Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy hOWLoween!

It's finally here! P's first holiday season. Today is Halloween. This momma couldn't be more excited for her little girl's first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. My best memories from my childhood are the holiday ones. I cannot wait to make these special memoires with my tiny human.

The holiday season always reminds me of my grandmother. Christmas was her favorite time of year, and she always made it so special for all of us. I also loved the time of year because I got to spend it with my cousins. Since I didn't have siblings--they were the closet thing. I am so excited for P to get to spend her first Christmas with her cousin Luke.

I am all consumed with the idea of creating new traditions with P during these holiday months. I know that my husband thinks that they are cheesy and not at all necessary. However, I disagree. These are the moments that she will look back on when she is my age. These are the happy memories and moments that she will want to recreate with her family. AND--I am going to do it right. Uh, oh.

Anywho--So we will kick off this holiday season with P's first Halloween. P is appropriately going to be an owl. My favorite animal. It is fitting because there are owls all over her nursery.

I took her to my mommy and me group and snapped some adorable photos of her crawling around in her costume. She was so cute! We probably wont be going back to group again after yesterday. She was a little rough with the tiny babies. I will admit that my baby girl is a little mean. Stealing water bottles from other babies and hitting them with them is not my idea of a little lady. I know I am going to have my hands full with her in the coming months.

Our plans for tonight are to snap a million pictures of P and her brother before he heads out to trick or treat in our neighborhood. P--on the other hand, she will sit in my lap and watch at the kids walk by until her early bed time. The real fun will begin next year when she can actually eat the candy.

Happy hOWLoween Ya'll

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Solid Issue--Tips for Introducing Solids and Low Milk Intake

This post has been weighing heavily on my heart since I started introducing solids to P. Like everything with motherhood--I crossed my fingers and hoped that P would take that first spoonful of solids and never look back. It just wasn't that way for us. It has been a battle weekly. Every time I wanted to say we were out of the woods and that things were getting better--we would take a huge step back. I just didn't feel comfortable writing a post about it. I felt like I was doing something wrong in that department, and certainly wasn't the one to give advice on the subject.

I do feel like things have been better in the last month. P and I have gotten into a rhythm with her current schedule--as suggested by her new doctor. I will post that schedule at the bottom of this post for those of you who are curious. I mostly post these schedules for reference just in case I ever do convince my husband to do this again. I am sure there is a whole other post on that issue at some point.

For those reasons I have decided to share our struggle with solids and low milk intake. These two issues have driven me to more tears in the last four months than the first 5 month of motherhood. It has been my biggest struggle. Quite honestly--I have screamed, cried, and thrown things out of the frustration about P's intake. Why? Because I am a perfectionist when it comes to this whole motherhood thing. I. AM. CRAZY. I know it. It is my demon.

Here are my suggestions with introducing solids:

1. Don't be in a hurry to do it--Wait until 6 months if you can.
Don't believe the lie that some babies need solids to sleep through the night. P stopped sleeping through the night after solid introduction. Don't fall for that. Stay in your blissful bottle stage for as long as you can.

2. Educate yourself about first foods and baby led weaning.
I didn't do baby led weaning because P has a crazy gag reflex. She often throws up when she coughs. I just didn't feel comfortable with it, and neither did my husband. I have heard so many amazing success stories with it, and that is great for those parents. It just wasn't that way for us. We have just started finger foods, and it is a lot better. P needed those extra months to get her coordination down.

3. Understand that they spit it all out for the first 2 weeks or so.
Yeah--it all comes back out. They just don't understand how to move food from the front of their mouth to the back to swallow it. It is a fact of the process. You forcing them to eat won't change that.

4. It may take a month before they are eating solids well.
I mean putting away a container or two a meal. It took me about 3 months to get the point where she was eating two containers a meal and three during some meals. I felt pressured to feed her more because she wasn't eating her milk. Turns out that was the worst thing I could do. Once I relaxed a bit with the solid intake--the milk intake went back up. I had to learn how to balance the two. You also may need to experiment with different foods and textures. P likes her stuff thicker than most purees.

5. It is important to know how much is too much.
For P there is a definite difference between swatting at the spoon because I am full and swatting for fun. She pretty much swats non stop--so it was hard to know when she was really full. If I fill her too full--she will vomit everywhere. I want to avoid that like Ebola. You have to learn the cues and what works for your child.

