Monday, August 31, 2015

An Ode To Lady Pup



My little dog goes by many names. We call her Lady Pup, Little Pup, Little P, Puptastic etc, but her true "God-given" name is Lady Mary. Yes, we named our dog after a Downton Abbey character. We got Lady Mary in 2012. Little did we know that we were not just getting a dog, we were getting another piece of our family.
 Scott had hunting dogs before we got married but through a couple of unfortunate events we were left dogless for a while. I really did not want a dog. I especially did not want a large, outside dog. I thought that if we were to get one, I would want something like a morkie or some other small cutesie breed.  Scott initially suggested a Jack Russell Terrier after playing with a coworker's dog. I was hesitant. Jack Russell's can be hyper and yappy. I was did not want a dog that was crazy. I continued to research them and decided to look around for places to get them. Once I decided that we were indeed going to get a Jack Russell, it was just a few weeks before we had one. We picked Lady Mary up from the cargo drop of the airport. She was precious. So tiny and nervous. She sat in my lap the entire way back. I could easily hold her in my cupped hands. My tiny little baby.
I initially said that she was going to be a crate sleeper. Well, after two nights of pathetic crying, she was sleeping the bed and she had slept there ever since. That event really solidified our relationship. She went from being just a puppy to our little baby. Nothing will test your relationship like middle of the night potty breaks. You are essentially sleep-depriving yourself for an animal. It can go really bad or end up really good. Thankfully, she was trained very quickly and we had a wonderful little addition to the family.
Ever since we got her, she has been my little buddy. Every morning while I drink my coffee, she snuggles with me. She follows me around the house as I go about my day. She was and is my little shadow. Even as I am typing this she is sleeping on the couch not even a foot away from me. I never thought of myself as a "dog person." I have always known that I was NOT a
"cat person" but I never thought I was such a lover of dogs. This little girl has shown me how much I can love an animal. It is hard to describe.
I was a little nervous about how she would adapt to baby. Lady Mary was our "baby" for almost 3 years. She pretty much had our undivided attention when we were at home. It was going to be a shock to her system. She has done amazingly well. Our little guy is her baby. She wants to be right beside him all the time. She is very protective of him. She is always on "high alert" when he is around, guarding him from all the "dangers." We are still working on reigning in some of behavior. She wants to lick him ALL THE TIME. It is cute watching her bring him her ball. I do not think she realizes that he cannot actually throw it.
I cannot wait to watch them grow together.

Are you a dog person? Cat person? Crazy pet mom?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Wrap Up

( via my instagram, GIVE ME ALL THE SUPPLIES)

Yesterday got the better of me. I had a wonderful post planned but it did not get written. I will have it ready for Monday, though. It is all about my sweet pup! Here is a quick snapshot from Target yesterday. It takes great will power to not buy EVERYTHING in the school/office supply section. Everything there is so lovely and I want it all. 
Here are some things that I am reading, watching, loving as we go into the weekend. 

1. This interview with Carly A. Heitlinger of The College Prepster. Carly is one of my favorite bloggers. I love her career focussed content. She offers an interesting perspective into life of twenty-somethings career-centric women.

2. ABM had a livestream last night. Livestreams are a great way to get to know your favorite bloggers in a more real way. Emma and Elsie never disappoint. They are hilarious and real. It feels like you are actually have a real life conversation with them. 

3. Master Chef and America's Next Top Model: my two "reality" TV guilty pleasures. I am currently watching them on Hulu. 

4. My dad suggested this book after he and my mom went on a spiritual renewal retreat earlier this summer. I read a chapter of it and it relates a lot to what I talked about in this post. Hopefully, I will actually read all of it and I can do a recap on it later. 

Lastly, in honor of #nationaldogday earlier this week...

 
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Baby Gear: 0-3 Months


I wanted to do a quick round up of the baby items that we use the most. When I was registering, I knew I wanted to take a more minimalist approach. These are the items that I get used most frequently or have been the most useful.

