Self Care

My youngest son is over seven months old! There’s so much that I haven’t shared. There was a time when I felt really free to be open, frank, and vulnerable when blogging. Then I let the anxiety that I experienced upon moving get to me. I let social media get to me. I underestimated the identity crisis I would have once I was separated from what was always home.

I got out of the habit of blogging because I started getting paid work to blog for someone else’s business. I was journaling every morning a la The Artist’s Way in a paper journal. I was sharing my photographs, creative pursuits, and travel through social media. It felt like I was sharing enough, even if it was on someone else’s platform. The paper journaling has served me well; I’m able to gather my thoughts without fear of judgement, organize my future, and look back on my past.

But what blogging does for me is a little different. While I can have a train-of-thought writing experience in private on paper, blogging organizes those thoughts. I’m then able to share those thoughts with others, with the potential to add some value, be it small, to their lives.

I hate how much time I’ve spent doubting myself, talking down to myself and waiting for peer approval to give myself the freedom to share. Every year, I talk about sharing more. It was my goal in 2018, and I fell short.

I’m seven months in to being a mom of two. I wholly underestimated how having two children would knock me off my feet after being a mother for a decade. I really did. As only children, both of my boys would be a breeze. But that’s not the case.

In the chaos of taking care of my children, my marriage, my home, my dog (honestly, he’s mostly forgotten) I have had the hardest time taking care of myself in a way that doesn’t ask too much of my husband, who is having his own hard time with self care. Sometimes self care still feels like work. Exercise feels good, but I need to do it because I need to get healthy. Cleaning feels good but I need to do it or my mental health will suffer. Getting out and meeting with other moms feels awesome, but I need to do it for my infant’s social development. Taking care of myself starts to feel like another obligation, another task to take care of.

Maybe what I really need is to come back to this space, right here. To organize my thoughts. To share. To use my itty bitty platform to shout out into the abyss, “THIS!” to wait, and listen, for over the pond, across the mountains, to hear s little voice in the distance say, “SAME!” Or to say, “I MADE THIS!” To pause, only to hear back: “I think I can, too!”

I’m resolving to make the time to share. To stop feeling like I haven’t “earned” writing on my personal blog because I “should” be doing more freelance work, or cleaning, or taking care of everyone else first. This is the one space that is completely mine, and I do it for me.

In other words: Hi, I’m back. I have so much to share.

Tour Our Second Home, On the Market Before and After

I loved this house well and I had so much fun making it ours, adding my personal style everywhere. The following pictures don’t fully reflect my personal style, because these were the listing photos for the house just prior to us buying it (sight unseen!) and after my friend Ky and I pulled up our bootstraps and prepared the house for showings.

If you haven’t sold a home before, you probably don’t know: you don’t just take pictures of how you’re living in it. You’re going to want to do quite a few things before you put it up.

Prepping a House for the Market

  1. Take down personal items. Photography especially–you want the potential buyer to picture themselves there, not you.
  2. Remove all clutter. Your kitchen counters should be devoid of appliances, your fireplace mantle shouldn’t have any tchochkes.
  3. Take a LOT of furniture out. Open up the space as much as you can.
  4. Take the books out of the shelves and style them instead. Creating space even on your furniture opens up the room to the eye. It’s like magic.
  5. The more you move out of site, the better. Use the garage or the basement, if you have one, to put these items away. If not, rent a short-term storage unit.

As mentioned in our moving announcement, our house sold in three days! We had an offer and a back up offer quicker than we could have imagined.

The Home Tour, Before and After

These are photos that we had listed online of our house when it was on the market in 2015 when we bought it, and months ago when we listed it.

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We’re Moving…Again!

I didn’t expect to write this post this soon, or at this stage in our lives. I admit, I knew this wasn’t our forever home. When we sold our first home in Texas and moved to Connecticut, I became a bit more realistic about my expectations about how long I would live in one place.

We bought our Texas house with “forever” in mind, and we started making preparations and decisions to move to the East Coast after living there for a little over three years. I was devastated but excited. I was scared but adventurous. And then we moved 1,600 miles away.

Before I had fully unpacked, boxes still strewn about, Mark was surely high from the experience of leaving it all behind + what new experience awaited us. Then he said, “Maybe in a few years, we’ll move to the West Coast.”

