Monday, September 30, 2013

Such Sweet Memories

Happy Monday and happy Fall, everyone! 

I hope I have found you all doing well and enjoying some cooler weather. I know we have been enjoying cooler temperatures. Over the weekend, we even had some snow flurries! They didn't stick at all, but we did have an overnight freeze of sorts. 

We have this big, beautiful tree in the front yard that froze, as did our bushes and grass! The leaves basically looked like they were glazed over, and were encased in ice. It was really cool! 

Anyway, as the seasons change, so do things in our lives. As we come into fall time, we come into new stages in C's development, and therefore, new stages in our lives. First, let me share on the sleeping front:

C's sleeping has really improved. Despite the fact that he was up a little bit extra last night, for the past week, he has only been waking three times a night to nurse, which is a huge improvement! My goal is to cut down by at least one more, but I'm not gonna push him if he really needs all three of those nursing sessions. Unfortunately, however, he recently discovered that standing in his crib and playing is much more exciting than sleeping. So, that has been a bit of a battle. I have to leave him while he stands and whines, but as soon as he starts screaming, I can go in, lay him down with his "snack" bottle and he is usually good again. But who knows? That could all change at any moment. In any case, this is much easier than battling him screaming and just not wanting to sleep or waking up every 2 hours! Yes, this I can handle. :) 

I have shared that C is becoming much more mobile, and it seems like every day he gets braver and braver. However, he isn't necessarily becoming more coordinated in conjunction with his bravery. I keep telling him that we can continue to baby-proof, but I am not able to remove the walls, so he really just needs to be more aware of his head. This kid is not easily harmed. Seriously... he doesn't cry easily when he bumps his head or falls down. It takes a good smack to get him upset, and typically he just gets more angry than anything. Anyway, as you can imagine from my implications, he is really pulling up on just about any- and everything and really walking along and between furniture. I expect him to surprise us and just take off any day now. And I am not ready at all! Haha! It's all just going way too fast. 

As fall sets in deeper and deeper, I reminisce on where I was this time last year: huge and pregnant. I keep thinking about how all my life, until last year, I dreaded fall and spring. They seemed and felt like useless seasons to me; just annoying transition seasons, until we could get to the fun ones. But last year, I could not wait for the cool-down! I had been blazing hot and sweaty all summer and according to MH, I was radiating heat as his "little human incubator" or "hot brick". Yeah... I agree. It was ridiculous how hot I was my entire pregnancy! Well into October, I insisted that the AC unit be left in our bedroom window. But it wasn't just the cooler temps. I knew that once fall time hit, I didn't have much longer until my little man would be in my arms. So, as I said, I have been reminiscing a lot lately. I've been looking at old pictures... a lot of them, which were never shared with others. Mostly pictures of immediately after C was born. Sadly, I only have a few of Baby C and me right after he was born. I definitely wish I had more, because we plan on having C as an only child, so that was "it" for me. Not that I have regrets... just a few wishes. ;) 

My little man was SUCH a peanut! He still is, sure, but compared to then... he has grown into quite the little boy! :) 

Anyway, as we head into fall, there is so much on the horizon! C will be turning one on 12/12, 7 days later MH and I will celebrate our third Wedding Anniversary on 12/19 and then 6 days later, Christmas! Although C was here for his first Christmas last year, he wasn't quite aware, so I am excited for this year and he'll be all prepped and practiced at unwrapping presents thanks to his birthday! I'm so excited, but also sort of in shock that his birthday is so close. I'm so proud of my little man and all that he has accomplished in his almost 10 months of life. I know he has so much more to learn and give in this world. I can't wait to watch him more and more! 

Well, that's all from me for this Monday post. Sorry it's mostly just me reminiscing and blabbing about C, but he is the center of my world! :) And sorry there are so many pictures, but trust me when I say that I held back. LOL! 

Zebra Hugs and Love,


P.S. Here is what size I was this time last year:

Monday, September 23, 2013

And She Never Peeled Potatoes Again...

Happy Monday, everyone! This is going to be short and sweet, since typing is a bit painful. 

Allow me to jump right in by sharing a short story:

There once was a very clumsy girl. This clumsy girl had a husband and a son whom she loved very much, and they loved her too. She wasn't much of a cook, but her intentions were pure, as she made home made mashed potatoes one day. She was in a hurry, as a party would be starting soon, so she grabbed the peeler and got to work. She peeled those potatoes and quickly as she could so that they could go in the pot as soon as could be. But the quicker she peeled, the clumsier she became, until there was a sudden, sharp, stinging pain on one finger tip. She looked down and alas, a chunk of her finger tip was gone. And that was the last day she ever used a potato peeler. 

