The Time For Change Is Now

Like many, I have been struggling to find the right words. When I finally feel like I have found them, I am reminded that words alone don’t matter much. Actions speak far louder than words. But then I am faced with another racist or ignorant meme when I scroll through social media and I want to use my words once again. It’s hard… Because how do you promote change in people who have no desire to change?

It is my duty to speak up. It is my duty to stand with POC. These statements are true because I am white. I have white privilege. Its not a hard statement for me to make. I can tell people about my privilege because it is a factual statement. It isn’t a Scarlet Letter that I need to hide from. Its something that simply exists. It just is.

The term white privilege sparks outrage in so many. It shouldn’t. White privilege isn’t meant to make someone feel shame. It doesn’t mean you haven’t worked for anything in your life. It doesn’t mean you are “rich because you are white.” It doesn’t mean you have never gone through hard times. That’s not even remotely what it stands for.

Privilege allows for me to do hundreds of normal everyday things without even thinking about them. I could list 101 things I can do without fear simply because I am white. Things a POC has to think twice about and prepare for (like making sure they don’t wear a hoodie when they go for a run).

I can sit in my car and read peacefully. (Keith Scott)
I can wait by my disabled vehicle for help. (Corey Jones)
I can take a jog. (Ahmaud Aubrey)
I can take a ride in a car. (Jordan Edwards)

I can use a counterfeit $20 Bill. (George Floyd) – Because at the very extreme end of this, I might serve a little jail time if I get a hard ass judge. But we all know, I would have just been asked to leave the store without the items I was trying to buy. Maybe the cops would have been called. Maybe I would have been taken into custody had the store decided to press charges. But you can bet your next paycheck I would have been released within the hour and given a court date. I would still be alive.

There are so many names. So many instances where an innocent life was taken. Had these individuals not been a POC, they would still be alive. And if you are not familiar with their stories and the charges that were or were not filed against their murderers, you should take the time to learn about them.

Nobody is saying cops’ lives don’t matter.
Nobody is saying looting is right.
Nobody is saying you need to be ashamed you are white.
Nobody is saying violence is the answer.
Nobody is saying all lives don’t matter.

What we are saying is that racism and systematic oppression is alive and well. It exists. We are drowning in it. POC are drowning in it.

When you say “All Lives Matter,” it just doesn’t make sense. All lives mattering would include POC. That’s the issue. All lives cannot matter until black lives matter TOO. That’s the point.

The looting is a reaction to inaction. Its that simple. Read it again. The peaceful protests that have been going on since the days of MLK are always met with resistance. Or worse, they are met with silence.

That’s the other side of privilege. My privilege affords me the choice to remain silent. I can stay comfortable if I stay silent. My life doesn’t change if I stay silent. POC cannot remain silent. Because whether they are loud in their protests or whether they mind their own business, they are still being killed. They are still having the cops called on them for walking down a street because they “don’t belong there.” Or maybe they asked a woman to leash her dog in an area that required dogs to be leashed… Surely this warranted a call to 911. How dare someone be so threatening?

We are living in a very bizarre time. Armed protestors upset over being asked to stay home during a pandemic came together to fight for their civil rights. Because this is a “free” country and nobody is going to tell them how to live. How dare the government ask you to wear a mask? How dare they shut down businesses so you can’t shop and get a haircut? The President applauded these people. They weren’t asked to “move back.”

Meanwhile, peaceful protests in the BLM Movement aren’t so lucky. Holding signs and chanting, “Black Lives Matter,” and “No Justice, No Peace,” was just too damn much for y’all. It doesn’t matter where they stand, they are told to “move back.” There’s no place for them… That’s the message. And when they don’t “comply,” when they choose to practice their First Amendment Right (just like those armed protestors mentioned above), they are met with tear gas and rubber bullets.

And you are still wondering why they have resorted to the very loud, very aggressive approach of looting and setting the world on fire?? They aren’t being HEARD. They aren’t being SEEN. They are being pushed aside, arrested, murdered, SILENCED.

So, while they are very much aware that looting “isn’t the answer,” what is?? Because they have been trying to have their voices heard for over a century. They are tired.

The shift in focus always gets me. It happens so seamlessly; it happens swiftly. We went from shock and horror about what happened to George Floyd to outrage and disgust over looting. The narrative has now been changed.

Change. It. Back. It is long past time we recognize that Systematic Oppression and Racism is real. And if you still think it’s all bullshit, I ask you this:

If someone came to you and told you they had the ability to make you black instead of white, would you take them up on it with zero hesitation? It’s just a skin color, right? There’s no difference between the two except that one has more melanin than the other, right? Your everyday life would remain the same, correct? So, you should be fine with the change.

As an ally, its my job to do whatever I can to stand with POC. Not only am I not for racism, I am anti-racism. So I will continue to sign petitions, I will continue to educate myself, I will continue introducing different cultural opportunities to my children, I will continue using my voice. I will do these things and more.

To POC everywhere:
I see you.
I hear you.
I respect you.
I stand with you.

Rebecca Taylor – Ally #BlackLivesMatter


The Picture

We found you yesterday. We all had expected the worst but you are still alive. I’ve been trying to stay positive because you’re alive and that’s a miracle in itself. But you aren’t remembering things, you can’t really talk, and you can’t grasp anything in your hands. You aren’t staying awake for long periods of time and overall, you seem confused. We don’t know much and only time will tell what the future holds.

