The Cutest {At Home} Daddy/Daughter Date

I received the item mentioned in this post in exchange for an honest review. 

Last weekend I surprised my daughter and my husband, John with surprises “from one another.” She had an early Father’s Day present for him (…that I obviously picked out; I just couldn’t wait any longer!) and I had set up a tea party and park time for them to spend some quality time together.

Oh my goodness, you guys! It was even cuter than Continue reading

To: My Friends Without Kids, From: Your Mom Friend

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To: My Friends Without Kids –

You know who you are and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart! You’ve stuck by me in a phase of my life you don’t understand and quite frankly, neither do I! I want to take a few minutes to thank you and, honestly, to beg you, more or less, to not stray. I promise deep down I’m the friend you met and knew long before I was a mommy.  Continue reading

The Apology That Changed Me as a Mother

{My daughter was six months old at the time that I wrote this and motherhood was very fresh and new still. It was originally titled “I Don’t Have Mom Guilt” but I learned quickly enough that mom guilt takes on many different forms and I no longer felt the title to be all encompassing. Hence the change. While I still don’t feel like I carry much mom guilt, that’s a topic for another day!}

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It was early Thursday morning and my daughter had woken up a little later than normal and was soaking wet when I went in to get her. Continue reading

I’m Rocking Motherhood, Are You?

First of all, I want to thank Alex of Heart Home and Hope for tagging me in “10 Ways I’m Rocking Motherhood.” I love this movement that’s going on; making us focus on the awesome things we’re doing as moms! I hope you enjoy! 

Motherhood is indescribably beautiful and amazing in so many ways. Motherhood is love personified, your heart walking around outside of your body. And motherhood is downright HARD!

I don’t think there’s any mamas out there that would disagree with anything I just said. And sadly, I think it’s the days that are hard, the days we feel like we aren’t doing so great at this role that hit us the hardest.

Let’s change that! Let’s focus on all the GREAT things we’re doing! It shouldn’t take you longer to make a list of 10 good things you’re doing than 10 things you’ve messed up. You’re doing great things! You’re awesome! You care! I know that because you’re taking the time to even read this post about motherhood. You’re rocking motherhood

And I am too!

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Here’s how I’m rocking motherhood!!!!

I am patient. 

A few weeks ago I realized that my patience had reached an all-time lowwwwww. My little girl would scream and flail about getting in her car seat and I’d get annoyed. She would dump toys I’d just picked up all over the floor. I would get frustrated. And about five to ten other things you or I could both add to the list. They’re not unique to my child. You know the types of things I’m talking about. Well I have consciously taken the time to be patient recently and it’s made all the difference. I’ve started singing to her and smiling when she’s fighting the car seat now and guess what?! She calms down and actually sits for me. Ironically enough getting irritated and saying “no, no, no, no, ugh, no” didn’t work!

I encourage her to be independent. 

Kids are so bright and so smart. And I believe if the time and support is given they can become independent in the best ways! My daughter is 18 months old and she cleans up her toys, drinks from a cup, uses utensils, can complete every puzzle in our house, puts her dirty laundry in the hamper, and feeds our dogs and cat with minimal to no assistance. I hope that doesn’t come across as bragging! I just think it’s amazing all that she is able to do on her own at such a young age. These aren’t things we ever forced her to do or reprimanded her for not doing, they are simply things we took the time to show her how to do and took the time to let her learn.

I love her father unconditionally. 

I want my daughter to be part of a happy and healthy marriage when she grows up. One of the main ways that is going to happen is if it is modeled for her while she is growing up. I display my love for my husband, her dad, by practicing grace, speaking kindly and politely, laughing, smiling, working through issues respectfully, and above all loving him unconditionally no matter the issue at hand or either of our moods.

I pick my battles. 

