Newborn Photo by: J-larue Photography
As my only son's first birthday quickly approaches, I can't help but hope that I'll never forget the "little things." This year has brought our family so much joy and taught me so much. I've learned that the little things and the little moments aren't so little. I've taken thousands of pictures and videos throughout this year and it still doesn't seem like enough. I remember rolling my eyes when every other mom told me to enjoy the first year of my son's life because it goes by so fast. How was I supposed to take them seriously as I was impatiently awaiting our son to be born two weeks after my due date? I believe that most pregnant women will agree that in those last few weeks of pregnancy it seems like time is standing still. How could the two slowest weeks of my life transform into the fastest year?
I had plans to take monthly pictures of my son in the cute numbered onesies and write detailed descriptions about how he grew each month. I told myself that by his first birthday his baby book would be complete...but the truth is that I didn't pose him monthly for pictures or document his height and weight and he doesn't even have a baby book. I'm still searching for the perfect one.
I remember how I felt the first time he said mama, but I can't tell you exactly what day it was. Instead, I decided to write him a letter each year so that I never forget the little things and although I know he won't remember this year, I want him to always know how special this year was for our family and how special he is to us.
Dearest Baby Boy,
When you are old enough to read this, you will not be a baby anymore. Before you were born, it was hard for us to imagine what life with you would be like. Now we can't imagine our life without you. Your over the top squinty smile lights up a room and you are quick to command everyone's attention. I sometimes call you big cheesy because there is just no other way to describe the facial expressions you make.
I hope I never forget the sound of your loud belly laugh and I love that you think I'm the funniest person in the world. Although you learned to say "Dada" first, "Mama" is your favorite word.
The first time you tried to stand up by yourself you fell down. I rushed to you thinking you would cry but you didn't. You brushed it off and stood back up. I hope you always get back up when life knocks you down.
Some might call you stubborn, but I like to say you are determined. There is no doubt you will be able to accomplish anything you set your mind to. I know this is true because nothing stands in the way between you and your "Bobba", (AKA bottle) or TV remote and we've already had several stern discussions to inform you that you are not the bedtime boss.
You are the sweetest little soul and you love to show affection by giving Eskimo kisses or just pressing your forehead against mine. I'll never forget the first time you planted a big wet slobbery kiss on my cheek when I picked you up after a long day at work. You were so proud of yourself and I was proud of you too.
Now that we have you with us, we worry more and have new fears that only a parent understands. Your Daddy and I will always promise to do our best to teach you right from wrong and keep you safe. In a crazy world full of so much evil, we promise to show you the good. We promise to show you how to love others the way we love you and our God loves us. I hope you always know how precious you are.
Football never stops for the coaching family. You will rarely hear a coach’s wife or family member use the phrase “Offseason” to reference a time of year. Why? Because there is truly no offseason for the coach, coach’s wife or family--no such thing exists.
What most people don’t know about the coaching family is that quickly following the last game of the season, the coach leaves his family to begin recruiting new football players. Depending on the coach’s recruiting territory they could be gone for days, weeks or months--leaving all the daily household responsibilities to his spouse. This recruiting period usually lasts until National Signing Day. Although Signing Day is known for the time when a coach returns home from recruiting, his responsibilities quickly shift to spring football, followed by another round of recruiting, summer camps and then eventually regular season football practices and games.
She is the Communicator
The coach’s wife is officially the central communication center for the coach’s family and friends. This includes good and bad news, confirming dates for family holiday plans and get togethers with friends--which become fewer and fewer unless these friends are available on specific dates over the summer or travel to football games.
She Works Tirelessly at Work and Home
Due to the media coverage of high profile coach’s public salaries, you might have the impression that being a coach’s wife is a glamorous job. However, all football coaches do not make a lot of money. Most coaches' wives work (or have worked) to help financially support their family and husband’s career goals. If a coach’s wife doesn’t work or takes on the role of stay at home mom, I can assure you that she is working as much at home as the average employee does at work.
Help is Limited
Coaching is a job that requires your family to move. Coaches change schools or move up divisions to advance their career opportunities or they are forced to move because their job is no longer available due to a coaching change or a losing season. Most coaches' wives do not live near family members. This part of coaching can be extremely challenging for the wives who are also mothers. When help is needed, the options can be very limited.
