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.

Doing Something Right

Doing Something Right

These past few weeks have been hard. Maddie caught a nasty cold one week, and then I ended up with my sinus infection, and it took a while to recover from all of that. I’m still trying to catch up on sleep! 

And some prayer requests for anyone who reads this! Tomorrow, Ken’s 91 year old grandma is having a surgery done to help her swallow better without sucking it down her windpipe. AND my wonderful brother John, who is fighting cancer, has been in the hospital for about a week, just got release today, with an infection that they have him on IV antibiotics for. 

A lot has been taking my attention, and I apologize. I’m working on catching up.

As for my post for tonight. There are a lot of times, especially being a first time mom, that I feel like a complete and utter failure. I don’t know what I’m doing half of the time, mostly going with my gut instinct. I second guess myself daily and more times than not, I just pray that I’m not screwing my daughter up.

But a moment happened the other night that has me thinking that even though I feel like a failure, that I must be doing something right.

I was getting Maddie ready for bed and I was just emotional that evening. I was sad because even though she spends the most time with me, she doesn’t call me by a name yet. She’ll say “dada” right at Ken and I feel like she means it. With me, she doesn’t say anything most of the time. As I was changing her diaper, I got emotional and started crying.

Ken came in Maddie’s room as I was getting her pajamas on and even asked me why I was crying. I told him honestly that I felt like Maddie never said my name and it hurt that she calls him “dada” and me nothing.

As the tears fell down my cheeks, I stood Maddie up. I was going to let her play for a few minutes before starting our goodnight routine. Instead of walking around the room to find a toy, she looked at me, came close to me, and put her arms around my neck in a hug. A legitimate hug. I’ve given her so many hugs, but had never received one in return. But there I was, sitting on her bedroom floor, tears rolling down my face, and she hugged me. She knew that I was sad and knew that when she is sad, I give her hugs. So when she saw me sad, she knew what to do.

Was it a coincidence? Perhaps.

All I know is my baby girl, at just over a year old, has a very caring heart.

I may fail at a lot of Mom moments, but this one was a win.

If I teach her nothing else, I hope she learns from me to love and to care with all of her heart. To be there for someone when they are sad and to help cheer them up. And sometimes, people just need a hug. She knows that. And she made me feel better with that little gesture.

Even on the worst day, after so many rough weeks with her cold and my sinus issues, she knows when her mommy needs a hug.

I guess I am doing something right after all.

Go Easy On Yourself.

Go Easy On Yourself.

Dear Mom inside of Kohl’s,

I’ve been where you are. Sadly, I didn’t have any excuse when it happened to me. But I know your pain.

I heard your little girl say those words, the kind that will break your self-esteem and make you feel like you’re failing somewhere.

I heard her say, “You look like you are having a baby now”.

I cringed internally when I heard those words come out of her mouth. Part of me wished that I hadn’t even been present for it. Having people around to witness something like that often makes you feel a thousand times worse about how you look.

It’s hard to hear anyone say something like that, but kids just have no filter and don’t understand what is appropriate and what’s not. I heard you reprimand her, which I would have too. You told her “You don’t say things like that!”

But when she asked why, and when her sister questioned what she said wrong, you just told them to be quiet.

As embarrassing as it is to be a little heavier, nothing will be fixed if you don’t explain what they did wrong and why it hurt. Kids don’t know any better until we teach them. You missed a very pivotal teachable moment, because you were embarrassed. 

Go easy on yourself, mom. None of us are perfect. There are times when I’ve cried because I hate the way my body looks post-baby. I’ve never been skinny but I used to have a little bit of self-esteem. After having Maddie, and even before she was born, I was struggling with it. Seeing all my stretchmarks on my stomach, it broke my heart. 

But you know what? Your body is freaking awesome!! Your body created those precious, and brutally honest, girls. And guess what? Those girls love you, just like Maddie loves me. She doesn’t care if mommy has a little extra weight on her. And it’s possible that some day, I’ll go through the exact same scenario that you went through. It’s rough, I know. But try to remember how much your body went through. And be proud that your body was strong enough to birth those two girls. And forget about all those little “imperfections” that I’m sure you see every time you look in the mirror. I do it too. 

