HURRICANE HACKS - Be Prepared for the Worst!

Born and raised in South FL I have seen my fair share of storms. We have been pretty lucky as a family to bypass a lot of them. As a Floridian, it's basically our nature to "wait it out" and not freak out until last minute. It is what it is, people! We know the repercussions of our actions! Now that we have a baby, seeing that a category 4/5 hurricane is heading our way is a little more terrifying. As of now, we don't even know our plan - but I know we are getting prepared.

**The best way to stay safe from a hurricane or natural disaster is to get out. Take time to plan, and DO NOT leave last minute. Fun Fact :One of the safest places from natural disaster in the world is Oregon.. Go there ;)**

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Hurricane Preparedness

 

The Normal Stuff

I'm not going too far into depth with this, because this is the normal stuff that all the news channels are probably telling you every 5 minutes. Here's the list :

  • Water (1 case [24] per person per day is the rule of thumb)
  • Batteries (AAA for the small flashlights usually, D for the larger flashlights)
  • Flashlights 
  • Non perishable foods / food that can be kept in a cooler with ice easily
  • Ice (day before, kept in freezer until needed, or day of)
  • Important documents (License, social security card, birth certificates)

For Kids :

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Baby food
  • Distractions/toys
  • Formula / bottles 

That's just the basics, but let's think outside of the box a little bit!

Ice/food/fridge

We usually get ice the day of, honestly. I know, not the best plan. But surprisingly last year day of, their was plenty of ice to go around at our local twice the ice/ ice machine. We just had to bring our own cooler, and fill it. Now - if this is not an option, or you want to get ahead of the game, start freezing cubes in multiple trays at a time, putting them in sandwich bags, and squeezing them in various places in your freezer until needed.

If you are leaving, definitely do not go grocery shopping this week. Try emptying out your fridge the night before/morning that trash is supposed to come before the storm. Then, put all of your food in an iced cooler. Depending on your car situation, bring the food with you or keep it at a friends house who is staying. If you don't, then there's no point to this method bc all of the ice is going to melt and the food will go bad, anyways. I would suggest bringing the cooler with you, and putting it in a fridge ASAP wherever you are evacuating to.

If you are staying, try squeezing ice wherever you can in your freezer, and having a cooler on standby. Still go through your fridge and freezer the last trash day before the storm. You may not lose power at all, who knows. So if you are staying, keep everything in the fridge, easily accessible, and if the power goes out, quickly put everything in the cooler, throw the ice in there, and hope that your power will be on soon. (FPL is usually the bomb dot com at this - we love our linemen!) If not, then when it is safe, try to go out asap and get ice. Continuously do this until the power is back on, or you somehow find access to a generator. If it gets so bad that there's crazy flooding and a state of emergency and you have no roof, then screw the food obviously. Get out of there!

 

Pets

If you have animals PLEASE PREPARE FOR THEM. I am a dog mom, and am thoroughly preparing for this, and if we evacuate we are taking our sweet boy with us FOR SURE. 

Here are a few things you can do to cut back on costs, and also take care of your pets.

Fill old water bottle, jugs, or even Tupperware with tap water. Keep it in the fridge until hurricane time, or freeze it, or keep it wherever you freaking can. Just do it. This ensures that they are not taking from your water stock pile. If you keep enough aside, you can even use this water for cleaning yourself, washing hands, etc. If you're really terrified, and think you're screwed - fill your tub up before you lose power.

Stock up on various essential pet items such as their food. Also, make sure you have tags on them with your contact info, in case they get out or somehow get lost during the storm!

 

Electronics

If you are evacuating, bring all portable electronics with you. iPads, laptops, phones, and chargers for them all. I know I can't afford a brand new MacBook Pro or iPhone! 

Propane

Everybody always checks the basic places for propane, and they usually run out the first word of a storm coming your way. Almost immediately. Check around town for local feed stores, and RV camps. We got propane last year DAY OF at an RV camp in town. Nobody ever checks those kind of places for whatever reason, first thought is publix, Walmart, etc. If those places are out, try these! Google is your friend! Google local RV camps and feed stores! I'm almost positive there is one nearby you. 

Foods

Our essentials are probably a little different from people who are active campers, etc. We don't have a grill at this time, so we stocked up on easy cooler foods, and snacks. This is what we bought :

  • Peanut butter & jelly
  • Bread
  • Lunchmeat
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Trail Mix
  • Chips
  • Bean dip
  • Bananas 
  • Oranges

 

Lights

Don't have a flashlight? We are SO terrible about this. We have about 3 mini flashlights that put off pretty much no light, and that's it. We do, have a ton of candles but UGH those make things so hot! If you can somehow hunt down one small flashlight, and a jug of water, lean the light facing the jug, for maximum illumination. Or strap it, or put it on top. You get the idea. 

