Friday, August 28, 2015

Wonderful Web Round-Up


Ok so I've been reading Sarah's blog Yes and Yes for YEARS, like pretty sure it is the first blog I truly became a fan of! Well I am also obsessed with her small business blog. I just discovered her post on How to Befriend a Blogger. Love it!

Shoes have always been my weakness (BUT I WEAR ALL OF THEM!) and I am lusting over these leather TOMS... fancy version of the classics and in cognac!

Speaking of TOMS, I have officially fallen head over heels in love with their Honduras roast! It is so smooth and Daniel even loves it!

Kathleen over at Kapachino did a Week in the Life posts which I loved! Definitely has inspired me to consider doing the same.

Somehow I just discovered Momastery and I am blown away by Glennon and the good she is doing. Her post on People Who Need Help Sometimes Look a lot Like People Who Don't Need Help hit me in the gut so hard. If you have ever struggled with mental illness or addiction or know someone who has definitely check out her blog.

I finally gave in and bought Landry a doll but it is not creepy and it soft (NO PLASTIC). I got her this Mooshka Doll and she loves it. Rides in her cozy coupe with it and everything. Family who is reading... DO NOT BUY DOLLS! haha

I have struggled with being consistent with blogging because life has been a little chaotic. I am really wanting to work on my consistency and Nicole over at Write's Like A Girl provides 3 Tips For Being More Consistent. She's also celebrating this week her 4 year blogging birthday! Go over and tell her happy birthday! ;)

As y'all know I am really trying to shop with a purpose so I'm loving these tips on Shopping With Ethics!

What interesting things have you found online this week?? Let me know in the comments! Have a fantastic weekend, friends! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pep Talk


wrote a whole post and after a few hours passed and I read over it, I deleted it. The post was filled with whining and complaining about exhausted I am right now. It was written in a moment of tears, emotions running high, and hiding in TJ Maxx (I wrote the post on my phone). When I read over the post later after having a much needed spilling of my soul to Daniel, I didn't like the person who wrote it. She lacked hope, was unappreciative of what she does have, and was very negative. That is not the person I want to  And if I didn't like me, y'all sure wouldn't like me after reading it.

Life has been a little tough over here in the Deal household for the last few weeks. Sickness (Landry and me), hectic work days (Daniel), lack of sleep (everyone), and general chaos. I've done my fair share of crying, complaining, begging God to please let Landry nap, and just generally being a miserable person.

So instead of wallowing in my misery in the form of a blog post, I've decided to instead give myself a pep talk and share with y'all! Because maybe your days are tough, maybe your days are long, maybe you feel like you given all of yourself to everyone and there is none left for yourself. But these tough days, they are just temporary.

Chin up butter cup, no one is diminishing the work you are doing. Being a mom is tough and whoever says different is much more emotionally stable than you or a liar. These tough days are worth it though. All your dreams have come true with having this child. You are doing what you've dreamed of since you were a child. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Focus on the bright spots in the day. The times she gives you impromptu kisses, when she loves on the dogs, when she smiled that bright mischievous smile. Yes a tantrum might soon flow but it won't forever. Remember that this clinginess is just a stage and before you know it she will be embarrassed to have her mom around let alone sitting on your lap. 

I know everything I'm saying sounds so cliche and people have told you these things a million times. I know in the cloud of emotions it can be hard to believe. But it's true. In between, take care of yourself. Remember that binge watching Netflix is not restorative and will not help you feel renewed and refreshed. Take the time to go on some walks, to do make a nice dinner, and to spend time with friends sans baby and sans guilt. Your husband and daughter need a woman in their lives who not only takes care of them but takes care of herself. 

Your husband does not hate you for complaining but he would like to hear more positives of your day. Don't take your frustrations out on him. He is trying his best and just wants you to be happy. You are so lucky to have a man who truly cares about your happiness and well-being.

Take some time to put yourself together in the morning. I'm not lecturing you, but you will feel so much better if you take time to throw a little concealer on, fix your hair, and put something on besides a tee-shirt and running shorts.

