Monday, February 17, 2014

When You Need to Let Friends Down

I am not a good friend. Friendship takes lots of practice. I haven't been practicing that long at it. I have a lot of room for improvement.

On the flip side, I am a people pleaser. I hate saying no. I hate to feel like I let someone down. That I didn't help a person when they needed it.

I am also a homebody. I hate making plans. I love flying by the seat of my pants.

This weekend was suppose to be a magical birthday weekend for my daughter. We were suppose to fly up to see her daddy and other family while he worked. The snow storm messed it up. Our trip got cancelled. I was crushed. She was fine. But I wasn't. We had spent all this time planning and planning and then splat...all gone.

I decided I would make the most of the weekend and still help my daughter have an epic 3 year old birthday weekend.

In the midst of that, a friend was packing to move next week. She never asked me to watch her daughter. But I knew the person who was suppose to cancelled. I had it on the tip of my tongue to tell her I would do it.

But then I didn't. I felt really guilty about it. I knew her husband was out of town with mine and that she had a 23 month old who was running wild while she packed.

But I also knew I had a daughter whose plans had been cancelled once already. I had my sweet birthday girl who I had promised we would live by her schedule since we weren't getting to see daddy.

I knew she would have had fun with her friend. But I also knew we couldn't go do the things she wanted to do.

I'm also learning things about myself. I get overwhelmed with guilt and things and just shut down. So in this moment, I have to figure out which choice would case the least guilt and be the least overwhelming.

Again, my friend never asked so I didn't have to tell her no, I just never offered.

The result: a tiny bit of guilt from not helping a friend but the BEST weekend with my birthday girl!

We had so much fun and laughed and played and laughed and sang and danced.

My soul needed this weekend possibly more than she did.

I'll have an opportunity to help my friend later. That was the only 3 year old birthday weekend I will ever get with my baby girl!

And did we party it up!

People say when you choose to spend time on one thing you are choosing not to spend it on another thing.

I chose to spend my time the best way possible this weekend!

What are you choosing to spend you time on?

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter on the Eve of Her 3rd Birthday

To My Sweet Abbey Grace,

Tomorrow you will be 3 years old. People tell you that time flies by but until you have kids you don't understand it. You look at people like they are stupid when they tell you, "Don't blink. They'll be grown before you know it." But those silly people are right.

People also like to tell you how each age is the hardest. The sleepless nights of newborns, the terrible twos, the teenage years, and on and on. Truth be told, we all have bad moments of each of our years.

Your twos were no walk in the park. We had our difficult moments. You had meltdowns, I had meltdowns....

But honestly, this was my favorite yet. That's why I kept crying while singing "Snuggle Puppy" to you tonight.

Your twos were when I learned a heck of a lot about me. Things that I need to change in order to be the mommy you deserve. Ways I need to show you how strong and brave and beautiful you are.

Your twos were crazy busy for you! You grew in leaps and bounds in so many areas - your vocabulary, your tactile skills, your climbing abilities, you logical thinking. Sometimes it is hard to remember you are just 2. You can knock out a 24 piece puzzle like a ninja!

As I struggled to get you in bed tonight (because bedtime is a huge battle right now), I fought back tears the whole time- until I started singing. You looked at me funny then went back to fighting getting in bed. I just wanted to hold that moment and make time stop.

I don't want to forget you laying on your pink sheets in your crib turned toddler bed with your yellow & white stripped pillow case that has to have the opening on the left side so you can stick you hand inside of it. I don't want to forget your Bunny who is matted and faintly smells like pee, but who you have snuggled with every night for over a year. I don't want to forget the light snore you have or how your cheeks get rosy when you are tired. Or how you smack you lips right before you fall asleep.

When we wake up tomorrow, it will be your birthday. The day your daddy and I first got to hold you. Even though you had been with us for almost 10 months in my belly, that was the day we finally got to meet the love of our lives on the outside. And the fact that it happened on Valentine's Day made it like a fairy tale!

Tomorrow morning we should be heading to the airport to board a plane to go see your daddy in Pennsylvania. We had the coolest birthday weekend planned. This won't happen now because of the worst snow storm of 2014. Our flight got cancelled. You have been so excited about this trip. We were going to see daddy at the Mr. Luke concert! You were going to get to see your Mema and PopPop and play drums with your friends Stevie and Frankie.

Your daddy and I were scared to tell you the trip was cancelled because we figured you would be so sad. We sat you down to tell you and were prepared for tears and a tantrum. But instead we were told by our smart 2.90 year old, "It's ok guys. We're still family." Melt my freaking heart.

You are so right baby girl. No matter where we are, on any day of the year, we are always together, even when we are apart. Daddy has done a great job of teaching you that!

