1,000 Books Before Kindergarten | Library fun

October 24, 2018

Adilynn and I went to our local library last week and her reaction to being there really gets better each time we visit. She ran (yes...at the library) and squealed with each row she went down. We got to talking with the Children's room coordinator, Ms. Savage, and she told us about the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Adilynn could read 10 books every night if I would let her and if I could only read that fast. I truly believe that this is because we have been reading to her since the very first days of her life. 
As an educator, specifically a past first grade teacher, I know how important reading is for all areas of development in all children. In building vocabulary, reading skills like following along and reading from left to right, and even the handle and care of a book starts at such a young age. I am a reader and I can only hope to instill that in Adi through the years so of course we decided to participate. I love that the library in our little town promotes programs like this in our town to support and encourage the parents of all students. 

1, 000 Books Before Kindergarten Program

The concept is simple. You start reading to your newborn/infant/toddler/student. The goal is to have read 1,000 books before your sweet child starts Kindergarten. Our local library has clear backpacks packed with 10 books for you to check out with various books on various levels. In the folder they give you when your first get ready to start, there is program information, tips for reading with your baby and toddler, and pages with numbers for you to record your books on. 

How to Participate


  • Read with your child. It's a simple as that. Spend some time each night reading to them. 
  • Keep track of the titles of the books you read with your child on the log provided by the library. 
  • Record any and all books read to your student. It can be books that you read, books read to them by a family member, or, as they get older, books they choose to read to you. 

Local Incentives


  • Turn in your log every 100 books for a prize and have your child's picture posted
  • 100-900 Books Read = Prize Bucket
  • 1,000 Books read- Prize book and your name in a library book to celebrate your achievement. 
Adilynn has already chosen her favorite book from her backpack we chose for this week. I read it to her as if I was a dinosaur and she just kept asking for more and more. I am excited to see what books we discover and to watch her grow and develop through the exposure to different kinds of literature. I challenge any mommas out there to head to their local library to see if they have more information on the program. If not, you can find more information at www.1000booksbeforekindergarten.org. Happy reading friends! 

September Recap

October 17, 2018

I'm so thankful I wrote down these goals to work towards for the month of September. There is something about holding myself accountable and keeping myself on track. I keep going back to the picture I have on my watch that says "I don't have enough time...clear priorities". I need to continue to work on setting clear priorities and boundaries so that my energy is focused on areas that I want it to be instead of areas that don't deserve the extra energy. 

September Goals

Family

Time
Affirmations

At our school, we were trained in a program called Capturing Kid's Hearts. The program is a great restructure of how we deal with situations that arise and I'm looking forward to implementing some of the key parts of the program into family life at home. One of my very favorite is affirmations. Just taking the time to really be intentional about praising the good things that our partners (or in the school setting our students and coworkers) can affect not only their day but yours also. I am working towards being so intentional about giving affirmations to M so that he feels my appreciation for the things that he does to keep me grounded, sane, and serve as my partner.

Running

45 total miles for the month
4 miles under 40 minutes

Pretty stinking proud of reaching both of these goals. I ended up having to knock out a 5 mile run to ensure I met the 45 miles on the last day of the month and so Adi and I woke up extra early and made it happen. Proud that I made it and myself a priority. 



School

Complete my Class Video
Update Hours Log
Complete Class Number 3

This class y'all. It was a doozy. I could almost swear that I spent upwards of 20 hours a week working on the assignments and getting other things done to be able to pass this class. But I/we made it. It taught me a lot about time management and where my time is wasted. I'm already on week 2 of my next course and I can already tell a huge difference in my stress level and my motivation to stay on top of my work. I just keep telling myself... "two more classes, two more classes". 



Work

Guidance Lessons
Affirmations

I'm so happy that I have made both of these a priority this year. Guidance lessons with my students give me life. I work at a Pre-K through 5th grade campus with just over 710 students. Its overwhelming to keep myself on track some days but when I get to complete an empathy lesson with 5th graders that blows me out of the water, it makes it all worth it. 



Personal

Attend a football game
Read a book
Begin a Bible study

I read Perfect Courage by Jessica Hon and wow it touched my heart. I love books like that with women I can relate to. I wanted to make sure I was intentional about finishing this book. I'll be sharing a review later next week for anyone who hasn't heard of it or read it. I failed at attending a football game but there is always hope for the next few months ahead. I will say that I'm pretty disappointed in myself for not being intentional with my bible study. Our church even began a bible study class on Sundays and I have yet to attend. I need to set this as a priority and work towards making this a habit. 


Excited to share more about my October goals tomorrow. Did you set any goals for September that you crossed off? I would love to hear them! 

