Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Did You Quit Blogging?"


It's a pretty legitimate question that I was asked by a friend on Instagram today. My last post was May 9th and before that my posting had gone from 3 times a week to very sporadic. My not so short answer to her was

"Maybe? Haha the last few months I've been really focused on getting my depression/anxiety under control and focusing on my overall health. And being completely honest, taking antidepressants medicine helps me so much but it KILLS any creativity I have. It's like I am not even capable of writing."

So there is the short/long answer. But here is the longer answer...

I enjoy blogging but it is a hobby. And it got to the point where it was one more thing I felt like I needed to do but wasn't doing well and it was adding to my anxiety and stress. So unintentionally I have let it go to the wayside while I have been focused on being present in my day-to-day life and managing my overall health. My antidepressants do stifle my creativity a little bit (not that I am complaining! I would take being uninspired but content over inspired and incredibly depressed any day). Also add the last couple of months Landry has dropped down from napping anywhere from 2-3 hours to averaging about an hour a day and I just haven't made blogging a priority.

My last couple months have looked like tons of play dates, time at the lake, naps when Landry naps, early bedtimes for me (talking 8:30pm), LOTS OF WATER, all the veggies and fruits, making my way through my pile of books, plants, plants and more plants, and putting lots of TLC into my house.

I feel the most grounded and content I have since having Landry to be honest. Maybe it is the antidepressants, maybe it is losing 30 pounds, maybe it is actually having friends in Morganton, or maybe it is the age Landry is. Whatever it is I am so happy with where my life is right now.

But I'm still here y'all on this little blog! I hope to slowly get back into blogging because honestly there are times I write things down or type it into a note on my phone that would be something I would have blogged. I do enjoy writing and I enjoy keeping track through a blog our family adventures and milestones.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Depression


I took a bit of a blogging break, the longest break since I started blogging! It wasn't something I had planned, but after sharing with everyone that I was depressed and taking the steps to overcome it I really had to focus on taking care of myself.

Depression is an interesting thing. It's something I have struggled with on and off since I was 13 years old. In the past there was always something that triggered my depression. I can look back and tell you the final event that tipped the scale to full-fledged depression: my father not getting paroled, my mom having a baby, a miscarriage, and death of a family member. But this time, this time was different. There was no event, no straw that broke the camel's back. If I'm honest with myself I've slowly been sinking further and further into depression for the last several months, but I only realize that now looking back. 

It started off with just irritability. Everything irritated me, especially anything Daniel did. My irritation soon spread to Landry. Her cute quirks and toddler ways no longer left me laughing, instead they were met with huffs and sighs. I kept telling myself I just needed a break, it was just part of being a stay-at-home mom.

Eventually the symptoms I typically associate with depression started rearing their ugly head. Crying easily, feeling alone, exhaustion, and not enjoying daily activities became the norm. Again I told myself I just needed a break, I just needed to get more sleep then I would be fine.  

Well I got that break, 5 days without Landry. 5 days where I could sleep in and just have fun with my husband. And honestly I didn't enjoy it. When we came home I realize that things were not ok and something I had to change. 

I've been back on Prozac for almost 3 weeks and today I noticed I am feeling more like myself. I respond to Landry's tantrums with more patience and I genuinely knew I was going to miss Daniel when he left for Mexico this morning. I look forward to getting together with friends and our daily routine. And I finally back to feeling so grateful for this life and family I have instead of feeling burdened. 

Depression does a great job at stealing your joy, at taking your beautiful life and distorting it into something ugly. But you can fight it! There are therapists, medicine, and your friends and family. It is work but it is work that is so worth the effort. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Social Media Detox


First I want to say thank you to every person that reached out to me after my last post. I promise I will be ok! I went to the doctor and we agreed I was suffering from mild depression. I started back on an antidepressant and have made sure to practice some extra self-care. 

As I told y'all before, I gave up all social media for Lent. I thought it would be incredibly difficult but after the first week I really didn't think much about it. By the end I was a little sad to no longer have an excuse to stay off social media.

Slowly social media is creeping back in and beginning to take over my time and attention again. I know I know, I could just be done with social media but in some ways it is the easiest way to stay connected. For example, I completely missed that a friend's mom died during the time I was off social media. It really does help keep people connected and in the loop.

With that being said, I realized I needed to change the way I was using social media. I thought I would share how I am keeping my social media usage in check.

1. Delete/unfollow/unfriend people and companies.
I want to keep up-to-date with my friends. But I don't care to keep up-to-date with that girl from 9th grade who made me feel like crap and somehow seeing her seemingly perfect life still makes me feel like crap. I want long-distance family members to see pictures of my daughter. I don't want want to see the thousands of memes posted from that random girl from sorority recruitment in college. Unfriend, unfollow, and delete. I worry about offending people, but I literally don't see/interact/share mutual friends with those people.

Also if you have that crazy second cousin, twice-removed who posts Trump propaganda that makes you want to stab your eyeballs out but you kind of have to stay friends with or face family drama, just simply unfollow them and they can still see your stuff, but none of their crazy shows up on your newsfeed. Win-win for everyone!