I know you won't read this blog anytime soon but I wanted to remember these things. And I wanted to tell you a few more things. So here goes:

No matter how old you are, you will always be our sweet baby girl.
No matter what you do, I will always love you.
I am so incredibly proud to be your mama just because you are you.
You can be anything you want to be.
You are amazing in so many ways.
You have a laugh that is contagious.
You have the most beautiful blue eyes ever.
You have an amazing personality that is so perfectly you.
You are incredibly talented in so many ways - coloring, puzzles, hugs, kisses, building blocks, running, climbing, singing, dancing.
You never, ever have to do anything to earn my love or your daddy's. We love you because you are you. Our love for you is always there. Even when you do something wrong and you get in trouble - we still love you. That never changes.

My wish for you, my sweet birthday girl, as you turn 3 years old, is that you will keep being Abbey Grace. That you will keep dressing up like Cinderella while playing with a bulldozer. That you will continue playing spaceship and being Buzz Lightyear. Keep fixing boo-boos like Doc McStuffins. The characters can change to whoever you would like them to be, just don't stop pretending. Keep telling your wonderful creative stories you make up. Keep laughing and smiling. Always believe you are "prettiful" because you are! Just keep being you! There is no one else you should ever be besides yourself! And always know you are loved!

"I love what you are, I love what you do, Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I love You!" - Verse of Snuggle Puppy

I love you to infinity and beyond sweet girl!

Love always and forever,

Friday, February 7, 2014

3 Years Past The Due Date

I had this feeling I was forgetting something all day. Like I had somewhere to be but couldn't remember where. Then my husband sent me the sweetest text saying how crazy it was that 3 years ago was my due date and how amazing our life is and how wonderful our daughter is. I agreed!

People scared me about the terrible-twos. The past year hasn't been all roses. It has been quite hard and challenging at times. But overall, I would say that two has been my favorite age/stage so far. She can tell us what she wants. She understands a lot and comprehends a lot. It is amazing how much she has grown in her little 3 years on this planet. So as she nears three and I only have a week of 2 year-old Abbey Grace left, I'm a little sentimental.

On the way to school this morning she said, "I am three." I corrected her and told her not until next Friday. I told her not to rush it because she should only be 2 just this once. She asked me what rush meant so I did my best to explain it to her. I started crying thinking back over the past almost 3 years, realizing it really does fly by.

She was born at 41 weeks after I was induced due to high blood pressure. I'll eventually tell my birth story. But tonight is about an amazing moment in the joy of parenting.

After reading her new bedtime book we checked out at the library, we sang some songs.

When I was pregnant, I kept searching for this perfect song to sing to her while she was in my belly. One we could bond with then and keep up afterward. I couldn't find "the song."

Fast-forward to when she was around 16-18 months or so, I found a book by Sandra Boynton called Snuggle Puppy. (<---- that is an affiliate link but you can purchase it anywhere). It is a book/song. That song became our song. I have sang it so many times since we found that book. Tonight, she corrected me while I was singing and sang to me telling me I needed to sing her the "Ooooooooooo, I love you" part. So I did.

The she wanted to sing "You are My Sunshine." We have to sing both verses, or as she says, "the happy and sad one."

After singing it she grabs my face and tell me in her dramatic-pausing-toddler-William-Shatner way, "" Then she kisses me.

Sometimes parenting is so hard, so so so hard. But sometimes, it is THE...BEST...EVER.

What is one of your favorite random parent moments?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Words are Changing...

It happened this week. Something I knew was coming but wasn't ready for at all.

Our sweet little girl started pronouncing things correctly. This week it was only one word but it was possibly my favorite mispronounced word ever.

If you asked her where something was - (like her pants because she never wears them!) - she would respond in the sweetest almost 3 year old voice, "Oh no, I got-for my pants!" or "I got-for bunny!"

When ever she forgot anything, she would say she got-for it.

She used to say hop-grass for grasshopper. But when it went away, it didn't make me sad.

For some reason, I really miss "got-for." When she told me she forgot something the other night, I wanted to correct her and tell her no it's "got-for." And please slow down sweet baby girl, don't grow up so fast.

When I told my husband how sad it made me, he reminded me our job is the help her learn to speak correctly. I agree, a teenager or adult saying they "got-for" something isn't too cute.

I guess the truth is, I don't want to "got-for" this phase or her cute words. It's going so fast...

What was one of the words or phases you missed that your children grew out of saying?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Things I am Grateful for from 2013

When I was younger I used to tear a piece of notebook paper with frayed edges from my school notebook during my Christmas break. I would write down all of the things I was thankful for for that year. I haven't done this since the late 90's but thought of it recently. I decided to do it this year and hopefully do it from each year on! So here it goes:

  1. 34 months with our amazing girl. So far the 2's have been my favorite and I'm so excited to see what else comes!
  2. A stronger marriage
  3. Another year with our golden retriever
  4. Friends and Family
  5. Our daughter having two awesome sets of grandparents who love her and are a part of her life even though they are 9 hours and 14 hours away!
  6. Counseling
  7. Exercise
  8. Being able to afford the above two things
  9. A new adventure in a school nurse job
  10. Being able to quit my hospital job
  11. Being able to fix our broken motor mount, 02 sensor, struts, shocks, tires, and more on our cars without having to charge it - even though it sucked
  12. Being home when our hot water heater burst and also when it had a gas leak - things would have been so much worse had we not been home for both.
  13. Being debt free (again)
  14. Learning to stand up for myself more 
  15. Books 
  16. Obtaining my Childbirth Educator Certification
  17. Learning more about myself and steps to change the things I need to change
  18. New opportunities for family members and friends
  19. Realizing what I am good at doing (more to come on this in January)
  20. My husband getting recognition for his work
  21. Another year here on earth!

