*All pictures by the amazingly talented Candice Avery Photography
The last five weeks have been a total whirlwind! Let’s recap in bullet points, shall we?
- We packed up our house, sent our stuff to storage, and said goodbye to Florida for the first time ever.
- I drove by myself with both girls, across the state, only to have Emmalyn projectile vomit all over herself. Exorcist style. Yup. That was fun. Needless to say, we lost a very loyal car seat that day.
- This mama traded in her beloved SUV for her dream car: A Minivan.
- Note: The above car purchase was not due to the vomiting 😉
- We vacationed in Hilton Head Island, and added an extra night because, well, we deserved it!
- Because our house wasn’t ready yet, but The Hubs had to report to his next duty station, we parked ourselves in a little bungalow for three weeks. We lived out of two suitcases and a duffel bag of toys. Lord only knows how we did it! All I have to say is, thank goodness for Netflix!
- Emmalyn went to Vacation Bible School for the first time and loved it. Surprisingly enough, the Catholic church camp dug back into their Old Testament roots and she learned about Judaism, much to my parents and my amusement.
- Blake and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary! My in-laws happened to be in town so we actually got to go out to dinner sans kiddos.
- We FINALLY got to move into our new house! Have you ever rented a home “sight unseen”? Welp, we just did! You can imagine our nerves the first time we set foot in our new place! But we quickly breathed a sigh of relief when we saw that God was with us, and we made the right decision.
- We had quite a scare when we thought the movers lost an entire crate of our stuff, including our desktop computer with My Life on it!
- I signed Emmalyn up for Pre-Kindergarten. Holy goodness gracious! I can’t believe it!
- Unpacking with two littles in quite interesting. And s l o w. And requires a lot of patience.
- Thank goodness for an amazing sister-in-law, who will unpack your e n t i r e kitchen and you don’t have to worry about a thing. I seriously don’t know what I would have done without her! Oh, I know: I’d still be standing in the middle, wondering where all my shit goes.
- Also, Military Wives are the bomb dot com. No joke. Those ladies step up and make you feel like you’re right at home. They take your kids and feed them while you unpack, and they pour you a glass of wine and tell you deployment will suck, but you’ll be all right.
To say that life has been crazy around these parts lately, would be an understatement. So much has been happening, that I don’t even know where to begin.
No, I’m not pregnant.
But my baby did turn ONE YEAR OLD!
I cannot believe it. It’s silly to think that we may or may not have once been disappointed when we found out she was a girl. We had our hearts and hopes set on having a boy. But now? I cannot imagine life without her. Not! One! Single! Bit! Every piece of Adelaide was meant to be in our lives. It has been a blessing from God to watch her grow over the past year. And I cannot believe that we are still going strong on our one-boob nursing journey! It’s incredible to think that I have kept a small human alive with one single boob!
(Okay, I’ll change the subject…)
I have loved watching Emmalyn step up as Big Sister. Although, I must admit, it’s quite exhausting shouting, “Put her down!” and “Stop licking your sister!” ump-teen times a day!
At four-and-a-half, Emmalyn lives up to her “in-utero” nickname of Diva Muffin. That girl has more sass than Liberace had sequins! She keeps me on my toes–that’s for sure. But she’s also quite entertaining, with her endless imagination, and her love for making up songs and dances.
Probably the biggest news in our neck of the woods is that WE ARE MOVING! This Florida Girl is spreading her wings and seeing what else the great U.S. of A. has to offer! Blake and I have moved three times in our five years of marriage, but this is the first time either of us has moved out of Florida. I’m very excited, but tremendously sad to be leaving my friends here.
Blake and I have spent many nights pondering if we’re doing the right thing. It seriously breaks my heart, taking Emmy away from her sweet little friends. She has made some of the most amazing friendships at such a young age. But then I think about how some of my closest friends live in New York, Louisiana, and Florida. We may not see each other in person as often as we’d wish, but when we do, it’s like we never skipped a beat. And with the amazingly crazy invention of FaceTime, we’re only a click away.
Here’s to continuing our adventures!
My cleaning routine has been dramatically shortened, thanks to this little wonder. I use The Cloth for basically everything: kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, the floor, sink, refrigerator, the bathroom sinks, counters, and yes–even the toilet!
I could sit here and bore you with the science behind it all. But I won’t. I’ll just quickly say that Norwex’s Antibac EnviroCloth is a combination of polyester and polyamide that’s 1/200th the size of a strand of human hair! When used wet, the micro silver antibacterial agent (a.k.a. The Secret Ingredient) works to self-purify against, and inhibit mold, fungi, and bacterial odor.
Now if only it could fold my laundry…
Did you know I’m on Facebook?
ATTENTION: If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the latter statement. It applies to a couple different situations in my life.
The first one being: I like friends who challenge me to become a better person. I don’t want superficial friendships, where my conversations are merely floating on the surface. I want to sink deeper. I don’t want friends who only tell me things like, “That’s a cute outfit.” Sure, it’s nice to be complimented, and I’m not asking my friends to stop being sincere in that sense, but I want more.
If you are my friend, whether old or new, I want you to challenge me. I want you to help me be a better person. I love having conversations with people where I stop to say, “Wow! That’s so interesting… I never thought of it that way before… Thank you for teaching me that… Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me… What a gift…”
I have come to realize that sometimes I may come across as–I dunno–strong? (…overpowering, maybe??) in conversations, but that’s because I like to challenge my friends, too. Not in a Ichallengeyoutoadeathmatch sort of way, but in a I challenge you to be a better YOU sort of way.
