30 January 2015

Bye Bye January: A Recap

Ah, Friday. It’s great to see you again, my old friend. 

I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the first month of the New Year and going into February! I remember growing up as a child, I would complain about time going by so slowly and my mother would say, “Just wait. The older you get, the faster time will go” and boy does it. 

Man, those moms…they sure are right a lot. #iadmitit

One of my goals for the New Year is being better about documenting our months as a whole so that when I’m old and gray and can’t remember to put my teeth in, I can easily look back through the years and have a collection of great pictures and stories from each month. I’ve been talking about more serious topics lately on this ol blog, so I thought it would be fun to slow my roll for a hot second on Friday, relax and share our monthly highlights with all of you.

We’ve enjoyed a lot of fun at the park coupled with copious amounts of chai tea lattes from the ‘Bucks. I find it to be so much fun watching Chickie interact with other kids, probably because I miss out on this during the week since I’m working. I feel like I’m watching her childhood and personality unfold in these playful moments and I cherish it.

The first part of the month found Chickie and I left to our own devises as daddy flew off to Nebraska for residency. He was gone for 9 days in which time, I got a very small glimpse into what being a single mom was like. Needless to say, all single mothers have my utmost respect and admiration. You can check out my take on being a single parent by clicking on this graphic:

When daddy returned home, we were all smiles and drinks were definitely in order!

We’ve enjoyed lots and lots of cuddle time…

And in doing so, have had a lot of silly conversations and fun in the process: 
Click on me!

Towards the middle of the month, I wrote a letter to all moms that I’d love for you to read:
Click on me!

And this past weekend, we rounded off January by celebrating Chickie’s half birthday! Oh who am I kidding? It was a great excuse to have a little bit of cake.

How was your January? What’s on the agenda for February? Have a great weekend, friends.


23 January 2015

The Best of the Week: A Collection of All Things Amazeballs

I’m so excited to be linking with one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie, from Wife Mommy Me next Tuesday to take part in her new Mom TalkTuesday link-up series. If you’re looking for a new link-up to join that gives you the freedom to come as you are, this is it. Mom Talk Tuesday’s goal is to connect mothers from all walks of life to get ideas and talk with one another about the challenges of being a parent and how we can all encourage one another to be our best selves in whatever shape or form that might mean to you. Clickhere to get more information and to view the prompts for each week and make plans to join the conversation!

Back in December, I joined a new Facebook group called TheBlogger Life for Life and it has proven to be one of the best decisions I’ve made recently with regards to the health and goals I've set for my blog this year. My blog and social media outlets have all grown in readership and followers and I’ve been able to meet a lot of new, inspiring ladies and blog owners along the way while making some amazing new connections. I’d say that’s a huge win-win. I’ve been a part of many blog groups on Facebook and each time was left feeling disappointed, mainly because there were so many rules and being run like a Nazi prison camp. No thanks. I already have a mom and a boss at work – the job has been filled. With The Blogger Life for Life, I’m able to go at my own pace and contribute on my own terms without a lot of rules and regulations. Everyone in the group is so supportive of each other and it’s just really a very encouraging and inspiring group of ladies. If you’re looking to grow your blog while making positive connections in the process, this is the place you need to be.

Speaking of making new connections from this group, one of my favorite new reads is Miranda Writes. Miranda talks about a little bit of everything but the post that caught my attention this was ‘First-time CruisePacking Tips.’ Michael and I have been discussing going on a cruise so I found this article very helpful – thorough, complete and well thought out. With the start of a new year, if you’re planning a cruise vacation, maybe you will find it helpful too.

Another great blog I’ve found through The Blogger Life for Life is Emmy over at Emmy Mom. She, along with some other host bloggers, have a very unique and fun link-up entitled, “Best of the Blogosphere” where bloggers can submit what they feel is there best post for the week (any genre!) and each host picks a favorite “winner” and they debut the winning post on their own blog. It’s great exposure and a way to connect with some really wonderful writers, bloggers and inspiring women. Check it out, follow and link-up next week!

If there is any truth to this article on fat bottom girls, then my daughter should be a freaking genius.

For years, women have been trying to figure out the male species. This 109 year-old woman however could care less and credits her longevity to staying away from men completely. This interview with her is nothing short of hysterical.

So far the dieting track has been treating me well. I’m losing weight and have even dropped a whole pant size! #Bloop! I’m using MyFitnessPal to keep me accountable and motivated and with the help of some pretty amazing ladies (I’m looking at you Wife Mommy Me, No Thanks to Cake and Being Mrs.Beer!) these new lifestyle changes overall have been wonderful. But I’m not gonna lie. Many times a day I find myself dreaming of pizza and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to dunk my whole face in a vat of Queso with guacamole and chips. #thestruggleisreal. 

