Do I Get To Keep Him?

I don't mean for this to be super dark, but sometimes I let my thoughts go to a morbid place. I get scared and feel anxious. Blame this on any number of things, but sometimes I just get nervous.

With social media and constant news coverage and every day little tragedies, it's hard not to feel the fragility of life on a regular basis. 

Sometimes I worry when I look at Jack. Do I get to keep you forever? 

I have never loved the way I love my son. I can remember sobbing my postpartum crazy hormone heart out 3 days after Jack was born. Sobbing because I was scared of all of the one million things that could happen to my precious, wonderful, amazing baby. 

Now, 17 months later, I love him MORE. And that scared feeling? It's not so frequent. But when it comes, it's even more intense. 

I cannot fathom my life without my son in it. I cannot picture a me without him, or what losing him could do to me. 

Then my thoughts flip. What if I leave him? Of course I will one day. But how long do I get? Long enough for him to remember me? Long enough to see him grow? 

I want my boy to KNOW how much I love him, and be able to recall memories and moments that remind him of that any time he needs. 

So I can want and fear and worry. I can wrap myself up in a blanket of anxiety and let it smother me. Sometimes I do - and then I feel guilty. 

I do not get to know. I don't get to plan. I just get to trust and love and live each day. 

Bad things happen every day. But good things happen every day too. In times of dark thoughts and anxiety, I just need to take a deep breathe, say a prayer, and feel blessed for the moments I do get and the ones I have already had. 

*Photo by my Brother-In-Law, Dr. J. Scott
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With motherhood come a lot of givens. You deal with poop, puke, and drool. There are sleepless nights, sleepless days, and over-all "mommy fails". 

I gladly take on most of these mommy "badges of honor". There are so many things that you sacrifice as a parent and I happily make those sacrifices, most of the time. 

But one thing I am not ready to sacrifice? My automobile. 

I have said since the beginning of time that I will not be a minivan mom. Blame it on the minivan of my youth, with stale french fries and sunny-d soaked interior. Blame it on the memory of my mom and her sisters singing, "I'm Too Sexy for my Van" at a family reunion talent show. Blame it on the summer I spent as a nanny, toting 3 kids around in a minivan. Whatever it is, they are not for me. 

But this whole "minivan" assumption that comes with motherhood? I don't think it's fair! I understand that they are convenient, efficient, and easy. But can't an SUV be those things too?

John and I John is looking into new cars. We want something bigger that can accommodate all of our travel and the potential for a future expansion of the family. So an SUV it is! I am pretty excited... not going to lie! 

So the other weekend we went to test drive one of these:

Sexy right?! 

So Jack and I hung out in the warmth of the dealership while John walked around the lot. I was minding my own business when a 20 year old salesman walked up to me, introduced himself, and asked if I would like to take a look at some minivans.

Is this just assumed? I am 23 years old and because I have ONE child it's time to jump right into a Town & Country? I honestly have nothing against people who do decide that minivans are for them. Heck, I even get it! But I'm just not ready yet... maybe I will never be ready. 

But why does it have to be assumed?! I feel so stereotyped... 
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The Memoirs of Megan


Golden Weekend

We took an "us" weekend. 

A college friend was celebrating his golden birthday on Saturday night and we decided to make the trip to Chicago to join in on the fun!

It was mid afternoon by the time we checked into our hotel. We took a cab to a quirky neighborhood bar. We sipped thick dark beers and ate fried cheese curds. We talked and we laughed. 

We laughed a lot. 

We met up with a group of our friends for a pre-party feast. We ate at my favorite restaurant to visit in the city and enjoyed small plates Italian, wine, and more laughter.

We went to a bar and bought $30 wristbands that I swore would be a waste because there was no way I could drink $30 worth of alcohol in 3 hours. I was wrong... I was so wrong. 

We were the first to have to bail on the party. It may have only been 12:30, but in Michigan it was 1:30 and we had to be lame and call it a night. 

