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Are you being the best mom?

Do you feel like you ask your self this questions frequently? Are you being the best mom? What does being the best mom entail?

I personally believe that everyone is being the best mom. We are constantly fighting with each other to see who can out do who. We are in constant competition to see who’s kids can wear the nicest clothes, have the nicest shoes, who has the most friends over at a play day. Let me tell you, this is absolutely tiring! I do my best not to be this kind of person, but it is easy to fall into the trap.

Are you ready to hear it?

YOU ARE THE BEST MOM! You rock the socks off those little people in your life. They don’t care if their socks match, or if their shirt has a little stain on it. They will NEVER notice if those clothes you got them came from a second hand store. Kids won’t notice if there are 3 people at their play date, but 7 people at Johnny’s play date.

Our children are only worried about one thing. That one thing is unconditional love from their family. They care about the hugs, kisses, cuddles, laughs and memories they are making with you. It is hard for us as parents to see that this is enough for them.

So be the best mom that is right for you. Don’t mold your self to fit someone else’s stands of what the best mom is. Only we can make that choice for your self. The stress of being perfect is real, it can  really cause some serious issues in our lives. Be true to your selfs and feel the stress wash away.

Remind your self of these things

  1. I am the best mom for my family.
  2. I am not perfect and that is OK.
  3. I will not compete with my fellow moms to out do one another.
  4. I love my children unconditionally and that is all that matters.

If you have friends in your life who don’t believe in these 4 key things, then you might want to rethink your friendship. I am not saying you have to cut them out of your life completely, but maybe limit your interaction to play dates only. Being around people who only believe in outdoing each other can be very damaging to our self esteem. You don’t need that. There are tuns of other moms at the play ground who feel the same way as you. Some as just afraid to admit it, as they don’t want to be seen as “outcast” per say.

Motherhood is not perfect, I am not perfect, and my child is far from perfect. ButI am the best mom to my family and that is all they care about.

Hang tight momma’s we got this together. It truly takes a village to raise our children. We might as well make it a village filled with the Best Moms, and that means all of you. Be kind, stay strong, believe in your selves.

❤️ Brittny

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Happy Halloween!

Wow! I can’t believe it is already Halloween! Where has the year gone? For the last 3 halloweens we have always gone to the same place in our town. This year we did something different. We went to my husbands aunt’s house. We recently reconnected with part of his family after 4 years, so it was nice to get together and spend time with everyone.

We had a fantastic time! Little man went as our version of Captain America. Little man has never been a fan of costumes and I previously purchased some and he flat out refused to wear them. So now we piece together our own outfits. On the plus side, they are not just for halloween, but worn year round. This year you can find me out with either a Fireman or Captain America. He loves to dress up as those to characters, and I love to fuel his imagination.

 

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I asked him to say cheese. He said, I’m not giving you no cheese, mommy!

 

We got an astonishing 4 buckets of candy, and it is now all hidden in the pantry, and the chocolate is hidden in the freezer. Just admit it, the chocolate is for the moms, and its more delicious in the freezer. We are very grateful that his aunt’s neighborhood puts on such a great Halloween for the children. We walked a lot, played a lot, and over all had an amazing time. I would say that the only down side we had, was it’s a HUGE neighborhood and no bathrooms. We had a bathroom emergency about an hour in, and since little man doesn’t know how to stand and go potty yet we were in desperate need of a bathroom. Luckily, the next street we turned on had a Sheriff Deputy and he was more then generous to let us use his bathroom. After about 2 hours of walking, Papa and Louie went back and got the truck to pick everyone up since we were so far into the neighborhood and the kids didn’t want to walk anymore, plus my legs were so done and going numb so it was time to head home.

I can’t believe that we have just celebrated our 4th halloween with little man, and next up is Thanksgiving and CHRISTMAS! I hope everyone had a great halloween with their little ones!

 

xOxO

 

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Difficult October

To say this month has been difficult is an understatement. Have you ever had one of those months, or heck one of those years? We have, and let me tell you they are awful!

Hurricane Matthew

At the beginning of the month we were hit with Hurricane Matthew. This was a huge hit both emotionally and financially. We were in no way prepared to be hit by a category 4 hurricane. To make matters worse my husband was away on business and we had very minimal money in our bank account.  Areas near the water were being evacuated as they expected terrible flooding up to 5 miles inland, strong winds, and massive power outages.

To begin preparing I went to our local Dollar Tree, and purchased flash lights, and lots of batteries. This was an amazing savings as most packages of D batteries can run you over $5 for a 4 pack in other stores. I bought enough packages to refill all out flashlights 3 times. Figuring that we would only be using them at night for approximently 3-4 days. About 2 days before the hurricane was going to hit, I went to the local grocery store to buy some items such as canned food, and water. With a very limited budget I was not able to buy much, but got enough to last us 2 days. I also took gallon size zip lock bags and filled them with water and placed them in my freezer on top of any frozen foods. This was a MASSIVE help once the power went out. It helped keep our food cold for an extra day. FINALLY, the day before the storm hit my husband was finally able to come home. This was such a huge relief to me. The though of taking on the hurricane by my self with a 3 year old was terrifying.  I was going to evacuate to my best friends house, who lives in the panhandle but the traffic on the roads was horrible from everyone else evacuating. The last place I wanted to be was a sitting duck on the highway. So at home we stayed.

The day before the hurricane hit we started to get bad weather, but we still had power. I took this opportunity to start cooking the food we had in the fridge that I knew would go bad once the power went out. I also had 7 dozen frozen cookie dough pucks from a fundraiser my sons school had held a few months prior. So I figured, hey why not bake all the cookies. When I get bored I want sweets something fierce. So I started baking. It also helped keep my mind off what was coming and helped me stay relativity calm. While baking I prepared Go Bags, for our clothing, food, and essential items should we need to evacuate to a local shelter.

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Finally, its Friday the day the hurricane is going to hit us. We are trying to see what is going on with the storm, but we lost power at 8am and lost all out cell signal as well. We watched the storm outside our windows and waited for the worst to come. Occasionally we are receiving text messages from my family in South Florida, and I am having my mom update us as to where the storm is. We got extremely lucky and did not receive any damage to our home, other then our fence being slightly damaged and losing all of our food. To say we got EXTREMELY lucky is an understatement and a true blessing. At last minute the storm moved more off shore, saving us from severe decimation. Although people in our town received varying amounts  of damage, with lost roofs, downed trees, broken windows, crushed cars, etc. Our neighbors in Flagler Beach and to the North of us St. Augustine and Jacksonville received severe damage to their homes and businesses. Some still uninhabitable today. We have seen our community come together to help each other recover, clean, and rebuilt and its a great thing to see.

After the storm

This was the worst for me. I am still struggling with the lost of my grandmother, and this made the realization that she is gone come to the forefront. She was always there for us when ever we needed anything, even if we didn’t want or truly need her help. Here I was, just having gone through a hurricane, I lost all our food, and we were without power for 5 days. The financial stress of know we didn’t have the extra money to spend to pay all the bills due, and purchase all new food was difficult for me. My husband had to return to work the Monday after the storm, so I was here alone again to think about everything that was going wrong and how much I wanted my grandma back. I finally broke. It’s been almost 3 months since she has been gone and I have been holding back that grief and the dam broke. I cried for an entire day, if you looked at me I cried, If you talked to me I cried, I cried watching tv, or when my son would tell me he missed his great grandma so much. It was a messy day for sure. But, I made it through and we are doing ok. We are slowly rebuilding, and most companies are helpful with things like bill due dates, etc because of the storm. We will get through this, that I am sure of. Our struggles only make us stronger.

 

Goodbye October,

Brittny

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Michigan, Our Dream Adventure!!

What is your dream adventure? My dream adventure is to move to Northern Michigan with my family, find a nice piece of property and maybe start a little farm. I love the outdoors, which many may not know because we currently live in Florida and it is impossible to do anything with out getting heat stroke 4.5 seconds after walking out the front door. Summer days sky rocket to 113 degrees outside by 11:00am and only goes down to the low 90s by the evening time. I know I have shocked some by saying that I love the outdoors, because it has been years since I have been able to do anything outdoors with out the risk of passing out due to the heat and this little thing called a heart issue.

When I was younger I use to go camping a lot with friends and it was one of the best times of my life. I remember one weekend we went out and somehow ended up camping under a small bridge in this area with these amazing dead trees. Looking back it was a little creepy, but it is still one of my greatest memories. I remember waking up that night and it was so cold, one of those rare winter nights in Florida where is was probably only 60 degrees but felt like the new ice age. These are the memories I want Chief to have, fun times outdoors and not in front of a tv set or video games.

Why Northern Michigan you ask? Well my response to this has always been why not? What do we have to lose? Yes, we know its going to be a major change and adjustment in weather. Yes, we could choose a state closer then Michigan. Yes, we know that is snows A LOT in Northern Michigan and Yes, we know that we are going to be thousands of miles away from our families. But this is our life, our adventure and we have to make the best out of the time we have. Plus, have you seen Michigan? It is an absolutely beautiful state, and there is so much that we can do outdoors with our family. We are looking forward to camping, exploring, visiting the great lakes, taking a trip up to the Upper Peninsula and possibly Canada. But I would have to say that the thing I am looking forward to the most, is our FIRST true Fall.

