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Being Strong

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I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the word “strong” lately. What does that actually mean? How can I use this word to help myself, or others? How can I help myself live a more abundant and meaningful life? Can I, me, one person, ACTUALLY help others along the way, too? These are all big topics, and thoughts, but I know that the answer is yes to every one of these. The only hard part is, it takes work. It takes work to be strong. It takes work to be independent, to give everything you have every day. It takes a lot of work.

So with all these thoughts, I’ve come up with my own answers on what “being strong” means to me.

Being strong isn’t just about going to the gym, and putting in work everyday. Sure, that has something to do with it, but that’s not what it’s all about. Here are some ways in which “being strong” has more meanings.

I got up when I didn’t want to. I might not have felt good, I might have been tired, sore, sleepy, depressed. But I did it. I got up, and I put my clothes on, and I’m conquering the day. That’s being strong.

I stood up for myself. I didn’t let my boss, friend, family, or co-worker speak to me in a manner that I didn’t like. I didn’t feel used or neglected. I stood my ground, said what I believe, and I did it with all the integrity, and grit I could. I wasn’t a pushover today. I stuck to the things I believe in, and I didn’t take no for an answer. That’s being strong.

I remembered what it’s like to not give up. I kept going today. If that means going to the gym when I didn’t want to, or leaving the house, or going to work, or doing whatever it took to make sure I am doing the best I can for me. I did it. I did it when I didn’t want to, and I conquered the shit out of it! That’s being strong.

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I lifted someone else up. I decided that It’s not always all about me. It can be about other people, too. I supported a friend, coworker, spouse. I supported their dreams, wishes, thoughts. I helped motivate someone to do something they didn’t think they could. I am a team player. I set my views aside to help someone else. That’s being strong.

I surround myself with positive, like-minded people. I decided I didn’t want to live in the negative, anymore. I want to be happy, be positive, be inspiring. I want to live MY LIFE to the fullest. Whatever that means to me. I want to give my husband, and my child the best parts of me that I can. No matter what it takes. If that means going “out with the old” and “in with the new” I will do it. That’s being strong.

So you see, my friends. It’s really not about what you look like. What you wear. How your hair is done. How much money you have, the kind of car you drive, or who you are keeping up with or not. It’s about what is truly INSIDE of you that counts. Those are the things that you need to look inside of yourself, dig deep, and find. Sure, it might hurt to come up with the answers, sometimes. It might be scary as hell to do (it was for me) but I can promise it will be worth it in the end.

That’s being strong.

What’s your strong? What does being strong mean to you?

Leave some love!

 

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12 things I’ve learned in the first year as Mom

I’m still in awe that you are a year old. How in the heck has this past year gone by so quickly? I remember it like it was yesterday, your dad and I thought we were going to a football game, and about 8 hours later, you were born. ( See that post HERE )

It’s easy to say this has been the best year of my life. This has also been a year of reflecting, learning, growing, and developing for myself, too. Watching you grow and learn isn’t the only thing we do. We grow and learn right along with you.

So, in honor of your first birthday, I want to give you 12 things that I’ve learned in this first year.

