September 14, 2016

The One Thing I Am Working On Since Becoming A Mom To A Little Girl

School started a few weeks ago and we were discussing the things that every class talks about at the beginning of the year: classroom rules and procedures. With this comes good old R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as pretty much every classroom rule hinges on this sweet little word. I've always emphasized having respect for teachers, peers, and our school. But this year, a student in my first period class brought up that we should have respect for ourselves. I completely agreed with him and asked him to talk about that a bit more. He said that we shouldn't put ourselves down. He didn't directly say it, but he was trying to say that the way we speak to ourselves is important. In my mind I'm thinking, YES! YES YES YES, KID! You're a genius. Why have I never emphasized respecting ourselves when talking about respect?! 

Anyway, this led to a lot of great discussion about self respect, confidence, growth mindset, and etc. If I am the teacher, then I better be modeling self respect, right? And self respect doesn't just include the things we say out loud, but how we feel about ourselves on the inside. It made me reflect on how I talk to myself, whether in my mind or the things I say out loud. Things like this came to mind: 

1. I'm not qualified for this. 
2. I'm not intelligent enough.
3. My thighs look like tree trunks. 
4. I'm too shy. 
5. Why am I the most awkward person alive? 
6. My arms are huge.
7. I can't get anything right. 

Yada, yada, get the picture. 

But even more important than modeling self respect for my students, is modeling it for my daughter. The way I view myself will teach her how to view herself. 

I can give her all the verbal affirmation in the world, but if I put myself down, then I teach her to do the same. The rest of the world will teach her to have insecurities and tempt her to criticize herself. God forbid that I put gasoline on that fire. I never want her to see me shrinking back in fear or comparing myself to others. 

I dread the day when I will first see the war on her confidence and self-worth waged. And I'm sure it will happen sooner than I think. I am working on how I talk to myself now so that she always has an example of a confident, real woman. 

I never want her to see me critiquing my shape in the mirror with a critical eye. (And sometimes this means not spending as much time getting ready! Sometimes the longer I spend getting ready, the more insecure I am about my appearance. I didn't think it was supposed to work like that!) I don't want to criticize the way God made me, because for one thing, she looks an awful lot like me! I also want her to know that beautiful means a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Plus, constantly criticizing how I look will lead her to think that appearance is the most important thing about a woman. 

I can be real about my weaknesses, but I can talk about them with dignity and acknowledge that Christ's power is made perfect in them. Furthermore, I can be just as real about my strengths, knowing that those too are for the glory of God. 

Being a girl is hard so I am anticipating some of the challenges of raising one. When the world says that she is too this or too that, or not enough this or not enough that, I pray that her own voice will not join in. I pray that she will speak to herself with grace, kindness, and respect. I can only pray this prayer if I am willing to model it myself. 

Trying to snag my iced coffee! 

Moms to girls, if you have any insight in this area, I would love to hear! Thank you for reading my heart. 


September 13, 2016

But First, Coffee

| tee: target | jeans: american eagle | shoes: converse | sunglasses: h&m |

Last weekend my sister came to visit from Indianapolis. It was a full weekend of taking care of Jade, coffee shops, doing Gayle Waters-Waters (youtube personality) impersonations, studying (for her), grading papers (for me), and shopping for cute shirts like this one. Seriously though, how cool does she look in this top? Her style is laid back, casual, sporty, and she can make anything look amazing. Target is killing it with the tshirts, especially in the coffee category (see my last one here). Annnddd, I may or may not have another one coming for ya soon. Call it basic or call it basically a necessity. I choose basically a necessity. ;) 

Thanks for reading! 


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August 27, 2016

I Love You More Than Yesterday And Less Than Tomorrow.