I’m not right just because I’m the mom. Just as any adult isn’t right in the situation just because they are the adult. She is just starting to really talk so the arguing is pretty slim still, but when it starts I will fight saying “because I said so,” and give her genuine answers and explanations. Even now, though she can’t talk or argue, I still try to see her side of things when she throws a tantrum. Am I being patient? Am I really the one that’s making it a bigger deal than it is?

I am happy with my life right now. 

I don’t compare myself to other moms. Shoot! To other people, in general! Good or bad, I only have the energy to do the best I can and be happy with it. There is no room for judgment if I don’t agree with someone. And there’s no room for envy if someone really has it together. (Let’s be honest, social media makes us all look like we have it together more than we really do anyway!)

I offer up grace. 

I don’t think my toddler has ever spilled her water all over the kitchen or knocked something over just to purposely annoy me. And even if she has, have I ever done something to purposely annoy someone or do something that wasn’t 100% out of love. Of course! I’m human! And wouldn’t I appreciate it if grace was extended to me? Of course! I’ve been extending grace and love as much as I can, even when it isn’t always easy.

I am intentional with our time together.

There are a zillion things I do on a daily basis and just because I am home with my daughter doesn’t mean they’re not there. Instead of spending my day cleaning, blogging, perusing social media, or a number of other things, I make sure I am intentional with her. I can do those other things throughout the day, but everyday she is growing and changing and I do my best to remember that and take advantage of it!

I do not take motherhood for granted.

Sadly, I know motherhood doesn’t always quite go as planned for some people. I know there are many mothers still in waiting and quite frankly I can’t even begin to imagine what they’re going through. But I want them to know that I think of them and I think of them often. And I want them to know that I don’t take for granted the gift my daughter is to me. I will never wish away any second of any stage or phase because I’m so grateful to experience any of it! I also do not ever whine or complain about her. I am so thankful for this journey!

I am not guilty of my “me time.” 

“Wow Chelsea, that’s quite an item for this list!” You’re dang right it is! If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anyone else. I don’t take very much me time so on the rare occasions that I do, I do not feel guilt. I put others before myself in many roles in my life and while I am so very grateful for each of them, I need some time to do what I want to do, just for me!

I give myself credit when credit is due.  

I can say with confidence that I am the best mom I can be. My daughter is happy and healthy and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I am not perfect and will never try to be. I am striving to be a great mom, and most days I don’t do too bad of a job at that! And for that I think I can say, I’m rocking this motherhood thing!


I nominate:

Stephanie of I Literally LOL &

Lauren of Lauren Stewart to post 10 ways they’re rocking motherhood!!!!

Now tell me, how are YOU rocking motherhood?

Valentine’s Day Brunch & Play Date

I had the most wonderful weekend!!!! And I hope you did too!

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Items mentioned in this post were provided by Oriental Trading. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are 100% my own. 

My sweet girl and I co-hosted a Galentine’s Day Brunch and Play Date and it was pretty much the best thing ever. I’m sure you’re not suprised since I’m so holiday obsessed! My mama friends brought their kiddos over and we did crafts, ate brunch (mimosas included), and had a photo booth. And then while the kiddos continued playing the moms took part in adult conversation!!!!! Unheard of, right?! Hahah Continue reading

A Valentine’s Date with my Daughter

This post has been sponsored been Crazy 8. I received the mentioned products in exchange for an honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

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I love holidays! Valentine’s Day quickly became one of my faves after having my baby girl. My husband and I never really celebrated and deemed it a “made-up” holiday. (Such bah humbugs! So unlike me!!! haha) Well fast forward a few years to our baby’s first Valentine’s Day! I wanted to decorate, I wanted everyone to wear hearts and pink and red and anything that said “love.” We did Valentine’s Day crafts, we made cards, we took pictures in all our lovey dovey goodness! I was immediately obsessed! Continue reading

Dirt, Glitter, & Football: A Lesson in Gender Stereotyping

I recently made a post on my Instagram page that prompted this blog post, but in case you didn’t see it, here is a much longer synopsis:

My daughter recently received two books through a subscription book club. One of the books she received, however, had an illustrated picture of a man driving a backhoe on the cover. I flipped through and it was all about said man, his dog, and the jobs that he works throughout the day.

