New Year, New Me?

I’ve never been much on New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always thought if you didn’t like something about yourself then you should just change those things anytime rather than waiting for January 1st to roll around in efforts to better yourself.

But I got to thinking about my past year and the many topics that have bothered me throughout the year 2018 and I decided that maybe a new year with a new outlook wouldn’t be such a bad idea?

So here’s my try to a new me and things that ate me to my core or things that needed improvement in 2018:

1. Motherhood. Motherhood is the most rewarding and hardest thing in the history of ever. There were days that I would literally wish away in an effort to start over fresh tomorrow. Countless hours crying, feeling sorry for myself, overwhelmed, feeling like a failure, the list goes on and on. This year will only get harder as I will be throwing another babe into the mix, but this year I want to relish the moments, even the bad ones, and learn to love and nurture in what I believe to be a more “motherly manor”.

2. Marriage. My husband is amazing, there’s no question about that. But if one little thing didn’t go my way, or I felt unnoticed, or less than enough, or if I was told no then I shut down. I wanted him to step up in other ways as a father that I felt he should be doing but in reality he was doing more than his fair share in his own little way. We struggled with communication in 2018 than any other year of our marriage and it ATE. ME. ALIVE. I hated it. HATED IT. But I’m slowly but surely learning when to shut my mouth and give him space. He deserves the world’s greatest wife because he is truly the world’s greatest man.

3. Health/Wellness. Before my miscarriages I became super in tune with my body and developed a love for fitness. Unfortunately from miscarriage complications, I could no longer tolerate exercise and I’m the kind of idiot that resorts to food for comfort. I finally got back on the bandwagon a few months ago only to quickly be stopped by my excruciating hip pain. Y’all, this hip pain has been the most debilitating thing I’ve ever endured. I mean EVER. I tried many things to help it but all efforts failed. Today I went to the chiropractor for the first time for my hip pain and I left walking. My pain on a good day is usually a 6/10 but since my appointment today I have been a solid 2-3/10 and I feel like I am winning at life. I don’t know if this is temporary, but for the moment I have relief and I have been able to play with my baby and clean the gutters on our house! Please, hold the commentary on what I should and shouldn’t do. I want to love myself again and the way I feel and I’ll be darned if I rob myself of that this year.

4. Christianity. I have been a lousy Christian these past few months, really ever since Ezra was born. I don’t look forward to going to church, I don’t pray nearly as much as I used to, and I think negative thoughts about silly things a lot. I made myself feel better by primarily listening to Christian music, but it’s not the same thing as having a true relationship with Him. My faith and my beliefs have always been very important to me and the basis of my foundation, but I really let it slip in 2018. I focused on myself without help from Him and I promise you I felt it more than I’m happy to admit. This year my #1 goal is to strengthen my relationship with God because I need Him and I know everything else will fall back into place once I put Him back at the center of my life. I am not Mrs. Fix-It and how dare I think I am?

5. Depression. I have literally never admitted this to anyone before this blog, but in 2018 I was depressed. I struggled with feeling lonely, worthless, and not good enough for I can’t tell you how many months this year. Going back to motherhood, it is such an isolating feeling when you are basically a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I am able to stay at home and be with my baby and I love that I get to raise my kid, but y’all let’s not sugar coat this topic. Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the loneliest things I’ve ever done in my life. You spend hours and hours with a human that obviously loves you more than anything in this world but can’t talk back to you, and doesn’t really interact with you for a long time. I am a social butterfly and I hungered for a conversation with someone. Going back to the marriage issue, my husband needs to come home and wind down after a long day of work and his way of winding down is not talking and being by himself for a little while. The two issues mixed together for me were like a fatal car crash. I began to lose who I was as a person. I began calling my mom for literally the dumbest reasons ever (and still do) so I can hear another voice respond back to me. I longed for the days I had to work because that meant I got to be around adults and they would speak to me!! What a concept! I tried talking to a few people about it and everyone said they understood what I was going through, and I believe they did to an extent, but there were days I literally didn’t want to go on because that meant I had to face my lonely reality. It brings tears to my eyes to reflect on these moments. But I will overcome this disease and I will be a happy person because I’ll be darned if I make myself, my husband, or my children take the beating for my self pity. I owe it to every single one of us to focus on my well-being and be the best Christian/wife/mother/friend WHATEVER I need to be.

