Leaving On A Jet Plane

Is it weird that I keep forgetting I’m going on vacation tomorrow?

I keep making plans only to cancel them shortly after with an, “Oh wait! I’m not going to be here.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually incredibly excited for this week.

I get to leave 104 degrees of sweaty armpit hell and go to mid 70’s and night time sweater weather.

Camping, pontoon boating, family time, lots of bbq, and a live NFL Sunday night football game await me.

The only thing that stands between me and a week of North Carolina bliss is a plane ride.

A plane ride with a kid that hates sitting still, throws tantrums, and never sleeps.

*Cue scary music*

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I remember being so worried about our flight when he was six months old.

If you can recall, I made a bunch of “care packs” for our fellow passengers with chocolates, ear plugs, and a little note.

Surprisingly, he was awesome on both flights so we really didn’t even need them.

Well this time I am almost certain we WILL need them but the only chocolate I am bringing along is for me.

Because let’s be honest, nobody is having a worse flight than the parent’s of the crying screaming child.

I shouldn’t have to apologize to you for taking my son to see his grandparents.

If anything, YOU should buy ME a vodka cranberry for having to sit in the same seat as the monster.

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Those screams are going directly into my eardrums.

I’m sorry, what did you say?

I think I’m partially deaf now.

So wish me luck!

We leave bright and early in the morning and since drugging your child with Benadryl is frowned upon we will be relying heavily on The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPad and snacks.

So many snacks.

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Scraping Our Knees And Jumping On Trampolines

We recently enrolled Declan in MY GYM which is essentially a real life Barney and Friends play place, minus the depressed person dressed in a giant dinosaur suit making the rest of the room uncomfortable with his too long hugs.

They have organized classes that you attend once a week and free play time slots during the week where the children can recklessly abandon their inhibitions through climbing, running, and sliding.

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(Declan with Miss Elise)

It’s a far cry from my pre-baby life of scanning Pinterest all day working at a desk.

Still, somewhere in between the opening and closing circle time songs it hit me:

This is my life.

And it’s funny, because I love it.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think I ever fully thought out being a mom.
I knew I wanted to be one.
That part was a no brainier for me.
But would I work? Stay home?
Would I do homemade crafts and bake all day or would we watch a lot of tv and order take out?
It just never crossed my mind until it became a reality.
Once pregnant I was flooded with all of the information and possibilities.
Truth is, being a mom in today’s world is overwhelming.
We are expected to attend mommy and me yoga, feed our picky eaters organic flaxseed kale smoothies, and have daily Pinterest worthy activities to flaunt on our Instagram pages.

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Your kid can climb the stairs and stack cones but can he find the xylophone in your homemade flash cards?

Wait, you don’t have homemade flash cards?!

….

I’ve fallen in love with My Gym because it gives my son a chance to have a childhood reminiscent of my own.
It allows him to interact with other kids without all the overachieving bs.

There’s nothing wrong with teaching your kids, please don’t misunderstand me.

But at a stage where I can barely get him to sit still long enough to put a clean diaper on I just don’t see the production in strapping him in his high chair and forcing him to look at a C-A-T over and over again.
The childhood I long for my son to have involves learning through living and interacting as well as through books and games.
Childhood is such a precious gift and I refuse to take that away from him in order to enroll him in kindergarten a year sooner.

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Can we not even talk about kindergarten please?

He’s got at least 13 years of schooling in his future.
For now I would rather focus on teaching him kindness, the importance of being active, and how to interact with others.
If flash cards and pre-req kindergarten materials are your forte then that’s awesome and rock on!

Tell your kid to give Declan a ring when they’re done.

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Because this kiddo is just not ready for that kind of life.

So in the meantime we will be over here scraping our knees and jumping on trampolines.

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…………………….

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I Will Always Wonder

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My friend Nikol (check out her blog here) posted the photo above this morning on her blog’s Facebook.
While today is just Tuesday to most, for several mourning families it is a reminder that they are not alone, that their lost children are not forgotten, and that every child conceived is a miracle whether they make it to this earth or not.

Losing our daughter made Derek and I part of a community that nobody ever wants to be in.
Miscarriage, stillborn, infant loss: It’s the booth at a fair that you pray to God stays empty.
But it doesn’t.
In fact, once you stop by you find out that it is even bigger than you could have possibly imagined and it makes your heart hurt.
Because the truth of the matter is that there are so many families out there who have lost a child.
So many left with a hole in their hearts.

I found this book at TJ-Max the other day and it broke me (so naturally, I bought it).

It’s called Love From My Heart To A Cuddly Little Boy.

