You know, a lot of people ask what inspires me. It is actually one of the questions I get asked the most. I think because I truly do a lot and people are curious as to what gets me to do it all. Or maybe, maybe they ask because after a mother loses her child she is assumed to be sad and depressed for the rest of her life. Maybe people are curious how I stay inspired to create and do life after my world crumbled down. Either way, I get asked what inspires me all the time and I answer it the same each time. My answer is, my children. And my children will never cease to inspire me. I know that for a fact. Even when they are 16 and full of angst, words of "talking back" fill our dialogue and I am frustrated beyond belief ... they will still inspire me to be better, do better, create, live. I'm not sure if that makes sense to all mothers, but it makes sense to me.
This past year I have truly been put to the test. I have been working on so many things and really pulling from my life experiences with my children to create things that mean something so special to me. Over this past year I have realized that my children inspire me to be the best mother and in turn I also want to create things for mothers. Things that add ease, capture and help make this motherhood journey an incredible one. I think as mothers we get bogged down with a lot of crap. We wear a lot of hats, we juggle a million different things and are still expected to look amazing while doing it all. Motherhood can feel isolating at times, but overall it is the most rewarding feat we will ever accomplish. Being a mother makes me so damn proud. So, this past year I have been busy. More than busy. Busy trying to make things that make sense to a mother and that bring some level of joy to her bountiful life.
One passion project I have been working on this past year has been my toddler journal. It is called 'My Little Years - A Toddler Journal' and it is truly beautiful. Last year I created 'My First Year - A Baby Journal' for mothers to capture that first year with their baby. I created that baby journal because I wanted something that I could carry with me everywhere to capture life with my newborn. I believe that first year with your baby is so tender, so gorgeous. Mixed with pain, identity shifts, sleep deprivation and poop mishaps. I wanted a place where I could truthfully write everything down. A place where I could write stories and milestones my baby and I were accomplishing together. When you write, you tend to remember more. To remember is something I strive for. I want to remember as much as I can, and I want to write it all down so if I forget I can go back and read just how amazing life with my babe was.
I am still using my baby journal with Mila, though I am always thinking of the future. I actually miss toddlerhood with Ryan, I remember it so vividly. I used my blog as a way to capture life with my toddler, Thank God I did. Life with a toddler is pretty insane. Insane in all the good ways, and a few bad ways too. Tiny humans are hard to work with, difficult to convince and extremely hilarious. I started thinking of all the things Ryan and I did and what I couldn't wait to experience with Mila. Of course my brain never shuts off, so this past year I created a toddler journal. A place where I could write down all this things that happen after the first year with my babe. 'My Little Years' I wanted to call it, though the years preceding the first are anything but little. They are years so large and important. Years worth all the attention in the world. Which is why I wanted a place to help parents capture it. Another journal to encourage parents to write about their life with their babe who is changing, growing right before their eyes. Damn, us mothers are freaking magicians! We make these babes (with a little help from our partners), we bring them into this world and we raise them into beautiful people. We do that! It is pure magic. I want parents to capture that. I want parents to embrace that magic.
There are SO MANY epic pages within 'My Little Years' which I will show through out this month. Though what you will see right away is the beautiful artwork featured on the cover and through out the pages. It is something I am pretty proud of. I drew inspiration from my experiences with toddlerhood and wanted to emulate those experiences within the artwork. You'll see the artwork is a mixture of messy paint splatters, funky lines, bright colors that push their way across soft brush strokes and tender doodles. Thats the life with a tiny human. It can be messy, it can fun, it can be demanding, tender and all together it is beautiful. That is life really in general, though in reality toddlerhood is your child's first take on life. Their first walk down the beautiful mess of life. I wanted that all to be present in the artwork within this book as a subtle reminder that no matter how messy life may seem, placed next to the rest, life still radiates beauty.
This past year has been a real trying one. You know, a baby after such a loss is so amazing. Though it isn't a cure and I have been back and forth with so many emotions. I am beyond happy, but I truly miss my son. With every fiber of my body I wish for him back within my arms. Does that make me awful as I hold my daughter within my arms? The guilt takes over sometimes. But honestly, it has to be normal right? I mean Jesus, I lost my son. I want him back. One of the main ways I can fill his void is to remember. Remember my time with him. Our toddler years together mean everything to me. I am so blessed to have written it all down, to have captured it all. I texted my sister the other day "I miss him so much, I hate that I can't celebrate him as he gets older" and she texted me back "I know, but try to remember the years you did get to celebrate with him. Try to remember those moments and never let them go." There you have it I guess. What I do every day, every, single, day. I hold onto the moments I did have with him and they are awesome, delicious even! Our moments together make me feel invigorated for toddlerhood with his little sister. They make me feel refreshed, albeit a bit sad but really just excited about life. I am blessed with the chance to experience toddlerhood a second time with the backdrop of my son glimmering in the sun that warms our skin. Memories that shine through our smiles.
Life is good.
I guess I created this new toddler journal for parents to do the same. To write and capture everything so they can remember. Remember the good, the bad, the boring, the fun. Remember the adventure! Because when your child is grown, you'll want to use these memories to motivate you to keep living. You'll want these memories to tell your grandchildren. You'll want to hold on to these memories to look back on and remember how wonderful life is after living it fully with your children.
So ya, my children inspire me. They inspire me to create things for other mamas to remember to hold on tight to these years. Motherhood is one hell of a journey. It looks different on everyone, though for everyone it is one journey worth remembering.
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Photos by Tory Lathrop Photography