2. Delete social media forms you're just not into. 
I tried to get into snapchat. It seemed to be the cool/new/youth oriented social media app. But y'all, it was one more thing to update and check. I deleted it. I love you dear friends but I seriously can keep up with your lives through instagram and facebook.

3. No social media while Landry is awake. 
I had slowly gotten into the habit of checking my phone too much while Landry was awake. I would justify it by telling myself "She isn't even watching you, she won't notice!", but she notices. Toddlers notice everything. I don't want her to think that a virtual world is more important than the real one. So no more social media while she is awake.

4. Disable notifications.
You want to know half the time why I checked my social media? Because there was a little 1 on the icon on my phone, or a notification, or something that I just wanted to go away and then somehow I am looking at the whole last year of someone's instagram pictures. Social media sucks you in! Which is why I decided to disable all notifications. Now there is nothing drawing me in and I really am less likely to check it!

5. Move all social media apps from the front page of your phone. 
I use to have facebook, instagram, and twitter on my first page of my phone. It had become habit to click. But now they are in a folder together on the very last page. I have to put more thought into getting to them to check them. Usually I can stop myself before I mindlessly scroll through.

6. Share less.
This is probably the hardest step, but one I really needed to take. I had become accustomed to sharing every outing, every cute thing Landry did, and a nonstop wave of Landry pictures. But I really enjoyed those 6 weeks over lent were I just shared things with the people close to me. It was nice to  have stories to share in person with people because they didn't already read/see pictures of it online.

Do I have less pictures of Landry now? Absolutely. But do I feel like the ones I have a cherish a little more? Yes. And it is nice to have pictures that are just for us and not taken because the lightening was perfect and they were instagram worthy.


Do you have any tips of limiting your social media usage? 



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

When You're Not Ok


Post instagram/facebook picture talking about how great life is. 
Repeat to yourself constantly how truly amazing your life is. 
Spend plenty of time outdoors to soak up all the vitamin D.
Start losing weight and eating healthier. 
Repeat. 

And yet somehow you still wake up every day on the verge of tears. You worry constantly that your husband hates you, that your toddler hates you, you even worry that the damn dogs hate you. You go around feeling on edge, the littlest things irritate the hell out of you. You're constantly exhausted no matter how much sleep you get. 

You google, oh man do you google. Thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, can post-partum depression start when your child is 20 months old? You try to fix yourself. You try to fix everyone else. "If only my husband would try harder then I wouldn't be so critical", "If only my toddler would get on a sleep schedule I wouldn't be so impatient with her", "If only the dogs would not be under my feet then I wouldn't yell at them!"

Then you convince yourself you just need a vacation. A little break in the routine, change in scenery. You know that would fix everything. 

And that vacation comes and goes and you are back home and you realize not only did you not really enjoy vacation but you feel a million times worse than before you left. You still lack patience, you're still critical, and all you want to do is lay in bed because you are unendingly tired. And you finally admit to yourself that you are not ok. 

Y'all, that's where I am right now. I am not ok. I've tried on my own to make myself better but I just feel worse. I know I am depressed and I have to do something about it. I have resisted accepting that I am going through a depressive spell again. Mainly because this time I really have no reason to be depressed, but here I am... depressed. 

In a moment of strength and courage I called my primary care physician and made an appointment for tomorrow. Most likely I will leave with a Prozac prescription in hand and you know what, that's ok! I have a chemical imbalance in my brain and I need something to help me. 

I share this not so that anyone worries (Papa I'm talking to you!) or feels sorry for me. But instead I share it because I hope that one person can relate, one person can feel ok to admit they are not ok and get the help they need. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April Goals


Hey April! How you doing?? I know I know, I'm a little late on the goals for the month, but better late than never, right??

First a run down of my March goals and how they went...

1. Go for a walk/jog 3 times a week✖ When I made this goal I said it was totally doable, hahaha. I didn't do it! Like not at all. But we've been outside a ton more, I've chased Landry around like crazy, we've gone bike riding a few times, and for a couple of walks, and Daniel and I even played tennis for 15 minutes before Landry decided tennis was lame. So I did get more active but not in a walk/jog 3 times a week kind of way.

2. Read 3 books
✖ I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and at the risk of blowing the internet's mind- I hated it. I did not enjoy it and really just felt Marie Kondo like had a problem she should see a therapist about. I felt so unmotivated to read after the disappointed of her book. I've gotten a third of the way through Simplicity Parenting and I'm really enjoying it. I just need to turn off Netflix and read. 

3. Invite someone over for dinner.
At the beginning of the month we had some friends over for pizza. Yeah the pizza was bought and we are outside, but it was still having people over for dinner. Plus Landry got to play with her best friend which is an extra win! 

4. Finalize my Spring Capsule Wardrobe
 I am done shopping for Spring. The clothes are pulled out of storage/bought and hung up (or laying all over my office floor).  I now I need to take pictures and share! 

I really thought about not doing any goals for April because our month is super hectic between Daniel going to Mexico for work and our DC vacation (this Thursday!!). 

Then I realized this busy month really calls for some goals in order to keep me focused and not let April slip away. 

