Saturday, May 7, 2016

To ALL the Moms - Happy Mother's Day

Wow! It has been a while since I have written here. Life has taken over and got quite in the way of things but I'm trying to make a conscious effort to to write. What better time to start than Mother's Day?? This Mother's Day, I want to take some time to recognize ALL the Mom's around me.

* To the MOM I'd like to say Happy Mother's Day! Whether this is your second or twenty-second Mother's Day, I celebrate you. You are amazing. Truly. It takes an incredible woman to be who you are. God gave those babies to YOU sweet mama. No one else can do for them what you do. It may take all you have to get through each day but He made you the perfect match for them. To you the working mama, stay at home mama, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, baby wearing or carrying, yoga pants or dresses mama, and every one in between, I applaud YOU!! YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!! Take today to celebrate yourself and recognize all you do. Love your babies and enjoy this day.
* To the new mom, I want to say welcome to Motherhood! I see you with your dirty hair in a bun for the third day in a row (just like me), milk all over your shirt from yesterday, and your yoga pants you haven't taken off since when was your baby born? I know you feel rundown, but I must tell you that you are fabulous!! You are in the trenches but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Each day is a victory! Celebrate it!! Enjoy it. Soak it up. Before you know it, that new baby will be walking across your floor and you'll be wondering what happened. I know everyone says it, but it's true. I see my own babies doing the same and my heart longs for the newness again. I pray for your sweet mommy heart to feel full, not just overwhelmed, this Mother's Day.
* To the waiting Mom I say congratulations!! Whether the first trimester or the third, my heart is full of joy for you! The tiny flutters and kicks...does it get any better? Enjoy every moment. I know in the end you long to hold that baby, you are more than ready for it. But trust me, you will miss those sweet movements only you could feel. You never know when the baby in your belly is your last so enjoy every moment! If you are feeling nervous about what is to come, let me tell you this: You are not perfect. You never will be. Accept it now. We all mess up and we all do the best we can. You will always wonder if you are doing it wrong, but remember YOU are the perfect mom for your baby and you will be OK. My prayer for you is that you have peace of mind for the future and plenty of sleep.
* To the unseen, silent, and grieving Moms, my heart is with you. To you sweet mom whose babies belong to Heaven before you ever had a chance to hold them, to the mom who has earthly and heavenly children, and to you precious mom who held your baby but only for a short heart truly brakes for every single one of you. I see you. I grieve with you. I cry for and with you. I cannot empathize with all of you. I have not lost a baby I was able to hold in my arms. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain. Please know though that I pray for you. I pray for your heart, your healing. To those who have babies they have not held, I know. I see the longing in your eyes for what you do not have. I see the pain, the anger, the desire. I have three heavenly babes waiting to meet me one day. My heart aches to hold them but it also soars with the tiny hands I do get to hold every day. I know the struggle to miss what you don't have and to love what you do. I pray for your heart as well! I pray for God to give you healing and peace. I pray for Him to quiet the fears you hold for future children. I also pray that you all feel so loved this Mother's Day! You are LOVED precious mama. So very very loved.
* To the longing Mom who is struggling some way with fertility, waiting for adoption, or another situation, you are not alone. I want to encourage you! Your time is coming. I don't know when and I don't know how but it's coming. To you who is struggling with fertility, the road is long and hard. The treatments, the medications, the appointments, the disappointments, and starting over weighs heavy on your heart and your mind. I encourage you to reach out! You are not alone. There are more women struggling the same as you than you know. Reach out. Seek support. I pray your road is not long and I pray you find someone to walk it with. To you who is waiting for adoption, oh how I wait in anticipation for you! I have many dear friends who know the joy that comes from adoption and I pray for that same joy for you. It is an incredible journey you are choosing to take and I commend you for it. I pray your road as well is not a long one. I pray your hearts desires are fulfilled. 
* To the Step Mom and the Adoptive Mom, I say thank you. Thank you for CHOOSING to love those babies who you did not birth but love like you did. You did not have to but you did and you do every day. I see the love you have for them and my heart is full of joy and happiness! It takes someone incredible, YOU, and oh how wonderful you are. To the step-mom who also works with the mom to co-parent your children and to the step-mom who is the only mom present, I pray your children know the true love you have for them. I pray they and you continue to grow a beautiful relationship. To the adoptive mommas, I pray your babes also know how much love you have for them. I pray they know they were wanted, desired, and loved even before you met them.
* To the Birth Moms who have chosen to give up their babies, I want you to know how incredible you are. You are someone special to give your child to another woman to love and raise for the rest of their lives. I cannot imagine the feelings you have in your heart. You may not realize or feel it, but your selfless act has given another mom the opportunity to have something she may not have ever had without you. As a woman with friends who have adopted, you may never know the joy you have brought them, but I pray your heart will one day feel it. I pray for healing for you. And I pray that one day, if God wills, that you are able to feel the love of a child in your life. 
* To the Grand"Mother" or Great Grandmother, I say well done. You have earned the title of more than just Mom and moved into the ranks of Grandma or Nana, MeeMaw, Mammaw, GiGi, Gran, and more. You have taught your children to raise children of their own and now you can sit back and enjoy the spoiling and sending home life. You may fill their tiny bellies with ice cream and chocolate but you also fill their minds with knowledge, their hands with treasures, and their hearts with love. You can teach them things no one else can. You are a grand-Mother and a wonderful one at that. 

