What’s New and What’s Next?

What’s New and What’s Next?

I know I’ve been very MIA lately. Life got in the way. We got through all my dad’s appointments and procedures, and then Maddie got a virus, and then we had to get ready for our annual July 4th grill out. So life has been fairly hectic lately. But I promise, this is going to become a lot more regular these next few weeks for sure.

How can I promise that? Well, I have a few things coming up that I’m definitely wanting to document my journey. The first thing is, starting Monday, Kenneth and I are going to start up the 21 Day Fix again. I know, I’ve said it before. Thankfully a weight loss journey is just that, a journey. Journeys are filled with ups and downs, and there are times when life gets you down and you can’t get the motivation. That’s usually what happens to me. But I’m the heaviest weight I’ve ever been (aside from when I was pregnant with Maddie) and I know I hate it. I have clothes in my closet that I absolutely love, but can’t fit into. And if that’s not motivation enough, we are right around the anniversary of my mom passing away. And now that we have Maddie, I relate my experience to my current life. I HAVE to be here for Maddie. I don’t want to leave her behind early like my mom did to us. I know my mom didn’t WANT to leave, but her health was poor and she couldn’t fight it off. I don’t want to be like that with Maddie, or any other child God may eventually bless us with. Anytime I think about that, I bawl my eyes out. It seriously gives me anxiety to think about it. So the only thing I can do to help prevent it, is to better myself and get healthy FOR Maddie. My goal is to lose at least 10-15 pounds before August 9th.

Why August 9th??? Well, you see…that HAPPENS to be my birthday. And this year is a big year. I’ll be turning the big 3-0. Now, before you all think that my age really bothers me, it really doesn’t. I don’t know if it’s because my parents were older when they had me, but I have no problem getting older. I know other women specifically that won’t even admit their age. I’m totally okay with telling people that I’m going to be 30 here soon. Nothing for me to be ashamed of!

So I want to be healthier by my 30th birthday. I’ll be documenting my entire journey on here. Starting on July 10th, that will be 30 days before I turn 30. And that’s what my posts will be about. I’ll be showing you what I’ve been eating and what I’ve been doing workout-wise. I’m also challenging myself to do something new every day for 30 days. One thing at least a day that is new and out of my comfort zone. I’m excited to start this next level of my life and want to end my 20’s with a bang.

I’ll be doing several different 30 day challenges (for example: I found one to help declutter your home in 30 days). And I’ll document all of this for all of you. I am so excited and looking forward to doing this! Again, this is going to start on July 10th, which is Monday!

The next few days leading up to this, I’ll post a few blogs dealing with things that have been on my mind here lately. Mostly parent stuff, but a few personal posts as well. So make sure you check back here every day and see what I’ve got going on!

Getting to Know the Blogger

Getting to Know the Blogger

This is going to be a very busy week for me and my family! Ken’s birthday on Friday kicks off what is going to be an action packed weekend, which will culminate with one of my older brothers graduating college. So again, very busy for us!

So tonight I’m going to write on a more fun topic. Tonight, I’m going to let you all get to know me a little bit better. Now, some of my readers know me very well, but I’m sure there are a few that hardly know me at all. So for those readers, here are ten things you may not know about me.