(I feel I am forgetting some but that is it for now! I might have to edit it and update later!)

What are some of the things you are thankful for this year?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Save the Children Disaster Report 2013

I moved to Nashville, Tennessee in June 2006. In all honesty, I have been more scared of storms in the past 6 years than I ever have been in my whole life. Nashville and the surrounding areas were battered with tornadoes just three months before I moved here. I had never heard a tornado siren before living here nor had I known how I would long for a storm shelter. 

Then in 2011, we had a 500 or 1000 year flood and it shut down the city. Friends couldn't get home from work for over a week. People lost their homes, their life's work. We had to be put on water restrictions because one of our water treatment plants were impacted huge by the flood. Schools were flooded and had to stay closed.

But disasters aren't just natural ones. They can be man made ones. Our schools now must be prepared for what to do if a shooting or other man-made disaster should happen. 

When they announced the Save the Children Diaster Report for 2013 was out, I was curious how Tennessee measured up. For once, it seems, we got a great report card!  Check out the pic below.

Click on the picture to find out how your state did!

Sad to say but in our house, we don't have a plan in place. This week was safety week at Abbey Grace's preschool. The day she had a firefighter come and talk with her school we figured we should have a plan of where to go to if the house ever caught on fire.

They say hind-sight is 20/20 and that is usually what it takes to learn what to do the next time around. But it shouldn't have to take it personally happening to us to get prepared and have a plan in place. Check out this plan and set up something for your family:

Check out your states report card and see how they measure up. If they don't measure up well, then contact your representatives. If they do, make sure the plan is being implemented.

I don't know the full details of my daughter's preschools plans but I am going to email them to find out.

And now being a school nurse, I am going to make sure our school is taking steps to be prepared and I am going to learn my role and speak up for what needs to be done.

I was in nursing school at the University of Louisiana at Monroe when Hurricane Katrina hit. I remember watching it on our news during class. Several classmates were from south Louisiana. The Gulf Coast was use to being warned about hurricanes but they usually turned before hitting directly. But as we watched it grow and grow and show no signs of turning and people chose to stay or were just then deciding to evacuate, it was too late. Obviously, Louisiana was not prepared in any way for that. While our nursing school made care packages to take to our Civic Center to pass out to the incredibly large number of people who came to our area, it was evident that no one in the state would remain unaffected by Katrina. Our little town was bursting at the seams and we were not prepared either. With all that said, this quote below still stuns me! I could not imagine going six months without my child! 

Does your family have a plan? And how does your state measure up?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Remembering Why I Started This...

It's been a year since I started this blog. I haven't been consistent at all. I lie to you and tell you I will write more frequently and then I don't. I have wonderful intentions. I constantly think of things I need to write about and even write them out in my head. But for some reason I never take the time to open my computer and actually do it.

When I started this blog, I was at a very weird place in my life. I wouldn't admit it to anyone at the time but I was in a very dark and scary place. The business I had started when my sweet daughter was just 9 months old had failed. I was just grasping the reality of it. She was also turning 18 months and time had flown by. It was by far the hardest year of our marriage: we both started a business our first year of becoming parents and he was also back out of tour so we were only seeing each other 2-4 days a week.

I was scared to sound weird or needy by saying I was in a dark place. I thought if I could just find an outlet, I could get better. I started writing and then would stop and start and stop. When I would finally complete something, I would think, "I should have done better." So this kept me from writing. I wanted to to be perfect not ok, I wanted awesome not average. But the truth is, I am new to writing. It takes time to develop these skills.

And it takes time to become a good mom, a good business woman, a good wife, a good parent. For some reason, I have no patience with the process.

At some point I'll share with you more about my dark place and how I got out and continue to dig out in bad times.

But today, I just wanted to actually write something. I started this blog because I realized last summer that every single decision I make affects the world. Maybe not in a profound way but it does affect it. And it hit my like a ton of bricks one night that what I teach my daughter and what she sees me do and what she hears me say will shape her whole life. And then she will go on to shape someone else's and the ripple affect is started.

Sometimes that just seems too much to bear to have that much influence so we want to ignore it but even it we try and deny it, the truth is that all of our decisions can make someone else's life better or worse.

We are all carrying the world on our hips as parents. It's easy to get overwhelmed (and boy do I get overwhelmed!) but we have to choose what is really important in those moments and focus on that.

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