Friday, April 13, 2018

This One's For the Dads

In the blog-o-sphere there are countless posts about motherhood, becoming a mom, first time moms, single moms, struggles of being a mom - you name it. Heck, I've written one. And I hope these all continue. I think bringing light to motherhood and sharing our stories is so empowering; connecting us as a tribe.

But I think it's time to say thank you to the wonderful fathers who make parenting together so joyous. I know they sometimes leave the toilet seat up, leave their junk around the house, and get too obsessed with Fantasy Football - but they deserve some gratitude too. (Just promise to work on the toilet seat thing, okay guys?)

1. They Deal with Pregnant You
While being pregnant is a beautiful thing; let's get real, it's also not so beautiful at times too. They have to handle all the mood swings, raging hormones, unexpected tears - while also dealing with cravings, aversions, nesting ideas, projects, anxiety, and the general unexpected. Plus, they're around for the 'morning' sickness (that comes really any time of day), groaning about being uncomfortable and you being tired all. the. time. They deserve a hand for loving us through those moments, and staying around even when we yell "this is YOUR fault" when not enjoying the pregnancy glow (sweat).

2. They Don't Get Paternity Leave
Now, I'm not talking to you dads who work at magical places that give you several weeks or even actual paternity leave - because if this describes you, you probably live in Europe. I realize sometimes dads get to take time off from work after you have a baby, but usually it isn't a lengthy amount equivalent to what the mothers get. I know dads do not need to recover physically from the whole pushing out a baby thing, but they do deserve time with their newborn baby. They don't get the required six weeks. Usually if they get any time off it is unpaid and requires them to use their vacation or sick days. So here's a shout out to you. We recognize that you deserve to be included in our maternity time, so we can spend it as a family. Thank you for taking the time that you can to help us start this motherhood journey, whether it's the first time or the fourth.

3. They Handle 'Guy' Stuff
Not all houses are like this, but typically the dads get to do manly tasks to keep everything up and running. I mean, heaven forbid, us ladies should break a nail or something. At our house this means my husband takes care of the car maintenance, scooping the walk (even when the snow continues into April), killing the bugs, mowing and watering the grass, taking out the trash, and filling the water softener with salt. I don't even know where our water softener is. And again - they kill the bugs! Can you imagine having to do that yourself? You guys really need a trophy for this one.

4. They Do the Heavy Lifting
I don't know about yours, but my husband can be compared to that of a pack mule. What would take me 2 or 3 trips to carry the groceries with my weakling arms, he manages to do in one trip - with one arm. Dads "get" (have) the wonderful privilege of unloading our groceries, carrying our shopping bags when we go shopping, lifting objects around the house, handling large items when moving, and opening the jars that we somehow cannot. Don't forget they usually get to lug around our babies in their carseats on top of everything else! Keep up all the lifting, bros.

5. They Give You Time for Yourself
Being a mom is overwhelming, wonderful, amazing, difficult, and perfect. But, sometimes we need to step away from the jam-covered kiddos and get a little time to ourself. It's crazy that after you have a baby you kind of lose your identity in that. Great dads step in and make sure we don't forget who we are outside of motherhood. My husband makes sure I get time for myself and spends time alone with our baby to let me get out. He's made sure I can go workout, or get pampered, or run errands, or go for a walk - whatever it is, he makes sure I still get to be myself. Dads help encourage you, spoil you, compliment you, love you, romance you, and make sure you continue to pursue your dreams and find your piece of happiness.

6. They Are Your Partner in Crime
Sometimes this means they help you get away with eating your kids' Halloween candy, but most of the time it means that dads are there with you through it all. Thanks to the dads who are there by our sides and on our sides through the thick and thin. The good and the bad. Through the tantrums, the terrible twos, the teenage angst, the flu seasons, the wrinkles, and the gray hairs. Thanks for being there to laugh with, talk to, and cry on. We can't imagine going through this journey with anyone else.