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  1. Everything you thought you “would” or “wouldn’t” do, throw it out the window. – Remember when you thought you wouldn’t drive around in the car to get your child to sleep? Remember when you said you wouldn’t give into letting her/him have the phone? The Television? Yeah. Go ahead and throw it all out the window. Take bits and pieces of what you want, or don’t want to do, and make it your own.
  2. You seriously have no idea what you are doing. – You have read all the books, you have researched it all on the internet. You think you are going to be prepped, ready, and you have loads of information just at your disposal. Let’s also remember, there is no handbook. So while all those things are useful, they have NOTHING to do with your child, family, or life. Take bits and pieces of everything you’ve read, learned, or researched, and make it your own.
  3. Shop all the diapers, and figure out what is best for you. – Don’t just think that one brand is going to be better than another. Sure, they might be for one child, or family, but for your child? NOPE! What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. Try them all, and see for yourself.
  4. Eat the peanut butter. – Let your child experiment with foods. Give them anything and everything you can while they are young. If they don’t like it now, they might like it tomorrow. Eggs, peanut butter, lunch meat, chicken, pork. Whatever we are having for dinner, you are usually eating too. Baby foods are ok, but let’s face it, who really wants to eat that stuff?
  5. Call your parents, and in-laws often. They appreciate it more than you know. – It is just as important for your families to see and hear about different growth and developmental stages as it is for you to see them for yourself. Call them. Send pictures. Give updates. They really do appreciate it.
  6. Smile. Laugh. Cry. – It’s ok to roll with the punches. Remember when I said that you have no idea what you’re doing? Sometimes you get frustrated. Sometimes you think you’re a failure. Sometimes the realization of having no idea what you are doing hits you. It’s ok to smile. It’s ok to cry. It’s also ok to laugh. Remember, “this too shall pass.” Also remember, “The days are long, but the years are short.”-Gretchen Rubin
  7. What really is sleep training? – THIS. IS. A. HOT. TOPIC. I can honestly tell you I have NO IDEA what works or doesn’t here. I can tell you that your dad and I have been blessed with a good sleeper, for the most part. It really didn’t take me long to transition you into sleeping all night once I tried it. I will thank all the heavens and angels above for that.
  8. FaceTime is just as important. – Use the technology you have for good. Keep in touch with your family. Again, they really do appreciate it.
  9. Spend time outdoors. – We live in Texas. This summer has been crazy hot for a baby. But going outside even for just a few minutes a day has helped tremendously. Babies seem to really love the outdoors, and it makes me feel less like a prisoner in my own house. Play outside. It’s ok to get dirty. You will get a bath, I promise!
  10. Put the phone down. – This is hard for me, too. I work from home, so I need to use my phone during the day. But I’m also a mom, and I don’t want to miss things. Spending time with my family is also important. Having some disconnect time is good for the soul. It’s good for your relationships, too.
  11. Take lots of pictures. – Remember that time when my phone was filled with nothing but pictures of my animals? Fast forward a year, and now we have pictures of the animals with the baby. TAKE THE PICTURES! They are amazing for looking back, and for remembering the sweet times                                                                               **This can be good, and bad for baby fever! 😉 **
  12. This  IS the best time of your life. – Seriously though, I can’t think of another time in my life that I can say has been the best time. Sure, the day I married your dad was AMAZING. Relocating, vacations, dinners, parties, anniversaries. They have all been truly spectacular, but this, THIS is really the BEST time in our life.

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Do you have any insight to add to the list? What are some things you learned in the first year of your child’s life?

**Link to our amazing photographer HERE 

 

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An Ode to Mom – My first Mother’s Day

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As Mother’s Day is drawing near, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am to be a mom. I’m celebrating my very first Mother’s Day this year, and while I’m so excited, and honored that I can now be a part of this amazing group of women I know, love and respect, I also want to reflect on the many lessons I’ve learned in just this short period of time. So here it is, an Ode to my mom – and all the mom’s out there, on Mother’s Day!

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Mom,

I just want to tell you – I get it now. While I might not get all of it at this point, I do somewhat understand what it’s like to be a mom. I always wondered if I would hear myself say those words, and now I’m excited and honored to be a part of this amazing journey we call Motherhood.

Remember all those sleepless nights? I get it now. I understand the sacrifice that you made for myself, and my siblings, working, providing for, and making sure that we were nurtured in the best way that you could. You did all these things while staying strong, and trying to keep a smile on your face at all times.

Remember all those missed, or cold meals you had? I get it now. There are times when you would have rather been entertaining your friends and family at gatherings, or times when you were hungry, but we needed you more. You went without those meals, or ate them later, because you love us, and you knew that these times would also pass. You smiled, and rolled with the punches, and never let it get the best of you.

Remember being happy that we were growing and developing, but sad at the same time? I get it now. You were so excited that we were growing, and learning new things, but at the same time, your babies, your children were growing up into their own people, creating their own personalities, and becoming the independent people that we are today. You smiled, laughed, and cried with us all. And did it in the most gracious and loving ways.

Remember thinking that this is the hardest, most tiring, most stressful, but most rewarding job of all time? I get it now. Being a Mother is the hardest, most tiring, stressful job I’ve ever had, and ever witnessed you do. You did it the best way that you knew how, and you did it with a smile on your face. You showed up when it seemed everyone else was walking out, and you have always been by our sides.

Remember that word you always used – Balance? I get it now. I know that you had to balance a job, family, home, and all the other tasks that you took on, all while making sure that we were safe and taken care of. You did it, and you were always there for games, practices, and whatever else we were a part of. You did all of these things, and you did them all with the highest level of integrity, and devotion, daily.

So mom, I just want you to know, after all these years. Thank you. Thank you for being one of the best role models that you could be. Thank you for teaching me valuable lessons on how to be the best mom that I can be. Thank you for sticking by my side, and thank you for being so loving, nurturing, and understanding.

