Motherhood Realizations – Part 2

Welcome back! As I typed out this post last week I learned that I’d come to “realize” way too many things about motherhood, thus Part 1 and Part 2 were born. I had some pretty hilarious responses to Part 1 and hope to at the very least meet your expectations with this one as well! Once again, enjoy a list of the realizations I’ve had lately now that I am a mother:

 My daughter’s appearance is more important than mine.

She is always dressed in a cute outfit with a coordinating bow. She is almost always freshly bathed. Me, on the other hand? Former Mrs. Shower Everyday, Don’t Leave The House Without My Hair Straightened….Bahahhaha! I don’t even know that woman anymore. I’m lucky if I wash my hair two or three times a week. And when I do, ain’t nobody got time for anything but a ponytail. Which is actually convenient since my sweet daughter wants to rip out every strand of my hair anyway.

I could literally kill someone with my own two hands.

Come near my child in a harmful manner, in any way, shape, or form, and you would rather be face to face with a ravenous gorilla. Literally. 

Speaking of primates, I know what it’s like to dress a baby monkey.

Well maybe a baby monkey that just took speed. Dressing and diapering a baby once they become mobile should be considered an Olympic sport. One foot in the air, the other in her mouth, one hand grabbing her shirt, one hand grabbing my face, the top half of her body is face down, the bottom half is falling off the back of the changing table. Kicking, arching, flailing every. single. direction. She is laughing then crying then peeing. Gold medal my friends, I’m writing the International Olympic Committee tomorrow. 

Nothing is too gross for a mommy.

Nevermind, that’s a lie, almost nothing. Her nostrils scare me less than I thought they would, her butt scares me more.  

My dog doesn’t care about the baby stroller.

We were on a walk the other day and another person with a dog was about to walk by. My bright idea was to block my nosey dog’s view of the other dog with the stroller. Wrong! My dog just plows into the side of the stroller until he almost knocked it down so that he could get to the other dog. At this point I’m pissed, my baby is terrified, and my idiotic dog is still pulling because he has yet to get to the other said dog. “Blocking his view” did absolutely nothing but create more of a problem.

Carrying a baby laden carseat is a workout.

14 lbs of child + 8 lbs of carseat = 973 lbs

Forgetfulness is a true epidemic some days.

Did I feed the dogs? Am I supposed to be somewhere right now? Did we put the trash cans out? What did I come downstairs for? Which bill was I supposed to pay today? Did I flush the toilet  before I came out of the bathroom? Where did I put the remote? Did I really just put milk in the pantry? Are there clothes in the washer? Why isn’t the dustpan where it’s supposed to be? Did I brush my teeth??

Kegel exercises may or may not work.

I don’t think any elaboration is necessary on this one. 

I get way too excited when my husband and I are invited to things.

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t leave much room for adult interaction. I get downright giddy when we are invited to things because I get to be a real adult again. Even kids’ birthday parties excite me because adults will be present. I cried once when John and I were invited to a dinner party that we couldn’t make it to. Cried. 

And last, but most certainly not least…..My heart could literally burst on a daily basis – 

– from fear and excitement to happiness, pride and pure, raw, gut-wrenching love. Yes, yes all mom’s say “you’ve never known love until you’re a mom” and while I honestly got so sick of hearing it while I was pregnant, it is so, so true!

Behind Closed Doors: Introduction

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I am Chelsea, the owner of this little corner of the Internet. I am also the creative mind behind this blog series, although I really can’t take credit as I feel it was something that not only did God lay on my heart, but something that these four women have helped with TREMENDOUSLY. It honestly would be nothing without them.

I also want to thank my husband, John, for being so open to letting me share our relationship with others. He and I have been married for three years and became parents back in August to a sweet baby girl. We love traveling, have an obsession with Friends reruns, and dream of one day having our own business.