Life Lessons from Adilynn

October 16, 2018

When I look at Adilynn, I can't help but imagine all that is in store for her. She seems to grow and learn so much each and every day that each morning she wakes up this totally new person who has precious new tricks to practice and show-off. I envy this about her, as I tend to wake up thinking of all the things that happened yesterday, last week, last month, where she wakes up and is just happy to be ready for another day (as long as mommy gets her milk and muffins for her immediately). I was looking at this photo of the two of us and started thinking about all that she has taught me over the past 20 months and just had to write it all out for the world (me) to read. 


Failure isn't permanent.

Let's face it, if we had to learn to walk like babies do, after a few times of falling down, we might just resort ourselves to the fact that we just weren't meant to walk. Babies don't understand the complexity that is walking and how much it will impact their life, yet they push through the falls, the aggravation, the frustration to keep trying until they get it. Oh how I wish I had that kind of tenacity. To know that even when failure presents itself that it's not the end all. In fact, it's just part of the stepping stone to being a master in whatever I am working on. 

If we just listen, we can learn so much. 

Adilynn copies things that I say, even when I wish she wouldn't. I will find her sitting near me, seeming as though she's not paying attention and then she will either jibber jabber in response to me or repeat words back that I had just said. When I'm talking to her, especially when I say "Adi, listen to mommy" she gives me her undivided attention, looks me in my eyes and just listens. Sometimes, most of the time, people just need us to listen. They don't need our own stories, our opinion, or even thoughts on what they should do. They just need to talk it out with someone who will listen. 

Love without Expectations

The fact of the matter is that Adi doesn't care if I knocked out my to do list at work, that I failed in my reaction to a tough situation, or that I didn't go for a run that day. She loves me regardless. She has no expectations for me to be this perfect human-being for her. She just cares that at the end of the day, I walk into that daycare, grab her into my arms and smother her in kisses. She cares that I read her her favorite book at least 5 times a night and that I sing her to sleep every. single. night because she loves me so much. She doesn't love the school counselor me, the wife me, or the friend me. She doesn't care about my failures that I tend to focus on. Instead, she just loves that I'm her momma and that I love her. 

Who cares. 

That should probably have a question mark after it but really....who cares. Why does it matter if you make mistakes? If your opinion isn't the popular opinion? If you aren't the best version of yourself every day? To be honest, babies could care less about any of those things. And ultimately, we (me) as adults need to remember this. All too often, I find myself thinking that people actually care about what I am doing. It's human nature to think that our little lives are bigger than they really are. But in the grand scheme of things, the choices that I make every day should benefit myself and the way that I hope that the man upstairs sees me. 

I could go on and on, but I'll end there for now. I needed to slow down and remind myself of all that is around me to learn and grow from in the heart of that sweet baby girl who fell asleep to my awful singing and loves me anyways. 

Who is Your One?

September 29, 2018



One by Kathryn Otoshi

One of my favorite guidance lessons to go through with my students involves this book. I love getting to read it to them and watch as it slowly clicks on what this book about. After we're done reading it, we talk about how they can be the "ONE" in someone else's life and what that means. 

I think that part of the reason that I love this lesson so much is because I can think of several people who have been the one for me in my life. Whether it was saving me from making bad choices, picking me up during some of my darkest times, or just standing next to me for support when I didn't even know that I needed it. Those "ones" are more precious to me than anything else in this world. 

What about you? Who has been "the one" in your life? Has there been someone who has made a difference in your life and helped shape you into who you are today? Have you told that person that they have made a difference in your life and how? I can promise you that it will be one of the most powerful and emotional conversations you can have if you take the time to tell that person. 

My Places Bucket list | The editable version

September 10, 2018

One of the many things that I am so thankful my parents did for my siblings and I is that they spent their money taking us on adventures. We didn't have the latest and the greatest of everything but we have memories that will forever last us a lifetime. I think that this is part of the reason that I have a travel bug and love to explore new places. When I think of all the places I want to visit, it makes me excited for all that is still left in life to experience. Here are just a few that have been on my mind lately. 

In the United States:

Chicago

Chicago is just one of those places that feels like a "must visit" place. Is there anything in particular that I want to do or explore there? Not necessarily. I just feel as though I would enjoy the atmosphere, the food, and the 

Washington D. C

The funny thing about this is that I've actually been to D.C twice already. Once when I was in 8th grade for a trip with my school and once to celebrate the 4th of July. I think if I had the chance, I would go back and do the exact tours and itinerary that we used for my 8th grade trip. I loved the museums and the sequence that we saw them in. I am hoping they have something like this for when I do finally get another chance to visit. 

Nashville

This goes without saying. I feel like Nashville is just a staple in the US and a must visit for any and all country music fans. It would make it better if Cody Johnson were playing the same time that we went. I do enjoy me some country music and being able to experience it there would be amazing. 

Colorado

Michael took me on my first ever ski trip the first Christmas that we were together and I have been hooked ever since. We went to Red River so I would love to experience skiing at a resort in Denver and anything else my friends/blog friends suggest. 