With all this being said, don't forget these hard times. When you talk to other new moms be real, be vulnerable, and let them know it isn't always perfect. Remember how this time is shaping you and transforming you. You are becoming such an incredible mom and woman. You are being refined and pruned and sculpted. That can hurt but in the end you will be better, stronger, and more beautiful. You got this! 

Do you ever give yourself pep talks? What kind of positive affirmations do you give yourself? 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Structure

This picture has really nothing to do with this post. But she's so adorable and funny, right? 
Summer time I live for spontaneity. I feel like the season just calls for impromptu park trips, science center visits, and fro-yo dates. It is a season of possibilities and freedom. I guess no matter your age you never quite shake the feeling of freedom and excitement that summer use to bring as a child. No school, no rules, no plans except beach trips!

With the unofficial start to fall upon us (who doesn't feel like it is fall once school starts back?) I am craving some structure and scheduling to mine and Landry's days. Too much freedom and openness to our days has left me feeling exhausted and scattered. Add that Landry has dropped down to one nap and we are still struggling with scheduling, I have really desired some predictability and routine. 

Routine and predictability really can be comforting when you feel like the rest of your life is out of control. I know right now with Landry stepping into toddlerdom and testing her limits and boundaries not only do I need some structure to keep me from losing it, but Landry needs it to. 


So with all this being said I've decided to construct a weekly checklist/schedule of sorts for us. It will keep me from falling into the accidental parenting trap and help to make sure Landry's nap times are a time I can work on things of importance to me (like this blog) and not simply work on household chores and tasks.


As you can see in general our days are not scheduled to the hour. It will stress me out too much to try to keep us on an hourly checklist. I would much rather just have an order to our day. Now there are certain things (the things in red) that are not adjustable. Landry and I will be volunteering in the nursery at the Burke Literacy Council every Tuesday starting after Labor Day. It will be a great opportunity for Landry to meet some new little people (yay socialization) and gets us both involved in the community. Story Time at the library here is something you have to register for (it's still free) because there are crafts provided so we have signed up for the next session that starts next week.

The time Daniel leaves for work (around 7:35ish) till 8:30am I am sitting aside time for cleaning/chores. I think setting a time limit will keep me from choosing to clean over playing with Landry but it will also guarantee me time to work on cleaning while Landry is awake. Today I wiped down the cabinets in the kitchen and Landry "helped". She had our own rag and was mimicking me. It is important to me that Landry doesn't think the house magically gets cleaned while she is asleep. I want her to learn from a young age that we have to clean up after ourselves and that mommy isn't simply her to play with her 24/7. It will teach her responsibility and also show we that we can clean together and it be fun. 

Anything in black on our schedule are things that really can be flexible and changed depending on the day. I would like to adhere to it as much as possible just to keep the structure and so Landry will know what to expect every day. But if something comes up (special events, doctor's appointments, family visiting) those things can be moved no problem. I have also left a lot of time available for "play". I don't want everything to be too scheduled and planned out. I want to leave room for imagination and what Landry enjoys so play time can vary in what it consists of.

We are still playing around with naps with moving to one nap so they could move in the line up but ideally naps will be after lunch because she sleeps better.

Thursday mornings I am sitting aside for "adventure days". What they consist of really can vary depending on weather, time frames, money, etc. We are members to a local science center that is 25 minutes away so that is always option along with other children's museums/science centers that are nearby that we get into free with our membership. There is also a little center in our town that children can go and play for free. We could go up to Asheville (45 minutes away) and go to the Nature Center or an indoor playhouse. We could go to the indoor pool here in the city or the splash pad (until it closes). I just want to make sure we are doing something a little out of the ordinary on Thursdays. It will give us something to look forward to and give us a little break in our routine.

