Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Slow living with a 1.5 year old



That title sounds a little paradox. Kind of like having a fine china tea party with a Jack Russel Terrier, right? Unrealistic. 

Can it be done anyway? Maybe. 
It depends on your expectations. 

Let's talk about the basics first.

What is slow living anyway?



It is about being mindful and intentional. To me an important part about slow living is not measuring one's worth through productivity. Being busy all the time does not make you better person.

You can (technically) slow down in every area of your life. Every day life at home, at work, while running errands and on vacation. Basically doing what you're already doing but sorting out the stuff which stresses you out and is in actuality not that important to you. 


Read the full blog post here or by clicking the quotes.

Also, have you heard of Hygge?


I'm sure you have. Especially if you use instagram frequently or in the cozy months, you must've come across the #hygge at least. Pictures of people sitting by in cabins, by fire places, wrapping their hands around hot mugs filled with hot chocolate, tea or coffee... Windows with heavy curtains, it's snowing outside... a girl wearing a chunky knit sweater while holding a golden retriever puppy... Okay. You get the idea. It's coziness at its finest. But really, that's not all it is.

Hygge is a Danish word. But what does it really mean?

In his guide to happiness "The little book of hygge" the author Mike Wiking tries to answer that question. He says "Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people you love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we're are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down". 

He also adds a story about - what else - spending a weekend in a cabin: "We were all tired after hiking and were half asleep, sitting in a semicircle around the fireplace in the cabin, wearing big sweaters and woolen socks. The only sound you could hear were the stew boiling, the sparks from the fireplace, and someone having a sip of mulled wine." Apparently according to all the Danish Hygge experts in the cabin, this scenario would've only been more hygge, if there was a storm raging outside. 

I feel like what defines Hygge to me mostly is that you deserve a warm, fussy, coziness after you put an effort into something. Could be hiking in the cold, snowy mountains or working an office job or making sure your child was loved, dressed, fed and safe all day. 

French toast with berries and eggs

Slow living is a privilege. 


In my opinion it is. Of course you can have a daily cup of tea or light a candle. And that's a beautiful ritual you should enjoy, if it's your portion of slow living for the day. But to really indulge in slow living, living the hygge lifestyle and me intentional and mindful you also have to have some type of freedom. 

The freedom to make your own schedule, maybe a level of financial freedom (to be able to afford all those mugs and teas and candles, you know) and also freedom within your mind. Being in a state of mind where you can enjoy not being busy is easier said than done.  

We choose the slow life. It doesn't just happen. Or maybe it does. 


Life during a global pandemic can slow down quite a bit. A lot of people work from home these days. This eliminates the very early wake up time to get ready for an office job and the commute. That could mean more time for coffee or tea in the morning, working on the couch with a scented candle burning, a chill playlist humming in the background. Also homemade food and a quick read or sneaky walk around the neighborhood during your lunch break. Sounds chill. Sounds slow. Sounds hygge. At least to me.

If you're an essential worker and this doesn't apply to you, I am sorry and I thank you for your service!
I hope you get to enjoy some slow living on your off days as well.

You don't have to travel to a hidden cabin in the mountains (even though that sounds dreamy) to live slowly. 

Slow living doesn't make life with a toddler easy. Just easier.


Let's get into the whole toddler thing. What do I do? I'm in no way perfect at this. 
That being said, I don't even know if you can be... I try my best to be mindful, after a couple of episodes of despair over this whole 2020 catastrophe of a year! At times I was homesick, felt isolated and sad but I'm trying not to let it get to me as much anymore... 
 
So, yeah... Again: What do I do?
I go with the flow. We are in a position right now, where we don't have a rigid schedule.
Most days we are able to sleep in, make breakfast together and then see what we want to do. 


If you're familiar with child-centered educational approaches, you know that following the child and observing what they're interested in doing at that moment is often related with less fussiness and a less stressful experience for both, the educator and the child. 

