We bought a tree! We are waiting to decorate it together…probably on Thursday. But we made like the Griswolds on Tuesday night and bought the biggest tree we could find at the nursery. Our little Jetta couldn’t quite accommodate the giant tree in the trunk so we strapped it to the roof the old fashioned way and drove 50km an hour all the way home. Johannes had no interest in staying awake for the set up of the tree so he announced from his car seat that he was going to sleep. So Michael and I put the tree up ourselves, and it was quite a challenge…I wrongly estimated how heavy a tree that size would be, but after lots of swearing, sweating and one broken tree base, we finally got it up and standing. And “Its a beaut Clark!” …but that’s the last time we let the 2 year old pick our tree. The traitor left us to suffer the wrath of his choosing.
Graciela Gauna (@gracielaraquel) lives in the Nerthelands with her husband Oguz and son Gabriel. Her little boy is about the same age and Johannes so I love following their journey on the other side of the Ocean. She was kind enough to go beyond Instagram and to share with us a little bit about herself and her family. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family.
Hi! My name is Graciela (29) and I’m living with my husband Oguz and 2,5 year old son Gabriel Mavi in a small town in the North of The Netherlands. We live very near the sea and the closest beach equals a nice bike ride of 15 minutes through the dunes. We are definitely beach people. I was born and raised here and grew up with sand between my toes. Not that the weather is so great here all year round, but I love a nice walk at the beach in the winter too. And my husband loves to surf. So when Gabriel was born, it wasn’t hard to decide to move back to my hometown. And I can tell you, he’s becoming a beach lover too!
We are a multicultural family, my husband is Turkish and I’m half Argentinian/half Dutch. So Gabriel is growing up with a diversity of 3 cultures. I think it’s a great benefit that he learns about 3 cultures and this makes his life very full. We both are speaking Dutch to Gabriel, but he’s learning some Spanish and Turkish as well from his Argentinian grandpa and Turkish grandma.
I have my degree in Nutrition & Dietitian, but I’m not working as a dietitian. I’m working part time for the Comprehensive Cancer Centre in the Netherlands where I collect reliable epidemiological data. Beside that I’m blogging for Babiekins Magazine. And busy to start a creative project with my sister hopefully by the end of 2014. My husband has his own company. So we are a busy family.
Ok, this was a lot about myself and my family, haha!
Describe a typical day/routine?
On days that I have to work Gabriel stays with my hubby, my sister (she has 3 kids) or my parents. He doesn’t go to daycare. I know when he’s with his dad, they always are doing fun things like swimming and cooking together.
A typical day when I don’t have to go to work, starts with getting up and preparing breakfast for Gabriel and me. And making coffee for myself. I really need my 2 coffee (with soymilk) in the morning! The rest of our morning is most of the time really lazy; we watch cartoons, Gabriel plays with his cars and we are reading books together. I really love our lazy mornings. And during his naptime I’m cleaning the house (I’m a really neat freak). The rest of the day are about running some errands, drinking more coffee (with friends or family), a nice walk and preparing dinner. When we have dinner we talk about our day and after dinner Gabriel can play a little bit until bedtime.
Are there any special traditions, celebrations or customs your family partakes in?
Yes! We always eat homemade pizza on our birthdays and the pizzas are made by my hubby. But actually this tradition started when I was a kid. My dad made homemade pizza on our birthdays (he still does but not that often anymore) and trust me, he made a lot because I come from a really big family. Everybody, family and friends, stayed for dinner because of my father’s homemade pizza. And my dad was busy in the kitchen for hours.
And now the pizzas are made by my husband. After he learned it a little bit from my dad and he created his own recipe. So now everybody is staying for pizza at our home on birthdays. I really love the fact that Gabriel is growing up with the same tradition as I did.
What would people be most surprised to find out about you?
Lets see…I really don’t know. Maybe that I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers. My eldest brother is 33 and my youngest brother 13.
My favorite pass-time is definitely being with my family. And eating. I think family and eating is the best combination. And I love going to the beach in summertime.
How would you describe you decorating style when it comes to kid’s rooms?
At the moment we are sharing a room with Gabriel. We have a really large bedroom so it’s possible. This all started when he was 9 months old, suddenly he wasn’t a good sleeper anymore. So we decided that is was better that he slept with us in the same room.
But he has his own corner and we tried to create his own little space in our bedroom. If I have to describe the decorating style, it’s all about white and simple. I really love that everything is white because it gives me this fresh feeling.
In a few weeks Gabriel is going to sleep in his new bedroom and we are going to sleep in his old bedroom. A little swap! So I can’t wait to decorate his room (and ours) again. Maybe with a little bit more color. Wish me luck for the sleeping part!
What is your favorite room in the house and why?
That would be the kitchen! Because I love the dining table in the kitchen. That’s where we are sitting, eating and talking with friends and family.
How easy is it to meet other moms in your community?
I think it’s a little bit difficult! Most of my friends don’t have kids yet. And beside that we are really busy and Gabriel doesn’t go to daycare. But I think it becomes more easy to meet other moms when Gabriel is going to school. But my eldest sister and my two sisters in law have kids too.
One of the reasons that I love instagram is because you can meet other moms so easily!
What would you say surprised you most about motherhood?
Everything!! Nothing or nobody can prepare you for motherhood! You have to experience it. Raising a child is full of surprises!
Being a mother is the most beautiful thing in the world and I can’t imagine my life without Gabriel. I love him so much, I can’t describe the feeling of endless love for my son. He is my everything and I feel so blessed that I have the opportunity to be a mother in the first place.
Beside that parenting is the most beautiful job in the world, I think it’s also the most difficult job in world!!!
