When Lucas was a baby, I became obsessed with reading blogs. I’d immerse myself in the photos, words, essays, and it made me feel connected to these mothers in a way that let me know we were all in this together. I remember finding The Glow and becoming completely enamored with the featured mothers and how beautifully the site portrayed motherhood. The interviews were raw, honest, and magical. So when Violet Gaynor, co-founder and mama to the beautiful Plum, asked me if I’d like to collaborate with them and NYDJ, my heart did a little dance. I don’t really know how else to describe how I felt except honored. So very honored.
You can see all the photos and read my interview here. I am so incredibly thankful for these images of my babies and to have been given the chance to talk about motherhood so candidly and straight from my heart.
Onesies from Hugo Loves Tiki
Life with two. It’s everything I dreamed of and more. It’s the kind of stuff Hallmark commercials are made of. You know the ones. They leave you a heaping, sobbing mess and you feel like your heart might explode because that mom in the commercial is you and those babies in the commercial are your babies and they are god damn unicorns. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never been so tired in my life and some days I stop and think to myself “what if I never, ever feel rested again? how will I survive? can people live off of no sleep? I mean, they have to..right? right?”
Lillie has zero nap schedule whereas Lucas went down every day at 1pm like clockwork. We leave at 2pm to pick up Lucas from school and usually she is just starting to doze off when I have to wake her up to make the walk to pick up. No naps make for a very cranky mama. She is starting to climb on furniture and puts just about anything she can get her hands on into her mouth. When we get home from picking up Lucas she wants to be held and I am have to make snacks, get homework done, nurse her, and try and get some play time in with Lucas. Some weeks I don’t leave a 3 block radius with the kids and it’s enough to drive anyone insane.
OKAY. Now the good stuff. Every sleepless night is worth it. I swear. Lucas tells me every day he loves me and that I am his favorite girl in the world (after Lillie Sol of course). Lillie loves the crap out of me and I am relishing in this baby stage when all she wants in the world is ME. I am her comfort and her safe spot. She can instantly stop crying in my arms and my arms alone. The way she looks at me when she nurses is enough to make my heart melt into a giant puddle and I stare back at her and can’t believe this beautiful little creature is my daughter. My best friend sent from God. On the days I am beyond exhausted and don’t think I can take another minute with a child’s foot or hand or mouth on me, we all cuddle and get ready for bed time and Lucas asks me to tell him a story and I forget my exhaustion. I tell him about the adventures of Prince Lucas and all the shenanigans he gets into while exploring NYC and these stories are his favorite. MY stories. The ones I create just for him. Then we tell a few jokes and he covers me in kisses.
And don’t get me started on the relationship my kids have with each other. They love each other something fierce and I feel so proud and lucky that Ivan and I gave them the gift of having a friend for life. Nobody makes Lillie laugh like Lucas does and she doesn’t mind one bit when Lucas uses her for jumping practice or covers her little body in Ninja Turtles.
I’m tired as fuck but my heart is so full. My kids are god damn unicorns and that’s the truth. My truth. Thank you my Lucas León and Lillie Sol for making me the happiest, proudest, sappiest mama in the world. I love you. Te amo.
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, Garnier® Whole Blends™ continue to remind us of our unique beauty.
Everyday my emotions fluctuate intensely. Extreme exhaustion, happiness like I’ve never known, frustration(oh the frustration!), a form of patience that I truly believe only a parent is capable of, and love. So much love. The purest form that is what unicorns and fairy dust are made of. All of these emotions encompass the beautiful moments and memories I have and continue to create with my children.
It’s so easy to focus on the negatives and the feelings that may seem “bad” (i.e.: frustration, a loss of patience, the nights where your head hits the pillow and you think to yourself..”I could have done better today”). I have come to realize that every morning is a fresh start. A clean slate to continue creating memories and try to be the best mom you can be. And luckily our kids are so very forgiving. Am I right? Now that Lillie is 9 months, I have finally begun taking better care of myself. I am no expert in parenting but what I do know is that when you feel good, your energy shoots up and you are an overall better person, wife, and mama. Taking even just a 1/2 hour a day makes a world of difference in my mood and demeanor.
A few days a week I carve out time for my overall beauty routine. This includes everything from threading my eyebrows, face masks, hair masks, and giving myself a blowout. For hair maintenance I have been using Garnier® Whole Blends™. The Repairing line with Honey Treasures shampoo/conditioner and mask keeps my hair strong (which is so important since I have been regularly coloring it since last year) and it smells divineeee. Some important things about this line to note: it’s paraben-free and is so gentle on my hair. The ingredients used for all Garnier® Whole Blends™ (such as Argan and Coconut Oil) are all purchased fairly and sustainably to support local farmers and what I love most: Garnier® has partnered with TerraCycle to keep beauty products out of landfills.
So yes mamas, I promise, taking care of my hair and my overall health and body has made a huge improvement in the way I feel day to day. It seems so small but in reality it is such a mood booster and makes me feel put together. Even when we are just headed to the park or on an errand. Happy mama, happy life… 😉 Take a little time to pamper yourself. You are worth it! And it makes creating those beautiful moments with your family all that much sweeter.
Photos by Mary Grace
My mother is the most beautiful woman I know. Inside and out. I have vivid memories of watching her get ready as a child. Sitting on the toilet, my little legs crossed, watching in awe as she carefully applied rose colored rouge and and raspberry lipstick. She always finished with a light dusting of face powder. Before we would leave the house she would spritz on her perfume and I loved how the scent would float around the house behind her as she collected her purse and put on her shoes.