John and I met during my freshman year (his sophomore) of college through mutual friends. Right away he came off as a genuine person, someone you could trust. We quickly became close friends, both of us talkative and fun loving. We remained close the four years I was in college, as well as the following year when we both ended up with jobs in our college town. Being the only two from our group of friends that was still in that zipcode we spent much more time together, meeting up for dinner or just to hang out. Our pups even got along and we’d meet up so they could play. Slowly, conversations got deeper and dinner dates got longer and the rest is pretty much history. We got engaged after a year of dating and married a year after that.

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I would be lying if I said we have always had a relationship that centers around God. Fortunately John was raised in a Christian household and has so much Biblical knowledge. I have always gone to him with questions and he’s been able to reference the Bible so many times for me. I, on the other hand, have spent a lot of time seeking God, while John has strayed at times, so I have been the one to keep him interested in a relationship with Christ.

Behind Closed Doors is a blog series that was laid on my heart by God. It has connected me with four beautiful wives who put God first in their marriages. For many couples, including my husband and I, having a faith based marriage is a struggle sometimes, as are many other areas in our life. This series is going to tackle some very raw, very real topics in marriage that even the best of friends don’t often talk about. Every Monday in April a new topic and discussion will be posted. We pray that this series helps you not only grow closer to your husband, but closer to God as well. Throughout the series (and after!) let us know if we can pray for you specifically. God bless!

And now, the lovely ladies behind the series:

Jessica

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Jessica is the founder of Everything Adored. She and her husband, Brett, have been married for five years. Click here to read more!

 

Brittany 

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Brittany is the founder of The Ashmores Blog. She and her husband, Jerod, have been married for seven years. Click here to read more!

 

Sara

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Sara is the founder of Crazy Cozads. She and her husband, Benjamin, have been married for eight years. Click here to read more!

 

Tabitha

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Tabitha is the founder of Tabitha Panariso Blog. She and her husband, Ethan, have been married for seven years. Click here to read more!


Jessica: Hey y’all! I’m Jessica. Right now I’m living in Texas (and loving it) with my husband, Brett, and our two boys Parker and Declan. I am originally from Utah and miss the mountains daily. I love to write about my adventures with my boys and all the things that make motherhood easier and more beautiful.

A friend introduced me to Brett after my freshman year in college. The first day we met I instantly felt a connection to him.  There were normal first date jitters, but behind that he felt like the kind of person I could bare my soul to.  Things just felt easier when he was around.  He had just graduated and was getting ready to move in one week from Utah to Wisconsin.  He told me this from the get go, and I had no plan to get involved with someone who was about to leave.  But day after day I kept feeling like there was something more happening than friendship.

I finally asked God what I was supposed to do. The answer came as a complete surprise.  I needed to take the risk. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths. (Prov. 3: 5-6) When God puts your person in your path you don’t leave them behind because it’s hard.  You grab their hand and forge on together. Now we’ve been married almost 6 years, and have two beautiful little boys.  Everyday I am thankful for the push I got to take the best risk of my life.

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Brittany: Jerod and I have been married for 7 years! We met in Dallas in college. We started dating my sophomore year in 2004 and then he popped the question in 2007. He said I needed to get my degree before he would marry me! I am so glad he said that, otherwise I probably would have married him and not finished school.

We were engaged for a year and then married November 8, 2008. A few months later we got pregnant with our first child, Oakland! We got pregnant with our second child, Ainsley in 2013.

One thing I wanted my husband to be was a man after God’s heart. I am SUPER thankful that God gave me Jerod. He loves Jesus and his family. I LOVE that because I too love Jesus and am such a homebody! We spend so much time together as a family. My husband also is an amazing father. He works from home with our daughter three days a week so I can teach! He is very good at encouraging me and affirming me! As a woman I thrive on affirmation and need it daily. Being a working mom can be really hard but he makes it much easier by working from home with Ainsley, helping me around the house ( because it isn’t only my job to do the dishes and laundry) , and encouraging me!