Coaches are known for having a career that requires them to move and change jobs. Most of these changes take place after football season. The job transition usually happens very quickly and the coach's wife is left alone to pack and make moving arrangements. It is not uncommon for coaches and their families to live separately until all of the loose ends are handled. Some families even live separately to give their children the opportunity to finish the school year.
She Is Already Planning for Football Season
Although it is a busy time of year, the coach's wife looks forward to the football season. Football season means her husband will actually be at home during the week--even though most of his time will be spent at work. Football games and events are fun and also a time when coaches' girlfriends, fiancés and wives get to know each other and develop close relationships. No one understands the highs and lows that come from wins and losses more than your fellow coach's wife.
The life of a coach's wife is challenging and rewarding, but never boring. Congrats to all of the football coaches' wives for almost making it through another "Offseason!"
In the beginning, bedtime wasn't an issue. I thought I won the baby bedtime lottery because my newborn came home from the hospital and slept through the night. He was such a good sleeper that I actually had to set my alarm to wake him up for feedings. Once I was comfortable with his weight gain and nutritional needs, I stopped our scheduled late night feedings and let him sleep through the night. I felt like the luckiest mom in the world. I often felt guilty when other new moms would complain about their baby's sleep habits--and then, it happened...my perfect sleeper turned into a tiny terror.
I'll admit that it's partially my fault...but I'm not taking all of the blame. The week my son turned 9-months old he came down with a terrible virus. It was our scariest night as new parents. He went to bed that evening with a mild fever. He was also teething at the time, so a low-grade fever wasn't alarming to us. By midnight, he woke up screaming with a 104 degree fever. My husband and I immediately gave him infant Tylenol and rushed him to the ER.
He was quickly admitted, administered more fever reducing medication and an IV. He received several pokes and pricks, chest x-rays and a urinary catheterization. Although the medical staff was wonderful and did an amazing job helping our baby get better, it was a traumatizing experience for our whole family. Once we returned home, we didn't want to let the little guy out of our sight and moved him into our bed to sleep the rest of the night. He obviously loved sleeping with us and decided he was going to do everything in his power to keep his new sleeping arrangements...and I was a total sucker. I'm embarrassed to admit that this lasted for two weeks. I quickly realized that all of the 'baby boss' jokes are no joke. My baby was officially the bedtime boss. He was dictating what time we all went to bed and where he slept. Some nights he would stay up until midnight. How did our bedtime routine turn terribly wrong so fast?!
Our bedtime situation began to make me extremely anxious. My husband was about to leave for a month for work and I knew if I didn't get bedtime under control I was going to lose my mind. Our family doesn't live nearby and I work full-time. The evenings are always my time to prep for our next morning and have a little 'me time.' I believe all moms need alone time in the evenings to recharge and keep their sanity.
The Sunday night before my husband left town, I started my own bedtime boot camp. Do you really think I was going to let him miss out on this fun? I decided to set a bedtime, developed a routine and actually let my baby cry. It wasn't an easy process at first, but our son responded in a positive way, I regained control of my evenings and my son is sleeping better than ever. I understand that every baby is different and my method might now work for everyone...but if it helps just one mom, it's worth sharing.
Here is how I became the Baby Bedtime Boss:
Disclaimer: I am not a sleep expert or a medical professional. I'm just a mom who desperately wanted her time in the evenings back.
Make the Commitment
Once I decided to start our sleep training process, I was committed. I cleared my schedule in the evenings for a week and set a bedtime that worked for our baby and family. My son’s bedtime is 8p.m.
Develop a Routine
Once I developed a routine, my baby understood that going to sleep was just part of the routine. I create a relaxing environment for him. I usually give him a bath, feed him a bottle and end our evenings with a bedtime story.
Put on your big girl pants and repeat after me, "I am the Boss." I knew my baby was healthy and only crying for me because he knew I was a sucker always giving into his bossy ways.
Let Them Cry
Trust your instincts. If you know your baby is healthy and only crying because they are not getting their way, let them cry. I never thought I would be the mom to let my child 'cry it out.' I quickly learned my baby gives up quicker than I do. I don't like to admit he's a quitter, but as soon as he figured out that he wouldn't get his way by crying, he quickly learned how to put himself to sleep.