So what is our plan? Well we plan to list our house for sale this coming spring. We are hoping that it sells rather quickly and that we will be able to move before winter begins in Michigan. If we sell later in the year, then our plan is to wait out the winter and move up in the Spring. Once we sell our home here, we will take a trip up to Michigan to begin our home search up there. We are hoping to find a property that has no less then 5 acres and no more the 10 acres, unless we come across a piece of property that is larger and we just love. My hopes are that we can find an old farm house, with the iconic old red barn. We have seen a few homes available that meet that criteria and are absolutely beautiful. That would be an absolute dream for me.

We have started to talk to Chief about our move, to get him prepared and ready to move from the only home he has ever really know. We bought a large map of the United States and we use it almost daily during our homeschool classes, and we have shown him the path we will take when we move, and what states we plan to travel through. We have also talked about the adventures we will take and the things we will do. Since he is so young, I don’t believe that he will have an issue moving away from his friends. He has one best friend named Hadley. Her mom Nikki and I are best friends as well. We will miss both of them greatly when we move, but they are also starting a new adventure of their own as they will be moving to Connecticut. Nikki and I have already started to plan our visits with each other and the kids. We will be a few states apart, but not as bad as if we are in Florida.  We look forward to making new friends, and starting new activities. Our first major thing we will work on is finding a great homeschooling group.

So, no matter what your dream adventure is. No matter how scary or outrageous it seems, just go for it. (Well, unless its dangerous then just stay home.) Life is very short, and you want to do everything you can with no regrets. We know that our adventure is scary, but we also know that if Michigan doesn’t work out for us then we can just move back to Florida. I am sure my mother would welcome us with open arms. But what I know 100% for sure, is that we don’t know if it will work or won’t work until we try. I don’t want to be 40-50 years old saying, man I wish we would have at least tried.\

Make sure you stay tuned to follow our journey from Florida to Michigan.

 

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Losing Someone you love

This blog post is a difficult one to post, but I feel it is very important to post for any parents who may be going through something similar. Dealing with losing someone you love is something we never want to discuss with our children. But sadly it happens, see how we dealt with it as a family

How our family started

My husband and I started dating almost 8 years ago. I instantly became close to his family, as family has and always be the most important thing in my life. The one person I became the closest to was his grandmother. She was one of my best friends, not a day went by where I didn’t speak to here at minimum of 2 times a day. Usually I spoke with her more like 5-8 times a day, which yes seems like a lot but I called her about everything. Usually we had over big conversation of the day which lasted any where between an hour or three, just depending on what we had to talk about, and then we had many little calls about lunch, dinner, what she was up to, or just to randomly call and tell her something.

She was such a big part of Chief’s life. She along with my husbands aunt watched him as an infant, during the week while I worked. He saw her often, and spoke with her every time I was on the phone with her.

The diagnosis

Grandma started complaining a lot in December/ January about having bad back pain. She went to the doctors multiple times and they kept telling her that she was having back spasms and gave her some muscle relaxers. On one visit they thought maybe it was her gallbladders, but after an MRI it revealed that she only had one gallstone and most likely was not the cause of her pain.

After months of complaining she called me early in the morning crying that the pain was so bad. Finally I was fed up, I was taking her to the hospital to find out what was wrong with her. We arrived in the emergency room and were immediately taken back to a room, they ordered a CT scan of her chest and abdomen. The ER doctor came back and we spoke with him outside her room and he told us that they found a mass on her pancreas. I instantly knew it was cancer, no test had to tell me. I realized in this moment I was going to lose one of the most important person in my life. What I was not prepared for was how quick it would happen.

She was admitted to the hospital for more testing, and I explained to her that they found the mass, but we didn’t know yet what it was. I stayed with her the entire night, not sleeping and pacing the halls like an anxious parent waiting to hear bad news about their child. It seemed like the test to confirm the cancer was taking a lifetime. The next afternoon the doctor came in and explained what was going on, and what we were waiting for. Once he was finished talking to us, I went into the hallway with him to ask about the test results. He checked right there on the computer, and I saw him pull up the results and I knew what they meant the instant I saw the red numbers. It was confirmed, she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and he said she only had about 6 months to live.

