Soccer is Life, the rest is just details

soccer is life

Soccer is life. The rest is just details. Everyone my age that played soccer had or wanted this shirt from the Eurosport catalog. And it preached a motto that we all should follow.

img_9028-1For the majority of my almost 31 years here on earth, this was my motto. It began early on. My mom loved the game and played up until she got pregnant with me. From a very young age, I found love and passion for the game. I love to watch, learn, and play soccer. I always have. I began playing soccer at 4 years old and it has been a HUGE part of my life ever since.

Being a soccer player was a part of my identity. I played year round for almost 10 years. I was fortunate to have access to the best coaches all over the Northeast and play on very successful teams. I set goals to play at the college level. My parents and coaches encouraged me and I succeeded. The day I signed my letter of intent to play Division I soccer at Central Michigan University was an emotional and exciting day for me. I thought it was the beginning of something great. And I don’t want to say that it wasn’t great, because there were some awesome times. But my life certainly changed and veered “off course” because of this decision.

College for most people is a place to go and let loose, find some freedom, have some fun and get an education. College for athletes is a JOB. A full-time, exhausting, emotional, physically taxing JOB. To play a sport at the Division I level, you basically sell your soul to the school. Or at least that is how it was at Central when I went there. Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed to say that I left college with no loans. But I also left with lots of emotional baggage and life-long issues.

To make a very long story short, my playing career ended my Junior year with a severe head and spinal cord injury.  I was punched in the back of the head by the Michigan State Goal Keeper. I instantly exhibited concussion symptoms and was apparently walking around the field falling down. I don’t remember much. My coach didn’t pull me off the field. He said I needed to stay on and work through it. This would hopefully never happen in today’s game with all the concussion awareness protocols that we have. If you ever find me being crazy about head injuries in athletics, now you know why.

Anyways, back to my story. So I tried to stay on and “play through it.” The trainers were livid. I threw up and had a horrific headache post game. Things only got worse. I took the reaction tests on the following day confirming my concussion and the trainers wanted me to stay out of practice and classes. But I was forced to show up at practice on my birthday, two days later, and blow a whistle every 30 seconds for a conditioning drill. It was agonizing. I asked to stop and was told no. I went home to my apartment later that day unable to function. What happened next, my roommates could explain better. Again, I don’t remember much. All I know is that I walked into my kitchen to tell Kristen that I wasn’t feeling well and apparently I just fell over and passed out. Thank goodness she was a goalie and somehow caught my head so I didn’t hurt myself more. My roommates took me to the hospital where when asked, I couldn’t remember my name or birthday (it was my 19th birthday that day). My dad rushed out to Michigan making the almost 8 hour trip in 4.5 hours. And the rest of the journey is somewhat of a blur. I spent the majority of the next two weeks in bed, away from soccer and school, unable to function. I felt very alone and disconnected from my normal life. My treatment wasn’t going as planned and I wasn’t making progress. I was getting in trouble from the coaching staff because I mentally and physically wasn’t capable of attending classes and/or practice.

After deciding that my care was less than stellar in Michigan, my mom drove out to get me and brought me home. I received AMAZING care from my neurologist here in Rochester. She and her team helped me get back on my feet, literally and figuratively. I was diagnosed with Basilar Artery spasms due to massive amounts of swelling, severe post concussion syndrome and a spinal cord injury similar to significant whiplash. I would pass out spontaneously because the swelling would cut off blood flow to my brain. I had weakness on my left side and other side effects of a spinal cord injury. I was depressed, angry, and unable to do the only thing I ever did; play soccer.

I remember the day in Doctor Dombovy’s office so clearly. I remember the lighting, the posters on the wall, the smell; I remember it so well. Which is hilarious because my memory and cognitive functions have been less than stellar since the injury. But maybe I remember because my whole world crashed down around me on this day.  I remember hearing her say the words that I should never play soccer again. That another injury like this one would turn me into a vegetable. That I may have significant life long side effects from this. She prescribed me occipital nerve blocks (those are intense), antidepressants, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, steroids, sleeping pills, and most importantly, gave my soccer career a death sentence.

Life after soccer was a big change for me. It challenged the “Soccer is life, the rest is just details” mentality. I left EVERYTHING in Michigan, my boyfriend, all my friends, my college education, etc. Coming home was a huge culture shock. I was mean to my family and had no friends. My boyfriend broke up with me. Life wasn’t good for a while. I hated the fact that I was on so many pills and had so many doctors appointments. They weren’t helping me. I started lying about my whereabouts and hanging out with unsavory people. I got punched in the face by an idiot boyfriend and ended up calling my parents begging for them to come get me. I spent that night crying in my bed with my sister. I was so lost. I had nothing. Soccer was gone. My boy situation was a nightmare. My family was disappointed in me. I had hit rock bottom. Luckily my 17-year-old sister knew just what to say. She just reminded me that my family loved me and everything, eventually, would be okay. And eventually it would be.

I’m not quite sure when everything changed. I was so miserable. I think at a certain point I made the decision to try to focus on the positives. It was probably after my parents forced me into therapy. (THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!) My therapist changed my life. She helped me learn how to focus on the positives. I decided to stay single so I could work on Carly. I decided to focus on my friendships that were important. I decided to spend time with people who loved me. The people who are ALWAYS there for me, my family. I went to my sisters’ volleyball games and soccer games. That was hard. Watching them play and do what they loved forced me to acknowledge my own jealously because I couldn’t do it anymore. But it was their senior years, and because they were always there for me,  I needed to be there for them.

It was a big step for me towards getting better. And not even a month after I made these changes and pledges to myself, I was off my antidepressants and feeling more like myself. Soccer was gone and missing, but I was ok. And then I ran into Chris at O’Callaghans. And the rest, you might say, is history.

Chris has a love and passion for the game of soccer too. It’s probably one of the few reasons he even knew who I was. I was only a sophomore when he graduated from Webster, but I was one of the soccer girls that the upperclassmen knew. We instantly connected and bonded over soccer. He is the one who consistently pushed me to keep soccer in my life. And for that I am so very thankful. I’ve tried playing in some Recreation leagues over the years, but I play scared now. Scared to get hurt, scared of being a vegetable, scared to not play at the level I used too. I’ll never get back to where I was. And that needs to be okay. I’M STILL working on this.