It only took one week for my baby to adjust to his new bedtime routine and become a great sleeper. The first night, he cried for 20 minutes. The next couple of nights, he cried less than five minutes. By night seven, he stopped crying when I put him in his crib and was asleep within five minutes.
I didn't buy a book and I didn't hire a sleep consultant. I just toughened up and trusted my mom instincts...and it worked! I'm not saying it was easy. It was very hard to let my baby cry and not console him...but overall, it was a positive experience for both of us. Not only did our evenings get better, my baby's overall behavior improved.
I learned throughout this process that I was being an enabler. My son was tired and needed his rest...but why would he want to go to sleep if he knew he could stay up with mom and dad. My baby definitely had FOMO (fear of missing out). Once we established a consistent bedtime routine, we all felt better. My baby wakes up happier because he is getting the sleep he needs and I am happier because I now have time for myself in the evenings and am getting the sleep I need too. It's a win for everyone.
But first, coffee!
It's amazing how many of us love to talk about coffee, especially moms. The phrase 'But first, coffee' is featured on t-shirts, signs and social media posts everywhere.
My theory is that this obsession with coffee exploded when it became hard to tell the difference between a coffee drink and a milkshake. Who doesn't love a good milkshake?
Growing up, I definitely did not love coffee. My first introduction to coffee was as a child. To be honest, I thought it was disgusting! My dad was the only one in our household who drank coffee. He would fill a travel cup full of black coffee to drink on his morning commute to work. After trying his, I decided I would never be a coffee drinker.
Well, never say never. About 15 years after I vowed I would never be a coffee drinker, I found myself working as a Morning Show News Producer. It was during that period of my life that I learned how to brew a pot of coffee and found myself drinking several cups a morning. This was the beginning of my coffee habit...but I wasn't drinking the same cups of black coffee I tried years ago. I was drinking creamy, delicious cups of coffee filled with sugar and creamer.
Now that I'm a mom, I drink even more coffee. I really didn't think that was possible. What used be a 5 o'clock happy hour with friends quickly turned into 5 o'clock coffee runs. You heard me right...I drink coffee in the evenings too. How else am I supposed to have the energy to get everything done after a sleepless night with a baby and full day of work?
It quickly became obvious that my coffee habit wasn't good for my waistline. Now that I'm trying to lose the last of the baby weight I gained during pregnancy, I'm much more conscious about the kind of coffee I drink and what I put in it. This is a challenge for me because I prefer a coffee rich in flavor.
I recently made it my mission to find a coffee that could help me reach my fitness goals and satisfy my taste buds. I decided to try Caveman Coffee Co.'s Sabertooth Roast K-cup with a tablespoon of 100% Coconut Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil.
I decided to try MCT because it is easily digested, absorbed, and used as energy for the body. Adding this to your diet can increase your energy. Consuming MCT with other supplements and food can also help the absorption of those nutrients. I was pleasantly surprised because the coffee tasted great and gave me tons of energy. I didn't have to fill my cup with sweeteners and heavy creamer to mask a bitter taste. There is nothing bitter about this coffee! I can easily drink multiple cups of it just as it is. I was even more excited when I found out I could have this coffee and coconut oil delivered to my door each month. That is a big plus for this busy mom!
So, if you want to be more health conscious when it comes to your coffee, I suggest you give Caveman Coffee a try. You can even choose from a wide array of Caveman Coffee products to make your perfect box to be delivered to you each month (and save 10% while you're at it).
In addition to coffee beans, Caveman offers 100% coconut MCT oil (a refined coconut oil), green tea, apparel and brewing products.
To learn more about Caveman Coffee Co., visit http://www.cavemancoffeeco.com/
To sign up for Caveman Coffee Co.'s monthly subscription, visit
Before I became a mom, I didn't realize how often both working moms and stay at home moms are compared and equally criticized. I didn't even know 'Mommy Wars' existed...but I'm here to tell you that it's a real thing, especially on social media--and it needs to stop.