Moral of the story? Maybe New Year’s Resolutions aren’t so bad. But I have to actually resolve problems rather than work on them for a few months and then give up because life got hard. And I need every single person that reads this blog to hold me accountable. If that’s only one person (and by one person I mean myself 😬), then by golly I’ll hold myself accountable! If anyone else is reading this, I’m here for you on your journey to better yourself and meet your goals as well!

So, with all that being said, what does your New Year, New You look like?

Badge of Honor

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by Regina George (Jk 🙈). But seriously- raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by yourself. 🙋‍♀️ I’ve got my hand held high. I should really be waving both of them around like a crazy woman.

Personal info coming at ya live in 5…4…3…2…1…

Before I got pregnant with Ezra, I weighed 137 lbs. Birth weight was 174. And weight as of yesterday was 153. Obviously I gained more than I was supposed to and I still have several pounds to lose before I reach my pre-pregnancy weight… 16 lbs. to be exact and boy if I haven’t reminded myself daily. I also had zero stretch marks on my tummy my entire pregnancy. One week postpartum I lost 21 lbs. and gained a tummy full of stretch marks due to rapid weight loss. I was ecstatic about the weight loss but completely devastated by my new stripes.

Will my husband still find me attractive? Will I ever wear another two piece bathing suit? Will people judge me or be disgusted when they see them? Will Ezra one day ask me why I have those funny looking lines on my tummy when other people don’t?

These are questions I have asked myself time and time again. And they’re questions I’ve battled in my head over and over. And they are questions that need answers.

Will my husband still find me attractive? He assures me often that I’m beautiful- now I have to accept his uplifting comments for what they truly are and believe them. Will I ever wear another two piece bathing suit? Eventually. Not today, not tomorrow, and next week isn’t looking so promising either, but I’m working daily to get there. Will people judge me or be disgusted when they see them? Of course. There will always be someone who’s never been there or known someone with stretch marks and I can promise you someone will judge me. How do I know? Because I’ve been that person and I’m disgusted by myself for ever judging someone for being less than “perfect.” Will Ezra one day ask me about the funny lines on my tummy? I am 100% positive that the day will come and I’m honestly excited to tell him about them.

My stripes tell a story. They tell the story of what it took for me to bring life into this world. They tell the story of the heartache I went through to get here. They tell the story of how a woman’s body is able to do miraculous things. They tell the story of how I earned my stripes for my little man cub.

My stripes bring opportunity. The opportunity to overcome my fears. The opportunity for the world to view those with “imperfections” differently. The opportunity for me to teach Ezra that women come in many shapes, sizes, and patterns and that he is to love and respect them regardless of their appearance.

My body isn’t the same and it never will be. My boobs aren’t cute and perky anymore because they’ve sustained life. My tummy isn’t tight and it’s stamped with marks because it carried a life. I officially have a mom bod and I’m in the process of learning to be dang proud of it. My stripes are my badge of honor and I’ve more than earned them.

Massage Yo Baby!

I’m not going to lie, I only bought one book during my pregnancy and only read one chapter. If you read tons of books during your pregnancy, good for you. I’m not that kind of person and really just wanted to wing the whole thing. After Ezra was born, I realized the value behind having somewhat of a routine and remembering that book had several sections to help establish a routine. So I picked up the book that I bought and read the sections on routines so I would have some guidance in making my own.

The author of the book suggested bathing your baby every night and and then giving your baby a massage to comfort him before bed. We started doing that and I remember I bought some baby massage oil prior to Ezra’s arrival. He LOVES this massage oil. Idk what it is about the oil, but he coos and is way more relaxed than with any lotion we have used- even lotion that has lavender in it. I love this oil because its ingredients are 100% natural and plant based and easily absorb into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. Score.

I also did a lot of research on baby massages just to see what the benefits really are of massaging your baby every night. There are many benefits for both baby AND mom (or dad, or whoever is doing the massage). Baby massages promote physical, developmental, and emotional health for infants. The physical touch promotes bonding and physical attachment between mom and baby. The soothing effects of the massage assists with weight gain and overall growth because it reduces cortisol levels (stress hormone) which encourages good eating habits and longer periods of sleep in babies. Let me say it a little louder for the people in the back- IT PROMOTES LONGER PERIODS OF SLEEP! Enough reason for me to jump on ship. Infant massage is so important and so heavily researched that 38% of NICUs perform daily massages on preterm babies in order to promote weight gain and decrease hospital stays by 3-6 days. The recommended time is 15 minutes/ day. Urm hello, positive research here people!