Oh, and mom. I get it now.

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Girls and Bows

Before my daughter was born, I swore I wouldn’t be one of those parents that put all those crazy bows on my child.  I don’t know, I’m just not into that fashion trend. We tend to keep things a little more light and airy around our house, and in our wardrobe. So, this sweet friend of mine, who happens to own a bow boutique sent me 2 of her handmade bows. Ya’ll, I’m here to tell you they are GREAT!

First of all, Jamie has been blessed with my small head. That’s a blessing and a curse. The trouble is that no headband really seems to fit her. I have a few that work, but most of them are too big. But the bows from 2ndavenueboutique work great. The elastic on these headbands are PERFECT! They aren’t too snug, nor are they too big. When she moves, they seem to move right with her.

Melissa-the owner of 2ndavenue boutique can do pretty much anything too! As you know, our family is a Clemson Tiger family. (National Champs… WHAT, WHAT!!) Knowing that, Melissa made the CUTEST headband for Jamie! It’s a little bigger than I would have picked out for her, but OH MY GOODNESS, it’s still perfect!


Obviously Jamie loves this bow too. Can’t you tell from her expression?!

There are so many other options that Melissa can do. She’s made bow ties for the men, even a tutu for a wedding! Whatever you can dream of, I’m sure that she can do it. The sky’s the limit with this boutique!


Are these not perfect?! And if you really still don’t believe that she can do anything and everything, look at this cute puppy!


So do me a favor, my family and friends. Go Here and check out her etsy shop! You won’t be sorry that you did. I promise you, I’m not!

Happy shopping, friends! 🙂

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Lady GaGa’s newest fan

Did you all watch the Superbowl? Good game, huh? I mean, has it ever gone into overtime? I think I read an article that mentioned that this was the first game ever to go into overtime! WOW! But let’s get down to business and talk about the most important part of the game. THE HALFTIME SHOW! Ever since that fateful evening when Janet Jackson bared her all to us, and accidentally shows a nipple, we wait for something to go wrong during every halftime show from this point on. Am I right?! Well I’m here to tell you that Lady GaGa’s performance was nothing short of stellar, and why I am now one of her newest fans!

First of all, that performance was AMAZING! I didn’t think there was one issue with it, and seriously she went over the top, and even jumped from the top of the damn stadium. IMPRESSIVE! She’s always been kind of out there (cue the meat suit and cigarette sunglasses) but her outfit was on point, hair and makeup looked good, and everything just flowed.

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What gets me with this performance is while I was watching it I actually made mention to our group that someone, SOMEWHERE will mention her “pooch” if you will, and call it a gut. MAN! These tabloids, and media never disappoint! Are you people seriously calling what she has a gut? For real?

My sister-in-law said it right when she posted “what is the message we are sending to our daughters?” These girls are our future. Why do we expect these celebrities to be a certain shape, size, and color?

We scrutinize Tom Brady for kissing his dad on the lips, and now we are complaining about Lady GaGa’s stomach? Did you not just watch a game where 2 teams played their heart and soul out, and it went into OVERTIME! for the first time, ever? And that’s all we can talk about?

Well- let me tell you why I’m now one of this woman’s newest followers. This post.lady_gaga_sur_instagram

This post here, is just as amazing as she is. I’m so happy that he is proud of her body, and herself. I’m so happy how confident she is. I’m also happy that she mentioned she wants the rest of us females to be as confident. I know for sure that I pray that my daughter will be every bit as confident and happy with herself, and her body when she is old enough to realize she has a body!

So THANK YOU, Lady GaGa- for setting a good example for me, my daughter, and the rest of us REAL women out there!

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Seriously, RSV?!

4 months old. My daughter is 4 months old! I can’t believe it happened all right before my eyes. I swear I blink too fast and she is another month older. How can this happen so quickly? I can tell you I’m thankful for being able to spend time with her, and watch her grow. I’m thankful for the late nights, early mornings, diaper changes, nursing sessions, I even don’t really mind the 123,456,789,087,654,321 times that she’s spit up on me already. I did a lot of research before getting pregnant, during my pregnancy, and even some after she was born. In NONE of those books, blogs, and research documents that I read, did ANYONE mention the way I would feel the first time she got sick.