It’s been almost 11 years since my injury. Every year around this time I become reflective and emotional. I long for even one more minute on the field. I crave the competition, the passion, the pride, the success. It was gone and missing for so long. But I am happy to say that thanks to Chris’s push in the right direction, and a call from one of my favorite coaches ever, Kent Brown, I have finally found a safe way to be a part of the game again.

Four years ago I took a job as a Girls Soccer Coach for Webster Schroeder.  It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only do I get to work alongside some amazing coaches that I continue to learn from, but I get to be a part of Warrior Soccer again. The 5 years I spent a part of Warrior Soccer contain some of the best soccer memories of my life. I achieved unbelievable soccer success under Coach Brown and learned so much about myself as a person. I am honored, daily, to have the ability to help other young girls achieve athletic and personal greatness through Warrior Soccer.

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A friend of mine asked me the other day why I coach. She caught me on a day where practice didn’t go too well and I was frustrated. I told her that I wasn’t sure. It’s certainly not for the money. It’s not because it’s easy. High school soccer season can take a toll on you. I spend A LOT of time away from my family and we joke that I have no life during season. But the 8 weeks of soccer season are a time when I feel like CARLY again. There’s something about a cool fall night and the glow of the stadium lights that just takes me back to a time when life was more simple. When life was all about soccer. Soccer is an escape for me. It’s a passion. So, I guess I coach because I want to share that passion for soccer with kids. It’s not just the soccer knowledge, but the camaraderie and the importance of being a part of something. Not just for them, but for me too.

I feel blessed that I get to lace up my boots and share my love and passion for the game with my girls. I am grateful that I’m still learning about the “beautiful game” from some excellent coaches that I used to play for and that are now my peers. I am beyond excited to help carry on the legacy of excellence for Warrior Soccer. I am thankful every single day, even the hard ones, for the chance to have soccer in my life again.

Soccer is a part of my life, BUT the rest of the details are now more important than ever. Soccer helped to form me into the driven, goal-oriented, passionate person that I am today. And that drive, and those goals and passion-filled moments have helped me create the life I lead today. Soccer is, and will always be a part of my identity. I am proud of all I have accomplished and all that is still waiting for me to do. Even though my journey didn’t go as planned, I can’t help but think there was a reason for it happening the way it did. I never would have come home and met my husband. I wouldn’t have the single most important lady in my life, MCG. And who knows, I may never have had the opportunity to coach with my sister by my side, and met some fantastic, talented, and amazing young girls who will do GREAT things in the world.

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Soccer will always be my first love. Soccer will always hold a special place in my heart.  Yes soccer may have left me with some baggage. My brain doesn’t work the way it used to and I’m forced to play “brain games” to sharpen my cognitive skills. I have a permanent ball mark scar on the inside of my right thigh and my shins sweat an abnormal amount even without shin guards. I still need occipital nerve blocks, and I will never be able to move my left shoulder normally. But its ok. Because even though there are things about each other that we don’t particularly like, soccer and I have no problems. And while our relationship may have changed over the years, I think we finally found a perfect compromise that makes us both happy.  And through it all, I still have soccer, and soccer still has Carly. And that’s all that really matters.

Thanks as always for reading, liking, sharing and commenting. Be well. Be Present. And remember to smile today.

Love, Carly xoxo

Love & Lobster

wedding

There’s a small box quote that sits on my entry way table. I found it in Hallmark and the minute I saw it, I knew I had to have it. I gave it to Chris for Valentines day one year because of our joint love for Lobster and each other. It reads:

“Love is like Lobster, Really delicious, but oh my God, it’s so much work.”

You’ll absolutely understand this if you’ve ever tried to eat a full Lobster. It’s complicated, time-consuming, requires a plan of attack and sometimes painful. But in the end, that Lobster is delicious and totally worth it.

As soon as I read this quote, I knew that it perfectly described my 10 year relationship with Chris. We have a great marriage and friendship, but its taken SO MUCH WORK to get to where we are. Our life may look easy or uncomplicated from the outside, but that is far from the truth. We’ve had to deal with things in our relatively short relationship that most people don’t ever have to deal with. It’s been a struggle, almost from day one. But it has been the most rewarding, difficult, beautiful, exciting journey ever and I wouldn’t trade it for easy any day of the week.

It’s been 7 years since Chris and I got married. That day was perfect. It was all about Chris and Carly and our love for each other. Since then, we have moved twice, built a house, lived with my parents, had a terrible puppy (sorry Chewbacca, but its true!), got pregnant, lived through the infant stage, said goodbye to loved ones, dealt with financial & legal issues, managed significant health issues and still managed to stay together. But we are a long way from that special day where it was all about Chris and Carly. It’s easy on a wedding day to be madly in love with your person. It’s the only job you have that day. But when you add in all the every day extras like careers, children, family, etc. it becomes so much harder to focus on the most important thing in a relationship, the two you.

You’ve probably heard people say that it’s important to date your spouse. I always thought that was a silly phrase until we had our daughter. It was easy to find time to talk and have fun when all we had to do was come up with an idea. It’s so much more complicated now to date my husband. I have to find a sitter, make sure MCG has dinner before we leave, set up bedtime stuff, and constantly check in. Even when I’m sitting at dinner, I’m thinking about if she went to bed ok, if she needed Motrin for her teeth, if I remembered to tell the sitter that she likes to sing twinkle twinkle little star before bed. Being a mom is all-consuming. I’m constantly thinking about MCG first. That’s not a problem per say, but it definitely complicates a relationship.

I’ll be the first to admit that my relationship with Chris has fallen down on my list of priorities. I hate that. I hate saying it. But recognizing it will hopefully help me fix it. It started during my pregnancy and has just been getting worse and worse. I was so sick when I was pregnant that Chris was pretty much on his own for food and love. Some nights I slept on the bathroom floor to be closer to the toilet incase I needed to throw up. There was no cuddling and definitely no intimacy (Sorry for the TMI mom!) I was stand-offish and needy.

Fast forward to bringing home a newborn and breastfeeding. I felt like a cow. I was the only one that could feed and take care of the baby. I was a postpartum mom struggling with my post baby body and new role as mama. Forget love and intimacy. I just wanted a good nights sleep and for all of my body parts to not hurt.

Fast forward to Toddler and Stay at Home mom life. Most days when Chris comes home from work I’m exhausted from trying to manage housekeeping duties, my own work, and our sweet and mischievous little beast. How can I be lovey dovey when my tank is on empty? All I really want is for Chris to do the dishes and tell me its ok to go to sleep eat 9pm.

