Sunday, September 7, 2014

my life according to our webcam

I know, I know. It's been a long time. Like, a looooong time. As many of you already know (if any of you are still reading this silent space of mine) I started a clothing line. And let me tell you, with two babies and a new business, I have been BUSY. But nonetheless, I don't want this blog to be a thing of the past. This is my space to record our memories in the making. My journal, my photo album, my (one day) walk down memory lane. I want to keep it alive. So I am going to work on that. Not because I think it will ever become a business for me. Not because my writing is just so good that you all benefit from reading. Simply because this is one thing I do for me. My ahhhhh at the end of a long day.

Today I am sharing with all of you (all two of you?) some mostly never before seen photos from my webcam. I've had this laptop for about five years now and throughout that time, I've used my webcam only two handfuls of times. But I think there is some beauty in that. These are tiny glimpses of my life that, in those moments, I felt like I wanted to capture. Some? I'm not so sure why? Others? Oh my heart. Something happens inside my heart when I look at them. So here we go... yo.

That one time right before I headed out the door to cut off all of my looong hair. It's kinda funny how much I started to love my long hair in the minutes before cutting it.

Those six months that we spent living in Bolivia. Specifically, this very day when we learned that we were F I N A L L Y pregnant with baby numero uno. I still remember so clearly how much my legs were shaking when I saw that oh so faint, pink line. Pure bliss.

And then back to the U.S. we went where I continued to bake my tiny bun in my not so tiny oven. This tiny sweater? It was a gift from my dear friend Anna whom I met while living in Bolivia for our miracle baby. It still hangs in his closet. And soon? It'll be worn by baby numero dos. I have TWO kids. TWO! Sometimes I still can't believe it.

Oh you know... a little fun (?) after shooting a pregnancy update video...

LONDYN!!! My sweet niece Londyn at just a few months old. She's three now you guys. How?!

And my brother....

That belly... I can't quite tell what I was thinking in this picture. But I'm pretty sure I was really realllllly tired. no?

More random pics of me while pregnant with Cruze. I think I was attempting to make a pregnancy update video that went terribly wrong.

This little chub. I can't believe that those cheeks are no long so puffy. But it was just like yesterday!Again, how??

I don't even know. But I'm going to be 100% honest here and say that there are like 10 more just like this one. Okay, more like 20.

Oh the joys of having a baby that is so perfectly sleep trained... Every night from 8:30 on was ours. Just us. It felt like we were on a date night in our living room. Every single night. It's crazy how much having a second (non sleep trained) child, a new business and a hubby that is BACK in school has changed things. I'm so glad I have these pics though. It's a good reminder of what we need to get back to.

And since I already mentioned a video that went terribly wrong... my attempt at a makeup tutorial... that went TERRIBLY wrong haha! I blame it on the lighting. And not having a good camera. And who knows what else. It's a fun thing to look back and laugh at.

And somehow there was a HUGE gap that led to this. Me. Preggo. Bedrest. OOF. But cute PJ's right?

Me making a duckface. 

Me drinking tea?

And the thing that led me down this little walk through memory lane.... Me tonight. Playing around with the webcam. Making a duckface. While drinking tea. Some things never change.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Hope I Always Remember | June

Some moments from June that I hope to remember forever
Those lazy mornings that happened a little more often than usual.

The way Cruze views our entire home as his playground. I love that he's building memories. I even love the messes he makes along the way. Really, I do.

How he must always have at least a few of his toys with him at all times. And the way he piles them on his little garage. He will spend what seems like forever to get them 'just right'

His energy. If only I could bottle it up. Most of the pictures I have of him are a complete blur. He's so full of life and it makes my heart so happy.

Caleb's first time in the bumbo. And the way his eyes look when he stares at me. Also, baby feet!!

Potty training. I waited longer than I ever thought I would but I'm okay with that. I decided a while back to stop comparing myself to others and this refers to parenting as well. To be honest, I hope I will always remember this tiny victory of mine.

I mean, this is how we got him to start. It makes me laugh to look at these pictures knowing that I will one day be showing them to his tweenager version.

Seeing my husband sleeping with one or both of our babes. He's going to kill me for posting this but I just had to. And Caleb's chubby hands... heart explosion...

Passing things down from Cruze to Caleb. Like this jumper. It brings back so many memories of Cruze as a tiny little babe. And I feel so beyond blessed to be able to walk down this road again.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Pretty Big Announcement!

