Monday, May 28, 2012

Jenni and David. The Beginning.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to share in the nuptials of my lovely cousin Jenni and her long time boyfriend David. This was a wedding that I had been looking forward to for a long time not only because most of my family would be in town to celebrate, but also because this is a couple that is going to make it. This is one of those couples that fits like a puzzle with all of their curves and colors perfectly aligning. You feel it when you're with them through their quiet demeanors, their simple humor and most of all through the friendship they have with each other. Brandon and I are so lucky to be there as they start this new life together, but also lucky to have shared so many memories already. I fondly remember putting sparkle pink eye shadow on Jenni as an 8 year old (and the subsequent scolding from her dad), I remember sneaking her through the back door of a club when she was 20 and I remember the confusion and excitement as she figured out which college she would go to. I even remember telling Jen that her and her college sweetheart would never make it, but I am happy to admit I was so wrong about that! In a nutshell, the wedding was a culmination of years of anticipation and memories, and one that will hold a special place in my heart forever.

The day started a bit drizzly, but in true Seattle style the sun shone when it was the most important. Jenni walked down the aisle to blue skies in a blush Vera Wang gown that complimented her pale skin beautifully. David waited for her in a grey suit under an arch of pale pink and white flowers. The scene was so beautiful and the tears were readily flowing. The first thing I thought when seeing the setup was that it was SO them, which proved to be true for the rest of the evening as well. They put so much thought into the details, and as an event planner I ate up every single one. The centerpieces were made up of antique books and old mason jars full of the same beautiful pale flowers. The room was flowing with these antique touches as well as numerous old photos of family and friends. The wedding party entered the reception to loud music and some killer dunks in a mini-basketball hoop. This combination of romanticism and goofiness was amazing and so relevant. Whenever I plan a wedding I tell the couple to think about the way they want it to feel. Is it glitzy and high energy or is it simple and traditional? The theme of this wedding was simply "David and Jenni" through and through.

I haven't been to a lot of weddings since mine almost 4 years ago so it was an emotional evening for me. I recognized and understood the overwhelming look of love, exhaustion and joy on the brides face as she waited for the ceremony to begin, and the look of admiration and pride on David's face as she walked towards him. I remember those moments all too well from my wedding day, and a few times in the last 4 years I have had to bring myself back to those moments in order to survive a trial my husband and I were confronted with. One part of the wedding that stood out to me the most was during the ceremony when the officiant asked for every guest to agree verbally to support Jenni and David through their quest as husband and wife. Everyone eagerly stated "we will", and totally meant it. Marriage is not easy and often times it's the support from those that love you and cherish your marriage that will guide you through the dark times. A wedding reminds and reassures even the most veteran of married couples that there is always someone in your corner.

It's not so much that I learned something new on that day, but was instead reminded of something I already knew. Sometimes you have to reflect on the beginning in order to make it to the future, and there are people around who are there to remind you of just what that wonderful beginning looked like. For that, I am grateful.




Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Am Not a Spectacle.

Today a friend sent me the link to the controversial Time magazine cover depicting a 26 year old woman breast feeding her 4 year old child, and i was frustrated for the rest of the day. It wasn't the fact that she was breast feeding that was offensive, it was the way the magazine made a mockery of such a special moment. I currently nurse my son who is 8 months old, and I plan to continue until the end of the first year. It is the most fulfilling and worthwhile thing I have ever done. Not only am I setting Bronson up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits, but we get to have these crazy special bonding moments that sometimes take my breath away. Imagine having that Nursing is something that is intimate and lovely, and the spectacle that was on the cover of Time magazine is indicative of the struggles ahead for nursing mothers everywhere.

I have major issues with Western media and the way a story is sensationalized in order to sell-to/persuade the public by marginalizing/stereotyping a particular group of people. That is exactly what Time magazine did to nursing mothers everywhere. I personally have experienced hushed whispers and sideways glances while nursing in public, and that is while I am fully covered. Nursing in public is ridiculously stigmatized even in liberal Seattle. Women have fought hard over the last several decades against genderism and the hyper-sexualization of our bodies, and Time magazine ignorantly forced us to take a step back in that struggle. Ok, maybe I am being slightly dramatic (one of my most favorite ways to be), but I was understandably offended that some of the readers responses consisted of comments such as "that's disgusting" and "that's hot". There is nothing sexy about me feeding my child and it's perverted to think so. And there is nothing disgusting about a woman who chooses to nurse her child until preschool if that's what her and her child want to do. I don't plan to do it, but that's a personal choice my family and I have made together. The point I am trying to make is that we, as a society, need to be more conscious and critical of the information being presented to us through the media, and ensure that public opinion is actually an informed and objective one. Simply put...don't believe everything you hear/see/read.

In true Shauna fashion I chose to respond to the magazine cover in a sort of personal protest by posting an intimate photo of me nursing Bronson on Facebook. I did this in hopes that others could see the dichotomy between what breast feeding is and what it's not. I didn't do this for shock value, but instead to educate by providing a very real perspective.

What I (and hopefully you) learned today is that other peoples lives are not up to me, and it's not up to the media either. Educate yourself, be critical and keep your eyes open.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It Takes a Village.

I found out last night that the little sister of a very good friend of mine is pregnant with a girl. This was awesome considering my friend is also pregnant, but with a boy. These are two wonderful girls that we grew up with, and remain very close with today. My sister and I were also pregnant together, so I understand just how exciting this time is for them and their family.

