My Favorite Gift

by HEAB on December 17, 2013

I went to a yoga class today – a Svaroopa yoga class to be exact.  A woman in my neighborhood offers classes in her home, and when she posted the info to our neighborhood message board, I thought, why not?  Getting there was not a simple task.  Our nanny was going to watch Summer and Hannah, and I was going to take Charlie and Katie over to my mom’s for the morning.  Simple enough, but let’s just say that by the time I arrived at my neighbor’s studio, I was not in a good mood.  Trying to get four little ones ready and out the door in the morning is not always fun.  Somedays, things go smoothly, but other days, there are last minute poop blowouts, misplaced lovies, someone doesn’t want to put on a coat, not enough snacks (NEVER enough snacks!), etc.  Anyway, with much help, I made it to the yoga class, and it was bliss.  The class was just what I needed, starting and ending with Savasana with some core opening poses in-between.  It was great to be back in a class with a good and caring instructor – makes such a difference for me.  You know what else I realized I missed?  The smell.  The teacher was burning a blend of citrus essential oils, and I could smell hints of lavendar from somewhere else in her house.  Oh my, it was wonderful and made me think about other things I miss from pre-mom life.  I miss deciding to go to a mid-morning yoga class at the last minute and then arriving ON TIME.  I miss practicing massage therapy and the smell of the oils and lotions I used on my clients.  I miss my favorite 90-minute vinyasa class and how the teacher would rub our feet and adjust our shoulders during Savasana.  Sigh, I miss my toned yoga arms.  While pondering all of this, I pulled up to my mom’s house, walked inside, and poof, those thoughts disappeared as soon as I saw the smiles on Charlie and Katie’s faces, so happy to see their mom.  This is my life now.  I’m a mom, and for now, there is not a lot of time for the yoga studio.  Both Chris and I have had to make sacrifices as parents, but in the end, I am so happy and thankful to be given the gift of motherhood.  It truly is a gift, the best one I’ve ever received..and now if I could just figure out a way to make the diaper pail smell like peppermint and lavender.  😉

OK, enough of my random musings.  The holiday season is upon us, and the HEAB household has had a lot of fun getting ready for Christmas and making the house all festive…

One mantle, six stockings – I love it!

Our graham cracker gingerbread houses.

Our tree – amazingly enough, all ornaments and lights are still intact.

Thanks for listening and wishing all of you out there a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Tracy January 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Happy New Year, Heather!! Just stopping by to say “hi” and that I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Hope all is well and you’re staying warm & healthy 🙂

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Hi Tracy,
Happy New Year to you as well. Thankfully, we are staying warm. Can’t believe these winter temps! Hope you’re warm and cozy too. 🙂

Rosey Rebecca December 31, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I love this post. Even without kids I’ve experienced the bad-mood-before-hitting-the-mat phenomenon and have felt it vanquish just like that during my practice.
As for longing for your life before kids, I can definitely see how you might feel that way sometimes. I’m sure everyone does once in a while. It’s great that you see what really matters in the end though is that you are a strong, beautiful woman who is blessed to have become a mother at all.
Happy New Year, Heather! I don’t comment often but I’m still reading (since 2009!)

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Hi Rosey,
Thanks for sticking with me all these years. 🙂 I’m hoping to a lot more yoga in 2014. So, here’s to saying goodbye to that bad-mood-before-hitting-the mat phenomenon!

Deadra December 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Oh Heahter, I loved this post, and sat to read all of the comments ’cause I could use the camaraderie right now. (I have a 3 week old and I REALLY REALLY want to go for a run and I can’t seem to figure it out.) Anyhow I am so sad to read some of the comments. Ugh.
I also waited until a little later in life to have children. I gave up a lucrative career where I wasn’t totally happy, but liked the challenge and that I was really good at it. I may not contribute financially now to my family, but what I do contribute is worth so much more. I’m happy with my choices. SO VERY HAPPY. And I have a clue on finances since I was a in the financial industry. (Plus a part time nanny is much much much less expensive than a full time nanny or full time care for 4 children.)
Anyhow. Heather, and many of the other mamas here, we know it’s important to take care of yourselves too. I’m glad you did it. I’m glad you had a moment to yourself.
Now regarding the diaper pail. Also on my list of things. I’ve thought about sprinkling it with EOs, but I don’t know if they would damage the cloth diapers, or maybe just dusting with baking soda? I don’t know. I agree if someone figures it out. I guess they’ll be contributing financially to their family, ’cause I’d buy that! 😉
Now off to find my running gear because I am super inspired and motivated and feel sluggish.