Here are a few pages:

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“My heart would be searching for YOU!”

When I read this and saw all of the little angel children I couldn’t help but think of my own angel in Heaven.

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I still cry sometimes when I see a mom and her daughter wearing matching outfits.

Or when I see other little girls who are the same age she would have been.

I will always wonder how she may have looked, who she may have been.
I prayed and prayed for a day of hope and a lifetime was given to me with the birth of Declan.

But we still talk of her all the time.
We still remember.
And we love her very deeply.

To anyone who has lost their child, hold on to hope.

Hope that we will one day be reunited with our sweet angels.

In memory of Kinlie Marie.

Lost but never forgotten. 

 

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The Vegas Bikini

You could blame it on the new morning routine of 5:00 am wake up calls that has left me sleep deprived.
Or the mastitis that had been overwhelming my body.
Maybe it was because I had been dealing with a fevering, teething baby for three days.

I honestly don’t know if it was the exhaustion or the Super moon but doesn’t change the fact that I found myself at a one year old’s birthday party this past weekend in my Vegas bikini.

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It wasn’t.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around how the same girl who lives in jeans and a tank top managed to misrepresent herself so well.

While packing our bag in the morning I was in a hurry.
I grabbed the bikini off of the dryer along with Derek and Declan’s trunks, without really thinking about which one it was.
Once we got to the party, Declan was desperate to get in the pool.
And because the fates hate me, for the first time ever Derek did not want to get into the water.
So I grabbed my suit along with a cover up and went to change.
It wasn’t until I had even come back from changing that I had realized the gravity of the situation.
Derek said, “You brought your Vegas bikini?”

Shit.

I used Declan as a human shield to cover my body as I scurried quickly into the water.

I can only imagine how pretentious I looked in my bright green Victoria’s Secret suit and giant sun hat.

You know it’s bad when you’re thinking, “this bitch” about yourself.

Unfortunately for me but lucky in the situation, I don’t exactly fill out said bikini like the Victoria’s Secret model advertising it.

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I’m still asking my mom when my boobs are going to come in.

But boobs or no boobs I still felt like a giant one.

And while I may be banned from 1 year old pool parties for the rest of my life I at least learned a valuable lesson:

Victoria’s Secret bikinis should be stored in the naughty drawer to avoid uncomfortable situations like these.

Because Lord knows that thing is collecting dust.

(Just kidding).

But seriously.

I need to store my shit better.

Peace, love, and tanning grease!

About The Whole Breastfeeding Thing…

My body decided to round out World Breastfeeding Week (yes, it’s a real thing) with a nice case of mastitis which is a breast infection caused by a blocked duct.

I had it back when Declan was about two months old and both times it has sucked.
But I’ve got some antibiotics and should be better in a few days.

Anyway…

I always teeter totter back and forth on discussing my views of breastfeeding on here because the whole topic is so controversial.

But in honor of the week I decided to woman up and do it.

I’m going to calmly tread into the storm that is nursing and hope that everybody walks away with the right message.

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As a mother who has been breastfeeding for over a year now I am obviously a huge advocate for doing so.

You just can’t deny the science, the health, and the bond attached to it.

But I don’t post links about how mom’s who formula feed are lazy, selfish, and poisoning their children.

I don’t ever say things like, “breast is best”.

And I never take or post nursing selfies.

I’m not trying to be glamorous or admirable or to stick-it-to-the-man when I nurse.

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I do it to nourish and bond with my child.

The end.

There is no other reason.

It’s not about feminism to me, it’s about me and my son.

Primitively speaking, this is what I was designed to do.

Culturally speaking, I was raised to know that nursing your child is a good thing but so is being respectful to your environment.

More than that, nursing is a very special and personal experience for me.

In the home I grew up in, my father would have been absolutely mortified if he had walked in on me changing or seen any private part of my body exposed.

I was taught to treat my body as a temple and to guard it from the sick world we live in.

I treat my son’s body with the same respect in that I never post nude photos of him on the internet, no matter how adorable his little toosh may be.

My breasts are more than just boobs to me.

They are a part of my temple and they do more than just entertain my husband.

They nourish my child and provide him comfort.

It is such a beautiful thing and I can see why mothers want to share it with the world.

But for me personally, that beauty is something that should be protected.

I guard that beauty with my life because I want to preserve it and keep it safe.

I have nothing against a mother who proudly displays her breastfeeding in public.

Feeding your child is nothing to be ashamed of.

But I want to make it known that just because I choose to cover up does not mean that I am ashamed.

I will feed Declan whenever, wherever.

But I will do so proudly covered up.