1. Wubbanub pacifier: This is the most beloved pacifier. It was a gift from a family friend and it is awesome. The little guy loves to play with it and hold it as he sucks away. He started off taking a Mam pacifier and now he only wants Jimmy the Frog (yes, we named the pacifier).

2. Marpac Dohm-NSF: The Official Sound Conditioner: At first, I was hesitant about using a white noise machine. I did not want him to become dependent on one to sleep. My pediatrician recommended using one and now I would not think of not having it. His room is just off of our living room and noise travels very easily. This machine allows us to watch TV, talk, clean etc. without any fear of him being startled awake by a loud noise. It also is works well for traveling. We had him in our room when we traveled to Texas and Disney World. The white noise worked great to drown out any extra noise and help him sleep in unfamiliar places.

3. Gripe Water: BEST. STUFF. EVER. The poor, little guy gets hiccups a lot. This stuff knocks them out quick.

4. Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets: These are wonderful. They are so soft and thin but very warm. He is a little too squirmy now to stay swaddled in them but they work well as just regular blankets too.

5. Assorted Swaddle Gear: I have a couple of different styles and brands of swaddles. There are two different kinds shown above. My favorite of the two is the white Halo SleepSack Two-in-One. The green Summer SwaddleMe is ok and I use it, but it is definitely not my favorite. The main thing is it is worth registering for a couple of different kinds of these swaddles so you can figure out which one you and your baby like best.

6. The Wrap by Solly Baby: If you want to get into baby wearing, check this out. It is comfortable, cute and very easy to use. I have two and I love them. They are wonderful for consoling a cranky baby as well as just a great way to have your hands free.

7. AngelCare Monitor : This is something that I initially was very hesitant about. It is a big ticket item. Now that I have used it, I am extremely thankful to have it. The AngelCare monitor detects the baby's breathing. If the baby stops breathing, it blasts a quick loud sound to try and startle him. If that does not work and the monitor is still unable to detect any movement, it sounds an alarm to alert you. We put our little guy in his crib from day one and this allowed me to have a greater peace of mind about it.

So those are the things I use the most. Hopefully, the information will prove helpful to some future and current moms out there.

What is your go-to baby item? Are your a minimalist of a maximalist when it comes to baby stuff?




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pool Day


I am trying to soak up as much sun as I can before summer is officially over. This summer has flown by! I took my camera out to practice a little manual shooting while I was laying out. It was a lot of fun. I am enjoying the challenge of shooting manual. I still have a LONG way to go though.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Memory Keeping

(made withe Project Life App)

I have always loved scrapbooking but I am horrible about actually completely a project. I have some hilarious scrapbooks from middle school and high school. They are filled with blurry, poorly lit photos and random memorabilia. Part of me wants to throw them out because they are so bad but the other part tells me to keep them around. They are precious memories even if they are a little embarrassing. 


To fulfill my desire to be creative, take more pictures and document my life, I started using Project Life. I really love the physical paper products and the page protector system. I did a good bit of scrapbooking that way over the last two years. The problem for me was printing the photos. I really wanted to do a combination of 4x6 and 4x3 photos in my pages. I would inevitably order the wrong size or a would have a bunch of photos left over that did not fit together well in a layout. I wanted to get able to test and try out different layouts and photo arrangements but that is kind of hard when you have already printed your photos. That is why I was so excited when Becky Higgins released the Project Life App. It allows me arrange and rearrange photos to my hearts content. Plus, you can purchase additional layout options in the app that allow to do small square photo spreads as well as large photo centric layouts like the one above. The other nice things is I can get my dose of creativity without having to spend any money. I get to play around with my pictures and "cards" but I do not have to spend a lot to do it. I can save up and print a lot of pages all at once which is really nice. 
It also allows me to combine pictures from my iPhone and my camera. I simply upload everything to my Dropbox account and access them via the app. It is especially nice when I am scrapbooking trips where I have a lot of photos on each device. 
Even though I would still really like to do some more physical scrapbooking, the Project Life App fits my current needs and allows to be creative on the go, without a lot supplies. 
If anyone is looking for a easy way to document their life, this is the way to go!

