Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is Having a Kid Hard?

A friend, far from her parenting days, proposed this question yesterday and for a moment it left me a bit speechless. Is having a kid hard?

Honestly, I never thought about it that way. Having a kid is just having a kid.

I found myself responding to her, "No, just tiring."

Then I got home from daycare with said kid to a dog who'd been sick, a house that's still a mess {my fault} and dinner that needed to be made. But wait, this kid we're talking about was having one of those mama-must-hold-me-at-all-times moments. These moments are happening often these days.


Our night continued to be a bit scattered. Typical for these toddler days. I chased Jackson from one corner of the house to the other as no toy, dog or song seemed to make him happy.

Finally, I'd accomplished preparing dinner, sat the kid in his seat and served up some yummy. But? He'd have none of it. Every bite of every item was given the hand or fed to the dogs.

After shoveling in my dinner in a matter of minutes, I rescued the kid from his highchair and off we went again. This time I could see the delirious, sleepy Jackson kicking in. So, we shuffled our way back to the nursery for story time. But as soon as I closed the door behind us alligator tears, toddler screams and a full on tantrum ensued.

At that moment in life all the kid wanted was his Dad. Well, too bad kid! Dad is working. 

What's a mom to do but let him run back to the living room, get a glimpse of Dad then coax him back to his room? Kicking and screaming I finally managed to get Jackson back to the nursery.


It was at this moment I found myself rethinking my answer to our question, Is having a kid hard?

But then, that kid who was giving mama such a hard time grabbed his favorite book, sat in my lap and leaned his head on my shoulder. And I knew. This "having a kid thing" isn't hard, it's real.


Over our 16 months of parenthood, we've attempted to find our rhythm in parenting. One moment we'll be in synch, the next we're nowhere near it. You see, I've found, the real rhythm of parenting is your ability to go off-beat.

So, is having a kid hard?
We'll just say it's sure as hell not easy.
But every single smile, kiss, hug and giggle take every notion of stress and melt it away.

10 Things on a Tuesday

1. I have an awful obsession with the Kardashians. And lately, the more I watch their show, the more I wonder why the hell I'm still watching.

2. In October, I turn 25. Cue my quarter-life crisis. Actually, it was cued a while ago, I've just been hiding it from you all.

3. Current Favorite TV Show: Suits.

4. I can't shake the baby fever. Can.Not.Shake.It.

5. I'm kind of obsessed with creating blog designs now.

6. Giving up ice cream at the end of the day is easier than giving up a glass of wine.

7. Our 4-year wedding anniversary is Thursday.

8. My favorite color is blue. Always has been, always will be.

9. I try to keep the color orange out of our house. For many reasons. But mainly because of my disdain for multiple SEC teams which school colors are orange{Florida, Auburn, UT}. No, I'm not kidding.

10. I tend to leave projects at home incomplete. ::See: Every Room in Our House::

I was tagged by Jennifer at Sweet Little Loving's....So I'm tagging:

Sarah @ It's a Vol
Jenn @ When in Doubt, Add More Salt
Tiffany @ The Momma Bear Diaries
Natalie @ From Corporate to Domestic

*Oh and if you're viewing this post in your Reader hop over to the site for a semi-new look on the blog!*

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bits & Blurbs to Round it Out

This week {really this month} has flown by. Somehow I've managed to turn around and we're only a blink away from August. August!

In honor of this fast-paced month let's wrap this week up with some blurbs.

**

Jackson turned 16 months old on Monday.
Can someone please enlighten me on how exactly this happened so quickly?

**

In just 6 days, Brandon and I will celebrate our 4-year wedding anniversary.
Um, yeah, same question as above.

**

Wednesday's post has had me really reflecting on my job. I've been on a search for contentment in life, specifically my career, and I think I may have found it. We received a much anticipated call yesterday that justified many hours of work and worry. After moments of giddiness and a big ole hug with the boss man, I sat in my office full of peace and thankfulness.

**

I put much thought into this over the month and decided to just go for it...
Yep, I'm talking Sponsors. Multiple opportunities at affordable rates. The View From 510 is taking the dive into the deep end  of sponsorships. Join us? Learn more here.


