Belinda is mom to the ultimate girl gang! These four adorable sisters and their mama take full advantage of the beautiful weather and terrain of Southern California and are often found adventuring outside. We spoke to Belinda how parenthood changed life and how her family incorporates the outdoors in their everyday life. Check out her full interview (and beautiful photography!) below.
What city do you call home?
Los Angeles, CA
Who's in your family?
My husband Edwin, Emma 7, Eden 5, Eléa 3 & Esmé 1 (2 in July)
What are some of your favorite qualities in your kids?
I love how loving, forgiving and resilient they are. Even though at times, everyone might need a cuddle or hug at the same time and it can be overwhelming, I wouldn't want it any other way.
Tell us the story behind your children's names!
So growing up, I remember always thinking my name was super long (Belinda Elizabeth) and I vowed that if I ever was blessed with children I would give them short names (we decided on 4-letter first names). While pregnant with our first my husband I agreed that if it was a boy that the name we chose would begin with a "B" in ode to me. And if it was a girl, the name would begin with an "E" for my husband. Plus the middle name would also begin with an "E" because both my husband and I have "E" middle names, this way we all had the same initials. Four girls later, we have Emma Elizabeth, Eden Eliana, Eléa Elise, Esmé Eileen. For the record, by our fourth baby girl I had already used up all my favorite "E" names (until I came across the name Esmé than means "loved" - PLUS I didn't want to change it up because I just KNOW I would have never heard the end of it. So we went with it ;)
How has life changed for you since becoming a parent, both the good and the bad?Becoming a parent has been the most incredible ride, yet the hardest thing I've ever done! I've always wanted to be a mom. I remember praying about it growing up. I didn't know exactly what I was asking for but I do remember it. Once married, we chose not to get pregnant right away. I wanted to get to know my husband and have "our time" and I'm so glad we did. Sometimes I do miss being able to get up in the morning and spontaneously decide to go hiking or to the beach. You know, just pick up and go! But I also try to enjoy this season with young children always needing me or crawling into bed with us and I basically being their everything. These days too will pass and I already know I will miss them dearly. There's nothing like those glorious newborn days to remind you that sleep is overrated
What piece of advice would you offer a new parent?
I would say to find joy in every season. Each one comes with highs and lows, even the wee morning feedings. Because although we may plan for more children, it's never guaranteed. So love on those babies as if they were your last even if it means doing the things you swore you never would, like co-sleeping, buying prepackaged food, letting them eat in the car and going more than two days without a shower!
What are your favorite outdoor activities with your kids?
We love all things outdoors, especially nature walks. There's just something about that fresh air, especially on hard days. The kids get to climb, identify different plants and animals plus get a little dirty! We love it so much so, we joined a homeschool nature group to do age appropriate hikes and nature studies with friends once a week!
What are some of your favorite things about your city?
A major plus about Los Angeles is the year-around sunshine allowing for adventuring often. The beach, mountains and desert are just a short drive away on any given day, along with everything in between from city parks to nature preserves to national parks!
Are there any adventures you wish you did earlier in life and vow to introduce your child to?Yes, I wish I hiked longer distances that involved camping along the way! We went camping for the first time as a family last summer and I have to say we are hooked! At the top of my family hike goal list is the Pacific Crest Trail that starts at the Mexican boarder in California and goes up to the the Canadian boarder in Washington state. Of course, once the girls are old enough carry their own stuff! ;)
What's your best piece of advice to instill a strong sense of adventure in children?
Many studies show that being out in nature significantly improves physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Playing is learning for children and when we interact closely with nature, it automatically tends to matter more to us. You don't have to take a road trip, just let them play outside without other distractions. Also replace screen time with unstructured nature exploration, its so good for the soul and mind. Lastly, remember that you are their first source of inspiration, so read about nature to them. I love borrowing books from the library with short stories that are centered around nature like one of our favorites, "The Trumpet of the Swan".
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