6. Just because they don't like it today doesn't mean they won't like it tomorrow.
In the beginning P despised oatmeal with a passion. She hated that stuff. She would burst into tears if she smelled it. So I backed off. Starting off--she would only eat bananas and stuff mixed with bananas. Then it moved to all fruits. Then, veggie-fruit blends. Now she will eat some stuff that doesn't have any fruit, but still does better with blends. My husband gave her oatmeal after a month of not having it--and she gobbled it up. She loves oatmeal now. One of her favorite foods, seriously. It can change daily.

Next issue is milk intake. This one is really hard. I have heard that it is really common for a lot of babies. We have struggled mightily with this. P has taken as little as 9 ounces in a 24 hour period before. It was at a point where I was concerned about hydration. She just didn't want it at all. Here is  I have found to work with her.

1. Mix milk into everything they eat
EVERYTHING. I am not kidding. I even put milk in P's yogurt. I mix about 1/2 an ounce into most things she eats. For oatmeal--She usually eats 3 tablespoons of oatmeal with 2 ounces of milk. She eats it at breakfast and at dinner. This really helps to boost our ounce count.

2. Anything you mix into food counts toward your ounce total for the day.
If you can, try not to count the ounces. I am not able to do this, but it will help your sanity. If you have to count the ounces, then include anything you mix into food.

3.Have 1 cycle a day in which they can only have a bottle--no solids.
This is the one cycle a day that really helps to catch us up on ounces. I will not let her eat any solids. I just wait for her to want the bottle. She make take a few ounces here and a few there. That is fine. At least she is taking it.

4. Let go of the Eat, Play, Sleep Cycle.
I had to stop killing myself over this. It was making us both crazy. If she doesn't want the dang bottle right when she wakes up. I put her down to play, and she usually lets me know when she is hungry. If she doesn't by an hour before her nap, then I give her the solids. That is the best that I can do. Most of the time she will want the bottle about 45 minutes after the wakes up. She will then take her solids, and go down for a nap. It works for us.

5. Have the last solid feeding two hours or more before they go to sleep for the night.
This will just allow them to have time to get hungry and make it more likely that they will drink their milk at bedtime.

6. Offer water all day long
This was something that P's doctor really stressed at her 9 month appointment. She said any hydration is good hydration. Now, I make sure that I offer P a sippy cup of water after every solid feeding. It has really helped her wet diaper situation. Her urine is completely clear again (sorry for the tmi)

7. Consider that the problem may be your schedule.
When I went to see P's doctor--I took a copy of her schedule and her daily menu. The doctor looked at it and noticed an issue right away. She said we were keeping P up too late. What? I was trying to give her more time between dinner and bedtime--so I was putting her down 3 hours after dinner. P's doc said that the later you put them to bed--the worse they sleep. I have never heard of such a thing. It just goes against all common sense in my opinion. But--I'll be danged if it isn't the truth. Since we have moved P's bedtime--she has started taking more ounces and sleeping so much better. Turns out that she was waking in the night because of the late bedtime, and we were feeding her thinking she was hungry. This was making her less hungry during the day. Take away the night time feedings and viola! Baby girl will take those ounces during the day again. Seems so simple.

I guess I just needed a doctor to recommend the tough love with P. It was rough for the first few nights. She didn't want to go to sleep. But we stuck to our guns. Now, She goes down at 7 pm, and I wake her at 7 am. It has made such a huge difference. I will say that we still go in at about 10:30 most nights and offer her a dream feed. If she takes it--she does so in her sleep. It's the cutest thing and I love that feeding. She makes the sweetest little sighs.

I empower you to not become complacent when something is not going well. I had come to accept P's night time and eating issues. I chalked it up to her just not wanting milk anymore and not being a good sleeper. Turns out, it was something simple the whole time. Keep searching for an answer. There is one out there for you. I promise.

What works for your 9 month + baby?

P's Schedule 40 Weeks
7:00 am--Wake and bottle
7:45--breakfast (oatmeal and yogurt)
11:00--Wake and bottle * she usually wont take much if any bottle, but I always offer it
11:45--lunch (chicken and a veggie fruit blend)
3:00--wake and bottle *no solids offered this feeding
5:15--Dinner (oatmeal and fruit) 
6:00--We eat dinner and P eats finger foods and has water at the table with us
6:30--bathtime and then in room playtime
7:00--Bed time

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Favs

Another Friday under way. This week has been crazy eventful. P started STANDING!!! O-M-G! What a big girl she is. She is also right in the middle of getting her top two teeth. Enter Friday Fav number 1

1. Chewbeads
My mom got me a necklace and P loves to chew on the silicone beads all day long. I have my eye on these bracelets that she can put around her own wrist. There is also no chance with the bracelet that she could hang herself--a plus in my book. If you don't have any chewbeads--you are missing out for sure!