  1. My first go-to fact anytime I’m asked to give a fact about myself is that I’m the youngest child of six. Now, that’s not horribly impressive or interesting by itself. But I’m the youngest of six kids, spanning three decades. My oldest sibling was born in 1960 and I was born in 1987. Three of my siblings were born in the sixties, one was born in 1979 and then two of us were born in the eighties. The next question I get asked is usually, “You guys have the same parents?” and the answer to that question is, yes. We have the same parents. We are biological siblings. The last question I get asked usually is, “What’s it like to have siblings old enough to be your parent?” and I say, “I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
  2. I was an aunt at the age of 3. My oldest brother and his wife had my first niece, Amber, about two weeks before I turned 4. We were pretty much raised together, with my mom babysitting her, and if you ask either of us, we will introduce each other to people as “my sister”. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to explain to people that we are not actually sisters.
  3. As I was filling out applications for college, I honestly had no clue what I wanted to go to school for. Filling out my application for Wilmington College, my alma mater, I asked my mom, “Do you think I could be a teacher?” and she said yes. So that is what I went for. I have my BA in Early Childhood Education, all because my mom said I could probably do it. That degree got me a job at a daycare for three years and a few subbing jobs…and a bunch of debt that I’m still paying off.
  4. I was born, raised, and currently still live in the same county. I was born in Wilmington, Ohio. I was raised and currently live in Blanchester, Ohio. I have never lived outside of Clinton County. I don’t ever see myself living outside of this county, but who knows what God has in store.
  5. Some of my friends are the reason Ken and I even started talking in the first place. I knew who he was because we were in the same Sunday School class at church, but hadn’t really talked to him much. We went to an outing as a class to a Cincinnati Reds game and one of my friends mentioned that he and I should talk. She told me that we had a lot in common, namely the fact that he had lost his mom as well. As soon as she told me that, I told her that I would probably end up marrying him then. Sure enough, I did. We started dating that July, got engaged in November and were married in December of the following year.
  6. I am huge music lover. I played flute from middle school through college, learned alto saxophone for jazz band my senior year of high school, and sang in the choir in high school, and now at church. I’ve also been to more concerts than I can count. Some of those acts include: Billy Ray Cyrus, Backstreet Boys (at least 6 times), Aaron Carter, Hawk Nelson, Rascal Flatts, Jonas Brothers, Fall Out Boy, Plain White T’s, Taylor Swift, Emerson Drive, Hanson, The Band Perry, Casting Crowns, NKOTBSB, Chris Tomlin, Mandisa, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Lady Antebellum.
  7. I’m also an avid WWE fan. I watched it growing up with my brothers and even went to a live show back when I was younger. Since then, I’ve been to one live show and to a pay-per-view event. My favorite wrestler of all time is probably The Undertaker, followed by Shawn Michaels.
  8. I’m a huge dog lover. My big dream is to eventually open up a shelter for stray dogs in the area. I especially love my Labrador Retriever mix named Lexie and my Golden Retriever named Sophie.
  9. From the moment I found out that I was pregnant with Maddie, I had a feeling that she was going to be a girl. I had a few dreams where the baby was a girl and several old-wives tales pointed in that direction. The second I found out she was going to be a girl, I was ecstatic. And we knew what we were going to name her right away. Madeline was Ken’s mom’s middle name (Valma Madeline Fountain) and Jeanne was my mom’s middle name (Carole Jeanne Sexton). Madeline Jeanne just worked so well and we got to honor our moms.
  10. As you have probably noticed if you’ve read my blog posts, I’m a huge Disney World geek. We went there for the first time for our honeymoon and we were completely hooked. Since then, we went for our three year anniversary, again when Ken wanted to run his full marathon there this past January, and we will be going again for our six year anniversary this fall. If you ask Ken, there’s not many other places he would want to go on vacation. Disney has ruined us for anywhere else, and we’re okay with that!

So here is my fun post for the week. Like I said, people that know me won’t be too surprised by any of this information. But this post is mostly for those that don’t know me as well. I’m not horribly interesting. I’m just your average stay-at-home mom and wife. But I love to write and love writing on this blog.

In the coming weeks, I’ll probably be doing some more posts on Disney World as our dining reservation date is approaching!

What She Needs to See From Me.

What She Needs to See From Me.

I noticed it one day. 

My husband and I were in our bathroom brushing our teeth. Maddie was watching us. No big deal, right? Well, she found her toothbrush and started imitating us. She saw he doing it and did exactly what we did. And she had just turned a year old.

