Books I read in January

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New year, new goals for books.

I was able to get through three this month which was one more than I had planned on. So, go me.

Sonny decided that this year he wants to have a book club with me, I know. It’s adorable. So we decided on reading two books a month, he picks on, I pick one. We each read it then switch.

I picked The Girl on The Train. Which I hated. Haaaaaated. Hated it so much that I didn’t make Sonny read it. And made him read Gone Girl instead.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins: 1 star
Besides the fact that the writing was all that great, it was the most repetitive book I’ve ever read. If I had to read one more time that the girl was an alcoholic, I was going to loose my mind. I felt like it just dragged on, with an obvious end in sight. Without giving it away, I knew who it was from the very beginning. I found myself just trying to finish the book to just do that. Finish it and be done with it. Too many times I wondered what the back story the author was telling had anything to do with the main story line itself. It’s really dark too and I didn’t enjoy a certain part as a mother. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it. I wouldn’t suggest it.

The Whistler by John Grisham: 3 1/2 stars 
This was Sonny’s pick for the month, he’s a big John Grisham fan. I enjoyed this book a lot for it being my first JG. He’s an excellent writer, so it was a giant breath of fresh air from reading the book listed above. The story line was really interesting and had my brain going in ten different directions, which I really loved. Things I didn’t love: all the legal jargon, the absurd amount of characters (we met THREE in the epilogue), the quick ending. It seemed like the story developed and developed and then just ended. But. I’d recommend this book if you’re into him or his writing.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed: 5 stars
I got this book for Christmas from my very best friend which I think adds to any book you read. Dear Sugar used to be an anonymous advice column, turns out it was Cheryl Strayed the whole time. Whom I love. Wild is one of my top books I’ve ever read so as soon as I saw who wrote the book I was excited. Here’s the thing, while I can’t relate to a lot of the questions asked (about marriage problems or growing up gay or having friends who hate you) I loved her advice for every. single. letter. Each one had this rounded out advice for life that made me go, “Yes and amen girl. Yes and amen”. It’s easily a book you can find something to highlight or write down on every page. I would highly recommend this book.

Obviously this is out of 5 stars.

What did you read in January!?

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Being Healthy Sucks

We’re all thinking it, I’m just going to say it out loud.

To you living healthy:

Here’s the world I want to live in: McDonalds Egg McMuffin for breakfast, Chick Fila for lunch, and Shake Shack for dinner. BUT. You gain no weight, and someone has created a pill for me to take to get all my fruits and veggies in.

That world doesn’t exist yet, so I’m stuck in the one that tries to make me feel guilty when I just need some waffle fries.

I just finished my second round of the 21 Day Fix and I’m still alive. I followed the meal plan about 80/85% of the time. Our anniversary fell on one Sunday and we did the Melting Pot.

Here’s a super quick review on it.

Pros:
I feel great. Endorphins do make you happy (and happy people just don’t kill their husbands).

-I did loose a little baby weight…like a whole five pounds. High fives all around!
-I feel stronger.
-I think you can tell a little in my face that I’ve lost some weight. If you can’t, don’t you dare tell me otherwise. I’ve also noticed my “Emily Pouch” has gone down. If you’re a mom, you’ll get this. If not. Shut your beautiful face.
-It’s gotten me back into cooking at home way more. Throughout the three weeks I had dinner out three times, and if I did have lunch out it was a salad. Had Chic fila once, I’m not a monster.
-When I’m done with the fix I am more conscious of what I’m eating and what would go into the containers.

Ok. Now the bad parts.

Cons:
-Working out every day is really hard. BUT! I’m proud that I only missed one work out.

-Keeping to the containers suck.
-I AM ALWAYS HUNGRY NO MATTER HOW MUCH OR WHAT I EAT. To help with this I ate more protein during the day, aka the red containers.

This time around I did get the Shakeology, so here’s info about that:

-It does taste good. Even on it’s own, it isn’t terrible.
My go to “recipe” was Almond milk, water, a banana, and some peanut butter
-It was not a meal replacement for me. Not eeeeeeeven close. I was full for about two hours, maybe. Maybe.
-It seems a little expensive to me.
-Having done the Fix with and without it, I would say if you can do it, go for it because it helps you loose weight faster.
-It’s supposed to “curb cravings” but I honestly felt like it increased some. Like chocolate, which is weird because it I did the chocolate flavor.

All in all, if you’ve been thinking about giving it a try, I would.