Yesterday I cleaned and baked; took Olivia for a walk. I was just doing the normal daily routine and trying to stay busy. Staying busy keeps the mind from wandering. Today I have had less motivation to stay busy so mindlessly scrolling through Facebook wins.

I was holding Jameson and Olivia was sitting half on my lap and half on the couch. I had my hands full like always. I picked up my phone and started to scroll when I came across moms Facebook post. It was an update on you along with the Missing Persons poster that the police had shared. Your picture was there; you looking handsome with your perfectly messy hair and crooked smile. Your expression somewhere between, “Should I smile with my whole mouth?” or, “Do I just give them coy?” I stopped and just stared at it for a moment. Feeling stuck between sadness and wanting to giggle because you always have that unsure look on your face when someone asks you to pose for a picture. There’s something deeper to that about you, of course. That constant unsureness…

My favorite pictures of you are the ones I have taken when you weren’t looking or unaware. The ones where we are all together and laughing and I catch you in a moment where you are just being your most vulnerable self. It doesn’t happen too often but the times I have captured it bring me a joy I can’t really put into words, at least not fully. When you laugh, like really laugh, your whole face opens up. You do this thing with your head where you kind of look down or look away like you don’t want us to see all of that light at once. But it’s there… Its bright and sweet and genuine.

I got off track here, because this is really supposed to be about Olivia and her reaction to your picture. So, there we were, the three of us on the couch when I came across your picture. And I really only held my finger there for a moment before I started to scroll again when she said it, “Travis.” But when she says your name it sounds like “Chavassss.” That, in and of itself, is hilarious. An inside joke that only the siblings would understand. Lol. So, she says it and I was certain she was saying something else and I just kept scrolling. But she said it again, “Travis!” She just kept repeating your name and getting frustrated with me until I went back to your picture. When I finally went back to it, she points at your picture and very excitedly says, “Travis. Uncle!” The moment really caught me off guard and I just started to cry.

There is so much significance here. For one, I was shocked that she noticed it was you in a quick scroll and called you out by name. The thing is, I shouldn’t have been shocked. She’s incredibly smart for her age. And I talk about you all the time. Whenever I come across pictures of us, I point you out and say your name, tell her that its Uncle Travis. And you and I have had FaceTime Chats on the phone that Olivia always ends up taking over so she can tell you all about her day. But the truth is, she hasn’t seen you in person since right after Christmas and even then, it was a very brief encounter. It’s been almost four months since she has physically been in a room with you. But she recognized you nonetheless.

Secondly, you have said countless times over the past six months that Olivia doesn’t know who you are. You have mentioned that she doesn’t remember you since you haven’t been around much. I have tried to assure you that she does know who you are because I remind her. And its true. But I can understand why you have been worried about that. And even I had a brief moment of disbelief when she recognized you by picture this morning. But I really shouldn’t have had any sense of doubt. And you shouldn’t either. Let me tell you why…

Its not about how many times I have said your name or shown her a picture of you. Sure, that helps keep you in the back of her mind but that’s not why she knows you, Travis. From the time that I brought her home you were so sweet with her. You were nervous about holding her but you did because you wanted to feel that closeness with her. As she got older, I watched you read to her and play with her. As she became more mobile, you play wrestled with her and pretended to let her win as she crawled all over you. You made her giggle and I watched you smile. Those are all significant moments in her life. They made an imprint on her. YOU made an imprint on her.

You always doubt your light, Travis. You doubt whether or not you have anything to offer the people around you. You shouldn’t have these doubts. You are smart, charming, kind… You are special. If you don’t want to believe any of us since we are family and we “have” to say these things (we don’t), that’s okay.

But you know who you can believe? Olivia. Because she clearly has nothing but good memories up there in her subconscious about you. Enough so to pick your face out of a Facebook scroll and say your name with excitement. She loves her Uncle. And so do I.


A Letter to My Firstborn Before You Are No Longer My Only

mom-baby-hands

As I sit here watching you dance to your favorite music and listen to you belt out the chorus in your sweet little voice, I can’t help but think back to 16 short (and long) months ago. Its hard to believe that this time last year we were getting ready to celebrate your First Christmas. In December of 2018 you tried solids for the very first time, you were teething something fierce, and you were giving me all the baby giggles and coos. Talking has always been kind of your thing and I love it. It seems like a lifetime ago but I also feel like those moments were just yesterday. Its wild watching you now…

You are fearless and strong. A perfect mix of sweet and sass. You use your entire little body to dance and when you sing it comes from deep in your belly; I am positive the neighbors can hear you. You crack yourself up at your own jokes which keeps me laughing because you’re laughing. You are never too far away from a book. I don’t know what you love more, music or books, but the love and passion you have for both amazes me and makes me so happy. You are definitely my little girl. You already show signs of feeling things deep in your soul and, if I am being honest, this excites me and terrifies me. The world can be a cruel place for someone who feels everything but it can also be so beautiful. Trust me. Living this life with your eyes completely wide open will take you so very far.