I wish I could say I would have reacted better than I saw you react, but I can’t promise that. In the heat of the moment, I probably would have got upset and not explained why. If, or when it happens again, sit them down and explain to them that it’s not nice to say that you looked pregnant (which you didn’t, by the way) and that it hurt your feelings when they said that. They probably would have felt bad and apologized. Don’t matter how old they are, most kids don’t want to make people sad.

And again, go easy on yourself, mom. Life gets busy and time flies by. Just take a deep breath and move on. And know that you are awesome and doing a great job! And go easy on your kids. They’re learning to be little people and look to you to help them. 

Ten Songs for When You Need Encouragement

Ten Songs for When You Need Encouragement

Every once in a while, for one reason or another, you need some encouragement. It could be because of stress, or maybe relationship issues, or a bad diagnosis from a doctor. There are thousands of reasons why you could be feeling discouraged and depressed. I don’t know about all of you, but music is big for me. I listen to music based on my mood. So when I need some extra encouragement, I go to my iPod. Here’s my ten songs that you need to be listening to if you’re feeling down:

  1. “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns. Honestly, I can’t have a list without at least one, if not more, Casting Crown songs. They are easily my favorite Christian group out there. I’ve seen them live twice and enjoyed them every time. This song is off their latest album called The Very Next Thing. This song is perfect for someone that is going through a trial in their life. There’s a line that says, “There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.” What’s better than remembering that even though we go through the fire, that we are not alone and God is always with us?
  2. “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns. Yes, I know, I already used one song by them. But this song has a special place in my heart. This song came out just around the time my mom passed away. I was obsessed with this song. If, for some reason, you’ve never heard this song (if you’ve lived under a rock), go download it now (it’s on the album Lifesong). My favorite line in this song is:  “And every tear I’ve cried, You hold in Your hand. You’ve never left my side, and though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm.” This is something I definitely needed to hear after losing my mom.
  3. “Even If” by MercyMe. This song is brand new and it’s going to be on their new CD called “Lifer” when it comes out on March 31st. I’ve been listening to this song constantly lately. The song is about someone who is going through a rough time and knows that God can just take care of it. But even if God doesn’t take it from him, he will still have faith and trust God. God answers prayers in three ways: Yes, No, and Wait. Even if we pray, God may not answer that prayer the way we want him to. The chorus to this song says, “I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone.” It takes great faith to be able to go through a trial and know that it’s all in God’s plan, and to accept that.
  4. “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson featuring GabeReal. This song is one that I’ve just recently bought and I love the message behind it. It’s saying that no matter what storm you’re going through, God is right there with you and He’s in control of the situation. My favorite line is: “And when the tears of pain and heartache are falling down my face, I find my peace in Jesus’ name”. I completely believe that it’s my faith in Jesus that has gotten me through some of my hardest times.
  5. “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey. Now, I loved Danny Gokey on American Idol and I was really rooting for him to win during that season. But I’m so glad that he broken into Christian music. He has definitely gone through heartache in his life, most notably the loss of his wife not long before trying out for American Idol. This song is all about moving on with life after a tragedy. My favorite line is: “Let every heartbreak and every scar, be a picture that reminds you who has carried you this far.” It’s all about starting over and new beginnings, with God there to help you along. Such a great message!
  6. “Priceless” by for King & Country. This song is a different type of message. The other songs are more about pain and tragedy, whereas this one is talking about feeling like you are unimportant. This song mentions right away that the mirror on the wall tells lies by pointing out your flaws. We are definitely our worst critic, or at least I know I am. I’m the first in line to find something wrong with me, and I have a very hard time taking any compliment. This song is a great reminder of how we are priceless in God’s eyes. He made us the way we are for a purpose.
  7. “Even If” by Kutless. Yes, I already have one song on here with that name, but this is different. It definitely has a similar message though to the MercyMe song. Just as the first song, it’s about trusting and having faith in God, even if we don’t understand the trials we are going through. I will never know why God decided it was time to take my mom to Heaven back in 2006, not this side of Heaven anyway. But I know God is good and faithful. My favorite line reminds me of that: “You are God, You are good, forever faithful one, even if the healing, even if the healing doesn’t come.
  8. “Mountain of God” by Third Day. Okay, I’m going to be honest here. I am not a fan of Third Day. I don’t know what it is about Mac Powell’s voice, but it annoys me. Now, that being said, I absolutely love this song. It talks about how the journey is long and sometimes it’s hard, but sometimes you have to go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God. This song has a very inspiring message to it. Like so many of the other songs, it reminds you that God is always there with you.
  9. “It’s Not Over Yet” by for King & Country. Yup, another song by for King & Country. My husband actually heard this song before me and he loved it. It’s about someone who is just feeling completely defeated. The whole song, they sing about how even if you feel like you’ve been defeated or that you’ve hit your limit, it’s not over yet and you can get out of it. The main theme: NEVER GIVE UP.
  10. “Overcomer” by Mandisa. I just realized that I was lacking any female artist on this list (oops!). So I end the list with this awesome song by Mandisa, another American Idol alum. I’ve seen her live once or twice and she’s got an outstanding voice. This song just screams encouragement. It says in the song, “You’re not going under, cause God is holding you right now. You might be down for a moment, feeling like it’s hopeless, that’s when He reminds you that you’re an overcomer.” No matter what you’re going through, no matter how horrible life may be, you can overcome your situation and becoming stronger from it. And again, it reminds you that God is with you. What better encouragement that knowing that God is on your side!