Haha... yes. I "peeled" off a good, deep chunk of my middle finger tip, which is used in a lot of typing, so, as I said, this will be short. 

This last week has been really focused on working out C's sleeping habits, as well as MH's and my habits relating to C's sleep. We have a really good new routine down, and it seems to get him calm enough to go right down. The biggest hurdle has been getting him to stay asleep, or, I guess more accurately, to put himself back down calmly when he does wake. As a huge Scentsy fan, I have a warmer [literally] in every room of my house. This includes C's room. Typically, I leave it on at night because it does help to see when I need to go in there and help him out in any way. But this weekend, I realized that it really is quite bright and would bug me if I woke up and the warmer in my own room was on. So, we have gone to pitch black in his room and I'm hoping that does help. Saturday was really quite miserable, as he had a very tough time Friday night. But he is making progress. I just have to remember that. He did have a few nights in a row that he only woke up twice. Saturday night was also a bit rough, but again, I remind myself to take a step back and really look at the night in detail, not just as a whole. What actually did change, despite the things that might appear to have stayed the same? Even those small changes are progress and that keeps me encouraged. I am continuing to read The No-Cry Sleep Solution and it is full of so many helpful hints and great tips, as well as some awesome encouragement in between! 

I wish I had something more interesting to post about, but this has really been our focus lately. 

I continue to receive small comments here and there, but just remind myself that I am making the right decisions for my family; that MH and I are raising our son how it works for us and that makes it right. People say "there is no right or wrong way" when it comes to parenting. But I disagree... there is a right way: your way; the way that you choose for your family, because it works for YOU. That is all that matters. 

Okay, well, that's all my poor middle finger tip can muster for now, so I will be back next week... hopefully with a much more favorable finger tip. :) Have a lovely evening and a beautiful Tuesday! 

Zebra hugs and love,

Sunday, September 22, 2013

They Told Me My Life Was Over

Hey all. Kailly and N here. It's been a while since I posted. Two weeks ago, a dear family member passed away unexpectedly. And, last week, N was in the hospital with the worst tummy bug I have ever seen. Poor girl. It came on so quickly, and she couldn't stop vomiting. She couldn't even keep pedialyte down, so we headed to the ER. All is well now. She and I have both had the virus and we're both doing well.

Any who, not sure what to blog on. My heart has been other places lately, and besides reading the girls posts, I have not even thought about the blog lately.

I guess I'll post about my biggest Mommy pet peeve.

I absolutely cannot stand when people say "well, once this happens, your life is over." Or, "oh, now that she is doing that, prepare for the worst."

Really, people? Maybe with most people, that is the case. I have even heard from another mom, that once her daughter started crawling her life was over.

Maybe I am different. When N first started sitting up on her own, I never thought life was over. When she started to crawl, I was so excited. It was a whole new adventure!

Then, when she started talking rather early, everyone said "life was truly over." Personally, the best time to me is when she talks. I love hearing her voice. I love hearing her say new words as she discovers the world. I love that she communicates so well for her age, and I soak it in!

When she was teething, everyone said welcome to the life of being bitten and sleepless nights. While she has had one or two nights that she hasn't slept well from teething, I think those are when we make the best memories. Those are the nights that she just wants to lie on mommy's chest, and I treasure every second of snuggles as I know one day (sooner than later), my princess won't want to snuggle anymore! And, with the biting, she tried a couple of times when she was angry (angry when I was buckling her in her car seat and she wanted to do it by herself!), and quickly learned that biting is not allowed as it hurts mommy. She hasn't tried since.

And, don't even get me started on walking, or "terrible twos."

If you think every stage as a parent is going to be awful, then it will be. That is what happens when you only look at the negative aspects of being a parent. But, if you look at things positively, and enjoy all the new stages and growth your baby is doing, you will enjoy everything! At least, that is how I try to do things! I am really enjoying watching her learn, grow, and develop into a little lady every day!

Any who, on to more happiness! N is doing so wonderful. She keeps playing peek a boo with me behind the laptop, and then running off laughing. She is such a doll. She is talking a ton! I feel like she has just blossomed into the sweetest little toddler lately!

Here is N from her birthday cake smash pictures. Taken by Shannon Coker Photography! I wanted to add one with her face but her outfit has her name on it. But, this is one of my favorite pictures! A little throwback photo!

