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The Craziest Thing We’ve Ever Done

If I were asked what the craziest, biggest adrenaline rush, oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-I-did-that thing I’d ever done was I would come up with a blank stare. Well…I did start the wave at a Red’s game that made it’s way around the entire Great American Ballpark. I also thought it would be a good idea to hike up a trail at Red River Gorge while 6 months pregnant. Both crazy and hilarious stories, yes, but not wowza! worthy. I think I’d have to give a real simple, yet so complex answer. Parenting.

When I started my first teaching job at 23 I was giving advice to parents on tips and tricks to help their children be successful. I would always start the conversation with, “I don’t have children yet but…” Five and a half years of schooling, two degrees, and the support of some great co-workers, of course I can help a parent out when asked for some advice (and maybe sometimes when not asked šŸ˜‰). Now that I have my own child it’s not always that easy.

You know the saying that says something about wearing your heart on your sleeve? Everyday we are wearing our hearts on our sleeve. Literally. I can tell you the moments it falls off and the moments it’s picked back up. Brantley takes a rough spill, I’m a sobbing mess, he’s totally fine, heart gone. Brantley puts his little hands on my face, leans his head into mine and giggles, picked back up again.

I overheard Sam tell someone they don’t teach you this kind of stuff in baby class. That can’t be more true. They spend waaayyy too much time on how to breathe during labor and zero time on the emotional rollercoaster you’re going to be on for, ohhh…the rest of time. I mean, just 30 minutes to scare the crap out of us while giving a motivational pep talk would do the trick.

I see people I’m friends with, co-workers, friends of friends, random strangers at the mall and think,

“Dang, they really have their stuff together. Their child’s pacifier is on a string so it doesn’t fall on the ground a million times. Their child’s socks match their outfit. How the crap did they get their child’s hair to look so presentable?”

I have these moments where I wonder when I’m going to have it all together then I remember I didn’t really have it all together beforeĀ  Brantley but we sure did enjoy life. He’s obsessed with hugging his cousins, he eats his fruits and veggies (ugh, sometimes šŸ˜Š), he laughs when I tell him he’s not allowed to stand in his chair, he gives the dog a bone..or 4..when we leave the house, he shoots a ball into his basketball hoop, and he’s finally coming back around on the cuddling thing. These moments remind me we have to be doing something right. I have to remind myself to take a breather and just enjoy the moment, the now.

This parenting gig is the craziest, biggest adrenaline rush, oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-I-did-that thing we’ve ever done but there’s no way we would turn back time. This kid has us wrapped around his little fingers and we wouldn’t have it any other way. ā¤

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I Get to be Momma

As a working mom it seems like the hours somehow turn into days and the days finally turn in to the weekend.Ā This has to be done after work, that has to be picked up from the store, and for the love I can’t fit in one more appointment. The floors need vacuumed, laundry needs switched over, dinner needs made (and cleaned up!), books need read, diapers need changed, lunch needs packed. And what the crap?..The dog puked!

On any given day I find myself being a teacher, counselor, security guard, problem solver, mom, nurse, friend, Ā investigator, peace-maker, performer, and enthusiast. People, this is before I ever see my own child for the day. Please don’t take this as complainingĀ because it’s not.Ā Even on the long days in the classroom, I love playing these roles. I love being trusted toĀ do thisĀ from 7-2 every day. I also hope that someday Brantley will have someone in his life willing to play these roles for him when I can’t.

But, this week I get to play only two roles: momma and wife. For the next nine days, I get a chance to play the stay at home mom role. The dinner on the table before 8 role. No more leaving before the baby is awake. No more working after bedtime. No more grumpy mom after a bad day. NineĀ whole days of snugs and loves with my boys. I c.a.n.t. wait.

Nine days to clean the house. Nine days to make dinner at home. Nine days to catch up on laundry. Nine days to go to story time. Nine days to go to Target at 10 a.m. Nine days to drink my coffee while watching Kelly and Michael. Nine days to organizeĀ during nap time. Nine days to play ball on the living room floor. Nine days to read books. Nine days to search Pinterest for all sorts of things I’ll never do. Nine days to listen to baby giggles. Nine days to watch basketballĀ on the couch with the hubs without thinking about work. Nine days to play my favorite roles.