So, How do I fix it? How do I make my relationship with Chris a priority? I’m not quite sure yet, but here is what I have figured out so far. Maybe it will help you rejuvenate your relationship!

  • Take some time for the two of you: We recently took a little overnight trip for our anniversary. It was AWESOME. Mom and Dad stayed with MCG (THANK YOU!) Chris and I went to Turning Stone for a round of golf and headed back to Del Lago for an overnight stay. We golfed, gambled, ate delicious food, had a great couples massage and spent some fun time together in the car. It was a little glimpse into the past. It reminded me so much of our trips back in the day. We held hands, drank wine, got a night of uninterrupted sleep and just had fun together. As much as we love our role as parents, coaches, teachers etc, it was nice to be JUST Chris and Carly together. No interruptions, no other people, just us.

 

  • Find something you can do TOGETHER: Chris LOVES golf. It’s his competitive outlet and he loves the challenge of different courses and getting better every round. I golfed some when I was younger (my dad loves golf too!) but wasn’t super interested in it until recently. Now, I’m glad that I got involved in Golf. I love being out on the course and challenging myself. But the best part is that I get to spend time with Chris while playing. It’s nice to have a hobby that we share. We sneak away for 9 holes whenever we can. He teaches me how to hit a flop shot and I teach him to stay out of his own head during a round. We have some drinks, listen to music and flirt in the cart! We have fun and spend time together. We can also talk about golf stuff off the course. Between favorite professional golfers, courses, apparel and golf news, we have expanded our conversation themes immensely. It’s nice to have that common interest and for me to like something that he is SO passionate about.

 

  • Give experiences not things: I left Central Michigan University on very bad terms. That experience is for another post, but you need to understand how bad it was in order for you to get this next part. I was seriously injured (concussion, spinal cord injury and a bad case of Post-Concussion Syndrome) and my coaches didn’t believe me. They pushed me to play and go to classes when it was unsafe and physically impossible. I had to “quit soccer” and come home to Webster. It was awful. I didn’t leave on my own terms and had minimal support from the CMU staff. Recently, we made a trip to Michigan for a Liverpool Soccer game and the plan was to drive through Mt Pleasant because I hadn’t been back in 11 years. Unknown to me, Chris contacted the current Women’s Soccer coach at Central and let him know we would be on campus. When Chris told me what he did, I was a lot of things; sad, angry, anxious, unsettled, scared. It was nice of Chris to reach out, but he really didn’t get why I was apprehensive and scared to go back. To make a long story short, Peter McGahey, the Women’s soccer coach, is a rock star. He welcomed me back with open arms, showed us all the facilities (new and old), gave us a program update, gave us some soccer swag and told me I was welcome back anytime. MCG was able to run on the track and in the turf bay where I spent so much of my time there and Chris was able to see my “college life.” After we said goodbye and walked back to the car I broke down in tears. I thanked Chris over and over for knowing what I needed even when I didn’t. That “closure” was a better gift than any piece of jewelry or amount of flowers he could ever give me.

 

  • Put down those phones: UGH. Sometimes I wish we could go back to home phones and answering machines. Sometimes I would rather have a conversation on the phone or in person than texting and emailing. Kids these days don’t even know how to have in person conversations. The art of talking to people is slipping away. When you speak to someone in person you have to look them in the eyes. You hear the intonation in their voice and can see in their body language how they feel. This is so important in a relationship. You have to be able to see when someone is holding back, when they are upset, or when they are excited. You can’t do that through a GIF or emoji. So put the phones down. We outlawed them at family dinner. We talk to each other after MCG goes to sleep. We decompress from the day, talk about work for 10 minutes, allow each other to vent if necessary. But we do it face to face.

 

  • Don’t stop feeling & talking: Its ok to be angry, annoyed, grumpy etc. especially with someone you live with. Chris hates that I leave cups all over the house and that when I get undressed for the shower I leave my clothes all over the bathroom. I can’t stand that he scatters mail and the newspaper all over every surface in the kitchen and living room and when he shaves he never cleans up sink. It’s okay to be annoyed with each other. It’s okay to be upset when someone makes plans without talking to the other. It’s not okay to not talk about it. When you become apathetic about each other’s actions, it’s a problem. You arent invested in each other at that point. Stay invested. Talk about WHY things bug you or HOW they make you feel. Keep talking to each other. The conversations aren’t always comfortable. But a coach of mine back in the day once told me that you can never get better unless you train uncomfortable. So push each other, have the uncomfortable and difficult conversations, it will help you learn and get better together.

Have you ever heard the phrase “You’re my Lobster?” For all my Friends fans out there, you probably recognize this as something Phoebe told Ross about his relationship with Rachel. For all you non-Friends people (go watch it, it’s on Netflix) but here’s a clip!

Click here to watch – Friends “She’s Your Lobster”

Lobster’s fall in love and mate for life according to Phoebe. And simply put, Chris is my lobster. It is fitting for how much we love seafood. He’s my one and only, my true love, my prince charming. He tests me. He pushes me. He makes me better. And although loving him may be so much work at times, just like Lobster, he is worth the challenge. And our love is so worth it.

So cheers to 7 years of marriage Chris! And to almost 10 years of loving one another with no exceptions. Thank you for all you do to make my life as imperfect and special as it is. I can’t imagine doing this life without you.

And to all of you reading, thank you for being a part of our journey. Your love and support is so important to us. I hope that one day you find your lobster. And if you already have, you relish the challenge of loving one another.

All my love,

Carly

MCG flew to Texas Ya’ll

Well guys, we did it! We made it back and forth to Texas with little to no incidents! We had an amazing time with friends and family and celebrated Andrew and Eden getting hitched! 4 planes, 4 ups and 4 downs and through it all MCG was a rock star.

I shouldn’t be that surprised. People say that kids are resilient and its 100% true. We had some tears, some delays (UGHHHHHH) and some jerks that weren’t very understanding. But overall, it was a successful trip and most importantly, I’m not scared to do it again!

Because things went ALMOST according to plan, I’d love to share my insight on traveling with littles.


Let’s start with Packing!

Bring enough stuff for your flight only Travel packs of wipes, snacks & enough diapers to make it through your flight and first night. Buy wipes, diapers, food and snacks at your destination if you’re traveling domestic!

Plan out outfits ahead of time and pack them together! Our outfits consisted of one pair of shorts/pants with 2 different top options. We had a few things we didn’t wear but were also prepared for outfit mishaps. When you pack, pack them in piles together. So much easier for grabbing things quickly!