In that moment, I realized that everything I do, she’s watching. Every move I make, every step I take, she sees all of it. She sees how I react to things, what I eat, what I drink. She is literally with me 24/7. I’m the one she looks to when she is trying to figure out how to respond. No pressure, right?

As thrilled as I am that she likes to brush her teeth like us, there are other aspects of my life that I need her to see, and see me at my best. 

  1. I need her to see me pray. I’ll admit, I don’t pray as much as I should and I typically don’t pray out loud. But it’s so important for her to see that I pray to God and that praying is part of that relationship with God. I also want her to know that I believe prayer can change things, and if she doesn’t see me pray, it’ll be hard for me to get her to understand the importance.
  2. I need her to see me reading my Bible. Again, something I don’t do nearly enough. But I want her to know that the Bible is what God gave us as a type of instruction manual to get us through life here on earth. Answers to questions she may have in life, she can find in God’s word. I want her to see me read my Bible. I want her to find it normal to just pick up her Bible and read it whenever she wants, like any other book.
  3. I need her to see me be a Godly wife to her father. A lot of the way I act as a wife and mother, I got from my mom. I saw how she treated my dad and how she was with us kids and that’s how I act. I need her to see me respect her father and to even show affection to her father. She doesn’t need to see me be petty or irrational toward him, which I know I am prone to doing. We need to show her how we pray as a family, how we respect each other, and how we love each other.
  4. I need her to see me be brave. I’m a wimp. I’ll be the first to admit that. I’m terrfied of heights, spiders, thunderstorms and clowns to name just a few. But if she sees me scared, she’ll be scared too. Even if I have to put on an Emmy award winning performance, I need her to see me as brave and confident. That was, she is more brave and if she is afraid of something, she knows that she can come to me and I will take care of it.
  5. I need her to see me work on myself. I’ve never been comfortable with my body and there are more times than not that I’m downing myself one way or another. But because of that, I need to try to better myself every day and let her see that. I don’t want her to have an out of shape mom. I want to be healthy for her and I want her to see me do it. I need to eat healthier, let her try what I eat. I don’t want her to be afraid to try new foods. That goes back to the last point.
  6. I need her to see me be me. No apologies, no excuses. I want her to know that God made her the way she is and that other people and their opinions of her don’t matter. I fought this my whole life, always worried about what people thought about me and how I looked. As you get older, you realize that those same people had a rough way to go and decided to pick on someone else because of their own unhappiness. I don’t want her to even apologize for being Maddie. She is beautiful, funny, sensitive, sweet and smart as can be. I hope she always knows that. I hope I can always show her that.
  7. I need her to see me strive to be like Jesus Christ. Big shoes to fill, right? And I will continue to fall short, but I can try my hardest to treat people like Jesus would. Bring the phrase “what would Jesus do” to life.

How My Spouse is my Best Friend

How My Spouse is my Best Friend

I wasn’t able to get on and post yesterday for Valentine’s Day, so here is my post about my wonderful husband.

Usually for Valentine’s Day, and most other holidays actually, Kenneth will get me a card and write me a letter to go along with it. They are usually very sweet letters and they usually tug at my heart strings. So yesterday, I assumed he would write me another letter, and he did. But this time, it meant a lot more.

He wrote me a letter talking about how, unlike me, he didn’t have a lot of friends growing up, and he hadn’t really had a best friend. That was until he met me. He talked about how God filled that void in his life when he brought me into his life and how I not only became his best friend, but the love of his life.