Let’s be real, I won’t be doing much cleaning, cooking, or laundry. I will definitely be doing plenty of Target shopping, book reading, and Kelly and Michael watching.

Ladies (and gents), being a working mom (or dad) is hard work! Even if you aren’t blessed with nine days off, enjoy the time you do get. The laundry and cleaning will always be there. Read the books, watch the movies and just love your people. They won’t always be there. ā¤

9.29.14 + 365

One Year Old Brantley,

Mr. Man, you’re ONE! It can’t be that a whole year ago I made your dad stop at Speedway for a poptart on our way to the hospital because I had to make this one last moment about me. A few hours, several orange jellos, and one glorious epidural later we were holding you in our arms trying to decide your name. Your dad is thankful I finally realized Knox was a little much. Brantley Robert had way more meaning and fit your chubby little cheeks perfect. Who knew a tiny little human could teach two people so much? We didn’t. Of course you taught us the typical baby things such as: to be careful when changing a diaper, the fastest way to warm up a bottle with a screaming babe in our arms, how to bathe a baby in the kitchen sink and so on.

The things you taught us that I didn’t plan on learning are my favorite:
1. The exact spots in our floor that make a creaking sound.
2. Just how much it takes for me to throw myself on the ground, curl up in the fetal position and cry. If you’re wondering– It takes nearly two weeks of you being sick, trading days off between mom, dad, and your grandparents; then waking up, when I thought we were in the clear, to a fever that kept us from being able to take you to the sitter. Your dad let me throw my fit for about .2 seconds before he told me to stop being dramatic. šŸ˜Š
3. Poop comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
4. How to walk our 80 lb. doberman while simultaneously pushing your stroller, by myself. We almost took a spill down the driveway during our first attempt but we didn’t give up. We are now dog and stroller walking masters. It’s still a better idea to wait until Dad gets home.
5. Target’s dollar bin has a new meaning. We browse that bad boy for a few minutes before finding you a new toy to keep you busy during our shopping trip. Ain’t no shame here. If it gets me 5 more minutes of looking at aisles of things I don’t need, you can have 2!
6. 12 month shots are THE WORST. Sorry, I missed the memo. I would have totally had your dad come (I told him it was no big deal) so at least one of us was a non-teary-eyed-mess leaving the doctor’s office.
7. We have to celebrate the little things! A diaper change without rolling all over? Dance party. A meal without feeding all your food to the dog? Dance party x2.
8. My love for you and your dad grows by the day. Seems impossible, right??? I don’t get it either but it happens.

Mister, I’m told this year is a big one. We can’t wait to see how much you learn and how long Paisley girl is going to lay still while you climb all over her like a jungle gym. You’re still stealing hearts, buddy. Keep it up until you’re a teenageršŸ˜‰. We love you big time!
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Here’s to the Momma…

Here’s to the momma with the crying kid in the toy aisle at target. Its ok to cave and get him the toy so he stops. But, if you want to prove a point and let him have that tantrum, we get it.

Here’s to the momma chasing around a toddler while growing another human in her belly. Nap time is coming soon.

Here’s to the momma holding her babe tight after getting shots at the latest doctor check up. It hurts you more than him. At least that’s what the doctors say.

Here’s to the momma sneaking in one last hug on that big college campus before turning around and heading home, leaving their baby in a whole new world. He’ll be ok. He’ll call when he needs money and that’s ok. He knows he can depend on you.

Here’s to the momma whose heart is breaking because they were dealt a hand they didn’t ask for. Hang on momma, you’ll make it through.

Here’s to the momma rockin’ that zumba class, droppin’ those pounds. We all want just a tad of your motivation.

Here’s to the momma dropping her babe off at his dad’s for the weekend. And here’s to the dads for making that weekend the best two days ever.

Here’s to the mommas and daddies doing it on their own. Don’t be too stubborn, though. It’s ok to ask for help.