What’s your philosophy on “eating your vegetables”?
Our philosophy on eating your vegetables is really relaxed, although I think it’s important to eat it, I think it’s even more important that you don’t force your kids. But we are so lucky that Gabriel loves to eat healthy food and his vegetables. Gabriel is the kind of kid who loves olives, avocado and shrimps.
My husband and I both eat health and try to eat organic as much as possible. So Gabriel is growing up with healthy food. I believe that healthy eating habits starts young and childhood is the best time to learn these healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and who would you bring along?
There are so many places I would love to visit. Thailand, Indonesia and Australia are definitely on my list and I will bring my whole family with me!
But first we are going to visit Argentina in February 2014!
What role does Instagram play in your life?
I think it plays a big role in my life. And it’s kind of an addiction! If you ask my hubby, he would say that I’m definitely addicted. But I really love to share things and experiences with other moms all over the world.
What have you found most surprising about Instagram?
It’s such a great community full of great people! I’m really surprised about how sweet, kind and inspiring people are! And soon I will be meeting some IG friends in person. How great is that!
Enjoy life every single day!
Thank you so much Graciela for sharing so much with us today! I loved reading your answers and even more, I love all the photos. You can get to know Graciela better on Instagram and the Babiekins blog…although I have my fingers crossed that maybe she will start her own blog some day too!
Its been over a year since I started seeing Katie Mitchell‘s sweet photos of her little girl Maile and her pup napping together. As both a mom and a pet owner they just warmed my heart. I don’t know that there’s anything really cuter than puppies and babies, and to have them show affection towards one another in such an intimate way, is simply incredible. I could sit here and write all about Katie and Maile, and how this beautiful project came about, but I would so much rather let Katie tell you in her own words.
First, I’d like to thank Ana for asking me to be a small part of her wonderful blog. Bluebird Kisses is such a beautifully curated, honest space, and I’m incredibly happy to be here!
Our English Cocker Spaniel, Teddy, had started napping with our then 1 year-old daughter, Maile. It was the sweetest thing I’d ever seen, and I knew I had to capture it, but I didn’t want to wake them by standing on the bed. I knelt down at the end of the bed, liked the perspective, and clicked. Funny enough, I almost didn’t post this first photo to Instagram, because I wasn’t sure anyone else would like the different angle! Thankfully, I did, and at the suggestion of a friend, a series was born. After a couple of shots, and inspired by Ana, I decided to give it its own hashtag: #adogandhisbaby.
This series is special to me for many reasons, but one is that Teddy is a rescue. Not only is he a rescue, but the group from which we adopted him believed that he had been severely abused. We were his third family, and when we first adopted him, he didn’t make a peep. He cowered in corners when we took out pots and pans to cook with, and even when I tossed pillows on the floor to make the bed. It took quite awhile for us to earn Teddy’s trust, but when we did, he became the happiest, sweetest dog in the entire world. Today, you’d never know he wasn’t always ours.
When I was pregnant with Maile, Teddy would lay next to me, always with his head on my growing belly. When Maile arrived, he was always one step in front of the stroller, laying in front of her swing or bassinet, watching her carefully as she took her first steps in our back yard. Maile didn’t have to earn Teddy’s trust; she has always had it. Their relationship is incredibly special, and I’m just happy to be a small part of it.
As you can see, every once in awhile, our younger dog, Chester, sometimes joins them for naptime, too!
Even though Maile has moved into her own bed now, Teddy still naps with her. The series looks a bit different now, but I’ll keep taking the pictures as long as they let me. If you like, you can follow along on Instagram. I occasionally share them on my own blog, too.
Thank you again Ana, for having me. And thanks, Bluebird Kisses readers, for letting me share this project, which is so close to my heart, with you!
Get your Holiday card sets in the Bluebird Kisses shop now before they run out, or worse, the time runs out and Christmas is upon us! These cards are designed and printed here in Toronto by me and my friend Davis. We put so much of our time and pretty much traded sleep in exchange for printing these cards. If you don’t know how letterpress works Google it! So if you’re still looking for cards this season head to the shop and order yours today. Oh…and we have tags available as well!
We’re home from Punta Cana this week and I have to confess that I took almost zero pictures with my DSLR…and thousands with my iPhone. I think for the next trip I might skip lugging that big heavy camera around all together.
Our trip was amazing, we had a great time at the resort. We ate and swam. Johannes used his back floatie and learned how to swim forward, in circles, how to kick and bring his legs to the surface and so on. The pool was his friend as was the swim up bar where he frequently ordered himself “red apple juice please”. We didn’t leave the resort, as lame as that might sound. We needed to just unwind and relax and that is exactly what we did. I even read two books! TWO! At home I am always too much on the go to slow down and actually get into a book, but here it was perfect.
We stayed away from the water’s edge, mostly because Johannes was terrified of the waves. The food on the other hand was delicious, especially the seafood. I really cannot say enough good things about our stay in the Dominican, and the people! ahhh they are so so lovely and kind. They treated us all so well, but especially Johannes, who was a huge hit when he started to speak Spanish back to them.
But it is also nice to be home, with our own bed and pillows and our cats. We missed them terribly, especially Johannes.
We are still on the sandy beaches of Punta Cana…a little tired for my mini bed-mate is a night time kicker. But all in all we love it here and are pretty eager to stay as long as possible as long as we are together.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!! Hope you all have a wonderful day. And to get the holiday shopping under way early I’m running a 40% off sale on everything in the bluebirdkisses shop today and tomorrow with code “BLACKFRIDAY” entered at checkout.
So enjoy your family today and be thankful for grace and love.