**

Come Monday, I'll have a new design up! Squeee! I've been bitten by the design bug for a while now, but just couldn't find the right inspiration. Well, this week I think I've finally made progress.

**

Now I'm off to work for a few hours then spend the weekend with the family.

Happy Friday Sweet Friends!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can't Stop Me Now

Damn, y'all, there are some weeks I am over Pinterest. And then there are others that I can't tear myself away from the iPhone app, iPad app and then run home to hop on the actual site.

I mean when you come across stuff like this...









Yes, this printable may just have to go in Jackson's big boy room somewhere.
The good news? It comes in three colors!


And this collage? I may just be ordering a million of these frames come pay day. Because if you go here, you'll see for yourself what a steal they are!

Source: lilluna.com via Erin on Pinterest


Fonts. Fonts. Fonts.
I've been sorting through a lot of this lately which can only mean one thing...
I've caught the design bug again and have been hastily reworking my current look.

Sure, every now and then I follow through on my pinning frenzies, but the reality of most of my pinning is more along these lines...

Source: someecards.com via Erin on Pinterest


Follow my pinning adventures here and let me know so I can follow back!

Linked up with Michelle for Oh How Pinteresting!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On The Wings of Angels

When we moved back to my hometown after our pregnancy surprise, I was lucky to have a job almost fall into my lap. You see, I'd been planning/hoping/dreaming of law school but sweet Baby J had put that dream on hold. So, when my best friend's parent's firm needed a new legal assistant, it was the perfect fit for all of us.

Things went well at Firm W for a little over a year. Thats when things took a turn for the worse. If you've been around a while, then you'll recall my rants about our office manager aka my best friend's mom. We hit some rocky territory and I thought it'd be best for our personal and professional relationship if I looked for other opportunities.

So, I spruced up my resume and started a job search: the most dreaded of tasks. I pondered looking for a job that actually pertained to my degree {journalism}. But in our new city those are far and few between. I knew that could be a long and tense search.

Therefore, the first person I sent my resume out to was Mr. G, a family friend who'd been helping with the law school application process, in hopes he needed a new paralegal.

And? Wouldn't you know he'd just hired a paralegal the week before!
Oy ve. The joys of job hunting. 


My spirits were low as I'd endured a treacherous year-and-a-half search for a job post-college. I was terrified to go through that process again.

Then, one afternoon I checked my email to see Mr. G had emailed me again saying he'd gotten word his friend needed a new paralegal and he'd sent my resume his way.

Say what?!

Within 72 hours Mr. H had emailed me about coming in for an interview! I could not believe my eyes. A real interview! Y'all, I had never had a real interview for a job in which the company had chosen me for my resume and recommendation.

I had serious butterflies fluttering as I entered my interview. The almost 45 minutes flew by as I recounted my teenage years, college education and some pretty good "That's What She Said" jokes with two associate attorneys.

I walked out of there thinking, holy shit what an amazing interview! Did I do that right? 


Before I could even get a thank you letter out to them I'd been called in for a second interview with two partners, one of which I'd be working with directly.

That interview, was a bit different than the first. More technical, more detailed, more business. And when I asked how plaintiff work would differ from the defendant based firm I'd become accustom to, Mrs. B recalled the story of a client that had her on the verge of tears.

This time, I walked out of the office praying for this opportunity. These attorneys were the complete opposite of the stereotype. You could tell they fight the good fight each and every day.

114 days ago I started my new appellate paralegal position with this firm.

Over these few months I have had to learn to work with new courts, new clients, new attorneys. Basically? Everything was new. Oh and on top of that one of my boss men announced his candidacy for State House the week I began. So we've had campaigning schedules thrown in with everything else.

Each day I go in and answer to two attorneys: J and B. I fondly refer to them as my odd couple. One is an OCD, Type-A associate with a great career still being paved. The other an A.D.D.,  procrastinator and attorney extraordinaire. J uses a baseball metaphor to describe to others that we're working in the major leagues and they are far from rookies. And he's right.

