Ugly Truth: #BehindTheFeed

We’ve all seen it in our Instagram news feed – The perfect, all organic meal on a trendy glass plate, white lace background with a little flower in the corner that scream’s “Fresh Picked This Morning!” Complete with the hashtags that are all too familiar ; #healthyeating, #onmytable, #onlythebest

It’s easy to see scenes like this and think that the person behind the photo must have everything all together (especially for a mom) based on this one picture. it’s an inevitable conclusion if the entire feed is that way-spotless, white background, designer labels, and trendy staples.

But here’s the ugly truth: I don’t care who you are, no one has a spotless, perfect life. @jasminea5100

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We all might want one, but no one really has one.

Social media has made this illusion stronger than ever before. What was once just little tidbits heard at playdates and parks, now can be seen through the feeds, with links to favorite coffee houses that can make those awesome little foam animals that, if you’re like most moms, usually melt before you get a sip because, you know, kids. I admit, I use those same hashtags and I take pictures of my coffee treats. I do try to show the best photos I have. But, I do let a few unsightly ones slip through that show the true chaos within most homes. And that’s what #behindthefeed is about.

Alexie Flook, Blogger of AlwaysAlexie, came up with the idea to celebrate our imperfections as well as our perfect moments, with the  hashtag “#behindthefeed” and challenged other bloggers to join in with 2 weeks of showcasing the messy, blurry, uncoordinated truth behind those awesome Instagram posts. I loved this idea-because it’s true!

Behind each white background of flowers in a pretty vase, there’s 20 pictures of blur and toddler hands grabbing at petals that didn’t make the cut. Behind every flawless selfie, there’s 10 more that show the avocado stain on your neckline. And behind each family picture, there’s at least 5 of your husband and kids making an un-photogenic face. People just don’t see these! Thus, the illusion can sometimes work on those of us (including me!) that see these kinds of pictures within our feed, and look around the messy living room and wilting flowers from Mother’s Day we still haven’t thrown away, and wonder “How do they find the time?”

Kicking off June 8th, 2016, stay tuned to see the silly side, the messy side, the blurs and chaos, that is #behindthefeed, and check out AlwaysAlexie for the complete (and growing!) list of participating bloggers! And Thank YOU Alexie for allowing me to join in on the fun!

Growing Up Methodist: Remembering My Childhood In A Strict Christian Home

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This is a guest post written by Mom Blogger, Brooke Halstead, of From Nurse To Mom, on the topic of “Family & Religion.” I grew up very differently, so I really enjoyed reading this post about her upbringing within the Church, and I hope you do too!
To this day, I can recite to you the books of the bible in order from Genesis to Revelation. I have my dad to thank for that.
Since I was born, my family has been extremely devoted to the Methodist Church. My dad was a lay leader at our small church in the country. This meant that he would often lead the service before the pastor would preach, and fill-in when the pastor was away. So, while I was never a “preacher’s daughter” I was a “back-up preacher’s daughter” in a way. (If that’s a thing!) When I learned how to talk and understand things, I was joined with my siblings into a nightly bible study with my dad. He would read from the bible, ask us questions, and discuss with us many many stories each night. The one thing I remember most is playing bible trivia from a board game every night to test our knowledge. Some nights I can remember just wishing I could skip out and go to bed. But, it wasn’t allowed. My siblings were significantly older than me, and really hated it. As the youngest, I wanted to impress my dad so I would stay up memorizing bible verses and books of the bible in hopes of beating my brother and sister. This went on for many years in our house. Along with nightly trivia, we were not allowed to watch TV, listen to certain radio stations, or read certain books.
Unfortunately, when my parents divorced, we took a break from church. I found my way back shortly after, by myself. This is when I joined a church camp and would later volunteer 3 weeks of my time each year to our United Methodist Church Camp. This is just one way that my upbringing could have turned out. Our strict household has kept me on the straight and narrow. I feel a real connection with God and my church family. However, my brother is the opposite. After so many years of feeling like the church and religion was in a sense “shoved down our throats”, he no longer wanted to be in church. I have heard this story many times. Making your children do something so strictly can lead to them resenting it, and you, for that matter.
My husband and I have one daughter, and we do have plans to raise her in the church. I think a mix of leading her in the right direction and letting her make her own path as well is the route we will take with her upbringing. I want her to be involved in the church, but I want her to have her own identity as well. I don’t want her to resent us, or our church later in life. While I don’t exactly agree with the way our house was when I was growing up, I appreciate all that I have learned along the way! 🙂
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BIO: My name is Brooke and I am a new mom learning all about parenting whilst writing a mommy blog! I have been given the opportunity to be a stay at home mom to my little girl. I have a wonderful husband and an 8 year old beagle. I love chocolate and the beach! I am a nurse, and have left the workforce to stay home. My blog is: www.fromnursetomom.com