I put it on the shelf immediately. My darling daughter, in her cute polka dotted outfit and bow, wasn’t going to enjoy reading about a man driving a backhoe. This was obviously for a boy!

And on the shelf it sat for two straight months! I never pulled it down and my daughter passed it by since she was more interested in the all the books Mommy had been picking out and reading her.

And then one day she came across the book about the man with the backhoe. And she loved it. She flipped through it happily. She pointed to his pet dog and smiled. She brought it to me and turned around to plop down in my lap. I read the book and she was enthralled the entire time. She interacts with the words I say, she watches my fingers as we read and count, “one, two, three, four, five.”

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And that’s when it hit me. I was total guilty of gender stereotyping! Shame on me!!! I had seen the cover and coined it a “boy book.” But, what does that even mean? I can’t believe I was ignorant enough to completely disregard this book because I coined it gender specific. Why did I think it was so wrong for my daughter to love a book about a helpful man on a backhoe? Hadn’t I grown up with a father and a grandfather that both drove backhoes and that I’d love riding along on! Me, a girl, had loved riding on the backhoe, playing in the dirt, and exploring their construction sites (when it was safe to, of course!) What I had done broke my heart!

If she wants to play with trucks and get dirty in the mud, great, if we have a son one day and he wants to play with dolls and wear pink, great. These things should never be attached to a gender to begin with. I want my daughter to know that I truly believe she can be anything she wants to be and do anything she wants to do! Maybe that means climbing Mt. Everest, or being an astronaut, or playing football, or competing in beauty pageants, or maybe, just maybe, it means driving a backhoe!


After I realized the fault, I reached out on social media, admitting what I had done and immediately wanting to grow awareness of this! And you know what, I received such support!

I had many mothers comment about similar instances they’ve dealt with. Not necessarily that they were at fault like I had been, but mothers that had addressed gender stereotyping in one way or another. And let me tell you, these mothers are far wiser than me!

It was so wonderful reading the stories of fellow moms and it meant more than they know that they reached out to me and showed support. I wanted their responses heard because I think this is some powerful stuff!

These are the comments they left on my Instagram post that day:

“[My daughter] loves cars and tools and I’m sure [my son] will be playing with dolls in no time at all! My brother used to play Barbies with me!” – Suzanne, The Glorious Mundane

“My son brought home Pinkalicious the other day and I loved it!” – Sarah, This Awkward Mom

“[My son and daughter] love sharing books! A lot of nights we read together now, and it’s always fun to see who’s collection they choose from.” – Jessica, Kozy & Co

“My son plays with Barbies when we go to my niece’s house.” – Shadia, Sound of a Bird

“My son asked for a stroller and a baby doll for Christmas last year. When asked why, he said because he wanted a baby just like Daddy (he had a new baby brother). He also asked for a kitchen. Two stereotypical ‘girl’ toys that Santa most definitely brought him. I got some flack from friends who didn’t understand. But you know what? [He] told people he was a “good daddy” when he pushed that stroller and he “cooks” for me almost everyday. He also has a massive collection of hot wheels cars and dump trucks that are his world. We are fostering imagination and life skills.” – Keala, Recipe for a Sweet Life

“My baby girl can get just as rough and tough as her brothers.” – Stephanie, I Literally LOL


Let’s put an end to gender stereotyping!

Please share any experiences you’ve had! I’d LOVE to hear them!!!

xoxo

 

6 Ways To Stay Organized

I received a product mentioned in this post, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

I am a mama, wife, and (obviously) a blogger. Organization is key unless I want to lose my mind. And the thing is, while I am those three things, staying organized was important before any of those things were identities of mine!

The new year is right around the corner which means new year’s resolutions, or what I better like to refer to them as, GOALS, are running rampant. That’s a good thing, but one of your goals this year should be to actually stick to them!!!

