Living for yourself

It seems as people get older they get less satisfied. Why? I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. I know that circumstances change but the way we as individuals respond can stay constant. Imagine being constantly joyful! I’m sharing what has helped me change my perspective on pretty much everything.

Be as authentic as possible.

I struggle at comparing myself to others. This is such a downfall because your individuality is what separates us and makes us unique! When someone is just being themselves it’s attractive. Not in a weird way! Like oh, that person looks happy I want to be happy too! Instead of comparing and trying to be like someone else. We should all embrace our qualities and quirks that make us a little different!

Not caring what people think.

I know easier said than done. This is definitely a lot easier not going to a job or school or hearing a large amount of my peers opinions. I have lost all social norms. Thank the Lord! I’m a naturally happy bubbly person. It is how I thrive and do my best. When Bowen and I go out we are always the loudest! And you know what we have fun, we are not concerned about what anyone else is doing. It really does give you a sense of freedom. Like okay, people are going to love you and hate you and none of it has to do with you. I love that. This is your ONLY life. So if you are questioning something based on others opinions. Don’t.

Do what you want.

This kind of ties into not caring what other people think. When you have freed yourself of others opinions you really feel empowered. Or that’s just my personality. Either way, if you are thinking of something over and over. There is a reason, dig deep and then act. The action is the only way to get anything done. Small progression is still moving forward so remember to have grace if what you want to achieve is big! This life is so precious and we all get the choice to live it how we want. Do not waste it!

Thank you for reading! πŸ•Š

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Instagram: @alybrookephotography

Surviving the holidays as a new Mom

Christmas can seem a little overwhelming for anyone, but especially moms. Scheduling and preparing dinner, spending lots of time with family, and creating holiday memories! I have a tendency to put this unnecessary pressure on holidays and big events because I want everyone to enjoy themselves. There is a sweet spot though, where everyone can have a nice time but also relax and just be present. Below are a few ways that could make the holiday season a bit less stressful and a lot more joyful! As it should be.

1. Do not overwear your welcome

I used to think when we visited the (mothers in law) MIL we needed to stay for an extended time. My husband reminded me that after about 1 hour and 30 minutes sometimes 2 hours at each house. Everyone’s ready to move on. This is enough time to eat, socialize, to do any holiday traditions, and have some time to talk before you leave. This time is so precious with those who may not be here with us for holidays to come I understand. We try not to put a time frame on everything and stay present. If we are all having a great time we will stay as long as we think is right. Honestly,y the host at the home you’re visiting is probably ready for a break by the2-hour mark.

2. Buy (or make) everyone a small gift

Christmas gets expensive. I get it. There is nothing worse than being at a family event and everyone giving you and your family about 10 gifts and all you brought was 1 gift for your parents. Buy or make something small for everyone you know will give you a gift. Something they can use and not junk. It does not have to be a super extravagant gift just a hand soap or a pair of fuzzy socks with a handwritten card says ” I thought of you.” Christmas doesn’t have to be huge and expensive it can be simple and just as sweet! I urge if you have a family get together just to ask who all is coming and have a few “ready gifts” that could go to anyone on your nice list!

3. Do not overdo it

It’s Christmas tomorrow it will all be over just like last year. So do not kill yourself trying to make 2 turkeys, 1 ham, 3 casseroles, and a pie in two hours. You do not have to do it all! Simplicity is the key to making the holidays “peaceful, merry and bright.” So just go pick up a cheese ball and some yummy crackers and put it on a tray. I promise it will get eaten and you will save your sanity. If you have time to prepare a dish, do it! Just do not over commit. I think especially woman can put so much extra stress on big events when there does not need to be. Let things be. Soak in all the conversations and memories shared. You only get one family and one Christmas a year!

