MIGHTY KIDS: NEALA & RYLAN

Here at Little & Mighty, we believe that all kids are mighty. We have had the opportunity to meet so many awesome people via Little & Mighty. It's one of the best perks of the job! We love hearing the stories from these awesome parents. These kids are oh so mighty! It's so inspiring!

We want to take some time out each month to shine the spotlight on a mighty kid. For our first ever spotlight in our Mighty Kid series, we chose two little ones. Read on and you'll see why we couldn't choose just one.  

Without further ado, let me introduce to you Alden Gilligan and her Mighty Kids, Neala and Rylan.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I'm a full time momma of two year old twins, keeping myself busier than necessary with freelance graphic design, blogging, volunteering and trying to stay in shape... all while getting dinner on the table by 6:00.

My two brothers and I grew up at a summer camp that was started in the 1950s by my grandparents and later run by my parents in the mountains of northern New Mexico. I moved away for college (spent a year in San Antonio and the rest in San Francisco), and then my high-school sweetheart and I moved to Albuquerque in 2006 after we graduated from college. We spent some time traveling in Southeast Asia and after seeing the lasting effects of the Vietnam War, my now husband decided he wanted to go to medical school. I worked as a graphic designer, project manager, and community relations manager during his time in medical school and we found out we were pregnant with twins in his last year of medical school. 

Since our kids were born, he's been a full time surgical resident and I've been a full time mom. The life of a resident's wife is certainly not always easy, but I'm thankful that I get to stay home with my kiddos and help them discover themselves!

What has surprised you most about becoming a parent?

Every day is a new adventure and while it sometimes seems monotonous, I never anticipated the joy that I get when I see how amazed my kids are by every little thing.  Snow falling, the wind, individual blades of grass, water spilled on the kitchen floor, raisins, the cheerios stuck in between the couch cushions.

Describe your typical day:

I usually wake up at 5:30 and drink my cup of coffee in peace and quiet. Depending on what rotation the hubs is on, he gets up about then too and heads to work by 6:30. I refuse to get my kids out of their beds (I'm dreading the day when we have to convert to toddler beds) until 6:30 unless they are crying in pain. We have breakfast and then get ready for the day. We try to leave the house every morning, even if it's just to go to the grocery store. Sometimes we have play dates or go visit grandma and grandpa, other times I'll load the kids in the stroller and go for a run. Lunchtime at noon and then naps at 1:00. Afternoons are usually a little crazy after nap time but the kiddos usually play pretty independently from the end of nap time to dinner time. Occasionally, we'll go for a walk during this time. Dinner at 6:00, bath, books, and bedtime! Then we watch TV...lots of TV! 

Nicknames: 

Most used nicknames are Nea Nea (nay-nay) and Ry Ry, though some of our other favorites are Neazus-alouwayzus and Diddie Boy. 

Age:

2!

Likes:

Neala: LOVES books. All books. And raisins. She's also super into "dryin," or as most of us say, drawing. 

Rylan: LOVES to run run run so fast (his words)! And talk. The kid never stops. Big trucks. 

They both also LOVE their "special music" and know the names and quite a few of the words to every song on this playlist.

Dislikes:

Most food (turns out, as a mom, this is REALLY challenging), bright sun in their eyes, when mommy sings (seriously, they say, "No mommy sing!" if I try to sing along with any of their "special music"). 

What is the best and worst parenting advice you've ever gotten?

I've been told by lots of moms to go with my "gut" and that I know my kids best. This has served me really well--I had a relatively smooth pregnancy and right before they were born (at 31 weeks) I knew something wasn't right. About 12 hours later they were delivered via crash c-section to save me (I had HELLP syndrome) and them. Since then, each kid has been admitted to the hospital a few times due to respiratory issues and if I hadn't taken them in to urgent care when I did things could have ended up much worse. A mother really does know her children best!

The worst advice I've gotten is not to bother with a consistent schedule for my kiddos.  This works for some people, but doesn't work for us, at all.  We live and breathe by our daily schedule and I find that much variation throws all of us for a loop...it doesn't end well.

What is your best advice for a brand new parent?

Try to get out of the house every single day, with or without your kid!

Tell us about your most recent adventure.

We (me and the kids) took a trip to New Orleans where we visited their aunt and uncle and cousins who were there from Portugal. Their favorite part of that trip was visiting the Grow Dat Youth Farm (where their auntie is founder and executive director). They were marching around in the kale plants chanting, "kale, kale, kale!" and looked like little cabbage patch dolls!

What does Little & Mighty mean to you?

Little & Mighty are the PERFECT descriptors for our kids! They are TINY (almost growing out of their 12 months clothes at just over 2 years old), but they are incredible and have been incredibly determined since the moment they were born.  They spent 78 days in the NICU when they were born, and as I said before, they've spent some time in the hospital since then and their recovery has been truly miraculous.  They are amazing and so, so, so full of life.  I can't wait to see what a little bigger and even mightier looks like in their futures!


WHAT SONGS ARE YOUR LITTLE ONE(S) FAVORITE PLAYLIST?

P.S.  If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy ADVENTURING.


If you are interested in contributing to this series or know someone you would like to see featured, contact us and let us know.