1. Deep clean the house. That spring fever y'all! I just want to purge and clean!

2. Organize some activities for Landry. Honestly when we're home we have a lot of free play. Landry can pull out whatever toys she wants and sometimes she plays by herself, sometimes I play with her. I am really wanting to have a little more structure to our afternoons. 

3. Reconnect with Daniel. Parenthood is really going at reducing your marriage down to talking about your child and things that need to be done. Daniel and I have neglected the fun side of our marriage so I am hoping our Landry-free vacation to DC will help us reconnect and give us a jumpstart on learning to have fun together again. 

Not as many goals this month, but I think it is for the best with our busier month.

What are your goals for April?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

20 Month Update


I missed the last two month's updates. Oops. But I'm back with Landry's 20 month update and trying not to lose it because 20 months is SOOO close to 2 and I can't have a 2 year old.

Landry,

Sweet baby girl. You are growing up so fast! I tell people all the time I know one day I am going to look back and miss having a child this age. Don't get me wrong, we have our difficult moments (that have been increasing), but the good times are SO good. You are my little partner-in-crime and pal. It's me and you baby! We have such fun little adventures. You've been extra clingy this month but one day just having your mama hold you won't fix everything so I will try to enjoy it while I can! 


Development
She is so capable! I feel like people always underestimate children this age and what they can really do so I try to remember Landry can do more than I realize.

She will throw her trash away and wipe up her spills.
She helps put the clothes in the dryer and part her dirty clothes in the hamper.
She knows just by the sound when the school bus is going by our house.
She can identify several shapes.
She can identify several colors. Purple is her favorite and she thinks anything purple is automatically hers.
Knows tons of animals and the sounds they make. One of her favorite car games is for me to name an animal and her do the noise. And then she will name animals and I have to make the noise.
Really is getting into songs. "Old MacDonald" is her favorite along with "Wheels on the Bus".


New Words
All of them, haha. She repeats most things if you ask her to and is picking up words left and right. When she hit 19 months her language completely exploded. It's mind-boggling all the things she is picking up on and the two and three word sentences that she is starting to put together. I definitely think having a friend her age has helped in encouraging her to use her words.

Her favorite three word sentence is "I got you!" It really seems to be her way of saying "I love you". She will run up and put her arm around your legs and say it. It is the sweetest.

Also funny story, she has a pair of fox socks that she wanted to wear one day. She kept calling them dogs so I told her that they were actually fox. Let's just say that her version of fox sounds a lot like another f word that shouldn't be repeated. Those socks are now referred to as dog socks.

Landry has also quit Daniel and I "Da-da" and "Ma-Ma". We are now Daddy and Mommy. Which is endearing but also slightly annoying when she says "Mommeeeeee" in a high-pitch voice while whining.

Landry playing "Night-Night" with Rin
Sleep
Ugh! We're going through another rough spell with sleeping. Every time I feel like we get a good schedule and routine going Landry decides to switch everything up on me. We're back to our 5:30am wake ups which just makes me a terrible person. I have the worst attitude about it and get upset every day. I know, I know... I need to change my attitude because whatever I'm doing to try to change Landry is NOT working.

There is nights now where she gets less than 9 hours of sleep. There are nights were she takes over an hour to fall asleep. I've tried an earlier bedtime, a later bedtime. Nothing seems to work!

And naps have been crazy too. There was one day I spent over 2 hours trying to get her to go down for a nap. Some days she will nap for over 2 hours and other days only 30 minutes. I'm exhausted, she's exhausted, and it just isn't fun!

Oh she's also learned way to delay bedtime. Like telling me she needs to poop or potty after I've gotten her ready for bed or when I am laying her down for a nap. I take her to the bathroom to let her try and then she just wants to play. I don't want to ignore her when she tells me she wants to use the potty but I also don't want it to be a delay tactic.

Fingers crossed the last couple of days we have started getting back to our regular routine. Hopefully all of this was just part of an 18 month sleep regression and we are finally moving past it.


Eating
We have entered picky eating toddler world. I mean she still is less picky than a lot of kids, but she use to eat anything and now will just not eat sometimes.

Landry wants "sauce" with every meal now. I kept it healthier with using greek yogurt and marinara sauce some of the time, but sometimes she will just eat the sauce and not the food.

Girl could live off of clementines and blueberries if I would let her. She begs for both of them.

I discovered this last month she dislikes chocolate. A friend made chocolate muffins and Landry took a bite and threw it to the ground. We then went to a birthday party with chocolate cupcakes and she took a bite and wouldn't eat anymore. So obviously she is not my daughter, haha.

Potty Training
We haven't potty trained (we gave it a shot a couple of months ago and she wasn't ready). Landry is definitely showing interest now. She likes to sit on her potty and has peed in it a couple of times. She will also tell us before she poops sometimes which shows she is learning to listen to her body. She also asks to wash her hands after sitting on her potty which is adorable. Sometimes she asks for "panies" instead of a diaper.

We are being super laidback about it, but I know eventually I need to hunker down and stay home for a week and really focus on teaching her to use the potty. I just don't want to be confined to the house for that long.