My mother taught me that beauty comes from within but that pampering yourself and a sense of self love is so very important as well. I take pride in putting myself together not just as a mom but as a woman who is ready to tackle anything the day brings. Whether that be a splash of perfume, a luxurious hair mask (Honey Treasures by Garnier® Whole Blends™ is my fave!), a fab outfit, or the perfect accessory – I always feel better when I look my best.
On this upcoming Mother’s Day (and all the beautiful ones to follow), I am spending the day with all the strong, confident women in my life. My mama, my mother-in-law, and my sister. There will be talk of kids, life, motherhood, laughter. I truly can’t think of a better way to celebrate being a mama. And we will all be in our Sunday best. Beautiful inside and out.
Here are some favorite flashback images of my beautiful mama!
Now for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, tell me in the comments below, how will you celebrate Mother’s Day this year?
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It’s officially March and I’m dreaming of Spring. Who’s with me? I can close my eyes and smell the grass, the warm breeze, and hear Lucas’s squeals as he runs through the park. I miss the beautiful flowers blooming in Central Park and our family picnics. Lillie was born in August and we had a short but sweet taste of what life would be like as a family of four come the warmer days. No bulky jackets and layers upon layers, missing mittens, and kids who want to rip off hats even when it’s 10 degrees outside. I’m pretty over running home to avoid the cold after school pick up is done and anxiously awaiting Ivan to get home. I love being active with the kids and there are so many adventures awaiting us – museum dates, exploring Central Park (because even though I have lived in NYC my entire life there are always new pockets to be discovered), Lillie experiencing the feeling of grass between her bitty toes, and lots and lots of pop-pops (as Lucas calls them) from the ice cream truck. I am waiting for our little apartment to be flooded with delicious light and for the windows to be cracked open letting in that glorious Spring breeze. I want the sun to hit our cheeks. I want my freckles to come back. Spring, we are ready.
It has been almost 7 months with our Lillie Sol. The time has flown by in a way that I never expected. The newborn days and feeling like a zombie ALL day have passed but in a weird way I almost miss it. I honestly can’t even remember how tiny her little limbs were or how her eyes barely opened or even how tiny her newborn diapers fit. It all feels like a blur. I think the second time around you are just trying to say afloat – taking care of two kids, answering to everyones needs, and not having that same down time where all you do is lay around in bed all day taking care of one little human. I have school pick up, dinner to make, and legos to build. All in addition to nurturing a baby.
I am finally getting the hang of it all. Lillie and I have our morning routine – she nurses, we watch a little Wendy Williams (no judgement please ;), and play. She is so active and alert. We call her our nosy girl because she needs to be involved in everything and is extremely curious. Mid feed she will pop off my breast to check out who is talking, laugh a little, give me a smile, and then continue nursing. She is fiercely attached to mama and in the last week she has started nuzzling her sweet, soft cheeks into my neck when I pick her up. Even when I am exhausted and feeling like if one more person touches me I might scream, her hugs get me every time. She is talking up a storm and can babble for hours on end. I’m prettyyyyy sure her first word will be mama. Sorry dad!
Lillie Sol, you have rocked our world. We prayed for you and God gifted us with your beautiful soul. At just 7 months you are feisty, tenacious, and hilarious. You were the missing piece to our family puzzle and I am the luckiest mama in the world. My daughter! Te amo princesa!
Images taken by Mary Grace
A day at home with my tribe. My people. My family. My loves. These images were shot and edited by the wonderful Danila Mednikov (you can see part I of our “story” here). My daughter. My son. My fiancé. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Life can be hard sometimes. The roller coaster of motherhood is real and raw. But damn, life can be so very good. I look at these images and I’m reminded of my beautiful blessings and what a lucky woman I am. Word of the day: thankful.
A month ago we had a family shoot with the very talented Danila Mednikov. When Danila first reached out and I browsed his work I fell in love immediately. Whimsical and magical were the first thoughts that came to my mind. I couldn’t wait to have him come to our home and capture us in our day to day routine.
After spending a few hours at home, we headed out to our favorite park and strolled around the city. The weather was perfect, the kids were angels, it couldn’t have gone better. I love how these images capture my tribe. The people I love most in the world in our very favorite place in the world. This is such a surreal, magical, sleep-deprived, wildly wonderful time in our lives and I always want to remember this time in our lives.
After a full week at home we had my dear friend Belle come over to shoot us in all our newborn glory. When Belle first sent me the final images, the first thing I noticed (after my darling children of course 😉 was that in most of the photos it looked like I hadn’t combed my hair. I’m pretty sure I had put a brush through my mop. Did I actually forget or was my vision so blurry from sleep deprivation that I thought I had thoroughly smoothed down my bed head? Then I laughed. I laughed at my silliness and then all I saw was beauty. Beauty and real life. We were only a week in with our Lillie Sol and still adjusting to life at home as a family of four (no sleep..schedules were all off..taking care of Lucas’s needs..finding time to shower and brush our teeth..) and yea, my hair looks a little, um, fluffy. It’s now four weeks later and it’s not any better plus the bags under my eyes are 10 times darker (and I think I found a few gray hairs!) BUT my heart is full, my family is happy and healthy, and really what more could I ask for. These beautiful images will forever be a reminder of a short, sweet, sleep deprived, glorious moment in time with my little family.