parenting

Milk & Cookies: Breastfeeding Support at Blooma

My breastfeeding relationship with my son got off to a rocky start after his complicated birth. First I wasn’t sure if I had enough milk,  then I had too much. I am so thankful for the breastfeeding support group I attended while living in Denver. And, after our rough start, I went on to meet my breastfeeding goals with both of my children. A few years later, as a doula, childbirth educator, and lactation counselor, I am so excited to start leading a similar support group here at Blooma called Milk and Cookies. Breastfeeding support groups are an important part of building a mama’s confidence. It also creates a network of mamas who are able to help you through your struggles and celebrate your successes. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s not always easy.  A little reassurance can go a long way. Plus, the evidence shows us that providing women with in-person breastfeeding support helps them to breastfeed for longer.

Here are a few questions I’ve been getting about this new group:

Who is this group designed for?

This group is designed for any breastfeeding mama and her baby. While I expect that a lot of mamas will be seeking support in the first 12 weeks of baby’s life, mamas at any age and stage are welcome. This class is discussion-based and tailored to answering your questions about anything from sore nipples and latch difficulties to pumping at work and transitioning to solids. If you come to class with a question that I am not qualified to answer, I will happily refer you to the best lactation consultants in town!

Do I have to come with a specific question?

Nope! You might just come to practice breastfeeding in public, meet some other mamas with babies around the same age as yours, or because you just ran out of cookies. Yep, we will always have cookies. Listening to others ask questions and get answers can be helpful to know you are not alone in experiencing breastfeeding hurdles.

Do I need to arrive on time?

Of course not! You have a NEW BABY and I know how hard it can be to arrive to anything on time, even with the best of intentions. So shake on some dry shampoo and head out the door. You are welcome no matter what time you arrive.

So, will everyone just have their boobs out the whole time?

Basically, the answer is yes. Most mamas will breastfeed at some point during class because babies get to eat whenever they want. If you feel more comfortable covering up, go right ahead, and if you don’t want to, that’s fine, too! Very quickly, you will get accustomed to talking to other mamas who are also feeding their babies.

Milk and Cookies meets at Blooma at our Minneapolis location on Mondays from 12:30-1:30pm. You bring the milk, I’ll bring the cookies.

You can find this new class on our regular class schedule.

Written by Mari Melby,  childbirth & lactation (CLEC) educator, doula, intuitive healer, writer, and a mama. Learn more on her website, www.marimelby.com.

After Year One of Parenting, Creating A Re-United Front

Here’s the deal: I hit the husband jackpot when I got married. I know this is a super obnoxious and eye-rolling inducing thing to say, but it’s true. His mother, twin sister, and I all agree that he’s our real life Randall from “This is Us”. He has the same laser sharp focus on the needs of his family and methodically works to fulfill them. He’s a one-man pit crew in our house, keeping the whole shebang running.

I’ve heard this theory that in every relationship, one person is a “reacher” and the other is a “settler”. Sometimes I look at his luxurious Brazilian curls and perfect brown skin and think “damn it I’m the reacher!” I mean I’m cool with it. I bring good stuff to the table, even if his hair is way better than mine.

We met in graduate school. One of a handful of the classes we had together was a course on negotiation. We were paired up against another student and when we discussed our strategy, I wrote “united front” on a piece of paper. This turned out to be one of the most romantic moments of all time because I got to tell that story when I vowed to him “a united front” at our wedding.

I’m a super romantic reacher.

We had talked a lot about becoming parents long before our son was born. Everything from raising a child within the context of organized religion to not feeding him puffs because they have zero nutritional value. For the record, the former still fluctuates from time to time and the latter, well, our child basically lived on puffs for a while. It turns out that a lot of our talk about parenting before actually becoming parents turned out to be just that.

What we had not talked about was how having a baby would impact us individually. And subsequently, how it would impact our partnership. On maternity leave when people would ask me how things were going, I often responded with “the baby is the easy part; the grown-ups are the bigger challenge.”

