Friday, February 28, 2014

16 Months - 2.28.14


Here we are again! Celebrating your monthly milestone. I sound like a broken record but I don't know how you got so big so fast. Especially this month. You have turned the page and are much less baby and much more big guy than ever before.

You had a big first this month: YOUR FIRST HAIRCUT. We waited as long as we could but boy, I could only handle your bangs and mullet for so long. You did so well getting your hair cut. I was completely impressed. 

You have gained tons of confidence in yourself this month. The above picture displays that perfectly. You are no longer timid with your physical abilities but love to climb, jump, flip and move. It's been interesting watching you find your limits and discover what you are capable of.

We've lost track with the number of words you say. You use about 20-25 words on a daily basis. Your favorite is 'no' (of course) and you tend to use it all the time, even when you really want to say yes. You have decided to call Mom 'Ma' and now scream it on a daily basis. You can say 'George', thanks to your new obsession with Curious George.

I have grown wiry of trying to do chores without your assistance and now let you help with the laundry, unloading of the dishwasher and throw away trash. You love being such a big help, even if it means extra work on my end. 

We went 3 days without a pacifier before I caved and gave it back to you after you chewed on everything you could find in your crib, including your teething necklace (insert heart attack here). You just require your pacifier for naps and bedtime and that's that. We'll lose it eventually.

Another big step was made this month. You will be starting preschool in the Fall and I'm hoping you do well. You have a lot of growing and maturing between now and then so I'm excited to see how you react to going to school for the first time. 

You continue to be the center of our universe. You are such a happy guy, even on the bad days. Thank you for allowing us to see the world through your eyes, Connor J. It's been a wonderful ride and every twist and turn as been one that we will cherish for years to come.

We love you,
Momma and Papa Daddy  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lung Leavin' Day

Last week, Cameron Von St. James contacted me, sharing the story of his wife Heather and her battle with cancer. As many of you know, I lost my mother in law in August 2011 to cancer. The disease took away my chance to have a relationship with her and Connor's chance to spend his years learning and loving his Grandma Connie. Because cancer robbed my family and I of someone so precious to us, I was more than willing to share Heather's story with my readers.


Eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis. Heather and Cameron had just welcomed their sweet little girl Lily into the world, only to be told Heather had a short 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of Heather's left lung, Lung Leavin' Day was born. On February 2nd, the Von St. James family celebrating 8 years of Heather being cancer free.


The purpose of Lung Leavin' Day is to encourage others to face their fears. Each year, Cameron, Heather, Lily and their family and friends, gather around a fire in their backyard and write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. They are celebrating for those who are no longer alive, for those who continue to battle, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life and most importantly, they celebrate life.


The Von St. James family has created an interactive page Lung Leavin' Day that tells the full story of our special day and gives you a chance to write on a plate and smash it into the fire. I took the opportunity and smashed my own plate after writing out my fear:

"I fear that I will one day, I look back and wish I had done more, seen more, been more."

After writing my message and smashing my plate, I got to thinking. I'm the only one holding me back from doing more, seeing more or being more. Thanks to Heather's story, I've decided to reach a little higher and deeper in hopes that one day, I'll be able to look back and be proud of all I've accomplished.

Please join me and hundreds of others and smash your fears!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

So What! Wednesday

With Mom back in Ohio and James on a business trip to South Dakota along with the fact that CJ turns 16 months on Friday, I decided to break Connor of his pacifier this week. By myself.

So what! if this has been the hardest transition in my parenting adventure yet?


Connor usually has his pacifier a) during naps and bedtime or b) in the car. I had slowly stopped letting him have it when he was playing at home or out and about. If you remember, I was anti-pacifier but thanks to a horrible case of acid reflux, Connor was given one and we never looked back. While, I won't say he is overly attached to his pacifier, I knew this was going to be a big adjustment for C, one that would include tears and hurt feelings.

I started with nap time yesterday and nearly caved. Our little guy usually goes straight to sleep without issue or hesitation. 25 minutes later, after fits and screams, he passed out and slept for a little over 3 hours (per the norm). When bedtime rolled around, I told myself that under no circumstances was I going to give him a pacifier. With day 1 almost complete, I didn't want to give it. We could do this!