We drunkenly ate the BEST chicken shawarma I have ever had. Ever. 

We slept in. 
We. Slept. In. 

We left earlier than expected. Running away from what my husband called, "ice death". We pouted the whole way home, frantically trying to find the MSU basketball game on the radio. 

We were reunited with our sweet angel baby toddler who I missed incomprehensible amounts. 

It was a good weekend.

Sometimes it's good to know you can still just be a couple. Be husband and wife. Just that and nothing else. 
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I had this post all thought out and ready to go when my sweet boy came over to me and gave me an unsolicited snuggle. He climbed up onto the couch, wrapped his arms around my neck and laid his head on my chest. It lasted not longer than 30 seconds, but before he climbed down and went back to playing, he planted a soft little baby kiss on my lips. I was AGAIN reminded (for the gajillionth time since Jack was born) just how much I love my life and this little boy. 

I keep trying to put my feelings into words and it just really isn't coming out right. I'm not looking for pity. I'm really not looking for anything - except maybe a place to vent some feelings. This is whiny and spoiled and I just want to say up front that I acknowledge that. I am so lucky and so blessed and I know that too...
Maybe 20, 30 years ago I wouldn't feel like this sometimes. But now? When most people get married in their mid to late twenties and wait to have kids until their late-twenties or early-thirties, I feel different.

Sometimes I wish I was 28. Random, I know. But lots of women at 28 are married with kids. They are far along enough in their careers to have houses and dual incomes. They "lived it up" in their twenties. They did things right.

But then I get mad. Why should I feel like the way I am doing things is wrong?! Maybe I feel that way because of the sweeping declarations from every 20-something in blog land (married or not) of how you really need your twenties to have fun and learn and blah blah blah. I don't judge that decision. Sometimes I do wish John and I had had more time to be just us... but because we didn't, I constantly feel defensive about it. 

Sometimes I feel left out. My friends are "living it up" (you know, the way you are supposed to) and I have stretch marks and the ability to get drunk from 3 sips of wine. Do not get me wrong. I LOVE being a mom. I really and truly believe that I was meant to be a mom. I always have. I always figured I would be the first of my friends to have kids too... I don't know. I just feel like I am an alien when out with people my age. The "married friend" the friend "with a baby". 

I also feel like people my age don't want to read this blog. They don't want to read about marriage and growing babies and how I went to sleep at 10 pm on a Saturday night. Other moms might not want to read this blog because I am 23 and what could I know or offer that is worthwhile? Every time I see that someone has "unfollowed" me I wonder if it's because they can't relate to me. It's silly, really silly. There are so many wonderful people that read my blog. They comment and email and make me feel heard. I have made friendships that I treasure. But sometimes this space adds to insecurities. 

Sometimes I hate that I can't just go to happy hour with my grad school friends. It's REALLY really stupid. Like, the most stupid thing to hate ever. I am exhausted at the end of the day, why would I want to go to a bar and drink one drink that will make me even sleepier? I suppose I sometimes hate that I don't have the option.

This is sounding whiny and silly and whatnot. There are a lot of people in my life that I can relate to. On marriage, on parenthood. I know that someday those 28 year old women that treat me like I am 12 years old will except me as a friend because a 5 year difference in age is really nothing. I know that when John and I are empty nesters in our early 50's I will be so pleased that we get to travel and spend A LOT of time "just the two of us". 

I guess I'm impatient. I'm sensitive. I'm defensive of my wonderful life. Who knows. Maybe there are other young moms or wives out there that feel the same. Maybe other wives or moms, in general, that can relate to this. 

I'm going to pretend that at least one person read this and could relate and feels less alone because of it so that I feel less whiny/spoiled... 
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Designs As of Late

I know I have been doing a lot of these lately but I love to share what I have been working on! 
I am only featuring one blog design today and it has been a month in the making.