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Hi Deadra,
Yeah, some of the comments made me sad as well, but the all the good ones made up for it. Us moms need to stick together and support one another AND encourage self care. It’s so important, and I know it makes me a better mama for sure. So, I hope you’re getting some runs in and many many congrats on your new little one as I know you’ve been wanting this baby for a while. So happy for you guys!

Health Bee December 28, 2013 at 2:29 am

Thanks for the lovely post, Heather. Keep up the great work!

Happy new year.

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Thanks Health Bee and Happy New Year to you as well!

Kathy December 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Kathy and Heather–
I don’t think my post and that of the other reader was “nasty”. It was not vulgar or inappropriate, it simply doesn’t jive with your beliefs. This is not a private exchange or a cocktail party. This is a public forum where Heather gives readers advice about self-care, nutrition, motherhood, and how to manage a busy family life. So I think criticism and comment are to be expected. Hannah may intend the blog otherwise, in which case she shouldn’t post this in a public forum.

The reality is that most women don’t have the ability to NOT work and also have a nanny, no matter how hard they and their partner have worked before having kids. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable to point that out so that the other readers can put all of that in perspective as they look at what Heather does compared to how they are able to manage their own families. Also, I think it’s important for young women in the yr 2014 to use their educations and be productive and equal partners. I am much older than all of you and have raised two wonderful kids while also having a rewarding career. So my comments are not based on wanting what you have since I did “have it all”— I just wish more young women would allow themselves to be less dependent on their partners, as I have watched many women my age finish raising kids, having contributed nothing financially to the family unit for two decades and finding themselves less than satisfied with themselves, still dependent on their partners, and saying “now what?” . Older women out there can hear what I’m saying even if you don’t.

ashley December 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Money and status are not the ultimate goal for everyone. Good job being successful on your own terms; I sincerely wish everyone could have that kind of success. However, a financially rewarding career was your choice, and was obviously what your spouse/partner supported as well.

Having both worked and stayed home while having kids, I can say my goal was and is completely different from yours. Originally, I was so focused on wanting to contribute financially to my family, and it wasn’t until my first son was almost four that I realized busting my butt for money was not my best way of contributing to our family. I always say it took me quitting work and staying at home to realize what I wanted to do with my life. Sure, I have my lovely degree from UNC Chapel Hill that I may not use until later, but that is perfectly fine by me. I paid (whoops, am paying…oh, actually, according to you, my spouse is paying) for it, but that is our choice.

It is simply not fair to judge people by your set standards…but you are more than free to voice your opinion on it, of course. Each family has their own set of circumstances and desires, and to expect other families to function in the same fashion as our own just doesn’t make much sense to me.

Heather, keep doing what is best for you and your family, whatever that may look like. That’s what really matters in life.

Melanie December 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

Heather, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I don’t normally even acknowledge nastiness on the Internet, but I had to jump in on this one. Don’t let those naysayers get to you. It makes me so sad when I see moms tearing each other down. Let’s face it, motherhood is hard sometimes no matter what your situation is. Clearly some think that no one should be allowed any more than they themselves have. It’s ridiculous and clearly they have forgotten the old adage “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

This is a hot button issue for me, because, like you, I waited longer to have kids and my husband and I are more settled, have more money and a lot of help available to us. We aren’t rich, but we worked hard and planned well and are now enjoying the fruits of our labor. I get a lot of, “must be nice”. Well, ya know what? It is nice and I love my life as you clearly do too and there is no reason to apologize for that. That doesn’t mean that I never have trials or bad days. Anyway, sorry to hijack your thread, but I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy your blog (still!), I feel like we grew up together! Haha.

beth g December 23, 2013 at 11:38 am

having visited the craftstore lately, i can identify with imagined and creative possibilities to put spirit in the season. thanks for this and best wishes to all the babes in your inn, and may the newness of each blessing guide your steps and hearts with the wisdom you seek or need, no end. thank you for sharing what you feel, i am late for most outings! beth

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Thanks Beth, and perhaps 2014 will be our year to be on time. 😉

leah@knitting simply December 23, 2013 at 7:13 am

I’m right there in the trenches with you…it takes half an hour just to get everyone in shoes and buckled into car seats! There are days that I long for a few minutes of alone time…but I remind myself of what an amazing privilege it is to be a nurturer of the next generation. You’re right, it is so worth it! There will come a day when I have quiet and alone time again…and then I will probably look back longingly on these days of chaos. 🙂

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Definitely so worth it. Here’s to the chaos. 🙂

single mama December 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Nanny plus yoga equals privileged.