After a month or so of us actually using our schedule (I plan on really starting next week) I might do a week in our life to kind of show how it is going in action. I know this might be oversharing but I know I enjoy seeing how stay-at-home moms structure their day so maybe this will be of some help to someone!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

What I'm For


Coffee. It is no secret that I love coffee. I use to simply like coffee for the caffeine (which since being a mom I have an absolute new appreciation for!). But now I am learning the difference in blends and what kinds I enjoy. I also really enjoy just getting to have a little time by myself with a good cup of coffee. Time to relax and sip on it, time to think and really just enjoy coffee. I also enjoy a good life chat over coffee, something about those chats are just extra special. If you are ever looking for proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy coffee is that proof. :)

Making time for friends. Distance, marriage, kids, jobs, boyfriends, girlfriends, life. These are all reasons that friendships can get pushed to the back burner. I am not saying I have been perfect at maintaining friendships, but I have learned that my friendships are very important to me and I really feel like I am a better and more well-rounded person when I make time for my friends. I have been trying to do more of that. Dinner dates, long phone conversations, group texts, and planning special times together. I am so thankful for my friends that are more like family.

Napping. Obviously I am for Landry napping :) but I am also for taking naps myself. When Landry was first born everyone would tell me to sleep when she sleeps but I never could bring myself to do it. Now a year into this mom gig I finally have started sometimes taking a nap while Landry naps. When I am having a particularly rough or trying day a nap can really help me restart the day and restart my mood. I have also been a little under the weather the last fews weeks and not sleeping well at night. So naps are very necessary part of self-care.


So who's ready to meet up for coffee and share what they're for today? Let me know in the comment what you're for! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Daily Wears 08.18.15 Featuring Rocksbox



*This is not a sponsored post. I am just super excited about Rocksbox! 

Dress- Corner Clothing (Made in the USA) via Zulily (similar
Vest- Old Navy via Poshmark (similar)
Necklace- The Giving KeysGorjana via Rocksbox
Bracelet- Nakamol via Rocksbox (similar)
Earrings- House of Harlow via Rocksbox
Shoes- Birkenstocks via Poshmark
Bag- Lane Bryant (similar)

I have been SO sick these past few days! I've been congested and all around feeling yucky. But I was so excited yesterday when I received my first Rockbox that I had to take outfit pictures to show my new goodies! 

This dress is not part of my summer capsule wardrobe but I have been so sick and Landry had a doctor's appointment that I pulled out the most comfy yet semi-put together in my closet. I am also dreaming of fall and kind of hoping that if I start dressing for fall the weather will follow my lead. That's how it works, right?

Ok so on to more about this Rocksbox thing...

My friend Emma over at Behind The Leopard Glasses blogged about Rockbox a few weeks ago so I decided since she is so stinking stylish to give it a shot. Rocksbox is a monthly subscription service where you receive three pieces of jewelry for $19 a month to wear as much as you would like and then send back to receive three new pieces. You can trade out jewelry as often as you would like for no extra charge. 

When you sign up you fill out a style survey so they can get an idea of pieces that would work for your style. You also can make a wishlist of pieces and you might receive them in your box. The even cooler part? You can buy the pieces you love to keep for a discounted price! And every month you get a $10 credit to your account to use towards a purchase. So really it is only like you are paying $9 a month because of the credit you receive. 

I am not really adding a lot of new clothes to my fall capsule wardrobe. I will be reusing a lot of clothes I already have from last winter/fall. Instead I am hoping to spruce up my accessory game a little so I decided Rocksbox was the perfect start to figuring out some new jewelry for myself. So here is my first box! 


Free shipping to you and you get a shipping label to ship back to them free! Just drop it in your mailbox. Easy peasy.


I thought the box was so adorable and loved the little bow... it is like opening a present to myself! 


I loved seeing my name! Personalization is such a nice little extra that makes you feel really special. I also loved my note from my stylist Hana. I had placed the earrings from House of Harlow on my wishlist so it was nice to see she payed attention and added them to my order.


I was pleasantly surprised by how well they did picking out pieces for me! People a lot of times tell me my style is really picky and hard to pin-point so I was really happy that these pieces seemed me! I also loved getting a variety, a bracelet, earrings, and necklace!