Outside of the United States:

Paris

I will make this happen one day. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about that. I think Paris is one of those places that you just have to experience at some point in your life. I can't wait to be wrapped up in the culture, the oldness, the atmosphere. Now if I could just talk Michael into going along with me. 

Australia

There is something so interesting to me about what Australia has to offer. I'm not exactly sure what I would want to do there but I would love to just be able to experience it. 

South Africa

Cals, I'm coming for you. The fact that one of my favorite blog friends lives here is a huge reason why I want to go here. Not only to see her (although lets be honest, that is really my main reason for adding this to my list) but I would love to experience the South Africa that she knows and loves. 


It makes me excited that for some of these trips, I will get to take Adilynn along and allow her the opportunity to experience adventure the way that I as able to. Is there anywhere else that you think I must visit? Tell me some of your places you are looking forward to visiting one day. 

10 Years From Now

September 5, 2018

When you think about it, 10 years, a decade, seems like such a long amount of time. Like, surely 10 years means I have so much time to do all the tedious little things I want to do. But yet here I am, almost 10 years into my career and there are days when I feel like I just started this whole education gig. 

So when I think about 10 years from this very moment, it seems like such a long way away. Surely I have all the time in the world to get me from point A to point B. But knowing how quickly these last few years have gone, I know that each moment will tick away faster than I think. 

A few interesting facts about 10 years from now


  • I will be 41...what the what...that's just not possible
  • Adi will be 11 going on 12...I mean what is this life
  • Michael and I will have been married for 16 years...together for 21 years. I can't even. 
  • Tilly and Lucy (our dogs) will be 19 and 16 years old...yes dogs can live that long....
  • Iphones will be invisible and we will text in our heads
  • We will all be flying around in our cars. 


Ok... too much on the last 2 but still. So much can change in 10 years. We as people change. Our focus and where we spend our energy WILL change. What is important to us will change. It's like asking water to stay the shape of a glass once the glass has tipped over. So what's in store for me by or in 2028? That's such a hard question. I want to do so many little things that I have a hard time narrowing the path of "what ifs" to what I truly see myself doing. 

Work

Option 1: I would be working at a college as a professor. I know that this is my end goal at some point. I want to impact the educational world on a deep level and motivating, supporting, and encouraging new teachers on this path would be a dream come true. Now if only I could talk Michael into moving to a city where there is a college closer than an hour away.... 

Option 2: I would be an assistant principal. If you have ever had a discussion with me about education, you would know that this was never part of my grand plan. I wanted to teach forever, be a counselor at an elementary school for a little while, and then end my educational career at the high school level supporting high school students discover who they want to be. 

Option 3: I would have my own counseling clinic and help adults in various aspects of their life. Whether it be marriage counseling, grief counseling, or just plain counseling. I use to think that this would have "children" in front of it but the older I get, the more I feel called to help other adults like myself who just need someone to talk to. 

Personal

Family. I wish I was one of those people who could say that I've always dreamed of a certain number of children or that I was a girl mom or a boy mom. But the truth is that I always just wanted to be a mom in whatever form, shape, size that looked like. I feel so content with being a mom to Adilynn that I'm not sure what it looks like for our family in the form of siblings. I picture us getting to travel with her and take her on adventures as she continues to grow. So for now, that is where my focus is. Giving her adventures that she might not ever remember but that I can share with her as she continues to grow. 

Location. This has been weighing on my mind more than usual for some reason. I have loved where we live currently. I have the best of friends, we have a beautiful piece of land with a house that has given us a roof over our head, and we live by the ocean. Not sure I could have checked off more boxes if I had tried but there is something about where we are that doesn't feel like our forever location. I see Michael and I having a home on a big piece of property where our kids (or kid) can roam, explore, enjoy, and just be. And the same for me. 

Me. I hope that over the next 10 years, I continue to find my strength when I need it, learn more about what my voice is worth, and become an all around better version of myself. Life lessons, situations, trials, and triumphs continue to shape the person I am. I learn hard lessons through those trials and gain tremendous knowledge in the triumphs. 

I hope that no matter what comes my way, that I continue to stand strong in my faith, my values, and my love of my family. Cheers to the next 10 years friends. 

September Goals | Clear Priorities

September 4, 2018

Hello little space of mine. Oh how I have missed you. It's been a whirlwind of a few months but I keep coming back to this little space of mine, hoping that one day, I will be able to put in the time and effort that I once did. I'm so thankful to my friend Kait over at CommuniKait posted a while back about getting back to the basics of blogging and I'm more than happy to join in. I started this little place (a few different names ago) and made some great friends from posting about things that were on my heart and 


Family

Time

Affirmations


Having the summer off with Adilynn was my absolute favorite. We went got to visit with family at the lake, went to DisneyWorld in Florida, had lots of beach trips, and spent quite a bit of time at the zoo. It was so good for my momma soul and precious moments that I know I will remember forever. Now that school has started back, I am having to be very intentional about where I spend my time. I want to ensure that she feels just as special now as she did this summer, and the same goes for Michael.

Running

45 total miles for the month

4 miles under 40 minutes


I have been making running a big part of my weeks consistently since the beginning of July. From the consistency, there has been big changes in my energy, my body, and my mindset. I started out not being able to run even half a mile, to now being able to run a 5K around 30 minutes (depending on if I'm pushing Adilynn or not). I am so motivated by the changes that I have seen and I am looking forward to hitting new goals with cooler weather. 


School

Complete my Class Video

Update Hours Log

Complete Class Number 3


I have been working on getting my Principal certification through the college that I received my masters from and woowee it has been so great but so hard. These classes have really made me focus my priorities and outline my to do lists to keep me on track. This current class has a lot to do it but we are already on week 2. I love being back in school but also am thankful that it is only 18 hours and not a full masters. 


Work

Guidance Lessons

Affirmations


It has been so great to be back at work and back into the routine of it. The year is really off to a great start and I am so looking forward to seeing what it has in store. I have a renewed excitement about my position as the school counselor and am looking forward to being there for the students on my campus more than ever before. 


Personal

Attend a football game

Read a book

Begin a Bible study- thanks Kaitlyn


Just recently I was able to listen to a Ted Talks speaker on just living life. She created this graphic that says "I don't have enough time clear priorities". I live my life thinking there isn't enough time to do the things I want to. When in reality, I have all the time in the world, I just choose (or subconsciously choose) to spend my time and energy in the wrong places. I keep her graphic as my lock screen on my watch so that I can be reminded that my priorities must take precedence over all the small, insignificant stuff. So here is to me trying to set my priorities in action by writing them down to hold me accountable. It's going to be a great month! 

Happy Monday friends



Slow to Speak

March 21, 2018

I was listening to a local radio station the other day and the hosts began to talk about the verse "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" James 1: 19. Although my first thoughts about this verse are to ensure that we are conversing with people in a respectful way and taking time to choose our words correctly, it also made me think about how I approach my part of a conversation with people. 

I've always prided myself on being a good listener. I mean, as a counselor (even if I am just a school counselor) that's pretty much my job. Listen to the worries, the fears, the excitement, the stories... I feel as though I listen all day long. Yet as time has passed, I have learned that I'm not good at really listening. I find myself preparing for what I'm going to say, how I can relate to what the person is telling me, or my mind has wandered to other things that I need to do or accomplish.  

As I was self-reflecting on my listening skills, I thought about the saying "We have 2 and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak". People don't always need to know that you have trudged through the same waters, or what your opinions are about the topic they are discussing. Sometimes, they just need to speak those words out loud, get them off of their heart, or share them with someone who will stop what they are doing, give them their attention, and listen. 

This hit home with me as a partner, friend, family member, mother, and counselor to young students. If I am spending all the time doing the talking, then I am missing out on what is being said or needing to be said from the other half of the conversation. I think as humans, we want to be able to make a connection with people, and we do that by sharing our own personal experiences but the more I've thought about, the more I see that sometimes the connection is made just by being the listening ear. 

In traveling along new paths lately, I feel like I have come to learn a lot about myself. There are moments when I am proud of new skills that I have learned, ways that I have grown, or things that I have learned about myself that I didn't know already. But with that, comes things that I wish I did better, was better at, or could accomplish in a better way.  Being a better listener, being slow to speak, is definitely an area that is a work in progress for me. 

Do you find yourself speaking more than you listen? 

Carousel Ride | Life Thoughts

March 15, 2018

Adi and I went to the carnival during the local fair last weekend. I love that she is getting to an age where she enjoys things more and more although #momfail. I let her wear these cute new moccasins I had purchased for her before she was even born and all she wanted to do was walk around through the dirt in them. But that's besides the point.

What ride is the one ride that kids of any ages, young and old, can ride? You guessed it. The carousel. Adilynn has an adventurous little spirit. She loves to try new things and can be very independent when she sets her mind to it. I had no doubt in my mind that she would love riding around and around on one of the horses as it went up and down. I could just picture her little tooth-filled grin as she smiled her way through the whole ride.
At least that's what I lead myself to believe it was going to be like. We stepped up onto the carousel, followed our friends until they found the animal they wanted to ride and then I put her on the pretty horse nearby. I just knew, as the ride started, that she was going to squeal with delight. Wrong. As it started to move, she hated it. I mean full on panic set in on her face and I could see her shaking trying to figure out what was happening. She wanted absolutely no part of any of it. So I spent the whole ride standing between moving animals, holding my sweet girl who glared at the animals as they went up and down beside us.
So what gives? She had her momma right there beside her, she loves to be adventurous, and she smiles her biggest smiles when she's riding different toys of hers. Everything was set for success yet she hated every minute of it.

As I was sitting in bed last night, I started thinking about how her reaction to the ride is like our reaction to new situations. We can prepare for them, be excited about them, feel in our hearts that it's the best situation ever, yet some how it doesn't always meet our expectations. Or, in some cases, we absolutely hate it. I had so many preconceived notions in my head about how our ride would go that I didn't think twice about her possibly hating it. I know that is a fault of mine. I see clearly one side of something and don't always take the time to get a feel for the other side.

As our carousel ride ended, I could see the relief on Adi's face as we walked away from it. I know that feeling of relief. It's like surviving your first day as a brand new teacher, that awkward moment when you walk into a room and don't know anyone but you finally spot your best friend, or when you go for something not really sure if it's the right next step and all the pieces fall into place. Relief. Thankful you tried, thankful it's over, and more hopeful than ever that the next time you try, it won't be quite as bad. Here's to our next carousel ride sweet girl.

March Goals

March 14, 2018

To say that March snuck up on me is definitely an understatement. February was a busy month, both at home and at work. Adi turned ONE whole year on the 2nd and I still just can't believe I have a one year old. What is this life anyways? I have to admit that she is just getting more and more fun with each passing day. I still stress because I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing over here but I'm sure trying my best at this whole "mom" thing.

I figured I would get back to my blogging roots with one of my very favorite posts that I liked to do every month; my monthly goals post. I can see how they might have started to get a little redundant but I like it to keep myself on track and who doesn't love crossing things off to see what you accomplished? Just me? Ok. well here I am, putting this out there so that come April 1, I can come back and cross these things out as completed. 

Date Night

M and I are slowly getting the hang of allowing other people to come in and watch our girl while we spend some time together. We've officially gone on one date since Adi was born. Pretty sad right? I hope to spend this month being better about that.

New Book

A few books have crossed my path that I want to sit down and take some time to read. Do you have any suggesting for any that you have read lately? I finished "The Light we Lost" just recently and holy smokes. I loved that book. It's a bit over the top in some areas but it keeps you interested for sure.

No New Clothes

I recently made myself sign a no purchase agreement so here I am, adding this to my list. I have had to unfollow so many of my favorite stores on facebook for the time being. It's like they all know I can't buy anything so they are putting out their cutest things to try to entice me. It's not going to work. I hope. Surely. Leave me alone facebook.


Adventures with Adi

I am hoping to spend some quality time with Adi and have those adventures be a part of this blog. She loves to go on adventures and her momma loves to take her on them. I'm going to make it my goal to take her somewhere new at least once a month and really spend some time documenting our time at that place to share with you all. Would you be at all interested?

Church

M and I have been attending church services together and there is just nothing like it. We are still trying to get the hang of having Adi in there and she's not too big of a fan of sitting still for that long but we are there and we are happy to be there. I hope that I can become more involved with the church as the year progresses.

Happy March friends. I hope the first half of the month was great but the rest of the month is even better. Do you have any goals you have set for yourself? I would love to hear them! 


Adilynn's Arrival | Part 3- NICU Stay

March 8, 2018

After a successful and dare I say easy arrival into this world at a whopping 9 pounds, our sweet girl had some issues with her blood sugar. Before we were even able to spend the rest of her birth day with her, she was whisked away to the NICU to help her figure out her levels and I was left with no baby to hold. My new mommy heart broke into a thousand little pieces as they took her away from me. 
Michael and I were allowed to go see her every 2 hours. Seeing her attached to those pumps and machines was the worst. We were able to spend a little time with her, let her eat, love on her and then give her back to the nurses. We would go back to the room where I would pump, wash all the parts, try and get a little sleep, wake up, take the elevator down to the 3rd floor, feed our girl, love on her, and repeat. I felt like I was in auto pilot but I just wanted to do whatever I could to help make her better. I was very lucky that my milk came in so well and I was able to pump a good amount of milk each time to take to the ladies in the NICU so that they could feed her. 

I don't know if I even have the words to explain how important the nurses were to us. Kartar, the first nurse we met after Adi went to visit the NICU was by far our favorite. Each time we went to visit Adilynn, she was so kind and helpful. She explained all the different things that were going on to us in terms we could understand. She would sit with me during the time I was there, helping me with feeding Adi, showing me different techniques, and talking with me about all the little things that were going to have to happen so that Adilynn could leave the NICU and go home. She was Adi's biggest cheerleader and my NICU best friend. There is no doubt in my mind that she loved her job and all of the sweet babies in there. 