We have toy and book stations in our toddler girl's room, as well as in the dining room (while we're still renovating the future playroom).
She often chooses something and just starts to engage with it. Sometimes she will call out "Maaamaaa" for me to read to her or to help her with a puzzle.. or or or.. 
When she doesn't need me I get to get ready for the day, enjoy a coffee, listen to music, engage with my friends through my phone or just watch her.
 




I also kind of dropped a great deal of my former ideas about a scheduled day. Some days we read and do puzzles before breakfast (until one of us gets too hungry) and we move around her one daily nap based on a bunch of factors. 
 
Some of my 1.5 toddler girl's favorite books in fall 2020

We go out on walks around the neighborhood in the stroller or to play dates in parks or on farms. 
When we are in a safe area my little explorer gets to lead the walk and where we're going. As long as it's safe (think streets, water, corona regulations...). When we come home we relax and unwind with a snack, a book, a coffee...
 
 


I will probably forever remember that one day, where we met up with a friend of mine and her daughter for a coffee and a walk, while it was drizzling. It was during the summer, so it was still warm and the rain felt rather refreshing. When we got home that day we took an aromatic bubble bath and hung out in our king-sized bed with books until it was time to make dinner. Didn't get any more hygge or slower than that on that day! 

Of course I have to fit in my daily household duties, but when something doesn't get done, it's okay too. 
Trying to live slowly and enjoy our day together and stressing out completely over a dirty floor don't go together - but I'm still learning. I like having a clean space, so I'm trying to incorporate that into my slow living approach. 

I want to mention that living slowly with a toddler also means taking some time without the toddler.
Luckily my husband is as involved in our daughter's life as he should be, so when he's not working I can enjoy some time by myself. Sometimes. 

I love baking by myself, while listening to a good playlist and just doing my thing. 
I also love being creative, engaging in activities like embroidering and making baby accessories, which include using lots of items a toddler should not play with... I also really enjoy writing a blogpost at night. 
I'm actually drinking a cup of peppermint tea right now, while doing that. And I'm wearing warm socks and a sweater after taking a bubble bath with my daughter a couple of hours ago. 
 
 
Forest animal sugar cookies in the making


What I'm trying to say is, that you should try to enjoy the little things, when you can, I guess.
Like this last sentence, this post is a little bit all over the place, but I hope you caught the vibe.
Let me know what you think. Can't wait to hear from you.

Thanks for visiting my blog, 
Mery


PS: Since we have a Jack Russel Terrier... maybe I should try to have a tea party with her next? ;)

Monday, August 31, 2020

Our dream wedding (August 2018)

Wow. It's already the last day of August, so this is another last minute blogpost. 

I've been working on an exciting new project, while trying to take time for self-care and obviously still taking care of my daughter and the household full time. So it's been a lot. Busy busy. 

It's also my husband's birthday month! Happy Birthday again, baby. So in honor of our wedding and his birthday I'm dedicating this post to the man of my dreams and our dream wedding day two years ago!

I hope you enjoy this little throwback as much as I do every time I look at pictures of our perfect day. 

I'm trying to choose pictures that haven't been posted a quadruple times on various platforms already. Don't expect any group photo and couple shot déjà vus.


All pictures and our wedding trailer were taken by talented Arkadiusz Klimek 

otostudio.eu & otostudio on youtube -



Location

We celebrated our destination wedding in Lagow, Poland in a beautiful old castle. The castle is being used as a hotel these days which allowed us to stay and celebrate on the premises. It is truly a magical place. The vines in the courtyard with the decorations of our choice made it feel like a midsummer night's dream. The castle is also located on a peninsula between two lakes, which makes it even dreamier to spend a long wedding weekend there.

Zamek Joannitow in Lagow, Poland




For our wedding colors we picked white, blush, navy blue and gold. To us these colors have a royal appeal and matched the castle atmosphere perfectly.
I'm inserting some pictures I used for inspiration. I obviously had multiple Pinterest boards with hundreds of pins, but this is basically what I was referencing when it came to the color scheme.