Finally - They Made You a Mom
Your husbands gave you the greatest gift of all, your child(ren). Even if they don't like changing diapers, or struggle to dress your kid in matching clothing, whether they are involved a little or a lot in discipline and parenting - they still made you a mom. They helped create that little human that lights up your day and brings joy to your heart. Seasoned fathers and new dads alike - we thank you for bringing life into the world. To you, we give our gratitude and love.

Monday, June 26, 2017

PSA FROM EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN EVERYWHERE

PSA FROM EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN EVERYWHERE
By: 8-month pregnant, Blair

It has come to my attention that people could use a lesson when it comes to talking to a pregnant woman. So here are a few lessons from this pregnant lady...

If you feel like commenting on our size or shape in anyway - RETHINK YOUR THOUGHT - and just DON'T SAY ANYTHING. I know this may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised just how many people feel the need to say mean things to you during this time in your life.

DO NOT SAY:
Are you sure there is JUST ONE baby in there?
Whoa! You REALLY GREW over the weekend.
*Looks over judgingly* I bet you'll come early!
You're Huge! (or other variations of this word)

You would think that I am making these up ^ - but these are all phrases I HAVE BEEN TOLD PERSONALLY. And I still have 8 weeks left to go until my due date. And guess what, they made me cry. (Probably due to hormones mainly - but you do not help, random strangers.)

First of all, you wouldn't comment on the weight of a "regular" person, so WHY would you think saying something about our weight/size is appropriate? We have VERY little control over what happens to our bodies & GUESS WHAT - do not need reminders of this fact from you.

Secondly, while growing a human is an amazing miracle to be a part of, it is also really hard. You do NOT know what some women have gone through to get to this point. So why would you say ANYTHING negative to them??
Even if we do look "Huge" - KEEP THE COMMENTS TO YOURSELF.

Personally, I have had a great pregnancy with minimal problems - but I also have very little control over what I look like. I am 5' 3" and have limited torso space for a baby - thus it must grow outward. I eat healthy, go on walks, and have gained a healthy amount of weight for my size. And yet, here were are after experiencing several mean comments in the span of one week.

Now this is not a plea for compliments or attention. I just want random strangers to learn a lesson on etiquette & kindness.

Also while on the general topic, DO NOT tell us the horror stories your friends, neighbors, family members or co-workers have gone through during pregnancy. Not everyone goes through the same things. DO NOT SCARE US with terrible pregnancy side effects, or issues you know of. I do not care about your cousin's hairdresser's niece - whose labor lasted 500 hours. I may exaggerate a little, but you get the point. My body is different than hers and my experiences will be and have been different.

The thought of labor is terrifying enough without you adding your two cents or worst-case scenario stories. JUST BE POSITIVE & SUPPORTIVE.
*Tell those stories to teenagers you do not want to have children. Because, yikes!* LOL 

So...
If you feel like saying anything, here is a list of appropriate phrases you MAY use:

You look beautiful.
(Or nothing at all.)


Sincerely,
Pregnant Women Everywhere

Friday, November 18, 2016

He's Home! A Deployment Homecoming

320 days.
11 months.
46 weeks.

Finally, after all that time, I would get to see him. In just a few minutes I would get to watch him walk off the plane & take him home after a long deployment overseas.

Jerromy: I can't believe after traveling 7,000 miles, I am FINALLY on my last flight home!

My heart was racing; pumping with adrenaline. I tapped my foot anxiously as I sat in the airport terminal. I checked & re-checked my hair & makeup (I mean a girl wants to look good for her husband she hasn't seen in so long.) I tried my best to remain calm, but the butterflies in my stomach took over. Excitement continued to build as the minutes ticked away.

All I can think about is kissing her.  I'm so excited it's almost like I'm nervous -- the excitement has my whole body feeling energized, down to my bones.

I was on the brink of tears (again). I already cried on the way to the airport, overwhelmed with the idea that this was THEE day. Consumed with the feeling of being blessed beyond anything imaginable. In a scenario when so many things could go wrong, we made it through.

He was safe. And the deployment was over.

