck, but I did manage to learn a few things along the way:

Traveling with Baby w Watermark

1.  Try to book a flight during baby’s normal sleeping hours. Our flight departed at 6am, which meant a 3am wakeup, but it was SO worth it when Little G slept through the entire flight.

2.  Bring your car seat and stroller. Both of these can easily be checked at the gate for free. Simply drop off as you board the plane (make sure they are both tagged!) and pick up on your way out. That way, if you have need of a rental car or taxi, you can travel with your baby safely!

Family Photo Copy

3.  Be courteous. Most passengers seem to be pretty sympathetic to the plight of traveling with baby, but in case your angel turns into the devil reincarnated somwhere mid-flight, come prepared with earplugs for you and everyone around you. A box of earplugs can be purchased for just a few bucks at your local hardware store and I promise, those few dollars can go a long way!

4.  Purchase a new, fabulous toy for baby only to be used in times of desperation. Again, if the devil seems to be inhabiting your baby’s body, this is the perfect time to pull out this never-seen-before toy that amazes and distracts your little person.

5.  Call the hotel ahead of time and see if they have up-to-code cribs. If so, reserve one and have it ready to go in your room upon your arrival. The less you have to pack, the better! Believe me, your suitcase will already be bursting at the seams.

6.  Pack at least 2 outfits per day for baby (and 1 for your diaper bag) and a few extra light-weight blankets. I used one of these blankets as a fitted sheet for the crib since I knew it had been washed with hypo-allergenic detergent. Be sure to throw one in your diaper bag as well – the plane can sometimes get chilly!

7.  If you’re breastfeeding, also be sure to pack a nursing cover in your diaper bag. Nurse on the plane at take-off and landing. This will distract baby from pressure changes.

8.  If you’re traveling to a warm, sunny location (and why wouldn’t you?!), pack a few light-weight long sleeve shirts for baby, a few UV protectant, rash-guard shirts, sunscreen, and a couple of sun hats. I also brought a UV protectant play tent for beach time (it’s super light-weight, portable, and easily fit in our suitcase, but large enough for me to sit in to nurse).

G and I in Tent

9.  Try to keep baby’s routine as much as possible. Schedule mealtimes during naps – again, this is where the stroller comes in handy! My husband and I really lucked out with this one. We went out to eat for lunch and dinner every day and managed to actually enjoy every single meal as Little G slept in his stroller beside us. But be prepared to leave quickly! We payed the bill as soon as we got our food. You know, just in case…

10.  Keep an open mind and know that vacationing with baby will be different than any other vacation you’ve ever taken. You’ll be spending a lot of time in your hotel room (so you may want to splurge on an upgrade…). You won’t be able to go parasailing or scuba diving or zip lining. But you will be able to watch and experience your little one discovering this whole new world around him and that, my friends, makes the hassle of traveling with baby in tow entirely worthwhile.

G and I 2 w WatermarkDo you have more tips and tricks to add? I would love to hear them!

Adding More ING (+ having an honest moment).

As a mother to a 5 month old (I can’t believe he is already 5 months!), I sometimes find myself busy and bored all within the same moment. I am constantly doing something – whether it is playing with G, cleaning up after G, cleaning up/yelling after 1 or all of my 3 furry critters, cleaning house/doing laundry/prepping dinner/writing like a mad woman, etc. all while little G sleeps for 20 minutes – but DOING doesn’t always mean LIVING and I definitely struggle with this aspect.

Not that I don’t enjoy some of these things some of the time – I love playing with Greyson and I treasure the brief moments I have to write – but by the time I actually have the opportunity to go out and enjoy the day, I am utterly exhausted, mentally and physically (Little Dude is most definitely going through some kind of sleep regression!). Just the thought of putting away the dogs, packing him up, and transferring him to the car becomes daunting.

Of course, when I do find the motivation to shake off my exhaustion and seize the day, fabulous memories are created. And these are the memories that get me through the hard, monotonous days (and sleepless nights).

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I recently read a book called Add More ING to Your Life (recently being my pre-baby days), and I’ve come to realize that this is a concept I should apply to my struggles. The fabulous memories I create when I do choose to seize the day are exactly what give me the motivation to create more.

Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness

You can purchase the book here.

The more experiences you have, the happier you will be. OR, a body in motion stays in motion.

That, my friends, is the ING concept: to get moving. To experience, to create, to explore. To do things that inspire you to do more.