 





We had golden wooden numbers, as well as golden frames with pictures of us on each table.
The table numbers matched our age in the pictures. I found this adorable idea on Pinterest and just had to do it. Look at us cuties, when we were 3 years old!







All of our signs and cards were handwritten by my talented husband. Truly a man of many talents.





Getting ready with the bridesmaids 




My beautiful dress is "Arlene" by Spanish bridal design house Pronovias.



The most comfortable wedding shoes I could've picked. 
No one could see my shoes until I changed after midnight anyway. 
In my flats I also wasn't taller than my groom - so sneaky! 


Getting ready of the groom


My groom getting ready. This is one of my favorite pictures ever of him. So handsome.




This is such a great but simple flatlay idea. I love it. 
And I love how we were both wearing special socks on our wedding day. 




Our emotional wedding ceremony 





I really loved the room our wedding ceremony took place in. The walls and ceiling are designed so intricately and give it vintage vibes but the flowers and the decorations made it look fresh and modern.

Next up: Double chins and vows.





Look at us married people. 




Time for champagne and cake







I came across the concept of the "Groom's cake" and I loved it. 

Since the traditional wedding cake usually depicts the bride - white, tulle, pearls, flowers - some couples have another cake, which is supposed to represent the groom. Since my husband is from Colombia he wanted a coffee cake. It looked minimalistic and most importantly it was delicious. 



Dessert table aka Candy bar at our destination wedding in Poland

I still dream of all the delicious desserts on this dessert table also known as a candy bar. 

We actually had this table full of cream puffs, mini pavlovas, mini tarts and cream filled golden eggs, as well as a actual candy cart with store bought candy. All the kids (and adults!) loved it!

Candy time!

Reese's cups, white chocolate Schokobons, old-fashioned Lollipops, center shocks, Hershey's kisses and vegan gummibunnies. Yummy!


A couple of group shots...

This one must be my favorite one of them all! I had to share even though everybody who knows me has seen it. I'm sorry. And we love you guys!



Uh-oh! Hehehehe



Our first dance



Will you still love me, when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
I know you will.


The only game... 


The shoe game was the only game we allowed at our wedding. Solely because we find most of the wedding games inappropriate or just not fun. We believed that after spending so much time, effort and money we should be able to enjoy our day to the max and not feel awkward or weird about anything. 

The game is very easy. We were asked questions and had to answer by lifting up our or our significant other's shoe. Most of the time we lifted up matching shoes, but there were a lot of laughs when we didn't. Entertaining and fun game for everyone, the couple and the guests. 

Here are some examples for questions via fun squared.




And that is it for now, guys!

Maybe I'll make another wedding related post next year in August. Or I won't. We'll see.


Before you go...

Don't forget to watch our Wedding trailer! 

You'll love it, I promise.




Thank you for visiting my blog today. 
I really appreciate it!

I hope you enjoyed the post.

Mery


Friday, July 31, 2020

How I captured my Baby's first year




First of all. You don't need to do any of this to be a "good parent".
The time and effort I used to create these things you could use and probably have used differently to engage with your child. So no pressure. The best memories aren't saved on a SD card or photo paper but in your heart anyway.

I am going to share what I did.

1. I wrote down her birth story

You see them everywhere these days. Instagram, youtube, blogs... Birth stories. And they are all beautiful.

When I was pregnant I was reading so many of them and listening  to all the mamas sharing their experiences in videos for hours. Laughing, crying, remembering the pain, reminiscing about the joy... the first time they saw their babies and the first time they smelled their sweet smell.

Time, place... How did you go into labor? How long were you in labor for? Did you get medication?
These are probably the things easiest to remember... I also wanted to be able to tell our daughter all the little details about her birth. 

I think the birth story written out on a nice piece of paper in an envelope can be a great addition to the baby's keepsake box of firsts. 