I am obsessed with these earrings! I rarely wear my second hole but these earrings just force me to actually embrace my second hole because I love these studs together. I actually think I am going to keep these because I don't have to worry about Landry pulling on them like a lot of my dangly earrings. I needed to stock up on some studs.


I think this bracelet is absolutely adorable and great quality. It really looks like something I would have worn a lot in college. Unfortunately all the beads just make me a little nervous with Landry and it is a little bulkier than I typically like. I will probably wear it for a couple of dinners with friends and send it back.


I have loved little bar necklaces for a while! When I showed Daniel he actually thought I already owned this necklace because it looked so much like me. It is a perfect layering piece to go a long with my Giving Keys necklace and a lot of my other long necklaces. Sadly it is not in the budget to keep it right now so I will most likely send it back with the bracelet and probably kick myself for it.



Here are the earrings "in action". Sorry for the blurry picture :/


Ahhhh! Looking at this picture and how great the Gorjana necklace looks layered with The Giving Keys Necklace, I am already regretting my decision. haha


Click here to get your first month free! Or you can go to rocksbox.com and use my code brittanybff397 to receive your first month free. Let me know if you sign up and show me the goodies you receive! 

What kind of things are you wanting to add to your fall wardrobe? 


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Landry's 12 Month Update







Dear Landry, 

YOU ARE A YEAR!!! It is awesome, wonderful, and sad. You are such a little person/individual. It amazes me to begin seeing you as a toddler and not a little baby. I wouldn't trade a day of the past year and I love getting to be home with you and really see first hand the process of you growing up. I have avoided writing this post because I really don't want to accept that you are a whole year old. It blows my mind. I am so contradicted, I look forward to seeing you grow but at the same time I want you to be my little baby forever. I love you sweetheart. 


Weight/Height

I have no idea! She seems to have slowed down with weight gain. She is losing that baby fat but still getting taller. It blows my mind the things she can get to. I can't wait for her doctor's appointment to find out what her height and weight is. 


Sleep



Sleep has gotten a little better. Some mornings she actually sleeps till 6:30am. Then some days she wakes up at 5:30am. I would love for there to be some more consistency with her morning wake time but I will take what I can get. Her naps have gotten back to some regularity. She usually takes an hour morning nap and an afternoon nap that is anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours.

We finally moved up a size in her sleep sack which I think has given her more room and made her more comfortable. She is all about her sleep sack! We use this one by Baby Deedee. 


Eating



WE HAVE WEANED FROM THE BOTTLE! We did it cold turkey. The day after her birthday party we gave her a bottle at 5:00am and then I didn't give her any more. It has surprisingly gone well. Sadly, Daniel gave Landry her last bottle which makes him feel special but I wish I had been the one to give it to her. I didn't realize at the time it would be her last bottle. But I guess that's how it goes, you don't realize something is the last time until it's over. If only we could know ahead of time, maybe we would hold those moments a little closer and appreciate them a little more. Anyway, I digress... Landry LOVES food but is not crazy about milk. We have to give her milk with ovaltine in it to get her to drink it. We are lucky to get 10 ozs in her a day. 


Favorite Toys



Her Cozy Coupe.

Her Red Radio Flyer 4-in-1 trike.

Books, you can find some of her favorite here.

Hape Qubes, she has these, these, and these


Mood/Personality




Landry is such a fierce, independent little soul. She is so sweet and caring but also such determined. Some days I can see myself in her and it worries me and warms my heart all at the time say time. She lacks patience, just like me. She gets excited easily, just like me. But then there are times where I can see her own little personality developing. She is such a people person, she ADORES people. Being around people give her so much energy, my little extrovert. She does not get that from me or Daniel. 


Milestones/Things To Remember


She is fully walking, even getting close to running.

She is learning how to get down from the bed and chairs.

She gives kisses unprompted now! She will even kiss the babies in her books (which is fantastically adorable).