The learning opportunity this job provides me each day is irreplaceable. So despite my tendencies want to stay at home, this job could be bigger than I know. Not just for me now, but for the future as well. For my dream of law school that still whispers from the back of my mind. Right now? I'm learning from some of the best attorneys in the state.

A month into this position, Attorney J had one of his biggest cases ever in from of our state Supreme Court. It was a case I'd familiarized myself with. The type of case I joined this firm for. The case where the justice system initially failed, then redeemed itself and now this client fights the fight to ensure the justice system sticks to its word. Attorney J paced around the morning of our oral argument recalling every case reference, amendment and precedent he had up his sleeve.

I'll never forget the morning of this oral argument. He sat in my office as we discussed how if the law is proper and follows its word then we do not lose this one. Before leaving that morning, before wrapping up our conversation, J said to me with a hint of fear and the strength of an army glimmering in his eyes, "Today, we fly on the wings of angels."

And today, Wednesday, we {my attorneys and I} arrive early to work anxiously awaiting the court's weekly publishing of opinions, as we do every Wednesday. I remember what he said that day back in April. I remember why I'm blessed to have this opportunity. And I thank God that he's allowed me this moment in life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Day Jackson Went Nakey

With cutting four molars this month, to say Jackson's stomach has been on the fritz would be an understatement. There was a good week where his poos well exceeded four and five times a day.

As awful as it was for us, I hated it for him. Little did I know that was going to be the least of it. A few days into his tummy aches a fierce diaper rash began to form. Can I just tell you this kid has never had a diaper rash. Ever! 


So we went digging for the diaper cream I knew we'd purchased pre-parenthood. After searching in far too many places, we found some. Well wouldn't you know not 24 hours later that rash was only getting worse. It's as if the diaper cream wasn't doing anything!

The rash had gotten so bad you could tell Jack was walking with his legs as wide open as possible without absolutely falling over. Poor kid looked like he'd just returned from a 7-day horseback riding adventure.

Many of you lovely friends suggested letting him go diaperless for a little while to air that bad boy out. This made me nervous with his frequent poos, but I felt for the kid so nakey it was.

I attempted to have him lay down with me and read some books but he was having none of it. Laying down is apparently only for the mindless. No, he wanted to sit right on my lap bare butt and all. So sit he did.

Our books managed to keep his attention for a good 5-10 minutes before he was off again. I ran after him like a mad woman, towel in hand, begging him just to sit with mommy.

Ha. Silly me. 

So, I surrendered.
I sat on the couch ready to pounce at the sign of an oncoming accident.

Jackson was eating up every second of nakedness. Running around, occasionally checking out his goods, but mainly continuing on his usual toddler treachery.

That's when he ran back around the couch in which I decided to take a moment to breathe and let my MIL who was in the kitchen supervise for a second.

Not thirty seconds after that kid rounded the couch I heard my MIL squealing "Oh my God, he's pooping on the floor!"


Don't worry y'all he peed too. Why just give mom one mess to clean up, right?

From that moment on, my sympathy towards his rash of a hiney went out the window. We're going to have a good long discussion before we ever have a nakey day around here again.

And as I look back on that stressful, pooey week I think to myself, at least I've got a great story to tell his future girlfriends.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Toddler & His Dirt Devil

Before Jackson could even walk, a client of B's sent home a rather vintage toy vacuum that her children loved to play with. It was adorable and I could picture him playing with it months and months down the line. 

Well, it seems 14/15 months were that magical moment where this kid realized the awesomeness of the toy vacuum in the corner. 


He picks this bad boy up, pushes the button and gets to cleaning.


Often he'll chase the dogs around laughing along the way. Poor dogs don't stand a chance!
Other times, he follows me or B around as we use the real vacuum.
And every now and then, he just stands around vacuum in hand.


Jackson has hit a stage where many toys intrigue him, but there are still few that keep his attention day after day. This vacuum is one of those toys.


I am so grateful that client sent home this toy all those months ago.
Thankful she passed on the joy this simple item brings to my baby.


I can say with certainty, I'd never have gone out to purchase a vacuum for my toddler.


However, this will be a go-to, top-recommended toy on my list for years to come.


