10 lessons Dad has taught me (so far)

There is something very special about a girl and her Dad. My Mom is my role model and best friend but Dad? He’s my hero and always has been my constant. My rock. It’s fun to think back on how our relationship has grown and evolved, from Dad battling his fear of flying to take me on my first mission trip to Panama in high school to him saying the prayer before Annie safely arrived in the delivery room.

One of my first and funniest memories of us was when Mom sent us both out for the evening while she hosted a shower of some sort at the house. I was five years old and Beauty and the Beast was playing in theaters so OF COURSE, Dad decided we would go, much to my excitement. He let me get all the candy I wanted (!!!) and allowed me to choose where we would sit (FRONT ROW!). All was right with the world until the movie was over and suddenly all the candy and up-close-and-personal-to-the-animation made me feel not so good. I had to go to the bathroom fast. Dad slightly panicked but he had no choice other than to take me to the men’s restroom and stand outside the door. I distinctly remember screaming from the bathroom to Dad, just outside, “I want my Mommy!” and he replied “I do too!” Lesson learned at an early age – less is more with candy and never, ever sit on the front row at the movie theater.

But for real, through his words and example Dad has taught me countless life lessons in my 30 years and I feel like every time we’re together I learn something new. Here are ten lessons Dad has taught me, so far:

  1. If you put God first, He’ll take care of the rest
  2. You are the company you keep
  3. You can’t go wrong with The Eagles or The Beatles
  4. With hard work and determination anything is possible
  5. The truth will find you out
  6. Mom knows what she’s talking about
  7. The two most important decisions you make in your life: to become a Christian and who you will marry
  8. Always be kind and love people
  9. Beware of: a waitress who seats you in the corner and a house built in a hole
  10. You can always come back home

What life lessons has your Dad taught you? I want to hear! If you’re fortunate enough to still have your dad with you on this earth give him a call. Thank him and tell him how much you love him because a good father is such a gift.

Married Life: A letter to my husband after we’ve had a baby

21-21

To my husband after we’ve had a baby,

It was impossible for us to know what any of this would be like, this new season. We went into labor and delivery rookies, relying on our childbirth classes and Google for our limited knowledge. You calmed my nerves and held my hand through every contraction. You prayed us through the scary parts and ugly cried as we met our baby girl for the first time. You told me how proud you were of me and my “superhuman strength” and you helped me with well, everything in the tough days after when I felt like my strength had left me.

So here we are now, with a 5-week-old who has a smile just like your’s and you still tell me how proud you are of me. Of us. Of our little family. Day in and day out, you tell me how beautiful I am even when my hair is 97% dry shampoo. You turn your head when I eat five of the lactation cookies we both know I made just so I can have cookies. You never protest when I tell you I need Starbucks and to walk around Target for a couple hours. Never speak a word of my mood swings. Never flip out when I say I’m crying for no reason or because “she’s growing too fast.” You listen to me. You help make the major changes not seem so major. You take me on dates because you know we need time to focus on us. You love me just the same. No, scratch that, you love me more. You carefully push me to be the best version of myself. This new version of myself.

Some days are hard and some nights we don’t get much sleep between the diaper changes and feedings. Some days I don’t get a shower and walk around for hours with dried milk and spit up all over me. You never hesitate to jump in and finish dinner when she decides its time to eat – again – and you never complain when I pass her to you with a dirty diaper the second you walk in the door so I can pee. You change basically all the diapers and have learned to make the best half-caff coffee. You wake up extra early to clean the kitchen while I feed/pump/feed because you “don’t want me to have to worry with it.”

And so I thank you.

For telling me I’m a good mom. For loving me. No matter what I look like or how I feel. Thank you for always thinking I am the prettiest. The best. The sexiest. Even when I don’t feel like it. I am going to work hard on loving myself the way that you love me because the way you love me is the greatest way of all. I love being your wife and I love doing the parent thing with you. I thank God every day for this sacred season and I know the best is yet to come.

I love you more. xo

Monthly Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

20160710_230826 (1)

It’s crazy to say “I’m having a baby next month” but Lord willing, Annie will make her arrival next month! We’ve been so busy with work and working on the house that when we do have downtime we take full advantage of spending time just being together. People keep telling us to enjoy the calm before the crazy fun so we’re soaking in lazy nights with long dinners and Netflix, spending time with good friends, late night movies and sleeping in a little on Saturdays. My OB told us at our last appointment that Annie’s heartbeat sounds “super happy” and everything is going just as it should be. Also, super excited for my dear friend Beth who welcomed her sweet baby boy to the world yesterday, making it all the more real that I’m next in line! God is so good! xo

Baby’s size: A head of lettuce (who comes up with these anyways?)