Her molars are starting to come in!

She is starting to gibber gabber a lot more. She says "Da-da" or "Daddy" all the time (she's been saying Da-da for a while).


Loves




The dogs (she is so cute playing with them now! They no longer coexist, they are actually really interacting and playing).



Things I Want to Remember

Her playing with the pups and how sweet and gentle she is with them.

Our mommy/daughter dates.

Seeing her play at the Chickfila play place for the first time.












Looking Forward To

More fun times at the park and science center.

Finishing up summer with a bang!

Going on vacation as a family of three in October.


After this month I am going to do monthly updates every 6 months because some of the big milestones have occurred and her development will be slowing down a little bit. I will definitely keep you updated with recaps of fun activities we take part in. So her next one will be in January at 18 months! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Searching For Sunday



I've really struggled the last several years with being disillusioned with the church, but at the same time yearning for that relationship with God that I feel like is fostered through the church community.  I even wrote a post a few months ago on Finding Jesus, Losing Religion. I know I am not alone in this feeling; the mass exodus of 20-somethings from the church is constantly discussed in the Christian realm. Churches are attempting to make church more "hip", "relevant", and "authentic". They want 20-somethings to be able to relate, so you see pastors rocking skinny jeans, light shows during worship, and rock bands leading music. With all that being said there are still a significant portion of 20-somethings who are cynical about the church and still not finding themselves walking through the church doors come Sunday.

Recently one of my long-time best friends mailed me Rachel Held Evan's book Searching For Sunday. He included a little note that said "This was a really good book I read recently. As I was reading it, it reminded me of many conversations we have had and a lot of our memories/stories we have from our upbringing in a Southern Baptist Church. I hope you enjoy it." He couldn't have been more right. This book hit home in so many ways for me. I read it in two days during Landry's naps. I laughed and I cried. Not just tearing up... there were times I had to sit the book down and just wept into my hands because Rachel's beautiful words reflected everything I have felt over the years but never knew/could express so eloquently and perfectly.

The book is divided into sections written around the 7 sacraments: Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage. At first I was a little concerned upon seeing how the book was organized. Baptists do not typically observe sacraments, instead we have the ordinances of Baptism and Communion. Many times the question is brought up of the difference between sacrament and ordinance. This is how I view it: ordinances are viewed more of what the participant does. It is something we are doing to symbolize our faith to God. Sacraments are a physical act of God's grace. As Rachel says

"we're looking for Jesus- the same Jesus who can be found in the strange places he's always been found: in bread, in wine, in baptism, in the Word, in suffering, in community, and among the least of these"

The sacraments are the perfect starting place for finding Jesus without all the noise and outside influences. It can be so hard to sift through the church politics, drama, and bureaucracy to find Jesus and his love. But the sacraments are essential in getting back to the basics and the love and grace God has given to us.

Upon reading the book the organization made complete sense. It gave structure to the book and also gave me a better understanding and appreciation of the sacraments, particularly communion. Growing up communion was typically only held once a quarter and maybe during holidays. Emphasis was never placed on communion being a physical demonstration of our faith. I have a new found appreciation for communion and the weekly act of participating in it. Rachel describes communion as a time for all to gather around the table: 

"...the gospel doesn't need a coalition devoted to keeping the wrong people out. It needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors, and shouting 'Welcome! There's bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk."

Doesn't that make you appreciate communion a little more? It equalizes the playing field! It doesn't matter if you are white, black, gay, straight, transexual, man, woman, republican, democrat. We are all welcome to take of Christ's body and drink of his blood. His grace is for all of us!

Rachel really leads the reader through her religious journey, from growing up in an Evangelical church to doubting and falling away to finding a new home in the Episcopal church. As she puts it she tells us about

"...loving, leaving, and longing for church, about searching for it and finding it in unexpected places."