As our JadyBug approaches half a year, I can't believe how fast the months have gone by. For me, the first two months were absolutely the hardest. I had all the head knowledge of how I thought a baby would change everything before Jade came into our lives...but then there was actually bringing her home and experiencing all the changes. The first two months were the hardest as I was physically healing and adjusting to this beautiful, tiny little human and the challenges she brought. Despite talking with lactation consultants, Jade would not latch, so breastfeeding just wasn't working. I exclusively pumped every two hours, day and night, for the first month, and then moved to every 2.5 to 3 hours by the second and third month (that extra half hour was everything!). So there was that, added on with the postpartum emotions that I naively thought I'd miss out on. I'm typically not an extremely emotional person and pregnancy didn't seem to change my emotions too much, so I didn't worry about being an emotional wreck postpartum. And while I wouldn't say that I was quite an emotional wreck, I definitely didn't have the same control over my emotions for a time period. All Brian would have to do is ask me how I was doing and the tears would flow. For no reason. Okay, maybe for being exhausted and for the ongoing breastfeeding battle, but I could never articulate why I was actually crying. Luckily, the crying spells only lasted a few weeks and I began to feel emotionally more like me. Then there was the awkward postpartum body and all the body image issues that come along with that. Those first few months are not for the faint of heart and I certainly underestimated how challenging they would be! 

necklace: The Jones Market

I went back to work for the last four weeks of school when Jade was almost eight weeks, knowing that I would have a few months home with her again in the coming weeks. I got a little taste of what life would be like as a working mom, though it was the end of the school year, so it wasn't as high stress. Plus my mom and mother in law were staying with us and helping out with Jade and housework while Brian and I were at work. When school got out for summer, I randomly tried getting Jade to breastfeed again, after not trying at all since I had gone back to work. I was tired of the fight and getting my hopes up every time I would try, only for nothing to come of it. I don't know why I decided to try again, because she was obviously very used to the bottle. Weirdly enough, she latched and started breastfeeding! And she has been doing it ever since. She was just a few days shy of three months when she started breastfeeding. That's when I felt like I got my life back to *somewhat* normal, or as normal as life can be with a baby! It was amazing not being attached to the pump all the time, finally getting to experience what I always envisioned I would do for my babies, and cutting feeding time in half! 

I felt like everything in those first few months was trial and error, due to having no idea what I was doing! I still feel that way, in a sense, but now I am more comfortable in my role as a mom and have a better sense of what Jade needs. As a first time mom, I was so clueless in those beginning weeks! I guess I'm still clueless about a lot of things, but definitely more confident. I laugh now as I look back and how scared I was of this itty bitty girl!

Jade started smiling at two months and then her personality started oozing out at three months. Discovering her personality is my absolute favorite. While I'm sure many changes to her personality will take place, right now she is an outgoing little girl who always wants to be where the action is. She is happiest when she is around people and isn't often content playing alone. She has the best belly laugh that makes me totally willing to make a fool of myself just to hear it one more time. I will do anything to make her laugh..luckily it doesn't take too much yet! With the exception of those first two months, every other month has been "the best." Maybe I'll be kicking myself for saying that when she's mobile and into everything, but even then, I know there will be so many wonderful things to discover about her at that age and it will also probably be "the best."

She is now going to her sitter's full time since I have gone back to work in the last few weeks. Dropping her off is much more painful for Brian and me than it is for her...she loves going and seeing the other kids. I'm hoping she won't develop that separation anxiety, because I think we will just die having to drop her off if she starts to cry for us.

When I was pregnant so many other mamas would talk to me about the incredible bond that is instantaneous when you hold your child for the first time in the hospital. While that is true, it's somewhat misleading (at least for me). I obviously loved Jade right away (you can read our birth story here and here), but the adjustment hit me like a tidal wave. While there was an initial bond, it's so much stronger now. For me, it's much more accurate to say that the bond you feel with your child will not be instantaneous. It will start like a small flame and then grow more every day. And then, when you think your love is on fire and at capacity, another day rolls around, and you realize your love yesterday was nothing compared to how it is now. I love my girl a zillion times more now than the day she was born...and I'll love her a zillion times more tomorrow. 


“For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow."