Village People

Let me first apologize if this is rambly, sappy or just plain bad. I am going to type this post straight from my thoughts.  I woke up this morning with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. Not out of sadness but filled with love.
Last night some of us were able to get together for one of my four brothers’ birthdays. We ate and laughed and then went back on our own separate ways. But for a couple of hours I was surrounded by people who genuinely love one another. We may not always like each other but we never stop loving. It is really incredible if you think about it.
Most of us are truly fortunate to have a group of people, whether it’s a small group or large, that we know will always be there for us. We each have our own little village. We are all different individuals but when we are together we click and we are a united group.
I saw something this morning on Facebook about a young woman who passed away recently. She was not too much older than me. And it broke my heart when I read the posts on her wall. Somebody’s village lost a member.
We are all important to the group as a whole. Everyone has their place, their role. There are some you like more than others. But you can still appreciate everyone, or you should.
We should strive to be a valuable part of the group. We should be someone they can count on, someone they can trust. Someone to laugh with. Someone people are happy to be around. Love your people. Cherish them.
We don’t have to spend every moment together but we should cherish the moments we get. We may not have chosen these people but they are who we have.
I am so thankful for my village people.


When I have kids…

We have all said it at some point. “When I have kids I will never do that!” “I will only do this.” etc.
There are some things you will absolutely stick to your guns about. And then there are days when you decide to put the high horse in the stable and say “screw it.”
In the year I have been a mom, I have learned that everyday is new and different and comes with another lesson. Each day I evolve as a mother. I get better overall. But I have moments of weakness.
I think back on the grand plans I had; how I was going to do so much once I had kids and the things I would never do.
And then I had her. My beautiful little girl. The girl that has slept next to me every night of her life, even though I said I wouldn’t have her in the bed with us. The girl I play movies and cartoons for just so I can get things done. Which goes against my “no tv until she is older” plan. The child I planned to teach sign language… But I forgot to. The child I tried using chocolate chips as walking motivation for, even though bribing with food is a no-no.
Having things that you won’t compromise on is very important. But at the end of the day there are some things you decide aren’t as big of a deal. You get tired and overwhelmed at times. You cut yourself a little slack and move on. So instead of lists and lists of things I want to do or teach my children, I narrowed it down to the ones I will never compromise on and try not to stress over the rest.
I will (try to) teach them to be kind to others and to love themselves. To build people up, not tear them down. I will strive to love them in a way that leaves them with no doubt of my love (No name-calling or belittling). And through this I hope they learn the power of kindness and love.
There are days I will fall short of my second string goals. Days where I will get in the bed and think “Whew! I survived the day.” And that will be my major accomplishment of the day. And it is ok to have days like that.
So what if the only sign my 13 month old knows is to point to where she wants me to carry her. 😉 She is loved dearly.
Live, love and learn; no compromises there.

Parenting ain’t easy.

Being a mom is the most challenging job I have ever had. It requires physical, emotional and mental strength. As a parent ( or guardian) you are responsible for keeping a little person alive. You try your hardest to keep them happy. You worry whether or not you’re making them smart and/or creative. You question if you’re doing something that is going to lead them to therapy later on. Take all of that, then add on the stress that the world places on you. People are constantly telling you what you need to do and how you need to do it in order to be “super-mom”. There are a million different views on how babies should be raised. And for every person that says turn right there is someone else saying turn left. Everyone will tell you what worked for their baby. It is natural to have an opinion when you are just trying to help. However, it can seem that there are people who do not realize the difference between helping and controlling. I do not think most advice is ill-intended. I think each mom does what is best for her child. I belive God gives each mom the knowledge and skills she needs to raise her baby. 
I will be completely honest, I am pretty confident in my mom skills. Fortunately, I don’t get a lot of unsolicited advice. I have a great support system and I feel like they all trust me to do what is best for Ainsley. But like many others I can sometimes doubt myself.  I begin to ignore my gut and amplify the whispers in my ears. I can feel judged by others and allow myself to be the biggest judge.
Worst of all, I think our generation has a new enemy, the internet bully. You give them a computer and a graphic to add some smart aleck quote to and suddenly everyone is a comedian.
I saw something the other day that basically said ” Sure, being a mom and a wife is hard. But I also have this little side gig called a full time job.” Ouch!
I think I fall somewhere between a stay at home mom and a working mom since I work at home. But I found that saying really offensive. Being a mom is hard no matter where you spend your 9-5.
Being a stay at home mom does give you more time at home but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting anything done. I have gotten pretty good at doing things while holding a 23 lb baby. But I can’t do everything. Also If you work outside of the home there are certain luxuries you get to enjoy for a few hours out of the day. For example,  I doubt you have to use the bathroom with someone sitting on your lap. You probably get a lunch break. Hopefully,  your job doesn’t require you to determine why someone is screaming at you, for what seems like, no reason. Trust me, there are days when I wish I had a job to go to. And then I could cry just thinking about going.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think stay at home moms have it harder than working moms. When I was working I hated having to drop Ainsley off in the mornings. I felt overwhelmed by everything I had to get done and the lack of time I had to do it. It was really challenging for me.
My point is being a mom is hard. Neither type of mom has it easy. Keeping babies alive and well is difficult.  Keeping them happy all the time is impossible. But we do the best we can. There is no need to compare our lives.  Your life doesn’t have to be more difficult than mine for it to be more important.
What I want to encourage people to think about before belittling others’ way of life, is that maybe your way doesn’t work for their family. That does not mean it cannot work for yours. By loving and keeping our families’ best interests at heart we are doing what is right.
Trust your gut. Do the best you can. Love your children and your spouse.  Encourage others. Live in joy. And if you don’t have anything nice to say… well you know the rest 😉

Run Callie Run

For some reason, every time I think about exercise, I flashback to middle school. I can see the reflection of an awkward pre-teen in stretched out royal blue shorts and a white tee with Callie N. written in sharpie, across the middle of it. I was in the middle school locker room for P.E. Good ole physical education. Some of the worst days of my life. -ha- It wasn’t that bad. But it does evoke a lot of uncomfortable memories. And that is where my dislike for exercise really began.
I remember one time we had to choreograph a dance in groups put together by our “coaches”. I was absent the day the groups were chosen. So the next day, I was assigned to a group with my classmates Bena and Dana. The two of them had already choreographed a hip hop dance. So I had the rest of the week to learn their dance. Up to this point in my life I had already taken eight years of dance lessons. Those lessons were in lyrical, jazz, tap, ballet. Never in hip-hop.
So the day came for us to present our dance. (If we were absent we would get an F, or trust me I would have been “sick” that day) I was mortified. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Bena was in the front, Dana to my left. I tensely, half-assed, Bena and Dana’s choreography. One of the coaches, Mrs. Harris, was laughing and telling me to “loosen up”. Obviously they weren’t too impressed, as I made a “c”. Oh well.
But this memory, highlights a personality trait of mine. If I think that I am not good at something, I discourage myself and only make it worse. If I can avoid it, I will.
Or at least this is how I used to be. I am finally getting to a point in my life where I would rather enjoy myself than doubt myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will NOT be signing up to perform a hip-hop dance in front of any groups of people anytime soon. But I am willing to get a little uncomfortable.
Which brings me back to exercise. My current physical fitness state is probably still a “C”. I cannot do a strict push-up or pull up. I can run only short distances before something starts to cramp. In a zombie apocalypse, I would not survive but I would last longer than some. So I give myself a “C” probably a C minus but whatever.
So why am I talking about all of this? Well next October my family and some friends will all be participating in the Warrior Dash . That gives me almost an entire year to prepare. And although my goal is to get strong enough so that I don’t die while trying to climb over a wall or drown in a mud pit, more than anything I want to get better at exercising. I want to be proud of myself when I can do push-ups, pull-ups and run a little further before cramping up.
Plus, I have this cute little girl watching me with her big blue eyes. Right now it may be that my attempts to exercise are amusing to watch but I hope it will create not only a good habit for me right now but one for her in the future.