I would say that God is definitely the center of our relationship and in our home! We strive to model a loving and Godly marriage to our children. That is extremely important to me. We really try not to argue or raise our voice in front of our children.

I praise God for my husband and would not be who I am without him!

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Sara: Hello all! I’m Sara. I love Jesus, bright colors, shoes and pretzel M&Ms! I look for the positive in each day and every situation. I know that every thing that I have and experienced in my life has been from the hand of God!  I am confident in who I am because I know whose I am. Because of His free gift of salvation, I have freedom and joy abounding! I have been married for eight years {nine in July!} to my best match, Benjamin. I love Benjamin for thousands of reasons; he makes me laugh and completely loves me as I am. We have known each other since we were little but started dating when Benjamin was in college and I was out in the working world. Benjamin knew in the sixth grade that he was going to marry me and had the patience of Job to wait on God’s timing! In the first years of our marriage we learned how to live together, communicate well, and support each other’s goals. We even started a pet photography business giving us a creative outlet that we could do together! These days we are busy raising two kids, running a business, leading a Sunday school class, and living in between! We make it a priority to give each other down time and most importantly, date each other! {Sometimes that means picking up cheesecake, snuggling down in bed and watching one of our favorite shows!}

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Tabitha: It was around midnight, and my best friend and I were perusing the aisles of Wal-Mart. I’m not entirely sure why we were there. Regardless, it seemed like the cool thing to do on a Saturday night. Two guys happened upon us and started a conversation. I was instantly attracted to one but was a little wary since he was a total stranger. Fortunately, my bolder friend exchanged numbers with his friend. Weeks later, he and I went out on our very first date. Somehow, I was blessed in that not only was he not a creep, he was a believer. And then three years later, we were married. I was 21 years old and he was 25.

Now, my husband and I are inching up on our eighth year of marriage. Thinking about how we met, I am still in awe over how God ordained our relationship. Not only is he my husband, but he truly is my best friend. There have been many seasons of difficulty, and of hard work. We’ve grieved a miscarriage, had two children, and watched each other move in and out of careers. We’ve fought and disagreed. But even with all of that, I would say that I have found my happily ever after. Although we’ve been together for over a decade now, the future looks even more bright and promising. We’ve learned a lot, but I just know there is a whole lot more.

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A Most Beautiful Day

There have been lots of beautiful days in my life, the day I married my best friend, the day we found out we were expecting our first child, the birth of our daughter, but I now have a new one to add to the list. It again involves our daughter, she’s really stealing the show isn’t she? The particular day was a couple Sundays ago when we had her dedicated at our church. Continue reading

Motherhood Realizations

Warning: I am 100% real in this post. If you aren’t a mom, you might want to stop reading now. You’ve been warned.

Motherhood is something that happens abruptly. You’re handed your baby and boom, you’re a mom. Us mothers have to dive right in to the role, doing the best we can. It wasn’t until the other day that I consciously realized how much my life has changed since my daughter arrived back in August. I obviously knew it had changed in big ways, but there are so, so many small changes as well. Changes in relationships, changes in my body, every day changes, changes that make me LAUGH! I swear if there was a camera set up in my home I could make good money on reality TV. It wouldn’t even need sound. The balancing acts, ridiculousness, and hilarity of motherhood is so real. I mentally started this list in the wee hours of the morning after getting my baby back to sleep. The realization of all the changes I’ve been through recently just started to flow and after a few days of jotting them down I had a zillion and five. Therefore I bring you….

Part ONE of Motherhood Realizations:

Sometimes I feel like a cow. 

Not in an overweight sort of way, but in a “oh my gosh I just fell asleep standing up” sort of way.

Driving takes much more coordination these days.

Before, it was kind of like riding a bike. You learn to do it and know how to forever. Well now it’s a whole new ball game. I thought my big drivers ed test in high school was a challenge. Yea right! What they need to do is strap a screaming child in the car with a toy that plays obnoxious music over and over and over again and let you know that there’s a 50/50 chance they will choke on something you don’t even know is in the car. Now that would be a true driving test!