Example: I called him one afternoon as he was on his way into the Capitol to meet with a legislator. I was crying. A lot. “I am here every single day taking care of our baby and becoming increasingly obsolete in my career that I love. Meanwhile, you go to work every day and do not have to pay a price professionally for becoming a parent. I have nothing to show for taking care of him! It’s not like he can conduct a performance evaluation!”

You get the idea. Legitimate thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. Pretty common concerns about your career when becoming a mom? Duh. Important to communicate this to my partner in crime? Without a doubt. In the middle of the day as he’s on his way into a meeting, while I’m sleep-deprived, hormonal, and alone with a newborn for too many hours? Ya know, maybe not.

He listened. He agreed with the struggle. He was compassionate and patient. He then asked nicely if we could continue the conversation later because he was now late for his meeting.

When I was pregnant, I wrote him a letter entitled “United Front, Chapter Two.” I told him that as we prepared to become parents, I wanted us to remember that our partnership existed before the baby. I wrote that “our gaze will shift from inwards at you and me to outwards at this human we made. But, I do not want us to lose sight of us.”

I can honestly and very humbly say that in this first year of being parents, it turned out to be pretty impossible to not lose sight of us. Like so many parents who have gone before, our kid stole our hearts and minds in a way that no amount of talk beforehand could have even begun to prepare us for. We learned that becoming a mom and becoming a dad is kind of a big deal.

As we reflect on year one, the united front is coming back into view. The new baby fog has lifted and we are able to see us again. We definitely look a little different, but there is even more happiness than before and a new, deeper kind of strength. Plus, his hair is still amazing and I try not to call him crying as much.

I have always believed that your kid’s first birthday is not about your kid. It’s about parents keeping their tiny human alive. Actually, keeping everything in the household alive: dogs, cats, adults, child(ren), plants, whatever. Keeping the domestic unit intact after the birth of a child is a monumental feat of epic proportions. I always told friends to celebrate this massive accomplishment more than anything else. The kid will get their birthday glory for the rest of their lives. Our celebrating included frigid winter hiking, delicious old old-fashioneds, undisturbed – and still warm – meals, and most importantly, uninterrupted conversation.

Here’s a fun fact: our son was born on our dating anniversary. Of all the predictions from our family and friends of his birth date, I was hoping for one of the latest dates because it was our anniversary. His due date was January 25th and I wanted February 4th. Lo and behold, that is when he made his entrance into the world – six years after our first date. So, I’m either a masochist for even entertaining the thought that he be 10 days overdue, or as previously stated, a really romantic reacher.

Either way, this will be really handy. The birth of our kid will always coincide with the beginning of us. And one should be celebrated just as much as the other.

Written by Blooma Mama Ann

Mornings Make or Break Your Day: Get Ready for the Holidays with a Good Routine

It’s that time of year again… the holiday craziness has begun. You can let it sweep you away, or you can prepare by developing a stress reducing morning routine. Here are some tips for getting you and the kids out the door:

Image Source: DadSolo.com

 

Additional Holiday Morning Routine Resources:

  1. Advice on establishing a successful morning routine for kids
  2. Outsource what you can - e.g. hire a dog walker
  3. How to de-stress your morning routine
  4. Tips on how to get the kids to school on time
  5. A revolutionary morning routine hack for kids - play music

 

Now that you’ve got the designs for an effective morning routine, you can look forward to holiday planning knowing that you’re ready for anything. Bring on the baking!

 

Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.

Mindfulness 101

There has been a lot of buzz about mindfulness lately. If you get the concept, but are not sure how to apply it, you’re in luck! Let’s take a look at what it looks and feels like. Breaking mindfulness down can help take the complexity out of it. Small adjustments and shifts can help us de-stress and become more self aware.

What is mindfulness?

Being mindful means, we absorb what’s going on fully. For example, if we’re on a walk, we’re there, aware to the sounds, smells, and our environment. We chose to be present and don’t lean into distractions even with boredom. Being mindful means putting away distractions and focusing on the present. We are frequently ‘plugged in’ phone in hand, half browsing, half focusing on what’s in front of us.

What are the benefits?