To all Moms of every kind, I say Happy Mother's Day!! I pray your day is full of love and joy! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

San Antonio Adventures - Part 1

The family and I have been in San Antonio for a month now and boy has it been amazing! We have seen and done so much in this one month alone and still have so much more planned for the rest of the time we are here. So here I begin a little summary of the adventures we have experienced lately...

Mommy and Daddy Time

     When we first arrived, it was just Brian and me. Michael is lucky enough to spend a few weeks each summer with both of his grandparents for a little vacation. Time Brian and I surely don't complain about! It just so happened that we were able to get a little "mommy - daddy" time in San Antonio while he was away. So what did we do you ask?? Well...we slept in for starters. And you thought I was going to be nasty! But seriously... we decided to take our valuable alone time and do things we thought Michael wouldn't enjoy: The Alamo, the Riverwalk, and the Riverboat Cruise. We also enjoyed a couple of breweries, trips to the San Marcos Outlets (my favorite) and experienced our first trip to IKEA (we come from a small town, folks).
     The Alamo was definitely a highlight! Brian and I are both history lovers so we enjoyed the history that surrounds that place, not to mention the beautiful gardens behind it. It's definitely a place to check out if you are ever in San Antonio.

The Alamo
After the Alamo, we moved on to the Riverwalk...

The Texas-sized Margarita
Luckily he shared with me
 I love all the unique shops along the Riverwalk! There is so much to see, do, and EAT! We enjoyed a nice dinner at Rita's on the River! We shared a Texas sized (that's what they call it) margarita and some delicious Mexican food, something we don't get too often back in Mississippi.

     We also enjoyed a nice ride on the Riverboat Cruise. It was actually quite cheap for military, which was a huge plus! Fun Fact #1: did you know you can reserve dinner for two on one of the riverboats? Maybe I can convince Brian to do that? Probably not, haha! There is actually a lot of history built into the river area. Did you know that the World's Fair was held in San Antonio in 1968? It was named the HemisFair of '68. Many of the buildings along the end of the cruise were built specifically for the fair. The Tower of the America's was as well. There is a very beautiful mosaic mural along the top of one of the buildings. Fun Fact #2: Dozens of hotels, businesses, and restaurants line the Riverwalk, including one very strange building that looks like it is falling over. Because of the sharp angles of the sides, the building is quite an optical illusion. The Riverwalk has to be one of my favorites so far!
The "Falling Building"
Crazy, huh?
     Along with the Riverwalk, we have ventured to a couple of local breweries and of course many, many shopping areas. I'm loving the San Marcos outlets! Pretty much every store possible has a place there. Our bank account may not like it, but its vacation, right?