2. Nuby Straw Sippy Cup
Once P got old enough to have water-I started to try to introduce sippy cups. P did not really care for the spout types. She loved to bang them on everything, but she wouldn't actually drink from one. At a restaurant one night I started letting P drink water from the bottom of my straw. I would just drop a small amount into her mouth. She was hooked. Once she got to the point were she was starting to suck the water out of the straw--I knew she was ready to drink by herself. We started using bendy plastic straws first. I would just put the straw in a glass of water and she would drink that way. Once she got good at it. I bought one of these sippy cups. It has been the best thing ever. P will drink a ton of water from this thing. It is spill and leak proof. She has even gotten really good at holding it herself. We have tried a similar Munchkin brand, but P doesn't like it as much! These are our favorite for sure. She will even drink milk out of it--WAHOO!

3. Pic Monkey
I love, Love, LOVE this site for making collages and other projects on my computer. I made P's first birthday chalkboard, her first birthday invite, and even the invite for my future sister in law's bridal shower pictured above. This site has all kinds of cool effects such as wrinkle eraser and lip plumper. I mean who wouldn't want to look like Angelina Jolie? It also allows you to use their fun fonts or fonts that you have downloaded on your computer. It is a must for your facebook cover photos and blog headers as well. Mine is made with Pic Monkey!

4. Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans
I got hooked on these jeans when a friend of mine gave me three pairs that were too big for her. I seriously love how slim they make my legs and hips look while not riding too low on my waist. They are stretchy and flattering. I have them in red, orange, khaki, and black. I hope to one day own them in every single color imaginable. Did I mention that they are half the price that I normally pay for jeans at J.Crew?

5. Mabelline Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer
This stuff just kicked my MAC concealer's little butt for half the price. While it does not have as much pigmentation or coverage--this stuff is buildable and makes you look so dewy. I love the effects it has on my under eye circles (damn genetics). I find myself reaching for it every single day and even putting it on my clients for photo shoots. Run out and get yourself one. I promise, you wont regret it.

I hope you have enjoyed my favorites for this week. I kinda mixed this one up with baby, fashion, and makeup. Hopefully you can find something in there that relates to you.

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Daddy's Girl

As soon as everyone found out that I was having a baby girl--they were quick to tell me that little girls are just closer with their daddy. I heard it over and over everywhere I went. Some people even went as far as to say, "you should try for a boy next because they love their mommy." I thought, Really? Does the gender make that big of a difference? Will the fact that she is a girl mean she will love her dad more than me?

She should love me more. I carried her for 9 months. It was me that couldn't brush my teeth without throwing up. Me who couldn't sleep because of her kicking my ribs throughout the night. Me who labored with her. It was me that sacrificed my body to breastfeed and then pump for her over the last nine whole months.  Me that works from home so that she doesn't have to go to daycare. I clean up the vomit, poop, and urine. I patiently (and not so patiently at times) spoon feed her baby food. Compared to me--daddy is definitely the lesser parent, right?

Wrong. My husband is not the typical father and husband. He does a lot around the house, and rarely complains. He cooks while I feed P dinner. He does the dishes while P and I play and dance. He gives P a bath, and then we all have story time together.  He does all of these things after working a full day. He is always thinking of me, and rarely of himself. He is hands on and involved. 

When he found out we were having a girl he worried how he would do it. He didn't know anything about girls. I told him all he had to do was love her and play with her just like he did his son. I know that he will be great at playing Barbies and having fancy tea parties. I can see him letting her put makeup on his face and braid his hair. I don't worry about their connection. I know it will be very strong.

Baby girl is a daddy's girl. Monday afternoon I heard the familiar sound of the garage door opening. My husband was home from work. P and I were playing on the floor together. She was eating puffs out of my hand and watching Baby First TV. Daddy walked in. P greets him with the biggest smile I have ever seen, a big chuckle, and then she takes off crawling at light speed into his arms. She was so happy to see him. She has never done that when I come home after being away for awhile. 