 

Babies

Doing this with a kid is extremely stressful, so we are really stocking up on her necessities, especially. We have a box of 148 diapers right now, a huge box of wipes, and a ton of baby food. We bought the baby food POUCHES because they are resealable (um awesome) and compact, so they can easily be thrown into the cooler. 

If there is a mandatory evacuation, take it seriously!! Do not mess around. If you are unsure of the powers of a hurricane and its' different categories, here is a (scary) reminder. 

Stay informed. Stay safe. Get prepared!

LEAVE!!

Xo

-MMM

Sleep Training 101; 4-6 Months

Hey friends! If you're curious on sleep training methods from 0-3 months click here to read up on that! 

As for us, we have progressed! We hit the 6 month mark this week so I guess I'm writing this a couple of days early but OH WELL

These couple of months were rough. Right when you think you're getting to know your baby, and their exact next move - BAM they change. Seriously. They change all the freaking time and they don't do it on purpose but DAMN I need a break! (excuse my language? Is damn bad? idk????? help??) ANYWAYS We have prevailed friends! And we made it through another sleep deprived couple of months! I keep telling myself dang I can't wait for our next baby (yes I can) because I feel like I'm going to be totally prepared with my online journal aka my blog. (I know this is unrealistic haha - let me dream okay!)

I had a sleep training epiphany though, last week. I realized that at different points of her life, different sleep training methods work...... differently.

Who woulda thunk it?

SOOOOOOO the first 3 months of her life we were ALL about swaddling, and it totally worked for us! But now that she has a better grasp on rolling over, it's not in our routine any long. Ttem permanence & cry it out totally did the trick for us from 3-4 months, but it just hasn't been working for us as well lately. So last week, when I was convinced I would never sleep again, I did some research.

At 3 AM. My favorite time at night if y'all didn't already know. 

I basically found that at this point in her life, a similar but totally different (are you still following?) method is working for her. I'm definitely not opposed to doing crying it out again at a different point of her life, but right now this other method is working best for us.

*Just so you know, my posts usually contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by pressing a link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.*



sleep training your baby

Basically, our nightly routine (and nap time routine - consistency is key, besides bath time, of course) goes something like this :

7 PM Bath time

I try to make sure I don't do bath time any earlier, because then it throws off her entire routine. So we do bath time, which honestly takes us a solid 10 minutes, because who knew bathing a small human was super quick, Less surface to cover I suppose! After bath time, we do our normal baby lotion massage, and sometimes read a bedtime story depending if she's really fussy or not. She is different every single day, but also the same. I know, I sound insane. 

Jammie switch up!

If you read my last sleep training post, we weren't dressing her in those warm footie pajamas everybody swears by, because she was swaddled and we didn't want her to overheat! Well you guessed it! We are now in the footie pajama stage. I still stick to my word on 0-3 months about not doing it, but like I said before - she changes constantly! Since we are no longer swaddling, we have now switched to those warm and fuzzy footie pajamas! Not only are they absolutely adorable, but they keep my girl nice and warm at night (since we are not letting her sleep with blankets because of the risk it raises for suffocation and SIDS). 


Nurse

For us anyways. If you're formula feeding, this is where your bedtime (or nap time) bottle would come in. So we sit in our rocking chair, while I nurse. I usually turn her bedroom light off and nurse in the dark to set the calm atmosphere vibes. 

Independent crib time

I used to be pretty huge on rocking her to sleep, and then putting her in her crib and tip toeing to sleep, but more often than not she would wake before I could even leave the room. I thought she was regressing or maybe her "startle reflex" wasn't quite gone yet. Turns out, she just wanted to self soothe and be left alone. Since she can now understand item permanence and knows when I am no longer there, I talk to her. I know she doesn't understand exactly what I'm saying with my words, but she can sense my emotions and the different tones in my voice. So I coo at her, and turn her mobile on, and she smiles and coos back. Then I tell her that I'll be back to check on her soon. I quietly escape to our room, and watch her on the baby monitor. She continues to coo and play with her pacifier, as well as puts the pacifier in her mouth on her own when she wants to. Most nights, I go in her room about 3 times, just to let her know I am there and I am checking up on her. Then I tell her again each time that I will be right back in a calm happy manner. Make sure you are taking lots of deep breaths - even if this takes forever! Remaining calm is huge! 