     Once Michael returned, we decided to start his adventure off with a bang! So what better way to do it then by going to SeaWorld?

The family at SeaWorld
     Let me just start by saying, Michael absolutely loved it! His favorite part was the star himself, Shamu. And the Steel Eel! We decided that our trip to SeaWorld was going to be more about the shows than the waterpark or the rides. We didn't even buy tickets to the waterpark because 1) our SeaWorld tickets were free thanks to Waves of Freedom, and 2) we have plans to possibly take him to Schlitterbahn for an entire day of waterpark fun!

     Anyhoo, we began the day with the belugas and dolphins. We sat in the "splash zone" of almost every show but this one did not get us wet. However, when we moved on to The Shamu Story, we got wet. VERY WET!! I mean SOAKED!! Poor Michael did not like the salt water taste either. But he soon changed his mind when we moved onto another show. I have to say that my favorite was the Sea lion and Walrus show. Watching that walrus do crunches was just too funny! As I said though, Michael loved Shamu! He didn't know there would be so many whales. The little baby whale, or baby Shamu as Michael called him, was by far the one he liked most. It was such a good show!
     After a couple of shows we made our way to the Steel Eel, a good-sized roller coaster with some fun drops and turns. This was the first major roller coaster Michael had ever ridden. And he is IN LOVE with roller coasters now!! We rode this probably 5 times. This definitely was a highlight for all of us. Brian and I LOVE roller coasters and now Michael does too. By the way, I have to say that the food at SeaWorld is absolutely delicious! We ate some fantastic BBQ and delicious burgers! Totally worth the money we paid for that.

Michael loved riding the Steel Eel

     Overall, SeaWorld was definitely a win! A good experience for all of us and a great way to start this fun family adventure in San Antonio. And what would a trip to SeaWorld be without an a giant stuffed toy of Shamu? I have to correct myself and say that was probably Michael's favorite. He has slept with it every night since.
So long for now! Look for San Antonio Part 2 coming soon!


Friday, July 18, 2014

And the assignment is...

Hello all!

It's mid-July and I am playing catch-up. I last wrote that we were anticipating what was to come for Brian in his career as a pilot. Well, I am happy to say he graduated! Yay! So what are we doing next, you might ask? We aren't going anywhere. Brian received the assignment of T-1 FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot) which means we will be staying in Columbus for three more years so Brian can instruct other students in the T-1 (don't worry, I will attach a photo of the plane below).

Assignment Night, where the students learn their next adventure, was so much fun! It's a big party!! All of the assignments are a surprise and it is both fun and nerve-racking to wait and see what each person receives.

Our family at Assignment Night

The lovely ladies of 14-10
Brian and two of his buddies, Nate and Nate.
Besides the surprise, A-Night is also a huge party... with lots of beer!