If you don't know what the 'Mommy Wars' epidemic is...let me explain. It's when a mom criticizes another mom's personal decision that is different from her own. The type of 'Mommy Wars' I'm referring to is when a mom passes judgement on another mom for her decision to stay home with her child or to work full-time. Deciding to stay at home or go to work is one of the biggest and most challenging decisions a mom will make and it shouldn't be criticized. Every mom makes that decision based on what she feels is best for her family and that decision should be accepted and respected.
I blog about my life as a working mom because that's all I know. I went back to work when my son was 2 months-old. I don't write about being a working mom because I think my decision to work is better than another mom's decision to stay home.
I love my job but I also know that I need to work to contribute to my household financially. Do I have moments where I wish I could stay home all day with my son? Of course I do...but I also recognize the hard work it takes to be a stay at home mom. I can't say I know from experience what it's like to stay at home everyday with my child, but I know it can't be easy and I have a lot of respect for stay at home moms.
When my son was 2 months-old my husband was out of town coaching a football game. The only commitment I had that weekend was to take my son to another coach's wife's house to watch the game on TV. It literally took me the entire day to take a shower and get us both ready. Every time I started to make progress he needed a bottle, a diaper change or just wanted to be held. I spent the whole weekend wondering how stay at home moms get anything done! Why do people expect stay at home moms to have clean houses and cook every night? When do they actually have time? If you're a stay at home mom and your house is clean and you find time to make dinner every night without losing your sanity, please tell me what your secret is because I'm dying to know!
I have close friends and family who are working moms and stay at home moms. On numerous occasions we discuss the different challenges that we both face and even admit that there are certain days we would love to trade places. My stay at home mom friends are sick of the stereotypes placed on them and sometimes wish they had an excuse to go to work so that they can have five minutes to go to the bathroom alone and engage in adult conversation. There are days I wonder if I'm doing a good enough job balancing my full time job and my family. I wish I had the option to stay at home with my son when he is sick and not worry about what I'm missing at work. There are times I have to remind myself to not feel guilty for missing out on certain moments with him during the day while I'm working.
It doesn't matter whether you work or stay at home--you are a mom and you have one of the most important jobs in the world. So can we please stop the 'Mommy Wars' and agree that we are all moms and we are all just trying to do the best we can?
The New Mom's Guide to Traveling with Baby (0-6 Months): How to take a day trip, road trip or round trip with confidence
I'll never forget the anxious feeling of leaving the hospital with our brand new baby boy. I thought to myself, this is it--we're officially own our own. Although I couldn't wait to take our baby home, a small part of me was terrified to leave the comfort and security of the hospital. I knew I would no longer have the abundance of labor and delivery nurses by my side to reassure me that I was doing this whole "mom thing" right. As I watched one of the nurses place my son in his car seat, I wondered how I would ever master the skill of safely securing him in his car seat on my own, much less have the courage and confidence to take an overnight road trip or flight. I grew up as an only child and wasn't around babies or small children regularly--so everything was new to me.
My son was 2 weeks-old the first time I was brave enough to take him on our first car ride alone--I just had to have those newborn pictures! I felt a sense of relief as I successfully secured him in the car seat and clicked it in place. It wasn't until I couldn't get him out of the car seat that panic set in. I forgot which button to push to release the carrier. Instead of releasing the carrier, I successfully unlatched the car seat base. I nervously fumbled around while trying to hold back tears. After several failed attempts, I finally decided to take him out of his carrier and carried him in my arms into the photography studio. Fortunately, the photographer was a fellow mom and when my session ended, she walked us to the car and graciously helped me re-secure the car seat base. She assured me that traveling with a baby does get easier. In that moment, I didn't believe her...but fast forward 8 months later, countless trips to and from daycare, numerous long road trips and flights and it's safe to say that I can look back and laugh at my travel fails.
Although I laugh about it now, I'll never forget how insecure and helpless I felt as a mom in those moments. I hope to spare a new mom the same feelings by sharing my travel hacks for the most predictable and unpredictable travel situations. After reading this, you should be able to confidently drive and fly with your baby.