Now, that being said - she does have bad nights when we try to do this. Where I leave the room, and she screams at the top of her lungs. In this case, I kind of let her cry it out. BUT by cry it out, I mean I let her cry and when she stops for a moment, I rush right in. I am trying to basically "reward" her for not crying. Does that sound terrible? I feel like it does - but it really works! These nights are far and few between and I feel like it's because she knows that if she doesn't cry and scream that I will be more likely to come in. Maybe I'm crazy who knows. But it's working. And usually, after about 3 times in and out of her room, she falls asleep on her own. I mean out of nowhere passes out, and doesn't wake up for 3 - 4 hours. (she still eats a lot throughout the night - we are working on that!) When she does wake up, I nurse her, she passes out, I put her down, and that's all.

Now, if you're just tip-toeing into crib transitioning, I suggest doing the 3-5-7-10 minute method. Put the baby down in their crib, leave for 3 minutes. Go back, soothe them, lay them down, repeat, but this time for 5 minutes. Then 7, and finally 10 minutes. The hope is that after that 10 minute mark they will be asleep! 

Remember that attitude is everything!

If you remain calm, and tell yourself this is something you can do - then you totally can do it! Babies can 100% sense our anxieties & our stress, so once we calm down, they tend to as well!

Back to bed for mama.  AHHHHHHHH

 

Final thoughts

 

  • Reward not crying
  • Dress in warm footie pajamas
  • Self soothing in the crib
  •  

     

    This is what's working for us right now, but I'm sure it will change for 7-10 months!

     

    Happy sleeping!

     

    Xo

    -MMM

     

    An Open Letter to Overweight America

    I have found lately that I come up with the best blog topics when I'm rocking my baby to sleep at night. Maybe it's because I'm at complete peace with my little babe in my arms. Or maybe it's to get my mind off the fact that I've had to use the bathroom for 30 minutes now, and my arm is falling asleep. Who knows. 

    What I do know (and some of you who know me on a personal level also know) that I have a weird anxiety issue with death. It started when my friend passed away a couple of years ago. So every night, before bed, and most recently during my rocking chair time with my baby, I pray. I pray for so many different various things, and one of those things is the health of my friends and my family. I literally start to list off their names, and sometimes think OMG WHAT IF I FORGET SOMEONE??? and then remember that If they're in my heart, God knows I'm praying for them too.

    What does this have to do with Overweight America? 

    Health.

    I hate the word 'obesity' because I feel that it's so harsh and if you're apart of Obese America you feel like you are approximately 1 million pounds, and it just doesn't feel good. I understand Obesity is the reality of the situation, but it's still harsh. And if you're overweight, and have visited a doctor's office like, ever -  chances are they give you harsh realities about obesity all the time. This letter is a change from that information, but also equally important to know. 

    Have you ever tried to talk to an overweight family member or friend about their weight and health? If so, then you know how absolutely hard and uncomfortable it is for all parties involved.

    In fact, it is so uncomfortable, that I was on the fence about this post, because I am terrified that every single person I know that is overweight is going to come yelling at me for even writing it because they could possibly feel like it's aimed at them.

    Well, it is aimed at you, and sometimes things that need to be said are uncomfortable, but that is also what makes them beautiful. The point of an open letter, such as this, is that it isn't aimed at any one single person.

    SO if you're reading this, and you're overweight, or have been diagnosed with obesity, here are some things your family and friends want you to know - truly from the bottom of our hearts.

     

    You are beautiful.

    So important. You are beautiful - absolutely gorgeous, in fact. Your beauty is not only within. Every crevice that God hand crafted of yours, is so so beautiful. Just like your soul, and your heart. Your weight does not change the fact that you are beautiful inside and out. And it never ever will. Do not look at yourself as less beautiful, because you are overweight right now. Stop putting yourself down.

     

    Your loved ones do not see your weight.

    When we look at our family, and our friends, we do not see fat, or an excess in weight. I see the amazing person who I love to spend time with. I see the person who talked me through rough breakups. I see the person who held my hand at my friends funeral. I see the person that I laugh with on the couch on Friday nights. It is so hard for me to tell my loved ones "Yes you have gained weight." because it is so so hard for me to see. But the scale speaks numbers, and sometimes those numbers are scary for us, too. So do not get offended, or hurt, when we talk to you about those numbers.

     

    We want to help.

    In absolutely any way possible. I will help you meal prep, and I will pay for a gym membership (which is huge, because I'm such a cheap-o). We do not want to see our loved ones go down a path that ends in cardiac arrest. We do not want to watch as our loved ones leave this Earth far too soon. Let us help. Obesity is a disorder, and you need a support system to overcome something like that. Let us struggle with you, just like we would for cancer. 

     

    and lastly but most important -

     

    WE LOVE YOU.

    There is nothing you can say or do, or any amount of weight that you can gain, that will make us love you any less. You are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, best friends, and soul mates. You being here is part of what makes our lives whole. You are apart of something much much bigger than yourself, and we know that you can overcome your weight challenges. We believe in you, and will never ever stop loving you, especially not because of your weight. 