Hopefully, some of you can relate to the dreaded “holiday hustle” but remember the reason for the season and why we are doing all of this celebrating! Happy holidays to you and yours! β€πŸ•Š

Birth story of Bowen Clyde

Backstory

Bowen was brought into this world on February 10th, 2017 in a birthing tub inside of a birthing center in my hometown. I saw only midwives through my whole pregnancy and carried 39 weeks and some odd days. I had the easiest most amazing pregnancy. Seriously I loved being pregnant. That all has to do with my wonderful team of midwives and the support of my sweet husband Toby. I’m writing this to let anyone know who us considering natural birth to just do it. Seriously if you are a healthy pregnant woman you should have no problem birthing your baby. It is what we were created for. It is as natural as breathing hence the name “natural birth.” This is not a post to shame anyone but to spread light to the fact that having a child without medications or even going to the hospital is really more “normal” than we think. I know some people may say that is “crazy talk” but think about it. You’re not sick. You’re not in any harm. Every woman before you have done this and been okay. Just do your research before you say ” oh I’m going to a hospital and definitely getting the drugs.” My labor hurt yes. Not in an excruciating way through in like the way you hurt when your body is going through its monthly. Does it hurt but you don’t run to the hospital and numb yourself from the waist down? Just do your research Mamas. Below is exactly how my birth went! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

The lead up:

On Thursday, February 9th, 2017 I woke up around 12 am with mild contractions. I had experienced Braxton hicks contractions the whole last week of my pregnancy before giving birth. These did not feel the same. I already had all of our bags ready so tried to lay down and get rest for what lye ahead… Around 3 have I woke again and this time I could not lay back down without squirming in discomfort. At this point, I thought I’ll just call the midwife on call and let her know it would be time soon. I called explained they were about five minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds each. I could breathe through them and my water had not broken nor had I lost my mucus plug. She nonchalantly told me to call back when they were two minutes apart lasting for 1 minute. A few hours went by and my husband stayed home from work obviously. I took a bath and Toby made us eggs and toast. I called around 2 pm in A LOT of pain she told me to come in so we hopped into the car and took the 25-minute ride to the birthing center. Now the car ride was the WORST part of this whole experience. It made my contractions so much more unpleasant when I couldn’t self soothe freely. Anyway we get there and she checks my cervix and I’m only displayed to a 2!!! We have to drive back home until I dilate more. Back in the car, we go until 4:30 pm when I tell Toby look I don’t care to take me back. The new midwife on call checks me and I am a 4 so she says we can go down to our room. We walk in and there are candles and a warm jacuzzi bath with a beautiful tile walk-in shower! A pregnant woman dream really so I put one leg up to get on the bed and BOOM! My water breaks! It was so crazy and awesome. So I look at the midwife and she says “good thing you came in when you did, things are about to get real.” At this moment I knew it was game time. No more joking around and trying to distract me from the pain. Now it was going to get so intense I would have to EMBRACE the pain. I would have to know that my body was capable of birthing this 6lbs baby. I walked a good bit and got on all fours and rocked. My two main positions before pushing were in the shower or on a ball. Or during a contraction my amazing husband pressing against my lower back while I stood in front of him. This went on until around 8:30 pm Friday and then I remember like a ton of bricks I felt the exhaustion. My body tightening and releasing on its own. Meanwhile, I’m trying to just breathe in between these damn contractions that are now 30 seconds apart and lasting about 1 minute. This sounds terrible but I was prepared and knew that TRANSITION is a natural part of labor that lasts usually under an hour and is right before you get to meet your baby! I remember looking at the two midwives and saying “I need to push.” She checks me only one more time when I let her know I was ready. The only other time was when I arrived and was at a 4. So she checks me and says I am almost fully dilated and we should move to the tub.