Leaving the Hospital

Once we left the hospital, we made an appointment to meet with the oncologist and he gave us even worse news. He didn’t think she had 6 months, he said more about 3 months.  I was completely devastated, how was I going to handle this, how was my son going to handle this? They were so close. He referred us to Hospice, and told us to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Well months passed and she did great, she had days where she was in a lot of pain and other days where she was completely fine. We registered her with hospice and got a great set of nurses to work with. They helped with her pain management, and anything we needed.

Hospice Home Care

Then the time came, 4 months after she was diagnosed and 1 month later then the oncologist gave her, she started to get weaker, started to forget things, and was no longer able to care for her self. I had made the decision and promised her over a year ago when I helped her put her brother in hospice that she would not go into a home, that she would come live with us. So in July she moved in with us. My 3 year old was ecstatic that his great grandma would be here every day with us. The day before she arrived we set up her room, we had all of her supplies delivered by hospice, and we hung pictures on the wall to make it like home. (we briefly converted our downstairs play room into her bedroom) Our first 2 weeks were great, she was happy to be here and was doing well. I made sure to spend as much time talking to her as possible. My son spent all day loving on her, showing her toys, playing and talking her ear off.

We tried to capture every moment with her while we could. Giving her all our love, hugs, kisses, and laughs. I feel that this is important that all children should spend these last moments with their loved ones. Even on her worst days, a quick kiss or hug could give her lots of energy and made her so happy. We must not treat them as they are sick, but as they are our family and soon they will no longer be there with us, so we should make their final moments happy ones. My all time favorite day, was the day I introduced grandma to snap chat. We took lots of photos, and I will always cherish them as they are from the last day before she started to become much more forgetful.

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Time to say goodbye

Not long after this amazing day she started to eat and drink less, and then the time came. She woke up late Wednesday night and was very confused, she went back to sleep but when she woke on Thursday she had trouble breathing and was put on constant oxygen, the hospice nurses came right away to check on her and let us know that it wouldn’t be long. We made sure to talk to Chief and explain what was going on. We had spoken with him many times before and told him that soon great grandma wouldn’t be with us any more, I explained that soon the angles would come to get her and that she would go to live with them. He was obviously upset and confused that she would be somewhere he couldn’t see or talk to her anymore, but its important that he understood that she didn’t just disappear with no explanation.

By Friday afternoon I knew she wouldn’t make it through the night, hospice came out and confirmed that soon we would have to say goodbye. We called my mother in law and she rushed from work, and eventually the rest of the family came to say their goodbyes. We brought Chief in the room and he climbed into bed with her and gave her a hug and a kiss and she smiled, more then she had responded the entire day. Once everyone left it was just my mother in law, my husband and our son left at the house.

Later that night a hospice CNA  arrived to assist us as the time got closer. We stayed in the room the majority of the night with her, just briefly coming out to close our eyes for a few minutes to return right back to her side. Then at 5am I had just come out to close my eyes for a moment and the CNA came out to get me, it was time. I held her hand, kissed her, and told her how much I loved her. I went upstairs and woke my husband, I crawled into bed and cried my eyes out then pulled my self together to get back down stairs. I held her hand, and hold her how much I loved her until the moment she took her last breath. 7/30/2016 at 5:13am she was gone, she passed peacefully in loving care of her family.

Telling Chief

That morning Chief woke up, and we explained to him that she had passed and that the angels came to take her away. He ran to her room to discover that she in fact was gone. He was upset but understood that grandma was in a better place and that she was no longer in any pain. He still talks about her quite frequently, we go to visit her grave at the cemetery, and he talks to her outside sometimes while he is looking to the sky. This journey was one of the most difficult ones that I have ever taken and I would not change one thing about it.

I hope that if you are dealing with a similar situation, that you would choose to include your child(ren). It is helpful to not only family member who is dying, but also to the children who will ultimately have to deal with their passing. Make sure to take advantage of any resources you may have. Hospice was such an amazing help to us during and after my grandmothers care. I would not have been able to do any of this with out their help. We will also be taking advantage of their bereavement programs that they offer as well. If you don’t think that hospice home care is something that you can do, they have inpatient facilities that your loved one can go to once their symptoms are no longer manageable at home. Our facilities locally are beautiful and amazing, and you receive the same care there that you would at home.

We love you grandma and no day is the same with out my daily calls to you.

❤️Brittny

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Turning 30 years old!

Well, this week it finally came. I am 30! Where did the time go? I feel like I was just a care free child playing outside until the street lights came on. I had a great birthday week. We started out on Tuesday with a trip to one of my favorite cities, St. Augustine, FL. We took advantage of their locals special they are offering for the month of September, where all residents in my area are welcome to ride their trolley for free and experience some of the local attractions.

