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Parenting: The Not So Easily Labeled

Today in the world of parenting there are several different categories or Labels that parents like to/try to place themselves under. If you were unaware of this fact, I will name a few. There is: Attachment Parenting, Natural Parenting, Gentle Parenting, Strict Parenting, Instinctual Parenting, and so on and so forth. Now, I am a reader. While I was Pregnant, I was constantly reading new books and studies on parenting, breastfeeding, sleep training, feeding baby, bathing baby, teaching baby, EVERYTHING! After much Research and trying to find a “group” with similar interests we have found that my husband and I DO NOT fall under any one particular Group. There are aspects from each of the previously mentioned labels that we do follow, but not any exclusively. So, that being said, I have decided to make my own label. REAL PARENTING.

You might be a “REAL PARENT” if you:
1. Breastfeed- Whether it be Exclusively from the breast, or you pump. We know that there is no comparison to the nutritional value of breastmilk. We are proud of ourselves for being successful in breastfeeding, and sometimes we want recognition for doing something that most people do not.
2. Co-Sleep- By co-sleeping I mean, Sleeping in the same room, in a Bassinet or other bed of some type. My Husband and I Co-slept with our daughter until she was 6 months old. She slept in the Bassinet next to my side of the bed. Now, let me say this, we have/do bed-share with her still. At the beginning of the night we initially put her to sleep in her own crib (we need Mama and Daddy time) since she does not sleep through the night, when she wakes up (around 3:00-4:00am) I go get her and pull her into bed with me. Safely. Contrary to popular belief there are safe ways to sleep with your baby.
3. BabyWear- My Husband and I both wear our daughter whenever we can. I clean house with her on my back, He wears her when we are in Walmart. We are not against strollers, but wearing her is so much more special to us.
4. Strollers- if we are going to the mall, and going to be walking around for a while, we do use the stroller. Its a nice diaper bag holder and shopping cart if nothing else.
5. Hold your Baby- it is impossible to spoil a baby by holding her as much as she wants. Notice that I say ” as much as she wants”. We let her play and roll around as long as she is happy and wants to. But if she gets fussy, and is no longer happy, we pick her up and try to figure out whats wrong. BABIES DO NOT CRY FOR NO REASON! Your baby is not out to get you and ruin whatever fun you are having. She NEEDS you! We DO NOT CRY-IT-OUT!!
6. Disposable Diapers- yes, we use sposies. The Lure of Cloth Diapering is so attractive, but honestly its an arm and a leg to get started. Sure its “GREEN”, but thats minimal to how cheap its supposed to be. I am all for CHEAP! Maybe I will cloth diaper one day, slowly build up a stash and make the switch.
7. Routine- Do not confuse this with Sleep Training. We have established a nightly routine. Boob, Fruit, Bath, Boob, Bed. Every Night my husband and I rely on this routine and work together in unison. Your routine may not be the same, but i encourage you to make a routine. It is better for baby and parents to know what to expect in the day. Doesn’t your baby take a nap around the same time every day? They have established their own routine. So you should also make her going to sleep at night a routine. We do not place Her in the crib, and leave. If she cries, we go to her. Make sure she is alright. Babies cry to communicate. The thought of crying-it-out makes my heart hurt. I cant imagine my Daughter thinking that she is alone and that she has done something to deserve being ignored.
8. Gerber/Beech Nut- again the thought of being able to make my daughters food is very appealing, but costly/ time consuming. Lets be honest, with as much as we have going on from day to day, it is nice to be able to crack open a jar.
9. Vaccinate- a very hard subject to write on, but in a nutshell. Yes vaccinate. We do not give the flu shot, but I thoroughly believe that one of the only reasons some people can afford not to vaccinate at all, is because everyone else does. Delay, pick and choose, or follow your pediatrician, just know a lot of the stuff vaccines protect against kill young children.
10. Marriage- again, very hard subject to write on. Today, a lot of people are getting pregnant without being married first. We werent, but we were before our Daughter arrived. Regardless, we believe whole-heartedly that to successfully parent a child, your marriage has to come first. It can not be a child-centered family. When husband and wife put each other first (behind Christ) the child sees that love and security and can confidently develop independence knowing that mother and father are here and everything is alright.

