Before Emery was born, I felt so sure of two things. The first was that my darker traits would most likely dominate in the making of our child, giving me a little "mini me" when I found out that we were having a girl. The second was that given Kyle's naturally analytical, more serious nature (as opposed to my somewhat flighty, loud crazy self) would assure me the position of being the "fun" parent. You know what I'm talking about; the parent that your baby is ALWAYS excited to see no matter what, the parent in the relationship that the baby will actively reach for and crawl to for playtime, and the parent who can virtually do no wrong in their child's eyes. The funny thing about pre-baby assumptions is that they're usually wrong, and these two assumptions of mine were no exception. Our daughter came out looking exactly like a miniature female version of Kyle, and although she likes me plenty, Kyle definitely takes the cake when it comes to the "fun parent" title. While pregnant I thought I'd be upset at loosing in the race of genes and affection from our daughter, but the second I actually saw Kyle become a father the day Emery was born, I knew without a doubt that I'd give the win to him any day of the week. With this year being Kyle's first "official" Father's Day, I thought that I'd indulge a little bit and let him (and all of you reading) in on a few things that Emery and I think make him such a wonderful dad. So, without any further adieu, here's our little list of love for our favorite guy. ❤️
5 Things Emery & I LOVE about Kyle (or Dada - still working on getting Em to say it)
A very happy Father's Day this weekend to all of the dads out there, and especially to our sweet Kyle. We love you dearly and really do think that you're the best!
It was 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday, and as I heard my daughter's whines and cries of "mama" through the baby monitor I groaned and remembered the days when my only alarm clock on the weekends was sunlight through the curtains and my hungry stomach ready for breakfast. I nudged Kyle to see if he would get up and bring Emery into our room, and he made the joke that she was calling for me, and to be glad that she at least knows how to say my name (we're still working on the whole "dada" thing 😉 ). I rolled my eyes and then got out of bed to go get Emery, and couldn't help but smile when I opened the door to her bedroom and saw her immediately light up and start bouncing and squawking excitedly at my arrival to take her out of her crib. I brought her into bed with Kyle and I with hopes of having us all go back to sleep for a little bit longer, but quickly gave up on the idea once I realized that Emery was up and ready to party, and making it clear by bouncing and crawling over every surface of our bed. I thought again back to mine and Kyle's pre-baby days of sleeping in, but this time I smiled because I knew that the way that things are now bring so much more happiness than sleeping in late on a Sunday morning. Life as a mother brings SO many challenges, but the blessings that it carries far outweighs any sort of frustration or struggle encountered along the way.
I had a friend/small shop owner pose the question in a Facebook group, "What is your favorite part about being a mom"? As different mamas posted their individual answers to the question, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of love that I could see each of these women had for their children. It also made me think long and hard about what specifically I love most about being a mom. There's obviously a million things that could be added to that list, but the more I thought about the question, the more I realized just how much value the knowledge of it's answer holds. So in honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I decided to sit and write a message to my one sweet daughter about my absolute favorite things about being her mom. I write the letter for her, in hopes that she'll one day look back and read about how much she's always been loved, but I also write for me, so that on those days when dreaded "mom guilt" steps in and I feel like I'm not doing nearly as well as I should be, I can look back and read and remember all of those most important things that bring me so much joy, and I feel like that will make all of the difference.
A very happy Mother's Day to all of my fellow mamas out there, whether you're a mom of two, ten, one, a mom-to-be, a mama with angel babies, grand-babies, and anything in between. I love you all dearly, and think that you're all amazing for all that you do. Enjoy your day for you!