Mindfulness allows our brains to grow. When we practice a new habit our brains form a new neurological pathway and this makes us sharper, faster, and stronger. Our brain is a muscle, we must exercise it. Having a daily mindfulness practice helps us to do that. If we’re present, we are learning, and when we learn, we become smarter.

How do I find time?

Studies show that 10 minutes of mindfulness can have a huge impact on our brains. Parenting, work, and life stressors can make us feel like we don’t have a minute to spare. Start small and work your way up. You’ll find a routine that’s comfortable for you.

What are some mindfulness exercises?

     -Mindful Breathing: seated for 3-5 minutes and solely focusing on 5 second inhales paired with 5 second exhales.

     -Mindful Walks: go outside and absorb your environment. Perhaps look at exploring unfamiliar paths or trails. Notice what you    observe, feel, and smell. Process these senses in your mind and commit to being present.

     -Mindful Journaling: take a moment to reflect on your day. Write down a couple things you are grateful for. Reflect on accomplishments and areas you can grow. Notice your feelings, self talk, and overall mood while doing this practice.

Written by Nicole Pierce-Risvold, MS – Family Psychotherapist

**Nicole is currently taking clients at Blooma St. Paul. Give us a call to find an appointment: (651) 340-8538

What to ask you kids besides, “How was your day?”

We pick our kids up from school, from a neighbors, from after school care and we ask them, "How was your day?" They typically respond with "good", "fine", or the dreaded "I don't want to talk about it". This lighthearted conversation hits a dead end fast. We quickly move on with our day, never really getting a sense of what they did or how they felt throughout the day. Sometimes we hear about their day from others - their teachers, a friends mom, etc.- and we think, "why didn't they share that with me?"

Some minor adjustments to the way you talk to your child can make a big difference. The way you ask questions can lead to more meaningful conversations, making each day a learning experience for both of you. These conversations can also help your child build foundational social skills and help them to handle situations better.

So get rid of the old “How was your day” and give these questions a try!

“What did you notice today that made someone else happy?”

This question helps your child be mindful and think outside of themselves. Build on their response and ask “How did you know it made them happy?”, then take the dialogue from there. Pose questions that they respond to with specific names and experiences.

“Tell me about someone that you helped today."

Pay attention to how they talk about helping others. Praise for them helping others and for making good choices. Share how it would make you feel to have received help in a similar situation.

“What is something you can do tomorrow to make sure the day is good for you and others?"

Listen as your child responds to this and use some guiding examples. Over time, your child will pick up on your guiding ideas and themes and will implement them. Asking your child about how they feel when doing things for others will help them to continue to repeat mindful behavior. They will begin to understand the joy that comes along with helping others.

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After using these guiding questions, more questions will come organically. It is important to listen as your child talks. Children feel more willing to talk when they feel heard. If we can convey the message that they can share with us in a free manner, we will have better overall communication with our children, and get a good picture of how their day really was!

Written by Nicole Pierce-Risvold, MS - Family Psychotherapist

**Nicole is currently taking clients at Blooma St. Paul. Give us a call to find an appointment: (651) 340-8538

 

 

Making 'Work' Work - Tips from a working mama of three

Mama, you’re heading back to work soon.  You’re probably feeling all the feels.  I have been there, I understand!  I have experienced the transition back to work three times and learned a few things along the way.  We know that every mama, babe, and family is different but learning to adjust to life with a new baby while going back to work is tough!  Below are some of tips that we hope can help you find your groove in the transition. 

Maintain Realistic Expectations.  Be gentle on yourself and your family.  This is a transition for everyone and a new “normal” is being established.  To avoid disappointment and resentment, take time with your partner to communicate what your priorities are and what their priorities are.   Practice the art of “letting go” the things you decide aren’t important.

Time Savers. Surrender to the dry shampoo, body showers, and unshaven legs.  Simplify your morning grooming routine.  Buy enough underwear, nursing tanks, and clothes to make it through the work week without doing laundry (stock up your partner and the other kids too!). Pack your bags the night before so the mornings can be as stress-free as possible.

Boundaries.  When you are home, be home.  When you are at work, try to be present at work.  Once you are home, turn work email alerts off your phone or better yet, move your phone out of site. Be present with your family after you leave the office.  When you are at work, focus on the tasks in front of you so that you can leave work feeling good about what you’ve completed.

Food + Water.  Mama needs to be hydrated and fed.  Find a cute water bottle and commit to keeping it close.  Keep your meals simple—there are times in life for gourmet meals… this is not one of them.  Meal plan (again, keep it simple) and grocery shop before the workweek starts.  Have healthy, quick and packable options on hand.  And, remember to eat them!

Sleep + Exercise.  Your mental and physical health is important. Every woman has different sleep and exercise needs.  Figure out yours, and be intentional about making it happen.  Start small and take advantage of tiny time increments.  Add that Saturday afternoon nap on your family calendar, take turns with your partner “sleeping in” on the weekends, or master the art of a power nap.  As important as rest is, so is exercise. Only have time for a 7 minute YouTube workout while your little one is doing tummy time?  Make it happen!

Delivery Service.  During this transition, extra time is non-existent.  Embrace the age of Amazon Prime, Instacart, and In-Store Pick-Ups.  Consolidate your trips and orders to save time and spend those hours with your loved ones instead of running errands.

Embrace the Silver Linings. There are a lot of hard things about finding and trusting a childcare provider.  There are also a lot of great things about it! Embrace the benefits childcare can provide, like your baby adapting to a routine, the wisdom of a seasoned childcare provider to provide insight to your child, and the freedom to go to the bathroom alone (kidding on this one, but not really).

Dates + Talk Time.  Protect time with your partner.  Set aside 30 minutes a week to take care of family business.  Affirm one another, discuss the family calendar, check in on finances, share the struggles and joys of your week. Prepare ahead of time so you both can listen well and can both feel heard.  Be intentional with this time and remember that you are on the same team, working toward the same goals.  Protect a date night too!  Regularly do something fun that unites you and your partner and builds habits that will bear fruit for the entirety of your marriage.  

Support System.  Know who you can reach out to for encouragement.  Motherhood is hard. Being a working mom presents a unique set of challenges.  Learn to ask for help and accept it.  Find people that lift you up and encourage your decision to be a working mom, someone who will listen when life gets hard.  Invest in the life-giving relationships that build you up!

One Step at a Time.  It is easy to get overwhelmed after a bad day and doubt your decision to work outside the home.  Set a time increment with your partner as an intentional “evaluation time” to discuss if things are going well or not.  It is okay to reassess a few months after baby and make new decisions for you and your family. Babies change so quickly and so will your struggles and triumphs.  Setting a “milestone” 8 weeks out will give you a goal, allowing you to conquer some tough days and be objective about the decisions you are making. 

Remember mamas, there will be good days and bad.  Give yourself the freedom to try things out and change your mind!  Be quick to forgive yourself if you don’t do things perfectly or lose your cool at some point.  Learn from other mamas, take care of yourself, lean into your support system, and follow that intuition, mama. Don’t forget that you are a GREAT mama and your little one loves you unconditionally.  You got this!

Written by Lauren Herbeck

Director of Operations at Blooma

Wife and Mother of Three, Friend to Us All

Blooma Dads - An Important Part of Our Community

I have been a part of the Blooma community for over 9 years. My wife began coming to Blooma when she was pregnant with our first child. It had prepared her for birth and was her post baby escape. But, it wasn't until I became the primary caregiver that I understood the connection my wife had to Blooma. The community at Blooma goes beyond pregnancy and postpartum support - Blooma is all about being there for you, no matter what stage of life you are in. 

When I went to my first Tots Yoga class with no yoga experience, nervous and hesitant that I would stand out as the only father, I quickly realized my daughter loved Blooma and every minute of her class. And, was even more surprised at how welcoming everyone was of me. Molly loved to sing and dance while helping the teacher lead class. And, I was able to stay in a more reserved role with our baby, Bridget.  The teachers let Molly express her personality, while letting me stay in the background, making sure our little one wasn’t rolling away.   