It all started on a Tuesday. I took Jamie to her doctor for a 4 month checkup, and shots. They checked her out, I mentioned she had an onset of a cold, and the doctor checked her for that as well. Everything was fine. We went home, continued on with our schedule, and kept moving ahead. Wednesday she started getting a terrible cough, but I still didn’t think a lot about it. No fever, just a cough. By Thursday she was so bad with the cough I was getting concerned. See- we were leaving on Sunday to go on a trip, and I knew I needed to make sure that everything was in order before going on a plane with a 4 month old. So, after talking with my sister in law, I made an appointment for the doctor.

Friday morning. We go to the doctor. They run the tests. They check her lungs. And then they give me the scariest news. RSV. For real? My child, who is at home with me primarily, has RSV? How in the world? I wanted her out of the daycare life for these purposes. What does this mean? Is she going to be ok? Oh, no, I’m going to cry again, aren’t I? -(Cue all the mom emotions starting to flair up!)

Here’s what they don’t really tell you about this RSV business. What it stands for is “really scary virus,” (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) but that’s for parents only. In all my research on this topic,  I’m almost certain that this is just a really bad cold. The issue for most is that it’s not caught early enough because the child doesn’t have symptoms other than a cough and possibly a runny/stuffy nose. What happens is that all the mucus gets blocked and they don’t have any way to pass it because they are so little and can’t blow their noses, etc. Yes I’ve heard of cases where children have been hospitalized, and even worse. I’m thankful that this wasn’t the case for my child, but because of this “scare” on sickness, I watch her like a hawk, especially now!

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We were awarded with this cute little Pink Panda looking nebulizer and a prescription, and off we went. Honestly, I know I am lucky that it wasn’t any worse, but Jamie has been handling this treatment like a champ and I could see a difference in her within the first 2-3 days. It’s now been a week, and we have a couple more days left of her medicine, but there is no more cough, everything has seemed to pass the way it’s needed too, and my child is still laughing and smiling like she should be! Seeing my daughter with this oxygen mask on, it breaks my heart. I know that it’s for the best though. Really, she doesn’t seem to mind it either!

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My caution to everyone else out there is to do your research. I know from my own experience in just the 4 months Jamie has been on the “outside” that this shit is scary. It’s freaking scary being a parent. Especially when these cute little babies can’t communicate with words to tell you what’s going on. Also, take your children to the doctor. I am glad that I didn’t wait, and that I acted as soon as I could to talk Jamie to the doctor. My last piece of advice. Trust your instincts, whatever they are. We have a crazy sense as parents. Don’t be afraid of it. Just keep on doing what you’re doing. WE ALL are doing great. WE ALL will make it!

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Crib Life

I did it. I finally got up the strength to move our daughter into her own room. If you ask my husband, he says things are going GREAT! Me, on the other hand, I’m still having a hard time with it, but I know this is a process, and we will get better as we go.

First of all, I’m just going to go on record to say GET A MONITOR! A VIDEO MONITOR! I don’t think I would have moved Jamie at all if we hadn’t gotten a monitor. Even though I know it was time because, well, her Rock and Play was becoming a hazard to sleep in. We found a good deal on a Summer Infant baby monitor, and bought it. I also have to take a second to say their customer service is PHENOMENAL! For some reason our device won’t let us connect to the App on the phone. I called and without any questions asked they are sending a new one! AMAZING! I didn’t even have to argue with anyone. Just called and told them what was happening. That makes this momma VERY proud!

The first night was a Friday. Mommy breakdown #1. I really had some serious anxiety about this whole crib thing. I mean, my baby is growing up. She’s moving into her own room! My husband went hunting that evening with some friends, and Jamie fell asleep rather early. I thought she might wake up again before “actually” going to sleep, but she didn’t. She ended up getting up 3 times that night. Also on Friday Jamie learned a new party trick. She started rolling over both ways. I thought this was an awesome trick, and couldn’t have come at a better time! One of the things I quickly realized was that the worst part about this whole crib situation is walking across the house to get her, nurse, and put her back in her crib. Then I have to walk back to our room and continue on with my sleeping. When your child gets  up 3 times during a night, that’s kind of tough. I was pretty tired on Saturday. But we did it again Saturday night, and she got up 3 times again. The final time, I brought her into our room for the morning nursing session. We are now on night 3- Sunday. She only woke up 1 time!! That would have been great if mommy didn’t have a cold of some sort and was up and down myself all night.

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All in all, I think we are doing a good job. I know this transition won’t be the easiest at times, but I know it’s needed. She needs to be in her own room. It’s time. I’m sure she is happier too! Really, in hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have waited so long. Hey- there’s always next time, right?!