Monday, September 23, 2013

Lots of new things happening!

These last few weeks have been full of new things happening, and it is time for me to finally blog about it! Yay! Ella's asleep and my coffee is beside me, so I am ready to go!

So the biggest news is the newest additions to our family. My younger cousin had a child and so did my sister! I am officially an aunt! And all the new babies are girls, no suprise there though! I seriously feel like it is impossible for our family to have a boy. I only have one male cousin, and he is the only one that has had a son. It is so crazy! But anyway, the new babies are precious. My little neice, Aubrey, is less than 3 weeks old, and I am so glad I have gotten to spend a good amount of time with her. And I also got to meet little Miss Karsyn, and she is also adorable! Ella is going to have a ton of ready-made playmates with all of the babies in my family. :)

The next big news story is that Ella took her first steps!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!! I seriously can't believe it. She is on her way to walking everywhere. I am so happy....but also kinda sad. This is a huge milestone, but it just reaffirms the fact that she is growing up so fast! I am so proud of her though! And the best part is that KT and I were both with her when it happened. We have been having a lot of discussions lately about work getting in the way of being able to witness these big moments in her life, so I know it was a huge deal for him to be there for that. We were both so proud and happy. It actually happened in her Gymboree class. At the end of her class everyone was getting their shoes on to leave, I stood Ella up on the floor, and then out of nowhere she just tooks two steps!! Then she hit her knees and proceeded to scream about the audacity of that floor daring to hurt her precious knees. But it was such a monumental moment that it took KT and I a second to process that she had just walked. I of course was like "Oh my gosh. KT, did she just walk?!?!" He was pretty caught off guard too because it took him a second before he acknowledged it. We were shocked! I am so glad that we are doing these classes. They have had such an impact on her already. She is one of the youngest babies her age group, so she is one of the only ones not walking in the class. And she cannot stand it! LOL! But this is a good thing because she is really trying to imitate what the other babies are doing. She loves the group play that the class does. And it is allowing her to learn how to interact with other babies and to be comfortable crawling away from KT and I to play with another baby. Last Wednesday the teacher announced it was the end of class and called for the babies to come get their "Gymbo stamps" on their hands. Everyone (babies and adults alike) started heading out of the play area, but KT and I were waiting for Ella to crawl back over to us so we could carry her out like usual. However, Ella had other plans. She literally crawled out of the exit of the play area to get her stamp herself. She even had the gall to look back at us waiting for her with such a look of impatience! She wanted her stamp, and she was going to get it whether we were coming or not! I tell you this story because if you know Ella, then you know how reserved and cautious she is around other people. This class is bringing out a new side of her! And the best part is that we won 3 free months of these classes via a drawing at Babypalooza!!

Another big piece of news is that KT got a job in Birmingham! Yay for no more commuting to Tuscaloosa! He got a new job with a better position and pay, so we are really excited for that. It also has the opportunity for quick advancement, which is a really nice perk. It still isn't in the work genre he wants, but it is giving him great management experience to go along with his OM degree. So it may not be the longterm job, but it's a great stepping stone. I also got hired for a job....and then turned said job down. I know, I know. I have been wanting to go back to work for so long now, but with KT's new job I am going to be able to be more selective of what job I take. This job could have been great for someone without the family commitments of having a child. The travel and opportunities for advancement were great, but I just can't commit to being away from Ella for 2-3 weeks at a time. It was also heavily based in sales for the entry level management position I was hired for, and that's not really the area my strengths are in. I can sell things fine, but I cannot try to, for lack of a better term, "harass" people into buying things. I was also shocked at how strongly I reacted to the idea of leaving Ella to go back to work. I cried and cried and cried. But KT is amazing and told me he supported whatever decision I made. He even encouraged me to stay home until I found a job I was passionate about. That was a huge burden off of me. I hate feeling like I am not handling my fair share of the responsibilities, but he reassured me repeatedly that he was happy to have me stay home with Ella and that I was doing enough by taking care of her and the house. Who knew I was so domesticated?!? I sure didn't. So I am still job-searching, but now I am only applying for things that I really want to do. I will probably end up finishing the year out at home, but for the first time ever I am okay with that!

I also am in the middle of planning Ella's first birthday. These things are such a big deal! It's kind of stressful, but luckily, it is the kind of stress that doesn't make you lose sleep. I love coming up with all of the ideas for the party. And I also have help, which is a big relief! But I will be posting about the journey of planning a first birthday in a separate post, so be on the lookout for that! Now it is time for me to go do some updating to the look of the blog!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Where has the time gone?

I can't seem to figure out how Ella became 9 1/2 months already. Did I blink at some point and miss the last 9 months?? How did we get to the point of her cruising around the furniture, laughing constantly, having a personality, and being the most important part of my life? When did things change? For the life of me, I can't figure out where the time has gone. I know everyone says that it goes by so quickly, but they are downplaying it! It feels like just yesterday when I had plans to move to North Carolina, when I found out I was pregnant, when I went into labor, when we celebrated her six month birthday. How did all of this pass by without me realizing that time was slipping away from me?

Somehow Ella is a big girl already, and I am overwhelmed by it. Next thing I know she will be going to pre-school, grade school, high school, and then college. How do mothers handle this? I can't imagine letting her out of my sight even for daycare. How am I going to handle a future of letting go?? Even now, I become so overcome with such a deep love for her that I am caught off guard by it. I love everything about this child. Daycare is a fast-approaching likelihood, and I am panicking on the inside about it. I keep talking about how badly I am ready to go back to work, but how can I leave her? I know mothers go through this everyday, but it doesn't make it any easier. My attachment to Ella and vice versa is so strong that I do not know how to spend a day without her. I've never been away from her for more than 4-5 hours.