And I shouldn’t be looked down on by moms doing the exact same thing as me just because I choose to do so.

I mean, really?

Being a mom is like being in high school all over again.

Only this is an all girl’s high school that has over 85 million women in attendance and all of their periods seemed to be synced.

It’s time to stop mommy bashing.

Why do we care so much either way?

Does it really ruin your entire day if you see someone nursing?

Is it the end of the world if you cover up your baby for five minutes while they eat?

It’s not okay to make other women feel like less of a mother for doing one or the other.

Talking down to people doesn’t make you an activist but it does makes you an asshole.

Nursing is not easy and I commend the women who have kept with it but I do not blame the ones that didn’t either.

Formula or breast, covered or uncovered; are these the type of things we want to teach our children are the most important?
I want my son to be kind, patient, and courageous.
I fear that in an effort to stand up for what we believe in sometimes we end up teaching our children hate and intolerance rather than love, respect, and kindness.

We deserve to feed our children however we see fit as long as our child is not in any harm from said methods.

I believe that my mother did her very best to raise me and loves me just as I love Declan.
I do not think she is less of a mother or lazy or careless because she chose not to continue breastfeeding past 6 weeks.

Don’t let your legacy be the way you shamed other women

Breastfeed or not, covered or uncovered, homemade food or pre-packed.

Being a mom has no instructional manual and we are all just trying to do the very best we can.

I hope you teach your children to speak, act, and live from a place of kindness.

Because not a single one of us is doing it all right.

And every single one of us deserves some slack, especially from one another.

Declan’s Mom

I had a distant memory of a girl.
She was whimsical and spontaneous and free.
She would write songs by the beach and start driving before she had a destination in mind.
Her style was eclectic, her eyes were filled with wonder, her heart was trusting and good.

Sometimes I long for a sense of significance.

At the grocery store I frequent almost every cashier knows Declan.
When we check out they are always talking to him and gushing.
On the rare times I am at the store alone they ask me where he is and remind one another, “this is Declan’s mom”.

I am nameless.
Sometimes it even takes them a moment to recognize me without an adorable baby attached to my hip.

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I am Declan’s mom and I am beyond proud to be such.
But I am so much more than that.

I am a writer.
A singer.
An adventurer.
I love to cook and act and try new things.
My heart is in people and I love to help those in need.
I’m a glass half full kind of lady.
I love being goofy & weird.
Random dance parties are a part of my daily life and I believe in the healing powers of chocolate.

Declan and I have a unique bond.
He has never taken a bottle which made us pretty much inseparable for the first 6 months of his life.
He likes to bring me a book and sit in my lap while I read it to him over and over again.
He quite literally will crawl up me until his body is covering my face while he sleeps, as if to say that he cannot get close enough to me.
He loves with an intensity that I have never seen before from another child.
And it is so special.

But in the midst of being his everything I feel as if I became nothing.
I was “Declan’s mom and Derek’s wife”.
The only time I sang was to get him to sleep, I would cook merely to put food on the table, and the only time I could squeeze in writing was if I chose it instead of sleep which I desperately needed.

I looked in the mirror one morning and cried.
Mulan style, I rinsed my tired eyes and asked myself who it was staring back at me.
I did not recognize this woman.
She was dull and lifeless.
Anxiety was seeping from her pores and she looked lost.
Where had I gone?
And how long had I been away?

I knew I needed to make a change in my body, my mind, and my soul.
So I did.

I started getting Declan to sleep in his stroller rather than on me, so that I could do my workouts in the morning and have the rest of the day to look forward to.
I went shopping and bought clothes regardless of whether or not it would be easy to breastfeed in them for the first time in over a year.
I did my nails and curled my hair and put on eyeshadow.
I bought bright flowers for the house.
And I started to play music during the day again so I could sing along.

It’s funny really.
I think I subconsciously thought that I had to choose between the two.
Like, I couldn’t be myself and Declan’s mom.
I couldn’t be a devoted mother/wife and still do the things I enjoyed, still be the woman I am.
But now I see that all of the things I love and that make me who I am actually make me a better family member too.

When I sing, the whole house listens in.
When I’m spontaneous, we always end up doing something fun and memorable.
Family dance parties have become something I look forward to every single day.
And I am the happiest version of myself that I have ever been.

My significance is found.
And if I am only remembered as Declan’s mom then I am okay with that.
Because being that woman is pretty awesome.

