2020: A Year in Review

It’s easy to disregard 2020 and classify it as the WORST YEAR EVER, but it’s more challenging to look back and appreciate the good things that happened. We battled a global pandemic and watched as the world changed as we knew it.

But some good things happened, too.

Here are a few great memories of mine that happened in 2020:

January

Our daughter turned one.

April

We enjoyed the spring flowers and went on hikes

May

I was spoiled by my fiancé for Mother’s Day and I bought a new car (my first real big girl purchase!)

June

I returned home from my military activation to support a COVID testing site

July

We celebrated a friend and took a party bus to the city

August

My fiancé and I took a trip to Grafton just for fun – a weekend away is always needed!

September

Dylan bought a new truck! We both upgraded our vehicles this year — something we worked really hard for and are super proud of!

October

I turned 24!

December

Christmas… duh!

EOD Thoughts: 01.06.2021

I live in a really small town, like the population is under 50. I pay $110 for crappy wifi currently because there was no other option, but a new company with fiber optics has come to town to install better wifi. I got a flyer on my porch and instantly hopped ON IT

I emailed the guy whose name was on the flyer and he replied saying he would make a trip out to our town to get me signed up and ready to go once the installation in town was finished.

Usually I’m nervous in these situations because I feel like I’m totally socially awkward, but this guy (his name was Brad) was SO NICE – like above and beyond nice.

Dylan and I once went to a concert and when we got back to the hotel room afterwards, we decided to order pizza (doesn’t everyone?). I was online and the pizza place was offering a deal IF you ordered online. Of course with my luck, the online ordering wasn’t working so I called the store to see if they’d still honor the online price (I still very much wanted the pizza). They did honor the price and the guy I spoke to on the phone was really polite. I asked his name and went on their website again to tell their corporate office that they had a very respectful employee.

I think it’s SO important to acknowledge and show appreciation for people who excel in customer service. It’s just one of those jobs that isn’t always easy. I have a lot of respect for anyone who has to deal with other humans all day long 🤨

That’s the same reason I always try to make eye contact and smile at whoever is working the fast food drive up window.

We all know how exhausting work is and how we often feel like we don’t get any appreciation. It’s nice to be complimented and I think it means even more when a STRANGER goes out of their way to recognize your efforts.

So Brad… if you’re reading this, I sent your corporate office a message about how amazing your customer service was. I hope they relay the message back to you and it makes you smile 😊

…………………..

Tonight’s Reflection Quote:

Chrissy’s Christmas Review: Singer MX60 Sewing Machine

So I’ve been wanting a sewing machine for about a year now and I finally had nothing that I needed specifically as a Christmas gift, so I was able to ask for something that I WANTED. (Dylan’s parents are great gift givers – they will get you exactly what you ask for)

I never really thought I would be the parent that makes clothes for my children, but that is kinda what I want to be able to do in the future. I know this machine isn’t top-grade, but obviously I’m a beginner and I’ll write my review to acknowledge that I don’t have a ton of experience in the sewing world.

My Grandmother did teach me how to sew with her machine when I was young, but I’ve never owned one or tried to operate one by myself. It’s probably been about ten years since I’ve sewn on a machine with my Grandma.

The first night I got it out of the box and set it up, I was able to successfully figure out how to wind a bobbin and thread the top by myself. When I got to the bottom bobbin, I struggled to figure out how to get the thread to run up and catch.

It was harder to figure out because the instructions that came with the machine had no words or descriptions, only photos. You can go on Singer’s website and get the instructions with words (which is what I did), but that takes more time if you’re struggling with one section that you can’t figure out.

I gave up that night and put the machine without getting a stitch in.

The second night, I figured it out almost right away and started stitching some loose random fabric. I then thought I could try making a pillow out of one of Della’s old onesies. So I went to her room, grabbed a onesie that was too small for her. I cut it up, and successfully made a pillow!!

It wasn’t perfect, but it’s so cute! For a last minute project done by a beginner with no help, I think it turned out pretty well. Della uses it for her baby dolls.

The machine runs smooth and is very simple to thread. It doesn’t have the auto needle threader apparatus, but it’s still a solid machine for someone wanting to start out and learn the craft. The stitches are tight and the machine doesn’t run very loud. I was thinking it would be much noisier, but it surprised me. The small storage compartment is handy. It has several different types of stitches as well, so you can do a variety of looks.