SOREly yours,

Twenty five

This week I celebrated my 25th birthday. Twenty five years is not a super long time. But I think about how much has happened. The different stages I have lived through. And one thing has always been constant throughout the changes: I am immensely blessed. Every year I have less and less that I wish for as I blow out my birthday candles. Because as time passes I think about what I have and I know how fortunate I am.
I have had rough years but I continue to learn and grow. Here are some things I have learned and/or realized so far in my life.
1. Growing old is a privilege denied to many. Unfortunately a lot of good people are only given a short time here on Earth. So I am always thankful to see another year!
2. Balance. I think the key to being happy physically, mentally and spiritually is finding a balance in your life. You may have to compromise a little here and there to get it just right. What works for others probably won’t work for you. Create your own happiness.
3. People make mistakes. When I find myself getting angry with someone, I try to think if they are intentionally trying to be mean or hurt me. Usually the answer is no. So I try to let it go and move on.
4.A good nap and a good laugh go a long way. Pretty simple. Nobody likes a grouch.
5. Take a deep breath. Sometimes you may just need a second away from the situation.
6. Cry it out. So the deep breath didn’t work. Go ahead, cry it out. It’s okay to have a good cry session every once in a while.
7. You can’t change some people. Accept that and learn from them. If someone does something to you that you don’t like or treats you less than you deserve, learn from them. Don’t ever treat someone else that way or make them feel the way you felt.
8.The more you believe something is right the less you care what others think. This one is hard for me. I like to have other people’s approval. But I am definitely growing confidence in my decisions and it helps tremendously.
9. There is somebody for everybody. There were a couple times in my life my mom told me this. She was right. A walk through Wal-Mart is proof. But my proof is that I found my somebody.
10. It is ok to ask for help. Another hard one for me as I don’t like to ask for anything. But the answer is always no if you don’t ask!
11. Face your fears. That water slide may look ridiculous, but it may actually be fun.
12.It is okay to say no. This goes back to balance.
13. Wear that cute outfit. You don’t have to save everything for a special occasion. It’s never a bad day to look good.
14. Don’t compare your life to others. Sure, they have it going on on Facebook. But you don’t know the whole story. Love your life.
15. Be silly. You might look stupid but you’re likely going to have fun!
16. Enjoy being friends with your family. Because no matter how stupid you look (see #15) they will still love you. Enjoy your time with them, especially those who are always there for you.
17. Wave/smile at strangers. A little kindness never hurt. And if the person did turn out to be a creep, walk away (quickly!)
18. Go outside. From my brief experience with crying babies I have learned outside is a magical place.
19. Your health is important. Take care of yourself so that your health doesn’t cause you to miss out on things! Life is short. Do what you can so that you can truly enjoy it!
20.Be happy with a calm life. We all get busy but what we find ourselves busy with isn’t always important. Choose to make time to slow down, relax and enjoy the small things.
21.Accept change. Everything doesn’t have to be the same all the time for it to be enjoyable. Start new traditions. You may find that the new way works better.
22. Love people. Help them when you can. And give each person a chance to prove them self to you before you judge them.
23. Bend the rules (a little). I am the type of person that likes rules. However, there are times when it’s ok to get a little crazy and have fun.
24. This too shall pass. Time is constantly moving. So whether you’re dealing with hard times or you’re waiting for a bad haircut to grow out, remember, this too shall pass.
25. Continue to learn. About yourself, other people, the world, everything. Cause no matter how sure you are, you probably don’t know it all!

I of course don’t listen to my own advice all the time but hopefully in my next 25 years I will continue to learn, laugh and love.

For this child I prayed

Yesterday, Ainsley had her 6 month check-up. She is growing at a perfect pace. She now weighs 18.5 lbs which puts her in the 87.9% for weight (she was in the 81% at 4 months) and she is 26.25 inches long. She only gained a quarter of an inch in length. We were waiting for the decline in length growth to happen. At 4 months, she was in the 95% for length. We all found this funny since neither Hunter or I are tall. She is now in the 66% for length. That’s more like it ;). We have just started giving her some fruits and vegetables. She has been exclusively breast fed until about 2 weeks ago. Her favorite foods are baked sweet potato, raw avocado, and cooked carrots.
Her list of tricks now include sitting up, walking in her walker, and she is becoming very vocal. She is a lot of fun these days!

One thing her doctor said though, that I can’t get out of my head was, the days are long but the weeks and months are so short. Isn’t this so true? Some days seem to drag on and on but before you know it you’re at another milestone, birthday or holiday.
Last year at this time, I was probably in bed wishing the days away, since I had severe morning sickness. And now I am holding my sweet girl who takes the best naps in my arms.
As I see everyone getting their babies ready for their first day of school, I hold Ainsley a little tighter. I, of course, want her to grow and be a happy, healthy girl and continue on to be a happy, healthy woman. But right now, I am happy to have a cuddly, squishy baby. Because I know the weeks, months and years will fly by.
Hunter and I are so blessed to be her parents. I thank God for Ainsley (and hunter) every day.
I prayed for them both before I knew them. They make my life so complete. I was made to be Hunter’s wife and Ainsley’s mom.
No doubt about it.


Ainsley 1-6 months