I’m feeling: More pregnant but still pretty energetic for the most part. There are times when I feel like I could fall asleep standing up but usually after a snack or a 15 minute disco nap I’m good to go again. The heat and humidity is not my friend but I am so thankful for swimming pools and AC. I can’t even begin to imagine how pregnant women did anything before AC was invented!

Foods I could eat forever: Anything with cheese, any and all fruit, and Sonic ice. Yes, it counts.

Foods I cannot imagine eating: Hot dogs.

Currently wearing: Workout shorts, sundresses and sometimes my boyfriend-fit maternity jeans.

Pros of July: Childbirth classes with my sweet husband who’s going to be so great at the whole dad thing.

Cons of July: My wedding band no longer fits. Also, THIS HUMIDITY.

Looking forward to: Our baby showers!

Favorite scripture at the moment: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” [ John 14:27 ]

Classic Moments That Made Our Wedding Unforgettable

www.caleynewberry.com

There’s a lot people don’t tell you about getting married, you know, the details of the actual day you say your vows then eat cake. Instead you get a lot of, “You won’t remember anything” and “I busted into tears at the most random time and ruined my lipstick” or my favorite “One of the groomsmen didn’t even show up!” I tend to worry about unexpected details that aren’t planned therefore cannot be controlled, so of course there was some worry buried underneath my immeasurable excitement for our wedding day. Like any rite of passage, everyone from my mom to married girlfriends to the lady checking me out at Target shared little nuggets of wisdom from their own wedding days which made me all the more curious as to what my day would be like.

The day after our wedding I laughed as I told my husband how worried I was over the silliest little things, like crying and ruining my make-up or tripping on my dress as I walked down the aisle or somehow the musicians not showing up on time. Of course I worried for no reason.

Our wedding day was perfect. Every single minute of it and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I tend to refer to it as our very own Christmas Hallmark movie, what with the fresh Christmas trees and so many loved ones in the same room, and while it’s nearly impossible to narrow it down, my favorite moments include:

The bridesmaids brunch

I am convinced there is no better way to spend the morning of your wedding than attending a brunch with your best friends, hosted by women you adore, while all wearing monogrammed oversized Oxfords and yoga pants and reminiscing over your friendships.

Putting on my wedding dress

I was freezing, naturally, and Mom’s hands were shaking because she was “nervous to mess up the little buttons” but it was the sweetest of moments putting on the dress we had picked out together a few months earlier. My matron of honor made sure my shoes were on just right as my bridesmaids and bell ringers looked on with the sweetest smiles. There’s just something about putting on the wedding dress on the day of your wedding that changes you forever.

First look with Dad 

I loved him first, after all, and I will never forget the moment Dad walked in and saw me, veil and all. Mom soon came in to share the moment, too, and I will cherish those moments always. Yes, I cried.

Matron & Maid of Honor keeping me calm as I waited 

I was calm, cool and collected – EXCITED and READY – until everyone was all lined up and I was by myself, waiting a few feet away from them all. I had too much time to think and I could feel the tears welling up in a big way and I did not want to cry my face off while the strings played “The Prayer.” That’s when my matron and maid of honor came to the rescue – they knew I was trying not to lose it, because they just get me – and started mouthing funny memories and “happy thoughts” until I was laughing and the nerves left the building just in time.

Hearing the girls ring their bells down the aisle 

In lieu of flower girls we had the most precious sisters ring bells announcing my entrance. Sneaking a peak at the candlelit sanctuary and hearing only the ringing of three little bells was the loveliest.

Seeing Taylor’s face as I walked down the aisle

I had dreamed of that moment since he proposed five months prior, and when those doors opened I was so worried I would start the ugly cry. I had even warned Dad not to say anything nice before we started walking. The doors opened, I looked up and all I saw was Taylor, looking so handsome in his tux. I wasn’t worried about anything else any longer – this was the moment I had waited for. I didn’t even hear “Ava Maria!” It was definitely an out of body experience; I distinctly remember exactly how I felt during that walk down the aisle and the loving look on my now husband’s face.

My Brother and Dad officiating the ceremony

I still get choked up when I think about it, and I feel so incredibly blessed with two such Godly men in my family.