    Please understand that every unpleasant talk or uncomfortable mention about your health is nothing but love. Nothing but concern. Nothing but genuine, heartfelt, curiosity as to what we can do on our part to help your situation.

     

    This is such an uncomfortable situation to talk about, and I'm sure this post will get a minimal amount of views because of that, but I hope that somebody out there takes these words to heart. 

     

    Do you have trouble talking to your friends or family about their health? Share this post, in the hopes that they read it, and understand.

     

    Xo

    -MMM

     

    Disney World with a Baby

    Last weekend we did a spur of the moment trip to the happiest place on Earth... Walt Disney World! We were in Orlando for a family getaway, and right before getting on the highway to head home, we said what the heck! And headed to Disney. Super unprepared, we had no idea what we were in for. Think it's impossible to take a baby to Disney? Think again! We were able to do so much more than I expected. It was quite the learning experience, and since we are now Annual pass holders, we cannot wait to go back again - this time with much more preparation!  

     

    **When planning a Disney World vacation, make sure to stay at a hotel that offers transportation to the parks. Save gas, time, and stress by doing so!**

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    Disney world with a baby

    Rides

    Our original interpretation of Disney World with a baby was a lot of baby swaps and taking turn riding rides. (Let's face it, we were there for us, not our 5 month old!) To our surprise, we were able to ride a ton of things with our little babe! Some rides we rode with her were :

    • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin

    • It's a Small World

    • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

    • Monster's, Inc. Laugh Floor

    • Pirates of the Caribbean 

    • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

    • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

    & we barely even scratched the surface! There are so many more we can take her on.. check out the FULL LIST below!

     

    Perks

    Annual pass holders get a pretty good amount of perks that I totally was not expecting. First of all, we were pass holders at Universal for awhile and thought about renewing this year, but surprisingly enough Disney was way cheaper. I couldn't believe it! We have a ton of stuff to learn as far as benefits go for being pass holders, but so far I was really impressed/surprised with the following :

    • Kids under 3 get in FREE!!!

    • Fast passes (3 to begin the day - once those are used, one at a time for the remainder of the day. We didn't wait more than 15 minutes for a ride most of the day.)

    • PhotoPass Downloads (All photos taken during rides, or by cast members, link to your magic band which in turn links to your Disney app - more on that later)

    • Blockout dates (We have the Gold pass, which was perfect for our budget, and also only has block out dates during Christmas time, and spring break time - all times we never would be caught dead in that area of craziness!)

    • Parkhopper (Visit all 4 theme parks on the same day)

    • Free parking!!!!!!!! (Or park at Disney Springs and take the bus to Disney for free as well!)

    • Magic Bands (Your key to EVERYTHING. Pictures, fast passes, and your entire ticket/pass linked)

    • My Disney Experience app (Probably the most impressed with this Access to everything linked to your band. Can book fast passes via the app for your next ride, look at your photos, make dining reservations, look at the park map [which has all wait times for all rides at all parks] and much much more!)

    Necessities

    Although it was last minute, we were still prepared to an extent. We just kind of lucked out! Some necessities I will not be caught without in the future are as follows :

  • Baby Carrier (we wore her most of the day, especially during rides and it was super convenient, and comfortable for her!)
  • Stroller (absolute necessity! Ours is compact when folded, which makes bus rides easy [you can't have them in the stroller on the bus, you have to fold it up!] and also helps with storage of all your things!)
  • Sneakers (don't make the mistake of wearing flip flops! I know it's FL, but you will not be a happy camper at the end of the day!)
  • Baby Wipes!!!! (I don't consider myself a germaphobe, but baby wipes are super handy in keeping your trip as clean as possible! Quick hand wipes, seat wipes, stroller wipe down, etc.!)
  • Lessons Learned

    Like I said, we were SUPER unprepared for this trip. Some things I wish I had on hand, and will definitely be packing next go around include:

    • Cooler bag (snacks, waters, baby food, etc.)

    • Stroller cover (for the inevitable FL rain - our stroller just finished drying this morning after one soak at the park!)

    • Poncho or Umbrella - or both! (Agin... the FL rain is inevitable y'all.)

    • Towels (Okay seriously - don't play about the rain friends. Be prepared.)

    • Change of clothes for Mom & dad (can you guess why? THE RAIN PEOPLE!!)

    • Cooling towel (FL heat is no joke either. Luckily, it was overcast. But still.)

    • Clip on fan (for the stroller! Saw someone with one yesterday and now I'm on the hunt for one on Amazon!)