Favorite Toys
I mentioned before one of our neighbors gave us a sandbox/toddler picnic table and swingset. Landry is loving both!
A purple rubber duck.
Her peg dolls.
Her baby doll/stuffed animals and bottles.
Coloring.
"Pockets" (aka purses/bags).
Spray bottles and a rag.
Shoes.

I promise we have real toys for this child but she is just in that imitation stage so whatever we have she wants to use and pretend with which is fine by me!


Mood/Personality
Landry is an assertive little girl but also pretty easy going. Big tantrums are usually reserved for just me at home. It seems her social butterfly ways are not going anywhere. Whenever we are places and there is new children come around she immediately flocks to them. But sometimes she will go and sit by herself when there are large groups and just read a book or play by herself.

I am always impressed by her ability to self-regulate when she is getting overwhelmed or just needs some space.


Parenting
Parenting has been a little rough the last few weeks (primarily since the time change). I've been sleep-deprived and that has resulted in me being short with Landry (who is also sleep-deprived). I yelled for the first time out of frustration a few weeks ago and felt absolutely terrible about it.

I have really lacked patience with Landry and I've honestly have complained way too much about her behavior and I know she can sense when I tense which doesn't help. I am actively trying to work on positive reinforcement with her and trying to keep a positive attitude.

Fears
Landry is a pretty fearless little girl. She is the kid that will head dive off the top of a slide if I didn't stop her. And I have caught her more than once try to stick a headphone jack into the wall sockets (they are baby proofed unless I forgot to put the cover back after vacuuming). She loves being throw in the air, flipped around, and climbing.

But y'all, I have finally found her weakness... Ants! She hates them! She will see them outside and run to me saying "Ants, ants, ants". As far as I know she's never been bitten by one or anything and I haven't conveyed fear towards them so I'm not sure.



Things I Want to Remember
How Landry asks to go to church.
Landry playing catch with the dogs.
Landry asking to "side" and "sing" (slide and swing).
Landry asking for her best friend "Ar-fer" all the time.
Watching Landry love on little babies.
Landry asking for diapers on all of her toys.
Landry's first Easter Egg Hunt.
Landry going down the water slide at Great Wolf Lodge a million times.

Things I am Looking Forward To
Our longest time away from Landry. We are going to DC in April for 5 days for an early 5 year anniversary trip. I am slightly worried about leaving her that long (especially since she is super clingy to me right now), but overall I am counting down the days. This mama needs a little break!
We just booked our trip to Atlanta for May. We are taking Landry to her first Braves game (first and last in Turner Field) and we can't wait!
Landry learning to express herself more to help limit tantrums.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Right Fit, Not Right Now


I recently had a fantastic job opportunity. The pastor of the church we've been attending contacted me about applying for the Director of Children and Youth Ministry job at our church. I hadn't thought really about applying because I assumed you needed a religion degree for the position. I happily applied and interviewed a few weeks ago.

On paper it seemed like the perfect job for me. Part-time, work from home, and the times I needed to be in the office Landry could go with me. I love children and Jesus and I'm a pretty organized person so why not? The pay was decent too! It really seemed to be a good fit. In the interview our pastor asked me "Ok, you need to tell me if you are not interested because we are getting on the plane and taking off...". I told him I was interested because I really thought I was. We set up a time to have a brainstorming session with some people from the church (kind of like a second interview).

I was suppose to have that second interview last Wednesday. But the time leading up to the second interview I kept questioning my decision. I would toss and turn in bed at night worrying about a job I hadn't even officially gotten yet.

I cried because if I said no everyone would hate me. I cried because if I did the job and didn't live up to people's expectations everyone would hate me. I cried because some of the moms at the church intimidate the heck out of me. I cried because I am not even officially an Episcopalian (I can't even spell it without autocorrect) yet, how the heck am I going to help Episcopalians with their faith formation? I cried because I couldn't discern if all of this worry and anxiety was founded or simply self-doubt.

Finally two days before my second interview our pastor emailed me some forms to fill out and bring to the next interview. One was the letter of agreement that outlined my responsibilities, pay, leave, etc. As I read over the letter I realized that this just wasn't what I was suppose to do right now.

My worries and fears mentioned before were definitely rooted in self-doubt, but they masked my real reason for not wanting to pursue this opportunity. I have been out of church for around 6 years. Longer than that if you count my sporadic (at best) attendance in college. My freshmen year of college I got burnt pretty badly by the church and really carried a grudge. Since attending the Episcopal church we are at now, I finally feel those wounds healing. I finally find myself letting go of legalism, guilt, and the hurt. I am not in a place spirituality to deal with the pressures of working for the church.  I can't handle the criticism, bureaucracy, and church politics that come with it. I cannot handle HAVING to be at church every Sunday. Just writing those words out are enough to make me want to not step foot back in the church because it induces a lot of anxiety for me.

This season of my spiritual life is one where I have to be focused inwards. I am still trying to find my way and relearn what the church looks like in my life. This was not a decision I made easily. But I have had such peace since making my decision. Sometimes you have to say no in order to take care of yourself and realize just because something is a right fit it doesn't mean it is the right fit right now.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Machen Designs


Ok y'all, I have to admit something. I am not good at being crafty or making things. I will shop local and support all my friends but I definitely fall more on the consumer side of things than creator. So when my friend Virginia decided to open an etsy shop and sell her fantastic jewelry and jewelry displays I was so excited for her! Add in that she sent me the best package full of goodies and I am now hooked!

