Hey, I Want To Know…

This is a new roundup series with a twist: I’m going to ask some fellow Bloggers a few fun questions, just to see what they think! I love reading blogs as much as I do writing them, and what better way to get to know someone? Follow us at the end of each month to see their answers, and be sure to check out some of these great blogs while you’re at it!


Dicia – It’s My Mommy Life Now

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Blog | Instagram |Twitter

1: What’s your favorite thing to wear in cool, Fall weather?
I hate to admit this, but my favorite thing to wear in cool, fall weather is my red hoodie and my yoga pants. I homeschool my 9 year old and I’m always chasing after my two year old. I’m usually in something comfy. Oh and I can’t forget my socks and my sneakers. If I go out, I may end up in jeans and a t-shirt, but I still have my sneakers on.

2: What’s your child(ren) obsessed with right now?
Since I have two boys whose taste is completely different. I’ll list them by boy.
Kaeden (9) – Minecraft on PS3, fourwheeling, and Pokemon Go.
Karsen (2) – The movie Home on netflix, trucks and cars, trains, mommy, and food.

3: When your partner is feeling down, how do you cheer them up?
Cheering him up depends on why he is feeling down. Usually I will try to crack some perverted joke, get him to talk about it, hug him, tell him I love him and how much he means to me, and if nothing else works, then I make him food, lay in bed with him, and rub his back.

Sarah – Get Mom Balanced

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Blog | Twitter

1: What’s your favorite thing to wear in cool, Fall weather?
I love a good pair of skinny jeans and a cute sweatshirt: Maybe something with a zipper or a cute detail at the neckline. I’m pretty simple and love basics that I can throw on. Shoes are always my challenge- I’m a flip flop girl and my feet got bigger with my last pregnancy so I’m on the hunt for new fall shoes!! 

2: What’s your child(ren) obsessed with right now? 
My 4yo son LOVES Lego. He loves to get sets and build them, and then play with what he’s built. He can sit and look at the instruction books over and over and also wants to look at sets on the computer and videos of people building!! He wants to go to Target just to look at the sets. Obsession is an understatement for him!! My 1yo guy loves throwing balls. He’s simple like that- give him a ball, toss it back and forth and that kiddo is happy!

3: When your partner is feeling down, how do you cheer them up?Thankfully, my hubby is pretty easy going and doesn’t get down often, but the way to help him unwind or get out of a funk would be to have some delicious food. So that means I won’t be cooking it! We’d be going out to dinner because I am also simple in my cooking and he is more of a foodie. So, a great meal with beer or wine and my hubby is happy! 

Melissa – Baby Castan On Board

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Blog | Instagram | Twitter

1: What’s your favorite thing to wear in cool, Fall weather?
Fall is by far my favorite season. The air is crisp, the holidays are right around the corner and it’s time to break out the sweaters, scarves, and boots! Not to mention all the flannel and denim that is in style for the season 🙂 

2: What’s your child(ren) obsessed with right now?
I have a nine-month-old so he is really obsessed with standing, walking and crawling. He loves putting something in front of himself and then when he reaches it pushes it a little further. He is so proud of himself. It’s the cutest thing!

3: When your partner is feeling down, how do you cheer them up?
The way to a man’s heart is food right? I like to take my husband out to eat, or sometimes I cook for him.

Tajuana – Healthy & Fit

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Blog | Instagram

1: What’s your favorite thing to wear in cool, Fall weather?  
Cardigans!!! Every color 🙂

2: What’s your child(ren) obsessed with right now? ***
Eek, I don’t have human children, yet I have fur babies. My cats are obsessed with hiding in boxes and eating paper.   ***(Fur babies count! -Jasmine)
3: When your partner is feeling down, how do you cheer them up?
I like to leave my partner alone when they are not in the best mood because I would make it worse hehe, So I just let them have their space and when they’re ready they come back to life.

Michele – The Domestic Realist

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Blog | Instagram | Twitter

1: What’s your favorite thing to wear in cool, Fall weather?
A hooded sweatshirt. I love putting my hands in the pockets and digging them in deep to warm my hands when it gets cool. Putting one on makes it officially feel like Fall! I especially enjoy wearing one around a firepit (with a cold beverage in hand!). 

