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Friday, September 23, 2016

I Forgot Who I Was: How Pregnancy Changed Me.

I'm sure you read that and think, Ah, yes. She got pregnant and lost her identity. She became a mom and motherhood swallowed her. She forgot who she was because she was just a mom. Because we've all heard one version or another of that story before.

But that's not true for me. See, I forgot who I was before I got pregnant.

Not in a huge way. Not in a life-crisis kind of way. I didn't go flying off the deep end, I didn't have an affair, I didn't hate my life. In fact, I was actually pretty happy. We were getting closer and closer to the end of med-school. I had a good job. My weekends were filled with drinks and dancing with friends, rooftop pool days, and lazy brunches.

The forgetting who I was wasn't accompanied by a huge bout of depression or a drastic circumstance. It happened little by little, so far under the surface of everyday life that I really didn't even notice it.

I stopped writing as much, (outside of blogging) because it wasn't turning out to be hugely successful for me. I stopped doing things I liked, like browsing thrift stores for fun, because I didn't have anyone to go with, and it felt lame to go by myself. I'm a huge dreamer and planner, but our future was so up in the air with Match Day coming up, that I kind of just stopped planning and even dreaming about the future.

And then. Jack. 

Getting pregnant reminded me of who I was. 

I've said before that baby Jack was a surprise, but once the shock wore off ( six months later? haha), I started thinking about the kind of life I wanted him to have and the kind of person I wanted to teach him to be. Kind, thankful, adventurous, unique, passionate. I wanted him to follow his dreams, no matter what they were. I wanted him to find something he loved and set the world on fire.

And then I thought...remember when I wanted those things for me, too? What happened?

I wasn't a bad person. I wasn't wasting my life. I wasn't even really unhappy. I just wasn't me. 

I didn't have to reinvent who I was, I just had to remember who I was. And being handed a brand new, fussy, tiny little baby did just that. From the moment I saw him, everything just felt so clear. It was like the proverbial fog cleared and I could instantly see what I wanted my life to be, who I wanted to be, and what was the most important.

I've read a lot of stories about how having a baby made moms lose their identity. That it made them forget who they were. I just wanted to offer another perspective.

Having a baby reminded me of who I was. Becoming a mom helped me find my way back to the version of myself that I loved the most. And I will always, always be so thankful for that.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thirty-Six Weeks With Jack: Allllll of The Pictures.

Sometimes a week can go by and not seem spectacular in any way. I love looking back at these weeks with Jack through pictures because it really does show me that there's something special about every week, even if it doesn't seem like it. 

We took Jack to a small group with us last night, and someone asked if he was just in a good mood or if he was always so happy. And the answer is honestly that he's just a happy baby..we hit the jackpot with him, that's for sure. 

Week Thirty-Three:

these open mouth smiles kill me // the bouncer is still your favorite // you've been playing on your own more and more // snuggling with Clifford 

Making it through our first "hurricane" // the prettiest eyes! // so happy // chewing on your fingers is your new hobby

Week Thirty-Four:

You can fall asleep pretty much anywhere we go and it's the absolute best // your first time ever in a swing // you loved it // the cutest little fox bib 

So surprised about something // just sitting with Clifford // oh those cheeks! // you eat real food now!

My little deer  // you're the happiest in your swing // my three guys // just snuggling a scarecrow at hobby lobby

Week Thirty-Five:

puppy pjs // cutest little pool boy // sweet snuggles // you talk with your hands more and more 

our little baby gator // so happy on our morning walks // my little bestie // sometimes you just crack yourself up laughing 

bottle break // you love going on walks // just a little baby yoga // getting a workout in

Week Thirty-Six: 

all the heart eyes, ever for these guys // my favorite smile // you're so social! // you're getting bigger and bigger, but when you're sleepy, you snuggle just like you did when you were a newborn

You were asleep in your pjs and we had to run to the store, and you woke up when we got there. You weren't upset, but you were SUPER suspicious and it was hilarious // holding onto that swing for dear life // so happy to wake up //oh hello there

These are the best weeks of my life. Love you, little dude. 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Making it Feel Like Fall When You Live on The Surface of The Sun || Celebrating Fall With JORD.

You know what makes me so happy? Seeing all sorts of fall posts pop up. Especially the fashion posts. Plaid and sweaters and boots..fall staples make me swoon. Fall fashion has my heart. 

But you know what makes me sad? Seeing all of these fall staples and then remembering that I live on the surface of the sun in Florida, and that, save for a possible few weeks in January, these fall staples would do less of making me look cute and fall-ready and more of making me look like I was suffering from a heat stroke (because I would be). 

So, if you're like me and you're obsessed with fall, but live somewhere that resembles the desert no matter what time of year it is, you have to get a little creative in getting dressed. Knee-high boots and oversized sweaters? Not so much. Fall-themed accessories? Yes, please. 

I've picked up a few fall-colored floppy hats, but still had my eye out for something extra. When JORD Wood Watches asked if I'd like to collaborate and sent a picture of this unique watch, I knew I had found that something extra. 