The stories that she shares growing up evangelical resonated so much with me. From the youth group games at retreat (chubby bunny, relays, musical chairs) to trying to witness to every one you meet. I remember trying to befriend "un-believers" for the sole-purpose of trying to save their souls. Not because I genuinely loved or cared for them but because I felt called by God to make sure everyone believed in him as their Lord and Savior. I remember going with a few fellow Christian friends to the mall and going up to strangers and asking them if they believed in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Now to think what in the world those poor, unexpecting souls thought about these dorky little teenagers trying to witness to them. When one of my friends drank one weekend I printed off Bible verses condemning being drunk and gave them to her with a harsh note about my concern for her "back-sliding". I am honestly embarrassed and appalled to think back on how I acted and treated other people. It was not out of love or genuine concern and it was not how Jesus would have behaved. 

My freshmen year of college is when my relationship with the church began to change. I began struggling with my depression again and many of the people in the Christian group I was involved with at college blamed my depression on me not relying on God enough. They told me if I trusted God more and spent more time in the Word I would not be having these issues with depression. Instead of joining me in my brokenness and taking the time to truly listen and try to understand they simply wrote me off as another sinner whose troubles were brought on by not being faithful enough. That really was the catalyst for me leaving the church.

I began to have my doubts and questions but none of the religious people I knew encouraged me to doubt or question. Instead I was told that faith is not knowing the answer but still believing. I was told to not question the will of God. But Rachel reminds us that "people bond more deeply over shared brokenness than they do over shared beliefs." The church should not shy away from the questions and brokenness, it is the perfect opportunity to comfort those and show them the grace that has been given.

I am so inspired now to really give liturgy and tradition a chance when it comes to finding a church. Daniel and I have  decided to visit one of the Episcopal Churches in town. I have swore up in down I would never go to an Episcopal Church. It is too organized, they leave no room for the spirit to move in the service. The services are boring and the same thing every week. Why do they read their prayers? That's so insincere.

Now I better understand the style of worship Episcopal's engage in. I can't find the exact quote but somewhere in Rachel's book she describes the differences in worship between evangelicals and anglican churches. Evangelicals view God as the director, the pastor as the actor, and the congregation the audience during worship. Anglican churches view God as the audience, the pastor as the director, and the congregation as the actors. That revelation has caused my view of church to do a 180. It doesn't matter as much how I "feel" about church. It's not about me. It is about worshipping God and him receiving the praise. I really feel like I can find comfort right now in a church less obsessed with feelings and more focused on tradition. My feelings can waver so often but finding grounding in the tangible elements like the sacraments and commonly recited prayers seems so comforting. 

I'm not saying the Episcopal church is the right church or that it is going to be perfect (I haven't even tried it yet). But Rachel quotes one of her friends who says "When you join a church you're just picking which hot mess is your favorite". Church is like a family, in all of it's love and dysfunctional glory.

I am not saying I regret my evangelical roots. Sometimes I feel like I need to introduce myself when interacting with non-evangelical Christians and say "Hi my name is Brittany and I am a recovering Evangelical." And Rachel and struggled with the same feelings

"At time I've tried to wring the waters of my first baptism out of my clothes, shake them out of my hair, and ask for a do-ver in some other community where they ordain women, vote for Democrats, and believe in evolution." 

But she points how Jesus continually uses the ordinary, the screwed up to introduce him. My foundation of faith was built on those evangelical ways. It showed me the personal relationship I can have with Jesus. It challenged me to live out my faith. At a time in my youth when I struggled with depression and isolation my church gave me a place to call home. It gave me a group of people that loved me and kept me involved.

Rachel really sums it up perfectly what mainly 20-somethings are longing for with the church...

"We're tired of culture wars, tired of Christianity getting entangled with party politics and power. Millennials want to be known by what we're for... not just what we're against. We don't want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and faith... We want to talk about the tough stuff- biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice- but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers." 

I am looking for a church that loves not only their members but also any one that walks through their doors and even those that don't. I am looking for a church who does not strive for uniformity but instead unity. I am looking for a church that helps those in need. I am looking for a church that loves God and loves Jesus. And for the first time in a long time I don't feel cynical about the church. I don't feel like this will be hard to find. And I don't expect perfection from the church because I sure as hell hope they don't expect it from me.