Here’s to the working mommas who don’t want to get a sitter for date night. There’s only so much time you get before your babes are grown.

Here’s to the stay at home moms who can’t wait to get out the door for date night. Home all day with little people can be exhausting.

Here’s to the momma with the mouthy teenage daughter. She’ll get over that stage, we all did.

Here’s to the mommas and daddies coaching their babies on how to raise their own human. We love your advice even though sometimes we think we don’t need it.

Here’s to the momma dreaming, hoping, praying for their chance to hold a little one. We are dreaming, hoping, praying with you.

Here’s to the momma making sure everything is perfect in the nursery before those contractions start. You feel clueless now but just wait for that first wiff of newborn skin. You got this.

Here’s to the momma traveling for the first time, anxiously making sure everything got packed in the suitcase. Don’t worry, you can buy whatever you forget.

Here’s to the momma walking like a zombie on her 4th trip to the baby’s room that night. You deserve that extra large coffee you’re longing for. Add whip cream to the top, you won’t regret it.

Here’s to the momma trying to make it through the mother/son dance on the day he starts a new journey with his wife. And the daddy fighting back the tears as he walks his favorite girl down the aisle to the man of her dreams. Thanks for showing us what love is.

Here’s to the momma celebrating another birthday with party hats and cupcakes. Where did the last 12 months go?

Here’s to the mommas and daddies everywhere. You’re showing that mom life and dad bod what’s up. You’re not alone in this big world. Baby snugs and puppy love can cure it all. Remember it takes a village. 😘

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#PoliceLivesMatter

This year I had a student who dealt with her feelings in some not-so-great ways. Together we decided when she didn’t know how to deal with those feelings and was frustrated, she would write. It didn’t matter what she wrote. It could be her words. It could be someone else’s words. One day she gave me something she wrote about me. Several days would go by, I wouldn’t get anything. Other days I would get stacks of papers. In some ways, I believe her writing things down helped her. So, today, I practice what I preach.

This morning around 10:15 a.m. I received the following text message from my brother:

“FYI we had an officer shot in District 2. Not me. Just letting you know I’m ok.”

No, he’s not participating in some weird, real life version of the Hunger Games.Ā You see, my brother, he’s a Cincinnati police officer. That officer shot, Officer Kim, was one of their people.

I remember talking to one of Brandon’s friends when they graduated from the police academy; he assured me they would all take care of each other. “Don’t worry, I’ve got your brother’s back,” he said. It’s then that I knew my brother was entering a whole new family I would only know little about.

When Brandon first started working the streets, I was that freak-o sister that asked him to send me an I’m safe and on my way home text when he was off work. There were mornings I would wake up, heart pounding, because I didn’t have a text. Come to find out, it was a long night and he just forgot to text on his way home. That lasted for about a year until I got used to the fact that my brother was a police officer. My sister in law quit watching the news. Brandon and I would go a few days between talking with each other. We all didn’t sit around waiting for our phones to go off, good or bad. Having a police officer brother became normal. Normal stays normal until days like today.

That man’s family isn’t going to receive the I’m safe text message. His wife and sons aren’t going to spend Sunday, Father’s Day, celebrating with their father. This is the silent fear of every.single.person. who loves someone who wears a badge.

My question is, why? Why is this the silent fear? Why has our society made it okay for things like this to happen? Why do these people who protect us deal with so much negativity when they are willing to risk their lives day in and day out to keep us safe? Yes, there are bad cops. There are badĀ doctors. Do we still trust doctors, as a whole, with our lives when something is wrong? Why do all officers get lumped into the bad category if we don’t do this for other professions? Why did this man show up to do his job today but he doesn’t get to send the I’m safe text?

I have no idea how to find an answer for every why. What I do know is this…Love can do big things. If we all loved a little more, maybe there would fewer days like today. If you love your people, then your people will spread the love to their people. And maybe, just maybe, we can have fewer days like today. Love can beat hate.