Here’s my whole thing though on this living healthy.

I’m just not interested.
Doesn’t mean I won’t. But I won’t to this extent.

Because like I’ve said before. I will not, I will not live in a world without butter, bacon, chocolate and wine.

I’m cheering all you heath nuts on. You Whole Foods dinner gals and guys. I’m envious that that little box of food fills you up. But listen. Mamas gatta eat.

So while yes, I realize I’m not in high school anymore and can eat what I want, I’ll do my best to eat well. But I won’t ever say no when you ask me to go pig out with you somewhere either.

Have you ever done the Fix? What’s your eating healthy tips?

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Why I March

This past weekend was…weird. We had the inauguration of our 45th President and we had millions of people protesting. There were a lot of times when I wondered what year it was.

And let me be clear in stating, it’s not because I think President Trump is about to set up back 50 years.

I found myself really angry at certain points this weekend. Watching the Women’s March stirred up a part of me that I knew was there, but thought it was better kept hidden.

Because here’s the thing.
Abortion is that hot button for me.

It’s that one issue that I’m more likely to get red in the face trying to battle. I hate it. I h a t e it. I pray every day that it would eventually not be a think. Which side note, last year there was the lowest number of abortions ever. PRAISE JESUS.

Most times when I think about it, I can’t even believe it’s a real thing.
Killing (because yes that’s what happens) a tiny human before they even have a chance to see this big and beautiful world.

Here’s what kills me even more. The top two reasons for abortions is: can’t afford a baby, women don’t want the child.

WHAT IN THE ACTUAL….you can finish that sentace with whatever word you want.

How anyone wouldn’t want a tiny human is beyond me. BUT. It’s happening.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my role in all this. Because yes, I have one. As a woman I want to start doing more. Sonny and I currently donate $30 to Save The Storks.

You can read more here, and here about this amazing organization.

I realize that we live in a country where we get to do more. We don’t have to just sit back and let the voices of those that are so loud, and often times obnoxious make the decisions. I also realize that I need to be quiet enough so that I can see more of the other side. As painful as that might be. Because the only way things are going to change, is to come together.

And to love on one another.

What this actual means for me, I have no idea. But I’m going to figure it out through a lot of prayer and listening.

This weekend is the March for Life in DC. Will it be covered by the news like the women’s march was? I doubt it but I’m praying it will.

I’ll be cheering everyone on there and wishing I could go.

Maybe I’ll march around my neighbor hood.

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I’d march for my beautiful daughter.

I’d march for the women wondering what other options there are besides abortion.

I’d march for the tiny humans that God has created in His image before they were even formed in their mothers womb, to get a chance.

I’d march for a change in heart for any leaders who don’t believe a human in the womb has any rights.

I’d march for the generation of pro lifers that’s rising up.

I’d march for the babies. The beautiful baby girls and boys who deserve a chance.

 

 

 

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Six Years

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S I X  years. Eight together total.

One dog, one sweet baby girl, three houses, three different towns, and a partridge in a pear tree.

We say it all the time about Emily, but I don’t know what my life was before he came along. It’s cheesy and cliche but he is honestly the missing piece in my life, and I’m lucky to have found him.

I’ve always been asked about why I got married so young. I was a month into my twenty first year and looking back on it, I was a total baby. But I’ve never been good at waiting for things. So when Sonny and I started dating and I knew this was it, I hounded him for a year. Ha! Jk. We both had the mentality of why wait. We found each other, we knew we wanted to get married, why wait for some magical age.

There’s this really terrible thought process that floats around that you need to “find yourself” before you get married, and I’m here to tell you that it’s all a load of crap. I’m first and foremost found in Jesus.

And I love the fact that I got to “find myself” along side my husband. Wanna know why? Because if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if I would have.

Sonny is by nature an encourager. I can’t wait to see him with Emily as she grows up. If it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure I would have quit my serving job to follow my dreams. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be a stay at home mom.

I’ve found out a lot about myself in the last seven years. I’ve found out that I was made to be a wife and a mom. Without a doubt. I’ve found out that there’s so much more to life than wondering through it worrying about you and only you.

I have loved every minute of the last seven years with Sonny.

We’ve grown so much together, and a little on our own. But even the growth we’ve done on our own has made us so much stronger as a couple.

So here’s to seven years. Cheers my love, I love you more than anything.

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Mommy “Me Time

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Being a stay at home mom is hard.

I know this isn’t a life changing revelation, but it’s the truth. The hard, cold truth that I don’t think a lot of moms talk about.

