Protect The Mama’s

I’m not yet sure if it’s new motherhood specifically or motherhood as a continual journey that finds us at the point of needing to protect ourselves, spiritually, physically, and emotionally, from the struggles of the demands of life that pulls at all angles, but I can tell you that so far in my 9 months of being a mother, I have found this to be evident.

I almost have to argue with myself, to protect me from running myself ragged.
Whether that is giving myself some slack for not having the dishes or laundry done,  encouraging myself to eat more, start exercising, or to set aside the time to pray and be alone, I seemingly have to protect myself from me and  the world that constantly pulls from every direction, including online pretenses.

Go away, Pinterest-perfect, absolute shams and façades of a perfect life, Facebook and Instagram posts I see from my friends.
Go. Away.
I KNOW you also are struggling.
I have seen where you live and have met your family – and things are not always what they appear.

I see through your perfect photos and filters and I refuse to try to hold myself to an unachievable pinnacle of Stepford Wives domestic perfection.

What is a magazine-worthy home, with children addicted to phones and iPad’s, a commonly absent spouse to support the cost, and an anxiety-ridden mother run ragged trying to keep up with the next issue’s subliminal pressure of perfection anyway?

I see the photo of your combination Hello Fresh/ Papered Chef/ Le Crusét meal in your beautiful kitchen… But I know you’re eating alone at your counter with dishes in your sink, tracking the likes and comments on Facebook, while your children eat on TV trays or not at all. (And that’s okay, because we’re all in the same broken world just trying to make it.)

I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.
I love eating, but I hate cooking. (or rather planning to cook)
I’ll wear makeup, but have 3-day-old-hair.
I love my little family, but I am also tired.
I love people, but the general public can be taxing on a soul.

Every extrovert needs their re-charge time – and I have to protect me, from me! So help a mama out and be real. We can share in the joy and beauty of life – but also addressing the mundane and relatable struggles we all face are imperative to our friendships and relationships. Whether we see it or not, our social media presence is a form of camaraderie and fellowship. Take away the smoke and mirrors sometimes and be real, for the sake of the tired mama’s out there at least.

140 Days of Motherhood…

If you would have told me then, that only a short THREE weeks after I posted my last blog post I would be holding my baby in my arms, I think I would have melted with anxiety on the spot.

Because I value the birth story information that the big ol’ interwebs has to offer to first time mama’s-to-be, I will shamelessly be posting my labor and delivery experience soon in a different post, but in the meantime… just a few things I have learned over the past 140 days of motherhood…

  • I have fed our baby over 1,200 times with. my body. since the hour he was born. IMG_4590It takes about 30 minutes each time… which has been the total equivalent of 36,000 minutes, 600 hours, or TWENTY FIVE FULL DAYS  …however you choose to process that information best. Basically, growing a human inside, and outside the womb, is impressive, amazing, and commendable – so CONGRATULATIONS to all mama’s out there.
  • Nothing is comparable or the same to anyone else. Your body is different. Your baby is different. Your marriage is different. Your house is different. And Lord knows.. your (my) extended family is definitely different.
  • Time goes so fast! Everyone says it, and they do because it is true. It’s like BOOM – it’s almost July and I just had Christmas. I need to be planning Christmas events again, and I am in complete shock from this.
  • Pack. Extra. Clothes. For both yourself and baby. Trust me.
  • Do NOT put off for tomorrow what can be done RIGHT NOW! Don’t! If baby is sleeping and you need to start making supper- Be like Nike and JUST DO IT.
  • People remember and speak most about the negative things. Breastfeeding is hard. But it is not terrible and is manageable. Which brings me to:
  • Ask for and accept all help.
  • (Side note: If you can’t breastfeed YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE and are still an amazing mama! Find and befriend the lactation consultant in your area, and get all the advice you can, but if feeding your baby formula is going to take that elephant of stress off of your shoulders – A FED BABY IS THE BEST BABY. My little guy had to have formula for the first time last week (while at his first week of childcare during my work day, while I pump my stock milk supply back up..) and I was entirely way too stressed out over it for some weird reason. He didn’t notice a difference whatsoever from breastmilk to formula – much to my secret annoyance and disappointment. Also – Pumping is annoying, whatever the lady-term for emasculating is, and super hard to figure out where it fits into your day.. but you’ll figure it out. Ask for help and advice!)
  • Walk away when your husband starts to help. Let him figure it out on his own and don’t micromanage. Husbands are tender things and they need their pride – which involves their wives not making them feel like a kindergartener who has been given a special duty for the day.
  • Multi-use items are the bomb.
  • Don’t over buy, and don’t buy everything new. They have been manufacturing childcare items literally for centuries. Stuff is out there for second-hand purchase, and so much will be given to you by those sifting through dusty store-rooms of their treasured and long-past baby-raising years.
  • WRITE THANK YOU CARDS. So you can sleep at night and face charitable friends and family when you meet them again.
  • People who give diapers and baby wipes at baby showers are SAINTS. Do not look at these presents with contempt and thoughts of lacking originality – they will SAVE YOUR LIFE ONE DAY. And you will truly use them!
  • Schedules and needs literally change day to day. Roll with the flow and figure it out as time goes on. There is no normal.
  • Do what you gotta do to maintain your sanity and life! Do you need to order pizza because it is 9:00pm, you finally finished feeding the hungry monster called a baby, and you haven’t eaten all day?? DO IT. Do you work best by using an app to keep track of your grocery shopping list, or are you a wander-the-aisles-and-figure-it-out kinda person? Doesn’t matter – Just survive! Do you need a few hours to yourself to soak in the tub, catch up on the ever scrollable facebook feed while drinking a few glasses of wine and (finally) shave your legs, and then update your deprived blog website?? Hahaha…. Guilty. :)