So far, I’d definitely recommend this machine to someone wanting to get into sewing.

Keep following for more Christmas reviews!

22 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter

1. The only person that can ensure your own success is you.

2. The only thing that will ever make you ugly is how you treat other people.

3. Respect isn’t always easily earned, but it is always easily lost.

4. There is nothing you could do that would make me love you any less than I already do.

5. Being rich has nothing to do with money.

6. Don’t accept every apology you receive.

7. Smiling at strangers is a good habit to have.

8. You’ll never wish you ate less ice cream.

9. Don’t let people make you feel bad for dealing with your feelings in a way that helps you heal.

10. Your mental health is more important than any job.

11. You can change any situation by simply changing your mindset of it.

12. It’s okay to get frustrated. It’s not okay to take your frustration out on others.

13. Just because something is a rule, doesn’t mean it’s ethically right.

14. Family isn’t always blood.

15. Don’t break yourself in order to fix someone else.

16. Sometimes silence is more effective than action.

17. Never let honesty be an excuse for disrespect.

18. Grass grows where it is watered.

19. Your mistake isn’t as important as what you do to correct it.

20. There is a difference between a man that flatters you and a man that compliments you.

21. It’s OKAY to tell people NO.

22. Don’t let your kindness be mistaken for weakness.

23 Years of Adventure

Today I am celebrating twenty-three years of life. Twenty-three years of love. Twenty-three years of adventure.

I heard my birth story from my aunt and grandmother a bunch of times growing up. I think mainly because, as they tell it, it was a wild day! My mother was in labor prematurely and it was sometime in the morning when my aunt and grandma took my mother in to the hospital. I don’t know exactly how many weeks early I was born, but they had to life flight my mom from our local hospital to the hospital at the capitol, Springfield. My aunt and grandma tell the story that they actually raced down the interstate to beat the helicopter. They both swear they were in the hospital parking lot when the helicopter landed.

Sometime just after lunch I was born via emergency c-section. My back was actually up against my mother’s abdomen when they cut her open to deliver me, so I have a large scar across my back from where they cut me when performing the c-section. I was so small I wore doll clothes because preemie clothes were too big. I’ve been told it’s a miracle I survived.

But here I am. Flourishing in the sunlight, and dreaming of tomorrow. I have been blessed many times in this life. I do my best to slow down, breathe it in, and enjoy the things that bring me joy. In honor of today, I have made a list of a few of the things that bring me JOY!

  1. My beautiful daughter, Della Rae. Her spunky attitude and playful heart brings an overwhelming sense of pride every time I look at her.
  2. My handsome fiancé. Dylan’s passion for music and sly rhetoric reminds me that the simplest things in life are the most important. Our love is truly an adventure and I cannot wait to marry him in just over one year!
  3. The adrenaline rush that comes when you start to run.
  4. Sunrises.
  5. My family.
  6. Pumpkins patches and autumn weather.
  7. Hugs.
  8. Hearing “I love you”
  9. Good hair days.
  10. Singing in the shower and on road trips.
  11. The way my keyboard sounds when I type really fast at work.
  12. My daughter’s laugh.
  13. Hiking and camping.
  14. Pay day!
  15. Sunday morning snuggles in bed with Della Rae and Dylan
  16. Softball and basketball and football and hockey and any sport, really.
  17. Blogging and the friends I’ve made through WordPress.
  18. Mexican food and margaritas.
  19. Friends.
  20. Watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Some are silly, some are very common. But all bring me joy and make me enjoy the life that I am living. Today I am celebrating twenty-three years of life. A good life.

I am so very blessed. Here is to a life full of love and adventure!! 🎉🎁🎊

To all the MOMS on World Mental Health Day 🌱

Since the birth of our children, nearly every decision we make will bring us a sense of guilt. Put your baby to bed too early and you feel guilty for not enjoying your time with your baby while they are little. Keep your baby up too late, and you feel guilty that they aren’t getting enough rest. I have struggled with this immensely in the short stint of my experience with motherhood, and I know from many conversations I’ve had with other mothers of children of all ages, it is something that is never going to go away – as much as we wish it would. As mothers, we are under constant scrutiny and watchful eyes from everyone around us. We are criticized on how we feed our child, rather than the fact that the child is being fed at all. We feel the heat of dirty looks in the supermarket when we have a wailing child that we can’t quiet.  We take showers and look down at a body that looked very different just a few short months ago. We smile when you happily say hello to our children, but still feel the pain when you don’t acknowledge our presence with an equal amount of excitement. Do you care about me? Or do you only care about me enough to scrutinize who you think I am as a mother?