em's shirts, snail print shorts, snail print dress: c/o ahoy amigo (use code SIMPLYPETT to save)
raindrop bow: sapling + knots (use code SWEETEMERY to save) | hat+ denim shorts: target
blue gingham bow: saywer & sloane | floral headband: little ms kays | moccs: rad moccs
If there is one thing that could be "defined" as one of my character traits, it is that unless my livelihood depends on it, I will choose fun over work pretty much every single time. Some might consider this a flaw because when there's lots of fun to be had, a lot of the work (cough cough, housework, grocery shopping, blogging, etc....) tends to get pushed to the side. Although those things have most definitely taken a backseat this past month, as I go back and reflect on what I spent my month doing, I don't regret choosing fun one single bit. H (the little boy I nanny for those just checking in) got a new little sister, so while he gets to spend time with his mommy and new baby for a few months, for the first time really since Em's been born I've been able to really experience what it's like to be a stay-at-home mom to just my one sweet little girl. We've been incredibly busy - we went to Utah to visit family, pulled an all nighter for a year's worth of free pizza, tried frozen yogurt for the first time (for Emery at least... heaven knows I've had my fair share of the dessert 😜 ), had Emery's first Easter, go on walks several times a week and are constantly outside and on the go with friends and Kyle when he's free from school. With everything that's been going on, I've found that I have very little time for things like social media and just media in general, and I'm surprised at just how OK I feel about being a little bit detached from it all. For memories sake I've still taken/posted plenty of pictures (big Chatbooks fan over here), but it has been so cleansing to just take a step back from everything else and live life simply for the sake of enjoying it in that very moment just how it is, and to not have to worry about what everyone else in the social media world is doing. For the first time ever I feel like I've gained a better understanding of what #childhoodunplugged really means, and I have a higher motivation to expand that from Emery to myself and try to live my own life a little more "unplugged". Summertime is quickly coming, and along with the warmer weather and summer festivities is Emery's first birthday and the realization that my sweet little girl will soon be a toddler and no longer a baby. These years are so short, and everyday I want to do my best to make sure that I'm soaking them in as much as I possibly can. So expect to see more messy knees and hair, comfy summer clothes (these cute ones from Ahoy Amigo are literally perfect for babies/toddlers), and probably lots more pictures of things like ice cream and outside walks and playdates, and other "typical" life as we know it types of pictures/posts. Since those are a few of Emery's favorite things right now, I fully intend to enjoy them all with her and give her the best living-in-the-moment, "unplugged" summer & childhood that I can. ❤️
Dear Sweet Mama,
I'm writing to you today to share a short story in hopes that maybe you can relate; so that if you ever find yourself in a similar state of mind or situation, you can find peace in knowing that you're not alone and that you're doing a good job. I heard a statistic that stated that as a parent, one is able to feel higher emotional highs and lower lows than ever felt before having children. Since having Emery I've been blessed with experiences to feel those highest highs, but this last week has shown me what some of those darkest, lowest lows feel like, thus the point in my writing this story....
You see, this last week my sweet baby girl got sick with croup. Although I now know that croup is actually very common in young babies and toddlers, I didn't fully understand it at first, and in my mind my daughter had caught an illness equivalent to polio. The doctor in the emergency room made it sound like Emery's cough was no big deal (which was frustrating because the only reason that we went to the ER in the first place was because a doctor on the phone had told us to go in just in case she had croup) and I felt completely helpless because everything that the doctors were telling me to do to help the cough I already was doing with no success. All I knew for certain was that Emery had an awful cough, that it was the worst at night, and that somehow it had to be my fault that she was sick.
There were so many times in the middle of the night that Emery would wake up coughing and crying, and after calming her down and getting her back to sleep I would lie awake in bed unable to relax because I knew that another coughing attack was only a short 30 minutes to an hour away. It was during those dark hours in the night that I experienced some of those low points mentioned above, and the heavy sense of guilt and self-doubt was almost unbearable. I spent my nights blaming myself for taking Emery out in public too much, letting too many people hold her at the family Christmas parties, and wondering if she would have even gotten sick had she still been on breastmilk as opposed to formula. No matter the scenario I was always in the wrong, and the negativity combined with the lack of sleep wore on me phyisically, mentally, and emotionally.