As the plane flew over Kearney, I started to recognize the houses, the streets; and it became more real. This is home.

The airport attendant announced the flight had landed --  He was here.

I jumped up & watched (almost in slow motion) as the pilots exited, the stairs were lowered, the luggage unloaded, and the first passenger could leave the jet. One by one people filed off the plane.

And then I saw him step down.

The people walking in front of me seemed to take forever to move forward, but I walked around the front of the plane with determined steps.

My heart was beating so loudly, it drowned out every other sound in the terminal.

All at once, I could finally see his face, his smile -- and it took my breath away.

She was standing there holding the sign she made with the biggest smile, (sigh) -- She's even more beautiful than when I left.

When he was just steps away I pushed forward and threw myself into his arms & kissed him.
He hugged me with everything he had.
I melted into him.

She came into my arms and it felt like I hadn't gone anywhere. I was right where I should be. Where I belong.

And we stayed like that, in this embrace for what felt like days. Not wanting to let go...

Busy people moved around us, headed to & from their next destination. Flights were called. For most, the day continued on.

But for us, it had stopped momentarily.

For once in 320 days, time was on our side.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Deployment Diaries: Part 2

Do you know how many days it is until November?
The average person would have a rough guess, but couldn't tell you exactly.
The women waiting for the end of this deployment, like myself, have the answer to this question calculated down to the approximate day, hour, minute & moon rotation.
Ok, well maybe not that last one.

We have 4 months until our soldiers touch down back in the USA. I can count that on one hand! A feat that seemed like it would never come, when the looming 12 months began. Now, we are on the 'home stretch' and ready for the moment I can start counting down days on that one hand.

Most say that the first year of marriage is the hardest and for us it definitely has been very difficult. Newlyweds separated by 7,000 miles complicates starting a new life of togetherness. But, I do think it will make our second year that much sweeter. Most couples get married, move in together and immediately get annoyed at the little bad habits of your spouse -- the things you only discover after sharing space and being together 24/7. And while I know that things will not be perfect when he returns, I don't think I will be upset if he leaves his shoes by the door, or his clothing in the dryer. Because those things will mean he is home.

And there is no place else I would rather he be.

It's disheartening to walk into a house and know his clothing will be hung on the hangers exactly as you've left it. His shoes won't be by the door, because they are aligned in the closet. You won't be welcomed by his smile or laugh. And he won't be there in the morning to walk you to the door to send you off with a goodbye kiss. The house is empty.

Even if other people are around, the lack of his presence is noticeable -- it's a constant ache in your chest. A longing that seems to grow, no matter how much you were able to talk that day.

And yet, my heart is full.

7,000 miles can't stop him from sending flower, just because. Or from crying with you, when your dad is in the hospital. It has no control over the prayers you both say for each other daily. Or the giggles you share over FaceTime. Separation doesn't stop our hearts from being poured out into messages, care packages, letters, and calls.

You have to rely on your patience, positivity, faith & trust to get you through everyday. The waiting, and the fear of the unknown, help you to look to God & to each other for strength. You count your blessings a little more often.

So if anything, I think this deployment has helped us to grow in our faith and allowed us a glimpse into the magnitude and power of love.

Because that's the thing about love, it transcends all circumstances.



*Next time I check in, my soldier will be HOME! :)



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Deployment Diaries

Me: "How was your day, baby?"
The Hubby: "Well actually a car bomb went off less than a mile away from us -- it shook our whole building."   *(paraphrased)

Welcome to deployment...

My husband Jerromy is currently deployed and serving in Afghanistan. He left in December and will (hopefully) be back home after his 9 months there. We just recently got married in October 2015 a little before he was called to duty. This is actually his second deployment to Afghanistan, but as for me, I am new to this whole Army life. During his first deployment, Jerromy and I were friends who became pen-pals during his months across the Atlantic. So, while I was part of the first one from a distance, it was (and is) much different to have your husband overseas. My view from home is a little different than it was before.

