I am in love.

I promise I will not change my blog from being about anything and everything, and entirely random, but for now my mind is on babies.

I am in love. Everyone tells you how much you will be in love and addicted to your own child. They tell you, and you hear it, but it does not really sink in until you hold that precious little baby. There is no way to bottle up that knowledge — it is something that has to be experienced. I can imagine what a lot of things would be like, but many have to be experienced and felt as they happen. I have also been told that not everyone falls in love and becomes attached to their child right away.

I will say that first hour of bonding after delivery was a bit of a blur. I could see him right in front of me but the way he was laying I could not see his face. And, I was exhausted. So utterly exhausted. So it is a blur. Sure I have pictures and a video, and I am grateful he was on me first before getting checked out and cleaned up. It is the hours and days that follow that make me a feisty momma bear. I would d0 absolutely anything for this boy.

If I were to start a business, it would be to bottle up that Nico baby smell. It feels like I go and burrow my head in his neck just to smell him. I want that smell never to go away. How is it that babies smell so good? I know that eventually he will smell like sweat, and dirt, but right now I do not want that baby smell ever to go away.

Now I have two boys that melt my heart. Chris. Nico.

Don’t lie to me about Santa.

We lie to kids all the time. We should stop. I often talk to Chris about all the Hallmark holidays that have gotten out of hand. Maybe I am a buzz kill, but we are basically telling kids lies and then later expect them to trust us. My parents did it and I turned out fine (at least I think I did), but I think I might just stop the craziness when I have kids. I thought Stefanie Wilder-Taylor said it just right in “Gummi Bears Should Not be Organic:

“Early on their life is filled with fantasies they believe to be true, such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (notice I capitalized Tooth Fairy—because, like God, the Tooth Fairy is still very much a real and venerable life force in my house.) And who puts those fantasies in their head? We do. So when your child tries to convince you that the reason they took all the forks out of the kitchen is because they needed them to help run the jelly bean factory in their closet, how can we be mad when we’ve convinced them that a fat guy with a sack of toys is going to be sliding down their chimney?” page 92-93

She is right. We lie and then we expect them not to lie to us. Besides I think most kids do not even know the true meaning of Christmas. They think of it as a plethora of gifts, a tree, photos with Santa, and whatever other crazy traditions we have started. What if instead we all went back to the true meaning of Christmas? Giving to those in need and being together. Sadly, because of all the crazy hubbub of Christmas, I have become a Grinch. I do not want to buy you a gift just to get you a gift, and I do not want you to do the same. I do not need a thing.

It is funny — I decided to Google “the true meaning of Christmas” and I got such an array of answers about Jesus, God, and lots of other religious babble. One site did give me an answer I liked — that the true meaning of Christmas is Love. Now that is something I can wrap my arms around. Can we show our kids that? Instead of telling them about a fat, jolly Santa, the North Pole, and lots and lots of presents, why not show them how to give to kids in their community that do not have as much? Maybe sharing a coat with someone who does not have one? Or selecting toys to give to children that do not have any. What then are you teaching your kids? Love, gratitude, sharing, and appreciation for all they have each day?

I do not want to raise kids that feel they are just going to get presents upon presents under the Christmas tree, and so many they cannot even begin to appreciate them. That is commercialism and consumerism at its best. I would rather dote on them throughout the year, rather than swoop in on one day out of the year. Besides it feels like a lot of pressure, and is it really worth it? Call me a Grinch, but I do not want to start that tradition.

Setting boundaries

Boundaries. Some of us are good at setting them and others are not. I ebb and flow in my stance on boundaries. It depends on the situation and it depends on who else is involved. What I do know is that each and every situation I am in creates the moment to decide how I am going to handle my own boundaries. There are different levels of boundaries we must monitor on a day-to-day basis.

Maybe we have a family member that asks too much of us and we always say yes, or maybe it is how they treat us, thinking that there is only one way or one answer to a problem. It could be that they completely disregard our thoughts and opinions and think about what they want, or what they think we should do with our life, never understanding that we have to make our own decisions. A friend might take too much from us in an unbalanced way. A child that has us wrapped around their finger. A boss that does not allow no for an answer.

All of these can be challenging situations depending on who is on the other end of the conversation. Often I think that others do not know how their demands on us affect us. They expect others to have their own filters, to be able to say no when they hit their limit. That is unrealistic though. Love, guilt, compassion, and never learning to say no have a strong hold on us. Often we do not want to disappoint those we love, so we say yes, we move forward with no boundaries and suffer the consequences. Whether that means we allow too much on our plate, we get burned out, or we find that we become resentful.

Speaking up for what you want and what you are willing to do means you create the life that feels right to you. Even if that means upsetting an in-law, sibling, friend, or co-worker. You are only you if you speak up for what you need. That might mean saying no. It might mean saying yes — but with specific limits. At the very least take time to listen to your inner voice and decide what you truly want. Then you can battle the naysayers in your mind, speak up for yourself, and ultimately create the boundaries you need. Definitely not easy, but doable?

Skeletons + love

Sometimes videos that go viral make you laugh. Others make you cry. Some just make you think. This one made me think and made me cry. If you have not seen it yet, the “skeleton video” as it is being called is one that promotes conversation about love and diversity. It is definitely one that is worth taking the time to watch. “One Love” by Macklemore in the background only encourages more emotion inside.

Be sure to check out the website behind the video: Love Has No Labels.

Valentine’s Day Scrooge

I might be the Scrooge to your Cupid. I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I do not believe in it. For me it has nothing to do with cupid or love or chocolates or panties. It has everything to do with having these items each and every day. Chris knows that I do not care in the least about flowers, gifts, and that the last place I want to be on Valentine’s Day is a restaurant. I do not want to pay for overproduced, overpriced food with a bunch of couples that may just be meeting for the first time or for those that are just checking a box off a list with their spouse. Flowers — check. Dinner out — check. Happy wife? Maybe.

Happy wife, happy life. This happy wife does not equate Valentine’s Day in a typical way. Valentine’s Day should be lived everyday. Love, hugs, kisses, cupid…flowers…living appreciation. Surprises (even though I suck at keeping them). Each of these things shared at random throughout the year, means living love every day. What if we all tried to extend Valentine’s Day to every day of the year? Would we all be happier and more loved? Random Acts of Kindness every day to those we love.

Whatever you are doing on Saturday this year, whether going out with your loved one, or picking up a quick box of chocolates at the drug store, or staying home and snuggling on the couch, try to love today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Do not do it just because it is Valentine’s Day. Do it next week, next month, and this summer.

How are you living love in your life? Do you only do it on Valentine’s Day? Do you expect anything in return or are you just expressing yourself from your heart? Be Cupid every damn day.