Wyatt’s First Birthday!

I had every intention of not throwing a big birthday party for Wyatt. I just didn’t want to be that stereotypical millennial mom who spends too much time on Pinterest and goes over the top. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something he would never remember and I didn’t want it to be stressful. The problem, however, is that I was definitely born to be a party planner. In another life, I would have chosen that career path. I love to plan and organize and create and celebrate so when it came time for Wyatt’s first birthday, what is a girl supposed to do?!
Wyatt was born Memorial Day weekend, two weeks early, which was very fitting since his name means “brave in war”. So it was only necessary to have a red, white, and blue themed party. The thing is, when you have so many people who just love your kid to pieces, you have to celebrate that. You have to soak up every ounce of togetherness you can so your son knows just how loved he is. We are currently renting an apartment so we decided to make a mini vacation out of it and go to Smith Mountain Lake for the weekend with some friends. Then on Sunday more friends and family joined us for the party. And since we were SO busy chasing after our 1 year old, we didn’t take too many pictures. Luckily, some of our friends did so we have those to share with you.
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They say that time goes by so fast and before you know it your kids are all grown up. For my husband, the past year has flown by, leaving him clinging to those moments together- the way Wyatt wakes him up with kisses and smacks in the face, the “let’s go Dad” he gets from Wyatt grabbing his finger and leading him on adventures, our midday park meet-ups when he can sneak away from the office, Mom chasing him and Dad up the stairs to our apartment. His moments with him are often too short because of his responsibilities, but they are filled with so much joy.
I, on the other hand, do not feel like the year has necessarily flown by. Being a stay at home mom, this past year has felt exactly like a year. For better or for worse, some days felt like they would never end. And some days flew by. But I just can’t relate to everyone saying it goes by so fast. Either way, each day has had moments of pure happiness. Each day has had kisses from the boy I love the most. Each day has had giggles and snuggles and milestones and memories and I wouldn’t have chosen to spend the past year any other way.
Happy Birthday Wyatt!
*One year pictures to come!
*Shirt from Southern Vinyl Co.

What The HECK Am I Doing?

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I’m terrified of my kid’s getting older. TERRIFIED.

Like I seriously dread it. I don’t know how to go through stages with them, and quite frankly, it’s awkward. Madison just found out that “boobies” are a thing. She has always known them as “ninnies” and I think it’s weird. Everything about it is weird. Her knowing that “boobs” are a thing, is weird to me. Superrrrrr uncomfortable.

I’ve recently discovered the beautiful life of Pandora and the 90’s Alternative Station is my fave right now because it just throws me way on back. Well, a song that frequents that station is Sex and Candy, which I totally sang when I was younger, not even knowing the meaning of the word “sex”. In my Civic, I have a screen that shows what song is playing and I usually make it to where the stereo is only playing on my speaker up front so that way they can watch their movie, and as soon as that song came on, I IMMEDIATELY exited out of the screen and made it on my Apple Carplay screen so Madison couldn’t see the word “sex”. It’s that bad. I’m scared of the questions. I’m scared of her asking me what “adult” things are. I just don’t need that in my life right now, ha!

Am I crazy?! Ugh.

Madison got tubes in her ears two years ago this month and they have yet to fall out. Do you know what that means? That means that I have to shampoo/condition her hair because she holds her ears shut and doesn’t have three hands. What age are they supposed to take showers by themselves? I have no idea. Am I even parenting right? When are these tubes going to fall out so I can let her do it herself? Am I too careful when it comes to her ears? Is that why these bad boys won’t budge? Is it sad that I’m nervous that when they do fall out she won’t wash all of the shampoo out of her hair and dandruff will be all over that thick head of hair? I’m so pathetic.

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Car seats. When will she be out of a booster? 8,9,10? The laws keep changing and I’m in no hurry, but I just don’t know when to do it. Why can’t she just stay young forever so that I can keep doing what I’m doing?

Vegetables. When will these children start liking veggies? Salad is the only one they will willingly eat and it drives me crazy. I hate that I have to “force” them to eat them. And when I write “force” I really mean telling them that the police will come get them if they don’t take a bite. I’m an awful parent.

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Sports. Savanna’s tumble/cheer place lets you drop them off and pick them up when they are done. They also have an App that you can download to watch the practice live, which is amazing. But when is it assumed that I would drop them off for practice? We stay there for Madison’s soccer practice and when they were at gymnastics, we stayed there too. We saw that older kids were just dropped off, but what age is that exactly? Am I doing this right? Could I be chilling at Starbucks their whole practice?

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Chores. When do I enforce chores? Am I way past that bandwagon? Should I have started younger? How much money do these kids need for chores? Do they need money? Should I teach them how money works with tax and such?