So here is how our nightly routine goes: bathe Ezra at 9 pm, give him a massage with Young Living’s Seedlings Baby Oil, put on pajamas, drink a bottle of mommy’s finest milk, sit up for 20 minutes after eating to reduce spit up, and then go to bed. He only wakes up once in the night to eat and the time is getting closer and closer to us waking up in the morning. Last night he didn’t wake up until 4:50 in the morning and he’s only 5 weeks old. The research has proven itself to be true and I’m taking it as a parenting win!!!

If you have baby oil, try it! If not and want to try some, here’s the link of the stuff I recommend: Seedlings Baby Oil

Moral of the story? MASSAGE YO BABY!

DIY Carpet Deodorizer

Ok, so first of all let’s clear the air on how I started using Young Living’s essential oils. With my soon-to-be niece and my soon-to-be baby boy on the way, I wanted a house with clean, natural products. The company was introduced to me about a year ago by Katie Strength, but once I became pregnant I really began to think about cleaning my house with clean materials. Next thing I knew, I became a Young Living distributor, received my started pack and my order of Thieves laundry detergent and household cleaner, and I was HOOKED. Anyways, I’m having my church shower this Sunday and decided it was a good time to clean the nursery and make room for our sweet little gifts we’ll be getting this weekend so I got to cleaning. Y’all know we have a jack russell mix and a lab, but what y’all probably don’t know is that they shed and they stink. Not only do they shed and stink, the nursery is their favorite room in the house 🤦🏼‍♀️. My oil momma (Katie Strength) is hosting an online class on Thursday to teach how to utilize your oils and it inspired me it make my own carpet deodorizer to clean my baby’s room.

I read a lot of recipes prior to making mine and almost all of them included Borax. I don’t personally have beef with Borax, but I didn’t know if I wanted it sprinkled on the floor of the nursery where little hands and eyes would be, so I made my own extremely easy recipe without it. Here it goes:

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

-mason jar or whatever you’d like to store it in

-1/2 cup baking soda

-Young Living essential oils of choice

-nail and hammer

STEPS:

1. Poke enough holes in your mason jar lid with a nail and hammer so that the deodorizer can be sprinkled.

2. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and Young Living essential oils in a small bowl. I used 10 drops of Purification and 15 drops of Lavender.

3. Place mixed ingredients in mason jar and close lid.

4. Sprinkle a light, even layer of deodorizer on carpet and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

5. Vacuum room and enjoy the refreshing scent!

Y’ALL, that’s it!! And the nursery smells amazing! I decided to use Purification because it is a natural deodorizer that helps neutralize the air, and Lavender because first of all, um duh it smells amazing, and it also adds a calming, clean, fresh scent. But really you can use whatever combination you already love or any that you want to experiment with!

***Before sprinkling your whole room, I would test the carpet deodorizer on a small corner just to ensure you don’t have any carpet staining.

Enjoy! And happy cleaning! Purchase Oils Here 💕

To the Little Life Within Me

Oh, sweet Ezra Hayes. The closer your due dates arrives the more your dad and I fall in love. We’re so lucky to be given this chance to bring new life into the world and there are so many things we can’t wait to teach you. Your life is something we don’t by any means take for granted. Baby boy, this is our prayer for you:

I pray you know Jesus. Not because “you’re supposed to” or because you grew up hearing about Him, but because you experience His unending love, His grace, and His many blessings he will pour into your life.

I pray that you watch your precious daddy interact with me and others and can become at least half the man he is because he really is an incredible man.

I pray that you value your grandparents and love them to the end of the earth because I can promise you that they love you that much more.

I pray that whenever you become a Big Brother that you treat the title like it’s the best one you’ve ever been given and love your new sibling beyond measure.

I pray that you respect women and treat every woman you encounter with as much respect as you would expect your dad to give me.

I pray that when you experience your first heartache that you pray for guidance and peace and not fight back with a vicious heart.

I pray that you seek adventure but know when it’s time to come back home.

I pray that when you meet the woman that will someday be your wife that you love her like crazy and realize she is truly a blessing from God.

I pray that you know how to hold a gun, bait a hook, build a fire, change your oil, etc. because skills like those are some strong things to possess.

I pray that when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time that you soak up every single second of the awe and beauty that you created.