Lastly Rachel discusses the "death of the church" and her hope for the resurrection and what it will look like:

"I hope it looks like altars transforming into tables, gates transforming into open doors, and cure-alls transforming into healing oils. I hope it looks like a kingdom that belongs not to the rich, but to the poor, not to the triumphant but to the meet, not the culture warriors but to the peacemakers. If Christianity must die, may it die to the old way of dominance and control and be resurrected to the Way of Jesus, the Way of the cross." 

Have you ever read any of Rachel Held Evan's work? Do you struggle with your faith? 

Sick Essentials for Baby



We have been so fortunate that Landry has only been sick twice since being born. When she was around 8 months old she got a urinary tract infection and had a fever. She had to go on antibiotics and was no fun. Just this past weekend Landry got sick for the second time. We are pretty sure it was just a summer cold but it was still no fun. She had a fever, runny nose, cough, sneezing, and was just generally fussy. She was so pitiful and it made for a very long Sunday.

So with all of this being said, we are obviously not completely experts on taking care of sick little ones. But we have dealt with our fair share of teething and here is kind of our essentials for taking care of a sick baby.

Also note: if you are pregnant and you invite me to your shower I am most likely going to bring you some reusable container (who needs gift bags?) with some of these necessities. I know, it's completely practical and no fun. No one cares to see nasal spray and infant tylenol. They are wanting to check out new cute clothes and interesting baby contraptions and do-dads. But these things are necessary and no one else will give you these things.

NoseFrida- Ok so I know this thing seems really weird. What you do is stick the end against the baby's nostril. You then suck to get the snot out. It does NOT go into your mouth though! There is a little plastic sponge filter that catches the snot. It works so much better than the bulbs and doesn't get moldy like those.

Boogie Wipes- Saline nose wipes. Super soft, smells good, and doesn't leave your little one with a raw nose.

Infant Tylenol/Infant Motrin- You need both in case your little one is running a higher temperature. You can alternate between the two.

Saline Spray- We used this A LOT right after Landry was born. She was super congested and using this and then following with the NoseFrida really helped to get all the gunk out. Now that Landry is older it is HECK of a struggle to actually use this on her, but it works really good.

Chest Rub- Maty's Chest Rub is all natural and has a fantastic earthy smell to it instead of a overwhelming menthol smell. Since Landry has been coughing and super congested I have been rubbing this on her chest. Maty's also recommends putting a little on the bottom of your baby's feet before bed. I don't know if it makes a difference but I do it anyway.

Lorax- This is Landry's end-all, be-all favorite stuffed animal. She sleeps with it, takes it with her places, gives it kisses. It's her best friend and her lovey. I had bought her adorable BlaBla dolls that are so nice and handmade. I wanted her to love them, but one day she found my Lorax stuffed animal that one of my best friends gave me in college. When Landry isn't feeling too well she is even more attached to this thing and even uses it to wipe her nose (and that reminds me that Lorax needs a bath ASAP).

What are your sick essentials for a sick baby or little one? 

Stay tuned for Landry's 12 month update... it is coming tomorrow (over half a month late).



Monday, August 10, 2015

Refresh, Renew, Restart


I have always been anti-New Year's Resolutions. I always thought it was silly to wait until a new year to make changes you are wanting to make. Also New Year's Resolutions never seem to stick and then you make the same ones year after year. Maybe it's just me but the middle of winter is also horrible timing for me to make life changes. I am cold and tired and suffering from the post-holiday blues so I don't feel like overhauling my life and starting fresh.

Back to school time, that has always felt more like the right time to refresh, renew, and restart. After a summer away from people and a new school year on the horizon it always felt like the perfect time to start new. The changing of the seasons; summer coming to a close and fall just on the horizon. It is a time of change and it always makes me excited for the possibilities.