I always knew I wanted you, but I never realized just how much of an impact you would have on me until you were here. It is true what they say about babies changing everything. Its sleepless nights, endless worry, constant anxiety wondering if I am doing it all wrong, and so many tears. Especially in the beginning. It’s pure joy, laughter, amazement, and true unconditional love. Its hearing you say “Mama” over and over again and never getting tired of it. Its grocery shopping with your dad when he tells me we should have pasta and you yelling “Pasta” as loud as you can in agreement. Its dancing with you in the living room and reading you each book you bring me countless times a day. Its having you come up behind me when I am cooking to hug my leg and say “hi” in that tiny voice of yours. It’s also me counting to ten approximately twenty times a day when you test my very last nerve with your sass. It’s SO MANY MESSES. Life has been a whirlwind of firsts and emotions since you arrived. We have had to learn things together over these past 16 months; we are still learning together. I really can’t imagine a life without you. You will always be my firstborn; the one who made me a mama.

As for this December? Well, this December we add one more. One week from today, we will go from a family of three to a family of four. Your little brother will be here and I am feeling all of the feelings. You are going to be a big sister and will no longer be my only baby. You will be sharing me and I will be sharing you. I am excited and nervous and already thinking of ways to ensure you feel special. Because even though you are my tiny social butterfly who loves playing with other little kids and gets sooooo excited at the sight of other babies, I am sure there is going to be some jealousy. So, we will just have to have extra snuggles and dance parties. But I also know you are going to be the best big sister and I can’t wait to see how you take your little brother under your wing. You are going to teach him so many things. You both are going to give me a run for my money and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank you for being the sweetest little girl. Thank you for giving me the chance to do something extra special with my life. Thank you for slobbery kisses, endless snuggles, surprise messes, and monster chases. Thank you for the challenges; the journey we have shared figuring it all out together for the first time. Thank you for the sass. Yes, the SASS. Because with that strong little personality, I know you are meant for great things. It makes me proud. Exhausted, but proud nonetheless. Most of all, thank you for just being you. Thank you for your unconditional love baby girl. You are so very special and I won’t let you forget it.

R. L. Taylor

 


To My Husband On Your First Fathers Day

I didn’t think it was possible to love you any more than I already did, but then our daughter made her whirlwind of an entrance into this world and there you were. Comforting and rocking her when I couldn’t. Holding her close so she felt safe because I was unable to do that for her in those first several hours. You helped hold her to my chest for the first time because I could barely lift my arms. And then you were right by my side helping me navigate the world of breastfeeding. You held our brand new daughter up and guided my hands because I was too weak to do it on my own.

Those first couple of weeks were some of the hardest in every possible way. But you were right there, ready and willing to help me care for this new, tiny life. I always knew you were going to be a great father, but I figured there would be some fumbling and nervous hesitation when met with a fragile 6 pound 11 ounce little being. There was none. And if you felt any kind of nervousness, you hid it magically. Holding and caring for our daughter just came so naturally to you. I have never felt that kind of love… Watching you give your all to this perfect little creature.

Today is your first Fathers Day, and in a little over a month, our little will be turning one. ONE. It’s been almost a year of watching you grow as a person, a husband, and a father. And while every single moment hasn’t been unicorns and rainbows, you have shown me a kind of love I never knew you could possess. It’s given me so much pride and comfort. I’m proud of the man and father I chose to spend this life with. I find comfort in knowing our daughter has a dad who will always be there. One who will stand up for her rights, and for her.

I watch as you play with her and make goofy noises to get her to giggle. It’s refreshing.

I listen during some of her worst moments when you are trying to calm her and your patience could rival that of a monks. Admittedly, you have more patience than me and I like to think I have endless patience when it comes to our spirited daughter. Lol. It’s one of the things I am most thankful for.

I know whenever I’m in the room she reaches for me endlessly and it breaks your heart, but I swear she is never more excited than she is when you walk in the door at 4:30 each day. Her face lights up in a way that makes my heart so happy. I promise when I walk into the room she isn’t cheesing the way she cheeses for you.

That five to ten minutes you spend with her before you head out to the wood shop for your second job are the best minutes of her day. Because if I’m being totally honest, when you walk back out that door, she stares at it like her best friend just left. Every. Single. Day.

There are moments I see myself in her physically but she is a true reflection of you. My favorite moments are when I look over and the two of you are staring and laughing at each other. You’re basically twins. My heart actually feels like it’s going to burst from my chest in those moments. The love I feel is indescribable.

You tell me you never feel stressed about carrying the financial weight. I’m sure that’s not entirely true but you never complain. I never thought I would give up being a contributor to the household bank but being able to stay home to take care of our little sweet was important to both of us. You have done so much to make that happen.

I watch as you get up at 4am to make that trip to D.C. everyday. Then you come home from the job job to do the second job. I see how tired you are. I know your body is sore. But you do it day in and day out. You come inside when dinner is ready, we eat, and then you take over and do the bedtime routine so I can have a few minutes of down time alone. And again, you never complain. I’m beyond blessed.

If all of that wasn’t enough, when I came to you and told you I wanted to make a dream a reality, you wholeheartedly supported me. Because even though being at home with Olivia is the greatest gift, I want and need more. It was important to me to get my own business off the ground so I could hopefully contribute again financially but also still be home to be hands on and not miss a thing. And since it was important to me, it became important to you.

We have worked so hard to build a foundation that can stand up against whatever is thrown our way. It’s taken us years to get where we are and I’m so thankful for all of it. It’s made us stronger as a couple.. As a team.