So what! if listening to him cry for 32 minutes caused me to rush in and cuddle and rock my sweet boy, whispering how sorry Momma was. After some Momma snuggles and a few songs, our little guy zonked out and slept peacefully all night. 

It goes without saying that this was much harder on me then him as are most things baby. I could have easily gave him a pacifier and not had to experience Cry Fest 2014. So what! if taking his pacifiers from him has made me all too aware that babies don't keep and before I know it, he will be far too big to only need Momma's cuddles as comfort.  
 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Less is More

Back in December, I joined two Facebook communities that helped promote my blog. Joining the groups paid off in multiple ways. I got tons of traffic and meet some really great fellow bloggers that I've been able to connected with. I've found some wonderful blogs and they've become daily posts I look forward to reading and getting to know.

Unfortunately, after 2 1/2 months of dedicating each morning to linking up and supporting others, I felt overwhelmed with being in the groups. I felt like I needed to take the time each day and read my fellow bloggers post and share my thoughts. As a fellow blogger, I needed to make time to support them. Here is where I got caught up. On any given day, I would spend 3-4 hours a day hooked to the computer, spend time in the blogging world and connected to Facebook. That's uncalled for. Why? Because as a stay at home Mom, I don't have an extra 3-4 hours a day to waste online. I have too many other (more) important things I should be doing. So if I was caught up with this support groups, I was neglecting other areas of our lives. No good. All this "work" started making me feel some sort of dread about blogging each day. And as a place to share and document our family's milestones and memories, that's the last thing I wanted to happen.

I decided to leave those groups this weekend. Don't get me wrong, both groups taught me loads about blogging and open some doors for me that I didn't even know I wanted open. For that I am grateful. I would recommend anyone joining them if you feel like you can dedicate time to the threads daily. Some of you reading this, I meet through those groups and I hope you stick around. I was getting caught up in numbers, likes and shares and I don't want that to be way I blog. I want to blog because I love sharing our story. I love showing our friends and family the in and outs of Connor J. I want to blog because it allows me to be more creative than I thought I would ever be as a stay at home Mom.

Learning that what I want for and from blogging has been a process. The bottom line is I want less of my days connected to the Internet and more time with this little guy. 




Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Monday!

This weekend? Too amazing! Not only is my Mom in town but the weather here in ATX was off the charts perfect. It was warm and sunny with just enough of a breeze to keep you cool and comfortable. Warm temperatures and a clean bill of health for CJ meant lots of time outdoors.


Today is our last day with Ma (as C calls her) so we are going to soak up every single minute!
Happy Monday! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Connor's 1st Hair Cut 2/20/14

With Mom in town and the Mister taking a couple days to spend with us and visit, we thought this would be a great chance to get Connor's hair cut for the very first time. Now, let me be the first to admit that his hair cut was way overdue. It should have been cut months ago but I wanted my Mom to experience a first with him so we waited until she arrived.

Here is CJ before. He had hair for days and bangs that covered his eyes so badly that I clipped them back with a barrette daily.  He has had this curly baby mullet for a good 4 months but in the last 5 weeks or so, it's really gotten bad so a hair cut was a must.
During the haircut itself, Connor did amazing! We were up in the air about how he would behave since this was such a (scary) first. We've heard horror stories but in Connor fashion, he rocked it. Linda, his stylist, worked so quickly that within 15 minutes, we went from having a little guy with sweet curls to a big man with a fresh grown up look. 




Never in a million years would have I guessed that Connor would have done so well and enjoyed himself. The only time he acted up was when he had to stop playing with the train table and leave. After his haircut, we grabbed lunch and I got these cute iPhone shots of C at lunch, celebrating his first successful haircut. Our little guy is getting growing up so fast. Before you know it, he'll be off to school, thriving in his independence.


Happy Friday!
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

RentBack Program with Campus Book Rentals

Image Source
Remember when you were in college and you spent what you felt was your life savings on textbooks? I remembering spending hundreds of dollars on single textbook and only get a 1/4 of my money back when selling it to either the college bookstore or a fellow student. Where was Rent Back Books when I was in college? Here is how Campus Book Rentals and their RentBack program works. 