Any other songs you’d add to the list??? Comment and let me know!!!

Dear First Time Momma

Dear First Time Momma

Dear First Time Momma,

I love using this picture.

We were only home about a week when I took this picture of myself and Maddie. In looking at it, I can tell now how rough I felt. I probably really liked the picture of me initially. But looking at it now, I look exhausted, pale, and probably in pain. I was anemic, and definitely was running on very little sleep.

I can imagine that is how you’re feeling too, no matter how old your baby is now. And odds are, your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet. Maddie didn’t start doing that until she was a year old.

Maddie turned a year old on February 18th, 2017. So I know how over a year of sleep deprivation feels like.

Because I know. I know that even before your little one was born, you had trouble sleeping. I know I did. The further along I got in my pregnancy, the harder it was to get comfortable. And if, by some odd chance, I got comfortable, it would end quickly when I would have to go to the bathroom five times a night (that’s actually pretty accurate).

Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts, advice and stories of our first year. Maybe it will encourage you. Maybe it will make you feel a little less like a newbie. But hopefully this will make you feel better as a mom.

You’re going to make mistakes. I know I’ve made my fair share of them in the last year. Don’t dwell on these mistakes. They are few and far between and you’re doing the best you can. You’re learning how to take care of a very needy infant and they are learning how to live. There may even be times when you feel like your baby deserves a better mommy than you. Guess what? God gave you to that baby. God gave you this huge blessing. God doesn’t make mistakes. He gave you that baby because He knew that baby needed you as their mommy. Go easy on yourself and accept that you’re going to mess up.

You’re going to cry…a lot. If not from hormone changes, you’ll cry from sleep deprivation. You’ll cry because you feel like a failure. You’ll cry because the first year really does go by so fast, just as the ones to follow will too. I cried quite often, for all these reasons and so many more. The first time Maddie got a boo boo, I cried because I felt like it was my fault and I should have protected her better. I mean, I even did that this past weekend when she busted her lip and bled for the first time. Bawled like a baby myself. But guess what, Maddie cried for a few minutes, and even with blood in her mouth, she moved on. I need to learn a little bit from her.

Always go with your gut, especially when it comes to an illness. In the first few weeks of Maddie’s life, I had to take her to the doctor. I actually took her because I thought she was breathing funny and it was scaring me to death. Doctor checked her out and her lungs were perfect…but she did have an eye infection that needed eye drops. And honestly, I’ve taken her more times than necessary to the doctor, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Formula feeding? Great!! Breastfeeding? Great!! A fed baby is better than arguing over which method is better. Some moms can’t breastfeed and that’s okay. Moms shouldn’t put down other moms just because of the way they feed their baby.