     

     

    We plan to head back in the next couple of weeks! Being the money savvy couple we are, we will definitely be getting our money's worth from these passes! And I'm so excited to write about our PREPARED experience next time! Make sure to subscribe and get the scoop on all of our future Disney World adventures!

     

    Happy Vacationing!

    Xo

    -MMM

     

     

    The Story Of Us - Part 3

    Thanks for joining me on the final segment on my three part series, "The Story Of Us". If you need to catch up, you can read part one here and part two here 

     

    Part Three

    the story of us part 3

    Fall

    Somewhere around September we really started kind of "talking" and really getting into this whole thing with each other. Somewhere in October we started officially dating. We say October 11th but we both really have no idea, it just sort of happened. I decided that I would move home when my lease was over in March. We started visiting each other whenever we could. He came to Jacksonville for about 12 hours one time just to see me. He drove 3 hours after school, and we went to a Scotty McCreery concert that night. This is us that night :

    It got to the point where I was trying to make the commute every time I was off work, and it was getting expensive. Thanksgiving came, and my heart was just so full. I had Matt, my niece was 8 months old and growing so quickly, and I just didn't want to be far anymore. I decided I wanted to move home. December 8th, I came back and I will never leave again.

     

    For the sake of shortening, (I know, bummer) I have left out some stories such as :

    • Our first rental home 
    • Bringing home our pup, Ruxin (ugh - didn't want to leave this one out)
    • Buying a truck
    • Buying a home (miserable process, happy to leave this one out!)

    Here are some pictures that document those amazing times :

    Okay, now back to the good stuff!

    Surprise!

    Everything was going so good for us for awhile. We had our bumps in the road, but we were working hard and doing what we could to survive and enjoy ourselves. We had our little babe Ruxin, and the puppy stage was SO FUN. (No, not really - still dealing with is 2 years later! But totally worth it!) We went out with our friends, binge watched Netflix every night, and just really enjoyed being together (still pretty relevant to our lives now). And then July 6th 2016 came. I was nauseous all day at work, and friends joked that I was probably pregnant, I said no way! Matt had told me to take a test a couple days prior, and my dog was following me around crying all day everyday. (Dogs are super smart - weiiirrrdddd) Finally after being nauseated all day I said what the heck, and took a test that I had laying around. I thought I'd be able to go vacuum or something in the mean time, because it takes a couple of minutes. That test turned positive instantly and I thought the world was ending. I wish this part of the story was different, because my little girl is so amazing. I panicked, and called Matt 1000 times with no answer. I called his department, and our boss answered. She knew I was a mess. She told Matt to call him. He did, and I shared the news right then and there. Over the phone. At work. Freaking out. This was not apart of the plan. Per usual, Matt was as calm as can be and said "okay, I'll be home soon." Meanwhile I'm losing my mind, and had to have my mom come over. I made Matt bring home like 4 more tests, and of course all positive. We we pregnant. It was real, and it was happening. We were stressed about money, about where we would live, how we would afford diapers, a nursery - everything. We basically didn't talk about it again for another solid 3 weeks. We pretended it wasn't real. Finally I started to get excited and we did a cute announcement, pictured below. Still, Matt pretended it wasn't real. This part of our story is very important to me, because it's very real and very raw. I'm not going to tell this story like everything was perfect. Like Matt was perfect, and we were the perfect couple. We have had plenty of downs, with our ups. Matt pretended it wasn't real, or it wasn't safe to talk about. I was always "still early on" and we always "still had so much time." This is really the first time and place I'm talking about this because it's hard. It's hard to watch everybody you know have babies, and their significant others just be over the moon excited. I did not have that. But we hustled on, and I tried my best to just be the best I could be and take the best care of myself that I could.

    IMG_5384.JPG

     