 

Are you a mama? What advice do you have??

33 Weeks 5 Days Pregnant – Update

Nesting-brain is REAL.

No joke. It has literally overtaken my life the past few days.

My husband and I made a deal that I wasn’t allowed to purchase anything for the baby until after my baby shower. I felt like that day would never get here.
(I only cracked once with a 4:00AM 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond purchase on the most amazing product ever – the Doona carseat.)

Two weekends ago, the board of directors for the organization I work for, surprised me with an amazing baby shower! I was so excited to have teeny tiny clothes and blankets to wash, and supplies to put away! I went out and bought special baby detergent (I really tried to justify using our normal detergent, because i’m sure my baby clothes weren’t washed with a different detergent… but apparently baby skin is super sensitive, as all of my mama-friends preached to me when I asked their opinion) just to wash it all with, and finally the mini chest of drawers in the corner of our bedroom was not empty!

I am forever grateful for the love and support of so many people in our lives, and even more so for a supportive work environment and co-workers/bosses (of a sort).

The planned baby shower was this past weekend and put on by my 1st cousin (our mothers are sisters, although I think we are closer than your average cousins – she’s more like my sister).

It was amazing! We decided to forego the corny baby shower games, and instead just mingle. ..and of course open up presents! There were so many!

That afternoon when I got home, I started un-packaging and putting away everything, and yet again washing teeny-tiny clothes and blankets in special detergent, and then continuing to put away and organize. Husband put together the mini-crib while I sat nearby with encouraging words. (Honestly, I think building put-it-together furniture should be a marriage pre-requisite. If you can survive that, then you’re good to go.)

Putting away all of those gifts must have set some serious suppressed hormones in motion, because since that point I have been on an unending spree.

A shopping, buying, preparing, scouring, organizing, crazy spree.

I bought shelving for under our kitchen sink (and it’s beautiful).

I have re-folded and re-arranged every drawer in our dresser.

I have scrubbed our baseboards and vacuumed out my car.

I have an amazon wish-list that scrolls for days with all sorts of items to organize our life with.

I made a rash decision and bought an extremely heavy antique buffet I was convinced was a good price and could be refurbished into a changing dresser and table. ..and then spent the difference of what I could have bought a brand new one for online, in paint and painting supplies… I am my mothers daughter, evidently. 🤦🏼‍♀️
(Husband has since made me see the light of my mistake and thankfully the antique store owners are letting me return the piece tomorrow. This experience has also inspired him (after a he witnessed a few hours of crying and freak-out nesting-brain) to build a changing table for me! (and i’m holding him to it. Update on it to come (hopefully) very soon!)

The nesting-brain is strong, y’all.
It has overpowered my every thought for only four days, and it feels like a month.

Don’t. mess. with nesting-brain.

Pregnancy Excitement (and Woes)

Yay! Baby Dühring is expected March 1st, 2018!