I really love designing for family and friends, it allows me to add in a personal knowledge of the person and infuse it into their design! 

Whitney has been a family friend for as long as I can remember. She holds bestie status with my sister, Megan, and has grown to be a close friend of mine as well! 

When Whit expressed a desire to start a food and lifestyle blog Megan and I gave her the peer pressure push necessary to get her started.

Step 1: A FABULOUS design! 

After a Blog name was decided upon over pre-Christmas drinks I instantly came up with a vision! Whitney chose the Autumn Brights color palette from Design-Seeds, and everything came together from there! 

I couldn't be happier with the finished product and really think this design just screams, "Whitney"! It's bright, feminine, and clean. I hope it serves as the perfect backdrop to her mouth-watering recipes and laugh out loud tales of life as a 20-something event planner!

Be sure to pay Whitney a visit, I know you will all love her as much as I do! 
**Due to increased demand, I am raising my blog design prices at the end of this month! Be sure to jump on current prices while they last... as of now a complete blog design package is only $40!!**
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Sunday Social

It's been a while since I have done one of these so I thought I would join in with my girl Neely this beautiful Sunday morning :) 
This Week’s Questions: All about 3′s
Top 3 Favorite Kinds of Food: 
-Chocolate Chip Cookies
-Crab legs/seafood in general
-Anything with goat cheese on it

First 3 Things you do in the morning:
-Check email/other various social media
-Get Jack out of his crib (90% of the time he's waking me up)
-Make Jack breakfast/make myself coffee

Last 3 Things you do at night: 
-Pee (1 of 3983948209342 times I end up having to go a night... Jack ruined me!!)
-Turn on my noise machine app
-kiss John
iDream... best white noise app ever!
3 TV shows you NEVER miss: 
I miss TV shows all the time soo.... this is just a "I wish I never missed" list
-Downton Abbey
-Modern Family

3 Places you want to visit: 
 John and I cannot wait to be able to travel ALL the time!

3 People you can always count on: 
There are far more than three so these are going to have to get grouped together.
-My parents
-My siblings
Sunday Social
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I think we can easily throw around the word trust without ever really thinking about what it means or how important it is to our everyday relationships. 

I think it was really easy for me to say that I trust my husband. I mean, I did pledge my life to him and live with him. But what that trust meant? I guess I didn't really know until recently. 

I went into my marriage knowing that there would be bumps. John and I's relationship has successfully sustained many a bump in the road, and I feel extremely confident that with each bump we become stronger, more sure of ourselves as a couple. 

We hit a fairly big bump before Christmas. But you know what? A situation that would have most people stressed out of their minds... we rode out like it was no big deal. Yeah, it was a big deal - but my complete confidence in my husband and trust that we would be okay no matter what, only made us stronger. 

We supported one another, stood by each other's side and came out the other end of things ON TOP. Sometimes scary things lead to amazing things. So that trust? It's stronger now. And I appreciate it so much more. 

I have a hard time always trusting God's plan. For some reason I think I have the right to know the answer to it all. But I'm never going to have all of the answers. I can speculate and analyze and make guesses, but at the end of the day I need to put trust in my faith and let it go! 

...Easier said than done. But I'm trying.

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The "T" Word

From the moment Jack was born to this very moment right now, I have been doing a semi graceful job of "winging" parenthood. 

Sure, I cracked open a book here or there during pregnancy and beyond. Yes- I actively decided that I would make my own baby food and breastfeed. But behaviorally? I have been acting upon instinct. I know that I want Jack to grow up to be strong, independent, well-adjusted, so on and so forth... but I never have put a lot of thought into what this would mean from me. 

I don't think I'm doing it "right" all of the time. Most days I'm calling my mom or pretending like what I'm doing isn't reinforcing "bad" habits. From day one to today, I have been 90% laid back. Yes, for the first 5 months of Jack's life I was intensely frightened by the idea of SIDS and I still get anxiety when I think of my child near the water/on a boat. But other than a few neuroses... I haven't "freaked". 