Renting Textbooks


Renting textbooks can save you a lot of money, and is a far superior alternative to buying your books. You can rent your textbooks without the risk of your books becoming devalued by the end of the semester and of course, you can easily rent them online. Over 1 million customers rent textbooks from Campus Book Rentals at over 5,800 college campuses across the nation. Join the movement, pay less for your college books, and save your hard-earned money. 

How It Works

 
Why Choose Campus Book Rentals? 

1. Campus Book Rentals has an excellent support staff and are always only a phone call away.
2. They are one of the pioneers of the textbook rental movement. The textbook rental movement happened in the summer of 2007, and originally there were only three companies. Campus Book Rentals is one of the originals.

3. You save a lot of money when you rent textbooks. And if you want to keep your books at the end of the semester, just pay us the difference and the books are all yours.

4. If for any reason you change your mind about your book(s), you have 21 days to return them for a full refund.


Making A Difference


Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit
Campus Book Rentals Making a Difference program is an important part of what they do.
Campus Book Rentals has a partnership with Operation Smile and have committed to donate a minimum of 80 additional surgeries between June 2013 and June 2014. Operation Smile is
an incredible organization that forever changes children’s lives through reconstructive cleft lip surgeries. The long-term improvement in quality of life for the children that receive these surgeries is almost incomprehensible. 
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

So What! Wednesday

Today is the day our family has been waiting for all month long. Mammaw (AKA my Mom) arrives to spend a week with us. In preparation for her arrival, we've been busy cleaning the house and getting things in order so that she is comfortable and feels at home here.

So what! if I think cleaning like we have been is for the damn birds?
I mean, really? There are a few things that I should make sure are in order: her room, her bathroom and that we have food and coffee for her.

So why did I clean our bedroom closet?
Why did I dust, sweep and mop the laundry room?
It's safe to say that our house is the cleanest it's been in months. But is all this hard work all that necessary? I don't think so. My Mom is far too excited to spend her days lovin' up on CJ Frankenstein to notice that how spic and span our refrigerator is. 

So what! if I'm so tired from cleaning like a madwomen. It will be all worth it when I pick my sweet Momma up from the ABIA this afternoon.

Are you like me? Do you clean like crazy before visitors? 
Or am I the only one who suffers from such OCD?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Just Pearlz - Accessories for Every Lady

I am very simple when it comes to what jewelry I wear. I'm fairly plain, really. So when LaNette offered to share some beautiful pieces of jewelry for every type of accessory fan, I was thrilled to hear her suggestions. Be sure to visit Just Pearlz to find one of a kind pieces for every style and budget.

My love for accessorizing started when I was in college and honestly at the time I really care about fashion or accessories. While in college, I noticed that I could literally clutch and play with my pearls during my presentations and I wouldn't get counted off on my project grade. It was at that moment that pearls became my best friends. Also wearing and playing with pearls during my speaking engagements keep me from fumbling over my words. So I guess I can honestly say that I learned how to use pearls to dress up any outfit in college. However as a kid, I have to admit my grandmother's accessories did catch my eye a time or two. 

Here are my two cents on jewelry: 


For a person with little or no fashion sense, I suggest basic vintage pieces. I love vintage jewelry for beginners. Wearing vintage accessories tend to be less work for beginners and it doesn't require the headache of attempting to match the jewelry pieces. Vintage jewelry matches any outfit. Just put it on and magic appears. 



For more of a classier or a look for night time, I suggest gold jewelry or a strand of pearls. More of the choker type pearls. 



For a casual or daytime look, I suggest beaded or silver jewelry. 



For formal events, I always choose statement pieces.



For those of you that feel the urge to be a jewelry connoisseur, remember to wear ten or more accessories all at the same time. It's sounds difficult but most people do it daily. If for some reason you are totally against the idea of wearing jewelry, remember to live it up with a simple pair of earring or a nice hair accessory. As a jewelry expert, I think that a person could wear pearls with any outfit but that's just my opinion.

So what type of jewelry person are you?

For more tips on jewelry and accessories visit Just Pearlz
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To learn more about LaNette Kincaid, please click here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Musings of CS Lewis

As an avid reader, I am always looking for books that make me think, ones that teach me a thing or two. As a member of Litfuse Publicity Group, I recently was given the chance to read a novel that I normally wouldn't pick myself yet found it to be an amazing read.