As I sit here and reread the letter, he actually lists things that everyone should do for their spouse, their best friend. Here’s what I take away from his letter:

  1. You should invest time and love in one another’s lives. A relationship will not grow if you don’t put effort into it. I can’t expect Kenneth to listen to me go on and on about my day if I don’t allow him to do the same thing to me. If I ignored everything he said, he would feel as though I didn’t care and if I didn’t care, then I wouldn’t be invested in our relationship. Even if I only see him for a few minutes in the afternoon, I always ask him how his day at work went. I want him to know that I care about what he does every day and any time I get to spend with him is precious to me.
  2. You should want to get to know your spouse and know them better than anyone. I mean, you’re married to them for goodness sake. It would be odd if I didn’t know what Ken liked and disliked, especially after being married now for over five years. And it would be even more odd if I didn’t actually go out of my way to figure that stuff out. It would be like living with a stranger. And I surely don’t want anyone else, even his family, to know him better than I do. I take pride in knowing him as well as I do. As his wife, I should know just about everything about him and what I don’t know, I should strive to find out. That can relate to the first point, investing time in him.
  3. Sometimes, you just need to listen. I don’t always need to give him my advice on what I think he should do. Sometimes, all he wants is for me to listen and let him rant about whatever it is that is bothering him. He does the same for me. And sometimes that’s more than enough.
  4. Communication is key. Sometimes you can’t just listen. Sometimes you need to talk, whether it be about a problem you have or if it’s just talking about what your day was like. I love telling Kenneth about my day when he gets home from work and typically, he loves to hear about it. If you have a problem, even if it’s with your spouse, you HAVE to talk about it. If you don’t, it will fester until it becomes something bigger and worse than before. You should be able to talk about anything with your spouse and not be judged.
  5. You should share experiences together. As a couple, there are a lot of experiences we’ve shared together. The most recent, of course, was becoming parents. I obviously wouldn’t want to (and really couldn’t) experience that without him. Another example is that we just took our first family vacation to Disney World with Maddie. I couldn’t imagine doing that without him and I’m sure he would say the same thing about me.
  6. You should support and motivate each other. Whenever I need some extra motivation, he is the first person I go to. You should always feel that your spouse is your biggest fan. Kenneth always has my back and helps me feel better about myself. I don’t have the best self-esteem, but he continues to lift me up and tries to help me see myself the way he sees me. When he was having a hard time during his full marathon, he called me to get some extra motivation. When he was almost finished with the race, he wanted to know exactly where we were, because he needed to see me and Maddie for an extra push. Every spouse should feel that way about their partner.
  7. You should pray for each other. Even before we met, I was already praying for him. Kenneth prayed for me as well, even when we didn’t know each other. Now, we pray for each other daily. I always pray that he has a good and safe day at work, while he prays that I have a good and safe day at home with Maddie. There is no greater sign of love than having someone pray for you. You care enough to talk to God about someone. What could be better than that?

I know how blessed I am. God knew what he was doing when he brought Kenneth into my life. Do we always get along? No way. But what matters is that we care enough and love each other enough to work through anything that is thrown at us and pray for each other every day. I thank God every day for Kenneth. God made Kenneth for me, and I wouldn’t have him any other way.

Anything you would add to my list?? Let me know! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

How You’ve Changed Me

How You’ve Changed Me

In 19 days, I will have a one year old.

My brain has a hard time grasping that fact. How can my little girl be turning into a toddler?? Wasn’t she just born yesterday?? How can this be happening??

My heart is torn between wanting her to stay little forever and being excited to see what God has in store for her as she gets older. She’s such a blessing to me and Kenneth. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

She may have changed a lot in the last year, but she has also changed me in so many ways.

I no longer get angry when I’m running late and don’t make it to where I need to be on time. As a parent, I feel like that is just bound to happen and it will probably get worse as she gets older. I have learned to just try my best to get us there on time and embrace our fate of inevitability being 5-15 minutes late.

I’m more patient. I may not want to read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” over and over and over and over (you get the picture). But if my baby girl hands me the book and looks at me with her big blue eyes, I’m stuck in a chair reading that book for as long as she wants me to. She’s only this age for a short time. I want her to eventually remember that mommy put aside housework or her cell phone and made her the number one priority.

I never knew my heart could be so full, especially when she smiles or busts out laughing. Children have this way of just making your heart grow 1,000 times it’s regular size. They say you never know you could love someone so much until you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. They are absolutely right.

