We're honored to be learning from Jacqui Saldana from @babyboybakery today. Jacqui is as good as they come, true cream of the crop. Her son Ryan Cruz passed about two years ago, and Jacqui has turned that heart wrenching difficulty into a movement to honor Ryan and help others. Through it all she smiles and keeps on. Many (us included!) are encouraged to do the same because of her example. Her website is a place where she shares recipes, a monthly subscription box, and how she wild and loud in honor of her lovely son. Yestereday, she even called us personally to say thank you--like how sweet is she? We really adore her heart of gold and the good this lady is spreading. Thanks Jacqui for the hopefilled write-up! xo

Get Jacqui's Mint Mat here:

Give us a little background about yourself, like a brief little history and maybe something not everyone knows about you.

I am the author of Baby Boy Bakery, a lifestyle blog that inspires everyone to live their life to the fullest. I started my online journey when my son was a baby. I began documenting our life, baby food recipes and my motherhood path. My son and I shared our small life and showed many how to smile and find adventure within the every day routine. Unfortunately I was forced to say good bye to my son when he was just three years old. Since losing my son I have devoted my online space to him. Everything I do is for him, in honor of my Ryan. Now, Baby BoyBakery is an inspiring place where I share how I navigate the life of a mother who has lost her child. My son was wild and fun. His adventurous spirit lives on within my words and recipes I continue to share. Currently, my husband and I are enjoying time with our second child Mila and striving to show her the ways of her older brother. 

From your experience, what is the best thing someone can say to or do for another at the passing of their loved one?

Honestly, there are no correct words. Everything hurts. Peoples advice stings even if it is genuine. For me what helped was to have the people closest to me around. We sit and talk about Ryan, laugh and remember all the good that was him. Nothing helps but time. Though hearing that at first was so hurtful because time spent away from Ryan is pure agony and having someone tell you time is healing just didn't make sense. If you are going through any sort of loss, understand that every feeling you have is valid. Feel all the feelings and know deep down there will be light again. I promise. 

#gathrelove. What do you and your husband Dan do to strengthen your relationship and ensure your family stays strong? 

It takes a lot of work to keep any marriage together and thriving. My husband and I have open conversation about what we each need from each other. After losing Ryan we became glued to each other and our bond solidified. We went to therapy together and really just figured out that to make it in our life, we had to do it as a team. We talk about our life with Ryan then, and our life now. We make lists of things we want to do and see with our children. We navigate our loss differently, he is more quiet and I am more expressive. Which seem to balance each other out. Trust me, we have good days and bad! As everyone does. Though we try and never lose sight on what is important and that to us is our relationship with each other and with our children. We foster the two with travel, cooking together as a family and lazy movie nights on the couch with popcorn. 

Walk us through a typical day in your life? 

I wake up before everyone and work. I try to nail down everything by 8:30am so I can spend the day with my family and not have to be on my phone all day. Though work tends to follow me everywhere, I am learning how to be a working at home mom. Finding a balance there has not been easy. My husband is a personal training and his days are flexible. After I get some work done, I go take a SoulCycle class. I'm home by 10am and slip right into mom mode. Mila and I play, go for walks or meet up with friends for coffee. I also have work meetings through out the afternoon sometimes which I always take Mila too. My afternoons vary, but with Mila being so small she becomes a great sidekick and come with me everywhere. We have a great public system which I am proud of...so long as her feeding times are abided by. ;) In the evenings my husband and I cook dinner while Mila plays on her activity mat or I wear her in my Solly Wrap. We eat and feed Mila dinner at the same time now that she is on solid foods. Then its bath time, story time and bed time for the baby. Once she is asleep my husband and I have a few hours together just us, before we head to bed. We actually are pretty boring now that I look at it written out! haha!

We all have gifts. You have a gift to gather_______. What would that be?

I believe I have a gift to gather moms who adore their children and want to make the most of their time with them. I believe it is so important to find a good group of mothers to spend time with and support each other as we navigate this journey of motherhood. Motherhood looks different on everyone, but we all have inspiration to give or to gather and offer to others. I recently started a mom + babe group with my best mom friend Megan. We call it Modern Mom Playdate and we gather likeminded mamas together. We converse about all things mom and hold sensory based activities for our babies. We as moms thrive together while our children play. It is pretty incredible to see the moms gather together and life one another up! It is so comforting to know that we aren't alone in this walk of parenting.

Congratulations on the launch of your cooking subscription box. It’s just wonderful and we love that it’s dedicated to Ryan. Have you always been a chef? What excites you most about cooking?

My We Cook kits are such a passion project for me. I started cooking in the kitchen with my son Ryan when he was just 1 1/2. Of course he would just play at my feet or sit in his high chair at that age, but we were still in the kitchen cooking "together". As he got older his love for cooking expanded and my recipes began to take on inspiration from my toddler. I created this cooking kits in honor of my son in hopes that parents will start cooking with their little ones. Hopefully creating exciting memories in the process. Each month features a different kid-friendly recipe that can be curated to fit any tastebud/food allergy. My #bbbkids are an incredible group and I just adore seeing all the fun these families are having in the name of my son. A portion of my We Cook kit proceeds go to a children based charity each month as well.

You’ve grown an incredible community and done a lot of amazing collaborations. How? Any advice for those looking to make an impact?

I think if you have a story you should tell it. You never know who else is going through the same struggle, you could help someone with your words or way of life. Stay authentic to yourself and surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you. I love my online community, they have supported me and cheered me on through my darkest days. I have met some really great friends and that is what it is all about. Finding ways to connect with others and create bonds that help you through this life. Remember, to make an impact it doesn't have to be huge. Even if you impact or connect with one person, if you inspire them to do some good ... then you are doing your job correct. 

#gathreaway. Where is the next spot you’d go if you could escape on a vacation today?

My family and I love the beach or camping!!

What really inspires you?

Travel and my son. I feel refreshed and alive when I travel with my family. My son inspires me daily to live a full and wild life. 

We love hearing people talk about their dreams. What are some of yours? They can be simple + small, some bucket list items, or an overall grand hope for life?

I dream of taking our daughter everywhere. Showing her how beautiful this world can be. I dream of teaching her about her older brother. I dream about having a third baby. I dream about finding adventure in the everyday.