You may leave an entire ocean of water on the bathroom sink each morning after getting ready.. You insist on wearing shoes inside the house unless I threaten you with bodily harm (and even then you only listen if I have just done my floors), and you may be on your phone way too much.. But none of that truly matters when I see how you are with our daughter.

So Happy First Fathers Day my love. Thank you for all that you are, all that you do.. Thank you for being the absolute best father Olivia could ask for. We are both so lucky. We love you, forever and always.


My Birth Story

Rebecca, we need to take the baby. Right now.

I had, what I would consider, a textbook pregnancy. We had been trying for over a year and had suffered loss, so to say I was a little cautious and apprehensive when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter is putting it lightly. I wanted to make the right choices and follow all of the “rules” and for the 39 weeks that I carried her, I did. I took my prenatal vitamins, stayed active, made healthy food choices, and cut caffeine cold turkey (even though I knew small amounts of caffeine was perfectly safe). Sure I indulged occasionally, but I was never healthier than I was when I was pregnant. Over those 39 weeks, the consensus was the same at each doctor’s appointment: She was healthy, growing, had a strong and steady heartbeat, and all tests for her checked out perfectly. So, when my water broke on July 25th, 2018, I was ready. We were ready.

My water broke at 3:10 a.m. I woke up to go to the bathroom and when I stood up, it was as if someone was popping a water filled balloon. All I managed to say was, “Oh my God.” My husband woke up in a panic asking me what was wrong and I just simply told him my water broke. I was calm and relaxed and feeling excited because I was finally going to meet my baby girl. Dave was less calm. Lol. Watching him run around trying to pack a bag (that I had told him to pack weeks prior), was pretty entertaining. I leisurely brushed my teeth and got changed, grabbed my bags that were already packed, and went to get my phone to call the hospital and my doctor.

After a brief conversation with the doctor, I decided we would wait at home for a while because I knew we had time based on the timing of my contractions. My doctor told me to make sure I was monitoring the baby’s movements because she should have been more active than ever. If he hadn’t told me that, I am not sure what the outcome could have been. The truth is, from the time my water broke to the time we got to the hospital, I only felt her move once. It was so unlike her; she was a very active baby in the womb. Dave was the one who pushed for us to go to the hospital when we did because he wanted to be on the safe side of things. I am so thankful he did.

After we arrived at the hospital and got checked in, they took me to triage for the initial work-up. Within minutes, the nurses were on edge. They started telling me to roll on my side and kept having me switch positions. My little one’s heartbeat was low, very low. At one point her heart rate dropped to 50 BPM and one of the nurses left to call my doctor. After several position changes and an oxygen mask placed on my face, her heart rate was back up to a decent rate and everyone calmed down.

They took me to the room where I would deliver and instructed me to stay on my side and leave the oxygen mask on my face for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t a comfortable position to be in, especially with my contractions becoming closer together. The nurses were in and out of my room frequently, checking on her progress. Each time a nurse came in and looked at the fetal monitoring paperwork, they would show me where things weren’t progressing the way they wanted. Her heart rate was all over the place and each time I had a contraction, her heart rate would dip lower. I stayed as calm as possible and just continued doing as I was told, hoping that things would even out and that we would labor naturally and get back on track to having this baby. Unfortunately, my little one had other plans for me.

I had just told Dave to make the calls to our families that I was at the hospital. The plan was to keep them updated and have them come to the hospital once I was dilated a bit more. Dave was on the phone with my mom when a nurse and my doctor came in to check on my progress. After several hours, I was only 2 cm dilated. They reviewed the seemingly endless printing paperwork coming from the fetal monitoring machine and didn’t seem too thrilled with what they were looking at but my doctor said she would be back soon to check on me and started to leave. Just as she reached the door, the nurse called out to her and told her to come back and look at what was happening. I was having another contraction and apparently my little one’s heart rate dropped drastically. That’s when the doctor looked at me and said the one sentence I am still having nightmares about:

Rebecca, we need to take the baby. Right now.

That was it. The nurse pushed a button and medical staff started pouring into my room. There was no explanation and no dialogue other than my doctor instructing everyone on what to do. I had so many hands on me as nurses were sticking things on my body, inserting IV lines, and moving me to a portable bed. It all happened very quickly. I managed to look over at Dave as he hung up the phone mid-sentence and saw him suiting up to accompany me to the OR. We didn’t even make eye contact as I was being pushed out of the room; nothing was said between us because there just wasn’t any time.

They pushed me into the OR and there were a ton of people already in the room. It was cold, the lights were incredibly bright, and every single person in that room was running around, gearing up, and getting things ready. It was an organized chaos all around me and my body was being pulled and tugged in every direction as I listened to my doctor yell out instructions to everyone. I can’t really describe my feelings in that moment. I was confused, I had so many questions, and I was scared. For the first time, I was really scared. Terrified actually. It was all happening so fast. They were all communicating with each other but nobody was really talking to me. I had no idea what was happening or why (it was all explained to me after the fact). The medical staff worked like a well-oiled machine which I am forever grateful for. But it was an awful feeling not knowing anything.