Buy packing cubes or Large 2 Gallon plastic ziplock bags to pack things in  It makes it easier to keep outfits together and makes it so they don’t get lost in the suitcase. In our case, Chris and MCG shared a suitcase. This made it easier to keep her little things separate from his clothes. We bought packing cubes at our local discount store (Sierra Trading Post/Marshalls/TJMaxx/HomeGoods!)

Pack your own baby sheets! They had a Porta-crib for us in the hotel but provided NO bedding. Glad I didn’t forget this one! Also, ask for an extra blanket to make the “mattress (I use this world loosely)” more comfortable

Pack an extra lovey and blanket in your suitcase. God forbid you lose the special things in transit, at least you’ll have one at your final destination. Also, airplanes are DIRTY. It was nice to give MCG a clean blanket and her Eddie for bedtime!


Now airplane travel!

Even if your little is under 2, if they are walking, buy the extra seat   MCG is 15 months old and because she was under 2, she was considered a lap infant and we didnt have to pay for a ticket for her. Sure it saved us money, but it eneded up being difficult on the way home. We got lucky and she had her own seat on the way down to Texas. She was able to stand and move around and it kept her busy. We weren’t so lucky on the way home. She’s a little furnace and it was frustrating to her to not have her own space.

ALWAYS gate check your stroller & car seat (NEVER TO THE FINAL DESTINATION)    I sat in the window seat and watched how they treated car seats and strollers as luggage. OMFG. It was TERRIBLE! I highly recommend gate checking. Most airlines do not charge  either. Its super easy, just go up to the gate and tell them you want to gate check. They will tag your seat and stroller and you leave them at the end of the jetway. Then you pick them up in the same spot when you land.

Buy a car seat and stroller travel bag We bought a Britax travel bag for our car seat. It was awesome. It had wheels to drag AND backpack straps. We brought a light weight stroller and purchased a $12 bag from Wal-Mart for it. Once again, glad it was in a bag. The cheap bag took a beating. There are several tears in it, but it did a good job protecting the stroller. (Click on each picture for shopping link! – no I’m not being paid to advertise, I just liked the products!)

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USE A STROLLER IN THE AIRPORT We bought a light-weight stroller for the trip and I wish I would have bought it sooner! When MCG wasn’t in it, it either carried our luggage,  acted as a makeshift gate to block her in-between seats and was a “high chair” to feed her in.  The Summer Infant 3D-Trek Convenience Stroller was perfect for us! Click the photo for link!

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Take advantage of family boarding (or on Southwest, upgrade to Early Bird) If for no reason other than to get you as close to the front of the plane as possible, use the family boarding. AND SIT UP FRONT! Trust me, when its time to get off the plane with a screaming toddler, the last place you want to be is all the way in the back.


Lastly, Hotel suggestions:

Call ahead and verify amenities and accommodations We asked for a pack and play  but forgot to ask for a bathtub. Thankfully my sisters’ room had one. It was a pain to go up 2 floors for bath but the shower pressure was too intense for MCG. Request and verify a week beforehand to be sure you have what you need.

Get a Suite or adjoining rooms with family if you can – Baby’s nap. You have to be there while they do. Unless you plan on sitting in the bathroom or hallway for 2-3 hours, you need somewhere to hang out. Thankfully my parents had an adjoining room where I could hang out when MCG was napping!

Bring a monitor & sound machine – My hotel room was poolside so with the monitor I was able to keep track of MCG and socialize. We brought her sound machine so that she had a “normal” sleep setting and was as comfortable as possible! She slept AWESOME!


These are a few miscellaneous things that I learned that made traveling so much easier:

  1. Starbucks or other coffee shops will steam milk to “child temperature” so you can easily give your kids warm milk in their “bottle”
  2. BUY ONE OF THESE! It kept MCG drinking during takeoff and landing and made her feeling like a “BIG GIRL” drinking out of mommy’s bottle (click on photo for link)water bottle nipple
  3. WINDOW CLINGS & Stickers are lifesavers – I bought some from valentines day on clearance. They kept her busy for 45 mins. She stuck them on windows and on our faces. Whatever works!
  4. USE A STROLLER IN THE AIRPORT – YES THIS IS A REPEAT! We bought a light-weight stroller for the trip and I am so glad!! When MCG wasn’t in it, it either carried our luggage,  acted as a makeshift gate to block her in-between seats in and was a “high chair” to feed her in.
  5. Your little is going to cry and its ok! Most people are friendly and understanding because they probably traveled with their kids. As for those who aren’t, you’re never going to see them again so DON’T SWEAT IT!
  6. There’s never a “good time” to travel – we tried planning for flights during nap time. By the time the vacation was here, nap time was different. We found that the earlier flight was better because we had to wake her up SUPER early and she slept better on the plane. But honestly, it’s a crap shoot!
  7. Bring Motrin, Tylenol, and Benadryl – Benadryl and Motrin helped us a ton with pain and pressure from take-off and landing. Do yourself a favor and check to see how Benadryl reacts with your little before traveling. It doesn’t affect MCG at all (she gets it from her mama) but some kids get hyper. HYPER KIDS + PLANE = DISASTER
  8. You can bring as much food for babies as you want. They will probably test containers and a certain amount of pouches over 4 ozs will require a pat down at some airports, but bring enough to keep them from being hungry. Some TSA agents were less than friendly about it, but I knew the rules and didn’t let them bug me.
  9. Make sure to have extra clothes! Your little will spill food or drink on you & sometimes will even pee/poop/puke on you. Make sure you both have extra clothes! img_7906
  10. Take a deep breath. Try not to stress. Kids are resilient. They will probably do better than you!

I hope these little insights will help you as you go to travel with your littles. Moral of the story is that they are resilient and will do fine. We have a road trip to Michigan planned for the end of July. Hopefully I will have some good car travel suggestions after that trip!

I’ll leave you will a quick story that will help you understand that the only way to get through traveling with littles is with a bit of laughter:

We were traveling home on a 9AM flight out of Dallas. We had to leave the hotel by 6AM in order to return our rental cars and make it through Monday morning rush-hour in Dallas. MCG was a champ through the whole thing. She never cried and ended up sleeping for 2.5 our of the 3 hours on the plane. She woke up right as we were about to start our decent into Baltimore. We passed her over to GiGi and Papa so we could get all our stuff together and not even 1 minute later, we hear “oh no!” As per usual, MCG pooped after she woke up. What was unusual though, was that she blew out a diaper and it got all over my mom’s white pants.