No. I'm not pregnant. But that would be some pretty big news! My announcement is about a different kind of baby. For almost a year now, I have been hard at work on a new business. Something that combines two of my passions - fashion and the lifestyle choice of choosing joy. For a long time I wondered how these two very different passions would come together in a way that I could share with others. I think I've figured it out! I'm excited to announce to all of my sweet readers and the friends I've made throughout this blogging journey, my new company - JoyBound Apparel! 

What is JoyBound Apparel? 

Our Mission Statement | JoyBound Apparel provides comfortable, chic and affordable clothing but most importantly, encourages its wearers to seek joy in everything they do. With an attitude of optimism in everyday decisions and a sense of accountability for the direction our lives go in, each of us holds the power over our own happiness. Express yourself and your own mission in life by wearing JoyBound Apparel - A fun lifestyle brand meant only for those who want to grab life by the horns and decide to choose joy!

But There's More!

In an effort to help spread joy to those in need, a portion of the proceeds from each shirt will go to the Make-A-Wish foundation. So wear that JoyBound crown with pride! Because when you wear one of our pieces you have taken a step towards contributing to someone else's happiness. 

^^ oh hey! that's me ^^

A lot of sacrifices have been made to bring this idea to life and I couldn't be happier with the outcome so far. I'm so excited to see where this journey takes us and even more excited to have you along for the ride. If you would like to help JoyBound Apparel get off to a great start by spreading the word, I would be forever grateful.  

Let's Connect!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm not like a regular mom...

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Yesterday was kind of a big deal. I had to head over to the local children's academy to sign Cruze up for swimming lessons. That was HUGE to me. My very first real 'mom task', or at least that's how it felt. Although I wasn't there to sign him up for school or daycare, I couldn't help but have butterflies in my stomach over it. It seems like just yesterday I was on the other side. I was the one working in a daycare, I was the one getting hired to babysit, I was completely on the other side. And just like that I am here. A mom. I always dreamed of this and here I am. 

Is it silly to admit that I was nervous about walking into that daycare with my son? Almost like the same feeling I would get on my very first day of school. Excited nervous. But still, nervous. I found myself thinking of what I wanted to wear or to be completely honest, what I should be wearing. 'What does a MOM wear?' I thought to myself. How should I do my makeup? Should I wear a skirt? Silly. I know.

But then it hit me. Why was I trying to figure out how to come across as a real mom? I am a mom. And how I do things is just that. How I do things. So I decided to wear what I was going to wear for errands that day anyway because "I'm not like a regular mom... I'm a cool mom. Right Regina  Cruze?"
And then I took awkward pictures on my front lawn to document it. ;)

P.S. I'm pretty sure my son is traumatized from that swimming lesson haha. He'll thank me one day though, right?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tips For Living In A Foreign Country

Some of you may not know this but when this little ol blog started over three years ago (wha?!!) my husband I were 23 years old and had recently found ourselves living the missionary life in Bolivia. It was (at that point) the scariest thing I had ever done. I wouldn't exactly categorize myself as a risk-taker but moving to a third world country, leaving our jobs, putting the thought and desire of having a family on hold, using up a BIG chunk of our savings... it was a huge risk. Not to mention, I'm scared of bugs and dirt and pretty much everything. I'm a big scaredy cat. But Phillip and I both knew that while we had the gift of youth, we wanted to give of ourselves in a greater capacity than we already were. 

So here we are, 23 years old, away from family, friends and Heinz Ketchup ( you will understand why I'm saying that soon). We had taken a leap not knowing how we would land. I think going into it we had our fears and our expectations but we had no idea how this move would truly effect us.

We probably picked the worst time of year to move to Sucre, Bolivia. It was rainy season and the time of their Carnaval. Without going too in depth on the history and my feelings toward it, carnaval meant that walking down the street was always a risk. From getting stuff like water balloons thrown in our faces to having to step over the millionth passed out drunk person of the day, it was challenging to say the least. The rainy weather was also a challenge. Just imagine months of grey skies and not being about to leave your house during the carnaval festivities and you can kind of get it. I had a few rough weeks. Like the roughest of rough. I missed my family, my normal and yes, Heinz Ketchup. My heart hurt so bad those weeks that I literally felt like it could stop beating from the overwhelming feeling of heartbreak and loneliness. This lasted three weeks but it felt like a lifetime.

I'm writing this because I know a lot of people have a dream of traveling and perhaps living in a foreign country. And if you're doing it right now, perhaps this post can be of benefit to you. I'm also writing this to reflect on that time that changed who I am forever.

1 | Maintain some form of normal. Before we moved to Bolivia, I worked with some of the most amazing people. I really did enjoy seeing them daily and chatting away while working. My morning routine went something like this... wake up later than I should have, rush rush rush getting ready, jump in the car with not a minute to spare and rock out to music / get caught up on celebrity gossip from the radio on my way there. Once I was at work I would go through my emails with a cup of coffee in hand while eating my granola bar. I would also talk about that celebrity gossip with my office pal. It didn't seem like much of a routine until I wasn't doing it any more. 