Kathy December 26, 2013 at 12:45 am

Yep, you hit the nail on the head. The part that struck me right off the bat was that even before kids she was running off to yoga on the spur of the moment in the middle of the morning. Um, Heather, did you not even work full time before kids? Most of us work hard at home AND at work. I guess I don’t get the nanny thing either if you don’t even work. Seems a bit odd. Yes it’s hard but isn’t that your JOB as a “stay at home mom”?

HEAB December 26, 2013 at 8:14 am

Hi Kathy,
As a massage therapist, my workday normally did not begin until late morning or early afternoon as I worked into the evening hours and on Saturdays as well. Therefore, I was often able to attend
weekday morning yoga classes despite working full-time.

robyn jones clark December 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

i agree, this will probably be the best christmas ever… my first as a mother. it’s hard… some days i miss the freedom, but i love being able to love and be loved. i feel so blessed.

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Hope your Christmas was magical. So much more fun with little ones around. 🙂

help4NewMoms December 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

Heather, I love everything you write! My mother always used to say, “Motherhood is the hardest thing you will ever do but it is also the most rewarding thing you will ever do.” That doesn’t mean that you don’t long for the times when you could focus on yourself a bit. Mine are 20, 16, and 13 and I STILL long for that time now and again. It is a good thing to visit your old self once in a while. Merry Christmas!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Wise words from your mom indeed. Hope you guys enjoyed your Christmas and Happy New Year! 🙂

ashley December 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

Oh Heather, this hit home for me so much that I was tearing up, while smiling (yes, the crazy range of mom emotions sometimes!), all through reading about your morning. It’s the small things that always seem to trigger those thoughts for me as well, like the smell of coffee in a coffee shop (the idea of sitting alone…I love being alone), or lovely smells like those you describe, that make me think of serene, QUIET times… 🙂

We have three boys, the youngest two ages 3 and 1; our oldest is almost 9. It’s such a big difference from life 3 years ago…even having one child still allowed for some of those solitary moments. No more!! And relaxing, adult interaction when getting together with friends? Ha! No such thing, since our little ones seem to be aspiring acrobats. When I think about mothers like you with so many, so young, all I can say is, you are amazing to me!

All that said, however, it’s a beautiful season…life with these little ones who are so sweet, demanding, loving, exasperating, wild and fun and just so darn cute 🙂 Like someone said above, we are their everything. I love that!

Best wishes to you and your family…and Merry Christmas!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Hi Ashley,
Oh gosh, I love being alone too, and now when it happens, it’s so much more precious.

Your comment made me laugh as we often have play dates at friend’s houses, and with just Summer, it was relaxing and time spent catching up with friends while the kids played. Now, it’s CHAOTIC trying to keep up with all four of them. Definitely no relaxing in there. More about trying to keep Charlie and Katie alive. Haha, those two are into everything!

Hope you enjoyed your Christmas and savored every sweet moment with your little ones. 🙂

Anita December 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm

It’s all a meditation Heather

Laurie December 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Right there with ya Girl! You are a very strong woman, glad you are taking time for yourself. Merry Christmas, love the gingerbread houses!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Thanks Laurie, hope you guys enjoyed your Christmas!

Monica December 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

This post brought such a big smile to my face. Each and every word so darn true.

Happy holidays to you all!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Thanks Monica. 🙂

Ana December 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

Merry Christmas Heather!!!
Hope you have a wonderful, happy and cheerful holiday with your lovely family!!!
Hugs and love to you all,

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Thanks Ana and Happy New Year to you. So happy to follow you on your trip back home via Instagram. Looks like you had a wonderful time! Hope coming back to freezing temps wasn’t too much of a shock. Bring on the hot cocoa! 🙂

Tracy December 19, 2013 at 11:25 am

Oh sweet Heather!! Reading your posts always ALWAYS remind me of where I’ve been and how much I appreciate my life and how it has evolved. You WILL enjoy mid-morning yoga on time in the future as I do now that my kids are all in school. It will happen again! What you do have now is 4 kids that think you are the sun, moon, wind, rain and ALL that is good in their lives. You are their MOM, the best gift they could ever or will ever have. Enjoy this blessed holiday season. Lots of love. xoxo