We found out through a blood test pretty early on (16 weeks) that he is a boy and we have decided to name him Owen.

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I am now almost 31 weeks along and this pregnancy journey has been an interesting ride so far. Although I am ‘due’ on March 1st, and have been so excited about a March birthdate baby, I have realized that due dates are set at 40 weeks, and ‘full term’ is 37-40 – so it is quite likely we will have a February baby. This recent realization only has me more excited that in around SIX weeks I could be holding our baby in my arms!

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Although every person and each pregnancy is very different, I have learned a few things in my 1st and 2nd trimester experience:

Pregnancy ‘tales’ that hold true:
-The first trimester will be miserable.
Think living zombie mode 24/7 until you wake up on week 13 and it seems as if you have magically become a brand new once-again-functioning person. 1st trimester nausea is unrivaled in sucky-ness. There is no quick-fix feel-better cure, either. Ginger Ale only helped so much, and peppermint tea is terrible. You’ll feel sick because you haven’t eaten, and feel sick when you try to. I am immensely thankful that I only ‘got sick’ one time, and wasn’t best friends with the porcelain throne day in and day out, as many others I know were.

-Sleeping will become uncomfortable.
After about week 16, get used to building pillow forts.
Giant, ridiculous pillow forts.
If you don’t have at least a queen size bed to share with your spouse, things are going to get real uncomfortable, real fast. I am so thankful for our king size bed at the moment.
I love you, husband, but me and my pillows need our space. Continue reading “Pregnancy Excitement (and Woes)”

Settlin’ in.

Hello there, 2nd week of 2017.
How you doin’? (In the Boston accent)

Going pretty dern good so far. I am getting my head above water in the new job – still so much to do though. So, so much. Oy vey. Pray for me, y’all. (I’m pretty sure the voicemail system may give me a hernia.)

As far as the resolutions go…. meh.
It’s only the second week though, so lets give ourselves a break.

I have gotten the meal planning thing down purdy good – even bought all my groceries for each meal this week from my handy dandy app, Paprika. What I have not accomplished once is working out or running. Ha. Surprise? I think not.
But, in case you haven’t heard, we did recently have a Texas blizzard.
No, not like you’re thinking. No snow or anything – it just got so cold here (18*F) that we Texans didn’t know how to function anymore. But that’s okay – clear skies and sunshine into the high 70*’s later this week. Hallelujah!

We have gone to church every Sunday so far, and have tried out a new church closer to home. So far we have really enjoyed it and look forward to next Sunday. Instead of attending my super-awesome girls bible study group tonight I went to a Jr. High basketball game to watch my little cousin, Kaylea, play. It was much more entertaining than I anticipated. The coach of the opposing team was hilarious – I can’t even explain his erratic body language and odd comments. He had everyone, including his own team, in awe of his demeanor- some with stifled giggles and others with shocked faces that just couldn’t look away. Throughout the game I reflected on how thankful I am for my former athletic career, as well as the impactful and respectful coaches and teachers I had the opportunity to be molded by. We were a great team. Aggressive, but also full of sportsmanship. If we ‘accidentally’ or otherwise knocked an opposing player down, and didn’t offer a hand to help them up, you better believe we were on the bench the rest of the game. That mentality was certainly not the case here, and it disappointed me very much.

Not too many updates today.
Until next time. Night night!

Goodbye, 2016!

Man, oh man. What a year, y’all.

We moved back to Texas, remodeled a tiny house, got a puppy (Boykin Spaniel- Xena), went skiing for the fist time, experienced Universal Studios and Disney Land, I got my braces off (HALLELUJAH), got a new car, bought my first compound bow and discovered the love of archery, got my concealed handgun license, became a Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunters Education Instructor, planned weddings, fed many-a-Giraffe, Kangaroo, and Camel, drove military tanks and fired artillery, and learned a lot about myself both professionally and personally.

I think that during the last week of December, most people tend to feel a bit reflective and introspective naturally – but this particular week of 2016 has me feeling that way much more than in years past.

This Friday, December 30th, will be my last day of work as Event Coordinator for the Ox Ranch due to my acceptance of a new position – as Executive Director of the Uvalde Area Chamber of Commerce. While I have immensely enjoyed my time with the Ox Ranch – I am so very excited for my new job! I feel so grateful for this opportunity and am extremely hopeful for all of the awesomeness 2017 surely has in store!

I LOVE that this year, we can wake up on Sunday, January 1st, 2017 and begin a new day, week, month, and year. How refreshing is that?!
I hope to begin that particular day with my husband and I sitting in a church pew, giving thanks for all that 2016 has brought us, and that 2017 will as well.  Continue reading “Goodbye, 2016!”

Event Coordinator? Why, that’s me!

Hello there, long lost blogging world!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost five months!
Life can certainly get busy and change – and quickly, too! Continue reading “Event Coordinator? Why, that’s me!”

We Are Here!

So, as it turns out, there was zero airport entertainment in the way of quirky passengers or otherwise during our travels this time. So sad.

I apologize for my lack of posts- and yes- I technically failed at NaBloPoMo since my last November post was on the 23rd, and only managed to crank out one post on the ‘Thankfulness Challenge’. Whomp whomp. :( NaBloPoMo was still a really great try and a wonderful experience! My upcoming stats post is going to be pretty mind-blowing!

We literally hit the ground running once we landed back in Texas and have been excessively busy ever since- and there is STILL so much to do! We did make the wise decision to get away from all the madness this weekend and visit some friends at the coast- Baffin Bay. I’m so glad we did!

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It’s just past 11:00pm here now, and everyone except for me and a very attention-seeking Maltipoo (Maltese/Poodle cross) named Honey are outside fishing off of the pier. Continue reading “We Are Here!”

As Close To Oblivion

 Here I am, once again at Brooklyn mall, pretty tipsy off of one glass of TriBeCa’s house Sauvignon Blanc, listening to none other than Robbie Wessels’ Grootste Treffers- the one at the moment being “Leeuloop”.  I just finished eating some super awesome chicken strips (my favorite) and it was such a huge serving, that it could have easily fed two. My super amazing cappuccino just arrived, and I’ve gotta tell you, that is certainly one thing I’m going to miss in upcoming weeks- the amazing coffee everywhere you go in South Africa.
 Seriously- this culture enjoys their coffee! I have been exceptionally spoiled with gourmet, properly made, high quality, coffee in the variety of cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, and filter coffee that hasn’t been sitting in a pot since 6:00AM. Ah, South African coffee, how I will miss you so. Continue reading “As Close To Oblivion”

Life in Limbo

It isn’t unusual for the week before our international departure to be a bit hectic; our lives go into a kind of limbo, even more than it usually is…

There are countless things to do:
*Get rid of all of the perishables from the fridge and pantry.
*Clean. the. whole. house.
*Service and prepare our vehicles that will be driven very minimally for the following months.
*Pack all clothes we want to take with us- which is always an immense hoard of winter clothing…
*Decide on and pack all of the other things we do or don’t want to bring with us- Mountain bikes? Bow? Mohair Coat? Play Station? Fishing Poles?
*and, the most difficult of all to manage- Spending time with family and friends. Continue reading “Life in Limbo”

A Lifetime of Decisions

We make decisions every minute of everyday.
Conscious ones, unconscious ones, all the time.
Some we are thankful for for the rest of our lives.
Some we regret for the rest of our lives.
But every one, even the smallest one, does effect us.
Forgetting our keys and walking back inside the house?
Those two minutes could have saved you from a life-altering car crash, or put you in one. Continue reading “A Lifetime of Decisions”

My Hunting Dream List

One of the things that comes with being a part of the global hunting community, is a vast knowledge of species around the globe, and therefore a big hunting ‘bucket list’.
(much to my husbands’ wallets’ dismay..) ;)

So, without further ado, here is a simple, yet comprehensive, list of the species I would like to hunt during my lifetime.
More than likely, I will only ever be able to hunt about 10% of this list- but i’ll be more than happy with whatever I am ever able to have the opportunity to take.
The asterisk (*) means it is a priority species for me. Continue reading “My Hunting Dream List”

International Travel: Flying Habits

Hello there again! We booked our plane ticket back to Texas last night, and it got me to thinking about how much of a seasoned international traveler I am. Traveling a lot is one of the things that goes hand-in-hand with having an international marriage.

Because of this, I know airport call signs by heart, which airlines have the best food and entertainment, time zone differences off the back of my hand, and I have my passport and frequent flier numbers memorized – for myself and my husband.
Last but not least, another skill that comes with traveling often- I am an expert packer. I know exactly how to pack our check-in bags and what to carry on the plane, both in my carry-on luggage in the overhead bin, and what I want in my purse within easy arm reach.

After 12 transcontinental flights, you get a bit of a gist for what you need on the flight and a timeline of how to survive it best. Continue reading “International Travel: Flying Habits”

Happy Halloween!

…and a very Happy 16th Birthday, to my oldest nephew, Tate (AKA: TaterTot)!

I am trying really hard to incorporate shorter posts into my blog, so that I can have more content more regularly. One of the downfalls of being a writing perfectionist, is taking forever to draft, edit, and finalize a post.. and it also usually results in a lot of words to read! oops!

Since we are almost never in South Africa for Christmas, we always try to find a way to do something special with my husbands’ family before we go back to the US each November.
(We spent Christmas day here in South Africa four years ago, and let me tell ya, it was weird. A hot Christmas? No, thank you. It’s the last day of October today, and it’s 88*F outside! Dis warm, manne!)

This year, we decided to go to Montecasino and see a theatrical performance- one of my most favorite things to do! Continue reading “Happy Halloween!”

The Versatile Blogger Award: Facts About Me

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An award?! Someone nominated me for an award?!

I am so flattered- not only that I have been nominated with my few amount of posts, but also that someone diligently reads and enjoys my blog! So, thank you ever so much, Natasja of Her Arrow Points North! Be sure to check her blog out- it’s California awesomeness.

The Versatile Blogger Award was put together to “Honor those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then.”. My blog nominations below are just a couple of my favorites. I always look forward to reading their posts because of the great information they share, awesome pictures, life blunders, new products, as well as finding out the similarities we may have in common even though we come from completely different backgrounds.

Even though my “About Me” is quite detailed, here are some facts you may not know:

  1. Ek kan Afrikaans praat… maar ek het nog baie om te leer. ;)
    Translation: “I can speak Afrikaans, but I still have a lot to learn.”
  2. I can make most Mexican food from scratch, but have yet to master the corn tortilla.  Continue reading “The Versatile Blogger Award: Facts About Me”

My Wedding Dress

If you haven’t heard the story of my wedding dress: Brace yourself- it’s pretty unique. I knew exactly what I wanted, and my stubborn self wasn’t settling for anything other than what I had in mind. What I ended up with was more than I could have dreamed of.

I did the traditional try-on’s at David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo’s in San Antonio with family and friends, and was sorely disappointed in my options. Every ‘lace’ dress I tried on was just lace appliqué, seemed very mass produced, and were way over my price range. After searching online for inspiration, I found a picture of a designer dress style that was perfect- but it had a designer price and was in Arizona.

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(Designer: Claire Pettibone, Dress: Yolanda)

Continue reading “My Wedding Dress”

5 Reasons My Children Will Hunt

*Gasp! “She said that she will teach her children to be vile, cruel, HUNTERS!”

Yep. I did. And hunters they shall be.
However, my experiences with hunting that define that word for me, connote not one negative word or emotion associated.

DISCLAIMER To The Reader:
Hear me out. 
Have an objective viewpoint.
Learn to live in love and appreciate those that have different lifestyles or opinions than you.

Whew. Now that we are over the modern popular social ideology that we need to hate all hunters…. maybe I can get to the point of this article. :) Sorry about that….

Continue reading “5 Reasons My Children Will Hunt”

An Introduction

Here I am!
Married in March, and only now do I decide to start documenting this transitional time in my life.
Thinking about it, I don’t know at what future date our lives will cease to be transitional. College, dating, moving, paperwork and visas, marriage, more paperwork and visas, moving again, babies, paperwork, babies while moving, paperwork….. Paperwork, changes, dishes, and laundry, are about the only constants we can count on.

I decided to start a blog because it seemed more sensible to me than buying yet another journal, that I will write in approximately 8 times a year. Detailed entries, yes. Good handwriting and commitment to writing frequently, no. However, one thing I am diligent with using on a daily basis, is my handy-dandy, world-connecting, handheld device- my iPhone. So a blog, a public journal, if you will, sounded more reasonably suited for documenting my thoughts and experiences. Plus, there is so much less anxiety in publishing a blog post that was written with a public audience in mind, than carrying around a journal filled with personal thoughts. (Flashback to Jr. High when schoolmates found my journal. *shudder* ) Continue reading “An Introduction”