Any other scrapbookers out there? How do you document your life?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy Friday!

The weekend is almost here and it feels so good. We are still recovering from this horrible cold here. I am pretty much over it but my husband is really struggling. We have been diffusing like crazy. The house smells like spa but looks a little like a dump. I have not had much energy to clean. Hopefully, with my strength returning, I will get on that.
I would like these Friday posts to serve as a week in review/what I am into lately/parenting ups and downs mash up. A post that brings a bunch of not quite big enough posts together. We will see how it goes.

LOVING: I am currently head over heels in love with Happy Mail from A Beautiful Mess. Run, don't walk to sign up. I am a little late to the game. I am avid reader of Elsie's and Emma's blog and I do not know why I did not do this sooner. I have sent so many cards already and this is only my second month! I love it.

WATCHING: Um, everything. No, not really but kind of, but mostly Seinfield. We do not have cable so we watch everything on Netflix or Hulu. Now that all of Seinfield is now on Hulu I am pretty much set for life.
(via pinterest)
PARENTING: This week was a little on the rough side. After our return from Disney, the little guy was resisting taking naps at home. He would sleep at my mother in-law's house but not in his own bed. Weirdly, this only applied to daytime naps. He was still sleeping for 8-10 hours through the night in his crib. I was perplexed. At first, I catered too him because I was sick and could not devote my full effort to solving the problem. Once I started getting better, though, I attacked it with full force. It was a little rough but he is thankfully back to taking daytime naps in his own crib. Some are better and longer than others but I am thankful that we are finding our rhythm again.
I have started trying to encourage some "self directed play." Not that a 2 month old can do much but I am trying to not let him become too dependent on me or anyone else for entertainment. My sisters LOVE to be right in his face playing with him so he gets a lot of that during the week, while they here. While we are at home, I try to let him play by himself with me working on different tasks close by. It seems to be working. He cannot go for a long time on his own but I am hoping that even just doing it a little will be helpful for developing a strong imagination and contentment. We shall see...

On that note, I will leave you with this little piece of happiness.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Busy Bee

If you have read any of my posts, you have probably gleaned that I am a list maker. An almost compulsive list maker, at that. There is something about writing everything that needs to be down that allows me to better organize my thoughts and determine my priorities. I think underneath it all is a extreme desire for control. I need to know what needs to be done, when it needs to be done etc. Need for such detail and control stems from the fact that there is a lot going on in my life. Like everyone, I am busy. There is a baby that needs taking care of, a house that needs cleaning, bills to be paid, people to see, church to attend and the list goes on and on. The other evening I was contemplating the future a little. I am planning on going back to work in a couple of weeks. I have the extreme blessing of being able to work part time and take little baby with me. Even with this, the thought crept into my mind, "How are you going to do EVERYTHING? You can barely make it out of the house without forgetting something." (which is true, by the way, not just self-doubt.)
 The list making comes from feeling scattered. There are a billion different tasks and jobs racing through my mind. If it does not make it down on paper where my eyes can focus on it, it seems to slip through cracks. I set multiple reminders on my phone for little things, like taking my vitamins, and even more for bigger items, like doctor appointments. That scattered feeling freaks me out. It makes me wonder how I will ever accomplish anything well.
I am not coming down on being busy. You are going to be busy if you have a life. But this scattered feeling, this hurried, agitated forgetfulness, that is what is bad. It is an internal condition that no amount of list-making will solve. Our pastor summed up it best in this sermon series he was doing on the soul. It is not a long video if you want to watch it but essentially he is explaining difference from being busy versus hurried. Busyness is inevitable. Hurriedness is not. It is a condition of the soul. You can feel creep in. I do all the time. My mind will be racing and cannot focus on what is going on right in front of me. I cannot calm my mind and focus needs to be done right now because I am frantically thinking about the eleven other things that need to be done next. I do not want to live like this. I am not going to. I am 24 years-old. I have one a child, a dog, a husband, and soon a part time job. This is least busy I am ever going to be. It only gets harder from here. If I am this scattered now, how on earth am I going to be able to handle even a little bit more?
The answer is the grace of God and reliance on Him. Prayerful contemplation and solitude are vital. I am the worst offender when it comes to focussing on these things. I pride myself on being able to multitask. It is a blessing and curse. I get a lot of stuff done but I also feel compelled to be always be doing something. I have a hard time just sitting. But I need to just sit sometimes. To meditate on God, to read the Bible. Not because these things will make me feel better, but because they are the right things to do. Developing my relationship with Christ because it is exactly that, a relationship, not because I will feel less hurried in the end. That would be considered a selfish thing.
Sadly, I am incredibly selfish. I want to be just as busy but feel less hurried and I want it now. Spiritual formations do  not work like that. It is a slow process.
So what is the conclusion of these ramblings? I have a lot of stuff to do. I am selfish. I need Jesus. I need grace. We will see where I go from here.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Been There, Pinned That