Raising A Son In A Marine Tradition

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My Husband, circa 1997, wearing his Father’s jacket
As a first time mom to a wonderful little boy, like all mothers, I worry about my child’s future. I often think about what kind of world he will be growing up in, what the future holds, and what kind of place he will live in.
On both sides of my family, a lot of the older generations of men were members of the US Army and Navy. My husband, like his father before him, was a member of the United States Marine Corps, and was stationed at Camp LeJeune. They are both very proud of their service to our country, as we all of are them, and my husband has mentioned time to time that it would be “really awesome” if our son carried on that tradition and joined as well.
My son is his father’s child, through and through. They look exactly the same (only little one doesn’t have the beard), he makes the same frustrated faces and smiles as his Dad does. He shares in his stubbornness, and I’ve even caught the two of them engrossed in the same YouTube videos of guns and military tanks, bonding and enjoying themselves.
So I’ve come to terms with the inevitable – he will want to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps and join the service. But as a mother, I am terrified. No one wants their child to go to war. No one wants their child in be in danger.
But at the same time-I want my son to learn to be resilient. I want him to learn not only to defend himself, but what he believes in and his country. I want him to learn to not be afraid. And like everyone in the service, I want him to defend those who can’t.

Military families make huge sacrifices, that cannot be fully fathomed by those who don’t know. @jasminea5100

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Until you have trekked across the country with your family, leaving people you love behind as you move according to orders, you can’t imagine what it’s like to leave loved ones behind. Until you are spending months at a time, only talking or reading emails sporadically as you wait for your spouse, brother, sister, mother or father, to come home; you don’t know what it means to feel that type of loneliness or fear for someone. Until you have lost a loved one in the time of war, you will never fully understand that type of pain. My husband completed his term before we met, and got married. I don’t know what other wives have been through, and I will always admit that. I will also always admit that I don’t know how they do it. I have the upmost respect for them. And a military spouse, and their family, will always have my total admiration.
While I fear for him, I want my son to carry on a family legacy of serving his country. I want him to learn the values instilled in it, and uphold their honor. Only the bravest of the brave put everything on the line to fight for what’s right and defend those who cannot, and I want my son to be one of the bravest there is. I want this because so many people want to, but can’t. And they need someone willing to stand up for them.
 

Crystal Escobar’s Meal Plan: Review and Giveaway!

So i was recently given the opportunity to review this awesome, mostly gluten-free/vegan meal plan, written by Crystal Escobar. Now, if you’re familiar with my pictures on Instgram, or know me personally, I know what you’re thinking; “You don’t need to lose any weight!”

Now, I won’t lie, this is true-I lost all my baby weight within the first ten weeks of my son’s life. I also hate exercise. I’ll do it, but I hate it. It’s all my inner-Smegol can do to get inner-Gollum off the couch and away from the tacos. And sorry, not sorry, but I can’t give up meat. So with my 110lb skinny-ass in mind, I do realize that I need to at least try to eat healthier, especially for my husband and son – they eat what I eat, because I cook. So I’ve been playing with a few things in this meal plan, and I like it!

We can’t do lentils, chickpeas, or any hummus in this house- Ryan is allergic, and I think it’s unfair to have things he can’t eat here. That, and I don’t wanna accidentally kill him (not yet anyway). Which I know is gonna be hard with our son, because I can’t MAKE him eat his peas when Daddy doesn’t have to. So for a few of the recipes, I’ll have to wait until someone is away on business or hunting trips to try. Which sucks because I actually like Hummus.

One thing we have been doing for breakfast are the kefir smoothies. We already are big on mixed fruit here, so these were easy to make. I did have to lie about adding spinach though 😉
And the granola with fresh fruit and almond milk – again, we are big on mixed fruit, so I’ve been using bananas, blueberries and strawberries (once I was brave with kiwi). After a few days, Ryan opted out for real cow’s milk, which is fine for him. What I love about this guide is that you can stray from it, if you really need to. And again, I’m not trying to lose any weight, just be healthier, so this was an okay compromise.