After A-Night, comes Graduation! It was a wonderful day spent with both of our families and many friends. After 13 long months of training, Brian finally got to walk across that stage and receive his wings. Absolutely one of the best moments of his life and certainly one of the proudest in mine. It was the culmination of all the hard work, stress, anger, tears (even though he would deny that), and also happiness of the past year in training. I could not be more proud of him and all his accomplishments. After the graduation ceremony, Brian got to take our family into the simulators and let them fly the airplanes. As far as I know, no one crashed. Probably came close though! After all of that, we made our way to the formal dinner. My favorite part of the day! We were all dressed up, looking fancy and just enjoying the happiness of the day. The boys even got to recognize the wives by presenting them a rose. Definitely the highlight of my night and a perfect way to end such a fun night!
Our family after the graduation ceremony.
Notice those wings on his chest?
That's my husband, the USAF Pilot!
Both our families together for Graduation
My sexy pilot husband and I at the formal graduation dinner
One of the coolest parts of the graduation ceremony is the traditional breaking of the wings. It seems kind of silly to break a pair of wings after just receiving them, but there is some deep-rooted tradition in it. Here is the story behind it (or some version of it):
     Since man started flying, he has taken to the air a certain amount of risk. To counter that risk, a tradition was established years ago when the Army Air Corps first started issuing pilot wings to their young aviators. This tradition is called “BREAKING OF THE WINGS.” At every UPT graduation, the Air Force issues the pilots their pair of wings. As tradition has it, the pilot should never wear that first pair of wings. To bring good luck, the pilot should break the wings into two parts. The pilot should keep one half, the other half should be given to the pilot’s best friend or relative. To preserve good luck, the halves should never be brought together while the pilot is alive. After death the two halves are once again united with the pilot for good luck in the next life.
I have to say I was so honored to receive the other half of Brian's wings! It is truly a special gift that I will cherish forever.

Breaking of the Wings

So what are we doing now you ask? Well we are in San Antonio for PIT (pilot instructor training) so Brian can learn how to teach other students. We will be here until October and then we return to Mississippi back to our lovely house for the next three years. Needless to say, there is so much to do here in San Antonio and we have already begun the adventures. I will be posting plenty of our adventures very soon!
Oh and as promised, a picture of the plane Brian is flying for the next few years...
The T-1A Jayhawk

Monday, April 14, 2014

the next step...wait, what?

It's been a while since I have written. Our lives have been one crazy whirlwind these past few months. Along with my own personal bits, I intended this blog to document our adventures it the Air Force, so let's get one in about that.

As many of you know, my husband is in pilot training with USAF. He started almost a year ago and is on the last leg of his journey. So let's take a little recap...

We arrived in Columbus, MS in September of 2012. Brian had arrived with an estimated start date of November. Luckily that quickly changed! After the holidays, he headed to IFS (Initial Flight Screening) in February. Once he passed that he waited until May to FINALLY begin UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training).

Phase I of UPT is a rigorous 6-weeks course of everything flying. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING! Poor guy was pretty much locked in a classroom or the office learning or studying. He questioned himself (more than once) on the decision he had made to go into UPT. He could definitely describe the stress and well stomach problems that came with said stress.

He made it through academics into the Phase II and the first aircraft: the T-6 Texan II. This began a  five month-ish span of flying one fun plane! He was pulling G's, flying upside down, doing flips and tricks...needless to say he had a blast! The fun times definitely came with some not so fun times but he survived. Then came track select...

Brian chose to track to the T-1 Jayhawk which leads down the path for heavy aircrafts like cargo and tankers. The other choices were helicopters (um no, he was not allowed) and the T-38 which leads to fighters/bombers. After formation flying with the T-6 where they are merely 10 feet from another plane while flying, he knew the T-38 was NOT for him (they only fly 3 feet away). This leads me to where we are today.

He is about half-way done with this third and final phase. As time draw closer and closer to graduation (two months y'all...this is HUGE!!), I'm starting to wonder what the future holds and reflect on the experiences of this past year. It's been an insane year and a half in this crazy town... so many life experiences for our family but also for Brian. He has accomplished so much and I could not be more proud of this man. He has worked so hard to reach this goal and he is doing it one day at a time.

So what is next? Well we don't know. Wait, what? Yeah that's right, we don't know...and won't know for another 6 weeks and 4 days but who's counting. Did I mention this is HUGE? This is the rest of our lives...well for at least the next 10-20 years. Brian would like to either fly the KC-135 Stratotanker or FAIP (become an instructor). Time is drawing nearer...but first he must pass the last two checkrides (it's like a test while flying). May the time "fly" by... I had to.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Letter to Moms... Let Us Build Each Other Up

I want to warn everyone upfront... this post is not sweet or cute like most of mine are. This is raw and honest and will probably make some people mad. This is my opinion of course, but nasty, rude, or mean comments will NOT be tolerated and will be deleted. With that said, here we go...