(via pinterest)
I am currently recovering from a nasty cold which means I have been spending way to much on the couch browsing social media (ok, and binging on Netflix. But season 8 of Dr. Who is out!!) My go to time-waster after Instagram is Pinterest. It's just a perfect world of pretty pictures, inspiring recipes, and home decor goodness. I know some people can get down on Pinterest and the idea that it leads many to believe that they are somehow unworthy if their life is not "pin-worthy." While I understand and sympathize with that idea, it does not affect me strongly enough to stop browsing. To each his own, and if you do feel this way, no judgement. You do what you got to do. 

Here are some the most lust-worthy pins that I am currently drooling over. 
(via pinterest)
I kind of really want pink hair. Maybe yes?
(via pinterest)
The mom I envision myself being...
(via pinterest)
Shamelessly on board with the whole pineapple trend 
(via pinterest, a J. Crew ad)

J. Crew does it again! Give it all to me...





( via pinterest, seems to be originally from this Instagram)

Pretty much sums it up... 
Are you a Pinterest-aholic? Do you forgo the pins? Somewhere in between? Let me know. 


Feel free to follow me on Pinterest for more pinspiration (ok, i'll stop it with the puns). 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Traveling With A Baby

Pre-Disney packing with the little guy

While I have traveled quite a bit in my life, this is the first time that I have traveled with a small child that I was responsible for. Let me tell you, it is nerve-wracking! Our trip to Walt Disney World was the second long distance road trip that we have done this summer with our little bundle of joy. The first was a 12 hour drive out to Texas to visit my grandparents. Here are a few things that I learned from both experiences.

1. When in doubt, overpack
We had the luxury of packing our Suburban to the brim both times with baby gear. Usually, I abhor overpacking. I do not like taking a bunch of stuff that I end up not using. With a 2 month-old baby, you never know what you might need. I packed multiple extra outfits, tons of extra burp cloths, and three separate carrying devices (Solly Baby wrap, Ergobaby 360 carrier, and our BabyJogger City Select stroller).
The truth is that babies do not always behave the way you expect them to. Just because he is happy and relaxed today does not mean he will be that way tomorrow. So when you are not in your normal environment, it pays to have all the options available to you. Obviously, if you are flying then there is a limit to how much you can bring. I have yet to fly with him but I will definitely do a flying with baby post when that time comes. 

2. A little extra preparation on the front end equals more relaxation on the back end
Take the time to organize that extra bit. Set up a diaper changing station in the car or maybe pack outfits or similar articles of clothing in plastic resealable bags. I personally like to "setup up shop" when I get to the hotel room. By putting everything in it's own spot and organizing the room a little makes me feel less as I am going through my day. It also helps when it is time to pack up and go home. This trip, I really took advantage of the closet space in our hotel. I used the closets as a place to corral all the dirty laundry. When it was time to pack up, I simply had to open the closet and put all the things on the floor in the suitcase. Keeping all the clothes in one place kept the room from getting too dirty and sped up the packing process. 