2: What’s your child(ren) obsessed with right now?
My 3yo is obsessed with picnics right now. She likes to have us sit on the floor and she pulls the food out of her hair. I’m not why it comes out of her hair but I just go with it! There are always sandwiches, apples, napkins, and cookies! My kind of picnic! 

3: When your partner is feeling down, how do you cheer them up?
Wait until he is ready to talk about it. Men are different from woman, and my husband doesn’t always admit something is wrong until he is ready to. So after 5 years of marriage, I’ve learned to just wait until he let’s me know he is feeling down. Then I cheer him up by making extra effort to focus on him. Whether that is turning off devices and talking or getting a sitter for a night out, I make the effort I can. 

Brittany – Follow The Dyers

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Blog | Instagram | Twitter

1: What’s your favorite thing to wear in cool, Fall weather?
So, we live currently live in Bangkok, Thailand, and the weather her is always warm. I love it so much, but sometimes I miss out on the Fall weather. Not too much though, because I LOVE the warm weather. One of the biggest things I miss in the Fall though is all things leaves. When I was a kid, I used to love to play in the leaves and make crafts with them. I miss seeing the colors of the leaves on the trees change, too. There are so many things you can do with the leaves once they are off the trees too! 

2: What’s your child(ren) obsessed with right now?
In Bangkok, they don’t really have many birthday party supplies, it’s just not something they do here, so we pretty much plan our birthday parties at least 6 months in advance because we buy the majority of our birthday party supplies when we visit the States. With that being said, my son had a Dinosaur birthday party this year and is still obsessed with everything dinosaur! My daughter is having a Hello Kitty birthday party next month and is obsessed with everything Hello Kitty! I’m sure the obsession will change in a few months when we start to determine what kind of parties they will have next year!

3: When your partner is feeling down, how do you cheer them up?
Usually, I just let him talk. Is that boring? Maybe I should look for other suggestions…what do you do when your husband is feeling down?

Julie Hoag – Julie Hoag Writer

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Blog | Instagram | Twitter

1: What’s your favorite thing to wear in cool, Fall weather?
I like jeans and my sweatshirt with my kids’ team logo on it. I also love the winter lined Crocs.  On warmer days I love to pull out the capris.

2: What’s your child(ren) obsessed with right now? 
My oldest son is obsessed with football. He plays it, watches it, and even participates in fantasy football with his friends. My middle son plays football too but he doesn’t watch the professionals play. He just enjoys playing the game. My middle son is very creative. He really loves to make things and watches videos online for ideas. He takes the ideas and makes his own twist on it. For example, he saw a launcher online made from a Gatorade bottle (top cut off), the ring from the Gatorade, and a cut balloon. He took the launcher to the deck and launched cheese balls. It was a genius idea because they were so light and airy they just soared all the way across the yard. My youngest son loves soccer right now. He is playing on a team and he is the most aggressive player. He really gets into it and very rarely does a ball get past him when he is goalie. He plays soccer in the front yard with friends. He’s obsessed with playing anything outside. My kids love Halloween and they are already making plans to make it the best Halloween they can this year. I love to write humor posts about life with three boys. I also write about being a mother, parenting, youth sports, anything kid related and pet related.

3: When your partner is feeling down, how do you cheer them up?
I surprise him with his favorite meat to grill on his Green Egg grill which is his obsession right now. He is so into being a grilling chef that he installed a spice rack for grilling spices in our basement. The Green Egg grill is a ceramic dark green egg shaped grill that can be used all year because it retains heat so well. He uses the all year long even in the cold winter. We are quite the pair because he loves meat and I’m a vegetarian, so I have developed some recipes I am posting on my website to accommodate myself as a vegetarian as well as the meat eaters who make up the rest of my family. Today my husband is grilling pork ribs on his Green Egg grill and my boys can’t wait to eat! I also buy him a specialty beer that he has never tried before to surprise him sometimes. 

Check out the great blogs above and come back each month to learn more about these bloggers!

 heyi-want-to-know

5 Reasons I Love/Hate Breastfeeding


This post contains affiliate links, but all views are 100% my own. I also don’t endorse products unless I absolutely love them and have used them myself.

