Whatta Man

Today makes three years that I have been married to my best friend. He is my person. I feel like being his wife is just a part of me. It is easy and natural.
I will try not to get too mushy but I sure do love the man. So much so that I will list the top ten reasons that I love him 🙂
1. He is kind. Hunter has never been mean to me or hurt my feelings intentionally.  He chooses his words carefully when he is upset or angry. He doesn’t say things out of malice or just to win a fight with me… or anyone he loves.
2. He is respectful. This goes with the first one. He treats the people he loves with kindness and respect. He is never rude or hurtful.
3. He is strong.  Both physically and mentally. If I ever break a leg or something it’s nice knowing he wouldn’t have to leave me to go get help.  He could carry me. And when I feel defeated mentally, he lifts me up.
4.  He is loyal. I know he will always be on my side. I think even if he knew I was wrong he would back me up.
5. He gets me. He laughs at my jokes. He knows sometimes I just like to be quiet.  And sometimes I sing out loud and dance around the house.  He loves all of my moods. Well, maybe not all…
6. He is funny. There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t laugh together.
7. He is a good dad. He and Ainsley are smitten with each other. And it melts my heart.
8. He is confident.  Most people that know him know there is no explanation needed here. Lol
9. He is protective.  I always feel safe with him. I know he will do whatever necessary to keep Ainsley and me safe.
10. He aint bad on the eyes 😉

I love so much about him. But more than anything, he is just a good person. He loves deeply. He isn’t petty. He is trustworthy, mature, responsible. He is my perfect match.

Three years may not be a long time. But they have been three beautiful, joyful years that I would not trade for anything.

-Callie
“Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man.” Salt N Pepa 😉

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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.
-Callie

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.
-Callie

Smash cake!

Ainsley had her first birthday party a couple of weeks ago. I started thinking about it and gathering ideas for her party months in advance. One of the biggest things I was unsure if I would be able to pull off, was her cake. I knew I wanted it to be gluten free, at the very least. We are keeping her gluten free for at least two years.
The more I read though, the more ingredients I decided were unnecessary for her first cake. So her cake ended up being free of refined sugars, grains, gluten and food coloring. It started out dairy free as well but I added creamed grassfed butter to the frosting. Ainsley never made it past the frosting. She still is not really into eating solids, so there wasn’t a whole lot of smashing going on. Hunter and I tried the cake with the frosting and we both thought it all tasted great.
Below are the recipes I used and the modifications I made. It was really easy and I definitely think it was worth the effort.
I made the cake friday, wrapped the layers in saran wrap and put them in the fridge. My sister and I decorated it Saturday afternoon and then put it back in the fridge overnight. Her party was on Sunday. I took the cake out when the party started so that it had a little time to soften before she ate it.
The cake: For the cake I used The Urban Poser’s smash cake recipe.  I could not find a 4 inch cake pan so I made the recipe twice using a 6 inch pan. So where the recipe makes two four inch layers, it only made one layer using the 6″ pan. So I made the recipe, cooked one layer, then did it all over again. Also, I had to increase the cooking time to 35 mins because of the bigger layer. I definitely suggest getting two 4″ pans. Save money on ingredients, plus time. The only thing I changed to the ingredients was I used maple syrup instead of honey. This is a good option if you are concerned about giving honey to your baby right at one year old.  I did one layer with honey but ran out. So the next layer I just used pure grade b maple syrup. I actually liked the flavor of the syrup layer more.
For the filling: In between the layers I used the 365 brand raspberry spread , found at Whole Foods. It was the only one I saw that did not have added sugar.
The Frosting: I found I could not get the coconut butter smooth enough when using The Urban Poser‘s frosting recipe that she has with the cake. It tasted amazing but the coconut butter would clog the tip I was using to pipe on the cake. So I turned to Against all Grain. I doubled her vanilla frosting recipe that is in her cookbook. I don’t see the recipe on her website but trust me, the cookbook is worth buying! I did add about 3-4 tbsp of butter to the frosting. I needed the frosting to be thicker for the way I wanted it decorated. I put the butter in a bowl, beat it with the hand mixer and then added it to the frosting. You could probably use palm shortening and get the same results.
To get the pink color I put red beets in a small sauce pan with a small amount of water. I cooked it on the stove until the water was colored and then poured it into the frosting and mixed. (Probably why I had to add butter to the frosting.)
And lastly, my sister and I watched videos on youtube on how to decorate a ruffle cake with buttercream.

I made the cake twice. Once for her birthday pictures (without coloring the frosting) and then again for her party.
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Photo credit: EllPhotography

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Sharing with me at her party.

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 😉
-Callie

7 month update

I told y’all time goes fast! Ainsley is now 7 months old! She is growing a little more each day, both physically and mentally. She now weighs about 19.5 lbs. Everyday she seems to have a new trick.
She has learned to walk forward in her walker. She is doing a lot of scooting on her belly. She can go backwards and sideways but has not quite figured out how to crawl forward. She enjoys playing peek-a-boo and looking for Lexie.
She is really enjoying trying new foods. The first time she tries a food she seems a little unsure. But after a few tastes she starts chowing down on it. I have not found anything she doesn’t like.
This was my first full month being a stay at home mom. I am truly enjoying being with Ainsley all day. A couple days of the week we keep another baby. So I stay pretty busy! Hunter has been keeping busy with work and keeping all the girls of our house happy!
All is well in the Beall household!

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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.

-Callie

Ainsley 1-6 months

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The name Ruth

Ruth is actually our daughter’s middle name. Her name comes from two places, the Bible and family.

As part of mine and Hunter’s vows, we quoted Ruth1:16. “Where you go, I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people my people and your God my God.” I think of this verse often. That I will always be by Hunter’s side. I love his family as my own and he feels the same about mine. Ruth was loyal. The Hebrew meaning of the name is friend. These are qualities I want to instill in my Ruth.

But more than anything, she was given this name after Hunter’s grandmother, who we call Mawmaw. Mawmaw is a huge part of our lives. If you are looking for a cheerleader, this is your lady. Ever since Hunter and I started dating, she has always made me feel welcome.

I look to her as the kind of woman I want to be. She always puts family first. And ask anyone that knows her, she is not afraid to tell you what she thinks. She is ALWAYS supportive and undoubtedly makes you feel loved.

I think a lot of people keep their feelings to themselves. They may think the sun shines out of your butt, but they never truly tell you how they feel. Not the case with Mawmaw. Every time she sees us she tells us she loves us. She has told me more times than I can count, how wonderful she thinks I am for Hunter. This means a lot to me since she thinks so highly of presh Hunter. She has also told me that she thinks I am a good mom to Ainsley Ruth.

These short little sentences that she has spoken, mean more to me than I could ever explain. Sometimes, it’s nice to know that people are proud of you or that they approve of you.

I think a lot of us could strive to be more like Mawmaw. She is the kind of woman I want to be. And I want to raise my daughter to be like her great-grandmother, Ruth. A loving, spirited, strong woman.

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Mawmaw Ruth and Ainsley Ruth

-Callie