Travel Hacks for Driving
1. Car Cleanup Kit for Emergencies
(In addition to your normal diaper bag)
Babies are messy and so are accidents. I learned this the hard way after my son threw up all over the car on my way to work. Keep a small plastic container in your car filled with the items listed below. I emphasize clear to keep the thieves away. Let's be honest, no one wants your cleanup kit, but they might be tempted by your trendy tote or handbag.
Items for Kit
Large Towel for big messes
Medium Towel for medium size messes
Pack of baby wipes for blowouts, spit up and throw up
A bottle of water (only to use for rinsing)
3 large ziplock bags (to store dirty/smelly items)
1 extra outfit for baby
1 extra shirt for yourself
2. Bright Sticker for Car Seat Release Latch
Being a new mom can make you forgetful. Place a brightly colored sticker on the car seat latch to remind you which button to push when it is time to remove your car seat carrier from the car seat base. This is also helpful for dad, grandparents or anyone else who might be traveling with your baby.
3. Pacifier Clip and Toy Holder
If your baby enjoys the comfort of a pacifier, use a pacifier clip to attach the pacifier to your baby's car seat. If the baby drops his pacifier, you can easily reach the attached paci clip and place it back in your baby's mouth.
If your baby loves the comfort of holding a toy or rattle, place small container of toys within your reach. If the baby drops their toy, you can quickly grab a new one to give to them.
Travel Hacks for Flying
1. Airport Emergency Kit
(In addition to your normal diaper bag)
You never know when your travel plans are going to change or be delayed due to circumstances out of your control. When I am flying, I make sure to keep the most important items for my baby with me in my diaper bag in case I have to stay overnight in the airport or hotel.
Bottle Cleaning Supplies
The thought of cleaning and sterilizing multiple bottles on the go can be overwhelming. Whether you use a breast pump or bottle feed, you will need a small kit to clean pump parts or bottles. You will be able to pack less bottles and parts if you pack these cleaning supplies:
Small bottle brush
First Aid Supplies
Infant painkillers/fever reducers
2. Expandable Suitcase & Hanging Organizer for Baby
An expandable suitcase and collapsable hanging organizer are a must when you are traveling with your baby, especially if you are flying. Instead of packing an extra suitcase, use a hanging organizer that can collapse in your suitcase for all of your baby's stuff. Pack your bag and place the fully packed organizer on top. I tend to overpack and I was able to pack everything I needed for myself and my baby in one suitcase for 2 weeks.
3. Prepare a Bottle for Takeoff and Landing
You know the feeling during takeoff and landing when your ears need to pop? It can be very painful until the pressure in your ear is finally released. Your baby will experience the same feeling and does not know to swallow to clear his or her ears. Prepare a bottle or nurse your baby during take off and landing. The suction will help clear your baby’s ears and keep them out of pain.
4. Gate-Check your Stroller and Car Seat
Most airlines allow you to check your stroller and car seat at the gate. This makes it easy to travel through the airport with your baby.
*TSA will require you to put your stroller and carrier through the X-Ray machines.
5. Do Your Research
Make sure you know the Traveling with Child for your airline as they are not all the same. Answers to the most common security questions can be found on the Transportation Security Administration website.
It can be overwhelming to travel with a baby, but I've found that the more you know, the better prepared you will be. I hope by sharing my own experiences that you will be better prepared to travel with your baby. Most importantly, try to relax and enjoy making memories with your precious little one!
How you decide to feed your newborn is one of the first big decisions you will make as a new mom--to breastfeed or formula feed? It's a very personal choice for most moms...but what happens when your feeding method doesn't go according to the plan?
After consulting with my doctor, talking to my friends about their experiences and even taking unsolicited advice from strangers, I made the decision to breastfeed my son. We had a great experience at first...but when my son turned 4 weeks-old I started supplementing with formula. Even though my son was gaining weight and growing, I didn't feel comfortable with his thin appearance and felt like he was always hungry. We survived several cluster feeding sessions, but the day to day feeding demands were more than I could physically handle alone. I'm not going to lie, I felt very defeated the first time I mixed a formula bottle--and I shouldn't have felt that way. Unfortunately, our society spends so much time discussing the benefits of breastfeeding and does not spend the same amount of effort educating moms about what to do if they can't breastfeed, have to supplement with formula or stop breastfeeding before they originally planned.