Our oldest two children enjoyed going to “big kid” class with Kay. I would come in on Summer days with four children, feeling worn down. Kay would offer to have Molly, our third child, attend class as well. Those forty-five minutes were not a long period in the grand scheme of things, but meant a lot to me. This act of kindness, support, and empathy represented what the Blooma family was all about.

Blooma is a place that allows our family to experience a calming atmosphere while still having fun. We are glad to have such a great neighbor!

Written by Brian Meyer, Blooma Father of Four

From a Non-Mom to All Blooma Mamas - Thank You

I am constantly surrounded by strong, amazing, independent women - most of them mothers or moms-to-be. And, although I spend much of my day within the walls of Blooma, surrounded by mamas and their babes, I am a woman in the Blooma community without a babe. My partner and I frequently talk about marriage and the children we hope to have, but at the moment, I get so much joy from watching, interacting with, and holding (if I’m really lucky) your little ones. I have learned so much from each of you during my time at Blooma, so I thought it would be only right to send you a thank you note:

Blooma Mamas and Moms to Be:

I am amazed by your patience (it is hard to convince a tot to leave Blooma), inspired by your kindness, and grateful for the moments of motherhood you allow me to witness.

I see so many moments of motherhood at Blooma, and I learn from each one of them. Thank you to every mom in our lobby, inside our classrooms, and outside our doors. I hear you using small moments to teach your child (holding the door for others, sharing a toy in tots class). I hear the affection and love in your words. I watch you hold your little ones so close to your heart. SO MUCH LOVE.

I learn from your “new to motherhood” experiences. Watching you change an exploded diaper, or seeking advice on sleep or breastfeeding from a more experienced mama. There are even times that I see you in tears, dealing with the first few months with your new baby, or talking about the effects of motherhood on different relationships. This teaches me so much. It shows me that becoming a mom doesn’t mean you need to be perfect. And, being a parent doesn’t come with an instruction manual. There is no one way to be a mom, everyone is doing the best they can. And – with the right support - a friend to offer their guidance, or a new mama group, you can find the help and resources you need.

I have always wanted children, and always pictured myself being a mother. When the time comes – I know I will think back to each of these moments, apply them to my own motherhood, and strive to be the best mama I can be.

A great big thank you to all your mamas,

Laura, Marketing Director at Blooma

Top Photo - Me and my Partner with our fur baby

Moments of Motherhood: Homemade dresses, hanging boobs, and braided rugs.

An Intro From Laura (Marketing Director)

Motherhood is made up of moments. Happy and joyful moments. Exciting and funny moments. Frustrating and unsure moments. Here are some other moments in motherhood – from the comical, to the inspiring. We want you to reflect on your own memories, or think about the ones you may create for your little one. We are so happy to celebrate all mamas, all month long.

Sarah Longacre (Owner and Founder):

Music was and still is a huge part of my family. We were raised on Barbra Streisand. My mother thought she was Barbra Streisand. My mother made up songs and would sing to us all the time. My personal favorite was, “Do your boobs hang low do they wobble to and fro…”. Growing up with Cheryl Hauser as your mother you are guaranteed to be “entertained” with songs of love and light!

 

Lauren (Director of Operations):

I am blessed with an amazing mother who loves me unconditionally.  It wasn't until I became a mother myself that I truly realized the depth of her love.  My mom has put up with a lot from me: my colic as a newborn, my "strong will" as a child, my sassy teenage hormones, and most recently my own navigation through motherhood.  And not for a single moment of my life have I ever doubted her love for me.

My mom has taught me how to enjoy life, how to be present to and care for those you love, to be open to learning new things, how to forgive, and the lasting impact that sacrificial love can have.  My mother is not perfect, but she is darn close.  She loves well and puts her family first.  I am deeply grateful for the love she pours out and the witness she is to my own daughter.  Grandma Liz, you are cherished.

