NEVE

They say being a parent can be a thankless job, but as I look back on February 28, 2018 and all that has happened in life since my second child erupted into this world - it is my sweet and resilient baby who I owe all of my thanks. 

Neve Kyler Kelley - 

Thank you Nevie for rolling with the punches. At three months old, we uprooted you and brought you from the West Coast to a distant land called The Midwest. And once arriving, we moved four times in a time span of 6 months. To say we were not stressed a majority of your early months would be a lie, but we tried to make the best of it, and so did you.  You may have lived in the same 4 pajamas and played with the same 3 toys, because frankly we didn’t know where the hell anything else was or what box it was thrown in, but you could have cared less. 

Thank you Nevie, for bearing with me. I know I wasn’t myself after the move. Your Type-A, control freak mama was trying to figure out your future house, her future career, how to make enough milk for you, and how to get your sister to stop anxiously pacing around the room and actually take a dump in the toilet. It was my mama who helped me through this summer and I hope to have that same friendship with you some day.

Thank you Nevie for being You.  From your choice of pacifier to your foot size, straight out of the womb, you’ve made it clear you are opposite than your sister. I thought I had it all figured out, and you came along with completely different needs and quirks proving to your mom even though she thought she knew a little something about motherhood - she in fact, knows nothing at all.

Thank you Nevie for your belly laughs. God I love them. you are my first child to serve up those “You-Tube worthy” giggles. you’ve been so sick this last month with the flu, ear infections, & febrile seizures/breath hold spells. We both haven’t slept mucH - you, because you dont’ feel good, me, because i’ve been worried sick. But thankfully you are are on the mend and letting out those laughs again - just in time for your big day.

So, even with all I’ve tried to teach you this year, through your toughness and ability to smile through it all, it seems like you’ve taught me even more.

Happy Birthday sweet Neve. I love you!

Mama

OHIO

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Welp, for those who don’t know, I believe we’ve pulled off our final “South Bay Slip.”

We had a trip slated for the end of June to celebrate birthdays in Ohio when Kyle received word about a great job opportunity with Cardinal Health in Columbus. 

Our vacation abruptly turned into a ‘staycation,’ giving us one week to squeeze in goodbye dinners, sell both cars, and move 4 bedrooms, 2 kids, and a dog across the country. 

To say this Past month has been insane would be putting it mildly. I think we secretly crave decisions that result in a constant state of migraine. 

We’ve gotten a lot of “Why would you ever leave California?” questions. Honestly, pre-children, I never would have. But our priorities have completely changed. 

I know it sounds corny but I want to give my kids a magical childhood - full of tree houses, lightning bugs, and snow angels. The Midwestern childhood that made me who I am is the one I want to for them too. 

Last year we bought land, sight unseen. We weren’t sure if it would be an investment or if we would actually move back someday. People who have never tended to a yard more than 5 feet wide probably Shouldn't build a house on 5 acres, but remember what I said about the whole migraine thing? 

L.A. - you made our career dreams come true and allowed us to live one hell of a life. Talk to me in December and I will likely severely regret leaving you, but it was time to come home. 

Ohio - If I never left you, I would have never appreciated all of the quiet, simplicity, and space you have to offer. We now know why the saying, “It takes a village,” exists, And are happy that we will be closer to ours. 

I still haven’t processed all of the craziness of these past weeks and what lies ahead, but although everything still doesn’t feel real, it does feel right.

Raquel

 

MOM

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My Mom's line growing up was, "Just wait until you're a parent..."

Well now I am. And this is the first Mother's Day I think I can sincerely wish my own Mom a Happy Mother's Day. I am now two months in to daily life with two kids under two. I am in 'the thick of it' per say.

Some days are great, I'm like, "I totally got this!" Other days I cry as they both are crying and as soon as Kyle walks in the door I escape to our bedroom to do my favorite thing: Watch Dr. Phil so I can feel better about my life and fold laundry in complete silence.

So Mom, it is now that I can truly understand all of the work and sacrifice you put into raising J and I. It is now that I can truly grasp the extreme emotions - wanting to wring our necks while loving us so much at the same time. It is now that I can truly share this day with one of the best ones out there. 

Thank you for being my best friend, my daily (more like 3x a day) phone call, and my favorite incompetent iPhone user. I love you. 

A very Happy Mother's Day out there to those old and new!