This exchange filled my heart with happiness. I got that little tickle in the back of my throat. It was a heartwarming moment. I was witnessing their bond first hand. While I am still waiting for her to do that for me--I know that I get to do a lot of things with her that my husband does not. I cannot be jealous of that.

We are getting to the point where P is able to show her love for us. It is such a special feeling. We have gone months of loving her to amazing lengths with nothing in return, and now it is all paying off. She will give us kisses and hugs. She will crawl to me when she is tired--or just because she wants to sit in my lap. Reciprocation--it is amazing.

P is not the most affectionate baby. She doesn't really like to be held or cuddled. She doesn't like to be rocked unless she is really sleepy--so the moments where she shows us her love are really special. I will never forget the look on her face when she saw her daddy for the first time all day. It was truly priceless. I can't wait to see her love for him grow. 

What types of things do your husbands do with their daughters?

Monday, October 20, 2014

The 10 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter

As P starts to get older, I worry incessantly about teaching her the important things. You know, those things that I didn't get right. The things that I didn't understand as a young girl, teen, and young woman. Those vital ideas about what it is to be a woman, mother, wife, daughter. Those things that will make her character stronger and richer. The things that will make her better than her mom was at that age. I think about it a lot. I obsess over it. If you haven't figured out that I have an obsessive personality, then you have not been reading enough of my posts and you need to go back and refresh yourself. I get it honestly from my dad, and I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing to have. It is just a side effect of loving something or someone so much that you want to do it perfectly. All. The. Time.

Here are the things that I have been thinking about so far:

1. There is nothing that will make you more appealing to a REAL MAN than your mind.

The right kind of man will grow tired of your curves and various visual assets, and when he does it is your personality and your intellectual connection with will keep him with you. Not that you need a man to be happy. In order to form a lasting relationship with a man that will grow into a successful marriage and life together--you are going to need to be able to have more than a physical attraction. Therefore, you should not only focus on the materialistic side of things--you should put the most pride and emphasis on your education. It will take you a lot further in life.

2. You cannot rely on anyone else to make you happy--that comes from within.

When I was young--I bought into the whole fairytale. One day, Prince Charming will come and take me away from all of my worries. He would fulfill me and make me whole. That is a bunch of bull, baby girl. The only person that can fulfill you and your life is you. You have to be happy with who you are and what you have done in your life. If you aren't, then you will be unhappy no matter what. Another person cannot make you better. You have to rely on yourself for that. So, my wish for you is that you live your life with these words in mind. You live it with the fear of regrets, and try to avoid them at all costs.

3. There is nothing that you could ever do that would make me not love you.

No matter what happens. No matter how horrible the thing is that you have done. Nothing will make me stop loving you. Nothing. There is not one single thing that I can ever think of that you could do that would warrant me not loving you. I may be disappointed in you, but I will never stop loving you. With that being said--you can always come to me. Never be afraid to talk to me. I can't help you if you do not tell me what you are struggling with. I promise to try not to yell at you. Instead, I will try to calmly figure it out together. We are a team, forever.

4. You can be whatever you want to be--if you work really hard at it

I am not going to tell you that you can do anything just by wishing for it hard enough. That is not how you make good things come your way. You have to work hard. If you put in the time and work for what you want--then you will get where you want to be. If you want a good grade on a test, then you need to study. If you want to play an instrument, then you practice. If you want to run a marathon, you run daily. Nothing that is worth having will come for free. You have to put in the work. Do not expect to show up late to the game, and be the starting quarterback.

5. Don't be in a big hurry to grow up

It's true that being a grown up looks fun. You may look and me, and think that you can't wait to be your own boss, and be able to do whatever you want to do. Don't fall for that. There is no such thing. You can never do whatever you want to do. Being a grown up is much harder, and a lot less fun than being a kid. I promise. Savor your time to be carefree and to let me worry about all the rest. That is my job. Your turn will come soon enough.

6. Recognize how valuable you are

There will come a time that you will meet a boy. You may like him a lot. He may like you a lot. You may fall in love or think that you are in love. Promise me that you will recognize how valuable you are. Know that you are special, and that you deserve to be treated a certain way. He should open the door for you. He should speak kindly to you and about you to others. If he does not treat you the way your father treats me, then he is not the one for you. I warn you that there may be a boy or two who will tell you they love you when they don't. They may try to get you to give yourself to them when you are not ready. They may try to make you feel badly about yourself so that they can get what they want from you. Remember my words--you are worth waiting for. Know how much you are worth, and do not settle for anyone who cannot wait for you.