Well I will tell you who I am as a mother.

I am now devoted to life of selflessness. I have ran to the bathroom, cried out in overwhelming frustration, wiped my eyes, and returned back to my family with no one even noticing the crack of defeat I have hidden from my face. I have spent late nights worrying, planning, anticipating, and preparing. I love selflessly and whole-heartedly.

On my toughest days, I close my eyes and face the sky waiting for nature to give me strength… She always does.

I am persistent and I am determined. Even though there are times I feel like I might break under all of the pressure, the sun falls and rises, and so do I.

I am passionate. Passionate about my child. Passionate to build up the family that I have created. Passionate about the joys life has so graciously given me.

I am forgiving. I am consistent. I am fierce. I am patient.

Through the guilt that I so often face, I have come to understand that there are so many things that make me the best mother in my child’s world. Forget the pain you feel when you choose to do something that is in the best interest of you. We deserve some of our free will to be made solely in regards to our own wellness.

Because it’s hard being a selfless, persistent, determined, passionate, forgiving, consistent, and fierce MOM.

Gun Violence & A Parent’s Love

With the tragic and horrifying mass shootings that took place in the United States this week, everyone has been in an uproar about gun control. I get it. Let’s do something. But I think the one of the reasons we have such an awful gun violence issue in the United States is something that gun control simply cannot fix. None of what I want to talk about today has anything to do with gun control or taking away anyone’s right to bear arms. 

It’s easy to argue that the person pulling the trigger is responsible for the damage they cause, because that is the normal conclusion to come to when you hear of someone committing such a heinous act. And I would totally agree with that statement; however, there is another side to this that I feel is worth at least considering.

We have a gun problem. But more importantly, we have a HOME problem.

Since when did we become a nation filled with careless parents? Since when did we allow our nation’s children to be so disrespectful, lazy, and so careless about life? Since when is nearly 60,000 kids locked up in jails across America something that we are okay with?* Since when?

I know that most of America’s mass shooters haven’t necessarily been teenagers, but according to an article in The Washington Post, they are getting younger. Since the shooting in Charleston, more than half of shooters were under the age of 30. You may be quick to imply that it’s the younger generations’ fault that all of this is going on since they are the ones pulling the triggers. True. Ehh, kind of. 

What if I told you that children are have higher self esteem, communicate better, improved academic performance, and are less likely to have psychological and behavioral issues when they are exposed to love and affection at home? In 2010, researchers at Duke University Medical School found that children with loving and conscientious mothers grew up to be more resilient and happier adults. The study followed 500 children from infancy to their mid-30’s.**

I know with 100% certainty that I don’t have to fill this post with a ton of statistics, links to articles, and sparkly, mind-boggling information. You have the ability to google any topic you choose, so I urge you to go read up on just how important we are as parents in shaping loving, gentle, and soulful children.

It is absolutely critical that we show our children love and affection, and that has absolutely nothing to do with guns. Life can be busy and adulthood is overwhelming at times, but we cannot forget that we are raising tomorrow’s generation. Let’s raise a generation that is loving and passionate and gentle and open to talking about mental illness. Let’s love our children fiercely and show them that they have caring people that they can rely on – no matter what.Let’s raise a generation that knows that pulling the trigger of a gun is rarely a necessity.

You want to end gun violence? 

Quit teaching hate from within the walls of your own home. 

Stop whatever you’re doing that you think is more important (it’s not) and go love on your kids.

 

 

 

* – https://www.aclu.org/issues/juvenile-justice/youth-incarceration/americas-addiction-juvenile-incarceration-state-state

** – https://www.mother.ly/child/how-a-parents-affection-shapes-a-childs-happiness-for-life

Photos from Washington Post.

Good News … Finally!

