Monday, December 26, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES













Sunday, December 25, 2011

RICH WE ARE

What a precious life we share.  To be in this world together. To truly live our days as a family. To know what it feels like to be sheltered, comforted, cared about. There is a magnet that sits on my friend’s fridge that reads “You are my greatest earthly blessing” and I think it’s the most perfect sentiment for how I feel about my family. 

There is a look that Pete and I give to one another all the time. Nothing verbal is exchanged between us, and yet we both know exactly what the other is thinking. 

Look at what we made. 

Together.

In a season of so much over-abundance, when our society is focused on shiny new things to add to our lives, it’s the gift of a young girl’s and young man’s laughter, and porcelain cheeks of my baby boy…that remind us how overwhelmingly rich we already are.

Friday, December 23, 2011

BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE

My children are still young and require so much of me.  Each day, they are growing.  And alongside them, I am learning how to be a better mother.  With every month that passes, they need me a little less and with that realization comes a little sadness.

Keegan and Bailey are racing into independence at lightning speed, and I feel the pace with which they are finding their own way picking up with every day that passes. Even my newborn, Reef, is barely holding on to that title anymore. He is becoming alert, aware of himself, and learning to self soothe.

One day, my children will be out in the world somewhere, perhaps even learning the same lessons I am now. And I will be missing these days, when I was the thing that they needed most. And in my heart I will be mourning for the challenging moments that I sometimes try to wish away now. I will long for a crying infant that needs to be shh-shh-shh’d late into the night, for a sensitive 9 year old pouting about eating her vegetables, and for an 11 year old angry that his bedtime is earlier than that of his friends.

I am trying to embrace the present all of the time… not just in times of happiness but even more so when I feel myself struggling.

These are the best days of my life. Here’s to not letting them pass me by.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

PRODUCTS I LOVE

It rubs me wrong when people have secrets of looking good or saving money and don’t share them. It’s incredibly selfish and tacky. Like when someone asks a skinny model how she stays so thin and the response is like “Oh, I eat whatever I want! And then walk my dogs and meditate!” and they really have a tape worm and starve themselves and work out three hours a day and do meth twice a week. Phonies! If I know about something that’s going to solve your problems, I want to tell you about it. Because 1) I like you, and 2) karma says so.

I am painfully picky about cosmetics. Especially foundation. For this reason, I rarely wear it. And then I go out in public and you’re all like [gasp]. I have tried probably hundreds over the years. Realistically, closer to 10 or 15. But while I’d like to have the porcelain skin I once had…I don’t. However, I now find, at my age, that less is still more and this foundation or shall I say "no foundation foundation", is really perfect. It covers just enough without any look at all of being made-up!

As much as it wants to be, this is not a "one-color-fits-all" product. That said, however, you absolutely CAN customize this color to match *you*. In order for this to blend seamlessly with my skin tone, I mix just a bit of moisturizer with it and VOILA, it is fantastic! I get the benefits of Perricone skincare, SPF 30, and the perfect color to match my skin.

In a word? AWESOME!!!


If you have drier skin, be sure to moisturize properly first (Perricone's Face Finishing Moisturizer is a great one!) before applying. As for me, I have extremely oily skin in my 30’s...extremely. By which I mean my face could qualify for OPEC world status. That's how oily I am.

Furthermore, I have experienced no breakouts using this product (and I'm pretty prone to them when a formulation does not suit me).


Monday, December 19, 2011

DEAR BABY

Reef,

I realized this weekend that you are officially a real baby now. You recently decided to hang up your newborn status without sending your father and I the memo. I say this because newborns don’t attempt sitting up for minutes at a time. Newborns don’t have intense baby babble conversations with that weird little frog thing that hangs from your car seat. Newborns don’t decide to eat an entire bowl of food, including carrots.

I will miss my “little peanut” as I liked to call you when you were a swaddled and sleepy newborn -- but I like this new baby you’ve become. You are turning into a real firecracker and I am constantly amused by the big personality that is pouring out of my little man.

Currently, your favorite thing in the entire world is staring and laughing at your big brother and big sister.  They fascinate you in a way nothing else does. Not to mention, cuttin’ up and giggling with your mommy and daddy. You’ve figured out how to push your pacifier back in your mouth using your chubby little hand and you prefer Daddy to sing old REO Speedwagon or Hall-n-Oats songs to you over the traditional lullabies.

Sometimes I think I can actually see you growing right before my very eyes. The whole world is opening up to you and we have been standing right there, watching with amusement and joy as you soak it all in. You are one heck of a baby, Mister Reef, and I am one lucky mama.

Friday, December 16, 2011

PARENTING

I’m trying to appreciate the busy-ness amongst us right now. But I have to agree with baby Reef at times, “waaahhhh!” Pete and I already had a lot on our plates, and now…the holidays. Sometimes I daydream of our carefree days, when we… went to the movie theatre every weekend and took spur-of-the-moment vacations and went to endless happy hours and dined at chic restaurants and lounged in bed talking for hours upon wakening and enjoyed long meals with a bottle of wine and played uninterrupted board games and window shopped and slept a good 8 hours every night. I’m grateful that I had that time with my babe. A couple of years of just the two of us, doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to. It was important for us to have that then, so that we can be the best we can be to our children and each other now. Because some days, I look at my Petey with heavy eyes and think “I never even kissed you today.”

We willingly signed up for this. We expected it to be hard and tiresome and different from what we were accustomed to -- and so when it is, we just remind ourselves of that commitment. We never imagined how much parenting would open up our hearts. How much joy we would find EVERYDAY! in our hilarious little 4-month old, tender-hearted 10 year old, and brilliant 12 year old. And we never anticipated how much more love we’d have for one another watching the other embrace our new roles with the baby.

I share so much of the beauty of our family on this blog but it’s only fair to talk about the sacrifice and the stress and the hard work it requires. Children are amazing but they do change everything. Daily, we find ourselves learning to navigate this new life. We are finding ways to exist happily with its unexpected complexities, with the lack of individual and couple time, with the mess and the chaos…and couple it with the love and focus we feel for our family.

“We are doing important work” as a friend once told me. And none of it should be more important than the other -- raising our children, handling our responsibilities, taking time for ourselves individually, and nurturing our relationship. It’s a balancing act and one we don’t always feel like we are succeeding at -- but we continue to work at it, admit our defeats and our successes and move forward -- and really, that’s been our ticket to keeping it all afloat.

-

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CHRISTMAS MOVIES

The Roach household is already locked and loaded for these upcoming shows:
  • Elf
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Rudolph & the Island of Misfit Toys
  • It’s a wonderful life
  • Twas the Night
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Am I going to be THAT obnoxious Christmas spirit girl this year?

All signs point to yes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

BABY STEPS TO RECYCLING

I heard that November and December accumulate the most trash compared to other months in the year. It’s no surprise, really. And not just by a few tons, but 25% more, to the tune of a million extra tons per week! (source: http://bgm.stanford.edu)

With that, I want to post this friendly reminder to reuse once, twice, or a dozen times before throwing away a disposable. Just think: using the same napkin twice or tearing one in half for two meals (yes, we do this – thanks to my Petey) results in HALF as many napkins thrown in the trash on your account. A 50% improvement is worth noting in any book. And so simple!

Most of us are probably using reusable grocery bags for 100% of our shopping, but those plastic buggers still generally find a way into the home. We include them in our recycling, or otherwise use them to collect kitty litter and/or dirty baby dipeys. Bleh! The hubs recently suggested using them as trash can liners in our bathroom(s), as well as, for saving paint brushes and rollers for later. I sure have trained him right!


What suggestions might you have for reusing/repurposing?


Sunday, December 11, 2011

THINGS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED

We always take those things for granted that we promise ourselves we won’t. Legs that walk. Eyes that see. Bellies full of food. Children that are healthy. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed, or start feeling sorry for myself over one thing or another, I find there are two thing that help me most. One is prayer, the other is perspective.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

TO-DO LISTS

Sometimes my “ to-do” list feels more like a noose than a road-map for staying organized.

I can see the press release now: “Mother of three attempts to hang herself with a twelve page list of junk she ‘must-get done today’. Now the frazzled woman has a two new items to add to her list: buy more paper and ‘get a grip’!”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MAMA MUSINGS

On our days at home, Reef and I engage in a little dance with the crib. I change Baby. I feed Baby. Baby falls asleep. I put Baby down in the crib. Baby wakes up fussing before Baby has enjoyed a full nap. Cha Cha Cha. Repeat until around 6 PM, at which point Baby is bonkers in his overtired state. He finally passes out, and out of fear that he will not sleep for more than thirty minutes again, I turned on the vibrations provided by the pack-n-play. Baby stayed there blissfully for about two hours.

The bed, in all of its modern, technological glory did something that feels about as impressive as when Ford created the assembly line.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Sunday, December 4, 2011

ARRIVED!

Introducing my new nephew and niece, Grayson and Braylie!  We are so proud of them and their parents -- what wonderful holiday surprises!



Thursday, December 1, 2011

TAKING BETTER PHOTOS WITH YOUR iPHONE

We don't all have DSLR cameras, but we all have phones. Here are some great tips for taking better pictures with your camera phone...


Tip #1 – A good photo on your phone has to do with timing.

Stand still after taking a photo and know that your phone’s camera might not snap the photo as soon as you click the shutter button. Many cameras on phones will take the photo on the RELEASE of the button. So stand still and wait a second or two after you take the photo or to keep it from being blurry.

Tip #2 – Find Good Natural Light

We could talk about not using your on camera flash all day! ha. But we’ll be brief and recommend going outside or moving your subject to a window with good light. Avoid harsh sunlight and standing near lamps as well.

Tip #3 – Don’t Zoom – Move Closer to the Subject
The digital zoom on many camera phones only magnify your image and will pixelate your photos. Move closer to your subject so you won’t have to zoom. You’ll get a much sharper image this way.

Tip #4 - Play with the Exposure
iPhones have a tap focus feature and it will change your exposure based on where you touch the screen. This is a simple way to change your focal point and enhance any photo!


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