He has been overseas now for about 4 months, although it feels like it's been about a year already. For the most part, everything has gone pretty okay. We are so blessed to live in an age of technology where texting, phone calls, and FaceTime can keep us connected despite the distance. We don't have to rely on snail mail to give updates -- although we do still send the occasional hand-written love letter. Despite the 7,000 miles and 9.5 hour time difference, we still get to talk every day and for that I am so thankful.

So fast forward to this week, when we were texting during (my) morning and (his) night. A very routine thing for us -- when I asked about his day. Turns out, it wasn't like every other day up until this point. There had been an explosion by a terrorist group just outside of where they are living. It is Afghanistan after all. So when he let me know about that bomb-- it felt like one had dropped right in my office at work as well.

He immediately assured me that everyone (in his unit), including himself, were okay. However, it turns out it did kill 28 people and injured hundreds more.

I began asking a million questions.
Tears welling in my eyes started streaming down my face.
Every 'what if' scenario played through my head over and over again.
And then praying and thanking God for answering my prayers and keeping them safe.

And you know what I did next? Get mad at him for telling me something so nonchalantly over a text message. I took out my fear with anger on Jerromy. Way to be a great wife...

The thing is, he didn't want to even tell me. He loves me too much to want me to worry about situations that could have been. He figured if he made it sound like no big deal -- then I would see it that way too. But to me, it was a BIG deal.

Although I pray for his safety every day, you don't really think about what could happen. You just can't allow your mind to go there. So when something like this hits so close to home -- it makes your eyes open. Maybe opened too much, as I cried myself into a slight panic attack in the bathroom at work. Tears of fear. Of thankfulness. Of anger.

And of praise. I absolutely know with my whole being, that God kept him safe from this terrorist attack. And I have complete faith that He will continue to do so for the remainder of his deployment.

Now, two days later I realize I could have handled it better. And wives that have been through multiple deployments would be prepared for bad news or even just scary news like I had been given. But, I am new at this and I try the best I can in each situation. Thankfully this isn't routine -- so I don't have to get good at reacting in moments like these.

I would also go through any deployment if it meant I get to be married to Jerromy. His love is worth any obstacle...

I do hope however that the next BIG text message he has to send me -- is that he is coming home <3



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jesus, Easter & Fish on Fridays

Easter is right around the corner, which means Easter bonnets & our Sunday best, deviled eggs, and of course a visit from a furry friend. For a lot of people, Easter also marks the day when they can start to consume meat every day of the week again – as Lent will be over. The Lenten season is an opportunity for us to connect with God, but for many, Lent is synonymous with the ritual of giving up fish on Fridays and the sentiment ends there. When it began, Lent was used to help new converts prepare for baptism, with repenting & fasting. Now most Christians see these six weeks as a time to prepare spiritually for Easter. 

The word 'Lent' translated means 'spring' and although 'spring' means to burst forth, spread & grow, I fear that our culture has given Lent a completely different meaning. Although celebrated in many different ways, there are some basic principles to these 40 days I hope we start to understand...

1. Lent is not a Requirement
By this I mean that your heart should not be burdened by the idea that this is something "you are supposed to do”. If you are giving up something because your church or your family says you HAVE to and it is not truly a desire of your heart -- then you are missing the whole point. Jesus doesn't want you to HAVE to do anything for Him. He wants you to WANT to draw near to Him, to desire Him, to focus on Him. If you celebrate Lent & choose to sacrifice, know your reasons for doing so and do it with an open heart -- not a burdened one. 

2. Complaining isn't Sacrificing
Just because you choose to give something up does not mean the world has to know about it. The key to the Lenten season is humility. During this time, your goal should be to come closer to God. It isn't to draw attention to yourself for the thing you choose to give up & desire praise for your efforts. A true sacrifice is quiet. It doesn't happen on Facebook or between your friends. It happens in the stillness of your heart.  It happened on a cross.