These are only a few things that we believe and hold standard in our parenting, but there are so many more topics if we were to dive deeper into the specifics. For the past week or so I have been deciding on whether to post this topic or not, but here it is. Something from my heart, and hope I explained good enough. So the next time you are researching a technique or wanting to explain your reasoning behind your parenting, just remember its YOUR CHILD! You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Your wishes are to be met, you are the parent. I felt a need to post this because so many times reading on facebook I dont belong to any one “group”. Not that i need to belong, but having friends/supporters who parent like you do is a MUST! Find your clique, other mommas, other dads who do like you do, and I promise its worth it!!

XOXO
S

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The Jacksonville House.

Earlier tonight I was telling my very good friend Linz about our “Jacksonville House”, and I realized that even though we had a Love/Hate relationship with our house, it taught us some very valuable lessons as well…

The house was a 1930’s single story, 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. It had no heat, no air conditioning, no washer, no dryer and only single pane windows. The house was nestled under 100+ year old oak trees, surrounded by red clay dirt, backed up next to a graveyard, and had a mailbox that refused to stand up straight. We had no neighbors, only armadillos, spiders, and the occasional burglar. Our front porch was awesome, we had a pink couch on it. The back porch is where we plugged our washer in and hooked it up to the water hose. It also had a couch. Every room in the house had a door, no one room led into another. The house was cute, painted white, and was the perfect size for us.

When we signed the lease we decided to overlook the no heat thing, and the no washer thing. We were young college students and we had found a steal on this house! For those of you who don’t know… JACKSONVILLE IS COLD! Now, I’m from Fairhope, Alabama. Warm, Alabama. Beach-right-down-the-road, Alabama. I’m used to being too hot on Christmas, not scraping ice off my windshield in October! So, I thought that it would be perfectly OK to just get a little space heater and everything would be good! Wrong. We moved into the house in November. By Christmas we were frozen.

It started out OK, we just moved the heater around the house depending on what room we were in. No big deal. But then, it started being too cold to go into any room without it being warm first. Then eventually we had to not only warm the room before we went in, but turn on electric blankets, and light the stove in the kitchen, and God forbid we had to pee in the middle of the night… It literally was so cold that some mornings ICE would be in the kitchen sink! And you could see you breath while laying in bed! I had never been so cold in my life! So lesson learned – Central heating and air is needed.

Washing clothes was a task! Before we hooked up the washer, I went to the laundry mat. Too expensive! Then I decided I could just hand wash our clothes. Too time consuming/messy. Then we jimmy-rigged the washer on the back porch and I cried! It felt a little more like home! So we could successfully wash clothes, and hang them out to dry! But it seemed like everytime we did clothes, it rained. Or the wind blew too hard and knocked the clothes on the ground. Or it was too cold for too long and they never dried. And I’m pretty sure someone stole some of my clothes a couple of times… Lesson learned – top notch laundry room for all future houses. 

We were robbed for real one time. They broke into our kitchen, messed everything up and stole our Xbox and Wii. They broke the kitchen window with a brick, threw my coffee pot on the ground, turned all the sugar upside down, stole my pillowcase to transport the stolen stuff, took our games systems, and left the front door open! When we discoved the house was robbed, G pushed me back outside to call 911, and he grabbed a sword, yes a sword, and checked everything out. He then went outside, stood in the yard yelling, waving the sword around, and dared them to come back. I think that at this point he stole my heart. Haha. Would you really want to mess with a psycho with a sword? I think not. A couple of days later we bought a gun. Lesson learned – JPD does not fingerprint suspects for stolen game consoles, and we will from here on out, have a security system.

Jacksonville was fun. We made memories. We fell in love there. It will always hold a special place in our hearts. More stories to come I’m sure. But for now this post is long enough… :)