I started Christmas shopping the other day as well! Never too early! And, the big Just Between Friends sale is coming up next week, so I'll have a haul post for ya'll after!

Hopefully I will be back on track with the blog soon. Have a good first day of Autumn!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wacky Wednesdays... or Thursdays or.... what year is it again??

Hey yall Shannon (mostly) here. Hope yall are walkin' on sunshine and having a great Wednesday... or Thursday ... or whatever day it might be ... my brain doesn't like functioning lately so my internal calendar is like 5 hours and a day behind... (literally I drafted this blog post last week) but anyway this is going to be one of those random all over the place posts otherwise known as a day in the life post...

I am absolutely, positively convinced that all mamas eventually develop some sort of attention deficit disorder somewhere along the line also known as having children. And it's no wonder we go a little bonkers sometimes...

This was my last week (yester)day...

make coffee nope make breakfast ok get dressed nope get kiddos dressed forget im still in pjs start on dishes break up dueling brothers... realize i have zero clean maternity pants clean so decide I am sure not in a dress mood and toss on my polkadot laundry day leggings finish getting dressed switch over laundry come back to finish dishes realize I wanted coffee...  start to tidy living room... emergency potty break for boys ok done finish tidying living room ... realize I have yet to eat. Eat brunch feed kiddos. Vacuum. Go back to dishes. Emergency potty break for mommy. (Ahh the joys of preggo bladder) get a call from Hubbers "be home late babe, don't forget we have company tonight". Of course I forgot I cant even remember my dag burn coffee that is still as I type sits waiting to be remembered?! Tidy front room. Lunch. Restart forgotten laundry and attempt to find my sanity that has been on vacation somewhere apparently... prepare glazed salmon and herbed rice for dinner guests realize I am wearing black and covered in dog hair do a quick change into presentable clothes. Guests arrive and Hubbers was still not home yet so my gal pal and I took the boys to the park after a mini rainstorm and let them go puddle jumpin to their hearts content. Caught a woman looking at me like I was a crazy person and maybe I am but 1. We live in a desert climate currently and the boys rarely get to experience the joy of puddles. 2. They are MY kiddos not hers. 3. They only get to be little kids once in their life and I plan on making as many amazing and fun memories together as we can especially the messy, mud puddle jumpin kind :) had a short very soggy walk back home.  dinner is served good visit with great company! Bedtime! And that was our day :) and it was wonderful!

I thought just for fun I would post a little preggo survey that I found online... so enjoy

How far along? 27 weeks 1 day

Maternity clothes? recently I have outgrown my last pair of maternity jeans so its either basketball shorts, pj pants, or leggings these days.  I wish i could live in yoga pants!

Weight gain: definitely who doesnt gain weight while preggers??

Stretch marks: yep sure do have them surprisingly not as noticable as when I had Big M

Sleep: Sleep is pretty good, Baby M just decides that 2am-5am is like fight night or somethin

Best moment this week: listening to Middle M talk to my belly and telling Baby M that "he is his big brudder"

Miss Anything? SUSHI!!!!! I have been craving some tasty sashimi since I found out I was preggers!

Movement: oh yes! I love every precious thump and belly surfin moment!

Food cravings: salad and fresh vegetables mostly, chocolate too but thats normal for me haha

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells get me bad. Gasoline is not a pleasant smell ever but especially unpleasant while using a k9 unit worthy prego nose And if someone is smoking within a 7 mile radius I know about it and it makes me nauseous!

Gender: BABY BOY!!!

Labor Signs: he recently dropped lower annd is no longer using my ribs as a jungle gym. And a few braxton hicks contractions here and there

Symptoms: heartburn, backaches, and my hips being on fire basically.

Belly Button in or out? Most definitely sporting a half outie these days haha

Wedding rings on or off? Wedding ring still on but my family ring that my sweet Hubbers designed that I wear on my right hand is too tight and had to be stored away.

Happy or Moody most of the time: mood swings like this: happy, anxious, happy, ready to tear off someone's face off amd back to happy and tired

Looking forward to: Getting our nursery squared away and shopping for the cutest little onesies and fuzzy jammies again!

Well everyone I hope yall have an awesome weekend sorry this post was delayed again. Have a fantastic weekend with your loved ones and dont forget to stop and take a moment to make a goofy fun memory like puddle jumpin :)

Hugs and smiles and always polkadot love from our house to yours... Shannon :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Catchin' some Zzz's... Or not.

Hello, everyone and happy Monday! Ashley comin to ya here. 

This is going to be a more emotional and vulnerable post for me, but I really feel like I need to get this out there. So here goes... 

