Happy Birthday, Baby Boy

Happy Thursday, ya’ll!

If you’re reading this, you can already guess from the title, what today is; It’s our sweet baby boy’s first birthday! One whole year ago on July 9th, this sweet boy made his debut and has stolen our hearts a little more each day!

This first year, we decided to not share a ton about our little babe just out of wanting to be overly cautious while we got the hang of this whole parenting thing along with navigating this Army life of ours.

While this is certainly not the way I had always imagined a first birthday would be (global pandemic, hundreds of miles away from family, deployment…) I wouldn’t change a thing.

As crazy as that sounds, this last year has stretched and challenged both me and my husband in ways we never thought possible. I didn’t even know growth in the ways we have was real. Don’t get me wrong though , we’re still just winging this whole parenting thing and doing the best we can. We are by no means experts nor will we ever be!

There is something so incredibly beautiful in all of this though.

Our sweet baby has had his daddy gone more than he’s been home. He’s lived (and still living) through a global pandemic. We stayed with Grandma and Pa for several months. 

He is silly and so expressive! He loves his Ailey girl and giving her pats. Reading stories and singing songs are his favorite things to do. He has ten teeth and knows how to sign and say different words. He crawls around the house like nobody’s business, and walking isn’t too far off! He has been so incredibly sweet and patient with his mama while she’s navigated this (temporary) single parenting gig. We really did luck out!

Happy 1st Birthday, sweet boy! If you remember nothing else I say to you, I hope you’ll always remember this; You are kind. You are smart. You are strong. Mama and daddy (and Ailey) love you!

Hi world, I’m Kaz!

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XOXO,
Leah

Military Life: Month of the Military Child

Happy Monday, y’all!

Did you know that April is the official Month of the Military Child? This is the month we recognize and celebrate the strength, bravery, flexibility, resiliency, and sacrifice that the littlest members of military families make everyday.

When my husband and I decided we wanted to try to expand our family, we knew that our little one would have a wildly different life than either of us did growing up.

In Baby K’s first year of life, his daddy will have been gone more than he’s been home. Heck, my husband was even gone for training over my due date!

While he doesn’t know life any other way, my husband and I do. We often wonder if this path we’ve picked is the right one or not.

We may not regret a second of this life we live and how far we’ve come, but that little bit of guilt is always there.

For our sweet baby it means a lot of confusion as to why we sometimes only talk to and see daddy through a screen. It means crying out for him in the middle of the night and him never coming. It means seeing a whole lot of mama and always looking for daddy.

As he gets older, it will mean having to say goodbye to friends more often than if we weren’t part of the military world. It will mean his daddy will have missed being there in person for major milestones like crawling, first words, and maybe even walking and first days of schools.

We are not the first family to face a deployment, and we certainly are not the last. There will be many more times where duty will take daddy away.

Our little boy is so kind and loving. He is made of tough stuff. He is resilient and flexible beyond belief. He is sacrificing more than he even knows while his daddy is away.

Today and every day, I am in awe of this military child of mine!

XOXO,
Leah

Finding Joy During Chaos

Happy Monday, y’all!

Gosh, have these last few weeks been a wild ride! i hope that this post finds you healthy and safe during these crazy times!

When 2020 started, I never would have guessed that this is where we would be at now. Then again, I don’t think anyone really would have!

I definitely believe that it’s important to stay informed and up to date on the happenings, but these days, I try not to focus too much on all of the nitty gritty details. I think if I did, I just very well might lose my mind in it all.

10 Things That Are Bringing Me Joy

1. My sweet baby boy and his endless giggles.

2. Being able to keep in touch with my husband via FaceTime while he’s deployed.

3. Being in a place that we’re able to get outside in the fresh air and sunshine during the day.

4. Such great friends that check in on us not only during these crazy times, but just in general.

5. Good health; both mine and those I care about.

6. Having the best parents ever that have let Baby K, Ailey, and I stay with them throughout this all.

7. Taking this time and #socialdistancing to give my skin a break from makeup and just breathe.

8. The best pup ever that snuggles in bed with me every night.

9. Being fortunate enough to get the things we need, both my husband and Baby K and I, without having to worry about money.

10. Having this space to connect with y’all.

What’s something that’s bringing you joy right now?

XOXO,
Leah

Military Life: Find Your Tribe

I’ve always been the kind of girl that had lots of friends, but it was more so because we were in classes or sports together. Most weren’t the kind that I felt I could reach out to whenever for anything at all.

It’s never been something that bothered me too much, but then marrying my husband happened. Now here we are living hundreds of miles from our home state and me realizing just how valuable a close group of friends truly is!