Parents Confess

I’ve got to tell you, yesterday I was not a good mother.
I didn’t turn my back as Declan walked towards an open flame or lock him in a play pin while I double fisted cocktails, but I was grumpy and impatient and just downright bitter.
Declan has been much more demanding in general recently but yesterday after four failed attempts at nap time I hit a new level of low.
I was exhausted and blaming him for my feelings rather than taking responsibility for them.
I started scanning le’ internet for quotes on patience (because that’s what you do when you have none) and I found this:

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I realized that I was choosing to wallow in self pity because he refused to nap rather than making a conscious choice to revel in my son’s personality and enjoy my time with him.

Once I turned my frown upside down a calm came over both of us and he took a nap.

And today?
Today my cup is overflowing with love, happiness, and excitement hanging out with my little firecracker.

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I know how blessed I am to spend my days raising this guy rather than in an office.
It is the hardest job I have ever done but it is also hands down the most rewarding.
Money is just money.
But these moments I get to witness are priceless.

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Enough gushing.
On Monday I asked you all to share your Sexfessions.
Thank you to everyone brave enough to put their stories out there!
We have all been there, so let’s all share a good laugh and recap the entries I received.

*All posts are anonymous*

“I’m sick of hubby waking me up at 2 am so I have been trying to catch him before bedtime! My son was in our bed watching Mickey and Dh had just walked out of the bathroom so I grabbed him and pulled him into the closet. Well we weren’t very coordinated standing up so we had to move to the bathroom. Made it just as Mickey got done!”

“My daughter found my drawer of lingerie. She commented on how pretty they were and asked if she could borrow them when she was older like me. All I could do was laugh nervously and change the subject.”

“Before our son slept through the night, we had a lot of “Don Draper sex” (taking off as little clothing as humanly possible), so that if the baby woke up one of us could spring into action!”

“Had sex in the living room while I was 6 months pregnant despite the fact that my daughter, my mom, or my sister could have walked in on us. Talk about spicing things up! (no one caught us, thankfully lol)”

“Having a one year old boy unthinkable it would put a halt to our sex lives no not us we. Our son cosleeps with is he hate the crib but when he’s in a deep sleep we put him in crib and we have 20 mins or les to go at it and if he’s taking a nap we run in our tiny shower and get our sexy on and try and get it in as fast as we can cuz our son seems to hate sleep. But the romantic dinner and late nights out have come to stop so we make our romance simple and to the point . I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Got interrupted during foreplay because my kid woke up. I threw a robe on over my sexy nightgown, but it didn’t cover the whole thing. Even though it was dark in the room she of course still noticed that it was different than my normal pajama pants and baggy shirt and asked why I was wearing a dress. Why are my children so damn inquisitive??”

“Honestly I’m just lucky for the crib we throw him in there all the time so anytime were in the mood we say “you do the kid, I’ll do dogs” and one of us throws him in the crib the other closes the dogs in their kennel… Then we are free to roam about the house ;) but we have had quite a few times late at night with the dogs sleeping (on the floor they aren’t allowed on the bed) and I have gotten sniffed and licked in the ass.”

“My partner and I once put our daughter in the umbrella stroller and awkwardly faced an iPhone on a makeshift shelf so she could watch Winnie the Pooh in order for us to escape to the bathroom for 5 minutes to have sex.

It had to be done.”

“Definitely have had to rush it towards the end because the baby woke up (the baby who was sleeping in a bassinet in our room). Then had to go from sex to breastfeeding instantly, which is just an awful mojo killer. Way too many hormones going on.”

“One time my golden retriever started howling because we made weird noises. Also we totally have done it on the floor of the nursery and the bed in his room (when he was an infant and was in our room in the basinette) and I hope he never finds out when he gets older lol.”

While our son played in our room my husband and I decided to have a quickie. But right when we started he looked at me as if I was in danger and came running over to me in a crying panic. I then coaxed him into his walker and pressed the buttons to engage him, while bent over so my husband could do the deed.

Well that was both awkward and awesome.
Thanks so much to everyone for sharing your dark dirty secrets!
Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Hand, Foot, And Mouth

Sometimes a hazard of being a parent is days on end where you feel like you almost literally cannot breathe.
Bags decide to book an extended vacation underneath your eyelids, patience thins out quicker than an anemic’s blood, and total exhaustion swirls in like a class 5 twister.
I’ve found myself all too familiar with these things for the past few days.
On top of throwing tantrums and being super needy Declan also developed hand, foot, and mouth disease which has only heightened these outbursts.

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He has been stuck to me like Morello on Christopher.

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And when he doesn’t get his way he becomes Walter White scary.

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I’ve found myself whimpering in the middle of the night because he has decided to nurse like a newborn all over again, wearing my nipples down raw and preventing me from getting any sleep.

I know this is a small moment in a large life but it feels never ending when you’re smack dab in the middle of it with no sleep, sore boobs, and a throbbing headache.