As they transferred me to the operating table (metal slab is more accurate), one of the nurses told another to roll me over for the epidural. I heard my doctor say, “No. There’s no time for that. Get her under now. We need to take the baby.” At this point I am looking to anyone for some guidance and comfort. I was so cold and shaking so hard that my teeth were chattering, and I felt so alone. I remember asking where my husband was as they put the mask over my face and I was told that he wasn’t allowed in the room. That’s when I finally broke. Up until that moment I had kept my shit together, but that was it. The tears started falling and, in that moment, a doctor took my hand. I don’t know her name, but I wish I did. She was my angel in the OR. She leaned over and said, “Rebecca, I am the in-house doctor. Look at me. Focus on me and look into my eyes. I am here. Everything is going to be ok; we are going to take care of you both. Just stay with me.” And I did. I have never searched someone’s eyes like I did in that moment. I was filled with so much fear and I needed something, anything, to hold onto. The last thing I remember is saying a silent prayer and then I was asleep.

My daughter was brought into this world at 1:29 p.m. on July 25th. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice. I didn’t get to witness her coming into this life but I am told she passed all of her tests with flying colors in those first moments of life. She was healthy and strong. She got to feel her daddy’s arms first and spent the first several hours of her life with him as I was still on the operating table.

I was in surgery for hours due to internal bleeding from two ruptured arteries. From what I have been told, two doctors stood on either side of me and each held an artery closed for over an hour while they waited for a specialist to come in to try and stop the bleeding because they couldn’t. I lost over 1/3 of blood in the process. Thankfully, the specialist was able to get things under control and stop the bleeding. Apparently, my uterine walls were completely broken down. When they opened me up they said everything looked as if I had been pushing and in labor for over twelve hours. The tissue was disintegrated which didn’t make sense because I only labored with contractions for a few hours and never pushed. I was only the third case in twenty-five years where this had been seen and they have no explanation for it. Yay me! Lol.

I woke up from surgery alone. There was a nurse standing over me and all I kept saying was, “Where is my daughter?” They ensured me she was safe and with Dave but I was so on edge. I was agitated because my brain felt foggy and I was trying to piece together what had happened. I was wheeled to my room where my doctor met me to discuss everything about the surgery. I didn’t care to really listen because I just wanted my baby. I can’t really describe that feeling either. It’s a feeling of hopelessness, confusion, panic. I just kept asking where she was and my doctor said that Dave would be bringing her to me shortly. But I wanted her right then and there. I had already been awake for over thirty minutes and I hadn’t even met my daughter.

I think that has been the hardest thing for me in all of this. The entire experience was nerve racking and stressful. Not having Dave next to me, not being able to say I love you before I was taken away, the feeling of complete and utter aloneness as I was being put under, all of it was awful. But not being able to watch my daughter come into this world and hold her in those first moments has been hardest of all. It was all like a dream, really. I went to sleep pregnant and I woke up not pregnant. I woke up and had no idea where she was or if she was ok. I woke up and she was no longer curled up nice and warm in my belly; nestled right under my heart. And I didn’t get to experience the first moments of skin-to-skin bonding with her and that was so very important to me.. I’m not sure the depth of my feelings could ever really be put into words because they are just so raw and deep. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

When I finally got to hold her for the first time I was so overwhelmed with it all. I wanted to be alone with her. I wanted the world to stop so I could get back what I felt I had lost. I sadly needed assistance holding her at first because I was so weak from the blood loss and the drugs had me in la la land. But I finally had her in my arms and I got to see for myself that she was ok. It was the single greatest moment of my life. To look down into her little face after carrying her with me for 39 weeks was incredible. She was my entire world. Everything that had happened didn’t matter in that moment.

I started writing this weeks ago and I am just now at a place where I am ready to share my experience with the world. I wasn’t even sure I was going to because it was such a personal experience for me and I don’t like feeling vulnerable. But I am sure there are many mamas out there that have had their own scary experiences and I wanted them to know they aren’t alone. And writing it all down has helped me cope better with everything we went through. I am just so thankful for my beautiful, strong, and healthy little girl. We are extremely blessed.


Baby Name Game

name

Choosing the perfect name for your baby is way more difficult than people let on. My husband and I have had baby names picked out for years and I never gave them a second thought until I actually became pregnant. Then we were both going back and forth on whether or not what we had chosen was what we actually wanted. After all, you are choosing a name for this little person whom you haven’t even met yet and it’s a name they are stuck with forever (usually). Here are just a few things that pop up in the named debate:

What Will The Nickname Be?

So this wasn’t something I thought would be a thing because I always knew that whatever we named our child would end up being what we referred to them as. I suppose I have lived my whole life as Rebecca. Only those close to me call me Becca (never Becky), but for the most part I am always referred to as Rebecca. That’s how I introduce myself, and that is how people address me in my professional world. I love my name and see no reason to shorten it save for the occasional endearing nickname a loved one has given me.

But what about kids at school, teachers, other family members?? Everyone wants a nickname. So when you pick out a name, you almost have to figure out what it could be shortened to and then you have to decide if that’s something you are ok with calling your beloved child. It is no easy task.

Can The Name You Choose Be Turned Into A Cruel Joke?

Name your kid Harry and every kid will be using Harry to describe every part of your child’s anatomy. Choosing a name that won’t turn every fourth grader into a Rhyming Ronnie is important.

Initials.

Why for the love of all things chocolate, did someone have to mention initials to me? I am forever grateful but boy did that make for some sleepless nights for me. Once I started thinking about monograms and if my child’s name would spell out something awful I couldn’t get certain combinations out of my head. No matter how much I liked a name, if it ended up spelling out R.A.T. or R.O.T. I had to trash it and start over.