WalkING

So, going forward, that is what I hope to do. When I’m feeling exhausted or a little down in the dumps, I plan to start moving, experiencing, exploring, laughing, creating, writing and actually LIVING, despite my exhaustion or negativity.

Will you join me?

Because we’ve all been there at some point in our lives, and many of us are still there: in a rut. So why not give each other that extra push and motivation to climb out?

To hold myself accountable, and perhaps help you do the same, I’ll be making this a weekly series, offering some positive thinking and giving you a rundown of how I added a little ING to my week. I would love to here your thoughts, comments, suggestions, positive affirmations, motivations, and ways in which you added your own ING.

Now let’s get MOVING!

Living in Motherhood: Part 1

For those of you that have followed me for a while, you’re well aware that I’m a bit of an interior design aficionado. Seriously, I could oogle Pinterest images for hours (and actually have when baby has fallen asleep on me!). There are a lot of images that speak to me though, and I have yet to completely define my style.

What I have learned, however, is to go with my gut and not let any one style limit me. And to be realistic. I would love an all white interior, or at least mostly white, but with 2 dogs, a cat, a baby, and a husband that doesn’t often take off his shoes when home…not possible.

Living Room

image via I Suwanee

I love the girly glamorous, but getting my husband to agree to crystal chandeliers, gold trim, any shade of pink, or faux fur…not possible.

via First Home on Tumbler

I love the fresh cottage, Pottery Barn-like style…but I have also discovered that it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Vintage-style living room

via House to Home

What I hope to create is an eclectic style of all of these things, a style that is cozy and comfortable and fitting for my newfound lifestyle. Most of all, I want a style that makes me smile – and looks good messy. Because let’s face it, who has time to clean with a baby on the move?!

Boho chic living room | Living room decorating | Ideal Home | Housetohome.co.uk

via House to Home (UK)

Oh-joy-emily-henderson-honest-living-room-2b

via Oh Joy!

Now on to the baby-proofing…any tips and suggestions?

Chasing Grey

I took a bit of a hiatus from The Modage Cottage to dedicate time to the new and wonderful addition to my family. And what a joy it has been! There have been a few pitfalls and tears along the way – you DO NOT want to mess with a girl going on multiple months of sleepless nights! – but my God, to watch my little guy discover the world in all his innocence…it is something magical.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

This blog, however, has become my lifeline. It is my little piece of heaven, where I somehow find the briefest of moments away from my little to carve out time for myself. But I am never truly away from him, am I? Yes, the little devil is in my every thought and you will see a lot of him on this here blog. Greyson, Little Man, Mister, Dude, and the occasional Curmudgeon, we call him a lot of things, but I’m certain he will want to go by Grey once he has his say.

I am constantly amazed how quickly time passes with a babe to entertain you. In fact, I’m convinced babies are a black hole for time! Which is exactly why I find myself chasing Grey, because I don’t want to miss a second of this beautiful life we are building together or forget how quickly he will grow.

But I also don’t want to overlook myself and how I am growing with him. His innocence, his helplessness, and his ingenuous frustrations make me want to be a better person. A more selfless person. A happier and more carefree person.

So this is my story with a fresh perspective. One that embraces motherhood: the joys, the strains, the desperations, and the desires. But most of all, this is a story about love and family and all the little, wonderful things Life has to offer.

Welcome to the new chapter in my life. Welcome to the new and improved Modage Cottage!

Finding Myself in Motherhood…

We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.               – Kristin Martz

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately, and I’ve struggled with putting into words my feelings as of late. You see, I have lost myself in this thing called motherhood; it brings me the greatest joy, but there also runs an undercurrent of apprehension and frustration. Life will forever be altered and I am no longer who I once was. But who have I become?

This is the question that keeps me up at night. I am a mother and a wife; these are roles that are so incredibly fulfilling in so many ways. But there is a part of me that still craves…something more. I just don’t yet know what that something is.

What I do know is that while I have lost myself in motherhood, I am also in the process of finding myself there too. No, I am not who I once was – I am something better. I created a person and that is something magical. But my priorities have changed and my focus is shifting.

What does all this mean for my blog? Well, it means that my inspirations have also shifted and I’m not yet sure in what direction I want them to go.

I do have a few grandiose ideas, just not the time to execute them. And rather than split my time between blogging and baby with neither getting the full attention necessary, I’d rather delight in my little one and give him my all. Motherhood has most definitely become an all-encompassing priority (and finding any semblance of a routine has been quite the arduous path. If anyone has any advice on getting a 3 month old to nap for longer than 35 minutes at a time, please let me know!). So, until I have the time and the proper mindset, my blog will have to take the back seat.