So, to commemorate our breastfeeding journey that is going on 14 months strong, I have compiled my list of 5 reasons it absolutely sucks…and why it’s also awesome, at the same time!

It’s not an easy feat for any mother to accomplish-and many can’t, due to production issues and a variety of other causes. But, it did come somewhat naturally to us, for which I am very grateful. But that doesn’t mean I still can’t be frustrated from time to time. Which brings us to our first reason…

1. It’s time consuming…
Especially in the first few weeks (or even months!) when Baby is cluster feeding. You’re pretty much confined to one area for X amount of time. Some mothers are super-duper multitaskers and can do a lot of things while feeding, but I still can’t. Nope-when Bruce wants to nurse, we sit down and make a meal out of it. I learned early on if I tried walking through the store with him in a wrap, that boob was eventually going to come out, and then we have other issues, like for instance….

2. Leakage…
At first, if we didn’t nurse every two hours at the most, my shirt was soaked (if not squirting across the room with let-down). And every time we did nurse, I would have so much engorgement in the other breast, that ounces would be wasted on those nifty reusable pads that are absolute must for every breastfeeding mother. Bruce also has a habit of leaving the tap running if he pulls off quickly. But, there’s hope… a milk-saver is a life saver! You’re able to save all the let-down and use for extra feedings, milk baths, or freezing. And it will save you from a wet top. I really loved the Milkies Milk Saver for catching all the extra milk. It fit inside all my nursing bras, and bruce was able to get sometimes an extra 16 ounces by how much i was producing. It saved my laundry as well. For those times when we couldn’t use the Milk Saver, we went with these awesome Organic Bamboo nursing pads-so absorbent, and the best part? Reusable!


3. Nursing bras are the worst

I hate a very special hate for nursing bras. I always get mine tangled, the pads inside become wonky, and it’s usually a hassle for the less-coordinated like myself, to snap them back up very fast.It’s hard to find cute ones (or maybe I’m just picky…actually, I know I’m picky) and they don’t always accommodate every outfit. It took a while but I did finally come across some that I can deal with…removeable pads, easy to breathe material, and best part? Affordable!