7. Pick the right kind of friends

As you get older it will become harder to find true friends. There will be some people in your life that will be nice to your face, but talk badly about you behind your back. These people are not worth your time. A true friend will be honest with you. They will tell you when you are being an idiot. They will support you through your struggles, and celebrate with you in your triumphs. They will be like sisters to you. The right friends will not push you to do things that make you uncomfortable. They will dance with you, cry with you, and love with you. Don't be afraid to cut someone loose who does not give back the friendship that you have given to them. You will have to put work into your friendships. You will have to do things that you do not really want to do to support a friend. You do these things because you will need their support too one day. Friends are second only to family. You need them, and they need you.

8. Family comes first

I understand that as you get older you will want to hang around your friends more than your family. It is natural. I just want you to remember than no one will ever love you the way that your daddy and I do. No one will support you the way that we do. So even if we are mean, and you think that you hate us--make time for us. Love us. Because one day you will lose us, and you will be willing to give up anything for just one more day with us. It will be too late. On those days you will need lots of memories of our time together to ease your pain. Make sure you have them.

9. Love your siblings

As I write this, you have one sibling, Dylan. My hope is that you will have one more. Regardless, treasure your brother. He can teach you a lot. He loves you unconditionally. Make time for him. Love him. If you cannot talk to us, then talk to him. He will help you. He will not judge you. If you have a little brother or sister one day. Be there for them. Teach them how to do things. Play with them. They are a gift for you. You do not have to grow up alone. You get to share your childhood with them as a playmate. That is very special, and not everyone gets to do that. I didn't, and I wish I had. When dad and I are gone--you will be happy that you have them.

10. Understand that everything I did, I did because I love you

There will be times when you don't like me. When you are angry that I wouldn't let you get your belly button pierced, or that I wouldn't let you go to a co-ed sleepover. In these times I hope you will know the reason that I am saying no. It is because I love you, and I want to prevent heartache in your life. I don't want you to regret any choices that I could have prevented. Yes, I understand that sometimes you will need to make your own mistakes, but please forgive me. Forgive me for wanting to keep you my little girl for a little while longer. Forgive me for not allowing you to figure it out for yourself at times. I do it because I have been there--I have experienced certain things, and I don't wish that for my baby girl. You are far too precious for me to let you learn the hard way with some things. Plus, if some little boy every hurt you--I would hate to have to kill him. Forgive me--for loving you too much. For holding you too close. Understand that I do it because I have been there, and it is not the road you want to go down. I promise

What types of things do you want to teach your daughter?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy 9 Months P!

How can it be? Another month has come and gone. My precious P is 9 months old. She has now spent just as long on the outside as she did on the inside. That is crazy to me. Seems like just yesterday I was complaining about how badly it hurt when P moved around inside my belly. I find myself becoming more and more nostalgic as the days pass by.

Today P and I went to our Mommy and Me group of the first time in a few months. It became hard to go with my pumping schedule, work schedule, and P's nap schedule. It was a bit of a culture shock for me as P has gone from being one of the youngest babies in the group to being the oldest one there today. Looking at all of those tiny babies made by ovaries hurt. I miss those days so badly. I'd give anything to stop the time and keep my little girl little. Alas, she is getting older and growing and changing dramatically with each coming month.

In P's 9th month of life she has cut two teeth, learned to sit up by herself, and started crawling. It was quite a change for one month. We went from a mostly stationary baby to a fully mobile almost toddler. Life has once again gotten a little more complicated for me as I am constantly having to move her away from the various dangers around the house. Her favorite thing to do is play with my breast pump and it's cords.

P has definitely developed an attachment to her mother and father in the last month. She has proven time and time again that she does not like strangers getting too close and she definitely doesn't want them touching her!

In the last few weeks she has decided that she no longer likes baths. This has always been a go to for us when she gets cranky near bedtime. We are hoping that it is short lived and that she will once again love to splash around.

P still loves the animals. Things have gotten a little bit better between P and Callie. Callie no longer growls when P comes near, and she will even let P pet her (with my supervision, of course). P really loves our cat, and it is mutual. The cat loves to lay on the floor near P while she crawls around. P will squeak and squeal as the cat lets her pull her tail and pull out clumps of her fur. She even lets P bite her ear. P will point and laugh at both animals, but calls them both "goggy." I think Callie's new found love of the cat comes from the fact that P likes to share her food with her--often sneaking her puffs and whatever other finger foods I put on her tray.