Does It Sound Intimidating When You Need To Yell?

This may not be a problem for some people. But I have practiced my mom voice more times than I like to admit using the full names I had picked out. It needs to flow effortlessly and also send chills down their spine so they know I mean business.

Does It Belong To Someone You Dislike Very Much?

Obviously I didn’t have any problems picking out names I liked because I already knew which names were a hard no based on people I am not a fan of. Explaining to my husband why we could never use one or two names he mentioned because I literally couldn’t stand someone who had that name was an entertaining conversation.

Did Someone Steal Your Name?

Ha! Ok, so you can’t really steal a name. Or can you? Insert evil laugh here. Names are for the taking but it definitely sucks when someone you know uses a name you have been saving for years because it’s like watching the entire future of your unborn child change before your very eyes. It’s silly but it is a very real thing. We had a boy name picked out and then someone I know named their son that. I told my husband it was no go. We had to throw away the idea and start from scratch. For months we went back and forth because he didn’t see the big deal. Alter a very long time, I agreed that if that was the name we really wanted we would still name our son that (if we had a son).

After second guessing myself and my choices a hundred times (my husband was set from the start), I finally decided that the names we had chosen all those years ago were the ones we loved. I guess I needed to run through all the tests myself before I was happy with the choices we made.

Here’s the problem, if we have more than two children we are screwed. It took us approximately three years to agree on one girl name and one boy name. And after debating name alternatives over the last four months I can tell you we are in for some trouble if we ever have a third. Lol.

Wishing all you momma’s to be lots of luck on your name journey!

Rebecca


Pregnancy Symptoms Nobody Talks About

cupcake

With pregnancy comes a plethora of symptoms that everyone warns you about. Most notably fatigue, nausea, the constant urge to pee every 20 minutes, being ravenous, and the reminder that your hormones will have you laughing and crying all within the same five minutes. These are all symptoms moms-to-be expect and prepare themselves for. But what about all the symptoms nobody talks about?

I am not ashamed to admit that I have used Google more times in the past 20 weeks than I have had to scurry to a bathroom to pee. And that is saying a lot because I pee like 15 times a day. What can I say? I am a total Google Whore.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones who has never experienced any abnormal side effects from creating/growing a human being. You, my friend, are a beautiful Unicorn. If you are like me and you have questioned every single thing you have ever heard about pregnancy because you feel like you are alone in your weirdness, stay calm. I am here to list all the symptoms that nobody ever talks about. At least, nobody I have had the pleasure of knowing. So feel free to bond with me over the shenanigans that is my reality…

Dry Mouth and a Horrible After Taste

Every blog, every pregnancy app, every baby book, and just about everything else that talks about “what to expect,” had prepared me for never ending supplies of extra saliva. Everyone made it sound like the inside of my mouth would feel like the Atlantic Ocean when, in fact, my mouth was drier than the Sahara Desert. I have never felt so parched in my entire life and there was nothing I could do to make it better. It didn’t matter how much water I drank, how many cinnamon candies I popped, or how often I chose soup over solids, my mouth was dry. Because of this I felt like I had a constant bad after taste in my mouth even though I barely ate any food in the first 12 weeks. Apparently, my saliva glands don’t work during pregnancy.

The Constant Need to Brush Your Teeth

I think dental hygiene is very important but even I have to admit that I have crossed a line when it comes to brushing my teeth. Maybe it was the whole dry mouth/bad taste that had me reaching for my toothbrush every hour but I am genuinely surprised I have teeth and gums left.

It didn’t matter if it was 2:00 in the afternoon or 3:00 in the morning, if I could sneak away to brush my teeth I was doing so. People at work probably thought I had a condition because I was always being stopped with a toothbrush in hand. I can’t explain it but the need for clean was too strong to ignore.

Round Ligament Pain

Look it up, read an encyclopedia on it, enroll in Med School. Just do whatever is necessary to learn about it. Because I had never heard of it before pregnancy. Sure everyone talks about back pain and “aches and pains,” but nobody ever actually explains round ligament pain and they certainly don’t tell you it’s nothing to worry about. The first couple of months I was convinced my unborn child was being ripped from my uterus. I couldn’t understand why it hurt to walk, sit, stand, laugh, cough… It was like a constant punch to the gut.

After calling my doctor and trying to explain this odd pain that came and went as it pleased, she finally says those three words. And do you know she said them like I was supposed to know what they meant? She said it as casually as telling me she had a Veggie Burger for lunch. Luckily, she explained what it was and told me it was nothing to be concerned about. Just another part of creating human life. Yaaayyyyy…

Sore Boobs and Headlight Nipples

I know what you are thinking: “Everyone knows about sore boobs!” Well, yes, you are correct. Everyone tells you it’s one of the first telltale signs of pregnancy. And boy are they right! I knew I was pregnant before I missed my period because of these bad boys. But what they don’t tell you is that it never really goes away.

The soreness changes but it never really ends. At least, it hasn’t for me. In the beginning it was excruciating. I honestly wanted to chop them off; every slight bump and gust of wind sent me into a tailspin. Thankfully, over time the severity of soreness has changed. But I find that my boobs are just sore all the time in general. By the end of a long work day they just feel tired and bruised. Battered boobies. Lol.

