Quentin, everyone’s best friend

When my ex-husband and I decided to try for a third (and we intended final) child, I had hope it would finally be a girl but figured that wasn’t likely.  Well, I was right and it was another boy.  I embraced being a boy mom and was excited for the bond my boys could have throughout their lives.

I had no idea what was around the bend.  Quentin is 6 today and I can’t fathom it.  He was born his daddy’s little clone and has remained so.  But he’s my best friend.  He is everyone’s best friend.

There aren’t words to describe his personality sufficiently.  He is joyful, sensitive, caring, and loves to sincerely shower people with compliments.

He has the most precious bond with his siblings.  They all adore him.

Of course, he isn’t perfect.  He can cry for absolutely no reason, he….well, I honestly thought I would list all the little things he does that drives me crazy but he’s freaking amazing.

He loves video games, playing outside, learning, coloring, music (Thomas Rhett is his homeboy), and being with his family.

He was worth the traumatic emergency C-section and post-partum depression.

He is the absolute light of our lives and I can’t imagine our family without him.  Happy Birthday, Quentin Xavier!

Happy 2nd Birthday Sophie Grace

Hey you guys! Ashley here today – about to wax poetic about my little girl’s birthday. 😉

Today my baby girl turns two. Two. I really can’t believe it. Time flies so quickly when  you measure it against the growth and development of your children. I know that it may seem silly to some people that I would write a blog post to my two year old child. The thing is that we live in such a wonderful time where we have this beautiful thing called the internet. You don’t have to be someone of any significance to have your words immortalized online. I think it’s amazing that there are moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and so on – putting their thoughts and ideas online. Our children and descendants will be have access to the word of the everyday man. My children will be able to look back and better know the person that I am through my words. They will be able to see world and life events from my perspective in a way that would not be possible without the internet and social media. Soo anyway, I had some things I wanted to say in honor of the life Sophie has led so far, and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead for her.

Sophie Grace I am so lucky to be your mommy. A daughter was something I hoped for but never expected to have. You have this ability to make the people around you melt to your will and desire. I see you make your stubborn Daddy do things and give into things without hesitation just because it’s you asking. You are happy and generous, but you know exactly what you want and aren’t afraid to let us know if you, “No like it. No like it.”  I hope that you always stay that way. I hope that you are forever true to yourself. Sometimes we lose that ability as we age. I want you to know that I named you Grace after your aunt because she is so important to me – and she’s an amazing woman – just like you are to me and just like I know you will be when you grow up. I want you to always remember that you share this birthday with my Mimi (your great grandmother) who is also an amazing woman. I wish that you could have known her better. Thankfully, I did and I feel like I have parts of her influence in me that I get to share with you.

 

Most of all I want you to know that you are loved and cherished beyond measure. You were the missing piece to our lives that we didn’t know we needed, but could never live without now.

 

Soso – you are just lovely. I love you, and I hope this birthday – and all the ones to follow – are all that you want and need.

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So, today you turn TWO and here are some things about you:

You love the movie Moana and this show on Netflix called Masha the Bear. You’ve watched both of these no less than fifty times(maybe a hundred??). You know the songs from Moana, and you sing along with them which is just probably the most cute thing ever. Like. Ever.

You say so many things. I can’t even begin to count the amount of words you say, and since your brother struggled with speaking…having a tiny little person running around who can speak so well is continually surreal. You are by no means chatty, but your vocabulary is incredibly extensive.

You are so chill. You don’t need other humans. You are content to spending long stretches of time alone. Sometimes I can forget that you are even there with me. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that’s not ok. I identify with that. I love that about you.

The only time you are not chill is when you aren’t getting your way. Lately, it seems we are seeing some typical “terrible 2’s” behavior. You throw some impressive fits, and the way you writhe on the ground while shaking your pointer finger at me saying, “no no” does nothing but make me smile. Cause you’re cute even when you’re mad. 😉

You LOVE your baba (aka the bottle). I’m going to try to start taking it away from you – I am fearful of this endeavor. Your baba is a source of comfort for you that is unmatched by any other object. So. We shall see.

You love for me to read to you. One of your favorite books is, ‘The Potty Train’. Hopefully soon we’ll actually be potty trained. 😉

You generally just go with the flow of things. You don’t mind a last minute change to routine which makes things easy – and that is nice. However, you do like to lounge in bed when you first wake up….gotta have that wake up time THEN you’ll be ready to start the day without a fuss.