XOXO
S

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Becoming a Great Mom

It was December 4th, 2012, I woke up early feeling a little queezy, I had “gone out” the night before, so I didn’t think anything of it. As I lay there thinking about how bad I was at karaoke last night, I notice that my boobs were looking really great! I was wearing a non-padded sports bra, and everyone knows that those tape down your breasts, instead of making it look like your wearing a bombshell pushup! So I rubbed my eyes and wondered if this was real life?! How did my measly size B boobs grow to what felt like size D overnight?! Then from somewhere deep down inside of me, a whisper escaped from my lips… “am I pregnant?” Surely not. I immediately jumped to my feet, picked up the phone and called G. He was at his parents house, and I told him I was going to Walmart to buy a test, and I wanted him to meet me somewhere to take it. So I went, shaking the whole time, boughtva test, and we met at the local hamburger joint, Cecil’s. I barely had to pee, so I was worried the test wouldn’t turn out correctly. As we sat there at the table watching the lines appear and disappear we were silent. We got out the pamphlet and decoded the pink, plus and minus signs. IT WAS POSITIVE. We both went pale. Its not that we didn’t want a child, I had spent many nights crying at the thought that I would never get pregnant (I have PCOS). But as we sat there looking at that faint plus sign, all that we had ever imagined for our lives, together or apart, changed. Our two paths that we were casually traveling on, immediately became one. So, after 15 mins of silence and a few tears, we left Cecil’s, G went to work, I headed over to my OBGYN. I was shaking, crying, worried, scared, and still a little sick. They gave me a test, I peed again, and the test was positive. We were having a baby. A baby. Either a baby boy, or baby girl. A child was inside of me at that exact moment! There was a 6 week old baby in my belly! Woah. So I called G and confirmed our previous AHPT. Then I called my parents, who were 6 hours away, and he called his, who were 2 mins up the road. Now because we weren’t married, it was a bit of a touchy subject, and I was scared. But when I called my mom and dad, they calmed me down, and told me they loved me and a baby was NEVER a bad thing. A baby was always a blessing from God, and things were going to be OK. I went to work, poured beers, served pizzas, and smiled the whole night! The next day, mom and dad came to see me and come up with a plan for this baby and me. Our “college house” was not suitable for an infant, there was no heat, no air conditioning, no dryer, our washer was on the back porch where we hooked it up to the water hose and an outlet. During the winter we had to choose either to hold our bladders or brave the cold and sprint to the bathroom to pee. There were mornings where there would be ice in the sink in the kitchen, and while laying in bed you could see your breath! So needless to say, I wanted to move back south closer to the beach with my parents. On Christmas Eve, my dad and I made the trip south to move me back home. G stayed with his parents to save up money to buy a truck for us, and look for a job down south with his college degree. On the way down, we stopped by my moms work, and there I had my first ultrasound. 8 weeks along and my little bean was growing just perfect. I cried. My mom and dad were there, they cried. How could a bean be so beautiful?  I took pictures, and immediately called G. He was ecstatic! It was the perfect Christmas Gift.
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When I reached 9 weeks, that’s when the morning, day, and night sickness set in. I never threw up, but I was so queezy all the time I wish I would have! During my first trimester I lost 20lbs from not being able to eat. I stuck to Smoothies with protein blasts for nutrition. 2nd trimester was amazing! Much more energy, I started reading up on parenting, carseats, breastfeeding vs. Formula, sleep training, baby wearing, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, nutrition, clothes, and baby showers. I felt “it” kick at 13 weeks 3 days. I wasn’t sure at first, it felt like my tummy was twitching. But my mawmaw assured me of what I was feeling, and the feeling only got stronger as the weeks went on! G came down for a visit on Fat Tuesday and we went to find out what we were having. At 15 weeks we saw that we were having a Girl! Oh I was more happy than ever before! I knew it was a she from day one! G had wanted a boy first, most dads do, but now he couldn’t see us having it any other way! When we first started dating we had agreed on the name Isabel if we were to ever have a girl, and now, at 15 weeks our baby had a name! 18 weeks we saw all of her insides, 10 fingers, 10 toes, good lungs, and a big brain, she was perfect! The 3rd trimester came so fast, but lasted 2 years! I didn’t get a “bump” until my 3rd trimester, and at that point I was still -15lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. April 6, 2013, G finally got to move south! He had bought us a truck, a hemi :), and found a job doing IT work for a high end beach resort. Everything was coming together. I continued to work as a server up until 36 weeks pregnant, and at that point I was leaking fluid, my sciatic nerve was flaring up, and I was passing out. So my doctors decided that I did not need to work anymore, for the safety of Isabel. On July 8th, 2013, the love of my life asked me to marry him. We eloped that day!
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I was married to my best friend with my grandmothers ring! :)
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Seeing how my Husband worked for a beach resort, his boss let us stay in a million dollar pent house for a whole week as a wedding gift!!
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I laid out everyday 9 months pregnant! I got some really weird looks, especially since I was due in 2 weeks and I wore a bikini! I was so proud of my self for not getting fat, stretch marks, and for staying in shape!
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We went in to labor on July 22, 2013 at 10 am. I reached 10 cm dialated at 1:35 pm, I started pushing at 1:37 pm, and beautiful Isabel Jane was here at 1:40pm. She weighed 7lbs 6oz, amd was 20inches long! I went into labor weighing 197, before I was pregnant, I weighed 198. I did awesome! And I can say that, because I worked hard!
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At the moment that I delivered Isabel, I became a mother. I was a whole new person! I had this tiny little human that relied solely on me! We immediately breastfed! Skin to skin. I felt her breathing, suckling, cuddling, learning her mother. I fell in love. <3

