24 December 2012

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Last night, we took Maddy to see the fat man in the red suit. We were fully expecting Chernobol - A full and complete meltdown. But as always, our little chickie surprised us. She hopped right up on Santa's lap and loved every minute of it. 

We are so blessed as a family and Maddy is the heart of this operation. Without her, life would seem less beautiful. As we celebrate this Christmas season, we extend our love, thanks, and gratitude to you all. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


Maddy and Santa





Maddy and daddy waiting for Santa





Someone really loves their daddy. 





Having fun in the ice castle while waiting for Santa




Mommy and her best girl



Merry Christmas! XO
Courtney, Michael, and Maddy

10 December 2012

Maddy's Thought for the Day...

"You mean to tell me some big fat man dressed in a red suit is going to slide down our chimney and prance around our home while we sleep? Riiiight. Sounds creepy to me. No."





09 December 2012

Sometimes

Sometimes no matter how much we hope, or wish, or try for things to be different, it just is what it is and no amount of work will change it.

The only thing we can do is continue to walk our own path knowing that our compass is in line with our heart, our mind, our conscience, and our morals.

Stay strong. Life is a journey. A beautiful, crazy, hypnotic, transforming, adventure.

02 December 2012

Dear Daddy...

Dear Daddy - 

No matter where I go in life, no matter how much I love my boyfriend, no matter who I marry, you will always be my number one man. 

Love, your little girl.



30 November 2012

Sweet Dreams

Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby? I love to watch Madeline while she naps. I imagine what her dreams may be. I look at her hands and feet to see that they are my own, only smaller and somehow they look bigger today than they did yesterday (Slow down on the growing, Chickie!). Her eyelids flutter as she starts to suck on her bottom lip and every so often, there is a peaceful sigh and a smile that crosses her lips. If only I could always keep her this safe, this content, and this happy for the rest of her life. Instead, she will continue to grow healthy, strong, and smart as she experiences the world around her. For now...

Let her sleep for when she wakes, she will move mountains. Sweet dreams, angel.


28 November 2012

Getting Personal

I'm just going to put this out there because I'm human. I'm going to be honest because it's the only way I know to be. I'm going to empty my frustrations with the hope that I can wake up tomorrow with a new mind-set and a better attitude. I think it's great that so many of you can keep a brave front to the world and most of the time, that's me. But I'm tired. Exhausted. And it just takes more energy to keep up appearances and act like everything is fine when it's not. Besides, being fake has never been my strong suit.

I'm tired, exhausted, and worn-out. Being a mom these days has been beyond challenging and trying. Maddy is teething the remaining 3 molars she has and to say it has been hell is an understatement. She isn't sleeping; there is no consistent sleep pattern whatsoever. Some nights are great but the majority of them are horrible, like last night. Last night she was awake and screaming every hour, on the hour. Even after teething tablets, Infants Advil, and a bottle, she was still awake and screaming...and there is nothing I or her father can do to make it better. She is also coming into the terrible twos. Side note: They call it the terrible twos because FUCKING AWFUL doesn't even begin to describe it and using that descriptor isn't typically socially accepted. But I digress...

I've known from the day Madeline was born that she is a strong-willed, stubborn, determined, knows what she wants/likes type of child. I knew that she would end up being happy-go-lucky, don't need nothing but a good time kind of girl. I could see it in her eyes and through the months as she's grown, she has proven me right. The child has no fear; she is gung-ho wild and free. And while there is a part of me that is proud and impressed by this demeanor, the other part of me is frazzled, aggravated, and frustrated beyond belief.

As the terrible twos are starting to set in so is her attitude. She is testing our limits. I know this is to be expected. I know it's normal. But it doesn't make it any easier to handle or deal with. Every attempt at discipline is met with a laugh and she spends more time in timeout than what  even I think is normal. It's a constant barrage of screaming, squealing, yelling, and crying...and nothing we do seems to pacify her. If I take something away from her, she screams and tries to hit me. When I reprimand her for this behavior, she screams even more. So into timeout she goes as she sits there gleefully laughing and acting as if everything is A-OK. And this is just a mild example of a good day. Let's not even get started on what happens when she's having a bad day.

I feel I'm at my wits end. I don't know what else to do. I've read, researched, and tried more parenting tips and tricks of the trade than I can count on both hands and nothing seems to work. Most days I feel very inadequate as a parent. Some days it feels as if I'm just going through the motions in order to just make it through the day and I hate feeling that way because to me, that's not good parenting. Some days it is hard to even get out of bed because I know what's awaiting me. But I do...and I make it through another day.