The laundry comments were all true.

It really never ever, ever ends! I catch up on laundry. Baby poops or pees on clothes. I’m not going to let it sit there. I’m not going to run an entire wash cycle for one or two articles of clothing. Time to get random clothing items together so I can wash a full load of laundry…again.

My phone memory will never be large enough.

I thought I took a lot of pictures of my dog. Or with my friends. Nope! Nowhere near as many pictures as I take of my daughter. Goodness gracious! Half the time I look back at the pictures I don’t even know what I was trying to document. She isn’t smiling, doing anything cool, or wearing anything cute, but apparently it needed to be documented.

Sleep deprivation is real.

I thought I knew sleep deprivation after a night on the town in college. Nope, not even comparable.

I miss my mediocre B-cup boobies.

A lot.

And my belly button.

I mean I knew about the boob thing, but no one told me that my belly button. That bad boy has stretch marks and has somehow gotten both shallower and wider. Painting a real nice picture, aren’t I? True life, sorry pals! 

I can do pretty much any task with one hand.

When you spend 85% of your day carrying a little one on your hip, you learn to complete tasks with only one of those two helpful hands/arms that God gave you.

Taking a shower in a bathroom where no one else is present has become one of the most relaxing things in my life.

Kinda sad really, but the peace and quiet along with the warm water washing away the day’s dirt and regrets is just fabulous.

Grocery shopping with a child is a feat.

Will all your groceries physically fit under the stroller? Are you going to have to pee while you’re there? Is your child going to behave? Is it going to interfere with nap time? Are you going to try to take the time to coupon? I didn’t truly appreciate the ease of shopping without a child like I should have.

The list continues, but you’d honestly be here all day so next Tuesday I will be posting Part 2! No worries, I’ll remind you. How’s the list looking so far?

What Blogging Has Taught Me

Saturday marked one month since I officially embarked on this blogging journey with the launching of my site. I have learned so much this past month, not only about blogging, but about myself, about social media, about web design (honestly could have done without that one), and so many other things. I have read other posts from fellow bloggers about tips, tricks, and whatnot, and they were very helpful to me as a newbie. I wanted to share what I’ve learned, not necessarily written as tips to other bloggers, but perhaps with information that can help someone else out.


 This list is sure to change over time but as of today, this is what I’ve learned about:

Making Connections

One thing I was skeptical of when entering the blogging world was opening my life up for others to view. Not that I have anything to hide, but why did I want to share my life with complete strangers? It was quite scary, actually. I slowly dipped my toes in the Instagram waters with some loop chats and hashtags. I quickly connected to people with like interests. I found myself genuinely enjoying reading blog posts they’d written, smiling at pictures of their children, and even praying for their needs. I have had people share some of the sweetest things about my blog posts or social media uploads. It has been so uplifting to me, and I hope these other ladies – mothers, wives, bloggers, some all of the above, have felt the same way.

 

Images, Images, Images

A few of my early posts had cute little pictures of my daughter that I’d snapped on my phone. I love those pictures. They are very special to me. Looking from a professional side of things, however, they are not high quality photos. Someone scrolling through to find something intriguing to read aren’t drawn to those photos. Although I have an emotional connection to them they’re not very likely to catch a stranger’s eye. I have found that, across the board, my best bet with photos are through stock photos I have found online. I have since used a few photos of my family, but only because it was an image from our actual camera, not my phone or they were photos we had done by a professional. Regardless, they just need to be QUALITY photos.

 

Time

I am a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom so I thought, “with all this extra time it is a perfect time to finally launch my blog!” Hahaha Apparently I didn’t realize how busy my six month old keeps me. And on days she doesn’t nap? Yea right! I haven’t found a solution yet, but am trying hard to schedule when I do posts. I was turned off by this idea from the get-go because I didn’t want to take the fun out of it but it really hasn’t! Writing the posts are still enjoyable, even on a time crunch sometimes, because when it comes down to it writing is what I enjoy. I don’t want every single post to be a time crunch, however, so I have been flexible. If I don’t post the EXACT day I intended, it’s going to be okay!