How gorgeous is this wooden watch?

It is so perfect for fall. First things first, it adds no layers. So you can dress for fall even if it is still over 90 degrees outside (Because it is. It definitely is). And it manages to be a fall staple without simply being black or brown, something that I love. If you know me, you know I'm all about color in every season.

JORD zebrawood and turquoise watch

It's going to be on repeat all fall long. I love that I can throw a floppy hat and this watch on with a dress and feel instantly more like fall, even though I'm not wearing tights or a jacket. Also, one of my favorite things about it is that your watch is made for how you want it to fit your wrists, something I love since I love wearing my watches loose, like a bracelet.

JORD zebrawood and turquoise watch

The people over at JORD were nice enough to offer a giveaway so head on over here to enter to win a gift certificate so you can buy your own gorgeous watch. Bonus: You get a $20 coupon code emailed to you just for entering!

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches, however, my obsession with fall and wooden watches is 100% my own.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Things I Believe in This Week.

Enjoying what you like to the fullest, no matter what anyone else says. Something that has confused me lately is people saying things like, "Oh my gosh, can you stop with the pumpkin spice latte?! It's overrated and I hate pumpkin." Why is this a thing?! I love pumpkin. PSL's are one of my favorite things about fall. Sure, they're way popular...for a reason. Let's let everyone just enjoy what they like. 

Waking up a little bit earlier to have a little bit extra time is always worth it. Those few quiet moments in the morning are GOLD. 

Also worth it: Pushing yourself just a little bit outside of your comfort zone. I am incredibly introverted when it comes to new things and new people (something I'm trying to change!) and because of this, I've always kind of avoided having people over. What if it's awkward? What if I burn dinner? What if my house isn't clean enough, or my baby cries the whole time? What if I'm awkward and we can't find anything to talk about? 

Having the new house and being in a new town has pushed me to want to get over this, and we've been inviting some new friends to dinner, and not only has it not been terrible, but it's actually been really fun. 

Realizing that you're not a failure just because you didn't mark everything off of your to-do list. Or even half of everything. Life happens, and it rarely happens according to a to-do list. 

Yoga. I am laughing at myself even just typing this, but I have fallen crazy in love with yoga. I had a very terrible, rotten, no good day yesterday, and I had all but decided to skip all workout-related things. But I decided to go ahead and do the day of yoga (I'm doing 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene) and it ended up being exactly what I needed. Deep breaths, deep stretches, deep focusing. Seriously, I love it. 

What do you believe in this week?

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Big Little Things.

Sometimes life is really great. Sometimes life is really hard. But there are always little things that are a big deal because of how they make you feel. The little bits of happiness in life should be celebrated way more often than they are. Here are some of mine from the last few weeks. 

Fall Candles. Pumpkin. Apple pie. Bonfire. Fall smells so good, and some genius has figured out how to make our houses smell like that, even if we haven't our baked apple pies or made our bonfires yet. Not all heroes wear capes.

Hanging out on the patio while Jack swings and Chris grills dinner. We were doing this and playing cornhole a few days ago and I told him, this is what I always imagined having a house would be like. I still can't believe we actually own a house and it gives me major feels on a weekly basis.

Drinking a pumpkin spice while walking the aisles of Hobby Lobby. Is there any better way to spend an hour entire day?

Downloading an Audible book where the narrator does a really good job reading the story and doesn't have an annoying voice. Also: Listening to a non-fiction book where the narrator reads just as enthusiastically as a fiction book, not just in a monotone. 

Fall porch decorations. I said on instagram that this was 92% of the reason I was excited to have a house, and I'm only 3% exaggerating. Realllllly hoping to keep the mums alive this year, but we'll see. (We'll see = We'll watch and see me slowly kill them).

What are your little things?
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Friday, September 16, 2016

5 Books That Changed My Life.

I started this out as a single post, but to be honest, it's definitely going to be a series of posts. There's just no way to fit all the books I've felt were life-changing into one single blog post.

I'm kind of hippie-esque in the sense that I think every book you read changes your life in some small way. Even the bad ones have some small influence on your views or opinions. But these are (five of) the books that just straight up changed my life for one reason or another. 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know this is a popular, more recent read, but it was a truly life-changing read for me. I think anyone with a creative side (or passion for anything, really) should read this. I listened to this one on Audible and there were so many times that I was talking out loud, saying YES, me too, me too, me too.

I felt like I had so much in common with the author, especially when she talked about her childhood (growing up to be afraid of calling to make a dinner reservation [why?!], being timid and afraid to ask for what you want), and fear of wanting a creative life.

She writes that pursuing a creative life is a wonderful gift to yourself. You don't have to make money from your passion, you don't have to make a career out of it in order to be successful. If your creativity brings you joy, you're already a success. 

Read this if: You consider yourself a creative, or you want to be.

Paper Towns by John Green. I've talked about my zealous-like love for this book before. Even though it's about seniors in high school, I think everyone can understand the sudden desire for things to be different, the need for something exciting to happen, and the panic that comes along with big life changes. This book covers all of that.