    The ring

    Eventually after much much stress and craziness, we bought a house. This was the most stress I have ever experienced in my life, and honestly I don't know if I would do it again. I love our home. I love owning it. But I hated the process that much. Being pregnant was going awesome for me. I was feeling great in my second trimester, everything was normal and healthy. I had a cute little bump. Matt was finally starting to come around. He monitored every single piece of food or drink I took in. I knew this was his weird way of trying to show he cared. A couple of weeks ago, he told me he wishes he would have reacted differently. He said coming home to her smiling face everyday is the best feeling in the world, and he wishes he would have known then how amazing this whole experience was going to be. (heart wrenching ugh!) The holidays came and went, and it was a wonderful time. We got lots of baby gifts and everybody is just plain obsessed with you when you're pregnant. Being the attention seeker that I am, I was loving it. (Nobody tells you that goes away when you have the baby 😂)  My baby shower came and went and it was beautifully thrown by my sister and my mom and I just felt so loved and thankful for all of the amazing things we received from family and friends. I felt so lucky for more than just that. We had amazing friends that had helped us get to this point as far as moving (thanks Taylor & Kaitlin for those horse trailers - serious life savers) and cleaning up our yard for the party (again Thank you Kaitlin, Mike, Mr. Chieca - you guys are amazing people) Matt really hustled and got everything put together just how I wanted it. We had so much help, but as always Matt worked like 60 hours that week AND made sure the house was perfect for me. The following week we went on our "babymoon". This was so much fun! Our last vacay just the two of us! We ate some amazing, food, walked enough to put me into preterm labor that Monday, and most importantly we got engaged. If you know me at all, you know I begged for a ring, basically since the day we started dating. Poor Matt! He took me to St. Augustine for the weekend and it was gorgeous, but cold! He had this elaborate plan to propose at this beautiful restaurant on the beach, that had a lit up dock descending into the ocean. It was gorgeous. But we got there, and there was an hour and a half wait because the inside was at capacity, and the heaters outside were broken. I was 34 weeks pregnant and totally could not afford to get sick. So we jumped back in our car, and searched for a place to go. Dumb us, it was a Saturday night and we didn't make reservations! So we finally drove around downtown, mostly searching for a parking spot , for about an hour. Finally, we just parked by the Fort, and got out and walked into Al's pizza. It's so funny, because while at Al's I went to the restroom, and thought to myself "Man, the polish on my right hand looks so bad, but my left hand is looking pretty good. Not a bad time to propose!" I was gonna say something to him as a joke but thought, nah, we are on vacation. I give him enough crap! After dinner, he begged me to walk over to the Fort at night. I said no you're crazy that place is haunted! You guys, he dragged me to that fort at night, and I was literally crying. He asked these random teens walking around to take our pic in front of one of the lights. Still crying and freezing. Finally, he gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. Now I am crying like somebody just hurt me. Ugly crying forsure. Can't even catch my breathe to say yes! But I did, of course! Here's the super sweet part/terrible thing on my part. I had been giving him crap about not proposing FOREVER. I used to cry daily about it (I know, dramatic). He went to the HR department at his job a year in advance, and had them set aside a certain percentage of his check, every check, to be put into a secret savings account. So he could pay for my ring. So he had something in the works for almost a whole year! How terrible am I?! But how sweet is he?!!! And smart! He knows, that I know, where every single penny of ours goes, so he had to be sneaky! Best day ever!

    Abigail 

    Our greatest adventure yet. Like I said, we walked so much in St. Augustine that the following Monday I was in the ER having some bleeding and some contractions. Luckily, we got them to stop, because I was only 34 weeks along. So I took it easy at work, and tried resting as much as possible until I hit the "safe" mark. At 36 weeks we were walking like maniacs. I was over being pregnant. You can have the greatest pregnancy ever, but I feel like all you really remember is those last few miserable weeks! At 38 weeks, I went into labor! I woke up at 6 AM when Matt left for work and was starving. I heated up some pizza from the night before, ate it, and went back to bed. At 9:30 AM I texted my friend Kaitlin and said : "I'm going to walk from my house, to the river, and back. It's 3 miles round trip. If I go into labor, can you come and get me? Everybody is at work." She said yes of course. Matt was at work, my parents and sister were both at work, and my best friend Capri was also at work. Perfect timing! Right after I sent that text, I stood up from laying down, and heard a pop. I ran to the bathroom, and it took a couple seconds, but my water was officially broken! I called Matt to head home from work, and my mom also rushed home from work. I finished packing my bag, and we rushed to the hospital. I finally got my first hard contraction at about 11 AM when we arrived at the hospital and were getting registered. They brought us up to L&D. I was already 4 cm dilated, so I was good to go for the epidural - thank God! We both worked at this hospital, so we picked our anesthesiologist, which was great. From there on it was honestly smooth sailing. I had a wonderful labor. It was 12 hours, which isn't terrible for a first time mom! At 9:59 PM our perfect little girl entered the world. Becoming a mom was an amazing, indescribable experience. I love our little girl so much, and I feel that we are so blessed to call her ours. My bestie Capri raced over from her job about 45 minutes away, and made it just in time. Thank God she was there, because she literally hand fed me while I was trying to figure out breast feeding. She's the best, and we are so lucky to call her Abigail's Godmother!

     

    The rest is still unwritten...

    These days Matt is working like a maniac so I can be a stay at home mama, and be with my girl. He works about 100 hours a week to provide for us, and we really are just so grateful to claim him as ours! Nobody warns you how crazy a relationship really can be, and how many different obstacles you may cross together. Finding somebody to ride this crazy train that is life, is what it's all about. Writing it all down has really brought us back down memory lane, and really helped us remember exactly where we started out as a couple. I will never forget the nights that I would lay in bed alone in Jax, trying so hard to imagine his scent and his touch just to fall asleep. I will never forget how he saved me when my best friend left this world. I will never forget the smile on his face when Abigail entered the world. 