I am a mom. Like most moms (I'm sure) I feel like I am not the best mom in the world. BUT, I try to do my very best to raise my kiddo in a way that will make him a well-rounded, kind, loving, smart, adult. I feel like most moms would probably agree that we do the best we can. So why is it that we as moms are so quick to judge other moms and make them feel like they are worthless or less than if we don't agree with something they are doing??

The topics of breastfeeding and postpartum depression have probably been discussed to death. And if you don't want to read another post about them, stop now...

Still here? Ok then. I am a mom. I had postpartum depression. Breastfeeding was not all it was cracked up to be.

When my son was born, he was six weeks early. Just under five pounds when we brought him home, I of course tried to breastfeed him. It is what everyone said to do. It is what is best nutritionally for your baby. BUT it was awful. I didn't enjoy it. And neither did my baby. He had a hard time with it and so did I. After two weeks, I took him to the doctor for a checkup and they determined he was not gaining weight so the decision was made to use half prescription formula and half breast milk to feed him. It was a bit of a let down but a huge relief! And this is where most moms tend to start arguing with me and making me feel bad. Because I was relieved I didn't have to breastfeed anymore. Pumping was great. He ate so much better and started gaining weight. I cannot even describe how much better we BOTH were for this decision. Even though we both were better off, I still began to receive criticism and negativity for not "solely breastfeeding" my baby. Not only did people not care that this decision was a medical one but they also didn't care that as a new mom I felt super vulnerable and their comment really hurt. Even if the decision wasn't medical, I am quite confident I would have stopped fairly soon. And I also feel that anyone who has a problem with it can kiss my ...

Ok so why am I bringing this topic up after so long (my kiddo is six)? Recently I have been seeing waaayyy to many moms criticizing other moms for their decisions. I hate it!! One person in particular: Giselle Bundchen. I'd really like to punch her in the face but that is a story for a different day... As moms, we are a special kind of person! And we should be striving to uplift other moms, not tear them down! Every mom, at some point, feels like they are doing a terrible job! I believe it is our job as moms to build these ladies up. Let them know that they are doing a great job! When my son was born, I was told to lay him on his back. He didn't like sleeping that way and in fact would not sleep that way. After a month of zero sleep, I finally laid him on his stomach and miraculously he went to sleep and slept so good. Moms know what is best for their child and their situation. I cannot emphasize this enough: EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT AND EVERY MOM IS DIFFERENT. Moms should be able to make decisions about their kids without receiving criticism from other moms. Plain and simple.

This leads me to my second topic: Postpartum Depression.
I had postpartum depression. I noticed it shortly after giving birth but tried to fight it. I tried really hard! The negative comments I received about breastfeeding started making it worse. Then I moved to a new town, started a new job, and started college full-time less than 6 months after my son was born. And then it hit me...HARD. My emotions were uncontrollable; I would cry in the middle of class for no reason or would get ridiculously angry for no reason. I felt terrible physically but most of all I felt the worst because I wasn't being the best mom I could be for Michael. That really tore me up. I felt alone, like I was the only one dealing with it. People didn't really talk about it. It was almost like I was being told to hide it and take care of it silently. I started seeing a counselor. A wonderful Christian man who told me I was not alone, I didn't need to hide it, and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I also talked to my doctor. He prescribed me a very low does of anti-depressants that I would take for about 4 months. Even as I type this I am considering deleting it because I still get embarrassed. Why is it that we don't talk about this more? It is more common than people realize. Moms should not be afraid or ashamed to say they are dealing with it. We should not be deemed "crazy" for saying the words, "postpartum depression." Say it. Postpartum depression. See, it wasn't that hard was it? To all the moms dealing with it, its ok! You are not alone and you will be ok. Get help. Talk to your friends. The one piece of advice my counselor gave me that really stuck with me was this: Get up out of bed every morning and get dressed. Don't hang out in your PJ's every day. Get up, get dressed and put on some makeup or fix your hair or something small that makes you feel good. Doing this one small thing helps release serotonin which can help you feel happy and good to start your day. I was amazed at how much it actually helped!