After 2 full nights in the NICU, lots of extra fluids, milk, and love from the nurses and doctors, our girl was released to go to my room with me and eventually home that same day. It was definitely a relief because I had over stayed my welcome in the hospital room and they were kicking me out. We brought her down to our room, where she got her first bath, changed out of her hospital tshirt, and prepared to make the trek home. 
It's amazing that just a few days can feel like an eternity. We arrived at the hospital ready to have our sweet girl and got to leave with a healthy, precious, little love. Our life has not been the same since. What a journey it was to meet her and what a journey it has been to watch her grow, learn, and explore in the big, crazy world.

No-Purchase Agreement

March 7, 2018

I'm sure you've heard the name. Dave Ramsey. He's one of the best known financial advisors ever. He's harsh, strong willed, and very passionate about money and how you should be dealing with it. Michael started reading his book right after Adilynn was born and has been on a "Dave kick" ever since. Our first big goal was to pay off my car. Michael worked hard at putting the numbers together, keeping us on track, and putting money away so that we could accomplish this goal. It has all spiraled into something bigger ever since. 
In the past year, we have saved and moved around money that had already been saved to pay off both of our cars, set up our emergency fund, and are now working on getting car funds set, setting up investments, and building college funds. It's crazy to sit down and see all that can be accomplished with a little bit of planning and assigning where your money goes instead of asking where it went. 

If I'm being honest, M is the driving force behind this. He tells me how much we have left to spend for the month, pulls out our weekly cash, and has set up our online app that tracks where our money goes. I'm definitely the one who plays along. Probably not my best stance to take but it's easier for me to just know how much I have to spend or not spend. 

So, I got to thinking about how I can contribute in a little way to help out in my own way. M isn't a big spender. I swear he has clothes that he use to wear in high school still in his closet. Now me, on the other hand, I love a good weekend trip to the outlet mall or a quick amazon purchase here and there. Especially since having Adi, because what girl mom doesn't obsess over new clothes for her baby girl? 

But do Adi or I need that many different outfits to wear? Although my first instinct is to say "absolutely" the better answer is probably not. So I decided to create a no-purchase agreement that I signed and hung up on our refrigerator. In it, I agreed to not purchase any new clothes until June 30, 2018. If I do make a purchase, M gets to pick my clothes out for a whole week. (Lord help me).  I decided to start with a realistic timeline because, well I know myself. I figure if I can start out strong, then maybe I can make it even longer than I think and can help continue to save money for other, more important things. 

I'll be checking in each month so that you all can keep me accountable and on track. I'm going to have to get creative on some outfits because my body just hasn't been the same since Adi was born but I'm going to take this challenge head on and see where it leads me. Have you every shopped your own closet or made a challenge to not purchase any thing new for a specific amount of time? How did you stay on track? Give me some of your best tips. 




One. Whole. Year

February 2, 2018

How do you summarize a year that has forever changed you and the life that you were living. It's like on that day, February 2nd, the path that I was walking along abruptly ended and I was redirected to take a whole new unfamiliar, precious, overwhelming, exciting, amazing road that I never expected.
There is nothing more precious than the way that your very own baby reaches for you at the end of a long day, or the hugs and kisses she wakes up ready to give to you and accept in return. The amazement in her eye from day to day as she learns and grows every hour of every day makes my heart so happy.

Watching our sweet girl grow has been one of the most precious times of my life. I love looking at her knowing that I have the hardest, yet most rewarding job in the world; being her momma. She has taught me what love is truly about and reminded me to enjoy and cherish the little things. She sees amazement every where she looks and is the bright spot of my days. I can only pray that she continues to want to explore, learn, and create and always has a love for people and things like she does right now. 

At age ONE, Adilynn:


  • loves to say DAAAA, momma (when she needs something), dog, yum, yea, wow, and yummm
  • has 7 of the most precious teeth I have ever seen
  • likes to joke around with her daddy only. Not mommy. 
  • has her daddy's eyes and loves to use them to people watch
  • eats like a champ. We have yet to find much she doesn't like. She is very picky about her meats
  • has taken several steps in a row but prefers to crawl and pretend she doesn't know how to walk
  • loves to cuddle with mommy and daddy, especially in our bed
  • gives any kind of stuffed animal or baby hugs and kisses and says "awww" as she does it
  • loves to slide on her slide from the Wendel family
  • is not a fan of naps
  • blows kisses 
  • waves bye bye
  • loves her ladies at daycare
  • hates putting on clothes
  • would stay in the bath forever
  • is the sweetest, most loving little love bug ever. She is truly a blessing and the light of our lives. 

Happiest of happy birthdays to you, our sweet girl. We love you more than you will ever know. 

Nordstrom Trunk | Review #2

January 30, 2018

As a new mom, and I use the term new loosely since Adi is going to be one on Friday, I had and have trouble going shopping for myself. Adi likes to be free and not a fan of sitting still for very long. So taking her into a dressing room after spending time methodically going through racks of clothing is not her idea of fun. Which means I haven’t really had a chance to go shopping for myself in almost 2 years (maternity shopping doesn’t count).