I understand that children are born innocent. They have no comprehension of right and wrong nor do they understand limits and boundaries - until they learn them. I know it is up to us, her parents, to teach her these things. I know this. I understand it however - it doesn't make the days easier. My patience these days is slim to none which makes it hard because up to this point, I feel I've had the patience of Job. I also know that having a child is a choice and not a chore. I know how blessed I am to even be able to have a child when there are so many couples who struggle to conceive. I love Madeline. I would happily and freely give my life for my daughter. I would sacrifice everything I have, my own happiness, and my life to secure her own happiness and prosperity in life but I'm struggling right now. Nothing I do seems to make things better. I can't seem to make my daughter happy and that bothers me. I can't seem to successfully discipline my child and that bothers me. To me, I can't seem to do much of anything right and...IT BOTHERS ME.

I know this is a phase...that this too shall pass but it doesn't make things easier to deal with in the present. But I keep moving forward. Each day is a new day full of promise and opportunity. All I can do is my best and hope that God fills in the gaps.

To Madeline - I will always be your loving mother. I created you. I knew you before you came into this world. You are my most beautiful creation. Through good days, bad days, and all the in-between, I will always love and adore you. All the good you have brought to my life outweighs the bad on any day. Your smile is sunshine and I, your mother, will always love you.

To my readers - I appreciate your support in reading my blog. Please know that my thoughts are just that - my own. I discuss all types of issues here and while it may not be all sunshine and rainbows, this is me...good and bad. I'm human. I'm normal. I'm a great mom, woman, and partner with the same challenges as everyone else. This is my haven to which is a haven for other women who struggle with the same problems and issues. You are all welcome here...negativity, judgement, and scorn can be left at the door.

Love to all,
Courtney

27 November 2012

Ch-Ch Changes

As most of you know by now, new opportunities moved our family to Colorado from Virginia. What an adventure! I once read somewhere that the top three stresses in life are 1. Having a baby 2. Getting married and 3. MOVING. We've managed to check 2 out of 3 off that list and by far, I have to say that moving was far more stressful than having a baby. We had 9 months to prepare for Maddy's arrival and we had so much help along the way from family and friends.  Moving however, was the complete opposite. Once we made the decision, we only had two weeks to clean out the crap, pack, make travel arrangements, find a new place to live, and so on and so forth. Plus, we did it all alone; no help from family or friends. To say it was stressful is an understatement but we rolled up our sleeves, worked as a team, and got it done. Teamwork has always been a strong point in our relationship and it's something I value greatly.

For me, it wasn't all stress and chaos. Well, correction: Once we hit the road, it was a huge relief. From there, it was just a matter of enjoying the ride while watching the hours, and the world, pass by. I've only been out west once in my life and it was when I was 14. My mom and I went to LA for a few days. Other than that, my travel has been on the east coast. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to drive across the country. How many times in our lives do we have the chance to just get in a car and drive? I relished every moment of it. We drove through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado.

Our country may not be perfect and it definitely has its challenges and struggles but the one thing it truly is is beautiful; a blanket of diversity, color, and interesting people. I loved every minute of it.  Enjoy these pictures from our journey.


One last look at Roanoke. See you later, Star City.



 Enjoying some old school jams helps to pass the time



 The St. Louis Arch



Beautiful wind turbines in Kansas



Welcome home to Colorado!



Snow on our first day in our new home!




Love to all,
Courtney, Michael, and Madeline

16 November 2012

Confession

I've contemplated over and over again whether or not to write this entry. The subject matter may be sensitive or controversial to some. For others, it may not be that big of a deal. However for me, when I started this blog, I promised to keep my entries true to who I am. I think it's great that so many bloggers always try to only portray the sunny side of life. And that's their choice - to each their own. I feel it important to share my joys, my fears, my aggravations, and so on and so forth. There are a lot of moms out there who need this same support. This is their haven. So if you make the choice to continue reading this entry, please respect that it is my choice in the subject matter I share with my readers. And if you don't like it, that's cool. I know my thoughts aren't for everyone. All you have to do is not follow us or exit out of this post. It's really that simple.

OK - now that the disclaimers are out of the way let's get on with the show.

I have a confession to make. I've known this fact about myself for quite some time but I always held out hope that I might be wrong. What is my dirty little secret?

I'm in no way, shape or form, stay-at-home mom material. I've always suspected this to be the case but it has really been proven to me since we've moved to Colorado and I've been with Maddy all day while we look for suitable child care options.

I’m a career woman every bit as much as I am a mom. I enjoy working and being around other professionals. I enjoy the challenges and personal growth a job affords me. And honestly, YES. I do enjoy the time I have to myself to pursue my own goals. YES, I do enjoy the time I have to myself away from Maddy to be able to socialize and fulfill the need within myself to want to have it all in my life; family, career, friends. 