Last week when I wrote, I mentioned how baby C had been having a hard time with sleeping lately. He has been going through a serious growth spurt and sleep regression, causing him to be nursing every 2 hours around the clock... Literally. All.Day.Long. So I would be up at night at least 4 or 5 times, sometimes more, and bedtimes were going horrifically! I started to feel like I was doing something wrong, or like this just couldn't possibly be normal. So I reached out. I went to several sources that I had found to be helpful in the past and I even reached out to our very own Shannon as well as some family. Most of those I reached out to, responded postitively with a lot of encouragement and reassurance that this too would pass. I even remembered months ago, talking to Kailly about how the 9 month growth spurt and regression had been the hardest on them up to that point. So I tried to find solace in that. However, I was also - unfortunately - met with a lot of criticism and comparisons. Allow me to explain. I believe that there is big difference between making comparisons flat out, and making comparisons in order to relate. In this instance, I felt like comparisons were being made flat out. Growing up, my mom always taught us not to "compare yourselves among yourselves". This is something that I continue to strive to live towards. I see no point in comparing myself to others, as it almost always tends to lead to feelings of dissatisfaction in life. 

This has become even more crucial to my way of life as a stay at home mom.  As Shannon posted previously, there is enough mom on mom bullying out there, without me doling it out to myself by comparing my successes as a mother to those of others. Besides, there's no point. The "job" is always different from mom to mom. And this is because every baby is different. For this reason, I refuse to compare baby C to others, and honestly I expect the same from others. Again... There's a difference between relating to a story I'm telling about baby C learning to pull himself up, and comparing the accomplishments of another baby at the same age, as though this will show that C is either "behind" or "ahead" of another baby. It's hurtful in both directions. So as I started to do research and read a lot about sleep habits and babies and their needs, in hopes that we could be a little less exhausted from day to day, I was met with criticism and comparisons being made. I became more and more frustrated. I found myself having to seriously defend our choices in raising C, especially when it came to the topic of feeding him. Even on The Leaky B@@b - a usually excellent resource for breastfeeding mothers on Facebook - I was shocked when I was met by mothers telling me to nurse baby C less! On a pro-breastfeeding site! This only fueled the flame of frustration. I tried to remain understanding, knowing that the suggestions of how to feed and introduce solids constantly changes from generation to generation. Plus, there are so many more resources available to moms now, than perhaps ever before. Now, the consensus is that "food before one is just for fun" when it comes to baby eating solids, so baby C only really needs mommy's milk; but we do give him solids via Baby-led Weaning, which I have previously discussed with you all. Anyway, I felt like I could do nothing right for my son and came into what MH describes as a "career crisis", where I feel as though people might find out that I have no idea what I'm doing, even though I atually do have a clue. 

My frustration and feelings of failure were elevated when I heard from a few people that at 9 months, this didn't seem normal for baby C to be waking up to nurse to often, or even at all! I was stunned. If C needs me at night, I want to, and WILL be there for him. However, MH and I have been learning that it's a matter of changing habits; not just baby C's habits, but ours as well. The best advice I was given by a family member, was to read The No-Cry Sleep Solution. It has been a fantastic resource and I do suggest it to any other moms out there who are having a difficult time with baby sleeping or dealing with growth spurts/sleep regressions. We have tried both ends of the spectrum when it comes to sleeping. We had gone to him every time he cried, never letting him self soothe and rocking or nursing him back to sleep; and we had most recently employed the cry-it-out method. Really, we agreed upon CIO out of desperation. I didn't have the physical ability to pick C up every 10 seconds, 5 minutes, you name it, all because he was fussing. I felt like if he even fussed even the slightest, I needed to be there. I felt like this was grooming him to be unable to self-soothe at all; and it was wearing me out and I was growing to resent him, since I felt like we had constant contact. (This might be good for someone involved in attachment parenting, but that's just not for me.) But by allowing C to cry-it-out, we found that he seemed less confident that his needs would be met, or that we really would come back to him in his crib. The No-Cry Sleep Solution has helped us find a happy medium! 