G did too. He watched the whole process. And was my biggest supporter. I could not have done it without him.
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Now as I sit here, typing this, Isabel is taking a nap. She is 4 months old. And 1 year ago she changed my life forever. For the better. The sleepless nights are nothing compared to the extra time I get to spend with my baby. I love every minute of it. We are still exclusively breastfeeding, and no matter what anyone says, formula is not better. She is not eating solids yet, because food before 1 is just for fun. She said her first word yesterday, “hey”. She weighs over 13lbs, and is 2 feet tall. I now weigh 170lbs, working hard to keep it off! My day starts and ends with Isabel, she is the happiest baby you have ever seen. And to think, it all started a year ago. God is so good. :)

XOXO
S

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost one of my favorite holidays. One thing I cannot stand about it though is the “I’m thankful for” Facebook posts. If you are going to complain multiple times a day the rest of the year, don’t try and look like an angel for the whole month of November. We all know better.

Speaking of Facebook, sometimes I wonder if, actually I know, that certain people “edit” their life to look better on a timeline. Seriously? Why would you do that? I mean don’t air your dirty laundry, but don’t make it look like your living the American dream by painting a white picket fence for us to read. Don’t spin situations so that you look like the victim. Don’t complain so much people think your crying wolf. Don’t be overly mushy with you man. And for the love of God, please be a skank in your own bedroom, not on the screen of my ipad, and cell phone.

In about 12 hours I will be leaving for Jacksonville to see my in-laws for the holiday. It is going to be tough on me until my husband gets there to be with us, but I am excited about showing Isabel off! :)
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XOXO
S

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Gs Broke Toe

G broke his toe today carrying Isabel’s swing from downstairs to upstairs. Sitting in the ER triage now as I type. Poor thing. He did it this morning at 11:20 and has suffered all day! (I thought he was faking, and I even made fun of him). The thing is literally as big as a baseball bat, and black and blue. They just took him back for an xray. Very efficiant this hospital is tonight.  I shall post a pic of his toe when he gets back. He is sporting an auburn coat tonight, #WarDamn. I am in salmon pants, black tank, and leopard cardigan. We are a sight. :) Wiz is at home with mom and dad, they assured us they didn’t mind watching her until we got back. She has been in pain all day too, she is cutting two bottom teeth, and she can hardly nurse it hurts so bad.  Sad day in the M family.

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As you can see, horrible. Officially worst wife ever. Our night was going so well too! We got the angry birds triology for PS3 and we were taking turns getting three stars as we went along. Then mom popped in, said it was the worst broke toe she has ever seen, (she is an RN,BSN), with 12 years experience in the ER. So here we are. Dr. Is looking at XRay now, hopefully not bad.

He is going to have to have a screw put in!!! OMG. :( OK, taking care of hubby now.

XOXO
S

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Talking the Walking

HUGE WALKING DEAD FAN! G & I love our Sunday nights because we get to watch The Walking Dead and during the show we “host” our own “Talking Dead” between us and our family. Tonight’s episode was a pivotal episode we think because for one, they introduced music in to evoke emotion during the climatic scenes of the show, and 2, the governor comes back! Not a governor fan, but I think in next weeks episode, we will learn a little more on michone and her background story wwhile at the same time, see the governors “plan”. Love michone, wish she was a little more “present” in the episodes.

Also, I had a great idea. What if Maggie gets pregnant, then decides to breastfeed? That would send a huge message to normalize breastfeeding and would promote “breastfeeding,  because in a zombie apocalypse, you’d wouldn’t make it to the store for formula”. Just an idea. Grey’s Anatomy recently has promoted breastfeeding and I love that! Keeping up with the kardaahians does too! Kim and kourtney both!

Going to bed now, waaaayyyh too tired. Wiz will probably wake up in a couple of hours, so I gotta get my rest. :)

XOXO
S