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Thanks Tracy,
Loved this comment. Brought such a smile to my face when I originally read it (sorry it’s taken me so long to respond!). Such a good reminder as I want to be ALL that is good for my kids. 🙂

Alisa December 19, 2013 at 12:47 am

How cute! I love that mom and dad’s stockings are the largest 🙂

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Haha. Ironic b/c the kids got so much more stuff in their stockings. CD and I should downsize next year. 😉

lena December 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Glad you managed to squeeze in some time for yoga (your ‘me’ time) and those are precious times (far and few between) but nothing beats the joy of having children too! ((:

Here’s wishing you, Chris and the little ones a very happy, blessed & fun Christmas and a wonderful 2014 ahead!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Thanks you Lena and a Happy 2014 to you as well! 🙂

Kay Rasmussen December 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I have mentioned to you before that I have boy/girl twins that are now 25! Holy Moly the time has flown by:) Enjoy every single second, just as you are doing! You will have time in your “old” age, when the kids are all off on their own to do yoga and “adult” things. Now I can enjoy my 4 grandkids, ages 14, 6, 4, 1, and another on the way! God has been so good to me!
P.S. My oldest son is 34 and my daughter is 27….the twins are still blissfully single!!!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Hi Kay,
Time if flying by – Hannah is already 8 weeks old! I can’t believe it. Definitely trying to enjoy every single second, and when I’m not enjoying it, I try and remind myself how fun all those grandkids will be some day. 🙂

Cherie December 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Wow, speaking of your pre-mom days. It reminded me of the trip you and Chris went on in Colorado and you climbed those mountain stairs (?). I was so impressed!

I’m glad you were able to check out the yoga class and hope you will be able to get back there soon!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!!!!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Haha – yes, the Incline Trail. Good memory! Hope to do it again some some day with all the kids. 🙂

Happy 2014 to you!

Kimberly Early December 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Hi Heather~ it’s been a while since I’ve commented on your blog but I always love hearing about your family. I’ve been to Svaroopa classes before and felt like I had had a nap when it was over. Loved it!!

It’s hard to believe that since I met you that one time in Nashville( I think in 2009?) that you have had 4 little ones. My 2oldest have moved out and my baby is 17! The years do fly by. I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything! Have a wonderful Christmas:)

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Oh my goodness, hello! So good to hear from you as it has been a while. Has it really been 4 years since you were…almost 5?!? Wow, that went by fast. Hope you and your sweet family enjoyed your Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for checking in with me – always love seeing your name pop up in my inbox. 🙂

lindsay December 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

i wish i was your neighbor. I have lots of snacks and would watch the kids for you any day.. poop blow outs and all. Mama needs yoga time!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Amen. Come on over anytime. I know my kids would love you – along with your Healthy Bites. 🙂

Jess December 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I can so completely relate to this and I’ve only got two. Getting 4 ready must be insane at times! So awesome that you were able to get out of the house on your own even if it was a rare occasion. When my girls were babies I never got out.

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Thanks Jess. Insane…yep, that pretty much describes it. 😉

Jen@PregnantDiabetic December 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

It’s hard to realize it now, while they are so small, but I swear it goes by SO fast, you’ll be wondering what happened to the newborn days. This is the first year that all 3 of my kids are in school full time and that means from 8:30-3, the day is mine. It is amazing some days, but I’m so excited that in April (or whenever she decides to be born) I’ll have the chance to start all over with another newborn in the family 🙂

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

It truly does go by way too fast. Hannah is already 8 weeks old – I can’t believe it! The newborn days are so so SO sweet. Love this age, and how awesome that you will get to experience it again soon. I have a feeling that when all of ours are in school, I’ll so be missing those sweet baby cuddles. Happy 2014 – hope you’re enjoying these last few months of your pregnancy. 🙂

Elizabeth Speck December 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Your tree is beautiful! Hope you’ll manage to get some time for yourself this Christmas!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Thanks Elizabeth. The “me time” doesn’t happen often, but I do try and fit some in when I can. 🙂

Katie December 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Oh wow! This post almost put me in tears (happy ones of course). As a new mom, I feel the same during rough times but once you see that smile it all melts away. Merry Christmas to you & your Beautiful family! xo

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Thanks Katie,
Hope you and your little one enjoyed your Christmas. Happy New Year – here’s to lots of smiles in 2014! 🙂

The Delicate Place (@misathemeb) December 18, 2013 at 11:34 am

awww you are so sweet heather! glad you got to take class too 🙂 it is incredible how returning to the start of something can really make you grateful for what we already have.