For any moms out there who might be in the same situation and are feeling desperate for sleep, or as thought your baby is waking up too much, let me put your mind at ease. IT IS NORMAL. All babies are different. Just because you know someone who has a baby that slept throught the night right out of the uterus, that doesn't mean that your baby needs to as well. And you don't need to push for your baby to be the same way, either. Sure, that would be wonderful. Who wouldn't love to have a baby who sleeps 10-12 hours a night without waking up!? But it still isn't all that common. Allow me to explain why. All of us, even as adults, go through the same sleep cycles, which include what are called "brief wakings". During those brief wakings, you or I might just turn over, adjust ourselves, and not ever really remember waking up. But babies don't know what to do during a brief waking, so they think that they must need us to help them through it, and sometimes the legitimately do. That's okay. Nothing is wrong with your baby if he or she does need you to help soothe or fall back to sleep. But the goal is training or encouraging baby into realising that he really doesn't need mommy or daddy. In order to accomplish this goal, MH and I have found that it's crucial (as I said) to instil confidence in baby C that we will meet his needs and that we always will come back. 

Throughout this sleep regression and growth spurt with C, the concept of using rice cereal has come up time and time again. First, not only would this be inappropriate at C's age (he is on table foods, so rice cereal would be taking several steps back), the use of rice cereal has actually been found to be not necessarily the best thing to do. This is something I never knew since I had always been told to put cereal in baby's bottle growing up. But in my research after having C, I found that putting cereal in a bottle is actually the most dangerous thing a parent could do. This can cause baby to aspirate. The use of cereal at all, can work sometimes, sure. But the reason that it works, is because the high caloric content causes baby's body to need to essentially shut down in order to digest all the way, increasing the risk of childhood obesity. Yes, this can lead to more sleep. And that's great, but this can throw off a baby's ability to tell whether or not he truly is full. It is also said that the benefits of rice cereal can actually be coincidental. I spoke about this in my post on baby-led weaning, but I will share again: doctors and nutritionists have found that by the time parents become desperate enough for that extra 10 minutes of sleep, baby has nearly finished that cycle of sleep regression/growth spurt, and is beginning to go back go his normal cycle of sleep anyway. So, we chose to skip rice cereal, with the full support of our doctor, who agreed with the findings of my research on rice cereal.

Now, please don't misunderstand me... If you do or have used rice cereal with your child, I don't have anything against you, I don't think you're a bad parent and I won't pass any judgment. It's none of my business. But please do me the same courtesy. Don't judge me. Don't tell me I'm making a mistake. Don't tell me that I should have used it, because C would be sleeping through the night by now. You have no way of knowing that and neither do I, just as you have no way of knowing whether or not your baby would have slept through the night anyway, had you not used rice cereal. Also, all that this does, is make me paste a smile on my face until you leave and I can be by myself and cry. Dealing with a sleep regression and growth spurt is exhausting. Sleep deprivation leaves you emotional, irrational, fatigued beyond belief and (in my case) ready to cry at the drop of a hat. This exhaustion has not only impacted my energy level, but my health level. Being so exhausted aggravates my POTS, which causes me to black out several times a day. So telling me what I should have done is not helpful in the least bit... It only leaves me wanting to slam a car door on my face, thinking that I have failed and am failing my child. You will also leave me waiting to slam a car door on your face, so just don't. 

In the end, mommies, I have learned a lot from this unfortunate experience. I have learned that I need to pick and choose who I ask advice from, as opening up as a mother is an emotionally vulnerable thing, because you have to admit that you have no idea what you're doing and risk feeling like a bad mom; I have learned that no matter who offers advice, wanted or unwanted, it doesn't matter what anyone says. I have learned that first time mom or not, I really do know my child better than anyone in this world and I only fail him when I stop trying. I have learned to trust my instincts and my spouse; and to open up to MH more for support and advice, because he is the only person on earth who knows baby C as well as I do. 

Well, that's all for this week, fellow mommies and daddies! But I wanted to share that C turned 9 months old!

He is getting so big! 

Anyway, I hope you all have a beautiful week and thank you for entertaining my gentle rant and slight rave. ;) 

Zebra love and hugs, 


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stop chasing the dream and just love your reality...

Hello friends it's shannon being late to post again sorry yall I have less brain and energy than normal and these factors severly complicate how much I am able to accomplish in a day. :) but I am attempting to keep up with our blog because it means a lot to share with all of you and encourage each other as women and mamas!