 

Greta (Teacher Liaison, Teacher):

My mom is the friendliest person ever.  She is also the busiest woman that I know and somehow you wouldn't even always know that. She is graceful and will always shift things in her world to be by my side when I need it most.  I like to think that I have always known she was so amazing but I probably rolled my eyes a few times when friends in high school referred to her as "Greta's cool mom."  I definitely resisted her coolness and then Instagram was invented and I realized that pretty much anyone who Instagrams their homemade kombucha or napkins or braided rug is actually just my mom 30 years ago. She is the original cool.  And now look at me following in her footsteps as a Prenatal Barre teacher (her version was Prenatal step aerobics).  (Here she is pregnant with me in the pic on the left.)

Over two years into my motherhood and we have had so many fun memories (and crazy not so fun ones) but my favorite moment as a mom will always be giving birth and saying "it's Anderson!" as I snuggled him to my chest for the first time.  I loved those first two weeks in bed just staring at him.

 

 

 

Sarah Auna (Childbirth Educator, Community Outreach, Teacher):

One of my most memorable Mother's Day moments was at Blooma - when I was PREGNANT with my first.  It hadn't occurred to me that I should celebrate MYSELF on Mother's Day ...not yet at least! I wasn't a mother - yet  -- was I? I can’t remember who was teaching yoga that day, but the message was clear. You are already mothering this child. Amending you life to make room for the baby and her needs. You are already giving of your heart, your head and your body for this child. You are already connected to the millions of mothers who have come before you - and the millions of mothers that will come after you.  It made me feel less in a place of in-between and really integrate with myself as "mother" and the baby as my "child".

Marina (St. Paul Studio Manager, Teacher):

Check out these sweet matching sunflower dresses! I will never forget all the horrible matching clothing of my youth, and as the oldest, feeling that I was way too cool to be matching with my baby sisters.  My mom was, and still is, a very crafty woman. She sewed these dresses- along with many others throughout my childhood.  She is never scared to take on a new project.  Along the way, I learned how to sew, and gained a deep appreciation for DIY projects.  I have my mom to credit for my creative energy, and willingness to try new things, and I am so grateful for her! Looking at this picture, it is still pretty embarrassing to think that we left the house like this, but at least it's good for a laugh!

Meghan Foley (Minneapolis & Plymouth Studio Manager, Teacher):

My mom is my best friend and twin and all of our inside jokes are from Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping. We have both movies memorized and I have many memories of shouting out the lines together while laughing, crying and stuffing our faces with popcorn. She is my biggest source of laughter and support and I am so grateful for our friendship. 

 

We want to share all your moments of Motherhood! We are celebrating you all month (and all year) long at Blooma! Thank you mamas for all that you do, and for all the memories you make.

Learn about all of the special things we have created for YOU this month.

Written by the Blooma Leadership Team.

Lovin' Ain't Easy

I love you Always…But Today I Don’t Like You.

This February marks ten years (an entire decade!) of “us.”  Ten years of blissful romance that feels like a fairy tale every day of our lives.  Wait, what?! Just kidding.  In all honesty, while we deeply loved one another this whole time, there have been days, sometimes weeks, that we really didn’t like one another.  Let us explain.

When we met, everything about our relationship came naturally.  Thoughts of each other filled our minds all day—every moment apart felt like an eternity.  There weren’t enough hours in the day to spend together and it seemed as if the other person had no faults.  We were young and in love.  We had a vision of how our relationship and life together would look like and nothing was going to get in our way.

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And then things changed.  We were married young and a baby shortly followed. Bills had to be paid and diapers needed changing. We had a daughter who depended on us every hour of the day.  For the first time, things got difficult. For the first time, the person who could do no wrong could now do nothing right. Those butterflies had dulled and the overwhelming feelings and emotions had seemingly gone missing.

View More: http://athenapelton.pass.us/hitt-must-be-love    oy0a0756

Love came easy when our relationship started. When we were young our love was new and fresh, but then a few years down the road, there were times when we didn’t even like each other.  We both had moments of doubt and despair.  “Did we make a mistake committing the rest of our lives to one another? “, “Do we really love one another?”, “Is this going to be how it is forever?”