It doesn't get much better than watching your babe figure out the ins and outs of replicating mom and dad. Especially when it'll turn into a chore we're more than glad to hand over one day. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Merciful

As I've reflected lately on my evolving spiritual relationship through the last four years, many lessons have been learned. But mercy in His actions has remained a resounding message.

In the wake of this week's shootings, people begin to question the mercy of His actions.

A Colorado Resident/Theater 9 Patron/ Survivor/Witness/Mom carries His lesson of mercy with such resilient faith in a post on her blog.

I highly suggest you take time to read Marie's testament.

"Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways." - Marie

Friday, July 20, 2012

When You Have Nothing Nice to Say...

We all know the old saying. Hell, most of our mothers beat it into our brains...

If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. 

This week I've felt...off. My typical writing mojo and blog lovin' has been lacking. In fact, I've spent the last 72 hours wondering what was wrong with me. Yeah, that's what I said, wrong.

Yesterday, after leaving daycare in tears and arriving to work welcomed by multiple piles of tasks, I knew
I needed a break. Sometimes a girl just needs a breather. Even from this blog that I love, this community I've created, this outlet I adore. Sometimes life is just too overwhelming.

Whew! That feels good to get out there! 

I have so many posts in draft, stories that need to be documented and questions I need to get out to you mamas. But when it came time to sit at the computer each night I had nothing nice to say. I found myself full of complaints and bitterness. And well, that's not what I want here. 

Yes, I vent. But there's a certain point where venting is just bitching and I'm really trying to be above that {please don't ask my husband how that's going :)}. Each time I came here to type out my stories the same things that are my greatest blessings are the ones I was all too ready to bitch about. 

Life's funny that way isn't it?

All this is to say, it's been quiet around here lately, but with this post I'm washing away that bitterness. And in the days to come I have much to share.







Happy Friday loves! I look forward to catching up on everyone's blogs this weekend!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 411

Every now and then you run across a link-up announcement that gets you giddy. Not only is it an optimal way to meet new bloggers, it's a great way for current readers to get to know you better.

So, when Becky announced her Blogger 411 link-up I started prepping my Q&A. You see, even when you've been reading a blog for months {maybe even years} there's always little details about them you just don't know. 

To everyone stopping by from Becky's blog, Welcome! If the 411 below tickles your taste buds, hop on over to the "Meet Me" and "Our Story" tabs above for more juicy info. 

1. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?
Anne Hathaway. I'm sure she's be honored. Yeah?
Source: piccsy.com via Erin on Pinterest


2. How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?
My blogging story has had quite the revolution over the last four years. I first began back in college as a gossip blogger. A site I loved was looking for writers and I thought, why not me? Next thing I know, I'd been blogging for them for over a year. 

Like the seasons of life, blog realities change too and the gossip scene just wasn't for me. In the midst of some insane life changes, I began a new blog, one just by me. A Food Blog. Three months into being a food blogger, a positive pregnancy test altered my appetite big time and I couldn't fathom the idea of being in the kitchen much less concocting recipes. This led to a 9-month sabbatical from blogging. 

Soon after welcoming Jack into our lives, I couldn't ignore the blog-shaped hole in my heart. And so it began, The View From 510. Er, well, if you've been here a while you know I started this lil home of mine on the inter webs as Confessions of a Magnolia Mom. Again, seasons change and sometimes so do names. For now, The View From 510 it is. This time I think I'm here to stay. 

3. 
Where have you traveled?
I've been blessed to travel many places both domestic and international. Visit this post for a little more insight to my travels!

4. Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?
I began my undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama as an Interior Design major. I knew it was the school for me the moment I stepped foot on campus as a Senior in High School. But if you know our love story, you know I moved to Brandon's city after a year of long distance dating. 

This meant saying goodbye to Bama and hello to Middle Tennessee State University {MTSU}.

It was at MTSU that I finally found my major, journalism. While MTSU doesn't quite measure up to Bama, I loved my years in journalism school. Both universities are experiences I wouldn't trade.


But Bama? It kinda sticks with you. Roll Tide!

5. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

I'd go all cliche and buy me and the hubs new cars. Because after that I'd get way too responsible with the money. You know, student loans, college fund for Jack, buying our forever home and paying it off and lastly giving my mom a chunk of the money as thanks for all she's done for us over the years.

6. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?

Miller Lite. Wine. Diet Coke. Water. In that order. 

7. Show us a picture from High School or College.

Freshman year at Bama headed out for a night in T-Town with pledge sisters. 


8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
Reality TV, blogging and a bottle of wine. At this point in life, it doesn't get much better.

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Italy. Wait, all expenses paid? Then we'll just go with Europe. 

10. What day would you love to relive again?
You'd think I'd say my wedding day, but no. My choice? The day Brandon and I met. The second time around I'd know to remember more details from that night!


11. Show us the most current picture of you or you and your family.
12. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?

I'm going to combine these last two.... 

Five years from now, I see us as a family of four rather than this:


I see me in the midst of earning another degree. 
I see Brandon at a new job, no idea what though. 
I see us continuing to pray for strength and patience in marriage and parenthood.
I see my sweet baby far older than I'd like to imagine.
I see us growing in love. And as long as I've got that, I'm happy. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Mom Curse

As a teenager, I constantly whispered prayers that I not end up like my insane mom. If it wasn't one embarrassing thing then it was another.

Example 1: 

For years I banned my mom from watching Lifetime movies because I'll be damned if she didn't wind up on that couch in a ball of tears not 30 minutes in. Every.Single.Time. Sobbing! 

A Kleenex commercial running during the Lifetime movie? You may as well have put in some ear plugs and handed her vat of tissues. One year, there was some movie TNT played on repeat and even the previews sent the woman into a tizzy.  

Every time she cried over these ridiculous moments, I left the room shaking my head in shame. 

To continue reading this post head over to Sarah's blog It's A Vol! where I'm guest posting.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Social: Travel Edition

Linking up with Neely and Ashley this week for Sunday Social! Head over to one of their blogs to find this week and next week's questions for the social link-up...now onto the good stuff! Oh wait, one more thing, please excuse all the damn spaces Blogger has decided to be a fickle B tonight.


Best trip you've ever been on?


As much as I'd like to say our honeymoon, I've got to go with my two-week trip to Spain as a teenager. It was your not-so-typical trip with your High School. You see, the only people who signed up for the trip were me, four of my best friends and one other person. So all in all, it ended up being an international trip with my friends and one of our favorite teachers. 


For two weeks, we ran wild through Spain traveling from Barcelona down to the coast and back up to Madrid. We went to our first night clubs, saw priceless art, tasted Valencia oranges in Valencia, swam in the Mediterranean and cheered on Spain as they played Portugal in an insane football game. 
Source: google.com via Erin on Pinterest


I also found the city of my dreams on this trip, Seville, Spain. With winding cobblestone roads, tiny tapas places left and right and the most picturesque churches, I cannot wait to take the Husband to this city one day. 


Best idea for a girls weekend trip?


The beach. End.Of.Story. Nothing beats a weekend with your feet in the sand, a drink in your hand and a girlfriend to gossip with. And when you own a beach house just a few hours from home it's kind of a no-brainer.  


Best idea for a couples trip?


This one is tough. I'm a firm believer in seeing the world and traveling to as many places as possible. That being said, every season in life takes you a new direction and for me that means a different travel bug. Wherever you and your partner think is best for you is where you should go! 


For me and the Hubs that often means a quick trip to the mountains but every now and then it may mean a trip to somewhere more on the wild side, like Vegas. 


As we plan a birthday trip for me in the Fall we're debating Chicago or Savannah.  Feel free to leave your thoughts below :) 


Best vacation on the cheap?


Pick a city close to you, a hotel with decent prices and hit the road! Places we like to go: Charlotte, Asheville, Charleston. Even just a day or overnight trip. Just getting a dinner sans Toddler, a night to pamper yourselves and a morning to sleep in can make a world of difference!


One of our favorites:


Source: google.com via Erin on Pinterest




Place you most want to visit?


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Italy! As an art junkie, it's my ultimate destination. Pre-parenthood I'd hoped for us to take a month-long trip. Those hopes have been put on hold for now. But before life is said and done I plan to travel the span of the entire country seeing the art and architecture I spent years studying.