The name of Virginia's shop is Machen Designs. Now I am not an expert in German (but I love their beer) so I had to get the pronunciation explained to me. It is pronounced "mock-in" so now when you go around and tell your friends about this adorable etsy shop you will say it right. And machen means "to-make" in German. Virginia's family tree is rooted in Germany and she comes from a long line of creators, makers, and crafters. I love that she is paying homage to her ancestors with her shop's name! 

Now that you know a little more about Virginia's shop and how it came to be, let's take a look at some of the products she will be selling in her shop which opens this week on April 1st! 


First of all I want to say a little something about the packaging. It was perfect! I really think the attention to packaging can tell you a lot about an etsy shop and it's founder. Virginia takes the time to package her products beautifully. It really feels like you are receiving a package from a high-end boutique. Look at that stamped bag, swoon-worthy! And yes I certainly saved mine!


Since having Landry I have dialed it back on the jewelry front, but these earrings are perfect for the mom on the go. They are light-weight leather (I really forget I am wearing them) and instantly take a plain tee-shirt and jeans up a notch. It gives the illusion I actually put forth some effort into my look even which a maniac of a toddler, so obviously these are a must-have! The clasps also are great because these can't fall out randomly (which seems to happen to me frequently with non-stud earrings.

Also fun-tip for my essential oil loving friends, you can add a drop of essential oils to the back and it makes a perfect wearable diffuser. I've used peppermint specifically on them to help with headaches.


I think Landry likes this necklace as much as me! She also points to it and yells "ball, ball, ball" when I'm wearing it. It also makes a great distraction technique during church services (note: the necklace is sturdy enough to withstand toddler antics).

I don't know if Virginia did it on purpose but Landry's birth stone is ruby so the red bead in the nest is perfect for my little bird. I've received so many compliments when I wear this necklace!


I'm pretty sure I gasped out loud when I opened the jewelry holder Virginia made. In Landry's room she has a wall with teal mountains painted on it and this jewelry holder went perfectly with it! I love how Virginia really thought about what would coordinate and look good in Landry's room. Right now it is being used as a headband holder for Landry, but I know it will last through the years and transition into her jewelry holder (unless I steal it from her and claim it as my own!).

Like I said before Machen Designs Grand Opening is this Friday April 1st and word on the street is there will be an incredible Grand Opening Sale. If you want a sneak peak at some of the things Virginia is working on in preparation for her opening, hop on over to facebook and like her page. Or join the party over on instagram to stay update.

And don't worry, Friday I will definitely be reminding you her Grand Opening!


*this post is not sponsored. All opinions are 100% my own. I did receive the products featured for free, but I would have bought them with my own money too! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Strange Things that Make Me Feel Like an Adult


You would think owning a home, being married, having a child, and keeping said child alive would be enough for me to feel like a bonafide adult. But interestingly enough it is some of the small and rather obscure things that make me feel "adulty".

1. Wearing real pajamas
I was always an old tee shirt kind of girl when it came to pjs. Why invest money in something to sleep in? That is just silly! But over the last year I have slowly built up a little collections of pjs. Extra adult points for now owning a robe! 

2. Consistent bedtime
In college my bedtime could range anywhere from 9pm-4am or just skipping sleep. During the week I would average 4 hours of sleep and then like 12 on the weekends. Now I go to bed most nights around 9:30pm. 

3. Grocery shopping.
When I pull out my grocery list and start going through Aldi (don't they just have the best prices?) I automatically feel so adulty. I seriously feel like a child pushing one of the miniature carts pretending to be a grown up when I grocery shop. Bonus adult points for when the majority of my groceries are produce.

4. Keeping plants alive. 
I kill succulents. Those are suppose to be indestructible! Why can't plants let me know they are hungry like my child and dogs? But y'all... I have kept a house plant alive for over a year! And I have a container of spinach growing on my deck. I mean, the spinach has barely sprouted but I check on them regularly and even pulled them inside when we had a characteristically warm day.

5. Having a fire proof lockbox. 
I know I'm not a true adult because I didn't buy our lockbox for myself (it was a gift from one of my grandma's) but having it and using it makes me feel very responsible. It's nice to know our important document are stored safely. Also, we have important documents, do what?!


What things make you feel extra responsible and grown up?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The One Where I Compare the Church to Sororities


When I went off to college I would have never dreamed of joining a sorority. I think my freshmen year I referred to sorority girls as "sorostitutes" a time or two (forgive me for my very anti-feminist way of thinking and putting down women I knew nothing about). But somehow I not only joined a sorority but I eventually became president.

My views on sororities slowly changed after getting to know the strong, funny, hardworking, passionate women that would become my sisters. But that's not why I stayed in my sorority. You put 40-something girls together from very different backgrounds and there is bound to be fights and disagreements. The kind where everyone is in tears, storming out of the house, and vowing never to talk to that sister again. 

