Thursday, August 28, 2014

{One Year and Beyond} Feeling confident as a mom

Welcome to the last day of the second part of the one year and beyond series. Thank you for following along as I've talked about parenting my toddler. I've learned a lot from all of the moms who have posted and have enjoyed connecting with many as well. I am looking forward to seeing this series continued. 

 The topic today is how you feel confident as a mom.
 I love this topic and cannot wait to read what all of the mamas have to say about it. 

Confidence for me as a mom came with time. 
In the beginning I wondered if I was doing things right. All the time. 
I called my mom and bests daily asking so many questions. 
I trusted their advice and knew they would never judge me. 
And even two years in, I still have many moments of self doubt. Many. 

The other night I was talking with a friend who is a new mom. She made a comment about thinking everyone else had it figured out and I laughed. I don't think anyone has this parenting thing figured out. It's a day by day learning curve for me personally and I think most mamas can agree.  I told her you just need to do your best, learn alongside your child and let go of the preconceived notions of how you think it should or would be. 

Here are some other words of advice I think are important for all moms to remember:

Tips for feeling confident as a mom...

Have a strong support system. Have people you can go to when you need honest advice. When you had a rough day and need a shoulder to lean on. Or when you need a break and they can help. Know who your people are and use them! You don't have to do it alone. It's amazing what a good talk from a friend can do. 

Go with your gut feeling. I learned this from the beginning with AG. We went to the dr multiple times for her dairy allergy symptoms only for them to tell me it was nothing. I was persistent and stuck with it. I didn't give up and after seeing a specialist, the allergy was confirmed. I went with my gut feeling and knew it wasn't something to push to the side. On the other hand, I was also told she had colic at 3 days old. I didn't think that was it. Turned out she wasn't eating enough and was just hungry. By day 5 I no longer had a fussy "colicky" baby thanks to her eating more from a bottle while my supply settled. 

Don't listen to what everyone else has to say. While sometimes others can be helpful, more times than not they can overwhelm you with unsolicited advice and cause self doubt. Utilize your support system in times of need.

Understand that all kids are different. What may work for one, may not work for yours. Don't get down when you try something new and it doesn't work. Or if your child isn't learning as fast as other kids. Realize that all kids are different and on their own path. Just be supportive, attentive and present. Things will come with time and you'll figure it out together. 

Do the best with what you have. Some days you may conquer the world. Others you may feel like you're drowning. Welcome to motherhood. =-)

There is no such thing as perfection. Let go of what you see on IG and Pinterest of what other moms are doing. Remember, most of the time you're seeing their highlight reel. 

What tips do you have for feeling confident as a mom?

  How do you feel confident as a mom?  Check out the other mama's blogs for even more on this!  And be sure to link up with us below if you also have a post on this.  
July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{Bump date #2} 34 Weeks

Eight and a half months. At least today I know how far along I am. Last week I posted a pic on IG saying I was 34 weeks. Totally thought I was. I had to look back on this blog to see I was only at week 33. Pregnancy brain and a little hopeful too! 

Last week was a big one for us. AG and I made our last flight back to Florida on Wednesday. We're here for good and I couldn't be happier. We also found a house we love and signed all of the papers on Saturday. We're hoping to close before Luke is born and move in a few weeks after. They aren't done with building it, so our timeline also depends on things staying on track. Since the new house has stairs, we figure it's better to stay with my parents for the two weeks following his birth. We also think that will be best for AG as well. I am so excited to be able to decorate a new house, along with AG's big girl room and Luke's nursery. I'm not going to lie though, it's all a little overwhelming at the same time. In the next month to six weeks we have a lot going on. The good thing is the rest of this pregnancy should fly by. Also, hubs doesn't start his new job for a few weeks so he's home with us and is helping out a ton! 

Week 34

Size: Butternut Squash 

Gender: IT'S A BOY! 

Movement: Bigger movements these days. I love watching him move around in my belly. 

Sleep: Up and down. Some nights are good, others are rough. If I am up to use the bathroom after 5am, I'm up for the day. Before that, I'm up for a few hours before falling back to sleep. Somedays I take naps to catch up. I never feel overly tired and know that the less sleep I have now, the more prepared I'll be for baby time. 

Cravings:  Anything cold. 

Aversions: Fish. 

Symptoms: They've been a little different now that we're in Florida. I'm definitely more swollen here than in Texas. As long as I take it easy throughout the day, my back pain isn't too bad. I guess those are the only two big symptoms going on this week. 

Exercise: Good. Still am able to walk about 30-40 minutes a day with AG. I alternate legs and arms throughout the week. My balance is a little off during squats or lunges, but I still get them in. 

What I Miss: Pumpkin beers have started coming out, so I have to sale the fall drinks that I love this time of year. 

What I'm Looking Forward To: Starting on things for the nursery and meeting my new dr here in FL. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To my daughter on your 2nd birthday (a few weeks late)

Dear AG,

Last year I was wondering where to begin when writing your first letter. This year, I feel the same. I have so much to say. I don't know where to start. Do I talk about everything you're doing or learning?  Do I start with how you make me feel and the joy you bring to my life?  Do I talk about what changes have come this year?  So much happened over the last 365 days. Typing it out, it seems like such a long time. But with you, time flies by. All I want to do is press pause. 

It's hard to believe you have been in my arms for two years now. Being a mom is still surreal to me. There are days I have to pinch myself. Being a mom to YOU is a dream come true. You are such a blessing, I thank God daily for bringing you to me. For trusting me to be your mama. 

You've grown and changed so much this year. You're no longer a baby, you're a big toddler. You have a mind of your own and definitely know what you like and what you don't. Your dad and I say you have lots of sass. Daddy says you get it from me. Even though I disagree with him, he's right.  You take after your mama.  