Now I realize  no one in our house is going back to school (oh how I miss the fun of school supply shopping and figuring out the first day of school outfit), but I have decided to take this time of change and really refresh, renew, and restart. I have been in a rut lately. I am not unhappy but I have definitely been happier. It feels like a lot of days I am going through the motions. Same thing with blogging, it has fallen to the wayside and I've missed it. I've decided to organize my days a little more and really take the time to make myself a priority.

This morning I started by waking up and brushing my teeth before even getting Landry out of bed. It is amazing how something so small can really set your morning in the right direction. I then made Landry and I a tasty breakfast of eggs and veggies. Usually I only take the time to make Landry breakfast and then I might have a bowl of cereal.

My cellphone remained in another room while I played with my daughter. Maybe I don't have as many pictures of her but I will instead have more memories. I went ahead and drank 24 ozs of water before 10:00am. I didn't make my coffee until Landry took her nap. That way I could sit and enjoy it without it getting cold.

I am not making any resolutions or goals. But instead I am trying to make daily little changes to make sure I am practicing self-care and also being actively involved with my daughter. Self-care is not the same as laziness but lately that is what I've been doing. I have lazily ate whatever I want (which is a bunch on processed crap). I have lazily sat around and watched shows on Netflix while Landry naps instead of being productive.

Bye bye laziness! I am feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to restart...

How do you practice self-care? 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ode to Morganton, NC


4 years ago I thought my future was located in Washington, DC. I had gotten into graduate school in the area, received my dream assistantship, Daniel had started interviewing for jobs, and we had started looking at apartments. I just knew I was meant for big city living (we never moved to DC).

Fast forward and here I walk down the streets in Morganton, North Carolina. A town with a population of 16,000. A town with no Target to be found (Fun fact: before Daniel and I got married I made him promise we would always live within 15 minutes of a Target. That is no longer true). A town with significantly less 20-somethings than I would have preferred.

2 years we have lived here. 2 years I have wrestled with the idea of living in Morganton. I have complained about aforementioned lack of Target and lack of 20-somethings. I have complained about the type of people found around here. Daniel and I have spent numerous weekends going to Asheville (where I swore would be a better fit for us) or going to Hickory. Avoiding spending the extra time in a place I didn't necessarily want to call "my town".

Maybe like a pair of shoes I am finally starting to break Morganton in. Yes, at the beginning Morganton was a little tight in the toes and rubbed my heels a raw. But now Morganton has started to conform to me. It feels good to slip into the streets of downtown and see some of the beauty this town has to offer (and not just the beautiful landscapes and mountains).

I love going downtown to the farmer's market and having a kind stranger help me set up my stroller. The sweet lady who let's my daughter have a tomato for free because of her cute smile. Hitting up My  Local Bakery (actual name of the bakery) to get 40% off cupcakes when they are clearing their cases. Seeing people signing wherever you go because of NC School for the Deaf is located here.

I love seeing the revitalization and creativity being brought into our downtown (I say our because I finally feel like I am part of it!). Catawba Brewing is a wonderful brewery and our newest brewery Fonta Flora is garnering so much publicity for it's local sourced brews. The Grind Cafe makes a mean iced dirty chai!

I love my kind neighbors who I can call when I am sick to watch my daughter for 2 hours while I nap. Neighbors who leave cards in your mailbox offering encouragement (even if I think they are a little strange). Neighbors who I give nicknames to (without their knowledge) because I have learned their habits. Like Lawn Guy who mows his lawn every other day (and it looks perfect). And Weird Guy who walks through the street with his kindle and his dog trailing behind him. I love the two old golden retrievers, Chance and Sage, who live next door but frequently lay in my front yard because we get more sunlight.

I guess what I'm saying is Morganton... I like you. I have fought it and I have ridiculed you at times. But you are hard on the ones you love. And I guess I am starting to love you. You're not perfect, but no town is. But right now, you are perfect for my family. You are own town, a town we don't share with our pasts, with our families. It is the town where we started OUR family. It is the town where we are building our future. This town is finally our home.