So why did I stay? What united 40 different women enough that we chose everyday to work through our differences and continue to be part of this sorority? It was our ritual.

Every sorotity has a ritual that it is founded on; the thing that binds all of us together in spite of our differences and backgrounds. The special secret that is just shared with sisters. It is the everlasting foundation that our sorority is built on and what keeps a otherwise overly estrogen-filled house from crumbling down (figuratively speaking, except sometimes maybe literally after one to many beers). 

So how does all this sorority jargon relate to the church? Well I like to compare liturgy to the rituals of sororities. I did not grow up in a liturgical church and for the longest time I described liturgy as mildly "cultish" (again forgive my close-mindedness). I thought liturgy left no room for the holy-spirit to move during service. But you know what? I've learned there is no containing the Holy Spirit and that liturgy is a tradition that binds this otherwise crazy Christian family together. 

I would love to tell you after being initiated into my sorority and finding a passion for our ritual I suddenly became open to embracing liturgy, but that was not the case. It would take another 7 years for me to find my way back to the church and find hope for it's future. 

Books, blog posts, and news articles have all been written trying to decipher the reasons millennial are leaving the church. Rachel Held Evans has written one of my favorite books on the subject Searching for Sunday (my review here). And honestly she hits the nail on the head. Millennials are leaving because we tired of churches adding all frivolous things to service in hopes people will buy into Jesus. Y'all, Jesus can take care of himself! You know what is going to draw those gosh darn lost millennials back to the church? The Holy Eucharist, Baptism, the scripture, and prayers. That is the foundation of our faith. Those are the practices that bind together the Pentecostals with the Catholics, the Republican Christians with the Democratic Christians, the LGBT couple with a 70 year old widow. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Snapshots 3.14.14

She sat down and said "cheese" so I naturally had to take a picture! 



She's been a big fan of "reading" mommy's books. #ReadersAreLeaders



Waterslides for the win! 






I know things have been a little quieter around these parts but it has been really nice to disconnect from the Internet for a bit during Lent this year. I've really able to focus on the here and now and cultivating real relationships, not just online ones. I will probably finish out the Lenten season keeping things a little quieter and slower paced on he blog. But don't worry, after Easter everything should be back to semi-normal.

Who's loving this time-change? I know I am! I will gladly sacrifice an hour of sleep for longer evenings! One of our neighbors kindly offered us their swingset (this one) and sandbox/kid's table (this one) so I foresee lots and lots of backyard shenanigans for us! 

We've been spending tons of our times with Labdry's new bff Arthur and my new friend Heather. I am so thankful for their friendship! It has been nice to feel less isolated in this crazy mom world! 

Daniel's mom got free days passed (which is apparently unheard of) to the Great Wolf Lodge so we went their last week. Landry had a BLAST and went down the toddler slide approximately a million times. I was a little taken back by the price of the Great Wolf Lodge if you actually stay but after seeing how much Landry loved it I definitely see a future trip back in a few years. Also the attention to detail Great Wolf Lodge puts into the experience is very impressive! 

What have you been up to lately? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March Goals


Here's a little recap of my February goals and how they went.

1. Start a Morning Routine✖ Landry decided 5am wake-ups seemed like a good idea again this past month so my wakeup time was inconsistent. And the days Landry did sleep until 6-something usually meant I slept too. I also think I am starting to realize that making myself wakeup before 6am when I don't have to is just not going to happen. I'm just not going to wake up before Landry and do an exercise routine, read a book, or have quiet time. If I could just start waking up 15-20 minutes before Landry so I could use the bathroom, brush my teeth, and start coffee without having to tend to her I think that would be good!

2. Take Landry to Kidsenses Children's Museum✓ Big check! Not only did we go but we went with friends which really makes it even better! Surprisingly the kids had more fun down the street at a local coffee shop. Getting out of town on little excursions is so nice!

3. Go Swimming. ✖ When I made this goal I had it in my head that I would go in the evening after Landry went to bed, or possibly even wake up early to go. Hahaha I'm crazy! I didn't go once. I still would love to go swimming but I just don't think it is going to happen right now with Daniel's work schedule and everything else we have going on.

4. Schedule My Massage✓ Scheduled and went! It was a nice experience and not as awkward as I thought it would be considering I am not crazy about being touched. However, it is not something I am dying to do again right away.

5. Go on a Date with Daniel✓ This one might be cheating a little but we did have dinner out with Daniel's boss and his wife without Landry. Not exactly what I had in mind for a date night but it was still nice to get a little dressed up and spend the evening with adults.

3 out of 5 isn't too bad considering I really didn't take a second glance at my goals after making them!  Overall I am pleased because February was a surprisingly good month considering usually this time of year I am going stir-crazy and hating life. So thumbs up for a positive February!

March Goals:

1. Go for a walk/jog 3 times a week. Initially I was going to be vague and say do physical activity for 30 minutes 3 times a week but I really need to pinpoint exactly what I am going to do to follow through. Spring is here (and better be staying) so going to our local greenway or walking in our neighborhood is totally doable 3 times a week.

2. Read 3 books. I read two books this past month which felt incredible. I haven't done that in awhile. I want to stretch myself to read 3 this month. I hope I can continue to make reading a priority because I really do enjoy it. Oh and the books I read last month were In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. I am currently reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I have Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott on hold at the library for my 3rd book.

3. Invite someone over for dinner. I am really trying to do better about reducing my anxiety surrounding people who aren't family coming to my house. I always worry my house isn't nice enough, the food I make not good enough, and just generally I'm not good enough. However, at the same time I feel so much happier when I open my home to others so I want to do better about having people over!

4. Finalize my Spring Capsule Wardrobe. Y'all I know Spring technically doesn't start till the 20th but March is spring to me! I am so excited about shorts, short sleeves, and dresses without tights!


What are your goals for March? Any book recommendations? 

Friday, March 4, 2016

'Round the Table


I've come to have a greater appreciation of the Lord's Supper the older I get. Growing up Baptist communion only occurred once a quarter. Communion was when I got the tasty grape juice, the not so tasty wafers, and of course the cool little cups (that sometimes I would turn into my monocle. I obviously held communion very sacred as a child). It has taken attending an Episcopal Church where the Holy Eucharist is the center piece of every worship service for me to really value communion.

Every week I look forward to the opportunity to kneel the Lord's table, surrounded by my family, strangers, and friends. To feast on the body and blood of Christ with my fellow man... it is transformative. I also like to think Jesus's decision to use a meal as the time to also share the new commandment to be very purposeful. In the gospel of John Jesus declares that "you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." 

I like to think Jesus knew that gathering with your family, friends, heck even strangers, around the table is one of the greatest ways to show love. To share in the breaking of bread, the drinking of wine (or beer if you're me). Feeding those who are hungry, providing a shelter over someone's head, or maybe just being a safe place for someone to share their thoughts, dreams, and hopes. 

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to do just that. A friend of a friend who I barely know invited me along with several other young stay-at-home moms in the area over for dinner- a kid free dinner I might add. Now, I can't say for certain if she knew what a holy act she performing, but God was in those precious couple of hours at her house. Did we sit around and discuss theology? Was there a Bible study? Did we sang songs of praise? Absolutely not. But a bunch of young women in the trenches of motherhood, sat around a table dressed in sweats, jeans, and their prettiest dresses and had wine, bread, soup, and salad. A bunch of strangers got peeks into each other's pasts, glimpses into their futures, and even more importantly saw each other right where they were. 

I like to think this is what Jesus had in mind during the last supper. He didn't mean for "communion" to only take place on Sunday's under the leadership of the priest. He intended for everyone of us to open our homes to having communion right 'round our tables. He wants us to show our love for one another in one of the simplest ways possible, by feeding and being there for one another. And when we show our love to other's we are showing God's love. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Snapshots


Since Lent has started and I've been social media free I find myself taking less pictures for the purpose of thinking which will get the most likes. I now take more pictures of moments I will miss or things I am particularly proud of. It is nice to have fewer photos on my phone with more meaning. 

The picture above just melts my heart. Seeing Landry prance around in her fairy wings. So excited and carefree. I hope Landry always keeps that free spirit! 


I love the little hair standing up on Landry's head! She is finally getting enough hair that after sleep she gets bedhead. It is absolutely adorable! 


Landry and "La" (as she calls the Lorax). They are absolutely inseparable. 




Shooting hoops! We are digging the warmer weather over in these parts. 


Let me interrupt this Landry-centric post to share a picture of my first attempt at chicken pad thai! It turned it pretty dang good and I actually tried to work on my presentation skills! 



These two y'all! Landry and Arthur are absolutely adorable together! Landry seriously wakes up in the morning and asks for "Ar-fer" it is the best. 

Also here is an adorable video of Landry:

Eyes, Nose, Mouth from Brittany Deal on Vimeo.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Take a Break


I interrupt your Friday afternoon to share this. Take a break. 

Are you overworked? Overscheduled? Are in you mom dealing with your millionth epic toddler meltdown (right here!)? 

Then take a break. 

We wish for vacations, relaxation, and to getaway. That isn't always possible. But you can take 5 minutes to yourself. Don't argue with me on this one, you can give yourself 5 utterly indulgent minutes. 

I sat my wild toddler down with a bowl of hummus and cucumbers and Daniel Tiger on tv to have 5 minutes to gorge myself on crackers with goat cheese. It felt completely out of the norm (compared to shoving rogue cheddar bunnies into my mouth) and luxurious. I sat in the kitchen by myself and slowly savored every bit. 

Did I feel like a new woman at the end of those 5 minutes? Well... no. But I felt a little more zen and ready to tackle the rest of the afternoon. Self-care doesn't have to be extravagant. It just means taking the tiniest amount of time for yourself. 

So take a break! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Counterculture


I am breaking a couple of my self-imposed rules of blogging today.

Rule One: Never ever post about politics or current events. Save that for your personal facebook page. 

Rule Two: Limit the religious talk. Brief mentions of God or Jesus or maybe even a religious book review is fine. Surface level stuff only and keep it infrequent. 