11 Free/Almost Free Things You Can Get a New Mom

1. The largest water cup ever. Preferably one with a straw. A cup that doesn’t sweat and leave a mess all over is even better. The amount of water she’s going to drink is unreal. The bigger the cup, the more trips to the refrigerator to fill the cup you save her husband while she’s in the middle of a feeding session. He will thank you for this too.
2. A loving, you can do this, stop throwing yourself a pity party pep talk. Only give this when asked. If you take it upon yourself to give this pep talk without permission, mentally prepare yourself for the wrath of the devil. It’s not our fault we can turn all crazy lady in .2 seconds, hormones are intense little demons.
3. Silence. If you’re visiting the new mom and you notice she’s been pacing, bouncing, rocking, singing, butt-tapping, shut your mouth. Yes, in theory, baby should be able to sleep anywhere, at any time, in any noise level. Theory is easier than reality. A 5 minute break from your obnoxious story about God knows what is all that’s needed. She would love to hear your story in 5.
4. Punctuality. Text at 6:45- “Hey! How are ya? Want some company?” Yes! Company is just what she needs to feel a little more human. Text at 9:00- “On our way!” Seriously?! The baby is about asleep and mom’s not far behind. Sure, head over. She’ll stick toothpicks in her eyes to keep her eyelids open. Her husband will appreciate the break from talking solely to a whacked out wife.
5. A bottle of wine. Nothing fancy is needed. Remember she just gave birth. There isn’t an ounce in her body that feels fancy. She’s not even sure she wants a glass of wine but she sure will be mad when she’s ready for that glass and there’s no wine in sight.
6. A 15 minute, uninterrupted, no baby monitor on the counter, shower. Not only is it possible that she hasn’t showered in an embarrassing amount of days but she also may need to shed a few tears. The shower is the best, non-judgement-zone place to do so.
7. An iTunes giftcard. It’s inevitable that she will hear the most perfect song at 3 a.m. on Pandora’s baby lullaby radio. She will need to buy the song off iTunes right then. She won’t have a clue she even heard the most perfect song when she wakes up sleep deprived in the morning.
8. An Amazon giftcard. Similar to the iTunes giftcard. Facebook will be so boring during that 3 a.m. feeding frenzy that she will resort to online shopping to pass the time. Amazon has everything.
9. Dinner. Once again, she’s not looking for a marinated New York strip paired with asparagus and a roasted potatoes. Spaghetti, lasagna, frozen meals to throw in the oven. Really anything that involves as little thought on her part as possible is a win.
10. Persistance. She says she doesn’t need anything right now but she will. Check again in a few days. She may just need the ok for a celebratory 1 in the afternoon drink, she may need that pep talk mentioned above, she may need some coffee, she may need dishes and laundry done, she may need a new oversized sweatshirt from Goodwill, she may need some candles to cover the vomit smell. Or she may just simply need someone from her village to keep her from waving the white flag.
11. Ears. Let her talk about her baby without interrupting. She’ll eventually run out of things to say, even if it does take hours. Included in these ears is the ability to listen to when she’s asked for your advice. Unsolicited advice, even though it may truly be life changing, is not always great for her mental stability. šŸ˜‰

The 3 a.m. Struggle

Baby is sleeping through the night?? Win! But mom’s not…

3:21 a.m.: Woken in a panic. Check phone, 3:21. Have I been up yet? Nope. Crap. Did I not hear him? Wait, he’s not awake. He should have been up once by now. Check monitor for breathing. Don’t blink, you’ll miss it. Dang, I blinked. Ok, seriously don’t blink. It’s already hard enough to see if his stomach’s moving in the monitor. Blinked. Oh.my.gosh. Fine, I’ll just go in there. No! Are you crazy? Why would you chance waking him? He’s fine. You’re being a freak.
3:23 a.m.: Hmm, only two minutes. Awesome! I still have two hours before I need to get up.
3:29 a.m.: Seriously?! Feel like it’s been an hour. Can’t.sleep. Might as well get up and be productive. I’ve got time to shower, work out (ha!), do laundry and all sorts of things before I really need to be up. Then maybe I could get to work early and get things done. Crap! I forgot to switch the laundry over last night. Guess I’ll be re-washing for a third time. That’s ridiculous. I.must.get.better.at.laundry. Pinterest. Pinterest has all the solutions.
4:15 a.m.: Andrea! Put your phone down. 45 minutes? Get a grip. You need to sleep or you’re going to hate life in the morning. Morning? It’s already morning. Ok, really, fall asleep….One sheep over the fence, two sheep, three…does anyone else literally count sheep to sleep?! Grow up. Turn on the tv, the news will definitely put you to sleep. Will the tv wake Sam? Nah, he’s out. PAISLEY! Do you have to put your foot there? For the love of all things holy! Ok, news.
6:03 a.m.: How did I sleep through alllllll of my alarms???? Just another day waking up late. Tomorrow, tomorrow will be better. Coffee. Must.get.coffee.