When I do recommence (and I have every intention to!), I hope to have a better focus, a style that is entirely my own, a few more DIY’s under my belt, and a voice that truly embraces all of the realities of motherhood: the joys, the strains, the desperate need for a shower, and the desire to instill a little bit of fashion into the new mom wardrobe.

Mainly, I hope to rediscover what I initially set out to achieve with this blog: to feel inspired. And lately, that’s exactly what has been lacking.

So for all of my readers, thank you so very much for following me. I’m sure I will lose a few of you as time lags and my focus shifts, but it was a fun ride while it lasted and I thank you for giving me the chance. And for those of you that do choose to stick it out, you are my greatest inspiration and I hope that I don’t disappoint.

I’ll be back, it’ll just take a little time to find myself again through the things I love.

Self care and taking time to live your life will give you the energy and creativity to put back into your work.ps…I will still be posting on Instagram and Facebook so feel free to follow me there in the meantime!

In His Hands…(and 1-4/52 Weekly Portraits)

In His Hands

1/52: “To see the world in a grain of sand, to see heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour”   -William Blake

I must admit, motherhood is one of the most rewarding yet challenging roles I have ever assumed. Every day is a new experience, every hour is a new demand, and every minute is an absolute delight. There are definitely moments I doubt myself and this enormous responsibility. Many moments, in fact. Raising a child is hard. But at the end of the day, it is also immensely satisfying.

I can’t deny that I have become frustrated at times. There is very little time for myself, for my writing, for this blog, for showers, for the multitude of little things that I would like to do, but then I take one look at his face, his curious, smiling face, and realize that it really isn’t about me anymore. It’s about him, and I’m ok with that.

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I recently stumbled across this beautiful blog and immediately knew that like Jodi, and as my son grows right before my eyes, I want to capture as many treasured moments with him as possible.

Greyson 2

2/52: I am learning to appreciate the uncertainties of motherhood, but there is one thing that I am certain of: this little guy holds my heart in his hands, for infinity and beyond.

Thus begins my own 52 Project for 2014: a memory keeping (and making!) journey that I hope to look back on year after year with love and bittersweet nostalgia.

I’ll be posting a portrait of the week every Monday and linking up with Practising Simplicity every Sunday going forward. I hope you can join me (and excuse me as I play catch up)!

My Guys @ Grace Winery

3/52: “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” –Aristotle

G in Jumperoo

4/52: “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one!” – Dr. Seuss

Maintaining My Sense of Self (and sanity)…

I must admit, motherhood is most definitely an all-consuming job and lately, I have been struggling with maintaining a sense of self in the process. I love my little bean so completely that I have found myself putting me on the back burner. Yep, there are times I forget to brush my teeth, to eat, and makeup…well, that has simply become an extravagance!

So, as mentioned in my previous post and to reinforce my sanity, one of my top goals for the New Year is to concentrate on myself outside of motherhood. Or rather, to not lose myself within this new role of motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a mother. I love watching my little bean explore the world, one finger at a time. I love providing comfort and snuggles. I love his wide, curious eyes and his sideways smile. But I have to remind myself that in order for me to be the best possible role model for him, I need to take care of myself.

You musn't be afraid to sparkle.

I typically curate my inspirations via Pinterest and then quickly forget all about them, but this year, I plan to hold myself a little more accountable by sharing my style inspirations with all of you and actually taking action…

banana republic loafers | late afternoon

…like purchasing these leopard loafers from Banana Republic (that no longer seem to be available…argh!). Although, I love the whole outfit – the distressed boyfriend jeans, the striped sweater, the chunky bracelets…very casual chic!

scarf + hat + red lipsOr buying and wearing more hats because 1) I seem to have a permanent bad hair day lately, and 2) a hat can truly pull together any look (paired with red lips and a chunky scarf and you’ve got yourself a complete ensemble!).

Triangle Symétrie BraceletAnd wearing more simple, quality jewelry like this piece.

These are all tangible, purchasable things, of course, but beyond that, they inspire me to really develop and refine my personal flair. More importantly, it inspires me to be more confident and comfortable with myself.

A couple more ways I hope to pamper myself:

Silver + neonGet more manicures….

image…learn a few tricks to get me out of this bad hair funk. The key is quick and easy!

Victoria's Secret Model's Full-Body Workout..…and (gulp) workout! Even if for a few minutes at home. This workout is a great place to start. I’ve done it a few times already and I can actually feel my muscles working.