I imposed these rules in order to avoid the inevitable arguments that would/could come. However, I feel compelled to not only write this post but to share it. I have given fair warning what this post will contain so if you want to skip over it, feel free. Ok so now that my disclaimer is out of the way...

Saturday night I sat on my computer continuously refreshing the South Carolina State Election Commission website watching the Republican primary results roll in. I naively thought that maybe just maybe Donald Trump would not win this one. Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. Sadly, I watched the votes roll in and Trump's percentage increase. By the time I went to bed Donald Trump had been declared the winner and I felt defeated.

Sunday morning rolled around and when I had a minute to myself I sat to double-check that the night before had not just been a bad dream. I crossed my fingers and hoped that maybe Donald Trump didn't actually win... he did. The feeling of defeat washed over me again. Why even bother trying to change people? Why bother hoping and praying for peace? Americans are repeatedly showing that they prefer hate, division, and fear-mongering. To say I had a poor and pessimistic attitude would be an understatement.

I went to church Sunday on my own. Landry wasn't feeling 100% and Daniel told me to go ahead and he would stay home with her despite my protests. I tell you this because I truly believe God knew I needed to here the words that would be spoken from the guest pastor that day. He knew I needed a major attitude adjustment and it wasn't going to happen by my own accord.

The gospel for this particular Sunday was Luke 13:31-35.

Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"  

Upon hearing the passage read during service I wasn't really blown away. Obviously people wanted Jesus dead. And the whole part about Jerusalem? Oh ok. Honestly, I hoped she would focus on another one of the readings from the service. They seemed to be a little bit juicier, not so factual and just a recount of an interaction. But as always God's word has more to it that we might realize.

Naturally, our guest pastor's sermon focused on Luke 13:31-35 but I was really intrigued by her different take on the passage. She focused on Jerusalem and it being a city at a crossroad. Jesus condemns Jerusalem as a city that kills prophets but in the next breath shows his hope and compassion for the city. The pastor used that passage to draw parallels with America (and ultimately the world) and it's current state.

"Politics is simply the symptom of a larger problem in our country" she exclaimed. She spoke of peace, love, and understanding. More so, she reminded us that those virtues and qualities are the ones that Jesus demonstrated and have always been counter-cultural. Respecting one another's truths, valuing each person as a child of God, that is not the cultural norm. Our world is at a crossroads, one in which we can continue down this path of hate and civil discord or we can finally embrace the message of Jesus.

In the moment I was moved to tears.  My heart broke for those who are continuously discriminated against. My heart broke for those listening to the hate-filled words coming from Christians. 

And then I felt convicted. No I'm not Donald Trump up on a stage calling for a nationwide ban on Muslims. No I'm not a cop who has targeted minorities. I am not a church stating homosexuals are unwelcome. But I am a person who has not loved their neighbor as themselves. I have remained quiet in the face of injustices. I have driven by a man who is homeless on the side of the street and diverted my eyes. 

Jesus calls us to live differently. Not just a little, not just what is comfortable for us, but radically different... counter cultural. We can no longer sit idlely by and watch individuals and communities not be seen and heard. We must fight for love, peace and justice. So the next time your backwards grandpa makes a racist remake, your co-worker makes a sexist joke, or you just simply see someone in need, do something. The Donald Trumps of the world, the politicians of this world, will not change until the majority of our society changes. And our society will not change unless as as individuals start doing the work. 

Go forth today and "Depart from evil, do good; seek peace, and pursue it." Psalm 34:14

Monday, February 22, 2016

Currently v. 1


making: Homemade bread. I've always wanted to try my hand at it. I used this recipe but next time I hope to go a healthier route with this whole wheat recipe.
cooking: Homemade chicken and noodle soup because Landry is sick and refusing to eat most things. drinking: Coffee... always! I just finished off this coffee that I got in my mistobox and I'm now working on my favorite from Dynamite Roasting Co.
wanting: All the boho dresses. I just bought this one and I hope it is as amazing as I'm hoping. looking: around every corner for Spring. I can tell it is almost here. Birds are chirping and days are getting longer.
learning: To show Daniel how much he means to me in little ways.
creating: Lots of personal essay style blog posts. I guess I have just been having all the feels as of late.
wishing: Landry would feel better. She is so pitiful and I miss my active, silly girl.
enjoying: My time away from social media to really focus on not only my little family, but also creating things!
liking: Breathe Right Nose Strips! Those things are saving our marriage.
loving: Making new friends that you immediately hit it off with and your children hitting it off too!
needing: A sunshine filled day. I need just a day that Landry and I can spend outside.
smelling: Peppermint essential oil and lavender. It is pretty much my cure all combination for any aches or pains.
listening: To Dixie Chicks Pandora station. It is fantastic!
noticing: How Landry is looking so grown up lately. Sometimes I look at her and all I see is a kid... not my round squishy little baby.
thinking: About Daniel and I's DC vacation in April. It can not get here fast enough!
reading: In Defense of Food. A little too much science for my liking but definitely helping change my perspective on food.
giggling: At Landry playing dress up. It is her new favorite game and mommy's clothes, shoes, and accessories are her favorite pieces!


Oh and for family (and some friends) who have asked... pictures of Landry! Haha