3. Set yourself up for success
Make naps and feeding a priority. Do not let the expectations of others dictate your baby's schedule. This is hard for me because I am a people pleaser to the core. I had to come to terms with the fact that trying to fit my baby's schedule into someone else's plans was not going to turn out well for anyone. He was fussy or irritable because his napping and feeding pattern was disrupted by visits when we in Texas. At Disney, I was in charge of much of the planning so I worked to schedule our daily activities around his routine. There were still times, however, that I had to leave the fun to take care of him. You cannot have FOMO  as a parent. There will be many times that what is best for your baby is not what is the most fun for you. The payoff comes when you have a happy, content baby for longer periods of time. By missing out on a little here and there, you will have a overall more enjoyable travel experience.  

4. Be ok with winging it
There will be times that your best planning with fall through. There will not be a good place to nurse. You will forget your pack-n-play in the car after it has been valet parked and you can't get it (yes, I had to create a little bed on the floor for my 8 week-old baby. That same evening, I forgot to get extra diapers. #parentingfail) There is a strength to being able to roll with the punches. The first evening we were at Disney we had dinner reservations for a dinner-musical event. Little baby was screaming before we even got seated. I had a feeling he was hungry. I did not want to leave or make Scott leave but I knew that shoving the paci in the little guy's mouth was only going to work for so long. Thankfully, we were seated in the very back and the lights were fairly dim. I whipped out that nursing cover and tried my hand at my first public feeding session. It was difficult. I did not get to eat right away even though I was famished but the little guy was quieted. What had the makings of a disaster ended up being a pretty pleasant evening. Plus, I gained a whole lot of confidence from solving the problem.

5. Ask for help
This one is probably the hardest for me to come to terms with. I would consider myself and incredibly independent person. I have always enjoyed doing it myself. Well, this Disney trip would not have been possible if I had to do it on my own. Not only was my husband incredibly supportive and helpful, but my mother in-law went above and beyond to help out with the little guy. She would wait for us while we rode rides and took him back to the hotel early so we could move faster through the parks. She was basically super grandma. All of the planning in the world could not have made a difference without her help. I just had to be ok with asking for it.

The main thing is to do what you think is right for your family. If you do not know what to do, seek wise counsel. There are tons of men and women who are older and wiser out there. If you do not have someone who is an older parent, who you respect, then find someone. Even if it is to just bounce ideas off of, it will be very helpful. While there a few guiding principles that apply across the board, how they play out in each family is very different. Do what you think is best and if that does not work try something else. The goal is not being perfect from the beginning. Rather it is to find out what works for you and your baby. Keep that in mind when you are making travel plans and I am sure things will go more smoothly. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sisters, Sisters


The main reason we took this trip was to take my two littlest sisters to Walt Disney World. It would have been a pretty ridiculous decision to a 2 month old to Disney for any other reason. But for them, I was willing to make the sacrifice. I am 15 years older than my youngest sister. It a lot of ways I am more like a really fun aunt than a sister. Not  only am I much older but I also spent a good deal of their lives away, either at boarding school during high school or at college. The youngest one was a week old before I saw her when I got home for Christmas break. Despite the age difference and the physical distance we have stayed pretty close. I have always tried really hard to spend an extra special amount of time with each one because I get to see them so rarely. I try to be extra intentional because I know there is a lot that I am missing out on. This is was a huge motivating factor for taking this trip. 

Surprisingly, the sister I grew the most with over this trip was not the 11 year-old or the 9 year-old. It was my 16 year-old sister. I left for boarding school when she was 5 years old. Obviously, a 14 year-old and 5 year-old do not have that much in common so I really did not "know" her that well when I left. I guess I was not as intentional back then because I feel like a missed getting to her know for all of those years. I was already in college when she started high school and I was not home regularly so we did not have a ton of physical interaction for several years. This summer is one the longest times I have spent with her since high school. It has been like getting to know a whole new person.