4. Your body isn’t necessarily your own…
As I mentioned with the time consumption, be prepared that your breasts, aren’t really yours for a time-they belong to the baby. To be used whenever necessary, needed, wanted, or even just out of boredom. Breastfed babies love their boobs! Naturally, they will want them a lot-and when they do, you’ll know it. Sometimes even at the worst times. My son has tried pulling my top down in enough stores to confirm this.
5.  Some people are NOT pro-breastfeeding…
It’s sad, but it is true. Yes, there are laws in place that allow you to feed anywhere, with or without a cover, but it’s still a pretty taboo thing in today’s society. Nearly every day there is another report of a mother being shamed into a back room, bathroom stall, or asked to leave an establishment entirely, because she is trying to nurse her child. This makes most breastfeeding mothers anxious and angry, especially if like my child, their’s refuses to use a cover. I’m the first to whip it out whenever necessary to provide sustenance for my child (my “give a f*ck list” is incredibly short), but that still doesn’t mean I’d like to try avoiding confrontation with the small minded.
…but all these things aside, here’s my top 5 reasons it’s also, like, the best thing ever….
5. You have downtime (and an excuse to excuse yourself)
The time you’ll spend lounging on the couch (or in bed) while nursing will give you ample time to catch up on social media, binge-watch youtube, or even read a book. That’s after you’ve talked to your baby, sang to them, told all those stories you’ve been waiting to tell a little one since you learned you were pregnant. Whatever it takes to keep you from going stir-crazy while sitting in one spot. And in an awkward social situation, like visiting relatives, when you really want to get out of a conversation-the baby will magically need to nurse!
4. It helps you build a schedule
At least, it helped me. Even with cluster feeding, my son pretty much nursed about the same time throughout the day. So we got into a routine of nursing, napping, nursing, playing, nursing…you get the picture. Especially with a newborn, everything about your life will begin to revolve around baby and on his schedule. So let it help you rebuild yours.
3. Your boobs will look amazing!
If like me, you’ve been mostly small chested your whole life, you will love this phase of life where you look amazing in anything you wear (although you’ll probably go for breastfeeding friendly clothes most the time). It’s natures boob-job and so much more cost-efficient than a real one. Just enjoy them while they last…
2. Your body is doing something incredible!
While your baby has pretty much taken it over since conception, keep in mind that what you’re doing while nursing, is a pretty awesome thing. You’re providing the most nourishing, natural way for your child to grow and develop, and that’s a wonderful feat. There are a lot of women who, biologically, just don’t have the means to produce (and really want to!) and here you are-just doing it! Doing what women have done literally since the dawn of time, to ensure their offsprings survival (in the days before formula). Not to mention just how healthy breast milk is for your child, providing vitamins and nutrients still not synthetically developed or available in formula. And you are bonding with your child like only you and your baby can. Cherish these times, if anything, for those who cannot.
And the number one reason (I think) that despite all the annoying inconveniences, breast feeding is still the best thing ever…
1. If you choose to breastfeed, you will find an overwhelming amount of support
Yes, there’s always those people who will *try* to shame you and for some reason, don’t like to see it (or know that mothers do it), but there is actually a great support system surrounding breastfeeding. Entire groups and organizations built for the sole purpose of education, encouragement, and providing resources to help facilitate all your breastfeeding needs. One of my personal favorites, with a local league in nearly every town, is the La Leche League. Just by talking to fellow mamas who are going down the same path in terms of feeding their baby, you can find a lot of great advice, and support amongst peers. Breastfeeding is becoming increasingly more accepted with all the awareness spread by these groups, and fellow mother’s as well.
This list was written with humor, but all joking aside-I’m not bashing formula (or tube) feeding in any way, shape, or form. But honestly, breastfeeding can suck. It can be tedious, annoying, inconvenient, frustrating, and downright a pain (and I haven’t even touched on sore, cracked, bleeding nipples, mastitis, or the disappointment of spilling 12 ounces of pumped milk that took an hour to get out).
But I believe it is worth all the tears to be able to provide what I feel is the best nutrition for my child, and to take part in one of the best bonding experiences we were ever able to have together. The pros really do outweigh all the cons.
Do you agree with these lists? What’s some of the downfalls (or upsides?) you have experienced as a nursing mom?
 5 Things I Love & Hate About Breastfeeding

 

Making A Marriage


The following is a guest post by Brittany Dyer on the topic of Marriage. Marriage, including making one work, means something different to us all. I love her take on the subject, and I hope you do too! Don’t forget to check out her website, Follow The Dyers

My husband and I have been married for 9 years this month. We have 2 beautiful children, ages 2 and 3. Yes, crazy, I know! My background is counseling, but I am currently a stay-at-home mama and pastor’s wife, originally from Tennessee, currently residing in Bangkok Thailand. We love this crazy journey and crazy marriage God has given us.

My husband and I have decided to make marriage a priority. First is God, then comes our marriage. We even place our marriage above our children. With children, this concept is a challenge, however, especially with littles because they are always wanting attention, but we know if we have a solid marriage, then our children will feel more loved and have a good example of what marriage and stability looks like. If my “wife cup” is full, then I will be better able to love my children. Therefore, marriage is our #2 priority in our lives right behind our relationship with God.

How do we keep our marriage solid? Well, we access our needs. We determine what we need from the other partner to feel loved. Despite what some people seem to believe, people evolve, and, therefore, so does marriage. I believe it is a good idea to access your marital needs about once a year to make sure your needs are being met in appropriate ways. This list should not be exhaustive and long, but maybe list the top 3 things each of you needs in your marriage and work toward meeting those few needs well. For example, my Love Language is physical touch, so I need affection from my husband. That need would be discussed when we talk about our marital needs. Let’s be real ladies, our husbands need sex, so be prepared for that one to be on his list! Not only does sex help men feel loved like affection does for women, but they are biologically created for and need sex. Commit to each other to work on these top 3 needs in your marriage, no matter what it is the other person needs.