Raquel

BABY TWO

Neve Kyler Kelley
Born February 28, 2018 at 7:16pm
9 lbs. 2 oz. 20.5 inches

we are all snuggled in at home, but this past wednesday, we added another little gal to the mix! like her father, she decided to procrastinate and take her time during labor until making a grand entrance at the very end. 

let's just say the nurse is the one who caught my baby while I yelled, "it's coming!" (a story you know i will undoubtedly share with you all in due time...)

i've never had a sister, so i'm excited for rynn & Neve to get to experience that friendship. get ready for a lifetime of matching outfits ladies...sorry, but I'm the one buying. 

one day when neve is old enough to understand, i will explain to her why she is so important to our family and that the timing of her coming to this world was absolutely perfect. if it wasn't for her, we would have been at that vegas concert and our lives would have never been the same. she was looking out for us even before she arrived!

well, i know these months ahead are going to be rough with two. i still can't wrap my head around it. but my only goal is stay present, don't wish the hard times away and to relish in the good ones. 

all i hope to do is raise two strong, confident, and kind women. (insert flexing arm emoji here.)

Raquel

 

ONE

Rynn Carter Kelley -

You are One Year Old today. I can believe it, but I can't at the same time. The saying, "The days are long, but the years are short," has never resonated with me so much. As we celebrate you today, I wanted to take the time to say thank you.

Thank you Rynnie for teaching me to appreciate my body. I used to only appreciate it if it was toned and tan, but now I look at it in an entirely different light. It alone kept you alive the first eight months of your life. I am proud of it for doing so and all it went through to give birth to you. 

Thank you Rynnie for making me question my career. Slowing down was necessary in order to take care of you. I now know that work does not make up a person's worth, but I've never wanted to chase my dreams more in order to set an example for you - that you can do and be anything in this world if you have the courage to DO SO. 

Thank you Rynnie for making me question my actions. In everything I do, in how I react to situations, I always ask myself - Would this make my daughter proud? What example am I setting for her? Because of you, I've now become a kinder, gentler, more forgiving human being. 

Thank you Rynnie for showing me the joy a simple smile can bring. You flash your cheesy grin to every stranger at the grocery store and wave to everyone on walks. You brighten people's days just by being you. 

Thank you Rynnie for teaching me the true definition of 'selfless' love. It's definitely been the hardest job I've ever taken on, but even after all the blowouts, witching hours, and sickness, one of your toothy grins makes it all worth it. 

And lastly, thank you Rynnie for choosing me. Because as much as you needed me this year, it turns out I needed you even more...

mama

MIDDLE

I don't know why I feel the need to go there today, but I'm going to go there. I've been operating in a "Do Not Talk Politics On Social Media" mode as of late, but in these uncertain times I feel like that is the opposite of what we should be doing. 

While yes, we should be TALKING about politics, the more important part (and the part that we are missing) is that we should be LISTENING to each other about politics.  

I recently had an awesome Girls Night at my house. We caught up over (lots) of wine about relationships, kids, travel, and eventually politics. And it was such a GREAT conversation. YES! It was actually great. 

We all fall on different ends of the political spectrum and discussed what matters to us most and why we voted or didn't vote the way we did. We all listened to each other's sides, understood them, and more importantly respected those differences.

People who voted for Trump may have done so because they work for small businesses and the tax cuts would help their jobs. They don't automatically hate gay people because they did so. 

People who voted for Hillary may align with her views on the social side. That doesn't mean they are automatically Socialists. 

These days everyone wants to put you in a category - Republican, Democrat, Feminist, Part of the Resistance, etc. But during our talks we agreed we were all down the MIDDLE on lots of things. The problem is that with this party system, the middle doesn't exist, you are forced to choose. 

I remember when I took a test in high school I scored a 50. Dead on, right in the middle. And that's how I would still characterize my beliefs to this day.  All of my girl friends from all walks of life seemed to fall in the middle too - but there is a major problem - no one is willing to compromise in Congress and reach that middle ground. 

If they won't do it. How about we do? . 

In honor of Memorial Day, let's try to do more listening. In the wake of the Manchester attacks, let's try to do more loving. 

So, a big thanks to my gal pals for showing me that while our elected officials may be obsessed with party lines, we may All have differing political beliefs, but still reserve our right to a good party.

Raquel

BABY

Rynn Carter Kelley
Born July 1st, 2016 at 8:42 am
8 lbs. 15 oz., 21 inches long

It was the hardest I ever worked in my life, but it was all worth it to bring this gorgeous gal into our lives! It all still feels so surreal. These months ahead will be a beast to get through, so I plan on taking a blogging/writing sabbatical to do just that - get through them.

See you on the the flip side my friends!

Raquel