And one of MY favorite things about you… 😉 You love shoppin … especially shoppin at Target.  

Happy Birthday Baby Sister

Whew! So today was a whirlwind. Today was Easter Sunday … Rhonda’s BFF’s bday AND it’s my baby sister’s birthday! Every year I usually do a sappy FaceBook post about her, but this year Rhonda and I have this fantastic blog so DUH I’m going to write a whole sappy BLOG post for Grace.

Grace is my little sister. Today she turns twenty-seven. I can’t believe that. I still remember the day my parents told me that they were going to give me a little sister. I pretty much was under the impression that she was for me. 😉 But yeah. We weren’t the best of friends from the beginning. I actually once tried to get my parents to let me sleep in the laundry room in an effort to move out of our shared room. Yup. I was prepared to put a mattress on top of the washer and dryer. Thankfully, we moved past all that drama,  😉 and now I consider her my closest friend – as well as the best sister a girl could ask for.

She’s pretty much an amazing person. I admire the way that she stands up for what she believes in and just doesn’t give a fuck about what other people think. She is incredibly caring and considerate, but she knows how to tell you like it is when necessary.

Grace is an incredible aunt to my babies. I can say without a doubt that she loves them just as much as I do. They adore her. They ask for her. They get excited to see her. They miss her when life gets busy and we can’t hang out as much as normal. She is active and involved in their lives by choice. All of that. That speaks volumes for the kind of woman that she is.

I am also so so proud of the things she’s accomplished personally and professionally. She is currently living and breathing a successful relationship and marriage that had the odds stacked against it when it comes to whether or not it would survive the distance and work that they had to put into it. (And also shout out to her hubby…because I know a marriage won’t work unless BOTH people involved put the work in) She is a FSR at one of our local banks – and she’s just doing an amazing job. She started out as a teller and has quickly worked her way up.

I’m pretty sure that it’s not very often that you can find a true best friend in your sister. I know people say that. I’m not just saying it. I’m so grateful to have her in my life. To call her my confidant and to know that she feels the same way about me. I always knew I wanted to name my child after her…in some form or fashion. I didn’t get to do that with Coop, BUT Sophie Grace got her aunt’s name. Both my children’s middle names are significant and family related. I love that. I love that you can transfer all the memories you associate with a person to their name and pass that on to someone else. There’s absolutely no other woman’s name that I’d want my daughter to carry than my awe-inspiring little sister.

So, Aunt Grace – we love you. We think you are the bee’s knees. We are so happy that we got to spend the day with you…and we hope that it was all that you wanted. Here’s to twenty-seven and beyond!

 

 

A BFF Story

It is my BFF’s birthday! No, not Ashley’s…as you know, she just had one. And she is my Bestie. My BFF is Nicole. Confused yet? Anyway, in honor of her day, I want to tell you how she came to be my right-hand gal.

In 2005, I joined a parenting forum in order to connect with other expectant mothers.  I made several friends, but one girl in particular really grabbed my attention when she was being attacked in the forum for getting rid of a puppy after being faced with the realities of potty training the pup.  Those wenches were ruthless and it was super over-the-top.  I immediately came to her defense and we have been friends since – through 7 births, marriage issues, and so much more.

We first met in person MANY years after the puppy incident when we had this crazy idea to plan a beach trip together.  I was living in Mississippi then, just a 2-hour drive from my favorite beach and she was living in Nebraska (and still is).  So she flew to Mississippi and we drove to the beach together.  We immediately knew that it would be an annual thing.  We have gone every spring since, except for the year we took off to birth our last children, that we planned together.  They were born 11 days apart.

11 days from now, we will both be flying to the beach for our annual adventure.  I can’t wait to celebrate all the events of the last year with this lady!

Happy Birthday, Nicole!  I love you!