The nerve! But I didn’t take it that way. He was just reminding me that adventure awaits, and to leave my heart open for possibilities. I knew I was going to take good care of it, try to not get too attached, and make it full of art, memories, laughter, souvenirs and a lot of love. That I did. And now we’re moving. But, where? Continue reading

Babymoon in Paris Portraits

We’ve been busy around the Oreta household! No time to update all the way, but I’ll give you a little peak into a recent highlight.

A little over two weeks ago, Tobias took his very first solo flight.

Tobias Colorado

He stayed with my sister and her husband for a few days in Estes Park, Colorado and had a blast snowboarding and enjoying Rocky Mountain National Park.

While he was doing that, his dad and I took a romantic vacation to PARIS!

babymoon in paris portraits Trocadero and Eiffel Tower

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And the love multiplies…

Despite my New Year’s Resolutions of 2018, it has been over a month since my last post! But this time, I have really good reasoning.

Valentine's Day Pregnancy and gender announcement another boy-6

You see, those health issues I mentioned…they looked a little like nausea, fatigue, food aversions, and several other symptoms that are far less glamorous. Because…

Valentine's Day Pregnancy and gender announcement another boy-3

I’m pregnant!

Valentine's Day Pregnancy and gender announcement another boy-8 (2)

Now that I’m well into my second trimester, I can come right out and say it. Not only was I so exhausted that I found myself struggling to complete my paid work, nevertheless this hobby blog right here, but this pregnancy as well as something else that our family has been working on have been my limited focus in these past months, so I had very little to write about.

Valentine's Day Pregnancy and gender announcement another boy-2

Now that I’m further along and getting back into my routines for my freelance writing as well as my household (okay–I’ll admit it. I’m not back to maintaining my household. But Mark has been doing an amazing job of picking up my slack) I’m excited to share more about what’s in store for our family, memories that we’ve been making, and DIY projects as they resume.

Valentine's Day Pregnancy and gender announcement another boy-1




….I almost forgot! These balloons were inspired by this quick DIY project from StudioDIY. It’s definitely one of her older projects, and she’s since created a shop where she sells pre-printed conversation heart balloons.

On Anxiety

It’s been three months since my last post. I’ve traveled to the other side of the world, knocked several things off of my bucket list, and have done countless DIY projects. However, those were all fleeting moments. Before I start spitting out informational posts about things to do and make, I want to talk a little about something I carry with me on all of my trips. This is something I hold onto despite my endeavors, and the same thing that stops me from sharing online: crippling anxiety.

I thought, for a time, that my anxiety began when I moved to Connecticut. And, if that was the case, it would pass once I made some new friends. I didn’t know where I fit in, so maybe if I found my place, these feelings would subside. I’ve realized that isn’t so and if I don’t take action, I’m going to be stuck in this rut.

A lot of times I don’t understand what’s going on in my head until I write it. I utilize my daily morning pages (per The Artist’s Way, recommended to all!) to sort out most of these things in a free-form way. This anxiety I’ve been feeling, however, has been a bigger problem. Maybe, in my sorting out and sharing, I can work on it and maybe you can relate. Who knows. After all, I did decide I wanted to be more raw in this blog.

What it looks like

From my perspective, it’s a feeling of shame that spirals out of control. It can start with something simple: Continue reading

Mother’s Gifts

The greatest gift my mother gave me didn’t come on Christmas day. It wasn’t the latest game console, or the the shoes I wore on prom night. It wasn’t intricately wrapped with a ribbon tied around it. There was no bow on top.

My mother gave me life twice. The first time was on the maternity floor. Breathing heavily, she pushed me, unaware, into this world. I was born hungry, wailing loudly. I can’t say much has changed.

There wasn’t a specific time marked by any inky footprint when she gave me life again. No. It occurred day-by-day over the course of two years at a different hospital, nearby. Children aren’t born there. A nurse would take blood or an oncologist would insert a hollowed needle into my spine. But it was always her, eyes wide, looking deeply into equally bugging eyes. Deeply, into one another’s pupils. It was always her, grasping my hand with all her might, as if letting go would allow her to lose me. Continue reading

Jungalow Style Bathroom

one room challenge guest participant

Last One Room Challenge from Calling it Home post this week! If you’d like to see how things progressed week by week, check out the first week, the third week, the fourth week and last week‘s posts. But really, who needs all that? This is the good part, when things are finished.

Remember what it looked like when I started?


And the plan I drew up?


Well, here’s what we’re looking at now: Continue reading