If Jack hits his head I say, "Oops, boom." letting him decided if it was worth crying over. When Jack wakes up from his nap after 45 minutes, I let him cry until he falls back asleep, because homeboy needs at least two hours. The majority of parenting decisions have been based off of instinct.. and I would say that so far it's working for me. 

But what gets me... what really trips me up - is that my laid back, instinct driven, crying is okay and "bumps and bruises happen" attitude has left me completely unprepared to let go of my baby. In so many ways I still want Jack to be a baby. 

I look at him now, he's walking and communicating. He's the size of a 2.5 year old. He shakes his head no at me when I sing off key and he gives me hugs at random. This child, he is NOT a baby. But somehow, I just can't let it go! 

A month ago, we were in Home Depot buying our fake Christmas tree. Jack sat in the front of the cart, swinging his legs and laughing at his daddy's silly faces. The giant tree box blocked him from the view of the cashier. When the machine-like question of "will this be all today?" came out of her mouth, I jokingly replied "just this and a baby!". The woman craned her neck to spot Jack, looked at me, and said "That's not a baby, that's a toddler!". I opened my mouth in protest.. but couldn't really find the words. She was... she IS right. 

I hate that word. The "T" word. I've been avoiding it. I mean, technically he's been a toddler for over 4 months now, but still... he's MY baby. 

Maybe I would feel better if we were ready for number two - if dreams of another baby were in the near future. But that just isn't in our plan right now (who knows about the actual plan that will unfold      in the years to come). 

For now Jack is my only baby. And while the last bits of his babyhood fade away before my eyes, I feel happy, sad, bittersweet, excited, and melancholy. My love for him is still so overwhelming and it's crazy to me how my heart never stops growing for him. As he grows, from baby to toddler, from toddler to little boy, and so on... my heart is going with him. 
Motherhood. It really is a wild, crazy, blessing of a thing. 

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Doing it Right

**What do you think of Life After's new look?! I would love some feedback :)**

As most of my readers know, my family and I? We don't really spend a lot of weekends at home. We are either at the lake house during the summer, tailgating for Spartan football in the fall, or traveling around for the holidays. But now, we are in "home season". We nestle in for a long winter of weekends spent inside our cozy condo for three. 

This weekend we kicked off the season and we kicked it off right. Things like 60 degree weather and happy little boys make that much easier. 

On Friday I was able to run and do some errands on my own, baby free. Those coveted hours alone were spent at the eye dr, at LOFT, and at the salon. I asked for the random hair dresser I was paired with to cut my hair like this:

I literally BROUGHT this picture in and showed it to her..  It didn't matter. I said goodbye to 10 inches of my hair on Friday. I only prepared to let go of 6, but hey, it's hair and it will grow. 

I'm sure I will be used to it by the end of the week, but I haven't had my hair this short in something like 8 years! My husband is still in shock. Poor man. He loves loved my long long hair. 

Saturday was spent taking a walk to the local park and chasing Jack around. That little boy could not have been happier. I was pretty much in awe of his "big"ness. I could remember sitting in that park just a year prior excited for the day Bubba was big enough to hold his own on the different play structures. Although that day has arrived I am so bittersweet over this whole "growing" thing. I want to hold on to every last baby moment he has, though they are now few and far between!

Lunch from our favorite local bistro, a three hour nap filled with blog design and relaxation, & total organization of our closet, the hall closet, and my school station completed the perfect day. 

Sunday was for homework, setting up forgotten Christmas toys, & building pillow nests in the living room.

John and I went out to celebrate with his Aunt & Uncle, leaving Jack at the babysitter for the evening. We enjoyed a fantastic steak dinner, wine, and good company. We capped off the evening with snuggles from a little boy in footie pajamas and Downton Abbey.

How is it Monday already? 

If this past weekend was any indicator of "home season" I am looking forward to hunkering down on home base.
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