For all you moms out there, what do you do to maintain a sense of self (and sanity)? And how do you pamper yourself?

Bring It On…

imageHappy New Year! Is it really 2014 already? I’m so excited for what this year will bring. With a new accessory on my arm – my handsome little man – I am already flying high.

I have no doubt this year will be a thrilling one!

Looking back on 2013, however, I realize that I was a bit lost. I was somewhere between motherhood and wanting so badly to hold on to my autonomy. I wanted everything and nothing at the same time – I wanted to become the best mother possible, I wanted to be that perfect homemaker (there’s that word again; perfect), but I also wanted to let loose, have fun, feel young again, and somehow rediscover my life’s purpose. I suppose I was afraid of losing myself and couldn’t grasp the fact that I could have all of these things and more (aside from perfection). I wasn’t unhappy, but I think this confusion caused quite a bit of strife within my mind.

Are there others out there who have felt this way?

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But this year, it is my resolution to let go of those petty annoyances, enjoy the small things, and to revel in motherhood. And instead of floating in a limbo of worries and insecurities, I hope to adjust my purpose and rediscover myself – a happier and more positive self. Because truly, what isn’t there to be happy about?!

Munchkin Face

Seriously, how does one NOT smile at that face?! Makes my heart melt.

Yes, this is the year of good thoughts and passionate living. It will be a year full of little giggles, sparkling eyes, and bubbly toes. But I also hope to concentrate on myself outside of motherhood; refine my style, rediscover my creativity, live a healthier lifestyle, and fall in love with myself again.

I mean, what’s not to love…?

A “few” more resolutions I have:

  • Stop waiting and start living – take more risks and go outside my comfort zone.
  • Don’t dwell on the past.
  • Have more fun! Put aside to-do lists and instead, concentrate on what makes me happy.
  • Laugh more. Don’t take life so seriously.
  • Be more patient, loving, and affectionate.
  • Put heart into everything I do.
  • Be the best mom that I can be. Have fun, treasure every moment with my little guy, and let him experience the world and grow at his own pace.
  • Do something creative every day.
  • Paint a picture.
  • Take a photography class.
  • Join a mom’s group.
  • Find studio space.
  • Run at least 2 races
  • Start yoga.

Tell me, how do you plan to love yourself more this year?

I am so ready 2014. Bring it on!

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For a little extra motivation, you can purchase this print here.

Feeling the Bohemian Vibe + Gift Ideas

Perhaps it’s my desire to adopt a more carefree attitude, or my need to relinquish a little more control (it’s so hard!), but I have recently found myself drawn to that laid-back, bohemian vibe.

Gypsy Lolita - www.gypsylolita.com/ #boho #bohemian #hippie #gypsy

I know that I will never be that true free spirit – I simply care too much about the judgments of others and I’m way, WAY too uptight to fully let that part of myself go. But as you may have read, I have been attempting to let go to the best of my ability and insert bits and pieces of this spirit into my daily life.

With that said, of course it only makes sense to insert some of that bohemian vibe into the one room I spend most of my time in…

Bohemian Living Room - A vintage bamboo couch covered with a fur throw and green pillows

A livable, plush living room with a bohemian flair via Lonny

Bohemian Living Room - A living room with an oversized velvet sofa, mixed throw pillows and a rough-hewn coffee table

Currently, my living room is a bit too Pottery Barn-ish with a neutral, natural color scheme. But, since I can’t disregard the furniture I already have, I am going with a vintage, cottage-y, bohemian style…

Bohemian Living Room - A gold starburst mirror framed by white curtains

Bohemian Living Room - A black-and-white striped rug in sitting area

Yes, I definitely need a little more panache in my life! And for me, adding this flair makes it more inviting and child-friendly. So with credit card and wish list in hand, I went ahead and did a little Christmas shopping for myself…

Playful triangles Throw PillowMINIMAL COMPLEXITY Throw PillowWatercolor Swiss Cross (White) Throw PillowDiamond Throw PillowTriangle pattern Throw PillowBLACK & WHITE ARROWS Throw Pillow

All throw pillow via Society6

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Throw blanket and rug via Ikea

Colorful World Map - Art Print - Watercolor Painting

You can find the prints here and here.

I must add, all of these accessories are $30 and under and would make the perfect holiday gift for those in your life that may need a little pick me up! Tis the season, my friends (one for you, one for me…).

Looking forward to sharing my mini-makeover with you once I get all these goodies in hand!