Hi everyone! My name is Catherine Van WIngerden. I am 28 and live in Culpeper, Virginia with my husband, 3-year-old daughter, Elliot, and newborn son, Clark. My husband and I are high school sweethearts. Twelve years together, almost seven years married and recently two-children in. One might ask what landed us in suburban Virginia? My husband’s family was heavily involved in the horticultural world in the states and out of college he started a business growing Orchids. We operate a commercial greenhouse in the area doing just that. I have had the journey of working in banking, teaching English, jumping into our business for three years and now have the unique opportunity of being a stay-at-home-mom; by far, the most challenging and rewarding of any job I have ever occupied.
I am the baby of my family, but have always been a natural caregiver and nurturer. I take on the world’s problems as my own and feel a need fix things. I’m also silly. The only thing better than having someone make me laugh, is being able to watch someones face brighten up after I’ve made them laugh. Color intimidates me: before having my daughter the only color in my closet was chartreuse and maybe some red. After, I added some blush millennial pinks that dance on the nude spectrum, so I can’t say I adventure in that department. I am a terrible creature of habit; so much so that when opening the garage door when letting my dog out, she ran into the one that I usually open rather than the one that I did that night. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad one, but it’s allowed me a day-to-day routine with my family that works for us.
Shortly after the birth of my daughter in 2014, I had the itch to connect with others. For those of you that have gone from working full-time to being a stay-at-home-mom, the transition is interesting. You’re exhausted and emotionally overworked, but newborns sleep an awful lot during the day. I wanted to use all of my newfound “free time” for more than just organizing and reorganizing closets and drawers (more on this later because being a stay-at-home-mom to a toddler in school part-time and a newborn is not as, let’s say, freeing, as the bliss of life with one). After brainstorming and thinking about where I could connect, I realized that my immediate friend groups ranged from single to dating on Bumble, to married, to married with 3 children and then me: married, with a newborn, trying to figure out parenting. We were all women, all in different walks of life, but we all had something that bind us:: personal style and the need for an outlet. That need prompted me to take a course and get certified in Fashion Styling.
Body image is always something that I have struggled with. Styling gave me a fantastic understanding of how you can take your body and recognize it for it’s beauty and enhance what you do love rather than pick apart the tiny things that you don’t. In the course, I also found that combining old pieces in your closet with new, updated ones helped stretch my creativity and constant need for consumption of more.
As my daughter got older and wasn’t just in onesies and comfy one pieces, the fun of coordinating began. My point of view quickly moved from styling myself to styling both of us. From there it took a turn into health and wellness as well as developmental activities for my little baby that was growing at what felt was lightening speed. I was always a “healthy” person, but having a little one to nourish made it that much more important and fun for me! I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to grow with my blog as I have grown as a woman and a mother.
I feel so privileged to be a contributing part of the Bundle of Joy family. Caroline was one the first (and if I’m being honest *only*) successful bloggers that I felt an instant connection with. She always communicated with me when I reached out and I always felt that it was so kind and thoughtful of her. It’s not surprising that she would come up with a brand that thinks about the genuine needs of a mother after just having a baby rather than fluff.
I’m looking forward to unwrapping more of what I’ve outlined here as I contribute and get to know each of you! Connecting with people and realizing that no matter where we are in life, there are threads that weave us all together is not only refreshing, but enriching. Being able to communicate regarding motherhood takes an area of life that can be isolating, and makes it a community. Here’s to transparency and, if only for one person, making someone not feel so alone.
Photo Credit Instant de Vie Photography