Crowdsourcing Guidance from Moms

Since becoming pregnant I have been bombarded with advice from friends, strangers, books, blogs and everything in between. While I know I should not take everything to heart it is still hugely overwhelming trying to sort through all the fun facts and warnings about motherhood. So, I tapped ten incredible women I trust and adore to help guide this first-time mother-to-be with what they learned their first go-around.

IMG_1724“Never underestimate yourself as a mom. There will be lots of good days and lots of tough days. More good days than tough. Soak up the sweet moments of peace and simplicity. Love yourself and always remember God created and equipped you to do this overwhelming, yet lovely task called motherhood.”

Ashley, mom of one

12191456_10154318914027571_3691194870730519239_n (1)“When your children are little, stop what you are doing and read, rock and play. You don’t ever get that time back. Always try to have dinner around the table each night. And every once in a while you need to sit down with a glass of milk and a big piece of cake and laugh/cry!”

Mary, mom of three

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“Give that baby no doubt how much you love her…and make her feel safe.”

Tavia, mom of two with one on the way

 

 

 

 

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“Cut yourself some slack and don’t expect perfection.  My goal is to take care of myself and my kiddos and support other moms even if I’m jealous of how put together they seem. Babies (and I’m assuming children as they grow) are all different so comparison is pointless and perfection is annoying anyway.”

Beth, mom of two

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“Forgive yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. There is no perfect mom. We all make mistakes and it is okay. Simply enjoy each day…you will figure it all out as you go.”

Amber, mom of two

 

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“At the end of the day when you are completely exhausted and all you want to do is lay your baby down and sleep, just hold her a little bit longer. It’s in those moments with my son that I forget all the stress and exhaustion and look at the amazing gift God has blessed us with.”

Hilary, mom of one

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“Trust your instincts and don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for it. What’s right for one isn’t right for everyone. Your way is OK!”

Shanon, mom of three

51816_Hulgans 031“Always, ALWAYS have at least one fresh diaper, wipes, and a change of clothes in your diaper bag. You don’t want to be stuck without one—or all of them—when your child has a blowout in the car seat on your way to meet someone new. Trust me.”

Kelsey, mom of one

 

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“Don’t be too hard on yourself. No one way is the right way to raise a child. Every child is different (yes, even twins) and they each need different things.”

Robin, mom of three

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“Nap when baby naps. Let housework and need for perfection go.”

Jennifer, mom of two with one on the way

 

3 Reasons To Fill Your House With Fresh Flowers

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I don’t mind admitting my obsession with fresh flowers and well, greenery in general. I love having both in the house as much as possible, especially since I taught Buddy to stop and smell the peonies…or whatever is in the vase. I love to pick up fun bouquets from the grocery store and create my own arrangements but you don’t have to spend a dime or be a Martha Stewart to add pops of green in your home. I often take a pair of scissors outside our house and cut some twigs off of a tree in the backyard and stick them in vase. True story!

So why fill your house with fresh blooms?

  1. They cure the morning blues. If you’re looking to add a little pep in your morning step (who isn’t?) place fresh flowers or a small houseplant on your bedside table. Trust me: that will perk you right up before your morning cup of coffee.
  2. They make you happier. Research consistently links indoor flowers and plants to increased happiness, positive energy levels and a reduction in anxiety. Flowers have long-lasting effects on people’s moods and the happier you are, the more likely you are to pass that happiness on to others throughout the day.
  3. They boost your enthusiasm and energy. Having flowers in your home carries over to the workplace. A recent study found that people were more likely to have more energy and enthusiasm at work when flowers were found in their house. How neat is that!? xo

Lean Into the Present

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Remember how you felt as a senior in college when you you were “so over” everything and just counting down the days until you graduated? Because come on, you were ready for real life! Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday – sitting around with my best friends counting down the days until we were onto the next phase in life. Thinking back on that time several years (and moves and marriages and babies later) I can’t help but wonder what we missed during those sweet last days of irresponsibility all because we were consumed with the next stage.

We always do that, don’t we? We miss so much in the present because we’re anxiously waiting on what comes next. In the midst of our planning for the future we miss the simple joys in the everyday.

Now as I near the end of my pregnancy, God is teaching me how to embrace the blessings in the everyday in this season of waiting in a big way. Yes, my heart is bursting with excitement for the next stage. For the moment when we meet this tiny human we’ve been praying and preparing for. But today is a gift I don’t want to miss. Now is a time to be lived to the fullest. Today affords me the opportunity to make a difference, to make a memory or to simply be still and take it all in.