I don't want to share my birth story online for privacy and intimacy reasons, even though I'm very comfortable sharing in a safe space (with family members, other moms.. etc.). 


2. Footprints, handprints and all the firsts! 

Very typical, but I still want to mention the keepsakes of a baby's first year.
We have a footprint from her first couple of hours earth side and one where she was a little older but still tiny! Plus the handprint. 

We kept her little hospital bracelet and ankle bracelet, her coming-home outfit, her first pacifier, her first socks... it's all so tiny and precious. 


3. Every day for a year...

I wrote down something about our baby girl every day for her entire first year of life. 
Sometimes it was just a sentence and sometimes a whole paragraph. Not every day is filled with new achievements or milestones but if you try to be mindful you can pick out a little detail about each day and note it down. 


4. Pictures and videos on my phone

This one is the most obvious one and I am sure that 99% of the parents these days take at least 5000 pictures (and hopefully videos too!) of their child with their phone in the first year. Honestly though, these pictures to me are more like raw material. I like flipping through them every once in a while (and cry a little bit) but what do we make out of them?

5. A keepsake photo album

I purchased a beige linen cover photo album with blank pages to fill it with pictures of my daughter's life.
I included pictures of my pregnancy photoshoots with my friend Jessi, some ultrasound pictures and lots of beautiful photos of my baby. Unfortunately the book I bought didn't even fit her first year's worth of photos! I only got to her 6th month and now it's full... Oops.

I used different photo printing services but my favorite one of all times is Social Print Studio.
(This is in no way sponsored. I just love their products and want to spread some love.)




6. An analog photo album

"Analog film photography? Really?", you may ask yourself. Yeah! It's still a thing!
I'm definitely not a great photographer but I love the vintage feeling of analog photos. I take them with the camera my parents used to take baby pictures of me. It's an old Minolta camera and I love it dearly. I got a little separate photo album to store those special memories in. Look at these moments in our first days as a family on film.


 

 7. Polaroid photos

Okay. Story time.
When I was growing up we didn't own a Polaroid camera, but they were often present at fairs we went to, where you could pay to get a Polaroid photo taken of you. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. With these memories in my head and hanging out on indie tumblr blogs too much, when I was 18 I searched the internet for a used Polaroid camera and I found one for super cheap. I think I paid 25 Euros with shipping. The problem was the films. At the time they were very rare and expensive (50 Euros per film on eBay...). So I never knew if my camera actually worked or not. Until Polaroid started selling them for much less again. I couldn't wait to receive them and try it out. When I did and found out it worked I literally had tears in my eyes from happiness! I am able to take precious Polaroid pictures of my daughter and she'll be able to look at them when she's older and say: "Umm... did you guys not have digital cameras when I was born?"

No, just kidding. I have no clue what she will say, but I don't need her to appreciate them as much as I do.

I used little transparent sticky corners to temporarily give them a home in her linen photo album, but I didn't want to glue them in because there's obviously only one of each photo. I might want to display them differently at some point and I don't want it to be a pain to get them out. 





8. A (way too long) video compilation of her first year

As I mentioned before, the videos I took trough out the first year are more like raw material to me.
I knew I didn't want them to just be shared on messengers and sit in the cloud. All those short clips would not be fully appreciated that way. So I made a over 10 minute long video on iMovie. I would share it here, if it didn't invade my daughter's privacy. Let me tell you - it made people cry! 

I used free video music from free-stock-music.com and the song My little Girl by Jack Johnson as background music.

  

I can't wait to show her all these things when she's old enough to understand and appreciate them! 
She'll probably never feel the same way about all this as I do though.  


I hope you enjoyed reading about these ideas and maybe you even got inspired.
Thanks for visiting my blog!
Mery


Slow living with a 1.5 year old

That title sounds a little paradox. Kind of like having a fine china tea party with a Jack Russel Terrier, right? Unrealistic.  Can it be do...