I’ve never prayed as much as I do now. I pray for knowledge. I pray for safety and health for her and for us. I pray that God is guiding me in a way so I can be the best mommy for Maddie. I pray I’m making the right decisions for her. I pray that she gets saved at an early age and becomes active in church. I pray that she will have a good relationship with God and that she will stay strong in her faith as she gets older. I pray that as her parents, we set a Godly example that she can one day follow. I pray that she is as happy as she gets older as she is today.

So as we start to countdown to her first birthday, I look back at who I was before Maddie and I don’t miss it. I have enjoyed being her mommy so much and I thank God every day that he blessed me with the privilege of raising her. This first year has been fun, but I’m looking forward to seeing how God uses us and her in the years to come.

Planning Our Disney Trips

Planning Our Disney Trips

Today I’m going to give you some of my tips for planning a Walt Disney World vacation! I’ve planned three of them in the last 5 years and I’m currently planning my next one! Some people like to just go with the flow on their trips, but not me. Especially at Disney World, I like to have about every aspect of my vacation planned out. The way we do it, you almost have to! So here you go! Here are my tips for planning your Disney trip!!

  • Have a budget in mind when it comes to your resort. There are levels: Value, Moderate and Deluxe. The names are self explanatory. If you are wanting to not spend a lot of money, value is the way to go. If you have the money and you want more amenities, deluxe is where you want to be. And I would definitely recommend staying on site. There are many pros to staying at a Disney World Resort as opposed to staying offsite, like Magic Bands and Extra Magic Hours. 
  • Do your research on the resorts to see which one will accommodate your family better. Pinterest is my best friend when I need to look for something Disney related. Some resorts are more family friendly than others. Some are in walking distance to certain parks. 
  • If possible, figure out which park you will visit each day, especially if you don’t take advantage of the park hopper option. Once you do that, plan your dining and rides based on the park you’ll be visiting. That way, you won’t be running everywhere on site just to make reservations.
  • In speaking of reservations, make your dining reservations in advance. You can start making your dining reservations if you are staying on site at the 180 day mark for your trip. I would also consider getting a dining plan. I feel like it takes a lot of the guess work out of paying for the meals. We usually get the Deluxe dining plan, but that is a lot of food. Most people could probably get away with getting the normal dining plan, especially if they don’t plan on eating at a lot of signature restaurants.
  • If you stay on site, you can make fast pass selections starting at 60 days before your trip. You initially get three selections at one park and once you use them, you can add one at a time as you use them. Some rides, you must fast pass if you don’t want a huge wait. The Frozen ride in Epcot and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are two that you definitely need to get fast passes for to avoid waits over two hours at times.
  • Consider getting the park hopper option added to your tickets. We use this all the time! For example, this past trip, we spent maybe an hour in Hollywood Studios and then left and went back to Magic Kingdom. No separate ticket, just used the park hopper option and went back. We could have gone to every park if we wanted to in one day (some people try that!). Park Hopper saved us this time around, since Maddie enjoyed Magic Kingdom so much. We spent a little time there about every day.
  • Consider adding the Memory Maker to your tickets as well. I carried my camera too, but it’s nice to be able to have someone else take pictures of us as a family and not just two of us at a time. And they have nice cameras and can add little things to your picture. And seriously, those people are EVERYWHERE. You won’t have trouble finding them. They’ll take your pic, scan your magic band, and it’ll link to your account. It’s wonderful!
  • Budget your money for souvenirs! We saved money through various means throughout the year and then used what we saved for souvenirs, tips at restaurants and gas money for the drive. Never worried once about having money or having to use a credit card.
  • Relax and enjoy your family. Don’t get upset if you miss a reservation or a fast pass. Just spend time with your family and enjoy! It’s the most magical place on earth! And you’ll be making so many memories on your trip! I can’t wait to go back this fall and make more memories with Kenneth and Maddie!