    Moral of story : Find you a Matt. And don't ever let him go. 

     

    Xo 

    -MMM

      Brian Storey Photography

    Brian Storey Photography

      Photography by V

    Photography by V

    Postpartum Realities

    As a new mom there are so many different things constantly running through your mind. A new problem I never expected to have postpartum arises every single day. You think you know, but you have no idea, until you are actually in that spot. 

    Last night my daughter slept through the night in her own crib in her own room. This wasn't the first night this happened. But still, somehow I am exhausted this morning. Why? Because I sat and stared at the monitor as every single minute  passed.



    postpartum realities

     

    1. Sleeping through the night

    WOW. Nobody warned me how miserable this was/still kind of is. Is it just me mama's? Am I crazy? Don't get me wrong- I totally enjoy my evenings with my other half. But 3 AM hits, and she still hasn't made a peep - and I am losing it. Why did everybody talk about this moment like it was magical? I know I SHOULD be taking advantage of this moment right now, but I can't because every fear in the world is currently setting up camp in my brain. Then she rolls onto her belly - and now I'm really hyperventilating. This is NOT all it's cracked up to be. I miss her, I'm worried about her, and I'm still exhausted the next morning. I feel like this is really a lose lose and I should prob go pick her up and cuddle with her right this instant, right? 😩

     

    2. THE CLOTHES.

    So I knew she had a huge wardrobe even prior to our baby shower, but WOW. Nobody can prepare you for the amount of decluttering you're going to be doing AT LEAST the first 6 months of their life. It doesn't just happen in spurts like you would think. I'll go through her clothes at 3 months, then 6, so on so forth. Nope. Every. Single. Day. I go through clothes. I have a permanent gift bag in her room that I am forever throwing things into, so I can pass it down to my friend who is having a baby next month., And don't even get me started on YOUR clothes. You find something comfortable, that fits, and then your weight fluctuates AGAIN. You go from super preggo, back down to 3-month-preggo look-a-like postpartum, and then kind of back to normal... but not really? Clothes = clutter = madness = I-dont-have-time-to-declutter = AHHHHH!!!!!!

    postpartum recovery + healing after birth

     

    3. Unwanted parental guidance + Negativity

    Okay, third time is the charm. WOW. I can't believe the things people say to you as a new mom. I mean I heard horror stories prior to being a mom, but it's an entire other level when you are actually a mom. Let me break it down for you in the simplest terms - you will never win this battle. It doesn't matter how long your kid is rear facing, or how often you homemake their baby food, or whatever it is you do. You will never be able to please everybody. People are going to constantly question every single method of your parenting. Why don't you cut their hair? Why don't cut their nails? Why don't you feed them this way? Everybody has something to say about everything. Accept it early on, and ignore them. Don't let it consume you! Why are we so negative towards each other? Why do other moms feel the need to constantly tell me "Oh, it's only just started" or "It gets worse" Like??????????? Can we stop?! And how about the judgement and questioning? Why do we feel the need to question each other about how we parent? I am all about advice from other mama's who have struggled before me - educate me! And I love to educate others from my experiences as well! It's why I started blogging! But do we have to be so negative? Stop putting each other down, or telling people that it gets worse! Seriously?! We can do better mama's! This goes for all of you, I don't care what generation! Grandma, aunts, cousins - it's not okay! 

     

    With everything in life, "this too shall pass"!

    But until then, I'll be enjoying my growing babe, staying up all night watching the monitor, and ignoring the negativity! I hope you choose to do the same!

    What kind of postpartum surprises did/do you run into? 

    Xo

    -MMM

     

    The Story Of Us - Part 2

    Hiya! Thanks for reading along so far, if you need to catchup, click here to read Part One! 

    Part Two

     

    Jacksonville

    So a lot happens from that day to this next point in our story, but none really relevant to the story of US. We dated a couple other people, were both going to school, but as always keeping in touch and forever convincing our boyfriends and girlfriends that we were JUST FRIENDS. I guess you can say we were both in the friend zone. I had just broken up with my boyfriend at the time, I was working full time at a restaurant, living on my own, and I just wasn't happy. Something had to change. I had never left home, and I just wanted to be a normal college student and leave home. SPOILER ALERT. I was and never have been a normal college student. So I moved to Jacksonville, and I LOVED it. I chose Jax over Orlando because I just felt like I couldn't be in the center of the state, away from the beach, There is just something therapeutic about living close to the beach. I made a ton of friends, had some more insignificant flings of course, and NATURALLY as I'm just getting settled in Jacksonville, what does Matt decide to do? Move home. WOW, GREAT TIMING HONEY, THANKS! A lot happens at this point in our lives. On June 1st 2014 one of my best friends died in a car accident. I will never forget the way the world just stopped spinning for a second. Everything stopped. I was in the middle of a shift at work, and my friend Dana I'm pretty sure carried me to the bathroom while I tried to catch my breath in the middle of a breakdown. My whole entire world changed from this point on. 