The unbelievable influx of new babies in my life over the last year has made me so overcome with a joy that's tangible. I feel so blessed knowing that Bronson will grow up with kids that he has known since birth, and that he has relationships with other adults that are so emotionally invested in him. Bronson was born into established relationships, and some that have been 20 years in the making. One thing I knew for certain when I found out I was pregnant was that Bronson would have an extended circle of love constantly surrounding him. I would make it happen. I decided this because I know what a community can do for a family. It takes a village right? I want my son to feel valued, supported and more than anything I want him to feel like he has something to lose. If he is confronted with making a bad decision in the future I want to give him that split second of opportunity to stop and think about the people that will be affected by that decision. When he is receiving a special award or getting into his college of choice I want him to know that his pseudo aunts, uncles and cousins are rooting for him.

I am a new parent so I dont pretend to know everything. I am learning as I go, but as I learn and develop my parenting style I know that I am creating a foundation for my son in which to grow on. My son will always know that he is valued, lov ed and respected on so many levels. Hopefully the life Bronson chooses to build on this foundation will be a happy and healthy one, and that he will be proud of the decisions he made to get there.



Here are some pictures of Bronson lovin...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Welcoming Ryleah.

This weekend I celebrated the upcoming arrival of baby Ryleah at my good friend Katrina Comer's shower.  I met her something like 20 years ago when I became friends with her older sister Leah.  I met Leah in the 3rd grade and had a rocky relationship until we were in 7th, but from then on we were besties.  We got into a lot of trouble as kids (sorry mom!), experienced all of our "firsts" together, and had  She had a personality that was quirky and caring so every person that met her quickly fell in love with her.  I sadly lost Leah to cancer in 2002 when we were just 20 years old.  Today, I am still close with her family and am so grateful to be able to share in milestones with her sisters like our marriages and the birth of our children.  I so much look forward to these special events because it gives me the opportunity to see her family which always brings back a flood of emotions and memories that usually get lost in the daily buzz of thoughts running through my head at any given minute.  During these events I am mentally forced to sit back and think about Leah, grieve over her absence, and secretly laugh at our ridiculous inside jokes.  Losing Leah was the most devastating thing I have gone through, but I am comforted in knowing that I am able to watch her family grow and have the opportunity to reminisce with other people who also cared so deeply for her. 

The day of the shower turned out to be one of Washington's famous (but rare) sun shining days.  The venue was perfect, the wine was flowing, and the women were happy.  As an event planner I always have my eyes open for new ideas, and I got a few today. One of my fave was for each guest to open a gift that was not theirs and explain how they knew Katrina as well as provide a piece of advice on mothering a girl (she already has a 2 year old boy).   I've noticed that sometimes boredom creeps up on guests during gift opening, so this is a way to be interactive and keep the party lively.  We spent the afternoon playing games, making baby headbands, drinking wine and mingling.  It was what a shower should be. 

I brought Bronson with me to introduce him to the family and I think he enjoyed himself as much as I did.  He spent the day crawling around chasing balloon strings and flirting with all the pretty girls.  The shower ended with the mamma-to-be releasing a bouquet of silver and pink balloons into the sky with wishes from the guests for Ryleah attached.  My personal wish for this little girl is that she always realize her self worth.  When a woman realizes her worth she is unstoppable.  If this little girl is anything like the other women in her family then I know she won't have a problem with this one! 
What I learned today is that I have been very lucky in friendship.  I have lost many friends in my life whether it be to death or conflict, but each and every one of them made a lasting impression on my heart.  During my times of self-pity over my losses I will remind myself that I was lucky enough to have something to lose in the first place.


Friday, May 4, 2012

This Kid Right Here.

My child is marvelous.  He squeaks when you hug him, smells good, and has a smile plastered on his face 24/7 10/7 (well he has to sleep right? and everyone gets a bit grumpy at some point in the day).  He has profoundly changed my life in a very tangible way.  For those of you that know me know that I have always been high energy , but this child has slowed me down.  Life has always been around the next corner for me, but now I spend more time enjoying life exactly at that moment both physically and mentally.  I don't let things bother me like they used to, and I am quicker to let go of my frustrated feelings.  I am finally ok being just where I am at this very minute.  One day distracted is one day wasted I owe it to Bronson to be present for him everyday.  I spend a lot of time using him as a guinea pig for new baby recipes, I bite his fat legs till he squeals, and love running my hands through his grown man curls.  This boy means the world to me and I look forward to sharing so much joy with you.


Bronson in a Box (8 months)

And the Posting Begins.

I'm finally doing it...I'm starting a blog!  Don't let my excitement over this new endeavor fool you because I am definitely nervous.  I am still not completely sure why I am doing this blog, but (as is a common theme in my life) I know my full vision will evolve over time. 

A little about me.  I tend to be the advice and encouragement girl when it comes to my friends.  I empathize deeply, and I love sharing in other peoples joy.  I am a glass is half full type of girl and will make sure that the bright side is always at the forefront.  I have a lot of energy that both excites and overwhelms, and I can be too blunt and emotional at times.  Overall, I'm a good person that wants the best for everyone I meet.  This is why I'm here.

I am a mother of a sparkly little juicy 8 month old boy named Bronson, and his existence has helped shape the way that I look at and interact with the world.  I met my husband Brandon 8.5 years ago when we were just 22.  We have a beautiful relationship because it's real.  Life hasn't always been a smooth ride for us, but we've survived and sometimes that's all that matters.  He is my best friend, an awesome dad, and so kind.  I am lucky to have him.

My 20s were a time of exploration, death, marriage, education, traveling, fighting, loving really hard, depression and happiness. My experiences have taught me how to live life as best I can with a goal of being a person who is healthy in mind body, and spirit.  Through this blog I will share my life with you whether it be recipes, advice, a funny story, or my frustrations with world hunger.  I hope to inspire other people to live in a way that makes them proud no matter what that looks like.

What I have learned today is that life happens when you make it happen.  Here I go...