Any questions about anything I covered??? Any questions about something I missed??? Comment or email me and I’ll answer your questions!!

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse

[Picture from disneydining.com]

When we went on our first Disney vacation for our honeymoon, Ken decided to make a reservation for a Steakhouse, which is one of his favorite kinds of restaurants. He tried for Le Cellier but couldn’t get in there. So he went on to choose the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club Resort. He had read great reviews about it and decided to make that our first dining reservation of our honeymoon. 

Our waiter that night was wonderful and the food was so good that we ended up getting a second reservation before we went home from our honeymoon. And it is a reservation that we get for every vacation, that’s how much we love it.

This trip was no different. I made the reservation for the last dining reservation of our trip. It was also the day Ken finished his marathon, so it was kind of a celebratory dinner for him. This time was different for us though, because we had never had a baby with us while we ate there and it’s kind of a nicer restaurant. They have some sort of a dress code! So we dressed up and put Maddie in a cute little dress and made our way there. 

We got seated and our waitress, Ann, was absolutely wonderful. She gave us her suggestions and Ken went with what she suggested for his appetizer. I got what I always get when I go there. I ordered a Caesar salad, the filet mignon and I got the chocolate peanut dessert. All of it is so delicious!

But again, this time we had Maddie. And she started to get fussy just as I got my salad. Ken held her for a few minutes while I ate some of my salad, but eventually I gave in and gave up on my salad, deciding that holding Maddie was more important. Ann, our waitress, came by and saw that I wasn’t eating my salad. She asked if I was done or if she could cut it for me, knowing how hard it is to dine with a baby. I thanked her, but told her that I was finished with it. I didn’t really want to inconvenience her by having her cut my salad.

Our entrees came out and Ken had already said that he would cut my steak for me. Before he could, Ann offered to do it. I tried to tell her that it was okay, but she insisted. She was the absolute sweetest and probably the best waitress we’ve ever had. She was very helpful and made sure we didn’t need anything. 

We didn’t finish our food, knowing we would have dessert coming. Ann would end up boxing up all our food, and even put little bottles of water in our bag for us. I was thoroughly impressed with her and I would go back over and over again, especially if she were my waitress. 

So the Yachtsman is an amazing restaurant and I would recommend this place to anyone that like steak and enjoy a quiet atmosphere. And definitely see if you can get Ann as your waitress!! She made this dining experience THAT much better and I was very grateful, especially as a first time mom, that she understood and was very helpful when it came to Maddie. When you do your dining reservations, consider the Yachtsman. It’s our go-to place and will be every time we go.

My Goals for 2017

My Goals for 2017

Happy New Year everyone!!!! I cannot believe that we are starting 2017! Where did 2016 go?? Either way, I hope everyone had a wonderful night and hope everyone stays safe while they’re out celebrating!

As promised, I am posting my goals for 2017 on here. 2017 is a big year for me. My baby will be turning one year old in February, and I will be turning 30 in August. I have a lot of things I want to see happen this year. So, here are my current goals for the new year!