This year you've learned so much. You're a talking machine. You can tell me what you want and if I don't understand what you're saying, you show me. You love to learn. You read books, love to color (sometimes on the walls,) are a puzzle queen and would paint all day everyday if you could. Your favorite time of the week is toddler time at the library where you sing, dance and play. 
 You and I work on your ABC's and numbers everyday. Hearing you sing them and seeing how much you learn makes my heart swell. I'm so proud of you and love being at home with you everyday to experience all of this with you. 

You are such a beautiful girl inside and out. You have the sweetest personality. This year you've been a tad more reserved than in the past. It takes you a little while to warm up to someone you're not familiar with. Once you are comfortable, you turn on the charm. You love to give hugs, blow kisses and talk at the day away. You hold hands with your friends, are so sweet about sharing toys (most of the time) and make sure to say goodbye (which consists of hugs and blowing kisses) to everyone in the room before you leave. You continue to put a smile on the faces of everyone you're around. Such a light in our lives. 

This sweet personality comes through with your baby dolls as well. Your dad and I call you a little mama. You have your baby dolls that you love on all day long. You feed them, rock them while singing rock-a-bye baby, put them to sleep for naps and take them for walks in your stroller.  I hope you'll have the same love for your little brother, who will be here in 5 weeks. I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about how you will adapt to having a little brother. One of the things I'm the most worried about is not giving you my undivided attention. I know in the long run, having a sibling is the best gift I can give you. At the same time, it's just been you and me day in and out for the past two years. It makes me sad to think that you won't have all the mommy time you're used to. I know we will adjust and you will do an amazing job in your new role as big sister. 

Avery Grace, I love you so much. I never knew a love like this until you were born. It's a love that can put the biggest smile on my face and make me cry tears of joy at the same time. One that makes everyday a great one, even if there has been challenges. One that continues to grow even though I don't think my heart could get any bigger. It's indescribably the best feeling in the world. It's a feeling I will never take for granted. 

You're dad and I watch you on the monitor every night after you go to bed. We talk about the funny things you did that day. We talk about how much we love you and how we want to sneak in your room, wake you up and bring you in our bed just to get some extra snuggle time with you. Every night we do this. Every. Single. Night. for the past two years. 

Everyday I ask you who your best friend is. You answer with "mama." 
I hope that one day when you're old enough, you will consider me your best friend, just as I consider your nana mine. I hope you know you can come to me with anything and I will be here for you. 
To support you, to encourage you, to give you honest advice, to help educate you and to just listen. I will be here for anything and everything you need. You are and will always be my best girl. 

Happy second birthday my little love. 
I love you to the moon and back. 



PS. Just as your daddy did last year, he's written you his own letter that he will give to you on your 18th birthday. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hosting a Coffee Play Date & Coffee-mate Giveaway

Thank you Coffee-mate for sponsoring this post and providing the product samples! For more delicious fun and giveaway opportunities, follow Coffee-mate on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Something I'm going to miss about my moms group in Texas is our weekly coffee playdates. Out of all of the playdates we had on our calendar, it was one of my favorite. The moms took turns hosting at their house. It was a chance for a handful of us to get together, drink coffee and enjoy a few treats while the kids played. The playdates are easy to prep for and a much needed refresher for all of us moms. 
Here is what I did to plan for my coffee playdate. 
{Coffee & Creamer} 
I made sure to have a variety of coffee available along with creamers. I always use Coffee-mate  creamers in my house. To me, no other brand compares. Above you'll see the new David Bromstad limited edition bottles, now available at Target.  I also bought disposable coffee cups with lids. That way I wasn't worried about washing a bunch of mugs afterward. 
We always have a few snacks out at the playdates. Usually some things for the kiddos and some others for the mamas. For this playdate, I had clementines, triple hitter muffins (a hit with moms and kids), fruit & pancake bites, animal crackers and juice boxes. 
Usually the kids just play with the toys in the house. We've had some themed playdates where we're done some crafts as well. I make sure to put up the toys with lots of pieces since there are usually a lot of littles ranging from crawlers to three year olds. Your house will be messy after but the clean up is quick and easy with lots of hands to help! 
It's as easy as that. Worth it for the mom talk and entertained littles!

Now…Lets talk a little more about those David Bromstad limited edition Coffee-mate  bottle designs, shall we? 

Design star David Bromstad has partnered with Coffee-mate  and Target, making a splash with limited edition bottle designs inspired by coffee and Coffee-mate The new David Bromstad designed bottles (French Vanilla and Hazelnut flavors) are available exclusively at Target stores nationwide.

Even though I'm a HUGE fan of coffee-mate's seasonal creamers, my go to flavors when they aren't out are french vanilla and hazelnut. The new look of these bottles gives me a little added creative inspiration each morning. In order for me to have a productive morning, coffee is a necessity. It's something I look forward to starting each day. Making a good cup of coffee is an art and David Bromstad definitely delivered when designing these bottles.

Now for the fun stuff! One lucky reader will have the chance to win a prize pack, courtesy of Coffee-mate. The prize pack includes 5 mini journals, a pack of colorful pens, a coffee poster and 2 full-value product coupons ($45 ARV).  Good luck!

This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 or older, and will run through August 29th. 

For more inspired fun, snap a photo of the newly designed bottles and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CMInspiresSweepsEntry for a chance to win a year’s worth of Coffee-mate, $500 Target GiftCards, and a signed print from David Bromstad!

Lastly, we want to know how Coffee-mate inspires you and helps you make a splash in your day. Show us with a photo to win fabulous prizes using #CMInspiresSweepsEntry on Instagram and Twitter!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.