I'll be honest. I knew 2 simple things about the author: I knew about C.S. Lewis was that he is the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, which I've read and adore and that he has some deep thought provoking quotes on Pinterest that I agree with 100%. 

The A-Z of CS Lewis shares pieces of his work and writings throughout his life along with Lewis' insights on life and humanity. Many quotes you'll find of CS pertain to religion and I learned that he was once a atheist because he was angry God didn't exist. Years, later he became a Christian and has written works based on his beliefs and thoughts regarding God and religion.This A-Z format shows us the inner most parts of the renowned author in a easy quick read.

Reading this book gave me a foot in the door of the room that is CS Lewis. There is so much to learn from him in both his fiction and nonfiction novels.

Have you read anything written by Lewis? Feel free to recommend something. 
Also, do you have a favorite CS Lewis quote? This is mine:


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review.
I received no other compensation.

 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Blogger Spotlight - Meet Jenesha


Hi there! My name is Jenesha and I write over at Books,Looks & Babies…Oh My! As you can probably tell from the blog name, I write primarily about my experiences as a mom (soon-to-be of 2 under 2!), wife, doctoral student, and thirty-something trying to reclaim a sense of balance and wellness amidst all those competing interests. I got to know Stephanie this past fall/winter when we took part in hosting a Christmas link-up, after being introduced to her by my long-time friend Jenny at Growing Up Jacobson. I’ve greatly enjoyed following her and reading about her thoughts/interests/goals, as well as her adorable family! I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to partake in the Saturday Blogger Spotlight and look forward to getting to know more of you as a result.


What made you decide to start “Books, Looks & Babies…Oh My!”? 
What part of blogging is your favorite? What do you dislike the most?

Well, first and foremost, I love writing. I found a passion for it after enrolling in a creative writing course in undergrad and always felt it helped me “find” myself amidst a lot of dark times and sadness that I tried to hide from the outside world. I previously had a blog entitled, "The Constant Comparative Method," where I wrote a lot about some relatively “deep” stuff: Romantic relationships, my grandmother's plight with Alzheimer's, my 100+ pound weight loss, and the death of a young sorority sister. However, I deleted it because it was, perhaps, too personal and some people (ahem, my "to be" husband) didn't love that part of it. However, I often find myself missing that kind of writing…the tough, soul searching kind. Now, I blog about our growing family, primarily, but also my struggles with weight (that will once again continue after baby #2 arrives somewhere around February 27th), struggles in pursuing my doctorate (I am done with coursework, I “simply” have to write the dissertation), and being a “new” mom who stays at home but works part-time as a research assistant in order to pay for tuition. Once in awhile, I’ll throw in a tutorial for a craft but those are the main topics…so, writing littered with LOTS of photos of (bald, but cute) baby girls! My favorite part of blogging is the capturing of memories. If it weren't for this forum, I am pretty positive I wouldn’t be as diligent about keeping track of things and would let the days slip away (NOTE: I am still guilty of this even with the blog, due to the craziness of raising a toddler…but I strive to jot things down no matter where or what, so I can remember them for later). I have so many blog post ideas stored up, but need to find more time to actually process my thoughts and get them down…unfortunately, it might be awhile with #2 making her arrival. My LEAST favorite parts about blogging are 1) the lack of time I have to write what I believe are quality posts on worthwhile topics and 2) the comparing of myself to other mom bloggers. Sometimes it weighs me down and I have to take a step back, to be quite honest.

As a mother, what do you think your greatest parenting moment has been so far? 
Your biggest parenting fail?

My biggest parenting fail? I don't think I've necessarily FAILED (yet—it’s only been 18 months ;)) at anything, as my kid is not only alive, she is well...and awesome (sorry, had to throw that in there). However, that being said, holding her for all naps and nighttime sleep for 10 months would probably be perceived as pretty friggen stupid by most…but necessary for us. Recently I calculated the time I’ve spent holding her for sleep over the past 18 months and let’s just say it clocks in at well over 4800 hours…of my life…spent sitting/laying down. SCARY. (NOTE: I no longer hold her for sleep but she quite often will take an extra hour nap if I rock her…so it happens…a sleeping baby is a happy baby—and makes for a more sane mommy…at least for a few more weeks until #2 arrives and it bites me in the butt). My greatest parenting moment thus far? I'd say my commitment to documenting via blog, photos, and baby book Adrienne’s life thus far. I plan to continue this until...ohhhh...at least until she moves out. Or, I get so distracted with #2 that I relax a bit on the mom guilt (BUT, I am going to try really hard not to, especially for Ellyn [#2], as there’s nothing worse than a first child with a ton of photos and a huge baby book and then nothing for subsequent children).