Oh and the nips. My nipples are “on” 24/7. Nobody ever mentioned hard nipples were a thing until after you give birth. But mine are living their best life and they want the world to know they are there.

The Occasional Peeing of the Pants

Yeah, another one for the “after you have a baby” symptom that actually starts before baby is even here. Not to brag, but I have always had a champion bladder. I could go an entire day holding my pee with zero issues pre-pregnancy. My bladder gets the last laugh though because every time I sneeze I have to pray to the bladder gods to see me through without wetting my pants. And it doesn’t matter if I had just relieved myself 20 minutes ago. If I go into a sneezing fit, by the fourth sneeze it is pretty much a given that I will be losing another piece of my dignity one squirt at a time.

Bloating and Horrible, Shameful Gas

Ummm… Yeah. So not only does my stomach bloat up every time I eat something (no matter how small), my gas could rival that of an entire locker room full of football players. I have so much air that needs to escape I am surprised it hasn’t started coming out of my ears. I have never experienced such horrific gas and my husband is convinced I need to see a doctor. He isn’t satisfied with word from the OB that this is something most definitely normal and caused by this beloved child we will soon meet. He has asked me on several occasions to excuse myself to the restroom when I feel the urge to which I reply: fuck that noise. If I did that I would never leave. He will just have to love me through this very difficult time.

I Am So Effffinngg COLD!

I am always hot. It doesn’t matter what season or where I am, I am always on fire and I need air conditioning like the Pope needs Jesus. So imagine my surprise when I realize that has all changed and I can never get warm. I am always freezing and there is not enough heat or enough blankets to keep me warm. I was told something about blood flow and baby and blah blah blah. All I know is I am relating to every single elderly woman at work who has an extra sweater, a blanket, and a space heater on at all times of the year.

I am sure there are other very random symptoms I will find along the way. And I will continue to embrace them as they come because I just know it will all be worth it when Baby T arrives.

What about all of you pregnant momma’s out there? Care to share any of your questionable symptoms?

Rebecca

 


6 Healthy (and Easy!) Pregnancy Snacks

healthyfood

Eating healthy is something we should all do but I am very much a flawed human being and I like carbs, and sugar, and Moscow Mules… You get the point. But this whole pregnancy thing means I should be extra conscious of what I am putting into my body. It’s not just me after all and I am kind of responsible for the growth and health of this little bean for almost 10 whole months.

The first 12 weeks were hard for me because I couldn’t even think of food without wanting to vomit. But after I got over the initial “food is enemy” phase, I kicked my butt into gear and started thinking about all the ways I could add nutrients to me and Baby T.

I find that I am ravenous in the mornings. Which is so not normal for me because I have never been big on breakfast. But now I wake up and want to eat all the food. I find that I am less hungry around lunchtime and dinnertime is a complete crapshoot for me. Some nights I am starving and other nights I just really have no desire to eat. This yo-yo appetite isn’t the best for baby so I have started buying/making smaller snacks that I can eat throughout the day. The key is making sure they are healthy and filled with nutrients but I also need them to be yummy.

Here are my go to healthy pregnancy snacks.

Apple and Cheese

We know we should stay away from soft cheeses but there is nothing wrong with a hard cheese like Cheddar or Monterey Jack. Snacking on an apple and cheese can give you the much needed fiber and calcium you may be missing. I love a Granny Smith Apple with some Sharp Cheddar. Check out Wegman’s or your local grocery store for the single snack size cheese packs. They make it so easy!!

Fruit and Cottage Cheese

I keep a tub of Cottage Cheese at work and usually pick up whatever fruit I am feeling when grocery shopping to add to it for a quick snack. I prefer strawberries usually but occasionally I will grab blueberries or pre-cut mango chunks from Wegmans to throw on top. If I am really tired, I will buy those 100 calorie Breakstone Cottage Doubles so I can grab and go without the added fuss. Fresh fruit is always a better option but I am not opposed to easy. This snack can offer a great source of calcium, folate, and protein.

Hummus and Carrots

Pick and choose your favorite fresh veggies but I almost always reach for baby carrots. Wegman’s (clearly my fave grocery store), carries to go packs of hummus that are super easy to throw in my bag and eat on the run. It is one of my favorite work snacks and with all of the different flavors Wegman’s carries, I haven’t gotten bored with it yet. Hummus and Carrots can provide fiber, iron, Vitamin B6, and protein to name a few very important nutrients you and baby need. But don’t stop there! Throw in some broccoli, tomatoes, celery… Whatever your stomach desires.

Banana and Yogurt

So this is kind of my go to breakfast. These days it isn’t enough to fill me up so I have to add another addition, but this is kind of a staple in my diet. I typically eat two bananas and a yogurt of my choice every morning. Most people will tell you to reach for the Greek and they are absolutely correct that it is healthier for you. And while I do buy Greek occasionally, I usually stick to Activia Yogurt because I like the flavors and it’s just enough yogurt for me to feel satisfied. It is still a great source of calcium, it’s a probiotic, and I find other ways to get my protein. Bananas offer a great source of Vitamin B6, B12, and potassium (which can help with that dreaded heartburn).

Egg Sandwich

Oh Eggs… Eggs are known as a magical food that can make everything better. Unfortunately for me, I have never been a huge fan of them. I don’t dislike them but I am also not running to my nearest farm begging for fresh eggs either. However, eggs are an amazing source of Vitamin D which is super important in pregnancy. It helps build your little bean’s immune system, bones, and teeth. Eggs are also a great source of choline which helps with the brain development of your little one.