Vacation Necessities:
  • A good book. 
  • Your favorite pair of flats and walking shoes. 
  • A sweater, even if you're traveling to warmer weather. 
  • Extra cash. Because you never know what'll happen. 
  • And of course, the perfect travel companion whether it's the Husband or BFF



Sunday Social

Giveaway winners! Was it you?!

I am so grateful to the wonderful people over at What to Expect for hosting this giveaway for my lovely readers. Their brand and books are some of the most reputable around. So to them, a huge thank you!

Now, onto the good stuff! Both winners will receive the three book series from What To Expect...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Natalie and Katie! 

I'll be emailing you each this week with further details on receiving your books!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Giveaway for Mamas and Mamas-To-Be

Before it's too late...



On a related note, have any of you seen the What To Expect When Your Expecting movie?



The cast list is insane, but I never heard much about it....So, please, if you've seen it leave a comment below, I'd love to know what you thought!

Happy Friday loves!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It Just Feels Good


For whatever reason, I rarely let Jackson wander around as a diaper babe. But lately, with the 100+ degree weather and an AC that's struggling it just seems natural to be nakey.


That is, until dude had a diaper rash the other day and we took "going nakey" one step further. You know, like to full-on no clothes, no diaper babe.

Yeah.
Story to come.
Because an afternoon like that must be documented for his teenage blackmail book.

*linking up with Jenni From The Blog, Crazy About my Baybah, Naptime Momtog*

Oreo Pudding Poke-Cake Recipe


As Father's Day creeped closer I knew finding the right treat for Brandon would prove to be difficult. You see, the man claims to hate chocolate, but really, he loves it. Which means being the amazing wife I am, I track many treats that balance chocolate and something else, anything else. 

That being said, Oreos are at the top of B's list. In fact, his list of life priorities falls something like this: Jackson, Millie, Oreos, Me. 
Ha! I kid, I kid. I'd probably be listed before Oreos, probably. :)


Thanks to hours on my favorite recipe sites, I found one that would balance his love of Oreos and chocolate.


Once the cake came together I was a little nervous. This thing was pretty chocolatey. Perhaps too much for my fickle Husband. The real test came Father's Day night as I served up some slices. And wouldn't you know, he gave the cake two thumbs up!


Simple. Sweet. Sensational. 
Try it now. Thank me later.

Ingredients: 
1 box Chocolate Cake Mix {and ingredients it calls for}
2 - 4 oz. Instant Oreo Pudding boxes {and ingredients it calls for}
Crushed Oreos 
          Directions:
1. Bake cake according to directions.
2. Just before cake is done baking, prepare the pudding mixing until all lumps are gone but so that the pudding is not completely thick.
3. While cake is still warm punch holes {with end of a wooden spoon} into the cake about an inch apart.
4. Then pour pudding over cake, spreading it evenly to ensure it's getting into those holes.
5. For several minutes, allow cake to cool. Then place into the refrigerator to set for at least an hour.
6. When preparing to serve, crush up some Oreos and spread over the cake.

Monday, July 9, 2012

GIVEAWAY: What to Expect Book Series

Within the first 48-hours of our positive pregnancy test we headed to the bookstore in search of parenting preparation books.

While we weren't quite sure what book we'd go home with for B, it was a no-brainer that for me we'd need What to Expect When You're Expecting. This is a must-have book for all moms-to-be.  It walks you through pregnancy month-by-month, detail after detail.

I devoured the first half of the book before we even got in for our first OB appointment. Which meant I was more than prepared with questions and even some answers for the Doc.

Then as pregnancy came to an end and we welcomed Jackson into our lives Mommyhood took over. But then, I had more questions. Should he be eating this much? Crying this much? Is this the right age for {fill in the blank} milestone. How's a mom really to know these things? That's when What to Expect for The First Year comes in handy. And it doesn't stop there folks. Their series continues into year two as well.