If Hollywood was to make a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would star as you?

Oh my--what a question! Perhaps it would be entitled, "The Second Guesser" and star myself...because I'm not sure I could think of anyone else who could play that part better than me! Sorry, that’s a total cop-out answer, but I totally don’t feel my life is movie worthy…YET. Perhaps that’s a new goal to work towards ;)
You have a very unique name. Where did your parents find the inspiration for your name? Did having a one of a kind name influence the names for your girls?
Great questions! My parents were 15 when they had me. My mom said she made my name up, actually...however, all of my black friends comment on the fact it sounds "black," so that has always been a fun twist to it for me, and can be especially fun during interviews. Many times I’ve walked in to surprised looks, indicating I was not who/what they expected (I worked in higher ed, where visible diversity is important). I'm so glad it was never shortened, even though the number of people who mispronounce it is astounding (Just in case you aren’t sure, let me help: Jen-E-Sha…just like it looks…long E in the middle :)).

As for influencing my daughters' names...it does in the sense I don't like overly traditional names. If I had my way, Ellyn would be Leighton or Vivienne or something vintage/elegant...but my husband (Mark--which happens to be my dad AND ex-stepfathers' name as well...WEIRD) isn't a big fan of fancy names ;) So, Ellyn is a mix of my mom’s (Ellen/Ellie) name, my middle name (Lynn). Her middle name is Colette, after Mark’s mom’s middle name, while the root (Cole) is my maternal grandparent’s last name—both of whom are deceased. Adrienne was just a name we both really liked, and Rose is after Mark’s sister’s middle name as well as his aunt.
Your love of books is strong. What are your top 3 favorite novels of all time?

I can never choose just three…although I haven’t read for pleasure in AGES. Here are some of my favorites…

1. Roots by Alex Haley  
2. Gone With the Wind
3. A tie: Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables (both are series that I read over and over as a kid)
4. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Using the first letter of your first name, J, describe yourself in 5 words:

Hahaha, this so reminds me of a student affairs (the field I’ve worked in and have nearly two degrees in) ice breaker! I love it! Here goes…

J-Jointed…I chose this instead of jiggly because that isn’t very empowering to myself or others ;) Jointed is a word that describes me because I am hypermobile, meaning my ligaments are looser than the average person. Something interesting/unique/annoying all in one (annoying because it restricts my ability to be able to do certain athletic things, such as skiing, unless I want to end up in the hospital in a brace of some sort)!
J-Judging…I chose this not because I am a judge-y person (although we all can be at times), but because I am an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs personality test. Judging in that arena is more of a person’s ability to form opinions and estimations after careful consideration. It is associated with a sense of order and structure to one’s lifestyle. While I am not a rigid “Judger,” I do tend to err on that side, versus the other option which is much more go-with-the-flow. My judger comes out when I’m around those types, especially…I like a plan for most things.
J-Jovial…Because, I like to be happy. When I’m not, it bothers me…sometimes too much and makes me worry about why. I find that when I just focus on the day-to-day, it helps keep me in my happy place.
J-Jaded….I chose this regarding school. I am tired. Besides two years post grad school, I have been in school MY.ENTIRE.LIFE. I’m tired of jumping through hoops and “proving” myself…I just want the fancy regalia and to be called “Dr. J” already!
J-Jittery…Because caffeine is my lifeline. Coke Zero and coffee…and can’t forget chocolate…are my non-human best friends.
I just wanted to thank Stephanie again for this amazing opportunity to connect with more of you. I enjoyed answering the questions and hope you found some humor in my responses, and/or perhaps some things we might have in common. I look forward to “meeting” more of you soon!
You can follow me at:



Friday, February 14, 2014

The Things We Love

As we celebrate the ones we love today, I wanted to dedicate a fun little post to the THINGS we love. 
- Here are 14 things the boys and I love -

James loves...
Listening to live music... he is a huge music buff! His taste is all over the place, too!
His choice of drink is Crown and Coke.
Sitting around an outdoor fire is his favorite way to spend a low key night.
Making people laugh... honestly, my husband is one of the funniest people you will ever meet.
 Pizza. Mouth-watering-hit-the-spot pizza. Something our area in Austin is lacking. Badly.

