Happy New Year!

New Years is known as a time to make resolutions, but I think other than the obvious (get healthy, do better, be a better parent, make money) things, New Year’s Day is a time for looking back on life. The one thing I’m sure of today, is I have no regrets.

For those of you following my life, you know there has been a whole lot wrong with it. Things that you’d probably change if you had the chance. Today I want to paint a picture of how my life would be today if I could change everything.

In sixth grade my parents started doing drugs, and my grades started slipping. I became the adult, and they were still my parents, but weren’t taking care of me the way I’d desire. Instead, lets imagine that they never needed the medication that got them hooked in the first place. Imagine I had asked them not to take it, and they didn’t. They went to physical therapy, acupuncture, and smoked pot to make themselves well.

Now if that happened, they wouldn’t have died. I would have lived a normal childhood, kept my perfect grades up, and gone to Gordon college (which I had a full scholarship to in real life, and chose not to¬† go to). That sounds great and all, but I would never have met Corey. He was a senior, a few days away from graduating, when I moved in with my aunt and uncle and changed schools. I met him by chance on my first day at the new school.

So, if I never met Corey, I wouldn’t have run away with him to Virginia, I wouldn’t have Caleb, and I probably wouldn’t be on the same educational path. Before we met I was planning to be a youth pastor, hence going to the Christian college, Gordon. I made that choice to run away, and I can’t regret that either. I don’t know how I would be without making it. I was so miserable, and it was my release.

Today, I’m so happy. I have a beautiful family, know that within the next three years (once I finish school) I’ll be married, and I’m happy with what I’ve gotten to give back to my community. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been perfect in the typical sense, but it’s been perfect for me.

Every little tragedy, every problem, every stumble, every sacrifice… has led to today. It has led to love. It has led to following my true passion. It has led to true, honest happiness. I have grown, I have been shown my destiny… and for that? I don’t regret anything.

Respect Begets Respect

I strongly believe that the word respect has two very different meanings. Some people use the word in the context of treating others compassionately, or as they would like to be treated no matter what their sexual orientation, gender, race, or economic status is. The other definition, one that is truly cruel, is that some people deserve to be treated better than others, and if they aren’t treated that way, they will then in turn not treat others as even human.

I refuse to let my son grow up believing the second. How will I do that? By respecting him. I will show him what respect truly looks like, because I don’t want him growing up feeling like he is ever worth less than the next person.

In our home, respect is simple. Before anyone does anything, we think of how it will effect someone else. We show a little compassion, and with it comes respect. Manners also play a big part in how we treat one another. If Caleb says please, the chances of us doing something for him go up. We never had to teach him to say please, but instead from day one when we wanted something from him we would say please and thank you as well. His fourth word, was really two words, and was “thank you.” That says a lot.

We also respect his autonomy. He’s still working on that with us, but I have great faith that by us giving it to him, he will in turn give it to us. If he doesn’t want hugs or kisses, we don’t force them. He doesn’t need to sit next to us if he doesn’t want to. We ask, or in important and much needed cases explain why we have to, before diaper changes. Giving him that respect, we’re teaching him that he has control over his own body. In the future that can only aid him when it comes time for romance, or the unfortunate sexual attack. Teaching him to respect his own body as well as others starts from infancy.

Another area we work hard on to show respect is during discipline. We try as hard as possible not to yell, and we do not hit. You can’t teach a child not to do these things by turning around and doing them. Children learn by example. Instead, as we would with any adult, if Caleb has done something wrong we pull him to the side, remove him from the area he’s misbehaving in, and explain what he’s doing wrong. We do not shout, we do not hit, but instead we change the circumstance and ability to get into trouble. Occasionally there will be a tantrum. We pick him up and give him a hug until he’s able to calm himself down and talk about why he can’t do what he’s been doing. Sometimes he doesn’t want that talk, so we let him lay on the ground or sit in a chair until he calms himself. The beauty of it all, is that it works. He learns, not because he’s afraid of us, but because we took the time to explain. We don’t judge him as bad because he’s doing something we don’t like. Instead, we take the time to teach him what to do instead. These fits or moments in general are so rare, because of the mutual respect we have for each other.

