Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Birth Story: Part III

Yesterday when we left off, I could finally check "give birth to a 7 lb human" off my bucket-list. 

Next up was the gross stuff. 
We're talking horror movie meets unflattering documentary. 

You know those med students I mentioned before? Saying "yes" to that whole debacle meant that KU doc was going to teach them how to stitch up the damage he did with those giant salad tongs.
[Sorry for the picture, but come on. You're reading a birth story.]
What this meant for me was that I had my legs in robot-looking stirrups with my lady parts exposed to the ENTIRE room for what felt like 4 hours. Even though my shame had left the building the minute I walked in to the hospital, no one will ever be comfortable in that situation.

This also meant that my dad couldn't come back into the room until they were finished. A problem that was pre-maturely solved at one point. as the men thought everything was hunky dory when really I was still exposed to the elements. 
They opened the door and started walking around the curtain as I screamed, 

Which may have seemed like an overreaction at the time, but they would probably thank me now because of the potential therapy bills and all.

Amidst all of this stitching and cleaning up going on, I was struggling with all of my might to see this tiny human I just birthed. She didn't cry right away, so I, of course, flipped my shit.
They then proceeded to clean her up and take all of her vitals - without updating me, mind you. I had to yell and start sobbing again before they gave me the low-down. 
"They've got a bunch of dingleberries working here, Ma!" -Addi

And finally I got to hold her. 
Luckily the hospital is on the mom's side at this time because they handed her right to me. Nice of them. I did just push her out of me, so it seems only fair that I'd get her first. Didn't even have to call dibs.

There was a lot of cooing, and talk of how beautiful she was, and how great I did; but amidst all of the chatter, all I could do was stare at her. 
Everything around me went quiet and I suddenly realized that I was a mom. 
From this moment on, I would never not be a mom.
If that makes any sense. 

It's a very overwhelming feeling. Amazing and overwhelming. Suddenly a weight is placed on your shoulder that says, "you better not eff this up." 

After having the epiphany of a lifetime, I passed her on to the eager admirers at my side.

Dad and FIL finally got to re-enter the room once the med students had gotten their hour-long class in, courtesy of my personal pain. I should've gotten paid for that, come to think of it. 

After all of the fuss had died down and the room quieted, I could only think of one thing:

"So, who's up for going to get me some chicken strips and cheddar bites with extra ranch from Sonic? I just burned like 9 million calories and have been running on one pop-tart for 12 hours. The diva is about to come out."
Priorities, people.

Thanks for sticking around to read my [our] story. 
Stay tuned as I chronicle our now crazy life for the next 80 years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Birth Story: Part II

Alright, last time we left off, I had just found out that I was, in fact, in labor. Which is cool because I was at Def-con 1 and shit was about to get real if my kid didn't vacate the premises soon. 

My sister & BIL arrived almost exactly 3 hours after I had called them. Mom was already in town, dad got there shortly before my sis. My in-laws live in the same town so they were there right away. Once everyone got there, I was much more at ease. 

Technically speaking, I was "in labor" the minute my water broke - which was at approximately 6:30 that morning. You're not allowed to be in labor longer than 24 hours because it puts the baby at risk for infection. Plus no sane human wants to be in labor for 24 hours. Or anything over 4 hours, for that matter. 

Felicia, the awesome nurse I spoke of in Part 1, had already been assigned another case that day, but liked us so much that she convinced another nurse to switch with her. Chalk up 100 more awesome-points for Felicia. She was the coolest ever and never made me feel like a dick when I asked for more ice and whined that I couldn't eat. 

Yeah, I forgot to mention that. I wasn't allowed to eat after they determined me "in labor", just in case I had to have a c-section. That pop-tart I had for breakfast was long gone after about 9 am. Poor planning. 

Anyway, back to the whole birth thing. 

After everyone got there, basically it was just a waiting game. By three o'clock I hadn't progressed any [I won't even tell you about the chart they showed me outlining dilation...] so they decided to start Pitocin. This starts your uterine contracting, which in lamen's terms means that you will soon be wishing death both upon yourself and that asshat you call a husband who put you into this situation in the first place. 

By 5 o'clock my contractions were Thor-pummeling-me-in-the-Uterus awful, so I requested an epidural, quickly realizing that I had waited way too long to ask. Matt left the room for this piece of the puzzle, mainly at my request. Because I knew he probably couldn't keep his shit together and I was in no mood to watch him pass out. My sis is a nurse, so she stayed and held my hand as they shoved a rocket-sized needle in my back. Afterwards, I'm fairly certain I fell in love with the Anesthesiologist, regardless of the fact that she was a lady. She had the magic beans, so her gender didn't matter to me at that moment. 

They gave me a little button to push when I felt like my epidural was sleeping on the job. Unfortunately this button only allotted "refills" every 10 minutes, no matter how many times I pushed it. 
Trust me, I tested the limits multiple times. 

All along this magical ride of uterine contractions that I can comfortably describe as Satan's work and a room full of people staring at me as I made statements that even the Devil would frown upon, the nurses were in contact with my doctor - you know, the guy on his way home from D.C. He really wanted to deliver this baby. Hey, I get it. But my need for getting this kid out of me was greater, so I okay-ed the increase of Pitocin so we could quickly achieve that act. 

The next couple hours passed slowly, mainly because the nurses were having trouble keeping Addi's heart rate on the monitor. As the pitocin worked its magic, the contractions got worse, and her heart rate became harder to find.

A few hours and several horrifying "progress" checks later, the nurses determined I was ready to go.
And in walks the impromptu doc. 
Guess what doctor's hat he's wearing? 
Just guess.
You'll never guess. 
It was a KU hat. 

Suffice it to say, we bonded instantly and I was okay with him delivering my kid.
Oh, who are we kidding, I would've let Justin Bieber deliver my kid if it meant not being pregnant anymore.

As the nurses are running around the room like hamsters, prepping the terrifying equipment and sterilizing the place like I was going to deliver some alien that they would later be taking in to custody, the doc comes over and asks, "We've got med students here, do you mind if they assist?" 

This is the point in my life that I realize, without question, that all shame I previously had has vanished quicker than a nut sitting in front of a squirrel.

"I couldn't care less." Just get my kid out.
I won't even detail the gargantuan leg rests they had and the lights on the ceiling that shined down on the table like a freaking interrogation room on crack. 
All I know was that kid was coming out of me and I didn't care how.

This was the point when I said bye to my dad & FIL. I think they were more than happy to leave after seeing those giant leg rests come up. Neither of them are doctors, but I'm pretty sure both realized that they would need years of therapy if they stayed in the room much longer.

Left in the room was my mom, MIL, sister & husband. Luckily the hubs had left "asshat" status quickly when the epidural set in. I think he was wishing I had asked for it sooner, too.

As soon as the doc asked me to start pushing, I realized that this wasn't going to be easy. I was pushing so hard I felt like my face was going to explode. 
Literally. At one point, I actually said to myself in my head, "Oh my god, my face is going to explode and blood is going to go everywhere." 

Nothing hurt, [thank you, Epidural, you beautiful bastard], but the process of pushing was enough to worry about. I cannot fathom how any woman could birth a child without an epidural. They deserve a purple heart.
Seriously. One for each kid.

After a few pushes, Addi's heart rate was becoming hard for them to find again.

And then after a few more, the room got quiet. 

And then I lost my shit.

"Why is everyone quiet, what's going on?" 
"Everything's fine, we just need to get her out right away. I'm going to have to use foreceps because her heart isn't taking the labor well." KU doc says.

I knew what foreceps were. Those are those things that look like giant salad tongs that were passed around at our birthing class [yeah, gross]. I remember saying to Matt, "Oh my God, they are not using those on me!". 
Turns out I didn't get a choice. 
"Well that was fun." -me, post losing-my-shit

KU Doc took the wheel and got my little lady out safe and sound. With a bruise the size of Africa on the back of her head, but we'll leave that one alone. 

"The cord was wrapped around her neck twice. Thank God we got her out when we did." Cool KU doc was officially my hero.

The next moments passed by in a frenzy, but all I cared about was that she was out. She was finally here.
Adelaide Jayne
Born 8:41 pm
7 lbs 3 oz

Stay tuned for part III

Monday, April 14, 2014

Birth Story, Part I

Wrote this a couple weeks after she was born and never got around to posting it because...well, because I had a newborn to care for. The dust has settled so I'm going to finish the series for you guys.


As promised, I wanted to take some time to write down Adelaide's birth story. 

Don't worry, I'll leave out most of the gory details. But it was such a special day in our lives that I thought it would be a shame not to share it with you all. It will be coming to you in a three-part series so as to not bore you. Pre-labor, During-labor, & After-labor

Here goes. 


After a couple weeks of what can only be described as absolute Hell, I had made it perfectly clear that I was ready for our little girl to show her smiling little face. 

My mom and I had walked the blocks around our house for two weeks straight with little to show for it. Every week I would return from the doctor wrought with disappointment from another lackluster showing in the dilation department. 
"It could happen any time," he repeated.
These words don't mean jack when an infant has been playing kickball with your bladder for the past 10 weeks.

Monday the 25th rolled around and my alarm was somehow going off again, signaling the start of another work week.

Two more weeks, I told myself. Just two more weeks.
The previous Friday I had called my doctor to schedule my induction. I'll give her to the 10th. If she hasn't figured out how to vacate the premises by then, she's getting evicted. 

I quickly snoozed my alarm and granted myself another 10 minutes of blissful slumber. As I rolled over to settle back in to the warm comforter, a gush of liquid seemed to escape. 
Awesome. I'm peeing myself now. It's come to this.

I didn't think any more of it until I was at work and the fluid just kept trickling. I can't have to pee this much. After soliciting advice from my sister, I called the doctor's office immediately. 

"Yeah, I' fluids." I should've been used to sharing these types of things with my OB's office at this point, but you really never get comfortable telling people about your bodily functions. Good thing I'm sharing them on the internet.

"Well, why don't you go home and lay down and see if the fluid continues. Or you can go to the hospital and they can check you to see if your water's broken." She explained. 

I wasn't about to go lay down at home and wait around to see what was going on, so I texted the hubby that I was going to the hospital and asked if he wanted to go or not. He showed up to the office 5 minutes later and I explained to my boss-slash-father-in-law that we were going to the hospital because I might be in labor. He was slightly confused since I wasn't showing any of the signs you often see in movies [cursing the husband, doubling over in pain, screaming - you get the point] when women are in labor, but he wished us well and we were walking in the hospital doors a mere 8 minutes later. 

After going all the way up to the maternity ward and being sent back downstairs to get our registration paperwork, quickly realizing that "pre-registering" was a load of crap ["Can I have your insurance card?" "Sure, I gave it to you two months ago. Check back in time."], we were finally put in a room and I got to change into the lovely hospital gown.

The nurse, Felicia, came in to explain the test she was going to do to check if my water had broken. Apparently there were two tests; the first was much cheaper and quicker. It essentially looked like a PH balance paper you put in a pool to check the levels. After this test turned up negative, she had to call my doctor to see if she could try the second test. This test was much more expensive and doctors are typically hesitant to give it. [I should also note that my actual OB was on his way home from Washington DC at this point so my "doctor" was another guy at the clinic.]
But Felicia had my back. She explained that my story sounded legit and she thought we should at least try the second test. Mr. Doc was still unconvinced, but he gave the go-ahead anyway. The second test was basically a pregnancy test all over again, but the results took about 10 minutes to show up. 
After Felicia left the room, she was back within 2 minutes.

"It turned positive before I even got back to the nurses station. Your water broke so you're staying!"
Awwww yeah! It made me feel great that she was just as excited as I was. Coolest nurse ever.

She left. Matt and I high-fived. It was a total movie moment. 
Shit yeah! No more whining from my wife! - Matt, in his head

Then the calls started. 
I've never been so happy to leak fluid, ya'll. Come to the hospital. Stat! - Me
First to Matt's sister who was leaving that day with her fiance to drive 17 hours for his family Thanksgiving. Unfortunately they weren't able to stay, but the labor part was really just a lot of sitting around staring at the pregnant lady.
Second to my sister. Turns out little Addi had very poor timing. My sister's family had left our house the day before to drive 3 hours back home. As soon as I called, they got in the car and headed back. 
And next to our parents. My dad was out of town that day, so he high-tailed it back as well. I think he must have drove 100 miles an hour to get there since he made it back in record time. 
Luckily everyone else was already in town.

At that point, I sent Matty home to shower & get all of our bags. I had been packed for what felt like four months, so I was confident nothing important would get left at home. 

Suddenly I was in a hospital bed all alone, realizing that I would actually have a newborn in my arms by the end of the day. 
Panic set in.

All that was left to do was the whole "labor" thing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

DIY: Baby Gate

This weekend was incredibly productive. After Addi and I's trip to Target on Saturday and a few DIY decor projects, Sunday rolled around and Matty randomly says to me, "wanna go to Lowe's and get the stuff to make that baby gate?" And after I manually put my jaw back in to place from it dropping to the ground, I said, "uhhh...yeah. Let's go." 
Two hours later, we had a fancy hand-made baby gate adorning our stairwell. 

I had been meaning to get a baby gate before Max got to the point where he needed it, but as it turns out he can now successfully climb the stairs so we're past that point. Now, Addi's showing signs of wanting to crawl so we figured it was as good a time as any to make our gate. 
We have an extra wide stair case entrance thanks to a landing next to the stairs, so any store bought gate was not going to work. After a few searches on Pinterest, I got an idea in my head of what I wanted. Really all it took was a little measuring and a husband that was willing to help out-slash-do it all for me. 


  • 1 1x2 8' trim board
  • 3 2x4 8' trim boards
  • 2 hinges
  • 3 L-brackets
  • 2 gate latches
  • Misc. screws
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Husband willing to do the dirty-work

Start by measuring your stairwell. We measured width and the height we wanted the gate to be. 
Next, mark your 1x2 board for the top & bottom of the gate according to the width of your stairwell. 
Then divide your 2x4 boards into 3rds [or whatever the height you want your gate]. Leave part of the board for your "side" board.

Saw all of your boards where you marked them and lay them out. 
 I managed to figure out the math to make the spacing perfect. I'm still not sure how I did it, so good luck with that. 
 Screw your boards together. It helps if you have three people participating to hold the boards in place while one person screws them together. 
We added this side board because it just worked out that way. You might not need one, it just depends on your setup. 
 If you do add one, attach the board with L brackets. 
 Now, attach the hinges to your gate & attach the gate to the wall. 
Common sense tip: Find a stud. 

Attach the latches to the gate & then the wall. We did one on the opposite wall as well so that we could leave the gate open & it wouldn't swing around all willy-nilly. 
 I painted it with some satin wall-paint we had left over from the move-in. The spare side board I painted the same color as the wall. 
 Correct me if I'm wrong, but this looks awesome, no? 
SO much nicer than a cheap accordion-fold up baby gate that costs 70 bucks. 
Also, it irritates the cats.
Dual-purpose gate.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Decor Updates

I've been working with some of the decor in our house. After you get comfortable somewhere, clutter tends to accumulate and one day you look around confused, wondering when you started living in a scene from Hoarders. 

I swear I'm constantly gathering junk to take to Good Will. Every time I do this, I always think to myself, "you know, if you just didn't buy this crap you wouldn't have to throw it out later." Easier said than done.
The main enabler to my home-buying shopping addiction? 

Luckily, this time around I had gift cards from my birthday. Saturday afternoon was a gorgeous day for errand running, quite literally. Addi & jogged our way to Target to do some take-backs and buy some new crap I probably didn't need. 

I strapped her in the jogging stroller & we were off. 
It's okay if you feel overwhelmed by cuteness right now. Totally understandable.
I had no agenda for Saturday, so we took our time looking around the mystical fortress that is Tarjay. As I browsed every aisle, I came up with multiple DIY ideas for the house. Ultimately I wanted to focus on the kitchen & living room. The process started last week when I put up my gallery wall above the stairs-
Via Amazon gallery frames and collage
and Matty put together our bathroom storage solution. 
via K-Mart
We're lacking in cabinet space in our bathroom, so I wanted to add something for a little extra storage room. This was a cheap-o purchase from K-Mart online. Free shipping for the win. 

I came across this gem - on clearance, mind you - and decided I must have it. 
It's the perfect morning reminder. And it was $4 bucks. Can't go wrong.

Next up was the kitchen. 
This was where the major clutter came in to play. We have a large space in the corner behind our sink and I had yet to find anything to sit there that I actually liked. So I forced the creative juices to get rolling and went to Hobby Lobby [dun dun DUN]. I walked around the store for far too long and mulled over what I wanted to make. Colored bottles? Random nick nacks? Fake fruit? None of those enough for me. So I improvised. 
I purchased three clear bottles with the intent of filling them with a bit of paint to get a "drip" look. After actually thinking it through, I decided that wasn't going to work all that well. And it would be messy. Instead, I got out the mod podge and glitter and this is what I came up with: 
It's the perfect solution to de-cluttering. Plus, it matches the color scheme I'm going for. 

Speaking of which, during our trip to Menard's I found these amaze-balls light fixture covers: 
And right behind them is the most awesome poster in the world. 
via Etsy
It's just the randomness I'm going for. Laid back, cool colors, and not too themed. 

