I'm still blogging - all posts have been moved to BelleJheanell.com !

I'm still blogging about life, motherhood, baby loss, style and more. Feel free to continue following my journey at www.bellejheanell.com - see you there! 

The Launch: Jolie's 3rd Birthday


It's been 3 years! Can you believe it? I feel like it was just yesterday that I sat on my sisters computer and wrote a post asking for your prayers. I didn't know how I was going to make it through that day, much less know how to go on with my life. Yet here I am today, stronger than ever and a mom for a second time.


Alone Time

Last night my husband, G and I laid in bed watching tv and catching up on our day. G has been sick for almost a week now, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be fired soon for missing so many days. My husband tired from the physical demands of his job and I, mentally exhausted from caring for a sick baby, we tried our best to spend a few moments of quality time before bed. Out of a 7 day week, we get maybe a day and half out of it to spend with each other. His work schedule is so unpredictable and the hours are long. 

One weekend a few weeks ago, my mom randomly offered to watch G overnight. Within a matter of minutes, I booked us in room in Naples and we made the drive over as soon as hubby got home from work. I'd made prior commitments, but I had to take this opportunity to spend some alone time with my husband. I apologized, cancelled everything and enjoyed 24 hours of just us. 
Later this year we'll be celebrating 10 years together and 5 years of marriage. Remember when this was a wedding blog? Where has time gone and my how things have changed. While time away used to be care free, this was our first night away from the G and we had to try our hardest not to talk about him the whole time. I can't count how many times one of us would randomly blurt out, "I miss the baby". 

I love this family life but I have to admit that I'm craving richer experiences with them. I want us to travel, do more activities together...and I do want to squeeze in some alone time with the hubby too. I don't know when this shift will happen for us, but as I told my husband last night, "There has to be more to this s*** than working, coming home, going to sleep and then getting up early to do it all over again everyday". Where's the time to enjoy life? To REALLY live and experience it. I look forward to designing work around my life, not the opposite.

What about you? What rich experiences are you currently craving?




love,
Jin

Sunflower Child

Taking a step back from this blog just kind of happened. I thought many times that I was sharing too much and that I needed to close this space or make it private. After Jolie passed, it became the only place where I could seek refuge. During my pregnancy with Grey it was nice to have this community genuinely happy for me and cheering me on. But I only became more confused about this blog after having my son. While I LOVE reading family blogs plastered with photos of their children, I just couldn't get comfortable with the idea for us. But what was I to write about as a stay at home mom besides my baby? Slowly my interest dwindled and months passed by with me being comfortable with not sharing parts of my life here anymore. I have another blog, which keeps me quite busy and doesn't require me to share too much about my personal life. Over the past few weeks I'd find myself reading through this space crying, laughing at my self and wondering what I was thinking with some of them. It's kinda dope to have this journal of words, photo and video. Being able to pick a date in the past and see what I was doing at that time is cool. The saving grace for LL&L has been that it would be amazing to have my kids read this one day and get to know before I was mom. 

Sharing my family online is kinda of scary. Just a few months ago I was helping a fellow blogger and mother to get her daughters photo removed from an IG account where this woman, pretended that her daughter was hers. It only made me more comfortable with never writing here again. And the meanies. The internet can be tough. I'm lucky enough to have never been attacked online or had to deal with being on forums - but the thought of exposing my child to that makes my blood boil. I'm not a big blogger with tons of haters or anything, but just the possibility of it annoys me. If someone to ever say anything about my boy...well... I wouldn't share here what I would do. 

I'm still not sure what I'm doing back here but it feels good to be back.

Logging into my google reader and catching up with everyones lives has been so fun! Some are expecting babies, had the baby that they were pregnant with last time I read, bought a house, are moving to a different country - so much has changed. As for me, I cut all my hair off, doing well with the other site and am starting a bath and beauty brand in memory of my daughter. My house still doesn't look like a Pinterest board and shit life isn't perfect. I'm still trying to figure out this mom thing, how to not be poor and I need to go back to therapy. In all though, nothing devastating has happened in the last few months which I'm really excited about. Overall I'm happy, still a little confused about this blog and just trying to stay encouraged...oh yea and I lost 33 pounds.

This my friends is life currently, otherwise known as all the things you missed when I stopped blogging here. Special shout out to me for blogging consistently this week and getting you all caught up.

WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


love,
Jin

Happy Place

Giving birth to two babies, but only being able to raise one is an odd feeling. Jolie is very much apart of our everyday life, but I just didn't picture my life like this. I don't think I'll ever fully understand why she came and went back to Heaven the way she did. However, as what would have been her third birthday approaches, I realize how much purpose my little girl has given me. I'm really passionate about helping other women who have unfortunately experienced something similar. Early in my healing, I was so afraid of being known as "the girl whose baby died". 

At this point, things are good but I still have bad days...like about a month ago when I had a melt down in the bathroom at work. When I really sit and think about the whole thing, it's way too much. I'm good though! I've come to accept that I'm not going to get over her death - I'm going to have to deal with it for the rest of my life. 

It still hurts. It always will. 

We always talk to Grey about his sister, sometimes he kisses her urn. Though he doesn't understand at 15 months old - he will grow up knowing that he has a big sister in Heaven.