And breastfeeding is hard. I was able to feed her for a year, but there were times when I swore she wasn’t getting enough milk from me and felt like a failure. Again, go easy on yourself. It can be extremely difficult and very tiring. Especially during growth spurts when they decide to cluster feed (those were my worst nights). There will be times when you’ll wonder if you should switch to formula. I know I had nights like that. Thoughts about how much easier it would be. How I wouldn’t have to go in my dad’s bedroom to feed Maddie when we went to visit. But I’m very grateful that I was able to go a whole year. That was my personal goal. And there are many ways to help your milk supply. Pinterest was my best friend and it still is. Anytime I have a question, that is typically where I go.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Taking care of a newborn is hard work. I absolutely love my daughter, but it was always nice when my husband could take her for a half hour or so while I took a shower. And it’s nice when I go visit my dad, or watch WWE pay-per-views with my brothers, I have other people that can help entertain her. I always have someone I can lean on. Find people you can lean on.

And my last thought is this…enjoy every minute. Yes, even the moments that you are bawling your eyes out because you feel like a failure. Even the moments when you’re so sleep deprived that you almost put tea in your cereal instead of milk (yes, that almost happened). The housework may not get done. Dinner might be take-out more often than not. But you know what? They aren’t gonna be little forever. Eventually, they aren’t going to need you all the time. Eventually, they will be able to feed themselves and will be able to occupy themselves while you get chores done. They’ll (hopefully) start napping better and sleeping through the night. But for now, that little infant needs you. As tired as I would get, I always loved holding my baby girl and playing with her. Because time, and life, is too short. And if you plan on having more babies, this is the only one that will get your undivided attention. Enjoy it. Treasure this time. Because it goes by way too fast.

I’m praying for you, first time momma. You’ve got this!

 

 

What would you tell your first time mom self?? Any advice you would give to a first time mom? Comment and let me know!!

Sometimes It’s a God Thing

Sometimes It’s a God Thing

Three times now.

Three separate occasions, I’ve had this happen to me. And I can only describe it as a “God Thing”.

Three times now, inexplicably, I’ve happened to be in the right place at the right time to be there for someone that really needed me. And the circumstances are odd.

The first time was back in 2005. My maternal grandmother had just move in with us the previous month. I was in my freshman year is college and this particular morning, my first class ended very early. Being a commuter, I decided to just drive home for a few hours before my next class. Normally, I would be on campus until at least 2pm on that day without going home. But this day, I got home right before 9:30. My mom informed me as I came in that my grandma was still asleep but that she was going to wake her up here shortly. I went in my room and got on my computer, and it wasn’t five minutes later that I heard my mom crying to my dad. She had gone in to wake up my grandma and my grandma had passed away overnight. Again, any normal day, I would have still been on campus. But because my one class ended early, I made the choice to go home, without knowing how much my mom would need me there to help comfort her. I always thought that was just a coincidence.

(my parents and I, senior year of HS 2004)

The second instance was in 2012. My husband and I decided to go bowling one evening. We had already played three games and Kenneth asked me if we could play one more. I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t bowling well, so I told him that I wanted to go home. We had just pulled onto our road when my dad called me. He wanted me to drive him to the hospital because he was having tightness in his chest that wouldn’t go away. I live five minutes away from my dad. So we got my car and raced to my dad’s, where I would end up calling an ambulance, suggested by my dad, and he would find out on the way to the hospital that he was having a heart attack. Normally, my brothers would have been home with dad, but one of them was working and the other was at a sports meeting. I could have easily told Ken we could play one more game of bowling, but I didn’t. I chose to go back home and we made it just in time for dad to call me to help him. Again, a little odd.