Respect means that every person (big or small, black or white, poor or rich) deserves to be treated the same way we would like to be treated. Not only is it respectful, but the only way to be truly ethical.

Personal Peace and the Affect on Your Home

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I used to be super anxious when it came to my house. It got to the point I’d force my three week old little baby sit in his high chair, when all he wanted was to snuggle, just so I could get the “chores” done. I cared so much about what others thought that I put my son second. I know, totally doesn’t sound like me right? Well, a lot has changed since then.

My house is what I call manageable now. I get the dishes done when I can so that I can cook. The floors are cleared for my son’s safety. The laundry gets washed and dried about once a week. I’m okay with this though. I am actually a thousand times more okay with it than I was when my house was spotless. There are of course times I wish it was a little cleaner, the times when I haven’t had a moment to myself to get things done and my aunt comes by and makes a comment here or there, but most of the time I’m just happy that I have an apartment to clean or make a mess in.

This feeling of peace though is because I know my son is worth every little comment and every pushed to the side dish. You could spend three hours a day making sure your house is spotless. Even more, you can wait till your child is napping and try to clean in those moments. The sacrifices are great though. If you are always cleaning, those are hours that you could be spending with your child learning something new, playing with trains, reading, or just generally being there for them. If you try to fit it all in while they nap, you have zero time for yourself.

My first transition from cleaning constantly to where I am now had a time where I tried to fit everything into naps. Man was I burnt out. Showers just didn’t happen, I never got to enjoy a book or show, and I certainly had no time to blog like I do now. Thankfully I did get burnt out though. In a way, I just quit and boy did it feel good! My son and I started really communicating, I could relax and even Corey started seeing that I was, “Not so B****y” because my stress levels were much lower.

Now I am not saying to give up on house work all together. I think there is a good medium in there that really can work for everyone. Another big thing, ask for help. Your significant other might just be willing to help more than you realize. Corey has been a real blessing. He comes home from work now and takes Caleb right away out for a walk so that I can shower in total peace. On top of that, he does some of the house work like trash, unloading the dish washer, and even vacuuming.

Either way, as long as you feel happy with the way your house looks and the choices you make, good for you.

Thank You for Reading!

Breastfeeding Do’s and Don’t’s

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Before I start, I have to say, if you are breastfeeding even part time then Congratulations and Good Job. I know it isn’t always easy or convenient. I know that it can hurt. Your back aches, nipples are sometimes raw, but the benefits for baby and you are beyond worth the moments of discomfort. You both heal faster, mommy looses weight, baby’s immune system gets stronger… I could go on and on. Next I have to tell you that I am not a lactation specialist so my tips are all personal. Though a lot I did get from people who know what they are talking about so I wouldn’t worry.

Do’s:
-Do breastfeed!
-Do keep baby angled, not flat.
This prevents spit up and helps them digest better.
-Do still burp baby.
Just because you are not bottle feeding does not mean they don’t have gas.
-Do keep them awake. Use wash clothes to rub their back or strip them down to just a diaper. Either way, keep them awake so they get a full feeding each time.
-Do use something for your nipples. Nipple Butter is not too expensive and saves you tons in the long run.
-Do massage your breasts and do let them soak in the water during a shower.

Don’t’s:
-Don’t feed sitting up in bed.
Your back will thank you for sitting in a chair with a back.
-Don’t forget about the boppy while out.
They are a savior and while worth the $20 they cost new. It makes bf comfortable for both mom and baby.
-Don’t get frustrated.
Baby feels what you feel. Stay relaxed. They won’t latch right on everytime and that is okay.
-Don’t assume they aren’t getting enough just cause their poop slowes down.
That is normal. Babies can go three days without passing a stool without it being a concern.

Well, I hope these help. If you think if something to add, feel free to message me on here or email at Sami.jordynn@gmail.com. As always, thanks for reading!