What's more - I don't feel the least bit guilty about feeling this way. I know I'm a great mother doing the best I can each and every day. I'm not perfect and I make mistakes every day with Maddy but overall, I feel I'm doing a great job, especially as a first time, late-in-life mom. I've found that what works best for me to help me be the best mom I can be is time away from my best girl. Truth be told, I think a lot of women feel this way but they are shamed into thinking they are poor mothers and don’t care if they aren't always putting the kid(s) first. What I'd like to stress in this post is that just because you as a woman take time for yourself (In whatever shape or form that may be) it by no means means you're not a good mother. It doesn't mean you don't care about your child. It doesn't mean their best interests don't come before your own. What it does mean is that you're human. It means that sometimes in order for us as women to keep our heads above water, we still need to be able to do the things that are important to us so we don't feel like we lose our own identities when we have children.

At the end of the day, each family is different and has different needs. We’ve come to find that Maddy truly enjoys being in day care. She is a very social child. She is a child that constantly needs to be stimulated and interacting with others. With her being at home, she’s not able to have those needs fulfilled 100%. So for us, me being able to work while she is in day care is a win-win for us all. I get the fulfillment I need in my life and she is able to flourish and grow the way she needs as well.

Yes - Michael and I made the conscious choice to have our child. Maddy is provided a wonderful, safe, loving, life. She wants for nothing. She has our devotion, our love, our attention, and our lives to the moon and back however, I strongly feel that just because I made the conscious choice to have a child, that means my own life, my own dreams, and my own wants and wishes should stop or be thrown by the way-side. As a woman, I believe I should be able to have the best of both worlds should Michael and I choose to live our lives that way. 

Before I close, I want to stress this: I know that some of you reading this post are stay-at-home moms and to each of you, please know you have my total respect and admiration. I applaud you for the choices you've made and respect that you feel your place is in the home. I know being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job just as much as moms in the workplace. In as much as I respect and value your choices, please do the same for mine. We as women need to stop the shaming. We need to stop being so critical of each other and be far more supportive. Parenting and raising children is not a “one method fits all” type of deal. Respect that. Try to understand it and do your part to help promote peace and tolerance in motherhood. 


26 October 2012

Life (Lately) In Pictures

Relaxing...
 
 



 
 
 
Enjoying some frosty beverages and delicious noms...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Enjoying a few laughs...
 
 
Meg Ryan - Now that's a ticket I can get with!
 
Ladies, if you're not in the market to buy your bras, consider a rental.
 
 

 
And going up, up, and away...
 
 
 
 
Yes, life has been a whole series of emotions lately but that's how it works, right? Some days are good, some days are bad, and some days are a complete waste of makeup. ;-) I exaggerate but you get the point. Life is to be lived and each day is a new adventure. We are certainly having our own adventures and hope to share more with you soon! *wink* *wink* 
 
Until then...
 
Love,
Courtney, Michael, and Madeline 




18 October 2012

We're Still Alive...

Hi all. Just a short and quick note to let you all know that we are still alive and kicking. Life has just been a little crazy lately and in all honesty by the time the day is over, blogging has been the very LAST thing I've wanted to do. Between my job, Michael traveling with work, keeping up with Maddy, and the usual stresses of every day life, this mama is EXHAUSTED. I'd say this sums it up rather well...



Toodles for now,
Courtney, Michael, and Madeline

05 October 2012

Maddy's Thought for the Day...

"You mean to tell me there's some old rich white guy with no real concept of money or the average American who wants to take my Elmo away??? NO!!!"

29 September 2012

Daddy's Girl

"I never knew how much I loved your dad until I saw how much he loves you."
Is there anything better than a father's love for his little girl?

No.







28 September 2012

Happy Friday!

"You can choose to live your life with the joy of the front row or solemness of the third row."

(Photo credit: istock)

26 September 2012

Time Travel

It is amazing to watch our little chickie growing up and SO FAST! Sometimes I look at her and can't help but think, "Wow...I actually made that!" She is learning new things every day. And while there is a part of me that still sees her as the fully dependent baby she was just 14 short months ago, it is the other part of me, the active mom, that gets to experience life again in a whole new, FUN way; childhood, discovering new things, playing Star Wars in the toy aisle at Target (True story and proud of it). 

Earlier, I was cleaning up my YouTube account and enjoyed going back through Maddy's videos. They start at 2 months and go through today. It blows my mind to think that this time last year Maddy wasn't even able to sit up on her own, crawl, or talk. Fast forward to today and she is doing all three and MORE. A LOT more - walking, talking, dancing, running, eating on her own. She's amazing.

So, enjoy with me, a little video montage of 2 months to today. And slow down with the growing, little chicken. 


Two months old and enjoying her swing




Five months old and laughing with mommy



Nine months old and crawling for the first time



Twelve months old and walking for the first time



13 months and enjoying bath time with daddy






14 months old and making friends


25 September 2012

Bookworms

Thomas Jefferson once said, "I cannot live without books."

I feel ya T.J.