There have been quite a few times over the course of our marriage when it’s just been me and Ailey (now Baby K too) at the house while my husband is gone for a school or another training. Within the first two months of being married and living on base, he was gone a total of six weeks.

This lifestyle adjustment really forced me out of my comfort zone.

Suddenly I found myself reaching out to the other wives around me, even though the introvert in me was terrified. I found myself texting and messaging to make plans. I found myself working hard to consistently make the effort to check in to see how they’re doing.

When our washer died the night before my husband left for deployment, I found myself reaching out to a sweet friend to see if Baby K and I could come hang out and use their’s.

Side Note: Murphy’s Law is real, and if something bad can happen during a deployment, it probable will!

Looking back on the last three years of my husband’s service, everywhere I look I see another sweet friend that I was lucky enough to get to meet.

I was never the girl that had a tribe of friends, that is until I became a military wife.

XOXO,
Leah

 

Military Life: Real Talk About Deployment

Happy Monday, y’all!

I had another post written and all scheduled to go up today, but in wanting this to be where I share about real life and not just the pretty things, this post felt more real for right now.

If you’re part of a military family, chances are that you’ll face a deployment sooner or later. It’s just part of the job. Now that our sweet baby boy is in the world, I was hoping it would come later, but the Army had other plans for my husband.

Where before we would go about our days and wait for my husband to get home, now we wait for FaceTime calls or text messages. Somedays we’re blessed to get a nice long call in and other times we hear nothing at all. Sometimes, no news is good news!

With this being our first deployment, it’s taken me some time to get used to single parenting and finding a new normal for Baby K, Ailey, and myself. If I’m being honest, I’m still trying to figure it out.

Even what seems like the easiest of deployments for the soldier can be freaking hard for the ones left back home.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for this life we live and everything we are able to do and the amazing people we get to meet, but there are definitely days where I count down the minutes until I can start getting Baby K ready for bed so I can have a moment to breathe.

So while for the most part, this little family of mine is doing really well, even thriving, there is nothing I wouldn’t give to have our number one guy back home with us!

XOXO,
Leah

 

 

 

 

Open When Letters

Letters are a great way to communicate with those that we love. They’re personal and, in my opinion, are something that I wish would make a comeback in 2020!

When the Army keeps my husband gone more than normal, I love to write a bunch of these to put in a packet that he can take with him.

‘Open When’ letters hold a special place in my heart. They’re a sweet and thoughtful to let someone know you really care. If you haven’t written one, it’s as simple or involved as you make it! At the core of each letter is a predetermined topic.

After you’ve picked what the letter you’re writing will be about, just write on the front of the envelope when it should be opened; ‘Open When… You’re Having A Bad Day’, ‘It’s Your Birthday’, ‘You Need Encouragement’…

To keep things simple, you can write them on notebook paper. If you want to be a little more creative, you can buy or make cards and include other things with the letters.

I love adding pictures and silly stickers that I know will bring a smile to my husbands face!

Who would you write ‘Open When’ letters for?

XOXO,
Leah

 

Our Military Family

Being married to someone in the military was never anything I planned to do, but when I married my now husband, I married him for all that he is despite what he had signed up to do.

Now, over two years later, a puppy, new house, countless trainings, and a sweet baby boy later; here we are. If I’ve learned anything these last few years, it’s that even though this lifestyle is hard for me, it’s just as hard for him:

He wakes up and leaves before our baby has even started stirring each morning. He sometimes comes home with only a few hours before bedtime.

He packs his bags to leave and gives us both one last kiss and hug. He puts on a brave face to try and make it a little easier on me.

He ignores the calendar as time flies by. He knows that we’re running out of days, out of time before the inevitable “I’ll see you soon” comes around again.

He promises to call and text. He hopes our baby boy will remember him despite all of the time apart.

Before we know it, he’s gone again, and we’re wishing time would hurry up.

I know his heart breaks a little when he thinks of all the things he’ll miss out on; playing together, first steps, and all of those sweet snuggles.

I know how much he wishes our time together could just slow down a little. I wish it would too.

I know he’s conflicted between wanting to stay home with us and his sense of duty.

So for now, we’ll pack up the bags and hold on just a second longer. We’ll remind him how proud we are now and always.

We remember now and everyday that it will never be, “Goodbye”. It will always be, “I’ll see you soon”.

XOXO,
Leah

Love the Mama Too

As I sit here looking at him while he naps, I can’t help but be so thankful for him and all of the people that have poured into our little family!

Babies are such a wonderful gift. Most people you know want to come love on your little addition, but sometimes the mamas can get lost in it all.