One of my favorite weight-loss/lifestyle blogs lately has been by Aubrey at ALG Uninterrupted. Aubrey is a keep-it-real about her dieting ups and downs type of gal and I LOVE it. She is honest and up front in showing the highs AND lows of her journey with weight loss which has kept me both amused (she has a great sense of humor), empathetic (because we’ve all been there) and inspired. If you haven’t checked out her blog and are on a weight-loss journey like me, check it out. It will quickly become one of your favorite reads. 

So there it is. My list of the best of the week. What have you found that’s good in your world this week? Happy weekend!


21 January 2015

Why I Will Encourage My Daughter to Join a Sorority

Let’s get one thing straight about this post from the get-go: this isn’t going to be a mushy discussion where I reminisce about girlfriends or how “I didn’t go to college to find a husband, I came to find my bridesmaids” type of shit. Gag. #cuethenausea  

What I will discuss are solid reasons why I will encourage my daughter to join a sorority.

Growing up and especially in high school, I was more of a “go with the majority” type of girl. I had my own thoughts and ideas about issues and an urge to make a difference in the world but those urges were overshadowed by the desire to want to fit in. Back in my high school days, speaking up and assuming a leadership role was never considered cool and the thought of peer disapproval made it too big a risk to take in trying to forge new paths. I could make a million excuses for why I wasn’t more involved as a teen but the sad reality is that I lacked true confidence and self-esteem.

Fast forward to my freshman fall semester at college. My parents dropped me off at my dorm, kissed me and then waved good-bye. For the first time in my life, I was all alone: no family, no friends – no one. To make matters worse, I went to school out of state so I literally knew no one, nor did I have any connections of any kind to make my transition to college life a little easier. For the first few weeks, I felt adrift at sea, alone and isolated. I had a full course load, a part-time job and had attended a few shindigs on campus but didn’t really have a core group of friends to call my own. I was lonely and in desperate need of more to make me happy.

Enter sorority rush.

Now, I will be the first to admit that at the time, I had the same pre-conceived notions most people do about sororities: snotty, stuck up rich girls who act entitled and don’t have a single brain cell between the lot of them. So what made me want to go through rush? One of my classmates in my English class was already a member of one of the other sororities on campus and I genuinely like her. She was funny, down to earth, amazingly creative, sharp as a tack and really set a high standard for those of us in her study group. If we were having a hard time with a paper or our projects, she was always the first to step in and help and more so, her take and contributions were usually on point. I was genuinely impressed by her and to make it all the more interesting, she had a nose ring, a couple of tats and came to class one day wearing a motorcycle t-shirt that read: “If you can read this then the Bitch fell off.” Definitely not your standard sorority girl stereotype. I was sold. She wasn’t a mold nor was she a programmed robot. She was herself but still part of an organization and because of that, I was sold. Long story short, I went through rush and accepted a bid from Kappa Delta Sorority and to this day, it was one of the best decisions I ever made during my college career.  

{Photo Credit: Sister Deanna Arnnett)

So let’s get the obvious objections about Greek life out of the way: parties, drinking, blah blah blah. Look – do I think the Greek system has some challenges and concerns where that’s concerned? Yes. Do I feel like they should be the scapegoat and poster child for issues with college drinking and partying? Nope. Kids will party, drink and act a fool pretty much anytime and anywhere. They don’t need to be a part of the Greek system to do that. More so, I’d even go as far to say that if you were a college student out partying and drinking on a Friday or Saturday night and think that was okay but look down on a girl simply because she wears a set of Greek letters, then that says more about who you are as a person. Translation: hypocrite. Every student run organization is going to have their unique set of challenges. Having the mind-set that not having a child involved in Greek Life means they will never fall prey to partying or drinking is just a foolish way to think.

So what are the positives and why would I want my daughter to join Greek Life?

Leadership roles :: When you’re part of an organization that is 100+ ladies, everyone has to take on leadership roles in committees to get things done. I instantly went from zero leadership skills to commanding large groups of ladies and directing them according to standards. I learned how to work with all types of people, from all different backgrounds, with all different kinds of beliefs and opinions on how things should be done. Learning how to be a leader for life in this regard was a game changer for me. 

Individuality :: Contrary to popular belief, sororities do not exist to produce cookie cutter, Barbie replications. Quite the opposite, actually. In my particular chapter, I had sisters from every race and background of life. What was even more important was the fact that everyone was celebrated and accepted for who they are as a person. I was encouraged to be who I was while my sisters gave me the support I needed to grow as a person, individually, on my own terms. I never felt the need to have to fit in or look a certain way. I was simply me. 

Connections :: Let’s be honest: If you’re a career woman in today’s world, connections correlate with job success. Yes, to some extent it is what you know but It’s also WHO you know. In my career, I can credit three of the jobs I’ve had to a sister in Kappa Delta. Networking and connections with other KD’s and Greeks has played such an important and vital role in my career.

Friends Who Always Have Your Back :: As I mentioned before, when I arrived at college, I had no one but when I joined KD, I instantly had a group of ladies who were there for me. Whether it was giving me support in scholarship, advice on personal problems or helping me to better myself, my sisters were there every step of the way. Not to mention that when we did go out for a night on the town, I was never alone. We always watched out for one another and to me, that extra layer of protection was invaluable.