I pray that when you do wrong or are in the wrong that you admit it and fix it because you are a man of integrity.

I pray that you value your education and realize you are so fortunate to be given one.

I pray that you know the value of a hard earned dollar and appreciate the work that went into earning that dollar.

I pray that you look for opportunities that will better you as an individual because you should never just settle.

I pray that you play a sport and understand the value of working as part of a team.

I pray that you have a fire within you that is so strong and bright it can change the world and make it a better place.

I pray that when you see someone being bullied that you have the courage to speak up for them.

I pray that you never initiate a fight, but if you find yourself in one that someone else started that you finish it fair.

I pray that you don’t fall into peer pressure because you’re trying to be like someone that isn’t worth mimicking.

I pray that you treat others with respect and dignity, even when they don’t deserve it.

Last but not least, I pray that you know that your mom and dad love you beyond belief even when it feels like we’re being so mean and so unfair because it’s only for your own good.

Baby boy, this is our prayer. Amen.

Holy Blogger

Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it: I CAN’T BELIEVE I STARTED A BLOG!  It’s something that has always interested me and something I’ve always wanted to do in the back of my mind, but didn’t really know what I would write about or who the heck would even read it.  Sam and I experienced our first miscarriage in December of 2016.  It was an ectopic pregnancy and really an overall strange experience.  It was crazy to me when we were suffering through a loss that it was so frowned upon to talk about.  People really avoided us and the whole conversation like we had the plague over something WE were going through.  We needed people but it was awkward for others to be a part of that experience.  I get it- I really do.  But the whole thing was strange to me so I decided as a way to cope with the experience and bring awareness to the situation that I would post about it on Facebook.  Y’all, the amount of people that were going through the same feelings and emotions was unreal.  People had been through the same thing, were going through the same thing, or had a fear of going through the same thing and really wanted to talk about it but were fearful of the social taboo surrounding the situation.

June 2017- Sam and I experienced another miscarriage.  This one wasn’t ectopic, but it was honestly worse than the first one because it came with more complications.  Again, I shared our experience on Facebook and got the same responses I had previously, except this time it was different.  I had people private messaging me about their experiences, calling/texting me because they just needing someone to talk to about their previous experiences, and others sharing our story with people they knew were going through the same thing.  It really became sort of a ministry within itself.  I’ve had personal conversations that even my husband and closest friends don’t know that I shared with other people because they reached out to me privately. Even with this experience and knowing I was helping others, I was so lost.  It was one of the darkest moments in my life and such a blessing at the same time.   My husband grew away from me.  He had never learned how to cope with any of the miscarriages and his way of dealing with them was acting like they never happened and pretty much shutting down.  Y’all, my goodness that was hard.  But I finally got through to him, we talked it out,  prayed SO hard, and once again I realized that this was something other people had faced through their miscarriages.

What I learned through the process was that we weren’t the first people to experience these emotions and heartache.  But we were, well really just me, just a few of the people willing to speak up on the topic and make it real.  It was such a vulnerable experience, but the amount of people who benefited from our story was so worth it.

But guess what folks?  The plot thickens- we are now 26 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy!  I will never forget how angry/terrified/excited/confused I felt when I saw the positive result come up shortly after our last miscarriage.  My husband sat there with me while I peed on the stick.  The anticipation was killing me so much that I didn’t even wait the full three minutes before checking to see if there were two pink lines on that test.  It was an obvious positive pregnancy test and I began to shake all over.  I looked at my precious husband and he knew the answer immediately.  We sat there- him on the side of the tub and me still on the toilet- and held each other and cried tears of happiness and hurt.  Well here we are months later, I’m still carrying my precious babe, and I’ve made some lifestyle changes.  I became a crazy granola mom.

So now that we’ve been through the back story, let’s go back to the original question- why did I start a blog?  During those hard times, people would tell me time and time again, “You should start a blog!”  I thought they were crazy, so I ignored it.  Fast forward to our healthy pregnancy; I became obsessed with Young Living’s products and began posting about them on Instagram and Facebook.  My sister  randomly said one day, “I can see you having a blog.” Again, I laughed it off.  And then my best friend, Alli, sent me a screenshot of my hashtag #blameitonmycrunchysoul and texted #instablogger.  We joked about it for a little while and then she said I should seriously do one to show people how to use the products for people like her that don’t know how to use them.  So here we are.

Ladies & Gents, I now present to you: Blame It On My Crunchy Soul.