  1. Get into my Bible more. I really want to make this a daily routine for me. I occasionally will open up my Bible but I don’t typically go out of my way to do it. I need to take time every day and make studying my Bible a priority.
  2. Pray more often. This one kind of goes along with the first one. I am a firm believer that prayer works and I really need to prove that by actually praying more, not just when I need something or want something. I need to pray for little things and pray for anyone that asks.
  3. Take time away from my phone. I’m not saying to go days without my phone, but maybe don’t use my phone so much in bed, or when I’m playing with Maddie. It takes my attention away from what is most important and unless someone is trying to get a hold of me for a good reason, it’s not worth taking my attention away from my husband, my daughter, family or friends of mine. They deserve more than that.
  4. Take more pictures. This is a goal of mine every year. I want there to be a ton of pictures of all of us. My mom didn’t like having her picture taken so we have very few of her. A lot of us wish we would have taken family pics while my mom was healthy and alive. I encourage everyone to get family pics taken and often. I plan to get Maddie’s pics taken here in the next month for her 1 year birthday. Take a ton of pictures because you just never know.
  5. Get back down below my pre-pregnancy weight. I’ve had a rough time with losing weight because I also was afraid I would lose my milk supply for Maddie. Thankfully, I’ll be weaning her off of my milk in the next month, so because of that,I’m  going to get hardcore back into working out and getting back on my Shakeology. I swear by that stuff! I felt my best when I was exercising daily and drinking my Shakeology every day! Once we get back from Disney, I’m making this a priority!
  6. Make a cleaning schedule and stick to it. I want to be a better housewife and mother. I think to do that, I need to have a schedule I follow when it comes to cooking and cleaning. Our house typically looks like a tornado ripped through it. I plan to change that.
  7. Get our finances in order. Credit cards aren’t good, but they are so easy to use. This year, we plan to do the Dave Ramsey money class and get back on track. In doing that, we won’t be eating out a much, which not only saves money but helps us stay healthy. I’m also going to try to really get into couponing to save us more money. We have a few credit cards to pay down, and another Disney trip in December to pay on. So this one is a big one for me.

So these are some of the goals I have for 2017. What are your goals? What do you need to do to accomplish these goals? Comment and let me know!!

What I’ve Learned in 2016

What I’ve Learned in 2016

With 2016 coming to a close tomorrow evening, I thought that with this post, I would look back through this year and see what all I’ve learned this past year. A lot has changed in the last twelve months, especially for my little family. So, here’s five things I’ve learned in 2016.

  1. God knows what He’s doing. Even when I am freaking out and having anxiety attacks about something I have NO control over, I have to remind myself that God knows. God has me where I am for a specific reason. He has the exact right people in my life for this current season of my life. He knows what tomorrow holds, even if I don’t. When I was nervous about going into labor, God already knew how it was going to turn out. Sometimes we forget that and try to handle everything ourselves, which ends up a disaster. If we just take a deep breath and remind ourselves that God is in control, things would go a lot smoother in our lives.
  2. Taking care of other people’s children is nothing like taking care of your own child. I used to help my mom babysit. I worked in the nursery at church. I went to college to be a Pre-K through 3rd grade teacher. I taught at a learning center for three years. I learned A LOT about taking care of children. But NOTHING prepares you for taking care of your own child. Yes, I had changed many diapers, learned a lot about different illnesses, how to potty train a child and how to feed a baby, but everything is different when the baby is your own. I loved the kids at the learning center, but they weren’t mine. At the end of the day, their parent or guardian would pick them up and take them home. I care for Maddie 24/7. I rarely get a break. And I love it, but I’ve learned a lot from it as well. You learn all their cues and quirks, likes and dislikes, all their little signs. And they rely on you to learn all of that. It is very scary and intimidating being a parent, but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
  3. You can discuss parenting styles with your husband all day, think you’ve agreed on EVERYTHING, and still not agree on everything. Ken worries all the time that Maddie is going to end up a spoiled brat because of how much I cater to her every need. I keep telling him that there is a difference between being a spoiled brat and just being spoiled. My grandma would say “She’s not spoiled, she’s just loved.” and that’s how I want to see it as well. I was spoiled as a child, but I ALWAYS appreciated everything I received. I plan to raise Maddie to feel the same way. I love my baby girl and I want her to always know that. She doesn’t always need me to buy her a toy, but I don’t mind getting her something small if we’re out together. She may not NEED me to pick her up if she’s reaching for me, but why shouldn’t I? If she’s crying, if holding her will fix the problem, that’s what I’ll do. I see no problem with this. I want her to always know that I’m there for her. And it’s okay to not agree on everything with your spouse. Just listen to each other and find some compromise. A lot of it is not worth fighting about.
  4. We may not talk every day, but I know the people I can always count on if I need anything. My dad is my number one fan and I know if I need anything, he’s there for me. My husband, obviously, is always there to help me and cheer me up. My siblings and my nieces and nephews are all amazing and I know they’ve got my back. My best friends are just utterly amazing and I am beyond blessed to have them in mine and my family’s lives. We all have separate lives and always have something going on. We don’t live in the same small town anymore and we could go months without speaking. But if something were to happen, they would be there for me at the drop of  a dime, and I would do the same for them.
  5. Being a parent is hard, and I know it’s only going to get harder. For the last almost 11 months, I’ve raised, fed, and nurtured this beautiful baby girl, and before that, she spent over 9 months inside of me. There were a lot of decisions that were made about her before she was even born. Getting her vaccinated was a big choice me and my husband made (easy decision for us), and it was a decision we were in agreement on. From the moment she was born, I’ve had to make decisions that would effect her life. I chose to have her vaccinated. I chose to breastfeed her. That decision in itself made being a parent harder. Figuring out when she needed to eat, especially toward the beginning. Feeding her while we were out of the house (usually leading to me sitting in the back seat of my car and feeding her there. Then there were (and still are) times where I worry if she’s getting enough to eat. There are times I worry if she’s gaining enough weight. Being a parent means you’re pretty much in a state of constant worry, but you love your child too much to be upset about it.