We're creating so many memories that I wish she was apart of, it makes me really sad sometimes. I am however so grateful to now have my boy and watch him blossom before my eyes. What a joy is it to see him grow and experience his love. I love his facial expression when I pick him up at daycare and he's always so excited when his daddy gets home from work. He loves to blow kisses at us and give big hugs. Looking through old photos of my husband and I - I could not have imagined us being where we are now. But this is life right? There are good seasons and growing pains. I'm finally in a place where I'm present and I'm enjoying it.




love,
Jin

Toddler Food Adventures

Food has been interesting for us. Since breastfeeding didn't work out so well , I really wanted to get things right when I introduced solids. I have to say that I'm surprised that I didn't completely loose my shit marbles over my breastfeeding struggle. I just felt like such a failure until I got over myself and the expectations of the outside world. Ya know, the people that don't pay my bills or put food on my table. I'm happy to report that after months of experimentation, trial and error - I think we've got our nutrition down. My kid is an eater! I haven't found many foods that he doesn't like and thankfully, no allergic reactions. Here's what works for us:



  • WHEN I COOK: Depending on what I cook for dinner, I'll typically throw it in the blender and grind it up for baby. I use water to thin it out a bit if it's a little too heavy for his tummy. 
  • STORE BOUGHT: Earth's Best is a favorite in these parts! I always have a couple of the Stage 3 foods in his bag just in case. They're easy and convenient for take out nights or on evenings when I'm just too tired. The smoothies are a perfect snack for on the go! They're also a great way to have the baby feed themselves with minimal mess to clean up afterward. He loved the cereal as well but the servings aren't that big and this guy has a huge appetite. I'd be done with the entire box after 2 to 3 meals. At this point I give him whatever organic oatmeal that I eat. I also love to add blueberries or banana on top to make sure he gets an extra serving of fresh fruit. 
  • LIQUIDS: Water, Almond Milk and Organic Apple Juice
I also LOVE "The Wholesome Baby Food Guide" by my internet homie Maggie Meade. You can also visit her website for fun recipes for your little one. I'll talk more in depth about the book in an upcoming post. 

This is what is working for us at this time and my little guy is as healthy as ever! 


Tell me what works for your family :)


love,
Jin

GUMBO LIMBO & THE NATURE LOVING FAMILY


Growing up, there was a period in time where I didn't realize that my cousins and I were different genders. I went everywhere they went, and did everything I saw them do. These were my days in Jamaica where if you couldn't find me, I was likely in a tree or trying to kick a football (or soccer if you're American) like the boys did. Shortly after relocating here, I became a girly girl. I mean, I couldn't deny the boobs under my shirt any longer by this point. My husband who basically grew up on the shores of the island is such a nature buff. He can identify different species of fish, alligators...pretty much all marine life. This is a guy who used to swim in alligator infested water...for fun! It is his influence that eventually restored my curiosity and love with being outside. We're even talking about starting a garden in the backyard as an outdoor family activity we don't have to leave home for. Me, a garden? Is this a sign that I'm growing up for real?

Gumbo Limbo is a local nature center that we like to visit when it's not to hot out. Actually, it was a frequent place for us to stroll prior to our last stint in New York. We visited there for the first time since moving back and had a great time. If you're a turtle lover, they rehabilitate injured the ones that they've rescued. Admission is free, but you can leave a donation on your way out to keep the nature center alive. It's definitely a place I'd like to continue taking Grey to visit as he grows up.  
This is the moment that I understood why it's important for me to consider cloth diapering. If I can't bring myself to do it, the biodegradable from Honest seem like a great way to go. 
One of my hopes for my little boy is that he grows up loving nature and enjoys being outside. We're excited to get our little garden going and watch it grow as our family grows. 

What kind of outdoor activities do you like to do with your family?

love,
Jin

Independence Day


Today was an unexpectedly emotional day for me. I started working full time in Feb for the first time in two years (this one didn't work out) which was an adjustment in itself. Couple that with now being a mother (and one who had spent the first full year at home with baby), I had A LOT of feelings. I knew it was normal for there to be an adjustment period for both of us when he started daycare.The first few days were horrible for Grey! He'd cry the entire day and would only stop if he were held in someones arms. Much faster than I expected, he eventually became well adjusted and social. Sure he'd still cry a little when I hand him over but he's over it by the time I hit the door. Sometimes I'll peek in and he's playing with a toy or his little friends when he thinks I've already left.
 
This morning however, something unexpectedly happened that made me realize that my 15 month old is not the newborn that I took home from the hospital anymore. I put him to sit in his big boy chair in class, and much to my surprise he reached for the book on the table, opened it and seemingly forgot that I was there. He didn't cry, didn't wave good bye - nothing. He just sat obediently in his seat and flipped through his little toddler book. I started tearing up when I got back in my car.

Firstly, when did he grow up so fast? And when did he become so independent? At this stage he's constantly surprising me with the things that he knows how to do. Weekly there's something new, but today he supposed my husband and I both with new skills. He's growing up so quickly. I definitely miss being at home, but as I do have to work at this time, I can see that he's in great hands. That alleviates some of my worries. It's just that, I remember the pregnancy with him dragging on as my mind played tricks on me - it seemed like he'd never get here. Now he's saying "highs" to everybody and practically running. It really does go fast. Thankfully I have quite a few more years until he's fully independent and doesn't need his mommy for everything.
{ these photos were taken a few weeks ago on one of our Sunday beach trips}

love,
Jin

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