With that being said, if getting organized is one of your goals for 2017, you’ve come to the right blog post! 🙂

Below are six ways that I stay organized.

1 – Pack any and all bags the night before.

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Whether it be a lunch bag, a diaper bag, a suitcase, whatever it may be, make sure it is packed the day before said outing, event, trip, etc. This will save lots of time in the morning, even when you’ve planned extra time! It also leaves you 12ish hours to think of something random that you may have forgotten and you’re able to throw it in the bag.

2 – Use a filing system.

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This particular file was made by one of my best friends as a baby shower gift! (Score!!!)

The filing system doesn’t have to be anything fancy. File folders and expandable files are super cheap at most local stores. Simply take a few seconds, label the tab, and insert the documents. Then when you need those documents again, they’re right where you left them. (This can also be with emails; most email providers have folders you can drag and drop emails in!)

3 – Write yourself notes.

Don’t assume you’re going to remember, you’re not mostly likely not going to! Whether it’s an adhesive note on the bathroom mirror or a piece of paper on the table by the door. If it’s something that you don’t normally do, write it down, and put the reminder somewhere you’ll see it.

4 – Make sure you have a planner. (And use it!)

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I’ve gotten {lovingly} picked on by my friends since high school for always having a planner. It keeps me organized because I am able to instantly pull it out and add dates and times as needed. Appointments aren’t forgotten! I am aware of the time of an event way ahead of time! And I also don’t overbook myself. There is nothing more embarrassing than telling someone you’d be able to make it to something and then realizing you already told someone else the same thing. (Okay so maybe there’s a time or two in my lifetime that I forgot to use my planner!) That won’t be happening now that I’ve found the best planner of them all – a Start planner.

5 – Keep clutter down.

Whether you’re working at your desk or playing with your kids in the floor, once you’re done there, clean up the mess! It seems daunting to stop and do it at that moment, but it’s something I’ve recently started doing and it’s helped so much! I hesitate for a second and want to say, “I’ll do it later,” but when later comes, guess what? I still don’t want to do it. At least if I did it then it is done and more importantly if I’m looking for a particular toy or piece of paperwork, it will surely be found quicker, if the space it’s in is neat and tidy.

6 – Keep a notepad and pen by your bed.

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I may or may not have also been picked on for this little trait of mine before, as well! I don’t know about you, but my mind is really going when I’m trying to sleep at night. I remember things I forgot that day and things that I don’t want to forget the following day! By keeping a notepad and pen in my nightstand, I can quickly pull it out and jot down what I’m thinking. Not only does it clear my mind so I can sleep better, but then in the morning I’m not trying to remember what I thought of half-asleep the night before!


As you may have seen hyperlinked above, I have officially ended my lifelong journey to find the PERFECT planner. My Start Planner is a game changer. It has tabs for goals, finances, list making, and of course, daily and monthly calendars. Aside from its extreme functionality, it is gorgeous. The front of the planner is an actual watercolor painting. It also has beautiful gold corner details. It is sturdy and spiral bound and there is even a folder on the inside cover.

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Well today is YOUR LUCKY DAY!!!!! I have partnered with Start Planner to give away a 2017 planner! Not only are they giving you the chance to win one, but they are also giving you a FREE party download just for entering! Good luck! Click here to enter!

Now tell me, what’s one goal you have for 2017?!

XOXO

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I Wish I Missed It…

It’s been about two months now since Adalynn stop breastfeeding… and I don’t miss it.

And I wish I did.

I am carrying some guilt around because of it and I keep reminding myself to drop it for good.