We managed to get her cleaned up quickly by not without being stopped by the flight attendant. It seems that the “delightful” woman behind us was complaining that it was “inappropriate” to change a baby on the plane. That woman also told my mom that she should “go somewhere appropriate” to clean up her pants. Well LADY, the plane is on its final decent into BWI and technically no one is even allowed to stand up. I don’t care that you think its wrong to change a diaper on a plane. Where would you like me to do it? Would you rather my kid gets poop all over and gets stinkier and stinkier by the minute? Guess what, wipes work and get poop out of white pants too. GO FLY A KITE.

We got MCG cleaned up quickly, through which she still didn’t make a peep other than saying “hi” to everyone. I can’t quite figure out what made the lady so mad. It would have made sense if she was screaming the whole flight. That would have irritated me too. But she was just mad for no reason. Maybe she doesn’t have kids? Or maybe she just doesn’t care. But Guess what lady, EVERYBODY POOPS! EVEN YOU! My favorite part was that as we were de-boarding, she pushed passed Chris and didn’t follow the unspoken rules of letting the rows in front of you go first. What a B. Some people are just always mad. Looking back, I should have given her the dirty diaper.

What I learned here is that some people are inherently jerks. And I’m glad that Mom, MCG and I, all had extra clothes and plastic bags for poop clothes. And that I will always remember to be kind to people traveling with littles, because it’s a ton of work. And you just have to laugh through it all because, “the Dallas Housewife Poop Story” as my mom affectionately calls it now, will be a GREAT story we can tell for years to come.

As always, thank you for reading, sharing, posting, and following. I hope this helps even one of you going forward. Or at least makes you laugh!

Love you all!

Carly xoxo

Change is the Only Constant in Life (Guest Blog: Kim Tydings)

Note from Carly:

Guys, this is a good one! If you have ever experienced change (ALL OF YOU HAVE, don’t lie!) this will hit home for you or hopefully help you with change moving forward!

Today’s Guest Blogger is my not-so-little anymore little sister, KiKi, as MCG calls her! She was a Psych major at Fredonia and currently works as a teller supervisor at a local credit union. She’s a rock star Aunt, sister and best friend (I’m lucky to call her one of mine!) I’m thrilled she took a chance on writing for me and my blog. She embraces everything that I am trying to do here with this Blog. She’s honest and truthful and full of feelings! Enjoy her writing, I know I did!


Written by Kimberly Tydings

(As contradictory as that statement may seem, that Greek philosopher was definitely on to something) Change can be an overwhelmingly daunting thing. Whether positive, or not so positive, a shift in the norm is unsettling. Human beings are creatures of habit; when something comes along and throws a wrench in the plan, it can lead to a lot of emotion. Some people strap on that parachute and jump right out of the airplane embracing the challenge. Some people step into those cement shoes, safe on solid ground and avoid it.

While I don’t think I’ll be stepping in cement anytime soon, I’ve always been someone that loves existing within my comfort zone. I love knowing that I have consistency; I love knowing what I’m walking into every morning; I love being the one who has the answers; I love that I’ve known the closest people in my life for a good majority of, if not my entire life. As social as I am, I would still prefer to exist in what I refer to as “my bubble.” I’m happy within my bubble. But living within a bubble, no matter how cozy and safe, has its own pitfalls. No matter how nice it is, you’ll never really know what else is out there, and it could be even BETTER.

I do consider myself to be a flexible person. When small hiccups with plans or something at work occur, I can adjust on the fly and come out unscathed. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, I am the WORST when it comes to major life changes, and to be honest, I’m now realizing that I avoid them as much as I can. A perfect example of this is when I graduated college.

The weeks leading up to graduation were some of the most emotionally taxing weeks of my life. Everything was changing. I had just spent 22 years of my life on a path: you are born, eventually go to elementary school, then middle school and high school, graduate and go to college and get a degree.

But what comes after that is UNKNOWN. That is one of the scariest words to me. UNKNOWN? How can I NOT KNOW what to do or where to go next? My whole life up until this point had some sort of structure, and I loved that, and now you’re saying I have to choose where to go next? And on top of it all, I have to move away from the place and the people I grew to love so much over the 4 years I was there? COME ON. I was flooded with sadness, anxiety, confusion, nostalgia, and regret for the things I wanted to do but never did. I was also flooded with so much love, a realization of who my real friends were, an appreciation for what that time in my life meant to me and a sense of accomplishment for working hard for my education. I cried so much; I didn’t want things to change.

I guess I always equated things changing as a negative, but the older I get, the more I realize that change can be an AMAZING thing. Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad; and just because it may be better, doesn’t take away from the past.

Carly and Chris having McKenzie was a major life changing event. But it was such a GOOD change. That little sassy princess has been such a bright spot in all of our lives. She more than anything has shown me how change can take your life in positive and rewarding direction.

Change is inevitable. That doesn’t mean we have to suffer through it though. Here’s my 4 rules going forward on how to deal with this ever-changing constant:

1. It is okay to not be totally okay with what’s happening in your life – as my sister has said before, EMBRACE THE SUCK but don’t let it swallow you whole

– Look, not everything is going to go according to plan and you are allowed to feel whatever you are feeling in that moment. HOWEVER, don’t let it consume you. Put your big girl pants on and work hard to get yourself out of the situation you’re in. Not only will you take your focus off of the suck, but you will get a tremendous amount of satisfaction in accomplishing a new goal.

2. Get yourself a solid foundation of people who support you

– Another topic Car has focused on, for good reason. Change can be made so much easier if you know you have some constants in your life. My family and friends have been there for me through every step of my life. I know that no matter what comes my way, they will always be there and that alone provides so much confidence. These people are also the people who will encourage you to take that leap. Sometimes we all just need that extra push!

3. Take control of the changes in your life

– This concept is pretty simple: If you are in control of what path your life takes, then change won’t take you by surprise. Obviously there are going to be things outside your control, but when those things arise, YOU make the next moves. Don’t let fear or other people choose your path.

