10 Things About ME

Hello all you beautiful people! It’s a lazy day in our household and I figured it would be the perfect time to tell you all a little bit more about me and some of my favorite things. So, without further ado…

10. Traveling

You guys, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I love getting to explore new places, eat at local restaurants, and get lost in a new city. Check out my post with my 5 Best Travel Tips!

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Uptown Charlotte

9. Florida State University Football

Yeah, we may not have the best team or reputation lately but I will always be a Seminole!

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8. Elephants

There are so many reasons to love elephants; the strong matrilineal family, their love language is touch, they have emotions and never forget often times pausing to mourn where family members have passed. Symbolically elephants represent strength, honor, and stability. Plus baby elephants view humans the same way we view puppies, I mean how freaking cute is that?!?

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Yes this is a fake elephant from Jungle Cruise at Disney World, but it’s the best I’ve got.

7. Bullet Journaling

Okay, this one really changed my whole view of journaling. I always hated the whole ‘Dear Diary’ thing but have always wanted to journal. One day while on maternity leave, a video came across my Facebook feed about bullet journaling. There are no rules, you can make it as pretty or as messy as you want. You can draw, you can do short bullet notes, you can even rub the journal in the dirt, whatever you want! So I quickly went out and bought one. I joined a few Facebook groups and searched Pinterest for all the fun ideas. While I don’t have a single original idea in my head and copy everything for the most part from other images, the whole process is incredibly therapeutic. I have always wanted to be artistic and of course I’m not very good at it but it makes me feel like I have a small artistic bone in my body.

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Acceptance is my word of the year and Be Present is my family’s word(s) of the year. I love taking time each day (or week) and really try and focus on what these words to me and how they are being put into play each day.

6. Target

Are you even a stay at home mom if you don’t love Target?

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Little J making sure I head towards the toys next.

5. Reading

Is there anything better than getting lost in a good book? Confession: my guilty pleasure is young adult novels. I’m so obsessed.

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This was right after my husband built me this bookshelf, it’s definitely gotten a lot fuller and messier since then but I absolutely adore it!

4. Dogs

I don’t even have the words to explain how much these two mean to me. I’ve always been partial to dachshunds because that’s what we’ve always had but I’m sure my dogs are the absolute greatest.

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3. Coffee

That first sip of coffee in the morning when it touches your soul and you know that whatever life throws at you today you can conquer it.

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2. Pure Barre

I have always been the least athletic person you have ever met (I still am if I’m honest). I have never once found a work out and stuck to it. I knew that I liked the group fitness classes but always felt like such a dork in Zumba and forget any of the other classes (omg spin class was awful). But I have two great coworkers (who are more like family) who convinced me to try Pure Barre with them. My whole life changed since then. I was immediately addicted! Each class is set up very similar but the workouts are different with different instructors, it’s amazing for all fitness levels, ensures you’re held accountable (you can’t cancel class within 4 hours of class starting without being charged, something I definitely needed to ensure I actually went), and the most amazing group of women you have met who are there cheering you on! I could sing the praises of Pure Barre all day everyday! I’ve lost all my baby weight and even more, I’ve got some killer biceps and my abs are starting to pop through. But most importantly, I feel fit and healthy and it does absolute wonders for my mental health!

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Signing the barre after completing the Black Barre Challenge which was a year long challenge, I’m so proud of myself for sticking it out!

1. Being a mom

Oh man, there is nothing in the world that I love more than being a mom. I never wanted to be a mom, the idea of actually birthing and having a child scared the living crap out of me and when I found myself pregnant (big surprise to us) all of those fears and more came out. But when I held him in the hospital, it sounds so cliche, but it was the most amazing feeling in the entire world. I am so proud to be a mom but more importantly, I’m proud to be HIS mom.

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My tiny baby, chillaxing like a master.

 

Those are my top 10 favorite things but let’s be honest, I could go on for days!

What are you favorite things? Do any of my favorites stick out to you or do you share similar favorites? Let me know! I want to know each and everyone of you!

Remember: Happiness blooms from within 🙂

Day 3

Okay guys, I’m three days into this journey and I am ending the night with a giant glass of wine.

To be far, it really hasn’t been that bad so far. The first day it was raining so we just played around the house and terrorized the dogs. The second day we attended a music class and then hit the park. But today, today was rough because of me. While J has been out of daycare for three days, I’ve been out of work for two weeks and three days and I was missing my freedom a little more today. All I wanted to do today was to lounge around in my pajamas and watch sappy Christmas movies. It didn’t help that J didn’t get to nap as long as normal because our dumb dog wouldn’t stop barking so he was super grumpy the rest of the day. So instead of peacefully lounging and crying my eyes out at a stupid Hallmark movie, I dealt with a screaming child and only watched the movie (instead of hearing it). The struggle was real because….

Okay, here’s your trigger warning*** 

Ya’ll, depression is real. It’s a struggle that I deal with every single day and have for as far back as I can remember. Some days are a lot worse than others and today was one of those days. This particular instance did have a predecessor but they definitely don’t usually have one.