So I have found the best way for me to consume eggs is on an English Muffin with cheese. Not the absolute healthiest way to eat them but I simply run down to the little café in my building and they whip me up an egg and cheese English Muffin and I am good to go. It’s filling and I am still getting the nutrients I need.

Pickles

I feel like I don’t even need to explain this one. Pickles are delicious. And while they don’t offer too many benefits in the nutrient department, they are extremely low-cal and crunchy and juicy and just so so delicious.

There’s my list! I would love to hear what your favorites are so leave a comment! I am always looking for more yummy foods that can also be considered healthy so I don’t feel so bad when I eat an entire bag of Salt and Vinegar Chips.

Rebecca


First Time Pregnancy and Mommy Advice

pregnant

It happens to all first time moms and it’s a tale as old as time. The second you announce to the world that you are pregnant with your first child, every single person who has ever carried and birthed a human being has advice they dish out whether they are asked for it or not. I always knew my day would come but I guess I wasn’t prepared for the amount of unsolicited advice I would receive.

Most people offer advice because they genuinely want to help and I am the kind of person who will listen gracefully and smile my way through it because I know it’s a natural conversation piece when you become pregnant for the first time. This doesn’t mean it isn’t a little frustrating at times.

I will be 32 in August and my little Bambino is due August 1st. I am the oldest of four and I played a huge roll in their infant to childhood upbringing. My youngest brother is 16 so I had all kinds of fun practicing my mom skills on him. I have been surrounded by moms and babies since I was a little girl. And the older I have gotten, the more family and friends have gotten pregnant before me and some are even on their second and third children. I have spent more time at Baby Showers and Kid’s Birthday’s than I have bar hopping. I have always loved kids and I am the first one to offer up my babysitting services to anyone who will hand their little bundle of joy my way.

All of that isn’t to say I am an expert on all things baby and pregnancy. I’m not. But I don’t think anyone ever really is. I have a lot of experience with babies and children. I have changed hundreds of diapers, fed many hungry mouths, been up all hours of the night (baby brother was a screamer), dealt with snotty noses, and even some snotty little brats (they were still cute though). Babies, toddlers, kids, teens… They are all unique and each one carries their own personality and needs. Having a child is definitely like a box of chocolates. You really never know what you are going to get. So I often find it funny how parents think what worked for their children will work for every other single child that comes into this world. It just isn’t realistic.

I have been very mindful over the years to not offer up my two cents or words of advice to expecting mothers or mothers trying to survive their demonic threenager. One, because I didn’t have children of my own yet so why would I list all the things they should/should not do. And, two, because I knew that I would someday want a child of my own and that I would not appreciate anyone telling me what I was doing was “wrong” or “not necessary.” I have carried the same motto over the years when it comes to moms and their children: “Whatever works for you and your babies is all that matters.” And I wholeheartedly stand by that sentiment.

I am well rounded enough to understand that every single one of us are different and that means the way we choose to parent will be different. I think this is a beautiful thing. Your family is your family and as long as you have a happy and healthy child, that’s really what is most important.

Of course, having mommy friends to help you along the way when things seem overwhelming and bleak is also something to give thanks for. I am the first person to ask a question if I have one and there are times I reach out for some wanted advice/mommy faves so I have another perspective. Because perspective is key! If I have a list of things that I want to follow for my child/pregnancy and every single one of those items on my list is a total fail, going to one of my trusted mommy friends for another take on how to do something is a blessing in disguise.

All of the aforementioned applies to first time pregnancy as well. Everyone has an opinion on what you should or should not be doing during pregnancy. And there are so many women who think that what they experienced during pregnancy is exactly what every woman experiences. Like how their body reacted or changed is how every woman’s body reacts or changes. This one has made me LOL a few times. I just nod and smile.

So what do you do as a first time mom-to-be? I say take everything with grace and a grain of salt. Some advice will work for you, and some of it will just make you laugh… or shake your fists in a fit of rage while you sit in the Target parking lot crying. The beauty of advice is that you get to pick and choose what works for you, and then let the rest of it go.

This is your life, your pregnancy, your motherhood. Whatever works for you and your babies is all that matters.

Rebecca

 

 

 


No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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I recently had to make a dessert for my work Christmas Party. I have a very long commute and I knew I needed to make something that would be quick, easy, and delicious. I stumbled upon this no fail recipe and modified it a little to my liking. I was able to have these done in less than 20 minutes and they were a huge hit at the party. So much so that I didn’t have any leftovers to take home, which was probably for the best. They taste like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and who doesn’t love those?!


Total Time: 20 minutes plus chill time

Yield: 24 Servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs and butter; give it a few stirs until combined. Stir in sugar and peanut butter until smooth. Press into a greased 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a microwave or double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Spread over peanut butter layer. Chill 30 minutes; cut into squares. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes longer. Store in the refrigerator.

Other Variations

  • Swap Creamy PB for Chunky PB
  • Use Dark Chocolate instead of semisweet
  • Add a pinch of Sea Salt
  • Use crushed pretzels instead of graham cracker crumbs for a saltier combo

Let me know if you give this recipe a try and if you have any other yummy additions!