3.  Lying isn't Sacrificing Either
If you say you are giving up a specific food for Jesus, but are really doing it to help kick-start your bikini body -- that isn't sacrificing. That is lying to yourself & to God. And binging on whatever it is you plan to sacrifice the night before Lent begins & then again Easter morning -- isn't the point either. That is giving in to the desires of your flesh instead of honoring God with your choices. You cannot sacrifice expecting to earn favor or be noticed for your good works. Truly you must not expect anything worldly in return.

4. You Don't Have to Sacrifice at All
Sometime it isn't giving up something that should be your focus. Maybe, God wants you to add something to your life instead. The goal of your Lenten season should be to grow spiritually. So, if for you that means adding a devotional time & sticking to it, or praying for a set amount of time every day -- then do that instead. Giving up something is only needed, so you can add God back into your schedule in return. 

Lent is a time to humbly come before God, focusing on his Presence, and be thankful and awed by his overwhelming forgiveness. It gives you the opportunity to sacrifice or put aside anything you hold as an idol over God. What is it that controls you? For some that is food. For others maybe the media & TV consume your time instead of worship. Maybe a sacrifice for you is to keep work at work & spend time with your family. Whatever it is -- lay it down before Him -- and take that time to meditate in God's word. Take that time and listen to His voice in your life. Take that time to honor His sacrifice for us & worship Him for all He has given you.

The purpose of Lent is to grow in God's grace. It is a time to lay down your life for the One who first showed us what it meant to sacrifice. With or without the fish.




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Post Holiday Depression

It's that time of year...

It's the middle of January, and there is not a Christmas cookie in sight. New Years has came and went; (as did many resolutions), and the closest holiday in sight is roughly 132 days away (not that you've counted or anything). The memories of parties, dessert exchanges, Secret Santas, vacation days, and excuses to eat unhealthily lie behind us.

We have eaten our way through Thanksgiving & Christmas and popped the bubbly as the ball dropped on NYE. But now, as always we have made the resolution to eat healthy, workout, and stay away from the cheesecake. Easier said than done. Because you know what hits the shelves the afternoon of January 1st? The temptress that is Valentine's day candy --  and those conversation hearts you swear spell out the words "Buy Me" every time you walk by in Target.

So the long, dark, days stretch on from January 2nd until the first time you get a Monday off of work for a vacation -- which at the earliest could be Easter, for others as "early" as Memorial Day (which is NOT until May!).

 And you can't help but start to feel yourself catching the epidemic. No, not flu season. This time it turns out that you have a case of Post Holiday Depression.

This self-diagnosed plague I find myself to have the second our Christmas decorations find the storage tote. And it hits harder when I start to notice the dimness of neighborhoods without Christmas lights. My energy sinks as I think about the 40+ weeks we have until Santa comes again.

Also, your dwindled down bank account from all your Christmas shopping doesn't help with bringing a smile to your face. Neither does the extra pounds you accumulated thanks to mom's home cooking & the office break room treats.

And, if those things aren't sad enough. There's the cold, miserable, weather that Jack Frost sets over Nebraska for up to 5 freezing months. So, every morning you go out to scrape the ice off your windshield, you start to daydream of sandy beaches & curse Mother Nature for freezing parts of your anatomy off.

And, your P.H.D. grows stronger.

Usually, you think to yourself. Well, there is Valentine's Day! That should brighten my mood -- at least the candy will be on sale soon! And then you have internal battle of  whether or not to buy 45 Reese's hearts or to stick to your meal plan. Peanut butter has protein... so that has to be an acceptable snack, right?

You crunch unhappily on your rice cake & go right back to sulking.

Really there are no known cures for Post Holiday Depression.  Yes, binge watching Netflix helps. I assume time cuddling a baby animal would bring a smile to your face. Retail therapy always has its moments of bliss. And the thought that Full House is having a reunion will give you a ray of hope.  But the real way to battle this, I believe, is to be tanning on a beach somewhere warm and tropical.

So, if you find yourself moping with this incessant disease -- I prescribe just that.

But be forewarned, Post Vacation Depression is also just as real...