I'm watching her sleep right now as I blog and drink my decaf, and there is such a peacefulness about her that it immediately gives me peace. Ella is the most important thing to me. Now I get why nothing compares to a mother's love for her child.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Vote for Ella in the Cute Baby Contest!

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10151785814354568&set=a.10151785811164568.1073741825.339423614567&type=1&theater

If you have a Facebook page, please help Ella win her latest contest! Click the link above and "like" her picture! That's it! Super easy!

If you have trouble with the above link, you can also find her picture by going to Facebook, searching for "KP Studios Photography", clicking the "Cute Baby and Bump Contest", finding her picture (the picture is below), and then "liking" the picture. Little bit more work, but still pretty easy! It only takes a minute so please vote vote vote!! And be sure to "Share" the picture so your friends can vote for her too!

If she gets the most "likes", then she wins a $250 photo shoot!

We appreciate all of the help and support!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Help Ella win!

I entered Ella into a beautiful baby photo contest today, and we need your help to get her into the finals! Follow the link below to vote for her! Vote as much as you can, and don't forget to share with your friends! There is only a few days left in the contest so vote vote vote!!

Thank you oh so much!

http://bit.ly/19SzPly

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Finally settling in...

I have been MIA for over a month now! So crazy! But it has all been because we have been super busy finding a new apartment, handling all of the paperwork, packing, moving, and now unpacking. It has been such a long process, and we are still not all the way unpacked! But we are finally getting settled into our new area. So far, I really like it! Granted we are still in Alabama but we are out of Tuscaloosa. That was the most important part. We are now living in the suburbs of the Birmingham. We have access to so many more amenities and are living in a much nicer complex. Hopefully, tomorrow we will get to go check out one of the pools on the property. Ella loves to swim and she hasn't been in a while. I know she is itching to get out there. :)

Ella is doing great by the way! She will be 9 months in 2 days! How time flies!! She still refuses to crawl and still has no teeth, but she is so close to walking! She cruises all around the furniture, practices balancing on her own, and is trying to figure out how to pull up on her own. She is truly the sweetest baby. Earlier tonight I sat her in my lap and she gave me the biggest hug. It was precious. I will definitely post some updated pictures soon.

Tonight will have to be a short post because I have to take advantage of the time Ella sleeps to get some more unpacking done and get dinner ready! Otherwise, I will stay on here all night and KT will have to go to bed hungry. :) I'll be back ASAP though!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Advice Needed About Owning a Business

So I need you guys' help. My main goal career wise is to own a business of my own. In particular, I want to own a bookstore. This has been a dream for quite some time, and I intend to make it happen sometime in the future. I have done and am still doing a ton of research about owning a bookstore, so I have read a lot of the facts, statistics, and logistics of opening a small business. But what I do not have are first-hand accounts. This is where you guys come in. I need advice from people that have opened a business, know someone that has opened a business, or is just very knowledgeable about the process.

Some of the questions I have are as follows:

  • What was your experience opening your own business?
  • Would you recommend starting a business?
  • Are you familiar with owning a bookstore?
  • How did you fund the start-up costs?
  • Any advice on handling the legal issues?
  • How did you furnish your business?
  • How did you go about finding a place to lease?
  • What sort of marketing ploys did you use?
  • How did you get your inventory?

Also, I need some opinions on one other topic. Considering that the market for bookstores isn't at it's best due to the age of e-books, Amazon, and eBay. I need to ensure that a bookstore I opened appealed enough to the general public that they would want to come buy their books from a local shop versus online. So let's get hypothetical here. Say I was opening a bookstore near you, what kind of store would you want to see? Used vs. new? Would you want to have the option of hanging out and having a cup of coffee while you browse? Basically, what would lure you into a local bookstore to shop instead of shopping online? What would a bookstore need to have to entice you to come through it's doors?

The idea of opening a bookstore has been stewing in my mind for quite some time, but it is still a long way away from happening. I am definitely still in the researching/brainstorming phase of the project. I just really wanted to see what kind of advice you guys would be able to offer. Although this is a big dream of mine, I know it has to be something that is practical. Therefore, if you have advice to offer that could really put things into perspective for me, please share!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Teething is the devil...but I think I found the solution! (for us, at least)

I know every parent has to go through the dreaded teething period, but good gracious!! Ella has been in full swing teething for quite a while now, and she still has no teeth to show for it! Poor baby! All this work and pain, and she hasn't even cut one yet. But she definitely has to be getting close. The drooling, gumming everything she can find, fussiness, and white bump on her gums are all indicators that we should have a tooth soon.

I have researched all of the tried and true remedies for teething in my desperate attempt to alleviate her pain and my frustration. Unfortunately, Ella HATES all things cold. I have tried the teething rings, frozen washcloths, frozen paci, ice and frozen fruit in the mesh feeder bags, and more, and she just can't stand it! Orajel has been the only thing that would help even a little bit. But I hate to give her medicine everytime she goes through a rough patch. So after a particularly rough night a few weeks ago, I decided to order a Baltic Amber Teething Necklace.

For those of you that have not heard of these, you are not alone. Until I did all of this research on remedies, I had never heard of them before either. Essentially, they are made from amber from the Baltic Sea. Baltic Amber has been known to have healing properties due to the succinct acid that is in it. You have to make sure you buy a necklace from a reputable supplier to ensure that you get true Baltic Amber. Imposters are rampant! The baby wears the necklace around their neck (or on the ankle during bedtime), and the warmth from their skin releases the healing oils from the beads. I read that it is best to get light-colored, raw amber in the traditional round shape because the level of succinct acid is higher. Baltic Amber has been used for healing puposes for thousands of years. Adults wear it to help with everyday aches and pains and arthritis. The cost of the necklaces is pretty minimal. You can get a necklace anywhere from $20-30. With shipping, I paid $26.41. I have not found many stores that carry the necklaces. I read that some boutiques do but none of them were local.