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We first started out getting our tickets from Old Town Trolley Tours St. Augustine, and we got tickets for the trolley tour, the Old Jail, St. Augustine History Museum, Potter’s wax museum, and the Old Drug Store. Although we did not make it to the History Museum, or the Old Drug Store, we plan to go back soon and visit those attractions.

The Old Jail

Our first stop was to the Old Jail. I was a bit worried as we brought along Chief who is 3, and the inside of the jail on the first floor is kind of dark in the beginning of the tour. He did ok, but wanted to be held during this portion. It was very interesting to see the jail, as this was an actual jail in St. Augustine that was used from 1891-1953. During the tour you are guided by “inmates” in period dress, and are guided first through the court yard where they use to hang prisoners(very eerie), women’s cells, maximum security, the kitchen, the Sheriff’s living quarters, and then upstairs to general populations and the Sheriff’s private bedrooms. You are then left to wander on your own, exploring the cells, and information posted on the walls. You can see that the cells are very tiny compared to today’s prison cells and seem very inhumane as we are told that many times there are more then 4 prisoners to a cell.img_1506

Trolly Tour

After our visit to the Old Jail we took the trolley tour around the city with our driver Robert. He was a fantastic driver and narrator as we passed historic areas of downtown. As a frequent visitor it was nice to finally take a complete tour of the city and become familiar with some areas we have never seen before. Our tour lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes and we enjoyed every single bit of it. Chief did get a little antsy towards the ended but he stuck it out.

There are 24 stops on the trolley ride where you can hop off and explore, and then pick up the next trolley as it comes by. Mt favorite stop on the trolley is St. George Street. I HIGHLY recommend that you hop off here and explore this pedestrian walking street. There are lots of unique little shops, restaurants, and more.

Our favorite areas to stop on St. George are Colonial Quarter, it is absolutely beautiful, so much that we actually got married here under their great big oak tree filled with beautiful lanterns. Our next favorite place to stop is right across the way at Fudge Buckets, this is a must stop location. Head in to sample homemade fudge, and amazing ice cream or if your feeling extra hungry stop at their sister store Burger Buckets located not far from this location. If you head into Burger Buckets make sure to ask Gary, what he recommends to eat. He has never steered us wrong and our food is always amazing. After our trolley tour we had dinner at our favorite restaurant as mentioned above, Burger Buckets and then headed home for the evening.

Wax Museum

We returned back on Thursday, my actual birthday to visit Potter’s Wax Museum. Now this is an attraction that I would not recommend for young children as it can be a bit frightening and unnerving. While it is a very interesting attraction, it was nowhere near my favorite place to stop. The museum is filled with many historical figures, famous actors/actresses and professional athletes.  I am 30 (yikes) and it was terrifying to me, which is odd because I love all things creepy and scary. I love a good horror movie, but this just seemed way to real. I even briefly braved their horror section and quickly ran back out. Each wax figure is expertly made, and they were even crafting their next figure that will be joining their museum next week, Mr. Ray Charles. It was very interesting to watch their process. I can’t say that I won’t ever go back for another visit, maybe next time I won’t feel so anxious, but I can say it won’t be high on our list. Of course if we do visit again, it will be without Chief.

If you are interested in seeing this attraction at night, they do offer a ghost tour that stops at this location as it is reported to be a very haunted building in St. Augustine. Eeek!

Dinner Time

We of course made another visit to Burger Buckets for dinner after our visit to the wax museum. We had an amazing dinner, we shared their Bite of Fire Burger, and Extra Meaty Chicken Wings. Mmmm, everything was so amazing. I finished off my dinner with an amazing banana split sundae, where I went with the traditional toppings. You can choose your 3 ice creams and toppings. Chief got his famous scoop of Superman ice-cream on a cake cone, which is vanilla ice-cream tie dyed red, yellow and blue. They have tuns of different options for dessert such as milk shakes, ice-cream cones, key lime pie on a stick, frozen bananas, and of course lots of fudge to choose from! All their fudge is home made right there at the Burger Buckets location. Go check them out, you won’t regret it!

I do have to say that turning 30 was a lot better then I expected. We had a fantastic time visiting St. Augustine on both days, and we will be returning again in the future, as this is one of our favorite date locations. If you haven’t visited yet, we recommend that you do! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, as some of the roads are cobblestone and can be a tad uneven. Check our the Visitor Information Center, for information about local attractions, restaurants, shops and more!

❤️Brittny