P has really taken to drinking out of her straw sippy cups. She has one for milk and one for water. She will drink both interchangeably. Lately, she would rather drink her milk this way than out of a bottle. She is adorable crawling around while holding on to the straw and dragging the cup with her. She will take big gulps and then make an ahh sound. I wonder where she picked that up?

At P's 9 month appointment she weighed in at a whopping 22 pounds and 3 ounces, and she measured an impressive 30 inches tall. The new doctor (we were very unhappy with her previous doc, so we switched) stayed with me for 30 minutes addressing all of my concerns about P's eating habits. As you may remember, P stopped wanting bottles almost completely. I have been struggling with this mightily, and almost to the point of insanity. Lately, it has gotten even worse. She will only take 1 real bottle a day and it is in her sleep. All of her other milk comes mixed into her solid foods and in her sippy cup (she probably takes 1 1/2 ounces a day in her cup). Her doc assures me that she is not starving. I mean, homegirl is quite hefty! She told me to keep doing what I am doing, and that it will all be ok. It was nice to get some validation.

We have also been struggling with night sleep for a few months. It has gotten better than it was at 6 months, but P was still waking once a night most nights. The doctor assured me that P is not really hungry, and does not really need the food. She is crying and waking out of habit and to get us to help settle her back down. This confirmed what I already knew in my heart--that we had conditioned her to wake at night to eat when she doesn't need to. We were so concerned about her milk intake that we got lazy with our sleep training. I am happy to report that we are back on the wagon. We moved up P's bedtime at our doc's suggestion. She goes to bed at 7 pm, and we do not got back in until 7 am. Unless, or course, there is real reason to. First night she cried for 30 to 40 minutes. Last night--she went right out with no problems.

Overall, this past month has been a whirlwind. P has changed some much we can barely recognize her from her 8 month self.

Happy 9 month birthday sweet Piper Eloise. I hope that one day you will look back on these blog posts as if they are one big love letter to you. You have made me a better person, a more complete person, and I love you all the more for that. In my eyes, you will always be perfect in every way--even when you are screaming. You are definitely wild, but I wouldn't expect anything else. I love watching you explore life. How ever much time we have together--it will never be enough.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Working From Home

I get a lot of questions about my job. Most people are just curious about how teaching high school online really works. I was pretty intrigued when I first started to consider doing it for a living as well. The other half that comment on my job--do so in a typical southern fashion. They are nice nasty. Nice nasty is when you say something condescending in a really nice way. I truly believe that half of the people that do this do not even realize that they are being condescending. Here are the most common comments that I get about my job:

1. "I could never do that, I wouldn't have enough to do. I'd be so bored."
2. "I would love to be like you and not have to have a real job."
3. "It must be nice to get paid to say at home with your daughter."
4. "I bet your husband loves that you are home and can do all of the (insert house chore here)."

While some of these things are more insulting in their context than others. You get the general idea of the underlying insult there. Yes, someone has actually said each and every one of the above things to me.

Let me assure you that I do like my job. I love teaching, and I am immensely grateful that I have a job that allows me to do what I love while also being able to be home with my daughter. It is the best of both worlds for me. However, there are times that I think it would be easier to teach in a traditional school. No, don't burn me at the stake just yet. I believe that my job is much harder--and much more demanding than the average teacher. Yes--I said it.

Here is why--while you are all in your classrooms teaching your students. You are focused mostly on them. Of course a mother is always thinking about how her child is, but mostly you are focused on the job at hand. You are able to put your professional hat on, and shove that mommy hat in your desk drawer. I, I am wearing both of mine every single day...all day long. Don't get me wrong. That is what I asked for and what I want to do. When I teach my class, P is usually asleep upstairs. I say usually because she is unpredictable at times. There are a lot of times that I am doing multiple things at once. I may be in a meeting, feeding P solids, and pumping all at the same time. So--if you think that I don't have enough to do, then I would like to see you do it for a week. A whole week, I dare you.

A real job...seriously? We have got to stop the mommy bashing in this culture. I have found the worst mommy bashers...are moms themselves. They say things like this because they are jealous--or because they don't understand why anyone would want to do it differently than they did it with their kids. I believe that just being a mom at home with your child or children is a REAL, honest to god, job. Even if you can't give it the "job" label--can we at least agree that it is work? Hard work at that.

