Monthly Archives: July 2013

words to live by: tiffany maxwell.

A couple nights ago, Dan and I finally were able to sit down and rent Silver Linings Playbook. I know I’ve kind of missed the boat on this one (I’m a new parent, okaaaay?) but, in case you weren’t already aware, it’s a really great movie. For all two of you who haven’t seen it yet, I won’t go into any details, but I will say that Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Tiffany Maxwell, has a lot to teach us in just one quick quote.

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[Source]

There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself. I can forgive.

– Tiffany Maxwell, Silver Linings Playbook

When I heard her scream out this quote to Bradley Cooper’s character, the hair on my arms stood on end. It was so quick but so powerfully moving, because in just one second she acknowledges that yes, she is imperfect, but she has also forgiven herself for that.

The revolutionary thing here is, because I think the biggest obstacle to forgiving ourselves is remembering the ways we are broken, that Tiffany actually uses her brokenness to foster her own healing. She remembers it, and does so with gratitude that she is not there anymore.

And that’s how chains are broken, friends. When we learn to love all the parts of ourselves, even those parts that will forever be “sloppy and dirty”, and learn to forgive.

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things i love thursday! (july 25, 2013)

Hello lovelies! Especially all of you new followers. Every Thursday I try to post a list of things for which I am grateful. Keeps my spirit on the upswing, you know? You should try it. Check it out, lots of wonderful things happened this week!

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • My baby boy turned one. ONE!
  • My mom, aunt, cousin, and his wife all came down to Naples for Dax’s birthday. I teared up when they pulled in (and when they left) because I just love them so, and I love that they care so much about Dax to drive 8 hours in a day just to spend time with him. (That’s my mom in the picture above.)
  • Making cupcakes from scratch with the husband. Confectioner sugar storm!
  • Being Freshly Pressed on WordPress! Huzzah!
  • A quiet house at the end of the day.
  • Playing a real piano. Nothing better.
  • Being randomly invited over to friends’ house for dinner.
  • Fun at the pool with my little boy.
  • Anything buffalo flavored. Pizza, pitas, whatever. I will eat it.
  • Lunch times out with coworkers.
  • Starbucks two days in a row!
  • Being ambushed by naps.
  • Whatever compels my baby boy to randomly crawl onto me and cuddle me for no reason. (Last time was ten minutes of cuddles! Love him!)
  • Trashy magazines. (Sometimes you just gotta give in to the trash.)
  • Sketti night.
  • Having nurse friends I can text when I accidentally BURN MY LEG by spilling BOILING WATER ON IT. (#fail)
  • Gifts and cards in the mail for Dax! Including…
  • A stuffed pony that gallops and sings that Dax is (LOLOLOLOLOL) totally 100% terrified of. (Sorry Liz! Hahahaha he cries whenever it turns on! And I laugh because I’m terrible!)
  • Seeing a Taco Bell employee get fired right after he handed me my food.
  • Bubble baths.
  • Also, showering long enough to shave my legs.
  • Breakfast dates with my boy. We share strawberries.
  • The Hufflepuff anklet my husband made me on his last mission trip.

What do you love this week? I love your gratitude lists! Comment and let me know!

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three pieces of parenting advice for kate middleton.

Hello Kate!

As you snuggle that new, yummy little bundle of royal joy (now, we have learned, you have named George) I realize that, even for someone who probably has her own staff of child rearers within an arm’s length, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. That’s okay. Contrary to your life circumstances, this is completely normal.

In all your abundant down time, please take a moment to read my three biggest pieces of advice for surviving your first year of motherhood. After all, I AM a mother of a one year old now, so I basically know everything.

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1. try to breastfeed.

Not only is it best for that little future king, and the snuggles are so great, and it’s cheaper than formula (LOLOLOLOL LIKE YOU EVEN NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THAT) but it also will help you speedily drop the three pounds of baby weight you gained. And don’t worry if it takes you and George a while to get used to it. It took my son and me three weeks to really get it down to a science. Also, don’t worry if you can’t breastfeed or decide you don’t want to. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother. So long as you are feeding your son SOMETHING, you’re good. But regardless of what you do, people (tabloids?) are going to have an opinion. Which brings me to my next piece of advice…

2. comparison is the thief of joy.

You may have royal girlfriends who are giving birth around the same time as you and so you naturally compare George to their kids’ growth and demeanor. Or maybe you know people who had children a little bit before you so they ask you questions about George’s behavior/development/whatever. Or maybe you’re curious about something so you Google it. JUST DON’T. It will steal every ounce of baby-inspired joy you have in your body. The second you ask someone something about their kid, or Google something about “normal milestones”, you’ll be freaking out because George isn’t sleeping all the way through the night yet or talking soon enough or walking fast enough or using the “pincer grasp” or spelling out complete sentences in sign language on his first birthday. It’s poison. Go with your gut instincts. No one knows that kid better than you do.

3. the first year is not indicative of your child’s entire life.