4. When in doubt, GO FOR IT

– This is probably the most difficult for any of us to do. When you see an opportunity, take it. Usually the things that could end with the most heartbreak or failure are also the things that could end with the most happiness. It’s a risk but how will you ever know if you don’t try? Admittedly, I really need to take my own advice when it comes to this one!

p.s. We only have so much time, don’t forget to enjoy the ride 😄

Kim

Caddyshack to Daddyshack

Carly told me I should write a guest post for her blog and honestly, with how much better she is at social media and sharing her thoughts, I feel kind of like I’m on Ellen or Oprah. My wife is the rock of this family and has impressed me in so many different ways in the 10 years since we met. I, on the other hand, sometimes feel like I really am her 4th kid behind the dogs and McKenzie. So I open with a heartfelt thanks to her for everything. Literally everything.

I am guilty of being a little less than generous with the sharing of my feelings. Not sure what that’s a product of, but I have numerous ideas. More on that maybe in another post. Carly has decided it is time to embrace the imperfections in our lives in order to become a better person and I couldn’t agree more with this philosophy. Especially in this time of 24/7/365 exposure to information, there are plenty of ideas on how to be a better mom, dad, kid, student, golfer, athlete, person, gardener, gamer, homeowner, renter, driver, drinker, non-drinker, friend…you get the idea. There is always someone telling you how you are supposed to be acting in every conceivable situation and/or how they are doing it better than you. Friggin’ exhausting if you ask me. I want to go back to the days when we were told to be ourselves, and that was good enough.

Being yourself is so hard. So you should never do it alone. Relationships are where the magic happens (in more ways than one). Am I too old to make that joke?

You are certainly built by your overall personality, and that doesn’t change as frequently if ever. You are shaped by your infinite amount of previous life experiences that no one knows anything about, even if they saw it on Snapchat or Instagram, #nofilter, #reallife, #hadtobethere. But you are also a reflection of the relationships you choose to maintain and strengthen.

Gee, Chris, thanks for the self-help talk.

You’re welcome! So where am I going with this? I’ll tell you where: Daddyshack.

Every phase of your life is different (this is where the changing self comes in). Your parents have warned you FOREVER that time flies and you should enjoy each and every moment because you’ll be “old” before you know it.

And dammit, they’ve been right every time.

When I found out I was going to become a father, on a golf course, via text message with a picture of the test, at 9 AM on a Saturday morning, you can only imagine the thoughts that ran through my head. Will I be a good father? Will I finish these last 10 holes under par? (I finished 2 over, PGA here I come) Where does one go to figure out how to be a father? Is there a course? Can I take it online? Can’t put anything on the internet that’s not true, so that could work. But, most importantly, in that moment I realized that life was going to change in a huge way. There were plenty of dudes out there that told me that life was “over” and I could say sayonara to golf on the weekends, strip clubs, riverboat gambling trips and eating meat. This bothered me in two ways. One, I felt like I was an outlier in that I was actually EXCITED to be a Dad and two, why the hell would I want to gamble on a steamboat?

Caddyshack was quickly going to become Daddyshack.

I was and still am pumped that this phase of my life is here.

We tried for so long to start our family. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think it was all over for me as a man and why I was so happy.

More importantly I think I was prepared because of my relationship with my amazing wife. In the 10 years we’ve been together, I have always thought we have pretty great communication skills (most of the time). I always get harassed for having to “check in” with Carly about plans after work, making tee times, going to sporting events etc. But I have always had a solution and a reason. Carly is my best friend (insert eyeball from the masses here). Cliche but entirely true. I can say this because we share so many great interests. Football, American football, golf, movies, superheroes, the outdoors, the list goes on. Sharing these things has always helped us connect and half the time “checking in” usually comes with an invitation.

Every relationship is different, I know this. There are many ways to be in love and have a successful relationship or marriage. I am definitely not telling anyone that “if you’re best friends with your wife, everything is wonderful! #besties #wifebff #ballandchainsoundslikefun.” That would defeat the purpose of my message.

You do you. If it works, it works. AND DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU HOW TO DO IT.

My relationship with Carly is the reason why turning Caddyshack into Daddyshack never scared me. Even though so many internet sources, books and other sources told me to prepare for the worst. That I should prepare to lose my trips to the pub, sporting events and tee times. Well, McKenzie was in a pub within the first few weeks of life, she’s going to a Liverpool match in July and Carly and I have plenty of golf outings on the calendar (yeah, I do have to keep a family calendar, so what?).

We want to expose Kenzie to all of our favorite things so that she can share them with us as well and eventually roll her eyes at them as well. So we keep on doing what we love doing and adjust as needed, because that little bundle of joy is the best thing that ever happened to us and she is our world. But that world does not have to be free of all the things that you enjoyed pre-toddler tantrum machine. Include the baby bear in all that you are able and enjoy what you can. We haven’t regretted it. Even when she is melting down because the straw fell on the floor for the 50th time or we wouldn’t let her play with the fork on the table.

Live your life. Take care of your partner. Keep your relationship strong and remember how you feel for one another. That is the foundation of embracing and enjoying all the changes that will come your way as you get older.

I’m not telling you I know how to do this. I’m just telling you I know that YOU can do this and anything else with the support of those around you.

Of course, I now have to golf at 6 AM and find myself singing the number of the day song from Sesame Street on the way there, but my game has never been better on and off the course.

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Gunga ga-lunga,

Chris

Checking off another “First”

Last night was MCG’s first night in her big girl room. I still can’t believe that she’s toddling around, saying 40+ words and growing into her own personality. At 14.5 months old she already seems to be more little human and less my baby. Every day she learns more and grows stronger. As I think about the last 2 years of my life (pregnancy-present), I find myself being very reflective. It feels like it was just yesterday that she was snuggled into her infant carrier while we strolled around Target at 4 days old. Or how I would lay her down to nap in her rock and play and just stare at her perfect face while she slept. Where has the last 14.5 months of my life gone? It seems to have vanished into thin air.

People would always tell me to relish the time when they are little; The quiet moments while they slept on your shoulder, the closeness of nursing, the sweet coos and the intoxicating smell of baby. At the time I truly thought I did a great job of being present and taking it all in. I still think I did the best I could to cherish those moments. But the evil truth of it, is that I don’t remember it very well. I look back now and wish that I would have done things differently. I suppose that’s why the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” exists. Every time MCG takes another step towards adulthood (I know, I know! Don’t be crazy Carly, she’s only 1!) I find myself becoming more overwhelmed with emotions. She’s just not a little baby anymore, and as a mama, this is hard to accept.