 

Quality Over Quantity

This is similar to the first point I addressed about making connections, but I felt it was important to address this specifically. I am not going to lie, when I first started using social media to share my blog posts/life in general, I wanted as many likes as possible. Followers meant they were all reading my blog, right? Nope! While your following through different forms of social media does have importance, it is not the be-all, end-all. There are many things you can do via social media that will draw people to like, follow, and retweet, but you have to ask yourself, “are these genuine followers?” The thing is I would rather have a smaller following of people that actually support my blog, uplift me, and actually communicate with me, than a large following of people who could care less about my blog and don’t know a thing about me! You can still have the “quantity” with the “quality,” but ask yourself which you want to focus on.

 

Happiness

This blogging venture has been even more fun than I imagined. I have had the opportunity to do giveaways, guest post on other sites, co-host mama chats, and so many other things, so many things I never even thought of when embarking on this journey. Even if it wasn’t for all those things though, it’s still been a blast! It has been so fun to share my writing with others. Writing is a passion of mine and other than it being something I thoroughly enjoy doing, it is also something I find relaxing. I love sharing heartfelt stories, helping someone out, and making people smile. I can do all of these through blogging and it truly makes me so deeply happy.

Thanks for joining me on this new adventure! If you are a blogger reading along and could share one tip, what would it be? If you’re not a blogger, what are some things you’d enjoy reading here on my site?

We’ve Got a Spring in Our Step

Spring is such a beautiful season – everything renewed, flowers blooming, baby animals born, the warmth of the sun after the long winter is so good for the soul. Well, it’s not technically spring just yet here in Virginia, but the temps the past few days have been divine and the sun hasn’t stopped shining.

Yesterday, a little before noon, I took Adalynn outside in this beautiful weather! We weren’t even finished getting ready for the day, but I couldn’t resist the bird chirping, bright blue skies any longer!  I put her in one of her toys that her feet hang through. I thought, “how awesome, she’ll get to feel the grass on her toes for the first time.” Oh my goodness! Cue the waterworks! As a mother you always expect to be excited/emotional at all your child’s firsts, all the holidays and milestones, but then you experience ones you had never even thought of! Her little piggies in the grass was one of the ones I hadn’t thought of and one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I snapped away even though her bow hadn’t been picked out yet (gasp!) and the sun was so bright she was squinting 99% of the time. It was a moment I’ll never forget though – the warm sun on our skin, bare feet in the grass, and her taking it alllll in.

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Her furry brother and sister joined in on the fun too, of course!

After I finally convinced myself we couldn’t stay outside anymore, (and literally only because I was terrified of Adalynn getting a sunburn) we ran 50 million errands.


The sun was much lower in the sky (hence not as bright and/or threatening) when we got home so back outside we went. I just needed to soak every last bit of it in!

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Hope you’re having a beautiful day!

Where in the world are you reading from? And what’s the weather like there?

Be Strong, my Daughter

To my sweet girl {on International Women’s Day} 

“Here’s to the strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

I remember seeing this quote for the first time shortly after the ultrasound appointment when we found out you were a girl. The quote is a powerful one – one that left me thinking for a long time after reading it. It suddenly hit me, I had a lot on my plate. I obviously had a lot on my plate either way, but with a little girl to raise, the stakes would be higher, to raise a little girl would be much different than raising a boy. I won’t just be “Mommy” to you, I will be who you look up to from a young age on when you are learning how to be a young lady and later on a woman, and I need to remember how always impressionable you are and will be.  

I want to be someone you can always come to and I want you to know you can trust me. I will strive everyday to be the best role model possible for you. I know rough days will happen, but I expect you to always try your best too. I want you to know that I support what you choose to do in life – be it an astronaut, football player, or a circus clown. If you want to be a wife, be a wife. If you want to be a mom, be a mom, but don’t do those things because society and all your girlfriends tell you you should. Do what your heart says and know you will not be judged by me if neither of those are your choice.