 

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I’m going to post my goals for 2017 (as long as I find time between getting ready to go to my dad’s for New Years and cleaning/packing for our trip to Disney).

Lessons Learned from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Lessons Learned from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Merry Christmas to everyone!! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! We were very blessed and had a fantastic Christmas!

As I sit here in my bed, my 10 month old baby beside me, waiting for her to wake up, my mind starts to wander. Last night, as I went to bed, I turned on my favorite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s safe to say that I get around to watching it at least once during the holidays, sometimes more. As I watched it, I started to think about all the great themes and lessons that can be learned from watching the movie. Here’s some that I came up with.

  1. Prayer works! As soon as the movie starts, you hear random characters praying for the main character, George Bailey. His wife, Mary had called everyone they knew and asked for prayer for her husband, who she knew was in some kind of trouble. All the prayers lead to Clarence, an angel from Heaven attempting to gain his wings, to come to earth to save George from killing himself and to show him that he is an important person to a lot of people in the world.
  2. Even though prayer does work, sometimes we don’t get the answer we’re wanting. At one point in the movie, George is at the bar and just about to lose his mind. As he sits there, he prays that God show him the way, and instead of getting a positive answer, he ends up getting punched in the face by the husband of one of George’s kids’ teachers. He had no hope to begin with and when that happened, it drove him to go to the bridge where he contemplates killing himself and where he meets Clarence.
  3. Sometimes God lets you go through a deep valley before you see something positive happen. George was about as far gone as a person could be. God knew what was going to happen to the money that Uncle Billy misplaced, but He also knew that George needed to see what life would have been like without him to appreciate what he did have. So God let all the bad things happen to George so he could learn from all of it and appreciate all he did have.
  4. Being too nice and selfless can pay off in the end. At least it did for George. That poor guy couldn’t catch a break! He lost his hearing in one ear when he got sick after saving his younger brother, who had fallen through an icy pond. He kept his mouth shut about the druggist who accidentally put poison in the capsules instead of the medicine. He stayed in town instead of going to college when his dad died so he could run the Building and Loan. The list goes on and on. But when he needed people there to help him, they came from all over and gave willing. They loved George and knew that he would help them if they needed it.
  5. Each man’s life touches so many other lives, more than anyone realizes. When George got to see what life would have been like if he had never been born, he got a huge shock. His brother, the same one he saved from the icy water, died in this reality because George wasn’t there to save him. The druggist would have been thrown in jail for accidenly putting the poison in the capsules. His wife would have ended up an old maid. The list is endless. Seeing this alternate reality, George realized how important he really was.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie? What’s your opinion of “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Comment and let me know!!