All growing up I struggled with the idea of suicide, including multiple attempts. It wasn’t until a very close family friend had a drug overdose and killed herself when I realized I needed help. I couldn’t put my family and friends through something like that. I sought out therapy but mainly I sought out antidepressants. I hoped beyond all hope that being on drugs was a temporary thing, I would quickly ‘get over’ my depression now that I’m in therapy and took a couple drugs. Unfortunately, that was not the case (obviously). Therapy does absolute wonders, please don’t get me wrong! (I recently went back to therapy and have already realized SO many things about myself that I’m working on.) My main point, is my depression isn’t situational, it’s biological. I come from a long line of depression and accepting that I would have to take medication the rest of my life was hard. But then J was born, I knew from that moment that it wouldn’t matter what I took, how long I was in therapy, or how much I struggled with my depression because nothing, NOTHING mattered as much as this little boy.

J will always look at me for how to handle feelings, how to deal with relationships, and how to deal with life. He will always look up to me as his example and I have to provide the best example I know how to. Wow, that’s crazy daunting to think about. Okay, so bad example if you’re a parent don’t think of things that way. Think about it as…Shit I’ve got nothing. It is a daunting thing to think about, it’s a scary ass thing to raise children. But god are they cute and amazing and their laugh, oh we can all agree that there is absolutely nothing better than the sound of a baby’s laugh!

Alright, this wine is getting to me. Some words of wisdom before I sign off…at any given moment, you are doing the absolute best you know how to do and no one (especially yourself) can ask for anything more than that!

 

Stay At Home Mom?

One day my husband turns to me and nonchalantly states, “If you want to stay at home mom with our son, then you can.” I whipped my head towards him and very loudly pronounced, “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!” To say I was ecstatic at first would be an understatement! From the moment I had J, I knew that I wanted to stay home with him. Forget work! Butttttt I’m a strong independent woman and don’t need no man to take care of me!

After maternity leave, back to the trenches I went, kicking and screaming and if I’m completely honest, balling my eyes out. You see, I’m a social worker; but not just any social worker, I work in child welfare specifically adoptions recruiting for the kids whose parents’ rights have been terminated and are considered the harder to place children (teenagers, large sibling groups, and children with severe medical and mental disabilities). Let me tell you, I LOVE MY JOB!!! But wow, is it difficult. The late nights, the long road trips, the secondary trauma, the drama, the arrests, the Baker Acts, etc. etc…but oh! the love, the laughs, the connections and ability to build a bond with a child who hates everyone else and not to mention the sheer joy of being able to give a child a family, a family that they deserved from the beginning but a family who chose them. It’s one of the most magic feelings in the world!

So you can see why my enthusiasm quickly switched to anxiety and uncertainty. How can I leave my kids and my families? How can I leave my coworkers (whom are my closest friends)? How can I leave a company where I have worked for the past 6 six years, since leaving my undergraduate career (GO FSU!)? How can I leave a position that has changed my life forever but also one that has changed so many others? My blood, sweat, and lots and lots of tears were put into helping my kids become successful. (Oh gosh, I’m crying as I write this.)

But then the unthinkable happened, one of my kids passed away from medical complications. I was the only one who had met him because he was placed literally on the opposite side of the state. I sat at his bedside and held his hand, I watched him grow, and I cried because he was only three years old. I cried because he died in a hospital with no family, no one to hold him, no one to sing to him, no one to tell him stories, no one to love him or call him their own. He died without knowing what a parent is. My heart quite literally broke in half. I went home and I held J (as long as a toddler would let me) and I cried because of the love and support J has and something the other child will never get to know. I knew then that I needed a change and I was missing out on some of the most important years of my son’s life.

I was so wrapped up in my job that many nights I didn’t get to do bedtime or if I did it was rushed because I was coming home so late. Then in the mornings, he wouldn’t be awake because I would have to leave so early. I would see him on the weekends and he would surprise me with a ton of firsts, many of which weren’t really firsts but simply a first for me. Can we take a second and talk about mommy guilt? Because holy freaking cow, the struggle is real. I couldn’t keep missing these moments with him, it wasn’t fair to me and it definitely wasn’t fair to him.

So wait, did I just decided to leave to my job and become a stay at home mom?? Yep, that definitely happened but WHAT IN THE WORLD DID I JUST GET MYSELF INTO?!?

We were one of the areas affected by Hurricane Michael and were without daycare and power for a week. In the just the first day, J managed to steal ALL of the toilet paper out of the bathroom (while I was using it mind you), he discovered how to climb onto the couch and completely terrorize our 16 year old dachshund, he tore down the blinds in the living room and left teeth marks all along the window seal. Of course the week steadily got better but what in the world do I do with a toddler all day, every day?? I guess we’re about to find out!

Parents, I write this to tell you to take the leap! Whatever that may be. You only get one chance at life and your babies don’t stay little long enough. A very wise ‘big sister’ told me that you will never regret the time you took to spend time with your kids. No one can teach, nurture, and mold him like you.

Give your kids an extra hug and kiss today. You’re a rock star parent and you are the exact person they need you to be.

P.S. T-minus 21 days until I’m a full-time stay at home mom. Send me all the good vibes!