My dear friend Amanda recently had a day like this too and what she posted on her blog (here) really helped me change my mindset today.

I still need a nap, some nipple cream, and a glass of wine but remembering that I am not in control and that it’s a good thing is rather comforting.

So Declan, when you’re older and you read this I want you to know that you have put mommy through the ringer this week.
You’ve been dramatic, clingy, overly emotional, and straight up mean at times.
But I love you more than life.
I cherish you more than all the riches in this world.
And we are going to come out of this stronger and happier than ever.

Here’s to getting through the awfulness that is hand, foot, and mouth disease!

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Well, maybe my worst.

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Month Eleven

First and foremost I would like to say Happy Memorial Day to everyone.
I just talked to my little brother yesterday who is in the final stage of Army bootcamp and it just reminded me how fortunate we are as a country that our men and women VOLUNTEER to dedicate their lives to protecting us.
It’s because of these volunteers that we get to enjoy a bbq at home today, go on family vacations, and work where we want to.
Were they not to step up and sacrifice so much, we would go back to drafting and I may not be lying next to my husband right now like I am.
So thank you soldiers.
The fallen, the retired, the current, and the training.
Your heroic efforts do not go unnoticed and I am forever grateful.

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Today Declan is 11 months old.
It makes my eyes all watery when I think about the fact that almost a year has passed and I can never get that time or those moments back.
But on the flip side, I am so amazed by my son and everything he has accomplished in such a short time.

….

SPREADING HIS WINGS:

I’ve been very candid about how attached Declan is to me.

It has been both incredible and difficult to navigate at times.
But he beginning to establish his independence from me and let other people hold him, play with him, etc.
I can even walk out of the room to pee now!

SO THAT’S HOW IT WORKS:

Declan is starting to understand that things are meant to be more than simply chew toys.
He’s started to put toys in buckets, understand different shapes, and even mimic the actions we do.
Example: He has seen Derek and I grab the doggie door cover and put it on several times.
Out of nowhere one day he walked over there, grabbed it, and tried to put it on himself.

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(Don’t mind me all weird in the background, lol)

It’s now one of his favorite things to do.

FAMILY PHOTOS:

We’ve been using the same photographer (Theresia Villanueva Photography) since our first pregnancy because we just love her so much.
Unfortunately for us, (but amazing for her!) her fiancé just got a pilot gig in Dubai so this was our last round of pictures with her before they leave.

Here are a few of my favorites.

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MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM:

If he knows he is not supposed to play with something he wants it that much more.
If he knows he’s not supposed to do something he will smile at me first, then do it anyway.
Yesterday he kept pulling my hair and when I finally batted his hand away he began to hit me.
Our solution is to basically put him in an infant time out (aka we just put him down and don’t hold him).
He hates it but I think it’s working.

BED HOG:

The bigger he gets the harder it is to share a bed with him.

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See what I mean?
We plan to start slowly transitioning him to his own space.
We will see how that goes.

Next month is sure to be an exciting one with his first Disney trip and first birthday!
I’d better start getting serious about party planning.

But let’s be honest, I’ve been planning this thing for months!

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I Spoke Too Soon

It turns out I was a little too quick to brag yesterday about surviving the diarrhea diaries on Wednesday.
Declan literally seemed fine all day so I assumed whatever hit him had passed.
Derek and I both found ourselves a little queasy after a family hike so we cuddled up and had an early bedtime.
Around 12:00 am I was abruptly awoken by the “I’m about to puke all over the place” sound that I’ve come to know so well over the span of my life.
Only it wasn’t coming from me, it was the tiny creature sleeping on my chest.
I was only able to turn his body and lift his head before it came hurling out and all over me.

Derek helped clean off Declan while I cleaned myself and we were all off to dreamland again.

Two hours later, I hear it again.

A smart parent would have prepped themselves for another round with towels, and paper bags, and what not but naturally I did nothing of the sort.

Insert me getting puked on for the second time.

So between being used as a human toilet and deep cleaning the carpet after another traumatizing diaper blowout it’s been a long day.
Derek came home early because he’s been throwing up all morning too, so it looks like I will be making some homemade chicken noodle soup tonight and taking care of my boys.

On a happy note, I got my Mother’s Day present today!
Derek had a band custom made for to represent Declan.

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To say I love it is an understatement.
Not only is it absolutely stunning but it also holds so much sentimental value to me as it is a representation of the life we created together.

Vomit covered and all I am one lucky lady to live the life I do.

Yeah, I should probably get on that.

Hope everyone has a sick-free Memorial Day weekend!