As my rant comes to an end I want to sum up my main point. Dear Moms, we are not perfect. And we never will be. But that is ok!! Our children don't expect us to be. Do the best you can! And help build up and support other moms who are having a tough time. We must unite as moms, not fight.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Family I Never Knew I'd Have

As the month of November rolls on, I see so many of my friends posting daily about the things they are thankful for. I love seeing all the different posts! I decided to do something a little different this year. This month I am making a pledge to be thankful for one thing: the family I never knew I would have. What family is this you may ask? My Air Force family.

This past year has been one amazing journey. My favorite part is the people I have met. These people have become a family like non-other. They are the people that have welcomed me without a thought of hesitation, helped me through difficult situations without really knowing me. They have volunteered to be the emergency pickup for my kiddo after meeting me once. Yep, I said once. I have asked a friend to be the emergency contact because well, I don't really have anyone else to ask. That is part of this life. These ladies understand that we don't have years to develop friendships. We have days, weeks, months at most. We have to make friends quick! Why? Because as soon as we make friends, we are preparing to leave again. No one understands this like these ladies I have met here.

I have experienced so much love, fun, and lifelong memories! And it has only begun for us! But the fact that I have seen so much of this already, gives me so much hope for the future. Being welcomed into the Air Force like this sets up for a great experience to come.

These ladies are the ones I turn to in sorrow and pain, and in happiness and excitement! We share in welcoming babies, welcoming husbands back home, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings...and drinks! Drinks are always good! We watch each others kids and pets. We celebrate holidays with each other because we can't always go home. We cry tears of joy and pain for each other! It is a family, one that is to be envied and cherished.

So this month, I am thankful for this amazing family! There are too many people to name but I am going to work on showing them just how thankful I am! Thank you ladies! You are the ones that make this journey worth it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Six years of learning patience and more love than I've ever known

To Michael,
My sweet, sweet little man, can you really be six already? I feel like it was yesterday that I was holding you in my arms for the first time. I know everyone says that but it's true!
From the day you were born you were amazing us! Six weeks early, just shy of five pounds, and didn't need an ounce of help from the NICU. They still put you in there for about a day to be safe, but you were tough. So tough!!
Then came your first smile, your first laugh, your first tooth... growing before my eyes every day. Months went by and all of a sudden we were celebrating your first birthday. We were amazed at how much you had grown and changed in that first year. You were walking and almost talking!
After that first year, time seemed to go so much faster! In the blink of an eye you have turned six. SIX!! You can no longer count how old you are on one hand. You like superheroes, Pokemon, and don't need mom's help for anything. I LOVE how independent you are but miss my sweet snuggles before bed. You are learning to read. And you are excelling at it! Always amazing us, every day.
I can already see the man you are becoming.
You have such a kind heart! One that cares about others and stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Never change that!
You are so brave and fearless! And you always love to tell me how pretty I look today and how much you love me. Just keep that up and you will make some girl very happy one day.
Don't get me started on how smart you are! In a few years, you will surpass me and daddy in that department. Keep it up... you've got to pay for college somehow! HAHA!
These past six years have been years of learning:
how to change diapers
how to not sleep through the night for at least three months
how to baby-proof an entire house
how to play tag
how to soothe a black eye...or three
how to play crash and burn with pretty much every toy
not to say anything in front of you we don't want you to repeat
how to clean ravioli out of your ears
how to clean juice out of the carpet...again
how to play video games
to again not say anything in front of you we don't want you to repeat
how to explain death and loss...this will never get easier
Six years of more love than I have EVER known. More love than I thought my heart could hold...
and it just keeps growing! Every day.
Happy Birthday, Brian Michael!