Although I was no longer driving to "work" in the same sense, or driving at all (we didn't have a car), I needed to find my normal. Or as normal as I could get. So here's what I did. I found a recipe to make my own granola bars. I even blogged about them here. They were AMAZING. I would pack them in a ziplock bag, put my coffee in a cup and on our walk to the bus stops in the morning I would chat with my husband about who wore what in the celebrity world ( bless his heart for listening to me!). Once we were on the bus I would COMPLETELY zone out for the 30 minutes it took us to get to our destination while... eating my granola bar and drinking my coffee. You guys, it. was. heaven. You know when you see someone with their eyes completely glazed over and pretty much nothing can make them blink or look somewhere else? That was me. And this was now my normal.

my granola bars...

2 | Do things you would NEVER do. I mean after all, you are living in a foreign place that is probably completely different from home. So embrace that. Be different too. For us this meant staying out late almost every night of the week, eating food we weren't used to, and going rock climbing with friends... like REAL rock climbing. I'm a scaredy cat remember?? So this was something I would normally not do. 

On our walk back down to the city after a day of climbing. Haha, I was clearly comfortable with my friends to be dressed like THAT.

3 | Find friends who you have things in common with... like ones who speak English (or your own language if that's something else). We found an amazing group of friends who we still communicate with today. So happy we all were on the same path in the same place for that short time.

We'll be seeing two of these faces at the end of the month! I'm soooo excited.

Boy was I TAN. 

Oh you know... just everyone doing my infamous picture head tilt. 

That time I threw a dinner party. It's one of my favorite memories.
4 | Find friends with people who you think you have NOTHING in common with. Because you just might realize that you are more similar than you thought. And they might teach you something that you would never learn otherwise.

This was at a party that the locals threw for us foreigners. It was different but we made it a point to jump right in. Guess what? It was probably one of the best parties I've ever been to. So much laughter and the happiest of tears. I didn't realize how much they appreciated our presence and what we left behind to be in their country until this day. 

5 | Find the beauty. I will be honest here and admit, sometimes it was really hard to see the beauty around us. We were homesick, stomach sick (that water...), and sometimes seeing garbage and dog/human(?) poo everywhere we walked made me want to just scream. I would literally get so mad sometimes at the things I saw. But if I took a moment to stop acting like a big baby and really look, there was so much beauty. And I knew that when the time came to go back to the states, I would have a lot to miss in Sucre, Bolivia.

This picture was taken in the top of the area we worked in often. We walked through a lot of garbage and saw a lot of things that weren't so pretty but when we would get to the top I would take a break to soak in all the beauty. 

this is the view we had when looking down from our usual rock climbing spot.

6 | Take a short trip. This was a tip I got from my sister in law Rachel. She had done something similar by moving to the mountains in the Dominican Republic for a year with friends. I emailed her while having one of my lowest points in the history of low points to ask her if she felt homesick and if so, how did she deal with it... here are a few excerpts from her email:

Take advantage of every moment while you are there. Its hard to be away from family and you get consumed with the emotions but just remember you only have a limited amount of time there. When you come back to the states it may be a long time if ever that you return there depending on your goals and how life goes. There is so much I know you 2 can offer to the congregation and even more surprising, as I found out personally, how much the bro and sis offer you and how much we learn about ourselves when we are taken out of our comfort zone... So try to stay busy, pray to God when you have those feelings and just try to do and see as much as you can while you are there. Don't be afraid to go away every so often to the beach or a vacation of some sort, it rejuvenates you and when you come back to your town and congregation there it feels like coming home to something familiar. If that makes sense. We are proud of you here and talk about you all often. 

So in short, do as much as you can while you can and take a trip. We did this and she was right! When we went back "home" from our short trips, this new place felt more and more like home each time. 

One of our trips were to Potosi. 

on the drive up 

7 | Remember why you started. I see this quote a lot and often relate it to business and motherhood but it really applied to living in a third world country too. There were challenges but the reason why we started , to help others with our time, was something we are so happy we did. There was a moment the day we got on the plane to go back home that I will NEVER forget. We were walking from the doors of the airport to the plane, about a 3 minute walk, when we turned around right before stepping into the plane to see a group of people waving at us from the roof top. They were our friends. The ones we had things in common with and the ones we thought we didn't. They touched our lives in a way that words can't describe, and it was at that moment when I realized, we had touched theirs too.


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