My Go-To (Summer) Birthday Gift Idea

Summer birthday parties have arrived! It’s likely because my son was born in July, but it seems like a lot of his little friends also have Summer birthdays. Something I found particularly hard before I had a baby, and honestly still do, was picking out birthday gifts. I am great at the sweet, soft baby stuff but once the little one has a personality… they become harder to shop for! For one, it’s hard to know each tot’s different interests, and what stage they may be at. So alas: I get the same, but different, bundle for everyone!

I start with a couple Summer necessities that we love, and I feel comfortable gifting. Sunscreen and Bug Spray! Hello Bello are rated CLEAN, and plant-based baby products. I absolutely love them, and so does Thomas. Their clean ingredients make me confident in gifting to friends, too.

My Go-To Summer Birthday Gift Idea | Victoria Austin
My Go-To Summer Birthday Gift Idea | Victoria Austin
My Go-To Summer Birthday Gift Idea | Victoria Austin

A Fairhope T-Shirt (or other relative brand). We love these for our little local friends because they are soft and classic. I realize these last three items are more for Mom, but how many light up toys from Target can one kid get? haha. Next is where you can get creative…
If you know the tot well, and know their interests and/or capabilities, you can get a summertime toy that fits for them. Chalk, bubbles, a pool float or swim diapers are always great options and never seem to go to waste! Some specific examples are below for various toddler ages!

You get the idea! Target, Walmart and Amazon have AWESOME kids toys that are inexpensive and great for outdoors. I try not to buy “junk” but when it comes to those hot Summer months, if it’s cheap and can last a few weeks… it’s a win-win. Stay cool out there!!

A New Mindset | Motherhood

Happy 2019! I say that with a large exhale, a sigh of relief. 2018 was great in SO many ways. Full of firsts for Thomas and exciting moments as he grew and changed tremendously. It also had a lot of tears, a lot of growing pains and many weak moments. It wasn’t until Thomas was almost a year old that I knew deep down how I felt wasn’t “right”. I couldn’t put my finger on it most days, though. Was I sad? Not exactly. Frustrated? Kind of. Tired? Definitely! Unmotivated? YES! I felt heavy, the hours got longer and harder. And with each passing day I remember praying and asking God for some relief. (Which usually came in the form of my husband doing more than overtime). I just wanted Thomas to sleep better, be happier, more content… why did it feel like he was always so fussy? These questions and pleas repeated in my head every single day. I remember the day that I decided that I did not want to feel like that anymore. I remember saying to my husband “I know motherhood is hard - but it definitely shouldn’t feel like this. And if it is ‘suppose to’, then I am changing that”.

Sure enough - this was my own personal brand of Postpartum Depression. I say my own because I believe no two mothers have the same story and symptoms. The idea that I may have PPD had crossed my mind many times, but I thought no, not me, how could that be? Because I love Thomas, my husband, our life, etc. I have everything I always prayed for and its not like I was laying in bed all day crying. But I quickly learned how out of whack my hormones were, and how the different aspects of becoming a mother had affected my body and my mind. It was completely out of my hands and my only regret today is that I didn’t acknowledge the symptoms earlier. It’s easy to think “this is normal, you just had a baby for crying out loud”. But it isn’t always normal. And who knows what “normal” is anyways?
When I finally tackled the elephant in the room… the weight was almost immediately lifted. It wasn’t a 24-hour fix by any means but just coming clean with myself and my husband made all the difference. The phase that came after, and still lingers for me almost 6 months later, is the most annoying of all. My dialogue, my hyperawareness of my mental state, and my need to apologize or to explain it. After all, I am writing it here, too. I felt like I had to quickly admit to friends and say things like “I know I’ve been so distracted and a mess, I’m having a hard time”, “Thomas has knocked me on my ass”, “It’s been so hard on me “, etc. I think it is VERY important to acknowledge it and not ignore or hide it when it is time to deal with something hard. But at what point does it take on a life of it’s own?

As 2019 starts, I want a new mindset. I don’t want to linger in that phase any longer! I want to shine more light on the positive moments and days. Our thoughts can really consume us, they are rolling and before you know it, one bad day turns into a bad week, a bad month and a bad year. Yuck! I think (for me), talking about the hard stuff and the bad days, like innocent venting, begins to amplify it. I don’t intend to fake it or lie, but hope to minimize these conversations that quickly turn to complaining. We are all riding similar rollercoasters, some go a little higher, and some a little deeper, some faster and some even break down. But they all kinda look the same at different points, so the easiest thing we can do is say how much fun it is, instead of how scary.

So, there is my new mindset. I am thankful I can be vulnerable and owe that to my amazing support system. I don’t have much advice - except to OWN your own happiness. If something doesn’t feel right (even if you don’t have any “tangible” reasons)… change something. Open up to loved ones or your OB.

xoxo, Tori