Well ladies, the wonderful people with What to Expect are graciously offering not one but TWO set of this series to The View From 510 readers!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*What to Expect provided me with a set of the series in return for this giveaway. Thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone*

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 2012

Today we honor our country, our independence, our freedom and most importantly the men and women who dedicate their lives to give us the life we are able to lead.

Source: flickr.com via Erin on Pinterest


I can't help but think of Jimmy today and reflect on the life he lead. He is my ideal American. From the day I met him, he dedicated his life to defending our country, our freedom, our ordinary. And he continued to do so until God called him home.

Not a day goes by I don't think of him or his family.


Jimmy, thank you for dedicating your life to our country.
Thank you for living your life as a model for the rest of us.


Today, as we celebrate our country, I think of you. I go to the fridge carrying Jack and we point to your picture and practice your name. Because even though you're not here in person you will always be here in spirit and I will make certain that not only B and I carry on your light but that Jackson does as well.

If you'd like to know more about our beloved friend Jim go here and here.

15 Months of You

June 23, 2012 our sweet baby boy turned 15 months old. This age is so many things wrapped into one. Overwhelming, adventurous, inquisitive, bubbly, nerve-wracking. 

Through it all I am so thankful for this amazing blessing of parenthood. Not only have we watched him grow, I've watched myself grow, my husband grow and lately my heart is more full than I ever new it could be. 


Details:
Weight: 24.5 pounds  Shoes size: 4/5   Diapers: size 4    Ego size: infinity

He's beginning to transition into 18 month clothes and I'm not ready for this reality.
Sleep isn't great. The one-nap transition at daycare is killing us. Jackson is exhausted all the time leading to 5 am wake up calls. I'm hoping by 16 months we'll have resolved this issue. 



Words:
"Bye-bye" - since 14 months
"Mama" -9 months
"Dada" - 11/12 months?
"Boof" -J's version of "Woof"
"Uh-oh"

Actions:
Shaking his head no when I tell him no
Pushing buttons and understanding how they work
Pointing to his nose when asked where his nose his
Blowing kissing while making a big ole "mwah" sound
Open mouth kisses while making the noise he thinks we make when kissing him
High Fives on command


Miscellaneous:
As a baby he hated to be held. Hated! But now? Snuggling is one of his favorite things. Weekend mornings are some of my favorite times, snuggling in bed just the three of us. Although he still refuses to ever sleep in bed with us. 

Jackson can basically run now, he tried jumping this weekend and fell on his face.

He sings to himself in the car. It's more of a hum but it's cute. Typically he falls asleep shortly after.


Every night before bed we read Goodnight Moon. While Jackson generally calms down once I get a couple pages in, if I turn to the page with a house and a mouse all is right with the world. He then points at the mouse then to the house each time saying  "ouse." I guess they're the same thing. 

Riding his 4-wheeler {a birthday gift from me and B} is one of Jack's favorite things. He begs to go outside, finds his way to the garage and points to his 4-wheeler. 


This month he spent almost two weeks with his Grammie and was spoiled rotten! 
He loved every second of it. 

He lights up as we walk into daycare but still clings to me when I leave. It's a bittersweet routine.

Similarly, he lights up every night when we get home to see his Dad. In fact, the entire way home he says "Dada" over and over. 


We celebrated B's second Father's Day. He got a craft from daycare, a little bowl we made that read "We love you to pieces" filled with Reeses Pieces and a new fishing pole.

Managed to survive a short-lived ear infection. 

Endured an insane sunburn after your his real day at the pool. 

And currently, aside from his girlfriend Emma at school, he is absolutely smitten with Millie {our dog}. 


Jackson has grown leaps and bounds this month. Every button he pushes, word he hears, every hug he gives is another notch in my heart. Before being told I was pregnant that fateful day several years ago, my heart was not open to the love of a child. But over the last 15 months that has changed.


My heart has grown in a way I didn't know possible. It has become so full of love for my sweet child, my caring husband and our life together as a family. This love is something I never expected in life. I was told by doctors it wouldn't happen and my heart quickly grew cold.

Now, 15 months after becoming a mama, my heart is whole in an extraordinary way. I am beyond thankful God has blessed me with this experience of motherhood. It's something I wouldn't trade for the world. Watching Jackson over these months has been beyond words.