I continued to breastfeed and supplement with formula for several months. Due to many reasons, my son made the transition to a full-time formula fed baby at 6 months-old. Although I knew I was making the best decision for my son, I still felt guilty for "giving up" on breastfeeding earlier than planned. While scrolling through my social media feeds, I would read "Fed is Best" posts and stories from other moms--which I could relate too. I admired those mom's for sharing their stories, but I still had my own insecurities about making the decision to stop breastfeeding.
Is my baby getting the nutrients he needs?
Will his digestive health suffer because I stopped giving him the probiotics from breast milk?
I wondered why I spent so much time researching every new baby product and the benefits of breastfeeding, but didn't take the time to research more about formula and baby food. When my son was ready to eat solid baby food, I had no idea where to start.
Feeling overwhelmed, I reached out to Dr. Tanya Altmann, M.D, FAAP, an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson and the best-selling author of "What to Feed Your Baby." After our conversation, I felt more confident in my ability to choose healthy foods for my baby and I was most surprised to learn that I could start incorporating yogurt into my baby's daily diet at 6 months-old.
"Most parents don't know babies can begin reaping the benefits of yogurt as young as six months," explained Dr. Altmann. "I recommend feeding yogurt with probiotics, like Stonyfield YoBaby®, daily at this age. It's a great first food; made with organic whole milk, it delivers Vitamin D and calcium for bone growth, and now added BB-12® to help support digestive health."
I knew that babies were first exposed to probiotics in breast milk and I understood the importance of helping my baby maintain digestive health as I introduced solid foods, but I didn't know the best way to do that. After learning about the benefits of Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt, I felt like I finally found a way that I can give my baby the extra nutrients and probiotics he needs.
My son is now 8 months-old and he loves Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt! The apple flavor is his favorite and he is always satisfied after a full serving.
I hope by sharing my story that more parents will trust their instincts when it comes to feeding their baby and not feel guilty when their original feeding plan doesn't work out. I also hope more parents will research the benefits of introducing yogurt into their baby's diet--especially an organic yogurt specifically crafted just for babies.
With more than 17 years of experience making organic yogurt specially crafted just for babies, it's no wonder that Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt is the #1 Pediatrician Recommended yogurt for babies between six months and two years old among refrigerated yogurts*. As parents report trusting a pediatrician's opinion over friends, spouses and even their own instincts, they can take comfort in the #1 Pediatrician Recommended call-out on YoBaby® packaging. A pioneer in the category, Stonyfield has been making its YoBaby® line since 1999, providing a number of reasons for parents to turn to Stonyfield when making their feeding choices:
• Not only is Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt the #1 Pediatrician Recommended yogurt for babies between six months and two years old among refrigerated yogurts, it's the only organic yogurt made especially for babies.
• Stonyfield YoBaby® products are made with organic ingredients including organic whole milk yogurt to meet babies' unique nutritional needs.
• Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt may help develop healthy eating habits.
• Stonyfield YoBaby® available in a number of flavors: Plain, Vanilla, Banana/Mango, Blueberry/Apple and Peach/Pear, in 4 oz. 6-pack format.
Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt is also available in an unsweetened formulation – Stonyfield YoBaby®Plain. To learn more about Stonyfield YoBaby®yogurt as well as all other Stonyfield products and more, visit www.Stonyfield.com.
You've heard the phrases a thousand times before--"She changed" or
"He changed." These phrases are known for being used to explain why a relationship ended--whether it be a friendship, dating relationship or marriage. Why are we so quick to give up on each other just because we change? Do we really expect a person to stay the same forever?
I do not claim to be an expert on relationships. I've always had the attitude that people shouldn't try to analyze relationships that aren't their own because there are too many missing pieces--usually only shared between the two parties involved. I do however claim to be a self-certified expert on change.
As an adult I have relocated or changed jobs every couple of years. I'm married to a football coach--so it's a given that eventually there will be more new cities, new jobs and hopefully new friends. I really pride myself on accepting and embracing change and I have always considered these changes to be positive experiences that have helped me grow as a person. However, the one change I do not think anyone can fully prepare a person for is parenthood. Being a new mom or dad changes everything, including your relationship with your spouse.