I have always had a love for books. From the time I can remember, my face was always stuck in a book. My mother would tell me to "Go clean your room!" and two hours later she would come upstairs to find either 1. My face planted deeply in the crease of a Sweet Valley High book with my room still looking like a tornado hit it or 2. My body laid out on my bed, asleep with a book in my hand. My how times change! Now I don't really have time to do either - thanks Maddy! :)

My favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald and fittingly, my favorite book is The Great Gatsby. I read this book at least once a year. Last year I read it in the hospital after giving birth to Maddy. Don't judge! It was my one and only last chance to get in some good quality reading while she was in the nursery. :)

At any rate, lately I've been able to indulge a little more in my love for books. It's amazing how time and options open up the older your children are. We are fortunate that Maddy can, and enjoys, playing independently. She doesn't always need us to stay occupied and happy. This is a TREMENDOUS help to us. It allows us the flexibility and freedom to be able to get things done around the house AND enjoy ourselves too. She can play with her toys and I'm able to relax on the sofa with a good book and Michael can work on his schoolwork or writing. It's a win-win for everyone!

Lately we've found a lot of joy in visiting our local Barnes & Noble down the road. Michael and I get to indulge in our love of books and Maddy gets to roam and play. Yes - here's a great tip for all you moms with toddlers or soon to be toddlers - Barnes & Noble is an excellent option for fun with the kiddos. Maddy truly enjoys the Lego station where she's able to sit and build as long as she likes and to her heart's content and recently she discovered the stage with an endless supply of stuffed animal friends. Needless to say it's not always a nice scene trying to get her to leave (Intro the crying, screaming, and squealing) but she is having a blast while she's there and that's the most important thing.

I never would have thought I'd ever be happy trading in my weekends of sleeping in and laziness for waking at 7:30 and taking early morning trips to the bookstore. It truly is trading your life in when you have a child; your life is no longer your own. Your schedule is no longer your own. And while it's not always a bed of roses, it's worth it. The trade in far exceeds any idle thoughts of your former life. I'm happy, comfortable, and doing what I'm meant for in my life. What could be better?

Wanting to make friends



Making new friends



Madeline and Madeline





Sweet kisses for Clifford the Big Red Dog





This is why our kid is so cool - out of everything she could have picked up, she chooses the Marvel Heroes. LOVE.





Maddy and daddy building a house





Lovies





Train time!





All smiles after a morning of fun

18 September 2012

What We've Been Up To Lately

To quote Ferris Beuller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
        Here's what we've been up to:


Lots of trips to Barnes & Noble. For the books yes, but mostly for the Legos...




Dressing up in costumes...










Hitching lots of rides on her own personal pony...er...daddy...




Cooking lots of fresh, homemade veggie dishes...











Lots of football - cheering on the Vols (And daddy's Noles)!



As you can see, we're making a more conscience effort to slow down and smell the roses. Life is short. We've decided that the time we have together is OUR time and we are going to enjoy it. Sometimes we have plans and other times we don't. We've decided to stop scheduling so much for ourselves in the way of outside commitments and simply enjoy living, even if that means laying on the sofa as a family watching movies, tennis, or re-runs of Friends or if we decide to go out and about. The important thing is that we are a family and we are doing all of these things TOGETHER. For the most part, we are taking it one day at a time and enjoying the little things in life...taking time to breathe. Taking time to rest. Taking time to do nothing.

Because really, life is what happens when you're busy making plans.  

Love to all,
Courtney, Michael, and Madeline

13 September 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the tub...


Maddy's Thought for the Day...

Maddy's thought for the day going into the notorious cold/flu/pass your shit along because you're a thoughtless, won't cover your nose/mouth when you sneeze/cough, spread your virus to everyone ROUB OF A PERSON season:

"You mean to tell me that there are thoughtless parents who will actually drop their kids off at day care knowing they are sick but do it anyway and pass all their junk along to me and my family??! NO."
 

 

12 September 2012

Duck, Duck, Swings!

After three weekends in a row of sickness and bad weather, we were finally able to make it out to the duck pond in Salem. Actually, as I write this, I'm still fighting a horrible stomach bug. Needless to say this blog post will be brief...sorry...I'll update more later when I'm feeling up to it. In the meantime, enjoy these photos and video.


The Salem Duck Pond has about 100 or so ducks of all shapes and sizes who basically sit around all day defecating on the sidewalk and grass while enjoying the delicious niblets of bread and cereal that us humans graciously leave behind. I expected Maddy to be super excited about going to visit the ducks but she was pretty unimpressed abut the whole thing. 



Eating the bread herself. Screw the ducks.



Maddy finally decides to share her bread.




Just a chickie and her ducks.



After visiting the ducks, we went down the road to the local park for a little fun time. Maddy really enjoyed the swing. So much so that she threw an epic fit when we removed her from it. No, I didn't get that on video. But give me time...it's bound to happen.