    Stephanie

    Stephanie is a very relevant part of our story, because the end of her life was the beginning of something special for Matt and I. I hope you understand what I'm saying. Sometimes I hate that fact, other times I know she is in heaven watching this all go down, and just smiling.

    Matt was my saving grace.

    I struggled for so long with aspects of life, and death, and everything in between and he really pushed me through that. One of the things I admire most about Matt is his knowledge. If you know him, you know he is extremely smart (don't let ya head get too big, babe!) and one of the subjects I admire him being SO knowledgable on is Faith. He is the reason I got through the darkest time of my life thus far.

     I used to go to Steph's house and sit on her bed and tell her that "Matt was in love with me, I'm pretty sure, but I don't think we will ever act on it" She lived in the same neighborhood as him at the time. Although Stephanie never got the chance to really meet or hangout with Matt, she plays a huge role in our relationship, still to this day. When I say I thought the world was ending that day in June, there is no exaggeration in my voice (keyboard? idk) You get the point. May 31st 2014, Matt randomly texted me at about 11 pm. (the rest of these details are so clear - there is something about losing somebody that you remember every single event in that 24 hours - because it felt like an eternity.) He sent me this picture :

    and he said - "I miss this girl" Remember - this is all before I knew anything had happened with Stephanie. But for some reason, something in my life just didn't feel right. I felt all of a sudden EXTREMELY emotional and I just called Matt right then and there and I just cried. About everything. What was I doing in life? What was my purpose? (Spoiler alert - I still ask him these questions, LOL!) Why did I even move to Jacksonville? Why aren't these programs at the college ever accepting me? Just everything you could think of. He, as always, calmed me down and made me feel so much better. We talked that night until about 3 AM. I found out later, that Stephanie died somewhere between 2 AM - 6 AM (I know, pretty large radius there). I am totally a believer in the Good Lord above, and know that He works in the craziest of ways and I honestly think this was apart of his plan. Not Stephanie leaving us so soon, but re-placing Matt into my life at this exact moment. Literally. The moments she took her last breathe, Matt was re-entering my life. We promised to keep in touch more often, and I went to work the next morning, It was a Sunday, and in the restaurant business that's an insane day. He texted me "Hope you're feeling better today :)" (Before emojis were a thing) and I texted back : "Matt, my best friend just died." Later that day I bought one of Steph and I's close friends a plane ticket from Jersey so she could be here. I had to pick her up at the Orlando airport that night. I needed Matt. I picked him up for dinner and we ate and sat and I asked him to talk to me about absolutely anything else because I just wasn't even ready to admit what was happening, actually was happening yet. So he told me all about how him and his girlfriend broke up, and how he's moving home after paramedic school to go to fire school at our local college. It was like a breathe of fresh air, being with him. It was like our stars were aligning, and I know this is all sounding so cheesy right now but I'm serious, he entered my life again at the exact moment I needed him. I went to drop him back off at his friends house so I could head to the airport, and y'all like a true Nicholas Sparks type novel, it started pouring down rain. He drove my car to and from the restaurant because I'm TERRIBLE with direction (that's still the same) and also terrible in Orlando traffic at 5 PM (FUN!!) So we had to switch seats. We stopped, in front of the headlights of my car, in the pouring rain, and he just hugged me so tight. It was like he was putting figurative pieces of my heart back together with that hug. I can't help but cry writing this point of the story, because wow. I literally feel like this is the exact definition of a rainbow after every storm. And I was getting mine... LITERALLY. A couple weeks later, Matt and I were talking every single day all day at this point, and I woke up to this on my ceiling :

    I had to take a picture instantly without moving too swiftly and scaring it away. I knew nobody would believe me if I didn't! You guys, if this isn't God's work then I REALLY don't know what is. The TINIEST hint of light from a broken blind on my window was hitting a cd on my nightstand just perfectly, and created this. Somewhere around this point Matt and I FINALLY confessed our love to each other, because was there really any other reason not to? Yes, I was in Jax and he was back home, but that didn't even matter at this point. I had my rainbow.

    The storm was finally ending.

     

    Join me next #tbt for the final segment of The Story Of Us!

     

    Xo

    -MMM