Now that Emery is finally on the mend and I've had a chance to reflect on the situation with a more clear mind (and after several gentle reminders from my forever patient husband) I've come to learn an extrememly valuable lesson. Occassionaly as a parent, bad and/or scary experiences are going to happen with my children. I'm absolutely positive that there will be more colds, scraped knees, and possibly even another trip to the ER in my child's future and that is OK. It is not my fault, everything will turn out well in the end, and ultimately as long as I'm doing my part to love and take care of my child as much as I can and in the best way that I know how, then I am doing a good job as a mother, and guess what mama, SO ARE YOU. In fact, I bet that you're even doing a better job than you think. Society puts so much pressure on us as women and mothers to be "perfect", and even with how heavy that societal pressure is, I still feel like in many cases it's nowhere near as bad as the pressure that we put on ourselves.
So relax a little bit, go hug your babies tight, and know that you are an amazing woman and mother. If you feel like it, once you've been able to convince yourself of that insanely important truth, go tell another mama you know that they're doing an amazing job too. Despite how much happiness it brings, momming is definitely not the easiest job in the world, and I deeply believe that it's made a little bit easier with support from loved ones and friends. Thank you for letting me share my story with you, and know that I very much consider you a wonderful friend. ♥︎
Before Kyle and I came out to Kentucky, I worked at a credit union for about 3 1/2 years. I worked through a total of four January's, and every year I would see the same trend of individuals coming in to work at their New Year's resolution to reduce the amount of debt that they had accured in the previous year. People would try anything from consolidation loans to cash only budgets, and unfortunately much like most resolutions, I'd see individuals slip back into their old spending habits by Spring to yet another year of overspending. Working so closely with people's finances had quite the impact on me, and that combined with marrying an extrememly frugal/money smart man, changed me from someone who loved shopping and spending to someone who still loves shopping, but also loves to save and enjoys a sense of fnancial security. Last fall, one of my girlfriends mentioned that she was trying to do a "No Spend November" and invited me to join in. At that point in time I had already started on my Christmas shopping and knew that it wouldn't be a realistic goal for me to achieve, but I really liked the concept and decided that it was something that I would still like to try and put into practice at a better time. That better time has come, and I am all set (and four days into) what I'm calling my NO SPEND NEW YEAR! I'm really excited to see the results of my little challenge, and hope that you'll join in on the fun with me! The best part about it? It's free! (Though let's admit it, it'd have to be to be a true no spend challenge 😉 )
So, here's how it will work. For the month of January, starting on the 1st (or whenever you're able to join in) and ending on January 30th, the goal is to not spend any extra or "unneccessary" money. To start the challenge, you'll want to sit down with your finances and first figure out what counts and necessary and what does not. For Kyle and I, it helped to write it down so that we knew for each of us what would need to be to cut out. Here's a basic example of our list:
Once you have your list written out, then the rest of the month is the easiest/hardest part of the challenge, which is to actually stick to your list of needs. It's easy because there's not necessarily any budgeting that needs to be done (which for me is always a challenge because it's so boring and tricky to figure out) but it is tricky becuase it requires having to be honest with yourself when out shopping and deciding what really is a basic need and what fits into what is inevidably the longer list of wants. It's only been four days and I've already had to remind myself that buying new clothes for Emery fits into the "want" catagory because even though clothing is technically a baby need, it's not so much a need when she already has a closet full of clothes that fit her just fine. 😉 I feel like the hardest part about these challenges is that they can sometimes seem to take all of the fun out of life because so many things do cost money (date nights, home decor, new outfits, etc.) which is why the second part of this challenge for me is going to be working to find ways to take the things that would normally cost money in order to have fun, and find different ways to do them for free! Throughout the month I'll be sharing money free ideas for date nights, fashion, home organization, and fitness and maybe even a few other things along the way depending on what I run into! I can't wait to get to the end of the month so that I can see realistically how much Kyle and I could save if we do cut down to just the basics! I know that it's not realistic to have every month be a basics only month, but am hoping that being able to see the savings grow will create a stronger motivation in the future to cut down on a few more of those wants to save for a rainy day in the future. I hope that you'll all join along with me! Do you have anything specific that you'd like to see done in a money free way? If so, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and I'd be happy to work through the challenge and put your ideas and challenges into a post! Do you have any special secrets on how you do things money free that you'd want to share? If so, email me and let's collab! I can't wait to see what this month brings and what fun things we can come up with along the way!
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.