Melodramatic Birthday Post – Ashley

You guys – it’s Spring. I always say this time of year (March to the beginning of May) is like another Christmas season. There are sooo many birthdays and then throw in Mother’s Day to end the whole shabang. So I’m here to finally talk about my little birthday that occurred last week…and do some rambling….hope you’re all in on this one.  😉

Ok, so… let’s talk about 32. My birthday was last week. Last Tuesday – at 10pm I officially turned thirty-two years old. Honestly, I haven’t even given the number much thought. Yeah, I definitely feel like I’ve reached the point where I wouldn’t mind being able to stop time for a little while. You know – stay young longer. I’ve noticed differences in my body and mindset due to aging. Generally though – I’m at peace with my age. So, why am I here blabbing on and one about it? Well I did want to take some time to reflect. Think about where I’ve been … and where I want to be. I’ve always been the type of person that lived more in the future. I always look forward to where I’m going, what type of person I’ll be in ‘x’ amount of months or years… And overall, I’m really happy with where I am now. In this 32 year old life of mine. 😉

I made the comment the other day that I really wish I knew as much about taking care of my body and had the confidence in myself that I do now when I was younger. I am and always have been a super quiet and shy person. I think I’ve mentioned before how I’m socially awkward…not just in person. Ask Rhonda. It even takes a lot for me to interact virtually…. BUT I’ve come such a long way. My highschool and twenty something self didn’t think much of herself much less take any extra time to take care of her mind and body.

Weight was always an issue that I struggled with. The size of my body was something that always made me feel inferior, not attractive, not worth getting to know. I think it is so great now that there are plus sized super models or just plus sized celebrities and public figures who are letting it be known that size does not determine beauty of self worth. I try to flood my social media timelines with women like this. Women who are larger than average, and who are so so confident in themselves. I try to make a conscious effort to compliment my children – not just on their physical appearance. I try to say things like “ Oh my god…you are sooooo cute… and such a sweet baby.” I encourage my son to interact with other children. When he approaches other kids at the park and they don’t want to play with him. Of course, he comes running back to me. I tell him, “That’s ok. Find someone else to play with.” I try to teach him and demonstrate to him that rejection stings but we can move on from that. I want my daughter to be confident in her body and not afraid to wear whatever she wants. I want my son to be confident in his body and to not be afraid to wear whatever the hell he wants. I don’t want them to doubt themselves. I don’t want them to be afraid to make new friends or approach new people – because they worry about the reaction they will receive.  Because I lived that way for so long. I still struggle with that. I’m working on it. And I’ll keep working on it. 😉

Over the past 3 years I’ve made major changes in the way I eat and think about food. I lost a ton of weight….gained some back during and after being pregnant with Sophie…and am now back – less those extra pounds. Rhonda introduced me to the NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) Lifestyle that was coined, preached, and demonstrated by Vinnie Tortorich. Eating clean. Cutting out the majority of the sugar and grains in my diet. Those things have made me a physically and mentally healthier person. I know that it has made me a better mom. When you cut the crap out from  your diet, you don’t have to worry so much about the amount that you eat. You don’t have to restrict yourself to teeny tiny meals in the hopes of losing a few pounds. AND you don’t just lose weight. You gain healthier hair, nails, skin, mental clarity, energy, and on and on and on. Something else really important that I gained? Confidence in myself. Confidence in my body. Confidence that does not hinge on someone else’s opinion of me. Confidence that is due to my new opinion of myself.

I can look back … ten … or even fifteen years ago – and where I am now? That’s not where I thought I’d be. But you know, I’m ok with that. I had this disillusioned idea of what I thought life should look like at 32. And for a long time – those aspirations and goals that I set when I was a teenager – the fact that I hadn’t gotten to or reached those goals used to really haunt me. It used to make me feel … like I hadn’t accomplished anything   at all. Which is complete crap. I’ve accomplished a lot. Because listen. It’s ok to change your path. It’s ok to quit something that no longer holds any meaning for you. It’s ok to change your mind. I am a better person now. I’m not perfect. I still have a lot of work to do. BUT I am thankful the place I am at. 🙂 For me, feeling accomplished is no longer about marking off big achievements or reaching momentous goals. It’s not about having a list of things that I can say “LOOK at all the things I’ve checked off!!”. For me I try to feel accomplished in my every day. I look to my future with anticipation and excitement for things to come; however, I relish the here and now. I focus on the people in my life. I think about what can I do in the next few minutes to make something happen. I want to “Be here, now.” I don’t want to look back and think…. I wish I would have enjoyed that moment more…while it was happening.

I think 32 is going to be great. I don’t wake up with any dread of what I may face that day. My family is healthy and happy…and so am I. I really like my daytime job, and I am so happy to have this little blog space that I get to share with my best friend. I am so grateful that each of you come by to check in on us…see what we have to say. 🙂 I’m excited for our future, but I’m loving this. This right here. This moment. :):)