My point of this post is that I don’t have it together, not at all. I have so many unanswered questions about when I need to start changing the way I do things but I’m learning as I go. I may no be perfect, but my kids are alive, spoiled, and well. Will I have a 12 year old that won’t eat a vegetable? Absolutely not. These things will come with time. I’m a very awkward person so this growing up stage for them, is for the birds. Is there a service that I can buy to come help me transition from a parent to a baby or toddler to the parent of a young kid? Or a preteen? Or a teenager?!?! Who do I need to call or is this something I can buy on Groupon?

Totally kidding (but am I?)

I realize I sound like a nut job, and I probably am. But over a week single parenting between two jobs, sports, and trying to make sure my kids are showered on time, I feel like I’m allowed to be completely whacked out.

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A Letter to My Son on Our First Mother’s Day

My Dearest Wyatt,

Technically last year was our first Mother’s Day together. We celebrated with you inside me. You were cozy and content while we were anxious to meet you. Little did we know that we were only a few weeks away from seeing your perfect face and hearing your sweet cry. We were only weeks away from becoming your parents. To say I’ve learned a lot about being a parent in the past year is an understatement, yet also just the tip of the iceberg of how much I will learn in future years of being your mom. What I do know is that being your mother is my greatest joy and what I am most proud of. Being your mother is the hardest yet easiest thing I have ever done. As we celebrate many more Mother’s Days together I hope you remember how much I love you and how I will always have your back.

I also hope you remember…

…to just eat your vegetables already! This body is the only one you have so treasure it and take care of it. Sure, we all end up the same in the end and you aren’t taking your body with you when you go, but why not feel good while you’re living? Watch what you put into it. Indulge, but don’t over indulge too often. Eat that brownie, drink a beer (when you’re old enough), stay up too late and sleep until noon. Just don’t do those things all day, every day.

There are certain things in this life that no one can take from you and one of those is your education. Athletic abilities, freedom, money, looks…all those things can be taken away, but no one can take your mind.

Laugh, but also make other people laugh. Your dad finds such great joy in making me laugh. When he tells a joke that isn’t an eye-rolling dad joke and actually makes me laugh, it fills him with pride. Find someone who laughs at your jokes and rolls their eyes at your silliness.

Be kind. In the words of Mr. Feeney, “Do good”. Find ways to help people and practice empathy. There are experiences in this life I hope you never have to go through. I hope you won’t ever know what it feels like to not have a home. I hope you never have to experience the loss of a child or the guilt of making a mistake so severe that its consequences are far reaching. But I hope you will always be able to empathize with those who have. When you stop feeling for those who are less fortunate and you harden yourself to their misfortune, you become bitter. Don’t let the world steal your empathy.

Drive smart. Drive aggressively. Drive well. But be courteous on the road. Wave thank you when people let you over. Don’t drive slow in the left lane. Use your God forsaken turn signal! Take a turn at a normal speed and not at a snail’s pace. Don’t run red lights. Put your phone down. Hold hands with the girl (or boy) sitting next to you. Turn the music all the way up and the windows all the way down. Listen to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins when you’re driving on a summer night. When I asked your dad what song he thought was the best song to drive to, this is what he said, “There’s always Golden Earring’s ‘Twilight Zone,’ anything by Eric Church, Biggie is a no-brainer, and ALWAYS crank up something with a fiddle or banjo once you can see the mountains and the road is anything other than a highway”.

Love you who want to love. No explanation is needed.

Ask for help from the people who know what they’re doing. You can probably do it yourself, sure. But seek advice from those who are masters of their craft. They don’t have to do it for you, but not only will this teach you something, you are paying respect to the work this person has done perhaps their entire life. Ask your Pop Pop how to renovate a house. Ask your uncle for the best rock climbing spot in the country. Don’t just google it- PEOPLE it. 

Create something. Your dad is one of the smartest people I know. He loves being in a courtroom and challenging his intellect. He is really good at what he does. But he also has a desire to create something- to use his hands. Find something that gives you that feeling of accomplishment. Maybe it’s woodworking like your dad. Maybe you’ll play the guitar or paint. It doesn’t have to be your career (though that’s fine if it is!) but find a passion to just be that- a passion that is your reprieve from the chaos of life.

Read books. Like real books. I know when you’re older books will probably be obsolete. Like newspapers are for our generation. Go into a bookstore and read the first page of ten books and buy the one that makes you turn the page. Then stay up way too late because you can’t put it down. It would make your mother proud if it was “Harry Potter”, but I won’t be too picky.

Take walks.

Give the extra dollar to the charity at the grocery store checkout.

Budget but then splurge on ice cream.