When Adalynn was born I pictured this magical moment where’d she’d be laying on my bare chest and latch immediately, both of us snuggling and bonding. NOPE. She came out and couldn’t even be placed on my chest because the umbilical cord was wrapped around my placenta (or so other medical explanation that sounds better and more accurate than that). She was screaming, facedown on my lower abdomen. When I finally had her on my chest, she continued screaming, and she wouldn’t latch. She was slightly hysterical so her mouth just stayed open. I thought, that’s okay, we’ll try again in a bit. Fast forward, two days, more screaming and crying (the screaming from her, the crying from me). I was beginning to get frustrated but trying to stay strong. The doctors all disagreed about her tongue tie (how bad it was, whether it needed to be snipped, if she even had one!!!), she still wouldn’t latch, and the screaming continued. Seriously she didn’t cry when she was trying to learn to nurse, she screamed hysterically. Fast forward another day and I’m now officially the proud owner of a nipple shield. (Sorry to any of the men that may be reading) I wasn’t happy about it but after about a day she was KIND OF getting the hang of it! A few days later, nursing was going okay, but I was having intense pain…a month later, she was still nursing from the shield (great but ugh), I was still in pain. Meetings with lactation consultants, video after video on YouTube, online forums with other mamas, there was almost constantly discomfort and breastfeeding never felt 100% wonderful for 13 months.

I loved moments we experienced together while I was nursing her but I don’t think I ever grew to love breastfeeding. I love the wonderful things it did for my daughter’s development, I love all the snuggling we did, I love the fact that she truly deeply needed me and I love that no one else could provide for her like me, her mama. But I never loved breastfeeding.

I was completely worn out come month 13 and between her getting teeth and losing interest, I knew it wasn’t going to last much longer. I wanted to cry the last time she nursed but I was too happy to be done with such a grueling journey. It pains me to say that, and hope she doesn’t read these words one day and have her heart broken, because I would do it again, every single bit of it, if I had to choose again.

Looking back I wish I’d written down the date she last nursed, but I can’t beat myself up about that because at the time I just needed to be done and know that that was okay.

I am incredibly proud of what my body was able to provide for her for 13 months, more than a year of her life, and how strong I was in the trying time.

I am filled with love when I think of the wee hours of the morning while the rest of the world slept and it was just her and I, her asleep in my arms from just filling her body with milk and love.

And like I said, if I had to go back and choose, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat, but right now I just don’t miss it.

 

 

Our Family Christmas Photos

This post has been sponsored by Janie & Jack, however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year! Life gets hectic and lines get longer, but your heart feels warmer and your smile grows bigger! Yep, it’s officially Christmas time!!!! Haha

Thankfully, Janie & Jack made my life a little less hectic by outfitting my sweet daughter in the most stunning and adorable outfit I’ve ever laid eyes on! They also saved me from the long lines since I was able to order online. Their holiday line has arrived and every single piece is absolutely beautiful. Adalynn’s outfit was perfect for our family photos! And she’ll also be wearing it on repeat throughout the season as we attend different holiday events.

I was SO excited to get our Christmas pictures done! Not only do I love sending and receiving Christmas cards, particularly when people send picture cards, but it’s always nice to have our family documented professionally. I’m all about snapping a zillion pictures on my phone or whatnot, but I think it’s so important to take the time to get some good posed ones that everyone can be in together.

Anyway, enough from me, here’s the first look at our Christmas shoot! 😉

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Love my little family of three!

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She didn’t quite hold the mistletoe up like she was supposed to, but that little face is just too much to handle!

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Love this one! Who knows what she is looking at?? Haha And that bow!!! Can’t believe my sweet girl is old enough to wear headbands!

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Snuggles!

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This is my favorite one y’all!!!! Her kissy face because we’re kissing her, her little foot placement, those adorable fur trimmed boots from! Actually that whole outfit!!! I’m just in love with Janie & Jack!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE MCKINNEY’S!

[Photo shoot by: Vanessa Grondin Photography]

Thanks again to Janie & Jack! They truly offer the sweetest holidays looks. They even have entire outfits already pieced together on their site to help you shop! Their beautiful details and classically modern looks make this magical time of year even more special – something to treasure for a lifetime.

Shop Adalynn’s complete look here

OR

shop her dress (w/bloomers), boots, or headband

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Check out Janie & Jack’s website! What are some of your favorite items?