The Secret Club of the Teacher Mom

Motherhood is like a club everyone knows about but only few have access to. Entry into the club is raising a little human, the secret handshake is the dark circles under our eyes and the tired look on our faces. There’s so much focus on who is doing what right; breast milk versus formula, disposable diapers versus cloth, all natural everything or not, making your baby’s food by hand or buying it in the store; that maybe people forget about the not-so- secret club we all belong to. The club lets us know we aren’t alone in this crazy adventure. I love being a part of the club but it wasn’t until I went back to work that I realized I belong to another club that even fewer have access to.

The Secret Club of the Teacher Mom. I wrote a post about being the pregnant teacher but being the teacher mom is better. Maybe it’s because I’m part of “The Best Damn Staff In The Land” (not bragging, just stating facts). Maybe it’s because I work with mostly women. Maybe it’s because I’m a new mom. Or maybe it’s because being a teacher and a mom are two of the coolest things I get to do with my life. Whatever it is, I feel lucky to be a member of the club.

Before I had Brantley I told one of my coworkers I thought maybe I was having contractions. She responded with “Oh no, you’ll know when you’re having contractions.” I didn’t like the response but she was so right. This should have been my first clue about the club. These people in my club, they get it.

If I don’t get mascara on until 3:00 in the afternoon and the only reason I did was because we had parent teacher conferences, no one cares.
If I show up to work with my hair up in a bun, looking like I ran a marathon, no one cares. Little do they know the closest thing I’ve had to a work out in 5 months is walking from my bed to Brantley’s room 4 times a night (hence the marathon look).
If I show pictures of my little man every day, no ones (openly) cares. šŸ™‚
If I don’t get done what I promised to get done, no one’s mad. They tell me my new life is always more important. I’ll get the job done by the deadline, they get it.
I tell them the babe is sick, they give me little tips and tricks to help him feel better and ease my mind.
I have a mini-meltdown or am overly dramatic about life, they let me do my thing.
I pass coworkers in the hall, they always ask about the babe.
When I’m ready to wave the white flag and throw in the towel, they remind me why I shouldn’t.

These people in my clubs..they are great. I’m one of the lucky few. Power to the Moms and Teacher Moms everywhere. ā¤ļø

Adventures with Baby H- Before I Was a Mom..

Before I was a mom…

I would never, ever have food in the bathroom. Now, I’m eating a granola bar while using the restroom before hopping in the shower. All of this done in 5 minutes.

I changed my outfit at least once a day. There was no need to stay in uncomfortable clothes when my yoga pants were available. Now, I look at myself and think…Crap, company is coming over and I’m pretty sure I’ve been wearing this shirt for two days. Oh wait, maybe it’s been three.

I didn’t appreciate a 15 minute shower. Now, I’m showering while worrying the baby is going to wake up in the middle of my shampooing.

(Eye) boogers and slobber were words I associated with my dog. Now, boogers and slobber are part of my daily wardrobe.

I hated red lights (who doesn’t?). Now, while waiting at red lights I’m searching for a spit out pacifier and applying mascara in record time.

The dry shampoo bottle found itself a nice, comfy home in the back of the bathroom cabinet. Now, I’m a pro at making my hair look like day one when it’s day two or..ughh…three.

I thought my kid would be the best dressed kid on the block..at all times. Now, I’m thanking the good man upstairs if I can find a clean white onesie, some pants and two socks that match each other. A good chunk of the time this doesn’t happen and he rocks his pajamas for that Target trip.