(my dad and i at my wedding, 2011)
The last instance happened this morning, actually. Maddie has recently just started sleeping in her crib, but is known to still wake up a few times throughout the night. I woke up this morning around 3:15, and checked the video monitor. I expected Maddie to be awake, but she was actually still fast asleep. I looked at the time and decided to use the bathroom before I went back to sleep. As I got back into bed, I checked my phone one more time to see that I had received three texts from my niece Amber. Amber is only 4 years younger than me and we are like sisters. So I read my texts. Her grandpa on her mom’s side of the family passed away at 3:03 this morning. His health had been poor for a while. He had been in hospice care at his home for a little while now. It wasn’t unexpected, but I knew my niece was devastated. Maddie didn’t wake me up at 3:15. I woke up for no real reason. But I was awake when Amber needed me. She needed her “sister” to know what happened and to be there to comfort her. Again, very random moment.

(Me and my niece Amber, a few years ago)

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m about certain that all three of these moments are what I call a “God Thing”. Nothing can explain any of these experiences. What were the odds that I would happen to be available for all three occasions? I can’t explain it. I don’t even want to try. I just know that God is always there for me and He is always there for His children. The people involved in all of these situations needed me and somehow I was there to be there for them. When I think about this, it’s enough to give me chills.

Can anyone else relate?? I would love to hear some similar stories!!

First Year Reflections

First Year Reflections

This past Saturday, my baby girl turned one year old. It’s hard for me to even fathom that 366 days had gone by and that we were leaving the infant part of her life behind, marching straight into the toddler years. Maddie had a wonderful birthday party with her favorite people and it definitely showed how loved she really is. 

As her momma, this birthday hit me about as hard as I thought it would. As tough as she could be at times, it was still hard for me to think about her getting older. I cannot stress enough how fast this first year went. People will tell you that all the time, usually when your tired and sleep deprived and you don’t want to hear it, but it’s so true. 

So, as we close this chapter of my girl’s life, I have a few reflections about everything.

  • Motherhood came very easy for me, thank God. But as easy as it was at times, there were other times where I would just bawl because I felt like I was screwing everything up. My husband had to constantly remind me of how wonderful of a job I was doing. And even that didn’t make me feel better. Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, but it has also been one of the most rewarding.
  • Nothing compares to seeing your baby smile or laugh for the first time. I’m fairly certain it can cure just about anything. 
  • Nothing is as cool as seeing your baby understand something that you’ve taught them. Maddie knows what a dog is and points them out when she sees one. Just tonight, I asked where her belly was, and she pointed to it. Maddie is wicked smart.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. I commend anyone that can do it. I also praise mommas that have to use formula. I made it breastfeeding for 12 months and there were times when I was sure I would have to stop, but I made it. It wasn’t easy and I cried a lot. But I’m glad I was able to do it. And when I have another kid, I plan to do it again.
  • Being a stay-at-home mom is hard too, especially with a baby. My house went to crap, my dogs didn’t get a lot of attention, everything kind of suffered. But I would rather have a messy home and be able to cuddle my baby whenever I want. I definitely respect my mom even more for being a SAHM. Your job is never done, and you don’t get paid for it. It was always my dream to be able to stay home with my babies and I’m very blessed that God decided I could do that.
  • Maddie, even when she throws her little tantrums, is still my favorite thing in the entire world and I thank God every day for blessing me with the privilege of being her mama. It’s a privilege that I don’t take lightly. And I cannot wait to see what God has in store for her 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!!

My Fitness Journey Begins

My Fitness Journey Begins

Our body is a temple, and it should be treated as such. 

As an adult, my lowest weight was 133 pounds after I graduated high school. I’m all of 5 feet, 3 inches tall, so my weight has no where to go. After my mom passed away, I ate out more often and my weight went up. I had gotten that under control and actually had gotten my weight down to 139, but then I got lazy. And then I got pregnant a year later. 

At my heaviest during pregnancy, I weighed 207. That was a week before I delivered. After we came home, I lost a lot of water, and some weight, but only got down to 170. I still have a ways to go before I even get back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 155.

That is why I am a part of a coaches challenge group on Facebook. Two years ago this coming June, I started my fitness journey with Beachbody and haven’t looked back. I’ve had successes and setbacks, but I love everything about it. The program that I saw the most success with is called the 21 Day Fix. With that program, I lost 8 pounds and a decent amount of inches. My husband lost 16 pounds during the 21 day period. It’s an amazing program! It has workouts for every day of the week and an easy to follow meal plan filled with healthy foods. 

So that is what I’m going to be starting, along with getting back on Shakeology, my superfood nutrition. I’m a picky eater and Shakeology helps me make sure I’m getting all the nutrients I need in my day. Plus, when I’m on Shakeology, I feel healthier, more awake, and I’m less likely to eat junk, namely sweets. Also, I rarely get sick when I’m drinking my shake everyday.

So starting Friday, I will be writing once a day on here, along with other random posts, but I will be documenting my journey through this challenge group and share my results and successes at the end!!

God gave me this body and I have to start treating it better. Plus, I want to be healthy and happy for my baby girl. This is important and I have to stick with it.

If anyone wants to join me, please email me at rachelfountain@oneblessedlife.com and I can give you some info on what I’m doing exactly and how to get started!!

Co-Sleeping? 

Co-Sleeping? 

I’m going to be very honest with you. I never, ever thought I would even consider co-sleeping with Maddie. While I was pregnant, I was certain that she would stay in a bassinet initially and then transition to a crib at some point.

Easier said than done, right?

To begin with, Maddie didn’t like sleeping in the bassinet we had received as a gift. It was an awesome bassinet! I could play my iPod on it, it vibrated, and had a mobile that spun around. But for some reason, she hated laying flat. So we ended up having her sleep in the pack and play until she got too big to sleep in it.

Maddie in her bassinet when we first came home.

Maddie in her pack and play.

So fast forward, we eventually started getting her to sleep in her crib. The only problem was I was nursing, and her room is on the other side of the house. So what would happen is, I would hear her in the monitor, go feed her, and try to get her back to sleep. But I was tired too. So time to time, I would just bring her back in our room with me and put her in bed with me. That eventually would turn into her just sleeping in our bed with us. The very thing I thought I would never do, I did. But I ended up loving having her with me. It was comforting to both her and me.

Now, at almost a year, I’m trying to transition her back to her crib, which is proving to be rather difficult. But that’s not the point of this post. I’m going to give my thoughts on this whole co-sleeping thing. 

  • Some people swear by it and encourage it. When I was trying to transition her around 6 months to her crib, some people encouraged me while others told me to just keep her in bed with me. It’s one of those topics that people are either for or against. People will fight about this topic. It’s all about your preference though. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with.
  • I wouldn’t do it until the baby is able to roll over both directions. That’s a big part of the argument against co-sleeping. The danger that they will roll over and get stuck there, ultimately leading to suffocation. That was a HUGE fear of mine, so I made sure she was able to maneuver and roll around. That way, if she did get on her belly, she could roll back over.
  • Not that I’m recommending that everyone does it, but it definitely became more convenient for me since I was breastfeeding. It’s much easier to just reach beside me and grab her as opposed to getting up, waking my dogs in the process of walking to her room, feeding her, trying to get her to go back to sleep and being exhausted. 
  • My husband, who was against it initially, is the reason we still have her in our bed. He started complaining initially and so I bought a brand new baby monitor and had him install it. I was ready to start transitioning her again! And when it was time for bed, he looked at me with Maddie in his arms and said “Aww, but I’ll miss her”. I’m sure I had a blank look on my face when he said that. The same person who complained suddenly wanted her with us. 

Would I do it again with our next baby? I’m not sure. Maddie is such a good baby and she is very attached to me. So I’m honestly not sure what I will do the next time around. Every kid is different, so I think we will have to see how things go. Would I openly recommend it? Probably not. Especially when the baby is very young. I feel like it is too dangerous at the newborn stage. I honestly think waiting until they can roll over is a big thing. Other than that, just make sure that your bed is a safe environment and don’t let them sleep with toys or thick blankets. Read up on things to avoid and thing to keep SIDS from happening. This is very important information to know! That is something I made sure to do before Maddie even was born. Once you do that, you can make a better informed choice on sleep.

What are your thoughts on co-sleeping? Yes or no?? Pros and cons?? Comment me and let me know!!