To my sweet, sweet baby boy, 


Thank you. 


Thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for smiling at me, loving me, learning with me. I look forward to so many more months with you!


Love, 
Your mama


Linked up with Jenni From the Blog and Naptime Momtog

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The How To's on Disciplining a Young Toddler

I'd always been warned about the terrible two's. For most of us, this is known as an infamous age. Each time our mother's mothers prepared us for parenting the resounding message was beware of age two.

Legend has it, two is the age where your toddler is in full-on tantrum mode. 

But what our mother's mothers never prepared us for is age one. This age where the sweet moments of toddlerhood are presenting themselves. The moments where they want to sit on your lap, hold your hand and smother you in open-mouth kisses. A seemingly magical age. 

What they failed to mention is that sprinkled amongst these moments is the beginning of the infamous age two tantrums. 

Lately we've been battling blood-culring screams because Jackson's realized what a great set of lungs God has blessed him with. He's learned that the word "no" means no and that if you continue to feed your food to the dogs you can in turn watch your mother's head explode. That tiny innocent toddler of mine has also learned that throwing himself on the floor is the perfect way to get onlookers attention. Scratch that, anyone's attention! If life isn't going his way, he so carefully throws himself to the ground, rolls to his tummy and lays there screaming, stiff as a board. 

This is what we're up against mamas. 

Clearly, it's time for some discipline, but that word sounds so harsh to apply to a mere 1-year-old. Seeing as Brandon and I know something needs to be done I took to the interwebs to find some advice. And wouldn't you know, we were on the right path already. 

Thanks to What to Expect When You're Expecting's website I now hold the key to toddler training. 
Because let's face it, that's what it is, training. 

Do tell and show your baby how much you love him. Remember, you’re correcting his behaviors, not him. Model politeness and respect (with him and everyone else!).

Don’t be too strict or rigid. If you set your standards too high, it’s hard for your little one to feel like he can succeed and to develop the self-control he needs to behave even when out of your sight. But …

Do be strict enough. Setting limits that are fair helps him feel loved and protected. If you’re overly permissive, he may get the sense that you don’t care what he does.

Don’t let down your guard about safety. You might be teaching your baby that the stove is hot or the stairs are steep, but don’t count on him to avoid temptation.

Do take personality into account. Some babies require a firm tone of voice, while others respond better to a gentler one. Still others must be physically removed from a dangerous area before they get the message. And circumstances (a new sitter or an erupting tooth) matter too when it comes to getting your message across.

Don’t shame or criticize. Your baby isn’t trying to be cruel to the cat by pulling her tail; he’s just curious about what will happen when he does. Calling him a “bad boy” doesn’t help him learn to be kinder to kitty and can crush his developing self-confidence.

Do be consistent. Telling your baby not to climb up on a chair one day, then letting him do it the next is confusing. So is saying “don’t touch” without following up if (when!) he ignores your request. It takes a lot of patience and repetition to teach compliance.

Don’t always say no. A constant chorus of “no, no, no!” strips the word of its power, fast. Choose your battles; safety (of people and things) is most important. Try distractions and alternatives whenever you can (“This knife is too sharp for you, but you can stir with this big spoon”). Turn “don’ts” into “dos”: “This is how we pet a cat” instead of “Don’t pull Fluffy’s tail!”

Do catch him being good. Praise him for offering a toy to a peer or for “helping” you with a chore. Accentuating the positive is truly powerful!
I for one am reading and re-reading this tips each morning. Because while age two may be the infamous toddler-tantram era, age one certainly presents its own battles.

*I was not compensated by What to Expect When You're Expecting for this post, I simply love their brand and trust their advice in parenting.* 

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Little Chunk Of Ham

There are expressions like this...


That justify every doubt of parenthood...


Every shred of hesitation...


And every skeptical moment as to if you're doing this parenting thing right at all.


Because if he's smiling, that's all that matters in the world.

Happy Monday, y'all!


What to look for this week:
Jackson's 15 month post
How To's on Disciplining a Young Toddler
Oreo Pudding Poke Cake Recipe
A GIVEAWAY!!!