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Yes! Wise words my friend, wise words. 🙂

Melanie December 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

Oh man can I relate to this. I only have one 21 month old at home and some days I want to cry just trying to get the two of us out the door. I’m a little nervous about trying to wrangle just one more. You are a goddess!!

Merry Christmas 🙂

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Hi Melanie,
Honestly, the transition from zero to one child was the most difficult for me. Getting out the door with our first seemed almost impossible some days. It gets easier – I promise! 🙂

Sarah December 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

Oh Heather, I love this so much! I definitely know the feeling — the effort to do something simple, like, um, leave the house! It’s a chaotic time, for sure, but I was telling Tony the other night that I wouldn’t trade this for the world. Love, love, love being a mom, and my old life feels so lonely! I used to spend so much time at the gym or mall by myself — and now, I miss my kids if I’m out running errands solo for an hour! We are so lucky — the love we have for our kids is the most generous, selfless, unconditional, awesome kind! Love you all!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I know – I often think about my old life, and think, what on earth did I do all the time?!? I must have been so bored! We are lucky indeed. 🙂

Kate December 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

I loved this. I have 2 girls, ages 2 years and 3 months. Yesterday I got up at 5, by the time we made it out of the house it was 7:30, and by the time I went back home for forgotten items, dropped the girls at daycare and made it to work, it was 8:30…and I only have a 6 mile commute! I had planned to sneak out for a quick run at lunch but instead spent my lunch break checking on my 2 year old at daycare since she decided to trip and fall and knock her teeth into a table. My evening last night was spent rocking my fussy 3 month old and cleaning up puke from my 2 year old (man, she had a rough day!). But I am so thankful to have them. I am so thankful to have an employer that is flexible enough to let me take breaks to run or check on my kids, and also who lets me take a break from the chaos and spend Fridays at home with them. I’m thankful to have quality childcare. I miss being able to do whatever I want whenever is want to, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world.

Now, I must go and clean spit up off my sweater before I go to work today. 🙂 Merry Christmas to the HEAB family!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Hi Kate,
That’s awesome you have an understanding employer – much make such a difference, and oh gosh, those middle-of-the-night puke sessions are the worst. I feel so bad when our kids are sick b/c they have no idea what’s going on, and they are so helpless. Breaks my heart. So, I hope everyone is enjoying a happy and healthy 2014 thus far, and I also hope you were able to get in a little time for yourself during the crazy holiday season!

Colleen December 18, 2013 at 6:44 am

I definitely relate! I only have one little one, so I can do a yoga download podcast during naptime, but I still have to have an ear on the monitor in case he decides to ditch his nap. There is nothing like going to an actual yoga studio!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Haha, I swear I hear phantom baby cries even when I’m no where near the monitor. Always listening…always. 🙂

coco December 18, 2013 at 6:10 am

I can totally relate to your thoughts, although I don’t have 4 kids, I still sometimes miss those no-kids-days’ freedom, but I always ended up thinking that I would never want to go back to be kid-free. motherhood is my identify and I love it! 🙂
happy holidays.

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm

So happy to hear you’re loving being a mama. Happy New Year to you, Star, and Sofia! 🙂

Katie December 18, 2013 at 12:23 am

Happy Holiday to the HEAB crew!

You may not have toned yoga arms, but I am guessing that carrying those little cuties around hasn’t left your arms looking all that flabby! 😉

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Thanks Katie, and yes, hefting the kiddos around does help keep my arms in shape, but nothing like those chaturangas used to.

maggie @ say yes to salad December 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I’m so glad you got to go to a class! It sounds wonderful… I will have to look up Svaroopa yoga. I can’t imagine how hard it is to balance motherhood with everything else but it seems like you have a pretty good handle on it. I feel like when you’re a mom you probably appreciate these small little breaks more than in pre-mom life.

P.S. There must be a way to make the diaper pail smell like lavender because I have (natural) cat litter that is lavender-scented and it actually does smell quite nice 😉 If someone figures out a lavender diaper pail they will be very rich!

HEAB January 8, 2014 at 5:16 pm

oh yes, the small breaks are wonderful. You’ll understand soon enough. Every time I think of you and Bobby becoming parents soon, I get a big smile on my face.

And regarding the diaper pail – don’t see why I can’t just throw some cat litter in there! 😉

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