So with that here are a few of the latest happenings in our house. We are still trying to prepare our house and family schedule for the addition of Baby M. I dont know about any of you but somedays it feels like a ran a triathlon after simply throwing in a load of laundry... ah the joys of pregnancy eh? So with even the smallest task feeling like a daunting nightmare of a chore and wrangling two rowdy boys life has certainly been exciting and exhausting) lately!  I sit here and wonder how will I ever survive with three boys in the house?!? But then I am reminded of my most favorite scripture Philippians 4:13 I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me ... including holding down the fort while hubbers is in the field while carrying a wiggly rascal in my giant preggo belly and toddler wranglin at the same time! Yes I can! :)

I think we all too often are our own worst critics and I am far too gulity of this myself. How many times in a day do I apologize to guests in my home for the mess that is my living room?! Or for the lack of a walking path as toys and who knows what else occupies what im pretty sure used to be my floor.... (Ask anyone who knows me) now my house is no future episode on hoarders (my closet is another story entirely but hey if I can still close the doors for now it works for me) but the point is I am not perfect nor is anyone else and guess what? That is OK! I had a delightful phone chat with Ashley this morning (besties are such a lifesaver when you are feeling like a total failure!!) And we were talking frankly and honestly about our frustrations and our recent lack of energy due to this that or the other.

  First of all friends, let me assure you I am most definitely NOT the perfect housewife that has it all together! But let's be honest no one is... and those that pretend to have it all together are typically the most miserable ... you reading this right now be honest with yourself do you REALLY have all your laundry done? (I know that is a no because all the laundry only stays "done" until you take off what you are wearing and unless yall are walkin around in the buff no judging haha but unless you and your family dont wear clothes you will always have laundry) do you have projects that you have been putting off like organizing that closet or going through the kiddos clothes?? Of course we all do we all have unfinished projects and we all have personal struggles where our individual frustrations and weaknesses show through but instead of being honest and letting people know we have imperfections and cracks (which hello we all do) we would rather slap on more makeup, another coat of "varnish" to help us look together and project this image of who we wish we were and not who we are... why?!? Why is it not ok to be real anymore why are we so afraid to go out without makeup on our tired eyes or show up somewhere in what we really wear all day (yikes) well while Ashley and I were chatting we stumbled upon the real reason why women pretend to be a certain soccer mom image that society presses down on us all. One word...  Criticism! Whether it is self criticism or from an outside source criticism is hurting all of us in some form or another!

We live in the age of pinterest and social networking and celebrity moms that are back to a size 3 a few weeks after they give birth! Yeah right!! And dont get me wrong Pinterest is a fantastic resource for recipes and creative projects and organizing classes 101 through 997 BUT sometimes as we are happily pinning away we dont realize that sometimes we are actually pining too, pining for the organized closets, and pining to make those homemade skirts, pining after that freezer stocked to the brim with deliciously perfect premade meals, and pining after the butt and abs we really want.... and in so doing we are actually telling ourselves through each pin with a constant nagging inner voice that we arent good enough... see her house it's spotless why cant you be like that Shann? See how organized her children are you really must be doing something wrong! Why cant I find time to DIY my life?! Why cant you get it together why why??  why cant you look like her why cant you french braid or clean house on a schedule like Suzy Homemaker why why WHY AREN'T YOU GOOD ENOUGH?!!?

  Did that strike a chord did one of you jist gasp out loud like I did when I started asking myself those questions? It is amazing how if we really think about it for just a second we realize how we make ourselves feel like junk playing the seemingly harmlesspin my comparison or better phrase that I personally have used on pinterest boards ... my dream       fill in the blank which made me stop and think am I really so unhappy where I am that I have this other "dream life" picked out?? Please dont think im judging fellow pinterest addicts because lets face it who doesnt want a perfectly organized home but my point is we are pinning and pining our lives away and often times forgetting to count the blessings we do have and realizing that we do have pretty wonderful lives right where we are even with our messy closets, fussy toddlers, and our less than perfect figures!

And I'm telling you when you start listening to that negative inner voice that points out all your flaws and cracks and your struggles you can bet that someone in your life be it a friend, family member, or even a grouchy stranger that is just havin a bad day will sadly be all too willing to point it out too  further "proving" to us how imperfect and not good enough we are! Whether it is our struggle with midnight brownies giving us our bountiful hips or our daily battles to finish "simple" chores, our sassy toddlers that have meltdowns in the most inconvenient situations, or our lack of organizing skills! We hear it enough times and sadly we start listening to the nagging voices that convince us we dont know what we are doing as mamas or we arent good enough wives or we just are miserable housekeepers or in general ugly less than par women and sadly in the world we live in it is even easier to spread these lies and hateful mean shattering thoughts...
While facebook is wonderful for keeping in touch with family and friends and sharing those adorable pics of our littles it is also much easier to make rude comments and make people and specifically women and moms more self concious than we already are...  why is it easier to make a rude comment or say something critical to a first time mama who asks an innocent question about when to wean her baby, or how to settle a screaming toddler, or something as simple as how to get a grease stain out of a white t shirt?? Why is it more common to read mean spirited comments about how "you should just know" or "wow you really are clueless aren't you" .... Mean! Uncalled for! And sadly becoming such a popular trend that these women are getting so hurt they become dangerously depressed... Obviously if someone asks a question to some degree they feel uncertain and "don't know" why else would they be asking the question guys???? For goodness sake we are all human beings that DONT have all the answers and constantly make mistakes stop being so cotton picket mean to each other but more importantly STOP this senseless mom on mom bullying it's not helping anyone to tear others to pieces on facebook or twitter or what-have-you so quit! Don't like someones status just to make a hurtful comment stop hate tweeting people that used to be in your life be a grown up and move on with your life right? And sadly...  Maybe you are the one being bullied reading this post right now just take a breath and read this...