If you’re a new mom, a mom-to-be, a woman trying to be a mom, a someday in the distant future mom, this is my plea to you. Please listen. Take it all in. cuddle them more, you’ll never regret it. If you’re a grandma or a mom of grown children, teens, young children or toddlers, this is me telling you I get where you have been and I feel for you. These transitions are hard on us moms. Every time something changes, we realize they will never be the same again. This post is a weepy, sob story, love note from a mama of a not-so-little anymore baby telling you what I wish I would have done and what I am so glad I did while she was little. Take it or leave it, but know, I speak with my whole heart.

1. I wish I let MCG fall asleep on my shoulder more. She’s an incredible sleeper. We are so unbelievably lucky. We let her sleep in the rock and play until 4 months when we transitioned her out of our room and into her crib. After a couple rough nights, she fell in love with her crib. I don’t think I’ve ran into a lot of people that can say that their baby happily says “night night”, smiles when you lay them down, and consistently sleeps through the night and for naps. I would like to think that the reason she loves her bed so much is because we have made it a special environment for her. She has her soft sheet, her boo-boo, her aquarium and her “Eddie.” (Side note: Eddie is an elephant lovey from Pottery Barn kids that we named after Chris’s dad who passed away. She started using it when she was very little because she loves to have something close to her face. “Eddie” is one of the very few lovey’s we found to be small enough where we didn’t find it a safety hazard for her from early on.) But truth be told, we made her love her bed so much that she doesn’t want to sleep anywhere else, including on mama or dada. I should be happy about this, she’s a self soother and independent sleeper. But instead, I’m weepy. I miss those early days when she would cuddle in on my shoulder, when she would fall asleep while nursing. I wish I would have let her sleep on my shoulder more so I could feel her little heart beat and feel her tiny little rhythmic breath on my shoulder. I wish I didn’t always lay her down because she “had to be on a schedule.” I wish I would have cuddled her more. So cuddle your baby. Maybe they won’t be the best sleeper. But you’ll have that special time together. You won’t regret it!

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2. I wish I was in more pictures with MCG The dreaded postpartum “I look fat” don’t take my picture syndrome. It’s so real. I fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans around 8 weeks postpartum but I certainly didn’t look the same in them. People tell you all the time that it takes 9 months to grow a baby, so give yourself a break. It takes at least 6-10 weeks for your uterus to shrink back to your new “normal” size. Your body will never be the same. Embrace it! Own it! YOU GREW A FREAKING HUMAN and then…GAVE BIRTH. You are a ROCKSTAR LADY! That being said, hindsight is 20/20. I didn’t feel confident or comfortable or anything of the sort. I stayed out of pictures because I didn’t like how I felt or looked. And I wish I hadn’t! There are SO many pictures of Chris, the dogs, my family and friends with MCG. There aren’t a ton of me and her, especially early on. It makes me sad. I should have jumped in those pictures and been proud to have grown such a fabulous human. So listen to me ladies, get in the picture! Tell your hubby’s, your partner, your boyfriends, your people to take the damn pictures. I’m glad Chris didn’t listen to me when I said not to take them. I’m glad to have these memories. I’m proud of who I am, mama.

3. I’m glad we took MCG everywhere with us. MCG has been in many breweries, restaurants and pubs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s a regular at Barry’s Old school Irish and Maria’s Mexican restaurant in the Village of Webster. Don’t worry, if we are there, you’ll know it. Not because she’s a screaming maniac, but because she loves to greet all the tables and make her presence known. We’ve traveled with her and been on many adventures. It hasn’t been easy, but its been great making these memories with her. Last summer we went on a quick weekend trip to Lake Placid. It was a really fun trip, but also in the middle of a serious nap strike. MCG transitioned out of her infant carrier at 4 months because she hated it so much. That meant she had to be held if we went anywhere because she couldn’t quite sit up on her own. I remember eating one dinner that weekend in shifts. Chris would take a screaming MCG for a walk down main street while I scarfed down food. Then we would switch. Looking back now, we were miserable but made the most of it. Those memories are totally worth the aggravation. And while it isn’t exactly easy to dine out with a very busy and active toddler, sometimes it can be fun too. We have had very few experiences where anyone has been less than understanding. Most of the time we get smiles and I’d like to think we help people remember what it was like for them during their early parenting years. Most people are happy to see an adorable little kid with pigtails saying hi to them while waving their guacamole covered hands.

4. I’m glad I took weekly and monthly pictures of MCG At first I thought i was going to be THAT annoying mom posting weekly updates of her kid. I mean, who really cares what a 46 week old kid is doing? But I am SO GLAD I took the time to document her first year. What an incredible transition it is from newborn to 1 year old! It was great to have the weekly pictures to look at and compare. It was also a nice way to keep people who we don’t see as often in the loop as far as what MCG was doing. AND its a nice way to look back on her milestones and changes in personality based on the captions. I put all the pictures in an album (YES, PRINT YOUR PHOTOS PEOPLE!) and have all the captions written out as well. It’s easy to look back and see when she took her first steps and what her favorite things were. I think of it as a modern baby book!

5.I’m glad I let other people take charge of her care at times Being a Type A person usually means I’m in charge and in control of the situation. But babies have a funny way of making you check your ego at the door. They do what they want, when they want, and how they want to do it. If you think about it, they are little dictators. So when I, the Type A crazy lady became a mom, I had to learn that I couldn’t do it all. So I let others help. And I’m SO GLAD I did. Not only did letting others help give me the much needed break for my sanity at times, but it also made MCG comfortable with people other than just me. That break also allowed me to watch others enjoying the little miracle that MCG is. I realized when I took a step back and just watched my parents, my sisters and other friends and family interact with MCG, how much she had changed all of us for the better. She has been a true blessing in our lives. I’m glad I took the time to watch how much other people love and care for her. It fills my heart with such joy.

6. I’m glad we stayed up too late having dance parties and splashing in the bath tub Bedtimes can be pushed back if we’re having fun. It’s as plain and simple as that. Will we pay for it the next day? Sometimes. Was it worth the giggles and memories made? ABSOLUTELY. Get on the floor and play with your kiddos. Turn on some fun music and teach them to dance and sing and enjoy life. BeeGees and any disco music is a favorite in this house. We frequently stay up a little too late because we are having too much fun. Put on a swimsuit and get in the bubble bath with your kids. Splash and laugh. Water can be cleaned up with some extra towels. Make up songs to make wiping boogers easier (thanks GiGi for the boogie wipe song!) Try to make life fun for as long as you can.