But this is when we had to choose each other again. When all was stripped away and we were at our weakest, we chose to work. We chose to serve one another and place each others needs ahead of our own.  There are days when we need to take our emotions and feelings and sort through them, because in the end, we chose this love. Regardless of how we feel in the moment, we know this love will overpower our current emotions. This kind of love is challenging and this kind of love takes work.

So, while we may not always like each other in moments of exhaustion, stress, or pressure that happens in our life with 3 young children, we know the kind of love that we actively choose to pour ourselves into is strong and will stand the test of time. We will persevere through the lows and triumph in the highs.  So this our love--10 years later--a chosen love, deeper love, a selfless love, a patient love, and a joyful love.

Contributed by Lauren & Mike

The Importance of Getting Away

My husband and I have been married for five years. Yes – I know it’s a baby marriage in the grand scheme of time, but the milestone felt significant. For us, it has meant new jobs, buying our first home, two (almost three) children, and countless times of learning and growth in how to be better for ourselves and one another.

Marriage, like any relationship, is not always easy. Yes – there are times full of joy and life. My husband is the one that can make me laugh the hardest, always has some comment to bring a smile to my face. Our kids light up when he walks through the door each night, and to hear their little feet run toward his open arms will never cease to light up my heart. However, there are also memories that I have that are marked with frustration. We are people and we fail. We make snide comments in the wrong tone, we forget how to act with charity, we are selfish, and we disagree – with big things, like how to raise our kids, or little things, like who is going to clean the bathroom. But, there is no other partner I would rather have in my life. Our marriage, some days my greatest challenge, is also my greatest success.

Every year, on our anniversary, my husband and I write in separate journals as a reflection on the past year as well as hopes and goals for the coming one. This was the first year that it truly felt we were on the same page when we shared what we had each written. Many of our reflections, and the hopes and goals for what lay ahead were similar.

One of the goals for this past year was to spend more time as a couple. I know this is probably a goal for many of us. And, if you are anything like us, we can push it aside for something that feels more pressing. But, we have come to realize, that this time should be sacred. Our relationship with one another is the foundation for our family, and it should be strong and healthy in order to build upward.

We started off the new year with a long trip with just the two of us – our first for this long without our kids. We went to Colorado for a few days over New Year’s. We spent time in the mountains hiking and snowshoeing. We lounged in coffee shops reading books, talking, and playing countless games of Cribbage. We were lazy about getting up in the morning and ate meals at what would be odd times (for our kids anyway). Our days had no schedule. Although it took us a day or two to get into just being us, the time together was priceless.

Your time away with your partner does not always have to include a plane ride, but the effort is what makes the time worth it. Maybe it could be an overnight downtown with breakfast at your favorite diner. Maybe you could come to a Blooma yoga class together and get a cup of coffee on your way home, just to make the time together a bit longer. Maybe you could go on a long walk through a neighborhood you don’t really know well, but have always wanted to familiarize yourself with. Think about it, talk about it with your partner, and really try to make it a priority in this fresh new year. For us, the time away together, to focus on one another and our relationship, helped us remember why we even decided to be in this marriage in the first place – we really like one another!

Written by Shea Olson- Wife & Mama Trying to Make it All Work

**Take some time with your partner and join us for Partner Yoga, February 18th in Minneapolis.

 

 

A Lesson in Acceptance

As we break into the New Year, many people are focused on the "New You". At Blooma, we think you are great just the way you are. You are perfect. You are enough. Thank you to Blooma mama Shea for teaching us a lesson in acceptance. Of our talents, our failures, and all that life throws at us!

Be an individual. Be yourself. Be unique. Follow your dreams. Be who you are. These are all maxims that we hear every day. They are meant to be inspiring and move us to work on ourselves.  However, it often takes a dose of bravery to truly show and be your individual and unique self, instead of hiding behind the person you think you should be.

As a married mother of two on the ground and one in utero, sister, friend, neighbor and confidant, am still trying to figure out who I am. Yes, I can tell you that the beach by the ocean (doesn’t even matter where as long as there is saltwater and ocean waves) is my happy place. I can tell you the books I have devoured and the ones that I slogged through, just to finish for book club. I can tell you that I enjoy going on a run and practicing yoga. And, I can tell you that there was great joy in my heart when all of my siblings were together for Christmas, as we live in all different states across the country.

