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

 

 

 

MOTHERHOOD

All of the lists have been checked, the bags are packed, and the endless Amazon shipments have been opened, although I know nothing can prepare us for what we are in store for. 

Our lives are about to change forever, completely flipped upside down from the world we have come to know. Now lots of people have made it clear to us how much it sucks, the sleepless nights, say goodbye to the good ol' days, yada, yada, yada...

We know. It's rough. We've seen the reality of it through friends. Parenting is the hardest job we will ever attempt. But it took a complete stranger to remind me of what else we were in store for - joy. While waiting at Playa Provisions to meet friends for lunch, he approached me and said: 

"I know everyone is probably telling you how hard it's going to be, but you also need to know how amazing it's going to be. Your life will never be the same, but in the best way possible."

And that is how I've tried to look at this entire crazy ride. When people ask if I'm scared about labor - my answer is no. I trust that my body was made to do this. When people ask if I'm worried about its affects on my career - my answer is no. I know it will only allow me to have more experiences to draw from and open my eyes to entirely new creative outlets. 

And when people ask me if I am ready - my answer is no. I don't think I'll ever be. But I was never 100% ready for any of my major life events - graduation, moving across the country, etc. But that's what makes them great. It's the scariest things we do that turn into the sweetest moments of life. 

A big thank you to the countless people who have been so generous with their gifts and advice these past nine months. While it is still surreal that I have been growing an actual human being inside me, I know that once he or she makes their way into this world they will be surrounded by all of your love as well. 

And now we wait...

Raquel

WORLD

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I swear, I can't even turn on the TV anymore without thinking the world is going to end. There is more doom and gloom with the turn of every channel, and somehow I always get sucked in. 

I'm not sure why I felt so compelled to write this, but the state of our world has really got me worried. Which is exactly what the bad guys want. 

I've always believed that we are all products of our own upbringings and individual experiences, so of course we will have different ideologies and political views. It's a given. But the very things that are supposed to bind us together as a country - democracy, religious freedom, inalienable rights, are the very things that are tearing us apart. 

It is bad enough having to see innocent people slaughtered all over the world in our nightly news, but what is even worse is when you see people who consider each other friends fighting about it on social media the next day. Along with that, Presidential candidates on all sides are pandering for votes so hard that they have all become SNL parodies of themselves. It's gross. Now, all of this extreme divide is causing riffs between friendships and families. Once again, which is exactly what the bad guys want. 

If there is one thing I've learned through My OWN and my close friends experiences this year, it's that even though people may be smiling on the outside, they are fighting a battle you have no clue about on the inside. So when in doubt, always choose kindness

Although we may not be able to change the outcome of these terrible attacks around our world, we can change the way in which we react to them. We can choose to be understanding rather than be divisive, we can choose not to comment and stir the pot, we can choose to still be friends regardless of our differences. 

especially during this holiday season, we can turn off the TV's, put down our phones, and pull out a board game. we can stop focusing on the mess and create some memories instead. lastly, and most importantly, we can always, always choose kindness. 

It's the one tried and true killer of bad guys. 

Raquel