It’s only the second week in January, and I’m already feeling like I can’t keep my head above water. Christmas decorations just got taken down, my house is never clean like I want it, the laundry is never done, and this blog post never gets written.

Em isn’t taking very long naps during the day, so if I’m lucky, I get (at most) an hour and a half a day to do things for myself. I make lunch, work out, try to get in the Word and then she’s up.

I honestly don’t know how mothers of toddlers get anything done during the day when they’re awake.

I love the stage she’s in. I really, truly do. She’s my tiny best friend and I wouldn’t change that for the world. She talks, gibberish, she walks, she plays…but she needs constant supervision. I’m also still on the “not too much tv” train, which means I try to limit that to just in the mornings. Some days. I fail miserably at that. But most days I try really hard to get her outside, playing with the thousands of toys she has, or doing something productive.

She’s in bed and asleep by 7, which is great because then I get to make dinner and hang out with the hubs. I love to cook. It soothes me. It’s the only thing in my life that I can do and not think about anything else. Honestly. The world could be on fire and I wouldn’t notice while I cooked. By the time we’re done eating and hang out for a bit, it’s 930, and then time for bed.

Before the year ended last year I started to think about how I could fit more me time into my day. Because ya’ll. Mothers need time to themselves. I’m sure it’s been scientifically proven. I can tell you, from first hand experience, if we don’t get time to ourselves, we’ll go insane. Not that I’m totally insane yet.

We need time to recharge, regroup, and figure out what in the world we’re doing.

I decided on putting Em into a “school” for a couple days a week. We’re currently in the middle of deciding on a school, or Mommys Day Out program.

And I’ll be totally honest here and say that I’m really excited for her to go.

First and foremost. It’s good for her. Like really good. Not to sound like one of those hippie moms but the socialization for her will do wonders. Hello only child. Also, the older she gets, the more I realize I need help in the “education” department. I’m great at playing with her and showing her colors and shapes, but I don’t have the gift of teaching.

So I’m finding someone else who does.

Because I also think it’s really important as mothers to know what our gifts are, and what gifts we don’t have so we can find help.

She’ll go for two days a week in the morning, and I am already planning out my days.

I can’t and won’t feel bad about this decision.

Some moms can do it. Some can keep their babes home until they go to kindergarten and it’s wonderful. I’m learning that I can’t. Does that sting a little for me? Of course. And honestly, this might not work out at all, but I’m giving it a try because I think it’s the best thing to do for our family.

And that’s the key here, mamas. You have got to do what’s best for your family.

I run a photography business as well. Which is needing a lot more attention then I am giving it/ can give it right now. This blog can be inserted into that category as well.

I think it’s really easy to look on Instagram and see the perfect stay at home mom, with her perfect kids and her perfect pictures and wonder how she does it all.

I’m here to tell you, that either she has help, or she’s totally faking it.

I’ve decided to stop faking it. Not that I think I portray this picture perfect life on Instagram, but I’m done trying to pretend like I’ve got it all, while I also keep feeling like my life vest wasn’t inflated properly.

God has blessed me with the most amazing husband who has given me the most amazing opportunity to be a stay at home mommy to the worlds best kid. I’m learning what I’m really good at as a mom, and what I’m not stellar at.

I’m not good at asking for help either. So maybe this is me working on that too. I’m not good at saying, “Hey, I need a couple hours to myself”. Weeks will go by and I’ll realize I haven’t spent any time to myself and then hit a wall. Not fair to me, or my family.

Mama needs to get her stuff in order. Mama needs to spend some time letting her brain think about things other than, “Is the Tiny one hungry, tired, or need to be changed?” And just because I want to do these things, doesn’t make me a bad mom. It will make me a better one.

Some moms can do it all. I can’t.

Being a mother is the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I’ve grown and changed so much. But I’m still here.

So here’s to working on ourselves mamas.

How do you spend sometime focusing just on you?

PS.
I want to make sure everyone knows that I don’t take being a stay at home mom for granted. I do not. I’m nervous to hit publish on this post because I don’t want it to be taken the wrong way. Let’s be honest, maybe that’s a little bit of guilt that I can’t figure out how to be super mom, business owner, homemaker and wife all the time. Or maybe…just maybe, I’ll hear from another mom who gets it. Either way. This is my heart. I love my baby girl more than life itself, and I am so thankful to have the husband I do.