The first three months of your kid’s life may damn near kill you. That’s normal. The first year of his life may be the most challenging 365 days you face as a woman. But hear this — it gets better. Every day it gets better. One day, you’ll wake up in an overtired panic around 4am only to find that your baby actually hasn’t woken up yet, and you’ll rush to his royal cribside to find him soundly sleeping for the first time, and you’ll cry tears of joy and think to yourself that you never thought you’d get there but you did. And one day, you’ll get to the end of your day and realize that, for the first time, there wasn’t a single meltdown (from George or you) and you’ll think to yourself foolishly, “I could have another…”

So when (not IF, but WHEN) things get rough, know this — you’re made to do this. And even on days you don’t think you’re doing it, you are. Because just by being George’s mama, you’re doing it.

Oh you’re also a princess but whatever.

Last thing — is the hair/makeup team you had come to the hospital cheap? Just curious. I’d like to hire them for my next baby delivery.

Cheers, Kate and George! (Oh and William too, I GUESS.)

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words to live by: demi lovato.

A couple years ago, while discussing popular music and culture, a girl in our youth group said something to my husband that, upon his retelling of it, left me dumbfounded. It was something along the lines of, “Demi Lovato is a bad person because she’s in rehab.”

If I would have been around, I would have lost it. I would have said something horrible like, “People like you are the reason that people like Demi Lovato hate themselves.”

Then I would have launched into some sort of theological diatribe about how, technically, we’re all in rehab for SOMETHING and that realizing that you need and want help for your problems should be celebrated and not condemned.

Maybe that’s why I’m not in youth ministry anymore.

But I digress.

Last night I gave in to Cosmo’s temptation and purchased their August issue simply because it has Demi on the cover. It also promised a “shocking” interview with her which… eh.

Shocking probably isn’t the right word. Anyone who has followed Demi’s story (like myself) won’t be shocked. But there was one paragraph that made me stop and mentally high five her.

[Sorry. There’s a bit of profanity.]

demi_lovato_cosmo_quote

 

Underlined emphasis mine.

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open letter to my son on his first birthday.

Dear Dax,

Today at 1:34 AM you turned one. You have been alive, outside of my womb, for one whole year now. (But you were alive and inside my womb for 38-ish weeks prior to that!)

Do you remember what life looked like a year ago? Well, yesterday you forgot that you like grapes even though the day before you couldn’t shovel them into your mouth fast enough, so if your memory is a little fuzzy, that’s okay. That’s why I’m here. Because I remember it all.

A year ago, we were cuddling in my recovery room, number 309, and everything was white and sterile and loud, but quiet at the same time. There were all these machines and people buzzing about us, even the few times when you or I were asleep, and time seemed to creep by and zoom past as we got to know each other.

Though you were a big, 8-pound-4-ounce ball of heavenly chub, in my arms you felt fragile and tiny. The most precious thing I’ve ever seen. And I couldn’t believe that you were mine.

Because I loved you so much, I didn’t know how to hold you. You can tell because in the pictures that were taken right after you were born, I was holding you in a way that I never held you again. Once I got to know you, every inch of you, I learned the way you love to snuggle. But, at first, I was just so scared and so new at being your mommy and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Thank you for giving me the chance to learn.

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That first night in the hospital was an exhausting one for me, and probably you, too. While your daddy slept, you and I (after sixteen hours of labor) stayed up together learning how to nurse. When your daddy woke up in the morning, I got to tell him about how much you loved to nurse and how (much to the nurses’ dismay) you and I both preferred for you to sleep on my chest as opposed to in the bassinet. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I was so tired that night was because every time a nurse came in I’d pop awake and pretend I wasn’t sleeping — just cuddling you while VERY STILL — because I didn’t want her to tell me to put you back down.

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Adjusting to life with you at home definitely took some time. It was several weeks before you learned how to sleep at night and, even still, you would only sleep in bed with your daddy and me. I didn’t mind, though.

As a newborn, all you really did was sleep and eat. And cry. A lot. We found out early that you had a bit of colic, and your tummy was very sensitive. Because I breastfed you, I had to eat a very bland diet in order to keep your tummy happy. As much as I loved cheese and ice cream, I did it gladly, because I love you more.

Though you smiled in your sleep when you were only three days old, it took you a while to social smile. On Labor Day, you actually FOR REAL smiled at me for the first time and do you know what? I instantly burst into tears.  And then my crying made you cry. I’m sorry about that. But after six weeks of colic, that fleeting grin was enough to send me over the edge of joy.

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And then, there was a period there — between four and nine months — where I felt like I couldn’t keep up with you. It was almost as if you started each new day by hitting another milestone, something that made my heart simultaneously swell with pride but break with longing. As proud as I am to watch you grow, it also hurts a little, because every centimeter you grow pulls you that much farther away from being a baby. Being my baby.

At 6 months, you got your first tooth, sat up on your own, and tried solid food for the first time. Your first taste was carrots and you absolutely loved them! However, now, you’re a bit more picky when it comes to carrots. Though you do like them, you seem to hold out for more tasty options like sweet potatoes. (At the time of writing, sweet potatoes are your favorite food, followed closely by apples, bananas, pasta, pickles, yogurt, and — of course — mama’s milk.)