So does it work?? I say yes. Tomorrow will make two weeks that Ella has had hers on, and she has not had one rough night since. Of course I can't say that that isn't just coincidence, but I am doubtful of the necklace not having anything to do it. Ella had been waking up during the night fussing, but since she put the necklace on she has slept through the night almost every night. We forgot to put it on her one night and she woke up screaming! Again, some say coincidence, but I say go get a Baltic Amber Teething Necklace! I think they will be my go-to gift for baby showers from now on! Well, except for the one I have tomorrow. LOL. BTW, my sister is having her baby shower tomorrow. So crazy. There is another family baby shower next week too! And all girls! No clue what we are going to do with all of these girls!!

Overall, Baltic Amber works in my opinion. And the necklaces are so cute! Seriously, how adorable is this??

Want to order a necklace? Click here to order from the site I ordered Ella's. I used the standard USPS shipping and had it in two days. Super quick!

Do you have your own teething remedies? Have you tried Baltic Amber? Did you order one? Let me know all the details!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pictures of Chattanooga vacation

 Ella loved the pizza diner car!
 
 
 Locked away with Jaws!! Still got time for kisses though! :)
 
 
 Just arrived to our hotel/renovated train station!
 
 
 Chattanooga Choo-Choo, our hotel!
 
 
 Seeing how Ella measures up compared to the penguins!
 
 
 In the butterfly room!
 
 
 The view from the top of Look Out Mountain! You can see seven states! It was fun, even in the rain!
 
 
 Ruby Falls! Ella's favorite part of the entire trip! This is one of the rare pictures when we could tear her eyes away from the waterfall!
 
 
 Dipping her toes in the stream outside of the Tennessee Aquarium!
 
 
 Tourist-y pic in the hotel! :)
 
 
 I love this one!
 
 
 Inside the "diamond" cavern at Rock City!
 
 
And our hotel once again!
 
 
We had such a great time on our first family vacation!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Playing catch-up

Time to play catch-up. I've been pretty busy the last week and a half and I have not done my blogging! Shame on me. So lets pick up where we left off last time.

My first Mother's Day has now come and gone. It was a pretty big deal for me, especially since I never expected to be celebrating it so soon. But the day let me realize just how excited and thankful I was to be celebrating the fact that I am Mommy to the best little girl in the world. I started the day off by working in the nursery at church. Ella stayed home because she was too tired to be woken up so early. :) sleepyhead. We made fun arts and crafts for the kids to give to their moms, and it was exciting to know that I have that to look forward to in the future. I came home to KT getting himself and Ella ready to take me out to lunch. He had to work that evening so we had to have our dinner at lunch time. Outback was yummy, although Ella decided she would make sure everyone in the restaurant knew she was there by doing her screaming for no reason antic. It seems to be a permanent habit she has picked up. After lunch KT took me to a plant sale (yes, I really said plant sale) and Books-a-Million. He knows I love books and, much to my surprise, has actually been paying attention to me when I have been talking about how I want to garden. Hmmph. So we did some looking around and then had to come home for him to get to work. Ella and I spent the night playing until she passed out on me and then, with nothing else to do, I passed out too. The next morning I woke up to flowers and a card from KT and Ella. He has this habit of only giving holiday gifts either very late the night of the holiday or the day after. No clue why, but I have accepted it. And that day we went and got me some tomato, cucumber, and oregano plants. So I am now officially a gardener. And judging by the size of my plants, I am a pretty good one at that! Oh crap, I just realized I forgot to water them today...I'm sure one day won't hurt...right?? :)

Okay, so Mother's Day was a success. I got flowers, cards (all of KT's family sent/gave me cards which was super sweet!), phone calls/texts from family and friends, plants, and dinner. And then KT surprised Ella and I by telling us on the Friday after Mother's Day that he was taking us on vacation! We were pretty excited. He picked out Chattanooga and told me to find a hotel I liked and figure out what activities we would do. I took this very seriously and planned us a fantastic trip. Did I mention he decided this on Friday and we were to leave the next morning?? Yep. So by I 'planned us a fantastic trip', I mean the best trip I could in the few hours I had. But the trip deserves its own post full of tales of exciting adventures and pictures! So be sure to check that post out! And if you have Facebook and want to see even more fun pictures, then click here.

We also had Ella's doctors visit this week. Today she weighed in at 16lb 8oz and measured 27 3/4" long! Although last week we were told she was 16lb 15oz (but they didn't strip her so that could be the cause of the difference) and 26" long. Now I am just not sure how the measurement became so different. I am pretty sure my child did not grow almost 2" in a little over a week, so there must have been an error on someone's part. We are going to measure her ourselves and see what we come up with. Either way we have a good sized baby! Our poor baby had to get more shots today and it seems that for the first time she may have had a reaction to them. She had her lunch around 12ish and by 3ish she vomited twice. :( And she ran a low grade temp of 100.9. She hasn't ever had a temp or a reaction to the immunizations before so can't say for sure that that is what caused it. I, being a first time mommy, of course called the doctor and the nurse said it was normal. But she did have to get medicine for the first time today, and she took it like a pro! She seems to be doing fine this evening, so hopefully everything has gone away. I am very happy about the fact that she has never been sick, and I do not plan on having that change now!

Well, now that you know every detail of what has happened to me in the last couple weeks...I am sure you are bored out of your mind. After the Chattanooga post I promise to get back into more meaningful topics. Until then, hold yourself over by reviewing any posts you may have missed! Like learning how to become a guest writer, Ella turning 6 months old, or just seeing how it all began.

By the way, we are getting to stay in our current apartment for a couple more months so fingers
crossed for good luck on our job search!


Ella loves to play with receipts..really. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ella's Six Months Old!! And new pictures!!

Yesterday was a big day for Ella! She turned 6 months old. I was so happy and sad at the same time. I can't believe that it has already been half a year since we were blessed with the best baby in the whole world! It has gone by so quickly that I am almost sad to already reach this milestone. The past 6 months have truly been the best of my life. Everyday I fall even more in love with my amazing daughter. (Even though it has been six months it still sounds weird to say "my daughter", but it's a good weird!)
Since KT had to work that afternoon, Ella and I decided to celebrate with a mommy-daughter day. We went to McAlister's first for our lunch date, then to make Mother's Day cards for both grandmas, nanny, and auntie at Target, and then we capped the day off by meeting up with Jania and James for ice cream and a photo shoot on UA's campus. I'd say it was a pretty good day. And by the smiles and laughter coming from Ella throughout the day, I'd say she agrees. There are some pictures below from our day out for her 6 month birthday and just some pictures of Ella that are cute!

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, so hopefully we will have another great day together as a family tomorrow. Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful mommies!! By the way, I say mommies need way more than just one day out of the year to honor all of the hard work that goes into raising kids, having a career, and taking care of the household!!

Sitting with Saban!
 
 Sitting with Saban again! (Btw, I didn't realize I couldn't rotate the
pictures until I already uploaded them and now I don't feel like
re-doing everything to fix it. LOL. Sorry!)
 
 In front of the stadium! Sorry again! LOL.
 
 Ella sitting beside me at McAlister's being the best baby in the world!
Such big, beautiful brown eyes!
 
 "I'm six months old!!" Seriously, could she be anymore adorable??
 
 Just chillin' on the couch like a big girl!
 
 Eating some yummy Cold Stone Creamery!
 
Loving her new exersaucer!
 
Sleeping on her daddy's chest! :)
 
 
These pictures make me smile. Tomorrow I will do her official six month pictures like I have been doing every month. If you missed last months pictures, you can see them here. Also, I am still looking for guest writers, so contact me if you are interested! Don't be shy! Tomorrow I will let you guys know how my first Mother's Day goes! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Guest writer opportunities!

I have been thinking about some ways to update the blog. I decided that some recurrent themed posts would be a great way to give all of you guys something to look forward to regularly. One of the posts I decided upon doing was featuring posts written by guest writers. This is open to anyone that wants to do some blogging and writing. You do not have to have any experience or anything like that. But if you have been thinking about starting your own blog, this is a great way to get some exposure to the blogging life and to also gain readers. If you already have a blog, then this is a great way to open your blog up to new readers and increase traffic to your blog. (You are welcome to feature your guest post on your blog as well!) And if blogging is nowhere in your future but you just feel like doing some writing, then this is great for you too! :)

So what should you write about? ANYTHING!! I said when I started this blog that although this blog was centered around parenting, I wanted to be able to blog about anything that I felt like. That could be anything from a great book I read or want to read, current affairs, or even just venting from having a rough day. This anything-goes policy applies to guest writers as well. Mommies need breaks from the everyday life of being a mommy, so a funny post about how your day was could be just the thing that can offer us the break and laugh we need! Posts can be humorous, enlightening, sad, or any other emotion you are feeling. So if you do feel like writing a post about parenting, great! If not, great! :) You don't have to be a mommy or daddy to be a guest writer! Posts can also be the length of your choice, but I find that what I think will be a short post always goes longer than I expect! By the way, guest writing one post does not mean you can't do another one! This can actually turn into a recurrent thing for you if you find you really enjoy it!

Okay, so how do you become a guest writer? Just shoot me an e-mail with your info (name, blog {if you have one}, social media site if you want to share, post topic, and date of expected completion). I'll respond letting you know I received your e-mail, what day your post will be put on the blog, and with any questions I may have. Then all you have to do is send me the completed post by the date that you said. Also, a great way to familiarize yourself with readers is to have a short synopsis of who you are. This just lets people know a little about you and your story. Please include your bio in either of the e-mails you send.

My e-mail is lyndsey.mosley@gmail.com

My hope is to have enough people willing to participate that this is able to become a weekly topic. So don't hold back! Sign up to be a guest writer today! And don't be afraid to say you want to do multiple posts. I welcome everyone wishing to participate! If you know someone that loves to write and would love this, please share with them!

Monday, April 22, 2013

I have a confession...

Today I decided that I cannot keep my secret obsession a secret any longer. What I am about to tell you may seem a bit shocking, but I know that the first step to dealing with a problem is admitting that you have the problem. I hope that you do not judge me and that some of you may even be able to relate. I started to realize that I had a bit of an obsession last summer, but since having Ella I can tell that it really is an addiction. I have a problem.

Hello. My name is Dani Mosley and I am a picker. A booger picker. Ella's booger picker to be precise. Well, actually, any child, but I'm just most comfortable with Ella. Before you judge, let me explain.

I cannot stand to see a child with a nasty nose. Seriously, can't stand it. Whenever I see a booger in Ella's (or any random child), I have the urge to get it out. I can't bare to look at it. Luckily, I am able to control my urge around children I do not know (mainly for fear of being arrested for attacking a child), but when it comes to Ella, there is no stopping me! I first realized my true hatred of booger-filled noses at the daycare I worked at last summer. I was constantly wiping noses because kids in daycare are the worst. They seem to always have stuffed up noses. So I decided it was my duty to rid them of these boogers. Miss Dani to the rescue! Prepped with blue gloves, a booger-sucker (AKA an aspirator but booger-sucker sounds cooler), and a baby wipe. The kids didn't stand a chance. No parent would pick up a nasty-nosed child on my watch!

Since having Ella, my obsession has just compounded. KT is constantly taking Ella away from me when I go on one of my "digging expeditions". He just takes her and shakes his head. But, thankfully, Ella doesn't really seem to mind usually. Another testament that she is definitely meant to be my child! She will just let me dig away until I have reached my limit for that particular session and then she just turns her head away. It really works out quite well for both of us. And I know that I will never have that child that is running through the mall with the nose that makes everyone cringe and take a step back!!!

And, honestly, I get such a sense of satisfaction when I get those nasty boogers out that I do not see me stopping my addiction anytime soon, but I do feel better having gotten this off of my chest. Seriously, it feels so rewarding! (By the way, I also have this feeling towards ear wax! I clean Ella's ears constantly! I am also that weird person that Youtube's ear wax removal videos and feels so accomplished when the doctor pulls that big ball of wax out. If you haven't ever watched one of these videos, you should. Like right now. The Indian ones are the best!) You may see me in a different light now, but I can accept that. I hope you don't judge me too critically though! :)

Okay, so this maybe wasn't the most profound blog post ever, but it did make you smile or maybe even chuckle, didn't it? :) Or maybe you just cringed, gagged, or stared dumbfounded at the screen. Either way, mission accomplished!

Now go Youtube those ear wax videos. You know you want to!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Some long overdue pictures

 City wide Easter Egg Hunt


 In our Easter outfits (my green did not match at all!)


She's too cute!


Deanne's wedding


Ella is 5 months!!!!
 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Disappointment is a hard pill to swallow

I am not usually one to admit if the actions of another person are upsetting to me, especially not in such a public forum, but disappointment has been a feeling I have had to get accustomed to lately. And that in itself is disappointing. Even before I got pregnant with Ella, I knew that my choices with my life would make others unhappy. But this is my life. Unfortunately, several people do not seem to understand that part.

Growing up in a small town in Alabama has its perks, but it most definitely has its downfalls. Namely, close-mindedness. I always knew that I didn't really see things the way that most of my peers and several of my family members did. But I was also raised to be respectful, so I kept my mouth shut about my differences of opinion. Until I went to college at least. Even though I stayed in-state for college, I was exposed to completely new things. Ultimately, those new experiences are what led me to Ella. And I regret none of my choices. Ella is an amazing person and has truly shown me what unconditional love really means. How could I not be happy with having her in my life?

I knew that when I told people that I was pregnant there would be some naysayers. However, I did not think that those same people that loved me and raised me my entire life would simply walk away. But they did. There are multiple people that I have not seen or even spoken to since I announced my pregnancy. My heart hurts to think of this, but it also hurts to think that they will not know Ella. She brings such joy and happiness to my life, and I want to share her with everyone I love so they can experience even a fraction of what I feel everyday. I am not able to wrap my head around the thought that I would love someone less or completely abandon them based on their decision to find happiness in the way that they choose. And how do you not just love a baby??

None of this is to say that I love anyone in my family less or that I am angry with them. I am truly not. I'm just disappointed. Luckily, there have been so many people in my family and so many friends that have completely supported Ella and I. Those are the people that make the disappointment a little easier to handle. Some days (like today, well the last week actually) are just harder to deal with. Disappointment and hurt come in all shapes and sizes, but the good thing about having these types of weeks is that you learn that you can withstand so much more than you thought possible. And I can't say all of my disappointment has come from family alone. Sometimes those you are the closest to really can hurt you the most. But I do know that before Ella I would have never been able to handle hearing the things I have been told or experiencing the deep hurt that comes with learning that things may not work the way you envisioned. But knowing that Ella needs me has made me incredibly strong for her sake. I will do everything I can to make sure she is happy and knows that she is loved. Ultimately, Ella will be happy. And because of her, I will be happy. No one can take that away.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Life can get in the way sometimes!

I can't believe that it has been so long since I have gotten to blog. But we have had so much going on. There was Easter, family in town, and hosting a bachelorette party. With all of that, blogging had to be put on a back burner. But I am back now!


First, a quick update on Ella. She is still amazing. :) She is rolling over like crazy, can sit up un-supported for a few minutes at a time, and eats like a pro! She seriously has not met a pureed veggie or fruit that she doesn't like. We had a great Easter and visits from the families. I was really happy that KT's family was able to come up for a bit to get to see her, but I wish they could have stayed longer to really get to spend some time with her and see all of the amazing things she can do! And hopefully, my Nanny will get to see her soon too. It is hard to live away from the family, but it is great to feel like we are really out on our own.

Okay, so on to the topic of today's post. Time management. How do we do it all? The last couple of weeks have really shown me that there just is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything that we need to do. Sometimes I really feel like I wake up, feed Ella, change some diapers, put her down for naps, maybe get something to eat, get a bit of cleaning done, and then suddenly it is 11 p.m.! Where did the time go?? There are so many tasks that I assumed I would be able to get done while I was staying home with Ella, yet hardly any of them have actually been checked off my list. I definitely admire the moms who seem to always be put together, on time, and well-fed! :) Food definitely gets sacrificed for me! But I can't help but wonder, are they really as on top off things as they seem? If so, how do they do it?

I feel so overwhelmed sometimes that when I do have some free time I can't even bring myself to get off of the couch. The fact that I haven't gone back to work yet seems to just be making the issue worse. I have no real reason to get up and brush my hair in the morning or actually change out of my pajamas. At least, that's how I feel. I really do try to talk myself into getting up and making an effort but then I remember that I have nothing to do other than take care of Ella all day. And frankly, she doesn't care if my hair is brushed or not because she is going to yank on it either way. How does a new mommy learn to manage her time and still feel motivated to get out of bed and put some real clothes on?? I definitely need some good advice on this one! So, got any??

P.S. I can't even make this post as long as I want it to be because I have to go get some dinner ready for when KT gets home in about 30mins. But I WILL be back tomorrow. And I will be prepared with some new pictures and videos!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ella can roll...and now she won't stop!! My fault???

So we hit a milestone on March 23, 2013. Ella can now roll all the way over. And I actually caught her first roll on video! She struggled for a couple of days before to get all the way over, but she kept getting so close. Finally, she actually made it all the way over. Which is great! I am such a proud mommy. BUT now she seems to think it is the coolest thing ever. I lay her on her quilt, turn away, she immediately rolls over, waits a few minutes for me to notice, cries to get rolled back on her back, and then repeats the process. Over and over and over. It was super cute the first few times, but not as much now. LOL! It takes me twice as long to get the dishes washed and laundry folded because of how many times my genius baby wants to play her game.

Which leads me to the topic of today's post. Are we being too indulgent as parents?? I personally believe Ella is too young to be spoiled and know how to "get her way", but I realize a lot of parents believe that we (young, new-generation moms) are way too indulgent with our children. Everyone that knows me knows that I like to do things by the book. Literally. I research everything and then make what I feel is the best decision. And a lot of times this decision contradicts what the moms before me did. For example, Ella went through a period where she was pretty fussy when it was time to go to bed. A lot of people told me to just let her cry. She would eventually learn to go to sleep on her own. However, I couldn't do it. I am not a fan of the cry-it-out method, especially at such a young age. KT and I had many discussions about what we should do, but I really just could not bring myself to let her cry. Therefore, I decided to stick with my method of putting her to sleep, laying her down, and picking her up if she wakes up and cries. It may have been tiring for a while but now Ella goes to sleep just fine. I no longer have to nurse her to get her to sleep. When she falls asleep, I lay her in her pack-n-play and she sleeps through the night. Rarely, does she wake up before 6-7 a.m. the next morning. And she falls asleep usually by 10 at the latest every night. And the best part is she wakes up so happy. She calls for us (not by crying, but by actually yelling for us LOL), we peek over the side of her pack-n-play, and she has the biggest smile on her face. Every morning this is our routine and I love that she has complete faith that we will be there to get her. I never worry that she is unsure of whether or not we will respond to her cries.

This is not to say that I think that parents that choose different methods from mine are wrong. Every parent knows what is best for their children. I have simply chosen to parent with a more attachment parenting style. I do not plan on going full-blown attachment parenting (nursing at 5 years old?? Not gonna happen!), but I do believe in the reasons behind attachment parenting. So I am blending some of these techniques with some of my own choices. And so far I am happy with the results.

But I have definitely noticed that some older moms think that the attachment parenting style makes your children way too dependent. I literally have had older women that I do not even know try to tell me how to take care of my daughter, which is incredibly rude. I know my child better than anyone else (besides her daddy of course), so I do not need anyone else telling me what to do! And I really disagree that Ella will become too dependent on us. At this age, I love that she has a deeper connection with KT and I than she does with anyone else. I believe that her confidence in us and our love for her will allow her to become a more secure child, teen, and adult.

But what do you guys think? What is your parenting style? Do you believe that new-generation moms are too easy on their kids? Are we making them too dependent? I would love to hear your opinion (even if it disagrees with mine)!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Healthier Lifestyle

I have always been the person talking about changing how I eat, but I never seemed to actually make it happen. I was forever telling KT that we were going to be making some changes to what we were eating...and then I'd go get McDonalds. I know, I know. Poor KT. He would listen to me everytime I went on one of my long spills about how we ate such bad things, he would agree that we needed some modifications, and then he would just shake his head when I went right back to the old ways. Unfortunately, this happened a lot. I never wanted to try to lose weight, but I wanted to improve my health and avoid any future health problems. Well, it's a good thing I had Ella because I am (finally!) making some changes!!

With such problems as child obesity (1 in 3 children are obese!), foods full of preservatives, foods covered in pesticides, fast food joints on every corner, and so many more, I decided that Ella needs and deserves a better future than what she was going to get if we kept eating the way we were. So to Google I went! Research is my best friend, so I was determined to learn as much about healthy eating as I could. First thing, no more fast food! My heart still breaks a little to think about this, but I am staying strong! We also agreed to not eat out for a while. I started creating weekly meal plans, and so far, we have not ate one thing outside of our own kitchen. Granted it has only been about two weeks, but still! That is definitely an accomplishment for me! Weekly meal plans have also helped us save money. I plan out every meal for each day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks), and then we go grocery shopping just for the items we need. According to KT, he can see the money-saving already. We try to have a good breakfast, light lunch, and a filling dinner. I have also been looking for some good recipes to try out. Got any?? And for those of you that don't know me, just the fact that I am asking for recipes to cook is a huge deal! I am not exactly domesticated! But since I have been staying home with Ella, I have been working on my Susie Homemaker skills. I think I am getting better! :)

One thing that we agreed to have every single day is a green smoothie. Before you make that face, give it a shot! If you haven't ever had one, you should really try it out. I promise that with the fruit in it you can't even taste the greens. Seriously! And I am probably the pickiest person I know! Bland is usually my favorite flavor. Well, besides salt, but I am trying to work on that too! The base recipe calls for 1cup spinach and 1cup kale (kale is like a superfood, so good for you!!), 2cups of choice fresh or frozen fruit (sometimes more) (btw, I have read that citrus doesn't usually do well in these), 2 bananas, and about 2 cups of water. We mix ours up a bit by adding in some lowfat vanilla yogurt, soy milk, and a few tablespoons of flax seed (full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids so really good for your heart) I think the best fruit to have is a bag of frozen mixed berries (they also turn the smoothie purple if the color is what holds you back). We recently tried apples, but it did not go so well. We didn't peel the apple, so that may have had something to do with it. The texture was pretty hard to get down. We also usually only use one banana because KT doesn't like a strong banana flavor, and bananas can be very overpowering. But if you like bananas (like me!), then go for two! Overall, green smoothies are such a great way to get in your servings in greens without even thinking about it. Most of us do not get even half the amount of greens we are supposed to have in a day, so a green smoothie is a great way to get those greens in!