Remember that beauty has absolutely nothing to do with looks, yet has everything to do with your heart, your soul, and the kind words you speak. Also remember that there is no perfect pant size, bra size or hair color. God made you exactly how you are and because you are more than enough in His eyes, don’t let any person tell you otherwise.

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You are so full of wonder right now as you explore this world that is so new to you and I pray every day that you keep that wonder. Although everyday things won’t be brand new forever, know there are plenty of experiences and things in this world that can be – go explore them!

You are so full of goodness as well. Everyone around you talks about how sweet you are; don’t ever let anyone’s ill intentions let you feel otherwise.

True friends and true love will not judge you or pressure you. They will love you for who you are and be able to genuinely show it. You will know it’s real, although your heart and mind may play tricks on you in some cases. Be careful.

I know that you’ll grow older and I won’t be the only one you will confide in anymore, but regardless, remember I’m always here – a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a listening ear, a word of advice – I’m always, always here.

And I pray that the day I’m no longer physically here I’ll have already been a role model enough that you’ll know your way without me.

I love you and hope you’re always proud to call me Mom because I sure am proud to be one!

 

Blogging Leading Kindly

As bloggers, we use a lot of words. We have realized that WORDS are POWERFUL and we have decided to use our words for good and spread a message about a great cause…
Today, I wanted to introduce you to Project Lead Kindly and their 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop.

Project Lead Kindly is a nonprofit organization that assists mothers & children affected by domestic violence and homelessness. They are also on a mission to encourage, inspire, and remind everyone that we ALL have the potential to serve & “lead kindly,” no matter our circumstances. Each year, Project Lead Kindly provides a BIG service project to the community. Last year, they organized a children’s book drive.This year, we are raising money for Project Lead Kindly’s 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop. We will be assisting 5 different shelters throughout California that house homeless, pregnant mothers and their children. We will be donating newborn necessities to:Harvest Home, Precious Life Shelter, Casa Teresa, Angels Way Maternity Home, and Elizabeth House. We will also be throwing two events to assist the mothers serviced by Elizabeth House & Angels Way Maternity Home.

How you can help!

While the events are local to California, we wanted to find some way for the amazingly supportive online community to help out! We’ve set up a GoFundMe with a goal to raise $1000 for Project Lead Kindly:
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All funds donated will go to Project Lead Kindly & help:

1) provide these necessary items for the mothers & their babies at all 5 shelters,

2) throw the events for the mothers from Elizabeth House & Angels Way,

3) help spread the Lead Kindly message (the reminder that ALL have the potential to do good and to be an example to others, no matter what trials they face) to these women who need to be encouraged & reminded of their worth & potential and that they are cared for!

Please consider donating even $1 to the cause. Every little bit helps. In addition to donating, if you want to share the cause with us, please:

1) take the image below
2) share it in your own blog post and social media

3) encourage others to join our initiative & donate!

You can also email projectleadkindly@gmail.com your blog post link so they can share it with others!

And if you don’t have a blog, but simply want to share the cause, we encourage you to take the image & share it on social media! We have a goal of $1000, and if we all use our words together, we can reach it!
We also wanted to include a fun giveaway as a thank you for your support! This giveaway is sponsored by the bloggers and not Project Lead Kindly directly.
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The prizes:

Raewyn will be giving away a $25 Starbucks gift card and ad space on Be a Warrior Queen.
Pam will be offering ad space on Hodge Podge Moments
Emilie and Laura will be offering ad space on Burke Does

Check out our giveaway hosts:

How to enter:

Bloggers Leading Kindly Giveaway

Any little bit helps! If you want to find out more information about Project Lead Kindly, visit www.projectleadkindly.com

Thank you so much for leading kindly with us!