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At 7 months, you said your first word. It was “dada” which makes sense. You love your daddy so much — he can make you giggle like no one else on earth. And he loves you too. So very much. Your second word was “nana” and your third — finally! — was “mama”.

At nine months, you learned how to crawl and pull up. And you have been unstoppable ever since. You can zoom across our house in seconds flat and get into everything on your way. You are funny, though, because you like to crawl a little bit, then stop and turn around to make sure I’m still there watching you.

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You are cautious like that. Though you are capable of going far and doing much, you approach each new situation with trepidation and analysis, very carefully examining each and every aspect of the new. This is the case when I take you to a new friend’s house, or introduce you to something weird like grass and flowers. Because you trust me you don’t cry. But I can see in your eyes that you are wary and skeptical. I admire this about you, and I believe this will come in handy when you are a teenager. (Lord, help me.)

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You are also very particular. You like the things you like and you want things to stay the way they are. This is why, despite taking two two-hour naps a day and sleeping all night in your crib, you refuse to sleep in the church nursery or in your Pack n’ Play at a friend’s house. If things aren’t just right in your world, you notice. I think that — just like your blue eyes — you get this from me. It is a blessing and a curse and I’ll do my best to try and help you navigate this. If you find yourself an advocate for social justice with a burning desire for people to DO RIGHT and TREAT OTHERS RIGHT, know that this is where it stems from. But, if you don’t end up an advocate for anything else than a consistent bedtime routine, that’s okay, too.

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I know a lot has changed in the past year, but I am so very grateful for the one thing that hasn’t. To this day, just like it was when we were in the hospital that first night, your favorite place to sleep is still my chest. You fell asleep there this morning as a matter of fact, and every time you do, I thank God for one more snuggle. If the way this year has flown by is any indication of how fast the rest of life is going to fly, I hold few things closer to my heart than these moments.

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Dax, a year ago, you turned my whole world upside down. You took what I knew about life and love and you shook it all up and rebuilt it into something beautiful, something I don’t fully understand.

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Thank you for letting me be your mommy that day a year ago, and thank you for continuing to let me be your mommy today.

I love you more than words could ever say. Happy first birthday, booger.

Love always,

Mommy

daxbday

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things i love thursday! (july 18, 2013)

You guys.

You guys.

My kid turns 1 tomorrow. That’s all.

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THINGS I LOVE THIS WEEK:

  • The big smile I get whenever Dax first wakes up.
  • Sleeping in until 8. (Yes, non-parents. This is a big deal.)
  • Random ice cream adventures. (Frozen custard, too!)
  • Discovering new fun places in Naples.
  • Planning a trip for our anniversary.
  • Cat cuddles.
  • Bath time.
  • FREE SLURPEES.
  • Cooking.
  • Naps.
  • Spontaneous trips to the beach to watch the sunset on the gulf (and the fact that I can do that pretty much anytime I want.)
  • Playing games with Dan on my phone.
  • Encouraging/inspiring phone calls.
  • Unexpected packages from friends.
  • Filming silly videos for church.
  • Quiet runs on FLAT streets.
  • Downtown Naples.
  • New local restaurants. (Ask for Michelle at Mel’s Diner!)
  • Planning a BIRTHDAY PARTY for my kid. (WHAT?!)
  • Texts from Australia! THANK YOU, iMESSAGE!
  • Crab cake sandwiches.
  • Blogging in bed.
  • Technology.
  • My husband.
  • Making friends!
  • Margaritas.
  • The fact that booze almost always makes this list.
  • The fact that Dax has an awesome family who are all coming to see him this weekend for his first birthday. :)

What do you love this week?

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the economic cost of obesity. [video]

This Friday marks one year since I became a mom.

That’s right — my baby boy is turning one.

But something else turns one on Friday — my freakish paranoia about the food industry.

Something about becoming a mom made me extremely fearful of the food that’s available out there; as it stands right now, if I can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from and how it came to be, I don’t want to feed it to my kid.

Because of this, I’m choosing Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and the Green Wise organic section of Publix instead of my used-to-be go-to WalMart. And it’s getting expensive.

Like, really expensive. (Here’s a figure for you — I spent $42 at Publix today on TWO dinners for my family. TWO. Either I’m doing something wrong or healthy, organic, clean food is just that much more pricey.)

A couple weeks ago, Dan and I were out running errands. While out, I remembered that I was out of sandwich-makings, so I asked if we could stop by the nearest grocery store so I could grab some spinach, tomatoes, meat, and hummus.

The neighborhood we were in was a poorer one, but there was a WalMart nearby. So we stopped and went in.

I was so saddened by what I saw.

There was nothing — I repeat — nothing in the grocery section of this lower-income store that wasn’t processed. Nothing. Not a single piece of fruit. Not one vegetable. Nothing. Only boxes and boxes of fatty, sodium-rich, nutrient-free garbage.

And we wonder why America looks the way it does.

This video by Academic Earth illustrates just how much money we, as a country, are putting toward healthy food versus junk food. It was eye-opening but after this trip to WalMart, it also makes a whole lot of sense.

Take a look at the video here.

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