I honestly tried the BLT, and while it’s good-I love bread. Like, I really LOVE bread, so this was harder. But one dish I did really enjoy was the take on spaghetti with a zucchini twist- Zoodles w/marinara sauce. I don’t own a Zoodle maker, so I cut the zucchini in thin strips and let me tell you-so good!

Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to take pictures this week-food doesn’t last long around here as is, but I am happy to report that with Crystal’s help, we are doing a giveaway!

If you would like to try this meal plan, we are giving away a free copy of her book. Follow the steps listed on this Instagram pic.

The giveaway will be active until May 26th, 2016. You MUST follow all instructions listed to be placed in the raffle copter to be randomly drawn for the FREE BOOK!

You can check out Crystal’s Blog here, facebook,& instagram! And I want to say thank you again for the opportunity to try these great recipes, as this family is getting closer to healthier eating!

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Win a Free Copy! Go to our Instagram!

 

Bruce & TJ

Since birth, I’ve noticed that not only is my son incredibly cute, and attracts attention for it, but he is naturally friendly and sociable.

For a first time mom, this was terrifying at first. It took me a while to not only get used to strangers looking at my baby, but really, REALLY wanting to interact with him. I admit that before I had my own, I would talk to babies in the stores and the mall, but I myself would never dream of trying to hold them.

We are asked this on a daily basis.

I don’t allow strangers to hold my child, and I get wary if I think they are following us (it has happened.). It doesn’t help that Bruce is looking over my shoulder laughing at people and engaging them more.

The most recent creepy encounter happened at Publix. My husband and I were almost done shopping, and were glancing over a display of muffins. Out of no where, a small, elderly lady in a motoized cart spoke up and asked if we “had muffins for the baby?”

I just laughed and said “he has his own snacks” because I didn’t really relish the thought of my ten month old jacked up on so much sugar from a chocolate muffin, half the size of his head.
She then asked me more intently if I got the baby any muffins. 

‘Ok, maybe you’re just weird’ I thought as I ushered my little pack away from this lone wolf, and tried to check out. She then gets right behind us, and as I’m paying I see my husband giving me the most puzzled look as I watch this stranger lean over her scooter to tell my son he needed to start asking for a pony: and that “Grandma Gertrude” said it was ok.

I didn’t flip out and start screaming or hit the doors and run like a crazy person: but I’d be a liar if a tiny part of me didn’t outweigh this option. Some people just really love kids, and I’ve noticed a lot just really love my kid. And that’s ok. I’m never going to let him come in harm’s way, and the last thing I want to do is be rude to someone who might be having a hard time, and talking to a cute baby is a nice escape for them. If anything ever does seem very off and threatening, that is a different story. But this blog post isn’t about that: it’s about a lovely woman I shall refer to as TJ.

Since Bruce was about a month old, we were lucky enough to always have our groceries bagged by a very sweet lady named “TJ”, who absolutely LOVED Bruce. She would tickle his feet, and play peekabo behind plastic bags, just to get one of his giggles. She would comment how she didn’t have children of her own but LOVED them, and how she just loved interacting with babies (especially ours). Shopping day is a family event, and soon even my husband enjoyed meeting up with our Publix friend so we could watch Bruce interact with her.

They recently moved her to produce so I myself was disappointed my favorite bagger wasn’t available, more so for the reason Bruce wouldn’t get to play with his buddy. Then we noticed that the department change wasn’t going to hinder anything-Bruce saw her before I did, and they were soon playing peekabo with the dividing counters in the produce section.

I honestly think he looks for TJ each time we go – I know I certainly do. I already love our neighborhood Publix for being the best grocery store in our town, but their friendship makes it better-it’s inspiring to have watched it blossom from tickles on the feet to an all out game of trying to find each other among the bananas.

It makes me remember that most people in the world, are good people. Don’t let that 1% of bad people, ruin it for the 99% of good.

TJ is the only “stranger” I have ever let hold and smother my son with kisses. And she’s very good at it.

The world can be dangerous, but If I raised my son to fear everyone, I feel he would miss out on so much – friends he would never have, opportunities missed, and dreams unrealized. I’m going to be as protective as I can for as long as I can, but I don’t want him afraid to interact with others. I can thanks TJ for helping remind me a stranger is *sometimes* just a friend you haven’t met yet.

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TJ & Bruce