We try to compliment each other often. Providing compliments builds up the other person’s confidence and self-esteem. It also allows them to feel loved, so make sure you are investing in your marriage by complimenting your spouse!

We talk about our issues. This concept is not always easy, but we try to come to a compromise on issues we fight about, and sometimes getting it off one’s chest can just make you feel better. By talking about a problem, we can usually come to some sort of a conclusion to move on and not continue to be upset about it in the future. This idea is not always foolproof, but we try!

We do not use the past against each other. We do not bring up arguments in the past in order to hurt one another. We do not bring up things in each other’s past that will cut each other deeply. We give each other grace, and we move on after an argument is resolved, and our marriage remains much happier because of it!

We remember the good times. We remember that trip to Florida we went on when we were dating to watch the UT/Florida Game, where I traveled and slept in a hotel room with 3 other guys and never told my family about it. We remember leaving our wedding and driving 1 ½ hours and all the craziness that went along with that drive (think lubricant all over the entire car-thanks to my husband’s buddies!). We remember the good times often and try not to get so caught up in the negative moments of life.

My husband and I keep our marriage exciting by allowing it to be adventurous. We invest in our marriage by going on dates, vacation and doing spontaneous things, even with our children in tow. In addition to the spontaneous things we do, we also have traditions that make life more fun because of the things we look forward to doing. Excitement and adventure keep marriage fun!

We try to forget expectations others place on us. The world places some pretty harsh expectations on marriages. Fairy tales, television sitcoms and romantic comedies all place this ideal man or ideal woman in our head that are completely unrealistic. It is important to realize these are television shows and movies for a reason-they are NOT real life! We have to accept our husbands for who they are and leave the expectations in the movies! Otherwise, we place unrealistic standards and expectations on our husbands that will always leave them falling short to achieve, and we will always be disappointed.

For all of the reasons, I remain secure in my marriage. We can overcome any difficulty in our marriage with the information given above. Enjoy and happy marriages!

Brittany is a pastor’s wife, living in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a former counselor, and now a SAHM to two wonderful children. You can read her blog, about Christianity and Parenting, at her site, Follow The Dyers.

Brittany talks about making her marriage a priority, how to keep things interesting, and overcoming unrealistic expectations

Open Letter To That New Mom

Dear New Mother,
First, congratulations on your bundle of joy! Right now, they may not seem very joyful, but trust me, they are.

They may seem like screaming, inconsolable terrors from the depths of insanity. You might feel like nothing you do is right. You probably feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and as if you’ve bitten off way more than you can chew.

It’s ok. Almost every mother feels like this-a lot! This won’t be the last time you feel this way either.

You may even feel lonely and afraid as you adjust to the new weight of the unimaginable responsibility of caring for another tiny, helpless human being. This is ok too. 

Just know that you aren’t alone.

It does get easier…but then it becomes hard again. Just like Life itself. But what you are doing is a Great thing, And believe me, it is worth it. Even at 4am, running on 3 hours of sleep in the last two days, overwhelmed by teething and fevers and God knows what else that could possibly be wrong….it is worth it.

Your baby will look at you and smile. Snuggle up and coo so softly. Laugh at your presence. And all the anger, frustration, stress will (maybe even just temporarily) melt away. And you’ll see.

Don’t let the difficulties get the best of you. I know this is hard. I know this seems impossible sometimes. But we all have times like this.

Don’t let the stories of those “perfect mommies” make you feel like you’re failing somehow. Trust me, that seemingly “perfect” parent who’s child goes to sleep (and sleeps forever), eats all their veggies, hits milestones early, and is portrayed as the picture perfect baby-does something that makes that Fake Untouchable Parent cringe and want to pull their hair out. They just aren’t going to tell you about it. *wink*

But all the messes, meltdowns, and missed opportunities you gave up for your child, are all worth it in the end. They really are. And don’t for one second think that you are the first one to spend the day with dried puke (or pee..or even poop) on their clothes, too spent to think about changing, walking throughout the house with a squalling child just begging for a break. We’ve all done it. And anyone who isn’t sympathetic to that is not only untrue to themselves, but not worth wasting any energy on thinking about.