Life has been absolutely CRAZYYYY lately… Is anyone else ready for fall, too? I haven’t had much time to put into my writing because I feel like I’m so busy I can’t even breathe sometimes. Everyone tells you it’s hard being a mom, but you can’t really prepare yourself for something like motherhood. I think what I miss the most about my life before my baby is that I had unlimited time to spend on myself. Not that I ever really did all that much, but the option was always there to pamper myself if I wanted to. My life has changed now to the point where I can’t even take a shower at a relaxing pace because I’m constantly worrying about what is going on outside of the bathroom…

However,

I do have some life updates that I feel like are worth sharing. I know we all get into slumps, and hopefully if you find yourself in one now, this will give you comfort that there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

I got a promotion at work! I’ve been working at my current company for almost a year now. I was hired on last August for a part-time position. Five months later, I took a leave for the birth of my daughter. Two short months after that, I returned back to work. Not long after my return, my manager asked me if I would be willing to work full-time hours. Since I was in a part-time position, I would still be ineligible for employee benefits, vacation and sick days, holiday pay, and performance-based bonuses. So, in short, I was working full-time hours, but not getting all of the benefits that the rest of the full-time staff was entitled to. To be frank, I was getting screwed!!

A full-time position opened up within my department, so I thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll just throw my name in the hat!’ My boss told me I’d still have to go through the entire hiring process of a three-person panel interview and online testing. Sooo, we scheduled the interview and testing. I walked out of it all totally disappointed and so sure they wouldn’t give me the job. I had envisioned the scenario over and over in my head and I felt like I had let myself down. It didn’t go at all like I thought it would. But of course, it’s human nature to be harder on yourself than what was reality. I was offered the job!!

I am now going to get good health insurance for myself and my daughter, a $2.50 raise, holiday pay, bonuses, etc. After some long, hard months, things have finally turned around.

I’m also officially enrolled at my university again to get a degree in Business Management. I start on August 26th. I’m suuuper excited to get back to learning and furthering my education. It’s going to be tough, but there is no one more determined than I!

How is your guys’ summer going? Our county fair started last night, which means FAIR FOOD, DEMOLITION DERBIES, AND VISITS TO THE BEER TENT! Can’t wait to hear from all of you! Sorry it’s been so long!

Mending My Crushed Ego

Okay. This almost pains me to write, but I always think it is important to reflect on who we are. So I’ll say it:

I am a jerk sometimes. And I lie to myself so that I don’t feel bad about it.

For some reason, today’s society tries to make us hard, cold individuals that classify all of our feelings as the same. In reality, everyone has their own traumas and experiences that shape their personality and language differently. Since when was it so normal to openly exclaim how much we hate our lives and how we don’t deserve for people to treat us in ways that we don’t like?

Don’t get me wrong.

Yeah, sometimes life just blows. And yes, you shouldn’t let people walk all over you… But for pete’s sake… I’m so sick of seeing everyone try to morph their own feelings and thoughts into the mold that they think that everyone else feels too. Feel your own feelings, take responsibility for the things you do, and do your best not to be a shitty person!

My fiance called me out today. He said, “Nobody can tell you anything! You always go straight into defense mode. Sometimes you’re just plain hard to be friends with. You say things that you shouldn’t, and sometimes you’re just plain mean!”

I opened my mouth to argue, and then I realized… If you argue, you’re proving his point. My mind was totally in the defense mode that he had just accused me of being in all the time. I sat there and pondered his words in silence as I stared at the ground. I was embarrassed- He was right. And the worst thing was… at that moment, I realized I had a shitty way of talking to myself. After I thought about his words, it made me think about how I put myself above others when I think to myself during conversation. For example, he told me, “You always think you’re right about everything.” And I immediately thought to myself, ‘Well I usually am!’

Wow.

How egotistical of me!! I actually thought that exact thought in my head. And I am extremely ashamed to admit it!!! So that is what led me to writing this for you guys today. Because let’s all be honest… We like to think that we are joyful, humble people, but are we really???

Later on in the afternoon, I grabbed him by the shirt and said, “Will you help me? I don’t want to be this nasty person that spews hate and anger, because I don’t think of myself that way.” When I think about qualities to describe myself, I lead myself to believe that I could never behave in such a way. It’s so incredibly hard to manage child rearing, full-time work, household chores and bills, a loving relationship, and making sure your mental health is in tact. I lost sight of my values and got enveloped in the stress of everyday life. I am not quite as great of a person as I sometimes like to think I am, and I can definitely improve. I’m just lucky I have someone that loves me enough to tell me when I’m wrong and willing to help me be the very best version of myself.

Dylan hurt my ego today. And I am sooooo thankful for it!