But, I can also admit to you, that sometimes it’s hard to accept who I am. It is amazing when you look at humanity, and even smaller, at the local culture, and see how similar we all are. Each of us follow very similar patterns – patterns in our day, in our human development, in our manners of speech. However, even in all these similarities, each person is gifted with specific characteristics that make us, us. For example, I’ve been given the gift of gab. I can pretty much chat with whoever walks into my path. I find it relatively easy to small talk, and can usually find something to talk about with whoever I am with. Yes – I know those who are even better at it than I am. But, I do know it is a gift, and I love having this strength in my pocket.

 I have, however, NOT been given the gift of craftiness. It will take a lot for me to pull out the scissors, glue, and glitter. I can sew on a button, but I cannot make a Halloween costume. A few years ago, I tried to make my son a Halloween costume from scratch – because I truly thought that’s what a successful mom should do. However, it was a complete disaster, and was only saved by my own mom, who can actually sew. I learned that, frankly, I don’t really want to learn how to be crafty. That being crafty does not excite me and brings unneeded pressure and stress. I will accept my failure at a homemade Halloween costume, hand it off to another person, and I will marvel and compliment you on your talent. But, I am going to be right here, with my own set of strengths.

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I am still learning to accept who I am, what strengths (and weaknesses) I have been given, and how I can learn to be the best version of myself. And, I am grateful for those that already accept me as I am - My family, children, friends. I remind myself that I must practice what I preach. I want my children to love themselves, accept their strengths, and accept the times that they may fail. To instill this in them, I first need to fully accept myself. My strengths. My failures.

I have been given many gifts, and for this I am grateful. My strengths are different than those of the mama next to me. They may be similar to the mama in the other room. But these similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses are what make us human, and what make it so important to support one another in the community. So, begin your own journey of acceptance and what you are meant to be for this world.

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Written by Shea Olson- Wife & Mama Trying to Make it All Work

Photo Credit: Laura Rae Photography

New Year's REVOLUTION-Changing the Conversation in the New Year

At Blooma, we are taking an ANTI resolution stance for 2017. Instead, we want to focus on a revolution - of our bodies & our minds. We want to stop looking at the scale and focus on the love we share in the Blooma community. Thank you to Blooma mama and teacher Jessie for sharing her outlook for the New Year! Bring on 2017!!

 

It's that time of year again, we start discussing the things that we need “to get rid of", "get over", "lose", or "kick". Our resolutions usually start with something we feel bad about-weight, money, habits, time. But as women, mamas, sisters, friends, and partners, we do amazing things every damn day, all year long. Why do we feel the need start our New Year by punishing ourselves with restrictions and limits? I was just having a conversation this morning with two women I love dearly. I look up to them both, especially when it comes to life management and health. Here we were berating ourselves over our sugar "addiction", however, within minutes we were able to change the way we spoke about our plans by saying "I want to add more vegetables in our daily meals". Yes!

Let’s change the conversation. Let’s not make our New Year’s plans about restrictions, let’s make it more about expansion. Forget about getting rid of the pieces of our lives, let’s just focus on adding something into it. So, instead of dieting-let’s add a veggie to every meal. Instead of giving up sweets- let’s add in a Yoga class. Instead of giving up something to make more time for our children-let’s add in an activity that we can all do together.

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Don’t get me wrong, it is great to make guidelines for ourselves to become better in the New Year, but I was forgetting about all the good things I had done the year before. I was a good mother to my kids. A good partner to my husband. A good friend and daughter. So, for this year I’ve started planning all the of the things I will “add-in”. And, I remind myself that I take care of my mind and body because I am worth it. Because taking the time to focus on me allows me to be a better version of myself for the other people in my life.

Change the conversation. Add things in. Enjoy the New Year.

 

Contributed by Jessie Seehof Carlson

Just another human trying to be kinder to myself