Overall, it's been an incredibly productive weekend. 
It always feels good to get things done around the house.
Like I actually have some control over my life. ;)

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Great Boob vs. Bottle Debate

I've read hundreds [no seriously, hundreds] of articles regarding pregnancy, babies, and everything that has to do with pregnancy and babies. The information influx has slowed since having a child because your brain kind of morphs into a giant tupperware filled with tapioca pudding, but that still doesn't stop one topic from coming up whenever a parenting article surfaces: 
breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. 

It's like a bad Miley Cyrus song playing on constant repeat. 
"My mom bottle-fed me and I turned out fine."
My goal with this post is not to dog on breastfeeding. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have the utmost respect for women who choose to breastfeed their children. My sister and best friend are currently doing it and I have realized the struggle it takes is beyond what most people who have never done it can comprehend.

That is the exact reason I decided to formula feed; sheer terror. I don't handle stress well, as a rule. I knew if I was consumed with the newness of parenthood, it would be very hard for me to add on the mountain of stress it takes to feed another human body all on my own. So I decided, after months and months of weighing the pros and cons, that both me and my child would be better off with formula.

Because of the great debate that has sparked over this particular topic in the last 20 years, I wanted to share with you some of the myths associated with formula feeding. Not to defend myself - I could not give less shits what people think of my choice - but to educate you with reality. This isn't a parenting book or cheesy movie with creepy talking infants. This is a real life account from a real life formula-feeder.

myth #1: formula is bad for your baby in both body & mind
I'm not going to throw scientific facts at you, both because I'm not a scientist and because I'm too lazy to look that crap up. That's right, I'm too lazy to Google it. Blame the pudding brain.
I will say that my kid is 80th percentile in weight and 53rd in height [and we're super short, folks]. She exceeds the average on social and intellectual skills. She started rolling over at 6 weeks. She's been sick with a cold one time during this insanely cruel winter. And I am incredibly proud to say that she is sleeping 9-10 hours a night [with some help from a pacifier]. 
Formula doesn't make kids stupid. Stupid makes kids stupid. Which is what people are feeding their children when they bitch and moan at other people [mostly on the internet] for not breastfeeding. 
My kid is happy as a lark. Would she still be a happy baby if I breastfed her? Probably. But I don't know that. I don't know if my stress would've contributed to her being hungry all the time. I don't know if my resentment toward my husband for sleeping soundly beside me while I'm popping a boob out every 3 hours would be a healthy environment for her to be in. 
What I do know is that she's happy now and that's all I care about.

myth #2: formula fed babies don't get nurtured like breastfed babies
One of the first things you answer when you get to the hospital to deliver your bundle of joy is, "do you want to have skin-to-skin contact immediately?" It's assumed that this question is only relevant for breastfed babies because it gets them close to their mom and somehow they're supposed to miraculously find that food-source right away. 
But even if you've decided before-hand that you want to formula feed, they still ask you that question. Why? Because every mom wants to hold their baby close to them. It's not about food. It's about the fact that you've wondered for 9 straight months what that sweet girl is going to look like. How they're going to act. How it will feel to hold her in your arms. That's just as important to formula moms as it is to BF moms. 
And yes, my husband and I shared feeding duties in the middle of the night, so I might have lost one of those feeding sessions that I otherwise would've had if I were breastfeeding. But honestly, I see that more as a blessing than a curse. I got plenty of one-on-one time with her during the day and I was exhausted beyond words 24 hours a day, so a little relief during the middle of the night was a welcome guest. 
I kiss my child a thousand times a day. I smile every time she smiles. I relish in the fact that I somehow created a human being. That's a mom thing. And it has absolutely nothing with food. 

myth #3: you don't have anything to worry about when you formula feed
Just because I picked up formula and bottles from a store doesn't mean it's all roses from there. We have struggled since day 1 with feeding our baby girl. What type of formula to give her? Which bottle produces the least amount of gas? Is she allergic to lactose? Is soy better for her? Are we keeping it at the right temperature? Are we giving her too much? Too little? Why is she so gassy? 
After the first month of her screaming an hour after every feeding, we discovered she had reflux. We got her medicine and our lives were instantly changed for the better. She felt relief and so did we. More importantly, she was finally sleeping more. No one is happy when you're kid isn't sleeping, especially your kid. 
It seems like the easy way out to formula feed, but you have just as much to worry about as when you breastfeed. It's just a different set of worries. 

myth #4: formula moms don't need support
I was reading an article earlier about formula feeding moms getting little to no support and it was the first time it resonated with me that us FF moms do need support. If not because raising a kid is just plain hard, then because everyone makes us feel like giant asshats for choosing formula over breast. And because of the reasons in #3. And because we are new moms and we don't know what the hell we're doing. 
BF moms don't have the Le Leche league telling them that they failed as a mother for their choice. Or the annoying BF moms spouting their stupid mouths off about how their kid is going to be a rocket scientist and mine will probably work in a coal mine [hey, Zoolander did it..]. 
Luckily I have had nothing but support from my friends and family, namely my mom, and sister and best friend mentioned above, but there are ladies out there who have had just the opposite. And I feel for those moms. 
As if there isn't enough to worry about when you're a new mom.
We don't need the guilt. We don't need the lectures. We need you to leave us the eff alone and let us feed our kid. 
"MA! Get the formula!!"
At the end of the day I will tell you, without shame, that I have not regretted my decision for one second. Which is why I wanted to share my side of the story. Us formula feeders tend to catch a lot of flack for "taking the easy way out." That's taking in to account the moms who tried and weren't able to breastfeed, or the moms of preemies who had no choice but to formula feed. There are a million different reasons why people want to formula feed, and I will not accept being chastised for choosing to feed my kid the way others might not approve of. 
I could not give two flying turds if you think your kid is going to get less colds than mine and that somehow makes you a better mother. 

This "argument" comes down to one thing, and one thing only: 
It's absolutely no one else's business how I choose to nourish my child. 
You do your thing and I'll do mine. 

End of discussion.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

26 in 26

Last year on my birthday, I wrote a 25-in-25 post and in an effort to continue tradition [one year's worth at least], I present to you - on this wildly uneventful 26th birthday of mine - 

    26 [more] things I've learned in 26 years of life on this rotating rock

    1. Coming up with 26 things I've learned during my lifetime is probably going to take some work. I should write more stuff down. 

    2. A sense of humor is essential in getting through life. If you don't have a sense of humor, I'm likely not friends with you. Don't take it personally; you wouldn't like my uncontrollable sarcasm anyway. 

    3. Becoming a parent is the most exhausting and rewarding moment you will ever experience. From what I hear, those two traits will never expire when raising your child. 

    4. Nothing makes you feel old like going to the mall on a Friday night. "Damn kids. Pull up your pants."

    5. Juice cleanses, I'm convinced, are a special gift from the Devil. 

    6. Dancing in the car is not only cool, it's necessary. 

    7. Showing someone appreciation can be achieved at the highest level with a simple, genuine smile. 

    8. The three most difficult words to put together in any language: "I am sorry." 

    9. It's okay to be selfish once in a while. Everyone deserves to think of themselves a time or two. Just don't make a habit of it.

    10. A good book cleanses the soul. A bad book makes great firewood.

    11. Annoying people are the flies of our society. If only we could swat them and get away with it. 

    12. Being blunt is sometimes rude. But it's pretty much always necessary. 

    13. After a bad day, a glass of wine and a good laugh always do the trick. 

    14. When in doubt, just nod and smile. 

    15. Call people. Call your mom. Grandma. Best friend. You'll always hang up feeling better about life. 

    16. Not everyone will like you. That's okay. Odds are you don't like them either. Just accept it and move on. 

    17. Living certain moments are the only way to get through them. 

    18. A mother is someone who smiles at you, packs your bags, picks out dinner, makes the plans, finds anything missing around the house, gives the best hugs, reprimands you, and generally just keeps her shit together even when everything is falling apart around her. Among other things. 

    19. Scales are meant to destroy your confidence so I would just avoid them. Go ahead. Eat that quesadilla. Mmmm....cheesey goodness. 

    20. "Because without beer, things do not seem to go as well." 

    21. As fun as it is to take pictures, it's sometimes best to just put the camera down and enjoy the moment. If it's that good, you won't need the photo to remember it. 

    22. Make time for yourself. Even when you're exhausted, covered in your child's spit-up, still wearing yesterday's socks and all you want to do is pass out on your bed, take a bath instead. Read a book. Keeping yourself sane should come before taking care of everyone else, otherwise you're just wasting your time.

    23. Reunite with old friends. They may have changed for the better. If they've changed for the worse, don't call them next year. 

    24. Be brave. 

    25. Take a look at the people around you. They are much more special than you might realize. Appreciate that they're in your life. 

    26. Always be you. No matter how many people put you down or how awful you feel about yourself, understand that the best you can be is just you.