YOU are beautiful!! YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH because you are YOU!! YOU offer your family and friends love and humor and joy that is uniquely yours! God made you the way you are and He doesn't make mistakes! If you feel beaten down and criticized to the brink of tears right now just literally count your blessings count the moments that you smiled with your kiddos, or the moments that you just felt a bit of joy, celebrate your accomplishments especially the "small" ones and literally out loud, right now, tell yourself you are pretty! Because you are even when you have bags under those beautiful eyes even when your hair is unwashed and near accidental dreadlock status (guilty) even when you are wearing pjs or sweats and just feel like a train wreck you are pretty because you are you and its your inner pretty that will always shine through when you arent wearing the latest fashion or when you have NO makeup on whatsoever! You are beautiful and wonderful and new mama struggling through late nights and teething you are doing a great job! You are loving your child through a tough stage and as long as you are leading with love you are doing your best! To you mother of multiples you are amazing and if your house is messy but your children know they are loved than you are a great mama! Newlywed wife it really is ok to burn the toast or completely forget the clothes in the washer now and again trust me it wont be the last time ;) dear sweet young lady if you are single and being made fun of for still having your virginity YOU are truly a rare treasure in this world and the man God has for you is incredible and worth waiting for, just as you are!! To you brave woman reading this just struggling right now and hurting, not feeling good enough you are simply wondeful who you are! Honeys we all make mistakes and nobody is perfect so give yourself permission to be real I am going to challenge y'all and myself today... take a real picture of you what you actually look like today and post it as your profile picture and then go genuinely compliment comment at least 3 people in your life! Ladies we all need encouragement and we all have flaws but we are all uniquely beautiful and have REAL pretty personalities that bring joy to our loved ones and ourselves if we allow ourselves the liberty and freedom to just be us!

  Maybe today instead of pinning away our afternoons we can count our actual blessings instead! I know this is a hard challenge and its never easy to be completely open and honest because we risk rejection but ladies there are enough fake women in this world be real be unique be you! Know that everyone struggles and hurts but we dont have to do it on our own we can hold each other up when we see a Sister fall or maybe we can just listen as she pours her heart out over the phone be a real friend and please everyone please please remember what our mamas taught us truly if you can't think of anything nice to say just dont say anything at all or better yet be the good that you really want to see in the world and be the positive one that says something genuinely nice in a sea of negative comments! To all of you gorgeous gals I think you rock! I believe you are amazing being the uniquely beautiful you God made you!! Carry on ladies hold your head up high because though you dont have it all together you really have it all :) and smile pretty girl because your smile is sometimes an unspoken hug and encouragement to a stranger that is also struggling! 

  I love each and every one of you and when I think of all of you beautiful readers I just wish I could give each of you a great big hug and say soldier on ladies life is precious and fleeting and
much to wonderful to waste time miserably pretending to be perfect... you are the best YOU in this world because there isnt another you out there :) so keep it up Sisters you are beautiful and you dont hear it enough but you are doing a good job! Be a blessing today and encourage a Sister and don't worry about chasing the "dream" instead count your real blessings and just be blessed.

Enjoy your life today and just be you, sweet ladies! hugely huge hugs and just being real polkadot love from my messy imperfect house to yours .... Shannon :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Disconnect, disconnect!

Hello and happy Monday, everyone! 

Sorry I didn't post last week. Honestly, with the long weekend, it sincerely slipped my mind. It was a long weekend indeed. 

On Thursday, I packed Baby C and myself up and drove up to my parents' so that we could attend my uncle's memorial service on Friday evening. It was great visiting with family and sharing memories of my Uncle D and hearing stories I never had before. I feel like I even left the memorial knowing him better than I ever had before. 