This trip was precious for that reason. Not only did I get to thoroughly enjoy my two littlest sisters as they had a blast, but I got to spend some significant quality time with my middle sister. It is exciting when your siblings get older. Your friendship with them can deepen and become so much more than a sibling relationship. I am looking forward to seeing where ours is headed. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Happiest Place On Earth


We are back from Walt Disney World. It was an amazing trip. We took my three sisters, brother and his girlfriend. My mother in-law came to help out with baby. It was a lot of fun. Here are just a few snapshots from the week. 





Friday, August 14, 2015

We will back after this short break...


Well folks, I have returned from the happiest place on earth and I am completely exhausted. Was it a good decision to take 2 month old to Walt Disney World? It was not the worst decision ever. Even so, we had magical time. I am hoping to post some highlights as well as some stuff I learned on the trip soon. Right now, the massive pile of laundry is calling my name.

But first, coffee.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pack Rat

Flying to Europe over Christmas. Yes, that is a horse.

I love to travel. It is one of my favorite things. I do not care for packing, mainly because I hate getting destination and realizing that I forgot something essential. One time in high school, I was going away to a volleyball tournament. We were going to be gone 5 days. When I opened my toiletry bag, I realized that I had not packed a toothbrush. I panicked.  Sadly, I had to use the finger-toothpaste method because there were no stores near by. Needless to say, I chewed A LOT gum that week. 

Since then I have become a very thorough packer. There are a few things that I do to try and reduce the number of items I forget. First, I make a very detailed list. I list out pretty much everything that I will need. Sometimes I will simply write down vague categories like "toiletries" or "shorts" but I a lot of the time I like to list the items I am envisioning so I do not forget them. For example, if I am thinking of a specific outfit that I want to pack, I will list out the different articles of clothing so I do not forget a piece of it. I also like to be specific about the quantity of each item. There is hardly anything worse than running out of socks, especially if you are traveling during the winter.

While I am in the list-making stage, I like to plan out my outfits. I am not religious about this but I do like to have several outfits already planned in my mind before a trip. This helps eliminate some work while I am traveling because I will already know what I to want where. This also helps me pack smart. I try to take items that can be worn together. I try to mix and match as many articles of clothing as possible. This helps with space and overall efficiency. It also adds for a little variety. I can switch things up when outfit I planned falls flat since most of the pieces go together. 


Once my list is made, I begin to pack. I like to start a few days before my trip. I do not enjoy packing last minute. Usually, I have everything ready and waiting the night before I leave. I pack my last minute items, as I finish using them. For example, after I brush my teeth, I put my toothbrush in my bag. Same goes for my hair brush and make-up. This helps me to not overlook the smaller things in the hurry to get out the door on time. 

Lastly, I have to remind myself to chill out. I am probably going to forget something. It will not be the end of the world. Sometimes you just have to make the most out of an unfortunate situation. What is that quote about the best laid plans?

I am currently getting ready for a road trip to Disney World. I am putting my skills to the test because I am not only packing for myself but also my 2 month old son. Did you know that babies require a whole lot of stuff? His list is longer than mine by far. This is his second road trip We learned a lot after the first one and I am hoping to refine some techniques on this one.  I will put together another post specifically about traveling with a baby after we get back.

Any thoughts on packing? I am the only neurotic one out there?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Amateur Hour

My little sister looking all professional
As I mentioned in my first post, part of the reason I started this blog was to serve as a form of external motivation. I am HORRIBLE at completing projects. It is not that I am too busy or my schedule is too full. I just do not always to do the best job at prioritizing my time. I always get everything that I NEED to do done, but I do not necessarily make time for the little extra things. In this case, I am talking about photography.