So when I saw Ashley from Little Lovelies sharing information about Nordstrom’s styling program, I knew I had to give it a try. Basically, you fill out a little survey, a stylist picks up your information, gathers great pieces in the price point that you want, and sends them to you to try on. You pay a $25 styling fee that is applied to the total amount of whatever clothes you decided to keep. Before they send the trunk to you, they let you preview what is being sent and you can decline particular items. When you decline them, they can either pick pieces to replace them or you can just have them send the pieces you want. I like for them to send me as many pieces as they decide because it gives me more options. 

This month, I asked Alexandra to send transitional spring pieces so that I could start building that wardrobe. We all know Texas has very limited cold days so I have a feeling that my need for warmer weather clothing is getting closer and closer. The fact that she found 11 items to send me is great because sometimes we are hit and miss and having more options gives a bigger chance of me liking something. And a bigger chance to spend more money than I was originally planning. Sorry Michael. 

These were definitely my top pieces that I loved as soon as I put them on. The jeans fit like a glove. We definitely found the right size for me as I adjust to my post-pregnancy hips. The two tops, if I'm being honest, I wasn't even going to try on. I thought for sure I was going to hate them both. And boy was I wrong. The blue cold shoulder top was definitely a quality piece that I can't wait to wear all spring long. The Berry Hem top just fit well. Oversized but still flattering. My friend Emily said I need to wear it to Adi's 1st birthday on Sunday so I think that's just what I'll do. 

These pieces were my "I just can't decide" pieces. I loved them for one reason and then didn't quite see myself wearing them for another. The eyelet top was definitely a top contender. I have a feeling that it will end up in my closet in a few weeks when I regret keeping it. I wanted to love the faux suede jacket but I think the color was throwing me off. They have it in pink so I think I'll get that one and see if it was jus the color. 


These were definite no's for me. I like that the stylists sends things that I might not usually try on and pushes me outside of my comfort zone. I'm not huge on flannel but liked the oversized fit of those shirts. The mix media top was cute but just not flattering for me. 


Did you catch my try on session on Instagram? I had to do it later in the evening because a certain someone wanted to boycott bedtime but I liked seeing what you all thought about the pieces that I was unsure about. The consensus is that I needed to keep the white shirt and the blue one that I fell in love with. Which ones would you have chosen out of these 11 to keep? Have you given a styling service a try? 

Adilynn's Arrival | Part 2

January 26, 2018

I started Adilynn's birth story a few months back and with her first birthday one week away, I figured that I better go ahead and finish her story. Read about her arrival then continue reading to see how our stay went so differently than I could have planned.

After our sweet girl arrived, our family came in to meet her. The hospital that we were at does not allow any one in the room for 2 hours after the baby is born to give the parents time to bond with the baby. I am so thankful for this because there was so much going on afterwards and it was so sweet to have those moments with just Michael and myself.

When our family came in, they passed our sweet girl from person to person, loving all over our 9 pound bundle of joy. After spending a few hours there with her, we were transported upstairs to the 5th floor for recovery. The 3rd floor was for delivery, the nursery, and the NICU so up we went. Unfortunately this wouldn't be my last time on the 3rd floor.

As we got settled in our new room, the nurses started coming in to take care of me and Adi. She had her own nurse who I did not care for at first. She was very pushy and I couldn't always understand her which made me frustrated because what she was saying was important. See, when Adi was first born, she was big for her gestational age. So they automatically started watching her blood sugar levels. It was low right after her birth but nothing too concerning yet. When we got to the 5th floor, they came in and did another test, which entails her getting a prick in her foot to make her bleed, then testing the blood on a digital reader. 

Her nurse continued to monitor her levels and they were still a little low. I had already begun to breastfeed Adi and the lactation consultant had come in to help with that. Everything was going great until Adi's nurse checked her levels again an hour later. The levels just continued to either drop or stay at a level that made the nurse uncomfortable. She decided to try to give Adi some formula to help. This caused a big ripple with the lactation consultant and the nurse but the pushy nurse that I didn't think I liked pretty much told the lactation consultant to get back because Adi's health was most important. She wanted so badly for the formula or my breastmilk to help get her levels up so that she didn't have go to the NICU. She kept trying and trying anything she could to get Adilynn to eat. It was pretty amazing to see how much she cared about her and how concerned she was that I would have to be away from her if we couldn't get her levels up. 

The pediatrician on call came down to see us when her levels still wouldn't rise. She gave me the news I really didn't want to hear. If Adi's levels didn't rise, she would have to go to the NICU. If blood sugar numbers stay too low, it could cause all kinds of issues so it was important that we figure this out. I never even thought about something like this happening. Definitely not how I saw my first few hours with my girl going. I continued to breastfeed (she latched like a champ just a few minutes after birth) and pump/try any means I could to get that liquid gold out and to her but it was to no avail. Her levels got low enough that the doctor said that we had to get her upstairs almost immediately.