So whatever season you’re in, lean into the present. Whether you’re waiting on an apology, to graduate, for the seasons to change, a job offer, the right man to come along, your wedding day, to get pregnant, to bring your adopted baby home, to take that fancy vacation, or to get back in your skinny jeans – don’t miss the blessings in the midst of the hustle. Wherever you are in your process of what you’re working towards take time to savor the good stuff in the every day along the way. xo

“Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” -1 Timothy 4:4

Annie’s Nursery & Impromptu Maternity Shoot Faves

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Decorating a nursery can be tough – especially since you’re designing it for a little person you’ve never met yet! These days there are so many color and design options that go far beyond the traditional pink or blue so yes, it can be a little daunting, albeit so much fun. From the minute we learned we were having a little girl, I dreamed of a light and airy space filled with pastel hues and vintage nursery rhymes. I am so thankful for my oh so talented parents who took all our ideas and helped us create this fairytale of a space for Annie. Once the nursery was all set I talked Taylor (okay, and Buddy) into taking some fun pictures around the house to document life before Annie arrives – I thought I would share some of our favorites. Major thanks to Mom who used her new Nikon like a champ and acted as our photographer for the morning. Happy Monday, lovelies! xo

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Girl Crush: The Final Five

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I have always been slightly obsessed with any and all gymnastic competitions, which is ironic since when I was in 3rd grade I broke my ankle attempting a backhand spring off a vault just because. (Long story, but I did have an awesome hot pink cast.) So as you can imagine my favorite part of the Summer Olympics is always female gymnastics because what’s not to love? Girl power on the highest level!

Yesterday, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team tumbled, vaulted, and handspringed into our hearts, and dominated the all-around competition. Yes, I cheered and then I cried. Of course I have become emotionally attached to these lovely ladies! Simone, Gabby, Aly, Laurie, and Madison – I now consider them to be close personal friends of mine and often refer to them in random conversations as such. Oh, and don’t even get me started on their blinging leotards that contain 5,000+ Swarovski crystals each – look good, play good. Yep, I’m a super nerd when it comes to the Olympics and gymnastics.

What solidified my girl crush on these five superheros was how last night after their win they announced their team name, one that they had chosen before arriving in Rio but were holding off on announcing until they did what they came to do. It was hard NOT to tear up when they cheered into the camera “We are the Final Five!” – referring to the retirement of their legendary coordinator, Martha. Classy move, ladies. Could I adore them anymore? Highly unlikely. xo

Study Proves Netflix Binges Are Good For Your Relationship

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Yep, you heard that right. A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests it might actually be beneficial to share a TV show with your significant other. If you’re like us, some nights all we want to do is veg out to one of our favorite shows or a movie on Netflix. Especially in this hot-as-Hades heat who wants to be sweating outside when you could be in the comfort of your air conditioned living room with a comfy couch?

The study specifically looked at how shared media interests—think TV shows, movies, books—helped to strengthen relationships even when the couple didn’t share many mutual friends. Researchers discovered shared social circles helped to predict strong relationships – obviously – but a “shared media experience” had the same effect and in many cases, a strong impact.

Now let’s be clear here – binge watching TV has its disadvantages because sure, like anything you don’t want to abuse it, i.e. that’s the only time you spend with your main squeeze. Sitting in front of the TV aimlessly night after night does not a healthy relationship make. BUT what I do love is that this study proves what we already knew about the beauty in sharing something with your guy or girl. Whether it’s binge watching a TV show on Netflix, having a move marathon, reading each other’s favorite books or watching every single second of the Olympics (!!!) – do so without abandon because it’s oh so good for your relationship. xo

Monthly Pregnancy Update: 36 Weeks

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Well it’s official. I’m in the home stretch and while I do have small moments of sheer panic (hello, labor and delivery) I am beyond excited to know we’ll be meeting our baby girl soon. I’ve been in full nesting mode, organizing and cleaning everything, and thanks to my incredible husband and parents Annie’s nursery is perfection – more on that next week! Over the past few weeks we’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support of our friends and family at our baby showers. Seriously, Annie is so blessed to have so many wonderful people who already love her and Taylor and I could not feel more supported/encouraged/loved. God’s plans never cease to amaze me and I’m looking forward to seeing how these next few weeks will unfold. Taylor is convinced for whatever reason she’ll arrive early but I’m thinking she’ll be late. We shall see. Either way, we appreciate all prayers for a smooth delivery and healthy baby – thank you in advance! xo

Baby’s size: A canary melon

I’m feeling: Large and in charge but thankful to still feel good and have energy. I do, however, sometimes just fall asleep at my laptop usually once a day but I find my energy level back up after a quick power nap! Annie is also very active, especially when there’s music playing or her dad is talking.

Foods I could eat forever: Strawberries, dark chocolate, anything Mexican and anything Italian. Also, ice.

Foods I cannot imagine eating: Hot dogs.

Currently wearing: Workout shorts and sundresses. All day every day.

Pros of August: Looking forward to many date nights with my husband, dates with my girlfriends and watching every minute of the Olympics while we wait on Annie.

Cons of August: Not being able to be outside for longer than five minutes before becoming a Sweaty Betty.

Looking forward to: Meeting our sweet baby girl.

Favorite scripture at the moment: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” [ James 1:17 ]