 

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New Year, New Goals

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I still haven’t totally made my mind up on whether I like goals or not. I make them every year, and most times I don’t come through with them.

But when I say I feel a little different this year…I actually mean it.
I’ve got this, “You go, girl” attitude happening right now.

And the key is to keep it going.

I came up with nine goals for my year. Nine goals that get me really, really excited about life in general.

#1. Read through the Bible.
I’m pretty sure this has been on my goals list for a couple years now, and to be even more honest here I’ll say I’m not even sure I’ve ever started it. Ok I’ve started, but I get to the end of Genesis and stop. If you’ve got a good plan let me hear it!

#2. Get in better shape.
I actually wrote “loose weight” in my notebook but I don’t really love that idea. I’m not defined by the number on the scale, so it’s so much more about how I feel. I’ve never struggled with weight, but I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever been. And while I’ve thought I’d loose all that baby weight by now, I haven’t. I’m starting the 21 day Fix again next week, so there’s a jump start on this goal!

#3. Cook through “French Country Cooking”.
Sonny got me this, and a Dutch oven for Christmas and I’ve never loved a cookbook more. I’ve also never picked one up and thought that I needed to make every.single. recipe in it. Like, every one. Every. Single. One. I’ve already made three so far. Which is pretty much more than any other cookbook I own.

#4. Read 25 books.
Between last June and now, I’ve finished 15 books. When I counted them all up the other day I was so proud of myself. So here’s to reading more than my goal!

#5. Find a home for everything!
Even if I have to buy every organizer and container known to man, my home will be organized!

#6. Reevaluate/ Redesign Megan Elizabeth Photography.
I own a photography business. That I’ve honestly put on the back burner for the last couple of years, but I’m so freaking excited to move it up to one of the front ones. I’m sharing a big announcement on there today in fact!

#7. Go on a family vacation.
When you live in the place that people normally vacation to, it makes actually taking a vacation hard. And yes, I get that Emily is only a year old. But a nice weekend away would be lovely. I’m thinking Savanah.

#8. Memorize more scripture.
Because it’s just better for everyone.

#9. Start having dinner all together.
This one might be more towards summer and the end of the year, to be honest. Em still eats dinner around 430/5 so once I can get her more towards 5/530 I want us to start having dinner all together. Sonny and I usually don’t eat until 8, so it would be a nice change for everyone. Plus. Family dinners are the highlights of my childhood.

So 2017, let’s do this. All the things, but not too many of the things that I loose focus.

What are your goals for the new year?

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2017

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2016 was a tough year for the world.

Which is weird because it was one of the best I’ve had personally…hello, my baby girl turned ONE.

But it did seem like every night, I hugged her a little tighter because of something that brought tears to my eyes during the day. A shooting, or a terrorist attack. I watched as my own community was the victim of both of those. In one weekend we saw a young pop star shot point blank, a terrorist shoot up a local night club, and a young boy drowned by an alligator. It was a tough year, for sure.

And then we have the 2016 election season. I think we’re all still thanking God it’s finally over, ok maybe not all of us, but I’m sure happy it’s over. We’re certainly more divided than when we rang in the New Year last year, and that’s what really makes me sad.

So I think we all have to try better. Me, you, everyone. We’ve got to get back to the point where we actually like each other and don’t mind if our opinions are different.

For me, it’s really simple. I’ve got to get with God more. Way, way, way more.
I saw this quote on the Proverbs 31 Instagram:

“A real sigh of spiritual maturity is looking to God for purpose and perspective instead of comfort and convenience.”

A lot of my prayers are, “Thank You Lord for…” and then you fill in the blank. It’s always whenever I can find the five minutes to do it too.

It’s comfortable and convenient. It’s honestly not working.

So in effort to get better at…well everything, I picked the word FOCUS for 2017.

I looked up the definition of focus: a central point, attention or activity.
The synonyms though are what really got me: center, heart, core.

I actually struggled with what word to pick. I’ve been following along with Lara Casey’s goal setting and I was going to skip the whole word for the year thing, because I’ve felt like in the past, I’ve picked a word and forgotten about it or let it go by January 10th.

But something about focus just hit me.

Center, heart, core.

J E S U S.

Jesus at the center, Jesus in my heart, Jesus at the core. Of it all.
I think I’ve tried to make this whole picking a word thing too hard. Put too much pressure on it.
So I’m simplifying it this year.

Like the beginning of every year, I’m so excited for January 1.

Cheers to a New Year, friends! Have you picked your word?

 

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