Charlie as the ring bearer 

He stole the show, just like we knew he would.

Hearing “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

The strings started playing this little number and I knew two things for certain: a major kiss was coming and I was officially married to the man of my dreams!

Greeting everyone in the receiving line

This was well worth the extra time spent standing in my four inch heels! It was so nice to see everyone who had come to share our special day and meant so much to hug and quickly catch up. I also have never seen my parents so happy!

The ringing of the bells

My genius mom had placed little gold bells at each seat with a poem instructing them to ring the bells as we walked by and we would kiss. Needless to say, Taylor ended up wearing far more red lipstick than he expected.

The smallest wedding guest who called us “prince and princess”

She told Taylor that he was “the most handsomest prince even with his fur face.” Classic.

Checking in with Dad amongst the craziness of the reception

Those were five minutes I’ll never forget. Just he and I, at the back of the reception hall, talking about the ceremony and what an amazing day it had been after so much prayer and hard work. It was perfect.

Ms. Paulette buttoning my dress 

It was such a sweet moment to see the woman who altered my dress into perfection and ran the kitchen for all the amazing food at the reception. She means so much to me and my family so needless to say it was an unexpected emotional moment.

Holding onto my husband and running through sparklers into a car full of balloons

This was such a whirlwind – one minute I was eating cake balls and posing for pictures in the reception hall and the next Mom was putting my fur shrug on me and we’re running past friends and family to our car painted and ballooned. I looked back and saw Dad in his Cardinals hat and smiled as we drove away.

Today marks our one month anniversary and I must say, while it feels like just yesterday and forever ago all at the same time, I still get major chill bumps when I think of holding onto Dad and seeing my husband waiting for me at the end of the aisle. Our wedding day was far more than I could have ever imagined and I am incredibly thankful for the way God has blessed my life. xo

P.S. For a sneak peak at our official wedding photos taken by the very talented Caley Newberry, go here.

Six (and a half) Things

20141104_212733[ Roaring fire at Friendsgiving, courtesy of my fiance ]

This past week was equal parts overwhelmingly busy and all around exciting. We had friends over for one last Friendsgiving at our little place before we move, complete with a potluck style meal and fireside chats in the front yard. The rest of the week included picking out the perfect wedding band (!!!), seeing a best friend give real talk in chapel at our alma mater, meeting with our wedding coordinator to start talking details, and being showered by all the wonderful ladies from the church I grew up in – makes me teary-eyed just thinking about what a lovely afternoon it was! This week means packing, packing, and more packing and from what Al Roker tells me, a cold front of Arctic proportions. Have a great one!

20141104_132349[ I voted then shared my sticker ]

IMG_0645[ Gorgeous corsage made by my dearest friend who has been by my side since we were babies in the church nursery ]

20141109_130924 [ What makes a bridal shower oh so sweet? 7 cakes, of course! ]

IMG_0651[ Maid and Matron of Honor being lovely, and hilarious, as always ]

IMG_20141109_171502[ So thankful for these beautiful ladies who have shaped me into who I am today…and know how to throw an unforgettable bridal shower ]

20141109_155504 (1)[ The heels must come off to tote in all the gifts…also, Charlie was not much help but Dad certainly was ]

 XOXO,

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 12.00.38 AM

Six Things

photo 1 (5)

[ Adding a little more blonde at my favorite, Dandelion Salon. ]

This past week was a good one. Busy, of course, but filled with wonderful things and people I love including a much-needed hair appointment, a hilariously bad pedicure from the fiance, early birthday celebrating with my sweet family complete with the most amazing cupcakes, and plenty of surprises!

photo 2 (3)[ I’m not sure how any polish made it to my toes because I was laughing so hard. ]

photo (38)

[ There’s no better way to kick off the birthday celebrations than with the most delicious cupcakes! I shared, of course. ]

photo (39)

[ Beautiful BHLDN piece that just might be making an appearance in the wedding….Thanks, Mom! ]

photo 1 (7)

[ My sneaky fiance made sure I was treated to an Italian rendition of the Birthday Song, complete with homemade birthday hat. Really, you shouldn’t have. ]

photo 1 (6)

[ Dad and Charlie. Love these two! ]

With this week comes fun celebrations for my actual birthday (!!!), wrapping up last minute plans for my best friend’s baby shower this weekend, and working on my wedding dress worthy arms at the gym with my personal trainer, aka my fiance. Have a great week, lovelies!

XOXO,

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 12.00.38 AM