Anyway, Baby C got to visit with his Auntie and Uncle and cousins and he just loved playing with all of them! Of course, he did enjoy spending time with his Yaya and Poppa (my mom and dad) as well, but that continued through the weekend. Saturday morning, we all got up early and my parents came back home with C and I, to visit until Sunday. It was a lot of fun just getting to hang out and visit. Sunday, we all walked to the park, which C loves, and had a little picnic lunch in our front yard. Unfortunately, C got his first real "boo-boo" at the park. I had him on my lap to go down the big slide, but had taken his shoes off. His little foot got sucked under my leg for a second and he got slide burn on his big toe! :( You all know what I'm talking about. Those dreaded plastic slides... I remember one time that I was wearing a skirt down a really big slide at a play place. You were supposed to sit in a burlap sack to help you slide better, but I remember my skirt getting caught and suddenly flying out of the bag half way down the slide, leaving me with some mad slide burn on my bum. :/ OUCH. 

Baby C is getting huge! He will be 9 months old this week and I can't even believe it! He is army crawling like crazy and getting braver and braver about standing and trying to crawl up on his hands and knees. Unfortunately, he is also going through a serious growth spurt. I feel so bad for him and MH and myself as well. He is so sleepy and teething and just miserable. But he has the best demeanor most of the day, unless he is sleepy and wants mommy. Then he is just unpleasant. He is up every 2 hours at night and pretty much nurses every 2 hours around the clock these days. I swear, he is not a newborn. He is more and more fun everyday though; and as his first Birthday nears, I constantly wonder about what he might become. What activities will he be involved in? Will he play sports? Will he ski? Will he dance? Will he sing and do band? Will he be a thespian? What will his passions and talents be? I can't wait to watch him grow and develop! But at the same time, I can. I'm not ready for my baby to be a big boy yet, and I know it will all happen just too fast. So I am cherishing each and every day.

There is one major step that I have taken recently in order to ensure that I am making the most of every day with my family... This is a little personal and honestly, a tad embarrassing, but I bet I'm not the only one out there that is like this... 

Over the last few months, MH and I kept bickering about how much time I would spend on Facebook... On my iPad, on my iPhone, whenever possible. It was becoming an addiction. I do have people that I am so very close to and I actually only get to interact with via Facebook. But I was checking my FB almost compulsively: During dinner, in the middle of a conversation, during a movie that was supposed to be "together time", before bed, in bed, in the middle of the night... you get the picture. I insisted that everything was fine and it was no big deal... I could just stop checking so frequently. But apparently, it wasn't as simple as I thought. So... I deleted my Facebook app from my phone. Sure, I can use my internet browser on my phone to check it, but it's really quite annoying. I still have it on my iPad, but that's really a lot less convenient as well. I found that something amazing happened once I made that disconnection: I had a lot more room for pictures on my phone! Pictures of Baby C; pictures of cute happenings in my house; pictures of C and his daddy and C and me; pictures of pretty things outside; C with the puppy and the kitty. And they didn't all need to go right on FB! Some memories can just be for me; some pictures can be just for my enjoyment, because it was a moment that I shared with my family. I realized that the whole world simply does not need to know my constant comings and goings; what I like and what I dislike; what Baby C did this morning or what he ate for lunch. Sure, I still share, but I feel like more of it is mine and mine alone. I didn't really understand what MH was referring to until I spent even a week without my FB app on my phone, but now I get it. I was missing out on my family. I have a very obsessive personality. Once I find something that I enjoy or want to be a part of, I repeat that same thing, watch, use it repeatedly... sometimes at the sacrifice of other things. There have even been days that I have had to stop myself from cleaning my house so deeply, because I sometimes start and suddenly begin to see dirt and dust and germs everywhere, and I suddenly have 20 projects that must be done. For me, FB was the same way when I still had the app on my phone. I even became defensive about it, and would get angry that MH was angry about my obsessive use. Honestly, though... I don't miss it. I have spent more time actually texting or calling people in the last 2 weeks without my FB app, than I have in at least months

Alright, well, this is gonna be cut a little short, because I have a fussy little man who would like snuggles with his mommy instead of bedtime. But I want to pose a challenge to all of you: decrease your media time. Take your FB app off of your phones. See what happens. I promise, it will be okay. You might even feel happier and more satisfied. 

To wrap this up, here are a few family photos that MH and I took with Baby C this weekend: 

Alright... Zebra love and hugs to you all and have a beautiful Monday evening and a fantastic Tuesday! 

Ashley :)