I can honestly say that my husband isn't the same guy I married. I knew he was forever changed the moment I saw him hold our son for the first time....and my husband agrees that I'm not the same girl he married. When my husband and I started dating, I was a young twenty-one year-old with a lot to learn. I was driven and focused on beginning a new career and when I wasn't working, I was traveling the world and seeking out my next great adventure. Now, I'm a new working mom and my only planned "vacations" are trips to the grocery store alone. Like any new mom, I am always tired and always in a rush.
For example, yesterday was Valentine's Day and my sweet husband literally tossed my Valentine's Day card in front of me as I was dressing our son on the changing table before we both rushed out the door to work. A year ago, this probably wasn't the romantic gesture I have wished for...but yesterday, it was just perfect. I actually appreciated the quick toss of the card and that my husband wanted me to read what he wrote before I rushed off to work. I also appreciated his genuine laugh and raised eyebrows when I told him he would be getting his card later that evening because I hadn't made it to the store yet.
Days like yesterday remind me how much we've both changed since becoming parents--but when we both use the common phrases "She changed" or "He changed", it's because we are referring to the new people we've become as parents--something that should be celebrated.
So, instead of getting dressed up to go out to a "fancy" Valentine's Day dinner, we put on our sweats, ordered pizza, spent time as a new family of three and celebrated how we've changed.
We celebrated the new love and connection we have for each other and our son.
We celebrated a new understanding and the ability to forgive each other for our imperfections.
We celebrated a new appreciation for life and each other.
Watching your spouse grow into their role as a mother or father to your child is something that should be cherished. It's a different kind of love--a new love that should be celebrated.
What the first Wednesday in February really means for football coaches and their families
The first Wednesday in February is circled in the shape of a heart on our calendar, but not for the reason you may think. It's not one of our birthdays or a special anniversary--it's National Signing Day. It's a day celebrated by thousands of families and sports fans across the country as high school recruits proudly commit to a college's football program. If your child's dream is to play football at the collegiate level and they are planning to sign a Letter of Intent, then you probably have this day marked on your calendar too...But as the wife of a college football coach, I will tell you that our family will be celebrating Signing Day for different reasons.
Top 5 Reasons the Coach's Wife Celebrates Signing Day
1. The Athletes
First and foremost, we will celebrate the amazing young men who have made a decision and commitment to be a part of our football family. The look of excitement in their eyes on this day reminds us that the sacrifices we continue to make as a coaching family will make a positive impact in a child's life and on their future.
2. Her Husband
Coaches' wives see firsthand the amount of hard work and dedication their husbands put into recruiting. We see the relationships they build with student athletes and their families while sacrificing time away from their own families. We know how much it means to them for a recruit to say
"I choose you as my coach."
3. Help at Home
You know that tired mom you see carrying the crying baby with one arm and desperately trying not to drop all of the groceries dangling from her other hand? I'm sure you're probably wondering where her husband is or if she even has one. She might be a coach's wife. I've been that mom for months now and I'm excited to finally have my husband back at home.
4. Dinner as a Family
I can't imagine what my neighbors must think. I'm sure they are curious to know where my husband is and whose car is parked at my house in the evenings. They probably don't realize that it's just another coach's wife bringing over dinner. This is how we keep each other company while our husbands are away--And trust me, I always enjoy a fun girl's night...But I'm looking forward to dinners at home with my husband and son, as a family.
5. Quality Time Together
I finally stopped counting the times I've been asked "Where is your husband?" or "But isn't football season over?" Most people assume once football season is over that our lives go back to normal. The truth is that between football season, recruiting and spring practice...football never stops. Our family spends less time together than the average family and that's okay--our motto is "quality over quantity." I can't wait for us to be able to spend more quality time together.
So, this week as you celebrate National Signing Day and analyze the outcome for college football programs across the country, don't underestimate what the first Wednesday in February really means for the coaches and their families.
Under ten minutes and less than $10
If you're a new parent like me, then you probably don't have a lot of extra time for arts and crafts...Aren't we all just trying to keep the baby alive?! And, if you are on a tight budget...because let's face it, kids are expensive--this is the perfect Valentine's craft for you and your baby. You can even gift it to that special someone.
By Jessica Wilkins
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