Photography is something that I have always wanted to be good at. For longest time, I was just scared to put myself out there. I was concerned that if I told people that I wanted to be into photography that they would judge me or something. It is interesting that sometimes the main thing that holds me back is not an actual hurdle or obstacle, but what other people might think. Plus, who are these "other" people anyways? The mini moral of the story is, I was too self conscious to pursue something that I was interested in. Pretty lame, if you ask me. So after finally realizing that I should not let the feelings of others define my personal pursuits, I broke down and bought a camera. Well, actually my husband dragged me to Brandsmart and forced me to buy a camera. He watched me agonize for months over which model was best, which brand was most well received etc. I get buyer's remorse very easily, a fact he knows well. I need that extra push to pull the trigger. I am incredibly thankful that he forced my hand. I probably would still be reading reviews if it was not for him. I settled on a Canon 70D. I love it. It feels great. I am slowly overcoming my fear of carrying it around in public. It is not the biggest camera ever but it definitely looks out of place next to someone snapping a pic with an iPhone. However, the excitement and joy I have from taking pictures and learning about the camera is definitely outweighing any nervous feelings I have.

Over the weekend I got together with a few people to have an informal tutorial session with a friend who is very good at photography. It was a blast! We practiced shooting manually and adjusting a variety of settings. It was exactly the experience I needed to boost my confidence. It was also incredibly helpful to be able to ask questions and get help from a live person. I am currently going through the A Beautiful Mess DSLR Basics class which is great but I needed a little face to face time with a photographer to help fill in some of the holes.

I just wanted to share some of the shots from our session. Keep me accountable, folks! I want to improve my skills and better way than through posting stuff here!




Saturday, August 1, 2015

#reallifeselfie


This is real life. Grungy t-shirt, pajama bottoms, messy hair, and a cranky baby. This is a real deal selfie. No Instagram filter here. Being a parent can be rough. It is not the waking up in the middle of the night to feed or doing loads upon loads of laundry when your baby keeps spitting up. It is the uncertainty. I do not know what the best thing for my child is 100% of the time. As a person who loves to plan and make fully informed decisions, this can drive me crazy! For example, I read several articles about the best blogging platform before I picked this one. I like having research to back up my decisions. I do not care to "just wing it." With parenting, there is not always a clearly superior decision. Everyone has their opinions and are quick to defend them (sidenote: DO NOT read the comments when looking up parenting or child rearing articles. You will get sucked into a blackhole of snarkiness). However, a lot the information that is out there is just that, someone's opinion. It can be difficult to know if you are getting the cold hard truth or if there is even a real "best" answer. 

So how do you keep from becoming crippled by indecisiveness? Well, for me, it is a lot of seeking advice followed by naive confidence. The first person I turn to if I have parenting/baby related question is my mom. With five kids of her own, of which I am the oldest, it is likely that she has already encountered the problem I am faced with and knows a quick easy solution. It is wonderful having someone who I can talk to without being judged. Sadly, one the hardest parts about being a parent, especially a mom, is the loneliness. It may be just me, but does it seem like all young moms are in this sort of secret competition? I just get the feeling that I am being judged based on how well my baby seems to be doing at the time. It is probably just my own insecurities coming out but if anyone feels the same way, let me know. There is no need for moms, especially new ones, to be competing with each other. This whole having-a-new-baby thing is enough work on its own. There is no need to complicate it. That is why having someone who is older and wiser is so valuable. I trust my mom's advice not only because she is my mom and she has good judgement but because I know that she has dealt with pretty much every situation a parent can encounter. It is incredibly important to pull from those type of resources when making decisions. 

The second thing that I fall back on is just pure naiveté. I realize that I do not know everything. I also realize that I am greatly lacking when it comes to experience. If I had to know everything right before making a decision, I would never decide on anything. Sometimes you have to just jump in and see what happens. I am confident in my instincts and trust the wisdom that I get from others. After that though, I just have to go with it. There are definitely a lot of "fake it till you make it" moments in parenting. I am hoping that it gets better with time. From what I can tell, it does. 

For all of the ups and downs, I would not trade it for the world. I love my little baby even if he is covered in spit up and poop most of the time. It may not be pretty but it is pretty great. 

For feel to comment and share thoughts or suggestions. I would ask that people refrain from negativity. Like I said before, let's not fall into a pattern of bashing on other people's choices.