Find mothers who keep it real to form your tribe. It’ll help you keep your sanity, and you might even learn some things along the way.

Keep trekking. The Journey is long, but oh so worth it.

Sincerely,
Another Mom.

An open letter to all New Moms, from a New Mom

 

Learning to Love Myself

People are made in all different shapes and sizes. Diversity is not only a very beautiful thing, but a very common and normal part of life.

I think it’s awesome that we live in a world where everyone looks different, and unique. It could be much worse-we could live within an episode of Star Trek where everyone looks exactly the same, and it’s boring and bland…

I’ve written about the “unwritten mom-wardrobe code” and  body shaming before, but today I’m going to focus on why I’ve stopped putting myself down for my looks, and my plan to learn to love myself.

I’ve been my size pretty much my whole (nearly 30 years) life. Except for pregnancy, and I naturally lost all the baby weight. I’m not a work-out fiend. I wish I were, and I get excited about trying a new ab challenge every once in a while, but it’s always the same; I put it off until tomorrow, and then before I know it, it’s taco tuesday and I’ll start that 30 day challenge next month. I’m lazy. No shame.

Do I wish I had bigger breasts and a bigger butt? Of course. Who doesn’t want their body to look better? I don’t think anyone is completely happy with their looks. We all want nicer bodies, hair, nails, whatever. I honestly hate being skinny. Whoever made up “thin privilege” has never went to the mall with me. I’m lucky if I find anything I like in my size. Although, I think that’s a universal woman problem, regardless of size…

And it does really upset me when I hear stories of people who have felt such pressure by peers, or celebrities they admire, that they began to hate their bodies. It’s a terrible thing to know that somewhere, there’s a 15 year old girl starving herself to look like the model on the cover of Cosmopolitan. There’s a 16 year old somewhere who thinks she needs breast implants and butt injections in order to feel beautiful. And it kills me to know that even a few people I personally know went to extreme lengths to look as skinny as I do (but really I was sitting on the couch eating nachos and not exercising).

When I receive those comments that, “Not all of us look like you!”, I used to explain that it’s always been very hard for me to gain weight. I have health problems that seem like a blessing in disguise to some. But my weight isn’t something I can, unfortunately, control.

But since I can’t control it, I’m not going to downplay myself to put anyone else at ease. I used to say “Oh, I got that dress in a size (3 sizes bigger) because it didn’t fit,” just to make a friend feel better. I’m not going to admit to working out like crazy four times a week, when I know that I spent that time vegging out on the couch once the baby was asleep. I’m not gong to agree with someone’s assumption that I just “Don’t eat a lot” when most days, my plate is bigger than my 250+ pound husband.

I don’t feel like lying is helping the issues that someone else has with their appearance.

We need to teach people, young and old, that health is all that matters. Not striving to be like the cover of a magazine, or comparing yourself to someone you know-but to just try to be healthy. And don’t look to your peers and the beautiful people on TV to be your comparison. Motivation is one thing, but when it becomes dangerous to your own self image, it needs to stop. And by lying, you can inadvertently create an image that may cause someone trying to replicate what they think is real, to spiral out of control.  

Not to mention, it just isn’t fair to me. If I can wear something, I’m going to. If I don’t feel like going to the gym, I won’t. It’s not up to me to be a spokesperson for my type, or to encourage anyone else to strive to be like me. I’m just myself.

And with that in mind, I’m going to learn to love myself. Other’s might not like me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to. I need to learn to love my body (and hair, and personality). Every woman needs to learn to love themselves. Because no matter who you are, someone somewhere is envious of you. Differences are what makes us all unique. And the fact that someone is envious of a quality about you that they wish they had, that needs to be motivation enough to love yourself. And at the end of the day, if all you receive are haters, jealous because of the qualities you have and they lack-then if no one else is going to love you, you really need to love yourself.

So embrace what you have-because I’ll bet you anything that whatever it is, someone else wishes they had it. And the only opinion that matters of how you look, is yours. I will no longer make up excuses, or put myself down for how I look, to appease others. I only need to appease myself.

 Finding the qualities within yourself, and about yourself, and becoming happy with them instead of changing to appease others