(I’m sorry I’m not sorry.)
I’ve also come to realize that some people just aren’t ready to be challenged and make life changes; and try as you may, there’s just nothing you can do about it. Man, this really saddens me. When I see people slipping down a path that is dark and scary, I become anxious, and my passion rises.
I have been in a dark place. I know that you don’t initially think it’s a dark place, because you can only see one step in front of you. But then things start to unravel. And that’s when it’s harder to get out.
It’s like running in the mud. On the surface you see a shallow puddle and think, “This will be easy to cross. I don’t need any help.” But as soon as your feet hit the mud, you start sinking. You realize that it is a lot harder than you ever could have imagined, and you wish you would have come prepared. You wish you had a plan. You wish you had a support-system in place. You wish you had the right equipment and gear to help you through the tough spots.
Are you going through a rough time in your life? Do you want to know why things aren’t getting better? It’s because you are not making changes in your life. You’re only planning to get through a puddle, while you should be preparing for a mud run.
Yes, it is hard to make changes. There’s no doubt about that. But if you want to have a better quality of life, you have to take the first step. It’s scary. I know. I know... But I promise you it’s worth it. I cross my heart to you that it’s so worth it.
I challenge you to make the changes you need.
What is something you want to change in the near future? Do you know what changes you need to make to get there? Do you have a support system in place?
I have a favorite child. There! I said it!
If you don’t have any kids, or you have an only, you may be saying to yourself right now: How on earth could she say such a thing? She’s a terrible mom…
But, if you have multiple little ones running around 24/7/365, then you may be singing: Yes! Yes, me too! I’m not the only one! Finally, someone said it out loud. I’m not crazy…
Do you want to know who my favorite child is?
My eight month-old.
Because she doesn’t sass me. She doesn’t leave a mess all over the floor for me to trip over. She doesn’t scream in my face when I tell her she cannot have eleventy more crackers. She doesn’t throw herself on the floor when I tell her she cannot watch four more hours of Sheriff Callie. She doesn’t say things like, It’s all your fault! or I don’t want to brush my teeth–stop touching me! or my favorite, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Nope. My eight month-old doesn’t do any of that.
Instead, she’s sweet and smiley and cuddly and laughs at all my jokes and animal noises. And she doesn’t run away when I sit her down on the floor.
But. Then comes nighttime, when my eight month-old is tired and fussy and plays The Don’tYouDareTakeMeOffTheBoobOrIWillScreamEvenLouder Game. Oh you know it? It’s a Classic.
That’s when I pass her off to Daddy and climb in bed with my SassyPants (a.k.a. my four year-old) and read books to her. That’s when she gives me butterfly and Eskimo kisses and says things like, Today was the best day ever! or Daddy and I are getting married ‘cuz we’re in love! or my favorite, I love you the biggest much of all, Momma!
And that’s when my four year-old is my favorite child.
My emotional well-being is important to me, and I’ve come to realize that in order to take care of my family, I have to start with me. I cannot let myself become an afterthought. If I don’t take care of myself, how the heck am I suppose to take care of anyone else? I’m not just talking about eating healthy and exercising frequently, but about A Mother’s Sanity.
Do you find yourself being pulled in many different directions? Do you feel obligated to make beautifully homemade and hand-crafted cupcakes for your child’s birthday celebration at school, to be the Room Mom, the coach for your child’s basketball team, and the first to volunteer to go on every field trip?
Why? Why are you trying to do it all? Is it so you won’t look bad to the other mothers? Are you worried about disappointing people?
Let me ask you this: Who the hell cares?
No one–that’s who!
The only pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself.
Do you want me to tell you what trying to do it all will look like at the end of the road?
SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t end well. It ends with gray hairs, wrinkles, and dark circles under your eyes. It ends with missing out on enjoying the small things in your child’s young life. Or even worse: stress-related symptoms such as depression, constant colds, and rage.
YOU matter. Homemade cupcakes don’t.
YOUR sanity matters. Being Room Mom doesn’t.
Buy the store-bought cupcakes. I guarantee the kids will be just as happy. They totally don’t care that you spent hours searching for the p e r f e c t picture on Pinterest, then spent an hour or more meticulously putting them together.
Why are you trying to make your life more difficult than it already is?
Let me ask you this: If you say YES to something, what are you really saying NO to?
If you say yes to spending over an hour baking and decorating cupcakes, what are you saying no to? You are saying no to spending an hour playing with your daughter’s new doll house. You are saying no to an hour of quality time with your husband. You are saying no to an hour of sleep.
Isn’t your emotional well-being more important than trying to impress other people?
Let me answer that for you: YES!
Quit making excuses for not taking care of yourself.
Your sanity is more important than pleasing other people. I know you’re having a hard time letting the guilt go. I know you want to be there for everyone who could use a helping hand. I know you want to do it all. But the truth of the matter is, Is it worth your own sanity? Is it worth your own health and happiness? Is it worth missing out on time spent with your kids? If it is, then by all means, drive yourself into the ground.
The saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a bunch of croc, if you ask me. Do you know what no sleep does to a person? Crazy things! Your body needs sleep to fight off illnesses, to have a clear mind for making critical decisions, and to stay healthy overall so you can be your best you.
So stop trying to be a martyr. Stop trying to impress other mothers. Stop worrying that you’re letting other people down. Because you’re not.
You are taking care of YOU, which in turn, is taking care of your family. And that’s the most important thing there is in life.