Honestly, I'm not sure why this was so life-changing for me. I just know that it was. That when I finished it, it took me a long time to be able to get into another book, because I had that book that just changed your life hangover going on. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's the EXACT kind of book I want to write one day. 

Read this if: You enjoy YA lit or John Green books.

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge. My dad read this book and then mailed everyone he's ever loved a copy of it within 24 hours. He doesn't recommend books so passionately very often, so I paid attention and read the copy he sent me. And I'm so glad I did...I don't think there has ever been a book I've read that so quickly changed such a huge part of my life.

My faith, which is a giant part of who I am, is something that is ever changing. I think that's true for everyone. It changes based on what you go through, it changes based on who is speaking into your life, what books you're reading, etc, etc. Your faith gets stronger, it gets weaker, you have questions, you find's a lifelong journey, you know?

I grew up in church and have always been around it in some aspect. I think a lot of times, religion comes in and focuses on "do" and "do not" more than focusing on Jesus as a person. When reading this, I had to ask myself, "Have I ever actually thought about the type of person Jesus was?"

It's a beautiful, beautiful book. It talks about Jesus' personality in a way that almost felt irreverent, but were exactly what I needed to reset my perspective. 

Read this if: Your view of Jesus has become (or has always been) monotonous and not personal, and you'd like to change that. Or if maybe you've become accustomed to the views of just one church or just one person, and would like to explore more of what your own views of Jesus may be. 

The Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn. This is a sweet, sweet young adult series. I grew up with Christy. If you haven't read my blog for too long, you might not know that my parents ripped me away from everything I knew in our home in Tenessee (did that sound dramatic enough?) and moved us to Florida the week I was turning fourteen (the horror). I didn't know anyone at all. Christy is in a similar boat. 

Here's the thing about this series: I have always been a good, rule-following, stick to the plan girl. Always. Also a little awkward, but that's beside the point. And in all the YA books I've read featuring girls like that, the big breakout moment happens when the girl changes who she is, or she takes a major risk or breaks the rules or goes skinny dipping or something drastic like that. And, even as a young teenager, I knew that was just never going to be me. 

But here's a series about an awkward, rule-following girl who I had pretty much everything common with, and things worked out pretty good for her. She meets a surfer boy named Todd who, since he is a fictional character, is basically everyone's dream guy. When I felt so depressed over moving to Florida, my mom would say to me, "Maybe you needed to come here so you could meet your Todd." 

In one of the books, Todd takes Christy to Disney for Christmas. The first year we were dating, Chris took me to Disney for Christmas, and I remember coming home that night and telling my mom, "I think I might have found my Todd." 

I cannot tell you how many times I thought about Christy as I as growing up. She may have been fictional, but she was a pretty good role model.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac. This is the first book I studied after switching my major to English (the best and worst decision, as I'm sure all English majors can agree), and I cried so many times while reading it because it just made me feel like yes, this is where I'm supposed to be. Side note: I may have accidentally named my baby after this author.

It's a fascinating look into that era, into author's lives (something we actually don't see a lot of books about!), and into the mind of someone who is desperate for life to happen to him.

It's a raw (and often severely inappropriate, at times) book, but it woke something up inside of me that has stayed awake ever since. It walks the line of life can be so good if you just out there and live it and life is so hard, we've just got to do what we can to survive.

Read this if: You're interested in the beat movement. Or you've been itching for some adventure in your own life and you need some inspiration. I will say that because of the way it's written, go into it less like you're reading a novel and more like you're turning to some art for inspiration, if that makes sense.

I'll be back with many more, but we'll stop at five for now. Your turn: What's a book that changed your life?
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Letters to Jack: 8 Months.

Sweet Baby Jack, 

As I'm writing this, I'm drinking pumpkin coffee and have the doors open because it's 70 degrees outside (pretty amazing for a Florida September!), and you're hanging out in your pack & play, playing with your stuffed Clifford the Big Red Dog. It's the kind of morning where it's nearly impossible to not feel thankful. You make me so thankful. 

Life with you gets better every day-it's a cliche, yes, but a true one! Your personality shows itself a little more each day. You laugh more, "talk" more, and have the funniest attitude. You love swinging, Gatsby, and going for walks. 

I can't decide if these 8 months flew by or if they feel like 8 years. I can vividly remember the first moment I saw you as if it were yesterday, but it feels like you've always been a part of us. 
Being your mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, and it's my favorite thing I've ever done. Honestly, we're kind of just winging it together, but you seem to be happy and healthy, and that's all that matters. 

This time of year (from now until December) is my absolute favorite. I'm so excited to get to celebrate all of your first holidays with you. Baking pumpkin treats with you, dressing you up for your first Halloween, celebrating your first Thanksgiving, and then's going to be the best.

I don't have the words to tell you how wonderful I think you are or how much I love being your mom, but I hope that one day you will read these letters and see just how much I have always loved you, and just how much you've added to my life. You take a normal Wednesday in September and make it pretty magical with your tiny giggles and sweet babbles.

Love you to the moon and back, little love. 
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