Philanthropy :: One of the major cornerstones of KD, or any sorority, is philanthropy. Over the last 10 years, my initiated chapter of Kappa Delta, Delta Pi Chapter, has raised over $109,000.00 for The Family Center in Murfreesboro, TN. This coupled with the thousands of hours given to the national philanthropy, Girls Scouts of the USA, members continue to give of themselves time and time again and not just for the 4 years they are in college, but for a lifetime. My strong sense of philanthropy and giving back to my community can wholly be credited to my membership in KD. I learned how to give of myself, my time and my talents to benefit others and I’m forever grateful for the lesson learned.

People & Life Skills :: It stands to reason that no matter how much you get along with a group of people, you will still have disagreements. It’s only human however, being in KD with so many diverse women from different backgrounds, races and religious beliefs gave me the opportunity to learn from others, expand my mind and find ways to work out differences together as a team in a collaborative and peaceful way. With 100+ ladies, you really have to find a way to learn to communicate but more importantly, to listen as well. Kappa Delta gave me the necessary people skills to learn to deal with all types of personalities and while finding a way to work together towards a common goal.

I like to think of my time in KD as a “rehearsal” for real life. I was encouraged to run for leadership positions and had the opportunity to grow as a person both professionally and personally. Even more important than a feeling of accomplishment was my newly established confidence as a woman. For this, I am forever grateful.

For skeptics, it’s truly difficult to put into words how much something so personal influenced and changed my life for the better, but after reading this first-hand account, I ask you to consider how much good comes from the efforts of Greek Life, along with all campus-wide organizations.

Also, I invite you to watch this video of the Delta Pi Chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority as you learn more about the chapter and its annual philanthropy fundraiser, Wing Fling. This is my initiated chapter and I couldn’t be more proud to belong to this exceptional group of sisters and the national sorority. If you also feel inclined, please check out the nationalsorority website to learn more about KD’s founding principles, activism and commitment to excellence in all areas of life.

Ta Kala Diokomen, KD’s open motto, translates to “Let us strive for that which is honorable, beautiful and highest.” It started as something I wrote on flash cards to memorize for initiation but over the course of many, many years, it evolved into something far more important to me. The years of ritual, chapter meetings, endless volunteer hours and community service and the drive for academic excellence helped me to understand what it’s all really about. I began to understand that I was a member of something sacred and unique and founded on principles and values that have endured for over 118 years. An organization founded by women who were strong, opinionated, driven visionaries who lived in a time where the female opinion was not created equal. I simply went looking for friendship and in the process, found so much more and for this, I will always be grateful and will always encourage my daughter to seek all things honorable, beautiful and highest, especially sororities. 

20 January 2015

An Interview With a Three Year Old

Kids say the darndest things, especially the littles. 

The preschool age {did I just type that? Preschool??} has been quite interesting so far. Every day, Chickie’s language and understanding of the world around her is evolving and progressing and it’s so much fun to be a part of. Just like any other stage of her development, this time will pass in the blink of an eye so I thought it would be fun to sit down with her and do a three year old interview so I could capture the wonderful and amazing little girl she is now because, you know, I’m old. And I will forget. All of these answers are hers!

Chickie, what is your favorite…?

Book // A Day at the Airport

Food // Cake {She is my daughter} and donuts

Movie // Star Wars

Animal // Lions, giraffes and bears {Oh my!}

Song // Key Largo {Yes, *that* Key Largo – the one by Bertie Higgins} and Going on a Bear Hunt

Pet // Henry the dog

Toy // Blocks

Sport // Baseball {Go Yankees!}

Sweet Treat // Chocolate cake

Friends // Rachel and Caroline

And let’s not forget some of the hysterical conversations we’ve had as of late because, really, there’s nothing better than your own child reminding you of what a big butt you have.

What did Chickie say...?

Me: "Maddy, tonight we celebrate New Year’s Eve."
Maddy: "What's that?"
Me: "It's the end of this year at midnight and the beginning of next year."
*intense thinking look on her face*
Maddy: "So we get to stay up late and eat cupcakes and watch Home Alone?"

Sometimes I look at her and marvel at how much of an old soul she can be. Right after I took this picture, she looked up at me and said, "No more pictures, mommy. Get me a hot cup of tea." #imnotjoking #wheredotheygetthisstuff

One week at school, Chickie was learning about football for the class sports/outdoor activities. While the teachers were trying to teach the kids to say, "Go Eagles!" Chickie stood up in the middle of the circle and yelled, "I don't say that! I say GO VOLS!!" Y'all know this momma is proud!!!!

Heard in our home one morning while rummaging through the closet for something to wear to work:
Me: "Hmmm...what should I wear to work today, Chickie?"
(Without blinking or skipping a beat from eating her Cheerios while watching Thomas)
Chickie: "I don't know, mama. You got a big butt."

So how about you? What gems are your littles coming up with lately? What things do they love these days?