Ask her how she’s doing and really listen. God knows she’d probably appreciate someone asking about her before the baby!

Bring or send her a favorite meal or snacks. When the decision comes down to eating or trying to get some sleep, I can almost guarantee that sleep will win out.

Take the baby for an hour or two without asking. Help is always appreciated, but if the new mama in your life is anything like me, asking for it is hard!

When you bring something for the new little one, bring something for her too; a candle she loves, a nice lotion and body wash, coffee (I’m mostly made up of coffee these days). Just a little something that says you were thinking of her too!

I know it can be easy to be sucked in by the cuteness of a new baby, but it’s just as easy for a new mama to lose herself in it all too.

Next time you go visit a new baby, don’t forget to love on the mama too!

XOXO,
Leah

Life Update: Why I’ve Been MIA

If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll know that life has gotten pretty busy for me and my husband this last month; we welcomed our baby boy into the world on July 9th!

While we are both over the moon that we have been trusted with this sweet little love, the struggle has been real as far as sleep is concerned! After months and months of waiting for the day that we would finally get to hold him in our arms, it is still so hard to believe that he is here.

Keeping that in mind, I think we’re finally starting to get into a rhythm, or as much of one as a family with a newborn can be in!

I’d love to know what y’all would like to see more of in the weeks and months to come; Recipes, product reviews, fashion, lifestyle… Let me know in the comments or send me an email!

As always, thanks for following along for the ride with me!

XOXO,
Leah

How I Prepare For Guests: T-48 Hours

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We all know that feeling of still having a million things we’d like to get done before guests come to stay. I’m currently right in the middle of it!

Every time, I always wonder to myself what I can leave until the last 48 hours beforehand. Have you ever done that too? After many times hosting, these are the 10 things I’ve learned can wait until almost the last second to do:

1. Putting fresh towels out. If there’s a clean towel left unattended for too long, my pup will find it! She loves smelling fresh laundry, so I’ve learned it’s best to wait until right before guests arrive to put these out!

2. Vacuuming. Did I mention I have a puppy? With a big back yard to play in and spring in full swing, it seems like she’s always tracking something into the house. Laminate floors are not too forgiving either. Needless to say, I may or may not be putting the vacuum away as you pull up to our house.

3. Lighting candles. I love how inviting a good smelling candle can make a house, but I’ve also been in homes before where you can tell the candles have been burning for days. For our home, I’ve found that the perfect compromise is lighting the candles an hour or two before guests arrive. This way you can still smell the scent, but it’s not too overpowering!

4. Stocking the fridge with the fresh stuff. It’s no secret that fresh fruits and veggies don’t last forever. That’s why I wait until a day or two before to stock up on the fresh goodies; fruit, veggies, dips, etc. This way, they’re good and ready to snack on, but not pushing their expiration or sell by date!

5. All of the pretty flowers. I think a pretty bouquet of flowers really adds an extra touch to a guest room or kitchen table. Not only are they pretty, but they smell good too! Just like fresh produce though, flowers don’t last forever. Whenever I go out for the fresh food, I make a point of it to pick up some fresh flowers too!

6. Cleaning the kitchen, living room, etc. This is not to say I don’t clean, because I do at least once a week. I do however wait to give every day spaces like the kitchen and living room until the day of before I go through one more time. Life is never 100% neat and tidy and neither are the spaces we live in on a daily basis!

7. Laundry. I like to have as little in the dirty clothes hamper as I can when we have guests. This way my husband and I know we have plenty of clean options for whatever we end up doing. There’s almost nothing worse than getting ready to go out and realizing that part of the outfit you had in mind is dirty!

8. Any kind of baking or cooking. I always like being able to offer guests something homemade; bread, cookies, muffins, etc. It’s a nice little extra touch since when we do have guests it involves a full day of travel to get here. Since there aren’t any preservatives, it’s best not to make them too far in advance. It also helps makes the whole house smell so yummy!

9. Stocking the coffee and tea bar. Our coffee and tea bar gets used on a daily basis and even more so when we have guests! I always wait until the day of to restock and top things like sugar off. That way, it’s fully loaded for guests to use. I also make sure to have a little dish with peppermints nearby in case it’s a grab and go kind of morning for coffee!

10. Make the bed(s). Last but certainly not least, is making and freshening up the bed or beds depending on how many guests are coming. This always involves clean sheets, fluffing up the pillows and smoothing out the comforter. I normally finish it off with a cozy blanket on the end to help make the room feel warm and inviting!

What are the things you leave until the last 48 hours to do before guests arrive? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah