Mama’s Circle

So I’ve mentioned before how amazing The Crybaby Club is. How affirming it is to belong to a wonderful group of human beings who get what it’s like to be tough and tender. A safe place to be vulnerable and make real connections. As wonderful as they all are, most are physically far away, around the country, around the world. Super cool and real, but there’s also a need to have people to meet up with in the real world and do life with.

I recently experienced one of those magical moments when the stars align and the universe brings you exactly where you need to be. I reached out to a friend from high school, (I used to drive her to school in my ’66 Mustang – how I miss that car), and got real about how lonely I had been, especially since becoming a mother. She mentioned a friend of hers she thought I’d get on well with, so she connected us and I invited her and her son over for a play date. We connected on many levels and before she left she mentioned the mom’s group she’s part of and their upcoming park day, inviting me to come meet them.

I felt an instant connection with these lovely mama’s. They were authentic and awesome and they welcomed me with open arms. Cue happy dance!

Suddenly I have friends again! Places to be! Things to do! People to see! Mama’s Circle has park days once a week, moms’ night out about once a month, play dates, and friend time scheduled on our own. We stay connected via our group’s Facebook page, but the focus is on getting together in real life and it’s glorious.

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Dear lonely mama’s out there, I highly recommend finding your local mom’s group or making your own! Your fellow mama’s will be so very glad you did, I promise you.

I hadn’t realized just how lonely and isolated I had become, until it reached critical levels. Now I’m learning to balance my introverted nature with my social needs. Not burrowing for too long, remembering to also bloom. Taking time to recharge alone, but not staying alone too long. Not letting it get to such critical levels again before reaching out.

We’re not meant to do this alone. We need people to listen who understand because they’ve been there too. Friends we can talk to and be our vulnerable authentic selves with. The validation is invaluable.

I’d begun to doubt it was possible to find my people. I thought maybe those times were behind me or yet to come again – in about 18 years. This season of life can be so hard and isolating, but it’s easier when we come together. The burden gets lighter and the joys brighter.

It’s also a surprisingly wonderful way to collaborate and share our talents with our small businesses. You may think you’ve thought of everything, but simply getting together with a friend can reveal all sorts of “why didn’t I think of that” ideas and connections. Just talking about my shop with someone else keeps things fresh and growing. The honest feedback and “you can do this” support makes it easier to stay motivated and inspired. I’ve also traded doll slings for photographs with my friend and fellow mama, Lee Anne of Petal & Vine Photography. (Her birth photography and family portraits are particularly amazing).

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When I was little my mom was in a similar mom’s group and that allowed me to grow up with lots of friends and adults I could trust outside my own family. I’m so glad I’ve found these lovely ladies. I needed them and my little guy needed friends around his age. Now we both have a community where we belong. It feels so right to be back in my hometown doing life with this wonderful community of brave mama’s of all kinds. I am so grateful for these wonderful mama’s and their sweet little ones.

Are you part of your local mom’s group? What do you guys like to do? How do you stay connected? Has it changed your life the way mine has changed mine? I’d love to hear your stories! 

 

 

 

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No Place Like Home

It’s so good to be home!

I could almost swear I’ve been living in a time warp for at least the last 5 years. Feeling a bit like Dorothy, learning through leaving that there really is no place like home. It’s as if I just came back from a trip in outerspace, finally back on terra ferma.

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I missed painting-like skies and sounds of rain and thunder more than I realized. They comfort my soul.

Seeing the way my parents’ faces light up when Fox says something clever or when he laughs is priceless.

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I’ve seen my family more in the month we’ve been home than in the last 5 years, when we were living in Indiana. Reconnecting and catching up with old friends is the best. And I’m getting back in touch with myself as well, the person I’ve always been.

I sort of lost myself in motherhood, 1000 miles from family and old friends. Sometimes I have some difficulty remembering who I once was. Hard to determine who I am now. It’s as if there was a break in my timeline. It was hard to make new friends when I wasn’t really sure who I was introducing them to.

Figuring out who I am now is easier in the context of my old friends and family. So nice to be around people who truly know me and where I’m coming from. Not only by seeing my reflection in the eyes of people who’ve known me for years, decades, or my entire life, but also my life in the context of theirs. Friends who once discussed rehersals, and critiques are now speaking of their kids, husbands, jobs, and other adulting things. Look at us now!

So many times over the last 5 years I’ve wished to be able to go out to lunch with my mom like we used to. Just geting to run to the chiropractor and shops with her is a dream come true and I am truly grateful. This past week we actually got to go to the movies, just her and I. (I hadn’t been to the movies since we saw the first Hobbit installment, while I was super pregnant).

