Before I became a mama, I was very much of the thinking that when you have an obstacle, you go after finding the solution and making it right. Full steam ahead. But then I had my sweet baby girl. And watching the world through her eyes, I saw how much my grownup junk had gotten in the way of remembering there's often a process (and sometimes a long, winding one at that) to get from point A to point B. Babies understand you have to crawl before you walk, but that's something I definitely tend to forget at times in my own life. Everything that Juniper learns to do — from the early days of clutching her first rattle to spooning yogurt into her mouth herself now — has been a process. I love how being with Juniper these last 19 months has helped soften that knee-jerk reaction in me that there has to be instant results, or major shifts, to mean change is happening. Sometimes it's the little shifts that can create the biggest changes in the long run. So I've been trying to infuse this lesson into my life — making homemade meals happen everyday in a simpler way than the cookbook and magazine recipes I want to create, making small positive efforts in relationships that have become more disconnected, and focusing on surrounding myself only with the things that I love — and purging the rest that's just ok and takes up space. I already feel lighter and like change is afoot. Here's a list of some little things that have been making me happy in big ways.
+ a sweet daily reminder: The photo above is a shot of the vintage banner, found on Etsy, that I gave Dan for Christmas and just recently hung above our bed. With a toddler at home and baby on the way, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of where it all began.
+ Trader Joe's baking mixes: With this crazy cold weather we've been having, Juni has been cooped up indoors at our apartment more often than not. So we've taken to baking every week as an afternoon activity that's fun. Being 9 months pregnant, I have little energy for much these days, so we're keeping it super simple — baking mixes from Trader Joe's. I put Juniper in her beloved learning tower, and she helps whisk and stir some truffle brownies. Then we get a sweet treat around 4 o'clock with a glass of milk. Win win for all.
+ creating a place to drop bags at the door: We're lucky to have a small mudroom in this apartment, but it's still packed to the brim between a stroller, a shoe trolley with all our shoes, hooks on the wall for hats + carriers + scarves, and a vintage crate mounted to the wall to stow keys. I still had no place to drop my bag, or the many pouches of Juni's stuff that gets shuffled between bags. I decided to move this Hable Construction bushel I had into our hallway, so I have a place to drop incoming bags and stuff stops winding up on the floor. Much happier!
+ new way to store snacks: We lack pantry storage in the kitchen, mostly because I have an extensive collection of kitchen stuff from being a magazine home editor for years. So our chips, snacks, and fruit sit out on our island. I used to keep snacks in a mix of 3 bowls, but even in the prettiest bowls, it still looked messy since you could see the packaging. I decided to transfer these fabric buckets from Juni's nursery to snack storage in the kitchen — and they happily work well as a storage solution.
+ a streamlined, comfortable maternity wardrobe: I had inherited maternity jeans for Juni's pregnancy that were cool designer jeans, but they were actually 2 sizes too big for me. So they were constantly falling down and I always felt like a frump. I debated buying maternity jeans this time around, but I couldn't find any pair that looked decent on me. So I went with a pair of cheapo maternity cords from Old Navy that fit me through 36 weeks and have been doing leggings with tunics/long sweaters/dresses otherwise. I'm so much more comfortable and I feel like I look better than I did wearing baggy jeans that didn't fit. A friend took me to Beacon's Closet and I scored my best find for being pregnant in the winter — a (non-maternity) coat by Built by Wendy (for $60 and it was like new!) that I can still button at 9 months! It has a drawstring style design that I just loosened all the way, so it fits over my bump. It's a really warm wool coat that is something I'll wear next season — happy, happy! And I traded in clothes at Beacon's for a few long (mostly cardigan-style) sweaters that I wear all the time. I like the fact that they're quality wool sweaters, from brands I wouldn't typically be able to afford new, rather than spending the same money on an H&M sweater that will pill after a few wearings. I also have been living in this jumper-style dress I bought a couple years ago from Pip Squeak Chapeau. Perfect maternity dress that grows with you.
And some little things I'd really like to make happen:
+ make our bed daily in the morning
+ figure out how to make my email inboxes more manageable
+ finish Juniper's baby book
+ perfect my grilled-cheese making skills
+ paint a stencil on the wall
I like how the good little changes make the hard stuff feel like it's melting, even when the ice is still there.