I didn’t know how good I could be at using only one hand. Now, I’m making food or petting the dog with one hand while holding the baby in the other.

I would be more than annoyed if I left the house for a couple hours and returned home to my husband laying in the same spot on the couch as when I left. Now, not much makes my heart happier than coming home to a zonked out babe on my husband’s chest.

I was told to hold my baby as much as I can. The chores can wait. Now, the ten minutes before company comes over is when we do our best cleaning. Just don’t open any of the closet doors.

I never truly understood the love my parents had for my brother and I. “Love you more than you’ll ever know” was just a statement. Now, I say this to Brantley every day.

…I never thanked my parents enough.

Adventures with Baby H- Single Mom Raising Two Boys

With two months of this parenting thing under our belt, Sam and I really feel like we are starting to get the hang of things. There is one thing, though, that continues to surprise me and that’s the truth behind this statement… “Your husband will always be your oldest and biggest child that needs the most adult supervision.”

One night after lots of swaying, bouncing and butt patting from both Sam and I, we finally got Brantley to sleep. I crawled in bed, rolled over to say goodnight and soon found myself hushing my husband. I’m not quite sure how he forgot we had just finally gotten the babe to sleep. I don’t even remember what he was saying but I do remember he was SHOUTING. He claims he wasn’t. After taking the shushing like a man he simply looked at me and asked, “How’s it feel to be a single mom raising two boys?” It was then that I decided I had never found one of his clever, witty come-backs to be more true.

Here’s just a few examples that prove my husband may happen to be the second boy I’m raising. Or maybe he’s the first and Brantley’s the second? šŸ˜‰

Sam’s been working on Brantley’s basketball follow through since the day he came home from the hospital. When Brantley was maybe three weeks old Sam text and asked if he was ready to hit the courts and work on his left handed lay ups. “Nothing makes me more mad than seeing kids shooting a left handed lay up with their right hand.”

He’s looked for quad-runners to buy for Brantley. I have to remind him our son won’t be riding one of these for several years. He swears he got his first one at like two years old. I also have to remind him we live in a neighborhood, not on acres of land. Can we just see our kid roaming the neighborhood…on his four wheeler?

He’s been searching for baby wolf pack t-shirts (remember the wolf pack from The Hangover??). Our best friends are having a boy that will be 5 months younger than Brantley. Sam and Nick have matching wolf pack t-shirts. Apparently the baby boys need a wolf pack tee also.

One night while out at dinner Sam took the little skewer out of his sandwich, little pieces of napkin and his straw. Not only did he construct himself a little spitball spear, he wanted me to hold up a napkin, like I was trying to anger a bull, to see if his genius idea worked. It did and man was he proud of himself!

The boys were getting in some quality daddy-baby time one night while I cleaned up the house, did this and that since I have a hard time getting anything accomplished during the day other than watching as many tv episodes on Netflix as I can. I walked by Sam as he was singing the normal Conway Twitty to the babe and he asked me to join him in a duet. Really? A duet? No, you are nuts, I have too much to do. My mind automatically went to 3 years in the future when Brantley would be asking me to stop everything I’m doing and play with him. So, of course, we started on a duet. The only song we decided we both knew well enough to sing was the National Anthem. Turns out we need a little more practice with the words but we belted that song out like we were fighting for the championship on American Idol. If anyone would have tried to knock on our door to sell us something they would have thought we were whacked-out and turned right around.

Another night, as I was feeding Brantley before bedtime Sam waltzed in the nursery and held the monitor up (the part you watch the video on) to the camera part. They made that noise a microphone makes when it’s too close to a speaker. Sam’s face lit up. He must have noticed my dumbfounded look because he quickly responded with, “What? I wanted to see if they would make that noise.”, and walked out.

We went to Bravo for dinner for my grandma’s 83rd birthday. Bravo is a little more classy than our typical Skyline or Chumps. When Sam realized you can draw on the table this is what he drew. “A surprise for the waiter” he claimed. No further words are needed.

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Boys willĀ always be boys, I suppose.