Our new house is so perfect for us too. More space than we’ve ever had, large studio, fenced in backyard, all new appliances, laundry room, and so. much. storage! Even our cat, who doesn’t like to go outside, enjoys exploring the screened-in porch. Fox keeps saying he likes it here and “let’s stick around.”

(Pictures of our new place to come in a future post!)

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Of course there are also all the fun Florida things to do! We already got year passes to The Florida Aquarium and are looking forward to going to places like MOSI, theme parks, and Fox’ first trip to the beach! (Excited to go back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Russ too!)

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Burrow & Bloom will be continuing through this blog, my Etsy shop, and I’ll be setting up as a vendor locally around Lakeland and other central Florida locations before long! Custom handmade doll slings and teether necklaces are still available. And as always, if you’re interested in colaboration or consignment just send me a message here, through my shop, or email at burrowandbloom@gmail.com! Stay up to speed by following along on the ‘gram @burrow.n.bloom, Facebook, Twitter, and by following here on the blog!

 

 

 

Flying with a Toddler | Story and Tips

I woke up before the alarm at 4:30am. Fox kept right on sleeping as I rolled him off me, onto his back and quietly slipped out of bed.

I swiftly changed into the clothes I’d laid out the day before, applied minimal make-up, popped some waffles in the toaster, and added a few last-minute things to my bag.

As I was thinking of what to do next, I heard Fox waking up and dashed back into the bedroom. I found him sleepily sitting up in bed rubbing his bleary eyes. We snuggled and nursed before getting ready the rest of the way.

I’d been concerned about how the early morning wake up would go for such a little guy, but it worked out even better than I’d hoped.

Most of the drive to the airport went happily, with just a touch of fuss as we were nearing our exit ramp.

He was intrigued by the sights and sounds of the airport.  Luckily, there wasn’t a line at the check in counter and we had no luggage to check. We breezed through security, picked up coffee and a cookie on our way to our gate, and had just enough time to visit the restroom before they started boarding.

 

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Fox nursed during take-off and after a little reading and singing he was asleep. Russ leaned his head on my shoulder and fell asleep as well.

There were a few tears upon descent when Fox didn’t want to nurse anymore, but some Cheerios got his ears popping again and all was well.

 

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Glad to get to skip baggage claim, we went straight for our rental car, giving Fox some time to dance to the car radio before putting him in his car seat and heading to my parents’ house.

My family came out to meet us as we pulled into the driveway.  It was the first time my brothers and sister got to meet Fox and I was super excited to see them all after being away for three years.  A very happy reunion for all!

 

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It was wonderful to visit with friends and family while showing Fox my hometown and my childhood home. My parents were charmed and impressed by Fox. So sweet to get to share him with them.

Such a big trip for my little guy. Lots of firsts. First time getting up and going so early. First bus, plane, escalator, moving walkway, and flight. First time out of Indiana. First time meeting uncles, aunt, and great grand mother. Truly special.

For our return trip I checked us in and printed our boarding passes from my parents’ house. That way we were able head straight to security.  But while focusing on getting us where we needed to go, I forgot to empty my water bottle beforehand.  My loving husband had to be escorted back to empty it and go through security all over again.

Fox explored the terminal by our gate, walking and crawling around and making friends with a 10 month old little girl.  I enjoyed chatting with her mom about traveling with a little one.

Below are some tips based on our flight experience.  Hope they help make flying easier and more fun for you and your little one as well!

 

Tips for Flying with a Toddler

1.  Snacks

Not only to keep them occupied and full, but to get them swallowing so their ears pop on the plane.

2.  Travel Light

Carry-on only if possible, even if it means doing some laundry at your destination.

3.  Books

To keep up as much of your nap and bedtime routines as possible as well as entertain.

4.  Toys

I found them most useful in the car.

5.  Diapers and Wipes

More than you think you’ll need, to be prepared for flight delays.

6.  Sleep

Try to swing it so that your little one is sleepy in the plane or car.  Depending on how long your flight is and how they do in the car.  (My little guy has a hard time falling asleep in the car, so I was aiming for him to sleep on the plane).

7.  Water Bottle

Remember to empty it before heading to security.  If not you’ll have to go back, empty it, and go through security again.

8.  Check in and Boarding Passes

You can usually check in online at the airline’s website and print your boarding passes.

9.  Babywearing

Having a sling or other type of baby carrier made it easy to move through the airport and helped our little one feel safe and comfortable in a new environment.

10.  Have Fun
Remember it’s an adventure.