Quote movies in the right context. Not just to quote them. Don’t be that guy.

Go to the movies. I know it’s expensive. I know popcorn is like $15 for a small bucket and you’ll have to take out a loan if you want a soda. But watching a movie at home just doesn’t compare. If it’s a movie you’ve been dying to see, grab a friend, buy a small Coke and a popcorn to share. Pick up some Twizzlers from the store on the way and hide them in your pocket (if you bring a girl, make sure she has a big purse so you can get more candy). Get there early so you can get the seats in the center of the aisle with the bar to rest your feet. If you can’t get those seats, your feet go on the floor. Don’t kick peoples’ seats. You’re not that important. And always, ALWAYS watch the previews. If you can’t get there in time to watch the previews, it’s almost not even worth going. Oh, and don’t forget to spend $5 in the photo booth in the lobby.

Above all, I hope you always remember that you have somewhere to come home to. My heart is forever a place for you to rest. My arms are forever open. My fridge will always be full and no matter where you are, I will always be with you.

My sweet boy, I hope you know just how fiercely you are loved and wanted.  When you are hurting your parents will always be there to talk you through your pain. We won’t always be able to take your pain away, but we will help you cope and learn and move forward. And when you’re not sure how to do something like sew on a button or pick out the perfect bow tie, we will be there to teach you how.

Thank you for being our son. Thank you for showing us how to be parents and how to love with a love we never knew existed.

Love,

Mom

 

Saving Money Like A Boss

Everyone knows my motto:

AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR FULL PRICE!

I’m pretty known for always finding the best deal wherever I go. My mom says I’m allergic to full price and I have to agree. So I’m gonna share some of my secrets when it comes to saving money while shopping!

I go to Target a LOT. It’s kind of embarrassing how much I go but I always find that I need something or another and that’s my go-to place because, well, Target.  Anyways! I used to print Target coupons right off of their website but I just haven’t had the time in like a year or more, haha. I have been using their app called Target Cartwheel! It has a list of items you can buy that you can get a percentage off of. So, for example, right now, Merona apparel is 20% off if you use the app! You just scan the barcode before you check out. Easy as pie! Plus, the app updated to where there are coupons directly on it! I love it!

FYI: If you are a frequent Target shopper, consider getting the Target Red Card! It links to your debit card and every time you use it, it saves you 5% of your entire total. That can add up really fast, especially around Black Friday/Christmas time.

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I also use the App called Shopkick. All you do is open up the app (make sure your Bluetooth is on) and walk into a store and BOOM. You get points just by walking into stores. After you rack up enough points, they turn into gift cards! I can’t tell you how much free stuff I have gotten with this app and it’s my personal favorite. It also has a list of things you can scan in the store (you don’t have to buy them) and it’ll rack up more points. Here is a link if you wanna sign up!

https://app.shopkick.com/r/aMoa1

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EBATES. If you are an online shopper, this is for you. You go onto the website or their app and click on the store you plan on shopping online with. It’ll have a percentage next to the name and guess what? That is the amount of money you will get back after you buy from your retailer! After that, it’ll transfer you to your desired website and you just order! Nothing after that. They usually send out checks every six months! And that’s money you were gonna spend anyways! Here is a link if you wanna sign up:

https://go.ebat.es/imsk/Ha7JjysFPC

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I also recommend signing up for Groopdealz (totally free). It has boutique items for significantly less and the shipping is always cheap!

http://www.groopdealz.com

Sign up for your favorite place’s emails! My favorite place to shop is Hazel and Olive and they send out discount codes every week! Same thing with restaurants! Ruby Tuesday’s always sends out some FAB coupons ($5/$15, B1G1, etc). Texas Roadhouse has $1.99 kids meals on Mondays, Bob Evans has free kids meals every Tuesday night, and Buffalo Wild Wings has $0.70 boneless wings on Thursdays. Now, even though our bill can be cheap using these deals, we ALWAYS make sure we tip our server good because it’s not their fault everything is discounted 😉.

And y’all, download the Starbucks app and use it! You get stars every time you make a purchase and 125 stars mean a free drink! Woot woot!

Ibotta is an app where you scan your receipt from the grocery store and it will give you back money just for buying certain items. I don’t use it anymore but I couldn’t give you a good reason why other than I’ve been slacking.

Lastly, with any big purchase from Walmart, Target, or Best Buy, make sure you price match to Amazon if they have it cheaper! It doesn’t even have to be Amazon, you can price match any local store with a better deal. This is super handy when buying TVs, computers, or even toys!

If anyone has any questions about anything posted in this blog post, please message us and I will get back to you as soon as I can! I know apps can be sometimes confusing so I will be glad to help if I can!