The next challenge we are taking on is to start decreasing the amount of meat we eat. This is really going to be a hard one for us. We are both really big meat people. Honestly, is there anything better than a thick, juicy, rare steak?!?! If there is, I haven't found it (other than deer jerky, but that's a blog post all its own)! I suggested cutting out meat for one day a week. KT looked at me like I was crazy. LOL. He said how about one MEAL at a time. I laughed and agreed. This challenge starts this week, so wish us luck!

Do you have any healthy eating recommendations?? Any changes you have made to improve your health and eating habits? How about some recipes? Please share! I need all the help I can get! :)


XOXO,
Dani

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The baby girl who stole my heart

While reading the blog post I posted about earlier (if you haven't read it, you can find it here), I realized just how incredibly blessed I am to have the most amazing little girl in my life. And I get to call her my daughter. I can't even describe how being Ella's mommy makes me feel. Unconditional love doesn't even cover it. She literally holds my heart in her tiny palm, and I am perfectly okay with that. Before becoming a parent, I had no idea that you could love one person (especially someone so tiny!!) this much. I saw other parents and they obviously loved their children, but I assumed it was the same kind of love you had for anyone else in your life. I was wrong. The type of love you have for your child is so different from anything you will ever feel for another human being. That is not to say that your love for someone else is not as great but love for a child is just on a completely different level.

While this post may not have much relevance for anyone besides me, I will do it anyways. Many parents go through heartbreak that I cannot even imagine. And I know that I have been blessed with Ella, so I am choosing to celebrate my precious baby and the love I have for her. So for no other reason than just because I love her, this post is solely dedicated to Ella and how amazing, brilliant, beautiful, and loving she is every single day.  :)     You can call me cheesy now if you want!



These are some of the 4 month pictures I promised!


The flash makes her eyes big. So funny!

Yesterday, we had Ella's four month well baby check-up. She is doing amazing! She is a healthy 14lb 1oz and 24 1/2 inches long. She did so great with the doctors too! She laughed and smiled at them while they did their physical check of her. She thought the leg stretches, tummy time, and getting picked up and put on her feet were all games, so she played right along! Both of the doctors were impressed with how well she holds her head up, keeps her back rigid, and can push up with her arms while on her tummy. They said she is really close to sitting up by herself and rolling all the way over. The doctor also said her bottom teetth will come first, but we are about a month away from the first ones popping out. KT and I sat and watched her getting examined and showing off her skills like such proud parents! It felt like we were watching her first real "baby challenge" and she passed with flying colors! She made us so happy! She even did well with her second round of immunizations. She cried when they did it of course, but after it was over she went back to just being her normal happy self. Just like with the first round, she didn't even get a fever! Another reason I am happy we have been able to breastfeed! The benefits are so widespread!


video
Ella loves to play on her playmat! She REALLY loves when I pretend to kiss her cute little feet! Sorry for the kissing sounds! LOL



Another quick update, Ella loves bananas in her rice cereal! I tried that today because she was eating the rice cereal a little bit, but she wasn't enthused about it. I want her to enjoy eating, so I mushed a small piece of a banana and mixed it in and she loved it!


These are from our trip to the park to celebrate her four month birthday! Ella loves her Daddy!





My adorable little family! 




I love this little girl more than anything in the entire world!



XOXO,
Dani






An inspirational blog post I came across today.

A truly inspiring and heartbreaking story of a mothers never-ending love for her precious baby boy.

"EB"ing a Mommy: One Year...: Today cannot be real.   I wish it were a bad dream.   Today was the day that I never actually thought would get here.  It's a day...

Monday, March 11, 2013

How can we not be selfish?? Not even just a little??

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first thoughts I had was I'm too selfish to be a mom! I know, even that thought was pretty selfish, huh? But I vowed to be brutally honest in this blog, so it's true. I had just graduated college a little over a year before and I was still looking for a my dream job. How was I supposed to have it all with a baby? This fear is something I wrestled with throughout my entire pregnancy. And to be honest, I still have this fear to some degree. Every decision I make comes back to 'am I doing this because it really is the best thing for Ella or because I can't fully let go of the dreams I had pre-baby?'

 Although I can't imagine having anything come before Ella now, my entire life I had plans to put my career before having a family. I have a degree in political science, so I knew that I would have to work pretty hard to actually become successful in the male-dominated field of government. And I knew I would have to get out of Alabama. I was mentally prepared to take on this task. (I had even found apartments in North Carolina, which is where I wanted to live.) Therefore, I knew I had to become settled with a great career and be financially comfortable before even thinking of starting a family. This was just my mentality. Obviously, that didn't happpen the way I planned. So I have had to adjust accordingly. (Being a stay-at-home mom like I have been for the past four months never even crossed my mind when I saw my future!)