There is no doubt that this moment was the hardest one I have faced since meeting her. Forget giving birth to a 9 pound baby. Letting her leave my eyesight after waiting 9 months to see her pretty much broke my heart. I was so sad and overwhelmed and the tears started flowing. I had this beautiful baby girl and now I wasn't going to get to spend those precious moments with her. Instead, she would be taken down to the NICU and be hooked up to machines that I had no idea what they were or when they would be taken off. How was I suppose to let them take my girl away from me when all my instincts just wanted to hold her and kiss all the little parts of her that I had been dreaming about the past 9 months?

Children's Discovery Fort Bend | Adi Adventures

January 24, 2018

One of the things that I love most about motherhood and babyhood is watching Adilynn explore and learn. I feel like she wakes up with new tricks every morning and I love getting to give her experiences that allow her to explore new things. I'm excited that as she gets older, I will be able to take her to places that allow her to grow and explore in ways that I can't do at home. It's definitely a goal of mine to provide her opportunities to go places and do things like I was able to thanks to my parents. 

I heard about Children's Discovery Fort Bend from a friend who works in Sugarland and wanted to see what it was all about. With Adi just about to be one, I wasn't sure if she was the right age to go somewhere like this just yet but it was a rainy day and Susu and I decided to take her to try it all out. 

Children's Discovery is located in Sugarland, Texas at an old Sugar factory. It looks like they are going to be doing some construction around where it is located to add some more attractions which is going to be great. The fact that they are using the building and silos from the Imperial Sugar factory is one of the many reasons that I liked the location. Keeping that history alive in unique ways is always a good thing. 
Like I said, going into the building I wasn't sure what to expect. Do I take my stroller or just carry Adi, will people look at us because I had a small baby at a place that was just for big kids, will it be worth the drive and money that it cost to go in? I get a little uncomforatable when I'm not exactly sure what to expect or if I'm about to do the right thing. 

Let me just say that almost as soon as we walked in, I was blown away. From friendly staff, to a beautiful, clean building, I was excited to see what this place had in store for us. As we paid for our day pass, the lady helping us gave us a quick run down and showed us the important places to go. She let me know that there was a toddler area that Adi could go explore in and then told us to make sure we checked out the rest of the areas. 

To answer my own questions, we definitely didn't need the stroller as Adi wanted to play and walk (with help) or crawl every where and there was something there for children of all ages (adults included). I can't tell you how refreshing it was to see adults having fun with their children either by pretending with them in the town area, creating with the kids at the craft tables, or helping their child figure out problems in the engineering and math rooms. 

Toddler Area

If I was going to open a daycare, each room would look like the room/area that they have created for young babies to explore in. Adi could have stayed in this area for hours upon hours. She made one round and quickly went back to her favorites after she had spent some time at each area. Activities within the area were a train with steps and humps and ramp for motor skills, a slide that had a lava lamp type tube going through it to a cave below, a car to drive around with a gas pump to fill it up, doors that opened with mirrors inside, a sunken in area to crawl up and play in, a precious reading area, small ball pit, a car ramp that went round and round, a table with puzzles, and a light up box and even little windows with activities to make the window scene start. Phew. Adi seriously loved each little section. My mom and I loved just watching her move from activity to activity, exploring along the way.


Imagination Exploration

Talk about imagination opportunity overload. If it was acceptable, I would spend every weekend at Children's Discovery playing in each area by myself. There is a Math room where there are different activities for you to do with your child that allow you to practice math concepts in different ways. Next door, there is an engineering room where you can create and build things using supplies that they have given you. Along the opposite wall, there were tables upon tables of crafts with parents sitting, showing, and helping their child with the crafts.
As you walk into the main area, you notice that it is filled with different places like a normal town. There is a vet clinic, cafeteria, art center, car building center, school, grocery store, and so much more. In each job/place you are able to do certain jobs and earn a paycheck which comes in the form of a little debit card. You are able to go to the ATM and deposit your money from your job into your account, then go the bank so that you have "money" to buy things around the center. 
I will admit that there was a tiny part of me that was jealous that I never got to play in something like that as a child. But I am so excited that I will be able to take Adi somewhere that she can put her imagination to good use and explore in a way that is special to her unique interests. As an educator, places like this make me jump for joy because our children and students need places like this to be able to step outside of the box and just explore, create, and imagine. 

Visit

Open Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Adults/Children 1+ are $12
Memberships start at $120. 

I can't wait to take Adilynn back as she gets older and to a point where she will enjoy the different areas or jobs that are there. Until then, we can't wait to go back to explore more in the toddler area and spend some more time in the vet clinic with all her favorite animals. Have you ever been to this particular discovery center or does your town have something like this?