 I wish that I could be a stay at home mom, but I am not. I am a work from home mom. The two things are similar in few ways and different in many others. I sacrifice a lot of quality time with my daughter because I am working. Just like those who work outside of the home. Yeah, she is sitting right next me me, but it is not quality time. I will admit that there are days,--when I am really busy--that I make it to lunch and realize that haven't spoken one word to her all day. I worry about her development. Would she be better off in a daycare where they would interact with her better? It all comes down to the idea of quality versus quantity. We spend a lot of time together, but I do sometimes feel that I have really spent it with my computer screen.

I don't get paid to stay at home with my daughter. I get paid to do a job. It just so happens that I get to be at home where my daughter is while doing it. However, it is like every other job. If my daughter interrupts my work to a point where I can not get the job done--I will be reprimanded. While my job is full of moms like me--we are all expected to perform as if we were distraction free. They are not in the business of paying women to stay at home with their kids. If anyone knows of such a job where this is really the case, then let me know. Because I would be early every day for that job. I would work it on weekends, holidays, whenever...oh wait--I already do. It's called motherhood.

My husband would laugh at the idea that because I work from home it somehow means that I keep the house clean. I wish that I was that gifted at multi-tasking. Even if I had the time--I still wouldn't clean. The truth is that any time I do have a break from working--I am not going to spend it cleaning a toilet--sorry. I am spending it looking into those little green eyes. Most days I don't have time for chores, and when I do--I don't do them. When I have free time and P is napping--the last thing I want to do is laundry. I want to get some alone time. Some me time--where I sit and watch Real Housewives of (insert various options here, I watch them all).

So, I am sorry to dispell your myths and preconceived notions about work from home moms. We certainly don't spend our days watching The Price is Right or twiddling our thumbs. We are sometimes doing more than one job at a time. And you know what--I am not complaining. I am so grateful that I do this each and every day. It allows me to bring in a living while fulfilling a dream I have always had to stay at home with my children. On a day like today, where I have taken the day off to spend QUALITY time with my daughter. I will spend it giggling, chasing, tickling, kissing, rocking, reading, singing, and loving that little girl to pieces--be jealous about that. Because you totally should be!

Cheers Ladies!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Favs

Ok, I've bought into the Friday Favorites movement. I know you are all rejoicing out there in cyberspace. Yay!

The point of these posts is to share with all of you the things that I am currently, in this moment loving/wanting. In the hopes that you might see something you didn't know about that might improve your life. it goes!

1. The Merry Mistletoe Candle from Bath and Body Works.
 I have two of these from two Christmases ago, and they are THE BOMB. Seriously. I love curling up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and the smell of these suckers burning on the coffee table. It brings me back to such great childhood memories. Christmas was a very special time for my whole family. My grandmother LOVED Christmas, and she always managed to make it so special for all of us. Once she died, it was never the same. This candle reminds me of happier times with her. I heard that they were not one of BBW's candles last Christmas. Say it isn't so? They seriously need to bring this one back. It is my very favorite. Until then, I will savor the ones that I have as long as possible.

2. Leopard Print Infinity Scarf!
My mom bought me one of these from Old Navy because I had been salivating over it on Pinterest since last fall. I am a big scarf person in the winter and fall months. I love a good scarf with a graphic tee and thick industrial leggings. Ahh--that's my jam right there!

3. A good Crock Pot.
 I know, this is silly for most of you. BUT, I love a good crock pot. This is the time of year of chilli during the Falcon's games. I adore a big bowl of chilli with shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos crumbled up on top. That is a little bowl full of heaven to me! Sadly, My husband broke the stoneware from the inside of our crock pot a year ago, and we haven't replaced it yet. I am demanding a new one soon! I love throwing all the ingredients in it in the morning, and smelling the goodness all day long. It makes the meal that much more satisfying to me.

4. Zulily
If you don't know about Zulily, then shame on you! This is this amazing site that gets you discounts on goodies for you, your husband, and your kids. I especially like their baby and kids stuff. I got P's baby carrier from Zulily for 60% off! They have the cutest stuff  from baby food pouches to Michael Kors watches. You just have to figure out if its the best deal for you. A lot of times it is!

5. A good graphic tee
Graphic tees are so in right now. They are everywhere on my Pinterest page. One of my best friends is a persoanl stylist and she has been talking about them all the time in her blog, so I know I am on the right track here. I want this one! It combines two of my favorite things, cute shirts and coffee--we are currently out of coffee at the moment, so this one spoke to me.

Have an Amazing weekend my Friends! This weekend is the first weekend in awhile I do not have a makeup job. I look forward to spending some quality time with J, P, the DAWGS, and the Falcons. I love Football.

'Til next week!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

P's New Clothes

I have been getting questions about how I dress P. It's very flattering, really. You guys like the way that I dress my daughter, and I have to agree with you. I think P is much better dressed at this stage in her life that her momma is. That is mostly because baby clothes are cheap! AND P has 2 grandmothers that love to buy her the cutest outfits. I usually shop at Carters and Target for her clothes.

This past week I was killing time, and decided to stop in Old Navy. Normally I don't like their stuff, but HOLY CUTENESS!!! Their toddler girl clothes are AHH-MAZING. Yes, I did say toddler girls clothes. My big chunky monkey is wearing 12-18  month clothes at almost 9  months old. Don't rub it in. I am choosing to embrace it at the moment because of all the cute-ness it opens up for us.

We seriously destroyed the store, and I am in love with P's new fall wardrobe. I even got her and I a matching outfit. O-M-G! I can hardly contain my excitement.

Plus, it is relatively inexpensive. I am not one to spend $20 on a onesie and pants. It was all way cheaper than that!

I tend to also try to get pieces that can be mixed and matched. I don't want to get something that will only look good when it is in it's own outfit. I like versatility in her wardrobe--especially when she might throw up all over her shirt at any given moment. As she grows I try to have a pair of jeggings in every size, and leggings in black and hot pink. This time I got jeggings in both regular jean and black jean. Then, I always go for at least one patterned pant. I love the leopard ones above! Then I find tops that will mix and match with all of the bottoms that I have. Old Navy had a ton of graphic Ts and onesies that would match items I already had for P in 12 months.

I also wanted to get her some outerwear and footwear. I found the cutest little hats that are lined with fleece to keep her little head warm. I couldn't resist these boots with the fringe! AND I had to get this red raincoat for her!

I am still trying to decide if she needs this fur vest to go with her leopard outfit pictured above! It would totally be impractical and would serve no real purpose, but come on, it's adorable.

Where do you find your little one's clothes?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom!

Since I became a Mom I have found a whole new appreciation for my own mother. Sunday was my mom's birthday. P and I were so lucky that she chose to spend her special day with us. We went shopping and just hung out. It was a great day!

Raising a daughter is not an easy job. I sit at the beginning of this marathon called motherhood looking towards the milestones that face me in the future with bewilderment. How did she do it? Because I am not so sure that I can do the same job.

With this job comes a whole boat load of worries. Will I pass on the same values, morals, ideals that my mother instilled in me? Will I be able to provide the same happy memories and traditions? Will it all be enough? What about manners,the importance of family and friendships? Will I be able to do it the way that I want to do it?

The answer to that question is on going. But the fear is that life will get in the way, and one day I will wake up with a 17 year old and hope that I did an ok job. The thought is terrifying for me. Seriously...I have nightmares about it.

I will be honest--I don't think my mom had it all together a lot of the time. She is a little scatterbrained. She is forgetful. Despite that I think that I am a pretty well-rounded product. I have good morals, values, memories, traditions, and I truly understand how important my family and friends are. It is this fact that gives me hope. Although I may feel like I have no clue what I am doing--it doesn't necessarily mean that I am not doing a good job.

It is such a monumental job--raising a child. It's not easy, but it is very rewarding. While we are growing up we do not realize the amount of work, sweat, tears, and frustration that goes into raising us. Well, I truly understand it now.

Thank you mom for making my first word "thank you" and for insisting that manners were important. Thank you for forcing me to be active as a child, for putting an emphasis on the arts and music, and for stressing the importance of education and literacy. Thank for making me go to church and for teaching me about religion. Thank you for not lecturing (too much) about the fact that I choose not to practice that religion today. Thank you for all the social science fair projects, spelling test study sessions, nights spent crying over math homework, and english papers that you helped me with. Thank you for having me around your friends growing up, and not just sticking me with a babysitter all of the time. I learned a lot by having all of those adult influences in my life. I hope that P will have a similar experience.

If I could go back and raise myself--I wouldn't change a thing. You did a great job, mom. I hope that I can follow your example. We love you!