The birth:

Quickly we get into the bath my husband now squatted in front of me. There is one midwife behind me and one beside me. Couching me, softly. I told the one dead headed midwife ” I do not want to tear, please don’t let me tear.” She says “alright I may need to get a little up close and personal but I will try my best to not let you tear.” Next thing I know were at second base (with my bottom) now I had read about a perineal massage to reduce the risk of vaginal tearing during birth but I just didn’t think I would do it. GIRLLLLL do what you got to do! So it’s about 9:15 at this point I have had many contractions and been in labor what feels like forever. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast because you really do not want to. I remember saying “I’m going to puke” they handed me a bag I got sick in it and handed it back and they disposed of it. I didn’t get pumped full of medicine for nausea. It is so common to get sick during childbirth. After that, they cleaned me up a bit and I started pushing with my contractions. With each one a roaring moan. Then waiting until the next. I did this about 4 times or about fifteen minutes of pushing. My midwife told me his head was out and I could pull him onto me If I wanted. One more small push and he slid right up between my legs only my chest. This moment this connected but finally together. That was the best. After about ten minutes we cut the cord. I headed over to the bed to push the placenta. That was gross but after that, she examined me and proudly reported NO TEARING! Actually, the facility I went to had like over 90% of mothers have no tearing. We filled out a ton of paperwork and then I got to shower and put on some lovely comfy clothes. Bowen was born a tad jaundice so we stayed about 5 hours for him to stay under a little lamp. Then we left with our newborn baby in tow! Over the next month, I had a midwife come out to our home and she evaluated us both to make sure we were both healthy. Everything about my birthing experience was magical. *Even if I did ask for a wet cool rag and then threw it against the wall!

If you are considering an all natural birth I encourage you to do your research and know your body is capable! All the love! πŸ•Š

#naturalbirth #birthingcenter #mama #son #family

Falling in love… with myself

I’m not going to lie. I struggle with self-esteem issues daily. Everyone does. It’s human nature to have insecurities. Today is a whole different story with social media making millennial girls self-esteem extremely low. It is important to talk about, everyone has things about them they want to change. For me, it was my skin I have struggled with blemish prone skin for years and I finally said enough is enough! I called the best dermatologist around and got a consultation. I felt so empowered after that appointment because for so long my skin was crippling. Some days I was just so embarrassed by how I looked I didn’t even want people to see me. Making the choice to be active in my happiness and stop beating around the bush was a bit of a rush! Not saying looks are everything but if something is affecting you on the inside it is definitely worth taking action. A woman can tend to look outward for love and approval. I do not like that. Let’s fix that. Below are three things I do every day that has made my “self-love” journey simple and satisfying. Hopefully, these are helpful! I know it has made a huge difference for me!

Some things I do EVERY DAY to stay “in love with myself”

Photos by

Instagram: @agcampphotos

1. I talk to myself in the mirror!

I have 3-5 things on my list usually and I got this idea from my favorite author Jen Sincero! She is amazing! Anyway, usually, I start with beautiful, then smart, productive, patient, and calm. I rotate them as my mood shifts but you get it. Pick areas in your personality or traits you wished you were more like make your list and say them each morning when you brush your teeth! This is your mantra so make it specific to your wants/needs. Like a pep talk/ reminder to be the best you that you can be. For me, it has always been about repetition so this is perfect.

2. Read your bible

I am terrible at reading loads of scripture. I admit it. So what I have found works and I stay consistently doing is reading a verse a day either in my bible or on my phone! I’ll read the verse and usually just spend time with God thinking/talking about the day ahead, how this verse applies to my life. This gives me that motivation to be the woman God called me to be. Hense giving me loads of joy to start off my day.

3. Get yourself ready for the day. Everyday.

Pick out a nice clean outfit. Do something with your hair. Put on some chapstick and at least one accessory. This always ALWAYS makes me feel more feminine. Every day even though I’m usually just at our house I get Bowen and I dressed and ready! My productivity is so much better when I’m put together. It’s also great for little man to develop a nice routine and I think we have!

These are just my top three things I do just about every day! As long as you take time for yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically everything else should fall into place. Please let me know if you try any of these or if you already do them! You are all beautiful.πŸ•Š

πŸ“Έ photos by @agcampphotos on Instagram