7. I wish I took even more pictures and videos of MCG Thank goodness for TimeHop and Facebook memories. Each day I open up my app and see pictures and videos of my sweet, teeny, baby girl. But they aren’t enough. I wish I had more memories of the past year. I wish I took more time to capture those moments. But then again, I’m glad that I lived them instead. Our world has become obsessed with capturing memories. Its laughable, but many people see their life through a phone or tablet screen. As much as I would LOVE to see even more pictures and videos of MCG at that stage in her life, I’m glad I put the phone down and was present. Ask friends and family if they have pictures of your baby. My mom just sent my sisters and I this picture today with the caption “Hello my beautiful girls! This pic is by my desk and makes me smile. Look how little Kenz is! Love you all to the moon and back!” Just because you don’t capture a moment doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. And sometimes moments are meant to be captured. Those are the special memories you have in you heart.

As I stood inside the almost empty nursery this morning, I cried. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. She’s an independent toddler-lady who, aside from wearing diapers, could take over the world.  I don’t know why the big girl room transition has hit me so hard. I thought it would be her first birthday that made me break down crying. But for some reason this week has been the major transition. She went from being spoon fed to eating pouches on her own overnight. She went from needing to be carried out to the car and up the stairs to walking and climbing on her own. She all of the sudden seems to not need me as much. So the timing of the first night in her big girl room seems to be perfect.

And that gets me thinking, How many more “firsts” do we get to share with her? We were so desperate and excited for all them early on. I couldn’t wait for the first smile, the first crawl, the first word (mama!), the first foods, the first steps, and even the first night in her big girl room. Now I just want to press pause and hold off on all the rest of the “firsts.” She’s not ready! Or maybe it’s me who isn’t ready.

But ready or not, time doesn’t stop. It doesn’t slow down. And if my crazy life has taught me anything so far, its not to take any moment for granted. Life is simply too short to not enjoy every moment. So for now, I’ll put MY big girl pants on and go get the not-so-little MCG up from her nap in her big girl room. We both survived her first night and nap in her pretty, purple, rainbow room. And even though we’ve checked one more “first” off of the list, I’m grateful for all the “firsts” we have left. And tonight, if she’ll let me, I’ll cuddle her a little bit longer and let her rest on my shoulder. Because she’s only this little for a little while longer.

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As always, thank you for reading and being a part of my life. Be present. Be kind. Be well.

Carly xoxo

To: all the women (this Mother’s Day)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous ladies in my life! Today, all women deserve to be celebrated regardless of your “mom status.” Here’s my note to all of you. To all the women out there who are dog/cat/bunny/bird/any other animal mama’s: you are an excellent mama. You love your babies with all your heart. You don’t care if they are furry, covered in feathers or gills. Your love for them shows in how you care for them. You go mama. To all the women out there who are working mama’s: I’m not sure how you do it. But you are rockstars. You manage a career and a household. You are exhausted and stressed and still find time to show your littles love. You’re incredible. Whatever you can give, it’s enough. You go mama.To all the women out there who are Stay at home Mama’s: it’s not easy being with your kiddos every minute of the day. Sometimes it’s crazy, sometimes it’s lonely, and sometimes you just want to drive with the windows down with explicit music on instead of Elmo’s greatest hits. But you’ve sacrificed career, money, and sometimes sanity to raise your kiddos. And you’re doing a great job! You go mama.To all the women out there that want to be mama’s: your time is coming! Don’t lose faith. It’s a long journey, sometimes through treacherous infertility waters, but when your time comes, you will be a GREAT mama. Don’t give up. It’s worth it!To all the women out there who can’t have kiddos, didn’t have kiddos, or whose kids didn’t have kiddos: Your support as a part of any mama’s tribe is more important than you know. Just because you didn’t birth someone doesn’t make you any less important in our lives. There are so many women in my own life, other than my mama, that I couldn’t live without. Thank you for supporting everyone else on their journey, even though it may be difficult for you. I promise to share my kids and let you love them as your own. Thank you for being a wonderful woman!To all the women out there who have adopted or shared their children through adoption: you have either given or received the best gift possible. Thank you to my own mother in law for opening her heart to my Christopher. So many families have been made whole by the wonderful gift of adoption. So thank you for giving your child to a wonderful home. Thank you for allowing them to be raised by another family who needed them! You did great mama. To all the women out there who are grandmas: you make every day more special. Not just for your grandbabies, but for your kids too. You support and you love unconditionally. Thank you for being a shoulder to lean on, cry on, rest on, and love on! You’re an amazing lady Grandma/GiGi/nana/Mimi/granny/Grammy/etc!To my own mama: thank you for teaching me to live and love with such passion. I respect and admire you even more now that I’m a mama. I’m not sure how you managed to raise 3 successful women, but I hope one day that my McKenzie feels the same way about me. I love you mama. I admire your strength, conviction, and passion to help others. I hope that I am even half the mama you are to me. To my three kiddos: Darwin, Chewie and McKenzie. Darwin, you made me a mama for the first time. You taught me how to care for another living thing. I love your grumpy old man personality and how you won’t leave the bedroom in the morning without me. You always know when I need a little bit extra love. Mama loves you. Chewie, oh my sweet cuddly bear. Thank you for bringing me your prized possession, your hula squirrel, as a gift this morning. You are the kindest animal I’ve ever met, and all you ever want is love. Thank you for being our crazy doodle whose tail never stops wagging and whose heart is so full of kindness and love.McKenzie, my love grows every day for you. I can’t believe how fast time is going and I wish that it would slow down so I could savor these precious moments with you even more than I already do. I hate that you are sick with the sniffles right now but love the extra cuddles from my normally independent baby. Thank you for teaching me patience, overwhelming pride and a level of love I didn’t realize was possible. You are a true miracle to daddy and I. I love you and your open mouthed kisses more than life. To my husband: thanks for making me a mama. I love our three kids and our insane life. Thanks for being a part of my motherhood journey and for your constant support. I couldn’t be a good mama without you. To all the mama’s out there: thank you. Thank you for being a mama. For loving you littles. For teaching them to love and helping them grow. You got this. You’re amazing. You have given up your body, your rest, your time, your careers, your self. And you wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s scary, exhausting, stressful, but most of all, rewarding. Motherhood is the greatest gift in the world. So kiss them and hug them and love them until they feel smothered! Soak up your littles, no matter how big they are today. For they are the reason we are mama’s. Happy Mother’s Day ladies!