Connor loves....
Henry, Jake, Elmo, Mickey and Sid. That's his crew.
Blueberries and Strawberries. In mass quantity. 
Giving high fives and squeezes.
Dance parties with arms up and feet shuffling.
Making messes like it's his job, day and night.

I love...
Long afternoon naps that leave you refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
The smell and colors of Fall and all the events and moments that is ushered in with the start of Fall.
Anything and everything that is mint chocolate.
Spending my days with two guys that I adore with every once of my being.

"Hey you! Happy Valentine's Day!" - things Connor says


Thursday, February 13, 2014

3 Steps to Achieving Your Goals

It's mid-February and some of us having been working hard on keeping and achieving the goals we set for ourselves in January. You can find my list of goals here and some an update here. Every one knows how tough sticking to goals can be. Thanks to every day life, there are plenty of distractions that make focusing and reaching our goals tough. So far this year, I've done well sticking to my goal and overcoming some of the obstacles that pop up along the way. Let me show you how I've been able to concentrate on the goal at hand.


Break your big goal into smaller goals
You want to save a certain amount of money for a trip, a big purchase or to add to your savings. I recommend you save weekly or bi-weekly. Every bit adds up. For example, if you are saving for a trip in December, it's easier to start now with a smaller amount of money (read, money you won't necessarily miss) than it will be to come up with airfare and room and board a month before your trip. Smaller goals will help motivate you and boost your confidence.

Set a deadline
You've made your list of all the tasks you want to achieve. Knowing your goals isn't enough, you need to choice a specific deadline of when that goal needs to be met. Using the phrase next month or month doesn't cut it. You need to pick a date and push yourself into completing your task by then. Our brains are made to work with dates and deadlines. Pick a date and stick to it!

Eliminate excuses and distractions
If your goal is to lose 20 pounds by June 1st, you are only going to see results if remove outside interferences and stop making excuses. Sure going to the gym takes a good 90 minutes out of your day. But 90 minutes day after day is going to push you closer to reaching your ultimate goal of losing weight. Schedule your workouts like you would any other appointment. Odds are if you have the time carved out of your day, you will stick to it. Think of it as a job responsibility. You either do it or get lectured by the boss.

There you have it. Simple, yet practical ways to achieve your goals without having to make huge sacrifices. What piece of advice to have for those struggling with their goals?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

15 Months & 12 Days

15 months and 12 days ago, I laid eyes on your for the very first time, touched your sweet little face with hands that craved to feel you for oh so long. You changed our entire world in a split second. You come in like a storm and have been the center of our universe ever since.


I walked into the hospital on October 29th expecting the most simple of delivers only to labor for 26 hours and bring you into the world via unplanned (and unwanted) c-section. It's no surprise that you have been a stubborn, set in your ways little man. You've been that way since we 'forced' you to entire the world on October 30, 2012 at 8:02PM. 

It might have been a rocky introduction but your feisty demeanor has shaped and molded me into the person I am today, someone who knows what it feels like to love someone unconditionally without a second thought. Thanks to your spunky attitude, I've learned how to be patient, how to love someone with every fiber of my being and to believe in myself enough to know I'm the very best Momma for you.

Of course, before I was your Momma, parenting was simple and I had it all figured out. That's always the case when you're on the outside looking in. I knew the right way to discipline, how you would always look polished and put together and how you would never throw a fit or embarrass me in public. I also believed parenthood would be like any one of Johnson and Johnson's commercials. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. And fast.

It's been a wild ride, Connor J. You have pushed every boundary, made me cry with complete joy and frustration and caused your Momma and Daddy Papa to love like we never knew we were capable of. 

15 months and 12 days ago you turned our world upside down and we have loved every single chaotic minute of it.