I have had to make myself understand that just because Ella was born, it doesn't mean that all of my old dreams just went away. This is okay. Moms have so much pressure on them to do it all. Be a great mom, have a great career while never missing a recital or baseball game, keep an immaculate house, and still try to have somewhat of a social life. All of this pressure makes us think we are being selfish just for wanting that great career or a night out with the girls. Most of the people I confided my fears told me that my dreams would change when I had a baby. This is true...somewhat. Every time I look into the future now, the first thing I see is Ella. But I still see some of those old dreams trying to pop out too. Again, this is okay! We don't have to change ALL of our plans because we have babies. Our babies just get to tag along now. I still want a great career that will satisfy me professionally. And now I have Ella to take care of everything outside of work. I think it's the best outcome possible, especially since KT is supportive of me still having the career of my dreams.

One great thing that started happening after I graduated college and then especially when I became pregnant was that I started thinking about what I really wanted out of life. Even though I had a baby coming (well actually, especially because I had a baby coming), I knew that my passion and not just a career needed to be something I started really thinking about. I really realized that I wanted a career that was rewarding mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, even if it didn't bring the most money. I finally acknowledged my love of reading and writing. So now in my future I see (in this order): Ella and KT, owning a bookstore, and writing (be that books, reviews, articles, freelance, blogs, whatever). I would be a liar if I said that I don't miss the freedom I had before having a baby because I still have days where I daydream about my "old daydreams", but then I look at Ella and new dreams (coupled with my old dreams) have arisen. And trust me, I still worry I make may a decison out of selfishness sometimes. Let's just hope KT will call me on it!

In the next couple of months KT and I have some big decisions to make about where we want to move and start our lives. Hopefully, my "selfishness" won't get in the way. :)

XOXO
Dani

P.S. For those of you who read yesterdays post and were expecting some pictures of Ella, what can I say? I have a million things to do in a day and it just didn't happen. Or could it be because KT is awesome and let me sleep in until 2 p.m. so nothing got accomplished today??? :) Either way, tomorrow it is!! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ella's Four Months Today!!!

It is March 10, which means my pretty baby is 4 months old! Crazy that time has flown by so fast. We celebrated by enjoying the great weather we had by going to the park. Ella hated it, but we tried. LOL! Really it was just super windy, and she did not like the wind blowing on her. Once the wind calmed down she spent her time watching everyone go by. We have such a curious baby. But her curiousity can actually be a negative thing sometimes because she makes herself stay awake to watch everything. That results in one cranky baby, which we experienced when we got home. Thankfully, she finally gave in and went to sleep.

She has definitely been making some strides to be a big girl lately. She started attempting to eat her rice cereal. (By the way, any recommendations on the best brand of rice cereal? We have her on Beech Nut because it is supposed to be easier on the tummy, but I'd love to hear your opinion!) She also started using her baby shampoo, which is a step up from just using infant head-to-toe wash. I know, I know, but I was excited about it! Her hair smells so yummy now! :) She also is becoming so mobile! We put her on her playmat and she never stays in the same position anymore. She pedals herself around until she is facing the complete opposite direction. Hopefully, she will be fully rolling over soon. Right now she is just getting on her side. But I can tell she is getting close for sure!

The biggest accomplishment so far has been that today she said her first "mama" sounds! It lit up my heart! Before you all tell me that she isn't actually addressing me as "mama", I know this! However, I choose to believe in my mind that she spoke directly TO me as she said the magic words! And nothing you say will take that away from me! :)

Unfortunately, Ella fell asleep before I could do her four month pictures. Guess those will have to wait until tomorrow. She should look the same right?? :) Pictures to come tomorrow!

XOXO
Dani

Taking my "me time" today

I have been working on the pages of my blog, so this is my first blog post. I debated for a while about what I should write about. Then I decided it should be about one of the most important things new mommies should always get. Their "me time."

It's 12:22 a.m., and I am indulging in some "me time". KT and Ella are both asleep (and have been since 8 p.m.), so I get some time to myself. I took a long, hot shower. I made myself a cup of decaf, hazelnut coffee. I settled in on the couch to read my new Cosmopolitan. I cooked a nice dinner. I ate. And now I am working on my new blog.

Although I have only been a mommy for four months, I realized pretty early on that something was going to have to give. I have not gone back to work yet, so I am at home with Ella everyday. And I love it. But I quickly learned that you can only take so much of taking care of a baby before you have to start taking care of yourself too. Taking care of Ella is the best part of my day, and I truly mean that. But having some time for myself definitely allows me to rejuvenate...in a baby-free zone. Tonight that means sitting on the couch with Cosmo and coffee. Some days that means leaving for a few hours to go to Books-a-Million to read a good book. It sounds silly but not being able to read whenever I choose has actually been something that I have had to adjust to. I was so used to being able to finish a book in one setting that having to put a book down because Ella needs something was a big adjustment. But I have made that adjustment by getting a few hours every now and then to do whatever I please, like read that book that is suddenly taking me a week to finish. :)

I have been pretty lucky with getting my "me time" because KT actually pushes me to make sure I get some time for myself. The very first time I left, which was just for an hour to get dinner with a friend, was so difficult for me. KT really encouraged me to get out of the house or I was going to go insane. He was right. We all need time to just breathe for a little while. "Me time" is something that I will blog about pretty frequently because I feel it really is important not to lose ourselves in motherhood. Our babies need us to be at the top of our game all the time, so why shouldn't we indulge in ourselves a bit? Becoming burnt out is the last thing we, our babies, or our partners want or need, so avoid that by taking a time out every once in a while!

 At about 6 a.m. when Ella wakes up to eat I may regret letting my "me time" run so late, but we live and we learn, right??

Don't be afraid to take some "me time". It can really help you be an even better mommy to your precious little one.

XOXO
Dani